Implementation of Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA), 2019

Introduction of Eligibility Certificate:

• The Union Home Ministry’s helpline on CAA confirms that a local priest can issue an “eligibility certificate”             under  the CAA to validate the religion of an applicant.

• The certificate, along with an affidavit and other documents, is mandatory for applicants applying through the         CAA portal.

Issuance Process

• The certificate can be issued by any “locally reputed community institution,” including a local priest, according       to the Ministry’s helpline.

• The format of the certificate can be on a blank sheet of paper or a judicial paper with a stamp value of ₹10.

• The certificate issuer must confirm the applicant’s belonging to one of the six specified communities from               Pakistan, Bangladesh, and Afghanistan.

Citizenship Application Process:

• The CAA facilitates citizenship for undocumented individuals from specified countries who entered India on or       before December 31, 2014.

• Applicants need to upload documents, including the eligibility certificate, on the CAA portal for processing.

• In-person verification of documents will be conducted by a district-level committee, followed by a final decision    by an empowered committee in each State.

Certificates from Local Mandirs:

• Some Pakistani Hindus in Delhi have obtained eligibility certificates from local Arya Samaj and Shiv Mandirs.

• These individuals are awaiting the processing of their documents through the CAA portal.

Application Verification Process:

• The district-level committee headed by the Department of Post will verify uploaded documents.

• Applicants will need to visit this committee for in-person verification.

• The empowered committee headed by the Director (Census Operations) in each State will make the final               decision on citizenship applications.

Stalemate over the Investment Facilitation for Development (IFD) Agreement at the WTO


• The IFD Agreement aims to facilitate investment flows and was initiated through a plurilateral process by 70         countries in 2017.

• Around 120 WTO member countries support the agreement, seeking its inclusion as a plurilateral agreement    within the WTO.

India’s Concerns:

• India, along with South Africa, opposed the IFD agreement’s adoption into the WTO rulebook.

• India’s primary concerns revolve around the nature of investment within the WTO framework and the process      followed for negotiating the IFD Agreement.

Investment vs. Trade:

• India argues that investment is not inherently trade and may or may not result in cross-border trade.

• Despite economic literature highlighting the link between trade and investment, India contends that investment    discussions were not part of the WTO mandate.

Process Concerns:

• India asserts that there was no mandate for negotiating investment-related agreements within the WTO.

• Referring to past WTO decisions, India argues that launching negotiations on new issues like IFD requires            consensus from all members, which was lacking.

Need for Plurilateral Agreements:

• Plurilateral agreements like the IFD are seen as crucial for revitalizing the WTO’s legislative function amid            consensus challenges.

• India’s defensive stance towards plurilateral agreements, including the IFD, is questioned given its growing          economic stature and the need for WTO reform.

Global Temperature Records Broken in 2024

Record-breaking Temperatures:

• February and January 2024 were the hottest ever recorded for those respective months, continuing a trend of       record highs since the previous year.

• The temperature rise is not only notable but also accelerating, with significant gaps between the new records       and previous ones.

Global Temperature Trends:

• Chart 1 illustrates the monthly average global surface temperatures, highlighting the unprecedented warmth in     2024.
• Both February and January 2024 saw record temperatures, surpassing previous highs set in 2016 and 2020,         respectively.

Regional Temperature Anomalies:

• Map 2 displays country-wise average surface temperatures as of February 15, 2024, revealing exceptionally         high temperatures in Africa and parts of Asia.

• Notably, South Sudan, Ghana, and Togo experienced temperatures exceeding 30°C, making them the hottest       countries on that date.

Deviation from Average:

• Chart 3 depicts monthly surface temperature deviations from the 1991-2020 mean, showcasing the significant       positive deviations recorded in February and January 2024.

• February 2024 saw the highest deviation ever recorded for that month, at +0.81°C, indicating a substantial          departure from the historical average.

Regional Deviations:

• Map 4 illustrates country-wise monthly surface temperature deviations compared to the 1991-2020 mean,             highlighting particularly high deviations in Europe, northern America, and parts of Africa and South America.

• European temperatures in February 2024 were notably 3.3°C above the 1991-2020 average, with similar               trends  observed in other regions.

Copernicus Bulletin:

According to the Copernicus monthly bulletin, European temperatures in February 2024 were exceptionally high,   particularly in central and eastern Europe, further emphasizing the severity of the warming trend.

Advancing Energy Efficiency in India’s Construction Sector

Current Scenario:

• India experiences an unprecedented construction boom with over 3,00,000 housing units built annually, leading     to economic growth and improved living standards.

• However, this growth poses environmental challenges, notably in energy consumption, with the building sector    responsible for over 33% of the country’s electricity usage.

Energy Efficiency Initiatives:

• Initiatives like the Eco-Niwas Samhita (ENS) and Residential Energy Conservation Building Code aim to              address energy inefficiency in residential buildings.

• The introduction of metrics like Residential Envelope Transmittance Value (RETV) promotes cooler indoor             environments and reduced energy usage, emphasizing climate-appropriate design and architecture.

Optimal Building Materials:

• Materials like Autoclaved Aerated Concrete (AAC) blocks show promise for thermal efficiency, with AAC                consistently exhibiting the lowest RETV across various climatic conditions.

• Despite concerns about sustainability, monolithic concrete (Mivan) remains popular due to its speed, strength,       and scalability, although it has the highest embodied energy among the materials analyzed.

Sustainability Concerns:

While AAC blocks have lower embodied energy compared to red bricks and monolithic concrete, all materials present sustainability challenges, including resource depletion, emissions, and waste generation.

Future Directions:

• India has untapped potential for innovative building materials and strategies, necessitating interdisciplinary           collaborations and a focus on integrated design.

• Sustainable construction requires innovation from manufacturers to develop costeffective, durable, and climate-resilient solutions that align with environmental goals and improve the quality of life.


The journey toward sustainable construction is challenging but crucial for a greener future. By re-imagining design practices, fostering a culture of sustainability, and investing in innovative materials, India can create resilient and energy-efficient structures that benefit both people and the planet.

Plight of Rohingya Refugees and Dangerous Sea Journeys

Rohingya Refugees’ Background:

• The Rohingya are a Muslim minority ethnic group from Myanmar’s Rakhine State, facing persecution and             denied citizenship since 1982.

• The 2017 violence in Rakhine led to the exodus of over 7.5 lakh Rohingya to Bangladesh, labeled by the UN as “ethnic cleansing” with “genocidal” intent by the Myanmar government.

Reasons for Sea Journeys:

• Approximately 9,60,000 Rohingya reside in overcrowded refugee camps in Bangladesh, lacking basic                  necessities like food, water, sanitation, healthcare, and education.

• Deteriorating security conditions and gang violence in the camps have prompted some Rohingya to seek refuge in Muslim-majority nations via dangerous sea journeys.

Human Trafficking and Exploitation:

• Human traffickers exploit Rohingya desperation, charging high fees for perilous boat journeys from Bangladesh    to Indonesia and Malaysia.

• The voyages are treacherous, lacking space and supplies, with reports of abuse and violence against women       during the journey.

Rising Death Toll and Increased Sea Journeys:

• One in eight Rohingya attempting the sea route die or disappear, making the Bay of Bengal and the Andaman       Sea among the world’s deadliest water stretches.

• Last year saw a 21% increase in people embarking on sea journeys, with a 63% rise in deaths or                           disappearances compared to 2022.

• The number of Rohingya refugees arriving in Indonesia surged by 1,261% between 2021 and 2023, indicating       the escalating crisis.