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22nd October – Editorials/Opinions Analyses


Contents

  1. The rise of the Quad
  2. The answer is fraternity
  3. The manacles of caste in sanitation work

The rise of the Quad

Context:

The second ministerial meeting of the four-nation Quadrilateral Security Dialogue (Quad) in Tokyo on October 6 has been followed by a decision to include Australia in the Malabar 2020 naval exercise after a gap of 13 years.

Relevance:

GS Paper 2: Important International institutions, agencies, for a (structure, mandate); Bilateral, Regional, Global groupings & Agreements (involving and/or affecting India)

Questions:

  1. With respect to the South China sea, maritime territorial disputes and rising tension affirm the need for safeguarding maritime security to ensure freedom of navigation and over flight throughout the region. In this context, discuss the significance of Quad. 15 marks
  2. The pandemic has stoked Chinese aggression, from the East and South China Seas to eastern Ladakh, but it has also provided others with opportunities to cooperate in maritime security, cyber-security, data flows, quality infrastructure and healthcare. Discuss 15 marks

What is Indo Pacific?

Indo Pacific is an inclusive and representative term that reflects the contemporary interconnectedness of trade, technology and supply chains in a wider region. Moreover, the Indo-Pacific is being redefined, ironically, by China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), debt-trap diplomacy, fictional territorial claims and a divide-and-rule strategy.

Indo Pacific is wider than the “Asia-Pacific” which represented the trans-Pacific strategic and economic impulses after World War II, and was confined to East and South-east Asia.

See the source image

What is Quad?

The Quadrilateral Security Dialogue (QSD) also known as Quad, is an Inter-governmental security forum. It comprises of 4 countries– India, the United States, Japan and Australia. The member countries of the Quad organise summits, exchanges the information and military drills.

In the year 2007, Prime Minister of Japan Shinzo Abe proposed the  Quadrilateral Security Dialogue. The forum was joined by the Vice President of the US Dick Cheney, Prime Minister John Howard of Australia and Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh. It was paralleled by joint military exercises of an unprecedented scale with the name Exercise Malabar.

India’s past experiment: Over the years, India has experimented with alliances of different kinds :-

  • During World War I, some nationalists aligned with imperial Germany to set up the first Indian government-in-exile in Kabul.
  • During World War II, Subhas Chandra Bose joined forces with imperial Japan to set up a provisional government in Port Blair.
  • Jawaharlal Nehru, who unveiled and championed non-alignment, signed security treaties with Bhutan, Nepal, and Sikkim. Also, Nehru, who actively opposed American alliances in Asia, turned to the US for military support in 1962.

Why quad is needed?

China is following territorial expansionist policy and having disputes with neighbouring countries. It disregarded the judgement of International Court of Justice with regard to South China Sea. Moreover it has border disputes with India and trade war is going with china. Therefor the Quad gives alternative space to democratic countries like India, USA, Japan and Australia to engage economically, strategically, culturally and geo politically to create peace and harmony in Indo pacific region.

Significance of Quad:

  • Maritime security: Indo pacific region is important for navigation and international trade e.g. Around 40 percent of world trade passes through Indo pacific region. The cooperation between Quad countries will enhance the security of Indo pacific region e.g. Malabar exercise.
  • It provides the alternative of the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) because it is China-centric supply chains.
  • The Resilient Supply Chain Initiative (RSCI) proposed by India, Japan and Australia for building resilient supply chains in the Indo-Pacific. It will focus on key sectors such as semi-conductors, pharmaceuticals, automobiles and telecommunications.
  • It provides a bigger space for USA, which cautioned China against risking military adventurism across the Taiwan Strait that would have otherwise derailed its economic ascendance, and kept the peace on the Korean Peninsula for over six decades.
  • The quad will help to reduce the role of China in the Indian Ocean e.g. China uses the cloak of anti-piracy deployments to maintain a quasi-permanent presence, with bases in Gwadar and Djibouti as beachheads for penetrating South Asia, the Gulf region and littoral Africa.
  • Cyber security: the 21th century is data driven century therefore data security is crucial for socio economic development. The Quad countries can cooperate the enhance the cyber security.
  • Quality infrastructure: The Quad countries can focus on quality infrastructure which is crucial for economic activities e.g. India can take help to Japan and USA to enhance its infrastructure.
  • Healthcare: the Quad countries can cooperate to enhance health infrastructure to fight against pandemic like covid19.

Challenges to Quad:

  • The China criticised the Quad, stating that Washington was aiming to build an “Indo-Pacific NATO” through the Quad.
  • The economies of Japan and Australia, two key Quad members remain heavily dependent on China.
  • China continues to employ ancient stratagems to pit one nation against another on its periphery to weaken and subjugate contending forces through guile and inducements.
  •  India is abandoning its “sacred” tradition of non-alignment in favour of a military alliance with the US in order to counter the China threat.
  • India wants advancing the security and economic interests of all countries having legitimate and vital interests in the Asia-Pacific region as stated in Quad ministerial meeting by External Affairs Minister whereas US secretary of the state Mike Pompeo is pitching for mutating the Indo-Pacific Quad into a more formal security grouping modelled on NATO.

Way forward:

Looking ahead, there is scope to convene a future Quad meeting in the 2+2 format, with diplomats and civilian defence officials participating at the level of director general. Such an expanded format could gradually be elevated to the level of vice minister and minister. A joint statement by the four countries at the next meeting of the Quad would also help consolidate the gains made so far.

Background:

Belt and Road Initiatives: The Belt and Road Initiative (BRI, or B&R), formerly known as One Belt One Road is a global infrastructure development strategy adopted by the Chinese government in 2013 to invest in nearly 70 countries and international organization.

See the source image

The answer is fraternity

Context:

In any case, what the world’s present condition needs, namely bonding between humans, may be more important than the alphabet letters that make up “fraternity”.

Relevance:

GS Paper 2:  Historical underpinnings & evolution; Features, amendments, significant provisions, basic structure; Comparison of Indian constitutional scheme with other countries.

GS Paper 4: Civil Service aptitude & foundational values (integrity, impartiality, non-partisanship, objectivity, dedication to public service:

Mains questions:

  1. The fraternity shall be the duty of every citizen of India to promote harmony and the spirit of common brotherhood amongst all the people of India transcending religious, linguistic, regional or sectional diversity. Assess the statement in context of covid19. 15 marks
  2.  What are the basic principles of public life? Illustrate any three with suitable examples. 10 marks

What is fraternity?

The word fraternity is derived from French to mean brotherhood, friendship, community and cooperation. According to B.R. Ambedkar, “Fraternity means a sense of common brotherhood of all Indians—if Indians are seen as being one people. It is the principle which gives unity and solidarity to social life. Without fraternity, liberty and equality could not become a natural course of things. It would require a constable to enforce them.”

Evolution of Fraternity in Indian discourses:

  • Karachi session of Indian National Congress: that “any [future] constitution should include fundamental rights of the people such as freedom of association and combination, freedom of speech and press, freedom of conscience and the free profession and practice of religion”
  • Ambedkar powerful 1936 text: : “What is your ideal society if you do not want caste, is a question that is bound to be asked of you. If you ask me, my ideal would be a society based on liberty, equality, and fraternity. And why not?”
  • Objective resolution 1947: “All people of India shall be guaranteed and secured social, economic and political justice; equality of status and opportunities and equality before law; and fundamental freedoms — of speech, expression, belief, faith, worship, vocation, association and action…”

Ideals of fraternity:

  • Empathy: Empathy requires both a leap of imagination—to imagine how the other feels—and solidarities of feeling; to feel the suffering and humiliation of the other as though they were one’s own.
  • Solidarity: To a much larger project of striving for a just and humane society, the first contribution which the cultivation and nurturing of empathy can make is by helping build social solidarities. Battles for justice must be fought by people who live with that injustice.
  • Collective caring:  at least two million people continue to die each year because of hunger, lack of clean water, healthcare and a home. Through collective caring such death can be reduced.
  • Love: it is central to humanity.

Significance of fraternity:

  • Countering regionalism: Regionalism is strong attachment towards own region, ethnicity, language, and cultural practice. In extreme sense, it leads to hatredness towards others e.g. Anti Bihari movement in Mumbai etc.
  • Countering communalism: The communalism is strong feeling towards its own religion and hatredness towards others e.g. 1984, Sikh riots in Delhi, mob lynching in north India.
  • Addressing the issues related to caste system in India like untouchability, caste atrocities etc.
  • The idea of fraternity was used to justify the constitutional practice of reservation for backward classes to bring about progress for marginalized sections of society.
  • Dr. B.R. Ambedkar, noted that, in a country such as India, with several disruptive forces, such as religion, caste and language, the idea of fraternity is imperative to ensure the unity of the nation through a shared feeling of common brotherhood.
  • Basis of secularism: secularism is the bastion to build fraternity, it asserted that secular practice and thinking between diverse religious groups, would aid in the fraternal relations between those communities.

Challenges to fraternity:

  • Casteism: The caste system which presumably originated in the division of labour in the ancient society has become a more or less rigid group classification, based on birth. It led to segregation of so called low castes or ‘Dalits’, depriving them of education and other social benefits.
  • Communalism: Communalism and religious fundamentalism have acquired a very dangerous form and alarming proportion in India. They disrupt the pattern of co-existence in our multi-religious society.
  • Religious fundamentalism: Religious fundamentalists vehemently oppose progressive reforms in order to establish their exclusive control on their respective communities.
  • Regionalism: Existence and continuation of regional inequalities both among States and within a State create a feeling of neglect, deprivation and discrimination. This situation has led to regionalism manifested in demands for creation of new States, autonomy or more powers to States or even secession from the country.

Way forward:

The Constitution views fraternity significantly as a source of affirming “the dignity of the individual” and the “unity” of the nation. The former is accomplished by recognising the moral equality of individuals, upheld through mutual respect, despite all our differences, of religious belief, caste, language, culture, ethnicity, class and gender.

Background:-

Preamble in Indian Constitution:

  • Based on objective resolution
  • Drafted by Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru
  • 42nd amendment: words:- socialist, secular and integrity were added.

The manacles of caste in sanitation work

Context:

The number of deaths of individuals who died while cleaning septic and sewer tanks, as tabled by the Ministry, add up to 376 between 2015 and 2019. The number peaked last year at 110.

Relevance:

GS Paper 1: Salient features of Indian Society; caste system

GS Paper 2: Welfare Schemes (centre, states; performance, mechanisms, laws, institutions and bodies constituted for protection of vulnerable sections)

Mains questions:

  1. The Prohibition of Employment as Manual Scavengers and their Rehabilitation Act, 2013, ensure effective mechanism for empowerment and inclusion of the intended beneficiaries in the society? Discuss 15 marks
  2. Do government’s schemes for up-lifting vulnerable and backward communities by protecting required social resources for them, lead to their exclusion in establishing businesses in urban economics? 15 marks

What is caste system?

Caste is a hierarchal arrangement of different groups based on pollution and purity. At the bottom of the hierarchy are the Shudras, which consists of service providers and general laborers. In contemporary time manual scavenging is manifestation of caste system, generally lower caste people do sanitation work in India.

What is manual scavenging?

Manual scavenging is a term used mainly in India for “manually cleaning, carrying, disposing of, or otherwise handling, human excreta in an insanitary latrine or in an open drain or pit”. Manual scavengers usually use hand tools such as buckets, brooms and shovels. The work is being regarded as a caste-based, dehumanizing practice. The Act defined ‘manual scavenger’ as a person engaged in or employed for manually carrying human excreta.

See the source image
See the source image

What are the causes of manual scavenging?

  • The major latrine used in urban areas is the dry latrines which are a major cause of manual scavenging. In India, for example, there are approximately 26 million insanitary latrines based on a report by Housing-Listing and Housing Census, 2011. 
  • Lack of employment opportunities is a major concern and a crucial player in the inclusion program e.g. In India, employment rate is too high.
  • There are no proper strategies put forward to liberate manual scavengers psychologically. This pushes those in the practice to get even deeper and deeper into the practice of manual scavenging.
  • People regard the manual scavengers as untouchable because of their work. Therefore, the society is not ready to accept and include them in community activities. No employer offers them a job and also, landlords bar them from renting their houses.
  • The government and other major private institutions deny the existence of scavenging despite the deaths reported especially in India.

Consequences of manual scavenging:

Health related problems:-

  • The scavengers are exposed to gases such as hydrogen disulphide, carbon (IV) oxide, ammonia, and methane. Long exposure to hydrogen disulphide can lead to death by asphyxia.
  • Exposure to infections in the sewer is also common due to the numerous bacteria residing in the sewers. The common infection is the Leptospirosis which is an occupational disease in people who are in contact with an animal such as the pigs and their refuse.

Structural violence against manual scavengers: Manual scavengers are exposed to two types of violence that are social violence and violence associated with caste discrimination.

  • Caste discrimination and the job condition can cause them to be exposed to physical violence. Furthermore, the culture in India on caste is used to justify violence against them.

Caste and gender discrimination:

  • Most of the manual scavengers are women and members of the marginal class. The caste is regarded as a lower class and is excluded from moving to a better occupation. As a result, the scavenging work is seen as part of their natural occupation.

Social discrimination:

  • Most manual scavengers are stigmatized by the community due to the nature of their job. They are regarded as untouchable and they are forced to accept their condition. This problem is much deeper as their children are also discriminated and forced to occupy the same work as their parents.

Measures to address the manual scavenging:-

  • The Prohibition of Employment as Manual Scavengers and their Rehabilitation Act, this act must be implemented in true spirit,
  • Creation of more employment is one of the most important rehabilitation processes. The jobs created would aim to offer equal opportunities to the locals. The jobs created also act as a means to assimilate manual scavengers into the community.
  • Low cost latrine model: The same old model of pit latrine used by the community can be used to construct small pit toilets in a cost-effective manner.
  • Individual responsibility: Every person in countries that scavenging still exists should realize they are equally guilty and responsible. Therefore, every individual in the society has a moral obligation in curbing this problem. 
  • Investing in proper human waste management: The government should invest in pieces of machinery that can be used to clean ditches and septic tanks. They can import the pieces of machinery or tools in case they are not locally available. Also, the government can provide the sanitation workers with quality protective gears as seen in South Africa.

Way forward:

The experts feel such one-time measures are not enough. They say that a more community-centric model should be taken, where the entire community is given more opportunities to help them come out of this practice.  

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