By going through these Maharashtra State Board Class 12 Political Science Notes Chapter 3 Key Concepts and Issues Since 1991: Humanitarian Issues students can recall all the concepts quickly.

Maharashtra State Board Class 12 Political Science Notes Chapter 3 Key Concepts and Issues Since 1991: Humanitarian Issues


Globalization brought in concepts like participatory State, environmental concerns, awareness of human rights, etc. Today, humanitarian issues have assumed significance.

Environment refers to everything that makes up our surroundings i.e., the conditions in which organisms live. The environment includes the natural environment i.e., all living and non-living things (e.g., soil, atmosphere, water, etc) that occur naturally as well as built environment i.e., natural environment that is modified into a human environment e.g., roads, bridges, etc.

Efforts to protect the environment-

→ UN Conference on Human Environment (Stockholm, 1972) The purpose was to encourage and provide guidelines for the protection of the environment.

→ World Commission on Environment and Development (1983) also called Brundtland Commissions put forward the concept of sustainable growth.

→ Rio de Janeiro Earth Summit (1992) sought to raise public awareness on the need to integrate environment and development and to create a partnership between developing and more industrialized nations to ensure a healthy future for the planet.

→ Earth Summit at Johannesburg (2002) recognized sustainable development as the most important goal for institutions at the national, regional, and international levels.

→ UN Conference on sustainable development (Rio-2012) is also called Rio Earth Summit or Rio+20. Environmental sustainability is defined as responsible interaction with the environment to avoid depletion or degradation of natural resources and allow for long-term environmental quality.
Its goal is to conserve natural resources, reduce pollution, develop alternate sources of power, etc.

Maharashtra Board Class 12 Political Science Chapter 3 Key Concepts and Issues Since 1991: Humanitarian Issues

Some of the important environmental concerns include –

→ Climate change due to greenhouse gas emissions have resulted in extreme weather conditions like flooding, wildfires, etc.

→ Pollution – Smog, air pollution, etc endanger public health.

→ Deforestation worsens global warming and also threatens humans and animals who rely on forests to sustain themselves

→ Water scarcity is a worldwide problem.

→ Loss of Biodiversity is mainly due to climate change and threatens food security and population health.
The Ministry of Environment, Forest, and Climate change is the nodal agency in India for planning, promotion, coordination, and implementation of the country’s environmental and forest policies and programmes. The main concerns of MoEFCC relate to the conservation of natural resources and biodiversity and the prevention of pollution. It is guided by the principle of sustainable development.

Poverty And Development:
The traditional perception of poverty is where people are unable to provide for their basic necessities of life. It is the deprivation of common necessities that determine the quality of life including food, clothing, shelter, and safe drinking water. The alternate view of poverty focuses on both material and non-material aspects i.e., focus on community ties, values and availability of common resources, participatory decision making, and political and economic decentralization.

The purpose of development is to ensure the welfare of the people and is associated with economic growth. The traditional approaches to development focus on the predominant role of the State in promoting economic growth (Socialist) or the role of a free-market economy (Capitalist). Since the 1990s, the alternative view of development that focuses on both material and non-material aspects has become acceptable. The focus today is a development based on equity, participation, empowerment, and sustainability.

According to ECOSOC, poverty is a denial of choices and opportunities and a violation of human dignity. Poverty entails more than the lack of income and productive resources to ensure sustainable livelihoods.

The first UN Decade for poverty eradication (1997-2006) and the second UN Decade for ‘poverty eradication (2008-2017) stated that poverty is the greatest global challenge and that it is necessary to bring about sustainable development to alleviate poverty. Democratization and protection of human rights are key components of good governance that are necessary to eradicate poverty.

Maharashtra Board Class 12 Political Science Chapter 3 Key Concepts and Issues Since 1991: Humanitarian Issues

Poverty And Development In India:
India’s vision of development had three aspects :

→ Modernisation of the Economy – During the Nehruvian period, the focus was on land reforms, irrigation and large scale industrialisation to provide employment and increase productivity.

→ Self-reliance – This included ‘import substitution strategy to develop indigenous industry.

→ Socialist pattern of society – It was based on promotion of the Welfare State, employment generation and importance to the public sector. The Planning Commission (March 1950 to 31st December 2014) was created to chalk out Five Year Plans for development.

→ ‘Growth with Social Justice and Equity has been India’s policy towards poverty and development. Its development strategy has evolved over the years. In the early stages, government played a dominant role through the public sector. The 1960s were the period of the Green Revolution.

In the 1980’s India faced on economic crisis, due to poor performance of the public sector and wasteful public expenditure programmes. After 1991, wide-ranging economic reforms were initiated. Policies of economic liberalisation and privatisation of public sector were initiated.

→ The government, along with private sector and civil society continue to play an important role in socio-economic development. The Global MPI released by the UNDP indicates that between 2005-06 and 2015-16 incidence of multidimensional poverty has decreased from 54.7% to 27.5%.

Gender Issues:

There is a distinct link between poverty and unsatisfactory conditions of women. In most parts of the world, women are poor due to cultural norms and unequal power equations between men and women. In the 1970s, women’s empowerment came to be accepted as an important philosophy to bring about gender justice.

The UN ‘Decade for Women’ began in 1976 with the following objectives:

  • to link women’s issues with developmental issues
  • to promote equal rights and opportunities for women across the globe.

Some of the important gender-related issues in India:

→ Economic inequality – There is a high level of the male-female wage gap. The participation of women in the labour force is only 28.2 %

→ Literacy rate – As per the 2011 census report, the female literacy rate is 65.46% as compared to 82.14% of male literacy

→ Trafficking and exploitation – Women in India, especially in the hinterland, are vulnerable to be forced into marriage, to work as maids or in the flesh trade

→ Low political representation – There is a 33% reservation for women in elected local bodies only. Women representatives are few, both in Parliament and in most State legislatures.

→ The 1st Lok Sabha had 24 women (5%) and the 17th Lok Sabha has 78 women (14%) which is the highest representation to date. The Central Social Welfare Board (CSWB) was set up in 1953 to carry out welfare activities for women, children, etc.

Maharashtra Board Class 12 Political Science Chapter 3 Key Concepts and Issues Since 1991: Humanitarian Issues

The evolution of approaches to women’s issues are :

→ Welfare approach – It focused on community development through Mahila Mandals, health, and education programmes, etc.

→ Development approach – It focused on the rights and status of women in areas of health, education, and employment.

→ Empowerment approach – It focused on the participation of women in planning and implementing welfare schemes was necessary.

→ National Commission for Women (NCW) was established on 31st January 1992 under provisions of the NCW Act (1990).

→ 73rd and 74th amendments (1993) provided for reservation of seats in local bodies (like Municipalities, Panchayats) for women. Department of Women and Child Development was set up as a separate ministry in 2006 to create gender equitable and child-centered legislation and programmes.

Legislations for women’s welfare include the Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act 2005, Muslim Women (Protection of Right of Marriage) Act, (2019).