[Ethics: Mains] Morality of Economic Sanctions : International Ethics

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Economic sanctions are particular type of tools in the statecraft to advance foreign policy goals of states. They are preferable to more coercive tools such as war. However, though they are useful instrument of statecraft but still their role and impact are morally ambiguous.

Usually they involve –

  1. Positive incentive ie. carrot , designed to induce or reward desirable behaviour. Reward might be in the form of increase in foreign aid, loans at concessional rates, preferential treatment, etc.
  2. Negative sanctions ie. stick , designed to punish state for undesirable behaviour. It could be in the form of reduction in aid, selected, quotas, curtailing or halting foreign investment ,ban on technology transfer, etc.

 

Why economic sanctions ?

Traditionally, states have used economic sanctions for variety of reasons, such as,

  1. Compliance : forcing a State to alter its behaviour
  2. Subversion : attempting to remove particular political leader or overthrow regime
  3. Deterrence : discouraging a State from carrying out unacceptable behaviour
  4. International symbolism : sending message to international community
  5. Domestic symbolism : seeking domestic support by harnessing popular sentiments

 

When they are effective ?

Are sanctions an effective foreign policy tool? Do they achieve desired behavioural outcomes? Many scholars and foreign policy experts doubt their effectiveness.

Scholars have found several factors that affect the economic impact of sanctions –

  1. Economic hardship is more likely to be achieved when sanctions are imposed multilaterally. Because most economic goods and services are highly fungible (i.e., can be replaced or substituted), broad participation, especially from the major powers, is normally a prerequisite for imposing the desired hardship on the target state.

For example

  • The importance of collective action was illustrated in 1990-1991 during the Persian Gulf crisis, when the United Nations imposed comprehensive economic sanctions against Iraq. Because nearly every country honoured the embargo, Iraq’s gross national product (GNP) declined by nearly 50 percent.
  • By contrast, the U.S. led economic embargo against Cuba has been ineffective because it was supported by few major states only.

 

  1. A second factor that affects economic success is the participation by non-governmental actors. Given the increasing influence of global corporations and significant NGOs, non-state actors can greatly reinforce and intensify sanctions.

 

For example,

In response to growing U.S. domestic opposition to South African apartheid, private actors encouraged private divestment and directly pressured American banks and corporations to dilute disinvestment programs.

 

  1. Domestic and bilateral factors can also greatly influence the impact. However , to have the greatest harm few conditions need to meet ,such as ,
  • Target state must be economically weak and politically unstable.
  • High level of economic interdependence
  • Imposition of sanctions quickly and decisively
  1. They are regarded as more useful tools when less demanding expectations are imposed.
  2. They are regarded as successful when they are used as punishment.

For example – economic sanctions against Haiti in 1991 ; Serbia in 1992 ; Darfur

  1. They are regarded as successful when they inhibit or delay the use of force. Because war is more destructive than economic sanctions , they are generally morally preferable moral tool of foreign policy to military conflict.

 

Are they really effective ?

The fundamental assumption of economic sanctions is that hardship will discourage unacceptable policies and encourage behavioural reform.

  • Although economic “sticks” can no doubt affect the behaviour of foreign actors, economic coercion alone is not decisive.
  • For one thing, foreign policy decision making is a multidimensional process that is subject to numerous domestic and international factors.
  • Inducing behavioural change is far more difficult against autocratic regimes—the governments most likely to be subjected to sanctions. Although highly punitive economic sanctions were being imposed on Iran in 2012, there was little evidence that its autocratic government was likely to alter its nuclear enrichment program.
  • According to one comprehensive study, economic sanctions during the 1914—1990 period were successful in bringing about desired reforms in about one-third of the cases. However, another scholar, using the same data, argues that the success rate is less than 5 percent!
  • Regardless of whether one accepts the optimistic or pessimistic measures of political success, it is clear that economic hardship does not often achieve the desired political outcomes.

But perhaps sanctions should be viewed as part of a state’s overall repertoire for communicating interests and exercising international influence.

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Morality of sanctions 

  • According to some thinkers sanctions are indeed a form of violence.
  • Many thinkers says that they are morally dubious.
  • One of the most influential anti-apartheid activist highlighted the morally problematic nature of economic sanctions because they imposed great hardship on poor blacks.
  • For assessing the morality of economic sanctions some ethicist have suggested certain criteria on the basis of we can evaluate their moral standards, such as , ( just sanctions theory )

 

  1. Just cause
  • Promoting peace
  • Protecting human rights and human dignity
  1. Right intention
  • They are not justified to increase national power and extend economic influence
  1. Limited objective
  • Targeting only those behaviour and institutions which are unjust
  1. Last resort
  • Only when peaceful negotiation have been exhausted
  1. Probability of success
  2. Discrimination
  • They must not target innocent people
  • Must target government and those who are supporting
  • It is the most important yet most morally challenging principle because most of the sanctions were unable to fulfill this criteria. When comprehensive sanctions were imposed the hardship typically falls disproportionately on poor people.

 

For example – when comprehensive sanctions were imposed on Iraq when it invaded Kuwait in 1990, great suffering fell on innocent people. It is estimated that these sanctions over 12 years had caused the death of at half a million children , though UN in 1996 UN had instituted an Oil-for-Food Program to relieve Iraq’s humanitarian crisis.

  1. Proportionality
  • The good intended from sanctions must be proportional to the harm inflicted on the target state.
  • Thus above mentioned criteria are useful in assessing whether any economic sanctions imposed by State is morally right or questionable.
  • Economic tools in the form of sanctions continue to be important tool in the foreign policy. Their importance is further enhanced by the fact that they are preferable to war because war is more destructive.
  • But still they are morally problematic not only because they rarely achieve desired political results but also they impose great hardships on innocent civilians.

 

PM Modi’s 10-point agenda for renewing efforts towards disaster risk reduction

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Dear Mitron,

I welcome you all to New Delhi for this landmark conference, the first after the adoption of the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction.

First boley to maximum important for UPSC guys giving Prelims in 2017! Also research about Sendai Network and its predecessor. Kuch bhi pooch saktey hain.

2015 was a momentous year! Apart from the Sendai Framework, the international community adopted two other major frameworks to shape the future of humanity:

  • – the Sustainable Development Goals,
  • – and the Paris Agreement on Climate Change

For my UPSC Mitrons, make sure you have your notes made on both of them!

Disaster Risk Reduction has a pivotal role in supporting adaptation to climate change as well as sustainable development.

Use this line to flaunt your breadth of inter-connecting issues in your mains and essay papers!

Seven of the top ten countries in the world in terms of number of deaths due to disasters are in the Asia-Pacific. That’s a heck of a statistic to have!

A quarter century ago, only a handful of Asian nations had national disaster management institutions. Today, over thirty Asian countries have dedicated institutions leading disaster risk management efforts. After the Indian Ocean Tsunami of 2004, the five worst affected countries brought in new laws for disaster risk management.

What has India done for Tsunami relief and preparedness?

Hint: We now have a fully functional Indian Ocean Tsunami Warning System. Along with its Australian and Indonesian counterparts, the Indian National Centre for Ocean Information Services is mandated to issue regional tsunami bulletins.


10 point agenda for renewing our efforts towards disaster risk reduction

First, all development sectors must imbibe the principles of disaster risk management. This will ensure that all development projects – airports, roads, canals, hospitals, schools, bridges – are built to appropriate standards and contribute to the resilience of communities they seek to serve.

In India, the ‘housing for all’ programme and ‘smart cities’ initiative represent such opportunities.

Second, work towards risk coverage for all – starting from poor households to small and medium enterprises to multi-national corporations to nation states.

In India, we have taken bold steps to ensure financial inclusion and risk insurance for the poorest. The Jan Dhan Yojana has brought millions of people into the banking system. The Suraksha Bima Yojana provides risk insurance to millions who need it the most. We have launched the Fasal Bima Yojana, which will provide risk cover to millions of farmers.

Third, encourage greater involvement and leadership of women in disaster risk management. Women are disproportionately affected by disasters. They also have unique strengths and insights.

Fourth, invest in risk mapping globally. For mapping risks related to hazards such as earthquakes we have widely accepted standards and parameters. Based on these, in India, we have mapped seismic zones, with five as highest seismic risk and two as low risk.

Fifth, leverage technology to enhance the efficiency of our disaster risk management efforts

What are the technological efforts/ inventions from India’s side on Disaster Reduction Plan?

Sixth, develop a network of universities to work on disaster issues. After all, universities have social responsibilities too. Over the first five years of the Sendai Framework, we should develop a global network of universities working together on problems of disaster risk management.

Seventh, utilize the opportunities provided by social media and mobile technologies. Social media is transforming disaster response. How so?

Eighth, build on local capacity and initiative. The task of disaster risk management, particularly in rapidly growing economies, is so huge that formal institutions of the state can at best be instrumental in creating the enabling conditions.

Can you give instances of local involvement in India’s case?

Ninth, ensure that the opportunity to learn from a disaster is not wasted. After every disaster there are papers and reports on lessons learnt that are rarely applied.

And finally, bring about greater cohesion in international response to disasters.



In India, we are committed to walk the talk on the implementation of Sendai Framework. In June this year, India’s National Disaster Management Plan was released which is aligned with the priorities set out in the Sendai Framework.

To read through related news on Disaster Management – Read this Newstrail

To read more by Confused Billi – click here

Will you increase no of attempts in 3997 test series?

Please increase no. Of attempts in test series

5 Dec | GS4 | We are witnessing increasing instances of sexual violence against women in the country. Despite existing legal provisions against it, the number of such incidences is on the rise. Suggest some innovative measures to tackle this menace.

GS4 ( Ethics in Human Actions)

We are witnessing increasing instances of sexual violence against women in the country. Despite existing legal provisions against it, the number of such incidences is on the rise. Suggest some innovative measures to tackle this menace.

YKA

5 Dec | GS3 | Competition is the best means of ensuring that the ‘Common Man’ or ‘Aam Aadmi’ has access to the broadest range of goods and services at the most competitive prices. Throw light on this statement keeping in view the digital sector.

GS3 (Economics)

Competition is the best means of ensuring that the ‘Common Man’ or ‘Aam Aadmi’ has access to the broadest range of goods and services at the most competitive prices. Throw light on this statement keeping in view the digital sector.

CD-oped

Mint

5 Dec | GS2 | With the introduction of PIL, the post-Emergency Supreme Court is very rarely a court for judicial review and far more often, the court for judicial populism. Comment.

GS2 ( Indian Constitution)

With the introduction of PIL, the post-Emergency Supreme Court is very rarely a court for judicial review and far more often, the court for judicial populism. Comment.

CD-oped

LegalservicesIndia

5 Dec | GS1 | Tribal revolts were a reaction to an alien, unfeeling administration. Elucidate with reference to the British tribal policy in Eastern India in the nineteenth century.

GS1 (Modern History)

Tribal revolts were a reaction to an alien, unfeeling administration. Elucidate with reference to the British tribal policy in Eastern India in the nineteenth century.

4 Dec 2016 | Target Mains: Weekly Essay Challenge

The end of education is character.

Instructions: Write the following essay in 1000-1200 words.

A post with the main points of this essay will be published tomorrow, so try to attempt this essay today.

Increase in Attempts!!

Sir will you increase the no of attempts in your test series for each test? Can we retake the test more than once in near future

If i join 3997 program now, then will i get previous tests?

How many times can i give each test? And if i join 3997 test series now then can i give previous tests?

Flagship and Advanced Students – Get ready for the Advanced Test on 11th Dec

Flagship & Advanced students,


This blog is to give guidance to students about the first advanced test on Polity and Economics on the 11th of December. Advanced tests will not use basic sources such as NCERT’s (although some NCERT’s like old history NCERT’s are suited for advanced studying), they will instead be based on books such as Laxmikanth for Polity and similarly advanced sources for economics. First let’s discuss polity.

Polity

The syllabus will be the chapters 21-40 of Laxmikanth. If you are reading DD Basu the same information will be there. In fact if you see in the syllabus you will see some standard references and other sources too. Generally all books contain the same information, and students may prefer some particular book as they prefer an author’s style. The chapters 21-40 of Laxmikanth contain the following topics –

1.Central Government – Chapters 21-25 – Cabinet Committees, Parliament, Parliamentary Committees, Parliamentary Forums, Supreme Court

2.State Government – Chapters 26-33 – Governor, Chief Minister, State Council of Ministers, State Legislature, High Court, Subordinate Courts, Special Status of J&K, Special Provisions for some states

3. Local Government – Chapters 34 and 35 – Panchayati Raj, Municipalities

4. UT’s and Special Areas – Chapters 36 and 37 – UT’s, Scheduled and Tribal Areas

5. Constitutional Bodies – Chapters 38-40 – Election Commission, UPSC, SPSC

Economics

The syllabus here broadly covers chapters 8, 9, 10, 15 and 16 of Ramesh Singh. The topics are –

1.Basics of an economy – Chapter 8 – Indian Agriculture

2.Growth, development and happiness – Chapter 9 – Indian Industry & Infrastructure

3.Evolution of the Indian economy – Chapter 10 – India and the Global economy

4.Economic Planning – Chapter 15 – External Sector of India

5.Planning in India – Chapter 16 – International Economic Organisations and India

Current Affairs

Current Affairs for October and November.

We would like to remind students (especially those giving the exam this year for the first time) that the prelims this year has been preponed and hence the UPSC exam is in June and not August.

Students are strongly urged to finish their entire syllabus for the first time by January end. Main topics such as polity, economics, geography and history should be finished by December end.

The first reading will only introduce you to the topic, it is only after your 2nd and 3rd revision that you will start remembering and understanding these subjects. These revisions will also take you a few months.

CSE 2016 | 3 Dec | Essay Paper

Essay
Sec A
1. If development is not engendered, it is endangered
2. Need brings greed, if greed increases it spoils breed
3. Water disputes between States in federal India
4. Innovation is the key determinant of economic growth and social welfare

Section B
1. Cooperative federalism: Myth or reality
2. Cyberspace and internet: Blessing or curse to human civilization in the long run
3. Near jobless growth in India: An anomaly or an outcome of economic reforms
4. Digital economy: A leveller or a source of economic inequality

3 Dec | Target Mains: GS Questions

GS1 (Urbanization, their problems and their remedies)

Of late Urban floods have become more frequent. Explain the causes of Urban floods in relation to floods in Chennai.

References: Urban Drainage – Components, Case of Chennai floods

 

GS2 (India and its neighbouring countries)

India hosts the Heart of Asia (HoA) conference this week in Amritsar. It is aimed at speeding up reconstruction in war-torn Afghanistan and bringing peace and normalcy to the nation. Throw light on India-Afghanistan bilateral ties and India’s strategic interests.

Ref:

CD Op-ed

IE

Previous Year Question (2013)

The proposed withdrawal of International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) from Afghanistan is fraught with major security implications for the countries form the region. Examine the light of the fact that India is faced with a plethora of challenges and needs to safeguard its own strategic interests.

GS3 (Development in Science)

In 2015, the total number of people with HIV in India was estimated to be 2.1 million. Of this, 1.5 million were detected and tested at integrated counselling and testing centres (ICTC) and about a million people are on treatment. This leaves about half a million who are unaware of their HIV status. How has India dealt with HIV in the past years? What measures should be taken in future to fight against the deadly disease?

Ref:

CD Op-ed

GS4 (Ethics)

Lifeline Nehemiah Projects in Freetown is among the key organisations which has been working with Ebola-affected, survivors and orphans. A serious situation like Ebola requires ethical responsibility and a mindset change on the part of citizens. Discuss the role that people of a country play in times of need.

Ref:

CD Op-ed

3 Dec | GS4 | Lifeline Nehemiah Projects in Freetown is among the key organisations which has been working with Ebola-affected, survivors and orphans. A serious situation like Ebola requires ethical responsibility and a mindset change on the part of citizens. Discuss the role that people of a country play in times of need.

GS4 (Ethics)

Lifeline Nehemiah Projects in Freetown is among the key organisations which has been working with Ebola-affected, survivors and orphans. A serious situation like Ebola requires ethical responsibility and a mindset change on the part of citizens. Discuss the role that people of a country play in times of need.

Ref:

CD Op-ed

3 Dec | GS3 | In 2015, the total number of people with HIV in India was estimated to be 2.1 million. Of this, 1.5 million were detected and tested at integrated counselling and testing centres (ICTC) and about a million people are on treatment. This leaves about half a million who are unaware of their HIV status. How has India dealt with HIV in the past years? What measures should be taken in future to fight against the deadly disease?

GS3 (Development in Science)

In 2015, the total number of people with HIV in India was estimated to be 2.1 million. Of this, 1.5 million were detected and tested at integrated counselling and testing centres (ICTC) and about a million people are on treatment. This leaves about half a million who are unaware of their HIV status. How has India dealt with HIV in the past years? What measures should be taken in future to fight against the deadly disease?

 

Ref:

CD Op-ed

3 Dec | GS2 | India hosts the Heart of Asia (HoA) conference this week in Amritsar. It is aimed at speeding up reconstruction in war-torn Afghanistan and bringing peace and normalcy to the nation. Throw light on India-Afghanistan bilateral ties and India’s strategic interests.

GS2 (India and its neighbouring countries)

India hosts the Heart of Asia (HoA) conference this week in Amritsar. It is aimed at speeding up reconstruction in war-torn Afghanistan and bringing peace and normalcy to the nation. Throw light on India-Afghanistan bilateral ties and India’s strategic interests.

Ref:

CD Op-ed

IE

Previous Year Question (2013)

The proposed withdrawal of International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) from Afghanistan is fraught with major security implications for the countries form the region. Examine the light of the fact that India is faced with a plethora of challenges and needs to safeguard its own strategic interests.

3 Dec | GS1 | Of late Urban floods have become more frequent. Explain the causes of Urban floods in relation to floods in Chennai.

GS1 (Urbanization, their problems and their remedies)

Of late Urban floods have become more frequent. Explain the causes of Urban floods in relation to floods in Chennai.

References: Urban Drainage – Components, Case of Chennai floods

Categories
Prelims Daily

3 Dec 2016 | Prelims Daily with Previous Year Questions & Tikdams

Dear students,

When you submit your answer, if possible, give some reasoning & more info. along with the ABACAA format. Elaborate on what you know. This is going to help you retain & remember better.

NOTE: Prelims Daily compilation for October 2016 has been released for FREE – Click2Download


 

Q.1) Consider the following statements in the context of ‘HIV/AIDS’.
1. OraQuick is HIV self-testing approved by WHO, based on HIV antibodies present in oral and blood samples.
2. The theme for 2016 AIDS day was “Hands up for #HIVprevention”.
Which of the statements given above is/are correct?
a) 1 only
b) 2 only
c) Both 1 and 2
d) Neither 1 nor 2

Q.2) Consider the following statements about ‘Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank’ (AIIB)
1. AIIB is an international financial institution that aims to support the building of infrastructure in the Asia-Pacific region.
2. India is an influential member of the AIIB as it has the largest voting share and percentage of shares.
3. AIIB’s headquarters is in Beijing.
Which of the statements given above is/are correct?
a) 1 and 2 only
b) 1 and 3 only
c) 2 only
d) 1,2 and 3

Q.3) Consider the following statements in regard with ‘Climate Vulnerable Forum’ (CVF)
1. CVF is an international partnership of countries highly vulnerable to a warming planet.
2. The Forum serves as a South-South cooperation platform for participating governments to act together to deal with global climate change.
3. India is a member of the Climate Vulnerable Forum.
Which of the statements given above is/are correct?
a) 1 and 2 only
b) 1 and 3 only
c) 2 only
d) 1,2 and 3

Q.4) Consider the following statements about ‘Nehru Yuva Kendra Sangathan’ (NYKS)
1. NYSK is an autonomous organization under the Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports, to oversee working of the Nehru Yuva Kendras.
2. Nehru Yuva Kendras were established in 1972 with the objective of providing rural youth avenues to take part in the process of nation building.
Which of the statements given above is/are correct?
a) 1 only
b) 2 only
c) Both 1 and 2
d) Neither 1 nor 2

Q.5) Consider the following statements in regard to ‘fixed-dose combination’ (FDC)
1. FDC includes two or more active pharmaceutical ingredients (APIs) combined in a single dosage form, which is manufactured and distributed in fixed doses
2. Active Pharmaceutical Ingredients(APIs) is the chemically active substance, which is meant to produce the desired effect in the body.
Which of the statements given above is/are correct?
a) 1 only
b) 2 only
c) Both 1 and 2
d) Neither 1 nor 2

Q.6) Which one of the following is the best description of ‘INS astradharini’ that was in the news recently? (CSP-2016)
A. amphibious warfare ship
B. nuclear -powered submarine
C. torpedo launch and recovery vessel
D. nuclear – powered aircraft carrier

Q.7) What is ‘Greased lightning-10 (Gl-10) recently in the news ? (CSP-2016)
A. electric plane tested by NASA
B. solar powered two seater aircraft designed by japan
C. Space observatory launched by china
D. reusable rocket designed by ISRO

Q.8) With reference to ‘initiative for nutritional security through intensive millets promotions’, which of the following statements is/are correct? (CSP-2016)
1. This initiative aims to demonstrate the improved production and post-harvest technologies, and to demonstrate value addition techniques ,in an integrated manner with cluster approach
2. Poor, small, marginal and tribal farmers have larger stake in this scheme
3. An important objective of the scheme is to encourage farmers of commercial crops to shift to millet cultivation by offering them free kits of critical inputs of nutrients and micro irrigation equipment .
Select the correct answer using the above
A. 1 only
B. 2 and 3 only
C. 1 and 2 only
D. 1,2 and 3


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Urban drainage: Components

Significance

rainwater-harvestingUrban drainage is more about town planning and water management, rather than just a sanitation issue. It involves environmentally sound systems of collecting, reusing and disposing of all forms of unwanted water from the cities. No single formula works for all, but the best global models integrate systems of public health and water management with local hydrology, broadly the process in which an area’s water is depleted and replenished.

Components of Urban drainage

1. Wastewater Recycling

Using dual-membrane & ultraviolet technologies to produce purified water that exceeds WHO standards, Out of the 20 million gallons produced per day, 6% is used for drinking purposes.

2. River Redevelopment

Creating wastewater tunnel. Running under the river, it has an automatic distribution and pumping system that controls the discharge of waster-water, preventing pollution of the River Wien.

3. Biodrainage

Installing bioswale with intermittent check dams is to prevent silt & pollutant runoff from entering the River. As a result suspended soilds including garbage entering the river system are reduced by 50%.

4. Solid Waste Management

Micro planning to streamline SWM collection & disposal. Surat today one of India’s cleanest cities, it has 52 sanitary wards with separate SWM methods for households, industries and slums.

5. Rainwater Harvesting

Using RWH for fire-fighting and as drinking water. The rooftop harvesting collects most rainwater, draining it into a 1,000 m3 underground tank, which is then used for flushing and air conditioning.

Urban Drainage: Case of Chennai floods

What are the causes of impeded urban drainage? Discuss the reasons with emphasis on Chennai floods. Suggest a not on urban drainage management.

At all major metros the natural flow of rainwater was hindered by encroachments on flood plains, constructions on open grounds meant for absorption of excess rainwater, and clogging of drains. Over the years, the rain-holding capacity of the cities was reduced putting a strain on the age-old stormwater drainage system.

Illegal encroachment

A large part of land along Mumbai’s Mithi river, the lifeline for the city’s drainage system, has been encroached upon. Adyar in Chennai faces similar fate.

Post Mumbai floods, a National Institute of Disaster Management study found the city had the lowest ratio of open ground per head of population in any Indian metropolis. In Delhi, according to MCD estimates, builders have illegally covered about 60 per cent drains in residential colonies. As a result, stormwater drains are either filled up with mud or covered with concrete slabs. In most metros drains have simply disappeared from many colonies due to extension of roads.

Lack of coordination

Road engineering and stormwater drainage system should complement each other through coordination between engineering and sanitation departments. Unfortunately, such a coordination does not exist in any Indian city.

Poor maintenance of drains and inadequate desilting before monsoon means that city roads get waterlogged within a few minutes of rain. In Delhi the MCD has consistently failed to meet the deadline to desilt its over 1,200 stormwater drains. And with multiple departments involved in the cleaning process, it is easy to pass the buck. In most cities desilting is still done manually, which is not only slow but also ineffective.

Design defects

The success of any drainage system depends on the efficacy of its design. For the water to run off properly, storm water drains need to have the correct incline. In many cities residential colony drains were not even joined with the main stormwater drains. The gradient of the internal drains is faulty which results in water logging leading to vector-borne diseases.

Urban floods: Case of Chennai floods

Chennai floods were a creation of many cumulative factors that joined together under a fortuitous circumstances No one cause was more or less important

  1. Gradual encroachment of the channel of Adyar river by waste dumping, plastics, sediments and non biodegradable products
  2. Conversion of Coume river into a ballad by sewage dumping consequently converting it into a sewage channel.
  3. Redemption of Pallikamarnyi wetlands for urban and construction expansion destroyed the buffer and prevented infiltration and absorption of surface water, allowed heavy surface runoff.
  4. Illegal construction around the mouth of the rivers and on Pallikamarnyi Wetlands prevented smooth runoff and led to inundation.
  5. Construction has covered the city like mat and prevents infiltration inducing fast runoff that is the course of floods.
  6. The situation was compounded by
  • heavy and incessant rains for over a week with increased frequency and three times more than the normal rainfall
  • The High tide coincided with
  • the impeded drainage of the city flush water, and
  • opening of the gates of the reservoir used for drinking water storage

Three coincidences- high rainfall, impeded drainage, Blocked channels, high tide and opening of gates of the reserve all cumulatively became responsible for Chennai floods.

Preventing Urban Floods

  • Reclaim urban water bodies
  • Clear the natural drainage way.
  • Identify areas of High Flood Level, and do flood plain zoning
  • Put Contingency plan on anvil.

Suggestions for further action

  • Delinking of the sewer and stormwater drainage systems and a complete ban on riverside constructions.
  • Use of machines like high pressure jetting pumps can do complete desilting cost effectively and reduce the human drudgery.
  • The basic framework of drainage needs effective planning, use of appropriate technologies, accountable administration, and community participation and, above all, unequivocal political will. A good beginning could be made by reducing the generation of waste and introducing some basic recycling at the level of residential colonies followed by treatment of industrial waste before discharging it in water bodies.

The Task Ahead

  • Ensure a single authority for construction and maintenance of drains.
  • Construct separate drains for stormwater and sewage flow.
  • Remove illegal encroachments along drains and water bodies.
  • Use jetting pumps and vacuum machines to desilt urban drains.
  • Design drains with proper gradient and width for flow of water.
  • Treat industrial effluents before disposing them into rivers and seas.
  • Make rainwater harvesting mandatory in all the metros.
  • Construct porous pavements for parking lots, driveways and sidewalks.