Print Friendly, PDF & Email

[Mission 2023] INSIGHTS DAILY CURRENT AFFAIRS + PIB SUMMARY 3 February 2023

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 ina 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 Paper2:

  1. No bar on contesting two seats in one poll
  2. Centre sowing seeds of militancy in Ladakh by alienating the youth: Education reformer Sonam Wangchuk
  3. Tiresome rules out, trust-based model in
  4. The social sector has been short-changed once again

 

GS Paper 3:

Why proposed change in Angel Tax has rattled Indian start-ups?

NGT asks Uttarakhand to study Mussoorie’s specific carrying capacity

 

Content for Mains Enrichment

  1. Bal Mitra
  2. Judiciary coming to help of 20-year-old student
  3. Example of Government’s Mission Karmayogi

 

Facts for Prelims (FFP)

  1. Who is a puisne judge, and what does the term mean?
  2. International Seabed Authority has officially designated India as a “Pioneer Investor”
  3. iCET
  4. Newly-discovered ancient ‘marine crocodile’ fossil
  5. Locally made green trains to be rolled out
  6. Yaya Tso
  7. Red Sanders
  8. 12 African countries commit to ending AIDS in kids by 2030

 

No bar on contesting two seats in one poll

GS Paper 2

 

Source: Th

 Context: The Supreme Court has refused to set aside a provision in the election law which allows candidates to contest polls from two constituencies simultaneously.

 

Why has SC rejected the Plea? 

The SC said that this is a policy matter and an issue concerning political democracy. It is for the Parliament to take a call (thus maintaining the Separation of Power Doctrine).

Legal Provisions:

As per Section 33(7) of the RPA (Representation of the People Act), 1951, one candidate can contest from a maximum of two constituencies.

  • More than two constituencies were allowed until 1996 when the RPA was amended to set the cap at two constituencies.

Issues with contesting from two seats:

  • Conflicts in the RPA laws: While 33(7)allows candidates to contest from two seats, Section 70 bars candidates from representing two constituencies in the Lok Sabha/state. Assembly.
  • The strain on public finances: Lakhs of taxpayer rupees need to be shelled out because of a by-election that could have been easily avoided.
  • Loss of electoral interest of voters: Repeated elections and a by-election would see fewer voters turn out to vote when compared to the first election.

 

Positives: It provides a “wider choice to the polity as well as candidates”. 

Previous Recommendations on the issues:

  • Last year the Chief Election Commissionerhad asked the Ministry of Law & Justice to limit the seats from which a candidate can contest to just one.
  • Candidates to bear the financial burden of conducting the subsequent by-election in one of the constituencies (if one wins in both seats) 

Conclusion

It is time to modify “One person, one vote” and expand that principle to “One person, one vote; one candidate, one constituency. 

Insta Links:

 

 

 Prelims links:

Consider the following statements: (UPSC 2020) 

  1. According to the Constitution of India, a person who is eligible to vote can be made a minister in a State for six months even if he/she is not a member of the Legislature of that State.
  2. According to the Representation of People Act, 1951, a person convicted of a criminal offence and sentenced to imprisonment for five years is permanently disqualified from contesting an election even after his release from prison.

 

Which of the statements given above is/are correct?

(a) 1 only
(b) 2 only
(c) Both 1 and 2
(d) Neither 1 nor 2

 

Ans: D

 

One can be a minister for 6 months (Article 164). However, one can become a member of the state legislature only if one must be not less than 30 years of age in the case of the legislative council and not less than 25 years of age in the case of the legislative assembly. Hence, statement 1 is not correct.

 

A person convicted of any offence and sentenced to imprisonment for not less than two years shall be disqualified for contesting an election from the date of such conviction and shall continue to be disqualified for a further period of six years since his release. Hence, statement 2 is not correct.

Centre sowing seeds of militancy in Ladakh by alienating the youth: Education reformer Sonam Wangchuk

GS Paper 2

Syllabus: Indian Constitution

 

Source: TH

 Context: Sonam Wangchuk claimed that the Centre’s approach was alienating the youth by sowing the seeds of militancy as the demand for the preservation of land, culture, and jobs under the 6th Schedule of the Constitution grew in Ladakh.

 

Background:

  • On August 5, 2019, the former State of J&K was bifurcated into two Union Territories (UTs) – J&K and Ladakh, the latter without a Legislative Assembly.
  • After its special status (under Article 370) was removed, several political groups in Ladakh have been demanding protection under the 6th Schedule.
  • According to the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Home Affairs report, as the tribal population in the UT is ~80% (2,18,355) of the total population, the special status may be granted (under the 5th/6th Schedule) to the UT.
  • However, the Union government responded that sufficient funds are being provided to UT and the UT had recently increased the reservation for STs in direct recruitment from 10% to 45%.

 

About the Sixth Schedule of the Indian Constitution:

  • The Schedule protects tribal populations, providing autonomy to communities through the creation of Autonomous Development Councils (ADCs), which can frame laws on land, public health and agriculture.
  • According to Article 244 of the Indian Constitution, the Sixth Schedule consists of provisions for the administration of tribal areas in Assam, Meghalaya, Tripura and Mizoram.
    • As of now, 10 autonomous councils exist in the above 4 states.
  • Along with ADCs, the 6th Schedule also provides for separate Regional Councils for each area constituted as an autonomous region.

 

 

 

Concerns raised by Sonam Wangchuk and others:

  • 12,000 jobs were promised but the recruitment was completed only for 800 positions.
  • Common people and journalists were booked for raising their voices in favour of the 6th Schedule.
  • Earlier the UT had four MLAs in the State Assembly (J&K] but now has zero representation.
  • One man (L-G, who is an outsider) decides everything and 90% of the ₹6,000 crores allocated to Ladakh is at the dispensation of a non-elected person.

 

Demands of civil society/political groups in the region:

  • Restoration of full-fledged Statehood,
  • Constitutional safeguards under the Sixth Schedule,
  • Separate Lok Sabha seats for Leh and Kargil districts and
  • Job reservation for locals

 

Conclusion: The legitimate concerns raised by the UT need to be addressed soon, otherwise love for India will subside and will benefit those looking to cause trouble.

 

Sonam Wangchuk:
  • Sonam Wangchuk is an Indian engineer, innovator and education reformist (born and works in Ladakh).
  • He was instrumental in the launch of Operation New Hope (1994) – a collaboration of government, village communities and civil society to bring reforms in the government school system.
  • He invented the Ice Stupa technique that creates artificial glaciers, used for storing winter water in the form of conical-shaped ice heaps.
  • In recognition of all his efforts for society, he has received the Ramon Magsaysay Award as well as numerous other honours.

 

 

Insta Links:

Ministry evades direct reply on demand to include Ladakh under the 6th schedule

High-powered committee for Ladakh

 

Mains Links:

Q. For effective border area management, discuss the steps required to be taken to deny local support to militants and also suggest ways to manage favourable perceptions among locals. (UPSC 2020)

 

Tiresome rules out, trust-based model in

GS Paper 2

 Syllabus: Governance

 

Source: LM, ET

 Context: Finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman emphasized trust-based governance in her budget speech

Recent steps taken by the government for TBG (including those announced in the recent Budget):

 

  • Legislative steps:
    • The government has introduced the Jan Vishwas Bill to amend 42 Central Acts
    • Ease of doing business: The government has proposed to reduce 39,000 compliances and decriminalize 3,400 legal provisions.

 

  • E-Government steps
    • Paperless Governance: Third time in a row that the government presented the budget in a paperless form.
    • Entity Digi Locker: It will be set up for use by MSMEs, large businesses and charitable trusts, to share documents online securely, whenever needed by authorities for regulatory purposes
    • A permanent Account Number (PAN)will be made a common identifier for all digital systems of specified government agencies.
    • National Data Governance Policy will be brought out. This will enable access to anonymized data

 

  • Delayering, the delegation of power and digitalisation in governance: Initiatives –
    • E-Office 7.0: Enables users to create and manage electronic documents that can be viewed, searched and shared.
    • Swachhta Special Campaign 2.0
    • Prashasan Gaon Ki Ore 2022: It is a nationwide campaign for the redressal of public grievances and improving service delivery which is being held in all Districts, States, and UTs of India.

 

  • Executive steps:
    • Unified Filing Process: For obviating the need for separate submission of the same information to different government agencies, a system of ‘Unified Filing Process’ will be set-up
    • Simplifying the KYC process by adopting a ‘risk-based’ instead of a ‘one size fits all’ approach
    • Delegate powers under the SEZ Act to International Financial Services Centres Authority. It will avoid dual regulation and set up a single-window IT system for registration and approval from IFSCA, SEZ authorities, GSTN, RBI, SEBI and IRDAI.
    • The whole of government Approach: So that departments don’t work in ‘Silos’ e.g. 3C (Collaboration, Congruence, Competition) approach to Aspirational District Programme.

 

  • Financing measures:
    • Result-Based Financing of schemes: To better allocate scarce resources for competing for development needs, the financing of select schemes will be changed, on a pilot basis, from ‘input-based’ to ‘result-based’.

 

  • Dispute settlement:
    • Vivad Se Vishwas 2: The government will bring another dispute resolution scheme under Vivad Se Vishwas-2 to settle commercial disputes
      • The Vivad Se Vishwas scheme provides for the settlement of commercial disputes on payment of 100 per cent of the disputed tax and 25 per cent of the disputed penalty or interest or fee.
    • A voluntary settlement schemewill be introduced to settle the contractual disputes between the government and government undertakings, under court proceedings.

 

Some concerns:

  • The budget had widened the tax authorities’ power to withhold any refunds to a taxpayer.
  • It could result in an increased load of over-burdened constitutional courts

 

Insta Links:

 

Mains Links:

Trust-based Governance is quintessential to achieving Sabka Sath, Sabka Vikas and Sabka Vishwas. Elaborate. (10M)

The social sector has been short-changed once again

GS Paper 2

Syllabus: Issues Relating to Development and Management of Social Sector/Services relating to Health, Education, Human Resources

 

Source: TH

 Direction: The article highlights the implications of reduced allocations for the social sector program in the Union Budget 2023-24.

  

Context: The Union Budget 2023-24 reiterates the strategic vision of the government in which both economic recovery and job creation rest on increased capital expenditure (capex) while welfare segment has taken a toll.

 

The Budget announcements:

Increase in capex and its implications:

  • A capex of ₹10 lakh crore, a 33% increase over last year.
  • The budget estimate (BE) for effective capex is now is 4.5% of the GDP, up from 3.9% last year.
  • Government remains on its ‘path of fiscal consolidation,’ with the fiscal deficit for FY24 projected to be 5.9% of the GDP (6.4% for the current year).
  • The Finance Minister reiterated the commitment to reach a fiscal deficit below 4.5% by 2025-26.
  • Critic: essential schemes that provide a safety net and contribute to better human development outcomes have been underfunded.

 

Decreased allocations for social sector programs:

  • For subsidy: The BE for food subsidy is ₹1.97 lakh crore compared to the revised estimate (RE) of ₹2.8 lakh crore for 2022-23 (withdrawal of Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Anna Yojana)
  • For MGNREGS also seen a massive budget cut (BE for 2023-24 is ₹60,000 crore compared to the RE of ₹89,400 crore for 2022-23).
  • For programmes that provide nutritional support for women and children:
    • For Saksham Anganwadi, which includes anganwadi services, Poshan Abhiyan and a scheme for adolescent girls, allocation remains almost the same at ₹20,554 crore.
    • The school meals scheme, rechristened PM-POSHAN, has seen a slight decline.
    • Samarthya, the maternity entitlements scheme, has been allocated ₹2,582 crore compared to the previous year’s allocation of ₹2,622 crore (BE).
  • For other initiatives:
    • The allocations for old age, widow and disabled pensions under the National Social Assistance Programme have remained stagnant (around ₹9,600 crore).
    • The important areas in the social sector – education and health – have not seen any substantial increase.

 

Implications of these decreased allocations:

NegativePositive (As per the Accountability Initiative report)
●       Less allocations on MGNREGA/food subsidy/pensions can hinder demand revival.

●       The existing benefits under the NFSA does not compensate for the reduced quantity of grains with the withdrawal of the PMGKAY.

●       Affects human development outcomes – reduces productivity, employment opportunities.

●       The budgets for anganwadi services and mid-day meals are over 30% less than in 2011.

○        However, this is due to the decline in the number of beneficiaries.

○        This means, the per beneficiary allocations have not changed for years.

●       Funds can be diverted to capex, which contributes to job creation, especially for wage workers.

 

Way ahead:

  • To achieve the spending goals set by the national policies on education (6% of GDP) and health (2.5% of GDP), the allocations need to be doubled.
  • The removal of barriers to the timely and appropriate implementation of social sector programs is necessary, along with an increase in budgetary support.
    • For example, the app-based attendance monitoring system to ensure timely and error-free payments under MGNREGS.

 

Conclusion:

  • It must be acknowledged that spending on these various social sector efforts significantly contributes to both economic recovery and long-term improvements in people’s lives.
  • India cannot achieve the vision for Amrit Kaal without ensuring access to quality and affordable education, health, nutrition and social security.

 

 

Mains Links:

In order to enhance the prospects of social development, sound and adequate healthcare policies are needed particularly in the fields of geriatric and maternal health care. Discuss. (UPSC 2020)

 

Why proposed change in Angel Tax has rattled Indian start-ups?

GS Paper 3

Syllabus: Indian Economy and issues relating to Planning, Mobilization of Resources

 

Source: IE

 Direction: The article focuses on angel investors and how concerned they are about the proposed changes to the angel tax.

  

Context: According to a proposal made in the Finance Bill, 2023, foreign/angel investors may be required to pay the “angel tax,” which was previously only supposed to be paid for investments raised by resident Indian investors.

 

Angel Investors
RolePros/Cons
●        Angel investors primarily provide capital for startups at early stages in exchange or convertible debt or equity ownership.

●        Angel investors often choose to get an accredited investor status (as per the SEBI AIF Regulations – an individual with a net worth of ₹7.5 crores/ whose annual income is ₹2 crores).

●        However, an accredited investor is not necessarily an angel investor.

●        To be an angel investor, they require having an interest in providing capital for startups.

Pros:

●        Less risk than taking out a small business loan

●        Angel investors typically have experience in investing

●        Mentorship, guidance and valuable insights for the startup

●        Research shows that angel investors’ supported startups are more likely to have substantial growth and give a higher rate of return.

Cons:

●        Loss of equity, loss of control in the business

●        Anticipate a high rate of return on their investment

 

 

What exactly is the proposed change?

  • The Finance Bill 2023, has proposed to amend Section 56(2) VII B of the Income Tax Act.
  • According to the clause (introduced in 2012 and commonly known as the ‘angel tax’), equity investments from residents for the issuance of shares at a price above their face value are treated as income for unlisted businesses like start-ups.
    • For instance, if a start-up share has a fair market value of Rs 10 per unit and is sold to an investor for Rs 20 during a subsequent funding round, the difference of Rs 10 would be taxable as income (at 30%).
    • By subscribing to shares of a closely held company at a price over the shares’ fair market value, it aims to prevent the creation and use of unaccounted money.
  • However, with the latest amendment, the government has proposed to also include foreign investors in the ambit.

 

Why are start-ups concerned?

  • According to a PwC India report, funding for India’s start-ups dropped by 33% to $24 billion in 2022 as compared to the previous year.
  • Foreign investors are a key source of funding for start-ups and have played a big role in increasing the valuation.
    • For instance, Tiger Global has invested in over a third of the start-ups that have turned unicorns (valuation of at least $1 billion).
  • The proposed amendment will accelerate flipping overseas, as foreign investors may not want to deal with additional tax liability.

 

Insta Links:

Angel Tax

  

Prelims Links: (UPSC 2014)

What does venture capital mean?

  1. Short-term capital provided to industries
  2. A long-term start-up capital provided to new entrepreneurs
  3. Funds provided to industries at times of incurring losses
  4. Funds provided for the replacement and renovation of industries

 

Ans: 2

 

NGT asks Uttarakhand to study Mussoorie’s specific carrying capacity

GS Paper 3

Syllabus: Disaster Management

 

Source: The Hindu 

Context: The National Green Tribunal (NGT) has issued directions to the Uttarakhand Government to conduct a study of the specific carrying capacity of the hill station.

  • Also, Last year a panel was formed to assess the carrying capacity of eco-sensitive zones in Shimla (Himachal Pradesh)

  

Key highlights:

  • A nine-member committee has been formed to suggest remedial measures for preventing environmental damage to the town.
  • A study on Mussoorie’s carrying capacity by the Lal Bahadur Shastri National Academy of Administration in 2001 suggested that no further construction was viable.
  • An analysis of the carrying capacity of eco-sensitive areas in Himalayan regions in a holistic manner is necessary for the protection of the environment.
  • Terms of reference for the committee:
    • Suggest remedial measures to prevent environmental damage in the light of carrying capacity
    • Hydro-geology studies
    • Geo-morphological studies
    • Covering other allied and incidental issues.

  

About Carrying Capacity:

The total number of individuals of a species that can live in an ecosystem under certain conditions.

  • More recently the concept has been expanded beyond ecology by including economic, social, and infrastructure imperatives.
  • Urban Carrying Capacity (UCC): It provides a theoretical foundation for determining the maximum potential population that could be supported without environmental degradation, based on the inherent limitations of a city 

 

Global Practices on Urban Carrying Capacity:

  • China’s mega-cities demonstrate that the UCC framework can be simplified to quantify and evaluate indicators across sectors and use them appropriately for sustainable urban land management practices. 

 

 

 

Insta Links:

 

 

Mains Link:

Define the concept of the carrying capacity of an ecosystem as relevant to an environment. Explain how understanding this concept is vital while planning for sustainable development of a region. (250 words) UPSC CSE paper GS-3 2017

Land subsidence is a silent disaster that is taking hold of the Himalayan region. Examine the causes behind it, its impact and measures need to prevent this silent disaster. (10M)

 

Content for Mains Enrichment


Bal Mitra

 Source: HT

 Context: Delhi Commission for Protection of Child Rights (DCPCR) launched ‘Bal Mitra’, a WhatsApp Chatbot to provide communication support to children and parents in Delhi.

 

It will include:

  • Complaint registration
  • Searching for information and tracking complaint status
  • Seeking information on admissions
  • Providing authentic information on various matters related to children and their rights

 Usage: This initiative can be used as an example for showing “how technology can help in securing child’s rights and creating awareness”. It can also be used as an example of e-governance initiatives.

 

Judiciary coming to help 20-year student

Source: The Hindu

Context: A Bench led by Chief Justice of India D.Y. Chandrachud listed the case of a young student for medical termination of her almost 29-week-old pregnancy, on the very next day of filing the case (an unprecedented one in the Indian Judiciary)

 

The SC and two of the country’s top law officers also ensured that a safe environment is provided for the student to deliver her baby and the child, as per her wishes, will be given in adoption to a deserving home.

 

Usage: You can use the story to show the values of Empathy for women and children, Fast delivery of Justice (counter-narrative to the usual tales of sluggishness in justice delivery). The examples can also be used on the themes of reproductive rights, bodily and decisional autonomy of women“.

 

Example of Government’s Mission Karmayogi

 Source: IE

Context: Around 1 lakh railway employees at stations — from booking and parcel clerks to TTEs and station masters — who are in customer-engagement roles and have completed the Government’s Rail Karmayogi training to make “public servants more empathetic and responsive towards citizens”

 

Impact of training:

A third-party audit (“Citizen Trust Scores”) has found at least 1.5 times increase in the citizens’ satisfaction in terms of:

  • Service
  • Professionalism
  • Solution responsiveness
  • Overall experience

  

Usage: It can be used in governance questions as a case study for Mission Karmayogi as well as an example of responsive governance.

 


Facts for Prelims


Who is a puisne judge, and what does the term mean?

Source: Indian Express

 Who is a Puisne Judge:

  • The term puisne judge is used in common law countries to refer to judges who are ranked lower in seniority, i.e., any judge other than the Chief Justice of that court.
  • Common law is the body of law that is created by judges through their written opinions, rather than through statutes or constitutions (statutory law). Common law, which is used interchangeably with ‘case law’, is based on judicial precedent. The United Kingdom (UK) and the Commonwealth countries, including India, are common law countries.

 Puisne Judge in India:

  • In India, all judges have the same judicial powers. As the seniormost judge of a court, the Chief Justice has an additional administrative role.
  • In India, there is a reference to a puisne judge only while considering the order of seniority for appointments, elevations to High Courts, etc., but it does not have a bearing on the exercise of a judge’s judicial power.

 

International Seabed Authority has officially designated India as a “Pioneer Investor”

Source: PIB

Context: On the visit of the Secretary General of the International Seabed Authority to India, the government has said that the world today recognises India’s Blue Economy resources and the International Seabed Authority has officially designated India as a “Pioneer Investor”

 What is a Pioneer Investor?

An early investment made in any new sector or technology. E.g. Polymetallic nodules at the ocean bed.

 India’s Step for PMN and Blue Economy:

  • Recently, the International Seabed Authority (ISA) and the Ministry of Earth Sciences also exchanged PMN (Polymetallic Nodules) exploration extension contract
  • India is framing the Blue Economy policy framework, which aims at covering the coastal economy, tourism, marine fishery, deep-sea mining etc.
  • As a part of the Deep Ocean Mission, India concluded the world’s first locomotive trials of a deep-sea mining system in the central Indian ocean last year (2022).
    • Deep Ocean Mission:  It would develop a manned submersiblethat can carry three people to a depth of 6,000 meters in the ocean for exploring and, then, extracting minerals in the deep seabed.
    • It also aims to explore marine biodiversity for the sustainable use of resources.
    • It has recently been allocated Rs 600 Cr(Budget 2023-24)
  • O-SMART
  • Sagarmala Project

 

Ministry of Earth Sciences has been conducting PMN (Polymetallic Nodules) exploration program through its nodal institute National Institute of Ocean Technology (NIOT) and other associated national institutes.

 

About International Seabed Authority:

ISA (HQ: Jamaica, est. 1994) is an intergovernmental body of 167 member states and the European Union established under the 1982 UN Convention on the Law of the Sea and its 1994 Agreement on Implementation

  • It comes under the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS)for monitoring all activities related to mineral resources in the deep sea.
  • The international seabed is the area that lies beyond the limits of national jurisdiction and represents around 50% of the total area of the world’s oceans.

 

iCET

Source: BSET

 Direction: We already did an FFP (1st Feb 2023) on iCET. Here we will just discuss the outcomes of the inaugural meeting.

 

Context:  US President Joe Biden believes that the India-US initiative on Critical and Emerging Technologies, or iCET, is key for the two countries to create a democratic technology ecosystem

Outcomes of the meeting:

  • Establish Indo-US Quantum Coordination Mechanism for collaboration in R&D
  • ‘Innovative bridge’ to connect defence startups between India and USA launched
  • Readiness Assessment Development for building resilient semiconductor supply chains

 

Other key points:

  • STEM talent exchanges between the two countries
  • ISRO-NASA partnership on human space flight e.g. on NASA’s Commercial Lunar Payload Services (CLPS) Project (apart from the NISAR project)
  • Partnership in 56/6G and Open RAN using trusted sources

What is Open RAN?

Open RAN (open radio access network architecture) offers higher interoperability through open hardware, software, and interfaces for cellular wireless networks.

  • With 5G networks being rolled out across countries, Open RAN technologies have quickly gained momentum, offering operators more flexibility, automation, and lower costs.

More about iCET:

It was announced in 2021. iCET is spearheaded by the National Security Councils of both countries.

It aims to expand the India-US partnership for critical and emerging technologies– that will drive global growth, bolster both countries’ economic competitiveness, and protect shared national security interests.

 

Newly-discovered ancient ‘marine crocodile’ fossil

Source: Indian Express

 Context: Scientists have uncovered a new thalattosuchian—an ancient “cousin” of modern-day crocodiles—which could be the oldest of its kind ever discovered.

 

About Thalattosuchian:

  • The newly-discovered fossils of Turnersuchus hingleyae represent the only complete Thalattosuchian of its age and date back to the early Jurassic, Pliensbachian period, which was about 185 million years ago.
  • The discovery of this new fossil helps fill a gap in the fossil record and suggests that Thalattosuchians and other crocodile-like animals could have originated around 15 million years farther than Turnersuchus.
  • Due to their relatively long, slender snouts, they would likely have looked similar to the currently living gharial crocodiles. Gharial crocodiles are usually found in the major river systems of Northern India. 

 

Locally made green trains to be rolled out

Source: Live Mint

Context: The Centre unveiled plans to locally design and manufacture semi-high-speed metro trains and hydrogen-fuelled trains.

  • In line with the Centre’s energy transition and net zero goals, Indian Railways plans to design and manufacture India’s first hydrogen-fuelled train. These trains will operate across heritage and tourist circuits like the Kalka-Shimla route.
  • In line with the government’s green energy mission, the railways will install ultra-mega solar power plants to cut the dependency on thermal power.

 

Related News: Various initiatives in Union Budget

  • In the ‘Amrit Bharat Station’ scheme, the central government plans to redevelop about 1,275 stations across the country. The scheme envisages the development of stations on a continuous basis with a long-term vision.
  • A corridor-based approach would be taken up across the country to develop railway infrastructure. The corridors would include economic corridors specified for sectors like energy, cement, and ports among others.
  • A ‘Sagarmala’ corridor will be set up to connect the ports in the country.
  • The government would also set up a ‘Janjati Gaurav Corridor’ connecting tribal areas of the country by rai

 

Yaya Tso

Source: Live Mint

  

Context: Yaya Tso, known as a birds’ paradise for its beautiful lake has been proposed as Ladakh’s first biodiversity heritage site (BHS).

  • Yaya Tso is a nesting habitat for a large number of birds and animals, such as the bar-headed goose, black-necked crane, and brahminy duck, adding it also has the distinction of being one of the highest breeding sites of the black-necked crane in India.

  

About BHS:

  • Biodiversity Heritage Sites are areas that are unique, ecologically fragile ecosystems having a rich biodiversity.
  • Under Biological Diversity Act (BDA) 2002, the State Governments are empowered to notify BHS, in consultation with ‘local bodies’, of areas of biodiversity importance as Biodiversity Heritage Sites.
  • There are 36 BHS in India, Mahendragiri hill (Odisha) is the last BHS added in 2022.

 

Red Sanders

Source: DTE

 Context: About 20,000 tonnes of Red Sanders were smuggled from India between 2016 and 2020 according to The Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) report.

  

About Red Sanders:

  • Red Sanders (Pterocarpus santalinus), also called Red Sandalwood, is a species found in the southern tropical dry deciduous forest of Andhra Pradesh (AP).
  • IUCN – ‘Endangered’
  • CITES – Appendix II
  • Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972 – Schedule IV

  

Uses:

  • The heartwood of Red Sanders is in demand in the domestic and international markets for making furniture, handicrafts and musical instruments in China and Japan. The red dye obtained from the wood is used as a colouring agent in the textiles, medicine and food industries.

  

Smuggling:

  • With 5.3 per cent of logs being shipped to China, it is the biggest importer of these illegally harvested logs of Red Sanders, noted the document released by TRAFFIC and WWF-India.
  • To curb this illegal logging of the endangered species, the AP Forest Department formed a Red Sanders Anti-Smuggling Task Force in 2014, which has made several seizures of the wood.

 

12 African countries commit to ending AIDS in kids by 2030

 Source: DTE

 Context: Ministers and representatives from 12 African countries have laid out plans to end acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS) in children by 2030 through early testing, treatment, and prevention programmes.

 

  • Countries with high HIV burdens have joined the alliance in the first phase: Angola, Cameroon, Ivory Coast, the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), Kenya, Mozambique, Nigeria, South Africa, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia, and Zimbabwe.
  • The Global Alliance to end AIDS in children will work to drive progress over the next seven years to ensure that the 2030 target is met.
  • The Dar-es-Salaam Declarationon ending AIDS in children was endorsed unanimously. The commitment marks a step up to ensure that all children with HIV have access to life-saving treatment and that mothers living with HIV have babies free from HIV.

Optional:


Follow us on our Official TELEGRAM Channel HERE

Subscribe to Our Official YouTube Channel HERE

Please subscribe to Our podcast channel HERE

Official Facebook Page HERE

Follow our Twitter Account HERE

Follow our Instagram Account HERE

Follow us on LinkedIn: HERE