9 PM Daily Brief – December 11, 2020

9 PM DAILY BRIEF

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GS 2

Karnataka’s cow protection bill

Iran Nuclear Deal

GS 3

Government policies – harder to implement

Farmer-govt Talks

Emissions Gap Report 2020


9 PM for Preliminary examination

FACTLY


Karnataka’s cow protection bill

Source: Indian Express

Gs2: Government Policies and Interventions for Development in various sectors and Issues arising out of their Design and Implementation.

Context: The Karnataka’s cow protection bill, like similar laws in other states affects rural economy.

Background

  • Recently, Karnataka state’s Vidhan Sabha passed the contentious cattle protection bill that had been passed by the state assembly 10 years ago which could not enter the statute book because the governor refused assent.

What are the issues involved?

  • Lack of debate: The Speaker did not give the opposition adequate time to voice their opinion.
  • Disturbs existing network: The relationship between the farmer and the butcher is threatened as witnessed in similar stares like Uttar Pradesh.
  • Indiscriminate powers to law agency: The proposed law stipulates a prison term of three to five years and fines ranging from Rs 50,000 to Rs 5 lakh for purchasing or disposing of cattle for slaughter and gives the police sweeping powers to search premises and vehicles.
  • Affects farmers whose livelihood is dependent on Livestock: the cow becomes virtually uneconomical for the farmer after eight years when its milk output falls. Also, such animals along with male cattle not required for draught and breeding purposes.
  • Misuse of law: As observed by Allahabad High Court, The Act is being used against innocent persons.

Iran Nuclear Deal

Source: The Hindu

Gs2: Effect of Policies and Politics of Developed and Developing Countries on India’s interests

Context: How the Iran Nuclear deal has shaped till now.

How, the Iran nuclear deal was approached   differently under different US presidents?

  • Approach Under Obama Administration:
  • The Obama Administration Washington saw Iran’s nuclear programme, which was at an advanced stage in 2015, as a national security problem and tackled it via diplomacy.
  • Obama by agreeing to the nuclear deal lifted the sanctions on Iran and allowed Iran to move towards claiming its natural economic and political might.

Why were the Israel and Saudi’s upset over lifting Sanctions?

  • Iran’s regional rivals, mainly Israel and Saudi Arabia, who are also America’s allies, saw the Iran problem differently.
  • For them, Iran’s nuclear programme was not the problem but was part of the larger geopolitical challenges Iran posed.
  • The problem was Iran influence across West Asia, its backing for non-state militias, and its ambition to emerge as a dominant pillar in the region based on the political heft of the Shia community.
  • Hence, lifting sanctions on Iran under Obama administration has upset them.
  • Approach Under Trump Administration
  • The Donald Trump administration took an entirely different line towards Iran.
  • It pulled the U.S. out of the nuclear deal, despite United Nations certification that Iran was compliant with its terms, and reimposed sanctions on Tehran.

How it helped Iran rivals?

  • Trump’s approach towards Iran had aligned with that of Israel and Saudi Arabia.
  • The Trump years gave Israel a window of opportunity to step up its covert and overt operations.
  • In 2018, Israeli spies carried out a daring mission at a warehouse inside Iran and stole thousands of documents related to Iran’s nuclear programme.
  • Iranian nuclear scientists came under attacks. In Syria, where Iran has deployed militias backing the government of Bashar al-Assad, Israel continued to bomb Iranian targets
  • Expected policy approach under Biden administration
  • President-elect Joe Biden has promised to take the U.S. back to the nuclear deal.
  • Biden, who was the Vice President of the Obama administration that originally signed the deal, could zero in on the nuclear programme, like Mr. Obama did, and leave the regional issues to the regional players to settle.

What are the motives of Israel at present?

  • Recently, Mohsen Fakhrizadeh, a top Iranian nuclear physicist, was assassinated. Israel has been blamed for the attack, an allegation that Tel Aviv has not denied.
  • Israel wants to set back Iran’s nuclear programme by taking out a prominent scientist and spoil the possible revival of the nuclear deal.
  • Israel wants to escalate the conflict, giving the outgoing Trump administration and the Israel government reasons to launch heavier strikes on Iran’s nuclear facilities, closing off the diplomatic path.

How Iran responded?

  • Iran have opted for the less risky option. Instead of walking into the trap of provocation, its Parliament passed a Bill that obliges the government to enrich uranium to a higher level, from less than 5% now to 20%, which is a technical step away from the weapons-grade level of 90%
  • Also, it resorted to stop access for UN inspectors to the country’s top nuclear facilities in two months if sanctions relief is not given.

Government policies – harder to implement

Source- The Indian Express

Syllabus- GS 3 –  Issues related to direct and indirect farm subsidies and minimum support prices; Public Distribution System- objectives, functioning, limitations, revamping; issues of buffer stocks and food security; Technology missions; economics of animal-rearing.

Context- The government’s dismissal of the concerns of farmers and workers with bold reforms is not only bad for democracy, it reduces quality of policies and also makes them harder to implement.

What is the core problem in agriculture sector in India?

Largest source of livelihood – there are too many people employed in agriculture.

  • The agriculture sector contributes 17 per cent of India’s GDP. As per estimate, about 57 per cent of the working population is engaged in agriculture.
  • 70 percent of its rural households still depend primarily on agriculture for their livelihood.

Possible solution-

  • Increase productivity– India needs to shift from basic farming to more efficient, sustainable, productive farming.
  • More technology and automation will be required to improve productivity.
  • Reduce the number of employed– The agriculture sector should employ only 17 per cent of the workforce as to become more productive like other sectors.
  • India must figure out a way to provide meaningful employment to hundreds of millions of people outside agriculture.

What are the issues with new farms and labour laws?

  1. Issues in new Farm reforms-
  2. Agriculture is a state subject and regulation of agri-markets is very much in the domain of the states. Yet states have not been consulted on changes in agriculture laws.
  3. Deregulation– The new farm laws that aim to double farmers’ income in two years by deregulating agricultural markets may further widen the inequalities in the sector,
  • The deregulation of Bihar’s APMC led to no significant changes.
  • These changes will affect the small farmers the most because their low output does not allow them any bargaining power.
  1. Issues in new Farm reforms-
  2. Worker’s right of association in unions– In the labour reforms underway, it is the dilution of this fundamental right of collective representation that bodes badly for India’s workers
  3. The rights of the trade union to go on a lightning strike is sought to be curtailed heavily.

Therefore, new farm and labour reforms laws are the examples of diminishing democracy in India.

What are the set of reforms required to make India’s growth more inclusive?

  1. Policymakers must listen to the institutions that represent small people — associations and unions of farmers, informal workers and small enterprises.
  2. Formation of cooperatives of producers and workers- By aggregating the small into larger-scale enterprises.
  • Government regulations must encourage the formation of strong cooperatives, and improve the ease of doing business.
  1. Indian agriculture marketing reforms should derive inspiration from Barbara Harriss-White, a scholar of India’s agricultural markets, who once observed, “deregulated imperfect markets may become more, not less, imperfect than regulated imperfect markets.

Way forward-

  • Policymaker needs acknowledge public fears and reassure people, especially in periods of uncertainty.
  • The concept of democracy should not be reduced to elections and political parties. Democracy is also a process of listening to all stakeholders.

Farmer-govt Talks

Source: The Indian Express

Syllabus:  GS-3- Agriculture

Context: Government has offered significant concessions and farmers must not turn their back on a solution.

More on news:

  • Government has agreed to permit state governments to impose the cesses/fee charged in APMC (agricultural produce market committee) mandis including trades happening outside their boundaries.
  • The Farmers’ Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Act: It not only provided for sale and purchase of agri-commodities in private mandis, direct collection centres, electronic platforms and other alternative markets, but also exempted such transactions from any APMC imposts.

What amendments in the law are offered by the government to the farmers?

  • Taxes in alternative markets: States can extend the rates applicable in APMC mandis to the new alternative markets, the Modi government has shown willingness to strike down a key provision (Section 6) of its law.
  • Option to reach courts: They include giving farmers the option to approach regular courts in the event of disputes arising from transactions (the current resolution mechanism is limited to sub-divisional and district-level authorities)
    • Registration of traders in non-APMC markets by state governments (the existing law requires them to simply have a permanent account number).
  • Little discussions: The amendments required in their case could well have been introduced during informed discussions in Parliament, which did not take place due to the government’s inflexibility.
  • Government on farmer pressure: The fact that the same government isn’t hostile today to effectively adapt a progressive legislation, which undoes the monopoly of APMCs and opens up new marketing avenues for crops, is a measure of how much it has had to bend to farmer pressure.

What is the stance of farmers?

  • Rollback the three laws: The farmer unions have not just rejected the government’s proposals on extending to a not-legally-binding “written assurance” on continuance of the present minimum support price-based procurement system but are demanding a total rollback of all the three laws.
    • Despite the other two Acts (which significantly do away with stockholding restrictions on agri-produce and enable contract cultivation) having no provisions that can be termed anti-farmer.

Way forward

  • Farmers, if anything, benefit from traders being able to buy and stock without limit, just as a legal framework for contract contraction (which is anyway voluntary) is only in their interest.
  • The unions have already won a moral victory by forcing the government to negotiate on their terms. They have also, perhaps, gained public sympathy through their dignified and non-violent conduct even in the face of intimation.

Emissions Gap Report 2020

Source:  Click here

GS: 3 Conservation, environmental pollution and degradation, environmental impact assessment

News: United Nations Environment Programme(UNEP) has released the Emissions Gap Report,2020.

Facts:

  • Emissions gap report: The report assesses the gap between anticipated emissions and levels consistent with the Paris Agreement goals of limiting global warming this century to well below 2°C and pursuing 1.5°C.

Key Takeaways:

  • Temperature Rise: World is still heading for a temperature rise in excess of 3°C this century – far beyond the Paris Agreement goals of limiting global warming to well below 2°C and pursuing 1.5°C.
  • Record GHG Emissions: In 2019, the total greenhouse gas emissions, including land-use change reached a new high of 59.1 gigatonnes of CO2 equivalent (GtCO2e).
  • Record carbon emission: Fossil carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions (from fossil fuels and carbonates) dominate total GHG emissions.
  • Forest fires increasing GHG emissions: Global greenhouse gas emissions have grown 1.4% per year since 2010 on average, with a more rapid increase of 2.6% in 2019 due to a large increase in forest fires.
  • G20 countries account for the bulk of emissions: Over the last decade, the four emitters (China, the United States of America, EU27+UK and India) have contributed to 55% of the total GHG emissions.
  • Did the COVID-19 pandemic impact the emission level? Due to the pandemic, carbon dioxide emissions are predicted to fall up to 7% in 2020.However, this dip only translates to a 0.01°C reduction of global warming by 2050.
  • Which sector reported the lowest dip in emission due to pandemic? Studies indicate that the biggest changes have occurred in transport, as COVID-19 restrictions were targeted to limit mobility, though reductions have also occurred in other sectors.

Recommendations:

  • Green Pandemic Recovery: Governments can invest in climate action as part of pandemic recovery and solidify emerging net-zero commitments with strengthened pledges so that they can bring emissions to levels broadly consistent with the 2°C goal.
  • Change in Consumption Behaviour: The report finds that stronger climate action must include changes in consumption behaviour by the private sector and individuals.Around two-thirds of global emissions are linked to private households when using consumption-based accounting.
  • Responsibility on Wealthy: The wealthy bear the greatest responsibility as the emissions of the richest 1% of the global population account for more than twice the combined share of the poorest 50%. This group will need to reduce its footprint by a factor of 30 to stay in line with the Paris Agreement targets.
  • Lower Carbon Consumption: Possible actions to support and enable lower carbon consumption include replacing domestic short haul flights with rail, incentives and infrastructure to enable cycling and car-sharing, improving the energy efficiency of housing and policies to reduce food waste.

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