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Stay informed with relevant current affairs from trusted sources like The Hindu, Indian Express, PIB, and more. Our daily news analysis includes Prelims Facts and Important Editorials presented in a concise and bulletised format. Get free daily updates up to 4 P.M. (except Sundays). Don’t miss the Daily Revision Quiz to reinforce your knowledge. Good luck!
Here are the topics covered for 18th October 2023:
GS-1: Same-Sex Marriage in India
GS- 3: ISRO on Gaganyaan, SDG’S – Synergistic Barriers, Centralised procurement as a powerful health
Facts for Prelims: Integrated Watershed Development Programme (IWMP) , Marine Cloud Brightening
Same-Sex Marriage in India
- The Supreme Court delivered a significant judgment on same-sex marriage in India recently. This verdict revealed differing views within the judiciary regarding LGBTQIA+ rights.
About the Verdict:
The Supreme Court of India ruled that same-sex couples do not have a fundamental right to marry. However, the court also said that the government must ensure that same-sex couples have the same rights and benefits as married couples, such as the right to joint property ownership and inheritance.
The judgment can be summarized as follows:
- The five-judge Bench was split. Chief Justice Chandrachud and Justice Kaul held a minority view, advocating for LGBTQIA+ rights and civil union recognition. The majority (Justices Bhat, Kohli, and Narasimha) argued that legislative action was needed.
- Minority Views: Chief Justice Chandrachud and Justice Kaul emphasized that discrimination based on sexual orientation violated the Constitution and that a regulatory framework for same-sex unions was essential.
- Majority Views: The majority argued that legal recognition of same-sex unions should be a legislative decision, not a judicial one. They suggested that altering existing laws might lead to unintended consequences.
- No Change to Special Marriage Act: All judges agreed that the Special Marriage Act of 1954 was not unconstitutional for excluding same-sex marriages.
- The Supreme Court’s decision to leave the issue of same-sex marriage to Parliament is a pragmatic one. It is likely that Parliament will take many years to debate this issue, but the Supreme Court’s ruling has at least opened the door to the possibility of same-sex marriage being legalized in India in the future.
There are a number of things that can be done to support the LGBTQ+ community and promote equality and inclusion in India. These include:
- Educating the public about LGBTQ+ issues and dispelling myths and stereotypes.
- Advocating for the passage of laws that protect the rights of LGBTQ+ people.
- Supporting LGBTQ+ organizations and businesses.
- Creating safe and inclusive spaces for LGBTQ+ people.
- The verdict signifies an ongoing evolution in LGBTQIA+ rights. While it didn’t grant immediate legal recognition, it sparked essential discussion. The responsibility now falls on the legislature to address this matter.
- Parliament must take the lead in enacting laws recognizing and protecting non-heterosexual couples. Awareness and social acceptance are crucial, and the fight for equal rights persists. Society, the government, and the legal system should ultimately align with principles of equality and non-discrimination.
ISRO on Gaganyaan
- ISRO is making significant strides in its Gaganyaan project, including the upcoming test of the crew escape system (CES) scheduled for October 21, 2023. The LVM-3 rocket, designed to carry the crew into orbit, has undergone substantial strengthening, marking its human-rated status.
- several critical components, such as the crew module and escape system, are still in the development phase, with certain technologies needing to be sourced from other countries.
- These technological advancements include the Environmental Control and Life Support Systems (ECLSS) and the Integrated Vehicle Health Management System (IVHMS), which are crucial for ensuring crew safety and mission success.
- Extensive testing, ranging from helicopter-based and test-vehicle-based tests to rocket-based and abort tests, is planned over the next year to ensure the readiness and reliability of the systems.
- The impending test on October 21 will simulate an abort scenario, validating the capability of the crew escape system.
- Regarding the number of astronauts for the mission, the ISRO Chairman emphasized that the decision would be made based on the organization’s confidence and capability. While the initial mission might involve sending a single astronaut.
- The ultimate aim is to ensure that the mission is executed flawlessly and with the utmost attention to technology development and capability enhancement.
- ISRO’s flexible approach to the number of astronauts for the mission, starting with a single astronaut, is driven by a commitment to executing the mission with the highest level of confidence and capability.
- The primary objective is to prioritize the flawless execution of the mission while emphasizing technology development and capability enhancement as essential elements of the journey towards human spaceflight.
SDG’S – Synergistic Barriers
- The world is facing significant challenges in meeting the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by 2030, with a particular emphasis on the emergence of both obstacles and prospects related to synergistic actions.
- One of the primary hindrances to achieving these goals is the presence of barriers that impede synergistic efforts.
- Synergies are the positive interactions that can occur between different SDG interventions. For example, investing in renewable energy can have positive impacts on climate change, air pollution, and economic growth.
Five types of dis-synergies that can arise in the pursuit of SDGs:
- Resource allocations: When resources are allocated to one SDG at the expense of another.
- Creation of enabling environments: When the enabling environment for one SDG is not compatible with the enabling environment for another SDG.
- Co-benefits: When the co-benefits of one SDG intervention are not realized because of another SDG intervention.
- Cost-effectiveness: When the cost-effectiveness of one SDG intervention is reduced because of another SDG intervention.
- Saturation limits: When there is a limit to the amount of synergy that can be achieved between two SDG interventions.
- In the context of India, India has made significant progress on both its climate and sustainable development goals, but it still has an uphill task ahead. It emphasizes the importance of investing in clean energy options, such as renewable energy and urban transport, which have synergistic benefits for both climate change and human health.
- India has made commendable progress in addressing climate and sustainable development goals, but challenges remain. To overcome them, investing in clean energy, such as renewables and urban transport, is vital.
- These investments combat climate change and improve human health, demonstrating the potential synergies that can accelerate SDG progress. Recognizing and addressing barriers while harnessing SDG synergies are critical for a sustainable and prosperous future.
Centralised procurement as a powerful health
- The concept of centralised procurement holds substantial potential to revolutionise India’s healthcare system, much like a centralised procurement team streamlines the acquisition of potatoes for a vast franchise network. In this analogy, centralised procurement not only addresses price efficiency but also ensures consistent quality, much like how it should function in the context of hospitals and drug procurement.
- Despite the well-documented success of pooled buyer models in many countries and corporate hospital chains, the Indian central government has historically underutilised this approach in health schemes like CGHS, PMJAY, and ESI.
- Corporate hospital chains have harnessed the power of pooled procurement to negotiate substantial discounts directly with pharmaceutical companies, but this approach has not yet proliferated to more hospitals.
- Recent research on a “National Cancer Grid pooled procurement initiative” showcases the immense potential of group negotiations, uniform contracts, and centralised purchases in saving significant healthcare costs.
- With savings ranging from 23% to 99%, this approach can be applied to various healthcare systems, transcending cancer treatments.
- Consistency in coverage and the implementation of centralised procurement remains a challenge in government health schemes, despite the demonstrated benefits of pooled procurement.
- The government has the potential to leverage its public sector units to provide benchmark prices, thereby ensuring competitive procurement and reducing the reliance on private manufacturers.
- Centralised procurement can enhance quality assurance by enabling independent testing of supplies, which is a standard practice in many developed nations.
- This simple yet powerful idea, backed by both theory and empirical evidence, has the potential to reduce costs, optimise fund allocation in healthcare, and ensure the availability of life-saving drugs.
- Implementing centralised procurement on a larger scale is an idea that India should promptly embrace.
Facts for Prelims
Integrated Watershed Development Programme (IWMP)
- Objective: Implemented by the Department of Land Resources, Ministry of Rural Development since 2009-10, with a goal to cover 55 million hectares of rain-fed land by 2027.
- Second-largest watershed program globally, following China.
- Mission: To restore ecological balance by conserving and improving degraded natural resources, including soil, vegetation, and water through watershed management initiatives.
- Implementation: Implemented nationwide, funded by both central and state governments in a 90:10 ratio.
- Focus on soil erosion prevention, natural vegetation regeneration, rainwater harvesting, and groundwater recharge, enabling multi-cropping and diverse agro-based activities for sustainable livelihoods.
- Integration: Merged into the Pradhan Mantri Krishi Sinchayee Yojana (PMKSY) in 2015, alongside the On-Farm Water Management (OFWM) and Accelerated Irrigation Benefit Programme (AIBP).
Other Water Conservation Initiatives:
- Haryali Project: Sponsored by the Central Government, it aims to conserve water for various purposes like drinking, irrigation, fisheries, and afforestation. Gram Panchayats lead execution with community participation.
- Neeru-Meeru and Arvary Pani Sansad: In Andhra Pradesh and Alwar, Rajasthan, these programs construct water-harvesting structures such as percolation tanks, dugout ponds (Jihad), and check dams, emphasizing community involvement.
- Tamil Nadu Mandate: Mandatory water harvesting structures in new constructions to combat water scarcity.
Marine Cloud Brightening
- Marine Cloud Brightening is a climate engineering technique designed to mitigate the effects of climate change, particularly global warming and rising sea levels. The concept involves increasing the reflectivity of marine clouds to reflect more sunlight back into space, which can help cool the Earth.
- Spraying Particles: Tiny seawater droplets or other aerosols are injected into low-lying marine clouds using specialized equipment mounted on ships or aircraft.
- Cloud Albedo Effect: The introduced particles act as cloud condensation or ice nuclei, causing cloud droplets to become smaller and more numerous. This increases the cloud’s albedo, or reflectivity, making it more effective at reflecting sunlight.
- Solar Radiation Reflection: The enhanced reflectivity of these clouds reflects more incoming solar radiation, reducing the amount of heat absorbed by the Earth’s surface.
- Climate Cooling: Marine cloud brightening aims to cool the Earth’s surface temperatures by increasing the Earth’s albedo and reducing the amount of sunlight reaching the surface.
- Sea Level Control: Reducing temperatures, can help mitigate the melting of polar ice caps and slow the rise of sea levels.