Insights Daily Current Affairs, 20 May 2017

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Insights Daily Current Affairs, 20 May 2017


 

Paper 3 Topic: Conservation, environmental pollution and degradation, environmental impact assessment.

 

Chitale Committee recommends several measures for Desiltation of Ganga

 

Chitale committee on Desiltation of Ganga submitted its report to the government recently. The committee was constituted in July 2016 by the Ministry of Water Resources River Development and Ganga Rejuvenation to prepare guidelines for desiltation of river Ganga from Bhimgauda (Uttarakhand) to Farakka (West Bengal).   

 

chitale committee

Important recommendations made:

  • Study reach wise sediment transport processes.
  • Establish annual sediment budgets to guide de-silting activities.
  • Prepare annual reports (Sand registry) describing the previous de-silting/ dredging activity and a technical institute may be entrusted to conduct the sediment budget.
  • Morphological and flood routing studies should be carried out to examine and confirm the necessity of the de-silting of the reach under consideration.
  • It is necessary to provide the river sufficient areas of flood plain and lakes along the river to moderate the flood level.
  • The de-silting of lakes, etc., should be in such a manner that the sediment continuity is maintained and should not lead to head cut that creates safety issues for the river crossings, water intakes or river training works locally, downstream or upstream.
  • The area freed from the development in the form of oxbow lakes should be used for flood moderation rather than reclaiming it for other purposes.
  • Embankments, spurs and river training measures provided to protect the banks should not encroach upon the flood plains and delink the lakes, flood plains and other riverine environment from the river.
  • De-silting of the confluence points, especially with huge silt carrying tributaries, such as Ghagra, Sone, etc., may be necessary to make confluence hydraulically efficient.
  • The proposed de-silting of any river reach need to be justified bringing out clearly the flooding caused due to siltation along with technical comparisons of the alternative flood mitigation measures with “do nothing” or “proposed de-silting/ dredging” being other options.
  • Agricultural practices along the river flood plains should be such that it does not disturb the passage of flood by increasing the resistance to flow causing aggradations.
  • Any bridges across River Ganga which are causing large afflux (more than 1% of normal depth) should be modified to reduce the afflux, which in turn will also reduce the sediment deposition and erosion of banks on the upstream.

 

Why it is hard to study desiltation process?

The committee in its report says erosion, sediment transport and siltation are very complex phenomena. It is impossible to apply a “one-size-fits-all‟ approach to sediment management and control, because the issues involved are frequently very regionally-specific. Local factors such as topography, river control structures, soil and water conservation measures, tree cover, and riparian land-use or land disturbance (for example agriculture, mining, etc.) can have a large impact on sediment loads in rivers. River control structures (such as reservoirs), soil conservation measures and sediment control programmes can cause downstream sediment loads to decrease, while factors such as land disturbance (clearing of vegetation, for example) or agricultural practices can cause increased sediment loads. At the same time, indiscriminate de-siltation works may result into more harm to ecology and environment flow. Thus, there is a need to evolve Guidelines, better broad principles, which should be kept in mind while planning and implementing de-silting works.

 

Sources: pib.


 

Paper 2 Topic: Bilateral, regional and global groupings and agreements involving India and/or affecting India’s interests.

 

Study on Common Risk Mitigation Mechanism for Solar Power Generation Projects

 

Argentina, Burkina-Faso, Chad, France, India, Ivory Coast, Mali, Namibia, Niger, Nigeria, Sénégal, Uganda and Yemen have jointly supported commissioning of a study to define and structure a Common Risk Mitigation Mechanism (CRMM) for solar power generation projects in solar rich countries.

  • This is a major step in the implementation of the Paris Declaration of the International Solar Alliance (ISA) adopted on 30 November 2015 and of the ISA Programme aimed at mobilising “Affordable finance at scale”.

 

solar

Significance of this move:

Today, the cost of capital represents a substantial amount of the final costs of renewable energy, in particular solar PV. The Council on Energy, Environment and Water calculates that in India it represents 70% of the total cost of solar power. The proposed CRMM will offer a simple and affordable tool that will create a secure environment for private institutional investment in solar assets. The instrument will help diversify and pool risks on mutualized public resources and unlock significant investments. This instrument will dramatically lower the cost of finance for renewable energy and the overall price of electricity.

 

Know about ISA:

The International Solar Alliance is an initiative jointly launched by the Prime Minister of India and the President of France on 30 November 2015 at Paris, in the presence of the Secretary General of the UN, on the side lines of COP21. Under the ISA, solar rich countries lying fully or partially between the Tropics are invited to share and aggregate data regarding their needs and objectives; emulate successful practices; and set up common mechanisms and instruments, in order to address obstacles to deployment at scale of solar energy.

 

Sources: pib.


 

Paper 3 Topic: Indian Economy and issues relating to planning, mobilization of resources, growth, development and employment.

 

GST rates could have aided green goods

 

Experts say, GST Council has missed an opportunity to back environmentally friendly goods.

 

gst

What’s the issue?

The GST Council has finalised the rates and cess for most of the goods under the purview of the tax. Among these, it set a rate of 18% for commercial LPG, and 5% for all renewable energy devices and spare parts, although the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy had requested exemption for these items. Experts term this as a missed opportunity regarding auto LPG.

Domestic LPG is taxed at 5%. This would also encourage theft, since people already transfer LPG from domestic cylinders to commercial containers to avoid the higher tax.

What you need to know about LPG?

LPG, also known as propane and autogas, is a by-product of crude oil extraction and the refining process. Many people who consider LPG as an alternative to petrol do so because they believe that the combustion of propane results in lower CO2 emissions. LPG burns cleaner than petrol and therefore emissions of particulates is very low. Moreover, LPG is non-toxic, non-corrosive and free of tetra-ethyl lead and additives. It also has a high octane rating.  

 

Sources: the hindu.


 

Paper 2 Topic: Bilateral, regional and global groupings and agreements involving India and/or affecting India’s interests. 

 

RCEP trade ministers to meet

 

Trade ministers of 16 countries, including India and China, are all set to meet in Vietnam to discuss progress in the ongoing negotiations of proposed trade deal, RCEP. So far, negotiators of the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) have held 18 rounds of negotiations.

 

RCEPindia

What you need to know about RCEP?

The RCEP is among the proposed three mega FTAs in the world so far – the other two being the TPP (Trans Pacific Partnership, led by the US) and the TTIP (Trans -atlantic Trade and Investment Partnership between the US and the EU).

  • The agreement (FTA) is proposed between the ten member states of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) (Brunei, Burma (Myanmar), Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, Vietnam) and the six states with which ASEAN has existing FTAs (Australia, China, India, Japan, South Korea and New Zealand).
  • RCEP negotiations were formally launched in November 2012 at the ASEAN Summit in Cambodia.
  • RCEP is viewed as an alternative to the TPP trade agreement, which includes the United States but excludes China.

 

Sources: the hindu.


 

Paper 2 Topic: Issues relating to development and management of Social Sector/Services relating to Health, Education, Human Resources.

 

Survival of newborns: India ranks lower than Somalia

 

Healthcare access and quality index (HAQ), part of the Global burden of diseases has been released. The HAQ Index is based on death rates from 32 ailments that could be avoided by timely medical intervention. 

 

What you need to know about GBD?

The Global Burden of Diseases, Injuries, and Risk Factors study is put together by the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME), an independent population health research centre associated with the University of Washington, along with a consortium of 2,300 researchers in more than 130 countries.

 

Performance of India:

  • India is at 154th among 195 countries.
  • India’s healthcare access and quality (HAQ) index has increased by 14.1, up from 30.7 in 1990 to 44.8 in 2015.
  • India lags behind Sri Lanka (72.8), Bangladesh (51.7), Bhutan (52.7) and Nepal (50.8) and ranks above Pakistan (43.1) and Afghanistan (32.5).
  • As per the study, India has performed poorly in tackling cases of tuberculosis, diabetes, chronic kidney diseases and rheumatic heart diseases.
  • The journal lists India among the biggest underachievers in Asia in health care access.
  • The top five performers were Andorra (94.6), Iceland (93.6), Switzerland (91.8), Sweden (90.5), and Norway (90.5).
  • Among the developed nations, those who did not perform well include the US and the UK.

 

Sources: the hindu.