August 2019
M T W T F S S
« Jul    
 1234
567891011
12131415161718
19202122232425
262728293031  

United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD)

Mains Paper 1 : Climatic Change |

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : UNCCD, Bonn Challenge

Mains level : Desertification in India


News

  • India for the first time will host the 14th session of the Conference of Parties (COP-14) of the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD) in September 2019.

About United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD)

  • Established in 1994, the UNCCD is the only legally binding international agreement linking environment and development issues to the land agenda.
  • It addresses specifically the arid, semi-arid and dry sub-humid areas, known as the drylands, where some of the most vulnerable ecosystems and peoples can be found.
  • 2006 was declared “International Year of Deserts and Desertification”.

Desertification in India

  • India faces a severe problem of land degradation, or soil becoming unfit for cultivation.
  • A 2016 report by the ISRO found that about 29% of India’s land (in 2011-13) was degraded, this being a 0.57% increase from 2003-05.
  • At the previous edition of the COP, India had committed to restore 13 million hectares of degraded and deforested land by the year 2020, and an additional 8 million hectares by 2030.

The Bonn Challenge

  • Ahead of the COP-14, MoEFCC launched a flagship project, part of a larger international initiative called the Bonn Challenge, to enhance India’s capacity for forest landscape restoration (FLR).
  • The Bonn Challenge is a global effort to bring 150 million hectares of the world’s deforested and degraded land under restoration by 2020, and 350 million hectares by 2030.
  • It will be implemented during a pilot phase of three-and-a-half years in Haryana, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Nagaland and Karnataka.
  • The project will aim to develop and adapt the best practices and monitoring protocols for the country, and build capacity within the five pilot States.
Climate Change Impact on India and World – International Reports, Key Observations, etc.

REN21’s Renewable 2019 Global Status Report

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

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : REN21’s Renewable 2019 Global Status Report (GSR)

Mains level : Renewable energy in India


News

  • The REN21’s Renewable 2019 Global Status Report (GSR) was recently released.

Global prospects of the report

  • Renewables now supply around 26 per cent of global electricity production but the transport, cooling and heating sectors lag far behind in renewable adoption.
  • Underlining the subsidy support being given to fossil fuel, the GSR read that lack of political will and fossil fuel subsidies are threatening to derail the crucial UN 2030 Climate and Development Goals.
  • Renewable energy’s share in power consumption is increasing undoubtedly, but people would have consumed more had policy makers prioritized the sector.
  • Erratic policy decisions kept the world from using the sector to its potential in meeting climate change targets, added the report.

Indian case

  • India ranked fourth globally for new investment in renewable energy in 2018.
  • India’s new power generation capacity from solar photovoltaic panels decreased compared to 2017, according to the report.
  • However, India placed fifth, overtaking Italy, with 33 gigawatts (GW) total installed capacity.
  • The report confirmed that installed renewable power capacity was more than that of fossil fuel and nuclear power combined for the fourth consecutive year.
  • Around 100 GW of solar PV were added in 2018 which is enough to meet more than 25 per cent of electricity demand in France.

Decrease in investments

  • Lack of ambitious and sustained policies to drive decarburizing in heating, cooling and transport sectors indicates that countries are not trying to maximise the benefit of energy transition.
  • The investment has decreased 16 per cent compared to 2017. It attributes this to factors like:
  1. Land and transmission constraints,
  2. 25 per cent safeguard duty on imports from China and Malaysia
  3. Flaws in tender scheme
  4. Tax uncertainties
Renewable Energy – Wind, Tidal, Geothermal, etc.

G-20 Framework on Marine Plastic Waste  

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

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : G20

Mains level : Marine Plastic Waste


News

  • Group of 20 environment ministers agreed to adopt a new implementation framework for actions to tackle the issue of marine plastic waste on a global scale.

About the Framework

  • The new framework is aimed at facilitating further concrete action on marine waste, though on a voluntary basis, after the G20 Hamburg Summit in Germany adopted the “G20 action plan on marine litter” in 2017.
  • Under the new framework, G20 members will promote a comprehensive life-cycle approach to prevent and reduce plastic litter discharge to the oceans through various measures and international cooperation.
  • They will also share best practices, promote innovation and boost scientific monitoring and analytical methodologies.

About G20

G20 – Comprehensive Notes

Waste Management – SWM Rules, EWM Rules, etc

[pib] Kimberley Process Certification Scheme

Mains Paper 3 : Effects Of Liberalization On The Economy, Changes In Industrial Policy and their effects on Industrial Growth |

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Kimberley Process, Conflict Diamond

Mains level : KPCS



News

  • The Intersessional meet of Kimberley Process (KP) will be hosted by India

Kimberley Process Certification Scheme

  • The Kimberley Process is a joint initiative involving Government, international diamond industry and civil society to stem the flow of Conflict Diamonds.
  • Conflict Diamonds means rough diamonds used by rebel movements or their allies to finance conflict aimed at undermining legitimate governments.
  • It is also described in United Nations Security Council (UNSC) Resolutions.

Why need KPCS?

  • In 1998, certain rebel movements in Africa (Sierra Leone, Angola, Democratic Republic of Congo, Liberia) were selling, among other things, illegally obtained diamonds.
  • These were known as Conflict Diamonds – to fund their wars against legitimate governments.
  • With a view to find ways to stop trade in Conflict Diamonds, world’s diamond industry, UN, Governments and leading NGOs came together and in November 2002 at Interlaken, Switzerland.
  • There the final draft of the Kimberley Process measures was ratified by more than fifty countries.
  • The KPCS came into effect from 1st January, 2003 and evolved into an effective mechanism for stopping the trade in Conflict Diamonds.
  • At present, KPCS has 55 members representing 82 countries including EU with 28 members.

India and the KPCS

  • India is one of the founder members of Kimberley Process Certification Scheme.
  • It is the Chair of Kimberley Process for the year 2019 with Russian Federation as Vice Chair.
  • India had earlier chaired KPCS in the year 2008.

Rough diamond trading under the KPCS

  • As per the Scheme, each shipment of rough diamonds being exported and imported by crossing an international border be transported in a tamper proof container and accompanied by a validated Kimberley Process Certificate.
  • The shipment can only be exported to a co-participant country in the KPCS.
  • No uncertified shipments of rough diamonds are permitted to enter a participant country.

Assist this newscard with:

[pib] Kimberley Process

Trade Sector Updates – Falling Exports, TIES, MEIS, Foreign Trade Policy, etc.

Cabinet approves ratification of OECD’s multilateral convention to check tax evasion

Mains Paper 3 : Effects Of Liberalization On The Economy, Changes In Industrial Policy and their effects on Industrial Growth |

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : BEPS

Mains level : Impact of BEPS on Indian economy


News

  • The Cabinet approved ratification of a multilateral convention to implement OECD’s project on checking tax evasion.
  • The Multilateral Convention to Implement Tax Treaty Related Measures to Prevent Base Erosion and Profit Shifting (BEPS) was signed by the then Finance Minister Arun Jaitley in Paris on June 7, 2017.

Base erosion and profit shifting (BEPS)

  • Firms make profits in one jurisdiction, and shift them across borders by exploiting gaps and mismatches in tax rules, to take advantage of lower tax rates and, thus, not paying taxes to in the country where the profit is made.
  • BEPS refers to this corporate tax planning strategies to “shift” profits from higher–tax jurisdictions to lower–tax jurisdictions.
  • The OECD has considered ways to revise tax treaties, tighten rules, and to share more government tax information under the BEPS project.

About the convention

  • The Multilateral Convention is an outcome of the OECD/G20 Project to tackle  BEPS which is resorted to by MNCs through tax planning strategies by exploiting gaps and mismatches in tax rules.
  • It helps them artificially shift profits to low or no-tax locations, resulting in little or no overall corporate tax being paid.
  • Post this convention, 90 countries have now implemented the automatic exchange of financial account and tax information.
  • The Convention enables all signatories to meet treaty-related minimum standards that were agreed as part of the BEPS package.

Impact

  • The Convention will modify India’s treaties in order to curb revenue loss through treaty abuse and base erosion and profit shifting strategies.
  • It will ensure that profits are taxed where substantive economic activities generating the profits are carried out and where value is created.
Tax Reforms

Traffic Index 2018

Mains Paper 1 : Urbanization, Their Problems & Remedies |

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : About the index

Mains level : Vehicular Traffic in India



News

  • A recent study has ranked Mumbai as the most traffic-congested city in the world for the second straight year, and Delhi at fourth place.

Traffic Index 2018

  • The findings published are part of the Traffic Index 2018 published by TomTom, an Amsterdam-based company.
  • It offers traffic solutions, uses location technology to collect traffic information, and has been publishing city rankings for eight years.
  • The index factors for peak hours, accidents, inclement weather, construction work and all other factors likely to cause disruptions.
  • The latest index ranks 403 cities across 56 countries, including 13 new cities.

Defining Congestion

  • For this study, congestion has been defined in terms of the additional time taken to reach a destination as opposed to when the road would have been clear of traffic.
  • Mumbai’s 2018 congestion level of of 65%, therefore, means that the extra travel time is 65% more than an average trip would take during uncongested conditions.
  • For Delhi, by the same yardstick, the extra travel time is 58% more.

Around the world

  • Nearly 75% of the cities part of the 2018 index had increased or stable congestion levels between 2017 and 2018, with only 90 cities showing measurable decreases, states the report.
  • Congestion in Jakarta, for example, decreased by 8 percentage points while that in Lima rose by the same number of points.
Roads, Highways and Logistics infrastructure – Bharatmala, LEEP, SetuBharatam, etc.

New START Policy

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

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : New START pact

Mains level : Read the attached story


News

  • Russian has warned to US to withdraw the Obama-era nuclear weapons pact New START due to the US disinterest in its renewal.

New START pact

  • The New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (New START) pact limits the number of deployed nuclear warheads, missiles and bombers and is due to expire in 2021 unless renewed.
  • The treaty limits the US and Russia to a maximum of 1,550 deployed nuclear warheads and 700 deployed missiles and bombers, well below Cold War caps.
  • It was signed in 2010 by former US President Barack Obama and then-Russian President Dmitry Medvedev.
  • It is one of the key controls on superpower deployment of nuclear weapons.
  • If it falls, it will be the second nuclear weapons treaty to collapse under the leadership of US President Donald Trump.
  • In February, US withdrew from the 1987 Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty (INF), accusing Moscow of violating the agreement.
Foreign Policy Watch: India-United States

India is now the lowest-cost producer of solar power

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

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : IRENA

Mains level : Solar power cost in India


News

  • India is now the lowest-cost producer of solar power globally, according to a report by the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA).

Renewable Power Generation Costs in 2018

  • The IRENA report revealed that the total installed costs of utility-scale solar PV in India is as low as $793 per kilowatt (kW) in 2018 which is 27 per cent lower than for projects commissioned in 2017.
  • Canada has the highest cost at $2,427 per kW.
  • IRENA analysed eight major solar PV markets from 2010 to 2018 which include China, France, Germany, India, Italy, Japan, the UK and the US.
  • From the analysis, it is concluded that costs have dropped by 80 per cent in India.

Why low-cost solar power in India?

  • Typically, the cost of hardware including inverters account for more than half of the total cost of setting up a solar PV project in India.
  • India has high solar potential that leads to improved asset utilization.
  • India imports majority of hardware for installation from China which is cheaper and helps cut the cost by a huge margin.
  • As the cost of land and labor is cheaper than the rest of the world, it also contributes to low-cost production of solar power in India.

About IRENA

  • The IRENA is an intergovernmental organisation mandated to facilitate cooperation, advance knowledge, and promote the adoption and sustainable use of renewable energy.
  • It is the first international organisation to focus exclusively on renewable energy, addressing needs in both industrialized and developing countries.
  • It was founded in 2009 & its statute entered into force on 8 July 2010 and is headquartered in Masdar City, Abu Dhabi.
  • IRENA is an official United Nations observer.
Solar Energy – JNNSM, Solar Cities, Solar Pumps, etc.

Explained: OIC’s reference to J&K, and India’s response to it

Mains Paper 2 : Bilateral, Regional and Global Groupings and agreements involving India |

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : OIC

Mains level : OIC and Kashmir Issue


News

Context

  • India has rejected the reference to J&K by the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) at its meeting last week.
  • OIC has no locus standi in matters relating to J&K being an integral part of India.
  • India reiterated that OIC should refrain from making such unwarranted references.

OIC stance on Kashmir

  • The OIC met in Mecca affirmed its support for the people of J&K for the realization of their legitimate right to self-determination, in accordance with relevant UN resolutions.
  • It condemned the recent outbreaks of violence in the region and invited India to implement the relevant Security Council resolutions to settle its protracted conflict with its neighbour.
  • It also called for the expedited establishment of a UN commission of inquiry to investigate into the alleged HR violations in Kashmir.
  • It called on India to allow this proposed commission and international human rights organizations to access Indian-occupied Kashmir.
  • The Conference approved the appointment of Saudi Arabia’s Yousef Aldobeay as its Special Envoy for Jammu and Kashmir.

About OIC

  • OIC — formerly Organisation of the Islamic Conference — is the second largest inter-governmental organisation in the world after the UN.
  • It describes itself as the collective voice of the Muslim world, and its stated objective is to safeguard and protect the interests of the Muslim world.
  • It has reserved its membership for Muslim-majority countries.

India: Still not even an Observer

  • Russia, Thailand, and a couple of other small countries have Observer status.
  • Last year, Bangladesh had suggested that India, where more than 10% of the world’s Muslims live, should be given Observer status, but Pakistan had opposed the proposal.
  • However, EAM Sushma Swaraj had addressed the Inaugural Plenary of the 46th Session of the Council of Foreign Ministers of the OIC in Abu Dhabi on March 1 this year.
  • Indian counterpart was after invited by Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan, the Foreign Minister of the UAE as the Guest of Honour.

OIC on Kashmir

  • The communique issued in Mecca is not new or unusual.
  • The OIC has been generally supportive of Pakistan’s stand on Kashmir, and has repeatedly issued statements criticizing the alleged Indian “atrocities”.
  • At the 2018 meeting in Dhaka, however J&K figured in only one of the 39 resolutions adopted, that too, along with 12 other states or regions worldwide.
  • Pakistan had complained about the Dhaka Declaration and accused Bangladesh of circulating the text very late.

India’s response

  • India has consistently and emphatically underlined that Jammu and Kashmir is an “integral part of India and is a matter strictly internal to India.
  • The strength with which India has made this assertion has varied slightly at times, but never the core message.
  • OIC having no locus standi on J&K itself is stronger statement.

Championing relations with OIC giants

  • Individually, India has excellent relations with almost all member nations of the OIC.
  • Ties with the UAE and Saudi Arabia, especially, have looked up significantly in recent years.
  • The Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi, Sheikh MBZ Al Nahyan, was a very special Chief Guest at the 68th Republic Day celebrations in 2017.
  • This was the first time that India laid out the Republic Day red carpet for a leader who was neither a Head of State nor Head of Government.
J&K – The issues around the state

WTO moratorium on e-commerce customs duties

Mains Paper 2 : Important International Institutions |

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Not Much

Mains level : WTO moratoruim on E-commerce


News

  • India and South Africa have asked the WTO to revisit the issues related with moratorium on customs duties on e-commerce trade, which is expiring in December this year.

WTO moratorium

  • Since about 75 countries, led by developed country members, have launched pluri-lateral talks on e-commerce at the WTO.
  • It is a good time for developing countries to discuss common concerns related to e-commerce.
  • The member countries will brainstorm on straightforward matters such as whether binding rules on e-commerce could result in concrete gains for poorer countries.
  • In addition, nuanced issues, such as the possibility of developing nations influencing the outcome of negotiations, will also be explored.

Why scrap WTO moratorium?

  • The existing industries and tariffs play an important role in protecting infant domestic industries from more established overseas competitors until they have attained competitiveness and economies of scale.
  • According to industry experts, India wants an end to the moratorium and imposition of import duties to protect domestic industry and revenue.
  • Since 1998, the moratorium is being extended time and again for two years.
  • The potential tariff revenue loss to developing countries is estimated at $10 billion.
  • The moratorium will negatively impact the efforts of many developing countries, which are laggards as far as digital industrialization is concerned, to industrialize digitally.

Impacting digital industry

  • Customs duty-free imports of digital products may also hinder the growth of the infant digital industry in developing countries.
  • This will also negatively impact digital industrialization, local employment creation and erode trade competitiveness of small and medium enterprises (SMEs) in developing countries.
WTO and India

SDG Gender Index

Mains Paper 1 : Social Empowerment |

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : About the index

Mains level : Gender equality in India



News

  • A SDG Gender Index to measure global gender equality ranks India at 95th among 129 countries.
  • This comes close on the heels of the Gender Gap Index of the World Economic Forum where India was ranked 108th.

SDG Gender Index

  • It has been developed by Equal Measures 2030, a joint effort of regional and global organisations including African Women’s Development and Communication Network, Asian-Pacific Resource and Research Centre for Women, Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation etc.
  • It accounts for 14 out of 17 SDGs (sustainable development goals) that cover aspects such as poverty, health, education, literacy, political representation and equality at the workplace.
  • A score of 100 reflects the achievement of gender equality in relation to the targets set for each indicator.
  • It means, for example, that 100% of girls complete secondary education, or that there is around 50-50 parity for women and men in Parliament.
  • A score of 50 signifies that a country is about halfway to meeting a goal.

Key findings for India

  • India’s highest goal scores are on health (79.9), hunger & nutrition (76.2), and energy (71.8). Its lowest goal scores are on partnerships (18.3, in the bottom 10 countries worldwide), industry, infrastructure and innovation (38.1), and climate (43.4).
  • On indicators that define such goals, India scored 95.3 on the percentage of female students enrolled in primary education who are overage.
  • Some of India’s lowest scores on indicators include the proportion of seats held by women in national parliaments (score 23.6; women made up 11.8% of Parliament in 2018).
  • On seats held by women in the Supreme Court (4%), India has a score of 18.2.

Gender-based violence

  • On gender-based violence, indicators include proportion of women aged 20-24 years who were married or in a union before age 18 (27.3%)
  • Women who agreed that a husband/partner is justified in beating his wife/partner under certain circumstances (47.0%) and
  • Women aged 15+ who reported that they “feel safe walking alone at night in the city or area where she lives” (69.1%)

Global Scenario

  • The ranking found that the world is far from achieving gender equality with 1.4 billion girls and women living in countries that get a “very poor” grade.
  • The global average score of the 129 countries — which represent 95% of the world’s girls and women — is 65.7 out of 100 (“poor” in the index).
  • Altogether, 2.8 billion girls and women live in countries that get either a “very poor” (59 and below) or “poor” score (60-69) on gender equality.
  • Just 8% of the world’s population of girls and women live in countries that received a “good” gender equality score (80-89) and no country achieved an “excellent” overall score of 90 or above.
Women empowerment issues: Jobs,Reservation and education

Orchha on UNESCO world heritage sites tentative list

Mains Paper 1 : Arts & Culture |

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Orchha Architectural Complex

Mains level : UNESCO heritage sites in India



News

  • THE architectural heritage of Orchha town of Madhya Pradesh – has been included in the tentative list of UNESCO’s world heritage sites.
  • It is declared following a proposal sent by the ASI to the UNESCO.

About Orchha

  • Orchha town in Niwari district of MP’s Bundelkhand region has a peculiar style of architecture used by the Bundela dynasty.
  • The town, located on the banks of river Betwa, around 80 km from MP’s Tikamgarh district and 15 km from Jhansi district of UP, was built by King Rudra Pratap Singh of Bundela dynasty in the 16th century.
  • The town is celebrated for its rich and ancient architecture of Chaturbhuj Temple, Orchha Fort Complex, and Raja Mahal among others.
  • It is famous for its two elevated minarets – Saavan and Bhadon; and four palaces – Jahangir Palace, Rai Praveen Mahal, Raja Mahal, and Sheesh Mahal.
  • It represents the concept of open bungalows, animal statues depicting the culture of Bundelkhand and stone work windows.
  • The site houses ‘Sri Ram Raja Mandir’, the only place in India where Lord Ram is worshipped as a King, not as a deity, with this dedicated temple in his name.

Mughal Confluence

  • The Orchha town is boasts of Bundela as well as Mughal architecture influence due to the closeness of both the dynasties.
  • Veer Singh Dev, King of Bundela dynasty, was a close friend of Mughal emperor Jahangir.
  • King Dev also fought wars as Mughal emperor Akbar’s aid.

What is tentative list?

  • As per rules, to be a part of UNESCO’s World Heritage sites, the heritage or any historical site first has to be on the tentative list.
  • After it makes to the tentative list, another proposal is sent to UNESCO.
  • If the architectural splendour of Orchha makes it to the final list of UNESCO’s World Heritage Sites, it would be the 38th site in India to form part of the treasured list.
  • Three historically famous sites in MP, including the rock shelters of Bhimbedka, Buddhist monuments at Sanchi, and the Khajuraho group of monuments are among the 37 Indian heritage sites on the UNESCO list.
History- Important places, persons in news

WHO strategy to tackle global snakebite ’emergency’

Mains Paper 2 : Health & Education |

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Not Much

Mains level : WHO strategy on snakebites


News

  • The World Health Organisation has unveiled a new strategy to dramatically cut deaths and injuries from snakebites, warning a dearth of antivenoms could soon spark a “public health emergency”.

The Strategy

  • The UN agency called for “the restoration of a sustainable market for snakebite treatment”, insisting on the need for a 25-per cent increase in the number of competent manufacturers by 2030.
  • WHO said it planned a pilot project to create a global antivenom stockpile.
  • The strategy also called for integrating snakebite treatment and response into national health plans in affected countries, including better training of health personnel and educating communities.
  • WHO, which two years ago categorised “snakebite envenoming” as a Neglected Tropical Disease, presented a strategy aimed at cutting snakebite-related deaths and disabilities in half by 2030.
  • An important part of the strategy is to significantly boost production of quality antivenoms.

Snakebite: An Emergency

  • Each year, nearly three million people are bitten by poisonous snakes, with an estimated 81,000-138,000 deaths.
  • Another 400,000 survivors suffer permanent disabilities and other after-effects, according to WHO figures.
  • Snake venom can cause paralysis that stops breathing, bleeding disorders that can lead to fatal haemorrhage, irreversible kidney failure and tissue damage that can cause permanent disability and limb loss.
  • Most snakebite victims live in the world’s tropical and poorest regions, and children are worse affected due to their smaller body size.
  • It causes nearly 50,000 deaths in India every year.
  • Four snake varieties – Indian Cobra, Russel’s viper, saw-scaled viper and Indian common krait are mostly responsible for most snakebite deaths.
  • Production of life-saving antivenoms has been abandoned by a number of companies since the 1980s, and availability of effective and safe products is disastrously low in Africa especially, with a similar crisis also looming in Asia.
Health Sector – UHC, National Health Policy, Family Planning, Health Insurance, etc.

UNGA resolution demanding UK withdraw from Chagos Archipelago

Mains Paper 2 : India & Its Neighborhood - Relations |

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Chagos Archipelago: Location and surrounding

Mains level : Decolonization measures across the world



News

  • India was among 116 nations to vote in favour of a UN General Assembly resolution demanding the UK to withdraw its “colonial administration” from the Chagos Archipelago unconditionally within six months.
  • This aimed at supporting Mauritius in its quest for the restoration of sovereignty over the island chain in the Indian Ocean.

Colonization of Chagos

  • The UK retained sovereignty over the islands after Mauritius gained its independence from Britain in 1968.
  • It has been under continuous British sovereignty since 1814.
  • The islands have since been used for defence purposes by the UK and the US, which established a military base on the island of Diego Garcia.
  • The entire Chagossian population was forcibly removed from the territory between 1967 and 1973, and prevented from returning.

An ICJ obligation for UK

  • The ICJ had said in its opinion that the UK Government is “under an obligation” to end its administration of the Chagos Archipelago as rapidly as possible.
  • It demanded that the UK withdraw its colonial administration from the Chagos Archipelago unconditionally within six months, enabling Mauritius to complete the decolonization of its territory as rapidly as possible.

Why India voted in favor of Mauritius?

  • As a part of India’s longstanding support to all peoples striving for decolonization, India has consistently supported Mauritius in its quest for the restoration of sovereignty.
  • India has age-old people-to-people bonds with Mauritius.

Assist this newscard with:

ICJ rejects UK’s claim of sovereignty over Chagos Archipelago

Indian Ocean Power Competition

Doctrine of Hot Pursuit

Mains Paper 2 : Bilateral, Regional and Global Groupings and agreements involving India |

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : UNCLOS

Mains level : Doctrine of Hot Pursuit



News

Context

  • The Indian Coast Guard (ICG) has apprehended a Pakistani fishing vessel off Gujarat and seized huge cache of narcotic drugs worth ₹600 crore in the international market.
  • During the hot pursuit, the crew threw bags containing suspicious material into the sea.
  • The Coast Guard team, upon boarding the vessel, took the crew into custody and retrieved the material.

Doctrine of Hot Pursuit

  • The doctrine of hot pursuit in international law recognizes the right of a State to pursue a vessel belonging to a foreign State which has violated any law within its territorial boundaries and jurisdiction.
  • The doctrine vests a right to pursue the delinquent vessel outside the territorial limits into the open sea and then can be taken into custody.
  • The fundamental rule of the maritime law states that all vessels have the right to navigate freely on the high seas.
  • Yet, the traditional notion has recognized the doctrine of hot pursuit as an exception to the principles of freedom on the high seas.
  • At a time when smuggling and piracy were rampant, this customary doctrine emerged to empower a coastal state to pursue on to the high seas a vessel that had violated its laws within its waters.
  • This denied the intruding vessel the opportunity to escape punishment by claiming protection under the right of free navigation on the high seas, which had been designed to protect innocent vessels.
  • Importantly, this customary doctrine did not extend to the territorial waters of a foreign state.
  • Decades later, this customary doctrine was codified in the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of High Seas.

Hot Pursuit as per UNCLOS

  • The doctrine of maritime hot pursuit is codified in art 111 of the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS).
  • It recognizes that a vessel, if has committed a violation of the laws of a foreign state while in that state’s sovereign or territorial waters, may be pursued onto the high seas and seized.
Indian Ocean Power Competition

[pib] Redefined units of measurement of kilogram, Kelvin, mole and ampere

Mains Paper 3 : Awareness In The Fields Of It, Space, Computers, Robotics, Nano-Technology, Bio-Technology |

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Units and Measurements

Mains level : Read the attached story



News

  • The General Conference on Weights and Measures (CGPM) at BIPM held on 16 November 2018 has unanimously adopted the resolution to redefine four of the seven base units.
  • These included kilogram (SI unit of weight), Kelvin (SI unit of temperature), mole (SI unit of amount of substance), and ampere (SI unit of current).
  • The new SI is being implemented worldwide from 20th May 2019 i.e. the World Metrology Day.

Global standards of Kg

  • The global standards for measurement are set by the International Bureau of Weights and Measures (BIPM), of which India became a member in 1957.
  • At BIPM in Sèvres, near Paris, stands a cylinder of platinum-iridium locked in a jar.
  • Since 1889, the kilogram has been defined as the mass of this cylinder, called Le Grand K, or International Prototype Kilogram (IPK).
  • In India, CSIR-NPL maintains the National Prototype Kilogram (NPK-57), which is calibrated with IPK.

Redifining Kg

  • The IPK was the last physical artifact used to define any of the fundamental units.
  • IPK would put on a little extra mass when tiny dust particles settled on it; when cleaned, it would shed some of its original mass.
  • Scientists have long stressed that the fundamental units should be defined in terms of natural constants.
  • On November 16, 2018 representatives of 60 countries agreed that the kilogram should be defined in terms of the Planck constant.
  • The Planck constant is a quantity that relates a light particle’s energy to its frequency.
  • Using a machine called a Kibble balance, in which the weight of a test mass is offset by an electromagnetic force, the value of the Planck constant was fixed, the kilogram was redefined.

How was this achieved?

  • The new definition for kilogram fits in with the modern definitions for the units of time (second) and distances (metre).
  • Today, the second is defined as the time it takes for a certain amount of energy to be released as radiation from atoms of Caesium-133.
  • By its modern definition, a metre is the distance travelled by light in vacuum in 1/299,792,458 of a second (which is already defined).
  • This is where the Planck constant comes in.
  • It has been measured precisely at 6.626069… × 10^(-34) kilograms per second per square metre.
  • With the second and the metre already defined, a very precise definition for the kilogram

Benefits of recalibration

  • What was 1 kg earlier is still 1 kg today. An updated kilogram doesn’t mean that weights everywhere will be thrown off balance.
  • All that has changed is the definition, for the sake of accuracy.
  • A mass measured as 1 kg earlier would have meant 1 kg, plus or minus 15-20 micrograms.
  • Using the new definition, a mass measured as 1 kg will mean 1 kg, plus or minus 1 or 2 nanograms.

About World Metrology Day

  • The World Metrology Day (WMD) is celebrated annually on this very day as the Metre Convention was signed by representatives of seventeen nations on May 20, 1875.
  • The Convention set the framework for global collaboration in the science of measurement and in its industrial, commercial and societal applications.

Assist this newscard with:

 

[pib] World’s standard definition of kilogram now redefined

How much is a kilogram? Here comes a new way to measure it

Promoting Science and Technology – Missions,Policies & Schemes

[pib] Sasakawa Award for Disaster Risk Reduction

Mains Paper 3 : Disaster Management |

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Sasakawa Award for Disaster Risk Reduction

Mains level : Multiple facets of Disasters in India and thier effective management



News

  • United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNDRR) conferred Sasakawa Award 2019 for Disaster Risk Reduction to Dr. Pramod Kumar Mishra, Additional Principal Secretary to Prime Minister of India.

Why this Award?

  • Mishra was awarded for his concentrated efforts and dedication towards serving the communities that are most exposed to disasters.
  • He has selflessly worked to the cause of social inclusion to reduce inequality and poverty, ultimately benefitting the socially and economically marginalized in the country.

Sasakawa Award

  • The UN Sasakawa Award for Disaster Reduction is awarded to an individual or institutions that have taken active efforts in reducing disaster risk in their communities and advocates for disaster risk reduction.
  • It was instituted in 1986 and is jointly organized by the UNDRR and the Nippon Foundation.
  • A total grant of USD 50,000 is distributed among the winners which can be either organizations or individuals.
  • The theme of the 2019 Sasakawa award was “Building Inclusive and Resilient Societies”.
Disasters and Disaster Management – Sendai Framework, Floods, Cyclones, etc.

India signs ‘Christchurch Call to Action’

Mains Paper 3 : Social Media Networks & Internal Security |

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Christchurch Call to Action

Mains level : Regulating role of social media against organized terrorism



News

  • To combat online extremism, India has decided to sign an international call initiated by the governments of France and New Zealand along with top social media companies after the Christchurch attacks.

Christchurch Call to Action

  • The dissemination of such content online has adverse impacts on the human rights of the victims, on our collective security and on people all over the world was declared by the 17 signatory countries.
  • The Call outlines “collective”, “voluntary” commitments from Governments and online service providers intended to address the issue of terrorist and violent extremist content online.
  • The document highlights, “All action on this issue must be consistent with principles of a free, open and secure internet, without compromising human rights and fundamental freedoms, including freedom of expression.
  • While the document stresses on the need to ensure that it does not impinge upon the rights of free speech of citizens of any country, the US has decided not to sign the document amid free speech concerns.
  • The meeting held in Paris was attended by representatives of online giants like Microsoft, Google, Twitter, Facebook and Amazon.

The document states that the governments/signatories should commit to:

  • Counter the drivers of terrorism and violent extremism by strengthening the resilience and inclusiveness of societies to enable them to resist terrorist and violent extremist ideologies, including through education, building media literacy to help counter distorted terrorist and violent extremist narratives, and the fight against inequality.
  • Ensure effective enforcement of applicable laws that prohibit the production or dissemination of terrorist and violent extremist content, in a manner consistent with the rule of law and international human rights law, including freedom of expression.
  • Encourage media outlets to apply ethical standards when depicting terrorist events online, to avoid amplifying terrorist and violent extremist content.
  • Support frameworks, such as industry standards, to ensure that reporting on terrorist attacks does not amplify terrorist and violent extremist content, without prejudice to responsible coverage of terrorism and violent extremism.
  • Consider appropriate action to prevent the use of online services to disseminate terrorist and violent extremist content, including through collaborative actions, such as:

The documents draw in the online service providers to commit to:

  • Take transparent, specific measures seeking to prevent the upload of terrorist and violent extremist content and to prevent its dissemination on social media and similar content-sharing services.
  • Provide greater transparency in the setting of community standards or terms of service, including by:
  • Outlining and publishing the consequences of sharing terrorist and violent extremist content;
  • Describing policies and putting in place procedures for detecting and removing terrorist and violent extremist content.

With inputs from:

India Today

Social Media: Prospect and Challenges

Global Drug Survey Report 2018

Mains Paper 2 : Health & Education |

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : GDS

Mains level : Read the attached story



News

  • A global survey of recreational drug-use, which for the first time polled respondents from India, has found that Indians — more than from other nationalities — are seeking help to reduce their alcohol intake.

Global Drug Survey

  • The Global Drug Survey (GDS) is an anonymised online survey that uses a detailed questionnaire to assess trends in drug use and self-reported harms among regular drug users and early adopters of new trends.
  • The survey is not designed to determine the prevalence of drug behaviour in a population.
  • It throws light on stigmatized behaviours and health outcomes of a hidden population that is otherwise difficult to reach.
  • GDS use its data and expertise to create digital health applications delivering screening and brief interventions for drugs and alcohol.
  • GDS also produces a range of drug education materials for health and legal professionals, the entertainment industry and the general public.

Drugs menace in India

  • Alcohol, tobacco and cannabis were the most common stimulants used by Indians.
  • Of the nearly 1,00,000 respondents from 30 countries, Indians reported ‘being drunk’ on an average of 41 times in the last 12 months — behind the U.K., the U.S., Canada, Australia and Denmark in that order but well above the global average of 33 times.
  • Indian respondents to the survey, conducted online October-December 2018, appeared more than other nationalities eager for help with reducing their alcohol intake.
  • According to the 2019 GDS, 51% of the respondents wanted to ‘drink less’ in the following year and 41% ‘wanted help to do so’ — again the highest percentage among other countries.
  • About 6% of the female Indians surveyed reported seeking ‘emergency medical treatment’ in the last 12 months. The global female average was about 13%.
  • None of the males in India reported seeking medical treatment, compared to the global average of 12%.

Less cannabis

  • Only 2% sought emergency medical treatment after using cannabis.
  • Similar to alcohol use, 51% said they wanted to use ‘less cannabis’ in the following year; more than any other nationality and well above the global average of 31%.
  • Alcohol and tobacco apart, the most used drugs globally were cannabis, MDMA (or Ecstacy), cocaine, amphetamines, LSD (or ‘acid’), magic mushrooms, benzodiazepines, prescription opioids, ketamine, nitrous oxide.
  • The survey also found that globally approximately 14% (11,000) reported being taken advantage of sexually while intoxicated in their lifetime and 4% in the last 12 months.
Health Sector – UHC, National Health Policy, Family Planning, Health Insurance, etc.

[pib] Global Facility for Disaster Reduction and Recovery (GFDRR)

Mains Paper 3 : Disaster Management |

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : GFDRR

Mains level : Disaster management in India



News

  • India is unanimously chosen as co-chair of the Consultative Group (CG) of Global Facility for Disaster Reduction and Recovery (GFDRR) for the fiscal year 2020.
  • The decision was taken during the CG meeting of GFDRR held in Geneva, Switzerland.

Global Facility for Disaster Reduction and Recovery

  • GFDRR is a global partnership that helps developing countries better understand and reduce their vulnerability to natural hazards and climate change.
  • GFDRR is a grant-funding mechanism, managed by the World Bank that supports disaster risk management projects worldwide.
  • It is presently working on the ground with over 400 local, national, regional, and international partners and provides knowledge, funding, and technical assistance.

India and GFDRR

  • India became member of CG of GFDRR in 2015 and expressed its interest to co-chair in last meeting of CG held in October 2018.
  • India’s candidature was backed by its consistent progress in disaster risk reduction (DRR) in the country and its initiative to form a coalition on disaster resilient infrastructure.
  • This is the first time that India has been afforded the opportunity of co-chairing the CG meeting of GFDRR.
Disasters and Disaster Management – Sendai Framework, Floods, Cyclones, etc.