Children and Domestic Labour
Tag: GS-2 Social Justice
In News: In a recent incident, a couple faced accusations of employing a 10-year-old girl as a stay-at-home caretaker for their 4-year-old son and abused her physically and mentally on multiple occasions.
- Child labour in domestic work refers to situations where domestic work is performed by children below the relevant minimum age (for light work, full-time non-hazardous work), in hazardous conditions, or in a slavery-like situation.
- The International Labour Organization has highlighted specific hazards that pose a significant threat to domestic workers, with children in domestic service being particularly vulnerable.
- The most prevalent risks faced by children are extended and exhausting working hours, exposure to harmful chemicals, the burden of carrying heavy loads, handling hazardous objects like knives and hot pans, and inadequate access to nutritious food and proper accommodation.
- These dangers become even more severe when a child resides in the same household where they are employed as a domestic worker.
Status of Child Labour in India
- According to the National Crime Records Bureau Report of 2022, approximately 982 cases were reported in 2021 under the Child Labour (Prohibition and Regulation) Act of 1986. The state of Telangana had the highest number of registered cases, followed by Assam.
- A study conducted by the Campaign Against Child Labour (CACL) revealed a concerning trend: the proportion of working children among the 818 surveyed children surged from 28.2% to 79.6%. This increase was primarily attributed to the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic and the closure of schools.
- The states in India with the highest number of child labor employers are Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, and Maharashtra.
Reason for the prevalence of Child Labour in India:
- Poverty and economic vulnerability: Many families in India live in poverty and struggle to make ends meet. Children may be forced to work in domestic settings to contribute to the family income, as their labor is often cheaper than that of adults.
- Lack of education: Limited access to quality education in certain regions results in a large number of children dropping out of school. Without proper education, they are more likely to engage in child labor, including domestic work.
- Informal and unregulated nature of domestic work: Domestic work is often carried out within private households, making it difficult for authorities to monitor and enforce child labor laws effectively. This informal nature also makes it challenging to identify cases of child labor and provide the necessary support.
- Traditional cultural norms: In some communities, it is seen as acceptable for children, especially girls, to work in domestic roles from a young age. Gender norms may perpetuate the idea that girls should stay at home and assist with household chores.
- Migration and urbanization: Rural-to-urban migration is common in India, and families often move to cities in search of better opportunities. However, the lack of affordable housing and basic services in urban areas may lead to vulnerable living conditions, which can increase the likelihood of child labor.
- Weak enforcement of child labor laws: India has laws in place to protect children from exploitative labor practices, but implementation and enforcement remain inconsistent in certain areas. This allows some employers to take advantage of child labor without facing consequences.
- Demand for cheap labor: Domestic work is seen as an inexpensive source of labor, leading some households to employ children as domestic help, perpetuating the cycle of child labor.
Socio-Economic Impact of Child Labour
All India Tiger Estimation 2022
Tags: GS – 3: Environment and Conservation
Why in News: Recently, the Government of India released the “Status of Tigers Report 2022” on the occasion of the Global Tiger Day celebrated at the Corbett Tiger Reserve.
Key Highlights of the Report:
- The number of tigers in India has increased from 2,967 in 2018 to 3,682 in 2022, an annual rise of 6%. The upper limit of the tiger population is estimated to be 3925 and the average number is 3682 tigers.
- India currently harbors almost 75% of the world’s wild tiger population.
- India has 53 Tiger Reserves spread across 75,796 km2, effectively covering 2.3% of India’s total land area.
- Central India and the Shivalik Hills and Gangetic Plains witnessed a notable increase in tiger population.
- The Western Ghats experienced localized declines, necessitating targeted monitoring and conservation efforts.
- The largest tiger population of 785 is in Madhya Pradesh, followed by Karnataka (563) & Uttarakhand (560), and Maharashtra (444).
- The tiger abundance within the Tiger Reserve is highest in Corbett (260), followed by Bandipur (150), Nagarhole (141) and Bandhavgarh (135).
- The Global Tiger Day (July 29) was instituted in 2010 at the Tiger Summit in St Petersburg, Russia. In this Summit 13 tiger range countries came together to create Tx2 – the global goal to double the number of wild tigers by the year 2022.
- The Project Tiger was launched by the Government of India on April 1, 1973, at the Jim Corbett National Park of Uttarakhand to promote the conservation of the tiger.
- National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA) was established in 2005 to reorganise the management of Project Tiger and India’s many Tiger Reserves in India.
- In 2006, Management Effectiveness Evaluation (MEE) was adopted from the framework of the IUCN World Commission on Protected Areas.
Corporate Debt Market Development Fund
Tags: GS – 3: Indian Economy (Capital Market)
Why in News: Recently, the government of India has approved the Guarantee Scheme for Corporate Debt (GSCD) to provide a guarantee cover for the debt raised by the Corporate Debt Market Development Fund (CDMDF) that aims to stabilize the corporate bond market during times of stress.
Corporate Debt Market Development Fund (CDMDF):
- The CDMDF is an alternative investment fund established to address the needs of the corporate debt market in India.
- It serves as a backstop facility for investment-grade corporate debt securities, providing stability and enhancing investor confidence in the market.
- It provides a backstop facility of Rs 33,000 crore has been established for Mutual Funds. The government will contribute Rs 30,000 crore, and the Asset Management Companies will provide the remaining Rs 3,000 crore.
Guarantee Scheme for Corporate Debt (GSCD):
- It provides a complete guarantee cover for debt raised by the CDMDF.
- Its primary objective is to enhance investor confidence and provide stability to the corporate debt market.
- Guarantee Fund for Corporate Debt (GFCD) will manage the GSCD. The GFCD is a trust fund formed by the Department of Economic Affairs (DEA) and managed by the National Credit Guarantee Trustee Company Ltd (NCGTC).
- NCGTC is a wholly-owned company of the Department of Financial Services under the Ministry of Finance.
- The scheme is designed to support the purchase of investment-grade corporate debt securities by CDMDF during market dislocation.
SEBI Guidelines for CDMDF:
- During normal market conditions, CDMDF focuses on dealing in low-duration government securities (G-sec), treasury bills, and guaranteed corporate bond repos with a maturity not exceeding seven days.
- When the market experiences dislocation, CDMDF steps in to purchase investment-grade corporate debt securities, providing a safety net for investors.
- CDMDF is authorized to purchase only listed corporate debt securities with a residual maturity of up to five years.
- CDMDF buys securities at a fair price (not at distress price), factoring in liquidity risk, interest rate risk, and credit risk to ensure transparency and market stability.
- CDMDF will be launched as a closed-ended scheme with an initial tenure of 15 years. The possibility of extension lies at the discretion of the Department of Economic Affairs (DEA) in consultation with SEBI.
Land-use changes in Maharashtra’s Sahyadri
Tag: GS Paper-3: Conservation; Environmental Pollution and Degradation.
In News: In the first experiment of its kind, scientists upturned some 7,000 loose rocks in Maharashtra’s Sahyadri to find how creatures from ants to snakes respond to land-use changes in rocky habitats.
About the Experiment
- The study was supported by the United Kingdom-based On the Edge Conservation, the Habitat Trust (India) and the Maharashtra Forest Department apart from BEAG and NCF.
- The animals the scientists focussed on include:
- the white-striped viper gecko (Hemidactylus albofasciatus),
- the Seshachari’s caecilian (Gegeneophis seshachari),
- the saw-scaled viper (Echis carinatus),
- ants, spiders, and scorpions.
- The loose rocks shelter these animals.
- They have evolved to survive on the rocky plateaus, but their adaptability to changing conditions may not be enough for the pace of shift in the land-use pattern.
- By comparing the lesser-known rock-dwelling animal communities in plateaus, abandoned paddy fields and orchards, the team established the baseline for their conservation.
What are the changes in the land use pattern in the region?
- Abandonment of traditional local grain cultivation; and
- Establishment of monoculture plantations of mango and cashew by destroying the natural plateaus.
- The rapid expansion of mango orchards has resulted in the conversion of more than 25,000 hectares of lateritic plateaus.
- Less than 30 animals were found under more than 7,000 rocks on multiple plateaus surveyed, indicating their rarity.
- Given their rarity and vulnerability to change due to ever-increasing orchards, representative plateau habitats need to be preserved in partnership with local communities who are the owners of the land.
Seagrass Fal Estuary
Tag: GS Paper-3: Environmental Pollution & Degradation; Environmental Impact Assessment; Conservation.
In News: A project attempting to restore climate change-fighting marine plants in Cornwall has proved a success in its first year.
About the project:
- The project, ‘Seeding Change Together’ has been funded by Seasalt Cornwall, which has donated £150,000 as part of a three-year partnership.
- About 4,000 seeds were collected from healthy seagrass meadows in the Fal Estuary in the summer of 2022 and planted in mudflats.
- The seeds were planted in the mudflats to test a variety of methods aimed at identifying the most effective ways of restoring and growing seagrass.
- Cornwall Wildlife Trust has stated that the project has produced incredible results and exceeded expectations.
- It said in the future it could lead to the restoration of other estuaries.
- The trust added the project was using technology never previously trialed in Cornwall.
What is seagrass?
- Seagrass is a flowering marine plant that has the potential to capture carbon from the environment up to 35 times faster than tropical rainforests.
- It also provides a habitat for marine life such as juvenile fish and seahorses, cleans surrounding seawater, and helps to stabilize the seabed to protect the coast from erosion.
- In the UK, approximately 92% of seagrass was lost in the last century, due to pollution, disease, and coastal development.
- Additionally, damage from anchoring, moorings, and dredging has impacted the country’s seagrass beds.
Sulfur Dioxide Emission Norms
Tags: GS-III: Environmental norms
In News: Ministry of Power announces compliance requirements for all Thermal Power Plants with emission norms notified by MOEFCC
About Sulphur dioxide emission norms:
- Emission norms are specific rules set by regulatory bodies for compliance to SO2 emission and check its adverse effects on the environment and human health.
- It is based on the location and area categorization of thermal power plants decided by Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change (MoEF&CC) and Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB).
- They aim to limit the release of SO2 into the atmosphere and reduce air pollution caused by various industrial processes, including thermal power plants.
- Thermal power plants are major contributors to SO2 emissions due to the combustion of fossil fuels containing sulphur.
- These are located near sensitive areas, cities with high populations, or critically polluted regions and have stricter specific deadlines for compliance.
- To comply with SO2 emission norms, plants use Flue Gas Desulphurization (FGD) technology which removes sulfur dioxide from flue gas before it is released into the atmosphere.
- The installation of FGD equipment incurs additional costs for thermal power plants, which may be considered for pass-through in tariff by regulatory commissions.
- Overall, By adhering to SO2 emission norms thermal power plants will help contribute to cleaner air, reduced environmental impact, and improved public health.
Tags: GS-III: Science and Tech
In News: Scientists discovers the Ureilite meteorite’s role in the formation of the Dhala crater.
- Ureilite is an extraordinarily rare and ancient type of meteorite and constitutes only a tiny fraction of all known meteorites on Earth.
- These meteorites are classified as a rare class of primitive meteorites and are composed of silicate rock, primarily containing olivine and pyroxene minerals.
- They also contain less than 10% of carbon, in the form of either diamond or graphite, along with metal sulfides and some fine-grained silicates.
- The study of rare meteorites and their impacts offers insights into the early history and processes of our solar system.
- There is a need for researchers to focus on further uncovering the secrets of ureilite impacts to better understand the dynamics of our infant solar system.
- In this regard, exploration of Dhala’s impact will help us understand the possible role of meteors in bringing water to Earth and its impact on the development of life on our planet.
- India has three ancient meteor impact craters: Ramgarh (Rajasthan), Lonar (Maharashtra), and Dhala (Madhya Pradesh).
- The Dhala impact structure was created when a meteor crashed into Earth around 2500-1700 million years ago at an extraordinary speed of 15 km/s forming an impact crater in Madhya Pradesh.
- The Ureilite meteorite responsible for the Dhala crater impact is estimated to be around one kilometer in diameter and is Asia’s largest and the world’s seventh-largest impact crater.
Hazrat Imam Hussain (626 to 680 AD)
Tags: General Studies – 1 History, Personality
Why in the news? Recently, PM Narendra Modi recalled the sacrifices made by Hazrat Imam Hussain (AS) on the occasion of Ashura.
- Hazrat Imam Hussain was a grandson of the Islamic prophet Muhammad and a son of Ali ibn Abi Talib and Muhammad’s daughter Fatima.
- He is the third Imam of Shia Islam after his brother, Hasan, and before his son, Ali.
- He is highly revered for his stand against injustice and tyranny.
- It is a significant day in the Islamic calendar, observed on the 10th day of Muharram.
- It marks the martyrdom of Hazrat Imam Hussain and his followers in the Battle of Karbala in 680 CE.
- The annual commemoration of Ashura is a time for Muslims to reflect on the teachings of Imam Hussain and the values he stood for.
- It is an occasion for renewing the commitment to the principles of justice, compassion, and human dignity that Imam Hussain sacrificed his life for.
- It holds deep religious and spiritual significance for Muslims, especially the Shia community.
Issues with the UDAN scheme
Tags: General Studies – 2 Government Policies & Interventions
Why in the news? UDAN, aimed at improving air connectivity for smaller cities, is facing turbulence as 225 out of 479 RCS routes have ceased operations.
- The government’s biggest claim to success in aviation since 2014 is building “74 airports in seven years”.
- However, only 11 of these airports have actually been built from scratch, while 15 airports have fallen into disuse over this period, due to the collapse of almost half the routes launched under the Regional Connectivity Scheme (RCS).
- The government launched 479 routes to revive these airports, out of which 225 have since ceased operations.
- Commercial Unviability Airlines found 70 routes to be commercially unviable despite the subsidy. SpiceJet operates only 20 out of 74 routes awarded to it under the scheme.
- Airlines cite a lack of readiness in some airports as a reason for not operating certain routes. Examples: Thanjavur, Moradabad, Saharanpur, and Ayodhya airports were not ready for operations.
- Some routes were canceled due to non-compliance by the airline operators. Example: Air Deccan and Air Odisha shut down leading to route cancellations.
- Airlines struggling to establish markets due to low passenger demand. Example: SpiceJet’s attempt to establish markets on certain routes faced low passenger demand.
- The lack of proper infrastructure at certain airports hindered operations. Example: Airports like Thanjavur, Moradabad, Saharanpur, and Ayodhya were not ready for operations.
Tags: General Studies – 2 Government Policies & Interventions
Why in the news? Prime Minister recently launched “Urea Gold”, a new variety of Urea, during an event in Rajasthan’s Sikar.
- It is a new variety of Urea coated with Sulphur.
- It is being introduced to address the Sulphur deficiency in soil and save input costs for the farmers.
- Urea Gold surpasses the existing Neem-coated urea in terms of both economic viability and efficiency.
Urea Gold is said to be better than conventional forms of Urea (including Neem coated urea)
- Sulfur-coated urea facilitates a gradual release of nitrogen, thereby enhancing its availability and uptake by crops.
- The inclusion of humic acid in Urea Gold further extends its lifespan as a fertilizer.
- Reduces overall fertilizer usage: According to the report, 15 kg of Urea Gold provides comparable benefits to 20 kg of conventional urea, making it a more efficient and effective choice for farmers.
|Urea is a commonly used nitrogen-based fertilizer that provides essential nutrients to plants to promote healthy growth. It also aids the photosynthesis process of plants. The neem coating on urea slows down the release of nitrogen into the soil. This controlled release helps reduce nitrogen leaching and volatilization, leading to improved nitrogen use efficiency by plants.It would bring down the quantity of urea per acre and consequent reduction in input cost to farmers.|
Cocos (Keeling) Islands
Tags: General Studies –1 Geography
Why in the news? Recently, Two Indian military aircraft visited Australia’s strategic Cocos Islands.
- Expanding the strategic reach of the Indian military and improving interoperability with Australia, an Indian Navy Dornier maritime patrol aircraft and an Indian Air Force (IAF) C-130 transport aircraft visited Australia’s Cocos (Keeling) Islands (CKI) in the Southern Indian Ocean, close to Indonesia.
Cocos (Keeling) Islands
- The Cocos (Keeling) Islands are a remote territory of Australia in the Indian Ocean, approximately 3,000 km northwest of Perth in Western Australia, and comprise two coral atolls made up of 27 smaller islands.
- The territory’s administrative headquarters are on West Island in the southern atoll.
India Shares INDIA STACK with Papua New Guinea
Tags: General Studies – 2 Government Policies & Interventions, E-Governance
Why in the news? Recently, the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY) of India and the Ministry of Information and Communication Technology (MICT) of Papua New Guinea have taken a significant step towards digital transformation by signing a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to share India Stack.
- INDIA STACK is a collection of open APIs and digital public goods that aim to facilitate identity, data, and payment services on a large scale.
- It is a government-led initiative that focuses on building a robust digital infrastructure to enable various digital services across different sectors.
- The components of this collection are owned and maintained by different agencies.
The key components of INDIA STACK include:
- Aadhaar (unique biometric-based identification system),
- Unified Payments Interface (UPI) for instant digital payments, and
- Digital Locker for secure storage of personal documents.
Application Programming Interface (API):
- An open API is a publicly available interface that allows developers access to a proprietary software application.
- Examples include the Google Maps API used for food delivery and travel portals, and the UPI API enabling easy payments in various apps.
Dongria Kondh Tribe
Tags: General Studies – 1 Geography
Why in the news? The Niyamgiri Hills in Odisha, home to the Dongria Kondh tribe, face potential threats due to proposed amendments to the Forest (Conservation) Act, of 1980, raising concerns about the protection of their ancestral land and cultural identity.
- The Dongria Kondh tribe is one of the 13 PVTGs in Odisha, India.
- Dongria Kondh people are members of the Kondhs, of the Munda ethnic group.
- They are located in the Niyamgiri hills.
- Niyamgiri is a hill range spread over 250 sq.km which falls under the Rayagada and Kalahandi District in Odisha.
- They worship Niyam Raja (Niyamraja), the supreme god of the Niyamgiri jungle.
- The Dongria Kondh community numbers approximately 8,000 people, inhabiting about 100 villages.
- The people of Niyamgiri use the Kui language.
- Kui language is not written, but it is spoken among the people of the Kondh community.
- They sustain themselves from the resources of the Niyamgiri forests, practicing horticulture and shifting cultivation.
- The proposed Forest Conservation (Amendment) Bill, 2023, seeks to alter the definition of ‘forest’ set by the Supreme Court of India in 1996.
- According to the amendment, the Forest Conservation Act, of 2023, will apply only to notified ‘forest’ areas as per the Indian Forest Act, 1927, and government records from October 25, 1980, onwards.
- About 95% of Niyamgiri land is not classified as ‘forest’ in government records.
- The amendment may potentially open a window for diverting land not classified as ‘forest’ in government records to other purposes, which could impact the Niyamgiri hill range and other forest areas in Odisha.
Perils of unplanned Urbanisation
Tag: GS Paper-3: Disaster Management.
Exam View: Urban Flooding; Loss of water bodies; Way forward; Case study: Mangalore; Case study: Kaikondrahalli Lake in Bengaluru.
Context: In the past few weeks, Delhi, Ahmedabad and Mumbai have been flooded. Other major cities like Hyderabad (in 2000), Srinagar (in 2014), Chennai (in 2021) and Bengaluru (in 2022) have also seen some areas being submerged during heavy rainfall.
Decoding the editorial: Urban Flooding
Loss of water bodies
- Most Indian cities are situated beside a river, with extensive floodplains and wetlands. In an ideal world, such areas would have been left untouched.
- Instead, India has lost 40 percent of its wetlands in the past 30 years.
- Delhi had 1,000 waterbodies in 1997 but now has just 700. With such a loss of natural “blue infrastructure”, flooding risks have increased.
Cities must take lead on climate change, rather than simply reacting to untoward events.
- Short, medium, and long-term measures to rejuvenate water bodies
- Studies must be conducted in all cities to understand the catchment area and flooding risk associated with urban water bodies and land use.
- Lake and river management plans should be defined and include the participation of the local citizenry in upkeep and a push to remove encroachments.
- Geographic information systems (GIS) may be used to tag local water bodies, to help keep track of encroachments and understand their seasonality.
- Investments need to be made in early warning systems (including Doppler radar).
- Local rainfall data can be integrated with the Central Water Commission and regional flood control efforts.
- Investments in city-wide databases that enable the provision of immediate relief in the event of a flooding-related disaster.
- Revamping and expanding drainage and stormwater networks across cities is needed.
- Existing pipelines need to be surveyed (whether drain or stormwater), and water-logging locations identified.
- Urban planning has to improve.
- In Delhi, a range of civic agencies manage the city’s drains, leading to coordination challenges.
- The DDA, Delhi Jal Board, Public Works Department, and municipal corporations, all regulate water bodies in Delhi.
- Coordination between agencies must improve.
- Awareness about wetland/water body conservation must be improved.
- The Wetland Authority of Delhi recently received requests to delist waterbodies from institutions like the Delhi Development Authority, highlighting limited awareness.
- A well-defined urban water policy must be prepared.
- Regulatory bodies like the Central Wetland Regulatory Authority can be granted statutory powers, while the participation of local communities is welcome.
- Civic participation must be encouraged.
Case study: Mangalore
- Until the mid-2000s, in Mangalore, wastewater from urban consumption would flow through open drains and into the city’s water bodies, polluting the freshwater sources.
- The Mangalore City Corporation (MCC) established wastewater treatment plants and offered to supply treated effluent to Mangalore Special Economic Zone Ltd (MSEZL) to meet its industrial need, with MSEZL-based private players pitching in with sourcing for 70 percent of operations and maintenance costs of the pumps and the sewage treatment plant.
Case study: Kaikondrahalli Lake in Bengaluru
- It suffered from severe sewage inflow, with silting and land formation due to eutrophication.
- Meanwhile, encroachment on the lake bed was a cause for concern, along with the dumping of debris and waste.
- BBMP sought to adopt a community-driven approach to reviving the lake in a phased manner as funds came by.
- Encroachers were served eviction notices, and the lake was secured.
- Sewage inflow was diverted away via a tapping pipeline.
- De-silting of the lake was conducted.
- Further restoration was carried out by developing inlets and outlets for the lake and creating embankments and a pathway around the water body.
- The original DPR was rather engineering-focused, pushing for creating gardens and fencing off the lake from the local underprivileged communities.
- Citizen engagement ensured that the DPR was modified, with a push for improving the local ecology, instead of mere aesthetics.
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