Daily Current Affairs Date : 19thMarch,2022
(30+ Questions hit in Prelims 2021 from this series)
Covers 4 Most relevant Sources
- The Hindu
- Indian Express
- Himalayan Griffons (TH, pg 14)
- Great Barrier Reef Suffers ‘Widespread’ Bleaching Event (DTE)
- Carbon-Neutral Farming Methods (TH, pg 9)
- EU countries back plan for world-first carbon border tariff (IE)
- National Commission for Scheduled Tribes (TH, pg 7)
- One Nation One Application: National e-Vidhan Application (NeVA) (PIB)
- Credit Guarantee Trust for Micro and Small Enterprises (CGTMSE) Scheme (PIB)
- Pradhan Mantri Dakshta Aur Kushalta Sampann Hitgrahi (PM-DAKSH) Yojana (PIB)
- Council of Europe (CoE)
- Bhopal Gas Tragedy (IE)
Himalayan Griffons (TH, pg 14)
- Context: At least 100 vultures — all Himalayan griffons — died due to ‘unintentional’ poisoning in Assam.
- The stray dogs create a menace for them and out of frustration, they spray the animal carcasses with different kinds of poisons to kill the dogs, but indirectly they kill vultures too.
- The Himalayan griffon is listed as ‘near threatened’ in the International Union for Conservation of Nature’s Red list.
- There are around 1,500 to 2,000 vultures in Assam, according to the Bombay Natural History Society (BNHS). The Himalayan griffon is listed as a migratory species among these.
- The steppe eagle is also a migratory bird that comes to Assam during winters from different countries, including African ones.
- A study by the Bombay Natural History Society and other organisations in the 1990s found that the population of the Gyps group — Himalayan griffon, white-backed and slender-billed are among its members — in India and Nepal declined from about 40 million by 99.9% in just two decades.
Species of Vultures found in India and their Conservation Status
- Bearded Vulture, Near Threatened
- Cincerous Vulture, Near Threatened
- Egyptian Vulture, Endangered
- Griffon Vulture, Least Concern
- Himalayan Vulture/Griffon, Near Threatened
- Long-billedor Indian Vulture, Critically Endangered
- Indian White-rumped Vulture, Critically Endangered
- Red-headed Vulture, Critically Endangered
- Slender-billed Vulture, Critically Endangered
Great Barrier Reef Suffers ‘Widespread’ Bleaching Event (DTE)
- Context:Australia’s Great Barrier Reef – world’s largest coral reef ecosystem – is suffering widespread and severe coral bleaching due to high ocean temperatures, according to a recent report.
- The reef has suffered significantly from coral bleaching caused by unusually warm ocean temperatures in 2016, 2017 and 2020.
- Bleaching occurs when healthy corals become stressed by spikes in ocean temperatures, causing them to expel algae living in their tissues, draining them of their vibrant colors.
- While recent changes are not yet classified as a mass bleaching event, the Australian Marine Conservation Society described the report as “disastrous news”, particularly during a La Nina weather pattern, which is usually associated with cooler ocean temperatures.
- A United Nations delegation is due to assess whether the reef’s World Heritage listing should be downgraded due to the ravages of climate change.
- The Great Barrier Reef—the world’s largest living structure, visible from space—was added to the list in 1981 for its “superlative natural beauty” and extensive biodiversity.
- But the list is not permanently fixed, and sites can be downgraded or even removed entirely on the UN body’s recommendation.
Carbon-Neutral Farming Methods (TH, pg 9)
- Context:Kerala is set to become the first State in the country to introduce carbon-neutral farming methods in selected locations.
- In India, the agriculture sector accounts for 15% of the total emissions.
- India is the world’s third largest emitter of greenhouse gases (GHGs), after China and the US, although per-capita emissions of India remain well below the global average.
- Greenhouse Gas Emissions by Sector in India in the Decreasing Order: Electricity and Heat > Agriculture > Manufacturing & Construction > Transport > Industry > Other Fuel Consumption > Buildings > Waste > Fugitive Emissions > Aviation and Shipping
Carbon neutral agriculture
- Carbon neutral agriculture refers to the net zero balance of emissions and sinks of all the greenhouse gases on farms in terms of their CO2 equivalents, resulting in climate neutral systems.
Some Methods to Promote Carbon-Neutral Farming:
- Carbon, the primary GHG element, is sequestered (isolated and hidden away) in soil in the form of plant residue, decomposing plant and animal matter, humus and microorganisms.
- Soil tillage has the effect of bringing that stored carbon to the surface where it turns into carbon dioxide [CO2] and escapes into the atmosphere.
- Less-disturbed soils from conservation tillage reverse that carbon transfer, drawing it from the atmosphere and storing it in the soil.
- A companion benefit of reduced tillage is fewer tractor trips, which reduces the fossil fuels burned.
- Rice fields are typically flooded during the growing season. That water on a field for long periods can release methane gas (another GHG).
- Better flood control methods have to be adopted to limit the time water is on fields without hindering yields.
- Cover crops keep a live plant growing in the soil year-round. “It means you’re drawing more carbon from the atmosphere and putting it in the soil.
- Nitrogen fertilizer, in particular, can be lost to the atmosphere in the form of nitrous oxide (N2O), another GHG.
- Farmers are mitigating this by switching to practices that prevent volatilization, such as more stable fertilizer sources, nitrogen inhibitors to hold nitrogen in place and delayed applications.
EU countries back plan for world-first carbon border tariff (IE)
- Context: European Union countries have backed the bloc’s plan to impose a world-first carbon dioxide emissions tariff on imports of polluting goods, although the finer details will need to be worked out in upcoming negotiations.
- The EU wants to introduce CO2 emissions costs on imports of steel, cement, fertilisers, aluminium and electricity, a move aimed at protecting European industry from being undercut by cheaper goods made in countries with weaker environmental rules.
- The main objective of this environmental measure is to avoid carbon leakage.
- Carbon leakage refers to the situation that may occur if, for reasons of costs related to climate policies, businesses were to transfer production to other countries with laxer emission constraints. This could lead to an increase in their total emissions.
- The border levy is part of a package of EU climate change policies designed to cut the bloc’s greenhouse gas emissions by 55 percent by 2030 from 1990 levels and to achieve climate neutrality in the EU by 2050.
- Europe’s climate goals will require huge investments from industry in green technologies like hydrogen, and impose higher CO2 costs on polluters. The border levy aims to ensure companies do not leave Europe for regions with lower costs.
National Commission for Scheduled Tribes (TH, pg 7)
- Context:The National Commission for Scheduled Tribes has been dysfunctional for the past four years and has not delivered a single report to Parliament, a parliamentary committee has said in a recent report.
- The pending reports include a study by the commission of the impact of the Indira Sagar Polavaram Project in Andhra Pradesh on the tribal population and a special report on rehabilitation and resettlement of tribespeople displaced by the Rourkela steel plant.
National Commission for Scheduled Tribes (STs)
- Like the National Commission for Schedules Castes (SCs), the National Commission for Scheduled Tribes (STs) is also a constitutional bodyunder Article 338-A of the Constitution.
- It consists of a chairperson, a vice-chairperson and three other members. They are appointed by the President by warrant under his hand and seal.
- Their conditions of service and tenure of office are also determined by the President.
- Under the Rules, they hold office for a term of threeyears.
- The Commission presents an annual report to the President. It can also submit a report as and when it thinks necessary.
- The President places all such reports before the Parliament, along with a memorandum explaining the action taken on the recommendations made by the Commission.
- The memorandum should also contain the reasons for the non-acceptance of any of such recommendations.
- The commission is vested with all the powers of a civil court while investigating any matter on inquiring into any complaint relating to deprivation of rights and safeguards for the Scheduled Tribes.
One Nation One Application: National e-Vidhan Application (NeVA) (PIB)
- Context:‘e-Vidhan’ is one of the Mission Mode Projects (MMPs) under Digital India Programme to make the working of the all the legislatures paperless.
- Since, the process involving the functioning of all Legislatures are similar except some minor variations, enabling provisions have been incorporated in NeVA for onboarding it by the two Houses of Parliament also.
- e-Vidhan software of Himachal Pradesh Vidhan Sabha was upgraded as National eVidhan Application (NeVA).
- The Ministry of Parliamentary Affairs has been made the ‘Nodal Ministry’ for the implementation of e-Vidhan MMP re-designating it as National e-Vidhan Application (NeVA).
- The funding of NeVA is on the pattern of Central Sponsored Scheme i.e. 60:40; and 90:10 for North East & hilly States and 100% for UTs.
- NeVA is a Unicode compliant software having provision for easy access to various documents like List of Questions, List of Business, Reports etc. bilingually viz. English and any regional language.
- Through the cloud technology of the National Informatics Centre(Meghraj), data deployed can be accessed anywhere at any time.
- Citizens would also gain access to NeVA.
- Keeping in view the latest technological development in the field of Information and Communications Technology(ICT), maximum use of Artificial Intelligence (AI) and the Internet of Things (IoT) has been made to make NeVA a robust IT product.
- As a special achievement, Bihar Legislative Council became the first House in the country to transit to NeVA platform completely in Nov, 2021 and conducted Winter Session, 2021on the NeVA platform in paperless mode.
- They will also be conducting the ensuing Budget Session, 2022 on the NeVAplatform.
- Odisha Assembly also presented their budget 2021 in paperless mode using NeVA.
Credit Guarantee Trust for Micro and Small Enterprises (CGTMSE) Scheme (PIB)
- Context:The Credit Guarantee Trust for Micro and Small Enterprises (CGTMSE) Scheme will be revamped with required infusion of funds.
- This will facilitate additional credit of Rs. 2 lakh crore for Micro and Small Enterprises and expand employment opportunities, the Finance Minister stated in the Union Budget 2022-23.
- The Credit Guarantee Fund Scheme for Micro and Small Enterprises (CGMSE) was launched by the Government of India to make available collateral-free credit to the micro and small enterprise sector.
- The Ministry of Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises and Small Industries Development Bank of India (SIDBI), established a Trust named Credit Guarantee Fund Trust for Micro and Small Enterprises (CGTMSE) to implement the Scheme.
Which type of borrowers can be covered under the Scheme?
- New and existing Micro and Small Enterprises engaged in manufacturing or services(including trading activity) excluding Educational Institutions, Agriculture, Self Help Groups (SHGs), Training Institutions etc.are eligible to be covered under the scheme.
Eligible Lending Institutions
- The institutions, which are eligible under the scheme, are scheduled commercial banks (Public Sector Banks/Private Sector Banks/Foreign Banks) and select Regional Rural Banks (which have been classified under ‘Sustainable Viable’ category by NABARD).
Eligible Credit Facility
- The credit facilities which are eligible to be covered under the scheme are both term loans and working capital facility up to Rs.100 lakh per borrowing unit.
- For those units covered under the guarantee scheme, which may become sick owing to factors beyond the control of management, rehabilitation assistance extended by the lender could also be covered under the guarantee scheme.
- The guarantee cover available under the scheme is to the extent of 75 percent of the sanctioned amount of the credit facility.
- The extent of guarantee cover is 80 per cent for:
- (i) micro enterprises for loans up to Rs.5 lakh;
- (ii) MSEs operated and/or owned by women; and
- (iii) all loans in the North-East Region.
Pradhan Mantri Dakshta Aur Kushalta Sampann Hitgrahi (PM-DAKSH) Yojana (PIB)
- Context:The PM-DAKSH Yojana is a Central Sector Scheme and is being implemented by the Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment from the year 2020-21.
- It is a part of a National Action Plan for skilling of marginalized persons covering SCs, OBCs, EBCs, DNTs, Sanitation workers including waste pickers.
- Under this Yojana, eligible target group are being provided skill development training programmes on:
- (i) Up-skilling/Re-skilling
- (ii) Short Term Training Programme
- (iii) Long Term Training Programme and
- (iv) Entrepreneurship Development Program (EDP).
- The scheme is to be implemented through three Public Sector Undertakings (PSUs), of the Ministry:
- National Scheduled Castes Finance and Development Corporation (NSFDC),
- National Backward Classes Finance & Development Corporation (NBCFDC) and
- National Safai Karamcharis Finance & Development Corporation (NSKFDC).
- The main purpose of the scheme is to increase the skill levels of the target youth by providing for long term and short-term skills, followed by settlement in employment/self- employment.
- Candidates of age group 18-45 years belonging to any of the following categories can apply for the training programme under PM-DAKSH:
- Persons belonging to Scheduled Castes – No annual income limit
- Other Backward Classes (OBCs) having Annual Family Income below Rs. 3.00 lakh
- Economically Backward Classes (EBCs) having Annual Family Income below Rs.1.00 lakh
- De-Notified, Nomadic and Semi-Nomadic Tribe (DNT) – No annual income limit
- SafaiKaramcharis – No annual income limit
Council of Europe (CoE)
- Context:The Strasbourg (France)-based Council of Europe (CoE) has officially decided to expel Russia from the human rights body, the first time a member state has been kicked out of the group.
- The council suspended Russia on February 25, the day after it launched its unprovoked invasion of Ukraine.
- The exit from the council means Russia will no longer be a signatory to the European Convention on Human Rights, and its citizens will no longer be able to file applications to the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR).
- Russia’s exit will mark a major change for the ECHR, which acts as a court of final instance when all domestic avenues are exhausted.
- The decision also opens the way for Moscow to reimpose the death penalty if the Russian authorities decide. Not using the death penalty is a precondition of CoE membership.
- No member state has ever been expelled from the Council of Europe, which was created in 1949 and has 47 member states including Russia.
- It is only the second time in the history of the CoE that a member state has announced it has quit the body after Greece under military rule walked out temporarily in the late 1960s.
Bhopal Gas Tragedy (IE)
- Tonnes of hazardous waste at the Union Carbide’s plant in Bhopal will be burnt at an incinerator, 37 years after the gas leak.
- The Bhopal disaster, also referred to as the Bhopal gas tragedy, was a gas leak incident on the night of 2–3 December 1984 at the Union Carbide India Limited (UCIL) pesticide plant in Bhopal, Madhya Pradesh.
- It is considered to be the world’s worst industrial disaster.
- Over 500,000 people were exposed to methyl isocyanate (MIC) gas.