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Here are the topics covered for 25 July 2023: Rural Bias in National Surveys: Examining the Debate and the Need for Review, Israeli Parliament Approves Controversial Judicial Reform Law Amid Protests, ASEAN’s Persistence with Dialogue and Challenges in the Indo-Pacific: Key Takeaways from the 56th FMM Meeting, G20’s Role in Disaster Risk Reduction: Building on India’s Initiatives, ISRO’s PSLV-C56 to Launch Seven Singaporean Satellites, Bombay High Court Directs Goa Government to Notify Mhadei Sanctuary as Tiger Reserve.
Table of Contents
- Rural Bias in National Surveys: Examining the Debate and the Need for Review
- Israeli Parliament Approves Controversial Judicial Reform Law Amid Protests
- ASEAN’s Persistence with Dialogue and Challenges in the Indo-Pacific: Key Takeaways from the 56th FMM Meeting
- G20’s Role in Disaster Risk Reduction: Building on India’s Initiatives
Prelims facts and basics
- ISRO’s PSLV-C56 to Launch Seven Singaporean Satellites
- Bombay High Court Directs Goa Government to Notify Mhadei Sanctuary as Tiger Reserve
Rural Bias in National Surveys: Examining the Debate and the Need for Review
- National surveys play a crucial role in research, policymaking, and development planning in India.
- Recent debate surrounding the methodology of national surveys, including National Sample Survey (NSS), National Family Health Survey (NFHS), and Periodic Labour Force Survey (PLFS).
Debate on Methodology and Rural Bias:
- Shamika Ravi and Bibek Debroy argue that outdated survey methodology has underestimated India’s development.
- C. Mohanan and Amitabh Kundu disagree, suggesting that errors exist but there’s no systematic underestimation of development.
- Focus on NFHS data, conducted by the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare for 30 years with the International Institute of Population Sciences (IIPS).
Rural Bias in NFHS:
- Ravi and Mr. Debroy claim that NFHS suffers from “rural bias in terms of representation.”
- Analysis of five rounds of NFHS data shows no systematic bias towards rural population.
- Evidence of rural population underestimation by NFHS-3, overestimation by NFHS-2 and NFHS-5. NFHS-1 and NFHS-4 estimates are closer to World Bank estimates.
- Errors seem random rather than systematic.
- Higher percentages of no-response in urban areas compared to rural areas, but no systematic relation with bias in estimation.
- Suggests improving error minimization through appropriate sample weights assignment.
- Unweighted percentages of urban sample indicate that appropriate sample weights can correct errors to a great extent.
Importance of Review:
- National level data is crucial for research, policymaking, and development planning.
- The Pronab Sen Committee is appointed to review the methodology of the National Statistical Organisation (NSO).
- The committee should address concerns to ensure adequate representation without a complete overhaul of the survey methodology.
- Focus on correcting existing bias rather than introducing new biases in policymaking, planning, and financing for national level surveys.
Israeli Parliament Approves Controversial Judicial Reform Law Amid Protests
- The Israeli Parliament has approved a key portion of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s plan to reshape the country’s judicial system.
- The reform has sparked widespread protests and debate, dividing the nation.
Failed Compromise Attempt:
- All 64 lawmakers from the right-wing ruling coalition voted in favor, while opposition members boycotted the vote.
- Israel’s President Isaac Herzog attempted to mediate and find a compromise but was unsuccessful.
- Opposition leader Yair Lapid stated that reaching an agreement with the current government was impossible.
- The proposed reform limits the Supreme Court’s ability to strike down government decisions deemed “unreasonable.”
- Proponents argue it is necessary to curb the Supreme Court’s powers.
- Critics, including religious extremist and ultranationalist parties, believe it will undermine Israel’s democratic values and checks and balances.
The Reform’s Details:
- The reform aims to diminish the judiciary’s influence over lawmaking and public policy.
- It grants the government control over judicial appointments and limits the authority of legal advisors.
- The Knesset would be able to override the Supreme Court’s declaration of legislation as unconstitutional with a majority vote.
Additional Steps Planned:
- The government plans further changes, including altering the appointment process of legal advisors to government ministries.
- Prime Minister Netanyahu, though supportive, has been barred from actively participating due to his ongoing corruption trial.
Other Related Bills:
- The coalition is advancing various bills related to Israel’s judicial system and the balance of powers.
- These bills cover widening the authority of the Rabbinical Court, limiting ways to dissolve the Knesset, and prohibiting criminal proceedings against sitting Prime Ministers.
ASEAN’s Persistence with Dialogue and Challenges in the Indo-Pacific: Key Takeaways from the 56th FMM Meeting
- The 56th Foreign Ministers Meeting (FMM) of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) took place in Jakarta, Indonesia, in July 2023.
- The meeting addressed transformative changes in the region, including the impact of COVID-19, economic slowdown, the Ukraine war, climate change, and geopolitical tensions between the US and China.
Vision and Challenges:
- ASEAN’s vision of becoming the “Epicentrum of Growth” focuses on creating a political community, an integrated economic community, and a socio-cultural community for sustainable development.
- Internal differences on issues like Myanmar and strained US-China relations pose challenges to ASEAN’s unity and centrality.
China’s Influence and South China Sea Dispute:
- China maintains close political and economic ties with ASEAN states, especially Laos, Cambodia, and Myanmar, leading to a lack of unified response on the South China Sea issue.
- ASEAN refrains from raising its voice against China’s delaying tactics in negotiating a code of conduct for the South China Sea.
US-China Tensions and ASEAN Outlook on the Indo-Pacific (AOIP):
- ASEAN promotes the AOIP to address geopolitical tensions, focusing on areas like maritime cooperation, connectivity, UN Sustainable Development Goals, and economic cooperation.
- However, the implementation of the AOIP remains a concern despite reaffirmation of support from ASEAN partners.
Myanmar Situation and ASEAN Centrality:
- ASEAN’s inability to forge unity on the Myanmar issue undermines its centrality and credibility.
- Thailand’s separate dialogue with Myanmar’s military government highlights internal divisions within ASEAN.
India’s Role and Engagement:
- India emphasizes the importance of a “strong and unified” ASEAN in the emerging Indo-Pacific dynamic.
- External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar suggests enhancing India-ASEAN cooperation in new domains such as cyber, financial, and maritime security.
About ASEAN (Association of Southeast Asian Nations)
- ASEAN (Association of Southeast Asian Nations) is a regional intergovernmental organization comprising ten member countries in Southeast Asia.
- It was established on August 8, 1967, with the signing of the ASEAN Declaration in Bangkok, Thailand, by the founding members: Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, and Thailand.
- Brunei Darussalam joined ASEAN in 1984, followed by Vietnam in 1995, Laos and Myanmar in 1997, and Cambodia in 1999.
- The main objectives of ASEAN are to promote regional peace, stability, and economic growth, enhance cooperation among member states, and foster mutual respect and understanding among nations in Southeast Asia.
- ASEAN’s principles are based on mutual respect for sovereignty, non-interference in internal affairs, peaceful resolution of conflicts, and consensus-based decision-making.
- The ASEAN Charter, adopted in 2007, serves as the organization’s legal framework, outlining its principles, objectives, and institutional structure.
G20’s Role in Disaster Risk Reduction: Building on India’s Initiatives
- The world is witnessing an increase in disasters, such as heatwaves, forest fires, floods, and pandemics, with devastating consequences.
- The Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction 2015-2030 outlines a global roadmap for reducing disaster risks and losses.
India’s Initiative and G20’s Importance:
- India has prioritized disaster risk reduction during its G20 presidency and established the first G20 Disaster Risk Reduction Working Group.
- G20 countries represent 85% of global GDP and two-thirds of the world population, making them crucial in disaster risk-informed decision-making.
Priority Areas for G20’s Action
Enhancing Early Warning Systems:
- Inclusive and multi-hazard early warning systems are essential for reducing disaster-related deaths and economic losses.
- The UN’s Early Warnings for All Initiative seeks universal coverage for everyone by the end of 2027.
Strengthening Resilient Infrastructure:
- Every country must assess and enhance the resilience of its critical infrastructure to withstand climate and disaster risks.
- India launched the Coalition for Disaster Resilient Infrastructure in collaboration with the UN to promote disaster-resilient infrastructure development.
Transforming Risk Reduction Plans into Concrete Actions:
- A new approach to financing disaster risk reduction is needed, involving finance and economy ministries and the private sector.
- G20 nations like Indonesia and India have utilized risk metrics to allocate resources for disaster risk reduction at the sub-national and local levels.
Future Steps and G20’s Role:
- Scaling up ecosystem-based approaches and enhancing national and local response capacities will be the next G20 presidents’ responsibility.
- Brazil, the upcoming G20 Presidency, has committed to continuing the working group and building on India’s initiatives.
ISRO’s PSLV-C56 to Launch Seven Singaporean Satellites
- The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) has announced the launch of PSLV-C56 from the Satish Dhawan Space Centre (SDSC) Sriharikota on July 30 at 6:30 am.
- The mission will carry Singapore’s DS-SAR satellite along with six co-passenger satellites.
Primary Payload – DS-SAR Satellite:
- The DS-SAR satellite weighs 360 kg and was developed by DSTA (representing the Singapore government) and ST Engineering.
- It will be launched into a Near-Equatorial Orbit (NEO) at 5 degrees inclination and 535 km altitude.
- The DS-SAR satellite will fulfill the satellite imagery requirements of various agencies within the government of Singapore.
- ST Engineering will utilize the satellite for responsive imagery and geospatial services for commercial customers.
- VELOX-AM: A technology demonstration microsatellite.
- Atmospheric Coupling and Dynamics Explorer (ARCADE): An experimental satellite.
- SCOOB-II: A 3U nanosatellite carrying a technology demonstrator payload.
- NuLIoN by NuSpace: An advanced 3U nanosatellite enabling seamless IoT connectivity in urban and remote locations.
- Galassia-2: A 3U nanosatellite orbiting at low earth orbit.
- ORB-12 STRIDER: A satellite developed under international collaboration.
ISRO’s Recent Missions:
- The PSLV-C56 mission follows the successful launch of the Chandrayaan-3 mission on July 14.
Bombay High Court Directs Goa Government to Notify Mhadei Sanctuary as Tiger Reserve
- The Goa bench of the Bombay High Court has directed the Goa government to notify the Mhadei Wildlife Sanctuary and other areas mentioned in the National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA) communications and Goa forest department’s plans as a tiger reserve under the Wildlife Protection Act.
- The notification must be completed within three months from the date of the court’s directive.
- The Mhadei Wildlife Sanctuary, situated in North Goa’s Sattari Taluka, has been a subject of contention regarding its declaration as a tiger reserve.
- In 2011, Jairam Ramesh, then Union Minister of State for Environment and Forests, urged the Goa Chief Minister to declare the sanctuary as a tiger reserve, citing evidence of a resident tiger population.
- In 2020, after the tragic death of a tigress and three cubs due to poisoning inside the sanctuary, the demand for a tiger reserve was renewed by environmentalists and conservationists.
Challenges and Rejection:
- The State Board for Wildlife had previously rejected the proposal to establish a tiger reserve, citing the declaration as premature and not feasible.
- Chief Minister Pramod Sawant expressed concerns about Goa’s small size and not meeting the criteria under the Wildlife Act and NTCA’s guidelines.
Mhadei Wildlife Sanctuary
- Location: North Goa District, Sanguem taluka, near Valpoi.
- Unique Features: Presence of Bengal Tigers, declared as an International Bird Area, rich in diverse snake species, home to the Mhadei River (known downstream as Mandovi River), which is the lifeline of Goa.
- Protection: Goa is the only state in India that has completely protected the Western Ghats located within its boundaries through the formation of this sanctuary.
Key Points about the Sanctuary:
- Formed in 1999.
- Contains the three highest peaks in Goa: Sonsogod (1027 mts), Talavche Sada (812 mts), and Vageri (725 mts).
- Vageri means ‘the abode of the tiger.’
- Acts as a catchment area for the Mhadei River, playing a crucial role in sustaining the river’s water flow.
- The sanctuary has faced biotic pressure with agriculture and human interference replacing natural vegetation with cashew/kumeri cultivation.