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GS Paper II-Governance, Constitution, Polity and International Relations.

Amid Sikkim Standoff, China Issues Safety Advisory For Citizens In India.

Background

  • China and India have been engaged in a standoff in the Dokalam area near the Bhutan tri-junction for the past three weeks (June-July, 2017) after a Chinese Army’s construction party attempted to build a road. Doka La is the Indian name for the region which Bhutan recognises as Dokalam, while China claims it as part of its Donglang region.
  • China has this week (1st week of July,2017) issued a series of warnings to India – some through state-run newspapers – about the urgent need for New Delhi to withdraw its troops from an area that Beijing claims as its own near Sikkim. Indian soldiers arrived at the area early in June (2017) to stop the construction of a road that New Delhi holds as a serious security concern.

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Highlights Of The Development-

  • The stand-off is located in a section of land high in the Himalayas near what is known as the tri-junction, where Tibet, India and Bhutan meet.
  • According to the Chinese interpretation of events, Indian soldiers crossed into China’s Donglang region early in June (2017) and obstructed work on a road on the plateau.
  • Amid the tense India-China border standoff , Beijing on Saturday, 8th July, 2017, issued a “safety advisory” for its citizens traveling to India.
  • The advisory was issued through the Chinese embassy in New Delhi. It asked Chinese travellers to India to pay close attention to the security situation and take necessary precautions.
  • Chinese foreign ministry officials emphasized that it is an “advisory” and not an “alert” that was issued. They didn’t clarify the difference but it’s likely an “advisory” is milder than an “alert”.
  • It is not a travel alert. It is an advisory asking Chinese travellers to be careful, said an official of the Chinese foreign ministry in Beijing.
  • On July 5, 2017, China had said it was considering issuing such an alert for citizens visiting India, depending on the security situation following the border standoff in Doklam.
  • Earlier this week (July, 2017), a leading official newspaper in Beijing warned Chinese companies operating in India to be alert and take steps to avoid being hit by anti-China sentiment.
  • An article in the Global Times called on Chinese firms to reduce their investments in India in view of the tension.
  • The advisory is valid for a month, according to news agency India Abroad News Service, and the Chinese nationals have been asked to contact local police or the Chinese Embassy in Delhi.
  • This is not a travel advisory but it asks Chinese nationals in India to pay attention to the local security situation. It also asks them to carry personal identification and keep their family, colleagues and friends posted about their movements.

Sources– The Times of India, NDTV.Page 1

GS Paper III- Economic Development, Bio-Diversity, Environment.

India Emerging As Front-Runner In Fight Against Climate Change According To World Bank.

Background

  • In India and beyond, solar power is starting to displace coal as an energy source. The cost of electricity from solar photovoltaic (PV) is currently a quarter of what it was in 2009 and is set to fall another 66% by 2040. That means, a dollar will buy 2.3 times as much solar energy in 2040 than it does today.
  • With nearly 300 days of sunshine every year, India has among the best conditions in the world to capture and use solar energy. Clearly, the market agrees, as is evident from the significant drop in the cost of solar power. In its latest solar auction, the country achieved a record low tariff of INR 2.44/unit (4 cents/unit) for a project in the desert state of Rajasthan.
  • The Indian government is setting ambitious targets that include 160 gigawatts (GW) of wind and solar by 2022. Not only will this help hundreds of million people light their homes it will also enable children to study at night.

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Highlights Of The Development-

  • India is emerging as a front runner in the global fight against climate change, the World Bank has said, noting that the solar power is gradually displacing coal as an energy source in the Asian country.
  • With a sweeping commitment to solar power, innovative solutions and energy efficiency initiatives to supply its people with 24×7 electricity by 2030, India is emerging as a front runner in the global fight against climate change, the World Bank said in a news report published on July 7, 2017.
  • According to the World Bank, with its conscious choice to use significantly more clean energy to fuel its growth, India is contributing to global efforts to save the planet from the effects of climate change.
  • India had also walked away from plans to install nearly 14 GW of coal-fired power plants, largely because it is as affordable now to generate electricity with solar power as it is to use fossil fuels.
  • In India and beyond, solar power is starting to displace coal as an energy source, noted the World Bank, adding that the cost of electricity from solar photovoltaic (PV) is currently a quarter of what it was in 2009 and is set to fall another 66% by 2040.
  • With nearly 300 days of sunshine every year, India has among the best conditions in the world to capture and use solar energy, it noted.
  • Noting that the Indian government is setting ambitious targets that include 160 gigawatts (GW) of wind and solar by 2022, the World Bank said that not only will this help hundreds of million people light their homes it will also enable children to study at night, provide families with refrigerators to preserve their food or TVs to entertain themselves.
  • The World Bank added that it is also an incentive for international firms to invest in India’s solar market.

Sources– The Hindu, Economic Times.Page 1

GS Paper IV- Ethics, Integrity.

Italy Passes Law Making Torture A Crime.

Background

  • Italy’s parliament, on 5th July, 2017, approved a long-awaited law criminalising torture, but critics said it had been so heavily watered down that many abuses may still go unpunished.
  • Italy ratified the 1984 United Nations Convention against Torture in 1988 but until Wednesday, 5th July, 2017, had never legislated to make it a criminal offence.
  • More than four years after the bill was presented, the Chamber of Deputies finally passed it by 198 votes to 35 but most of the members of the 630 seat lower house were either absent or abstained.

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Key Points Of This Development-

  • The bill, which says torture can by punished by up to 12 years in prison, was backed by the ruling Democratic Party (PD) and opposed by the centre-right opposition which said it would make it harder for the police and military to do their job.
  • Almost 30 years after ratifying the UN Convention, we have filled a huge vacuum in our legal system that was repeatedly condemned by European and international bodies, said the PD’s Donatella Ferranti, head of the chamber’s justice committee.
  • Left-wing parties and the anti-establishment 5-Star Movement abstained, saying the bill had been so heavily amended in parliament that it was now of little use.
  • The senator who originally presented the bill in 2013 abstained for the same reason when it was approved in the upper house two months ago.
  • Critics say the law’s definition of torture is too narrow, requiring for example that violent conduct must be repeated and continuous and cause a “verifiable psychological trauma,” meaning many acts of cruelty may fall outside it.
  • When the bill was approved in the Senate in May, Amnesty International called it “unpresentable” and “incompatible with the UN Convention against Torture”.
  • In its final version, it had been designed to protect Italian military and police “at all costs”, the rights group said.
  • In 2015, the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) blasted Italy for police violence against anti-globalisation activists during a 2001 G8 summit in Genoa, ruling that officers’ actions against protesters sheltering in a school were akin to torture.
  • Several members of the Italian security forces were convicted after the violence, but this did not include any officers who had been at the scene.
  • The ECHR criticised this decision, saying it showed there was a “structural problem” with Italian legislation.

Sources– Euractiv.com.Page 1