Goaltide Daily Current Affairs 2021

Oct 14, 2021

Current Affair 1:
How smartphones are killing the planet?


Rising temperatures have led to a variety of adverse environmental effects such as the melting of the polar regions, wildfires, droughts and rising sea levels. Manufacturing, transportation and tech corporations have been identified as the primary contributors to the global warming crisis.

  1. Smartphones are typically discarded after an average of two years despite being operational. A McMaster University study found that 85-95 per cent of carbon emissions during this two-year period correspond to the manufacturing phase alone.
  2. The energy used to build a single smartphone is equal to the energy required to operate it for about a decade. This alone makes smartphones the most damaging of information and communication technology (ICT) devices.
  3. The iPhone 6s produced 57 per cent more carbon dioxide (CO2) than the iPhone 4s, with less than one per cent smartphones are recycled by Apple and other companies. 
  4. Gold mining for the tech industry is a major cause of deforestation and depletion of natural CO2 sinks in the Amazon. Vast quantities of water evaporate in Chile, Argentina and Bolivia, to obtain lithium for batteries that power smartphones.

Mercury and cyanide by-products further contaminate local water bodies. Discarded smartphones add to toxic e-wastes which then leach into the groundwater.

It was estimated that about 900 TWh (1 TW=10^21 watts) of energy was used in 2014 alone to manufacture smartphones, according to a Greenpeace report. This was roughly equal to India’s entire energy consumption that year.

Current Affair 2:
India retains 3rd rank in RE Country Attractiveness Index


India has maintained the third rank in the Renewable Energy Country Attractiveness Index released by consultancy firm EY. The US and China are in first and second place, respectively.

India ranked third in the 58th edition of EY’s ‘Renewable Energy Country Attractiveness Index’ (RECAI), which ranks the world’s top 40 markets (nations) on the attractiveness of their renewable energy investment and deployment opportunities.

With the Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) measures reaching the top of the agenda for companies and investors, RECAI also highlights that Corporate Power Purchase Agreements (PPAs) are emerging as a key driver of clean energy growth. A new PPA Index - presented in this edition of RECAI - concentrates on the attractiveness of renewable power procurement and ranks the growth capability of a nation’s corporate PPA market.

India ranks 6th among the top 30 PPA markets.

Current Affair 3:
Duplicates from Nepal add to India’s Darjeeling tea worries


The Tea Association of India (TAI) has raised the red flag on Nepal-origin teas reportedly sold in the domestic market as the premium Darjeeling teas, thereby “diluting the brand image of Darjeeling tea and adversely impacting prices”.

Key facts:

  1. A geographical indication (GI) is a sign used on products that have a specific geographical origin and possess qualities or a reputation that are due to that origin.
  2. The Geographical Indications are defined by the WTO’s TRIPS (Trade Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights) Agreement. India enacted the GI of Goods act, 1999 as a member of WTO and as a signatory of TRIPS agreement
  3. The act is administered by the Controller General of Patents, Designs and trademarks under the Ministry of Commerce and Industry.
  4. GI tag secures the quality and authenticity of a product to a particular geographical origin. It provides legal protection from duplication.

Darjeeling Tea was the first good to receive a GI Tag in India. Three varieties of Darjeeling tea have received GI tags: Black Darjeeling tea, White Darjeeling tea and Green Darjeeling tea.

Indo-Nepal trade deal:

  1. Revised treaty on trade signed in 2009 allowed the free and unhampered flow of goods between India and Nepal.
  2. The current trade between India and Nepal allows mandatory sanitary and phytosanitary certificates before products are allowed in the country.

Current Affair 4:
"PM Gati Shakti" launched


Salient features discussed below:

  1. It is the National Master Plan for infrastructure development and multi-modal connectivity (i.e., connecting various modes of transport like road, rail, airways, shipping etc.) which will herald a new chapter in governance.
  2. Gati Shakti — a digital platform — will bring 16 Ministries including Railways and Roadways together for integrated planning and coordinated implementation and execution of infrastructure connectivity projects.
  3. It will incorporate the infrastructure schemes of various Ministries and State Governments like Bharatmala, Sagarmala, inland waterways, dry/land ports, UDAN etc. Economic Zones like textile clusters, pharmaceutical clusters, defence corridors, electronic parks, industrial corridors, fishing clusters, Agri zones will be covered to improve connectivity & make Indian businesses more competitive. It will also leverage technology extensively including spatial planning tools with ISRO imagery to generate real time dashboard.
  4. Due to the wide gap between macro planning and micro implementation problems of lack of coordination, lack of advance information, thinking and working in silos has led to hampered construction and wastage of budget.  Gati Shakti will address this as working on the basis of the master plan will lead to optimum utilisation of resources.
  5. The logistics cost in India is presently 13% of GDP which is quite has as compared to around 8% in developed countries. This has hurt India's competitiveness in exports. The Gati-Shakti plan will bring down the logistics costs.
  6. Just as JAM (Jan Dhan, Aadhar, Mobile) trinity revolutionized the access of government facilities to the people , PM Gati Shakti will do the same for the field of Infrastructure
  7. The Gati Shakti plan will complement the already launched National Infrastructure Pipeline

So, Gati Shakti is more of giving impetus to infrastructure development through coordination between different ministries, different infrastructure projects, improved governance, real time monitoring of various projects, timely execution etc.

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