GS Paper II –International Relations

Trump signs ‘Muslim Ban 2.0’ order

What’s Happening-
The Donald Trump administration issued a new executive order, temporarily banning travel from six Muslim-majority countries to the U.S, after an earlier order ran foul of the country’s judiciary.
The new executive order bans travel from six countries — Sudan, Syria, Iran, Libya, Somalia, and Yemen, leaving out Iraq among countries that was in the earlier order’s list.

Key Points discussed were:

  • New travel ban applies to 6 countries but excludes Iraq; green card, visa holders to be unaffected
  • In an attempt to pass the judicial scrutiny, the order says that current visa and green card holders from these countries will not be affected.
  • It also explains the basis for including the six countries, trying to remedy a lacuna in the earlier version. Further, it avoids the preferential treatment offered to Christian refugees in the earlier order.
  • The order said each of the six countries was either a “state sponsor of terrorism, has been significantly compromised by terrorist organisations or contains active conflict zones”.
  • It also gives country-wise details, justifying the inclusion of each and also explains the exclusion of Iraq.
  • Iraq presents a special case. Portions of Iraq remain combat zones,” the order said, but added that the country’s commitment to “combating [IS] justify a different treatment “

Executive Order 13769, titled Protecting the Nation from Foreign Terrorist Entry into the United States was an  issued by  President  in effect, except to the extent blocked by various courts, from January 27, 2017, until March 16, 2017, when it was superseded by .
Executive Order 13769 lowered the number of refugees to be admitted into the United States in 2017 to 50,000, suspended the  (USRAP) for 120 days, suspended the entry of  indefinitely, directed some  to suspend entry of those whose countries do not meet adjudication standards under  for 90 days, and included exceptions on a case-by-case basis.

GS Paper III Conservation, environmental pollution and degradation, environmental impact assessment

Law to regulate use of air conditioners

What’s Happening-
To coax establishments to use electricity more efficiently, the Union Environment Ministry is mulling that will require buildings — commercial spaces, airports, offices — to ensure that air conditioners function at pre-set temperatures.

Key Points discussed were:

  • Environment Ministry’s rules define operating parameters for ACs.


  • Conference held to discuss India’s roadmap to phase out particular gases used in refrigerants and air-conditioners because they contribute to global warming.
  • The government could bring in a notification, after due public consultation, and have rules that define operating parameters for ACs.
  • This was because several places frequently set their air conditioners to extremely low temperatures — irrespective of whether the weather required it to be so — and thereby consumed an excess of electricity.

Why NOW?

  • The panel was part of conference to announce updates on India’s ongoing plans to phase out hydrochlorofluorocarbons (HCFC), chemicals widely used in refrigerants and air conditioners.
  • Originally brought in as replacements for refrigerant-chemicals but later found to have a high global warming potential, India is one of the largest consumers of HCFCs after China, and is expected to use even more of it because of the projected growth in the sale of air-conditioners.
  • It has, however, agreed to stop the use of HCFCs by 2030.

Background- Example
In Japan, there are regulations that require air-conditioners be set at a specific temperature depending on the season.
Since the summer of 2005, the Japanese Ministry of Environment requires all government departments and commercial establishments to pre-set their air conditioners to 28°C (82°F) during the summer, with employees expected to eschew formal business-wear for comfortable casuals.
Even the European Union has regulations on the use of heating and cooling equipment.