Here below is one article from 'the hindu' on current drought management.
One of the important aspect for pub-ad student is to analyse and understand the current administrative systems in the light of colonial hangover.Our administration is still a shadow of british administrative system on many fronts. The article analyses some reasons for the failure of drought management in India and some solutions for the same which can be used in answer writing.
During episodes of food scarcity caused by drought and failure of the rains of the kind that looms over large parts of India today, district authorities in India are still substantially guided by updated versions of Famine Codes that were initially d eveloped by colonial administrators. Their main objective was to save lives at minimal cost to the colonial exchequer. There is considerable irony that updated versions of these colonial Famine Codes continue to be the principal guide to public authorities in times of natural disaster in free India.
Initially, the colonial government had no cohesive policy to deal with these emergencies, except to prevent hoarding and crime, which was followed by ad hoc relief measures such as stray food kitchens, poorhouses and public works. The Famine Commission appointed in 1878 resulted in the first Famine Code, and this was adapted as a national model, adapted in different regions of British rule. These Codes provided comprehensive institutionalised guidelines to colonial administrators. These included instructions to anticipate famines, and to save life but explicitly at the lowest possible cost to the exchequer, by providing employment at subsistence wage, and “gratuitous” relief to the “unemployable”.In independent India, State governments variously adapted and amended these Famine Codes. However, the shadow of the values of colonial administration continues to fall long on the culture and practices of the executive in crafting its response to food scarcity, even 60 years after freedom.
This minimalising of relief was accomplished in part through a series of stern “tests”, to discourage all but those unfortunate persons who were most in most drastic need to report for work. For this, wage seekers had to agree to undertake hard monotonous work, in bleak and austere camps, far away from homes. There is evidence that Indian famine practices were the model used later in concentration camps in the Holocaust.
In some of the major scarcities and droughts from the 1960s to late 1980s, there was relatively greater fiscal freedom to local officials to respond to actual demand for work, but from early 1990s, relief work is seriously constrained by resources, and only minimalist interventions are permitted. NREGA rectifies this with its statutory guarantee of work, but it still is not an open-ended warranty, as it ensures 100 days of work and that too for only one person in each rural family a year, regardless of the specific exigencies of emergency situations. Public works continue to be closed before the onset of the rains, rather than with the reaping of the harvest, as in colonial times, and these can be periods of most severe food deprivation.
Breaking free of the past
As prospects of food scarcity resulting from failures of the monsoon once again looms over large parts of the country, we must seize the moment to break away decisively from the dubious colonial legacy of Famine Codes. The duties of the State to people threatened with hunger in such times must be codified in a law which must surge much beyond the minimalist agenda of past Codes, which continued to ensure little more than to prevent mass deaths in famines at minimum cost to the State exchequer. A law to guarantee the right to food should instead need to contain cast-iron provisions to protect all men, women and children from food denials, hunger, malnutrition and starvation, both in conditions of unusual emergency and in more normal times. It is only then that we will finally break with our colonial past; and free ourselves from our collective memories of suffering and death, resulting from State failures which condemned millions of people to live and die with hunger.