Daily Current Affairs : 7th December 2022

Daily Current Affairs for UPSC CSE

Topics Covered

  1. Legal Recognition of Same sex Marriage
  2. Green Bonds
  3. Assam Delimitation
  4. Facts for Prelims

1 . Legal Recognition Of Same Sex Marriage

Context : The Supreme Court transferred to itself petitions pending in various High Courts seeking legal recognition of same-sex marriage. The counsels for multiple petitioners told the bench that they want the top court to transfer all the cases to itself for an authoritative pronouncement on the issue.

About the News

  • The Supreme Court on Friday (January 6) transferred to itself a batch of petitions seeking recognition of same-sex marriages. These petitions were pending before the Delhi and Kerala High Courts. Senior advocate Menaka Guruswamy had sought a transfer of these pleas from the HCs so they could be heard by the Supreme Court directly.
  • A Bench headed by Chief Justice of India (CJI) D Y Chandrachud allowed the transfers. This case could be the first big intervention on LGBTQ rights after the Supreme Court read down Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code in 2018.

Details of the Petitions

  • One of the petitions filed said the non-recognition of same sex marriage amounted to discrimination that struck at the root of dignity and self-fulfilment of LBTQ+ couples.
  • Another petition challenged the mandatory requirement to issue public notice and objection to marriage contemplated under the Special Marriage Act and the Foreign Marriage Act. They argued that the provisions expose same sex couples to the risks of ostracism, persecution, and violence. The petitioners had argued that the case was a sequel to the 2018 Constitution Bench judgment in the Navtej Johar case in which homosexuality was de-criminalised.
  • The petitioners argued that 15 legislations which guaranteed the rights of wages, gratuity, adoption, surrogacy, etc., were not available to the LGBTQ+ citizens.
  • “The Special Marriage Act of 1954 ought to apply to a marriage between any two persons, regardless of their gender identity and sexual orientation,” a petition said.
  • If not, the Act, in its present form, should be declared violative of the fundamental rights to a dignified life and equality as “it does not provide for solemnisation of marriage between same sex couple”.

Arguments in favour of LGBTQ+ citizens

  • Special Marriage Act was “ultra vires” the Constitution “to the extent it discriminates between same-sex couples and opposite-sex couples”.
  • It stated that the Act denied same-sex couples both “legal rights as well as the social recognition and status” that came from marriage.
  • 15 legislations which guaranteed the rights of wages, gratuity, adoption, surrogacy and so on were not available to LGBTQ+ citizens.
  • Special Marriage Act “ought to apply to a marriage between any two persons, regardless of their gender identity and sexual orientation”.

Arguments against LGBTQ+ citizens

  • As per the law, marriage was permissible between a “biological man” and “biological woman”
  • The acceptance of the institution of marriage between two individuals of the same gender is neither recognised nor accepted in any uncodified personal laws or any codified statutory laws”.
  • It also argued against the urgency of the pleas by saying nobody was “dying” in the absence of a marriage certificate.

Legalisation of same sex marriage in other countries

  • A total of 32 countries around the world have legalised same-sex marriages, some through legislation while others through judicial pronouncements.
  • Many countries first recognised same-sex civil unions as the escalatory step to recognise homosexual marriage.
  • Civil unions or partnerships are similar arrangements as marriages which provide legal recognition of unmarried couples of the same or opposite sex in order to grant them some of the rights that come with marriage — such as inheritance, medical benefits, employee benefits to spouses, managing joint taxes and finances, and in some cases even adoption.
  • The Netherlands was the first country in 2001 to legalise same-sex marriage by amending one line in its civil marriage law.
  • In some countries, the decriminalisation of homosexuality was not followed for years by the recognition of same-sex marriage, for instance, in the U.S. the former happened in 2003 while the latter in 2015.

Navtej Johar Case

  • Navtej Johar’s judgment of 2018– It decriminalised homosexuality and unanimously held that the criminalization of private consensual sexual conduct between adults of the same sex under the more than 150-year-old Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code was unconstitutional.
  • The judgment apologised to the LGBTQ+ community for the wrongs of history and stated: “Sexual orientation is natural. Discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation is violation of freedom of speech and expression”.
  • Section 377- Indian Penal code criminalized all sexual acts “against the order of nature”. It was against the Same sex marriage.

2 . Green Bonds

Context : The Reserve Bank of India said that maiden Sovereign Green Bonds (SGrBs) would be issued in two tranches of ₹8,000 crore each on January 25 and February 9. The proceeds will be deployed in public sector projects which help in reducing the carbon intensity of the economy.

What are Green Bonds?

  • Green bonds are bonds issued by any sovereign entity, inter-governmental groups or alliances and corporates with the aim that the proceeds of the bonds are utilised for projects classified as environmentally sustainable.
  • The framework for the sovereign green bond was issued by the government on November 9, 2022.

Why these bonds are important?

  • Over the last few years, Green Bonds have emerged as an important financial instrument to deal with the threats of climate change and related challenges.
  • According to the International Finance Corporation (IFC), a World Bank Group’s institution, climate change threatens communities and economies, and it poses risks for agriculture, food, and water supplies.
  • A lot of financing is needed to address these challenges.
  • It’s critical to connect environmental projects with capital markets and investors and channel capital towards sustainable development – and Green Bonds are a way to make that connection.

How beneficial is it for investors?

  • Green Bonds offer investors a platform to engage in good practices, influencing the business strategy of bond issuers.
  • They provide a means to hedge against climate change risks while achieving at least similar, if not better, returns on their investment.
  • In this way, the growth in Green Bonds and green finance also indirectly works to disincentivise high carbon-emitting projects, as per the IFC.

When did Govt plan these bonds?

  • In August last year, the government said it stands committed to reduce Emissions Intensity of GDP by 45 per cent from the 2005 level by 2030 and achieve about 50 per cent cumulative electric power installed capacity from non-fossil fuel-based energy resources by the same year.
  • In line with the commitment to significantly reduce the carbon intensity of the economy, the Union Budget 2022-23 made an announcement to issue Sovereign Green Bonds.
  • The country’s climate actions have so far been largely financed from domestic resources and it is now targeting generation of additional global financial resources.
  • The issuance of the Sovereign Green Bonds will help the Indian government in tapping the requisite finance from potential investors for deployment in public sector projects aimed at reducing the carbon intensity of the economy.

Where will the proceeds go?

  • The government will use the proceeds raised from SGrBs to finance or refinance expenditure (in parts or whole) for various green projects, including in renewable energy, clean transportation, energy efficiency, climate change adaptation, sustainable water and waste management, pollution and prevention control and green buildings.
  • In renewable energy, investments will be made in solar, wind, biomass and hydropower energy projects.

Fact for Prelims

Green Economy

  • A green economy is defined as low-carbon, resource-efficient, and socially inclusive.
  • In a green economy, growth in employment and income is driven by public and private investment into such economic activities, infrastructure, and assets that allow reduced carbon emissions and pollution, enhanced energy and resource efficiency, and prevention of the loss of biodiversity and ecosystem services.

Role of Green Economy

  • The role of Green Economy, Sustainable Consumption and Production and Resource Efficiency for Sustainable Development:
    •  Sustainable Consumption and Production aims to improve production processes and consumption practices to reduce resource consumption, waste generation and emissions across the full life cycle of processes and products – while Resource Efficiency refers to the ways in which resources are used to deliver value to society and aims to reduce the amount of resources needed, and emissions and waste generated, per unit of product or service.
    • The Green Economy provides a macro-economic approach to sustainable economic growth with a central focus on investments, employment and skills.

The three main areas for the current work on Green Economy are:

1) Advocacy of macro-economic approach to sustainable economic growth through regional, sub-regional and national fora

2) Demonstration of Green Economy approaches with a central focus on access to green finance, technology and investments

3) Support to countries in terms of development and mainstreaming of macro-economic policies to support the transition to a Green Economy

3 . Assam Delimitation

Context : The Election Commission kicking off the process of delimitation of Assembly and Parliamentary constituencies in Assam. The EC had announced on December 27, 2022 that the government had asked it in November to re-draw constituency boundaries in Assam, where delimitation has not been done since 1976.

The most-recent delimitation exercise, that of Jammu and Kashmir, took a little over two years to complete.

What is the importance of delimitation?

  • Boundaries of Assembly and Parliamentary constituencies are required to be updated from time to time to ensure that the population size in each seat is roughly the same.
  • The basic principle is that one vote should have the same value, irrespective of the constituency.
  • Apart from population, geographical features, boundaries of administrative units and connectivity are also considered.

Why is delimitation being done in Assam alone?

  • The Constitution says boundaries of Assembly constituencies should be updated after every decadal Census, but through amendments in 1976 and 2001, the process of delimitation was put off for 25 years each time.
  • So far, delimitation for the whole country has been carried out four times — under Delimitation Acts in 1952, 1962, 1972 and 2002 — and remains in abeyance till 2026.
  • During the last delimitation, which was completed in 2008, the government decided to leave out Assam, Arunachal Pradesh, Manipur and Nagaland, as well as Jammu and Kashmir.
  • For Assam, the government cited security concerns and the potential for disturbing law and order, among others, when it put off the exercise through an order on February 8, 2008.
  • In 2020, the government set up a Delimitation Commission for J&K, Assam, Arunachal Pradesh, Manipur and Nagaland. But a year later, in March 2021, the government omitted the four North-Eastern states when it extended the tenure of the Commission.
  • The commission, headed by Justice Ranjana Desai, went on with redrawing the boundaries of J&K, giving its final award in May 2022.
  •  Now, the government and the EC have revived the delimitation plan for Assam, but are yet to state publicly what led to the decision.

Why is EC and not an independent Delimitation Commission?

  • The Election Commission is empowered to carry out delimitation of Parliamentary and Assembly constituencies of Arunachal Pradesh, Assam, Manipur and Nagaland, as per Section-8A of the Representation of the People Act, 1950.
  • The section says “if the President is satisfied that the situation and the conditions prevailing” in the states are conducive for conducting delimitation, then he or she may rescind the deferment order.
  • An order under the same section was issued by the President on February 28, 2020, saying that there had been “a significant improvement in the security situation”, allowing for the delimitation exercise in all four of the states.

Why is the 2001 Census being used?

  • According to Article 170 of the Constitution, the population numbers to be used for drawing boundaries of constituencies would be as per the 2001 Census until the first Census after 2026 is published.
  • In the case of Jammu and Kashmir, the Jammu and Kashmir Reorganisation Act, 2019 passed by Parliament had mentioned the population in the 2011 Census as the basis of delimitation.

What are the Opposition’s concerns?

  • Opposition leaders, while saying that delimitation is required, have questioned the use of the 2001 Census figures, given that 2011 Census data is available and the 2021 Census process is on.
  • Assembly elections in Assam are due in 2026.
  • When the delimitation was kept in abeyance in 2008, one of the reasons was that the National Register of Citizens had not been finalised.

Facts for Prelims

What is Demilitation Commision Act?

  • An Act to provide for the readjustment of the allocation of seats in the House of the People to the States, the total number of seats in the Legislative Assembly of each State, the division of each State and each Union territory having a Legislative Assembly into territorial constituencies for elections to the House of the People and Legislative Assemblies of the States and Union territories
  • It is appointed for the purpose of drawing up the boundaries of constituencies all over the country.
  • A quota of constituencies to be reserved in each State is fixed depending on the proportion of SC or ST in that State.

4 . Facts for Prelims

National Statistics Office

  • It functions under the Ministry of Statistics andProgramme Implementation
  • It was formed by merging the erstwhile National Sample Survey Office with Central Statistical Office.
  • It acts as a agency for the planned development of the statistical system in the country.
  • Sample collection and Tabulation of the data collected through surveys.
  • Prepare National accounts as well as publishes annual estimates of product, government and private consumption expenditure, capital formation, savings, estimates of capital stock and consumption of fixed capital.
  • It compiles and releases the Index of Industrial Production (IIP) every month and conducts the Annual Survey of Industries (ASI)
  • It organizes and conducts periodic all-India Economic Censuses and follow-up enterprise surveys.

Family Forestry

The 2021 Land for Life Award has been won by Familial Forestry of Rajasthan, a unique concept that relates a tree with a family, making it a green “family member.” The UN Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD) organises the Land for Life Award every two years to recognize excellence and innovation in efforts towards land in balance

About the Familial Forestry:

  • Familial Forestry is an environment conservation concept by climate-activist Shyam Sunder Jyani, an Associate Professor for Sociology in Rajasthan, who has been campaigning for Familial Forestry for over 15 years.
  • Familial Forestry means transferring the care of the tree and environment in the family so that a tree becomes a part of the family’s consciousness.
  •  More than a million families from more than 15,000 villages of desert-prone northwest Rajasthan in over 2.5 million saplings have been planted in the past 15 years, with the active participation of students and desert dwellers.

Sagol Kangjei

  • Modern polo is said to have originated from Sagol Kangjei, a sport indigenous to Manipur, in which players ride horses, specifically the Manipur Ponies, which are referenced in records dating back to the 14th century.
  • The Manipur Pony is one of five recognised equine breeds of India, and has a powerful cultural significance for Manipuri society.
  • The Marjing Polo Complex has been developed as a way to conserve the Manipur Pony.
  • In some manuscripts, it is referred to as Mangal-sa or Mongolian animal.
  • In Manipuri mythology, the Manipuri pony was regarded to have descended from “Samadon Ayangba” the winged steed of Lord Margjing, one of the guardian deities of Manipur

Conserving the breed

  • However, the small and dwindling numbers of the Manipur Pony has been a cause for concern.
  • The 17th Quinquennial Livestock Census 2003 had recorded 1,898 Manipur Ponies; the number fell to 1,101 in the 19th Quinquennial Livestock Census in 2012.
  • However, when the Manipuri Pony Society tried to conduct a random survey in the state in 2014, they said they found it difficult to count even 500 of the animals

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