India net zero Target
- India will achieve net zero emissions latest by 2070, Indian Prime Minister said at the COP26 summit in Glasgow.
- Until Monday, India was the only major emitter that had not committed to a timeline to achieve net zero, or a year by which it would ensure its net carbon dioxide emissions would be zero.
- By 2030, India will ensure 50% of its energy will be sourced from renewable sources. India also committed to reduce its carbon emissions until 2030 by a billion tonnes. India will also reduce its emissions intensity per unit of GDP by less than 45%.
- India would also install systems to generate 500 gigawatt of renewable energy by 2030, a 50 GW increase from its existing target, the Prime Minister said.
- He added that in the spirit of climate justice, rich developed countries ought to be providing at least $1 trillion in climate finance to assist developing countries and those most vulnerable.
India’s deepening water crisis
- The complexity and scale of the water crisis in India calls for a locus specific response that can galvanize and integrate the ongoing work of different Ministries and Departments through new configurations.
- In the rural areas, 80%-90% of the drinking water and 75% of the water used for agriculture is drawn from groundwater sources.
- In urban areas, 50%-60% of the water supply is drawn from groundwater sources, whereas the remaining is sourced from surface water resources such as rivers, often located afar, in addition to lakes, tanks and reservoirs.
- According to the composite water management index released by the think tank NITI Aayog in 2019, 21 major cities (including Delhi, Bengaluru, Chennai, Hyderabad) were on the brink of exhausting groundwater resources, affecting about 100 million people.
- The study also points out that by 2030, the demand for water is projected to be twice the available supply
- If the Government is serious about addressing the water crisis in urban areas, the Ministry of Water Resources must reconfigure its relationship with other Ministries and Departments (Urban Development, Local Self-Government and Environment).
- This would be for enhanced integration and coordination through effective land and water zoning regulations that protect urban water bodies, groundwater sources, wetlands and green cover while simultaneously working to enhance waste water recycling and water recharge activities targeting aquifers and wells through rainwater harvesting
- The draft report of the Central Ground Water Board concluded that Punjab would be reduced to a desert in 25 years if the extraction of its groundwater resources continues unabated;
- Concomitantly, cultivation of water intensive crops such as paddy have further aggravated water depletion, even turning water saline.
- Immediate measures need to be taken to manage and replenish groundwater, especially through participatory groundwater management approaches with its combination of water budgeting, aquifer recharging and community involvement
- At the sectoral level, the Ministries and Departments of water resources must coordinate efforts with their counterparts in agriculture, the environment and rural development for greater convergence to achieve water and food security.
- At the disciplinary level, governance and management should increasingly interact and draw from the expertise of fields such as hydrology (watershed sustainability), hydrogeology (aquifer mapping and recharge) and agriculture sciences (water-sensitive crop choices and soil health).
- The Ministry of Jal Shakti, last year, had announced an ambitious plan to provide water connections to every household in India by 2024.
- In view of the ongoing erosion of water resources and an ever-increasing demand for water, the thrust should not be on promising water supply.
- Instead the aim should be towards protecting and conserving water resources on the one hand and minimizing and enhancing efficiency of water usage on the other.
- The purpose for collecting caste wise data in the decennial Census is to understand the contours of inequality.
- These data are crucial to understand how caste intersects with class, gender, and regionality to structure access to resources.
- The collected caste data should be publicly available for use.
- In this regard, the caste data would continue the existing practice of the Office of the Registrar General of India to make Census data publicly available
- In the absence of detailed caste data, we fail to name and confront major structural and foundational problems of society;
- Leave space for opportunistic politicians to exploit each caste; and miss the opportunity to craft reasoned, data-driven, and inclusive public policies
- Updated data on the entire caste system, including its intersections with other identities, will provide a more complete picture of exclusion and inequality in India.
- Political parties map the caste and religious composition of neighborhoods, cities, and villages to mobilize votes.
Crypto currency vs Central bank
- Money creation by central banks causes the price of all goods to rise and also tends to accelerate the adoption of alternative assets as currencies.
- When central banks create a lot of money, it leads to an increase in the prices of not just goods such as food and cars but also that of commodities such as gold and silver, considered to be alternative forms of money.
- Yet, for various reasons, the rally in bitcoin may be no more than a case of speculative mania.
- Commodities such as oil and steel possess use value because these assets are used to run vehicles and build real estate.
- Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies may be scarce but it is questionable whether they possess any use value or exchange value.
- Gold and silver have traditionally served as hedges against inflation because they possess fundamental value derived from their use as jewellery and money.
- But bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies neither offer direct use value nor possess significant exchange value bitcoin can buy you very few real goods and services.
- In short, cryptocurrencies possess no significant fundamental value to sustain their current high prices.
- It is possible that investors are bidding up the price of bitcoin because they foresee a future in which private currency is widely accepted as money
- The monopoly that governments (and central banks) possess over the issuance of money is at the root of their power and influence.
- This allows governments to fund their budget deficits, particularly during times of crises such as the current pandemic when tax revenues have taken an unprecedented hit.
- It also allows central banks to tinker with the money supply under the mandate of managing aggregate demand in the economy.
- In essence, monopoly control over money allows governments to indirectly tax citizens by increasing the supply of currencies, thus devaluing them.
- If cryptocurrencies like bitcoin are going to challenge fiat currencies like the U.S. dollar as a medium of exchange, they would essentially be challenging the authority of the government to print and spend.
- This is not an assault that governments will tolerate for long.
- They will allow cryptocurrencies to exist only as long as these currencies remain a speculative asset and not a medium of exchange.
- The BASIC countries (also Basic countries or BASIC) are a bloc of four large newly industrialized countries Brazil, South Africa, India and China formed by an agreement on 28 November 2009.
- The four committed to act jointly at the Copenhagen climate summit, including a possible united walk-out if their common minimum position was not met by the developed nations.
- This emerging geopolitical alliance, initiated and led by China, then brokered the final Copenhagen Accord with the United States.
- Subsequently, the grouping is working to define a common position on emission reductions and climate aid money, and to try to convince other countries to sign up to the Copenhagen Accord.
Ganges dolphins conservation
- The Jal Shakti Ministry on Monday released a guide for the safe rescue and release of stranded Ganges river dolphins.
- The document has been prepared by the Turtle Survival Alliance and the Environment, Forest and Climate Change Department (EFCCD) of the Uttar Pradesh Government.
- The guide has been drawn from years of experience of rescuing 25 Ganges river dolphins stranded in irrigation canals.
- The Ganges river dolphin is the national aquatic animal of India and is listed as ‘endangered’ under the IUCN Red List Assessments, Schedule I of the Indian Wildlife (Protection) Act (1972), Appendix I of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES).
- The species, whose global population is estimated at 4,000, is mostly found in the Indian subcontinent.
- The dolphins often accidentally enter canals in northern India and are unable to swim up against the gradient. They are also vulnerable to harm by people.
- The manual is endorsed by the IUCN Cetacean Specialist Group. Best practices on crowd control, dolphin capture from canals and handling, transfer, transport and release are part of the guide.
- “Found throughout the Ganges-Brahmaputra-Meghna and Karnaphuli-Sangu River systems of Nepal, India and Bangladesh, the Ganges river dolphin [Platanista gangetica gangetica] is a global priority and is also an indicator of healthy aquatic systems.