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Weekly Current Affairs (1st to 7th June 2024) Part - 2 | Current Affairs & Hindu Analysis: Daily, Weekly & Monthly - UPSC PDF Download

AMRUT (Atal Mission for Rejuvenation and Urban Transformation) Scheme

Weekly Current Affairs (1st to 7th June 2024) Part - 2 | Current Affairs & Hindu Analysis: Daily, Weekly & Monthly - UPSC
Context:
  • Recently, the AMRUT scheme has gained attention due to the challenges it faces in addressing infrastructure issues related to water, mobility, and pollution.

What is AMRUT Scheme?

About:

  • Atal Mission for Rejuvenation and Urban Transformation (AMRUT) was initiated on 25th June 2015 in 500 selected cities nationwide, covering approximately 60% of the urban population.
  • The mission aims to enhance basic infrastructure and implement urban reforms in selected cities, including water supply, sewerage, drainage, green spaces, non-motorised transport, and capacity building.

AMRUT 2.0 Scheme:

  • Launched on 1st October 2021, AMRUT 2.0 replaces AMRUT 1.0 for a 5-year period from FY 2021-22 to FY 2025-26.
  • Objectives include achieving universal water supply coverage from 500 cities to about 4,900 statutory towns and expanding sewerage/septage management to 500 cities covered in the initial phase.
  • AMRUT 2.0 focuses on promoting a circular water economy by developing a City Water Balance Plan (CWBP) through sewage recycling/reuse, water body rejuvenation, and water conservation.
  • The mission also prioritizes reforms to improve citizens' quality of life by reducing non-revenue water, enhancing urban planning, and strengthening urban finance.

Other components of AMRUT 2.0:

  • Pey Jal Survekshan for ensuring equitable water distribution, wastewater reuse, water body mapping, and fostering competition among cities/towns.
  • Technology Sub-Mission for Water to leverage cutting-edge global water technologies.
  • Information, Education, and Communication (IEC) campaign to raise awareness about water conservation among the masses.

What is the Status of the AMRUT 2.0 Scheme?

Fund Allocation:

  • The total outlay for AMRUT 2.0 amounts to Rs. 2,99,000 crore for ongoing projects until March 2023.
  • Impact:
  • AMRUT has positively affected women's lives in various ways, enabling them to utilize time more productively by reducing the effort needed to fetch water.
  • This has also led to a decrease in disease prevalence due to improved access to safe drinking water.

Challenges:

  • Despite scheme implementation, an estimated 200,000 individuals die annually due to inadequate water, sanitation, and hygiene.
  • India's 2016 disease burden resulting from unsafe water and sanitation is significantly higher per capita compared to China's, with minimal improvement over time.
  • A NITI Aayog report forecasts that about 21 major cities will deplete their groundwater by 2030, affecting 40% of India's population's access to potable water.
  • Approximately 31% of urban Indian households lack piped water, while 67.3% are not connected to a piped sewerage system.

What are the Challenges in the Implementation of AMRUT Scheme?

State Project Implementation:

  • Despite regular fund disbursements, states like Bihar and Assam have struggled to complete projects or utilize the PPP model, resulting in less than 50% project execution completion in most states.

AMRUT Program Scope:

  • The scheme focuses on a project-centric approach rather than a holistic viewpoint.
  • Potential Overlaps and Convergence Challenges:
  • Intersections with other programs like the Swachh Bharat mission may lead to funding allocation complications and increased workload in addressing specific urban issues.

Unaddressed Air Pollution:

  • The National Clean Air Programme was initiated due to persistent air quality deterioration since AMRUT 2.0's shift solely towards water and sewerage, leaving unresolved air quality concerns from AMRUT 1.0.
  • Non-Inclusive Governance Structure:
  • The scheme's mechanically structured design lacks organic involvement from elected city governments, making it less inclusive for urban residents.

What are the Steps Needed to Revamp AMRUT Scheme?

Financial Challenges and Solutions:

  • Local urban bodies should diversify financial resources to implement local projects instead of relying solely on top-down funding approaches.

Holistic Approach:

  • Considering climate change, rainfall patterns, and existing infrastructure, urban water management should adapt to evolving challenges, incorporating nature-based solutions and a people-centric methodology while empowering local bodies.

Community Engagement:

  • Encouraging participation from community groups such as NGOs and resident associations can enhance housing scheme effectiveness by soliciting ideas and feedback from grassroots levels.

Learning from Success Stories:

  • Studying successful case studies where hygiene and sanitation were significantly improved can offer valuable insights for addressing similar challenges in housing initiatives.

Innovation and Research:

  • Establishing innovation hubs to promote industry-specific research and development concerning health and housing issues can drive innovative solutions and technologies.

Tonga Volcano Impacting Weather

Context:

A recent study published in the Journal of Climate revealed that the eruption of the Hunga Tonga-Hunga Ha'apai Volcano in January 2022 has had significant implications for global weather patterns.

Effects of the Hunga-Tonga Volcano on the Climate

Extraordinary Ozone Hole in 2023:

  • Due to being an underwater volcano, Hunga Tonga emitted 100-150 million tonnes of water vapor during its eruption, increasing stratospheric water content by about 5%.
  • This water vapor in the stratosphere contributes to ozone layer depletion and functions as a potent greenhouse gas.
  • The Tonga eruption was identified as a significant contributor to the substantial ozone hole observed from August to December 2023.
  • The ozone hole appeared nearly two years earlier than anticipated, as the eruption's water vapor had adequate time to reach the polar stratosphere above Antarctica.

Wet Summer of 2024 in Australia:

  • A predictive model indicated a positive phase of the Southern Annular Mode during the 2024 summer, increasing the likelihood of a wet season in Australia.
  • This outcome contradicted expectations of El Niño conditions, with the model accurately forecasting this occurrence two years in advance.

Regional Weather Disruptions:

  • The study forecasts colder and wetter winters than normal for the northern portion of Australia until approximately 2029.
  • North America may experience warmer winters, while Scandinavia could encounter colder winters than usual.
  • These localized weather patterns result from the Tonga eruption's influence on atmospheric wave propagation, directly impacting local weather conditions.
  • This underscores the necessity for climate predictions tailored to specific regions and the development of adaptation strategies.

Minimal Impact on Global Temperatures:

  • The eruption's effect on global mean temperatures was minimal, approximately 0.015°C.
  • The exceptionally high temperatures observed for about a year cannot be solely attributed to the Tonga eruption.

Question for Weekly Current Affairs (1st to 7th June 2024) Part - 2
Try yourself:
What is the objective of the AMRUT 2.0 Scheme?
View Solution

Personality Rights

Weekly Current Affairs (1st to 7th June 2024) Part - 2 | Current Affairs & Hindu Analysis: Daily, Weekly & Monthly - UPSC

Context:

  • Refer to an individual's right to safeguard their personality, a subset of the broader right to privacy or property.
  • Encompass various facets of a celebrity's public image like name, voice, signature, images, mannerisms, etc.

Types of Personality Rights

Right to Privacy:

  • Protects an individual's control over personal information and private affairs.
  • Prevents unauthorized disclosure of personal details or intrusion into private life.
  • Affirmed by the Supreme Court in the Puttaswamy v Union Of India, 2017 Case.

Right of Publicity:

  • Grants individuals control over the commercial use of their identifiable characteristics.
  • Allows them to decide how their identity is used for endorsements or advertising.

Importance of Personality Rights:

  • Critical to celebrities as their names, images, or voices can be exploited in advertisements without consent.

Status of Personality Rights in India

Legal Protection in India

  • Personality rights not explicitly stated in Indian laws but safeguarded through privacy and property rights principles.

Key Legal Provisions
Article 21 of the Indian Constitution:

  • Article 21, though not specifically for personality rights, provides close legal protection through the right to privacy.

Copyright Act, 1957:

  • Offers tangential protection through concepts like "passing off" and "deception" in Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) cases.

Indian Trademarks Act, 1999:

  • Section 14 restricts the use of individual names and representations.

Court Judgments

  • Indian courts recognize the right of publicity, allowing celebrities to defend their identity from unauthorized use.

Examples
Legal Cases:

  • In a recent case, the Delhi High Court upheld Jackie Shroff's personality and publicity rights, preventing various entities from using his identity without consent.
  • Similarly, actor Anil Kapoor also secured legal protection for his image rights in a 2023 ruling.
  • In a 2010 case, Daler Mehndi's company successfully defended his right to control his public image commercially.

Status of AI Regulation in India

Regulation of AI in India:

  • India lacks specific regulations for artificial intelligence, relying on advisories, guidelines, and existing IT rules.

NITI Aayog's Role:

  • In 2018, NITI Aayog introduced the "National Strategy for Artificial Intelligence #AIForAll" to ensure responsible AI development in various sectors.

Data Protection & Global Collaboration:

  • The Digital Personal Data Protection Act (2023) addresses privacy concerns linked to AI usage.
  • India's participation in the Global Partnership on Artificial Intelligence (GPAI) promotes responsible AI development and data governance.

General Election 2024 and Coalition Government

Context:

  • Recently, a government has returned for a third term after completing two consecutive terms spanning a decade, marking the end of single-party dominance.
  • A true coalition government at the Centre is now in place, a departure from the norm since 1962.

What is a Coalition Government?

  • Coalition government is when multiple political parties collaborate to form a government and govern based on a mutually agreed program.
  • In modern parliaments, coalitions form when no single party secures a clear majority.
  • For a coalition government to function, several parties with a majority of elected members must agree on a shared plan without compromising their core policies extensively.

Features Of Coalition Government:

  • A coalition government necessitates the involvement of at least two parties to establish governance.
  • Pragmatism, not ideology, is the hallmark of coalition politics.
  • Coalition politics is dynamic, as coalition players and groups can dissolve and form new alliances.
  • A coalition government operates on a minimum program, which may not fully meet the aspirations of all coalition members.

Pre-poll and Post-poll Coalition:

  • Pre-poll coalitions offer significant advantages by presenting a joint manifesto to the electorate, thus providing a common platform for the participating parties.
  • Post-election coalitions aim to allow constituents to share political power and effectively govern.

Merits and Demerits of the Coalition Government

Merits:

  • Coalition governments bring together diverse parties to make balanced decisions that cater to various stakeholders' interests.
  • India's diverse demographics make coalition governments more representative and reflective of popular opinion compared to single-party rule.
  • Coalition politics strengthens India's federal structure by addressing regional needs better than single-party governance.

Demerits:

  • Disagreements on policy matters among coalition partners can lead to government instability.
  • The Prime Minister's authority is constrained as they must consult with coalition partners before major decisions.
  • Smaller parties in coalitions may wield disproportionate influence, affecting governance.
  • Blame-shifting and lack of accountability are common in coalition setups.

Role of Coalition Governments in Reforms

  • Historically, coalition governments in India, operating with a minority party as the lead, have implemented significant economic reforms.
  • Notable reforms by past coalition governments include:

P V Narasimha Rao Government (1991-1996):

  • Introduced economic liberalization measures, dismantling the license-permit system and embracing global competition.
  • India's entry into the World Trade Organization facilitated deeper integration into the global economy.

Deve Gowda Government (June 1996-April 1997):

  • Implemented tax reductions and created a more favorable economic climate for taxpayers and businesses.

Atal Bihari Vajpayee Government (March 1998-May 2004):

  • Enacted the Fiscal Responsibility & Budget Management Act, which aimed at fiscal discipline by curbing government borrowing.
  • Promoted disinvestment in loss-making public sector undertakings and enhanced rural infrastructure through initiatives like the PM Gram Sadak Yojana.
  • The Information Technology Act, 2000 laid the foundation for India's burgeoning e-commerce sector.

Manmohan Singh Government (2004-2014):

  • Implemented rights-based reforms such as the Right to Education Act, Right to Information Act, Right to Food, and the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MG-NREGA).
  • Introduced economic deregulation measures like deregulating fuel prices, initiating direct benefit transfers, and establishing foundational systems like Aadhaar and GST.

Conclusion

  • Despite challenges, coalition governments provide a platform for diverse voices and can lead to consensus-driven policies.
  • A well-functioning coalition, grounded in mutual respect, effective leadership, and a commitment to national progress, can navigate the complexities of a vibrant democracy.
  • The Justice M N Venkatachaliah commission report advocates for a permanent coalition model in India, suggesting that governments must secure a 50%+ vote share for legitimacy.

Rangelands and Pastoralism

Context:

  • Recently, a UN Convention on Combating Desertification (UNCCD) report highlighted the need for better recognition of rights and market access for millions of pastoralists in India.

Key Findings of the UNCCD Report

  • Rangelands cover 80 million square kilometers, constituting the largest land cover type globally.
    • 78% of rangelands are in drylands, mainly in tropical and temperate latitudes.
    • 12% of rangelands are protected worldwide.
    • 40-45% of rangelands are degraded, posing threats to food supply and carbon reservoirs.
  • Rangelands generate 16% of global food production, with significant contributions in Africa and South America.
  • Almost half of the world's rangelands are degraded due to various factors including climate change and land-use changes.
  • In India, rangelands span about 1.21 million square kilometers, with challenges such as decreasing grassland areas and limited protection.

State of Pastoralist and Economic Contributions in India

  • Globally, an estimated 500 million pastoralists are involved in livestock production.
  • India has around 13 million pastoralists, contributing significantly to the livestock sector and the economy.
  • Pastoralists play a crucial role in India's livestock and dairy production, impacting both national and agricultural GDP.
  • Laws like the Forest Rights Act of 2006 have helped pastoralists secure grazing rights across states, with successful cases like the Van Gujjars in Uttarakhand.

Pastoralism: Definition and Characteristics

  • Pastoralism is a livelihood system based on livestock production, encompassing activities like livestock rearing, dairy, meat, wool, and leather production.
  • Characteristics of pastoralism include mobility, animal husbandry, cultural practices, economic systems, and adaptation to the environment.
  • Examples of pastoralist communities include Gujjars, Raikas, Maasai, Mongolian Nomads, and Sami.

Challenges Faced by Pastoralists in India

  • Challenges include non-recognition of land rights, population growth leading to land fragmentation, livelihood threats, sedentarization, lack of access to veterinary care, and dependence on middlemen for marketing.

Key Recommendations from the UNCCD Report

  • Implement climate-smart management strategies for rangelands to address climate change.
  • Protect rangelands from conversion to other uses, especially those managed by indigenous communities.
  • Design practices for conservation inside and outside protected areas to promote healthier livestock production.
  • Support traditional grazing practices and new strategies to minimize damage to rangelands.
  • Develop inclusive management systems involving local communities for sustainable benefits.

Question for Weekly Current Affairs (1st to 7th June 2024) Part - 2
Try yourself:
What is the primary purpose of personality rights?
View Solution

India's Arbitration Move Against Australia at WTO

Context:

  • India has initiated arbitration proceedings at the World Trade Organization (WTO) against Australia to address a services sector issue that could affect India's trade in services.

Key Concerns Raised by India

  • In February 2024, over 70 WTO nations, including India, agreed to Joint Statement Initiatives (JSIs) in Abu Dhabi. These initiatives aim to enhance trade under the General Agreement on Trade in Services (GATS) and reduce trade barriers among themselves.
  • These JSIs focus on easing restrictions related to licensing, qualifications, and technical standards, providing Indian professional companies with improved market access in 70 countries.
  • Despite potential benefits, India, along with South Africa and other nations, opposed the JSIs as they were not agreed upon by all WTO members, raising concerns about weakening the organization.

Australia's Dispute with India

  • In 2023, Australia notified the WTO of its intent to modify specific service commitments under the GATS. India, as an affected party, expressed dissatisfaction with Australia's proposed changes, leading to a deadlock in negotiations.

WTO's Dispute Resolution Mechanism

  • Consultations: Before a formal dispute, parties engage in consultations to amicably resolve issues through negotiation.
  • Panel Establishment: If consultations fail, a dispute settlement panel can be requested. The Dispute Settlement Body (DSB) oversees this process.
  • Panel Report: Independent experts review the case, issue a report with findings and recommendations, which is circulated among WTO members for review.
  • Appellate Body: Established in 1995, the Appellate Body hears appeals and ensures compliance with WTO agreements.
  • Implementation of Recommendations: Members must comply with rulings, with provisions for retaliation if obligations are not met.

Conclusion and Future Outlook

  • The arbitration process at WTO facilitates dispute resolution and upholds member countries' rights and obligations.
  • India's advocacy for WTO dispute mechanism reform underscores the importance of a functional Appellate Body for future trade dispute resolutions.
  • Both India and Australia have the opportunity to negotiate a mutually acceptable solution, emphasizing the WTO's encouragement of settlements at any stage.

The document Weekly Current Affairs (1st to 7th June 2024) Part - 2 | Current Affairs & Hindu Analysis: Daily, Weekly & Monthly - UPSC is a part of the UPSC Course Current Affairs & Hindu Analysis: Daily, Weekly & Monthly.
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FAQs on Weekly Current Affairs (1st to 7th June 2024) Part - 2 - Current Affairs & Hindu Analysis: Daily, Weekly & Monthly - UPSC

1. What is the objective of the AMRUT Scheme?$#

Ans. The objective of the AMRUT (Atal Mission for Rejuvenation and Urban Transformation) Scheme is to ensure that every household has access to basic services such as water supply, sewerage, urban transport, and parks in urban areas to improve the quality of life.

2. How is the Tonga Volcano impacting the weather?$#

Ans. The eruption of the Tonga Volcano can impact the weather by releasing ash and gases into the atmosphere, which can lead to changes in air quality, temperature, and precipitation patterns. Ash particles can also block sunlight, leading to cooling effects on the climate.

3. What are personality rights?$#

Ans. Personality rights refer to the rights of individuals to control the commercial use of their name, image, likeness, and other personal attributes. These rights protect individuals from unauthorized use of their identity for commercial purposes without their consent.

4. How does a coalition government work in the context of a general election in 2024?$#

Ans. In a general election, if no single political party wins a majority of seats in the parliament, a coalition government may be formed. This involves different political parties coming together to form a government and share power based on a common agenda and agreement on policy issues.

5. How are rangelands and pastoralism related?$#

Ans. Rangelands are areas where livestock such as cattle, sheep, and goats graze on natural vegetation. Pastoralism is a form of livestock farming that relies on grazing animals on rangelands. Pastoral communities often have a deep connection to rangelands and depend on them for their livelihoods.
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