Related Topic in KAS Prelims Syllabus:
Environment [Paper-II]: Policies and treaties for the protection of environment at the National and the International level, Pollution
Information and Communications Technology (ICT) [Paper-II]: ICT and Governance – various Government schemes promoting use of ICT, e-Governance Programmes and Services
National Environmental Engineering Research Institute (NEERI) along with the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) has launched India’s first web repository named IndAIR documenting air quality studies done in the last 60 years.
- The aim of the project is to make air quality research available to everyone.
- IndAIR has archived approximately 700 scanned documents from pre-Internet times (1950-1999), 1,215 research articles, 170 reports and case studies, 100 cases and over 2,000 statutes to provide the history of air pollution research and legislation in the country.
- This includes all major legislation in the country dating back to 1905.
- The repository will be the first comprehensive effort to inventorise surviving Indian research and analysis on air pollution, its causes and effects and present these studies in an easily accessible web format for the media, researchers and academics.
- Though air pollution is one of the most widely deliberated issues, little is known about it in India as far as the statistics or the history is concerned.
- IndAIR was initiated with the intent to document important milestones in the country and make them available to the public.
- The repository will help the academicians understand the issues better and also enable policy makers to frame legislation that encourages development.
Related Topic in KAS Prelims Syllabus:
Environment [Paper-II]: Issues and concerns related to environment, its legal aspects, policies and treaties for the protection of environment at the National and the International level, Environment protection for sustainable development.
- Realizing the importance of availability of reliable database on the wastelands of the country, Union Minister for Rural Development, Agriculture and Farmers Welfare & Panchayati Raj has released the fifth edition of Wastelands Atlas – 2019.
- Wastelands Atlas has earlier been brought out in 2000, 2005, 2010 and 2011.
Wastelands Atlas 2019
- The Atlas, published jointly by Department of Land Resources and National Remote Sensing Centre (NRSC), provides robust geospatial information on wasteland.
- The mapping exercise was carried out by NRSC using the Indian Remote Sensing Satellite data.
- It is helpful in rolling back the wastelands for productive use through various land development programmes and schemes.
- It provides State and district wise distribution of different categories of wastelands area in the country including mapping of about 12.08 Mha hitherto unmapped area of Jammu & Kashmir.
- The changes in wastelands between 2008-09 and 2015-16 have been presented in the Atlas.
- India with 2.4 per cent of world’s land area supports 18 per cent of its population.
- The per capita availability of agricultural land in India is 0.12 hectare while the world per capita agricultural land is 0.29 hectare.
- The effort has resulted in estimating the spatial extent of wastelands for entire country to the tune of 55.76 Mha (16.96 per cent of geographical area of the country) for 2015-16 as compared to 56.60 Mha (17.21 per cent) in 2008-09.
- During this period, 1.45 Mha of wastelands were converted into non-wastelands category.
- There is a net conversion of 0.84 Mha (0.26 per cent) of different wasteland categories in the country during 2008-09 to 2015-16.
- A reduction in wasteland area was observed in the categories of land with dense scrub, waterlogged and marshy land, sandy areas, degraded pastures/grazing land and gullied and ravinous land.
- Majority of wastelands have been changed into categories of ‘croplands’ (0.64 Mha), ‘forest-dense/open’ (0.28 Mha), ‘forest plantation’ (0.029 Mha), ‘plantation’ (0.057 Mha) and ‘industrial area’ (0.035 Mha).
Related Topic in KAS Prelims Syllabus:
International Relations [Paper-I]: India’s Foreign Policy, International Organisations, International Treaties and Forums, their structure and mandate
- The two-day BIMSTEC (Bay of Bengal Initiative Multi-sector Technical and Economic Cooperation) Ports’ Conclave will be held on 7th and 8th November, 2019 at Visakhapatnam.
BIMSTEC Ports’ Conclave
- The conclave is being organised for the first time ever since formation of BIMSTEC in 1997.
- The thrust would be to discuss and share experiences in increasing productivity, availing investment opportunities, development of free trade zones, development of tourism and measures required for safety and security.
- Ease of doing business, sharing of expertise, and emulation of best practices would be few among the deliberations.
- Brainstorming sessions will be held with the signing of several MoUs on day one and organising beach cleaning campaign under Swachh Bharat Abhiyan and visit to the port facilities on the last day of the conclave.
- It is a regional organization comprising 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 6th June, 1997 through the Bangkok Declaration.
- It constitutes seven Member States: five deriving from South Asia, including Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Nepal, Sri Lanka, and two from Southeast Asia, including Myanmar and Thailand.
- The objective of BIMSTEC is to harness shared and accelerated growth through mutual cooperation in different areas of common interests by mitigating the onslaught of globalization and by utilizing regional resources and geographical advantages.
- Unlike many other regional groupings, BIMSTEC is a sector-driven cooperative organization.
- 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.
- 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.
- In the last five years, BIMSTEC Member States have been able to sustain an average 6.5% economic growth trajectory despite global financial meltdown.
[Source: The Hindu, bimstec.org]
FACTS OF THE DAY
- Indian Railways’ Western Railway Zone has introduced state of the art ‘Uttam Rake’ for the local trains in Mumbai.
- The newly introduced rake has improved interiors and advanced features to make traveling in local trains, a better experience for the Mumbaikars.
- The new rake was operated in its inaugural run as ladies special train from Churchgate to Virar.
- It is equipped with better seats, CCTV cameras, red emergency buttons, anti-dent partitions, modular luggage racks.
- Western Railways introduced world’s first ever Ladies Special local train on 5th May, 1992 and India’s first ever Air-Conditioned EMU train on 25th December, 2017 on Mumbai Suburban section.
SOCIAL REGISTRY FOR WELFARE PROGRAMMES
- Odisha government has proposed to come up with a Social Registry to create a single source of authenticated family details for all welfare programmes.
- The social registry is expected to identify the correct target beneficiary and weed out ghost and ineligible beneficiaries.
- The move assumes significance as recently 3.41 lakh fake beneficiaries were provided ₹170 crore under the Odisha’s flagship ‘KALIA’ scheme for farmers.
- For security, it is proposed that no data should be stored by any other domain-specific application apart from data elements already common in both national social registry and scheme database.
BAN PROPOSED ON SALE, ADS OF JUNK FOOD IN SCHOOL
- Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) released draft regulations titled Food Safety and Standards (Safe Food and healthy diets for School Children) Regulations, 2019.
- The decision was aimed at enabling children to eat and grow healthy.
- One of the important regulations proposed is that foods high in fat, salt and sugar (HFSS) cannot be sold to children in school canteens/mess premises/hostel kitchens or within 50 m of the school campus.’
- Schools should adopt a comprehensive programme for promoting healthy diets among children.
- The school campus should be converted into ‘Eat Right School’ focussing on local and seasonal food and no food waste as per the specified benchmark
- FSSAI has also proposed that children have to be encouraged to consume balanced diet in the school as per the guidelines issued by the National Institute of Nutrition.