9 PM Daily Current Affairs Brief – November 10th, 2021

Dear Friends
We have initiated some changes in the 9 PM Brief and other postings related to current affairs. What we sought to do:

  1. Ensure that all relevant facts, data, and arguments from today’s newspaper are readily available to you.
  2. We have widened the sources to provide you with content that is more than enough and adds value not just for GS but also for essay writing. Hence, the 9 PM brief now covers the following newspapers:
    1. The Hindu  
    2. Indian Express  
    3. Livemint  
    4. Business Standard  
    5. Times of India 
    6. Down To Earth
    7. PIB
  3. We have also introduced the relevance part to every article. This ensures that you know why a particular article is important.
  4. Since these changes are new, so initially the number of articles might increase, but they’ll go down over time.
  5. It is our endeavor to provide you with the best content and your feedback is essential for the same. We will be anticipating your feedback and ensure the blog serves as an optimal medium of learning for all the aspirants.
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Mains Oriented Articles 

GS Paper 2

GS Paper 3

Prelims Oriented Articles (Factly)

Mains Oriented Articles

GS Paper 2

After selling the Maharajah

Source: This post is based on the article “After selling the Maharajah” published in Business Standard on 10th Nov 2021.

Syllabus: GS2 – Governance

Relevance: Privatisation of Air India, Re-organisation of Civil Aviation Ministry

News: The gains from the sale of Air India would be incomplete if follow-up steps are not taken to reorganise the civil aviation ministry. Reforms of this ministry are long overdue, and the Air India sale should expedite such a decision.

What does the Union civil aviation ministry do?

The ministry is responsible for formulating national policies and programmes for the development and regulation of the civil aviation sector in the country.

It is also responsible for the administration of the Aircraft Act, Aircraft Rules and a few other laws pertaining to the aviation sector.

More importantly, the ministry exercises administrative control of organisations such as the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA), the Bureau of Civil Aviation Security (BCAS), the Airports Economic Regulatory Authority of India (AERAI), the Commission of Railway Safety (CRS), the Aircraft Accident Investigation Bureau (AAIB), the Airports Authority of India (AAI) and Air India.

Why downsizing of civil aviation ministry is necessary?

Downsizing the manpower in the aviation ministry would make it leaner and more efficient.

More importantly, this will make the regulatory bodies in the civil aviation sector, like the DGCA, the AERAI, the BCAS and the AAIB, truly autonomous.

The aviation ministry would also be restricted from influencing these organizations beyond playing its legitimate role in policy-making.

Must Read: Privatisation of Air India – Explained, pointwise
What steps should be taken by the govt?
Civil aviation governance structure reforms: Redeploying or curtailing excess manpower under Civil Aviation Ministry.

DGCA should be structured as an independent regulator rather than being an extension of civil aviation ministry. The ministry should lay down the policy and give the DGCA the freedom to implement the policy. If there is a need for an appellate body to address grievances of aviation players against decisions taken by the DGCA, such a body should be created.

AERAI: As ministry plans to hand over the ownership and management of many airports to private enterprises, exercising any administrative control over AERAI would not be optimal.

The functioning of organisations like the BCAS and the AAIB should also be made independent of the civil aviation ministry. The functions and role of these organisations are best performed if they do not operate as an extension of the ministry.

CRS should be made a truly independent and sufficiently empowered organisation to examine railway safety issues and accidents. No purpose is served by keeping it under the civil aviation ministry. CRS was created under the administrative control of the civil aviation ministry, many years ago in 1989 under the Railway Act.

What is the way forward?

If this major ministerial reorganisation can be achieved in the civil aviation ministry, the same template could be enforced in other central ministries.

For instance, if banks are to be privatised, the role and relevance of the department of financial services should be revisited.


Do WTO like you did COP

Syllabus: GS2 – Important International Institutions, agencies, and fora – their Structure, Mandate.

Source: This post is based on the article “Do WTO like you did COP” published in TOI on 10th November 2021.

News: India should balance its geopolitical interests and geo-economic interests equally.

In COP26, by offering to do more than what was expected out of it, India has tried to disarm its critics from the Western countries while voicing the concerns of the South.

Later this month, India will find again find itself in a similar situation at the 12th ministerial conference (MC12) of the World Trade Organisation (WTO).

What are the issues/challenges for India at WTO?

Criticism on India’s Protective Trade policies: Unlike COP26, India might not be enjoy the support of South countries at WTO. India’s inclination towards protectionism, accompanied by the raising of average applied tariff over the past four years, as part of its ‘atmanirbharta’ agenda is criticised by both countries of the North and the South.

Criticism on India’s policy stands on foreign trade: India’s criticism of free trade agreements entered into by the previous government and the decision to withdraw from the RCEP, distanced India from many newly industrializing economies seeking greater market access to India.

Loss of status amongst developing countries: India has also been losing its longstanding status as a champion of developing country interests in multilateral trade negotiations.

What have been the implications?

Geo-economic consequence: Further weakening of the India-Africa compact that defined WTO discussions at least till 2008.

Impact on Exports: With India opting out or being left out of all major plurilateral and regional FTAs, exports, despite recent growth, have taken a setback. Exports remain static in nominal terms over the past decade and actually shrinking by 20-30% in real terms.

Driving out FDI: Most foreign direct investments coming into India are aimed primarily at the domestic market. Export-oriented western FDI continues to leave India, going to countries to India’s East.

How India’s position on geo-economic challenges differs sharply from its position on geopolitical challenges?

Indian position on geo-economic challenges like climate change, trade, and industrial policy differs sharply from the clarity with which it has been dealing with geopolitical challenges.

While China’s geopolitical and geo-economic aggression has pushed India closer West with respect to defense and security ties, India’s economic interests continue to place it in the middle of the North-South economic divide.

This dichotomy between India’s geopolitical and geo-economic interests is also reflected in the agenda of the two Quads of which it is a member.

While geopolitics of China’s rise defines the agenda of the East Asian Quad (Australia, India, Japan, and the US), the geoeconomics of trade, manufacturing, and technology define the West Asian Quad (India, Israel, UAE, and the US).

India is now engaged in negotiating FTAs with members of both Quads and with the European Union, especially France, Germany, and Scandinavia.

The challenge for India is to balance its geopolitical interests, along the East-West axis, with its geo-economic interests along the North-South axis.

What is the way forward?

First, India needs to balance its geopolitical interests, with its geo-economic interests. For this there has to be greater coordination between the external affairs and commerce ministries

Second, the new messaging on climate action should also define India’s approach to foreign trade.


Wanted: A truly generous health cheque for underserved Indians

Syllabus: GS2 – Issues related to the health sector In India.

Source: This post is based on the article “Wanted: A truly generous health cheque for underserved Indians” published in Live mint on 10th November 2021.

News: India’s public health expenditure remains one of the lowest among major economies in the world. It needs to do more to achieve decent standards of healthcare for all.

How much India spends on Health care?

India’s annual spend on Health care is around ₹2,000 per capita.

India’s annual health budget has stayed barely above 1% of gross domestic product (GDP) for the past decade. In the fiscal year 2019-20, it was ₹2.57 trillion, or 1.3% of GDP.

This ratio compares unfavorably even with emerging market peers such as

– Indonesia (1.4%)

– China (2.9%)

– Russia (3.2%)

– South Africa (3.6%)

And, worse, this fiscal year, the Centre and most state governments have budgeted lower health spending.

What are the implications of a lower public health expenditure?

High out of Pocket expenditure: Low government spending means Indians spend out more on health expenses from their pockets. According to the WHO’s health financing profile for 2017, roughly 2/3rds of expenditure on health in India is out-of-pocket, nearly four times the global average of approximately 18%.

The vicious cycle of poverty: Low public health spending, together with high out-of-pocket expenditure, a catastrophic health event such as this pandemic push the vulnerable further into poverty.

Poor health indicators: WHO ranked India 57th out of 195 countries on its Global Health Security Index, pointing out weak spots in India’s health preparedness.

What are the emerging trends w.r.t states’ spending on health care?

One, states have not achieved their policy targets. Analysis of the past decade’s data, though, suggests that most states are making slow progress.

Two, richer states tend to spend more on healthcare. Goa, Kerala and Gujarat, for example, were relatively high spenders, whereas Bihar, Uttar Pradesh, Jharkhand, Madhya Pradesh and Odisha spent less.

Three, higher per capita health spending result in visibly better health outcomes. An analysis of data taken from NITI Aayog’s Healthy States, Progressive India report of 2019 shows that states with higher average health expenditure per capita over 2012-17 registered better health outcomes in fiscal 2017-18

What is the way forward?

One, better resource mobilization and/or greater targeted transfers to the country’s poorer states to help them catch up.

Two, as a topmost goal, India must focus on achieving universal health coverage.

Three, attention to non-communicable diseases will need to be balanced with that to infectious diseases such as covid-19.

Four, the benefits of technology should be leveraged to provide last-mile healthcare access, particularly through telemedicine. In this context, the recently announced PM Ayushman Bharat Health Infrastructure Mission, which aims to spend ₹64,180 crores over the next five years to fill critical gaps and improve long-term health care infrastructure, is a welcome move.

For Centre: The National Health Policy, 2017, the latest Economic Survey, have both recommended a national public health spending target of 2.5-3% of GDP by 2025.

For States: Health is a state subject. Three-fourths of India’s public health expenditure is, in fact, undertaken by state governments.

The National Health Policy, in addition to recommending an increase in overall public health spending, had also proposed that states increase their health expenditure to 8% or more of their respective budgets, by 2020.


The saviour complex of Facebook’s critics

Syllabus: GS Paper 2 – issues related to the functioning of social media

Source: This post is based on the article “The saviour complex of Facebook’s critics” published in Indian Express on 10th November 2021.

News: How the media covered its own coverage of the revelations made by Haugen is disheartening.

Read about the issue here: https://blog.forumias.com/5-questions-on-facebook/
Why the conduct of Western media in the present case is unstaisfactory?

Whistle-blowers and the Western media have exposed how the social media platform allows dangerous social media manipulation in developing countries. But they haven’t made the media and journalists from the global south a part of this coverage.

The sharing of Haugen’s documents related to Facebook was tightly orchestrated. Only a few media organisations had the access to the Facebook Papers.

For instance, Media that publish in Hindi or Bengali or any of these other developing world languages from anywhere in the global south were not part of this exclusive Facebook Papers consortium

This shows that even those who have the power to regulate Facebook (US lawmakers and regulators, the whistle-blowers, and the media with privileged access) don’t seem to care much for the developing world or at least trust them enough to include them.


India needs to sign up for life course immunization

Source: This post is based on the article “India needs to sign up for life course immunization” posted in The Hindu on 10th November 2021.

Subject: GS 2 Issues Relating to Development and Management of Social Sector/Services relating to Health.

Relevance: understanding immunization.

News

Right from the days of smallpox, vaccines were designed for all age groups. However, after the smallpox eradication and launch of an expanded programme on immunisation (EPI), there were efforts to increase vaccination for children.

But as the COVID-19 pandemic has shown that there is a need to take stock of the status of adult immunisation in the world.

What is the status of adult vaccination in India?

There have been incidents of India undertaking adult vaccination, like after the outbreak of Japanese encephalitis in 2005.

1. Limited research and data on the burden of vaccine-preventable diseases (VPDs) in adult age groups. 2. The National vaccine policy of India, 2011 had no mention of adult vaccination. 3. National Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation (NTAGI) paid no focus on adult vaccination.

Though Non-government professional groups like the Association of Physicians of India have released guidelines on adult vaccination, but these are only voluntary.

But now there is emerging scientific evidence on winning immunity and the need for booster doses in the adult age group. This has resulted in the global stakeholders agreeing to ‘the Immunization Agenda 2030’ which emphasises vaccination to all age groups.

What steps should be taken?

First, the mandate of the National Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation (NTAGI) should be expanded to include adult vaccination. An NTAGI sub-group on adult vaccination can be constituted.

Second, the VPD surveillance system and capacity to record, report and analyse data on the disease burden and immunisation coverage require to be strengthened.

Third, Boost research and development in academic institutions.

Fourth, initiate the roadmap for drafting India’s national adult vaccination policy.

Fifth, address the issues of supply chain and shortages of vaccines. Revive the public sector vaccine manufacturing units.

What should be the way forward?

It is time that policymakers take the decision on adult vaccination and empower adult citizens to make informed choices about vaccines. There is a need to focus on a universal immunization programme plus, which should include everyone and all citizens of India.


Reservation on hiring

Source: This post is based on the article “Reservation on hiring” published in the Business Standard on 10th November 2021.

Syllabus: GS 2 Government Policies and Interventions for Development in various sectors and issues arising out of their Design and Implementation.

Relevance: Understanding the provisions of the Employment Act introduced by the Haryana government.

News

Haryana State Employment of Local Candidates Act, 2020 is all set to be implemented from 15th January 2022.

Read more: Concerns associated with Local Reservation Laws
What are the provisions of the Haryana State Employment of Local Candidates Act?

It provides for a 75% job quota for local people in private sector jobs which offer a salary of  Rs. 30,000 (earlier 50k) a month.  There is a modification in the act as domicile stipulation reduced from 15 years to five years

Read more:  Haryana State Employment of Local Candidates Act of 2020
What is the impact of the Haryana State Employment of Local Candidates Act?

First, It violates the constitutional right of citizens to reside in any part of the country and practise any occupation or business.

Second, The Act creates barriers for businesses by attaching severe monetary penalties for alleged non-compliance.

Third, It will diminish opportunities for small firms as they have to meet Rs. 30,000 thresholds to keep non-local employees on their books.

Fourth, Many industries will seek to move to neighbouring Delhi and UP states owing to restrictions implied by the act. This will have a negative impact on the revenue of the state.

Read more: The ill effects of Job reservation for locals

GS Paper 3

Net-zero presents many opportunities for India — and challenges

Source: This post is based on the article “Net-zero presents many opportunities for India — and challenges” published in The Indian Express on 10th Nov 2021.

Syllabus: GS3 – Conservation, Environmental Pollution and Degradation, Environmental Impact Assessment.

Relevance: Analysing the net-zero target set by India and what’s required to achieve it.

News: At Glasgow COP26 summit, one of the key announcements made by India was a target for achieving net-zero. India committed to a 2070 net zero target.

This is not just significant for the world, but also a sizeable economic opportunity for India. The challenge now is to overcome the obstacles along the way.

Must Read: India announces new climate targets – Explained, pointwise

The new net-zero approach will require dramatic changes in the power mix and industrial processes.

It will need the share of fossil fuel to fall from 85% now to 20% by 2070, assuming a high use of hydrogen technology and carbon capture strategies.

What are some potential benefits of a net-zero approach?

A net-zero approach could bring more benefits over time:

India will be spared from re-fitting obligations: Much of India’s wealth is yet to be created. 60% of India’s capital stock — factories and buildings that will exist in 2040 — is yet to be built. The country can potentially leapfrog into new green technology, rather than being overburdened with “re-fitting” obligations, like developed countries.

Better market access: Despite India’s large domestic market, exports are a critical driver of overall GDP growth. They open up new markets, bring in international competition, forcing the domestic industry to become more efficient. Further, they push up FDI inflows and technical know-how. All high-growth periods in India have had the support of fast-growing exports. If India’s exports achieve a green stamp, they’ll find better market access.

Employment opportunities: 2-2.5 million additional jobs can be created in the renewables sector by 2050, as the renewable energy technologies tend to be more labour intensive than conventional energy technologies. In fact, distributed renewables such as small-scale hydro, rooftop solar and biomass create most jobs per unit of installed capacity.

What measures need to be implemented?

Sorting discom issues: The finances of power distribution companies need to be improved to fund the grid upgrades necessary for scaling up renewables. This would require a host of reforms, including having a truly independent regulator who ensures market pricing of power tariffs, incentives that speed up smart metering and plug T&D losses, and policies that lead to the privatisation of discoms.

India needs a coordinated institutional framework that can help overcome multiple levels of complexity like federalism, fiscal constraints and bureaucracy.

Funding the transition to clean energy: The energy investment requirement will be high, rising from about $70-80 billion per year now to $160 billion per year. Alongside this, a similar amount will be needed for transportation and other infrastructure. While the private sector will be required to fund much of this, the government can play a pivotal role, especially in the early days.


Burning problem: Fast urbanising India can’t be cavalier on safety & have pathetic fire-fighting infrastructure

Source: This post is based on the article “Burning problem: Fast urbanising India can’t be cavalier on safety & have pathetic fire-fighting infrastructure” published in the Times of India on 10th November 2021.

Syllabus: GS3 – Disaster Management.

Relevance: Understanding the cause behind the increase in fire-related deaths.

News: There is a need to adopt various mechanisms to control fire incidents.

There are many loose ends in ensuring the fire safety standards. In 2019 alone, India recorded 10,915 deaths due to fire accidents. Recently, a fire broke out in a hospital in Maharashtra, which led to the loss of 11 lives.

Where do the fire incidents, mostly occur?

Most of the fire fatalities occur in residential buildings.

In 2019, compared to 2% fatalities in factories, fire fatalities in residential areas counts to 58%.

Therefore, the focus has to be on residential buildings in order to cut down both accidents and related fatalities.

Moreover, Urbanisation is growing fast, with about half of the population in a few states living in urban areas. Tightly packed urban clusters mean a higher likelihood of accidents.

Read more: The issue of Urban Fires in India – Explained, pointwise
What steps need to be taken?

– Adoption of guidelines- Guidelines of National Building Code to Ensure Fire Safety in Public buildings should be adopted in letter and spirit.

– Allocation of resources: Fire safety standards fall under the municipality which is often resourced deprived. Government should ensure proper allocation of resources to them.

– Proper infrastructure: Fire-fighting infrastructure needs to be bolstered. In 2018, there were barely 10 people for every 100 needed and about 22 vehicles for 100 assessed as the requirement.

Read more: Need for Fire Safety training and technologies

India should learn from other countries like the USA which in 2017 reported over a million fire incidents, but maintaining High safety standards, it ensured to reduce fatalities to one per lakh population.

Prelims Oriented Articles (Factly)

Explained: Why is India hosting an NSAs’ meeting on Afghanistan with regional players?

What is the News: India is hosting the ‘Delhi Regional Security Dialogue on Afghanistan’.

About the dialogue

India is hosting the NSAs of 7 other countries including Russia, Iran, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan.

The first such meeting of NSAs was organized in Iran. Afghanistan, Iran, Russia, China, and India participated in it. Pakistan and China were also invited but didn’t participate in it.

Goal: To address the security concerns arising due to new developments in Afghanistan. It will address five sets of challenges from Afghanistan. 1) Terrorism, 2) Radicalisation and extremism 3) Cross-border movement of people 4) Drugs 5) weapons and equipment left behind by the US

Significance of the dialogue

It is for the first time that all Central Asian countries, and not just Afghanistan’s immediate neighbours, are participating in this format.

It will increase the possibility of India’s participation in deciding the future course of action towards Afghanistan.

How this meeting is different from the other initiatives on Afghanistan?

This meeting is different from other initiatives like the Heart of Asia process or the Moscow format.

This meeting is not taking place among diplomats or foreign ministries, so, this is not a protocol-oriented meeting. It is happening between the security heads of the countries. They are in a better position for “practical cooperation” among countries— from intelligence sharing to information gathering to counter-terrorism capacity-building.

Source: This post Is developed based on the article ”Explained: Why is India hosting an NSAs’ meeting on Afghanistan with regional players?” published in Indian Express on 10th November 2021.


At least 420 million hectares forest lost since 1990: Survey

What is the News?

The Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations has released the Global Forest Resources Assessment (FRA) 2020 Remote Sensing Survey.

What is the FRA 2020 Remote Sensing Survey?

The Survey was launched by FAO in 2018. The objectives of the survey are two-fold:

  1. To build country capacities to use remote sensing for forest monitoring.
  2. To generate independent, robust and consistent estimates of forest area and its changes over time at global, regional and biome levels.
What are the key findings of the survey?

Around 420 million hectares of forest has been lost since 1990.

The major cause of deforestation: Conversion of forest to cropland or grassland for livestock grazing is the prime cause. Almost 90% of deforestation worldwide was due to agricultural expansion.

Most of the deforestation was in the tropical biomes during 2000-2018.

The main deforestation reasons differ across the world’s regions. The reasons are:

  • Agriculture is the main reason for deforestation in all regions except Europe, where urban and infrastructure development have a higher impact
  • Conversion to cropland dominates forest loss in Africa and Asia
  • In South America, almost three-quarters of deforestation was due to livestock grazing

However, the survey has also found that there has been a slowdown in global deforestation.

Source: This post is based on the article At least 420 million hectares of forest lost since 1990: Surveypublished in Down To Earth on 9th November 2021.


DELIVERY OF FOURTH SCORPENE SUBMARINE ‘VELA’ TO INDIAN NAVY

What is the News?

The Indian Navy has taken delivery of its fourth Scorpene-class submarine named ‘Vela’.

About INS Vela

INS Vela is the fourth submarine under Project 75 for the Indian Navy.

It is a diesel-electric attack submarine based on the Scorpène class.

Read more: What are Scorpene Class Submarines?
About Project 75

Project – 75 includes the construction of six submarines of Scorpene design. 

These submarines are being constructed at Mazagon Dock Shipbuilders Limited (MDL) Mumbai, under collaboration with M/s Naval Group, France.

Among them, three submarines namely INS Karanj, INS Kalvari and INS Khanderi are functional. The fourth one INS Vela was delivered now.

The fifth one INS Vagir was launched in 2020 and the sixth one, INS Vagsheer is under construction.

Read more: Explained: India’s submarine strength

Source: This post is based on the article DELIVERY OF FOURTH SCORPENE SUBMARINE ‘VELA’ TO INDIAN NAVYpublished in PIB on 9th November 2021.


Exhorts more companies from the Heavy industries sector to join the global LEAD-IT (Leadership Group for Industry Transition) initiative

What is the News?

On the sidelines of COP 26 in Glasgow, the LeadIT (Leadership Group for Industry transition) Summit 2021 was held in hybrid mode presided by India and Sweden. 

What is the Leadership Group for Industry Transition(LeadIT)?

Launched by: LeadIT was launched by the Prime Ministers of Sweden and India with support from the World Economic Forum (WEF) during the UN Secretary-General’s Climate Action Summit in 2019, in New York.

Purpose: Voluntary initiative for promoting low-carbon transition through active participation of private sector companies. Especially in the sectors like Iron & Steel, Aluminium, Cement and Concrete, petrochemicals, fertilisers, bricks, heavy-duty transport.

Members: Currently, the Group has a membership of 16 countries and 19 companies including Dalmia Cement, Mahindra Group and SpiceJet from India.

Secretariat: It is hosted by Stockholm Environment Institute (SEI), Sweden.

What is the significance of the LeadIT Initiative?

Industry sectors together contribute about 30% of the total CO2 emissions. Hence, initiatives like LeadIT to drive low carbon development pathways in the industry sector are critical for achieving the goals of the Paris Agreement.

Source: This post is based on the articleExhorts more companies from the Heavy industries sector to join the global LEAD-IT (Leadership Group for Industry Transition) initiative published in PIB on 9th November 2021.


Union Environment Minister Inaugurates The Ganga Connect Exhibition At Glasgow Amidst COP-26

What is the News?

The Union Minister for Environment, Forest & Climate Change and Labour & Employment has inaugurated the Ganga Connect exhibition at the City of Glasgow College amid the COP26 meeting.

What is the Ganga Connect exhibition?

Ganga Connect Exhibition is an effort to present the level of development in the Ganga river basin to the global community of environmental stakeholders who have gathered in Glasgow for the United Nations (UN) Conference of the Parties (COP-26) meeting.

Organized by: National Mission for Clean Ganga (NMCG), c-Ganga and the High Commission of India.

Coverage of Exhibition: Ganga Connect Exhibition has started in Glasgow. It will run through various cities in the UK including Cardiff, Birmingham, Oxford and will finally end in London.

What is cGanga?

Centre for Ganga River Basin Management and Studies (cGanga) was established at the Indian Institute of Technology, Kanpur (IITK) in 2016. 

Purpose: The Centre is a Centre of Excellence for data collection,  the creation and dissemination of knowledge and information for the sustainable development of the Ganga River Basin. 

The centre acts in the capacity of a comprehensive think-tank to the National Mission for Clean Ganga (NMCG).

Source: This post is based on the articleUnion Environment Minister Inaugurates The Ganga Connect Exhibition At Glasgow Amidst COP-26 published in PIB on 9th November 2021.


Pakistan blocks GoFirst flight: How it flouts freedom of air

What is the News?

India has launched a direct flight between Srinagar and Sharjah (UAE). The flight was to operate through Pakistani airspace. However, the flight was denied permission to enter Pakistan and the flight had to take a longer route to reach the destination. This has raised the concern of Pakistan violating the first freedom of the air.

What is Freedom of Air?

The freedom of air means a country grants airlines of a particular country the privilege to use and/or land in another country’s airspace.

Freedom of air rule emanates from the Chicago Convention.

What is the Chicago Convention?

The Convention on International Civil Aviation, which is more commonly known as the ‘Chicago Convention’ was drafted in 1944.

The ​​convention established the core principles permitting international transport by air. It also led to the creation of the specialized agency which has overseen the convention ever since – the International Civil Aviation Organization(ICAO).

The convention provides Nine freedoms of air, but only the first five freedoms have been officially recognized by the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO).

What are the First five Freedom of Air?

First Right, It is granted by one State to another State or States to fly across its territory without landing.

Second Right, One State can grant another State or States to land in its territory for non-traffic purposes.

Third Right, to put down, in the territory of the first State, traffic coming from the home State of the carrier.

Fourth Right, to take on, in the territory of the first State, traffic destined for the home State of the carrier.

Fifth Right, to put down and to take on, in the territory of the first State, traffic coming from or destined to a third State.

Source: This post is based on the articlePakistan blocks GoFirst flight: How it flouts freedom of airpublished in Indian Express on 9th November 2021.


India retains slot in top 10 on climate performance index; China at 37, US 55

What is the News?

The Climate Change Performance Index 2022 has been released by Germanwatch, the New Climate Institute, and the Climate Action Network.

What is the Climate Change Performance Index?

Climate Change Performance Index(CCPI) is an independent monitoring tool for tracking the climate protection performance of 60 countries and the EU – covering 92% of the Global Greenhouse Gas Emissions 

Aim: To enhance transparency in international climate politics and enable comparison of climate protection efforts and progress made by individual countries.

Categories: CCPI assesses each country’s performance in four categories: GHG Emissions (40% of the overall ranking), Renewable Energy (20%), Energy Use (20%) and Climate Policy (20%).

What are the key findings of CCPI 2022?
Source: TOI

The first three ranks of the overall rankings were kept empty because no country had performed well enough in all index categories to achieve an overall very high rating.

Topped by: Denmark has been placed 4th. It is the highest-ranked country in CCPI 2022 but does not perform well enough to achieve an overall very high rating.

India: India has been ranked in 10th place. India’s performance was rated high in the GHG Emissions, Energy Use, and Climate Policy categories, and medium in Renewable Energy. 

China and USA: China, the biggest current polluter, was ranked at 37th position (down from 33rd last year). The second most current emitter, the US, was at 55th spot.

Source: This post is based on the articleIndia retains slot in top 10 on climate performance index; China at 37, US 55 published in TOI on 10th November 2021.


Towards better adaptation: Global model to assess resilience to climate risks launched

What is the News?

The Global Resilience Index Initiative (GRII) has been launched at COP26.

What is the Global Resilience Index Initiative(GRII)?

GRII is a public-private partnership initiative launched to build a universal model for assessing resilience to climate risks.

Aim: To help global economic sectors understand the value of building climate resilience and the costs of doing nothing.This will help address the data emergency that is contributing to the climate crisis.

Objectives of GRII: The coalition wants to achieve two immediate goals:

First, they want to provide global open reference risk data developed using insurance risk modelling principles.  

Second, they want to provide shared standards and facilities applicable to a wide range of uses: Corporate climate risk disclosure, national adaptation planning and reporting, and the planning of pre-arranged humanitarian finance.

Partners Institutions: GRII has been initiated with partial funding and in-kind contributions from the insurance sector and partner institutions such as Coalition for Disaster Resilient Infrastructure (CDRI) among others.

What is the significance of this GRII initiative?

It will be the world’s first curated, open-source reference index.

The initiative could enable asset owners to compare portfolio risks across geographies and hazards as well as helping countries to prioritise national adaptation investments.

Source: This post is based on the articleTowards better adaptation: Global model to assess resilience to climate risks launchedpublished in Down To Earth on 9th November 2021.


DST selects 2020 Swarna Jayanti Fellows

What is the News?

The Department of Science & Technology (DST) has selected 17 scientists for the Swarna Jayanti fellowship.

What is the Swarna Jayanti fellowship?

Swarna Jayanti Fellowships scheme was instituted by the Government of India to commemorate India’s fiftieth year of Independence (1997).

Under the scheme, a selected number of young scientists are provided special assistance and support to enable them to pursue basic research in frontier areas of science and technology. 

Duration: For a period not exceeding five years.

Scientists selected for the fellowship will be allowed to pursue unfettered research with freedom and flexibility in terms of expenditure as approved in the research plan. 

The project should contain innovative research ideas, and it should have the potential of making an impact on R&D in the discipline. The fellowships are scientist specific and not institution-specific, very selective and have close academic monitoring.

Nature of Support

The award consists of a Fellowship of Rs 25000/- per month in addition to the salary drawn from the parent Institute for a period of 5 years.

The fellows selected along with their projects will be considered for funding by the Science & Engineering Research Board (SERB).

Source:  This post is based on the article DST selects 2020 Swarna Jayanti Fellowspublished in PIB on 9th November 2021.


New Climate Pledges barely affect global warming: UN

What is the News?

​​The United Nations Environment Programme(UNEP) has released an update to their Emissions Gap Report 2021.

What are the key findings of the report?
Source: Climate Action Tracker

Several Countries have announced new Nationally Determined Contributions(NDCs) or emissions pledges during the COP26 climate summit. For example, India has announced a target to be carbon-neutral by 2070.

However, after the assessment of these new pledges, it was found that the outcome was very similar, largely because the most ambitious emissions cuts are envisaged after 2030.

Moreover, the report has found that there is a huge gap between the emissions cuts needed this decade to keep warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius and the continuing increases in greenhouse gases pumped into the atmosphere.

Hence, the report has projected that the country’s renewed NDCs would see emissions increase by 13.7% till 2030 before sharply declining thereafter. But to keep in line with 1.5 degrees Celsius, emissions must fall 45% by then.

Source: This post is based on the articleNew Climate Pledges barely affect global warming: UN published in The Hindu on 10th November 2021.


Union Minister for Social Justice and Empowerment Releases Training Modules of Central Sector Scheme

What is the News?

The Union Minister for Social Justice and Empowerment has released the Training Modules of the Central Sector Scheme.

What is the training module of the Central Sector Scheme?

It is a first-of-its-kind initiative aimed at sensitising all government functionaries of the various Acts and Central Sector schemes for Persons with Disabilities(PwD).

Developed by: The Training Modules have been developed by the Rehabilitation Council of India (RCI).

What is the Rehabilitation Council of India(RCI)?

RCI was initially set up as a registered society in 1986. In 1992, the Rehabilitation Council of India Act was enacted by Parliament, and it became a Statutory Body in 1993.

Functions of RCI

To develop, standardize and regulate training programmes/ courses at various levels in the field of Rehabilitation and Special Education.

To maintain the Central Rehabilitation Register for qualified Professionals/ Personnel and promote Research in Special Education.

To take punitive action against unqualified persons delivering services to persons with disabilities.

Source: This post is based on the article Union Minister for Social Justice and Empowerment Releases Training Modules of Central Sector Schemepublished in PIB on 9th November 2021.


Explained: How Srinagar earned UNESCO creative tag

Source: This post is based on the following article UNESCO picks Srinagar as creative city published in Indian Express on 10th November 2021.

What is the news?

Recently, UNESCO has selected Srinagar as part of the UNESCO Creative Cities Network (UCCN) under the Crafts and Folk Arts category. Srinagar became one of 49 cities worldwide to join the UNESCO Creative Cities Network (UCCN).

About the inclusion of Srinagar in UCCN

The Indian National Commission for Cooperation with UNESCO had recommended Srinagar and Gwalior for inclusion in the list of UCCN. Only Srinagar got included in the list.

Note: Srinagar had applied in 2018 too, but that application got rejected.

About the Art & craft of Srinagar

Entire central Kashmir is known for its varied craft traditions. Srinagar, Ganderbal and Budgam districts of Kashmir are known for ages in making handicrafts products. Such as textiles, carpets and rugs, crewel embroidery, silverware, woodwork and papier-mâché (moulded, a repulped paper that has been mixed with glue or paste).

Wooden Crafts: The wood comes from walnut trees, which grow at 7,000 feet above sea level. These woods are used to make tables, jewellery boxes and trays.

Pashmina shawl: It is one of the best-quality shawls in the world, made up of wild Asian mountain goats. Srinagar region is the epicentre of high-quality, intricately woven woollen material like shawls, carpets and rugs.

Papier-mâché:

Papier-mâché
Papier-mâché
Source: Swadesi

It is said to have been brought to Kashmir by saint Mir Sayyid Ali Hamadani from Persia in the 14th century. It is based primarily on creating colourful utility and decorative objects using paper pulp — vases, bowls, cups, boxes, trays and lamp bases. The art is concentrated mainly around downtown Srinagar and employs around 35,000 artisans.

Benefits of the UCCN tag to Srinagar

The crafts have been struggling ever since the abrogation of Article 370 in 2019 put artisans in an indefinite lockdown, followed by the Covid-19 lockdown. Besides, frequent Internet shutdowns have cut artisans off from the rest of the country.

The UCCN tag would not only give global recognition to Srinagar but also help it in getting international funding, making tie-ups with craft universities, and pitching crafts as products.

Note: For the first time, Union Territory Administration will create a database of their expertise and help them showcase products to a global audience.

 

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