(PRELIMS + MAINS FOCUS)
Part of: Prelims and GS III – Climate change
Context India has officially endorsed a website, Climate Equity Monitor, made by Indian climate experts.
- The website lists the historical carbon dioxide emissions of developed countries.
- The website was conceptualised and developed by the Climate Change Group at the M.S. Swaminathan Research Foundation, Chennai, and the Natural Sciences and Engineering Department at the National Institute of Advanced Studies, Bengaluru, with other independent researchers.
- It is aimed at monitoring the performance of Annex-I Parties under the UNFCCC (developed countries) based on the “foundational principles” of the Climate Convention.
- It aims to highlight the disparity between the emissions of developed and developing countries.
- Countries such as the USA, Canada and Australia and those in Western Europe are shown as having a net carbon debt while developing countries such as India and China have net credit.
- It highlights that it is only fair that developed countries must commit to steeper targets towards curbing emissions than developing countries.
- Its focus on equity & climate action from a data and evidence-based perspective will encourage vigorous discussion on the crucial issue and engage experts from all nations.
- The website shall debunk the narrative provided by many developed countries, and global NGOs that focus attention continually on what developing countries must do, constantly demanding greater commitment and action from them.
Status of India as Carbon emitter
- India is the third largest emitter of carbon emissions annually but the sixth largest when historical emissions are considered.
- When accounting for the size of its population it is among the lowest per capita emitters.
- This underlines India’s demands for climate justice being at the heart of negotiations at COP26 and its reluctance to agree to a fixed time frame.
Part of: Prelims and GS-III – Defence and security
Context The first ship of the four Project-15B state-of-the-art stealth guided missile destroyers, Visakhapatnam, being built at the Mazgaon Docks Limited (MDL), was delivered to the Navy recently.
- The four ships are named after major cities from all four corners of the country — Visakhapatnam, Mormugao, Imphal and Surat.
- The 163-metre-long warship has a full load displacement of 7,400 tonnes and a maximum speed of 30 knots.
- It has approximately 75% indigenous content .
- These ships are equipped with BrahMos supersonic cruise missiles and long-range Surface-to-Air missiles (SAM).
- The induction would enhance the maritime prowess in the Indian Ocean Region.
- Certain enhanced stealth features of the ships make them difficult to detect
- These ships are propelled by four gas turbines in Combined Gas and Gas (COGAG) configuration
About BrahMos supersonic cruise missiles
- Carried out by: Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) from Balasore in Odisha.
- BrahMos surface-to-surface supersonic cruise missile features indigenous Booster and Airframe Section along with many other ‘Made in India’ sub-systems.
- The BrahMos Land-Attack Cruise Missile was cruising at a top speed of Mach 2.8.
Part of: Prelims and GS III – Economy
Context According to the SBI in a research report, there has been a greater shift towards formalisation of the economy.
- The share of the informal sector in overall economic activity has reduced sharply in 2020-21 even as informal workers continue to bear the brunt of the pandemic’s adverse effects.
- The informal sector consists of “own-account” or unorganised enterprises employing hired workers, with the highest share of such unorganised activity being in agriculture where holdings are small and fragmented.
- The share of the informal economy may have shrunk to about 20% of the economic output from about 52% in 2017-18.
- It has been termed as positive development amid the pandemic.
- Besides, an IMF policy paper earlier this year estimated that the share of India’s informal economy in the Gross Value Added (GVA) was at 53.9% in 2011-12 and improved only marginally to 52.4% in 2017-18.
- As per a National Sample Survey (NSS) of 2014, around 93% of the workforce earned their livelihoods as informal workers.
Part of: Prelims and GS III – Conservation; Biodiversity
Context The census of one of the world’s most threatened cetaceans, the Indus river dolphin ( Platanista gangetica minor ) — is all set to commence as part of the Centre’s pan-India project.
- Punjab’s wildlife preservation wing shall also protect the dolphins and their natural habitat.
- The project is to be implemented over five years.
- Engage the community: Alongside research, importance will be on engaging the riparian (relating to wetlands adjacent to rivers and streams) communities by encouraging community-led biological monitoring.
- Model villages: Villages around the hot spot sites of dolphin occurrence will be developed as models for community-led conservation.
- ‘Beas-Dolphin Mitras: Extension programmes will be held to develop a group of dedicated individuals, called ‘Beas-Dolphin Mitras’ of the river Beas.
- Dolphin eco tourism: The project also will embark on dolphin eco tourism.
- Adopting participatory process: Participatory process shall be adopted to address various water conservation-related issues, including protection of freshwater habitats and species
About Indus dolphin
- It is a freshwater dolphin
- IUCN status: Endangered
- Until recently, it was believed that these dolphins were endemic to Pakistan.
- But in 2007, a remnant but viable population of Indus dolphins was discovered in Punjab’s Harike wildlife sanctuary and in the lower Beas river.
- Since its discovery, research is being done by Punjab’s Department of Forests and Wildlife Preservation in partnership with WWF-India providing an understanding of current distribution, habitat use and population abundance.
- Indus river dolphin was declared the State aquatic animal of Punjab in 2019.
Part of: Prelims and GS-III – Environment
Context As per UNESCO’s assessment on World Heritage forests, India’s Sundarbans National Park is among five sites that have the highest blue carbon stocks globally.
Key findings of the new study
- It is the first ever scientific assessment of the amounts of greenhouse gases emitted from and absorbed by forests in UNESCO World Heritage sites during 2001 and 2020.
- The assessment involved the researchers from UNESCO, World Resources Institute (WRI) and the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN).
- As a whole, UNESCO World Heritage forests in 257 separate sites, absorbed the equivalent of approximately 190 million tons of CO2 from the atmosphere each year.
- However, ten forests released more carbon than they sequestered due to pressure from human activity and climate change, which is alarming.
- They also store substantial amounts of carbon.
- The study described blue carbon as organic carbon that is mainly obtained from decaying plant leaves, wood, roots and animals and is captured and stored by coastal and marine ecosystems.
Factors responsible for this emission
- According to UNESCO’s findings, at some sites the clearance of land for agriculture caused emissions to be greater than sequestration.
- The increasing scale and severity of wildfires, often linked to severe periods of drought, was also a predominant factor in several cases.
- Other extreme weather phenomena, such as hurricanes contributed at certain sites.
World Heritage forests
- As of today, more than 200 World Heritage sites harbor unique forest ecosystems.
- World Heritage forests, whose combined area of 69 million hectares is roughly twice the size of Germany, are biodiversity-rich ecosystems.
(News from PIB)
- Under Dairy Sahakar, financial support will be extended by NCDC to eligible cooperatives for activities such as bovine development, milk procurement, processing, quality assurance, value addition, branding, packaging, marketing, transportation and storage of milk and milk products, exports of dairy products within the overall objectives of “Doubling the farmers income” and “Atmanirbhar Bharat.
- There will also be a convergence with various schemes of Government of India and / or of State Government/UT Administration/ Development agencies/ bilateral/multilateral assistance/ CSR mechanism is encouraged
Part of: Prelims and Mains GS-III: Climate Change
An online dashboard for assessing, at the international level, equity in climate action, inequalities in emissions, energy and resource consumption across the world, goes LIVE.
- Its focus on equity and climate action from a data and evidence-based perspective will encourage a vigorous discussion on this crucial issue and engage experts from all countries.
- The equitable sharing of the global carbon budget is the fundamental equity principle that will underpin the assessments that will progressively appear on the website.
- Aimed at monitoring the performance of Annex-I Parties under the UNFCCC (developed countries) based on the foundational principles of the Climate Convention, namely equity and the principle of common but differentiated responsibilities and respective capabilities (CBDR-RC). The performance and policies of the Non Annex-I Parties (developing countries) will be also provided for comparison.
- The website is expected to be a valuable tool for policy makers, public institutions, researchers, academics, students, and the general public from developing countries to keep equity and climate justice considerations clearly in view in their perspective.
News Source: PIB
Part of: Mains GS-II: India’s relationship with Italy
- Acknowledged significant progress in bilateral relations since the adoption of the Action Plan for an enhanced Partnership between India and Italy (2020 –2024)
- Expressed their resolve to strengthen cooperation in the strategic sectors addressed by the Action Plan, including the cross-cutting issue of accelerating the clean energy transition to fight climate change, central to both the G20 Leaders Summit in Rome and the COP26 in Glasgow
- Both sides agreed on the utmost importance of cost effective integration of a growing amount of renewable energy into their respective power systems, as a key asset for an effective clean transition that generates jobs, GDP growth, reinforces universal energy access while eradicating energy poverty.
In order to promote their partnership in energy transition, Italy and India will:
- Task the “Joint Working Group” established by the Memorandum of Understanding on Cooperation in the field of Energy, to explore cooperation in areas such as: Smart Cities; mobility; smart-grids, electricity distribution and storage solutions; gas transportation and promoting natural gas as a bridge fuel; integrated waste management (“waste-to-wealth”); and green energies (green hydrogen; CNG & LNG; bio-methane; bio-refinery; second-generation bio-ethanol; castor oil; bio-oil –waste to fuel).
- Initiate a dialogue to support the development and deployment of green hydrogen and related technologies in India.
- Consider working together to support a large size green corridor project in India to capitalize on India’s target to produce and integrate 450 GW of renewable energy by 2030.
- Encourage Italian and Indian companies to develop joint projects in natural gas sector, technological innovation for decarbonisation, Smart Cities and other specific domains (i.e.: electrification of urban public transport).
- Encourage joint investments of Indian and Italian companies in energy transition-related fields.
- Share useful information and experiences especially in the field of policy and regulatory framework, including possible means to facilitate the transition to cleaner and commercially viable fuels/technologies, long-term grid planning, incentivizing schemes for renewables and efficiency measures, as well as with regard to financial instruments for accelerating clean energy transition.
News Source: PIB
Part of: Prelims and Mains GS-III: Energy
Context: Amidst the growing energy needs and changing global climate landscape, the Government has identified new areas to achieve higher levels of penetration of Renewable energy by proposing certain Amendments to Energy Conservation Act, 2001.
Objective: Enhance demand for renewable energy at the end- use sectors such as Industry, buildings, transport etc.
The proposal includes
- Defining minimum share of renewable energy in the overall consumption by the industrial units or any establishment.
- There will be provision to incentivise efforts on using clean energy sources by means of carbon saving certificate.
The proposed amendments would facilitate development of Carbon market in India and prescribe minimum consumption of renewable energy either as direct consumption or indirect use through grid. This will help in reduction of fossil fuel based energy consumption and carbon emission to the atmosphere.
- India stands at the forefront of addressing the climate change and has committed to an ambitious Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) of reducing emission intensity by 33-35% in 2030 against the levels of 2005.
- India is committed to achieve more than 40 percent cumulative electric power installed capacity from non-fossil-fuel energy resources by 2030.
- By adopting energy efficiency measures, India holds a potential to reduce about 550 MtCO2 by 2030.
- The proposed changes to the EC Act will boost the adoption of clean technologies in various sectors of economy. The provisions would facilitate promotion of green Hydrogen as an alternate to the existing fossil fuels used by the Industries.
- The additional incentives in the form of Carbon credits against deployment of clean technologies will result in private sector involvement in climate actions.
- The proposal also includes expanding the scope of Act to include larger Residential buildings, with an aim to promote Sustainable Habitat.
News Source: PIB
Part of: Prelims and Maing GS-II: Issues relating to development and management of Social Sector/Services
In News: The National Commission for Women (NCW), along with National Legal Services Authority (NALSA) has launched a pan-India Legal Awareness Program for Women, “Empowerment of Women through Legal Awareness” to impart practical knowledge about legal rights and remedies provided under various women related laws, thereby making them fit to face the challenges in real life situations.
- Aims to cover all the States and Union Territories across the country through regular sessions to make women aware of the various machineries of the justice delivery system available for redressal of their grievances.
- The project will sensitize women and girls about their rights as provided under the various laws including the Indian Penal Code. The project will also make them aware of the procedure of approaching and utilizing various channels available for the redressal of grievances, i.e., the Police, the Executive and the Judiciary.
News Source: PIB
Indology: The academic study of the history and cultures, languages, and literature of India and as such is a subset of Asian studies.
Rashtriya Ekta Divas- National Unity Day: October 31; to pay tributes to veteran freedom fighter Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel, who was also the country’s first home minister whose contribution in convincing many of the princely states to join the Union of India after Independence remains especially notable.
- GS-2: Issues and challenges pertaining to the federal structure
Context: Recently, Supreme Court considered a public interest litigation petition filed by a Kerala physician, Joe Joseph and two former local body representatives on the operation of the Mullaperiyar dam over which Kerala and Tamil Nadu have been contesting for long.
Why is Mullaperiyar dam a sore point?
- The Maharaja of Travancore signed a 999-year Periyar Lake lease agreement with the British government on October 29, 1886, for the construction of the Mullaperiyar dam across the Periyar in the present Idukki district of Kerala. The dam became a reality nine years later.
- Water was supplied from it through a tunnel to the water-scarce southern region of Tamil Nadu, especially the Vaigai basin. On an average, 22 thousand million cubic feet (tmc ft) of water is diverted, irrigating about 2.20 lakh acres and meeting the drinking water requirements of people in the region.
- Concerns over the safety of the gravity dam built using lime-surkhi (burnt brick powder) mortar came to the fore in 1979.
- In November 1979, a tripartite meeting chaired by the then chairman of the Central Water Commission (CWC), decided that the level had to be brought down from the full reservoir level of 152 feet to 136 feet to enable Tamil Nadu, which owns and maintains it, to carry out dam strengthening works.
- By the mid-1990s, Tamil Nadu started demanding restoration of the level.
What happened in the legal battles?
- The Central Government set up an expert committee in 2000 to look into the dam’s safety. The committee recommended raising the level to 142 feet, which was endorsed by the Supreme Court in February 2006.
- Kerala sought to restrict the level to 136 feet by way of an amendment to the Kerala Irrigation and Water Conservation Act, prompting the Tamil Nadu Government to move the Supreme Court.
- In February 2010, the court constituted an empowered committee to study the whole gamut of issues concerning the dam.
- Based on the committee’s finding that the dam was “structurally and hydrologically safe”, the court, in May 2014, struck down Kerala’s Act and allowed Tamil Nadu to maintain the level at 142 feet.
- Supreme Court also asked the Central Government to set up a three-member Supervisory Committee to monitor dam safety.
Why is it a social issue?
- Commissioned by the Kerala Government in the latter part of the 2000s, a study by IIT-Roorkee raised questions about the survival of the dam, located in seismic zone-3, in the event of an earthquake of a fairly high magnitude.
- A series of tremors felt in the area in 2011 caused alarm.
- Subsequently, the floods of 2018 and the erratic nature of annual monsoons ever since brought the focus back on the 126-year-old dam.
Why is the case in the Supreme Court again?
- A petition was filed in the Supreme Court in 2020 contending that the Supervisory Committee had abdicated its responsibilities to a sub-committee constituted at the direction of the court for water management in the dam.
- They also urged the court to ask the CWC to fix the ‘rule curve’, ‘instrumentation scheme’ and ‘gate operation schedule’ of the dam.
- Massive landslides had devastated the hilly regions in central Kerala and weather prediction was worrying when the court’s attention was drawn to a report prepared by the United Nations University-Institute for Water, Environment and Health, which cited “significant structural flaws” in the dam and said it “may be at risk of failure”.
- “Leaks and leaching are also concerning, as the methods and materials used during construction are considered outdated, compared to the current building standards,” UN University has said in its report.
- The Kerala Government, a respondent, argued for lowering the full reservoir level to 139 feet as the ageing dam was in a ‘deteriorating condition’.
- In the event of a dam failure, it would result in human tragedy and submitted a case for decommissioning the dam, in whose place a new dam could be built to cater to Tamil Nadu’s water needs.
- However, Tamil Nadu, relying on the Supreme Court’s two judgments, has been opposing any suggestion for lowering the level from 142 feet, apart from rejecting the idea of a new dam.
- Tamil Nadu says it is taking steps to complete the remaining works to strengthen the dam, including those meant for the ‘baby dam,’ situated alongside the main dam, for which clearances from the Kerala and Central Governments are required.
What’s on the cards?
- Design of a new dam by Kerala’s Irrigation Design and Research Board is in the final stages. However, without Tamil Nadu on board, this is not going to be a reality.
- Meanwhile, in the backdrop of bad weather forecast, Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan wrote to Tamil Nadu CM M.K. Stalin, urging him to draw maximum quantum of water from the dam through the tunnel so that a large volume release would be avoided altogether.
- Assuring Kerala CM of all support, Tamil Nadu CM informed him that the level in the dam was being closely monitored and the current storage was well within the level permitted by the Supreme Court.
- A meeting between the Chief Ministers to discuss the issue is being planned in December.
Connecting the dots:
- GS-2: International events
In News: A row between the UK and France has erupted over post-Brexit fishing rights, with France saying that it could stop British boats from landing if the dispute wasn’t resolved by early next week.
- In fact, late 2020, these fishing rights were one of the sticking points in the post-Brexit negotiations between the EU and the UK
What is this row about?
- As the UK became an “independent coast state” after December 31, 2020, Britain’s fishing industry, which makes up less than 0.1 per cent of the national economy, has been demanding greater access to the fishing grounds it currently shares with the EU.
- This has been vehemently resisted by EU
What has triggered the row now?
- This week, France seized a British boat from French waters, a move that was objected by the UK, which also threatened to undertake retaliatory action.
- During the post-Brexit trade negotiations that were finalised days before the transition period ended on January 1, 2021, the fishing aspect was overlooked because “other aspects of trade are simply much more important for the economies of both the UK and the EU.”
- At the moment, France is maintaining that Britain has not granted France enough licenses to operate in Britain’s water, while Britain is saying that it is issuing licenses to vessels that meet their criteria.
- France has also said that if the talks between the two countries did not make any progress, France will put sanctions including extra customs checks on British goods from November 2.
- France now wants that all the provisions that are set out within the Trade and Cooperation Agreement are applied fully.
How were fishing rights shared before Brexit?
- Fisheries in the EU – which included the UK until December 31, 2020 – are governed by the bloc’s Common Fisheries Policy (CFP).
- Under the CFP, fleets from every EU member state can fish in the Exclusive Economic Zones (EEZs) of all the other members, meaning the part of the sea that stretches up to 200 nautical miles from a nation’s coast, excluding its territorial waters – which end at 12 nautical miles from the coast.
- The EU as a bloc, and not individual countries, decides every December the volume of fish from each species that can be caught from the combined EEZs of its members, which are together considered a common resource. Fishing rights are then divided as per national quotas.
- As long as the UK remained a part of the EU, the CFP has allowed fleets from the rest of the bloc to trawl in British waters, which are considered to be very rich.
How will the fishing rights be shared after Brexit?
- Regaining control over UK waters was a key part of the Leave campaign in 2016.
- EU boats will continue to fish in UK waters for some years to come
- But UK fishing boats will get a greater share of the fish from UK waters
- That shift in the share will be phased in between 2021 and 2026, with most of the quota transferred in 2021
- After that, there’ll be annual negotiations to decide how the catch is shared out between the UK and EU
- The UK would have the right to completely exclude EU boats after 2026
- But the EU could respond with taxes on exports of British fish to the EU or by denying UK boats access to EU waters
Connecting the dots:
(Sansad TV: Perspective)
Oct 30: 16th G-20 Summit: People, Planet & Prosperity – https://youtu.be/6B2Ao2sBBlc
- GS-II: International relations
Context: The 16th G-20 Summit is very significant in view of COVID-19 pandemic.
With the theme- ‘People, Planet, Prosperity’ discussions are being held on
- Recovery from the pandemic & strengthening global health governance
- Economic recovery & resilience
- Climate change & energy transition
- Sustainable development & food security
G20 has emerged as the premier global forum for international cooperation. The grouping represents
- 80% of the world’s GDP
- 75% of global trade
- 60% of the world’s population
Italy is holding the Presidency of the G20 this year and India will take on the G20 Presidency during 1 Dec, 2022-30 Nov 2023 term.
Key Points to Note
On Climate Change & energy transition
- Made a commitment to reach carbon neutrality “by or around mid-century”; G20 will ‘put an end to the provision of international public finance for new unabated coal power generation abroad by the end of 2021’
- Called for “meaningful and effective” action to limit global warming at 1.5 degrees Celsius (no reference to a specific 2050 date to achieve net-zero carbon emissions; Net zero means reducing greenhouse gas emissions as much as possible, until a country is absorbing the same amount of emissions from the atmosphere that it is putting out. )
- This is the first time that G20 has identified sustainable and responsible consumption and production, along with the provision of finance and technology as “critical enablers” for achieving climate goals of keeping 1.5 degrees within reach.
On Economic recovery & resilience
- Endorsed a landmark global agreement that seeks to block large corporations from shifting profits and jobs across borders to avoid taxes – An initiative to stop companies from sheltering profits in tax havens, where tax rates are low and corporations often maintain little physical presence beyond an official headquarters.
On Recovery from the pandemic & strengthening global health governance
- Indicated they are against premature withdrawal of support measures initiated by the various countries to boost Covid-hit economy. Committed themselves to work together to monitor and address challenges facing the global economy and take steps to support stability.
- Vowed to take steps to boost its supply in developing nations and remove relevant supply as well as financing constraints for advancing toward the global goal of vaccinating at least 40 per cent of the population in all countries by the end of 2021 and 70 per cent by mid-2022.
Leaders are still unsure about…
- Removed references in a previous draft to the target to “reduce emissions significantly”. Instead, it stated that it recognises that the reduction of emissions is one of the quickest, most feasible and most cost-effective ways to limit climate change.
- Did not touch upon the dispute over vaccine patent waivers
- States current national plans on how to curb emissions will have to be strengthened “if necessary” and includes a pledge to halt financing of overseas coal-fired power generation by the end of this year. However, the communique set no target for phasing out coal domestically, a clear nod to top carbon polluters China and India. Coal is still China’s main source of power generation, and both China and India have resisted attempts for a G-20 declaration on phasing out domestic coal consumption.
India fully supports the priority areas of this summit and G -20 has also acknowledged India’s Leadership on global concerns and has supported views of India on wide array of issues.
PM Modi –
On Recovery from the pandemic & strengthening global health governance
- Underlining the need to address vaccine inequity across the world, especially in developing countries, told G-20 leaders that India is ready to produce over 5 billion vaccine doses by the end of next year.
- Used the opportunity to convey that the early emergency approval to Covaxin by WHO will facilitate India’s efforts to help other countries.
- Emphasized on vaccine research, manufacturing and innovation.
- Spoke about facilitating international travel and spoke about the mechanism of mutual recognition of vaccine certification as a means of achieving this.
- Highlighted India’s contribution in the fight against Covid-19. In this regard, mentioned India’s medical supply to over 150 countries, and India’s vision of “One Earth One Health”, or the need for a collaborative approach in the international domain in the fight against the pandemic.
On Economic recovery & resilience
- Stressed on the need for resilient global supply chains and invited G-20 countries to make India their partner in economic recovery and supply chain diversification.
- Expressed “satisfaction” over the G-20’s decision to come up with a 15-per cent minimum corporate tax to make the global financial architecture “more just and fair” (ensures that companies don’t go to the lowest possible tax haven in order to minimise their tax burden, and that the large multinational corporations pay their share of taxes to countries that they are located in.)
On Climate Change & energy transition
- Introduces Action Language to Reach Climate Goals
On Sustainable development & food security
- India pushed for and was able to obtain a commitment from G20 nations on improving livelihoods for small and marginal farmers. The focus of the members will now be on the marginal farmers rather than just the prosperous ones
Can you answer the following questions?
- Essay: ‘If Glasgow fails, the whole thing fails’
- The figure 1.5°C is at the heart of any discussion on climate change. Discuss.
(TEST YOUR KNOWLEDGE)
Model questions: (You can now post your answers in comment section)
- 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 Which if the following is not an endangered species as per IUCN?
- Indus River dolphin
- Ganges dolphin
- Four-toed Terrapin
Q.2 Consider the following statements:
- The highest share of informal activity is in agriculture.
- Recent report has shown that the share of the informal sector has increased sharply due to COVID-19.
Which of the above is or are correct?
- 1 only
- 2 only
- Both 1 and 2
- Neither 1 nor 2
Q.3 What is blue carbon?
- Carbon captured by oceans and coastal ecosystems
- Carbon sequestered in forest biomass and agricultural soils
- Carbon contained in petroleum and natural gas
- Carbon present in the atmosphere
ANSWERS FOR 30th Oct 2021 TEST YOUR KNOWLEDGE (TYK)
On Joe Biden’s social security and climate change plan:
On case for Energy Ministry: