Press Information Bureau (PIB) IAS UPSC – 29th December to 5th January – 2020
Year End Review: Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change
- Air pollution is one of the biggest global environmental challenges of today. A time bound national level strategy for pan India implementation to tackle the increasing air pollution problem across the country in a comprehensive manner in the form of National Clean Air Programme (NCAP) was launched on 10th January, 2019.
- Third Indo-German Environment Forum with the theme “Cleaner Air, Greener Economy:” held in New Delhi in February. The one-day event through panel discussions and parallel sessions focused on challenges, solutions and necessary framework conditions of air pollution control, waste management and circular economy as well as implementation of NDCs and SDGs based on Paris Agreement and Agenda 2030 of UN respectively.
- In a significant first, India piloted resolutions on two important global environment issues relating to Single-use Plastics and Sustainable Nitrogen management at the fourth session of United Nations Environment Assembly (UNEA) which was held in Nairobi from 11th to 15th March 2019.UNEA adopted both the resolutions with consensus.
- India Cooling Action Plan (ICAP) Launched in March this year. India is one of the first countries in the world to develop a comprehensive Cooling Action plan which has a long term vision to address the cooling requirement across sectors and lists out actions which can help reduce the cooling demand. Cooling requirement is cross sectoral and an essential part for economic growth and is required across different sectors of the economy such as residential and commercial buildings, cold-chain, refrigeration, transport and industries.
- In order to strengthen the implementation of environmentally sound management of hazardous waste in the country, the Ministry amended the Hazardous and Other Wastes (Management & Transboundary Movement) Rules, 2016 vide notification G.S.R. G.S.R. XX (E), dated 01 March 2019. The amendment has been done keeping into consideration the “Ease of Doing Business” and boosting “Make in India” initiative by simplifying the procedures under the Rules, while at the same time upholding the principles of sustainable development and ensuring minimal impact on the environment.
- On World environment Day, Union Minister for Environment, Forest and Climate Change, Shri Prakash Javadekar launched a people’s campaign #SelfiewithSapling urging all to join and plant a sapling and post the selfie with the sapling on social media. Shri Javadekar stressed that ‘Jan Bhagidari’ is integral towards tackling the environmental issues and environment protection has to be a people’s movement.
Forest & Wildlife
- A Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) was signed in February between MoEF&CC and University of British Columbia (UBC), Canada for next 10 years in New Delhi. Both the institutions shall explore opportunities for future collaborations in the field of forestry science through their respective organizations namely Indian Council of Forestry Research and Education, Wildlife Institute of India, Forest Survey of India, Indira Gandhi National Forest Academy and Directorate of Forest Education, Dehradun, Uttarakhand, India and University of British Columbia, Vancouver, Canada.
- A dedicated“Asiatic Lion Conservation Project” with a budgetary contribution of Rs 97.85 Cr from Central Government was launched in February . The Asiatic Lion endemic to Gir landscape of Gujarat, is one of the 21 critically endangered species identified by the Ministry for taking up recovery programmes.
- ‘Not all animals migrate by choice’ campaign launched to raise awareness on illegal wildlife trade.
- Tigers count in India rise to 2967, in 2018: On the occasion of International Tiger Day, Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi released the results of the fourth cycle of All India Tiger Estimation – 2018 in New Delhi on July 29th, 2019. The count of tigers in India has risen to 2967, in 2018, according to this census.
- In a major boost towards promoting afforestation and achieving green objectives of the country, the Ministry handed over Rs.47,436 crores of Compensatory Afforestation Fund anagement and Planning Authority, CAMPA funds to various states in August. Important activities on which the fund will be utilised will be for the Compensatory Afforestation, Catchment Area Treatment, Wildlife Management, Assisted Natural Regeneration, Forest Fire Prevention and Control Operations, Soil and Moisture Conservation Works in the forest, Improvement of Wildlife Habitat, Management of Biological Diversity and Biological Resources, Research in Forestry and Monitoring of CAMPA works etc.
- With efforts towards protecting and conserving Snow Leopards, the First National Protocol on Snow Leopard Population Assessment in India was launched on the occasion of International Snow Leopard Day in October.
- Draft amendment to the Indian Forests Act withdrawn to remove any misgivings, thereby enriching the livelihood of tribals and forest dwellers.
- A publication released in February on climate actions in India titled “India – Spearheading Climate Solutions”. This publication “India – Spearheading Climate Solutions” mentions the key actions India has taken under various sectors towards combating and adapting to climate change.
- India CEO Forum on Climate Change was organized, as the pioneering initiative of the government, inviting industry representatives, exchanged views on climate change issues and discussed opportunities to collaborate in regard to fulfilling India’s national as well as international climate change commitments.
- India to increase share of non-fossil fuels to 175 GW by 2022 and further take it to 450 GW
- World leaders gathered in New York in September for the United Nations Secretary General (UNSG) Climate Action Summit. Bringing attention towards India’s efforts in always following a climate sensitive sustainable development pathway by mainstreaming climate change concerns in development policies, Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi announced thatIndia is going to increase the share of non-fossil fuels to 175 GW by 2022, and will further take it to 450 GW. The Global Coalition for Disaster Resilient Infrastructure was also launched.
- India at COP 25, Calls upon more countries to join the International Solar Alliance (ISA): The 25th Session of the Conference of the Parties (COP 25) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) was held under the Presidency of Chile in Madrid, Spain on 02nd – 15th December 2019.Some of the Key issues discussed at COP25 were Pre-2020 implementation and ambition gaps, Article 6 under the Paris Agreement, Enhanced Transparency Framework (Monitoring, Reporting and Verification), Warsaw International Mechanism (WIM) for Loss and Damage associated with Climate Change Impacts, Adaptation related matters where in India has been stressing on parity between mitigation and adaptation and Technology development and transfer. At COP25, India also called upon more countries to join the International Solar Alliance (ISA) to reduce dependence on fossil fuels to meet the growing energy requirement, even as it acknowledged the phenomenal progress made by the Alliance and the growing solar energy capabilities the world over.
Year End Review: Ministry of Science and Technology
The DNA Technology (Use and Application) Regulation Bill – 2019: The Bill has been formulated recognizing the need for regulation of the use and application of Deoxyribonucleic Acid (DNA) technology, for establishing identity of missing persons, victims, offenders, under trials and unknown deceased persons.
Biotechnology Key missions announced – Atal Jai Anusandhan Biotech Mission – Undertaking Nationally Relevant Technology Innovation (UNaTI), which is expected to transform Health, Agriculture and Energy sectors during the next 5 years
- GARBH-ini – A Mission to promote Maternal and Child Health and develop prediction tools for pre-term berth
- IndCEPI – A Mission to develop affordable vaccines for endemic diseases
- Development of Biofortified and Protein Rich wheat – contributing to POSHAN Abhiyan
- Mission on Anti-Microbial Resistance for Affordable Diagnostics and Therapeutics
- Clean Energy Mission – Innovative Technology interventions for Swachh Bharat
Drones to undertake Large scale Mapping of Village areas in Maharashtra: Survey of India, the national mapping agency of the country under the Min of Science & Technology has signed an MoU with Department of revenue & Land records, Govt of Maharashtra to undertake the Large scale Mapping of Village Gaothan (Aabadi) areas in the State of Maharashtra using drones.
Launched UMMID (Unique Methods of Management and treatment of Inherited Disorders) initiative and inaugurated NIDAN (National Inherited Diseases Administration) Kendras.
India and Netherlands launched the second phase of the LOTUS-HR (Local Treatment of Urban Sewage streams for Healthy Reuseplant)
First Indigenous Fuel Cell System developed by CSIR – New Millennium Indian Technology Leadership Initiative (NMITLI)
Launch of “Green Crackers” developed by CSIR in a bid to curb air pollution: Green logo and QR coding system was also launched to track manufacture & sale of counterfeit crackers.
CSIR conducts Whole Genome Sequencing of over 1,000 Indians for Biomedical Applications – will be important for building the knowhow, baseline data and indigenous capacity in the emerging area of Precision Medicine.
Prelims oriented news
4th Jan: World Braille Day
Dada Saheb Phalke Award: Shri Amitabh Bachchan
Exercise INDRA 2019: A joint, tri services exercise between India and Russia
Cyclones of 2019
- Cyclonic Storm ‘PABUK’ over Andaman Sea & neighbourhood
- Cyclone ‘FANI’ over Southwest Bay & adjoining Southeast of Bengal
- Cyclonic Storm ‘VAYU’ over Northeast & adjoining East central Arabian Sea
- Cyclonic Storm ‘HIKAA’ over northeast and adjoining east central Arabian sea
- Cyclonic Storm ‘BULBUL’ over northwest and adjoining West-Central Bay of Bengal
India State of Forest Report (ISFR): As compared to the assessment of 2017, there is an increase of 5,188 sq. km in the total forest and tree cover of the country.
- Range increase in forest cover has been observed in open forest followed by very dense forest and moderately dense forest and the top three states showing increase in forest cover are Karnataka (1,025 sq. km) followed by Andhra Pradesh (990 sq km) and Kerala (823 sq km)
- Area-wise Madhya Pradesh has the largest forest cover in the country followed by Arunachal Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Odisha and Maharashtra.
- Top three states showing mangrove cover increase are Gujarat (37 sq km) followed by Maharashtra (16 sq km) and Odisha (8 sq km).
- There is an increase of 0.32 million hectare in bamboo bearing area as compared to the last assessment of ISFR 2017.
The report is published by the Forest Survey of India (FSI) which has been mandated to assess the forest and tree resources of the country including wall-to-wall forest cover mapping in a biennial cycle. Starting 1987, 16 assessment have been completed so far. ISFR 2019 is the 16th report in the series.
Asian Development Bank (ADB) has prepared an Action Plan for Infrastructure Creation to Increase the Use of Coastal Shipping in India: This action plan includes recommendations with respect to infrastructure creation required to increase the use of coastal shipping in India.
MoU between India and the UK on Cooperation in Weather and Climate Sciences: Under the MoU an Implementation Agreement on Weather and climate science for service partnership will also be signed between India and the UK.
MoU on Antarctic cooperation between India and Argentina: The MoU will help scientific cooperation on projects in the fields of Earth sciences, as well as those related to the protection and conservation of the natural environment of Antarctica and the Southern Oceans.
Rashtriya Gram Swaraj Abhiyan (RGSA): Strengthening of Panchayati Raj Institutions (PRIs) for achieving Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) with main thrust on convergence with Mission Antyodaya and emphasis on strengthening PRIs in 117 Aspirational districts.
Mission Mode Project on e-Panchayat:
Under the e-Panchayat MMP, a suite of Core Common Applications has been developed collectively called Panchayat Enterprise Suite (PES) Applications. Following are some of the key activities undertaken under the e-Panchayat MMP during the year:
- Unified portal focusing on Work Based Accounting: Unified Portal is a new initiative of the Ministry, which will provide the GPs with a single interface to prepare and implement their GPDP. Unified portal would reduce the number of data entries that Gram Panchayat user performs. It will bring in a more user-friendly interface with ease of navigation that would make it hassle-free for the GPs to track, monitor and modify their Action Plan.
- On-boarding of schemes on PRIASoft- PFMS integration for real time payments by GPs: The Ministry, in the current year, has put in place a robust mechanism capturing the entire gamut of activity right from the stage of planning to monitor the various stages of work, recording the expenditure incurred for the works to providing a complete detail of the asset created. Around one lakh GPs have onboarded this interface.
- Gram Manchitra: Gram Manchitra is a Spatial Planning Application launched by Hon’ble Minister of Panchayati Raj on October 23, 2019 on the occasion of National Panchayat Awards, 2019, for facilitating and supporting GP users to perform planning at Gram Panchayat level with the use of geo-spatial technology. It provides a single/ unified Geo Spatial platform to better visualize the various developmental works to be taken up across the 29 sectors and provide a decision support system for GPDP.
National Florence Nightingale Awards
- The Government of India instituted these awards in 1973. They are named after Florence Nightingale, the founder of modern nursing, and the very icon of selfless care.
- The sacrifice of Late Mrs. Lini Puthuserry was acknowledged, and was honoured posthumously for her unsurpassed dedication while taking care of patients during the Nipah virus outbreak in Kerala.
- The world is more and more in need of care and compassion, and nurses indeed are a symbol of seva, shushrusha, karuna.
- World Health Organisation has announced 2020 as the Year of the Nurse and Mid-wife. Incidentally, 2020 will also mark the 200th birth anniversary of Florence Nightingale.
BRICS remote Sensing Satellite Constellation
- The space agencies of BRICS nations have been negotiating a Framework Agreement to formalize the cooperation on building a ‘virtual constellation of remote sensing satellites’, made up of satellites contributed by BRICS space agencies.
- Technical aspects with respect to identifying the satellites and the ground stations for the initial virtual constellation were discussed by the Space Agencies.
- The purpose of the proposed virtual constellation is to get access to satellite remote sensing data, which could be used by the individual BRICS nations for various applications including natural resources management and disaster management.
Neutrino Observatory in Tamil Nadu: Theni district in Tamil Nadu
Highest priority is accorded to safety in all aspects of nuclear power viz. siting, design, construction, commissioning, and operation. Nuclear power plants are designed adopting safety principles of redundancy, diversity and provided fail-safe design features following a defence in depth approach. This ensures that there are multiple barriers between the source of radioactivity and the environment.
The operations are performed adopting well laid out procedures by highly qualified, trained and licensed personnel. Appropriate Personal Protection Equipments and monitoring aids are provided to all the personnel working in the nuclear power plants.
Home Ministry sanctions Women Help Desks in Police Stations across the country
- Ministry of Home Affairs has sanctioned a sum Rs. 100 crores from Nirbhaya Fund
- Women Help Desks would focus on making the Police Stations more women friendly and approachable, as they would be the first and single point of contact for any woman walking into a police station. Essentially, lady police officers would be deployed at these help desks.
- The officials of Women Help Desk would be trained to be sensitive towards women.
- These help desks would have enlisted panel of experts like lawyers, psychologists and NGOs to facilitate legal aid, counseling, shelter, rehabilitation and training etc.
- India’s rank in Travel & Tourism Competitiveness Index (TTCI) of World Economic Forum has moved from 65th rank in 2013 to 34thrank in 2019.
- The “Adopt a Heritage: Apni Dharohar, Apni Pehchaan’’ project is a collaborative effort by the Ministry of Tourism, Ministry of Culture and Archaeological Survey of India, State/ UTs Government for developing tourist amenities at heritage/tourist sites and making them tourist friendly, in a planned and phased manner.
- Ministry of Tourism has launched ‘Incredible India Tourist Facilitators Certification’ (IITFC) programme. The certification programme is an Online Learning Management System which aims at creating skilled manpower to work as tourist facilitators. The programme helps local citizens in harnessing the local experience and traditional knowledge for assisting tourists and to be a potential bread earner for their households.