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DAILY CURRENT AFFAIRS IAS | UPSC Prelims and Mains Exam – 17th August 2022

  • IASbaba
  • August 17, 2022
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(PRELIMS & MAINS Focus)


Indian Bureau of Mines

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Syllabus

  • Prelims – Important Organizations

In News: In compliance with the PM Gati Shakti National Master Plan, Ministry of Mines entrusted the responsibility for creation of individual portal to Indian Bureau of Mines (IBM) through BISAG-N (Bhaskaracharya National Institute for Space Applications and Geo informatics).

About Indian Bureau of Mines

  • The Indian Bureau of Mines (IBM) established in 1948, is a multi-disciplinary government organisation under the Department of Mines, Ministry of Mines, engaged in promotion of  conservation, scientific development of mineral resources and protection of environment in mines other than coal, petroleum & natural gas, atomic minerals and minor minerals.
  • Headed by the Controller General, IBM has six technical divisions with its head quarters at Nagpur.
  • IBM has 4 Zonal Offices, 13 Regional Offices, 2 Regional Ore Dressing Laboratories and Pilot Plants spread over the Country.

Role played by IBM

  • It helped government in framing various rules like Mines & Minerals (Regulation & Development) Act, 1948, Mineral Concession Rules, 1949 and Petroleum Concession Rules, 1949.
  • IBM was given a set of functions in 1950 and in accordance with it, the inspection of mines and mineral prospects became a regular activity.
  • It undertook detailed exploration of mineral deposits. Among the minerals explored by IBM were Iron Ore, Limestone, Dolomite, Coal, Copper, Tungsten.
  • With the passage of time the activities of IBM grew in depth and extent like Technical Consultancy and preparation of mineral maps  leading to complete  inventory of mineral resources.
  • With its pool of mining engineers, geologists and ore dressing engineers it covered a wide variety of needs of the mining industry.
  • Various publications related to mining and mineral industries were brought out.
  • Two very important activities were undertaken by IBM are processing and approval of mining plans and schemes of mining for all the mines in the country and second one being the implementation of rules for the protection of environment.

Functions

  • The objective of the IBM is to promote systematic and scientific development and optimum utilisation of mineral resources of the country (both on-shore and off-shore).
  • In order to achieve this objective the charter of functions of Indian Bureau of Mines is as follows:
  • To collect, collate and organise into a database, all information on exploration, prospecting, mines and minerals in the country in the shape of a National Mineral Information Repository and take steps to publish and disseminate the same;
  • Function as the National Technical Regulator in respect of the mining sector and lay down regulations, procedures and systems to guide the State Governments (first tier of regulation);
  • To build up capacity in the system, both for regulatory as well as the developmental work, at the central level as well as at the level of the States;
  • To establish institutional mechanisms of coordination between the Centre, the States, mineral industry, research and academic institutions, and all stake holders, so as to proactively develop solutions to the demands and problems faced by the industry;
  • To promote research on all aspects of practical relevance to the industry and to act as a bridge between research institutions on the one hand and user industry on the other;
  • To provide technical consultancy services;
  • To participate in international collaborative projects in the area of regulation and development of the mineral sector;
  • To advise Government on all matters relating to the mineral industry; and
  • To undertake any such other activity as has become necessary in the light of developments in the field of geology, mining, mineral beneficiation and the environment.

Must Read: PM Gati Shakti scheme

Source: Pib.Gov

Previous Year Question

Q.1) In India, what is the role of the Coal Controller’s Organization (CCO)? (2022)

  1. CCO is the major source of coal Statistics in Government of India.
  2. It monitors progress of development of Captive Coal/ Lignite blocks.
  3. It hears any objection to the Government’s notification relating to acquisition of coal-bearing areas.
  4. It ensures that coal mining companies deliver the coal to end users in the prescribed time.

Select the correct answer using the code given below:

  1. 1, 2 and 3
  2. 3 and 4 only
  3. 1 and 2 only
  4. 1, 2 and 4

The new defence systems handed over to Army

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Syllabus

  • Prelims – Science & Technology

In News: Defence Minister handed over two new weapons – the Nipun mines, the Landing Craft Assault (LCA) and the F-INSAS system – to the Army.

What is the F-INSAS system?

  • F-INSAS stands for Future Infantry Soldier As A System, a programme for infantry modernisation aimed at increasing the operational capability of the soldier.
  • As part of the project, soldiers are being equipped with modern systems that are lightweight, all-weather-all-terrain, cost-effective and low maintenance.
  • The full-gear of the F-INSAS system includes an AK-203 assault rifle, a multi-mode hand grenade, which can be used in defensive and offensive modes.
  • The weapon kit also has a multi-purpose knife for close quarters combat.
  • Apart from this, the F-INSAS provides soldiers with ballistic helmets and ballistic goggles for protection against small projectiles and fragments, along with a bullet-proof vest.
  • The F-INSAS also comes with hands-free, secured advanced communications set for real-time exchange of information with the command post and fellow soldiers for enhanced situational awareness.

What is the F-INSAS modelled on?

  • Conceived in the 2000s, F-INSAS is one among many soldier modernisation programmes across the world.
  • The US has Land Warrior, while the UK has FIST (Future Integrated Soldier Technology).
  • According to estimates, over 20 armies around the world are following such programmes.
  • The DRDO had conceptualised the F-INSAS in line with the targets of the Army’s Infantry Soldier Modernisation Programme with an aim to optimise the soldier’s performance across the full spectrum and duration of a military operation.

What are Nipun mines?

  • Nipun mines are indigenously designed and developed anti-personnel mines, termed by the DRDO as ‘soft target blast munition’.
  • These mines are meant to act as the first line of defence against infiltrators and enemy infantry.
  • They have been developed with the efforts of Armament Research and Development Establishment, a Pune-based DRDO facility, and Indian industry.

  • Anti-personnel mines are meant to be used against humans as against anti-tank mines that are aimed at heavy vehicles.
  • They are smaller in size and can be deployed in large numbers.
  • The Army has said that the mine will provide protection to the troops on the borders and is more potent and effective than the existing anti-personnel mine in its arsenal.

What is the Landing Craft Assault?

  • The Landing Craft Assault (LCA) is meant to serve as a replacement for the boats with limited capabilities currently in use in the Pangong Tso lake.
  • The LCA, which has been indigenously developed by Goa-based Aquarius ShipYard Limited, is said to have better launch, speed and capacity to operate across water obstacles in eastern Ladakh.

Some other defence systems

  • Other than these systems and equipment, the Defence Minister also formally handed over to the Army a thermal imaging sight for T-90 tanks; hand held thermal imager; and frequency-hopping radio relay for tactical communication across much longer ranges.
  • Further, Downlink Equipment with Recording Facility to help helicopters in surveillance missions was also handed over. Using this system, reconnaissance data is recorded and can be accessed only when the helicopter returns to the base.
  • Some other defence systems included, Infantry Protected Mobility Vehicles; Quick Reaction Fighting Vehicles and Mini Remotely Piloted Aerial System surveillance, detection and reconnaissance at the infantry battalion and mechanised units level.

Must Read: Advanced Towed Artillery Gun System (ATAGS)

Source: Indian Express


Paalan 1000

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Syllabus

  • Prelims – Current Affairs

In News: Govt. launches new app, Paalan 1000, to guide parents.

  • Union Minister of State for Health launched ‘Paalan 1000’ National Campaign and Parenting App.
  • ‘Paalan 1000’ focuses on the cognitive development of children in the first two years of their life.
  • The app will provide practical advice to caregivers on what they can do in their everyday routine and will help clear doubts.
  • A baby’s brain development begins during pregnancy and is influenced by the pregnant woman’s health, nutrition and environment.
  • The first 1,000 days encompasses conception as well as the first two years of a growing child’s life and during this period, the child needs the right nutrition, stimulation, love and support. The first 1,000 days establishes a solid platform for a child’s physical, mental, emotional, cognitive and social health.
  • The app combines coaching for parents, families and other caregivers with services designed to meet the families’ basic needs. The programme is aligned with the mission of the Rashtriya Bal Swasthya Karyakram (RBSK), emphasising responsive care and focused interventions during the first 1,000 days.

Note:

  • India has taken rapid strides in reducing child mortality since 2014 from 45 per 1,000 live births to 35 per 1,000 live births in 2019.

Source: The Hindu


Manthan platform

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Syllabus

  • Prelims – Current Affairs

In News: Principal Scientific Adviser to the Government of India unveils Manthan.

  • Manthan is India’s exclusive platform for driving R&D collaboration at scale and achieving India’s scientific missions and UN SDGs.
  • The Office of the Principal Scientific Adviser (PSA) to the Government of India (GoI); entrusted with the vision to enable and empower all spheres of science and technology within the country, announced the launch of the Manthan platform.
  • Manthan can potentially change the landscape of science and technology-based social impact innovation and solutions in India.
  • The platform will facilitate knowledge transfers and interactions through Information Exchange Sessions, Exhibitions, and Events to develop a framework for future science, innovation, and technology-led growth.

Source: Pib.Gov

Previous Year Question

Q.1) With reference to ‘National Investment and Infrastructure Fund’, which of the following statements is/are correct? (2017)

  1. It is an organ of NITI Aayog.
  2. It has a corpus of Rs. 4, 00,000 crore at present.

Select the correct answer using the code given below:

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

Remission

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Syllabus

  • Prelims – Polity

In News: The Gujarat government released 11 convicts in the Bilkis Bano murder and gangrape case of 2002 under its remission and premature release policy after one of the convicts moved the Supreme Court.

The law on remissions

  • Under Articles 72 and 161 of the Constitution, the President and Governors have the power to pardon, and to suspend, remit, or commute a sentence passed by the courts.
  • Also, since prisons is a state subject, state governments have powers under Section 432 of the Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC) to remit sentences.
  • However, Section 433A of the CrPC puts certain restrictions on these powers of remission:
  • Where a sentence of imprisonment for life is imposed on conviction of a person for an offence for which death is one of the punishments provided by law, or where a sentence of death imposed on a person has been commuted under Section 433 into one of imprisonment for life, such person shall not be released from prison unless he had served at least fourteen years of imprisonment.

Grounds for remission

  • The Supreme Court has held that states cannot exercise the power of remission arbitrarily, and must follow due process.
  • While the policy varies from state to state, broadly the grounds for remission considered by the Board are the same.
  • Seriousness of the crime, the status of the co-accused and conduct in jail are the factors considered for granting remission.

In ‘Laxman Naskar v. Union of India’ (2000) the SC laid down five grounds on which remission is considered:

  1. Whether the offence is an individual act of crime that does not affect the society;
  2. Whether there is a chance of the crime being repeated in future;
  3. Whether the convict has lost the potentiality to commit crime;
  4. Whether any purpose is being served in keeping the convict in prison; and
  5. Socio-economic conditions of the convict’s family.
  • Jail manuals contain rules that allow certain days of remission in every month for good behaviour of convicts.
  • For those serving fixed sentences, the remission days are accounted for while releasing the convict.
  • However, convicts serving life sentences are entitled to seek remission only after serving a minimum of 14 years.
  • Data from Prison Statistics, 2020 show that 61% of convicts in jail are serving life sentences.

The Bilkis case convict

  • Bilkis Bano case convict Radheshyam Shah moved the Supreme Court this year after he had completed 15 years and four months of his life term awarded by a CBI court in Mumbai.
  • In an order dated May 13, 2022, a Bench SC asked the Gujarat government to consider Shah’s application for premature release “within a period of two months”, as per the state’s 1992 remission policy.

Applicability to Bilkis case

  • The 1992 policy, under which the convict (Shah) had sought remission, did not have the restrictions that were prescribed in the 2014 policy.
  • The order of the CBI court passed in 2008 did not bar the convicts from applying for remission.
  • And also the process of remission is not the domain of the judiciary but of the executive, that is the government.
  • Based on the eligibility, prisoners are granted remission after recommendation of the Jail Advisory Committee.
  • The power has been given to the government under the CrPC Section 432 just like convicts on death row can apply for clemency before state Governors or President of India.
  • Among the parameters considered in this case are age, nature of crime, behaviour in prison, and so on.
  • The convicts in this particular case were also considered keeping in mind all the factors, since they had completed 14 years of the life term.

Must Read: Article 72 + Pardoning Powers (in depth)

Source: Indian Express

Previous Year Question

Q.1) With reference to India, consider the following statements: (2021)

  1. When a prisoner makes out a sufficient case, parole cannot be denied to such prisoner because it becomes a matter of his/her right.
  2. State Governments have their own Prisoners Release on Parole Rules.

Which of the statements given above is/are correct?

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

Ethanol blending

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Syllabus

  • Prelims – Current Affair
  • Mains – GS 3 (Infrastructure – energy)

Context: Prime Minister announced that India has achieved its target of blending 10% sugarcane-extracted ethanol in petrol, ahead of schedule.

  • Addressing the nation from the Red Fort on the 76th Independence Day, PM rooted for energy independence stating that, “we need to be Aatmanirbhar (self-sufficient) in our energy sector”.
  • Self reliance in energy sector has bought the focus back on ethanol blending.

What is ethanol blending?

  • Blending ethanol with petrol to burn less fossil fuel while running vehicles is called ethanol blending.
  • Ethanol is an agricultural by-product which is mainly obtained from the processing of sugar from sugarcane, but also from other sources such as rice husk or maize.
  • Though we have had an E10 — or 10% ethanol as policy for a while, it is only this year that we have achieved that proportion.
  • India’s aim is to increase this ratio to 20% originally by 2030 but in 2021, when NITI Aayog put out the ethanol roadmap, that deadline was advanced to 2025.
  • Ethanol blending will help bring down our share of oil imports on which we spend a considerable amount of precious foreign exchange.
  • Secondly, more ethanol output would help increase farmers’ incomes.
  • The NITI Aayog report of June 2021 says, “India’s net import of petroleum was 185 million tonnes at a cost of $55 billion in 2020-21,” and that a successful ethanol blending programme can save the country $4 billion per annum.

What are first generation and second generation ethanols?

  • Ethanol production from molasses is first generation ethanol or 1G.
  • Other than molasses, ethanol can be extracted from materials such as rice straw, wheat straw, corn cobs, corn stover, bagasse, bamboo and woody biomass, which are second generation ethanol sources or 2G.

How have other countries fared?

  • Though the U.S., China, Canada and Brazil all have ethanol blending programmes, as a developing country, Brazil stands out.
  • It had legislated that the ethanol content in petrol should be in the 18-27.5% range, and it finally touched the 27% target in 2021.

Are there other alternatives?

  • Auto industry state that they prefer the use of biofuels as the next step, compared to other options such as electric vehicles (EV), hydrogen power and compressed natural gas.
  • This is mainly because biofuels demand the least incremental investment for manufacturers.

What have been the objections against this transition?

  • Ethanol burns completely emitting nil carbon dioxide.
  • By using the left-over residue from rice harvests to make ethanol, stubble burning will also reduce.
  • The 2G ethanol project inaugurated recently will reduce greenhouse gases equivalent to about three lakh tonnes of CO2 emissions per annum, which is the same as replacing almost 63,000 cars annually on our roads.

Concerns

Efficient Utilization of Land

  • The Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis (IEEFA) in a report in talks about the inefficient land use in ethanol production.
  • The report’s states that we can use land far more efficiently by generating renewable power for EV batteries.
  • For example, to match the annual travel distance of EVs recharged from one hectare generating solar energy, 187 hectares of maize-derived ethanol are required, even when one accounts for the losses from electricity transmission, battery charging and grid storage.

Water intensive crop

  • The water needed to grow crops for ethanol is another debating point.
  • For India, sugarcane is the cheapest source of ethanol.
  • On average, a tonne of sugarcane can produce 100 kg of sugar and 70 litres of ethanol — meaning, a litre of ethanol from sugar requires 2,860 litres of water.
  • There has been, therefore, a move toward waste-based extraction, such as through coarse grains.

Supply of Raw materials

  • The supply of coarse grains may still be a problem.
  • The abnormally wet monsoon seasons may have helped in recent years to raise grain output, but in its August 2021 analysis.
  • The International Council on Clean Transportation (ICCT) is sceptical that those production increases can be sustained.
  • Thus sugar cane would likely continue to be the primary source for ethanol even with the 12 planned farm waste — or 2G ethanol — distilleries.

Food security

  • There are already indications that more sugarcane is being grown and that the Government of India encouraged more corn production, with its use for ethanol production cited as a reason for this push.
  • As was evident in India’s wheat harvest earlier this year, climate change-induced heatwaves are a worrying factor and can lead to lower-than-expected harvests with little notice.
  • Given the uncertainty about future production, India may not find it easy to simultaneously strengthen domestic food supply systems, set aside adequate stocks for lean years, maintain an export market for grains, and divert grain to ethanol at the expected rate in coming years, and this is an issue that warrants continued monitoring.

Way Forward

Ethanol From Wastes:

  • This would bring both strong climate and air quality benefits, since these wastes are currently often burned, contributing to smog.

Water Crisis:

  • The ethanol policy should ensure that it doesn’t drive farmers toward water-intensive crops and create a water crisis in a country where its shortage is already acute.

Prioritize Crop Production:

  • With our depleting groundwater resources, arable land constraints, erratic monsoons, and dropping crop yields due to climate change, food production must be prioritized over crops for fuel.

Alternative Mechanism:

  • To achieve the key goal, that is emissions reduction, alternative mechanisms-enhanced Electric Vehicles uptake, installation of additional renewable generation capacity to allow zero-emissions recharging, etc.-need to be evaluated.

Must Read: Ethanol Blending: comprehensively covered

Source: The Hindu

Previous Year Question

Q.1) According to India’s National Policy on Biofuels, which of the following can be used as raw materials for the production of biofuels? (2020)

  1. Cassava
  2. Damaged wheat grains
  3. Groundnut seeds
  4. Horse gram
  5. Rotten potatoes
  6. Sugar beet

Select the correct answer using the code given below:

  1. 1, 2, 5 and 6 only
  2. 1, 3, 4 and 6 only
  3. 2, 3, 4 and 5 only
  4. 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 and 6

Presumed Guilty

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Syllabus

  • Mains – GS 2 (Governance)

Context: The large percentage of undertrials in prison and pre-trial detentions are often a result of the unfair application of bail provisions.

  • The Indian criminal justice system discourse usually affirms the cardinal rule of the presumption of innocence.
  • However, the “Prison Statistics of India 2020” paints a rather gloomy picture.
  • The fact that 76 per cent of prisoners are undertrials indicates that this principle is followed in the breach.
  • The large percentage of undertrials in prison and pre-trial detentions are often a result of the unfair application of bail provisions.
  • Primarily, this is because of unnecessary arrests by investigating agencies.

Measures taken

  • The first decade of the 21st century witnessed a series of amendments in provisions pertaining to arrests and bail.
  • The modifications under Section 41 and incorporation of 41A in the Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC) were significant attempts to reduce the number of arrests by the police in offences punishable by up to seven years of imprisonment.
  • These initiatives had the potential to reduce custodial violence and lower the burden on courts.
  • However, despite these amendments and repeated directives by the courts about the judicious application of Sections 41 and 41A by investigating agencies, the proportion of bail applications pending before district courts, high courts and the Supreme Court largely remained unaltered.

The police continue to take a mechanical approach that regards detentions as the only effective option to complete the investigation. This defeats the objective of these provisions.

Recent guidelines

  • Recently, in Satender Kumar Antil v. CBI, the Supreme Court asserted the mandatory compliance of the less-used provisions of 41, 41A.
  • It affirmed its 2014 verdict in Arnesh Kumar vs State of Bihar, which directed state governments to instruct its police officers to not arrest the accused automatically when the offence is punishable with imprisonment for a term which may be less than seven years.
  • The Court also said that investigating agencies are accountable for compliance with Section 41 and 41A.
  • It reiterated the importance of the “bail over jail” rule and issued a slew of guidelines to prevent unnecessary arrest and remand.
  • The Court laid down a step-by-step procedure to ensure that the rights of the accused, as well as that of the society at large, are respected.
  • It suggested the enactment of a Bail Act to inject clarity in bail-related matters and asked the government to take a cue from the US, UK, Australia, New Zealand and many other legal systems as well as the 268th Law Commission report.
  • Such a piece of legislation will not only make the granting of bail simpler but also make explicit the conditions when bail cannot be granted under the Indian Penal Code, Special Acts and for economic offences.

Still Debated

  • The possibility of Satender Kumar Antil v. CBI turning the tide against pre-trial detentions is being debated in the legal fraternity.
  • A section of commentators does not seem optimistic given that the arrest of the wrongdoer is seen as an effective redressal mechanism by the victim and anything less than immediate detention by the police officer is considered a sign of complacency of the authorities.
  • Apprehensions about the lower courts abiding by the spirit of the judgment have also been raised.
  • Within a fortnight of Satender Kumar Antil v. CBI, the Supreme Court in Vijay Madanlal Chaudhary v. Union of India (PMLA case) upheld the arbitrary conditions of bail under Section 45 of the Prevention of Money Laundering Act, thus discarding the “presumption of innocence” principle.

Two SC judgments that seem at odds with the other in a fortnight have perplexed several legal scholars.

Way forward

  • Operations of investigating agencies should not be seen in isolation from that of courts.
  • The conflicting and ambiguous approach of courts towards pre-trial incarceration and bail provides a justification of sorts to investigating agencies when they flout due processes.
  • That’s one reason Indian jails are flooded with undertrials.
  • The confusion created by the two decisions of the apex court reinforces the need for a Bail Act.

Investigating agencies need to sync their approach with the principles of natural justice. Police officers need to be objective in deciding the need for arrest and the practice of routine arrests should be done away with.

Must Read: Guidelines on arrests and bail orders

Source: Indian Express


Focus on science and technology

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Syllabus

  • Mains – GS 3 (Development)

Context: As India celebrates 75 years of Independence, a higher standard of living is possible if India shifts its focus to science and technology.

  • India spends a meagre 0.7% of its GDP on research and development (R&D)
  • It needs to make some fundamental policy changes to facilitate the transition.

Such Transition should focus on

  • These include increasing the R&D budget to 4% of the nation’s GDP, ensuring that individual institutions implement processes to accommodate the large budget, encouraging individual entrepreneurs and linking science with society.

Strengthening infrastructure

  • First, spending 4% of the national GDP on R&D is required to drive science and innovation.
  • Israel and South Korea are prime examples that drive their respective economies by spending nearly 5% of their GDP on R&D.
  • However, an increase in the science budget to innovate must precede appropriate macro-level policy changes on how and where the money needs to be spent.
  • A part of this increase needs to be earmarked for building physical and intellectual infrastructure across the country, especially in the universities.
  • A first-class infrastructure must be accompanied by well-trained, globally competitive institutional administrators and processes.
  • Second, before any policy changes take effect, individual institutions must implement processes to accommodate the large budget.
  • This requires standardising procedures across institutions and borrowing the best practices from some global counterparts.
  • Inadequate staffing at funding agencies, lack of transparency in fund disbursal, lack of a rigorous international standard review and feedback process, excessive delay in fund disbursal, and an outdated appraisal system are holding our scientists back.
  • Part of the solution is to bring and implement best practices from the industry and some of the best-run science grant administrations abroad.
  • Third – Science for the masses
  • It is time to bring the fruits of science and technology closer to the masses.
  • There is no better way to do this than by promoting and facilitating individual entrepreneurs.
  • This has received increased attention from the government with many positive policy changes.
  • There are no better cradles for creative ideas than our university labs.
  • Fourth, a robust system to link the labs with the entrepreneurs to funnel innovative ideas, products, and solutions to our society needs to be in place.
  • To make this happen, the universities must encourage scientists to innovate and place standardised procedures to take ideas out of labs.
  • Entrepreneurship will only succeed in India if it is backed by a funnel of ideas and a liberal process of taking those ideas out of our university labs.

Where does India can raise funds for such reforms?

  • India cannot do that by taking money away from social infrastructure, rural development or important welfare schemes.
  • This is only possible if India cuts the defence budget.
  • No nation can claim to win wars in the 21st century with increased defence spending.
  • Even the mighty U.S., with an excess of $750 billion dollars in the defence budget, could not defeat the Taliban.
  • We must realise that the next generation of war is economic, not military, and only a science and technology-driven economy can prepare us for that.

Source: The Hindu


Stepping back from an ecological abyss

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Syllabus

  • Mains – GS 3 (Environment)

Context: 1970s and 1980s India saw the rise of environmentalist movements like Chipko, Silent Valley, Narmada, Koel-Karo. The government too responded with a series of forest, wildlife, environment- related laws, and policies. As India celebrates 75 years of Independence, we examine how this legacy is now being carried.

An earth under stress: key facts

  • According to NITI Aayog, 600 million people in India face high to extreme water stress with nearly 70% of water being contaminated; India is placed at 120th amongst 122 countries in the water quality index.
  • Land degradation and desertification are taking place over 30% of our land, according to the Indian Space Research Organisation.
  • The World Bank reported in 2013 that India was losing 5.7% of GDP due to environmental damage.
  • The latest global environmental performance index (EPI) by Yale and Columbia Universities puts India at the bottom among 180 countries.

About: Environment Performance Index (EPI)

India’s performance:

  • With a score of 18.9, India’s 180th ranking comes after Pakistan, Bangladesh, Vietnam, and Myanmar.
  • India has also scored low on rule of law, control of corruption and government effectiveness, according to EPI.

Indian government has rejected the methodology and findings of EPI based on following grounds:

  • The ‘projected GHG emissions levels in 2050’ is computed based on the average rate of change in emission of the last 10 years instead of modelling that considers a longer period, the extent of renewable energy capacity and use, additional carbon sinks, energy efficiency, etc. of respective countries.
  • Forests and wetlands of the country are crucial carbon sinks but have not been factored in.
  • The index computes the extent of ecosystems but not their condition or productivity.
  • The weight of the indicators in which India performed well has been reduced and the reasons for such change have not been explained in the report.

Counter-arguments: India’s declining policy stand on environment:

Favouring corporate access

  • Despite public posturing about the SDGs, the natural elements without which we would all be dead — land, water, biodiversity, air — continue to be ignored or mauled.
  • In fact, the Government is dismantling many environmental and social security policies to favour corporate access to land and natural resources, such as the latest proposals to amend forest and environment laws and the Environment Impact Assessment notification.

The socio-cultural cost of environment degradation:

  • After the LPG Reforms of 1991, the entry of multinational corporations into every sector, and increasing exports of natural materials and imports of toxic waste, the issue of environmental sustainability was relegated to the background.
  • Mining projects crept into previously safe areas including wildlife protected areas and Adivasi territories.
  • Extreme events:
  • The extreme temperatures in India are responsible for 7,40,000 excess deaths annually.
  • The majority of these are likely to be labourers, farmers, and other vulnerable sections who must work, live, and commute in these temperatures without access to air-conditioning, appropriate clothing, etc.

Enabling sustainability – Important case studies

Ensuring ecological sustainability while generating livelihood security and dignity – Vikalp Sangam

  • Five thousand Dalit women farmers of the Deccan Development Society have demonstrated how organic, rainfed farming with traditional seed diversity can provide full food security and sovereignty.

Community-led ecotourism – such as homestays in Uttarakhand and Ladakh and Sikkim, has

combined increased earnings with ecologically sensitive visitation. Linking programmes such as the MGNREGA with such activities, as happening in some States, also has huge potential.

Way forward:

  • This needs fundamental restructuring of economy and governance.
  • Shift away from large infrastructure and industrialisation, replacing mega-corporations with producer cooperatives, ensuring community rights over the ‘commons’ (land, water, forest, coasts, knowledge), and direct decision-making powers to gram sabhas and urban area sabhas while tackling gender and caste inequities. It will entail respect for both human rights and the rights of nature.

Only with the respect for both human rights and the rights of nature, India finish its century of Independence as a nation that has achieved genuine well-being — a real ‘Amrit kaal’.

Source: The Hindu


Daily Practice MCQs

Daily Practice MCQs

Q.1) Consider the following statements about Indian Bureau of Mines (IBM)

  1. Established in 1948, IBM is a multi-disciplinary government organisation under the Department of Mines.
  2. Indian Bureau of Mines (IBM) has its head quarters at Ranchi.
  3. IBM aims to promote systematic and scientific development and optimum utilisation of mineral resources of the country.

Choose the correct statements:

  1. 1 and 2
  2. 2 and 3
  3. 1, 2 and 3
  4. 1 and 3

Q.2) Paalan 1000 app, recently seen in news, is an initiative of?

  1. Ministry of Health and Family Welfare
  2. Ministry of Women and Child Development
  3. Ministry of Labour & Employment
  4. Ministry of Science and Technology

Q.3) Consider the following statements about

  1. Manthan is India’s exclusive platform for driving R&D collaboration at scale and achieving India’s scientific missions and UN SDGs.
  2. It is an initiative of Office of the Principal Scientific Adviser (PSA) to the Government of India (GoI).

Choose the incorrect statements:

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

Comment the answers to the above questions in the comment section below!!

ANSWERS FOR ’17th August 2022 – Daily Practice MCQs’ will be updated along with tomorrow’s Daily Current Affairs.


ANSWERS FOR 16th August 2022 – Daily Practice MCQs

Answers- Daily Practice MCQs

Q.1) – c

Q.2) – c

Q.3) – c

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