Insights Daily Current Affairs + PIB: 25 September 2019
Table of contents:
GS Paper 2:
- National Service Scheme.
- Global Internet Forum to Counter Terrorism (GIFCT).
GS Paper 3:
- India Water Week-2019.
- Draft NREP.
Facts for Prelims:
- Gandhi Solar Park at UN headquarters.
- Vaidyaratnam P. S. Warrier.
- Ramanujan Prize.
- Dadasaheb Phalke Award for 2019.
- Siachen Glacier.
GS Paper 2:
- Development processes and the development industry the role of NGOs, SHGs, various groups and associations, donors, charities, institutional and other stakeholders.
What to study?
For Prelims: What is NSS?
For Mains: Significance and the need for NSS.
Context: President of India presents National Service Scheme Awards.
About National Service Scheme (NSS):
- It is a Central- Sector scheme.
- Conducted by the Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports.
- Launched in Gandhiji’s Centenary year in 1969.
- Background: The University Grants Commission (UGC) headed by Dr. Radhakrishnan recommended introduction of national service in the academic institutions on a voluntary basis.
- Aim: To develop healthy contacts between the students and teachers on the one hand and establishing a constructive linkage between the campus and the community on the other hand.
- Motto of NSS: “Not Me But You”.
The broad objectives of NSS are to:
- Understand the community in which they work.
- Understand themselves in relation to their community.
- Identify the needs and problems of the community and involve them in problem solving process.
- Develop among themselves a sense of social and civic responsibility.
- Utilize their knowledge in finding practical solution to individual and community problems.
- Develop competence required for group living and sharing of responsibilities.
- Gain skills in mobilizing community participation.
- Acquire leadership qualities and democratic attitude.
- Develop capacity to meet emergencies and natural disasters.
- Practice national integration and social harmony.
Nature of Activities under NSS:
Briefly, the NSS volunteers work on issues of social relevance, which keep evolving in response to the needs of the community, through regular and special camping activities. Such issues include (i) literacy and education, (ii) health, family welfare and nutrition, (iii) environment conservation, (iv) social service programmes, (v) programmes for empowerment of women, (vi) programmes connected with economic development activities, (vii) rescue and relief during calamities, etc.
Important International institutions, agencies and fora, their structure, mandate.
What to study?
For Prelims and mains: Composition, objectives and significance of GIFCT.
Context: Led by Presidents of New Zealand and France, the members of GIFCT recently met at the UN General Assembly to discuss the progress on the steps taken to implement Christchurch Call to Action.
- Formally established in July 2017 as a group of companies, dedicated to disrupting terrorist abuse of members’ digital platforms.
- The original Forum was led by a rotating chair drawn from the founding four companies—Facebook, Microsoft, Twitter and YouTube—and managed a program of knowledge-sharing, technical collaboration and shared research.
- GIFCT as an independent organization was formally established in 2017.
- Improvethe capacity of a broad range of technology companies, independently and collectively, to prevent and respond to abuse of their digital platforms by terrorists and violent extremists.
- Enablemulti-stakeholder engagement around terrorist and violent extremist misuse of the internet and encourage stakeholders to meet key commitments consistent with the GIFCT mission.
- Encouragethose dedicated to online civil dialogue and empower efforts to direct positive alternatives to the messages of terrorists and violent extremists.
- Advancebroad understanding of terrorist and violent extremist operations and their evolution, including the intersection of online and offline activities.
Christchurch Call to Action:
- Launched during the “Online Extremism Summit” in Paris.
- Launched jointly by India, France, New Zealand, Canada and several other countries.
- The initiative outlines collective and voluntary commitments from governments and online service providers to address the issue of terrorist and violent extremist content online.
- It calls for a free, open and secure internet to promote connectivity, enhance social inclusiveness and foster economic growth.
The ‘Christchurch call to action’ initiative has been named after the New Zealand city Christchurch, where over 50 people were killed and over 20 got injured in shootings at two mosques.
As internet is not resistant towards the abuse by terrorists and violent extremists, there is an urgent need of collective efforts to secure the internet from such terror groups. Recent Christchurch terror attacks were broadcasted online by terrorists. The broadcasting of such content online has severe impact on victims of such incident, on collective security and on people across the world.
The Christchurch attack stressed on the urgent call of action by the governments, civil society, online service providers, and social media companies to eliminate terrorist and extremist content online.
Sources: the Hindu.
GS Paper 3:
- Conservation related issues.
What to study?
For Prelims: Key features of the policy.
For Mains: Resource efficiency- need, significance, challenges and means to achieve it, NITI Aayog’s strategy on resource efficiency.
Context: Concerns over resource depletion have soared in India because of rising factory output, urbanization and population putting pressure on existing resources.
Against this backdrop, the Union environment ministry has drafted a National Resource Efficiency Policy, aiming to double the recycling rate of key materials to 50% in the next five years and enable upcycling of waste.
Key features of the policy:
- It seeks to set up a National Resource Efficiency Authority (NREA) with a core working group housed in the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change and a members group with representations from different ministries, state/union territory, and other stakeholders.
- The authority would be supported by an Inter-Ministerial National Resource Efficiency Board to guide on the aspects critical to its implementation.
- It also plans to offer tax benefits on recycled materials, green loans to small and medium Enterprises (SMEs) and soft loans to construct waste disposal facilities, apart from setting up Material Recovery Facilities (MRF).
- Manufacturers and service providers would also be required to use more recycled or renewable materials and awareness would be created among consumers to indicate the shift.
- Idea of the national policy is to drive the country towards circular economy through efficient use of available material resources, based on principle of 6R and ‘green public procurement’.
- The 6R stands for reduce, reuse, recycle, redesign, re-manufacture and refurbish while the very premise of ‘green public procurement’ is to procure products with lower environmental footprints such as secondary raw materials and locally sourced materials.
- It also pitches for moving towards ‘zero landfill’ approach in the country, hinting at possibility of imposing ‘landfill taxes’ and ‘high tipping fees’ for bulk generators of waste so that they can move towards optimal use of materials and better waste management.
Functions of NERA:
- Develop and implement resource efficient strategies for material recycling, reuse and land-filling targets for various sectors.
- Set standards for reuse of secondary raw materials to ensure quality.
- Maintain a database of material use and waste generated, recycled and land filled, across various sectors and different regions and monitor the implementation.
What is Resource Efficiency?
Resource efficiency very simply put is making more with fewer materials. In practice, through a life-cycle approach, it leads to minimizing impact on environment & the associated societal burdens, transforming ‘waste’ into ‘resources’ fostering circular economy, and strengthening resource security.
Resource Efficiency and Circular Economy are important goals and central principles for achieving sustainable development. Sustainability is a global priority and SDGs commitment and 11th Five year plan also clearly enunciate importance of Resource efficiency (RE).
Why ensure resource efficiency?
India’s large population, rapid urbanization and expanding industrial production have led to exploitation of available limited natural resources with concerns regarding resource depletion and future availability becoming more pronounced.
Therefore, Enhancing resource efficiency (RE) and promoting the use of secondary raw materials (SRM) is a pertinent strategy to address these challenges and reduce dependence on primary resource.
Challenges before India:
- According to data available, India’s resource extraction of 1580 tonnes/acre is much higher than the world average of 450 tonnes/acre, while material productivity remains low.
- Water is fast becoming scarce while deteriorating air quality has emerged as a major threat to human life.
- There has been massive soil degradation, with 147 million hectares (Mha) of a total of 329 Mha land area hit.
- Import dependency is nearly 100% for the majority of the ‘most critical’ materials -cobalt, copper and lithium that find extensive application in high-end technology industry.
- Over 80% of crude oil that is processed in the economy is imported, alongwith 85% of its coking coal demand. Extraction of non-metallic minerals is crippled with challenges.
- To add to the problems, the country’s recycling rate is just about 20-25% compared with 70% in developing countries in Europe. The situation will only aggravate as India is likely to double its material consumption by 2030.
- NITI Aayog in collaboration with the European Union delegation to India have released the Strategy on Resource Efficiency. The strategy aims to promote resource efficiency in India.
- This strategy is the first policy document to emphasize resource productivity in the country. The Strategy emphasizes on Sustainable Public Procurement (SSP) as an action agenda which will be the market transformation tool to transform to a resource efficient economy.
- It is developed with the recommendations from the Indian Resource Efficiency Programme (IREP), launched by the Indian Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change (MoEFCC) and Indian Resource Panel (InRP) in April 2017.
- Conservation related issues.
What to study?
For Prelims: Objectives and significance of the event.
For Mains: Water conservation- need, challenges and measures needed.
Context: 6th India Water Week-2019 is being observed.
- It is being organised in New Delhi between 24th and 28th September 2019.
- Organized by the Department of Water Resources, River Development and Ganga Rejuvenation, the Ministry of Jal Shakti.
- Theme: ‘Water Cooperation – Coping with 21st Century Challenges’.
Conceptualized and organized for the ﬁrst time in 2012, the India Water Week is a regular forum where the Ministry of Water Resources, River Development & Ganga Rejuvenation, Government of lndia discusses, talks, strategizes with eminent stakeholders through seminars, exhibitions and sessions to build public awareness, to get support to implement key strategies for conservation, preservation and optimum use of available water.
Facts for Prelims:
Gandhi Solar Park at UN headquarters:
Context: PM Modi inaugurates Gandhi Solar Park at UN headquarters.
- It is a 50 kilowatt Solar Park at the Headquarters of the United Nations.
- At a contribution of about $1 million, India has gifted solar panels for this park.
Vaidyaratnam P. S. Warrier:
Context: Vice President Shri Venkaiah Naidu inaugurated 150th birth anniversary celebrations of Vaidyaratnam P.S. Varier.
- Vaidyaratnam P. S. Varier (1869–1944) was an Ayurvedic physician from Kerala, India.
- He is well-regarded as the founder of Kottakkal Arya Vaidyasala, a major Ayurvedic treatment centre in Kerala.
- He also wrote text books for students of Ayurveda. One of them, Ashtangasariram, won a certificate in 1932 from the National Organisation of Physicians.
- He founded a drama troupe which was developed to be the famous Kathakali troupe, P.S.V. Natyasangham.
- In 1933, in recognition of his services to humanity, P. S. Varier was conferred the title of ‘Vaidyaratna’ by His Excellency the Viceroy and Governor General of India.
Context: SASTRA Ramanujan prize for 2019 will be awarded to mathematician Adam Harper, Assistant Professor with the University of Warwick, England.
- Every year, this prize is awarded by SASTRA University on its campus near Kumbakonam in Tamil Nadu, on Ramanujan’s birth anniversary, December 22.
- The prize carries a citation and an award of $10,000 and is conferred annually on mathematicians from across the world who are less than 32 years of age, working in an area influenced by the genius Srinivasa Ramanujan.
- The age limit is 32 years to commemorate the fact that Srinivasa Ramanujan accomplished a phenomenal body of work in this short span.
Dadasaheb Phalke Award for 2019:
Context: Dadasaheb Phalke Award for 2019 will be presented to Amitabh Bachchan.
- It is the country’s highest film honourconferred for “Outstanding contribution for the growth and development of Indian cinema”.
- The Award was introduced by the government in 1969 and it was awarded for the first time to Devika Rani, “the first lady of Indian cinema”.
Why in News? The Army has removed 130 tonnes of solid waste from the Siachen glacier as part of a mega drive to protect the eco-system of the world’s most dangerous battlefield.
- Lies in the Karakoram Range systemwhich is a part of western Himalayas.
- Lies to the south of the zone that separates Eurasion Plate with the Indian Plate, which is the result of convergence boundary interaction in geographical terms.
- It is the highest battle field in the world and lies on LoC (Line of Control) between India and Pakistan. It has been continuously contested by Pakistan as its own part which has led to militarisation of the glacier.
- After the Indo-Pakistan war in 1971, an agreement was signed between the two countries in 1972, which came to be known as the Shimla Agreement, but it failed to clearly mention who controls the glacier.
- However, in 1984, the Pakistan army tried to enter the glacier, forcing India to launch a military operation known as “Operation Meghdoot” and since then we have control over the glacier. Frequent skirmishes did occur between 1884 to 2003. A ceasefire agreement was signed between India and Pakistan in 2003
- The glacier is the source of many rivers including Nubra River, a tributary of Shyok, which is a part of the Indus River System.
- Siachen Glacier also boasts of the world’s highest helipad built by India at Point Sonam, to supply its troops. India also installed the world’s highest telephone booth on the glacier.
- The region is also a home to rare species of snow leopard, brown bear etc which may be affected by military presence. This has led to talks in international forums about creating a “Peace Park” in the area and demilitarise it.
CHC Farm Machinery app:
It is a multilingual app through which farmers can select and order the required machinery at the rates feasible for them.
These machinery can be selected from the Custom Hiring Centers located in the radius of 50 Kms.
- It is especially helpful for small and marginal farmers who will have easy access to high value and technical agricultural equipment facilitating optimum use of all types of inputs using these farming machines.
- This will help farmers increase their income.
- This will also help increase the rate of mechanisation of farm holdings.
Leadership Group for Industry Transition:
Context: A ‘Leadership Group for Industry Transition’ was announced at the Global Climate Action Summit to help guide the world’s heaviest greenhouse gas emitting industries towards a low-carbon economy.
This new Leadership Group for Industry Transition is a global public-private effort to ensure heavy industries and mobility companies can find a workable pathway to deliver on the Paris Agreement.
Aim: To drive transformation in hard-to-decarbonize and energy-intensive sectors.
- India and Sweden will lead the Group.
- Some private organisations are also a part of this.
- This initiative will also be supported by the World Economic Forum, the Energy Transitions Commission, Mission Innovation, Stockholm Environment Institute, and the European Climate Foundation among many others.
Countries that are part of the Group are:
- The Netherlands
- South Korea
- The United Kingdom
Note: Some of today’s News Articles will be covered tomorrow.