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Explained: July 2019 was the hottest ever month on record; what now?

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

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Climate change impact

Mains level : Climate change impact


NEWS

The World Meteorological Organization announced that July 2019 matched, and broke the record for the hottest month since analysis began.

Background

  1. The previous warmest month on record was July 2016, and July 2019 was at least on par with it.
  2. July 2019 was close to 1.2°C above the pre-industrial level.

Problem

  1. Exceptional heat has been observed across the globe in recent weeks, with several European countries recording temperature highs.
  2. The extraordinary heat was accompanied by dramatic ice melt in Greenland, in the Arctic and on European glaciers.
  3. Unprecedented wildfires raged in the Arctic devastating the pristine forests which absorb carbon dioxide and turning them into fiery sources of greenhouse gases.

If we do not take action on climate change now, these extreme weather events are just the tip of the iceberg.

Climate Change Impact on India and World – International Reports, Key Observations, etc.

SBM 2.0 focussed on ODF sustainability: Govt

Mains Paper 2 : Government Scheme/Policies |

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : SBM 2.0

Mains level : Shift from IEC to BCC


Background

  1. Nearly 93.1% of rural Indian households have access to toilets and 96.5% of these toilets are in constant usage, according to the second edition of NARSS in 2018-19

SBM 2.0

  1. Sustaining investment on ODF
  2. Faecal sludge management dedicated programme, which will ensure that each district will have FSTP (faecal sludge treatment plant)
  3. Plastic waste management by creating material recovery facility and plastic treatment and management facility in each gram panchayat
  4. Solid and liquid waste management support to villages for safe disposal of solid and liquid waste
  5. Investing funds for behaviour change through IEC (Information, Education and Communication) ­exercise, training masons to promote retrofitting of toilets and panchayat pradhans to sustain ODF status

Way ahead

  1. The government should make a paradigm shift from IEC to BCC – behaviour change communication approach
  2. While IEC collects information on the use of toilets, BCC talks about underlying factors of why they are not using the toilets and tries to address them through behavioural science

B2B

The NARSS is a third-party survey that was conducted by the Independent Verification Agency (IVA) under the World Bank support project.

Swachh Bharat Mission

What is Bakrid?

Mains Paper 1 : Arts & Culture |

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Bakrid festival

Mains level : Nothing much


  1. Id–ul–Azha is the commemoration of sacrifice by Prophet Hazrath Ibrahim
  2. It is celebrated the world over by the Muslims annually on the 10th of the Islamic month of Zilhaj
  3. One night Hazrath Ibrahim saw in a vision that he was sacrificing his only son Ismail. It was a dream and in reality, it was an order from Allah which demanded sacrifice from both the father and the son.
  4. Hazrath Ibrahim consulted his son Hazrath Ismail readily consented.
  5. The rising sun of the 10th of Zilhaj saw the scene of a father preparing to sacrifice his son in obedience to his Maker.
  6. Hazrath Ibrahim walked towards the hill of Marwa along with Ismail. He laid him down, blindfolded himself and got ready to perform the sacrifice.
  7. Disappointment flooded through Ibrahim as the thoughts finally took shape. He saw his son Ismail standing, his eyes sparkling with vitality and a smile on his tranquil face. Hazrath Ibrahim construed that his sacrifice had been rejected.
  8. Allah requires our will and devotion and sacrificing the goat is one of the rites of the Haj to be performed by every Muslim who can afford it.

‘Uber for tractors’: Government to launch app to aid farmers

Mains Paper 3 : E-Technology In The Aid Of Farmers |

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Nothing much

Mains level : Farm mechanisation


NEWS

A laser-guided land leveller uses technology to accurately flatten a field in a fraction of the time than an oxen-powered scraper. But such Hitech levellers cost at least ₹3 lakh and is beyond the reach of the average small farmer.

A new app described as “Uber for tractors” offers a solution.

Benefits

  1. Farmers save precious groundwater and increase productivity by 10 to 15%.
  2. Provide farmers to have affordable access to cutting-edge technology
  3. There are now more than 38,000 custom hiring centres (CHCs) across the country, which rent out 2.5 lakh pieces of farm equipment every year. The app connects farmers with these CHCs.
  4. The app will also create an invaluable database for policy-makers, who can track the use and cost of equipment
Seeds, Pesticides and Mechanization – HYV, Indian Seed Congress, etc.

[op-ed snap] A point to ponder over in the POCSO Bill

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 : Analysis of POCSO Amendment


The Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (Amendment) Bill, 2019 was passed by the Parliament. 

Specific provisions

  1. It defines what ‘child pornography’ is; ‘using a child for pornographic purposes’ and for ‘possessing or storing pornography involving a child’ is punishable.
  2. It has also widened the ambit of ‘Aggravated sexual assault’
  3. It introduced the death penalty for the rape of minors
  4. The Bill is gender neutral and provides for the death penalty for “aggravated penetrative sexual assault of a child” and not just a girl child.

Problems

  1. The introduction of the death penalty may backfire in cases of child sexual abuse and even have a catastrophic effect. Often, perpetrators of abuse are family members and having such penalties may discourage the registration of the crime itself.
  2. It may threaten the life of the minor as the maximum punishment for murder is also the death sentence.
  3. Justice J.S. Verma Committee was against the imposition of the death penalty in rape cases. The 262nd Report of the Law Commission of India also provides for the abolition of the death penalty except in terror cases.
  4. The death penalty diverts attention from the core issues of infrastructural apathy, procedural lapses and trial delays.
  5. It is the certainty of punishment rather than its severity which has deterrence in real sense.
  6. Even a year-and-a-half after the passage of the Criminal Law (Amendment) Bill, 2018, which introduced the death penalty for rape of a minor girl, such incidents have not been under check.
  7. Robin Conley in his book, Confronting the Death Penalty, has observed that the death penalty may seem just and appropriate in abstract but once analysed, it is less appealing practically.
  8. Deterrence has to be supplemented by exhaustive measures including an overhaul of the criminal justice administration.
  9. As per Supreme court data, 24,212 FIRs were filed across India this year. According to NCRB data of 2016, the conviction rate in POCSO cases is 29.6% while pendency is as high as 89%. The prescribed time period of two months for trial in such cases is hardly complied with.

Supreme court has recently directed the Central Government to set up special courts in each district having more than 100 pending cases under the Act.

Child Rights – POSCO, Child Labour Laws, NAPC, etc.

[op-ed snap] Rethinking water governance strategies

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

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Nothing much

Mains level : Water crisis and solutions


CONTEXT

India’s severe ‘water crisis’ is in the news recently. India’s cities are running out of water. Chennai witnessed the worst drinking water woes.

Facts

  1. Niti Aayog’s report ‘Composite Water Management Index: A tool for water management’ stated that 21 major cities are expected to run out of groundwater as soon as 2020, affecting nearly 100 million people.
  2. The Central Ground Water Board (CGWB) has been reporting on the increasing number of over-exploited blocks across India, labeled as the ‘dark’ category blocks.  The recent annual book of CGWB has reported 1,034 units, out of the 6,584 units it monitors, as over-exploited.
  3. CGWB’s 2013 estimates say that the groundwater development in India is just about 62% of the utilizable groundwater reserves.
  4. A recent report by the Central Water Commission and ISRO asserted that India is not yet in “water scarcity condition”, but in a “water-stressed condition”, with reducing per capita water availability.

Way ahead

  1. Ensure adequate access to quality water, more so in urban areas where inequities over space and time are acute.
  2. With rapid urbanization, demand cannot be met by groundwater reserves alone. Groundwater meets just 10% of Delhi’s drinking water needs. The rest is met by surface water sources transported from outside Delhi.
  3. Water resource departments in States are following conventional approaches to supply augmentation. They should reorient themselves and deploy demand management, conservation, and regulation strategies.
  4. Centre and states should work towards an institutional change by building federal governance of water resources.
Water Management – Institutional Reforms, Conservation Efforts, etc.

[op-ed snap] India’s economic mobility and its impact on inequality

Mains Paper 3 : Inclusive Growth & Issues |

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Nothing much

Mains level : Economic inequality; Inclusive Growth issues


CONTEXT

There has been a phenomenal rise in economic inequality in India. It is important to measure the extent of economic mobility in India, which reflects the number of people moving up and down the economic ladder over time. 

Facts

  1. A 2018 Oxfam study reports a significant increase in the consumption Gini index in both rural and urban areas from 1993-94 to 2011-12.
  2. According to the Global Wealth Report (GWR) 2017 by the Credit Suisse Research Institute, between 2002 and 2012, the share of the bottom 50% of the population in total wealth declined from 8.1% to only 4.2%. In the same period, the share of the top 1% of the total wealth increased from 15.7% to 25.7%.
  3. A recent survey pointed out that the mobility rate for the population is remarkably low. In 7 years, at least 7 in 10 poor households remain poor or remain in an insecure non-poor state.

Economic mobility

In a mobile economy, the households move more freely throughout the income/consumption distribution.

Importance of mobility

  1. Long-term welfare effects of rising inequality depend crucially on the level of economic mobility.
  2. Economic mobility or the lack of it can accentuate the adverse effects of inequality.
  3. An economy with much economic mobility will result in a more equal distribution of incomes and consumption than an economy with low mobility.

Dimensions of mobility

  1. Muslims are more vulnerable to falling below the poverty line over the seven-year period compared to Hindus or other religious groups.
  2. Compared to upper-caste groups and OBCs, SCs and STs are less likely to escape poverty and more likely to move into poverty.
  3. Between upper castes and OBCs, the latter is more likely to move into poverty and less likely to become secure non-poor.
  4. Rural households are more likely to remain in poverty compared to urban households.
  5. Inequality in India can be characterized as chronic since households belonging to the lower rungs of the economic ladder are likely to find themselves caught in a poverty trap.

Way ahead

  1. Poverty reduction efforts should focus on ways to improve the permanent economic status of households through the acquisition of assets and capabilities, rather than dealing with temporary volatility.
  2. There is also doubt on the efficacy of existing affirmative action and social programs to improve the economic status of marginalized groups in the country.
Economic Indicators-GDP, FD,etc

Flooding has become a calendar event in India

Mains Paper 3 : Disaster Management |

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Nothing much

Mains level : Flooding - reasons


Rains have battered Kerala, Karnataka and Maharashtra leaving many dead and several missing. Parts of Bihar, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Gujarat and Assam are also reeling under torrential rainfall.

Background

  1. Weather patterns are becoming increasingly unpredictable with every passing year leading to extreme heat, cold and flooding.
  2. This is the effect of climate change caused by years of carbon emissions and the exploitation of natural resources.
  3. Construction booms of the past few decades have taken a toll on wetlands and river valleys across states.
  4. Excessive use of concrete and the illegal encroachment of river banks and lakes have constricted natural drainage systems.

Way ahead

India must strengthen institutional capacity for disaster mitigation and relief

Disasters and Disaster Management – Sendai Framework, Floods, Cyclones, etc.