Monday, 15 June 2015

Daily News Mail - News of 12/06/2015

PM reviews progress of Swachh Bharat Mission

  • Prime Minister Modi recently reviewed the progress of the Swachh Bharat Mission at a high-level meeting attended by officials of the Urban Development Ministry, the Drinking Water Supply and Sanitation Ministry, the NITI Aayog and the PMO.
  • The Prime Minister said that spiritual leaders should be associated with this initiative, especially during major congregational events such as the Jagannath Yatra in Odisha and the Kumbh Mela in Uttar Pradesh.
  • He also called for leveraging the huge interest that the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan has generated among the Indian diaspora.
  • The Prime Minister also said that motivational incentives such as awards should be instituted to give a boost to flagship government schemes requiring people’s participation.
  • To promote awareness about these schemes in rural areas, he suggested that quiz competitions be held among students.

Swachh Bharat Mission

  • It was officially launched on 2 October 2014 and is India’s biggest ever cleanliness drive.
  • The mission seeks to achieve clean India and aims to provide access to toilets to all households in the country.

Objectives of the mission

  • Eliminate open defecation,
  • Conversion of insanitary toilets to pour flush toilets,
  • Eradication of manual scavenging,
  • 100% collection and scientific processing/disposal reuse/recycle of Municipal Solid Waste,
  • To bring about a behavioral change in people regarding healthy sanitation practices,
  • Generate awareness among the citizens about sanitation and its linkages with public health.
  • Strengthening of urban local bodies to design, execute and operate systems,
  • To create enabling environment for private sector participation in Capital Expenditure and Operation & Maintenance (O&M) costs.

The components of the programme are:

  • Construction of individual sanitary latrines for households below the poverty line with subsidy (80%) where demand exists.
  • Conversion of dry latrines into low-cost sanitary latrines.
  • Construction of exclusive village sanitary complexes for women providing facilities for hand pumping, bathing, sanitation and washing on a selective basis where there is not adequate land or space within houses and where village panchayats are willing to maintain the facilities.
  • Setting up of sanitary marts.
  • Total sanitation of villages through the construction of drains, soakage pits, solid and liquid waste disposal.
  • Intensive campaign for awareness generation and health education to create a felt need for personal, household and environmental sanitation facilities

Battling Islamic State

  • A year after it captured Mosul, the major Iraqi city, Islamic State remains a formidable force in the West Asian region. The U.S.-led coalition’s bombing campaign shows no sign of checking its momentum. Barring some setbacks suffered at the hands of Kurdish and Shia militias, IS has expanded its zone of influence beyond its base in ‘Syraq’ over the year. It recently captured Ramadi, the capital of Iraq’s Anbar province, and the ancient Syrian city of Palmyra. It now has branches in countries including Lebanon, Libya, Afghanistan and Nigeria. President Barack Obama all but admitted on June 10, the anniversary of the fall of Mosul, as he ordered an additional 450 military advisers to join the 3,500 already in Iraq, that his anti-IS strategy wasn’t working. To be sure, IS has no dearth of enemies in the battlefield. The Syrian and Iraqi armies have declared war on it; Gulf monarchies are a party to a U.S.-led coalition bombing IS locations; Egypt had struck IS militants in Libya; and Hezbollah, the Lebanese Shia militia, has said it would fight IS along the Lebanon-Syria border. Still, why does IS appear so formidable?
  • IS’s advantage perhaps is that its rivals have no coordinated strategy: they are driven not by a common goal of defeating the enemy but by their own self-interest and sectarian calculations. In Syria, the regime of Bashar al Assad is the most potent force against IS. But the U.S. and its allies such as Saudi Arabia and Qatar want a regime change in Damascus. The efforts of Saudi Arabia and Turkey to weaken the Syrian regime are helping IS grow. In Iraq, the army, disbanded and rebuilt by the Americans, is largely sectarian and too inefficient to mount a major attack on its own. The Hezbollah may be able to protect the Lebanese-Syrian border from IS, but it is considered a terrorist outfit by the U.S., and an Iranian lackey by the Saudis. The Kurdish guerrillas in the Syrian and Turkish border regions had resisted IS effectively, but Turkey doesn’t want them to be brought into the anti-IS coalition. Iran has sent Shia militia groups to the battle-front, but they are viewed with suspicion in Iraq’s Sunni-dominated areas owing to sectarian reasons. IS feeds off this complex sectarian-geopolitical game, and with savagery and extremism tightens its grip over victims. But all this doesn’t mean IS is invincible: it could be defeated, as Kobane and Tikrit show. But to turn such isolated victories into a comprehensive triumph, the forces battling IS need to come up with a cohesive strategy cutting across sectarian fault-lines. Until that happens, West Asia will continue to see more bloodshed.

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