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DAILY CURRENT AFFAIRS IAS | UPSC Prelims and Mains Exam – 12th July 2021

  • IASbaba
  • July 12, 2021
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(PRELIMS + MAINS FOCUS)


India’s First Private LNG Facility plant

Part of: GS Prelims and GS -III – Conservation

In news Minister for Road Transport and Highways inaugurated the country’s First Private LNG Facility plant at Nagpur.

  • The Ministry emphasized on the importance of alternate biofuels for diversification of agriculture towards the energy and power sector.
  • It has designed a policy that encourages development of imports to substitute cost effective pollution free and indigenous ethanol,  bio CNG, LNG and hydrogen fuels. 
  • The ministry is constantly working on different alternative fuels where the focus is on preventing surplus in rice , corn and sugar from going to waste.

What are Biofuels?

  • Any hydrocarbon fuel that is produced from an organic matter (living or once living material) in a short period of time is considered a biofuel.
  • Biofuels may be solid, liquid or gaseous in nature.
  • These can be used to replace or can be used in addition to diesel, petrol or other fossil fuels.  Also, they can be used to generate heat and electricity.
  • Main reasons for shifting to biofuels: Rising prices of oil, benefits farmers and can be locally produced that helps cut down on import dependence of crude oil. 

What are the Categories of Biofuels?

  • First generation biofuels: Made from food sources such as sugar, starch, vegetable oil, or animal fats using conventional technology. Examples: Bioalcohols, Biodiesel, Vegetable oil, Bioethers, Biogas.
  • Second generation biofuels: Produced from non-food crops or portions of food crops that are not edible, e.g. stems, husks, wood chips, and fruit skins and peeling. Examples: Cellulose ethanol, biodiesel.
  • Third generation biofuels: Produced from micro-organisms like algae. Example- Butanol
  • Fourth Generation Biofuels: Produced from crops that are genetically engineered to take in high amounts of carbon and then harvested as biomass. These fuels are considered as carbon negative as their production pulls out carbon from the environment in excess of the amount that they emit during combustion.

What are the Recent Initiatives by India?

  • Pradhan Mantri JI-VAN Yojana, 2019: To create an ecosystem for setting up commercial projects and to boost Research and Development in 2G Ethanol sector.
  • Ethanol blending:
    • To reach 20% ethanol-blending and 5% biodiesel-blending by the year 2030.
    • The Government has reduced GST on ethanol for blending in fuel from 18% to 5%.
  • GOBAR (Galvanizing Organic Bio-Agro Resources) DHAN scheme, 2018: It focuses on managing and converting cattle dung and solid waste in farms to useful compost, biogas and bio-CNG
  • Reduction in GST: The Government has also reduced GST on ethanol for blending in fuel from 18% to 5%.
  • Sustainable Alternative Towards Affordable Transportation (SATAT): The scheme aims to set up Compressed Bio-Gas production plants and make CBG available in the market for use as a green fuel.
  • Repurpose Used Cooking Oil (RUCO) launched by Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) aims for an ecosystem that will enable the collection and conversion of used cooking oil to biodiesel.
  • National Policy on Biofuels, 2018

News source: PIB


Jal Jeevan Mission

Part of: GS Prelims and GS-II -Policies and Interventions

In news Central grant to Odisha under the Jal Jeevan Mission in the year 2021-22 has been increased to Rs. 3,323.42 Crore.

  • With Four-Fold Increase in Allocation, Centre Supports Odisha to Become ‘Har Ghar Jal’ State by March, 2024.

What is Jal Jeevan Mission?

  • It is envisioned to provide safe and adequate drinking water through individual household tap connections by 2024 to all households in rural India. 
    • It envisages supply of 55 litres of water per person per day to every rural household through Functional Household Tap Connections (FHTC) by 2024.
    • It also includes functional tap connection to Schools, Anganwadi centres, GP buildings, Health centres, wellness centres and community buildings
  • The programme will also implement source sustainability measures as mandatory elements, such as recharge and reuse through grey water management, water conservation, rain water harvesting. 
  • JJM focuses on integrated demand and supply-side management of water at the local level.
  • The Mission is based on a community approach to water. It looks to create a jan andolan for water, thereby making it everyone’s priority.
    • It promotes and ensure voluntary ownership among local community by way of contribution in cash, kind and/ or labour and voluntary labour.
  • Parent Ministry: Department of Drinking Water & Sanitation, Ministry of Jal Shakti
  • Funding Pattern: The fund sharing pattern between the Centre and states is 90:10 for Himalayan and North-Eastern States, 50:50 for other states, and 100% for Union Territories.
  • Four-tier implementation & monitoring of the scheme at National, State, District & village level.

The following components are supported under JJM

  • Development of in-village piped water supply infrastructure to provide tap water connection to every rural household
  • Development of reliable drinking water sources and/ or augmentation of existing sources to provide long-term sustainability of water supply system
  • Wherever necessary, bulk water transfer, treatment plants and distribution network to cater to every rural household
  • Technological interventions for removal of contaminants where water quality is an issue
  •  Retrofitting of completed and ongoing schemes to provide FHTCs at minimum service level of 55 lpcd;
  • Greywater management. (Grey water — wastewater from kitchen sinks, showers and laundry fixtures)
  • Support activities, i.e. Information Education & Communication (awareness of water conservation), Human Resource training, development of utilities, water quality laboratories, water quality testing & surveillance, R&D, knowledge centre, capacity building of communities, etc.

News Source: PIB


Kanchenjunga Biosphere

Part of: GS Prelims and GS -III – Biodiversity

In news: In a recent publication by the Botanical Survey of India (BSI), it was reported that  Sikkim, the smallest State with less than 1% of India’s landmass, is home to 27% of all flowering plants found in the country.

  • Sikkim is a part of the Kanchenjunga biosphere landscape

About Kanchenjunga Biosphere

  • Khangchendzonga Biosphere Reserve which is located in Sikkim is one of the highest ecosystems in the world, reaching elevations of 1, 220 metres above sea-level.
  • The biosphere has different altitudinal ecosystems, varying from sub-tropic to Arctic, as well as natural forests in different biomes, that support an immensely rich diversity of forest types and habitats. 
  • World’s third highest peak, Mt. Khangchendzonga, is situated within the Park. 
  • Numerous lakes and glaciers, including the 26 km long Zemu Glacier are a part of the Biosphere reserve.
  • Khangchendzonga National Park (KNP) was designated a World Heritage Site in 2016 under the ‘mixed’ category (Mixed heritage sites contain elements of both natural and cultural significance).
  • The Khangchendzonga Biosphere Reserve in Sikkim, surrounding the world’s third highest peak Mount Khangchendzonga, has been added to UNESCO’s World Network of Biosphere Reserves, making it the 11th biosphere in India to be included in the network.
  • Its location – bordering Nepal, Tibet (China) and in close proximity of Bhutan – offers unique opportunities for joint collaboration and conservation of biodiversity with neighbouring countries.
  • Increasing unregulated tourism, lack of awareness about the landscape and shortage of staff are some of the key challenges in maintaining the reserve’s sanctity.

Other Biosphere reserves of India

Year Name State Key fauna
1 1986 Nilgiri Biosphere Reserve Tamil Nadu, Kerala and Karnataka Nilgiri tahrtigerlion-tailed macaque
2 1988 Nanda Devi Biosphere Reserve Uttarakhand Snow leopard, Himalayan black bear
3 1989 Gulf of Mannar Tamil Nadu Dugong
4 1988 Nokrek Meghalaya Red panda
5 1989 Sundarbans West Bengal Royal Bengal tiger
6 1989 Manas Assam Asiatic elephant, tiger, Assam roofed turtle, hispid hare, golden langur, pygmy hog
7 1994 Simlipal Odisha Gaur, royal Bengal tiger, Asian elephant
8 1998 Dihang-Dibang Arunachal Pradesh Mishmi takin, musk deer
9 1999 Pachmarhi Biosphere Reserve Madhya Pradesh Giant squirrelflying squirrel
10 2005 Achanakmar-Amarkantak Biosphere Reserve Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh Four-horned antelope, Indian wild dog, sarus crane, white-rumped vulture, sacred grove bush frog
11 2008 Great Rann of Kutch Gujarat Indian wild ass
12 2009 Cold Desert Himachal Pradesh Snow leopard
13 2000 Khangchendzonga National Park Sikkim Snow leopard, red panda
14 2001 Agasthyamalai Biosphere Reserve Kerala, Tamil Nadu Nilgiri tahr, Asian elephant
15 1989 Great Nicobar Biosphere Reserve Andaman and Nicobar Islands Saltwater crocodile
16 1997 Dibru-Saikhowa Assam White-winged wood duck, water buffalo, black-breasted parrotbill, tiger, capped langur
17 2010 Seshachalam Hills Andhra Pradesh Slender loris
18 2011 Panna Madhya Pradesh

News source: TH


National Green Tribunal: All five Zones are equal

Part of: GS Prelims and GS III – Environment 

In news The Madras High Court disapproved 2017 Central notification, which termed the National Green Tribunal’s North Zone bench in Delhi as a principal bench. 

  • It added that if a procedure of transferring cases to Delhi is adopted, it will amount to denied access to justice. 
  • It observed that all five zonal benches of the NGT are equally powerful and their orders are applicable across India 
  • The zonal benches are Central zone – Bhopal, East zone – Kolkata, South Zone – Chennai, West Zone – Pune and North Zone – New Delhi

What is NGT?

  • It is a statutory body established in 2010, as per the National Green Tribunal Act. 
  • It is a specialised judicial body equipped with expertise solely for the purpose of adjudicating environmental cases in the country. 
  • The chairperson of the NGT is a retired judge of the Supreme Court 
  • It shall not be bound by the procedure laid down under the Code of Civil Procedure, 1908 but shall be guided by principles of natural justice. 
  • Tribunal’s orders are binding and it has power to grant relief in the form of compensation and damages to affected persons.

Related Article: NGT on Brahmaputra

News source: TH


Onion Export Ban Dispute at WTO

Part of: GS Prelims and GS – II -International relations

In news USA and Japan have dragged India to the World Trade Organisation over the frequent ban it imposes on onion Exports.

  • Both countries have alleged that the export Ban without prior notice create problems for importing countries. 
  • Also, onion growers in India demanded that the centre draft a comprehensive policy on the import and export of onion instead of taking Ad Hoc decisions. 

Need for a comprehensive policy on onion 

  • To curb demand supply mismatch in the domestic market to aid exports 
  • Onion growers have suffered heavy losses due to the erratic ban on onion exports 
  • Ban on onion exports is becoming irritant in the bilateral trade relationship with countries like Bangladesh 
  • Pakistan has started competing with Indian onions share in the Gulf market in the last couple of years 

Do You Know?

  • India is second largest onion producing country after China
  • In FY21, India exported $378 million worth of onions, 15% higher than the previous year 
  • The top exporting destinations were Bangladesh Malaysia, UAE and Sri Lanka

Indian Government initiatives for onion exports

  • Merchandise export incentive scheme to promote exports during surplus onion harvest
  • Operation Greens to maintain the supply – demand match and price fluctuation of onion 
  • Also, low cost onion storage structures are built with 50% subsidy to farmers under the mission integrated development of horticulture (MIDH)

News source: TH Businessline


Miscellaneous

Lemru Elephant Reserve

  • It is a proposed Elephant Reserve in Chhattisgarh.
  • Lemru is one of two elephant reserves planned to prevent human-animal conflict in the region, with elephants moving into Chhattisgarh from Odisha and Jharkhand.
  • The area proposed under the reserve is part of the Hasdeo Aranya forests, a very diverse biozone that is also rich in coal deposits. 

Do You Know?

  • Badalkhol Tamorpingla, the other elephant reserve measuring 1048.30 sq km, was notified in September 2011. 
  • Tamorpingla wildlife sanctuary exists in the state but no work on the elephant reserve has begun. 
  • Chhattisgarh has two national parks, three tiger reserves, eight sanctuaries, and one biosphere reserve covering 11,310.977 sq km, which is 8.36% of its geographical area and 18.92% of its total forest area.

(Mains Focus)


FEDERALISM/ GOVERNANCE

Topic:

  • GS-2: Issues relating to development and management of Water
  • GS-2: Issues and challenges pertaining to the federal structure

Mekedatu Dam Project

Context: On July 6, Karnataka Chief Minister said in Bengaluru that his government would go ahead with the long-pending Mekedatu dam project.

  • The Mekedatu multi-purpose project involves building a balancing reservoir across the Cauvery River near Kanakapura in Ramanagaram district.
  • It envisages supplying drinking water to Bengaluru and Ramanagaram districts, besides generation of power.

What do the Cauvery Water Disputes Tribunal and the Supreme Court say?

  • The Cauvery Water Disputes Tribunal, in its final order on February 2007, made allocations to all the riparian States — Karnataka, Kerala and Tamil Nadu, apart from the Union Territory of Puducherry. 
  • It also stipulated “tentative monthly deliveries during a normal year” to be made available by Karnataka to Tamil Nadu.
  • Aggrieved over the final order for different reasons, the States had appealed to the Supreme Court. In February 2018, the court, in its judgment, revised the water allocation and increased the share of Karnataka by 14.75 thousand million cubic feet (tmc ft) at the cost of Tamil Nadu.
  • The enhanced quantum comprised 4.75 tmc ft for meeting drinking water and domestic requirements of Bengaluru and surrounding areas.

What is Karnataka planning?

  • Encouraged by the Supreme Court verdict, Karnataka, which sees the order as an endorsement of its stand, has set out to pursue the Mekedatu project.
  • Originally proposed as a hydropower project, the revised Mekedatu dam project has more than one purpose to serve. 
  • Estimated to cost ₹9,000 crore, the project envisages the construction of a reservoir of 67.16-tmc ft capacity, which will come up about 4 km away from the Karnataka-Tamil Nadu border.
  •  A hydropower plant of nearly 400 MW has also been proposed.
  • The Karnataka government has argued that the proposed reservoir will regulate the flow to Tamil Nadu on a monthly basis, as stipulated by the Tribunal and the Supreme Court.  Karnataka contends that the project will not affect the interests of Tamil Nadu farmers.

Why is Tamil Nadu opposed to it?

  • Tamil Nadu feels that Karnataka, as the upper riparian State has adequate infrastructure even now to address the water needs of Bengaluru, there is no need for the Mekedatu project.
  • The Mekedatu project also does not find mention in the Tribunal’s final order or the Supreme Court judgment. 
  • Besides, given the unpleasant experiences that it has had with Karnataka in securing its share of the Cauvery water over the years, Tamil Nadu is wary of the assurances of the other side.

What happens next?

  • Tamil Nadu’s petitions against the project are pending with the Supreme Court. 
  • The project is yet to get environmental clearance from the Centre. 
  • A way out can be found if the two parties agree to the idea of a joint execution, operation and maintenance of the project or a third party’s participation

Connecting the dots:


INTERNATIONAL/ GOVERNANCE/ ENVIRONMENT

Topic:

  • GS-2: Effect of policies and politics of developed and developing countries on India 
  • GS-2: Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues arising out of their design and implementation
  • GS-3: Environmental Conservation

Right to Repair

Context:  In recent years, countries around the world have been attempting to pass effective ‘right to repair’ laws. 

What is right to repair movement?

  • When electronic appliances become old or face issues, consumers are left at the mercy of manufacturers who make repairs inaccessible for most, by dictating who can fix your device and making it an inordinately expensive affair.
    • The tech giant has long been criticised for allowing repairs of its devices only by authorised technicians and not providing spare parts or manuals on how to fix its products
  • Also, Corporates are promoting the culture ‘planned obsolescence’ — which means that devices are designed specifically to last a limited amount of time and to be replaced
  • In this backdrop, activists and organisations around the world have been advocating for the right of consumers to be able to repair their own electronics and other products as part of the ‘right to repair’ movement. 
  • The movement traces its roots back to the very dawn of the computer era in the 1950s.
  • The goal of the movement is to get companies to make spare parts, tools and information on how to repair devices available to customers and repair shops to increase the lifespan of products and to keep them from ending up in landfills.
  • The Right to Repair electronics refers to government legislation that is intended to allow consumers the ability to repair and modify their own consumer electronic devices, where otherwise the manufacturer of such devices require the consumer to use only their offered services.

Benefits of Right to Repair

  • Avoids wastage of resources: Without Right to Repair, there will be wastage of natural resources causing immense pressure on the environment. It will help reduce the vast mountain of electrical waste (e-waste) that piles up each year on the continent.
  • Boosts Local Economy: Right to repair advocates also argue that this will help boost business for small repair shops, which are an important part of local economies.
  • Reduces Prices of Repair: If a manufacturer has monopoly on repairs, then prices rise exponentially and quality tends to drop. Repair manual in the market will bring down the cost of offering such a service.
  • Circular Economy: It will contribute to circular economy objectives by improving the life span, maintenance, re-use, upgrade, recyclability and waste handling of appliances.
  • Durable devices:  Some believe manufacturers of electronic devices may even start making their products more durable and long lasting.

But why do electronic manufacturers oppose this movement?

Large tech companies, including Apple, Microsoft, Amazon and Tesla, have been lobbying against the right to repair. 

  • Misuse & compromise on safety: Their argument is that opening up their intellectual property to third party repair services or amateur repairers could lead to exploitation and impact the safety and security of their devices.
  • Tesla, for instance, has fought against right to repair advocacy, stating that such initiatives threaten data security and cyber security.
  • These companies are constantly claiming that they are working towards greater durability themselves, hence there is no need of such legislations.

Do You Know?

  • Earlier this month, the UK government introduced right-to-repair rules with the aim of extending the lifespan of products by up to 10 years. 
  • Manufacturers of products like washing machines, TVs and refrigerators are required to make spare parts available to people purchasing electrical appliances. 
  • The new legislation gives manufacturers a two-year window to make the necessary changes to abide by the new legislation.
  • However, it does not cover all electrical appliances. It includes dishwashers, washing machines, refrigeration appliances and televisions. Smartphones and laptops, however, have been excluded.

Connecting the dots:


 (TEST YOUR KNOWLEDGE)


Model questions: (You can now post your answers in comment section)

Note:

  • Correct answers of today’s questions will be provided in next day’s DNA section. Kindly refer to it and update your answers.
  • Comments Up-voted by IASbaba are also the “correct answers”.

Q.1 Jal Jeevan Mission comes under which of the following Ministry? 

  1. Ministry of Environment
  2. Ministry of Urban Affairs
  3. Ministry of rural development
  4. Ministry of Jal Shakti

Q.2 Consider the following statements regarding Biofuels:

  1. Biodiesel is an example of first generation biofuel.
  2. Fourth generation biofuels are produced from microorganisms such as algae.

Select the correct statements

  1. 1 Only
  2. 2 Only
  3. Both 1 and 2
  4. Neither 1 nor 2

Q.3 Which of the following was the first Biosphere Reserve to be recognised ?

  1. Dibru-Saikhowa
  2. Nokrek
  3. Nilgiri
  4. Kutch

ANSWERS FOR 10th July 2021 TEST YOUR KNOWLEDGE (TYK)

1 A
2 C
3 D

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