Current Affairs – 2 December 2021

G20’s Troika

The Hindu

GS 2 : International Organisations

Context:

  • India recently joined the G20 ‘Troika’.

About:

  • With this move, India has started the procedure for taking over the G20 presidency next year.
  • Troika refers to the top grouping within the G20 that consists of the current, previous and the incoming presidencies — Indonesia, Italy and India.
  • India will assume the G20 presidency on December 1, 2022 from Indonesia, and will convene the G20 Leaders’ Summit for the first time in India in 2023.
  • Italy hosted the G20 summit during October 30-31 where India had raised the issue of Afghanistan’s future following the takeover by the Taliban.
  • Indonesia took over the G20 presidency recently. In the coming months, Indonesia will hold rounds of discussion at various levels among the members of the G20 before convening the G20 Leaders’ Summit scheduled for October 30-31, 2022. Next year’s summit will be organised along the overall theme of “Recover Together, Recover Stronger”.
  • As a Troika member, India will work closely with Indonesia and Italy to ensure consistency and continuity of the G20’s agenda.

G20 :

  • It is an international forum which includes 19 of the world’s largest economies and the European Union.

  • G20 is a forum for economic, financial and political cooperation. It addresses the major global challenges and seeks to generate public policies that resolve them.
  • Together, the G20 members represent –
  1. two thirds of the world population.
  2. 85% of the global gross product.
  3. 75% of international trade.
  4. 80% of global investments in research and development.
  • Because the G-20 is a forum, its agreements or decisions have no legal impact, but they do influence countries’ policies and global cooperation.
  • The G20 invites its members, invited countries, international partner organizations and affinity groups to dialogue and build consensus to promote public policies that solve the challenges facing humanity.

 

Regulate IVF clinics

The Hindu

GS 2 : Health, Government Policies & Interventions, Issues Related to Women

Context:

  • The Lok Sabha passed the Assisted Reproductive Technology (Regulation) Bill, 2020 that proposes the establishment of a national registry and registration authority for all clinics and medical professionals serving in the field.

About:

  • The Bill seeks to regulate and supervise Assisted Reproductive Technology (ART) clinics and ART banks, prevent misuse, adopt safe and ethical practice and so on.
  • Many such ART clinics have been running without regulation. A need was felt for regulation of such clinics as there are implications on health of those who undertake the procedure.
  • India has become one of the major centres of the global fertility industry (ART), with reproductive medical tourism becoming a significant activity. This has also introduced a plethora of legal, ethical and social issues; yet, there is no standardisation of protocols and reporting is still very inadequate.
  • This law is Victorian as it doesn’t include lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender people (LGBTQ) or single men for exercising the right.
  • The Bill sets minimum standards and codes of conduct for fertility clinics and egg or sperm banks and about 80% of ART clinics are not registered.
  • The Bill also has a provision that those involved in trafficking and sale of embryos will be fined ₹10 lakh at first instance and in second instance, the person can be imprisoned for up to 12 years.

Assisted Reproductive Technology:

  • ART is used to treat infertility. It includes fertility treatments that handle both a woman’s egg and a man’s sperm.
  • It works by removing eggs from a woman’s body. The eggs are then mixed with sperm to make embryos. The embryos are then put back in the woman’s body.
  • In Vitro fertilization (IVF) is the most common and effective type of ART.
  • ART procedures sometimes use donor eggs, donor sperm, or previously frozen embryos. It may also involve a surrogate carrier.

UAPA arrests

The Hindu

GS

Context:

  • Uttar Pradesh reported the highest number of arrests under the stringent Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA), 1967, followed by Jammu and Kashmir, and Manipur, according to data tabled by the Government in Rajya Sabha.

About:

  • Uttar Pradesh recorded 361 UAPA arrests, Jammu and Kashmir 346 arrests, and Manipur 225 arrests in the year 2020 alone.

  • As per the National Crime Record Bureau’s report, “the number of persons arrested under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act in the years 2019 and 2020 are 1,948 and 1,321 respectively.”
  • Since 2016, 7,243 persons were arrested under UAPA and during the same period 212 persons were convicted. As many as 286 cases ended in acquittal, 25 cases were abated and 42 cases were discharged by courts.

What is the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act?

  • The UAPA was introduced in 1967 as a legislation to set out reasonable restrictions on the fundamental freedoms under Article 19(1) of the the Constitution, such as freedom of speech, right to assemble peacefully and right to form associations. These restrictions were meant to be used to safeguard India’s integrity and sovereignty.

  • In line with its stated objectives, the UAPA punishes the commission, funding and support of “unlawful activities” and “terrorist acts”.

  • The provisions of the UAPA have an extremely wide ambit, which makes it possible to use them against not just criminals and terrorists, but even authors, academics, lawyers for alleged terrorists, and human rights activists.

Climate events

The Hindu

GS 3: Environment

Context:

  • The country saw 645 events of heavy rainfall and 168 events of very heavy rainfall in November, the highest in the month in five years, the India Meteorological Department (IMD) said on December 1.

About:

  • Peninsular India reported most of the extremely heavy to very heavy rainfall events which claimed lives in Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Karnataka and Kerala.
  • India recorded 11 extremely heavy rainfall (more than 204.5 mm) events this November, equalling the number reported last year.
  • The country reported zero, four and one event of extremely heavy rainfall in November in 2019, 2018 and 2017, respectively.
  • The country saw 645 events of heavy rainfall (64.5 mm to 115.5 mm) and 168 events of very heavy rainfall (115.6 mm to 204.5 mm) in November, the highest in the last five years, according to the IMD’s data.
  • To put things in perspective, the number of heavy rainfall events this November was more than the total such events in the last four years — 247 in 2020; 116 in 2019; 135 in 2018 and 139 in 2017.
  • Peninsular India gauged 160% more rainfall — 232.7 mm against the average of 89.5 mm — in November, the highest in the month since 1901.
  • The country as a whole received 56.5 mm of rainfall against the normal of 30.5 mm — an excess of 85.4% — in November.
  • Five low-pressure systems in November this year against the average of 2.4 is the reason behind the copious rainfall in peninsular India this time.
  • Peninsular India comprises five meteorological subdivisions — Tamil Nadu, Puducherry and Karaikkal; coastal Andhra Pradesh and Yanam; Rayalaseema; Kerala and Mahe, and South Interior Karnataka.
  • The IMD said the region is most likely to see above-normal rainfall (more than 132% of the long period average) in December.
  • Based on the data of the 1961-2010 period, the long period average of rainfall in peninsular India in December is 44.54 mm.
  • Below-normal rainfall is most likely over most areas of northwest India and some parts of central and northeast India. Normal rainfall is most likely over the remaining parts of the country.
  • One reason for heavy precipitation is the development of low-pressure systems.