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25th June Current Affairs

Safety at a price for Delhi’s queer community

(GS-II: Vulnerable sections of society and schemes related to vulnerable sections, laws for the protection and betterment of vulnerable sections)

In News:

The pride month celebrations and the many LGBTQ+ friendly parties happening in Delhi, but queer safe spaces are rare.

Details:

Since Section 377 of the IPC was decriminalised in 2018, Delhi has transitioned into a city where gay bashes in nightclubs, pride meets at cafes and gay-themed film festivals and book readings are routinely held.

However, discrimination against the community is still prevalent in every stratum of society and many queer persons said they felt unsafe attending events because they feared getting “outed”.

LGBTIQ+:

LGBTQ is an acronym for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer or questioning.

These terms are used to describe a person’s sexual orientation or gender identity.

Difficulties Faced by LGBTIQ+ Community:

Heterosexuality: They are experiencing intolerance, discrimination, harassment, and the threat of violence due to their sexual orientation than those that identify themselves as heterosexual.

In-equality & Violence: They face inequality and violence in every place around the world. They face torture from people who mock them and make them realize that they are different from others.

Deprived in Rights: In many countries, the rights enjoyed by opposite-sex couples are not enjoyed by same-sex couples. They are prohibited from those rights.

Isolation from society: They gradually develop low self-esteem and low self-confidence and become isolated from friends and family.

Conflict in Family itself: Lack of communication between LGBT children and their parents often leads to conflict in the family. Many LGBT youths are placed in foster care or end up in juvenile detention or on the streets.

Racial Discrimination: Additionally, lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people face poverty and racism daily. They suffer from social and economic inequalities due to continuous discrimination in the workplace.

Norms to protect the rights of kids working on OTT platforms

(GS-II: Laws, institutions and Bodies constituted for the protection and betterment of vulnerable sections)

In News:

The National Commission for the Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR) has published draft guidelines to regulate child protection within the entertainment industry.

While the “Guidelines to Regulate Child Participation in the Entertainment Industry” were issued by the Commission in 2011, today’s draft increases the scope of the guidelines to cover social media and OTT platforms for the first time.

New Guidelines:

Registration: It has mandated that child artists and children being used in entertainment need to be registered with the District Magistrate.

Any producer of any audio-visual media production or any commercial event involving the participation of a child will now need to obtain the permission of the District Magistrate where the activity is to be performed.

No exploitation: Parents, who are using children to make money, have to be held accountable.

Provisions under the Juvenile Justice Act, 2015, Child Labour Amendment Act, 2016, Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act, 2012, Information Technology (Intermediary Guidelines and Digital Media Ethics Code) Rules, 2021, etc., have been included in the guidelines.

Disclaimer: Producers will also have to run a disclaimer saying measures were taken to ensure there has been no abuse, neglect or exploitation of children during the entire process of the shooting.

Child-specific considerations: The guidelines prohibit children from being cast in roles or situations that are inappropriate; consideration has to be given to the child’s age, maturity, emotional or psychological development and sensitivity.

Presence of guardian: At least one parent or legal guardian or a known person has to be present during a shoot, and for infants, a registered nurse needs to be present along with the parent or legal guardian.

Police verification: Every person involved in the production who may be in contact with children will have to submit a medical fitness certificate ensuring that they are not carrying an obvious contagious disease and police verification of the staff also needs to be carried out.

Child’s education: The producer also needs to ensure the child’s education under the RTE Act, to ensure no discontinuity from school or lessons as well as adequate and nutritious food, and water to the children during the process of production and medical facilities.

Breaks: A child shall only participate in one shift per day, with a break after every three hours.

Income: At least 20 per cent of the income earned by the child from the production or event shall be directly deposited in a fixed deposit account in a nationalized bank in the name of the child which may be credited to the child on attaining majority.

Family enterprise: Content created by the child or his family/guardian shall be treated as children working in a family enterprise as provided under Section 3(2)(a) of the Child Labour and Adolescent Labour Act, 1986.

World facing a worst global hunger crisis

(GS-II: Issues relating to Poverty and Hunger)

In News:

As per the UN, global hunger is on the rise, reversing decades of progress.  Climate change, extreme weather events, conflicts and economic downturns are some of the factors driving growing food insecurity.

Status:

As per the FAO report (Global Report on Food Crises): Around 193 million people in 53 countries or territories experienced acute food insecurity at crisis or worse levels

Acute food insecurity is at a record high.

Hunger Hotspots: Ethiopia, Nigeria, South Sudan, Afghanistan, Somalia and Yemen are “hunger hotspots” facing catastrophic conditions.

A total of 750,000people are already facing starvation and death in Ethiopia, Yemen, South Sudan, Somalia and Afghanistan.

The Democratic Republic of the Congo, Haiti, the Sahel region, Sudan and Syria remain “countries of very high concern” where conditions are critical, and deteriorating.

Children: Some 13.6 million children globally under the age of five are suffering from severe acute malnutrition, according to the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF).

Even if these children survive, they may suffer from stunting, which has life-long consequences.

Rising inequality and economic instability could lead to social and political unrest in some of the worst-affected countries in the coming months.

Global Hunger Index 2021: India slipped seven places to rank 101 among 116 countries. The level of hunger in India was ‘serious’ according to the report.

India and Food Insecurity: India has the largest stock of grain in the world (120 million tonnes) but still accounts for a quarter of the world’s food-insecure population.

Estimates show that, in 2020, over 237 crore people were grappling with food insecurity globally, an increase of about 32 crores from 2019.

Causes of worldwide hunger:

Violence and conflict: They remain the primary drivers of acute hunger, and conflict levels and violence against civilians have increased in 2022.

Displacement: Conflict has led to new waves of displacement, forcing people to abandon their homes, land and livelihoods, reducing the amount of food locally available in their communities.

In the Sahel alone, close to 2.8 million people have been internally displaced.

Other reasons: The war in Ukraine has combined with the climate crisis, the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and the unequal recovery to create a perfect storm of needs in developing countries.

Solutions:

Investing in Development: As per the UN, it requires just $300 million — just 0.1 per cent of the overseas development aid spent in a year.  To put that figure into perspective, 62 new food billionaires have been created in the past two years.

Stabilize the global market: We must stabilize global markets, reduce volatility and tackle the uncertainty of commodity prices. We must restore fertilizer availability, especially for smallholder farmers now.

Food is a fundamental human right: We must alleviate immediate suffering through humanitarian assistance and by investing in social protection systems.  Invest in a long-term vision of a food systems transformation, (committed last year at the United Nations Food Systems Summit)

Country-specific responses: In Yemen, for example, the focus is on identifying key inefficiencies in the political economy of the food system. In Haiti, the emphasis is on diversification of the economy, improved livelihoods for women and youth, and strategic partnerships for agriculture and fisheries.

FAO solution: The international community calls for a shift towards better prevention, anticipation, and targeting to address the root causes of food crises.

Biodiversity loss to raise India’s bankruptcy risk by 29%

(GS-III: Environmental Conservation)

In News:

As per a study by British Economist, loss of biodiversity will downgrade the credit ratings of several countries, including India, increasing their bankruptcy risk.

Status:

Global Biodiversity Outlook 5 (2020) warned that none of the 20 targets of Aichi (2010 to 2020) under the Convention of Biological Diversity, have been met by the global community.

India amended its National Biodiversity Action Plan (NBAP) to cover all 20 Aichi targets into 12 National Biodiversity Targets (NBTs). As per India’s 6th National Report, India is on track to achieve 9 out of its 12 NBTs.

What does the study say:

Economic loss out of ignoring biodiversity: The team claimed that investors and corporations ignoring biodiversity loss from calculations could lead to market stability being undermined. They found that at least 58 per cent of the 26 countries would face a detrimental impact.

Sovereign credit ratings are an independent assessment that determines the creditworthiness of a country.

Sectors most affected: “partial ecosystem collapse” of sectors such as fisheries, tropical timber production and wild pollination. (based on World Bank Prediction)

Worst affected: China and Malaysia would be the worst affected with downgrades of more than six notches.

On India: The downgrades to four notches for India and other countries means that they will be burdened with billions of dollars in interest. Twelve of the 26 countries analysed will be at the risk of bankruptcy.

How does biodiversity impacts economics?

As nature loss reduces economic performance, it will become harder for countries to service their debt, straining government budgets and forcing them to raise taxes, cut spending, or increase inflation.

Developing countries are already saddled with crippling debt burdens driven by COVID-19 and soaring prices, and the loss of nature will push these countries closer to the edge.

India’s debt burden is expected to increase to 8 per cent of the country’s gross domestic product ( GDP) by the end of March 2022.