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25-June-2024-Daily-Current-Affairs

June 25 @ 7:00 am - 11:30 pm

THE COURT SPELLS THE WAY IN HIMALAYA’S DEVELOPMENT 

TOPIC: (GS3) ENVIRONMENT – SOURCE: THE HINDU 

The Indian Himalayan Region (IHR) is crucial for India’s water supply and ecosystem services. However, the current development model in the IHR is unsustainable, threatening both the environment and economy.  

Recent Supreme Court judgments indicate a shift towards sustainable development as a fundamental right. 

Importance of IHR 

  • IHR: India’s water tower and provider of ecosystem services. 
  • Economic dependence on natural resources. 
  • Unsustainable development risks economic ruin. 

Supreme Court’s Stance 

  • Shift towards a rights-based regime for sustainable development. 
  • State of Telangana vs Mohd. Abdul Qasim: Advocates an ecocentric view of the environment. 
  • Nature’s rights: Fundamental rights to exist, survive, and regenerate. 

Current Development Issues 

  • Overdevelopment of hydroelectric power stations. 
  • Widening of hill roads causing environmental damage. 
  • 2023 floods in Himachal Pradesh: Result of rampant construction violating norms. 
  • Teesta dam breach and monsoon floods: Consequences of unsustainable development. 

Intersectionality of Rights 

  • Ashok Kumar Raghav vs Union of India: Supreme Court addresses carrying capacity of Himalayan states. 
  • Great Indian Bustard Case: Highlights the right to a clean environment and sustainable development. 
  • Rights to life and equality linked to environmental stability and climate resilience. 

Sustainable Infrastructure 

  • Essential for equitable access to development opportunities. 
  • Infrastructure must be resilient to climate change and disasters. 
  • Disasters exacerbate social inequality, affecting the poor the most. 

Way Forward 

  • Disaster management should be integrated into development planning. 
  • Convergence of authorities at the planning stage to ensure disaster and climate resilience. 
  • Sustainable development is now a fundamental right, particularly in the IHR. 

Conclusion 

  • Development must align with the IHR’s carrying capacity. 
  • Legal framework needed for sustainable development in the IHR. 
  • Supreme Court judgments provide a basis for necessary course corrections. 

Summary 

The IHR’s development needs must align with environmental sustainability to prevent economic and ecological damage. Recent Supreme Court rulings emphasize sustainable development as a fundamental right, highlighting the necessity of resilient infrastructure and integrated planning to ensure equitable development. 

Multiple Choice Question: 

  1. Which of the following statements about Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) in India is/are correct?
  1. EIA is mandatory for all projects, regardless of their size or potential environmental impact. 
  1. Public consultation is an integral part of the EIA process in India. 
  1. The Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change (MoEFCC) is the nodal agency for conducting EIAs in India. 

Select the correct answer using the code given below: 

  1. 1 only 
  1. 2 and 3 only 
  1. 1 and 3 only 
  1. 1, 2, and 3 

ANSWER – B 

EXPLANATION: 

In India, Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) is not mandatory for all projects. The EIA Notification 2006 under the Environment (Protection) Act, 1986 specifies the types and sizes of projects that require EIA. Projects are categorized based on their potential environmental impacts, and only certain categories require an EIA. 

Public consultation is a key component of the EIA process in India. It involves seeking the views and concerns of the local population and other stakeholders who might be affected by the proposed project. This ensures transparency and that potential environmental and social impacts are considered. 

The Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change (MoEFCC) is the nodal agency responsible for the EIA process in India. The MoEFCC issues guidelines, approves projects, and ensures compliance with environmental regulations. 

THE NITI AAYOG’S PROJECT IN GREAT NICOBAR 

TOPIC: (GS3) ENVIRONMENT – SOURCE: THE HINDU 

The Holistic Development of Great Nicobar Island project, costing ₹72,000 crore, includes the construction of a transshipment terminal, an international airport, a power plant, and a township. The project is being implemented by the Andaman and Nicobar Islands Integrated Development Corporation (ANIIDCO). 

Ecological Concerns 

  • Forest Land Diversion: 130 sq km. 
  • Tree Felling: Around 10 lakh trees. 
  • Denotified Wildlife Sanctuaries: Galathea Bay and Megapode Wildlife Sanctuaries. 
  • Endangered Species: Giant leatherback turtle, Nicobar megapode. 

Social Concerns 

  • Tribal Communities: Shompen and Nicobarese. 
  • Legal Violations: Inadequate consultation and consent from tribal communities. 
  • Health Risks: Shompen vulnerable to infectious diseases. 
  • Land Issues: Ancestral lands of Great Nicobarese classified as “uninhabited”. 

Earthquake Threat 

  • Seismic Activity: Andaman and Nicobar in the “ring of fire”. 
  • Earthquakes: Region has experienced around 500 earthquakes in the last decade. 
  • Seismic Zone: Category V, the highest seismic hazard zone. 

Conclusion 

Concerns about ecological impact, tribal rights violations, and earthquake risks have led to demands for a thorough review and suspension of the project. 

Multiple Choice Question: 

  1. Which of the following passes is located in the Andaman and Nicobar Islands?
  1. Duncan Passage 
  1. Ten Degree Channel 
  1. Eight Degree Channel 
  1. Nine Degree Channel 

Select the correct answer using the code given below: 

  1. 1 and 2 only 
  1. 2 and 3 only 
  1. 1, 2, and 4 only 
  1. 1, 3, and 4 only 

ANSWER – A 

EXPLANATION: 

Duncan Passage: 

This is a strait in the Indian Ocean. 

It separates Rutland Island (part of the Andaman Islands) to the north and Little Andaman Island to the south, both of which are part of the Andaman and Nicobar Islands. 

Ten Degree Channel: 

This channel separates the Andaman Islands from the Nicobar Islands. 

It is located between Little Andaman Island and Car Nicobar Island. 

Eight Degree Channel: 

This channel is not located in the Andaman and Nicobar Islands. 

It is located between the islands of Minicoy (part of the Lakshadweep group) and the Maldives. 

Nine Degree Channel: 

This channel is also not located in the Andaman and Nicobar Islands. 

It separates the Lakshadweep Islands from Minicoy Island. 

HOW PUBLIC EXAMINATIONS ACT CAN DEAL WITH CHEATING 

TOPIC: (GS2) POLITY AND GOVERNANCE– SOURCE: THE INDIAN EXPRESS 

The Public Examinations (Prevention of Unfair Means) Act, 2024 was enacted to prevent cheating in public exams. The law came into force on June 21, 2024. 

Operational Framework 

  • Appoints Centre Coordinators, venue in-charges, and Regional Officers. 
  • Establishes guidelines for Computer Based Tests (CBT), including registration, allocation, and examination processes. 
  • Detailed norms for physical and digital infrastructure at exam centers. 

Centre Coordinator Role 

  • The Centre Coordinator, a government employee or retiree, oversees exam activities and compliance with standards. 
  • Coordinates between service providers and examination authorities. 

Definition of Public Examination 

  • Covers exams conducted by UPSC, SSC, RRBs, IBPS, NTA, and other central government departments. 
  • Allows the government to add more examination authorities through notifications. 

Unfair Means 

  • Lists 15 unfair practices including paper leakage, tampering with answer sheets, providing unauthorized solutions, and creating fake websites or exams. 
  • Detailed reporting framework for incidents of unfair means. 

Rationale for the Act 

  • Aims to address numerous cases of exam paper leaks, which have disrupted recruitment exams and affected millions of candidates. 
  • Provides a comprehensive legal framework to ensure transparency, fairness, and credibility in public examinations. 

Implementation 

  • The Ministry of Personnel, Public Grievances and Pensions notified the rules for the Act, ensuring detailed procedures and standards are in place for fair conduct of public examinations. 

POWER MARKETS IN INDIA: THEIR WORKING, ADVANTAGES, AND THE ROAD AHEAD 

TOPIC: (GS2) POLITY AND GOVERNANCE– SOURCE: THE INDIAN EXPRESS 

Power trading markets in India help in the buying and selling of electricity. These markets are vital for ensuring efficient resource allocation, competitive pricing, and market liquidity. 

Types of Markets 

  • Spot Markets: Trades occur on the same day or a few hours before delivery. 
  • Contract Markets: Facilitate longer-term trades beyond a single day. 
  • Day-Ahead Market (DAM): Closed auctions for 15-minute blocks of electricity for the next day. 
  • Term-Ahead Market (TAM): Trades from 3 hours to 11 days in advance. 
  • Renewable Energy Certificates (REC): Allow utilities to meet Renewable Purchase Obligations (RPOs) by purchasing RECs, each representing 1 MWh of renewable electricity. 

Power Exchanges in India 

  • Power markets operate on exchanges, promoting competitive pricing and better resource allocation. 
  • Established by the Electricity Act of 2003, with operations starting in 2008. 
  • Three major power exchanges: Indian Energy Exchange Ltd (IEX), Power Exchange India Limited (PXIL), and Hindustan Power Exchange Ltd (HPX). 
  • IEX dominates with over 90% market share, trading 110 billion units (BU) in FY 2023-24, covering nearly 7% of India’s total power demand. 

Future Developments 

  • Matches bids from all power exchanges to discover a uniform market clearing price, ensuring efficient price discovery and stability. 

Capacity Markets 

  • Generators get paid for available capacity, ensuring long-term grid reliability and incentivizing investment in generation capacity. 

Conclusion 

These advanced market structures aim to align India’s power markets with international standards, attracting more investment and fostering competition. 

Multiple Choice Question: 

  1. Consider the following statements regarding power markets and their regulatory agency in India:
  1. The Electricity Act of 2003 laid the foundation for the operation of power exchanges in India. 
  1. The Central Electricity Regulatory Commission (CERC) regulates power exchanges in India. 
  1. The Indian Energy Exchange Ltd (IEX) and Hindustan Power Exchange Ltd (HPX) are the only power exchanges operating in India. 

Which of the statements given above is/are correct? 

  1. 1 only 
  1. 1 and 2 only 
  1. 2 and 3 only 
  1. 1, 2, and 3 

ANSWER – B 

EXPLANATION: 

The Electricity Act of 2003 indeed provided the regulatory framework for the establishment and operation of power exchanges in India. This Act aimed to introduce competition, efficiency, and transparency in the power sector. 

The Central Electricity Regulatory Commission (CERC) is the statutory body responsible for regulating power exchanges in India. It ensures fair play, efficiency, and transparency in the functioning of power markets, including overseeing the operations of power exchanges like Indian Energy Exchange Ltd (IEX) and Power Exchange India Limited (PXIL). 

The statement that “The Indian Energy Exchange Ltd (IEX) and Hindustan Power Exchange Ltd (HPX) are the only power exchanges operating in India” is incorrect. While Indian Energy Exchange Ltd (IEX) is the largest and dominates the market share, there are actually three major power exchanges in India, including Power Exchange India Limited (PXIL) and Hindustan Power Exchange Ltd (HPX).  

COMMITTEE ON DIGITAL PAYMENTS INTELLIGENCE PLATFORM 

TOPIC: (GS3) ECONOMY– SOURCE: TIMES OF INDIA 

The committee chaired by A.P. Hota aims to tackle rising payment frauds through the adoption of advanced technologies. Its objective is to mitigate risks associated with digital payments by implementing innovative solutions and frameworks 

This initiative underscores the importance of enhancing security measures to protect digital transactions from fraudulent activities 

Bulk Deposits Threshold Increase: 

  • Raised from Rs 2 crore to Rs 3 crore for commercial banks and small finance banks. 
  • Local area banks set at Rs 1 crore. 
  • Allows banks flexibility in interest rates based on ALM projections. 

Automatic e-Mandate: 

  • Enables automatic balance replenishment for Fastag and NCMC under e-mandate. 
  • Exempts 24-hour pre-debit notification requirement. 

UPI Lite e-Mandate: 

  • Integrates UPI Lite into e-mandate framework. 
  • Allows automatic wallet reloads below user-set balance threshold. 

Export-Import Norms Update: 

  • Streamlines rules for exporting and importing goods and services. 
  • Aims to simplify business procedures. 
  • These measures aim to enhance efficiency, reduce fraud, and streamline financial operations in India’s banking sector. 

STRIPED CAECILIAN (ICHTHYOPHIS SPP.) 

TOPIC: (GS3) ENVIRONMENT– SOURCE: DOWN TO EARTH 

In a recent rapid herpetofauna survey, the Striped Caecilian (Ichthyophis spp.) was discovered for the first time in Kaziranga National Park.  

This limbless amphibian, characterized by its worm-like body and belonging to the family Ichthyophiidae, was found burrowed underground.  

This discovery sheds light on the park’s biodiversity and underscores its role in preserving unique species within India’s ecosystem.  

Habitat: Lives underground, carnivorous in nature. 

Significance: 

  • Offers insights into evolutionary history and intercontinental speciation. 
  • Acts as an indicator species for environmental health. 
  • Plays a role in pest control. 

Kaziranga National Park Overview 

  • Establishment: Declared a National Park in 1974, UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1985. 
  • Biodiversity: Home to the “Big 5” species: Rhinoceros, Tiger, Elephant, Wild Water Buffalo, and Swamp deer. 
  • Vegetation: Includes alluvial inundated grasslands, tropical wet evergreen forests, and tropical semi-evergreen forests. 

These discoveries and features highlight Kaziranga’s ecological importance and its role in conserving diverse species like the Striped Caecilian, contributing to biodiversity and environmental preservation efforts in India. 

STRATEGIC FRAMEWORK FOR HUMAN SPACEFLIGHT COOPERATION 

TOPIC: (GS3) SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY– SOURCE: HINDUSTHAN TIMES 

The collaboration between NASA and India in human spaceflight aims to enhance cooperation through specific initiatives.  

These include a joint project on the International Space Station (ISS) that will feature an Indian astronaut, marking a significant milestone in India’s space exploration efforts. 

Additionally, ISRO astronauts are set to undergo advanced training at NASA’s Johnson Space Center, aimed at strengthening their skills and capabilities in space missions 

 

Lunar Gateway Programme 

  • Participation: India exploring involvement in the Lunar Gateway Programme. 
  • Context: Part of the broader Artemis programme led by the US for lunar exploration. 

NASA-ISRO Synthetic Aperture Radar (NISAR) 

  • Purpose: Jointly developed satellite to map Earth’s surface. 
  • Frequency: Maps Earth every 12 days to aid in climate change efforts. 

India-US Initiative on Critical and Emerging Technology (iCET) 

  • Launch: Initiative launched in May 2022. 
  • Focus Areas: Collaboration in critical technologies such as AI, semiconductors, and defence space. 
  • Recent Developments: iCET Dialogue in June 2024 involving US Space Force and Indian startups. 

These initiatives underscore the deepening partnership between NASA and India, aiming to leverage each other’s strengths in space exploration and cutting-edge technologies for mutual benefit and global advancement. 

THAILAND’S LEGALIZATION OF SAME-SEX MARRIAGE 

TOPIC: (GS2) INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS – SOURCE: THE INDIAN EXPRESS 

Thailand’s recent legislative move has positioned it as a pioneer in Southeast Asia regarding same-sex marriage rights, following Nepal and Taiwan in Asia.  

Marriage Equality Bill 

  • Passage: Approved by the Thai Senate on June 18, 2024. 
  • Significance: Marks Thailand’s readiness to legalize same-sex marriage. 
  • Impact: Sets a precedent in Southeast Asia for LGBTQ+ rights. 

Regional and Global Context 

  • Southeast Asia: Poised to become the first country in the region to legalize same-sex marriage. 
  • Asia: Third Asian country after Nepal and Taiwan to recognize same-sex marriage. 

Implications 

  • Legal Framework: Provides legal recognition and rights to same-sex couples. 
  • Social Progress: Reflects evolving attitudes towards LGBTQ+ rights in Thailand and Asia. 
  • Global Influence: Highlights Thailand’s role in advancing human rights within the region. 

This development in Thailand represents a significant step forward for LGBTQ+ equality, potentially influencing legal and social landscapes across Southeast Asia and beyond.

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Date:
June 25
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7:00 am - 11:30 pm
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