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Insights Daily Current Affairs + PIB: 11 September 2019


Insights Daily Current Affairs + PIB: 11 September 2019


Table of contents:

GS Paper 2:

  1. Market Intervention Price Scheme
  2. ASEAN-India Trade in Goods Agreement (AITIGA).

 

GS Paper 3:

  1. Fall Armyworm (FAW).
  2. Sardar Sarovar Dam.
  3. Framework for the Assessment of Benefits of Action/Cost of Inaction for Drought Preparedness report.
  4. Basel Ban Amendment.

 

Facts for Prelims:

  1. Snow leopard.
  2. Cryodrakon Boreas.
  3. India’s second riverine Multi Modal terminal in Jharkhand.

 


 

GS Paper 2:

Topics Covered:

Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues arising out of their design and implementation.

 

Market Intervention Price Scheme

 

What to study?

For Prelims: Key features of the scheme.

For Mains: Need for and significance of the scheme.

 

Context: The government is planning to procure almost 12 lakh metric tonnes of apple this season, under the MISP.

 

About the Market Intervention Price Scheme:

  1. It is a price support mechanism implemented on the request of State Governments.
  2. It is for procurement of perishable and horticultural commodities in the event of a fall in market prices.
  3. The Scheme is implemented when there is at least 10% increase in production or 10% decrease in the ruling rates over the previous normal year.
  4. Its objective is to protect the growers of these horticultural/agricultural commodities from making distress sale in the event of bumper crop during the peak arrival period when prices fall to very low level.
  5. The Department of Agriculture & Cooperation is implementing the scheme.

Funding:

  • Under MIP, funds are not allocated to the States.
  • Instead, central share of losses as per the guidelines of MIP is released to the State Governments/UTs, for which MIP has been approved, based on specific proposals received from them.

The area of operation is restricted to the concerned state only.

The MIS has been implemented in case of commodities like apples, kinnoo/malta, garlic, oranges, galgal, grapes, mushrooms, clove, black pepper, pineapple, ginger, red-chillies, coriander seed etc.

 

Sources: the Hindu.


Topics Covered:

Effect of policies and politics of developed and developing countries on India’s interests, Indian diaspora.

 

ASEAN-India Trade in Goods Agreement (AITIGA)

 

What to study?

For Prelims: Key features of AITIGA.

For mains: Significance of the agreement and concerns over India’s trade deficit with ASEAN nations.

 

Context: India and the 10-member ASEAN have agreed to initiate a review of the bilateral free trade agreement (FTA) in goods to make it more user-friendly, simple and trade facilitative.

The countries have also agreed to initiate the review of the ASEAN-India trade in goods agreement to make it more user-friendly, simple, and trade facilitative for businesses.

 

About AITIGA:

The ASEAN–India Free Trade Area (AIFTA) is a free trade area among the ten member states of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and India.

It came into force from January 2010.

Under the pact, two trading partners set timelines for eliminating duties on the maximum number of goods traded between the two regions.

Based on preliminary ASEAN data, two-way goods trade with India grew by 9.8 per cent from $73.6 billion in 2017 to $80.8 billion in 2018.

 

Need for review:

  1. India is not happy about the fact that its trade deficit with ASEAN has widened significantly since the pact was implemented.
  2. A NITI Aayog study reveals that India’s trade deficit with ASEAN doubled to $10 billion in 2017 from $5 billion in 2011.
  3. One of the reasons for the growing deficit is the low utilisation of the FTA route by Indian exporters to ASEAN countries because of difficulties faced in negotiating the rules.
  4. A review of the India-ASEAN FTA could help improve utilisation in India by making the pact simpler and more user-friendly.

 

Sources: the Hindu.


GS Paper 3:

Topics covered:

Issues related to direct and indirect farm subsidies and minimum support prices; Public Distribution System objectives, functioning, limitations, revamping; issues of buffer stocks and food security; Technology missions; economics of animal-rearing.

 

Fall Armyworm (FAW)

 

What to study?

For prelims and mains: FAW- causes, effects, concerns and measures needed.

 

Context: Maize crops falling victim to fall armyworm in Bihar. Reports of the pest attacking crops have been reported from a number of districts in the state, India’s third-largest maize producer.

 

What is FAW?

It is a native of the tropical and sub-tropical regions of the Americas.

First detected in the African continent in 2016. Since then, it has spread to other countries such as China, Thailand, Malaysia and Sri Lanka.

In India: It was reported in India for the first-time in Karnataka. Within a span of only six months, almost 50 per cent of the country, including Mizoram, Maharashtra, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh, Gujarat and West Bengal, has reported FAW infestations.

 

What makes FAW dangerous?

  • It is the polyphagous(ability to feed on different kinds of food) nature of the caterpillar and the ability of the adult moth to fly more than 100 km per night.
  • Given its ability to feed on multiple crops — nearly 80 different crops ranging from maize to sugarcane — FAW can attack multiple crops.
  • Similarly, it can spread across large tracts of land as it can fly over large distances. This explains the quick spread of the pest across India.

 

How FAW affects output?

  1. Till date, India has reported FAW infestation on maize, sorghum (jowar) and sugarcane crops. Maize has been the worst affected as most maize-growing states in southern India have been affected by the pest.
  2. FAW infestation and drought has led to a shortfall of nearly 5 lakh tonnes in output, prompting the central government to allow import of maize under concessional duty. Maize is the third most important cereal crop grown in the country and the infestation, if not checked in time, can wreck havoc.

 

Sources: the Hindu.


Topics Covered:

Conservation related issues.

Sardar Sarovar Dam

 

What to study?

For Prelims: Key features of the project and Narmada river.

For Mains: Concerns over the projects, challenges and ways to address them.

 

Context: Oustees displaced in Madhya Pradesh due to the backwaters of the Sardar Sarovar Dam in Gujarat are not convinced by the government of Madhya Pradesh’s promises to help them even as they stare at continual displacement.

 

Background:

The height of the dam was increased to 138.68 metres in 2017. The water level in the dam reached 136.04 metres on September 9, 2019, due to heavy rains. The dam is to be filled to its full reservoir level by October 15. 

 

Various issues present:

  1. Compensation amounts.
  2. Formation of islands due to submergence.
  3. Inadequate number of plots and rehabilitation sites.
  4. Leveling of land for house construction.
  5. Action on people involved in fake registry of land for homes.
  6. Rights for the fishing community on the reservoir.
  7. Cases of oustees settled in Gujarat.
  8. Issues of farmers who have lost land for rehabilitation sites.

 

Sardar Sarovar project- key facts:

Taken up after the Narmada Water Disputes Tribunal gave its final award vis-à-vis Gujarat-Madhya Pradesh in 1979.

Second biggest dam in terms of volume of concrete used in it. 

Third highest concrete dam in India.

Power generated from the dam would be shared among three states — Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra and Gujarat.

 

What’s the concern with the project?

Water level in the submergence area of the dam in Barwani and Dhar districts of Madhya Pradesh is rising steadily.

As per Narmada Bachao Andolan group, 40,000 families in 192 villages in Madhya Pradesh would be displaced when the reservoir is filled to its optimum capacity.

According to the World Bank, the project started with very little assessment of resettlement and rehabilitation, and environmental impact.

 

Why is this project significant and what benefits has it got?

Unused Water from Narmada river, which would otherwise flow into the sea, could be used for serving many dry towns, villages and districts of Gujarat.

The project would employ about one million people starting from the start to end of the project.

Provide electricity to the unserved regions and also to the farmers.

Provide water for irrigation and for drinking purpose.

Provide flood protection to an area of about 30,000 hectares which is prone to the fury of floods.

 

What needs to be done?

  1. Task of rehabilitation and resettlement of affected people should be completed immediately.
  2. Need of an independent review of the project on continuous basis to fulfil the real objectives of the project.
  3. Studies should take into consideration the seasonal temporal variations in the climate and many other important parameters.
  4. Environment safeguards should be put in place.

 

Sources: the Hindu.


Topics Covered:

Conservation, environmental pollution and degradation, environmental impact assessment.

 

Framework for the Assessment of Benefits of Action/Cost of Inaction for Drought Preparedness report

 

What to study?

For Prelims: About UNCCD and the framework.

For Mains: Causes and impacts of drought and ways to address them?

 

Context: Framework for the Assessment of Benefits of Action/Cost of Inaction for Drought Preparedness report has been released at the ongoing 14th Conference of Parties (COP14) to the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD).

 

The 10-point framework:

  1. Appoint a national drought management policy commission
  2. State or define the goals and objectives of risk-based national drought management policy
  3. Seek stakeholder participation, define and resolve conflicts between key water use sectors
  4. Inventory data and financial resources available and broadly identify groups at risk
  5. Prepare the key tenets of the national drought management policy and preparedness plans
  6. Identify research needs and fill institutional gaps
  7. Integrate science and policy aspects of drought management
  8. Publicise the policy and preparedness plans, build public awareness
  9. Develop education programs for all age and stakeholder groups
  10. Evaluate and revise policy and supporting plans

 

Indian scenario:

Droughts affect 42 per cent of India’s land while another 6 per cent is ‘exceptionally dry plane’; 40 per cent of the country’s population is vulnerable to droughts.

 

Challenges:

Conditions of the political economy often gives governments weak incentives to adopt a risk-management approach.

Other causes include the lack of a holistic approach; integrating analysis and action across sectors and agencies and the political economy of aid.

 

What India can learn from this?

The way to combat frequent droughts lies in evaluating their impacts.

Losses due to droughts need proper estimation.

More and better economic analysis could be a decisive factor in moving countries from crisis management to risk management.

 

Sources: the Hindu.


Topics Covered:

Conservation, environmental pollution and degradation, environmental impact assessment.

 

Basel Ban Amendment

 

What to study?

For prelims and mains: features, need for and significance of the convention.

 

Context: The 1995 Basel Ban Amendment, a global waste dumping prohibition, has become an international law after Croatia (97th country to ratify) ratified it on September 6, 2019.

 

What next?

It will become a new Article in the Convention and will enter into force in the 97 countries after 90 days — on December 5.

 

About the 1995 Basel Ban Amendment:

Adopted by the parties to the Basel Convention in 1995.

To protect human health and the environment against the adverse effects of hazardous wastes.

The amendment prohibits all export of hazardous wastes, including electronic wastes and obsolete ships from 29 wealthiest countries of the Organization of Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) to non-OECD countries.

 

Basel Convention —  Control of Transboundary Movements of Hazardous Wastes and Their Disposal:

  • Opened for signature on 22 March 1989
  • entered into force on 5 May 1992
  • Parties — 187.
  • It is an international treaty that was designed to reduce the movements of hazardous waste between nations, and specifically to prevent transfer of hazardous waste from developed to less developed countries (LDCs).
  • It does not address the movement of radioactive waste.

 

Sources: down to earth.


 

Facts for prelims:

 

Snow leopard:

Context: Conservation of snow leopards and preservation of people’s cultural values can prevent land degradation of the Himalayan ecosystem, said experts at the ongoing 14th Conference of Parties of the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD).   

How? The snow leopard is the apex predator in the region. Saving it will mean that we will need to save the prey base of herbivores too and to save the prey base will mean preserving the grassland that they feed on. This will automatically lead to the prevention of land degradation.

Key facts:

  • Listed as Vulnerable on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species.
  • Inhabit alpine and subalpine zones at elevations from 3,000 to 4,500 m (9,800 to 14,800 ft).
  • State animal of Himachal Pradesh and the National Heritage Animal of Pakistan.
  • Habitat extends through twelve countries: Afghanistan, Bhutan, China, India, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Mongolia, Nepal, Pakistan, Russia, Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan. China contains as much as 60% of all snow leopard habitat areas.
  • Llisted on Appendix I of the Convention on International Trade of Endangered Species (CITES).
  • Global Snow Leopard Forum, 2013:12 countries encompassing the snow leopard’s range (Afghanistan, Bhutan, China, India, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyz Republic, Mongolia, Nepal, Pakistan, Russia, Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan).
  • Bishkek Declaration:To protect the species and it’s environment.
  • Global Snow Leopard and Eco-system Protection Program:It is a joint initiative of range country governments, international agencies, civil society, and the private sector. Goal — secure the long-term survival of the snow leopard in its natural ecosystem.

 

What is Cryodrakon Boreas?

Paleontologists have identified a new species, named it Cryodrakon boreas, and declared that it could be one of the largest flying animals.

With a wingspan of over 10 metres, it is believed to have flown over the heads of dinosaurs.

The reptile lived over 77 million years ago in what is western Canada today.

India’s second riverine Multi Modal terminal built at Sahibganj in Jharkhand:

This is being constructed on National Waterway-1 (River Ganga) under Jal Marg Vikas Project (JMVP) aided by World Bank.

  • The First MultiModal Terminal has been constructed at Varanasi over River Ganga.
  • Ganga-Bhagirathi-Hooghly river system from Allahabad to Haldia was declared as National Waterway No.1. The NW-1 passes through Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Jharkhand and West Bengal and serves major cities and their industrial hinterlands.