Editorials/Opinions Analysis For UPSC 01 August 2023
- India’s Urban Flooding Challenges and Resilience
- Social Media and India’s Military: Navigating a Toxic Environment
With recent severe floods affecting important cities like Delhi, Ahmedabad, and Mumbai, urban flooding in India has become a critical concern.
GS Paper 3 – Disaster and disaster management
What role do urban green infrastructure and rainwater harvesting play in minimising flooding in cities? How might community involvement help with water body conservation and flood preparedness? (250 Words)
Strength of the Problem
- This situation is not new; similar flooding caused by heavy rains has already occurred in cities like Hyderabad (2000), Srinagar (2014), Chennai (2021), and Bengaluru (2022). Due to causes including unplanned urbanisation, population expansion, and the destruction of water bodies due to construction operations, the frequency and severity of these events have increased.
- Flooding’s aftereffects, such as water logging and traffic congestion, have a big effect on urban dwellers’ life. A comprehensive strategy that includes increased understanding, infrastructure renovation, and improved urban planning is essential to overcoming this difficulty.
Understanding the Problem of Urban Flooding
- Conducting thorough research in all cities to comprehend the catchment areas and flooding dangers connected with urban water bodies and land use patterns is an essential first step in combating urban flooding. This data-driven strategy can help in the creation of short-, medium-, and long-term strategies to rehabilitate water bodies and better control flooding.
- Participatory lake and river management plans are essential to including local residents in the maintenance of water bodies and ensuring their sustainability. In order to better manage flood risk, it is important to emphasise the use of geographic information systems (GIS), which may be used to track encroachments and analyse their seasonality.
Purchasing Reliable Early Warning Systems:
- To offer real-time updates on local weather changes in light of shifting weather patterns, investments in cutting-edge early warning technologies, such as Doppler radar, are required. It can help with prompt reaction and risk assessment to integrate local rainfall data with regional flood control activities.
- As cities get ready for anticipated flooding occurrences, models for flooding hotspots and flood risk maps can direct urban design and insurance product development. Creating extensive databases for the entire city can help with disaster relief and assistance during flooding-related emergencies.
Redesigning Stormwater and Drainage Networks:
- The majority of Indian cities do not have functional sewage networks, which emphasises the need to upgrade and expand stormwater and drainage systems. Achieving effective water management requires the creation of thorough drainage master plans and surveys of existing pipelines.
- It is important to emphasise how water-logging and flooding concerns can be reduced by separating drainage and stormwater networks. Improving the effectiveness of the civic organisations in charge of these networks requires addressing delays and coordination issues.
Planning for Resilient Cities:
- An improved approach to urban planning is necessary for long-term solutions. For successful outcomes, coordination is essential between the various entities and agencies involved in managing waterbodies.
- A well-defined urban water policy can offer direction and a legal framework for protecting water bodies. Successful water body restoration initiatives can be achieved through promoting civic engagement through community-driven strategies, as shown by examples like the wastewater treatment facilities in Mangalore and the Kaikondrahalli Lake in Bengaluru.
Local Success Stories to Be Replicated:
- It is crucial to locate and imitate effective examples of water body restoration and urban resilience. Other cities’ policies can benefit from studying programmes like the wastewater treatment facilities in Mangalore and Bengaluru’s community-driven approach to lake revival.
- Sustainable solutions for the future are ensured by empowering communities to actively participate in conservation initiatives and customising programmes to conserve local ecology.
promoting widespread rainwater collection in cities
- The broad implementation of rainwater harvesting is essential to easing the burden on drainage systems and promoting sustainable water management.
- Reducing stormwater runoff and replenishing groundwater can be considerably aided by putting rainwater harvesting techniques into place in residential, commercial, and industrial structures.
- Governments can encourage the collection of rainwater through legislative initiatives and public awareness campaigns.
Making Urban Green Infrastructure and Green Spaces
- Urban green space preservation and creation are essential for reducing the effects of flooding. The risk of floods is decreased by the natural absorption of excess rainwater by parks, gardens, and wetlands.
- Stormwater management can be improved and sustainable urban growth can be facilitated by including urban green infrastructure, such as green roofs and permeable pavements.
Building community involvement and awareness
- It is crucial to educate urban dwellers about the value of water management, flood preparedness, and community involvement. Improved disaster response and decreased risk can result from involving local communities in planning for flood response and early warning systems.
- Community-based programmes can foster a sense of responsibility and ownership for water bodies, resulting in their long-term preservation.
Indian cities and their citizens face serious issues as a result of urban flooding. A diversified strategy is necessary to address the effects of flooding and increase resilience. To lessen the effects of urban flooding, it is essential to understand flood risks through thorough research, invest in sophisticated early warning systems, rebuild drainage networks, improve urban planning, and encourage civic engagement. A complete flood management strategy must include the implementation of rainwater harvesting, promotion of green spaces and urban green infrastructure, construction of flood-resistant infrastructure, and community engagement. As cities develop, prioritising sustainable water management and resilience-building strategies will pave the way for battling climate change and establishing an urban environment that is safer and more affluent for everyone. India can steer itself towards a future where urban flooding is minimised and its effects are successfully controlled by putting these strategies into practise and learning from previous projects.
- The emergence of social media has profoundly changed the atmosphere in which the younger generation is raised, influencing their viewpoints, values, and worldviews.This digital revolution is having a significant impact on many industries, including the armed forces.
- There is a glaring lack of authoritative research on how today’s social media-influenced recruits in India differ from their counterparts from two decades ago, even though numerous studies in the West explore how social media influences serving military personnel and its implications on their political orientation.
- Recent occurrences, including as allegations of insubordination among troops in Kashmir and an Army regulation warning that veterans who disparage the Army online may have their pensions suspended, highlight the need for such a study.
GS Paper 2: Social Media and Its Impact
What effects does social media have on the values and mindset of young enlistees in the Indian armed forces? Talk about the difficulties and effects of this impact on the unity and discipline of the military. (150 Words)
The Negative Impact of Social Media
- Social media has produced a toxic environment that is filled with negative influences that have an array of negative effects on young minds.
- The problems of the digital age include the temptation of materialism, the search for immediate celebrity via online platforms, and the changing of political and social standards, to name a few.
- The tendency towards thought polarisation along cultural, racial, linguistic, and religious lines is particularly alarming.
- Concerns have been raised regarding how this environment may alter the psyche of recruits joining the armed forces as a result of the frequent depictions of schisms on social media that even reach the school level.
Detoxifying the Incoming Recruits:
- Detoxifying the crowds entering training facilities is the first obstacle.
- It is crucial to instill the idea that all Indians are treated equally inside the armed services, regardless of their affiliation with a particular religion, caste, or creed.
- While theory forms the backbone of any training programme, recruits’ attitudes are significantly shaped by the overt and covert acts of junior leadership.
- As a result, it’s imperative to meticulously review current training plans to make sure they adequately address the negative effects of social media.
- An further difficulty arises from the enlistee Agniveers’ condensed training period. It may be argued that they will continue their training in operational units, but the four-year engagement period might not be long enough for them to fully internalise the discipline and essential principles of military service.
- Despite the short training period, efforts must be made to emphasise the value of discipline, integrity, and camaraderie among these recruits.
Recognising a Soldier’s Actions as Strategically Important:
- Modern recruits are educated and thinking individuals, and their actions can have far-reaching strategic implications in conflicts that involve humanitarian assistance, peacekeeping operations, and mid-level intensity conflicts.
- The idea that soldiers are merely disciplined followers who do not reason but merely follow orders is outdated in contemporary warfare.
- A soldier’s actions on the front lines hold even greater strategic importance in light of social media’s widespread coverage. General Charles Krulak of the US Marine Corps introduced the concept of the “Strategic Corporal” in 1999, highlighting the potential impact of individual actions on military operations and even a nation’s policies.
- In order to foster a sense of responsibility and awareness in recruits, training facilities must emphasise the non-military, intangible implications of a young officer’s or corporal’s acts.
Introspection and Reinforcing ‘Indianness’:
- In the wake of situations like the reported lack of discipline among employees in Kashmir, it is essential to reflect and pinpoint any potential weak points in the system.
- Despite the fact that some people could view these instances as anomalies, leaders must maintain the system’s integrity. To do this, top leadership must consistently emphasise the military’s “Indianness” while encouraging a strong sense of camaraderie among the recruits.The social cacophony that permeates social media platforms must not enter the armed forces. Instead, they should exhibit a real confidence in the unity of Indian society, which transcends differences in caste, religion, or faith.
- To guarantee that the armed forces preserve their primary ideals and obligations and serve as a light of inspiration for the entire nation, it is crucial to cultivate a feeling of national pride and discipline.
- The scenario for the younger generation, especially those joining the Indian armed forces, has changed as a result of social media’s pervasive effect.
- By recognising the strategic importance of a soldier’s actions and cultivating responsible leadership, the armed forces can successfully navigate the challenges posed by the toxic social media environment.
- Recognising the strategic importance of a soldier’s actions and fostering responsible leadership are key to detoxifying incoming recruits and building a strong sense of national unity and discipline within the military.
- To ensure that the armed services continue to be a stronghold of discipline and national pride, true to their core ideals and obligations, reflection and ongoing efforts to promote the idea of “Indianness” are crucial. Only then will they be able to stand as a testament to the strength and togetherness of the country they represent.
- Social media has a significant influence on today’s young, particularly those enlisting in the military. A deliberate effort is needed to cleanse recruits from social media’s harmful impacts in order to protect the ideals and principles of the military.
- This effort must also reinforce the essence of “Indianness” and promote a strong feeling of national unity and discipline. The armed services can successfully handle the challenges of the digital era and continue to be a source of pride and inspiration for the country by acknowledging the strategic significance of a soldier’s actions and instilling a feeling of responsibility.