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Insights Daily Current Events, 21 November 2014

Insights Daily Current Events, 21 November 2014

Deendayal Upadhyaya Gram Jyoti Yojana

The union cabinet, chaired by the PM, has given its approval to launch Deendayal Upadhyaya Gram Jyoti Yojana (DDUGJY).

About DDUGJY:

Aim: to augment power supply to the rural areas and to strengthen sub-transmission and distribution systems.

The Yojana also includes the components:

  1. to separate agriculture and non agriculture feeders facilitating judicious rostering of supply to agricultural and non-agricultural consumers in rural areas and
  2. strengthening and augmentation of sub transmission and distribution infrastructure in rural areas, including metering of distribution transformers/feeders/consumers.

The scheme would help in:

  • Improvement in hours of power supply in rural areas,
  • Reduction in peak load,
  • Improvement in billed energy based on metered consumption and
  • Providing access to electricity to rural households.

Sources: PIB.

SC calls for stiffer penalties for juvenile crime

The Supreme Court, recently, described a juvenile law that prescribes “admonition” and “group counselling” as punishment for even grave and heinous offences as “far too liberal.” The SC also expressed concerns over Sections 7A and 15 of the Act.

Context:

  • The court was hearing the case of a 40-year-old man, convicted of murder, who successfully raised a ‘claim of juvenility’ in the Supreme Court under Section 7 A of the 2000 Act.
  • The court found that the man was 16 years old when he had allegedly committed the crime in 1990. This meant that the entire murder trial was vitiated and the man should have been treated as juvenile under the law.

     

Section 7 A of the Act:

  • Under this provision, an accused person can raise the ‘claim of juvenility’ before “any court, at any stage, even after the final disposal of the case”.

Section 15 of the Act:

  • It provides for a juvenile offender to be sent him home after a round of advice or ordered him to perform community service or pay a fine or released him on a bond under the care of his parents or guardian. Juveniles over 17 years old but less than 18 can be sent to a special home for a period of two years or until they cease to be a juvenile.

Observations made by the SC:

  • Presently, there are so many multi-cultural facets – internet, ambition. Unlike the 60s and 70s where boys used to assault each other in a school ground, times have changed. Brutal murders happen.
  • In a population of 1,000, one per cent may be juveniles who commit rape and murder. But even this one per cent can be a menace. So should we go by the gravity of the crime or the percentage of juvenile population that may commit these heinous crimes?
  • The SC Bench said law must “satisfy the desire of society” and prescribe a punishment befitting the gravity of the crime.

Accepting that juvenile offenders require the protection of the Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act, 2000, a Bench of Justices, however, expressed reservations about certain provisions in the statute.

Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act, 2000:

  • It is the primary legal framework for juvenile justice in India.
  • The Act provides for a special approach towards the prevention and treatment of juvenile delinquency and provides a framework for the protection, treatment and rehabilitation of children in the purview of the juvenile justice system.
  • This law, brought in compliance of Child Rights Convention 1989, repealed the earlier Juvenile Justice Act of 1986 after India signed and ratified Child Rights Convention 1989 in year 1992.

History: The first legislation on juvenile justice in India came in 1850 with the Apprentice Act which required that children between the ages of 10-18 convicted in courts to be provided vocational training as part of their rehabilitation process. This act was transplanted by the Reformatory Schools Act, 1897, the Indian Jail Committee and later the Children Act of 1960.

Sources: The Hindu, Wiki.

 

CO2 emissions must be nil by 2070 to prevent disaster: U.N.

The UN has warned that the world must cut CO2 emissions to zero by 2070. The UNEP report says that by 2100, all greenhouse gas emissions — including methane, nitrous oxide and ozone, as well as CO2 — must fall to zero.

WHY?

  • To keep global warming below dangerous levels and prevent a global catastrophe. Or else the world will face severe, widespread and irreversible effects from climate change.
  • The UNEP report is based on the idea that the planet has a finite ‘carbon budget’. Since emissions surged in the late 19th century, some 1,900 Gigatonnes (Gt) of CO2 and 1,000 Gt of other greenhouse gases have already been emitted, leaving less than 1,000 Gt of CO2 left to emit before locking the planet in to dangerous temperature rises of more than 2 degree C above pre-industrial levels.

What Next?

  • All scenarios in the UNEP report now require some degree of ‘negative CO2 emissions’ in the second half of the century, through technologies such as carbon capture and storage or, possibly, controversial, planetary wide engineering of the climate known as geo-engineering. UNEP is “extremely interested” in the subject and is planning a report in the months ahead.
  • Consideration should be given to compensatory schemes for investors in fossil fuels companies to address the ‘stranded assets’ issue.

What is the problem now?

  • The big uncertainty is whether a country can put enough policies in place from 2020-2030 — in the critical window — to allow the least-cost pathways [to lower emissions and temperatures] to still stand a chance of being followed.
  • And it is a political game now as the uncertainties have shifted from the science to the politics.

About UNEP:

  • It is an agency of the United Nations that coordinates its environmental activities, assisting developing countries in implementing environmentally sound policies and practices.
  • It was founded in 1972.
  • UNEP acts as a catalyst, advocate, educator and facilitator to promote the wise use and sustainable development of the global environment.

UNEP work encompasses:

  • Assessing global, regional and national environmental conditions and trends
  • Developing international and national environmental instruments
  • Strengthening institutions for the wise management of the environment

The global carbon budget is the balance of the exchanges (incomes and losses) of carbon between the carbon reservoirs or between one specific loop (e.g., atmosphere biosphere) of the carbon cycle.

Sources: The Hindu, www.unep.org.

$9.3 billion climate funding pledged

Nations meeting in Berlin pledged $9.3 billion for a climate fund to help poor countries cut emissions and prepare for global warming, just shy of a $10 billion target.

Green Climate Fund (GCF):

The Green Climate Fund (GCF) is a fund established in 2010 and is within the framework of the UNFCCC.

Why it was founded?

  • It was founded as a mechanism to redistribute money from the developed to the developing world, in order to assist the developing countries in adaptation and mitigation practices to counter climate change.
  • It was also founded to make a significant and ambitious contribution to the global efforts towards attaining the goals set by the international community to combat climate change.

It is governed by a Board of 24 members and was initially supported by an Interim Secretariat.

How it helps?

  • The Green Climate Fund will support projects, programmes, policies and other activities in developing country Parties using thematic funding windows.
  • It is intended to be the centrepiece of efforts to raise Climate Finance of $100 billion a year by 2020.
  • The Fund will promote the paradigm shift towards low-emission and climate-resilient development pathways by providing support to developing countries to limit or reduce their greenhouse gas emissions and to adapt to the impacts of climate change, taking into account the needs of those developing countries particularly vulnerable to the adverse effects of climate change.
  • The Fund will strive to maximize the impact of its funding for adaptation and mitigation, and seek a balance between the two, while promoting environmental, social, economic and development co-benefits and taking a gender-sensitive approach.

Who will govern the Fund?

  • The Fund is governed and supervised by a Board that will have full responsibility for funding decisions and that receives the guidance of the COP.
  • The Fund is accountable to, and functions under the guidance of, the COP.

Sources: The Hindu, gcfund.org.

 

DIPP abolishes licensing for ANFO

The government after due consideration has decided that no licence under the Industries (Development & Regulation) Act, 1951, will be necessary by mine owners to manufacture ANFO explosives.

Now: Mining companies engaged in the manufacture of ammonium nitrate fuel oil (ANFO) would not be required to obtain licence for possession and use of blasting accessories like safety fuse and detonators.

How this will be Helpful: This will help mine owners using ANFO to continue mining operations and will help the development of cement industry as well as the construction sector

About ANFO:

It is a widely used bulk industrial explosive mixture.

Constituents: It consists of 94% porous prilled ammonium nitrate (NH4NO3) (AN) that acts as the oxidizing agent and absorbent for the fuel and 6% number 2 fuel oil (FO).

Uses:

  • ANFO has found wide use in coal mining, quarrying, metal mining, and civil construction in undemanding applications where the advantages of ANFO’s low cost and ease of use matter more than the benefits offered by conventional industrial explosives, such as water resistance, oxygen balance, high detonation velocity, and performance in small diameters.
  • Ammonium nitrate is widely used as a fertilizer in the agricultural industry. In many countries, its purchase and use are restricted to buyers who have obtained the proper license. This restriction is primarily because it is an attractive and simple component used in the production of bombs.

Properties of AN:

  • AN is highly hygroscopic, readily absorbing water from air. It is dangerous when stored in humid environments, as any absorbed water interferes with its explosive function. AN is also water soluble. When used in wet mining conditions, considerable effort must be taken to dewater boreholes.

The popularity of ANFO is largely attributable to its low cost and high stability.

Why it is said to be dangerous:

  • Unmixed ammonium nitrate can decompose explosively and has been responsible for several industrial disasters, including the 1947 Texas City disaster in Texas City, Texas, the 2004 Ryongchon disaster in North Korea, and the 2013 West Fertilizer Company explosion in West, Texas.
  • Environmental hazards include eutrophication in confined waters and nitrate/gas oil contamination of ground or surface water.
  • Ammonium nitrate and nitromethane (ANNM) is one of the most powerful improvised types of AN-based explosives and is very dangerous.

Sources: The Hindu, PIB, Wiki.