Sarat Chandra IAS Academy

Current Affairs – 11th September 2023



Today’s Topics List:

  1. Efforts to reduce Disaster risks

  2. Khap Panchayats: Ban on marriages within Same Gotra & Same Village

  3. African Union

  4. The Rise in Oil Price and its impact



Efforts to reduce Disaster risks

    • The world stands at acritical juncture, the risks are being created faster than they are being reduced.
      • The aftershocks of the Covid-19 pandemic, combined with a polycrisis of war, debt and food insecurity are putting our collective ability to cope to the test.

Trends in disasters:

  • The rise in disasters is a trend and not an aberration. This year’s news alone is enough to show this. We have a relentless wave of bad news across the world.
    • From severe flooding in China to destructive wildfires in Europe and Hawaii to the hottest month ever on record in July.
    • This is set to become the new normal if more action is not taken.

Situation in India:

  • India, already among the world’s most disaster-prone countries, is experiencing this new reality acutely.
    • In 2022, the country was battered by disasters or extreme weather nearly every day, while this year’s severe monsoon has caused widespread loss of livelihood and lives.

Who is it impacting the most:

  • It is the most vulnerable countries and communities which are paying the greatest price despite having contributed least to the problem.
    • The majority of the 50 countries most vulnerable to climate change also suffer from severe debt issues.

What are the Solutions at hand:

  • The good news here is that we have solutions at hand for both adaptation and mitigation at hand.
    • The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)
    • The Paris Climate summit commitments to limit global warming to 1.50
    • The global framework for reducing disaster risks – The Sendai Framework for disaster Risk reduction.
  • Many lessons are being learned from the Covid -19 pandemic, including on the importance of systems – wide disaster risk reduction, resilience, and adaptation.
    • The crisis not only revealed our vulnerability to risk, but also forged a new way of working together, through digital innovations such as computer modelling and India’s Co WIN digital vaccine system.
  • All the 28 States have prepared their own disaster management plans in recent years.
    • Mortality from extreme weather events has fallen drastically in recent years.
    • India’s early warning system for cyclones covers the entire coastline and has helped reduce cyclone-related mortality by 90% over the last 15 years.
    • While heat wave action plans at the local level have reduced heat wave deaths by over 90%.
  • The 15th Finance Commission in India introduced significant reforms to disaster risk financing.
    • With a total allocation of $28.6 billion at the national and State levels for a period of five years
    • The Government of India has provided sufficient resources for disaster preparedness, response, recovery, and capacity development.
  • India is promoting disaster resilience and sustainability, including through the Coalition for Disaster Resilient Infrastructure, a global partnership for building resilience in infrastructure.
    • India’s National Disaster Response Force responds to domestic disasters and is also regularly deployed to disaster zones around the world.
  • Importantly, India’s ongoing G-20 presidency established the first-ever work stream on disaster risk reduction.
    • The Disaster Risk Reduction Working Group is aligned with the SDGs and reflects many of our shared priorities.

The Transformation required:

  • Disaster risk must be integrated at all levels, into how we build, how we invest, and how we live.
    • One of the most cost-effective risk-reduction methods is early warning systems for all, spearheaded by the UN, with India’s support.
    • Just a 24-hour warning of a coming storm can reduce the damage caused by 30%.
    • The recent zero death toll of Cyclone Biparjoy in Gujarat demonstrates what can be achieved through effective preparedness, response, and early warning and action systems.
  • Yet, over a third of the world’s population, mostly in least developed countries and Small Island Developing States, do not have access to such systems.
    • The ultimate goal is a global multi-risk warning system for all kinds of hazards, whether biological, tectonic, or technological.

G 20 a way forward:

            The G-20 summit and the outcomes of the Disaster Risk Reduction Working Group are an opportunity to design a future where we are equipped to withstand disaster risk. As UN Secretary-General António Guterres said, “Extreme weather events will happen. But they do not need to become deadly disasters.”




Khap Panchayats: Ban on marriages within Same Gotra & Same Village


  • Recently, in Haryana leaders of around 55 Khap panchayats and representatives of farmer unions held a panchayat at Kurukshetra demanding
    • Amendment in the Hindu Marriage Act to prohibit same gotra (clan) marriages in the state
    • Urged the youths to take a pledge against “love marriages” in same gotra and same village.

What are Khap Panchayats?

  • Khap panchayats, often simply referred to as “khap,” are informal councils or traditional village-level institutions found in some parts of India, particularly in the northern states of Haryana, Punjab, Rajasthan, and Uttar Pradesh.
    • It is an extra-constitutional institution that emerged in the 14th century north India.
    • It is not a part of the Gram Panchayat structure.
    • In 2011, the Supreme Court, termed them as ‘kangaroo courts’ and declared them as illegal.

Constitutional Provisions related to Marriage:

Under Article 21 which states that – “No person shall be deprived of his life or personal liberty except according to a procedure established by law.” Right to marry is a personal choice of the individual.

Article 44: states that State shall endeavour to provide for its citizens a uniform civil code (UCC) throughout the territory of India.

  • Judgements on the Right to marriage:
  • The Delhi High Court recently held that freedom of choice in marriage in accordance with law is an intrinsic part of Article 21 of the Constitution and “questions of faith” have no bearing on a person’s freedom to choose a life partner which is the essence of personal liberty.
  • Supreme Court in May 2023 disagreed with the contention that there is no fundamental right to marry under the Constitution and said the core elements of marriage are protected by constitutional values.
    • The CJI says, Marriage itself postulates the rights of the individuals to cohabit, it accompanies with it the notion of existence of a family unit, something which directly owes its existence to Constitutional values.
    • Marriage has procreation, which is very important ingredient, but marriage is not conditional only up procreation. “two people who come together or cohabit are entitled to exclude everyone else from that area of marriage”.

Regulations other than personal laws in India that govern a person’s right to marriage include:

  • The 2006 Child Marriage Prohibition Act
  • The 1890 Guardians and Wards Act
  • The 1875 Majority Act
  • The 1984 Family Courts Act
  • The Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act of 2005 was enacted to protect women from domestic violence.

Personal Laws on Marriage

Hindu Marriage Act, 1955:

►  In India, marriages between Hindus, Buddhists, Jains, and Sikhs are governed under the Hindu Marriage Act.

►  The legal age for marriage is 21 for men, 18 for women.


Muslims Laws:

►  They remained uncodified and unconsolidated

►  They believe marriage is a civil contract between Muslim Man & Woman

►  Under this person attain puberty are eligible to get married i.e. on attaining the age of 15 years.


Christian Marriage Law:

►  It is governed by the Indian Christian Marriage Act, 1872.

►  The legal age permitting marriage between a man and wife are being met; 21 for men, 18 for women.


Parsi Marriage Laws

►  Regulated by Parsi Marriage and Divorce Act of 1936.


Special Marriage Act, 1954

►  Regulates inter-caste and inter-religious marriages in India.

►  Also governs Indian married to foreigner




African Union


  • The African Union (AU) was admitted as a new member of the G20. This came after India floated the idea of including the organisation.

What is the African Union:

  • AU is an intergovernmental organisation of the 55 member states located on the continent of Africa.
    • It was launched on July 9, 2002.
    • It is the successor of the Organisation of African Union Commission, based in Addis Ababa.

Why was it formed:

  • The OAU, aimed to bring African nations together and resolve common issues through collective action.
    • Its focus was to help liberate the colonised countries on the continent.
    • OAU mustered diplomatic support and provided logistical aid to liberation movements across Africa.
  • It helped numerous African nations gain independence from their European colonists.
    • But it failed to boost political and economic integration among its members countries.
  • Therefore, it was decided to reform the OAU during the mid – 1990s, which immediately led to the formation of the AU.

Objectives of AU:

  • It concentrates on achieving greater unity and solidarity between African countries and their people.
  • It seeks to accelerate the process of the political and socio – economic integration of the continent.
  • It addresses the multifaceted social, economic, and political problems that the African nations have been facing.
  • Its key objectives include promoting peace, stability, and security across the region.
  • Protecting and promoting human rights are also part of the agenda.

Achievements of AU:

  • Many of AU’s peacekeeping missions have helped governments tackle terrorism across Africa, from Sahel to Northern Mozambique.
  • It prevented violence in countries like Burundi, The Central African Republic, Comoros, Darfur, Somalia, South Sudan, Sudan and Mali.
  • Its diplomatic efforts have also resulted in resolving conflicts in Africa.
  • It brokered a peace deal between the Ethiopian Government and Tigray People’s Liberation front (TPLF).
  • Economically, The African Continental Free Trade Area, which came into force in 2021, is yet another achievement of the organisation.




The Rise in Oil Price and its impact

    • News:
    • Crude oil prices, which have been firming up for the past few weeks on expectations of high demand and tightening supply, are at a nearly 10-month high.
      • Global benchmark Brent crude breached the $90-per-barrel mark for the first time in 2023 and continues to hover around that level.

What are the expectations?

  • The market participants expect the oil prices to firm up further with the possibility of brent hitting $100 a barrel. The reasons for such expectations are,
    • Possible supply deficit during the high winter demand season,
    • Indication that major oil producers could consider deeper production cuts going ahead.


Current spurt in oil prices:

  • Oil prices have been volatile for some time now, but the general direction over the past couple of months has been upward.
  • Brent has appreciated nearly 25 % since mid June to a combination of some interdependent factors. Such as,
    • Production cuts by major oil producers
  • Saudi Arabia in June announced that it would voluntarily cut its oil output by 1 million bpd starting from July. This along with OPEC + cuts totals to 3.66 million bpd, till end of 2024.
  • Russia announced additional production cuts starting.
  • Recently, in coordinated statements, Russia and Saudi announced additional production cuts voluntarily to the tune of 1.3 million bpd.
    • Signs of improved macroeconomic conditions and
    • Easing of inflation in major oil consumers like the US
    • Global oil demand touching record highs with expectations of further demand expansion.
  • The international Energy agency estimates oil demand to grow to 102.2 million bpd for 2023, the highest ever for a full year.

Future and Limits:

  • With the production cuts there could be a market deficit of more than 1.5 million bpd in the 4th Quarter of 2023. This could increase the price oil by year end.
  • IAE, however expects oil demand to contract sharply in 2024 due to
    • Expectations of a subdued macro economic environment,
    • Post pandemic recovery being largely completed
    • Increasing adoption of electric vehicles

India and Oil:

  • India depends on imports to meet around 87 % of its requirements of crude oil.
    • So, the high oil prices can cause a big headache to the economy.
    • It also negatively impacts the trade balance and are a drain on the country’s valuable foreign exchange reserves.
    • Fall in the foreign exchange reserves also has a bearing on the value of the rupee.
  • High oil prices could add to inflationary pressures and spell bad news for the fragile global economy and numerous countries that have been grappling with high inflation.
    • India’s economy, too, is sensitive to oil price volatility, given the country’s extremely high import dependency.
    • High oil prices can also potentially hit profitability of key sectors with high energy costs.
  • These implications could have a negative impact on economic growth, as high inflation and low profitability in various sectors would hit disposable incomes and discretionary spending

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