PIB Weekly Analysis

Compilation of PIB News Articles

GS PAPER 2

BRICS Nations come together for Urban Environmental Management

Topic: Important International institutions, agencies and fora- their structure, mandate.

In news 

Acknowledging the importance of urban environmental management for improving quality of life in cities, the Environment Ministers of BRICS countries agreed to work together to resolve the multifaceted environmental issues faced by BRICS cities during the 5thBRICS Minister of Environment Meeting held in Sao Paulo, Brazil.

Importance of BRICS for cooperation: 

  • BRICS is a very good platform for all five countries for co-operation and development. 
  • All five countries are rising and have many experiences to share which will definitely help all the economies to improve further in our climate action efforts and protecting environment while ensuring growth at the same time.
  • India has set an example in achieving its NDC’s and all countries need to walk the talk.
  • Very big platform for south south cooperation.

The Ministerial Declaration highlighted key initiatives as follows:

  • Partnership on Urban Environmental Sustainability Initiative (PUESI) to share knowledge and experience on important issues as waste management, cogeneration, reverse logistics, sanitation, urban air quality and urban green areas.
  • BRICS Environmentally Sound Technology (BEST) Cooperation Platform for innovations, knowledge sharing and capacity building.
  • Clean River of BRICS program for improvement of river ecology.
  • Combating marine litter. 

Environment Ministers agreed to establish and strengthen concrete mechanisms of implementation of the cooperation initiatives with special focus on action-oriented cooperation. 

The key themes which are to be integrated into BRICS cooperation initiatives are: 

  • Urban environmental management
  • Contaminated areas and soil remediation
  • Water quality
  • Circular economy in context of sustainable consumption and production
  • Marine litter
  • Biodiversity 

India’s recent initiatives are as follows: 

  • Swachh Bharat Mission
  • Waste Management Rules
  • Nationally Determined Contributions under Paris Agreement
  • National Clean Air Programme
  • Electric mobility
  • Marine litter mitigation 
  • Urban forestry scheme
  • Development of resource efficiency policy.

These efforts and innovative solutions for improving urban environmental quality were well acknowledged by the BRICS countries.

Other initiatives and commitments: 

  • With respect to biodiversity, BRICs countries stand committed to support the development of Post-2020 Global Biodiversity Framework and expect the prospective framework to acknowledge the sustainable use of biodiversity and Access and Benefit Sharing components.
  • Countries urged developed countries to fulfill their commitment under the UNFCC and its Kyoto Protocol and Paris Agreement to provide means of implementation to developing countries including climate finance, technology development and transfer and capacity building support. 
  • BRICS countries reaffirmed the importance of jointly exploring new sources of financing individual, bilateral and multilateral projects.
  • Highlighting access to financial resources as key to tackling environmental problems in the developing world.

Steps taken by India for achieving nationally determined goals: 

  • We have achieved reducing energy intensity by 25%.
  • 78GW of renewable energy has been made possible.
  • forest cover has increased by nearly 15,000 sqkm
  • tree cover outside the forest is increasing rapidly


BASIC countries to play an important role in making Paris agreement accepted in letter and spirit by the World

Topic: Bilateral, regional and global groupings and agreements involving India and/or affecting India’s interests

In news

In the run-up to the United Nations Framework for Climate Change (UNFCC) Conference of Parties (COP-25) meet to be held later in the year from 2nd to 13th December, the BASIC countries held its 28th Ministerial meeting on Climate Change from 14th to 16th August in Sao Paulo, Brazil.

About BASIC?

  • The BASIC countries (also Basic countries or BASIC) are a bloc of four large newly industrialized countries – BrazilSouth AfricaIndia 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.
  • The four countries also said they will announce their plans to cut greenhouse gas emissions.
  • The grouping discussed the possibility of providing financial and technical aid to the poorer nations of the G77, and promised details after their Cape Town meeting. 
  • BASIC countries coming together and putting views together is an important aspect of UN negotiations. 
  • Brazil, South Africa, India and China put together has one-third of world’s geographical area.
  • Nearly 40% of the world’s population and when we unitedly speak in one voice this shows our determination and the BASIC Group could play an important part in making  Paris agreement accepted by all the countries in its true letter and spirit.

Joint Statement issued at the conclusion of the 28th BASIC Ministerial Meeting on Climate Change, São Paulo, Brazil, 16 August 2019 are as follows:

  • The concern for climate change and its adverse effects and reaffirmed their commitment to the successful implementation of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), its Kyoto Protocol and its Paris Agreement, based on the recognition of the needs and special circumstances of developing countries and in accordance with the principles of Equity and Common But Differentiated Responsibilities and Respective Capabilities (CBDR-RC).
  • Ministers underlined that BASIC countries are implementing ambitious climate action both in the pre-2020 period and in their proposed NDCs, having achieved substantial progress, notwithstanding the multiple challenges they face in terms of social and economic development and poverty eradication. 
  • They are committed to sharing best practices and supporting each other through south-south cooperation as they further develop their domestic climate policies and actions. 
  • The Ministers highlighted the significant gaps in pre-2020 climate efforts not only in mitigation, but also in adaptation and support to developing countries. 
  • Countries urged Parties that have not yet done to ratify the Doha Amendment to the Kyoto Protocol as soon as possible, to ensure its prompt entry into force, given the valuable contribution it could make to global climate action leading up to 2020.
  • They pledged the group’s full support to the incoming Chilean Presidency of COP 25 and emphasized the importance of moving forward and reaching concrete results in Santiago, which is a crucial opportunity for closing the action and ambition gaps before 2020.
  • They reiterated their commitment to work together with all Parties in an open, transparent, inclusive and Party-driven manner to achieve a balanced and comprehensive outcome on all remaining items of the Paris Agreement Work Programme.
  • They look forward for the Summit to send a strong political signal for global low-carbon, climate resilient and sustainable development and produce positive outcomes for pre-2020 ambition and implementation support for developing countries. 
  • Ministers stressed that the enhanced transparency framework established by the Paris Agreement should facilitate exchange of information, best practices, as well as address the needs faced by developing countries, ensuring the required flexibility. 
  • The BASIC Ministers urged developed countries to fulfill their climate finance commitments of mobilizing USD 100 billion annually by 2020 for developing countries in a transparent manner and on a grant basis. 
  • Ministers expressed the expectation that the first replenishment of the Green Climate Fund by the end of 2019 will double the initial resource mobilization pledge, ensuring that financial contributions by developed countries match the ambition, needs and priorities of developing countries.
  • Ministers noted the work of International Maritime Organization (IMO) and International Civil Aviation (ICAO) on reduction of carbon emissions and underscored that work being undertaken by IMO and ICAO must complement the UNFCCC, its Kyoto Protocol and its Paris Agreement and conform to their key principles, in particular Equity and CBDR-RC.
  • Ministers welcomed the offer of China to host the 29th BASIC Ministerial Meeting.

MAINS QUESTION

BASIC countries to play an important role in making Paris agreement accepted in letter and spirit. Critically comment. (10 marks) 


India and Lithuania

Topic: Effect of policies and politics of developed and developing countries on India’s interests, Indian Diaspora.

How both countries can excel together?

  • India, which represents one sixth of the global population, has a rightful claim to the permanent membership of the United Nation’s Security Council.
  • The need for enlarging and democratizing the UN Security Council. Lithuania’s support for India’s claim for permanent membership of the Security Council is important.
  • Observing that terror has become a big global menace and is the enemy of mankind called for early adoption of the Comprehensive Convention on International Terrorism (CCIT) by the UN, which was mooted by India in the UN in 1996.
  • Cooperation between the parliamentarians of the two nations should be enhanced for promoting peace, prosperity and well being of the people of the two countries.
  • Both the countries enjoyed close cultural ties, Lithuanian Universities for promote Indology studies and publication of Comparative Dictionary of 108 Common Lithuanian and Sanskrit words and ‘History of Lithuania’ in Hindi.
  • India-Lithuania Business Forum: Lithuanian businessmen to tap the immense opportunities in India, which has a rising middle class market comparable to the European Union.
  • Given Lithuania's technological competence in solar storage cells, we could seek appropriate transfer of technologies from you
  • IT & ITES, Pharmaceuticals and Agro-food Processing among the areas in which the two nations could collaborate. 
  • Lithuania has strengths in dairy and cheese production and such technologies would be appreciated in India's mega food parks.

Why investment in India?

  • India is the 6th largest economy in the world.
  • Evolving into a US $ 5 trillion economy by the year 2024-25.
  • India requires approximately US $ 292 billion in new investments every year.
  • Referring to the huge demographic advantage offered by India with youth under 35 years comprising about 60% of its 1.3 billion population.
  • India has undertaken an ambitious plan to build next-generation infrastructure, including 100 Smart Cities, airports, high-speed trains, highways, and cyber connectivity.
  • Rapid growth in construction of national highways and the ambitious plans to develop more than a 100 rivers as national waterways.
  • India was also focusing on renewable sources to generate energy and planning to achieve 40 per cent of its energy from non-fossil sources by 2030 and increase its renewable energy capacity to 175 GW by 2022. 

MAINS QUESTION

How far are Baltic countries important for India? In what ways can India build a strong partnership with these countries? Explain. (12.5 marks)


Points to be remembered for prelims:

Geographical Indication (GI) 

The Geographical Indication (GI) under the Department for Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade hasrecenly registered 4 new GIs. 

  • Palani Panchamirtham from Palani Town in Dindigul District of Tamil Nadu State.
  • Tawlhlohpuan and Mizo Puanchei from the state of Mizoram
  • Tirur Betel leaf from Kerala

What is GI?

  • GI is an indication used on products that have a specific geographical origin and possess qualities or a reputation that are due to that origin. 
  • Such a name conveys an assurance of quality and distinctiveness which is essentially attributable to its origin in that defined geographical locality.

Palani Panchamirtham:

  • It is an abishega Prasadam, from Palani Town.
  • Offered to Lord Dhandayuthapani Swamy, the presiding deity of Arulmigu Dhandayuthapaniswamy Temple, situated in palani Hills.
  • It is a combination of five natural substances, namely, banana, jaggery sugar, cow ghee, honey and cardamom in a definite proportion. 
  • It is prepared in a natural method without addition of any preservatives or artificial ingredients and is well known for its religious fervour and gaiety. 
  • This is the first time a temple ‘prasadam’ from Tamil Nadu has been bestowed with the GI tag.

Tawlhlohpuan:

  • A medium to heavy, compactly woven, good quality fabric from Mizoram is known for warp yarns, warping, weaving & intricate designs that are made by hand. 

Mizo Puanchei:

  • A colourful Mizo shawl/textile is considered as the most colourful among the Mizo textiles. 
  • It is also the most commonly used costume in Mizo festive dances and official ceremonies. 
  • The weavers insert the designs and motifs by using supplementary yarns while weaving to create this beautiful and alluring textile.

Tirur betel vine:

  • It is mainly cultivated in Tirur, Tanur, Tirurangadi, Kuttippuram, Malappuram and Vengara block panchayaths of Malappuram District
  • Valued both for its mild stimulant action and medicinal properties.
  • It is commonly used for making pan masala for chewing, it has many medicinal, industrial and cultural usagesand is considered as a remedy for bad breath and digestive disorders.

How will GI tag benefit?

GI products can benefit the rural economy in remote areas, by supplementing the incomes of artisans, farmers, weavers and craftsmen. India’s rural artisans possess unique skills and knowledge of traditional practices and methods, passed down from generation to generation, which need to be protected and promoted.The Department for Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade has taken several initiatives in this regard and is actively involved in promotion and marketing of GIs.

National Tribal Festival “Aadi Mahotsav” 

  • Aadi Mahotsav (National Tribal Festival), a joint initiative of Ministry of Tribal Affairs, Government of India & Tribal Cooperative Marketing Development Federation of India (TRIFED) is all set for a colourful start at Polo Ground, Leh-Ladakh.
  • The theme of the festival is: “A celebration of the spirit of Tribal Craft, Culture and Commerce”. 
  • TRIFED essentially is to play the role of a ‘Service provider’ & ‘Market Developer.’
  • The event will see around 160 Tribal artisans from more than 20 states across the country, actively participating and showcasing their masterpieces. 
  • The event will have two reputed local cultural troupes presenting Ladakhi folk dances. The troupes will perform Jabro Dance - a nomadic dance and song of people inhabiting eastern Ladakh and Spawo dance, a heroic song and dance associated with a legendary hero of Himalayan region called K’sar. 

National Sports Awards -2019 

  • National Sports Awards are given every year to recognize and reward excellence in sports. 
  • Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna Award is given for the spectacular and most outstanding performance in the field of sports by a sportsperson over a period of four year.
  • Arjuna Award is given for consistently outstanding performance for four years.
  • Dronacharya Award for coaches is given for producing medal winners at prestigious International sports events.
  • Dhyan Chand Award for life time contribution to sports development and 
  • Rashtriya Khel Protsahan Puruskar are given to the corporate entities (both in private and public sector) and individuals who have played a visible role in the area of sports promotion and development. 
  • Overall top performing university in inter-university tournaments is given Maulana Abul Kalam Azad (MAKA) Trophy.
  • Apart from a medal and a citation, Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna Awardee will receive a cash prize of Rs. 7.5 lakh. 
  • Arjuna, Dronacharya and Dhyan Chand Awardees will receive statuettes, certificates and cash prize of Rs. 5 lakh each. 
  • A trophy and citation is given to the entity in the Rashtriya Khel Protsahan Puruskar, 2019. 
  • Recipients of Rashtriya Khel Protsahan Puruskar will be given Trophies and certificates. 
  • Overall top performing university in inter-university tournaments will be given MAKA Trophy, award money of Rs. 10 lakh and certificate.

NISHTHA is the world’s largest teachers’ training programme

  • Union Human Resource Development Minister launched the National Mission to improve Learning Outcomes at the Elementary level- NISHTHA, National Initiative for School Heads and Teachers Holistic Advancement. 
  • It is the largest teachers training programme of its kind in the world. 
  • Basic objective of this massive training programme ‘NISHTHA’ is to motivate and equip teachers to encourage and foster critical thinking in students. 
  • Teachers will get awareness and develop their skills on various aspects related to Learning Outcomes, Competency Based Learning and Testing, Learner-centered Pedagogy, School Safety and Security, Personal-social qualities, Inclusive Education.
  • ICT in teaching-learning including Artificial Intelligence, Health and well-being including yoga, Initiatives in School Education including library, eco club, youth club, kitchen garden, School Leadership qualities, Environmental Concerns, Pre-school, Pre-vocational Education and School Based Assessment in a joyful learning manner.
  • Integrated programme aims to build the capacities covering all teachers and Heads of Schools at the elementary level in all Government schools, faculty members of State Councils of Educational Research and Training (SCERTs), District Institutes of Education and Training (DIETs) as well as Block Resource Coordinators and Cluster Resource Coordinators in all States and UTs.
  • It is first of its kind wherein standardized training modules are developed at national level for all States and UTs. 
  • The prominent features of this integrated programme are activity based modules including educational games and quizzes, Social-emotional learning, motivational interactions, team building, preparation for school based assessment, in-built continuous feedback mechanism, online monitoring and support system, training need and impact analysis (Pre and Post training).

SARAL: ‘State Rooftop Solar Attractiveness Index’

  • Union Minister of State for Power and New & Renewable Energy (IC) and Skill Development & Entrepreneurship, launched the State Rooftop Solar Attractiveness Index–SARAL.
  • The State of Karnataka has been placed at the first rank in the Index that evaluates Indian states based on their attractiveness for rooftop development. 
  • Telangana, Gujarat and Andhra Pradesh have got 2nd, 3rd and 4th rank respectively.
  • It would incentivise rooftop solar by creating healthy competition among the States. He encouraged all States to adopt the best practices being followed by top ranking States.
  • SARAL has been designed collaboratively by the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE), Shakti Sustainable Energy Foundation (SSEF), Associated Chambers of Commerce and Industry of India (ASSOCHAM) and Ernst & Young (EY). 

SARAL currently captures five key aspects:

  • Robustness of policy framework
  • Implementation environment
  • Investment climate
  • Consumer experience
  • Business ecosystem

Advantages:

  • It encourages each state to assess the initiatives taken so far, and what it can do to improve its solar rooftop ecosystem. 
  • It will help states to channelize investments that can eventually help the sector grow.  
  • In addition, such an exercise is likely to create a more conducive environment for solar rooftop installations, encourage investment and lead to accelerated growth of the sector.