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17th October Current Affairs

Ashok Gulati writes: Feeding people, saving the planet

(GS-III: Environmental conservation, Agriculture and cropping patterns)

In News:

Feeding people while saving the planet requires a balancing act writes Ashok Gulati.

Key concern for Today’s world:

Access to food at affordable prices, however, remains a challenge despite the availability of ample food.

lack of sync between policies and technologies.

develop technologies that supply the food and nutritional needs of the world while also addressing climate change imperatives.

What needs to be done?

Developing tools to understand the impact of climate change.

As climate shocks are getting intense with higher frequency in form of heatwaves, droughts and untimely floods, putting millions at risk of food security.

Promoting scientific knowledge and innovation instead of ideologies and dogmas as it has led to terrible outcomes.

For instance, China suffered heavily due to starvation during 1958-61 period when it tried to follow a commune-based system of communist ideology.

Invest not only in climate adaptation strategies but also re-work our policies that can mitigate GHG emissions for agriculture.

Since agriculture contributes to 28 per cent of global greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and also gets severely impacted by climate change.

Focusing on changing the behaviour of peoplee. working on policies that incentivise people to change their way of doing things, be it in agriculture or in any other field.

Increase Expenditure on agri-research and development and education: India’s current expenditure hovers around 6 per cent of the agri-GDP for the Centre and states combined.

This needs to go up to at least 1 per cent, and, preferably between 1.5 to 2 per cent of the agri-GDP.

Only then India can be self-reliant (atmanirbhar) in food even in the face of adverse climate change.

Why does the SC Collegium hold primacy over appointments and transfers?

In News:

There is an increasing trend of the government unilaterally delaying or segregating names recommended by the Supreme Court Collegium.

Segregation and delays:

Recommendation of transfer by Collegium: Government chose to notify Justice Mithal’s transfer to the Rajasthan High Court while keeping a silence about Justice Muralidhar.

Justice Singh’s recommendation lies in limbo with the government: While the other judges recommended by the Collegium in the same batch for elevation were notified by the government.

Issues associated with delays:

Seniority of judges: It not only affects the primacy of the Collegium, but also impacts the seniority of a judge and even his/her prospects to be appointed to the Supreme Court.

Segregation with the Collegium’s list amounts to tinkering(improving something in a casual way): As collegium is the final arbiter of judicial appointments.

Importance of Judges case:

Primacy of collegium: The Three Judges Case establishes the primacy of the Collegium, led by the CJI, in making judicial appointments.

The Three Judges Case: It recognised the significance of maintaining the “inter-se seniority amongst judges in High Courts and their combined seniority on an all-India basis.

Way forward:

Memorandum of Procedure (MoP): A new MoP could bring in a clause to clear names for judicial appointments within a reasonable time to avoid delay.

India to take G20 presidency

In News:

India would be taking over the Group of Twenty (G20) presidency at “a time when there are so many challenges”, the Finance Minister said.

Key Highlights:

The Common Framework: 2020 G20 initiative for debt sustainability, was not performing as much as expected, she said.

Monetary tightening in the U.S.: It has created interest rate differentials between the U.S. and other countries

It is the primary reason for Asian currencies depreciating “quite sharply”, the IMF’s Asia and Pacific Department said.

G20:

The G20 is an informal group of 19 countries and the European Union, with representatives of the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank.

The G20 Presidency rotates annually: according to a system that ensures a regional balance over time.

For the selection of the presidency: 19 countries are divided into 5 groups, each having no more than 4 countries.

The presidency rotates between each group.

Every year the G20 selects a country from another group to be president.

India is in Group 2 which also has Russia, South Africa, and Turkey.

The G20 does not have a permanent secretariat or Headquarters.

LEADS 2022 Survey report

In News:

To assess logistics infrastructure, service and human resources across India, the Ministry of Commerce and Industry released the LEADS survey report.

Details:

Logistics is the management of the flow of things between the point of origin and the point of consumption to meet the requirements of customers or corporations.

Categories for ranking: Achievers; Fast Movers and Aspirers.

The benefit of good logistics: Improves trade competitiveness, ease of doing business and economic growth.

Recommendations:  Draft state-specific logistics policy ( in line with National Logistics Policy 2022); Develop Grievance Redressal System (in line with Ease of Logistics (E-LogS) portal; establish a dedicated land bank.

PM GatiShakti National Master Plan has the potential to save more than Rs. 10 lakh crores (US$ 120.98 billion) per year by enhancing logistical efficiency.

Understanding the Global Hunger Index

(GS-II: Issues related to poverty and hunger, institutions and bodies constituted for the protection of vulnerable sections of society etc)

In News:

For the second time in two years, the Ministry of Women and Child Development rejected the Global Hunger Index (GHI) which ranked India 107 among 121 countries.

Issues raised by India:

Proportion of Undernourished (PoU) population: The report lowers India’s rank based on the estimates of the Proportion of Undernourished (PoU) population.

The U.S. Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) estimate is based on the ‘Food Insecurity Experience Scale (FIES)’ survey: India stated that the data represented a miniscule proportion for a country of India’s size.

Calculating hunger based on mainly indicators relating to health indicators of children is neither scientific nor rational.

The report chooses to deliberately ignore efforts made by the Government to ensure food Security for the population, especially during the Covid Pandemic.

GHI website explanation to allegations:

GHI only uses the public data obtained through food balance sheets based on data reported by member countries, including India.

GHI ensures both the food supply situation and the effects of inadequate nutrition within a particularly vulnerable subset of the population are captured.

Recognized by the International community: All four indicators used in the calculation of global hunger are recognised by the international community, including India.

Scheduled Castes panel cannot initiate an inquiry on unsubstantiated complaints

In News:

The Delhi High Court ruled that the National Commission for Scheduled Castes cannot initiate an inquiry based on any “specious complaint and unsubstantiated allegations” made by a person belonging to a Scheduled Castes.

Details:

The plea was of a company against which the commission had initiated an inquiry over the termination of an engineer who belonged to a Scheduled Caste.

Key Highlights:

The commission is empowered to initiate an inquiry: Provided a member of a Scheduled Caste is able to establish that he had been ill-treated or discriminated against solely on account that he belonged to that class.

Article 338: the commission has no authority to assume jurisdiction or initiate an inquiry under Article 338 based on such a specious complaint and unsubstantiated allegations”, the court said.

National Commission for SC:

NCSC is a constitutional body: works to safeguard the interests of the scheduled castes (SC) in India.

Article 338: It deals with this commission

It consists of:

  • Vice-chairperson.
  • Three other members.

They are appointed by the President by warrant under his hand and seal.