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[Mission 2023] INSIGHTS DAILY CURRENT AFFAIRS + PIB SUMMARY 8 August 2022

 

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

 

Table of Contents:

GS Paper 3:

1. Ten More Ramsar Sites Added

2. Illegal Mining of Minor Minerals

 

GS Paper 4:

1. Compassion towards the weaker section of society: Initiatives by Civil Servants

 

Content for Mains Enrichment (Essay/Ethics)

1. Ironers in Bengaluru ditch coal irons for LPG alternatives to beat harmful fumes

2. CARE Report

 

Facts for Prelims:

1. Forecasting by IMD

2. Undertrials

3. Article 370 and Article 35A

4. ASEAN-India Foreign Ministers’ Meeting (AIFMM)

5. Porcupine strategy

6. Bharat Bill Payment System

7. Start-up India Seed Fund Scheme (SISFS)

8. National Water Awards (NWA)

9. SSLV

10. Operation ‘Skylight’

 

Left-over Articles from prominent Newspapers will be taken up tomorrow.


 

Ten More Ramsar Sites Added

GS Paper 3

Syllabus: Environmental Conservation

 

Source: PIB

Context: India has added 10 more Ramsar sites, or wetlands of international importance (taking the total number of such sites to 64)

Direction: Ramsar Site is important for both Mains and Prelims. The news came a few days back, but we have covered it today.

Importance: Many of the sites are already notified under the Union government’s Wetland (Conservation and Management) Rules 2017 meaning development activities within the waterbody as well as within its zone of influence are regulated.

  • Being designated Ramsar Site means now the sites will be on the global map for their importance in providing ecological services.

Criteria: The site has to test across nine criteria, including its services as a habitat.

Ten sites are:

  • Koonthankulam Bird Sanctuary (TN): It is the largest reserve for breeding resident and migratory water birds and an Important Bird and Biodiversity Area forming part of the Central Asian Flyway.
  • Gulf of Mannar Marine Biosphere Reserve (TN): This will be the first Marine Biosphere Reserve in South & South -East Asia.
  • Vembannur Wetland Complex (Kanya kumari, TN): It is an artificial human-made inland tank and part of the Important Bird and Biodiversity Area (IBA). It forms the southernmost tip of peninsular India.
  • Vellode Bird Sanctuary (TN): It lies near the temple town of Erode in the State of Tamil Nadu and is considered a paradise for bird lovers.
  • Vedanthangal Bird Sanctuary (TN): This also comes under the Important Bird and Biodiversity Area (IBA).
  • Udhayamarthandapuram Bird Sanctuary (TN): Notable species observed at the site are oriental darter, glossy ibis, grey Heron & Eurasian spoonbill.
  • Satkosia Gorge (Odisha): The wetland is located over the Mahanadi River. Satkosia is the meeting point of the Deccan Peninsula and the Eastern Ghats (two biogeographic regions of India), thus is a very important place for biodiversity.
  • Nanda Lake (Goa): The lake in South Goa had already been notified as a wetland. This will be Goa’s 1st Ramsar site.
  • Ranganathittu Bird Sanctuary (Karnataka): It is a bird sanctuary in the Mandya District of the state of Karnataka in India. It is the largest bird sanctuary in the state on the bank of the Kaveri River. It is designated as an Important Bird area (IBA).
  • Sirpur Wetland (Madhya Pradesh): Situated on the Sirpur Lake (created by the Holkars of Indore State in the early 20th century), the wetland is situated in Indore City.

Previously, 5 new sites were added: Three wetlands (Karikili Bird Sanctuary, Pallikaranai Marsh Reserve Forest & Pichavaram Mangrove) in Tamil Nadu, one (Pala wetland) in Mizoram and one wetland (Sakhya Sagar) in Madhya Pradesh.

 

Ramsar convention:

  • It is an international treaty for the conservation and wise use of wetlands.
  • It is named after the Iranian city of Ramsar, on the Caspian Sea, where the treaty was signed on 2 February 1971.
  • Known officially as ‘the Convention on Wetlands of International Importance especially as Waterfowl Habitat’ (or, more recently, just ‘the Convention on Wetlands’), it came into force in 1975.

 Montreux Record:

  • Montreux Record under the Convention is a register of wetland sites on the List of Wetlands of International Importance where changes in ecological character have occurred, are occurring, or are likely to occur as a result of technological developments, pollution or other human interference.
  • It is maintained as part of the Ramsar List.

 

Insta Links

To remember all the previous Ramsar Sites: Click here

Wetland Ecosystem

 

Mains Link

Q. Discuss the importance and role played by Wetlands in the Ecological conservation of Earth. (15M)

 

Prelims link

Q. Consider the following pairs: (UPSC 2022)
Wetland / Lake Location

    1. Hokera Wetland – Punjab
    2. Renuka Wetland – Himachal Pradesh
    3. Rudrasagar Lake — Tripura
    4. Sasthamkotta Lake – Tamil Nadu

How many pairs given above are correctly matched ?

(a) Only one pair

(b) Only two pairs

(c) Only three pairs

(d) All four pairs

Correct Option: B

Hokera- J&K; Sasthamkotta (Kerela)

If a wetland of international importance is brought under the ‘Montreux Record’, what does it imply? ( UPSC 2014)

(a) Changes in ecological character have occurred, are occurring or are likely to occur in the wetland as a result of human interference.

(b) The country in which the wetland is located should enact a law to prohibit any human activity within five kilometres from the edge of the wetland.

(c) The survival of the wetland depends on the cultural practices and traditions of certain communities living in its vicinity and therefore the cultural diversity therein should not be destroyed.

(d) It is given the status of ‘World Heritage Site.’

Ans: A

Illegal Mining of Minor Minerals

GS Paper 3

Syllabus: Environment Conservation

 

Source: The Hindu Editorial section

Context: India has grossly underestimated the issue of illegal mining, which damages the environment and causes revenue loss.

Direction: Just go through the article once, to understand the issue. Can note a few points.

Status:

  • Demand for minor minerals such as sand and gravel has crossed 60 million metric tons in India.
  • While laws and monitoring have been made stringent for the mining of major minerals consequent to the unearthing of several related scams across the country, rampant and illegal mining of minor minerals continues unabated.
  • The United Nations Environment Programme, in 2019, ranked India and China as the top two countries where illegal sand mining has led to sweeping environmental degradation.

 

Examples: There have been numerous cases of the illegal mining of dolomite, marble and sand across the States. In Andhra Pradesh’s Konanki limestone quarries alone, 28.92 lakh metric tonnes of limestone have been illegally quarried.

 

Issue with the regulation of Minor Minerals

  • Under different state laws: Unlike major minerals, the regulatory and administrative powers to frame rules, prescribe rates of royalty, mineral concessions, enforcement, etc. are entrusted exclusively to the State governments.
  • Issue with EIA 2016: EIA was amended in 2016 which made environmental clearance mandatory for mining in areas less than five hectares, including minor minerals. The amendment also provided for the setting up of a District Environment Impact Assessment Authority (EIAA) and a District Expert Appraisal Committee (EAC).
    • However, a State-wise review of EACs and EIAAs in key industrial States such as Gujarat, Uttar Pradesh, Karnataka and Tamil Nadu, shows that these authorities review over 50 project proposals in a day and the rejection rate at the State level has been a mere 1%.
  • Environmental issues: In the Yamuna riverbed in UP, increasing demand for soil has severely affected soil formation and the soil holding ability of the land, leading to a loss in marine life, an increase in flood frequency, droughts, and also degradation of water quality.
    • Such effects can also be seen in the beds of the Godavari, the Narmada and the Mahanadi basins.
    • In the Narmada basin, sand mining has reduced the population of Mahseer fish from 76% between 1963 and 2015.
  • Loss to state exchequer: As per an estimate, U.P. is losing revenue from 70% of mining activities as only 30% area is legally mined.
  • Poor implementation of recommendations: The report of the Oversight Committee by the National Green Tribunal (NGT), Uttar Pradesh (where illegal sand mining has created a severe hazard) has either failed or only partially complied with orders issued regarding compensation for illegal sand mining. Such lax compliance can be seen in States such as West Bengal, Bihar, and Madhya Pradesh too.
  • Reasons for poor compliance: A malfunction of governance due to weak institutions, a scarcity of state resources to ensure enforcement, poorly drafted regulatory provisions, inadequate monitoring and evaluation mechanisms, and excessive litigation that dampens state administrative capacity.

Conclusion:

Protecting minor minerals requires investment in production and consumption measurement and also monitoring and planning tools. To this end, technology has to be used to provide a sustainable solution e.g., Satellite imagery can be used to monitor the volume of extraction and also check the mining process.

Recently, the NGT directed some States to use satellite imagery to monitor the volume of sand extraction and transportation from the riverbeds.  Additionally, drones, the internet of things (IoT) and blockchain technology can be leveraged to monitor mechanisms by using the Global Positioning System, radar and Radio Frequency (RF) Locator.

 

Insta Links

MINES & MINERALS AMENDMENT BILL

 

Mains Link

Q. Explain the distribution of major non-metallic minerals in India. Critically Analyze the National Mineral Policy, 2019 in revitalizing the mining sector, increasing output and focusing on responsible and sustainable mining. (15M)

 

Prelims Link

Q. Consider the following minerals: (UPSC 2020)

    1. Bentonite
    2. Chromite
    3. Kyanite
    4. Sillimanite

In India, which of the above is/are officially designated as major minerals?

(a) 1 and 2 only

(b) 4 only

(c) 1 and 3 only

(d) 2, 3 and 4 only

Answer: D

Bentonite is an absorbent swelling clay consisting mostly of montmorillonite (a type of smectite). The main uses of bentonite are in the drilling mud and as a binder, purifier, absorbent, and carrier for fertilizers or pesticides.

 

Compassion towards the weaker section of society

GS Paper 4

 

Various initiatives taken by Civil Servants

Once, APJ Abdul Kalam interacted with Shri Venkatesham Burra (IAS) who was the collector of Medak District in Andra Pradesh which is now in Telangana. Kalam asked Burra about the biggest challenge he faced in his service and how did he find a solution to it. Burra replied that the biggest challenge he faced while serving in his district was extreme deprivation.

The solutions suggested by him

Shri Venkatesham Burra made an attempt to solve this problem by motivating communities and by involving NGOs.

  1. Self-Help Group:Active participation by self-help groups led to the launch of a programme known as Aasarathat aimed at providing at least two meals a day to needy people.

 

  1. NGOs and district administration:A joint cooperation between the Medak district administration and NGOs gave birth to a programme called Ashraya. The objective behind this was to provide a life of dignity for the mentally challenged people who are homeless.

 

The weaker section includes the poor, beggars, orphans, senior citizens, persons with disabilities etc. Such compassion means understanding and empathizing with the sufferings of the marginalized section of society. Moreover, it is needed for citizen-friendly and pro-people administration for delivering social justice. Burra’s replies and his examples of Aasara and Ashraya sprang from one important quality of a civil servant- compassion towards the weaker section.

 

Practice Question:

How the values of tolerance and compassion is important for a Civil Servant? 10M

/ Aug 8 CA, Today's Article

 

Content for Mains Enrichment (Essay/Ethics)


Ironers in Bengaluru ditch coal irons for LPG alternatives to beat harmful fumes

According to the World Health Organization, burning of coal releases particulate matter, sulphur dioxide, nitrogen oxides and other substances detrimental to human health.

Udhyam (an NGO), which works on the skill development of school students and small entrepreneurs, launched The ‘Istri Project’ in 2019 to help clean up the issue of using coal irons boxes. They emphasized using LPG alternatives to be used by tailers for straightening clothes.

Ironers on average save 133 minutes a day with LPG irons and are able to press 9-12 clothes more; they also save around Rs 850 on fuel a month, according to the non-profit which has developed the irons

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

 

CARE Report

Context: CARE (an NGO) has highlighted the global link between Gender Inequality and food insecurity.

Direction: Not important for prelims. For mains, just remember the name ‘CARE NGO’ and 1-2 points.

Findings:

  • Women are more food insecure than men.
  • Increased gender inequality has led to greater food insecurity across 109 countries.
  • There is a usual lack of support from Men, in household chores and childcare
  • There is a lack of sex-disaggregated data on food insecurity, thereby not allowing policymakers to work on it.

CARE: It is a not-for-profit organization that builds the capacity of communities to ensure empowerment for marginalized women and girls in the field of – Health, Livelihood, Education and Disaster Relief & Resilience.

 


Facts for Prelims


Forecasting by IMD

Context: IMD said that Climate Change has hampered the ability of forecasting agencies to make predictions accurately.

Tools used for forecasting:

  • Radars (The number of radars will increase from 34 at present to 67 by 2025): Radars are preferred because they have a higher resolution and can provide observations every 10 minutes.
  • Automatic weather stations and rain gauges and satellites
  • Ministry of Earth Sciences (MoES) also plans to upgrade its high-performance computing system — from a capacity of 10 petaflops currently to 30 petaflops in the next two years.

IMD uses the Long Period Average (LPA) as a base to predict the expected amount of Monsoon rainfall in a particular year.

Based on LPA, IMD categorizes yearly monsoon rainfall on an all-India basis in below five categories-

  • Normal or Near Normal: percentage departure of actual rainfall is +/-10% of LPA (rainfall between 96-104% of LPA).
  • Below Normal:When the departure of actual rainfall is less than 10% of LPA, that is 90-96% of LPA.
  • Above Normal:When actual rainfall is 104-110% of LPA.
  • Deficient: When the departure of actual rainfall is less than 90% of LPA.
  • Excess: When the departure of actual rainfall is more than 110% of LPA.

Forecasting model:

  • Dynamical Monsoon Forecast Model: It was recently adopted by IMD which uses the evolving weather patterns to predict monsoon (better on smaller spatial and temporal scales)

About IMD:  Established in 1875, (HQ: Pune), IMD comes under the Ministry of Earth Sciences and is the

the principal government agency responsible for meteorological observations, weather forecasting, and seismology.

  

Undertrials

Context: SC has asked to facilitate the release of undertrials and those convicted of minor offences to celebrate the 75th year of Independence.

Direction: Diagrams are just for noticing the trends. No need to note it down.

Definition of Under-trails: One who is arrested for some crime and is waiting to appear before the magistrate.

  • 76% of prisoners in Indian jails are under-trials, thus violating their basic rights (NCRB 2020 data)

Reasons for a high number of undertrials:  Delay in the justice system, shortages of court staff and judges, inconsistency in the bail system, poor legal representation etc.

Initiative for Undertrials: setting up of several Fast-Track Courts, Modernization of Prison scheme, Open Court, Streamlining of IPC and CrPC laws, Clubbing of similar petty offences and clearing them on mission mode, E-Prison project.

Malimath Committee (2013) recommendation: Standard of ‘Proof beyond reasonable doubt’ followed in criminal cases be done away with.

 

Article 370 and Article 35A

Context: Three years of abrogation of Art 370 and Art 35A in Jammu and Kashmir.

Direction: No need to remember, just go through it once.

  • Article 370 conferred on J&K the power to have a separate constitution, a state flag, and autonomy of internal administration.
  • Article 35A: It empowered the Jammu and Kashmir state’s legislature to define “permanent residents” of the state and provide special rights and privileges to them.

Under Constitution (Application to Jammu and Kashmir) Order, 2019: It made provisions of the Indian constitution applicable in the state of J&K. All provisions which separated the Constitution of J&K were abrogated (35A was automatically scrapped)

Under the J&K reorganization Act, 2019: The state was reorganized into two UTs – J&K (with legislature) and Ladakh (without Legislature)

Impact of the Move: J&K cannot maintain a separate flag, Ranbir Penal Code replaced with IPC, all the provisions of the Indian Constitution now automatically apply to J&K as well, and Law and order incidents have seen a drastic reduction.

 

ASEAN-India Foreign Ministers’ Meeting (AIFMM)

Context: 30 years of India-ASEAN relations and 2022 has been designated as ASEAN-India friendship year.

Direction: Those preparing for Mains this year, do keep a ready-made note prepared on India-ASEAN relations.

Areas of Cooperation:

  • Trade: Over 10% of India’s overall trade with ASEAN countries (India’s 4th largest trading partner)
  • Forums: India is a member of the ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF), Mekong Ganga Cooperation.
  • Transport: India-Myanmar-Thailand Trilateral Highways, Kaladan Multi-modal Project.
  • Security: India’s ‘Act East Policy’ and ‘Indo-Pacific Oceans Initiative (IPOI)’
  • Military exercise: CORPAT (with Indonesia and Thailand); Samudra Shakti (Indonesia); SIMBEX (Singapore)
  • Socio-Cultural Cooperation: Inviting ASEAN students to India, Special Training Course for ASEAN diplomats, Exchange of Parliamentarians, etc.
  • East Asia Summit (EAS):First held in 2005, the summit is usually attended by the heads of state from ASEAN, Australia, China, India, Japan, New Zealand, Russia, South Korea, and the United States.

 

About: ASEAN (Est. 1967) is an inter-governmental organization of 10 countries aimed at promoting economic growth and regional stability.

 

Porcupine strategy

Context: Taiwan is planning to use this strategy to fight back in case China attempts to occupy it by force

The “porcupine doctrine”, which was proposed in 2008 by US Naval War College research professor William S Murray, is a strategy of asymmetric warfare focused on fortifying a weak state’s defences to exploit the enemy’s weaknesses rather than taking on its strengths.

It is about building defences that would ensure that Taiwan “could be attacked and damaged but not defeated, at least without unacceptably high costs and risks”.

 

Bharat Bill Payment System

Context: RBI has allowed BBPS to process cross-border “inbound” bill payments aimed at benefiting senior citizens and families of persons who are dependent on remittances from abroad.

Till now, BBPS was accessible only to ‘residents in India’.

BBPS: It is an interoperable platform for the standardized bill payment system, conceptualised by RBI and implemented by the National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI).

 

NPCI: National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI) is an umbrella organization for all retail payments systems in India. It was set up with the guidance and support of the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) and the Indian Banks’ Association (IBA). NPCI has ten promoter banks.

 

Start-up India Seed Fund Scheme (SISFS)

  • Aim: Commerce and Industry ministry launched this scheme in 2021 to provide financial assistance to eligible startups (DPIIT chosen) through incubators for proof of concept, prototype development, product trials and commercialization.
  • Eligibility: A startup, recognized by DPIIT, incorporated not more than 2 years agoat the time of application and should not have received more than 10 lakhs of monetary support under any other Central or State Government scheme.
  • Features: Grants of up to 5 crores to eligible incubators, they in turn will provide up to Rs. 20 lakh(for proof of concept, prototype development, or product trials to startups) and up to Rs. 50 lakh (for market entry, commercialization, or scaling up) to eligible startups.

About Startup India Initiative: Started in 2016, it envisages building a robust Startup ecosystem in the country for nurturing innovation and providing opportunities to budding entrepreneurs.

Other initiatives for startups: Startup Innovation Challenges, National Startup Awards, Ranking of States on Support to Startup Ecosystems, Shanghai Cooperation Organization Startup Forum, ‘Prarambh’ Summit.

 

 

National Water Awards (NWA)

Context: 4th NWA launched for nomination

About: NWA is given for exemplary work in the field of water resource management. The first National Water Award was launched in 2018, by the Jal Shakti Ministry. It aims to fulfil the government’s vision of ‘Jal Samridh Bharat’

Under the 3rd NWA

  • Best state: Uttar Pradesh followed by Rajasthan and Tamil Nadu.
  • Best District category: Muzaffarnagar (Uttar Pradesh) and Shahid Bhagat Singh Nagar (Punjab)

Other schemes for water conservation: Catch the Rain, Jal Kranti Abhiyan (Jal Gram Scheme to develop two model villages in the water-deficient region), MGNREGA for water conservation, National Water Mission (increase water use efficiency by 20%), NITI Aayog Composite Water Management Index, Jal Jeevan Mission (for Piped drinking water)

 

SSLV

Context: Recently, SSLV-D1 placed the satellites into a 356×76 km elliptical orbit instead of the 356-km circular orbit, making the satellite unusable.

About SSLV

The SSLV (Small Satellite Launch Vehicle) is the smallest vehicle (110tn) aimed at launching small satellites into Earth’s low orbits.

  • It is a three-stage all-solid vehicle with the capacity to launch a 500kg satellite into a 500 km Low earth orbit and 300kg into a Sun-synchronous Orbit.

Benefits: Low cost, with low turn-around time, flexibility in accommodating multiple satellites, launch on-demand feasibility, minimal launch infrastructure requirements, etc.

NSIL: ISRO commercial arm, New Space India Limited (NSIL) will mass-produce and manufacture the SSLV and the more powerful PSLV in partnership with the private sector in India through technology transfers.

 

Operation ‘Skylight’

Context: Indian Army tested the operational readiness of its satellite-based systems under this operation.

Definition: ‘Satellite-based Systems’ provide communication facilities to military’s ground and air-based systems. It also acts as a backup in case terrestrial connectivity is disrupted.

Why the need: Currently, Army doesn’t have a dedicated satellite system (unlike Air-force and Navy). GSAT-7B satellite will be launched for use by Army.

  • GSAT-7 series of the satellite is meant for defence services.

 

Live-fire exercises

Context:

In a massive show of strength, China began its live-fire exercise near Taiwan by launching at least 11 ballistic missiles into the country’s coast, after US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi visited Taiwan.

About:

Live-fire exercises are exercises primarily used by military personnel, in which live ammunition is used to create training conditions that are as close to real combat scenarios as possible. Live-fire exercises are also used by law enforcement and firefighters as a form of field training, to train them to act calmly in real-life emergency situations in the future.

It also involves testing the effectiveness of vehicles, weapon platforms and weapons systems (such as intercontinental ballistic missiles, cruise missiles, and anti-aircraft weapons), so that any design flaws can be resolved before the weapons are fully operational.


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