(PRELIMS + MAINS FOCUS)
Part of: Prelims and GS-III Environment
Context: According to a report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), the world faces unavoidable multiple climate hazards over the next two decades with global warming of 1.5°C.
- Even temporarily exceeding this warming level would mean additional, severe impacts, some of which will be irreversible.
Key highlights of the report
- Human-induced climate change, including more frequent and intense extreme events, has caused widespread adverse impacts and damage to nature and people.
- Some development and adaptation efforts have reduced vulnerability.
- Across sectors and regions, the most vulnerable people and systems are observed to be disproportionately affected.
- The rise in weather and climate extremes have led to some irreversible impacts as natural and human systems are pushed beyond their ability to adapt.
- Wet bulb temperature is the lowest temperature to which air can be cooled by the evaporation of water into the air at a constant pressure.
- According to the report, Lucknow and Patna are among the cities predicted to reach wet-bulb temperature of 35°C if emissions continued to rise.
- Bhubaneswar, Chennai, Mumbai, Indore, and Ahmedabad are identified as at risk of reaching wet-bulb temperatures of 32-34°C with continued emissions.
- Overall, Assam, Meghalaya, Tripura, West Bengal, Bihar, Jharkhand, Odisha, Chhattisgarh, Uttar Pradesh, Haryana and Punjab will be the most severely affected.
- But if emissions keep rising, all States will have regions that experience wet-bulb temperatures of 30°C or more by the end of the century.
What is Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC)?
- It is an international body set up in 1988 by the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) and United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) to provide policymakers with
- Regular assessments of the scientific basis of climate change
- Impacts and future risks associated with Climate Change
- Options for adaptation and mitigation for Climate Change
- Membership of the IPCC is open to all members of the WMO and the UNEP.
- IPCC assessments provide a scientific basis for governments at all levels to develop climate-related policies and also underlie climate negotiation at International level.
- The main objective of UNFCCC is to stabilize greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere at a level that would prevent dangerous anthropogenic interference with the climate system.
News Source: TH
Part of: Prelims and GS-II Policies and interventions
Context: The Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) has informed the Supreme Court that it was willing to issue Aadhaar card to sex workers without insisting on proof of residence/identity.
- But, they should get a certificate from a gazetted officer of the health departments of the States or from an official with the National AIDS Control Organisation (NACO).
- The court has been hearing arguments about how authorities and community-based organisations could reach out to sex workers and provide them with ration card, voter card and Aadhaar card without disclosing their identities.
- Sex workers battle social stigma even at the cost of food security.
- UIDAI was created with the objective to issue Unique Identification numbers (UID), named as “Aadhaar”, to all residents of India that is (a) robust enough to eliminate duplicate and fake identities, and (b) can be verified and authenticated in an easy, cost-effective way.
- UIDAI is a statutory authority established under the provisions of the Aadhaar (Targeted Delivery of Financial and Other Subsidies, Benefits and Services) Act, 2016.
- Prior to its establishment as a statutory authority, UIDAI was functioning as an attached office of the then Planning Commission (now NITI Aayog)
- Under the Aadhaar Act 2016, UIDAI is responsible for
- Aadhaar enrolment and authentication, including operation and management of all stages of Aadhaar life cycle,
- Developing the policy, procedure and system for issuing Aadhaar numbers to individuals and
- Perform authentication and
- To ensure the security of identity information and authentication records of individuals.
- It comes under the Electronics & IT ministry
News Source: TH
Part of: Prelims and GS-I Culture
Context: Recently, the Kerala Nattukala Kshema Sabha (KNKS), an outfit that works for the promotion of local artforms in the state, has demanded that Karakattam dance be recognised as the agricultural art form of Kerala.
About the dance
- Karakattam is a form of folk dance performed at festivals, conferences, roadshows and primarily at Mariamman (rain goddess) festivals.
- Karakattam and agriculture have a link because, in Kerala after Makarakoythu (harvest season), the Mariamman pooja is in the Medam month and Mariamman is considered as the goddess of rain.
- Its performances are characterized by a lot of swaying movements and joyous banter.
- The performers balance a pot on their head.
- Other highlights include blowing fire, inserting needles into eyes, and keeping balance while holding a bottle parallel to the ground on the performer’s back.
News Source: IE
(News from PIB)
National Science Day: 28th February
Part of: GS-Prelims and GS-III: Infrastructure & Economy
What is Gati Shakti Master Plan?
- It is a Rs. 100 lakh-crore project for developing ‘holistic infrastructure’.
- The plan is aimed at easier interconnectivity between road, rail, air and waterways to reduce travel time, improve industrial productivity and developing synergies towards building a more harmonised infrastructure.
- The push for infrastructure is in line with the government’s efforts to step up capital expenditure in infrastructure to promote economic growth.
- Will encompass the seven engines for multi-modal connectivity for the states with speedier implementation of development projects through technology to facilitate faster movement of people and goods through Rs 20,000 crore financed by the government to speed up this project
Aim and objective
- To reduce the logistics cost – a transformative approach, driven by roads, railways, ports, airports, mass transport, waterways and logistics infrastructure. All seven engines will pull the economy forward in unison
- Unshackle bureaucratic entanglements and end inter-ministerial silos that delay infrastructure projects and drive up costs
- Sets sectoral targets to be completed by 2024-25 in areas such as expanding national highways and increasing cargo capacity by the railway and shipping ministries
Significance: Currently, the logistics cost in India is about 13% of the GDP whereas in other developed countries it is to the extent of 8%. PM GatiShakti National Master Plan can help lower our logistics cost to one of the lowest in the world at 7-8% of GD. Government is committed to reduce the cost of logistics to ensure
- Logistics Grid: With Gati Shakti, India will be able to build an integrated, harmonised transportation and logistics grid. Such a grid will help bring down logistics & supply cost of India.
- Enhances Supply Chain Efficiency: It helps build new supply-side capacities & enhances supply chain efficiency that can set the wheels of growth in motion and move towards the ambitious mission of a $5-trillion economy
- Coordinated Governance: To have all utility and infrastructure planning under an umbrella framework will ensures coordinated planning, cut down ministerial delays, and leads to faster decision making.
- Attracts FDI: Having an umbrella framework under Gati Shakti provides clarity & stability to investors thereby attracting Foreign Direct investment into infrastructure sector.
- Scope for New Economic Corridors: Increased investment by domestic & foreign investors for new infrastructure creations open the doors for new future economic zones
- Improves Connectivity: It will ensure last-mile connectivity to economic zones in a definite timeframe.
- Increased Competitiveness of exports: Supply chain inefficiencies add to product costs, and thus, run the risk of making our exports uncompetitive vis-à-vis other international export players. Dedicated infrastructure development under Gati Shakti, therefore, improves India’s infrastructure capacity and global export competitiveness with regard to manufacturing in India.
- Data for Policy Making: The geographic information system (GIS)-enabled digital platform under Gati Shakti will provide useful data — including a region’s topography, satellite images, physical features, maps of existing facilities and so on — for ministries, thus, helping them save on funds and time for approvals.
- Enhances India’s share in cargo business: India’s share in the international cargo business was worth ₹1,686 crore in 2019-20, which rose to ₹2,644 crore in 2020-21 (a 57% increase). Having a harmonised & integrated logistics hub will help increase this share.
PM Gati-Shakti will ensure true public-private partnership in infrastructure creation from infrastructure planning to development and utilization stage
News Source: PIB
- GS-2: India and its neighbourhood
- GS-2: Effect of policies and politics of developed and developing countries on India’s interests
Context: On February 27, the Nepal parliament approved the Millennium Challenge Corporation Nepal Compact — a $500-million grant from the USA, after five years of keeping it on hold.
- The grant was ratified with an imperative declaration attached to it.
- The declaration states that the U.S. grant is not part of the Indo-Pacific strategy and Nepal’s Constitution would be above the provisions of the grant agreement.
- It also mentions that the grant will solely be perceived as an economic assistance.
- Political parties and civil society have been divided on the U.S. grant for various reasons.
- The grant agreement, which was tabled in the Parliament in Kathmandu on February 20, faced demonstrations against it, which turned violent, with riot police firing tear gas shells and using water cannons to disperse the protesters outside the parliament. Protestors also hurled stones at the police and several people reported injuries on both sides.
What is the Millennium Challenge Corporation?
- USA’s Foreign Aid Agency: The Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC) is an independent U.S. foreign aid agency, which was established in 2004 by the country’s Congress to offer “time-limited grants promoting economic growth, reducing poverty, and strengthening institutions,” to low and lower-middle income countries through a selection process (based on performance on 20 policy indicators)
- Terrorism and Poverty: While this is the current official definition of the aid body, MCC was proposed by the George Bush administration post the 9/11 terrorist attack, as a tool to counter global poverty and international terrorism, citing the rationale that poverty and terrorism are linked.
- MCC offers assistance in three forms. In the form of compacts,
- Large, five-year grants;
- concurrent compacts or “grants that promote cross-border economic integration”,
- Threshold programs, which are smaller grants aimed at policy reform.
- MCC has so far approved about 37 compacts for 29 countries, worth a total of over $13 billion.
What is the MCC Nepal Compact?
- In 2014, after meeting 16 of the 20 policy indicators on which MCC selects countries, Nepal had qualified for a compact, the agreement for which it later signed in 2017.
- Under the compact, the U.S. government, through MCC, would provide a grant of $500 million to Nepal for energy transmission and road development projects, with Nepal also chipping in $130 million.
- The power project proposed in the compact is a 300-400 km long energy transmission line with a capacity of 400 kilovolt, along a power corridor starting from the northeast of Kathmandu and ending near Nepal’s border with India.
- The project also involves building three power substations along the line.
- Besides, the grant money is also intended for a ‘road maintenance project’ which will upgrade roads on the east-west highway, spread across 300 kms.
- While the compact says the energy project is meant to augment power generation and economic growth for Nepal, it also states that it will facilitate cross-border electricity trade with India.
- Before the work on the projects can begin however, the bill has to be formally accepted or ratified in the Nepal’s parliament.
- Both the U.S. and Nepal governments have said that it is a ‘no strings attached’ grant, which would not have any conditions, or require repayment and interest payment.
- However, section 7.1 of the agreement says it will “prevail” over the domestic laws of Nepal and section 6.8 grants immunity to MCC staff in “all courts and tribunals of Nepal.”
What is the dispute around the MCC grant?
- As per the initial agreement, the compact should have come into effect by 2019, but skepticism, politics and now protests, made its course rocky.
- The U.S. had been increasing its pressure on Nepal to ratify the agreement giving deadlines, or the U.S. would have to “review its ties with Nepal.”
- There have been instances in the past where the U.S. has terminated such compacts with countries for different reasons.
- Nepali political parties have been divided on the MCC agreement over fears it would undermine Nepal’s sovereignty by pulling it into the US’s Indo-Pacific Strategy (IPS), which focuses on countering China– a country Nepal has close ties with.
- The compact is also seen by some observers as America’s answer to China’s Belt and Road initiative, a road development program that the Nepal government signed in 2016.
- There also concerns that the compact would go against its constitution, which binds the country to a strong principle of non-alignment.
- The people of Nepal are also afraid that the MCC would make profits from the power project by exporting energy to India.
- After Nepal received the call from the White House about the deadline, China said it opposes “coercive diplomacy and actions that pursue selfish agendas at the expense of Nepal’s sovereignty and interests.”
- In this political backdrop of instability amongst coalition partners, the MCC compact became politicised by parties as a device to strengthen their positions in the upcoming elections.
Connecting the dots:
- India-Nepal relations needs a reset
- What are the major irritants in Indo-Nepal relations? What are their fallouts? Examine.
- GS-2: Important International institutions, agencies and fora- their structure, mandate.
Context: Ukraine has filed an application before the International Court of Justice (ICJ), instituting proceedings against the Russian Federation concerning the Genocide Convention of 1948.
- Ukraine has accused Russia of falsely claiming that “acts of genocide have occurred in the Luhansk and Donetsk oblasts of Ukraine”, and of using that as a pretext to recognise the independence of these regions and of going to war against Ukraine.
- The ICJ is the principal judicial organ of the United Nations (UN). It was established in June 1945 by the Charter of the United Nations and began work in April 1946.
- The court is the successor to the Permanent Court of International Justice (PCIJ), which was brought into being through, and by, the League of Nations, 1922.
- After World War II, the League of Nations and PCIJ were replaced by the United Nations and ICJ respectively.
- The PCIJ was formally dissolved in April 1946, and its last president, Judge José Gustavo Guerrero of El Salvador, became the first president of the ICJ.
- The first case, which was brought by the UK against Albania and concerned incidents in the Corfu channel — the narrow strait of the Ionian Sea between the Greek island of Corfu and Albania on the European mainland — was submitted in May 1947.
Seat and role
- Like the PCIJ, the ICJ is based at the Peace Palace in The Hague.
- It is the only one of the six principal organs of the UN that is not located in New York City. (The other five organs are the General Assembly, the Security Council, the Economic and Social Council, the Trusteeship Council, and the Secretariat.)
- According to the ICJ’s own description, its role is “to settle, in accordance with international law, legal disputes submitted to it by States and to give advisory opinions on legal questions referred to it by authorized United Nations organs and specialized agencies”. The court “as a whole must represent the main forms of civilization and the principal legal systems of the world”.
- The judges of the court are assisted by a Registry, the administrative organ of the ICJ.
- English and French are the ICJ’s official languages.
- All members of the UN are automatically parties to the ICJ statute, but this does not automatically give the ICJ jurisdiction over disputes involving them. The ICJ gets jurisdiction only if both parties consent to it.
- The judgment of the ICJ is final and technically binding on the parties to a case. There is no provision of appeal; it can at the most, be subject to interpretation or, upon the discovery of a new fact, revision.
- However, the ICJ has no way to ensure compliance of its orders, and its authority is derived from the willingness of countries to abide by them.
Judges of the court
- The ICJ has 15 judges who are elected to nine-year terms by the UN General Assembly and Security Council, which vote simultaneously but separately.
- To be elected, a candidate must receive a majority of the votes in both bodies, a requirement that sometimes necessitates multiple rounds of voting. Elections are held at the UNHQ in New York during the annual UNGA meeting.
- A third of the court is elected every three years.
- The president and vice-president of the court are elected for three-year terms by secret ballot. Judges are eligible for re-election.
- Four Indians have been members of the ICJ so far.
- Justice Dalveer Bhandari, former judge of the Supreme Court, has been serving at the ICJ since 2012.
- Former Chief Justice of India R S Pathak served from 1989-91
- Former Chief Election Commissioner of India Nagendra Singh from 1973-88. Singh was also president of the court from 1985-88, and vice-president from 1976-79.
- Sir Benegal Rau, who was an advisor to the Constituent Assembly, was a member of the ICJ from 1952-53.
India at the ICJ
India has been a party to a case at the ICJ on six occasions, four of which have involved Pakistan. They are:
- Right of Passage over Indian Territory (Portugal v. India, culminated 1960);
- Appeal Relating to the Jurisdiction of the ICAO Council (India v. Pakistan, culminated 1972);
- Trial of Pakistani Prisoners of War (Pakistan v. India, culminated 1973);
- Aerial Incident of 10 August 1999 (Pakistan v. India, culminated 2000);
- Obligations concerning Negotiations relating to Cessation of the Nuclear Arms Race and to Nuclear Disarmament (Marshall Islands v. India, culminated 2016);
- (Kulbhushan) Jadhav (India v. Pakistan, culminated 2019).
Connecting the dots:
(Down to Earth: Water)
March 1: Ganga, Brahmaputra, Indus water levels to rise by 2050: New IPCC report – https://www.downtoearth.org.in/news/water/ganga-brahmaputra-indus-water-levels-to-rise-by-2050-new-ipcc-report-81736
- GS-3: Climate Change
In News: The Indus, Ganga and Brahmaputra river basins, which provide water to the most densely populated areas of south Asia, will see an increase in river ‘runoff’ by 2050 and 2100, according to projections by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) in its Sixth Assessment Report on Impacts, Adaptation and Vulnerability, released February 28, 2022.
- River run-off refers to water that comes into a river water system from sources such as rainfall, melting snow and groundwater.
- The run-off could increase 3-27 per cent by mid-century, according to the report. It would be:
- 7-12 per cent in the Indus
- 10-27 per cent in the Ganga
- 3-8 per cent in the Brahmaputra
The reason behind
- The increase in run-off in the upper Ganga and Brahmaputra would be due to a rise in precipitation, while in the Indus, it would be due to accelerated melting snow.
- The intensity and frequency of extreme discharges is also likely to increase towards the end of the century. The future of the upper Indus basin water availability is highly uncertain in the long run due to uncertainty surrounding precipitation projections.
- The run-off in the Brahmaputra, Ganga and Meghna is projected to increase by 16 per cent, 33 per cent and 40 per cent respectively under the climate change scenarios by the end of the century.
- The changes in run-off in these scenarios are larger in the wet seasons than the dry season.
- Extreme precipitation events are also expected to increase to a higher degree in the Indus than the Ganga and Brahmaputra basins.
- Increase in extreme precipitation events is likely to cause more flash flood events in the future.
- In case of Indus, increasing temperature trend in the future may lead to accelerated snow and ice melting which may increase the frequency and intensity of floods in the downstream areas
- The Ganga-Brahmaputra region also faces the threat of increased frequency of flood events.
- The Ganga basin also shows a higher sensitivity to changes in temperature and precipitation. Worryingly, future flow would increase in the Central Himalayan region in Nepal, which would have ‘serious consequences downstream’.
These changes could “pose serious threats to the livelihoods” of the more than 700 million people living in the basin, many of whom depend directly on water for agriculture, forestry, fisheries and raising livestock.
The Way Forward
- The findings of the study will be important in shaping climate change adaptation policy in the areas surrounding these river basins.
- India could engage with the “loss and damage” process in climate negotiations. Loss and damage refers to an effort in the annual climate negotiations to create a legal framework where vulnerable countries can be compensated for losses due to climate change.
- With complex global connections and wide local impacts, there’s a need for a deeper understanding the Himalayan ecosystem, its sensitivity to climate change, and better disaster preparedness.
- Real-time forecasts and warnings of extreme weather must be disseminated rapidly in the most efficient way.
- Enhanced monitoring of glaciers by expanding observation networks that place fully automatic weather stations on selected glaciers, developing comparison projects to examine glacier area and volumes, glacier dynamics and implementing the knowledge of these studies in detailed models of glacier hydrology to reduce the uncertainty in projections, which will lead to improved preparedness.
(TEST YOUR KNOWLEDGE)
Model questions: (You can now post your answers in comment section)
Q.1 Consider the following statements regarding Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC):
- It is an international body set up in 1988 by the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) and United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP)
- Membership of the IPCC is open to all members of the WMO and the UNEP.
Which of the above is or are correct?
- 1 only
- 2 only
- Both 1 and 2
- Neither 1 nor 2
Q.2 Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) comes under which of the following Ministry?
- Electronics & IT ministry
- Finance Ministry
- Defence Ministry
- Home Affairs Ministry
Q.3 Karakattam dance is folk dance of which of the following state?
- Tamil Nadu
ANSWERS FOR 1st March 2022 TEST YOUR KNOWLEDGE (TYK)
On Silverline Project:
On Cyber attacks: