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[Mission 2024] INSIGHTS DAILY CURRENT AFFAIRS + PIB SUMMARY 9 April 2024

InstaLinks :  help you think beyond the issue but relevant to the issue from UPSC prelims and Mains exam point of view. These linkages provided in this ‘hint’ format help you frame possible questions ina your mind that might arise(or an examiner might imagine) from each current event. InstaLinks also connect every issue to their static or theoretical background. This helps you study a topic holistically and add new dimensions to every current event to help you think analytically

Table of Contents:

GS Paper 2:

  1. SC: Right against adverse Climate Impacts as integral to Right to Life and Equality

 

Content for Mains Enrichment (CME)

  1. Rising Role of Women in Finance and Workforce

 

Facts for Prelims (FFP)

  1. Arctic’s polar vortex
  2. Southern Ocean
  3. Suvidha Portal
  4. Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC)
  5. Forever chemicals
  6. Spotted deer
  7. ESZ around Sukhna Wildlife Sanctuary

 

Mapping

  1. Sittwe port (Myanmar)

 


 

SC: Right against adverse Climate Impacts as integral to Right to Life and Equality

GS Paper 2

Syllabus: Polity: Fundamental Rights

 

Source:  DTE

 Context: The Supreme Court has for the first time recognizedthe right against adverse climate impacts as integral to the right to life and equality.

 

What is the background of the case?

The recent judgment stemmed from a petition by wildlife activists aiming to safeguard the critically endangered Great Indian Bustard (GIB), found only in Rajasthan and Gujarat.

In April 2021, the Supreme Court issued an order imposing restrictions on overhead transmission lines within a vast area, proposing their conversion into underground power lines.

However, the government, citing concerns about hindering India’s global commitments to reduce carbon emissions, requested a modification of the directives.

 

In March 2024, the Supreme Court revisited the ruling, acknowledging practical challenges such as technical complexities and high costs. Consequently, the court modified its order, emphasizing the importance of balancing GIB conservation with promoting renewable energy and environmental preservation.

 

Key highlights of the Supreme Court judgment include: 

  1. Recognition of Constitutional Rights: Articles 14 (Right to Equality) and Article 21 (Right to Life and Personal Liberty) are highlighted as important sources of the right to a clean environment and the right against adverse effects of climate change.
    1. SC emphasized constitutional provisions, including Articles 48A (to protect the environment and to safeguard the forests and wildlife), 51A(g) (to protect and improve the natural environment including forests, lakes, rivers and wildlife, and to have compassion for living creatures)
  2. Expansion of Fundamental Rights: The scope of fundamental rights is expanded to include the right against adverse effects of climate change, with failure to ensure a stable, clean environment impacting the right to life, health, and equality.
  3. The intersection of Climate Change and Human Rights: The court emphasizes the intersection between climate change and human rights, underscoring the imperative for states to address climate impacts through the lens of rights.
  4. Technical Challenges in Implementation: The court pointed out technical challenges in implementing the April 2021 order, including limitations of underground power transmission cables and lack of provisions in the Electricity Act for land acquisition.
  5. Formation of Committee: A nine-member committee of experts was formed to assess the feasibility of undergrounding power lines in specific areas, with a deadline to submit a report by July 31, 2024.
  6. India’s Commitment to Renewable Energy: The court highlighted India’s commitment to renewable energy, aiming for 175 GW by 2022 and 450 GW by 2030, viewing the transition to non-fossil fuels as a fundamental necessity for environmental preservation.
  7. Benefits of Renewable Energy Promotion: The promotion of renewable energy sources is seen as crucial for promoting social equity, poverty alleviation, enhancing quality of life, and fostering inclusive growth and development.

 

Referral to important Supreme Court judgments:

  1. C. Mehta v. Kamal Nath (1996): Acknowledgment that any disturbance of basic environmental elements is hazardous to “life” within the meaning of Article 21.
  2. Virender Gaur v. State of Haryana (1994): Recognition that the right to a clean environment is an integral facet of the right to a healthy life.

 

Impact of Climate Change on Human Rights:

Human Rights Examples of Impact of Climate Change
Right to Life Cyclones, floods, and heatwaves cause casualties. Spread of diseases like dengue and malaria due to changing climate.
Right to Health Poor air quality in cities like Delhi affects respiratory health. Erratic rainfall affects agricultural productivity and food security.
Right to Water Rising sea levels contaminate freshwater sources with saltwater intrusion. Water scarcity in regions dependent on monsoon rains.
Right to Livelihood Farmers facecrop failures and income loss due to droughts or floods.Fisherfolk losing access to fishing grounds due to sea level rise.
Right to Shelter Communities in low-lying coastal areas face displacement due to sea level rise and storm surges. Urban slum dwellers are at risk of losing homes during floods.
Right to Security Climate change threatens human security by causing resource scarcity, livelihood disruption, cultural erosion, displacement, and migration

Effects of Mitigation and Adaptation Measures on Human Rights:

  1. Mitigation:
    1. Hydroelectric projects can displace local communities, destroy ecosystems, and harm downstream populations.
    2. Biofuel policies may lead to food shortages, water scarcity, deforestation, and displacement of indigenous peoples and farmers.
  2. Adaptation:
    1. Some adaptation measures may benefit certain groups while disadvantaging others, such as coastal fortifications.
    2. Relocation and resettlement programs can pose risks of human rights violations for affected communities.

 

Measures Taken by India and the World to Protect Human Rights Against Climate Change:

  1. India:
    1. Implementation of the National Action Plan on Climate Change (NAPCC), which includes various missions targeting climate change mitigation and adaptation.
    2. Adoption of renewable energy initiatives like the National Solar Mission and promotion of clean energy sources.
    3. Integration of climate change considerations into national policies and programs, including water resource management and disaster preparedness.
    4. Promotion of sustainable agriculture practices to enhance resilience to climate change impacts.
    5. Implementation of the Afforestation and Reforestation programs to combat deforestation and enhance carbon sequestration.

 

  1. World:
    1. The United Nations (through a resolution in 2022) declared access to a clean, healthy environmentas a universal human right.
    2. Establishment of frameworks for climate finance, such as the Green Climate Fund, to support developing countries in their climate change adaptation and mitigation efforts.
    3. Promotion of climate-resilient infrastructure and urban planning to enhance resilience to extreme weather events and sea-level rise.
    4. Support for capacity-building initiatives to enhance the ability of vulnerable communities to adapt to climate change impacts.

 

UNEP recommendations:

  1. International Cooperation: Recognize the link between climate change and human rights in the Paris Agreement.
  2. Ensure climate funds’ safeguards fully consider human rights.
  3. Increase financial assistance to developing countries, especially for adaptation measures.
  4. Pursue domestic GHG reductions and align adaptation objectives with human rights.
  5. Incorporate human rights norms into domestic legal frameworks, including climate change laws.
  6. Local Governments and Private Actors: Local governments should reduce GHG emissions and pursue adaptation objectives. Private actors should adopt policies in line with the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights.

 

Conclusion:

Climate change and its responses will significantly impact human rights worldwide, affecting both individuals and ecosystems. States must fulfil their obligations to mitigate GHG emissions, protect citizens from climate change, and ensure responses do not violate human rights. More ambitious actions and global cooperation are needed to safeguard human rights effectively.

 

Mains Link:

Though the Human Rights Commissions have contributed immensely to the protection of human rights in India, yet they have failed to assert themselves against the mighty and powerful. Analysing their structural and practical limitations, suggest remedial measures. (UPSC 2021)

 

Prelims Link:

Other than the Fundamental Rights, which of the following parts of the Constitution of India reflect/ reflects the principles and provisions of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (1948)? (UPSC 2020)

  1. Preamble
  2. Directive Principles of State Policy
  3. Fundamental Duties

 

Select the correct answer using the code given below:

(a) 1 and 2 only
(b) 2 only
(c) 1 and 3 only
(d) 1, 2 and 3

 

Ans: D

Rising Role of Women in Finance and Workforce

Content for Mains Enrichment (CME)

 

Source: The Print

Context:More Indian women are actively participating in financial decision-making, with 98% of urban women involved in long-term family decisions, including household financial investments, according to the recentAMFi-CRISIL report.

 

  • Female LFPR up to 41.5% (Oct 2023) from 24.6% (2017-18),with rural women showing a faster growth rate
  • 47% of women make independent financial decisions. Autonomy varies with income, age, and affluence stage

 

Challenges in Women’s Financial Autonomy: Socio-cultural: Patriarchy, gender stereotypes., Lower workforce participation, gender pay gap, unpaid domestic work burden

 

Significance of Women’s Role in Financial Decision-Making:

  1. Social Impact: Empowerment, gender equality, reduced conflict, better education, and healthcare.
  2. Economic Impact: Financial literacy, wealth management, entrepreneurship, and innovation.

 

Values exhibited:

  1. Gender equality: Addressing disparities and promoting equal opportunities.
  2. Social justice: Reducing gender-based discrimination and fostering inclusivity.
  3. Empowerment: Enhancing autonomy and decision-making power.
  4. Fairness: Ensuring equitable treatment and opportunities for all genders.
  5. Respect: Valuing diverse perspectives and contributions in the workforce.
/ 09 April 2024, Today's Article

Arctic’s polar vortex

Facts for Prelims (FFP)

 

Source: NDTV

  

Context: In a surprising turn of events, scientists observed the Arctic’s polar vortex spinning in the opposite direction, marking one of the six strongest occurrences of its kind since 1979.

  • The polar vortex is a massive spinning wheel of freezing cold air that forms high in the atmosphere near the North Pole, held together by a strong west-to-east wind current.
  • This wind current, often referred to as the polar night jet, can reach speeds comparable to a Category 5 hurricane.
  • The reversal in the vortex’s direction was attributed to “Sudden Stratospheric Warming events,” which caused an influx of ozone from lower latitudes around the Arctic.

About Polar Vortex: 

The polar vortex is a large, persistent circulation of frigid air located in the stratosphere and typically centred near the Earth’s poles.

It is characterized by a strong wind current that circulates from west to east, trapping cold air within the polar regions during the winter months.

 The polar vortex plays a crucial role in maintaining the polar climate and can influence weather patterns in mid-latitude regions.

 Occasionally, disruptions in the polar vortex can occur, leading to phenomena such as sudden stratospheric warming events, which can result in shifts in weather patterns and colder temperatures in regions outside of the polar areas.

 

Southern Ocean

Facts for Prelims (FFP)

 

Source: TH

 

Context: The Southern Ocean is known for having the cleanest air on Earth, a fact previously attributed mainly to minimal human activity.

  • However, recent research has unveiled that clouds and rain play a significant role in keeping the air pristine.

Role of clouds:

  • The Southern Ocean experiences unique cloud patterns, particularly honeycomb-shaped clouds, which regulate climate by reflecting or allowing sunlight.
  • These clouds generate sporadic but intense rain showers, effectively washing aerosol particles out of the air.

 

About Southern Ocean:

The Southern Ocean is the body of water that surrounds Antarctica and is bounded by the continents of Antarctica, South America, Africa, and Australia.

It is the southernmost ocean on Earth and is characterized by its vast expanse of open water, strong currents, and harsh climate conditions.

The Southern Ocean plays a critical role in regulating global climate and ocean circulation patterns.

 

Suvidha Portal

Facts for Prelims (FFP)

 

Source: PIB

 

Context: Since the announcement of General Elections 2024, over 73,000 applications have been received on the Suvidha Portal, with more than 44,600 requests approved.

  • The portal ensures transparency and a level playing field for political parties and candidates by adhering to the First in First out principle.
  • It caters to a wide range of permission requests such as organizing rallies, opening temporary party offices, and distributing pamphlets.
  • The data available on the portal aids in scrutinizing election expenditures, contributing to greater accountability.

 

Requests were highest from Tamil Nadu, West Bengal, and Madhya Pradesh, with minimum requests from Chandigarh, Lakshadweep, and Manipur.

The Suvidha portal is a technological solution created by the Election Commission of India (ECI) to facilitate fair and transparent elections.

Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC)

Facts for Prelims (FFP)

 

Source: IDSA

 Context: The Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) launched its ‘Vision for Regional Security’ in December 2023, aiming to establish a comprehensive framework for regional security.

 

Key highlights include:

  1. Prioritizing negotiation over conflict
  2. Combating terrorism and extremism
  3. Supporting non-proliferation efforts
  4. Addressing climate change and economic challenges

 

About GCC:

The Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) (est. 1981; HQ: Riyadh (Saudi Arabia)) is a political and economic union formed by Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates. It aims to promote cooperation among member states. Initially proposed as a “Gulf Union” for deeper coordination, its military arm, the Peninsula Shield Force, was created in 1984.

Forever chemicals

Facts for Prelims (FFP)

 

Source: TH

 

Context: A recent study by IIT Madras has uncovered the presence of ‘forever chemicals’ known as pre- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) in Chennai’s Buckingham Canal, Adyar River, and Chembarambakkam Lake.

  • PFAS are synthetic chemicals found in everyday products and are known to persist in the environment, posing health risks including liver damage, hormonal imbalance, fertility issues, and cancer.
  • PFAS are called “forever chemicals” because they do not easily break down in the environment and can persist for long periods of time.

 

Spotted deer

Facts for Prelims (FFP)

 

Source: IE

 Context: The introduction of chital, or spotted deer, to the Andaman and Nicobar Islands in the early 1900s for game hunting by the British has resulted in a population explosion that now poses a significant problem for authorities.

  • But now the chital population exceeding the carrying capacity of Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose Island.

 

Spotted deer, also known as chital or axis deer, are a species of deer native to the Indian subcontinent.

They are characterized by their reddish-brown coat with white spots, which gives them their name.

Spotted deer are medium-sized herbivores, typically weighing between 50 to 100 kilograms.

They inhabit a variety of forested habitats, including deciduous forests, grasslands, and scrublands.

ESZ around Sukhna Wildlife Sanctuary

Facts for Prelims (FFP)

 

Source: HT

 Context: The Union Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change (MoEFCC) has issued a draft notification demarcating an eco-sensitive zone (ESZ) around the Sukhna Wildlife Sanctuary on the Haryana side.

 

Rejecting Haryana’s proposal for only a 1,000-meter ESZ, the draft delineates an area of 1 km up to 2.035 km around Haryana’s side of the sanctuary. The sanctuary is ecologically sensitive and home to several endangered species. The draft seeks objections from stakeholders within 60 days.

About ESZ:

Ecologically Sensitive Zones (ESZ) are vital areas surrounding protected regions, designated by the central government under the Environment (Protection) Act, 1986. These zones categorize activities into prohibited (e.g., commercial mining), regulated (e.g., felling of trees), and permitted (e.g., local agriculture) to safeguard the fragile ecosystem.

About the Sukhna Wildlife Sanctuary: 

It is situated in the Chandigarh Union Territory and encompasses the Shivalik Hills’ Sukhna Lake catchment area. It hosts diverse fauna including Sambar deer, Barking deer, and wild boar, alongside various bird, reptile, and amphibian species. The sanctuary features a blend of forests, grasslands, and wetlands, with Sukhna Lake playing a vital role in its ecosystem.

Sittwe port (Myanmar)

Mapping

 

Source: BS

 Context:India has secured the rights to operate the Sittwe port in Myanmar, marking its second overseas port endeavour after Chabahar. The Ministry of External Affairs approved a proposal for India Ports Global (IPGL), wholly owned by the Ministry of Ports, Shipping, and Waterways, to manage the port on the Kaladan River.

 

About Sittwe Port: 

It is a deepwater port situated at the Kaladan River’s estuary in Myanmar’s Rakhine State. It is a crucial component of the Kaladan Multi-Modal Transit Transport Project (KMTTP), funded through grants-in-aid assistance from the Government of India. The port holds significant importance as it will create new trade and transit opportunities for India’s Northeast region, as well as enhance trade and commerce between India and Myanmar.

 

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