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Daily Current Affairs [IAS UPSC Prelims and Mains Exam] – 6th December 2018

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  • December 6, 2018
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Daily Current Affairs [IAS UPSC Prelims and Mains Exam] – 6th December 2018

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(PRELIMS + MAINS FOCUS)


Citizens to get an option to opt out of Aadhaar

Part of: GS Prelims and Mains II and III – Right to Privacy; Security issues

In news:

  • Government is finalising a proposal to amend the Aadhaar Act to give all citizens an option to withdraw their Aadhaar number, including biometrics and the data.
  • This follows the Supreme Court judgment in September that upheld the validity of Aadhaar.
  • In line with the court order, the proposal also seeks to appoint an adjudicating officer to decide whether a person’s Aadhaar-related data need to be disclosed in the interest of national security.

Key outcomes of Supreme Court Judgment  

  • A Constitution Bench of the Supreme Court had struck down Section 57 of the Aadhaar Act that allows private entities to use the unique number for verification.
  • The Bench also declared that seeking to link it with bank accounts and SIM cards was unconstitutional.
  • The court had also struck down Section 33(2), which allowed disclosure of Aadhaar information for national security reasons on the orders of an officer not below Joint Secretary.
  • It had said an officer above Joint Secretary should consult a judicial officer and together take a call.

‘CO2 levels poised for record high’

Part of: GS Prelims and Mains III – Environment and Ecology; Pollution

In news:

According to researchers at the University of East Anglia (UEA) and the Global Carbon Project

  • Global carbon emissions are set to hit an all-time high of 37.1 billion tonnes of CO2 in 2018.
  • India, the third-highest contributor, is projected to see emissions rise by 6.3% from 2017.

The 2.7% projected global rise in 2018 has been driven due to –

  • appreciable growth in coal use
  • sustained growth in oil and gas use

Do you know?

  • The Global Carbon Project (GCP) was established in 2001. The organisation seeks to quantify global carbon emissions and their causes. GCP is a core project of IGBP (International Geosphere-Biosphere Programme).
  • Established by the GCP in 2013 the Global Carbon Atlas is a tool for the visualisation of data related to the global carbon cycle.
  • U.N. Climate Change Conference (COP 24) Katowice, Poland will also focus on ways to equitably cut carbon emissions.

Concerns:

  • The 10 biggest emitters in 2018 are China, U.S., India, Russia, Japan, Germany, Iran, Saudi Arabia, South Korea, and Canada.
  • The EU as a region of countries ranks third.
  • China’s emissions accounted for 27% of the global total, having grown an estimated 4.7% in 2018 and reaching a new all-time high.
  • Emissions in the U.S., which has withdrawn from its commitment to the Paris Agreement, account for 15% of the global total, and look set to have grown about 2.5% in 2018 after several years of decline.
  • Limiting global warming to the 2015 Paris Agreement goal (keeping the global temperature increase to well below 2°C), would need carbon dioxide emissions to decline by 50% by 2030 and reach net zero by about 2050.

Pic: https://d39gegkjaqduz9.cloudfront.net/TH/2018/12/06/DEL/Delhi/TH/5_07/119594cc_2573994_101_mr.jpg


India gets first witness protection scheme

Part of: GS Prelims and Mains II – Polity and Governance; Government policies and schemes

In news:

  • The Supreme Court has put in place a witness protection regime in the country.
  • The scheme aims to promote law enforcement by facilitating the protection of persons who are involved directly or indirectly in providing assistance to criminal law enforcement agencies and the overall administration of Justice.
  • SC noted that one of the main reasons for witnesses turning hostile was that they were not given security by the State.

Do you know?

  • Under the witness protection scheme – witness protection may be as simple as providing a police escort to the witness up to the courtroom or, in more complex cases involving an organised criminal group, taking extraordinary measures such as offering temporary residence in a safe house, giving a new identity, and relocation to an undisclosed place.
  • The issue of witness protection scheme had cropped up earlier when the top court was hearing a public interest litigation (PIL) seeking protection for witnesses in rape cases involving self-styled preacher Asaram Bapu.

Need for such scheme

  • Jeremy Bentham has said that “Witnesses are the eyes and ears of justice.”
  • In a society governed by a Rule of Law, it is imperative to ensure that investigation, prosecution and trial of criminal offences is not prejudiced because of threats or intimidation to witnesses.
  • In cases involving influential people, witnesses turn hostile because of threat to life and property. Witnesses find that there is no legal obligation by the state for extending any security.

As such witnesses should be entitled to the following rights:

  1. Right to give evidence anonymously
  2. Right to protection from intimidation and harm
  3. Right to be treated with dignity and compassion and respect of privacy
  4. Right to information of the status of the investigation and prosecution of the crime
  5. Right to secure waiting place while at Court proceedings
  6. Right to transportation and lodging arrangements

Miscellaneous

  • ‘Air pollution kills 7 million every year’ – according to report released at the 24th Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP24) in Katowice, Poland.

(MAINS FOCUS)


NATIONAL

TOPIC:General studies 3

  • Environment and ecology: Air pollution
  • Mechanisation of Agriculture and crop diversification

Cutting through the smog: Air pollution in North India

Introduction

  • Air pollution is a worry especially in north India. Stubble burning is said to be a key factor behind the formation of a dense cover of smog in this part of India though its contribution is less than 20%.
  • Farmers are held responsible for the crisis but what is at fault are the flawed and short-sighted policies of the Central and State governments.
  • Incidents of stubble burning — following the harvest of paddy crop in Punjab and Haryana — cannot be averted by imposing fines, or giving notice or giving farmers, capital subsidy. Instead, the issue requires long-term vision and strategic policy interventions.

Reasons for failure for current methods:

  • The sowing of paddy is incentivised in Punjab and Haryana whereby the share of paddy (rice) in the gross cropped area in Punjab has increased from 6.8% in 1966-67 to almost 36.4 % in recent years, while it has increased from 4.97% to 20% in Haryana.
  • The policy of minimum support price for crops, in tandem with their assured procurement and input subsidy, have left farmers with no option but to follow this wheat-paddy rotation which has caused the increase at the cost of other crops such as maize, cotton, oilseeds and sugarcane.
  • Punjab has enacted a water conservation law in 2009 which mandates paddy sowing within a notified period (June instead of the earlier practice of May) and a shorter period of sowing days prohibits transplantation before a notified date, which in turn limits the window available for harvesting paddy to between 15 and 20 days. As a result, farmers who are pressed for time to sow wheat and to maintain crop yield, farmers find stubble burning to be an easy and low-cost solution.
  • Haryana and Punjab face labor shortage for removal of stubble and therefore find stubble burning an easier option.
  • The purchase of the ‘happy seeder’ which mechanically removes the paddy stubble adds to the cost incurred by farmers, wherein stubble burning is a much cheaper option.

Way forward

  • Government should encourage crop diversification for other crops than paddy and a policy of a ‘price deficiency system’ — as initiated in Haryana and Madhya Pradesh— should be adopted to strengthen the production and marketing of alternative crops.
  • Another option is to replicate the Telangana model of providing farmers an investment support of ₹8,000 per acre each year which can be used for compensating for manual removal or of other methods of removal of stubble.
  • A feasible remedy could lie in the setting up of custom hiring centres or inviting companies to make investments for rental purposes. If the state provides an app-based support system, to rent out  tractors and farm implements and earn additional income — there are examples of this in Nigeria and also in Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Gujarat, Uttar Pradesh and Bihar — it would be akin to the ‘Uberisation of agriculture’.
  • Paddy Straw can be used for biomass generation through usage in biomass power plants, paper and cardboard mills and the government can use geospatial techniques to identify areas where stubble burning is severe and encourage installation of biomass plants at such locations.

Connecting the dots:

  • What are the causes of air pollution in Delhi, during winter season?  Do you think, further mechanisation of agriculture will reduce the problem caused by stubble burning?

NATIONAL

TOPIC:General studies 2

  • Social justice: issues related to poverty and hunger  

Stunted, wasted: on Global Nutrition Report 2018

Introduction

  • The health, longevity and well-being of Indians improved since Independence, and the high levels of economic growth over the past two-and-half-decades have made more funds available to spend on the social sector.
  • Yet, the real health conditions of children in India present a grim situation according to Global Nutrition Report 2018.

Findings of the report

  • The Global Nutrition Index, 2018 has shown that 1/3 of World’s stunted children and 1/4 of World’s children displaying wasting are in India.
  • As the Global Nutrition Report 2018 points out, this finding masks the wide variation in stunting levels in different parts of the country.
  • While, 70% of the figures for India are localized to North and Central India, South India is having only 20%.

Causes of grim nutritional conditions in India

  • Food and freedom go together, and the availability of one strongly influences access to the other.
  • The North South divide of Nutritional map of India shows the important role played by political commitment, administrative efficiency, literacy and women’s empowerment in ensuring children’s health.
  • Among the factors affecting the quantity and quality of nutrition are maternal education, age at marriage, antenatal care, children’s diet and household size.
  • Another issue is that of the quality of nutrition in packaged foods available to children. Going by the report, only 21% of these foods in India were rated as being healthy, based on overall energy, salt, sugar and saturated fat on the negative side, and vegetable, fruit, protein, fibre and calcium as positive factors.
  • The Economic Survey 2017-18 put social services spending at 6.6% of GDP, an insignificant rise after a marginal decline from the 6% band during the previous year to 5.8%.

Way forward

  • Social institutions can work to improve nutrition and children’s welfare in free societies, and the absence of hunger enables people to develop their capabilities.
  • Governments should acknowledge the linkages and commit themselves to improved nutritional policies.
  • The national framework to improve nutrition already exists. The Anganwadi Services scheme, which incorporates the Integrated Child Development Services, caters to children up to age six, and to pregnant and lactating women.
  • If it has not worked well in several States, it must be subjected to a rigorous review and targeted interventions for supplementary nutrition made.
  • Now that mapping of malnutrition at the district level is available, as in the Global Nutrition Report, it is incumbent on State governments to address these determining factors.
  • Public awareness: The fact that the global average of processed foods scored only 31% and a peak of 37% in New Zealand indicates that whole foods and cooked meals emerge superior.

Conclusion

  • The latest report on stunting and wasting should convince the Centre that it needs to understand the problem better and work with the States to give India’s children a healthy future.
  • India should invest more of its economic prosperity in its welfare system, without binding itself in restrictive budgetary formulations.

Connecting the dots:

  • Despite being one of the fastest growing trillion dollar economy, India is home to a third of the world’s stunted children under five and a quarter of the children display wasting. Analyse the causes and suggest some measures.

(TEST YOUR KNOWLEDGE)

Model questions: (You can now post your answers in comment section)

Note:

  • Featured Comments and comments Up-voted by IASbaba are the “correct answers”.
  • IASbaba App users – Team IASbaba will provide correct answers in comment section. Kindly refer to it and update your answers.

Q.1) Google Tez is a new digital payment app based on UPI payment. Which of the following statements are correct regarding Google Tez?

  1. It permits user to transfer money without requiring the bank account details of recipient.
  2. Aadhar verification for payment is mandatory.
  3. It does not require money to be stored in app wallet for money transfer.

Select the code from following:

  1. 1 and 2
  2. 2 and 3
  3. 1 and 3
  4. All of the above

Q.2) Consider the following statements about ‘Blue-coloured Aadhar card’

  1. Biometric details are not required for this card
  2. It will be given to children between 5-15 years of age
  3. It will be linked with his/her parent’s UID

Select the correct statement

  1. 1 Only
  2. 1 and 2
  3. 1 and 3
  4. All of the above

Q.3) Consider the following statements regarding the features of Aadhaar Card

  1. Biometric
  2. Geography
  3. Caste
  4. Religion
  5. Demographic
  6. Health
  7. Income

Which of the given details are not captured while enrolling for Aadhaar Card?

  1. 1, 2, 3, 4 and 6
  2. 1, 4, 6, and 7
  3. 2, 3, 4, 6 and 7
  4. 3, 4, 5, 6 and 7

Q.4) Consider the following statements about Global Carbon Project (GCP)

  1. GCP is a core project of IGBP (International Geosphere-Biosphere Programme).
  2. Global Carbon Atlas was established by the GCP.

Select the correct statement(s)

  1. Only 1
  2. Only 2
  3. Both 1 and 2
  4. Neither 1 nor 2

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