UPSC Exam Comprehensive News Analysis Oct10

TABLE OF CONTENTS

A. GS1 Related
B. GS2 Related
POLITY AND GOVERNANCE
1. Nakkheeran editor held on Raj Bhavan’s complaint, freed by court
2. Delhi HC defers hearing on CBI appeal in 2G case
SOCIAL JUSTICE
1. Activist enrols as ‘third gender’ for LIC policy
INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS
1. U.S. seeks Pak. help on Afghanistan
2. China says Imran supports CPEC projects
C. GS3 Related
ECONOMY
1. IMF projects India’s growth at 7.3 per cent in 2018
HEALTH
1. Internet gaming can result in psychological disturbances
D. GS4 Related
E. Editorials
INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS
1. Salvaging a strategic partnership (India-Russia Relations)
ENVIRONMENT AND ECOLOGY
1. ‘Another warning on warming’ and ‘Target 1.5’
F. Tidbits
G. Prelims Fact
1. Army sets its sights on future
H. UPSC Prelims Practice Questions
I. UPSC Mains Practice Questions 

A. GS1 Related

Nothing here for today!!!

B. GS2 Related

Category: POLITY AND GOVERNANCE

1. Nakkheeran editor held on Raj Bhavan’s complaint, freed by court

Context

  • R.R. Gopal, Editor of Tamil magazine Nakkheeran , was on Tuesday arrested in Chennai under Section 124 of the IPC, a provision that deals with “assaulting President/Governor with intent to compel or restrain the exercise of any lawful power” on a complaint from the Raj Bhavan, but was set free by a magistrate in the evening.
  • The complaint was submitted by T. Sengottaiyan, Deputy Secretary to the Governor, to the Commissioner of Police on October 6, accusing Nakkheeran of publishing defamatory reports. These reports insinuated that the Governor and senior Raj Bhavan officials had links with Nirmala Devi, an assistant professor, who was arrested in April on charges of attempted trafficking of college girls.

Related article – 124 A

  • Sedition in India is defined by section 124 A of the Indian Penal Code.
  • Section 124 A was introduced by the British colonial government in 1870 when it felt the need for a specific section to deal with radical Wahabi movement of the 19thcentury, led by Syed Ahmed Barelvi and centred around Patna.
  • Section 124 A of IPC says, “Whoever, by words, either spoken or written, or by signs, or by visible representation, or otherwise, brings or attempts to bring into hatred or contempt, or excites or attempts to excite disaffection towards the Government established by law shall be punished with imprisonment for life, to which fine may be added, or with imprisonment which may extend to three years, to which fine may be added, or with fine.”

2. Delhi HC defers hearing on CBI appeal in 2G case

Context

  • The Delhi High Court on Tuesday deferred to February 7, 2019 hearing on an appeal by the CBI challenging the acquittal of former Telecom Minister A. Raja, DMK MP Kanimozhi and other accused in the 2G spectrum allocation case.
  • Justice Najmi Waziri asked the CBI to provide digitised records of the trial court proceedings to the accused. The judge gave two weeks to the agency to provide the digitised records and six weeks to the accused to submit their replies. The court was hearing the probe agency’s plea challenging a Special CBI court order acquitting Mr. Raja and others in the 2G scam case.

What is 2g spectrum?

  • 2g is an abbreviation of wireless telephone technology. The word ‘spectrum’ refers to range of radio waves that are used for communication purposes. Since waves surround us all the times and pass through everything – this means that spectrum needs to be monitored.
  • So the government divides the spectrum which is a national wealth into bands and manages the spectrum across the country by assigning to different telecom circles.
  • Thus, in order for a telecom company to offer continual access across India, it would have to bid for spectrum licenses in 22 existing circles. Now a spectrum like any other natural resource is required to be auctioned by the government to companies that can use this to provide a number of services.

What was the case?

  • The scam dates back to 2011 when A Raja, the main accused and telecom minister from 2007 to 2010, was arrested by the CBI on charges of colluding with private companies and granting them spectrum licences at unjustly low prices causing a huge loss to the public exchequer.
  • It involved politicians, bureaucrats and corporate executives whose nexus with each other resulted in a huge loss to the exchequer. Supreme Court on a PIL even declared the allotment as unconstitutional and cancelled the 122 licences issued under A Raja ministerial period. Following were the key irregularities found in the case:
  • Undervalued the telecom spectrum leading to a presumptive loss of Rs 1.76 lakh crore, according to Comptroller and Auditor General report.
  • License distribution was done on a distorted first come first served basis and that too at 2001 prices when a competitive bidding process should have been followed.
  • Granting license to front companies which was not allowed. For eg- Swan Telecom was not even allowed to bid for spectrum being a front company for the Reliance Anil Dhirubhai Ambani Group.
  • Cut off dates were advanced arbitrarily to 25th September from 1st October 2007 without informing TRAI.

Category: SOCIAL JUSTICE

1. Activist enrols as ‘third gender’ for LIC policy

Context

  • In a rare instance, a city-based transgender activist has got an insurance policy from the Life Insurance Corporation of India (LIC) for herself by enrolling under the “third gender” category.
  • Though LIC introduced this option in 2016, according to activists and insurance consultants, 31-year-old Amulya Chandrashekar’s is among the first such instances anywhere in the country.
  • LIC’s decision in 2016 was in line with the Supreme Court’s 2014 verdict recognising transgender persons as the third gender.

What are the Supreme Court Directives towards the Transgenders?

  • SC provides a legal status for the Transgender.
  • It bestows a legal recognition to that population of the Transgenders who wish to get transitioned within male or female through surgeries. The Court opposes Biological tests for the procedure of recognition and encourages psychological tests.
  • The SC declares that the suggestion of SRS – Sex Reassignment Surgery as a condition for the changing the Tran gender’s gender to be illegal.
  • The SC had also ordered the Central and State governments to extend educational reservations for the Transgender.
  • It has also insisted on creating awareness so that they are not stigmatized by the public.

What is the current status of the Transgenders in India?

  • With reference to the census 2011, the Indian population of the transgenders is 4.88 lakhs. The census also imparted their educational status to be just 46% as compared to the 76% among the General population. Among the counted Transgendered persons, 66% lived in rural areas and 38% are of working population.

What are the major issues faced by the transgender population in the society?

  • Limited available data show that the prevalence of HIV and STI – sexually Transmitted infections are high among the transgender population as compared to the normal population. They are highly vulnerable to sex related issues.
  • They are also vulnerable to mental health problems like depression, suicidal tendencies, lack of social support and violence related stress.
  • The most affected transgender population are the Teenagers in identifying themselves on the basis of the gender which is opposite to that of the biological sex. This leads to shame, fear, transphobia, etc.

Category: INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS

1. U.S. seeks Pak. help on Afghanistan

Context

  • A former U.S. Ambassador in Kabul, Zalmay Khalilzad arrived in Pakistan from neighboring Afghanistan. His tour of the region will also include West Asian stops in the UAE, Qatar and Saudi Arabia.
  • Washington’s newly named point man tasked with finding a peaceful end to Afghanistan’s 17-year war is in Pakistan to seek help from the new government in Islamabad in bringing the Taliban to the negotiating table, the U.S. Embassy said on Tuesday.
  • But Mr. Khalilzad has had a prickly relationship with Pakistan and has often accused Islamabad of fomenting violence in Afghanistan by supporting the Taliban. He has even said the U.S. should declare Pakistan a terrorist state.
  • Washington and Kabul have both repeatedly accused Pakistan of providing safe havens for Taliban insurgents, a claim Islamabad has denied and countered with charges that its own insurgents have found sanctuary in Afghanistan.
  • Both neighbouring countries have been brutally targeted by militants. In Pakistan, the perpetrators have most often been the region’s Islamic State affiliate, as well as the Pakistani Taliban.

Taliban

  • The Taliban is a Sunni Islamic fundamentalist political movement in Afghanistan which is at present waging war within that country.
  • It was founded in 1994 and from 1996 to 200 it was governing the country enforcing a strict interpretation of Islamic or Sharia law
  • Many leading Muslims, as well as much of the international community, were highly critical of the Taliban government.
  • Mullah Mohammed Omar was the supreme leader and spiritual head of the Taliban until 2013 when he died of natural causes.
  • He was replaced by Mullah Akhtar Mansour who was elected in 2015. But again, there are conflicting reports about him with some reports claiming that he is killed and others saying that he is badly injured.
  • There are many smaller militant groups operating within Afghanistan that directly or indirectly supports the Taliban.

2. China says Imran supports CPEC projects

Context

  • China on Tuesday played down reports of Pakistan’s plans to cut down a railway project under the multi-billion dollar CPEC by $2 billion, saying Prime Minister Imran Khan has assured his support to the various projects under the flagship Belt and Road Initiative.
  • Pakistan’s Railways Minister Sheikh Rashid recently announced plans to cut the $8.2 billion Karachi-Peshawar railway project by about $2 billion. It is the biggest project under the $50 billion China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) which India opposes as it is being laid through Pakistan-occupied Kashmir.

About China–Pakistan Economic Corridor

  • The ambitious project – part of China’s “One Belt and One Road” or new Silk Road project – is a series of roads, railways, pipelines, hydropower plants and other development projects, being built from the restive Xinjiang province in China to Gwadar in southwestern Pakistan.
  • CPEC is intended to rapidly modernize Pakistani infrastructure and strengthen its economy by the construction of modern transportation networks, numerous energy projects, and special economic zones.
  • Modern transportation networks built under CPEC will link seaports in Gwadar and Karachi with northern Pakistan, as well as points further north in western China and Central Asia.
  • CPEC’s potential impact on Pakistan has been likened to that of the Marshall Plan undertaken by the United States in post-war Europe.
  • The corridor, which came into operation, passes through Gilgit-Baltistan in Pakistan-administered Kashmir – a territory claimed by India. Both the South Asian neighbours claim the disputed Kashmir region in full, but control parts of it.

Impact of CPEC on China & Pakistan

  • The project promises to be an immense economic and strategic windfall for China and Pakistan.
  • By 2050 China is projected to become the world’s largest economy.
  • The CPEC is anticipated to boost Pakistan’s economy, where the GDP is expected to grow by more than five percent by 2020, according to an IMF growth forecast.
  • The 3,200km-long corridor is intended to connect the world’s second largest economy, China, with the Middle East and Central Asia, reducing the alternative sea route distance – via the Malacca Strait – by 10,000km.
  • The report estimated that the economic corridor would create some 700,000 direct jobs between 2015 and 2030, and add up to 2.5 percent to Pakistan’s growth rate.

C. GS3 Related

Category: ECONOMY

1. IMF projects India’s growth at 7.3 per cent in 2018

 

  • India is projected to grow at 7.3 per cent in 2018 and 7.4 per cent next year, the IMF said Tuesday, predicting that the country will regain the tag of the world’s fastest growing major economy this year, surpassing China with more than 0.7 percentage points.
  • In 2017, India had clocked a 6.7 per cent growth rate. In India, important reforms have been implemented in recent years, including the Goods and Services Tax, the inflation-targeting framework, the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code, and steps to liberalise foreign investment and make it easier to do business, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) said in its latest World Economic Outlook (WEO) report.

Basics of GDP and GNP

  • Gross Domestic Product (GDP) is the total money value of final goods and services produced in the economic territories of a country in a given year.
  • GDP stands for total value of goods and services produced inside the territory of India irrespective of whom produced it – whether by Indians or foreigners.
  • Gross National Product (GNP) is the total value of goods and services produced by the people of a country in a given year. It is not territory specific. If we consider the GNP of India, it can be seen that GNP is lesser than GDP.

Category: HEALTH

1. Internet gaming can result in psychological disturbances

Context

  • People diagnosed with Internet Gaming Disorder (IGD) have been frequently observed to experience psychological disturbances.
  • The amount of time spent playing online games has been seen to have positive correlation with depressive symptoms. Early this year, the World Health Organisation (WHO), too, had classified gaming disorder as a mental health condition.
  • Now, a recent study by NIMHANS has shown a definite trend towards positive association of psychological disturbances (depression, anxiety and stress) and internet gaming.
  • Alcohol, Smoking and Substance Involvement Screening Test (ASSIST) developed by WHO was used to screen for alcohol, smoking and other substance use disorders

A glance at the Mental Health Care India

  • Depression is the single largest contributor to global disability. A major contributor to suicides & second leading cause of death among 15-29 year olds globally.
  • Women are more prone to depression than men. Rate of depression peaks among older adults
  • Depression occurs in children and adolescents below the age of 15 years too
  • WHO says depression can be long-lasting and recurrent with characteristics like sadness, interest loss, feelings of guilt and low self-worth.
  • Depression among younger generation is because of competition in education, career prospects, parental pressures, and interpersonal relationships.
  • Less than half of those affected by depression in the world receive treatments due to the lack of resources and trained healthcare providers apart from prevalent social stigma.
  • People are often not correctly diagnosed, and others who do not have the disorder, are often misdiagnosed and prescribed antidepressants.

D. GS4 Related

Nothing here for today!!!

E. Editorials

Category: INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS

1. Salvaging a strategic partnership (India-Russia Relations)

Note to the Students:

    • This particular topic as it reads falls under the domain of GS Paper II, wherein, it can be mapped to multiple subject areas- such as bilateral relations and agreements involving India and/or affecting India’s interests.  
  • In particular, this opinion-based article reflects on the recent developments in India-Russia relations.

  • We have covered the gist of this article under the heading “Editorial Analysis”.  

  • Here we have suitably signposted the Editorial Analysis into multiple headings.
  • “Larger Background”: This particular section talks about the broader background of the issue, taking into consideration specific points that may have been featured in previous editions of The Hindu. We have also taken relevant updates from the website of the Ministry of External Affairs, Government of India. The thought process behind including this section is to give a ‘storyline’ approach to an aspirant when he/she goes through this topic.

  • “Editorial Analysis”: This particular section gives an insight towards the specific points covered in the specific editorial that is the subject of our study.

  • “The Way Forward/Concluding Remarks”: This sections gives aspirants concluding points that are taken from the article in question as well as some forwarding looking points taken from other articles, as and when required.

The important aspect to note here is that the issue being discussed in the news assumes priority over just the article.

Larger Background:

  • India-Russia cooperation is based on the solid foundations of the 1971 Treaty of Peace, Friendship and Cooperation between the Republic of India and the USSR, 1993 Treaty of Friendship and Cooperation between the Republic of India and the Russian Federation, 2000 Declaration on Strategic Partnership between the Republic of India and the Russian Federation and 2010 Joint Statement elevating the Partnership to a Special and Privileged Strategic Partnership.
  • Cooperation between India and Russia spans across the whole gamut of sectors and rests on the fundamental pillars of political and strategic cooperation, military and security cooperation, cooperation in the spheres of economy, energy, industry, science and technology, and cultural and humanitarian cooperation.

The News:

  • Prime Minister of the Republic of India H.E. Mr. Narendra Modi and President of the Russian Federation H.E. Mr. Vladimir V. Putin met for the 19th edition of the Annual Bilateral Summit in New Delhi on October 4-5, 2018.
  • During this meeting on October 4-5, 2018, the sides reaffirmed their commitment to the Special and Privileged Strategic Partnership between India and Russia.
  • They declared that this relationship is an important factor for global peace and stability and appreciated each other’s respective roles as major powers with common responsibilities for maintaining global peace and stability.
  • This meeting takes place after the informal summit in Sochi on May 21, 2018 which was a unique meeting in international diplomacy, reflecting the deep trust and confidence between Prime Minister Modi and President Putin. The Sochi Summit manifested the role of interaction and cooperation between India and Russia in building a multi-polar world order.
  • On the 5th of October, 2018, India and Russia announced a number of agreements, including a $5.43 billion S-400 Triumf missile system deal, a space cooperation arrangement to put an Indian in space, and an action plan for a new nuclear plant.
  • Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Mr. Putin also addressed a business summit, in an attempt to diversify ties and increase bilateral trade.
  • Currently, bilateral trade between the two countries is below $10 billion.
  • It is believed that much of the fresh momentum in bilateral engagement will come from the energy sector.
  • Several billions of dollars worth of investment and energy deals are in the pipeline.

Important Excerpts from the Joint Statement Released by India and Russia:

  • Developments on the Economic front:
  • The two sides reviewed the progress on the achievement of the goal to increase two-way investment to USD 30 billion by the year 2025 and noted with satisfaction that both countries were on the way to achieving this target.
  • They noted that in 2017 bilateral trade increased by more than 20% and agreed to work towards its further increase and diversification. The Sides expressed their support to promoting bilateral trade in national currencies.
  • The Indian Side invited Russian companies to participate in the development of industrial corridors in India, including in areas of road and rail infrastructure, smart cities, construction of wagons and creation of a joint transportation logistics company.
  • The Russian Side offered its expertise in tax collection based on satellite navigation technologies for the realization of joint projects in India including in the framework of above mentioned industrial corridors.
  • The Russian Side expressed its interest in participating in the international competitive biddings as and when the Ministry of Railways of India decides to execute the railway speed raising projects.
  • They called for the development of the International North-South Transport Corridor (INSTC) through intensified efforts by finalizing pending issues related to Customs authorities, development of road and rail infrastructure and financial facilitation through bilateral discussions as well as discussions with other partner countries at the earliest.
  • India and Russia supported the early launch of the Green Corridor project aimed at the simplification of customs operations in respect of goods being transported between India and Russia. They regarded this as an important step towards enhancing mutual trade.
  • India and Russia agreed to work together to explore joint projects for productive, efficient and economic use of natural resources in each other’s country through application of appropriate technologies while ensuring affordable environment friendly utilization of natural resources.
  • The two sides acknowledged the agriculture sector as an important area for cooperation and committed themselves to eliminating trade barriers, greater production and trade in agricultural products.
  • The two sides agreed to explore opportunities of joint collaboration in precious metals, minerals, natural resources and forest produce, including timber, through joint investments, production, processing and skilled labour.
  • The Russian Side invited the Indian Side to invest in the Russian Far East. The Indian Side welcomed the decision to open an office of the Far East Agency in Mumbai.
  1. b) Developments in the area of Science and Technology:
  • The Sides stressed the importance of the longstanding and mutually beneficial India-Russia cooperation in outer space and welcomed the activity on setting up measurement data collection ground stations of the Indian Regional Navigation Satellite System NavIC and the Russian Navigation Satellite System GLONASS in the territory of the Russian Federation and the Republic of India respectively.
  • India and Russia agreed to further intensify cooperation in the field of exploration and use of outer space for peaceful purposes, including human spaceflight programmes, scientific projects, as well as agreed to continue developing cooperation on BRICS remote sensing satellite constellation.
  • Both sides expressed interest in the development of mutually beneficial cooperation in the Arctic, inter alia in the sphere of joint scientific research.
  1. c) Developments in the area of Energy:
  • The Sides acknowledged the interest of Russian and Indian companies in cooperation in the field of LNG and welcomed the commencement of supply of LNG under the long-term contract between Gazrpom Group and GAIL India Ltd.
  • The Sides expressed their support to companies from both sides for development of cooperation and exploring opportunities for joint development of oil fields in the Russian territory, including in the Arctic shelf of Russia and joint development of projects on the shelf of the Pechora and Okhotsk Seas.
  • Civil nuclear cooperation between India and Russia is an important component of strategic partnership contributing to India’s energy-security and its commitments under the Paris Agreement on Climate Change.
  • India and Russia noted the progress achieved in the construction of the remainder of the six power units at Kudankulam NPP as well as the efforts being made in the components manufacturing for localization.
  • India and Russia highlighted the progress achieved in fulfillment of the agreements envisaged in the Memorandum of Understanding on trilateral cooperation in implementation of the Rooppur Nuclear Power Project in Bangladesh.
  • Both sides also decided to further explore possibilities of closer cooperation on hydel and renewable energy sources, energy efficiency, including in order to reduce the negative effects of climate change.
  1. d) Developments in the area of Military-Technical Cooperation:
  • The Russian Side positively evaluated the Indian participation in the Army Games 2018, Army 2018 and Moscow Conference on International Security.
  • India and Russia commended the successful completion of the first ever Tri-Services Exercise INDRA 2017 and committed to continue their Joint Military Exercises – INDRA Navy, INDRA Army and Avia INDRA – in 2018.
  • India and Russia welcomed the conclusion of the contract for the supply of the S-400 Long Range Surface to Air Missile System to India.
  • Both India and Russia reaffirmed their commitment to enhance military technical cooperation between India and Russia, which has a long history of mutual trust and mutual benefit.
  • Both India and Russia expressed satisfaction at the significant progress made on the ongoing projects of military technical cooperation and recognized the positive shift towards joint research and joint production of military technical equipment between the two countries.
  • They highly evaluated the Military Industrial Conference process as an important mechanism to promote the “Make in India” policy of the Government of India.
  1. e) Developments in the area of International Issues:
  • The two sides declared their support to Afghan government’s efforts towards the realization of an Afghan-led, and Afghan-owned national peace reconciliation process.
  • The two sides reaffirmed the commitment of India and Russia for a political resolution of the conflict in Syria, through an inclusive Syrian-led, Syrian-owned political process which safeguards the state sovereignty, independence and territorial integrity of Syria.
  • India and Russia expressed the serious concern about the possibility of an arms race in outer space and of outer space turning into an arena for military confrontation. They reaffirmed that the prevention of an arms race in outer space (PAROS), would avert a grave danger for international peace and security.
  • India and Russia underlined common approaches to ensuring security in the use of ICTs and their willingness to strengthen bilateral interagency practical dialogue in furtherance of the intergovernmental Agreement on Cooperation in the field of Security in the Use of Information and Communication Technologies.
  • The two sides confirmed their determination to enhance interaction and coordination of efforts in the regional multilateral fora such as BRICS, G-20, SCO, RIC and East Asia Summits. India expressed its aspiration to broaden cooperation with the Eurasian Economic Union.
  • India welcomed the initiative of Russia to create a Larger Eurasian Partnership that stipulates conjugation of national development strategies and multilateral integration projects in the interests of building effective platform of constructive cooperation based on strict observance of the international law, principles of equality, mutual respect and taking in account each other national perspectives.
  • Russia welcomed the participation of India in the counter-terror military exercise “Peace Mission – 2018”. Both Sides consider the goal of developing an economic component of SCO as an important one, including realization of transportation and infrastructure projects aimed at providing interconnection within the SCO Organization and with observers, partner countries, as well as other interested states.
  • They stood for increasing the role of SCO in the international affairs and believe it necessary to expand contacts and cooperation of SCO with the UN and its structures, other international and regional organizations. The Sides agreed to deepen cultural and humanitarian ties within the SCO.

Significance of the S-400 air defence system deal:

  • This deal denotes India’s desire to deepen defence cooperation with Russia. It also denotes that India is prepared to do this despite U.S. warnings that the deal could attract sanctions.
  • The fact that this deal comes just a month after India signed the Communications Compatibility and Security Agreement (COMCASA) for better interoperability with the U.S. military,  is a sign that India will not be forced or even persuaded into putting all its eggs in one strategic basket.
  • It is believed that more defence deals with Russia will make it increasingly difficult for the U.S. to give India a waiver from sanctions under CAATSA.

Editorial Analysis:

  • The contract for the S-400 was signed at the Delhi summit in a low-key manner. Neither leader mentioned it in his press statement and it was not signed in their presence.
  • The one sentence announcement was in paragraph 45 of the 68-paragraph Joint Statement.
  • Prime Minister Modi did not mention defence cooperation in his press statement, though it has been the centrepiece of India-Russia relations over decades.
  • It is also important to note that there exists a general perception that Indian and Russian perspectives today differ on key issues in India’s neighbourhood.
  • This includes matters pertaining to Pakistan, Afghanistan and China, and also on India’s strategic linkages with the U.S., including on the Indo-Pacific.
  • These issues would certainly have figured in the various meetings.

On Afghanistan:

    • Specifically, on Afghanistan, India has expressed support for the “Moscow format”.
  • The Moscow format’s main objective is to facilitate the national reconciliation process in Afghanistan and secure peace in that country as soon as possible.
  • In the “Moscow format”, Russia involves regional countries and major powers in an effort to draw the Taliban into negotiations with the Afghan leadership. The U.S. has boycotted the initiative of the Moscow format, and has initiated its own dialogue with the Taliban.

India-Russia (Points of Convergence):

    • Between India and Russia, there are obvious opportunities for cooperation.
  • Russia, is natural resources-rich, and India, is resource-hungry.
  • It is important to note that whether or not these natural resources are exploited would depend on how well India’s economic ministries, banks and business community understand the ground realities of doing business with Russia.
  • It is important to note that even before CAATSA, there was confusion in India about sanctions against Russia.

Concluding Remarks:

  • It is believed that both on CAATSA and on the U.S.’s proposed sanctions on Iran that go into force on November 4, 2018, India will need to make some tough decisions.
  • Further, every potential India-Russia defence deal could be subjected to a determination on applicability of sanctions.
  • In conclusion, actually imposing sanctions would hurt U.S. defence sales to India, which would defeat one of the principal objectives of the legislation. It is important to note that the India-U.S. strategic partnership is based on a strong mutuality of interests, but it was not intended to have the exclusivity of an alliance. India should not have to choose between one strategic partnership and another. The India-Russia dialogue should not get inextricably entangled in the India-U.S. dialogue.

Category: ENVIRONMENT AND ECOLOGY

1. ‘Another warning on warming’ and ‘Target 1.5’

Note to the Students:

  • This is an important topic under GS Paper III (Environment and Ecology). We have taken the important points from two releases from the editorial sections of the Hindu. These articles are ‘Another warning on warming’ and ‘Target 1.5’ respectively.
  • Both these articles focus on a recently released report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).   

The News:

  • Recently, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has released a special report on global warming of 1.5°C over pre-industrial temperatures.
  • This special report, provides details on how the global response to climate change needs to be strengthened within the broader context of sustainable development and continuing efforts to eradicate poverty.

What are its main focus areas?

  • The impacts of 1.5°C of warming and the possible development pathways by which the world could get there are its main focus.

A Brief Historical Perspective:

  • It was in the year 2015, at the Paris climate conference, that the global community made a pact to pursue efforts to limit warming to within 1.5°C. This level was half a degree below the previous target of 2°C.
  • This lower limit was greeted then with surprise and enthusiasm.

A Note on the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC)

  • The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) is the leading international body for the assessment of climate change.
  • The IPCC was established by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) in 1988.
  • This was done so to provide the world with a clear scientific view on the current state of knowledge in climate change and its potential environmental and socio-economic impacts.
  • In the same year, 1988, the UN General Assembly endorsed the action by WMO and UNEP in jointly establishing the IPCC.

What does the IPCC do?

  • The IPCC reviews and assesses the most recent scientific, technical and socio-economic information produced worldwide relevant to the understanding of climate change. It does not conduct any research nor does it monitor climate related data or parameters.
  • As an intergovernmental body, membership of the IPCC is open to all member countries of the United Nations (UN) and WMO.

Editorial Analysis:

    • For most people, the difference between 1.5°C and 2°C may seem trivial when daily temperatures fluctuate much more widely. However, the reference here is to global average temperatures. Different regions of the earth will warm at different rates.
    • For instance, it is important to note that the Arctic is already experiencing warming that is many times higher than the global average.
  • It is believed that if nations do not mount a strenuous response against climate change, average global temperatures, which have already crossed 1°C, are likely to cross the 1.5°C mark around 2040.
  • As a result, the window of opportunity to take action is very small and closing fast.
  • Experts believe that the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change has come out with a clear scientific consensus. This scientific consensus calls for a reversal of man-made greenhouse gas emissions, to prevent severe harm to humanity in the decades ahead.
  • Experts further believe that there is now greater confidence in time-bound projections on the impacts of climate change on agriculture, health, water security and extreme weather. They further assert that with sound policies, the world can still pull back, although major progress must be achieved by 2030.

The Impact Half a degree of warming can have:

    • It is important to note that half a degree of warming makes a world of difference to many species. The chance of survival of these species is significantly reduced at the higher temperature.
  • At 1.5°C warming, ocean acidification will be reduced (compared to 2°C warming), with better prospects for marine ecosystems.
  • There is likely to be less intense and frequent hurricanes; droughts would not be as intense and heat waves would have smaller effects on crops; there would also be a reduced likelihood of an ice-free Arctic in summers.

Rise in Sea Levels:

    • Conservative studies estimate that sea levels would rise on average by about 50 cm by 2100 in a 2°C warmer world, 10 cm more than for 1.5°C warming.
    • However, beyond 2100, the overall assurance of much higher sea level rise is greater in a 2°C world.
  • The risks to food security, health, fresh water, human security, livelihoods and economic growth are already on the rise and will be worse in a 2°C world.
  • The number of people exposed to the complex and compounded risks from warming will also increase.
  • Further, the poorest, who are mostly in Asia and Africa, will suffer the worst impacts.
  • It is important to note that adaptation, or the changes required to withstand the temperature rise, will also be lower at the lower temperature limit.
  • A danger in crossing tipping points also arise.

What are ‘Tipping points’?

Tipping points’, are essentially the  thresholds beyond which the earth’s systems are no longer able to stabilise.  

The danger in crossing tipping points becomes higher with more warming.

Such tipping points include:
a)  melting of Greenland ice,
b) collapse of Antarctic glaciers (which would lead to several metres of sea level rise), c) destruction of Amazon forests,
d) melting of all the permafrost and so on.

A Perspective from Asia:

  • It is important to note that countries such as: India, Pakistan and China are already suffering moderate effects of warming.
  • Such moderate effects of warming are felt in areas such as
  1. water availability,
  2. food production and
  3. land degradation.

The report released by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) asserts that these areas will worsen.

  • Further, closer to a 2°C increase, these impacts are expected to spread to sub-Saharan Africa, and West and East Asia.
  • The prognosis for India is particularly worrying. There is evidence to suggest it is among the regions that would experience the largest reductions in economic growth in a 2°C scenario.
  • The commitment to generate 100 GW of solar energy by 2022 should lead to a quick scale-up from the 24 GW installed, and cutting down of coal use.
  • Further, as a remedial measure, agriculture needs to be strengthened with policies that improve water conservation, and afforestation should help create a large carbon sink. There is a crucial role for all the States, since their decisions will have a lock-in effect.

A Note on the IPCC Report:

The IPCC report identifies two main strategies.

  1. Strategy 1: The first strategy stabilises global temperature around the 1.5°C mark with limited overshoot.  
  2. Strategy 2: The second strategy permits temperatures to exceed 1.5°C temporarily before coming back down.

The consequences of the temporary overshoot would cause worse impacts than the first approach. To limit warming to around 1.5°C with no or limited overshoot, global net carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions need to decline by about 45% from 2010 levels by 2030 and reach net zero around mid-century. In comparison, to limit warming to just below 2°C, the reductions needed are about 20% by 2030 and reach net zero around 2075.

Mitigation:

    • There are a number of mitigation pathways illustrated to achieve these reductions. However, it is important to note that all of these mitigation pathways incorporate different levels of CO2 removal.
    • These different methods will themselves involve various risks, costs and trade-offs.
  • But there are also many synergies between achieving mitigation targets and fulfilling Sustainable Development Goals.
  • To stay below 1.5°C, the transitions required by energy systems and human societies, in areas such as land use, transport, and infrastructure, would have to be rapid and on an unprecedented scale with deep emission reductions.

Concluding Remarks:

  • It is believed that Governments should achieve net zero CO2 addition to the atmosphere, balancing man-made emissions through removal of CO2.
    • Further. there is public support for this and governments must go even beyond what they have committed to.
  • The IPCC makes it clear that the human and economic costs of a 2°C rise are far greater than for 1.5°C, and the need for action is urgent.
    • It is important to note that human activity has warmed the world by 1°C over the pre-industrial level and with another half-degree rise, many regions will have warmer extreme temperatures, raising the frequency, intensity and amount of rain or severity of drought.
    • Further, risks to food security and water, heat exposure, drought and coastal submergence all increase significantly even for a 1.5°C rise.
    • There are some important questions that need to be answered. For example:
      How is the remaining carbon budget, that is the room available in the atmosphere to safely contain more CO2, going to be shared among different countries? This is a difficult question to address, given the contentious nature of the negotiations.
    • Further, it has been reported, for example, that the U.S. has been obstructionist in the deliberations in areas such as Incheon, South Korea, at the recent meeting to determine the final text of the report. The U.S. also reiterated its intent to pull out of the Paris Agreement.
    • In conclusion, it is important to note that the contributions from the U.S. and other rich countries to the Green Climate Fund and other funding mechanisms for the purpose of mitigation and adaptation are vital even to reach the goals of the Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs).
  • These Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) are commitments that each country made prior to the Paris conference. Even if all the NDCs are implemented, the world is expected to warm by over 3°C.
    • Further, it is important to note that the disputes over the implementation of the Paris Agreement at numerous meetings, depict the deep divides among rich countries, emerging economies and least developed countries.
  • The next Conference of the Parties will be held in Poland.
  • Each nation from the global community of nations, will have to decide whether to play politics on a global scale for one’s own interests or to collaborate to protect the world and its ecosystems as a whole. The path forward offers no simple or easy solutions.

F. Tidbits

Nothing here for today!!!

G. Prelims Fact

1. Army sets its sights on future

 

  • The week-long biannual Army Commanders conference began here on Tuesday in which the service is keen to finalise several radical measures to right size the force and optimise the ballooning revenue expenditure.
  • “As part of the conclave, commanders and directorates at Army Headquarters will deliberate on important studies that have been ordered to meet future operational challenges. There are four studies examining operational and optimisational issues of the Army and the headquarters as also human resources management aspects,” the Army said in a statement.

Indian Army – An Overview

  • Indian Army has its roots in the East Indian Company army.
  • Indian army was developed by integrating the pre-independence forces of British India and princely states – under the supreme command of the Indian President.
  • It is entrusted with the responsibility of ensuring national security by defending against external as well as internal threats.
  • It forms the land-based branch of the Indian Armed Forces complementing the other two branches – Indian Navy and Indian Air Force.

Structure of Indian Army

Organizationally the Indian army structure is divided into seven geographical commands – 6 operational and 1 training command viz.

  • Northern Command (Udhampur, Jammu and Kashmir),
  • Central Command (Lucknow, UP)
  • Western Command (Chandigarh)
  • South Western Command (Jaipur, Rajasthan)
  • Eastern Command (Kolkata, West Bengal),
  • Southern Command (Pune, Maharashtra) and
  • Army Training Command (Shimla, Himachal Pradesh).

H. Practice Questions for UPSC Prelims Exam

Question 1. With reference to “Ebola virus” recently in news, which of the following statement(s)
is/are correct?
 

  1. The virus spreads through direct contact with body fluids, such as blood from infected humans or other animals.
  2. Recently, the Democratic Republic of Congo noticed Ebola cases.

Select the correct answer using the code given below:

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

See

Answer
Question 2. Which of the following pair(s) is/are correctly matched?
 

  1. Bhavantar Bhugtan Yojana: Madhya Pradesh
  2. Bhavantar Bharapai Yojana: Haryana
  3. Rythu Bandhu Scheme: Andhra Pradesh

Select the correct answer using the code given below:

  1. 1 only
  2. 1 and 3 only
  3. 1 and 2 only
  4. 1, 2 and 3

See

Answer
  

I. Practice Questions for UPSC Mains Exam

  1. “In doing a good thing, everything is permitted which is not prohibited expressly or by clear implication”. Examine the statement with suitable examples in the context of a public servant discharging his/her duties. (150 words)
  2. With regard to the morality of actions, one view is that means is of paramount importance and the other view is that the ends justify the means. Which view do you think is more appropriate? Justify your answer. (150 words)

Also, check previous Daily News Analysis

 

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