(PRELIMS + MAINS FOCUS)
Part of: Prelims and GS III - Climate change
Context UK has urged India to announce a “more ambitious” Nationally Determined Contribution (NDC) ahead of a United Nations climate change summit in the U.K. in a few weeks.
- As president of the coming climate change conference, the U.K. is asking all countries to update their NDCs to reflect climate targets for the next few decades.
- UK also noted that India already lead(s) the world in renewable technology.
What is a Nationally Determined Contribution (NDC)?
- Nationally Determined Contributions (NDC) or Intended Nationally Determined Contributions (INDC) are non-binding national plans highlighting climate actions that governments aim to implement in response to climate change and as a contribution to achieve the global targets set out in the Paris Agreement.
- 193 countries filed their first NDCs, but only 19 have so far updated them.
India’s Paris Climate Goals
In 2015, ahead of the UN significant climate conference in Paris, India announced three major voluntary commitments called the Nationally Determined Contributions (NDC):
- Improving the emissions intensity of its GDP by 33–35% by 2030 over 2005 levels
- Increasing the share of non-fossil fuels-based electricity to 40% by 2030.
- Enhancing its forest cover, thereby absorbing 2.5 to 3 billion tonnes of carbon dioxide
India’s promises include:
- installing 450 GW of renewable energy by 2030
- declaring firm deadlines for achieving “Net Zero” carbon emissions
- ending the use of coal for generating electricity, so as to keep global warming below 1.5 degrees Celsius.
Part of: Prelims and GS - II - International relations
Context Indian Prime Minister will attend an extraordinary virtual meeting of G20 leaders on Afghanistan to be held on October 12.
- The G20 meeting is likely to deliberate on both political as well as humanitarian issues regarding the country.
What is G20?
- The G20 is the international forum that brings together the world’s major economies. Its members account for more than 80% of world GDP, 75% of global trade and 60% of the population of the planet.
- The G20 comprises 19 countries and the European Union. The 19 countries are Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, Germany, France, India, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, Mexico, Russia, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, South Korea, Turkey, the United Kingdom and the United States
- The forum has met every year since 1999 and includes, since 2008, a yearly Summit, with the participation of the respective Heads of State and Government.
- Italy is the current chair of G20.
Part of: Prelims and GS-II - Statutory bodies; Indian Polity
Context The National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) has issued notices to the Jammu and Kashmir Government and the police over the recent spate of targeted killings of civilians from minority communities of Kashmiri Pandits.
What is National Human Rights Commission (NHRC)?
- NHRC was established in 1993.
- It is in conformity with the Paris Principles, adopted at the first international workshop on national institutions for the protection of human rights held in Paris in 1991.
- Status: It is a statutory organization established under the Protection of Human Rights Act (PHRA), 1993
- Headquarters: New Delhi.
- To investigate the violation of human rights/ the failures of the states/other to prevent a human rights violation
- Research about human rights, create awareness campaigns through various mediums, and encourage the work of NGOs.
- Chairperson, four full-time Members and four deemed Members.
- A Chairperson, should be retired Chief Justice of India or a Judge of the Supreme Court.
- Appointment: The Chairperson and members of the NHRC are appointed by the President of India, on the recommendation of a committee consisting of:
- The Prime Minister (Chairperson)
- The Home Minister
- The Leader of the Opposition in the Lok Sabha
- The Leader of the Opposition in the Rajya Sabha
- The Speaker of the Lok Sabha
- The Deputy Chairman of the Rajya Sabha
- They hold office for a term of three years or until they attain the age of 70 years, whichever is earlier.
- The President can remove them from the office under specific circumstances.
Part of: Prelims and GS II - International relations
Context The Supreme Court has declared the National Green Tribunal’s (NGT) position as a “unique” forum endowed with suo motu (action taken by a court of its own accord) powers to take up environmental issues across the country.
Key takeaways from SC‘s judgement
- The exercise of power by the NGT is not circumscribed by the receipt of applications.
- When substantial questions relating to the environment arise and the issue is civil in nature and those relate to the Act, the NGT, even in the absence of an application, can self-ignite action either towards Improvement or towards prevention of harm.
- The court explained that the role of the NGT was not simply adjudicatory in nature. The Tribunal has to perform equally vital roles that were preventative, ameliorative (improvement) or remedial in nature.
- NGT is a complimentary, competent, specialised forum to deal with all environmental multidisciplinary issues both as original and also as an appellate authority.
What is NGT?
- It is a statutory body established in 2010, as per the National Green Tribunal Act.
- It is a specialised judicial body equipped with expertise solely for the purpose of adjudicating environmental cases in the country.
- The chairperson of the NGT is a retired judge of the Supreme Court
- It shall not be bound by the procedure laid down under the Code of Civil Procedure, 1908 but shall be guided by principles of natural justice.
- Tribunal’s orders are binding and it has power to grant relief in the form of compensation and damages to affected persons.
Part of: Prelims and GS II - International Relations and GS-III - Biodiversity
Context A key UN summit tasked with protecting biodiversity opened in China online, as countries meet to protect ecosystems and prevent mass extinction weeks before the COP26 climate conference.
- Beijing is the world’s biggest polluter.
- It has sought to position itself in recent years as a world leader on environmental issues.
- The online summit shall hold a face-to-face meeting in April 2022.
- It will see parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) discuss new targets for protecting ecosystems by 2030.
- It shall also debate on the “30 by 30” plan to give 30% of land and oceans protected status by 2030
- It is a measure supported by a broad coalition of nations, as well as a goal to halve the use of chemicals in agriculture and stop creating plastic waste.
The Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD)
- It is known informally as the Biodiversity Convention, is a multilateral treaty.
- The convention has three main goals:
- the conservation of biological diversity (or biodiversity);
- the sustainable use of its components;
- and the fair and equitable sharing of benefits arising from genetic resources.
- Objective: To develop national strategies for the conservation and sustainable use of biological diversity.
- It is often seen as the key document regarding sustainable development.
- The convention was opened for signature at the Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro on 5 June 1992 and entered into force on 29 December 1993.
- It has two supplementary agreements, the Cartagena Protocol and Nagoya Protocol.
Part of: Prelims
Context The Nobel prize for economics was awarded to economist David Card for research that showed
- An increase in minimum wage does not hinder hiring
- An influx of immigrants into a city doesn't cost native workers jobs or lower their earnings
Two others shared the award for developing ways to study these types of societal issues.
- Canadian-born Dr. Card of the University of California, Berkeley, was awarded one half of the prize for his research on how minimum wage, immigration and education affect the labour market.
- The other half was shared by Joshua Angrist from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Dutch-born Guido Imbens from Stanford University for their framework for studying issues that can’t rely on traditional scientific methods.
- Unlike the other Nobel prizes, the economics award wasn't established in the will of Alfred Nobel but by the Swedish central bank in his memory in 1968, with the first winner selected a year later. It is the last prize announced each year.
(News from PIB)
Part of: Mains GS-III: Energy
- 39% of India’s installed capacity is from non-fossil based sources. By 2022 India will reach its target of 40%.
- India surpassed the 100 GW milestone (excluding large hydro) in 2021.
- India has only tapped a fraction of the vast potential for renewable energy and, therefore, India has raised the target to 450 GW RE installed capacity by 2030.
- Launching the Green Corridor Phase 2 and generally expanding transmission to put in place systems for renewable power evacuation from sites where irradiation is high, or wind speed is high.
- India is developing the National Green Hydrogen Energy Mission to scale up green hydrogen production and utilization across multiple sectors; targeting initially approximately 1 million tonnes annual green hydrogen production by 2030.
- Government is coming out with bids for battery storage. Intermittency of renewable power is another challenge for the entire world highlighting that battery storage per unit currently is high and needs to come down. There is a Production Linked Incentive for battery storage already in place and demand needs to be encouraged to bring down the prices of storage.
- The Government of India has recently launched the Production Linked Incentive scheme for the manufacture of High Efficiency Solar PV Modules. India expects to add 10 Gigawatt of solar PV manufacturing capacity over the next five years.
- Three new areas of emerging opportunities for investors – green hydrogen, off-shore wind, and solar PV manufacturing. Mandatory purchase obligations are intended to increase use of green hydrogen in sectors like fertilizers, petroleum refining, and city gas distribution.
News Source: PIB
Part of: Prelims
In News: The Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports, Government of India launched the Clean India programme in collaboration with State Governments on the eve of 75th year of Independence.
- Key activities: Collection and disposal of Waste through collection drive and door to door Campaign, Village Beautification, Maintenance beautification drives for historical monuments and heritage sites, community centres, Youth club/ Mahila Mandals, school and panchayat buildings etc. and Traditional Water Sources: Cleanliness and maintenance of water bodies through work camps.
- Collection and disposal of 75 Lakh kg waste mainly plastic waste throughout the Country covering 744 districts. On an average of 10,080 kg waste per District will be collected and accordingly on an average of 30kg waste per village will be collected & disposed off
News Source: PIB
- GS-2: Issues relating to development and management of Social Sector/Services relating to Health.
Context: Pandemic has exposed and aggravated the cracks in our health-care systems and given life to the demand for the constitutional ‘Right to Health for all’.
Importance of Right to Health
- A constitutional ‘Right to Health’ will transform not only the health and well-being of people but will act as a leap for the economic and developmental progress of the nation.
- The vision for Ayushman Bharat will be strengthened with a constitutional ‘Right to Health’.
- The immediate financial security that will come with the constitutional ‘Right to Health’ will be seen as a measurable impact on family savings, greater investment, and jobs creation on the one hand, and in the long-term emotional, psychological and social security of people.
Importance of ‘Right to Health’ for children
- A large number of children who belong to the poorest and most marginalised communities of our country grow up working in hazardous situations be it fields, mines, brick kilns or factories
- When rescued, these children are ridden with complex health impacts of working — primarily tuberculosis, skin diseases, eyesight impairment, and malnutrition, besides the substantial mental health impact.
- These children have been denied a safety net of early childhood care and protection, the consequences of which are felt for a lifetime.
- The ‘Right to Health’ will help transition the children in exploitative conditions into a safer future.
- The right to free and compulsory education was arguably one of the most valuable legacies of the decade of 2000s.
- A constitutional amendment to introduce the ‘Right to Health for India’ can be the legacy of this decade.
Connecting the dots:
- Right to Education
- Right to Food (National Food Security Act)
- Right to Information
- Right to work (MGNREGA)
- GS-2: Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues arising out of their design and implementation
- GS-2: Environment & Conservation
Context: The recently published Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Sixth Assessment Report from Working Group I makes a clarion call for climate action.
- According to the report, the past decade (2011-2020) was warmer by 1.09°C than the period from 1850 to 1900, and the 1.5°C global warming threshold is likely to be breached soon
Do You Know?
- The Global Climate Risk Index (2021) ranked India the seventh-most affected country by weather extremes.
- The IPCC report warns India against more intense heat waves, heavy monsoons and rise in weather extremes in the future.
Importance of Adaptation
- Responses to climate change vary from place to place as there are differences in production systems, agro-climatic and socio-economic conditions across the country. Hence, there is an urgency to adopt country specific adaptation strategies.
- India has some dedicated initiatives towards adaptation, such as the National Action Plan on Climate Change and the National Adaptation Fund.
- However, adaptation planning needs to go beyond a business-as-usual approach.
- A development-centric approach that aligns climate change, food security, and livelihood perspectives and takes into consideration regional specificities is crucial for reducing poverty and distress migrations.
- Moreover, adaptation planning requires governance at different levels to understand, plan, coordinate, integrate and act to reduce vulnerability and exposure.
To strengthen adaptation and resilience, India can do the following.
- Improvised Prediction Models: First, it can be more prepared for climate change with high-quality meteorological data. With improved early warning systems and forecasting, we can tackle the crisis better. Premier research institutes can be roped in to develop regional climate projections for robust risk assessments.
- Promoting Environmentally Friendly Products: Second, for sustainable production systems, it is necessary to develop well-functioning markets for environmentally friendly products and disseminate them for the desired behavioural change.
- Involve Private Sector: Third, it is important to encourage private sector participation for investment in adaptation technologies and for designing and implementing innovative climate services and solutions in areas such as agriculture, health, infrastructure, insurance and risk management.
- Tapping into traditional knowledge: Fourth, we need to protect mangroves and forests to address climate-related risks by blending traditional knowledge with scientific evidence and encourage local and non-state actors to actively participate.
- Establish Feedback Mechanisms: Fifth, for continuous monitoring and evaluation, effective feedback mechanisms must be developed for mid-course correction. Periodic fine-tuning of State Action Plans on Climate Change is needed to design appropriate responses & proper resource allocation.
- Proactive and timely need-based adaptation is important. Without it, there will be a huge fiscal burden in the future.
- A more collaborative approach towards climate change adaptation is crucial.
- Next-generation reforms will promote new business and climate service opportunities across several sectors and thus create a sustainable economy.
Connecting the dots:
(Sansad TV – Perspective)
Oct 5: Silver Economy: Challenges & Opportunities - https://youtu.be/wugogQvQOJw
Topic: General Studies 1,2:
- Social empowerment
- Mechanisms, laws, institutions and Bodies constituted for the protection and betterment of these vulnerable sections
Context: India’s elderly population is on the rise, and as per surveys, the share of elders, as a percentage of the total population in the country, is expected to increase from around 8.6% in 2011 to almost 12.5% by 2026, and surpass 19.5% by 2050.
The pandemic has brought into the open the gaps in India's health policy, programme implementation, infrastructure and support systems for the elderly, who have been the most vulnerable to the virus. Given this sharp rise there is an urgent need to create a more robust eldercare ecosystem in India, especially in the post-COVID phase.
Globally, the average life expectancy at birth for males and females was 45.5 and 48.5 respectively in 1950. It has steadily improved to 68.5 and 73.3 in 2015, with India being no exception. Two-thirds of this segment live in developing countries. Ageing, together with falling fertility rates, has profoundly impacted areas of resources, healthcare and insurance. Similar effects can be observed in the familial, psycho-social and life satisfaction indices. As a result, society, in general, will be forced to abandon some of the conventions and accept a few others as the new normal.
In developing countries, the extended lifespan of people beyond 65 years strains the conventional family support system – which is transforming. The diminished family structure often develops cracks in its financial planning with an additional cost centre for eldercare emerging. On the healthcare side, increasing utilisation and consumption of medical facilities, products and supportive devices increase pressure on infrastructure.
Definition of the Silver Economy
- The silver economy is most often defined as a market or economy of seniors and covers basically all economic activities aiming to meet the needs of an ageing population.
- The social meaning of the silver economy consists in meeting the needs and aspirations of the ageing population, respecting both the need for further participation in social life, as well as the weakness of the elderly (requiring compensation and support).
- The economic meaning of the concept of silver economy consists in showing benefits which are connected with demand factors on the part of seniors, i.e. purchasing power and consumption (with significant potential for growth), and also supply-side factors represented by them (longer work, higher qualifications, experience and life stability).
The Aged in India
- In India, urbanisation and rural-to-urban migration have speeded up the deconstruction of the old joint family systems into nuclear family units. A 2019 World Bank study has estimated that 34 per cent of the population is now urban – a massive decadal jump from 26 per cent in 2001. This trend adversely affects the safety net that was available to the old in the form of shared responsibility and resources.
- Micro family units not only reduce their member size but also the physical space. Further, if there are relocation and rehabilitation issues, the Life Satisfaction Quotient yardstick can easily fall by few notches. Factors like closeness to the family, financial security and familiar surroundings are known to improve life satisfaction.
- As a trend, the golden age of a person’s life is beset with obligations to pay for children’s studies, mortgages and similar long-term expenses. With an advanced age (65+) component added, the fixed income family budget collapses. This has a serious impact on the Adult age (45+) future planning and security.
- With longer life, much of the savings and other resources of the senior people diminish – pensioners being an exception. NITI Ayog has estimated that only 8% of the working population is in the organized sector and the rest accounts for the informal sector. To finance the increasing needs of the elderly, viable financial instruments must be introduced in the market.
The government is exploring various ways to promote the idea of silver economy.
- An initial sum of 100 crore rupees has been allocated for evaluating and promoting the Silver Economy in India out of which nearly Rs. 25 crore has been assigned for use in FY2021-22.
- Initial estimations suggest that at present the Silver Economy is worth approximately 73,082 crore rupees.
Elderly Line 14567: Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment dedicated the Elderly Line 14567 to the Nation on the occasion of International Day of Older Persons: 1st October
Senior Aging Growth Engine or SAGE:
- A scheme has been launched to promote private enterprises that bring out innovation in products and processes for the benefit of the elders.
- This project will identify, evaluate, verify and aggregate the needs of elder persons to deliver products, solutions and services.
- One of the selected start-ups, Neomotion, has come up with a “no transfer” accessibility solution where a user will be able to attach the wheelchair to a motorbike and travel. Newnara’s “Indoknee” offers lightweight, unhindered corrective support, Flexmo a wearable hip guard and Ducere smart insoles for fall prevention.
- Another start-up, Avyantra, is working to deliver an automated medical device for home dialysis. Once the requisite approvals for using the technology come, this could make life easier for those struggling with chronic kidney failure.
- “Life Circle” offers subscription-based Home Healthcare Services for the elderly. There is Mediyatra that seeks to make travel more accessible for the elderly patients and people with disabilities and Primate Healthtech that is focussed on accessible diagnostics for early detection of chronic diseases. For the travel loving elderly, there is KareVoyage.
- Senior Able Citizens for Re-Employment in Dignity will connect the senior citizens with job providers in the private sector.
Longitudinal Ageing Study of India (LASI) Wave-1,India Report
- LASI will provide an evidence base for national and state level programmes and policies for elderly population.
- A unique feature of LASI is the coverage of comprehensive biomarkers.
- The LASI, Wave 1 covered a baseline sample of 72,250 individuals aged 45 and above and their spouses including 31,464 elderly persons aged 60 and above and 6,749 oldest-old persons aged 75 and above from all States and Union Territories (UTs) of India (excluding Sikkim).
- It is India’s first and the world’s largest ever survey that provides a longitudinal database for designing policies and programmes for the older population.
- The evidence from LASI will be used to further strengthen and broaden the scope of National Programme for Health Care of the Elderly.
- It will also help in establishing a range of preventive and health care programmes for older population and most vulnerable among them.
Quality of Life for Elderly Index
- The Index has been created by the Institute for Competitiveness at the request of EAC-PM and it sheds light on an issue often not mentioned- problems faced by the elderly and identifies the regional patterns of ageing across Indian States and assesses the overall ageing situation in India.
- The Index framework includes:
- Four pillars: Financial Well-being, Social Well-being, Health System and Income Security, and
- Eight sub-pillars: Economic Empowerment, Educational Attainment & Employment, Social Status, Physical Security, Basic Health, Psychological Wellbeing, Social Security and Enabling Environment.
The Way Forward
- Phased-in retirement: Phased-in retirement entails a scheme whereby older workers could choose to work fewer hours yet remain longer in the labour force, including after they retire. This allows continuity in tax revenues and reduced expenditure on pensions and older workers can be valuable to organizations and younger colleagues due to their knowledge and experience;
- Comprehensive healthcare infrastructure: It is of prime importance that good quality health care be made available and accessible to the elderly in an age-sensitive manner. Health services should address preventive measures, in addition, effective care and support is required for those elderly suffering from various diseases through primary, secondary and tertiary health care systems.
- Strengthen the family care: The preferred source of support for the aged is still the family – informal system where the notion of care is embedded within a tradition of social obligations that are understood and reciprocated. The reciprocal care and support within multi-generational families of parents, grandparents and children should be encouraged. Traditional values of filial obligations can also be reinforced in school curricula and through the media.
- Efficient welfare policy for the old-age population: Schemes like Varishta Pension Bima Yojana, Pradhan Mantri Vaya Vandana Yojana, and IGNOAPS etc have to be strengthened and made aware to reach the right beneficiaries.
- Promoting and rewarding volunteering: Governments could promote and reward volunteering and care work among citizens and NGOs. Such unpaid activities improve the quality of the social fabric, help the well-being of those engaging in them, contribute to the economy, and reduce healthcare and welfare costs.
In the future, the success of a nation will critically depend upon its ability to address such sweeping demographic changes effectively though policies and programmes. This underutilized resource available to humanity should be integrated into the lives of communities and where they can make a substantial contribution to improving social conditions.
Can you answer the following questions?
- Elderly population in India is one of the most vulnerable sections of the society in an age of changing social dynamics. Comment.
- What measures have been taken by the government to ensure their welfare? Are they enough? Examine.
(TEST YOUR KNOWLEDGE)
Model questions: (You can now post your answers in comment section)
- Correct answers of today’s questions will be provided in next day’s DNA section. Kindly refer to it and update your answers.
Q.1 Which of the following is not a non-constitutional body?
- National human rights Commission
- NITI Aayog
- Central information commission
- National commission for scheduled castes
Q.2 Consider the following statements regarding Nationally Determined Contributions (NDC):
- These are non-binding national plans highlighting climate actions that governments aim to implement in response to climate change
- These contributions are part of Nagoya protocol
Which of the above is or are correct?
- 1 only
- 2 only
- Both 1 and 2
- Neither 1 nor 2
Q.3 Which of the following was adopted first?
- Convention on biological diversity
- Nagoya protocol
- Cartagena Protocol
- All were adopted in the same year of 1992
ANSWERS FOR 11th Oct 2021 TEST YOUR KNOWLEDGE (TYK)
On Protecting India’s Geological Heritage:
On Stubble burning: