Goaltide Daily Current Affairs 2021(3Aug +4Aug)

Aug 04, 2021

Current Affair 1:
What the Ramagundam Verdict Portends for Environmental Protection in India?

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In a verdict that will have a bearing on all future thermal power projects, and other big projects in general, the Supreme Court of India upheld the National Green Tribunal’s ruling requiring detailed studies of the environmental impacts of power projects earlier this month.

The NGT judgement was delivered by a bench comprising Justices K. Ramakrishnan and Saibal Dasgupta in the case of Uma Maheshwari v. Union of India. It challenged an environmental clearance granted to the 1,600-MW Telangana Super Thermal Power Project in Ramagundam village, Karimnagar.

The most important takeaway from the ruling is that the cumulative impact – i.e., the combined impact of all activities in a given region, including past, present and prospective ones – have to be assessed before a new project is approved or during its construction – and not once it has been built.

The court’s ruling sets a precedent for environmental jurisprudence on several other fronts, too.

  1. First, it recognises the fact that burning coal is responsible for more than just particulate pollution or carbon emissions.
  2. Second, project proponents need to commission environmental studies even for those projects nearing completion.
  3. Third, these studies are not merely academic exercises; their findings will decide the fate of the project.
  4. Fourth, if the project proponent changes their source of coal, they will need to commission new studies.
  5. Fifth and last – and most important – the project proponent will not be able to claim “equity” if the studies’ findings are unfavourable. That is, they can’t plead that they be allowed to run the project on the ground that they have spent money.

Why this verdict is important?

India’s dependence on coal is only going to increase in future. In fact, the Indian government’s premier policy think tank, the NITI Aayog, has conducted an analysis showing that the share of coal will likely rise to 51% in 2030, from the present level of 47%. In turn, policymakers are using clever cost-benefit techniques to justify the continued need for thermal power projects.

Current Affair 2:
Watch | India's Changing Rainfall Patterns Could Be Due to Climate Change

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Click on the link given and watch a small video.

Current Affair 3:
Parliament Passes Bill to Amend Act Regulating Major Airports in India


Parliament recently passed the Airports Economic Regulatory Authority of India (Amendment) Bill, 2021. This short Bill proposes only one amendment to Section 2(i) of the Airports Economic Regulatory Authority of India Act, 2008.

The provision defines "major airport". A major airport is one which has, or is designated to have, annual passenger throughput in excess of 3.5 million. The Central Government may also, by notification, declare any airport as a major airport.

The Act further provides that the tariffs of aeronautical charges at major airports shall be determined by the Airports Economic Regulatory Authority of India.

As per the Civil Aviation Minister Jyotiraditya M. Sindia, since the definition of major airports does not include a group of airports, the Regulatory Authority at present does not determine their tariff. Accordingly, the Bill proposes to amend Section 2(i) so as extend its scope to determine the tariff for a group of airports also.

Why it is needed?

If tariff for smaller airports is determined on standalone basis, the tariff will be unreasonably high. Therefore, an enabling provision for AERA to determine tariff for a group of airports is proposed by amending the definition of major airports. It would help encourage development of smaller airports. Those airports where currently the traffic potential is low and are loss making are not expected to attract reasonable competitive bids. The intention of the Government is to develop not only the high traffic volume profitable airports, but also the low traffic volume non-profitable airports. This approach would help in development of a greater number of airports through the PPP route thus, expanding the air connectivity to relatively remote areas. The proposed amendment will encourage development of smaller airports along with the bigger airports under PPP mode.

The Airports Economic Regulatory Authority of India Act, 2008 provides for the

establishment of an Airports Economic Regulatory Authority to regulate tariff and other

charges for the aeronautical services rendered at airports and to monitor performance

standards of airports and for matters connected therewith or incidental thereto.


Being an independent regulator for protection of the interests of airports, airlines

and passengers, the Airports Economic Regulatory Authority of India has, since its inception, been determining the tariffs of aeronautical charges at major airports in the country.


Current Affair 4:
Inclusive and holistic preparation of Gram Panchayat Development Plan (GPDP)

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Under Article 243 G of Constitution, Panchayats have been mandated for preparation and implementation of plans for economic development and social justice. Thus, Panchayats have a significant role to play in the effective and efficient implementation of flagship schemes/programmes on subjects of national importance for transforming rural India.

With this aim, People’s Plan Campaign titled ‘Sabki Yojna Sabka Vikas’, for inclusive and holistic preparation of Gram Panchayat Development Plan (GPDP) was launched from 2nd October, 2020 to 31st January, 2021 as was done during 2018 and 2019. 

In this endeavour, convergence was sought with all Departments relating to 29 devolved subjects listed in XIth Schedule of the Constitution.  The objectives of ‘Sabki Yojna Sabka Vikas’ broadly include strengthening of elected representatives and Self-Help Groups, evidence-based assessment of progress made in 2020-21 and proposals for 2021-22 in all 29 subjects of XI Schedule, public disclosure on Schemes, finances etc.

Sabki Yojana Sabka Vikas is an effective strategy for ensuring the preparation of GPDP in a campaign mode by endeavouring to converge all resources available at Panchayat level related to 29 subjects listed in the Eleventh Schedule of the Constitution.

Current Affair 5:
Export of Drug Formulations and Biologics registers continuous growth over past three years

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The measures taken by Department of Commerce to promote exports include various schemes under the Foreign Trade Policy (FTP), assistance under the Market Access Initiative (MAI) scheme, setting up district export hubs, Transport and Market Assistance Scheme etc. Trade delegations/buyer-seller meets with various countries are regularly organized for the benefit of exporters. Airfare support is also provided to the exporters with a turnover of Rs.30 crore and below to encourage participation in business delegations/trade fairs.

The quantum of pharmaceutical exports of past three years, category-wise is as under:

Department of Commerce, in partnership with other stakeholders, is working towards boosting our presence in under penetrated/potential international markets viz. North East Asia, Africa, Middle East, Latin America, South East Asia etc. The Department is also actively taking up with MoHFW/CDSCO for promotion of newer products such as gene therapy, bio-similar, and specialty drugs to drive the next phase of export growth.

Current Affair 6:
Indian Agritech sector


India is an agrarian economy, with ~54.6% people directly dependant on agriculture as their primary source of livelihood. According to advance estimates by the government in the Economic Survey 2020-21, GDP contribution by the agriculture sector is likely to be 19.9% in 2020-21, increasing from 17.8% in 2019-20.

Rising tech awareness among farmers, driven by high internet penetration and mobile connectivity, is expected to drive the sector. The government is also playing an active role in sector development by creating incubators, awarding grants and focusing on public-private partnerships

Driven by these strong tailwinds, PE and VC (Private Equity and Venture Capital) investments are also accelerating in this space. India is the world's third-largest recipient of agritech funding after the US and Germany and has the third-largest number of agritech start-ups after the US and the UK. In 2020, India received investments worth US$ 329 million from PE/VC firms and registered a staggering CAGR of ~53% from 2017 (US$ 91 million) to 2020 (US$ 329 million).

Indian agritech start-ups have significantly attracted investors from across the globe. Following is the list of prominent agritech start-ups that have received significant funding:

By expanding the total agricultural output, institutional and technological reforms, efficient post-harvest management, etc., the government is planning to double famer incomes by 2022.


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