Current Affairs Analysis

3rd October 2020 Current Affairs Analysis – IASToppers

Exercise Bongosagar;Legislative Approach to Witch-Hunting; What is witch hunting; Back to the Village Scheme; Swachh Bharat Awards 2020; China’s climate commitment; What is CBD oil; Cannabidiol; Carbon net-zero; Supreme Court Judgment on Premature Release; Data Governance Quality Index; 25th amendment of the US constitution; etc.
By IASToppers
October 05, 2020

Contents

Polity & Governance

  • Legislative Approach to Witch-Hunting

Government Schemes & Policies

  • Back to the Village Scheme
  • Swachh Bharat Awards 2020

Environment, Ecology & Disaster Management

  • China’s climate commitment: How significant is it for planet Earth, and India?

Science & Technology

  • What is CBD oil?

Key Facts for Prelims

  • Supreme Court Judgment on Premature Release
  • Data Governance Quality Index
  • 25th amendment of the US constitution
  • Exercise Bongosagar

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Polity & Governance

Legislative Approach to Witch-Hunting

The residents of a village in Assam allegedly killed two people after a kangaroo court found a 50-year-old widow to be a witch.

What is Witch-Hunting?

  • Witch denotes women who acquire supernatural powers and are indulged in evil practices.
  • Witch hunting is stigmatization of specific groups of people, which mostly contains widowed women, women who are childless, old couples, women of lower caste.
  • It is a process of killing these people in order to protect the society from being harmed by them.
  • However, in the name of witch-hunting people kill innocent women, rape them, to acquire their property or as a tool for revenge.

Witch-hunting in India:

  • It has been witnessed in tribal and rural areas that if wild spread diseases or famine occurs which causes death of animals as well as human the allegation is on the most vulnerable people of the society for witch craft and then violence.
  • Witch hunting is more prevalent in 12 states of India which are situated in like Jharkhand, Bihar, Haryana, West Bengal, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Gujarat, Orissa, Chhattisgarh, Assam, Rajasthan and U.P.
  • It is prevalent in the areas which are tribal and rural, where literacy rate is low and where people are guided by blind faith and superstition.

Legislative Approach to Witch-Hunting:

  • There is no specific and particular national level legislation that penalises Witch hunting.
  • The provisions under the Indian Penal Code 1860 can be used as an alternative for the victim.
  • The different sections invoked in such cases are Sec. 302 which charge for murder, Sec307 attempt for murder, Sec 323 hurt, Sec 376 which penalises for rape and Sec. 354 which deals with outraging a woman’s modesty.
  • Different states have come up with different legislation to tackle the problem of witch-hunting.
  • Bihar was the first state in India to pass a law against witch-hunting in the year 1999 named Prevention of Witch (Dayan) Practices Act.
  • Jharkhand followed it and established Anti Witchcraft Act in 2001 to protect women from inhuman treatment as well to provide victim legal recourse to abuse.
  • Partner for Law in Development (PLD) 1998 considers women’s rights as an integral part of the society and protects women’s right from getting violated through families, on basis of sexuality, culture, caste, etc.

International laws:

  • The Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) 1948, which being international law provides protection against any discrimination and promotes equality before law & confirms right to life and liberty to every human being.
  • International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), India associated with it in 1979, which being an international body promotes equality between men and women by ensuring equal rights to men and women in civil as well as political sphere and prohibits others from subsuming anyone’s basic rights. It explicitly mentions prohibition of cruelty, inhuman or degrading treatment and by associating with the covenant it is obligatory for Indian government to implement these rules.
  • India has signed Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) on 1993 and had agreed to eliminate discrimination and social cruelty against women. The convention explicitly provides that the states should take appropriate measures to modify the social and cultural patterns of conduct of men and women.

Conclusion:

  • The absence of any Central Act to address the issue, lack of responsibility on part of police officials and orthodox mindsets of people have led to an alarming increase in the number of witch-hunting.
  • Legislation can alone never bring a change in society without adequate support from the people, desire to positively reform the society.
  • The problem can be solved by strict enforcement as well as the implementation of Anti-witchcraft law, including sensitizing of police.
  • There is a need to establish welfare department and NGO’s who will work for generating awareness and knowledge among people.
[Ref: ipleaders]

Government Schemes & Policies

Back to the Village Scheme

The Jammu and Kashmir administration initiated the third phase of the public outreach scheme Back to the Village (B2V3) recently. 

About the Scheme:

  • The endeavour involves the visit of over 4,000 gazetted officers of J&K to each and every panchayat so that they can be well-versed with local issues and developmental needs.
  • The programme is also seen as an effort to strengthen newly constituted panchayats, and aims at ensuring that beneficiary-oriented schemes reach the last person in the queue.
  • Following the Gandhian ideas of gram swaraj and Panchayati raj system, the J&K administration is making “untiring efforts” to reach out to people and include all stakeholders in the process of decision-making and public policy formulation to bring “a positive social and political change.
  • This practice is the first such attempt at a concentrated and determined developmental push.
  • One of the innovations of this year’s outreach was the organisation of a jan-abhiyan that preceded the third phase. This involved a block or sub-divisional ‘divas’ on Wednesdays.
  • In addition, DCs and SPs heard public grievances every day at a pre-determined time.
  • In the first two phases of the initiative, 4,129 projects were completed at a cost of Rs 110 crore, while 1,607 projects valued at Rs 65 crore are in progress, as per a pre-third phase review.
[Ref: The Indian Express]

Swachh Bharat Awards 2020

The Union Minister for Jal Shakti conferred the Swachh Bharat (2020) Awards to the best performing States/UTs, districts, blocks, Gram Panchayats and others in various categories and campaigns of the Swachh Bharat Mission.

  • The awards were conferred to under three categories namely Swachh Sundar Samudayik Shouchalaya, Gandagi Mukth Bharat and Samudayik Shouchalaya Abhiyan.

Samudayik Shauchalaya (SSSS) campaign

  • SSSS is a six-month-long campaign for clean public toilets launched between November 1, 2019, and April 30, 2020

Gandagi Se Mukt Bharat Campaign

  • Gandagi Mukt Bharat was a week-long campaign (8th to 15th August) launched by the Prime Minister, with the aim to free the country of garbage and waste.

Samudayik Shouchalaya Abhiyan.

  • Samudayik Shouchalaya Abhiyan was a four-month campaign from June 15 to September 15, 2020.
  • The aim was to mobilise districts and villages to construct and maintain community toilets.
[Ref: PIB]

Environment, Ecology & Disaster Management

China’s climate commitment: How significant is it for planet Earth, and India?

Speaking at the UN General Assembly, Chinese President Xi Jinping made two promises that came as a welcome surprise to climate change watchers.

What has China announced?

  • China would become carbon net-zero by the year 2060.
  • Net-zero is a state in which a country’s emissions are compensated by absorptions and removal of greenhouse gases from the atmosphere.
  • Absorption can be increased by creating more carbon sinks such as forests, while removal involves application of technologies such as carbon capture and storage.
  • Second, the Chinese President announced a small but important change in China’s already committed target for letting its emissions “peak”, from “by 2030” to “before 2030”. That means China would not allow its greenhouse gas emissions to grow beyond that point.
  • Xi did not specify how soon “before 2030” means, but even this much is being seen as a very positive move from the world’s largest emitter.

Why is net-zero an important target?

  • For the last couple of years, there has been a concerted campaign to get countries, especially the big emitters, to commit themselves to achieve “climate neutrality” by 2050.
  • This is sometimes referred to as the state of net-zero emissions that would require countries to significantly reduce their emissions, while increasing land or forest sinks that would absorb the emissions that do take place.
  • If the sinks are not adequate, countries can commit themselves to deploying technologies that physically remove carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases from the atmosphere.
  • Most of such carbon dioxide removal technologies are still unproven and extremely expensive.
  • Scientists and climate change campaign groups say global carbon neutrality by 2050 is the only way to achieve the Paris Agreement target of keeping global temperatures from rising beyond 2°C compared to pre-industrial times.
  • At the current rate of emissions, the world is headed for a 3° to 4°C rise in temperatures by 2100.

How significant is China’s commitment?

  • China is the world’s largest emitter of greenhouse gases. It accounts for almost 30% of global emissions, more than the combined emissions in the United States, the European Union and India, the three next biggest emitters.
  • Getting China to commit itself to a net-zero target, even if it is 10 years later than what everyone has in mind, is a big breakthrough, especially since countries have been reluctant to pledge themselves to such long-term commitments.
  • So far, the European Union was the only big emitter to have committed itself to a net-zero emission status by 2050. More than 70 other countries have also made similar commitments but most of them have relatively low emissions because of which their net-zero status would not help the planet’s cause in a big way.
  • The real heavyweights whose climate actions are crucial to achieving the Paris Agreement targets are the Big Four — China, the US, the European Union and Indiawho together account for more than half the global emissions, followed by countries such as Russia, Brazil, South Africa, Japan and Australia.
  • A week earlier, South Africa declared its intention to become carbon-neutral by 2050, but other countries have been holding back.
  • The United States, under the Donald Trump administration, has walked out of the Paris Agreement, and does not even believe in these targets.
[Ref: The Indian Express]

Science & Technology

What is CBD oil?

CBD oil is an extract from the cannabis plant.

  • The two main active substances in it are cannabidiol (CBD) and delta-9 tetrahydrocannabinol (THC).
  • The high that is caused by the consumption of cannabis is due to THC. CBD, however, does not cause a “high” or any form of intoxication.
  • CBD oil is made by extracting CBD from the cannabis plant, then diluting it with a carrier oil like coconut or hemp seed oil.

Effects of Cannabidiol:

  • Cannabidiol has effects on the brain, preventing the breakdown of a chemical that aggravates pain and affects mood, and mental function.
  • It can reduce pain and anxiety.
  • It also reduces psychotic symptoms associated with conditions such as schizophrenia as well as epilepsy.

Ways to use:

  • CBD is extracted from marijuana plants as either an oil or powder. These can be mixed into creams or gels.
  • They can be put into capsules and taken orally, or rubbed on skin.
  • All topical (cannabis-infused products) should be applied directly to the site of inflammation or pain to work in a specific area.

Is CBD oil helpful in the treatment of cancer?

  • There is not enough robust scientific evidence to prove that CBD oil can safely and effectively treat cancer.
  • A study showed that CBD applied on the skin could help lower pain and inflammation due to arthritis.
  • CBD inhibits inflammatory and neuropathic pain associated with cancer. Studies have long shown that people who took marijuana extracts in clinical trials tended to need less pain medicine.
  • The US-based National Cancer Institute says that CBD may help alleviate side-effects of cancer treatment.

Is CBD oil legal in India?

  • The Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act, 1985 (NDPS Act) outlaws the recreational use of cannabis.
  • The NDPS Act does not apply to the leaves and seeds of cannabis plants. In case, the CBD is extracted from the leaves of the cannabis, then technically it is not illegal.
  • CBD oil manufactured under a licence issued by the Drugs and Cosmetics Act, 1940 can be legally used. However, the use of cannabis as a medicine is not much prevalent in India.
  • The recent controversy about the use of drugs in Bollywood has further stigmatised the usage of CBD.
[Ref: Indian Express]

Key Facts for Prelims

Supreme Court Judgment on Premature Release

The Supreme Court in its recent judgement said that the length of a prison sentence or the gravity of the crime cannot be the sole basis for denying a convict premature release from jail.

  • The court also said reformative justice should foster brotherhood and mutual acceptability.

Reformative Justice:

  • Reformative justice strives to bring a change in the character and behaviour of an offender, to make him a useful member for the society and contribute to societal growth.
[Ref: The Hindu]

Data Governance Quality Index

Department of Fertilizers under the Ministry of Chemicals and Fertilizers has been ranked 2nd amongst the 16 Economic Ministries / Departments and 3rd out of the 65 Ministries / Departments with a score 4.11 on a scale of 5 on Data Governance Quality Index (DGQI).

  • DGQI survey was conducted by Development Monitoring and Evaluation Office (DMEO), NITI Aayog to assess different Ministries/Departments’ performance on the implementation of Central Sector Schemes (CS) and Centrally Sponsored Schemes (CSS).
  • Objective: To assess data preparedness of Ministries / Departments on a standardized framework to drive healthy competition among them and promote cooperative peer learning from best practices.
  • Six major themes of DGQI: Data Generation; Data Quality; Use of Technology; Data Analysis, Use and Dissemination; Data Security and HR Capacity and Case Studies.
  • Significance: It will improve the implementation framework of government policies, schemes and programmes to achieve the desired goals.

25th amendment of the US constitution

The 25th amendment of the US constitution lays down a clear succession plan if a President suddenly dies, resigns or is incapacitated while still in office.

  • The amendment was ratified by Congress in 1963 following the assassination of former President John F Kennedy.
  • As per Section 3 of the 25th amendment, if President’s condition were to deteriorate to a point where he is unable to carry out his responsibilities as President, his Vice President can temporarily assume office. Once the President recovers, he can then reclaim his position.
  • Under Section 4 of the 25th amendment, the Vice President and a majority of either the Cabinet or any other body established by law, can also declare the president as unable to discharge the powers and duties of his office by sending a written declaration.

Exercise Bongosagar

The second edition of Indian Navy (IN) – Bangladesh Navy (BN) Bilateral Exercise Bongosagar is scheduled to commence in Northern Bay of Bengal on 03 October 2020.

  • It is aimed at developing inter-operability and joint operational skills through conduct of a wide spectrum of maritime exercises and operations.
  • The first edition was held in 2019.
  • In the upcoming edition of Exercise Bongosagar, ships from both navies will participate in surface warfare drills, seamanship evolutions and helicopter operations
  • This exercise will be followed by the 3rd edition of IN – BN Coordinated Patrol (CORPAT) in Northern Bay of Bengal from 4 to 5 October 2020, wherein IN and BN units will undertake joint patrolling along the International Maritime Boundary Line (IMBL).
  • Conduct of CORPATs has strengthened understanding between both the navies and instituted measures to stop conduct of unlawful activities.
  • Indian Naval Ship (INS) Kiltan, an indigenously built Anti-Submarine Warfare Corvette and INS Khukri, an indigenously built Guided-Missile Corvette are participating along with Bangladesh Naval Ship (BNS) Abu Bakr, a Guided-Missile Frigate and BNS Prottoy, a Guided-Missile Corvette.
  • In addition to ships, Maritime Patrol Aircraft from both navies and integral helicopter(s) would also be participating in the exercise.

India Bangladesh Relations:

  • India and Bangladesh have a close, long-standing relationship covering a wide spectrum of activities and interactions, which has strengthened over the years.
  • The people of India and Bangladesh also share close cultural bonds and a shared vision of democratic society and a rules-based order.
  • This edition of Exercise Bongosagar assumes greater significance since it is being conducted during Mujib Barsho, the 100th birth anniversary of Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman.
  • Exercise Bongosagar and IN – BN CORPAT will be undertaken over three days and reflects the priority that Indian Navy accords to Bangladesh Navy as part of Hon’ble Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s vision of SAGAR (Security And Growth for All in the Region).

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