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DAILY CURRENT AFFAIRS IAS | UPSC Prelims and Mains Exam – 3rd April 2021

  • IASbaba
  • April 3, 2021
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(PRELIMS + MAINS FOCUS)


Increase in maternal deaths and stillbirth due to COVID-19 

Part of: GS Prelims and GS – II – Health 

In news

  • According to a study published in The Lancet Global Health journal, the failure of the health system to cope with COVID-19 pandemic resulted in an increase in maternal deaths and stillbirths, 

Key takeaways 

  • Overall, there was a 28% increase in the odds of stillbirth. 
  • The risk of mothers dying during pregnancy or childbirth increased by about one-third.
  • There was also a rise in maternal depression.
  • COVID-19 impact on pregnancy outcomes was disproportionately high on poorer countries.
  • The report is an analysis of 40 studies across 17 countries
  • Inefficiency of the healthcare system instead of strict lockdown measures resulted in reduced access to care. 

Do you know? 

  • In India, during the months of national lockdown between April and June 2020, compared to the same period in 2019, there was a 27% drop in pregnant women receiving four or more ante-natal check-ups, a 28% decline in institutional deliveries and 22% decline in prenatal services.

Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA)

Part of: GS Prelims and GS – II – International Relations 

In news

  • USA and Iran would begin negotiations through intermediaries to try to get back into an accord limiting Iran’s nuclear programme. 

Key takeaways 

  • The announcement marked the first major progress in efforts to return both countries to the 2015 accord, which bound Iran to restrictions on its nuclear programmes in return for relief from U.S. and international sanctions.
  • USA’s previous President Donald Trump had pulled the USA out of the accord in 2018 and imposed tougher sanctions on Iran. 
  • Iran responded by intensifying its enrichment of uranium and building of centrifuges, while maintaining its insistence that its nuclear development was for civilian and not military purposes.
  • Iran’s moves increased pressure on major world powers and raised tensions among U.S. allies and strategic partners in West Asia.
  • Agreement on the start of indirect talks came after the EU helped broker a virtual meeting of officials from Britain, China, France, Germany, Russia and Iran, which have remained in the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) accord

New Emission Norms for Coal-Fired power Plants

Part of: GS Prelims and GS-III – Pollution 

In news

  • The Central government has pushed back deadlines for coal-fired power plants to adopt new emission norms by up to three years. 
  • It has also allowed utilities that miss the new target to continue operating after paying a penalty. 

Key takeaways 

  • India had initially set a 2017 deadline for thermal power plants to install Flue Gas Desulphurization (FGD) units that cut emissions of sulphur dioxides. 
  • But that was postponed to varying deadlines for different regions, ending in 2022.
  • According to the new order, plants near populous regions and New Delhi will have to comply by 2022, while utilities in less polluting areas have up to 2025 to comply or retire units.
  • A task force will be constituted by the Central Pollution Control Board to categorise plants in three categories “on the basis of their location to comply with the emission norms”.
  • In case of non-compliance, a penalty of up to ₹0.20 will be levied for every unit of electricity produced.

17th BIMSTEC Ministerial Meeting

Part of: GS Prelims and GS – II – International Relations 

In news

  • 17th BIMSTEC Ministerial Meeting was held virtually.
  • India remains committed to further building the momentum of regional cooperation under the BIMSTEC framework. 

Key takeaways 

  • BIMSTEC Convention on Cooperation in Combating International Terrorism, Transnational Organized Crime and illicit Drug Trafficking has come into force in March 2021.
  • Also, BIMSTEC Convention on Mutual Legal Assistance in Criminal Matters has been finalized for signing at the fifth BIMSTEC Summit.
  • These Conventions will provide a robust legal basis to further strengthen our cooperation in this sector.
  • BIMSTEC Centre for Weather and Climate, being hosted in India, is fully functional with state of the art facilities to provide Disaster Early Warning.

Important value additions 

The Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation (BIMSTEC) 

  • It is a regional organization comprising seven Member States lying in the areas of the Bay of Bengal.
  • This organization came into being in 1997 through the Bangkok Declaration.
  • Member States: Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Myanmar and Thailand.

Judicial Vacancies in High Courts

Part of: GS Prelims and GS – II – Constitution; Judiciary 

In news

  • The SC has asked the government to clarify on the status of 55 recommendations made by the Collegium for judicial appointments to High Courts 

Important value additions 

Appointment of Judges

  • Article 124(2): President of India Shall appoint the judges after consultation with such number of Judges of the SC/HC as he deems necessary. For appointment of any Judge of SC (other than CJI), the CJI must be consulted.
  • The three Judges case of 1981, 1993 & 1998 has formalised the collegium system for the purpose of consultation.
  • The collegium for appointing SC judge consists of the CJI and 4 senior-most judges of SC.
  • Memorandum of Procedure (MoP) was set up after the Third Judge Case of 1998 to provide the process of how the Collegium would recommend names to the Executive.
  • The President of India can either accept the recommendation or send it back for reconsideration. The reconsidered advice must be accepted by the President.

(Mains Focus)


ETHICS/ ENVIRONMENT

Topic:

  • GS-4: Ethics & Justice
  • GS-3: Environment and Conservation

Aristotle & Environmental Ethics

The Nicomachean Ethics is the name normally given to Aristotle’s best-known work on ethics

In Nicomachean Ethics, Aristotle distinguished three forms of justice, namely distributive, commutative and corrective.

Distributive justice 

  • It pertains to how resources should be distributed in terms of principles of equality, equity and merit.
  • Climate action of major developed countries is incompatible with the goals of the Paris Agreement. 
  • It is only a few developing countries, including India, who are taking adequate climate action. 
  • Therefore, the focus should be on ensuring ambitious climate action by developed countries in the near-term to ensure distributive climate justice in the implementation of the Paris Agreement.

Commutative justice 

  • It refers to agreements or commitments, and other kinds of social contracts.
  • In the climate change discourse, it would refer to the honouring of past commitments in good faith.
  • The developed country delivery of finance, technology transfer, and capacity building support to developing countries is not up to the mark. 
  • They are not even close to meeting their climate finance goal of jointly mobilising at least $100 billion per year by 2020 to support climate action in developing countries. 
  • The fulfilment of these past commitments would be a critical precursor to any enhancement of climate ambition by developing countries.

Corrective justice 

  • It pertains to the righting of wrongs.
  • Climate justice demands that every individual who is born on this earth has a right to development and dignified living. 
  • For this, developed countries need to repay the climate debt by shouldering greater mitigation responsibilities and providing finance, technology and capacity building support to safeguard the interest of the poor and vulnerable people in developing countries.

ELECTIONS/ GOVERNANCE

Topic:

  • GS-2: Mechanisms, laws, institutions and Bodies constituted for the protection and betterment of these vulnerable sections(women)

Concerns over MTP Bill, 2020

Context: Medical Termination of Pregnancy (Amendment) Bill (MTP), 2020 was recently passed in Rajya Sabha.

Issues

  • Lack of consultation with stakeholders
  • Lack of inclusion of transgender people within the MTP framework
  • Lack of emphasis on centring women’s autonomy.
  • Medical boards would constitute violations of privacy 
  • Cause inordinate delays in abortion access due to lack of specialists
  • Lack of time limits for decision-making
  • Ambiguous representation of women
  • Extensive procedural hurdles
  • Abortion under the MTP Amendment Bill will not be allowed at the request of a pregnant person, but is conditional on authorisation by the doctor. This goes against the Supreme Court’s jurisprudence on reproductive autonomy and bodily integrity.
  • The Bill will allow for abortions without any upper gestation limit only for foetuses with “abnormalities”, thereby fostering the ableist rationale of the State. 
  • The Bill is also overwhelmingly cis-heteronormative, with only cisgender women being contemplated in it, and not persons with other gender identities.

Conclusion

  • The State continues to control women’s reproductive and sexual rights while wielding the argument of “progress”. 
  • The narrow understanding of women’s rights, which underpins the legislation, serves to explain much of the hetero-patriarchal regulatory orientation of the law. 
  • The co-option of “women’s rights” in the rhetoric to promote the Bill is ironic, as its provisions continue to criminalise abortion, and perpetuate harmful stereotypes and stigma around reproduction, sexuality and motherhood. 
  • The persistent notion that women are “natural” mothers, as reiterated in the Rajya Sabha debates, furthers the paternalistic idea that women need hand holding in making decisions related to their sexual and reproductive rights.

Note – The Conclusion comes from the ‘Feministic School of thought’ Going with this conclusion might back fire, however you can use it PSIR and Sociology.

Connecting the dots:

  • Reproductive rights of a women vs Rights (if any) of an unborn child

(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 Which of the following is not a member of BIMSTEC? 

  1. Bangladesh 
  2. Bhutan 
  3. India 
  4. China 

Q.2 Which of the following country is not a part of Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA)? 

  1. China 
  2. France
  3. USA
  4. Germany

ANSWERS FOR 2nd March 2021 TEST YOUR KNOWLEDGE (TYK)

1 A
2 B
3 A

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