EWS Quota does not violate the basic structure: SC

In News

  • The Supreme Court recently upheld the 103rd amendment to the Constitution introducing a 10 percent reservation for the Economically Weaker Sections (EWS).

More about the Supreme Court’s opinion

  • On “Exclusion of the reserved categories from the EWS quota”:
    • Issue:
      • Critics believe that the act breaches the basic structure of the Constitution by excluding(Socially and Educationally Backward Classes)/OBCs (Other Backward Classes)/SCs (Scheduled Castes)/STs (Scheduled Tribes) from the scope of EWS reservation.
    • Court’s opinion:
      • Exclusion of the reserved categories from the EWS quota does not violate the equality code. 
      • According to the court it does not in any manner cause damage to the basic structure of the constitution according to the court.
  • On the “Reservation for EWS over and above the 50 percent cap”: 
    • Issue:
      • In the Indra Sawhney vs Union of India, popularly known as the Mandal Commission case, the Supreme Court ordered that total reservation should not exceed 50 percent. 
      • Critics believe that the 50 percent ceiling is a constitutional requirement without which the structure of equality of opportunity would collapse.
    • Court’s opinion:
      • It also opined that the reservation for EWS over and above 50 percent cap does not violate the basic structure.
        • Ceiling, by itself, is not inflexible and in any case only applies to reservations envisaged by Articles 15(4), 15(5) and 16(4) of the Constitution according to the statement given by the court.
  • Affirmative action:
    • Amendment enabling states to make special provisions for EWS other than Scheduled Castes, Scheduled Tribes and Socially and Educationally Backward Classes is required to be treated as an affirmative action on the part of the Parliament for the benefit and betterment of the EWS category. 
  • On the time span of reservations:
    • Though it was envisaged that reservation must have a time span, it has still not been accomplished even after 75 years of Independence
    • Court also opined that the policy needs to be revisited in the larger interest of the society as a whole, as a step forward towards transformative constitutionalism.
103rd Amendment ActAbout:The Parliament amended the Constitution of India (103rd Amendment) Act, 2019 to provide for a 10% reservation in education and government jobs in India for a section of the General category candidates.Introduction of Article 15 (6) and Article 16 (6):The amendment introduced economic reservation by amending Articles 15 and 16. It inserted Article 15 (6) and Article 16 (6) in the Constitution to allow reservation for the economically backward in the unreserved category. Article 15(6): Up to 10% of seats may be reserved for EWS for admission in educational institutions. Such reservations will not apply to minority educational institutions.Article 16(6): It permits the government to reserve up to 10% of all government posts for the EWS.

Arguments favouring EWS Quota

  • The quota is progressive: 
    • The economically weaker sections have not reaped the benefits of higher educational institutions and public employment due to their financial incapacity. 
    • The quota is progressive and could address the issues of educational and income inequality in India.
  • Abysmal conditions: 
    • The reservation criteria should be economic because there are many classes other than backward classes who are living under abysmal conditions but cannot avail reservation and its intended benefits. 
  • Ram Singh v. Union of India (2015): 
    • In this case, SC asserted that social deficiencies may exist beyond the concept of caste (e.g. economic status/gender identity as in transgenders). 
  • The “quota-for-poor” policy: 
    • This policy is symptomatic of a larger failure. 
    • It replaces the principle that welfare should be the basic raison d’être of public policy, it hides the colossal failure of the state in handling questions of poverty and deprivation and, at the same time, it indicates a dead-end in policy-making itself. 

Arguments against EWS Quota

  • Reservation based on economic criteria:
    • Reservation based entirely on economic criteria is not an all-in-one solution, though family income can be one of the parameters. 
  • Determining economic backwardness:
    • Determining economic backwardness is a  major challenge as there are concerns regarding the inclusion and exclusion of persons under the criteria.
  • Equality of opportunity:
    • In M. Nagaraj v. Union of India (2006), a Constitution Bench ruled that equality is part of the basic structure of the Constitution. 
  • Financial burden:
    • The implementation of the quota is a challenge in itself as the states do not have the finances to enforce even the present and constitutionally mandated reservations.
  • Other:
    • It washes away the constitutionally permitted gatekeeping mechanism of social and educational backwardness and makes reservation available to everyone irrespective of social backwardness.
    • Reservation has also become synonymous with anti-merit, with the extension of reservation, this opinion might get further ingrained in the public psyche.
Related provisions in the ConstitutionArticle 16(1) and 16(2) assure citizens equality of opportunity in employment or appointment to any government office.Article 15(1) generally prohibits any discrimination against any citizen on the grounds of religion, caste, sex or place of birth.Articles 15(4) and 16(4) state that the equality provisions do not prevent the government from making special provisions in matters of admission to educational institutions or jobs in favour of backward classes, particularly the Scheduled Castes (SCs) and the Scheduled Tribes (STs).Article 16(4A) allows reservations to SCs and STs in promotions, as long as the government believes that they are not adequately represented in government services.

Reduction of Child Marriage in India

In News

  • The steering committee of a global programme to end child marriage is on a visit to India to witness state interventions which have helped reduce the prevalence of child marriage.

Key Findings

  • About Committee: 
    • The visit is by the UNFPA-UNICEF Global Programme to End Child Marriage team.
  • Increase in number of child brides:
    • It is in view of an estimated increase in the number of child brides due to the pandemic. 
    • 10 million children could become child brides as a result of the pandemic globally. 
  • Yearly analysis: 
    • In India, child marriage reduced from 47.4% in 2005-06 to 26.8% in 2015-16, registering a decline of 21% points during the decade. 
    • In the last five years, it declined by 3.5% points to reach 23.3% in 2020-21, according to the latest National Family Health Survey-5 data.
  • Global Scenario:
    • The total number of girls married in childhood stands at 12 million per year, and progress must be significantly accelerated in order to end the practice by 2030,
      • It was the target set out in the Sustainable Development Goals. 
  • Preventive action needed: 
    • Without further acceleration, more than 150 million additional girls will marry before they turn 18 by 2030. 
  • Improvement but more efforts needed:
    • While it is encouraging that in the past decade great progress has been made in South Asia, where a girl’s risk of marrying before she is 18 has dropped by more than a third, from nearly 50% to below 30%, it is not enough, and progress has been uneven. 
  • India’s Position: 
    • There is a growing trend for decline in the overall prevalence of child marriage, but 23.3% is still a disturbingly high percentage in a country with a population of 141.2 crore. 
    • Eight States have a higher prevalence of child marriage than the national average:
      • West Bengal, Bihar and Tripura top the list with more than 40% of women aged 20-24 years married below 18, according to NFHS data. 
  • Indian States:
    • Among the bigger States, West Bengal and Bihar have the highest prevalence of girl child marriage. 
    • States with a large population of tribal poor have a higher prevalence of child marriage. 
    • In Jharkhand, 32.2% of women in the age bracket 20-24 got married before 18, infant mortality stood at 37.9%, and 65.8% of women in the 15-19 age bracket are anaemic. 
    • Assam too has a high prevalence of child marriage (31.8% in 2019-20 from 30.8% in 2015-16). 
    • Some States have shown a reduction in child marriages, like 
      • Madhya Pradesh (23.1% in 2020-21 from 32.4% in 2015-16), 
      • Rajasthan (25.4% from 35.4%) and 
      • Haryana. 
    • Several States are pegged just below the national average: 
      • In Odisha, 20.5% of women were married off before 18 in 2020-21 from 21.3% in 2015-16. 
    • States with high literacy levels and better health and social indices have fared much better on this score. 
      • In Kerala, women who got married before the age of 18 stood at 6.3% in 2019-20, from 7.6% in 2015-16. 
      • Tamil Nadu too has shown improved figures with 12.8% of women in the age group 20-24 years getting married before 18 compared to 16.3% in 2015-16.

Laws and Policies

  • The Child Marriage Restraint Act of 1929: It is also known as the Sarda Act. It was a law enacted to restrain the practices of Child Marriage.
    • Its main goal was to eliminate the evils placed on young girls who could not handle the stress of married life and to avoid early deaths.
    • This act defined a male child as 21 years or younger and a female child as 18 years or younger.
  • The Prohibition of Child Marriage Act of 2006: Under this act, the marriageable age for a male is prescribed as 21 years and that of a female is 18 years.
    • Child Marriage is prohibited in India as per the Prohibition of Child Marriage Act, 2006.
  • Hindu Marriage Act, 1956: Under Hindu Marriage Act, there are no certain provisions for punishing the parents or people who solemnized the marriage. 
    • A girl can get the marriage annulled only if she wants to get married before attaining the age of fifteen years and she challenges the marriage before turning eighteen.
  • Muslim Personal Law: Under the Muslim Laws, there is no bar to child marriage. The couple after marriage has an “option of puberty” known as Khayar-ul-bulugh in which they can repudiate the marriage after attaining the age of puberty. 
  • The Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act, 2012: which aim at protecting children from violation of human and other rights. 
  • parliamentary standing committee is weighing the pros and cons of raising the age of marriage for women to 21, which has been cleared by the Union Cabinet. 

Primary Reasons for Child Marriage

  • Poverty: If a family is struggling financially, marrying off one of their daughters can mean one less mouth to feed and one less child to educate.
  • Safety: For families living in dangerous environments, like a refugee camp or war zone, child marriage can actually seem like a safer option.
  • Tradition: Child marriage is deeply imbedded in some cultural traditions, where it is viewed as a normal and reasonable practice.
  • Social Insecurity: Many people have this perception that a married woman is much safer from societal offences than an unmarried woman. Unmarried women are viewed with malafide intentions that lead to crimes against them.
  • Avoiding share in Ancestral Property: Generally in rural areas parents think that all their ancestral property belongs to their sons and if they marry their daughters at an early age then they will be out of the share. 
  • Avoiding expenditure on Female Education: Usually families discriminate between boys and girls. Female children are considered a burden as they do not need to work and have to look after the household chores before and after marriage. 

Impacts of Child Marriage

  • Human rights violation: Child marriage is a violation of human rights and dignity, which unfortunately still has social acceptance.
  • Harmful impacts: It has a serious impact on the education, health, and safety of the childrens.
  • Reduces Education Rates For Girls: Child marriage typically marks the end of a girl’s education. Once she’s married, she’s expected to take care of her husband and start having children, leaving little time for school or a career.
  • Traps families in a cycle of poverty: Child marriage might seem to make financial sense in the short term for struggling parents, but it can actually trap families in a cycle of poverty.
  • Contributes to higher fertility rates: Younger brides are more likely to have larger families because they have more child-bearing years during married life. They also usually face a greater inequality with their husbands, resulting in the wife having little to no say in when or how many children to have. 
  • Inabilities to Plan or Manage Families: Young girls exercise less influence and control over their children and have less ability to make decisions about their nutrition, health care and household management. 
  • Desire for Male Child: Due to desire for a male child, young girls and women are forced to conceive as many times as she can till she gives birth to a male child. 


  • Consequences of child marriage are dire, not only because it violates children’s rights, but also because it results in more infant and maternal deaths
    • Children born to adolescent mothers have a greater possibility of seeing stunted growth as they have low weight at birth. According to NFHS-5, the prevalence of child stunting is 35.5% in 2019-21.
  • Data shows that child marriage is a key determinant of high fertility, poor maternal and child health, and lower social status of women.
  • Centralised schemes like the Beti Bachao Beti Padhao, need better implementation on the ground.

Way Ahead

  • Multi pronged strategy needed: 
    • Eradication of poverty, better education and public infrastructure facilities for children, 
    • Raising social awareness on health, nutrition, 
    • Regressive social norms and inequalities. 
    • Strong laws, strict enforcement, 
    • Preparing an ideal situation on the ground to ensure that the girl child — girls with either or below primary level education have experienced higher levels of child marriage.
    • Girl child gets an education and preferably vocational training as well so that she can be financially independent.
  • State’s Efforts: 
    • States have launched many initiatives to improve the factors linked to child marriage, from education to health care and awareness programmes. 
    • For instance, West Bengal’s Kanyashree scheme offers financial aid to girls wanting to pursue higher studies. 
    • Bihar and other States have been implementing a cycle scheme to ensure girls reach safely to school; 
    • U.P. has a scheme to encourage girls to go back to school.
  • Empowering Girl Child:
    • The solution lies in empowering girls, creating proper public infrastructure and addressing societal norms. 
    • Getting down to the gram panchayat level, ensuring that Child Protection Committees and Child Marriage Prohibition officers are doing the job and activating community support groups. 
    • Such efforts can lead to Child Marriage Free Villages like in Odisha which now has over 12,000 such villages. 
  • Implementing Committee guidelines:
    • A series of such interventions — and recommendations of the Shivraj Patil Committee report in 2011 — have helped bring down the percentage of child marriages in Karnataka (from 42% in 2005-06 to 21.3% in 2019-20). 

Sealed cover Affidavits

In News

  • The Supreme Court has suggested a way out of routinely filing documents in sealed covers, especially in cases touching on national security.

More about the news

  • Sealed cover affidavits:
    • The Supreme Court was recently urged to consider laying down a law on the practice of governments submitting affidavits in a sealed cover. 
  • Statute:
    • The law permits the submission of confidential material to the court in some cases. 
    • The Evidence Act also allows the privilege of non-disclosure of some documents and communications. 
  • How?
    • In cases where the government insists on keeping materials confidential from petitioners in the public interest, it ought to claim “specific privilege” in an affidavit and impress upon the court that the contents should remain confidential.
    • In addition, courts can order some contents to be kept confidential. 
  • Supreme Court’s opinion:
    • The court said the government could redact the sensitive portions and show the rest to the petitioners. 
    • This would address both the state’s concerns about “national security” and the “right to know” of petitioners.

Issues & Criticisms with the Sealed cover affidavits

  • Repeated practice:
    • National security is often being used in the courts across the country and this is happening repeatedly.
  • Bias and no power in defence:
    • The practice compromises the defence of those accused of some crimes, especially those involving an alleged threat to national security, or money laundering and corruption.
    • This also creates a bias in the minds of judges.
      • Example:
        • A recent decision of the court in which an Armed Force Tribunal while dealing with a case related to Permanent Commission in the Navy had relied on a sealed cover report, while the other side did not get an opportunity to respond to that content.
  • Denial of bail:
    • Undisclosed material is often used to deny bail.
  • Sealed cover Vs Open courts:
    • The irony is that, in a court that has in the past entertained sealed covers even while efforts were on to embrace the concept of ‘open court’ through live-streaming proceedings. 
  • Used in disputed cases:
    • Sealed covers were unquestioningly accepted, even sought for in cases, including the purchase of Rafale jets, the Bhima Koregaon case, the National Register of Citizens in Assam, etc. 
      • In these cases, sealed cover even rose to the status of due procedure.
What is an Affidavit?An affidavit is a written statement made under oath that is typically used in legal proceedings. When a person swears to be truthful in creating the affidavit, they are called an affiant.Affidavits are a vital part of court proceedings since they provide a written account of the details surrounding the case, which can make it easier for judges to make decisions. They are also useful for record-keeping purposes.The purpose of an affidavit is to formally legitimize a claim. The Indian Evidence ActAbout:The Act was originally passed in India by the Imperial Legislative Council in 1872, during the British Raj. When India gained independence on 15 August 1947, the Act continued to be in force throughout the Republic of India.It contains a set of rules and allied issues governing admissibility of evidence in the Indian courts of law.Significance:The enactment and adoption of the Indian Evidence Act was a path-breaking judicial measure introduced in India, which changed the entire system of concepts pertaining to admissibility of evidences in the Indian courts of law.  ‘Evidence’ means and includes the following:All statements made before the Court by witnesses about matters of fact under investigation, which the Court permits or requires; such statements are referred to as oral evidence;All documents (including electronic records) presented for the inspection of the Court; such materials are referred to as documentary evidence.

Way ahead

  • In courts of Western countries when this kind of material which deals with sensitive material like of national security comes before the court, it appoints a neutral person to have a look into it and assist the court.
  • The main mischief of the ‘sealed cover’ practice lies in the scope it gives the state to avoid deep scrutiny of the need and proportionality of its restrictions on freedom. 
  • The time has come for the Supreme Court to determine and circumscribe the circumstances in which confidential government reports, especially those withheld from the other side, can be used by courts in adjudication.

Menace of Snakebites in India

In News

  • A study published in  Nature Communications recently estimated that a vast majority of snakebite deaths globally — up to 64,100 of the 78,600 deaths — occur in India. 

Key Points

  • Study: 
    • Researchers from 21 countries, published in  Nature Communications recently estimated that a vast majority of snakebite deaths globally.
    • The study used data from verbal autopsy and vital statistics (civil registration) to estimate snakebite deaths from the Global Burden of Disease 2019 study.
    • The study also suggests that the global target of halving the number of deaths and injuries from snakebite by 2030 is unlikely to be met.
  • About Snakebite: 
    • It is a neglected tropical disease (NTD).
    • It is a public health problem in India and many other low- and middle-income countries. 
  • Death: 
    • A global estimate of deaths due to snakebite was not known till recently.
    • The global estimate of deaths due to snakebite comes 14 years after the previous one in 2008 and provides a more robust estimate. 
    • Before the current study, it was known that India is responsible for up to half of the global deaths due to snakebite. But the current study shows snakebite deaths in India are much higher at almost 80% of the global deaths.
  • Within India:
    • Uttar Pradesh has the highest number of deaths, estimated to be up to 16,100, 
    • Followed by Madhya Pradesh (up to 5,790 deaths), and 
    • Rajasthan (up to 5,230 deaths).
  • Age-standardised death rate:
    • It accounts for different age-structures in different countries, thus allowing comparison between countries
    • In India, it is at 4.0 per 1,00,000, is also among the highest globally, and many times over than the global figure of 0.8 deaths per 1,00,000. 
      • Within India, Chhattisgarh, Uttar Pradesh, and Rajasthan have even higher age-standardised death rates, at 6.5, 6.0, and 5.8 per 1,00,000, respectively.
    • Only Somalia has a higher age-standardised death rate than India at 4.5 per 1,00,000. 
      • This indicates a failing health system in India and Somalia leading to high deaths in those who are bitten by venomous snakes. 


  • No proper strategy: 
    • Despite such a high number of deaths each year, there is no national strategy to address the burden of snakebite in India. 
  • Prevention 
    • There is no programme by the government to either prevent snakebite or in preventing deaths or disability in those who are bitten by venomous snakebite.
  • Health system strengthening: 
    • With such a high number of deaths due to snakebites, there is a need for a strategy focusing on snakebite prevention and strengthening of health system. 
  • Awareness: 
    • Preventing snakebite needs more than simple awareness programmes. 
    • This is so because snakebite at its core is due to snake-human-environment conflict tied to many socio-cultural-religious aspects. 
  • Expensive: 
    • The costly drugs and diagnostics whose intellectual property is held outside India or leading to vertical programmes instead of integrated strengthening. 
    • Because snakebite affects the rural poor, a national strategy for snakebite brings in an equity focus which will bring cross benefits for other neglected tropical diseases, which happen in the same communities.

Government Efforts

  • There is some recognition of snakebite as a public health problem with the Indian Council of Medical Research launching a national survey to estimate the burden.
  • As such, understanding the conflict and code signing community-based programmes for prevention of snakebites which are tested through community randomised cluster trials are required. To bring down deaths, strengthening of primary healthcare in India is also required.

Way Ahead

  • There has been a lot of focus on snake antivenom availability
  • An analysis of system capacity for snakebite care revealed that there is a need for comprehensive strengthening of primary healthcare systems focusing on both access and quality of care across all health systems blocks, instead of a sole focus on snake antivenom availability.
  • Improving primary health care is important for snakebite because it is an acute medical emergency – the care needs to be closest to people bitten by snakes.
  • With the new global estimates available, it might be expected that global health funders and philanthropists would invest for research and programmes on snakebite in India, such that the global target can be made.
Neglected Tropical DiseasesThese are a diverse group of communicable diseases that are common in tropical and subtropical conditions in 149 countries.These are most common among marginalised communities in the developing regions of Africa, Asia and the Americas.NTDs threaten more than 1.7 billion people living in the poorest and most marginalized communities worldwide.They are caused by a variety of pathogens such as viruses, bacteria, protozoa and parasitic worms.Disease classified as NTD by WHO:Buruli ulcer, Chagas disease, Dengue and Chikungunya, Guinea worm disease, Echinococcosis, Foodborne trematodiases. Human African trypanosomiasis, Leishmaniasis, Leprosy, Lymphatic filariasis, Mycetoma, chromoblastomycosis and other deep mycoses, Onchocerciasis, Rabies, Scabies and other ectoparasites, Schistosomiasis, Soil-transmitted helminthiases, Snakebite envenoming, Taeniasis/Cysticercosis, Trachoma and Yaws.I
 These diseases generally receive less funding for research and treatment than diseases like tuberculosis, HIV-AIDS and malaria.They are preventable and treatable.Impacts:Several NTDs disproportionately affect children, girls and women and the elderly.Some diseases with cutaneous manifestations (the so-called “skin NTDs”, which include cutaneous leishmaniasis and leprosy) are disfiguring, particularly for women, because they delay health-seeking behaviour, diagnosis and treatment. These diseases often leave visible scars, which have psychological, social and economic impacts that are amplified for women because of gender-based cultural norms and expectations.Children infected with soil-transmitted helminthiases are nutritionally and physically impaired.These diseases take away their health along with the chances of staying in school, earning a living, or even being accepted by their family or community.Challenges in Elimination:For many NTDs, there are no vaccines or simple tests to ensure timely diagnosis and treatment, and treatments can be toxic, ineffective, and costly.Lack of resources is the single most important roadblock that keeps countries from achieving the elimination of targeted diseases.Where health systems are weak, as is often the case in remote and border areas, these diseases remain undiagnosed and untreated.Preventing stigma and discrimination is a remaining challenge, which can lead families to discourage their relatives with disfiguring diseases from attending health services, along with the social displacement of people affected by NTDs.Global Progress So Far:The global NTD partnership includes hundreds of organizations that support programme implementation and contribute to working with health ministries and communities.With the right investments and actions, progress to contain NTDs is within reach.Since 2012 alone, 33 countries have eliminated at least one NTD and the number is increasing in the positive direction.The WHO South-East Asia Region has made good progress towards eliminating the targeted diseases from individual countries and decreasing their burden at a regional and global scale.

COP27 – International mechanism for compensating poor Countries

In News

  • For the first time in the history of United Nations climate negotiations, loss and damage finance will be part of the official agenda of the conference of the parties (COP27) at Sharm-El-Sheikh in Egypt
    • Countries participating in the negotiations agreed to a 20-point provisional agenda.  
What is COP?Every year, the United Nations (UN) organises climate summits where the main agenda of the parties is to limit global temperature rises.These summits are called the Conference of Parties (COP).The participants come from 197 countries that have signed the 1992 UN climate agreement.It aims to stabilise greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere to prevent dangerous interference from human activity on the climate system.It was signed in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.Since 1994, COPs have been organised every year. This year marks the 27th such summit, called the COP27 summit. One year was skipped because of the Covid-19 pandemic.2015 Paris Agreement: here all the countries agreed to limit the temperature rise to 1.5-degree Celsius.COP27: Is going on in the Egyptian resort town of Sharm el-Shaikh.

International mechanism for compensating poor countries (Loss and Damage) 

  • The decision to include loss and damage in the main agenda comes in the wake of a series of unprecedented climate disasters this year:
    • Europe’s worst drought in 500 years.
    • Pakistan’s worst ever flooding.
    • Extensive heat waves in several parts of the world.
  • There had been strident demands from a growing number of countries to discuss loss and damage more seriously and with greater urgency than earlier. 
  • The climate conference in 2013 set up the Warsaw International Mechanism (WIM) on Loss and Damages as a separate track to continue the discussions on this front.
    • The discussions under WIM so far have focused mainly on enhancing knowledge and strengthening dialogue.
    • No funding mechanism, or even a promise to provide funds, has come about.
  • What is “Loss and Damage”?
    • It refers to costs already being incurred from climate-fuelled weather extremes or impacts, like rising sea levels.
  • Issues:
    • The demand for loss and damage finance is quite old, but it has faced strong resistance from the rich and developed countries.
    • Inclusion in the formal agenda is just the first step. The actual provision for compensation for climate disasters is a long way ahead.
  • Significance of this move
    • The inclusion of loss and damage finance in the agenda for COP27 has renewed the fight for justice for communities losing their homes, crops, and income. 
    • Rich countries, historically responsible for the climate crisis, have bullied poorer nations to protect polluters from paying up for climate damage, while disregarding the concerns of vulnerable people and countries. 
    • COP27 must agree to establish a Loss and Damage Finance Facility to help people recover from the impacts of climate crises, such as intensifying floods, droughts and rising seas
    • It must be ensured that it is taken forward with complete transparency, keeping in mind the needs of the poorer and most vulnerable countries.

 Major players at the UN climate conference

  • China
    • The world’s biggest greenhouse gas emitter had its hottest summer on record this year.
    • In a national climate adaptation plan, it said extreme weather was an increasing threat.
    • Still, the country is increasing its coal use in the face of energy security risks.
  • USA
    • The world’s second biggest emitter after China.
    • Provisions of the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) are expected to triple the amount of clean energy on the electricity grid and reduce carbon emissions by 1 billion tons annually by the end of this decade.
    • It is also ready to ratify the Kigali Amendment to the Montreal Protocol, which will phase down the use of hydrofluorocarbons, or HFCs – a climate pollutant used in refrigeration.
  • EU
    • Greenhouse gas emissions from the 27-country European Union comprise about 8% of the global total, and have been trending downward for years.
    • The bloc has enshrined in law targets to cut net emissions by at least 55% by 2030 from 1990 levels, and reduce them to zero by 2050.
  • UK
    • In 2019, Britain pledged to reach net-zero emissions by 2050, and last year committed to a 78% reduction by 2035 compared with 1990 levels.
  • BASIC countries
    • Brazil, South Africa, India and China make up this bloc of populous, fast-developing countries with highly polluting economies.
    • Each has asked rich countries for more climate financing, and demanded equity through the UNFCCC concept of common but differentiated responsibilities.
      • It means wealthy countries that have contributed the most emissions to the atmosphere historically have a greater responsibility to address the problem.  
Other Negotiating Blocs:G77 + CHINA: This alliance of 77 developing countries and China holds the line on the concept that different countries have differing responsibilities.UMBRELLA GROUP: This alliance of non-EU developed countries includes Australia, Japan, Russia, and the United States.AFRICA GROUP: Africa’s U.N. members will push for additional climate financing, while arguing that expanding economies need fossil fuels to increase electricity capacity.CLIMATE VULNERABLE FORUM: Representing 58 countries most at risk from climate impacts, including Bangladesh and the Maldives, this group heads to COP27 with a core demand: a dedicated fund whereby rich polluting countries help the vulnerable bear the costs of “loss and damage”.ALLIANCE OF SMALL ISLAND STATES: The alliance, known by its acronym AOSIS, represents countries that are disproportionately vulnerable to climate effects, particularly sea level rise and coastal erosion.INDEPENDENT ALLIANCE OF LATIN AMERICA AND THE CARIBBEAN: The AILAC bloc is aligned with other developing countries in demanding greater climate ambition and more funding from richer nations.POWERING PAST COAL ALLIANCE: Spearheaded by Britain and Canada, 41 nations and dozens more local governments and companies have pledged faster transitions to clean energy.HIGH AMBITION COALITION: Chaired by the Marshall Islands and with members including Costa Rica, the United States and the EU, this group pushes for more progressive emissions targets and climate policies. 

Way Forward

  • Climate change is a global problem and it requires cooperation between all nations.
  • It needs rules that are fair and just, for the poor and the rich alike.
  • Science is clear that humans are responsible for the global temperature rise and that this increase will lead to more and more variable and extreme weather events, much like what we are seeing now.
  • Countries that have not yet contributed to the emissions will do so in the future, simply because the world has reneged on the need to make global rules that would apply fairly to all.
India’s ‘Panchamrit’ strategy India’s ‘Panchamrit’ strategy was announced at the COP 26 in Glasgow conference into enhanced climate targets.India will increase its non-fossil fuel energy capacity to 500 gigawatt (GW) by 2030.It will meet 50 percent of its energy requirements from renewable sources by 2030.The total projected carbon emissions will be reduced by 1 billion tonnes from now through 2030.The carbon intensity of its economy will be brought down to less than 45 percent.India will achieve its target of net zero by 2070. 


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