Daily Current Affairs - 14-10-2021

The International Day for Disaster Risk Reduction is observed globally on October 13, every year.

Aim of the day

The day is observed with the aim of promoting a global culture of risk awareness and disaster reduction. It celebrates how people and communities across the world are reducing their exposure to disasters and raising awareness regarding the importance of reining in risks that they are facing.

2021 Edition

International Day for Disaster Risk Reduction provides an opportunity to acknowledge the progress made toward reducing the disaster risk and losses in lives, health and livelihoods. 2021 edition of the day will focus on international cooperation of developing countries in order to reduce their disaster risk and disaster losses.

Background

The International Day for Disaster Risk Reduction was first observed in the year 1989, after United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) called for a day to promote global culture of disaster reduction and risk-awareness. At the Third UN World Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction in 2015, which was held in Sendai, Japan, international community was reminded that disasters hit hardest at local level, causes loss of life and social & economic upheaval.

Disaster Risk Reduction

The United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNDRR) works with thinkers, experts, practitioners, and innovators, every two years, to investigate the state of risk worldwide. It highlights what’s new, spots the emerging trends, examine behaviour, reveals disturbing patterns and presents progress in reducing risk.

Union Minister of Rural Development & Panchayati Raj, Giriraj Singh, launched the “Climate Resilience Information System and Planning (CRISP-M) tool” through a virtual event.

Key Points

Significance of the tool

This tool will open up new possibilities for rural communities in dealing with the climate change issue.

Which states can use this tool?

This tool will be used in seven states namely, Bihar, Uttar Pradesh, Jharkhand, Chhattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh, Odisha and Rajasthan, for developing climate resilience.

GIS-based plans for Panchayats

Ministry of Rural Development have prepared “GIS based plans” which will be implemented across 1.82 lacs Gram Panchayats (68%) out of total of 2.69 Lacs Gram Panchayats in India. GIS based plans will be implemented with the help of Remote Sensing Technology, on the basis of Ridge to Valley approach.

Government has incorporated new rules under the “Medical Termination of Pregnancy (Amendment) Act, 2021, which was passed in March 2021.

Medical Termination of Pregnancy (Amendment) Rules, 2021

Background

In past, opinion of one doctor was required to carry abortion of up to twelve weeks of conception. Opinion of two doctors was required for doing the abortion between twelve and twenty weeks.

State-level medical board

Should the rules be for all women?

Experts are of the view that, considering the advancements in scientific and medical technology, extended 24 week of gestation period should be open for all women and not just specific categories of women. They also note that, creation of state medical boards might create impediments for women’s access to abortion services.

The Indian Navy is set to take part in “Second Phase of multilateral maritime exercise” called “Exercise Malabar” along with the Royal Australian Navy (RAN), Japan Maritime Self Defence Force (JMSDF) and the United States Navy (USN).

Key Facts

Naval ships in action

In the maritime exercise, INS Ranvijay, INS Satpura as well as P8I Long Range Maritime Patrol aircraft from Indian Navy will participate.

About second phase of Malabar exercise

Second phase of the exercise will be bigger than the first phase that was conducted off the Guam coast, US in the Western Pacific. In this phase, United States deployed more than 100000-ton Nimitz-class super aircraft carrier.

US in second phase

US will be represented by USS Lake Champlain, two destroyers, and USS Stockdale. It will also deploy Aircraft Carrier USS Carl Vinson.

Japan in second phase

Japanese Navy will be represented by JS Kaga and guided-missile destroyer Murasame besides their integral SH60K helicopters.

Australia in second phase

Royal Australian Navy will deploy HMAS Ballarat and HMAS Sirius.

About Malabar exercise

Malabar exercise started as an annual bilateral naval exercise in the year 1992 between India and the US. It comprises of a series of exercises, increasing scope and complexity over time.

The Union environment ministry has released a draft notification to regulate the extended producer responsibility (EPR) under the “Plastic Waste Management Rules 2016”.

Key facts

Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR)

EPR means the responsibility of producer for environmentally sound management of product and plastic packaging till the end of its life. People & stakeholders can submit objections or suggestions on draft within 60 days, to the environment ministry.

Three categories of Plastic Packaging

EPR covers following categories of plastic packaging:

  1. Rigid Plastic Packaging
  2. Flexible Plastic Packaging of single layer or multilayer (greater than one layer with several types of plastic)
  3. Plastic sheets, carry bags (including those made up of compostable plastics) & plastic sachet or pouches
  4. Multi-layered plastic packaging.

Other provisions of the draft

Brand owners EPR target

For brand owners, EPR target in 2021-22 will be average weight of fresh plastic packaging material which have been purchased and introduced in market in last two years plus average quantity of pre-consumer plastic packaging for the same period.

Ernst & Young’s (EY) Renewable Energy (RE) Country Attractiveness Index was recently published in which India has been ranked at 3rd position.

Key Points

India’s Rank in PPA Index

Among the top 30 power purchase agreement (PPA) markets, India has been ranked at sixth position. PPA Index focuses on attractiveness of renewable power procurement. It ranks the growth potential of country’s corporate PPA market.

India’s renewable energy market

Renewable energy market conditions in India, including policy decisions, investment & technology improvements focus on self-reliant supply chains. It has taken India’s clean energy transition to new heights. Report notes that the drive to integrate volumes of variable resources will put the grid infrastructure under significant strain. It also notes that, investment required to upgrade and expand energy transmission infrastructure will be a key challenge across the world.

Which countries have transitioned towards clean energy?

France and the UK have switched to clean energy, while Germany has edged back ahead of Australia as its onshore wind market was fruitful in first half of 2021. Germany has added 971 MW, accounting for a rise of 62 per cent as compared to first half of 2020.

United Nations Biodiversity Summit started in China, on October 12, 2021.

Key Points

30 by 30 Plan

During the summit, countries will also be debating “30 by 30” plan in order to give 30% of lands and oceans protected status. This measure is supported by a broad coalition of nations. Countries will also set goal for stopping the creation of plastic waste. Though, China has not yet committed for this plan.

Background

Though Beijing is the world’s biggest polluter, it has sought to position itself as “world leader on climate issues” in the backdrop of USA’s withdrawal from international commitments under Donald Trump administration.

COP-15 Gathering

In the year 2021, COP-15 gathering was hosted in southwest city of Kunming. It was originally set for 2020 but got postponed due to Covid-19 pandemic.

Impact of Human encroachment on habitats

About one million animal & plant species are threatened with extinction because of human encroachment on habitats, pollution, over-exploitation, climate change and spread of invasive species.

Division on targets

Prime Minister Narendra Modi launched a Rs 100 lakh crore national master plan called “Gati Shakti National Master Plan” on October 13, 2021.

Key Points

Why this plan was launched?

As per Prime Minister, in the past, taxpayers’ money was insulted through a lethargic approach towards development work. Departments were working in silos. Furthermore, there was no coordination on projects. Thus, this plan was launched under which development will take place incorporating quality infrastructure in a holistic manner. Gati shakti plan joins different departments for a coordinated development of projects including from aviation to agriculture and road to railways.

Logistic Cost

The PM Gati Shakti Plan also aims to reduce logistic cost and turnaround time in the light that, earlier high logistics cost at 13 per cent of GDP in India was impacting its competitiveness in exports. Plan will also give a boost to India as an “investment destination”.

Easy clearances

Under the plan, the private players will get a boost to invest in National infrastructure because of easy clearances and monetary help available to them. This project will also provide last-mile connectivity to the economic zones in a limited timeframe.

The Draft Regional Plan-2041 was approved by the NCR Planning Board on October 12, 2021. Government has planned to submit the ‘final version of Regional Plan-2041’ by end of March 2022.

Highlights of the plan

Major initiatives under the draft plan

Under the draft plan, major initiatives include urban regeneration, slum-free NCR, 24 hours air ambulance, ease of living, Swachh & Smart NCR.

Why this plan was drafted?

The draft plan was drafted because it is necessary to minimise the journey times and limit travel times across NCR under 30-minutes through superfast trains & heli taxi services, under 60 minutes through other trains and 2 to 3 hours by car. Furthermore, there is a need to ease out traffic congestions and create more integrated, accessible, user-centric and affordable transportation system.

Which states are covered under the plan?

Under the NCRPB plan, Delhi, two districts of Rajasthan, eight districts of Uttar Pradesh and 14 districts of Haryana are covered. In all, it covers an area of around 55,083 square kilometres.

The Union Home Ministry started tripartite talks with “Gorkha representatives” from Darjeeling Hills, Terrai & Dooars region as well as the Government of West Bengal on October 12, 2021.

Highlights

Background

On this issue, last meeting was held in October 2021 when a delegation of Gorkha leaders came to meet the then MoS Home, G Kishan Reddy, for discussing the statehood issue.

Demand raised by delegation

Delegation from the Gorkhaland raised their demand of separate state of Gorkhaland as well as grant of Scheduled Tribe status to 11 Gorkha sub-communities. Issue of Gorkhaland Territorial Administration (GTA) was raised, the delegation noted that they will not discuss GTA as Memorandum of Agreement (MoU) that was signed between Union of India, Government of West Bengal and Gorkha Janmukti Morcha in 2011, was not welcomed by the West Bengal.

What is the Gorkhaland Issue?

Gorkhaland comprise of Nepali-speaking people from Darjeeling, Kurseong, Kalimpong, and other hilly districts of West-Bengal. People of these areas have cultural, ethical, and language differences with Bengali community of West-Bengal. Demand of Darjeeling as a separate administrative region was first initiated in the year 1907. However, the term “Gorkhaland” was coined during 1980s by Subhash Ghising. Subhash Ghising was the founder of Gorkha National Liberation Front (GNLF).

Gorkhaland Movement

It is a movement that mainly focuses on the Darjeeling Hills of West Bengal, and demands the creation of a separate state of Gorkhaland.

National Statistical Office (NSO) released its data on “retail inflation and Index of Industrial Production (IIP)” on October 12, 2021.

Key facts

Background

Government has tasked the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) to keep CPI-based inflation at 4%, with a tolerance band of 2% on both the sided. RBI usually factors in CPI-based inflation while launching its bi-monthly monetary policy.

CPI headline momentum

According to RBI Governor, Shaktikanta Das, CPI headline momentum is moderating. This momentum along with favourable base effects could soften the inflation in near term.

CPI inflation

For the year 2021-22, RBI has projected the CPI inflation at 5.3% in first quarter, 5.1% in second, 4.5% in third while 5.8% in fourth quarter of the fiscal.

Index of Industrial Production (IIP)

As per NSO, IIP has increased by 11.9% in August 2021, against 11.5% in July. Data shows that, output of manufacturing sector increased to 9.7% in August 2021. In the same month, mining output increased to 23.6% while power generation surged to 16%. In August 2020, IIP had contracted 7.1%.

In its World Economic Outlook, which was published on October 12, 2021, International Monetary Fund (IMF) improved its growth forecasts of the Latin American and Caribbean economy in the year 2021.

Highlights

World Economy

High inflation

As per IMF, in mid-2022 headline inflation will likely to return to pre-pandemic levels, for advanced economies and emerging & developing economies, amid high uncertainty.

Vaccine gap

The agency noted a huge vaccine gap and big disparities between economically advanced countries and developing countries.  More than 60% of the population are vaccinated in advanced economies while 96% of the population in are unvaccinated in low-income countries.

The European Union (EU) attracted huge demand from investors for its first green bond on October 12, 2021.

Highlights

First Issue by EU

This issue of recent bond is the first of an expected €250bn of “European Commission green bonds”. It makes about a third of the EU’s €800bn Covid-19 recovery fund.

How EU will use the amount?

Proceeds through the green bond will be given to the member states who can spend it on areas such as transport, energy efficiency and nature protection. This bond will help in strengthening the role of EU and euro in sustainable finance market.

Partnering Member States

Brussels has joined several member states such as France, Italy, Germany, Spain and Poland in issuing green debt. Demand for green securities is intense because of focus of fund management industry on environmental, social and governance factors.

Greenium

The EU has joined other recent issuers with respect to attracting a price premium called as greenium. Yield of 0.45 per cent represented a borrowing cost of around 0.025 of percentage point.

Green Bond

Green bond is a debt instrument through which capital is raised to fund ‘green projects’. Green projects usually include projects related to renewable energy, sustainable water management and clean transportation etc.