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IASbaba’s Daily Current Affairs – 2nd & 3rd October, 2015

  • October 3, 2015
  • 10
IASbaba's Daily Current Affairs Analysis, IASbaba's Daily Current Affairs October 2015, International, National, UPSC
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IASbaba’s Daily Current Affairs – 2nd & 3rd October, 2015

 

NATIONAL

 

What the world has done to the Victim?

8th September, 2015: Completed 15 years of the adoption of Millennium Development Goals (MDGs)

2015 – 2030: Adoption of Sustainable Development Goals

Health & MDGs-The Indian Perspective:

Reduction of mortality among children under the age of 5:

  • Goal: To reach the under-five mortality rate of 38
  • National Rural Health Mission directly enhanced the rate of child survival & helped in increasing the government allocation to the health sector
  • Recognition of Empowered Action Group (EAG) States to nine states for special focus

 

Reduction of Maternal Mortality

  • Death of a woman while pregnant or within 42 days of termination of pregnancy
  • India: Very high number of maternal deaths
  • 65% drop since 1990; but lagging behind the goal of 75% decline (MDGs)
  • Issues:
    • Low level of literacy: No awareness + Lack of accurate information
    • Young marriage and child-bearing practices
    • Postpartum Hemorrhage + Malaria + Dengue
    • Janani Suraksha Yojanaà To encourage hospital-care & monetary benefits

Why it failed?

  • Despite government subsidies, rural woman faces difficulty in reaching hospital for institutional delivery due to no transportation facilities and non-inclusive public healthcare services
  • Both NRHM + ICDS failed to create a dent on the ever-increasing undernourishment and anaemia levels among pregnant women
  • Lack of on-the-doorstep health facilities: Evidence exists of a skilled birth attendance inside the home which is less socially intimidating and less expensive but no special attention has been provided to this aspect.

 

Halt and reverse the spread of HIV/AIDS:

  • India on-track

Halt and reverse the spread of malaria and other diseases

  • Moderately on-track

 

Structural defects of MDGs:

  • Goals and targets need to be given a dynamic interpretation, country-wise
  • Possibility of some answers lying outside the health sector shouldn’t be avoided and social determinants should be taken into account accurately

IASbaba’s Views:

  • Health issues stand as a strong barrier to poverty reduction and economic prosperity and there is a need to look beyond the concept of these goals as ‘time-bound targets’ and more on the lines of, answers to the question of our survival.
  • Strong political commitment, extensive consultative process and effective mobilization of resources from all nations to support innovation for better health equity is the need of the hour.
  • Thus, an integrative vision of sustainable progress can only ensure the survival of the weakest and the sickest too.

Connecting the Dots:

  • Does India possess enough fiscal room to finance Universal health Coverage? Discuss
  • Designing and implementing a strategy of universal coverage presents significant challenges to the policy makers and implementing agencies. Describe these challenges and suggest a way ahead.

 

INTERNATIONAL

India and Comprehensive Nuclear test ban treaty (CTBT)

What is Comprehensive Nuclear test ban treaty (CTBT)?

  • CTBT is a legally binding global ban on nuclear explosive testing. It is a key element in the process of nuclear disarmament: a ban on the production of fissile material for anything other than verified peaceful use. Such a ban would impose a quantitative limit on the amount of nuclear material available for weapons use.
  • CTBT was opened for signature in 1996.As of March 2015, 164 states haveratified the treaty and 19 states have signed but not ratified it. China, Egypt, Iran, Israel and the United States have signed but not ratified theTreaty.

In yellow- Annex 2 – Signed

In Pink – Annex2 – Non-signatory

CTBT_Participation-min

  • India, Pakistan and North Korea which are non-signatories and have tested nuclear weapons after CTBT opened for signature. India (Pokhran-2) and Pakistan both carried out two sets of tests in 1998 and N. Korea carried out three announced tests in 2006, 09, 13
  • CTBT has yet to become global law due to its demanding entry into force clause, which requires the signature and ratification of all 44 countries listed as nuclear technology capable. It awaits the signature and ratification from India, Pakistan, and North Korea and in addition requires the United States, China, Israel, Iran and Egypt (which have already signed) to formally ratify it.

Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty Organization(CTBTO)

CTBTO is the preparatory commission which establishes global verification regime to monitor compliance with the CTBT. The verification regime includes a global network of 330 plus monitoring facilities using seismic, hydroaucostic, infrasound and radionuclide technologies.

  • Over 300 stations in 89 countries have been built to monitor for signs of nuclear explosions around the globe round the clock.
  • The International Monitoring System (IMS) monitors the Earth’s crust, listens the atmosphere and oceans and sniffs the air for traces of radioactivity.
  • The monitoring system produces data that have many applications, from disaster early warning to scientific research on the Earth’s inner structures, climate change or meteors, to name just a few of the potential uses.
  • It is also making contributions to the nuclear safety field. After the March 2011 Fukushima nuclear accident, CTBTO data provided timely information on the radioactive emissions from the crippled plant and their global dispersion.

Why India has not signed CTBT?

India’s growing security concerns about Pakistan’s acquisition of nuclear weapons capability and the assistance that China has provided in this regard is one major reason why India chose to oppose CTBT in 1996.

India finds CTBT a threat to national security because of its,

  • Discriminatory in nature as US which has already conducted more than 2000 tests suddenly realizes that there was no need to test nuclear devices any more.
  • No time-bound disarmament schedule for nuclear weapon states.
  • CTBT would not help towards nuclear disarmament since it only banned nuclear explosive testing, but not other activities related to nuclear weapons, such as sub-critical (non-nuclear explosive) experiments, or computer simulations.

India has not signed NPT and CTBT. Does this imply that India is against nuclear disarmament? The answer is obvious No. the following section explain India’s solid support to global disarmament.

India and Nuclear disarmament

India has supported the treaty’s basic principle of banning nuclear explosions by declaring a unilateral moratorium on nuclear testing. India’s expressed support to the essential requirement of the treaty makes it a de facto member of the CTBT.

  • After the 1974 peaceful nuclear test, India maintained a policy of self-restraint. It did not conduct any follow up tests and the development of nuclear weapons was temporarily halted.
  • In June 1978, Prime Minister Morarji Desai once again suggested a ban on nuclear weapons testing at the Special Session of the UNGA.
  • Prime Minister Indira Gandhi upheld this position in 1982 by calling for a test-ban treaty and a freeze on the production of nuclear weapons.
  • Rajiv Gandhi put forward an Action Plan in 1988 calling for a halt to the development of new weapons systems and proposing nuclear disarmament in a time-bound framework of 22 years.
  • In 1993, India supported the multilateral negotiations and jointly co-sponsored a consensus resolution on the CTBT at the UN General Assembly.
  • Post May 1998 (Pokhran 2), India continued to adopt a flexible position on the CTBT and indicated its willingness to discuss a “de jureformalization”of its voluntary moratorium on future nuclear testing.
  • By committing to the Indo-US nuclear agreement, India has further expressed its principled support to the test-ban treaty.

The voluntary moratorium was intended to convey to the international community the seriousness of India’s intent for meaningful engagement. The government maintained that “subsequent decisions will be taken after assuring ourselves of the security needs of the country.”

India thus consistently supported the view that a CTBT was an essential element of the disarmament process and it opposed any conduct of nuclear tests by any state under the garb of safety reasons.

Why India should accede to CTBT?

  • It provides a great opportunity to tap into a wealth of data generated by the CTBTO’s International Monitoring Stations.
  • To respond to global developments in nuclear disarmament and arms control as a responsible stakeholder in the non-proliferation regime.
  • To negotiate India’s entry into the global nuclear order and third, to revive India’s long-forgotten tradition of campaigning for global nuclear disarmament.
  • India has been seeking the membership of various strategic export control cartels such as the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) and the Missile Technology Control Regime (MTCR). But it will now be harder for it to convince the European non-proliferation supporters to continue to treat India as an exception, without making a substantive normative offer in return (signing CTBT).

Once India signs the CTBT, some of the other hold-out states are likely to follow, such as Pakistan. Others like the U.S. (whose Senate is blocking the ratification though the U.S. government has signed it) and China would also come under pressure to accede to it. Thus India will be able to reverse the current non-proliferation pressure which makes sense not only from a strategic point of view but also from a normative perspective. Signing the CTBT, then, is in India’s enlightened self-interest.

 Way forward to India:

India should put forward two proposals.

  • First, propose and push, with like-minded countries, for the adoption of a global ‘No first use’ agreement on nuclear weapons.
  • Second, sign the CTBT, if not immediately ratify the same. This will clearly reinstate the lost global enthusiasm for nuclear disarmament and clarify India’s ‘benign’ nuclear intentions to the international community.

Background:

Partial/Limited Test Ban Treaty (P/LTBT)

The concerns about radioactive fallout became more pronounced after US tested a hydrogen bomb in 1952 and later USSR detonated a nuclear warhead in 1961.

  • PTBT was signed in 1963 which banned nuclear tests in the atmosphere, underwater and in space, but not underground. All testing was to be driven underground, just so long as the radioactivity did not go beyond the national border of the testing country.But it did not provide for international verification.
  • India has signed and ratified the treaty in 1963.
  • Since it was signed, a total of 1372 underground nuclear explosions have been conducted between 1964 and 2006; this number stands in contrast to the 461 atmospheric and including underwater nuclear tests that were conducted between 1945 and 1963.

Hence, the belief that PTBT would play a crucial role in reversing the intense arms-race among the NWS was essentially flawed.

No first use policy (NFU)

NFU refers to a pledge or a policy by a nuclear power not to use nuclear weapons as a means of warfare unless first attacked by an adversary using nuclear weapons. Earlier, the concept had also been applied to chemical and biological warfare.

  • The United States has refused to adopt a no-first-use policy, saying that it “reserves the right to use” nuclear weapons first in the case of conflict.
  • Pakistan,Russia, the United Kingdom, the United States, and France, say they will use nuclear weapons against either nuclear or non-nuclear states only in the case of invasion or other attack against their territory or against one of their allies.
  • Chinabecame the first nation to propose and pledge NFU policy when it first gained nuclear capabilities in 1964,
  • India has a declared nuclear no-first-use policy in 1999.
  • Despite the escalation of tensions between India and Pakistan in 2001–2002, India remained committed to its nuclear no-first-use policy.

Connecting Dots:

  • Should India enter into NPT and CTBT? Substantiate.
  • How India can play a crucial role in Nuclear disarmament movement? What are the roadblocks hindering India from acceding to NPT and CTBT? Evaluate.
  • “By signing Indo-US nuclear agreement India has expressed its principled support to the Nucleartest-ban treaty”. Elucidate

 

ENVIRONMENT

Environment Minister Prakash Javadekar announces India’s INDCs

Declaration of the INDCs on Mahatma Gandhi’s birthday, as the man signifies Indian values of frugality and sustainable development.

The action plan is built around three elements:

  • Reduction in emissions intensity, or emissions per unit of GDP,
  • An increase in forest cover, and
  • A greater role for renewable energy in power generation.

What are India’s Intended Nationally Determined Contributions (INDCs) on climate change going to look like?

  • India’s INDCs will contain an emissions reduction target, as well as a target for reducing energy intensity.
  • INDCs announced by India are comprehensive, progressive and ambitious
  • India has to put economic growth before committing itself to cut down emissions
  • Cutting down emission will slow down the economy, therefore needs is a comprehensive strategy

There is a possibility of India emulating the Western ‘model’ of development at home, which encourages a market-driven consumer culture.

India’s cumulative emission is only 3 per cent,

  • As vehicular pollution is an important source of greenhouse gases.
  • The Ministries of Transport and Petroleum are ready to support the switch to Euro 6 emission standards for vehicles, but industry is not ready for it yet.
  • It is necessary to introduce this much-needed upgrade to emission standards

The SDGs emphasize the importance of “responsible consumption and production”

About SDG:

The Sustainable Development Goals, SDGs, also called Global Goals, and Agenda 2030.

  • An inter-governmentally agreed set of targets relating tointernational development
  • They will follow on from theMillennium Development Goals once those expire at the end of 2015

17 SDG Goals:

  1. End poverty in all its forms everywhere
  2. End hunger, achieve food security and improved nutrition and promote sustainable agriculture
  3. Ensure healthy lives and promote well-being for all at all ages
  4. Ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learningopportunities for all
  5. Achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls
  6. Ensure availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all
  7. Ensure access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy for all
  8. Promote sustained, inclusive and sustainable economic growth, full and productive employment and decent work for all
  9. Build resilient infrastructure, promote inclusive and sustainable industrialization and foster innovation
  10. Reduce inequality within and among countries
  11. Make cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable
  12. Ensure sustainable consumption and production patterns
  13. Take urgent action to combat climate change and its impacts
  14. Conserve and sustainably use the oceans, seas and marine resources for sustainable development
  15. Protect, restore and promote sustainable use of terrestrial ecosystems, sustainably manage forests,combat desertification, and halt and reverse land degradation and halt biodiversity loss
  16. Promote peaceful and inclusive societies for sustainable development, provide access to justice for all and build effective, accountable and inclusive institutions at all levels
  17. Strengthen the means of implementation and revitalize the global partnership for sustainable development

Connecting the dots:

  • What are the main elements around which India’s Intended Nationally Determined Contributions (INDCs) on climate change revolves?
  • How effectively Intended Nationally Determined Contributions (INDC) will address newly framed SDG?

 

India unveils climate target to cut carbon intensity

India has promised in a climate-change policy statement:

  • To make its economy more energy efficient
  • To cut the carbon produced per unit of GDP growth by 33-35 per cent by 2030 from 2005 levels

India, the world’s third-largest emitter of greenhouse gases

  • India would target 40 per cent cumulative installed power capacity from non-fossil fuel sources by 2030
  • This will need U.N. financial support.

India has resisted setting specific targets to cut emissions.

* India pledges 33-35 pct cut in carbon intensity by 2030
* No “peak emissions” target or carbon market pledges
* Coal set to continue dominating power sector in future

Related Concerns:

  • No fixed timeline;
  • No specific commitment in its submission to establishing carbon trading.
  • Coal would continue to dominate power generation for its more than 1 billion people in the future, though stressed its commitment to clean energy technologies.

Way Ahead:

  • India has planned to develop 25 Solar Parks, supply 100,0000 solar pumps to farmers and convert all 55,000 petrol pumps across the country to solar.
  • It also pledged to “aggressively” develop hydro and nuclear energy.

Plansare “fair and ambitious considering the fact that India is attempting to work towards low carbon emission pathway while endeavoringto meet all the developmental challenges the country faces today.”

Funds Needed:

  • India would need to spend around $206 billion between 2015 and 2030 for implementing adaptation actions in agriculture, forestry, fisheries infrastructure, water resources and ecosystems.
  • A substantial scaling up of the climate action plans would require greater resources
  • A preliminary estimate suggests that at least $2.5 trillion will be required for meeting India’s climate change actions between now and 2030

Connecting the dots:

  • How is India planning to cut down carbon emissions through new climate change policy? What other steps can India take to cut down emission without sacrificing more on economic development?
  • How can funds be mobilized for development of sustainable model towards growth as per new climate change policy? What are the related concerns and suggest ways to tackle the challenges?

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