Climate Change and India

Any substantial variation in the average weather conditions of a region or of whole earth over a long period of time is known as Climate Change. Since few decades scientists have been saying that the Climate Change is happening with a much faster rate and it is cause of much concern not just for the humanity but all the living creatures.

Intense spells of heat waves, more frequent Hurricanes, frequent droughts, rising sea levels etc. are just some examples of it. It is not like that for the first time on earth the climate is changing. In past also climate has overhauled multiple time. Different Ice Age and subsequent melting of ice is just some examples. The only cause of concern this time is the rate at which it is changing and the reason of its change. Previously climate change was due to natural phenomena and it was very slow. But now post industrial revolution change is massive and anthropogenic.

Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) is a body of international scientists whose specific task is to monitor the climate related patterns, possible repercussions and if possible, finding way of mitigation. They have came at conclusion that if we will not limit the rise in temperature below 1.5-2 degree Celsius pre industrial era. Human Existence along with several species are under existential threat.

Enough has been already discussed and we have read and heard so much about the possible reasons and repercussions of Climate Change. In this writing I am going to be India specific. I will discuss the consequences of Climate Change on India.

India, being a tropical country, having much of dependence of Monsoon and having a coastline above 7,000 KM, would be among few countries which would be worst affected by Climate Change. Let’s discuss some of the area which would be under severe strain due to climate change:

Impact on weather:

Even when the average temperature hasn’t touched the alarming 2 degree Celsius higher compared to pre-industrial era, yet we have started to experience extreme weather events. Recent floods in Kerala, Intense cyclone in eastern coasts, frequent heat waves, rise in droughts are some of the examples of changing weather pattern. According to a world bank study India has experienced rain deficit since 70s can also be attributed to this.

Impact on Economy:

Even after 70 years of independence. More than 60% of the people are directly or indirectly dependent on Agriculture for their sustenance. Having failed to develop a sound irrigation system, Indian farmers are highly dependent on Monsoon. As we have already know CC can alter the pattern of Monsoon and also its rainfall, Indians will be severely Impacted. Rise in temperature will reduce the food production especially in rice and wheat, in turn food security will be severly impacted.  Climate change also helps in raising the ocean temperature, which in turn affects the breeding pattern of fish and hence ultimately those who are dependent on Fishing sector

Impact on health:

Climate change brings rise in temperature. Many areas which experiences a relatively cooler temperature now will face the challenge of Malaria and other vector borne disease due to rise in temperature. Intense heat wave has already killed several people in recent past.

Impact on Coastal Area:

Rise in temperature will result in melting of snow caps on poles, which will lead to rise in sea level. India is having a long coastline, which will face the possibilities of deluge in coastal areas. The saline water which will inundate the coastal area can make the agricultural land unfit for agriculture at the same time making ground water unfit for consumption.

Impact on water resource:

Water is one of the most important sources for survival of human beings. South Asia is already a water stressed region. Many of the rivers are fed by Himalyan glaciers. Rise in temperature will result in melting of Glacier which will negatively impact the quantity of water and once a perennial river could be turned in to ephemeral. Longer dry spells and reduction on Monsoonal water will result in the reduction of already strained ground water.

Impact on Energy Security:

India is still energy hungry country. Till recently a vast majority was unelectrified. Energy demand in India is largely fulfilled by either Thermal or Hydropower. Both of them need fresh water for operations. But water stressed nation will face sever challenge to meet the demand.

Impact on Society:

India still house majority of its population of low to middle income earning group. Majority of them are vulnerable. So they are those people which will face the severe challenge in every aspect ranging from livelihood to health, from shelter to food.

Political Tussle and Instability: Since the vagaries of climate will result in scarcity of resources and this will result in conflict in South Asian Nation which is already world’s most dense place.

So overall climate change is a serious threat to India more than any other country of the world. Its geography, population and number of vulnerable people makes it much challenging. I hope our political leadership may pay special attention while formulating any policy. Our pledge at COP 21 is step in right direction, meeting those target is a huge challenge.

अपनी राह../ My Way

अपनी राह..

राहों को अपनी, मैं खुद ढूंढ लूंगा

बन पथप्रदर्शक तुम, मुझे न उलझाओ||

मेरे उम्मीदों को अब, पर जो लगें है

अपनी आसक्तियों की, न जाल बिछाओ||

कष्टों का पहाड़ सीधे सिर पर सहा है

राह के रोड़ों से तुम, मुझे न डराओ||

सच है जो कड़वा, मैंने खुद चख लिया है

उसपर झूठ की मीठी तुम, परत न चढ़ाओ||

मंज़िल है मुश्किल औ’ लंबा सफर है

जो बीच में हो जाना, शुरू से साथ न आओ||

ज्ञान की दीपक अब जो जली है

अपने आंसुओं से उसे न बुझाओ||

जाना जहाँ है, राहों में कांटे बिछे हैं||

मेरे लिए अभी फूलों की हार न लाओ||

निराश लोगों की लम्बी पंगत लगी है

सांत्वना भरे गीत तुम, उन्हें ही सुनाओ||

नम्रता में मैंने जीवन है जीया

मेरे खुद पे भरोसे को, मेरा अहम् न बताओ||

………..अभय…………

My Way

I will carve out my own way

Don’t pretend to be my guide and confuse me

My aspirations have found its wings

Don’t entrap it by your frail attachment

I have already faced mountainous hardships

Don’t scare me, with the petty pebbles of the road

I have already tasted the bitter truth

Don’t present it to me by coating sugar on it

All my ignorance is burning in the bonfire of Knowledge

Don’t extinguish it with your incessant tears

Destination is distant and path is treacherous

Don’t accompany me, if you are thinking of leaving in midway

There seems to be a long queue of despondent

Don’t console me, go and cheer them up

I have spent my whole life in humility

Don’t term my self-belief, as an act of arrogance

@Ab

ढोंग ..

ढोंग

ढोंग करना अच्छा लगता है
तब, जब कि हम
धनवान हों तो, निर्धन का
ज्ञानी हों तो, अज्ञानी का
विनम्र हो, फिर अभिमानी का
होश में हैं, बेहोशी का
मदिरा छुई नहीं, मदहोशी का
राज़ पता हो, फिर ख़ामोशी का
जगे हुए हों, फिर सोने का
हर्षित मन हो, फिर रोने का
हरपल संग हों, पर उन्हें खोने का
भक्त हो ,तो अभक्ति का
कोमल ह्रदय हो, तब सख्ती का
मुखर हो, फिर मौन अभिव्यक्ति का
ढोंग करना अच्छा लगता है
…..अभय……

Lowdown of Simultaneous Election

Embed from Getty Images

When it comes to the celebration of festivals, probably no other country in the world can beat us in terms of sheer numbers which we have here in India. The dates of our annual calendar are always filled with colours, signifying one festival or the other. Festivals are generally a cultural and historical attribute of the society. But they are not only restricted to these aspects. Like other democracies, we have political festivals too in the form of elections, but here also we outnumber the other democracies.

We have adopted three tier of government in our polity. First at Central level, next at state level and third at local level. To elect the representatives of all three levels we have separate elections of Parliament, state legislature and to the Urban Local Bodies (ULB) and Panchayats. In recent years, on an average we had two elections each year and many ULB elections. To conduct an election is a massive exercise in India, reasons are: humongous size of country as a whole as well as states (many of them are large than many European Countries), diverse population, administrative and infrastructural cost and many more.

 So the idea to conduct simultaneous election has been in and around in past also. But recent aggressive push by current government under the stewardship of Prime Minister has made the pitch higher. The only difference in the demand of holding simultaneous election is that the PM has pitched to hold the election of all three elections at one shot including Panchayats.

What’s the history?

Simultaneous Election is not a new concept to India. We had first general election in 1951-52. After the first Parliamentary Election, we had the simultaneous election to the parliament and state legislature till next three times also i.e. in 1957, 1962 and 1967. After 1967 general election, the stronghold of single party domination in India got loosened in few states and it gave the space to the regional parties. But at few occasions regional parties formed coalition government which did not complet its full terms and resulted in premature dissolution. Same thing happened to the Central Government in 1970 and due to lack of majority the Parliament, it got dissolved and fresh elections were held in 1971. Since then the sync which has prevailed over the Parliament and state election finally broken and we reached at point where every year we have more than one elections.

Argument for Simultaneous Election:

The proponent of the joint election rightly points out several benefits. One of the major flaws of having multiple elections, they say, is that it always keeps the government in “Election Mode” and they are hardly able focus on governance. Every election to the state is seen by the political analysts and commentators as the litmus test and they term them as quarter final, semi final to the General Election. In democracy no party wants to lose the momentum, hence government indulges themselves to the populism leaving space of prudence in governance.

When election dates are declared, Model Code of Conduct (MCC) comes in to force, where there are several restrictions on government to announce or materialize the schemes for the welfare of the people. Having multiple elections means several MCC and government find themselves hamstrung.

Conducting various elections means administrative as well as financial burden on the limited resource of the country. Requirement of the relocation of police force, election equipments, and mobilization of district administration is cumbersome as well as costly.

Government Teacher plays a very crucial role in conducting the election. But this is not their primary task. It affects the education of the students of the government schools who are already at the disadvantaged side due to several limitations when compared to their counter part of private schools.

There is no doubt that election commission as well as government is trying very hard to reduce the corruption in the election, but despite of several measures, corruption is rampant in election. Money power speaks loudly during the election. Hence more election means more use of dirty money and more loss to democratic ethos.

Frequent Elections also disrupts the normal life by suspending or affecting the supplies of the essential commodities, by jamming the traffic for election rallies, huge rise in noise pollution etc.

One of the debilitating features of the Indian election is that many parties tries to divide the society on  caste, communal, gender line etc. for their vested interest of winning the election, which is highly undesirable for the social fabric of life. When more election happens there are more chances of division in the society.

So keeping all these points in mind, holding simultaneous election seems plausible and desirable thing to ponder upon.

Ideas against it:

Former Chief Election Commissioner S Y Qureshi has notably mentioned that “Having simultaneous election is desirable but not feasible”. There are multiple constitutional, practical and administrative restriction prevents this idea from materializing. Indeed, the concerns are genuine.

The first concern is that it negates the principle of Parliamentary Democracy (PD) and Constitution. In Indian PD a government at center is entitled for five year of governance if they secure majority and can dissolve it according to the whim of the ruling party and can be removed by passing no confidence motion. This idea is true as well for the state legislature. So when holding both election will be materialize, this principle has to die down.

The second concern is that this is against the idea of Federalism. Imagine a situation when no party will be able to secure majority in the state election and neither nay coalition government is formed, then according to prevailing procedure President Rule will be applied. So will the President rule be for the entire five year period when the next election will be held? And what if the Central Government falls in mid way? All the 29 state would have to go in for the election again, even when there is a stable government in states?

The next concern is that, state and national issues are different and hence the elections are held differently. But according to IDFC, a research institute, there has been a tendency with the voter that they increasingly vote for the same party if the elections are held together. In recent times that number is about 77% percent which is huge. Keeping this figure in mind, it appears that it will only help the national party and the regional party will be seriously disadvantaged and which is against Democratic Principle which provides level playing field for other.

The other advantage of the separate election is that it keeps the government at toes all the time and prevents them from being despotic through the exercise of their voting power. Last but not the least is the concern of “Political Consensus” on such a contentious issue which needs Constitutional Amendment.

Expert and Panels opinion:

Way back in 1999 Law Commission in its 170th report on “Electoral Reform” has suggested the idea of Simultaneous Election. Though, it was kept in cold storage since then. Recently Parliamentary Standing committee setup for the specific purpose also suggested the holding up simultaneous election but with some modification and further suggestions. Out of many, one is of having state election twice, one with parliament and other in midterm of it. Former President Shri Pranab Mukharjee, while addressing joint session of parliament, also opined in favour of simultaneous election.

So overall we can see that there are numerous benefits lies in holding all the elections at one go, but there are genuine and serious challenges occupies in its implementation which certainly can’t be ignored. The most serious challenge is the constitutional, challenge to the idea of Parliamentary Democracy and Federalism. But looking as a whole, the benefits outnumber the challenges. Prior to GST, Centre had different tax means and the state had different ones. Post implementation GST is touted as “One Nation, One Tax and One Market”, which apparently can be seen as from being a federal subject to Central Subject. Now both are clubbed together for the benefit of both and all party came to consensus along with states,  what we call it a greatest example of co-operative federalism.

Same idea and principle should be applied here. A rigorous discussion and deliberation should be held inviting all the stake holders which includes all the political parties (including regional ones), member from the academia, civil societies, expert from the constitutional realm and if needed foreign experience should also be taken in account. Finally, to quote Victor Hugo “no force on earth can stop an idea, whose time has come” seems quite reasonable here. The whole idea of democracy hinges on consensus, we have to see that are we able to reach to consensus on this idea or not?

जीत गया ..

they are fearless bunch of people, standing and holding on the same ground where their friends has fallen few days back.
ये वही जमीं है
जहाँ कल तुमने
मेरे साथियों की
लाशें बिछा दी थीं
और सोचा था कि
हम टूट जायेंगे
बिखर जायँगे
डर जायेंगे
लो मैं आज फिर से खड़ा हूँ
सीना ताने
विलाप का भी समय नहीं है
रोने की भी चाहत नहीं
मैं साहस हूँ
मैं पुरुषार्थ हूँ
मैं निडर हूँ
मैं अजेय हूँ
मैं अभय हूँ
तुम बुजदिल थे
तुम कायर थे
तुम नफ़रत थे
तुम घिनौने थे
साहस नहीं कि
तुम प्रत्यक्ष लड़ो
तुम हारे हो
सारे अश्रुधार मैं पी गया
हाँ मैं फिर से जीत गया
.......अभय  .......

मेघा फिर से आएगा

तुम किसी तेज नदी सी
मैं मिट्टी का, दोनों किनारा
चिर अन्नंत से हो मानो जैसे
मैंने दो बाहें पसारा
तुम तीव्र , प्रवाहमान
कल-कल ध्वनि से गुंजमान
मैं मूक, गुमनाम!
तुम तेज बहती गयी
मैं तेजी से कटता गया!
कण कण मेरा तुममे
घुलता गया , मिलता गया
ये कहानी तबकी जब की
सब कुछ हरा भरा था
पर अब रूखा-सूखा है
तुम संकरी हो चली
किनारों से दूर कहीं खो चली
सब हैं कहते हैं कि
सागर से ही, तुम्हारा वास्ता है
मेरी उपस्थिति तो किंचित, एक रास्ता है
पर मैं अटल हूँ, आश्वस्त हूँ
कि तुम फिर से आओगी
फिर मुझे छू जाओगी
कि मेघा भी तो फिर से आएगा

…….अभय …….

Oh, I love rivers. Sitting on the banks of it, is my favorite task. I have also talked about my this hobby in some of my previous posts. Many of my poetry has taken its shape on these places. Sharing a latest one.

हिंदी साहित्य की जिस विधा का मैंने अतिसय प्रयोग इस कविता में किया हैं, उसे मानवीय अलंकार कहते है. आशा हैं आप तक सही शालमत पहुँचेगी.

Guess What?

This world is full of duality. There is happiness and then there is distress. There is winter and there summer. There is prosperity and there adversity. We must have experienced all these in our life in different capacity. Similarly we also have an experience of Morning and Evening each day.
So I hope you all know which is sunrise and which is sunset, right! Yesterday I have clicked some of the pics and now you all have to do is to guess, was it evening or morning? 😀 Have a guess at least!!!