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DAILY CURRENT AFFAIRS IAS | UPSC Prelims and Mains Exam – 27th October 2022

  • IASbaba
  • October 27, 2022
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'SAMRIDDHI 2022-23'

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Syllabus

  • Prelims – Governance

Context: Delhi Lieutenant-Governor recently announced a one-time property tax amnesty scheme for residents of the national capital’s authorised and regularised colonies.

About SAMRIDDHI scheme:

  • Under ‘SAMRIDDHI 2022-23 (Strengthening & Augmentation of Municipal Revenue for Infrastructure Development in Delhi)’, people will be able to pay only the principal amount of the current and pending tax of past five years for residential properties.
  • They can get a waiver on all pending dues, including penalty and interest.
  • The duration will be six years in case of commercial properties.
  • The Municipal Corporation of Delhi will have no right to reopen any property tax case after one year.
  • Residential property taxpayers are required to pay the principal amount of property tax for the current year and the previous five years on which a 100% exemption from interest and penalties on the outstanding tax amount will be received and a waiver of all prior dues prior to the previous five years.
  • Non-residential taxpayers are required to pay the principal amount of property tax for the current year and the previous six years on which a 100% exemption from interest and penalties on the outstanding tax amount will be received and a waiver of all prior dues prior to the previous six years.
  • If a taxpayer doesn’t pay his tax debt by the deadline, he will be responsible for paying all back taxes, interest, and penalties dating back to 2004 or the prior year they were unpaid, and shall not be entitled to any waiver.
  • The tax amnesty scheme, according to the announcement, includes a “One Plus Five” option.

Source: The Hindu


Bhoota Kola

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Syllabus

  • Prelims – Art and Culture

Context: Several complaints were filed in Karnataka over statements on a cultural practice called Bhoota kola depicted in the film Kantara.

About Bhoota Kola:

  • Bhoota Kola is an annual ritual performance where local spirits or deities are worshipped.
  • It is believed that a person performing the ritual has temporarily become a god himself.
  • This performer is both feared and respected in the community and is believed to give answers to people’s problems, on behalf of the god.
  • There are several ‘Bhootas’ who are worshipped in the Tulu-speaking belt of Dakshina Kannada, Uttara Kannada and Udupi districts.
  • It is usually performed in small local communities and rural areas.
  • As per Tulu Adivasi tradition, Bhoota Kola or Daiva Kola is a “non-Vedic” ritual where Bhootas or Daivas (guardians and ancestors) are worshipped.
  • Idols representing ‘bhoothas’ are taken out in a procession to the beating of drums and bursting of firecrackers,
  • It is widely believed these spirits protect the village from unfortunate incidents.
  • A trained person performs this ritual.
  • The dancing and pooja ritual is accompanied by drums and music.
  • The performer carrying a sword and jingling bells imitates the ‘devil’.

Source: Indian Express

Previous Year Questions

Q.1) Which one of the following statements about Sangam literature in ancient South India is correct?

  1. Sangam poems are devoid of any reference to material culture.
  2. The social classification of Varna was known to Sangam poets.
  3. Sangam poems have no reference to warrior ethic.
  4. Sangam literature refers to magical forces as irrational.

HAWK air defence equipment

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Syllabus

  • Prelims – Science and Technology

In news: The United States is considering retrieving older HAWK air defence equipment from storage to send to Ukraine which is facing a heavy barrage of Russian drone-fired and cruise missiles.

  • The US sent the shoulder-fired anti-aircraft Stingers to Ukraine and they demonstrated great success in stopping Russian air assaults.
  • The US has provided almost $17 billion worth of security assistance to Ukraine since the launch of Russia’s invasion.

HAWK missile system:

  • The Stinger missile system is a smaller, shorter-range air defence system.
  • The HAWK interceptor missiles would be an upgrade to the Stinger missile system.
  • HAWK, short for ‘Homing All the Way Killer’, entered service with the US Army in 1959, during the Vietnam war.
  • It underwent upgrades over the decades that followed, including a major one in 1971 that produced the so-called I-HAWK (or improved HAWK), with a kill probability of 85%.
  • The HAWK system was the predecessor to the PATRIOT missile defence system that Raytheon built in the 1990s. US forces largely stopped using HAWK from the early years of the new century.
  • The Biden administration would use the Presidential Drawdown Authority (PDA) to transfer the HAWK equipment.
  • PDA allows for the speedy delivery of defence articles and services from Department of Defence stocks to foreign countries and international organisations to respond to unforeseen emergencies.
  • Military assistance under PDA does not require Congressional approval, and could begin arriving within days or even hours of approval.

Source: Indian Express

Previous Year Question

Q.1) What is “Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD)”, sometimes seen in the news? (2018)

  1. An Israeli radar system
  2. India’s indigenous anti-missile programme
  3. An American anti-missile system
  4. A defence collaboration between Japan and South Korea.

Allmania multiflora

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Syllabus

  • Prelims – Environment

In news: The plant was discovered during ongoing studies on Amaranthaceae, the plant family to which the genus Allmania belongs.

About:

  • A rather frail-looking plant spotted on the granite hillocks of Palakkad has been identified as a new species of the genus Allmania.
  • Named Allmania multiflora, it is found at heights ranging between 1,000 to 1,250 metres and is erect, with branches arising from the base.
  • Its stem is red to violet at the base and green above.
  • Shorter tepals and wider gynoecium (parts of the flower), shorter bracts and in the diameter of the seeds are among the characteristics that distinguishes it from Allmania nodiflora.
  • Flowering and fruiting occur from May to September.
  • Allmania multiflora has been so named for having a higher number of florets within an inflorescence.
  • An annual herb that grows to a height of about 60 cm, Allmania multiflora is only the second species of this genus identified so far anywhere.
  • The discovery has come 188 years after the genus and the first species were described by botanists.
  • Field surveys, genetic analysis, and molecular and morphometric investigations demonstrated it as distinct from Allmania nodiflora, which so far had been accepted as the lone Allmania species
  • The first species, Allmania nodiflora, was originally published in 1753. Specimens found in Ceylon (Sri Lanka) were first described as Allmania nodiflora in 1834.
  • IUCN Status: Critically Endangered, due to its small population.
  • The species faced threats due to small population, being accidentally exploited by local people as a vegetable along with amaranths as well as habitat destruction.

Source: The Hindu

Previous Year Question

Q.1) Recently, our scientists have discovered a new and distinct species of banana plant which attains a height of about 11 metres and has orange-coloured fruit pulp. In which part of India has it been discovered? (2016)

  1. Andaman Islands
  2. Anaimalai Forests
  3. Maikala Hills
  4. Tropical rain forests of northeast

Nationally Determined Contributions

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Syllabus

  • Prelims – Environment

In News: The Nationally Determined Contributions (NDC) pledged by countries to arrest climate change are insufficient, noted a new report released by the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).

  • Cumulative CO2 emissions in 2020-2030, based on the latest NDCs, would likely use up 86 per cent of the remaining carbon budget, according to the new NDC Synthesis Report.

About:

  • The UNFCCC’s synthesis report is an annual summary of climate commitments made by countries and their impact on global greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions.
  • The commitments — known as Nationally Determined Contributions — were made by countries who signed on to the Paris Agreement to address climate change.
  • Only 24 countries submitted new or updated NDCs after COP 26 including India.
  • India now stands committed to reducing emissions intensity of its GDP by 45 per cent by 2030 from its 2005 levels.
  • The country will also target about 50 per cent of cumulative electric power installed capacity from non-fossil fuel-based energy resources by 2030.
  • India has made one of its new NDC targets conditional. The country will switch 50 per cent of its total power capacity to non-fossil sources by 2030. This pledge depends on the “transfer of technology and low-cost international finance, including Green Climate Fund (GCF).”
  • The emission levels resulting from a hypothetical implementation of the latest NDCs are about 5 per cent lower in 2030, compared to the report’s previous edition.
  • If implemented, the latest NDCs would lead to 52.4 GtCO2e of GHGs in 2030. And the updated NDCs point to a stronger likelihood of global emissions peaking before 2030 than the previous report.
  • Global emissions must amount to only 31 GtCO2e in 2030 (43 per cent lower in 2030 compared to 2019) to meet the Paris Agreement’s goal of limiting global temperature rise to 1.5 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels.

Concerns:

  • Currently, we are on track for about 2.5°C of temperature rise by 2100, from a possible range of 2.1°C to 2.9°C.
  • Most worrying is the impact on the carbon budget — a biophysical threshold of CO2 that can be emitted to prevent global average temperatures from rising above a certain level.
  • Carbon budgets are constructed on the premise that there is a near-linear relationship between rising global temperatures and the level of cumulative atmospheric CO2.
  • Breaching 1.5°C would lead to irreversible damage to vital planetary features such as the Greenland Ice Sheet, the west Antarctic Ice Sheet and tropical coral reefs. It can lead to more floods, droughts, heat, disease, storms.

LT-LEDS:

  • UNFCCC summarises 53 long-term emission reduction plans submitted by countries. These plans are known as long-term low-emission development strategies (LT-LEDS).
  • These plans typically follow the announcement of a long-term target, such as net zero emissions by 2050 or 2070.
  • LT-LEDS are typically broader in scope than NDCs and incorporate developmental goals as well as required levels of investment and government expenditure.
  • Alignment between NDCs and LT-LEDS is still unclear — only 8 per cent of countries mentioned that their NDCs are aligned with their LT-LEDS.

India’s initiatives:

  • Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs)
  • ‘Panchamrit’ announced at COP 26
  • net-zero by 2070
  • To reduce Emissions Intensity of its GDP by 45 percent by 2030
  • LIFE’– ‘Lifestyle for Environment’
  • Principle of common but differentiated responsibilities and respective capabilities (CBDR-RC)
  • National Solar Mission (NSM)
  • Launched in 2010, NSM targets installing 100 GW grid-connected solar power plants by the year 2022 to achieve about 40% cumulative electric power installed capacity from non-fossil fuel-based energy resources and to reduce the emission intensity of its GDP by 33 to 35 percent from 2005 level by 2030.
  • National Mission for Enhanced Energy Efficiency
  • Perform Achieve and Trade Scheme (PAT)
  • Market Transformation for Energy Efficiency (MTEE)
  • Energy Efficiency Financing Platform (EEFP)
  • Framework for Energy Efficient Economic Development (FEEED)
  • Partial Risk Guarantee Fund for Energy Efficiency (PRGFEE)
  • Venture Capital Fund for Energy Efficiency (VCFEE) to promote energy efficiency
  • National Energy Conservation Award and Painting Competition
  • National Mission on Sustainable Habitat
  • Promoting low-carbon urban growth towards reducing GHG emissions intensity for achieving India’s NDCs.

Source: Down to Earth


Hate Speech

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Syllabus

  • Prelims – Current Affairs

In News: A Supreme Court bench directed the police chiefs of Delhi, Uttar Pradesh and Uttarakhand to take “immediate” suo motu action against any hate speech, by lodging criminal cases without waiting for formal complaints.

  • While India does not have a formal legal framework for dealing with hate speech, a set of provisions of the Indian Penal Code (IPC), loosely defining hate speech, are invoked. These are primarily laws to deal with offences against religions.

IPC Sec 295A & others:

  • Section 295A was brought in 1927 and is one of the main provisions in the IPC chapter to penalise religious offences.
  • The chapter includes offences to penalise damage or defilement of a place of worship with intent to insult the religion (Section 295); trespassing in a place of sepulture (Section 297); uttering, words, etc, with deliberate intent to wound the religious feelings of any person (Section 298); and disturbing a religious assembly (Section 296).
  • The state often invokes Section 295A along with Section 153A, which penalises promoting enmity between different groups on grounds of religion, race, place of birth, residence, language, etc, and doing acts prejudicial to maintenance of harmony and Section 505 of the IPC that punishes statements conducing to public mischief.
  • Section 66A of the Information Technology Act, that punishes sending offensive messages through communication services is added when such speech is made online.

Judicial references:

  • In 1927, Rangeela Rasool case, examined the question whether targeting religious figures is different from targeting religions.
  • While the magistrate had convicted the publisher Rajpaul under Section 153A, the Lahore High Court held that a “scurrilous and foul attack” on a religious leader would prima facie fall under Section 153A — although not every criticism.
  • This debate in interpretation prompted the colonial government to enact Section 295A with a wider scope to address these issues.
  • In 1957, the constitutionality of Section 295A was challenged in Ramji Lal Modi v State of Uttar Pradesh
  • The Supreme Court upheld the law on the grounds that it was brought in to preserve “public order” – an exemption to the fundamental right to freedom of speech and expression and the right to religion recognised by the Constitution.
  • In a 1960 ruling, in Baba Khalil Ahmed v State of Uttar Pradesh, the Supreme Court said that “malicious intent” of the accused can be determined not just from the speech in question but also from external sources.
  • In 1973, in Ramlal Puri v State of Madhya Pradesh, the Supreme Court said the test to be applied is whether the speech in question offends the “ordinary man of common sense” and not the “hypersensitive man”.
  • In Baragur Ramachandrappa v State of Karnataka, a 2007 decision of the Supreme Court, “a pragmatic approach” was invoked in interpreting Section 295A.
  • The state government had issued a notification banning Dharmakaarana, a Kannada novel written by award-winning author P V Narayana, on the ground that it was hate speech, invoking a gamut of provisions including Section 295A. The pragmatic approach was to restore public order by “forfeiture” of a book over individual interest of free speech.

Concerns:

  • The broad, vague terms in the laws are often invoked in its misuse.
  • Lower conviction rates for these provisions indicate that the process — where a police officer can arrest without a warrant — is often the punishment.
  • these laws are intended for the state to step in and restore “public order” rather than protect free speech.

Source: Indian Express


Dirty Bomb

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Syllabus

  • Prelims – Science and Technology

In news: Russian Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu called up Defence Ministers of India and China to convey Moscow’s concern about a purported Ukrainian plan to use a “dirty bomb” designed to spread radioactive material.

  • Defence Minister Rajnath Singh told Shoigu that the Ukraine conflict should be resolved through dialogue and diplomacy and the nuclear option should not be resorted to by any side.

Nuclear Bombs:

  • A nuclear bomb is an explosive device that derives its destructive force from nuclear reactions, either fission (fission bomb) or a combination of fission and fusion reactions (thermonuclear bomb), producing a nuclear explosion.
  • Both bomb types release large quantities of energy from relatively small amounts of matter.
  • They are weapons of mass destruction as they can devastate an entire city by blast, fire, and radiation.
  • In 1942, under the Manhattan Project, the first nuclear bombs were dropped on Japan in Hiroshima and Nagasaki by U.S. during the Second World War.
  • The Nuclear Proliferation Treaty (NPT) aims to prevent the spread of nuclear weapons and weapons technology, to foster the peaceful uses of nuclear energy, and to further the goal of disarmament.
  • The Treaty establishes a safeguards system under the responsibility of the IAEA, which also plays a central role under the Treaty in areas of technology transfer for peaceful purposes.
  • The UN Treaty on the Prohibition of nuclear weapons (TPNW)
  • prohibits activities like not to develop, test, produce, acquire, possess, stockpile, use or threaten to use nuclear weapons.
  • Not to deploy nuclear weapons on national territory

Source:  Indian Express


Foreign Contribution (Regulation) Act (FCRA) and NGO

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Syllabus

  • Mains – Governance

Context: Recently, the Ministry of Home Affairs has cancelled the Foreign Contribution (Regulation) Act (FCRA) licence of Rajiv Gandhi Foundation (RGF) and Rajiv Gandhi Charitable Trust (RGCT).

About Foreign Contribution (Regulation) Act (FCRA)

Aim: To regulate the acceptance and utilisation of foreign contribution or foreign hospitality by certain individuals or associations or companies and to prohibit such acceptance and utilisation for any activities detrimental to the national interest.

Origin: The law was enacted during the Emergency in 1976 amid apprehension that foreign powers were interfering in India’s affairs by pumping in funds through independent organisations. These concerns had been expressed in Parliament as early as in 1969.

Function: The law sought to regulate foreign donations to individuals and associations so that they functioned in a manner consistent with the values of a sovereign democratic republic.

Amendment: An amended FCRA was enacted under the UPA government in 2010.

  • The law was amended again by the current government in 2020, giving the government tighter control and scrutiny over the receipt and utilisation of foreign funds by NGOs.
  • A legal challenge to the 2020 amendments was rejected by the Supreme Court in April this year.

Provisions of the Act:

  • Every person or NGO wishing to receive foreign donations to be registered under the Act,
  • To open a bank account for the receipt of the foreign funds in State Bank of India, Delhi.
  • To utilise those funds only for the purpose for which they have been received, and as stipulated in the Act.
  • They are also required to file annual returns, and they must not transfer the funds to another NGO.
  • The Act prohibits receipt of foreign funds by candidates for elections, journalists or newspaper and media broadcast companies, judges and government servants, members of legislature and political parties or their office-bearers, and organisations of a political nature.

Registration under FCRA:

  • NGOs that want to receive foreign funds must apply online in a prescribed format with the required documentation.
  • The registrations are granted to individuals or associations that have definite cultural, economic, educational, religious, and social programmes.
  • Post application, the MHA makes inquiries through the Intelligence Bureau into the antecedents of the applicant, and accordingly processes the application.
  • The MHA is required to approve or reject the application within 90 days — failing which it is expected to inform the NGO of the reasons for the same.

Validity and Renewal:

  • Once granted, FCRA registration is valid for five years.
  • NGOs are expected to apply for renewal within six months of the date of expiry of registration. In case of failure to apply for renewal, the registration is deemed to have expired.

Cancellation of approval:

  • The government reserves the right to cancel the FCRA registration of any NGO if it finds it to be in violation of the Act.
  • Registration can be cancelled for a range of reasons:
  • If in the opinion of the Central Government, it is necessary in the public interest to cancel the certificate.
  • Once the registration of an NGO is cancelled, it is not eligible for re-registration for three years.
  • All orders of the government can be challenged in the High Court.

New guidelines to banks on Foreign Contribution (Regulation) Act rules:

  • State Bank of India’s New Delhi branch: A new provision that makes it mandatory for all NGOs to receive foreign funds in a designated bank account at the State Bank of India’s New Delhi branch was inserted.
  • Designated FCRA account: All NGOs seeking foreign donations have to open a designated FCRA account at the SBI branch.
    • The NGOs can retain their existing FCRA account in any other bank but it will have to be mandatorily linked to the SBI branch in New Delhi.
  • Only banking channels allowed: Foreign contribution has to be received only through banking channels and it has to be accounted for in the manner prescribed.
  • OCI or PIO: Donations are given in Indian rupees by any foreign source including foreigners of Indian origin like OCI or PIO cardholders” should also be treated as foreign contributions.
  • Sovereignty and Integrity: It requires NGOs to give an undertaking that the acceptance of foreign funds is not likely to prejudicially affect the sovereignty and integrity of India or impact friendly relations with any foreign state and does not disrupt communal harmony.

Criticisms about Amendment:

Unnecessary International Criticism:

  • Significantly all the NGOs on the latest list work on climate change and environmental projects and/or child rights and slavery projects.
  • These are the subjects where the government has been sensitive to international criticism.
  • International Pressure regarding Law Making and over-compliance:
  • Despite India’s record in complying with the Paris agreement, global pressures are intensifying on India to raise the Nationally Determined Contributions.
  • It is detrimental to the Indian image and poverty reduction plans.

NGOs involved in violation of FCRA:

  • Several pro­climate NGOs are focusing on advocacy against coal in the media.
  • It is considered a violation of FCRA provisions.

Biased data and poor ranking on several Indices:

  • In 2017, the International Labour Organisation’s Global Slavery Index ranked India 53rd of 167 countries where
  • “Modern slavery” was prevalent, and
  • as the country with the highest number of people in forced labour.
  • MHA questioned the credibility of the data.

Internal Security:

  • 3 US non-governmental organisations were found to be fuelling protests at the Kudankulam Nuclear Project Site after strained Indo-US relations.

Fraught issue for several years:

  • FCRA clearances have been a fraught issue for several years, and the government has often been accused of targeting NGOs for political or ideological reasons by cancelling or not renewing their clearances.

How else can one receive foreign funding:

  • Prior permission: The other way to receive foreign contributions is by applying for prior permission.
  • A letter of commitment from the foreign donor specifying the amount and purpose is also required.
  • Specific activities or projects: It is granted for receipt of a specific amount from a specific donor for carrying out specific activities or projects.
  • Registration: The association should be registered under statutes such as the Societies Registration Act, 1860, the Indian Trusts Act, 1882, or Section 25 of the Companies Act, 1956.

Source:  Indian Express


We Need True Social Enterprises

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Syllabus

  • Mains – Governance

Context: Corporations with large financial resources and access to cutting-edge technologies can be a big force for change. However, only a few corporations are good corporate citizens who show care for society and the environment through consistent actions and “CSR”.

  • The business corporations are given the protection of limited liability in order to produce returns for their investors but these corporations consider people and the planet as only the resources for profits, and citizens as merely the customers or workers.
  • They try to maximise their profit by the exploitation of consumers and workers, and the relentless extraction of resources of ‘commons’ that to at least cost to them.
  • In this corporate culture, government regulations on wages and employment, and to protect natural resources, are considered impediments to ‘ease of doing business’.
  • Corporations are not fully responsible citizens of society.
  • They “give back” only small portions of their profits as CSR and philanthropy i.e., only small fractions of the resources they take, or borrow, from society and nature for producing trillions of dollars of revenues are invested for the common welfare.

About Social Enterprise:

  • It is a structure that combines the notion of a business with the principles of a philanthropic non-profit organisation.
  • The entire investment is focused on the social and environmental mission, which aids in the success of economic efforts.
  • As change agents who use novel ideas to produce major change, social entrepreneurs are often referred to as social innovators.
  • Features of a social enterprise:
    • Have a clear public or community mission (social, environmental, cultural or economic) that is part of the governing documents.
    • Generate the majority of its income through business activities.
    • Reinvest the majority of its profits into achieving the public / community mission.

Earth for All: A Survival Guide for Humanity- Systemic solutions for improving people, the planet, and profit:

  • This guide produced collaboratively by economists, ecologists, and social scientists provide systemic solutions for improving people, the planet, and profit.
  • Following the Club of Rome, it provides for a ‘whole system’ model which includes feedback loops between the economy, the natural environment, and social systems incorporating empirical data from diverse sources, and thus, this model of an economy is not a closed system.
  • The model projects outcomes if the present pattern of solutions continues and compares them with an alternative approach to accelerate systemic change.
  • It has given the concept of ‘Too Little Too Late’ and ‘Big Leap’ approaches followed by the economies around the world.

Too Little Too Late Approach:

  • The present path is called “Too Little Too Late” wherein the businesses are making the world miserable for the next generation for present gains and thus it will ultimately lead to environmental and societal collapse later this century
  • The approach includes lots of “do-gooding” and “green washing” with insufficient systemic change.
  • It preserves the present inequitable distribution of wealth and power.
  • The model forecasts that by 2050, on its present trajectory, India will be the most unequal society in the world).

Big Leap Approach:

  • Big Leap evolves a more equitable distribution of economic wealth and social power and it avoids the need for disruptive political revolutions.
  • It can prevent catastrophe and does not require new technology breakthroughs.

Solutions for reconnecting corporations as citizens of society:

Citizens Fund:

  • It is an innovative solution proposed in Earth for All where the citizens and the Corporations using the “commons” for private purposes must pay all other citizens rent for using their shared resources.
  • Although the Governments use taxes levied on corporations for the welfare schemes of citizens but on account of inefficiency in spending this money by the government, citizens resist tax increases.
  • Contrary to this, payments into the Citizens Fund will not go into the government’s account and thus, these will be paid as dividends directly and equally to all citizens to use as they will.
  • This is like Universal Basic Income (UBI) which is expected to be paid out of government revenues.
  • Since wealthy citizens and corporations are reluctant to pay more taxes, UBI becomes unviable whereas payments into the Citizens Fund will be made only by those who use common resources which is easier to justify morally.

Different forms for implementing the concept of Citizens Fund:

  • One variation is to pay the “rent” for using community resources to self-governing community organisations, rather than to individual citizens.
  • That way, the funds can be used for community purposes and can go back into the nurturing of common resources. For instance, the funds can go to village panchayats.
  • Changes in the forms and accounting practices of corporations:
  • Corporations must become better citizens by becoming accountable to all stakeholders for the impacts of their operations and products.
  • Presently, they are legally required to account only to their shareholders and those who provide finance whereas corporate accounting to society for the use of society’s resources is voluntary.
  • Legally mandated changes are required for businesses to account for use of the commons.

Need for a social enterprise:

  • The concept of “social enterprise” is gaining some traction and they are known as ‘social ‘as their products are “greener”.
  • The “for profit” corporations also limit profit levels in their charters. However, the governance of these corporations remains largely controlled by investors.
  • The purpose of a societal enterprise is to be a trustee of the commons and to serve the community.
  • A truly “societal enterprise” will be governed by all its principal stakeholders and the design of its governance must ensure this.
  • It must be accountable to all stakeholders in order to fulfil its duties as a responsible citizen.

Way Forward:

  • Social enterprises act as influential drivers for the sustainability transition.
  • However, other individuals and businesses should also consider playing their part and become recognized as contributors to a better world.
  • The reach of many social enterprises is often limited by their lack of resources.
  • Thus, the Corporations should therefore look for more opportunities for collaboration and partnerships and dedicating funds to strengthen influencing capacity.

Source: The Hindu


A Renewable Energy Revolution, Rooted in Agriculture

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Syllabus

  • Mains – Environment

Context: The beginnings of a renewable energy revolution rooted in agriculture are taking shape in India with the first bio-energy plant of a private company in Sangrur district of Punjab having commenced commercial operations recently. It will produce Compressed Bio Gas (CBG) from paddy straw, thus converting agricultural waste into wealth.

About Bioenergy:

  • Bioenergy is renewable energy made available from organic materials derived from biological sources. It is the energy derived from biomass such as bagasse, cotton stalk, coconut shell and wood, plants, etc.

Compressed Bio Gas (CBG):

  • Bio-gas is produced naturally through process of anaerobic decomposition from waste and bio-mass sources like agriculture residue, cattle dung, municipal solid waste, sugarcane press mud, sewage treatment plant (STP) waste, etc.
  • It is called CBG after biogas is purified and compressed, which has pure methane content of over 95%. CBG is exactly similar to commercially available natural gas in its composition and energy potential. Its calorific value and other properties are similar to CNG.

The need for CBG:

  • It has become common practice among farmers in Punjab, Haryana and western Uttar Pradesh to dispose of paddy stubble and the biomass by setting it on fire to prepare fields for the next crop, which has to be sown in a window of three to four weeks. The resultant clouds of smoke engulf the entire National Capital Territory (NCT) of Delhi and neighbouring States for several weeks between October to December. This plays havoc with the environment and affects human and livestock health.
  • The Capital’s air quality index (AQI) deteriorated slightly and continued to be in the “poor” category on Tuesday, according to the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) data of October 2022.
  • Meanwhile, recently the Delhi government started spraying Pusa bio-decomposer solution in paddy fields in the city to reduce stubble burning. Commission for Air Quality Management in NCR and Adjoining Areas (CAQM) recently announced an immediate ban on all construction and demolition activity unregistered with the authority.

Some measures:

  • The Government of India has put in place several measures and spent a lot of money in tackling the problem. The Commission for Air Quality Management in National Capital Region and Adjoining Areas (CAQM) had developed a framework and action plan for the effective prevention and control of stubble burning. The framework/action plan includes:
  • in-situ management: incorporation of paddy straw and stubble in the soil using heavily subsidised machinery (supported by crop residue management (CRM) Scheme of the Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers Welfare).
  • Ex-situ management, i.e., CRM efforts include the use of paddy straw for biomass power projects and co-firing in thermal power plants, and as feedstock for 2G ethanol plants, feed stock in CBG plants, fuel in industrial boilers, waste-to-energy (WTE) plants, and in packaging materials, etc.
  • Additionally, measures are in place to ban stubble burning, to monitor and enforce this, and initiating awareness generation. Despite these efforts, farm fires continued unabated.

A project in place

Ex-situ uses of rice straw:

  • In its search for a workable solution, NITI Aayog approached FAO India in 2019 to explore converting paddy straw and stubble into energy and identify possible ex-situ uses of rice straw to complement the in-situ programme.
  • The results suggest that to mobilise 30% of the rice straw produced in Punjab, an investment of around ₹2,201 crore would be needed to collect, transport and store it within a 20-day period. This would reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by about 9.7 million tonnes of CO 2 equivalent and around 66,000 tonnes of PM 2.5.

Pellets:

  • A techno-economic assessment of energy technologies suggested that rice straw can be cost-effective for producing CBG and pellets. Pellets can be used in thermal power plants as a substitute of coal and CBG as a transport fuel.
  • Union Environment Ministry recently announced a ₹50 crore scheme to incentivise industrialists and entrepreneurs to set up paddy straw palletisation and torrefaction plants.
    • Paddy straw made into pellets or torrefied can be mixed along with coal in thermal power plants.
    • This saves coal as well as reduces carbon emissions that would otherwise have been emitted were the straw burnt in the fields, as is the regular practice of most farmers in Punjab and Haryana.

SATAT Scheme:

  • With 30% of the rice straw produced in Punjab, a 5% CBG production target set by the Government of India scheme, “Sustainable Alternative Towards Affordable Transportation (SATAT)” can be met.

SATAT has following four objectives:

  • Utilising more than 62 million metric tonnes of waste generated every year in India,
  • Cutting down import dependence,
  • Supplementing job creation in the country
  • Reducing vehicular emissions and pollution from burning of agricultural / organic waste.
  • From paddy stubble, CBG valued at ₹46 per kg as per the SATAT scheme will be produced. Paddy straw from one acre of crop can yield energy output (CBG) worth more than ₹17,000 — an addition of more than 30% to the main output of grain. This initiative is an ideal example of a ‘wealth from waste’ approach and circular economy.

Way forward:

  • There are several other benefits of adopting CBG for a renewable energy revolution:
    • the slurry or fermented organic manure from the plant (CBG) will be useful as compost to replenish soils heavily depleted of organic matter, and reduce dependence on chemical fertilizers.
    • The plant will also provide employment opportunities to rural youth in the large value chain, from paddy harvest, collection, baling, transport and handling of biomass and in the CBG plant.
  • Every year, about 27 million tonne of paddy straw is generated in Punjab and Haryana. About a third of this straw is from non-basmati rice, which cannot be fed to cattle as fodder because of its high silica content. This is usually burnt which adds to the air pollution crisis in Delhi NCR and adjoining areas. So, converting it into CBG is the last resort.

From the point of view of environmental benefits, renewable energy, value addition to the economy, farmers’ income and sustainability, this initiative is a win-win situation. It is replicable and scalable across the country and can boost the rural economy.

Source:  The Hindu


Daily Practice MCQs

Daily Practice MCQs

Q.1) With reference to HAWK missile system, which of the following statement(s) is/are correct?

  1. It is a Russian shoulder-fired anti-aircraft system.
  2. It has a kill probability of 100%.

Select the correct answer using the codes given below.

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

Q.2) The species called Allmania multiflora are discovered recently related to

  1. Critically endangered snake species
  2. Critically endangered herb species
  3. Alien plant species
  4. Native plant species

Q.3) Which of the schemes launched by Indian Government towards Nationally Determined Contributions to reduce carbon footprint:

  1. National Solar Mission
  2. National Mission for Enhanced Energy Efficiency
  3. National Mission on Sustainable Habitat

Select the correct answer code using the code given below:

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

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

ANSWERS FOR ’27th October 2022 – Daily Practice MCQs’ will be updated along with tomorrow’s Daily Current Affairs.st


ANSWERS FOR 26th October – Daily Practice MCQs

Answers- Daily Practice MCQs

Q.1) – a

Q.2) – c

Q.3) – d

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