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DAILY CURRENT AFFAIRS IAS | UPSC Prelims and Mains Exam – 27th July 2021

  • IASbaba
  • July 27, 2021
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(PRELIMS + MAINS FOCUS)


National Institutes of Food Technology, Entrepreneurship and Management Bill, 2021

Part of: GS Prelims and GS – II – Education

In news Parliament has passed the National Institutes of Food Technology, Entrepreneurship and Management Bill, 2021. 

  • The Bill has been passed in both the houses and will become act once the President gives his assent to it.
  • Through the bill, the two educational institutes, under the Ministry of Food Processing Industries became Institutions of National Importance (INI).
    • National Institute of Food Technology Entrepreneurship and Management (NIFTEM), Kundali (Haryana) 
    • Indian Institute of Food Processing Technology(IIFPT), Thanjabur (Tamil Nadu) 
  • The bill will provide these Institutes Greater Autonomy, so that they can start new and innovative courses, as well as help them to attract excellent faculty and students. Global standards can also be adopted in academic and research work.

What is the Meaning of Institute of National Importance?

  • The Central Government grants the status of ‘Institute of National Importance’ to premier higher educational institutions in India through an act of the Parliament.
  • According to the Ministry of Education, an institute of national importance is an institute that “serves as a pivotal player in developing highly skilled personnel within the specified region of the country/state”.
  • Such institutes get special funding and recognition from the Government of India.
  • The first reference to ‘institute of national importance’ is given in the Constitution of India, Seventh Schedule.
  • They are largely supervised and funded by the Government of India through the Education Ministry (formerly the Ministry of Human Resources Development).
  • Currently, there are 130 institutions with the INI tag.
  • Some of the benefits that INIs enjoy are listed below:
    • Functional autonomy to enhance efficiency, quality and accountability.
    • Increased funding.
    • Have a better quality of education imparted, and improved research facilities.
    • Faster decision-making capabilities.
    • Minimal interference from the political executive.
    • Such institutions might be able to provide more scholarships to the students.
    • They can also provide more sports facilities, seminars, etc.

News Source: PIB


Kandla becomes first Green SEZ

Part of: GS Prelims and GS – III – Economy

In news Kandla, Gujarat has become the first Green SEZ.

  • It has Achieved CII’s IGBC ( Indian Green Building Council) Green Cities Platinum Rating.

What is Indian Green Building Council?

  • The Indian Green Building Council (IGBC), part of the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) was formed in the year 2001. 
  • Vision: “To enable a sustainable built environment for all and facilitate India to be one of the global leaders in the sustainable built environment by 2025”.
  • The council offers a wide array of services such as developing new green building rating programmes, certification services and green building training programmes.
  • The council also organises Green Building Congress, its annual flagship event on green buildings.
  • The council is committee-based, member-driven and consensus-focused. 
  • All the stakeholders of the construction industry participate in the council activities through local chapters. 
  • The council also closely works with several State Governments, Central Government, World Green Building Council, bilateral multi-lateral agencies in promoting green building concepts in the country.

India to explore Indigenous Deposits of Phosphatic rock

Part of: GS Prelims and GS – III – Economy

Key Takeaways 

  • Currently we are dependent on other countries for raw materials to produce DAP (Di-ammonium Phosphate) and (Single superphosphate) SSP primarily. 
  • India needs to reduce its dependencies on imports.
  • In order to achieve that goal, India shall explore indigenous deposits of Phosphatic rock and Potash and make it available to indigenous industries.
  • Rock Phosphate is the key raw material for DAP and NPK fertilizers. 
  • Currently, India is 90% dependent on imports for this raw material. 
  • Volatility in international prices affects domestic prices of fertilizers. 
  • Import dependence also hinders the progress and development of the agriculture sector in the country and puts extra pressure on our farmers.

News Source: PIB


First-of-its-kind “Centre of Excellence” in the Northeast

Part of: GS Prelims and GS – II – Policies and interventions

In news The Ministry of Science & Technology is to set up a first-of-its-kind “Centre of Excellence” in the Northeast.

  • The project for establishing “Centre for Bio-Resources and Sustainable Development as a Centre of Excellence” was sanctioned by the Department of Biotechnology and is complete for formal inauguration shortly. 
  • It is located in Arunachal Pradesh 

About Centre of Excellence in North East

  • With the setting up of the Bio-Resource Centre by the Department of Biotechnology Ministry of Science & Technology, the entire North Eastern Region will be able to use its fruit and organic food potential to the maximum extent. 
  • Besides, this will also help in exploring many vast areas and to find hitherto lesser known or unknown new species including diverse habitats and diverse flora. 
  • This will have a bearing on improving the cultural, social and economic status of the people of the entire North Eastern Region.
  • The central government has also called for utilising latest technology for infrastructural development and value addition to the ongoing projects. The proposed Centre of Excellence is aimed to address this objective.
  • Besides, many projects have been undertaken recently through optimum utilisation of technologies, including the Space Technology and Satellite Imaging.
  • There is also in place a mechanism to speed up the process of sanctioning projects through e-Office and other electronic means.

News Source: PIB


Steel Scrap Recycling Policy

Part of: GS Prelims and GS-III – Industries

In news The Steel Scrap Recycling Policy provides a framework to facilitate and promote establishment of metal scrapping centers in India for scientific processing & recycling of ferrous scrap generated from various sources. 

What are the features of the Policy?

  • The policy framework provides standard guidelines for collection, dismantling and shredding activities in an organized, safe and environmentally sound manner. 
  • It enumerates responsibilities for setting up collection, dismantling centre and scrap processing centre, and the roles of aggregators and responsibilities of the Government, manufacturer and owner. 
  • It does not envisage setting up of scrap centres by the Government. 
  • The role of Government is to be an enabler and provide a framework to facilitate the eco-system of metal scrapping in the country. 
  • The decision to set up scrap centres is of entrepreneurs based on commercial considerations. 
  • The Scrapping Centres are approved and monitored by the authorized agencies of the State/Union Territory Governments. 
  • The Policy does not envisage any additional monitoring mechanism thereby ensuring that there is no additional compliance burden.

News Source: PIB


G20 Energy and Climate Meet

Part of: GS Prelims and GS -III – Climate change

In news At the recent G20 Climate Meet, India urged the group having per capita greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions above the global average to bring it down to the world average, thereby vacating ‘some’ carbon space for developing nations.

  • This will support the developmental aspirations of the developing nations.
  • Presently, Italy holds the G20 Presidency and the Climate Meet is being seen as a prelude to the UN Climate Change COP 26 meeting in Glasgow, Scotland in November 2021.

What is India’s Stand?

  • There is a need to cut absolute emissions rapidly while taking into account the Paris Agreement which emphasized on Respective historical responsibilities, Delivery of promised climate finance and technologies at low cost keeping in perspective per capita emissions, etc.
  • India noted the pledges made by some countries to achieve Net Zero GHG emissions (Carbon Neutrality) by or around 2050 which may not be adequate to prevent fast depleting available carbon space.
  • It stressed on Common but Differentiated Responsibilities (CBDR) to combat climate change.
  • Mentioned its plans of implementing various initiatives under Urban Climate Action.

What are India’s initiatives under Urban Climate Action?

  • Climate Smart Cities Assessment Framework (CSCAF): It intends to inculcate a climate-sensitive approach to urban planning and development in India.
  • National Mission on Sustainable Habitat is one of the eight missions under national climate change action plan and aims to make cities sustainable through improvements in energy efficiency in buildings, management of solid waste & shift to public transport.
  • Climate Practitioners India Network (CPIN): It is first-of-its-kind network developed by Climate Centre for Cities (C-Cube) to support Cities and Practitioners across India.
  • Urban Forestry: The government of India in 2020 launched the Nagar Van Scheme. The Nagar Van (Urban Forests) aims to develop 200 Urban Forests across the country in the next five years.

Do you know?

  • Carbon neutrality: A balance between emitting carbon and absorbing carbon from the atmosphere in carbon sinks.
  • Carbon space: The amount of CO2 that can be put into the atmosphere without this leading to a level of warming that can be considered dangerous or otherwise undesirable.

News Source: TH


Gross Environment Product (GEP)

Part of: GS Prelims and GS III – Environment

In news Recently, the Uttarakhand government has announced that it will initiate valuation of its natural resources in the form of ‘Gross Environment Product’ (GEP).

  • It is along the lines of GDP

What is GEP?

  • It was established back in 1997 by ecological economists like Robert Costanza at the global level.
  • It is an assessment system to measure ecological status.
  • It is considered as the product and service value that the ecosystem provides for human welfare and economic and social sustainable development, including provisioning, regulating and cultural ecosystem services.
  • Overall, GEP accounts for the economic value of the ecosystem in providing products and services, and it is one of the components of green GDP.
    • Green GDP is an indicator of economic growth with environmental factors taken into consideration. It factors biodiversity losses and costs attributed to climate change.
  • Ecosystems that can be measured include natural ecosystems such as forests, grassland, wetland, desert, freshwater and ocean, and artificial systems 

What is the need for Uttarakhand for such an initiative?

  • The state has over 71% area under forests.
  • Uttarakhand, through its biodiversity, gives services to the tune of Rs 95,112 crore per year to the nation.
  • It is also home to the Himalayas and also is the origin point of rivers like Ganga, Yamuna and Sharada as well as home to wildlife reserves like Corbett and Rajaji Tiger Reserves.
  • Uttarakhand is a state which provides a lot of environment services and in continuity as a result of which, there is a natural degradation in those services.

News Source: DTE


Essential Defence Services Bill

Part of: GS Prelims and GS III – Defence and Security

In news The Essential Defence Services Bill was recently introduced by the Parliament.

  • It is aimed at preventing the staff of the government-owned ordnance factories from going on a strike. 

What are the Highlights of the Bill?

  • It is meant to “provide for the maintenance of essential defence services so as to secure the security of nation and the life and property of public at large and for matters connected therewith or incidental thereto”.
  • The Bill empowers the government to declare services mentioned in it as essential defence services.
  • It also prohibits strike and lockouts in “any industrial establishment or unit engaged in essential defence services” 

What are the latest changes?

  • The Ordnance Factory Board was directly under the Department of Defence Production and worked as an arm of the government. But, in June 2021 the government announced its corporatisation.
  • As per this plan, 41 factories ammunition and other equipment to the armed forces will become part of seven government owned corporate entities.
  • The government has claimed that the move is aimed at improving the efficiency and accountability of these factories.
  • However, following this, many federations announced the launch of indefinite strikes.
  • This was countered by the Essential Defence Services Ordinance which was promulgated on June 30, 2021. 

Who will it affect?

  • It has a direct bearing on around 70,000 employees of the 41 ordnance factories around the country, who are unhappy with the corporatisation of OFB, fearing that it will impact their service and retirement conditions. 

What is the need? 

  • The ordnance factories form an integrated base for indigenous production of defence hardware and equipment, with the primary objective of self-reliance in equipping the armed forces with state of the art battlefield equipment.
  • Therefore, there is a need to provide for the maintenance of essential defence services so as to secure the security of nation and the life and property of public at large and for matters connected therewith or incidental thereto.

News Source: IE


(Mains Focus)


DISASTER MANAGEMENT/ ENVIRONMENT/

Topic:

  • GS-3: Disaster and disaster management. 
  • GS-2: Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues arising out of their design and implementation.

Wounded mountains: on Himachal landslide tragedy

In news China’sRecent tragic death of nine tourists in a landslip in Kinnaur district of Himachal Pradesh.

Reason: Extraordinarily heavy rains in the State recently, left the hill slopes unstable and causing floods in built-up areas

Do You Know?

  • The parliamentary Standing Committee on Energy during 2018-19 noted that the Himachal Pradesh State could more than double its existing harnessed hydropower potential of 10,547 MW. 
  • Uttarakhand too has seen its share of natural disasters this year, starting with the massive flash flood in Chamoli in February that killed more than 80 people.

Issues

  • Himalayan landscape is susceptible to landslides. Formed due to the collision of Indian and Eurasian plates, the northward movement of the former puts continuous stress on the rocks, rendering them weak and prone to landslides and earthquakes (high seismicity region). This, combined with steep slopes, rugged topography, high seismic vulnerability, and rainfall, make a deadly cocktail. 
  • Reckless exploitation of resources: Big hydroelectric projects (source of green power) and large-scale construction activity involving destruction of forests and damming of rivers in this region alter several aspects of ecology rendering the region vulnerable to the effects of extreme events such as cloudbursts, flash floods, landslides and earthquakes. 
  • Bitter Reality: Himalayan States may be entering a phase of irreversible decline because of losses to their ecology and frequent disasters may become inevitable.
  • Administration Neglect: Relaxation of COVID protocols led to restarting of Tourist activities in Himachal Pradesh State. Unfortunately, there was not enough vigil against travel to risky areas

Way Ahead

  • The mishap shows the fragility of the ecology of the Himalayan States. 
  • Governments cannot continue to disregard for the fragile topography and climate-sensitive planning
  • is important to have early warning and better weather forecast systems, and a trans-boundary coalition of Himalayan countries to share and disseminate knowledge about the mountains. 
  • Also, it is critical to review the area’s present status and draw up a sustainable plan that respects the specific requirements of this fragile region and the impact of the climate crisis.

Connecting the dots:


FEDERALISM/ POLITY

Topic:

  • GS-2: Functions and responsibilities of the Union and the States, issues and challenges pertaining to the federal structure.

Assam-Mizoram border dispute

Context: Recently, at least five Assam Police personnel were killed after the old boundary dispute between Assam and Mizoram exploded in violent clashes at a contested border point.

  • In October last year, residents of Assam and Mizoram had clashed twice in the space of a week over territory, in which at least eight people were injured.
  • The violence spotlights the long-standing inter-state boundary issues in the Northeast, particularly between Assam and the states that were carved out of it.

What is the genesis of Assam-Mizoram boundary dispute?

  • The boundary between present-day Assam and Mizoram, 165 km long today, dates back to the colonial era, when Mizoram was known as Lushai Hills, a district of Assam.
  • The dispute stems from a notification of 1875 that differentiated the Lushai Hills from the plains of Cachar, and another of 1933, that demarcates a boundary between the Lushai Hills and Manipur.
  • Mizoram believes the boundary should be demarcated on the basis of the 1875 notification, which is derived from the Bengal Eastern Frontier Regulation (BEFR) Act, 1873.
  • Mizo leaders have argued in the past against the demarcation notified in 1933 because Mizo society was not consulted. 
  •  Assam government follows the 1933 demarcation, and that was the point of conflict.
  • According to an agreement between Mizoram and Assam, status quo was to be maintained in the no man’s land in the border area.

Recent Clashes

  • In February 2018, there was violence when students’ union MZP (Mizo Zirlai Pawl) built a wooden rest house for farmers on land that was claimed by Assam and which was demolished by Assam Police.
  • Again, in October 2020, clashes erupted twice in a week over construction of huts in Lailapur (Assam) on land claimed by Mizoram.

Are there other boundary issues in the northeast?

Assam has had boundary problems with all its north-eastern neighbours, except Manipur and Tripura that had existed as separate entities. 

  • State Reorganisation Post Independence: The primary reason is that the other States, which were all part of Assam during the British rule, have contested the boundaries since they separated from Assam and became full-fledged States over a period of time (Nagaland Statehood in 1963; Meghalaya, Tripura & Manipur Statehood in 1971; Arunachal Pradesh & Mizoram Statehood in 1987)
  • Constitutional Solution Vs Historical grounds: Assam has accepted several recommendations of border commissions set up by the Supreme Court, but other States have been sticking to “historical boundaries” that go back to the period before 1826, when the British annexed undivided Assam and included the hills as its provinces. 
  • Issue of Nagaland: The Nagaland government has been insisting that a 16-point agreement of 1960, which led to the creation of Nagaland, also included “restoration” of all Naga territories that had been transferred out of the Naga Hills after the British annexed Assam in 1826.
  • Issue of Meghalaya: Meghalaya has challenged the Assam Reorganisation Act of 1971, claiming that two blocks in Assam’s Karbi Anglong district belonged to the erstwhile United Khasi and Jaintia Hills created in 1835. 
  • Assam’s point of view: Assam says its neighbours have encroached upon more than 75,000 hectares of land. Revenue records of the Assam government say Nagaland has encroached upon 19,819.62 hectares, Arunachal Pradesh 5,756.02 hectares and Meghalaya 65.62 hectares since 2001.

Way Forward

  • Burden borne by common man: The border residents will continue to bear the brunt of the unrest unless an acceptable solution is arrived at.
  • Joint patrolling by police personnel of both the States with Central forces along the inter-State border. 
  • Maintaining Peace & Order: Apart from drawing up the standard operating procedure for guarding the contentious boundary, state governments need to strengthen coordination between the Superintendents of Police of the border districts for prompt action against criminals and anti-social activities that add to the border tension.

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.

Q.1 The first-of-its-kind ‘Centre for Bio-Resources and Sustainable Development as a Centre of Excellence’ is located in which of the following state of Northeast India?

  1. Assam
  2. Arunachal Pradesh 
  3. Mizoram
  4. Manipur

Q.2 Consider the following statements about Institutions of National Importance (INI):

  1. Such institutes get special funding and recognition from the Government of India.
  2. The first reference to ‘institute of national importance’ is given in the Constitution of India, Seventh Schedule.

Select the correct statements

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

Q.3 Where is Rajaji Tiger Reserves located?

  1. Ladakh
  2. Sikkim
  3. Uttarakhand 
  4. Gujarat 

ANSWERS FOR 26th July 2021 TEST YOUR KNOWLEDGE (TYK)

1 D
2 C
3 C

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