IASbaba’s Daily Current Affairs – 30th March, 2016
TOPIC: General Studies 3
Conservation, environmental pollution and degradation, Biodiversity
Decline of pollinators threatens food supply
Role of wild pollinators in the production of crops:
Crops- some pulses, sunflower seeds, cardamom, coffee, cashew nuts, oranges, mangoes and apples
Pollinators: An army of more than 20,000 species of pollinators including birds, bats and insects service these crops
Most important pollinators- Thousands of species of bees
Annual economic value of the crops pollinated by animals worldwide- Estimated to be between $235 billion and $577 billion (in 2015)
Important pollinators of food crops:
Various species of honeybee, Apis, such as A. Dorsata, A. Cerana, A. Florae, A. Andreniformes and A. Laboriosa
The European honeybee, A. Mellifera, also pollinates many crops and fruits such as apples
Decline of the wild pollinators— Will imperil our food supply
Shrinking of bees colonies
Himalayas: Apple yields in recent years have decreased (attributed to reduction in the number of bees)
Poor knowledge leads to poor policymaking—
Very poor knowledge of the pollination systems of our animal pollinated crops
No idea about
How best we can manage the pollinators for optimal yields
How are our wild and managed pollinators responding to ongoing loss and fragmentation of natural habitats
What are the effects of widespread pesticide use
Is climate change implicated in the spread of new diseases among honeybee colonies
Potential crisis not only for biodiversity but also for our agricultural economy (huge economic stakes)
Poor management of our pollinator species- may be leading to lower crop yields and to losses of hundreds or thousands of crores annually
To restore the integrity of pollinators:
Improvements in the science of pollination,
Better land management,
Strong regulations underlying pesticide use
Restoration and protection of habitats for wild pollinators
There is an urgent need for monitoring wild pollinators, and for strengthening the governance of natural assets.
Harness the potential of the network of Indian Long Term Ecological Observatories (I-LTEO) established by the Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change to monitor the country’s ecosystems
Need of the pollinators, their behaviour and habitat to be made a significant component of future ‘smart cities’.
Policies and governance for managing landscapes — natural, agricultural, urban — are equally important and thus, the government agencies must rethink conventional sectoral approaches and narrow disciplinary perspectives and work on well-integrated approaches to successfully address the issues.
Intergovernmental Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystems Services (IPBES)
Created in 2012 by more than 100 governments; established as an intergovernmental body akin to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC)
Secretariat in Germany, is administered by the UN, including the United Nations Environmental Programme (UNEP) and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP)
Seeks to provide scientific information about biodiversity and ecosystem services to policymakers of the member countries
The scientific panel (UN Report) was brought together by the Intergovernmental Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystems Services (IPBES) (Endorsed by the governments of 124 countries)
Many benefits which society derives from nature: fresh water; fertile soil; wild plant resources such as foods, fibres, medicinal plants and the wild relatives of crops; wild pollinators and the natural enemies of crop pests; carbon sequestration from the atmosphere; and the important spiritual, aesthetic and recreational values of nature.
Connecting the Dots:
Discuss the ecosystem services provided by the pollinators. What are the best methods we can employ, to save them from further deterioration, both w.r.t. their quality as well as quantity?
Poor management of our pollinator species may be leading to lower crop yields, but our level of investment in research on pollinators has been negligible—Discuss
General Studies 2:
Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues arising out of their design and implementation.
General Studies 3:
Mobilization of resources, growth, development and employment
Indigenization of technology and developing new technology.
Towards Military self-reliance
The Union Government has unveiled Defence Procurement Procedure 2016 (DPP 2016). It was unveiled on the sidelines of the Defexpo-2016 held in Goa. The DPP 2016 will replace the Defence Procurement Procedure 2013 (DPP 2013) and shall come into force on 1 April 2016.
The DPP 2016 has been framed based on the recommendations of the Dhirendra Singh Committee that was appointed in May 2015 to review the DPP 2013.
The Committee was tasked to evolve a policy framework to facilitate Make in India in defence manufacturing in order align the policy evolved with DPP-2013. It was also tasked to suggest requisite amendments in DPP-2013 in order to remove bottlenecks in the procurement process and also rationalize various aspects of defence procurement.
The new policy places the highest preference to a newly incorporated procurement class called ‘Buy Indian-IDDM’, with IDDM denoting Indigenous Designed Developed and Manufactured.
What does Defence Procurement Procedure (DPP) all about?
The DPP, the governing manual for all defence procurement, was part of a set of military reforms undertaken to address the many deficiencies noticed during the 1999 Kargil war.
What is newly incorporated procurement class called ‘Buy Indian-IDDM’ all about?
This category refers to procurement from an Indian vendor, products that are indigenously designed, developed and manufactured with a minimum of 40 per cent local content, or products having 60 per cent indigenous content if not designed and developed within the country.
Defence Procurement Procedure (DPP) 2016:
The Defence Procurement Policy 2016 made public is a step forward in increasing the participation of India’s private sector in military manufacturing.
It replaces the last DPP unveiled in 2013, and has several recommendations for improving indigenous procurement.
Aim of DPP:
Aim of the policy is to ensure timely procurement of defence (military) equipment, systems, and platforms required by the armed forces through optimum utilization of allocated budgetary resources.
Scope of DPP:
It will cover all capital acquisitions undertaken by the Union Ministry of Defence, Defence Services and Indian Coast Guard (ICG) both from indigenous sources and import.
What are the changes inculcated in DPP 2016?
The policy has also liberalized the threshold for offset liabilities for foreign vendors— now the obligation to invest at least 30 per cent of the contract value in India.
The policy lays stress on micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs), and on “Make in India”.
A 10 per cent weightage has been introduced for superior technology, instead of selecting the lowest bidder only in financial terms.
What are the drawbacks in DPP 2016?
DPP 2016 falls far short of the expectations raised by ambitious “Make in India” initiative that aims to transform the country into a global manufacturing hub as India is the world’s largest importer of defence equipment, and indigenizing production is need of the hour.
The DPP is noticeable for the absence of Chapter VII, titled ‘Strategic Partners and Partnerships’, Under Strategic Partnerships, select Indian private companies were to be given preferential status in major defence projects.
Why India needs to be self-reliant in military equipment?
India has all the necessary prerequisites for a robust military-industrial complex: a diverse private sector, a large base of engineering institutes, and a growing defence budget.
The fact that India faces a combination of security threats from both state and non-state actors is an obvious reason why it needs to be self-reliant in military equipment.
It will significantly reduce the potential for corruption in military procurement.
What are the Capital Acquisitions Schemes Under this policy?
Outright purchase of equipment and procurements under this scheme are further categorized as
Buy (Indian- IDDM) (IDDM stands for Indigenously Designed Developed and Manufactured.)
Buy and Make scheme: The procurements are categorized as Buy and Make and Buy and Make (Indian).
Make category Scheme:
It seeks developing long-term indigenous defence capabilities and procurements.
It empowers Defence Acquisition Council (DAC) to take a fast-track route in order to acquire weapons, which were limited to the armed forces till now.
It seeks to boost indigenous production and procurements under it should 40% sourced locally in terms of the content.
It will promote domestic manufacturing, including government funding R&D and recognition of the Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) in technology development.
Why there is a case against higher FDI in the defence sector?
Airbus wanted the foreign direct investment (FDI) to be increased to more than 49% if India wanted to get “OEMs (original equipment manufacturers) of quality”
Any further increase in FDI limit in the defence sector may not be in the long-term national interest and surely will be a disaster for the country’s attempt to build self-reliance
There is already a provision in the new FDI policy that permits more than 49% investment, even as high as 100%, on a case-to-case basis with the approval of the Foreign Investment Promotion Board (FIPB).
Higher FDI would be permitted only when the investment is likely to result in access to modern and ‘state-of-the-art’ technology in the country. This carefully considered clause also conveys that in national interest, government will bend backwards and make exceptions.
It is for FOEMs (foreign OEMs) like Airbus to accept the challenge and provide niche cutting-edge technologies in India to earn 100% FDI.
Higher FDI in defence would reduce Indian partners of FOEMs to passive spectators and destroy the indigenous Indian companies.
Connecting the dots:
What is the aim of Defence Procurement Procedure and what are the changes included in DPP 2016? Discuss how does DPP help India to become self-reliant in military equipment?
What are the challenges ahead? Do you think increasing FDI in defence sector is the right step?
What are the steps taken by Government of India to facilitate Make in India in defence manufacturing sector?
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