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News Analysis

  • 25 Jan 2022
  • 32 min read
International Relations

Army Rule in Burkina Faso

For Prelims: Location of Burkina Faso and other West African Countries, United Nation, African Union, ECOWAS, Patriotic Movement for Safeguard and Restoration.

For mains: Regional Groupings, Important International Institutions, Reason for Recent Coups in Africa and its Impact

Why in News

Recently, Burkina Faso’s army announced that it had ousted President Roch Kabore, suspended the constitution, dissolved the government and the national assembly, and closed the country’s borders.

Key Points

  • Burkina Faso:
    • A former French colony, Burkina Faso has suffered chronic instability since gaining independence in 1960, including several coups.
    • The country's name, meaning "land of the honest men", was picked by revolutionary military officer Thomas Sankara who took power in 1983. He was toppled and killed in 1987.
    • Since 2015, the country has been fighting an Islamist insurgency that spilled over from neighbouring Mali. This has fuelled anger in the military and damaged the once important tourist industry.
    • Landlocked Burkina Faso, one of West Africa’s poorest countries despite being a gold producer, has experienced numerous coups since independence from France in 1960.
    • Islamist militants control swathes of Burkina Faso’s territory and have forced residents in some areas to abide by their harsh version of Islamic law, while the military’s struggle to quell the insurgency has drained scarce national resources.
    • Kabore had faced waves of protests in recent months amid frustration over killings of civilians and soldiers by militants, some of whom have links to Islamic State and al Qaeda.
      • The discontent escalated in November 2021, when 53 people, mainly members of the security forces, were killed by suspected jihadists.
  • About:
    • The announcement cited the deterioration of the security situation and what the army described as Kabore’s inability to unite the West African nation and effectively respond to challenges, which include an Islamist insurgency.
    • The statement was made in the name of a previously unheard-of entity, the Patriotic Movement for Safeguard and Restoration, or MPSR, its French-language acronym. MPSR, which includes all sections of the army.
    • The MPSR said it would propose a calendar for a return to constitutional order “within a reasonable time frame, after consultations with various sections of the nation.”
    • The military also announced the closure of Burkina Faso's borders.
  • Global Response:
    • African and Western powers denounced what they called an "attempted coup" and the European Union demanded the "immediate" release of the President.
    • The United States also called for the President's release and urged "members of the security forces to respect Burkina Faso's constitution and civilian leadership."
    • The United Nations’ Secretary-General strongly condemns any attempted takeover of the government by the force of arm in Burkina Faso and calls on the coup leaders to lay down their weapons.
    • The African Union and regional bloc, Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), have also condemned the forceful takeover of power, with ECOWAS saying it holds the soldiers responsible for the deposed president's well-being.
      • The African Union is a continental body that consists of 55 states belonging to the African continent.
      • ECOWAS is made up of fifteen member countries that are located in the Western African region.

Source: IE


Indian Society

National Girl Child Day

For Prelims: National Girl Child Day.

For Mains: Rights of the girl child, related issues and steps needs to be taken.

Why in News

India celebrates National Girl Child Day every year on 24th January.

Key Points

  • About:
    • The National Girl Child Day was first initiated in 2008 by the Ministry of Women and Child Development.
    • The main focus is on changing society’s attitude towards girls, decrease female feticide and create awareness about the decreasing sex ratio.
  • ‘Save The Girl Child’ Webinar:
    • It was organised by the National Commission for Women (NCW) to promote rights of girl child and to increase awareness on various topics concerning girls including their education, health and nutrition.
  • Pradhan Mantri Rashtriya Bal Puraskar-2022:
    • Twenty-nine children were given the award on the occasion for their exceptional achievements in innovation, social science, education, sports, arts and culture and for demonstrating bravery.
    • They were given digital certificates using blockchain technology and a cash prize of Rs. 1 lakh at an event held online.

Issues Related to Girl Child

  • Female Infanticide and Foeticide:
    • India has one of the highest rates of female foeticide in the world.
    • Female foeticide is due to strong son preference, the practice of dowry and the patrilineal necessity of heir.
    • The census of 2011 has recorded the lowest ever sex ratio of 914 in the age group 0-6 years with 3 million missing girls; from 78.8 million in 2001 to 75.8 million in 2011.
  • Child Marriage:
    • Each year, at least 1.5 million girls under 18 get married in India, which makes it home to the largest number of child brides in the world - accounting for a third of the global total. Nearly 16% of adolescent girls aged 15-19 are currently married.
    • While child marriage has declined, it has been marginal: from 27% in 2015-16 to 23% in 2019-20, according to National Family Health Survey (NFHS) 5.
  • Education:
    • Girls are encouraged and also engaged more in household work and drop out of school at an early age.
      • A study by the International Centre for Research on Women has found that girls out of school are 3.4 times more likely to be married or have their marriage already fixed than girls who are still in school.
  • Health and Mortality:
    • Girls in India face discrimination both inside their homes and outside in their communities. Inequality in India means unequal opportunities for girls.
    • Under-five mortality for girls in India remains 8.3% higher than for boys. Globally this is 14% higher for boys.

Steps taken by the Government

  • Beti Bachao Beti Padhao: Launched in 2015 with the aim to address sex selective abortion and the declining child sex ratio which was at 918 girls for every 1,000 boys in 2011.
  • Sukanya Samriddhi Yojana: Launched in 2015, in order to promote the welfare of girl child. It encourages parents to invest and build funds for the future studies and marriage expenses of the girl's children.
  • CBSE Udaan Scheme: UDAAN is a project launched by the CBSE to address the low enrolment of girl students in prestigious engineering institutions and the teaching gap between school education and engineering entrance examinations.
  • National Scheme of Incentive to Girls for Secondary Education (NSIGSE): It is a Centrally Sponsored Scheme launched in 2008, which aims to promote enrollment of girl child in the age group of 14-18 at secondary stage, especially those who passed Class VIII and to encourage the secondary education of such girls.

Way Forward

  • The answer to delaying child marriages lies in ensuring access to education since the practice is a social and economic issue.
    • Skill & business training and sex education in schools, will also help..
  • An awareness campaign is required on a massive scale on the increase in age of marriage, and to encourage social acceptance of this new legislation (Prohibition of Child Marriage (Amendment) Bill), which would be far more effective than coercive measures.
  • The NFHS findings are also a reminder of the urgent need to close gaps in girls’ education and address the pathetic nutritional status of women and children.

Source: PIB


Indian Economy

Push to Electronic Manufacturing in India

For Prelims: National Policy on Electronics (NPE) 2019, Design Linked Incentive (DLI) Scheme

For Mains: Electronic industry, related issues and its role in making India self-reliant.

Why in News

India is likely to achieve electronics production of USD300 billion by 2026, lower than the target of USD400 billion by 2025 set as per the National Policy on Electronics (NPE) 2019.

  • The given estimate is according to a 5-year roadmap and vision document titled “USD300 bn Sustainable Electronics Manufacturing & Exports by 2026” released by the Ministry of Electronics and IT (MeitY) in association with the India Cellular & Electronics Association (ICEA).
    • ICEA is the apex industry body of the mobile and electronics industry comprising manufacturers.
  • This roadmap is the second volume of a two-part vision document – the first of which titled “Increasing India’s Electronics Exports and Share in Global Value Chain (GVCs)” was released in November 2021.

Key Points

  • Growth of Electronics Manufacturing:
    • According to the document, the reduced target still aims for a 400% increase from the current level.
    • Mobile manufacturing that is expected to cross USD100 billion annual production - up from the current USD30 billion - is expected to constitute nearly 40% of this ambitious growth.
  • Products Expected to Lead:
    • Amongst the key products that are expected to lead India’s growth in electronics manufacturing include Mobile Phones, IT Hardware (laptops, tablets), Consumer electronics (TV and audio), Industrial electronics, Auto electronics, Electronic components, LED Lighting, Strategic electronics, PCBA (Printed Circuit Board Assembly), Wearables and hearables, and Telecom equipment.
  • Challenges:
    • There are various challenges being faced by the industry across qualitative (non-tariff, infrastructure related) and quantitative (tariff, free trade agreements etc.) aspects.
  • Suggestions:
    • For achieving the target of USD300 billion in electronics manufacturing by 2025-26, primary focus must be building of scale through incentives and removal of cost disabilities.
    • The documents also called for ‘swift changes’ in respect of existing policies within the next 1,000 days, including stability in import tariffs, decrease in import tariffs for components with no manufacturing base in India, development of skill sets and encouraging major foreign manufacturers to set up components ecosystems in India.
    • It makes a strong recommendation on the need to focus on aggregate domestic value addition in the electronics sector, as India transforms from its current state to one that is gearing to compete with the likes of China and Vietnam.
    • It also details the importance of the key role Indian champions will play in addition to global companies – both of whom are already part of the Production-Linked Incentive (PLI) Schemes.
      • The USD300 billion electronics manufacturing comes on the back of the USD10 billion PLI Scheme announced by the government to propel forward the Semiconductor and Display ecosystem. The government has committed nearly USD17 billion over the next 6 years across four PLI Schemes – Semiconductor and Design, Smartphones, IT Hardware and Components.
  • Related Initiatives:

India Electronics Manufacturing industry

  • About:
    • Electronics manufacturing had grown from USD37.1 billion in 2015-16 to USD67.3 billion in 2020-21.
      • However, Covid-19 related disruptions impacted the growth trajectory in 2020-21 and led to a decline in the manufacturing output to USD67.3 billion.
    • According to the document, there has been a complete shift in strategy which goes beyond the vision of import substitution to "Make in India for the World".
    • This fresh outlook is aimed at transforming India's manufacturing prowess by focusing on competitiveness, scale and exports.
    • Furthermore, continuing on the path of import substitution, India's domestic electronics market is estimated to reach at best USD150-180 billion from the current USD65 billion over the next 4-5 years.
      • Thus, exports of USD120-140 billion are critical to reach the USD300 billion mark for electronics manufacturing.
    • This, in turn, is key for the USD5 trillion economy, USD1 trillion digital economy, and the USD1 trillion export target envisaged by MeitY (Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology) and the Ministry of Commerce and Industry, respectively.
  • Importance:
    • The increasing labour costs in China, the geo-political trade and security environment, and the Covid-19 outbreak are compelling many global electronics majors to look at alternative manufacturing destinations and diversifying their supply chains.
    • India is one of the leading contenders for alternate solutions for global electronics companies.
    • The electronics sector has the potential to become one of the top exports of India in the next 3-5 years. Electronics exports may account for significant contributions to the Indian economy in terms of foreign exchange earnings and employment generation.

Source: TH


Science & Technology

Negative Ion Technology

For Prelims: Radioactivity, Negative ion technology.

For Mains: Concerns related to negative ion Technology.

Why in News

Recently, the Authority for Nuclear Safety and Radiation Protection (ANVS), Netherlands issued a statement identifying various negative ion wearable products containing more Radioactivity than legally permitted.

Key Points

  • About:
    • Negative ion technology embeds negative ions in personal products and is currently being advertised as a means to maintain health, balance energy, and improve well-being.
    • This technology is used in certain silicone wristbands, quantum or scalar-energy pendants, and kinesthesiology tape.
      • Negative ions are also made when sunlight, radiation, air, or water break down oxygen.
    • The minerals that produce these negative ions often include naturally occurring radioactive substances such as uranium and thorium.
    • It is believed that negative ions create positive vibes and uplift the mood. They show the various mental and physical health benefits, such as stress reduction, better sleeping, respiration etc. whereas these ions may also act on pollutants, make them negatively charged and get them collected on surfaces.
  • Related Concerns:
    • The radiation detected in some of these products has been higher than the background level and in some cases high enough to require licensing.
    • The minerals used in products contain varying levels of radioactivity, it can be difficult for the consumer to know exactly how radioactive these items are.
      • Radioactivity is the act of emitting radiation spontaneously.
    • The products were found to contain radioactive materials and therefore continuously emit ionizing radiation, thereby exposing the wearer.
    • Exposure to ionizing radiation can cause adverse health effects and wearing the products for extended periods could pose health risks that include tissue and DNA damage.
    • Exposure can also cause severe harmful effects such as: Skin burns, Acute radiation sickness that causes cancer and hairfall, Temporary reduction in white blood cells, Possible chromosomal damage, Reduction in resistance to infection.
    • IAEA (International Atomic Energy Agency) researchers found that the undergarment industry in Malaysia and elsewhere advertised that their “negative ion undergarments” contain tourmaline, monazite and zircon, all known to contain uranium and thorium.
  • Efforts:
    • In “Radiation Protection and Safety of radiation Sources: International Basic Safety Standards” (2014), the IAEA considers that the frivolous use of radiation or radioactive substances in toys and personal jewelry or adornments, which result in an increase in activity, is unjustified.
    • The IAEA published a specific safety guide titled “Radiation Safety for Consumer Products (2016).
    • In India, the Atomic Energy (Radiation Protection) Rules, 2004 contains provisions consistent with those of the IAEA.

Source: TH


Biodiversity & Environment

Environment Management Plan for Najafgarh Jheel

For Prelims: National Green Tribunal, Environment Management Plan, Najafgarh jheel, National Wetland Authority, Sarus Crane and other Birds, Central Asian Flyway, Microclimate

For Mains: Environmental Pollution & Degradation, Njafgarh Jheel and its significance, National Green Tribunal.

Why in News

Recently, the National Green Tribunal (NGT) has directed Delhi and Haryana to enforce the Environment Management Plan (EMP) that the two governments have prepared for the rejuvenation and protection of the Najafgarh Jheel, a transboundary wetland.

  • The implementation of these action plans is to be monitored by the National Wetland Authority through the respective State Wetland Authorities.
  • Earlier, the Union Environment Ministry had set up a three-member committee to prepare an integrated EMP.

Key Points

  • The Environment Management Plan:
    • The top priority would be to notify the Najafgarh jheel and its area of influence under The Wetlands (Conservation and Management) Rules, 2017.
      • The rules prohibit and regulate certain activities within wetlands and their ‘zone of influence’.
    • It lists immediate measures to be taken including demarcating the boundary of the wetland using geo-tagged pillars, and commissioning a hydrological assessment and species inventory.
    • Medium-term measures to be implemented in two to three years include in-situ treatment of major drains meeting the Najafgarh jheel, regular monitoring of the waterbird population, and relocating flow obstructions such as power sub-stations.
      • The jheel is known to be a habitat for migratory and resident waterbirds.
    • It also proposes a detailed estimation of sewage generation in the area considering 15 years of projected population, and identification of all drains contributing to pollution in the jheel.
  • Najafgarh Jheel:
    • It is located in a natural depression in southwest Delhi, close to the Gurugram-Rajokri border on National Highway-48.
    • The lake is largely filled with sewage from Gurugram and surrounding villages of Delhi. A portion of the lake falls in Haryana.
    • The presence of 281 bird species, including several threatened ones such as Egyptian vulture, Sarus Crane, Steppe Eagle, Greater Spotted Eagle, Imperial Eagle and those migrating along the Central Asian Flyway has been reported at the lake.
  • Related Concerns:
    • Once spread over 226 sq km, the water body straddling Delhi and Gurugram has shrinked to just seven sq km due to rampant encroachment.
      • According to Indian National Trust for Art and Cultural Heritage (INTACH), the revival of the jheel would yield around 20 million gallons of water a day to support a population of 3.5 lakh.
      • INTACH is a non-profit charitable organisation registered under the Societies Registration Act, 1860.
    • Despite being the source of several benefits and sustaining habitats of diverse species, Najafgarh Jheel has been highly fragmented and transformed, built upon, used as a waste receptacle, and infested with invasive species.
    • The Sahibi river, of which Najafgarh Jheel was the natural floodplain, has been converted virtually into a drain. The decimation of wetlands has exposed the neighbouring settlements in Haryana and Delhi to high risks of pluvial flooding and reduced groundwater levels.
    • Recent constructions within the wetlands, while impeding natural wetland functions, are precarious owing to high seismicity and liquefaction within the region.
  • Significance:
    • The Najafgarh Jheel is a critical natural infrastructure for the region, buffering floods, treating wastewater, recharging groundwater (with high potential for water supply to significant population) and providing habitat to numerous plant, animal and bird species.
    • It can regulate the microclimate by virtue of being a heat and carbon sink. In fact, if the EMPs are properly and fully implemented, the jheel can become central to the National Capital Region’s ability to mitigate the local effects of climate change.

National Green Tribunal

  • It is a specialised body set up under the National Green Tribunal Act (2010) for effective and expeditious disposal of cases relating to environmental protection and conservation of forests and other natural resources.
  • With the establishment of the NGT, India became the third country in the world to set up a specialised environmental tribunal, only after Australia and New Zealand, and the first developing country to do so.
  • The NGT Act provided a specialised role to the tribunal to act on issues where a dispute arose under seven specified laws (mentioned in Schedule I of the Act): The Water Act, The Water Cess Act, The Forest Conservation Act, Air Act, Environment Protection Act, Public Liability Insurance Act and the Biological Diversity Act.
  • The NGT has five places of sittings, New Delhi is the Principal place of sitting and Bhopal, Pune, Kolkata and Chennai are the other four.

Wetlands

  • Wetlands are areas where water is the primary factor controlling the environment and the associated plant and animal life. They occur where the water table is at or near the surface of the land, or where the land is covered by water.
  • Wetlands are defined as: "lands transitional between terrestrial and aquatic eco-systems where the water table is usually at or near the surface or the land is covered by shallow water".
  • 2nd February is World Wetlands Day. It was on this date in 1971 that the Ramsar Convention on Wetlands was adopted in Ramsar, Iran.

Source: IE


Important Facts For Prelims

Subhash Chandra Bose Awards for Disaster Management

Why in News

The Gujarat Institute of Disaster Management (GIDM) and Professor Vinod Sharma, the founder co-ordinator of the National Centre of Disaster Management, have been selected for the Subhash Chandra Bose Aapda Prabandhan Puraskar for 2022 for their excellent work in disaster management.

  • The GIDM was established in 2012 and since then it has been working to enhance the Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR) capacity of Gujarat.
  • Professor Vinod Sharma has worked tirelessly towards bringing DRR to the forefront of the national agenda.

Key Points

  • About the Awards:
    • The central government has instituted the annual award —Subhash Chandra Bose Aapda Prabandhan Puraskar—to recognise and honour the invaluable contribution and selfless service rendered by individuals and organisations in India in the field of disaster management.
    • The award is announced every year on 23rd January, the birth anniversary of freedom fighter Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose.
    • It carries a cash prize of Rs. 51 lakh and a certificate in the case of an institution and Rs. 5 lakh and a certificate in the case of an individual.
  • Disaster Risk Management:
    • Disaster Risk Management implies the systematic process of using administrative decisions, organisation, operational skills, and capacities to implement policies, strategies and coping capacities of the society and communities to lessen the impact of natural hazards and related environmental and technological disasters.
    • These comprise all forms of activities including structural and non- structural measures to avoid (prevention) or to limit (mitigation and preparedness) adverse effects of hazards.
    • There are three key stages of activities in disaster management:
      • Before a disaster: To reduce the potential for human, material, or environmental losses caused by hazards and to ensure that these losses are minimised when disaster strikes;
      • During a disaster: To ensure that the needs and provisions of victims are met to alleviate and minimise suffering; and
      • After a disaster: To achieve rapid and durable recovery which does not reproduce the original vulnerable conditions.
    • The Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction 2015-2030 was adopted at the Third UN World Conference in Sendai, Japan, in 2015.
      • The Sendai Framework is the successor instrument to the Hyogo Framework for Action (HFA) 2005-2015: Building the Resilience of Nations and Communities to Disasters.
    • The different phases of disaster management are represented in the disaster cycle diagram.

Source: IE


Important Facts For Prelims

Basal Stem Rot: Fungi

Why in News

Researchers from Kerala have identified two new species of fungi from the genus Ganoderma that are associated with coconut stem rot disease.

Key Points

  • About:
    • The two fungi species are Ganoderma keralense and G. pseudoapplanatum.
    • The butt rot or basal stem rot of coconut is known by several names in different parts of India: Ganoderma wilt (Andhra Pradesh), Anaberoga (Karnataka) and Thanjavur wilt (Tamil Nadu), to mention a few.
    • The infection begins at the roots, but symptoms include discolouration and rotting of stem and leaves. In the later stages, flowering and nut set decreases and finally the coconut palm (Cocos nucifera) dies.
    • A reddish brown oozing is seen. This oozing has been reported only in India.
    • Once infected, recovery of the plants is not likely. Not surprising then, that this causes a huge loss: By some estimates made in 2017, in India, around 12 million people are said to depend on coconut farming.
    • Another sign of infection is presence of shelf-like “basidiomata,” which are the fruiting or reproductive structures of the fungus, on the tree trunks.
  • Fungi:
    • Fungi can be single celled or very complex multicellular organisms.
    • They are found in just about any habitat but most live on the land, mainly in soil or on plant material rather than in sea or freshwater.
    • A group called the decomposers grow in the soil or on dead plant matter where they play an important role in the cycling of carbon and other elements.
    • Some are parasites of plants causing diseases such as mildews, rusts, scabs or canker.
    • A very small number of fungi cause diseases in animals. In humans these include skin diseases such as athletes’ foot, ringworm and thrush.

Source: TH


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