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Mains Marathon

Answered: Mains Marathon – UPSC Mains Current Affairs Questions – April 26th


Following are the Suggested Answers for Mains Marathon, April 26:


  1. Discuss the reasons for having an anti-torture legislation in India. Why has the Centre avoided such a legislation?(GS 2)

भारत में एक अत्याचार कानून को लाने के कारणों पर चर्चा करें। केंद्र ने ऐसे कानून को क्यों नहीं लिया है?

The Hindu

Background:-

  • According to Asian Centre for Human Rights,its report shows deaths in police custody climbed 20 per cent from 2000 to 2008.
  • In prisons the increase was 55 per cent during the same period,615 in 2009-10 and 855 in 2010-11.

Why India needs a anti torture legislation ?

  • According to SC,India may be finding it tough to secure extraditions because there is a fear within the international community that the accused persons would be subject to torture
  • It was a matter of both Article 21 (fundamental right to life and dignity) and of international reputation that the government must consider promulgating a standalone, comprehensive law to define and punish torture as an instrument of “human degradation” by state authorities.
  • India, which had signed the UN Convention against torture way back in 1997, had still not ratified it. The Convention defines torture as a criminal offence.
  • A standalone legislation will certainly go a long way in creating the necessary environment to prevent abuse of custodial torture and human dignity of citizen.
  • Indian Penal Code did not specifically and comprehensively address the various aspects of custodial torture and was grossly inadequate in addressing the spiralling situation of custodial violence across the country.
  • Unlike custodial deaths, the police are not required to report cases of torture which do not result in deaths to the NHRC. So a majority of cases simply went unreported.
  • Non-signing of the convention has cost India dear as a Danish court refused to facilitate the extradition of Kim Davy, a prime accused in the Purulia arms drop case on the ground that he might face torture in the hands of Indian police.
  • Just as in any other crime, the complaint, investigation, and prosecution require a functional criminal justice system. And, this is precisely what India lacks .So a anti torture legislation is necessary.
  • Indian authorities seldom deny that torture is a problem, but their failure to ensure the safety of someone in a high-profile international case shows how extensive it is.
  • Police actions:
    • Police admitted that without proper training and equipment to gather evidence, and under pressure to solve crimes, an overworked force frequently uses torture as the tool most readily available to them.
    • Many admitted that coerced confessions and information also misled inquiries, allowing criminals to escape and innocent individuals to be arrested.

Why has centre avoided it so far?

  • Centre had avoided an independent legislation on torture, saying that some States were not in favour of such a law and the Indian Penal Code and the Criminal Procedure Code were more than sufficient.
  • NHRC itself had strongly supported the need for such a law.
  • Criminals who committed heinous crimes might escape punishment.
  • Such legislation may bring uncomfortable questions raised by the human rights Organisations especially about the Maoist,Kashmir and north east insurgency .
  • The definition of torture is not scientifically defined..

Therefore,there is a need for the legislation and there should be a scheme to rehabilitate, provide relief and compensation for victims of custodial violence and torture.


  1. The Paris accord requires caution by all global actors, after United States changed stance on climate change. Critically examine. Also, discuss the role of sub-national actors.(GS 3)

पेरिस समझौते में सभी वैश्विक अभिनेताओं को सावधानी बरतने की आवश्यकता है। गंभीर रूप से जांच करें। इसके अलावा, उप-राष्ट्रीय अभिनेताओं की भूमिका पर चर्चा करें।

The Hindu

Background:-

  • Even though the U.S. has not technically withdrawn from the Paris Agreement from last December, when countries came together and set climate-related targets for themselves, President Donald Trump’s recent decisions are a sweeping repudiation of former U.S. policies to reduce and limit pollution and GHGs.
  • US orders not only directed federal agencies to cancel or amend policies that might interfere with domestic energy production, but also slashed research budgets for climate change.

Why global actors need to act cautiously in light of the US change of stance with respect to climate change:-

  • Global agreements are often tenuous and need support and pressure from other actors within and across countries who function at many levels.
  • US change in stance might demotivate other countries towards climate change goals and also .
  • Funding to adhere to climate change goals could be a cause of concern.
  • US is still the second largest GHG emitter.

Global actors need not be cautious:-

  • This may not be a big step back if other countries persist with their efforts and if renewables continue to get more affordable as they have recently.This move also provides elbow room for renewable energy businesses elsewhere to pick up the slack in interest within the U.S.
  • China is now the de facto leader on climate change now that the U.S. has pulled back.
  • India initiated International Solar Alliance(ISA) and the response is tremendous
  • EPA finding cannot be reversed easily even by the president.

Role of sub national actors:-

  • Non-state climate initiatives is the name given to the set
    of initiatives that are driven by other actors than central governments: cities, regions, companies, NGOs, etc.
  • By April 2015, more than 180 co-operative initiatives had been identified and included in the Climate Initiatives Platform, with more than 20,000 participant organisations.
  • World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) Climate Savers
    • WWF Climate Savers is for companies seeking to substantially reduce their carbon footprints. Each participant sets a reduction target in absolute terms and within a defined timeframe.
  • Ultra-Low CO2 Steelmaking (ULCOS) 
    • ULCOS is a consortium of 48 European companies and organisations from 15 European countries. The aim of the ULCOS programme is to reduce the CO2
      emissions of today’s best steel production routes by at least 50%.
  • Caring for Climate 
    • Caring for Climate is an initiative aimed at advancing the role of business in addressing climate change. Participants commit to set voluntary targets to improve energy efficiency and to reduce their carbon footprint.
  • C40
    • C40 cities are a network of the world’s megacities committed to taking action that reduces global GHG emissions.
  • Carbon Climate Registry (cCR)
  • cCR is not only an initiative itself, but the reporting platform for two other initiatives
  • Experts study shows that action from existing climate initiatives
    involving cities, companies and sectors could save
    9 GtCO2 e, with a range of 2.5–3.3 GtCO2 e.
  • Some make a direct contribution to closing the emissions gap, whereas others
    advocate action that is largely driven by governments.
  • There is another group that lays the foundation for future action
    by encouraging reporting of emissions.
  • Major initiatives of cities and regions are already delivering commitments that
    should result in emission reductions even higher than was
    previously identified as possible.
  • Companies are also making commitments that represent a significant proportion of the identified potential.
  • The regional commitments to reducing GHGs by states in large parts of the U.S., the philanthropies that are supporting improvements in efficiencies and innovations in the climate and energy sector, and cities such as New York and Seattle, which are committed to building a low-carbon future, are all examples of sub-national entities that have a powerful influence.
  • Cities are coming up with policies for renewable energy promotion, solar street lights and LEDs for households.

  1. How can Big Data be used in better policy-making? Discuss some points for effective implementation of Big Data.(GS 2)

बेहतर नीति बनाने में बिग डेटा कैसे उपयोग किया जा सकता है? बिग डेटा के प्रभावी कार्यान्वयन के लिए कुछ बिंदुओं पर चर्चा करें।

Live Mint

Big data and policy making:-

  • Volume and veracity also necessitate sharing of data across ministries and departments indeed, with the public at large to allow private-sector solutions that can in turn be utilized in government policymaking.
  • Using Big Data effectively for policy formulation will thus mean changing policymaking structures and processes continuously re-evaluating and rejigging policies based on the feedback generated by new data, from on the ground results to public opinion scraped from social media.
  • Big data offers a chance for policy-making and implementation to be more citizen-focused, taking account of citizens’ needs, preferences and experience of public services.
  • Data mined from social media or administrative operations in this way also provide a range of new data which can enable government agencies to monitor and improve  their own performance.
  • They can find out what people are concerned about or looking for, from the Google Search API or Google trends, which record the search patterns of a huge proportion of internet users.
  • It has multiple benefits in different policy areas be it health,infrastructure,transport etc.
  • Prediction of future trends:
  • By observing how urbanisation is growing in the past, one can estimate future urban population and growth rates. So, better planning can be done.
  • Geotagging of assets created under MGNREGS is using nothing but big data in smart way.

Concern:-

  • But it is also technologically challenging for government, and presents new moral and ethical dilemmas to policy makers.
  • Governments have long suffered from information technology skill shortages and the complex skill sets required for big data analytics pose a particularly acute challenge.
  • And gathering data from social media presents legal challenges, as companies like Facebook place barriers to the crawling and scraping of their sites.

 

Effective implementation of big data:-

  • Utilising private sector solutions in public policy making .
  • Strengthen infrastructure for efficient data collection and management.
  • Capacity building and training of personnel specifically for working on BIG DATA.
  • Investment in R&D to make better use of Big Data
  • Usage of data must not be violative of right to privacy.

 

Evidence based policy making as suggested by the NITI Aayog can be a revolutionary suggestion which could bring the framework for operation of big data.


 

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