The Public Premises (Eviction of Unauthorized Occupants) Amendment Bill, 2019

Mains Paper 2 : Government Scheme/Policies |

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Provisions of the bill

Mains level : Nothing much


Provisions of the bill

  1. The Public Premises (Eviction of Unauthorised Occupants) Amendment Bill, 2019 was introduced by the Minister of Housing and Urban Affairs
  2. It amends the Public Premises (Eviction of Unauthorised Occupants) Act, 1971.
  3. The Act provides for the eviction of unauthorized occupants from public premises in certain cases
  4.  Residential accommodation: it is the occupation of public premises by a person on the grant of a license for such an occupation. The occupation must be allowed under the rules made by the central, state or union territory government, or statutory authority.
  5. Notice for eviction: It requires an estate officer to issue a written notice to a person if he is in unauthorized occupation of residential accommodation. 
  6. Order of eviction: After considering the cause shown, and making any other inquiries, the estate officer will make an order for eviction.  If the person fails to comply with the order, the estate officer may evict such a person from the residential accommodation, and take possession of it. 
  7. Payment of damages: If the person in unauthorized occupation of the residential accommodation challenges the eviction order passed by the estate officer in court, he will be required to pay damages for every month of such an occupation. 

Which country has most number of languages? Not India

Mains Paper 1 : Arts & Culture |

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Important for prelims

Mains level : Nothing much


NEWS

The Pacific island nation of Papua New Guinea has the highest number of ‘living’ indigenous languages in the world (840), while India stands fourth with 453.

Background

  1. 2019 is the United Nations’ International Year of Indigenous Languages
  2. In 2016, the UN’s Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues pointed out that 40% of the estimated 6,700 languages spoken around the world were in danger of disappearing
  3. Several languages are now “endangered” 
  4. For languages like Tiniguan (Colombian origin), there is just a single native speaker left
  5. Chinese, Spanish, English, Hindi and Arabic are the most widely spoken languages worldwide when only first-languages are considered
  6. U.S. and Australia are among the countries where the highest number of languages are spoken
  7. Asia and Africa account for the highest number of indigenous languages 
  8. ‘Greenberg’s diversity index’ – the probability that any two people selected at random would have different mother tongues. It ranges from 0 to 1, where 0 indicates no diversity and 1 indicates total diversity. A higher diversity index would mean more languages spread across the country.
  9. Most Indian languages are derivatives of languages that are spoken in other parts of Asia as well.
  10. Sino-Tibetan languages are spoken across Northeast India, China, Bhutan, Nepal and other South East Asian countries.
  11. But, Andamanese language family is confined to India alone.
  12. According to UNESCO’s ‘Atlas of the World’s Languages in Danger’, in India, five languages have become extinct since 1950, while 42 are critically endangered.
  13. The International Year of Indigenous Languages aims to promote native tongues in five key areas like creation of favourable conditions for knowledge-sharing and dissemination of good practices on indigenous languages

Virasat-e-Khalsa museum in Punjab sets record in footfall

Mains Paper 1 : Arts & Culture |

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Prelims question on the state/ event

Mains level : Nothing much


NEWS

The Virasat-e-Khalsa Museum in Punjab’s Anandpur Sahib town will find a place in the Asia Book of Records for becoming the most visited museum in the Indian sub-continent in a single day.

Other facts

  1. It has become the most visited museum in the Indian sub-continent on a single day
  2. Virasat-e-Khalsa was built to commemorate the rich history and culture of Punjab and Sikhism and was inaugurated in November 2011
  3. It would be the third entry for the museum in record books. Earlier, Virasat-e-Khalsa made it to Limca Book of Records and India Book of Records

Ocean warming, overfishing increase methylmercury toxin in fish

Mains Paper 3 : Conservation, Environmental Pollution & Degradation, Eia |

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Methylmercury - water pollution

Mains level : climate change impact


Despite a decrease in seawater concentration of methylmercury since the late 1990s, the amount of toxin that gets accumulated in certain fish which are higher in the food chain have been found to increase. 

Reasons

  1. The amount of methylmercury in fish higher in the food chain can change due to two reasons — ocean warming and dietary shifts due to overfishing by humans.
  2. Researchers have found that there has been an up to 23% increase in methylmercury concentration in Atlantic codfish in the Gulf of Maine in the northwestern Atlantic Ocean.
  3. The increase in the methylmercury concentration in codfish has been due to changes in the diet caused by overfishing.
  4. As a result of diet change, cod fish in the 2000s relied more on larger herring and lobster, which have higher concentrations of the toxin than other prey fish consumed in the 1970s.
  5. Besides dietary changes, ocean warming too causes changes in the methylmercury accumulation in fish.
  6. Fish metabolism is temperature-dependent. So as ocean temperature increases, fish experience higher metabolism and more energy obtained from food is spent on maintenance rather than growth, leading to more methylmercury getting concentrated in predatory fish.

The researchers warn that human exposure to the toxin through fish consumption is bound to increase as a result of climate change. Hence, there is a need for stronger regulations to protect ecosystem and human health.

Water Management – Institutional Reforms, Conservation Efforts, etc.

Centre unveils plan for coastal zone management

Mains Paper 3 : Conservation, Environmental Pollution & Degradation, Eia |

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Coastal Regulation Zones

Mains level : Coastal management and development


NEWS

The Environment Ministry has unveiled a draft plan that will dictate how prospective infrastructure projects situated along the coast ought to be assessed before they can apply for clearance.

Plan

  1. The draft Environmental and Social Management Framework (ESMF) is part of a World Bank-funded project.
  2. It lays out guidelines for coastal States to adopt when they approve and regulate projects in coastal zones.
  3. It seeks to assist the Government of India in enhancing coastal resource efficiency and resilience by building capacity for adopting and implementing integrated coastal management approaches
  4. The document was prepared by the Society for Integrated Coastal Management, a Ministry-affiliated body.
  5. As per the report, Integrated coastal zone management (ICZM) has to be a continuous process rather than a “one-off” investment action.
  6. The key activities proposed for coastal zone development include: 
    1. mangrove afforestation/shelter beds
    2.  habitat conservation activities such as restoration of sea-grass meadows
    3. eco-restoration of sacred groves
    4. development of hatcheries
    5. rearing/rescue centres for turtles and other marine animals
    6. creation of infrastructure for tourism
    7. restoration and recharge of water bodies
    8. beach cleaning and development
    9. small infrastructure facilities
  7. Livelihood improvement projects include
    1. demonstration of climate-resilient or salinity resistant agriculture
    2. water harvesting and recharge/storage
    3. creation of infrastructure and facilities to support eco-tourism
    4. community-based small-scale mariculture
    5. seaweed cultivation
    6. aquaponics
  8. Environmental and social aspects ought to be integrated into the planning, design, implementation of projects.
  9. Projects should avoid or minimise impacts on cultural properties and natural habitats, compensate any loss of livelihood or assets, adopt higher work safety standards, occupational and community health and safety

Action so far

  1. So far three coastal States, Gujarat, Odisha and West Bengal, have prepared Integrated Coastal Zone Management Plans with support from the World Bank.
  2. Such plans would be prepared for the selected coastal stretches in other States/UT.
  3. Inadequate planning has often obstructed coastal zone development projects
Coastal Zones Management and Regulations

[op-ed snap] Our notions of motherhood

Mains Paper 2 : Laws, Institutions & Bodies Constituted For The Vulnerable Sections |

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Nothing much

Mains level : Surrogacy


The Lok Sabha passed the Surrogacy (Regulation) Bill 2019. to regulate the practice of surrogacy in India and allow only “ethical altruistic surrogacy”.

Challenges

  1. Heavy reliance on criminal law for managing social issues, criminalisation of choice and prejudiced ideas of what constitutes a family.
  2. Disallows single, divorced or widowed persons, unmarried couples and homosexual couples from pursuing surrogacy to have children.
  3. It stipulates that only a man and woman married for at least five years, where either or both are proven infertile, can avail of surrogacy.

Why the provisions are discriminatory

  1. India’s jurisprudence recognises the reproductive autonomy of single persons, the rights of persons in live-in relationships and fundamental rights of transgenders.
  2. In Navtej Singh Johar vs Union of India, Supreme Court decriminalised consensual same-sex between consenting adults and held that the law cannot discriminate against same-sex partnership.
  3. Single persons have the right to adopt children in India.
  4. Guidelines issued by Indian Council of Medical Research in 2002 and the draft Assisted Reproductive Technologies (Regulation) Bills 2010 and 2014 had permitted commercial surrogacy
  5. Criminalisation of commercial surrogacy is a refusal by the state to actually consider the exercise of agency that leads a woman to become a surrogate mother. 
  6. A ban on commercial surrogacy stigmatises this choice and reinforces the notion of the vulnerable “poor” woman who does not understand the consequences of her decisions and needs the protection of a paternalistic State.
  7. In our patriarchal society, it can be expected that young mothers will be coerced into becoming surrogates for their relatives. The Bill moves the site of exploitation into the private and opaque sphere of the home and family.

Altruistic surrogacy

  1. The shift to altruistic-only surrogacy was made in the context of reports about cases of surrogate babies being abandoned and exploited
  2. Problems of surrogate mothers being kept in “surrogacy brothels” and rich foreigners using the bodies of poor Indian women to have children.
  3. PIL in Jayashree Wad vs Union of India sought to end commercial surrogacy in India. Based on court judgement, the government declared that it did not support commercial surrogacy and would allow only infertile Indian couples to avail of altruistic surrogacy.
  4. There is a danger of exploitation and abuse in commercial surrogacy.

Way ahead

  1. Exploitation takes place because of the unequal bargaining power between the surrogate mother and the surrogacy clinics, agents and intending parents. This can be addressed by a strong regulatory mechanism with transparency and mandating fair work and pay for the surrogate mothers.
  2. Viewing commercial surrogacy as inherently exploitative and banning it expands the potential for exploitation as it would force the business underground.
  3. The Standing Committee had recommended a model of compensated surrogacy which would cover psychological counselling of the surrogate mother and/or her children, lost wages for the duration of pregnancy, child care support, dietary supplements and medication, maternity clothing and post-delivery care.

Surrogacy is an important avenue for persons to have a child through a willing surrogate mother who can also benefit monetarily from the process.

Surrogacy in India

[op-ed snap] The Yuan’s devaluation has made investors nervous

Mains Paper 2 : Effect Of Policies & Politics Of World On India'S Interests |

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : What is devaluation

Mains level : Impact of Yuan devaluation


CONTEXT

Chinese yuan broke the seven-to-one parity against the dollar for the first time since 2008. China deliberately devalued the Chinese currency after the latest tariff threats issued by US.

Why China did this

  1. Economic reasons
  1. China’s weakening manufacturing competitiveness is likely to strengthen with yuan-priced goods and services getting cheaper across supply chains in East Asia, parts of Africa, etc.
  2. It is likely to widen China’s trade surplus with the US in the immediate short run.
  3. It will also help China expand trade margins within its own region, especially with Vietnam, Thailand, Indonesia, etc.
  1. Political Reasons
  1. The US’ own strategic engagement in Asia has weakened under Trump, who questioned the “value of US alliances with Japan and South Korea
  2. Japanese imposed trade restrictions on South Korea. China and Russia staged their first joint aerial patrols in the region, causing South Koreans to react militarily.
  3. China-US friction has offered significant economic and political leverage to smaller emerging nations like Vietnam and Indonesia within their respective regional spaces

Problems

  1. Risk not only for those trading in the US and Chinese currencies or their stocks, but also for capital flows between emerging markets
  2. China, around 2015-16, tried something similar by letting the yuan depreciate; it led to a stock market crash in China, and billions of its dollar reserves disappeared in just a few days.
  3. That devaluation saw led to a massive capital flight from China, further weakening its external position.
  4. The debt denominated in foreign currencies has increased for global companies and developing nations across the world, and maybe vulnerable to a currency shock if the “currency war” continues.
  5. Most foreign investors switched to the safety of gold or other currencies like yen.
  6. China’s weakening of its currency to hurt US economic interests for political gains will only make other Asian countries more vulnerable to a political crisis that could quickly escalate to a financial crisis
Foreign Policy Watch: India-China

[op-ed snap] Taken for a ride: on India’s gender-blind transport system

Mains Paper 3 : Infrastructure: Energy, Ports, Roads, Airports, Railways Etc. |

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Nothing much

Mains level : Need for gender sensitive public transport


CONTEXT

A 2010 report by New-Delhi based NGO Jagori revealed that 51% of women in the capital faced harassment inside public transport, and another 42% while waiting for public transport.

Ola’s survey ahead of International Women’s Day 2019, highlighted how only 9% of the surveyed women commuters in the country felt safe in public transport, but still used it due to the lack of other options. 

HOW TO MAKE PUBLIC TRANSPORT SAFE FOR ALL

  • Rope in traffic police at large bus depots, MRTC railway stations
  • Provide functional and responsive helplines
  • Ensure elevators and escalators are functional
  • Better footpaths and clean subways
  • Create safe and usable cycling tracks
  • Set up the gender advisory committee
  • Most importantly, educate and sensitize men

Problems

  1. As per a 2017 report by the Institute for Transportation and Development Policy, women may turn down better employment opportunities further away from home in favor of lower-paid local jobs when the public transport system is unreliable or unaffordable
  2. This holds true especially for those belonging to lower-income groups, thus impacting their access to better jobs, education and basic necessities
  3. The report also states that over 84% of trips by women are by the public, intermediate public and non-motorised modes of transport
  4. Efforts to improve our crumbling public transport systems — used by a majority of the population — haven’t been addressed.

Motor Vehicles Bill 2019

  1. The bill provides some relief to passengers as far as app-based taxi-hailing services go
  2. It gives power to the Centre to regulate these services and set ground rules on safety and surge pricing, and get them to invest in customer care teams 
  3. It points out issues of road safety, heftier fines for errant drivers, vehicle recall norms
  4. There’s no mention of better roads or infrastructure development

Unless we have gender-responsive plans for urban transport in place, our cities will be far from inclusive.

Roads, Highways and Logistics infrastructure – Bharatmala, LEEP, SetuBharatam, etc.