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03-November-2023-Daily-Current-Affairs

November 3, 2023 @ 7:30 am - 11:30 pm

BIOSPHERE RESERVES ARE EVOLVING AS POCKETS OF HOPE.

GS 3 (ENVIRONMENT): SOURCE – THE HINDU

Biosphere reserves, recognized by UNESCO, stand as beacons of hope in combating the environmental challenges the world faces. These pockets of natural sanctuaries protect biodiversity, reduce pollution, and promote climate resilience. As World Biosphere Reserve Day approaches on November 3, it’s essential to comprehend their significance and efforts for conservation and sustainable use.

                  

The Role of Biosphere Reserves:

  • Island of Principe Biosphere Reserve: In Sao Tome and Principe, children are provided with stainless steel water bottles, significantly curbing the use of single-use plastic. These UNESCO-designated reserves act as crucial shelters in the climate crisis, preserving ecological balance and offering innovative solutions.
  • Core Zones and Ecosystem Conservation: Biosphere reserves primarily comprise strictly protected core zones housing diverse flora and fauna. Surrounding buffer zones promote living in harmony with nature, facilitating scientific study, education, and conservation efforts.

UNESCO’s Global Impact:

  1. International Impact: Currently, there are 748 biosphere reserves across 134 countries, fostering cooperation among nations. Backed by UNESCO and other UN agencies, these reserves influence over 250 million individuals across the globe, with India hosting 12 such sites.
  2. Biodiversity and Economic Sustainability: These reserves are home to unique ecosystems, preserving endangered species and providing opportunities for sustainable economic development. Furthermore, they are pivotal in absorbing carbon dioxide, acting as essential carbon sinks to combat climate change.

Local Community Involvement:

  • Local Initiatives: Biosphere reserves like Sundarban and Gulf of Mannar in India showcase community-driven efforts for conservation. These areas engage locals in managing forests, eco-tourism, and recycling efforts, such as constructing roads from recycled plastic.
  • Challenges and Threats: Despite their critical role in environmental protection, biosphere reserves confront challenges such as deforestation, invasive species, and exploitation due to increasing urbanization and population growth.

Regional Collaboration and Progress:

  • 10th SACAM Meeting: Recently concluded SACAM meeting in Chennai, focused on sustainable environmental practices and collaboration in South and Central Asia, emphasizing the “Ridge to Reef” theme.
  • UNESCO MAB Programme: Through the Man and the Biosphere programme, UNESCO aims to integrate natural and social sciences, benefiting livelihoods, ecosystems, and sustainable economic development.

Conclusion:

World Biosphere Reserve Day celebrates the essence of these reserves in environmental conservation and sustainability. Recognizing their vital role in protecting nature and combatting climate change, the global community continues to focus on conserving these invaluable pockets of natural heritage.

FRESH RESTRICTIONS KICK IN AS AIR QUALITY TURNS ‘SEVERE’

As Delhi’s air quality hit ‘severe’ levels, a series of stringent measures were put into effect, encompassing school closures, limitations on construction activities, and stringent regulations on vehicular movements.

                 

Imposition of Restrictions:

  1. School Closure: Primary schools in Delhi are closed on November 3 and 4 due to escalating pollution. Physical classes are suspended in Municipal Corporation of Delhi (MCD) schools, although online sessions will continue.
  2. Ban on Construction and Demolition: All non-essential construction activities, except for vital projects, were prohibited immediately by the Commission for Air Quality Management (CAQM) in Delhi-NCR.
  3. Vehicular Regulations: BS-III petrol and BS-IV diesel four-wheelers found operating in the city will face a fine of ₹20,000, as directed by the CAQM. These restrictions will come into force upon the issuance of official orders by State governments.
  4. Industrial Halts: Stone crushers, mining operations, and related activities in the National Capital Region (NCR) will be closed. Additionally, a decision has been left to Delhi and NCR States regarding the discontinuation of physical classes for children up to Class 5, with online sessions being recommended.

Air Quality Status and Graded Response:

  • Delhi’s air quality index (AQI) surpassed ‘severe’ levels, reaching 410 to 427 by late evening. This scale categorizes air quality from ‘good’ to ‘severe’ based on AQI readings. The stringent measures, part of the Graded Response Action Plan (GRAP) Stage 3, aim to mitigate rising pollution levels.

Conclusion:

The immediate implementation of Stage 3 measures under the GRAP highlights the urgency to combat worsening air quality in Delhi. The combination of school closures, construction bans, vehicular restrictions, and industrial halts indicates a multi-pronged approach to address the current environmental crisis.

SLOWING MOMENTUM

GS 3 (ECONOMY): SOURCE – PIB

Recent economic data, inclusive of key sector output indices and purchasing managers’ surveys, portrays a concerning deceleration in India’s economic momentum. The confluence of slowing production across major industries and diminishing manufacturing growth signals potential challenges for the economy.

Slowing Industrial Momentum:

  • Industrial Output Deceleration: Government figures report a notable reduction in production growth across crucial sectors such as cement, coal, steel, and electricity. Average year-on-year output growth dipped to a four-month low at 8.1% in September from August’s 12.5%.
  • Industry-Specific Declines: Except for fertilizers, all sectors experienced a reduction in growth rates. Factors such as surplus precipitation during the monsoon and heavy rains in September impacted cement, electricity, and steel production, leading to a substantial decline from August’s robust growth.
  • Sequential Contractions: All eight sectors witnessed a sequential contraction, with an overall 4.8% decline from August levels. Coal, however, maintained relatively robust growth, with a 16.1% output increase year-on-year.

Manufacturing Sector Concerns:

  1. PMI Insights: The S&P Global India Manufacturing PMI highlighted a decline in sectoral growth to an eight-month low in October. Sluggish new orders and weakening international sales exacerbated concerns, particularly regarding demand for consumer goods.
  2. Employment and Inflation: Job creation in manufacturing has slowed significantly, paired with accelerated input cost inflation. However, factory gate inflation remained sluggish, indicating producers’ efforts to curb the pass-through of elevated costs due to uncertain demand.
  3. Future Outlook and Challenges: Declining business confidence attributed to rising inflation expectations foresees a dent in demand and production growth for the next year. Anticipated lower kharif output implies limited rural income, further contributing to economic challenges.

Conclusion:

The compounding issues of sluggish growth and persistent inflation demand immediate attention from policymakers to address these pressing economic challenges. Balancing economic stability amid declining growth and inflation remains a significant task in the current scenario.

FOOD PRODUCTION ACCOUNTS FOR 15% FOSSIL FUEL USE, AS BIG OIL LOCKS IN DEPENDENCE ON PETROLEUM-BASED PESTICIDES

GS 3 (ECONOMY): SOURCE – DOWN TO EARTH

The interdependence between fossil fuel use and food production has recently surfaced, revealing that the global food industry consumes approximately 15% of fossil fuels annually. A study brought to light the alarming connections between food production and fossil fuel use, prompting urgent reconsideration of the existing food systems to curtail these emissions.

Key Highlights of Fossil Fuel Use in Food Production:

Energy Consumption and Emissions:

  • Food production consumes about 15% of the total global fossil fuel usage, equivalent to 4.6 gigatonnes of carbon dioxide annually, matching the collective emissions of the European Union countries and Russia.
  • Fossil fuels play a significant role in various stages of the industrial food production value chain, including input production, agricultural activities, processing, packaging, and retail, driving emissions that are comparable to major global economies.

Dependency on Fossil Fuels:

  • Investments by the fossil fuel industry in petrochemicals for manufacturing plastics, pesticides, and fertilizers are increasing, cementing the reliance of food systems on high-carbon energy sources.

Evolving Energy Needs Across Food Chain:

  • The food supply chain involves considerable energy requirements, primarily in processing and packaging (42% energy consumption) followed by retail, consumption, and waste (38% energy usage).
  • The distance food travels have increased, intensifying emissions due to longer supply chains necessitating higher packaging and more rigorous processing needs.

Fossil Fuel Usage by Food Stages:

  • The research revealed that the input and agricultural production stages collectively consume 20% of energy in food systems, with land use and agricultural activities representing 15% and input production, notably fertiliser production, accounting for around 5%.
  • Anticipations signal a notable surge in fossil fuel usage in fertiliser production by 2050, contributing significantly to increased emissions.

Corporate Influence and Food Transformation:

  • A handful of major corporations dominate the agri-food and energy sectors, influencing the current fossil fuel and chemical-dependent food system. Addressing corporate power concentration and empowering smaller stakeholders will be crucial for substantial food system transformation.

Conclusion:

The association between food production and fossil fuel usage demands a radical transformation in the food industry to diminish this heavy reliance on high-carbon energy sources. Addressing corporate power and promoting participation from small-scale players is pivotal in steering a significant shift toward a more sustainable and less fossil fuel-dependent food system.

HYDROCLIMATE EXTREMES TO INTENSIFY IN NEAR FUTURE OVER THE INDIAN RIVER BASINS (IRBS): INDIAN SCIENTISTS

GS 3 (ECONOMY): SOURCE – DOWN TO EARTH

Recent scientific studies indicate the escalating impact of hydroclimate extremes on Indian river basins (IRBs) due to climate change. These forecasts project significant challenges in managing extreme weather events, affecting various sectors like agriculture, health, and urban spaces. Simultaneously, regulatory changes in cross-border payment systems are set to transform financial transactions in India.

Hydroclimate Extremes over Indian River Basins:

Key Findings:

  • Climate modeling through Earth system models (ESMs) predicts increased occurrences of intense rainfall, droughts, and extreme precipitation.
  • Vulnerable areas, including the western Ghats, Indus, West, and central IRBs, will face heightened risks due to intensified rainfall.
  • Agricultural drought is anticipated in the Lower Ganga basin.
  • Urban centers like Mumbai and Pune in the west-flowing IRBs might confront higher probabilities of urban flooding.

Recommendations:

  • Identification of urban flooding hotspots for tailored climate adaptation strategies.
  • Development of strategies to manage water surplus or scarcity to mitigate climate impacts.

Payment Aggregator-Cross Border (PA-CB) Directives:

Regulatory Changes:

  • The revised directive under the Payment and Settlement Systems Act and Foreign Exchange Management Act pertains to Payment Aggregator-Cross Border entities.
  • These entities facilitate cross-border payments involving both wholesale and retail transactions, including remittances.

Significance and Challenges:

  • Cross-border payments have immense potential for international trade and ease of transactions, but they face challenges related to varying government regulations and security risks.

Government Initiatives:

  • The Payments Vision 2025 strategy aligns with global efforts to improve cross-border payments.
  • Initiatives such as the UPI system and NPCI International Payments Limited aim to enhance cross-border payment links with other countries.

Climate Change Programme under DST:

National Missions:

  • The Department of Science & Technology (DST) manages National Missions focusing on climate change, including the sustainability of the Himalayan ecosystem and strategic knowledge for climate change.
  • These missions are part of the National Action Plan on Climate Change (NAPCC), designed to enhance India’s climate adaptation and ecological sustainability.

Conclusion:

The projected intensification of hydroclimate extremes in Indian river basins necessitates robust strategies for adaptation and mitigation. Similarly, the changes in cross-border payment regulations offer opportunities for streamlining international financial transactions, albeit requiring meticulous regulation to address challenges. The DST-led climate change program is pivotal in shaping India’s climate resilience and sustainable development strategies.

ELECTRONIC-NEGOTIABLE WAREHOUSE RECEIPT (E-NWR) SYSTEM

GS 3 (POLITY AND GOVERNANCE): SOURCE- THE INDIAN EXPRESS

  • The Electronic-Negotiable Warehouse Receipt (e-NWR) system, introduced in 2011, facilitates the transfer of commodity ownership stored in a warehouse without requiring physical delivery.
  • e-NWRs are digital warehousing receipts issued by authorized warehouses and are governed by the Warehousing Development and Regulatory Authority (WDRA), a statutory body.
  • These receipts, similar to the traditional NWRs, are in negotiable form, rendering them suitable as collateral for financial transactions.
  • Benefits of the e-NWR system include centralized online real-time recordkeeping, allowing efficient monitoring of commodities stored in warehouses.
  • It promotes simplified and secure transfer of ownership by digitizing the receipts, reducing the need for physical movement of the stored goods. Moreover, the e-NWR ensures the tracking and security of the commodities stored in warehouses, modernizing the process of managing warehousing receipts.

SCHEME TO PROVIDE FINANCIAL ASSISTANCE TO POOR PRISONERS

GS 2 (POLITY AND GOVERNANCE): SOURCE- THE INDIAN EXPRESS

  • The financial assistance scheme for underprivileged prisoners, instructed by the Home Ministry, seeks to help impoverished prisoners gain release from jail.
  • The scheme requires states and Union Territories to identify eligible beneficiaries among the prisoners who are facing financial constraints.
  • Under the program, the Central government will reimburse fines up to ₹40,000 for each undertrial and ₹25,000 for convicts suffering financial hardship while detained in prison.
  • However, the scheme does not extend to individuals accused under severe acts like the Prevention of Corruption Act, the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA), the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act (NDPS), and other serious offenses.
  • The goal is to support financially disadvantaged prisoners by alleviating their fines, aiding in their release from incarceration, and helping them reintegrate into society, reducing the burden of financial constraints faced during their imprisonment.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Details

Date:
November 3, 2023
Time:
7:30 am - 11:30 pm
Event Category: