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DAILY NEWS ANALYSIS

Monthly DNA

07 Dec, 2022

27 Min Read

Women’s Representation in the Courts

GS-II : Governance Judicial reforms

Women’s Representation in the Courts

It was only the third time in the Supreme Court's history that a bench comprised entirely of female justices heard cases.

More on the news:

  • Apex Court's all-woman bench: Chief Justice of India D Y Chandrachud has appointed Justices Hima Kohli and Bela M Trivedi to the bench.
  • The Supreme Court had an all-woman bench for the first time in 2013, and the second time in 2018.
  • Women in the Supreme Court: Justice M Fatima Beevi was appointed as the Supreme Court's first woman judge in 1989, following her retirement as a judge of the Kerala High Court.
  • Since its inception, India has had only 11 female Supreme Court judges, with no female Chief Justice.
  • There are currently only three female judges on the Supreme Court: Justices Kohli, B V Nagarathna, and Trivedi.
  • In 2027, Justice Nagarathna will become the country's first female Chief Justice.

Women's Status in Indian Judiciary

Data on representation: High Courts:

  • Women make up 11.5% of the judges in the High Courts.
  • Only 17 of the 37 female candidates recommended by the Supreme Court Collegium for appointment as high court judges have been appointed thus far, with the remaining names pending with the central government.
  • So far, Collegium has recommended 192 candidates for the high courts.
  • Women made up 37 of these or 19 percent.

Subordinate Courts:

  • Approximately 30% of subordinate court judges are female.

Advocates:

  • Only 15% of the 1.7 million advocates are women.
  • Women make up only 2% of the elected representatives on state bar councils.
  • The Bar Council of India has no female members.

Women's Participation Challenges

  • Stereotypes and a lack of infrastructure: As previously stated by former Chief Justice Ramana, a lack of infrastructure, gender stereotypes, and social attitudes have hampered women's entry and advancement in the legal profession.
  • "Clients' preference for male advocates, an uncomfortable environment within courtrooms, a lack of infrastructure, crowded courtrooms, a lack of women's washrooms, and other factors all deter women from entering the profession."
  • According to the survey, nearly 22% of the 6,000 trial courts do not have women's restrooms.

Appointment structure dominated by men:

  • Currently, many women candidates deserve to be appointed as judges, but the main issue is the Supreme Court's male-dominated collegium structure.

Hostile Courtroom Climate:

  • The hostile and sexist environment at the highest courts makes professional advancement for female litigators extremely difficult.
  • Domestic responsibilities: Many women advocates have been offered judgeships in the past, but have all declined, citing domestic responsibilities.

The Importance of Women's Participation in the Judiciary

  • Diversification is necessary because it leads to positive institutional changes, and the judiciary should be more diverse.
  • Balanced justice system: The presence of women as judges and lawyers will significantly improve the justice system.
  • Balanced and compassionate approach: Improving women's representation in the judiciary could go a long way toward a more balanced and compassionate approach in cases involving sexual violence.
  • Gender sensitization has been raised numerous times, particularly in cases where male judges failed to show empathy for female victims.
  • Legitimacy: If the judiciary is viewed as a bastion of elitism, exclusivity, and privilege, it will not be trusted.
  • As a result, the presence of women is critical to the legitimacy of the judiciary.

Suggestions and future plans:

  • More in corporate than in decision-making: While women outnumber men in law school classrooms and are increasingly entering the corporate sector, their underrepresentation in decision-making institutions is appalling.

Suggestions from former Chief Justice of India N.V. Ramana:

50% of the population:

The previous CJI also stated his support for 50% female representation in the judiciary.

Legal Education:

  • He has emphasized the importance of increasing gender diversity in legal education.
  • There should be a set number of seats reserved for female candidates in all law colleges and universities.
  • Assam, Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, Odisha, and Rajasthan have benefited from such reservations, with 40-50% of judicial officers being women.

Obtaining basic facilities:

  • He stated that the need for basic facilities, particularly for women, must be addressed immediately.

A separate entity is required:

Enhancing transparency:

  • Improving transparency in the judicial system is required.
  • This will provide more opportunities for women to demonstrate their worth and level the playing field.

Read Also: WOMEN IN INDIAN POLITICS

Source: The Indian Express

G20 Presidency of India as a Watershed Moment

GS-II : International Relations International issues

G20 Presidency of India as a Watershed Moment

  • On December 1, 2022, India will formally assume the G-20 presidency.
  • India will hold the presidency until November 30th, 2023.
  • According to the Prime Minister, India's theme is "One Earth, One Family, One Future."

More on the news:

  • Agenda: The Prime Minister described India's G-20 agenda as "inclusive, ambitious, and action-oriented."
  • Sharing India's experience: "During our G-20 presidency, we will present India's experiences, learnings, and models as possible templates for others, particularly the developing world," he added.
  • The significance of the 2023 G20 Summit, which will be held in New Delhi:
  • The G20 summit would be unlike any other multilateral summit that India has hosted in the past.

Meeting of the World's Largest Economies:

  • None of the previous summits brought together the world's largest economies, nor did they include the entire P-5 (permanent members of the UN Security Council).
  • In that regard, the G-20 summit would be the first in Indian history.
  • Depoliticization: In order to promote harmony within the human family, we will work to depoliticize the global supply of food, fertiliser, and medical products, so that geopolitical tensions do not lead to humanitarian crises.

About the G20:

  • The G20 was formed in 1999 in the aftermath of the late-90s financial crisis that ravaged East Asia and Southeast Asia in particular.
  • Its goal was to secure global financial stability through the participation of middle-income countries.
  • According to the official G20 Website, "on the advice of the G7 Finance Ministers, the G20 Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors began holding meetings to discuss the response to the global financial crisis that occurred."
  • Goals: Policy coordination among its members in order to achieve global economic stability and sustainable growth; promotion of financial regulations that reduce risks and prevent future financial crises; and creation of a new international financial system.

Members and visitors:

  • Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, France, Germany, Japan, India, Indonesia, Italy, Mexico, Russia, South Africa, Saudi Arabia, South Korea, Turkey, United Kingdom, United States, and European Union are all members.
  • Spain has been invited as a permanent guest as well.

Others:

  • Every year, the Presidency invites guest countries to participate fully in the G20 exercise. Several international and regional organisations also take part, giving the forum a more diverse representation.
  • The G20 countries collectively account for 60% of the world's population, 80% of global GDP, and 75% of global trade.

G20 and Troika Presidency:

  • The G20 presidency is rotated among members each year.
  • To ensure the continuity of the G20 agenda, the country holding the presidency, along with the previous and next presidency-holders, form the 'Troika.'

What will India bring to the world during its presidency?

  • Presenting Diversity: The G20 presidency is an opportunity to showcase India's diversity to the rest of the world.
  • Management during pandemic: Among large democracies, India has fared the best in dealing with the Covid-19 pandemic.
  • The Indian public goods delivery mechanism, on a billion-plus scale, has set a new template for the rest of the world.
  • India's economic management during the pandemic has been extraordinarily prudent, with foresight in decision-making.
  • Independent foreign policy: India's independent foreign policy, as seen in the ongoing NATO-Russia (Ukraine) conflict, has made the rest of the world sit up and take notice.
  • The assertion of its national interests differs significantly from the "glory" days of the Non-Aligned Movement.
  • Employment and the environment: The G20 can serve as a forum for exchanging experiences on societal benefits and growth as complementary goals, leading to new perspectives on employment and the environment.
  • India has its own initiatives to offer the world, such as the "LiFE Movement" and "The One Sun One World One Grid."
  • India's own success models to offer the rest of the world
  • From scaling up a seamless digital payment model based on public digital infrastructure (UPI) to the unique digital identity, and from the successful bottom quintile financial inclusion model to the seamless transition to green energy, India now has many models to showcase, particularly for the developing world.

Global challenges, opportunities, and the road ahead

There are currently five global challenges that the G20 can attempt to address:

  • The first and most pressing issue is the open conflict between Russia and Ukraine.
  • The second challenge is that food prices are rising.
  • The third issue is one of energy.
  • Russia is teaching the world that, while sanctions against it may have an impact on its economy in the future, these sanctions are failing in the short term.
  • As rising food and energy prices cause inflation, the fourth challenge is how countries are attempting to address the issue.
  • The threat of stagflation is the fifth challenge.

Opportunities:

  • Hosting the G20 Presidency would also result in economic opportunities in various sectors such as tourism, hospitality, information technology, and civil aviation, to name a few.
  • Energy, agriculture, trade, digital economy, health and environment would be significant sectors, as would employment, tourism, anti-corruption, and women empowerment, as well as focus areas that impact the most vulnerable and disadvantaged.

Source: The Economic Times

Kirit Parikh Gas Pricing Panel

GS-III : Economic Issues Energy Reforms

Kirit Parikh Gas Pricing Panel

The government recently appointed a Kirit Parikh committee to review the gas pricing formula.

The committee's major recommendations:

Maximum cost:

  • A fixed pricing band for gas from old fields, known as APM (Administrative Price Mechanism) gas, is required.
  • These fields produce two-thirds of the country's natural gas.
  • This would provide producers with a predictable pricing regime while also lowering CNG and piped cooking gas prices.
  • Prices have risen by 70% since 2021 due to rising input costs.
  • Currently, legacy or old fields are governed on a nomination basis without any requirement of profit sharing, and thus the government controls its price.

Linking the price:

  • The panel has advocated for a link between gas prices and imported oil.

If the recommendations are followed, the state-run ONGC and OIL will be forced to lower their prices from their current levels, which will help improve the margins of city gas companies such as IGL, MGL, and Gujarat Gas.

Category with no cut:

  • The allocation of APM gas will continue to prioritise city gas.
  • The sector will be in the 'no-cut' category, which means that if production falls, supplies to other consumers will be cut first.
  • Other suggestions include including gas in GST with a five-year compensation period.
  • This would be accomplished by combining the central government's excise duty and the various rates of VAT levied by state governments.
  • Gas price caps must be lifted within three years.
  • The government should gradually withdraw from the gas allocation business.
  • There will be no changes to the current pricing formula for fields with difficult geology.
  • Deepsea or high-temperature, high-pressure zones are currently governed by a different formula that includes an element of imported LNG cost and is subject to a cap.

Need of this committee:

  • The committee was tasked with proposing a fair price to the end-user while ensuring a market-oriented, transparent, and dependable pricing regime for India's long-term vision of ensuring a gas-based economy.
  • The mandate is to propose a regime that would aid in increasing domestic production in order to meet the target of 15% of energy coming from gas by 2030.

Way Forward

  • The government still uses a formula to determine the administered pricing mechanism (APM).
  • Domestic producers must have complete pricing freedom, as this is the only way to increase domestic production.
  • India must increase its share of gas consumption from 6% to 7% and protect consumers from receiving implicitly subsidised gas.
  • Lowering import prices will have an impact on domestic producers, and the government should consider giving complete pricing freedom.

Source: The Indian Express

Himalayan Yak

GS-III : Biodiversity & Environment Animals

Himalayan Yak

  • The Himalayan Yak has been approved as a 'food animal' by the Food Safety and Standard Authority of India (FSSAI).
  • The move is expected to help slow the decline of the high-altitude bovine animal's population by incorporating it into the conventional milk and meat industries.
  • Food animals are those that are raised for food production or human consumption.

About Himalayan Yak:

  • The Yak is a member of the Bovini tribe, which also includes bison, buffaloes, and cattle. It can withstand temperatures as low as -40° C.
  • They have long hair that hangs off their sides like a curtain, sometimes touching the ground, allowing them to live at high altitudes.
  • Himalayans place a high value on yaks. Tibetan Buddhism's founder, Guru Rinpoche, is said to have domesticated the first yaks.
  • They are also known as the lifeline of pastoral nomads in the Indian Himalayan region's high altitudes.
  • Yaks are traditionally raised through a primitive, unorganised, and difficult transhumance system.
  • They are endemic to the Tibetan Plateau and the surrounding high-altitude regions.
  • Yaks are most at ease above 14,000 feet. When foraging, they can reach elevations of 20,000 feet and rarely descend below 12,000 feet.
  • Arunachal Pradesh, Sikkim, Uttarakhand, Himachal Pradesh, and Jammu and Kashmir are the Indian states that raise yaks.

India's population:

  • The countrywide population trend shows that the yak population is rapidly declining. According to a 2019 census, India has approximately 58,000 yaks, a 25% decrease from the previous livestock census in 2012.
  • This sharp decline could be attributed to lower bovid remuneration, which discourages younger generations from continuing with nomadic yak rearing.
  • Yak milk and meat are primarily sold to local consumers because they are not part of the conventional dairy and meat industries.

Significance:

  • The yak serves a multifaceted socio-cultural-economic role for pastoral nomads who rear it primarily for nutritional and livelihood security due to a lack of other agricultural activity in the higher reaches of the Himalayan region where animals other than the yak struggle to survive.

Threats:

  • Climate Change: The rising temperature of the environment at high altitudes causes heat stress in yak during the warmer months of the year. This, in turn, affects the animal's physiological response rhythms.
  • Inbreeding: Because wars and conflicts have caused borders to close, yaks outside borders are thought to be suffering from inbreeding due to a lack of new yak germplasm from the original yak area.

Protection Status of Wild Yak (Bos mutus):

  • IUCN Red List Status: Vulnerable
  • IUCN considers the wild species of yak under Bos mutus, while the domestic form is considered under Bos grunniens.
  • CITES: Appendix I
  • Indian Wildlife (Protection) Act 1972:Schedule I

Read Also: Red Panda and IUCN

Source: The Hindu

Baguette in the UNESCO list

GS-I : Art and Culture Art and Culture

Baguette in the UNESCO list of intangible cultural heritage

  • Baguette, the staple French bread, was recently inscribed on the UN's list of intangible cultural heritage (ICH).
  • France nominated the baguette as a candidate for inclusion on the UNESCO ICH list in March 2021.
  • It drew attention to the country's steady decline in the number of bakeries, with approximately 20,000 closing since 1970.

What is a baguette?

  • The baguette is a long and thin loaf of bread made of flour, water, salt, and yeast that is a staple in France.
  • Some believe that August Zang, a baker and entrepreneur from Vienna, invented it in 1839 when he introduced the world to the taste of crusty bread with softer insides using a steam oven.
  • It was given its formal name in 1920.
  • Some believe that Napoleon Bonaparte, the French military leader, ordered thin sticks of bread for consumption by his soldiers because they could be carried more conveniently from one place to another.

Regarding intangible cultural heritage of UNESCO:

  • "Intangible" is defined by UNESCO as "expressions that have been passed down from generation to generation, have evolved in response to their environments, and contribute to our sense of identity and continuity."
  • Oral traditions, performing arts, social practises, rituals, festive events, knowledge and practises concerning nature and the universe, or the knowledge and skills to produce traditional crafts" are examples of intangible cultural heritage.
  • It places value on "the wealth of knowledge and skills that is transmitted through it from one generation to the next," implying that it must be preserved.
  • The General Conference of UNESCO's adoption of the Convention for the Safeguarding of the ICH in 2003 was a critical step toward preserving intangible heritage from around the world.
  • In 2008, UNESCO established the list of Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity.

The criteria for choosing:

For an intangible cultural heritage to be included on the United Nations list, it must meet three criteria:

  • The entity must "be recognised as part of their cultural heritage by communities, groups, and, in some cases, individuals, be transmitted from generation to generation, and be constantly recreated by communities and groups in response to their environment, interaction with nature, and history, and provide them with a sense of identity and continuity, thus promoting respect for cultural diversity and human creativity."

India's intangible cultural heritage has been added to the UNESCO list.

  • This year, India proposed Garba, a traditional dance form from the Indian state of Gujarat, for inclusion on UNESCO's list of Intangible Cultural Heritage.
  • Kolkata's Durga Puja (2021), Kumbh Mela (2017), Navroz (2016), Yoga (2016), traditional brass and copper craft of utensil-making among Punjab coppersmiths (2014), Sankirtana, a ritual musical performance of Manipur (2013), and Buddhist chanting of Ladakh are among the elements that have been on the representative list of intangible cultural heritage from India in the last decade (2012)
  • Prior to 2011, the list included Chhau dance, Rajasthan's Kalbelia folk songs and dance, and Mudiyettu, a dance drama from Kerala (2010), Ramman, a religious festival and theatre performance of Garhwal in the Himalayas (2009), and Kutiyattam, or Sanskrit theatre, and Vedic chanting (2008).
  • Ramlila, a traditional Ramayana performance, was also included in 2008.

Read Also: Yakshagana

Source: The Indian Express

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