Competitive Exams: Current Affairs 2011: India in the Security Council

India in the Security Council

  • India's election as a non-permanent member of the UNSC with the support of 187 of the world body's 192 member states provided an opportunity for the country to establish its credentials and credibility in handling issues which come up with a degree of responsibility.

  • As the principal empowered organ of the U. N. System, the Security Council deals with questions of international security that are often intensely political. Since the end of the bipolar division of the world, the work of the Security Council has undergone a quantitative and qualitative transformation. Prior to 1990, the total number of resolutions passed by it over 45 years was 646. In the 20 years since then, however, a total of 1295 resolutions have been passed

  • Even as its salience in international affairs has increased, the UNSC has been singularly unsuccessful in dealing with new and emerging crises like terrorism and piracy or resolving existing problems like the illegal Israeli occupation of Palestinian and Syrian territory.

  • There is a structural problem with the Council which runs must deeper than the existence of veto power in the hands of the P − 5. Today, despite the growing American ability to mobilise all permanent members behind its initiatives, as in the case of Iran and even North Korea, the UNSC has not managed to make much headway because it is unrepresentative and because the solutions it proposes lack credibility.

  • If the non-permanent seat India has just won is indeed to become a stepping stone for a permanent seat, the Indian government work hard to demonstrate how a restructured Security Council built around the inclusion of rising powers like itself, Brazil and South Africa stands a better chance of solving the world's problems than the present outdated arrangement.

Fighting hunger

Economy

  • The Global Hunger Index 2010 (GHI), released by the International Food Policy Research Institute, reveals the disturbing fact that the number of hungry people in the world hovers around the one-billion mark.

  • The messages from the GHI are quite discomforting.

  • First, countries in Sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia face either extremely alarming or alarming levels of hunger.

  • Secondly, glittering economic growth rates do not mean a hunger-free nation; India, with its large economy and robust growth, is ranked among countries that face an alarming situation.

  • Thirdly, nothing works like meaningful state-led intervention policies that directly address hunger; Brazil has improved its performance by more than 50 per cent between 1990 and 2010, thanks to effective state intervention.

  • The GHI rightly identifies the high prevalence of child under-nutrition as a major contribution to persistent hunger. Although past policies targeted children under the age of five, it is pointed out that the window of opportunity to improve nutrition is much shorter the period spanning (-) 9 months to ( + ) 24 months (from conception to the second birthday).

  • This observation should lead to a reordering of public policies to ensure that this crucial period is not missed out:

  • At a wider level, malnutrition is a consequence of multiple deprivations that call for action on related issues as well. For instance, a study earlier this year by the Oxford Poverty and Human Development Initiative showed that while 38.9 per cent of the poor in India were undernourished, they encountered severe deprivations in respect of other critical and related indicators as well: Cooking fuel (52.2 per cent), drinking water (12 per cent) and sanitation (49.3 per cent).

  • Malnutrition cannot be tackled effectively as a stand-alone issue and what is needed is a comprehensive policy that addresses multiple deprivations. In addition, there is evidence from Brazil that well-conceived conditional cash transfer schemes help in reducing hunger.

  • India must fine-tune its social sector programmes, including the conditional cash transfer schemes, to wage a successful battle against hunger.

Courtesy: The Hindu and Times of India