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Source: 2014 Mains question paper- 4
Note: this answer has been written for the purposes of explanation; Hence, it may not adhere to word limit. For examination purposes, phrases instead of full sentences could be used.
Rural to urban migration in India has been increasing. While the migration is aimed at better living conditions and opportunities, it ironically is creating many serious problems hampering the quality of life.
Analysis of the problem
The high rates of rural-to-urban migration has generated several problems both at the rural and urban levels
- Rural level
- Decrease in population engaging in agriculture and associated activities threatening the food security in the future.
- Skewed sex ratios in rural areas- male members migrate to cities leaving the female members behind to cater to children and the elderly
- Stress and anxiety for female members due to immense family responsibilities.
- Urban issues
- Over-crowding of cities; increased slum growth and poor living conditions
- Stress and alienation for the migrants
- Declining employment opportunities in cities; exploitation of labour
- Increased crime in cities- due to alienation of migrants and poor living conditions
- Socio-economic factors
- Push factors
- Lack of income generating opportunities at village level
- Low agricultural incomes and indebtedness
- Lack of physical and social infrastructure such as schools, hospitals etc
- Lack of basic amenities and services such as electricity, roads etc
- Pull factors
- Greater opportunities for employment in cities
- Better living prospects and conditions; better infrastructure
- Better education prospects for children
- Emotional and Attitudinal factors
- Prosecution of certain communities/individuals on the basis of caste, gender etc.
- Demonstration effect: Perception of a better life in cities as shown via media and various agencies
- Dissatisfaction with traditional occupations and decline faced by the same. Eg artisans giving up traditional occupations
Examining the reasons behind some of the prevalent practices
- Educated rural youth trying to shift to urban areas
- Lack of job opportunities in the rural areas and better income prospects and living conditions in the cities
- Youth from marginalised sections of society find it easier to take up new professions and move across barriers of caste and class
- Practices of discrimination and untouchability in rural areas
- Landless poor people are migrating to urban slums
- Due to prospects of finding employment in the city as labourers etc
- Due to falling remuneration and risks associated with agriculture
- Sometimes minorities migrate to escape prosecution as well
- Even some farmers are selling off their land and trying to settle in urban areas taking up petty jobs
- Due to falling remuneration and risks, uncertainties associated with agriculture
- Emotional and attitudinal factors associated with city life- due to image of city as represented by media
- Better facilities for healthcare and education of children
Feasible steps to control this serious problem
- Providing for better agricultural remuneration by addressing risks associated with agricultural, provision of integrated markets and greater food processing. The National Agricultural Market via e-platform is a good step forward.
- Incentivising industrial development especially small-scale industries to set shop in rural areas. This would protect and incentivise traditional arts and crafts as well provide employment at the local level.
- Provision of basic amenities such as electricity, good roads, transport systems etc in rural areas eg schemes such as Shayama Prasad Mukherjee Rurban Mission is a step in the right direction
- Addressing the wrongful prevalent perceptions associated with city life. Promoting rural India as a calm and clean environment to live in. Media campaigns could be targeted towards same.
- Addressing problems of caste and gender based discrimination and prosecution of minorities via community sensitisation and effective law enforcement
- Increasing the capacities of the cities to cater to increased population. The smart city mission and AMRUT mission are positive initiatives which if implemented well, would substantially improve the carrying capacities of cities.
- The Armed Forces (Special Powers) Acts (AFSPA), are Acts of the Parliament of India that grant special powers to the Indian Armed Forces in what each act terms "disturbed areas".
- Areas of application of the act : Assam, Nagaland, Manipur (except the Imphal municipal area), Arunachal Pradesh (only the Tirap, Changlang and Longding districts plus a 20-km belt bordering Assam), Meghalaya (confined to a 20-km belt bordering Assam) and Jammu and Kashmir.
- Controversial provisions
o AFSPA grants the army, central police forces, and state police personnel in “disturbed areas” “certain special powers,” including the right to shoot to kill, to raid houses, and destroy any property that is “likely” to be used by insurgents, and “to arrest without warrant” even on “reasonable suspicion” a person who has committed or even “about to commit a cognizable offence.” o Besides conferring extensive powers on the armed forces, AFSPA provides them immunity from prosecution
- The acts have been subject to criticism due to violation of human rights in the areas of their application.
- Irom Chanu Sharmila who is also known as the "Iron Lady of Manipur" is a civil rights activist, who has been in a hunger strike for nearly 15 years. Her primary demand to the Indian government has been the repeal of the AFSPA.
Recent Supreme Court ruling on extent of impunity to armed forces in a disturbed area
- Dealing a blow to the immunity enjoyed by security personnel under the Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act of 1958 (AFSPA) against criminal action for acts committed in disturbed areas, the apex court held that “there is no concept of absolute immunity from trial by a criminal court” if an Army man has committed an offence.
- Every death caused by the armed forces in a disturbed area, whether the victim is a dreaded criminal or a militant or a terrorist or an insurgent, should be thoroughly enquired into, according to the court judgement
- The judgment came on a plea by hundreds of families in the north-eastern State of Manipur for a probe by a Special Investigation Team into 1,528 cases of alleged fake encounters involving the Army and the police
- Facets of the judgement
- It does not matter whether the victim was a common person or a militant or a terrorist, nor does it matter whether the aggressor was a common person or the state. The law is the same for both and is equally applicable to both... This is the requirement of a democracy and the requirement of preservation of the rule of law and the preservation of individual liberties
- Throwing out the government’s argument that lack of immunity from prosecution would have a demoralising impact on the security forces, the court asked the Centre to spare a thought for the “equally unsettling and demoralising” picture of a citizen living under the fear of the gun in a democracy.
- The court dismissed the government’s argument that every armed person breaking prohibitory orders in a disturbed area runs the risk of being considered an “enemy.”
- A thorough enquiry should be conducted into “encounter” killings in disturbed areas because the “alleged enemy is a citizen of our country entitled to all fundamental rights including under Article 21 of the Constitution.”
- The verdict tears down the cloak of secrecy about unaccounted deaths involving security forces in disturbed areas and serves as a judicial precedent to uphold civilian and human rights in sensitive areas under military control.
- “Accountability is a facet of the rule of law.” By putting AFSPA to stand the test of larger principles of human rights, the court has established the supremacy of rule of law and democracy in the nation.
- The court has made clear that cases involving allegations of extrajudicial killings —have to be investigated, regardless of whether the person concerned is a dreaded criminal, terrorist or insurgent.
- The court has reminded the authorities of the circumstances in which the use of force, even to the point of causing death, is immune from prosecution and the Army’s own list of dos and don’ts while operating in a disturbed area.
- It has rejected the notion that every person bearing arms in a disturbed area is ipso facto an “enemy”.
- Drawbacks of the judgement:
- It could have a demoralising effect on the armed forces while operating in disturbed areas
- Several army officers support the opinion that such immunity is very much required for officers to successfully discharge their duties in disturbed areas.
- False complaints of abuse under AFSPA could be an easy resort to prevent officers from doing their duty.
- The court has rightly upheld the human rights over and above need for impunity. The duty of the state to protect and provide for its citizens and maintain rule of law are certainly supreme and form the basic foundation for the concept of a “State”
- In this context, reform and suitable phased withdrawal of AFSPA at least from less-disturbed areas is very much the need of the hour.
- The occasion calls for an investigation into allegations of enforced disappearances and extrajudicial killings, especially those already documented or partially probed.
- In Arunachal Pradesh, events took an unseemly turn when the Governor, J.P. Rajkhowa, intervened in an apparently partisan manner by advancing a session of the State Assembly by nearly a month and asking the House to take up a motion to remove the Speaker as the first item on the agenda.
- This led to a shutdown of the legislature at the behest of the Chief Minister and the Speaker, and the dissidents holding a parallel session at a makeshift venue, where the Speaker was ‘removed’ and a ‘no-confidence’ motion against the government adopted
- The subsequent imposition of President’s Rule and the installation of the Pul regime raised several constitutional questions.
Judicial verdicts on Governor’s role and centre-state relations.
SR Bommai vs UOI case
- Art 356 should be used very sparingly
- The Supreme Court held that the proclamation under Article 356(1) is not immune from judicial review
- The strength of the Government should be tested on the floor of the house and not as per the whims of the Governor.
- Burden of proof of the basis on imposition of emergency lies with the Council of Ministers.
- The government must not do anything of permanent nature until emergency is approved by both house. The assembly must be in suspended animation not dissolved.
- Even in case the proclamation is approved by the Parliament it would be open to the court to restore the State government to its office in case it strikes down the proclamation as unconstitutional.
Buta Singh Case
- Governor’s report could not be taken at face value and must be verified by the council of ministers before being used as the basis for imposing President’s rule.
Recent SC verdict on Arunachal Pradesh incidents.
- A Constitution Bench unanimously quashed Arunachal Pradesh Governor J.P. Rajkhowa's decision to advance the Assembly session from January 14, 2016 to December 16, 2015, a move which triggered political unrest in the sensitive border State and culminated in the declaration of President's rule on January 26
- Directed the immediate imposition of status quo ante as on December 15, 2015; paving way for return of Nabam Tuki Government.
- The Governor's decision to override the authority of Assembly Speaker and advance the Assembly session may prove “deadly” to the rule of law in the country and federal structure of the Constitution
On position and role of Governor
- Legally, the main significance of the Arunachal Pradesh verdict lies in the clarity it provides on the Governor’s role.
- The Governor has no authority to resolve disputes within a political party; nor is he the conscience-keeper of the legislature.
- He has no discretionary power to advance an Assembly session without the aid and advice of the Council of Ministers; nor can he fix its agenda.
- Governor is not an “all-pervading super constitutional authority.”
- The court said that a Governor is not an elected representative, but only an executive nominee whose powers flow from the aid and advice of the Cabinet. His tenure depends on the pleasure of the President.
- Using discretionary powers to summon or dissolve Assembly sessions without the aid and advice of the Chief Minister and his Cabinet is plainly unconstitutional.
- “The Governor is not an ombudsman for the Legislature nor the Speaker’s mentor. The Governor cannot require the Speaker to discharge his functions in the manner he considers constitutionally appropriate
- The court held that what happens within the four walls of a political party is none of the Governor’s concern. The Governor must remain aloof from any disagreement, discontent or dissension, within political parties
- On Mr. Rajkhowa’s defence that he was acting to prevent constitutional improprieties such as a Speaker, for whose removal a motion was pending, adjudicating on the disqualification of some MLAs, the Court has made three points about the Governor’s intervention:
- he had no role in the removal of the Speaker
- he had no authority to interfere in the Speaker’s powers under the anti-defection law
- he had no basis to act on the views of a group of 21 breakaway Congress MLAs, who clearly did not constitute a two-third fraction of the 47-member Congress Legislature Party to be lawfully recognisable.
- A Governor cannot use his discretionary powers to run a parallel administration or a ‘diarchy’ challenging the existence of an elected State government.
- In case a “remarkable situation” arises in the political spectrum of the State, the Governor’s duty is only to report to the President and wait for a decision
- Situation in Arunachal Pradesh- Mr. Tuki may now struggle to demonstrate his majority as 14 MLAs disqualified under his regime have been reinstated by a recent judgment of the Gauhati High Court.
- The Supreme Court has drawn a strong legal precedent on the role of the Governor and the extent of discretion enjoyed by him. It would be suitable for constitutional functionaries to function within the confines of the Constitution and according to the principles enshrined in it.
The article talks about the incorporation of ‘Graduation approach’ in government policies to tackle social problems.
- The ministry of rural development’s recent efforts are a step in the right direction for addressing diversity among the poor.
- A policy proposed by the ministry in June 2016, currently under consultation with states, attempts to address this need using rigorous evidence.
- Poverty is rarely just a binary state of being poor or not. In reality, the poor may experience anything between destitution and moderate poverty, and their condition may change from one end of the spectrum to the other over time.
- The Socio Economic Caste Census (SECC), a database created by the ministry of rural development, attempts to identify such diversity by measuring various parameters according to which a household is deprived.
- As per SECC data, nearly half of the 18 crore rural households in the country are deprived according to one or more of the seven indicators.
- A staggering 75% of rural households have monthly income of less than Rs.5,000 and around 38% of rural households are landless and dependent on manual casual labour as their main source of income.
- The figures show that the multiple social protection and livelihood programmes implemented by successive governments, such as the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act and National Rural Livelihoods Mission, have been unable to reach the extreme poor.
- However, recent evidence from randomized evaluations, summarized in a paper published in the journal Science, suggests it is possible to gradually and successfully bring individuals out of extreme poverty by combining multiple approaches into one comprehensive livelihoods programme, also called the ‘graduation approach’.
- First developed in 2002 in Bangladesh , it provides ultra-poor women with carefully sequenced support:
- A productive asset such as livestock or supplies for petty trade,
- Technical skills training,
- Savings support,
- Temporary cash or in-kind support to tide over immediate consumption needs,
- Regular mentoring and coaching over 18-24 months.
- to attain sustainable livelihoods and ultimately graduate out of extreme poverty.
- Six randomized evaluations of this programme by researchers showed that it caused broad and long-lasting economic impacts in the lives of the ultra-poor in six countries—Ethiopia, Ghana, Honduras, India, Pakistan and Peru.
- The programme increased consumption both in the short term and long term—both two years and three years after the end of the programme.
- These studies show that the ‘ultra-poor’ have little capital, minimal skills and are usually engaged in insecure and/or low-return occupations.
- They are unable to meet basic needs, are extremely vulnerable to unexpected life events such as health emergencies, and remain trapped in a cycle of poverty.
- In India, the impact evaluation of the programme was conducted in Murshidabad district of West Bengal, where one year after the programme ended, beneficiaries who participated in the programme saw a 20% increase in consumption as compared with households that did not receive the programme.
- Beneficiaries saw increased ownership of household and productive assets, higher food spending, and more households reported having enough food every day.
- Long-term follow-ups, both in India and in Bangladesh, suggest these gains are even bigger after seven years.
- Given these robust findings from multiple countries, the ministry of rural development has recently incorporated this evidence into the design of a newly proposed scheme, tentatively named the Grameen Swarozgar Yojana (GSY).
- GSY proposes a diverse framework to achieve poverty-free panchayats through generation of self-employment opportunities for the poor.
- Keeping in mind a region’s natural resources and economic opportunities, GSY allows implementing partners to apply for government support in implementing self-employment generation projects specific to the needs of the ultra-poor, extremely poor and moderately poor without excluding any group.
- A core and unprecedented component of GSY is a specific provision for the ultra-poor using the evidence from graduation approach.
- Through the proposed policy, approved implementation agencies will identify ultra-poor families using both the SECC data and community surveys. Thereafter, implementation agencies will receive government support to work with these families using the proven graduation approach.
- If approved by the government of India, GSY will become the first government policy intervention backed by rigorous scientific evidence that will aim to provide sustainable livelihood opportunities to the ultra-poor at such a large scale.
- If India is to truly cater to the poor, such nuanced approaches are required to address the diversity within the country’s poverty.
It is not enough for the policies to simply be pro-poor, they must be targeted to address the diversity among the poor. The government policy intervention backed by rigorous scientific evidence that will aim to provide sustainable livelihood opportunities to the ultra-poor at a large scale is the need of the hour. Discuss.
- Problem of targeting in the current policies.
- Need of using scientific evidence in framing and monitoring the policies.
- Need to focus on giving sustainable employment opportunities at large scale.