Daily Current Affairs for UPSC CSE
- Paris Climate deal
- TRP Panel
- Guidelines for Matrimonial Cases
- Body Mass Index
- Miyas of Assam and Chaar Chapori culture
- National Infrastructure Pipeline
- Section 3(1)(r) of the SC/ ST Prevention of Atrocities Act
- Facts for Prelims
1 . Paris Climate deal
Context : The US formally exited the Paris Climate Agreement on Wednesday amid election uncertainty, three years after President Donald Trump announced his intent to remove the country from participating in the landmark global pact to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
About the News
- President Trump originally announced his intention to withdraw from the agreement in 2017 and formally notified the United Nations last year.
- The US exited the pact after a mandatory year-long waiting period ended on Wednesday.
What is the Paris Agreement?
- In December 2015, 195 countries signed an agreement to slow the process of global warming by making efforts to “hold the increase in the global average temperature to well below 2 degrees above pre-industrial levels and to pursue efforts to limit the temperature increase to 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels”.
- This basically means that the countries would try to limit the increase in global temperature rise. While poor countries and island states had requested a lower goal considering threats of droughts and sea-level rise, climate experts have said maintaining a 2 degrees increase will be a challenge in itself. The agreement came into force on November 4, 2016.
- Agreement also decided to limit the amount of greenhouse gases emitted by human activities to a level that can be naturally absorbed by trees, soils and oceans.
- Nations have pledged “to achieve a balance between anthropogenic emissions by sources and removals by sinks of greenhouse gases in the second half of this century”. Climate experts told The Guardian that this meant attaining “net zero emissions” between 2050 and 2100. According to the UN’s climate science panel, net zero emissions must be attained by 2070 to avoid dangerous warming.
- Developed countries were also told to provide financial resources to help developing countries in dealing with climate change and for adaptation measures.
- As part of a review mechanism, developed countries were also asked to communicate every two years the “indicative” amount of money they would be able to raise over the next two years, and information on how much of it would come from public financial sources.
- In contrast, developing countries have only been “encouraged” to provide such information every two years on a voluntary basis.
- A key feature of the Paris Agreement has been the way the agreement reflects the principle of ‘common but differentiated responsibilities’ (CBDR), which has been invoked four times in the CBDR principle. Emerging nations stressed on the developed world to take greater responsibility for climate actions since they are largely responsible for emitting almost all of the greenhouse gases from about 1850 to the 1980s.
- The agreement also includes a mechanism to address financial losses faced by less developed nations due to climate change impacts like droughts, floods etc. However, developed nations won’t face financial claims since it “does not involve or provide a basis for any liability or compensation”.
So, why did the US leave the Paris agreement?
- During his 2016 presidential campaign, Donald Trump had described the Paris Agreement as “unfair” to US interests, and had promised to pull out of the agreement if elected. Trump had also sought to portray that election as a referendum on the policies of former President Obama, who had played a pivotal role in stitching together the complex and far-reaching agreement.
- So in June 2017, months after his inauguration, Trump announced his government’s decision to quit the accord. Environmentalists fiercely criticised the move, saying that America’s exit would seriously jeopardise the agreement’s objective of keeping the global temperature rise to within 2 degrees Celsius from pre-industrial times, especially since the US was (and still is) the world’s second-largest emitter of greenhouse gases.
- The US could not immediately exit the Paris Agreement, however, as United Nations rules permitted a country to apply for leaving three years after the accord came into force, i.e. November 4, 2019. The US formally applied to leave on that day, and the departure automatically came into effect on November 4, 2020, at the end of a mandatory year-long waiting period.
How can US Rejoin
- US would have to formally inform the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), the body which created the Paris accord, about its intention to rejoin.
- Thirty days after formally applying to the UNFCCC, the US would again become a part of the Paris framework, and would be required to submit its emission-reduction targets for 2030.
2 . TRP Panel
Context : Ministry of Information and Broadcasting has today constituted a committee to review “Guidelines on Television Rating Agencies in India” notified by the Ministry in 2014.
About the News
- The Information and Broadcasting Ministry has constituted a four-member committee to review the guidelines on television rating agencies. It will be headed by Shashi Shekhar Vempati, CEO of Prasar Bharati.
- The Committee shall carry out an appraisal of the existing system; examine TRAI recommendations notified from time to time, overall industry scenario and addressing the needs of the stakeholders and make recommendations for robust, transparent and accountable rating system through changes, if any, in the existing guidelines.
- The Committee can invite any expert as a special invitee. The Committee will submit its report to the Minister for Information & Broadcasting within two months.
Terms of Reference for the Committee
- Study past recommendations made by various forums on the subject of television rating systems in India and matter incidental thereto;
- Study recent recommendations of Telecom Regulatory Authority on the subject;
- Suggest steps for enhancing competition in the sector;
- Review of the presently notified guidelines to see if the intended purpose(s) of issuing the guidelines have stood the test of time and has met needs of various stakeholders involve The lacunae, if any, shall be specially addressed by the Committee;
- Any issues related or incidental to the subject;
- To make recommendations on way forward for robust, transparent and accountable rating system in India; and
- Any other related issues assigned by MIB from time to time.
3 . Guidelines for Matrimonial Cases
Context : The Supreme Court on November 4 held that deserted wives and children are entitled to alimony/maintenance from the husbands from the date they apply for it in a court of law.
Details of the Judgement
- According to the Judgement women deserted by husbands were left in dire straits, often reduced to destitution, for lack of means to sustain themselves and their children.
- Judgment laid down uniform and comprehensive guidelines for family courts, magistrates and lower courts to follow while hearing the applications filed by women seeking maintenance from their estranged husbands.
- The judgment was based on a matrimonial plea from Maharashtra on the question of payment of maintenance by a man to his wife and son under Section 125 of the Code of Criminal Procedure. The case had been dragging on for years.
Details of the Guidelines
- To ensure that judicial orders for grant of maintenance are duly enforced by husbands, The court said a violation would lead to punishments such as civil detention and even attachment of the property of the latter. “The order or decree of maintenance may be enforced like a decree of a civil court, through the provisions which are available for enforcing a money decree,
- “The plea of the husband that he does not possess any source of income ipso facto does not absolve him of his moral duty to maintain his wife, if he is able-bodied and has educational qualifications
- Both the applicant wife and the respondent husband have to disclose their assets and liabilities in a maintenance case. Any earlier case filed or pending under any other law should also be revealed in court.
- The expenses of the children, including their education, basic needs and other vocational activities, should be factored in by courts while calculating the alimony. “Education expenses of the children must be normally borne by the father. If the wife is working and earning sufficiently, the expenses may be shared proportionately between the parties,”
- Other factors such as “spiralling inflation rates and high costs of living” should be considered, but the wife should receive an alimony which fit the standard of life she was used to in the matrimonial home.
- The court opined it would not be equitable to order a husband to pay his wife permanent alimony for the rest of her life, considering the fact that in contemporary society marriages do not last for a reasonable length of time. Anyway, the court said, the duration of a marriage should be accounted for while determining the permanent alimony.
- “Strict proof of marriage should not be a pre-condition for grant of maintenance under Section 125 of the CrPC
4 . Body Mass Index
Context : India ranks third and fifth from the bottom respectively among countries where 19-year-old girls and boys have a low body mass index, according to a study in The Lancet to be published on Friday.
About the Study
- The study conducted by Lancet provides new estimates for height and BMI trends in 2019 across 200 countries after analysing data from 2,181 studies.
What is BMI
- BMI is measured as the weight in kg divided by the square of the height in metres.
- World Health Organization guidelines define a normal BMI range as 18.5 to 24.9, overweight as 25 or higher, and obesity as 30 or higher.
- BMI can be used to screen for weight categories that may lead to health problems but it is not diagnostic of the body fatness or health of an individual.
Details of the Study
- The mean BMI of 19-year-old boys is 20.1 in India, compared to a high of 29.6 in the Cook Islands and a low of 19.2 in Ethiopia.
- For Indian girls, the mean BMI is again 20.1, compared to a high of 29.0 in Tonga and a low of 19.6 in Timor-Leste.
- The mean height of Indian 19-year-olds is 166.5 cm for boys and 155.2 cm for girls, well below the high of Netherlands boys (183.8 cm) and girls (170 cm).
- The 20 cm or higher difference between countries with the tallest and shortest mean height represents approximately 8 years of growth gap for girls and approximately 6 years for boys. For example, 19-year-old girls in India have the same mean height as 12-year-old Dutch girls, said Prof Majid Ezzati, from Imperial College, London, and senior author of the study said.
- “Both height and BMI have increased from 1985 to 2019 although there is still a great deal of potential for height while curbing any future rise in obesity so programmes targeted towards the poor from birth through school years are needed.”
- The reasons could be several, like variations in the epigenetic, dietary intakes, familial, psychosocial, parental education, occupations, income etc
- India needs to regularly conduct diet and nutrition surveys to avert the increase of overweight and obesity among children and adolescents.
- Overweight and obesity are mostly carried over to adult age and are causes for many metabolic disorders like insulin resistance, diabetes, hypertension, CVDs, stroke, and some cancers.”
5 . The Miyas of Assam, and their char-chapori culture
Context : A proposed “Miya museum” reflecting the “culture and heritage of the people living in char-chaporis” has stirred up a controversy in Assam.
Who are the Miyas?
- The ‘Miya’ community comprises descendants of Muslim migrants from East Bengal (now Bangladesh) to Assam. They came to be referred to as ‘Miyas’, often in a derogatory manner.
- The community migrated in several waves — starting with the British annexation of Assam in 1826, and continuing into Partition and the 1971 Bangladesh Liberation War — and have resulted in changes in demographic composition of the region. Years of discontent among the indigenous people led to the six-year-long (1979-85) anti-foreigner Assam Agitation to weed out the “illegal immigrant”, who was perceived as trying to take over jobs, language and culture of the indigenous population.
What are char-chaporis?
- A char is a floating island while chaporis are low-lying flood-prone riverbanks. “They are used interchangeably or with a hyphen… They keep changing shapes — a char can become a chapori, or vice versa, depending on the push and pull of the Brahmaputra
- The website of the Directorate of Char Areas Development puts the population of chars at 24.90 lakh as per a socio-economic survey in 2002-03.
- Prone to floods and erosion, these areas are marked by low development indices.
- “80% of the Char population lives below poverty line. A UNDP Assam Human Development report from 2014 describes the char areas as suffering from “communication deficits, lack of adequate schooling facilities beyond primary, girl child marriage, poverty and illiteracy”.
- While Bengali-origin Muslims primarily occupy these islands, other communities such as Misings, Deoris, Kocharis, Nepalis also live here. In popular imagination, however, chars have become synonymous to the Bengali-speaking Muslims of dubious nationality.
6 . National Infrastructure Pipeline
What is National Infrastructure Pipeline
- It is estimated that India would need to spend $4.5 trillion on infrastructure by 2030 to sustain its growth rate.
- The endeavour of the National Infrastructure Pipeline (NIP), is to make this happen in an efficient manner
Key Benefits of National Infrastructure Pipeline
- Economy : Well-planned NIP will enable more infrastructure projects, power business, create jobs, improve ease of living, and provide equitable access to infrastructure for all, thereby making growth more inclusive
- Government : Well-developed infrastructure enhances level of economic activity, creates additional fiscal space by improving revenue base of the government, and ensures quality of expenditure focused on productive areas
- Developers : Provides better prepared projects, reduces aggressive bids/failure in project delivery, ensures enhanced access to sources of finance as a result of increased investor confidence
- Banks/financial institutions/investors : Builds investor confidence as identified projects are better prepared, exposures less likely to suffer stress given active project monitoring by competent authority, thereby ensuring better returns
Constituents of NIP
- Economic and social infrastructure projects as per Harmonised Master List of Infrastructure > Projects ≥ Rs 100 crore per project, greenfield under construction > Brownfield (development of completed projects) > Projects under conceptualisation > NIP
7 . Section 3(1)(r) of the SC/ ST Prevention of Atrocities Act
Context : A bench of Justices L Nageswara Rao, Hemant Gupta and Ajay Rastogi said that to constitute an offence under the Act, the words spoken must be “in any place within public view”, and not within the four walls of a house and in the absence of any member of the publi
Details of the Judgement
- According to the judgement every offending remark against a member of the Scheduled Caste or Scheduled Tribe will not amount to an offence under the Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, 1989 “unless there is an intention to humiliate…for the reason that the victim belongs to such caste”
- To constitute an offence under the Act, the words spoken must be “in any place within public view”, and not within the four walls of a house and in the absence of any member of the public.
Section 3(1)(r) of the SC/ ST Prevention of Atrocities Act
The bench said that the SC/ST Act is intended to punish the acts of upper caste against the vulnerable sections of the society for the reason that they belong to a particular community, and that the basic ingredients of the offence under Section 3(1)(r) of the Act can be classified as “1) intentionally insults or intimidates with intent to humiliate a member of a Scheduled Caste or a Scheduled Tribe and 2) in any place within public view”.
8 . Facts for Prelims
- It is an ancient performative martial art from Assam