03 November 2021 Daily Current Affairs

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Prelims Specific Question

1) New York Declaration on Forests aims to achieve which of the following:

  1. To eliminate any sort of deforestation by 2030
  2. Half the Tropical deforestation by 2030
  3. End the Tropical deforestation by 2030
  4. None of the above

2. CAATSA Act imposed sanctions on the following countries:

  1. Iran
  2. North Korea
  3. India
  4. Russia

Select the correct options:

  1. i and ii
  2. i, ii and iv
  3. i, iii and iv
  4. All of the above

3. Prakash Singh case is associated with which of the following:

  1. Police reforms
  2. Prison reforms
  3. Election reforms
  4. Cyber crime

Important News Items of the Day

Environment / GS – 3 / Groups

World leaders pledge to save forests, cut methane emissions

Leaders at the COP26 global climate conference in Glasgow have pledged to stop deforestation by the end of the decade and slash emissions of the greenhouse gas, methane, to help slow climate change.

What is Global methane pledge :

US president Joe Biden has unveiled a multinational plan to control methane, regarded by the administration as the single most potent way to combat the climate crisis in the short term.

Leading an alliance of 90 countries, including for the first time Brazil, Biden set out new regulatory measures to limit global methane emissions by 30% from 2020 levels by the end of the decade.

The alliance includes two-thirds of the global economy and half of the top 30 major methane emitter countries. China, India and Russia have not joined the pact known as the Global Methane Pledge.

New York declaration on Forests: 

In 2014, more than 200 governments, companies, civil society and indigenous organisations signed up to the New York Declaration on Forests, promising to halve tropical deforestation by 2020 and end it by 2030.

Global Forest Watch report

According to the Global Forest Watch report in 2020, the world lost 2,58,000 sq. km of forests. The conservation charity WWF estimates that 27 football fields of forest are lost every minute.

Over 100 national leaders pledged to halt and reverse deforestation and land degradation by the end of the decade, underpinned by $19 billion in public and private funds to invest in protecting and restoring forests.

The agreement expands a commitment by 40 countries as part of the 2014 New York Declaration of Forests.

Under the agreement, 12 countries pledged to provide $12 billion of public funding between 2021 and 2025 for developing countries to restore degraded land and tackle wildfires.

About Global Forest Watch

Global Forest Watch is an online platform with the best available data about forests.  It has been convened by World Resource Institute.

About WRI (World Resource Institute): 

  • Formation : – 1982
  • The World Resources Institute (WRI) maintains international offices in the United States, China, India, Indonesia, Mexico, and Brazil.
  • The organization’s mission is to promote environmental sustainability, economic opportunity, and human health and well-being.

Surangel Whipps Jr, President of Palau, a Pacific state of 500 low-lying islands under threat from rising sea levels, told the leaders of the G20 industrial powers in a speech: “We are drowning and our only hope is the life-ring you are holding.”

2) IRIS ( Infrastructure for Resilient Island States )

PM Modi launches ‘Infrastructure for Resilient Island States’, says climate threats are a matter of life and death for them

  • An ambitious initiative for developing the infrastructure of small island nations.
  • Most vulnerable countries facing the biggest threat from climate change.
  • Small Island Developing States (SIDS) face the biggest threat from climate change

The Coalition for Disaster Resilient Infrastructure (CDRI) for the initiative, saying for him the CDRI or IRIS is not just about infrastructure thing but it is part of a very sensitive responsibility of human welfare.

Small islands

The new initiative is the result of cooperation between India, the U.K. and Australia and included the participation of leaders of small island nations such as Fiji, Jamaica and Mauritius.

India’s Council on Energy, Environment and Water (CEEW) welcomed the launch of IRIS as a recognition of the severity of climate risks which can unravel decades of development, especially for the most vulnerable countries and communities.

3) One Sun, One World, One Grid for seamless energy

On the second day of COP26, an initiative by India and the United Kingdom to tap solar energy and have it travel seamlessly across borders was announced. It includes a group of Governments called the Green Grids Initiative — One Sun One World One Grid group.

About OSOWOG

  • The vision behind the OSOWOG is ‘The Sun Never Sets’ and is a constant at some geographical location, globally, at any given point of time. Fostering cross-border energy trade is an important part of India’s Neighborhood-first policy.
  • OSOWOG plan may also leverage the International Solar Alliance (ISA), co-founded by India that has 67 countries as members.
  • First Phase: It deals with the Middle East, South Asia and South-East Asia (MESASEA) interconnection.
  • Second Phase: It deals with the MESASEA grid getting interconnected with the African power pools.
  • Third Phase: It is about global interconnection.

Polity

Set up police complaints bodies: NHRC

Fifteen years after the Supreme Court issued directions for police reforms, the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) has asked the Union Home Ministry and the State Governments to set up police complaints authorities as per the judgment in the Prakash Singh vs Union of India, 2006, case.

THE SEVEN DIRECTIVES IN A NUTSHELL

  1. Directive One – Constitute a State Security Commission (SSC) to:
    • Ensure that the state government does not exercise unwarranted influence or pressure on the police
    • Lay down broad policy guideline and
    • Evaluate the performance of the state police
  2. Directive Two – Ensure that the DGP is appointed through merit based transparent process and secure a minimum tenure of two years
  3. Directive Three – Ensure that other police officers on operational duties (including Superintendents of Police in-charge of a district and Station House Officers in-charge of a police station) are also provided a minimum tenure of two years
  4. Directive Four –  Separate the investigation and law and order functions of the police
  5. Directive Five –  Set up a Police Establishment Board (PEB) to decide transfers, postings, promotions and other service related matters of police officers of and below the rank of Deputy Superintendent of Police and make recommendations on postings and transfers above the rank of Deputy Superintendent of Police
  6. Directive Six –  Set up a Police Complaints Authority (PCA) at state level to inquire into public complaints against police officers of and above the rank of Deputy Superintendent of Police in cases of serious misconduct, including custodial death, grievous hurt, or rape in police custody and at district levels to inquire into public complaints against the police personnel below the rank of Deputy Superintendent of Police in cases of serious misconduct
  7. Directive Seven – Set up a National Security Commission (NSC) at the union level to prepare a panel for selection and placement of Chiefs of the Central Police Organisations (CPO) with a minimum tenure of two years.

Defence

DAC clears proposals worth ₹7,965 cr.

The Defence Acquisition Council, cancelled a tender for procurement of naval guns from the U.S. and added the quantity to an existing upgraded Super Rapid Gun Mount (SRGM) being manufactured by Bharat Heavy Electricals Ltd. (BHEL). The council accorded Acceptance of Necessity (AoN) for capital acquisition and modernization proposals estimated at ₹7,965 crore.

About DAC (Defence Acquisition Council)–

  • The Defence Acquisition Council (DAC) is the highest decision-making body in the Defence Ministry for deciding on new policies and capital acquisitions for the three services (Army, Navy and Air Force) and the Indian Coast Guard.
  • The Minister of Defence is the Chairman of the Council.
  • It was formed, after the Group of Ministers recommendations on ‘Reforming the National Security System’, in 2001, post Kargil War (1999).

Society

Centre to scrap caste-based payments for MGNREGA

The Centre has decided to scrap the system of caste-based wage payments in the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MGNREGA) scheme after complaints from State Governments.

In an order dated November 1, the Finance Ministry directed the Ministry of Rural Development (MoRD) to “revert to the previous system of generating single muster, single FTO [or Fund Transfer Order] and transferring money into a single NeFMS [or National Electronic Fund Management System] account”.

A revised accounting procedure will now be implemented to allow expenditure to be captured under three Minor Heads for Scheduled Castes and Tribes and others, through a single FTO.

About MGNREGA

  • It guarantees 100 days of work a year to every rural household with an aim to enhance the livelihood security of people.
  • The National Rural Employment Guarantee Act, 2005 introduced the scheme. In 2010, NREGA renamed as MGNREGA
  • The Act currently covers all districts except for those that have a 100% urban population.
  • The Ministry of Rural Development (MRD) in association with the state governments monitors the implementation of the scheme.

Key Features of the MGNREGA

  • Demand-driven scheme: Worker will get the work whenever he demands and not when the Government has work available.
  • Employment Allowance: Gram Panchayat has the mandate to provide employment within 15 days of a work application. If it fails, the worker will get an unemployment allowance.
  • Timely Payment: Payment of wages within 15 days of completion of work. In case of failure, the worker will get a delay compensation of 0.05% per day of wages earned.
  • Women empowerment: Minimum one-third of the workers should be women
  • Minimum wages: Wage payment should be according to the Minimum Wages Act 1948 for agricultural laborers in the State.
  • Gram Sabhas conduct Social audits to enable the community to monitor the implementation of the scheme.
  • Both the Center and the States share the funding of the scheme.

Economy

RBI panel on ARCs proposes norms for valuers, reserve price

To streamline the functioning of asset reconstruction companies (ARCs), a Reserve Bank panel has come out with a host of suggestions including the creation of an online platform for the sale of stressed assets and allowing ARCs to act as resolution applicants during the IBC process.

The committee, headed by former RBI Executive Director Sudarshan Sen, suggested that the scope of Section 5 of the SARFAESI Act be expanded to permit ARCs to acquire financial assets from all regulated entities, including AIFs, FPIs, AMCs making investment on behalf of MFs and all NBFCs including HFCs.

SARFAESI Act

  • Securitisation and Reconstruction of Financial Assets and Enforcement of Security Interest (Sarfaesi) Act of 2002
  • Banks utilize Sarfaesi Act as an effective tool for bad loans (Non Performing Asset) recovery.
  • The Sarfaesi Act is effective only against secured loans where banks can enforce the underlying security.

Following are the main objectives of the Sarfaesi Act.

  • Provides the legal framework for securitization activities in India.
  • It gives the procedures for the transfer of NPAs to asset reconstruction companies for the reconstruction of the assets.
  • Enforces the security interest without Court’s intervention.
  • Gives powers to banks and financial institutions to take over the immovable property that is pledged to enforce the recovery of debt.

Editorials of the Day

Editorial 1 – Trade and climate, the pivot for India-U.S. ties –  #GS-2

Context – The two areas trade and climate are interrelated and will lend additional strength to the foundation of a true partnership

Defence Agreement Between India And Usa

  • Logistics Exchange Memorandum of Agreement (LEMOA),
  • Communications, Compatibility and Security Agreement (COMCASA), and
  • Industrial Security Agreement (ISA) 

Trade Disputes between India and USA

  • Generalised System of Preferences (GSP) Programme: Effective from June 2019, the USA decided to withdraw duty-free benefits to Indian exporters under the GSP programme.
  • Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act (CAATSA) – S-400 Air Defense Systems – US law called CAATSA deters countries from buying Russian weapon systems..
  • “Forced” Localization: The United States continues to press India on its “forced” localization practices.
  • Agriculture: Sanitary and phytosanitary (SPS) barriers in India limit USA agricultural exports.

Some encouraging signs

The U.S. Special Presidential Envoy for Climate, John Kerry, has visited India twice already, and India and the U.S. are collaborating under the Climate and Clean Energy Agenda Partnership.In parallel, there are hopeful signs that they are now prioritising the bilateral trade relationship by rechartering the Trade Policy Forum. Both countries are also taking leading roles, articulating their climate concerns and commitments.

Some recent issues

  • Negative emission concept for developed countries suggested by PM Modi at COP 26 at Glasgow.
  • Protectionist tendencies infect the politics of both countries these days, and, with a contentious U.S. midterm election a year away, the political window for achieving problem-solving outcomes and setting a vision on trade for the future is closing fast.

What author says –

The two countries could also chart a path that allows trade to flow for transitional energy sources, such as fuel ethanol. India currently bans imports of fuel ethanol even as it seeks to ramp up its own ethanol blend mandates and build a domestic sector that can join the U.S. and Brazil in exporting to the world. Left unaddressed, this will be another missed opportunity for the two economies to work to mutual benefit.

Shared strategic interests will be undermined if India and the U.S. cannot jointly map coordinated policies on climate and trade.

Editorial 2 – Brands must stick to their stand

According to the author advertisement strategies of the brands is only focused to sell their products not to influence the society. He also added that if advertisements are not liked by some people, they can ignore the ads.

To stop ads from influencing people, people react in two ways.

  1. The first is by launching a coordinated campaign. Those participating in such a campaign argue that if brands can launch a coordinated campaign for a product, why can’t people do the same by using the power of social media? Of course they can. This is entirely legitimate. To put across a counterview to what the ads propagate is to show a civil disagreement with the ads. If there is a concerted backlash to an ad and if it occurs without threats or coercion, the brands could engage in a conversation with such people by putting forward their counterpoints.
  2. The second is through a coordinated boycott campaign. This too is legitimate but is an uncivil disagreement. Brands do not have a world view — brands rarely have world views except some such as Patagonia; only people do. Brands only have a sales view and invest money in ads accordingly. And brands advertise positive narratives — they do not ask anyone to boycott, hate, or hurt someone.

Author suggested that Brands should stand by their ideas and creativity. They must decide what is the best way to tell the story of the brand as long as they are not miscommunicating with consumers or misleading them.

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