Sarat Chandra IAS Academy

UPSC Civils Daily Current Affairs 12th June-2021

Topics

  • World Bank
  • Atlantic Treaty
  • Hindu Kush Himalayan Mountains | UNDP
  • Breach of privilege motion
  • India Plastic challenge
  • Dehing Patkai National Park: ASSAM

 

 

  1. World Bank

Context: Recently, the World Bank has released its June 2021 Global Economic Prospects report.

Key Details:

  • The world economy is expected to expand at 5.6%, the fastest post-recession growth rate in eighty years.
  • However, global output will still be 2% below pre-pandemic projections by year-end.

  • For India:
  • It slashed its 2021-22 GDP growth forecast for the Indian economy to 8.3 per cent from 10.1 per cent estimated in April, saying economic recovery is being hampered by the devastating second wave of coronavirus infections.
  • It projected a 7.5 per cent economic growth in the 2022-23 fiscal (April 2022 to March 2023).
  • As per the report, enormous second COVID-19 wave in India is undermining the sharper-than-expected rebound in activity seen during the second half of fiscal year 2020-21, especially in services.
  • For FY 2020-21: The projected growth compares to the worst ever contraction of 7.3% in FY 2020-21 and 4% expansion in 2019-20.
  • For FY 2022-23: Growth is expected to slow to 7.5% as a result of the pandemic’s lingering effects on the financial position of households, companies and banks and possibly low levels of consumer confidence and heightened uncertainty around job and incomes.

Steps Taken by India to address the slowdown:

  • According to the report, in India, the FY 2021/22 budget marked a significant policy shift. Fiscal policy shifted in the FY 2021/22 budget toward higher expenditure targeted at healthcare and infrastructure to boost the post-pandemic recovery.
  • The government announced that the health-related spending would more than double and set out a revised medium-term fiscal path intended to address the economic legacy of the pandemic.
  • The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) announced measures to provide liquidity to Micro, Small and Medium firms (MSMEs), and loosened regulatory requirements on the provisioning for non-performing assets.

Suggestions:

  • Globally coordinated efforts are essential to accelerate vaccine distribution and debt relief, particularly for low-income countries.
  • As the health crisis eases, policymakers will need to address the pandemic’s lasting effects.
  • Activity will benefit from policy support, including higher spending on infrastructure, rural development, and health, and a stronger-than expected recovery in services and manufacturing.
  • For low-income countries, policies focusing on scaling up social safety net programs, improving logistics and climate resilience of local food supply would be more helpful.
  • They need to take steps to stimulate green, resilient, and inclusive growth.

Major Reports by the World Bank:

  • Ease of Doing Business.
  • Human Capital Index.
  • World Development Report.
  • Migration and Development Brief.
  • Global Economic Prospects

 

 

  1. Atlantic Treaty

Context: United States President Joe Biden and British Prime Minister Boris Johnson recently inspected documents related to the Atlantic Charter.

  • The two leaders plan to sign what they’re calling a new Atlantic Charter, pledging to “defend the principles, values, and institutions of democracy and open societies.”

What is Atlantic Charter?

  • The Atlantic Charter was a joint declaration issued during World War II (1939-45) by the United States and Great Britain that set out a vision for the postwar world.
  • It was signed by British Prime Minister Winston Churchill and U.S. President Franklin D. Roosevelt in August 1941.
  • First announced on August 14, 1941, a group of 26 Allied nations eventually pledged their support by January 1942.
  • Among its major points were a nation’s right to choose its own government, the easing of trade restrictions and a plea for postwar disarmament.

What Was Included In The Atlantic Charter?

  • The Atlantic Charter included eight common principles.

This includes:

  • The United States and Britain agreed not to seek territorial gains from the war, and they opposed any territorial changes made against the wishes of the people concerned.
  • To support the restoration of self-government to those nations who had lost it during the war.
  • People should have the right to choose their own form of government.
  • Access for all nations to raw materials needed for economic prosperity and an easing of trade restrictions.
  • The document also called for international cooperation to secure improved living and working conditions for all.
  • Freedom of the seas
  • The participants would work for a world free of want and fear.
  • Abandonment the use of force by all nations.

Significance of the Atlantic charter:

  • The document is considered one of the first key steps toward the establishment of the United Nations in 1945. It was subsequently incorporated as a reference in the Declaration of the United Nations.
  • The charter inspired several other international agreements and events that followed the end of the war. The dismantling of the British Empire, the formation of NATO, and the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT) all derived from the Atlantic Charter.

New Atlantic Charter and its Goals:

In 2021, a document titled the “New Atlantic Charter” was signed by U.S. President Joe Biden and U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson in their first meeting at G7 Summit, 2021.

New Charter issues eight goals:

  • Defend the principles, values and institutions of democracy and open societies.
  • To strengthen the institutions, laws and norms that sustain international cooperation to adapt them to meet the new challenges of the 21st century.
  • To remain united behind the principles of sovereignty, territorial integrity, and the peaceful resolution of disputes.
  • Harness and protect our innovative edge in science and technology.
  • To affirm our shared responsibility for maintaining collective security, international stability and resilience against the full scale of modern threats including cyber threats.
  • Continue building an inclusive, fair, climate-friendly, sustainable, rules-based global economy for the 21st century.
  • To prioritise climate change in all international action.
  • To recognize the catastrophic impact of health crises and the global good in strengthening collective defences against health threats.

 

  1. Hindu Kush Himalayan Mountains | UNDP

Context: According to United Nations Development Programme(UNDP), the Hindu Kush Himalayan (HKH) mountain ranges could lose up to two-third of its ice by 2100.

Key Findings of UN backed research:

  • Up to two billion people in southeast Asia can face food and water shortages even as the HKH mountain ranges lose up to two-thirds of its ice by 2100.
  • According to ICIMOD’s (International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development) 2019 assessment, even if global warming is kept to 1.5 degrees Celsius above the pre-industrialisation levels, warming in the HKH region is likely be at least 0.3 degrees C higher, and in the northwest Himalaya and Karakoram at least 0.7 degrees C higher.
  • The ice thickness of glaciers had estimated that glaciers in the HKH may contain 27 per cent less ice than previously suggested.
  • Glacier melting in HKH region is caused by:
  • Larger anthropogenic modifications of the atmosphere
  • Disruption in weather patterns and precipitation due to global warming
  • Changes in Glacier volume
  • Unplanned urbanization
  • The HKH region lies downwind from some of the most heavily polluted places on Earth. This threatens agriculture, climate as well as monsoon patterns.
  • In the best-case scenarios, High Mountain Asia (the Asian mountain ranges surrounding the Tibetan Plateau) will lose a substantial part of its cryosphere in the next decades and thus a substantial part of its water storage abilities. This will lead to increased water stress in high mountain areas.

(A cryosphere comprises portions of Earth’s surface where water is in solid form, including sea ice, lake ice, river ice, snow cover, glaciers, ice caps, ice sheets, etc).

Recommendations:

  • It is recommended to shift away from fossil fuel use in energy, transport, and other sectors, while changing diets and agricultural practices to move to net-zero emissions of greenhouse gases.
  • The countries in the region need to reduce emissions of black carbon and other air pollutants.
  • Countries in the region should step up their efforts to adapt to the changing calendar of droughts, floods and unpredictable monsoon seasons
  • There should be an increased regional cooperation to address fast-disappearing glaciers.

The report suggested policies and actions to address the needs of key stakeholders affected by water stress, which include:

  • Farmers will need support to design and invest in locally-appropriate water storage solutions, or to shift to agricultural practices that consume less water.
  • Designs of new hydropower plants and grids will need to take into account the changing climate and water availability.
  • Data and information, capacity-building and early warning systems and infrastructure design will need to do be improved. This calls for sufficient funding and large-scale coordination.

About HKH Region:

  • It is often referred to as the ‘Third Pole’, on earth, is spread over 3,500 square kms across eight countries including India, Nepal and China.
  • It contains the world’s third-largest storage of frozen water after Antarctica and the Arctic.
  • Over 240 million people live in the region’s mountains. 1.7 billion live in the river basins downstream, while food grown in these basins reaches three billion people.
  • The glaciers feed at least 10 major river systems, which have bearings on agricultural activities, drinking water and hydroelectricity production in the region.

 

  1. Breach of privilege motion:

Context: The Parliament members from Kerala representing the Left parties have served a notice to move a breach of privilege motion against Lakshadweep administrator Praful Khoda Patel for deliberately denying permission to a delegation of MPs to visit the island.

Key Details:

  • The MP’s has said that the Right of a parliamentarian to move freely and meet with the people is integral to the privilege of their position itself.
  • The district administration has responded saying that the MP’s was not allowed to visit as per the Covid protocols in place.
  • The Left MPs had decided to visit the island for a fact check regarding covid mismanagement and new arbitrary rules by the administration.

What are Parliamentary Privileges?

  • Parliamentary privileges are special rights, immunities and exemptions enjoyed by the two Houses of Parliament, their committees and their members, so that they can “effectively discharge their functions”.
  • The Constitution also extends the parliamentary privileges to those persons who are entitled to speak and take part in the proceedings of a House of Parliament or any of its committees. These include the Attorney General of India and Union ministers.
  • The parliamentary privileges do not extend to the President who is also an integral part of the Parliament. Article 361 of the Constitution provides for privileges for the President.
  • Article 105 of the Constitution expressly mentions two privileges, that is, freedom of speech in Parliament and right of publication of its proceedings.
  • Apart from the privileges as specified in the Constitution, the Code of Civil Procedure, 1908, provides for freedom from arrest and detention of members under civil process during the continuance of the meeting of the House or of a committee thereof and forty days before its commencement and forty days after its conclusion.

Are these parliamentary privileges defined under law?

  • According to the Constitution, the powers, privileges and immunities of Parliament and MP’s are to be defined by Parliament.
  • No law has so far been enacted in this respect. In the absence of any such law, it continues to be governed by British Parliamentary conventions

Privilege Committee:

  • It is a Standing Committee. It examines the cases of breach of the privileges of the House and its members and recommends appropriate action.
  • The Lok Sabha committee has 15 members, while the Rajya Sabha committee has 10 members.

What is breach of privilege?

  • A breach of privilege is a violation of any of the privileges of MPs/Parliament. Among other things, any action ‘casting reflections’ on MPs, parliament or its committees; could be considered breach of privilege.
  • This may include publishing of news items, editorials or statements made in newspaper/magazine/TV interviews or in public speeches.

 

Privilege Motion

  • It is concerned with the breach of parliamentary privileges by a minister.

Motion against breaches:

  • When any of these rights and immunities are disregarded, the offence is called a breach of privilege and is punishable under law of Parliament.
  • A notice is moved in the form of a motion by any member of either House against those being held guilty of breach of privilege.

Role of the Speaker/Rajya Sabha (RS) Chairperson:

  • The Speaker/RS chairperson is the first level of scrutiny of a privilege motion.
  • The Speaker/Chair can decide on the privilege motion himself or herself or refer it to the privileges committee of Parliament.
  • If the Speaker/Chair gives consent under relevant rules, the member concerned is given an opportunity to make a short statement.

Rules governing Privilege:

  • Rule No 222 in Chapter 20 of the Lok Sabha Rule Book and correspondingly Rule 187 in Chapter 16 of the Rajya Sabha rulebook governs privilege.
  • Rules say that a member may, with the consent of the Speaker or the Chairperson, raise a question involving a breach of privilege either of a member or of the House or a committee thereof.

What is the punishment in case of breach of privilege or contempt of the House?

  • The house can ensure attendance of the offending person.
  • The person can be given a warning and let go or be sent to prison as the case may be.

 

 

  1. India Plastic challenge

Context: Union Environment minster announces Plastic India Hackathon to develop innovative alternatives to single use plastics.

Key Details:

  • It is unique competition calling upon start-ups /entrepreneurs and students of Higher Education Institutions (HEIs) to develop innovative solutions to mitigate plastic pollution and develop alternatives to single use plastics.
  • According to the United Nations, much of the plastics produced today are designed to be thrown away after first use.
  • Minister also announced a Pan-India Essay Writing competition for school students across India to spread awareness about plastic pollution.
  • Along with Hackathon, an Awareness campaign on SUP was also launched.
  • It will be a two-month long campaign with a series of events on reducing plastic waste generation, recognising the need of effective plastic waste management, increasing the awareness of suitable alternatives, sustainable consumption and production and extended producer responsibility (EPR).
  • The campaign is being organised by the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI), United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and GIZ (Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit), a German organisation working jointly with partners in India for sustainable economic, ecological, and social development.
  • The Hackathon and awareness campaign will focus on plastic waste management and elimination of identified SUP items and aims to bring behavioural change in people.

Single Use Plastic (SUP):

  • Single use plastics or disposable plastics are used only once before they are thrown away or recycled. These items are things like plastic bags, straws, coffee stirrers, soda and water bottles and most food packaging).

Problems associated with SUP:

  • According to World Wildlife Fund(WWF), SUP’s slowly and gradually break down into smaller pieces of plastic known as microplastics which take thousands of years to decompose, thus contaminating soil and water in the process.
  • Littered plastic waste has adverse impact on both terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems.

Steps taken by India to address Plastic pollution:

  • The Environment ministry had first notified Plastic Waste Management rules,2016 with new provisions for effective and improved collection, segregation, processing, treatment and disposal of plastic waste.
  • India has already banned the import of plastic waste in India.
  • Many states/UTs have also banned identified single use plastic items.
  • Environment Ministry has issued a draft notification in March 2021 for amending the Plastic Waste Management Rules, 2016, with respect to prohibiting identified 12 single use plastic items such as disposable plastic cutlery etc in three stages:
  • Increasing the thickness of carry bags made of virgin plastic from 50 microns to 120 microns from 30 September 2021.
  • Ban on manufacture, import, distribution, sale and use of SUP from January 1,2022.
  • Ban on SUP items from July 1, 2022, increases which includes plates, cups, plastic/PVC banners less than 100 microns.

 

  1. Dehing Patkai National Park: ASSAM

Context: Recently, the Assam government notified Dehing Patkai as the 7th National Park of the state.

Key Details:

  • It was created shortly after Raimona reserve forest in western Assam’s Kokrajhar district was upgraded to a national park (6th) on the occasion of World Environment Day (5th June).
  • Assam now has the third most National Parks after the 12 in Madhya Pradesh and nine in the Andaman and Nicobar Islands.
  • The five older National Parks in the State: Kaziranga, Manas, Nameri, Orang and Dibru-Saikhowa.
  • Kaziranga and Manas are UNESCO World Heritage Sites.
  • They are also tiger reserves along with Nameri and Orang.

About Dehing Patkai National Park:

  • The 111.942-sqkm Dehing Patkai wildlife sanctuary (notified in 2004) is located inside the larger Dehing Patkai Elephant Reserve, which spreads across Dibrugarh, Tinsukia and Sivasagar districts of Upper Assam — rich in coal and oil
  • It is believed to be the last remaining contiguous patch of lowland rainforest area also known as the Jeypore Rainforest in Assam.
  • The oldest refinery of Asia in Digboi and ‘open cast’ coal mining at Lido are located near the sanctuary.
  • Dehing is the name of the river that flows through this forest and Patkai is the hill at the foot of which the sanctuary lies.
  • Rare fauna found in the region include Chinese pangolin, flying fox, wild pig, sambar, barking deer, gaur, serow and Malayan giant squirrels.
  • It is the only sanctuary in India which is home to seven different species of wild cats – tiger, leopard, clouded leopard, leopard cat, golden cat, jungle cat and marbled cat.
  • Known for its elephant population, Dehing Patkai has 47 mammal species, 47 reptile species and 310 butterfly species.
  • The area is especially a draw for ornithologists since it is said to have the highest concentration of the rare endangered White Winged Wood Duck.
  • Assamese macaque, a primate found in the forest, is in the red list of Near Threatened species.

Raimona National Park:

  • The Raimona national park is surrounded by the Phipsoo Wildlife Sanctuary in Bhutan to its north, the Buxa Tiger Reserve in West Bengal to its west and the Manas National Park to its east.
  • It is bounded on the west by the Sonkosh river and the Saralbhanga river on the east. Both the rivers are tributaries of Brahmaputra.
  • The Pekua river defines Raimona’s southern boundary.
  • The Raimona National Park is within the Bodoland Territorial Region.

Flora and Fauna:

  • With eleven different forest types and subtypes, the area is home to the golden langurs, elephants, tiger, clouded leopard, several species of orchids and has more than 150 species of butterflies, 170 species of birds besides 380 species of plants.
  • It is famous for Golden Langur, an endemic species which has been named as the mascot of Bodoland region.
  • It also has Asian elephant, Royal Bengal tiger, Clouded leopard, Indian gaur, Wild water buffalo, Spotted deer, Hornbill, more than 150 species of butterflies, 170 species of birds, 380 varieties of plants and orchids.

(Note: Last year in April, Dehing Patkai was in focus after a series of virtual protests highlighted rampant illegal coal mining in the area. The immediate trigger was the National Board of Wildlife’s (NBWL) conditional clearance to a coal mining project by Coal India Limited (CIL) in the Dehing Patkai Elephant Reserve (of which the wildlife sanctuary is a part). It led to North Eastern Coalfields (NEC), the CIL subsidiary, temporarily suspending all mining operations in the region).

 

 

 

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