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INSIGHTS DAILY CURRENT AFFAIRS + PIB SUMMARY- 11 March 2020

Table of Contents:

GS Paper 2:

1. PM Ujjwala Yojana.

2. Sir Creek pact.

 

GS Paper 3:

1. National Mission on Interdisciplinary Cyber Physical Systems.

2. Preservation of Eastern, Western Ghats.

3. ‘United for Biodiversity’.

 

Facts for Prelims:

1. What is Shared economy?

2. India’s coal imports rise.

3. India Bangladesh border.

4. Gaur back in Valmiki Reserve.

 


GS Paper  : 2


 

Topics Covered: Welfare schemes for vulnerable sections of the population by the Centre and States and the performance of these schemes; mechanisms, laws, institutions and bodies constituted for the protection and betterment of these vulnerable sections.

PM Ujjwala Yojana

What to study?

For Prelims: Key features of the scheme.

For Mains: Significance and performance analysis of the scheme.

Context: Parliamentary committee’s observations on performance of the PM Ujjwala Yojana.

 Key observations:

  • The government in September, 2019 met the target of eight crore LPG connections under the Pradhan Mantri Ujjwala Yojana.
  • But, only three States have become kerosene free. These include- Haryana, Punjab and Andhra Pradesh.
  • Union Territories that have become kerosene-free are the Union Territories of Delhi, Chandigarh, Daman & Diu, Dadar & Nagar Haveli, Andaman & Nicobar Island and Puducherry.

Key issues and gaps highlighted by the Committee:

  1. The scheme is no longer running. The committee was upset at the closure of the scheme and said there was still a lot of ground to cover.
  2. There are poor households in the general category in urban and semi-urban localities that also need to be covered.
  3. Large segments of people in various States still depended on kerosene for cooking and household lighting.

What next?

  1. The scheme should be extended to poor households in urban and semi-urban slum areas.
  2. There is need for achieving a higher LPG coverage of the population by providing connections to households that do not have LPG.

About Pradhan Mantri Ujjwala Yojana:

Launched in May 2016.

Aim: To provide LPG (liquefied petroleum gas) connections to poor households.

Key features: A deposit-free LPG connection is given to eligible with financial assistance of Rs 1,600 per connection by the Centre.

Target: The scheme gained traction with its ambit being expanded to include 80 million poor families from the earlier target of 50 million families with an additional allocation of Rs4,800 crore.

Eligibility criteria:

  1. Applicant must a woman above the age of 18 and a citizen of India.
  2. Applicant should belong to a BPL (Below Poverty Line) household.
  3. No one in the applicant’s household should own an LPG connection.
  4. The household income of the family, per month, must not exceed a certain limit as defined by the government of the Union Territories and State Government.
  5. Applicant must not be a recipient of other similar schemes provided by the government.

Objectives of the scheme are:

  1. Empowering women and protecting their health.
  2. Reducing the serious health hazards associated with cooking based on fossil fuel.
  3. Reducing the number of deaths in India due to unclean cooking fuel.
  4. Preventing young children from significant number of acute respiratory illnesses caused due to indoor air pollution by burning the fossil fuel.

Insta Link:

Prelims Link:

  1. LPG Composition; Difference between LPG LNG CNG.
  2. What are Parliamentary committees?
  3. How are urban and semi- urban areas differentiated?
  4. Differences between central sector, centrally sponsored schemes.
  5. Targets and goals under the scheme.
  6. States and UTs which became kerosene- free under the scheme.

Mains Link:

It is said that the real test of the PMUY and its successor programmes will be in how they translate the provision of connections to sustained use of LPG or other clean fuels such as electricity or biogas. For this which issues need to be addressed? Also discuss the significance of PMUY.

Sources: the Hindu.

 

Topics Covered:  India and its neighbourhood- relations.

Sir Creek pact

What to study?

For Prelims: Where is sir creek located, what is the dispute all about?

For Mains: How this dispute has affected the people in this region? What is the solution?

Context: The third edition of WION’s global summit was held in Dubai recently.

Theme: “Navigating and negotiating global imperatives”.

  • Several topics, including balancing and recalibrating Pakistan’s diplomatic strategy and getting the youth to participate in democracy, were discussed at the summit.
  • At the event, Former Pakistan Minister Kasuri recalled the plan for Sir Creek pact.

What is Sir Creek?

Sir Creek is a 96-km strip of water disputed between India and Pakistan in the Rann of Kutch marshlands.

  • Originally named Ban Ganga, Sir Creek is named after a British representative.
  • The Creek opens up in the Arabian Sea and roughly divides the Kutch region of Gujarat from the Sindh Province of Pakistan.

What’s the dispute?

The dispute lies in the interpretation of the maritime boundary line between Kutch and Sindh.

Before India’s independence, the provincial region was a part of the Bombay Presidency of British India. But after India’s independence in 1947, Sindh became a part of Pakistan while Kutch remained a part of India.

  1. Pakistan claims the entire creek as per paragraphs 9 and 10 of the Bombay Government Resolution of 1914 signed between then the Government of Sindh and Rao Maharaj of Kutch.
  2. The resolution, which demarcated the boundaries between the two territories, included the creek as part of Sindh, thus setting the boundary as the eastern flank of the creek popularly known as Green Line.
  3. But India claims that the boundary lies mid-channel as depicted in another map drawn in 1925, and implemented by the installation of mid-channel pillars back in 1924.
  4. In its support, it cites the Thalweg Doctrine in International Maritime Law, which states that river boundaries between two states may be divided by the mid-channel if the water-body is navigable.

What’s the importance of Sir Creek?

Apart from strategic location, Sir Creek’s core importance is fishing resources. Sir Creek is considered to be among the largest fishing grounds in Asia.

Another vital reason is the possible presence of great oil and gas concentration under the sea, which are currently unexploited thanks to the impending deadlock on the issue.

Insta Link:

Prelims Link:

  1. Disputed regions between India and its neighbours.
  2. Locations of these places and surrounding important places.
  3. India’s land and maritime boundary.
  4. Kharai camels.
  5. Rivers draining rann of Kutch.
  6. Largest fish producers in the world.
  7. United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea and Bombay Government resolution of 1914 w.r.t the disputed region.
  8. Boundary pacts in this regard.

Mains Link:

Where is Sir Creek located? What is the dispute surrounding it? Discuss.

Sources: the Hindu.

 


GS Paper  : 3


 

Topics Covered:  Science and Technology- developments and their applications and effects in everyday life Achievements of Indians in science & technology; indigenization of technology and developing new technology.

National Mission on Interdisciplinary Cyber Physical Systems

What to study?

For Prelims: key features of NM- ICPS, targets.

For Mains: Need for and significance of the mission.

Context: Department of Science and Technology (DST) has sanctioned Rs 7.25 crore to IIT Mandi to establish a Technology Innovation Hub (TIH) at the Institute.

DST has sanctioned the funds under its National Mission on Interdisciplinary Cyber-Physical Systems (NM-ICPS).

Main tasks of the Technology Innovation Hub (TIH):

  1. The TIH will develop tools, education material, hands-on experiments with specialised tool kits, connecting with existing innovation ecosystems.
  2. It will inter-link with different stakeholders and connect with other initiatives of the Government of India by providing an innovation platform for schools, colleges and advanced technical training institutes in the targeted areas. The deliverables include:
  3. Technology Deliverables: To develop technology interface for challenges concerning landslides, environment (including climate change), air pollution, agriculture, cybersecurity, defence forces, healthcare, and forensics.
  4. Human Resource and Skill Development Deliverables: To generate skilled manpower in HCI area at graduate, post-graduate, doctoral, post-doctoral and faculty level by organising workshops and seminars.
  5. International Collaborations Deliverables: To develop and sustain existing and new collaboration with universities and organisations in India and abroad.
  6. Entrepreneurship and Startup Deliverables: To create a startup ecosystem by working with the technology-business incubator of IIT Mandi, Catalyst, with an approach of Knowledge Generation Technology Development Technology Translation Technology Commercialisation.

How the TIH will work on Cyber Physical Systems (CPS)?

The TIH will also work on the development and evaluation of interfaces of IoT-based Cyber-Physical Systems (CPS), where CPS contains physical elements (sensors) for collecting data and cyber elements (analytics and visualization software) for alerting/ educating people for directed action.

What is it?

Cyber Physical Systems (CPS) are a new class of engineered systems that integrate computation and physical processes in a dynamic environment. CPS encompasses technology areas of Cybernetics, Mechatronics, Design and Embedded systems, Internet of Things (IoT), Big Data, Artificial Intelligence (AI) among others.

About National Mission on Interdisciplinary Cyber-Physical Systems (NM-ICPS):

To harness the potential of this new wave of technology and make India a leading player in CPS, the Union Cabinet approved the launch of National Mission on Interdisciplinary Cyber-Physical Systems (NM-ICPS) in 2018.

It had a total outlay of INR 3,660 crores for a period of five years.

The mission implementation would develop and bring: 

  1. Cyber Physical Systems (CPS) and associated technologies within reach in the country, 
  2. adoption of CPS technologies to address India specific National / Regional issues, 
  3. produce Next Generation skilled manpower in CPS,
  4. catalyze Translational Research, 
  5. accelerate entrepreneurship and start-up ecosystem development in CPS, 
  6. give impetus to advanced research in CPS, Technology development and higher education in Science, Technology and Engineering disciplines, and 
  7. place India at par with other advanced countries and derive several direct and indirect benefits.

Implementation:

  1. The Mission aims at establishment of 15 numbers of Technology Innovation Hubs (TIH), six numbers of Application Innovation Hubs (AIH) and four numbers of Technology Translation Research Parks (TTRP).
  2. These Hubs & TTRPs will connect to Academics, Industry, Central Ministries and State Government in developing solutions at reputed academic, R&D and other organizations across the country in a hub and spoke model.

Insta Link:

Prelims Link:

  1. What are Cyber-Physical Systems?
  2. What is IoT?
  3. What is Big Data?
  4. Potential applications of CPS.

Mains Link:

Write a note on Cyber-Physical Systems and its associated technologies.

Sources: the Hindu.

 

Topics Covered:  Conservation, environmental pollution and degradation, environmental impact assessment.

Preservation of Eastern, Western Ghats

What to study?

For Prelims: Western Ghats- Key geographical and environmental facts.

For Mains: Issues related to the conservation of the region, overview of Gadil and Kasturirangan committee reports.

Context: A public interest litigation petition has been filed in the Madras High Court seeking a direction to the Centre and State government to constitute a permanent body for taking serious steps to safeguard the flora, fauna and other natural resources in the Eastern and Western Ghat areas in Tamil Nadu.

  • The petition is on the basis of the recommendations made by the Madhav Gadgil and Kasturi Rangan committees.

What’s the issue? Why there is a need for protection?

  • Petitioner contended that the natural resources abundantly available in this area are being properly utilised by other regions, except Tamil Nadu. They are being misutilised and mismanaged not only by the administrators but also by the public at large.
  • Besides, large-scale plantations of coffee, tea and orchards have been raised in the hills of Western Ghats. Aromatic and valuable trees like sandal are removed illegally. Despite the Wildlife Protection Act, hunting takes place in some pockets. The forests are getting degraded because of illicit collection of firewood, illicit grazing and illicit felling of trees.

What did the Gadgil Committee say?

  1. It defined the boundaries of the Western Ghats for the purposes of ecological management.
  2. It proposed that this entire area be designated as ecologically sensitive area (ESA).
  3. Within this area, smaller regions were to be identified as ecologically sensitive zones (ESZ) I, II or III based on their existing condition and nature of threat.
  4. It proposed to divide the area into about 2,200 grids, of which 75 per cent would fall under ESZ I or II or under already existing protected areas such as wildlife sanctuaries or natural parks.
  5. The committee proposed a Western Ghats Ecology Authority to regulate these activities in the area.

Why was Kasturirangan Committee setup?

None of the six concerned states agreed with the recommendations of the Gadgil Committee, which submitted its report in August 2011.

  • In August 2012, then Environment Minister constituted a High-Level Working Group on Western Ghats under Kasturirangan to “examine” the Gadgil Committee report in a “holistic and multidisciplinary fashion in the light of responses received” from states, central ministries and others.
  • The Kasturirangan report seeks to bring just 37% of the Western Ghats under the Ecologically Sensitive Area (ESA) zones — down from the 64% suggested by the Gadgil report.

Recommendations of Kasturirangan Committee:

  1. A ban on mining, quarrying and sand mining.
  2. No new thermal power projects, but hydro power projects allowed with restrictions.
  3. A ban on new polluting industries.
  4. Building and construction projects up to 20,000 sq m was to be allowed but townships were to be banned.
  5. Forest diversion could be allowed with extra safeguards.

Importance of western ghats:

  • The Western Ghats is an extensive region spanning over six States. It is the home of many endangered plants and animals. It is a UNESCO World Heritage site.
  • It is one of the eight “hottest hot-spots” of biological diversity in the world.
  • According to UNESCO, the Western Ghats are older than the Himalayas. They influence Indian monsoon weather patterns by intercepting the rain-laden monsoon winds that sweep in from the south-west during late summer.

Eastern Ghats:

The Eastern Ghats run from the northern Odisha through Andhra Pradesh to Tamil Nadu in the south passing some parts of Karnataka.

They are eroded and cut through by four major rivers of peninsular India, viz. Godavari, Mahanadi, Krishna, and Kaveri.

Insta Link:

Prelims Link:

  1. Geographical extension of Eastern and Western ghats, Important rivers, passes and mountain ranges, tallest peaks.
  2. Critically endangered, endangered and endemic species found in this region.
  3. ESAs vs. ESZs, who designates them?
  4. Differences between recommendations of the two committees.
  5. What is a World Heritage site? Who designates them?
  6. What are “hottest hot-spots” of biological diversity? Who designates them?

Mains Link:

Various committees have been formed to give recommendations on preservation of Western Ghats, but not a lot has happened on that front. Examine.

Sources: the Hindu.

 

Topics Covered:  Conservation, environmental pollution and degradation, environmental impact assessment.

‘United for Biodiversity’

What to study?

For Prelims: Composition and objectives of the coalition.

For Mains: Significance and the need for this group.

 Context: The European Commission (EC) has launched the ‘United for Biodiversity’ coalition.

It was launched on World Wildlife Day 2020- 3rd March.

What is it?

  1. The coalition is made up of zoos, aquariums, botanical gardens, national parks, and natural history and science museums from around the world.
  2. The coalition offers the opportunity for all such institutions to “join forces and boost public awareness about the nature crisis, ahead of the crucial COP-15 of the Convention on Biological Diversity in Kunming, China in October 2020.

A common pledge adopted:

The coalition adopted a common pledge, citing the Intergovernmental Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES) Global Assessment finding that one million species were already at risk of extinction, and appeals to visitors to each of their institutions to “raise their voice for nature.”

Need for this coalition:

These organisations are vital not only for cataloguing and preserving the natural world, but are indispensable and invaluable centres for education and mobilisation — particularly for young leaders and decision-makers of the future.

Insta Link:

Prelims Link:

  1. What is IPBES?
  2. Where the COP-15 of the Convention on Biological Diversity will be held?
  3. World Wildlife Day 2020- theme, date.
  4. Difference between National Parks, wildlife sanctuaries and community reserves.
  5. European union vs Eurozone vs European Commission.

Mains Link:

Write a note on ‘United for Biodiversity’ coalition and its objectives.

Sources: the Hindu.

 


Facts for Prelims


 

What is Shared economy?

The sharing economy, also known as collaborative consumption or peer-to-peer-based sharing, is a concept that highlights the ability of individuals to rent or borrow goods rather than buy and own them.

The ‘shared economy’ includes segments such as co-working (Awfis, WeWork India), co-living (Stanza Living, OYO Life, Oxford Caps), shared mobility (Uber, Ola, Shuttl) and furniture rental (Furlenco, Rentomojo.)

Why in News?

The shared economy in India is estimated to be an about $2 billion industry by the end of the current year, according to a recent report by Maple Capital Advisors.

 

India’s coal imports rise:

  1. India’s thermal coal imports rose 12.6 percent to nearly 200 million tonnes in 2019. This is the second straight year of growth in shipments of the fuel.
  2. Imports of coking coal – used mainly in the manufacturing of steel – fell marginally, following two straight years of increase.

Key facts:

Coal is among the top five commodities imported by India, the world’s largest consumer, importer and producer of the fuel.

(Note: The topic is highly relevant for Prelims. Hence, it is advised to study in depth about Coal, various types, where they are found in India and other related facts.)

 

India and Bangladesh border:

Bangladesh and India share a 4,156-kilometre-long international border, the fifth-longest land border in the world.

This includes 262 km in Assam, 856 km in Tripura, 180 km in Mizoram, 443 km in Meghalaya, and 2,217 km in West Bengal.

Why in News?

According to the recent government data, there has been no unusual increase in apprehension of illegal infiltrators along the Bangladesh border in 2019 compared to the trend observed in the past six years.

India_Bangladesh

Gaur back in Valmiki Reserve:

Context: Gaur (Bos Gaurus) have not only returned to Bihar’s Valmiki Tiger Reserve (VTR), but are also breeding there due to an increase in grassland cover. They have been attracted to VTR due to the increase in grassland cover.

Key facts:

  1. Gaur is the largest extant bovine in the world.
  2. Gaur are grassland specialists and their main food is grass.
  3. Native to south and southeast Asia.
  4. The species is listed as ‘vulnerable’ on the International Union for Conservation of Nature’s Red List of Threatened Species since 1986.

About VTR:

VTR was set up in the early 1990s. It is spread over 899 square kilometres in Bihar’s West Champaran district, bordering Nepal’s Chitwan National Park to its north and Uttar Pradesh to its west.