Daily Current Affairs : 22nd June 2023

Daily Current Affairs for UPSC CSE

Topics Covered

  1. Gender Gap Index
  2. New Quantified Goal on Climate Finance
  3. St. Petersburg International Economic Forum (SPIEF)
  4. Draft Livestock Bill
  5. Facts for Prelims

1 . Gender Gap Index

Context: India was ranked 127 among 146 countries in gender parity — up eight places from last year’s place — in the Gender Gap Report, 2023 of the World Economic Forum (WEF).

About Gender Gap Index

  • The Global Gender Gap Index annually benchmarks the current state and evolution of gender parity across four key dimensions
    • Economic Participation and Opportunity
    • Educational Attainment,
    • Health and Survival, and
    • Political Empowerment.
  • It is the longest-standing index tracking the progress of numerous countries’ efforts towards closing these gaps over time since its inception in 2006.

    Key findings of the report

    • India was ranked 135 in 2022. The country had improved by 1.4 percentage points from then, marking a partial recovery towards its 2020 parity level
    • India had closed 64.3% of the overall gender gap. However, the report underlined that India had reached only 36.7% parity in economic participation and opportunity. The country had attained parity in enrolment across all levels of education
    • The index ranked Pakistan at 142, Bangladesh at 59, China at 107, Nepal at 116, Sri Lanka at 115 and Bhutan at 103.
    • Iceland is the most gender-equal country for the 14th consecutive year and the only one to have closed more than 90% of its gender gap.
    • Economic Participation- In India, while there had been an uptick in parity in wages and income, the share of women in senior positions and technical roles had dropped slightly.
    • On political empowerment, India has registered 25.3% parity, with women making up 15.1% of MPs.
    • Of the 117 countries with available data since 2017, 18 — including Bolivia (50.4%), India (44.4%) and France (42.3%) — have achieved women’s representation of over 40% in local governance.
    • Health and Survival- For India, the 1.9 percentage point improvement in sex ratio at birth had driven up parity after more than a decade. Compared with top scoring countries that register a 94.4% gender parity at birth, the indicator stands at 92.7% for India.
    • Overall, the Southern Asian region has achieved 63.4% gender parity, the second lowest of the eight regions.

    World Economic Forum

    • The World Economic Forum is the International Organization for Public-Private Cooperation.
    • The Forum engages the foremost political, business, cultural and other leaders of society to shape global, regional and industry agendas.
    • It was established in 1971 as a not-for-profit foundation and is headquartered in Geneva, Switzerland. It is independent, impartial and not tied to any special interests.

    What are the initiatives taken by the government to empower the Women?

    • Beti Bachao Beti Padhao Scheme
    • Working Women Hostel Scheme
    • One-Stop Centre Scheme
    • Women Helpline Scheme
    • Mahila Police Volunteers Scheme
    • SWADHAR Greh
    • STEP (Support to Training and Employment Program for Women)
    • Mahila Shakti Kendras (MSK)
    • Rajiv Gandhi National Creche Scheme
    • Ujjwala Scheme

    2 . New Collective Quantified Goal on Climate Finance

    Context: The recently-concluded Bonn climate conference in Germany, expected to outline the political agenda for the crucial end-of-year Conference of Parties-28 (COP28) in Dubai, was critical for reviewing and reforming the climate finance architecture

    What is the New Collective Quantified Goal (NCGQ)?

    • A commitment of ‘$100 billion per year till 2020’ to developing nations from developed countries was a target set at the Conference of Parties (COP) in 2009. But estimates since then show addressing climate change may cost billions, and even, trillions of dollars. Therefore, the 2015 Paris Climate Agreement agreed on setting a New Collective Quantified Goal (NCGQ) for climate financing prior to 2025 — a reference point which accounts for the needs and priorities of developing nations.  

    What is the significance of the New Collective Qualified Goal(NCGQ)?

    • New Collective Qualified Goal pulls up the ceiling on commitment from developed countries, is supposed to anchor the evolving needs and priorities of developing countries based on scientific evidence and should respond “to the ever-increasing sums of funding necessary for Loss and Damage in response to failed and/or delayed financial support

    What is the need of NCGQ?

    • Out of the promised $100 billion per year, developed countries provided $83.3 billion in 2020. These figures may be misleading and inflated.
    • The $100 billion target set in 2009 was seen more as a political goal, since there was no effort to clarify the definition or source of ‘climate finance’.
    • The economic growth of developed countries has come at the cost of high carbon emissions, and thus they are obligated to shoulder greater responsibility. While funds available for climate finance have quantitatively increased, they are inaccessible, privately sourced, delayed and not reaching countries in need.
    • A recent study by the Centre for Science and Environment found roughly 5% of climate finance comes from grants; the rest through loans and equity which burden developing countries with a “debilitating” debt crisis.
    • Countries most in need of finances have to wait years to access money and pay interest high rates, thus increasing their debt burden.

    What are the arguments put forth by developed countries?

    • Developed countries argue that NCQG must be viewed as a “collective goal” for all developed and developing countries. But this argument pushes the “net zero” pathways onto developing countries, which cannot feasibly pay for mitigation, adaptation, loss and damage, along with sustainably developing key elements of infrastructure.
    • Countries also argue for mobilising private-sector investments and loans as the critical component of climate finance. The Global Stocktake at COP28 will chart a pathway for the long road of climate action.

    What is at stake in 2023?

    • Countries are on a tight deadline to agree upon the NCQG ahead of 2024.
    • There’s no official number yet, but a global transition to a low-carbon economy requires investments of at least $4 trillion to $6 trillion a year, as per last year’s Sharm el-Sheikh Implementation Plan. Some argue that instead of identifying a single aggregate figure, the NCQG could also set separate targets (or sub-goals) for focus areas such as mitigation, adaptation and loss and damage.
    • The aim is to focus on scaling up concessional financing, stopping debt creation and allowing NCQG to be more of a “process” rather than a goal towards equitable and people-led transition.

    About Paris Agreement on Climate Change

    • The Paris Agreement is a legally binding international treaty on climate change. It was adopted by 196 Parties at the UN Climate Change Conference (COP21) in Paris, France, on 12 December 2015. It entered into force on 4 November 2016.
    • Its overarching goal is to hold “the increase in the global average temperature to well below 2°C above pre-industrial levels” and pursue efforts “to limit the temperature increase to 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels.”
    • However, in recent years, world leaders have stressed the need to limit global warming to 1.5°C by the end of this century.
    • To limit global warming to 1.5°C, greenhouse gas emissions must peak before 2025 at the latest and decline 43% by 2030.

    3 . St. Petersburg International Economic Forum (SPIEF)

    Context: At the 26th edition of the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum (SPIEF), held in Russia’s second-largest city, the Kremlin made its message clear to the entire world: the economy is holding up despite unprecedented Western sanctions. As the war in Ukraine drags on, taking a heavy toll on both sides of the frontline, Russia, faced with the biggest standoff with the West in its modern history, keeps looking for alternative economic and geopolitical partnerships to navigate the “challenging times”.  

    What is St. Petersburg International Economic Forum (SPIEF)?

    • St. Petersburg International Economic Forum (SPIEF) is an annual Russian business event for the economic sector, which has been held in St. Petersburg since 1997, and under the auspices of the Russian President since 2006.
    • Each year, more than 10,000 people from over 120 different countries take part.
    • The Forum brings together the chief executives of major Russian and international companies, heads of state, political leaders, prime ministers, deputy prime ministers, departmental ministers, and governors.
    • Purposes– The key purpose of the Forum is to provide practical solutions for businesses and governments, helping to overcome the geographic and information barriers between Russia and other countries.
    • The forum was historically intended for Russia to attract foreign direct investment, discuss economic policy and project a global image that Russia was open for business after the dissolution of the Soviet Union.
    • The SPIEF used to be called “Russian Davos” as it was probably the only such elite gathering of global business community leaders in this part of the world.
    • 2022 Russian Invasion of Ukraine and its impact on SPIEF- Since the 2022 Russian invasion of Ukraine, leading politicians and business executives from the Western world and their allies were notably absent from SPIEF events, and journalists from “unfriendly countries” were denied admittance
    • In response, SPIEF forums have adjusted their focus to highlight leading politicians and business executives from various countries such as the People’s Republic of China, India, Turkey, Iran, Egypt, United Arab Emirates, Serbia, Belarus, Armenia, Kazakhstan, Cuba, Nicaragua and the Central African Republic. In addition, delegations from disputed polities such as the Taliban and the Donetsk People’s Republic were among the notables present at the 2022 forum.

    Russia’s alternative economic and geopolitical partners

    • Moscow is pushing the development of the Northern Sea route, which takes off at Russia’s Murmansk and leads to Shanghai, and the International North-South Transport Corridor (INSTC), a 7,200 km–long multimodal transport route connecting Russia’s north with Iran and India via the Caspian Sea.  
    • According to Iranian Minister of Transport and Urban Development Mehrdad Bazrpash, who spoke at the session on the INSTC, both Russia and India are now considering investments in the infrastructure, ranging from railway, roads and ports to logistics centres as well as digital infrastructure.

    4 . Draft Livestock Bill

    Context: The Centre has withdrawn the proposed draft of the Live-stock and Live-stock Product (Importation and Exportation) Bill, 2023.  

    What is the draft livestock and livestock products Bill?

    • The Bill is meant to replace the Live-stock Importation Act, 1898, and the Live-stock (Amendment) Act, 2001.
    • It frames guidelines for the import and export of live animals, which has raised concerns among animal lovers.
    • The Department of Animal Husbandry and Dairying (DAHD), which comes under the Ministry of Fisheries, Animal Husbandry and Dairying, prepared the draft of the Live-stock and Live-stock Products (Importation and Exportation) Bill-2023  
    • It is different from the existing law in three key aspects —
      •  it allows export of live animals,
      •  it widens the scope of animal import-export (including cats and dogs among ‘live-stock’), and
      • takes away some powers of state governments to regulate this area.

    Why does the ministry want to bring a new law?

    • The present law that regulates import of live-stock is 125 years old. “The Live-stock Importation Act, 1898, being the pre-constitutional/pre-independence Central Act, a need has been felt to align it with the contemporary requirements and prevailing circumstances related to sanitary and phyto-sanitary measures, and its extant Allocation of Business Rules, 1961

    Live-Stock Importation (Amendment) Bill, 2001.

    • The Live-Stock Importation (Amendment) Ordinance, 2001 was introduced by the Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee government. This ordinance was replaced by the Live-Stock Importation (Amendment) Bill, 2001. This bill amended the 1898 law.
    • One of the Key changes in the law was inclusion of the import of livestock products. The earlier law dealt with only the import of live-stock.
      • According to the ordinance, the “live-stock products” included meat and meat products of all kinds including fresh, chilled and frozen meat tissue; organs of poultry, pig, sheep, goat; egg and egg powder; milk and milk products; bovine, ovine (the sheep family) and caprine (the goat family) embryos, ova and semen; pet food products of animal origin and any other animal product which may be specified by the Central Government by notification in the Official Gazette.”
    • The 2001 amendment also empowered the Centre to “regulate, restrict or prohibit” the trade of any live-stock product that may be liable to affect human or animal health.

    What is new in the proposed draft?

    • The Live-stock Importation Act, 1898, in force till date, has only 5 Sections: Section 1 (Short title and local extent); Section 2 (Definitions); Section 3 (Power to regulate importation of live-stock), Section 3A (Power to regulate Importation of live-stock products); Section 4 (Power of State Government to make rules); and Section 5 (Protection to persons acting under Act).
    • The earlier law regulates only importation of live-stock, while the proposed draft Bill has provisions to regulate live-stock exports also. The Section 4 of the proposed Bill provides the government the power to make arrangements for promotion and development of exports of live-stock and live-stock products.
    • The proposed draft of the Live-stock and Live-stock Product (importation and Exportation) Bill, 2023 has 10 Sections, and has expanded the definition of live-stock to include feline and canines also
    • Besides, the Centre has defined the live-stocks and live-stock products as commodity in the proposed draft Bill

    Why does the proposed draft Bill face criticism?

    • The proposed draft Bill has drawn sharp criticism from various stakeholders.
    • Animal rights organisations have said that the draft Bill will create cruelties on animals. “The proposed Livestock and Livestock Products [Importation and Exportation] Bill, allowing the live export of animals from India, is a blanket free pass for the abuse of millions of animals farmed for food and other uses.  

    5 . Facts for Prelims

    LNG, PNG and CNG

    • Natural gas is a gaseous fuel, containing 87–92% methane and a small percentage of other higher hydrocarbons.
    • PNG, CNG and LNG are different forms of natural gas at different temperatures and pressures.
    • Liquefied natural gas (LNG)
      • Natural Gas which has been liquefied at – (Minus) 160 degree Centigrade.
      • Natural Gas is liquefied to facilitate transportation in large volumes in cryogenic tankers across seas / land.
      • It takes up about 1/600th the volume of natural gas in the gaseous state  
      • It predominantly consists of Methane with mixture of Ethane
      • LNG is odourless, colourless, non-toxic and non-corrosive.
    • Piped Natural Gas(PNG)
      • Piped Natural Gas (PNG) is natural gas – mainly Methane and supplied through mild steel (MS) and polyethylene (PE) pipes to cater to the natural gas demand of customers in various segments like Domestic / Commercial & Non – Commercial / Industrial.
    • CNG (Compressed Natural Gas)-
      • Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) is an environment-friendly alternative automotive fuel.
      • CNG plays an important role in reducing vehicular greenhouse gas emissions and environmental pollution significantly.
      • CNG is natural gas compressed under pressure so that more of it occupies lesser volume in a fuel tank.
      • CNG is compressed to a pressure of 200 to 250 kg/cm2. In this compressed form, it occupies less than 1 per cent of its volume at atmospheric pressure.
      • CNG is gaseous, consisting of about 80 to 90 per cent methane, whereas LPG is a liquid, consisting of a compressed mixture of propane and butane in liquid form.

    Process of appointment of State DGP

    • Appointments of DGPs are now made on the basis of the Supreme Court judgment on police reforms in Prakash Singh vs Union of India 17 years ago.
    • According to the SC’s guidelines on the appointment of police chiefs, the DGP is to be selected by the state government from among the three senior most officers who have been empanelled for promotion to that rank by the UPSC “on the basis of their length of service, very good record and range of experience for heading the police force”.
    • The DGP should have a fixed tenure of two years in the post, irrespective of the date of retirement. A DGP can be removed only in exceptional circumstances.
    • Based on the judgment, the UPSC issued its own guidelines in 2009 on the appointment of police chiefs of states. According to these guidelines, states are supposed to draw up and send to the UPSC a list of eligible officers with at least 30 years of service behind them, along with these officers’ service record, performance appraisal, and vigilance clearance.
    • These officers are to be of the rank of ADG or the rank of police chief (and one below) stipulated for that state. The list is supposed to be given to UPSC six months before the incumbent DGP is to retire.
    • An empanelment committee headed by the UPSC chairman, and with the union home secretary, state chief secretary, state DGP, and the chief of a central police organisation in it, is supposed to select a panel of three officers “based on merit”. For smaller states that may have only one cadre post of DGP, the committee is supposed to send two names.
    • UPSC a submitted that while the 30-year rule could be relaxed to 25 years in states like Himachal Pradesh, Manipur, Nagaland, Uttarakhand, Tripura, and Sikkim which may not have enough officers meeting this criterion, this is to be done with the consent of the Centre.
    • Under the rules, consent of an officer is not required for her posting. Also, the Centre has the power to not relieve an officer for posting in the state.

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