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[Mission 2022] INSIGHTS DAILY CURRENT AFFAIRS + PIB SUMMARY- 16 August 2021

 

InstaLinks help you think beyond the issue but relevant to the issue from UPSC prelims and Mains exam point of view. These linkages provided in this ‘hint’ format help you frame possible questions in your mind that might arise(or an examiner might imagine) from each current event. InstaLinks also connect every issue to their static or theoretical background. This helps you study a topic holistically and add new dimensions to every current event to help you think analytically. 

current affairs, current events, current gk, insights ias current affairs, upsc ias current affairs

 

Table of Contents

GS Paper 2:

1. Plastic Waste Management Amendment Rules, 2021.

2. How and why should India deal with Afghanistan now?

 

GS Paper 3:

1. “Gati Shakti” infrastructure plan.

2. Rice fortification plan to tackle malnutrition.

3. National Hydrogen Mission.

4. Hydro-meteorological calamities.

 

Facts for Prelims:

1. Three new species of wild balsam identified Kerala.

2. Siachen Glacier.

3. Sainik Schools now open for girls as well.

4. SonChiraiya.


 

Plastic Waste Management Amendment Rules, 2021

GS Paper 2

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

 

Plastic Waste Management 

Context:

The Environment Ministry has notified the Plastic Waste Management Amendment Rules, 2021, which prohibit specific single-use plastic items which have “low utility and high littering potential” by 2022. 

 

The New Rules: 

  1. What is banned? The manufacture, import, stocking, distribution, sale and use of the identified single-use plastic will be prohibited with effect from the 1st July, 2022. 
  2. The ban will not apply to commodities made of compostable plastic. 
  3. For banning other plastic commodities in the future, other than those that have been listed in this notification, the government has given industry ten years from the date of notification for compliance. 
  4. The permitted thickness of the plastic bags, currently 50 microns, will be increased to 75 microns from 30th September, 2021, and to 120 microns from the 31st December, 2022. 
  5. The Central Pollution Control Board, along with state pollution bodies, will monitor the ban, identify violations, and impose penalties already prescribed under the Environmental Protection Act, 1986. 
  6. The plastic packaging waste, which is not covered under the phase out of identified single use plastic items, shall be collected and managed in an environmentally sustainable way through the Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) of the Producer, importer and Brand owner (PIBO), as per Plastic Waste Management Rules, 2016. 

 

What is single-use plastic? 

It is a form of plastic that is disposable,which is only used once and then has to be thrown away or recycled like water bottles,straw,cups etc. 

 

Few notable facts: 

  • India’s per capita consumption of plastic at 11 kilograms (kg) per year is still among the lowest in the world against global average is 28 kg per year. 
  • Close to 26,000 tons of plastic waste is generated across India every day and 10,000 tons uncollected. 

A dilemma: 

Some intellectuals argue that plastic is not harmful if it is managed, collected and recycled properly to other uses. On the other hand, some are in favour of a total ban on the plastics fearing its irreversible impact on them. 

 

Reasons to ban:  

According to World Wildlife Fund (WWF), plastic is harmful to the environment as it is non-biodegradable, takes years to disintegrate. Also:

  • Waste plastic bags are polluting the land and water immensely. 
  • Plastic bags have become a threat to the life of animals living on earth as well as in water. 
  • Chemicals released by waste plastic bags enter the soil and make it infertile. 
  • Plastic bags are having a negative impact on human health. 
  • Plastic bags lead to drainage problems. 

 

India’s efforts:

  • India has won global acclaim for its “Beat Plastic Pollution” resolve declared on World Environment Day last year, under which it pledged to eliminate single-use plastic by 2022. 
  • At the fourth United Nations Environment Assembly in 2019, India piloted a resolution on addressing pollution caused by single-use plastic products.

Challenges to phase out single-use plastic:

  • India does not have systems in place for effective segregation, collection and recycling. 
  • No policy for recycling plastics. Also challenges are there to set up a recycling plant because of environmental issues raised by Pollution Control Boards of various states. 
  • Single-use plastic has been a very good business, and that’s projected to continue. 
  • The economics favour more plastic production. 
  • A significant amount ends up in rivers, oceans and landfills are not recyclable. 
  • Also, Trade bodies like All India Plastic Manufacturers Association (AIPMA) recommends government to extend the deadline for phasing out SUP products by a period of one year to 2023 because of challenges caused by COVID. 

 

Need of the hour: 

  1. Intensify efforts to recycle plastic under Swachh bharat abhiyan
  2. Promoting the use of biodegradable plastics, khadi bags, cotton bags.
  3. Incentivising collection.
  4. Start charging the producers for their waste, which will lead to recovery and recycling.

 

Insta Curious: 

Do you know about the project REPLAN? Reference

 

InstaLinks: 

Prelims Link: 

  1. About Single Use Plastics. 
  2. About Plastic Waste management rules. 
  3. Latest Amendments. 
  4. What is Extended Producer Responsibility? 
  5. About the UN Environment Assembly. 

Mains Link: 

Comment on India’s efforts to beat plastic pollution. 

Sources: the Hindu.

How and why should India deal with Afghanistan now? 

GS Paper 2

 

Context: 

Taliban recently seized more major cities and raced to take full control of Afghanistan with the U.S. and Britain deploying troops to evacuate their citizens. 

What is the issue? 

Non-governmental player Taliban has been making advances to return to power with sheer display of violence after USA’s decision of withdrawal from Afghanistan. 

 

Afghanistan and its strategic location: 

Significance of Afghan stability :

    • Can have spill over to Neighbouring central Asian countries like Tajikistan, Uzbekiatan etc
    • Taliban resurgence will revive extremism in the region and the region can become a safe sanctuary for Let,ISIS etc. 
    • Civil war in Afghanistan will lead to a refugee crisis in Central Asia and beyond. 
  • Afghanistan’s stability will help the Central Asian countries with the shortest access to the seaports of the Indian ocean. 
  • Afghanistan has been an important link in the regional trade, cultural, playing the role of a connecting bridge for Central and the rest of the world. 

 

Why it is imperative now for India to engage with Taliban? 

  • Taliban is now having a significant presence in Afghanistan. 
  • India is already having huge investments in Afghanistan.To secure assets worth $3 billion, India should engage with all parties in Afghanistan. 
  • Taliban engaging with Pak deep state will not be in India’s best interest. 
  • If India does not engage now Russia, Iran, Pakistan and China will emerge as the shapers of Afghanistan’s political and geopolitical destiny, which for sure will be detrimental to Indian interests. 
  • The U.S. has announced a new, surprise formation of a “Quad” on regional connectivity — U.S.-Uzbekistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan that does not include India. 
  • India’s effort to trade with Afghanistan Via Chabahar port in order to increase the economy on scale. 

 

Need of the hour: 

  • Urgent need to collectively act for the safety of Afghan civilians by checking violence by Taliban
  • Afghanistan should be given enough space in Central Asian architectures like SCO (Shanghai cooperation organisation)
  • The USA,Iran,China,and Russia should actively involve India to maintain stability in Afghanistan. 
  • Unified action for the refugee crisis if it arises. 
  • Indian engagement with Taliban to maintain peace with immediate neighbours. 

 

Insta Curious: 

Know about the US- Taliban peace deal: Click here

 

InstaLinks: 

Prelims Link: 

  1. About Taliban. 
  2. Afghan Crisis. 
  3. About NATO. 
  4. India’s investments in Afghanistan Projects. 

Mains Link: 

Discuss why India should engage with Afghanistan now. 

Sources: the Hindu.

“Gati Shakti” infrastructure plan:

GS Paper 3

Topics Covered: Infrastructure.

 

Context:

Announced by PM Modi on the eve of Independence day.

 

Highlights the scheme:

  • Gati Shakti will be a National Infrastructure Master Plan for our country which will lay the foundation of holistic Infrastructure.
  • This scheme of more than 100 lakh crores rupees will result in new employment opportunities for lakhs of youth.
  • The plan will help raise the global profile of local manufacturers and help them compete with their counterparts worldwide.
  • It also raises possibilities of new future economic zones.

Note: A similar plan, called the National Infrastructure Pipeline was previously announced.

 

About the National Infrastructure Pipeline:

In the budget speech of 2019-2020, Finance Minister announced an outlay of Rs 100 lakh Crore for infrastructure projects over the next 5 years.

 

What is it?

  • NIP is a first-of-its-kind initiative to provide world-class infrastructure across the country and improve the quality of life for all citizens.
  • It will improve project preparation, attract investments (both domestic & foreign) into infrastructure, and will be crucial for attaining the target of becoming a $5 trillion economy by FY 2025.
  • Covers both economic and social infrastructure projects.

 

Report by Task force:

The task force headed by Atanu Chakraborty on National Infrastructure Pipeline (NIP), in May 2020, submitted its final report to the Finance Minister.

 

Important recommendations and observations made:

  1. Investment needed: ₹111 lakh crore over the next five years (2020-2025) to build infrastructure projects and drive economic growth.
  2. Energy, roads, railways and urban projects are estimated to account for the bulk of projects (around 70%).
  3. The centre (39 percent) and state (40 percent) are expected to have an almost equal share in implementing the projects, while the private sector has 21 percent share.
  4. Aggressive push towards asset sales.
  5. Monetisation of infrastructure assets.
  6. Setting up of development finance institutions.
  7. Strengthening the municipal bond market.

 

Insta Curious:

Do you know what is InvIT model? Reference: 

 

InstaLinks:

Prelims Link:

  1. What is NIP? When was it launched?
  2. Projects covered under NIP.
  3. Key recommendations made by task force headed by Atanu Chakraborty on NIP.
  4. Three committees proposed to be set up as per the recommendations made by Task Force.
  5. What is India Investment Grid?
  6. About Gati Shakti.

Mains Link:

Discuss the significance and features of NIP.

Sources: the Hindu.

Rice fortification plan to tackle malnutrition

GS Paper 3

Topics Covered: Food processing and related industries in India- scope and significance, location, upstream and downstream requirements, supply chain management. 

 

Rice fortification 

Context: 

Prime Minister Narendra Modi has announced the fortification of rice distributed under various government schemes, including the Public Distribution System (PDS) and mid-day meals in schools, by 2024. 

 

Significance of the announcement: 

  • The announcement is significant as the country has high levels of malnutrition among women and children
  • According to the Food Ministry, every second woman in the country is anaemic and every third child is stunted. 
  • India ranks 94 out of 107 countries and is in the ‘serious hunger’ category on the Global Hunger Index (GHI). 
  • Malnutrition and lack of essential nutrients in poor women and poor children poses major obstacles in their development. 

 

How many children will benefit from this? 

The government distributes over 300 lakh tonnes of rice under various schemes covered under the National Food Security Act, 2013. For 2021-22, the Centre has allocated 328 lakh tonnes of rice under NFSA for schemes such as the Targeted PDS, MDM and Integrated Child Development Scheme (ICDS). 

 

What is food fortification? 

The Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI), that sets standards for food items in the country, defines fortification as “deliberately increasing the content of essential micronutrients in a food so as to improve the nutritional quality of food and to provide public health benefit with minimal risk to health”. 

 

Fortified rice: 

  • According to the Food Ministry, fortification of rice is a cost-effective and complementary strategy to increase vitamin and mineral content in diets. 
  • According to FSSAI norms, 1 kg fortified rice will contain iron (28 mg-42.5 mg), folic acid (75-125 microgram) and Vitamin B-12 (0.75-1.25 microgram). 
  • In addition, rice may also be fortified with micronutrients, singly or in combination, with zinc(10 mg-15 mg), Vitamin A (500-750 microgram RE), Vitamin B1 (1 mg-1.5 mg), Vitamin B2 (1.25 mg-1.75 mg), Vitamin B3 (12.5 mg-20 mg) and Vitamin B6 (1.5 mg-2.5 mg) per kg. 

 

Insta Curious: 

Do you know the differences between macro and micro nutrients? Reference: 

 

InstaLinks: 

Prelims Link: 

  1. Bio fortification vs Genetic modifications. 
  2. Micro vs Macronutrients. 
  3. Approval for Biofortified and GM crops in India. 
  4. GM crops allowed in India. 

Mains Link: 

What do you understand by fortification of foods? Discuss its advantages.

Sources: the Hindu.

National Hydrogen Mission

GS Paper 3

Topics Covered: Conservation related issues. 

 

National Hydrogen Mission: 

Context: 

The launch of the National Hydrogen Mission was announced by PM Modi. The aim is to make India a global hub for the production and export of green hydrogen. 

 

Background: 

The proposal for the National Hydrogen Mission was made in the Budget 2021 to launch NHM that would enable the generation of hydrogen “from green power sources”. 

 

What is Hydrogen fuel?

Hydrogen is the lightest and first element on the periodic table. Since the weight of hydrogen is less than air, it rises in the atmosphere and is therefore rarely found in its pure form, H2.

  • At standard temperature and pressure, hydrogen is a nontoxic, nonmetallic, odorless, tasteless, colorless, and highly combustible diatomic gas.
  • Hydrogen fuel is a zero-emission fuel burned with oxygen. It can be used in fuel cells or internal combustion engines. It is also used as a fuel for spacecraft propulsion.

 

Occurrence of Hydrogen:

  • It is the most abundant element in the universe. The sun and other stars are composed largely of hydrogen.
  • Astronomers estimate that 90% of the atoms in the universe are hydrogen atoms. Hydrogen is a component of more compounds than any other element.
  • Water is the most abundant compound of hydrogen found on earth.
  • Molecular hydrogen is not available on Earth in convenient natural reservoirs. Most hydrogen on Earth is bonded to oxygen in water and to carbon in live or dead and/or fossilized biomass. It can be created by splitting water into hydrogen and oxygen.

 

Storage:

Hydrogen can be stored physically as either a gas or a liquid.

  • Storage of hydrogen as a gas typically requires high-pressure tanks.
  • Storage of hydrogen as a liquid requires cryogenic temperatures because the boiling point of hydrogen at one atmosphere pressure is −252.8°C.
  • Hydrogen can also be stored on the surfaces of solids (by adsorption) or within solids (by absorption).

 

Potential of clean hydrogen industry in reducing greenhouse gas emissions:

  1. The only by-product or emission that results from the usage of hydrogen fuel is water — making the fuel 100 per cent clean.
  2. Hydrogen is considered an alternative fuel. It is due to its ability to power fuel cells in zero-emission electric vehicles, its potential for domestic production, and the fuel cell’s potential for high efficiency.
  3. In fact, a fuel cell coupled with an electric motor is two to three times more efficient than an internal combustion engine running on gasoline.
  4. Hydrogen can also serve as fuel for internal combustion engines.
  5. The energy in 2.2 pounds (1 kilogram) of hydrogen gas contains about the same as the energy in 1 gallon (6.2 pounds, 2.8 kilograms) of gasoline.

 

Policy Challenges: 

  1. One of the biggest challenges faced by the industry for using hydrogen commercially is the economic sustainability of extracting green or blue hydrogen.
  2. The technology used in production and use of hydrogen like Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS)and hydrogen fuel cell technology are at nascent stage and are expensive which in turn increases the cost of production of hydrogen.
  3. Maintenance costs for fuel cells post-completion of a plant can be costly.
  4. The commercial usage of hydrogen as a fuel and in industries requires mammoth investment in R&D of such technology and infrastructure for production, storage, transportation and demand creation for hydrogen.

 

Insta Curious: 

There are several ways of extracting hydrogen and, depending on the method, the hydrogen produced is classified as ‘grey’, ‘blue’, or ‘green’ hydrogen. Reference

 

InstaLinks: 

Prelims Link: 

  1. About Green Hydrogen. 
  2. How is it produced? 
  3. Applications. 
  4. Benefits. 
  5. About the Hydrogen Energy Mission. 

Mains Link: 

Discuss the benefits of Green Hydrogen.

Sources: the Hindu. 

Hydro-meteorological calamities

GS Paper 3

Topics Covered: Disaster management. 

 

calamities

Context: 

The Union Home Ministry has released data on fatalities caused due to hydro-meteorological calamities. 

(Note: Hydro-meteorological calamities and hazards include flash floods, cloudburst and landslides). 

 

Highlights: 

  1. Nearly 6,800 people lost their lives in the country over the past three years due to hydro-meteorological calamities. 
  2. West Bengal has recorded the highest deaths among all States. 
  3. The causes for these calamities include extreme rainfall events or cloudbursts. 
  4. These types of fatal landslip events are common almost every year, mainly in the Himalayan States, in the Western Ghats, and Konkan areas. 
  5. In terms of funds released by the Centre under State Disaster Response Funds, highest funds were allocated to Maharashtra. 
  6. Over the past three years, West Bengal had braved four tropical cyclones — Fani (May 2019), Bulbul (November 2019), Amphan (May 2020) and Yaas (May 2021). 

 

States’ roles and responsibilities: 

Under the Disaster Management Act, States were empowered to take action to prevent deaths due to natural calamities. 

 

What is Disaster Management? 

The Disaster Management Act of 2005 defines Disaster Management as an integrated process of planning, organizing, coordinating and implementing measures which are necessary for: 

  1. Prevention of threat of any disaster 
  2. Reduction of risk of any disaster or its consequences 
  3. Readiness to deal with any disaster 
  4. Promptness in dealing with a disaster 
  5. Assessing the severity of the effects of any disaster 
  6. Rescue and relief 
  7. Rehabilitation and Reconstruction 

 

Organisations related to Disaster Management Framework at the National Level: 

  1. National Disaster Management Authority of India (NDMA). 
  2. National Disaster Management Plan (NDMP). 
  3. SDMA
  4. District Disaster Management Authority (DDMA). 

 

Policies/initiatives: 

  1. India is a signatory to the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction. 
  2. India is one of the participating countries and works closely with the United Nations International Strategy for Disaster Reduction (UNISDR). 
  3. National Disaster Management Plan (NDMP) defines the roles and responsibilities of various stakeholders including Central Ministries/ Departments, State Governments, UT Administrations, District Authorities and local self Governments. 
  4. National Disaster Management Services (NDMS) was conceived by NDMA during 2015-16 for setting up of Very Small Aperture Terminal (VSAT) Network connecting MHA, NDMA, NDRF etc. to provide the failsafe communication infrastructure and technical support for Emergency Operation Centre (EOC) operations across the country. 
  5. Landslide Risk Mitigation Scheme (LRMS) envisages financial support for site specific Landslide Mitigation Projects. 

Sources: the Hindu

Facts for Prelims:

Three new species of wild balsam identified Kerala:

  • The species belong to the genus Impatiens (family Balsaminaceae).
  • Plants of this genus are popular as ‘Kashithumba’ in Malayalam.
  • They were spotted in the Western Ghats region of southern Kerala and the Idukki district.
  • Of the three species, two have been named after Communist veteran and former Chief Minister V.S. Achuthanandan and the former Health Minister, K.K. Shailaja.

 

Siachen Glacier:

  • Team CLAW, a team of people with disabilities, has embarked upon a journey to trek the Siachen Glacier on Independence Day.
  • They will attempt a world record for the largest group of people with disabilities to scale the highest battlefield in the world.
  • This is the land world record expedition part of ‘Operation Blue Freedom Triple World Records’ being undertaken.
  • ‘Team CLAW’ includes a group of armed forces veterans working towards empowering people with disabilities.

The Siachen Glacier:

  • It is located in the Eastern Karakoram range in the Himalayas.
  • It is the Second-Longest glacier in the World’s Non-Polar areas.
  • The Siachen Glacier lies immediately south of the great drainage divide that separates the Eurasian Plate from the Indian subcontinent.

 

Sainik Schools now open for girls as well:

  • The announcement was made by prime minister Narendra Modi in his address to the nation on the occasion of 75th Independence Day.
  • Sainik Schools are the brainchild of VK Krishna Menon, who was the Union defence minister from April 1957 to October 1962. Menon conceived this idea in 1961.
  • These schools are run by the Sainik Schools Society under the Union ministry of defence (MoD).

 

SonChiraiya:

  • The ‘SonChiraiya’ brand and logo was launched by the Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs for marketing urban Self-Help Group (SHG) products.
  • This initiative will prove as a step in the right direction towards increased visibility and global access for the products made by urban SHG women.

 

Articles to be covered tomorrow:

  1. IndiGau.
  2. Vacancies in Judiciary.

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