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IASbaba’s Daily Current Affairs [Prelims + Mains Focus] – 20th February 2018

  • IASbaba
  • February 21, 2018
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IASbaba's Daily Current Affairs Analysis
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IASbaba’s Daily Current Affairs (Prelims + Mains Focus)- 20th February 2018

Archives


(PRELIMS+MAINS FOCUS)


Implementation of the National Nutrition Mission in Rajasthan

Part of: Mains GS Paper II- Government interventions in important sectors

Key pointers:

  • Rajasthan is gearing up for implementation of the National Nutrition Mission with a State Vision Document-2022 being formulated.
  • The idea is to ensure convergence of work by all stakeholders for improving nutrition levels of women and children and reducing undernutrition and low birth weight by 2% each year.
  • The NNM, approved by the Union Cabinet, will be implemented in 24 of the 33 districts in Rajasthan.
  • The NNM’s guidelines would enable the functionaries to formulate plans of action.
  • UNICEF-Rajasthan chief Isabelle Bardem said the UN body would extend help and render assistance at all levels to make NNM a success.

About NNM:

  • More than 10 crore people in the country are expected to benefit from the NNM.
  • It  has set the target to reduce stunting from 38.4% as per the National Family Health Survey-4 to 25% by 2022.
  • It will cover 235 districts in 2018-19 and the remaining districts in the next two years.

Article link: Click here


The World Congress on Information Technology being held in Hyderabad

Part of: Mains GS Paper II, III- Infrastructure, Science & Technology

Key pointers:

  • The World Congress on Information Technology (WCIT 2018) or the ‘Olympics of IT’, is being held for the first time in India at Hyderabad.
  • Prime Minister Narendra Modi emphasised on re-skilling of existing workforce in the backdrop of emergence of new technologies. As the nature of jobs are changing in the emerging age of intelligent automation.
  • Disruptive technologies such as Blockchain and IoT (Internet of Things) would have “deep impact in the way we live and work. They will require rapid adaptation in our workplaces.”
  • FutureSkills platform, a Nasscom initiative to upskill 2 million technology professionals in India was also launched by the PM.

PM on digital technology in India:

  • The country not only has a growing number of innovative entrepreneurs, but is also a growing market for tech innovation.
  • With over 1 lakh villages linked with optical fibre, 121 crore mobile phones, 120 crore Aadhaar and 50 crore internet users, India is best placed to leverage the power of technology and leap-frog into the future.
  • Technology is becoming enabler of the deeply imbibed Indian philosophy of Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam, if used well for public good technology can deliver lasting prosperity to mankind and sustainable future for the planet.

Article link: Click here


(MAINS FOCUS)


ENVIRONMENT

TOPIC:

General Studies 2:

  • Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues arising out of their design and implementation.

General Studies 3:

  • Conservation, environmental pollution and degradation, environmental impact assessment

Fixing the Compensatory Afforestation Model

Introduction:

The Compensatory Afforestation Fund Act (CAF Act), 2016 has raised serious concerns about the human and environmental costs of compensatory afforestation (CA).

  • Numerous evidences have established that CA plantations destroy natural forests, harm biodiversity, undermine the rights and nutrition of local communities, and disguise rampant misuse of public funds.
  • By allocating more than Rs50,000 crore, the Act enables the forest bureaucracy to entrench its control over forests.
    It subverts democratic forest governance established by the Forest Rights Act (FRA), 2006 and Panchayats (Extension to Schedule Areas) Act (Pesa), 1996.

Such human and environmental costs are set to aggravate further unless the model of CA is fixed.

About CFA Act, 2016:

The legislation provides an institutional mechanism to ensure utilization of amounts realised in lieu of forest land diverted for non-forest purpose. The amount should be used such that we can mitigate impact of diversion of such forest land.

About FRA, 2006:

The law concerns the rights of forest-dwelling communities to land and other resources, denied to them over decades.

A Survey:

A macro-analysis of 2,548 plantations, and case studies of 63 CA plantation sites in Odisha, Jharkhand, Maharashtra and Chhattisgarh, by forest rights group Community Forest Rights—Learning and Advocacy (CFR-LA) reveals that 60% of these are monocultural commercial plantations, sometimes set up in the name of “forests”.
These plantations have been carried out over forest lands both claimed and titled under the FRA, and even over dense natural forests.
The consent of the communities was not sought, violating their legal rights and leading to livelihood distress.

Issues:

The compensatory afforestation (CA) funds have become a tool to further strengthen the forest departments, undermine the authority of gram sabhas and defeat forest rights claims.
The draft rules recently released by the the Union environment, forest and climate change ministry does not address concerns regarding FRA and the role of gram sabhas.

  • Across the states CA plantations have been set up on community forests, common lands, homesteads, cultivable land, pastures and religious sites which belong to communities, without their free, prior and informed consent.
    At least half the lands claimed as “government forest” are forests belonging to communities under the FRA.
  • The ministry of tribal affairs (MoTA) has not intervened with the MoEFCC to defend the FRA and has allowed it to issue guidelines for creating land banks for CA out of revenue forest-lands and degraded forests on which people have recorded rights.
  • Sections 3(1)(i) and Section 5 of the FRA vests the right and authority for governance of forests in the gram sabha.
    The potential of FRA is hindered by a lack of political will. Formal recognition is issued to a mere 3% of claims, and gram sabhas are marginalized from decision making.
  • The Act lacks a mechanism to monitor expenditure of funds, despite the comptroller and auditor general (CAG) report, 2013 finding massive misutilization by the forest department (FD).

Communities are the best managers for the governance and conservation of forests:

Forest Survey of India reports show that forest cover in tribal districts, constituting 60% of the country’s total forest cover, contradicted the national trend and increased by 3,211 sq. km over 2001-03.
In Odisha alone, more than 12,000 self-initiated forest protection groups cover more than 2 million hectares of forest.
These community-led initiatives have successfully regenerated forests by adopting sustainable- use practices, regeneration through traditional knowledge of forests and species, guarding and penalizing poachers, among others.

Way forward:

  • One option can be the repeal of, or amendments to, the CAF Act, adopting a framework of democratic forest governance as per the FRA as the principal approach for the governance of CA.
  • The CAF Act needs to be integrated with the FRA and Pesa by centering the role of gram sabhas and incorporating land and forest rights guarantees.

Conclusion:

The political class must show the will and take bold steps to review the CAF law, implement the FRA in letter and spirit, and promote community-led conservation initiatives.

Connecting the dots:

  • The Compensatory Afforestation Fund Act (CAF Act), 2016 conflicts the Forest Rights Act. Analyze.
  • Communities are the best managers for the governance and conservation of forests. In this light it is required that the CAF Act, 2016 is brought in sync with the Forest Rights Act, 2006. Discuss.

ENVIRONMENT

TOPIC:

General Studies 2:

  • Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues arising out of their design and implementation.

General Studies 3:

  • Conservation, environmental pollution and degradation, environmental impact assessment

Bringing in behavioral change to tackle climate change

Introduction:

Some changes in our lives creep upon us and before we know it they become part of our daily habits. This is true of changes in society as well as in nature.

For instance, consider the case of changes in Bengaluru city.

  • Earlier, Bangalore used to be known for its gardens and greenery. People use to drink water off the taps and had no fans in their houses.
  • Today, Bengaluru has become a developed city. People boast of the world’s first burning lake, of increasing incidences of diseases related to the low quality of air, and a falling public health profile.  

These problems are part of every town and city in India.

Environmental Performance Index 2018

India is among the bottom five countries according to EPI, 2018 (biennial report by Yale and Columbia Universities along with the World Economic Forum).

  • The report ranks India 177 out of 180 countries.
  • India ranks 178 out of 180 as far as air quality is concerned.

Its overall low ranking is linked to poor performance in the environment health policy and deaths due to air pollution categories.

It is not just about pollution of nature but also of our behaviour

As our numbers continue to grow, we continue to increase our need for far more water, far more food, far more land, far more transport and far more energy. As a result, we are accelerating the rate at which we’re changing our climate. In fact, our activities are not only completely interconnected with but now also interact with, the complex system we live on: Earth. It is important to understand how all this is connected.

Our relationship with nature has now become purely economic.  We do not associate ourselves as a part of nature because we use it for profit.  

  • Forests are cut down for the profits of the lumber industry and to make room for livestock.  
  • Animals that we are undoubtedly related to, that have senses and the ability to socialize are slaughtered by the billions to feed an increasingly carnivorous population.
  • Resources such as oil and food are all unevenly distributed throughout the world and therefore used as a platform for profit.  

All the while the environment bears the grunt of our greed.

This is how hegemonic power changes the natural and social worlds and we all tend to accept these changes without much protest.

This change is so powerfully naturalised that those who question its nature and pace are often portrayed negatively. This includes being termed as ‘anti-national’ or ‘anti-technology’.

Humans have arrived at a situation where the very idea of development is only understood as a means to appease the incited desires of individuals.

We live in a world where nations are increasingly being viewed as a machine. We live in a society where it is so difficult to change certain social habits. And with the above ‘secular’ notion of development – every town and city are affected in ways that have been detrimental to the people living there.

Conclusion:

The naturalisation of negative changes to our environment by us doesn’t bode well for the future of our planet.  
Habits of consuming as required, not wasting, being efficient while using resources etc may go a long way in helping us check the menace of climate change.
Overall a behavioral change is required to win the battle of climate change.

Connecting the dots:

  • Climate change is the result of our unsustainable of living. This was not so a few decades back. The issue is that the changes in our way of living over decades have been naturalised by us. Thus, to tackle change what is required is behavioral change. Analyze.

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