Archives  Q.1) Recently, the 2017 Nobel Peace Prize has been awarded to the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN).  In this context highlight the rationale behind awarding this Prize to ICAN.  Highlight the harmful threat of nuclear Weapons on human health and environment? (GS-3) Ans: Recently, the 2017 Nobel Peace Prize has been awarded to the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN).This year’s Peace prize to ICAN comes at a time when the threat posed by nuclear weapons has been all too evident in the global crisis triggered by North Korea’s nuclear programme.The prize was awarded “for its work to draw attention to the catastrophic humanitarian consequences of any use of nuclear weapons and for its ground-breaking efforts to achieve a treaty-based prohibition of such weapons” Rationale behind giving this Prize:
  • This year’s Peace prize to ICAN (International campaign to Abolish Weapons) comes at a time when the threat posed by nuclear weapons has been all too evident in the global crisis triggered by North Korea’s nuclear programme.
  • The prize was awarded “for its work to draw attention to the catastrophic humanitarian consequences of any use of nuclear weapons and for its ground-breaking efforts to achieve a treaty-based prohibition of such weapons”
  • This was the second time in the last decade; the Nobel Committee awarded its annual peace prize to the laudable goal of nuclear disarmament.
Harmful threat of Nuclear Weapons: “Nuclear weapons pose a constant threat to humanity and all life on earth.” On Environment:
  • Nuclear weapons are fundamentally different from conventional weapons because of the vast amounts of explosive energy they can release and the kinds of effects they produce, such as high temperatures and radiation.
  • The prompt effects of a nuclear explosion and fallout are well known through data gathered from the attacks on Hiroshima and Nagasaki
  • A special feature of a nuclear explosion is the emission of nuclear radiation, which may be separated into initial radiation and residual radiation. Initial radiation, also known as prompt radiation, consists of gamma rays and neutrons and  produced within a minute of the detonation
  • Gamma rays and neutrons can produce harmful effects in living organisms, a hazard that persists over considerable distances because of their ability to penetrate most structures.
Health effects of nuclear weapons:
  • The health effects of nuclear explosions are due primarily to air blast, thermal radiation, initial nuclear radiation, and residual nuclear radiation or fallout.
  • Nuclear explosions produce air-blast effects similar to those produced by conventional explosives. The shock wave can directly injure humans by rupturing eardrums or lungs or by hurling people at high speed, but most casualties occur because of collapsing structures and flying debri.
  • Thermal radiation.Unlike conventional explosions, a single nuclear explosion can generate an intense pulse of thermal radiation that can start fires and burn skin over large areas. In some cases, the fires ignited by the explosion can coalesce into a firestorm, preventing the escape of survivors. Though difficult to predict accurately, it is expected that thermal effects from a nuclear explosion would be the cause of significant casualties
  • Initial radiation.Nuclear detonations release large amounts of neutron and gamma radiation. Relative to other effects, initial radiation is an important cause of casualties only for low-yield explosions (less than 10 kilotons).
  • When a nuclear detonation occurs close to the ground surface, soil mixes with the highly radioactive fission products from the weapon. The debris is carried by the wind and falls back to Earth over a period of minutes to hours.
  • There is a perpetual threat or insecurity of nuclear weapons among nuclear have- nots
  • Cyber warfare emerged as a more potent tool as nations can be destroyed without killing a single human being.
  • In this regard International Committee of the Red Cross, 2010 rightly pointed out that “Nuclear weapons are unique in their destructive power, in the unspeakable human suffering they cause, in the impossibility of controlling their effects in space and time, and in the threat they pose to the environment, to future generations, and indeed to the survival of humanity.”
  • Security concern: Nuclear weapons pose a direct threat to people everywhere. They breed fear and mistrust among nations.
  • Another long-term health effect is the induction of eye cataracts. This effect has been noted in the Japanese studies and also in a study of the Chernobyl cleanup workers.
The immediate effects of radiation include the following:
  • Central nervous system dysfunction (at very high doses);
  • Nausea, vomiting, and diarrhoea from damage to the gastrointestinal tract, leading to potentially fatal dehydration and nutrition problems; and
  • Destruction of the body’s capacity to produce new blood cells, resulting in uncontrolled bleeding (because of the absence or severe reduction of platelets) and life-threatening infections (because of the absence or reduction of white blood cells
Q.2) India remains committed to universal, non-discriminatory and verifiable nuclear disarmament.  In this context, elaborate on the role played by treaty on achieving the vision of world without nuclear disarmament? (GS-2) Ans : What is Nuclear Prohibition Treaty? It creates a legal basis for proscribing nuclear weapons among adhering states. It is helpful in achieving the vision of  world without nuclear disarmament in the following  ways:
  • The Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons prohibits States Parties from developing, testing, producing, manufacturing, acquiring, possessing, or stockpiling nuclear weapons or other nuclear explosive devices.
  • Signatories are barred from transferring or receiving nuclear weapons and other nuclear explosive devices control over such weapons, or any assistance with activities prohibited under the Treaty.
  • States are also prohibited from using or threatening to use nuclear weapons and other nuclear explosive devices.
  • States Parties cannot allow the stationing, installation, or deployment of nuclear weapons and other nuclear explosive devices in their territory.
  • In addition to the Treaty’s prohibitions, States Parties are obligated to provide victim assistance and help with environmental remediation efforts.
Q.3) Recently, India sent a refutation to the International Labour Organisation (ILO) challenging India’s ranking in a global slavery report. Highlight the reasons behind India’s stand against the report? Where is India lagging behind in meeting the challenges posed by the unemployment and lobour problems? (GS-1) Ans: To pressure ILO to distance itself from Australian NGO’s survey, which can potentially harm India’s image.
  • India sends a refutation to the International Labour Organisation (ILO) challenging India’s ranking in a global slavery report.
  • The country will now build pressure on the global body to distance itself from the Australian-based NGO-Walk Free Foundation.
Why is India against the report?
  • India has raised question about why the International Labour Organization (ILO) tied up with Walk Free Foundation  (WFF) to produce a report on ‘modern slavery’, a term ILO hasn’t so far defined in its own convention.
  • The ILO, without following any protocol, endorsed WFF’s survey.
What is India’s position in the recent Global Slavery Index?
  • The 2016 Global Slavery Index estimates that 45.8 million people are subject to some form of modern slavery in the world today.
  • Now, India has been ranked 4th out of 167 countries.
  • The top three countries were North Korea, Uzbekistan and Cambodia.
  • In 2016, it was deemed to have some 18.3 million people trapped in slavery.
  • In 2017, about 1.4% of the population working under coercive conditions.
Where is India lagging behind?
  • The long-term structural weakness of India’s economic reform has been the inability to expand the market for jobs in sync with its demographic growth.
  • Many of these new-age slaves are women and children, the most vulnerable sections on the frontline of economic slowdown and poverty.
  • Increase in number of slaves every year is due to the rank failure of India’s law enforcement institutions.