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Editorials/Opinions Analysis For UPSC 06 December 2023

  1. Honest reckoning On Moving Away from Fossil Fuels
  2. Only Right Education can Ensure World Peace


Context:

The limit defining discussions on the global climate is set at 1.5°C, representing the average temperature increase since the pre-industrial era. With the threshold of 1°C already surpassed, the ongoing negotiations at the climate summit in Dubai aim to constrain the additional half-degree rise. However, the existing commitments to reduce emissions fall short of achieving this goal.

Relevance:

GS3- Environment-

  • Conservation
  • Environmental Pollution and Degradation

Mains Question:

How far do you agree with the assertion that the major world economies seem unwilling to move away from fossil fuel. Give illustrations to support your answer. (15 Marks, 250 words).

Current Projections:

  • Current projections indicate that to restrict the temperature rise to 1.5°C, the world needs a threefold increase in renewable energy capacity by 2030, equivalent to at least 11,000 GW.
  • The consensus for this tripling was initially formalized in the New Delhi Leaders’ Declaration at the G-20 summit in September.
  • Prior to the Dubai summit, it was anticipated that the majority of the approximately 190 countries under the UN convention on climate would endorse this target.
  • As of now, 118 countries have backed the commitment, while major nations like India and China have refrained from signing.
  • The Global Renewables and Energy Efficiency Pledge, though still in draft form, emphasizes that in their pursuit of tripling renewable energy capacity, signatories must also agree to “phase down unabated coal power,” specifically terminating investments in new unabated coal-fired power plants. This stance poses a significant challenge for India.

About the Global Renewables and Energy Efficiency Pledge:

  • At the COP28 climate summit held in Dubai, 118 nations made a commitment to triple their installed renewable energy capacity by 2030, aiming for a minimum of 11,000 gigawatts (GW).
  • Additionally, they pledged to double the global average annual rate of energy efficiency improvements to exceed 4%.
  • Notably, India, along with China and Russia, chose not to endorse this commitment. It’s important to note that this pledge lacks legal binding and has not been incorporated into the primary negotiation texts for the COP-28 agreement.

Position of India:

Even though India has positioned itself as a proponent of renewable energy, with its 2030 targets outlined in its formal National Determined Contributions (NDC) aiming to triple renewable energy capacity to 500 GW from the current 170 GW, it has consistently emphasized its reluctance to abandon certain fuel sources.

Renewable Energy Landscape in India:

  • As of May 2023, India’s total installed renewable energy (RE) capacity, inclusive of nuclear power, is recorded at 197 GW, constituting 43% of the overall installed energy capacity. Globally, India holds the fourth position in Renewable Energy Installed Capacity, Wind Power capacity, and Solar Power capacity, according to the REN21 Renewables 2022 Global Status Report.
  • At COP26, India has raised its target, aiming to achieve 500 GW of non-fossil fuel-based energy by 2030, aligning with its Panchamrit Goals. These goals encompass five key elements of India’s climate action strategy:
  • Attaining 500 GW of non-fossil energy capacity by 2030.
  • Securing 50% of its energy needs from renewable sources by 2030.
  • Decreasing total projected carbon emissions by one billion tonnes from the present to 2030.
  • Lowering the carbon intensity of the economy by 45% by 2030 compared to 2005 levels.
  • Achieving the target of net zero emissions by 2070.
  • Approximately 70% of India’s greenhouse gas emissions stem from coal-fired plants. In contrast, developed countries committing to relinquish coal often have alternative significant fossil fuel resources.
  • For instance, the United States, which pledged to completely phase out coal for energy use by 2035 at the Dubai summit, currently derives only about 20% of its energy from coal, with at least 55% coming from oil and gas. The U.S. even plans to increase fossil fuel production in 2030 compared to the present.

Conclusion:

The paradox lies in the fact that the commitment of the world’s major economies to renewable energy is not actively positioned to replace fossil fuels at present. Until there is a genuine commitment to substitute existing and future fossil capacity with clean energy, the value of pledges and declarations remains questionable, akin to being worth no more than the paper on which they are written.



Context:

The world, amidst conflict and turmoil, aspires for a future devoid of wars and violence. Even those currently embroiled in conflicts, such as the Ukraine-Russia or Israel-Palestine wars, may secretly desire a world free from tension and violence for their future generations.

Relevance:

GS2-

  • Issues Relating to Development and Management of Social Sector/Services relating to Health, Education, Human Resources.
  • Effect of Policies and Politics of Developed and Developing Countries on India’s interests

GS4- Role of Family, Society and Educational Institutions in Inculcating Values.

Mains Question:

True Indian education imbued with the legacy of ‘Worlds but one family’ could pave the path for global brotherhood in the world of today. Analyse. (15 marks, 250 words).

A World Without Wars:

  • Envisioning a world without wars and violence in the near future requires a resilient optimist.
  • Faith in human ingenuity and the transformative power of love to foster hope and inspire global peace serves as a foundation.
  • The only viable path forward is through knowledge, coupled with the skill of discrimination to distinguish between right and wrong, light and darkness, reality and falsehood, and truth and untruth.
  • This is not a mere cliché but the sole alternative for the survival of humanity on Earth and the planet itself.

The Question for India:

  • The pertinent question for India and its people is whether they are preparing to become advocates of peace and harmony within their borders.
  • Establishing that the Indian way, which values diversity, recognizes the universality of the human race, and acknowledges the responsibility to care for every human being and nature, is the only way forward.
  • As the world advances into the third decade of the third millennium, the emergence of an enlightened and cohesive society, along with a strong, prosperous nation, hinges prominently on quality education and dynamic skill acquisition.

Education Policies in India:

  • India’s achievements in education post-independence are commendable, with the literacy rate rising from around 18% in 1947 to nearly 80% now.
  • Policy initiatives in 1968, 1986, and 1992 played a crucial role in addressing evolving national needs, changing scenarios, and the aspirations of India’s youth.

Background of the above Policies on Education:

National Policy on Education, 1968:

  • The inaugural education policy, derived from the recommendations of the Kothari Commission (1964-1966), focused on achieving compulsory education for all children up to the age of 14. Emphasis was placed on enhancing the training and qualifications of teachers.
  • The policy introduced the “three language formula” for secondary education, mandating instruction in the English language, the official language of the state where the school was situated, and Hindi.
  • Additionally, it promoted the teaching of the ancient Sanskrit language, considering it an integral part of India’s cultural heritage.

National Policy on Education, 1986:

  • This policy aimed to address disparities and ensure equal educational opportunities, particularly for Indian women, Scheduled Tribes (ST), and Scheduled Caste (SC) communities.
  • The implementation of “Operation Blackboard” was initiated to enhance primary schools across the nation.
  • The policy expanded the Open University system, including the establishment of the Indira Gandhi National Open University in 1985. It advocated for the creation of rural universities inspired by Mahatma Gandhi’s philosophy, fostering economic and social development at the grassroots level in rural India.

National Policy on Education in 1992:

  • The 1992 modification aimed to streamline the admission process to professional and technical programs across the country. It proposed a common entrance examination on an all-India basis for admission to these programs.
  • For Engineering and Architecture programs, a Three-Exam Scheme was introduced, including JEE and AIEEE at the National Level, along with State Level Engineering Entrance Examinations (SLEEE) for state-level institutions.
  • This approach addressed varying admission standards, mitigated problems of overlap, and reduced the physical, mental, and financial burdens on students and parents associated with multiple entrance examinations.
  • The National Education Policy (NEP) 2020 is a manifestation of the fundamental role of education in realizing full human potential, fostering an equitable society, and promoting national development. It responds to the Sustainable Development Goal 4, aiming to ensure inclusive, equitable, and quality education for all.

About the NEP 2020:

The National Education Policy (NEP) 2020 has the objective of positioning India as a “global knowledge superpower,” marking only the third significant overhaul of the country’s education framework since gaining independence.

Key Features of the NEP 2020 include:

  • Ensuring Universal Access: A commitment to providing access to education at all levels, ranging from pre-primary school to Grade 12.
  • Quality Early Childhood Care and Education: Ensuring high-quality early childhood care and education for all children aged 3-6 years.
  • New Curricular and Pedagogical Structure: The adoption of a structure denoted as 5+3+3+4, aligning with the age groups of 3-8, 8-11, 11-14, and 14-18 years, respectively. This structure encompasses four stages of schooling: Foundational Stage (5 years), Preparatory Stage (3 years), Middle Stage (3 years), and Secondary Stage (4 years).
  • Integration and Flexibility: Abandoning rigid distinctions between arts and sciences, curricular and extra-curricular activities, and vocational and academic streams.
  • Promotion of Multilingualism: Emphasizing the importance of multilingualism and promoting Indian languages.
  • National Assessment Centre (PARAKH): The establishment of a new National Assessment Centre, known as PARAKH (Performance Assessment, Review, and Analysis of Knowledge for Holistic Development).
  • Gender Inclusion Fund: Creation of a separate Gender Inclusion Fund to address gender-related issues, and the establishment of Special Education Zones for disadvantaged regions and groups.

Way Forward:

  • The challenge before the academic community is to ensure universal quality education, dynamic skill acquisition, and effective personality development.
  • The NEP-2020 supports this by allowing flexibility in subject choices, encouraging multidisciplinarity, and promoting learner-centric approaches.
  • School education quality deserves utmost attention, especially in terms of teacher education, vocational skills, individual attention, interest identification, and assessment procedures.
  • Education should receive robust resource support to redress any dilution of quality. This will enable Indian education to gain global recognition and appreciation, not merely as preparation for life but for the complete realization and liberation of the soul.

Conclusion:

True Indian education, rooted in the concept of ‘Worlds but one family,’ has the potential to foster global brotherhood in a world that is suffering in numerous ways. Transforming elementary schools and granting teachers autonomy and responsibility can lead to a positive cultural shift, impacting various spheres of life. Trusting and supporting teachers is crucial for this transformative journey.


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