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November 2019

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

[op-ed snap] How markets can serve climate


From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Nothing much

Mains level : Climate Finance


The next climate conference has the challenge of deciding how markets can be deployed in the service of climate. 

CDM – Clean Development Mechanism

    • CDM – is a market instrument that can help the industry as well as climate.
    • India leads the initiative – Along with China and Brazil, India is a leader in CDM since its inception in 2007.
    • India benefited from CDM – A number of small and medium projects in the field of energy efficiency and renewable energy were financed from CDM.

Challenges to the future of CDM

    • New mechanisms – in 2021, new market mechanisms mandated under the Paris Agreement come into operation.
    • Opposition by developed countries – Most developed countries is strongly opposed to permitting the carryover of CDM projects and their credits into the Paris Pact’s mechanisms.
    • Credits under CDM – The credits lying unsold with the CDM projects could lose their economic worth.
    • New validation procedures – CDM projects will have to go through the process of validation and registration again with the new mechanism. This will involve additional financial and administrative costs.

India – CDM

    • CER – India has about 250 million Certified Emission Reduction (CER) units under CDM issued by the UNFCCC. The number of CDM projects registered in India is 1,376 and 89% of these projects are still active.
    • Declining demand – The demand in the EU, which has been the largest market for CDM credits, has declined sharply over the last decade because of regulatory barriers.
    • Value of CDM credits – The unrealised value of CDM credits could be in the range of almost $5 billion. India stands to lose substantially if existing CDM projects and credits are closed in 2020.

Arguments against CDM

    • No environmental impact – It has failed to demonstrate environmental benefits in addition to the “business as usual” scenario.
    • Difficult transition – Its transition to new mechanisms will have adverse impacts on carbon prices and investor sentiments in future markets.
    • Double counting – double counting could compromise global ambition on reducing GHG emissions.

Alternative arguments

    • Alternative technologies – CDM project proponents should be free to choose available cost-effective technologies as long as the objective of emission reductions is achieved. 
    • Technology is not a judge – “Additionality” in CDM projects should not be judged solely on the criterion of technology. They are also about investments and overcoming market barriers. All CDM projects have passed these tests.
    • Transition is not so quick – The argument that a transition of CDM credits may flood the market and lead to deterioration in the carbon prices in future markets is also over-stretched. Validation and registration of projects under the new mechanism may take at least three years.
    • Possible increase of credit demand – If all CDM units available globally till 2020 are traded immediately, they may be fully absorbed by 2024 — as demand for credits for meeting the Paris commitments increases. 
    • Increased demand from airlines – More than 60% of the credits may be used fully even before 2022 if we take into account the demand from airline operators to meet commitments under CORSIA.


    • Environmental integrity is an objective of the market mechanisms under the Paris Agreement. 
    • Double counting – for project/program-based mechanisms, countries should make arrangements to prevent double-counting of emission reduction units in their national accounts. 
    • Nonuniform adjustment principle – the difference in levels of development of countries requires that the adjustment principle should not be applied uniformly to developed and developing countries. 
    • ICAO actions – ICAO is actively considering a plan to limit the use of CDM credits to those issued after 2015. This could be a challenge to the CDM in the future carbon market.

Way ahead

    • For India – India should have a strategy that ensures that it does not get shut out of the CORSIA market even as ICAO enlarges the source of supplies from other countries. 
    • Changing the binaries – the relationship between the project/program-based emission reduction units and the national pool of emission reductions should be changed. 
    • Assessing carbon markets – there is a need for a firm basis to establish access to future carbon markets.




It is an emission reduction scheme for international civil aviation effective from 2021.

North-East India – Security and Developmental Issues

[op-ed snap] Changing the status quo


From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Nothing much

Mains level : Merger of Assam Rifles and ITBP


The Ministry of Home Affairs has proposed that Assam Rifles should be merged with ITBP and serve under the operational control of the MHA. The Army is opposed to this proposal.

Assam Rifles

  • It is a central paramilitary force.
  • It is under the administrative control of the MHA and operational control of the Army, i.e. the Ministry of Defence. 

History of Assam Rifles


  • It is formed as Cachar Levy in 1835 to assist the British rulers in maintaining peace in the Northeast.
  • It had just about 750 men but proved its capability and efficiency.


  • The unit was converted into the Assam Military Police Battalion with two additional battalions in 1870. They were known as the Lushai Hills Battalion, Lakhimpur Battalion, and Naga Hills Battalion. 
  • Just before World War I, another battalion, the Darrang Battalion, was added. 
  • They all rendered great service by assisting the British in Europe and West Asia during the war. 
  • These battalions were then renamed Assam Rifles. 
  • They were regular armed police battalions, with the ‘Rifles’ tag. It was a matter of honor for their competence.

Post 1962 war

  • After the Chinese aggression in 1962 in Arunachal Pradesh, Assam Rifles battalions were placed under the operational control of the Army. 
  • Assam Rifles personnel who were acclimatised to the region were better suited for operations then. 
  • One of the major causes of India’s defeat was that the regular Army units were not used to extreme weather. 

Situation changed now

  • All Central Armed Police Forces (CAPF) are acclimatised to almost every region of the country due to country-wide deployment of all CAPF battalions. 
  • The operational role performed by the ITBP at 18,700 feet in Ladakh is a testimony to its capability to guard the border in any part of the country. 
  • Back in 2001, the Group of Ministers had stated that the principle of ‘One Border, One Force’ should be strictly adhered to. 
  • If ITBP can guard the India-China border in Ladakh, it can also guard the India-China border in Arunachal Pradesh and beyond.
  • Having two masters for an organisation — one for administrative control and another for operational control — is absurd and leads to problems of coordination.
  • Home Ministry’s move to merge all its 55,000-strong Assam Rifles with the ITBP is a step in the right direction.

Opposed to the move

  • The Army argues that the Assam Rifles should be merged with it, to ensure national security. 
  • The army would lose its promotional avenues once this paramilitary force is merged with the ITBP, as it would be directly under the control of the Home Ministry. 
  • At present, nearly 80% of officers’ ranks from Major upwards are held by Army officers on deputation. A Lieutenant-General of the Army holds the post of Director General of Assam Rifles. 
  • For the time being, the Chief may be appointed from among IPS officers. CAPF was brought under the fold of Organised Group ‘A’ Service this year. The direct officers of Assam Rifles will eventually take up the top posts.


The merger issue needs to be taken up on priority by the CCS so that doubts are cleared. The mode of absorbing the officers should be worked out to avoid a vacuum being created once the deputationists are repatriated to the Army.


India Internal Security | Various Security forces and agencies and their mandate

Food Safety Standards – FSSAI, food fortification, etc.

[op-ed snap] Junking fast food: On norms against food rich in fat, sugar and salt


From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Nothing much

Mains level : FSSAI regulations on fast food


FSSAI has notified a draft regulation aimed at changing dietary habits.


    • Ban on advertising and sales – It prohibits the sale and advertisement of food rich in fat, sugar, and salt to schoolchildren inside the school premises and within 50 m around it.
    • Promote a balanced diet – It requires schools to simultaneously encourage and promote a safe and balanced diet.
    • Ban on unhealthy foods – To shield the children from consuming unhealthy food items and snacks, FSSAI prohibits food companies that manufacture such items from advertising or offering such foods in school premises and within 50 m of the campus.
    • No branding – Food companies are prohibited from using their logos, brand names and product names on books and other educational materials, as well as on school property such as buildings, buses, and athletic fields. 
    • Health recommendations – The agency recommends the use of a combination of whole grains, milk, eggs, and millets.
    • Food products – It also listed a set of general guidelines for the selection of food products that can be offered in schools.

A shift in the direction

    • Court order – The 2015 order from the Delhi High Court directed the central agency to frame norms to promote healthy diets in schools.
    • Malnutrition – malnutrition accounted for over seven lakh (68%) deaths in children under the age of five years in 2017 in India.
    • Obesity – There is rising obesity in schoolchildren in many States. According to a July 2017 study, India had the second most number of obese children among 195 countries. 
    • More overweight children – A recent study found 23 States to have child overweight prevalence more than the national average. 6 States have a prevalence of over 20%. 
    • Impact of western diets – Several studies have shown how a western diet affects the composition and diversity of gut bacteria and sets the stage for many metabolic diseases. 


    • Enforcement – The challenge will be in enforcement, in preventing the sale and promotion of unhealthy food near schools. 
    • Despite the sale and advertisement of tobacco products within 100 yards of a school being prohibited, the violation is more the norm than the exception. Shops that sell tobacco products very often also sell many of the packaged unhealthy foods.
    • Inculcating habits – inculcating healthy eating habits starts at home. 

Way ahead

    • Schools and parents should ensure children get adequate physical activity.
    • A combination of healthy food and regular physical activity will go a long way in bringing up healthy children.

Judicial Reforms

India Justice Report 2019


From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : India Justice Report 2019

Mains level : State of Judicial functioning in India

  • The India Justice Report 2019 was recently published.

India Justice Report

  • It was commissioned by Tata Trusts.
  • It is prepared by groups like Centre for Social Justice, Common Cause, Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative, DAKSH, Tata Institute of Social Sciences – Prayas and Vidhi Centre for Legal Policy.
  • It looks into the ‘four pillars’ – of Judiciary, Legal Aid, Police and Prisons, analysing the budgets, human resources, personnel workload, diversity, infrastructure and trends against the government’s declared standards and benchmarks.

Highlights of the report


  • The study took several factors to assess the police system in the states, ranging from modernisation, inducing women, diversity, budgeting, human resource planning and infrastructure.
  • On this front, the best score was achieved by Tamil Nadu – 6.49. UP received a score of 2.98, whereas Bihar got 3.77.
  • UP fared poor in terms of budgeting, spending on police per person, vacancies and diversity.


  • This parameter was assessed on various factors ranging from overcrowding, inclusion of women staff, adequate human resources, budgeting, infrastructure, etc. Jharkhand fared the worst with a score of 3.46.
  • It was followed by Uttarakhand (3.72), Punjab (4.35), Andhra Pradesh (4.35) and UP (4.42). Surprisingly, Bihar stood at number six with a score of 5.61. The best in this regard was Kerala with a score of 7.18.


  • This parameter was assessed on availability of judges, clearance of cases, spending on judiciary, etc.
  • Bihar, with a score of 2.41, fared the worst in this regard. It was followed by UP (3.7), Karnataka (3.76), Uttarakhand (4.17) and Jharkhand (4.3).
  • Tamil Nadu again featured on the top in terms of judiciary with a score of 6.99. It was followed by Punjab (6.57), Haryana (6.23) and Maharashtra (5.96).
  • On an average, Bihar saw a bleak growth in expenditure on judiciary in comparison to total spending.
  • From 2011 to 2016, the state expenditure rose by 17.8 per cent; however, expenditure on judiciary rose by only 8 per cent.

Legal aid

  • The report also highlighted the importance of legal aid.
  • It said that almost 80 per cent of India’s 1.25-billion population is eligible for free legal aid, but only 15 million people have availed it since 1995.

States performance

  • Maharashtra has topped the list of states in delivering justice to people followed by Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Punjab and Haryana.
  • Law and order has always been a major concern in the two big states of Uttar Pradesh and Bihar.
  • A deeper look at the statistics reveals that in almost every aspect, UP and Bihar exchanged the last and second last position.

Labour, Jobs and Employment – Harmonization of labour laws, gender gap, unemployment, etc.

The Occupational safety, health and working conditions code, 2019


From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Provisions of the code

Mains level : Labour reforms in India

  • The Occupational Safety, Health and Working Conditions Code, 2019 introduced in Lok Sabha by the Minister of Labour and Employment is now open for suggestions.

About the Code

  • The Occupational Safety, Health and Working Conditions Code, 2019 was introduced in Lok Sabha by the Minister of Labour and Employment on July 23, 2019.
  • The Code repeals and replaces 13 labour laws relating to safety, health and working conditions. These include the Factories Act, 1948, the Mines Act, 1952, and the Contract Labour (Regulation and Abolition) Act, 1970.
  • The Code applies to establishments employing at least 10 workers, and to all mines and docks.
  • It does not apply to apprentices.
  • Further, it makes special provisions for certain types of establishments and classes of employees, such as factories, mines, and building and construction workers.

Various provisions of the Code

Relevant authorities

  • All establishments covered by the Code must be registered with registering officers.
  • Further, Inspector-cum-facilitators may inquire into accidents, and conduct inspections of establishments.
  • Both these authorities are appointed by the central or state government.
  • Additionally, the government may require certain establishments to set up safety committees comprising representatives of employers and workers.

Advisory Bodies

  • The central and state governments will set up Occupational Safety and Health Advisory Boards at the national and state level, respectively.
  • These Boards will advise the central and state governments on the standards, rules, and regulations to be framed under the Code.

Duties of employers

  • The Code specifies several duties of employers.
  • These include: (i) providing a workplace that is free from hazards that may cause injury or diseases, and (ii) providing free annual health examinations to employees, as prescribed.
  • In case of an accident at the workplace that leads to death or serious bodily injury of an employee, the employer must inform the relevant authorities.

Rights and duties of employees

  • Duties of employees under the Code include:
  • (i) Taking care of their own health and safety, (ii) complying with the specified safety and health standards, and (iii) reporting unsafe situations to the inspector.
  • Every employee will have the right to obtain from the employer information related to safety and health standards.

Working Hours

  • Work hours for different classes of establishment and employees will be provided as per the rules prescribed by the central or state government.
  • For overtime work, the worker must be paid twice the rate of daily wages.
  • Female workers, with their consent, may work past 7pm and before 6am, if approved by the central or state government.


  • No employee may work for more than six days a week.
  • However, exceptions may be provided for motor transport workers.
  • Workers must receive paid annual leave for at least one in 20 days of the period spent on duty.
  • For sales promotion employees medical leave must be provided for at least one-eighteenth of the period of service.
  • During medical leave, the worker must be paid half his daily wages.

Working conditions and welfare facilities

  • The employer is required to provide a hygienic work environment with ventilation, comfortable temperature and humidity, sufficient space, clean drinking water, and latrine and urinal accommodations.
  • Other welfare facilities may be provided as per standards prescribed by the central government.
  • These facilities may include separate bathing places and locker rooms for male, female and transgender employees, canteens, first aid boxes, and creches.

Offences and penalties

  • Under the Code, an offence that leads to the death of an employee will be punishable with imprisonment of up to two years, or a fine up to five lakh rupees, or both.
  • Further, courts may direct that at least 50% of such fine be given as compensation to the heirs of the victim.
  • For any other violation where the penalty is not specified, the employer will be penalized with a fine between two and three lakh rupees.
  • If an employee violates provisions of the Code, he will be subject to a fine of up to Rs 10,000.

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

Climate Change and Heat-Induced Mortality in India


From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : About the report

Mains level : Impact of climate change on human mortality

  • A new study has projected that 1.5 million more Indians may die per year from extreme heat due to climate change by 2100.

About the Report

  • The study, ‘Climate Change and Heat-Induced Mortality in India’, was conducted by the Climate Impact Lab in collaboration with the Tata Centre for Development at the University of Chicago.


  • India’s energy use will be more than double in the next 20 years, driven largely by fossil fuels.
  • If emissions continue to be as high as they are at present, India will see a death rate of about 60 per 100,000 by 2100, the study says.
  • This projected death rate is double the current death rate from oral cancer in India, which is the most common cancer in the country.
  • It says the average annual temperature in India is expected to increase from 24°C to 28°C.
  • The number of extremely hot days (above 35°C) across India is expected to increase by over eight times, from 5.1 per year in 2010 to 42.8 in 2100. By 2050, there are expected to be 15.8 extremely hot days a year.

Statewise data

  • The NCR is projected to see 22 times more extremely hot days and more than 23,000 climate-related deaths annually by 2100 in a high-emission scenario.
  • Odisha is projected to see the highest increase in the number of extremely hot days, at about 30 times more than what it is today.
  • Punjab is projected to experience 85 extremely hot days a year, the highest among all states.
  • Overall, the six states of UP (4,02,280), Bihar (1,36,372), Rajasthan (1,21,809), Andhra (1,16,920), MP (1,08,370) and Maharashtra (1,06,749) are projected to account for over 64 per cent of the heat-related deaths.

Affected by wealth

  • According to the report, the risks associated with extreme temperatures vary around the world and are dependent upon the wealth of a country.
  • For instance, the impact of a single hot day on the annual mortality rate of a wealthy and warm city such as Houston, US, will be 0.4 deaths per 100,000.
  • The same will be double for a warm and poorer city such as Delhi, at 0.8 deaths per 100,000.

Indian Navy Updates

[pib] Exercise ‘Samudra Shakti’


From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : About the Exercise

Mains level : Maritime Security in Bay of Bengal region

  • India Navy and Indonesian navy hold Joint Naval Exercise “Samudra Shakti” In Bay Of Bengal.

Ex. Samudra Shakti

  • It is a joint exercise between Indian Navy and the Indonesian Navy.
  • The joint exercises include manoeuvres, Surface Warfare exercises, Air Defence exercises, Weapon firing drills, Helicopter Operations and Boarding Operations.
  • The Harbour Phase included professional interactions in the form of Subject Matter Expert Exchanges (SMEE), cross deck visits, simulator drills, planning conferences, sports fixtures and social interactions.

History- Important places, persons in news

Thiruvalluvar: Ancient Tamil Saint


From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Thiruvalluvar

Mains level : Sangam Literature


Who was Thiruvalluvar?

  • Thiruvalluvar is fondly referred to as Valluvar by Tamils.
  • His ‘Tirukkural’, a collection of 1,330 couplets (‘kurals’ in Tamil), are an essential part of every Tamil household.
  • It holds importance in the same way the Bhagavad Gita or the Ramayana are in traditional North Indian Hindu households.
  • Thiruvalluvar is revered as an ancient saint, poet, and a philosopher by Tamils, irrespective of their religion.
  • He is an essential anchor for Tamils in tracing their cultural roots; Tamils are taught to learn his couplets word-for-word, and to follow his teachings in their day-to-day living.