Answered: Mains Marathon – UPSC Mains Current Affairs Questions – July 14

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1. What is water cycle ? Do you think water cycle and life cycle are the same? Substantiate with examples.(GS 1) Link-1 | Link-2 Water cycle :

  • The water cycle describes how water evaporates from the surface of the earth, rises into the atmosphere, cools and condenses into rain or snow in clouds, and falls again to the surface as precipitation.
  • The water falling on land collects in rivers and lakes, soil, and porous layers of rock, and much of it flows back into the oceans, where it will once more evaporate.

Importance of water cycle:

  • Water cycle is also known as the hydrological cycle.It is important as it provides earth with precipitation. If evaporation does not take place or it is disturbed,precipitation and other natural things will not take place and the water lost by evaporation from seas and rivers will not be replenished
  • Water cycle is important as all the living things need water to sustain life and in this cycle the water from the river,seas and ocean are evaporated and then cooled in the atmosphere.This keeps the water level constant on the earth.

Yes both water cycle and life cycle are same :-

  • The current water crisis is a World issue. Nearly one billion people about one in eight lack access to clean water.
  • This lack of water is closely related to poverty meaning some the poorest nations in the world are dealing with the biggest scarcity.
  • Monsoons in India are the lifelines of the farmers.
  • When one disturbs water cycle, life cycle also gets disturbed and leads to life changing challenges like poverty, lack of drinking water, lack of sanitation etc.
  • Without water one cannot live. In Israel, desalination of sea water is done to tackle chronic water shortages
  • The following examples show how water cycle being tampered impacts significantly the life of the people as well:
    • Agriculture is the most water intensive sector, currently accounting for more than 90 percent of consumptive use.So this increases stress on water.
    • Increasing the pressure on land and water resources, economic growth and individual wealth are shifting people from predominantly starch-based diets to meat and dairy, which require more water.
    • Damming rivers for hydroelectricity, using water for farming, deforestation and the burning of fossil fuels.generating hydroelectricity, irrigation, the greenhouse effect, as well as motor vehicle use and animal farming
    • Countries are more inclined towards economic growth,infrastructure development,trying to become an advanced country but they forget that all these are related to water cycle ultimately.
    • geographically when water cycle is tampered with world is witnessing the rise of water level leading to subsidence of many islands and nations
    • Economically to rehabilitate the impact of water cycle millions of dollars need to be spent which would ultimately affect the social expenditure by the government
    • Socially multiple challenges would arise like water wars,rise of diseases,poverty etc.

2. What is sustainability? Do you think only economic sustainability is enough to attain sustainable development? Critically examine.(GS 1) Link Sustainability and economic sustainability :

  • A sustainable community uses its resources to meet current needs while ensuring that adequate resources are available for future generations. It involves all its citizens in an integrated, long-term planning process to protect the environment, expand economic opportunities, and meet social needs.
  • Economic sustainability’ implies a system of production that satisfies present consumption levels without compromising future needs. The ‘sustainability’ that ‘economic sustainability’ seeks is the ‘sustainability’ of the economic system itself.

No it’s not:-

  • Only by ‘integrating’ and ‘interlinking’ economic, social and environmental ‘sustainability’ can negative synergies be arrested, positive synergies fostered, and real development encouraged.
  • Economic, social, and environmental ‘sustainability’ form elements of a dynamic system. They cannot be pursued in isolation for ‘sustainable development’ to flourish.
  • The growing scale of the economic system has strained the natural resource base.
  • There is some evidence that ‘environmental sustainability’ may be a necessary pre-condition of sustained economic growth.
    • For example, the United States has been expanding the amount of its land area covered by trees since the 1920s and actively managing its soils since the 1930s.
  • So the three E’s economic,ecological and equitable sustainabily in congruence is needed for sustainable development.

Economic sustainability is enough:-

  • Some countries focus on mainly enhacing economic strength and stepping back from environmental commitments like the US did with Paris agreement recently.
  • They might gain economic sustenance but over time adverse effects due to neglection of environment would affect it.

So by having commitment towards UN sustainable development goals, commitment to Paris agreement, shift towards renewable energy, water conservation projects, climate smart agriculture etc sustainable development can happen and the challenges can be overcomed.

3. The misuse of Article 356 does undermine federalism and breeds cynicism in the hearts of citizens. Scarpe Adidas Y-3 Elaborate with examples. Asics Gel Lyte 3 How can judiciary CT to stop the misuse of this article? Explain.(GS 2) Link-1 | Link-2 How does misuse of article 356 undermine federalism:-

  • Constitution of India under Article 356 deals with constitutional breakdown within a State and imposition of emergency.
  • The words ‘constitutional breakdown’ is mentioned under the article but has not been defined.

  • Not-defining makes the Article ambiguous and paves the way for misuse and arbitrariness.

  • Article 356 gives too wide powers to the Centre to dismiss elected governments. Doing so by encouraging defections from the ruling party and then asserting that the government lost its majority is not only unethical .
  • Union government’s unusual powers to dismiss a state government in a multi-party country like India can be used against opposition-run state governments.
  • No other liberal democratic constitution in the world except that of Pakistan has incorporated such an undemocratic provision.
  • President can exercise powers under Article 356 ‘either on the report of the Governor or otherwise’.
    • On the inclusion of the word ‘otherwise’, which means the President may act even without the governor’s report
    • some members of the Constituent Assembly vehemently opposed it and said that it would reduce the autonomy of the states to a farce and a serious encroachment of provincial autonomy .
  • A study in 2002 by the National Commission to Review the Working of the Constitution (NCRWC), however, showed that out of the 111 cases of imposition of President’s Rule since the Constitution came into force in 1950, only in a little over 20 instances it could be said that Article 356 had been misused to deal with political problems or considerations such as maladministration.
  • The arbitrary usage of Article 356 would result in destroying the federal nature of Indian constitution which is also one of the basic features of the constitution.

How can Judiciary can stop it ?

  • The courts were initially wary of interfering in purely ‘political questions’ under Article 356 and avoided judicial scrutiny of the emergency powers.
  • But, due to the frequent misuse of such powers, courts started examining the question of the ‘breakdown of constitutional machinery in the state’.
  • When the Janata government in the 1970s proposed dismissing nine Congress governments in one go, the Supreme Court asserted its powers of judicial review to examine “if the executive action was mala fide or there were extraneous considerations or where President failed to take into account relevant considerations”.
  • Decades later, the dismissal of the MP government was held unconstitutional by the Madhya Pradesh High Court.
  • In 1993, the Pakistan Supreme Court had reinstated the Nawaz Sharif government, dismissed by the President, and Indian apex court had relied on this verdict in deciding the landmark decision in the Bommai case.
  • In 1994, the challenge to this dismissal and earlier impositions of President’s rule came to be decided by a nine-judge bench in the R.Bommai vs Union of India case.
    • The judgment held that the president’s satisfaction in the invocation of Article 356 could be inquired into by the courts.
    • It upheld the dismissal of the BJP governments to protect secularism, which is part of the Constitution’s basic structure.
    • It held that the president was required to act on objective material, and that Article 356 could only be resorted to when there was a breakdown of constitutional machinery, as distinguished from an ordinary breakdown of law and order.
  • The court also held that in no case should a state assembly be dissolved without parliament approving the proclamation, and that a test of numerical strength could only be conducted on the floor of the assembly and not outside it.
  • Therefore The doctrines and parameters of judicial review have already been set out in the Bommai and Rameshwar Prasad cases.
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