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Tuesday, 15 May 2018

The Hindu Editorial: Alien versus Alien

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Title: Alien versus alien 

(Disquiet in Assam should convince the Centre to reconsider the new Citizenship Bill) 

Point: Parties and civil society groups have argued that the Bill provides legitimacy to Hindus who have migrated from Bangladesh post-1971. 

It precludes individuals from six religious minorities from three “Muslim-dominant countries” (Afghanistan, Bangladesh and Pakistan) from being defined as “illegal immigrants” under the Foreigners Act, 1946. The intent behind this Bill, promised by the BJP in the run-up to the 2014 general election, is to clear a path to citizenship for minorities persecuted in the three countries. 

The National Register of Citizens, on the other hand, does not distinguish migrants on the basis of religion and regards all post-March 24, 1971 migrants, irrespective of their religion, as illegal aliens who need to be deported. 

Clearly, the Bill is seen by detractors to be breaking the general consensus on the NRC forged after years of political differences and legal challenges to the Assam Accord, of which the ongoing exercise to update the register is an outcome. 

The Bill conflates the definition of migrants, people who shift voluntarily, with that of refugees, who are forced to do so under duress giving them a claim to humanitarian protection. 

The NRC puts the onus(responsibility) on migrants to prove their status of residence prior to 1971 based on a series of documents that would lead to registration as a citizen. The Bill seeks to bring in considerations of religious identity. 

There are unresolved issues with the NRC process as well. There is the question of modalities of deportation, which would involve negotiations with Bangladesh. 

As of now Assam has six detention centres for illegal migrants. If the NRC process identifies more illegal aliens for deportation, they would have to be detained in such centres and there is no knowing how long they would have to stay there. 

Final Words 

The Centre needs to apply much more thought before pushing the Bill, for its contradictions in Assam and for its larger religious assumptions. 

Idioms & Phrases 

1) Betwixt and between = Conflicted and unable to decide between two options 

2) One’s best bib and tucker = One’s most formal attire 

One word Substitution 

1) The study of the origin and history of words= Etymology 

2) Belonging to all parts of the world = Cosmopolitan 

Title: Is it possible to slow global warming? 

(There is growing frustration after more than two decades of intense climate talks) 

Context:- This is an important year for making progress on the Paris Agreement (PA), which was discussed at the climate meeting called the Conference of Parties (COP-21) to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) in December 2015. 

The Paris Agreement entered into force in November 2016. A two-week-long meeting was recently concluded in Bonn(Germany) (April 30 to May 10) where the operational guidelines for implementing the PA were to be discussed and agreed upon by all parties. 

What one was looking for was a common, consistent framework of how each country would define and measure its commitments. It would also include proposals for how action taken could be monitored, accounted for and kept transparent while providing some level of flexibility. 

A good draft on the rulebook ought to be ready before the COP-24 in Katowice, Poland, in December 2018. Ideally, these guidelines should help countries develop ambitious targets for the next level of the Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs). 

The barriers 

The roadblocks at the Bonn meeting seemed predictable. On the issue of the NDCs, the question was the scope of the rulebook. 

Developed or rich countries would like the rulebook to be limited to mitigation, the reduction of greenhouse gases. But since most countries require adaptation programmes in a warming world and need support to implement their national targets, it is essential that these be included too. 

The “means of implementation” are about financial support and technology transfer to build capacity in poorer countries and have always been contentious. 

At the Copenhagen summit, it was agreed that from 2020, rich countries would provide a minimum of $100 billion each year to poor and developing countries. There is little sign that these funds will be available. 

Instead, the discussion on finance has veered towards: how to increase the number of donors who will provide funds; which countries should perhaps be excluded from these funds; and whether these funds are a part of or distinct from the official development assistance, and so on. 

Incomplete task 

The issues related to loss and damage (L&D) are another thorn in the negotiations. L&D is a means to provide assistance to poor countries that experience severe impacts from climate change but have contributed very little to the greenhouse gases responsible for the warming and its effects. 

This is a very important issue for the least developed countries and for small islands, which are already experiencing the brunt of sea level rise. 

But there was little progress on the funds that could be used to support L&D. 

Given the growing frustration of experienced negotiators on all sides after more than two decades of intense climate talks, it appears that pressure from youth, especially in rich countries, is vital. 

Final Words 

Unless they remind governments and the public of the responsibilities of their countries towards mitigation, adaptation and support for means of implementation, keeping global warming under reasonably safe levels for humankind could be impossible. 

Phrasal Verb 

Wait up = Not sleep because you are waiting for something or someone 

Turn up = Find unexpectedly 

Vocabulary words: 

Veer (verb) = Change direction suddenly 

Put forth (phrasal verb) = To bring out, grow 

Constraint (noun) = A limitation or restriction (बाधा) 

Devoid (adj) = Entirely lacking or free from 

Prerequisite (noun) = Precondition, necessity (शर्त) 

Tweak (verb) = Twist sharply (फेरबदल) 

Exaggeration (noun) = Overstatement, hyperbole (अतिशयोक्ति) 

Preclude (verb) = Prevent from happening (रोकना) 

Persecute (verb) = Subject to hostility or ill-treatment (अत्याचार करना) 

Detractor (noun) = A person who disparages someone or something (आलोचक) 

Chauvinism (noun) = Aggressive patriotism (अंधराष्ट्रीयता) 

Conflate (verb) = Combine two or more sets of information into one 

Duress (noun) = Threats, constrains (अवरोध) 

Onus (noun) = Responsibility, liability (दायित्व)

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