State of Global Air 2020
The State of Global Air is a collaboration between the Health Effects Institute (HEI) and the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME), with expert input from the University of British Columbia.
Long-term exposure to outdoor and household air pollution contributed to over 1.67 million annual deaths from stroke, heart attack, diabetes, lung cancer, chronic lung diseases and neonatal diseases in India in 2019.
Overall, air pollution was now the largest risk factor for death among all health risks in India.
For the youngest infants, most deaths were related to complications from low birth weight and preterm birth.
India faced the highest per capita pollution exposure — or 83.2 μg/cubic metre — in the world, followed by Nepal at 83.1 μg/cubic metre and Niger at 80.1.
Challenges ahead for India:
The government has claimed that average pollution levels in India are declining over the past three years.
But these have been marginal, particularly in the Indo-Gangetic plains which see extremely high particulate matter pollution especially during winter.
After a decline in pollution due to the nationwide lockdown in late March and the months-long process of reopening, pollution levels are again rising and air quality has dipped to ‘very poor’ category in several cities.
There is clear evidence linking air pollution and increased heart and lung disease. This newest evidence suggests an especially high risk for infants born in South Asia and sub-Saharan Africa.
Maharashtra withdraws ‘general consent’ to CBI
The Maharashtra government has withdrawn “general consent” given to the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) to probe cases in the state.
What consent is necessary?
The CBI is governed by the Delhi Special Police Establishment Act that makes consent of a state government mandatory for conducting investigation in that state.
There are two kinds of consent:
Case-specific and general– Given that the CBI has jurisdiction only over central government departments and employees, it can investigate a case involving state government employees or a violent crime in a given state only after that state government gives its consent.
“General consent” is normally given to help the CBI seamlessly conduct its investigation into cases of corruption against central government employees in the concerned state.
What does withdrawal mean?
It simply means that CBI officers will lose all powers of a police officer as soon as they enter the state unless the state government has allowed them.
The decision means the CBI will now have to get consent from the state government for every case it registers in Maharashtra.
Under what provision can general consent been withdrawn?
In exercise of power conferred by Section 6 of the Delhi Special Police Establishment Act, 1946, the state governments can withdraw the general consent accorded.
Can withdrawal mean that the CBI can no longer probe any case?
No. The CBI would still have the power to investigate old cases registered when general consent existed. Also, cases registered anywhere else in the country, but involving people stationed in states which have withdrawn consent, would allow CBI’s jurisdiction to extend to these states.
Sri Lankan Parliament passes 20th Amendment
20th Amendment to Sri Lanka’s Constitution was recently passed.
Highlights of the 20th Amendment:
It envisages expansive powers and greater immunity for the Executive President.
The Amendment rolls back Sri Lanka’s 19th Amendment, a 2015 legislation that sought to clip presidential powers, while strengthening Parliament. The new legislation in turn reduces the Prime Minister’s role to a ceremonial one.
Why was the 19th Amendment introduced? (Have a brief overview):
It mainly sought to weaken the power of the presidency which the 18th amendment had greatly expanded.
The 18th amendment allowed four basic changes:
The President can seek re-election any number of times;
The ten-member Constitutional Council has been replaced with a five-member Parliamentary Council;
Independent commissions are brought under the authority of the President; and,
It enables the President to attend Parliament once in three months and entitles him to all the privileges, immunities, and powers of a Member of Parliament other than the entitlement to vote.
The Anti-Corruption Working Group
Saudi Arabia is hosting the first-ever Ministerial Meeting of the G-20 Anti-Corruption Working Group (ACWG) virtually.
Established by G20 Leaders at the Toronto Summit in 2010.
Responsible for updating and implementing the G20 Anti-corruption Action Plan.
Reports to G20 Leaders.
It cooperates closely with and supports the work of relevant international organizations, including the Organization of Economic Cooperation and Development, the United Nations, the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund and the Financial Action Task Force.
What is the G20?
The G20 is an annual meeting of leaders from the countries with the largest and fastest-growing economies. Its members account for 85% of the world’s GDP, and two-thirds of its population.
The G20 Summit is formally known as the “Summit on Financial Markets and the World Economy”.
Genesis of G20:
After the Asian Financial Crisis in 1997-1998, it was acknowledged that the participation of major emerging market countries is needed on discussions on the international financial system, and G7 finance ministers agreed to establish the G20 Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors meeting in 1999.
Full membership of the G20:
Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, France, Germany, India, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, Mexico, Russia, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, South Korea, Turkey, the United Kingdom, the United States and the European Union.
What is G20+?
The G20 developing nations, also called G21/G23/G20+ is a bloc of developing nations which was established on August 20, 2003.
Its origins can be traced to the Brasilia Declaration signed by the foreign ministers of India, Brazil and South Africa on 6th June 2003.
The G20+ is responsible for 60% of the world population, 26% of the world’s agricultural exports and 70% of its farmers.