QUESTION: What is the importance of SDG? Elaborate on the role of various stakeholders, i.e., Government, civil societies, bureaucracy and citizens in achieving these targets.
Topic- ENVIRONMENTALISM AT THE CORE
- Environmental Sustainability
WHY IN NEWS?
- The United Nations Millennium Development Goals and the World Bank Group’s global practices have recognised environment sustainability as an essential issue of global importance.
WHAT IS SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT?
- ‘Development which meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs’.
- This most widely accepted definition of Sustainable Development was given by the Brundtland Commission in its report Our Common Future (1987).
- Sustainable development (SD) calls for concerted efforts towards building an inclusive, sustainable and resilient future for people and planet.
THE 17 SDGs ARE:
- End poverty in all its forms everywhere
- End hunger, achieve food security and improved nutrition, and promote sustainable agriculture
- Good Health and Well-being
- Quality Education
- Gender Equality
- Clean Water and Sanitation
- Affordable and Clean Energy
- Decent Work and Economic Growth
- Industry, Innovation, and Infrastructure
- Reducing Inequality
- Sustainable Cities and Communities
- Responsible Consumption and Production
- Climate Action
- Life Below Water
- Life On Land
- Peace, Justice, and Strong Institutions
- Global partnership for sustainable development
CORE ELEMENTS OF SD :
1) Environmental Sustainability:
- It prevents nature from being used as an inexhaustible source of resources and ensures its protection and rational use.
- Aspects such as environmental conservation, investment in renewable energy, saving water, supporting sustainable mobility, and innovation in sustainable construction and architecture, contribute to achieving environmental sustainability on several fronts.
- Buying greener products
- Avoiding hazardous materials
- Energy optimisation
- Waste reduction.
2) Social Sustainability:
- It can foster gender equality, development of people, communities and cultures to help achieve a reasonable and fairly-distributed quality of life, healthcare and education across the Globe.
3) Economic Sustainability:
- Focuses on equal economic growth that generates wealth for all, without harming the environment.
- Investment and equal distribution of economic resources.
- Eradicating poverty in all its forms and dimensions.
PRESENT CHALLENGES OF ACHIEVING ENVIRONMENT SUSTAINABILITY:
- Fear of losing Profits: Some firms are still reluctant to engage in environmentally beneficial activities as they are afraid to compromise on the economic benefits
- Adoption by Force: Some firms have positioned environmental practices at the forefront due to legislation and government commitments but not on voluntary basis
- Short term green practices: Manufacturing sector, get so serious about the low-hanging fruits of waste reduction and energy efficiency improvements that they fail to recognise the need for restructuring their learning imperatives and see the big picture of environmentalism
ROLE OF COOPERATIVES IN SUSTAINING DEVT. :
- Cooperative societies connect the people at the grassroots level to the highest level of the government.
- Cooperatives and NGOs help considerably in the upliftment of the socio-economic conditions of the rural poor and also adopt environment-friendly technologies for their functioning and generate awareness among people regarding environmental issues.
- Ex: In India, AMUL became the most successful cooperative movement for the sustainable development of rural poor by launching the Operation Flood
ROLE OF NITI AAYOG:
- India is committed to achieve the 17 SDGs and the 169 associated targets, which comprehensively cover social, economic and environmental dimensions of development.
- At the Central Government level, NITI Aayog has been assigned the role of overseeing the implementation of SDGs in the country.
- NITI Aayog has organized several national and regional level consultations to bring together stakeholders and build capacities for the realization of SDGs.
- The NITI Aayog releases the Baseline Report of the SDG India Index, which comprehensively documents the progress made by India’s States and Union Territories towards implementing the 2030 SDG targets.
- It has constructed the SDG India Index spanning across 13 out of 17 SDGs (leaving out Goals 12, 13, 14 and 17).
- The Index tracks the progress on a set of National Indicators, measuring their progress on the outcomes of the interventions and schemes of the Government of India.
SDG & INDIA:
- India’s National Development Agenda is mirrored in the SDGs.
- India’s progress in SDGs is crucial for the world as the country is home to about 17% of the world population.
- The SDG India Index tracks progress of all States and UTs on 62 Priority Indicators selected by NITI Aayog, which in turn is guided by MoSPI’s National Indicator Framework comprising 306 indicators and based on multiple-round consultations with Union Ministries/Departments and States/UTs
GREEEN SUPPLY CHAIN:
- These include green procurement, green manufacturing, green distribution, and reverse logistics.
- Enables Restructuring of Firms & ecosystem: Green supply chain practices enable organisational learning in environmental sustainability. This further promotes environmentalism across all players in manufacturing supply chains.
- Helps firms Better Strategize to future needs: The resultant learning system smoothens the knowledge flow in the organisation and help firms to strategise for better performance, bearing in mind the environmental aspects.
- Leads to Higher Economic performance in long run: Research shows that green Supply Chain not only lead to a long-lasting natural drive towards environmental performance, but also to higher economic performance .
- Society will be prioritised over Profits: Understanding environmental links will enable managers and experts to shape their organisational values, work practices, and performances for the greater good of society
- Policymakers should support this thinking (Green Supply Chain) by not merely imposing environmental practices as regulatory norms but by emphasising on the creation of green supply chain-based learning systems in manufacturing.
QUESTION : Discuss about FCRA 2010 and why it has been controversial in the recent past taking into account some important amendments ?
Topic- THE FOREIGN HAND
- The Foreign Contribution Regulation Act (FCRA) Amendment
WHY IN NEWS ?
- Recently, the amendments to the FCRA were passed in Parliament.
IMPORTANT AMENDMENTS :
- Bill proposes to make Aadhaar a mandatory identification document for all the office-bearers, directors and other key functionaries of an NGO or an association eligible to receive foreign donations.
- The Bill proposes to include “public servant” and “corporation owned or controlled by the government” among the list of entities who are not eligible to receive foreign donations.
CONCERNS RELATED TO THESE AMENDMENTS :
Over-regulation of NGO:
- New regulations put onerous conditions on civil society organisations, and educational and research institutions that have partnerships with foreign entities.
No discussion on amendments:
- The amendments were not discussed with the stakeholder and passed with limited discussion in Parliament.
Against Constitutional rights:
- The International Commission of Jurists has said the new law was incompatible with international obligations and India’s own constitutional provisions on rights.
Discourage social work:
- Thousands of NGOs serve extremely disadvantaged sections. Only presumption of guilt against them all, followed by control, amounts to throwing the baby out with the bathwater.
- the over-regulation appears to be towards select categories of global ideas and ideals such as environmentalism, human rights and civil liberties.
Reduce investments and technology flow:
- As a growing economy, India has been proactive in seeking global capital and technology.
Against Indian cultural ethos:
- Prime Minister has often cited the ancient Indian ethos of Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam as the framework for its global engagement. It does not go well with India’s legitimate ambitions to be a global player
WHY NEED OF SUCH AMENDMENTS ?
Misuse of foreign funding:
- In Parliament, the government alleged that foreign money was being used for religious conversions. For instance, In 2017, the government barred American Christian charity, Compassion International.
- Loss to the GDP: during the UPA that an official report even quantified the GDP losses allegedly caused by environmental NGOs, insinuating a foreign conspiracy against India.
To enhance transparency and accountability:
- The annual inflow of foreign contribution has almost doubled between the years 2010 and 2019, but many recipients of foreign contribution have not utilised the same for the purpose for which they were registered or granted prior permission under the said Act.
- FCRA regulates foreign donations and ensures that such contributions do not adversely affect the internal security of the country.
- The Act, first enacted in 1976 was amended in the year 2010 when a slew of new measures was taken by the Union Home Ministry to regulate foreign donations.
NGOs IN INDIA :
- Worldwide, the term ‘NGO’ is used to describe a body that is neither part of a government nor a conventional for-profit business organisation.
- NGOs are groups of ordinary citizens that are involved in a wide range of activities that may have charitable, social, political, religious or other interests.
- NGOs are helpful in implementing government schemes at the grassroots.
- In India, NGOs can be registered under a plethora of Acts such as the Indian Societies Registration Act, 1860, Religious Endowments Act,1863, Indian Trusts Act, etc.
- India has possibly the largest number of active NGOs in the world, a study commissioned by the government put the number of NGOs in 2009 at 33 lakh.
- Ministries such as Health and Family Welfare, Human Resource Department, etc provide funding to NGOs, but only a handful of NGOs get hefty government funds.
- NGOs also receive funds from abroad, if they are registered with the Home Ministry under the Foreign Contribution (Regulation) Act (FCRA).
WHO CANNOT ACCEPT FOREIGN CONTRIBUTION ?
- Election candidate
- Member of any legislature (MP and MLAs)
- Political party or office bearer thereof
- Organization of a political nature
- Correspondent, columnist, cartoonist, editor, owner, printer or publishers of a registered Newspaper.
- Judge, government servant or employee of any corporation or any other body controlled on owned by the Government.
- Association or company engaged in the production or broadcast of audio news, audio visual news or current affairs programmes through any electronic mode
- Any other individuals or associations who have been specifically prohibited by the Central Government
WAY FORWARD :
- Delink religious propagation and conversions from the question of foreign funding.
- There are adequate laws against conversion by inducement. It cannot be decided against the touchstone of the source of funds, native or foreign.
- Seamless sharing of ideas and resources across national boundaries is essential to the functioning of a global community.
- Civil societies should not be discouraged unless there is reason to believe the funds are being used to aid illegal activities.
- Civil societies supplements government works and sometimes reach to the sections where government cannot.