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22nd November Current Affairs

Istanbul Convention on violence against women

(GS-II: Bilateral, regional and global groupings and agreements involving India and/or affecting India’s interests)

In News:

Every year, men in Turkey murder hundreds of women, and trending hashtags on social media and protests on the street have become sadly familiar.

Details:

This month, a particularly brazen killing has triggered a massive outcry over what women’s rights activists say is the government’s failure to prevent gender-based violence.

Activists say that by withdrawing from Istanbul Convention, a 2011 landmark agreement of the Council of Europe outlining how to ensure the safety of women, Turkey has given up on a roadmap it was the first country to endorse.

Background:

On November 24, 2011, Turkey became the first country to ratify the Istanbul convention and, on March 8, 2012, it incorporated the Istanbul Convention into domestic law.

Why it’s withdrawal being criticised?

Turkey has received severe criticism from various quarters and has led to protests across the country.

The country has withdrawn from the convention despite the alarmingly high rates of violence and femicide in the country.

The country ranks 133 out of 156 countries in the Global Gender Gap report 2021.

According to UN women data, 38 per cent of women in Turkey face violence from a partner in their lifetime.

The Turkish government does not maintain any official records on femicides.

What are the reasons for Turkey’s withdrawal?

It said the convention demeans traditional family structure, promotes divorces and encourages acceptance of LGBTQ in the society.

Besides, it said, it has enough local laws to protect women’s rights.

Concerns:

The move comes at a time when domestic violence against women and girls has intensified across the world amidst the Covid-19 pandemic.

People are also concerned that now even basic rights and protections of the Turkish women will come under threat.

What is the Istanbul Convention?

It is also called as the Council of Europe Convention on preventing and combating violence against women and domestic violence.

The treaty is the world’s first binding instrument to prevent and tackle violence against women.

It is the most comprehensive legal framework that exists to tackle violence against women and girls, covering domestic violence, rape, sexual assault, female genital mutilation (FGM), so-called honour-based violence, and forced marriage.

When a government ratifies the Convention, they are legally bound to follow it.

The convention was adopted by the Council of Europe Committee of Ministers on 7 April 2011.

The Convention sets minimum standards for governments to meet when tackling violence against women.

Green Hydrogen

(GS-III: Infrastructure- energy)

In News:

The Narendra Modi government’s National Hydrogen Mission is kick-starting with the Indian Oil Corporation (IOCL) floating a global tender to set up green hydrogen generation units at two of its big refineries in North India. IOCL is India’s largest commercial undertaking, operating the largest number of refineries in the country.

What is green hydrogen?

Hydrogen when produced by electrolysis using renewable energy is known as Green Hydrogen which has no carbon  footprint.

The hydrogen that is in use today is produced using fossil fuels, which is the primary source.

Organic materials such as fossil fuels and biomass are used for releasing hydrogen through chemical processes.

Significance of Green Hydrogen:

Green hydrogen energy is vital for India to meet its Nationally Determined Contribution (INDC) Targets and ensure regional and national energy security, access and availability.

Green Hydrogen can act as an energy storage option, which would be essential to meet intermittencies (of renewable energy) in the future.

In terms of mobility, for long distance mobilisations for either urban freight movement within cities and states or for passengers, Green Hydrogen can be used in railways, large ships, buses or trucks, etc.

Applications of green hydrogen:

Green Chemicals like ammonia and methanol  can directly be utilized in existing applications like fertilizers, mobility, power, chemicals, shipping etc.

Green Hydrogen blending up to 10% may be adopted in CGD networks to gain widespread acceptance.

Benefits:

It is a clean-burning molecule, which can decarbonize a range of sectors including iron and steel, chemicals, and transportation.

Renewable energy that cannot be stored or used by the grid can be channelled to produce hydrogen.

What are the steps the Indian government has taken in the production of green hydrogen?

During the budget speech in February 2021, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman announced the launch of the Hydrogen Energy Mission to produce hydrogen from renewable sources.

In the same month, state-owned Indian Oil Corporation signed an agreement with Greenstat Norway for setting up a Centre of Excellence on Hydrogen (CoE-H). It will promote R&D projects for the production of green and blue hydrogen between Norwegian and Indian R&D institutions/universities.

Recently, India and the US have set up a task force under the aegis of the Strategic Clean Energy Partnership (SCEP) to mobilise finance and speed up green energy development.

Registration of political parties

(GS-II: Salient features of the Representation of People’s Act)

In News:

The Election Commission has received an application from Captain Amarinder Singh for registration of his new political outfit called Punjab Lok Congress Party under section 29A of the Representation of the People Act, 1951.

What next?

According to the Election Commission, any party seeking registration under the Election Commission has to submit an application to it within a period of 30 days following the date of its formation.

This is in keeping with the guidelines prescribed by the Commission in exercise of the powers conferred by Article 324 of the Constitution and Section 29A of the Representation of the People Act, 1951.

Registration of political parties:

Registration of Political parties is governed by the provisions of Section 29A of the Representation of the People Act, 1951.

A party seeking registration under the said Section with the Election Commission has to submit an application to the Commission within the said period following the date of its formation as per guidelines prescribed by the Election Commission of India in exercise of the powers conferred by Article 324 of the Commission of India and Section 29A of the Representation of the People Act, 1951.

Guidelines:

As per the existing guidelines, the applicant is asked to publish the proposed name of the party in two national newspapers and two local dailies.

It should also provide two days for submitting objections, if any, with regard to the proposed registration of the party before the Commission within 30 days from the publication.

The notice for publication is also displayed on the website of the Election Commission.

To be eligible for a ‘National Political Party of India:

It secures at least six percent of the valid votes polled in any four or more states, at a general election to the House of the People or, to the State Legislative Assembly.

In addition, it wins at least four seats in the House of the People from any State or States.

It wins at least two percent seats in the House of the People (i.e., 11 seats in the existing House having 543 members), and these members are elected from at least three different States.

To be eligible for a ‘State Political Party:

It secures at least six percent of the valid votes polled in the State at a general election, either to the House of the People or to the Legislative Assembly of the State concerned

In addition, it won at least two seats in the Legislative Assembly of the State concerned.

It wins at least three percent (3%) of the total number of seats in the Legislative Assembly of the State, or at least three seats in the Assembly, whichever is more.

Benefits:

If a party is recognised as a State Party’, it is entitled for exclusive allotment of its reserved symbol to the candidates set up by it in the State in which it is so recognised, and if a party is recognised as a `National Party’ it is entitled for exclusive allotment of its reserved symbol to the candidates set up by it throughout India.

Recognised `State’ and `National’ parties need only one proposer for filing the nomination and are also entitled for two sets of electoral rolls free of cost at the time of revision of rolls and their candidates get one copy of electoral roll free of cost during General Elections.

They also get broadcast/telecast facilities over Akashvani/Doordarshan during general elections.

The travel expenses of star campaigners are not to be accounted for in the election expense accounts of candidates of their party.

Fly Ash

(GS-III: Pollution related issues)

In News:

Activists and fishermen have complained about fly ash making its way into the Kosasthalaiyar from the North Chennai Thermal Power Station (NCTPS). This was due to a leak in the pipeline carrying ash to the ash pond.

What is Fly Ash?

Popularly known as Flue ash or pulverised fuel ash, it is a coal combustion product.

Composition:

Composed of the particulates that are driven out of coal-fired boilers together with the flue gases.

Depending upon the source and composition of the coal being burned, the components of fly ash vary considerably, but all fly ash includes substantial amounts of silicon dioxide (SiO2), aluminium oxide (Al2O3) and calcium oxide (CaO), the main mineral compounds in coal-bearing rock strata.

Minor constituents include: arsenic, beryllium, boron, cadmium, chromium, hexavalent chromium, cobalt, lead, manganese, mercury, molybdenum, selenium, strontium, thallium, and vanadium, along with very small concentrations of dioxins and PAH compounds. It also has unburnt carbon.

Health and environmental hazards:

Toxic heavy metals present: All the heavy metals found in fly ash nickel, cadmium, arsenic, chromium, lead, etc—are toxic in nature. They are minute, poisonous particles accumulate in the respiratory tract, and cause gradual poisoning.

Radiation: For an equal amount of electricity generated, fly ash contains a hundred times more radiation than nuclear waste secured via dry cask or water storage.

Water pollution: The breaching of ash dykes and consequent ash spills occur frequently in India, polluting a large number of water bodies.

Effects on environment: The destruction of mangroves, drastic reduction in crop yields, and the pollution of groundwater in the Rann of Kutch from the ash sludge of adjoining Coal power plants has been well documented.

However, fly ash can be used in the following ways:

  • Concrete production, as a substitute material for Portland cement, sand.
  • Fly-ash pellets which can replace normal aggregate in concrete mixture.
  • Embankments and other structural fills.
  • Cement clinker production – (as a substitute material for clay).
  • Stabilization of soft soils.
  • Road subbase construction.
  • As aggregate substitute material (e.g. for brick production).
  • Agricultural uses: soil amendment, fertilizer, cattle feeders, soil stabilization in stock feed yards, and agricultural stakes.
  • Loose application on rivers to melt ice.
  • Loose application on roads and parking lots for ice control.