News & Editorial Analysis 08 JUNE 2023
The Hindu News Analysis
1 – Groundwater Conservation in India:
The sustainability of groundwater in India may face new difficulties as a result of climate change, as the two main factors impacting groundwater storage are groundwater usage and the fluctuation of monsoon rainfall.
Water that seeps through rocks and soil and is kept underground is referred to as groundwater. The rocks that store groundwater are known as aquifers.
When you consider that there are around 2.7 billion people in the world who lack access to clean water, the importance of groundwater to human growth grows.
To achieve the UN-mandated SDG 6 of providing clean water and sanitation for all, groundwater management is essential.
India’s groundwater situation:
India uses more groundwater than any other country in the world, making over 25% of all groundwater extraction worldwide.
The 2021 CAG study claims that groundwater extraction in India has outpaced recharging, endangering 80% of potable water over the following two decades.
Between 2002 and 2022, India’s groundwater supply decreased by almost 95%, primarily in the north of the country as a result of increased groundwater pumping for crop irrigation.
Indian legal, constitutional, and policy framework:
The ownership and rights to groundwater are not precisely defined by the Indian Easement Act of 1882.
Article 21: The right to life recognises the essential right to access to clean water.
CGWA, the Central Ground Water Authority The Environment (Protection) Act of 1986 established it and uses it to frame groundwater policies and programmes.
Appellate Court: doctrine of public trust – It would be unfair to make groundwater a subject of private ownership.
Government programmes include the Atal Bhujal Yojana, Jal Shakti Abhiyan, the Aquifer Mapping and Management Programme, and others.
Unsustainable groundwater exploitation and climate change (global warming will increase the frequency of hydroclimate extremes such as floods and droughts).
As the temperature warms, the amount of rain (during the summer monsoon) will increase.
The anticipated increase in groundwater extraction for irrigation, however, may make groundwater recovery impractical.
Evapotranspiration, the process by which water flows from the ground surface to the atmosphere via evaporation and transpiration, will increase in a hotter climate.
The aforementioned elements will reduce the amount of water that can be recovered from the ground.
Limit the use of unsustainable groundwater for irrigation and crack down on unauthorised borewells.
Improve irrigation effectiveness to encourage groundwater preservation.
Satellite data, such as that from NASA’s GRACE satellites, can be used to understand fluctuations in groundwater storage, which aids in the proper planning of conservation initiatives.
Source à The Hindu
2 – Higgs Boson Decay:
Science and Technology
A Higgs boson decaying into a Z boson particle and a photon, which is an extremely uncommon decay process, was discovered by physicists using the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) particle-smasher at CERN.
Higgs Boson Information:
A subatomic particle called the Higgs boson gives other particles mass. A particle’s mass depends on how strongly it interacts with the Higgs boson.
As an illustration, because to their interactions with the Higgs boson, electrons have a certain mass, protons have more mass, and neutrons have slightly more mass than protons. Indicating its higher mass, the Higgs boson can also interact with other Higgs bosons.
The need to comprehend the Higgs boson:
Understanding the cosmos can be gained from the Higgs boson’s characteristics and interactions with other particles.
A photon and the Z boson:
According to quantum field theory, virtual particles are particles that exist for a brief period of time, cannot be directly seen, yet have lasting consequences.
At the Large Hadron Collider (LHC), interactions with virtual particles lead to the formation of a Z boson and a photon as a result of the Higgs boson. Light particles called photons do not interact with the Higgs boson, hence they do not have mass.
In relation to the particle physics Standard Model:
The Standard Model is a physics hypothesis that explains how the universe’s tiniest particles behave and interact with one another.
The Standard Model predicts that there are various kinds of particles. Protons and neutrons are composed of quarks, which are particles, while electrons are composed of leptons, which are particles. These particles have a variety of characteristics, including electric charge and mass.
The theory explains how various forces cause these particles to interact with one another.
The odds of various degradation pathways are predicted by the Standard Model. The most recent measurement verifies the previously reported, but now with greater statistical precision, decay of a Higgs boson into a Z boson and a photon.
Source à The Hindu
3 – Beat Plastic Pollution Campaign:
Kerala’s tourism department has started the “Beat Plastic Pollution” campaign to keep the state’s beaches clean and environmentally sound.
The project was unveiled on World Environment Day as a cooperative effort including a number of tourism industry companies and neighbourhood groups.
The local community is being taught how to produce paper bags and cloth bags as alternatives to plastics as part of the programme, which will not only help to save the environment but also provide revenue for the locals.
Source à The Hindu
4 – Cybersecurity Challenges in India:
Cybersecurity related issues
A research titled “Bridging the Gap: Identifying Challenges in Cybersecurity Skilling and Bridging the Divide” was published by the DSCI.
Data Security Council of India (DSCI):
It was established by NASSCOM in 2008 as a non-profit industry organisation for data protection.
By promoting best practises, standards, and projects in cyber security and privacy, it is dedicated to keeping cyberspace safe, secure, and trusted.
India’s cybersecurity environment:
The term “cybersecurity” covers all facets of safeguarding a company’s assets, personnel, and operations from online dangers.
India, a country that is rapidly digitising many different industries, is not immune to the rising frequency and seriousness of cyberthreats.
Stakeholders in the ecosystem have put in place a number of efforts to advance cybersecurity in the nation to solve these problems.
These consist of:
The Government of India established the Indian Computer Emergency Response Team (CERT-In) to offer direction and support in the event of cyber incidents. Microsoft and DSCI implemented programmes like Cyber Shikshaa to train professionals in the field of cybersecurity and to raise public awareness.
Despite the fact that the cybersecurity industry has grown significantly in importance and is predicted to expand quickly in India, there is still a shortage of competent workers to meet the sector’s demands.
Regarding the study, it seeks to:
Analyse the supply and demand for cybersecurity specialists in India,
Recognise the social and technical elements that contribute to the skills gap, and investigate multi-stakeholder and CSR-based solutions to fill it.
Results of the research:
Top three attacks include:
Phishing, smishing, and vishing attacks are anticipated to significantly increase in the near future, followed by ransomware assaults and zero-day exploits.
Phishing scams deceive users into installing malware, disclosing personal information, and placing themselves or their companies at risk of criminality.
Smishing frequently entails sending phoney text messages that demand the receiver click on a link or react with personal information and convey an air of urgency.
Vishing (voice or VoIP phishing) is the practise of tricking targets into disclosing sensitive information to unauthorised parties using voice and telephony technology.
Zero-day attacks happen when hackers take advantage of the vulnerability before developers have a chance to fix it.
The following three significant trends will boost demand for cybersecurity:
Hackers’ use of AI, ML, and IoT is leading to an increase in cybersecurity assaults.
expanding regulatory obligations.
Large amounts of data are exchanged as a result of excessive use of digital platforms.
The three most common job roles nowadays are penetration tester, cybersecurity risk analyst, and analyst.
They make up fewer than 5% of the entire employees at their organisation.
Women make up between 21% and 40% of the total cybersecurity staff in 43% of the organisations.
Organisations must do risk assessments frequently and implement strong security measures.
Multi-stakeholder collaboration is required to map industry-relevant skills, design skilling programmes, and deliver them in accordance with industry norms.
Training organizations/NGOs to encourage the creation of strong inclusive programmes that can specifically address the requirements of PwDs.
Corporates can play a key role [through their Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR)] by including and supporting cybersecurity certification as a part of their skill-building programmes (addressing the certification gaps).
Source à The Hindu
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The Hindu Editorial Analysis
THE INDIAN POLITY, A DEMOCRATIC DIAGNOSIS:
Our carefully designed parliamentary system aimed to achieve lawmaking, executive responsibility, approval of taxation measures and control of the national finances, as well as discussion of issues of public interest and concern.
Constitution of India:
India “shall be a Union of States,” it said, and the provisions of Part XI of the Constitution would control its interactions with the States.
The trinity of liberty, equality, and fraternity is the ultimate goal of social democracy, according to B.R. Ambedkar, and it may best be attained through the efficient operation of the legislative branch, executive branch, and judicial branch.
These fundamental ideas were outlined in the Preamble of the Constitution and reaffirmed by the Supreme Court of India in its Basic Structure doctrine.
The difficulty was in getting the main components, starting with the first, to work together effectively. The facts at hand clearly show that its performance has been declining over the past decade, each session, and each year.
It is obvious that Parliament is no longer a useful tool for oversight, accountability, and scrutiny. Instead, efforts are made to legitimise disruptive technologies developed by the opposition and unintentionally abandoned by the administration.
Above all, the leadership of the day supports it by being silent, not showing up, or doing both, as well as by arriving noticeably late to the meetings of the standing committees. The ultimate result is a process of scrutiny, discussion, and disagreement that is waning.
Aware opinion is worried about its derailment and the consequences, independent of periodic elections. Social media’s rise as a competing claimant to the role of representative in civil society has evolved as both complementary and antagonistic to the idea of challenging or enhancing the representativeness of Parliament.
In addition to becoming more ineffective in terms of governance and legislation, parliament has grown more descriptively representative while also tending to evade accountability through bundling together.
A result of this trend is the government’s attempts to alter the civil service’s nature and how it operates, leaving the employees “torn between conflicting loyalties” and impairing their capacity to act impartially.
Indian Democracy: Current Issues and Challenges:
The task of integrating many ideologies, beliefs, dialects, and ways of life into a unified Indian character is complicated by the society’s pluralism, which is made worse by unequal access to resources, opportunities, and freedoms.
Between the richest and poorest segments of society, there is growing economic disparity.
Its manifestation is the appalling state of public scrutiny, accountability, and corruption. By weakening the legal system, caste, and community-based politics, this is made worse.
The welfare state’s credibility has been damaged as a result of booming corporations, the monetization of public assets, and partisan interests that have eluded practically all institutions.
heightened social polarisation and various political and non-political stakeholders’ manifestations of India’s past along different lines.
Steps to Take:
Independent Secretariat of Election Commission of India: In order to have more autonomy and rule-making authority, the ECI recommended a constitutional amendment in April 2018. The Secretariat would be able to carry out its duties as effectively as possible.
If found guilty of corrupt practises under the 1951 Representative of the Peoples Act, the candidates would be permanently expelled.
Strict Monitoring of Election Campaign Funding Sources and Restricted Ban on Corporate Funding.
Instead of outright rejecting criticism, the government ought to listen to it. Responses to suggestions that undermine democratic norms must be intelligent and polite.
The judiciary and press are regarded as the cornerstones of Indian democracy and must be free from government intervention.
Citizens must have equal vigilance and duty towards both their rights and obligations.
a stronger focus on substantive democracy as opposed to a procedural one.
The inhabitants of the nation must therefore act immediately and consciously to ensure and defend the constitutional nature of the Indian politics and to establish the responsibility of diverse stakeholders. The actual AMRIT KAAL of our polity will only come about when we realise the dream and decision of our founding fathers.
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The Indian Express Editorial Analysis
Since at least the middle of the 1990s, nations have been taking action to combat climate change, but it has only been during the last ten years or so that these efforts have grown big enough to make an actual influence.
The severity of the climate catastrophe has risen sharply in recent years, but the global reaction has never kept up with it.
From June 5 to June 15, 2023, the Bonn Climate Change Conference will be held in Bonn, Germany.
Negotiators from around the world are currently gathering in the German city of Bonn to debate methods to enhance their collective response to climate change, amidst nearly daily reminders of this catastrophe’ escalating state. Every year, this gathering takes place in Bonn at the UN Climate Change headquarters. The work done and choices made here influence the yearly climate change conferences that take place at the conclusion of the year.
Numerous compulsory activities will be held at the conference, and debates on crucial topics like the global stocktake, global goal on adaptation, just transition, loss and damage, and the mitigation work programme will continue.
Global Stocktake, or GST, is a significant task under the Bonn meeting:
The Global Stocktake, also known as GST, is one of the most significant tasks to be completed at this year’s Bonn meeting. GST is a word that is anticipated to be often used in debates about climate change this year.
This exercise in taking stock is anticipated to result in a considerable increase in the global response to climate change, not just in terms of greenhouse gas emission reductions but also in terms of adaptation, financial provision, and technological accessibility.
The worldwide Stewardship Survey (GST), which was mandated by the 2015 Paris Agreement, aims to evaluate the progress being made in the fight against climate change and determine strategies and means to improve the worldwide effort to close the adequacy gap.
The Stocktake’s current state and the actions that must be made to make it better:
The current stocktake, which has been ongoing for more than a year and is scheduled to end this year, is the first of its kind and is required to be conducted every five years going forward under the Paris Agreement.
According to scientific evidence, the world’s present course of action is tragically insufficient to keep the rise in global temperature to 1.5 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels.
The sixth assessment report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), which was released over the previous four years, is the most notable of them. If the world is to have any realistic hope of staying within the 1.5-degree threshold, emissions must be reduced by almost half from 2019 levels by 2030.
By 2100, global temperatures are projected to rise by almost 3 degrees Celsius at present rates of climate action.
But as is to be expected, changing one’s trajectory is not an easy task. The Paris Agreement gives nations the freedom to choose how much they want to put into the global fight against climate change.
Every nation is, in fact, free to choose the climate activities it would take. But given that every nation’s combined efforts are now proving insufficient, some degree of imposition appears required. And no nation is at ease with it.
Concerns related to stocktake include recognised fault lines:
Allocating responsibility for more effective climate action is a problem that plagues the GST discussions just like it does the rest of the climate debates.
The fault lines are well known because wealthy and industrialised nations want significant emitters like China and India to increase their efforts. The underperformance and unfulfilled pledges of the established nations have been brought up by developing nations, particularly China and India.
During the first session of the third and last round of technical discussions, the fault lines were clear. The US refused to accept any attempt to incorporate such recommendations in the GST rulings, claiming that closing the gap was not only the responsibility of affluent nations.
The Kyoto Protocol, which came before the Paris Agreement, set the direction for climate action in the years before 2020. Along with other responsibilities, a group of around 40 wealthy nations, including the United States, has established particular emissions reduction targets to be met by 2020.
The majority of these nations failed to reach the goals both individually and collectively. The developed countries are required to step up their efforts now to make up for their earlier failure, according to developing countries, who claim that the failure of the developed countries to fulfil their commitments was the primary cause of the climate crisis’ recent deterioration.
Developing country responsibilities in conjunction with developed country obligations:
The United States also stated that all economic sectors must contribute to emission reductions in the upcoming round of climate action plans that nations will conclude.
This was aimed at nations like India, whose climate pledges mostly centre on boosting its forests, increasing its renewable energy footprint, and enhancing its energy efficiency.
Particularly sensitive to itself and the rest of the developing world, India has not committed to limiting methane emissions from agriculture.
India strongly disagreed with the US plan, claiming that it was still within its “sovereign right” to choose its own “climate targets” in order to achieve its own national objectives.
Additionally, it stated that it did not support the notion that NDCs must definitely be applied across the entire economy, including all industries and greenhouse gases like methane. It joined other developing nations in stressing the need for the gaps to be closed before 2020.
China made the strongest case against pre-2020 gaps, arguing that the demands of 134 developing nations had not been sufficiently taken into account in GST discussions to date.
It stated that the pre-2020 gaps were an essential component of the global efforts to meet the Paris Agreement targets and emphasised that there was now undeniable scientific proof that the majority of carbon dioxide emissions from 1850 to 2018 were produced before 1990.
A comprehensive strategy to tackle climate change is required, and industrialised nations must acknowledge their historical contributions to carbon emissions.
However, under the Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs), developing countries shouldn’t shirk their moral obligations to combat climate change. Together, rich and developing countries can reduce greenhouse gas emissions and move towards the goals of the UNFCCC’s Paris climate agreement.
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