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DAILY CURRENT AFFAIRS IAS | UPSC Prelims and Mains Exam – 6th November 2020

  • IASbaba
  • November 6, 2020
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(PRELIMS + MAINS FOCUS)


Prasar Bharati to Launch 51 Education TV Channels

Part of: GS Prelims and GS-II – Education

In news

  • In a landmark step, India’s public broadcaster Prasar Bharati entered into a MoU with Bhaskaracharya National Institute for Space Applications and Geo-Informatics, Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology.
  • Under the MoU, 51 DTH education TV channels will be available as DD co-branded channels to all DD FreeDish viewers.
  • This move aims to bring quality educational programmes to every household, including those in rural and remote areas.
  • The services will be available free of cost for all the viewers, 24×7, in line with Government’s commitment towards skill development and providing quality education to the last person in the country.

Arbitration And Conciliation (Amendment) Ordinance, 2020 promulgated

Part of: GS Prelims and GS-II – Polity and Governance

In news

  • Indian President promulgated the Arbitration and Conciliation (Amendment) Ordinance, 2020 to amend Arbitration and Conciliation Act, 1996 further.

Key takeaways

  • The Ordinance aims to ensure that all the stakeholders get an opportunity to seek unconditional stay of enforcement of arbitral awards where the underlying arbitration agreement or contract is induced by fraud or corruption.
  • An addition has been made to Section 36 whereby if the Court is satisfied that a prima facie case is made out that the arbitration agreement or contract was induced or effected by fraud or corruption, it will stay the award unconditionally.
  • The ordinance also does away with the 8th Schedule of the Arbitration and Conciliation Act, 1996 which contained the necessary qualifications for accreditation of arbitrators.

Habeas Corpus

Part of: GS Prelims and GS-II – Constitution

In news

  • Bombay High Court heard Habeas Corpus plea of a senior journalist, who was arrested in a connection with abetment to suicide case by Police. 

Important value additions 

  • The Indian Constitution empowers the Supreme Court to issue writs for enforcement of any of the fundamental rights conferred by Part III of Indian Constitution under Article 32. 
  • Thus the power to issue writs is primarily a provision made to make available the Right to Constitutional Remedies to every citizen.
  • There are five types of Writs: Habeas Corpus, Mandamus, Prohibition, Certiorari and Quo warranto.
  • Mandamus: A judicial writ issued as a command to an inferior court or ordering a person to perform a public or statutory duty.
  • Prohibition: A writ of prohibition is a writ directing a subordinate to stop doing something the law prohibits. This writ is often issued by a superior court to the lower court directing it not to proceed with a case which does not fall under its jurisdiction.
  • Certiorari: In law, certiorari is a court process to seek judicial review of a decision of a lower court or government agency.
  • Quo warranto: Quo warranto is a prerogative writ requiring the person to whom it is directed to show what authority they have for exercising some right, power, or franchise they claim to hold.
  • Habeas Corpus: It literally means “you may have the body.” The writ is issued to produce a person who has been detained, whether in prison or in private custody, before a court and to release him if such detention is found illegal.

Do you know?

  • In September, 2018, the Supreme Court reiterated that writ of habeas corpus can’t be filed for a person in police custody ordered by a Magistrate. 
  • The Supreme Court bench said that as the custody is awarded by the Magistrate, it cannot be considered unlawful detention.

Miscellaneous

Moto Tunnel

  • Recently, Pakistan’s Ministry of Climate Change opened the 129-year-old Moto Tunnel for tourists after its revival at the Ayubia National Park in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province.
  • It is 250-feet long, 6-feet high and 4-feet wide Moto Tunnel carved out of stones and clay.
  • It is part of the longer ‘nature pipeline walk’ in the Ayubia National Park.

Wilamaya Patjxa Female Hunter

  • A female teenager from 9,000 years ago has been identified as the oldest hunter burial found in the Americas. 
  • The finding has overturned the notion that hunting was exclusively a male domain while women only gathered.
  • An analysis of burial records indicates 30-50% hunters from a similar period were female.
  • About 9,000 years ago, hunter-gatherers buried a teenager with hunting tools in the Andes mountains of South America. 
  • When researchers analysed the remains, unearthed in 2018, they found that the hunter was a female, aged between 17 and 19 at her death.
  • During excavations at the high-altitude site Wilamaya Patjxa in Peru in 2018, archaeologists found five burial pits with six individuals.
  • The Wilamaya Patjxa female hunter has been identified as the earliest hunter burial found in the Americas.

(MAINS FOCUS)


ENVIRONMENT/ INTERNATIONAL

Topic: General Studies 2,3:

  • Effect of policies and politics of developed and developing countries on India’s interests 
  • Conservation, environmental pollution and degradation 

US and Paris Agreement

Context: US formally left the Paris Climate Agreement on 4th Nov 2020, three years after President Donald Trump announced his intention to undo what had been seen as a key achievement of his predecessor Barack Obama.

What is the Paris Agreement?

  • In December 2015, 195 countries signed an agreement (came into force on Nov 2016) within the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change(UNFCCC), dealing with greenhouse-gas-emissions mitigation, adaptation, and finance
  • Objective: To slow the process of global warming by limiting a global temperature rise this century well below 2 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels and to pursue efforts to limit the temperature increase even further to 1.5 degrees Celsius.
  • Another crucial point in this agreement was attaining “net zero emissions” between 2050 and 2100. Nations have pledged “to achieve a balance between anthropogenic emissions by sources and removals by sinks of greenhouse gases in the second half of this century”. 
  • Developed countries were also told to provide financial resources to help developing countries in dealing with climate change and for adaptation measures. 
  • As part of a review mechanism, developed countries were also asked to communicate every two years the “indicative” amount of money they would be able to raise over the next two years, and information on how much of it would come from public financial sources. 
  • In contrast, developing countries have only been “encouraged” to provide such information every two years on a voluntary basis.
  • The agreement also includes a mechanism to address financial losses faced by less developed nations due to climate change impacts like droughts, floods etc. However, developed nations won’t face financial claims since it “does not involve or provide a basis for any liability or compensation”.

So, why did the US leave the Paris agreement?

  • During his 2016 presidential campaign, Donald Trump had described the Paris Agreement as “unfair” to US interests, and had promised to pull out of the agreement if elected.
  • So in June 2017, months after his inauguration, Trump announced his government’s decision to quit the accord
  • The US could not immediately exit the Paris Agreement, however, as United Nations rules permitted a country to apply for leaving three years after the accord came into force, i.e. November 4, 2019.
  • The US formally applied to leave on that day, and the departure automatically came into effect on November 4, 2020, at the end of a mandatory year-long waiting period

Trend of US retreating from Global leadership role

Since Trump Presidency (2016 onwards), US has

  • Quit the U.N. Human Rights Council and U.N. cultural agency UNESCO
  • Pulled out of Paris accord and Iran nuclear deal 
  • Cut funding for the U.N. Population Fund (UNFPA) and U.N. agency that helps Palestinian refugees (UNRWA) 
  • Opposed a U.N. migration pact

What were the criticisms of US’s withdrawal from Paris accord?

  • The step is against the principle of common responsibility.
  • The GHGs emissions done is past puts a moral obligation on US to take strict measures to cut it down in future.
  • The step take by US may result into domino effect, with other nations too withdrawing from the deal. This would bring to standstill one of the most comprehensive deal for climate change.
  • It also provides China an opportunity to show environmental leadership especially with its Climate Commitments made during UN General Assembly in Sep 2020.
  • While US is out of Paris deal, many of the US states and companies still consider themselves party to the deal.

Is there any possibility of US joining back the Paris Accord?

  • Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden has long maintained that the US would rejoin if he wins the 2020 US Presidential Elections.
  • Thirty days after formally applying to the UNFCCC, the US would again become a part of the Paris framework, and would be required to submit its emission-reduction targets for 2030.
  • Joe Biden, who might possibly replace Trump as US President from 2021, has proposed a $2 trillion spending plan that includes promoting clean energy and climate-friendly infrastructure.

India and Climate Emission

  • Despite the accelerated economic growth of recent decades India’s annual emissions, at 0.5 tonnes per capita, are well below the global average of 1.3 tonnes.
  • China’s total C02 emission is 29.51% of the world and per capita emission is 7.7 whereas USA’s total C02 emission is 14.34% of the world and per capita emission is 16.1.
  •  In terms of cumulative emissions, India’s contribution by 2017 was only 4% for a population of 1.3 billion, whereas the European Union, with a population of only 448 million, was responsible for 20%.
  • India is one of the few countries which is currently on track to fulfilling their Paris Agreement commitments.

Connecting the dots:


HEALTH/ GOVERNANCE/ SOCIETY

Topic: General Studies 2, 3:

  • Issues relating to poverty and hunger. 
  • Mechanisms, laws, institutions and Bodies constituted for the protection and betterment of these vulnerable sections

School Closures and Nutrition Fallout

Context: As many as 116 million children were impacted due to the indefinite school closure in India in the wake of COVID-19 induced lockdown which disrupted the largest school-feeding programme in the world –Mid Day Meal Scheme.

Do You Know?

  • Almost 194.4 million people in India are undernourished, according to the State of Food Security and Nutrition in the World 2019 report by the FAO. 
  • A real-time monitoring tool estimated that as of April 2020, the peak of school closures, 369 million children globally were losing out on school meals, a bulk of whom were in India.

Pressing Issues

  • Tough to meet the ‘Zero Hunger’ goal by 2030: The recent Global Hunger Index (GHI) report for 2020 ranks India at 94 out of 107 countries and in the category ‘serious’, behind our neighbours Pakistan, Bangladesh and Nepal. 
  • Danger of falling enrolment rate: A report by the International Labour Organization and the UNICEF, on COVID-19 and child labour, cautions that unless school services and social security are universally strengthened, there is a risk that some children may not even return to schools when they reopen.

About Mid-Day Meal Scheme

  • The scheme aims to improve nutritional levels among school children which also has a direct and positive impact on enrolment, retention and attendance in schools.
  • A mid-day meal in India should provide 450 Kcal of energy, a minimum of 12 grams of proteins, including adequate quantities of micronutrients like iron, folic acid, Vitamin-A, etc. according to the mid-day meal scheme (MDMS) guidelines, 2006. 
  • This is approximately one-third of the nutritional requirement of the child, with all school-going children from classes I to VIII in government and government-aided schools being eligible. 
  • However, many research reports, and even the Joint Review Mission of MDMS, 2015-16 noted that many children reach school on an empty stomach, making the school’s mid-day meal a major source of nutrition for children, particularly those from vulnerable communities. 

What happened to MDMS during COVID-19 Pandemic?

  • In orders in March and April 2020, in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic and closure of schools, the Government of India announced that the usual hot-cooked mid-day meal or an equivalent food security allowance/dry ration would be provided to all eligible school-going children even during vacation.
  • This was done to ensure that their immunity and nutrition is not compromised. 
  • Nearly three months into this decision, States were still struggling to implement this.
  • According to the Food Corporation of India’s (FCI) food grain bulletin, the offtake of grains under MDMS from FCI during April and May, 2020 was 221.312 thousand tonnes, 22%, lower than the corresponding offtake during April and May, 2019 (281.932 thousand tonnes). 
  • There were 23 States and Union Territories that reported a decline in the grain offtake from FCI in April-May 2020, compared with corresponding months in 2019. 
  • The State of Bihar, for instance, which lifted 44.585 thousand tonnes in April and May 2019, had no offtake during these two months in 2020.
  • Data and media reports indicate that dry ration distributions in lieu of school meals are irregular .
  • The other worrying angle to the lack of school meals and functioning schools is the fact that there are reports of children engaging in labour to supplement the fall in family incomes in vulnerable households. 

Innovative strategies to ensure functioning of MDMS during the pandemic period

  1. Local Smallholder Farmer’s involvement
  • The COVID-19 crisis has also brought home the need for such decentralised models and local supply chains.
  • Local smallholder farmers’ involvement in school feeding can be at the helm of such nutrition initiatives. 
  • A livelihood model could be established that links local smallholder farmers with the mid-day meal system for the supply of cereals, vegetables, and eggs.
  • This not only help in meeting protein and hidden hunger needs of children but could also diversify production and farming systems, transform rural livelihoods and the local economy, and fulfill the ‘Atmanirbhar Poshan’ (nutritional self-sufficiency) agenda.
  1. School Nutrition (Kitchen) Garden 
  • School Nutrition (Kitchen) Garden under MDMS can be another initiative to provide fresh vegetables for mid-day meals. 
  • Besides ensuring these are functional, what can be done, in addition, is provide hot meals can be provided to eligible children with a plan to prepare and distribute the meal in the school mid-day meal centre. 
  • This is similar to free urban canteens or community kitchens for the elderly and others in distress in States like Odisha. 
  • Also, adequate awareness about of the availability of the scheme is needed. 

Conclusion

With continuing uncertainty regarding the reopening of schools, innovation is required to ensure that not just food, but nutrition is delivered regularly to millions of children. For many of them, that one hot-cooked meal was probably the best meal of the day.


(TEST YOUR KNOWLEDGE)


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

Note: 

  • Correct answers of today’s questions will be provided in next day’s DNA section. Kindly refer to it and update your answers. 
  • Comments Up-voted by IASbaba are also the “correct answers”.

Q.1 Consider the following statements:

  1. Certiorari is a court process to seek judicial review of a decision of a lower court or government agency.
  2. Mandamus: A judicial writ issued as a command to an inferior court or ordering a person to perform a public or statutory duty.

Which of the above is/are correct? 

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

Q.2 Moto Tunnel was in news recently. Where is it located?

  1. Pakistan
  2. Afghanistan
  3. Uzbekistan
  4. India

ANSWERS FOR 5th November 2020 TEST YOUR KNOWLEDGE (TYK)

1 C
2 D
3 A

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