IAS UPSC Prelims and Mains Exam – 17th June 2019
(PRELIMS + MAINS FOCUS)
G20 agrees to tackle ocean plastic waste
Part of: Prelims and GS mains III environment and pollution
- Group of 20 Environment Ministers agreed to adopt a new implementation framework for actions to tackle the issue of marine plastic waste on a global scale.
- One of the top issues was ocean plastic waste as images of plastic debris-strewn beaches and dead animals with stomachs full of plastic have sparked outrage with many countries banning plastic bags outright.
- The new framework is aimed at facilitating further concrete action on marine waste, though on a voluntary basis, after the G20 Hamburg Summit in Germany adopted the “G20 action plan on marine litter” in 2017.
- Under the new framework, G20 members will promote a comprehensive life-cycle approach to prevent and reduce plastic litter discharge to the oceans through various measures and international cooperation.
- They will also share best practices, promote innovation and boost scientific monitoring and analytical methodologies.
Assam temple bids adieu to rare turtle hatchlings
Part of: Prelims and Mains GS III: Environment and Ecology
- The Ugratara Temple, one of the city’s landmarks, organised a special darshan of 34 hatchlings of the freshwater turtle, Black softshell turtle.
- Members of the temple committee and devotees turned up for what was essentially a ceremony to welcome and bid goodbye to these hatchlings.
- The welcome was because the eggs of black softshell were collected from temple ponds for incubation at the Assam State Zoo. And the goodbye was because these hatchlings will be reintroduced in the wild, never to return.
- Jorpukhuri translates into twin tanks, one of which abuts Ugratara Temple that is dedicated to Goddess Tara, a ‘fiery’ avatar of Kali.
- The black softshell turtle is extinct in the wild. The few that remain are in the ponds of some temples in Assam.
- A similar homecoming of 11 hatchlings of the equally endangered Indian roofed turtle (Pangshura tecta) and the Indian tent turtle (Pangshura tentoria) was organised at the Hayagriv Madhab Temple in Hajo, Assam.
Do you know?
- Black Softshell Turtle: IUCN Extinct in wild
- Indian roofed turtle: IUCN Least Concern
- Indian tent turtle: IUCN Least Concern
PM Modi invites chiefs of all parties to deliberate upon ‘one nation, one election’
Part of: Prelims and mains GS II: Polity and governance
- Ahead of the first session of the 17th Lok Sabha, Mr. Modi addressed leaders of the Opposition at an all-party meeting.
- An all-party meeting is a customary procedure before the beginning of every session of Parliament to ensure its smooth functioning.
- The meeting has been called to discuss “one nation, one election” issue, celebrations of 75 years of India’s Independence in 2022 and 150 years of Mahatma Gandhi’s birth anniversary this year.
Bhutan on relations with India and China
Part of Prelims and Mains GS II: International Relations
India Bhutan relations rest on the mindset of the visionary leadership in two countries. Bhutan is also part of the BIMSTEC grouping that India says it is now promoting over the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC).
India Bhutan Relations
Mangdechhu Hydropwer project in Bhutan, with the contribution of India, is in the final stages of completion now.
Other bilateral projects that are being worked on:
- The South Asia Satellite programme,
- A stand-alone, multi-disciplinary hospital India is willing to support
- Another government-to-government mega-hydropower project on the Sankosh river
Issues in India Bhutan Relations:
- Tariffs and Cross-border Trade in Electricity (CBTE) policy that first came out in India (in 2016) wasn’t friendly to Bhutan’s interests.
- After Bhutan requested some changes, New Delhi agreed to change them.
- On BBIN: Bhutan need connectivity to enhance economic growth, but it is the smallest country in this partnership, and they have a very high commitment to environmental conservation. They are committed to balance their desire to preserve our environment, tradition and culture too.
- Geographically, South Asian countries are grouped together but they aren’t doing well economically together.
On border issues (with China):
- Bhutan stick to their stand that the status quo must be maintained. No side should do anything without informing the other side at the border.
- Bhutan does not have diplomatic relations with any of the P-5 (UN Security Council Permanent members), which is our policy.
TOPIC:General studies 3
- Conservation, environmental pollution and degradation
The mysterious case of GM Brinjal cultivation
Brinjal production is extensively affected by insects: Brinjal fruit and shoot borer. Use of conventional chemical pesticides damaged the environment & affected human health.
About BT Brinjal
- BT Brinjal was developed to combat Brinjal fruit and shoot borer & minimizing the use of chemical pesticides.
- Mahyco, the largest seed company in India, in which Monsanto Co. has a 26% stake, developed the first BT Brinjal.
- It was approved for commercialization in India in 2009, but a moratorium on its release was issued until further, unspecified, tests were conducted. BT Brinjal was approved for commercial release in Bangladesh in 2013.
Application of biotechnology in Agriculture of India
In India, application of biotechnology in agriculture is being dealt with by three different Ministries/Dept.: (1) Min. of Agriculture; (2) Min. of EF&CC & (3) Department of Biotechnology, Min. of S&T.
Development, cultivation and transboundary movement of GM crops is regulated so as to ensure the safety of animal health, human health and biodiversity.
In India, such regulations are provided in the Rules for Manufacture, Use, Import, Export and Storage of Hazardous Microorganisms (HM) Genetically Engineered Organisms or Cells, 1989 under the Environment Protection Act (1986).
The rules cover: All activities involving research and development of products containing GMOs including transgenic crops.
Appraisal of Genetically engineered products
The Genetic Engineering Appraisal Committee (GEAC) functions in the MOEF&CC. As per Rules, 1989, it is responsible for appraisal of activities involving large scale use of hazardous microorganisms and recombinants in research and industrial production from the environmental angle.
The committee is also responsible for appraisal of proposals relating to release of genetically engineered (GE) organisms and products into the environment including experimental field trials.
Connecting the dots:
Brinjal or BT Brinjal: why it is debated? Give your opinion.
TOPIC: General studies 2
- India and its neighborhood- relations
- Bilateral, regional and global groupings and agreements involving India and/or affecting India’s interests
The SCO brings together two of the world’s great powers — China and Russia — and four central Asian nations — Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan — with India and Pakistan. Launched by China and Russia nearly two decades ago, the SCO has also been billed by some as the “Alliance of the East” and as a continental counter to the US and more broadly, the maritime West.
India with “Maritime West”(SCO) and “Maritime East”(US)
- India has moved steadily closer to the US in recent years and embraced the Indo-Pacific maritime construct.
- India’s navigation between the two competing worlds had become even more difficult as the US ratchets up tensions with both China and Russia.
- But India is very optimistic about Its emerging possibilities in the new dynamic with SCO.
India at SCO
- India continued its stand on opposing the Belt and Road Initiative and turning down China’s advice to begin talks with Pakistan.
- With Russia, India sought to expand the strategic partnership to new areas of defence and energy.
- India joined with China and Russia in opposing the new threats to global trade from new American unilateralism under Trump.
- India’s bilateral engagement with the SCO summit host Kyrgyzstan underlined the new political commitment to realise the full potential of India’s relations with the Central Asian republics.
- Bishkek summit also revealed India’s deepening challenges with Afghanistan and Pakistan, while India continues to emphasise an “Afghan-owned and Afghan-led” peace process.
- On a positive note, the forum strongly endorsed India’s concerns on cross-border terrorism.
Shanghai Cooperation Organisation is constructing a new region, now widely described as Eurasia. In recent years, India tilted more towards US. Therefore the need to manoeuvre between Moscow, Beijing and Washington is now a permanent condition for Indian diplomacy.
Connecting the dots:
The need to manoeuvre between Moscow, Beijing and Washington is now a permanent condition for Indian diplomacy. Comment
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Q.1) The Ugratara Temple of Assam was recently in news because of,
- Its unique tradition of turtle conservation
- Due to its practice Devdasi tradition
- It is exclusively for men. Women of particular age are barred to enter.
- None of the above
Q.2) Consider the following statements
- Mangdechhu Hydropwer project in Bhutan is being constructed with the help of China.
- Bhutan agreed to be part of BBIN motor vehicle agreement.
Select the incorrect statements
- Only 1
- Only 2
- Both 1 and 2
- Neither 1 nor 2
Q.3) As per IUCN, which of the following are extinct in wild.
- Indian tent turtle
- Black Softshell Turtle
- Indian roofed turtle
- All of the above
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