09/10/2019 The Hindu Editorials Notes- Mains Sure Shot
Question – What is Strategy for New India @ 75? What does it suggest about water resources in India?
Context – The vision of ‘Piped water for All by 2024’.
What is Strategy for New India @ 75?
- It is a comprehensive national strategy for New India envisioned by the NITI Aayog, which defines clear objectives to be achieved by 2022-23.
- It contains a detailed exposition (explanation and detailed description) across forty-one crucial areas for the nation and studies the progress already made in these areas, identifies the problems and constraints faced these areas, and finally it clearly suggests the way forward for achieving the clearly stated objectives.
- It is inspired by PM’s call for establishing a New India by 2022.
What does the NITI Aayog’s report suggest about water resources in India?
- According to a Niti Aayog report on water management index last year, India is currently suffering from the worst water crisis in its history with the country ranked at 120 among 122 countries in the quality of water.
- By 2020, it said, as many as 21 major cities of India will run out of water and face ‘day zero’— a term that became popular after a major water crisis in Cape Town in South Africa, which means literally switching off most of the city’s tap for a day.
- The report said 600 million people face high-to-extreme water stress, 75% of households do not have drinking water on premises and 84% rural households do not have access to piped water.
- Moreover, factors such as rapid climate change and ongoing over-extraction of groundwater, mainly for agriculture, are pushing the system to a breaking point.
- To deal with this the NITI Ayog is planning to take inspiration from Israel and establish desalination plants.
- Israel have been successful in using desalinated water for wide use. Currently, as much as 70% of household water comes from desalinated sea water in Israel.
What can be done?
- There is a need to rethink water management policies. An efficient water management policy will be the one that takes three things into account: One, acknowledge and analyse past failures; two, suggest realistic and implementable goals; and three, stipulate who will do what, and within what time frame.
- In India water is not national subject, but state subject. So a periodic meeting between the Ministers of the states overseeing water resource management and that of the centre is very crucial at every step.
- The NITI Aayog also suggests for adopting an integrated river basin management approach, and setting up of river basin organisations (RBOs) for major basins. A river basin is the area of land from which all the water flows into a particular river.
- Integrated river basin management (IRBM) is the process of coordinating conservation, management and development of water, land and related resources across sectors within a given river basin, in order to maximise the economic and social benefits derived from water resources in an equitable manner while preserving and, where necessary, restoring freshwater ecosystems.
- The Aayog also seeks to establish an efficient water resources regulatory authority. The need for a regulator is urgent. The need was also mentioned in the National Water Policy 2012 that envisaged the need for a regulator. It said that ‘equitable access to water for all and its fair pricing for drinking and other uses such as sanitation, agricultural and industrial sectors should be arrived at through an independent statutory water regulatory authority set up by each State, after wide-ranging consultation with all stakeholders’.
- Maharashtra established a water resources regulatory authority in 2005. But this idea was not implemented too well. There is a need for its proper adoption and implementation for achieving the desired outcomes.
- The New India @ 75 strategy also acknowledges that there is a gap between the irrigation potential already created in India and the optimal utilisation of this potential. So it recommends that Water Ministry should draw up an action plan to complete command area development (CAD) works to reduce the gap. (The Centrally sponsored Command Area Development (CAD) Programme was launched in 1974-75 with the main objectives of improving the utilization of created irrigation potential and optimizing agriculture production and productivity from irrigated agriculture through a multi-disciplinary team under an Area Development Authority).
- Also the goals set should be realistic and achievable, and the strategy document must specify who will be responsible and accountable for achieving the specific goals, and in what time-frame. Otherwise, no one will accept the responsibility to carry out various tasks, and nothing will get done.
- Also inspiration must be taken from the best water management practices adopted by other states like Mission Kakatiya,Telangana; Narmada (Sanchore), Rajasthan; Chittoor, Andhra Pradesh- ‘Har Khet ko Paani’; Mulching: Harvesting Many Benefits in Cardamom, Kerala; Participatory Irrigation Management (PIM) – Waghad, Maharashtra; Micro-irrigation in Gujarat; Root Zone Watering by SWAR, Telangana; Bhungroo – GroundWater Injection Well, Gujarat; Pani Panchayat: Orissa Water Resource Consolidation Project.
- And also traditional water management practices like Johads, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh and Rajasthan; Ahar Pyne, Bihar; Apatani, Arunachal Pradesh; Phad, Maharashtra; Kuls/Kuhls in Himalayan Region, Himachal Pradesh; Bamboo Drip Irrigation, Meghalaya.
- India’s water problems can be solved with existing knowledge, technology and available funds. But India’s water establishment needs to admit that the strategy pursued so far has not worked. Only then can a realistic vision emerge.
- Also read the article of 18th September.
Question – In the context of the high level visit of Mexico’s Vice Minister of Foreign Affairs in New Delhi, analyse India-Mexico diplomatic relations. (250 words)
Context- The visit.
The present scenario:
- The trade and investment links between India and Mexico are rapidly expanding.
- Mexico has become India’s top trading partner in Latin America and it is the top investor in the region in India, and India is now for the first time among Mexico’s top 10 commercial partners.
- The mutual bilateral trade reached more than 10 billion in 2018 (four times than it was in 2009).
- Both India and Mexico are a part of ancient and rich civilisations and tourism is a growing sector in both the countries. It is home to 35 UNESCO World Heritage sites. This is quite comparable to India. In 2018, Mexico attracted 41 million international tourists and Indians have been among the top 20 visitors to Mexico and Indian tourism in Mexico is exceeding that of many European countries. This further beings the countries closer.
- There has also been a wide variety of flights and airlines connecting both countries. More connectivity to facilitate leisure travel also enhances trade and business cooperation.
The bilateral relations:
Historical ties –
- India and Mexico have striking similarities in geo-climatic conditions, biodiversity, physiognomy and people, cultural and family values, as well as European connections of the colonial era.
- Both are heirs to a great civilizational heritage and contacts between them indicatively go back centuries. Legend has it that an Indian princess ‘Meera’ landed in Mexico in the 17th century and is well-known here as ‘Santa Catarina.’
- Mexico was the first Latin America country to recognize India after Independence and establish diplomatic relations with India in 1950.
- Also Mexican wheat varieties used in Indo-Mexican hybrids were the backbone of India’s Green Revolution in the sixties.
- Gandhiji’s statues and busts adorn four major Mexican cities: roads and several schools are also named after him.
Political ties –
- In the cold war years, Mexico and India had worked together closely as members of the UN, G-77, G-15 and G-6 (nuclear disarmament), both actively championing the interests of developing countries such as in the Uruguay Round of Trade Negotiations.
- The bilateral relations received a new momentum with Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s meetings with President Peña Nieto on the sideline of G-20 meeting at Brisbane in November 2014 and on the sidelines of UNGA in New York in September 2015 followed by his visit to Mexico City on 8th June, 2016. During this visit, Prime Minister Modi and President Nieto agreed to work for achieving a ‘Strategic Partnership’.
- Even though there are differences on expansion of the permanent membership of the UNSC, environment, climate and non-proliferation issues, as such, there are no disputes in the relationship.
Bilateral cooperation –
- The two countries have several bilateral agreements & MOUs, including for Investment Promotion and Protection, Double Taxation Avoidance, Extradition, Administrative Assistance in Customs Matters, Air Services, S & T Co-operation, Space Cooperation, Promotion of Traditional Medicine, Tourism Promotion, Cultural Exchanges, etc.
- India gives 20 scholarships to Mexico under the ITEC program, and Mexican diplomats are also given training at FSI. The Gurudev Tagore Indian Cultural Centre has been functioning in Mexico since October 2010, teaching Yoga, classical and Bollywood dances, sitar, tabla, Indian languages Hindi and Sanskrit and Indian cooking.
- An agreement on cultural cooperation has been in existence since 1975 and cooperation activities are carried out through four-yearly ‘Programmes of Cultural Cooperation’ under the framework of this agreement.
Economic and commercial relations –
- As seen above, Mexico has become India’s top trading partner in Latin America and it is the top investor in the region in India, and India is now for the first time among Mexico’s top 10 commercial partners.
- The mutual bilateral trade reached more than 10 billion in 2018 (four times than it was in 2009).
- Most of the leading Indian companies in IT/software (TCS, Infosys, Wipro, NIIT, BirlaSoft, HCL, Aptech, Hexaware, Patni, etc.) and pharmaceutical (Claris Life Sciences, Wockhardt, Sun Pharma, Dr.Reddy’s Laboratories, Torrent Pharmaceuticals, etc.) sectors have set up joint ventures in Mexico taking advantage of its strategic location, large market and investment friendly policies.
Indian community –
- The Indian community (PIOs/NRIs) in Mexico is estimated to be around 7000, comprising mostly software engineers of Indian IT companies – TCS, Infosys, Wipro, Accenture etc. and executives in other Indian and international companies. In addition, there are several academics/professors in the local universities and some private businessmen in textile and garment business.
- Tourism between the two countries is steadily increasing. Mexicans have been extended the online e-Tourist Visa facility and around 15,000 Mexicans visited India in 2016. Over 50,000 Indian tourists visit Mexico annually. Indians have been among the top 20 visitors to Mexico and Indian tourism in Mexico is exceeding that of many European countries.
Need /Way forward:
- Mexico and India have a common goal i.e. social development and inclusion. To accomplish this there is a need to promote trade and investment in priority sectors in both the countries, improve market access including in agricultural areas, and cooperation in the fields of energy and tourism.
- There is also a need to cooperate to strengthen multilateralism and rule based international system, and to foster mechanisms such as the G20.
- Also there can be new areas of cooperation in the field of science and technology to pave the way for new areas of cooperation in space technology, medicine etc.
- We are doing well in our relationship and there is a need to continue it.