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Current Affairs – 19 February 2021

Current Affairs (19th February 2021)

India Energy Outlook 2021

Context:

  • Recently, India Energy Outlook 2021 has been published by the International Energy Agency (IEA).

About:

  • IEA in its forecast highlighted that underpinned by “a rate of GDP growth that adds the equivalent of another Japan to the world economy by 2040”, India will overtake the European Union by 2030 to move up to the third position.
  • India accounts for nearly one-quarter of global energy demand growth from 2019-40 — the largest for any country.

  • Its share in the growth in renewable energy is the second-largest in the world, after China.
  • IEA saw primary energy consumption almost doubling to 1,123 million tonnes of oil equivalent as the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) expands to USD 8.6 trillion by 2040.
  • India at present is the fourth-largest global energy consumer behind China, the United States and the European Union.
  • By 2040, India’s power system is bigger than that of the European Union, and is the world’s third-largest in terms of electricity generation; it also has 30 per cent more installed renewables capacity than the United States.
  • By 2040, India is set to account for almost 20 per cent of global growth in industrial value-added, and to lead global growth in industrial final energy consumption, especially in steel making.
  • A five-fold increase in per capita car ownership will result in India leading the oil demand growth in the world.
  • It will become the fastest-growing market for natural gas, with demand more than tripling by 2040.
  • India’s continued industrialisation becomes a major driving force for the global energy economy.
  • Over the last three decades, India accounted for about 10 per cent of world growth in industrial value-added (in PPP terms).

Oil demand:

  • India’s oil demand is seen rising by rise by 74 per cent to 8.7 million barrels per day by 2040 under the existing policies scenario.
  • The natural gas requirement is projected to more than triple to 201 billion cubic meters and coal demand is seen rising to 772 million tonnes in 2040 from the current 590.
  • To meet its energy needs, India will be more reliant on fossil fuel imports as its domestic oil and gas production stagnates.
  • Its net dependence on oil imports — taking into account both the import of crude oil and the export of oil products — increases to more than 90 per cent by 2040 from the current 75 per cent as domestic consumption rises much more than production.

Fossil fuels and coal:

  • Natural gas import dependency increased from 20 per cent in 2010 to almost 50 per cent in 2019 and is set to grow further to more than 60 per cent in 2040.
  • The dynamics look quite different for coal, where India’s demand for imported coal barely gets back to pre-crisis levels over the next decade.
  • India currently accounts for 16 per cent of the global coal trade and many global coal suppliers were counting on growth in India to underpin planned export-oriented mining investments.
  • These expectations are now running up against India’s determination to boost domestic production, leaving relative certainty only over India’s requirement to import coking coal for its rising steel production, together with steam coal for those coastal power generation plants that have been designed to receive imported grades.
  • IEA has forecast combined import bill for fossil fuels tripling over the next two decades.
  • Energy use (in India) has doubled since 2000, with 80 per cent of demand still being met by coal, oil and solid biomass.

ELECTRICITY:

  • India will soon become the world’s most populous country, adding the equivalent of a city the size of Los Angeles to its urban population each year.
  • To meet growth in electricity demand over the next twenty years, India will need to add a power system the size of the European Union to what it has now.

CONCLUSION:

  • As India recovers from a COVID-induced slump in 2020, it is re-entering a very dynamic period in its energy development. Over the coming years, millions of Indian households are set to buy new appliances, air conditioning units and vehicles.
  • An expanding economy, population, urbanisation and industrialisation mean that India sees the largest increase in energy demand of any country

 

JUVENILE JUSTICE ACT

CONTEXT:

  1. Recently, the Union Cabinet ushered in some major amendments to the Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act 2015 in a bid to bring in clarity and also entrust more responsibilities on bureaucrats when it comes to implementing provisions of the law.

JUVENILE JUSTICE (CARE AND PROTECTION OF CHILDREN ACT) 2015

  • The Act was introduced and passed in Parliament in 2015 to replace the Juvenile Delinquency Law and the Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children Act) 2000.
  • One of the main provisions of the new Act was allowing the trial of juveniles in conflict with law in the age group of 16-18 years as adults, in cases where the crimes were to be determined.
  • The nature of the crime, and whether the juvenile should be tried as a minor or a child, was to be determined by a Juvenile Justice Board.

  • This provision received an impetus after the 2012 Delhi gangrape in which one of the accused was just short of 18 years, and was therefore tried as a juvenile.
  • The act brings a more universally acceptable adoption law instead of the Hindu Adoptions and Maintenance Act (1956) and Guardians of the ward Act (1890) which was for Muslims, although the Act did not replace these laws.
  • The Act streamlined adoption procedures for orphans, abandoned and surrendered children and the existing Central Adoption Resource Authority (CARA) has been given the status of a statutory body to enable it to perform its function more effectively.
  • The amendments include authorising district magistrate including additional district magistrate to issue adoption orders under Section 61 of the JJ Act, in order to ensure speedy disposal of cases and enhance accountability

SERIOUS CRIMES

  1. Most heinous crimes have a minimum or maximum sentence of seven years. According to the Juvenile Justice Act 2015, juveniles charged with heinous crimes and who would be between the ages of 16-18 years would be tried as adults and processed through the adult justice system.
  2. The amendment passed by the Union Cabinet recently has included for the first time the category of “serious crimes” differentiating it from heinous crimes, while retaining heinous crimes.
  3. This provision has been made to ensure that children, as much as possible, are protected and kept out of the adult justice system.
  4. Heinous crimes with a minimum imprisonment of seven years pertain mostly to sexual offences and violent sexual crimes.
  5. At present, with no mention of a minimum sentence, and only the maximum seven year sentence, juveniles between the ages of 16-18 years could also be tried as adults for a crime like the possession and sale of an illegal substance, such as drugs or alcohol, which will now fall under the ambit of a “serious crime’’.

DISTRICT AND ADDITIONAL DISTRICT MAGISTRATES

  1. District magistrates (DMs) along with additional district magistrates (ADMs) will monitor the functioning of various agencies under the JJ Act in every district.
  2. This includes the Child Welfare Committees, the Juvenile Justice Boards, the District Child Protection Units and the Special juvenile Protection Units.

THE CHALLENGES

  1. The amendments in its attempt to provide better protection to children in need of care, the challenge perceived is that of having given too many responsibilities to the DM.

 

SEXUAL HARRASMENT AT WORKING PLACE

CONTEXT:

  1. Women faces sexual assault at many fronts especially at working places and hence, in recent years, this led to a major #MeToomovement — an aandolan — across the country which forever changed the way workplaces for women are conceptualised.
  2. This movement was echoed in different parts of the world where high-profile men were publicly shamed and stripped of their status, the movement allowed women to speak out as never before.
  3. In such a scenario, Apparel Export Promotion Council vs AK Chopra recent judgment is so significant.

ISSUE:

  1. At the height of the #MeToo movement in 2018, Ms. Ramani accused Mr. Akbar of sexual harassment.
  2. Akbar had said that Ms. Ramani’s tweets lowered his reputation.
  3. He had in his criminal defamation complaint claimed that Ms. Ramani’s tweet and her article accusing him of sexual harassment were defamatory, and lowered his reputation.

ABOUT JUDGEMENT:

  1. The court also acknowledged that 20 years ago, neither Ramani nor one of the witnesses who was also a journalist reporting to Akbar, had the protection offered by the Vishakha guidelines or the Sexual Harassment of Women at Workplace Act, 2013.
  2. The order affirms the spirit of those guidelines by upholding the right to a violence-free, safe workplace.
  3. It pointed out that a woman’s right to speak up about her violations was not restricted by the passage of time.
  4. It recognized of the principle of public good, its emphatic endorsement of the right of women to respect and dignity, its understanding of women’s reluctance to speak, and the question of delay, its assertion that “a woman cannot be punished for raising her voice against sex-abuse on the pretext of a criminal complaint of defamation, as the right to reputation cannot be protected at the cost of the right of life and dignity of woman as guaranteed in the Indian Constitution under Article 21 and Right of Equality before the law and equal protection of the law as guaranteed under Article 14 of the Constitution.”
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