The Hindu Newspaper Analysis – 09 February 2021

New Ties of Myanmar

  • We are all aware of the fact that Myanmar has undergone a military coup in February, 2021from Myanmar’s Junta or the army and we can see that democracy to come it quite a difficult scenario. It is sandwiched between two nations, namely, India and China so the changes must also be seen from this perspective.
  • It should be noted that prior to the coup the democracy of Myanmar was shaking as we saw that the country was becoming increasingly intolerant towards minorities especially towards the Rohingyas.
  • The leader of democratic Myanmar, Aung San Syu Ki wasn’t seen doing much or even being vocal about the violence against the Rohingyas in her own country by the Military, hence we could see where the democratic setup was going up.
  • Now with the coup, we can expect that Myanmar led by the Junta will realign its political and diplomatic alignments; it can also be gauged that the countries from across the world are criticizing this and the USA has even spoken about imposing sanctions.
  • We have to see how China will come into play here:
    • China had set its plans and strategies keeping in mind the democratic regime of the Syu Ki but with the Junta coming into power its plans will subject to change but China however will continue to support.
    • We need to note that China is not a democratic nation so it has no moral obligation to support democracy as an institution hence we will have to see what changes will be made and what new things will happen.
  • We also need to see it from India’s point of view:
    • India is in a dilemma whether to support the Junta or not.
    • India is a democratic nation and has a moral obligation to support a democracy.
    • But on the other hand, if India backs off from supporting the Junta, then this will be counter productive as Junta might take the support of China and have an offensive stance towards us.
    • Indian army has also cooperated with the Junta in order to conduct counter insurgent operations in the order also to seek intelligence and surveillance.
    • It must also be seen as to how India will tackle this Rohingya issue and make its way out of the situation in a right way.

Natural Disaster 21

  • The glacier collapse in Uttarakhand’s Nanda Devi Mountain has resulted in floods in the region from the Rishiganga and Dhualiganga rivers. It has been a grave reminder of the fact that the region is ecologically fragile and dynamic in nature.
  • Many people have lost their lives and hundreds have been missing; the Indian Army and the ITBP are there to save the people and provide relief but this task is not less than challenging for them.
  • We need to know that this region is characterized by beautiful gorges and canyons, with youthful rivers of the Himalayan region which makes place for the construction of dams and hydel projects in the region.
  • There are several dams that are already existing but there are dams that are going to be built and over 28 dams have been envisaged in the region.
  • This can be fatal for the people and can lead to widespread climate extremities and danger for not just for the environment but also for the people.
  • We can also see that the life of dams and the siltation has been hugely exaggerated where it is not as what we expect it to be, the siltation will also reduce the water holding capacity of the dams and make them less strong.
  • What we need here is better impact assessment, better policy assessment and a sound approach towards solving the problem.

Environment in the Budget

  • This article presents that the allocation from the budget to the Environment and the related ministry is going down or has remained stagnant. Though the environmental problems are rising, the allocation of funds to deal with this problem is not rising.
  • Even when the right kind of funds are allocated, for example, the Namami Gange program has suffered from design flaws, corruption, and so on.
  • We have seen that there is an increase in the pollution levels, loss of biodiversity, destruction of wetlands but still the issue has not been catered to well.
  • The 2021 budget not just stagnates the allocation for the ministry but also the related institutions like the Wildlife Institute of India has seen no allocations and hence they depend on the private or corporate bodies for their funding which binds them and curbs their ability, to tell the truth.
  • There are some allocations like that to solar energy, renewable energy, the Deep-ocean mission to extract polymetallic nodules from the seabed in the Indian ocean also an allocation to drinking water and sanitation as well.
  • Though the scenario with regards to renewable energy is appreciated worldwide the scenario back home is not rosy because there are several drawbacks in this regard as we are not doing the right kind of impact assessment.
  • At home, we are speaking about the Atma Nirbhar Bharat Campaign which speaks about developing hydel projects and increasing dependence on coal which will, in turn, affect the life of the ecology in the environment.
  • The budget also speaks about the drinking water but the approach taken here is the ‘one size fits all’ approach where we need a decentralized approach in this regard. We need to speak about rainwater harvesting and recharging the ground water as well.
  • We need to note about the Deep Ocean Mission and the onus provided in this regard does not have expertise in this regard.
  • The budget also speaks about drinking water and sanitation but it also mentions about the National Infrastructure pipeline which pushes the infrastructure like highways, dams, and hydel projects without concern for the environment in general being mentioned.
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      Dr. RS Aggarwal
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