Daily Prelims Notes 9 February 2023
- February 9, 2023
- Posted by: OptimizeIAS Team
- Category: DPN
Daily Prelims Notes
9 February 2023
Table Of Contents
- Key trails for Gaganyaan conducted
- The status and proceeds of disinvestment
- RBI hikes Repo rate by 25 bps
- Vijayanagara Kingdom
- 6775 URLs blocked in 2022
- Aligarh Muslim University (AMU)
- Constitution doesn’t allow aldermen right to vote, says SC
- GOBAR-DHAN scheme
- Climate-smart marine protected areas can shield biota from global warming
1. Key trails for Gaganyaan conducted
Subject: Science and technology
Section: Space technology
- The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO), along with the Indian Navy, has conducted an important trial for the Gaganyaan, human space flight mission.
- It carried out initial recovery trials of the Crew Module in the Navy’s Water Survival Test Facility (WSTF) in Kochi.
- These trials are part of the preparation for crew module recovery operations for the Gaganyaan mission.
About Gaganyaan Mission
- Gaganyaan is a mission by the Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO).
- Under the Gaganyaan schedule:
- Three flights will be sent into orbit.
- There will be two unmanned flights and one human spaceflight.
- The Gaganyaan system module, called the Orbital Module will have three Indian astronauts, including a woman.
- It will circle Earth at a low-earth-orbit at an altitude of 300-400 km from earth for 5-7 days.
- ISRO is developing the spacecraft for the mission while the Russian space agency ROSCOSMOS is helping in extending the required training to the astronauts.
- If the mission is successful, India would become the fourth country to have sent humans to space after the US, Russia and China.
- The total cost of the mission is expected to be close to ₹10000 crores.
- Crew module –spacecraft carrying human beings.
- Service module –powered by two liquid propellant engines.
- It will be equipped with emergency escape and emergency mission abort.
- GSLV Mk III, also called the LVM-3 (Launch Vehicle Mark-3,) the three-stage heavy lift launch vehicle, will be used to launch Gaganyaan as it has the necessary payload capability.
2. The status and proceeds of disinvestment
Subject : Economy
Section : Fiscal Policy
- In the Union Budget for 2023-24, the government has set a disinvestment target of ₹51,000 crore, down nearly 21% from the budget estimate for the current year.
- It is also the lowest target in seven years.
- The Centre has not met the disinvestment target for 2022-23 so far, having realised ₹31,106 crore to date.
- According to the recently release Economic Survey report, about ₹4.07 lakh crore has been realised as disinvestment proceeds in the past nine years.
- Post-2014 the government is engaging with the private sector as a co-partner in the development.
- So far, different central governments over the last three decades have been able to meet annual disinvestment targets only six times.
- Disinvestment or divestment refers to the selling of the assets or a subsidiary such as a Central or State public sector enterprise by the government.
There are three key approaches to disinvestment which include:
- Minority disinvestment: The government despite restoring to disinvestment still retains majority shares in the company usually greater than 51%.
- With respect to minority disinvestment, the government still holds management control.
- Majority disinvestment: In the case of majority disinvestment, the government transfers the control to the acquiring entity and retains only some stake.
- Complete privatisation: With respect to complete privatisation, 100% of the control of a public entity is transferred to the acquiring entity.
- The Department of Investment and Public Asset Management (DIPAM) is a separate department working under the Union Finance Ministry which looks after disinvestment-related procedures.
Evolution of Disinvestment in India
- Disinvestment in India began in 1991-92 when 31 selected PSUs were disinvested for Rs. 3,038 crores.
- The term ‘disinvestment’ was used first time in Interim Budget 1991.
- Later, Rangarajan committee, in 1993, emphasised the need for substantial disinvestment.
- The policy on disinvestment gathered steam, when a new Department of Disinvestment was created in 1999, which became a full Ministry in 2001.
- But in 2004, the ministry was shut down and was merged in the Finance ministry as an independent department.
- Later, the Department of Disinvestments was renamed as Department of Investments and Public Asset Management (DIPAM) in 2016.
- Now, DIPAM acts as a nodal department for disinvestment.
Current Disinvestment Policy
- The new policy clearly highlights the distinction between privatization and disinvestment.
- While sales of equity greater than 50%, maybe even 100%, is privatization, any tinkering here and there constitutes disinvestment.
- Previous efforts at large scale sale of shares have been frequently mired in controversies and as a result, bureaucrats have developed a sort of an aversion to strategic sales.
- In a course correction, the new disinvestment policy provides for land to be valued at market price for inclusion in sales. This will help prevent any scope for rent-seeking and reduces discretionary powers and thus enables bureaucrats to do away with the status quo.
- NITI Aayog has been entrusted to come up with new recommendations about loss-making units that can be sold, their assets valued and disposed of, and to carry out possible strategic sales.
- Financial parameters of public sector companies, such as borrowings and operating profits, are being closely monitored to identify possibilities of share buybacks, a new kind of disinvestment the government has recently come up with.
What are CPSEs likely to be divested in 2023-24?
- According to DIPAM, the government has decided to stick to the already-announced and planned privatisation of State-owned companies.
- These include IDBI Bank, the Shipping Corporation of India (SCI), the Container Corporation of India Ltd (Concor), NMDC Steel Ltd, BEML, HLL Lifecare, and so on.
- The disinvestments of Bharat Petroleum Corporation Limited, SCI, and ConCor had been approved by the government in 2019 but have not gone through yet.
3. RBI hikes Repo rate by 25 bps
Section: Monetary Policy
- In its first Monetary Policy statement of 2023, the RBI hiked the policy repo rate by 25 basis points to 6.5%.
- Repo rate is the rate at which the RBI lends money to banks to meet their short-term funding needs.
- The decision to raise the repo rate was approved by a 4: 2 majority by the central bank’s Monetary Policy Committee (MPC).
- The hike so far :
- The RBI has increased the repo rate by a cumulative 250 basis points to 6.50 per cent since May 2022.
- Present hike was the sixth straight hike to the repo rate, which, in December 2022, was raised by 35 basis points to 6.25%.
- Inflation forecast:
- The central bank has lowered the inflation target for FY23 from 6.7 per cent to 6.5 per cent – which is still above the RBI’s comfort level of four percent. Inflation is expected to be 5.3 percent in FY24.
- Inflation for Q4 of FY23 at 5.7 percent as against 5.9 percent.
Monetary Policy Committee
- The Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) is a committee of the RBI, which is entrusted with the task of fixing the benchmark policy interest rate (repo rate) to contain inflation within the specified target level.
- The RBI Act, 1934 was amended by Finance Act (India), 2016 to constitute MPC to bring more transparency and accountability in fixing India’s Monetary Policy.
- The amended RBI Act also provides for the inflation target to be set by the Government of India, in consultation with the Reserve Bank, once in every five years.
- The policy is published after every meeting with each member explaining his opinions.
- The committee is answerable to the Government of India if the inflation exceeds the range prescribed for three consecutive months.
- Suggestions for setting up a Monetary policy committee is not new and goes back to 2002 when YV Reddy committee proposed to establish an MPC, then Tarapore committee in 2006, Percy Mistry committee in 2007, Raghuram Rajan committee in 2009 and then Urjit Patel Committee in 2013.
Composition and Working
- The committee comprises six members – three officials of the RBI and three external members nominated by the Government of India.
- The meetings of the Monetary Policy Committee are held at least 4 times a year and it publishes its decisions after each such meeting.
- The Governor of RBI is the chairperson ex officio of the committee.
- Decisions are taken by a majority with the Governor having the casting vote in case of a tie.
- They need to observe a “silent period” seven days before and after the rate decision for “utmost confidentiality”.
Instruments of monetary policy are of two types:
- Quantitative Instruments: General or indirect (Cash Reserve Ratio, Statutory Liquidity Ratio, Open Market Operations, Bank Rate, Repo Rate, Reverse Repo Rate, Marginal standing facility and Liquidity Adjustment Facility (LAF))
- Qualitative Instruments: Selective or direct (change in the margin money, direct action, moral suasion).
Section : Medieval History
- Salman Rushdie’s latest work, “Victory City” is a fictionalised telling of the story of Vijayanagara, one of the richest and most powerful kingdoms in mediaeval India.
About Vijayanagar Kingdom
- It was founded in 1336 by Harihara and Bukka (with the blessings of Guru Vidyaranya) of the Sangama dynasty who originally served under the Kakatiya rulers of Warangal.
- They later proclaimed their independence and founded a new city on the south bank of the Tungabhadra River named it “Vijayanagar” (City of Victory)
- Early Vijayanagar rulers were followers of Saivism. Virupaksha was their family God. Later they came under the influence of Vaishnavism. However, Siva continued to be worshipped.
- There was constant conflict between Vijayanagar Empire and Bahmani kingdom over Raichur doab (fertile region between Krishna and Tungabhadra), Tungabhadra doab (fertile areas of Krishna-Godavari delta) & Marathwada.
- In the south its main rivals were the Sultans of Madurai.
- The kingdom reached its peak under Krishna Deva Raya (reign 1509-1529), a period in which it enjoyed military superiority to its rival kingdoms such as the Bahmani Sultanate, the Golconda Sultanate and the Gajapatis of Odisha.
- During the reign of Rama Raya, the combined forces of Bijapur, Ahmednagar, Golkonda and Bidar defeated him at the Battle of Talaikotta in 1565 which marked an end of the Vijayanagar Empire.
- The last ruler of Vijayanagar was Sri Ranga III.
Dynasties of Vijayanagar Kingdom
- Sangama was the first dynasty to rule over the Vijaynagara empire. The founders of the empire, Harihar I and Bukka belonged to this dynasty. It ruled from 1334 AD to 1485 AD.
- Saluva dynasty, founded by Narasimha, succeeded Sangama dynasty as the second dynasty of the empire. It ruled from 1485 to 1505 AD. They ruled over almost the whole South India.
- Tuluva, founded by Vir Narsimha, was the third dynasty, which ruled Vijayanagar Empire. It ruled from Tuluva dynasty. The most famous king of Vijayanagar Empire, Krishna Deva Raya belonged to this dynasty. It ruled from 1491 AD to 1570 AD.
- Aravidu, founded by Tirumala, was the fourth and last Hindu dynasty to rule Vijayanagar kingdom in South India.
- The king enjoyed absolute authority in executive, judicial & legislative matters.
- The succession to the throne was hereditary.
- Administrative units divided as: Mandalams, Nadus, Sthalas and finally into Gramas.
- Mandaleshwar or Nayaka was the governor of Mandalam.
- He had considerable autonomy- had right to issue coins of small denominations & right to impose new tax or remit old one.
- Sources of income: land revenue, tributes, and gifts from vassals and feudal chiefs, customs at ports, & taxes on various professions.
- The army consisted of cavalry, infantry, artillery and elephants.
- Nayakar System – The top-grade officers of the army were known as Nayaks/Poligars.
- They were granted land in lieu of their services which were called
- Manyams were tax free lands.
- A body of 12 functionaries known as Ayangars, conducted village affairs.
- While the economy of the kingdom was largely dependent on agriculture, trade thrived in its many ports on either coast.
- Traveller Abd al-Razzaq Samarqandi chronicled how the ports of Mangalore, Honavar, Bhatkal, Barkur, Cochin, Cannanore, Machilipatnam, and Dharmadam saw traders from Africa, Arabia, Aden, the Red sea, China and Bengal and also served as ship building centres.
- The empire’s principal exports were pepper, ginger, cinnamon, cardamom, myrobalan, tamarind timber, anafistula, precious and semi-precious stones, pearls, musk, ambergris, rhubarb, aloe, cotton cloth and porcelain.
- Razzaq also chronicled the high degree of monetisation in the Vijayanagara kingdom. In his classic History of South India, K A NilakantaSastri wrote that coins were minted by the state as well as by merchant guilds using gold, silver, copper and brass, and their value depended on material weight.
Art and Cultural contributions
- Vijayanagara architecture is a vibrant combination and blossoming of the Chalukya, Hoysala, Pandya and Chola styles.
- The chief characteristics of the Vijayanagara architecture were the construction of tall Raya Gopurams or gateways and the Kalyanamandapam with carved pillars in the temple premises.
- The sculptures on the pillars were carved with distinctive features.
- The horse was the most common animal found in these pillars.
- The most important temples built: Vittalaswamy and Hazara Ramaswamy temples, the Stone chariot at Hampi.
- Vijayanagara’s capital Hampi is a UNESCO World Heritage Site today, known for its sophisticated fortifications as well as innumerable temples and other architectural marvels
- The Varadharaja and Ekamparanathatemples at Kanchipuram.
- Different languages such as Sanskrit, Telugu, Kannada and Tamil flourished in the regions.
- Vijayanagar has been remembered as an era of “cultural conservatism”, when classical forms of Hinduism were preserved amidst growing Islamization of the rest of the subcontinent, especially the North.
Foreign Travelers during the period
- Abu Abdullah/ lbnBatuta (Book:Rihla),Morocco – Harihara I
- Nicolo de Conti, Italy – Devaraya-II
- Abd al-Razzaq Samarqandi, Persia – Devaraya-II
- Athanasius Nikitin, Russia- Virupaksha Raya II
- Ludvico de Vorthema, Italy- Krishna Deva Raya
- Duarte Barbosa,Portugal – Krishna Deva Raya
- Dominigo Paes, Portugal – Krishna Deva Raya
- FernaoNuniz, Portugal – Achyuta Deva Raya.
- A committee to consider blocking requests under the Information Technology (Procedure and Safeguards for Blocking for Access of Information for Public) Rules, 2009, met 53 times in 2022, the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology told Parliament.
- An RTI response obtained by the Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative (CHRI) reveals that of the 6,775 posts and websites, almost half were posts on Twitter.
In which situations can online content be blocked?
- Executive route- Section 69A of the Information Technology Act, 2000 allows the government to direct an intermediary to block online content for access by the public.
- In the interest of sovereignty and integrity of India
- Defence of India
- Security of the state
- Friendly relations with foreign states
- Public order
- Preventing incitement to commission of any cognisable offence
- Section 69A draws its power from Article 19(2) of the Constitution which allows the government to place reasonable restrictions on the fundamental right to freedom of speech and expression.
- Judicial route- Courts in India, also have the power to direct intermediaries to make content unavailable in India to provide effective remedy to the victim/plaintiff.
- For example, courts may order internet service providers to block websites which provide access to pirated content and violate the plaintiff’s copyright.
Procedure for blocking access to content online
- IT Rules 2009- The Information Technology (Procedure and Safeguards for Blocking for Access of Information by Public) Rules, 2009 have been formulated under Section 69A of the IT Act.
- Power of the government- Only the Central government can exercise this power of directing intermediaries to block access to online content directly, and not the State governments.
- Nodal officer– Central or State agencies will appoint a nodal officer who will forward the blocking order to the designated officer of the Central government.
- Designated officer– The designated officer, as part of a committee, examines the request of the nodal officer.
- Committee– The committee comprises representatives from the Ministries of Law and Justice, Information and Broadcasting, Home Affairs, and the Cert-In.
- Opportunity of hearing– The creator/host of the content in question is given a notice to submit clarifications and replies.
- Recommendation of the committee– The committee then makes a recommendation on whether the request of the nodal officer should be accepted or not.
- Removal of content– If this recommendation is approved by the MeitY, the designated officer can direct the intermediary to remove content.
6. Aligarh Muslim University (AMU)
Section: Modern INDIA
- It grew out of the work of Sir Syed Ahmad Khan and the Aligarh Movement.
- It was founded as the Madrasatul Uloom in 1875 in Aligarh and evolved into the Mohammedan Anglo-Oriental College.
- In 1877, Sir Syed founded the Muhammadan Anglo-Oriental College in Aligarh and patterned the college after Oxford and Cambridge universities that he had visited on a trip to England.
- The objective was to build a college in tune with the British education system but without compromising its Islamic values.
- AMU became a University in 1920, through an Act of Indian Legislative Council by elevating the Mohammedan Anglo Oriental (MAO) College to the status of a Central University.
- The University campus is located in the city of Aligarh, Uttar Pradesh. It also has three off-campus centres in Malappuram (Kerala), Murshidabad-Jangipur (West Bengal) and Kishanganj (Bihar).
Contributions of Syed Ahmed Khan
- He started his career as a civil servant and served the British before the revolt of 1857.
- The 1857 revolt was one of the turning points in Syed Ahmed’s life and he penned a pamphlet titled “The Causes of the Indian Revolt” to explain the reasons of the revolt from a “native perspective”.
- He supported the British during the 1857 revolution.
- He raised voice against the existing religious intolerance, ignorance and irrationalism prevailing in the society at that time.
- He denounced the orthodox systems of purdah, polygamy and easy divorce of the Muslim community.
- TahzebulAkhlaq (Social Reformer in English), a magazine founded by him, tried to awaken people’s consciousness on social and religious issues in very expressive prose.
- He instituted the Scientific Society in 1863 to instill a scientific temperament into the Muslims and to make the Western knowledge available to Indians in their own language.
- He launched The Aligarh Institute Gazette, an organ of the Scientific Society in March 1866 and succeeded in agitating the minds in the traditional Muslim society.
- In 1875, Sir Syed founded the MadarsatulUloom in Aligarh and patterned the MAO College after Oxford and Cambridge universities that he went on a trip to London. His objective was to build a college in line with the British education system but without compromising its Islamic values.
The Aligarh Movement:
- Sir Syed Ahmad Khan is best known for the Aligarh Movement a systemic movement aimed at reforming the social, political and educational aspects of the Muslim community.
- In 1886, he set up the Mohammedan Anglo-Oriental Education Congress which was later renamed the Mohammedan Anglo-Oriental Educational Conference. It aimed to bring together education and culture.
- He also emphasised the need for an autonomous Muslim institution free of any government funding.
- It undertook to modernise Muslim’s education by adapting English as a medium of learning and western education rather than just focusing on traditional teachings.
- The movement helped the Muslims revival and gave them a common language Urdu.
7. Constitution doesn’t allow aldermen right to vote, says SC
Section :Local Government( PRI/ULB)
- The Supreme Court while issuing notice to the Lieutenant-Governor and the pro tem presiding officer of the Municipal Corporation of Delhi (MCD) has held that the Constitution does not allow aldermen (nominated members of a municipality) the right to vote in meetings.
- The Chief Justice of India while hearing a petition filed by the ruling party in Delhi has said that the difference between the elected members and aldermen (nominated members) is very substantial.
- While hearing the arguments that the move by the pro tem presiding officer to allow the nominated members to vote is a violation of Article 243R(2)(iv) of the Constitution, Justice P.S. Narasimha noted that it is not just a statute, but the Constitution itself does not allow the aldermen to vote.
- Section 76 of the Delhi Municipal Corporation Act of 1957, the Mayor, or in his absence the Deputy Mayor, has to preside over every meeting of the corporation, the simultaneous holding elections of Mayor, Deputy Mayor and members of the Standing Committees is directly contrary to the provisions of the statute.
Who are Aldermen?
- According to the Delhi Municipal Corporation Act, of 1957; The administrator (the Lieutenant Governor) can nominate 10 people, over the age of 25 to the corporation.
- These people are expected to have special knowledge or experience in municipal administration.
- They are meant to assist the house in taking decisions of public importance.
- Aldermen refers to the members of a municipal council, but the exact responsibilities depending on the location of its usage.
- They do not have the right to vote in the mayor polls, but they will hold influential power and play a significant role in the elections of Standing Committees, MCD in-house and ward committee meetings.
- They will be a part of a group that effectively controls the MCD’s purse strings.
Article 243R of Indian Constitution- Composition of Municipalities
(1) Save as provided in clause (2), all the seats in a Municipality shall be filled by persons chosen by direct election from the territorial constituencies in the Municipal area and for this purpose each Municipal area shall be divided into territorial constituencies to be known as wards.
(2) The Legislature of a State may, by law, provide—
- (a) for the representation in a Municipality of—
- (i) persons having special knowledge or experience in Municipal administration;
- (ii) the members of the House of the People and the members of the Legislative Assembly of the State representing constituencies which comprise wholly or partly the Municipal area;
- (iii) the members of the Council of States and the members of the Legislative Council of the State registered as electors within the Municipal area;
- (iv) the Chairpersons of the Committees constituted under clause (5) of article 243S: Provided that the persons referred to in paragraph (i) shall not have the right to vote in the meetings of the Municipality;
- (b) the manner of election of the Chairperson of a Municipality.
Subject : Environment
Section : Sustainable Development
Context: Union Finance Minister announced 500 new ‘waste to wealth’ plants for promoting a circular economy with a total investment of Rs 10,000 crore under the GOBAR-Dhan scheme in the budget speech.
- Ministry of Drinking Water & Sanitation has launched the GOBAR (Galvanizing Organic Bio-Agro Resources) – DHAN scheme. The scheme is being implemented as part of the Swachh Bharat Mission (Gramin).
- The Swachh Bharat Mission (Gramin) comprises two main components for creating clean villages – creating open defecation free (ODF) villages and managing solid and liquid waste in villages.
- The GOBAR-DHAN scheme, with its focus on keeping villages clean, increasing the income of rural households, and generation of energy from cattle waste, is an important element of this ODF-plus strategy.
- The programme will be implemented using SLWM funding pattern of SBM-G Guidelines.
Sustainable Alternative Towards Affordable Transportation (SATAT)
- Sustainable Alternative Towards Affordable Transportation (SATAT) is an initiative aimed at setting up of Compressed Bio-Gas production plants and make it available in the market for use in automotive fuels by inviting Expression of Interest from potential entrepreneurs.
- The initiative was launched in October 2018 by the Ministry of Petroleum & Natural Gas in association with Public Sector Undertaking (PSU) Oil Marketing Companies (OMC) viz. Indian Oil Corporation Ltd., Bharat Petroleum Corporation Ltd. and Hindustan Petroleum Corporation Ltd.
- Aim: To produce compressed biogas (CBG) from Waste and Biomass sources like agricultural residue, cattle dung, sugarcane press mud, Municipal Solid Waste(MSW) and sewage treatment plant waste and make CBG available in the market for use as a green fuel.
- Compressed Bio-Gas (CBG) plants are proposed to be set up mainly through independent entrepreneurs. CBG produced at these plants will be transported through cascades of cylinders to the fuel station networks of OMCs for marketing as a green transport fuel alternative.
About National Bioenergy Programme
- The Ministry of New and Renewable Energy has notified the National Bioenergy Programme in November 2022.
- MNRE has continued the National Bioenergy Programme for the period from FY 2021-22 to 2025-26.
- The Programme has been recommended for implementation in two Phases:
- The Phase-I of the Programme has been approved with a budget outlay of Rs. 858 crores.
The National Bioenergy Programme will comprise the following sub-schemes:
- Waste to Energy Programme
- It is Programme on Energy from Urban, Industrial and Agricultural Wastes /Residues to support the setting up of large Biogas, BioCNG and Power plants.
- Indian Renewable Energy Development Agency (IREDA) will be the implementing agency for the program.
- Biomass Programme
- It is a Scheme to Support Manufacturing of Briquettes & Pellets and Promotion of Biomass (non-bagasse) based cogeneration in Industries to support setting up of pellets and briquettes for use in power generation and non-bagasse based power generation projects.
- Biogas Programme
- To support setting up of family and medium size Biogas in rural areas.
- Biogas is a co-product of the anaerobic digestion (under the absence of oxygen) of biodegradable waste such as agricultural waste, animal waste like dung and segregated organic fraction of municipal solid waste.
- Anaerobic digestion yields a variety of products in three different formats. The slurry obtained from the process is usually passed through a solid-liquid separation unit to extract the liquid by-product, known as liquid fertiliser and the solid fraction, known as fermented organic manure (FOM).
- The co-product obtained in the liquid fraction is usually re-circulated and used in the digestion process, while the solid fraction can be used as a soil conditioner or fertiliser.
- The gaseous fraction obtained in the process is known as biogas. Biogas contains about 55-65 per cent methane, 35-44 per cent of carbon dioxide and traces of other gases such as hydrogen sulphide, ammonia and nitrogen.
- In its raw form, biogas can be used as a clean cooking fuel like LPG for lighting, motive power and electricity generation.
- Further, biogas can be purified and upgraded up to 98 per cent of purity to make it suitable to be used as a green fuel for transportation or filling of cylinders. The process relies on a high pressure of circa 250 bar and hence is called compressed biogas (CBG).
- Compressed Bio-Gas is exactly similar to the commercially available natural gas in its composition and energy potential. With calorific value (~52,000 KJ/kg) and other properties similar to CNG, Compressed Bio-Gas can be used as an alternative, renewable automotive fuel. Given the abundance of biomass in the country, Compressed Bio-Gas has the potential to replace CNG in automotive, industrial and commercial uses in the coming years.
Subject : Environment
- Agrochemicals are essentially chemicals used for industrial agriculture. They can be crop protection chemicals such as pesticides that include insecticides, fungicides and herbicides. They can also be crop nutrient chemicals such as synthetic fertilisers.
- FICCI report in 2021, stated that India is one of the most prominent exporters of agrochemicals in the world, exporting to four main countries – USA, Japan, China and Brazil.
- The most prominent agrochemicals exported include mancozeb, 2,4D, acephate, chlorpyrifos, cypermethrin and profenos.
- India is currently the 12th largest exporter of chemicals in the world (excluding pharmaceuticals).
- India is the fourth-largest producer of agrochemicals in the world. The government has included the agrochemical sector among the 12 champion sectors where India can play an important role in the global supply chain.
- Among the chemical manufacturing states, Gujarat leads with the highest number of chemical factories.
- Improper use of pesticide turns fatal
- Pollution generated by agrochemicals is largely of two types — one is the point pollution generated from the source, where factories manufacture the agrochemicals. The second is diffused pollution, that comes after application of the agrochemicals on crops.
- In India glufosate and paraquat are two extensively used pesticides in the country.
- In May 2020, the government of India released a draft notification, the Banning of Insecticides Order, prohibiting the manufacture and use of 27 insecticides. The order, almost three years later, is still a draft.
- The Insecticides Act, 1968 and The Insecticide Rules, 1971 were set up to regulate the import, manufacture, sale, transport, distribution and use of insecticides with a view to prevent risk to human beings or animals.
- The Central Insecticides Board and Registration Committee was set up under the insecticides act to advise the central government on the manufacture of insecticides under the Industries (Development and Regulation) Act, 1951 (65 of 1951), specify the uses of the classification of insecticides on the basis of their toxicity as well as their being suitable for aerial application and several related functions.
- One of the functions also includes clearly indicating the dosage and frequency of application, the potential harm caused, and approving the crops where the said pesticides can be applied.
- ThePesticide Action Network India released a report also said that labelling, recommended use and actual use of four pesticides (chlorpyrifos, fipronil, atrazine and paraquat dichloride) breached provisions of Insecticide Act, 1968 and Insecticide Rules 1971, as well as the International Code of Conduct on Pesticide Management.
- Apart from this, there are a few studies in India that show that pesticides, when indiscriminately and inappropriately applied to crops, may leach into the soil and into the groundwater, and run-off in the rain into surface water bodies, contaminating them.
- Pesticides settling in sediment and soil manage to find their way into water bodies, endangering aquatic life as well.
10. Climate-smart marine protected areas can shield biota from global warming
Section: Climate change
Context: Marine Protected Areas (MPA) should be established in places where climate change is least likely to harm biodiversity, an expert said at the ongoing fifth International Marine Protected Areas Congress in Canada.
More on the News:
- Experts gathered at the congress to discuss the impacts of climate change on MPAs, which are designated areas managed for the long-term conservation of marine resources and ecosystem services.
- Countries agreed to protect 30 per cent of the planet’s lands and oceans by 2030 at the 15th Conference of the Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity, 2022.
- Climate change is driving ocean temperature and sea level rise. The waters are turning acidic.
- Temperatures of the top few metres of the sea have increased by approximately 0.13 degrees Celsius per decade over the past 100 years, according to the United States National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).
- Experts find that 6-12 per cent of the water column in the high seas will be less affected by the changing climate. These will be great places to have benchmark MPAs.
Marine protected areas:
- Marine protected areas (MPA) are protected areas of seas, oceans, estuaries.
- MPAs restrict human activity for a conservation purpose, typically to protect natural or cultural resources.
- Such marine resources are protected by local, state, territorial, native, regional, national, or international authorities and differ substantially among and between nations.
- This variation includes different limitations on development, fishing practices, fishing seasons and catch limits, moorings and bans on removing or disrupting marine life.
- In some case, MPAs also provide revenue for countries, potentially equal to the income that they would have if they were to grant companies permissions to fish.
- The MPA network in India has been used as a tool to manage natural marine resources for biodiversity conservation and for the well-being of the people dependent on it.
- Scientific monitoring and traditional observations confirm that depleted natural marine resources are getting restored and/or pristine ecological conditions have been sustained in well managed MPAs.
- India has designated four legal categories of protected areas:
- There are 24 MPAs in peninsular India and more than 100 MPAs in the country’s 2 islands.