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- Clean Energy Cess (now renamed as Clean Environment Cess) is levied on coal, lignite and peat
- Clean Environment Cess also acts as green tax, on the lines of polluter pays principle
- In many countries carbon taxes are levied also on other fossil fuels like petroleum, natural gas etc. However, in India this is applied only on coal and its variants – lignite and peat.
- The fund raised through the cess is being used for the National Clean Energy Fund for funding research and innovative projects in clean energy technologies or renewable energy sources
Types of Coal in India:
- The value of coal depends on the concentration of carbon in its composition.
- The varieties of Coal that are generally found in India are Anthracite, Bituminous, Lignite, and Peat.
- Anthracite Coal ranks highest amongst the coals.
- Bituminous Coal is commercial coal. It is used as steam coal, household coal, coking coal, gas coal, etc. It is to be washed in a washery in order to reduce the sulphur and ash contents.
- Lignite is also inferior in calorific value.
- Peat has got no fuel value practically. It has the least combustible matter. It is the first stage in the development of coal.
Make note of point 3 for Prelims on Carbon Tax.
[pib] Initiatives taken by the India through the NTCA to protect and conserve tiger and other wildlife
This one is going to be a long but important newscard.
- Amendment of the Wild Life (Protection) Act, 1972 in 2006 to provide enabling provisions for constituting the National Tiger Conservation Authority
- Enhancement of punishment for offence in relation to the core area of a tiger reserve
- Constitution of the National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA) + constituting State level Steering Committees under the Chairmanship of Chief Ministers and establishment of Tiger Conservation Foundation.
- In-principle approval has been accorded by the National Tiger Conservation Authority for creation of new tiger reserves (quite a few of them actually)
- Constitution of a multi-disciplinary Tiger and Other Endangered Species Crime Control Bureau (Wildlife Crime Control Bureau)
- A scientific methodology for estimating tiger (including co-predators, prey animals and assessment of habitat status) has been evolved and mainstreamed
- Financial and technical help is provided to the State Governments under various Centrally Sponsored Schemes, such as “Project Tiger” and “Integrated Development of Wildlife Habitats”
- India has a bilateral understanding with Nepal on controlling trans-boundary illegal trade in wildlife and conservation, apart from a protocol on tiger conservation with China.
- A protocol has been signed in September, 2011 with Bangladesh for conservation of the Royal Bengal Tiger of the Sunderban.
- A sub-group on tiger and leopard conservation has been constituted for cooperation with the Russian Federation.
- India is the founder member of the Global Tiger Forum of Tiger Range Countries for addressing international issues related to tiger conservation.
- The 3rd Asia Ministerial Conference (3 AMC) was organized in New Delhi from 12-14 April 2016. India went with the statement- “conservation of tigers is not a choice, it is an imperative”
- Tiger Range Countries resolved to ensure the conservation of tigers in the wild and their habitats by 2022
- Creation of Special Tiger Protection Force (STPF): The Special Tiger Protection Force (STPF) has been made operational in the States of Karnataka, Maharashtra and Odisha
- In collaboration with TRAFFIC-INDIA, an online tiger crime data base has been launched
- Launching ‘Monitoring system for Tigers’ Intensive Protection and Ecological Status (M-STrIPES)’ for effective field patrolling and monitoring.
- Tiger re-introduction programs: The successful reintroduction of wild tigers in Sariska is a unique exercise and is the first of its kind in the world.
Take a deep breath and go through this card again. There is so much more to the theme of tiger conservation in India than what we gave here (we kept the most important stuff). Make a note of Tiger reserves and its various realms. The intl. cooperation part is important for Mains.
- The Water Resources Information System (WRIS) database developed by Central Water Commission along with Indian Space Research Organisation includes 15,615 numbers of identified rivers/streams in the country.
- Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) in association with the State Pollution Control Boards is monitoring the water quality of rivers
- Bio-chemical Oxygen Demand (BOD) level in rivers is a key indicator of organic pollution.
- Programs for river conservation are being implemented under National River Conservation Plan (NRCP) and NGRBA (National Ganga River Basin Authority)
- The PIB article mentions that there is no proposal of this Ministry to bring all rivers under the ambit of NRCP. That means only selected few rivers of India would be entertained
What is BOD?
- Biochemical oxygen demand is a measure of the quantity of oxygen used by microorganisms (e.g., aerobic bacteria) in the oxidation of organic matter.
- Initial DO – Final DO = BOD | DO = Dissolved Oxygen
- Natural sources of organic matter include plant decay and leaf fall.
- The bacteria then begins the process of breaking down this waste.
- When this happens, much of the available dissolved oxygen is consumed by aerobic bacteria, robbing other aquatic organisms of the oxygen they need to live.
Brief history of river conservation in India
- 1985: The river conservation programme in the country was initiated with the launching of the Ganga Action Plan (GAP)
- 1995: The Ganga Action Plan was expanded to cover other rivers under National River Conservation Plan (NRCP)
- NRCP, excluding the GAP-I, GAP-II and National Ganga River Basin Authority (NGRBA) programme presently covers polluted stretches of 40 rivers in 121 towns spread over 19 States
- 2014: The work relating to Ganga and its tributaries had been allotted to Ministry of Water Resources, River Development & Ganga Rejuvenation (MoWR, RD&GR).
- NRCP is under Ministry of Enviro
Various Sources of Pollution in Rivers, Lakes and Wetlands
- 75% from Domestic sources and 25% from Industrial effluents.
- Point sources: These are organized sources of pollution where the pollution load can be measured, e.g. surface drains carrying municipal sewage or industrial effluents
- Non-point sources: These are non-measurable sources of pollution such as run-off from agricultural fields carrying chemicals and fertilizers, run-off from solid waste dumps
Prelims worthy. Make notes of the stakeholders involved in these progs. Note the diff between 2 kinds of sources. Now that you know about BOD, what’s COD?
- It was reported in an Australian newspaper “The Australian” that certain data relating to the Scorpene class Submarines was leaked.
- A Committee was constituted by the Ministry of Defence to enquire into the reported leak of documents and it has submitted a report on it.
- But what is this scorpene class? How many class of submarine are there?
What is a Scorpene?
- Scorpene is a conventional powered submarine weighing 1,500 tonnes and can go up to depths of 300m. It is built by DCNS of France.
- In October 2005, India had signed a USD 3.75 bn deal for six of submarines to be built by Mazgaon Dock Limited (MDL) in Mumbai with transfer of technology.
- After repeated delays over four years, the first submarine has been commissioned in the navy
- INS Kalvari is Indian Navy’s first Scorpene submarine under Project 75
India’s history with submarines
- India joined the exclusive group of submarine constructing nations on February 7, 1992, with the commissioning of the first Indian built submarine INS Shalki.
- Mazagon Dock then went on to commission another submarine, INS Shankul, on May 28, 1994.
- In 1999, the Indian Navy drew a Submarine Acquisition Plan, a 30 year roadmap that had envisaged 12 submarines by 2012 and the number was expected to double by 2029.
- But of course, the project took a huge hit due to delays!
Current state of submarine force in India
- The current state of the Navy’s underwater fleet is, for lack of a better word, worrisome.
- India currently has 9 Sindhughosh class (Soviet Kilo class) and 4 Shishumar-class (German HDW Type 209) diesel electric subs and 2 nuclear powered submarine INS Chakra (Akula II class) sub & INS Arihant
- Note that INS Chakra is on lease from Russia and INS Arihant is indigenously developed
- For a country with a coastline that measures more than 7,500 km, a fleet of 15 submarines is just not enough!
- In comparison, China has a total of 67 submarines in its Navy.
What’s so special about INS Kalavari?
- INS Kalvari is Indian Navy’s first Scorpene submarine under Project 75
- It has superior stealth, and can reportedly attack the enemy using precision-guided weapons
- INS Kalvari and the rest of its scorpene class are said to be made from special steel and have the ability to withstand high-yield stress and high hydrostatic force
- The Scorpene Submarine is designed to operate in all theatres including the Tropics.
- All means and communications are provided to ensure interoperability with other components of a Naval Task Force.
- It can undertake Anti-Surface warfare, Anti-Submarine warfare, Intelligence gathering, Mine Laying, Area Surveillance etc.
This is a very comprehensive newscard and we hope it establishes your understanding in Indian submarine inventory and technical aspects of the scorpene class. You should be now Prelims Shock Proof!
- ICFNR: An Institution exclusively devoted to promotion of research in fertilizer sector under the Department of fertilizers
What are the important terms of reference?
- To undertake and promote research in bio fertilizer and its derivatives with suitable coating or blending so as to protect and increase the soil fertility.
- To play a supportive role for identifying and formulation long range technology plans
- To promote dissemination of information on latest developments in fertilizer sector
- The centre will work in close collaboration with research institutions centres/ institutes
Prelims worthy news. Keep an eye if it ends up developing some innovative material or technology.
- The Central Council for Research in Ayurvedic Sciences (CCRAS) has developed an anti-diabetic drug AYUSH-82.
- License has been granted to eight firms through National Research Development Corporation (NRDC) for commercialization.
- CCRAS has developed a coded formulation AYUSH-QOL-2C to minimize side effects of Chemo and radiotherapy
- The Central Council for Research in Homoeopathy (CCRH) has undertaken study to assess usefulness of Homoeopathic medicine in cancer patients having side effects from Chemotherapy.
Note this gradual rise in experimentation of alternate forms of medicine and the activity in department of AYUSH. Is there any particular scheme or policy for active promotion of AYUSH? Do you remember the National AYUSH Mission?
- Context: Partition’s long shadow is evident on the Citizenship Amendment Bill, which seeks to introduce a religious distinction in the law. It must be debated
- Highlights of the bill:
- The Bill amends the Citizenship Act, 1955 to make illegal migrants who are Hindus, Sikhs, Buddhists, Jains, Parsis and Christians from Afghanistan, Bangladesh and Pakistan, eligible for citizenship.
- Under the Act, one of the requirements for citizenship by naturalisation is that the applicant must have resided in India during the last 12 months, and for 11 of the previous 14 years.
- The Bill provides that the registration of Overseas Citizen of India (OCI) cardholders may be cancelled if they violate any law.
- The Bill relaxes this 11 year requirement to six years for persons belonging to the same six religions and three countries.
- Issue #1: The Bill makes illegal migrants eligible for citizenship on the basis of religion. This may violate Article 14 of the Constitution which guarantees right to equality.
- Issue #2: The Bill allows cancellation of OCI registration for violation of any law. This is a wide ground that may cover a range of violations, including minor offences!
Note: Keep a note of these two issues, leave the rest. This edit was written with a regional outlook (specifically that of Assam) and we have removed those parts. It’s better that we keep in mind the universal issues and challenges.
- Context: Social practice needs to be gender-just, but reform must respect religious freedom.
- Challenge: The challenge often lay in examining the implications of a misogynistic belief system within the Muslim community.
- But now, another challenge that needs to be addressed is examining the implications of actors entering the stage to speak on Islam, and often on behalf of Islam.
- While one is aware of the patriarchal and cultural set-up within the community, it is also a fact that “Islamic feminism” is emerging as an ideology amongst Muslim women across the globe, including in India.
- If the fights within the community were not enough, the Modi government has taken things one step further and introduced the idea having a Uniform Civil Code (UCC).
- What’s the question? Is this constitutional secularism pitted against freedom of religion?
- There seems to be a trend of selectively targeting a minority community and justifying it as an attack on a feudal-religious order. It is important not just to address these issues, but also challenge the intention behind going after a minority community.
- As of now, citizens are only being told of a uniformity of law based on certain vague ideas of “secularism”.
- It is important to know what those ideas will be, how they could affect individual lives in the country and whether they will be at the cost of national integration.
Note: Debates like these drag for years and years. While they may provide you with some fodder points, do not spend more time on such op-eds. Just get a feel of new angles and questions which are being raised.
- Demonetisation presents an opportunity to refocus debates on Centre-State relations. Let’s take a stock of the questions raised by demonetisation for the direction of Centre-State relations.
- State governments do not appear to have been consulted ahead of the announcement, and in many cases demonetisation has directly undermined the routine administration of policies under their purview.
- Unsurprisingly, a number of States have complained that the way in which the policy was enacted violates the spirit of cooperative federalism
- For the first time, the new banknotes include Devanagari numerals, threatening to reignite old settled compromises over the national language within India’s federal union. The use of Devanagari numerals is already the subject of a PIL in the Madras High Court.
- Voter identification: Owing to decentralisation, states became the centre-ground of political life and they have been the primary level of political identity for most voters.
- Voters frequently give the credit for programmes such as Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MGNREGA) or the National Rural Health Mission to their State governments
- Interestingly, one CM made an appeal for the central schemes to be renamed the “PM-CM farmer insurance scheme”, or “Kendra-Rajya Fasal Bima Yojana (Centre-State Crop Insurance Scheme)” if the States were expected to bear half the financial burden.
- Increasing importance of States: After the enhanced fiscal devolution to States following the Fourteenth Finance Commission recommendations, States have greater flexibility to decide priorities for government expenditure.
- Mannavaram Power Projects: A mega power equipment production plant —NTPC BHEL Power Projects Private Limited
- NBPPL is a join venture of NTPC and BHEL
- The equipment manufacturing facility at Mannavaram, near Tirupati, was said to be one of the most prestigious projects in the state
- But since 2010, there has not been much progress on the project
- The issue has come into focus again when new govt. re-assessing the business environment and progress updates
- Said to be India’s longest rail-cum-road bridge, the Bogibeel double-deck bridge is all set to be fully operational by March 2018
- The bridge is being built over the Brahmaputra in the Dibrugarh district of Assam, connecting the North and the South banks of the river
- This is a 100% welded bridge and we are using technology from firms of Sweden and Denmark
- The bridge, which is being built entirely by the Indian Railways (both rail and road parts), has been under construction for several years now
- These rules are under Environment (Protection) Act, 1986 and have been upgraded in 2016 again
- CPCB has prepared the following guidelines relating to management of Bio-Medical Waste:
- Common Bio-Medical Waste Treatment Facilities (CBWTFs)
- Design & Construction of Bio-Medical Waste incinerators
- Disposal of Bio-Medical Waste generated during Universal Immunization Programme
- Guidelines for Environmentally Sound Management of Mercury Waste generated from the Health Care Facilities
- As you can see, health sector has a good share of generation of this type of waste
- United Nations has recently set Sustainable Development Goals and Targets. The target for India is to attain U5MR of 25/1000 live births by 2030
- What is India doing under its National Health Mission (NHM) to achieve them?
- Promotion of Institutional deliveries through cash incentive under Janani Suraksha Yojana (JSY) and Janani Shishu Suraksha Karyakaram (JSSK)
- Comprehensive and quality Reproductive, Maternal, Newborn, Child and Adolescent Health (RMNCH+A) Services
- NOTE: India Newborn Action Plan (IANP) was launched in 2014 to make concerted efforts towards attainment of the goals of “Single Digit Neonatal Mortality Rate” and “Single Digit Stillbirth Rate”, by 2030
- Early initiation and exclusive breastfeeding for first six months and appropriate Infant and Young Child Feeding (IYCF) practices are being promoted
- Universal Immunization Programme (UIP) is being supported to provide vaccination to children + Mission Indradhanush has been launched to fully immunize children who are either unvaccinated or partially vaccinated
- Name-based tracking of mothers and children till two years of age (Mother and Child Tracking System) is done
- Rashtriya Bal Swasthya Karyakram (RBSK) for health screening, early detection of birth defects, diseases, deficiencies, development delays
- Iron and folic acid (IFA) supplementation for the prevention of anaemia among the vulnerable age groups