Goaltide Daily Current Affairs 2020
Current Affair 1:
Doha Amendment to the Kyoto Protocol
We will see:
- Kyoto Protocol
- Doha Agreement
- The Kyoto Mechanism in this Article.
The Kyoto Protocol was the first legal treatise to address climate change by cutting down of greenhouse gas emissions. It laid out quantified targets for developed countries to cut down their emissions and asked their developing counterparts to adopt national climate plans, funded by finance and technology transfer from developed countries.
The Kyoto Protocol to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change was adopted in 1997 by the third Conference of the Parties in Kyoto (Japan). The Protocol obliges developed nations to reduce their collective greenhouse gas emissions by 5.2% (compared to 1990 levels) by the end of the first commitment period (2008–12). However, the United States – at the time the world's number one emitter – did not ratify the Protocol, seriously limiting its effectiveness. Canada withdrew from the Kyoto Protocol in 2011.
The Doha Amendment establishes the Kyoto Protocol’s second commitment period from 2013-2020. It was adopted at the eighth session of the Conference of the Parties serving as the Meeting of the Parties to the Kyoto Protocol (CMP 8), in Doha, Qatar, in 2012. During this second commitment period, Parties committed to reduce GHG emissions by at least 18 percent below 1990 levels in the eight-year period from 2013 to 2020.
The amendment includes:
- New commitments for Annex I Parties to the Kyoto Protocol who agreed to take on commitments in a second commitment period from 1 January 2013 to 31 December 2020
- A revised list of GHG to be reported on by Parties in the second commitment period; and
- Amendments to several articles of the Kyoto Protocol which specifically referenced issues pertaining to the first commitment period and which needed to be updated for the second commitment period.
Has India ratified it?
The second commitment period of the Kyoto Protocol was adopted in 2012 and the ratification period began in the beginning of year 2013. Of the total 192 parties to Kyoto Protocol, 144 ratifications are needed for the amendment to come into force. Recently, Nigeria became the 144th country to ratify the amendment.
The Doha amendment was to determine the course of climate action from 2013 (when the First Commitment Period ended) to 2020 after which the Paris Agreement will come into force.
Ok, this is very important now:
The Kyoto mechanisms:
One important element of the Kyoto Protocol was the establishment of flexible market mechanisms, which are based on the trade of emissions permits. Under the Protocol, countries must meet their targets primarily through national measures. However, the Protocol also offers them an additional means to meet their targets by way of three market-based mechanisms:
- International Emissions Trading
- Clean Development Mechanism (CDM)
- Joint implementation (JI)
These mechanisms ideally encourage GHG abatement to start where it is most cost-effective, for example, in the developing world. It does not matter where emissions are reduced, as long as they are removed from the atmosphere.
This has the parallel benefits of stimulating green investment in developing countries and including the private sector in this endeavour to cut and hold steady GHG emissions at a safe level. It also makes leap-frogging—that is, the possibility of skipping the use of older, dirtier technology for newer, cleaner infrastructure and systems, with obvious longer-term benefits—more economical.
Current Affair 2:
NCRB 2019 report on Crimes against Women
More than 4.05 lakh cases of crimes against women were registered in 2019, an increase of 7.3% compared to the year 2018, reveals the National Crime Records Bureau Crime in India 2019 report.
An average of 87 cases of rape were registered per day in 2019
As per the 2019 figures, an average of 87 cases of rape were registered across the country. With 32,033 registered rape cases, 2019 marks the seventh year in a row where the number of registered rape cases has crossed 30,000.
85% of the rape cases registered in 14 States/UTs
A total of 5997 rape cases were registered in Rajasthan in 2019, the highest for any state. Rajasthan accounted for 19% of all the registered rape cases in the country in 2019. Uttar Pradesh, which recorded the highest number of crimes against women in the same year had reported 3,065 cases of rape, the second highest in the country. Madhya Pradesh, Kerala, and Maharashtra had reported more than 2000 cases each.
Conviction rate in cases of rape has not improved in the last 20 years
While the number of registered rape cases has doubled in the last 20 years, there has been no significant change in the conviction rate in these cases. Conviction rate in cases of rape refers to the percentage of cases which resulted in conviction among those cases whose trials were complete in that particular year. In the past 20 years, it was only in 2017 that the conviction rate went beyond 30%. In all the other years, it has hovered around 26 to 27%.
The overall conviction rate in cases of crimes against women, including both IPC and SLL crimes in India was the highest in 2010 (at 27.8%) over the last 10 years. The conviction rate dropped to a low of 18.9% in 2016. Since 2017, the rate has been between 23 to 24%. The major reason behind this is the lower conviction rate in cases registered under section 498A, ‘Cruelty by husband and relatives’ (domestic violence cases) which, as already noted, accounts for almost one-third of the cases of crime against women.
The NCRB report does not give details of state wise conviction rate in cases of rape in specific. The state wise conviction rate for overall crimes against women is available. Among the states, it is observed that Mizoram has reported a conviction rate of 88% in 2019.
If we recall three most gruesome incidents, Nirbhaya incident in 2012, the veterinary Doctor’s rape and murder in Telangana in 2019, and the recent Hathras incident in Uttar Pradesh, the situation doesn’t seem to have changed much.
There is very high pendency rate in the case of crimes against women and courts are able to dispose less than 10% of the cases that come for trial every year. Even among the disposed cases, the conviction rate is less than 25%. All in all, huge pendency & low conviction rate seem to define the status of crimes against women in the country.
Current Affair 3:
Conservation agriculture (CA)
We will introduce to you with beautiful paragraph:
According to the recently published Desertification and Land Degradation Atlas of India, 96.4 million hectares – making up 29% of the country’s total geographic area – became degraded from 2011 to 2013. The most important process of degradation was water erosion, which contributed to 11% of the total degradation.
Why is water, which should be enriching our aquifers, degrading land? Agriculture accounts for 90% of India’s freshwater consumption and gets this water mostly from the ground. It’s also true that, according to the Central Groundwater Board, some 40% of our groundwater units are not in the ‘safe’ category. Both the Centre and state governments have been attempting different institutional, economic and technological ways to address the problem of groundwater depletion (if they are).
So as such, we are facing a potential crisis on two fronts: groundwater depletion and land degradation led by water erosion. In the longer term, both these forces will also accentuate the effects of climate change.
So, what should we do now?
In this regard, consider the concept called conservation agriculture (CA). It consists of three agro-ecological practices: no ploughing, maintaining a permanent soil mulch or cover, and diversification in the cropping system.
- CA addresses both water management and checking soil degradation.
- This system increases water supply by capturing and releasing water in aquifers, with zero-tilled soil acting as a catchment.
- It also downsizes the crop demand for water by reducing evaporation and transpiration losses.
- The 2020 World Water Development Report has endorsed CA for water management. Other alternative sustainable agriculture practices, including zero-budget natural farming, permaculture and direct-seeded rice, also adopt some principles of CA, although not all.
But CA ha slot of barriers. It has still not found place in India.
- First, the CA system is site-specific; it is not a “one size fits all” approach. It requires farmer-led testing plots at each new site, and which can then be scaled up gradually.
- Second, many farmers believe that tillage or ploughing is necessary for crop cultivation, and ploughing requires both farmers and extension workers to be trained.
- Third, it is difficult to manage weeds. In June this year, for example, The Tribune reported that paddy farmers in Punjab rejected direct-seeding because “they require more seeds and have to spray weedicides twice, so the input cost doesn’t reduce” as was “being advertised” by the state agriculture department. In this regard, the support of the government and civil society is vital.
- Fourth, it’s important to have enough mulch or residue to keep the soil covered – but farmers typically burn this material.
- Finally, farmers need the right kind of mechanization to practice zero-tillage
India’s precarious groundwater situation, land degradation and the threat of climate change all together make CA a desirable proposition – at least if we intend to tackle these challenges without comprising our agricultural productivity.
Current Affair 4:
GST increased to 6-month high of Rs 95,000 crores
The Gross tax collections from the GST increased to 6-month high of Rs 95,000 crores in the month of September 2020. For the first time in the current financial year, the GST receipts were higher as compared to corresponding month of the Previous year.
This increase in the GST tax collections is considered to be significant because it highlights that Indian Economy is slowly limping back to normalcy after lockdown-imposed economic slowdown. The increase in the consumer sentiment accompanied by increased expenditure has helped boost the GST revenue. There has been uptick in other high frequency indicators such as PMI, Merchandise Trade data etc. which hints at possible economic recovery.
In this regard, let us have a look at the trends in the GST tax collections since its introduction in July 2017.
Stagnation in GST Tax Collection:
As Chart 1 shows, the total monthly collections from State (SGST), Central (CGST), and integrated (IGST) goods and services taxes and the compensation cess first crossed Rs 1 lakh crore in April 2018. But after that, there has been stagnation in GST revenue growth.
Share of different components of GST in decreasing order: IGST, SGST, CGST and Compensation Cess. As can be seen in chart 2, there has been sluggish growth in all the components.
Current Affair 5:
World’s longest highway tunnel opened in Himachal Pradesh
Prime Minister Narendra Modi inaugurated the Atal Tunnel at Rohtang at an altitude of above 3,000 metre in Himachal Pradesh.
Feature and importance of the tunnel
- The horseshoe shaped, single tube double lane tunnel with a roadway of 8 metre, is in the eastern Pir Panjal range of the Himalayas on the Leh-Manali Highway.
- The 9.02 km-long-tunnel, built by the Border Roads Organisation (BRO), is the world’s longest highway tunnel and connects Manali to the Lahaul-Spiti Valley.
- The tunnel reduces the distance between Manali and Leh by 46 km and the travel time by about 4 to 5 hours.
- It provides all-weather connectivity to the landlocked valley, which remains cut-off for nearly six months in a year as the Rohtang Pass is snow-bound between November and April.
- The tunnel would provide new strength to the country’s border infrastructure. It will provide better connectivity to the armed forces in reaching Ladakh.
- It is expected to boost tourism and winter sports in the region.
Pir Panjal range
The Himalayan range is made up of three parallel ranges often referred to as the Greater Himalayas, the Lesser Himalayas, and the Outer Himalayas.
Pir Panjal is the largest range of the Lesser Himalayas. Near the bank of the Sutlej River, it dissociates itself from the Himalayas and forms a divide between the Beas and Ravi rivers on one side and the Chenab on the other.
- It is a high mountain pass on the eastern end of the Pir Panjal Range of the Himalayas around 51 km from Manali. It connects the Kullu Valley with the Lahaul and Spiti Valleys of Himachal Pradesh.
- Kullu Valley is a broad open valley in Himachal Pradesh, India, formed by the Beas River between Manali and Largi.
- Spiti Valley is a cold desert mountain valley located high in the Himalayas in the north- eastern part of the northern Indian state of Himachal Pradesh. Lahaul and Spiti are cut off from each other by the higher Kunzum Pass.
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