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Note:  The following Current affairs has been selected from AIR, PIB, PRS, BBC, The Hindu, IDSA (Institute for Defence Studies and Analyses), Live mint, Indian Express, Quora.com, Hindustan Times, Telegraph, The Times , WTO, New Indian express , The Guardian and is highly recommended for UPSC Prelims and Mains Examination


News Analysis: 19-12-2018

National News

General Studies-II : Welfare schemes for vulnerable sections of the population by the Centre and States and the performance of these schemes; mechanisms, laws, institutions and Bodies constituted for the protection and betterment of these vulnerable sections.


Centre drafts child protection policy

  • A code of conduct for employees of all organisations and a declaration signed by them agreeing to ensure the safety of children are some of the provisions included in the Centre’s draft national child protection policy, prepared on the prodding of the Supreme Court in the wake of the Muzaffarpur shelter abuse case.

  • The Ministry of Women and Child Development has placed the draft policy on its website and invited comments from stakeholders until January 4.

  • This will be the first policy dedicated to the protection of children, an area that until now was only a part of the broader National Child Policy, 2013.

  • The Supreme Court had earlier directed the CBI to investigate allegations involving 17 shelter homes for children, destitute women, beggars and senior citizens in Bihar following the case of sexual abuse of more than 30 girls in a shelter home in Muzaffarpur in the State.

  • The Supreme Court had also asked the Centre to consider framing a national policy on protection of children.

  • As per the draft, the policy will apply to “all institutions, and organisations (including corporate and media houses), government or private sector”.

  • The draft policy recommends that all organisations must have a code of conduct based on “zero tolerance of child abuse and exploitation”.

  • It requires organisations to lay down that employees don’t use language or behaviour that is “inappropriate, harassing, abusive, sexually provocative, demeaning or culturally inappropriate”.

  • Institutions should also designate a staff member to ensure that procedures are in place to ensure the protection of children as well as to report any abuse.

  • Any individual who suspects physical, sexual or emotional abuse must report it to the helpline number 1098, police or a child welfare committee

  • Unlike the National Child Policy, 2013, the latest document doesn’t talk about children who may need special protection: including those affected by migration, communal or sectarian violence, children forced into begging or in conflict with the law, and those infected with HIV/AIDS.

  • It also doesn’t talk about the role of the State for ensuring the protection of child rights or addressing local grievances.


Source: The Hindu


General Studies-III : Conservation, environmental pollution and degradation, environmental impact assessment Disaster and disaster management.


Bolstering Paris

  • The Katowice consensus does not adequately reflect the challenge to limit global warming

  • The UN Climate Conference held in Katowice, Poland, has moved ahead with the implementation of the Paris Agreement through a rule book, reflecting strong support among citizens of all countries for urgent action to avert dangerous climate change.

  • Public pressure has prevailed over scepticism, although the outcome does not adequately reflect the short window available to make deep greenhouse gas emissions cuts.

  • Yet, the Paris Agreement, endorsed by 195 countries under the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), has a long road ahead before carbon emissions can be pegged at levels flagged by scientists.

  • Recently, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), in a special report, issued a stark warning on man-made emissions.

  • It said that to cap the rise in global average temperature over pre-industrial levels at 1.5°C, a 45% reduction in emissions over 2010 levels must be made by 2030.

  • This is a challenge for all big economies, including India, which is among the top five emitters of carbon dioxide.

  • In the Indian context, it highlights the need for action on several fronts: scaling up solar and wind power in line with the goal of reaching 175 GW of renewable energy by 2022, steadily reducing reliance on coal, shifting substantially to electric mobility and adopting green industrial processes.

  • Taxing luxury emissions and using the dividend to give the poor energy access has to be the policy target, building on international green climate funding linkages.

  • At Katowice, Indian negotiators put forth legitimate concerns on the likely social impact of the new rules that will operationalise the Paris Agreement in 2020.

  • After all, at an estimated 1.2 tonnes of CO2 per capita, India emits far below the global average of 4.2 tonnes.

  • Yet, cumulative emissions determine the impact on climate, and India’s emissions grew at an estimated 6.3% in 2018.

  • The prospect of increased frequency and intensity of extreme weather events and sea level rise in a warming world affecting small island states allows little room for complacency.

  • The task now is to achieve a paradigm shift that will slow down the addition of new sources of carbon emissions.

  • As a party to the global climate compact, India has to systematically assess its emissions and measure mitigation actions for reporting to the UNFCCC at stock-taking meetings.

  • This is an opportunity to bring major sectors such as energy production, building, agriculture and transport on board, and make changes to regulations that favour environment-friendly alternatives.

  • China has taken the lead in advancing electric mobility, while individual States and cities are ahead of national governments, as in the U.S., in reducing their carbon footprint.

  • A clean-up in India will help meet emissions commitments and remove the blanket of air pollution that is suffocating entire cities.


Source: The Hindu


General Studies-III : Conservation, environmental pollution and degradation, environmental impact assessment Disaster and disaster management.


Fatal fires

  • Fire safety norms for hospitals need to be strengthened and strictly enforced

  • The devastating fire at the Andheri hospital of the Employees State Insurance Corporation in Mumbai that killed at least eight people is a shocking reminder of the low priority fire safety gets in India.

  • That a blaze could break out in a relatively new building with such deadly consequences calls into question the precautions taken by the authorities.

  • The Maharashtra government should conduct a thorough probe and examine the claim made by the Fire Department that the hospital had failed an inspection recently and was served a notice.

  • It would be shockingly negligent if the hospital continued to function without adhering to fire safety standards in spite of an adverse report from the statutory authority.

  • Ironically, ESIC is a welfare organisation working to protect the health and well-being of the labour sector, and is expected to set an example through the quality of its facilities.

  • The Andheri horror evokes memories of the AMRI hospital blaze in Kolkata seven years ago, in which 92 people died. It led to an assessment of hospital safety in all States, but evidently the impact has been patchy at best.

  • In fact, the Justice Tapan Mukherjee Commission appointed by the West Bengal government held the directors of AMRI hospital responsible, since they actively reviewed the institution’s administrative measures.

  • This year, critically ill patients had to be carried outside by relatives during a fire at the Calcutta Medical College and Hospital.

  • A strong building code with features for reduction of fire hazards is important for all structures, but it is more so for hospitals since they host people who are incapacitated and cannot be evacuated quickly.

  • The National Accreditation Board for Hospitals and Healthcare Providers (NABH) goes by the National Building Code and its specific norms for hospitals, which include minimum requirements for multi-storeyed structures, such as alarms, sprinkler systems, specified-width staircases, smoke barrier enclosures and checks against storage of combustible materials in areas where patients are kept.

  • Going forward, all State governments should require mandatory compliance with such safety features for any institution handling patients or giving care.

  • Certification of facilities through third-party audit should be made compulsory to eliminate conflicts of interest involving official agencies.

  • The institutions should also be insured for the highest levels of public liability. At a broader level, governments must shed their indifference and work to make all spaces safe.

  • The situation today is depressing. In private, public or commercial buildings, official agencies tend to favour tokenism rather than high standards for the safety of occupants and visitors.

  • They are ever-willing to “regularise” deviations in construction over time. It is time to fix responsibility for deadly accidents on a single official agency.


Source: The Hindu


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