News & Events
In this section, we are presenting our readers/aspirants compilation of selected editorials of national daily viz. The Hindu, The live mint,The Times of India, Hindustan Times, The Economic Times, PIB etc. This section caters the requirement of Civil Services Mains (GS + Essay) , PCS, HAS Mains (GS + Essay) & others essay writing competition.
1.Eye on 2024: For Mamata, Kejriwal etc 2022 sta te polls are trial runs
With seven assembly elections due in 2022, Congress embroiled in existential struggles and BJP supposedly feeling the anti-incumbency heat in some states, some regional parties have sniffed a chance, however remote, to become national players. After Punjab, AAP is hoping to enter Goa, Uttarakhand, Uttar Pradesh and Gujarat assemblies. Powered by Mamata Banerjee’s leadership that repelled a determined BJP effort to take Bengal, TMC is dreaming of a splash in Goa, Tripura and Assam in the first lap.
UP results will reveal SP and BSP’s plans. Evidently big regional leaders are scouting new territory in assembly polls to make a big splash in the 2024 Lok Sabha elections. They believe votes taking flight out of BJP and Congress bases could land with a third party that shows enough chutzpah for a fight. But capturing popular imagination, building a party organisation in a new territory, or getting catapulted into reckoning with support from a powerful social group, remain huge challenges.
AAP no longer enjoys the anti-establishment tag that excited voters. Mamata’s TMC is a virtual unknown outside Bengal. In Surat civic polls, AAP breached BJP-Congress votebanks but assembly elections are a different ball game. Discomfiture with empowering local faces is another congenital difficulty for supremo-led parties. Arvind Kejriwal is yet to announce a CM-face for Punjab despite AAP’s strong prospects. Moreover, Congress despite all its national troubles isn’t ceding space as fast as TMC or AAP would prefer despite high-profile exits. But the burst of energy in regional parties has prompted Rahul Gandhi into greater opposition engagement since Parliament’s monsoon session. Even BJP’s being kept busy by the caste census demand from SP, JD(U), RJD, JMM and BSP. The increased political competition putting national parties on notice can only make democracy more vibrant.
2.Insta danger: Young women and toxic social media pressure
Times of India’s Edit Page team comprises senior journalists with wide-ranging interests who debate and opine on the news and issues of the day.
After a big backlash, Facebook has put its Instagram Kids plan on hold. This move comes after reports that Facebook’s own internal research had told it that the photo-sharing site was “toxic for teen girls”. Instagram makes women and girls feel worse about themselves, presenting a prettified, highly filtered version of reality. While any platform can be used for a variety of purposes, there is a design to all tech platforms and algorithms – they actively mould our preferences.
Studies have shown that Instagram did skew towards scantily clad influencers, for one. This can be disproportionately hard on women, who are trained to equate looks with social worth. Women are culturally pressured to be attractive, inundated with images of idealised body parts, rather than seeing themselves as whole humans. Young girls, whose sense of self is only being formed, end up thinking that the world’s gaze on them matters more than their own gaze outwards on the world. This insecurity is not natural, it is created and sustained by the culture, including social media platforms.
Instagram has not aborted its project, it plans to incorporate more safety features and parental controls. It can’t afford to be perfunctory about this. Children today are growing up in a visual culture, and there may be no inherent problem with their access to a photosharing site – but to make sure they’re alright, Facebook’s commitment to their wellbeing should be more than skin-deep.
3.How to tackle erratic monsoon
A quick summary of this year’s monsoon will read thus: Early onset; a wet June; a dry July; a drier August (usually the rainiest month); a very wet September; no depressions over the Bay of Bengal between June and August; three breaks in the monsoon; and more instances of heavy and extreme rainfall than in recent years (PTI)
Updated on Oct 01, 2021 03:37 PM IST
By HT Editorial
This year’s monsoon was a normal one — that is, if one were to measure it purely in terms of aggregate. That’s how the monsoons, the lifeline of India’s agriculture (a lot of it, some say almost half, is rain-fed), and the weathervane of the country’s large rural economy, are assessed. But this monsoon (like some before it) has shown the futility of evaluating it like this.
A quick summary of this year’s monsoon will read thus: Early onset; a wet June; a dry July; a drier August (usually the rainiest month); a very wet September; no depressions over the Bay of Bengal between June and August; three breaks in the monsoon; and more instances of heavy and extreme rainfall than in recent years. That makes it evident that this monsoon has been far from normal. There may be only a marginal impact on agriculture this year — assessments are still being made — although heavy late-September rains in Maharashtra are reported to have damaged crops. Recent years have indicated that the patchiness or unevenness of even a normal monsoon is now a trend, not an aberration. Climate science bears this out — the latest Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report specifically mentions erratic monsoons. The report also said that global warming will exceed 1.5 degrees over pre-industrial levels in the next two decades.
4.Crime and the pandemic: On Crime in India report
The lockdown had a bearing on the patterns of crimes that were registered in 2020
The annual report, ‘Crime in India’, released by the National Crime Records Bureau in mid-September this year needs to be carefully parsed before gleaning insights or making State-wise comparisons. The reason is the significant variances in case registration across States and Union Territories, especially serious crimes pertaining to rape and violence against women. States/UTs such as Tamil Nadu with 1808.8, Kerala (1568.4) and Delhi (1309.6) recorded the highest crime rate (crimes per one lakh people) overall. But it is difficult not to see these numbers as a reflection of better reporting and police registration of cases in these States and the capital city, respectively. On the other hand, while there was an 8.3% decline in registered cases of crimes against women in 2020 (of which the bulk of them, 30.2%, were of the category “Cruelty by husband or his relatives”), this number has to be assessed along with the fact that the year saw prolonged lockdowns during the first wave of the coronavirus pandemic (between late March and May 2021 in particular). This period coincided with a high number of complaints of domestic violence — the number of complaints received by National Commission for Women registered a 10-year high as of June 2020. The seeming mismatch between the NCW and NCRB data must be studied and can only be explained by a lack of registration of cases in some States where crime reporting remains sluggish either due to a fear of doing so or a lackadaisical approach to such cases by law enforcement. On the other hand, the lockdown also led to an overall fall in crime related to theft, burglary and dacoity.
The COVID-19 related disruption also led to a greater registration of cases overall (a 28% increase in 2020 compared to 2019) largely due to a 21-fold increase in cases related to disobedience to the order duly promulgated by a public servant and over four times in cases involving violations of other State local laws. This is not surprising either. India had one of the most stringent lockdowns and law enforcement spared little in enforcing strictures on physical distancing. The question of registration does not apply to some types of cases such as murders — which showed only a marginal increase of 1% compared to 2019. Worryingly, while there was a reduction in the registered number of economic offences (by 12% since 2019), cybercrimes recorded an increase of 11.8% . The increase in cybercrimes is cause for concern as this requires sharper law enforcement as seen even in highly developed societies. While cases related to sedition declined from 93 in 2019 to 73 last year, Manipur and Assam led with 15 and 12 cases each. Sedition has increasingly been used as a weapon to stifle dissent and this trend needs to be reversed urgently.
5.No clean sweep: On a Swachh Bharat and urban India
Transforming urban India calls for community-based moves towards a circular economy
Seven years after launching his government’s marquee programme, Prime Minister Narendra Modi has announced the second phase of Swachh Bharat Mission-Urban (SBM-U) and the Atal Mission for Rejuvenation and Urban Transformation (AMRUT), with a fresh promise to make India’s cities clean. For all the attention it has received, the goal of scientific waste management and full sanitation that Mahatma Gandhi emphasised even a century ago remains largely aspirational today, and the recent lament of Principal Economic Adviser Sanjeev Sanyal on dirty, dysfunctional cities drives home the point. That urban India, in his view, is unable to match cities in Vietnam that has a comparable per capita income is a telling commentary on a lack of urban management capacities in spite of the Swachh Bharat programme enjoying tremendous support. SBM-U 2.0, with a ₹1.41-lakh crore outlay, aims to focus on garbage-free cities and urban grey and black water management in places not covered by AMRUT. In its first phase, the Mission had an outstanding balance of ₹3,532 crore, since the total allocation was ₹14,622 crore while cumulative releases came to ₹11,090 crore. The issue of capability and governance underscores the challenge — of being able to process only about one lakh tonnes of solid waste per day against 1.4 lakh tonnes generated — to transition to a circular economy that treats solid and liquid waste as a resource.
Raising community involvement in resource recovery, which the rules governing municipal, plastic and electronic waste provide for, calls for a partnership that gives a tangible incentive to households. The current model of issuing mega contracts to big corporations — as opposed to decentralised community-level operations for instance — has left segregation of waste at source a non-starter. In the absence of a scaling up of operations, which can provide large-scale employment, and creation of matching facilities for material recovery, SBM-U 2.0 cannot keep pace with the tide of waste in a growing economy. On sanitation, the impressive claim of exceeding the targets for household, community and public toilets thus far obscures the reality that without water connections, many of them are unusable, and in public places, left in decrepitude. State and municipal governments, which do the heavy lifting on waste and sanitation issues, should work to increase community ownership of the system. As things stand, it is a long road to Open Defecation Free plus (ODF+) status for urban India, since that requires no recorded case of open defecation and for all public toilets to be maintained and functioning. Equally, the high ambition of achieving 100% tap water supply in about 4,700 urban local bodies and sewerage and septage in 500 AMRUT cities depends crucially on making at least good public rental housing accessible to millions of people.