Home   »   All leading articles from the day   »   All leading articles from the day

Today’s News Diary 28-05-2022|A comprehensive coverage of UPSC related current affairs for today

BRICS Expansion

In News: China, which is the BRICS chair for this year, said the recently held meeting of BRICS Foreign Ministers “reached consensus on the BRICS expansion process”.

Brief History Of BRICS Formation 

– BRICS was not invented by any of its members.
– In 2001, Goldman Sachs’ Jim O’Neill authored a paper called “Building Better Global Economic BRICs”, pointing out that future GDP growth in the world would come from China, India, Russia and Brazil.
– In 2006, leaders of the BRIC countries met on the margins of a G-8 (now called G-7) summit in St. Petersburg, Russia, and BRIC was formalised that year.
– The global financial crisis of 2007-08 reinforced the idea as BRIC countries had been relatively unscathed in the market collapse.
– On June 16, 2009, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh met with Presidents Hu Jintao, Dmitry Medvedev and Lula da Silva for the first BRIC summit in Yekaterinburg, and South Africa was subsequently admitted two years later.

Why Expansion?

– It is important to enhance cooperation with other emerging markets and developing countries, further improve the representation of BRICS, make BRICS’ voice in major international and regional issues more widely heard.
– To join hands to meet challenges, and uphold the common interests and development space of emerging markets and developing countries.”

Possible New Members

– The May 19 BRICS Foreign Ministers’ virtual meeting this year also invited Foreign Ministers of Argentina, Egypt, Indonesia, Kazakhstan, Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Nigeria, Senegal and Thailand to attend.
– So, some of them could join the grouping.

Progress so far

The BRICS-backed New Development Bank (NDB), based in Shanghai, has already inducted new members, with Bangladesh and the UAE joining last year, and Egypt and Uruguay approved to join the financial institution.

24th BRICS Summit

A virtual summit of leaders of the Brazil-Russia-India-China-South Africa grouping, likely to be held at the end of June this year.

ONDC

In News: Google is in talks with the Indian government to integrate its shopping services with the country’s open e-commerce network ONDC.

About ONDC

– India soft-launched its Open Network for Digital Commerce (ONDC) last month as the Centre tries to end the dominance of U.S. firms Amazon.com and Walmart in the fast-growing e-commerce market.
– The platform aims to create new opportunities, curb digital monopolies and by supporting micro, small and medium enterprises and small traders and help them get on online platforms.
– It is an initiative of the Department for Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade (DPIIT) under the Ministry of Commerce and Industry.

 

NARCL

Why in News: RBI flags possibility of increased slippages from sectors that have been more exposed to the pandemic
What is NARCL?
– NARCL has been incorporated under the Companies Act and has applied to Reserve Bank of India for license as an Asset Reconstruction Company (ARC).
– NARCL has been set up by banks to aggregate and consolidate stressed assets for their subsequent resolution.
– PSBs will maintain51% ownership in NARCL.
– The NARCL will acquire assets by making an offer to the lead bank. Once NARCL’s offer is accepted, then, India Debt Resolution Company Ltd. (IDRCL) will be engaged for management and value addition.
Key Benefits of NARCL- IDRCL Mechanism
– It will incentivize quicker action on resolving stressed assets thereby helping in better value realization.
– This approach will also permit freeing up of personnel in banks to focus on increasing business and credit growth.
– As the holders of these stressed assets and SRs, banks will receive the gains.
– Further, it will bring about improvement in bank’s valuation and enhance their ability to raise market capital.
Why is it being set up now?                    
Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code (IBC), strengthening of Securitization and Reconstruction of Financial Assets and Enforcement of Securities Interest (SARFAESI Act) and Debt Recovery Tribunals, as well as setting up of dedicated Stressed Asset Management Verticals (SAMVs) in banks for large-value NPA accounts have brought sharper focus on recovery. In spite of these efforts, substantial amount of NPAs continue on balance sheets of banks primarily because the stock of bad loans as revealed by the Asset Quality Review is not only large but fragmented across various lenders. High levels of provisioning by banks against legacy NPAs has presented a unique opportunity for faster resolution.
Way Forward 
National Asset Reconstruction Company would help in the resolution of large value, legacy stressed assets, and serve as a time-efficient mechanism for reviving investor interest in primary and secondary markets for stressed assets, going forward, continued commitment, professionalism and transparency would help in making the exercise cost-and time-effective.

INS Khanderi

  • GS Paper 3: Security- Role of external state and non-state actors in creating challenges to internal security; Challenges to internal security through communication networks.

 

INS Khanderi in news

  • Recently, Raksha Mantri Shri Rajnath Singh conducted a sea sortie on one of the most potent platforms of Indian Navy ‘INS Khanderi’ during his visit to Karwar Naval Base in Karnataka.
  • For over four hours, the full spectrum of capabilities of underwater operations of the stealth submarine INS Khanderi was demonstrated to Raksha Mantri.
  • He also commissioned India’s first indigenous aircraft carrier ‘Vikrant’

 

What is INS Khanderi Submarine?

  • About: Khanderi Submarine is a Kalvari class diesel-electric attack submarine that was under the Project 75 program of the government.
    • INS Khanderi Submarine was commissioned in 2019 by the Defense Minister of India.
  • Manufacturer: INS Khanderi Submarine was built under the ‘Make in India’ initiative at Mazagon Docks Limited, Mumbai.
    • Submarine Khanderi has been designed by a French organization Naval Group.
  • Key Feature:
    • Weight: The weight of Khanderi submarine is about 1775 tonnes.
    • Its deadly armament of torpedoes can hunt surface ships as well as submarines.
    • The torpedoes can be fired from six 21 inch tubes or SM.39 Exocet anti-ship missiles.
    • Khanderi will be useful for intelligence gathering and area surveillance operations.

India’s Kilo Class Submarines

 

What is a Kalvari-class submarine?

  • The Kalvari class submarine is based on Scorpene-class submarines built for the Indian Navy with diesel-electric attack capacity.
  • Defence Ministry of India approved Project-75 in 1997 that allows Indian Navy to acquire 24 submarines.

What are the Scorpene-class submarines?

  • The Scorpene-class submarines are extremely potent platforms.
  • Scorpene-class submarines have advanced stealth features and are equipped with both long range guided torpedoes as well as anti-ship missiles.
  • Scorpene-class submarines have a state-of-the-art SONAR and sensor suite permitting outstanding operational capabilities.

 

Project-75: Key Points 

  • About: Under Project 75, six Scorpene-class submarines are to be constructed for the Indian Navy by the Mazagon Dock Shipbuilders Limited (MDL).
    • Scorpene-class submarines are next-generation diesel submarines.
  • Present status of Six Scorpene-class Submarines under Project 75:
    • INS Kalvar: It was launched in October 2015 and was commissioned in December 2017 – five years behind schedule.
    • INS Khanderi: It was launched in January 2017 for trials and commissioned in September 2019.
    • INS Karanj: It was launched in January 2018 and commissioned on March 10, 2021.
    • INS Vela: was launched in May 2019 and inducted recently.
    • INS Vagir: It was launched in November 2020 and has commenced harbour trials. It is expected to go for its maiden surface sortie in December 2021.
    • INS Vagsheer: It is in the advanced stage of outfitting.
  • Promoting Atmanirbhar Bharat: These Submarines are to be constructed under technology transfer from and in collaboration with the Naval Group of France.

INS Vela- Fourth Scorpene Class Submarine

adda247.com/…/ins-vela-fourth-scorpene-class-submarine

 

Sugar Export Curbs

  • GS Paper 3: Indian Economy- Issues relating to planning, mobilization of resources, growth, development and employment.

 

Sugar Export Curbs in news

  • Recently, the Union Government has notified that sugar exports will be restricted, or allowed only with permission.
  • India is the biggest producer of sugar and the second largest exporter after Brazil.

 

Key Facts about Sugar Export Curbs

  • The Sugar Export curbs, the first such move in four years, have been ordered to maintain “domestic availability and price stability of sugar”.
  • Prior Permission: The government has moved export of sugar from the ‘open category’, which requires no government intervention, to ‘restricted’ category.
    • This means that export of sugar is allowed only with specific permission from the Directorate of Sugar, Department of Food and Public Distribution (DFPD), Ministry of Consumer Affairs, Food & Public Distribution.
  • Duration: Sugar Export curbs come into effect from June 1 and will continue till October 31, or until further orders.

Fair and Remunerative Prices for Sugarcane

How it is different from Wheat Export Ban?

  • Experts have pointed out that unlike wheat, where export has been banned, sugar would continue to be exported, but from June 1, permission would be required to send the shipments out.
  • From June 1, permission to export would be required for both the pending contracted quantity and any new contracts entered by mills.

The Editorial Analysis- Wheat Confusion

 

Sugar Export from India

  • Thanks to the bumper crops over the last four seasons, exports too boomed. The Centre also extended subsidies to millers to push sales abroad.
  • Before the start of the sugar season (October to September every year), the central government would announce both the quota for export and the subsidy to achieve the target.
  • Sugar Exports from India: Following are the sugar export data from India from last four sessions-
  • 2017-18 Season: the government set a target to export 20 lakh tonnes of sugar and sanctioned a budget of Rs 1,540 crores to handle internal transport, freight, handling and few other operations.
    • For that season, the industry recorded exports of 6.2 lakh tonnes and with a reported expenditure of Rs 440 crores of the subsidy budget.
  • 2018-19 Season: 50 lakh tonnes export target was set with a subsidy budget of Rs 5,538 crores, of which 38 lakh tonnes of sugar was shipped out using R 4,263 crores of the subsidy.
  • 2019-20 Season: export quota was hiked to 60 lakh tonnes with a subsidy budget Rs 6,268 crores.
    • Millers clocked exports of 59.60 lakh tonnes using up Rs 6,225 crores of the subsidy budget.
  • 2020-21 Season: The traction in the international market helped sugar exports touch 70 lakh tonnes in 2020-21.
    • Out of total, 60 lakh tonnes was done using Rs 3,500 crores of government subsidy and 10 lakh tonnes was exported without any government aid.
  • Current season (2021-22): It has seen millers enter into contracts to export 90 lakh tonnes of sugar.
    • Out of this, 71 lakh tonnes of sugar has already left the country.
    • The consignments scheduled to leave after June 1 will need government permission.

India Relaxes Wheat Export Ban

 

Need for Sugar Export Curbs

  • Possible supply Constrains: Exports, industry insiders say, can continue unabated given the international demand. But for the government, a possible worry is low stocks at the beginning of the next season. This can lead to supply constraints for around three months.
  • Rising Inflation: If there is scarcity of back-up stocks during lean period then prices can escalate in the domestic market.
    • At a time when reining in inflation stays a major priority, the government can ill afford that risk.

 

Conclusion

  • The present Sugar Export curbs would ensure the government keeps a tab on sugar stock real-time to ensure that there is no shortage at the start of the next season.
    • Retail sugar prices have been almost stagnant year-on -year hovering between Rs 39.50 to Rs 41 per kg.

Fair and Remunerative Prices for Sugarcane

adda247.com/…/fair-and-remunerative-prices-for-sugarcane

 

Green Hydrogen

  • GS Paper 2: Indian Economy- Infrastructure: Energy, Ports, Roads, Airports, Railways etc.

 

Green hydrogen in News

  • Recently, Minister of Petroleum and Natural Gas at World Economic Forum in Davos said that India will emerge as the leader of green hydrogen by taking advantage of the current energy crisis across the globe.
  • His assertion came almost a month after Oil India Limited (OIL) commissioned India’s first 99.99% pure green hydrogen plant in eastern Assam’s Jorhat.

 

About Hydrogen

  • Hydrogen is a colourless, odourless, tasteless, non-toxic and highly combustible gaseous substance.
  • Hydrogen is the lightest, simplest and most abundant member of the family of chemical elements in the universe.

Green India Mission (GIM)

 

What is Green hydrogen?

  • Green hydrogen is produced through electrolysis using renewable sources of energy such as solar, wind or hydel power.
  • The ‘green’ depends on how the electricity is generated to obtain the hydrogen, which does not emit greenhouse gas when burned.

Analysis of Sansad TV Discussion: ”Green Hydrogen”

 

How Green hydrogen is different from Grey Hydrogen and Blue Hydrogen?

  • Green hydrogen is produced through electrolysis using renewable sources of energy such as solar, wind or hydel power.
  • Grey hydrogen is generated through fossil fuels such as coal and gas and currently accounts for 95% of the total production in South Asia.
  • Blue hydrogen, too, is produced using electricity generated by burning fossil fuels but with technologies to prevent the carbon released in the process from entering the atmosphere.

 

Need for Green hydrogen in India

  • Promoting Non-fossil fuels: India has just begun to generate green hydrogen with the objective of raising non-fossil energy capacity to 500 gigawatts by 2030.
  • Adhering to Paris Pledge: Under Paris Agreement 2015, India is committed to reducing its greenhouse gas emissions by 33-35% from the 2005 levels.
    • At the 2021 Conference of Parties in Glasgow, India reiterated its commitment to move from a fossil and import-dependent economy to a net-zero economy by 2070.
  • High Import Bills: India’s average annual energy import bill is more than $100 billion and the increased consumption of fossil fuel has made the country a high carbon dioxide (CO2) emitter.
    • India’s carbon dioxide (CO2) emission accounts for nearly 7% of the global CO2 burden.
  • India’s quest to become energy independent by 2047: the government stressed the need to introduce green hydrogen as an alternative fuel that can make India the global hub and a major exporter of hydrogen.
  • National Hydrogen Mission (NHM): It was launched on August 15, 2021, with a view to cutting down carbon emissions and increasing the use of renewable sources of energy.

 

India’s first Pure Green Hydrogen Plant

  • On April 20, India’s first 99.99% pure green hydrogen pilot plant was set up in eastern Assam’s Duliajan.
  • Key objectives: it was set up in keeping with the goal of “making the country ready for the pilot-scale production of hydrogen.
    • This was also done to ensure that its use in various applications” go on while “research and development efforts are ongoing for a reduction in the cost of production, storage and the transportation” of hydrogen.
  • Location: The Hydrogen plant was set up at the petroleum exploration major’s Jorhat pump station, also in eastern Assam.
  • Key Features of the Plant:
    • Powered by a 500 KW solar plant, the green hydrogen unit has an installed capacity to produce 10 kg of hydrogen per day and scale it up to 30 kg per day.
    • A specialised blender has also been installed for blending green hydrogen produced from the unit with the natural gas and supplying the blended gas to the Jorhat area for domestic and industrial use.
    • OIL has engaged experts from the Indian Institute of Technology-Guwahati to assess the impact of the blended gas on the existing facility.

 

Advantages of Green hydrogen

  • Reliable source of energy: The intermittent nature of renewable energy, especially wind, leads to grid instability.
    • Green hydrogen can be stored for long periods of time. The stored hydrogen can be used to produce electricity using fuel cells.
  • Commercialization of Oxygen produced: Experts say the oxygen, produced as a by-product, can also be monetised by using it for industrial and medical applications or for enriching the environment.
    • According to estimates, 8 kg of oxygen is produced per 1 kg of hydrogen.
  • Investment opportunities: The possibilities of hydrogen have made many countries pledge investments with Portugal having unveiled a national hydrogen strategy worth $7.7 billion in May.
  • Huge Renewable Energy Markets: Renewable developers see green hydrogen as an emerging market and some have targeted the transport sector, although electric vehicles have begun to catch the imagination of consumers today.

Green Hydrogen Policy | Green Ammonia Policy

adda247.com/…/green-hydrogen-policy-green-ammonia-policy

 

India’s Compliance with UNCBD

Introduction

– The world adopted UN Convention on Biological Diversity (cbd) in 1992 at the Rio Earth Summit in Brazil.
– The Convention is the only international instrument that addresses biological diversity comprehensively.

CBDs Objective

– CBDs objective is to conserve biological resources (flora, fauna and the germplasm) along with the traditional knowledge associated with them, to ensure that the resources are sustainably used and there is fair and equitable sharing of the benefits arising out of the utilisation of biodiversity.

Steps by India 

– India, home to 7 to 8 per cent of the world’s recorded species, has since been at the forefront in complying with cbd protocols.
– India ratified cbd in February 1994 and in 2002, enacted the Biological Diversity Act.
– Soon, a decentralised system was set up to implement the law (Three-tier security). 

National Biodiversity Authority

– The National Biodiversity Authority (nba) was established in 2003 to be at the helm and provide advice to the Union and state governments on conservation, sustainable use, and access and benefit sharing.
– The authority also regulates access of biological resources by international agencies.

Biodiversity Boards

The biodiversity boards at the state ensure conservation of biological resources along with the regulation of access by national entities.

Biodiversity Management Committees(BMCs)

– In addition, under the Biological Diversity Act 2002, biodiversity management committees (bmc) have been set up at the panchayat level.
– These village committees have to ensure that the biodiversity in their area is mapped in the People’s Biodiversity Register.
– The national and state biodiversity boards are required to consult and get approval from these village-level committees for the use of biological resources and knowledge that is recorded in their registers. bmcs can also impose charges and fines for extraction of these resources, found in their villages.

What are India’s ABS regulations?

– In 2010, the Nagoya Protocol was adopted as a supplementary agreement to cbd and it came into force on October 12, 2014.
– India was quick to ratify this too, and issued “Access to Biological Resources and Associated Knowledge and Benefits Sharing Regulations” (abs regulations) that year.
– As per the regulations, users of biological resources and associated knowledge must share a percentage of their profits with communities who have been holders of the knowledge of the resource.

Nagoya Protocol

– The 2002 World Summit on Sustainable Development at Johannesburg agreed on need of an instrument to ensure fair and equitable sharing of benefits arising from the utilisation of genetic resources.
– This was one of the objectives of the Convention on Biological Diversity(an agreement signed by 150 governments since the 1992 Rio Earth Summit).
– To fulfil this need, the Convention’s Conference of the Parties put in place, in 2004, an Ad Hoc Open-ended Working Group on Access and Benefit-sharing, which negotiated the protocol for six years to finally adopt it on October 29, 2010, at Nagoya, Japan.

Objectives of Nagoya Protocol

– To set a legally binding international framework to promote a transparent and effective implementation of “access and benefit-sharing (ABS)”at the regional, national and local levels.
– The protocol is based on potential users of genetic resources obtaining the prior informed consent (PIC) of the community with whom the genetic resource is located before accessing the resource, and negotiating and agreeing on the terms and conditions of access and use of this resource through the establishment of mutually agreed terms (MAT).
– Each Party to the Nagoya Protocol provides information on domestic ABS requirements, national focal points and competent national authorities, as well as makes available permits or their equivalent issued at the time of access.

India’s Three Tier Security

India has Union, state and village-level institutions to conserve biodiversity and to share its earnings with communities

NATIONAL BIODIVERSITY AUTHORITY (NBA)

  • Advise the Government of India on matters relating to conservation of biodiversity, sustainable use of its components, fair and equitable sharing of benefits arising out of utilisation of biological resources.
  • Regulate activities and issue guidelines for access to biological resources and /or associated knowledge, and for fair and equitable sharing in accordance with Sections 3, 4 and 6 of the Biological Diversity Act, 2002.
  • Take measures to oppose the grant of intellectual property rights in any country outside India on any biological resource obtained illegally from India or knowledge associated with such biological resources derived illegally from India.
  • Advise state governments in selection of areas of importance for biodiversity (to be notified as heritage sites) and suggest measure for their management.
  • Provide guidance and technical support to Biodiversity Management Committees (BMCs) through State Biodiversity Boards (SBBs) for preparing People’s Biodiversity Registers.
  • Perform functions necessary to carry out the provisions of Biological Diversity Act, 2002.

STATE BIODIVERSITY BOARDS (SBBs)

  • Advise the state governments, subject to guidelines issued by the Central government, on matters relating to conservation of biodiversity, sustainable use of its components, and fair and equitable sharing of benefits arising out of utilisation of biological resources.
  • Regulate, by granting approvals or otherwise, the request for commercial utilisation or bio-survey and bio-utilisation of any biological resources by Indians.

BIODIVERSITY MANAGEMENT COMMITTEES (BMCs)

  • Prepare, maintain and validate People’s Biodiversity Registers (PBR) in consultation with the local people. PBR provides details of access granted to biological resources and traditional knowledge, the collection fee, the benefits derived and the way they are shared.
  • Advise on any matter referred to it by the State Biodiversity Board or the National Biodiversity Authority for granting approval.
  • Maintain data about local vaidyas and medical practitioners using biological resources.
Thank You, Your details have been submitted we will get back to you.