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Today’s important articles/news in various newspapers (10th September)

Dear aspirants, following are the links of various articles taken from various newspapers. Click the link to read further. To get notification, follow the blog. Thank you

1. Bail over jail

Yogendra Yadav, enroute Tiruvannamalai, to meet the farmers’ families who were apparently affected by the land acquisition for the proposed Chennai-Salem greenfield corridor project was arrested by the Police. Recently, Tamil Nadu has attracted attention in connection to Section 41 of CrPC (power to arrest people without warrant), particularly for the heavy-handed treatment of those opposing the Chennai-Salem eight-lane highway project.

Types of arrests:

Punitive Detention: detention as a punishment for the crime committed by an individual. It takes place after the actual commission of an offence or at least after an attempt has been made.

Preventive Detention: the imprisonment of a person with the aim of preventing them from committing further offences or of maintaining public order.

Details:

  • Yogendra Yadav was arrested as a part of Preventive detention while he was on nothing more than a fact-finding mission to meet farmers affected by or opposed to the project.
  • The power of arrest is an extraordinary one, conferred on the police to be employed with discretion and deliberation, not as a tool of oppression and harassment at the hands of prosecuting authorities or the government of the day.
  • The Supreme Court has emphasised that arrests should never be a reflexive response to an allegation of an offence, or even its commission.

Concerns about Section 41 of CrPC:

  • Section 41 of the CrPC is a power that affects the liberty of citizens and which can ‘bring humiliation… and cast scars forever’, as the Supreme Court noted in Arnesh Kumar v. State of Bihar (2014), continues to be used in a unconcerned way.
  • In most cases arrests without warrant follow a dishearteningly familiar course, with the accused sent to custody after the police oppose bail.
  • In this prosecutorial ecosystem, jail succeeds in surpassing bail almost every time and magistrates, who are empowered to refuse remand and grant bail, continue to issue orders mechanically.
  • The dilemmas over maintaining the right balance between individual liberty and the interests of society invariably become more acute when the charges against the accused, are serious.
  • The recent and shocking arrests of activists, over their alleged links to Maoists, have focussed attention on the severe restrictions on bail when booked under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act.

Procedure followed:

  • The prosecution has 180 days to file a charge sheet, a period during which bail is routinely denied.
  • After the charge sheet is filed, bail is extremely difficult to secure, dependent as it is on the accused establishing his or her innocence, a reversal of the usual burden of proof.
  • If the Supreme Court decides that justice will be secured only by its intervention in the case, it will probably be forced to invoke its extraordinary powers under Article 142 of the Constitution, which is yet another reminder of the need to break the customary chain of arrest, custody and remand.

Article 142:

Article 142 of Constitution of India deals with Enforcement of decrees and orders of Supreme Court and unless as to discovery, etc. It states that the Supreme Court in the exercise of its jurisdiction may pass such decree or make such order as is necessary for doing complete justice in any cause or matter pending before it.

Conclusion:

  • The Supreme court has repeatedly emphasised that arrests should never be reflexive response to the allegation of an offence.
  • The law that empowers the police to arrest people without warrants (Section 41 of the CrPC) is also reasonably stringent, demanding that some conditions be met, including that such arrests be carried out to prevent commission of further offences, tampering of evidence, and influencing of witnesses.
  • The drastic power of arrest must be cautiously exercised by the police as well as the magistrate wile authorising the detention of the accused.
  • The chain of arrest, custody, and remand must be linked only by due process.

2. Cloudy forecast: on climate change

The conference of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change in Bangkok was to draft a rulebook for the Paris Agreement ran into predictable difficulties over the issue of raising funds to help poorer nations.

Paris Agreement:

  • Paris Agreementis an international agreement to combat climate change. It charts a new course in the global climate effort.
  • Paris Agreement comes under the broad umbrella of United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). UNFCCC is a convention held in 1992 to combat climate change.
  • The Paris Agreement’s long-term goal is to keep the increase in global average temperature to well below 2 °C above pre-industrial levels; and to limit the increase to 1.5 °C, since this would substantially reduce the risks and effects of climate change.
  • Under the Paris Agreement, each country must determine, plan, and regularly report on the contribution that it undertakes to mitigate global warming. No mechanism forces a country to set a specific target by a specific date, but each target should go beyond previously set targets.
  • In June 2017, U.S. President Donald Trump announced his intention to withdraw his country from the agreement.

Issue:

  • Some developed countries led by the U.S. — which, under the Trump administration, has rejected the Paris agreement — are unwilling to commit to sound rules on raising climate finance.
  • Under the pact concluded in Paris, rich countries pledged to raise $100 billion a year by 2020 to help developing countries reduce their greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and aid populations to cope with extreme events such as floods, droughts and storms.
  • The Green House Gas emissions in the developed countries raised living standards for their citizens but contributed heavily to the accumulated carbon dioxide burden, now measured at about 410 parts per million of CO2 in the atmosphere, up from 280 ppm before the industrial revolution.

China and India’s role in dealing with Climate change:

  • There is international pressure on China and India to cut GHG emissions. Both countries have committed themselves to a cleaner growth path.
  • India, which reported an annual CO2 equivalent emissions of 2.136 billion tonnes in 2010 to the UNFCCC two years ago, estimates that the GHG emissions intensity of its GDP has declined by 12% for the 2005-2010 period.
  • As members committed to the Paris Agreement, China and India have the responsibility of climate leadership in the developing world, and have to green their growth.
  • What developing countries need is a supportive framework in the form of a rulebook that binds the developed countries to their funding pledges, provides support for capacity building and transfer of green technologies on liberal terms. If scientific estimates are correct, the damage already done to the West Antarctic Ice Sheet is set to raise sea levels; a 2° Celsius rise will also destabilise the Greenland Ice Sheet. Failed agriculture in populous countries will drive more mass migrations of people, creating conflict. A deeper insight on all this will be available in October when the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change releases its scientific report on the impact of a 1.5° C rise in global average temperature.

Way forward:

  • By trying to stall climate justice to millions of poor people in vulnerable countries, the developed nations are refusing to accept their responsibility for historical emissions of GHGs.
  • Developed nations must take the responsibility of Climate change due to high level of industrialisation as compared to the developing and the under-developed countries. Developed countries, especially the U.S., need to commit funds to limit climate change
  • Obstructing the transition to a carbon-neutral pathway and preserving the status quo is short-sighted, because the losses caused by weather events are proving severely detrimental to all economies.
  • This is the time for the world’s leaders to demonstrate that they are ready to go beyond expediency and take the actions needed to avert long-term catastrophe.

3. Why not Dalit?

The Ministry of Information and Broadcasting has told the media to “refrain from using the nomenclature Dalit” and, instead, use only the Constitutional term, ‘Scheduled Caste’.

Issue:

  • Dalit rights groups have opposed the I&B ministry’s order, asserting that the term holds political significance and a sense of identity.
  • It is opined that the advisory must be withdrawn as there is no reason to tell the media how to do their job, even if it is phrased in the form of voluntary advice.

Background:

  • The debate over the appropriateness of using the term ‘Dalit’ to refer to members of the Scheduled Castes is far from new.
  • A decade ago, the National Commission for Scheduled Castes disfavoured the use of ‘Dalit’, which it felt was unconstitutional.
  • This is because belonging to a ‘Scheduled Caste’ is a legal status conferred on members of castes named in a list notified by the President under Article 341 of the Constitution. And arguably must be used in official documents and communications.

Evolution of the term ‘Dalit’:

  • The term ‘Dalit’ has evolved over a period of time and has come to symbolise different things in different contexts — self-respect, assertion, solidarity and opposition to caste oppression.
  • In the past, Dalits were referred to as ‘untouchables’, but the official term during British rule was ‘depressed classes’.
  • Mahatma Gandhi sought to remove the stigma of ‘pollution’ by using the term ‘Harijans’, or ‘children of god’. In course of time, the community rejected this title as patronising and hypocritical.
  • It was only some decades ago that they began to refer to themselves as Dalits.
  • ‘Dalit’ literally means ‘downtrodden’ or ‘broken’, but it is a word suggestive with meaning, reflecting the struggle of a community to reassert its identity and lay claim to the rights that were denied to them for centuries.
  • The term Dalit, was used by Jyotiba Phule, Swami Shraddhananda, Gandhi, and Ambedkar.
  •  In fact, the seven-judge Bench of the Supreme Court in S.P. Gupta v. President of India (1981) had observed that society is “pulsating with urges of gender justice, worker justice, minorities justice, Dalit justice and equal justice between chronic un-equals.” In using the term “Dalit justice”, the Constitution Bench of the Supreme Court validated the use of the term Dalit.

Details:

  • Though the advisory has been issued in compliance with a direction from the Nagpur Bench of the Bombay High Court. The advisory from the Union Information and Broadcasting Ministry is unnecessary, intrusive and issued with little application of the mind.
  • The reading of the court’s order shows it only wanted the Centre “to consider the question of issuing such direction to the media and take a suitable decision upon it”.
  • The I&B Ministry’s advisory is confusing as it uses the words “for all official transactions, matters”, though the media’s references to the community are usually beyond official contexts.
  • Union Minister of State for Social Justice Ramdas Athawale, who has been associated with the Dalit Panther movement in Maharashtra which popularised the use of the term as a political identity, said the word ‘Dalit’ “denotes a sense of pride”.

Conclusion:

Arguably, ‘Scheduled Caste’ is the appropriate way to refer to this class of people in official communications and documents. However, it is strange to oppose the use of the term ‘Dalit’ in the media and in non-official contexts — a nomenclature chosen and used by the community itself. Doing so lends itself to the charge that there is an attempt to deny the powerful and emotive meaning of the word Dalit. ‘Dalit’ must be recognised as an expression of self-empowerment. In the absence of a better word, Dalit has been the preferred word in the movements for justice for Dalits till now.

4. Why India should let the Rupee fall

  1. The Indian rupee has been sliding against the U.S. dollar in recent days as emerging markets come under pressure
  2. That’s made the currency one of Asia’s worst performers, losing 12 percent this year

Effects of falling value on economy

  1. Currency depreciation will have an impact on corporate balance sheets
  2. India’s currency-derivative markets, with many restrictions and limited liquidity, make hedging quite expensive, so these companies are now exposed
  3. India imports about 80 percent of its petroleum needs, a factor only complicated by the country’s exorbitant domestic taxes on fuel — almost 100 percent on gasoline and 60 percent to 70 percent on diesel
  4. This means that when the rupee depreciates, the exchange-rate pass through to fuel prices and, as a result, the rest of the economy, is high

Steps that RBI can take

  1. The central bank has more than $400 billion in reserves at its disposal and it could intervene in foreign-exchange markets by selling dollars
  2. It could raise interest rates, a move justified by the currency weakness, higher oil prices and the latest above-target inflation data
  3. It can also raise dollars by borrowing from non-resident Indians

Previous measures and their impacts

  1. The RBI has used these instruments in the past but rupee fared worse than all other emerging-market currencies
  2. Currency and derivatives markets, money and credit markets, and high costs of borrowing all hurt the economy in subsequent months

A new way to manage the exchange rate

  1. RBI has continued to manage the rupee carefully
  2. This was achieved by reducing the size of the rupee-dollar derivatives market, which made its intervention more effective and then buying rupees forward
  3. By doing this, while the real exchange rate of the rupee appreciated, the currency didn’t weaken in line with India’s higher inflation

How is rupee depreciation beneficial?

  1. A weaker currency helps export growth, which has been weak in recent years
  2. A weaker rupee would also offset competition of cheap imports from countries like China, which could give domestic industries a much-needed boost

5. Saving the world by capturing emissions

  1. Despite the growth of carbon emissions in 2017, we can limit the increase in global temperature
  2. To do so, we must not only reduce carbon emissions but also find a way of capturing existing emissions

Need for reducing carbon emissions

  1. Even if we miraculously stop emitting any carbon today, the planet will still undergo an average temperature increase of 0.6 degree Celsius because of the sheer amount of carbon already present in the atmosphere and oceans
  2. The hottest year on record without an El Nino event was 2017, with the average global temperature being one degree Celsius higher than pre-industrial levels
  3. The aim of the Paris agreement to limit the increase in average temperatures to 2 degrees Celsius in the short term and 1.5 degrees Celsius, in the long run, is now under serious threat

Renewable energy a ray of hope

  1. Global renewables-based electricity generation increased by 6.3% in 2017, now meeting a quarter of the world’s energy demand growth
  2. At the same time, the cost of such resources is falling rapidly
  3. The International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) estimates suggest that the global average cost of electricity generated from new onshore wind and solar photovoltaic sources already matches the cost of fossil fuel-fired electricity
  4. Continuous technology improvements and competitive procurement practices mean that the cost of these renewables will become significantly cheaper than fossil fuel sources by 2020

Shifting from oil-based to electricity based logistics

  1. Steady progress is also being made to shift the oil-dependent transport sector towards renewable options
  2. The International Energy Agency (IEA) estimated that the number of electric vehicles rose from 1.98 million in 2016 to 3.11 million in 2017, an increase of more than 54%
  3. If battery costs continue to fall and countries implement policies that spur investment and help manufacturers achieve economies of scale this figures may keep rising

Using carbon capture technologies

  1. The capturing and storage of CO2 from coal plants can capture emissions quickly and safely
  2. It has floundered in the past, despite the technology being available because there is no market for stored CO2
  3. It can be promoted by:
  • Actively promoting innovations and technologies that facilitate the safe re-utilization, rather than just the storage, of CO2, thereby creating incentives for private investment
  • Appropriately valuing the social benefit of decarbonization and reducing the costs borne by CO2 storage companies accordingly
  • Adopting best practices from successful global CO2 capture programmes to develop the expertise needed

Seweed farming also a good prospect

  1. Farmed seaweed, with its exceptional ability to capture CO2 from the oceans and produce bio-digested methane which can be substituted for natural gas, can play a substantive role in reducing carbon emissions
  2. The relatively low production cost, the speed at which seaweed grows, the vast potential of the Indian coastline and the subsidies and grants offered by the government, are strong incentives for private sector expansion into seaweed farming

Way Forward

  1. With our future hanging in the balance, 2018–2020 is a critical time for countries to peak and then flatten their emissions trajectory, while simultaneously implementing ambitious solutions for reducing them at a pace
  2. Setting ambitious goals, scaling up infant technologies and fostering markets for capturing emissions will be key to mitigate climate change

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