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Current Affairs 24 November 2023

  1. Second ‘Voice of the Global South Summit’ (VOGSS): Strengthening Global Solidarity
  2. Gujarat gets a State Fish
  3. Transit Anticipatory Bail Across Jurisdictions: SC Ruling
  4. Supreme Court’s Directions on Adoption Process in India
  5. International Tropical Timber Council
  6. Southern Annular Mode
  7. New Frog Species


Context:

India recently hosted the second edition of the ‘Voice of the Global South Summit’ (VOGSS), reinforcing its dedication to building unity among nations and solidifying its leadership role in the Global South. The summit, conducted virtually, marks a continuation of India’s commitment to fostering solidarity among diverse nations.

Relevance:

GS II: International Relations

Dimensions of the Article:

  1. Key Highlights of Second VOGSS
  2. Understanding the Global South

Key Highlights of Second VOGSS

Themes:

  • Inaugural session: ‘Together, for Everyone’s Growth, with Everyone’s Trust’
  • Concluding session: ‘Global South: Together for One Future’

Objectives:

  • Disseminate G20 summit outcomes hosted by India.
  • Ensure sustained momentum for effective G20 decision implementation.
  • Focus on the interests of developing countries.

Key Outcomes:

  • Inauguration of the Global South Center of Excellence ‘DAKSHIN.’
  • Ministerial sessions covering diverse topics: SDGs, energy transition, climate finance, digital transformation, women-led development, counter-terrorism, and global institution reforms.

India’s Stand on Israel-Hamas Conflict:

  • Deep concern expressed for civilians affected.
  • Urgent call for restraint, prioritizing civilian safety, and de-escalation efforts.

Global South’s 5 ‘Cs’:

  • Consultation, Cooperation, Communication, Creativity, and Capacity Building.

Understanding the Global South

  • Emergence: Initially denoted countries excluded from industrialization.
  • Ideological Divide: Shaped by Cold War conflicts between capitalist and communist nations.
  • Encompassing Continents: Encompasses Asia, Africa, and South America.
  • Economic Contrast: Opposite of ‘Global North’, marked by economic disparity.

Challenges Faced by the Global South

Geopolitical Shifts and Emerging Challenges
  • Disruption Catalysts: Coronavirus pandemic and prolonged Ukraine-Russia War.
  • Resulting Challenges: Food and energy supply security, technology transfer, energy transition, climate change impact.
Securing Supply Chain
  • Supply Chain Concerns: Escalating energy costs and fertilizer prices.
  • Necessity of Supply Chain Security: Reevaluating essential commodity distribution to ensure availability in the Global South.
Ensuring Adequate Energy Supply
  • Energy Transition Hurdles: Sustainable energy transition entails technological and financial challenges.
  • Disproportionate Impact: Global South nations most affected due to financial constraints.
  • Sustainable Transition Imperative: Vital for socio-economic development across Global South nations.
Adapting to Climate Change
  • Disproportionate Impact: Historical polluters from Global North, adverse climate change effects on Global South.
  • Broader Climate Change Perspective: Need to consider climate change consequences holistically for Global South.
Advocating for Multilateralism
  • Genuine Multilateralism Demand: Call for equitable representation in global governance institutions.
  • UNSC Reform: Necessity to reform United Nations Security Council and other multilateral bodies for fair Global South representation.

India’s Role in the Global South

Historical Leadership and Global Influence
  • Non-Aligned Movement: India’s historical leadership in the Non-Aligned Movement underscores its role in global politics.
  • Economic and Geopolitical Clout: India’s growing economic and geopolitical influence drives its increased involvement in global geopolitics.
  • G-20 Presidency: Assumes G-20 Presidency in 2022-23, reflecting its greater global role.
Leader of the Global South
  • Voice of the Global South: As a leader of the Global South, India provides representation and a platform for the Global South Movement.
  • Proactive Engagement: Active participation in international forums on climate change, energy transition, and normative issues.
Championing Global South’s Interests
  • Alternative Narrative: India contributes to an alternative narrative in global geopolitics by voicing Global South concerns.
  • Climate Summits: Protecting Global South interests in climate financing, emission norms, and historical polluter responsibility.
Global Energy Transition and Security
  • Leading Energy Transition Discourses: Initiatives like International Solar Alliance and hydrogen-based fuel promotion.
  • Energy Security Emphasis: Prime Minister Modi’s call for energy market stability at the G-20 Summit in 2022.
Democratizing International Relations and UN Reform
  • Consistent Approach: India aligns with Global South demands for international relations democratization and United Nations reform.
  • Leadership and Narrative Shift: India’s leadership reshapes global geopolitics and provides a new perspective.

-Source: The Hindu



Context:

The black-spotted croaker, or the Ghol fish — considered a fisherman’s lottery — was declared the state fish of Gujarat.

Relevance:

GS III: Agriculture

Dimensions of the Article:

  1. Ghol Fish
  2. Ghol’s Designation in Gujarat: Economic Value and Conservation Significance

Ghol Fish:

  • The Ghol fish is a rare and expensive marine species.
  • Found in the Indo-Pacific region, stretching from the Persian Gulf to the Pacific Ocean.
Nutrient-Rich Profile:
  • Loaded with nutrients, including iodine, omega-3, DHA, EPA, iron, taurine, magnesium, fluoride, and selenium.
Characteristics:
  • Length: Approximately one-and-a-half meters.
  • Price Variation: The longer the Ghol fish, the higher its price, reaching up to Rs 5 lakh per unit length.
Distribution:
  • Primarily found in marine areas of Gujarat and Maharashtra.
  • Recognizable by its golden-brown color.
Unique Feature – ‘Sea Gold’:
  • The Ghol fish is nicknamed ‘Sea Gold’ due to a pouch in its stomach with potent medicinal properties.
  • This feature holds high value in the overseas market.
Benefits:
  • Nutrient Boost:
    • Rich in vitamins, minerals, and proteins for maintaining eyesight.
  • Skin Health:
    • Collagen content prevents wrinkles and maintains skin elasticity.
  • Brain Health:
    • Omega-3 content enhances infant IQ by stimulating brain cell growth.
  • Muscle Toning:
    • Contributes to muscle toning.
  • Versatile Usage:
    • The fish is in demand for its meat and air bladder, the latter being sold separately.
Diverse Applications:
  • Used in beer and wine production.
  • Air bladder utilized in pharmaceuticals.

Ghol’s Designation in Gujarat: Economic Value and Conservation Significance

Reasons for Selection:
  • Economic Value: The Ghol fish was chosen by the Gujarat government due to its economic significance and uniqueness.
  • Conservation Efforts: The declaration serves the dual purpose of recognizing its economic value and incorporating it into conservation initiatives.
Commercial Importance:
  • Global Demand: Although not widely consumed locally due to its expense, the Ghol fish holds immense market value, especially in China and other nations.
  • Culinary Significance: Recognized as a delicacy in many countries, it is sought after for its taste.
  • Medicinal Uses: In some regions, it is utilized for medicinal purposes.
Export Dynamics:
  • Meat Export: The fish’s meat is exported as frozen fillet or whole fish to European and Middle-Eastern countries.
  • Air Bladder Export: The dried air bladder, obtained by cutting it open from the stomach, is exported to China, Hong Kong, and other Asian countries, particularly valued for its medicinal properties.
Gujarat’s Fish Export Statistics:
  • Production (2021-22): Gujarat’s total fish production estimated at 8.74 lakh tonnes, valued at Rs 11,221 crore.
  • Exports (2021-22): Approximately 2.3 lakh tonnes of fish and fish products, valued at Rs 5,233 crore, were exported.

-Source: The Hindu



Context:

The Supreme Court of India, in the case of Priya Indoria vs State of Karnataka and Ors, 2023, ruled that a Sessions Court or the High Court in a state has the authority to grant transit anticipatory bail to an accused when an FIR is registered outside their jurisdiction. The ruling underscores the constitutional imperative of safeguarding citizens’ right to life and personal liberty, as enshrined in Article 21 of the Constitution of India.

Relevance:

GS II: Polity and Governance

Dimensions of the Article:

  1. Transit Anticipatory Bail: SC Guidelines and Ruling
  2. Bail in India: Overview and Types

Transit Anticipatory Bail: SC Guidelines and Ruling

  • Definition: Transit anticipatory bail provides protection from arrest until the accused reaches a court with territorial jurisdiction for the alleged offense.
  • Legislation: The term is not explicitly defined in the Code Of Criminal Procedure (CrPC) or any other legislation.
  • Introduction: The Supreme Court introduced the concept in the 1998 case of State of Assam v. Brojen Gogol.
SC’s Ruling:
  • Granting Authority: High Court/Sessions Courts should grant transit anticipatory bail under Section 438 of the CrPC for FIRs outside their jurisdiction.
  • Reasoning: An absolute jurisdiction bar could lead to unjust consequences, especially for genuine applicants facing wrongful or politically motivated prosecution.
  • Preventing Abuse: Acknowledges the possibility of forum shopping and emphasizes a territorial connection between the accused and the court to prevent abuse.
Conditions for Interim Protection:
  • Mandatory Notice: Notice to the investigating officer and public prosecutor is mandatory during the first hearing.
  • Explicit Recording: The order must explicitly record reasons for anticipating an inter-state arrest and the potential impact on the investigation.
  • Satisfaction of the Court: The applicant must satisfy the court about their inability to seek anticipatory bail in the jurisdiction of the FIR.
  • Basis of Satisfaction: Reasons may include threats to life, concerns about arbitrariness, or medical issues.

Bail in India: Overview and Types

  • Bail: Conditional/provisional release of a person held under legal custody, pledging to appear in court as required. It involves a security/collateral deposited before the court for release.
  • Principle: In the Supt. and Remembrancer of Legal Affairs v. Amiya Kumar Roy Choudhry (1973) case, the Calcutta High Court explained the principle behind granting bail.
Types of Bail:

Regular Bail:

  • Direction by any court to release a person already under arrest and in police custody.
  • Application filed under Sections 437 and 439 of the Code Of Criminal Procedure (CrPC), 1973.

Interim Bail:

  • Temporary and short-term bail granted by the court while the application for Anticipatory Bail or Regular Bail is pending.

Anticipatory Bail or Pre-arrest Bail:

  • Legal provision allowing an accused to seek bail before arrest.
  • Granted under Section 438 of the CrPC.
  • Issued by Sessions Court and High Court.
  • Discretionary, considering the nature of the offense, antecedents of the accused, and other factors.
  • Conditions may be imposed, like surrendering the passport or reporting to the police regularly.

Statutory Bail:

  • Distinct from bail under regular CrPC sections.
  • Granted when the police or investigating agency fails to file a report/complaint within a specified time (Section 167(2) of the CrPC).

-Source: Indian Express



Context:

The Supreme Court of India in a recent hearing of a petition filed by a Non-governmental Organization(NGO), has issued a series of directions to the Centre, the States, and the Union Territories to expedite and simplify the adoption process in the country.

Relevance:

GS II: Polity and Governance

Dimensions of the Article:

  1. Supreme Court’s Directives on Adoption Process
  2. About the Central Adoption Resource Authority (CARA)
  3. Benefits of Adoption for Children and Society
  4. Adoption Trends and Statistics in India
  5. Challenges Related to Adoption in India

Supreme Court’s Directives on Adoption Process

  • Identification of Children:
    • Children in Child Care Institutions (CCIs) with parents not visiting for over a year or having unfit parents should be identified.
  • Definition of “Unfit Guardian”:
    • An unfit guardian includes those unable or unwilling for parenting, involved in substance abuse, alcohol abuse, child abuse, neglect, having a criminal record, needing care themselves, or being mentally unsound.
  • Bi-Monthly Drives:
    • States and Union Territories should conduct bi-monthly drives to identify orphaned, abandoned, or surrendered (OAS) children in CCIs.
  • Data Compilation:
    • States and Union Territories must compile data on potential adoptable children, especially those in CCIs, and provide details to the Central Adoption Resource Authority (CARA) and the Ministry of Women and Child Development.
  • Registration on CARINGS Portal:
    • States should ensure the registration of all OAS children in the district on the Child Adoption Resource Information and Guidance System (CARINGS) portal, the online platform for adoption in India.

About the Central Adoption Resource Authority (CARA):

  • CARA is a statutory body under the Ministry of Women & Child Development, Government of India.
Role as Central Authority:
  • Designated as the Central Authority for handling inter-country adoptions in line with the Hague Convention on Inter-country Adoption, 1993, ratified by India in 2003.
Functions:
  • Nodal body regulating the adoption of “orphaned, surrendered, and abandoned children” in India.
  • Monitors and regulates entities such as State Adoption Resource Agencies (SARAs), Specialized Adoption Agencies (SAAs), Authorized Foreign Adoption Agencies (AFAAs), Child Welfare Committees (CWCs), and District Child Protective Units (DPUs).
Legal Framework in India:
  • Child placement with a family is governed by the Hindu Adoption and Maintenance Act, 1956; the Guardians and Wards Act, 1890; and the Juvenile Justice Act, 2000.
  • Mandatory registration of Child Care Institutions (CCIs) and linking to CARA is outlined in the Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act, 2015.

Hague Convention on Inter-country Adoption:

  • The Convention establishes safeguards for children and families involved in inter-country adoptions.
  • Aims to prevent the illegal abduction, sale, or trafficking of children during adoptions.
  • Objectives:
  • Protect children and families from illegal or ill-prepared inter-country adoptions.
  • Prevent abduction, sale, or trafficking of children.
  • Establish minimum standards while recognizing that it does not serve as a uniform law of adoption.

Benefits of Adoption for Children and Society

  • Loving and Stable Family Environment:
    • Adoption provides children deprived of parental care with a loving and stable family environment.
  • Holistic Development and Well-being:
    • Ensures the holistic development and well-being of adopted children, addressing their physical, mental, emotional, social, and educational needs.
  • Social and Economic Contribution:
    • Contributes to the social and economic development of the country by:
      • Reducing the burden on the state and society in caring for orphaned, abandoned, or surrendered children.
      • Empowering adopted children to become productive and responsible citizens.
  • Positive Adoption Culture:
    • Cultivates a positive adoption culture in society by:
      • Breaking down social stigmas associated with adoption.
      • Raising awareness about the numerous benefits of adoption.
  • Empowerment of Children:
    • Empowers children through adoption, providing them with opportunities for growth, education, and a brighter future.
  • Family and Community Support:
    • Strengthens the fabric of families and communities by fostering support networks around adopted children.
  • Diversity and Inclusion:
    • Promotes diversity and inclusion by creating families that embrace children from different backgrounds, cultures, and communities.
  • Fulfillment of Parental Desires:
    • Allows prospective adoptive parents to fulfill their desires of parenthood, creating a positive impact on their lives.
  • Humanitarian and Compassionate Act:
    • Reflects a humanitarian and compassionate act, demonstrating the potential for positive change through acts of care and kindness.
  • Lifetime Bonds and Relationships:
    • Builds lifetime bonds and relationships between adoptive parents and children, fostering love, support, and a sense of belonging.

Adoption Trends and Statistics in India

  • Annual Adoption Figures:
    • Approximately 4,000 child adoptions occur annually in India, according to the Central Adoption Resource Authority (CARA).
  • Orphan Population:
    • As of 2021, there are over 3 Crore orphans in the country.
  • Adoption Mismatch:
    • There is a significant mismatch between the number of children available for legal adoption and prospective adoptive parents (PAPs).
  • CARA’s Data (October 2023):
    • 2,146 children were available for adoption.
    • 30,669 PAPs have been registered for in-country adoption.
  • Waiting Period for PAPs:
    • PAPs face a waiting period of three to four years to adopt a healthy and young child due to the imbalance between registered PAPs and available children.
  • Age Preferences of PAPs:
    • 69.4% of registered PAPs prefer children aged zero to two years.
    • 10.3% prefer children aged two to four years.
    • 14.8% prefer children aged four to six years.
  • Specialised Adoption Agencies (SAAs):
    • Out of 760 districts in India, only 390 districts have Specialised Adoption Agencies.

Challenges Related to Adoption in India

Complex Adoption Process:

  • Adoption in India, governed by multiple laws, involves intricate steps, including registration, home study, child referral, matching, acceptance, pre-adoption foster care, court order, and follow-up.

Extended Timeline:

  • Factors like child availability, parental preferences, administrative efficiency, and legal formalities contribute to the prolonged duration of the adoption process.

Child Returns and Challenges:

  • An unusual upsurge in child returns, particularly affecting girls, those with special needs, and older children, raises concerns.
  • Disabled and older children face extended adjustment periods, compounded by inadequate preparation and counselling during the transition.

Decline in Adoption of Special Needs Children:

  • Only 40 children with disabilities were adopted between 2018 and 2019, representing approximately 1% of total adoptions.
  • Annual trends indicate a decline in domestic adoptions of children with special needs, revealing a disparity in adoption patterns.

Illegal Adoption Activities:

  • The diminishing pool of adoptable children contributes to an increase in illegal adoption activities.
  • Threats of child trafficking, especially during the pandemic, raise ethical and legal concerns, impacting poor or marginalized families.

Legal Recognition for LGBTQ+ Families:

  • Legal challenges for LGBTQ+ families seeking adoption hinder their ability to become adoptive parents, leading to an increase in illegal adoptions within the queer community.

Social Stigma and Limited Awareness:

  • Social stigma surrounding adoption, particularly for certain demographics, affects adoption rates.
  • Limited awareness about the adoption process contributes to misconceptions and creates barriers for prospective adoptive parents.

Corruption and Legal Disputes:

  • Instances of corruption within the adoption process compromise its integrity.
  • Legal disputes and litigation further slow down adoption proceedings, adding to the complexities of the overall process.

-Source: The Hindu



Context:

Recently, the 59th International Tropical Timber Council (ITTC) concluded on November 17, 2023, with major decisions.

Relevance:

GS II: International Relations

Dimensions of the Article:

  1. About the International Tropical Timber Council
  2. Key Facts about the International Tropical Timber Organisation

About the International Tropical Timber Council:

  • Affiliation: Governing body of the International Tropical Timber Organisation (ITTO).
  • Purpose: Convenes annually to discuss a comprehensive agenda focusing on sustainable tropical forest management and promoting the trade of sustainably produced tropical timber.
Major Decisions in the 59th ITTC Session:
  • Project Endorsements: Agreement to endorse eight projects related to sustainable forest management and associated objectives.
  • Budget Approval: Adoption of a budget amounting to $7.1 million for the upcoming financial year 2024-25.
  • Trial Measure: Approval of a trial measure allowing ineligible members to submit project proposals and concept notes. Ineligible members can submit one project and concept note for every two years of arrears paid.

Key Facts about the International Tropical Timber Organisation:

  • Establishment: Formed under the International Tropical Timber Agreement 1983 (ITTA 1983), negotiated under the UN Conference on Trade and Development.
  • Objectives: Promotes sustainable management and conservation of tropical forests, along with expanding and diversifying international trade in tropical timber from sustainably managed and legally harvested forests.
  • Funding Facilitation: Facilitates funding for forestry projects in tropical timber-producing countries, funded by voluntary contributions from governments.
  • Membership: 75 countries, including India, collectively managing about 80 percent of the world’s tropical forests and responsible for 90 percent of the global tropical timber trade.
  • Headquarters: Yokohama, Japan.

-Source: Down To Earth



Context:

Recently, the Indian National Centre for Ocean Information Services (INCOIS) discovered that the Southern Annular Mode (SAM), an important climate pattern, plays a pivotal role in shaping sea conditions across the Indian Ocean.

Relevance:

GS I: Geography

Dimensions of the Article:

  1. Southern Annular Mode (SAM): Understanding Antarctic Oscillation
  2. Significance

Southern Annular Mode (SAM): Understanding Antarctic Oscillation

  • Definition: The Southern Annular Mode (SAM) refers to the north-south movement of Southern Westerly Winds occurring over timescales of 10s to 100s of years.
  • Other Name: Also known as the Antarctic Oscillation.
  • Geographical Range: These winds persistently blow in the mid- to high-latitudes of the southern hemisphere.
Characteristics:
  • Definition Basis: SAM is typically defined as the difference in the zonal mean sea level pressure at 40°S (mid-latitudes) and 65°S (Antarctica).
SAM Modes:

Positive SAM:

  • Lower anomalous air pressure over Antarctica.
  • Higher anomalous air pressure over the mid-latitudes.
  • Strengthens and contracts the belt of strong westerly winds towards Antarctica.

Negative SAM:

  • Belt of strong Southern Westerly Winds expands northwards towards the equator.
  • Results in cold, wet weather in Patagonia, glacier advance, and decreased Circumpolar Deep Water upwelling on the Antarctic Continental Shelf.

Significance:

  • Wave Predictions: Advances in SAM understanding contribute to more accurate wave predictions, aiding in identifying fair-weather windows.
  • Beneficiaries: Fishing communities, as well as stakeholders in the blue economy like shipping, maritime boards, and the oil industry, stand to benefit from improved operations at sea.

-Source: The Hindu



Context:

Recently, scientists have discovered a new species of frog in Arunachal, named Nidirana noadihing.

Relevance:

GS III: Species in News

Discovery of Nidirana Noadihing: A New Music Frog Species

  • Species Name: Nidirana noadihing.
  • Type: Belongs to the category of ‘music frogs.’
  • Distinct Features: Phenotypically unique, identified by a combination of morphological characteristics.
Geographical Distribution:
  • Confirmation: Marks the first-time presence of the Nidirana genus in India.
  • Known Regions: Previously identified in Japan, Taiwan, China, Vietnam, Laos, and Thailand.
Habitat and Behavior:
  • Preferred Habitats: Inhabit swamps, ponds, and paddy fields.
  • Reproductive Behavior: Known to construct nests for egg-laying activities.
Naming Significance:
  • Name Origin: Named “Nidirana noadihing” after the Noa-Dihing River, the vicinity of specimen discovery.
Physical Appearance:
  • Eye Characteristics: Moderately large eyes with irregularly shaped and sized spots on their eyelids.
  • Pupil and Iris: Gold-rimmed pupils, dark brown irises with a golden spackle.
  • Stripes: Dark stripes encircle their eyes.

-Source: The Times of India


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