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Current Affairs 09 December 2021 for UPSC Exam | Legacy IAS Academy

Contents

  1. World Inequality Report 2022
  2. U.P. tops list in human rights violation: MHA
  3. Cabinet clears Ken-Betwa river interlinking project
  4. Three Indian companies are top 100 in arms sales: SIPRI

World Inequality Report 2022

Context:

World Inequality Report 2022 by the World Inequality Lab was released recently, according to which India is now among the most unequal countries in the world.

Relevance:

GS-II: Social Justice and Governance (Issues related to poverty & minorities, Inclusive Growth)

Dimensions of the Article:

  1. Highlights of the World Inequality Report 2022
  2. About the report on increasing inequality in India
  3. Challenges compounding inequality in India
  4. Ideas for new framework

Highlights of the World Inequality Report 2022

  • The poorest half of the global population “barely owns any wealth” possessing just 2% of the total, whereas the richest 10% of the global population own 76% of all wealth.
  • The Middle East and North Africa (MENA) are the most unequal regions in the world, whereas Europe has the lowest inequality levels.
  • Over the past 40 years, countries have become significantly richer, but their governments have become significantly poorer. The currently low wealth of governments has important implications for state capacities to tackle inequality in the future, as well as the key challenges of the 21st century such as climate change.
  • Women’s share of total incomes from work (labour income) was about 30% in 1990 and is less than 35% now.
  • Inequalities within countries are now greater than those observed between countries. At the same time, the gap between the average incomes of the top 10% and the bottom 50% of individuals within countries has almost doubled.
  • There has been a rise of private wealth in emerging countries such as China and India. China has had the largest increase in private wealth in recent decades. The private wealth increase seen in India over this time is also remarkable (up from 290% in 1980 to 560% in 2020).

About the report on increasing inequality in India

  • India stands out as a “poor and very unequal country, with an affluent elite”, where the top 10 per cent holds 57% of the total national income while the bottom 50%’s share is just 13% in 2021.
  • The economic reforms and liberalization adopted by India have mostly benefited the top 1%.
  • Average Household Wealth in India stands at Rs. 983,010. It has been observed that the deregulation and liberalisation policies implemented since the mid-1980s have led to “one of the most extreme increases in income and wealth inequality observed in the world”.
  • The female labour income share in India is equal to 18% which is significantly lower than the average in Asia (21%, excluding China) and this value is one of the lowest in the world.
  • A person in the bottom 50% of the population in India is responsible for, on average, five times fewer emissions than the average person in the bottom 50% in the European Union and 10 times fewer than the average person in the bottom 50% in the US.

Challenges compounding inequality in India

  1. Poverty: Despite lifting 271 million people out of poverty between 2005-15, India still remains home to 28 per cent of the world’s poor, as per the Human Development Report. Though severe poverty is less, vulnerability towards poverty is quite high.
  2. Smaller Incomes: While unemployment is under control in India, smaller incomes have resulted in a higher dominance of working poor, lower share of skilled workforce and lack of old-age security.
  3. Education: In terms of Education, inequality in India is more than that in the South Asian region and the world. Indian girls attend school for a shorter period than the regional average.

Ideas for new framework

  • India urgently needs a new strategy for growth, founded on new pillars, such as broader progress measures.
  • GDP does not account for vital environmental and social conditions that contribute to human well-being and the sustainability of the planet and these factors are ignored as externalities by economists.
  • The analysis of sources of well-being leads to the conclusion that the universal solution for improving well-being is for local communities to work together to find their own solutions within their countries, and in their villages and towns.
  • The central idea of the inclusive growth includes sharing of fruits of socio-economic development with all sections of the society. As a result, moving towards inclusive growth directly ensures both equality and equity in the long-term growth.
  • Until the incomes of all rise, India will be a poor country from the perspective of the majority of its citizens, no matter how large its GDP, therefore, Indian economy must grow to create more incomes for its billion-plus citizens.
  • Governments must adopt strong anti-inequality policies on public services, tax and labour rights, to significantly reduce the gap between rich and poor. Governments, international institutions and other stakeholders should work together to rapidly improve data on inequality and related policies, and to accurately and regularly monitor progress in reducing inequality.

-Source: The Hindu


U.P. tops list in human rights violation: MHA

Context:

According to data provided by the Ministry of Home Affairs to the Rajya Sabha – around 40% of human rights violation cases lodged annually by the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) in the past three financial years (2019-21) till October 2021 were from Uttar Pradesh.

Relevance:

GS-II: Social Justice and Governance, GS-II: Polity and Constitution

Dimensions of the Article:

  1. Human Rights violations in India
  2. Human Right Provisions in India
  3. National Human Rights Commission (NHRC)
  4. Powers conferred to the NHRC in inquiries
  5. Composition of NHRC

Human Rights violations in India

  • The total number of rights’ violation cases lodged by the NHRC reduced from just below 90 thousand in 2018-19 to just over 75 thousand in 2019-20 and to less than 75 thousand in 2020-21.
  • Of the total number of cases, Uttar Pradesh accounted for in 40 thousand cases in 2018-19 and over 30 thousand cases in 2019-20 and 2020-21, before dropping to less than 25 thousand in 2021-22.

Human Right Provisions in India

  1. Articles 12 to 35 under Fundamental Rights of the Constitution include the Right to Equality, Right to Freedom, Right Against Exploitation, Right to Freedom of Religion, Cultural & Educational Rights, Saving of Certain Laws and Right to Constitutional Remedies.
  2. Article 36 to 51 in the Directive Principles of State Policy include ‘right to social security, right to work, to free choice of employment, and protection against unemployment, right to equal pay for equal work, right to existence worthy of human dignity, right to free & compulsory education, equal justice & free legal aid and the principles of policy to be followed by the State.’
  3. Protection of Human Rights Act (PHRA), 1993 provides for the constitution of a National Human Rights Commission at the Union level, which steers State Human Rights Commission in States and Human Rights Courts for better protection of Human Rights and for matters connected therewith or incidental thereto.

National Human Rights Commission (NHRC)

  • The National Human Rights Commission is an Independent Statutory Body constituted on 12 October 1993, by the Protection of Human Rights Act, 1993.
  • The NHRC is responsible for the protection and promotion of human rights.
  • NHRC deals with the rights related to life, liberty, equality and dignity of the individual guaranteed by Indian Constitution or embodied in the international covenants and enforceable by courts in India.
  • On an international level, the NHRC is established in conformity with the Paris Principles, adopted for the promotion and protection of human rights in Paris (October, 1991). It was also endorsed by the General Assembly of the United Nations on 20 December, 1993.

Powers conferred to the NHRC in inquiries

While inquiring into complaints under the Act, the Commission shall have all the powers of a civil court trying a suit under the Code of Civil Procedure, 1908, and in particular the following, namely:

  1. Summoning and enforcing the attendance of witnesses and examining them on oath;
  2. discovery and production of any document;
  3. receiving evidence on affidavits;
  4. requisitioning any public record or copy thereof from any court or office;
  5. issuing commissions for the examination of witnesses or documents;
  6. any other matter which may be prescribed.

Composition of NHRC

  • A Chairperson, who has been a Chief Justice of India or a Judge of the Supreme Court
  • One member who is, or has been, a Judge of the Supreme Court of India
  • One member who is, or has been, the Chief Justice of a High Court
  • Three Members, out of which at least one shall be a woman to be appointed from amongst persons having knowledge of, or practical experience in, matters relating to human rights
  • In addition, the Chairpersons of National Commissions (Scheduled Castes, Scheduled Tribes, Women, Minorities, Backward Classes, Protection of Child Rights) and Chief Commissioner for Persons with Disabilities serve as ex officio members.
  • The sitting Judge of the Supreme Court or sitting Chief Justice of any High Court can be appointed only after the consultation with the Chief Justice of Supreme Court.

How are the Chairperson and Members of NHRC appointed?

The Chairperson and members of the NHRC are appointed by the President of India, on the recommendation of a committee consisting of:

  1. The Prime Minister (Chairperson)
  2. The Home Minister
  3. The Leader of the Opposition in the Lok Sabha (Lower House)
  4. The Leader of the Opposition in the Rajya Sabha (Upper House)
  5. The Speaker of the Lok Sabha (Lower House)
  6. The Deputy Chairman of the Rajya Sabha (Upper House)

-Source: The Hindu


Cabinet clears Ken-Betwa river interlinking project

Context:

The Union Cabinet approved the funding and implementation of the Ken-Betwa river interlinking project at a cost of ₹44,605 crore at the 2020-21 price level. The Centre would fund ₹39,317 crore for the project, with ₹36,290 crore as a grant and ₹3,027 crore as a loan.

Relevance:

GS-I: Geography (Drainage System in India, Projects to improve Irrigation), GS-II: Polity and Governance (Inter-State Relations)

Dimensions of the Article:

  1. Interlinking of Rivers
  2. What is the Ken-Betwa Link Project?
  3. Which regions will benefit from the Ken-Betwa Link Project?
  4. Benefits of the Interlinking of River Projects
  5. Challenges regarding Interlinking of rivers
  6. Arguments Against ILP Projects
  7. About National Interlinking of Rivers Authority (NIRA)

Interlinking of Rivers

  • In 1858, Arthur Cotton (British general and irrigation Engineer) came up with even more ambitious proposals such as connecting all major rivers of India, and interlinking of canals and rivers. He suggested drought-relief measures for Odisha.
  • The National River Linking Project (NRLP) formally known as the National Perspective Plan, envisages the transfer of water from water ‘surplus’ basins where there is flooding, to water ‘deficit’ basins where there is drought/scarcity, through inter-basin water transfer projects.
  • The interlinking of river project is a Civil Engineering project, which aims to connect Indian rivers through reservoirs and canals.
  • The farmers will not have to depend on the monsoon for cultivation and also the excess or lack of water can be overcome during flood or drought.
  • Since the 1980s, the interlinking project has been managed by India’s National Water Development Agency (NWDA) under the Ministry of Water Resources.

It has been split into three parts as follows:

  1. A northern Himalayan river interlink component.
  2. A southern peninsular component.
  3. An Intra-State river linking component.

As of now, six ILR projects have been under examination of the authorities:

  1. Ken-Betwa,
  2. Damanganga- Pinjal,
  3. Par-Tapi-Narmada,
  4. Manas-Sankosh-Teesta-Ganga,
  5. Mahanadi-Godavari and
  6. Godavari-Cauvery (Grand Anicut)
  7. With regard to the peninsular rivers, the Centre has chosen to focus on the Godavari-Cauvery link.

What is the Ken-Betwa Link Project?

  • The Ken-Betwa Link Project is the first project under the National Perspective Plan for interlinking of rivers.
  • It envisages transferring water from the Ken river to the Betwa river, both tributaries of the Yamuna.
  • The Ken-Betwa Link Canal will be 221 km long, including a 2-km long tunnel.

A Special Purpose Vehicle (SPV) for the project

  • According to the statement, a Special Purpose Vehicle (SPV) called Ken-Betwa Link Project Authority (KBLPA) will be set up to implement the project.
  • In fact, the Centre has set in motion the process of creation of National Interlinking of Rivers Authority (NIRA), an independent autonomous body for planning, investigation, financing and implementation of the interlinking of river (ILR) projects in the country.
  • The NIRA will have powers to set up SPV for individual link projects.

Which regions will benefit from the Ken-Betwa Link Project?

  • The project lies in Bundelkhand, a drought-prone region, which spreads across 13 districts of Uttar Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh.
  • According to the Jal Shakti Ministry, the project will be of immense benefit to the water-starved region, especially the districts of Panna, Tikamgarh, Chhatarpur, Sagar, Damoh, Datia, Vidisha, Shivpuri and Raisen of Madhya Pradesh, and Banda, Mahoba, Jhansi and Lalitpur of Uttar Pradesh.
  • “It will pave the way for more interlinking of river projects to ensure that scarcity of water does not become an inhibitor for development in the country,” the Ministry said in a statement.

Benefits of the Interlinking of River Projects

India receives most of its rain during monsoon season from June to September

Most of it falls in northern and eastern part of India. The amount of rainfall in southern and western part are comparatively low, and hence, these places which will have shortage of water.

  • Therefore, Interlinking of rivers will help these areas to have water throughout the year.
  • It will reduce the dependence of farmers on monsoon rains.
  • Revenues for the States will increase with increasing production of Crops.
  • The economic impact of the failure of a single monsoon is very substantial, hence a reduction in the dependency on monsoons rains will reduce the debilitating economic impact.
  • It will ease the water shortages in Western and Southern India.
  • It will help mitigating the impacts of recurrent floods in Eastern India.
  • Water from the basins that are affected by floods almost every year (Ganga, Brahmaputra) can be diverted to other areas where there is scarcity of water; this can be achieved by linking the rivers.
  • Thus – There are Advantages in Both – Controlling Floods and Reducing Scarcity of Water.
  • The river interlinking project claims to generate total power of 34,000 MW (34 GW) and India needs clean energy to fuel its development processes. Hence the ILR Projects can help with India’s Energy needs.
  • Socio-economic life of people will improve as the water needs get fulfilled.
  • Inter-state water disputes can also be handled after implementation of ILR Projects.
  • Transportation through navigation will Increase Income Sources and increase connectivity.
  • Fishing in rural areas can also be improved as a result of ILR Projects.

Challenges regarding Interlinking of rivers

  1. Environmental Costs: The project threatens to obstruct the natural ecology of rivers. The proposed dams could threaten the forests of the Himalayas and impact the functioning of the monsoon system.
  2. Climate Change: In interlinking systems, it is assumed that the donor basin has surplus water that can be made available to the recipient basin. The whole concept goes for a toss if this basic assumption goes haywire for any system due to climate change.
  3. Economic Costs: It is estimated that river interlinking will be a huge fiscal burden on the Government.
  4. Socio-Economic Impact: It is estimated that the network of canals extending to about 15000 km would displace about 5.5 million people, mostly tribals and farmers.

Arguments Against ILP Projects

  • Concerned scholars questioned the merits of inter-link projects citing lack of holistic assessment of social-ecological impacts like water-logging, salinisation and the resulting desertification.
  • The concerns about sediment management, especially on the Himalayan system loom large. When the idea is to transfer water from the ‘surplus’ Himalayan river systems to ‘deficit’ basins of the southern part of India, the differential sediment regime defining the flow regimes need to be plugged into the equation. This will entail changes in ecosystem structures in both parts.
  • Damming India’s east-coast rivers to take their water westwards will curtail downstream flooding and thereby, the supply of sediment—a natural nutrient—destroying fragile coastal ecosystems and causing coastal and delta erosion
  • The spirit of federalism is ignored in the river interlinking project. There is dissent on the part of the state governments (Kerala).

About National Interlinking of Rivers Authority (NIRA)

  • The National Interlinking of Rivers Authority (NIRA) will function as an umbrella body for all river linking projects and to be headed by a Government of India Secretary-rank officer.
  • It will replace the existing National Water Development Agency (NWDA).
  • It will coordinate with neighbouring countries and concerned states and departments and will also have powers on issues related to environment, wildlife and forest clearances under river linking projects and their legal aspects.
  • NIRA will have the power to raise funds and act as a repository of borrowed funds or money received on deposit or loan given on interest.
  • It will also have the power to set up a Special Purpose Vehicle (SPV) for individual link projects.

-Source: The Hindu


Three Indian companies are top 100 in arms sales: SIPRI

Context:

Three Indian companies are among the world’s top 100 for combined arms sales in 2020, said a new report by the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI), which tracks global arms trade.

Relevance:

GS-III: Science and Technology, GS-II: International Relations (International Groupings & Agreements affecting India’s Interests)

Dimensions of the Article:

  1. About SIPRI
  2. Highlights of the SIPRI report on arms sales
  3. India’s Defence Exports
  4. Factors responsible for this shift
  5. Defence Production and Export Promotion Policy 2020 (DPEPP 2020)

About SIPRI

  • Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) is an independent international think-tank institute dedicated to research into conflict, armaments, arms control and disarmament.
  • It was established in 1966 at Stockholm (Sweden).
  • It provides data, analysis and recommendations, based on open sources, to policymakers, researchers, media and the interested public.

Highlights of the SIPRI report on arms sales

  • The USA has the high­est number of companies in the top 100 worldwide.. Together, their arms sales amounted to USD 285 billion, an increase of 1.9 % compared with 2019.
  • China was second at 13 %, followed by the UK at 7.1 %.
  • Russia and France were fourth and fifth with 5 % and 4.7 % respectively of the combined arms sales for the top 100 companies.
  • Indian Ordnance Factories are at the 60th spot, with USD 1.9 billion in sales, up 0.2 % from 2019. HAL is at number 42 and BEL is ranked 66.
  • India’s share of arms sales globally in 2020 was 1.2 %. Their aggregated arms sales of USD 6.5 billion were 1.7 % higher in 2020 than in 2019” and accounted for 1.2 % of the top 100 total.

India’s Defence Exports

  • According to a report released by Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) for the period between 2009-13 and 2014-18, Indian defence imports fell even as exports increased. This is good for a nation that has had the record of being one of the biggest importers of Defence equipment.
  • As per the data published by the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute, or SIPRI, in March 2020, India is ranked 23rd in the list of major arms exporters for 2015-2019 and 19th for 2019.
  • The Ministry of Defence’s annual report 2018-19 records that the defence exports were worth Rs 10,745 crore, a growth of more than 100% from 2017-18 (Rs 4,682 crore) and over 700 % since 2016-17 (Rs 1,521 crore). India’s share of global arms exports is only 0.17%.
  • The current government has been laying emphasis on defence manufacturing in India to build up the country’s manufacturing base, ensure jobs for its youth and to bring down India’s arms import bill.

India’s target was to export 5 billion USD worth of military hardware by 2025.

Factors responsible for this shift

  • In 2020, the Indian Government announced a phased ban on imports of more than a hundred different types of military equipment to support domestic companies and enhance self-reliance in arms production.
  • Domestic procurement has helped to shield Indian companies against the negative economic consequences of the pandemic.
  • ‘Make in India’ initiative, as part of which a number of components from Indian private and public sector enterprises have been prioritised by the government.
  • Extraneous factors in the form of delays in supplying equipment by vendors and the outright cancellation of contracts by the Indian government or at least a diminution of existing contracts.

Defence Production and Export Promotion Policy 2020 (DPEPP 2020)

The DPEPP 2020 is envisaged as overarching guiding document of MoD to provide a focused, structured and significant thrust to defence production capabilities of the country for self-reliance and exports.

Regarding Domestic Production and Defence Exports

  • The share of domestic procurement in overall defence procurement is about 60% now, and in order to enhance procurement from domestic industry, it is incumbent that procurement is doubled to RS. 1.4 Lakh crores by 2025 – according to DPEPP 2020’s aims.
  • The policy says that Defence Attachés have been mandated and are supported to promote export of indigenous defence equipment abroad, with the efforts in this direction supplemented by selected Defence Public Sector Undertakings (DPSU).
  • Subject to strategic considerations, domestically manufactured defence products will also be promoted through Government to Government agreements and Lines of Credit/Funding.
  • In addition, with the aim to move away from licensed production to design, develop and produce indigenously and own the design rights and Intellectual Property (IP) of the systems projected in Long Term Integrated Perspective Plan (LTIPP) of the Services a Technology Assessment Cell (TAC) would be created.

-Source: Indian Express

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