05 April, 2021 - Daily Current Affairs Analysis & MCQs - The Daily News Simplified from The Hindu

  • Going beyond Tamil Nadu's 'freebies' narrative + In Tamil Nadu, environment is good politics (Election Manifestos) (Polity & Governance)
  • The Kerala Model at the crossroads (Social Issues)
  • A Roadmap for Tolerance - Racial Discrimination (Social Justice)
  • Global Gender Gap Report 2021 (Data Point) (Social Justice)
  • Summary
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    UPSC Current Affairs: Going beyond Tamil Nadu’s ‘freebies’ narrative | In Tamil Nadu, environment is good politics (Election Manifestos) | Page 09

    UPSC Syllabus: Mains – GS Paper II – Polity

    Sub Theme: Election | UPSC

    Context: The Articles on Page no. 6 and 7 mentions about the importance of Election Manifestos and how they help in shaping welfare policies in India. The news on Page 6 mentions about the importance of welfare policies whereas news on Page 7 mentions that there has been a renewed focus on agriculture and environment which may mark a political shift in future poll manifestos.

    What is an Election Manifesto?

    • An election manifesto is essentially a list of policies that a political party says it will enact if it is voted into o­ffice at a general election.
    • The word “manifesto” itself originates from the Latin manifestum, which refers to a list of facts.
    • Before an election, each party will produce an official manifesto which will form the basis of its campaign.
    • Manifestos serve a very important function, because they are the main way of telling voters why they should give their vote to a particular political party.
    • This means they are usually written in a persuasive style which attempts to make voters believe that the policies they contain will be in their best interests.
    • Thus, Political Parties prior to elections release their respective manifestos which is generally a roadmap of work to be done if such political parties comes to power.
    • Enlistments in the manifestos are announced and advertised as part of political campaign prior to voting and mostly contains lists of welfare programmes or policies which the party aims to implement if voted to power.

    An election manifesto has the following uses:

    • The election manifestoes issued by various political parties at the time of elections enable the voters to know about the policies and programmes of the parties who are fighting the elections. After studying those manifestoes, the voters can vote for the party (candidate) of their choice.
    • The manifesto of the ruling party tells the people about its achievements during the last tenure. Similarly, the manifestos of the Opposition parties point out the failures of the government and mobilise public opinion against them.
    • After the elections, the party which is able to get the majority in the Parliament forms the government. The people can exert their pressure on the party in power to fulfil the various promises made to the people in its election manifesto. They are pressed to implement the policy and programmes issued in their election manifestoes.

    MCC - PART VIII. Guidelines on Election Manifestos

    Having due regard to the directions of the Supreme Court and after consultation with the Political Parties, the Commission, in the interest of free and fair elections , hereby directs that Political Parties and Candidates while releasing election manifestos for any election to the Parliament or State Legislatures, shall adhere to the following guidelines -

    (i) The election manifesto shall not contain anything repugnant to the ideals and principles enshrined in the Constitution and further that it shall be consistent with the letter and spirit of other provisions of Model Code of Conduct.

    (ii) The Directive Principles of State Policy enshrined in the Constitution enjoin upon the State to frame various welfare measures for the citizens and therefore there can be no objection to the promise of such welfare measures in election manifestos. However, political parties should avoid making those promises which are likely to vitiate the purity of the election process or exert undue influence on the voters in exercising their franchise.

    (iii) In the interest of transparency, level playing field and credibility of promises, it is expected that manifestos also reflect the rationale for the promises and broadly indicate the ways and means to meet the financial requirements for it. Trust of voters should be sought only on those promises which are possible to be fulfilled.





    Prohibitory period of Release of Manifesto during elections

    (i) In case of single phase election, manifesto shall not be released during the prohibitory period, as prescribed under Section 126 of the Representation of the People Act, 1951.
    (ii) In case of multi-phase elections, manifesto shall not be released during the prohibitory periods, as prescribed under Section 126 of the Representation of the People Act, 1951, of all the phases of those elections.”

    REPRESENTATION OF PEOPLE ACT, 1951

    Section 126 - Prohibition of public meetings during period of forty-eight hours ending with hour fixed for conclusion of poll

    (1) No person shall -

    (a) convene, hold or attend, join or address any public meeting or procession in connection with an election; or

    (b) display to the public any election matter by means of cinematograph, television or other similar apparatus; or

    (c) propagate any election matter to the public by holding, or by arranging the holding of, any musical concert or any theatrical performance or any other entertainment or amusement with a view to attracting the members of the public thereto, in any polling area during the period of forty-eight hours ending with the fixed for the conclusion of the poll for any election in the polling area.

    (2) Any person who contravenes the provisions of sub-section (1) shall be punishable with imprisonment for a term which may extend to two years, or with fine, or with both.

    Highlights of the Two Articles – Election Manifestos

    Election Manifestos helps the political parties to reach out to their voters through their welfare policies and programmes in different sectors. Generally, the Election Manifestos contains promises on the following fronts: 

    • Distribution of freebies - have become the norm for political manifestos in Tamil Nadu and includes promises of free data, free tabs, free washing machines etc.
    • The Article compares election manifestos of different political parties -
    • Some aspects of Social Engineering is also addressed in the poll manifestos – such as provisions for reservations to SC/ST or OBC for certain communities.
    • Nutrition - It also provides for addressing the nutritional and health needs of its citizens through various offers of social canteens, providing milk in schools etc.
    • Aspects of Social Justice is also taken care of in poll manifestos such as increments in maternity entitlements, extending paid maternity leave, setting up nourishing stations with privacy for women
    • Employment - It provides for aspects related to jobs and work entitlements through MGNREGA and similar schemes.
    • Environmental Politics - the appearance of environment as a political concern signals a welcome cultural shift in Tamil politics. 
    • Farmers and Fishermen’s Rights over over big-ticket infrastructure and industrial projects. 

     

    Focus on Environment & Agriculture in Poll Manifestos (Page 7)

    • Mention of Environment and Farmers’ rights are welcome change and signals a political shift which is responsive to people’s aspirations articulated primarily through the medium of protests.
    • Non-violent protests against setting up of Kudankulam nuclear plants in the coastal town of Idinthakarai forced a nationwide debate on nuclear energy and the right of people to participate in environmental decision-making in the face of obstinate, powerful and irate adversaries. 
    • Poll Manifesto on Environment & Farmers’ Rights reflection of Past Interventions – Protest against against nuclear projects; against coal-bed methane extraction in the delta; against Unilever’s mercury pollution in Kodaikanal; by fishers to save Ennore Creek from industrial encroachments; pro-Jallikattu; against hydrocarbon extraction in Neduvasal, Pudukottai, which subsequently spread like wildfire through other delta districts; against Sterlite, crony capitalism and industrial pollution; by farmers against the Salem-Chennai expressway; by fishers and farmers against the International Container Transhipment Terminal in Kanniyakumari; and against Adani’s Kattupalli port expansion.
    • Reflection of Centre’s North Centric Approach - Many in Tamil Nadu view the Union government as north India-centric, and indifferent, if not inimical, to the interests of southern States. Each of the above projects is seen as a grandiose Central government imposition that hurts local ecologies, farmers and fishers to squeeze out value for distant beneficiaries.
    • Unfolding of Climate Disasters - extreme weather events have been posting annual reminders of the looming climate crisis: the Chennai floods (2015), Cyclone Vardah (2016), Cyclone Ockhi (2017), Cyclone Gaja (2018), Chennai’s Day Zero and water scarcity (2019). Mention of climate disaster in state poll manifestos will help the political class appreciate the gravity of the unfolding ecological disaster. 

     

    Way Forward

    • Need to Address the Gap between Promises & Implementation - Addressing welfare policies along with environmental, ecological and farmers’ concerns shows in election manifestos will address the reality of climate change. However, there have always been vast differences between poll promises and their implementation.
    • Address Climate Change Collectively by Political Parties - At current emissions rates, the world will exceed the 1.5°C danger threshold by 2030. Hence, political parties collectively need to address the challenge of climate crisis and must take proactive steps to reduce carbon emissions and such steps must be reflected in their poll manifestos.
    • Public Pressure to implement Poll Manifesto - Politics, with its embedded values of people’s aspirations and relationship to land, is deep. However, the environmentalism of parties, politicians and manifestos is shallow and demands accountability. Public Pressure and political accountability can bridge the gap and make political parties more responsible for farmers' rights and climate disasters as it affects sizable population across India.

     

    UPSC Current Affairs: The Kerala Model at the crossroads| Page 06

    UPSC Syllabus: Mains – GS Paper II – Polity & Governance

    Sub Theme: Development | UPSC 

    This article has appeared in the newspaper in the context of upcoming Assembly Elections in the State of Kerala. This article discusses challenges that the Kerala Model of Development would face in future and accordingly recommends as to what strategies should the Kerala Government adopt.

    About Kerala Model of Development

    Kerala is among the unique states in India which has been able to bring about rapid human development along with the increase in its GDP Size. Kerala has the best human development indicators among the states in terms of literacy rates, Life expectancy, IMR, MMR etc. This has been possible on account of multiple reasons such as strong commitment to decentralization, empowerment of PRIs, enhanced expenditure on social sector, focus on redistributive policies etc.

     

    Challenges in the past:

    However, this model faced challenges in the past, particularly in 1970's, when the GDP growth rate and revenue earned by the Kerala Government started declining. However, consequently, growth picked up due to following reasons:

    1. Increase in agricultural growth rate
    2. Increase in Remittances from the Gulf.
    3. Increase in the share of manufacturing sector to Gross State Domestic Product (GSDP) from 20% in 1980s to 32% in 2018-19.
    4. Setting up of Kerala Infrastructure Investment Board (KIIB). The KIIB raises loans from the market and makes them available to the Kerala Government. The Government then utilizes the money for various social and physical infrastructure projects such as Schools, Public Hospitals, Roads etc. This has dual benefits - Improvement in the Human Development Indicators and Increase in the GDP Size.

     

    On account of these factors, Kerala’s per capita income, which was 10% lower than the all-India figure in 1989-90 has increased to 65% higher than the all-India figure in 2019-20. Hence, Kerala has clearly shown us that it is possible to pursue the agenda of Economic Growth and Human Development simultaneously.

     

    Challenges in Future

    The Excessive borrowings could lead to increase in the Public Debt in future. Similarly, Kerala could face adverse situations such as natural disasters (Floods in 2018 and 2019), job losses in the West Asian countries etc. Hence, going forward, the Government has to give due emphasis on these factors which may affect the Kerala Model of Development. Various factors such as Climate Change, Equity, Debt Sustainability etc. need to become integral part of development planning in the State.

     

    UPSC Current Affairs: A Roadmap for Tolerance - Racial Discrimination| Page 07

    UPSC Syllabus: Mains – GS Paper II – Social Justice

    Sub Theme: Social discrimination| UPSC 

    Context: Every year March 21 is marked as the International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination. This provides an opportunity to explore the nuanced causes and consequences of modern racism.

    Current forms of racism and discrimination is:

    1. Covert because public attitudes to anti-racism have improved and racist ideology have become less socially acceptable. Yet, the anonymity of the Internet has allowed racist stereotypes and inaccurate information to spread online.
    • At the onset of the pandemic, traffic to hate sites and specific posts against Asians grew by 200% in the U.S.
    • In India and in Sri Lanka, social media groups and messaging platforms were used to call for social and economic boycotts of religious minorities, amid false information accusing them of spreading the virus.
    1. ‘techno-racism’ - The use of new technologies and artificial intelligence in security raise the spectre of ‘techno-racism’, as facial recognition programmes can misidentify and target racialised communities.

     

    Effects of racism

    Prejudiced attitudes and discriminatory acts whether subtle or overt, aggravate existing inequalities in societies. Racial discrimination, beyond being a breach of human rights, has harmful effects on human health and well-being, and risks wider disruptions to social cohesion.

    • A study published by The Lancet drew attention to the greater vulnerability of ethnic minorities, who have been disproportionately affected.
    • The World Health Organization has cautioned on the dangers of profiling and stigmatising communities that can lead to fear and the subsequent concealment of cases and delays in detection.

    Global Forum against Racism and Discrimination

    To contribute to this important discussion and signify the need for urgent work, UNESCO’s headquarters in Paris hosted a Global Forum against Racism and Discrimination on March 22, 2021, in partnership with the Republic of Korea.

    The Forum gathered policymakers, academics, and partners to initiate a new multi-stakeholder partnership on anti-racism. The new proposed road map to tolerance calls for a multisectoral effort to tackle the root causes of racism through anti-racist laws, policies and programmes.

     

    Quotes on Tolerance

     

    §  We must not only tolerate others, but positively embrace them. – Swami Vivekananda

    §  Truth can be stated in thousand different ways and yet each one can be true. - Swami Vivekananda

    §  Whatever is begun in anger, ends in shame. – Benjamin Franklin

    §  “The highest result of education is tolerance” ― Helen Keller

    §  “In the practice of tolerance, one's enemy is the best teacher.” ― Dalai Lama

    §  "Anger and intolerance are the enemies of correct understanding." Mahatma Gandhi

    §  Tolerance is the oil which takes the friction out of life - Wilbert E. Scheer

    The value of tolerance

    According to UNESCO, Tolerance is respect, acceptance and appreciation of the rich diversity of our world’s cultures, our forms of expression and ways of being human.

    Tolerance is harmony in difference.

    Tolerance refers to fair, objective and permissive attitude towards those whose opinion practices, race, religion, nationality etc differ from one’s own. In simple words tolerance is an act or capacity to endure the diversity of views and practices in our environment.

    Significance of tolerance in present world

     

    §  Control of one’s negative emotion of anger and hence character. Shield against – propaganda, radicalization, fake news etc.

    §  It leads to harmony and peace in pluralistic society in which diversity is there in many contexts. Basic, fundamental and human right of vulnerable section will be protected. Eg: section 377; Rohingyas etc

    §  Tolerance is a basic value for other values. Empathy and compassion is not possible without tolerance. The other values of impartiality and objectivity also require tolerance in the society as a pre-condition.  

    §  Unity in diversity will be encouraged - Incidence of fight, mob lynching, riots, honour killing etc will stop.

    §  Rule of law can be established only when multiple stakeholders practice tolerance and restraint.

    §  Society can become land of hope for the marginalised and prosecuted.

     

     

    UNESCO’s effort to combat racism

    • UNESCO promotes the role of education in providing the space for young people to understand processes that sustain racism, to learn from the past, and to stand up for human rights.
    • Through new approaches to inter-cultural dialogue and learning, youth and communities can be equipped with skills to eradicate harmful stereotypes and foster tolerance.
      • Social interaction improved the quality of socialisation. It make us a better social being. Ashutosh Varshney explains in his book Ethnic Conflict and Civic Life, that for peace and social cohesion among different communities that must be civic engagement.
    • UNESCO also offers master classes to empower students to become champions of anti-racism in their schools and communities.
    • UNESCO's International Coalition of Inclusive and Sustainable Cities provides an additional platform for city-level planning and a laboratory for good practices in the fight against racism.

    Recent and new manifestations of racism and discrimination call for renewed commitments to mobilise for equality. Racism will not be overcome with mere professions of good faith but must be combatted with anti-racist action. A global culture of tolerance, equality and anti-discrimination is built first and foremost in the minds of women and men. The words of former UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan remain pertinent: “Our mission is to confront ignorance with knowledge, bigotry with tolerance, and isolation with the outstretched hand of generosity. Racism can, will, and must be defeated.”   

     

    UPSC Current Affairs: Global Gender Gap Report 2021 - (Data Point)| Page 07

    UPSC Syllabus: Mains – GS Paper II – Social Justice

    Sub Theme: Gender Justice| UPSC 

    Context: Another generation of women will have to wait for gender parity, according to the World Economic Forum’s Global Gender Gap Report 2021. As the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic continues to be felt, closing the global gender gap has increased by a generation from 99.5 years to 135.6 years.

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