07 April, 2021 - Daily Current Affairs Analysis & MCQs - The Daily News Simplified from The Hindu

  • Reworking net-zero for climate justice Page 08 - (Environment)
  • The start of a more authoritarian era Page 09 - (International Relations)
  • Vigilance officers to be transferred every 3 years Page 01 - (Polity and Governance)
  • Justice Ramana will be the next CJI Page 01 - (Polity and Governance)
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    UPSC Current Affairs: Reworking net-zero for climate justice | Page 08

    UPSC Syllabus: Mains – GS Paper III – Environment

    Sub Theme: Climate change| climate justice | UPSC

    Why are countries aiming to keep global temperature rise below 1.5°C?

    Scientists have warned for years of catastrophic environmental consequences if global temperature continues to rise at the current pace. The Earth’s average temperature has already increased approximately 1°C above preindustrial levels. In a 2018 special report, the IPCC predicted that without dramatic reductions in carbon emissions, the world will hit 1.5°C of warming between 2030 and 2052.

    The report summarizes many of the effects expected to occur when global temperature reaches that point:

    Heat waves. Many regions would suffer more hot days, with about 14 percent of people worldwide being exposed to periods of severe heat at least once every five years.

    Droughts and floods. Regions would be more susceptible to droughts and floods, making farming more difficult, lowering crop yields, and causing food shortages.

    Rising seas. Tens of millions of people live in coastal regions that would be submerged in the coming decades. Small island nations are particularly vulnerable.

    “We’re headed toward disaster if we can’t get our warming in check.”

    Alice C. Hill, CFR Senior Fellow for Energy and the Environment

    Ocean changes. Up to 90 percent of coral reefs would be wiped out, and oceans would become more acidic. The world’s fisheries would become far less productive.

    Arctic ice thaws. At least once a century, the Arctic would experience a summer with no sea ice, which has not happened in at least two thousand years. Forty percent of the Arctic’s permafrost would thaw by the end of the century.

    Species loss. More insects, plants, and vertebrates would be at risk of extinction.

    The consequences will be far worse if the 2°C threshold is reached, scientists say. “We’re headed toward disaster if we can’t get our warming in check and that we need to do this very quickly,” says Alice C. Hill, CFR senior fellow for energy and the environment.

    Which countries are responsible for climate change?

    The answer depends on who you ask and how you measure emissions. Ever since the first climate talks in the 1990s, officials have debated which countries—developed or developing—are more to blame for climate change and should therefore curb their emissions.

    Developing countries argue that developed countries have emitted more greenhouse gases over time. They say these developed countries should now carry more of the burden because they were able to grow their economies without restraint. Indeed, the United States has emitted the most of all time, followed by the European Union.

    However, China and India are now among the world’s top annual emitters, along with the United States. Developed countries have argued that those countries must do more now to address climate change.

    In the context of this debate, major climate agreements have evolved in how they pursue emissions reductions. The Kyoto Protocol required only developed countries to reduce emissions, while the Paris Agreement recognized that climate change is a shared problem and called on all countries to set emissions targets.

    Let’s look at few evidences in support of Climate change

     

    Sea level: The mean sea level has been continuously rising since past two decades

     

    Temperature: The planet's average surface temperature has risen about 1.62 degrees Fahrenheit (0.9 degrees Celsius) since the late 19th century, a change driven largely by increased carbon dioxide and other human-made emissions into the atmosphere

     

     

    Warming Oceans: The ocean does an excellent job of absorbing excess heat from the atmosphere. The top few meters of the ocean stores as much heat as Earth's entire atmosphere. So, as the planet warms, it's the ocean that gets most of the extra energy.

     

     

    Shrinking of Cryosphere:

     

    Shrinking of Ice sheets:

    The Greenland and Antarctic ice sheets have decreased in mass.

     

    Frost-free Season (and Growing Season) will Lengthen

    The length of the frost-free season (and the corresponding growing season) has been increasing since the 1980s.

     

    Glacial retreat 

    Glaciers are retreating almost everywhere around the world — including in the Alps, Himalayas, Andes, Rockies, Alaska and Africa.

     

    Decreased snow cover 

    Satellite observations reveal that the amount of spring snow cover in the Northern Hemisphere has decreased over the past five decades and that the snow is melting earlier.

     

     

     

    Ocean Acidification:

    Since the beginning of the Industrial Revolution, the acidity of surface ocean waters has increased by about 30 percent.

     

    This increase is the result of humans emitting more carbon dioxide into the atmosphere and hence more being absorbed into the oceans. The amount of carbon dioxide absorbed by the upper layer of the oceans is increasing by about 2 billion tons per year.

     

     


    Concerns

    Conflict between developed and developing countries

    • On 'transparency':
      • Developed countries want a 'common and unified' system to compare the climate actions undertaken under INDCs. Developing countries, however, want the CBDR-RC principle to be reflected in the transparency provision.
      • 'Stocktake' provision for estimating the progress in the implementation of INDCs in 5 years. However, the developed countries want to put mitigation aspect specific and hold everyone accountable for that but not the finance and technology transfer provision.
    • The principle of 'historical responsibility' is conveniently ignored, only current emissions are the basis of comparing mitigation strategies. So even if China uses more coal than India, it is ignored because there is an incremental decline even though from a very large base. This is not equity.
    • Voluntary nature of INDC: commitments are voluntary, which means there is no penalty for failing to meet them. And even if they are met, they will not put the world on a path to less than 2oC of warming. Under the most optimistic assumptions, the INDCs still set us on a path to 2.7 to 3.5oC of warming.
    • Lack of Action on Fossil Fuel: The U.N. approach has been to get countries to offer cuts in emissions and increases in renewable energy deployment, energy efficiency, or carbon sinks, but it has not called for restraining fossil fuel development.
    • Ignorance of Traditional Rights: Indigenous rights of people suffering due to activities like fossil fuel extraction are mentioned in the preamble, but left out entirely of the operational text.
    • Non-compliance by the biggest emitter: INDCs of rich countries are not enough to meet their historical obligations. Recently, U.S. withdraws from Paris Agreement poses threat to the very foundation of deal.
    • Unmet financial commitments: The promise of contributing $100 bn annually to the Green Climate Fund by developed countries is still unmet. Although, the contribution has been increased, yet it is enormously short of what is actually needed.

     

    UPSC Current Affairs: The start of a more authoritarian era | Page 09

    UPSC Syllabus: Mains – GS Paper II – International Relations

    Sub Theme: Authoritarian China | Hong Kong issue| UPSC

    World History perspective on Hong Kong:

    • Hong Kong was acquired by Britain after defeating China in the Opium War. The war broke out after Qing-dynasty China attempted to crack down an illegal opium trade that led to widespread addiction in China. In 1842, China agreed to cede the island of Hong Kong to the British in perpetuity through the Treaty of Nanjing.
    • Over the next half-century, the United Kingdom gained control over all three main regions of Hong Kong: After Hong Kong Island came the Kowloon Peninsula, and finally the New Territories, a swath of land that comprises the bulk of Hong Kong today. 
    • The final treaty, the 1898 Convention for the Extension of Hong Kong Territory, leased the New Territories to Britain for 99 years. Under the terms of the treaty, China would regain control of its leased lands on July 1, 1997.
    • India’s relations with Hong Kong also date back to this this time period of 1840s.

    Handover to China:

    • As the 99-year treaty was to expire on July 1, 1997, both Britain and China signed a joint declaration on the future of Hong Kong in 1984. Under the joint declaration, an innovative “one country, two systems” was devised, under which Hong Kong reverted to Chinese sovereignty while retaining its political and economic system. 
    • The political process in Hong Kong is guided as per the province’s Basic Law, and it has two main features: 
    • The socialist system and policies shall not be practiced in the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region, and the previous capitalist system and way of life shall remain unchanged for 50 years. 
    • The Chief Executive (CE) is the highest representative leader in Hong Kong and he shall be selected by election or through consultations held locally and be appointed by the Central People's Government. The ultimate aim is the selection of the Chief Executive by universal suffrage upon nomination by a nominating committee.

    Current Perspective: 

    Geographical Significance

    • Hong Kong forms a part of the Pearl River Delta Metropolitan Region where the Pearl River flows into the South China Sea. It is the wealthiest region in South China & the largest urban area in the world in both size and population. 
      It includes major economic centers such as Guangzhou, Shenzhen and Macau. Its GDP is at $1.2 trillion, which make it the largest economic region in South East Asia, above Indonesia.

    Cause of tensions between China & Hong Kong:

    • The main crux of the tension is about the right to universal suffrage in selecting the highest governing personnel in Hong Kong, whereby it is the Chinese government that nominates individuals who then can stand for Chief Executive. China wants its control on the nominations process wherein China nominates only Pro-Chinese government individuals that do not critique Chinese policies in Hong Kong. The pro-democracy activists prefer a more direct election process.
    • Apart from this, when Hong Kong was handed over to China in 1997, it was a major source of economic investment into mainland China, however the growth of Chinese economy has allowed Chinese government to increase stronghold of Hong Kong.
    • The are several cultural differences between Hong Kong and China, whereby Mainland China is a Mandarin speaking region, while Hong Kong is a Cantonese speaking region. Hong Kong considers itself culturally distinct from China like other countries of Indo-China region.

    Editorial Context:

    • Hong Kong is currently witnessing anti-government and pro-democracy protests, wherein the a bill has been introduced to allow Hong Kong courts to allow extradition to mainland China, which would allow China to legally take actions against anti-China activists.
    • China has hinted at using People’s Liberation Army (PLA) to quell the protests, however according to author this may lead to a similar fallout as the Tiananmen square incident in 1989, in which PLA killed thousands of pro-democracy protesters. This would not be tolerated by other countries such as the U.S., UK and EU.
    • China for now has put on hold the law, but the protests are still continuing.

    India - Hong Kong relations:

    • India respects and follows the 'One Nation, two system' policy of China and Hong Kong. India on this basis does sign separate agreement with China and Hong Kong on economic issues such as DTAA, Customs, etc. This is due to their different economic systems. 
    • Hong Kong has always acted as a “Gateway to China” for the companies in rest of the world. With the rapid growth in engagement between the Chinese and Indian economies, Hong Kong acts as a “Gateway to India” for the mainland companies. Hong Kong is major re-exporter of items it imports from India to Mainland China. 
    • India was Hong Kong’s 3rd  largest export market destination (after China, US) in 2017 (Jan-Dec) and Hong Kong was India’s 3rd largest export market (after US, UAE).  Hong Kong occupies the 12th position in FDI equity inflows into India in 2018.
    • Hong Kong has for more than 150 years been home to a large Indian community and its contribution to Hong Kong includes their oldest university: Hong Kong University. Several Hong Kong based persons of Indian origin have been awarded the Pravasi Bhartiya Samman Award.

     

    UPSC Current Affairs: Vigilance officers to be transferred every 3 years | Page 01

    UPSC Syllabus: Mains – GS Paper II – Polity

    Sub Theme: Central vigilance commission| UPSC

    Context: Central Vigilance Commission (CVC) has modified the guidelines for transfer and posting of officials in the vigilance units of government organisations, restricting their tenure to three years at one place. The tenure may be extended to three more years, but at a different place of posting. It would mean that the personnel can have two continuous postings in vigilance units, at two different places of posting, each running into a maximum of three years.

    Reasons for the Order

    • The CVC, in its order, said undue long stay of an official in a vigilance department had the potential of developing vested interests, apart from giving rise to unnecessary complaints or allegations.
    • The Commission has modified its earlier guidelines to ensure transparency, objectivity and uniformity in its approach.
    • Personnel who have worked for over three years at one place should be transferred in phases, with priority given to those who have served for the maximum period.
    • CVC has ordered to transfer such officials who have completed more than 5 years of service in vigilance units in one place on a priority basis.
    • So, in the first phase, at least 10% of such personnel should be shifted in a sequential order without any exception.
    • In case someone has served at one place for over three years, his/her tenure at the next place would be curtailed to ensure that the combined tenure was limited to six years.   

    ABOUT CENTRAL VIGILANCE COMMISSION

    The Central Vigilance Commission (CVC) was set up by the Government in February, 1964 on the recommendations of the Committee on Prevention of Corruption, headed by Shri K. Santhanam, to advise and guide Central Government agencies in the field of vigilance. Consequently through The Central Vigilance Commission Act, 2003, CVC became statutory body.

    Functions & Powers of CVC

    • Conduct inquiries into offences alleged to have made under Prevention of Corruption Act, 1988 by certain categories of public servants of Central Government, corporations established by or under any Central Act, Government companies, societies and local authorities owned or controlled by the Central Government.
    • Advise various authorities in Central Government organizations in planning, executing, reviewing and reforming their vigilance work.
    • Receive written complaints for disclosure on any allegation of corruption or misuse of office and recommend appropriate action.
    • Also exercise superintendence over functioning of Delhi Police Establishment regarding investigation of offences under The Prevention of Corruption Act, 1988.
    • Review the progress of investigations conducted by the Delhi Special Police Establishment into offences alleged to have been committed under the Prevention of Corruption Act, 1988.
    • Review the progress of applications pending with the competent authorities for sanction of prosecution under the Prevention of Corruption Act, 1988.
    • (Section 20 of Lokpal & Lokayukta Act) - Conduct inquiries into complaints referred by Lokpal as per the Lokpal and Lokayukta Act, 2013. Central Vigilance Commission in respect of complaints referred to it after making preliminary enquiry –
    • In respect of public servants belonging to Group A and Group B - shall submit its report to the
    • In case of public servants belonging to Group C and Group D - the Commission shall proceed in accordance with the provisions of the Central Vigilance Commission Act, 2003.

    Members

    The Commission shall consists of-

    • Central Vigilance Commissioner who shall be the Chairperson
    • Not more than 2 Vigilance Commissioners as Members

    Appointment

    Central Vigilance Commissioner and other Vigilance Commissioners shall be appointed by the President by warrant under his hand and seal.

    The appointment shall be made after obtaining the recommendation of a Committee consisting of-

    • Prime Minister – Chairperson
    • Minister of Home Affairs – Member
    • Leader of Opposition in the Lok Sabha – Member
    • Central Vigilance Commissioner shall be ineligible for appointment in the Commission when he/she ceases to hold office.
    • Vigilance Commissioner shall be eligible for appointment as Central Vigilance Commissioner

    On ceasing to hold office, Central Vigilance Commissioner and every other Vigilance Commissioner shall be ineligible for further employment to any office of profit under Government of India or government of any State.

    Tenure 

    Central Vigilance Commissioner and every Vigilance Commissioner shall hold office for

    • a term of 4 years from the date of his/her appointment or
    • till he/she attains the age of 65 years (whichever is earlier)

    Resignation

    Central Vigilance Commissioner or a Vigilance Commissioner may by writing under his hand addressed to the President, resign their office.

    Removal

    The Central Vigilance Commissioner or any Vigilance Commissioner shall be removed from his office

    • only by order of the President on the ground of proved misbehaviour or incapacity
    • after the Supreme Court, on a reference made to it by the President, has, on inquiry, reported that the Central Vigilance Commissioner or any Vigilance Commissioner should be removed on such grounds.

    On ceasing to hold office

    Central Vigilance Commissioner and every other Vigilance Commissioner shall be ineligible for 

    • any diplomatic assignment, appointment as administrator of a Union territory and such other assignment or appointment which is required by law to be made by the President by warrant under his hand and seal.
    • Further employment to any office of profit under the Government of India or the Government of a State.

    The salary and allowances payable to and the other conditions of service of

    • Central Vigilance Commissioner shall be the same as those of the Chairman of the Union Public Service Commission.
    • Vigilance Commissioner shall be the same as those of a Member of the Union Public Service Commission.

    Expenses of Commission to be charged on the Consolidated Fund of India

    The expenses of the Commission, including any salaries, allowances and pensions payable to or in respect of the Central Vigilance Commissioner, the Vigilance Commissioners, Secretary and the staff of the Commission, shall be charged on the Consolidated Fund of India.

    Annual Report

    • It shall be the duty of the Commission to present annually to the President a report as to the work done by the Commission within six months of the close of the year under report.
    • The Report presented to the President by CVC shall contain a separate part on the functioning of the Delhi Special Police Establishment.
    • On receipt of such report, the President shall cause the same to be laid before each House of Parliament.

         

    UPSC Current Affairs: Justice Ramana will be the next CJI | Page 01

    UPSC Syllabus: Mains – GS Paper II – Polity

    Sub Theme: Chief Justice of India| UPSC

    N.V. Ramana, the senior most judge of the Supreme Court, has been recommended as the next top judge by the present Chief Justice of India (S A Bobde). He will take over as the 48th Chief Justice of India (CJI) from 24th April 2021. He would be the CJI till 26th August, 2022.

    Appointment of the CJI

    • The Chief Justice of India and the Judges of the Supreme Court are appointed by the President underclause (2) of Article 124 of the Constitution.
    • As per convention, outgoing CJI recommends the name of the most senior judge of the Supreme Court as his successor. The Union Law Minister forwards the recommendation to the Prime Minister who, in turn, advises the President.
    • SC in theSecond Judges Case (1993), ruled that the senior most judge of the Supreme Court should alone be appointed to the office of the CJI.

    From 1950 to 1973 the practice has been to appoint the senior most judge of the Supreme Court as the chief justice of India. This established convention was violated in 1973 when A N Ray was appointed as the Chief Justice of India by superseding three senior judges. Again in 1977, M U Beg was appointed as the chief justice of India by superseding the then senior-most judge.

    This discretion of the government was curtailed by the Supreme Court in the Second Judges Case (1993), in which the Supreme Court ruled that the senior most judge of the Supreme Court should alone be appointed to the office of the Chief Justice of India.

    For the appointment of other judges in the Supreme Court there is collegium system. The collegium is headed by the Chief Justice of India and comprises four other senior most judges of the court. The collegium system has evolved through judgments of the Supreme Court (Judges Cases), and not by an Act of Parliament or by a provision of the Constitution.

    Administrative Powers of CJI (Master of Roster)

    • It is common to refer to the office as primus inter pares – first amongst equals.
    • Besides his adjudicatory role,the CJI also plays the role of the administrative head of the Court.
    • In his administrative capacity, the Chief Justice exercises the prerogative of allocating cases to particular benches.
    • The Chief Justice also decides the number of judges that will hear a case.
    • Such administrative powers can be exercised without collegial consensus, and without any stated reasons.
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