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9 PM Daily Current Affairs Brief – March 27, 2021

Good evening dear reader

Here is our 9pm current affairs brief for you today

About 9 PM Brief- With the 9 PM Daily Current affairs for UPSC brief we intend to simplify the newspaper reading experience. In 9PM briefs, we provide our reader with a summary of all the important articles and editorials from three important newspapers namely The Hindu, Indian Express, and Livemint. This will provide you with analysis, broad coverage, and factual information from a Mains examination point of view.

About Factly- The Factly initiative covers all the daily news articles regarding Preliminary examination. This will be provided at the end of the 9 PM Brief.

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We know for a fact that learning without evaluation is a wasted effort. Therefore, we request you to please go through both our initiatives i.e 9PM Briefs and Factly, then evaluate yourself through the 10PM Current Affairs Quiz.

We plan to integrate all our free daily initiatives to comprehensively support your success journey.
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Why India should adopt Net-Zero Emission Target?

Source: The Indian Express

Syllabus: GS 3 – Conservation, environmental pollution and degradation, environmental impact assessment.

Synopsis: India should adopt the net-zero emission target like others. It will lead to simultaneous attainment of net-zero emission and economic growth. Some temporary challenges may arise, but they can be tackled with robust policy measures.   

Background:

  • Recently 58 countries have made a commitment to attain net-zero emission by 2050. They currently emit more than 50% of Greenhouse gases (GHGs). So, being a responsible nation, India also needs to adopt a net-zero emission target.

What are Net-zero emissions?

It is a state in which GHGs emitted by a country is balanced by absorption of GHGs using advanced technologies or planting trees.

Why India Need to adopt net-zero emissions?

  • IEA (International Energy Agency) findings indicate that the majority of India’s future emissions are supposed to come from things that are yet to be made
    • This includes transport infrastructure, buildings, industry, etc.
    • Therefore, adopting net-zero emissions will give the country an opportunity to build a cleaner economy.
  • However, India did not adopt a net-zero emissions target due to its goals related to economic growth. 

How Net-zero emissions can fuel economic growth?

Although, some experts believe that simultaneous attainment of net-zero emissions and economic growth is possible.

  • Adoption of clean sources of energy will reduce the water demand by thermal power plants. It is expected to reduce from 2.5 billion cubic metres per year(bcm) to less than 1 bcm in 2050.
  • Reduction in carbon emissions will result in reducing pollution thereby improving the health of the masses.
  • It will also generate 24 million jobs in 15 years across multiple sectors. 
    • For instance, promoting e-vehicles, clean energy, and hydrogen electrolysis can create jobs in the auto manufacturing, electricity, and construction sectors. 
      • Electrolysis is the process of using electricity to split water into hydrogen and oxygen.
      • Hydrogen gas released in this way can be used as hydrogen fuel.  
  • Switching to clean fuels will also reduce the country’s crude oil import bill

Challenges in adopting Net-zero emission targets:

  • At present, nearly 25 % of government revenue comes from the energy sector (including the taxes on fuel). So, phasing out of Fossil fuels will reduce the government’s tax revenue.
  • A job reduction might arise in the vehicle maintenance and repair sector. 
    • This will happen as e-vehicles contain fewer engine components than a traditional fossil fuel-based vehicle.
    • Similarly, learning new techniques to repair e-vehicles will also need significant time.
  • There are certain issues with new jobs created. Such as,
    • The new job may not be created in the same place where job losses occurred. For example, A coal-based power plant worker working in coal collection will lose the job.
    • However, the alternative employment created by the adoption of new technologies may remain inaccessible to vulnerable sections(especially women).
    • For example; new jobs might arise in battery fabrication. Coal workers lack expertise in this field.

Way Ahead:

  • The focus should be on greater electrification. Further, The government has to encourage using hydrogen as a fuel in industries like cement, iron and steel, and chemicals. Further the current coal plants can be pre-retired to improve energy efficiency.
  • A carbon tax can be imposed on the industry to offset the tax revenue loss. The government has to start initially with the amount equivalent to the present Coal Cess.  The amount can be increased gradually to Rs. 2500 for per ton emission by 2050.
    • The portion of carbon revenue can be used for supporting poor households. Especially for those who are badly hit by the emission reduction strategies.
  • The government has to encourage all states and UTs to make their respective carbon-neutral plan.
    • The UT of Ladakh and Sikkim state are already planning such a carbon-neutral plan.
    • Further, at the local level cities like  Bengaluru and Chennai, the Panchayat of Meenangadi in Wayanad, Kerala also planning such a carbon-neutral plan.
  • Apart from strong climate policies, the government has to focus on strong social policies and local institutions. This will ensure that the clean energy transition is fair and just.

In conclusion, India needs to adopt net-zero emissions targets. Better policies, strong institutions, and finance will help India to declare freedom from polluting fossil fuels.


Declining Role of Parliament in Ensuring Accountability of Executive

Source: The Hindu

Gs2: Parliament and State Legislatures—Structure, Functioning, Conduct of Business, Powers & Privileges and Issues Arising out of these.

Synopsis: Parliament needs to ensure scrutiny over the actions and bills passed by the government. Its role is declining in ensuring the accountability of the executive.

Background

  • Parliament sessions are ending prematurely due to various reasons. For example, the recent budget session of the parliament ended two weeks ahead of the original plan.
  • Partly, the impact of the pandemic led to the reduction of the Budget session of 2020 and the monsoon session of the parliament.
  • However, during the Pandemic, the Parliament could have adopted remote working and technological solutions, similar to other countries.
  • The result was, the fiscal year 2020-21 witnessed the lowest ever parliamentary sessions. The Lok Sabha (34 days), the Rajya Sabha (33 days).
  • Unproductive parliament sessions resulted in a lack of public scrutiny over government functioning, financial expenditures, government bills.

What are the issues associated with the functioning of the parliament?

  1. First, declining Parliament’s responsibility to scrutinize important Bills passed by the parliament. For example, During the last session, 13 Bills were introduced, and none of them was referred to the parliamentary committee for examination. The important bills introduced are
    1. The Government of National Capital Territory of Delhi (Amendment) Bill, 2021: It was aimed at shifting the governance from the legislature and the Chief Minister to the Lieutenant Governor.
    2. The Mines and Minerals (Development and Regulation) Amendment Bill, 2021: it was aimed at removing end-use restrictions on mines and ease conditions for captive mines.
    3. The National Bank for Financing Infrastructure and Development (NaBFID) Bill, 2021: it aims to create a new government infrastructure finance institution and permit private ones in this sector.
    4. The Insurance (Amendment) Bill, 2021: it aims to increase the limit of foreign direct investment in insurance companies from 49% to 74%.
  2. Second, the role played by Parliamentary committees was undermined. Parliamentary committees are instrumental in suggesting constructive changes to the bill to make the Code work better. For example, Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code, Motor Vehicles Act.
      • The percentage of Bills referred to committees declined from 71% in the 15th Lok Sabha to 27% in the 16th Lok Sabha and just 11% in the current one.
  3. Third, diminishing the role of Rajya Sabha by classifying ordinary bills as money bills. For example,
      • Non-financial items such as restructuring of tribunals, the introduction of electoral bonds, and amendments to the foreign contribution act introduced as part of Finance bills.
  4. Fourth, lack of debate, discussion over the demand for grants. For example,
      • In the last budget session, the Lok Sabha had only listed the budget of just five Ministries for detailed discussion and only three of these were discussed. The remaining 76% of the total budget was approved without any discussion.
      • Whereas, the Constitution requires the Lok Sabha to approve the expenditure Budget of each department and Ministry.
  5. Fifth, delay in appointments of key constitutional functionaries in Lok Sabha also impacted parliamentary functioning. For example,
      • the current Lok Sabha did not appoint a Deputy Speaker which is a constitutional mandate.

What is the way forward?

The central role of the Parliament is to scrutinize the work of the government. In order to fulfill its constitutional mandate, the parliament has to

  • Create an effective research support system to aid Members of Parliament.
  • Provide sufficient time for MPs to examine issues.
  • Parliamentary Committees should be made to examine the Bills and budgets.
  • Finally, Public feedback should be taken before finalising the bill.

Lack of Transparency in the Supreme Court’s In-house Inquiry Procedure

Source: The Hindu

Gs2: Structure, Organization, and Functioning of the Executive and the Judiciary

Synopsis: In-house inquiry procedure needs to be made transparent

The issue:

  • Recently, The Supreme Court dismissed the complaint from Andhra Pradesh CM against Justice N.V. Ramana, on the basis of in-house inquiry.
  • But the court declined to disclose the findings of the in-house inquiry. This has raised issues of transparency in the court’s process.
  • According to a 2003 judgment of the supreme court, In-house inquiry is meant only for “the information and satisfaction” of the CJI, and not for the public.

Background

  • CM of Andhra complained to CJI that Justice Ramana (the senior most judge of the Supreme Court) has been influencing the Andhra Pradesh High Court against his Government.
  • He also accused that the family members of Justice Ramana were involved in Amaravati land scam. The prior knowledge that Amaravati was to be declared the State’s capital was used for speculative buying of land in Amaravati.

Why the confidentiality procedure needs to be changed?

  • First, it leads to opaqueness and arbitrariness in the court’s functioning. For example, the evidence used to dismiss the complaint is unknown.
  • Second, dismissal of the complaint means that a serving CM has levelled false charges against a senior Supreme Court judge. This will invite contempt of the court if the committee found no merit in the allegations. So, at least the complainant should get to know the fairness of the procedure.

SC must remove the confidentiality rule to demonstrate that justice was both done and was seen to be done.


Recurring Fire accidents in India – Suggestions

Source: The Hindu

Gs3: Disaster and Disaster Management.

Synopsis: Recurrent fire accidents in India show the apathy of the government towards public safety.

Background

  • Recently, the fire accident in Mumbai hospital (located inside Mumbai’s Dreams Mall) resulted in the death of 10 people so far.
  • An effective fire safety protocols could have prevented the devastating effect on lives and property.
  • The tragedy points towards the failure of the government to make fire safety a systemic compulsory in public buildings.
  • It has to be noted that, after a fire in Rajkot last November, the Supreme Court took suo motu cognizance of the incident. It issued directions, to task an officer with fire safety for each COVID-19 hospital.

What needs to be done?

  1. First, strict measures need to be taken to implement The National Disaster Management Guidelines of 2016 in Public buildings. For example, the requirement of open space to move patients in an emergency should be strictly implemented.
  2. Second, the need for periodical assessment of public buildings on safety protocols. For example, the quality of infrastructure, specifically electrical installations, ensuring the retrofitting of structures with flame retardant materials, etc.,
  3. Third, States must create scientifically designed public health facilities that meet the needs of populous cities.

Factly :-News Articles For UPSC Prelims | Mar 27, 2021

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