GS PAPER I NEWS

Disaster Management (DM) Act, 2005

Why in News

The former Chief Secretary of West Bengal Alapan Bandyopadhyay was served a show­cause notice by the Union Home Ministry under Section 51 of the Disaster Management (DM) Act, 2005, punishable by imprisonment of up to two years or a fine or both.

Disaster Management (DM) Act, 2005

  • The DM Act, 2005, came into existence after the 2004 tsunami.
  • It was invoked for the first time in the wake of the COVID­19 pandemic.
  • On March 24, 2020, the Centre, through the National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) headed by the Prime Minister, invoked the provisions of the Act to streamline the management of the pandemic, empowering district magistrates to take decisions and centralise other decisions on the supply of oxygen and movement of vehicles.
  • The Act has been extended across the country till June 30 and it is enforced by the Home Ministry.
  • Section 51 of the Disaster Management (DM) Act, 2005, deals with the punishment for obstruction” for refusal to comply with a direction given by the Central government.
  • It says that violation shall be punishable with imprisonment for a term that may extend to one year or with a fine or both upon conviction.

GS PAPER II

Child Policy in China

Why in News

On May 31, China announced that couples would now be allowed to have up to three children.

Key Points

  • China scrapped its decades-old one-child policy in 2016, replacing it with a two-child limit which has failed to lead to a sustained upsurge in births.
  • It will come with “supportive measures, which will be conducive to improving our country’s population structure, fulfilling the country’s strategy of actively coping with an ageing population and maintaining the advantage, endowment of human resources”.
  • The census, released this month, showed that around 12 million babies were born last year – a significant decrease from the 18 million in 2016, and the lowest number of births recorded since the 1960s.

China’s Previous Policy

  • China’s population trends have over the years been largely shaped by the one-child policy, which was introduced in 1979 to slow population growth.
  • Families that violated the rules faced fines, loss of employment and sometimes forced abortions.
  • Due to the policy, while the birth rate fell, the sex ratio became skewed towards males. This happened because of a traditional preference for male children in the country, due to which abortion of female foetuses rose and so did the number of girls who were placed in orphanages or abandoned.
  • This poses problems for the marriage market, especially for men with less socioeconomic resources.
  • So, from 2016, the Chinese government finally allowed two children per couple which reduced the rapid fall in population growth.
  • China’s 2020 census data, released earlier this month, shows the country’s rate of population growth falling rapidly despite the 2016 relaxation.
  • To reduce the rapid falling in population, the government eased the child policy.
  • The new policy will come with “supportive measures, which will be conducive to improving country’s population structure, fulfilling the country’s strategy of actively coping with an aging population and maintaining the advantage, endowment of human resources.

Lessons to India

  • According to the Population Foundation of India, two-child policy of China shows that empowering women and enhancing their capabilities works better than coercive population policies.
  • India also should enforce limits on the number of children to control its population growth.
  • India and its states must learn from China’s failed experience with enforcing coercive population policies.
  • Religion has little done with fertility levels but what makes the difference is “education, employment opportunities and accessibility of contraceptives”.
  • Today Sikkim and Lakshadweep also face the challenges of an aging population, shrinking labour workforce and an increase in sex selective practices, given that the total fertility rate (TFR) well below the replacement level.

Advantages of introducing Population Control in India

  • The Population Control can slow down the population growth.
  • Parents will have less stress as they don’t have to spend more on necessities.
  • Unemployment can be reduced.
  • Scarce resources can be shared well.
  • The government can increase the quality of services as there are less people to satisfy.
  • The Population control can help to reduce carbon emission in India and help alleviate climate change.

National Commission for Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR)

Why in News

The National Commission for Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR) informed the Supreme Court that these children ran a high risk of being pushed into trafficking and flesh trade.

Highlights of the NCPCR Report

  • In the beginning March 2020, a total of 1,742 children became orphans while 140 were abandoned.
  • Children who lost either of their parents were 7,464. This data was uploaded on the web portal by 25 states and five union territories. This data alone adds up to 9,346.
  • Among the states, Madhya Pradesh has reported 318 orphans, followed by Bihar (292) and Uttar Pradesh (270).
  • The states of Telangana, Andhra Pradesh and Chhattisgarh reported more than 100 orphans during the period from March 2020 till May 29, 2021.
  • According to the data submitted by the NCPCR, Uttar Pradesh reported 2,110 children who were orphaned, lost one parent or were abandoned, followed by Bihar at 1,327 and Kerala at 952.
  • Delhi reported two instances where children became orphans and three cases where they lost one parent adding up to five.

Bal Swaraj

  • Bal Swaraj is an online tracking portal of a national child rights body, shows details of nearly 10,000 children in the country in immediate need of care and protection.
  • The portal aims to track the children affected by COVID-19 right from the production of children before the Child Welfare Committee to the restoration of the children to their parent/ guardian/ relative and its subsequent follow-up.
  • Once the data is uploaded by the respective district child protection officers, the commission tracks whether the children have received the entitled benefits and monetary support.
  • The financial assistance would ensure that the child continues his or her education while continuing to live in the same environment, which is essential for the mental health of the child, who is already trying to cope up with that loss of a parent.
  • They include children aged between zero and 17 orphaned or abandoned during the COVID­19 pandemic since March 2020.
  • A Bench of Justices is suo-motu examining ways to protect children who have suffered personal loss and trauma due to the pandemic.
  • The cataclysmic COVID­19 pandemic devastated the vulnerable sections of society. There are a number of children who have become orphans due to the demise of either the breadwinner of the family or of both their parents.

National Commission for Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR)

  • The National Commission for Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR) is an Indian statutory body established by an Act of Parliament.
  • The Commission was established under the Commission for Protection of Child Rights (CPCR) Act, 2005 and began operational on 5 March 2007.
  • The Commission works under the aegis of Ministry of Women and Child Development, GoI.
  • The CPCR Act, 2005 ensure that all Laws, Policies, Programmes, and Administrative Mechanisms are in consonance with the Child Rights perspective as enshrined in the Constitution of India and the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child.

BRICS Foreign Ministerial Meeting

Why in News

Recently BRICS Ministerial Meeting held virtually, where a “grave concern” expressed with regard to the global COVID 19 pandemic.

Key Points

  • The meeting was chaired by External Affairs Ministry.
  • The foreign ministers’ meeting was attended by Brazil, Russia, China and South Africa along with India.
  • All five BRICS member countries, including China, will provide support to India as it battles against the second wave of the Covid-19 pandemic.
  • The gathering described the pandemic as one of the most serious challenges before the world, while also highlighting the importance of “respect for territorial integrity” and the “sovereign equality” of states.
  • BRICS Foreign Ministers Meeting was first held at New York in 2006 and India chaired the 2021 meeting of it, when the organisation completes its 15th year of existence.
  • A joint statement issued after the meeting called for “equitable” access to vaccines, medicines and technologies as well as equipment to deal with the pandemic.
  • The Ministers reaffirmed the need to use all relevant measures during the pandemic, including supporting ongoing consideration in the WTO (World Trade Organization) on a COVID­19 vaccine intellectual property rights waiver and the use of flexibilities of the TRIPS (Trade Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights) agreement and the Doha Declaration on the TRIPS agreement and public health.
  • The mention of the term “flexibilities” in the joint statement is being viewed as a normative step forward towards greater vaccine equality and availability in the world.

BRICS Ministerial Meeting 2021

  • BRICS Ministerial Meeting 2021 is going to hosted by India.
  • The meeting will also be watched closely for support from the entire grouping for the India-South Africa proposal at the World Trade Organization (WTO) that asks for a patent waiver for COVID­19 vaccines, which would be a big boost for the proposal.
  • About 60 countries have already backed the proposal, the U.S. has recently agreed to support it, while the European Union is yet to give its final decision on it.
  • They will also exchange views on topical issues of international agenda, including regional conflicts, strengthening of international institutions, countering new challenges and threats, including COVID­19, as well as cooperation between the BRICS countries in the multilateral fora.
  • They will negotiate the key deliverables for the BRICS summit.
  • India announced its priorities for the BRICS@15 summit with the motto “Cooperation for Continuity, Consolidation and Consensus” on the BRICS website.
  • It includes reform of multilateral organisations such as the UN, World Bank and WTO, countering terrorism, cooperation on health and enhancing people­to­people ties between the five BRICS countries that came together in 2006 as a grouping of emerging economies.

BRICS Working Group meeting

  • On May 25 to May 26 2021, 4th BRICS Working Group meeting has been held virtually in the various fields of Biotechnology and Biomedicine.
  • More than 60 participants participated from all five BRICS countries Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa in the online meeting.
  • The meeting was sponsored by, Department of International Cooperation, Ministry of Science and Technology (MOST), China and was organized by the China National Centre for Biotechnology Development.

About BRICS

  • BRICS is the acronym coined to associate five major emerging economies: Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa.
  • The BRICS members are known for their significant influence on regional affairs.
  • Originally, it was established as a group of four economy i.e., “BRIC” in 2006.
  • Later, in 2010, South Africa was inducted as the fifth member and became “BRICS”.
  • Four out of five members are among the world’s ten largest countries by population and by area, except for South Africa, the twenty-fourth in both.
  • They held its first meeting in 2009 and since then, the governments of the BRICS states have met annually at formal summits.
  • Russia hosted the most recent 12th BRICS summit on 17 November 2020 virtually due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • Bilateral relations among BRICS states are conducted mainly based on non-interference, equality, and mutual benefit.

GS PAPER III

India Meteorological Department (IMD)

Why in News

The India Meteorological Department (IMD) expects more rain in the monsoon months of June-September then its April estimate.

Key Points

  • It is said that monsoon rain would be 101% of the Long Period Average (LPA) of 88 cm.
  • On April 16, it said the rain would be 98% of the LPA. In the agency’s parlance, this still constitutes ‘normal’ rainfall, which is anywhere from 96­104% of the LPA.
  • The agency also said that rainfall in the northeast would likely see a 5% shortfall whereas over central India, which constitutes the core rainfed agricultural region, there would be a 6% increase over the usual for the monsoon.
  • Rainfall over the northwest would be ‘normal’ though this is a wide range from 92­108% of the LPA and that in the southern peninsula 93­107% of its normal.
  • Seasonal rainfall is most likely to be below normal over the northeast (<95%) and above normal over central India (>106%).
  • The latest global model forecasts say the sea surface temperatures at the Equatorial Pacific conditions are unlikely to significantly rise.
  • There are also ‘negative’ IOD (Indian Ocean Dipole) conditions over the Indian Ocean during the monsoon season.

Onset of monsoon

  • The onset of the monsoon over Kerala marks the beginning of the four-month, June-September southwest monsoon season over India, which brings more than 70% of the country’s annual rainfall.
  • The onset is a big day for the Indian economy every year.
  • The southwest monsoon is keenly awaited, and the IMD declares its arrival only after certain well defined and measurable parameters are met.
  • Meteorologists check for the consistency of rainfall over a defined geography, its intensity, and wind speed.
  • Specifically, the onset of the monsoon is declared after at least 60% of the 14 designated meteorological stations in Kerala and Lakshadweep record at least 2.5 mm of rain for two consecutive days at any time after May 10.