Current Affair – June 4, 2021

Glaciers of the Himalayas, Climate Change, Black Carbon and Regional Resilience” – World Bank Report

  • The research covers the Himalaya, Karakoram and Hindu Kush (HKHK) mountain ranges, where, the report says, glaciers are melting faster than the global average ice mass.
  • The rate of retreat of HKHK glaciers is estimated to be 0.3 meters per year in the west to 1.0 meter per year in the east.

Black carbon adds to the impact of climate change.

  • Glacier melt produces flash foods, landslips, soil erosion, and glacial lake outburst foods.

Research Findings

  • Black carbon (BC) deposits produced by human activity which accelerate the pace of glacier and snow melt in the Himalayan region can be sharply reduced through new, currently feasible policies by an additional 50% from current levels.
  • Full implementation of current policies to mitigate BC can achieve a 23% reduction but enacting new policies and incorporating them through regional cooperation among countries can achieve enhanced benefits.

Black Carbon

  • BC is a short-lived pollutant that is the second largest contributor to warming the planet behind carbon dioxide (CO2).
  • Unlike other greenhouse gas emissions, BC is quickly washed out and can be eliminated from the atmosphere if emissions stop.
  • Unlike historical carbon emissions, it is also a localized source with greater local impact.
  • Deposits of BC act in two ways hastening the pace of glacier melt: by decreasing surface reflectance of sun light and by raising air temperature.
  • Industry [primarily brick kilns] and residential burning of solid fuel together account for 45–66% of regional anthropogenic [manmade] BC deposition, followed by on road diesel fuels (7–18%) and open burning (less than 3% in all seasons)” in the region.

Existing Policy measures

  • Enhancing fuel efficiency standards for vehicles

· Phasing out diesel vehicles and promoting electric vehicles

  • Accelerating the use of liquated petroleum gas for cooking and through clean cook stove programmers, as well as up grading brick kiln technologies.
  • However, with all existing measures, water from glacier melt is still projected to increase in absolute volume by 2040, with impacts on downstream activities and communities.

Policy recommendations by the Report

  • Regional integration and collaboration
  • Specifically, in the Himalayas, reducing black carbon emissions from cookstoves, diesel engines, and open burning would have the greatest impact and could significantly reduce radiative forcing and help to maintain a greater portion of Himalayan glacier systems.
  • More detailed modeling at a higher spatial resolution is needed to expand on the work already complete.
  • Regional governments review policies on water management, with an emphasis on basin based regulation and use of price signals for efficiency, careful planning and use of hydro power to reflect changes in water flows and availability, and increasing the efficiency of brick kilns through proven technologies.
  • Greater knowledge sharing in the region.
Source: The Hindu

Norms for employing retired officials defined

The Central Vigilance Com mission (CVC) has laid down a defined procedure to be followed by government organizations for getting vigilance clearance before employing a retired official on a contractual or consultancy basis.

Rationale for the decision

The absence of a uniform procedure sometimes led to a situation where officials with tainted past or cases pending against them were engaged.


  • According to the procedure, before offering employment to retired All India Services and Group A officers of the Central government or their equivalent in other organizations owned or controlled by the Centre, vigilance clearance from the employer organization, from which the officer has retired, should be obtained.
  • In case a retired officer served in more than one organization, clearance has to be obtained from all of them where the person was posted in the 10 years prior to retirement.
  • Simultaneously, a communication seeking clearance should also be sent to the CVC.
  • If no reply is received from the erstwhile employer (s) within 15 days of sending the communication by speed post, a reminder can be sent.
  • If there is no response within 21 days, vigilance clearance should be deemed to have been given.
  • Later, if the employee is found involved in any vigilance related matter or not cleared from the vigilance point of view, the erstwhile employer organization would be responsible for all consequential actions.

Cooling off period

  • In the case of retired officials taking up fulltime or contractual assignments in the private sector, often, the “cooling off ” period was not observed and the act constituted serious misconduct.
  • It directed all government organizations to formulate rules to ensure the cooling off period was observed.

About Central Vigilance Commission

  • Central Vigilance Commission is the apex vigilance institution, free of control from any executive authority, monitoring all vigilance activity under the Central Government and advising various authorities in Central Government organizations in planning, executing, reviewing and reforming their vigilance work.
  • The CVC was set up by the Government in February, 1964 on the recommendations of the Committee on Prevention of Corruption, headed by Shri K. Santhanam. In 2003, the Parliament enacted CVC Act conferring statutory status on the CVC.

· The CVC is not controlled by any Ministry/Department. It is an independent body which is only responsible to the Parliament.

Source: The Hindu

Right to change our name is part of the right to freedom of speech and expression – Supreme Court

Supreme Court found a Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) rule that prohibited students from changing or correcting their names on Board certificates, based on a presumption that it would affect “administrative efficiency”, far removed from social realities and even “absurd”.

What does the judgment say?

  • The court said the CBSE’s examination bylaws of 2007 made it look as if the Board was more concerned about administrative paperwork than the future prospects of its students.
  • Students stand to lose more due to inaccuracies in their certificates than the Board.
  • Administrative efficiency cannot be the sole concern of CBSE. Every institution desires efficiency in their functioning. But it does not mean that efficiency is achieved by curbing their basic functions.One of the primary functions of CBSE is to grant certificates to its students· 
  • The court said one’s name is an intrinsic element of identity. The right to change our name is part of the right to freedom of speech and expression

Cases illustrations

  • The court illustrated how a juvenile accused of being in conflict with the law or a sexual abuse victim whose identity is compromised due to lapses by the media or the investigative body may consider changing the name to seek rehabilitation in the society in exercise of their right to be forgotten.
  • If the Board, in such a case, refuses to change the name, the student would be compelled to live with the scars of the past.

Court order

It ordered the CBSE to take “immediate steps” to amend the bylaws and incorporate a mechanism outlined in the judgment “for recording correction or change, as the case may be, in the certificates already issued or to be issued by it”.

Source: The Hindu

NITI Aayog SDG Index 2020

  • India saw significant improvement in the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) related to clean energy, urban development and health in 2020, according to the NITI Aayog’s 2020 SDG Index.

·  However, there has been a major decline in the areas of industry, innovation and infrastructure as well as decent work and economic growth.

State wise

  • Kerala retained its position at the top of the rankings in the third edition of the index, with a score of 75, followed by

Tamil Nadu and Himachal Pradesh, both scoring 72.Bihar, Jharkhand and Assam were the worst performing States.

  • However, all the States showed some improvement from last year’s scores, with Mizoram and Haryana seeing the biggest gains.


  • Developed by a global consultative process on holistic development, the 17 SDGs have a 2030 deadline.
Sustainable Development Goals
 End poverty in all its forms everywhere
 End hunger, achieve food security and improved nutrition and promote sustainable agriculture
 Ensure healthy lives and promote well-being for all at all ages
 Ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote life-long learning opportunities for all
 Achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls
 Ensure availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all
 Ensure access to affordable, reliable, sustainable, and modern energy for all
 Promote sustained, inclusive and sustainable economic growth, full and productive employment and decent work for all
 Build resilient infrastructure, promote inclusive and sustainable industrialization and foster innovation
 Reduce inequality within and among countries
 Make cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable
 Ensure sustainable consumption and production patterns
 Take urgent action to combat climate change and its impacts
 Conserve and sustainably use the oceans, seas and marine resources for sustainable development
 Protect, restore and promote sustainable use of terrestrial ecosystems, sustainably manage forests, combat desertification, and halt and reverse land degradation and halt biodiversity loss
 Promote peaceful and inclusive societies for sustainable development, provide access to justice for all and build effective, accountable and inclusive institutions at all levels
 Strengthen the means of implementation and revitalize the global partnership for sustainable development.

NITI Aayog Index

  • The NITI Aayog launched its index in 2018.
  • It aims to monitor the country’s progress on the goals through data driven assessment and to foster a competitive spirit among the States and Union Territories in achieving them.


  • The NITI Aayog Index shows some improvement in the SDG on inequality.
  • Measures of inequality : In 2019, the indicators for in equality included the
    • Growth rates for household expenditure per capita among the bottom 40% of rural and urban populations, and
    • Gini coefficient — a measure of the distribution of income — in rural and urban India.

The 2018 indicators included the Palma ratio, another metric for income inequality.

2020:Such economic measures have been omitted from the indicators used for this SDG in the 2020 edition of the Index.

Instead, it gives greater weightage to social equality indicators, such as

  • the percentage of women and Scheduled Caste/Scheduled Tribe representatives in State Legislatures
    • the panchayati raj institutions
    • the levels of crime against the SC/ST communities.
  • The only economic indicator this year is the percentage of population in the lowest two wealth quintiles.
Source: The Hindu

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