Topic 1 : Peruvian Ceviche
Why in news: The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) Adds Peruvian Ceviche To Intangible Cultural Heritage List.
What Is Ceviche?
- Ceviche is a Peruvian dish consisting of fish or shellfish marinated in citrus and seasonings.
- Different versions of ceviche are popularly consumed in several Spanish-American countries, not just Peru.
- According to local anthropologists, ceviche was first consumed in the area now known as Peru starting more than 2,000 years ago.
- There are at least 1,000 different ways to prepare ceviche.Topic 2 : Iftar
Why in news: Iftar included in the UNESCO’s intangible cultural heritage list
- The joint proposal for this sociocultural tradition was submitted by Iran, Turkey, Azerbaijan, and Uzbekistan.
- Iftar refers to the evening meal that Muslims eat to break their daily fast during the holy month of Ramadan.
- According to UNESCO, Iftar, also known as eftari or iftor, is a practice observed by Muslims at sunset throughout the month of Ramadan, following the completion of all religious and ceremonial obligations.
- The Intergovernmental Committee for the Safeguarding of Intangible Cultural Heritage, meeting in Botswana, granted official recognition to this age-old communal practice.Topic 3 : Santiago Network
Why in news: The draft text on the Santiago Network has been adopted by the Parties and sent to the Conference of the Parties serving as the meeting of the Parties to the Paris Agreement (COP / CMA).
- Loss and damage:
- The collaborative framework aims to connect vulnerable developing countries with technical support and resources to effectively address and manage loss and damage caused by climate change.
- Both developing country groups had brought in the financial target option of $400 billion per year of adaptation finance till 2030 into the text.
- The groups also highlighted that even with doubling of adaptation finance, the gap would be bridged only by 5-10 per cent.
- Fossil fuel phaseout and climate finance
- COP28 should mark the beginning of the end for fossil fuels, calling for a phaseout of all fossil fuels.
- There needs to be a broader understanding on what climate finance means.
- It was important to assess the willingness of private companies, banks, governments to reduce the impact of climate change, even as countries negotiate the figure for the New Collective Quantified Goal on Climate Finance.
- Scientists spoke about the importance of satellite measurements in mapping methane emissions or plumes from different sectors and how they can help improve inventories maintained by countries.
- The waste sector has seen the launch of LOW Methane, an initiative to drastically amplify global action to reduce methane emissions from the waste.
- It aims to deliver at least one million tonnes of annual waste sector methane reductions well before 2030.
- Various companies have joined the Dairy Methane Alliance, a global initiative to accelerate food industry action to drive down methane emissions from the sector.
- The enteric fermentation research and development accelerator (globally coordinated research effort into livestock methane reduction) has received $200 million mitigation funding.
Topic 4 : Climate Change Performance Index
Why in news: India ranked 7th in this year’s Climate Change Performance Index, up one spot from the previous one.
- India also remained among the highest performers.
- The Index monitored Climate Mitigation Efforts of 63 Countries plus the EU covering more than 90 per cent of the Global Greenhouse Gas Emissions.
- India has received a high ranking in the greenhouse gas Emissions and Energy Use categories, but a medium in Climate Policy and Renewable Energy
- While India is the world’s most populous country, it has relatively low per capita emissions.
- In the per capita GHG category, the country is on track to meet a benchmark of well below 2 degrees Celsius.
- The Index reported that India is trying to meet its Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs), with clear long-term policies in place that focus on promoting renewable energy and providing financial support for domestic manufacturing of renewable energy components.
- Despite that, India’s growing energy needs are still being met by its heavy reliance on coal, along with oil and gas.
- This dependence is a major source of greenhouse gas emissions and causes severe air pollution, especially in the cities.
- India has relatively high taxes on petrol and diesel, which are intended to act as carbon taxes.
Key global findings:
- The current energy crisis clearly demonstrates how the world remains dependent on fossil fuels.
- Countries such as Chile, Morocco and India (ranked 6 to 8) have consistently performed well in the CCPI and are closing in on leading countries such as Denmark and Sweden (ranked 4 and 5).
- However, the largest emitter, China, falls sharply behind, dropping 13 ranks (now ranked 51) in the new index to the ‘very low’ category and joining the second largest emitter, the US (ranked 52).
- None of the 60 largest emitters is on a 1.5°C pathway yet, which means that the first three ranks of the index remain unoccupied.
- Policymakers should adopt ecosystem-based solutions and consider equity.
- India’s announcement at COP26 that India will achieve net-zero emissions by 2070 shows a lack of ambition and political will.
- There is a need for more effective policy implementation that takes a more bottom-up approach, including the demands of tribal and rural communities.
- There is a need for:
- a faster phase-out of coal,
- reduced reliance on gas, and
- expanded renewable energy.
- India should fulfil its potential in climate action by moving up the timeline for reaching Net Zero to no later than 2050.
- There is a need for the creation of people-friendly, climate-friendly, sustainable infrastructure that is affordable, accessible, and available to all while taking the location’s cultural and social context into account.
- Published annually since 2005, the Climate Change Performance Index (CCPI) tracks countries’ efforts to combat climate change.
- It is published by Germanwatch, the NewClimate Institute and the Climate Action Network.
- It is an independent monitoring tool.
- It aims to enhance transparency in international climate politics and enables comparison of climate protection efforts and progress made by individual countries.
- The CCPI aims to inform the process of raising climate ambition.
- The CCPI can be a powerful instrument to hold governments accountable for their responsibility to act on the climate crisis and of stimulating a race to the top in climate action.
Topic 5 : Universal Declaration of Human Rights
Why in news: Seventy-five years ago, the UN General Assembly approved the Universal Declaration of Human Rights at a meeting in Paris – laying one of the foundation stones of the international order that emerged following the horrors of World War II.
What is the Universal Declaration?
- The Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) is an international document adopted by the United Nations General Assembly that enshrines the rights and freedoms of all human beings.
- It was drafted by a UN committee chaired by Eleanor Roosevelt on 10 December 1948 at the Palais de Chaillot in Paris, France.
- The declaration was proclaimed as a common standard of achievement for all peoples and all nations.
- It is a relatively compact document and consists of a preamble and 30 articles setting out fundamental rights and freedoms.
- Article 1 states that all human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights.
- Article 2 says that everyone is entitled to all the rights and freedoms the declaration sets out without distinction of any kind, such as race, colour, sex, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, property, birth or other status.
- The declaration says that “all are equal before the law” and that everyone is entitled to “a fair and public hearing by an independent and impartial tribunal.”
- It says that everyone has the right to seek and to enjoy in other countries asylum from persecution.
- The declaration enshrines the rights:
- to freedom of religion;
- to freedom of opinion and expression;
- to freedom of peaceful assembly.
- And it says that everyone has the right to education.
What did it achieve?
- The declaration isn’t a treaty and isn’t legally binding in itself, but the principles it sets out have been incorporated into many countries’ laws and it is viewed as the basis for international human rights law.
- It is recognized as having inspired and paved the way for more than 70 human rights treaties at global and regional levels.Topic 6 : World’s first law on AI regulation
Why in news: European Union reached a provisional deal on the world’s first set of comprehensive laws to regulate the use of artificial intelligence (AI).
About the EU framework
- The legislation includes safeguards on the use of AI within the EU, including clear guardrails on its adoption by law enforcement agencies.
- Consumers have been empowered to launch complaints against any perceived violations.
- The deal includes strong restrictions on facial recognition technology, and on using AI to manipulate human behavior.
- It has provisions for tough penalties for companies breaking the rules.
- Governments can only use real-time biometric surveillance in public areas only when there are serious threats involved, such as terrorist attacks.
Classification of AI applications:
- The EU legal framework broadly divides AI applications into four risk classes:
- Some applications will be largely banned, including:
- the deployment of facial recognition on a mass-scale, with some exemptions for law enforcement.
- AI applications focused on behavioural control will be also banned.
- High risk applications such as the use of AI tools for self-driving cars will be allowed, but subject to certification and an explicit provision for the backend techniques to be made open to public scrutiny.
- Those applications that fall in the “medium risk” category can be deployed without restrictions, such as generative AI chatbots
- But there has to be detailed documentation of how the tech works and users have to be explicitly made aware that they are dealing with an AI and not interacting with a human.
- Developers will need to comply with transparency obligations before they release chatbots into the markets, including details about the contents used for training the algorithm.
- Some applications will be largely banned, including:
- New Delhi has pitched itself, especially to nations in the Global South, as a country that has effectively used technology to develop and deliver governance solutions, at a mass scale.
- These solutions are at the heart of Digital Public Infrastructure (DPI) – where the underlying technology is sanctioned by the government and is later offered to private entities to develop various use cases.
- Now, India wants to take the same DPI approach with AI.
- With sovereign AI and an AI computing infrastructure, New Delhi is hoping to focus on real-life applications of the tech in healthcare, agriculture, governance, language translation, etc., to catalyse economic development.
Topic 7 : Pradhan Mantri-Janjati Adivasi Nyaya Maha Abhiyan (PM-JANMAN)
Why in news: Recently, the Tribal Affairs Ministry told the Rajya Sabha that the population of Particularly Vulnerable Tribal Groups (PVTGs) was not in decline, citing information provided by the Office of the Registrar General and Census Commissioner of India (ORGI).
- The above announcement was in variance with the State-wise Census data provided by the Ministry to a Parliamentary panel last year showing that the numbers of these tribal groups fell almost 40% in at least nine States and Union Territories in the first decade of this century.
Who are the PVTGs?
- PVTGs are a more vulnerable group among tribal groups in India.
- These groups have:
- primitive traits,
- geographical isolation,
- low literacy,
- zero to negative population growth rate and
- They are largely dependent upon hunting for food and a pre-agriculture level of technology.
- PVTGs also collect Non-Timber Forest Produce (NTFP) like honey, gum, bamboo and wax for consumption as well as sale.
- Due to their diet, these tribes often suffer diseases like anaemia, malaria, gastrointestinal disorders and skin infections.
- Government of India created PVTG list with the purpose of enabling improvement in the conditions of those communities in priority basis.
- During the fourth Five Year Plan a sub-category was created within Scheduled Tribes to identify groups that considered to be at a lower level of development.
- This was created based on the Dhebar Commission report and other studies.
- This sub-category was named “Primitive tribal group“.
- Groups that satisfied any one of the criterion were considered as PTG.
- There are total of 75 PVTGs in India.
- No new group was declared as PTG on the basis of the 2001 census.
- In 2006 the government of India renamed “Primitive tribal group” as Particularly vulnerable tribal group.
- Criteria for identifiaction of PVTGs:
- Pre-agricultural level of technology
- Low level of literacy
- Economic backwardness
- A declining or stagnant population.
- The government of India initiated the identification of these PVTGs in 1975, and an additional 23 groups were added to the category in 1993.
- The highest number of PVTGs are found in Odisha (15), followed by:
- Andhra Pradesh (12),
- Bihar and Jharkhand (9),
- Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh (7),
- Tamil Nadu (6) and
- Kerala and Gujarat (5 each).
- The rest are scattered in:
- Maharashtra and West Bengal (3 each),
- Karnataka and Uttarakhand (2 each), and
- one each in Rajasthan, Tripura and Manipur.
- All the four tribal groups in the Andaman, and one in Nicobar Islands, are recognised as PVTGs. The last available Census that counted all 75 communities was from 2001, which put their total number around 27.6 lakh.
- The Cabinet recently approved the ₹24,000 crore Pradhan Mantri-Janjati Adivasi Nyaya Maha Abhiyan.
- The allocation cleared by the Union Cabinet for this package stood at ₹24,104 crore out of which the central share would be ₹15,336 crore and the share for the respective State governments would stand at ₹8,768 crore.
- The implementation of the programme will be done through nine ministries, which will ensure that existing schemes are taken to these PVTG-inhabited villages.
- The targets that the government has set for itself are to:
- build 4.9 lakh pucca homes,
- lay 8,000 km of connecting roads,
- link all households with piped water,
- set up 1,000 mobile medical units,
- construct 2,500 anganwadi centres,
- 1,000 multipurpose centres and 500 hostels,
- install mobile towers in 3,000 villages.
- The plan also intends to set up vocational and skill training centres in 60 aspirational PVTG blocks and build 500 Van Dhan Vikas Kendras to help people trade in forest produce.
- It will be in addition to connecting 1 lakh of these households to an off-grid solar power system and bringing in solar street lights.
- Lack of current data:
- Even as the government proceeds to implement the project, the principal challenge facing it is the lack of current data.
- While the Ministry of Tribal Affairs has said that it had started conducting baseline surveys to measure the progress of the campaign, it is yet to compile an accurate and current dataset of their populations.
- The government has not yet made any results of the baseline surveys public.
- No Census since 1951 had accounted for PVTGs separately and has not submitted any data on their socio-economic indices to the House panel either.
- In 2013, a National Advisory Council (NAC) report on the state of PVTGs had recommended that as a first, the Ministry of Tribal Affairs should design and conduct a Census specifically for the PVTG communities to not just enumerate but also find out the status of education, health, and housing.Topic 8 : Crimes against women
Why in news: The crime rate may have declined in 2022 (258.1 per lakh population compared to 268 per lakh population in 2021), but crimes against women rose 4% in 2022 compared to 2021, according to the annual report of the National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) released recently.
Nature of the majority of crimes against women:
- The majority of crimes against women were of:
- cruelty by husband or his relatives (31.4%),
- kidnapping and abduction of women (19.2%),
- assault on women with intent to outrage her modesty (18.7%) and
- rape (7.1%).
- 13,479 cases were registered under the Dowry Prohibition Act.
- Patriarchal society:
- Activists and lawyers attribute this to a patriarchal society.
- Despite high levels of education, male mindsets and societal attitude remain unchanged.
- Regressive value systems:
- India over the last few years has witnessed a strengthening of regressive value systems which women’s movements had struggled to overcome for decades.
- There is a glorification of anti-women practices.
- Dowry or bride price both connote commodity status of women who are traded between families for their productive and reproductive labour.
What does an increase in the registration of crimes against women indicate?
- The NCRB’s report reveals that over 4.45 lakh cases of crimes against women were registered in 2022, equivalent to nearly 51 FIRs (first information report) every hour.
- The rate of crimes against women per lakh population stood at 66.4 while the filing of charge sheets in such cases was pegged at 75.8.
- The high crime rate is an indicator of the persistent “lower status and inequality” faced by women and girls.
- Women and girls continue to be treated as permanent shock absorbers across class, caste and other axes.
- It is an outcome of reconstruction of patriarchy in the neo-liberal economy era.
- The rise can also be attributed to the fact that though India has tough laws for protection of women, their implementation remains a challenge.
- Increase in numbers should not be equated with increase in crime.
- For instance:
- With 14,247 cases in 2022, Delhi recorded the highest rate of crimes against women in the country at 144.4 per lakh, way above the country’s average rate of 66.4.
- The higher numbers show that more cases are being registered in Delhi.
- In contrast, in many other parts of India, the registration of crime is low and the fear of the police high.
- Women in many States, particularly in the rural areas, would not even visit a police station unaccompanied by a male relative.
- For instance:
Key laws for women’s safety:
- Some of the key laws for women’s safety in India are:
- The Immoral Traffic (Prevention) Act, 1956,
- The Dowry Prohibition Act, 1961,
- The Commission of Sati (Prevention) Act, 1987,
- Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act, 2005,
- The Sexual Harassment of Women at Workplace (Prevention, Prohibition and Redressal) Act, 2013 and
- The Indecent Representation of Women (Prohibition) Act, 1986.
- Implementation faces dual problems of shoddy investigation by police and time taken by courts to deliver justice.
- Lack of officers:
- There is a severe lack of police officers with requisite training for investigations.
- Most of the investigating officers are juniors with a poor pay scale.
- This hampers the actual investigation and preparation of chargesheets.
- Time consuming process:
- When the case reaches the courts, the cases take four to five years.
- If there is an appeal, it takes another 10-15 years.
- Despite fast-track courts for looking into grievous crimes, the fact is they remain as slow as ever.
- There is no seriousness in dealing with the crime.
- Low proportion of women officers:
- While women police officers are involved in all crimes against women, their proportion in the force is dismal and the rate of their recruitment is very slow in all States without exception.
- This also causes disproportionate levels of workload on women police personnel leading to slower rates of charge-sheeting and convictions.
- The representation of women in the police force (as of January 1, 2022) remained at 11.7% of the total state police force.
- This puts undue stress on the limited workforce leading to a high pendency.Topic 9 : Definition of Jammu & Kashmir resident
Why in news: Since the time of the Dogra rulers of the erstwhile princely state, successive governments have sought to define the real inhabitants of Jammu and Kashmir.
Evolution of the definition:
1927: Four classes of state subjects of Maharaja Hari Singh
- The Dogra ruler of J&K, Maharaja Hari Singh designated the inhabitants of his princely state as “state subjects”, and divided them into four categories.
- Class I state subjects were those:
- who were born and were resident in the state before the commencement of the reign of Maharaja Gulab Singh, the first Dogra king, in 1846;
- those who had settled in J&K and had been permanently residing in the state before the commencement of Samvat year 1942, corresponding to 1885.
- Class II included people who had come from other places and permanently settled in J&K, and had acquired immoveable property there before the close of Samvat year 1968 (1911), when Maharaja Pratap Singh was on the throne.
- Class III subjects included permanent residents who had acquired under a “rayatnama” (concession) any immovable property in J&K, and those who might have subsequently acquired any such property under an “ijazatnama” (permission).
- Class IV included companies of public nature registered within the then state, and in which the government was financially interested, or satisfied about their financial stability, or which were of economic benefit to the state.
- These entities were declared state subjects by a special order of the Maharaja.
- Class I state subjects were those:
- Under the 1927 order, the state subjects of Class I were to receive preference over other classes of subjects, and state subjects of Class II were to be privileged over Class III, in matters of:
- grant of state scholarships,
- state lands for purposes of agriculture and building a house, and
- for recruitment to state service.
- The order also said that the descendants of persons who were state subjects of any class would be entitled to become state subjects of the same class.
- The wife or widow of a state subject of any class shall acquire the status of her husband as state subject of the same class as her husband, so long as she resides in the state and does not take up permanent residence elsewhere.
1932: State subjects living abroad, and foreign nationals in J&K
- On June 27, 1932, Hari Singh issued another order determining the status of state subjects of J&K living in foreign countries, and to inform the governments of foreign states as to the position of their nationals staying in his state.
- All emigrants from J&K to foreign territories, and their descendants born abroad for two generations, were to be considered state subjects.
- These nationals of J&K shall not be entitled to claim the internal rights granted to the subjects of the state by law, unless they fulfilled the conditions laid down by those laws and the rules for the specific purposes mentioned therein.
- On foreign nationals residing in J&K, the order said they shall not acquire the nationality of the state until after the age of 18, and on purchasing immovable property under an ijazatnama, and on obtaining a rayatnama after 10 years of continuous residence as laid down in the 1927 order.
1956: Under the constitution of the erstwhile state of J&K
- On November 17, 1956, the Constituent Assembly of Jammu and Kashmir adopted a separate constitution for the then state.
- It redefined state subjects as “permanent residents”.
- It said that every person who is, or is deemed to be a citizen of India under the provisions of the Constitution of India shall be a permanent resident of the state, if on May 14, 1954:
- he was a state subject of Class I or of Class II or,
- after having lawfully acquired immoveable property had been ordinarily resident in the state for not less than 10 years prior to that date.
- About people who were Class I/ II state subjects, and who had migrated to areas which later became part of Pakistan, if such a person returns to the state under a permit for resettlement or for permanent return issued by or under the authority of any law made by the state legislature, he shall on such return be a permanent resident of the state.
2003-04: HC order and Mufti govt Bill on status of women residents
- After the adoption of the J&K constitution, women were made to lose their status of permanent resident if they married a person from outside the state.
- This changed after a full bench of the state High Court ruled in a majority verdict in 2003 that there was no provision in the 1927 notification or in the Jammu and Kashmir constitution that on marrying a non-permanent resident, the daughter of a permanent resident shall lose her status as a permanent resident of the state.
After 2019: Relaxing the definition, identifying ‘domiciles’ of the UT
- After the August 5-6, 2019 amendment of Article 370 and bifurcation of J&K into two Union Territories, the central government redefined “permanent residents” of J&K as “domiciles”.
- The new definition said that anyone could be a domicile of the UT of J&K if:
- they had resided therein for 15 years; or
- studied there for seven years and appeared for their Class 10/12 examination in an educational institution in J&K; or
- those who had registered as migrants, and their children.
- It included the children of officials of the central government, including:
- All India Service officers,
- Public Sector Undertakings,
- autonomous bodies,
- recognised research institutes, and
- central universities who had served in J&K for a total of 10 years.
- It included the children of officials of the central government, including: