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Here are the topics covered for 20 September 2023: Cauvery Water Management, Simultaneous polls, Environmental Humanities, WHO report on global impact of high BP, European Union, Five Eyes alliance.
Table of Content
- Cauvery Water Management
- Simultaneous polls
- Environmental Humanities
- WHO report on global impact of high BP
Facts for Prelims
- European Union
- Five Eyes alliance
Cauvery Water Management Authority
- With the pace and output of the southwest monsoon this year casting a shadow over the catchment areas of the Cauvery River in Karnataka and Kerala, the elusive distress-sharing formula is back in focus.
- The Cauvery Water Management issue revolves around the sharing of the Cauvery River’s water resources among the states of Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Kerala, and Puducherry. The Cauvery River is a significant water source for these states, and disputes over its distribution have led to various legal and political conflicts over the years.
- The Cauvery River originates in Karnataka and flows through Tamil Nadu, Kerala, and Puducherry before emptying into the Bay of Bengal. The river’s waters are used for irrigation, drinking water, and industrial purposes mainly.
- In 1990, the central government constituted the Cauvery Water Disputes Tribunal (CWDT) to adjudicate the water-sharing dispute.
- The tribunal issued its final award in 2007, which allocated specific quantities of water to each of the riparian states.
- The Cauvery Water Management Scheme, established in 2018, under the Inter-State River Water Disputes Act, of 1956, created the Cauvery Water Management Authority (CWMA) and the Cauvery Water Regulation Committee (CWRC) to implement the Cauvery Water Disputes Tribunal’s decision, supervise the distribution of Cauvery waters and ensure compliance with the Supreme Court’s directives.
- CWMA composition
- Chairman and eight members in total.
- Representation from the riparian states: Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Kerala, and Puducherry.
- Additionally, one ex-officio Member-Secretary.
- CWRC composition
- A separate entity under CWMA.
- Comprises a Chairman and six members.
- The Chairman of CWMA also serves as the Chairman of CWRC.
- The CWMA plays a crucial role in overseeing the release of water from Karnataka’s reservoirs to meet the requirements of Tamil Nadu, particularly during critical times like monsoons and droughts.
- It collects and analyzes data related to water flow, rainfall, and other relevant factors to make informed decisions about water allocation.
- It periodically publishes reports on the status of water availability, utilization, and other relevant information for public awareness and transparency.
The Cauvery Water Management Authority (CWMA) stands as a crucial institution for equitable Cauvery River water allocation. Empowered by the Inter-State River Water Disputes Act, it regulates, monitors, and resolves disputes effectively. To enhance its impact, stakeholder collaboration, data-driven strategies, and adaptive management are key.
Simultaneous Polls: do states have a say
- The Union government set up a committee to look into the feasibility of simultaneous polls to State Assemblies and the Lok Sabha.
- The eight-member High-Level Committee is set to examine the ‘one nation, one election‘ idea and make recommendations for holding simultaneous elections in the country.
- The Law Ministry has outlined seven terms of reference for the panel – one of them is to examine and recommend if the constitutional amendments required to facilitate simultaneous elections would require ratification by the States.
- The Constitution was envisioned as a living document capable of morphing with the needs of the times. Article 368 governs the process of amending the Constitution.
- The Constitutional provisions that require ratification by States to be amended are specifically listed in the proviso to Article 368(2) and pertain to the federal structure of the Constitution. They are commonly referred to as ‘entrenched provisions’.
- In August 2018, the Law Commission of India released a report stipulating that simultaneous elections are not feasible within the existing framework of the Constitution.
Which Articles deal with the process of amendment?
- Article 368 governs the process of amending the Constitution. Constitutional amendments can take place through three different procedures.
- The first is through a simple majority of those present and voting in each House of Parliament. it does not require a specific quorum. Such provisions are excluded from the purview of Article 368.
- For amending provisions not within the first category, Article 368 stipulates that they can be elected by a prescribed special majority, wherein not less than two-thirds of the members are present and voting in each House of Parliament as well as by a majority of the total membership of each House.
- A third category requires both a ‘special majority’ and ratification by at least one-half of the State legislatures. No specific time limit for ratification by the State legislatures has been specified but resolutions ratifying the proposed amendment should be passed before the Bill is presented to the President for his assent.
What has the Law Commission said?
- It suggested that appropriate amendments have to be brought about in the Constitution, the Representation of the People’s Act 1951, and the Rules of Procedure of Lok Sabha and State Assemblies before such a poll is conducted.
- The Commission highlighted that a constitutional amendment to this effect must receive ratification from at least 50% of the States.
- Experts have cautioned that bringing about such amendments as recommended by the Law Commission is not possible without infringing upon the federal structure of the Constitution.
- For simultaneous polls to take place all existing State Assemblies have to be dissolved, which currently have different tenures.
- The only option left is for the Union government to amend Article 172 which stipulates that every legislative Assembly of every State, unless sooner dissolved, shall continue for five years from the date appointed for its first meeting.
- Such an amendment cannot be brought about without violating the federal structure.
- To amend the provision so that State elections can be synchronized with Lok Sabha polls, Parliament cannot do so as it will be infringing on the federal structure of the Constitution. The Union government/ Parliament cannot impose its will on States.
What are the arguments around holding simultaneous elections?
- Making polls simultaneous would address various concerns, such as reducing the cost of holding elections and limiting all elections to a single season.
- Arguments against simultaneous polls include complexity, potential bias towards national parties, and complications if governments collapse before their terms end. This applies not only to state legislatures but also to the central government.
- By incorporating narratives about the interplay between nature and diverse communities through stories of rivers, landscapes, plants, animals, and the community’s perspectives and ecological wisdom, conventional notions of nature should be re-evaluated
- Environmental humanities is an interdisciplinary field of study that explores the complex and interconnected relationship between humans and the environment. It encompasses a wide range of academic disciplines, including literature, history, philosophy, anthropology, geography, art, and cultural studies, among others.
- In India, nature has been considered intrinsically connected to society and The nation is seen through the lens of nature, ecology, or a sense of place.
- There are two dominant understandings of a nation.
- The first one considers the nation as one place where nature is universal to its citizens as an ecological reality. Ecological nationalism is used to justify the utilization or restriction of nature.
- The second understanding goes beyond the unitary sense of nation or nationalism and finds multiple perspectives that define the nation in connection to nature — as the affiliation to a piece of land and to its people who have various cultural identities.
- When emphasizing the need to include the concept of the social in understanding the environment, another problem that arises is the conceptualization of society as a homogenous and unitary entity.
- This results in the exclusion of multiple, rich narratives of the marginalized communities. The dominant understanding of the environment while using gender, caste, and tribal experiences as case studies, still largely remains androcentric and
- The relationship that Dalits or tribal communities have with the environment is complex and much deeper than dominant narratives. While they have been given limited access to space, land, and water due to the exclusionary practices that persist, owing to the caste system, they have a stronger connection with nature as they consider the environment to have agency and influence.
- It is essential to incorporate the perspectives of different marginalized communities, such as those based on gender, caste, and tribal identities, into discussions within academic and policymaking circles to challenge the monopolistic understanding of the environment.
- Environmental humanities is an open-ended discipline that constantly evolves and continually redefines the perception of the environment.
- The discipline demands both social and environmental justice by centering and decentering humans and non-humans as it recognizes that environmental issues cannot be separated from social injustices and discriminations faced by marginalized communities.
WHO Report on global impact of high BP
- Recently World Health Organisation (WHO) released a report on the Global impact of high BP
- This is the first-ever report released by the World Health Organisation (WHO) on the global impact of hypertension.
- High BP (140/90 mmHg or higher) leads to stroke, heart attack, heart failure, kidney damage, and many other health problems, and is preventable, the WHO has flagged the problem areas.
- Currently, only 15 percent of those with hypertension in the country have it under control, the report says, adding that 52 percent of all cardiovascular disease-related deaths, including heart attack, are because of high blood pressure.
Key findings of the report:
- At least 6 million deaths in India can be prevented by 2040 if half of its hypertensive population controls its blood pressure
- Only 37% of Indians with high BP diagnosed
- 30% get treatment
- It adds that less than one-fourth of hypertensive patients in India had their blood pressure under control during 2016-2020.
- The India Hypertension Control Initiative, a large-scale hypertension intervention under the National Health Mission, has been recognized for its positive work done within the primary healthcare system.
Ways to Beat:
- WHO states that lifestyle changes such as eating a healthier diet, quitting tobacco, and being more active can help lower blood pressure.
- In some cases, medication may be prescribed by a healthcare provider to lower blood pressure.
- Prevention, early detection, and effective management of hypertension are among the most cost-effective interventions in health care and should be prioritized by countries as part of their national health benefit package offered at a primary care level.
Facts for Prelims
- The European Union (EU) is a political and economic union of 27 European countries that are located primarily in Europe.
- The EU was officially founded on November 1, 1993, with the signing of the Treaty on European Union (commonly known as the Maastricht Treaty).
- It was established to promote economic cooperation, ensure peace and stability, and foster political integration among its member states.
- The EU has several key institutions, including the European Parliament, the European Council, the Council of the European Union, the European Commission, the Court of Justice of the European Union, and the European Central Bank (for Eurozone countries)
- One of the core objectives of the EU is to establish a single market, which allows for the free movement of goods, services, capital, and people among member states.
Five Eyes alliance
- The Five Eyes alliance is an intelligence-sharing partnership between five countries: the United States, the United Kingdom, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand.
- It originated as a post-World War II cooperation on signals intelligence (SIGINT) and has evolved into a broader intelligence-sharing agreement encompassing a wide range of intelligence activities.
- The Five Eyes alliance traces its origins to the UK-USA Agreement, a secret treaty signed in 1946 between the United States and the United Kingdom for cooperation on signals intelligence.
- Members of the Five Eyes alliance typically grant each other’s personnel high-level security clearances, allowing for extensive cooperation and information exchange.