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IASbaba’s Daily Current Affairs – 2nd March, 2017

IASbaba's Daily Current Affairs Analysis, IASbaba's Daily Current Affairs Mar 2017, National, UPSC
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IASbaba’s Daily Current Affairs – 2nd March 2017

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ENVIRONMENT

TOPIC: General Studies 3

  • Conservation, Environmental pollution and degradation, environmental impact assessment.
  • Disaster and disaster management

IMD forecast and analysis

Introduction

India being a tropical country is sensitive to weather changes and this will have wide ranging effects on economy.  The need is to ensure a scientifically sound forecast system and subsequent measures to bring down the after effects.

Issue:

The forecast from the India Meteorological Department of above-normal temperatures over much of India in the summer months is bound to bring back memories of last year’s withering weeks.

  • Global weather in recent times has come under pressure from the El Nino warming that began in 2015 and exerted its influence into the first quarter of 2016.
    • What is significant is that the Australian international weather bureau says there is a 50% prospect of a similar phenomenon this year as well, making it a significant alert on hotter temperatures, and possibly a debilitated monsoon and weaker agricultural prospects.
  • The early IMD forecast should help the official machinery to adequately prepare for public distress.
  • A carefully planned school examination schedule could spare students the worst of the torrid season, and this should be among the top priorities.
  • As the temperature edged past 40ºC last year, schools in some States decided to extend their summer vacations by a week or two, something that may become necessary again.
  • Urban water distress poses another challenge, because big cities in several States have not received adequate rainfall to replenish their reservoirs and are using up groundwater at unsustainable rates.
  • For farmers, another harsh period would add to their difficulties, requiring a sensitive approach to their needs.
  • Administrative decisions for summer management will need to be refined on the basis of coming IMD updates, although the overall trend appears to be clear.

Rising Temperatures and effects:

Temperatures in different parts of the world may have variations due to local weather phenomena, but as the U.S. space agency NASA has pointed out, there has been a record three-year warming trend, with 2016 the hottest; 16 of 17 warmest years based on globally-averaged temperatures occurred since 2001.

  • The effect of El Nino on the global temperature average is only a small part of the overall rise, indicating that the trend could be correlated with the rise in greenhouse gases.
  • India, a major emitter of GHGs, has classified 2016 as the century’s warmest year, with an increase of 0.91ºC over the long-term average; NASA’s corresponding global figure is 0.99ºC.
  • These are clear signs that the world must shift away from further high-emission pathways in the economy and adopt leapfrogging technologies.
  • It is also a call for policy initiatives to build resilience by improving water harvesting and expanding tree cover, including in cities.
  • For rural India, building surface irrigation facilities such as ponds through the employment guarantee scheme and climate funds would seem a natural choice, while urban water supply augmentation needs more reservoirs to be built.
  • If this year’s forecast comes true, though, there is no escape route. The only hope would be an early date with the monsoon.

Conclusion:

Change in weather patterns and climate in the long term is mostly an irreversible phenomenon. The worrying concern is the reason for most of it is anthropological activities that continue with state support. Especially in times with reduced oil prices it does further impede efforts to curb climate change and global warming.

Connecting the dots:

  • Climate change is an irreversible phenomenon. Especially with recent forecast of IMD what are the probable effects on all sectors of economy? Also discuss the necessary solutions.

 

NATIONAL

TOPIC: General Studies 1

  • Salient features of Indian Society, Diversity of India.
  • Role of women and women’s organization

Delhi University Row- Nature of student politics

Background

  • Delhi University’s Ramjas college had organised an event called “Cultures of Protest” where a talk of JNU student Umar Khalid on “Unveiling the State: Regions in Conflict — The War in Adivasi Areas” was organised.
  • However, when Delhi police refused to protect the speaker from a particular student political outfit, the speaker cancelled his visit. The speaker had been arrested on sedition charges in 2016.
  • Later, the event organisers and students of Ramjas College and student political outfit ABVP clashed when the former decided to carry out a solidarity march on campus.
  • Amidst this, a DU student was entangled in a row when she posted photographs of herself on social media holding a placard saying: “I am not afraid of ABVP.” Later on, she received rape and death threats on social media leading her to withdraw from the DU protest.

On their own

  • The fact that the college authorities had cleared the talk by Khalid as a part of event and following no assurance by police to protect the debate on campus, the signal goes out that students and faculty were on their own in defending the right to free debate.
  • On the other hand, the police said that as they were not given identities of whom to be protected when the college had asked for it, they refused to give protection.
  • However, the role of Delhi Police in the incident has invited accusation of partisanship. Several academics and students present during the protests have pointed at police inaction as a reason for the escalation of violence.

Gender Bias in full view

  • This questions the narrowing of freedom of speech and expression, aided by the state in combination with a society that is increasingly harbouring a majoritarian attitude.
  • Previously, many youngsters have been targeted on campus- Demeaning a student of University of Hyderabad for being a Dalit, Students of JNU being target as traitorous for their Muslim identity as well as projected as menace for being a follower of left-wing ideology.
  • Against the popular portrayal of JNU as a hub of ‘anti-national activity’, this time a student, who incidentally is student of one of the most elite colleges of DU, belongs to one of India’s most celebrated and prosperous minority communities, the Sikhs and also a daughter of martyred soldier of Kargil war, had a rough time while expressing her views.
  • She came at the receiving end of threat of extreme violence when she took up a stand against ABVP. To mock and to traumatise her for her views is lowly form of a democratic country.
  • The abusers used two distinct reactions to harass the girl:
    • The standard response to the articulation of progressive views by women — sexual harassment.
    • Shamed her for using her father, the soldier’s death as a plank for false morality.
  • The strategies were used in combination which became an ideal case of presence of a militarised society with heightened levels of gender-based violence.
  • Along with the threats, there were hundreds of trolls which followed after reactions from some celebrated people.
  • This shows that the reality of having young women who have the ability to think for themselves, without any assistance whatsoever from male members of society, has been entirely bypassed by our politicians and icons of sport and entertainment.

Responsibility of Universities

  • Many students have claimed that though they did not agree to Umar Khalid on number of issues, they would have got an opportunity to question the speaker and discuss varied insights.
  • What DU saw was violence rather than discussion, coercion instead of education. Between being ‘anti-national’ and ‘against freedom of expression’ groups, the discussions and debates got killed.
  • There are necessary curbs such as a bar on speech that incites violence and hate but India academia stands diminished when a students’ organisation uses violence to have a seminar cancelled, and the authorities succumb easily.
  • Universities are arenas for intellectual evolution. They are meant to be spaces where discussion and debate push boundaries, where students learn not only the art of provocation but also the argumentative skills to defend and oppose such provocation.
  • The educational institutions have a duty to nurture sensitive, responsive and critical thinking students without the fear of violent retaliation.

A year ago

  • The incident at Ramjas College follows from what happened in JNU last year where students were attacked by ABVP members.
  • These students were alleged of raising anti-national slogans during a protest meeting held in memory of the parliament attack case convict Afzal Guru, hanged in 2013.
  • In this incidence, cases of sedition were registered. However, a year on, police investigators have cast doubt on the validity of the sedition charges as no valid evidence has been found against the students.

Centre point

  • The centre of the protest in universities, essentially, is ideology. What kind of ideas can be discussed on campus and what cannot is at the centre of the ongoing struggle.
  • However, ideological clashes of such a nature aren’t new to Indian college campuses.
  • At the heart of the matter is the politicisation of the campuses. Student affiliation to rival political groups has resulted in power struggles within college campuses with each group trying to exert its authority.
  • This had made students feel unable to freely exchange ideas or take a position on relevant issues because if they do, there is a price to pay.
  • However, the presence of political groups within college campuses has declined over the years.
  • In 2006, the Lyngdoh Committee recommendations to the Supreme Court on student politics allowed for conducting student elections in a transparent manner. However, it did not ban the presence of political groups in the form of student unions.
  • The committee spoke of “balancing the interest of student democracy and political education with the larger interest of maintaining an ‘academic atmosphere’ within the university and the college campus”.

Conclusion

Robust economies and secure polities are marked by the quality of their universities and the novelty of thought they produce. To become a true global leader, India must generate ideas, look at a campus as a platform for generating thoughts and its students as agents of the future.

Every group and every individual in India has the right to express their views and opinions. The different ideology outfits have equal right to have its views and protest those with which it disagrees and provide same room to their opponents. Continuing with frequent violent incidences and disruption under garb of a nationalist rhetoric, must be condemned by leaders of its parent organisations.

In a healthy democracy, political leaders need to respect diversity of opinion and must have the ability to talk to those they disagree with. These ethos also need to be part of student politics as well. Universities are places where debate, discussion and dissent are nurtured. The present form of nationalism should not shrink that space.

Also, women are increasingly voicing their opinions and views in matters concerning them. They should be encouraged and not threatened.

Connecting the dots:

  • The nationalist feeling and the actual meaning of democracy differs a lot. Do you agree? Give reasons for your answer.
  • In one year, many college related issues have been given political colours. What according to you should be the role of student in campus politics? Critically examine.

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