TOPIC: General Studies 2
- Structure, organization and functioning of the Executive and the Judiciary Ministries and Departments of the Government; pressure groups and formal/informal associations and their role in the Polity.
- Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues arising out of their design and implementation.
- Important aspects of governance, transparency and accountability, e?governance? applications, models, successes, limitations, and potential; citizens charters, transparency & accountability and institutional and other measures.
The brutal murder of a woman life convict in the Byculla women’s prison in Mumbai recently has brought the focus back on custodial violence, especially the vulnerability of inmates to authoritarian behaviour.
- The issues range from prisoners’ rights, health, hygiene and access to legal aid, to the condition of women inmates and their children.
- Over the past years, incidents of murder, suicides and attacks on other prisoners have been reportedly increased.
- The overcrowding of prisons in the country is a long-standing problem. The Supreme Court itself highlighted that prisons in Delhi and nine States have an occupancy rate of 150 per cent of their capacity. The average occupancy in all jails in the country was 117.4 per cent, as of December 31, 2014.
- Cramped conditions in prison militate against the prisoner’s right to good health and dignity. An excessive prison population creates problems of hygiene, sanitation, management and discipline.
- Of equal concern are the available staff strength and the level of training they receive.
- A little over two-thirds of India’s prisoners are undertrials. Poverty remains the main reason for this, as most prisoners are unable to execute bail bonds or provide sureties. Since 2014, there is some effort to invoke Section 436A of the Code of Criminal Procedure, under which undertrials who have completed half of the maximum jail term specified for their offences may be released on personal bonds.
- Corruption, discrimination and inequality: Not all prisoners are treated in same way. Politicians get better treatment, whereas general public have to undergo inhuman conditions.
- In the last half century, the superior courts have passed a series of orders to reform jails but the government both at centre and states is not taking such orders seriously.
What is the government doing?
- Supreme Court had earlier directed the States to prepare a plan of action to reduce crowding and to augment infrastructure so that more space is available to each prisoner. But not even one State or Union Territory took any action.
- Recently acting on the directions of the Bombay High Court, the Maharashtra government has constituted a five-member committee to look into jail reforms.
- The Union Home Minister released a model jail manual last year. It aims at bringing in basic uniformity in laws, rules and regulations governing the administration of prisons and the management of prisoners all over the country
Model jail manual:
- Access to free legal services – Based on Article 39A of the Constitution.
- Additional provisions for women prisoners has been drawn from the United Nations Rules for the Treatment of Female Prisoners and Non-Custodial Measures for Women Offenders adopted by the UN General Assembly (UN Bangkok Rules).
- Rights of prisoners sentenced to death
- Provisions for children of women prisoners – to ensure holistic development of children of women prisoners.
- Inspection of Prisons – to help identify existing issues and deficiencies which could then be remedied through appropriate action.
- The management of prisons must be marked by firm discipline.
- Due regard should be given to the human rights of prisoners. Prison reforms are not only about amenities and conditions; they must also address the prisoner’s right to life.
- Separation of criminals and undertrials in jail.
- Classification of crimes into normal, violent, heinous etc. Then criminals of different categories could be segregated based on the seriousness of their crime.
- Basic facilities in jail to ensure skill development of a criminal, such that he/she can earn a basic living once his term of punishment is over.
- Having a proper policy for parole and furloughs and disseminating information about the same to prisoners so that everyone can exercise this right.
- Having a policy of rehabilitation of criminals in society as productive members. Initiatives like a restaurant staffed by Tihar Jail inmates could be duplicated elsewhere in the country.
Failing to address the problem of crowded jails may prove costly for the administration of criminal justice. Prison reforms must be directed at securing the rights of inmates. State is under an obligation to protect the residuary rights of prisoners after they surrender their liberty to a legal process.
Connecting the dots:
- Prison reforms in India is a long-standing issue. Discuss.
- Prison inmates in India faces a range of issues ranging from health, hygiene and access to legal aid. Protecting the rights of prison inmates is important for criminal justice system. Discuss.
TOPIC: General Studies 3
- Green Bonds and issues related to it
- Indian Economy and issues relating to planning, mobilization of resources, growth, development and employment (especially in Environment and Renewable energy sector).
- Environment and Ecology, Bio diversity – Conservation, environmental degradation, environmental impact assessment, Environment versus Development
- Issues relating to renewable energy technology and developing new technology.
Transforming India into a truly green economy
Climate change is arguably the biggest challenge of our times and poses a global threat to civilisation as we know it. The climate crisis holds a promise of ushering in an age of collaboration and disruptive innovation and is also perhaps the biggest opportunity of our times.
- National target of reducing emissions intensity of GDP by 33-35 per cent by 2030.
- Reducing India’s reliance on fossil fuels and increasing the share of renewables in its energy mix to 40 per cent by 2030.
- Recent aim of making India the first country in the world with all-electric vehicles by 2030.
- India needs an estimated $2.5 trillion by 2030 to meet its climate goals.
- $200 billion is needed for 100 GW solar and 60 GW wind power installation by 2022.
- A combination of financial instruments will help here.
What needs to be done?
Making the required financing available:
The transition to a ‘low-carbon economy’ is entirely dependent on the mobilisation of large financial resources.
- India’s ambitious Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs), part of the Paris Agreement, are estimated by the Government to cost $2.5 trillion by 2030. According to industry estimates, the target of achieving a renewable energy installed capacity of 175 GW by 2022 alone would warrant $100 billion in investments. The mammoth scale of such funding requirement has made climate finance a critical component in climate-proofing the economy.
- Financial institutions can play a crucial role in mobilising climate finance and investments by leveraging existing financial mechanisms. Leveraging the debt market, Green Bonds have emerged as a successful bridge between capital markets and addressing climate change.
- Since its first issuance in 2007, by two multilateral development banks (World Bank and European Investment Bank), green bonds have grown exponentially as a key tool to raise climate finance,
- Other innovative mechanisms such as blue bonds have great potential to emerge as a mainstream financing mechanism for water related projects.
- Green municipal bonds hold promise towards building the 100 smart cities planned by India, through market interventions to revive the dormant municipal bonds market.
- International and multilateral organisations have also been supporting climate action in developing nations like India by deploying green finance.
- The Green Climate Fund has recently announced that it would invest in a ground water recharge and solar micro-irrigation project in vulnerable tribal areas in Orissa for the next four years. Funds such as these serve the dual purpose of bridging the financing gap for sustainable development and establishing feasibility of investments in new sectors. The GCF is a unique global initiative by the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) to respond to climate change by investing into low-emission and climate-resilient development.
Ensuring innovation in deployment of fund available:
Effective deployment and channelisation of funds to the emerging climate positive sectors is crucial.
- Innovation is key to create new and tailor-made financial products and services. For a sector like renewable energy which has reached a certain scale,
- Securitisation of long term assets.
- There is a need to ensure access to mainstream financing channels. Financial mechanisms such as credit enhancement are instrumental in reducing the perceived high risk.
- For smaller and more local climate adaptation initiatives, blended finance can help leverage public funds to crowd in private investments and drive socio-environmental benefits for local communities.
Augmenting on internal sources:
- The role of Indian banks and development financial institutions (DFIs) as a facilitator of green growth is critical. They can contribute to green growth by encouraging e-transactions and e-statements and converting their premises to ‘green’ buildings. They can assess environmental, social and governance (ESG) risks while appraising projects for financing: currently, most banks and DFIs do not factor these in while evaluating project proposals.
- There is a need to introduce green financial products. To meet green financing need, DFIs and banks are expected to float ‘green bonds’ both in the domestic and international markets. For example, YES Bank has already raised ?1,000 crore by floating green infra bonds and Exim Bank has obtained $500 million through the issue of green dollar bonds.
- Two important RBI initiatives are noteworthy. One, renewable energy project financing was included under the priority sector lending category in July 2015. Two, companies are allowed to sell rupee-denominated bonds overseas which, in turn, facilitates the institution to obtain overseas debt without exposure to currency risks
Though the green finance space has witnessed significant developments in India, there is still enormous untapped potential. With climate action taking centrestage in policy decisions globally, it is time for collaborative efforts and disruptive innovations to unleash the full potential of the new economy and embark on a journey of green growth.
Connecting the dots:
- What do you understand by the term Green finance? Discuss how India can transform itself into a green economy.
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