What's New :

15th September 2022

North Korea’s new ‘irreversible’ law on nuclear arms use

Context

North Korea has recently passed a law enshrining the right to ‘automatically’ use preemptive nuclear strikes to protect itself.

About

About the new law:

  • This new law makes the country’s nuclear status ‘irreversible’ and bars any talks of denuclearisation.
  • The utmost significance of legislating nuclear weapons policy is to draw an irretrievable line so that there can be no bargaining over our nuclear weapons.
  • North Korea’s new law is important because, very simply, it authorises preemptive nuclear strikes.
  • That means this law could be implemented if Pyongyang thinks there is an impending nuclear attack or if Pyongyang believes that its state’s existence faced threats or the command organisation of its nuclear forces were threatened.
  • Under the provisions of this new law, “all decisive powers” over nuclear weapons, but in case that command-and-control system was to be threatened, then nuclear weapons may be launched “automatically”.
  • The law also bans the sharing of nuclear arms or technology with other countries, and is aimed at reducing the danger of a nuclear war by preventing miscalculations among nuclear weapons states and misuse of nuclear weapons.

Main Features of India's Nuclear Doctrine

  • Building and maintaining a credible minimum deterrent.
  • A "No First Use" posture; nuclear weapons to be used only "in retaliation against a nuclear attack on Indian territory or on Indian forces anywhere".
  • Nuclear retaliation to a first strike will be "massive" and designed to inflict "unacceptable damage".
  • Nuclear retaliatory attacks to be authorized only by civilian political leadership through the Nuclear Command Authority.
  • Non use of nuclear weapons against non nuclear weapon states.
  • Continuance of strict controls on export of nuclear and missile related materials and technologies, participation in FMCT negotiations, continued moratorium on testing.
  • India to retain option of retaliating with nuclear weapons in the event of a major attack against it with biological or chemical weapons.
  • Continued commitment to goal of nuclear weapon free world, through global, verifiable and non-discriminatory disarmament.

"Credible minimum deterrent":

It recognizes that the deterrence to be effective must be credible, which includes:

  • Sufficient and Survivable nuclear forces both in terms of warheads and means of delivery able to inflict unacceptable damage.
  • Nuclear Forces must be operationally prepared at all times.
  • Effective Intelligence and Early Warning Capabilities.
  • A Robust Command and Control System.
  • The Will to Employ Nuclear Forces.
  • Communication of Deterrence Capability.

Credible minimum deterrence along with "No first use" and "No use against non nuclear states" clearly indicates that India's nuclear capability is for defensive purpose.

 

Hindi Diwas

Context

The annual celebration of Hindi Diwas commemorates September 14, 1949, the day when the Constituent Assembly of India took the decision to make Hindi the official language of the Union government.

Background
  • The Constituent Assembly of India adopted Hindi written in Devnagari Script along with English as the official language of the country on September 14, 1949, under Article 343(1).
    • Initially, English was granted the official language status for only 15 years since the adoption of the constitution. During these 15 years, Hindi’s reach was to be promoted for official purposes as well as in the education sector so that English would fade out, giving ground to Hindi.
  • Imposition of Hindi was contested in many non-Hindi states, especially in the southern state of Tamil Nadu.
    • Violent protests broke out in southern India leading the then Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru, to introduce the ‘Official Languages Act’ in 1963, which assured the continuation of English along with Hindi as the official language of the Union of India.
  • Anti-Hindi protests of 1965 marked an important turn in India’s official language policy.
    • The ‘Official Languages Act’ was amended in 1967 guaranteeing the "virtual indefinite policy of bilingualism" for all official purposes of the Union.
  • Given the linguistic diversity of India, there is no national language as all the states are free to decide their own official languages.

Constitutional Provisions

  • Article 343(1)states that the Official Language of the Union government shall be Hindi in Devanagari script.
  • Article 351gives power to the Union Government to issue a directive for the development of the Hindi language.
  • The Hindi language is one of the 22 languages of the Eighth Schedule of the Constitution of India.

About Hindi Diwas

  • Hindi Language, written in the Devanagari script, was adopted as one of the official languages of India on this day in 1949.
  • The day is also called as Hindi Day.
  • It is observed across India to honour and promote the Hindi language among people, with special emphasis on children.

About Hindi Language

  • Hindi is written in Devanagari script for the unversed.
  • It comprises of a large number of dialects.
  • Hindi Language stands at fourth place worldwide after English, Spanish and Mandarin.

Shoonya Campaign

Context

NITI Aayog to commemorate the one-year anniversary of Shoonya, India’s zero pollution e-mobility campaign.

About

Shoonya Campaign:

  • The Shoonya campaign aims to improve air quality in India by accelerating the deployment of electric vehicles (EVs) for ride hailing and deliveries.
  • The Shoonya campaign brings together consumers and industry, to reduce emissions from the commercial passenger and urban freight sector by promoting EV adoption.
  • The campaign is administered by NITI Aayog and RMI in partnership with leading industry players.
  • The goal of the campaign is to raise awareness about EVs among consumers and recognise industry efforts through an integrated combination of corporate branding, impact assessment and consumer awareness.

The Shoonya campaign has three major components:

  1. Corporate Branding Programme
  • The corporate branding programme recognises efforts made by industry partners to promote vehicle electrification.
  • Under this programme, rides and deliveries carried out in EVs are branded with the Shoonya logo.
  • The EVs used for deliveries and ride-hailing carry a Shoonya sticker and drivers wear a Shoonya badge.
  1. Consumer Awareness Drive
    • A public-facing awareness drive is designed to highlight the health and environmental benefits of EV adoption.
    • The campaign seeks to build awareness and demand for zero-pollution rides and deliveries among consumers, solidifying Shoonya as a slogan across every household in India.
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      1. Resource Toolkit
      • The resource toolkit provides EV users with online tools to assess the costs and impact of electric vehicle adoption.
      • These toolkits include
        • an impact tracking dashboard that shares the progress and impact of the campaign to date
        • a calculator that shows a cost and emissions comparison between EVs and their petrol, diesel, and CNG counterparts
        • a list of financing resources and policy incentives to support EV procurement. 

 

Dumping of e-waste by developed countries

Context

National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) chairperson Justice Arun Kumar Mishra (retd.) expressed concern over the dumping of e-waste in developing countries by developed countries.

About
  • While addressing the annual meeting of the Asia Pacific Forum of national human rights institutions of countries in the region, he called for a stop to the practice in order "to universally ensure human rights for a healthy sustainable environment".
  • A multi-pronged strategy was needed to combat climate change in a time-bound manner by all countries.

E-Waste:

  • E-waste, or electronic waste, refers to all electronic equipment that’s been discarded by users with no intentions of reuse.
  • This includes everything from smaller items like lamps and phones to larger appliances like televisions, refrigerators and washing machines.

Basel Convention:

  • The Basel Convention came into force in 1992, intends to reduce trans-boundary movements of hazardous waste, including e-waste, from developed to less developed countries (LDCs), and ensure their safe disposal as closely as possible to the source of generation.
  • Secretariat location: Basel, Switzerland
  • Parties: 187 (Haiti and the United States have signed the Convention but not ratified it).
  • It does not address the movement of radioactive waste.
  • To implement and restrict the trade of hazardous waste between more developed countries and less developed countries an organization is formed which is known as Basel Action Network (BAN)
  • The United States is the only developed country that has not ratified this treaty, which means it does not have to abide by its rules and regulations.
  • The provisions of the Convention center around the following principal aims
    • The reduction of hazardous waste generation and the promotion of environmentally sound management of hazardous wastes, wherever the place of disposal.
    • The restriction of transboundary movements of hazardous wastes except where it is perceived to be in accordance with the principles of environmentally sound management.
    • A regulatory system applying to cases where transboundary movements are permissible.

 

 

Revision of Scheduled Tribes List

Context

The Union Cabinet under the chairmanship of Prime Minister Narendra Modi has approved the addition of four tribes to the list of Scheduled Tribes.

About

Newly added tribes:

  • Himachal Pradesh: Hatti tribe 
  • Tamil Nadu: Narikoravan and Kurivikkaran hill tribes 
  • Chhattisgarh: Binjhia (They were listed as ST in Jharkhand and Odisha but not in Chhattisgarh)
  • Karnataka: Kadu Kuruba community 

Process:

  • The process to include tribes in the ST list begins with the recommendation from the respective State governments.
  • The request is made to the Tribal Affairs Ministry, which reviews and sends them to the Registrar General of India for approval.
  • This is followed by the National Commission for Scheduled Tribes’ approval before the list is sent to the Cabinet for a final decision.

Scheduled Tribes in India

  • The term 'Scheduled Tribes' first appeared in the Constitution of India. Article 366 (25) defined scheduled tribes as "such tribes or tribal communities or parts of or groups within such tribes or tribal communities as are deemed under Article 342 to be Scheduled Tribes for the purposes of this constitution".
  • Article 342, which is reproduced below, prescribes procedure to be followed in the matter of specification of scheduled tribes.
  • The tribal population of the country, as per 2011 census, is 10.43 crore, constituting 8.6% of the total population.
    • 89.97% of them live in rural areas and 10.03% in urban areas.
    • The decadal population growth of the tribal’s from Census 2001 to 2011 has been 23.66% against the 17.69% of the entire population.
    • The sex ratio for the overall population is 940 females per 1000 males and that of Scheduled Tribes 990 females per thousand males.
  • Broadly the STs inhabit two distinct geographical area – the Central India and the North- Eastern Area.
    • More than half of the Scheduled Tribe population is concentrated in Central India, i.e., Madhya Pradesh (14.69%), Chhattisgarh (7.5%), Jharkhand (8.29%), Andhra Pradesh (5.7%), Maharashtra (10.08%), Orissa (9.2%), Gujarat (8.55%) and Rajasthan (8.86%).
    • The other distinct area is the North East (Assam, Nagaland, Mizoram, Manipur, Meghalaya, Tripura, Sikkim and Arunachal Pradesh).
  • More than two-third of the ST population is concentrated only in the seven States of the country, viz. Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Orissa, Gujarat, Rajasthan, Jharkhand and Chhattisgarh.
  • There is no ST population in 3 States (Delhi NCR, Punjab and Haryana) and 2 UTs (Puducherry and Chandigarh), as no Scheduled Tribe is notified.

National Commission for STs

  • The National Commission for Scheduled Tribes (STs) is also a constitutional body in the sense that it is directly established by Article 338-A of the Constitution.
  • The Commission was established under Article 338 of the Constitution with the objective of monitoring all the safeguards provided for the SCs and STs under the Constitution or other laws.
  • It consists of a chairperson, a vice-chairperson and three other members.
    • They are appointed by the President by warrant.
    • Their conditions of service and tenure of office are also determined by the President.
    • The Commission presents an annual report to the President.

Tricolored Bat: Listed as Endangered

Context

US officials have announced recently to list the tricoloured bat as endangered.

About
  • A fungal disease that attacks while bats are hibernating has brought the tricolored bat to the brink of extinction.
  • Tricolored bats live in 39 states east of the Rocky Mountains, as well as parts of Canada, Mexico, Guatemala, Honduras, Belize and Nicaragua.
  • But white-nose syndrome— caused by a fungus that develops on cave-dwelling bats during hibernation — is decimating the bat's population in North America at unprecedented rates.
  • White-nose syndrome has killed off millions of bats across the continent, wiping out 90% to 100% of colonies in some sites.

About the species:

  • The tricolored bat, formerly known as the eastern pipistrelle, is one of the smallest bats in North America.
  • Tricolored bats are a hibernating species and have the longest hibernation period of any bat species in their range.
  • When not hunkering down for the winter, they may be found in a wide variety of habitats to roost and forage.  
  • When feeding, these bats can catch insects in the air as often as every 2 seconds and increase their body mass by 25 percent in only half an hour.

Editorial

India’s growing water crisis, the seen and the unseen

Context:

The UNESCO “United Nations World Water Development Report” of 2022, and the latest Water Report of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) have flagged, the issue of the deepening water crisis.

Reports raising concern about water stress:

  • Water Scarcity Clock, an interactive web tool shows that over two billion people are experiencing high water stress.
  • The Global Drought Risk and Water Stress map (2019) shows that western, central and parts of peninsular India are highly water stressed.
  • A NITI Aayog report, Composite Water Management Index (2018) has made a mention about the worst water crisis in the country.
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ThinkQ

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QUIZ - 15th September 2022

Mains Question:

Although developed countries are currently producing large amounts of electronic waste, the rate at which e-waste production is growing in developing countries is a major concern. Address the causes resulting in the ‘exportation’ of e-waste to developing countries, and possible mitigation strategies to address this growing environmental justice issue. (250 words)

Question Mapping

  • Subject: Environment (GS-III)
    • Sub-topic: Environmental Degradation, Environmental Governance

Approach 

  • Introduction- Brief about growing e-waste issue and global waste trade.
  • Causes/Reason
    • growing demand for electronics
    • High cost of recycling
    • Easy dumping option
  • Discuss impact on developing countries
    • Environmental justice issue
  • Health issues (thyroid problems, neurodevelopmental deficits and cancer)
  • Illegal waste trafficking
  • List out important challenges 
    • illegal movement of e-waste from developed countries to their developing counterparts
    • informal recycling operations (health impacts and environmental damage)
  • Suggest ways to negate the negative externalities of e-waste
    • Clarifying international guidelines for re-integrating discarded technology into new products 
    • creating a e-waste circular economy
    • designing products in way that supports reuse, durability and eventually safe recycling
    • proper disposal at individual level
  • Mention Basel Convention, 1989 (treaty to prevent the movement of hazardous waste from developed to developing countries)
  • Wrap up your answer with a way forward

*Also mention how a connected global economy means countries are trading not only products and chemicals, but waste.

Verifying, please be patient.

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