13, September 2017

1.WCD Ministry invites nominations for Nari Shakti Puraskar 2017

Source: PIB

The Ministry of Women & Child Development has invited nominations for the Nari Shakti Puraskars 2017. Government of India confers the “Highest Civilian Honor for Women” on International Women’s Day, 8th March, every year by presenting “Nari Shakti Puraskars”.

Key facts:

  • The objective of the award is to acknowledge and recognize the services of individuals and institutions who have made a lasting contribution to women’s empowerment.
  • The awards are also an effort to recognize role models who act as torch bearers for the younger generation and catalysts of change in the lives of women and society at large.
  • Through Nari Shakti Puraskar, Government of India reaffirms its commitment towards strengthening women’s position in the society.
  • The Ministry of Women and Child Development is seeking nominations from individuals and institutions who have displayed outstanding work preferably in exceptional circumstances towards economic and social empowerment of women, effective implementation of women related legislations, gender mainstreaming, etc.

2.Cabinet approves implementation of the scheme “Dairy Processing & Infrastructure Development Fund”

Source: PIB

The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs, chaired by Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi has approved a Dairy Processing & Infrastructure Development Fund” (DIDF) with an outlay of Rs 10,881 crore during the period from 2017-18 to 2028-29.

  • Consequent to the Union Budget 2017-18 announcement, Dairy Processing & Infrastructure Development Fund will be set up as a corpus of Rs 8004 crore with National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development (NABARD).

The major activities of DIDF:

  • The project will focus on building an efficient milk procurement system by setting up of chilling infrastructure & installation of electronic milk adulteration testing equipment, creation/modernization/expansion of processing infrastructure and manufacturing faculties for Value Added Products for the Milk Unions/ Milk Producer Companies.

Management of DIDF:

  • The project will be implemented by National Dairy Development Board (NDDB) and National Dairy Development Cooperation (NCDC) directly through the End Borrowers such as Milk Unions, State Dairy Federations, Multi-state Milk Cooperatives, Milk Producer Companies and NDDB subsidiaries meeting the eligibility criteria under the project.

3.Conference on “Sustainable Landscapes & Forest Ecosystems: Theory to Practice”

Environment Minister launches “Wood is Good” Campaign

Source: PIB

Emphasising the need to create an enabling environment through small steps such as planting more trees, Union Minister of Environment, Forest and Climate Change, that new and innovative ways must be thought of, to bring more areas under forest and tree cover.

  • Inaugurating a two-day conference on “Sustainable landscapes and forest ecosystems: Theory to Practice”, the Environment Minister urged the gathering to deliberate and come out with out-of-the-box ideas and solutions on increasing the forest cover much beyond the stipulated 33 per cent.

Key facts:

  • Reiterating the Government’s commitment to increase the country’s forest cover from 24% to 33% of the geographical area and creating an additional carbon sink of 5 to 3 billion tons of CO2 equivalent in forests, as reflected in Nationally Determined Contribution, that the target is proposed to be achieved through a number of planned afforestation drives and initiatives.
  • The Minister advocated the balancing of environmental and developmental concerns and also urged the gathering of scientists and foresters to devise a solution to the problem of weeds.
  • MoEF launched the “Wood is Good” campaign on the occasion. Wood is a climate-friendly material, as it is a renewable resource, having zero carbon footprint.

Partnership:

  • The Partnership for Land Use Science (Forest-Plus) is a joint programme by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change (MoEF&CC) to strengthen capacity for REDD (Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation) implementation in India.
  • The programme brings together experts from India and the United States to develop technologies, tools and methods of forest management to meet the technical challenges of managing forests for the health of ecosystem, carbon stocks, biodiversity and livelihood.
  • Some of the objectives of the conference include – exploring issues and opportunities for ecosystem approach to land management in India; discussing how the approaches and tools developed under the Forest-PLUS programme can be used to improve forest management in India and to document and disseminate that learning with a wider group.

USAID: United States Agency for International Development

  • USAID is the lead U.S. Government agency that works to end extreme global poverty and enable resilient, democratic societies to realize their potential.
  • S. foreign assistance has always had the twofold purpose of furthering America’s interests while improving lives in the developing world. USAID carries out U.S. foreign policy by promoting broad-scale human progress at the same time it expands stable, free societies, creates markets and trade partners for the United States, and fosters good will abroad.

Spending less than 1 percent of the total federal budget, USAID works in over 100 countries to:

-Promote broadly shared economic prosperity;

-Strengthen democracy and good governance;

-Protect human rights;

-Improve global health,

-Advance food security and agriculture;

-Improve environmental sustainability;

-Further education;

-Help societies prevent and recover from conflicts; and

-Provide humanitarian assistance in the wake of natural and man-made disasters.

REDD +:

  • 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.

Forest-PLUS:

  • USAID Forest-PLUS is a bilateral program between India and the U.S. to develop solutions for sustainable forest land use in India.
  • The program, in partnership with the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change (MoEFCC), prepares India to implement successfully Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD+), an international mechanism for climate change mitigation, livelihoods improvement, and biodiversity protection.

4.New law to deal with desilting of rivers to be framed in consultation with states

Source: Indian Express

With several parts of the country facing massive floods, Union Minister for Water Resources called for a new comprehensive law to deal with the issue of desilting of rivers for flood management

Significance of this move:

  • India has 329 million hectare land area and of this 49 million hectare, which is about 13-14 percent, is flood prone.
  • India in 2017 has witnessed massive floods killing hundreds across the country and damaging property worth billions of rupees. Massive floods have been reported in Assam, others parts of northeast and Bihar and reportedly over 3 crore people across country have been affected.
  • The minister emphasized to strengthen and improve flood forecasting network in the country and he referred to the outcome of the Multi-Modal Ensemble (MME) and Global Forecast System (GFS) of flood forecasting which is expected to increase lead time of advisory forecast to five to seven days.

Desiltilation- Chitale committee Recommendations are:

  • Study reach wise sediment transport processes.
  • Establish annual sediment budgets to guide de-silting activities.
  • Prepare annual reports (Sand registry) describing the previous de-silting/ dredging activity and a technical institute may be entrusted to conduct the sediment budget.
  • Morphological and flood routing studies should be carried out to examine and confirm the necessity of the de-silting of the reach under consideration.
  • It is necessary to provide the river sufficient areas of flood plain and lakes along the river to moderate the flood level.
  • The de-silting of lakes, etc., should be in such a manner that the sediment continuity is maintained and should not lead to head cut that creates safety issues for the river crossings, water intakes or river training works locally, downstream or upstream.
  • The area freed from the development in the form of oxbow lakes should be used for flood moderation rather than reclaiming it for other purposes.
  • Embankments, spurs and river training measures provided to protect the banks should not encroach upon the flood plains and delink the lakes, flood plains and other riverine environment from the river.
  • De-silting of the confluence points, especially with huge silt carrying tributaries, such as Ghagra, Sone, etc., may be necessary to make confluence hydraulically efficient.
  • The proposed de-silting of any river reach need to be justified bringing out clearly the flooding caused due to siltation along with technical comparisons of the alternative flood mitigation measures with “do nothing” or “proposed de-silting/ dredging” being other options.
  • Agricultural practices along the river flood plains should be such that it does not disturb the passage of flood by increasing the resistance to flow causing aggradations.
  • Any bridges across River Ganga which are causing large afflux (more than 1% of normal depth) should be modified to reduce the afflux, which in turn will also reduce the sediment deposition and erosion of banks on the upstream.

According to the report

  • The committee in its report says erosion, sediment transport and siltation are very complex phenomena.
  • It is impossible to apply a “one-size-fits-all‟ approach to sediment management and control, because the issues involved are frequently very regionally-specific.
  • Local factors such as topography, river control structures, soil and water conservation measures, tree cover, and riparian land-use or land disturbance (for example agriculture, mining, etc.) can have a large impact on sediment loads in rivers.
  • River control structures (such as reservoirs), soil conservation measures and sediment control programmes can cause downstream sediment loads to decrease, while factors such as land disturbance (clearing of vegetation, for example) or agricultural practices can cause increased sediment loads.
  • At the same time, indiscriminate de-siltation works may result into more harm to ecology and environment flow. Thus, there is a need to evolve Guidelines, better broad principles, which should be kept in mind while planning and implementing de-silting works.

The committee says though de-siltation works can improve hydraulic performance of the river and this itself can justify undertaking de-siltation, these have no direct role in improving environment flow in the river. On the other hand, indiscriminate de-silting or sand mining would cause adverse impacts on river e-flow.

5.North Korea: All you need to know explained in graphics

http://www.aljazeera.com/indepth/interactive/2017/08/north-korea-explained-graphics-170810121538674.html

6.S. Korea conducts cruise missile drill amid N. Korea threats

Source: The Hindu

  • South Korea says it conducted its first live-fire drill for an advanced air-launched cruise missile it says will strengthen its pre-emptive strike capability against North Korea in the event of crisis.
  • South Korea’s military said Wednesday that the Taurus missile fired from an F-15 fighter jet traveled through obstacles at low altitudes before hitting a target off the country’s western coast.
  • The South’s military says the missile has a maximum range of 500 km and is equipped with stealth characteristics that will allow it to avoid radar detection before hitting North Korean targets.

7.Coal India may enter metals mining sector

Source: The Hindu

Coal India Ltd. is planning to enter metals mining, according to a top official

Proposal:

  • The segments we are looking at include iron ore, bauxite, copper and nickel.
  • CIL’s core competence was mining and this was a diversification move as part of its shift from a coal producing firm to an energy producing one.
  • With government’s efforts to push renewable energy due to international conventions on climate change, increase in carbon cess and other initiatives for lesser use of coal, there is a need for Vision 2030 for the coal sector, which takes into account the environmental factors such as reduction of carbon footprint.

Terms of structure:

The Indian power sector and hence the coal market is undergoing a rapid change in terms of structure and mix.

  • On one hand, the lukewarm demand facing the thermal power plants and the low PLF remain a big concern.
  • On the other hand, the rapid progress in solar and renewables comes as a possible disruptor. All these developments will have an immense impact on the coal and allied industries.

8.India, Belarus sign 10 pacts to expand bilateral cooperation in defence, economy and education

Source: The Hindu

India and Belarus on Tuesday inked 10 pacts to expand cooperation in a range of areas and decided to explore joint development and manufacturing in the defence sector.

  • Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Belarus president AG Lukashenko, who held extensive talks, also agreed to focus on ramping up economic engagement between the two countries, holding that there was huge scope to boost trade and investment.

Key facts:

  • The pacts inked provided for enhancing bilateral cooperation in a variety of areas, including oil and gas, agriculture, science and technology, education and sports.
  • Both sides agreed to encourage joint development and manufacturing in the defence sector under the Make in India initiative.
  • There was progress on a discussion on utilising the $100 million line of credit India had offered in 2015 for implementing specific projects in Belarus.
  • In this context, Modi also mentioned India’s on-going negotiations with the Eurasian Economic Union (EEU) for a free trade agreement. Belarus is part of the five member-EEU, considered an influential central Asian bloc.
  • Asserting that he advocated and promoted the idea of a multi-polar world, Lukashenko expressed the hope that India would become a “mightful pole” in the multi-polar world.
  • A stamp commemorating 25 years of diplomatic relations between the two countries was also released by the India Post and postal department of Belarus.
  • The two sides also agreed to close cooperation on “matters of mutual interest” in multilateral fora.
  • India is linked with Belarus under multilateral economic initiatives such as the Eurasian Economic Union and the International North South Transport Corridor.

EURASIAN ECONOMIC UNION

  • The Eurasian Economic Union is an international organization for regional economic integration. It has international legal personality and is established by the Treaty on the Eurasian Economic Union.
  • The EAEU provides for free movement of goods, services, capital and labor, pursues coordinated, harmonized and single policy in the sectors determined by the Treaty and international agreements within the Union.
  • The Member-States of the Eurasian Economic Union are the Republic of Armenia, the Republic of Belarus, the Republic of Kazakhstan, the Kyrgyz Republic and the Russian Federation.
  • The Union is being created to comprehensively upgrade, raise the competitiveness of and cooperation between the national economies, and to promote stable development in order to raise the living standards of the nations of the Member-States.

Link: http://www.eaeunion.org/?lang=en

India, Eurasia union to seal pact:  http://www.thehindu.com/business/india-eurasia-union-to-seal-pact/article18278739.ece



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