IAS Gyan

Daily News Analysis


23rd September, 2019


Lessons from Madhya Pradesh: How to prosecute criminals and get convictions

Across the country, government prosecutors are known for being inefficient. That is the reason India has embarrassingly low conviction rates — somewhere around 40 per cent as against the high 90s in countries like China, Japan and Canada.

Madhya Pradesh case study:

-       State government created an institutional mechanism to collect court data and evaluate prosecutor performance.

-       It created an online app — ‘e-Prosecution MP’ —system that allowed superiors to monitor prosecutors.

-       Based on their performance, prosecutors were either felicitated or warned; those ruining the system by manipulating their numbers were punished.

-       Government trained prosecutors to be better at their task.

-       No evaluation had made public prosecutors lazy, working for fixed hours and wait for their salaries on fix time.

-       Conviction rate even in heinous cases is above 10%.

-       This system ensures just and fair evaluation because there is no scope for partiality.

-       Experts train them to improve verbal and non-verbal communication like voice modulation and expressions.

-       Whatsapp groups have been formed which will be used to post written arguments which allow others to point out lacuna and court judgments that can be cited in support.

Reference: https://indianexpress.com/article/india/lessons-from-madhya-pradesh-how-to-prosecute-criminals-and-get-convictions-6019076/


From worst to best: How a Haryana village improved its sex ratio

Till 2015, Barna village in Kurukshetra district of Haryana figured among the villages with poorest sex-ratio at birth (SRB) of 548 girls to 1000 boys. By July this year, Barna has touched the SRB of 1,158 and figures among the state’s villages with highest sex-ratio.

Steps that lead to it:

-       Asha Workers keep track of all pregnant women and ensure that they do not go for a sex-determination test or termination of their pregnancy.

-       Asha Workers indulge in a door-to-door contact programme across the village on a monthly basis and keep track of such pregnancies.

-       Where a medical termination of pregnancy (MTP) is required or has taken place, Asha Workers  keep a record of it.

-       Repeated counselling, awareness campaigns, crackdown on quacks gradually helped medical fraternity to change people’s psychology.

-       Asha Workers create awareness about family planning, ensuring timely vaccination and regular monitoring of the pregnancy and works as an “informer” for the health department.

-       Haryana government gives a cash reward of Rs 1 lakh to the person giving information on illegal sex-determination tests or illegal termination of pregnancy. It has helped in countering the quacks operated.

-       Doctors at primary health care centre provides adequate medical care to the pregnant women.

-       Awareness and massive advertisement-campaigns on Beti Bachao Beti Padhao has helped change people’s mindset.



What leads to decline in Sex Ratio?

-       Availability of Pre Natal Sex Determination facility is the main reason of low sex ratio in India

-       Patriarchal societies in many parts of India have translated their prejudice and bigotry into a compulsive preference for boys and discriminations against the girl child.

-       Women work is always socially devalued with limited autonomy in decision making.

-       Dowry is the main cause of low sex ratio.

-       Extreme poverty and lack of education are also some of the reasons for women’s low status in society.

-       Infant mortality rate is the number of death of babies before the age of one. Due to female foeticide, the sex ratio declines terribly. Maternal mortality also contributes to the declining sex ratio as most of the women die during the childbirth due to improper care and less facilities.

-       There is a lack of empowerment of women especially in the rural areas. Women do not enjoy opportunities as men do. Due to lack of education, women are unable to establish their roles in many places.

-       In most parts of India, women are considered as commodities. People are worried about the dowry issue with the birth of a girl child. Due to financial problem, most of the families in rural areas prefer male child over female.

Government's initiatives to tackle it:

-       Beti Bachao, Beti Padhao campaigns introduced by the government to generate awareness and improve the efficiency of the welfare services meant for women.

-       Sukanya Samriddhi Account aims at opening a new account for the girl child and provides a higher return on investment.

-       The Girl Child Protection Scheme is aimed at preventing the gender discrimination by protecting the rights of the girl child. It also tries to eliminate the negative attitudes and practices against the girl child.

-       Pre-Natal Diagnostic Techniques (Regulation and Prevention of Misuse) Bill(introduced in Parliament in 1991, passed in 1994 to stop female infanicide and many more such Acts.

Reference: https://indianexpress.com/article/india/from-worst-to-best-how-a-haryana-village-improved-its-sex-ratio-6019129/

Punjab: ‘English language proficiency in govt schools will help in foreign studies, jobs’

Krishan Kumar, the Secretary of School Education in Punjab, is credited with transforming the government schools of the state.

Why English is necessary:

-       People send their wards to private schools because they are English medium.

-       People who may not have abundant financial resources prefer those schools because they feel English-medium schools impart quality education.

-       English is a global international language.

-       Proficiency in it will enable our students to tap into an array of employment avenues.

Development of English of School Children:

-       Specially-designed teaching/learning material and practice worksheets are provided to the students.

-       The content of the syllabus has been prepared to make the teaching-learning easy, interesting and effective.

-       District and blocklevel mentors are provided training in these techniques and they, in turn, hold training workshops at the block level to equip and motivate teachers to introduce these in their classes.

-       Punjab have also set up English labs and clubs.

-       Punjab have also taken to reading under the “Library Langar” programme wherein lakhs of books lying in the school libraries have been made available to students.

-       WhatsApp groups of teachers, students and parents have been formed to share good practices and solve problems.

-       Punjab have also started a special programme on the pattern of IELTS coaching for developing language skills for students from Grade 6 to 12.

-       The school buildings have been spruced up, learning aids adorn the walls and we have smart classrooms for e-learning.

-       The schools have been given a “smart look’ in every sphere.

-       Under the “Word of the Day” project, schoolchildren are taught one word each in English and Punjabi. The idea behind developing vocabulary and language skills in both English and Punjabi is to enable our students to face the challenges of globalisation while strengthening their cultural roots.

Reference: https://indianexpress.com/article/india/punjab-english-language-proficiency-in-govt-schools-will-help-in-foreign-studies-jobs-6019084/



Southwest monsoon withdrawal pushed to Sept-end: IMD

This year, the withdrawal of the Southwest monsoon will most likely see a month-long delay as it is not expected to commence anytime this week.

According to officials at the India Meteorological Department (IMD), the criteria for withdrawal are yet to be fulfilled with sporadic rainfall still reported over parts of Punjab and Rajasthan, from where the monsoon withdrawal commences.

Conditions for Withdrawal :

-       Reduction in rainfall for five consecutive days.

-       Formation of an anticyclone system.

-       Considerable reduction in moisture levels along the northwest areas mainly covering Rajasthan and Punjab.

IMD observation:

-       Still presence of feeble western disturbance along the extreme western parts of the country.

-       Moisture content recorded at multiple stations in Rajasthan during the recent days ranged from 40 per cent to 85 per cent.

-       The withdrawal is most likely to be further delayed and pushed towards the end of this month, like that in 2018.

-       With a fresh low pressure system expected to form over the Bay of Bengal, IMD has forecast more rainy days for Odisha, Maharashtra and Madhya Pradesh.


Is Indian Ocean helping Atlantic currents?

In the Atlantic operates a large system of ocean currents, circulating the waters between the north and the south.

Called Atlantic Meridional Overturning Current, or AMOC, it ensures the oceans are continually mixed, and heat and energy are distributed around Earth. For the last 15 years, however, scientists have been worried by signs that AMOC may be slowing, which could have drastic consequences on global climate.

How AMOC Works:

-       As warm water flows northwards in the Atlantic, it cools, while evaporation increases its salt content.

-       Low temperature and a high salt content raise the density of the water, causing it to sink deep into the ocean.

-       The cold, dense water deep below slowly spreads southward.

-       Eventually, it gets pulled back to the surface and warms again, and the circulation is complete.

-       This continual mixing of the oceans, and distribution of heat and energy around the planet, contribute to global climate.

What is happening?

-       Data since 2004, as well as projections made by some scientists showed a cause for concern. As AMOC is slowing.

-       What is not clear, however, is whether the signs of slowing in AMOC are a result of global warming or only a short-term anomaly.

Role of Indian Ocean:

-       As the Indian Ocean warms faster and faster, it generates additional precipitation.

-       This draws more air from other parts of the world to the Indian Ocean, including the Atlantic.

-       With so much precipitation in the Indian Ocean, there will be less precipitation in the Atlantic Ocean.

-       Less precipitation will lead to higher salinity in the waters of the tropical portion of the Atlantic — because there won’t be as much rainwater to dilute it.

-       This saltier water in the Atlantic, as it comes north via AMOC, will get cold much quicker than usual and sink faster.

-       This would act as a jump start for AMOC, intensifying the circulation.

-       If other tropical oceans’ warming, especially the Pacific, catches up with the Indian Ocean, the advantage for AMOC will stop.

Reference: https://indianexpress.com/article/explained/is-indian-ocean-helping-atlantic-currents-6018986/




Explained: What to expect at the UN General Assembly this week

Nearly 200 leaders will take part in the 74th U.N. General Assembly beginning Monday, for five days of speeches, hundreds of meetings — and clashes over climate change, Iran and trade

Trade wars, migration, energy supplies, climate change and the eradication of poverty underpin the basic themes of the 193-member General Assembly agenda.

-       Some leaders are not coming, notably Presidents Xi Jinping of China and Vladimir Putin of Russia, as well as Benjamin Netanyahu, the embattled prime minister of Israel.

-       There’s also the question of what governments, especially that of Pakistan, might say about India’s ending of the autonomous status of contested Kashmir.

-       President Jair M. Bolsonaro of Brazil dismisses fears about climate change and ridicules critics on Twitter.

-       President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi of Egypt, the former general who has come to symbolize the repression of the Arab Spring revolutions.

-       U.S. officials are expected to present what they have described as evidence that Iran carried out the attack with drones and cruise missiles.

-       Iran will almost certainly assert that Trump ignited the cycle of conflict by withdrawing last year from the 2015 nuclear agreement with major powers and re-imposing onerous sanctions that are crippling its economy.

-       The General Assembly gives the administration an opportunity to “continue to slow walk a military response in favour of more coalition-building and political and economic pressure.

Climate Change:

-       About 60 heads of state plan to speak at the Climate Action Summit on Monday, and officials aim to announce initiatives that include net-zero carbon emissions in buildings.

US-China Trade War:

-       US-China will create a more productive atmosphere for resumed trade negotiations after weeks of acrimony.

-       Some administration officials are pushing for Trump to address other issues considered sensitive by China, including the pro-democracy protests in Hong Kong, the repression of Tibetans and the detentions of more than 1 million Muslims, mostly ethnic Uighurs.

Reference: https://indianexpress.com/article/explained/explained-what-to-expect-at-the-un-general-assembly-this-week-6019842/


Explained: What’s fanning onion price hike & why govt steps aren’t cooling it down

Onion has been making news, first for its shooting prices in wholesale markets and then for the many efforts by the central government to control the increasing price.

Onion Prices:

-       According to data of the Price Monitoring Cell (PMC) of the Consumer Affairs department, the retail price of onion has increased by Rs 20-25 per kilo across the country in the last six months.

Reasons for Price Rise:

-       The current increase in onion prices is a fallout of last year’s drought and the delayed monsoon this year.

-       Some onion-growing areas have reported excessive rain, and harvest period has been delayed by a week or so.

-       Farmers across the country take three crops of onions and this ensures uninterrupted supply across the year.

-       kharif (sown between May and July and harvested in October-December) and late kharif ( sown in August- September and harvested in January- March) are not amenable for storage as they have higher moisture content.

-       The imported onions are expected to arrive by the end of November, and even the new crop from Maharashtra would have arrived by then.

Government Steps:

-       The state-run MMTC had floated contracts for importing 2,000 tonnes of onions from ‘Pakistan, Egypt, China, Afghanistan and other countries of origin’.

-       The Centre also tried to restrict exports by sharply hiking the Minimum Export Price (MEP) to $850 per tonne.

-       The government had ended the 10 per cent export subsidy for the bulb.

-       The central government had created a buffer stock of 57,000 tonnes, of which 18,000 tonnes have already been offloaded.

Reference: https://indianexpress.com/article/explained/explained-whats-fanning-onion-price-hike-why-govt-steps-arent-cooling-it-down-6017324/

PM Modi’s first stop in Houston: Meet with energy CEOs

Prime Minister Narendra Modi met the CEOs and senior executives of 17 global energy companies Saturday and they discussed ways to deepen cooperation as part of the strategic partnership.

The combined net worth of these energy companies is US$1 trillion with a presence in 150 countries — all of them have some engagement with or presence in India.

CEO Point of View:

-       Lauded the government’s efforts towards Ease of Doing Business.

-       Supported reforms and policies.

-       Upbeat on the Indian economy.

Agreement Signed:

-       US natural gas company Tellurian and India’s largest LNG importer Petronet LNG Ltd have signed an MoU for imports up to 5 million tonnes of LNG from America.

-       The deal will also include PLL’s equity investment in Tellurian’s Driftwood project.

Energy ties between India-US

-       The US began selling crude oil to India in 2017 — in 2017-18, US supplies were just 1.4 million tonnes.

-       It jumped over four-fold in 2018-19 to 6.4 million tonnes valued at billion.

-       The US accounts for less than 5% of India’s total imports.

Reference: https://indianexpress.com/article/india/pm-modis-first-stop-in-houston-meet-with-energy-ceos-6019271/