Government Policies and interventions for development in Various Sectors and issues arising out of their design and Implementation
- Covid 19 Recovery, Women and Resilience
- Withdrawal of General Consent to CBI
- Basic Exchange and Cooperation Agreement (BECA)
Important Institutions and agencies
- UN Treaty of Banning Nuclear Weapons to enter into force.
Science and Technology
1) Covid 19 Recovery, Women and Resilience:
Why in news?
India’s fight against COVID-19 is at a critical juncture. Against the backdrop of recent economic reforms by the government, and significant stimulus packages, recovery measures are poised to lift millions from this unprecedented economic and health crisis and tackle widening inequalities.
The recovery is offering India two golden opportunities:
- To build climate resilience for the most vulnerable by ensuring that stimulus measures are green; and
- Two, to meaningfully address long-standing gender equality issues.
Effect of COVID-19
- The pandemic has exacted a heavy toll.
- Fragile health systems and frontline health workers are overburdened and lives and livelihoods impacted.
- The poor, Adivasis, migrants, informal workers, sexual minorities, people with disabilities and women all face a greater brunt than most.
- Beyond this, the causes and effects of climate change — stressed agriculture, food insecurity, and unplanned urban growth, thinning forest covers, rising temperatures and shrinking water resources — have also hit vulnerable groups disproportionately.
Impact on Women-Vulnerable group
- Women in particular have their work cut out for them.
- Greater demands of unpaid care work during the pandemic and rising rates of reported violence are a stark reminder of the work that remains to be done.
- According to the India Voluntary National Review 2020, female labour force participation rate for the 15-59 age group is showing a declining trend and stands at 25.3%.
- This is one of the lowest rates in the world.
- Meanwhile, the International Monetary Fund estimates that equal participation of women in the workforce will increase India’s GDP by 27%.
Investment by Government of India on COVID-19
- The Indian government has invested nearly $22.5 billion in COVID-19 recovery.
- Strengthening social protection using targeted and appropriate fiscal and policy measures is a good start.
- Aligning these recovery packages with India’s commitments on climate change by investing in green jobs will improve lives and make our planet healthier.
- These green investments ought to be reflected across agriculture, urban planning, energy and the health sectors and in climate-resilient civil works, including under MGNREGA.
- Women, particularly those from indigenous and marginalised communities, play a significant yet unsung role in various sectors.
- Comprising more than 50% of the agricultural labour force and nearly 14% of all entrepreneurs, women’s relationship with the environment and the informal economy can be a useful lever of action to transform the lives and livelihoods of their families and communities.
Equipping women with skills
- Disha, a UNDP initiative supported by the IKEA Foundation, has reached one million women and girls with skills and livelihood opportunities.
- This initiative has shown the benefits of investing in local jobs for women and vulnerable communities. These investments energise local economies, reduce carbon emissions, enhance climate resilience and disrupt social norms and behaviours that restrict women’s participation in the workforce.
- Another example comes from an initiative by the Self-Employed Women’s Association and the Electronics Sector Skills Council of India, and supported by the UN Environment Programme.
- By training young rural women to develop a cadre of 15,000 solar technicians for the maintenance of solar pumps in remote locations, the initiative will not only introduce clean energy options but also reduce production costs.
- Accelerating the transition to renewable energy will lower carbon footprints and can help provide sustainable livelihoods to poor women
The Asian Development Bank projects that India’s GDP growth rate will rebound to 8% in 2021-22. Putting women at the heart of this recovery will make it faster, just and inclusive.
2) Withdrawl of General Consent to CBI:
Why in news?
- Recently the Maharsthra government withdrew its general consent to the Central Bureau of Investigation to probe cases in the state.
- CB is I governed by the Delhi Special Police Establishment Act, 1946 that makes consent of a state government mandatory Conducting investigation in the state
Two types of consent
- Case Specific and
- General consent
- CBI has jurisdiction only over Central Government departments and employees it can investigate a case involving State Government employees or a violent crime in the given state only after that the state government give its consent
- It is normally given to help the CBI, Seamlesly conduct its investigation into cases of corruption against Central Government employees in the concerned state almost all the states have given such consent
What does General consent withdrawal mean?
- It means the CBI will not be able to register any fresh case involving a central government official or a private person person stationed in the state without getting their specific consent
- The CBI owes its origin to the Delhi Special Police Establishment, established in 1941, to enquire into cases of corruption in the procurement during the Second World War.
- Later, based on the recommendations of the Santhanam Committee on Prevention of Corruption, CBI was established by a resolution of the Ministry of Home Affairs.
- Later, it was transferred to the Ministry of Personnel, Pension and Public Grievances. The CBI is not a statutory body.
- It derives its powers from the Delhi Special Police Establishment Act, 1946.
- It works under the overall superintendence of Central Vigilance Commission in matters related to the Prevention of Corruption Act, 1988.
Composition of CBI
- The CBI is headed by a Director.
- He is assisted by a Special Director or an Additional Director. Additionally, it has a number of joint directors, deputy inspector general’s, superintendents of police and all other usual ranks of police personnel.
- The Director of CBI has been provided security of two-year tenure in office by the CVC Act, 2003 (Vineet Narain Case).
- The CVC Act also provides the mechanism for the selection of the Director of CBI and other officers of the rank of SP and above in the CBI.
- The Director of the CBI is appointed by the Central Government on the recommendation of a committee consisting of the Central Vigilance Commissioner as Chairperson, the Vigilance Commissioners, the Secretary to the Government of India in-charge of the Ministry of Home Affairs and the Secretary (Coordination and Public Grievances) in the Cabinet Secretariat.
In 2014, Lokpal act provided a committee for appointment of CBI director
- Committee headed by Prime Minister
- Leader of Opposition
- Chief Justice Of India/ a Supreme Court Judge
Functions of CBI
- Investigating cases of corruption, bribery and misconduct of Central government employees
- Investigating cases relating to infringement of fiscal and economic laws, that is, breach of laws concerning export and import control, customs and central excise, income tax, foreign exchange regulations and so on.
- Investigating serious crimes, having national and international ramifications, committed by organized gangs of professional criminals.
- Taking up, on the request of a state government, any case of public importance for investigation.
- It is also the nodal agency in India which coordinates investigation on behalf of Interpol Member Countries
3) Basic Exchange and Cooperation Agreement (BECA):
Why in news?
- India and the US signed the landmark defence pact, BECA that will allow sharing of high-end military technology between the two countries.
- Basic Exchange and Cooperation agreement signed on Tuesday between India and US rounds off the four foundation documents needed to take defence relations forward.
What is BECA?
- The Basic Exchange and Cooperation Agreement (BECA) will give India expertise on geospatial intelligence, which simply put means it will help give more accuracy to forces when using weapons like cruise, ballistic missiles and drones.
- It will make mission planning easier for the Indian forces, as they will be provided with geographical co-ordinates and feeds in real-time data. Chances of missing a target are reduced considerably.
- As India is buying drones from the US, the real-time data fed into the system could be used for devastating attacks on enemy targets.
- India and US have already signed an intelligence-sharing pact, called the General Security of Military Information Agreement in 2002.Logistics Exchange Memorandum of Agreement in 2016, Communications Compatibility and Security Agreement (COMCASA) 2018 and BECA 2020.
- Taken together, these will enhance Indian capabilities and help make India a formidable force in the Indian Ocean, where the Chinese have for several years been sending ships and submarines. India can now keep a close watch on the movement of ships and submarines in the Indian Ocean, meaning keep an eye on the PLA Navy across the Indian Ocean Region. (IOR)
- The India-US military cooperation is now a reality and could push Russia off India’s radar. Indian and Russian equipment would soon lose compatibility as Indian systems would in the next few years acquire more and more US equipment.
- India foreign and security policy has taken a new pro-US turn.
- Taken together, these will enhance Indian capabilities and help make India a formidable force in the Indian Ocean, where the Chinese have for several years been sending ships and submarines.
- India can now keep a close watch on the movement of ships and submarines in the Indian Ocean, meaning keep an eye on the PLA Navy across the Indian Ocean Region. (IOR)
4) SOFIA Discovers Water on Sunlit Surface of Moon:
Why in news?
- NASA’s Stratospheric Observatory for Infrared Astronomy (SOFIA) has confirmed the presence of water on the sunlit surface of the Moon.
- This indicates that water is not only limited to cold shadowed place but could be distributed across the lunar surface.
SOFIA has detected water molecules (H2O) in Clavius Crater.
Earlier observations of the Moon’s surface detected some form of hydrogen, however, they were unable to distinguish between water and its close chemical relative called hydroxyl (OH).
- SOFIA is a modified Boeing 747SP aircraft.
- It allows astronomers to study the solar system and beyond.
- The study by SOFIA is different from what is studied by the ground-based telescopes.
- SOFIA has thus offer new means of looking at the Moon.
- SOFIA Flies at an altitudes of 45,000 feet.
- It is also known as Boeing 747SP jetliner having a 106-inch diameter telescope.
- It reaches above 99% of the water vapor in Earth’s atmosphere in order to get a clear view of the infrared universe.
- The jetliner uses Faint Object infrared Camera for the SOFIA Telescope (FORCAST) by which SOFIA picked up the specific wavelength of 6.1 microns.
- It is one among the largest craters that is visible from Earth.
- It is located in the Moon’s southern hemisphere.
- The crater has been named for the Jesuit priest Christopher Clavius who is a 16th-century German mathematician and astronomer.
5) UN Treaty of Banning Nuclear Weapons:
Why in news?
- The United Nations have announced that 50 countries have ratified an international Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (TPNW) to ban nuclear weapons.
- The historic text would enter into force in January 2021.
- Honduras has became the 50th country to ratify the treaty.
- The countries like Russia, United States, Britain, France and China who are the major nuclear powers, however opposed the treaty.
- NATO allies of the United States also opposed the treaty.
- Netherlands was the only NATO country that voted in favour of the treaty.
- India abstained itself from voting for the treaty.
- India states that it recognises only the Geneva based Conference on Disarmament as the powerful multilateral disarmament forum for negotiation.
Why is the opposition to the treaty?
- The major nuclear power say that the treaty does not have any provision on disarmament and verification.
- These countries claim that the new treaty is dangerous for the old Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT).
Treaty on Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (TPNW)
- This is the first multilateral treaty that is binding on instrument of nuclear disarmament.
- It strictly urges the countries to prohibit the use of nuclear weapons and condemns the use of nuclear weapon as well. The earlier treaties including the Non-Proliferation Treaty imposes partial prohibitions only.
Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons
The treaty is commonly known as Non-Proliferation Treaty or NPT. It is an international treaty that seeks to prevent the spread of nuclear weapons and weapons technology. The treaty promote cooperation in the peaceful uses of nuclear energy. This treaty was negotiated by the 18 Nation Committee on Disarmament which is a United Nations-sponsored organization in Geneva, Switzerland. The treaty entered into force in 1970.