News & Editorial Analysis 30 May 2023
The Hindu News Analysis
1 – NCT Amendment Ordinance, 2023:
Constitution related issues
The Government of National Capital Territory of Delhi (Amendment) Ordinance, 2023 was promulgated by the President of India in accordance with his legislative authority granted by Article 123 of the Constitution.
The Ordinance must be put into effect since it overturns a Supreme Court decision by the Constitution Bench that placed “services” under the control of the National Capital Territory of Delhi (NCTD) government.
The Court’s ruling’s scope:
The NCTD’s Legislative Assembly has jurisdiction over items on Lists II (The State list) and III (The Concurrent list), with the exception of three items on List II (public order, police, and land), according to the Court’s interpretation of Article 239AA(3)(a).
The only items in List II over which the NCTD lacks legislative competence and the Union of India has executive authority are these three items.
As a result, only the Government of the NCTD may exercise executive authority over “services” (List II).
The Government of NCTD (Amendment) Ordinance 2023’s main points are:
The National Capital Civil Service Authority (NCCSA) was established:
The Chief Secretary and Principal Home Secretary of Delhi will be its other two members, while the Delhi CM will serve as its leader.
Regarding the transfer, posting, vigilance, and other incidental matters wrt to AISs and DANICS serving the Delhi government, it will submit recommendations to the Lieutenant Governor (LG).
A majority of votes must be obtained to decide on any issue. This means that the two senior officials have the authority to overturn the elected CM’s decision.
Duty of LG:
The L-G will issue orders to put the NCCSA’s recommendations into effect.
If the L-G disagrees with the recommendation, they can send it back to the NCCSA for re-evaluation. The LG will therefore have the last say.
The Ordinance has changed the following:
By adding “services” from List II to Article 239AA(3)(a), it increased the number of things (within the Union’s authority) from 3 to 4.
The ordinance’s constitutionality:
Regarding Article 368Regarding Articles 141 and 144
The authority granted to Parliament (under Article 239AA) is to enact new legislation to implement or complement the provisions found in the various Article 239AA clauses.All Indian courts and bodies must abide by the declarations and interpretations of law made by a Constitution Bench of the Supreme Court.
A constitutional amendment pursuant to Article 368 is therefore necessary to change the meaning of Article 239AA(3)(a).Part V of the Constitution (The Union) contains Articles 123, 141, and 144. None contain a non-obstante provision.
As a result, it is possible that the ordinance that was passed under Article 123 to broaden the application of Article 239AA(3)(a) may be overturned.
As a result, Article 144 could not be superseded by Article 74.
2017’s Kumar Singh v. State of Bihar Case:
A seven-judge SC bench ruled that the President’s satisfaction with regard to Article 123 is not exempt from judicial review and is not a separate source of lawmaking or a separate legislative authority.
The Union of India made the poorly thought-out choice to publish an ordinance (Article 123) and desire review (Article 137) at the same time.
Source à The Hindu
2 – Role of Small Modular Reactors in Energy Transition:
Environmental Conservation related issues
A report titled “The Role of Small Modular Reactors in the Energy Transition” was just published by the NITI Aayog.
In addition to renewable energy, nuclear energy is being investigated as a clean energy source to assist the countries in achieving their decarbonization objectives.
According to IEA predictions, the installed nuclear power capacity will increase from 413 GW in 2021 to 871 GW by 2050.
Innovation in nuclear reactor technology will be crucial for both the older Large Reactors (LRs) and the more recent Small Modular Reactors (SMRs) concepts.
SMRs, or small modular reactors:
the SMRsPhysically, it is much smaller than a typical nuclear power reactor.
Modularity enables systems and components to be pre-assembled in a factory before being shipped as a whole to a place for installation.
Reactors are devices that use heat produced by nuclear fission to produce energy or use directly.
Less than 30 MWe to 300+ MWe in capacity.
Classification High-temperature gas-cooled SMRs (HTGRs), liquid metal-cooled fast neutron spectrum SMRs (LMFRs), land-based water-cooled SMRs, marine-based water-cooled SMRs, etc.
state of global developmentCurrently, a number of SMR designs—about 80 in total—are in the licencing, deployment, and operating phases of their development.
Advantages produced off-site:
Contrary to traditional nuclear reactors, which are constructed on-site, this can drastically reduce construction time.
Low operating expenses (less fuel, less labour) and improved effectiveness.
They are particularly helpful for remote places because they have variable power generation needs and can produce less electricity when demand is low.
don’t require a power source and are capable of handling mishaps without the aid of a person or a computer.
SMRs and the SDGs: SMRs have the potential to be essential in the transition to sustainable energy while also assisting nations in achieving SDG 7 (universal access to energy).
The SMR industry has not yet established a completely functional fabrication facility for the mass production of SMR components.
Having SMRs produced on a wide scale is necessary for economic gains.
Many different technologies:
The simultaneous deployment of SMRs could hinder cost optimisation efforts as well as provide regulatory issues for the nuclear industry.
for the creation of prototype plants and the development of technology.
Widespread adoption of SMRs will be facilitated by the standardisation of component and module designs, strategic alliances, and uniformity of regulatory and licencing processes.
Updates should be made to the current safety assessment process.
Low-cost financing options, inclusion in the green taxonomy, and the use of creative financing methods like green bonds, etc.
availability of necessary qualified workers along the engineering, design, testing, inspection, building, etc. value chain.
Large-size reactors may be supplemented by SMR in order to increase the nuclear component of the energy mix and attain Net Zero Emissions.
Through the involvement of pertinent stakeholders, the respective governments must play a significant part in fostering a consensus in favour of nuclear energy.
Source à Niti Aayog Website
3 – Gender Parity in Civil Services:
Governance related issues
Women took the top four spots in the Civil Services Exam of 2022, and since 2018, the percentage of women candidates nominated for positions like IAS and IPS has increased from 24% to 34%, showing an improvement in their engagement in politics.
Women’s Status in the Civil Services:
Women have made up only 13% of all Indian Administrative Service (IAS) officials between 1951 and 2020, notwithstanding advancements throughout time.
Although the percentage of women entering the IAS climbed from 9% in 1970 to 31% in 2020, just 21% of IAS officers who are now in service are female.
There are obstacles to equal representation of women in important positions, such as:
Family and cultural expectations:
If women fail or have trouble finding a suitable spouse, families may be reluctant to explain their years of preparation. Women are discouraged from travelling far to study in large cities due to distance and safety issues.
Low Recruitment and Fewer Attempts:
In comparison to men, women typically try competitive tests less frequently. Additionally, they are more likely to seek voluntary retirement and less likely to hold positions with significant decision-making authority.
Limitations and Biases in Posting:
Women experience discrimination and have less opportunity to advance. While men predominate in urban development, police and order, and finance, women are frequently given responsibility for managing cultural affairs, education, and welfare.
Double the Family’s Responsibility Burden
Women officers are expected to reconcile their careers with their conventional obligations as wives and mothers, which can jeopardise their careers. The additional stress of household duties prevents career advancement.
various states and marginalised communities experience various gender imbalances. Greater gender disparities among aspirants affect women from marginalised communities.
Absence of Women in Higher Leadership Positions:
Chokila Iyer, the first female foreign secretary, was appointed in 2001, while Sushma Nath, the first female finance secretary, was appointed in 2011. There has never been a female cabinet secretary in India. In comparison to nations like Singapore, Australia, and Sweden, there are far fewer women in senior leadership roles in public administration.
Women hold only 12% of top leadership positions in India, according to a 2021 UNDP global study on gender equality in public administration, compared to 29% in Singapore, 40% in Australia, and 53% in Sweden.
How to increase the number of women in the Indian government service:
Publicity and Outreach:
providing career advising to young females in schools and colleges to inform them about the civil service; organising media-based awareness initiatives to promote the achievements of female civil workers.
The sensitivity to gender:
requiring recruitment committees and current civil workers to attend training on gender issues; creating a code of behaviour that encourages a welcoming and courteous workplace.
reviewing the curriculum to make sure there are no gender-based prejudices and that it reflects a variety of viewpoints
Support for coaching and preparation:
providing financial aid and scholarships exclusively for female candidates to participate in coaching programmes; creating websites where women studying for civil service exams may get resources, practise exams and mentorship.
Social norms and family support:
launching educational initiatives to dispel gender norms and motivate parents to support their daughters’ dreams.
Specialised Hiring Drives:
putting in place targeted recruitment campaigns to boost the participation of women in the government services
Work-Life HarmonyTo meet the demands of female federal officials, flexible work schedules and telecommuting possibilities have been implemented. creating onsite daycare facilities or offering financial aid for childcare costs.
Sensitization of Current Civil Service Employees:
encouraging men who work in government to actively support gender equality and encourage their female co-workers.
Transparent Career Advancement and Promotions:
Ensuring chances for professional advancement and promotions for female civil officials.
Reporting and Monitoring:
To detect gaps and gauge the success of programmes, gender-disaggregated statistics on recruitment, representation, promotions, and retention should be published.
A government that is inclusive, accountable, and serves a variety of public interests must be gender equal. In order to attain gender parity in the workplace, societal views must change, and family support is crucial. The issue of gender diversity can be solved by encouraging girls from a young age to consider the IAS as a serious career option and by providing necessary support and resources.
Source à The PIB
4 – Census in India:
Constitution related issues
Despite requests from various communities to be classified as different religions, the upcoming Indian Census form will only have six options for religion: Hindu, Muslim, Christian, Buddhist, Sikh, and Jain.
Alterations made for the forthcoming Census:
Related to religion:
The specific religious codes that were created using information gathered during the 2011 Census—such as those for Sarnaism, the Lingayat religion, etc.—were abandoned by the census administrators.
Other religions may be listed by respondents, but no specific code will be given.
Introduced are new inquiries: New inquiries into people’s consumption of packaged or bottled water and the causes of their movement, such as natural disasters, will be made during the census. Additional inquiries about distance travelled, modes of transportation, types and causes of disability, and property ownership will be made.
The next Census will be the first to be conducted digitally, allowing participants to complete the form at home.
For the second phase of Census 2021, enumerators will have access for the first time to a code directory that contains possible answers and their corresponding codes for questions including descriptive and non-numeric data. It will speed up the analysis of the data and lessen bias and mistakes in the descriptive responses.
The COVID-19 epidemic has caused the planned two-phase Census of 2021 to be postponed indefinitely. On January 9, 2020, the 31 questions for the first phase—House Listing and Housing Schedule—were made known. For the second phase, the Population Enumeration, up to 28 questions have been finalised, but they have not yet been notified.
Source à The Hindu
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The Hindu Editorial Analysis
IMPORTANCE OF 1.5 DEGREE CELSIUS TARGET:
Two publications, named “Global Annual to Decadal Climate Update 2023–2027” and “State of Global Climate 2022,” were released by the World Meteorological Organisation (WMO).
The annual mean global surface temperature between 2023 and 2027 is expected to be 1.1–1.8 degrees Celsius higher than the baseline temperature of 1850–1900 or pre-industrial levels, according to the WMO’s decadal estimates.
The average will surpass 1.5 degrees by 2027, which will mark a turning point beyond which there may be no turning back. In 2022, it was 1.15 degrees above the baseline.
The goal of 1.5 degrees Celsius?
The goal of the global climate is to keep warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius by 2100 in order to keep the globe from entering into new climate disasters.
A warming of 2 degrees was considered tolerable for many years. Small island nations, however, rejected the 2 degree aim since it suggested that their survival was in jeopardy.
At the Cancun COP16 in 2010, nations vowed to keep average global warming below 2 degrees Celsius.
The Paris Agreement’s signatories agreed in 2015 to actively pursue a temperature rise of 1.5 degrees over pre-industrial levels while actively limiting it to below 2 degrees.
The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) approved this as a global goal in 2018 and it has subsequently been pursued in all climate discussions.
Target criticality of 1.5 degrees:
A special report on the effects of global warming when temperatures rise by 1.5 degrees Celsius above baseline was published by the IPCC in 2018.
At a 2 degree threshold, we should expect frequent and severe heat waves, droughts, heavy precipitation, an additional 10-centimeter rise in sea level, the devastation of ecosystems, and most effects that are permanent.
Discussions of the average temperature increase, however, do not indicate that the earth is currently warming uniformly. For instance, the Arctic is experiencing warming above the world norm, and the phrase “polar amplification” is gaining popularity.
Climate change effects:
Depending on exposure, sensitivity, and capacity for adaptation, climate risks and hazards have an impact on both the human population and the ecosystem.
It has made deaths, evictions, and food insecurity worse.
Crop productivity has been significantly impacted by climate change, and in recent years, agricultural diseases and pests have become more dangerous.
Acute food shortages in nations including Ethiopia, Nigeria, South Sudan, Somalia, Yemen, and Afghanistan are causing malnutrition and famine and need for immediate humanitarian aid.
Crop yields were also affected by the 2022 heatwaves in Pakistan and India.
Since 2020, the Horn of Africa (Ethiopia, Somalia, and Kenya) has been experiencing harsh drought conditions, while western African nations are experiencing floods and torrential rainfall that have caused millions to experience severe food insecurity.
Mass emigration both inside and beyond borders has also been caused by this food shortage. Due to the flooding, storms, and heavy snowfall, thousands of people have been forced to flee Syria and Yemen.
Ecosystems on land and in the water have not been exempt from such shifts in climatic patterns.
In Sub-Saharan Africa, the population of migratory species has decreased.
Additionally, coral reefs that are already vulnerable to bleaching could perish from warming exceeding 1.5 degrees Celsius.
Effects on India:
India has been bearing an increasing amount of the effects of climate change. The warmest month since records have been kept beginning in 1901 was February 2023.
India saw harsh weather on 80% of the days in 2022. After experiencing unusually high temperatures during the pre-monsoon season, the Indian monsoons were wetter than typical last year, which led to wildfires in Uttarakhand and severe food shortages.
The Performance of India:
India placed eighth with a strong performance on the Climate Change Performance Index 2023, behind Denmark, Sweden, Chile, and Morocco.
Being a growing economy with development demands, it is making an effort to reconcile those needs with continued global and domestic climate action.
India is doing reasonably well despite contributing very little to global GHG emissions thanks to domestic initiatives like the Green Hydrogen Mission and the introduction of green bonds.
India can demonstrate that it is a responsible climate player on a global scale through the International Solar Alliance and the Coalition for Disaster Resilient Infrastructure, keeping in mind that it still has a long way to go in a short amount of time.
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The Indian Express Editorial Analysis
NUTRITION IN A WARMER WORLD:
The G7 countries—the United States, the United Kingdom, Germany, Italy, Japan, France, and Canada—recently emphasised the need to reach a worldwide peak in greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by 2025 at the Hiroshima Summit 2023. They also vowed to implement the “Acceleration Agenda,” which calls for the G7 to achieve net-zero emissions by the year 2040 and for emerging economies to follow suit by the year 2050. By 2060, China will achieve “net zero,” and India will do it by 2070.
Global Warming Status:
India was singled out in a 2020 assessment on the economic repercussions of the climate emergency by Oxford Economics, a global forecasting agency, which stated that the nation’s GDP might decrease by 90% by the end of the century if existing policies are not improved.
According to the World Meteorological Organization’s 2023 forecast, it is now more likely than not that global temperatures will rise by 1.5°C (2.7°F) or more during the next five years for the first time ever.
From 2023 through 2027, annual increases in global near-surface temperatures are predicted to range from 1.1°C to 1.8°C.
The annual mean temperature in 2016 was 1.28 degrees Celsius higher than pre-industrial times (the average of the 1850–1900 era), making it the warmest year ever.
According to the Indian Metrological Department (IMD) report from 2023, the year 2022 was 1.15 degrees Celsius warmer than the pre-industrial normal, making it the fifth warmest year on record since 2021.
The past ten years were the warmest in Indian history.
Over the period of 1850–1900, global temperatures were around 1.15°C higher than usual.
In the past 100 years, the sea level has risen 4 to 8 inches, and in the following 100 years, it will increase another 4 to 36 inches.
The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) states that in order to keep global warming to 1.5°C (2.7°F), greenhouse gas emissions must peak before 2025 at the latest and then be reduced by 43% by 2030;
In 2020, the average global per-person GHG emissions were 6.3 tonnes of CO2 equivalent (tCO2e). At 2.4 tCO2e, India continues to be considerably below the global average.
According to IPCC, keeping CO2 emissions within a 580 GtCO2 remaining carbon budget means that carbon neutrality will be reached in around 30 years, and 20 years with a 420 GtCO2 remaining carbon budget.
India’s food security situation and potential:
At 330 million tonnes in 2022–2023, India will break all previous records for grain output.
The Food Corporation of India’s (FCI) rice buffer stock requirements are exceeded by more than three times.
The public distribution system (PDS) needs about 22 MT of wheat, and the purchase has been fairly successful (touching 26MT).
Both horticulture and livestock have had growth rates that are more than twice as fast as cereals.
Agricultural and food security issues brought on by global warming:
According to the Ministry of Agriculture, between 2015–16 and 2021–22, 33.9 million hectares of India’s cropped area were devastated by hydro-meteorological catastrophes, including severe rain and floods.
According to a UN research, India lost an average of $87 billion annually as a result of harsh weather.
In India’s 151 identified climate-vulnerable regions, the effects of rising temperatures on agriculture, animals, and fisheries will be more pronounced.
The number of fishing days and fishing stock are declining as a result of global warming.
According to National Dairy studies Institute, Karnal studies, heat stress may have a negative effect on cows’ and buffaloes’ fertility.
Significant crops’ nutritional content is declining as a result of rising CO2 levels.
Major food crops may have decreased levels of micronutrients like zinc and iron because of a sharp rise in carbon emissions.
The IPCC report also issued a warning that the protein content of grains like rice, wheat, barley, and potatoes might decrease by 6 to 14%, increasing the risk of protein malnutrition for over 15 crore more people.
The majority of cropland is used for growing rain fed or unirrigated crops, which will be affected.
Climate change reduces GDP by around 1.5% because agriculture accounts for 16% of India’s GDP. The yields of rice and wheat are predicted to drop by 6–10% by 2030.
The production of rice could potentially decline by 0.75 tonnes per hectare (t/ha) in inland zones and by 0.06 t/ha in coastal regions if temperatures rise by 1-2 degrees Celsius.
In addition, a 0.5C increase in winter temperatures is predicted to result in a 0.45 t/ha decrease in wheat yields.
Investments in Research Intensity (RI) that fluctuate—
The percentage of ARDE in the agri-GDP increased from 0.55% in 2005–2006 to 0.70% in 2010–2011 before falling to 0.48% in 2019–20.
Allocation of ARDE that is unbalanced and distorted by sector:
Despite the fact that the livestock industry accounts for the majority of greenhouse gas emissions in agriculture (54%) and has seen a slight increase in relative share, the soil, water, and forestry sectors have seen their shares decline.
The overall RI in agriculture falls short of the goal of “1% of the Agricultural Gross Value Added (AGVA)” recommended by the government of India and the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) despite spending on ARDE.
Obsolete Basic Staples Approach: The legacy of basic staples like rice and wheat is still present in many important policies and projects.
Steps the Government Has Taken:
The National Action Plan on Climate Change (NAPCC) in India includes the National Mission on Sustainable Agriculture (NMSA). It includes programmes like the National Bamboo Mission, Agro-Forestry, Rainfed Area Development, Paramparagat Krishi Vikas Yojana, Mission Organic Value Chain Development, and Soil Health Card.
Rainwater collection is encouraged by programmes like the Integrated Watershed Management Programme.
The Krishi Sinchai Yojana encourages the use of precision farming methods like micro-irrigation.
More than 800 million individuals are receiving free rice and/or wheat (5kg/person/month) through the PM-Garib Kalyan Yojana. They are so well shielded from cereal inflation.
increased budgetary support for India’s agriculture and related industries by more than 5 times over a ten-year period beginning in 2013–14.
With the production of food grains, the agriculture sector has performed well, registering a large increase in exports, and exports of agricultural and related products have surpassed Rs 4 lakh crore.
By encouraging the application of artificial intelligence and other technologies, the AI for Agriculture Innovation programme is revolutionising the Indian agricultural industry.
A cooperation between scientists and farmers called Biotech-KISAN was established in 2017 with the goal of identifying innovative concepts and technologies that might be applied at the farm level.
In order to promote micro-irrigation practises, which currently only cover 10 million hectares of land out of an enormous potential of 70 million hectares, NABARD established the Micro Irrigation Fund, which will distribute money from the fund to the states at a reduced interest rate.
Ideas for improving agriculture productivity:
According to ICRIER research, every rupee invested in agri-R&D generates a far higher return (Rs 11.2) than investments in fertiliser subsidies (Rs 0.88), electricity subsidies (Rs 0.79), educational subsidies (Rs 0.97), or transport subsidies (Rs 1.10).
In order to boost agricultural production in the face of climate change, agricultural research, development, education, and extension (ARDE) should receive more attention.
Utilisation of Innovation and Technology:
It is already possible to create seeds that are more heat resistant.
Large amounts of water can be saved with precision agriculture techniques like drip irrigation.
For instance, installing sensor-based irrigation systems provides automated control.
Fertilisation and the creation of nano-fertilizers can reduce fertiliser subsidies while simultaneously reducing carbon emissions.
Implementing such cutting-edge farming techniques and/or goods can undoubtedly contribute to more effective use of water and other natural resources, resulting in higher production with fewer inputs and lower GHG emissions.
According to studies conducted at the Borlaug Institute for South Asia (BISA), mulching not only raises soil organic carbon (SOC), but also conserves water and lowers greenhouse gas emissions.
Steps to Take:
Through evidence-based policy decisions, the impact of the climate shock must be limited.
Expanding innovative and pilot projects is essential for having a larger, longer-lasting impact.
increased and balanced funding for agri-R&D.
India’s budgetary allotments for ARDE need to almost double. In this scenario, if the Union government can cut its fertiliser subsidy and the state governments’ electricity subsidy, and those savings are reallocated to agri-R&D making sure RI at the very least is 1%, towards addressing the challenge of climate change.
There is a need to abandon the legacy of fundamental necessities like rice and wheat in policy. For improved nutrition and lower GHG emissions, this must alter.
In an era of climate change, a well-managed and thriving agriculture sector holds enormous promise for boosting the economy, eradicating poverty, and uplifting the underprivileged, particularly small and marginal farmers. Along with guaranteeing food and nutritional security and sustainable development, it will assist in reaching the goals of doubling farm income. In the end, it will help India grow to a $5 trillion economy by 2024.
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