The Hindu Editorial Analysis- 4 March 2024

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The Hindu Editorial Analysis- 4 March 2024

1. The Himalayan States are being choked by plastic mountains.

Topic: GS3 – Environment – Environmental pollution and degradation
Important for UPSC to evaluate candidates’ comprehension of intricate environmental issues as it explores regulatory gaps, environmental challenges, and regional effects.

– The chronic problem of plastic pollution in the Indian Himalayan Region is discussed in the article.
– It aims to draw attention to its causes, local effects, legal issues, and the pressing need for all-encompassing waste management solutions.


  • Ubiquitous Presence: Plastic pollution is pervasive; it can be found inside human organs like the placenta and lungs as well as in the deepest ocean trenches and mountains.
  • tiny plastics Formation: When big plastic pieces are disposed of improperly, they break down and fragment, creating microplastics.

Regional Impact:

  • Himalayan Region: Important rivers like the Indus, Ganges, and Brahmaputra are impacted by microplastic deposition that is discovered in mountains, rivers, lakes, and streams.
  • Microplastics may get stuck in glaciers and then escape into rivers when the snow melts. This process is known as glacial trapping.
  • Impact on Biodiversity: Unscientific plastic disposal pollutes water and soil, which has a negative effect on freshwater resources and biodiversity.


  • Urbanisation and Shifting Patterns of Consumption: The issue of plastic waste is exacerbated by the unplanned and rapid urbanisation as well as shifting patterns of production and consumption.
  • Impact of Tourism: As tourism grows, the area’s plastic pollution issue gets worse.

Current Situation and Initiatives:

  • National Green Tribunal Action: Himachal Pradesh’s environmentally sensitive areas have received notices about waste dumping.
  • Local Initiatives: To reduce the use of plastic, states including Mizoram, Sikkim, and Himachal Pradesh have passed laws and launched programmes.
  • Environmental Impact: Studies show that plastic waste is present in vulnerable locations, including Ramsar sites and rivers like Manipur’s Nambul.

Plastic Overshoot Day and Recycling Discrepancy:

  • Plastic Overshoot Day: January 6, 2023, was the day India reached its plastic overshoot, indicating a capacity gap in waste management.
  • Mismanaged Waste Index: India has one of the highest mismanaged waste indices in the world, which suggests a big discrepancy between the country’s ability to manage waste and its use of plastics.
  • Recycling Discrepancy: According to statistical analysis, only 12% of plastic waste is recycled, with the remaining 20% being burned. This indicates discrepancies in recycling claims.

Legal Framework and Challenges:

  • Regulatory Framework: The framework is comprised of the Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) 2022, the Plastic Waste Management (PWM) Rules 2016, and the Solid Waste Management (SWM) Rules 2016.
  • Needs Unique to Hills: The regulatory framework does not fully address the unique needs of hills, which has an impact on waste management initiatives.

Local Bodies and Waste Management:

  • Local bodies play a crucial role in waste management, spanning from collection to disposal.
  • Difficulties with Devolution: Power devolution to local entities is restricted, and few have passed model bylaws to put waste management regulations into practice.

Recommendations and Way Forward:

  • Resource Allocation: Carefully allocate resources taking into account the Himalayan Region’s particular ecological sensitivity.
  • Empowering Local Bodies: Establish the infrastructure required for efficient waste management, empower local bodies, and involve traditional institutions.
  • Public Education: Ongoing public education initiatives for the management and segregation of waste.
  • Geographical Aspects in EPR: Take into account that EPR in mountainous areas has greater operating costs, which are reflected in the price of EPR certificates.

Data Gaps and Convergence:

  • Fill in the data gaps regarding the quantity and quality of waste generated in the Indian Himalayan region.
  • Scheme Convergence: To build infrastructure, make use of already-existing programmes like MG-NREGA, SBM, and Finance Commission grants.
  • Contributions from the Public: Use the Swachh Bharat Kosh Trust to direct public donations towards waste management.


  • Integrated Approach: To lessen the environmental impact and safeguard the region’s water sources and biodiversity, the Himalayan plastic crisis necessitates an integrated approach involving behavioural, infrastructure, and regulatory changes.

PYQ: What are the obstacles to properly disposing of the massive amounts of solid waste that are constantly being produced? How can the toxic wastes that have been building up in our livable environment be safely removed? (150 words, 10 seconds) (CSE (M) GS-3, UPSSC 2018)
Practice Question: Examine the legal and environmental aspects of the plastic pollution crisis in the Indian Himalayan Region and make recommendations for practical, long-term waste management solutions. (10 m / 150 words)

2. The difficult path towards transforming India’s political party structure

Topic: GS2 – Indian Polity – State legislatures – Conduct of Business and issues arising out of these
Important for UPSC because it explores the subject of political defections, the application of anti-defection laws, and the necessity of internal party democracy.

– The Maharashtra Legislative Assembly Speaker’s lax interpretation of intra-party dissent under the anti-defection law is highlighted in this article, which examines recent political defections in India ahead of the 2024 elections.


  • There is a sharp increase in political defections in India ahead of the general elections in 2024.
  • Examples of disqualifications resulting from cross-voting in Himachal Pradesh and MLAs in Bihar moving from the Congress and RJD to the BJP.

Maharashtra Legislative Assembly Speaker’s Verdict:

  • The speaker of the Maharashtra state assembly made a decision regarding the division within the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) on February 15, 2024.
  • Ajit Pawar faction is acknowledged as the “real” NCP; there is no disqualification.
  • Like the previous rulings in the Shiv Sena split, which did not rule out any faction.

Observations on Anti-Defection Law:

  • The speaker’s use of the legislative majority to identify the opposing party.
  • Referring to the NCP split as “intra-party dissent,” it is implied that it is not subject to the Tenth Schedule’s punitive clauses.
  • Speaker argues that anti-defection laws do not apply to this kind of dissent, allowing dissident MLAs to stay in the Assembly.

Legal Concerns and Transgressions:

  • Regarding intra-party dissent, the observation is dubious as it implies that dissenting groups should ideally combine with another party in order to receive protection under the Tenth Schedule.
  • The exclusion from anti-defection laws currently only applies to mergers; separation and merging with another party need a two-thirds majority.
  • Rival groups within the Shiv Sena and NCP asserted their identity as the founding party, establishing separate administrations without uniting.

Speaker’s Worrying Observation:

  • Speaker’s remarks about the nature of politics, forming new relationships, and forming alliances, implying that political movements are not the same as defections.
  • If obvious violations are permitted, it calls into question the effectiveness and intent of the anti-defection law.

Inner-Party Democracy Concerns:

  • Better political party system reform is required, with a focus on internal party democracy.
  • The lack of internal party democracy is frequently linked to defections, which is why extensive research on party structures is needed.
  • The Law Commission’s proposed statutory guidelines for intra-party democracy as part of its recommendations for changes to the Representation of the People Act of 1951.

Way Forward:

  • To maintain internal party democracy, a thorough analysis and reform of political party structures are urgently needed.
  • The Law Commission made recommendations that haven’t been put into practice, like elected executive committees and regular elections at the party level.
  • Speaker in charge of a committee reviewing the anti-defection law, providing India with the chance to modify the law to suit its requirements.


  • Therefore, it is critical to discuss the difficulties and legal complexities associated with political defections, advocating for a review of the anti-defection legislation and an emphasis on internal party democracy in order to implement meaningful reforms.

Anti-Defection Law in India
Shortcomings of Anti-Defection Law in India:
– Delay in Disqualification: The absence of a prompt procedure in the law for disqualifying defectors causes protracted legal disputes and political unrest.
– Gaps in the Disqualification Process Criteria: Since the requirements for disqualification are vague, politicians can take advantage of gaps in the law by engaging in actions that aren’t strictly illegal.
– Presiding Officer’s Bias: There have been worries about possible bias in favour of the ruling party since the law gives the presiding officer of the legislature the authority to decide on defection cases.
– Lack of Deterrence: Because the penalties are frequently viewed as light, politicians can switch parties without suffering serious repercussions, meaning that the law lacks sufficient deterrents to prevent defection.
– Party Mergers: Parties have manipulated mergers in order to keep defectors in the fold without having to face disqualification, abusing the provision that permits defection during party mergers.

Way Forward:
– Time-bound Disqualification: To guarantee prompt action and deterrence, establish a time-bound procedure for determining defection cases.
– More Explicit Disqualification Criteria: Change the law to make the requirements for disqualification more precise and stringent, eliminating any possibility of misunderstanding or manipulation.
– Independent Tribunal: To lessen the possibility of prejudice in decision-making, an independent tribunal should be established to hear defection cases.
– Boost Penalties: To make defection a more powerful deterrent, impose harsher penalties, such as the potential ban from running for office for a predetermined amount of time.
– Examine the Party Merger Provision: Make sure the clause permitting defection during party mergers is not abused in order to shield defectors.

The Anti-Defection Law can be strengthened to support India’s democratic and political integrity ideals by resolving these issues.

PYQ: With reference to anti-defection law in India, consider the following statements: (2022) 
1. The law specifies that a nominated legislator cannot join any political party within six months of being appointed to the House.
2. The law does not provide any time-frame within which the presiding officer has to decide a defection case.

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 

Correct Answer:
Option (B) 2 only
Practice Question: Consider the issues raised by the recent political defections in India, the need to strengthen intra-party democracy, and how anti-defection laws should be interpreted. Talk about possible changes. (10 m / 150 words)

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