|About Daily Homework for Prelims and Mains|
|1. Make a separate notebook for this section.|
|2. Write down the questions provided daily.|
|3. Try to dig out all the facts related to given questions.|
|4. Daily revise the notes before next target|
FOR PRELIMS AND MAINS COMBINED
Japan to test mini space elevator It’s the world’s first experiment to test travel between two mini satellites in space
- A Japanese team has developed a “space elevator” and will conduct a first trial this month, blasting off a miniature version on satellites to test the technology.
Enlighten about the test
- The test equipment, produced by researchers at Shizuoka University, will hitch a ride on an H-2B rocket being launched by Japan’s space agency from southern island of Tanegashima next week.
- The test involves a miniature elevator stand-in — a box just 6 cm long, 3 cm wide, and 3 cm high.
- If all goes well, it will provide proof of concept by moving along a 10-metre cable suspended in space between two mini satellites that will keep it taut.
- The mini-elevator will travel along the cable from a container in one of the satellites.
- It’s going to be the world’s first experiment to test elevator movement in space
- The movement of the motorised “elevator” box will be monitored with cameras in the satellites.
- The idea was first proposed in 1895 by Russian scientist Konstantin Tsiolkovsky after he saw the Eiffel Tower in Paris but technical barriers have always kept plans stuck at the conceptual stage
2+2 to take full view of ties
U.S Statement prior to the dialogue
- India’s defence ties with Russia and energy links with Iran will not be the primary focus of the inaugural India-U.S. “2 plus 2” dialogue
- The dialogue is the highest-level discussion of the year between the two countries.
- The discussion is expected to take a comprehensive look at strategic ties between India and the U.S.
- On top of the discussion is the likely US plans to have a landmark agreement on communication and coordination on security issues – COMCASA and sale of high tech military items.
- The COMCASA agreement will allow exchange of secure communication between the two militaries and facilitate the sale of high tech encryption systems to India.
- The “2 plus 2” dialogue was planned during Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to Washington DC last year and issues related to Iran and Russia that are important to the administration of President Donald Trump are expected to be discussed.
- The U.S. has been demanding that India “zero out” energy supply from Iran, even as Delhi has avoided spelling out how exactly it would comply with the American demand.
- The other major U.S. concern is the S400 missile defence shield worth $6 billion that India plans to acquire from Russia. U.S.
In a first, LCA undergoes mid-air refuelling
- The indigenous Light Combat Aircraft (LCA) Tejas has successfully carried out mid-air refuelling for the first time with an IL-78 tanker
- The mid-air refuelling carried out , is one of the critical requirements for the Tejas to achieve Final Operational Clearance.
- The Tejas fighter perfectly replicated computer simulations of mid-air refuelling which have been carried out on the ground by engineers associated with the Tejas programme.
Enlighten about Tejas
- The Indian Air Force (IAF) currently operates nine Tejas fighters built to an Initial Operating Clearance (IOC) standard.
- The IAF has 40 Tejas Mk1 fighters on order and will acquire another 83 Tejas Mk-1A fighters which will be more capable than the handful of fighters which have been developed.
- Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL), has been manufacturing the jets
- A more sophisticated variant of the jet, the Tejas Mk-2 is also under development but is unlikely to fly before 2022.
- Simultaneously, 2 Navy prototypes of the Tejas are also being tested.
- These will conduct trials off the deck of the Indian Navy’s aircraft carrier, INS Vikramaditya, by the end of the year.
34% Indians not active enough: WHO
- Thirty-four per cent of Indians — 24.7% male and 43.9% females — are not active enough to stay healthy, according to the latest study released by the World Health Organisation (WHO)
- The report shows that globally more than 1.4 billion adults are at risk of diseases from not doing enough physical activity.
Enlighten about the report
- Published in Lancet Global Health, the study notes that there is no improvement in global levels of physical activity since 2001.
- The data shows that if current trends continue, the 2025 global activity target of a 10% relative reduction in insufficient physical activity will not be met.
- Insufficient activity puts people at greater risk of cardiovascular disease, Type 2 diabetes, dementia, and some cancers, according to the first study to estimate global physical activity trends over time.
- Worldwide, around one in three women and one in four men do not do enough physical activity to stay healthy.
- Levels of insufficient physical activity are more than twice as high in high income countries compared with low income countries, and increased by 5% in high income countries between 2001 and 2016
- The highest rates of insufficient activity in 2016 were found in adults in Kuwait, American Samoa, Saudi Arabia and Iraq, where more than half of all adults were insufficiently active.
- Comparatively, around 40% of adults in the U.S., 36% in the U.K. and 14% in China were insufficiently active.
- In 2016, around one in three women (32%) and one in four men (23%) worldwide were not reaching the recommended levels of physical activity to stay healthy — that is, at least 150 minutes of physical activity of moderate intensity or 75 minutes of physical activity of vigorous intensity per week.
Action on climate change could add $26 trillion to world economy
- Ambitious action on climate change could contribute an extra $26 trillion to the world economy by 2030, international experts expressed and urged nations and businesses to step up their engagement.
Global Commission on the Economy and Climate report
- The economic benefits offered by a shift to a low-carbon economy have been “grossly” underestimated, according to the Global Commission on the Economy and Climate
- Bold action could yield a direct economic gain of $26 trillion through to 2030 compared with business-as-usual. And this is likely to be a conservative estimate
Enlighten about the report
- Dynamic action on climate could generate “over 65 million new low-carbon jobs” by 2030 and avoid over 7,00,000 premature deaths due to air pollution
- But policymakers were “not taking sufficiently bold action to escape the legacy economic systems
- The shift would involve change in five key areas: the development of clean energy systems, improved urban planning, a shift towards more sustainable agriculture, smart water management and decarbonising industry.
- It called on governments to put a price on carbon of at least $40-80 by 2020, and to move towards mandatory climate risk disclosure for major investors and companies.
STATIC PORTION – ENVIRONMENT+ POLITY
What is Compensatory Afforestation?
Compensatory afforestation means afforestation done in lieu of diversion of forest land for non-forest use.
What does CAF Bill seek?
The Compensatory Afforestation Fund Bill seeks to govern how forests will be raised, cut and resurrected across India.
Background ( Why we need a legislation?)
- The Forest (Conservation) Act, 1980 (FCA) governs diversion or use of forest land for non-forest purposes such as industrial or infrastructure projects.
- A company diverting forest land must provide alternative land for taking up compensatory afforestation.
- For the afforestation purpose, the company should pay for planting new trees in the alternative land provided to the state. The loss of forest ecosystem must also be compensated by paying for (NPV).
- In 2002, the Supreme Court of India observed that collected funds for afforestation were underutilised by the states and it ordered for centrally pooling of funds under ad hoc Compensatory Afforestation Fund.
- The court had set up the ad hoc National Compensatory Afforestation Fund Management and Planning Authority (National CAMPA) to manage the Fund.
- In 2009, states also had set up State CAMPAs that receive 10% of funds form National CAMPA to use for afforestation and forest conservation.
- However, in 2013, a CAG report identified that the funds continued to be underutilised.
In the absence of permanent institutional mechanism more than Rs.40,000 crores have accumulated with the said ad-hoc Body i.e. CAMPA. Hence the Bill.
What are the salient features of the passed bill ?
- It seeks to establish the National Compensatory Afforestation Fund under the Public Account of India, and a State Compensatory Afforestation Fund under the Public Account of each state.
- The payments into the funds include compensatory afforestation, net present value of forest (NPV), and any project specific payments.
- The National Fund will get 10% of funds collected and the remaining 90% will go to respective State Fund.
- The collected funds will be utilised for afforestation, regeneration of forest ecosystem, wild life protection and forest related infrastructure development.
- The bill also seeks to establish National and State Compensatory Afforestation Fund Management and Planning Authorities to manage the funds.
- The determination of NPV will be delegated to an expert committee constituted by the central government.
- The Bill also provides for constitution of an authority at national level and at each of the State and Union territory Administration for administration of the funds and to utilise the monies so collected for
- undertaking artificial regeneration (plantations),
- assisted natural regeneration,
- protection of forests,
- forest related infrastructure development,
- Green India Programme,
- wildlife protection and other related activities and
- for matters connected therewith or incidental thereto
What is the significance of passed bill?
- The legislation will ensure expeditious utilization of accumulated unspent amounts available with the ad hoc CAMPA, which presently is of the order of Rs.40,000 crore, and
- Fresh accrual of compensatory levies and interest on accumulated unspent balance, which will be of the order of approx. Rs. 6,000 crore per annum, in an efficient and transparent manner
What is CAMPA?
CAMPA stands for Compensatory Afforestation Fund Management and Planning Authority . It was a temporary mechanism setup after SC judgement of 2002.
Premise of CAMPA:
- CAMPA is based on trade-off: environmental concerns will be sacrificed for developmental projects
- CAMPA believes that forests can be replaced easily
What is proposed?
- To use money for artificial plantation of trees
- To use money for building ‘infrastructure development’ and ‘supply of wood’
- NHAI suggested that CAMPA funds be used for mitigation of wildlife deaths on roads through creation of underpasses and bypasses for animals.
- We do not have land available for planting new forests.
- Complex forest systems cannot be recreated easily. Ecological restoration takes time.
- CAMPA funds has been used for purchasing forest department vehicles or repairing buildings.
- Afforestation has been undertaken on the flanks of railway lines, highways, and so on, raising trees with poor survival rates but certainly not creating biodiverse forests
What should be done?
- Rather than creating new and artificial forests, existing forest land should be restored and bought by the forest department using the CAMPA funds.
- Afforestation should be done in areas like forest corridors like between 2 tiger reserves and eco-sensitive areas like a riparian or estuarine system
- Infrastructure built should include wildlife impact assessments
- There are critical ecosystems that require attention and funding today, including marine areas, birding areas, riparian and coastal areas, and high altitude grasslands
- Funds can and should be channelized for conservation of endangered species.
Comptroller & Auditor General of India (CAG)
Appointed by President, nominated by PM of India + Office term – 6 years or upto 65 yrs of age + Salary – 90,000 / month & can be removed by the President on the same grounds & manner as a judge of SC.
Duties & Function
- He is the chief Guardian of Public purse & head of Indian audit & account department
- Audits accounts of Union & states to ensure nothing is spent out of consolidated fund of India or of the state without the sanction of the parliament or respective state legislature
- Audits government owned companies (51% stake of Gov.) as an external auditor
- Reports of CAG are taken into consideration by public accounts committee (PAC)
Public accounts committee (PAC)
- A committee of not more than 22 members (LS → 15 & RS → 7)
- formed every year in parliament & state legislature
- No member of PAC should be from COM)
- Chairman of PAC is appointed by speaker of Lok sabha & is generally from opposition party
Independence of office of CAG
Gets security of tenure as though appointed by President, CAG may be removed from his office only on the grounds of proved misbehavior or incapacity only in a manner as a judge of SC is removed (i.e. each house of parliament is passing a resolution supported by not less than 2/3rd of the members present & voting )
- Salary & conditions of his service can not be changed except under financial emergency
- His salary is charged from consolidated fund of India & is not subjected to vote of parliament (paid salary equivalent to Judge of SC) & is eligible for annual pension
- In other matters, his conditions of service shall be determined by rules applicable to an IAS officer, holding a rank of secretary to GOI
- After retirement, he is disqualified for appointment under union or state government