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19th July Current Affairs

Tele-Law service is being made free of cost for citizens from this year- Minister of Law and Justice

(GS-II: Laws, institutions and bodies for betterment and protection of vulnerable sections of society, Tele-Law etc)

In News:

From this year, Tele-Law service is being made free of cost for citizens in the country,” Minister of Law and Justice at the 18th All India Legal Services Meet at Jaipur.

Details:

The Department of Justice, Ministry of Law & Justice and National Legal Services Authority (NALSA) exchanged a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on Integrated Delivery of Legal Services.

During last year a total of 21,148 meetings of the UnderTrial Review Committee(UTRCs) were held resulting in the release of 31,605 undertrial inmates.

Key Highlights:

Legal aid to marginalized: Tele–Law mainstreams legal aid to the marginalized seeking legal help by connecting them with the Panel Lawyers through the tele/video-conferencing infrastructure available at Common Service Centers (CSCs) across 1 lakh Gram Panchayats.

Tele Law application: For easy and direct access Tele- Law Mobile Application (both Android and IoS) has also been launched in 2021 and it is presently available in 22 scheduled languages.

Widening of service to beneficiaries: Benefitting from this digital revolution, Tele-Law has widened the outreach of legal services to 20 Lakh + beneficiaries in just five years.

NALSA to provide lawyers: Under the provision of the MoU, NALSA would provide the services of 700 lawyers, in each district exclusively for the Tele-Law program.

These empanelled lawyers would now also act as referral lawyers and also assist in strengthening the mechanism for dispute avoidance and dispute resolution at the pre-litigation stage.

A glossary for the troubled global economy

(GS-III: Economy)

In News:

US’ inflation rate was at 9.1% in June, the highest in 40 years, and FED action to increase the interest rate has led to few terms coming up in focus.

Bond yield curve inversion:

Bonds are essentially an instrument through which governments (and also corporations) raise money from people. Typically government bond yields are a good way to understand the risk-free interest rate in that economy.

The yield curve is the graphical representation of yields (profit) from bonds. E.g. If one was to take the Indian government bonds of different tenures and plot them according to the yields they provide, one would get the yield curve.

Under normal circumstances: any economy would have an upward sloping yield curve (meaning normal profit from investment in the bond).

Inverted Bond yield curve: As one buys bonds of longer tenure — one gets higher yields. This is logical. If one is parting with money for a longer duration, the return should be higher.

However, An inversion of the yield curve essentially suggests that investors expect future growth to be weak.

For instance, bonds with a tenure of 2 years end up paying out higher yields (returns/ interest rate) than bonds with a 10-year tenure.

Over the years, inversion of the bond yield curve has become a strong predictor of recessions. In the current instance, the US Fed (their central bank) has been raising short-term interest rates, which further bumps up the short-end of the yield curve while dampening economic activity.

Soft-landing:

When a central bank is successful in slowing down the economy without bringing about a recession, it is called a soft-landing — that is, no one gets hurt. But when the actions of the central bank bring about a recession, it is called hard-landing.

Given the massive gap between the current US inflation rate — over 9%— and the Fed’s target inflation rate — 2% — most observers expect that the Fed would have to resort to such aggressive monetary tightening that the US economy will end up having a hard landing.

Reverse Currency War:

As the US FED rate increases, the investor finds it more attractive and less risky. So, more and more investors are rushing to invest money in the US. This, in turn, has made the dollar become stronger than all the other currencies.

The relative weakness of their local currency against the dollar makes their exports more competitive. This can be good for economies.

However, today, every central bank is trying to counter the US Fed and raise interest rates themselves in order to ensure their currency doesn’t lose too much value against the dollar. This has been termed ‘reverse currency war’. E.g. India being import dependent, a weaker currency would mean a higher import bill and therefore RBI is trying to defend Indian Rupee against Dollar.

Risk-reduction strategies using traditional knowledge

(GS-III: Disaster Management)

In News:

Indigenous peoples’ understanding of disaster risk uses an enormous dataset – traditional knowledge and folklore reaching back many generations. It was highlighted in the recently concluded Global Platform For Disaster Risk Reduction 2022 (GP2022) in Bali.

Details:

These indigenous practices have used traditional knowledge, alongside modern techniques, to help manage disaster risk:

Cultural burning ( Ancient Australian technique to reduce bushfire):  Controlled fires in small areas burn, reducing undergrowth and dead wood while preserving larger trees and allowing wildlife to escape

Natural flood management(age-old traditional forecasting and flood-prevention methods to limit the risks of seasonal flooding in Nepal and the Tibetan Plateau):

These include planting flood-resistant crops and digging drainage ditches and moats.

Community-based early warning systems using environmental indicators: Observations of changes in cloud shapes, rainfall patterns, fauna activity, wind velocity, star positions and temperatures help anticipate floods and trigger preparations to minimize their impacts.

Traditional remedies after flooding – like using green coconut milk to treat diarrhoea, cholera and dysentery – help with recovery, alongside any modern medical treatments that might be available.

Safe areas(In Sulawesi, Indonesia, the Kailli communities have passed on historical knowledge of natural hazards):  Folksongs recount past experiences of disasters and pass on lessons learnt from predecessors about a range of hazards and their causes: tsunamis, earthquakes, and ground liquefaction resulting from earthquakes.

The villages include safe areas, known as ‘Kinta’, which have always been used as refuges during seismic events.

Global Platform For Disaster Risk Reduction 2022 (GP2022):

7th session recently concluded in Bali, Indonesia.

Key outcomes of Bali Agenda for Resilience are:

Human rights-based approach and  holistic whole-of-society approach  to diaster risk reduction (DRR)

DRR at centre of policies and finance for government

GP2022: It is a platform to assess the implementation of Sendai Framework on DRR (2015-2030)

Sasakawa Award for Disaster Risk Reduction:  It honours practices and efforts made by institutions, individuals and groups that have best contributed to building resilience through a multi-hazard approach.

It focuses on the promotion of inclusive and resilient approaches in disaster risk reduction.

Minority status of religious, and linguistic communities is State-dependent

(GS-II: Mechanism, laws, institutions and Bodies constituted for the protection and betterment of vulnerable sections of society, minority status etc)

In News:

Every person in India can be a minority in one State or the other. The minority status of religious and linguistic communities is “State-dependent”, the Supreme Court said.

Details:

The court was hearing a petition filed by a Mathura resident, Devkinandan Thakur, complaining that followers of Judaism, Bahaism and Hinduism, who are the real minorities in Ladakh, Mizoram, Lakshadweep, Kashmir, Nagaland, Meghalaya, Arunachal Pradesh, Punjab and Manipur cannot establish and administer educational institutions of their choice because of non-identification of ‘minority’ at State level, thus jeopardizing their basic rights guaranteed under Articles 29 and 30.

Key Highlights:

Minorities can claim protection under Articles 29 and 30: The court indicated that a religious or linguistic community which is a minority in a particular State can inherently claim protection and the right to administer and run its own educational institutions under Articles 29 and 30 of the Constitution.

Hindus minorities in many states: He pointed out that Hindus were a mere 1% in Ladakh, 2.75% in Mizoram, 2.77% in Lakshadweep, 4% in Kashmir, 8.74% in Nagaland, 11.52% in Meghalaya, 29% in Arunachal Pradesh, 38.49% in Punjab and 41.29% in Manipur.

Power of the centre to notify minorities: Mr Datar challenged Section 2(c) of the National Commission for Minorities (NCM) Act 1992, which gave “unbridled power” to the Centre to notify minorities.

TMA Pai Case:

The SC had said that for the purposes of Article 30 which deals with the rights of minorities to establish and administer educational institutions, religious and linguistic minorities have to be considered state-wise.