IASbaba’s Daily Current Affairs (Prelims + Mains
Focus)- 11th August 2018
Ethanol blending in petrol: Saving forex
Part of: Mains GS Paper II, III- Government interventions, Energy security
- India expects to make foreign exchange savings of up to Rs. 12,000 crore every year after four years through the ethanol blending programme.
- India has set course to produce nearly 450 crore litres of ethanol in the coming four years.
- Ethanol blending in petrol increased from 38 crore litres in the ethanol supply year 2013-14, to an estimated 141 crore litres in 2017-18.
- The government has also approved the National Policy on Biofuels in June.
- The Centre is pushing to bring more agricultural produce and waste to be converted to ethanol.
Note:- PM Modi has launched a web portal PARIVESH, a single window for environmental, wildlife, forest and Coastal Regulation Zone clearances.
Part of: Mains GS Paper II- Government interventions
- The Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) has launched RUCO (Repurpose Used Cooking Oil), an initiative that will enable collection and conversion of used cooking oil to bio-diesel.
- The initiative has been launched nearly a month after the food safety regulator notified standards for used cooking oil.
- FSSAI may also look at introducing regulations to ensure that companies that use large quantities of cooking oil hand it over to registered collecting agencies to convert it into biofuel.
- Under this initiative, 64 companies at 101 locations have been identified to enable collection of used cooking oil.
- The regulator believes India has the potential to recover 220 crore litres of used cooking oil for the production of biodiesel by 2022 through a co-ordinated action.
TOPIC: General Studies 3
- Indian Economy and issues relating to planning, mobilization of resources, growth, development and employment.
- Investment models
- Environment Conservation, environmental pollution and degradation, environmental impact assessment.
A climate for green funds
A recent HSBC Global Research report found India to be the most vulnerable of the 67 countries assessed for their vulnerability to and preparedness for climate change risks. The need to address the challenge of climate change is more urgent than ever.
- India is making big efforts in that direction. But more needs to be done.
- The India aims to source 175 GW of power from renewables by 2022 and for nearly 57 per cent of total electricity capacity to come from non-fossil fuels by 2027.
- India’s other INDCs and national, federal steps towards climate change and resilience building cannot be ignored.
- A climate-resilient economy cannot be a priority only for the government. Companies, regulators, banks and financial institutions need to be part of the effort.
- It has been estimated that approximately $100 trillion of additional investment will be required between 2016 and 2030 to sync the imperatives of global development with that of addressing the challenge of climate change.
- Financing clean energy infrastructure, sustainable transport, energy efficiency and waste management are among the key imperatives today.
- Knowledge sharing across regions and institutions is critical to ensure that initiatives that are successful in one location get replicated expeditiously. All of this will require billions of dollars worth of investments.
Who can Finance?
- Banks and financial institutions are key intermediaries between investors who are keen to put more of their cash into low-carbon, sustainable projects and those requiring capital.
- Globally, green finance is gaining prominence as a medium to raise funds for environment-friendly and climate-resilient projects.
- The appetite for green investment opportunities is growing with European and US investors, in particular, committed to increasing their climate-related holdings.
- In India the concept of green financing is nascent. Take the green bond market. Green bond issuance in India rose sharply last year — to more than $4 billion from $1.3 billion in 2016.
- While this is a welcome development, it is just a drop in the ocean against India’s climate change-related investment needs.
What India should do to receive climate financing?
- Measures to encourage green-bonds could help raise finances needed to “green” India’s economy.
- These could include steps to reduce some of the regulatory constraints that currently hamper international investments as well as local pools of capital.
- There is scope for guidelines asking provident funds, pension funds and insurance companies to invest a portion of their assets under management in green bonds.
- The government could offer tax incentives to encourage mutual fund and other onshore investors to invest in local green bonds.
- Currently, there is no incentive for onshore investors to buy labelled green bonds or make green investments.
- India could also look at issuing a sovereign green bond, like France did to great effect last year. This would help push climate-change considerations into the limelight and provide a welcome market benchmark.
- Allowing banks to claim “priority sector benefits” on their green investments would also help.
- These steps could help India to draw in more of foreign capital — this would be especially welcome given that global investors are increasingly factoring climate change into their assessments of a country’s overall economic performance.
- Amid all the issues that concern us — poverty, education, employment, health — it is easy to forget that global warming is one of the most critical challenges we face. We need to do a lot more and a lot sooner or risk an environmental crisis.
Connecting the dots:
- Considering the vulnerability of India, there is a need to build a strong green finance ecosystem. Comment.
General Studies 2
- Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues arising out of their design and implementation
- Mechanisms, laws, institutions and Bodies constituted for the protection and betterment of these vulnerable sections.
- Issues relating to poverty and hunger
General Studies 3
- Inclusive growth and issues arising from it
General Studies 4
- Determinants and consequences of Ethics in human actions;
- Ethical concerns and dilemmas in government
- Laws, rules, regulations and conscience as sources of ethical guidance
Poverty, not poor: Decriminalisation of begging
The Delhi High Court has strike down as unconstitutional the provisions of the law which sanction punitive action against beggars, including imprisonment.
Twenty-five sections of the Bombay Prevention of Begging Act, which was extended to Delhi and serves as the template for other state laws criminalising begging, are off the books.
These stigmatising provisions recalled the targeting of allegedly “criminal tribes” in British colonial territories and should never have been allowed to infest the statute books of a democracy.
Delhi High Court Observations:
- In its observation court has sought to dispel the idea of begging as a disease — which leads to its stigmatisation and criminalisation — and to regard it as a symptom.
- The underlying disease is the failure of the state to protect citizens who fall through the social security net.
- The court has clarified what should have been obvious to generations of policymakers — that criminalising begging attacks the fundamental right of the most vulnerable, the poorest of the poor, to regain access to basic necessities like food and shelter.
- The very real problem of organised begging rackets will have to be addressed by other means, perhaps based on the law of trafficking.
- The ruling has accepted the basic premise of the PIL, that poverty cannot be a crime.
- Poverty is a failing of the state and a civilised society must regard the poor not as criminals to be sentenced, but as candidates for protection.
- There is a need to reduce rising inequalities and establish an egalitarian society.
- The decriminalisation of those who fail usually has positive effects. For instance, Portugal, which decriminalised drug use and possession in 2001, has achieved the lowest rate of drug-related social costs, like death and crime, in the European Union. But part of its solution was to redeploy budgets spent on enforcement to the support of addicts.
- A similar step with regard to beggars — spending aggressively on rehabilitation — would yield similar outcomes, and turn what was regarded as a social problem into a dividend.
- The Delhi high court’s judgment reinforces the values of inclusiveness and tolerance in Indian society through its references to the principles of equality, liberty and dignity.
- It also reiterates the importance of judicial activism and the fact that courts, constituted as the ultimate interpreter of the constitution, have wide powers to promote dignitary values deeply rooted in our libertarian democracy.
Connecting the dots:
- Instead of penalizing approach, there is a need to build the social and economic capacities of the state, which would care for its poor and marginalised citizens. Discuss, in the light of anti-begging laws in India.
(TEST YOUR KNOWLEDGE)
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Q.1) Which of the following is true regarding ‘RUCO’ (Repurpose Used Cooking Oil) inititative.
- The initiative has been launched by Ministry of Food Processing Industries.
- It will enable collection and conversion of used cooking oil to bio-diesel.
- Various companies have been identified to enable collection of used cooking oil.
Which of the following above statement is/are correct?
- Only 1 and 2
- Both 1 and 2
- Both 2 and 3
- All statements are correct
Q.2) Which of the following is true regarding ‘PARIVESH’ portal?
- It is a single window for environmental, wildlife, forest and Coastal Regulation Zone clearances
- It is web portal where common people can file complaints regarding environment pollution.
- It is a portal to disseminate information regarding government steps taken towards environmental protection and regulation.
- None of the above.
Inequality, myth and reality
Women of substance
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