News snippet

News 1: Global Hunger Index is out, India in ‘serious’ category at rank 107

News 2: India, China agrees for more military talks to resolve LAC issues

News 3: INS Arihant carries out key missile test

News 4: Eco-sensitive zone: top court may take up Kerala’s review

News 5: Haryana, Punjab CMs fail to reach consensus on SYL canal row

News 6: 20 percent ethanol blending may be available from Dec or Jan

News 7: GSLV MkIII to make commercial foray

News 1: Global Hunger Index is out, India in ‘serious’ category at rank 107


Background:

  • India ranks 107 out of 121 countries on the Global Hunger Index in which it fares worse than all countries in South Asia barring war-torn Afghanistan.

Global Hunger Index:

  • The Global Hunger Index (GHI) is a tool for comprehensively measuring and tracking hunger at global, regional, and national levels.
  • GHI scores are based on the values of four component indicators – undernourishment, child stunting, child wasting and child mortality.
  • Countries are divided into five categories of hunger on the basis of their score, which are ‘low’, ‘moderate’, ‘serious’, ‘alarming’ and ‘extremely alarming’.
  • Based on the values of the four indicators, a GHI score is calculated on a 100-point scale reflecting the severity of hunger, where zero is the best score (no hunger) and 100 is the worst.

India’s position:

  • India’s score of 29.1 places it in the ‘serious’ category.
  • India also ranks below Sri Lanka (64), Nepal (81), Bangladesh (84), and Pakistan (99). Afghanistan (109) is the only country in South Asia that performs worse than India on the index. China is among the countries collectively ranked between 1 and 17 having a score of less than five.
  • India’s child wasting rate (low weight for height), at 19.3%, is worse than the levels recorded in 2014 (15.1%) and even 2000 (17.15), and is the highest for any country in the world and drives up the region’s average owing to India’s large population.
  • Prevalence of undernourishment, which is a measure of the proportion of the population facing chronic deficiency of dietary energy intake, has also risen in the country from 14.6% in 2018-2020 to 16.3% in 2019-2021. This translates into 224.3 million people in India considered undernourished.
  • But India has shown improvement in child stunting, which has declined from 38.7% to 35.5% between 2014 and 2022, as well as child mortality which has also dropped from 4.6% to 3.3% in the same comparative period.
  • On the whole, India has shown a slight worsening with its GHI score increasing from 28.2 in 2014 to 29.1 in 2022. Though the GHI is an annual report, the rankings are not comparable across different years. The GHI score for 2022 can only be compared with scores for 2000, 2007 and 2014.

News 2: India, China agree for more military talks to resolve LAC issues


Background:

  • India and China on Friday agreed to hold another round of talks between senior military commanders to take up remaining issues along the Line of Actual Control (LAC) and “create conditions for the restoration of normalcy” in ties.

 ‘At an early date’

  • Both sides reviewed the LAC situation and welcomed the latest disengagement at Patrolling Point 15 in the Gogra-Hot Springs area, the MEA said. Following the fifth disengagement, differences remain in two areas, Demchok and Depsang.
  • The MEA said both sides “agreed to continue discussions through diplomatic and military channels to resolve the remaining issues along the LAC at the earliest so as to create conditions for restoration of normalcy in bilateral relations.”

China welcomes move

  • A statement from China’s Foreign Ministry similarly welcomed the recent disengagement, and said both sides were “willing to take measures to further ease the border situation and promote the border situation from emergency response to normalised control.”
  • It added that they agreed to hold the next military talks as soon as possible.
  • India has maintained that the currently strained ties cannot return fully to normalcy without peace on the boundary. Full disengagement will have to be followed by de-escalation and de-induction of the 1,00,000 troops from both sides still deployed in forward areas.

News 3: INS Arihant carries out key missile test


Background:

  • The country’s first ballistic missile nuclear submarine INS Arihant carried out a successful launch of a Submarine Launched Ballistic Missile (SLBM) on Friday, validating India’s second-strike nuclear capability.
  • The missile was tested to a predetermined range and impacted the target area in the Bay of Bengal with high accuracy, the Ministry said in a statement. “All operational and technological parameters of the weapon system have been validated,” the statement added.

INS Arihant:

  • INS Arihant, designated S2 Strategic Strike Nuclear Submarine, is the lead ship of India‘s Arihant class of nuclear-powered ballistic missile submarines. The 6,000 tonne vessel was built under the Advanced Technology Vessel (ATV) project at the Ship Building Centre in the port city of Visakhapatnam.

News 4: Eco-sensitive zone: top court may take up Kerala’s review


Background:

  • The Supreme Court on Friday indicated it may consider taking up Kerala’s review of the Supreme Court’s judgment to have a one-km eco-sensitive zone ringing protected forests, national parks and wildlife sanctuaries across the country along with a plea for clarification sought by the Centre.
  • The review by Kerala has argued that the judgment would lead to massive displacement of people living in the vicinity of forest areas. Even worse, the judgment would strip thousands of Scheduled Tribe families and forest dwellers of their vested rights under the law. “Human habitations are there within one km of the protected areas,” the review petition said.
  • In June, the Supreme Court, in its judgment, referred to Environment Ministry guidelines highlighting that ESZs around national parks, forests and sanctuaries would function as a “shock absorber” for the protected areas. These zones would act as a transition zone from areas of high protection to those involving lesser protection. The court had noted how the national resources were ravaged by mining and other activities.

Ecologically sensitive zone:

  • As per the National Wildlife Action Plan (2002-2016), issued by the Union Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change, land within 10 km of the boundaries of national parks and wildlife sanctuaries is to be notified as eco-fragile zones or Eco-Sensitive Zones (ESZ).
  • While the 10-km rule is implemented as a general principle, the extent of its application can vary. Areas beyond 10-km can also be notified by the Union government as ESZs, if they hold larger ecologically important “sensitive corridors.

Why are Eco-Sensitive Zones created?

  • According to the guidelines issued by the Environment Ministry on February 9, 2011, ESZs are created as “shock absorbers” for the protected areas, to minimize the negative impact on the “fragile ecosystems” by certain human activities taking place nearby. Furthermore, these areas are meant to act as a transition zone from areas requiring higher protection to those requiring lesser protection.
  • The guidelines also state that the ESZs are not meant to hamper the daily activities of people living in the vicinity, but are meant to guard the protected areas and “refine the environment around them”.

News 5: Haryana, Punjab CMs fail to reach consensus on SYL canal row


Background:

  • Haryana Chief Minister Manohar Lal and his Punjab counterpart Bhagwant Mann failed to reach a consensus on the Sutlej-Yamuna Link (SYL) canal project — the focal point of the water-sharing dispute between the two States — at a meeting here on Friday.
  • The meeting was held on the directions of the Supreme Court. “Both States reached no consensus on the construction of the SYL canal,” Mr. Lal said after the meeting.
  • While Haryana said the construction of the canal was necessary as it is the lifeline of the State, Punjab maintained that it did not have even a “single drop” of water to share.
  • Mr. Mann said that instead of seeking water from Punjab, Haryana should in fact give water to his State from the river Yamuna.

Satluj – Yamuna Link canal:

The river waters

  • The canal, once completed, will enable sharing of the waters of the rivers Ravi and Beas between the two states. The issue dates back to 1966 at the time of reorganisation of Punjab and formation of Haryana was formed. Punjab was opposed to sharing the waters of the two rivers with Haryana, citing riparian principles.

The canal

  • On April 8, 1982, then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi launched the construction of the SYL Canal with a groundbreaking ceremony in Kapoori village in Patiala district. A stretch of 214 km was to be constructed, out of which 122 km was to cross Punjab and 92 km in Haryana. But the Akalis launched an agitation in the form of Kapoori Morcha against the construction of the canal. Then in July 1985, Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi and then Akali Dal chief Sant Harchand Singh Longowal signed an accord agreeing for a new tribunal to assess the water.

News 6: 20 percent ethanol blending may be available from Dec or Jan


Background:

  • Twenty percent ethanol blended petrol is likely to be available in the country from December 2022 or January 2023, ahead of the April 2023 target.

Ethanol blending and flex-fuel:

  • Citing the example of Brazil where flex fuel vehicles are available and consumer can take ethanol or petrol as per choice, he said this will be the ultimate goal of the Government.

Ethanol Blended Petrol Programme:

About ethanol:

  • Ethanol, an anhydrous ethyl alcohol having chemical formula of C2H5OH, can be produced from sugarcane, maize, wheat, etc  which are having high starch content. In India, ethanol is mainly produced from sugarcane molasses by fermentation process. Ethanol can be mixed with gasoline to form different blends.
  • As the ethanol molecule contains oxygen, it allows the engine to more completely combust the fuel, resulting in fewer emissions and thereby reducing the occurrence of environmental pollution. Since ethanol is produced from plants that harness the power of the sun, ethanol is also considered as renewable fuel.
  • Launch: 2003
  • Objective: The programme sought to promote the use of alternative and environment friendly fuels and to reduce import dependency for energy requirements.

News 7: GSLV MkIII to make commercial foray


Background:

  • Indian Space Research Organisation’s heaviest rocket, GSLV MkIII, is set to launch 36 satellites of the OneWeb communication constellation from the country’s only space port at Sriharikota, Andhra Pradesh, at 7 am on October 23. With this the GSLV MkIII will enter the global commercial launch service market.

Launches and GSLV Mk III:

  • The launch aboard India’s heaviest rocket was purchased by the United Kingdom-based Network Access Associated Limited through the New Space India Limited, one of the commercial arms of the space agency. Bharti group-backed OneWeb is a constellation of satellites in low earth orbit to provide broadband services.
  • This is the first time that India’s heaviest rocket is being used for a commercial launch. Also, this will the first time a rocket other than India’s workhorse – Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV) – is being used to carry out commercial launch.
  • This will be the second flight of the GSLV Mk III — after it joined the ISRO fleet having completed two development flights — since it carried India’s second lunar mission Chandrayaan-2.
  • India currently has three operational launch vehicles – the PSLV, GSLV, and GSLV Mk III. The space agency has also developed a small satellite launch vehicle, whose first development flight earlier this year was partially successful.
  • The government opened up the space sector for private players in 2020, promoting new activities by existing ISRO collaborators and also encouraging start-ups that offer full gamut of activities from launch services, satellite development, to down-stream applications.
  • There are over 100 start-ups in the country now. The aim of opening up the sector was to allow the private players to offer routine space services while ISRO focuses on scientific missions.

GSLV Mk III:

  • GSLV Mk III will be capable of placing the 4 tonne class satellites of the GSAT series into Geosynchronous Transfer Orbits.
  • The powerful cryogenic stage of GSLV Mk III enables it to place heavy payloads into Low Earth Orbits of 600 km altitude. The C25 is powered by CE-20, India’s largest cryogenic engine.
  • GSLV Mk III uses two S200 solid rocket boosters to provide the huge amount of thrust required for lift off. 
  • GSLV MkIII is configured as a three stage vehicle with two solid strap-on motors (S200), one liquid core stage (L110) and a high thrust cryogenic upper stage (C25).

News 8: NGT imposes Rs 500 crore fine on Karnataka government for failure to protect Chandapura lake


Background:

  • After taking suo moto cognisance of a report in The Indian Express on the issue, the National Green Tribunal (NGT) has imposed an environmental compensation of Rs 500 crore on the Karnataka government for its failure in maintaining Chandapura lake in Anekal taluk and taking steps to restore the water body.
  • The NGT noted that the water quality of the lake has deteriorated. It further said that there were “illegal encroachments and construction activities and unchecked violations of environmental norms by the industries” and pointed out the authorities’ “failure to protect and regulate buffer zones and catchment areas of the lake and to control pollution”.

NGT orders:

  • The NGT said that the amount may be deposited within one month and kept in a ring-fenced account with the state pollution control board which will be the responsibility of the state chief secretary. The amount, the tribunal said, can be utilised for restoration measures, preferably within six months, as per directions and supervision of a monitoring committee.
  • The monitoring committee, the NGT said, will be headed by the chairman of the State Wetland Authority. Other members will include the principal secretary/ACS, urban development; nominees of Regional Office, Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change, Bangalore; regional director of the Central Pollution Control Board, Bangalore; member secretary of the state pollution control board; and district magistrate of the Karnataka Industrial Areas Development Board, Karnataka Tank Conservation and Development Authority.
  • The principal bench of NGT further directed the state government that restoration measures may include biological measures such as plantation/afforestation of suitable trees, shrubs and grass in consultation with the state forest department. It also mentioned engineering measures that can be undertaken.
  • The committee has stated that all the upstream lakes connecting to Chandapura lake are polluted. The committee in its report has also stated that sewage generated in the municipal limits of Chandapura is being discharged into the lake directly or indirectly through drains, except for private residential apartments, since there is no common sewage treatment plant (STP) to treat sewage.

National Green Tribunal:

Established: 2010 under National Green Tribunal Act, 2010

Objective:

  • For effective and expeditious disposal of cases relating to environmental protection and conservation of forests and other natural resources including enforcement of any legal right relating to environment and giving relief and compensation for damages to persons and property and for matters connected therewith or incidental thereto.
  • It is a specialized body equipped with the necessary expertise to handle environmental disputes involving multi-disciplinary issues. The Tribunal shall not be bound by the procedure laid down under the Code of Civil Procedure, 1908, but shall be guided by principles of natural justice.
  • The Tribunal’s dedicated jurisdiction in environmental matters shall provide speedy environmental justice and help reduce the burden of litigation in the higher courts. The Tribunal is mandated to make and endeavour for disposal of applications or appeals finally within 6 months of filing of the same.
  • Initially, the NGT is proposed to be set up at five places of sittings and will follow circuit procedure for making itself more accessible. New Delhi is the Principal Place of Sitting of the Tribunal and Bhopal, Pune, Kolkata and Chennai shall be the other four place of sitting of the Tribunal.

 

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