Daily Current Affairs (MCQ) | Date 17.12.21

Daily Current Affairs (MCQ) | Date 17.12.21

Daily Current Affairs (MCQ) | Date 17.12.21

Q1. Consider the following statements

1. Climate related decisions are taken by world leaders by consensus in the UN Security Council (UNSC)
2. Currently, all matters related to climate change are being discussed in the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC)

Which of the above statements is/are correct?

a. 1 only
b. 2 only
c. Both 1 and 2
d. Neither 1 nor 2

Answer : b

Why is the Question ?

Wrong forum
The attempt to securitise the climate change agenda could have unintended consequences

Highlights:
1. India’s negative vote at the UN Security Council (UNSC) on a draft resolution on climate change is a reflection of its long-held opposition to expanding the UNSC’s mandate into areas that are already being dealt with by other multinational fora.
2. The resolution, piloted by Ireland and Niger and which had the support of a majority of the UNSC members, was voted down by India and Russia — it has veto powers — while China abstained.
3. Their position is that the UNSC’s primary responsibility is “maintenance of international peace and security” and climate change-related issues are outside its ambit.
4. But the supporters of the resolution argue that the climate is creating security risks in the  world, which will exacerbate inthe future with water shortage, migration and destruction of livelihoods.
5. Germany had circulated a similar draft last year which was never put to vote in the Security Council as the Trump administration opposed it. Now, with support from the Biden administration, the developed world is pushing to include what they call “climate security” in the  agenda of theUNSC.
6. While the urgency to take action to tackle climate change is appreciated, the attempt to securitise the climate agenda could have unintended consequences.
7. Bringing the issue under the UNSC will also give more powers to the world’s industrialised countries, which hold veto power, to decide on future action on climate-related security issues.
Key Role of UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC)
1. Currently, all matters related to climate change are being discussed in the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), a specialised agency. And with over 190 members, its framework has made progress in tackling climate change.
2. It is this process that led to the Kyoto Protocol, the Paris Agreement and the recent COP26 summit, and has put in place an international approach to combat global climate change.
3. Sure, there is valid criticism that decision making at UNFCCC conferences is slow and there  has to be faster collective action to tackle climate change and associated challenges. But the  solution is not outsourcing decisionmaking to the five permanent members of the UNSC.
4. Also, it is wrong to look at climate change through the prism of security. Each nation faces  different challenges in transitioning into a greener economy.
5. As India’s Permanent Representative at the UN T.S. Tirumurti pointed out, the developed  countries, all big polluters, have not met the promises they made with regard to climate action.
6. The least developed and developing countries should be encouraged to keep the promises  they made with financial assistance. This needs to be a collective process and the best way is through the UNFCCC, where decisions made are by consensus.

7. The UNFCCC should not only make sure that the promises made by member countries,  especially the powerful ones, in previous conferences are kept but also expand the scope of discussions to include climate-related security issues.

Q2. Green Box, Blue Box, Amber Box is linked to

a. Cyber tactics
b. Carbon sequestration types
c. Types of systems dealing with transboundary movement of hazardous chemicals
d. Subsidy support systems to agriculture under WTO framework

Answer : d

Why is the Question ?

The WTO’s challenge to MSP is another frontier to cross
Can India provide a legal guarantee for MSP without violating its international law obligations enshrined in the Agreement on Agriculture (AoA) of the World Trade Organization (WTO)?

As a trade-distorting subsidy

1. One of the central objectives of the AoA is to cut tradedistorting domestic support that WTO member countries provide to agriculture. In this regard, the domestic subsidies are divided into three categories: ‘green box’, ‘blue box’ and ‘amber box’ measures.
2. Subsidies that fall under the ‘green box’ (like income support to farmers de-coupled from production) and ‘blue box’ (like direct payments under production limiting programmes subject to certain conditions) are considered non-trade distorting. Countries can provide unlimited subsidies under these two categories.
3. However, price support provided in the form of procurement of crops at MSP is classified as a tradedistorting subsidy and falls under the ‘amber box’ measures, which are subject to certain limits.
4. To measure ‘amber box’ support, WTO member countries are required to compute Aggregate Measurement of Support (AMS). AMS is the total of product-specific support (price support to a particular crop) and non-productspecific support (fertilizer subsidy).
5. Under Article 6.4(b) of the AoA, developing countries such as India are allowed to provide a de minimis level of product and non-product domestic subsidy. This de minimis limit is capped at 10% of the total value of production of the product, in case of a product-specific subsidy; and at 10% of the total value of a country’s agricultural production, in case of non-product subsidy.
6. Subsidies breaching the de minimis cap are trade-distorting. Consequently, they have to be accounted for in the AMS.
7. Procuring all the 23 crops at MSP, as against the current practice of procuring largely rice and wheat, will result in India breaching the de minimis limit making it vulnerable to a legal challenge at the WTO.

Q3. Consider the following statements

1. Zero Budget Natural Farming (ZBNF) depends on costly biofertilizers
2. Currently it is practised only in south India

Which of the above statements is/are correct?

a. 1 only
b. 2 only
c. Both 1 and 2
d. Neither 1 nor 2

Answer : d

Why is the Question ?

Time to correct wrong farming practices before problems worsen, says PM

1. It is time to correct wrong farming practises before the problems of the agriculture sector become even worse, according to Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
2. Virtually addressing a conclave on natural farming in Gujarat, Mr Modi urged farmers to replace the chemical fertilizers and pesticides that spurred the Green Revolution with concoctions made with the dung and urine of indigenous cows, advocating a “completely science-based” shift from chemistry labs to nature’s laboratory.
3. He said small and marginal farmers, who owned less than two acres and made up 80% of the country’s farming population, stood to benefit the most from natural farming techniques as they were currently forced to spend large sums on expensive fertilizers.
4. Calling for a mass movement to promote natural farming, he said reducing the import bill on artificial fertilizers was an essential step to achieve the goal of an Atmanirbhar Bharat or a self-reliant India.
5. This comes at a time when farmers in parts of the country have been complaining of fertilizer shortages during the critical winter sowing season.
6. While it is still awaiting any large-scale scientific study to assess the long-term impact of such techniques on productivity, farm income and food security, the Ministry says the  experience of lakhs of farmers has showcased the method’s success.

CASE STUDY: ZBNF

Q4. Uighurs muslim minority, seen in news recently, is located in

a. China
b. Iran
c. Afghanistan
d. Myanmar

Answer : a

Why is the Question ?

The U.S. imposes sanctions against China over the abuse of Uighurs

1. The Biden administration said it is imposing new sanctions on several Chinese biotech and surveillance companies and government entities for actions in Xinjiang province, the latest step against Beijing over human rights abuses of Uighur Muslims.
2. The Commerce Department is targeting China’s Academy of Military Medical Sciences and its 11 research institutes that focus on using biotechnology to support the Chinese military.
3. The move will bar American companies from selling components to entities without a licence.
4. The U.S. intelligence has established that Beijing has set up a high tech surveillance system across Xinjiang that uses biometric facial recognition and has collected DNA samples from all residents, aged 12 to 65.
5. Meanwhile, the Senate gave approval to a Bill barring all imports from China’s Xinjiang region unless businesses can prove they were produced without forced labour.

Q5. The Press Freedom Index is released by

a. Reporters Without Borders
b. Transparency International
c. The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation
d. United Nations Human Rights Council

Answer : a

Why is the Question ?

The Press Freedom Index is an annual ranking of countries compiled and published by Reporters Without Borders since 2002 based upon the organisation's own assessment of the countries' press freedom records in the previous year. It intends to reflect the degree of freedom that journalists, news organisations, and netizens have in each country, and the efforts made by authorities to respect this freedom. Reporters Without Borders is careful to note that the index only deals with press freedom and does not measure the quality of journalism in the countries it assesses, nor does it look at human rights violations in general.
Record 488 journalists jailed, 46 killed in 2021, says RSF
1. There are currently 488 media professionals imprisoned around the world, the highest number since Reporters Without Borders began counting more than 25 years ago, the NGO announced.
2. By contrast, the number killed this year — 46 — was the lowest since it began issuing annual tallies, due to the relative stabilisation of conflicts in West Asia.
3. China once again has the highest number of imprisoned journalists at 127, said RSF. The most dangerous countries were once again Mexico and Afghanistan, with seven and six journalist deaths respectively, followed by Yemen and India with four apiece.
4. The number of detained scribes has risen by some 20% over the past year, largely due to crackdowns on the media in Myanmar, Belarus and Hong Kong. RSF said it had also never seen so many female journalists detained, with the overall number of 60 representing a third more than 2020.