With the recent trend followed in the UPSC Pre paper we are lining up the same set of current affairs notes for the CDS/NDA Aspirants


Global environmental outlook

According to a UN environment report, nearly 40 million Indians will be at risk from rising sea levels by 2050, with people in Mumbai and Kolkata having the maximum exposure to coastal flooding in future due to rapid urbanisation and economic growth.
the ‘Global environmental outlook (GEO-6) : regional assessments’ said the worst impacts of climate change are projected to occur in the Pacific and south and south-east asia.

highlights of the report :

1.people projected to be at risk due to rising sea levels : india – 40 million, Bangladesh – 0ver 25 million, china – over 20 million, Philippines – 15 million.
2. trends that made Asia to become vulnerable to climate change : settlement patterns, urbanisation and socio-economic status.
3.urban settlements in many coastal areas : have affected the ability of natural coastal systems to responded effectively to extreme climate events, rendering them more vulnerable.
4.mumbai and kolkata in India, Guangzhou and Shanghai in China, Dhaka in Bangladesh, Yangon in Myanmar, Bangkok in Thailand, and Ho Chi Minh city and Hai Phong in Vietnam are projected to have the largest population exposure to coastal flooding in 2070.
5.the worst impacts of climate change are projected to occur in the pacific and south and southwest asia.
6. on coastal highly exposed to cyclones and typhoons, the poor tend to be more exposed to natural disasters because they live on land open to hazards.
7. climate change and climate variability and sea level  rise will exacerbate multi-dimensional poverty in most developing countries.
8. by 2050, areas of storm surge zones are expected for bangladesh , china , india , indonesia, and the philipcpnes, with a combined total of over 58 million at risk.
9. global urban population are projected to increase by 2.5 billion by 2050,with nearly 90 percent of the increase in asia and africa.
10.the worst impact of climate change are projected to occur in the pacific and south and southeast asia.


390900 Plants known to Science : Kew Report

1. The new tally is part of a report carried out by the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew. It is its first global assessment of the world’s flora. The study also found that 2,034 new plant species were discovered in 2015.
2. However, the report warns that 21% of plants are at risk of extinction, with threats including climate change, habitat loss, disease and invasive species. The researchers came up with their new plant total by searching through existing databases.
3. In total, they now estimate that, excluding algae, mosses, liverworts and hornworts, there are 390,900 plants, of which approximately 369,400 are flowering. The report also found that more than 10% of the parts of the Earth that are covered with vegetation are highly sensitive to climate change. However the longer-term effects were not yet clear.

Ken – Betwa gets wildlife go-ahead

1. he standing committee of the National Board for Wildlife (NBWL) Tuesday decided to clear Phase-I of the Ken-Betwa river linking project even though the expert committee constituted by the board is yet to submit its site visit report.
2. The Rs 10,000-crore project requires diversion of 5,258 hectares of forest land, including 4,141 hectares of Panna Tiger Reserve.

E- Waste Management Rules, 2016
The ministry of environment and forests has introduced new and strict e-waste management rules, 2016. The revised rules, which will come into effect from October 2016, have included florescent and other mercury containing lamps in the e-waste rules, which means those manufacturing electronic products and equipment like bulbs, batteries, switches containing toxic components like lead and mercury will now have to ensure its disposal is channelised in a secured manner.
Following are the new changes proposed:
Compact fluorescent lamp (CFL) and other mercury containing lamp now included in the new rules, making safe disposal of consumer products containing these elements mandatory.
For the first time the onus of disposing toxic e-waste is now on the manufacturers, dealers and refurbishers. Manufacturer, dealer, refurbisher and producer responsibility organisation (PRO) have been introduced as additional stakeholders. The 2011 rules limited the responsibility to the brand owners of the electronic products, consumers, dismantlers and recyclers.
Every producer of electronic products now has to apply for extended producer responsibility (EPR), within the period of 90 days from the date the rules are ratified. With this, the producers have to make sure that collection points are set up where safe disposal of e-waste containing mercury can take place by the their consumers. From that point, making sure the e-waste is treated and disposed without harming the environment.
Those who fail to get EPR authorisation would not be able to put their products in the market.
The particular provision has also given more teeth to the central pollution control board (CPCB), since EPR authroisation will be certified by the authority, after evaluating the plan submitted by the producer to safely treat its e-waste.  CPCB will also ensure proper implementation of the responsibilities with regular monitoring, as mentioned in the rules.
The producers under EPR can also charge extra amount from their customers at the time of sale of electronic products, as a deposit, which has to be refunded when the customer comes for disposing the product.
The rules have assigned a target of 30 percent waste generated under EPR for the first two years, progressively going up to 70 percent in the seventh year of the rule.
States, under the new guidelines, are also bound to undertake skill development activities for the workers, involved in e-waste management process.
Micro enterprises are continued to be exempted from the rules.

New Standards for Coal Based Thermal Power Plants

the Union environment ministry has notified revised norms of emission standards for coal-based thermal power plants in the country and made it mandatory for the existing plants to meet those parameters within two years.
1. Under the revised norms, the new power plants (to be commissioned from January 1, 2017 onwards) will have to achieve “zero waste water discharge” standard through putting up adequate captive infrastructure. All the upcoming power plants will be given environmental clearance only after getting such commitments under the new norms.
2. ”The new standards are aimed at reducing emission of PM10 (particulate matter), Sulphur Dioxide, and Oxide of Nitrogen, which will in turn help in bringing about an improvement in the Ambient Air Quality (AAQ) in and around thermal power plants”, said the ministry in a statement.
3. It said, “The technology employed for the control of the proposed limit of Sulphur Dioxide (SO2) and Nitrogen Oxide (NOx) will also help in control of mercury emission (at about 70-90%) as a co-benefit”.
4. “Limiting the use of water in thermal power plant will lead to water conservation as thermal power plant is a water-intensive industry. This will also lead to a reduction in energy requirement for drawl of water”, said the ministry.
The emission standards have, now, been made stringent for recent plants, compared to earlier ones and most stringent for those plants to be set up in future. These standards are based on the recommendation of the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB). Before notifying the revised emission standards, the ministry had also held extensive consultations with stakeholders.

Operation Olivia

The Coast Guard has launched ‘Operation Oliva’ to intercept unlawful trawling activities along Odisha coast while embarking on its annual mission to ensure safe mid-sea sojourn of Olive Ridley turtles.
The Odisha government agencies have sought for Coast Guard’s services in the turtle conservation programme.
The Coast Guard had pressed into service an improvised ship, besides a dronier aircraft to keep a tab on illegal fishing in the Gahirmatha marine sanctuary. As the turtles had begun arriving en masse for mating, an aircraft was being pressed into service for easy interception of illegal trawling operation along the marine sanctuary water zone.
The patrol in turtle congregation sites would remain in force till the marine turtles finished laying eggs on nesting beaches. The Coast Guard has appealed to the state government to issue identity cards to local fishermen to detect Bangladeshi infiltrators due to their striking similarity in language, looks and physical features with local Bengali-speaking marine fishermen.
The olive ridley sea turtle is also known as the Pacific ridley sea turtle.
It is a medium-sized species of sea turtle found in warm and tropical waters, primarily in the Pacific and Indian Oceans.
The olive ridley turtle has a circumtropical distribution, living in tropical and warm waters of the Pacific and Indian Oceans from India, Arabia, Japan, and Micronesia south to southern Africa, Australia, and New Zealand.
Olive ridley turtles are best known for their behavior of synchronized nesting in mass numbers, termed arribadas.


India Ratifies WTO’s TFA

India has ratified the new Trade Facilitation Agreement (TFA) of World trade Organisation (WTO).
This agreement aims to establish effective cooperation between customs and other authorities on trade facilitation and customs compliance issues.
Earlier In 2013, the TFA was agreed upon at the WTO Ministerial Conference in Bali. A Trade Facilitation Agreement Facility (TFAF) was also created at the request of developing and least-developed country members to help ensure that they receive the assistance needed to reap the full benefits of the TFA and to support the ultimate goal of full implementation of the new agreement by all members.
India is the 76th WTO member to accept the TFA, which will enter into force once two-thirds of WTO 162 members formally accepted the Agreement.
Apart from India many countries have agreed to ratified the TFA which include Hong Kong, China, Singapore, US and Malaysia etc

National Capital Goods Policy

Capital goods include plant machinery, equipment and accessories required for manufacture or production of goods or for rendering services, either directly or indirectly. Currently, the Capital goods sector is contributing 12% to manufacturing sector which translates to around 2% of GDP. It employs around 15 Lakh people across various sub-sectors. The sector also plays an important role in improving India’s trade balance.
Main issues in Capital Goods Sector :
Inadequate growth of domestic market for capital goods.
Falling share of domestic production in total domestic consumption and growth of more imports. This can be attributed to the underutilisation of domestic capacity and slowdown in domestic capacity creation.
India failed to make a mark in the global market for capital goods, with its share in global exports placed at less than one per cent.
There is inadequate capacity expansion in infrastructure and power industries, and institutional issues such as inadequate inter-ministerial coordination.
Contractual clauses in public procurement policy inhibited the domestic production and have a “limited positive bias” in favour of domestic value addition.
Permission to import second-hand machinery discouraged the domestic production. The provision of a zero import duty concession for several items imported under the “project imports” category has put the domestic industry at a disadvantage position.
Trade agreements (FTAs) with several countries that have a comparative advantage over India in capital goods production as opposed to those with respect to which India has strong export potential.
“Skewed tax and duty structure” has adversely affected the cost structure and competitiveness of the industry. In certain category of imports “inverted duty structure” is still prevalent. Inverted duty structure means lower import duty on finished products than on raw materials and components.
Low technology depth is a critical problem with current levels ranging “from basic to intermediate”. This is the result of policy failure; with R&D spend in India, at 0.9 per cent of GDP which is low when compared to countries like South Korea and Japan.
In India Capital goods industry is fragmented with many small units operating at uneconomic scale capacities. This made India uncompetitive in global market.
Other issues are related low level of skill development and non-availability of long term finance to the sector.
3. Key features of Policy
    1. Increasing Exports:-  The National Capital Goods Policy 2016 aims at increasing exports to 40 percent of production, from the current 27 percent.

    2. Push to Domestic Production :– The policy aims to increase the share or domestic production in the country’s demand to 80 percent from 60 per cent, potentially making India net exporter of capital goods.

    3.Technological Improvement :– The policy aims to facilitate improvement in technology depth across subsectors, increase skill availability, ensure mandatory standards and promote growth and capacity building of MSMEs.

    4.HIEMDA Scheme :– The policy seeks to enhance Indian made capital goods export through a ‘Heavy Industry Export & Market Development Assistance Scheme (HIEMDA)’.

    5.Increased Budgetary Allocation:– This includes strengthening existing scheme of DHI (Department of Heavy Industry) on enhancement of competitiveness of Capital Goods sector by increasing budgetary allocation.

    6.Technology Development Fund :- The policy advocates launching a Technology Development Fund under the public-private partnership (PPP) model to fund technology acquisition, transfer of technology, purchase or JPRs, designs and drawings as well as commercialisation of such capital goods technologies.

    7.Integration with subsectors:–  The policy looks to integrate key capital goods sub-sectors. It also seeks to make standards mandatory in order to reduce sub-standard machine imports and provide opportunity to local manufacturing units and launch scheme of skill development for Capital Goods sector.

    8.Start-up Center :– The policy also suggests creation of a ‘Start-up Center’ for capital goods sector’ to provide an array of technical, business and financial support sources and services to promising start-ups in manufacturing and services.
    9.Standardization;- The policy also calls for mandatory standardisation, which includes defining minim urn acceptable standards for the industry and adoption of International Organization for Standardization norms.

FDI flows into India nearly doubles in 2015 : UNCTAD

Foreign Direct Investment flows into India nearly doubled to 59 billion dollars in 2015. while the US emerged as the top host country for FDI last year.
Global FDI flows “unexpectedly” increased significantly by 36%, according to the annual report of the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development released.
“Global FDI unexpectedly increased significantly to $1.7 trillion and this is closer to the pre-crisis level and it is the highest since the global financial and economic crisis,”
Developing economies, as a whole, saw their FDI reaching a new high of $741 billion — 5% higher than 2014
The US bounced back as the top host country for FDI in 2015 with FDI worth $384 billion. the US is followed by Hong Kong ($163 billion), China ($136 billion), Netherlands ($90 billion), the UK ($68 billion), Singapore ($65 billion), India ($59 billion), Brazil ($56 billion), Canada ($45 billion) and France ($44 billion) as the top 10 FDI host economies of the world.