”UPSC News Diary For Today” is every day published in the evening between 6-7 PM and contains all current affairs articles from the day on a single platform. ”UPSC News Diary For Today” covers various topics from UPSC Syllabus and is very helpful and time managing for UPSC Aspirants. The framing of this daily current affairs compilation article is easy to read and understandable also.
In the ”UPSC News Diary For Today” article, we focus on both UPSC Preliminary and Mains exam-oriented current affairs & prepare a gist of daily important news articles from leading National Newspapers, PIB, and other various official sources.
What are the UN Sustainability Goals?
- In 2015 the United Nations agreed on a set of ‘sustainable development’ goals that are focused on ending poverty around the world, protecting the planet and ensuring a new prosperity for everyone.
- The 17 Sustainable Development Goals or the ‘Global Goals’ include over 169 targets that ensure that all of the countries of the world work to protect the planet.
What is weather?
- Weather describes the day-to-day condition of the atmosphere. It might be sunny, hot, windy or cloudy, raining or snowing.
- The weather takes into account the temperature, precipitation, humidity and atmospheric pressure of the part of atmosphere (air) closest to the surface of the Earth.
- The weather is constantly changing as temperature and humidity change in the atmosphere. Landmasses, such as the British Isles, experience constantly changing weather conditions.
- The science of monitoring and studying the atmosphere and predicting its weather and climate is called meteorology. People who study the weather and climate are known as meteorologists.
Long Period Average (LPA) of Rainfall
- LPA of rainfall is the rainfall recorded over a particular region for a given interval (like month or season) average over a long period like 30years, 50-years etc.
- It acts as a benchmark while forecasting the quantitative rainfall for that region for a specific month or season. For example, LPA of south west monsoon rainfall over Kerala for the months June, July, August and September are 556mm, 659mm, 427mm and 252mm respectively.
- The current LPA of all India southwest monsoon rainfall based on the average rainfall over the period 1961 -2010 is 880.6mm.
Impact Of Climate Change On Rainfall Activity
- The temperature of the earth is increasing rapidly due to anthropogenic greenhouse gas emissions.
- Thermodynamically, warm air holds more moisture as compare the dry air.
- According to the Clausius-Clapeyron equation, the capacity of air to hold moisture increases by 7% for each degree of warming.
- Studies indicate that, in a changing climate, heavy rainfall events are expected to rise due to the abundance of the moisture due to warming.
What is Cloud Burst?
- If 10 cm rainfall is received at a station in one hour, the rain event is termed as cloud burst. It is very difficult to predict the cloud bursts due to its very small scale in space and time.
- To monitor or nowcast (forecasting few hours lead time) the cloud burst, we need to have dense radar network over the cloud burst-prone areas or one need to have a very high-resolution weather forecasting models to resolve the scale of cloud burst.
- Cloud bursts do occur at plains, however, mountainous regions are more prone to cloud bursts due to orography.
Deep-Sea Mining: Introduction
- The underwater world—without the energy of the sun and oxygen—is unique and beyond human imagination.
- Unfortunately, even before completely discovering and understanding it, there is a mad rush to exploit the vast resources through deep-sea mining.
- It is believed that drilling operations could start as early as 2026.
- According to an estimate, 50,000 m3 of sediment and other wastes will be released daily by a single polymetallic-nodule mining operation, if deep-sea mining is allowed.
Deep-Sea Mining: What is Deep Sea?
- Based on depth, the oceans are divided into zones, or for practical purposes, ecological zones.
- The upper portion (0 to 200 m) is called the photic. Sunlight reaches this zone, allowing photosynthesis to occur. Phytoplanktons—marine microalgae that produce 50 per cent of the world’s oxygen— live here.
- It also is inhabited by microscopic organisms zooplankton, crabs, shellfish, and jellyfish. Beneath the photic zone is the deep sea.
Deep-Sea Mining: Why World in a hurry?
- Deep-sea mining involves extracting massive polymetallic sulphide ore from hydrothermal vents, ferromanganese crusts from seamounts and polymetallic manganese ore from the sea floor.
- These ores are rich in cobalt, manganese, zinc, and other rare metals needed to build batteries for electric vehicles and renewable energy, smartphones and laptops.
- As of May 2022, the International Seabed Authority (ISA), an intergovernmental body tasked with managing deep-sea mining activities, has allocated 31 contracts to explore deep-sea mineral deposits.
- More than 1.5 million sq km of the international seabed, roughly the size of Mongolia, has been set aside for mineral exploration, according to IUCN.
Deep-Sea Mining: What will be mined from the deep ocean?
One of the main aims of the mission is to explore and extract polymetallic nodules. These are small potato-like rounded accretions composed of minerals such as manganese, nickel, cobalt, copper and iron hydroxide. They lie scattered on the Indian Ocean floor at depths of about 6,000 m and the size can vary from a few millimetres to centimetres. These metals can be extracted and used in electronic devices, smartphones, batteries and even for solar panels.
Deep-Sea Mining: What is India’s Involvement?
- ISA has allocated India 75,000 sq km for mining polymetallic nodules. The estimated resource potential of the nodules is 380 million tonnes, containing 4.7 million tonnes of nickel, 4.29 million tonnes of copper, 0.55 million tonnes of cobalt and 92.59 million tonnes of manganese.
- The National Institute of Ocean Technology in Chennai has developed Varaha, a self-propelled seabed mining machine to collect polymetallic nodules. It is tasked with collecting and pumping nodules from depths of up to 6,000 m.
Deep-Sea Mining: The International Seabed Authority (ISA)
The International Seabed Authority (ISA), an autonomous international organisation established under the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea, allots the ‘area’ for deep-sea mining.
Deep-Sea Mining: What will be the environmental impact?
- Mining has the potential to disturb the fine ecological balance underwater.
- In deep-sea mining, a ship would unload a collector vehicle into the sea, which would then travel down to the seabed. Once at the site, it would scrape off the top 10 cm of the seabed at multiple locations.
- After picking up the nodules, the collector vehicle will pump the ore to the ship through a pipe. Once the ore reaches the surface, sediments are further removed from the nodule, and the waste is discarded into the oceans.
- According to the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), these deep remote locations can be home to unique species that have adapted themselves to conditions such as poor oxygen and sunlight, high pressure and extremely low temperatures. Such mining expeditions can make them go extinct even before they are known to science.
The deep sea’s biodiversity and ecology remain poorly understood, making it difficult to assess the environmental impact and frame adequate guidelines.
Mediation Bill 2021
Mediation Bill 2021- Relevance for UPSC Exam
- GS Paper 2: Indian Constitution- Parliament and State Legislatures – structure, functioning, conduct of business, powers & privileges and issues arising out of these.
Mediation Bill in News
- Recently, Parliamentary Standing Committee on Law and Justice, headed by veteran BJP leader Sushil Kumar Modi, has recommended substantial changes to the Mediation Bill
- Mediation Bill aims for institutionalisation of mediation and establishment of the Mediation Council of India.
MP’s Panel Recommendation on Mediation Bill
- On Mandatory Pre-litigation mediation: making pre-litigation mediation mandatory may-
- Actually result in delaying of cases and
- Prove to be an additional tool in hands of truant litigants to delay the disposal of cases.
- Panel Recommendation on Mediation Bill warned the Centre against the provision to give higher courts the power to frame rules for mediation.
- Clause 26 of the Bill provides that court annexed mediation shall be conducted in accordance with the practice, directions or rules by whatever name called by the Supreme Court or the High Court.
- Panel recommended that specific provisions should be made about court annexed mediation in place of existing provisions of clause 26.
- The Panel on Mediation Bill also questioned the non-applicability of the provisions of the Bill to disputes/matters of non-commercial nature involving the Government and its agencies.
- On MCI members: They also discussed the qualifications and appointment of the Chairperson and Members of the proposed Mediation Council of India (MCI).
- Panel insists that the Chairperson and full time Members of MCI to have ‘shown capacity’ and ‘knowledge and experience’ in ‘mediation.’
- As per present provisions in the Bill, people dealing with problems relating to ‘Alternative Dispute Resolution’ can become members and chairman of the council.
- Constitution of State Mediation Councils: recommend that keeping in view the wide spectrum of duties and responsibilities assigned to the Mediation Council of India, mediation councils should be instituted in the States as well.
- These State Mediation Councils are to function under the overall superintendence, direction and control of Mediation Council of India and discharge such functions as may be specified by it.
- On Mediators: The Panel believe that instead of multiple bodies registering mediators, the proposed Mediation Council of India should be made the nodal authority for the registration and accreditation of mediators. It also recommends that-
- Each mediator should be given a unique registration number by the Mediation Council,
- Mediation Council must be empowered to continuously evaluate the mediator by holding training sessions periodically and
- Mediator must earn a minimum number of credit points on a yearly basis in order to be eligible to conduct mediation.
Draft Mediation Bill 2021: Key features
- The draft Bill proposes for pre-litigation mediation and at the same time safeguards the interest of the litigants to approach the competent adjudicatory forums/courts in case an urgent relief is sought.
- The successful outcome of mediation in the form of Mediation Settlement Agreement (MSA) has been made enforceable by law. Since the Mediation Settlement Agreement is out of the consensual agreement between the parties, the challenge to the same has been permitted on limited grounds.
- The mediation process protects the confidentiality of the mediation undertaken and provides for immunity in certain cases against its disclosure.
- The registration of Mediation Settlement Agreement has also been provided for with State/District/Taluk Legal Authorities within 90 days to ensure maintenance of authenticated records of the settlement so arrived.
- Provides for establishment of the Mediation Council of India.
- Provides for community mediation.
The Editorial Analysis- Create More Jobs, Revamp Employment Policy
Create More Jobs, Revamp Employment Policy- Relevance for UPSC Exam
- GS Paper 3: Indian Economy– Issues relating to planning, mobilization of resources, growth, development and employment.
Create More Jobs, Revamp Employment Policy
- The Government of India has recently announced its plan to create 10 lakh government jobs in the next 18 months.
- Of about 40 lakh sanctioned posts, 22% posts are now vacant and the Government will fill these posts in 18 months.
Vacancies in the Central Government
- There are as many as 8.72 lakh positions that were vacant in various departments of the Central government, as told by the Minister of State in Personnel, Public Grievances and Pensions to the Rajya Sabha on February 3, 2022.
- If various positions in public sector banks, the defence forces and police, the health sector, central schools and central universities, and the judiciary are added, then the number touches about 30 lakh posts.
Concerns with Employment in India
- Inefficiencies: As sanctioned posts broadly indicate the required posts needed to run a government, it appears that this government is perhaps facing a serious shortage of staff, which is then causing long delays in work, corruption and maybe other inefficiencies.
- Poor Quality Employment:
- Increased share of Contract worker: The share of contract workers in total government employment has been increasing rapidly in recent years — from 11.11 lakh in 2017 to 13.25 lakh in 2020 and to 24.31 lakh in 2021.
- In addition, there are “honorary workers” such as Anganvadi workers, their helpers, accredited social health activist (ASHA) workers, etc.
- These employees of the government earn a lower salary (consolidated wages), and are not entitled to “decent work” conditions (International Labour Organization recommendations) including a minimum package of social security.
- Unemployment: Given the backlog of about 30 million unemployed people and an annual addition of 50 lakh-70 lakh workers every year (World Bank).
- At a labour force participation rate of 42.13% (Centre for Monitoring Indian Economy Pvt. Ltd.) the unemployment rate of the youth is about 20% at present.
- This scheme of the Government will hardly provide any relief to the youth of the country; and will not have much of an impact on the present unemployment problem.
- Focusing on Quality: The Government must ensure that the employment generated under its plan will be of a standard quality.
- There has been no assurance so far on this by the Government.
- More Jobs Needed: In the backdrop of COVID-19 and cut-backs in private sector, it is all the more important for the Government to ensure as many jobs as possible.
- The generation of a mere 10 lakh jobs in the next 18 months is too little.
- If the Government is really in ‘mission mode’ to provide employment to the unemployed, and to the youth, it will have to do much more than what has been announced.
- Focusing on Basic Needs: Government will have to take responsibility for meeting these basic needs without depending on privatisation — at least for the bottom 40% of the population. The first task for the Government would be to take-
- Much better direct care of basic well-being,
- Human development and human resource development, and
- Basic infrastructure of the bottom population without privatisation in these areas.
- Reorient the Industrialisation Policy: to focus on labour-intensive sectors of the economy, and promote Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) and informal production.
- This is to be done by ensuring better technology and higher productivity, providing finances (including working capital) and pushing further cluster development for all industries that have the potential.
- If the gesture of filling vacant posts in the Government is part of a mission employment, it will have to be followed by radical changes in the Government’s employment policy.