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GS 1

Gender bias caused ‘excess’ deaths of girls under 5: Lancet study

Gender issues

News:

  1. According to a study published in the journal Lancet Global Health, excess under-5 female mortality occurs due to neglect resulting from gender biasness.

Important Facts:

2. According to the National Family Health Survey, 2017, India’s sex ratio at birth to 919 in 2015-16 from 914 in 2005-06

3. The recently published study deals with mortality after birth.

4. Excess mortality is the difference between observed and expected mortality rates in both genders

5. Data from 46 countries with no evidence of gender bias for mortality was used to define an equation and estimate the intensity of excess mortality in India

6. Average level of excess female under- 5Mortality Ratein India (2000-2005) was 18·5 /1000live births. It corresponds to an estimated 239 000 excess deaths per year.

  • Note: 2000-2005 study period was chosen as it had the most consistent district level data

7. More than 90% of districts had excess female mortality. Worst affected areas were rural areas.

8. Problem was most pronounced in Northern India. Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Rajasthan, and Madhya Pradesh accounted for two-thirds of India’s total number

  • Uttar Pradesh: 30.5%
  • Bihar: 28.5%
  • Rajasthan: 25.4%
  • Madhya Pradesh: 22.1%

9.Areas where excess female under-5 deaths are concentrated – are characterised by high population density and fertility, and low socio-economic development.

10. Gender inequity in terms of care, vaccination, and nutrition contributed largely to excess under-5 female deaths. Unwanted child bearing and subsequent neglect resulted in many deaths.

11. According to researchers, sustained fertility decline in North India is likely to lead to a reduction in postnatal discrimination

12. However, unless son preference diminishes, reduced fertility might cause a rise in gender-biased sex selection, as was observed in the late 1990s

Contractors to compile sex offenders’ registry

Women safety; gender issue

News:

  1. The Home Ministry has planned to outsource the preparation, design and maintenance of the proposed sex offenders’ registry to the private sector.

Important Facts

2. Features of the Sex Offenders Registry

  • The Sex offenders Registry is a database comprising of data of sexual offenders- The data would contain biometric records of sex offenders across India
  • The offenders would be classified on the basis of criminal history
  • The data would be sorted for 15 years in case of those who pose low danger, 25 years posing moderate danger and lifetime for habitual offenders, violent criminals, convicts in gang rape and custodial rape.
  • Current status of the offender as updated by the police station and nodal officer would be available
  • The registry would also contain records of juvenile offenders and paedophiles
  • Data on arrested and charge-sheeted offenders will be available only to law enforcement agencies
  • However, the public can access to data for convicted offenders
  • The sex offenders registry will be integrated with the Aadhaar database

GS2

Centre’s say is final on Cauvery, SC told

Cauvery water dispute; centre– state

News:

  1. The Centre has submitted the Draft Cauvery Management Water Scheme, 2018 in Supreme Court

Important Facts

2. The scheme seeks to establish an authority to ensure smooth distribution of water between Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Kerala and Puducherry

3. Karnataka and Tamil Nadu would share 40% each of the expenses of the authority. Kerala to provide 15% and Puducherry 5%

4. The authority would be headquartered at Bengaluru

5. Composition of the Authority

  • Would comprise of 10 members of whom 6 will be from the Centre
  • Chairman of the authority would be appointed by the Centre
  • Centre would appoint 2 whole-time members and 2 part-time members from water-engineering and agricultural fields of expertise
  • The Centre would appoint a Secretary from Central Water Engineering Services
  • States would nominate 4 part-time members to the authority

6. Decisions would be taken by the authority in accordance to the Cauvery Tribunal Award as modified by the Supreme Court Verdict of 16th February 2018. Decision will be based on majority of members

7. In a situation where the concerned states/UT does not cooperate, the authority would approach the Centre. The decision of the Centre in the matter will be final and binding on all parties concerned.

8. However, the scheme does not mention whether a distressed state can approach Supreme Court in appeal against the Centre’s decision

9. Functions of the Authority

  • Supervise the operation of reservoirs
  • Regulation of water releases
  • Ever year in June the authority would gauge residual storage capacity
  • Authority would be assisted by Cauvery Water Regulation Committee

10. Functions of Cauvery Water Regulation Committee

  • Collect data on daily water levels, inflows and storage positions
  • Ensure 10 daily releases of water on monthly basis from reservoirs as directed by the authority
  • Prepare seasonal and annual reports of the water count and submit them to authority

Article 35A case for statute Bench?

J & K, Article 35 A

News:

  1. The Supreme Court will examine pleas to decide whether Article 35A is unconstitutional

Important Facts:

2. Article 35A empowers the Jammu and Kashmir Legislature to decide who all are ‘permanent residents’ of the state.

3. The Article permits only permanent residents of Jammu and Kashmir to get employed in state government and allows them to buy property in J&K.

4. Article 35A was incorporated into the Constitution in 1954 by an order of the then President Rajendra Prasad on the advice of the Jawaharlal Nehru Cabinet.

5. Parliament was not consulted when President incorporated Article 35A into the Indian Constitution through a Presidential order issued under Article 370

6. It mandates that that no act of the State legislature coming under the ambit of Article 35A can be challenged for violating the Indian Constitution or any other law of the land.

7. Recently, there have been petitions challenging the validity of Article 35A and Article 370.

8. Petitioners are of the opinion that Article 35A violates the fundamental right to equalityunder Article 14 as it deprived the generations of outside settlers in the hill state their right to property and employment under the state government.

9. The petitioners have also contended that the President could not have amended Article 35 by incorporating Article 35A through a presidential notification. Article 368 (i) of the Constitution mandates that only Parliament can amend the Constitution by introducing a new Article.

GS 3

More tests required for GM mustard: regulator

GM Mustard

News:

  1. The Genetic Engineering Appraisal Committee (GEAC) has demanded more tests for genetically-modified mustard.

Important Facts:

2. The genetically modified mustard, Dhara Mustard Hybrid (DMH-11) had been developed by Centre for Genetic Manipulation of Crop Plants of the Delhi University

3. In 2017, GEAC had recommended the crop for cultivation.

4. However, the government had asked to re-examine the entire issue after receiving several representations both in support and against GM mustard

5. Environmental activists have been opposing the commercial release of GM Mustard on the ground that it will adversely affect the environment and human health

6. GEAC has asked the developer to undertake field tests to check whether the GM mustard affects honey bees and other pollinators and also whether it negatively impacts soil health

Is it possible to slow global warming?

Climate change; paris summit

News:

  1. 48th session of the UNFCCC Subsidiary Body for Implementation (SBI) and Subsidiary Body for Scientific and Technological Advice (SBSTA) was held at Bonn between April 30th and May 10th.

Important Facts:

2. At the Paris climate conference (COP21) in December 2015, the Paris Agreement was adopted

3. The agreement which seeks to limit global warming to well below 2°C,entered into force in 2016

4. Recently, the meeting at Bonn was held to discuss the operational guidelines for implementing the agreement and agreed upon by all parties.

5. Major Constraints to Negotiations:

  • Consensus could not be drawn on operational guidelines for implementing the agreement
  • The guidelines on Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) have been a matter of debate. The developing countries want to cover mitigation targets, adaptation and the means of implementation for the NDCs. However, the developed countries want the guidelines to be limited to mitigation, the reduction of greenhouse gases
  • NDCs are efforts by each country to reduce national emissions and adapt to the impacts of climate change.
  • The issue of financial support and technology transfer to the developing countries has been a major area of concern.
  • The issue related to Loss and Damage (L &D) has been another hurdle in negotiations. Funds to support L&D have not made much progress
  • Lost and Damage are basically the negative impacts of climate change. Funds for L&D aim at providing assistance to poor countries facing adverse impacts of climate change.

6. The failure to produce a draft document of guidelines on Paris agreement is a major setback to the goal of reducing global warming

7. An interim meeting has been proposed to be held in Bangkok post COP-42 in Katowice, Poland

Robots will not take over all our jobs

Artificial Intelligence; Automation

Article:

  1. There has been anxiety about automation that it would eliminate many jobs. However, a recent study indicates the fear of robot taking over jobs is improbable.

Analysis:

2. The paper ‘Benign effects of automation: New evidences from patent texts” (2017) by Katja Mann and Lukas Puttman studied the impact of automation on employment

3. The researchers used a machine-learning algorithm to identify patents filled in the USA between 1976 and 2014 that were related to automation.

4. Total 5 million patents were granted during this period

5. The share of innovation concerned with automation rose from 25% in 1976 to 67% in 2014.

6. It was observed that regions which experienced greater automation because of these patents also witnessed increase in employment.

7. Automation led to a loss in manufacturing employment, but this was more than compensated by a rise in service sector employment.

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