Daily Current Affairs 24-11-2023

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    SC Calls to Bring Children into the Adoption Pool

    Syllabus: GS1/ Social Justice

    In News

    • The Supreme Court of India recently called for collaborative efforts to bring children into the adoption pool.

    More about the news

    • CARA findings:
      • According to a recent finding by the Central Adoption Resource Authority (CARA), many children were living in CCIs for over a year with undetermined legal status.
    • Supreme Court’s directives:
      • The Supreme Court said that children living in child care institutions (CCI), whose parents have not visited them for over a year or have “unfit” parents or guardians, should be identified and brought into the adoption pool.
      • The court has ordered States and Union Territories to begin a bi-monthly drive to identify children in the orphaned, abandoned, surrendered (OAS) category in institutions.
      • It is imperative for the States to ensure registration of all OAS children in the district on the Child Adoption Resource Information and Guidance System (CARINGS) portal.
    • Defining an “unfit guardian”:
      • The court defined an “unfit guardian” as someone who is “unable or unwilling for parenting, indulging in substance (drug) abuse, abuse or alcohol, known to have abused or neglected the child, having a criminal record, in need of care themselves, mentally unsound, etc”.
    Journey of Child Adoption in India
    – About: 
    A. The journey of orphaned or abandoned children, from the day they are found to the day they are placed in an adoptive home, is a long and rigorous one. 
    “Legally free” for adoption:
    A. First, they must be brought before the district child welfare committee and placed in a CCI under the Juvenile Justice Act of 2015. 
    B. An effort is then made to track their immediate or extended families and reunite them; if this fails, the child welfare committee, a quasi judicial body, has to deem the child legally free for adoption.
    – Linking with adoption agencies & adoption:
    A. The district child protection unit links them to an adoption agency and the child is registered with CARA. 
    B. A medical report is prepared and the child is then matched with a prospective parent after a home study is undertaken by CARA authorities.
    CARA’s tabulation indicates that 69.4% of registered PAPs opt for children in the age group of zero to two years; 10.3% in the age group of two to four years; and 14.8% in the age group of four to six years.
    Child Adoption Resource Information & Guidance System (CARINGS)
    A. CARINGS is an online platform, building bridges and creating links through a robust web-based management system designed to bring transparency in the adoption system and also curtailing delays at various levels.

    Challenges

    • Huge mismatch:
      • According to CARA’s online portal, the CARINGS, there is “huge mismatch” between children available for legal adoption and the number of prospective adoptive parents (PAP). 
      • A State-wise break-up of the figures provided by CARA showed that 2,146 children were available for adoption as on October 28, 2023.
      • As opposed to this, about 30,669 PAPs have been registered for in-country adoption as of October 2023. 
    • Delays:
      • PAPs have to wait for between three to four years for getting ‘a healthy and young child’ due to the huge mismatch in the number of registered PAPs and children available for adoption.
      • Adding to these reasons for delay in the adoption process is the fact that PAPs “prefer” children up to the age of two for adoption. 
    • Dearth of Specialised Adoption Agencies:
      • Also, out of 760 districts in the country, only 390 districts have Specialised Adoption Agencies.
    • Role of pandemic:
      • According to critics, these delays are systemic. The pandemic has only made the wait time longer because the process is held up at every step. 
      • Medical reports could not be prepared because of the dearth of doctors, parents could not travel to meet the child, home surveys could not happen.
    • Lack of regulation & communication:
      • Many CCIs are not regulated by the State and are not linked to adoption agencies, and so the children in these institutes are invisible to the adoption pool.
      • Even if they are linked to agencies, the paperwork is not completed, sometimes for years, and so the child is not declared legally free for adoption.
      • PAPs also criticise the complete lack of communication from CARA.
    • Lack of ‘desirable’ children:
      • Even within the small pool of children available for adoption, there are three categories who often do not find a home in India: older children, siblings, and those with disabilities.
        • Whereas, foreign adoptive parents are more favourable to children in these categories.
      • It isn’t easy for parents to adopt an older child or a child with special needs, and there is a lot of preparation needed.

    Way ahead

    • India has traditionally been resistant to the idea of adoption. Social issues of caste, class and genetics have held major sway, with families and communities looking askance at the idea of adopting a child whose parentage is unknown. 
    • Given this history, the fact that there is a waiting list of prospective adoptive parents is a sea change.
    • The surge in the number of prospective adoptive parents essentially means that people understand and appreciate adoption.

    Source: TH

    Governor Veto Power Over Bills

    Syllabus:GS2/Polity

    News

    • The Supreme Court expressed ‘serious concern’ over inaction by the Governor on Bills presented for his assent. 

    Supreme Court Judgement

    • The Supreme Court has laid down the law that a Governor, in case he withholds assent, should send back a Bill forwarded to him by a State Legislature “as soon as possible” with a message to reconsider the proposed law.
    • In case, the State Assembly reiterates the Bill “with or without amendments”, the Governor has no choice or discretion, and has to give his assent to it.
    • The court held that a Governor who chooses to withhold a Bill without doing anything further would be acting in contravention of the Constitution.

    Governor’s power with respect to the Bills

    • Article 200 of the Constitution lays down that when a Bill, passed by a State Legislature, is presented to the Governor for their assent, they have four alternatives —
      • may give assent to the Bill; 
      • may withhold assent to the Bill, that is, reject the Bill in which case the Bill fails to become law; 
      • may return the Bill (if it is not a Money Bill) for reconsideration of the State Legislature; or 
      • may reserve the Bill for the consideration of the President.
    • Article 163 of the Constitution says the Governor will normally be aided and advised by the Council of Ministers except in those functions which require his discretion.

    The case of ‘withholding assent

    • The situation of ‘withholding assent’ may arise in case of a Private Members’ Bill (any Member of State Legislature other than a Minister) passed by the State Legislature, which the council of ministers do not want to be enacted into a law.
    • Also, if the incumbent government whose Bill has been passed by the legislature, falls or resigns before it is assented to by the Governor, the new council may advise the Governor to ‘withhold assent’.

    When can Governor exercise the ‘discretion’?

    • The Governor must reserve certain Bills, like those which  will contravene the provisions of the Constitution or reduce the powers of the High Court, for the consideration of the President. 
    • They may also reserve Bills on concurrent lists that are repugnant to a Union law based on ministerial advice. 
    • It is only under rare circumstances that the Governor may exercise their discretion. Also the Constitution does not lay down any time limit within which the Governor is required to make a decision.

    The Role of the Governor in Legislature 

    Source:TH

    India-Lithuania Maritime Relations

    Syllabus: GS2/ International Relations

    Context

    • Recently, India and Lithuania discussed their Maritime relations.

    About Lithuania

    • Lithuania is a country in the Baltic region of Europe.
    • It is situated along the southeastern shore of the Baltic Sea.
    • Lithuania declared its independence from the Soviet Union in 1990 and became the first Soviet republic to do so.
    • Lithuania joined the European Union in 2004 and NATO in 2004.

    India- Lithuania Relations

    • Diplomatic Ties:
      • India and Lithuania maintain diplomatic relations, fostering cooperation in various sectors.
      • Recently, India opened a Resident Mission in Vilnius(capital city of Lithuania) demonstrating commitment to strengthening bilateral ties.
    • Trade and Economic Relations:
      • Bilateral trade between India and Lithuania stood at US$ 472 million in 2022-23.
      • Both nations explore avenues for expanding economic collaboration and trade partnerships.
    • Cultural Exchanges:
      • Cultural exchanges between India and Lithuania contribute to mutual understanding and people-to-people ties.
      • Both countries share values of democracy, diversity, and commitment to international cooperation.
    • Geo-strategic Importance: Lithuania holds strategic importance for India as it acts as a gateway to key industrial regions in Eastern Europe.
    • Possible Collaborations:
      • Recent discussions between countries focus on strengthening maritime relations, leveraging Lithuania’s ice-free Klaipeda port and India’s expertise in port infrastructure.
      • India presents investment opportunities for Lithuania in sectors like Port Modernization, Port Connectivity, Coastal Shipping, Maritime Technology, Sagarmala Projects, and decarbonization initiatives.

    Source: PIB

    Global Carbon Budget

    Syllabus: GS3/Environment

    News

    • According to the IPCC AR6, developed countries have appropriated a disproportionately larger share of the global carbon budget.

    Background

    • The United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) in 1992 noted that per capita emissions in developing countries are still “relatively low” and that their share in the global emissions will grow to meet their social and developmental needs.
    • The Convention recognises the ‘common but differentiated responsibilities and respective capabilities’ (CBDR-RC) principle.  This means different States have different responsibilities and respective capabilities in tackling climate change. 
    • This principle has been reaffirmed in the Paris Agreement, whose main aim is to hold the increase in the global average temperature to well below 2 degrees C above pre-industrial levels and pursue efforts to limit the temperature increase to 1.5 degrees C above pre-industrial levels.

    Relation Between global warming and CO2 emissions.

    • According to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s Sixth Assessment Report (IPCC AR6), every 1,000 billion tonnes of CO2 in emissions causes an estimated 0.45 degrees C rise in the global surface temperature.
    • There is an almost linear relationship between global warming and cumulative carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions. 
    • In 2022, oil, coal and gas accounted for 30%, 27% and 23% of the world’s total energy, while solar and wind energy together contributed only 2.4%. 

    What is the global carbon budget?

    • The term ‘global carbon budget’ refers to the maximum cumulative global anthropogenic CO2 emissions – from the pre-industrial era to when such emissions reach net- zero, resulting in limiting global warming to a given level with a given probability. 
    • The remaining carbon budget indicates how much CO2 could still be emitted, from a specified time after the pre-industrial period, while keeping temperature rise to the specified limit.
    • The IPCC AR6 has shown that the world warmed by a staggering 1.07 degrees C until 2019 from pre-industrial levels, so almost four-fifths of the global carbon budget stands depleted. Only a fifth remains to meet the target set in the Paris Agreement.

    Who’s responsible for cumulative global emissions?

    • According to the IPCC AR6, the developed countries have appropriated a disproportionately larger share of the global carbon budget to date. 
    • The contribution of South Asia to historical cumulative emissions is only around 4% despite having almost 24% of the entire world population. 

    India efforts against climate change

    • International Solar Alliance: The ISA is an international organization to promote solar power as a sustainable transition to a carbon-neutral future.
    • Coalition for Disaster Resilient Infrastructure: CDRI is a global partnership of various stakeholders to promote the resilience of infrastructure systems to climate and disaster risks, thereby ensuring sustainable development.
    • Global Biofuel Alliance: The  alliance aimed at facilitating cooperation and intensifying the use of sustainable biofuels, including in the transportation sector.
    • Lifestyle for Environment’ (LiFE) mission: It aims to spread awareness of good and sustainable lifestyle practices.

    Source:TH

    Ozone Hole over the Antarctic 

    Syllabus: GS1/Geography,GS3/ Environment

    News

    • According to a new study the ozone hole over the Antarctic has grown larger and thinner.

    What is an Ozone Layer?

    • The ozone layer is a trace gas in the stratosphere, one of the four layers of the Earth’s atmosphere. It is found between 15 to 35 kilometers above Earth.
    • Ozone creation: Ozone is composed of three atoms of Oxygen.The production of ozone in the stratosphere results primarily from the breaking of the chemical bonds within oxygen molecules (O2) by high-energy solar photons. This process, called photodissociation, results in the release of single oxygen atoms, which later join with intact oxygen molecules to form ozone.
    • Good and Bad Ozone: Stratospheric ozone (Good Ozone) is formed naturally through the interaction of solar ultraviolet (UV) radiation with molecular oxygen (O2).
      • Tropospheric or ground-level ozone (Bad Ozone), what humans breathe, is formed primarily from photochemical reactions between (VOC & NOX).
    • Significance: It functions as a protective gas shield that absorbs ultraviolet radiation, protecting humans and ecosystems from dangerous amounts of UV radiation causing skin cancers.

    What is the Ozone hole?

    • By 1984, the ozone layer over Antarctica’s Halley Bay research station had lost one-third of its thickness compared to previous decades.
    • The thinning of the ozone layer over Antarctica, came to be known as the ozone hole. The hole was caused by widespread use of chemicals called chlorofluorocarbons.
    • Ozone Depletion: When chlorine and bromine atoms come into contact with ozone in the stratosphere, they destroy ozone molecules. One chlorine atom can destroy over 100,000 ozone molecules before it is removed from the stratosphere. Ozone can be destroyed more quickly than it is naturally created.

    What caused the Ozone hole?

    • Climate and dynamics of the Southern Hemisphere: Springtime temperature and wind patterns etc.
    • Other factors: Aerosols from wildfires and volcanic eruptions, changes in the solar cycle.
    • Polar vortex: Antarctic ozone hole sits within the polar vortex, which is a circular pattern of wind in the stratosphere that forms during winter and is maintained until late spring.
      • Within this vortex, the Antarctic air from the mesosphere (the atmospheric layer above the stratosphere) falls into the stratosphere and brings natural chemicals like nitrogen dioxide.

    Conventions for Protection of Ozone layer

    • Vienna Convention:  First convention for the protection of the Ozone layer.
      • To promote cooperation among nations by exchanging information on the effects of human activities.
    • Montreal Protocol: Adopted in 1987, on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer. The landmark multilateral environmental agreement regulates the production and consumption of nearly 100 man-made chemicals referred to as ozone depleting substances (ODS).
    • Kigali Agreement: Around 197 countries, including India, China and the USA, agreed at Kigali to reduce the use of Hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) by roughly 85% of their baselines by 2045, by amending the 1987 Montreal Protocol.
    UV Radiation
    – Shorter wavelengths than visible light, not visible from naked eyes.
    Classified into three types as per wavelength: UV-A, UV-B and UV-C
    UV-A: Long-wavelength, 95% of the UV radiation reaching the Earth’s surface, high penetration power.
    UV-B:  Short-wavelength that reaches the outer layer of your skin (the epidermis),  Absorbed by the Earth’s ozone layer.
    UV-C: UVC radiation is the highest energy portion of the UV radiation spectrum; Blocked by the ozone layer.

    Source: DTE

    Facts In News

    Guru Tegh Bahadur

    Syllabus: GS1/ Indian Modern History

    Context

    • November 24 is commemorated as the ‘Martyrdom Day’ of Guru Teg Bahadur.

    About

    • Guru Tegh Bahadur was the ninth Sikh Guru and played a significant role in Sikh history.
    • Birth: Born in 1621, in Amritsar.
    • Became the ninth Sikh Guru at the age of 43 in 1664. His hymns are included in the Guru Granth Sahib, the holy scripture of Sikhism.
    • Historical Significance:
      • He advocated for the right to practice one’s religion freely.
      • Executed in 1675 in Delhi by Aurangzeb for refusing to convert to Islam.
      • His martyrdom is commemorated annually as Shaheedi Divas(‘Martyrdom Day’).
      • His sacrifice is celebrated as a symbol of resistance against religious oppression.
      • The site in Delhi where Guru Tegh Bahadur was martyred is now the Gurdwara Sis Ganj Sahib.
    • Spiritual Teachings:
      • His teachings emphasize the universality of God and the oneness of humanity.
      • Emphasized meditation, selfless service, and devotion to God.
      • Promoted the principles of equality, humility, and compassion.

    Source: PIB

    Justice Fathima Beevi

    Syllabus: Person in news, Miscellaneous

    News

    • India’s first female Supreme Court judge, Justice Fathima Beevi, passed away.

    Early Life

    • Justice Beevi was born in Kerala’s Pathanamthitta in 1927. 
    • She graduated from the University College, Trivandrum and studied law at the Law College in Trivandrum.

    Career

    • She began her career in the lower Judiciary of Kerala in 1950 and worked her way up to become a district and sessions judge in 1974.
    • In 1983, she was elevated to the High Court and became a permanent judge a year later.
    • She was elevated to the Supreme Court as a judge in 1989. She retired in 1992. 
    • She was also the first Muslim judge to be appointed to any Higher Judiciary.
    • After retiring, she served as a member of the National Human Rights Commission from 1993 to 1997, before becoming the Governor of Tamil Nadu till 2001.

    Awards

    • Bharat Jyoti Award 
    • the US-India Business Council (USIBC) Lifetime Achievement Award.

    Source: Mint

    Nordic-Baltic Eight Countries

    Syllabus: GS2/ International Relations, 

    In News

    • Recently, External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar emphasized that India’s relationship with the Nordic-Baltic Eight (NB8) countries has notably enhanced in recent years.

    About Nordic-Baltic Eight (NB8)

    • NB8 (Nordic – Baltic Eight) is an informal (non-institutionalized) regional co-operation format that includes Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Iceland, Latvia, Lithuania, Norway, and Sweden.
    • The NB8 countries, as a group, have a combined economy exceeding US$ 2 trillion.

    India & Nordic-Baltic Eight

    • India’s total trade in goods with the NB8 nations currently stands at approximately US$ 7.3 billion.
    • India has attracted a total of $4.69 billion in foreign direct investment (FDI) from Nordic countries between 2000 and 2023
    • Over 700 Nordic firms operate in India, while nearly 150 Indian companies have established their presence in the Nordic region.
    • Green strategic partnership between India & Denmark is growing stronger, enabling cooperation in water solutions, wind energy, green hydrogen, and agriculture.
    • India and Iceland have a strong partnership focused on tapping into geothermal energy resources in Ladakh and Himachal Pradesh, with similar initiatives in the pipeline for Northeast India
    • India has established robust collaboration with Norway in exploring the opportunities of the blue economy, wind and geothermal energy, polar research, environmentally friendly shipping, water management, space exploration, and healthcare.

    Source: TH

    Kyasanur Forest Disease (KFD) 

    Syllabus: GS2/ Health

    Context

    • Recent study confirms presence of Kyasanur forest disease in Karnataka districts.

    About

    • KFD is a tick-borne viral disease primarily found in the Western Ghats region of India.
    • Symptoms: Fever is the predominant symptom, followed by conjunctivitis and myalgia(pain in a muscle) among confirmed cases.
    • Mortality Rate:Reported mortality rate is 2–10%.
    • Geographical Spread:
      • Endemic to Karnataka, the virus causing KFD has been confirmed in two additional districts—Hassan and Mysore.
      • Recent spread observed along the entire Western Ghats region, including Maharashtra, Kerala, Tamil Nadu, and Goa.
    • Transmission and Susceptibility:
      • Transmitted through tick bites, with black-faced langur monkeys playing a crucial role in the virus’s spread.
      • Humans can contract the virus through tick bites, leading to considerable morbidity.
      • Gender and Age differences:
        • Males and females are equally affected in the 20-40 age group.
        • Males predominate in the pediatric and elderly age groups among confirmed cases.
    • Control Measures:
      • Implementation of control measures poses a significant challenge.
      • Education of locals about the disease and effective tick repellents are crucial for controlling the disease.

    Source:IE

    Juice Mission

    Syllabus: GS3/ Space

    Context

    • Jupiter Icy Moons Explorer (JUICE) probe will use “double gravity assist” to propel itself towards Jupiter.

    About

    • Launched by: European Space Agency(ESA).
    • Launch vehicle: Ariane 5.
    • It is the first large-class mission in the ESA Cosmic Visions 2015-2025 programme.
    • Significance: It will help astrobiologists understand how habitable worlds might emerge around gas giant planets.
    • It will provide the detailed maps of Jupiter’s moons (Ganymede, Callisto, and Europa) surfaces
    Do you Know?
    – Ganymede is the largest moon in the Solar System.
    Keyword
    Double gravity assist: It is a gravity assist maneuver which involves using the gravitational pull of two celestial bodies to alter the trajectory and speed of a spacecraft.

    Source:WION

    China’s ‘Near-space Command’

    Syllabus: GS3/ Security

    In News

    • China has established the world’s first ‘near-space command,’ equipped with powerful hypersonic weapons (speed atleast Mach 5)

    About

    • In 2019, the US created the Space Force to handle threats in space.
    • Near Space refers to the area in Earth’s atmosphere, approximately 20 to 100 Kms from the Earth’s surface, known as the mesosphere.
    • The Near-Space Command will primarily consist of hypersonic weapons.
    • The Command will have spy balloons, solar-powered long-endurance drones & equipment.

    China’s View

    • As space is the next battleground, dominating near-space will provide China with an edge in future wars.
    • China aims to develop a comprehensive advantage over its competitors in this near-space domain.

    Need

    • Region is very thin atmosphere to support flights, hence very few aircraft fly here.
    • Satellites in these regions are less costly.
    • It makes equipment less invulnerable to targets.

    Challenges

    • Maintaining Near Space equipment is challenging due to the thin atmosphere. 

    Source: Firstpost

    UN Tax Convention  

    Syllabus: GS2/  Agreements Involving India &/or Affecting India’s Interests

    In News

    • The United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) recently adopted a resolution to move forward with a proposal for a UN tax convention to promote international tax cooperation

    About  

    • The Africa Group tabled the resolution at the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA).
    • It was adopted with 125 member states voting for the resolution, 48 voting against and 9 abstaining. India has voted in favour of the resolution.
    • The resolution provides for an intergovernmental committee to develop protocols and measures to combat tax-related illicit financial flows.
      • It stipulates that the committee shall be made up of not more than 20 members elected on the basis of balanced geographical representation to ensure that the UN’s five regional groups are equally represented. 
      • The resolution reminds the committee to take into account the needs of developing countries.

    Significance

    • Illicit financial flows enable cross-border tax evasion that exacerbates inequalities between high-income and low-income countries.
    • The proposed convention seeks to shift the focus of global tax policy decisions from the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) to a more inclusive and equitable platform.
      • The OECD, consisting of 39 high-income countries, has long held sway over international tax rules, raising concerns about the fairness of these regulations, particularly in favour of developed and wealthy nations.

    Source: TH