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Goaltide Daily Current Affairs 2022

Sep 12, 2022

Current Affair 1:
Supreme Court quashes plea against Gadgil, Kasturirangan reports

 

The Supreme Court of India September 12, 2022, dismissed a public interest litigation. The group had challenged the Madhav Gadgil and K Kasturirangan Committees demarcating an area of 56,825 square kilometres spread across six states as the Western Ghats Ecologically Sensitive Area (ESA).

The six states are Gujarat, Maharashtra, Goa, Karnataka, Kerala and Tamil Nadu. The petition was filed in 2020, after the 4th draft notification in 2018 by the Union Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change.

The petitioner had pleaded to the apex court to not implement the recommendations of the Western Ghats Ecologically Expert Panel (Gadgil Committee Report) and the High-Level Working Group (Kasturirangan Committee Report).

 

The Madhav Gadgil Report had classified the whole of the Western Ghats, spread across six states and covering 44 districts and 142 talukas, as an Eco-Sensitive Zone (ESZ).

 

The Kasturirangan Committee had reduced the ESZ to 37 per cent of the total area, covering about 60,000 sq km. It had recommended that 123 revenue villages be demarcated as ESA.

 

 

But the apex court dismissed the petition……

What are Ecologically Sensitive Areas?

As per the National Wildlife Action Plan (2002-2016), Eco-Sensitive Areas (ESAs) are regions located within 10 km of protected areas such as national parks and wildlife sanctuaries. ESAs are notified and regulated by the MoEFCC under the Environment Protection Act, 1986.

The purpose of declaring ESAs is to create “shock absorbers” to prevent ecological damage caused by developmental activities in such areas and protect then by minimising the negative impact on the ecosystem. They also act as a transition zone from areas that require high protection to those that need lesser protection.

As a general principle, the width of the ESA could go up to 10 km around the protected area. However, if these sensitive and ecologically important corridors span beyond 10 km, then the width of the ESA and type of regulation may vary from area to area.

Current Affair 2:
National Health Accounts Estimates 2018-19

 

This report presents National Health Accounts (NHA) Estimates for India for Financial Year 2018-19. National Health Accounts is a tool to describe health expenditures and the flow of funds in both Government and private sector in the country.

India’s total health expenditure went down from 3.9 per cent of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) in 2013-14 to 3.2 per cent in 2018-19, according to the latest report, National Health Accounts Estimates 2018-19, released September 12, 2022.

As the total healthcare expenditure has increased from 29 per cent in 2014-15 to 40.6 per cent in 2018-19, the decline is even more pronounced.

Out-of-pocket expenditure on healthcare by households has declined by 16 percentage points, from 64.2 per cent to 48.2 per cent in the same period. It was even higher in 2004-2005, at 69.4 per cent.

The figures are estimated based on the global standard framework — System of Health Accounts 2011 (SHA 2011) — such that comparisons in healthcare expenditure of different countries across the board can be conducted.

Current Affair 3:
The concentration of sulphur dioxide shows a decreasing trend in India in the recent decade (2010-2020)

 

India relies heavily on coal-based thermal power plants to meet its energy demands. Sulphur dioxide (SO2) emitted from these plants and industries is a major air pollutant. Analysis of spatial and temporal changes in SO2 using accurate and continuous observations is required to formulate mitigation strategies to curb the increasing air pollution in India.

Results of report:

While the concentration of sulphur dioxide (SO2), an atmospheric pollutant with health and climate impacts, shows a decreasing trend in India in the recent decade (2010-2020), compared to previous decades, due to environmental regulations and control technologies in place, its concentration is still high and is of concern.

Replacement of the conventional fuel-based production (coal) in the power sector, iron and steel industries, refineries, and other fuel-demanding sectors with renewable energy sources would help to reduce the overall SO2 emissions in India.

About So2:

Sulphur dioxide is an air pollutant and in very humid conditions, it can be converted to sulphate aerosol, which can eventually affect the regional climate by modifying the radiative forcing (a measure of the influence of climate factors such as aerosols, greenhouse gases in warming or heating the planet), cloud reflectivity and rainfall.

Additionally, SO2 also reduces the visibility and contribute to the acid rain that damages the aquatic and terrestrial ecosystem, and other valuable properties and monuments. Therefore, SO2 at high concentrations affects air quality, ecosystem, visibility (e.g. haze formation) rainfall, and regional climate.

SO2 has an adverse effect on the human respiratory system and even short-term exposure to high levels might result in death, noted the study.

As per the WHO air quality guidelines (World Health Organization 2021), the recommended 24-hour average SO2 concentration should not be more than 40 µg/m3 for protecting human health,

The Indo-Gangetic Plains, central and eastern India are the hotspots of SO2 pollution as these regions house a cluster of thermal power plants, petroleum refineries, steel manufacturing units, and cement industries, according to the study. These hotspots include rural areas.

Current Affair 4:
Precision agriculture (PA)

 

Precision agriculture (PA) is an approach to farm management that uses information technology (IT) to ensure that the crops and soil receive exactly what they need for optimum health and productivity. The goal of PA is to ensure profitability, sustainability and protection of the environment. PA is also known as satellite agriculture, as-needed farming and site-specific crop management (SSCM).

A key component of this farm management approach is the use of information technology and a wide array of items such as GPS guidance, control systems, sensors, robotics, drones, autonomous vehicles, variable rate technology, GPS-based soil sampling, automated hardware, telematics, and software.

Why Precision Farming is important for farmers in India?

In India, one major problem is the small field size. More than 58 per cent of operational holdings in the country have size less than one hectare (ha).

Only in the states of Punjab, Rajasthan, Haryana and Gujarat do more than 20 per cent of agricultural lands have an operational holding size of more than four ha. Commercial as well as horticultural crops also show a wider scope for PA in the cooperative farms. So., we need more yields from less space.

Precision farming is an approach where inputs are utilized in precise amounts to get increased average yields, compared to traditional cultivation techniques.

 

Current Affair 5:
Delimitation Commission.

 

What is mention in Constitution about Delimitation?

Article 82 of Indian Constitution provides for delimitation and it says: Upon the completion of each census, the allocation of seats in the House of the people to the States and the division of each State into territorial constituencies shall be readjusted by such authority and in such manner as Parliament may by law determine.

Delimitation Commission:

As per Article 82, Parliament by law enacted a Delimitation Act after every census. Once the Act comes into force, the Central Government constitutes a Delimitation Commission.

 Therefore, Delimitation Commission have been constituted four times since independence:

  1. In 1952 under Delimitation Commission Act, 1952
  2. In 1963 under Delimitation Commission Act, 1962
  3. In 1973 under Delimitation Commission Act, 1972
  4. In 2002 under Delimitation Commission Act, 2002

 

What is the composition of the Delimitation Commission?

 

 

 

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