WAR FOR WAR : US STRIKES ON SYRIA :-
- US, UK & France together launched a missile attack on Syria.
- By launching a missile attack on Syria, three nations have also escalated the devastating, multi-sided conflict.
This is the second time when US has ordered a missile attack on Syria.
- Last year, after a chemical attack in Idlib province, the U.S. fired 59 cruise missiles at an airbase of President Bashar al-Assad.
- This time, after a suspected chemical attack in Douma near Damascus, the U.K. and France joined hands with the U.S. & attacked over Syria.
Flouted International Law :-
- The U.S. undertook the strike before the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons even began its investigation in Douma to ascertain if chemical weapons had in fact been used.
- It should have waited till the inter-governmental completed its investigation and then presented the case for action in the UN Security Council with requisite evidence.
- By acting merely on the basis of inputs from their intelligence agencies, the U.S.-led alliance flouted international law.
Impact of the Strike :-
- Mr. Trump has dragged the U.S. deeper into the Syrian civil war because If there is a future chemical attack, either by Mr. Assad or by his rivals, the U.S. will be forced to act again
- Every time the U.S. bombs Syria, the chances of a military confrontation in the country between the U.S. and Russia heightens, given that Moscow remains firmly behind Mr. Assad.
- If the present regime suddenly collapse, then the country and the millions who live in relative stability in regime-held territories would be pushed into further misery.
What needs to be done ?
- The focus of the West needs to shift from unilateral military action to aggressive multilateral diplomacy to find an immediate end to violence and then a long-lasting political solution.
- The U.S. and Russia have to work together under a UN mandate to restore peace in Syria.
RE-IMAGINING GOVERNANCE :-
- The 115 Aspirational Districts Programme (ADP) conceived by Prime Minister Narendra Modi – focused on India’s most backward districts but the exercise envisages a serious re-imagination of government and governance, and deepens cooperative federalism.
- The programme is informed by the failures of the past and therefore has a more contemporary vision of how public services are best delivered to those who need them most.
Aspirational districts :-
The 115 districts were chosen by senior officials of the Union government in consultation with State officials on the basis of a composite index of the following:
- Deprivation enumerated under the Socio-Economic Caste Census,
- Key health and education performance indicators
- The state of basic infrastructure.
- A minimum of one district was chosen from every State.
Unsurprisingly, the largest concentration of districts is in the States which have historically under-performed such as Uttar Pradesh and Bihar, or which are afflicted by left-wing extremism such as Jharkhand and Chhattisgarh.
Moving forward, the areas that have been targeted for transformation are:
- Health and nutrition
- Agriculture and water resources
- Financial inclusion
- Basic infrastructure and skills.
Under the programme :-
- The districts have been described as aspirational rather than backward so that they are viewed as islands of opportunity.
- There is no financial package or large allocation of funds to this programme. The intent is to leverage the resources of the several government programmes that already exist but are not always used efficiently.
This programme requires three tiers of government, the Centre, States and district administrations.
- Each district is assigned a prabhari (in-charge) officer from the Centre (of additional secretary or joint secretary rank) and a prabhari officer from the State (of the rank of Secretary to State government) who will work in cooperation with the district administration.
- It is necessary for the Centre and States to be involved because not all decisions can be taken at the level of district.
- On financial inclusion, the full cooperation of banks is necessary and only the Central government has leverage over them.
- Most crucial is the District Magistrate or Collector who is familiar with the challenges of his or her geography and has considerable power to implement government schemes.
- Each district will be ranked on the focus areas which are dis-aggregated into easily quantifiable target areas.
- The rankings will be based on deltas or improvements.
- The rankings will be publicly available.
Changing Perception :-
The ADP has opened its door to civil society and leveraged the tool of corporate social responsibility to form partnerships which will bring new ideas and fresh energy with boots on the ground from non-government institutions to join the “official” efforts. The force multiplier on outcomes from such participation is potentially massive.
- Smart Data :-
One area which is being given serious attention is the collection of quality data on a real-time basis. Data collection in India is delayed or lacking in quality which ends up leading to policymakers shooting in the dark.
With continuously updated data dashboards, those running the programme on the ground can alter strategies after accurate feedback.
The ADP is a big pilot programme from reorienting how government does its business of delivering development. A decisive shift in the paradigm of governance is likely to finally fulfil the many broken promises of the past.