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9 January 2024 : The Hindu Editorial Notes PDF

The Hindu Editorial

9-January-2024

1. An ambitious push for values, ethics in higher education.

Topic: GS2 – Social Justice – Education

Crucial for UPSC as it addresses ethics in higher education, aligning with governance and values, reflecting contemporary societal concerns.

Context:
  • The article discusses the University Grants Commission’s Mulya Pravah 2.0 guideline, aiming to instill ethical values in higher education.
  • It addresses issues like transparency, stakeholder roles, and potential challenges in implementation.

 Introduction and Background:

  • The University Grants Commission (UGC) has issued Mulya Pravah 2.0, a modified version of the 2019 Mulya Pravah guideline.
  • Aim: Inculcating human values and professional ethics in higher education institutions to build value-based institutions and promote constitutional values.

Guideline Objectives:

  • Instill deep respect for fundamental duties and constitutional values.
  • Develop a culture of integrity, accountability, transparency, and inclusiveness in higher education institutions.

Emphasis on Transparency:

  • Decision-making should be guided solely by institutional and public interest, devoid of biases.
  • Abolishment of discriminatory privileges; emphasis on punishing the corrupt.

Core Values and Expectations:

  • Institutions urged to ensure integrity, trusteeship, harmony, accountability, inclusiveness, commitment, respectfulness, belongingness, sustainability, constitutional values, and global citizenship.

Administrative Accountability and Ethical Conduct:

  • Administration should prioritize transparency, fairness, honesty, and the highest ethical standards.
  • Refrain from misappropriation and reject gifts that may compromise impartial duties.

Confidentiality and Right to Information:

  • Guideline emphasizes maintaining confidentiality, conflicting with the right to information.
  • Suggestion: Mandate institutions to voluntarily disclose critical information for public scrutiny.

Teacher’s Role and Conduct:

  • Teaching as a noble profession; teachers expected to act as role models.
  • Silence on teachers’ associations, adherence to university rules; not addressing collegiality.

Stakeholder Unions and Associations:

  • Expectation for staff and student unions to support administration in development activities.
  • Concern: Lack of explicit support for unions raising issues, potential misuse of the term ‘dignified manner.’

Potential Issues with Guidelines:

  • Lack of definition for ‘dignified manner’ may lead to suppressing dissent.
  • Associations and unions have faced bans, suspensions, and legal battles.

Conclusion:

  • While the guideline’s objectives are commendable, potential shortcomings in implementation and impact on stakeholder engagement need careful consideration.
Practice Question: Discuss the significance of Mulya Pravah 2.0 in fostering ethical values in higher education institutions, and its relevance for governance and societal values. (150 words). (150 words/10 m)

2. Understanding the EU’s carbon border tax.

Topic: GS3 – Indian Economy – Effects of liberalization on the economy

Critical for UPSC as it involves international trade, environmental governance, and India’s response to EU’s Carbon Border Adjustment Mechanism.

Context:
  • The EU’s Carbon Border Adjustment Mechanism (CBAM) poses a threat to India’s exports, especially in sectors like steel. India’s response involves challenging CBAM, negotiating funds for green tech, and urgently formulating Paris Agreement-aligned carbon taxation measures. 

Objective of CBAM:

  • A policy by the EU to tax carbon-intensive products entering the EU from 2026.
  • Aims to achieve a 55% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by 2030 under the European Green Deal.

Reasoning Behind CBAM:

  • Addresses the threat of EU products being replaced by carbon-intensive imports.
  • EU’s concern about the competitiveness of its domestic industries due to higher environmental compliance standards.

Comparison with EU’s Emission Trading System (ETS):

  • CBAM modeled after EU-ETS, intended to replace the allocation of EU-ETS allowances.
  • Transitional phase (until 2025) requires reporting GHG emissions without financial obligations; definitive phase (from 2026) imposes annual surrender of CBAM certificates based on declared emissions.

Calculation of Carbon Content:

  • CBAM applies to actual declared carbon content in imported goods.
  • Formulae based on EU-ETS mechanism, with flexibility in the first reporting year.

India’s Response and Options:
Impact on India:

  • India among the top eight countries adversely affected by CBAM.
  • Key sectors like steel predicted to be significantly affected.

India’s Carbon Trading Mechanism:

  • Introduction of Carbon Credit Trading System (CCTS) in December 2022.
  • Ongoing work to operationalize CCTS, coupled with voluntary Green Credit Programme Rules.

Challenges and Negotiations:

  • Limited options for India, considering the potential impact on exports.
  • Possible challenges under the Paris Agreement’s common but differentiated responsibilities principle.
  • Suggestion: EU could collect the tax and return funds to affected countries for green technology investments.

Need for Swift Action:

  • Urgent need for India to formulate carbon taxation measures aligning with the Paris Agreement.
  • The UK’s announcement of its CBAM by 2027 adds urgency to India’s response.

Conclusion:

  • India must navigate CBAM’s impact on its exports by considering legal challenges, negotiations, and swift implementation of its own carbon taxation measures.

What is Carbon Tax?
Definition:

  • A levy on greenhouse gas emissions, typically aimed at CO2, applied at the point of production or consumption of fossil fuels.
  • Aims to internalize the “negative externality” of carbon emissions by making polluters pay the cost of environmental damage.

Prospects for Implementation:

  • Effective incentive: Encourages shift to cleaner energy sources and reduction in emissions.
  • Revenue generation: Funds can be used for green initiatives or offsetting regressive impacts.
  • Global momentum: Growing adoption among countries, potentially leading to harmonization and increased effectiveness.

Challenges:

  • Setting the right price: Finding a balance between effectiveness and economic acceptability.
  • Competitiveness concerns: Fear of carbon leakage, where industries relocate to avoid the tax.
  • Equity issues: Can disproportionately impact low-income households and energy-intensive industries.
  • Administrative complexity: Designing and implementing a fair and efficient system.
PYQ: Should the pursuit of carbon credit and clean development mechanism set up under UNFCCC be maintained even through there has been a massive slide in the value of carbon credit? Discuss with respect to India’s energy needs for economic growth.
(200 words/12.5m) (UPSC CSE (M) GS-3 2014)
Practice Question: Evaluate the viability of carbon tax as a policy tool for curbing emissions in India, considering its economic efficacy and potential distributional impacts. (150 words/10 m)

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