Warming could threaten half of species in 33 key areas

(The Hindu)

 

Fugitive Economic Offenders Bill

(The Hindu)

 

Is the Reserve Bank of India toothless?

(Live Mint)

Warming could threaten half of species in 33 key areas

(The Hindu)

Synoptic line: It throws light on issue of warming effect upon insect’s species.

(GS paper III)

Overview

 

  • According to the recent report, global warming could place 25 to 50% of species in the Amazon, Madagascar and other biodiverse areas at risk of localised extinction within decades. The lower projection is based on a mercury rise of two degrees Celsius over pre-Industrial Revolution levels the warming ceiling the world’s nations agreed on in 2015. The highest is for out-of-control warming of 4.5 degrees Celsius.

 

  • “Global biodiversity will suffer terribly over the next century unless we do everything we can,” said conservation group WWF, which commissioned the analysis published in science journal Climatic Change.

 

Assessment

 

  • There is need to keep average global temperatures down to the absolute minimum.” The report focused on 33 so-called “Priority Places” which host some of the world’s richest and most unusual terrestrial species, including iconic, endangered, or endemic plants and animals. They include southern Chile, the eastern Himalayas, South Africa’s unique Fynbos ecoregion, Borneo, Sumatra, the Namibian desert, West Africa, southwest Australia, coastal east Africa, and southern Africa’s Miombo Woodlands, home to African wild dogs.

 

  • The team looked at the impact of climate change on nearly 80,000 terrestrial plant, mammal, bird, amphibian, and reptile species. At warming of 4.5 degrees Celsius, based on a “business-as-usual” scenario of no emissions cuts, the Amazon could risk the local extinction of 69 % of its plant species.

 

  • The Miombo Woodlands risks losing 90 % of its amphibians, 86 % of birds, and 80 % of mammals, according to the report, under the 2015 Paris Agreement, countries made voluntary pledges to curb planet-warming greenhouse gas emissions from burning coal, oil and natural gas.

 

  • According to WWF statement, scientists predict warming over 3 degrees Celsius, a recipe for disastrous climate change-triggered sea level rises, superstorms, floods, and droughts. Warming of 3.2 degrees C would place about 37 % of species in Priority Places at risk of local extinction.

 

  • Even with the emissions cuts pledged under the Paris Agreement, temperatures that were extreme in the past are set to be the new normal in all Priority Places,” in some as early as 2030. Limiting warming to 2 degrees Celsius would enable many species to continue inhabiting the areas they currently occupy, according to the report. And if animals can move freely, not constrained by roads, fences, or human settlements the proportion of species at extinction risk at warming of 2 degrees Celsius drops from 25 to 20 %.

 

  • The report comes ahead of a major meeting of the IPBES inter-governmental panel in Medellin, Colombia, where scientists and governments will release five assessments of the state of biodiversity.

 

Way ahead

 

  • Extinction is not simply about the disappearance of species, “but about profound changes to ecosystems that provide vital services to hundreds of millions of people.” Job- and revenue-generating tourism would suffer greatly if species disappear, and as-yet-undiscovered medicines from plants forever lost.

 

Question- Explain how warming can affect the iconic, endangered, or endemic plants and animals?

Fugitive Economic Offenders Bill

(The Hindu)

Synoptic line: It throws light on the issue of recently introduced the Fugitive Economic Offenders Bill, 2018.

(GS paper II)

Overview

 

  • Recently the Fugitive Economic Offenders Bill, 2018, was introduced in the Lok Sabha, aims to provide for measures to deter fugitive economic offenders from evading the process of law in India. It is a deterrent for those offenders who continue to stay outside the jurisdiction of Indian courts. The larger objective of the proposed legislation is to “preserve the sanctity of the rule of law”.

 

Assessment of the bill

 

  • In its statement of objectives and reasons, the government refers to the “several instances of economic offenders fleeing the jurisdiction of Indian courts anticipating the commencement of criminal proceedings or sometimes during the pendency of such proceedings”. Fugitive businesspersons like Vijay Mallya and Nirav Modi have resisted the jurisdiction of Indian courts.

 

  • The absence of such offenders from Indian courts has several deleterious consequences, such as obstructing investigation in criminal cases and wasting the precious time of courts. In effect, it undermines the rule of law in India. Further, cases of economic offences involving non-repayment of bank loans impact the financial health of the banking sector and erode the government’s declared fight against corruption.

 

  • The Bill will add teeth to the existing civil and criminal provisions, which have been rather inadequate in dealing with the problem. It is armed to ensure that fugitive economic offenders return to India to face action in accordance with the law.

 

  • It defines a “fugitive economic offender” as an individual who has committed a scheduled offence or offences involving an amount of ₹100 crore or more and has fled abroad or refused to return to India to avoid or face criminal prosecution.

 

 

  • The Bill works under the legal philosophy that the jugular for these fugitives would be their assets and properties in India. It contains provisions allowing the attachment of the property of a fugitive economic offender and proceeds of crime.

 

 

Way forward

 

  • The proposed law empowers authorities to survey, search and seize. Under this law, the competent authorities can confiscate the property and crime proceeds of a fugitive economic offender and disentitle him from putting forward or defending any civil claim for his assets.

 

  • The burden of proof for establishing that a person is a fugitive economic offender or that a property is the proceeds of crime shall be on the authorities concerned. An appeal shall be to the High Court concerned against the orders issued by the Special Court.

 

Question –Discuss the features of the Fugitive Economic Offenders Bill, 2018. Explain how the Bill will add teeth to the existing civil and criminal provisions?

Is the Reserve Bank of India toothless?

(Live Mint)

Synoptic line: It throws light on the issue of need to reform the governance structure of public sector banks.

(GS paper III)

Overview

 

  • The RBI governor in its recent speech at the Gujarat National Law University, Gandhinagar, highlighted about the significant issues- the difference in regulation of public and private sector banks. The governor raised the issue of dual control over banks based on ownership issues. But the problem is deeper than this.

 

  • With this recognition, one is not sure that the current crisis could have been addressed in the framework suggested by the governor or not. He was talking about the powers to make board-level changes and forced mergers. Those powers are in the nature of deterrence and are too drastic to be curative in the current instance.

 

The issue of dual control

 

 

  • The issue of dual control is not specific to public sector banks, even in case of the cooperative banks, dual control was a festering issue, with the state governments, through the registrar of cooperative societies, having most of the powers. This is by virtue of the institutions being incorporated under the Co-operative Societies Act.

 

 

 

  • This issue was addressed by the former governor. The RBI was able to arrive at a regulatory framework for the cooperative banks. This was done through a memorandum of understanding with each state government which defined how the governance change and merger powers would be exercised in consultation with, and upon the recommendation of, the RBI.

 

 

 

  • Therefore, pending deep reforms on the ownership and governance of public sector banks, there is a template for regulatory framework available. Deep reforms, as recommended by the P.J. Nayak committee, need political will, which seems to be lacking every time.

 

 

 

  • In the case of public sector banks, the problem of dual control is even deeper. In addition to ownership and governance-level control, there is also significant operational control that the Union finance ministry exercises. This control bypasses the boards. That is why one cannot hold the board residually responsible for the performance of the bank.

 

 

 

  • A programme like the Pradhan Mantri Jan Dhan Yojana (PMJDY) is operationally guided by the ministry and bypasses the board-directed strategy. This is control on the banks through the tyranny of circulars, which doesn’t affect private banks. Comparing the PMJDY numbers of private banks and their public sector peers is sufficient to make the point.

 

 

  • The RBI has the regulatory oversight, it has board and sub-committee presence in each public sector bank, which should give the RBI much greater insights than it would get into a private bank. Also, the RBI is party to the selection of the whole-time directors of the bank through the selection committee and through its membership on the Banks Board Bureau.

 

  • The RBI has powers to remove the non-official directors appointed by the Union government as well as the shareholder directors if they do not fulfil the fit-and-proper criteria— section 3AB and 3B of the Banking Companies (Acquisition and Transfer of Undertakings) Act. Moreover, the RBI has powers to appoint an additional director as per section 9A of the above Act. Theoretically, the RBI has a significant say in the constitution of the board of a public sector bank.

 

Way forward

 

  • There is a great deal of reform to be undertaken in the governance and management of public sector banks, the line that the governor has taken, of inadequate powers to act, which may be untenable. The framework for the exercise of powers in private sector banks is different from the framework for public sector banks. This has to be recognized.

 

QuestionThere is a crying need for reforming the governance structure of public sector banks, analyse.