Goaltide Daily Current Affairs 2021

Aug 11, 2021

Current Affair 1:
New project aims to boost understanding of environmental dimensions of antimicrobial resistance in India

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The UN Environment Programme (UNEP) and Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) have launched a new collaborative project - ‘Priorities for the Environmental Dimension of Antimicrobial Resistance (AMR) in India’, marking an important step towards recognizing and addressing the environmental dimension of AMR.

The project aims to strengthen environmental aspects of national- and state-level AMR strategies and action plans. It will undertake secondary research and stakeholder consultations to enhance understanding of the environmental dimension of AMR in India.

UNEP is supporting this project in India under the larger framework of Environment and Health, which is being led by the Inter-Ministerial Steering Group on Environment and Health (EH), co-chaired by the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare and Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change.

ICMR-National Institute of Cholera and Enteric Diseases (NICED), which is the Anti-Microbial Resistance Hub of ICMR since 2019, will implement this project.

Current Affair 2:
Circular Bioeconomy


The bioeconomy is an economic model based on the consumption of biological resources for the production of food and feed, products and energy. In a circular bioeconomy, biological resources are renewable, sustainably managed, recovered and reused as much as possible. This economic model is gaining momentum as a way to deliver society’s needs while responding to sustainability issues.

A circular bioeconomy offers a conceptual framework for using renewable natural capital to transform and manage our land, food, health and industrial systems, with the goal of achieving sustainable wellbeing in harmony with nature.

While the circular bioeconomy needs advanced technology and innovation as well as traditional knowledge to succeed, it ultimately relies on biodiversity as its true engine. This is because biodiversity determines the capacity of biological systems to adapt and evolve in a changing environment, and therefore is crucial for ensuring the resilience and sustainability of our biological resources.

Current Affair 3:
Essential Defence Services Bill, 2021


The Parliament passed "The Essential Defence Services Bill, 2021" which essentially gives power to Central Government to prohibit strike, lock-out and layoffs in "Essential Defence Services".

Let us evaluate different provisions of the bill.

  1. Definition of "Essential Defence Services" (EDS) – Section 2(1)(a) defines EDS. The definition is further divided into four sub-parts. The sub-part (ii) & (iv) give power to the central government to include any service which is connected to armed forces. This can be problematic as any private sector industry can fall in this category for example any private industry supplying steel to any ordnance factory may be brought under this provision.
  2. Blanket Ban on Strikes- Although our constitution does not provide for the fundamental right to strike, it has been recognized as statuary right by the Supreme Court in various decisions. The right to strike has notions of the right to form a union which is a recognized fundamental right. By this Act, the government can impose a blanket ban on strike for a period of 1 year. The problem with this provision is how workmen can raise their grievances or collectively bargain with their employer if there is an order prohibiting a strike.
  3. Dismissal without enquiry- Section 5(2) of the bill provides for the dismissal of any workmen without any enquiry if he/she is taking part in a strike. This provision is prima facie in violation of the principle of natural justice that says "no person shall be condemned unheard". Article 311 of the constitution provides for enquiry and an opportunity of being heard before any dismissal of a person employed under Central Government. The supreme court in the case of D.K Yadav[1] held the principle of natural justice to be applicable even in the case of a private employer. This provision can certainly be used as a weapon by the employer against any workmen who do not work according to his wishes or does not fall in line.
  4. Criminal Action - As if the dismissal of any workmen without holding enquiry is not enough, this bill seeks to penalize any workmen who commence or participate in a strike. The relationship between an employer and employee is generally regarded as a civil contract for which civil remedies can be claimed by either party. But after the introduction of this bill, the scenario will change for both employer and employee as the government has brought criminality to any act. It is pertinent to note that an employer can also be imprisoned if he violates the order of lockout or lay-offs.

The Essential Defence Services Bill shows the upper hand of central government in determining all facets of Defence Public Sector Undertaking and their connected undertaking. This whole exercise is being done in the name of the public interest, sovereignty and integrity of India. The other minute detail which can be noted is the obsession with the word "Public Interest" which has been used seven times in the bill but importantly no definition is given in the bill. The term "Public Interest" is such a wide term that it can include anything and everything, the term is also subjective in nature.

Current Affair 4:
A third of India’s coastline under erosion

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The National Centre for Coastal Research (NCCR) an attached office of Ministry of Earth Sciences monitors shoreline changes along Indian Coast. NCCR has carried out a national shoreline change assessment mapping for Indian coast using 28 years of satellite data from 1990 to 2018 along nine coastal States and two Union Territories(UTs)to provide information for coastal management strategy. Based on the report of NCCR, about 32% of the coastline is under varying degree of erosion (low, moderate or high), 27% is of accreting nature and the remaining 41% is in a stable state.

 As per NCCR studies, 41% of coastline of Kerala is subject to varying degree of erosion, 31% is stable and 21% is accreting.

Further, the National Centre for Sustainable Coastal Management under the Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change and the Central Water Commission under the Ministry of Jal Shakti also undertake studies on shoreline changes/coastal erosion and its impact.

Planning and execution of anti-sea erosion measures are undertaken by the maritime States and UTs as per their own priority and from their own resources. The role of Union Government is technical, advisory and catalytic in nature. Ministry of Earth Sciences through NCCR and National Institute of Ocean Technology has extended technical support in design of anti-sea erosion measures to Government of Kerala.

India has a coastline of 7516.6 km-- 5422.6 km of mainland coastline and 2094 km of island territories. Indian coastline touches nine states-- Gujarat, Maharashtra, Goa, Karnataka, Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, Odisha, West Bengal and two union territories-- Daman and Diu and Puducherry.

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