Daily Prelims Notes 6 September 2023
- September 6, 2023
- Posted by: OptimizeIAS Team
- Category: DPN
Daily Prelims Notes
6 September 2023
Table Of Contents
- RBI to allow CBDC in call money market
- Delhi HC upholds Centre’s decision to include all medical devices as drugs
- To boost chip industry, China to launch new $40b State fund
- Problem posed by converging nominal and real GDP
- Govt tightens ‘beneficial owner’ rules under PMLA
- Africa Climate summit and call for global carbon tax
- Myanmar will not be allowed ASEAN leadership in 2026
- India rejects UN expert’s remark on Manipur
- India that is Bharat
- India that is Bharat and the Constituent Assembly
- In C.R. Rao’s Life, the Importance of Building – And Nurturing – Institutions
- Aditya-L1 successfully undergoes the second earth-bound manoeuvre: ISRO
- Criminalizing wilful environmental damage is harder than it sounds
- Laws governing forests of Northeast India
- 6 billion tonnes of sand taken annually from oceans, causing irreparable damage to benthic life
- Scanty rainfall, low-water levels to affect kuruvai paddy yields this year, warn Tamil Nadu farmers
- First ship to enter Ramayapatnam port by year end to test operational feasibility
- India’s creduce to set up digital registry to help small farmers earn carbon credits
- What is SF₆? Why should we be monitoring it?
Section: Monetary Policy
Context: RBI plans to allow using Central bank Digital Currency (CBDC) in call money market
- At present RBI has two pilot projects – one for CBDC (Retail) and other for CBDC (Wholesale) are going on. RBI is now planning to go to the inter-bank borrowing market, specifically the call money market.
- The plan is to use CBDCs as tokens for call money settlement. As on date, CBDC-W is being used as a pilot in settling trade in the government securities market.
- RBI is also showcasing various digitial initiatives in the financial sectorfor the G20 Summit.
- These include Public Tech Platform (PTP) for Frictionless Credit, CBDC, UPI One World, RuPay On-The-Go, and Bharat Bill Payment System.
- Public Tech Platform, visitors can experience an interactive demonstration of the entire process i.e., from onboarding to sanction and disbursement of the KCC and dairy loans in an entirely digital manner in a few minutes, revolutionising rural credit. this platform can be used for distribution of small ticket loans like MSME, personal loans etc.
- UPI One World aims to facilitate the onboarding of visitors to the UPI system, even if they don’t possess a bank account in India. Meanwhile, RuPay On-The-Go empowers customers to conduct contactless payment transactions using everyday accessories such as watches, rings, or keychains, showcasing the versatility of domestic card scheme products on par with their global counterparts.
- BBPS (Bharat Bill Payment System) cross-border bill payment will highlight the adaptability of the BBPS platform to integrate with fintechs and conventional financial players to facilitate domestic as well as cross-border payment transactions.
Call money rate
- It is the rate at which short term funds are borrowed and lent in the money market.
- The duration of the call money loan is 1 day.
- Banks resort to these types of loans to fill the asset liability mismatch, comply with the statutory CRR and SLR requirements and to meet the sudden demand of funds.
- RBI, banks, primary dealers etc are the participants of the call money market.
- Demand and supply of liquidity affect the call money rate. A tight liquidity condition leads to a rise in call money rate and vice versa
Subject: Govt schemes
In News: Delhi High Court upholds the Central government’s decision to include all medical devices within the ambit of the term ‘drug’ under the Drugs and Cosmetics Act.
- In 2018, the Centre had first brought four medical devices, namely nebuliser, blood pressure monitoring device, digital thermometer, and glucometer, within the ambit of the word ‘drug’. In 2020, it notified all medical devices as ‘drugs’.
- Calling these decisions by the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare (MOHFW) a “policy matter”, the HC notes that no case for interference was made out as there was no arbitrariness or unreasonableness in the shift in policy.
- It was also observed that the implementation of the policy was “calibrated” and gave ample time to the manufacturers, importers, sellers, and distributors to transition to a mandatory licensing regime.
- MOHFW’s reasons include the desire to align itself with the international regulatory regime and to further the interest of the patients.
- HC noted that a policy cannot be overturnedin view of errors, by the court while exercising the power of judicial review under Article 226 of the Constitution, unless it is a clear case of demonstrable violation of fundamental rights.
Section: External Sector
Context:: China is set to launch a new state-backed investment fund that aims to raise about $40 billion for its semiconductor sector.
- China is set to launch a new state-backed investment fund that aims to raise about $40 billion for its semiconductor sector.
- It is likely to be the biggest of three funds launched by the China Integrated Circuit Industry Investment Fund, also known as the Big Fund.
- The main area of investment will be equipment for chip manufacturing
- Why is it being launched?
- President Xi Jinping has long stressed the need for China to achieve self-sufficiency in semiconductors.
- That need has become all the more pressing after Washington imposed a series of export control measures over the last couple of years, citing fears that Beijing could use advanced chips to boost its military capabilities.
- Over the years, the Big Fund has provided financing to China’s two biggest chip foundries
- Despite those investments, China’s chip industry has struggled to play a leading role in the global supply chain, especially for advanced chips.
Section: National Income
Context: GDP growth rates show interesting behaviour with both nominal and real terms are almost the same.
- GDP growth rates show interesting behaviour with both nominal and real terms are almost the same (convergence), at 7.8-8 per cent.
- This means there is hardly any difference in the growth rates when production is reckoned at current prices and at constant (base 2011-12) prices.
- Normally the growth in GDP in nominal terms tends to be higher than that of real GDP.
- What is causing this convergence ?
- The answer lies in the queer case of inflation in India, where CPI inflation is moving in the positive direction, and the WPI inflation is in negative territory.
- For every component of nominal GDP there are appropriate price deflators. And in this calculation, the WPI indices are generally used. Hence, if WPI inflation is in the negative zone, which is what it was in Q1, then growth at both constant and current terms would tend to converge.
- What are the implications of this trend?
- It is critical from the point of view of targeting fiscal plans as well as external balances.
- Low nominal growth will come in the way of achieving the target of a $5 trillion economy; the time taken to reach this mark will be more.
- Revenue receipts on both taxation and disinvestment will be challenged this year. This is so as tax collections are contingent on GDP increasing at a faster tick which provides buoyancy to the system.
- Care must be taken when interpreting any of the policy ratios such as fiscal deficit to GDP ratio, current account deficitto GDP ratio as the denominator effect can exert undue influence.
- With the denominator of this ratio, GDP in nominal terms, being lower than was expected the current account deficit is likely to be pushed ahead.
- With the growth rate now coming down to 6.5 per cent , the denominator effect will automatically raise the fiscal deficit ratio as the GDP will be lower in nominal terms.
- Further on the fiscal side the debt-to-GDP ratios will also tend to look higher.
|Real and Nominal GDP growth|
1. Nominal Growth Rate: The nominal growth rate represents the economic growth rate without adjusting for inflation. It is calculated using the current market prices of goods and services. Nominal GDP growth reflects both changes in the quantity of goods and services produced (real growth) and changes in their prices due to inflation.
2. Real Growth Rate: The real growth rate, on the other hand, adjusts for the effects of inflation. It measures the increase in the production of goods and services after removing the impact of rising prices. Real GDP growth reflects changes in the quantity of goods and services produced, holding prices constant.
However, in most real-world economies, some level of inflation is typically present. In such cases:
Inflation Rate = Nominal Growth Rate – Real Growth Rate
Section: Fiscal Policy
Context: Government has further tightened rules for the ultimate beneficiary and fine-tuned the definition of reporting entity under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA)
- The Finance Ministry has notified changes in the Prevention of Money Laundering (Maintenance of Records) Rules, 2005.
- These amendments aim to give more power to the agency under the PMLA Act and enlarge the type and nature of individuals who can come under the ambit of the Act.
- What are the changes?
- A person having ownership of more than 10 per cent of the capital or profits of a partnership will be brought within the ambit of sub-rule 3 as a ‘beneficial owner’. Earlier, this limit was 15 per cent.
- Similarly, a person, who does not have any ownership or entitlement to more than 15 per cent (now 10 per cent) of capital or profits of the partnership but exercises control over the partnership through other means, will be treated as a beneficial owner.
- A person is said to exercise control if he has the right to control management i.e, make appointments to the management etc., and also controls policy decisions of a partnership.
- What will be the impact ?
- In the short term, compliance related complexities may see an increase.
- Would lead to greater regulation and transparency vis-à-vis the operations of trusts, family offices which were often used to bypass reporting requirements.
- Would address the problem of money laundering and market manipulation.
Subject : Environment
Section: Environmental conventions
Context: African leaders call for new global taxes to fund climate change action
More about the news:
- African leaders proposed new global taxes to fund climate change action in a declaration that will form the basis of their negotiating position at November’s COP28 summit.
What is the Africa Climate Summit (ACS):
- The Africa Climate Summit is a landmark event co-hosted by the Republic of Kenya, the African Union Commission (AUC).
- It brings together Heads of State and Government, policymakers, civil society organizations, the private sector, multilateral institutions, and youth to design and catalyse actions and solutions for climate change in Africa by providing a platform to deliberate on the nexus between climate change, Africa’s development reality, and the need to push for increased investment in climate action globally, and specifically in Africa.
- Africa Climate Summit (ACS) is going to be held in Nairobi,Kenya.
- The theme for this year’s summit is, ‘Driving Green Growth and Climate Finance Solutions for Africa and the World.’
What is Africa Climate Week (ACW):
- It is an annual event that brings together leaders from governments, businesses, international organizations and civil society to explore ways to reduce greenhouse gas emissions while adapting to the mounting fallout from the climate crisis.
- ACW 2023 is organized into four systems-based tracks, each focusing on specific themes:
- Energy systems and industry
- Cities, urban and rural settlements, infrastructure and transport
- Land, ocean, food and water
- Societies, health, livelihoods, and economies
- ACW 2023 is organized by the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and the World Bank, with the support of regional partners: African Union (AU), United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (ECA) and the African Development Bank (AfDB).
Subject : International Relations
Context: Myanmar won’t be allowed to lead Association of Southeast Asian Nations in 2026
More about the news:
- Southeast Asian leaders have decided that Myanmar will not take over the rotating leadership of their regional bloc as scheduled in 2026
- ASEAN leaders have condemned the Myanmar military’s removal of Aung San Suu Kyi’s democratically elected government and have demanded her release from detention, along with other officials.
- The Philippines will take over the chairmanship of ASEAN in 2026.
Some facts about ASEAN:
- ASEAN is a political and economic organization aimed primarily at promoting economic growth and regional stability among its members.
- It was established on 8 August 1967 in Bangkok, Thailand, with the signing of the ASEAN Declaration (Bangkok Declaration) by the founding fathers of ASEAN: Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore and Thailand.
- Current members of ASEAN are Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam.
- The motto of ASEAN is “One Vision, One Identity, One Community”.
- The ASEAN Secretariat is located in Jakarta, Indonesia.
How did ASEAN originate and evolve:
- Association of Southeast Asia (ASA), 1961: It was formed by Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, and Thailand to promote economic, cultural, and social cooperation.
- Bangkok Declaration, 1967: It formally established the ASEAN.
- First ASEAN Summit, 1976: In the summit, member countries pledged to work towards regional peace and stability.
- Treaty of Amity and Cooperation (TAC), 1976: It established a framework for peaceful relations and cooperation among member states.
- ASEAN Free Trade Area (AFTA), 1992: It aimed to create a free trade area among member countries.
- ASEAN Charter, 2008: It provides a legal framework for the organization and strengthens its institutional structure.
- ASEAN Economic Community (AEC), 2015: It aimed to integrate the economies of member countries and promote regional economic growth.
- ASEAN joins Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership(RCEP), 2020: ASEAN members join RCEP, a free trade agreement.
Subject : International Relations
Section: International Organisation
More about the news:
- India’s response came after a group of UN experts raised alarm about reports of ‘serious human rights violations and abuses’ in Manipur.
- India has termed comments on Manipur by UN experts as “unwarranted, presumptive and misleading”
What is Special Procedure Mandate Holders (SPMH):
- The term ‘special procedures’ refers to the list of mechanisms established by the Human Rights Council to report and advise on human rights from a thematic and country-specific perspective.
- Special procedures mandate-holders are either an individual (called a Special Rapporteur (SR) or Independent Expert (IE)) or a Working Group (WG) of five members.
- Mandate holders serve in their personal capacities, they are not UN staff and do not receive salaries or other financial remuneration for their work.
- Mandate holders are appointed by the Human Rights Council and their work is supported by the OHCHR.
- As part of their mandates, special procedures examine, advise and publicly report on human rights issues and situations. They conduct thematic studies and convene expert consultations, contribute to the development of international human rights standards, engage in advocacy and provide advice for technical cooperation.
Some facts about UNHRC:
- It is an intergovernmental body within the United Nations system.
- The UNHRC replaced the former UN Commission on Human Rights.
- It was created by the UNGA on March 15, 2006, and the body met in its first session in June, 2006.
- The Council is made up of 47 UN Member States who are elected by majority vote through a direct and secret ballot at the UNGA.
- The membership of the Council is based on equitable geographical distribution.
- African and Asia-Pacific states have 13 seats each,
- Latin American and Caribbean states have 8 seats,
- Western European and other states have 7 seats, and
- Eastern European states have 6 seats.
- The UNGA takes into account the candidate States’ contribution to the promotion and protection of human rights, as well as their voluntary pledges and commitments in this regard.
- The members serve for three years and are not eligible for immediate re-election after serving two consecutive terms.
What’s behind the violence in Manipur:
- Manipur was boiling since February 2023
- Manipur has been restive since February when the state government launched an eviction drive seen as targeting a specific tribal group.The drive led to protests but not on the scale of the one seen recently.
- High Court’s order acted as a trigger point
- The recent protests were triggered by the Manipur High Court’s direction to the State to pursue a 10-year-old recommendation to grant Scheduled Tribe (ST) status to the non-tribal Meitei community.
- The Court’s order brought the historical tensions between the valley-dwelling Meitei community and the state’s hill tribes to a boil.
- A ‘tribal solidarity march’ was organised by the All Tribal Students’ Union of Manipur (ATSUM) against the order of the High Court which led to the violent clashes at various places in Manipur during the course of this march.
Subject : History
Section: Ancient India
Context: A political row has erupted after invites for a dinner to be hosted by the President for world leaders, during the upcoming G20 Summit, were sent out in the name of the ‘President of Bharat’ instead of the customary ‘President of India’.
More about the news:
- A political row has erupted after invites for a dinner to be hosted by the President for world leaders, during the upcoming G20 Summit, were sent out in the name of the ‘President of Bharat’ instead of the customary ‘President of India’
- There is speculation of an official change in the name of the country from India to Bharat, even though Article 1 of the Constitution uses the two names interchangeably: “India, that is Bharat, shall be a Union of States.”
What is the history of the Nation’s Names:
- The nation was known by different names. They are:
- The roots of “Bharat”, “Bharata”, or “Bharatvarsha” are traced back to Puranic literature, and to the epic Mahabharata.
- The Vishnu Purana describes Bharata as the land between the sea in the south and the abode of snow in the north.
- ‘Bharata’ refers to the subcontinental territory where the Brahmanical system of society prevails.
- Bharata is also the name of the ancient king of legend who was the ancestor of the Rig Vedic tribe of the Bharatas, and by extension, the progenitor of all peoples of the subcontinent.
- The name Hindustan is thought to have derived from ‘Hindu’, the Persian equivalent form of the Sanskrit ‘Sindhu’ i.e Indus, which came into currency with the Persian conquest of the Indus valley that began in the 6th century BC.
- By the time of the early Mughals i.e 16th century, the name ‘Hindustan’ was used to describe the entire Indo-Gangetic plain.
- In the mid-to-late eighteenth century, Hindustan often referred to the territories of the Mughal emperor, which comprised much of South Asia.
- The Greeks used ‘Indus’ in place of ‘Sindhu/Hindu’. By the time the Macedonian king Alexander invaded India in the 3rd century BC, ‘India’ had come to be identified with the region beyond the Indus.
- From the late 18th century onwards, British maps increasingly began to use the name ‘India’, and ‘Hindustan’ started to lose its association with all of South Asia.
- Part of the appeal of the term India may have been its Graeco-Roman associations, its long history of use in Europe, and its adoption by scientific and bureaucratic organisations such as the Survey of India.
Context; A political row has erupted after invites for a dinner to be hosted by the President for world leaders, during the upcoming G20 Summit, were sent out in the name of the ‘President of Bharat’ instead of the customary ‘President of India’.
What was the view of Constituent Assembly:
- In his ‘Discovery of India’, Nehru referred to “India”, “Bharata” and “Hindustan”, but when the question of naming India in the Constitution arose, ‘Hindustan’ was dropped and both ‘Bharat’ and ‘India’ were retained.
- During the Constituent Assembly debates the “Name and territory of the Union” was taken up for discussion on September 17, 1949.
- Right from the time Article 1 was read out as “India, that is Bharat, shall be a Union of States”, a division arose among the members.
- There were quite a few members who were against the use of the name ‘India’, which they saw as being a reminder of the colonial past.
- HV Kamath suggested that the first article should read, “Bharat, or in the English language, India, shall be…”.
- Hargovind Pant, who represented the hill districts of the United Provinces, made it clear that the people of Northern India “wanted Bharatvarsha and nothing else”.
- None of the suggestions were accepted, illustrating contrasting visions of the budding nation.
- The draft Article 1 of the Constitution – “India, that is Bharat, shall be a Union of States” – was adopted by the Constituent Assembly on September 18, 1949.
- Apart from Article 1, the Constitution, originally drafted in English does not refer to “Bharat” in any other provision. The Preamble also refers to “We the People of India.”
What are the recent attempts of Name Change of the Nation:
- In 2004, the Uttar Pradesh Assemblypassed a resolution that the Constitution must be amended to say “Bharat, that is India,” instead of “India, that is Bharat.”
- In 2020, the Supreme Court had dismissed a PIL seeking to remove “India” from the Constitution and retain only Bharat in order to ensure the citizens of this country get over the colonial past.
- The apex court held that “India is already called Bharat in the Constitution itself.”
- In his Independence Day address 2022, the Indian PM had spoken about the “Panch Pran”, stressing the need to decolonise minds and taking pride in India’s civilisational heritage.
- A government booklet on the Indian PM’s upcoming visit to Indonesia for the 20th ASEAN-India Summit and the 18th East Asia Summit referred to him as the “Prime Minister of Bharat”.
Subject : Science and technology
Section : Msc
- Calyampudi Radhakrishna Rao, (10 September 1920 – 22 August 2023), commonly known as C. R. Rao, was an Indian-American mathematician and statistician.
- In 2023, Rao was awarded the International Prize in Statistics, an award often touted as the “statistics’ equivalent of the Nobel Prize“.
Early Life and Education
- Born on September 10, 1920, in Huvvina Hadagalli, Karnataka, had humble beginnings.
- His parents, C. Doraswamy Naidu and A. Laxmikanthamma, were pivotal in nurturing his intellectual growth from a young age.
- Rao displayed exceptional mathematical talent early on, memorizing multiplication tables at the age of five.
- Rao pursued his education in mathematics, obtaining a BA (Hons) degree and an MSc in mathematics from Andhra University.
- His journey led him to the Indian Statistical Institute (ISI) in Kolkata, where he began to explore the field of statistics, initially as a means to secure future employment.
- At ISI, Rao’s career took off as he engaged in research, published papers, and earned an MA in 1943 with record-breaking marks.
- In 1945, Rao authored a seminal paper in the Bulletin of the Calcutta Mathematical Society, detailing his groundbreaking contributions, including the Cramér-Rao lower bound, the Rao-Blackwell Theorem, and insights into ‘information geometry’.
- These results revolutionized statistical inference and data analysis.
Contributions to Statistics
- Cramér-Rao Lower Bound: provided a framework to assess the accuracy of statistical estimates.
- Rao-Blackwell Theorem: offered a means to optimize estimates, significantly improving the quality of statistical inferences.
- Wide-ranging Impact: These contributions found applications in diverse fields such as signal processing, spectroscopy, radar systems, risk analysis, and quantum physics.
Institution Building and Leadership
- Rao spent time at Cambridge University’s Department of Anthropology, analyzing human skeletal measurements and earning his PhD.
- He returned to ISI and held various leadership positions, contributing to the institution’s growth and influence.
- Rao established research units in fields like economics, sociology, psychology, genetics, anthropology, and geology, promoting interdisciplinary research.
- He introduced courses and degree programs, including BStat, MStat, and a PhD program in theoretical statistics and probability.
Impact on National Statistical System
- Collaboration with P.C. Mahalanobis: Rao worked closely with P.C. Mahalanobis to establish the State Statistical Bureaus, contributing to the development of India’s robust statistical system.
- Government Committees: Rao’s involvement in government committees further enhanced statistical education, research, and national statistical systems in India.
Transition to the United States
- Rao’s retirement at age 60 led him to the United States, where he held professorial positions at the University of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania State University, and the University at Buffalo.
- His time in the US resulted in 274 research papers, surpassing his Indian output of 201, highlighting his passion for research.
Indian Statistical Institute
- Founded by Professor P.C. Mahalanobis in Kolkata on 17th December 1931.
- Gained the status of an Institution of National Importance by an act of the Indian Parliament in 1959.
- Headquarters in the northern fringe of Kolkata with centers in Delhi, Bangalore, Chennai, and Tezpur.
- Focus on research in Statistics and related disciplines.
- Offices in various Indian cities engaged in projects and consultancy in Statistical Quality Control and Operations Research.
- Dedicated to research, teaching, and application of statistics, natural sciences, and social sciences.
International Prize in Statistics:
- Awarded every two years by a collaboration of five major international statistics organizations.
- Recognizes exceptional achievements in the field of statistics, particularly for practical applications and cross-disciplinary breakthroughs.
- Modeled after renowned awards like the Nobel Prize, Abel Prize, Fields Medal, and Turing Award.
Subject : Science and technology
Section : Space technology
Aditya-L1’s Second Earth-bound Manoeuvre
- Successful execution of the second Earth-bound manoeuver.
- Conducted from ISTRAC (ISRO Telemetry, Tracking and Command Network), Bengaluru.
- Tracking by ground stations at Mauritius, Bengaluru, and Port Blair.
- Performed on September 5, resulting in a new orbit of 282 km x 40,225 km.
- Three more manoeuvres are scheduled.
- The next manoeuvre is planned for September 10, 2023
- Final manoeuvre on September 18, leading to a Trans-Lagrangian1 insertion manoeuvre.
- Aditya-L1’s 110-day trajectory towards the L1 Lagrange point.
- Binding to an orbit around L1 upon arrival.
Aditya-L1 Mission Details
- Aditya-L1’s role as India’s first space-based observatory for Sun study.
- Halo Orbit: A halo orbit is a three-dimensional, kidney-shaped orbit that encircles the Lagrange point.
- It allows the spacecraft to maintain a relatively stable position relative to the Lagrange point.
- Continuous Sun observation without occultation or eclipses.
- Real-time monitoring of solar activities and space weather.
- The location of L1 is approximately 1.5 million km from Earth.
- Launch via ISRO’s PSLV-C57 on September 2.
- Seven scientific payloads on Aditya-L1.
- Objectives: Observing the photosphere, chromosphere, and the solar corona using electromagnetic, particle, and magnetic field detectors.
Transfer orbits are used in spaceflight to move spacecraft from one orbit to another or between celestial bodies.
Here are some different types of transfer orbits:
- Hohmann Transfer Orbit:
- Purpose: Efficiently transfers a spacecraft from one circular orbit to another circular orbit.
- Characteristics: Elliptical orbit with two burn maneuvers, one to raise the spacecraft’s apogee (farthest point) and one to lower its perigee (nearest point).
- Commonly used for missions within the same gravitational field, like Earth to Moon or satellite parking orbits.
- Bi-Elliptic Transfer:
- Purpose: Minimizes fuel consumption by taking a longer route with fewer delta-v burns.
- Characteristics: Involves transitioning from one circular orbit to a highly elliptical orbit and then to the final circular orbit.
- Used when efficiency and fuel conservation are more critical than travel time.
- Interplanetary Transfer Orbit:
- Purpose: Transfers a spacecraft between planets or celestial bodies within the solar system.
- Characteristics: Complex trajectory involving multiple phases, including Earth escape, cruise, and arrival/capture orbits around the target body.
- Used for missions like Mars rovers or missions to outer planets.
- Gravity Assist Transfer:
- Purpose: Uses the gravitational pull of celestial bodies (usually planets) to change a spacecraft’s velocity and trajectory.
- Characteristics: Spacecraft fly close to a planet and gain or lose energy to alter their path.
- Commonly used for outer solar system missions, like Voyager and New Horizons.
- Heliocentric Transfer Orbit:
- Purpose: Transfers a spacecraft from an orbit around one celestial body to an orbit around the Sun.
- Characteristics: Typically used for missions to study the Sun or comets.
- The spacecraft may follow a hyperbolic trajectory for solar observation missions.
- Polar Transfer Orbit:
- Purpose: Transfers a spacecraft into a polar orbit around a celestial body.
- Characteristics: Requires specific maneuvers to align with the desired polar orbit.
- Used for Earth observation satellites or planetary missions requiring global coverage.
- Direct Ascent Transfer:
- Purpose: Moves a spacecraft directly from its launch orbit to its destination without intermediate orbits.
- Characteristics: Involves a single burn to reach the target orbit.
- Common for missions with tight launch windows and limited fuel, like crewed lunar missions.
Section: Environment legislation
Maya Project of Mexico:
- Mexico’s ‘Maya train’ project, which aims to connect historic Maya sites with a route length of 1525 km, is being called a ‘Megaproject of death’ or ‘Pharaonic project’ because it imperils Yucatán peninsula of its rich wilderness, ancient cave systems, and Indigenous communities.
- The Tribunal for the Rights of Nature in August said the project caused “crimes of ecocide and ethnocide”.
Ecocide and ethnocide- International crime:
- Ecocide, derived from Greek and Latin, translates to “killing one’s home” or “environment”.
- Such ‘killing’ could include port expansion projects that destroy:
- Fragile marine life and local livelihoods;
- Illegal sand-mining; and
- Polluting rivers with untreated sewage.
- Mexico is pushing to elevate ecocide to the ranks of an international crime, warranting similar legal scrutiny as genocide.
- Extensive loss, damage to or destruction of ecosystems such that the peaceful enjoyment by the inhabitants has been or will be severely diminished.” Here, “inhabitants” applies to all living creatures.
- There is no accepted legal definition of ecocide, but a panel of lawyers in June 2021 for the Stop Ecocide Foundation prepared a 165-word articulation.
- Ecocide, they proposed, constitutes the “unlawful or wanton acts committed with knowledge that there is a substantial likelihood of severe and either widespread or long-term damage to the environment being caused by those acts.”
- The biologist Arthur Galston in 1970 is credited with first linking environmental destruction with genocide, which is recognised as an international crime.
- The Rome Statute of the ICC deals with four atrocities:
- crimes against humanity
- war crimes
- the crime of aggression.
- The provision on war crimes is the only statute that can hold a perpetrator responsible for environmental damage, but only if it is intentional and in wartime.
Limitations to defining ecocide:
- There are also many arguments against criminalizing ecocide.
- Words like “long-term” or “widespread damage” are abstract and leave room for misinterpretation.
- The threshold to prove ‘ecocide’ may also be too high.
- Countries like Belarus and Moldova specify “intentional” or “deliberate” destruction, but environmental disasters are not caused intentionally or deliberately.
- Without any significant changes, the ICC will not be unable to hold corporate entities criminally liable.
Why should ecocide be a crime?
- Ecocide is a crime in 11 countries, with 27 others considering laws to criminalise environmental damage that is wilfully caused and harms humans, animals, and plants.
- Most national definitions penalize:
- “mass destruction of flora and fauna”,
- “poisoning the atmosphere or water resources” or
- “deliberate actions capable of causing an ecological disaster.”
Need for an ecocide law:
- Deforestation of the Amazon, deep-sea trawling or even the catastrophic 1984 Bhopal gas disaster could have been avoided with ecocide laws in place, according to Stop Ecocide International.
- These laws could also hold individuals at the helms of corporations accountable.
- Ecocide laws could also double up as calls for justice for low- and middle-income countries disproportionately affected by climate change.
- Small nation-states like Vanuatu and Barbuda are already lobbying the ICC to declare crimes against the environment to be violations of international law.
What has been India’s stance?
- India has recognised rivers as legal entities with the right to maintain their spirit, identity, and integrity.
- The concept hasn’t fully materialized in law yet.
- In Chandra CFS and Terminal Operators Pvt. Ltd. v. The Commissioner of Customs and Ors (2015), the Madras High Court noted: “the prohibitory activities of ecocide has been continuing unbridledly by certain section of people by removing the valuable and precious timbers”.
- In an ongoing case, T.N. GodavarmanThirumulpad vs Union Of India &Ors, the Supreme Court called attention to an “anthropogenic bias” and argued that “environmental justice could be achieved only if we drift away from the principle of anthropocentric to ecocentric”.
- India’s legislative framework vis-à-vis environmental and ecological governance includes the Environmental (Protection) Act 1986, the Wildlife (Protection) Act 1972, and the Compensatory Afforestation Fund Act (CAMPA) 2016, as well as separate Rules to prevent air and water pollution.
- The National Green Tribunal, India’s apex environmental statutory body, does not have the jurisdiction to hear matters related to the Wildlife (Protection) Act 1972, the Indian Forest Act 1927, and other State-enacted laws.
Disaster due to Russia-Ukraine war:
- The ICC and Ukraine’s public prosecutor are also investigating Russia’s role in the collapse of the Nova Kakhovka dam, which unleashed a flood that drowned 40 regions, and released oils and toxic fluids into the Black Sea.
Section: Environment legislation
- On August 22, the Mizoram Assembly unanimously passed a resolution opposing the Forest (Conservation) Amendment Act, 2023, “to protect the rights and interest of the people of Mizoram”.
Why are the Northeast states opposing the amendment?
- The amendment allows the diversion of forest land for roads, railway lines or “strategic linear projects of national importance and concerning national security” within 100 km of India’s international borders or lines of control, without a forest clearance under the Forest (Conservation) Act (FCA) 1980.
- Most of India’s Northeast falls in this 100 km range.
- Nagaland, Tripura, Mizoram and Sikkim are opposing the FCA.
Grant of FCA clearances:
- Special Constitutional protections – Article 371A for Nagaland and 371G for Mizoram – prohibit the application of any law enacted by Parliament that impinges on Naga and Mizo customary law and procedure, and ownership and transfer of land and its resources.
- Such laws can be extended to these States only if their Legislative Assemblies decide thus in a resolution.
- Nagaland extended the application of the FCA to government forests and such other forests and Wildlife Sanctuaries under the control of the State Government.
- Government forests make up only 2.71% of the State’s Recorded Forest Area.
- Mizoram Union Territory became a State with the Constitution (Fifty Third Amendment) Act 1986, adding Article 371G to the Constitution.
- It stipulated that all Central Acts in force before 1986 are extended to the State, including the FCA.
- Moreover, the powers of the Autonomous District Councils in the three Sixth Scheduled areas in Mizoram don’t extend to reserved forests.
- So the FCA covers 84.53% of forest areas that are notified forests, and 6,630 ha have thus far received FCA clearance.
- The FCA is applicable in the rest of Northeast: in Meghalaya and Tripura, the Sixth Schedule Areas within these States, and in Arunachal Pradesh, Sikkim, and Manipur.
- Arunachal Pradesh ranked first among these States in FCA clearance (21,786.45 ha), followed by Tripura (9,051 ha), Assam (5,261 ha), Manipur (3,604 ha), Sikkim (2,902 ha), and Meghalaya (807 ha).
FCA 1980 vis-à-vis the Northeast:
- In 1996, the Supreme Court expanded the term “forest land” in the FCA in the Godavarman case to “not only include ‘forest’ as understood in the dictionary sense, but also any area recorded as forest in the Government record irrespective of the ownership” called as the “deemed forest”, thus extending the FCA to unclassed forests.
- These are recorded forests but not notified as forests.
- More than half of the Northeast is Recorded Forest Area (RFA).
- Of this, 53% are unclassed forests controlled by individuals, clans, village councils or communities, and governed by customary law and procedures.
- The remainder is notified forest controlled by the State Forest Departments.
- RFA ranges from 34.21% in Assam to 82.31% in Sikkim with Mizoram having 35.48%, Meghalaya 42.34%, Nagaland 53.01%, Arunachal Pradesh 61.55%, Manipur 78.01% and Tripura 60.02%.
- Of these, unclassed forests range from nil in Sikkim to 97.29% in Nagaland, with 15.47% in Mizoram, 33.43% in Assam, 42.96% in Tripura, 75.67% in Manipur and 88.15% in Meghalaya.
- The apex court’s 1996 order brought unclassed forests under the FCA’s purview everywhere except in Nagaland.
- There are also forests outside RFA, neither recorded nor surveyed: 38.5% of the cover in Assam; 29% in Nagaland; and 1.5% in Mizoram.
FRA 2009 vis-à-vis the Northeast
- In the Scheduled Tribes and Other Traditional Forest Dwellers (Recognition of Forest Rights) Act (FRA) 2006, “forest land” includes:
- unclassified forests,
- undemarcated forests,
- existing or deemed forests,
- protected forests,
- reserved forests,
- Sanctuaries and National Parks.
- These States can take suo motu cognisance of the existing rights and obtain the concerned Gram Sabha approvals for issuing titles.
- The Ministry of Tribal Affairs can also issue legally enforceable directions under Section 12 of the FRA, paving the way for this.
- But none of the Northeast States have implemented FRA except for Assam and Tripura.
FRA compliance under FCA
- States can formulate and take legal measures to ensure mandatory fulfillment of the FRA before recommending a forest diversion proposal, and ensuring Gram Sabha consent before handing over forest land.
- The Ministry of Tribal Affairs can also issue legally enforceable directions under the FRA, or even enact a separate law, to recognise and settle forest rights when forests are diverted for other purposes and forest-dwellers are relocated, as forest rights fall squarely within its Business Rules.
For details of Forest conservation amendment bill 2023: https://optimizeias.com/objections-overruled-forest-bill-goes-to-house-unchanged/
- Some six billion tonnes of sand is being extracted annually from the floor of the world’s oceans, causing irreparable damage to benthic life, according to a new global data platform on sand and other sediment extraction in the marine environment.
- UNEP report: Sand and Sustainability report 2022.
Marine Sand Watch:
- The data platform developed by GRID-Geneva, a Centre for analytics within the UNEP.
- The platform will track and monitor dredging activities of sand, clay, silt, gravel, and rock in the world’s marine environment, including hotspots like the North Sea, Southeast Asia, and the East Coast of the United States.
- It will provide information on:
- areas used for sand extraction (sand concessions),
- areas of capital and maintenance dredging,
- sand trading ports/hubs,
- number of vessels and operators, and
- extraction of sediment and other types of activities by countries with Exclusive Economic Zones.
- It will use Automatic Identification System signals from vessels and Artificial Intelligence to identify the operations of dredging vessels.
- The platform has estimated that between four and eight billion tonnes of sand are being dredged from the ocean floor every year.
- This number is expected to rise to 10 to 16 billion tonnes per year, which is the natural replenishment rate or the amount that rivers need to maintain coastal and marine ecosystem structure and function.
Impact of Illegal sand extraction:
- Increased turbidity of water
- Change in nutrient availability
- Noise pollution
- Damage to marine organisms and coastal communities
- Salivation of aquifers near coasts
Ban on marine Sand export:
- Indonesia, Thailand, Malaysia, Vietnam, and Cambodia have banned marine sand export in the last 20 years.
- The Global Resource Information Database – Geneva (GRID-Geneva), is a partnership between the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), the Swiss Federal Office for the Environment (FOEN) and the University of Geneva (UniGe).
- GRID-Geneva’s main role is to transform data into information and knowledge to support the decision making process related to environmental issues.
For details of Illegal sand mining in India and related laws: https://optimizeias.com/illegal-mining-of-beach-sand-minerals/
- Tamil Nadu farmers have warned of low paddy yields this year, claiming that kuruvai, or short-term paddy cultivation, on about 100,000 acres in delta districts has been hit due to a lack of water for irrigation.
- Kuruvai crops are short-duration ones cultivated in the June-September period in the river deltas.
- Tamil Nadu has several districts known as delta districts due to their location in river valleys. The primary delta districts in the state are Thanjavur, Tiruvarur and Nagapattinam.
- About three-fourths of the paddy grown in the state is cultivated in the delta region.
- Kuruvai crops are grown over an area of 360,000 acres and need a large amount of water.
- Farmers are solely dependent on water from Mettur dam on the Kaveri river in Salem. Water shortage can impact kuruvai crops and lead to crop losses, impacting the livelihoods of farmers.
Samba crops of Tamilnadu:
- Samba is a variety of rice grown in Tamil Nadu, some other parts of India and Sri Lanka, and has a small ovular grain, compared to the long grain of basmati rice.
- At risk due to Scanty rainfall and shortage of water.
- The seeds are sown between September and November.
- Samba rice is a vital crop in the state, and its success relies heavily on the availability of water for irrigation.
Section: Environment legislation
- The construction works of Machilipatnam port in Andhra Pradesh are progressing at ‘brisk’ pace according to a senior official of Andhra Pradesh Maritime Board (APMB).
Ports in Andhra Pradesh:
- Ramayapatnam port in Prakasam district is in progress.
- Greenfield port at Manginapudi is in progress.
- The three upcoming government ports– Ramayapatnam, Machilipatnam and Mulapadu.
- A private SEZ port to come up at Kakinada.
- Andhra Pradesh has the second longest coastline in the country with a length of 974 km with a major port in Visakhapatnam and 15 other notified State ports spread in eight coastal districts.
Significance of developing these ports:
- Machilipatnam port is considered ideal for export and import of tobacco, granite and other natural stones, pharma and agricultural products, besides helping eastern shore activities of ONGC.
- Nine state-of-the-art fishing harbours are being developed across the State including Uppada, Visakhapatnam, Odarevu, Kothapatnam.
- The fishing harbour at Juvvaladinne is likely to be inaugurated over the next three-four months.
Ports in India:
- Indian ports are classified as major, minor and intermediate ports for administrative reasons. Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka, are home to the minor ports.
- Minor ports have also been established in 4 Union Territories- Diu & Daman, Lakshadweep Islands, Pondicherry, and Andaman & Nicobar Islands.
For details of Major and Minor ports in India: https://optimizeias.com/major-and-minor-ports-2/
Section: Climate change
- Creduce, one of India’s leading services providers in the field of climate change and carbon asset management, plans to set up a digital registry to help small and marginal farmers claim carbon credits, its founder Shailendra Singh Rao has said.
How Creduce’s digital registry will help farmers?
- CREDUCE is a macro scale organization headquartered at Ahmedabad (Gujarat).
- Creduce, launched in 2012 and rebranded in 2020, has made a soft launch of the registry and trial runs are on to test the platform through demo projects.
- A farmer has to be onboard and his activities will be recognised on the company’s platform.
- Farmers will be awarded carbon credits for free and these credits can be traded on our integrated marketplace.
- The money that a farmer earns through such a trade will directly be credited into the farmer’s account through the direct beneficiary transfer model.
- As per 2021 data, 200 million plus carbon credits were traded globally with trading from India accounting for 30 per cent. India is a major beneficiary.
- Creduce also deals with afforestation, which is basically rendering barren lands green or developing forests on such lands.
- There is also reforestation where new trees are planted on land where forests had existed previously.
Creduce’s involvement with various States governments:
- Arunachal Pradesh government– to develop bamboo resources on community land covering one lakh hectares.
- “red plus” forestation-based carbon credit activity with Mizoram and Assam governments.
- The afforestation/reforestation based rubber plantation activity in Kerala.
- Carbon credit from sustainable rice cultivation.
- Sustainable super cultivation in Gujarat and Maharashtra.
‘Red plus’ forestation:
- “Red plus” forestation refers to reckless activities that damage existing forest lands that have carbon stock which would have to be accounted for and claimed. “Such a process can help to preserve these forests using the carbon credits money garnered from its existing carbon stocks.
Renewable Energy Certificates (RECs):
- Renewable Energy Certificates (RECs) is a market-based instrument to promote renewable sources of energy and development of the market in electricity.
- One REC is created when one megawatt hour of electricity is generated from an eligible renewable energy source.
Section: Climate change
What is SF₆?
- SF₆ is a stable colourless, odourless, synthetic fluorinated gas that makes effective insulating material for medium and high-voltage electrical installations.
- Around 80% of the SF₆ used globally is in electricity transmission and distribution.
- Medium- and high-voltage electrical equipment contains SF₆ to insulate the live electrical parts and to switch the flow of electrical current on and off.
A powerful Greenhouse Gas:
- Sulphur hexafluoride or SF₆ is the strongest known greenhouse gas with a global warming potential of 25200 and an atmospheric lifetime of 3,200 years.
- SF₆ is rapidly accumulating in the atmosphere, driven by the demand for SF₆-insulated switchgear in developing countries due to increased renewable energy installations.
- SF₆ emissions occur during all stages of the component lifecycle: manufacturing, operation, and decommissioning of equipment contribute the most to the emissions of the operational phase.
Where is SF6 used?
- Power Industry for electricity transmission and distribution
- Semiconductors devices like: mobiles, computers etc.
- Renewable energy installations like: wind turbines, solar panels etc.
- Batteries for Electric Vehicles
- Production of magnesium
What is the status of SF₆ in India?
- SF₆ is mostly imported into India. There is a lack of publicly available data on total production, use growth rates and emissions of SF₆ in India.
- India imported 600 shipments from China, Taiwan and the United States and is the largest importer of SF₆ in the world.
- In developed countries, SF₆ is regularly monitored to immediately detect any SF₆ leakages, on an almost real-time basis while India still needs to make a lot of progress in SF₆ handling and monitoring.
- The maximum threshold for leakage of SF6 is 0.5 per cent per year.
- There is currently no regulatory framework to monitor, report and manage SF₆ in India and the country needs to develop a framework for SF₆ monitoring, reporting and phase out.
What are the international regulations on SF₆?
- The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) made mandatory the reporting of large SF₆ emissions in 2009.
- In Europe, it is also mandatory to recycle, reclaim or destroy the SF₆ gas contained in electrical equipment.
- There are no SF₆ regulations in Asia that focus directly on transmission and distribution operators.
- Japan’s switchgear OEMs and electric utilities created a voluntary action plan in the late 1990s and reported a substantial reduction in reduction in SF₆.
- In 2015 South Korea implemented a GHG Emissions Trading Scheme, which includes SF₆.
- China has also made moves away from SF₆.
What are the alternatives to SF₆?
- Use of clean air, hydrogen, nitrogen, etc is being considered but these are available mostly for medium voltage (MV) switchgear.