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DAILY CURRENT AFFAIRS IAS | UPSC Prelims and Mains Exam – 3rd November 2021

  • IASbaba
  • November 3, 2021
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(PRELIMS + MAINS FOCUS)


COP26

Part of: Prelims and GS III – Climate change 

Context Leaders at the COP26 global climate conference in Glasgow have pledged to stop deforestation by the end of the decade and slash emissions of the potent greenhouse gas methane to help slow climate change.

  • Fossil fuels: They have been unable to agree more broadly on rapid reductions in the use of fossil fuels which has upset the poorer, smaller countries likely to suffer its worst effects.
  • Methane emission: Nearly 90 countries have joined a U.S.-EU-led effort to slash emissions of methane 30% by 2030 from 2020 levels.
  • Deforestation and land degradation: Over 100 national leaders pledged to halt and reverse deforestation and land degradation by the end of the decade, underpinned by $19 billion in public and private funds to invest in protecting and restoring forests.
  • Hike in climate finance
    • At the Ministerial meeting of Like-Minded Developing Countries (LMDC), India said that climate finance cannot continue at the levels decided in 2009
    • It emphasised that it should be at least $1 trillion to meet the goals of addressing climate change.

What is COP26?

  • The Conference of Parties (COP) comes under the United Nations Climate Change Framework Convention (UNFCCC) which was formed in 1994. 
  • 2021 marks the 26th Conference of Parties (thus the name COP26) and will be held in the Scottish Event Campus in Glasgow.
  • The UNFCCC was established to work towards “stabilisation of greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere.”
  • It laid out a list of responsibilities for the member states which included:
    • Formulating measures to mitigate climate change
    • Cooperating in preparing for adaptation to the impact of climate change
    • Promoting education, training and public awareness related to climate change
  • One of the most important conferences, COP21 took place in 2015, at Paris, France. Member countries agreed to work together to ‘limit global warming to well below 2, preferably to 1.5 degrees Celsius, compared to pre-industrial levels.’

News source: TH


Green Grids Initiative: One Sun, One World, One Grid

Part of: Prelims and GS-III – Climate change 

Context Green Grids Initiative As part of One Sun, One World, One Grid initiative was announced by India and the United Kingdom at COP26 to tap solar energy and have it travel seamlessly across borders.

  • The objective included trading energy from sun, wind and water across borders to deliver more than enough clean energy to meet the needs of everyone on earth.

Key takeaways 

  • The initiative was endorsed by more than 80 countries.
  • The ISRO has developed an application that could compute the potential solar energy at any point on earth and help decide if it would be suitable for solar energy installations.
  • A Ministerial Steering Group will work towards accelerating the making of large solar power stations and wind farms in the best locations, linked together by continental-scale grids crossing national borders.
    • The Ministerial Steering Group includes France, India, the United Kingdom and the United States, and will also have representatives from Africa, the Gulf, Latin America and Southeast Asia.

News source: TH 


T.N. Forest and Wildlife Crime Control Bureau

Part of: Prelims and GS III – Environment 

Context The Tamil Nadu State Government has issued orders for setting up the Tamil Nadu Forest and Wildlife Crime Control Bureau (TNFWCB) with four zonal offices in Chennai, Coimbatore, Madurai and Ramanathapuram.

Key takeaways 

  • Committee formed: It constituted a committee for formulating a draft policy on ecological restoration of forest areas infested with invasive plant species.
    • The panel would also identify, demarcate and assess the extent of area infested with invasive alien species and formulate a Standard Operating Procedure for removal, disposal and eco-restoration of infested areas.
  • State-wide data: The TNFWCB shall develop and maintain State-wide data on forest and wildlife offences, forest offenders and wildlife smuggling incidences.
  • Use of IT practices: It would use information technology practices and forest and wildlife crime information in conjunction with various intelligence agencies which will help in better adaptation to changing crime and criminal practices.
  • Cadre of well-trained officials: The Bureau is expected to create a cadre of well-trained officials from among government departments for effective monitoring of illegal trade.

Objectives of the TNFWCB

  • Improving investigation quality for better control of illegal wildlife trade
  • Building informant networks among local communities
  • Mapping poaching and illegal trade hotspots in the State for better action.

Introduction of exotic tree species

  • Most of the exotic tree species like wattle, pine and eucalyptus were introduced in forest areas of Tamil Nadu to satisfy industrial/commercial needs. 
  • However, they have had an adverse impact on the ecology of the area, such as modifying/affecting hydrology, forest/grassland community and wildlife.
  • The non-native species suppressed native species by disrupting the food web in an ecosystem by restricting or replacing native food sources
  • The invasion was regarded as one of the major threats to biodiversity 

News source: TH 


National Human Rights Commission (NHRC)

Part of: Prelims and GS II – Statutory bodies; Indian Polity

Context Fifteen years after the Supreme Court issued directions for police reforms, the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) has asked the Union Home Ministry (MHA) and the State Governments to set up police complaints authorities as per the judgment inPrakash Singh vs Union of India, 2006.

Key recommendations 

  • The status of compliance should be displayed on the websites of the Ministry and the State Home Departments.
  • The MHA and the Law Ministry should consider implementing the recommendations of the 113th report of the Law Commission to add Section 114 B to the Indian Evidence Act. 
    • This would ensure that in case a person sustains injuries in police custody, it is presumed that the injuries were inflicted by the police and the burden of proof to explain the injury lies on the authority concerned.
  • Making the legal framework technology-friendly to speed up the criminal justice system. 
  • The SC’s December 2020 order to install CCTV cameras with night vision in all police stations should be “implemented immediately” to ensure accountability.

National Human Rights Commission (NHRC)

  • NHRC was established in 1993. 
  • It is in conformity with the Paris Principles, adopted at the first international workshop on national institutions for the protection of human rights held in Paris in 1991.
  • Status: It is a statutory organization established under the Protection of Human Rights Act (PHRA), 1993 
  • Headquarters: New Delhi.
  • Functions:
    • To investigate the violation of human rights/ the failures of the states/other to prevent a human rights violation 
    • The commissions may also take on research about human rights, create awareness campaigns through various mediums, and encourage the work of NGOs.
  • Composition
    • Chairperson, four full-time Members and four deemed Members. 
    • A Chairperson, should be retired Chief Justice of India or a Judge of the Supreme Court.
  • Appointment: The Chairperson and members of the NHRC are appointed by the President of India, on the recommendation of a committee consisting of:
    • The Prime Minister (Chairperson)
    • The Home Minister
    • The Leader of the Opposition in the Lok Sabha
    • The Leader of the Opposition in the Rajya Sabha 
    • The Speaker of the Lok Sabha
    • The Deputy Chairman of the Rajya Sabha
  • They hold office for a term of three years or until they attain the age of 70 years, whichever is earlier.
  • The President can remove them from the office under specific circumstances.

News source: TH 


Proposal to declare Guru Purab as ‘World Pedestrian Day’

Part of: Prelims and GS-I – History

Context Recently, Punjab Police has proposed that the birth anniversary (Gurpurab) of Sikhism founder Guru Nanak Dev be declared as ‘World Pedestrian Day’. 

Why was it proposed?

  • Guru Nanak Dev as the world’s most notable and revered pedestrian
  • In a period of 24 years (1500-1524), Guru Nanak traveled in all directions to show the path of love, equality, humanity, and selfless service to mankind. 
  • Most of his journeys were made on foot with his companion Bhai Mardana.
  • Later his travels were documented in texts called ‘janamsakhis’. 
  • These sites are now spread across nine nations as per current geographical divisions — India, Pakistan, Iran, Iraq, China (Tibet), Bangladesh, Saudi Arabia, Sri Lanka, and Afghanistan.

Do you know?

  • In these journeys, he preached the new concept of God as “Supreme, All powerful and Truthful, Formless (Nirankar), Fearless (Nirbhau), Without hate (Nirvair), the Sole (Ik), the Self-Existent (Saibhang), the Incomprehensible and Everlasting creator of all things (Karta Purakh), and the Eternal and Absolute Truth (Satnam)”.
  • His writings, in the form of 974 spiritual hymns were incorporated in the scripture Guru Granth Sahib by the fifth Guru Arjan Dev ji.

News source: IE


(News from PIB)


Ministry of Rural Development signs MoU with Flipkart

Part of: Prelims 

In News: Flipkart, India’s homegrown e-commerce marketplace, has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Ministry of Rural Development of the Government of India (MoRD), for their ambitious Deendayal Antyodaya Yojana – National Rural Livelihood Mission (DAY-NRLM) program, to help empower local businesses and self-help groups (SHGs) – especially those that are led by women – by bringing them into the e-commerce fold. 

  • The partnership is aligned with the DAY-NRLM’s goal of strengthening the capabilities of rural communities for self-employment and entrepreneurship, thus providing further impetus to the Prime Minister’s vision of an “Atmanirbhar Bharat”.
  • This MoU is a part of the Flipkart Samarth program and aims to provide skilled yet under-served communities of craftsmen, weavers and artisans with national market access through the Flipkart marketplace, as well as dedicated support for knowledge and training.
  • Will be a great platform for capacity-building, enhancing and impacting rural livelihoods, especially for women. 
  • This step will mobilize and channelize the resources required for building and supporting rural businesses to realize their full potential for growth, which is crucial for inclusive and robust national development, especially during the current post-COVID era.

News Source: PIB


Infrastructure for Resilient Island States

Part of: Mains GS-III: Climate Change

Context: Prime Minister launched of ‘Infrastructure for Resilient Island States’ initiative at COP26 Summit in Glasgow

Infrastructure for Resilient Island States: mall Island Developing States –SIDS- will mobilize technology, finance, and necessary information rapidly. Promotion of quality infrastructure in Small Island States will benefit both lives and livelihoods there.

Significance: The biggest threat from climate change is to the ‘Small Island Developing States- SIDS’. In such countries, climate change is a major challenge not only for the security of their lives, but also for their economies. Such countries depend a lot on tourism, but due to natural calamities, even tourists are afraid to come there.

Background: Sensing the threat of Climate Change looming over small island countries, India made special arrangements for cooperation with Pacific islands and CARICOM nations.

  • Trained their citizens in solar technologies, and contributed continuously to the development of infrastructure there.
  • India’s space agency, ISRO will build a special data window for SIDS. With this, SIDS will continue to receive timely information about cyclones, coral-reef monitoring, coast-line monitoring, etc. through satellite.
  • The IRIS initiative is a part of the Coalition for Disaster Resilient infrastructure that would focus on building capacity, having pilot projects, especially in small island developing states.
  • The new initiative is the result of cooperation between India, the UK and Australia and included the participation of leaders of small island nations Fiji, Jamaica and Mauritius.

News Source: PIB


Environment of extra solar planets

Part of: Prelims

Context: Indian Astronomers have found a new method to understand the atmosphere of extra solar planets. 

  • They have shown that planets going around stars other than the Sun can be studied by observing the polarisation of light and studying polarisation signatures
  • These polarisation signatures or variations in scattering intensity of light can be observed with existing instruments and expanding the study of planets beyond the solar system using existing instruments.
  • The thermal radiation of hot young planets and the reflected light of planets orbiting other stars, known as extra-solar planets or exoplanets would also be polarized and the measure of the polarization might unveil the chemical composition and other properties of the exoplanetary atmosphere. 
  • Subsequent confirmation of the prediction by the detection of polarization of many Brown Dwarfs, a kind of failed stars that have an atmosphere very similar to that of Jupiter, motivated researchers all over the world to build highly sensitive polarimeters and use polarimetric methods to probe exoplanetary environment.
  • Unlike the traditional and popular methods such as Transit Photometry and Radial Velocity methods that can detect planets that are viewed almost edge-on only, this polarimetric method can detect and probe exoplanets orbiting with a broad range of orbital inclination angles. 
  • Thus, polarimetric techniques in the near future will open up a new window for the study of the exoplanets and enable us to overcome many of the limitations of the traditional techniques.                               

News Source: PIB


(Mains Focus)


ENVIRONMENT/ INTERNATIONAL

  • GS-2: Effect of policies and politics of developed and developing countries on India’s interests 
  • GS-3: Conservation, environmental pollution and degradation 

Global Methane Pledge

Context: The Global Methane Pledge was launched recently at the ongoing UN COP26 climate conference in Glasgow. So far, over 90 countries have signed this pledge, which is an effort led jointly by the United States and the European Union.

Methane is the second-most abundant greenhouse gas in the atmosphere, after carbon dioxide, and, therefore, pledges related to cutting down its emissions are significant.

What is the Global Methane Pledge?

  • The pledge was first announced in September by the US and EU, and is essentially an agreement to reduce global methane emissions. One of the central aims of this agreement is to cut down methane emissions by up to 30 per cent from 2020 levels by the year 2030.
  • According to the latest Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report, methane accounts for about half of the 1.0 degrees Celsius net rise in global average temperature since the pre-industrial era.
  • Rapidly reducing methane emissions is complementary to action on carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases, and is regarded as the single most effective strategy to reduce global warming in the near term 

What is climate impact of methane?

  • According to the UN, 25 per cent of the warming that the world is experiencing today is because of methane, a greenhouse gas, which is also a component of natural gas
  • Because it is a greenhouse gas, its presence in the atmosphere increases Earth’s temperature.
  • There are various sources of methane including human and natural sources. Human sources of methane include landfills, oil and natural gas systems, agricultural activities, coal mining, wastewater treatment, and certain industrial processes, the US Environmental Protection Agency notes.
  • The oil and gas sectors are among the largest contributors to human sources of methane. 
  • NASA notes that human sources (also referred to as anthropogenic sources) of methane are responsible for 60 per cent of global methane emissions. These emissions come primarily from the burning of fossil fuels, decomposition in landfills and the agriculture sector.
  • In India, for instance, in 2019, the Ministry of Coal asked state-run coal miner Coal India Limited (CIL) to produce 2 MMSCB (million metric standard cubic metres) per day of coalbed methane (CBM) gas in the next 2 to 3 years.
    • CBM, like shale gas, is extracted from what are known as unconventional gas reservoirs — where gas is extracted directly from the rock that is the source of the gas (shale in case of shale gas and coal in case of CBM).
    • The methane is held underground within the coal and is extracted by drilling into the coal seam and removing the groundwater. The resulting drop in pressure causes the methane to be released from the coal.

Why is dealing with methane important for climate change?

  • According to the International Energy Agency (IEA), while methane has a much shorter atmospheric lifetime (12 years as compared to centuries for CO2), it is a much more potent greenhouse gas simply because it absorbs more energy while it is in the atmosphere.
  • In its factsheet on methane, the UN notes that methane is a powerful pollutant and has a global warming potential that is 80 times greater than carbon dioxide, about 20 years after it has been released into the atmosphere. 
  • Significantly, the average methane leak rate of 2.3 per cent “erodes much of the climate advantage gas has over coal”, the UN notes.
  • The IEA has also said that more than 75 per cent of methane emissions can be mitigated with the technology that exists today, and that up to 40 per cent of this can be done at no additional costs.

Connecting the dots:


INTERNATIONAL/ ECONOMY

  • GS-2: Bilateral, regional and global groupings and agreements involving India and/or affecting India’s interests. 

India-USA: Trade and Climate

In News: As 2021 closes, with COVID-19 still a present danger and China emerging as superpower on the global stage, India and the U.S. as strategic partners have a long way to go.

US & India: Trade & Climate

  • The U.S. Special Presidential Envoy for Climate, John Kerry, has visited India twice already, and India and the U.S. are collaborating under the Climate and Clean Energy Agenda Partnership. 
  • Both countries are also taking leading roles in Climate Change, articulating their climate concerns and commitments. 
  • If India and the U.S., coordinate policies to incentivise sharing of climate-related technologies and align approaches for reducing emissions associated with trade, the climate-trade inter-relationship can be a net positive one.

Concerns

  • While India just announced a net zero goal for 2070, it has called for western countries – like USA- to commit to negative emissions targets. This might create troubles in bilateral relationship.
  • India’s insistence on climate justice & adequate carbon space for itself, is likely to be received poorly by U.S. negotiators.
  • Likewise, the failure of the U.S. and India to articulate a shared vision for a comprehensive trade relationship (failure to sign FTA) raises doubts about how serious they are about expanding their relationships.
  • Protectionist tendencies in both countries can create hurdles in deepening of economic relationships.
  • India insistence on technology transfer for climate mitigation that can undermine incentives for innovation in both countries can create troubles in forging enhanced trade & climate partnership between two countries.
  • If the U.S. decides that imports from India be subject to increased tariffs in the form of carbon border adjustment mechanisms, it can hurt the future trade prospects between both the countries.

Way Ahead

  • India and the U.S. could find opportunities to align their climate and trade approaches better, starting with a resolution of their disputes in the World Trade Organization (WTO) on solar panels.
  • The two countries could also chart a path that allows trade to flow for transitional energy sources, such as fuel ethanol.
  • Concerted action on both the climate and trade fronts is mutually beneficial and will lend additional strength to the foundation of a true partnership for the coming century.

Connecting the dots:


(Sansad TV: Perspective)


Nov 2: COP26 – Need for Climate Equity – https://youtu.be/et6U2Qn6oys 

TOPIC:

  • GS-3: Climate Change

Need for Climate Equity

Context: PM Narendra Modi addressed COP26 World Leaders’ Summit in Glasgow where he made a critical pitch for climate action and stood for the nations of the developing world. While delivering his National Statement on India’s behalf, PM Modi also presented 5 commitments from India towards climate action at COP26. 

India’s Commitment

  1. Taking its non-fossil fuel energy capacity to 500 GW by 2030
  2. Fulfilling 50 percent of its energy requirements through renewable energy by 2030
  3. Bringing down carbon intensity of its economy by more than 45%.” by 2030
  4. Cut down its net projected carbon emission by 1 bn tonnes from now until 2030. 
  5. Achieve the target of ‘net zero’ carbon emissions by 2070

India has been pushing for climate Equity in terms of actions which need to be taken by the developed countries to achieve climate and energy goals. 

  • In fact, according to the Climate Equity Monitor which tracks various aspects of climate change, countries including the US, Russia, Australia and most European nations have exceeded their fair share of the global carbon budget whereas India, China and countries from Africa and South America have consumed less than their fair share. 
  • The carbon debt values for developed countries clearly indicate their responsibility and the massive carbon debt they owe the world.

World should Focus on Adaptation

Adaptation does not get as much importance in the Global climate debate as Mitigation. This is an injustice to developing countries, which are more affected by climate change.

  • Climate is a major challenge for farmers in most developing countries, including India– 
    • The cropping pattern is changing, 
    • Crops are being destroyed by untimely rains and floods, or frequent storms
  • From drinking water sources to affordable housing, all of these need to be made resilient against climate change.

Focus on Adaptation: We need to make adaptation a key part of our development policies and projects.  Projects like ‘Nal se Jal’- Tap water for all, ‘Swachh Bharat’- clean India Mission and ‘Ujjwala’- clean cooking fuel for all in India, have not only provided adaptation benefits to our needy citizens but have also improved their quality of life. 

Living in harmony with nature: Secondly, many traditional communities have adequate knowledge of living in harmony with nature. 

  • These traditional practices must be given due importance in our adaptation policies. 
  • This flow of knowledge must also be included in the school syllabus so that it is passed on to the new generation. 
  • Preservation of lifestyles in compliance with the local conditions can also be an important pillar of adaptation. 

Method of Adaptation: The methods of adaptation may be local, but backward countries should get global support for them. With the idea of global support for local adaptation, India had taken the initiative of Coalition for Disaster Resilient Infrastructure CDRI. 

Can you answer the following questions?

  1. Paris Climate Deal: India’s Progress, Pandemic and Challenges
  2. IPCC report on Climate Change

(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 Absorption of Solar radiations at earth’s surface occur due to presence of 

  1. Ozone
  2. Water vapours
  3. Carbon di-oxide
  4. All of the above

Q.2 Consider the following statements regarding the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC):

  1. It is a Constitutional body.
  2. Chairperson of NHRC should be retired Chief Justice of India or a Judge of the Supreme Court.

Which of the above is or are correct? 

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

Q.3 Who introduced rites of initiation into the well-organised Sikh army known as the Khalsa?

  1. Guru Har Rai
  2. Guru Har Gobind 
  3. Guru Tegh Bahadur
  4. Guru Gobind Singh

ANSWERS FOR 2nd Nov 2021 TEST YOUR KNOWLEDGE (TYK)

1 D
2 B
3 C

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