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Editorials/Opinions Analysis For UPSC 22 November 2023

  1. Parochial Law – Local Reservation in Private Sector Jobs
  2. Alarming Countdown – The United Nations “Broken Record” Report


Context:

The Punjab and Haryana High Court has taken the appropriate step in invalidating the Haryana State Employment of Local Candidates Act, 2020, which mandated a 75% reservation for residents of the state in private sector jobs with a monthly salary below ₹30,000.

Relevance:

GS-2

  • Government Policies & Interventions
  • Issues Relating to Development

GS-3

  • Employment
  • Growth & Development
  • Human Resource

Mains Question:

What forms the government’s rationale behind local reservation in private sector jobs? Also discuss the pros and cons of reservation in favour of locals in the private sector. (15 marks, 250 words).

More on the Court Rulings:

  • The court declared that the state overstepped its authority by legislating on this matter and imposing restrictions on private employers to hire individuals from the open market.
  • Additionally, it ruled that the Act violated the equality provisions of Article 14 and the freedom provisions of Article 19 of the Constitution.
  • The court expressed concern that allocating 75% reservation for “locals” in the Act impinges on the rights of citizens from other parts of the country, potentially prompting other states to enact similar laws, effectively creating “artificial walls” across India.
  • It argued that the Act unreasonably limited the freedom of workers to move within the territory of India. The court likened the stipulated requirements on private employers in the Act to those reminiscent of an “Inspector Raj.”

Similar Legislations in Other States:

  • Other states, such as Andhra Pradesh and Jharkhand, have implemented comparable legislation. The Andhra Pradesh High Court remarked that the state’s 2019 Bill, though potentially unconstitutional, has yet to be evaluated on its merits.
  • Workers move to different states in search of job opportunities aligned with their skills. If states construct barriers and impose restrictions that hinder job seekers from other states from accessing opportunities, residents of less affluent states may be compelled to sustain themselves within their own regions. This would impact the entire country’s economy.

Rationale Behind Such Legislations:

  • While legislation reserving blue-collar jobs for locals is problematic and unconstitutional, there is a rationale behind the resentment among locals in wealthier states where their jobs are perceived to be taken by “migrant” workers.
  • This has prompted their governments to enact impromptu protectionist measures.
  • Some private employers exploit the migrant labor market, as these workers often endure long hours for meager wages with limited or no social protection and benefits. This segmentation of the labor market creates a divide between low-wage migrant workers and local workers with better bargaining power.

Conclusion:

To genuinely safeguard workers’ rights, states should ensure that migrant workers in all establishments receive the basic labor rights owed to them, thereby establishing a fair playing field for all workers. This approach would also serve as a deterrent against exploitative practices by employers. The message conveyed is that protectionism in the labor market is not a viable solution.



Context:

The United Nations’ most recent report, titled “Broken Record,” cleverly plays on words to convey a message. It not only implies that previous warnings about the consequences of escalating greenhouse gas emissions (GHG) are being disregarded but also suggests that new limits are being exceeded.

Relevance:

GS3- Conservation, Environmental Pollution and Degradation, Environmental Impact Assessment.

Mains Question:

Reflecting upon the recently released Broken Record report by the United Nations, analyse how far has the world progressed towards the goal of net zero carbon emissions. What more can be done to collectively address this issue? (15 marks, 250 words).

More on the UN’s “Broken Record”:

Progress on the 2015 Paris Agreement  
The primary objective of the PA was to prevent a temperature increase of over 2°C, with an additional aspiration to keep it “as far as possible” below 1.5°C, compared to pre-industrial levels.  
The annual emissions report emphasizes in more emphatic language that progress since the 2015 Paris Agreement (PA) has been sluggish.   In recent years, the prevailing consensus has leaned towards a focused effort to keep the temperature increase below 1.5°C. However, the Broken Record report indicates that, accounting for all commitments made by countries under the PA to reduce their reliance on fossil fuels, temperatures are projected to exceed 2.5°C-2.9°C by the century’s end.  
Carbon EmissionsAchieving the goal of keeping temperatures below 2°C requires a 28% reduction in emissions by 2030, and for 1.5°C, a more substantial 42% reduction is necessary.    
Despite numerous countries pledging to achieve ‘net zero,’ indicating no net carbon emissions, the report expresses skepticism about the credibility of these commitments.  
Even in the most optimistic scenarios, the likelihood of meeting the target of keeping emissions below 1.5°C is only 14%.  
The report indicates that the world collectively emitted 57.4 billion tonnes in 2022, marking a 1.2% increase from 2021. Although emissions dropped by 4.7% during the pandemic, projections for 2023 suggest that global emissions are nearly back to pre-pandemic levels.  
Warm TemperaturesThe repercussions of the world’s delayed action are evident. By October of this year, there were 86 recorded days with temperatures exceeding 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels.   September set a record as the hottest month ever, with global average temperatures 1.8°C above pre-industrial levels.  

Some Silver Lining:

Nevertheless, the Paris Agreement (PA) has not been ineffective. At the time of the PA adoption, greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions in 2030 were projected to increase by 16% based on existing policies. Currently, the anticipated increase is 3%. To maintain temperatures below 1.5°C, annual emissions must decrease by 8.7% each year until 2030.

Conclusion:

In terms of solutions, the report reiterates longstanding advice: wealthier nations and those historically accountable for consuming a significant portion of the limited atmospheric capacity for carbon must commit to more substantial and swifter reductions. Despite the customary legal language and meticulous scrutiny characterizing climate summits, time is running short for the world to collectively address this pressing issue.


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