IASbaba’s Daily Current Affairs (Prelims + Mains
Focus)- 29th August 2018
Audit of child shelters ‘frightening’
Part of: GS Prelims and Mains II – Social/Welfare issue; Child issue
- National Commission for the Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR) is carrying out an audit of child care institutions and other bodies such as children homes, open shelters, observation homes, special homes, places of safety, specialised adoption agencies and fit facilities under the Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act, 2015, and Model Rules.
- The audit is being conducted in compliance with a Supreme Court order on May 5, 2017.
Preliminary contents of a social audit conducted by the NPCR highlighted that –
- Out of a total of 2,874 children’s homes surveyed, only 54 institutions could be given positive reviews.
- Out of 185 shelter homes audited across the country, only 19 had “all the records of a child that they are supposed to maintain.”
- Of the 203 special adoption agencies, only eight deserved positive reviews.
- Similarly, only 16% of the 172 observation homes had all the required records of the children, like case histories and who are residing there.
- Again, out of 80 special homes/place of safety only 13% have the complete set of records.
Important Value Additions:
- NCPCR is a statutory body set up in 2007 under Commissions for Protection of Child Rights Act, 2005.
- NCPCR is country’s apex child rights body.
- Objective of this commission is to protect, promote and defend the child rights in India including the rights adopted in the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Children, 1989, ratified by India in 1992.
- The Chairperson of NCPCR should be a person of eminence who has done outstanding work on promoting the child rights.
- The Commission’s Mandate is to ensure that all Laws, Policies, Programmes, and Administrative Mechanisms are in consonance with the Child Rights perspective as enshrined in the Constitution of India and also the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child.
Do you know?
- The Child is defined as a person in the 0 to 18 years age group.
India’s most polluted: 30% have no clean up plan
Part of: GS Prelims and Mains III – Environment and Pollution
- There are concerns as good numbers of India’s most polluted cities have failed to clean up their act.
- Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) had asked polluted cities (or ‘non-attainment’ cities) to implement 42 measures aimed at mitigating air pollution – as part of the National Clean Air Campaign (NCAP).
- These included steps such as implementing control and mitigation measures related to vehicular emissions, re-suspension of road dust and other fugitive emissions, bio-mass, municipal solid waste burning, industrial pollution, and construction and demolition activities.
- However, prominent non-attainment cities such as Ahmedabad, Bengaluru, Nagpur and Jaipur are yet to submit their plans.
Do you know?
- The non-attainment cities are those that have fallen short of the National Ambient Air Quality Standards (NAAQS) for over five years.
- Recently, World Health Organisation said that Delhi and Varanasi were among 14 Indian cities that figured in a global list of the 20 most polluted cities in terms of PM2.5 levels.
- Other Indian cities with very high levels of PM2.5 particulates were Kanpur, Faridabad, Gaya, Patna, Lucknow, Agra, Muzaffarpur, Srinagar, Gurgaon, Jaipur, Patiala and Jodhpur, followed by Ali Subah Al-Salem in Kuwait and some cities in China and Mongolia.
Objective of NCAP
- The NCAP aspires to overcome the deficits of the ongoing government initiatives targeted towards air pollution control.
- It lays down a comprehensive strategy framework for enhanced management of air quality.
- Augmentation of existing air quality monitoring network by increasing number of existing manual and continuous monitoring stations, introducing rural monitoring stations, identifying alternative technology for real-time monitoring network and augmenting capabilities of existing monitoring stations to measure PM2.5 concentration, are integral components of the strategy framework.
Kudumbashree: a fine model of community service
Part of: GS Prelims and Mains II and III – Self Help Groups; Role of SHGs; Disaster Management
- Workers of the women empowerment programme (Kudumbashree) have so far cleaned more than 1.1 lakh flood-hit houses in Kerala.
- The gesture can be described as a fine model of community service by the self-help group in post-disaster reconstruction.
Important Value Additions
- Launched by: Government of Kerala in 1998
- Aim: To wipe out absolute poverty from state through concerned community action under the leadership of local self-government
- Largest women empowering projects in the country; it covers 50 percent of the households in Kerala.
- A government agency having a budget and paid staff and is responsible to the department of local self-governments.
Manned space mission before 75th I-Day: ISRO chief
Part of: GS Prelims and Mains III – Science and Technology
- Gaganyaan – India’s ambitious manned spaceflight mission
- ISRO aims to launch three Indians into space by an Indian rocket (before the 75th Independence Day).
Do you know?
- ISRO began work on the manned mission in 2004 and some of these technologies have been demonstrated successfully through various tests — Space Capsule Recovery Experiment, Crew module Atmospheric Re-entry Experiment and Pad Abort Test.
- The total programme is expected to cost less than ₹10,000 crore.
- Rudrasagar – is an artificial lake about 50 km from Agartala
TOPIC: General Studies 2
- India and its neighbourhood- relations
- Bilateral, regional and global groupings and agreements involving India and/or affecting India’s interests
Pieces of the Asian dream: India, China and Asia-pacific
- When the U.S. and China are caught up in geopolitical rivalry in the Asia-Pacific, all eyes are towards India, and strategic positioning India is gearing itself.
- In Singapore, India proclaimed her ambitions to garner influence in the Indo-Pacific region by increasing engagement with the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), developing friendship with China, maintaining cordial ties with Russia, pursuing interests with Australia and engaging more with the U.S.
Tug of power
- The tug of power between India and China continues to impact sea lanes and chokepoints, with these two Asian giants pursuing interests in the littoral states spread across the Indo-Pacific.
- While India pursues influence through heightened diplomatic, bilateral and military engagement, China has started to garner influence through hard investments in cash-strapped littoral nations suffering from massive infrastructural deficits.
China in Asia Pacific
- The influence of China on certain ASEAN states like Cambodia has been such that during the 2016 ASEAN ministerial meeting, it refused to endorse the joint communiqué if it referred to the international court ruling against Beijing.
- China is today Cambodia’s largest provider of foreign aid and has invested in dams, oilfields, highways, textile operations and mines.
- Philippines have been seeking for harmonious relations with China, especially after 2016, when U.S. legislators blocked the sale of about 26,000 M4 rifles. Beijing provided rifles and guns to the Philippines police to fight against extremists in the city of Marawi.
- ASEAN’s trade with China far surpasses that with India, and Chinese foreign direct investment in ASEAN is nine times higher than India’s.
- China’s heavy investments in ASEAN nations have brought these nations closer into its orbit of influence to the point where despite an international ruling against its activities in the South China Sea (SCS), the ASEAN as a bloc agreed to cooperate with China on a Code of Conduct instead of pursuing the international ruling.
- China’s multibillion dollar investments in Sri Lankan ports and cities have inched the country much closer to China, and last year Sri Lanka handed over its Hambantota port to China, on a 99-year lease.
- Under its Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), China has over the years promised billions to littoral states in the Indian Ocean Region to build a series of ports, something resource-constrained India will find difficult to match.
India in Asia Pacific
- The overt-assertiveness of China has driven many countries in East and Southeast Asia to seek friendship with India, and today Indonesia and Singapore are looking to bolster relations with India.
- ASEAN has a cultural affinity with India with its shared religious diversity, ancient ties and a sizeable Indian diaspora in countries like Singapore and Malaysia.
- After the U.S., India enjoys global soft power through its art, literature, music, dance and cinema.
- India is perceived by many in East Asia as a friendly democracy, making the country a safe ally to have in the long run.
- Japan has significantly increased its engagement with India and the two countries enjoy robust military ties.
- India and Australia have initiated the ‘2+2’ dialogue signalling Canberra’s interest in deepening a maritime security partnership with India.
- Although India enjoys cordial relationship with all ASEAN nations, it is unlikely that diplomatic hobnobbing alone will help garner the grouping’s support for its Indo-Pacific strategy against China’s raw cash power and growing military presence.
- India also has so far failed to provide any concrete plans for its immediate neighbourhood in South Asia, with countries like Nepal and Sri Lanka demonstrating interest in partnering with China.
- Souring of relations with Nepal due to the 2015 fuel blockade and failed strategic interventions in Sri Lanka have both undermined India’s regional leadership.
- So far, in this year, from the informal summit at Wuhan in April to Prime Minister Modi’s keynote speech at the Shangri-La Dialogue in Singapore, to the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) Summit in china, a reset of India china relations has been observed.
- At the SCO Summit, China renewed its agreement with India on sharing data on the cross-border flow of waters from the Brahmaputra during the flood season.
- The two countries signed a protocol that would enable all varieties of rice exports from India to China, a demand India has been pressing for quite some time to rectify its adverse balance of payments against China.
- Mr. Xi has also suggested a trade target of $100 billion by 2020, signalling a gradual thaw in relations.
- With China, India can strike a better strategic bargain compared to the smaller states in the region.
- It would be difficult for China to take forward the BRI without participation from India, which has reservations on the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC).
- By demonstrating a willingness to join the BRI, India can positively influence China to re-evaluate the details of the CPEC.
- With a strategic partnership with China, India can better pursue its own regional groupings like the Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation (BIMSTEC) and Bangladesh, Bhutan, India and Nepal (BBIN) initiative.
- Since India can’t match China’s resource spending, strategic understanding with China can help streamline regional connectivity projects and help India gain influence in the region.
- India have to develop a strategy to leverage its soft power in South, East and Southeast Asia and optimise its military power to effectively counter China’s cash and hard power.
India is clearly seeking its rightful place in the league of nations by outlining its geopolitical role, particularly in the Indo-Pacific region. With the limited resources, India’s ambitions will have to play out against a resourceful and assertive China.
Connecting the dots:
- Briefly provide an overview of the geopolitical realities of Asia Pacific and different stakeholders involved, which makes it necessary for India to showcase her diplomatic skills.
Paper 1: Essay
General Studies 2
- Indian Constitution; Fundamental rights
- Functioning of Judiciary
- Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors
The final frontier of populism? Judiciary and Majoritarianism
- Crucial constitutional questions are being fought in the highest courts in the world’s largest democracies.
- If a baker refuses to make a wedding cake for a same sex couple citing his religious beliefs, is that an exercise of religious liberty or a case of discrimination against homosexuals? The Colorado Civil Rights Commission in the U.S. ruled it was a case of discrimination. The U.S. Supreme Court reversed the Colorado commission’s order.
- The Indian Supreme Court is seized of the conflict between a religious belief and charges of discrimination in a case on Sabarimala, the Kerala temple where women of a particular age are not allowed entry.
- When questions such as these come up in the context of executive or legislative action or inaction, it becomes the task of the judiciary to test them against the Constitution.
There is a long-running debate on how the judiciary should interpret the Constitution. One school of thought, the originalists, believes that the constitutional text ought to be given the original meaning or intent that it would have at the time it was written. The evolutionists believe that the Constitution is a living document and the meaning of its text changes over time, as social attitudes change, and that the judges should interpret it accordingly. (Covered in detail: 28 August 2018 DNA)
Tensions in a democracy
- Judges are not impervious to public opinion but they are not meant to be its slaves either. They do not need to win popular votes.
- This one layer of insulation from instant public opinion enables the judiciary to be the guardian of the fundamental values of the society, which too change but over a longer period of time.
- The tensions between the legislative or executive branches and the judiciary are unavoidable, and to some extent desirable, in a democracy.
- Varying degrees of judicial review provide a way to negotiate a balance between public opinion and values in democratic societies.
- In India, the judiciary can review even constitutional amendments.
- When a society is in the midst of conflict over its elemental values, such tensions become more fraught. The legislative and executive branches are quicker in responding to people’s will and often, shaping it.
- India also has seen such phase, when the judiciary resisted progressive legislative measures such as land reforms in the early years of the republic.
- Those tensions continued all the way until an equilibrium was reached, with the Supreme Court establishing the concept of the basic structure of the Constitution in the 1970s.
- At the core of the tensions between the judiciary and the more political branches was the search for a balance between justice and liberty, a perennial source of conflict in a democracy.
- The turbulence within the Indian judiciary and in its relations with the political executive and the legislature could also be seen in the context of the ongoing populist project to reshape the country.
- It is one thing to expect the judiciary to be aware of evolving notions of rights and justice in a society, but quite another to demand the remaking of the judiciary in accordance with a majoritarian agenda.
- A judiciary dismissive of the popular will could disrupt the balance of power among the branches; but a judiciary subservient to majoritarianism will certainly undermine democracy.
Connecting the dots:
- Do you think populism in democracy affects judiciary? Elucidate.
(TEST YOUR KNOWLEDGE)
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Q.1) With regard to National Commission for Protection of Child Rights, Consider the following statements.
- As defined by the commission, child includes those up to the age of 18 years.
- Chairperson of the commission is ex-officio member of National Human Rights Commission
Which of the above statements is/are correct?
- 1 only
- 2 only
- Both 1 and 2
Q.2) Consider the following statements with reference to the National commission for Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR)
- It is a statutory body established under the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act, 2012.
- It defines a Child as a person in the 0 to 18 years age group.
- The commission works under the administrative control of the Ministry of Women & Child Development.
Which of the statements given above are correct?
- 1 and 2
- 1 and 3
- 2 and 3
- 1, 2 and 3
Q.3) Air quality of Indian cities is a major concern these days. Which of the following pollutants are considered in India to make the Air Quality Index?
- Carbon di Oxide
- PM 2.5
Select the code from following:
- 2 only
- 2, 3 and 4
- 1, 2 and 3
- All of the above
Q.4) Consider the following statements about National Air Quality Monitoring Programme:
- The Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) has been executing a nationwide Programme of ambient air quality monitoring known as National Air Quality Monitoring Programme (NAMP).
- Annual average concentration of SOx levels are within the prescribed National Ambient Air Quality Standards (NAAQS).
- The NAAQS has undertaken 5 pollutants only.
Which if the statements given above is/are correct?
- 1 and 2 only
- 1 and 3 only
- 2 and 3 only
- 1, 2 and 3
Listen to the deluge
Cities at crossroads: No more cover-ups
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