IASbhai Daily Editorial Hunt | 28th Dec
“If you are not willing to risk the usual you will have to settle for the ordinary.” —Jim Rohn
EDITORIAL HUNT #287 :“A look back at 2020: Challenges, Progress and a Path forward | UPSC ”
A look back at 2020: Challenges, Progress and a Path forward | UPSC
M.K. Narayanan is former National Security Advisor and former Governor of West Bengal
Notes from a year of unease
Following a year of debilitating problems, restoring India’s image in 2021 will not be easy
SYLLABUS COVERED: GS 2 : IR
The year 2020 was a debilitating one for much of the world, India included. India had more than its share of problems. Discuss -(GS 3)
- Pandemic and Other Issues
- Slipping numbers
- Challenges for year ahead
- Way Forward
PANDEMIC AND OTHER ISSUES
- VACCINE RACE : News of the availability of more than one vaccine for treatment of COVID-19 has by no means changed the element of fatalism that has gripped society.
- AGGRAVATED SENSE OF UNEASE : Since April, India has confronted an unprecedented situation on the border with China in eastern Ladakh.
- AGGRESSION : Unprovoked Chinese aggression at several points even led to the death of a score of Indian soldiers.
- INTERNAL DISPUTES : Internal problems such as Naxalite violence and Jammu and Kashmir endured during much of 2020.
- ARTICLE 370 : The resentment caused by the altered status of J&K and the incarceration of political leaders has yet to subside, even as J&K held elections to its District Development Councils.
- ELECTIONS VS WAR ROOMS : Relations between Delhi and Kolkata are at their nadir today, and grave concerns exist about violence during the elections.
- FACTIONALISM : This has led to unprecedented levels of political polarisation.
- DEFECTIONS : Linked to this is also a policy of engineering defections which has plumbed new depths.
- CORNER STONE OF DEMOCRACY : Not entirely unrelated to this is the diminishing role and utility of Parliament as a platform for an honest exchange of views.
- NEW LEGISLATIONS : New items of legislation on social issues (a law against forced conversion by marriage, for instance) tend to aggravate an already divisive polity.
- FARMERS AGITATION : The farmers’ agitation is another instance where official intransigence has led to a situation in which the Supreme Court had sought to intervene, though without tangible results.
- On other parameters as well, 2020 proved to be a bad year.The economy is in recession.
- India has slipped further down the scale in the Human Development Index.
- Slippages have occurred in the Global Economic Freedom Index.
CHALLENGES FOR THE YEAR AHEAD
- LEADERSHIP ROLES : It may need a total makeover of the decision-making process and the giving up of many entrenched ideas and concepts.
- OBJECTIVE ORIENTED OUTCOMES : More than anything else, the tendency of some in authority to indulge in rhetorical flourishes must be avoided; they must aim instead at achieving tangible outcomes.
- RESULT ORIENTED PROGRAMS : It might be best if the authorities begin by ticking off a list of problems left over from 2020, and consider how best to achieve results.
- QUICK ACTION : In the realm of foreign policy, India must not remain content or satisfied with the current stand-off with China in the Ladakh sector.
- RESOLVING BOUNDARY ISSUES : India should think of what better options are available to it to resolve a conflict that is certainly working to its disadvantage, and is enabling many of its neighbours to play China against India.
NEW PARADIGM OF IDEAS
- NEW IDEAS : If India is to be viewed as the only nation in Asia that can stand-up to the China challenge, it must come up with a whole new paradigm of thoughts on which further actions can be formulated.
- AMENDING FOREIGN POLICY : Statements critical of China, even amounting to abuse in many instances, are hardly an answer to the most serious foreign policy challenge the country faces.
- MISLEADING CONCEPTS : Misleading concepts such as an export-oriented economic strategy is damaging.
- ENHANCING EXPORTS : Implicitly suggesting that India should look inward rather than outwards to enlarge its economy — need to be rejected, and India should enhance its export capacity.
- TAMPERING ACADEMIC EXCELLENCE : Side by side with this, all attempts to tamper with technological and academic excellence, as prompted in some quarters during 2020, need to be avoided.
- EMPLOYMENT ISSUE : The other pressing challenge in 2021 would be job creation for the youth, who are India’s most abiding asset.
- LABOUR RIGHTS : The state must take urgent steps to set right the disruptions in the labour market caused by the pandemic and other contributory factors.
- NEW JOBS : Creating new jobs in new industries should be a critical requirement.
- CONSTITUTIONAL PRACTISES : Next year must be the year in which a serious attempt is made by Delhi to restore confidence in constitutional proprieties, practices and principles.
- CENTRE STATE RELATIONS : The starting point would be effecting an improvement in Centre-State relations, particularly between Delhi and States ruled by Opposition parties.
- AUTHORITY OF STATES : Other concerns that an unduly centralised Centre could use this to further reduce the independent authority of States will again need to be dispelled.
Effective cooperation between the Centre and the States must be restored as early as possible to instil confidence about India’s democratic future.
SOURCES: THE HINDU EDITORIAL HUNT | A look back at 2020: Challenges, Progress and a Path forward | UPSC