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19th September 2022

China calls to prevent ‘colour revolution’

Context

Chinese President Xi Jinping has warned his Central Asian neighbors against allowing outsiders to destabilize them with “color revolutions.”

  • The statement was made during the recent SCO Summit in Samarkand.
About

What is Colour revolutions?

In 2019, Beijing had said the protests in Hong Kong had taken on “colour revolution characteristics”

  • Colour revolutions refer to a series of uprisings that first began in former communist nations in Eastern Europe in the early 2000s, but are also used in reference to popular movements in the Middle East and Asia.
  • Most have involved large-scale mobilisation on the streets, with demands for free elections or regime change, and calls for removal of authoritarian leaders.

Important colour revolutions

  • Orange Revolution: It refers to a series of protests that occurred in Ukraine between November 2004 and January 2005.
  • Tulip Revolution: Also called the First Kyrgyz Revolution, the movement led to the ouster of Kyrgyzstan’s President Askar Akayev in early 2005. 
  • Jasmine Revolution: The popular uprising that occurred between December 2010 to January 2011 in Tunisia was in response to the underlying corruption, unemployment, inflation and lack of political freedoms in the country.

Why this method is criticised?

  • They are said to destabilise influences to overthrow regimes in order to further their own geopolitical interests.

Joymala’s case flags gaps in private ownership norms for elephants

Context

The ongoing dispute between the Governments of Tamil Nadu and Assam over the alleged mistreatment of a temple elephant named Joymala, has brought into focus the prevailing lacunae over private ownership of elephants in India.

About

Why private ownership of elephants is a concern?

  • As per the MoEFCC, it’s illegal to hold elephants in captivity without ownership certificates.
  • Rules only allow for elephants to be exchanged or donated to temples or between private individuals.
  • Kerala, Uttar Pradesh, Karnataka, Assam, Tripura and Madhya Pradesh account for 96% of elephants in captivity without ownership certificates.
  • Captive elephants are provided a poor diet and inadequate food. Due to a limited diet, elephants can suffer from intestinal infections, lung-related injections, or impactions.
  • It also leads to an increase in “black marketing” of elephants.
  • Other important threats to Elephants
    • Escalation of poaching
    • Habitat loss
    • Human-elephant conflict
    • Mistreatment in captivity
    • Abuse due to elephant tourism
    • Rampant mining, Corridor destruction

Why it is happening?

  • Lack of law enforcement or governance of the private ownership of elephants in many States.

Important Animal Rights Organisation

  • Animal Welfare Board of India
  • People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA)
  • People for Animals
  • Federation of Indian Animal Protection Organizations (FIAPO) 

About Asian Elephants

  • There are about 50,000 - 60000 Asian elephants in the world. More than 60% of the population is held in India.
  • There are three subspecies of Asian elephant which are the Indian, Sumatran and Sri Lankan.
    • The Indian subspecies has the widest range and accounts for most of the remaining elephants on the continent.
  • Protection Status
    • IUCN Red List: Endangered
    • Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972: Schedule I
    • CITES: Appendix I

 About Project Elephant

  • It is a flagship programme of the Ministry of Environment and Forests (MoEF).
  • It was launched in 1992 as a Centrally-sponsored scheme.
  • The project aims-
    • To protect elephants, their habitat & corridors.
    • To address issues of man-animal conflict.
    • The welfare of captive elephants.
  • It addresses issues of man-animal conflict and welfare of domesticated elephants.
  • The elephant numbers have not increased or decreased drastically but there is increasing pressure on the elephant habitats.
  • The elephant census is conducted once in 5 years under the aegis of Project elephant.
    • The direct elephant counting method is based on the sightings of elephants.
    • In the indirect method, surveyors follow a dung decay formula for arriving at population estimation which is being used by Tamil Nadu and Karnataka at present.
      • A variation of about 8% to 9% has been noticed between the two methods.

Important Facts

  • India has 31 Elephant Reserves. Agasthiyamalai will be the country’s 32nd elephant reserve.
  • Karnataka has the highest number of elephants (6,049), followed by Assam (5,719) and Kerala (5706).
  • World Elephant Day is an international annual event on August 12, dedicated to the preservation and protection of the world's elephants.

PM unveils National Logistics Policy

Context

The Prime Minister unveiled the National Logistics Policy that seeks to address challenges facing the transport sector and bring down the logistics cost for businesses from 13-14% to a single digit.

  • The policy was announced for the first time in the Union Budget 2020.
About

Key-features

About India’s logistics sector

  • India’s current logistics cost as a proportion of the GDP is some 13-14 per cent. 
  • The sector’s present market size is 160 billion USD. 
    • Its improvement can ensure a 10 per cent decrease in indirect logistics cost and increase the growth of exports by 5 to 8 per cent.
  • India’s logistics sector provides jobs for more than 22 million people. 
  • The draft policy provides for the government creating a single point of reference for all logistics and trade facilitation matters, reducing costs for the logistics sector to 10 per cent in five years. 
  • Its focus areas are Integration of Digital System (IDS), Unified Logistics Interface Platform (ULIP), Ease of Logistics (ELOG) and System Improvement Group (SIG).
    • The IDS will integrate 30 different systems of seven different departments, such as customs, aviation, road transport, railways, international trade and commerce ministries.
    • The ULIP aims to ensure continuous monitoring of cargo movement.
    • The ELOG would seek to simplify procedures and achieve ease of doing business.
    • The SIG would monitor all projects related to logistics on a regular basis and ensure the removal of hurdles faced in the sector.
  • An empowered group of secretaries (EGoS) has been constituted under the PM Gati Shakti to monitor and review the implementation of the NLP.
  • The policy is an endeavour to improve the competitiveness of Indian goods, enhancing economic growth and increasing employment opportunities.

Logistics demystified

Logistics encompasses planning, coordinating, storing, and moving resources —people, raw materials, inventory, equipment, etc., from one location to another, from the production points to consumption, distribution, or other production points.

Aims and Objectives

The National Logistics Policy aims to:

  • promote smooth movement of goods across India
  • boost competitiveness of the Indian goods in the domestic and international markets
  • bring down the logistics cost, which in turn would improve efficiency of various sectors of the economy, boosting value addition and economic growth

How government is strengthening the logistics sector?

  • The government is using technology to strengthen the logistics sector. 
    • Faceless assessment has started in customs and e-way bills and FASTag are bringing efficiency in the logistics sector.
  • Sagarmala project to connect ports and dedicated freight corridors have started to improve logistics connectivity and systematic infrastructure development work.
  • Budgetary Allocation - Government allocated Rs 5.54 trillion towards capital expenditure across various ministries in the Union Budget 2021-22, a 34.5% jump from the previous year.
  • Mission Gati-Shakti – The mission has been launched as a national master plan for multi-modal connectivity.
    • This will bring nearly 16 different ministries and departments of the government together to promote coordinated planning and execution of projects.
    • This will aid in development of an integrated logistics and transport policy providing end-to-end connectivity.
  • Bharatmala Pariyojana - 34,000 km of road infrastructure works would be undertaken, of which, 11,000 km have been targeted to be completed by March 2022.
  • Eastern and Western Dedicated Freight Corridors - Commissioning of such corridors can be a game-changer for boosting railway freight share.
    • It will not only decongest the existing rail network but would allow for longer rakes to carry higher loads at an average speed of nearly 70 km/hr.
    • The National Air Cargo Policy has also been formulated that seeks to build air transport shipment hubs in all major airports by 2025.

PM PRANAM

Context

The Union government intends to launch a scheme — named PM PRANAM — to reduce the use of chemical fertilizers by incentivising states.

About

What is in the proposed scheme?

  • PM PRANAM is short for PM Promotion of Alternate Nutrients for Agriculture Management Yojana.
  • The scheme aims to:
    • to reduce the use of chemical fertilisers
    • to bring down the subsidy burden on chemical fertilisers, which is estimated to reach Rs 2.25 lakh crore in 2022-23 — 39 per cent higher than last year’s figure of Rs 1.62 lakh crore.
  • The move is in line with the government’s focus on promoting a balanced use of fertilisers or alternative fertilisers in the last few years.

About Indian Fertilizer Sector

  • Indian soils are generally deficient in nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium and do not give high yields. Hence, the need for fertilizers. 
  • Green Revolution (Use of chemical fertilizers was one component) has made a significant impact on Indian agriculture. 
    • Thus, India was able to achieve self-sufficiency in food production.
  • Fertilizer Manufacturing Sectors
    • Fertilizer Manufacturing Companies (PSUs): National Fertilizers Limited, Rashtriya Chemicals & Fertilizers Limited, etc
    • Fertilizer Manufacturing Co-operatives: IFFCO, KRIBHCO, etc
    • Position in the World: 3rd in terms of production and 2nd in terms of consumption
    • Decision-Making Body: Department of Fertilizers, Ministry of Chemicals & Fertilizers, Govt of India
  • India is among the world’s largest buyers of fertiliser, besides China, Brazil, and the US.
  • India imports four types of fertilisers:
    • Urea
    • diammonium phosphate (DAP)
    • muriate of potash (MOP)
    • nitrogen-phosphorous-potassium (NPK)

Important Government Initiatives and Schemes

  • “One Nation One Fertiliser” scheme: The scheme would be done by introducing a “Single Brand for Fertilisers and Logo” under the fertiliser subsidy scheme named “Pradhanmantri Bhartiya Janurvarak Pariyojna” (PMBJP).
    • The scheme would extend to all four fertilisers – Urea, Di-Ammonium Phosphate, Muriate of Potash and complex NPK – with BHARAT pre-fixed.
  • Neem Coating of Urea: The Department of Fertilizers (DoF) has made it mandatory for all the domestic producers to produce 100% urea as Neem Coated Urea (NCU).
  • New Urea Policy (NUP) 2015: Objectives of the policy are-
    • To maximize indigenous urea production.
    • To promote energy efficiency in the urea units.
    • To rationalize the subsidy burden on the Government of India.
  • New Investment Policy- 2012: The Government announced New Investment Policy (NIP)-2012 in January, 2013 and made amendments in 2014 to facilitate fresh investment in the urea sector and to make India self-sufficient in the urea sector.
  • Policy on Promotion of City Compost: The Government of India approved a policy on promotion of City Compost, notified by the DoF in 2016 granting Market Development Assistance of Rs. 1500/- for scaling up production and consumption of city compost.
  • Nutrient Based Subsidy (NBS) Scheme: It has been implemented from April 2010 by the DoF. Under NBS, a fixed amount of subsidy decided on an annual basis, is provided on each grade of subsidized Phosphatic & Potassic (P&K) fertilizers depending on its nutrient content.

 

Heritage camp at Ramappa temple

Context

A 12-day World Heritage Volunteers (WHV) Camp-2022 is set to be organised under the aegis of the Warangal-based Kakatiya Heritage Trust at the historic Ramappa temple in Palampet of Mulugu district.

About

About Ramappa Temple

  • Ramappa Temple, also known as the Rudreshswara (Lord Siva) temple, is a UNESCO World Heritage Site located in the state of Telangana.
  • It lies in a valley in Palampet village of Venkatapur Mandal of Mulugu district, a tiny village long past its days of glory in the 13th and 14th centuries.
  • An inscription in the temple dates it to the year 1213 CE and says it was built by a Kakatiya General Recharla Rudra Deva, during the period of the Kakatiya ruler Ganapati Deva.
    • This temple was constructed by Kakatiya king Ganapati Deva’s general Recharla Rudra.
    • Kakatiya Dynasty was the South Indian dynasty that ruled Andhra Pradesh in India from 1083 CE to 1323 CE.

  • Ramalingeswara Swamy is the presiding deity of this temple.
  • Marco Polo, during his visit to the Kakatiya Empire, allegedly called the temple “the brightest star in the galaxy of temples”.

Architecture

  • The temple complexes of Kakatiyas have a distinct style, technology, and decoration exhibiting the influence of the Kakatiyan sculptor.
  • The temple stands on a 6 feet high star-shaped platform with walls, pillars, and ceilings adorned with intricate carvings that attest to the unique skill of the Kakatiyan sculptors.
  • The foundation is built with the “sandbox technique”, the flooring is granite, and the pillars are basalt.
    • The technique involved filling the pit — dug up for laying the foundation — with a mixture of sand-lime, jaggery (for binding) and karakkaya (black myrobalan fruit) before the buildings were constructed on these 'sandboxes'. 
    • The sandbox in the foundation acts as a cushion in case of earthquakes.
    • Most of the vibrations caused by earthquakes lose their strength while passing through the sand by the time they reach the actual foundation of the building.
  • The lower part of the temple is red sandstone while the white gopuram is built with light bricks that reportedly float on water.
  • The Kakatiya temples, dedicated mostly to Siva, reveal in their construction a happy blending of the styles of North India and South India which influenced the political life of the Deccan.
    • They adopted both the North Indian Nagara Bhumija style and the South Indian Dravida style.
  • The most important of these temples are those at Palampet (Ramappa temple), Hanamkonda (Thousand Pillared temple) and the temples in the Warangal fort including the big ruined temple complex — Swayambhunadha temple.

Benefits of becoming a World Heritage Site

  • The following are the most important advantages of being a World Heritage Site:
    • It brings international attention to the need for the preservation and conservation of the site.
    • It brings tourism to the site, with its accompanying economic benefits to the host country and local area.
    • It can provide funds for restoration, preservation, and training. 
      • For example, in 2001, the Taliban destroyed two 6th century, 150-ft. statues of Buddha carved into the mountainside in the Bamiyan Valley in Afghanistan. 
    • It promotes national and local pride in the natural and man-made wonders of the country.
    • It promotes close ties with the United Nations system and the prestige and support it provides.
    • It provides access to global project management resources.
    • It facilitates creating partnerships between government, the private sector, and NGOs to achieve conservation goals.
    • The site is protected under the Geneva Convention against destruction or misuse during wartime.

UNESCO World Heritage Site

  • A UNESCO World Heritage Site is a place that is listed by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) as of special cultural or physical significance.
  • The list is maintained by the international World Heritage Programme administered by the UNESCO World Heritage Committee, composed of 21 UNESCO member states which are elected by the General Assembly.
  • Each World Heritage Site remains part of the legal territory of the state wherein the site is located and UNESCO considers it in the interest of the international community to preserve each site.
  • The List of recorded sites on the World Heritage include natural or man-made areas or a structure that is of international importance and requires special protection.
  • Italy is home to the greatest number of World Heritage Sites with 50 sites.
  • India now has 40 world heritage sites, including 32 cultural heritage sites, 7 natural sites and 1 mixed site.
  • It makes India seventh ranked country in the list of world heritage properties.

About United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO)

  • UNESCO was formed in 1945, is a specialized agency of the United Nations (UN) based in Paris. 
  • It works for achieving peace and security by promoting international collaboration through educational, scientific, and cultural reforms in order to increase universal respect for justice, the rule of law, and human rights along with fundamental freedom proclaimed in the United Nations Charter.
  • It has 195 member states and ten associate members. 
    • India is a founding member of the Organisation.

Emissions deadline extended

Context

The Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change (MoEF&CC) extended the deadline for installing pollution control technologies in the country's thermal power plants (TPPs).

About

About the notification

  • The power plants were classified into different categories in April 2021 on the basis of the Amended Environment (Protection Act), 1986.
  • MoEFCC has set three different timelines for the installation of pollution control technologies for various types of TPPs:
    • Category 1: Power plants within a 10 km radius of Delhi NCR and million plus cities– deadline has been extended to December 31, 2024.
    • Category 2: Power plants within a 10 km radius of critically polluted cities, the deadline has been extended to December 31, 2025.
    • Category 3: All other power plants across the country the new deadline stands at December 31, 2026.
      • For Power plants that are older than 25 years (retiring units), the new timeline is 2027 and for the non-retiring units, the timeline is 2026.
    • Furthermore, the notification was released on the sidelines of the dilution of the emission norms for NOx and water. 
      • The water norms for the TPPs installed after January 2017, were relaxed to 3 cubic metres per megawatt-hours in contrast to the earlier limit of 2.5 cubic metres per megawatt-hours. These norms were set in June 2018.
      • In May 2019, similar norms were set for NOx. The limits for NOx emissions were raised from 300 milligrams per cubic metres to 450 milligrams per cubic metres.

Pollution from thermal power plants

Flue gas desulfurisation (FGD)

  • The process of eliminating sulphur compounds from the exhaust emissions of fossil-fuelled (coal-fired) power plants is known as flue gas desulfurization (FGD). 
  • This is accomplished by including absorbent materials, which can eliminate up to 95% of the sulphur from the flue gas by scrubbing.
  • According to the Centre for Science and Environment (CSE), TPPs account for more than 60 per cent of total industrial emissions of particulate matter; 45 percent of SO2; 30 percent of NOx; and more than 80 per cent of mercury, in India. 
    • These are also responsible for 70 percent of the total freshwater withdrawal by all industries.
  • Other pollutants include carbon monoxide, ozone, non-methane hydrocarbons and lead.

Editorial

A Big Cat Mistake

Context:

The Introduction of Cheetahs from Namibia is a decision with a risk of its success in Kuno Palpur Sanctuary and can take away resources from other needed conservations. The decision requires much more analysis than just with a reason to relocate the African Cheetah population in India.

The Estimated Analysis:

  • Cheetah in their best habitat exists in very less density as calculated to be 1 in 100 sq. km with average female density to be 750 Sq. kilometres.
  • The cheetahs are expected to establish themselves as a population in Kuno sanctuary after about 15 years.
  • The area of Kuno palpur which is 748 sq. km can at best accommodate only about 10 adult cheetahs, against the estimated 21 adults by the government.

Concerns associated with the relocation Project:

  • Lack of Space for habitat development: Wild and free-ranging population of cheetahs will not be able to establish itself in India when there is no suitable habitat of sufficient size.
  • Relocation Numbers estimated: The government has estimated to establish about 1000 cheetah in India, which is worrying as unlike other cats they tend to live in large spaces.
  • Biological objective for Conservation: The basis for relocation is to conserve the grassland habitat; however, the aim will only be achieved when there is large numbers of cheetah adults.
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ThinkQ

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QUIZ - 19th September 2022

Mains Question:

Q1. How is the new logistics policy of India going to enhance the competitiveness of domestic goods in the international market? (150 words)

Question Mapping

  • Subject: Polity & Governance (GS-II)
    • Sub-topic: Government Policies & Intervention
  • Subject: Economy (GS-III)
    • Sub-topic: Economic Sectors, Trade

Approach 

  • Introduction- brief about the new policy 
  • List down key targets
    • Reduce the cost of logistics to 8 percent by 2030
    • Improve the country’s Logistics Performance Index (LPI) ranking
    • Create data-driven decision support systems (DSS) 
    • strengthening the logistics sector
  • Provide a brief account of India’s logistics sector (current)
    • Estimation of logistics sector at 13-14 per cent of GDP
  • Impact of the policy on competitiveness
    • creating a single point of reference for all logistics and trade facilitation matters
    • reducing costs for the logistics sector to 10 per cent in five years
  • Conclude accordingly 

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