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Editorials/Opinions Analysis For UPSC 24 June 2022


Editorials/Opinions Analysis For UPSC 24 June 2022


Contents

  1. A Turning Point For Ukraine And Its Women’s Rights
  2. The Problems Plaguing Thermal Power Generators

A Turning Point For Ukraine And Its Women’s Rights


Context

The Ukrainian Parliament — the Verkhovna Rada — passed a Bill ratifying the Council of Europe Convention on preventing andcombating violence against women and domestic violence, better known as the Istanbul Convention.

Relevance

GS II: Women related Issues, Important International Institutions, agencies and fora.

Dimensions of the Article

  • Istanbul Convention: Aiding EU integration
  • Gender based violence & sexual violence used as war weapon
  • How does it perpetuate?
  • Global Stand
  • Way Forward

Istanbul Convention: Aiding integration of EU

 It is the most broader, legally binding  international treaty designed to set standards for governments in Europe for the prevention, protection, and prosecution of gender-based violence. Apart from countering gender-based violence, the adoption of Convention will also help in Ukraine’s European integration. However, an important thing to keep in mind is the fact that the proper implementation of the convention will require financial resources, which seems like a cumbersome goal for a country already facing economic downfall due to the Russian invasion.

Gender-based violence & sexual violence used as war weapon

  • To begin with, the risk of women becoming victims of gender-based violence in Ukraine has increased immensely over the course of Russia’s eight-year war.The breakdown of State institutions and civil society organisations further subjected women and children to exploitation & subjugation. The observations made in this regard outline the following concerns:
  • The increasing number of reports emerging since February 2022 suggests that the Russian troops have been using rape and sexual violence as a weapon of war and instrument of terror to control civilians especially vulnerable sections.
  • In this sense, the convention’s ratification will not only expand ‘the list of abuse against women punishable by law in Ukraine — including but not limited to psychological abuse, stalking, forced marriage, physical and sexual abuse, forced abortion, sterilisation’ — but also provide the authorities with the opportunity to bring about changes in its legislation and institutional procedures.
  • In furtherance, it will also mean that Ukraine will be responsible for financing more shelters for women, training social workers to adequately handle cases of sexual violence, and increase resources of assistance available for victims.
  • For instance, anywhere between 200,000 and 400,000 Bengali women were systematically sexually assaulted during the Bangladeshi Liberation Movement.

How does it perpetuate?

  • Multiple forms of sexual violence—including rape, sexual slavery, gang rape, sexual mutilation, and torture—have been perpetrated against women and girls in wars many of whom are also held captive as sexual slaves for weeks.
  • According to a report by Amnesty International, most survivors of sexual violence experience severe health issues, including mental health problems, and have almost no access to medical or psychosocial services.

Global Implications

  • Unfortunately, the issue of gender-based violence in conflicts has not received adequate attention in the discourse on gender equality and sustainable development goals.
  • Sexual violence in conflict zones has often been regarded as an inevitable by-product of war and the perpetrators of violence have seldom been held accountable
  • This however raises several global concerns regarding the  gender equality goal under SDG 5, which calls for “ending violence against women and girls in public and private sphers”.
  • A questions for the global community to ponder upon: Is it possible to eliminate violence against women if countries refuse to take a tough stance against sexual violence in conflict zones?

Conclusion

If sovereignty, territorial integrity of a nation and non-interference in ‘internal’ matters override the need to condemn the use of gender-based violence as a weapon of war, then gender equality is a distant goal. A world that has committed to the achievement of SDGs, cannot remain silent in the face of such a massive violation of women  and the use of sexual violence as a weapon in conflict during any war.

Source – The Hindu


The Problems Plaguing Thermal Power Generators


Context

On June 10, India’s power demand touched a record high of 211 MW even as the coalshortage continued with coal stocks available only for eight days. To bridge the gap between shortage in domestic supply and increasing demand, power-generating companies or ‘gencos’ were directed to use imported coal for 10% of their requirement, failing which their domestic supplies would be cut.

Relevance

GS-III: Infrastructure: Energy, Ports, Roads, Airports, Railways etc, Conservation, Environmental Pollution and Degradation.

Dimensions of the Article

  • India’s Power Crisis
  • Perennial Bottlenecks in Energy Infrastructure
  • Causes of the Crisis
  • Way Forward

India’s Power Crisis

India is the second largest producer of coal, with reserves that could last up to 100 years. Despite that, year after year, the shortage of coal supplies continues perpetuate. As of September 2021, thermal power comprised 60% of India’s installed capacity in power generation. Coal-based power generation, with a capacity of around 210 GW accounts for about 53% of India’s total power capacity(Mar’22). India imports about 20% of its thermal coal requirements.

Why does India have a recurring power crisis?

  •  As per data, domestic production of coal stagnated between FY18 and FY21, reviving in FY22. But economic recovery & surge in temperature conditions led to inreased demand.
  • Until FY20, domestic sources contributed to about 90% of the power sector’s coal demands. But by FY22, the reliance on imports dwindled to 3.8% which built pressure ondomestic supplies.
  • This demand dip consequenetly skyrocketed the prices of coal by 5-6 times in the international markets. Both shortfall in domestic supplies and rising cost of imports have put power plants in a dire situation.

Perennial bottlenecks

The use of imported coal will also push up the price of power supply to the Discoms, often dubbed as the weakest link in the power sector chain.

  • Discoms owe long-standing dues to the tune of ₹1.16 lakh crore to the gencos. Delays in payments by discoms create a working capital crunch for generating companies which in turn inhibits them from procuring an adequate quantity of coal.
  • Discoms are bleeding because the revenue they generate is much lower than their costs. For instance, Tamil Nadu, J&K, and Rajasthan have the widest gap between revenuesand expenses of discoms.
  • Other issues like non- periodic revision of tariffs periodically, delay in compensation from the government compounds the woes of cash-stripped discoms.

Causes of the Power Crisis?

  • The soaring heatwaves and revival of economic activities after Covid-19 disruptions propelled electricity demand.
  • Inefficiency of TPPs: With 236 GW of thermal power plants (TPPs) running much below standards.
  • Discom Losses: Despite two decades of sectoral reforms, the aggregate losses of discoms stand at 21% (2019-20) further stripping them of cash liquidity.
  • Multiple Structural Fault Lines that have disrupted the supply chains.

Way Forward

Given the country’s development aspirations, India’s power demand is set to rise substantially and become more variable. Increasing climatic and geopolitical uncertainties underscore the need to become more efficient in the way we generate, distribute and consume energy. We need to act now for the long-term resilience of India’s power sector.

  •  Planning and Policy Reforms changing from managing scarcity to one of flexible resiliency.
  • We also need to introduce feedback loops in the ecosystem so that stakeholders have both carrots and sticks.
  • Enabling environment via achievement of India’s solar power targets.
  • Discoms should be enabled to undertake smart assessment and management of demand.

Source – The Hindu


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