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27 August, 2019

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Paper Topics Subject
GS-III Regional Connectivity
The Last Window
18th CoP of CITES, Geneva
Single Use Plastic
A judicial overreach into matters of regulation
GS-III :
Regional Connectivity

GS-III: Regional Connectivity

Context

Very few States in India have active civil aviation departments. Currently, the penetration of the aviation market in India stands at 7%. There is potential to be among the global top three nations in terms of domestic and international passenger traffic.

The passive role of states

  • Civil aviation is a Central subject and barely got significant attention from the States.
  • States had a passive role as the Central government continued the development of airports and enhancing air connectivity.

The increasing role of states:

  • The cooperation of States is seen as a major factor in the growth of the civil aviation sector.
  • Regional Connectivity Scheme, UdeDeshkaAamNaagrik (UDAN) has a built-in mechanism to develop stakes of State governments in the growth of the sector.
  • Thirty states and Union Territories have already signed memoranda of understanding with the Central government.
  • The policies of States and Centre are now being interlinked to make flying accessible and affordable.

Air Development

  • There are many regional airports which can be developed by States on their own or in collaboration with the Airports Authority of India (AAI).
  • Different models of public-private-partnership can be leveraged to develop infrastructures.
  • Innovative models can be explored to create viable ‘no-frill airports’.
  • India had about 70 airports since Independence until recently. Under UDAN, the Union government has operationalised 24 unserved airports over the past two years; 100 more are to be developed in the next five years.

What is UDAN Scheme?

  • The scheme UDAN envisages providing connectivity to un-served and under-served airports of the country through revival of existing air-strips and airports.
  • UDAN has a unique market-based model to develop regional connectivity.
  • Interested airline and helicopter operators can start operations on hitherto un-connected routes by submitting proposals to the Implementing Agency.
  • The operators could seek a Viability Gap Funding (VGF) apart from getting various concessions.
  • All such route proposals would then be offered for competitive bidding through a reverse bidding mechanism and the route would be awarded to the participant quoting the lowest VGF per Seat.

Significance

The scheme gives India’s aviation sector a boost by giving a chance to small and first-time operators to be a part of the rapid growth in passenger traffic.

Conclusion

Considering the infrastructural constraints and difficult terrain, small aircraft operators need to be encouraged. Areas which cannot be connected meaningfully by road or rail have to be linked by air. Air connectivity would not only bring down travel time but also be a boon in emergencies. This is also true for northeast India, the islands and also the hilly States.

 

 

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GS-III :
The Last Window

GS-III: The Last Window

Context

The latest IPCC report on ‘Climate Change, Desertification, Land Degradation, Sustainable Land Management, Food Security, and Greenhouse gas fluxes in Terrestrial Ecosystems’ takes the warning further and states that the land surface air temperature has risen by nearly twice the global average temperature, at about 1.3°C.

Background

The 2018 IPCC Special Report on Global warming of 1.5°C delivered a clear message: Human activities have caused an approximately 0.87°C rise in global average temperature over pre-industrial times.

IPCC

  • This is an intergovernmental body under the UN
  • It is a scientific body
  • Formed in 1988 by WMO (World Meteorological Organisation) and UNEP
  • It produces report based on scientific developments across the world.
  • The IPCC does not carry out its own original research, nor does it do the work of monitoring climate or related phenomena itself. The IPCC bases its assessment on the published literature

The aims of the IPCC are to assess scientific information relevant to :

  • Human-induced climate change.
  • The impacts of human-induced climate change.
  • Options for adaptation and mitigation.

Impact

  • World’s land systems have a direct impact on human well-being, livelihood, food security, and water security.
  • Desertification of land under agricultural use will exacerbate the already worsening dangers of declining crop yields and crop failures. 

What is 1.5-degree C target?

  • Since 1990s, countries started discussing climate change and began negotiating an international arrangement for tackling it together.The objective has been to limit rising global average temperatures to within 2°C from pre-industrial times
  • Periodic Assessment Reports produced by IPCC, suggest that the impacts of climate change could be “irreversible” and “catastrophic” if the rise in temperature was allowed to go beyond the 2°C ceiling.
  • Small island states and the least developed nations are likely to suffer the worst consequences of climate change. These countries negotiated that the goal should be to restrict the temperature rise within 1.5°C from pre-industrial times.
  • A 1.5°C target demanded much deeper emission cuts from the big emitters, which in turn required massive deployment of financial and technological resources.
  • The Paris Agreement ‘hold’ the increase in global average temperature to “well below” 2°C. It also promised to keep “pursuing efforts” to attain the 1.5°C target.

Challenges to India

  • The dilution of environmental impact assessments (EIAs) in India seems regressive. 
  • Agriculture in India accounts for more than an estimated 86% of the country’s freshwater use. The water intensity of Indian paddy is also below global best practices. 
  • 2019 HIMAP report by ICIMOD has shown that with receding glaciers, there is a need to manage water better both in the short and in the long run to address the challenge of food security.

Conclusion

  • Industrial development and environmental protection can be planned prudently to be compatible.
  • Land sparing industrialisation, appropriate zoning and environmental safeguards are possible without the replacement of the ecological services provided by the forest ecosystem.
  • Global assessment reports have shown that consulting indigenous people is an important way of integrating local knowledge with scientific knowledge.
  • Water management is also critical. Union government has taken up the goal of “irrigation water productivity”.

 

 

 

 

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GS-III :
18th CoP of CITES, Geneva

GS-III: 18th CoP of CITES, Geneva

Context

Over a hundred nations approved a proposal by India, Nepal, and Bangladesh to prohibit commercial international trade in a species of otter native to the subcontinent and some other parts of Asia.India’s proposal to remove Rosewood (Dalbergia sissoo) from Appendix II of Convention is also under consideration.

Indian proposals

  • Members at the Conference have voted to move the smooth-coated otter (Lutrogale perspicillata) from CITES Appendix II to CITES Appendix I because it is considered to be facing a high risk of extinction.
  • It is detrimentally affected by international trade, as well as habitat loss and degradation and persecution associated with conflict with people (and fisheries).
  • The other proposal that was passed was to include the Tokay gecko (Gekko gecko) in CITES Appendix II.
  • The proposal on protecting the Tokay gecko mentioned threats from hunting and collection for use in traditional medicine.

About CITES

  • The CITES is as an international agreement aimed at ensuring “that international trade in specimens of wild animals and plants does not threaten their survival”.
  • CITES was drafted after a resolution was adopted at a meeting of the members of the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) in 1963.
  • CITES entered into force on July 1, 1975, and now has 183 parties.
  • The Convention is legally binding on the Parties in the sense that they are committed to implementing it; however, it does not take the place of national laws.
  • India is a signatory to and has also ratified CITES convention in 1976.

 

 

 

 

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GS-III :
Single Use Plastic

GS-III: Single Use Plastic

Context

In G7 session on environment highlighted India’s large scale efforts towards eliminating single use plastic.

The Problem of Plastic in India: Facts and Figures

  • India is responsible for about 60% of all the plastic dumped annually in the world’s oceans.
  • Over 42% of our plastic use is in packaging.
  • India produces 25,940 tonnes of plastic waste every day and nine million tonnes every year.

The Problem with the Practice of Banning

Lack of consultation with stakeholders such as manufacturers of plastics, eateries and citizen groups: This leads to implementation issues and inconvenience to the consumers.

Exemptions for certain products such as milk pouches and plastic packaging for food items severely weaken the impact of the ban.

No investment in finding out alternative materials to plug the plastic vacuum: Until people are able to shift to a material which is as light-weight and cheap as plastic, banning plastic will remain a mere customary practice.

Lack of widespread awareness among citizens about the magnitude of harm caused by single-use plastic: Without citizens ‘buying in’ to a cause, bans only result in creating unregulated underground markets.

No strategy to offset the massive economic impact: Sweeping bans like the one in Maharashtra are likely to cause massive loss of jobs and disruption of a large part of the economy dependent on the production and use of plastic.

What Needs to be Done?

  • Incentivise sustainable, eco-friendly and cost-efficient alternatives to plastic.
  • The government and all stakeholders involved must work together to find affordable as well as convenient alternatives to plastics.
  • Create public ‘buy-in’ strategies by making them aware regarding the harmful effects of plastic.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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GS-III :
A judicial overreach into matters of regulation

GS-II: A judicial overreach into matters of regulation

Context

The Madras High Court has been hearing a PIL petition since 2018 has asked to linking adhar with government identity proof.

Background

In response to a PIL seeking stay on the implementation of the Unique Identification (UID)/Aadhaar Scheme the top court ruling stated that the 23.8 billion dollar scheme, set up by the central government aiming to create a unique identity for each resident of India, through bio-metric – retinal and finger print scans, cannot be made mandatory.

 

Arguments of the Supreme Court

  • Many state governments had been trying to make the Aadhaar card compulsory for services such as gas connnections, bank accounts and other such public services. The Maharashtra government had been trying to make the Aadhaar card mandatory for marriage registrations. It infringed on people’s fundamental rights under Articles 14 (right to equality) and 21 (right to life and liberty).
  • Under many instances the Aadhaar cards has been issued to illegal immigrants and it would legitimise their stay in the country. There have been reports of a huge number of Bangladeshi illegal immigrants being issued Aadhaar cards.
  • No citizen should suffer in absence of aadhar number. The Centre and state governments must not insist on Aadhar cards from citizens before providing them essential services.
  • Those opting for Aadhaar are required to give personal information including biometrics, iris and fingerprints, which infringes the fundamental right to privacy under Article 21.
  • The bench was also informed that there were no safeguard to protect the personal information and no provision for penalties if it comes to public domain.

Availability Unique Aadhar id Number of every Individual:

  • It is a 12 digit individual identification number issued by UIDAI (Unique identification authority of India) on behalf of Government of India
  • It will serve as identity and address proof anywhere in India. It is available in 2 forms, physical and electronic form i.e. (e-Aadhaar).
  • Aadhaar is meant to help benefits reach the marginalised sections of the society and takes into account the dignity of people not only from personal but also from community point of view.
  • Any resident (a person who has resided in India for 182 days, in the one year preceding the date of application for enrolment for Aadhaar) of India irrespective of age, sex, class can avail it.
  • The UID authority will authenticate the Aadhaar number of an individual, if an entity makes such a request.

Challenges apparent in the linking of Aadhaar number with social media profiles:

  • The private use of Aadhaar itself has been controversial since the striking down of Section 57 of the Aadhaar Act.
  • The limited eKYC provisions, which has been allowed only for banks and other regulated entities are indicative of this.
  • The use of Aadhaar, further, has mainly been restricted to receiving government benefits such as the Section 7 benefits.
  • It is thus difficult, legally, to find a way to permit Aadhaar-social media linking within the ambit of the Supreme Court’s verdict on Aadhaar.

Conclusion

  • The Madras High Court reiterated its stand that Aadhaar cannot be used to authenticate social media accounts.
  • It has dismissed the plea made by the PIL petitioners, but given that the Supreme Court is hearing Facebook’s transfer petition, the Madras HC has adjourned the hearing on WhatsApp traceability case until September 19.
  • The Supreme Court said that there is a need to find a balance between the right to online privacy and the right of the state to trace the origins of hateful messages and fake news.
  • The government needs to move away from relying on Aadhaar and linking as a one-stop solution for issues ranging from terrorism (SIM linking), money laundering (bank account linking), electoral fraud (voter ID linking) and now cybercrime (social media account linking).

 

 

 

 

 

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