India Has Emerged As Fourth Largest Producer of Renewable Energy in World
Why in News
- PM Inaugurates the virtual 3rd Global Renewable Energy Investment Meeting and Expo, RE-Invest 2020.
- India’s renewable power capacity is the 4th largest in the world and it is growing at the fastest speed among all major countries.
- The renewable energy capacity in India is currently 136 Giga Watts, which is about 36 percent of the country’s total capacity.
- India’s annual renewable energy capacity addition has been exceeding that of coal based thermal power since 2017.
- In the last 6 years, India has increased installed renewable energy capacity by two and half times.
- Government has not limited this mission only to one ministry or department but ensured that it becomes a target for the entire government.
- Ensuring “Ease of doing business” is the utmost priority and dedicated Project Development Cells have been established to facilitate investors.
- Inviting investors, developers and businesses to join India’s renewable energy journey as there are huge renewable energy deployment plans for the next decade.
- India’s renewable energy deployment plans for the coming decade are likely to generate business opportunities worth $20 billion a year.
- RE-INVEST 2020 will include a two-day virtual conference on renewables and future energy choices and an exhibition of manufacturers, developers, investors and innovators engaged in the clean energy sector.
- The event will provide a great opportunity to various countries, states, business houses & organizations to showcase their strategies, achievements and expectations.
- It would facilitate collaboration and cooperation with key stakeholders in India, which has emerged as one of the world’s largest renewable energy markets today.
- Ministerial Delegations from across the world, global industry leaders, and large number of delegates are expected to participate in the event.
NAFED’s Honey FPO Programme
Why in News?
- Ministry of Agriculture & Farmers Welfare inaugurated cooperative Nafed’s programme for helping set up farmer producers organisations (FPOs) for beekeepers and honey collectors in five states.
- Nafed is one of the four implementing agencies of the government for creation of 10,000 FPOs under a central scheme, which aims to make agriculture self-reliant.
- The other agencies are Small Farmers’ Agri-Business Consortium, NABARD and National Cooperative Development Corporation.
Under this Program
- Nafed will help in setting up FPOs for beekeepers in five states — West Bengal, Bihar, Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh and Rajasthan.
- Beekeeping in India is highly predominant in the unorganised sector among the rural and tribal population.
- Despite having a huge potential of honey production in the country, the beekeeping industry is still underdeveloped.
What NAFED will do?
- It will address above mentioned issues by acting as an intermediary and filling up the gaps between the elements of the beekeeping supply chain and also ensure price remuneration to the beekeeping farmers.
- Through these honey FPOs, the Nafed will also work for promotion of beekeeping as an occupation for unemployed women and tribal populations and uplift their livelihood.
- Nafed has already helped set up first honey FPO ‘Chambal FED Shahad Utpadak Sahakari Samiti’ in Madhya Pradesh under the National Beekeeping and Honey Mission, which was registered on November 11, 2020.
- The other four FPOs will be set up in Sundarbans (West Bengal), East Champaran (Bihar), Mathura (Uttar Pradesh), and Bharatpur (Rajasthan).
Benefits of Honey FPO’s
- The honey FPOs will not only help its members upgrade their skills in scientific beekeeping but also in setting up of state-of-the-art infrastructural facilities for processing honey and allied beekeeping products like bee’s wax and propolis.
- They will also help in quality control lab collection, storage, bottling and marketing.
- These FPOs will also get benefit from the government schemes under the National Bee Board’s National Beekeeping and Honey Mission (NBHM).
- Under the new FPO scheme, the government has approved 2,200 FPO clusters to all implementing agencies for the current financial year.
Why in News?
- Naval Dockyard, Visakhapatnam recently completed the refit of Maldivian Coast Guard Ship MNDF CGS Huravee.
- MNDF CGS Huravee (originally INS Tillanchang) is an indigenously built Trinkat class patrol vessel constructed at Garden Reach Shipbuilders and Engineers, Kolkata in 2001.
- Subsequently, it was gifted to Maldives by the Government of India in 2006 to strengthen the partnership between the two nations and to cooperate further for the maritime safety of the Indian Ocean Region.
Agreement between India and Finland
Why in News?
- India and Finland signed a MOU for developing cooperation between two countries in the field of Environment protection and biodiversity conservation.
What it includes?
- The MoU is a platform to further advance Indian and Finnish partnership and support, exchange best practices in areas like
- Prevention of Air and water pollution; Waste management;
- Promotion of circular economy, low-carbon solutions and sustainable management of natural resources including forests;
- Climate change; Conservation of Marine and Coastal Resources; etc.
- India has achieved its voluntary target of reducing emissions intensity of its GDP by 21% over 2005 levels, by 2020 and is poised to achieve 35% reduction well before the target year of 2030.
- As part of its Nationally Determined Contributions submitted under the Paris Agreement, India has taken three quantitative climate change goals viz.
- Reduction in the emissions intensity of Gross Domestic Product by 33 to 35 percent by 2030 from 2005 level,
- Achieving about 40 percent cumulative electric power installed capacity from non-fossil fuel based energy resources by 2030 and
- Creating an additional carbon sink of 2.5 to 3 billion tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent through additional forest and tree cover by 2030.
- The MoU will strengthen technological, scientific and management capabilities and develop bilateral cooperation in the field of environmental protection and biodiversity conservation on the basis of equality, reciprocity and mutual benefit with due respect to promotion of sustainable development.
ECLGS 2.0 scheme
Why in News?
- The government has extended the Emergency Credit Line Guarantee Scheme (ECLGS) to the health sector and 26 other sectors identified by the Kamath Committee.
- The National Credit Guarantee Trustee Company Limited (NCGTC) has issued the operational guidelines for implementation of ECLGS 2.0 scheme.
About ECLGS 2.0 scheme
- The scheme was announced by the government earlier this month as part of the Rs 2.65 lakh crore Atmanirbhar Bharat 3.0 package.
- “Under ECLGS0 entities with outstanding credit above Rs 50 crore and not exceeding Rs 500 crore as on February 29, 2020, which were less than or equal to 30 days past due as on February 29, 2020 are eligible”.
- The loans provided under ECLGS 2.0 will have a five-year tenor, with a 12-month moratorium on repayment of principal.
- These entities/borrower accounts shall be eligible for additional funding up to 20 per cent (which could be fund based or non-fund based or both) of their total outstanding credit (fund based only) as a collateral free Guaranteed Emergency Credit Line (GECL), which would be fully guaranteed by National Credit Guarantee Trustee Company Limited (NCGTC).
- The modified Scheme while providing an incentive to Member Lending Institutions (MLIs)
- To enable availability of additional funding facility to the eligible borrowers, both MSMEs/business enterprises and
- Identified sectors that supports MSMEs, will go a long way in contributing to economic revival, protecting jobs, and create conducive environment for employment generation.
Draft Merchant Shipping Bill, 2020
Why in News?
- Ministry of Ports, Shipping and Waterways has issued a draft of the Merchant Shipping Bill, 2020 for public consultation.
- It aims to repeal and replace the Merchant Shipping Act, 1958 (Act No. 44 of 1958) and the Coasting Vessels Act, 1838 (Act No. 19 of 1838).
- The Merchant Shipping Bill, 2020 has been drafted,with the primary aim of promoting the growth of the Indian shipping industry by incorporating the best practices adopted by other advanced countries like the U.S., Japan, U.K., Singapore and Australia.
- Adequate provisions are incorporated to ensure the safety and security of vessels, safety of life at sea, prevent marine pollution, provide for maritime liabilities and compensations, and ensure comprehensive adoption of India’s obligations under International Conventions.
The envisioned advantages of the Merchant Shipping Bill, 2020 are following:
- Promoting ease of doing business- The Bill does away with requirement of general trading license for Indian vessels
- Embracing digital technology– It enables electronic means of registration, and grants statutory recognition to electronic agreements, records, and log books, in addition to electronic licenses, certificates and payments.
- Increasing tonnage and Vessel as a Tradable Asset- The Bill seeks to increase India’s tonnage by widening the eligibility criteria for ownership of vessels and providing for the registration of bareboat charter cum demise, thereby increasing opportunities for international trade.
- India as a Bankable Shipping Jurisdiction & avoidance of situations leading to wreck- The proposed Bill seeks to introduce for the first-time statutory framework for regulating maritime emergency response against maritime incidents.
- The provisions seek to provide for time effective implementation of response mechanisms in order to ensure that the same is prevented from becoming a wreck or other catastrophic event.
- Welfare of Indian seafarers on abandoned vessels and safety of abandoned vessels: Provisions for repatriation of abandoned seafarers have been enhanced, in line with the MLC regulations.
- Strengthening adjudication and predictability of claims: In order to strengthen the investigation and adjudication of claims arising out of collision of vessels, assessors may be tasked by the High Courts to present their findings on the degrees of fault of each vessel.
- India as an Active Enforcement Jurisdiction- The Bill incorporates powers of the Director-General to take action against vessels that are unsafe, and pose a threat to safety of life at sea and environment, and includes a procedure for appeal from detention orders.
- The Bill also incorporates provisions that encourage active enforcement of pollution prevention standards and the Central Government has been granted the power to mandate compulsory insurance or such other financial security, for pollution damage.
Milky Way’s family tree
Why in News?
- Artificial intelligence (AI) has helped in creating the first complete family tree of Earth’s home galaxy – the Milky Way.
- The researchers used AI to analyse large groups of stars with as many as million stars, orbiting the Milky Way.
- The main challenge of connecting the properties of globular clusters [large group of stars] to the merger history of their host galaxy has always been that galaxy assembly is an extremely messy process, during which the orbits of the globular clusters are completely reshuffled.
- To simplify the complex system, the team developed advanced computer simulations called E-MOSAICS to capture the formation of Milky Way-like galaxies, and then used this knowledge on specific groups of globular clusters in the Milky Way.
- By applying AI on these groups of globular clusters, the researchers were able to predict the merger times of the Milky Way’s ancestor galaxies with high precision.
- The process also revealed a previously unknown collision between the Milky Way and an enigmatic galaxy, which the researchers named ‘Kraken’.
- The merger with Kraken took place 11 billion years ago, when the Milky Way was four times less massive.
- Over the course of its history, the Milky Way cannibalised about five galaxies with more than 100 million stars, and about fifteen with at least 10 million stars.
- The identified ancestor galaxies include Sagittarius, Sequoia, Kraken, Helmi streams, Gaia-Enceladus-Sausage, along with the Milky Way’s main originator.
Tobacco Control Law in India – Origins and Proposed Reforms Report
Why in News?
- A report by National Law School of India University (NLSIU) says that Permission for smoking in designated areas of restaurants, hotels and airports and display of advertisements of tobacco products in stores and kiosks have been identified as “glaring gaps” in the existing tobacco control laws in the country.
- Even though smoking in public places and advertising of tobacco products are banned under the Cigarettes and Other Tobacco Products (Prohibition of Advertisement and Regulation of Trade and Commerce, Production, Supply and Distribution) Act (COTPA) 2003.
Report Proposed Reform
- Doing away with the allowance for smoking in designated areas to prevent “200,000 deaths, resulting from second-hand smoke” and prohibiting point-of-sale advertising and display of tobacco products, “which entice consumers.”
- The report recommends an increase in the minimum age of person to whom a tobacco product can be sold from the existing 18 to 21 years.
- A prohibition on the sale of single stick cigarettes and other loose tobacco products.
- Plain packaging of tobacco products had proven to reduce tobacco consumption.
- The existing penalties under COTPA 2003 to be insufficient. Hence, it has made out a case for enhancing the penalties.
- India has the second largest number of tobacco users – 286 million or 28.6 per cent of all adults in the country. “Of these, at least 1.2 million die every year from tobacco-related diseases,” nearly 27% of all cancers in India are due to tobacco-usage.
- Though COTPA 2003 was intended as a comprehensive law on tobacco control, the report pointed out that it was adopted 15 years ago, before the coming into force of WHO’s Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC).
Proposed Rules on Registering Vintage Vehicles
Why in News?
- The Ministry of Road Transport and Highways has published GSR 734 (E) seeking comments and suggestions in regards to Amendment to CMVR 1989 relating to Vintage Motor Vehicles.
- Through this notification the Ministry intends to formalize the registration process of the Vintage Motor Vehicles.
- There are no existing rules for regulating the registration process of vehicles of heritage value.
- These rules are proposed to be inserted as sub-rules 81A, 81B, 81C, 81D, 81E, 81F, 81G in the Central Motor Vehicle Rules, 1989.
Definition of Vintage Motor Vehicles
- The draft rules define Vintage Motor Vehicles as all those vehicles which are two-wheelers and four-wheelers (non-commercial/personal use) and are more than 50 years old from the date of their first registration (including imported vehicle) are proposed to be called as the Vintage Motor Vehicles.
Procedure: It is proposed that all applications for registration shall be applied on “PARIVAHAN” portal.
It is further proposed that:
- All States registering authority will appoint a nodal officer who will process all applications for registration of Vintage Motor Vehicles.
- Further, States will form a Committee which will inspect a vehicle and declare whether the vehicle is fit for registration under Vintage Motor Vehicle.
- If approved, a 10 digit alpha numeric number will be assigned to the respective Vintage vehicle. This registration shall be valid for 10 years.
- The format for the registration mark will consist of the letters “XX VA YY ****”, where VA stands for vintage, XX stands for State code, YY will be a two letter series and “****” is a number from 0001 to 9999 allotted by State Registering Authority.
- Fees for a new registration- INR 20,000 and subsequent re-registration- INR 5,000.
- If a vehicle is registered as a Vintage Motor Vehicle, the sale and purchase of the vehicle is allowed under the rules.
- Restricted use of Vintage Motor Vehicle: A Vintage Motor vehicle is allowed to run on Indian roads only for display, technical research or taking part in a vintage car rally, refueling and maintenance, exhibitions, vintage rallies, to and fro to such exhibition / car rally.
- Objective is to preserve and promote the heritage of old vehicles in India.
Rules for Registering Nominees of Motor Vehicle Owners
Why in News?
- Ministry of Road Transport and Highways has invited suggestions and comments from public and all stakeholders on the proposed amendment to the Central Motor Vehicles Rules, 1989 to facilitate the owner of the vehicle for nominating a person (Nominee in RC).
- Nomination facility is proposed to be incorporated at the time of registration of the vehicles.
- This would help the motor vehicle to be registered / transferred in the name of the nominee, in case of the death of the owner of the vehicle.
- The process is otherwise cumbersome and non-uniform across the country.
The amendments proposed in the Central Motor Vehicles Rule, 1989 are as under:-
(a) Rule 47. Application for registration of motor vehicles:- An additional clause is proposed to be inserted wherein “proof of identity of nominee, if any” to enable the owner to nominate anyone to be the legal heir of the vehicle in case of death.
(b) Rule 55. Transfer of ownership:- In sub-rule (2), it has been proposed that an additional clause may be inserted wherein “proof of identity of nominee, if any” to enable the owner to nominate anyone to be the legal heir of the vehicle in case of death.
(c) Rule 56. Transfer of ownership in case of death:- (i) In sub-rule (2), which is regarding the process to transfer the vehicle to the legal heir in case there is no nominee has been specified by the registered owner, it is proposed that An additional clause may be inserted wherein “proof of identity of nominee, if any” to enable the owner to nominate a nominee.
(e) Rule 57. Transfer of ownership in case vehicle is purchased in public auction:- In sub-rule (1) which is regarding the application for registration of motor vehicles, An additional clause may be inserted wherein “proof of identity of nominee, if any” to enable the owner to nominate anyone to be the legal heir of the vehicle in case of death.
(f) Amendment of FORM 20, Form 23 A, 24, 30, 31 and 32 has also been proposed for amendment to include details of the nominee and the declaration from the registered owner for entering the details of the nominee.
Human Resource Management System (HRMS)
Why in News?
- Indian Railway has launched completely digitized online Human Resource Management System (HRMS).
What is it?
- Human Resource Management System (HRMS) is a high thrust project for Indian Railways to leverage improved productivity & employee satisfaction.
- Improve efficiency and productivity of Railway system and a step towards realizing the vision of Hon’ble Prime Minister to transform India into a digitally empowered society and knowledge economy.
- Employee Self Service (ESS) module enables railway employees to interact with various modules of HRMS including communication regarding change of data.
- Provident Fund (PF) Advance module enables Railway employees to check their PF balance and apply for PF advance online. Advance processing will be online and employees will also be able to see the status of their PF application online.
- Settlement module digitizes the entire settlement process of retiring employees.
- Employees can fill their settlement / pension booklet online.
- Service details are fetched online and pension is processed online completely.
- This will eliminate use of paper and it also facilitates monitoring for timely processing of settlement dues of retiring employees.
President’s Powers to Pardon — In US, India
Why in News?
- US President Donald Trump recently exercised his powers under the Constitution to pardon Michael Flynn, his former National Security Advisor, who had twice pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI.
What is the extent of the US President’s power to pardon?
How US President pardons
- The President of the US has the constitutional right to pardon or commute sentences related to federal crimes.
- The US Supreme Court has held that this power is “granted without limit” and cannot be restricted by Congress.
- Clemency is a broad executive power, and is discretionary — meaning the President is not answerable for his pardons, and does not have to provide a reason for issuing one.
But there are a few limitations
- For instance, Article II, Section 2 of the US Constitution says all Presidents “shall have Power to grant Reprieves and Pardons for Offenses against the United States, except in Cases of Impeachment”.
- Further, the power only applies to federal crimes and not state crimes — those pardoned by the President can still be tried under the laws of individual states.
How Indian President pardons
- Unlike the US President, whose powers to grant pardons are almost unfettered, the President of India has to act on the advice of the Cabinet.
- Under Article 72 of the Constitution, “the President shall have the power to grant pardons, reprieves, respites or remissions of punishment or to suspend, remit or commute the sentence of any person convicted of any offence where the sentence is a sentence of death”.
- Under Article 161, the Governor too has pardoning powers, but these do not extend to death sentences.
- The President cannot exercise his power of pardon independent of the government.
- Rashtrapati Bhawan forwards the mercy plea to the Home Ministry, seeking the Cabinet’s advice.
- The Ministry in turn forwards this to the concerned state government; based on the reply, it formulates its advice on behalf of the Council of Ministers.
- In several cases, the SC has ruled that the President has to act on the advice of the Council of Ministers while deciding mercy pleas.
- These include Maru Ram vs Union of India in 1980, and Dhananjoy Chatterjee vs State of West Bengal in 1994.
- Although the President is bound by the Cabinet’s advice, Article 74(1) empowers him to return it for reconsideration once.
- If the Council of Ministers decides against any change, the President has no option but to accept it.
India, Bahrain Agreement
Why in News?
- Recently, External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar concluded his two day visit to the country.
- INDIA AND Bahrain agreed to strengthen their ties in areas of defence and maritime security, space technology, trade and investment, infrastructure, IT, FinTech, health, hydrocarbon and renewable energy.
- Both sides affirmed to further strengthen their Covid-related cooperation.
- Expressed satisfaction on operationalisation of Air Bubble arrangement between the two countries.
Why in News?
- Over the last four days, visitors to beaches in Maharashtra have witnessed the spectacle of a fluorescent bluish glow when the waves hit the shoreline.
- Bioluminescence or light-emitting tide made an appearance recently on Juhu beach in Mumbai and Devgad, Velas and Murud along the state’s coastline.
Why did the waves appear blue?
- The phenomenon is called ‘blue tide’, and appears when luminescent marine life make the sea appear a deep shade of blue.
- The spectacle occurs when phytoplankton (microscopic marine plants), commonly known as dinoflagellates, produce light through chemical reactions in proteins.
- Waves disturb these unicellular microorganisms and make them release blue light.
What is Bioluminescence?
- Bioluminescence is the property of a living organism to produce and emit light.
- Animals, plants, fungi and bacteria show bioluminescence.
- A remarkable diversity of marine animals and microbes are able to produce their own light.
- It is found in many marine organisms such as bacteria, algae, jellyfish, worms, crustaceans, sea stars, fish and sharks.
- Luminescence is generally higher in deep living and planktonic organisms than in shallow species.
Why do they glow?
- It is an antipredatory response. Bioluminescence is assumed to startle predators, causing them to hesitate, in a form of predator intimidation.
- Another explanation is that bioluminescence helps these organisms gather together and make colonies.
Are bioluminescent waves common in India?
- Bioluminescence has been an annual occurrence along the west coast since 2016 during the months of November and December.
- While bioluminescence is not common in India, there are several tourist places across the world which are famous for the phenomenon.
- The Blue Grotto in Malta is one of nine caves near the island of Filfa that produces a phosphorescent glow.
- Similar to the Blue Grotto is Bioluminescent Bay in Puerto Rico, San Diego in California, Navarre Beach in Florida, and Toyama Bay in Japan.
Is the blue tide harmful?
- While smaller blooms may be harmless, slow-moving larger blooms may have an impact on deep sea fishing.
- The phenomenon is an indicator of climate change.
- Factors such as the pattern of the wind and the temperature of the ocean also determine the occurrence of bioluminescent waves.
- It is a spectacle but in reality, it is an ecological indicator of degraded water quality.
- The phytoplankton shows up where seawater has low dissolved oxygen and high presence of Nitrogen.
- Bioluminescence could have been caused by heavy rain, fertilizers run off, discharge of sewage into the ocean.
Pakistan Cabinet Approves Chemical Castration Of Rapists
What in News?
- Pakistan’s Cabinet has approved two anti-rape ordinances which called for the chemical castration of rapists with the consent of the convict and setting up of Special Courts for rape trials.
- Approved the Anti-Rape (Investigation and Trial) Ordinance 2020 and the Criminal Law (Amendment) Ordinance 2020.
- The concept of chemical castration for first or repeated offenders has been introduced mainly as a form of rehabilitation, and subject to consent of the convict.
- It is mandatory under the international law to take consent of the convict before castrating him.
- If a convict would not agree to castration, he would be dealt with in accordance with the Pakistan Penal Code (PPC) under which the court might award him death sentence, life imprisonment or 25-year jail term.
- However, it is up to the Court to decide the punishment. The Judge may order chemical castration or the punishment under the PPC.
- It also bar the cross-examination of a rape survivor by the accused. Only Judge and the lawyers of the accused will be able to cross-examine the survivor.
- The proposed laws include in-camera trials, witness protection for the victim and witnesses, use of modern devices during investigation and trial, legal assistance to the victims and appointment of independent support advisers for the victims.
- It prohibits the controversial two-finger test performed on rape survivors.
- The World Health Organisation has already declared the test as unscientific, medically unnecessary and unreliable .
- Human Rights groups have also termed the test as invasive, disrespectful and a gross violation of a woman’s right to dignity and privacy.
Que- Following various social media posts claiming precious minerals diamond being found in Wakching area of Mon district, which state government has recently asked geologists to investigate the issue.