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CURRENT AFFAIRS 19-06-2018

The Ongoing Tussle Between The Delhi Government And The Bureaucracy

 

Relevancy

  • GS Mains Paper- 2 (Governance)

Why in news?

  • There is an ongoing tussle between the elected government and the bureaucracy in Delhi.

What is the issue between the Delhi Government and the Bureaucracy?

Government

  • Delhi CM Kejriwal has said there was “de facto President’s Rule” in the national capital.
  • Kejriwal, Deputy Chief Minister, and some ministers have been staging a sit-in at the Raj Niwas.
  • They called attention to an “illegal strike by Delhi government officers”.
  • They demanded that Lieutenant-Governor order an end to what they call a strike by officers.

Bureaucracy

  • But Raj Niwas and the IAS officers’ association has said there is no strike.
  • Passing of the state budget and the accompanying budget session are pointed as proofs of a working machinery.
  • However, they admit to being part of what is at least a ‘non-cooperation campaign’.
  • They have restricted communication with the political executive to the written form alone since February.
  • Also, not attending meetings convened by Ministers.
  • This was in protest of the alleged assault on Chief Secretary by AAP MLAs at Mr. Kejriwal’s residence.
  • The bureaucrats claim they feel vulnerable in the absence of Ministerial assurances of their safety.

Why the ongoing tussle?

  • Delhi witnesses a tussle for “full statehood” versus “partial statehood”.
  • Relations between the Chief Minister and Lieutenant General in Delhi has for long been a concern.
  • But this has less to do with constitutional correctness and more with the political compulsions.
  • The principle of special sensitivities for national capitals exists for Delhi too.
  • This is on account of the national, international importance, geographical location and strategic significance.
  • This makes the claim to “full statehood” for Delhi to be treated differently.

What are the implications?

  • It results in a fractured arrangement of power-sharing.
  • This applies to law and order, land and services residing with the central government.
  • This arrangement has always been contested by the state government.
  • Such constitutional arrangements militate against the preferences of the “elected government”.
  • The compromises and restrictions defeat the purposes of democracy and accountability in elected governments.
  • g. the formation of the present Delhi government was followed by the LG’s office imposing many constraints.
  • It disabled the power of the state government to transfer employees.
  • Also, restrictions were imposed on ordering vigilance probes on complaints or proceeding against corrupt officials.

Why is the issue significant?

  • Trust between the political class and bureaucracy is necessary for good governance.
  • The impasse in Delhi suggests a total breakdown in the relations between the two sections.
  • This spate between the LG and the CM has further diminished the nobility of constitutional offices.
  • The government must introspect and adopt a more mature approach to the bureaucracy.

 The Special Committee for Inter-Linking of Rivers

 

Relevancy

  • GS Mains Paper- 2, 3

Why in news?

  • The Special Committee for Inter-Linking of Rivers has submitted its progress report.
  • In this backdrop it is essential to understand what interlinking seeks to achieve.

What was the committee for?

  • The SC directed the Centre to set up a special committee following writ petition on ‘Networking of Rivers’ in 2012.
  • The court directed the committee to submit a bi-annual report to the Cabinet.
  • It also directed the Cabinet to take appropriate decisions.

What is the mandate?

  • The status reports are meant to be in accordance with the National Perspective Plan.
  • This plan was formulated in 1980 by the Ministry of Irrigation (now Water Resources).
  • The plan was in relation to inter-basin transfers.
  • It comprises of two components: peninsular rivers development and Himalayan rivers development.
  • India also has a National Water Development Agency (NWDA) (1982).
  • It conducts surveys and sees how feasible the proposals for interlinking river projects are.

What is Inter-Linking of Rivers programme?

  • A national water grid aims to connect various surplus rivers with deficient rivers.
  • It aims to transfer excess water from water-rich to water-deficit regions.
  • This is to help improve irrigation, increase water for drinking and industrial use.
  • Mitigating drought and floods to an extent are also part of the objectives.

What are the contents of the recent report?

The status report of three priority links was shared with the Cabinet. These are:

Ken-Betwa

  • The project aims to link the rivers Ken (in the Bundelkhand region) and Betwa and thereby divert the surplus waters of Ken to Betwa.
  • Both the rivers are flowing through Uttar Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh.
  • It goes for meeting the water requirements in the water-deficit Betwa basin.
  • Dams will be built across the Ken for storing and transferring water through the link canal.

Damanganga-Pinjal

  • The project aims to divert excess water from rivers in western India.
  • It is to meet the domestic and industrial water requirements of Greater Mumbai.
  • It proposes to move available water at the proposed Bhugad reservoir across the Damanganga and also at the proposed Khargihill reservoir across the Vagh (a tributary of the Damanganga).

Par-Tapi-Narmada

  • This proposes to transfer water from Western Ghats to water-deficit regions of Saurashtra and Kutch.
  • This would be done via seven reservoirs proposed in northern Maharashtra and southern Gujarat.
  • It is an attempt to save water at the Sardar Sarovar project.
  • The recent committee report also talks on the status of other Himalayan and peninsular links.

What are the concerns?

  • There are significant environmental concerns associated with inter-basin transfer.
  • The ecology of every river is unique.
  • Letting the waters of two rivers mix may affect biodiversity.
  • Besides, it involves construction of a massive network of canals and dams, which would lead to large-scale displacement of people.
  • It may make changes to agricultural patterns, and affect livelihoods.
  • In addition, rainfall patterns are changing due to climate change.
  • So the basins now supposed to be surplus, might cease to be so in few years.
  • There are financial concerns as well, related to the projects.
  • In 2001, the total cost for linking the Himalayan and peninsular rivers was estimated at Rs 5,60,000 crore.
  • The cost is now likely to be substantially higher.
  • Also, the cost-benefit ratio might no longer be favourable.

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