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bharat ias - Continental ties

Continental ties

Continental ties  Context India begins the heavy-lifting needed to transform economic partnerships in Africa What has happened? The 52nd Annual Meetings of the Board of Governors (the Bank’s highest decision-making body) of the African Development Bank (AfDB) and the 43rd Meetings of the Board of Governors of the African Development Fund (ADF) officially opened in Ahmedabad, India, on Tuesday, May 23, 2017 with calls for greater cooperation between the Bank and India to help drive Africa’s transformation. What is AfDB? The African Development Bank (AfDB) Group is a regional multilateral development finance institution established to contribute to the economic development and social progress of African countries that are the institution’s Regional Member Countries (RMCs). Established on: The AfDB was founded following an agreement signed by member states on August 14, 1963, in Khartoum, Sudan, which became effective on September 10, 1964 HQ: The AfDB headquarters is officially in Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire Three entities: The AfDB comprises three entities: The African Development Bank (ADB) The African Development Fund (ADF) The Nigeria Trust Fund (NTF) Mission of AfDB AfDB’s mission is to Help reduce poverty, improve living conditions for Africans and mobilize resources for the continent’s economic and social development Members The Bank Group has 80 member countries, comprising 54 regional member countries (RMC) and 26 non-regional member countries (NRMC). Future cooperation Maritime cooperation: India is working on a maritime outreach to extend its Sagarmala programme to the southern coastal African countries with ‘blue economies’ Solar connection: India is also building its International Solar Alliance, which Djibouti, Comoros, Cote d’Ivoire, Somalia and Ghana signed on to on the sidelines of the AfDB project Involving other powers:In its efforts, India has tapped other development partners of Africa, including Japan, which sent a major delegation to the AfDB meeting It has also turned to the United States, with which it has developed dialogues in fields such as peacekeeping training and agricultural support, to work with African countries It is significant that during the recent inter-governmental consultations between India and Germany, both countries brought in their Africa experts to discuss possible cooperation in developmental programs in that continent Conclusion At a time when China is showcasing its Belt and Road Initiative as the “project of the century” and also bolstering its position as Africa’s largest donor, a coalition of like-minded countries such as the one India is putting together could provide an effective way to ensure more equitable and transparent development aid to Africa....

Publishes on : 04-Jul-2017 01:22 PM
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bharat ias - Forgotten cogs in the wheels of justice

Forgotten cogs in the wheels of justice

Forgotten cogs in the wheels of justice  Context The exploitation of judicial support staff continues to be widespread  Deplorable working conditions of the judicial support staff and the resultant discontent  Representation by CJAR The Campaign for Judicial Accountability and Reforms (CJAR) made a representation to the Chief Justice of the Punjab and Haryana High Court, detailing cases where employees had alleged harassment by the misuse of rules that regulate their service and the various issues that needed to be addressed Repressive conditions Burdened by heavy volume: The support staff works in repressive conditions with long hours, have no leave, face penalties and fines and often unfair arrest warrants, and are overburdened by the sheer volume of file handling and working out of crowded courtrooms Overburdened by mounting pendency: Mounting pendency of court cases results in an increased volume of court files without an increase in judicial staff strength, leading to them being overburdened. Proper care has not been taken to ensure the appointment of qualified staff. Those who are recruited have little or no on-the-job training. What needs to be done? An effective grievance redress mechanism needs to be put in place Good news Acting on the CJAR representation, The Chief Justice of the Punjab and Haryana High Court has made the first move in directing that all judicial officers in the State appoint home peons by June 30. Further, the order directs that an employee’s post be changed every three years and file handling by ahlmads (a type of judicial support staff) be limited to 800 files. This will go a long way in ensuring a more fulfilling and just working environment ...

Publishes on : 04-Jul-2017 01:21 PM
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bharat ias - An opportunity being drained away

An opportunity being drained away

An opportunity being drained away Context International World Water Day (March 22) this year’s theme was “wastewater”, which is defined as any water that has been adversely affected in quality by anthropogenic influences and as a result of domestic, industrial, commercial and agricultural activities. Facts on wastewater Globally, over 80% of the wastewater generated goes back to the ecosystem without being treated or reused. 8 billion people use drinking water contaminated with faeces which increases their risk of contracting cholera, dysentery, typhoid and polio. Also, 663 million people still lack access to improved drinking water sources. What is the status in India? Safely managed wastewater is an affordable and sustainable source of water, energy, nutrients and other recoverable materials. In India, about 29,000 million l/day (mld) of waste water is generated from class-I cities and class-II towns, out of which about 45% (about 13,000 mld) is generated from metro cities alone. A collection system exists for only about 30% of the wastewater through sewer lines, while treatment capacity exists for about 7,000 mld. The industrial sector in India discharges around 30,730 million cubic metres of effluents, without proper treatment, into waterbodies. Run-off from agriculture fields is another major source of pollution. What should be done? At the national and regional levels, water pollution prevention policies should be integrated into non-water policies that have implications on water quality such as agriculture and land use management, trade, industry, energy, and urban development. Water pollution should be made a punishable offence. The effectiveness and power of the “polluter pay principle” should be considered. Various policies, plans and strategies to protect water resources should be participatory, allowing for consultation between government, industry and the public. At the local level, capacity building enables the community to make decisions and disseminate them to the appropriate authorities, thus influencing political processes. Market-based strategies such as environmental taxes, pollution levies and tradable permit systems should be implemented, and can be used to fight against or abate water pollution. Incentive mechanisms such as subsidies, soft loans, tax relaxation should be included in installing pollution management devices. In industrial pollution management, technological attempts should be made through cleaner production-technology. Sophisticated pollution management technology developed overseas should be introduced in India. The application of eco-friendly inputs such as biofertilizers and pesticides in agriculture and the use of natural dyes in textile industries can reduce the pollution load considerably. ...

Publishes on : 04-Jul-2017 01:20 PM
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bharat ias - Green energy target tough, say officials

Green energy target tough, say officials

Green energy target tough, say officials Context The government had a announced a target of 40 GW of rooftop solar by 2022, but had achieved only about 1.3 GW as of December 2016, which is a little more than 3% of the target. The government is unlikely to meet its much-publicised target of 175 GW of renewable energy by 2022 due to the poor progress of the rooftop solar programme. Issues The policy issue is that the tariff structure right now is such that it is just not remunerative for people to set up rooftop solar. The cost of doing so higher than the money they stand to make. Most roofs in India are flat, and people find several alternative uses for these such as drying clothes, and even hosting parties or meals. There are parts of India where people even sleep on their roofs. So they don’t want to cover that whole space with solar panels,” the official said. There are no financial institutions aggregating demand across a fundamentally disparate set of projects. Unless this is done, it will be difficult to attract the kind of investment needed. The second issue was the de-risking of investment in the rooftop space. While this has been done for commercial solar projects, it has not been done for rooftop solar. The third problem is that there is no regulatory clarity on guaranteed payment by utilities on the net metering basis. What should be done to sort out? The Ministry is considering increasing the contributions of biogas and small hydro to make up the difference. These are doing very well and there is capacity to increase their contribution. The government’s current plan is to get 10 GW from biomass powered plants and 5 GW from small hydro (hydro projects below 25 MW in scale). According to a May 2016 report by the Standing Committee set up by the Ministry of Power, the country has a potential of 19.7 GW of energy capacity from small hydro. It has so far utilised only about 21% of this. ...

Publishes on : 04-Jul-2017 01:18 PM
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bharat ias - Hack It If You Can

Hack It If You Can

Hack It If You Can Context The electronic voting machine has been under strong scrutiny ever since it was deployed in the 1990s. The Indian EVM is a singular instrument with its dependence on standalone hardware-firmware-led machine components to register and tally votes — it is not reliant on computer software or networked components. Questions have been therefore raised about the possibility of EVM-tampering either by the introduction of malicious code (trojans) that could override the logic embedded in the chip, replacing its chip, or manipulating the communication between the ballot and the control units through remote signals or equipment. Steps taken by EC The steps include time-stamping of key presses, dynamic coding in second-generation machines besides tamper-proofing and self-diagnostics in the third-generation machines that are now being deployed. A strict administrative protocol involving first-level checks after manufacture, randomised deployment, sealed strong rooms for storage, and conduct of mock polls has been instituted. The EC has pledged the universal deployment of voter verifiable paper audit trails beginning 2019. Accusations made The Aam Aadmi Party recently demonstrated what it claimed to be a possible hack of the EVM by the introduction of a trojan on to an EVM prototype; it said that, therefore, it was possible to manipulate all EVMs by the replacement of its motherboard (to accommodate a chip that carried a built-in trojan). This critique does not stand scrutiny considering the EC’s technical and administrative safeguards that prevent trojans or the mass manipulation of EVMs. ...

Publishes on : 04-Jul-2017 01:16 PM
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