Relevance : GS Paper III (Ecology & Environment)
[900 words reduced to 150]
- Air pollution in north India has largely been attributed to stubble burning.
- Farmers are held responsible for the crisis but policies of the Central and State governments are at fault.
- How to tackle stubble burning?
- crop diversification towards less water-intensive crops
- strengthen the production and marketing of alternative crops
- providing farmers an investment support and withdraw price-based support
- an app-based support system, to rent out tractors and farm implements
- effective use of paddy straw
- framers should be given options such as biomass generation
- use of geospatial techniques to identify areas where stubble burning is severe
- encourage installation of biomass plants in areas of high stubble burning
- Incentivize farmers to sell the residual for additional income
- Incidents of stubble burning can be averted by long-term vision and strategic policy interventions.
- Soon, the government will amend the Aadhaar Act to give all citizens an option to withdraw their Aadhaar number, including biometrics and the data.
- This follows the Supreme Court judgment in September when it had struck down Section 57 of the Act that allows private entities to use the unique number for verification.
- The Supreme Court had also declared that seeking to link Aadhar with bank accounts and SIM cards was unconstitutional.
- The court had also struck down Section 33(2), which allowed disclosure of Aadhaar information for national security reasons on the orders of an officer not below Joint Secretary.
- Global carbon emissions are set to hit an all-time high of 37.1 billion tonnes of CO2 in 2018.
- India, the third-highest contributor, is projected to see emissions rise by 6.3% from 2017.
- The 2.7% projected global rise in 2018 has been driven by appreciable growth in coal use for the second year in a row, and sustained growth in oil and gas use.
- This week, representatives from more than 190 countries have begun discussions at the U.N. Climate Change Conference (COP 24) in Katowice, Poland, on ways to equitably cut carbon emissions.
- Second year in a row CO2 emissions have now risen for a second year after three years of little to no growth from 2014 to 2016.
- The 10 biggest emitters in 2018 are China, U.S., India, Russia, Japan, Germany, Iran, Saudi Arabia, South Korea, and Canada. The EU as a region of countries ranks third.
- China’s emissions accounted for 27% of the global total.
- Emissions in the U.S. account for 15% of the global total.
- Limiting global warming to the 2015 Paris Agreement goal of keeping the global temperature increase this century to well below 2°C, would need carbon dioxide emissions to decline by 50% by 2030 and reach net zero by about 2050.
- Though coal use contributed to the rise in 2018 from last year, it still remains below its historical high in 2013.
- The Supreme Court has put in place a witness protection regime in the country, noting that one of the main reasons for witnesses turning hostile was that they were not given security by the State.
- Under it, witness protection may be as simple as providing a police escort to the witness up to the courtroom or, in more complex cases involving an organised criminal group, taking extraordinary measures such as offering temporary residence in a safe house, giving a new identity, and relocation to an undisclosed place.
- India’s first six-tonne-class advanced communication satellite GSAT-11, was put into orbit from the European spaceport in Guiana in South America.
- Its mission is to enable high-speed satellite-based Internet services to users in rural and remote areas and to businesses down home over the next 15 years.
- It is the heaviest ever satellite to be built by the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO). It weighs 5,854 kg.
- Centre may bring back curbs in Andamans.
- To develop tourism, the RAP regime, in place since 1963, was lifted around August this year from 29 islands, including the North Sentinel.
- Though the regime was withdrawn, a tourist is required to take permission from the Forest Department and the local administration as it is protected under two other Acts.
- In a bid to bring in more transparency to loan pricing mechanism, particularly for small borrowers, the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has asked banks to link the floating interest rate on retail loans and loans extended to micro and small businesses to external benchmarks.
- At present, these loans are linked with marginal cost of funds based lending rate, which is an internal benchmark of a bank.
- The RBI said the lending rate on such loans should be linked to one of the four benchmarks —
- Reserve Bank of India policy repo rate,
- Government of India 91-day treasury bill yield,
- Government of India 182-day treasury bill yield or
- Any other benchmark market interest rate produced by the Financial Benchmarks India Private Ltd.
- The move is expected to end the practice of lowering interest to only new customers to attract more business while the existing customers continue to pay higher rate.
Sahitya Akademi Award
Tamil writer S. Ramakrishnan has won the Sahitya Akademi Award for 2018 for his novel Sancharam, which captures the lives of nagaswaram players in karisal bhoomi – the arid land – of Tamil Nadu.
*For those (highlighted in RED) who attempted exam after the time was up, result has not been taken into consideration.