GS PAPER II NEWS

World Press Freedom Index

Why in News

Recently 2021 World Press Freedom Index has been released by Reporters Without Borders (RSF) which is a French NGO.

India in World Freedom Index

  • India placed at 142nd rank out of 180 countries in the World Press Freedom Index.
  • In 2016, India’s rank was 133 which has steadily raised down to 142 in 2020.
  • According to RSF report, India is one of the world’s most dangerous countries for journalists trying to do their job properly.

Causes of India’s Ranking in World Press Freedom Index

  • They are exposed to every kind of attack, like police violence against reporters, ambushes by political activists, and reprisals instigated by criminal groups or corrupt local officials.
  • The worrying situation in Jammu and Kashmir occurred since 2019 after abolishment of Article 370 and many incidents reported as attacks on journalists are often a consequence of the law-and-order situation in some areas of India.

Global Scenario in World Press Freedom Index

  • The data of RSF shows that the journalism is the main vaccine against disinformation.
  • It is completely or partly blocked in 73% of the 180 countries ranked by the organization.
  • Norway toped the index for fifth consecutive years, followed by Finland and Denmark.
  • Eritrea ranked last in the index whereas China is ranked 177, and is only above North Korea at 179 and Turkmenistan at 178.

World Press Freedom Index

  • World Press Freedom Index is an important advocacy tool based on the principle of emulation between states.
  • It was first published in 2002 by Reporters Without Borders (RSF) and since then it publishes every year.
  • It ranks 180 countries and regions according to the level of freedom available to journalists.
  • It evaluates journalism in the region or country on the basis of: pluralism, independence of the media, quality of legislative framework and safety of journalists in each country and region.

Reporters Without Borders (RSF)

  • RSF is the French based Non-Governmental Organization (NGO) situated at Paris, France.
  • It aims to safeguard the right to freedom of information.
  • RSF has consultative status at the United Nations, UNESCO, the Council of Europe, and the International Organization of the Francophonie.

GS PAPER II

Ad-hoc judges in High Courts

Why in News

The Supreme Court activated a “dormant” constitutional provision to pave way for appointment of retired High Court judges as ad-hoc ones for a period of two to three years due pendency of around 57 lakh cases in High Courts.

Key Points

  • The Supreme Court termed the pendency of around 57 lakh cases in High Courts as “docket explosion”.
  • According to the National Judicial Data Grid, five high courts ­Allahabad, Punjab & Haryana, Madras, Bombay, and Rajasthan are responsible for 54% of the pendency of over 57,51,312 cases.

National Judicial Data Grid

  • It is a part of the ongoing e-Courts Integrated Mission Mode Project.
  • It works as a monitoring tool to identify manage and reduce pendency of cases.
  • It provides data on cases pending in the district courts across the country.

Article 224A of the Constitution

  • It deals with appointment of ad-hoc judges in High Courts.
  • Provision: The Chief Justice of a High Court for any State may at any time, with the previous consent of the President, request any person who has held the office of a Judge of that Court or of any other High Court to sit and act as a Judge of the High Court for that State.
  • Originally, this Article was instituted in the Constitution in 1949, but was detailed in 1956 and then re-introduced in 1963.
  • According to the rules the SC, the process to appoint retired ad-hoc judges can be initiated if:
  • Vacancies are more than 20% of the sanctioned strength of the high court.
  • Cases in a particular category are pending for over five years.
  • More than 10 percent of pending cases are over five years old.
  • Percentage of the rate of disposal is lower than the institution of the cases either in a particular subject matter or generally in the court.
  • Appointment done by the President of India.
  • Tenure of Ad-hoc Judges is for a temporary period for two-three years.

Reason of Pendency of Court Cases

  • Increment in the awareness about the legal rights of a common man encourage common people to approach courts of law for justice.
  • Lack of Judges in country: Another biggest reason is lack of Judges. Current ration of Judge to Population is 10 to 1 million. The Law Commission report in 1987 recommends at least 50 to 1 million. Population has increased by over 25 crores since 1987.
  • Insufficient number of Courts: Indian judiciary has insufficient resources. Budgetary allocations for the whole judiciary are a pathetic 0.1% to 0.4% of the whole budget. India needs more courts and more benches.
  • There is too much litigation from the Government Side, and
  • Low Judicial quality in lower Courts.

Way Forward

  • To resolve the pendency of Court Cases, nation need to stands with the Judiciary System.
  • By increasing number of Judges, by improving quality of Judicial Activities, by establishing Tribunals and by improving Judicial Education, we can improve the Judiciary of India.

GS PAPER III

Gross Domestic Product (GDP)

Why in News

Due to lockdowns imposed in parts of the country to control the pandemic the Care Ratings has lowered its India GDP growth forecast to 10.2% for FY22.

Key Points

  • On March 24, it was assumed that growth for FY22 to be in the 11-11.2% range based on Gross Value Added (GVA) growth of 10.2%.
  • After imposing restrictions in Maharashtra on April 5, it further lowered its GDP forecast to 10.7- 10.9%.
  • RBI was supposed to growth of 10.5% GDP in FY22 despite the surge in infections.
  • If tax collections would be affected, there would be an impact on GDP growth which is now placed at 10.2%.
  • Due to lockdown imposed in various parts of the nation the loss in GDP in year 2021 would be from 11-11.2% to 0.8-1%.

Gross Domestic Products (GDP)

  • GDP is the monetary value of the total production of Goods and Services within a country, in a specific period of time.
  • It is generally calculated on an annual basis; it is sometimes calculated on a quarterly basis as well.
  • Types of GDP are: Real Gross Domestic Product, Nominal Gross Domestic Product, Gross National Product (GNP) and Net Gross Domestic Product.

Gross Value Added (GVA)

  • It is the measurement of the value of goods and services produced in an area, industry or sector of an economy.
  • It measures the contribution of a corporate subsidiary, company, or municipality to an economy, producer, sector, or region.

Care Ratings

  • Care Ratings was established in April 1993 and in over 27 years, it has established itself as one of the leading credit rating agencies in India.
  • It is recognized for being a knowledge-based company and provides near real time research on all domestic and global economic developments.
  • It has emerged as the leading agency for covering many rating segments including manufacturing, infrastructure, financial sector including banks, non-financial services, among others.

Way Forward

  • With conditions changing very swiftly it does become imperative to revisit GDP more often to get a better sense of the future.
  • Today’s picture shows a 1% dip from our forecast on March 24, 2021.
  • Due to lockdown imposed in various parts of nation, Economic Growth would be harshly impact.
  • We need to resolve the Economic troubles of nation to prevent from destruction.

GS PAPER III

Agricultural Trade of India

Why in News

Despite the pandemic Agricultural export and allied commodities during Apr, 2020 – Feb, 2021 shows an increase of 18.49%.

Key Points

  • Imports of agriculture and allied commodities increased by 3% during the April-February period of 2020-21.
  • During April-February of the 2020-21 fiscal, the country exported Agri-commodities worth ₹2.74 lakh crore as against ₹2.31 lakh crore in the April-February of the 2019-20.
  • The commodities which showed significant positive growth in exports were wheat, Other Cereals, Rice (other than Basmati), Soya meal, Spices, Sugar, Raw Cotton, Fresh Vegetable, Processed Vegetables, and Alcoholic Beverages etc.
  • Wheat shipments rose up to ₹3,283 crore in April-February in 2020-21, from ₹425 crore in the 2019-20.
  • India has witnessed significant growth of 132% in export of (Non-Basmati) Rice.
  • India also enhanced export of Soya meals by 132%.

Conclusion

  • India has consistently maintained trade surplus in the agricultural products over the years.
  • At the time of the pandemic, India continuously maintaining the food supply chain in the World and continued to export in difficult situations.
  • Despite COVID-19, balance of trade in agriculture has favorably increased during April, 2020 – Feb, 2021 which is in itself an excellent news towards growth in these tough situations.

GS PAPER III

Leaders’ Summit on Climate

Why in News

India will participate in the Leaders’ Summit on Climate at the invitation of President of U.S.A. which being held virtually on 22-23 April 2021.

Key Points

  • India will address the summit during the Leaders’ Session 1 on 22nd April and speak on “Our Collective Sprint to 2030”.
  • The April 22-23 summit will feature Prime Minister of Bangladesh, Prime Minister of Britain, Canadian leader, Brazilian President among others.
  • As part of the preparatory diplomacy for the Leaders’ Summit, United States Special Presidential Envoy for Climate visited India during April 5-8.

Leaders’ Climate Summit

  • On March 26, the U.S. President invited 40 world leaders to participate in the virtual Leaders’ Summit on Climate.
  • The objective of Leaders’ summit on Climate is to prepare world to work on multiple fronts to address the climate crisis, including emissions reductions, finance, innovation and job creation, and resilience and adaptation.
  • This summit is a key milestone on UN Climate Change Conference (COP26) which will held on November 2021 in Glasgow.
  • It is designed to increase the chances for meaningful outcomes on global climate action at COP26.
  • It will reconvene the Major Economies Forum (MEF) on Energy and Climate which is a U.S.-led initiative that played a vital role in delivering the Paris Agreement.

Major Economies Forum (MEF) on Energy and Climate

  • The Major Economies Forum on Energy and Climate (MEF) was established on March 28, 2009.
  • It consists 17 major economies: Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, the European Union, France, Germany, India, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, South Korea, Mexico, Russia, South Africa, the United Kingdom, and the United States.
  • The first meeting of the Major Economies Forum on Energy and Climate was held on April 27–28, 2009, in Washington, DC.
  • Denmark played role as the President of the December 2009 Conference of the Parties to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change.
  • The United Nations have also participated in 2009 meeting along with Observers.

UN Climate Change Conference (COP26)

  • The Conference of Parties (COP) is an apex decision-making body of the United Nations Climate Change Framework Convention (UNFCCC).
  • The UNFCCC was established in 1994 to stabilize the greenhouse gas emissions and to protect the earth from the threat of climate change.
  • The UNFCCC member states has reached 197.
  • Its first conference (COP1) was held in 1995 in Berlin.
  • At the 3rd conference of parties (COP3) which was held in Kyoto, Kyoto protocol was adopted.

Way Forward

  • In the Leaders’ Summit on Climate, India will deliberate on the world climate action with inclusive and resilient economic development.
  • This summit reflects the “urgency” to stop climate change.

Such summit is the need of the hour to combat against climate change.