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The Hindu Newspaper Analysis 27 February 2023

The Hindu Newspaper Analysis for UPSC

The Hindu Newspaper Analysis 25 February 2023

  • The formal launch of the Indian Oil Corporation’s patented solar cook-stove.
  • India Energy Week 2023 (February 6-8, 2023 in Bengaluru as part of the G-20 calendar of events)
  • The quest for renewable and decentralised technology in poor households has closely followed energy crises.
  • Public money is now funnelled into heavily subsidised large-scale private projects that produce green energy largely for commercial use. Today, technical innovation in renewable energy policy, despite its pretensions, serves to entrench a highly uneven energy landscape.

 The Hindu Editorial Today

  • Many barriers on the road to gender equality have been removed, but many roadblocks remain. Women have fought hard to get to the present when, thanks to higher education and work opportunities, they can dream of balancing work and home, though couple equity is still not a reality for many.
  • The battle for rights related to reproductive health has been a hard-fought one but women have been successful at persuading governments to initiate policy changes to improve their health and well-being.
  • It is in this context that the Supreme Court of India’s directive to a petitioner to approach the Union Ministry of Women and Child Development to frame a policy on menstrual pain leave has to be seen.
  • Pointing out that there are different “dimensions” to it, a three-judge Bench led by Chief Justice of India D.Y. Chandrachud said the biological process must not become a “disincentive” for employers offering jobs to women.
  • In India, Kerala and Bihar have menstrual pain leave; the food delivery app Zomato has also introduced it. Indonesia, Japan, South Korea, Spain and Zambia have this policy included in labour laws.
  • Also in India, there are other problems in need of addressing such as lack of sanitation facilities in school and at the workplace, especially in the informal sector. Between 2010 and 2020 the percentage of working women dropped from 26% to 19%, according to World Bank data.
  • To encourage more women to join the workforce, it is imperative they have access to higher education and more opportunities. Sometimes, girls have to drop out from school simply because there are no toilets.
  • In a world that should strive to become a better place for all, it is the responsibility of the wider society and governments to ensure that no section is left behind.

  • It has been two years since the government issued the Information Technology (Intermediary Guidelines and Digital Media Ethics Code) Rules through which the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting (I&B) was given the task of regulating content on OTT and online platforms.
  • The Rules provide for a grievance redressal mechanism and a code of ethics. They mandate access control mechanisms, including parental locks, for content classified as U/A 13+ or higher and a reliable age verification mechanism for programmes classified as ‘A’ (18+).
  • Though the OTT Rules were notified in 2021, there is little awareness about them among the general public. The Rules mandate the display of contact details relating to grievance redressal mechanisms and grievance officers on OTT websites/interface.
  • A periodic audit of the actual existence and efficacy of access controls and age verification mechanisms and the display of grievance redressal details by each OTT platform may be undertaken by an independent body.
  • India’s OTT regulatory model seeks to be an efficacious combination of self-regulation and legal backing. This is in line with the global trend.

  • For instance, the Centre is yet to clear wages worth thousands of crores in West Bengal and Rajasthan. The recently introduced Aadhaar-based payment system (ABPS) will impact close to 80% of workers in Maharashtra who are yet to complete the relevant formalities. Also, the Budget allocated to the scheme was slashed by 33% for FY24.
  • From February 1, 2023, payments to MGNREGS beneficiaries were to be made only through ABPS. However, as on February 20, only 44% of total workers in India were eligible for ABPS. In 14 States, more than 50% of workers were not eligible. In Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh, Bihar and Maharashtra, where more that 2 crore workers each are enrolled under the scheme, over 60% were not eligible.
  • Further, several States such as West Bengal, Madhya Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, Maharashtra and Nagaland are running negative balances with payments pending for wages and material.
  • This makes it difficult for them to take up new work. At the same time, they have pending payments ranging from ₹200 crore to over ₹1,000 crore.
  • In Gujarat, Telangana, Bihar, Rajasthan and Uttar Pradesh, while the existing balance is positive, the pending payments far exceed the balance, which if cleared, will push the States into negative territory.

  • The Supreme Court has directed the government to place on record within six weeks the steps taken by it to implement its nearly 10-year-old judgment to end manual scavenging and prevent future generations from the “inhuman practice” while making entry into sewers without safety gear a crime even in emergency situations.
  • A Bench led by Justice S. Ravindra Bhat recently took judicial notice of the fact that manual scavenging and deaths of people trapped in sewer lines continue though the practice was banned with the introduction of the Employment of Manual Scavengers and Construction of Dry Latrines (Prohibition) Act, 1993 and the Prohibition of Employment as Manual Scavengers and Their Rehabilitation Act, 2013.
  • The Employment of Manual Scavengers and Construction of Dry Latrines (Prohibition) Act 1993
  • It set imprisonment of up to one year and a fine of Rs 2,000 for pushing a person to manual scavenging.
  • Self Employment Scheme for Rehabilitation of Manual Scavengers (SRMS) 2017
  • It is a successor scheme to the National Scheme for Liberation and Rehabilitation of Scavengers and their Dependents (NSLRS) with the objective to rehabilitate remaining manual scavengers and their dependents in alternative occupations, in a time-bound manner.
  • Prohibition of Employment as Manual Scavengers and their Rehabilitation Act, 2013
  • The Act put an end to the practice of any form of manual cleaning, carrying, disposing or handling of human waste.
  • The act says the National Commission for Safai Karamcharis (NCSK) would monitor implementation of the Act and enquire into complaints regarding contravention of the provisions of the Act.

National Commission for Safai Karamcharis

  • It was constituted on 12th August 1994 as a statutory body by an Act of Parliament viz. National Commission for Safai Karamcharis Act, 1993, for a period of three years i.e. up to 31st March 1997.
  • However, the validity of the Act was extended up to March 2002 and then up to February 2004 vide Amendment Acts passed in 1997 and 2001 respectively.

Constitutional Safeguards

  • The Right to Live with Dignity is implicit in the Fundamental Rights guaranteed in Part III of the Constitution.
  • Article 46 of the Constitution, on the other hand, provides that the State shall protect the weaker sections particularly, the Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes from social injustice and all forms of exploitation.

  • Last week, the India Meteorological Department (IMD) warned that the maximum temperatures over northwest, west, and central India would be 3-5°C higher than the long-term average. On February 21, the national capital recorded its third hottest February day (33.6° C) in more than five decades.
  • According to the IMD, a region has a heat wave if its ambient temperature deviates by at least 4.5-6.4°C from the long-term average. There is also a heat wave if the maximum temperature crosses 45°C (or 37°C at a hill-station).
  • Heat waves are formed for one of two reasons — warmer air is flowing in from elsewhere or it is being produced locally. It is a local phenomenon when the air is warmed by higher land surface temperature or because the air sinking down from above is compressed along the way, producing hot air near the surface.
  • First of all, in spring, India typically has air flowing in from the west-northwest. This direction of air-flow is bad news for India for several reasons. In the context of climate change, West Asia is warming faster than other regions in latitudes similarly close to the equator, and serves as a source of the warm air that blows into India.
  • Next, the strong upper atmospheric westerly winds, that come in from the Atlantic Ocean over to India during spring, control the near-surface winds. Any time winds flow from the west to the east, we need to remember that the winds are blowing faster than the planet itself, which is also rotating from west to east. The energy to run past the earth near the surface, against surface friction, can only come from above. This descending air compresses and warms up to generate some heat waves.
  • Finally, the so-called lapse rate — the rate at which temperatures cool from the surface to the upper atmosphere — is declining under global warming. In other words, global warming tends to warm the upper atmosphere faster than the air near the surface. This in turn means that the sinking air is warmer due to global warming, and thus produces heat waves as it sinks and compresses.
  • The other factors that affect the formation of heat waves are the age of the air mass and how far it has travelled.
  • The north-northwestern heatwaves are typically formed with air masses that come from 800-1,600 km away and are around two days old. Heat waves over peninsular India on the other hand arrive from the oceans, which are closer (around 200-400 km) and are barely a day old.

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What is National Commission for Safai Karamcharis?

It was constituted on 12th August 1994 as a statutory body by an Act of Parliament viz. National Commission for Safai Karamcharis Act, 1993, for a period of three years i.e. up to 31st March 1997.

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