Daily Current Affairs for UPSC CSE
- Threat of rising sea level
- India- China Defence Ministers Meet
- Centre’s Arguments on Same sex marriage
- FIR in sexual harassment cases
- Unified security force for Airports
- Types of Radio broadcasting
- Facts for Prelims
1 . Threat of sea rising level
Context: The World Meteorological Organization (WMO) has found in a new report that the world’s sea level is rising at an unprecedented rate, portending potentially disastrous consequences for the weather, agriculture, the extant groundwater crisis, and social disparities.
State of the Global Climate 2022
- The report, entitled ‘State of the Global Climate 2022’, was published by World Meteorological Organisation. Along with accelerating sea-level rise, it focused on a consistent rise in global temperatures, record-breaking increases in the concentration of greenhouse gases as well as glacier loss, sustained drought-like conditions in East Africa, record rainfall in Pakistan, and unprecedented heatwaves that struck Europe and China in 2022.
- The report said that droughts, floods and heatwaves affected communities on every continent and cost many billions of dollars.
How much is the sea rising?
- The report said that the rate of global mean sea-level [GSML] rise has doubled between the first decade of the satellite record and the last.
- According to the WMO report, the sea level has been rising in the three decades for which satellite altimeter data is available (1993-2022). But while the rate of sea-level rise was 2.27 mm/year in 1993-2002, it shot up to 4.62 mm/year in 2013-2022.
- The Scientists have been measuring sea-level rise using satellite altimeters. These instruments send radar pulses to the sea surface and measure the time they take to get back and the change in their intensity. The higher the sea level, the faster and stronger the return signal.
What causes accelerated sea-level rise?
- The WMO report points to the following factors as being responsible for a rising GSML:
- Ocean warming,
- Ice loss from glaciers and ice sheets, and
- Changes in land water storage.
- According to the report, in 2005-2019, loss of glaciers and ice sheets contributed 36% to the GSML rise. Ocean warming – the phenomenon of rising mean ocean temperatures – contributed 55%, and changes in the storage of land water contributed less than 10%.
- Ocean Warming– As increasing concentrations of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases drive global warming, 90% of the ‘extra’ heat is stored in the oceans. This leads to ocean warming. And as the ocean heats up, it undergoes thermal expansion, which in turn leads to a rise in the GSML.
What problems will sea-level rise cause?
- Loss of Land cover- The rising seas swallow more of the land cover, particularly in coastal areas, coastal communities will face an “acute shortage of land for human use”. This land crunch will mean that those who are better off will be able to cope better than marginalised groups, leading to an increase in social disparities between people living in coastal areas.
- Cyclone and extreme weather event- Weather formations like cyclones are known to typically originate in the open seas. As the GSML continues to rise, along with a rise in ocean temperatures, the chances of cyclones could increase, affecting coastal communities and leading to large economic liabilities for tropical countries like India and South Africa, which have high population densities.
- Increasing salinity in groundwater- GSML continues to rise, more seawater could seep into the ground, leading to the groundwater – which is usually freshwater – turning more and more saline. This in turn can exacerbate water crises in coastal areas as well as agriculture in adjacent regions.
How will sea-level rise affect societies?
- Change in coastal ecosystem- For example, in the Sunderbans delta in West Bengal, the world’s largest mangrove area, rising sea levels and coastal erosion, due to loss of land and sediment from coastal areas, has left more islands submerged under water, and that in turn has forced members of local communities to migrate. Since the lives of coastal communities, including their economic activities, is tied intricately with the coastal ecosystem, changes in the coastal ecosystem as a result of GSML rise – especially when it happens faster than rehabilitative policies and laws can catch up – will further endanger the socio-economic stability of these communities.
2 . India- China defence Minister meet
Context: Violation of existing agreements has eroded the entire basis of bilateral relations and the development of India-China ties is premised on the prevalence of peace and tranquillity at the borders, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh told his Chinese counterpart General Li Shangfu.
India- China defence Minister meet
- In the first meeting of defence ministers of the two countries since the Galwan border incident three years ago, India’s defence minister Rajnath Singh delivered a strong message to his Chinese counterpart Li Shangfu.
- Defence Minister Rajnath Singh told the visiting Chinese defence minister that unilateral violation of existing agreements has eroded the basis of bilateral ties
- Defence Minister categorically stated that military cooperation between the two countries can progress “only” if peace and tranquility is established at the border. He added that added that all issues at the LAC need to be resolved in accordance with existing bilateral agreements and commitments.
- India has been maintaining that its ties with China cannot be normal unless there is peace in the border areas.
- The Chinese defence minister is in Delhi to attend the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) Defence Ministers’ Meeting. India is hosting the SCO defence ministers’ meeting under its presidency of the grouping.
About SCO Defence Minister’s meeting
- Defence Ministers of China, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan are set to participate in the SCO meeting.
- India has also invited Belarus and Iran, currently observers in SCO, for the meeting.
- The Ministers will discuss matters related to regional peace and security, counter-terrorism efforts within SCO and effective multilateralism.
- India considers SCO as an “important regional group to promote multilateral, political, security, economic and people-to-people interactions in the region.”
- As the SCO Chair, India organised two defence-related activities to enhance interoperability amongst member states, a workshop on Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Relief and the second a seminar of SCO countries’ defence think tanks on the issue of armed forces contributing to military medicine, healthcare and pandemics
India China border agreements
- 1988: India-China Joint Working Group on the boundary question
- Confidence building measures
- 1993: Border Peace and Tranquility Agreement
- 1996: Agreement on Military Confidence Building Measures
- 2005: Protocol for the Implementation of Military Confidence Building Measures
- Political measures
- 2003: Declaration on Principles for Relations and Comprehensive Cooperation
- 2005: Agreement on the Political Parameters and Guiding Principles for the Settlement of the India-China Boundary Question
- 2012: Agreement on the Establishment of a Working Mechanism for Consultation and Coordination on India-China Border Affairs
- 2013: Border Defence Cooperation Agreement
- 2020: 5-point statement
- Border Peace and Tranquility Agreement, 1993- The Border Peace and Tranquility Agreement (BPTA or MPTA; formally the Agreement on the Maintenance of Peace and Tranquility along the Line of Actual Control in the India–China Border Areas) is an agreement signed by China and India in September 1993, agreeing to maintain the status quo on their mutual border pending an eventual boundary settlement
- Agreement on Confidence Building Measures, 1996– The Agreement on Military Confidence Building Measures, 1996, pursuant to the 1993 agreement, incrementally details the military confidence building measures to be implemented that would ensure no-war.
- Protocol for the Implementation of Military Confidence Building Measures, 2005– The Protocol for the Implementation of Military Confidence Building Measures, 2005 discussed modalities to implement the confidence building measures.
- Working Mechanism for Consultation and Coordination on India-China Border Affairs, 2012– The Working Mechanism for Consultation and Coordination on India–China Border Affairs (WMCC) was set up through an India-China agreement in January 2012 for improved institutionalized information exchange on border related issues
3 . Centre’s Arguments on Same Sex Marriage
Context: The Supreme Court heard arguments on behalf of the government from Solicitor General Tushar Mehta in the case seeking legal recognition of same sex marriage. While urging the Court to leave the issue to Parliament, Mehta argued that the law cannot be re-drafted again to allow same-sex marriage
What is the centre’s stance on same sex marriage?
Six Key arguments of the centre are
- Religious definitions of marriage: The Centre’s first submission was that various religions have always recognised marriage only between a man and a woman. If a new idea of marriage has to be imagined, then it must be Parliament and not the Court which can create it.
- ‘Legitimate’ interest of state: Responding to the argument of the petitioners that the state can have no role in regulating personal relationships, Centre argued that the state has a ‘legitimate’ interest in regulating marriage.
- The right to marry is not absolute and is always subject to the statutory regime provided by the competent legislature.Several aspects of marriage which the state has regulated, such as age of consent to marriage, prohibition of bigamy, prescription of prohibited degrees of marriage (which means one can’t marry their lineal ascendants, such as parents, grandparents, etc.), judicial separation, and divorce.
- The state can claim legitimate interest to regulate, when to marry, how many times to marry, whom to marry, how to separate, etc. the Centre argued.
- The right to privacy- The Centre argued that while the right to privacy exists, it cannot be extended to marriage. When consulting adults want a societal acceptance of the relationship by way of marriage, the Centre argued that they are conferred with a public status by the state.
- Parliament must decide: The Centre has repeatedly said that the decision on same-sex marriage can only be made in Parliament. The argument essentially is that there exists a democratic right of people to regulate themselves and that it cannot be mandated by a Court.
- The Centre also argued that the Court will be venturing into unknown arenas if it legislates on same-sex marriage, and that could raise several unintended consequences in law.
- Interpreting the law: The key argument of the Centre is that the Court cannot interpret the Special Marriage Act to include same-sex marriage in a meaningful way. Centre argued that the Court will have to examine the “entire architecture of the Act rather than examine a few words like husband, wife, etc.,” mentioning several instances where simply replacing the words wife and husband with person would not be compatible with the rest of the legislation.
- Effect on personal laws: The Centre argued that personal laws will inevitably be affected even if the Court only looks at the Special Marriage Act. However, Centre argued that it might not be possible for the court to interpret the Special Marriage Act in isolation without touching personal laws. Under Section 19 of the Special Marriage Act, the parties married under the secular law lose their right to family property, although they will continue to be governed under their personal laws in all other aspects such as divorce, inheritance and adoption.
4 . FIR in Sexual Harassment cases
Context: The Supreme Court Tuesday issued notice to Delhi Policeon a petition filed by seven wrestlers seeking an FIR against Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh, Wrestling Federation of India (WFI) president and BJP MP, on allegations of sexual harassment.
What does the law say about registration of an FIR once a sexual harassment complaint is received by the police?
- Section 154 (1) of the Code of Criminal Procedure enables the police to register an FIR after information is received about a cognizable offence. A cognizable offence/case is one in which a police officer may make an arrest without a warrant. Sections pertaining to sexual harassment and sexual assault of the Indian Penal Code fall within the category of cognizable offences.
- The registration of an FIR is the first step towards the probe. It sets into motion the investigation and the police may seek custodial interrogation of the accused, file a chargesheet based on the evidence, or file a closure report if the probe reveals no merit in the allegations made in the FIR.
- Zero FIR- The law also has provision for the registration of a ‘Zero FIR’, where even if the alleged offence has not been committed within the jurisdiction of the police station approached, the police can file an FIR and transfer it to the police station concerned.
Is failure to register an FIR an offence?
- The Report of the Committee on Amendments to Criminal Law, popularly known as the Justice J S Verma Committee, formed in the aftermath of the December 16, 2012 Delhi gangrape case, recommended insertion of a section where if an officer-in-charge of a police station refuses ‘or without reasonable cause’ fails to record information related to a cognizable offence, he shall be punished.
- Based on the committee’s recommendation, section 166A was inserted in the Criminal Law (Amendment) Act, 2013. The section states that if a public servant knowingly disobeys any direction of law including failing to record any information given to him in relation to a cognizable offence, rigorous imprisonment for a term of minimum six months and maximum two years can be given, and he shall also be liable to paying a fine.
- Although this includes all cognizable offences, the provision particularly mentions certain sections of the IPC, including those related to sexual harassment, rape, and gangrape. These sections were specifically added to enhance safeguards to women, noting the increase in crimes against women.
What are the FIR provisions under Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act?
- Section 19– The POCSO Act mandates reporting of sexual offences against children. Section 19 states that any person who has an apprehension that an offence under POCSO Act has been committed shall provide such information to the Special Juvenile Police Unit or the local police. The section also requires the registration of an FIR, ascribing information received with an entry number and a record in writing.
- Section 21 of the Act even states that any failure to report the commission of an offence or failure to record such an offence shall be punished with imprisonment extending to six months or a fine or both. The Act, therefore, also makes it mandatory for a report to be filed on receiving a complaint, including from a child.
What are the other remedies if police refuse to file an FIR?
- Section 154 (3) says that a person who has been aggrieved after a police in-charge refused to file an FIR can send the information to the Superintendent of Police. The SP, after verification that the information discloses the commission of an offence, shall either investigate the case herself or direct for a probe by any police officer subordinate to her.
- Section 156 says that if a person is aggrieved by the police’s refusal to file an FIR, a complaint can be made before a magistrate under section 156 (3). The magistrate court can then order registration of a case at the police station. The complaint before the magistrate would be treated as an FIR and the police can initiate its investigation.
Can a preliminary inquiry be conducted before registration of an FIR?
- The Constitution bench concluded that registration of an FIR under section 154 CrPC is mandatory if information of a cognizable offence is received. Other considerations are not relevant at the stage of registration of FIR, such as, whether the information is falsely given, whether the information is genuine, whether the information is credible etc,” the court said.
- It also said, “The scope of preliminary inquiry is not to verify the veracity or otherwise of the information received but only to ascertain whether the information reveals any cognizable offence.”
- It gave an illustrative list of categories of cases where such an inquiry can be made, including family disputes, commercial offences, medical negligence and corruption cases or cases where there is an abnormal delay in reporting the matter. The court said that an inquiry should not exceed seven days.
5 . Unified security force for Airports
Context: The government is considering the creation of a unified security force for all airports in the country — along the lines of the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) of the U.S. — which will also combine immigration and customs.
About the News
- The concept of Unified Security force for Airports has received a green flag from Prime Minister Narendra Modi. At the conference of Director General of Police conference, a presentation on transport security included deliberations on various measures for civil aviation security. Discussions were also held about expanding the scope of an Indian TSA-like force to include security for sea and land ports, as well as roads and highways.
- This TSA-like force will deploy across all the 148 airports which will grow to 220 airports in the next three to four years. While the Central Industrial Security Force is deployed at 66 out of the current 148 airports to carry out security functions, State police oversee security at the remaining airports.
- It is envisaged as a unified security agency for aviation, shipping, metro, road, rail and land and seaports.
Transportation Security Administration (TSA)
- The Transportation Security Administration is an agency of the United States Department of Homeland Security that has authority over the security of transportation systems within, and connecting to the United States
- The TSA was formed in the aftermath of the 9/11 attack in the U.S. to oversee security for all modes of transportation, such as air travel, passenger rail and intercity bus travel.
- In India, the proposal comes at a time when the country is pegged to be the third largest aviation market in the world by 2024 and is already the third largest domestic aviation market after the U.S. and China.
- It is also the world’s fastest growing market at 9%, though it accounts for only 2% of the global passenger traffic — a statistic which is often cited to demonstrate the potential for further expansion in the country.
- The total number of airports in the country are also targeted to grow from the current 148 to 220 by 2025, and airlines have more than 1,000 aircraft on order.
- Integration functions- It would help in integrating policy, regulations and implementation by bringing them under one body.
- The airports, which have to procure security infrastructure, have often cited financial constraints and delayed upgradation. The proposal for a unified agency means it will also be tasked to buy security infrastructure such as x-ray machines and full body scanners.
- This move could result in a merger of the CISF with the BCAS. Bureau of Civil Aviation Security is an attached office of the Ministry of Civil Aviation. It is the regulatory authority for civil aviation security in India. The Bureau of Immigration, which works under the Intelligence Bureau of the Union Home Ministry is responsible for immigration checks at airports, seaports and land borders. But once the TSA is a reality, the immigration functions will also fall under it.
6 . Types of Radio Broadcasting
Context: Prime Minister Narendra Modi inaugurated 91 FM transmitters spread across 18 states and two union territories and asserted his government was working towards giving people in every nook and corner of the country affordable access to technology.
What is Broadcasting?
- Broadcasting is the distribution of audio or video content to a dispersed audience via any electronic mass communications medium, but typically one using the electromagnetic spectrum (radio waves), in a one-to-many model.
- Broadcasting began with AM radio, which came into popular use around 1920 with the spread of vacuum tube radio transmitters and receivers.
Technology used in broadcasting
- Originally all broadcasting was composed of analog signals using analog transmission techniques but in the 2000s, broadcasters switched to digital signals using digital transmission.
- An analog signal is any continuous signal representing some other quantity, i.e., analogous to another quantity. For example, in an analog audio signal, the instantaneous signal voltage varies continuously with the pressure of the sound waves.
- In contrast, a digital signal represents the original time-varying quantity as a sampled sequence of quantized values which imposes some bandwidth and dynamic range constraints on the representation. In general usage, broadcasting most frequently refers to the transmission of information and entertainment programming from various sources to the general public.
Different Types of Broadcasting
- AM broadcasting – It is a type of radio broadcasting using amplitude modulation (AM) transmissions. It was the first method developed for making audio radio transmissions, and is still used worldwide, primarily for medium wave (also known as “AM band”) transmissions, but also on the longwave and shortwave radio bands. This specific type of broadcasting got it’s name for how it emits radio waves by manipulating the amplitude of the signal in conjunction with the amplitude of the signal that is being transmitted. What is known as a ‘medium-wave band’ is what is used worldwide to deliver AM broadcasting across the globe, while other parts of the world (like Europe) also use ‘long-wave band’ broadcasting. A great advantage to AM radio is that is fairly simplistic and the sound that is emitted from this type of signal can be easily detected.
- Compared to FM or digital transmissions, AM transmissions are less expensive to transmit and can be sent over long distances, however they are much more susceptible to interference, and often have lower audio fidelity. Thus, AM broadcasters tend to specialize in spoken-word formats, such as talk radio, all news and sports, with music formats primarily for FM and digital stations.
- FM broadcasting- It is the method of radio broadcasting that uses frequency modulation (FM). Invented in 1933 by American engineer Edwin Armstrong, wide-band FM is used worldwide to transmit high-fidelity sound over broadcast radio. FM broadcasting offers higher fidelity—more accurate reproduction of the original program sound—than other broadcasting techniques. It is also less susceptible to common forms of interference, having less static and popping sounds than are often heard on AM. Therefore, FM is used for most broadcasts of music and general audio (in the audio spectrum). FM radio stations use the very high frequency range of radio frequencies.
7 . Facts for prelims
Star Rating system for water fixtures
- The Centre is in the process of bringing in a star rating system for water fixtures similar to the ratings of electrical appliances. The new rating system would have 3, 4 and 5 star water fixtures based on their water efficiency and this rating system would come under one umbrella called Bharat Tap.
- Bharat Tap is a collaborative effort which was formulated under AMRUT 2.0 to drive water efficiency, and this can be achieved only if water outlets are efficient, be it sanitary fixtures or taps.
- Higher the number of stars, more the fixture’s ability to conserve water and avoid leaks.
- The proposed star rating system for water fixtures is an excellent step to empower consumers to make the right decisions while purchasing sanitary equipment. Emerging technologies in water efficient fixtures can reduce daily water use significantly and conserve large volumes of water.
Acute Mountain Sickness
- Acute mountain sickness is an illness that can affect mountain climbers, hikers, skiers, or travellers at high altitudes, usually above 8000 feet (2400 meters).
- Causes-Acute Mountain sickness is caused by reduced air pressure and lower oxygen levels at high altitudes. Traveling too high too fast puts at the greatest risk for altitude sickness
- Symptoms may include headaches, vomiting, tiredness, confusion, trouble sleeping, and dizziness. Acute mountain sickness can progress to high-altitude pulmonary edema (HAPE) with associated shortness of breath or high-altitude cerebral edema (HACE) with associated confusion. Chronic mountain sickness may occur after long-term exposure to high altitude. At extreme altitudes, mountaineers often mention experiencing psychosis — that is, a mental disorder where a person becomes out of touch with reality. Symptoms of psychotic episodes include hallucinations and delusions
- Risk factors include a prior episode of altitude sickness, a high degree of activity, and a rapid increase in elevation. Diagnosis is based on symptoms and is supported in those who have more than a minor reduction in activities.
- Sickness is prevented by gradually increasing elevation by no more than 300 metres (1,000 ft) per day. Being physically fit does not decrease the risk. Generally, descent and sufficient fluid intake can treat symptoms.
Command Cyber Operations and Support Wings
- The Army has decided to raise Command Cyber Operations and Support Wings (CCOSWs) and nominate ‘Lead Directorates’ and ‘Test Bed’ formations for absorption of niche technologies and enhancing fighting potential, even in cyberspace.
- The CCOSWs will assist its formations in taking up cyberspace security challenges posed by the growing warfare capabilities of adversaries
- Functions- The CCOSWs will safeguard the networks and increase the preparedness levels in this niche domain. The Army is inducting a large number and variety of niche tech-enabled equipment, such as a cross-section of tactical, mini, micro, and logistics drones, UAVs, drone swarms, loiter weapon systems, electronic warfare, and anti-drone apparatus. This equipment are intended to enhance the fighting potential of the field formations.
- In order to augment the capabilities of the forces by absorption of niche technologies and equipment, it was decided to nominate lead directorates and ‘Test Bed’ formations to evolve optimal employment philosophies
- Technical Entry Scheme for officers- Army Commanders’ Conference also approved a new technical entry scheme (TES) for officers and it will come into effect from January 2024.
- For the officers’ entry to the Indian Army as B Tech graduates, a five-year TES model is currently being followed.
- Under this, one year of military training is imparted at the Officers Training Academy (OTA), Gaya, followed by three years’ B. Tech degree at the Cadet Training Wings (CTWs), followed by one year at the three engineering colleges of the Army – College of Military Engineering (CME), Pune; Military College of Telecommunication Engineering (MCTE), Mhow; and Military College of Mechanical and Electronics Engineering (MCEME), Secunderabad.
- It is now decided to have a four-year (3+1) model, with three years devoted to technical training at CTWs, followed by one year of Basic Military Training (BMT) at IMA, Dehradun.
- The four-year training model will ensure that young officers are available in the Indian Army units to serve the country for one additional year.