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Daily Current Affairs – 2020

Topic: For Prelims and Mains

Biodiversity

6th June, 2020

Why in News?

The theme for the International Biodiversity Day for 2020 was “Our solutions are in nature”.

  • The theme highlights that Biodiversity remains the answer to a number of sustainable development challenges.
  • Biodiversity is the variety and variability of life on Earth. Biodiversity is typically a measure ofvariation at the genetic, species, and ecosystem level.
  • Human health ultimately depends upon ecosystem products and services(such as availability of freshwater, food and fuel sources) which are requisite for good human health and productive livelihoods.
  • Biodiversity loss can have significant direct human health impactsif ecosystem services are no longer adequate to meet social needs.

Indirectly, changes in ecosystem services affect livelihoods, income, local migration and, on occasion, may even cause political conflict.

Biodiversity in India:

India has nearly 8% of the global biodiversity.

The country is endowed with rich biodiversity having several species of animals and plants and hosts 4 of the 35 global biodiversity hotspots which include:

  • Himalaya:Includes the entire Indian Himalayan region (and that falling in Pakistan, Tibet, Nepal, Bhutan, China and Myanmar)
  • Indo-Burma:Includes entire North-eastern India, except Assam and Andaman group of Islands (and Myanmar, Thailand, Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia and southern China)
  • Sundalands:Includes Nicobar group of Islands (and Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, Brunei, Philippines)
  • Western Ghats and Sri Lanka:Includes entire Western Ghats (and Sri Lanka)

Way Forward:

  • According to‘State of India’ Environment 2020 report, for the first time in the decade (2010-20) the top five global economic risks in terms of likelihood are all environmental including extreme weather, climate action failure, natural disaster and biodiversity loss.
  • Even the theme of World Environment Day recognises that human beings cannot survive in isolation as biodiversity is important for the survivalof everyone.
  • Thus, intact and preserved structures of the environmental ecosystemis the only way to maintain the resilience of nature. Otherwise, the codependent web of life will be threatened if its components are eroded one by one.

Law enforcing agencies & covid -19

Context: Strict maintenance of public order is essential to look after and give the best medical care to COVID-19 affected persons.

Role of Law Enforcement Agencies in Enforcing lockdown:

  • Strict observance: The police have taken enormous risks during the lockdown to ensure strict observance of guidelines, including physical distancing.
  • Importance of Lessons learnt in COVID-19 handling for law enforcement agencies: They need to introspect on its recent experience and draft a comprehensive Standard Operating Procedure that will educate all police persons in the country.
  • Managing resources in enforcing lockdown: There were less complaints of lack of manpower and mobility. They had the public cooperation to avoid chaos. The bulk of the population was indoor. So, the police could bring in equipment and manpower to handle this unusual situation.
  • Use of Social Media: They skillfully used social media to disseminate all relevant information to a majority of the population.

Overall drop in crime:

  • Reduction in crime:Roads were empty and there was nearly zero traffic on major highways. This ensured a sharp reduction in traffic accidents and fatalities caused by such accidents. With anti-social elements confined to their homes, trespass and burglary were reduced.

Global pattern on crime: The police force managed to keep the peace during these times.

Crime was reduced in major cities that generally report a high number of crimes.

  • The New York Police Department reported an uptick in murders and burglaries during the pandemic.
  • London reported a decline in non-violent crime, especially stabbings.

In India: 

The Delhi Police reported a 70% fall in heinous crimes (murders and rapes) between April 1 and 15 compared to the same period last year.

In Chennai, the total number of crimes dropped by 79% following the implementation of national lockdown compared to previous month.

Challenges for law enforcement agencies:

Rise in Domestic violence:

This period saw a worrying surge in domestic violence cases. For example- The Tamil Nadu Police reportedly received 2,963 calls on domestic violence in April alone.

Reasons for rise:

Unemployment: Most men were at home, either without work or in fear of losing their jobs. Data show that domestic violence increases when there is greater unemployment because of the fear and insecurity of these men.

Non-availability of liquor: Itcaused frustration among those men who are habituated to drinking daily. There was a similar increase in sexual and gender-based violence in West Africa during the 2013-16 Ebola outbreak.

Organised crime especially illicit drug trade:

  • It can get benefitted from the pandemic according to few members of the Global Initiative Against Transnational Organized Crime, a network of prominent law-enforcement, governance and development practitioners based in Geneva.
  • Innovation in crime methods: Travel restrictions across borders have made international trade in drugs difficult. Gangs are therefore working to innovate and adapt to the changing nature of the illicit market. The Global Initiative believes that organised gangs will infiltrate health services and make profits through the sale of prescription drugs that are not otherwise easily available to the public.

Rise in cybercrime:

New portals have been launched to get people to donate money for the cause of combating COVID-19. Experts say that many fraudulent sites are designed so well that a large number of people are easily conned.

keeping prisons free of the virus:

Many prisons have taken steps to insulate prisoners who reported positive for the virus from the rest of the inmates.

Premature release: A number of human rights activists want law agencies to consider the premature and temporary release of prisoners. But such a move will make a mockery of the criminal justice system and expose society to many unrepentant violent offenders.

  • The Supreme Court had directed the States and Union Territories to constitute high-powered committees to consider releasing convicts who have been jailed up to seven years on parole, in order to decongest prisons.

Way Forward

The police will have to think of ways of dealing with new challenges in maintaining law and order.

 

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