Argutes

Daily Current Affairs for UPSC Civil Services Exam – 23 October 2021

1. TN agreement for Bharat Net

  1. Tamil Nadu FibreNet Corp signs agreement for BharatNet project implementation.
  2. The project aims at providing 1 Gbps bandwidth connectivity to all Gram Panchayats.

Insights

  1. BharatNet Project was originally launched in 2011 as the National Optical Fibre Network(NOFN) and renamed as Bharat-Net in 2015.
  2. It seeks to provide connectivity to 2.5 lakh Gram Panchayats (GPs) through an optical fiber.
  3. It is a flagship mission implemented by Bharat Broadband Network Ltd. (BBNL).
  4. The objective is to facilitate the delivery of e-governance, e-health, e-education, e-banking, the Internet, and other services to rural India.

2. Right to Protest

The Supreme Court said farmers had the right to protest, but roads cannot be blocked indefinitely, impeding the right of citizens to commute without hindrance.

Insights

  1. The right to protest, to publicly challenge and force the government to answer, is a fundamental political right of the people that flows directly from a democratic reading of various provisions of Article 19.
  2. Right to Protest is protected under Article 19(1) (a), Article 19(1) (b), and Article 19(1) (c) of the Indian Constitution.
    • Article 19(1) (a) guarantees the freedom of speech and expression;
    • Article 19(1) (b) assures citizens the right to assemble peaceably and without arms.
    • Article 19(1) (c) assures the right to form associations or trade unions

Reasonable restrictions

However, like other fundamental rights, the right to protest is also not absolute and also subject to reasonable restrictions mentioned under Article 19(2) and 19(3) on the following grounds;

  1. In the interests of the sovereignty & integrity of India,
  2. The security of the State,
  3. Friendly relations with foreign States,
  4. Violation of Public order,
  5. Decency or morality or in relation to Contempt of court, defamation or incitement of an offense

The grounds of restrictions based on violation of public order can be reasonable only when there is evidence that protesters will incite lawless or disorderly acts and that such acts are likely to occur.

Section 144 and right to protest in India

  1. Time and again, to suppress the voice of citizens or for legitimate reasons like controlling the violent protest, the government has kept on using various tools available against protests and section 144 of Cr.PC has been the biggest such tool.
  2. Section 144 authorizes executive magistrates to pass “prohibitory orders” that restrict people from assembling at particular places to prevent breaches of public order or the triggering of violence.
  3. Although the law has been enacted to implement reasonable restrictions, however, Section 144 is framed in such broad and vague terms that it can be imposed by the executive anywhere to prevent the expression of dissent through public demonstrations and protests.

3. Indian Railway towards Net Zero carbon Emitter

  1. Indian Railways, the world’s fourth-largest railway network in terms of size, is one of the largest electricity consumers in the country.
  2. It consumed approximately 18,410 million units (MU) for traction loads (trains) and 2,338 MU for non-traction loads (office, railway stations, etc) in 2020.
  3. It spends nearly Rs 11,045 crore every year on electric energy bills, accounting for nearly 7 percent of total operating expenses.
  4. It transports 24 million passengers every day — slightly less than Australia’s population — across the subcontinent on 13,000 trains covering approximately 67,956 kilometers.
  5. India’s transport sector contributes to 12 percent of the country’s greenhouse gas emissions with the railways accounting for about 4 percent of these emissions.
  6. Indian Railways to increase the amount of freight moved by the Indian Railways from about 35 percent in 2015 to 45 percent by 2030 to reduce overall emissions from transportation.

Railways towards Net Zero

  1. Indian Railways is taking a multi-pronged approach to go green and decarbonize from increasing its sourcing of renewable energy (RE) to electrifying its traction network and reducing its energy consumption.
  2. The body’s goal is to become a ‘net-zero’ carbon emitter by 2030.
  3. The plan includes a significant goal of electrifying the entire network by December 2023.
  4. With the complete electrification of Indian Railways targeted by the financial year 2024, the total traction requirement is expected to increase to around 3,400 MW.
  5. It will be the world’s largest 100 percent electrified rail transportation system by then.
  6. The second pillar consists of using solar power to meet its electricity needs, as well as having an environmentally friendly infrastructure and a microlevel cleanliness drive.
  7. It plans to install 20 gigawatts (GW) of solar for both traction loads and non-traction loads.

India Strategy

  1. The project, established in collaboration with the state-owned Bharat Heavy Electricals Ltd (BHEL), is the first solar energy plant in the world to directly power railway overhead lines, from which locomotives draw traction power.
  2. The Indian Railways is committed to using solar energy to meet its traction power needs and becoming a fully green mode of transportation.
  3. The ministry has started up a 2.5-MW solar project in Diwana, Haryana, with state transmission unit connectivity.
  4. This is a first-of-its-kind initiative in Indian Railways where a solar power plant has doubled as a shelter.
  5. This will reduce the combined cost of platforms shelter and rooftop solar plants and provide solar power to meet the non-traction demand.

4. Debrigarh wildlife sanctuary

  1. The wildlife wing of Odisha’s forest department decided to relocate around 420 families from four zero-connectivity villages in the Debrigarh wildlife sanctuary, Bargarh district.
  2. The move is aimed to reduce man-animal conflict and provide better living conditions to the relocated families.
  3. The 353-square kilometer sanctuary is situated adjacent to the huge Hirakud reservoir.
  4. The sanctuary is an important biogeographic zone from both the ecological and environmental point of view.
  5. In winter, the reservoir attracts more than 100,000 migratory birds of more than 95 avian species.

Click here to know more about the Sanctuary

5. Global Threat Assessment report 2021

  1. The Global Threat Assessment report 2021, which was launched by WeProtect Global Alliance said COVID-19 had contributed to a significant spike in child sexual exploitation and abuse online.
  2. protect Global Alliance is a global movement of more than 200 governments, private sector companies, and civil society organizations working together to transform the global response to child sexual exploitation and abuse online.

Highlights

  1. The report was a meta-study that distills findings from multiple international studies on the issue.
  2. The findings show that in the past two years, the reporting of child sexual exploitation and online abuse has reached its highest level.
  3. ‘COVID-19 created a ‘perfect storm of conditions that fuelled a rise in child sexual exploitation and abuse across the globe,’ it stated.
  4. The rise in child ‘self-generated’ sexual material is another trend that challenges the existing response, with the Internet Watch Foundation observing a 77% increase in child ‘self-generated’ sexual material from 2019 to 2020.
  5. As part of the report, a global study of childhood experiences of more than 5,000 young adults (aged 18 to 20) across 54 countries was done by Economist Impact.
  6. About 54 % of the respondents had experienced at least one online sexual harm incident during childhood.
  7. More than a third of respondents (34%) had been asked to do something sexually explicit online they were uncomfortable with during their childhood.
  8. Respondents who identified as transgender/non-binary, LGBQ+, and/or disabled were more likely to experience online sexual harm during childhood.

6. Pakistan Retained in Grey List

  1. Recently, the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) retained Pakistan in the ‘greylist’ or ‘increased monitoring list’.
  2. The FATF also announced the ‘greylisting’ of Jordan, Mali, and Turkey.
  3. Botswana and Mauritius had been taken out of the grey list.

Pakistan and Grey List

  1. In June 2018, the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) placed Pakistan on the ‘grey list’ of jurisdictions under increased monitoring.
  2. Owing to Pakistan’s failure in fully implementing all the action points, it was once again retained on the ‘grey list’ following the conclusion of the latest FATF plenary on October 21, 2021.
  3. Pakistan was first put on the list in 2008, removed in 2009, and then again remained under increased monitoring from 2012 to 2015.

FATF

The FATF, a global money laundering and terrorist financing watchdog, lays down international standards with an objective to prevent such activities.

It keeps updating the standards to address emerging risks, monitors countries to ensure that they implement the recommendations fully and effectively, and holds countries to account that does not comply.

Effect of greylisting

  1. According to the FATF, when it places a jurisdiction under increased monitoring, it means the country has committed to resolving swiftly the identified strategic deficiencies
  2. It should be done within the agreed timeframes.
  3. Although no legal consequences follow greylisting, it is understood that the country’s access to international loans gets restricted.

Why was Pakistan retained?

  1. Pakistan was ‘grey listed’ in June 2018, after the FATF found multiple strategic anti-money laundering combating the financing of terrorism deficiencies on its part.
  2. It was asked to implement the action plan for achieving 10 objectives.
  3. They included a demonstration of effective action against U.N.-designated terror outfits, individuals, and their associates in terms of financial sanctions, asset seizures, investigation, prosecution, and convictions.
  4. At October 2021 plenary, the FATF observed that Pakistan had completed 26 of the 27 action items in its 2018 plan.
  5. The one remaining item was about continuing to demonstrate that terror financing investigations and prosecutions targeted senior leaders and commanders of U.N.-designated terrorist groups

Click here to know about FATF