News & Editorial Analysis 14 March 2023
The Hindu News Analysis
1 – Net Zero Waste:
GS III Topic Environment related issues
All newly constructed housing societies and business complexes across the country will soon be obliged to guarantee net zero waste and have their liquid output treated as part of the government’s push to overhaul and modernise the sewage disposal system.
In order to turn waste streams (sludge) into usable resources and avoid dumping any solid waste in landfills, waste streams (sludge) must be reduced, reused, and recovered.
The directive is a part of the Manhole to Machine-hole scheme, which aims to completely eradicate manual scavenging. It was created as a result of the convergence of projects like Swachch Bharat, NAMASTE, and AMRUT.
Now, just 28% of India’s daily urban wastewater production—or 72,368 million litres—is processed.
According to a research published in 2021 titled “Circular Economics in Municipal Solid and Liquid Waste,” institutionalising the sale of cleansed sewage could boost earnings by almost $3,285 billion annually.
The UN Goal 6.3 aims to greatly enhance recycling and safe reuse by 2030 while lowering the global production of untreated sewage.
What does the term “net zero waste” mean?
sludge) into usable resources by minimising, reusing, and recovering waste streams in order to avoid disposing of any solid waste.
The installation of net zero waste and the treatment of liquid output are part of the government’s initiative to modernise and restructure the sewage disposal system.
The Ministry takes into account:
Reducing the tax on mechanised cleaning equipment, geo-tagging all septic tanks and manholes for accurate tracking, and included septic tank design in building ordinances are all examples of this.
2 – Saudi Arabia Iran Deal:
GS III Topic International Relations
The deal reached between Saudi Arabia and Iran on Friday will have a big impact on the entire world if it is successful. The Journal of the American Medical Association published the study’s findings.
What are the main outcomes of the discussions?
Both countries’ embassies will reopen, one in Riyadh and the other in Tehran.
They pledged to uphold national sovereignty and abstain from interfering in the internal affairs of other nations.
What is the root of the Saudi Arabian-Iranian conflict?
Dimension of Religion:
In 2016, protesters broke into Saudi diplomatic missions, prompting Saudi Arabia to cut off relations with Iran. A famous Shiite cleric was assassinated by Saudi Arabia a few days before.
Saudi Arabia has traditionally positioned itself as the world’s leading Sunni nation, in contrast to Iran, which regards itself as the protector of Islam’s Shia minority.
Attacks against Saudi Arabia include:
Since the US withdrew from the Iran nuclear agreement, Iran has been held accountable for a series of attacks, including one that struck the heart of Saudi Arabia’s oil industry in 2019.
Despite assertions to the contrary from Western governments and academics, Iran has denied culpability for the strike.
Two powerful neighbours, Saudi Arabia and Iran, are at war with one another for control of the area.
Political instability surged throughout the Arab world after the Arab Spring of 2011 as protests proliferated there.
It’s a good idea to have a backup plan in case something goes wrong.
Also, the US and Israel have a big role in increasing the conflict between Saudi Arabia and Iran.
Proxy Wars: Although Iran and Saudi Arabia are not at war with one another directly, they are both parties to a variety of proxy wars in which one side backs the militias of the other.
For instance, Yemeni Houthi rebels. These organisations might become more powerful, which might cause more disturbance in the region. Saudi Arabia accuses Iran of supporting them.
Islamic world leader: Historically, Saudi Arabia, a monarchy and the birthplace of Islam, considered itself to be in charge of the Muslim world.
This was called into question by the 1979 Islamic revolution in Iran, which created a new type of state—a sort of revolutionary theocracy—in the region and expressly sought to export this model beyond its own borders.
What would the effects be on a global scale?
The accord may have an impact on US-led efforts to isolate Iran economically through sanctions because it may allow Saudi investment within Iran.
In its eight-year civil conflict with Iran-backed Houthi rebels, Yemen’s internationally recognised government has received help from Saudi Arabia. They have, nevertheless, been meeting in secret with the Houthis in Oman to attempt to find a way to end the conflict.
The kingdom would be counting on Iran to stop Houthi drone and missile strikes on the country and to back Saudi negotiations with the Houthis.
The agreement will worry a number of Israeli legislators who have advocated for Iran’s complete isolation from the outside world. Israel regarded the accord as a “serious and dangerous” step.
3 – Swachh Bharat Abhiyaan:
GS II Topic Government Policies:
A bio-mining plant worth 53 crore rupees will soon be located in the Vellalore waste yard, according to civic authority Deputy Commissioner M. Sharmila.
The Swachh Bharat Mission plant would treat six lakh cubic metres of legacy trash, she said.
The Swachh Bharat Mission (SBM) was established by the Indian government in 2014 with the objective of eliminating open defecation and improving solid waste management throughout the country.
The initial phase of the Swachh Bharat Mission finished in October 2019.
The implementation of Phase 2 runs from 2020-2021 through 2024-2025.
By 2 October 2019, the 150th anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi’s birth, India was to be “open-defecation free” (ODF) thanks to the mission’s goal of building enough restrooms.
The initial objectives of the mission were as follows:
Scavenging by hand must stop.
fostering a change in behaviour and raising awareness of cleaning methods.
Enhancing the capacity of the neighbourhood.
The mission’s second phase aims to preserve the absence of open defecation, improve the management of solid and liquid waste, and improve the working conditions for sanitation workers.
The government provides funding through the programme for the building of restrooms, waste disposal systems, and awareness campaigns to promote a shift in mindset.
The effort is being funded by the federal and state governments of India.
The mission is divided between an urban and a rural component.
In rural areas, “SBM – Gramin” is supervised and funded by the Ministry of Jal Shakti.
In urban regions, “SBM – urban” is the responsibility of the Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs.
According to the dashboards maintained by ministries, more over 100 million individual household level toilets have been erected in rural areas, compared to 6 million in urban areas.
Over 6 million public restrooms have also been constructed in metropolitan areas.
Over 11 crore online Integrated Management Information Systems (IMIS) have been developed in the country.
About 2 lakh Community Sanitary Complexes (CSCs) have been constructed as a result of the programme.
More than 4,200 cities and 600,000 villages across the nation have proclaimed an end to open defecation (ODF).
More than 87 thousand wards in urban areas now have 100% door-to-door solid waste collection, and around 65 thousand words have 100% waste source segregation.
According to UNICEF, the number of people without access to a toilet has dropped from 550 million to 50 million.
96% of Indians who have access to a toilet use it, according to the World Bank.
4 – SCO:
GS II Topic International Relations
Chief Justice of India D.Y. Chandrachud asserts that the judiciary will make necessary modifications to its procedures without waiting for a new pandemic to break out.
During his remarks at the 18th conference of the Chief Justices of the Supreme Courts of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) member states, Chief Justice Chandrachud emphasised the steps the Indian judicial system had made in reaction to the pandemic’s emergence.
He asserted that since the outbreak, video conferences had been used by India’s district courts to hear 16.5 million cases, high courts 7.58 million cases, and the Supreme Court 3,79,954 cases.
The SCO is a long-standing, multinational, intergovernmental organisation.
The objective of this Eurasian political, economic, and military institution is to maintain peace, security, and stability in the region.
It was established in 2001.
The SCO Charter was signed in 2002 and went into force in 2003.
Prior to the creation of the SCO in 2001, the Shanghai Five, which comprised Tajikistan, China, Kyrgyzstan, Kazakhstan, and Russia, existed.
The Shanghai Five (1996) was the outcome of numerous border delineation and demilitarisation talks between China and the four former Soviet republics in order to maintain peace along the borders.
The Shanghai Five became known as the SCO after Uzbekistan joined the group in 2001.
India and Pakistan joined in 2017.
According to rumours, Iran will become a full member of the SCO on September 17, 2021.
fostering a sense of cooperation and neighbourliness among the member states.
promoting effective cooperation in the areas of trade, the economy, research, and culture.
developing ties in industries like tourism, energy, transportation, and environmental protection.
maintain and uphold the peace, security, and stability of the region.
the establishment of a new, democratic, equitable, and rational world political and economic order.
Iran, China, India, Pakistan, Tajikistan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia, and Uzbekistan are the other countries mentioned.
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The Hindu Editorial Analysis
Digital India Act 2023:
In formally outlining the basis of the planned Digital India Act, 2023, the Minister of State for IT recently urged for a strong replacement for the IT Act, 2000, which is now somewhat out of date. The administration then tried to revisit his menacingly inserted question, “Should there even be a’safe harbour’ for all intermediaries? This is assumed to be relevant given the government’s efforts to subject Internet intermediaries to a heavier compliance burden, particularly through the IT Regulations 2021 and its following amendments.
2023’s proposed Digital India Act and safe harbour:
This claim implies that “intermediaries” operating online are not responsible for the content that users of other websites post on their platforms. Social media platforms can avoid taking responsibility for user material thanks to this theory.
Because they specifically grant online services immunity with regard to user-generated content, safe harbour laws, in particular Section 230 of the U.S. Communications Decency Act, 1996, are recognised as the foundation of the internet today.
The Union Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology will soon introduce the Digital India Act, 2023, which would replace the Information Technology Act (IT Act) of 2000 in India (MEITy).
The Indian parliament will put into effect both the Digital India Act and the Digital Personal Data Protection Bill, 2022, which was proposed in November 2022.
A New Legislation Is Needed:
Since it was passed, the IT Act of 2000 has undergone various changes and modifications (IT Act Amendment of 2008, IT Rules 2011). The IT Act, however, did not adequately address either data privacy rights or the complexity of the current cybersecurity environment because it was initially just designed to protect e-commerce transactions and specify cybercrime offences.
Without a thorough update of the governing digital legislation, the IT Act would not be able to keep up with the speed and rising sophistication of cyberattacks.
The new Digital India Act intends to stimulate the Indian economy by promoting new ventures and innovation while also preserving the security, confidence, and responsibility of Indian residents.
The following regulations would be suggested for the new Act:
The constitutional protections for speech and freedom of expression may now be equated with the self-moderation practises used by social media corporations. In October 2022, the IT Rules, 2021 were modified to clarify that platforms must respect users’ First Amendment rights.
Three Grievance Appellate Committees have been established to resolve content issues raised by social media users. These will presumably eventually be included in the Digital India Act.
The legislation will address issues including data privacy, sophisticated forgeries, criminality, and concerns with online platform competition.
A new “Adjudicatory Mechanism” would be developed for offences both criminal and civil committed online.
The following are the current guidelines for safe harbour under the IT Regulations of 2021:
These Rules not only opened the door for legal challenges as digital news media companies and others questioned the legality of the Rules, but they also put the burden of content arbitration on social media intermediaries with biassed rules in favour of the current administration.
In the interim, a reform introduced in October 2022 required government-appointed tribunals to consider complaints against particular users against the moderating decisions made by these intermediaries.
The IT Ministry recommended a reform in January 2023 addressing the removal of social media or news items that have been labelled “fake” or “false” by the Press Information Bureau or another government entity. All of them have already gravely jeopardised the safe harbour protections for intermediaries.
It is crucial to regulate hate speech and false information on the Internet, and intermediaries like social media platforms and digital news sources have a duty to do so.
The IT Standards’ demands that intermediaries generate recurrent compliance reports and give consumers advance notice before removing information or restricting access are commendable.
Users’ discussions and posts shouldn’t be deleted by social media intermediaries unless it’s required to preserve public order or avoid legal ramifications. Nonetheless, care must be taken to avoid the restrictions imposed on intermediaries from becoming overly onerous and punitive, since this would also undermine the idea of safe harbour.
There is a legitimate concern that the government is more concerned with policing or eradicating critical comments or dissent on news or social media platforms than hate speech or false information, which frequently originates from state agents.
In order to handle issues with false information, undesirable content, and the negative effects of the new Internet format, modern standards are required, but they must not compromise the core principles of safe harbour.
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The Indian Express Editorial Analysis
Powering The Amrit Kaal:
India will be responsible for roughly 25% of the increase in global energy demand between 2020 and 2040, according to projections from the IEA and BP Energy Outlook. India has the fastest-growing major economy in the world with rising energy demand.
Ensuring energy access, availability, and affordability is crucial for our sizable population. This supports our case and explains why our energy strategy is now universally viewed as being practical and well-balanced.
Ensuring that energy justice is done to the people:
The price of diesel in India has fallen over the past year, although the price of gasoline and diesel climbed by 35–40% in the US, Canada, Spain, and the UK. This is despite the country importing over 85% of its needs for crude oil and 55% of its needs for natural gas.
Despite the fact that many of the countries in our neighbourhood have had power outages and dry outs to manage demand, there has never been a fuel shortage in India, not even during times of floods and other natural calamities.
The Center and many states twice announced decreases in the excise tax and VAT rates.
Being decent corporate citizens, oil PSUs took on large losses to protect Indian customers from being impacted by the sharp increases in the price of crude oil and natural gas on the international market.
The amount of APM gas that was subsidised for the city gas distribution sector was increased, even at the expense of lowering the captive use of domestic gas by our own PSUs.
To prevent refiners and manufacturers from profiting from domestic consumers, a windfall tax on domestically produced petroleum products and an export cess on gasoline, diesel, and ATF were also implemented.
Increasing energy spheres:
The number of nations in India’s network of crude oil suppliers has increased over time, from 27 to 39.
India has further reinforced ties with countries like the US (energy trade has expanded 13 times in the past four years) and Russia in order to ensure a steady supply of crude oil.
India’s important market position as the third-largest importer in the world guaranteed affordable energy for Indian consumers while also giving stability to the global petroleum markets.
Taking a look at home production and looking at new energy sources:
India’s top priority are the discovery of conventional fuels and the switch to renewable energy.
India may be the licencing wildcard in 2023, according to consulting firm Wood Mackenzie, which is a consequence of the reforms that have turned India into a desirable energy and power destination.
It has reduced the prohibited/no-go zones in our exclusive economic zone (EEZ) by 97%, eliminating about 1 million square kilometres of them.
But, India is committed to keeping its climate change commitments, and as demonstrated in Glasgow, it plans to achieve net-zero emissions by 2070 and cut emissions by 1 billion tonnes by the end of 2030.
India is accelerating its efforts to switch to a gas-based economy by increasing the share of gas from the current 6.3% to 15% by 2030. India has given clean cooking fuel to more than 9.5 crore families during the last nine years.
The length of India’s gas pipeline network increased from 14,700 km in 2014 to 22,000 km in 2023.
India achieved a key advancement in the biofuel revolution with the launch of E20, a gasoline blend containing 20% ethanol that would be made available in 15 cities around India over the course of the following two years.
10.17% of gasoline in 2023 in India will contain ethanol, up from just 1.53% in 2013–14.
Additionally, five second-generation ethanol plants are being built in India that can convert agricultural waste into biofuel, reducing air pollution from burning stubble and giving farmers money.
The National Green Hydrogen Mission, with a budget of Rs 19,744 crore, was established to improve the country’s green hydrogen ecosystem and hasten India’s progress towards its objective of producing 4 MT of green hydrogen yearly.
It would have cut imports of fossil fuels by Rs 1 lakh crore by 2030. India is on track to fully realise its potential for creating a sustainable hydrogen ecosystem by the year 2030.
India is integrating the conversion of its future mobility corridors. As a result, India is encouraging the development of electric vehicles through a production-linked incentive scheme to produce advanced fuel cells with a 50 gigawatt-hour capacity as well as green hydrogen and biofuels.
Achieving energy independence and security is a primary aim for enhancing people’s lives as part of Amrit Kaal’s vision to expand to a $26 trillion economy by 2047.
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