Goaltide Daily Current Affairs 2021

Jun 09, 2021

Current Affair 1:
Northern Sea Route (NSR) as an alternative.


On March 23, the Suez Canal, one of the world’s busiest transport arteries, became blocked in both directions when the ultra-large Golden-class container ship. According to various estimates, every day of blockage was costing the global economy approximately $9.6 billion.

Roughly 12% of the world’s trade, and a million barrels of oil, pass through the canal every day. Russia saw this an opportunity to promote the Northern Sea Route (NSR) as an alternative.

Difference between both routes:

Shipping firms hope that the shorter NSR route will be a more economical option. However, there are risks associated with both routes: the NSR features icebergs, and is extremely remote, with little search-and-rescue coverage, while the southern route involves transiting the Suez Canal, which is controlled by Egypt, a country that is facing a significant amount of political upheaval.

Why North Sea Route (NSR) will be a great advantage to Russia:

Running from the Barents Sea near the Russia-Norway border all the way to the Bering strait between Siberia and Alaska, the NSR could become an essential route for the extraction and transportation of resources, including hydrocarbons, from the Arctic. Going from South Korea to England, the NSR is shorter by around 4,000 nautical miles compared to the Suez route, and could also give Russia’s oil and gas industry a big boost.

In October 2020, Russian president Vladimir Putin released a strategy document for the development of the Russian Arctic Zone. It includes a plan to open up the NSR, construct air and shipping ports, and build a fleet of nuclear-powered ice-breaking ships.

But allowing commercial activities through Arctic will be dangerous:

  1. Allowing commercial shipping through the Arctic will be nothing short of a climate disaster. Increased shipping means increased risk of oil spills, air pollution from fuel combustion, and accidents.
  2.  Heavy fuel oil (HFO) is the most common shipping fuel in the Arctic, and its use produces black carbon – or soot – that can accelerate the rate at which Arctic ice is melting. Black carbon emissions from Arctic shipping alone grew by 85% from 2015 to 2019.
  3. As global concerns about HFOs and their associated emissions of black carbon have grown, the UN International Maritime Organisation announced a ‘paper ban’ on the use of HFOs in November 2020. However, the ban comes into effect only in July 2024 – and also allows exemptions and waivers for certain types of ships until 2029.
  4. Arctic ice reflects incoming solar radiation back into space. However, when black carbon enters and is suspended in the lower atmosphere, it absorbs heat, and when it floats down onto the snow, it reduces the reflectivity. The snow then absorbs the heat it might have reflected, and melts faster.

As climate protection is the priority, so we can conclude:

It may have been tempting to consider the NSR when the Suez Canal was blocked. However, the impact on the climate should dissuade every policymaker from making the switch. Protecting the Arctic requires immediate global action to cut carbon dioxide but also emissions of short-lived climate pollutants such as methane and black carbon. If we don’t take these steps now, or worse, promote shipping through the NSR, we will lose all our remaining chances to shield against the worst of climate change.

Current Affair 2:
UN Global Compact’s CEO Water Mandate

Source Link

News: NTPC Ltd, India’s largest power utility Under Ministry of Power has become a signatory to the prestigious UN Global Compact’s CEO Water Mandate.


The CEO Water Mandate mobilizes a critical mass of business leaders to address global water challenges through corporate water stewardship, in partnership with the United Nations, governments, civil society organizations, and other stakeholders.

The CEO Water Mandate is a special initiative of the UN Secretary-General and the UN Global Compact.

It aims to demonstrate commitment and efforts of companies to better their water and sanitation agendas as part of long-term Sustainable Development Goals.

It has six commitment areas:

UN Global Compact.

Twenty years ago, in July 2000, United Nations Secretary General Kofi Annan put forth the vision of “a global compact of shared values and principles, which will give a human face to the global market.” Since then, UN Global Compact has grown from a group of 44 businesses into what it is today, the world’s largest corporate sustainability initiative and a global movement of more than 12,000 businesses and 3,000 non-business stakeholders across more than 160 countries.

UN Global Compact aims to encourage businesses worldwide to adopt sustainable and socially responsible policies, and to report on their implementation. The UN Global Compact is based on ten principles in the areas of human rights, labour standards, the environment, and anti-corruption.

Is the UN Global Compact legally binding?

No. The UN Global Compact is a purely voluntary initiative. It does not police or enforce the behaviour or actions of companies. Rather, it is designed to stimulate change and to promote corporate sustainability and encourage innovative solutions and partnerships.

India is also a part of the UN Global Compact.

Current Affair 3:
Aspirational Districts Programme


India is on a high growth trajectory that is expected to lift millions out of poverty. However, presently the quality of life of many of its citizens is not consistent with this growth story. A closer look at the data reveals high heterogeneity in the living standards in India. There are significant inter-state and inter-district variations. By uplifting the districts which have shown relatively lesser progress in achieving key social outcome, India can move ahead in the human development index.


Launched in January 2018, the ‘Transformation of Aspirational Districts’ initiative aims to remove this heterogeneity through a mass movement to quickly and effectively transform these districts.


The ‘Transformation of Aspirational Districts’ Programme aims to expeditiously improve the socio-economic status of 117 districts from across 28 states. The three core principles of the programme are - Convergence (of Central & State Schemes), Collaboration (of Central, State level ‘Prabhari’ Officers & District Collectors), and Competition among districts driven by a mass Movement.

The programme focusses on 5 main themes - Health & Nutrition, Education, Agriculture & Water Resources, Financial Inclusion & Skill Development, and Basic Infrastructure, which have direct bearing on the quality of life and economic productivity of citizens.



Current Affair 4:
Sea Snot’ Outbreak in Turkey

Source Link


A thick, slimy layer of the mucus-like matter is spreading along the Sea of Marmara near Istanbul, damaging marine life and the fishing industry. Experts blame pollution and climate change.

"Sea snot", or marine mucilage, is a naturally-occurring green sludge that forms when algae is overloaded with nutrients as a result of hot weather and water pollution. It was first found in Turkey in 2007 but has also been discovered in the Aegean Sea near Greece.

Turkey's recent outbreak along large areas of the Sea of Marmara, which connects the Black Sea to the Aegean Sea, is believed to be the biggest in history and is causing havoc for local communities.

It has caused mass deaths among the fish population, and also killed other aquatic organisms such as corals and sponges.

Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has promised to save the country's shores from "sea snot" building up in its waters.

<< Previous Next >>

Send To My Bookmarks