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DAILY CURRENT AFFAIRS IAS | UPSC Prelims and Mains Exam – 16th December 2022

  • IASbaba
  • December 16, 2022
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(PRELIMS & MAINS Focus)


Asola Bhatti sanctuary

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Syllabus

  • Prelims – Environment and Ecology

Context: The Delhi Forest Department is in the process of procuring electric cycles and golf carts to enable visits to the Asola Bhatti Wildlife Sanctuary.

About Asola Bhatti sanctuary:

  • Asola-Bhatti Wildlife Sanctuary covering 32.71 km2 area on the Southern Delhi Ridge of Aravalli hill range on Delhi-Haryana border lies in Southern Delhi as well as northern parts of Faridabad and Gurugram districts of Haryana state.
  • Biodiversity significance of Ridge lies in its merger with Indo-Gangetic plains, as it is the part of the Northern Aravalli leopard wildlife corridor, an important wildlife corridor which starts from the Sariska National Park in Rajasthan, passes through Nuh, Faridabad and Gurugram districts of Haryana and ends at Delhi Ridge.
  • This protected area contains one of the last surviving remnants of Delhi Ridge hill range and its semi-arid forest habitat and its dependent wildlife.
  • Once the whole Delhi Ridge was a forested area, but development has destroyed several parts of it.
  • Historical place around sanctuary are Suraj Kund and Anangpur Dam (both in Haryana), Tughlaqabad Fort and Adilabad ruins (both in Delhi), Chhatarpur Temple (in Delhi).
  • There are several dozen lakes formed in the abandoned open pit mines in and around the sanctuary. It is contiguous to the seasonal waterfalls in Pali-Dhuaj-Kot villages of Faridabad and the sacred Mangar Bani.

Biodiversity and important species:

  • There are about 193 species of birds reported from Asola along with large number of medicinal plants, more than 80 species of butterflies, hundreds of other insects, mammals such as leopards, nilgai (blue bull, the largest antelope of the country), blackbuck (fastest land animal surviving in the wild in the country), black-napped hare, Indian crested porcupine, small Indian civet, golden jackal, and jungle cat.
  • Delhi Ridge is the northernmost extension of one of the oldest mountain systems of the world, Aravalli range, which begin in the state of Gujarat near Great Rann of Kutch.
  • Biogeographically it represents outlier of Aravalli Mountain Range among protected area in India.
  • It has a high potential for establishing conservation education and nature interpretation programs.
  • It is Delhi NCR’s green lung, carbon sink, source of ground water recharge, and shelterbelt against advancing aridity.
  • Plant species include butea monosperma (dhak or flame of forest), anogeissus (dhok), Wrightia tinctoria (inderjao), Indian elm, neolamarckia cadamba (kadamba), prosopis cineraria (jaand), tinospora cordifolia (giloi), etc.

Source:  Indian Express

Previous Year Questions

Q.1) Which of the following Protected Areas are located in Cauvery basin? (2020)

  1. Nagarhole National Park
  2. Papikonda National Park
  3. Sathyamangalam Tiger Reserve
  4. Wayanad Wildlife Sanctuary

Select the correct answer using the code given below:

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

Central Consumer Protection Authority (CCPA)

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Syllabus

  • Prelims – Governance

Context: The Central Consumer Protection Authority (CCPA) has sought explanation from e-commerce player Flipkart regarding sale of acid on its online platform. The explanation follows reports that in recent acid attack on a girl in Dwarka, Delhi, the accused had bought acid from Flipkart.

About Central Consumer Protection Authority (CCPA):

  • CCPA is a regulatory body established in 2020 based on the provisions of the Consumer Protection Act, 2019.
  • CCPA works under the administrative control of the Ministry of Consumer Affairs.

Composition:

  • It will have a Chief Commissioner as head, and only two other commissioners as members — one of whom will deal with matters relating to goods while the other will look into cases relating to services.
  • The CCPA will have an Investigation Wing that will be headed by a Director General.
  • District Collectors too, will have the power to investigate complaints of violations of consumer rights, unfair trade practices, and false or misleading advertisements.

Powers and Functions:

  • Inquire or investigate into matters relating to violations of consumer rights or unfair trade practices suo moto, or on a complaint received, or on a direction from the central government.
  • Recall goods or withdrawal of services that are “dangerous, hazardous, or unsafe.
  • Pass an order for refund the prices of goods or services so recalled to purchasers of such goods or services; discontinuation of practices which are unfair and prejudicial to consumer’s interest”.
  • Impose a penalty up to Rs 10 lakh, with imprisonment up to two years, on the manufacturer or endorser of false and misleading advertisements. The penalty may go up to Rs 50 lakh, with imprisonment up to five years, for every subsequent offence committed by the same manufacturer or endorser.
  • Ban the endorser of a false or misleading advertisement from making endorsement of any products or services in the future, for a period that may extend to one year. The ban may extend up to three years in every subsequent violation of the Act.
  • File complaints of violation of consumer rights or unfair trade practices before the District Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission, State Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission, and the National Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission.

About Consumer Protection Act 2019

Definition of consumer:

  • A consumer is defined as a person who buys any good or avails a service for a consideration.
  • It does not include a person who obtains a good for resale or a good or service for commercial purpose.
  • It covers transactions through all modes including offline, and online through electronic means, teleshopping, multi-level marketing or direct selling.

The Act defines “misleading advertisement” in relation to any product or service, as “an advertisement, which—(i) falsely describes such product or service; or (ii) gives a false guarantee to, or is likely to mislead the consumers as to the nature, substance, quantity or quality of such product or service; or (iii) conveys an express or implied representation which, if made by the manufacturer or seller or service provider thereof, would constitute an unfair trade practice; or (iv) deliberately conceals important information”.

Rights of consumers: Six consumer rights have been defined in the Act, including the right to: right to safety, right to be Informed, right to choose, right to be heard, right to seek redressal and right to consumer education.

About Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission: Consumer Disputes Redressal Commissions (CDRCs) will be set up at the district, state, and national levels. A consumer can file a complaint with CDRCs in relation to:

  • unfair or restrictive trade practices;
  • defective goods or services;
  • overcharging or deceptive charging; and
  • the offering of goods or services for sale which may be hazardous to life and safety.

Complaints against an unfair contract can be filed with only the State and National Appeals from a District CDRC will be heard by the State CDRC. Appeals from the State CDRC will be heard by the National CDRC. Final appeal will lie before the Supreme Court.

Jurisdiction of CDRCs: The District CDRC will entertain complaints where value of goods and services does not exceed Rs one crore. The State CDRC will entertain complaints when the value is more than Rs one crore but does not exceed Rs 10 crore. Complaints with value of goods and services over Rs 10 crore will be entertained by the National CDRC.

  • The New Act also introduces the concept of product liability and brings within its scope, the product manufacturer, product service provider and product seller, for any claim for compensation.
  • The Act provides for punishment by a competent court for manufacture or sale of adulterant/spurious goods.
  • The court may, in case of first conviction, suspend any license issued to the person for a period of up to two years, and in case of second or subsequent conviction, cancel the license.

Increased compensation:

  • The CCPA may impose a penalty on a manufacturer or an endorser of up to Rs 10 lakh and imprisonment for up to two years for a false or misleading advertisement.
  • In case of a subsequent offence, the fine may extend to Rs 50 lakh and imprisonment of up to five years.

Mediation:

  • The act provides for reference to mediation by Consumer Commissions wherever scope for early settlement exists and parties agree for it.
  • Mediation Cells to be attached to Consumer Commissions. Mediation to be held in consumer mediation cells.
  • Panel of mediators to be selected by a selection committee consisting of the President and a member of Consumer Commission.

The e-commerce portals will have to set up a robust consumer redressal mechanism as part of the rules under the Consumer Protection Act, 2019.

  • They will also have to mention the country of origin which are necessary for enabling the consumer to make an informed decision at the pre-purchase stage on its platform.
  • The e-commerce platforms also have to acknowledge the receipt of any consumer complaint within forty-eight hours and redress the complaint within one month from the date of receipt under this Act.

Source: Business Standard


Thoracic aortic aneurysm

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Syllabus

  • Prelims – Science and Technology

Context: Grant Wahl, a US sportswriter covering the World Cup, died in Qatar. The autopsy found that Wahl had an “ascending thoracic aortic aneurysm”, a weakening of the blood vessel that often goes undetected.

About Thoracic aortic aneurysm:

  • An aneurysm is a localized weakening of the wall of a blood vessel, which causes the vessel to bulge in that area, as a result of which the vessel may widen to more than 50 per cent of its usual diameter.
  • Aneurysms are more commonly seen in arteries than in veins.
  • The aorta is the main artery that carries oxygenated blood from the heart to the rest of the body and it is also the body’s largest blood vessel.
  • An aortic aneurysm is a weakening and bulging in a portion of the aorta.
  • Thoracic refers to that section of the blood vessel that passes through the chest.
  • Aneurysms occur more often in the portion of the aorta that runs through the abdomen rather than the chest (causing what is called “abdominal aortic aneurysm”).
  • The vessel may ultimately burst or separate, triggering a bleeding rush that can be life-threatening, and potentially lethal.

Causes and Symptoms

  • degenerative disease that causes breakdown of the aortic wall tissue;
  • genetic disorders such as Marfan syndrome;
  • It is a genetic condition that affects connective tissue and can damage the blood vessels and cause aneurysms of the aorta
  • family history;
  • vasculitis, or inflammation of the arteries; and
  • atherosclerosis, or the build-up of plaque on the walls of the artery.
  • In rare cases, an infection can also trigger an aneurysm.

Treatment:

  • Treatment may include monitoring the size and rate of growth of the bulge through an MRI or CT, and managing risk factors or a surgery.

Source:Indian Express

Previous Year Question

Q.1) Consider the following statements:

  1. Biofilms can form on medical implants within human tissues.
  2. Biofilms can form on food and food processing surfaces.
  3. Biofilms can exhibit antibiotic resistance.

Which of the statements given above are correct? (2022)

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

Rashtriya Gram Swaraj Abhiyan

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Syllabus

  • Prelims – Governance

In News: Under RGSA scheme, funds to the tune of Rs. 1,538.32 crore has been released to States/ UTs during the last three years

  • It includes construction of Panchayat Bhawans, procurement of computers and peripherals.

About RGSA:

              

  • Launched in 2018
  • Also known as the ‘Transformation of Aspirational Districts’ program
  • Aims to transform selected districts quickly and effectively.
  • Districts were selected on parameters like poverty, public health, nutrition, education, gender, sanitation, drinking water, livelihood generation which are in sync with SDGs and fall within the realm of Panchayats.
  • Implemented as core Centrally Sponsored Scheme (CSS) for four years viz., from 2018-19 to 2021-22 with State and Central shares.
  • Under the RGSA the Ministry of Panchayati Raj has been supplementing the efforts of State governments, even though Panchayat is a State subject.
  • MoPR provides financial support to States for certain infrastructural facilities such as Gram Panchayat Bhawans, computers and peripherals for GPs on a limited scale on demand from the states along with funding the capacity building of Panchayati Raj Institutions.
  • Ministry of Panchayati Raj is implementing e-Panchayat Mission Mode Project (MMP) to provide digital solutions such as e-GramSwaraj application that addresses planning, budgeting, accounting, monitoring, payments by the Panchayats with a view to bring in transparency, accountability and efficiency in local governance.
  • The application of Audit Online for auditing the Panchayat accounts on utilization of Finance Commission Funds has been put in place.

Source: PIB

Previous Year Questions

Q.1) Atal Innovation Mission is set up under the (2019)

  1. Department of Science and Technology
  2. Ministry of Labour and Employment
  3. NITI Aayog
  4. Ministry of Skill Development and Entrepreneurship

Atal Vayo Abhyuday Yojana (AVYAY)

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Syllabus

  • Prelims – Governance

About AVYAY:

  • Run by Department of Social Justice and Empowerment
  • It is a central sector scheme

Objectives:

  • To improve the quality of life of the Senior Citizens by providing basic amenities like shelter, food, medical care and entertainment opportunities, free of cost to indigent senior citizens.
  • Provision of financial security, healthcare, nutrition, shelter, welfare etc. for senior citizens.
  • Encouraging productive and active ageing through providing support for capacity building of State/ UT Governments/Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs)/Panchayati Raj Institutions (PRIs) / local bodies and the community at large.

Integrated Programme for Senior Citizens(IPSrC):

  • It is a component of AVYAY
  • Functions: Senior citizen homes (old age homes) are provided in gap districts, i.e. districts not having senior citizen homes which includes senior citizen homes not being maintained even by the State Government.
  • Applications are invited from eligible organisations on e-Anudaan portal only.
  • Organisations are then selected on the basis of documents provided by them, and also the recommendation of the respective State/ UT Government.

Source: PIB


Barak River

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Syllabus

  • Prelims – Geography

In News: The assured depth dredging work of river Barak (NW-16) from Badarpur to Bhanga (10.5 km) has been awarded to Dredging Corporation of  India.

  • Funds have been disbursed by the World Bank to improve the waterways in Assam

Barak River:

  • Barak rises in the Manipur hills and enters the plains near Lakhipur, Assam
  • The river enters Bangladesh as Surma and Kushiyara.
  • Later, the river is called the Meghna and receives the combined flow of the Ganga and Brahmaputra.
  • The principal tributaries of Barak are the Jiri, the Dhaleswari, the Singla, the Longai, the Sonai and the Katakhal.
  • The Barak sub-basin drains areas in India, Bangladesh and Burma.
  • The drainage area lying in India is 41723 sq.km which is nearly 1.38% of the total geographical area of the country.
  • It is be on the north by the Barail range separating it from the Brahmaputra sub-basin, on the east by the Na Lushai hills and on the south and west by Bangladesh.
  • The sub-basin lies in the States of Meghalaya, Manipur, Mizoram, Assam, Tripura and Nagaland.
  • The hydropower potential of the basin is 2042 MW at 60% load factor.

Source: PIB


Public Accounts Committee

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Syllabus

  • Prelims –Polity

In News: The Public Accounts Committee (PAC), in its 55th report on “Provisioning, procurement and issue of High-Altitude Clothing, Equipment, Ration and Housing”, has said that all efforts should be made to fully implement Phase III of the Central Inventory Control Group (CICG)

  • The report is based on the Comptroller and Auditor General’s (CAG) findings in 2019.
  • A huge quantity of essential items under Special Clothing and Mountaineering Equipment (SCME) Category-II were procured or held when they were not issued or required for long.

About CIGC:

  • CICG is an automated centralised database.
  • It had been created for effective inventory procurement and management.
  • Aid in reduction of procurement timelines through hand-holding of new Defence Public Sector Undertakings (erstwhile ordnance factories) by the Ministry.

About PAC

  • First set up in 1921 in the wake of the Montague-Chelmsford Reforms.
  • Constituted every year under Rule 308 of the Rules of Procedure and Conduct of Business in Lok Sabha.
  • Consists of maximum 22 members comprising of 15 members elected from Lok Sabha (proportional representation) and 7 members from Rajya Sabha
  • Chairman appointed by the Speaker from among the Members of Lok Sabha elected to the Committee.
  • Conventionally, chairman is a member from the Opposition in Lok Sabha.
  • Term = 1 year
  • A Minister is not elected a member of the Committee, and if a member, after his election to the Committee is appointed a Minister, he ceases to be a member of the Committee from the date of such appointment.

Scope & Functions:

  • Examination of accounts showing the appropriation of sums granted by Parliament for the expenditure of the Government of India.
  • Examination of annual finance accounts of the Government.
  • Examination of three annual audit reports of CAG, which are laid before the Parliament by the President –report on appropriation accounts, report on finance accounts, and report on public undertakings
  • Ensuring expenditure conforms to the authority which governs it and every re-appropriation has been made in accordance with the provisions

Limitations:

  • Recommendation of the committee are only advisory in nature.
  • The committee cannot intervene in the questions of policy or in matters of day-to-day administration.
  • It is not vested with the power of disallowance of expenditures by the departments.
  • It is an executive body only and hence, cannot issue an order.

Source: The Hindu

Previous Year Questions

Q.1) With reference to the Parliament of India, which of the following Parliamentary Committees scrutinizes and reports to the House whether the powers to make regulations, rules, sub-rules, by-laws, etc. conferred by the Constitution or delegated by the Parliament are being properly exercised by the Executive within the scope of such delegation? (2018)

  1. Committee on Government Assurances
  2. Committee on Subordinate Legislation
  3. Rules Committee
  4. Business Advisory Committee

Need of promoting Farmer Producer Organizations for resilient incomes and sustainable farming practices in India

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Syllabus

  • Mains – GS 2 (Governance) and GS 3 (Economy)

Context: Recently Watershed Organization Trust organized a webinar themed “Promoting FPOs for resilient incomes and sustainable farming practices in India”.

  • To address these issues of water stress, natural disasters, uncertainty in yields, etc. the concept of Farmers Producer Organization (FPO) was introduced in 2003 in the Indian agricultural landscape.

About Farmer Producer Organizations (FPOs):

  • FPOs are voluntary organizations controlled by their farmer-members who actively participate in setting their policies and making decisions.
  • The FPOs are formed to leverage collectives through economies of scale in production and marketing of agricultural and allied sectors.
  • The FPOs are incorporated as a legal entity under the Companies Act or Co-operative Societies Act of the concerned States.
  • To facilitate and support the State Governments in the formation of the FPOs the Small Farmers Agribusiness Consortium (SFAC) was set up by the Department of Agriculture and Cooperation.
  • The FPO membership is open to all persons able to use their services and willing to accept the responsibilities of membership, without gender, social, racial, political, or religious discrimination.
  • FPOs in various states including Gujarat and Rajasthan among others have shown encouraging results and have been able to realize higher returns for their produce.
  • For Instance, tribal women in the Pali district of Rajasthan formed a producer company and they are getting higher prices for custard apples.

Challenges of FPOs: Studies of NABARD shown the following challenges for building sustainable FPOs:

  • Low capital base: A report from Azim Premji University (2022) reveals that less than 4% of the FPOs have paid up capital of more than ₹10 lakh.
    • Many FPOs are unable to access required financial support from banks/financial institutions for want of collateral security and credit history.
    • Credit guarantee cover from Small Farmers Agri-Business Consortium (SFAC) in respect of collateral free-lending is available only to the FPOs with a minimum membership of 500 and above.
  • Poor human resources: Majority of the FPOs struggle to comply with statutory norms viz., audited financials and filing Goods and Services Tax returns due to lack of skilled manpower, expertise, and other resources.
    • Not in a position to hire talent from the market for this purpose, they depend on Cluster Based Business Organizations (CBBOs)/Promoting organizations.
  • Lack of commercial viability: Commercial viability refers to procurement of inputs at reasonable rates and marketing of output at remunerative prices.
    • As Indian farmers’ share is close to 25% of consumers’ Rupee of expenditure vis-a-vis 70 % in the US and Europe, commercial viability of FPOs is less than satisfactory.
  • Absence of market linkages: An NIRDPR recent study shows that most of the FPOs depend on the local market without exploring the export market.
    • Apni Saheli, an FPO based in Dholpur, Rajasthan is working with NCDEX in commodity derivatives/futures markets (wheat and bajra) for better price realization for its members.
  • Infrequent patronage of members: Field survey indicates the majority of members of FPOs are largely unaware of operations of the collectives, their responsibilities, and exhibit insignificant levels of ownership.
    • The FPOs for dairy, small ruminants, and vegetables offer more regular cash flows than the seasonal crops based FPOs which also reduces interaction with the group members.
  • Obsolete technology: Most of the FPOs are unable to mobilize requisite funds for mechanization of farming, good agricultural practices, through advanced technologies (drones and nanotechnology) which need to be replicated.
  • Negligible value addition to Agri-produce: Field surveys show that about 40% of the farmer members avail themselves of agricultural value chain activities from FPOs.
    • Majority of the FPOs sell their produce without value addition due to inadequate working capital, information asymmetry on demand-supply gaps, and lack of post-harvest infrastructure facilities.

Government’s Initiatives for the promotion of FPOs: Since 2011 the government has been intensively promoting FPOs under the ambit of the Small Farmers’ Agri-Business Consortium (SFAC), NABARD, state governments and NGOs.

  • Financial support: A grant of matching equity (cash infusion of up to Rs 10 lakh) to registered FPOs.
    • A credit guarantee cover to lending institutions (maximum guarantee covers 85 percent of loans not exceeding Rs 100 lakh).
  • Tax exemption and other budgetary support: The government announced a five-year tax exemption in the 2018-19 budget.
    • In the 2019-20 budget the government revealed its plan of setting up 10,000 more FPOs in the next five years.
  • One District One Product Cluster: The Ministry of Agriculture has been stressing on developing large production clusters, wherein agricultural and horticultural products are grown/cultivated for leveraging economies of scale and improving market access for members.
    • “One District One Product” cluster will promote specialization and better processing, marketing, branding and export.
  • Collective Farming: FPOs can be used to augment the size of the land by focusing on grouping contiguous tracts of land as far as possible.

Suggestive measures to make FPOs financially sustainable:

  • Need to focus on business strategy: Indian agriculture needs to give due weightage to business strategy along with focus on enhanced production.
    • So FPOs may be linked to Agri-export zones/e-commerce (Big Basket and Sabziwala) to supply sanitary and Phyto sanitary-compliant Agri-products.
  • Diversify cropping pattern and integration of Agri-allied activities: FPOs have to diversify their cropping pattern (power shift to high value crops like kiwi, and roses) and adopt integrated farming along with dairy, poultry, and fisheries, without compromising on food security.
  • Promotion of extension and knowledge augmenting agencies: They need a lot of data on markets and prices and other information and competency in information technology.
  • So, the promoting agencies should nurture and build FPOs and educate them on
    • Enhancement of product quality.
    • Reduction of wastage and
    • aspects of business management along with value addition.
  • Free access to institutional finance for FPOs should be made available to enable them to invest in Agri-value chains from ‘farm to fork’.
    • Banks must have structured products for lending to FPOs.

Way Forward:

It is time for funding agencies to focus on financing a few pilots in such Agri block-chain technology to facilitate this transformation. Currently, only a few FPOs have developed mobile phone-based extension guidance to help reduce cost of cultivation and access information about market prices of commodities.

While FPOs do a good job in the provision of inputs, which is a kind of low-hanging fruit, linking the farmers to the markets with quality products is a challenge. The success of farmer organizations is critical for ensuring the success of smallholder and marginal farmers in India.

Since agriculture is the key to fulfill half of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), strengthening FPOs in multiple dimensions is the key to achieve the SDGs which will ensure food security and eventually national security.

Source:  The Hindu

Previous Year Questions

Q.1) What is the purpose of setting up Small Finance Banks (SFBs) in India? (2017)

  1. To supply credit to small business units
  2. To supply credit to small and marginal farmers
  3. To encourage young entrepreneurs to set up business particularly in rural areas.

Select the correct answer using the code given below:

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

Q.2) Which of the following activities constitute real sector in the economy? (2022)

  1. Farmers harvesting their crops
  2. Textile mills converting raw cotton into fabrics
  3. A commercial bank lending money to a trading company
  4. A corporate body issuing Rupee Denominated Bonds overseas.

Select the correct answer using the code given below:

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

The warming of Arctic Ocean and its impacts

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Syllabus

  • Mains – GS 3 (Environment)

Context: Recently Finnish Meteorological Institute researchers published their study in the  Communications Earth & Environment journal, concluding that the Arctic is heating four times faster than the rest of the planet.

  • The warming is more concentrated in the Eurasian part of the Arctic, where the Barents Sea north of Russia and Norway is warming at an alarming rate — seven times faster than the global average.
  • Nearly 150 experts from 11 nations compiled this year’s assessment of Arctic conditions (the Arctic Report Card) which The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration have produced since 2006.

About Arctic Region:

  • It is commonly understood to refer to the region above the Arctic Circle, north of latitude 66° 34′ N, which includes the Arctic Ocean with the North Pole at its center.
  • Eight Arctic States: Canada, Kingdom of Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway, Russia, Sweden, and USA form the Arctic Council.
  • The Arctic is home to almost four million inhabitants, of which approximately one tenth are considered as indigenous people.
  • The Arctic Ocean and its surrounding landmass has been a topic of immense interest and a high-priority area of research among the global scientific fraternity as well as of importance to policy makers.
  • The Arctic influences atmospheric, oceanographic, and biogeochemical cycles of the earth’s ecosystem.

Major challenges associated with arctic warming:

  • Climate Change: They described how hotter air temperatures, melting sea ice, shorter periods of snow cover, increased wildfire and rising levels of precipitation have forced wildlife and Indigenous people in the region to adapt.
  • Heat wave in Greenland: It caused the most severe melting of the island’s ice sheet for that time of the year in over four decades of continuous satellite monitoring.
    • In 2021, an August heat wave had caused it to rain at the ice sheet’s summit for the first time.
  • Rising Temperatures are transforming the region’s climate into one defined less by sea ice, snow, and permafrost and more by open water, rain, and green landscapes.
  • Warming at the top of the Earth raises sea levels worldwide, changes the way heat and water circulate in the oceans, and might even influence extreme weather events like heat waves and rainstorms.
  • Rate of change: Over the past four decades, the region has warmed at four times the global average rate. Some parts of the Arctic are warming at up to seven times the global rate.
  • Growth in green cover: Rising temperatures have helped plants, shrubs and grasses grow in parts of the Arctic tundra.
    • Year 2022 saw levels of green vegetation that were the fourth highest since 2000 particularly in the Canadian Arctic Archipelago, northern Quebec, and central Siberia.
  • Reduced snow cover: snow cover in the North American Arctic was the second-lowest on record. In the Eurasian Arctic, it was third lowest.
  • The Greenland ice sheet has lost ice for the last 25 years.
  • Maritime ship traffic: Scientists warned that maritime ship traffic is on the rise in the Arctic as sea ice declines, with the most notable increases in traffic occurring among ships travelling from the Pacific Ocean through the Bering Strait and Beaufort Sea.

Significant Implications:

  • Threat to humanity: Our homes, livelihoods and physical safety are threatened by the rapid-melting ice, thawing permafrost, increasing heat, wildfires, and other changes.
  • Mineral Resources: Arctic region has rich deposits of coal, gypsum and diamonds and substantial reserves of zinc, lead, placer gold and quartz. Greenland alone possesses about a quarter of the world’s rare earth reserves.
  • Hydrocarbons: The Arctic also contains a wealth of hydrocarbon resources. India is the third-largest energy-consuming country in the world. The Arctic can therefore potentially address India’s energy security needs.
  • Monsoons: The link between the impact of the changing Arctic and monsoons in India is growing in importance due to the extreme weather events the country faces, and the heavy reliance on rainfall for water and food security.

India’s Arctic policy:

  • Institutional and human resource capacities will be strengthened within Government and academic, research and business institutions.
  • Inter-ministerial coordination in pursuit of India’s interests in the Arctic.
  • Enhancing understanding of the impact of climate change in the Arctic on India’s climate, economic, and energy security.
  • Contributing better analysis, prediction, and coordinated policymaking on the implications of ice melting in the Arctic on India’s economic, military, and strategic interests related to global shipping routes, energy security, and exploitation of mineral wealth.
  • Studying linkages between polar regions and the Himalayas.
  • Deepen cooperation between India and countries of the Arctic region under various Arctic forums, drawing expertise from scientific and traditional knowledge.
  • Increase India’s participation in the Arctic Council and improve understanding of the complex governance structures in the Arctic, relevant international laws, and geopolitics of the region.

India’s Arctic policy would play an essential role in preparing the country for a future where humankind’s biggest challenges, such as climate change, can be addressed through collective will and effort.

Way Forward:

The problem is that we do not completely understand the factors that control how rapidly the ice flows and thus enters the ocean. One way to approach the problem of not understanding the process is to study how sea level changed in the past.  Earth is nearly as warm now as it was during the last interglacial period, about 125,000 years ago. World must act urgently to reduce and mitigate the impact of human-made climate change on the glaciers.

About National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration:

  • It is an American scientific and regulatory agency within the United States Department of Commerce that forecasts weather, monitors oceanic and atmospheric conditions, charts the seas, conducts deep sea exploration, and manages fishing and protection of marine mammals and endangered species in the U.S. exclusive economic zone.
  • NOAA’s five fundamental activities are:
    • Monitoring and observing Earth systems with instruments and data collection networks.
    • Understanding and describing Earth systems through research and analysis of data.
    • Assessing and predicting the changes in these systems over time.
    • Engaging, advising, and informing the public and partner organizations with relevant information.
    • Custodianship of environmental resources.

Source: Indian Express


Fertilizer sector in India

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Syllabus

  • Mains  – GS 3 Agriculture

In News: Data from the Department of Fertilisers shows a 3.7 per cent increase in the sale of urea during April-October 2022 over the corresponding seven months of the previous year. Even higher, at 16.9 per cent, has been the growth in DAP sales.

Context:

  • For a long time, India’s fertiliser sector has been riddled with distortions from excessive use of urea.
  • Now, there’s a second fertiliser — di-ammonium phosphate or DAP — that is seeing a similar phenomenon of over-application due to under-pricing.
  • Hence, there is a need for balanced use of fertilizer in conjunction with bio fertilisers and organic fertilizers

Fertilizer sector:

  • There are 3 basic types of fertiliser used—urea, Diammonium Phosphate (DAP), and Muriate of Potash (MOP).
  • Urea is the most produced (86 per cent), most consumed (74 per cent share), and the most imported (52 per cent)
  • It is the most physically controlled fertiliser and receives the largest subsidies (nearly 70 per cent of total fertilisers subsidy)
  • DAP and MOP producers and importers receive a Nutrient Based Subsidy (NBS) based on a formula of N, P and K in 4:2:1 ratio.
  • India is the second biggest consumer of fertilizer in the world next only to China.
  • The India Fertilizers Market stood at 28.56 billion USD in 2022 and is projected to register a CAGR of 6.25% to reach 41.08 billion USD in 2028.
  • Sale of Urea and DAP is rising while that of other fertilizers is falling.

Challenges of the sector:

  • High government subsidies such as on Urea and DAP
  • About 0.73 lakh crore or 5 percent of GDP, the second-highest after food
  • Companies are obliged to sell at MRP, with their higher cost of production or imports being reimbursed as subsidy by the Centre.
  • Small Farmer Inability to derive full benefits: Only 17,500 crores or 35 per cent of total fertiliser subsides reaches small farmers.
  • Heavy Import dependence:
  • Entire potash requirement, about 90 per cent of phosphatic requirement, and 20 per cent urea requirement is met through imports.
  • The use of nitrogen (N), phosphorous (P) and potassium (K) in the country has over the last few years sharply deviated from the ideal NPK use ratio of 4:2:1.
  • This causes worsening of soil quality
  • Imbalance in application: MOP, which contains 60% K, has a high MRP so farmers have no incentive today to apply the same.
  • Environmental concerns: nutrient imbalance owing to their use — disproportionate to other, more expensive fertilisers — could have implications for soil health, ultimately affecting crop yields.
  • The India Fertilizers Market is fragmented, with the top five companies occupying 28.93%.
  • Black market & corruption:
  • Urea is highly regulated and is only subsidised for agriculture
  • This creates a black market that burdens small farmers disproportionately; incentivises production inefficiency, leads to over-use, depleting soil quality and damaging human health.

Suggestions:

  • Reducing urea imports and increase in domestic availability via less restrictive imports and to respond flexibly and quickly to changes in demand.
  • Direct benefit transfer based on biometric identification with physical offtake using JAM trinity.
  • Encouraging Indian firms to locate plants in countries such as Iran following the example of the Fertiliser Ministry’s joint venture in Oman, which allowed India to import fertiliser at prices almost 50 per cent cheaper than the world price.
  • Self-reliance to escape the vagaries of high volatility in international prices.
  • five urea plants at Gorakhpur, Sindri, Barauni, Talcher and Ramagundam are being revived in the public sector.
  • Extend the NBS model to urea and allow for price rationalisation of urea compared to non-nitrogenous fertilizers and prices of crops.
  • Develop alternative sources of nutrition for plant such as use of waste biomass crop and enhancing the value of livestock by-products.
  • Improving fertilizer efficiency through need-based use rather than broadcasting fertilizer in the field.
  • Liquid Nano urea by IFFCO, fertigation, etc.

Way forward:

  • Fertiliser subsidies are very costly, accounting for about 0.8 per cent of GDP
  • They encourage urea overuse, which damages the soil, undermining rural incomes, agricultural productivity, and thereby economic growth.
  • Reform of the fertiliser sector would not only help farmers and improve efficiency

in the sector. It would also show that India is prepared to address exit constraints that bedevil reform in other sectors.

MUST READ Nano Urea

Source: Indian express


Baba’s Explainer – India-China Tawang clash

India-China Tawang clash

Syllabus

  • GS-2: India and its neighborhood- relations.

Context: “PLA troops tried to transgress the LAC in Yangtse area of Tawang Sector and unilaterally change the status quo”

  • The clash in the early hours of December 9 took place after Chinese troops on regular patrol on their side of the Line of Actual Control (LAC) in the “Dongzhang” area were blocked by Indian soldiers who had “illegally crossed the line”.
  • The clash in Tawang took place two and a half years after the deadly encounter between the two sides in the Galwan Valley in Ladakh in June 2020.

Read Complete Details on India-China Tawang clash


Practice MCQs

Daily Practice MCQs

Q.1) Rashtriya Gram Swaraj Abhiyan is set up under the

  1. Respective State Governments
  2. Ministry of Rural Development
  3. NITI Aayog
  4. Ministry of Panchayati Raj

Q.2) With reference to the Parliament of India, which of the following Parliamentary Committees scrutinizes moneys shown in the accounts as having been disbursed were legally available for, and applicable to, the service or purpose to which have been applied or charged and that the expenditure conforms to the authority which governs it?

  1. Estimates committee
  2. Committee on Public Undertakings
  3. Committee on Government Assurances
  4. Committee on Public Accounts

Q.3) Consider the following statements regarding central consumer protection authority (CCPA):

  1. CCPA is a regulatory body established in 2020 based on the provisions of the Consumer Protection Act, 2019.
  2. CCPA works under the administrative control of the Department of Administrative Reforms and Public Grievances.

Which of the above statements is/are correct?

  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 ’ 16th December 2022 – Daily Practice MCQs’ will be updated along with tomorrow’s Daily Current Affairs.st


ANSWERS FOR 15th December – Daily Practice MCQs

Answers- Daily Practice MCQs

Q.1) – b

Q.2) – a

Q.3) – c

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