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The Hindu Editorial Daily News Analysis – 8th Jan 2018

Standing up for human rights

  • India must hasten(जल्दी करना) to bring in an anti-torture law
  • This is because the torture of individuals in state custody remains a brazen human rights abuse that
    mocks our governance even as we claim human dignity as the end objective of the Indian state
  • Supreme Court- (Puttaswamy, 2017, M.Nagaraj, 2006).
  • New year with hope in the future,approach towards eliminating torture
  • We have been caught between legislative lassitude(अवसाद) and judicial abdication(त्याग)
  • India became a signatory to the Convention AgainstTorture in 1997,
  • We have not been able to ratify it or have in place a domestic legislation
  • Right to life with dignity read into Article 21 of the Constitution.
  • In a departure from judicial precedents established in Vishakha (1997), D.K. Basu (1997), Vineet Narain (1997), Association for Democratic Reforms (2002), Swami AchyutanandTirth (2016) and the Triple Talaq (2017) case, the Supreme Court
  • Acts of custodial torture continue to defy(उपेक्षा करना) mock the SC declaration
  • Despite the 2010 recommendation of the Select Committee of the Rajya Sabha supported by the
    • 1)-National Human Rights Commission,
    • 2)-Law Commission of India and
    • 3)-Repeated assurances given on behalf of Indian government at UN Universal Periodic Review.
  • Those facing criminal trials and extradition proceedings abroad have questioned the country’s investigative and criminal justice system in absence of an effective and enforceable law against custodial torture.
  • Judicial inconsistency and an irrational flexibility destructive for law to function in our polity.
  • This year should be the year of a fulsome affirmation of our right to question
  • Let us keep digging in for the values that define our nation.

The problem of land hoarding

  • Government owns more land than it admits, large swathes of which are unused or underutilised
  • The information provided by the Government Land Information System (GLIS) is incomplete
  • While various Central Ministries admit to owning only about 13,50,500 hectares of land, disparate
    official sources suggest that the correct •figure is several times more
  • The problem of unused land
  • What is worse is that a large proportion of government land lies unused.
  • Ministries of Railways and Defence, respectively, have 43,000 hectares and 32,780 hectares of land lying vacant, without even any proposed use.
  • According to reports of the Comptroller and Auditor General of India (CAG), the 13 major port trusts have 14,728 hectares of land lying idle.
  • These numbers are staggering, but they are only the tip of the iceberg.
  • Large part of the unused land is high value property in prime areas in major cities.
  • Land hoarding by government agencies has created artificial scarcity and is one of main drivers of skyrocketing(आसमान छू ने) urban real estate prices.
  • Middle- and lower-income households •find adequate housing unaffordable.
  • High land prices also reduce competitiveness by increasing the cost of industrial and developmentprojects.
  • Scams involving the
    1)-Adarsh Cooperative Housing Society,
    2)-Srinagar air-field project, and
    3)-Kandla Port Trust
  • Many examples of alleged complicity between private developers and local officials to misuse government land
  • State level too, instances abound of public land being resold to private entities in dubious deals
  • CAG also reports that none of the government agencies maintains adequate ownership records.
  • Land use patterns
  • Input for production, not only in agriculture but also in secondary and tertiary sectors
  • A useful measure of this is the •Floor space index (FSI), if a single-storey building occupies 50% of a plot, the FSI would be 1/2.
  • If the building is expanded vertically to have four stories, the FSI will go up to two (4 times 1/2)
  • Demand for land increases with both population density and economic growth
  • Therefore, to maintain efficiency, the FSI should also increase.
  • FSI should be the highest in major city centres, where the demand for space is highes
  • Most Indian cities defy these basic tenets of urban planning
  • Main reason is large areas of unused government land with an irresponsibly low FSI
  • FSI in Shanghai is four times of that of Delhi and Mumbai.
  • Therefore,as a •First step, the government should agree to disclose its land use and release of excess land, the use of which it cannot justify.

A sum of contributions

  • Routine engagement of the States is crucial to India‟s climate action commitments
  • Emissions Gap Report 2017, released last year ahead of the UN Climate Change Conference, underlined that ful•lment of national pledges related to carbon emission reductions under the Paris Agreement would be inadequate to keep global warming below 2°C.
  • Talanoa Dialogue of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, beginning this month , will facilitate the parties to take stock of progress post-Paris.
  • As a key player in international climate governance, India could set the precedent in deepening
  • Dialogue process through an action-oriented, bottom-up  approach,collaboration of its States.
  • India has committed to meet its current target of 33% reduction inemission intensity of the
    2005 level by 2030, by generating 40% of its energy from renewables.
  • States are important for the realisation of this goal.
  • Currently,Telangana and Chhattisgarh are signatories to this pact from India
  • Enhancing climate actions – to involve routine engagement of States in the international process.
  • States have enormous mitigation potential, but evidence pertaining to its effectiveness is still scarce.
  • Therefore, India must look towards creating knowledge action networks and partnerships underboth national and State action plan frameworks.
  • Kerala has taken the lead to build such a knowledge network funded by the National Mission on Strategic Knowledge for Climate Change.

Prelims Focus Facts-News Analysis

  • Page-1– It will be on the record, but not on paper
  • The Centre is proposing a shift to paperless, digitised working in Parliament and State legislatures
  • The Centre is keen to bring its “go green initiative” to
    the hallowed portals of Parliament and State
    Assemblies and move to paperless functioning and
    digitised proceedings.
  • eSansad and eVidhan is part of the agenda.
  • In 2016, for instance, the government more than halved the number of printed Budget copies from the previous figure of 5,100. In 2017, on Budget day, only Members of Parliament got hard copies.
  • Page-1– INS Arihant
  • Nuclear submarine was damaged when water entered its propulsion chamber
  • Indigenous nuclear submarine INS Arihant su•ered major damage because of possible human error
  • Page-1-Willing to talk to Kim, saysTrump
  • U.S. President said talks between North Korea & South Korea scheduled for next week were an outcome of his “•firm stance”
  • He could talk to North Korean leader Kim Jong-un on the phone.
  • Page-1-UIDAI under •re for FIR against scribe
    Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI), which has •led an FIR against a journalist who exposed a breach in its Aadhaar database, denied that it was trying to gag the media or whistle-blowers.
  • Page-3-Food poisoning, a common outbreak in 2017
  • Recent data put out by the Union Health Ministry‟s Integrated Disease Surveillance Programme (IDSP) has indicated that food poisoning was one of the commonest outbreaks reported in 2017.
  • Page-3– Boost to gravitational wave study
  • India to set up observatory which is expected to start functioning by 2025
  • India‟s role in studying gravitational waves — touted as one of the most important discoveries of the recent past — will increase once the proposed gravitational wave observatory is set up in the country, David Reitze, executive director of Laser Interferometer Gravitational sWave Observatory (LIGO).
  • Page-13- Don‟t divestAI, give it 5 years to revive: panel
  • „Must not be evaluated solely from business point of view‟
  • This is not the appropriate time to divest government
    stake in Air India (AI), which should be given at least •five
    years to revive and its debt written o•, a Parliamentary
    panel is likely to tell the government

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