Daily Prelims Notes 8 June 2022
- June 8, 2022
- Posted by: admin1
- Category: DPN
Daily Prelims Notes
8 June 2022
Table Of Contents
- Carbon bombs
- Green jobs
- Electricity (Promoting Renewable Energy Through Green Energy Open Access) Rules 2022
- New accounting mechanism for releasing funds for government schemes
- China and Cambodia to begin port project
- Copyright Infringement
- Rights of Persons with Disabilities Act 2016
- Joint count of elephant and big cats
- Environment Performance Index
- TN tops State Food Safety List
- QS Rankings
- Surging Ozone Levels
Section : Climate Change
- A group of environmentalists, lawyers, and activists have come together to identify and ‘defuse carbon bombs’– coal, oil and gas projects that have the potential to contribute significantly to global warming.
- The usage of the term ‘carbon bombs’ picked up after an investigative project of The Guardian from May 2022. The project reported the plans of countries and private companies all over the world to engage in 195 ‘carbon bomb’ projects. Each such project, it is believed, will release huge amounts of CO2 emissions into the atmosphere.
What are carbon bombs?
- It is “an oil or gas project that will result in at least a billion tonnes of CO2 emissions over its lifetime.”
- Whenever coal, oil, or gas is extracted it results in pollution and environmental degradation. Further, carbon emissions take place in particularly large amounts when fuel is burned.
- In total, around 195 such projects have been identified world over, including in the US, Russia, West Asia, Australia and India. According to the report, they will collectively overshoot the limit of emissions that had been agreed to in the Paris Agreement of 2015.
- The agreement was to contain the global rise in average temperature to 2 °C and strive for the target of 1.5 °C as compared to pre-industrial levels – when the widespread use of coal for industry in the beginning in the mid-19th century led to a rapid rise in average global temperatures.
What does the investigation say?
- More than 60% of these carbon bomb projects are already underway, according to the investigation.
- Apart from coal, oil, and gas operations, the report highlighted the threat of methane, which “routinely leaks from gas operations and is a powerful greenhouse gas, trapping 86 times more heat than CO2 over 20 years”.
- It put the blame on the companies conducting these operations, pointing to present time where multiple factors, especially the Russia-Ukraine crisis, have led to a reduction in supply and rise in the demand for fuel.
- As Russian oil has been banned by countries in the West, prices have risen to the benefit of oil and gas producing companies.
- The report criticised reliance on fuel from conventional sources and not making use of emerging, green sources of energy. Energy companies such as ExxonMobil, Total, Chevron, Shell and BP (British Petroleum) are all mentioned as having coal bomb projects.
- This in reference to the International Energy Agency, an international organisation which put together a road map to reduce global carbon emissions to as close to zero as possible by 2050.
- Net zero emissions means that all carbon emissions into the atmosphere must be absorbed by methods like increasing the forest cover, and decreasing man-made emissions.
What is the plan for ‘defusing’ carbon bombs?
- The network working towards this goal is called Leave It In the Ground Initiative (LINGO).
- Its mission is to “leave fossil fuels in the ground and learn to live without them.” It believes the root of climate change is the burning of fossil fuels, and the 100% use of renewable energy sources is the solution.
- It has listed carbon bomb projects from all over the world. This includes the Carmichael Coal Project owned by the Adani Group, Gevra Coal Mines in Chhattisgarh owned by Coal India, and Rajmahal Coal Mines in eastern Jharkhand owned by Eastern Coalfields.
- LINGO aims to organise ground support for protesting such projects, challenge them through litigation, and conduct analysis and studies for the same.
Section : Climate Change
- At an event to mark World Environment Day recently, Prime Minister Narendra Modi spoke about India’s consistent efforts to combat climate change.
- During his speech, he also mentioned India’s efforts to create ‘green jobs’.
What are ‘green jobs’?
- ‘Green jobs’ refer to a class of jobs that directly have a positive impact on the planet, and contribute to the overall environmental welfare.
- Jobs involving renewable energy, conservation of resources, ensuring energy efficient means are categorised under the green jobs.
- In all, they’re aimed at reducing the negative environmental impact of economic sectors and furthering the process of creating a low-carbon economy.
- The idea behind a low-carbon economy or decarbonisation is fairly simple — it is about maintaining a sustainable economy, one that doesn’t lead to vast emissions of greenhouse gasses, especially carbon dioxide.
India and ‘green jobs’
- The Skill Council for Green Jobs was launched by the Union government on October 1, 2015.
- Aligned to the National Skill Development Missions, it was set up to be a not-for-profit, independent, industry-led initiative.
- Promoted by the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE) and the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII), the council aims to help manufacturers and other service providers in India’s ‘green business’ sector to implement industry-led, collaborative skills push the country on the path to truly realising the real potential and significance of ‘green jobs’.
- According to the Skill Council for Green Jobs, awareness and training individuals regarding green jobs skills will ensure limiting greenhouse gas emissions, minimising waste and pollution, protect and restore ecosystems, support adaptation to the effects of climate change.
Scenario across the world:
- The United Nations Environment Programme’s 2019 Emissions Gap report dictates that it is essential for greenhouse gas emissions to reduce by 7.6% per annum between the years 2020 to 2030 in order to reach the target that was set during the Paris Agreement.
- Failing to meet the same would consequently result in a failure to effectively combat global warming.
- Consequently, a decarbonised economy plays a key role in ensuring a greener, safer, healthier and more sustainable planet to inhabit.
- Globally, there have been multiple initiatives to further the ‘green jobs’ sector. The International Labour Organisation, the International Trade Union Confederation, the United Nations Environment Programme and the International Employers Organisation collectively launched the Green Jobs Initiative in 2008, aimed at bettering placements, training and creating opportunities for individuals to work in ‘green jobs’.
- The Government notified the Electricity (Promoting Renewable Energy Through Green Energy Open Access) Rules, 2022, which allow consumers with a sanctioned load of 100 kilowatt (kW) to purchase power directly from renewable energy (RE) producers. There will be no load limit for captive consumers.
Green energy Open access:
- The government has done away with hurdles that impacted the availability of RE for both household and industry.
- Earlier, if an industry player wanted to set up capacity or procure capacity or enter into PPAs to purchase RE, open access was a hurdle. Now, open access will be provided in 15 days, or else, it will be deemed to have been provided.
- Another hurdle was an inflated surcharge and additional surcharge, making it expensive. The additional surcharge will not be levied and the surcharge will be equal to the common level of surcharge in the State, and it will not be more than the surcharge prescribed in Tariﬀ Policy, which is 20 percent.
- States cannot increase surcharge by more than 50 per cent in 12 years.
- It is not necessary that a consumer must set up the capacity. One can ask the developer to set up capacity or it can hold a bid for the lowest tariﬀ.
- After open access rules, all captive power plants (CPPs) can gradually shift to green energy, because RE will be cheaper. Also, for captives, no surcharge will be levied.
- The rules provide certainty on charges to be levied which include transmission charges, wheeling charges, cross-sub- sidy surcharge and standby charges.
- The tariﬀ for green energy will be determined separately by the Appropriate Commission, which shall comprise the average pooled power purchase cost of the RE, cross-sub- sidy charges, if any, and service charges covering the prudent cost of Discom for providing green energy.
Importance of new rules under open access
- It will influence green power demand in the commercial and industrial (C&I) segment.
- By lowering the threshold for open access from the existing 1 MW to 100 KW, the government has opened the door for the market to multiply multi fold in the coming years.
- Notifying a central nodal agency for setting up and operating a single-window green energy open access system for RE is likely to lead to a simplified and smooth centralised approval process for the developers. It is also likely to open up the market in many more States.
- The government managed to save around ₹10,000 crore of interest cost during 2021-22 (FY22) with the help of a new accounting mechanism that aims to release funds for government schemes ‘just in time’.
- Finance Secretary TV Somanathan disclosed this on the sidelines of an event organised to launch Single Nodal Agency (SNA) Dashboard by Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman.
New accounting mechanism:
- The dashboard forms part of a public financial management reform that was initiated in 2021 with regard to the manner in which funds for Centrally Sponsored Schemes (CSS) are released, disbursed and monitored.
- About Rs 4.46-lakh crore go through the Centrally sponsored schemes. The Union government can track the money and help in making governance transparent and the money is also sent just in time.
- Under the new system, each State is to identify and designate a SNA for every scheme.
- All funds for that State in a particular scheme will be credited into that bank account, and all expenses will be made by all other implementing agencies involved in the account.
- It ensures that allocation of funds to States for the CSS are made in a timely manner and after meeting various stipulations. Stating that ‘just in time’ are the three magic words in fund transfer, the SNA would make payments easy.
- the system would help cut down on the interest expenditure as money would be released at the stage where it is needed.
- If the money is stuck somewhere, the union government would like to minimise what is stuck and hold it where it is more eﬃciently held. GoI would like to pay as little as possible of public money as interest.
- The SNA and TSA (TreasurySingle Account) help the government to minimise the interest costs borne by the government and that is not a trivial cost. It will be extremely helpful in containing ﬁscal deficit.
What is TSA (TreasurySingle Account)?
- Earlier, after approval, funds were allocated and disbursed to various minis- tries, departments, autonomous bodies and States. This system needed to be changed because funds were not being utilised and sitting idle in bank accounts, while the government had to borrow and incur interest.
- Accordingly, TSA was designed. According to an International Monetary Fund (IMF) Working Paper, TSA is a unified structure of government bank accounts that gives a consolidated view of government cash resources.
- Based on the principle of unity of cash and the unity of treasury, a TSA is a bank account or a set of linked accounts through which the government transacts all its receipts and payments.
- The principle of unity follows from the fungibility of all cash irrespective of its end use.
- While it is necessary to distinguish individual cash transactions for control and reporting purposes, this purpose is achieved through the accounting system and not by holding/depositing cash in transaction- specific bank accounts.
- This enables the treasury to de-link management of cash from control at a transaction level.
- China and Cambodia began an expansion operation at the Ream Naval Base in Sihanoukville.
- It has prompted concern in the United States and elsewhere that it will be used by Beijing as a naval outpost on the Gulf of Thailand.
- Phnom Penh denies reports that it will be used as a Chinese naval outpost and described the expansion of the Ream Naval Base as “cooperation between China and Cambodia”.
- Ream faces the Gulf of Thailand, adjacent to the South China Sea, where China has aggressively asserted its claim to virtually the entire strategic waterway.
- The U.S. has refused to recognize China’s sweeping claim and routinely conducts military maneuvers there to reinforce that they are international waters.
Subject: Science and Tech
- The Supreme Court of India recently held that copyright infringement is a cognisable offence under the CrPC.
- This means that the police can begin investigations into allegations of copyright infringement on receiving a complaint, rather than after a judicial magistrate had taken cognisance of the offence and directed the police to initiate an investigation.
- As a result of the offence being made cognisable and non-bailable, it takes away the right of the accused to post a bail bond with the police and shifts the responsibility on to the courts for judicial determination on a case-by-case basis.
Copyrights Act 1957, amended in 2012
- Copyright is a bundle of rights given by the law to the creators of literary, dramatic, musical and artistic works and the producers of cinematograph films and sound recordings.
- The rights provided under Copyright law include the rights of reproduction of the work, communication of the work to the public, adaptation of the work and translation of the work.
- Copyrights of works of the countries mentioned in the International Copyright Order are protected in India, as if such works are Indian works.
- The term of copyright in a work shall not exceed that which is enjoyed by it in its country of origin.
- Acquisition of copyright is automatic and it does not require any formality.
- Copyright comes into existence as soon as a work is created and no formality is required to be completed for acquiring copyright.
- However, certificate of registration of copyright and the entries made therein serve as prima facie evidence in a court of law with reference to dispute relating to ownership of copyright.
- Application for copyright can be filed in the Copyright office.
- Computer Software or programmes can also be registered as a ‘literary work’.
- As per Copyright Act, 1957 “literary work” includes computer programmes, tables and compilations, including computer databases.
- ‘Source Code’ has also to be supplied along with the application for registration of copyright for software products.
- The 2012 amendments make Indian Copyright Law compliant with the Internet Treaties – the WIPO Copyright Treaty (WCT) and WIPO Performances and Phonograms Treaty (WPPT).
Problems in identifying Copyright Infringement
- There are special clauses under the Copyright Act which extinguish copyright in copyrighted works in certain circumstances — for example, if a work is qualified for protection under the Designs Act of 2000, it can no longer claim protection under the Copyright Act once it is reproduced beyond a certain threshold.
- Even the very question of determination of copyright infringement would require the court to apply the test of substantial similarity (both qualitative and quantitative) on a case-by-case basis.
- Also criminalisation of copyright infringement in India is also a problem. The prison term for copyright infringement is three years.
Copyright Infringement and Copyright Piracy
- Article 61 of the TRIPS agreement requires criminal measures to be applied for at least “wilful copyright piracy” on a “commercial scale”.
- Although the term copyright piracy itself remains undefined in TRIPS. Consequently, all piracy of copyrighted works is an act of infringement, but all infringement cannot be termed as piracy.
- So, for example, a person indulging in the mass reproduction of copyrighted books without the authorisation of the copyright owner would be guilty of copyright piracy.
- On the other hand, a dispute between two publishing houses on similar content in their textbooks would qualify only as copyright infringement and not copyright piracy.
- At best, the Indian Copyright Act makes a distinction between commercial and non-commercial infringement by allowing the courts to impose a sentence of less than six months or a fine of less than Rs 50,000.
- But it does not simply decriminalize acts of infringement that are non-egregious in nature, except where a building/structure is allegedly violating a copyrighted work (for example, in drawings).
- Unless the law is amended to not only differentiate between the different acts of copyright infringement but also require prior judicial cognisance as a precondition of criminal investigation by the police, the Supreme Court’s recent decision will pave the way for the police to impinge on civil liberties, impede the ease of business and have chilling effects on free speech.
Rights of Persons with Disabilities Act, 2016 simply called the RPWD act, promotes and protects the rights and dignity of people with disabilities in educational, social, legal, economic, cultural and political spheres.
Salient features of the Act
- The Act lays Responsibility on the appropriate governments to take measures and ensure that PWDs enjoy equal rights.
- The types of disabilities have been increased from 7 to 21. The Central Government will have the power to add more types of disabilities.
- Disability has been defined based on an evolving and dynamic concept.
- Additional benefits have been provided for persons with benchmark disabilities and those with high support needs.
- All children with benchmark disabilities between 6 and 18 years shall have the right to free education.
- The act increased the reservation for people with benchmark disabilities from 3% to 4% in government jobs and from 3% to 5% in higher education institutes.
- Stress has been given to ensure accessibility in public buildings in a prescribed time frame along with the Accessible India Campaign.
- There is a provision of a Central Advisory Board (CAB) on Disability, which is mandated to meet every six months.
- The CAB, which has a three-year tenure, is supposed to function as the “national-level consultative and advisory body on disability matters”.
- “The CAB is the highest policy making body for disability issues.
Provision for guardianship
- District Court or any authority designated by the State Government under which there will be a joint decision–making between the guardian and the persons with disabilities.
- Central & State Advisory Boards on Disability will be set up as policy-making bodies.
- The office of the Chief Commissioner of PwDs and the State Commissioner of disabilities will be strengthened and will act as regulatory bodies and Grievance Redressal Agencies and also monitor implementation of the Act. These Offices will be assisted by an Advisory Committee comprising experts in various disabilities.
- National and State Fund will be created to provide financial support to PwDs.
- Penalties for offences committed against PwDs.
- Designated special Courts to handle cases concerning violation of rights of PwDs.
- The Union government will for the first time in 2022 present a unified count of the tiger, leopard and elephant populations of the country.
- The tiger survey is usually held once in four years and elephants are counted once in five years.
- According to the most recent 2018-19 survey, there are 2,967 tigers in India.
- According to the last count in 2017, there are 29,964 elephants.
- Elephant numbers would be estimated by States based on DNA analysis of their dung droppings and statistical techniques.
- Tigers are counted by deploying camera traps, identifying individuals based on stripes, as well as statistical analysis.
- Because elephants number more than tigers and are hard to tell apart from camera-trap images alone, it is more economical and feasible to use their dung for identification.
Context: The recently released Environment Performance Index -2022, an international ranking system that measures environmental health and sustainability of countries, has ranked India last among 180 countries that have been ranked.
- The EPI, a biennial index, was started in 2002 as Environmental Sustainability Index by the World Economic Forum in collaboration with the Yale Center for Environmental Law and Policy and the Columbia University Center for International Earth Science Information Network.
- Using 40 performance indicators across 11 issue categories, EPI ranks 180 countries on climate change performance, environmental health, and ecosystem vitality. These indicators provide a gauge at a national scale of how close countries are to established environmental policy targets.
- The report has found that “good policy results are associated with wealth (GDP per capita)’’, meaning economic prosperity makes it possible for nations to invest in policies and programmes that lead to desirable outcomes.
- This trend is especially true for environmental health, as building the necessary infrastructure to provide clean drinking water and sanitation, reduce ambient air pollution, control hazardous waste, and respond to public health crises yields large returns for human well-being.
- The report says that top-performing countries have paid attention to all areas of sustainability, while their lagging peers tend to have uneven performance.
- With a paltry score of 18.9, India’s 180th ranking comes after Pakistan, Bangladesh, Vietnam and Myanmar — the bottom five together make up the poorest performing countries for environmental health.
- India has also scored low on rule of law, control of corruption and government effectiveness, according to EPI.
- India was ranked 168th in EPI-2020, with a score of 27.6 and Denmark has been ranked first.
Context: Tamil Nadu topped the list among larger states, followed by Gujarat and Maharashtra, in the State Food Safety Index awards announced by Union Health Minister on the occasion of World Food Safety Day.
- This was the fourth State Food Safety Index award, which was started in 2018-19 with the aim of creating a competitive and positive change in India’s food safety ecosystem.
- Tamil Nadu topped the list among larger states, followed by Gujarat and Maharashtra.
- Among smaller states, Goa was the winner, followed by Manipur and Sikkim, while Jammu and Kashmir emerged top among Union Territories, followed by Delhi and Chandigarh.
Other Govt Initiatives to ensure Health Security:
- National health mission- health and wellness centres and strengthening of district hospitals.
- Eat Right India initiatives- motivate smart cities to develop and execute a plan that supports a healthy, safe, and sustainable food environment.
- Ayurveda Aahar logo – contains the initials of Ayurveda and Ahara, the first in Devanagari and the second in English, with five leaves symbolising five elements of nature. This helps in easy identification of ayurvedic foods.
- Guidance document on Food Borne Disease Outbreak Investigation and Microbiological Process Control, and Sampling and Testing of Fish and Fishery Products.
Context: The 2023 edition of the QS or Quacquarelli Symonds world university rankings will be released Thursday.
- India’s tally in the QS rankings has risen to 35 this year from 29 in 2021.
- According to the rankings, the Bengaluru-based Indian Institute of Science (IISc) has scored 100 on the research parameter and joined the league of elite global institutions.
- In the top 300, there are six institutions (from India) this year as against four last year (in QS rankings).
Quacquarelli Symonds world university rankings:
- This is an annual publication of university rankings by Quacquarelli Symonds(QS).
- The QS system comprises three parts: the global overall ranking, the subject rankings (which name the world’s top universities for the study of 51 different subjects and five composite faculty areas), and five independent regional tables—namely Asia, Latin America, Emerging Europe and Central Asia, the Arab Region, and
- The QS ranking receives approval from the International Ranking Expert Group (IREG), and is viewed as one of the three most-widely read university rankings in the world, along with Academic Ranking of World Universities and Times Higher Education World University Rankings. According to Alexa Internet, it is the most widely viewed university ranking worldwide.
- The QS ranking was previously known as Times Higher Education- QS World University Rankings.
- QS is the world’s leading provider of services, analytics, and insight to the global higher education sector.
- QS’s international conferences for higher education leaders include:
- Reimagine Education– the world’s leading award program and conference for teaching and learning innovation;
- EduData Summit– a space uniting the world’s leading practitioners at the intersection of data and education;
- QS APPLE– Asia’s foremost convention for higher education leaders
- In 2019, as part of their commitment to sustainability, QS became a cerified Carbon Neutral Company reflecting their efforts to reduce its impact on the environment through a range of efficiency initiatives and offsetting unavoidable emissions through a verified carbon offset forestry project in Brazil.
Context: Over the past week, the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) has identified ozone as a prominent pollutant in Delhi on June 2 and June 6.
- Data from the Delhi Pollution Control Committee (DPCC) for May also indicates that ozone levels were well above the 8-hour standard of 100 µg/m3 and hourly standard of 180µg/m3 according to the National Ambient Air Quality Standards at different monitoring stations on multiple days.
- A recent analysis by the Centre for Science and Environment (CSE) noted that spatial spread of ozone in Delhi NCR began in March this year with early heatwaves. The analysis had stated that the geographical spread of ground-level ozone pollution in NCR in March and April this year was the highest in the past four years.
- Controlling vehicular pollution could be key to reducing the surge in ozone levels in the city that comes with the rise in temperature.
- Ozone is a secondary pollutant.
- It forms due to atmospheric reaction among nitrogen oxides and VOCs (volatile organic compounds) in the presence of sunlight.
- Nitrogen oxides that are emitted from vehicles are there in the atmosphere. VOCs are also present because of unburnt hydrocarbons. The VOCs energise nitrogen oxides in presence of sunlight to convert into ozone.
- Sunlight and high temperatures in summer contribute to increase in ozone formation.
- Ozone is not directly emitted from any source. The gases that come from vehicles, industries, power plants particularly nitrogen oxides and VOCs, under the influence of sunlight and temperature react to form ozone.
- To control ozone, there is a need to control precursor gases. Nitrogen oxide acts as catalyst and vehicles contribute the maximum to nitrogen oxide emission.
- Ozone is known to be a harmful gas for those who have respiratory conditions since it is highly reactive.
To know about National Ambient Air Quality Standards, kindly refer: https://optimizeias.com/who-global-air-quality-norms/
Ground-level ozone can:
- Make it more difficult to breathe deeply and vigorously
- Cause shortness of breath and pain when taking a deep breath
- Cause coughing and sore or scratchy throat
- Inflame and damage the airways
- Aggravate lung diseases such as asthma, emphysema, and chronic bronchitis
- Increase the frequency of asthma attacks
- Make the lungs more susceptible to infection
- Continue to damage the lungs even when the symptoms have disappeared
- Cause chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD)