In today’s daily current affairs briefing for UPSC aspirants, we explore the latest developments that hold relevance for the upcoming civil services examination. Our focus today includes a critical analysis of recent policy changes, international affairs, and national developments, all of which play a pivotal role in shaping the socio-political and economic landscape of India. Stay informed and stay ahead in your UPSC preparations with our daily current affairs updates, as we provide you with concise, well-researched insights to help you connect the dots between contemporary events and the broader canvas of the civil services syllabus.
The impact of food on climate
Tag: GS-3 Environment
Agriculture and the food we consume have a significant impact on climate change.
The impact of food on climate is significant and multifaceted. Here are key aspects of this impact:
Greenhouse Gas Emissions:
- Agriculture contributed to approximately 11% of global greenhouse gas emissions in 2018.
- Methane emissions from livestock digestion account for about 10% of agricultural emissions. India, with its substantial livestock population, generates 8% of its total greenhouse gases from methane emissions.
- Emissions are also attributed to the use of synthetic fertilizers and rice cultivation.
- Land use change and deforestation for agricultural purposes release carbon dioxide (CO2) into the atmosphere.
- Energy-intensive processes in food production, including manufacturing and processing, contribute to CO2 emissions.
- The transportation of food over long distances results in the consumption of fossil fuels and associated emissions.
- Decomposing food waste in landfills produces methane gas, which is a potent greenhouse gas.
- The resources used to produce food that ultimately goes to waste, such as water, energy, and land, also contribute to emissions.
- The production and disposal of food packaging materials generate CO2 emissions.
- Plastic packaging, in particular, contributes to plastic pollution and has adverse effects on ecosystems.
- The choices individuals make regarding their diets have a direct impact on emissions. For example, the consumption of high-impact foods like red meat generates more emissions compared to plant-based diets.
- Food choices also influence land use and deforestation patterns, as certain types of agriculture require more land and can lead to habitat destruction.
Climate change has impacts on food systems
Climate change has profound impacts on food systems across the globe, affecting various aspects of crop production, food availability, food quality and safety, food security, distribution, waste, and ecosystems.
- Climate change alters growing conditions, which can lead to changes in crop yields and quality.
- Increased temperatures can result in heat stress for crops.
- Shifts in precipitation patterns can lead to droughts or floods, harming crop growth.
- Altered pest and disease dynamics can affect the overall health of crops.
- Climate change-induced alterations in growing conditions can affect the availability of food.
- Rising temperatures can lead to heat stress in crops, reducing their availability.
- Changes in precipitation patterns, such as prolonged droughts or intense floods, can impact food production.
- Altered pest and disease dynamics can reduce the quantity and quality of available food.
Food Quality and Safety:
- Changing climate conditions can influence the nutritional content of crops, potentially affecting the quality of food.
- Increased temperatures can lead to spoilage and food safety concerns.
- Variations in water availability can impact food processing and safety.
- Climate-induced crop failures can lead to food insecurity, particularly in regions heavily reliant on agriculture.
- Vulnerable populations, including low-income communities, are disproportionately affected by food shortages.
- Migration and conflict can result from food-related stressors exacerbated by climate change.
- Extreme weather events can disrupt transportation routes, impacting the distribution of food.
- Increased energy costs for transportation can lead to higher food prices.
- Changes in trade patterns may affect global food distribution.
- Climate change can exacerbate food waste due to spoilage caused by temperature fluctuations.
- Resource-intensive food production contributes to food waste, as well as environmental degradation.
- Climate change alters ecosystems and biodiversity, affecting important elements such as pollinators and natural pest control.
- Loss of biodiversity can disrupt food production and the overall ecosystem, impacting food systems.
The UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) has not sufficiently addressed the impact of food production on climate change. Efforts to curb emissions in this sector, like the Netherlands’ attempt to reduce nitrous oxide emissions, have encountered resistance and protests. Similarly, New Zealand’s proposal for a “burp” tax faced opposition. The influence of the meat industry on emissions remains a challenging issue, akin to the challenges posed by the fossil fuel sector.
- Importance of Adaptation: There is an urgent need to scale up support, including financial aid, capacity-building, and technology transfer, to enhance adaptive capacity and reduce vulnerability to climate change impacts.
- Crop Diversification: Promoting diversified cropping patterns, particularly focusing on millets, pulses, and horticulture, can contribute to more sustainable agriculture.
- Adaptation Finance: Multilateral banks, financial institutions, and the private sector should mobilize additional resources to support adaptation efforts in the agricultural sector.
- Multi-Pronged Approach: Addressing the climate-hunger crisis requires a multifaceted strategy. This includes creating resilient livelihoods, promoting climate-resilient food crops, empowering women in agriculture, supporting smallholder farmers, and increasing knowledge about vulnerability and food security.
- Sustainable Food Systems: Sustainability should be integrated into all aspects of food production, value chains, and consumption. Additionally, cash transfers for sustainable agriculture may prove more effective than traditional input subsidies.
- Non-Agriculture Sector: Reducing the pressure on agriculture, especially for smallholders and informal workers, can be achieved through labour-intensive manufacturing and services. Strengthening rural Micro, Small, and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) and the food processing sector is a crucial part of this solution.
These solutions aim to address the complex interplay between food production and climate change while promoting sustainability, adaptation, and resilience in the agriculture sector.
Source: Business Standard
Wastewater – Turning Problem into Solution
Tags: GS – 3: Environment and Ecology (Conservation Efforts)
Why in News:
Recently, the Global Wastewater Initiative (GWWI) released a report to tackle wastewater pollution titled “Wastewater – Turning Problem to Solution”. It aims to address the urgent need for sustainable water and wastewater management.
Key Highlights of the Report:
- Wastewater reuse could supply more than ten times the current global desalination. To unlock this potential, public perceptions and concerns about wastewater resource recovery and reuse must change.
- Elevating wastewater reuse in international policy is crucial to addressing climate, nature, and pollution crises.
- Wastewater could serve as an alternative energy source for up to half a billion people, reduce global fertilizer use by over 10%, and irrigate around 40 million hectares of land.
- Wastewater can be a source of raw materials for various industries, including paper, polymers, pesticides, rubber, paint, biodiesel, food additives, and more, contributing to economic and environmental sustainability.
Wastewater and its Challenges:
- Wastewater refers to water that has been used and contaminated through various human activities, such as domestic, industrial, or agricultural processes.
- Globally, the Improper management of wastewater is a challenge. This has been exacerbated by population growth, urbanization, and climate change.
- The domestic and municipal wastewater is projected to increase by 24–38% by 2030.
- Only 11% of domestic and industrial wastewater is currently being reused, indicating untapped potential.
- With 50% of untreated wastewater entering the environment, this problem is still quite serious.
- Poor wastewater management disproportionately affects vulnerable groups, particularly women and children.
Suggested Solutions in the Report:
- The Report suggested three Key Action Areas:
- Reduce the volume of wastewater produced
- Prevent and reduce contamination in wastewater flows
- Sustainably managing wastewater for resource recovery and reuse
- Building blocks required for these action areas:
- Effective and coherent legislation and governance
- Mobilize adequate and sustained investment
- Enhancing human, technical and institutional capacity at all levels (local to global)
- Technical and social innovation
- Stronger data and information
- Increase communications, awareness and accountability
Sand Mining: Irreversible damage to Ocean benthic life
Tags: GS – 3: Environment and Ecology (Environment pollution and degradation)
Why in News:
According to Marine Sand Watch (a new global data platform), approximately six billion tonnes of sand are extracted annually from the world’s oceans, causing irreversible damage to benthic life.
- The term “benthic life” describes organisms that dwell on or very close to the ocean floor as well as in lakes, rivers, and other bodies of water.
- Such organisms, which have evolved to live on river or ocean bottoms, are essential to the ecology because they break down organic matter and feed other aquatic species.
Impact of Sand Extraction on Benthic Life:
- It disturbs the seabed, destroying the habitat and shelter of benthic organisms such as worms, crustaceans, and small fish.
- Dredging activities stir up sediment, increasing water turbidity. This reduces light penetration, affecting photosynthetic organisms and altering the benthic environment.
- Changes in sediment composition and nutrient availability can disrupt the food web and nutrient cycling, affecting benthic communities’ survival and reproduction.
- The machinery and vessels used in sand extraction generate underwater noise, which can disturb and stress benthic organisms, impacting their behaviour and health.
- Benthic organisms may need to migrate or are forcibly displaced due to sand extraction, disrupting their natural life cycles and behaviours.
- Coastal or near-shore extraction can also affect the salinization of aquifers and future tourist development.
Measures taken by the Countries:
- Some countries including Indonesia, Thailand, Malaysia, Vietnam, and Cambodia have banned marine sand export in the last 20 years, while others lack any legislation and /or effective monitoring programmes.
10 Recommendations by UNEP to monitor sand extraction:
- Recognise sand as a strategic resource.
- Include place-based perspectives for just sand transitions.
- Enable a paradigm shift to a regenerative and circular future.
- Integrate policy & legal frameworks strategically.
- Establish ownership and access to sand resources through mineral rights and consenting.
- Map, monitor and report sand resources.
- Establish best practices, national standards, and a coherent international framework.
- Promote resource efficiency & circularity.
- Source responsibly.
- Restore ecosystems and compensate remaining losses.
Source: Down To Earth
Export control of Dual-Use Items
Tags: GS – 2 Government Policies & Interventions
Why in news?
Recently, the Director General of Foreign Trade emphasized the government’s commitment to enhanced export control of dual-use items to prevent them from falling into the hands of non-state actors and terrorists.
- These are items, technologies, materials, or equipment that serve both civilian and military or restricted purposes. While they are primarily designed for civilian use, they can also be employed for military or other prohibited uses. Some examples include precursor chemicals like sarin gas and components like centrifuges.
- Currently, the Directorate General of Foreign Trade (DGFT) in India compiles a specialized list known as SCOMET (specialty chemicals, organisms, materials, equipment, and technologies) that encompasses these dual-use items. These items are subject to regulation in accordance with India’s Foreign Trade Policy.
- The new foreign trade policy places a strong emphasis on streamlining the SCOMET licensing process. This is done to ensure that sensitive and dual-use goods are traded in full compliance with international agreements, including the Missile Technology Control Regime.
Missile and Dual-Use Export Control Regimes
- These are cooperative agreements established by major supplier nations with the goal of averting the spread of specific military and dual-use technologies, especially those associated with Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD).
- These agreements operate separately from the United Nations and are exclusively binding on the nations that are part of them, without imposing any obligation on non-member countries to participate.
India is a member of three out of the four MECRs, excluding the Nuclear Suppliers Group.
The four MECRs include:
- Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) for nuclear technology control
- Australia Group (AG) for chemical and biological technology control
- Missile Technology Control Regime (MTCR) for rockets and aerial vehicles related to WMD delivery,
- Wassenaar Arrangement for conventional arms and dual-use goods and technologies
Source: Economic Times
Adopt a Heritage 2.0
Tags: GS – 1 History
Why in news?
Recently, The Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) has launched a revamped version of the ‘Adopt a Heritage’ programme apart from an Indian Heritage app and an e-permission portal.
Adopt a Heritage 2.0
- It is a revamped version of the earlier scheme launched in 2017.
- It clearly defines the amenities sought for different monuments as per the Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Sites and Remains Act (AMASR Act) 1958.
- It seeks to invite corporate stakeholders to enhance amenities at monuments by utilising their Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) funds.
- Freedom has been given to companies to either adopt a monument in whole and develop its tourism infrastructure or provide a particular amenity such as drinking water facility or cleaning services for one or several sites.
- Applying procedure for a monument:
- The stakeholders can apply for adopting a monument or specific amenities at a monument through a dedicated web portal.
- The process for selection will be carried out after due-diligence and discussions with various stakeholders and assessing the economic and developmental opportunities at each monument.
- The term of the appointment will be for a period of five years initially, which may be further extended up to five years.
Indian Heritage App:
- It is a user-friendly mobile app which will showcase heritage monuments.
- The app will feature state-wise details of monuments along with photographs, a list of public amenities available, geo-tagged locations, and feedback mechanism for citizens.
- An e-permission portal is for obtaining permission for photography, filming, and developmental projects on monuments.
- The portal will fast-track the process of obtaining various permissions and solve operational and logistical bottlenecks.
|Adopt a Heritage Scheme:|
|It is a collaborative effort between the Ministry of Tourism, Ministry of Culture ASI, and State/UTs governments. It was launched in September 2017 on World Tourism Day. The Project aims to develop synergy among all partners to effectively promote ‘responsible tourism’. It aims to involve public sector companies, private sector companies, and corporate citizens/individuals to take up the responsibility for making our heritage and tourism more sustainable. Agencies/Companies would become ‘Monument Mitras’ through the innovative concept of ‘Vision Bidding’, where the agency with the best vision for the heritage site will be given an opportunity to associate pride with their CSR (Corporate Social Responsibility) activities.|
Source: Indian Express
Tags: GS – 3 Economy and development
Why in news?
Recently, The Pradhan Mantri Dakshata Aur Kushalata Sampanna Hitgrahi (PM-DAKSH) Yojana, was in News.
- The Pradhan Mantri Dakshata Aur Kushalata Sampanna Hitgrahi (PM-DAKSH) Yojana, a Central Sector Scheme, was launched during 2020-21.
- The main objective of the Scheme is to enhance competency level of the target groups to make them employable both in self- employment and wage-employment for their socio-economic development.
The scheme primarily focuses on the following target groups:
- Scheduled Castes (SCs)
- Other Backward Classes (OBCs)
- Economically Backward Classes (EBCs)
- Denotified Tribes (DNTs)
- Safai Karamcharis, including waste pickers
- Age Criteria: Between 18 to 45 years.
- No income limit for SCs, Safai Karamcharis (including waste pickers), and DNTs.
- Annual family income below Rs. 3 lakh for OBCs.
- Annual family income below Rs. 1 lakh for EBCs.
- The scheme offers various types of training programs with different durations and costs per candidate:
- Short Term Training
- Entrepreneurship Development Programme
- Long Term Training
- The cost of training is as per common norms issued by Ministry of Skill Development & Entrepreneurship; Government of India and it varies as per duration of the course.
Source: PIB Gov.
Multi-Purpose Seaweed Park (Tamil Nadu)
Tags: GS – 3 Economy, Infrastructure
Why in news?
Recently, On the third day of Sagar Parikrama Phase VIII, the Ministry of Fisheries, Animal Husbandry & Dairying laid the Foundation Stone for a Multi-Purpose Seaweed Park in Tamil Nadu.
- In the Union Budget 2021, the finance minister announced the proposal to set up ‘Multipurpose Seaweed Park in Tamil Nadu’.
- Seaweeds are a type of marine algae, often found in coastal waters.
- It can vary in size and color and is used in various industries, including food, cosmetics, and agriculture.
- Seaweed is rich in nutrients and has diverse applications worldwide.
- The park aims to promote seaweed cultivation for employment, value-added products, and conservation.
- The seaweed park includes the promotion of seaweed cultivation in 136 coastal fishing villages in 6 coastal districts of Tamil Nadu namely Nagapattinam, Thanjavur, Tiruvarur, Pudukottai, Ramanathapuram and Thoothukudi.
- The Multipurpose Seaweed Park is a significant investment to promote seaweed cultivation and research, benefiting scientists, researchers, and local communities.
- The seaweed park will also provide a single window support for the entrepreneurs, processors etc. to access information on schemes, licenses/approvals required, while also providing space to set up processing centers.
|Sagar Parikrama Yatra|
|Main core objectives of the “Sagar Parikrama Yatra” are; to create awareness among fishers, fish farmers and other stakeholders on the sustainable use of marine fishery resources and protection of marine ecosystems. to disseminate information of various fisheries related schemes and programs being implemented by the government. to demonstrate solidarity with all fishers, fish farmers and stakeholders as a spirit of Aatmanirbhar Bharat. to protect the marine life and sea from pollution.|
Source: PIB Gov.
Tags: GS –3 Environment, Conservation
Why in news?
Recently, Mexico’s ‘Maya train’ project has been criticised as a “megaproject of death” causing an ecological disaster in the region.
- Ecocide is defined as “extensive loss, damage or destruction of ecosystems such that the peaceful enjoyment by the inhabitants has been or will be severely diminished.” Here, “inhabitants” applies to all living creatures.
- Ecocide, derived from Greek and Latin, translates to “killing one’s home” or “environment”.
- Such ‘killing’ could include port expansion projects that
- destroy fragile marine life and local livelihoods;
- illegal sandmining; and
- polluting rivers with untreated sewage.
- Mexico is pushing to elevate ecocide to the ranks of an international crime, warranting similar legal scrutiny as genocide.
- There is no accepted legal definition of ecocide, but a panel of lawyers in June 2021 for the Stop Ecocide Foundation prepared a 165-word articulation.
- The biologist Arthur Galston in 1970 is credited with first linking environmental destruction with genocide, which is recognised as an international crime.
- In 2010, British lawyer Polly Higgins urged the United Nations’ International Criminal Court (ICC) to recognise ecocide as an international crime.
- At present Rome Statute of the ICC deals with 4 atrocities.
- crimes against humanity
- war crimes
- the crime of aggression.
- The provision on war crimes is the only statute that can hold a perpetrator responsible for environmental damage, but only if it is intentional and in wartime.
- Ecocide is a crime in 11 countries, with 27 others considering laws to criminalise environmental damage that is wilfully caused and harms humans, animals, and plants.
Source: The Hindu
Vizag International Cruise Terminal
Tags: GS – 3 Infrastructure
Why in news?
The Vizag International Cruise Terminal (VICT) in Visakhapatnam will be inaugurated by the Ministry of Ports, Shipping and Waterways.
The enhancements at the Visakhapatnam Port Authority (VPA) include the Vizag International Cruise Terminal, which is designed to accommodate passenger vessels with a capacity of 2,000 passengers per vessel and a draft of 8.1 meters.
Key statistics and facts about India’s port sector:
- India enjoys a strategic geographical advantage with a coastline spanning 7,517 kilometers.
- Maritime transport plays a pivotal role in handling 70% of India’s trade.
- India commands a significant share, accounting for 30% of the global ship-breaking market.
- The Sagar Mala Program is a prominent initiative that prioritizes port-led development and involves a substantial investment of $123 billion.
- India permits 100% Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) in the port sector through both government approval and automatic routes.
- India’s port infrastructure includes 12 major ports and approximately 200 non-major or intermediate ports.
- Among major ports, the Jawaharlal Nehru Port Trust stands out as the largest, while Mudra Port holds the distinction of being the largest private port in the country.
- The Jawaharlal Nehru Port is notably India’s first 100% Landlord Major Port.
Source: Indian Express
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