Mitras Analysis of News : 18-7-2017

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1.Back to the classroom (The Hindu)

2.When too much is too little (The Hindu)


1.Back to the classroom (The Hindu)

 Synoptic line: It throws light on the how to professionalise police based on experiment worldwide. (GS paper II)


  • Crisis in U.S. law enforcement is similar to the Indian police, there is an undeniable need for reform, but the prospects for this happening were bleak because of a multitude of factors, including the size of police forces, lack of political and community support.
  • People are dissatisfied with the quality of service they are getting from the grass roots. The system therefore needs drastic restructuring, beyond cosmetics, in order to make policing more professional and more acceptable to the common man.


  • Policing as per the Indian Constitution, is under state power, which means that state governments have the responsibility to provide their communities with a police service (the national government has the responsibility for policing in union territories). Most state governments have a police law that adopts or reflects the basic ideas of the 1861 legislation.

 National police commission

  • The National Police Commission (NPC) was appointed by the Government of India in 1977 with wide terms of reference covering the police organisation, its role, functions, accountability, relations with the public, political interference in its work, misuse of powers, evaluation of its performance etc. This was the first Commission appointed at the national level after Independence.
  • The NPC was established with the mandate to examine and give suggestions towards changing many aspects of policing. It produced eights reports between 1979 and 1981.

Professionalise- Police

  • A recent international conference organised by the Institute of Criminology at Cambridge University was the occasion for some serious brainstorming on the issue of how to infuse some fresh thinking into the twin problems of maintaining public order and combating conventional crime.
  • The main task was how to make the police shed their slumber and arbitrariness in reacting to field developments and make them acquire a fresh mindset to cope with the dire needs of a society under attack.
  • There is increasing disenchantment with the way the police handle major crises, even in countries that have a strong legacy of clinical public administration. This leads us to question- can things improve with a greater scientific approach, and not necessarily the use of gadgets, to day-to-day police operations? Terrorism and cyber attacks in particular are heightening the levels of fear of the community. How well have the police responded to this serious challenge to stability?
  • Basic truth is that policing has become far too routine and mechanical at a time when there is need for a drastically different response to events. Reactive policing was adequate to a community as long as it had its fundamentals unshaken. We are now living in tumultuous times, where violent crime grips major cities across the globe.
  • A movement launched more than a decade ago both in the U.S and the U.K. is known as evidence-based policing, often refer to success in diverse areas to strengthen the case for experiment-based law enforcement.

Evidence based policing (EBP)

  • Evidence-Based Policing (EBP) is an approach to policy making and tactical decision, making for police departments. It is an extension of evidence-based medicine and evidence-based policy.
  • According to Prof. Lawrence Sherman known as the father of EBP, the leading light of the Institute of Criminology is a relentless crusader, who holds that mindless policing to appease the polity is wasteful and misdirected.
  • In their view, a controlled experiment will throw up any number of facts that could help sharpen police professionalism. They draw from the remarkable progress that medical science has made in recent decades by encouraging bold experiments.
  • There are two areas in which EBP could deliver. These are prediction and prevention. The strategy is one of identifying ‘hot spots’ of crime and spotting problematic individuals in a community. EBP goes beyond statistics and pinpoints the time and opportunities presented to a potential offender.
  • These are the fundamentals to EBP a discipline that is gaining credibility by the day, exposing our police officers to this concept would make them more professional.

Way ahead

  • How long will the citizen be satisfied with a non-performing police force? It is not as if this is a problem that has suddenly come upon the police. It has only ballooned in recent times because of growing lawlessness promoted by big money and all that goes with it.
  • Sections of the police leadership are not contributing enough to the cause of consumer-sensitive policing. However, challenges like police training and quantity of force along with the quality, the long working hours as well as the isolation of police force from the public in the form of separate living quarters should be looked into.

Question–  Policing in India is based on notion of mistrust and suspicion. Need of the hour is to have a citizen friendly and cooperative police rather than a disciplining force. Comment.


2.When too much is too little (The Hindu)

 Synoptic line: It throws light on the need of an effective food strategy that must address the issue of food loss and waste. (GS paper III)


  • Each year, an estimated one-third of all food produced for human consumption is lost or wasted world-wide. Hunger is still remains one of the most urgent development challenges, food wastage is crippling a country’s economy.
  • Food loss and food waste refer to the decrease of food in subsequent stages of the food supply chain intended for human consumption. Food is lost or wasted throughout the supply chain, from initial production down to final household consumption. Food waste is both a humanitarian concern and drives climate change.
  • Hunger and food wastage are two sides of the coin. The cycle of hunger cannot be broken without channelizing the wasted food to help the needy. Without stopping wastage of food, we cannot do justice to millions of hungry people, our economy and the planet.
  • There is need of an effective food strategy that must address the issue of food loss and waste. In order to meet global food security needs, as well as the food demands of an increasingly affluent global population, we will need to both increase productivity and efficiency as well as reduce food waste.

Food wastage

  • According to the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO), “One third of food produced for human consumption is lost or wasted globally, which amounts to about 1.3 billion tons per year.”
  • FAO also mentions that, food is lost or wasted throughout the supply chain, from initial agricultural production to final household consumption. The losses represent “a waste of resources used in production such as land, water, energy and inputs, increasing the green gas emissions in vain”.
  • The decrease may be accidental or intentional, but ultimately leads to less food available for all. Food that gets spilled or spoilt before it reaches its final product or retail stage is called food loss. This may be due to problems in harvesting, storage, packing, transport, infrastructure or market, price mechanisms, as well as institutional and legal frameworks.


  • One major barrier of resolving food loss and waste is the lack of understanding of the magnitude of the problem. Food wastage is link to people’s behaviour. However, there are wastages which happen due to food’s perishability and the absence of an effective distribution mechanism and legal framework.
  • Food wastage has multiple socio-economic and environmental impacts. In a country like India, not only is food scarce for many poor families, it is a luxury for many others. India ranked 97th among 118 countries in the Global Hunger Index (2016). About 20crore people go to bed hungry and 7,000 people die of hunger every day; wastage of food is not less than a social delinquency.
  • A recent study by the Indian Institute of Management, Calcutta, revealed that only 10% of food is covered by cold storage facilities in India. This, coupled with poor supply-chain management, results in significant wastage, both at pre- and post-harvest stages, of cereals, pulses, fruits and vegetables.
  • The wastage of food entails loss of considerable amount of resources in the form of inputs used during production. For example, 25% of fresh water and nearly 300 million barrels of oil used to produce food are ultimately wasted.
  • The increasing wastage also results in land degradation by about 45%, mainly due to deforestation, unsustainable agricultural practices, and excessive groundwater extraction. Wastage results in national economic loss.
  • Food waste emissions have a major impact on climate change and result in greater carbon footprint. Decay also leads to harmful emission of other gases in the atmosphere; for instance, decaying of rice produces methane. The energy spent over wasted food results in 3.3 billion tonnes of carbon dioxide production every year.

Legislation in India

  • In India, there are many civil society, private sector and community initiatives aimed at distributing food among the poor. The government is also committed to securing availability of food grains for two-thirds of the 1.3 billion population under the National Food Security Act, 2013. 
  • There are initiatives such as India Food Banking Network (IFBN), which is promoting the concept of collaborative consumption with support from the private sector and civil society organisations. Such initiatives, creating networks and channels of distribution between those who have surplus food and those who are in need of them, are necessary.
  • The government needs to do more and should play a larger facilitating role. There is an urgent need to understand the complexity of the problem and then to devise a national-level strategy to combat it so that surplus of food can be turned into an advantage instead of resulting in wastage.

Way ahead

  • Looking at the scale of problems, it is wise to frame a comprehensive strategy by combining the efforts of the government and private sectors and civil society.
  • The government can create a time-bound task force under Niti Aayog, with experts from different sectors, to frame a national policy to tackle this gigantic issue, which can recommend the legal framework to support initiatives to reduce food loss and waste.
  • As a nation, we need to give priority to tackling this issue so that we can handle the social, economic and environmental ill-effects of wastage of food.

Question  Food wastage is a serious problem as huge resources are wasted when food is wasted. What policy interventions can solve this crisis? 

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