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9th August Current Affairs

Delhi HC says Adoption not limited by religion

(GS-II: Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues arising out of their design and implementation)

In News:

The Delhi High Court has ruled that a person interested in adopting a child was not limited by his or her religion, if adoption was sought under the Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act.

What’s the case?

The court was hearing a case where Christian couple had adopted a child under the Hindu law.

The court has said that Christian and Muslim couples could not adopt a Hindu child under the Hindu Adoptions and Maintenance Act (HAMA).

However, since the child was being well taken care of by the foster parents and their family and the court said there is no cause to remove the child from their charge and custody.

Also no legal issues could arise in future since the Child has been adopted as per the Hindu adoption ceremony known as ‘Datta Homam’.

Legal Framework Governing Adoption Laws in India:

In India, adoption falls under the ambit of personal laws, and due to the incidence of diverse religions practised in our country, mainly two different laws operate.

Muslims, Christians, Parsis, and Jews are governed by the Guardians and Wards Act, 1890, as formal adoption is not allowed in these religions.

Hindus, Sikhs, Buddhists, and Jains, on the other hand, follow the Hindu Adoption and Maintenance Act, 1956.

Juvenile Justice Act also delas with adoption.

Pradhan Mantri Dakshta Aur Kushalta Sampann Hitgrahi (PM-DAKSH) Yojana

(GS-II: Schemes for the welfare of vulnerable sections of the society.)

In News:

The government has launched ‘PM-DAKSH’ portal and app to make the skill development schemes accessible to the target groups of Backward Classes, Scheduled Castes and Safai Karamcharis.

About the scheme:

The scheme is being implemented by the Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment from the year 2020-21.

Under the scheme, eligible target groups are being provided skill development training programmes on up-skilling/reskilling, short term training programme, long term training programme and entrepreneurship development program (EDP).

Eligibility: Marginalized persons of SC, OBC, Economically Backward Classes, De-notified tribes, Sanitation workers including waste pickers, manual scavengers, transgenders and other similar categories.

Significance and the need for the scheme:

Most of the persons of target group are having minimal economic assets; therefore, provision of training and enhancing their competencies is essential for economic empowerment/ upliftment of these marginalized target groups.

Many of the persons of target group belong to the category of rural artisans who have become marginalized owing to coming of better technologies in market.

There is also a need to empower the women amongst the target group, who, due to their overall domestic compulsions, cannot be involved in wage employment which normally involves long working hours and sometimes migration to other cities.

What is Hydrogen Fuel?

(GS-II: Infrastructure- Energy)

In News:

Under ‘Mission Net Zero Carbon Emission Railway’ by 2030, Indian Railways are set to run trains on hydrogen fuel-based technology. For this, it is considering retrofitting of existing trains.

What is Hydrogen fuel?

Hydrogen is the lightest and first element on the periodic table. Since the weight of hydrogen is less than air, it rises in the atmosphere and is therefore rarely found in its pure form, H2.

At standard temperature and pressure, hydrogen is a nontoxic, nonmetallic, odorless, tasteless, colorless, and highly combustible diatomic gas.

Hydrogen fuel is a zero-emission fuel burned with oxygen. It can be used in fuel cells or internal combustion engines. It is also used as a fuel for spacecraft propulsion.

Occurrence of Hydrogen:

It is the most abundant element in the universe. The sun and other stars are composed largely of hydrogen.

Astronomers estimate that 90% of the atoms in the universe are hydrogen atoms. Hydrogen is a component of more compounds than any other element.

Water is the most abundant compound of hydrogen found on earth.

Molecular hydrogen is not available on Earth in convenient natural reservoirs. Most hydrogen on Earth is bonded to oxygen in water and to carbon in live or dead and/or fossilized biomass. It can be created by splitting water into hydrogen and oxygen.

Storage:

Hydrogen can be stored physically as either a gas or a liquid.

Storage of hydrogen as a gas typically requires high-pressure tanks.

Storage of hydrogen as a liquid requires cryogenic temperatures because the boiling point of hydrogen at one atmosphere pressure is −252.8°C.

Hydrogen can also be stored on the surfaces of solids (by adsorption) or within solids (by absorption).

Potential of clean hydrogen industry in reducing greenhouse gas emissions:

The only by-product or emission that results from the usage of hydrogen fuel is water — making the fuel 100 per cent clean.

Hydrogen is considered an alternative fuel. It is due to its ability to power fuel cells in zero-emission electric vehicles, its potential for domestic production, and the fuel cell’s potential for high efficiency.

In fact, a fuel cell coupled with an electric motor is two to three times more efficient than an internal combustion engine running on gasoline.

Hydrogen can also serve as fuel for internal combustion engines.

The energy in 2.2 pounds (1 kilogram) of hydrogen gas contains about the same as the energy in 1 gallon (6.2 pounds, 2.8 kilograms) of gasoline.

Efforts in this regard:

Recently, the Finance Minister in the Union budget for 2020-21 formally announced the National Hydrogen Mission which aims for generation of hydrogen from green power resources.

The Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE) has also disclosed that the draft regulations for NHM will be finalised by the end of this month and will thereafter proceed for approval of the Union Cabinet.

Challenges for India:

One of the colossal challenges faced by the industry for using hydrogen commercially is the economic sustainability of extracting green or blue hydrogen.

The technology used in production and use of hydrogen like carbon capture and storage (CCS) and hydrogen fuel cell technology are at nascent stage and is expensive which in turn increases the cost of production of hydrogen.

The maintenance costs for fuel cells post-completion of a plant can be costly, like in South Korea.

The commercial usage of hydrogen as a fuel and in industries requires mammoth investment in R&D of such technology and infrastructure for production, storage, transportation and demand creation for hydrogen.

Do we need a Central law against forced conversion?

(GS-II: Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues arising out of their design and implementation)

In News:

The Vishwa Hindu Parishad has demanded a Central law against forced religious conversion.

Background:

States such as UP and MP have already brought strong laws against forced conversions. Haryana and Karnataka had also announced intentions to enact such laws.

But, the proponents say the recent events in the country proved that it is a pan-Indian racket and hence requires a Central law.”

Rationale behind the enactment of anti-conversion laws:

  • Threats of forceful conversion.
  • Problem of Inducement or allurement.
  • Religious conversion is not a Fundamental Right.

What critics say?

Such laws have come under sharp criticism from several legal scholars who had contended that the concept of ‘love jihad’ did not have any constitutional or legal basis.

They have pointed to Article 21 of the constitution which guarantees individuals the right to marry a person of one’s choice.

Also, under Article 25, freedom of conscience, the practice and conversion of religion of one’s choice including not following any religion, are also guaranteed.

Supreme Court on Marriage and Conversion:

The Apex Court of India in its several judgements has held that the state and the courts have no jurisdiction over an adult’s absolute right to choose a life partner.

The Supreme Court of India, in both the Lily Thomas and Sarla Mudgal cases, has confirmed that religious conversions carried out without a bona fide belief and for the sole purpose of deriving some legal benefit do not hold water.

Salamat Ansari-Priyanka Kharwar case of Allahabad High Court 2020: The right to choose a partner or live with a person of choice was part of a citizen’s fundamental right to life and liberty (Article 21).

Need of the hour:

There is a need for uniformity: Article 18 of the Universal Declaration on Human Rights mentions everyone has the right to freedom of religion including changing their faith. Since it is a state subject, the Centre can frame a model law like Model law on contract farming etc.

States while enacting anti-conversion laws should not put any vague or ambiguous provisions for the person who wanted to convert of his own will.

The anti-conversion laws also need to include a provision to mention the valid steps for conversion by minority community institutions.

People also need to be educated about the provisions and ways of Forceful conversions, Inducement or allurement, etc.

What is the Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation (AMOC)?

(GS-I: Important Geophysical phenomena)

In News:

According to a recent study, the Atlantic Ocean’s current system-AMOC, an engine of the Northern Hemisphere’s climate, could be weakening to such an extent that it could soon bring big changes to the world’s weather.

Details:

Climate models have shown that the AMOC is at its weakest in more than a 1,000 years.

However, it has not been known whether the weakening is due to a change in circulation or it is to do with the loss of stability.

What is the Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation (AMOC)?

The Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation (AMOC) is a large system of ocean currents that carry warm water from the tropics northwards into the North Atlantic.

How does the AMOC work?

The AMOC is a large system of ocean currents, like a conveyor belt, driven by differences in temperature and salt content – the water’s density.

As warm water flows northwards it cools and some evaporation occurs, which increases the amount of salt.

Low temperature and a high salt content make the water denser, and this dense water sinks deep into the ocean.

The cold, dense water slowly spreads southwards, several kilometres below the surface.

Eventually, it gets pulled back to the surface and warms in a process called “upwelling” and the circulation is complete.

What if the AMOC collapsed?

If the AMOC collapsed, it would increase cooling of the Northern Hemisphere, sea level rise in the Atlantic, an overall fall in precipitation over Europe and North America and a shift in monsoons in South America and Africa.