Topic- India and its neighborhood- relations.
India- BIMSTEC Relation
BIMSTEC ‘Conference on Combating Drug Trafficking’ starts in Delhi
- The Union Minister for Home Affairs inaugurated the two-day BIMSTEC ‘Conference on Combating Drug Trafficking’, in New Delhi.
- The conference is organized by Narcotics Control Bureau (NCB).
- Bangladesh, Bhutan, Myanmar, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Thailand and different State Governments of India, are participating in the conference.
What is the BIMSTEC
- The Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation (BIMSTEC) is a regional organization.
- It comprises seven Member States lying in the littoral and adjacent areas of the Bay of Bengal constituting a contiguous regional unity.
- This sub-regional organization came into being on 6 June 1997 through the Bangkok Declaration.
- It constitutes seven Member States:
- Five deriving from South Asia: Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Nepal, Sri Lanka, and
- Two from Southeast Asia: Myanmar and Thailand.
Genesis of BIMSTEC
- Initially, the economic bloc was formed with four Member States with the acronym ‘BIST-EC’ (Bangladesh, India, Sri Lanka and Thailand Economic Cooperation).
- Myanmar was included on 22 December 1997 during a special Ministerial Meeting in Bangkok, the Group was renamed ‘BIMST-EC’ (Bangladesh, India, Myanmar, Sri Lanka and Thailand Economic Cooperation).
- With the admission of Nepal and Bhutan at the 6th Ministerial Meeting (February 2004, Thailand), the name of the grouping was changed to ‘Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation’ (BIMSTEC).
- The objective of building such an alliance was to harness shared and accelerated growth through mutual cooperation in different areas of common interests.
- It aims to mitigate the onslaught of globalization and by utilizing regional resources and geographical advantages.
- Unlike many other regional groupings, BIMSTEC is a sector-driven cooperative organization.
- Starting with six sectors—including trade, technology, energy, transport, tourism and fisheries—for sectoral cooperation in the late 1997.
- It expanded to embrace nine more sectors—including agriculture, public health, poverty alleviation, counter-terrorism, environment, culture, people to people contact and climate change—in 2008.
Significance of BIMSTEC
- The regional group constitutes a bridge between South and South East Asia and represents a reinforcement of relations among these countries.
- BIMSTEC has also established a platform for intra-regional cooperation between SAARC and ASEAN members.
- Economic Significance: The BIMSTEC region is home to around 1.5 billion people which constitute around 22% of the global population with a combined gross domestic product (GDP) of 2.7 trillion economy.
- In the last five years, BIMSTEC Member States have been able to sustain an average 6.5% economic growth trajectory despite global financial meltdown.
India and BIMSTEC
- As the region’s largest economy, India has a lot at stake.
- BIMSTEC connects ecologies of the South and Southeast Asia, Great Himalayas and the Bay of Bengal.
- For India, BIMSTEC has the vast potential that is unlocked with stronger connectivity.
- The four coastal states adjacent to the Bay of Bengal (Andhra Pradesh, Orissa, Tamil Nadu, and West Bengal) and landlocked Northeastern states, will have the opportunity to connect via the Bay of Bengal to Bangladesh, Myanmar and Thailand, opening up possibilities in terms of development.
- From the strategic perspective, the Bay of Bengal, a funnel to the Malacca straits, has emerged a key theatre for an increasingly assertive China in maintaining its access route to the Indian Ocean.
Topic- Conservation, environmental pollution and degradation, environmental impact assessment.
BS VI level Emission Norms
Public Comments invited for mandating BS VI level Emission Norms for Quadricycles.
- Ministry of Road Transport and Highways has invited suggestions and comments for the proposed amendment to mandate BS VI level emission norms for Quadricycle.
- BS VI level Emission Norms for Quadricycles will be implemented from 1st April 2020.
Why BS VI level Emission Norms are needed?
- According to World Health Organization (WHO), 9 out of 10 people on the planet are now breathing polluted air.
- In India, air pollution is the one of major cause of deaths of children under the age of five every year and is responsible for 12.5% of all deaths in the country.
- According to WHO’s measure, India has nine of the world’s ten most polluted cities.
- To address the issues related to air pollution, the Government has taken initiative to launch
- The Bharat Stage-VI (BS-VI) emission norms.
What are the Bharat Stage Emission Standards Norms?
- The Bharat Stage (BS) emission standards are instituted by the Government of India to regulate the output of air pollutants from motor vehicles.
- The Environment Ministry is responsible for deciding the fuel standard in the country. The Central Pollution Control Board implements these standards.
- The BS regulations are based on the European emission standards.
- BS regulations set limits for release of air pollutants from equipment using internal combustion engines, including vehicles.
- To check the growing menace of air pollution through the vehicles emission, the Govt. has decided to leapfrog from the exiting BS – IV norms to the BS- VI.
Key features of BS VI level Emission Norms
- The BS-VI emission norms will be implemented from the year 2020, and this will drastically reduce vehicular pollution.
- In order to comply with BS-VI norms, the vehicle manufacturers need to move to the new technology to make vehicles compliant with the BS VI standards.
- Earlier, the switch to BS-VI vehicles was to happen in 2022.
- But, looking at the poor air condition, the move was advanced by four years.
- The BS -VI standards cover four and two-wheelers and commercial vehicles.
- Companies can come up with new vehicles with BS VI fuel standards even before the April 2020 deadline.
- After the deadline, vehicles that do not comply with BS VI standards will not be registered.
Difference between BS VI and existing BS IV
- The major difference is the presence of sulphur in the fuel.
- While the BS-IV fuels contain 50 parts per million (ppm) sulphur, the BS-VI grade fuel only has 10 ppm sulphur content.
- The harmful NOx from diesel cars can be brought down by nearly 70%.
- NOx from the petrol cars can be reduced by 25%.
- In air pollution, particulate matter like PM 2.5 and PM 10 are the most harmful components.
- The BS VI will bring the cancer causing particulate matter in diesel cars by a phenomenal 80%.
- About one-third of the air pollution is caused by cars and motor vehicles.
- At present, BS IV and BS III fuels are available across India.
- Due to their use, hazardous pollutants in the air are increasing leading to health ailments like Asthma, Bronchitis, heart diseases and even cancer.
- With the implementation of new norms, pollution levels are expected to come down significantly as the particulate matter (PM) will decrease.
General Studies- II
Topic- Important aspects of governance, transparency and accountability, e-governanceapplications, models, successes, limitations, and potential; citizens charters, transparency & accountability and institutional and other measures.
Good Governance Index (GGI)
‘Good Governance Index’ launched by MoS (PP) on ‘Good Governance Day’.
- Ministry of Personnel, Public Grievances & Pensions launched the ‘Good Governance Index’ on the occasion of Good Governance Day,
- The Good Governance Day is observed on the birth anniversary of former Prime Minister Shri Atal Bihari Vajpayee.
What is Good Governance Index?
The Good Governance Index is a uniform tool across States to assess the Status of Governance and impact of various interventions taken up by the State Government and UTs.
- The objectives of GGI are to provide quantifiable data to compare the state of governance in all states and UTs.
- To enable states and UTs to formulate and implement suitable strategies for improving governance and shift to result oriented approaches and administration.
How GGI is prepared?
The GGI takes into consideration ten sectors-
- Agriculture and Allied Sectors,
- Commerce & Industries,
- Human Resource Development,
- Public Health,
- Public Infrastructure & Utilities,
- Economic Governance,
- Social Welfare & Development,
- Judicial & Public Security,
- Environment and
- Citizen-Centric Governance.
These ten Governance Sectors are measured on total 50 indicators–
- Difference indicators are given different weightage under one Governance Sector to calculate the value.
- under Agriculture & Allied Sector, there are 6 indicators with different weightage, namely-
- Growth rate of agriculture and allied sector (0.4),
- growth rate of food grains production (0.1),
- growth rate of horticulture produce (0.1),
- growth rate of milk production (0.1),
- growth rate of meat production (0.1)
- crop insurance (0.2).
The states and UTs are divided into three groups–
- Big States,
- North-East & Hill States and
- The states and UTs are ranked on all indicators separately, at the same time composite ranking is also calculated for these states and UTs under their respective groups based upon these indicators.
Key Findings of the first GGI Report
Top performers among the big states: Tamil Nadu, Maharashtra, Karnataka, Chhattisgarh, Andhra Pradesh and Gujarat.
The bottom six states are Odisha, Bihar, Goa, Uttar Pradesh and Jharkhand.
Among the North-East & Hill States: Top 3 states are Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand and Tripura. The bottom 3 states are Meghalaya, Nagaland and Arunachal Pradesh.
Pondicherry leads among the UTs followed closely by Chandigarh with Delhi bagging the third spot. Lakshadweep is at the bottom among the UTs.
- The top three states are West Bengal, Kerala and Tamil Nadu.
- The bottom 3 states are Telangana, Andhra Pradesh and Goa.
Judicial and public security ranking
- West Bengal is at the bottom two in the judicial and public security ranking. Tamil Nadu tops the chart here.
- Karnataka is at the top under the economic governance category.
- Kerala is at the top in the public health sector.
Exercise AJEYA WARRIOR-2020
- The fifth edition of Exercise AJEYA WARRIOR-2020 between India and United Kingdom Army commenced at Salisbury Plains, United Kingdom.
- The aim of exercise is to conduct training of troops in counter insurgency and counter terrorist operations in both Urban and Semi Urban areas.
- Exercise AJEYA WARRIOR-2020 can be termed as the shining example of long standing strategic ties between India and United Kingdom.