Current Affairs August 26

Global climate policy

  • The policy significance of the recent report ( of the United Nations (UN) Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) is that reaching net zero alone is not enough as it is the cumulative emissions up to net zero which determine the temperature that is reached, and that a global policy which considers only current emissions will not limit global warming and its adverse effects.
  • Development depleted carbon space causing the climate problem and developing countries are being pressured to limit their use of the remaining space as the solution.
  • Reframing negotiations in terms of bringing per-person emissions, or human well-being, as the essential first step highlights that merely achieving net zero of current emissions by 2050 — the proposal of the G7 — restricts well-being and is unacceptable as global policy.
  • The world’s per capita greenhouse gas emissions are 6.55 tonnes of carbon dioxide.
  • India’s per capita emission at 1.96 tonnes is less than one-third; emissions of the United States, Canada and Australia are more than two-a-half times; Germany, the United Kingdom and France are above
  • Accepting ‘net zero’ emissions by 2050 effectively prevents India’s urbanisation and shift of the rural population into the middle class
  • By contributing over 60% of global cumulative emissions, with just one-fourth of the global population, North America and Europe are responsible for nearly 970 billion tonnes of carbon emissions.
  • The total amount we can emit to have a chance of limiting warming to 1.5° C — is only 400 gigatonnes of carbon dioxide, and the U.S. alone has contributed this amount for its high standard of living
  • Infrastructure, or construction, essential for urbanisation and quality of living is responsible for two-fifths of global carbon dioxide emissions from fuel combustion and 25% of emissions overall.
  • These emissions arise from energy intensive cement production and half of the steel produced which is used in construction, both having no substitutes
  • The U.S. first recognised the implications of its way of life preparing for the Stockholm Summit in 1972,
  • But then shaped the global agenda in terms of current emissions which were going to grow in developing countries as they urbanised, rather than the scientifically correct stabilisation of cumulative emissions, to draw attention away from its own urbanisation and lifestyle
  • The IPCC report has reiterated that impacts such as a rise in sea level, variability of rainfall and temperature increases will not be reversible for some time even after emissions fall.
  • With consumption of the urban middle class now more important than production in terms of GDP, it has become clear that the rising prosperity of the poor and its need for infrastructure is not endangering planetary life support systems as stress on population and national emissions suggests.
  • With different civilisational values, consumption of the middle class in developing countries is less wasteful than in the first phase of urbanisation
  • Sharing prosperity should be the objective of new intergovernmental mechanisms, with the involvement of the private sector, for example, supporting solar energy, joint research in new crop varieties and exchanging experiences on infrastructure viability.
  • We now know that climate change is not just an environmental or sustainable development concern involving trade-offs.
  • It requires a civilisational transformation in what we value, the way we live, and how we interact with one another.


Economic terms in news

  • Overdraft is a financial instrument to provide an extension of credit when the savings or current account balance reaches zero.
  • Most of the banks offer an overdraft limit depending on the customer’s existing relationship with the bank.
  • Bank also charges the interest and fees on exceeding the overdraft limit of the accounts.
  • Generally, there are two types of overdrafts: Secured overdrafts and unsecured overdrafts.
    • Secured Overdrafts: Secured overdrafts are the overdrafts that are taken against one’s saving or current account.
    • Unsecured Overdrafts: The overdrafts that are not taken against any collateral are known as unsecured overdrafts.

Non-performing assets

  • An asset, including a leased asset, becomes non-performing when it ceases to generate income for the bank.
  • A ‘non-performing asset’ (NPA) was defined as a credit facility in respect of which the interest and/ or instalment of principal has remained ‘past due’ for a specified period of time.

To be considered as NPA

  • Interest and/ or instalment of principal remain overdue for a period of more than 90 days in respect of a term loan,
  • The account remains ‘out of order’ for a period of more than 90 days, in respect of an Overdraft/Cash Credit (OD/CC),
  • The bill remains overdue for a period of more than 90 days in the case of bills purchased and discount.

‘Out of Order’ status

  • An account should be treated as ‘out of order’ if the outstanding balance remains continuously in excess of the sanctioned limit/drawing power. In cases where the outstanding balance in the principal operating account is less than the sanctioned limit/drawing power, but there are no credits continuously for six months as on the date of Balance Sheet or credits are not enough to cover the interest debited during the same period, these accounts should be treated as ‘out of order’.


  • Any amount due to the bank under any credit facility is ‘overdue’ if it is not paid on the due date fixed by the bank.




Digital technology in judiciary

  • Connection with the CoWIN portal, the Supreme Court pointed out some of the major impediments in the delivery of vaccines to the people at large.
  • Inadequate digital literacy across the country,
  • Inadequate digital penetration,
  • Serious issues of bandwidth and connectivity, particularly in remote and inaccessible regions


Digital technology in judiciary

  • In the wake of the pandemic, courts began using facilities like e-filing in true earnest.
  • In May 2020, the Supreme Court also introduced another innovation: a new system of e-filing and artificial intelligence-enabled referencing.
  • It also seeks to harness technology in overcoming and resolving the intractable ills that have for long dogged the judiciary.
  • These include the massive backlog of cases and unacceptable levels of judicial vacancies across the country at all levels
  • But an over-reliance on technology is not a panacea to all the ills plaguing the courts and if done without forethought, could become counterproductive.


Pendency of cases

  • Evidence shows that despite considerable investment to digitalise judicial infrastructure and administration, beginning with Phase 1 of the eCourts in 2007, the judiciary’s performance during the pandemic period has left a lot to be desired.
  • In absolute terms, data show that pendency reached an all-time high during this year of virtual functioning of the courts.
  • In the case of district courts, pendency rose sharply by 18.2% between December 31, 2019 and December 31, 2020, according to the National Judicial Data Grid.
  • Across the 25 High Courts, pendency witnessed its sharpest increase of 20.4% in 2019- 2020.

Way forward

  • We need to address uneven digital access: while mobile phones are widely owned and used, access to the Internet remains limited to urban users.
  • Lawyers in semi urban and rural districts find online hearings challenging, mostly due to connectivity issues and an unfamiliarity with this way of working.
  • If deployed with adequate databased planning and safeguards, technological tools can be a game changer
  • The latest Vision Document for Phase III of the e-Courts Project seeks to address the judiciary’s digital deprivation.
  • It envisages an infrastructure for the judicial system that is ‘natively digital’ and reflects the effect that the pandemic has had on India’s judicial timeline and thinking


Industry 4.0

  • The term ‘Industry 4.0’ was coined by the German government in 2011.
  • Additive manufacturing, Internet of Things, Cyber Physical Systems, Augmented Reality/Virtual Reality and data analytics are some of the technologies associated with Industry 4.0.
  • With the help of these technologies, the manufacturing industry will be able to make data-driven decisions.
  • The reduced costs of electronics like sensors, transmitters, and cloud have allowed us to capture the data produced during operational activities.
  • With the availability of advanced algorithms, this captured data can be analysed for decision-making in real time.
  • Thus, Industry 4.0 integrated ‘data’ with manufacturing and Information Technology.
  • To take advantage of data-driven decision-making, the governments of other countries also coined their own industrial initiatives like Industry 4.0.


The potential of MSMEs

  • Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) are expected to become the backbone of India as the economy grows larger.
  • MSMEs form more than 95% of the industries in India, produce more than 45% of the total manufacturing output and employ more than 40% of the workforce.
  • According to the Economic Survey 2020-21, over 6 crore MSMEs employ more than 11 crore people and contribute roughly 30% to the GDP and half of the country’s export.
  • MSMEs are also ancillaries to larger enterprises, leading to a seamless supply chain integration. As a result, making MSMEs more efficient will be advantageous for the whole economy
  • MSMEs face challenges when it comes to adopting new technologies such as Industry 4.0.
  • First, they lack awareness regarding Industry 4.0 and its benefits.
  • They consider such technologies disruptive and having the potential to demolish their existing system
  • Scientific literature provides evidence of sensors and WiFi networks being integrated with old machines like lathes and mills to improve their performance.
  • MSMEs will need to make major financial investments to adopt Industry 4.0



  • Industry 4.0 will make MSMEs more competitive as they will be able to offer world-class quality products to customers.
  • Additionally, delivery timings and the flexibility to meet different needs will improve.
  • As India joined the group of top 50 countries in the global innovation index for the first time in 2020, it is imperative for its MSMEs to embrace Industry 4.0 technologies without any hesitation
  • Proper sensitisation of the Government of India, higher education institutions, practitioners, entrepreneurs, industrial associations, trade unions, venture capitalists, consultants and research agencies would help to speed up this task.


SUJALAM’ Capmpaign

  • The Ministry of Jal Shakti began ‘SUJALAM’, a ‘100 days campaign’ as part of the ‘Azadi Ka Amrit Mahotsav’ celebrations to create more and more ODF Plus villages by undertaking waste water management at village level particularly through creation of 1 million Soak-pits and also other Grey water management activities.
  • The effort of campaign would be directed towards achieving the ODF plus status for villages across the country in an accelerated manner in a short time.
  • The Campaign has started from today i.e. 25th August, 2021 and will continue to run for the next 100 days.
  • The campaign will not only build desired infrastructure i.e. soak pit for management of greywater in villages but will also aid in sustainable management of water bodies.
  • The disposal of waste water and clogging of waterbodies in the villages or on the outskirts of the villages remain one of the major problems.
  • The Campaign would help in management of the wastewater and in turn would help to revive the water bodies



  • It refers to domestic wastewater generated in households or office buildings from streams without fecal contamination, i.e., all streams except for the wastewater from toilets.
  • Sources of greywater include sinks, showers, baths, washing machines or dishwashers. As greywater contains fewer pathogens than domestic wastewater,
  • it is generally safer to handle and easier to treat and reuse onsite for toilet flushing, landscape or crop irrigation, and other non-potable uses.


Havana syndrome

  • Back in 2016, reports first emerged of US diplomats and other employees of the government falling ill in Havana, the capital of Cuba.
  • The patients said they heard strange sounds and experienced odd physical sensations in their hotel rooms or homes.
  • They said they had symptoms of nausea, severe headaches, fatigue, dizziness, sleep problems and hearing loss. This mysterious illness came to be called the “Havana Syndrome”.