Insights Daily Current Affairs + PIB: 12 November 2019
Table of contents:
GS Paper 1:
- Swachh – Nirmal Tat Abhiyaan.
GS Paper 2:
- International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture.
GS Paper 3:
- Brown to Green Report 2019.
- Dal Lake area to be eco-sensitive zone.
- Jal Jeevan Mission.
- New water policy.
Facts for prelims:
- NASA Unveils First Electric Plane X-57 “Maxwell”.
GS Paper 1:
Population and associated issues, poverty and developmental issues, urbanization, their problems and their remedies.
What to study?
For Prelims and mains: Key features and significance of the campaign.
Context: The Environment Ministry is undertaking a mass cleanliness-cum-awareness drive in 50 identified beaches under the “Swachh – Nirmal Tat Abhiyaan”.
About Nirmal Tat Abhiyaan:
- Launched by Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change (MoEF&CC)
- Aim: To make beaches clean and create awareness amongst citizens about the importance of coastal ecosystems – in Beaches across 10 states / UTs.
- The campaign will be organized in the beaches after consultation with the state governments.
- Environment Education Division and Society of Integrated Coastal Management (SICOM) under the Environment Ministry will be responsible for its implementation.
- At end of the drive, the best three beaches will be suitably awarded along with a certificate of appreciation for all the participating eco-clubs.
- The implementation of the drive will be monitored by the MoEF&CC officials.
GS Paper 2:
- Bilateral, regional and global groupings and agreements involving India and/or affecting India’s interests
What to study?
For Prelims and mains: Key features and significance of the treaty. These sessions are held biennially, (PPV&FR) Act- key features.
Context: The eighth session of the Governing Body of International Treaty of Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture (ITPGRFA) is being held in Rome, Italy.
During the session, informed the delegates about the uniqueness of Indian legislation “Protection of Plant Varieties and Farmers’ Rights (PPV&FR) Act” to protect Farmers’ Rights and breeder’s rights.
About the treaty:
The International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture was adopted by the Thirty-First Session of the Conference of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations on 3 November 2001.
- It is also known as Seed Treaty as it is a comprehensive international agreement for ensuring food security through the conservation, exchange and sustainable use of the world’s Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture (PGRFA).
The Treaty aims at:
- recognizing the enormous contribution of farmers to the diversity of crops that feed the world;
- establishing a global system to provide farmers, plant breeders and scientists with access to plant genetic materials;
- ensuring that recipients share benefits they derive from the use of these genetic materials with the countries where they have been originated.
Multilateral system: The treaty puts 64 of our most important crops – crops that together account for 80 percent of the food we derive from plants – into an easily accessible global pool of genetic resources that is freely available to potential users in the Treaty’s ratifying nations for some uses.
Access and benefit sharing: The Treaty facilitates access to the genetic materials of the 64 crops in the Multilateral System for research, breeding and training for food and agriculture. Those who access the materials must be from the Treaty’s ratifying nations and they must agree to use the materials totally for research, breeding and training for food and agriculture. The Treaty prevents the recipients of genetic resources from claiming intellectual property rights over those resources in the form in which they received them.
Farmers’ rights: The Treaty recognizes the enormous contribution farmers have made to the ongoing development of the world’s wealth of plant genetic resources. It calls for protecting the traditional knowledge of these farmers, increasing their participation in national decision-making processes and ensuring that they share in the benefits from the use of these resources
Sustainable use: Most of the world’s food comes from four main crops – rice, wheat, maize and potatoes. However, local crops, not among the main four, are a major food source for hundreds of millions of people and have potential to provide nutrition to countless others. The Treaty helps maximize the use and breeding of all crops and promotes development and maintenance of diverse farming systems.
The Protection of Plant Varieties and Farmers’ Rights (PPV&FR) Act, 2001:
- Enacted by India in 2001 adopting sui generis system.
- It is in conformity with International Union for the Protection of New Varieties of Plants (UPOV), 1978.
- The legislation recognizes the contributions of both commercial plant breeders and farmers in plant breeding activity and also provides to implement TRIPs in a way that supports the specific socio-economic interests of all the stakeholders including private, public sectors and research institutions, as well as resource-constrained farmers.
Rights under the Act:
Breeders’ Rights: Breeders will have exclusive rights to produce, sell, market, distribute, import or export the protected variety. Breeder can appoint agent/ licensee and may exercise for civil remedy in case of infringement of rights.
Researchers’ Rights: Researcher can use any of the registered variety under the Act for conducting experiment or research. This includes the use of a variety as an initial source of variety for the purpose of developing another variety but repeated use needs prior permission of the registered breeder.
- A farmer who has evolved or developed a new variety is entitled for registration and protection in like manner as a breeder of a variety;
- Farmers variety can also be registered as an extant variety;
- A farmer can save, use, sow, re-sow, exchange, share or sell his farm produce including seed of a variety protected under the PPV&FR Act, 2001 in the same manner as he was entitled before the coming into force of this Act provided farmer shall not be entitled to sell branded seed of a variety protected under the PPV&FR Act, 2001;
- Farmers are eligible for recognition and rewards for the conservation of Plant Genetic Resources of land races and wild relatives of economic plants;
- There is also a provision for compensation to the farmers for non-performance of variety under Section 39 (2) of the Act, 2001 and
- Farmer shall not be liable to pay any fee in any proceeding before the Authority or Registrar or the Tribunal or the High Court under the Act.
GS Paper 3:
- Development, Bio diversity, Environment, Security and Disaster Management.
What to study?
For Prelims: Key findings of the report.
For Mains: Concerns and challenges and ways to address them.
Context: The 2019 Brown to Green Report has been published by the Climate Transparency partnership, an international research collaboration.
The report is the most comprehensive review of G20 countries’ climate performance, mapping achievements and drawbacks in their efforts to reduce emissions, adapt to climate impacts and green the financial system.
- Carbon emissions from the world’s 20 biggest economies, including India, are rising.
- None of the G20 countries have plans that will help them achieve the target. Many of the current 2030 climate targets under the Paris Agreement (Nationally Determined Contributions or NDCs) are too weak, with about half of the G20 countries projected to meet or overachieve their inadequate NDCs.
- Energy-related carbon dioxide emissions in G20 countries shot up by 1.8 per cent in 2018 due to rising energy demand.
- Energy supply is not getting cleaner: despite a more than five per cent rise in G20 total renewable energy supply in 2018, the share of fossil fuels in the G20 energy mix remains at 82 per cent.
- While renewables now account for 25.5 per cent of power generation, this is not sufficient to outweigh the growth of emissions from fossil fuel sources.
- Low-carbon fuels need to increase roughly 10 times by 2050 to keep global warming below 1.5 degrees Celsius.
- G20 emissions in the building sector grew more than in any other sector in 2018 (4.1 per cent). Retrofitting existing buildings challenges all G20 and especially OECD countries. New buildings have to be near zero-energy by 2020-25 to keep global warming below 1.5 degrees.
India specific observations:
- Among the G20 countries, India has the most ambitious NDC. However, it still needs real action now to prepare the different sectors for stringent emission reductions.
- In the power, India is currently investing most in renewable energy, while Brazil and Germany are the only G20 countries with long-term renewable energy strategies.
- India and China are among the G20 countries with the most progressive energy efficiency policies.
Need of the hour:
- To keep the Paris Agreement’s 1.5 degrees goal within reach, G20 countries will have to increase their 2030 emission targets by 2020 and significantly scale up mitigation, adaptation and finance over the next decade.
- Coal needs to be phased out by 2030 in Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) countries and by 2040 globally.
- G20 countries need to scale up their policies to ban new fossil fuel cars by 2035 at the latest, reduce emissions from freight transport to net-zero by 2050 and shift towards non-motorised and sustainable public transport.
- Cutting government subsidies to the aviation sector, taxing jet fuel and using revenues to invest massively in new carbon free fuels would leverage huge emissions reductions and health benefits.
- A coal phase-out plan is needed in Australia, China, India, Indonesia, Japan, Mexico, Russia, South Africa, Turkey and the US.
Sources: Indian Express.
Conservation, environmental pollution and degradation, environmental impact assessment.
What to study?
For Prelims: Eco Sensitive zones- how are they declared and key provisions in this regard, about Dal.
For Mains: Significance and the need for these zones, and issues related to management of these zones.
Context: The Jammu and Kashmir UT will set up a 10-member committee that will declare Dal Lake, an Eco-sensitive Zone.
According to a report, the area of the Dal Lake has shrunk to 24 sq km from 31 sq km and the lake has witnessed significant changes in land use and cover, apart from increasing human population.
What are Eco-sensitive zones?
The Environment Protection Act, 1986 does not mention the word “Eco-sensitive Zones”.
- The section 3(2)(v) of the Act, says that Central Government can restrict areas in which any industries, operations or processes shall not be carried out or shall be carried out subject to certain safeguards
- Besides the section 5 (1)of this act says that central government can prohibit or restrict the location of industries and carrying on certain operations or processes on the basis of considerations like the biological diversity of an area, maximum allowable limits of concentration of pollutants for an area, environmentally compatible land use, and proximity to protected areas.
The above two clauses have been effectively used by the government to declare Eco-Sensitive Zones or Ecologically Fragile Areas (EFA). The same criteria have been used by the government to declare No Development Zones.
The MoEF (Ministry of Environment & Forests) has approved a comprehensive set of guidelines laying down parameters and criteria for declaring ESAs.
These include Species Based (Endemism, Rarity etc), Ecosystem Based (sacred groves, frontier forests etc) and Geomorphologic feature based (uninhabited islands, origins of rivers etc).
Also known as the summer capital of Jammu and Kashmir, dal lake, which is the second largest in the state, is integral to tourism and recreation in Kashmir and is named the “Jewel in the crown of Kashmir” or “Srinagar’s Jewel”. The lake is also an important source for commercial operations in fishing and water plant harvesting.
The lake is located in the Zabarwan mountain valley, in the foothills of the Shankracharya hills, which surrounds it on three sides.
The lake has four main interconnected basins namely, Hazratbal, Bod dal, Gagribal and Nagin.
Sources: the Hindu.
- Conservation, environmental pollution and degradation, environmental impact assessment.
What to study?
For Prelims: Key features of the mission.
For Mains: challenges and concerns in water conservation, ways to address them.
Context: The Union Minister for Water Resources recently reviewed the performance of Jal Jeevan Mission in the southern states.
About Jal Jeevan Mission:
The Mission was announced in August 2019.
The chief objective of the Mission is to provide piped water supply (Har Ghar Jal) to all rural and urban households by 2024.
It also aims to create local infrastructure for rainwater harvesting, groundwater recharge and management of household waste water for reuse in agriculture.
- The Jal Jeevan Mission is set to be based on various water conservation efforts like point recharge, desilting of minor irrigation tanks, use of greywater for agriculture and source sustainability.
- The Jal Jeevan Mission will converge with other Central and State Government Schemes to achieve its objectives of sustainable water supply management across the country.
Need for and significance of the mission:
India has 16% of the world population, but only 4% of freshwater resources. Depleting groundwater level, overexploitation and deteriorating water quality, climate change, etc. are major challenges to provide potable drinking water.
It is an urgent requirement of water conservation in the country because of the decreasing amount of groundwater level. Therefore, the Jal Jeevan Mission will focus on integrated demand and supply management of water at the local level.
Conservation, environmental pollution and degradation, environmental impact assessment
What to study?
For Prelims: Overview of NWP 2012.
For Mains: The need for and significance of the new policy.
Context: The government has finalised a committee to draft a new National Water Policy (NWP).
The committee is expected to produce a report within six months.
National Water Policy 2012:
- The NWP currently in force was drafted in 2012 and is the third such policy since 1987.
- Among the major policy innovations in the 2012 policy was the concept of an Integrated Water Resources Management approach that took the “river basin/ sub-basin” as a unit for planning, development and management of water resources.
- Minimum levels: It also proposed that a portion of river flows ought to be kept aside to meet ecological needs. Such an approach led to the government, in 2018, requiring minimum water levels to be maintained in the Ganga all through the year and hydropower projects, therefore, to refrain from hoarding water beyond a point.
- The policy also stressed for a minimum quantity of potable water for essential health and hygiene to all its citizens to be made available within easy reach of households.
- The policy also noted that inter-basin transfers of water should be considered on the basis of merits of each case after evaluating the environmental, economic and social impacts of such transfers.
Need for revision:
There have been a lot of changes which need to be addressed and the prioritization of the water usage needs to be defined.
- Spring sets in Himalayas have been decreasingwithout any active step by the government.
- Revitalisation of rivers needs to be brought in focus because many of our rivers and rivulets are drying and the policy parameters need to be set up accordingly.
- Technological innovations like censors, geographic information systems (GIS) and satellite imagery need to be introduced to modulate the water and track the flow.
- Budgeting needs to be done in a way that it covers all levels from the basin to sub basin.
Sources: the Hindu.
Facts for prelims:
NASA Unveils First Electric Plane X-57 “Maxwell”.
NASA recently showcased an early version of its first all-electric experimental aircraft, the X-57 “Maxwell.”
Adapted from an Italian-made Tecnam P2006T twin-engine propeller plane, the X-57 has been under development since 2015 and remains at least a year away from its first test flight in the skies over Edward Air Force Base.