The recent judgment of the Supreme Court regarding the abrogation of Article 370 and the subsequent directions given to the Election Commission of India (ECI) to conduct elections in Jammu and Kashmir.
The Supreme Court has directed the Election Commission of India (ECI) to conduct elections to the Legislative Assembly of Jammu and Kashmir by September 30, 2024.
The judgment does not press the government to restore statehood to the bifurcated Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir.
The Bench suggests that direct elections should not be delayed until statehood is restored, but it could have directed the Union government to restore statehood and conduct elections by a specified date.
Restoration of statehood is important as it guarantees a degree of federal autonomy to the province and allows the elected government to better address the concerns of the electorate.
J&K remains one of India's most conflict-prone regions due to historical reasons and grievances over the conduct of democratic processes.
Periodic elections were conducted during the height of militancy, but participation was limited in many parts of the Valley, indicating disenchantment with the political system.
Since the early-mid 2000s, electoral participation improved and J&K's citizens began to partake in the democratic process to address their concerns.
However, agitations and protests over security policies and steps taken by the BJP government have led to the current state of affairs.
Local government elections have been held in the last five and a half years with varying levels of participation, indicating opposition to the measures implemented since 2018.
India's robust conduct of formal democratic processes is important for conflict resolution in places like Kashmir.
Without political processes and elected representatives addressing citizen grievances, there cannot be any normalcy.
The recent floods in Chennai and the limitations of urban planning in managing such disasters. It also highlights the efforts of the government and the need for sustained measures to prevent future flooding.
Torrential rains triggered by Cyclone Michaung on December 3-4 caused severe flooding in Chennai and its neighbouring districts
The central parts of Chennai were the only areas that did not experience severe flooding
The neighbouring districts of Kancheepuram, Chengalpattu, and Tiruvallur were also affected
Little has changed in areas like Velachery and Ambattur Industrial Estate despite being sought-after localities
Public anger arose due to inadequate relief work, restoration of services, and provision of essentials
Unlike the 2015 floods, there was no dramatic event apart from the cyclone itself this time
In 2015, the release of water from the Chembarambakkam reservoir into Adyar river was cited as the main cause of the floods
The Comptroller and Auditor General's report of 2017 highlighted the continuous discharge of 29,000 cusecs of water for 21 hours from the reservoir as a contributing factor to the floods
The DMK government claims that its handling of the situation during the cyclone made a difference.
They cite the ongoing implementation of a ₹4,000-crore storm water drain project as evidence of their efforts.
Chief Minister M.K. Stalin announced the distribution of ₹6,000 to each cyclone-hit family in the four districts.
The government announced a system to channel voluntary organizations' services in response to criticism.
AIADMK general secretary Edappadi K. Palaniswami doubts the efficacy of the storm water drains project and demands a White Paper on its implementation.
Palaniswami also demands that the relief amount be doubled.
The relationship between the Central and State governments is smooth during this crisis.
Central agencies and ministers are involved in efforts to mitigate the crisis.
The Defence Minister visited Chennai and the Home Minister announced funds for flood-related work.
Public-spirited individuals and civil society groups are demanding sustained steps to be taken by the government to prepare for future flooding crises and find a lasting solution.
Anna Nagar, a locality developed in the late 1960s and early 1970s, did not face major flooding issues due to its well-planned layout.
Reckless permission has been granted for unapproved layouts in Chennai, which needs to be stopped.
Proper maintenance of water bodies and natural wetlands like the Pallikaranai marsh is crucial.
The biomining project at the Perungudi dumping yard should be expedited to make the marsh more effective in absorbing water.
The government should publish the findings of the committee headed by V. Thiruppugazh on Chennai flood disaster mitigation and management and encourage a free debate on the matter.
The idea of developing a second or alternative capital in the fertile parts of the Cauvery delta in central Tamil Nadu should be considered.