THE GIST of Editorial for UPSC Exams : 26 May 2020 (Think smarter (Indian Express))



Think smarter (Indian Express)



Mains Paper 2:National
Prelims level: Smart Cities Mission
Mains level: Objectives of the Smart Cities Mission

Context:

  • Of all the lessons that the pandemic has taught a civilisation that had become improbably confident of its beliefs, perhaps the most unsettlingis that the most technologically capable nations cannot protect the lives and health of their citizens from a medieval plague.
  • It follows that a political culture and economic system invested in the ideal of ever-increasing GDP must invest more in the health of its citizens, who power the engine of growth.
  • Historically, India has hesitatedto invest adequately in school education and health, the twin foundations of a mature society, and these sectors remained neglected even by the reforms process.
  • Now, it appears that even the newest innovation for optimising spaces and communities for growth, the Smart Cities Mission, hasn’t understood the foundational importance of health.

Poor figures of investment in heath:

  • The figures are appalling. Only 1.18 per cent of the 5,861 projects okayed since 2015 are for augmenting infrastructure and capability in health.
  • In fiscal terms, they account for only 1.03 per cent of the volume invested by the Mission.
  • Plumbing an abyssalnadirin the importance accorded to health, this is even lower than the shamefully inadequate 1.6 per cent of GDP which the states and the Centre together set aside for health in 2019-20.
  • For comparison, the total health expenditure in the US in 2017 was .................................................................................................................

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Objectives of Mission:

  • As the Mission clarifies on its website, a smart city has no absolute definition.
  • The term originated among Western planners to describe a city which uses Internet of Thingsdata to optimise its services.
  • The Indian ministry of housing and urban affairs mentions this aspect in only one of the eight features it lists for a smart city.
  • The rest focus on urban planning strategies for quality of life, such as reducing pollution and improving land use.
  • Health is mentioned only in one point, which discusses urban identity conferred through local economic activities like making sports goods and hosiery, and providing medical facilities.
  • Health is not acknowledged as the substrate of productivity.

Internet of Things:

  • Internet of Things (IOT) is system of interrelated computing devices, mechanical and digital machines provided with unique identifiers and the ability to transfer data over a network without requiring human-to-human or human-to-computer interaction.

Conclusion:

  • We can only hope that the pandemic drives the point home, and the Mission pivots to health.
  • Smart Cities Mission, which was to approach urban planning creatively, perpetuatesthe traditional neglect of health.

Online Coaching for UPSC PRE Exam

General Studies Pre. Cum Mains Study Materials

Prelims Questions:

Q1. With reference to the emission norms for L7 (Quadricycle) category for BS VI, consider the following statements:
1. The central government had introduced the quadricycle segment in 2018 and approved it for both commercial and private use.
2. The Ministry of Road Transport describes quadricycle as a vehicle the size of a three-wheeler but with four tyres and fully covered like a car.

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

Answer:

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Mains Questions:
Q1. What are the key objectives ............................................................................


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