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Here is our 9pm current affairs brief for you today
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9 PM for Main examination
- Continuing Migrant problem
- Right to Education violated in COVID
- Indoor air pollution and LPG usage
- Role of Indigineous people in REDD+ initiatives
9 PM for Preliminary examination
1.Continuing Migrant problem
Source: The Hindu
Syllabus: GS-1- Society
Context: India’s labouring poor slip into chronic hunger and intense poverty after closure of the entire economy, which was already in recession.
Present condition of the labouring class
- Around 4000 homeless men in Delhiused to live on an embankment called Yamuna Pushta, even though underpaid they managed to keep raw hunger at bay by eating food provided by religious food charities in gurdwaras, temples and dargahs.
- The Delhi government has mostly ended its free cooked food distribution programme. At the peak of the programme, about 10 lakh people were being fed in over 1,000 centres.
- The communities who used to survive on the edge of hunger even in normal times, their condition is getting worse.
- Casual daily wage workers, weavers, artisans, home-based workers, rickshaw-pullers and street vendors are struggling to survive.
- There are millions of new entrants into the ranks of the hungry, which include laid-off employees of small enterprises and eateries, domestic workers, sex workers, workers in the gig economy, and even teachers in low-income private schools and those taking private tuitions.
- Millions of people are learning to live in chronic hungerby:
- Eliminating nutritious but unaffordable portions of one’s diet, including dal, milk, vegetables, fruit, eggs and meat.
- Reducing food intake, cutting down on both the quantity eaten during each meal and the number of meals, teaching one’s body to endure with less and less.
- Children who could earlier depend on the school or preschool centre for at least one nutritious meal are now being sent out to work.
Public policy failures
- 400 million new workers are at risk of slipping into extreme poverty, of less than $1.90 a day, according a United Nations University paper.
- It is alarming that more than 250 million people are at risk of acute hungerand “the location of global poverty is likely to shift towards middle-income countries and South Asia and East Asia.”
- At senior levels of the Indian government, there is little acknowledgement of the depth of the crisis of hungerand the eradication of livelihoods.
- The Finance Minister relies mostly on credit rather than on fiscal transfers to revive the economy and MSME sector which employs most people outside agriculture which is unmindful as:
- When both demand and production have crashed, credit will have few takers and can accomplish little.
- Governments also wanted to revive the broken economy by excluding workers from organisations of labour rights protections, presumably for attracting capital investment.
- Some governments attempted to extend the workday to 12 hours, to suspend the protections of various labour laws for three years, and regulate the movement of workers across State borders.
Abandoned by the state
- India slipped to the 102nd position in the Global Hunger Report of 2019 that ranked 117 countries. It had fallen behind its neighbours Nepal, Pakistan and Bangladesh even before the pandemic.
- As the COVID-19 infection spreads to States with the most broken public health systems, such as Bihar and Uttar Pradesh, and with the homeless and the poor being excluded from highly privatised health facilities in cities, the problems of the poor will further worsen.
- The political establishment, the media and the middle class should focus on the crisis from which these labouring poor classes are going through as with millions slipping invisibly into chronic hunger and intense poverty, this is gravest humanitarian crisis in over half a century.
2.Right to Education violated in COVID
Source – Down to Earth
Syllabus – GS 2 – Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues arising out of their design and implementation
Context – The online class is violating the very spirit of the Right to Education of children who lack resources.
Impact of online classes on rural government school
Case Study – Government schools of Odisha
- Mobile Connectivity– According to Economic Survey (2018-19), more than 20 per cent (11,000) villages in Odisha do not have mobile connectivity.
- Internet availability– Internet subscribers per 100 people in rural areas stand only at 16; it is 83.3 in urban areas.
- Poor learning outcomes– At least 59 per cent of the students in class V failed to meet the required learning level in English; the figures were 53 per cent in Mathematics and 31 per cent in Odia language.
- Child abuse– Children who stay at homes for a longer time risk being pulled into child labour or child marriage. They also face violence.
Remedial classes – The government should initiate remedial classes for kids, starting with a small group comprising five-six students.
Way Forward – The COVID-19 pandemic has aggravated structural disparities between rural and urban areas. It has had a critical impact on the education of children, especially the disadvantaged ones. Thus for disadvantaged sections, classroom-based learning remains the only hope.
3.Indoor air pollution and LPG usage
Source: Hindu BusinessLine
Syllabus: GS-3- Environment
Context: Indoor air pollution and LPG usage
Status of Air Pollution in India
- In 2018, India had 22 of the world’s 30 most air-polluted cities.
- Indoor Air Pollution: Household sources of ambient air pollution, such as cooking and heating, are the single largest contributors in much of the developing world, including India.
- Air pollution levels within households that cook with solid fuels, such as wood and cow-dung, is estimated to 40 times higher the safe limit prescribed by the WHO.
About Pradhan Mantri Ujjwala Yojana (PMUY)
- Pradhan Mantri Ujjwala Yojana is a scheme of the Ministry of Petroleum & Natural Gas.
- Aim:To replace unclean cooking fuels used in the most underprivileged households with clean and more efficient LPG (Liquefied Petroleum Gas).
- Objective of the scheme: (a)Empower women and protect their health (b)Reduce the serious health hazards associated with cooking based on fossil fuel (c)Reduce the number of deaths in India due to unclean cooking fuel and (d)To prevent young children from significant number of acute respiratory illnesses caused due to indoor air pollution.
- Beneficiaries: Under the scheme, an adult woman member of a below poverty line family identified through the Socio-Economic Caste Census (SECC) is given a deposit-free LPG connection with financial assistance of Rs 1,600 per connection by the Centre.
Issues and Challenges with reducing air pollution through LPG Usage
- Affordability and Inactive gas cylinders: Many people with new connection Under PMUY are not refilling their cylinders after the first use. This is primarily because not only installing charges but refilling charges of LPG cylinders is considered to be very high. The scheme does not have provision of bearing the cost of the subsequent refills.
- Subsidy Design:Though LPG is subsidised in India, the subsidy design is complex. This hinders uneducated and liquidity constrained consumers to either comprehend or take advantage of the subsidy
- Low awareness:A major issue is low awareness with regard to advantages of LPG as a cooking fuel. Further, the lack of familiarity in operating LPG gas stoves is another issue hindering LPG adoption.
Way Forward: The LPG subsidy scheme should be redesigned to increase take-up. Rural people should be educated about the subsidy scheme and ill-effects of soil fuels.
4.Role of Indigineous people in REDD+ initiatives
GS3: Conservation, Environmental Pollution and Degradation, Environmental Impact Assessment.
Context: REDD+ initiatives needs to accommodate the interests of indigineous people to attain its true potential
Objective: REDD+ aims to create financial value for stored carbon in forests by incentivising developing countries.
Significance: It provides for a quick and low-cost mechanism to achieve the Paris Agreement goal of keeping global warming below 1.5 degrees Celsius over pre-industrialised era.
Principles of REDD+
- Reducing emissions from deforestation
- Reducing emissions from forest degradation
- Conservation of carbon stocks
- Sustainable management of forests
- Enhancement of carbon stocks
REDD+ impacts on forest dependent communities
- Violation of Rightsleading to increased socio-economic and environmental vulnerabilities of the affected communities.
- Following Top-down approachdisrupts their traditional livelihoods, traditional forest management and use practices, leading to increased conflicts.
- Lack of adequate safeguards and shortfalls in implementationprevent the benefits from reaching indigenous peoples.
- Limited information sharing & uneven awareness:women and poor villagers are being less informed about project activities.
- Women Empowerment:REDD+ initiatives has increased women’s participation in village decision-making processes.
Measures to protect:
The Cancun Agreement: At COP 16, the Cancun Agreement was adopted which has laid out Seven safeguards to mitigate negative impacts of REDD+ activities. Important among them are
- Need to be respect the knowledge and rights of indigenous peoples and members of local communities.
- It stressed on the full and effective participation of relevant stakeholders.
The Warsaw Framework: It mandated that, for a recipient country to avail finances REDD+ implementation it should develop a mechanism to showcase how the safeguards are addressed and respected.
Independent contracts from multilateral institutions will also require additional safeguard to be followed by developing countries. For example, The Green Climate Fund (GCF) has allocated $500 million for its pilot programme for REDD+. To avail this fund, recipient country should follow the safeguards in “Indigenous Peoples Policy” adopted by GCF.
Way forward: Change in approach required to reap the non-carbon benefits of forests sustainably.
Rights-based approach: with a strong emphasis on free, prior and informed consent Also, there needs to be an inbuilt mechanism for quick access to justice and grievance redressal mechanism.
Bottom-up approach: A decentralised approach should be followed to enhance the rights, responsibilities and decision-making power of the local communities. It can be done by restructuring the forest management system.
Capacity building for meaningful participation: The REDD+ implementation process should actively engage indigenous peoples in the decision-making process and focus on capacity building efforts at the grassroots level. TO achieve this REDD+ initiatives should strive to gain trust among forest-dwelling communities.
Generate reliable data related to carbon stocks at a lower cost: If the measures such as capacity building and rights-based approach are properly implemented, forest communities will be willing to engage in participatory forest resource mapping which can be used to generate reliable data
Conclusion: India’s Nationally Determined Contribution vowed an additional carbon sink of three billion tonnes of CO2 equivalent through additional forest and tree cover by 2030. A well-defined REDD+ programme in India can help India to attain its goal for creating additional carbon sinks.
9 PM for Preliminary examination
Click on “Factly articles for 7th August 2020”