CAO Daily Editorial analysis for UPSC IAS 08th-January, 2018

Current Affairs Only Daily Editorial Analysis for Competitive Exams


08th Jan, 2018

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The problem of land hoarding {Economy}

(The Hindu)


Land hoarding  

It is the purchase of large area of a land with the intent of pushing up the price. An investor hoping to increase the price of land can do so by leveraging his or her demand for it, and buying physical inventory as well as purchasing futures contracts for that land. It can also take place in financial instruments like bonds.

The problem of unused land

  • The Ministries of Railways and Defence, respectively, have 43,000 hectares and 32,780 hectares of land lying vacant, without even any proposed use. According to reports of the Comptroller and Auditor General of India (CAG), the 13 major port trusts have 14,728 hectares of land lying idle.
  • Land hoarding by government agencies has created artificial scarcity and is one of the main drivers of skyrocketing urban real estate prices
  • The allocation of unused land is rife with corruption.

Land use patterns

Land is a crucial and often constraining input for production, not only in agriculture but also in secondary and tertiary sectors.
A useful measure of this is the floor space index (FSI), which is the total floor area built per square metre of land. For example, if a single-storey building occupies 50% of a plot, the FSI would be 1/2. If the building is expanded vertically to have four stories, the FSI will go up to two (4 times 1/2), as the effective floor area has quadrupled.

The use of surplus land

Surplus land should be utilised to meet the ever-growing demands for services, such as water and waste disposal, as well for government-sponsored housing and transportation projects.
Land intended for future use can be rented out till such time it is needed, through a transparent auctioning process.

A sum of contributions {Environment}

(The Hindu)


Context

Fulfilment of national pledges related to carbon emission reductions under the Paris Agreement would be inadequate to keep global warming below 2°C. Thus, a renewed focus on climate governance is imperative.

India’s focus

  • India has committed to meet its current target of 33% reduction in emission intensity of the 2005 level by 2030, by generating 40% of its energy from renewables. States are important for the realisation of this goal.
  • Enhancing climate actions is expected to involve routine engagement of the States in the international process.
  • The Under2 Coalition, a Memorandum of Understanding by subnational governments to reduce their greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions towards net-zero by 2050, is generating a unique precedent for bold climate leadership, with its member states and regions surpassing 200 in number.
  • Currently, Telangana and Chhattisgarh are signatories to this pact from India, as compared to representations from the other top emitters: 26 subnational governments in China and 24 in the U.S. Greater representation of Indian States is crucial.

Way forward

  • Towards this end, both national and State plans would need to be periodically reassessed and reviewed.
  • A transparent framework for review, audit and monitoring of GHG emissions is needed.
  • As State capacities vary significantly, the principle of common but differentiated responsibilities should be applied to allocate mitigation targets in different States, based on the principle of equity.

Standing up for human rights {Human Rights}

(The Hindu)


Context

India must hasten to bring in an anti-torture law

Why?

This is because the torture of individuals in state custody remains a brazen human rights abuse that mocks our governance even as we claim human dignity as the end objective of the Indian state, with the Supreme Court affirming it as “an intrinsic value, constitutionally protected in itself”

Cause for concern

The necessity to move the highest court arose because even years after India became a signatory to the Convention Against Torture in 1997, we have not been able to ratify it or have in place a domestic legislation to effectuate the right to life with dignity read into Article 21 of the Constitution.

Baffling stand

The court’s disinclination to exercise its expansive review jurisdiction for enforcing the non-negotiable right to dignity in the face of legislative and government inaction is inexplicable given the court’s activism as sentinel on the qui vive qua enforcement of constitutional rights.

And this despite the 2010 recommendation of the Select Committee of the Rajya Sabha supported by the National Human Rights Commission, the Law Commission of India and repeated assurances given on behalf of the Indian government at the UN Universal Periodic Review.

Facts

  • India does not have an Anti-Torture Law
  • India had signed the UN Convention against torture way back in 1997, had still not ratified it. The Convention defines torture as a criminal offence
  • Due to this, extraditions are difficult
  • 90% of the States had no objection for a special law on torture and the NHRC itself had strongly supported the need for such a law

What does SC say?

  • India may be finding it tough to secure extraditions because there is a fear within the international community that the accused persons would be subject to torture here.
  • The court referred to the setback suffered by the CBI in its efforts to get Kim Davy — a Danish citizen and prime accused in the Purulia arms drop case of 1995 — extradited from Denmark. A Danish court had rejected the plea on the ground that he would risk “torture or other inhuman treatment” in India.

Steps taken so far

  • Prevention of Torture Bill, 2010 was passed by Lok Sabha in 2010 itself. But even six years after that, it has not been passed by RS.
  • India had signed the UN Convention against torture way back in 1997, had still not ratified it.
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