11, November 2016

1.Sessions at COP 22 Focus on Afforestation, Ecosystem and Climate Change– Ministry of Environment and Forests

Source: PIB

COP22 Side Event ‘Joining forces to achieve SDG15: Delivering on the Global Agenda for Forests, Climate and Development’

Co-hosted by the UN-REDD Programme, FAO, and the World Bank, this interactive, featuring diverse stakeholders will examine how initiatives on REDD+ can be powerful catalysts for delivering on SDG 15 and achieving country NDCs regarding forestry and other land uses.

Key technical:

  1. UNFCCC decisions on MRV and the Warsaw Framework for REDD+,
  2. The IPCC and Greenhouse Gas Inventories (GHGi),
  3. National Forest Monitoring Systems (NFMS),
  4. Forest Reference (Emission) Levels (FREL/FRL),
  5. REDD+ results reporting,
  6. National Forest Inventory (NFI),
  7. Satellite Land Monitoring Systems (SLMS).

On the day of Conference of Parties (COP-22), being held at Marrakech in Morocco, the India Pavilion witnessed three side-events that focused on the initiatives in afforestation and REDD+ in India, ecosystem and climate change and sustainable transportation.

COP- 22 India:

  • “Afforestation and REDD+”, experts highlighted that forests play a crucial role in mitigating climate change, particularly in India, where nearly 25% of the area has tree cover.
  • The Government has asked the forestry sector to help the country meet its goal of creation of 2.5-3.0 billion tonnes of additional carbon sinks, as per the Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs).
  • This target will be met using a variety of means, including afforestation, reforestation, and agro-forestry, conducted through community participation and mechanisms like REDD+.
  • REDD+ stands for Reducing Emissions by Deforestation and Degradation, an initiative finalized under the UN’s Paris Agreement in 2015.
  • India has begun implementing REDD+ pilot projects, developing protocols for improving measurement, reporting, and verification (MRV) and safeguard information systems (SIS).
  • Emphasis was also placed on promoting the exchange of information and present potential collaborations among South Asian countries that share Himalayan and tropical ecologies.
  • Organized by Indian Council of Forestry Research and Education (ICFRE), International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development (ICIMOD) and International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN).

REDD+   – Reducing Emissions by Deforestation and Degradation It aims to incentivize developing countries to reduce emissions from deforestation and forest degradation, conserve forest carbon stocks, sustainably manage forests and enhance forest carbon stocks.

The United Nations Collaborative Programme on Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation in Developing Countries was launched in 2008 and builds on the convening role and technical expertise of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP).

The UN-REDD Programme supports nationally led REDD+ processes and promotes the informed and meaningful involvement of all stakeholders, including indigenous peoples and other forest-dependent communities, in national and international REDD+ implementation.

REDD+ and sustainable co-benefits REDD+ is not only about climate change. Other goals, known as ‘co-benefits’ (i.e., benefits in addition to reduced climate change) are also important. There are at least four types of co-benefits to consider.

  1. First, forest conservation, in addition to storing carbon, provides other ecosystem services, such as preserving biodiversity.
  2. Second, REDD+ actions (e.g., financial flows) and forest conservation might have socio-economic benefits, such as reducing poverty, supporting livelihoods and stimulating economic development.
  3. Third, REDD+ actions may spark political change toward better governance, less corruption, and more respect for the rights of vulnerable groups.
  4. Fourth, REDD+ actions and forest conservation could boost the capacity of both forests and humans to adapt to climate change.

Implementing policies that protect and restore ecosystem carbon can bring biodiversity and ecosystem.

2.Major Initiatives and Accomplishment of Department of Commerce

Source: PIB

Vision and Mission

  • The long-term vision of the Department is to make India a major player in the world trade by 2020 and assume a role of leadership in the international trade organizations commensurate with India’s growing importance.
  • DOC’s goal is to increase India’s exports of merchandise and services from the present level of 465.9 billion USD (2013-14) to approximately 900 billion USD by 2019-20 and raise India’s share in world exports from present 2% to 3.5%.

Strategic Initiatives and Priorities

  • Diversification of export product basket
  • Diversification into non-traditional markets and conclusion of ongoing FTA negotiations and initiating new FTAs
  • Strengthening export related infrastructure
  • Enhancing credit flows for exports at lower cost
  • Reducing Transaction Costs
  • Diversification of Services exports
  • Building up a Brand Image of India
  • Support to Plantation Sector
  • Protection to sensitive domestic industries

Global Economic Situation and World Trade in 2015-16

The IMF World Economic Outlook (WEO) update for October, 2016 highlights that growth prospects across countries remain uneven. Global growth for 2016 is projected at 3.1% and 3.4% for 2017 (IMF, 2016).

Major Initiatives of Department of Commerce (DOC)

  1. New Foreign Trade Policy (2015-20)- focus on supporting both merchandise and services exports and improving the ‘Ease of Doing Business’.
  • Merchandise Exports from India Scheme (MEIS)
  • Services Exports from India Scheme (SEIS)
  • Niryat Bandhu Scheme– for international business mentoring of young start-up Small and Medium Enterprise (SME) exporters.
  • FTA outreach programmes- Training exporters to utilise the Free Trade Agreements (FTAs) -Taking inputs from exporters on FTAs under negotiations for example Regional comprehensive economic policy (RCEP).
  1. Ease of Doing Business and IT initiatives
  2. Government e- Market (GeM)- They recommended setting up of a dedicated emarket for different goods & services procured/sold by Government/PSUs besides reforming DGS&D.

The conceptualization and development of GeM started in April 2016, with technical support of National e-Governance Division (NeGD) under Ministry of Electronics & IT (MeitY).

  1. Trade Related Infrastructure
  2. Multilateral Trading System and India- 10TH MEETING World Trade Organization (WTO) was held in Nairobi, Kenya.

The outcomes of the Conference, referred to as the ‘Nairobi Package’ include Ministerial Decisions on agriculture, cotton and issues related to least developed countries (LDCs).

These cover public stockholding for food security purposes, a Special Safeguard Mechanism (SSM) for developing countries, a commitment to abolish export subsidies for farm exports particularly from the developed countries and measures related to cotton.

Decisions were also made regarding preferential treatment to LDCs in the area of services and the criteria for determining whether exports from LDCs may benefit from trade preferences.

Special Safeguard Mechanism (SSM)- WTO’s Special Safeguard Mechanism (SSM) is a protection measure allowed for developing countries to take contingency restrictions against agricultural imports that are causing injuries to domestic farmers. The contingency measure is imposition of tariff if the import surge causes welfare loss to the domestic poor farmers. The design and use of the SSM is an area of conflict under the WTO. It is to be mentioned that the SSG was available as it was inducted under the GATT agreement.

  1. Trade Facilitation Agreement
  2. BRICS Trade Fair, October 2016- India organized the 1st BRICS Trade Fair October, 2016 at India Trade Promotion Organisation (ITPO).- Small, medium and large enterprises from BRICS countries participated in the Trade Fair.

 A number of key sectors such as Agriculture and agro processing, Auto and auto components, Chemicals, Green energy, Handicrafts, Healthcare and pharmaceuticals, High technology, ICT, Infrastructure, Leather, Machine Tools, Mining and Textiles and apparel were represented in the Fair.

  1. INNOPROM-2016- Innoprom is the main International Industrial trade fair in Russia, organized every year to showcase Russian and Global engineering innovations.
  • Russia and India have pledged to raise the bilateral trade turnover from 9.5 to 30 billion dollars by 2025, and mutual investments from 11 to 15 billion dollars.
  • Judging by the current structure of imports and exports, Russian business still prefers to supply industrial products to India rather than implement the technology here.
  • Russia has become the first foreign country included in the ‘Make in India’ programme umbrella in two key strategic sectors-nuclear and defence.
  • The first such project was a joint venture between the state-owned corporation Rostec and Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) for the assembly of the Ka-226 combat helicopters.

Five Indian states – Rajasthan, Gujarat, Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh and Jharkhand, which have achieved remarkable economic success over the past 16 years, presented their resources, as well as industrial and investment opportunities.

3.Why bind ourselves to ‘no first use policy’, India’s nuke doctrine

Source: The Hindu

A degree of “unpredictability” when it came to the issue of nuclear weapons instead of a simple No First Use (NFU) policy.

The policy of NFU came into being soon after India tested nuclear weapons in May 1998.

The NFU policy committed to only by India and China among the nuclear weapon states has been the corner stone of India’s nuclear doctrine.

4.SC scraps Punjab law to stop sharing Ravi, Beas waters

Source: The Hindu

The dispute over the rivers can be traced back to Indus Water Treaty of 1960 between India and Pakistan.

Supreme  Court on declared that Punjab reneged on its promise to share the waters of rivers Ravi and Beas with neighbouring States like Haryana by unilaterally enacting the controversial Punjab Termination of Water Agreements Act of 2004. Punjab farmers set to re-claim their lands acquired for the Sutlej-Yamuna Link (SYL) Canal and triggering a political crisis in the poll-bound State.

SC Order

The law unilaterally enacted by Punjab was illegally designed to terminate a 1981 agreement entered into among Punjab, Haryana and Rajasthan to re-allocate waters of Ravi and Beas. By introducing the 2004 Act, Punjab defied two back-to-back apex court verdicts, pronounced in 2002 and 2004.

Punjab exceeded its legislative power in proceeding to nullify the decree of this court and therefore.

Referring to its 2006 Mullaperiyar dam judgment, the Supreme Court held that a State Legislative Assembly “cannot through legislation do an act in conflict with the judgment of the highest court which has attained finality”.

The 2016 Bill, which is yet to receive the assent of the Governor, assumed to give back over 5000 acres of land acquired for the canal back to the Punjab farmers. The apex court opined that this Bill would have clearly violated the 1981 water-sharing agreement had it been made law.

Issues:

  • The creation of Haryana from Punjab in 1966 threw up the problem of giving Haryana its share of river waters.
  • Since then, Punjab has opposed sharing waters of the Ravi and Beas Rivers with Haryana, citing riparian principles, and arguing that it had no water to spare.
  • After dividing Punjab, Union Government allotted Haryana 3 million acre-feet (MAF) of water of the Ravi and Beas to Haryana in 1976. Later in 1981 agreement was entered into among Punjab, Haryana and Rajasthan to re-allocate the waters of Ravi and Beas.
  • According to this agreement, available supplies of the Beas and Ravi Rivers were recalculated to be 17.17 MAF.
  • Rajasthan, Punjab and Haryana and Rajasthan were allocated 8.6 MAF. 4.22 MAF and 3.5 MAF respectively. Jammu and Kashmir and Delhi got 0.65 MAF and 0.20 MAF.
  • To enable Haryana to use its share of waters of Sutlej and its tributary Beas, Union Government started Sutlej Yamuna Link (SYL) canal Project in 1982 to link Sutlej with the Yamuna.
  • The SYL Canal was a product of this 1981 agreement. The total length of the SYL canal is 214-km, of which 122 km was to be in Punjab and 92 km in Haryana.
  • However, the work of canal was completely stopped after local political issues and militant attack on workers in Punjab.
  • In 1996, Haryana approached Supreme Court for the early completion of the canal.
  • In 2002, SC directed Punjab to complete the SYL Canal in a year.
  • Again in June 2004, SC directed Punjab to complete the work in its territory and ordered the formation of a central agency to “take control” of Punjab’s work on the canal.
  • In response to SC order, Punjab Assembly passed The Punjab Termination of Agreements Act, 2004, in July 2004 terminating its water-sharing agreements and thus jeopardising the construction of SYL in Punjab.

5.Surya Jyoti – Photo-Voltaic (PV) Integrated Micro Solar Dome (MSD)

Source: PIB

In order to  day light and concentrate the same inside a dark room, particularly in urban slum or rural areas which lack electricity supply, a low cost and energy efficient Micro Solar Dome has been tested and developed.

PV Integrated Micro Solar Dome (MSD) – Surya Jyoti have been installed which was noticed how these lamps have improved the quality of life of the inhabitants especially of the women and children.

The Micro Solar Dome (MSD) is a clear and green energy initiative of the Department of   Science and Technology. The Minister added that this project will also supplement the Green Energy initiatives.

 



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