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Sarat Chandra IAS Academy

5th November 2019 Current Affairs

1. Wastelands Atlas – 2019

  • The Department of Land Resources in collaboration with National Remote Sensing Centre (NRSC), Department of Space has published Wastelands Atlases of India – 2000, 2005, 2010 & 2011 editions.  
  • The new wastelands mapping exercise, carried out by NRSC using the Indian Remote Sensing Satellite data is brought out as the fifth edition of Wastelands Atlas – 2019.
  •  India with 2.4% of total land area of the World is supporting 18% of the World’s population.  The per capita availability of agriculture land in India is 0.12 ha whereas World per capita agriculture land is 0.29 ha. 
  • Unprecedented pressure on the land beyond its carrying capacity is resulting into degradation of lands in the Country. Therefore, robust geospatial information on wastelands assumes significance and effectively helpful in rolling back the wastelands for productive use through various land development programmers / schemes.


  1. The Ramsar Convention on Wetlands of International Importance especially as Waterfowl Habitat is an international treaty for the conservation and sustainable use of wetlands. It is also known as the Convention on Wetlands. It is named after the city of Ramsar in Iran, where the Convention was signed in 1971.
  2. The Montreux Record is a register of wetland sites on the List of Ramsar wetlands of international importance where changes in ecological character have occurred, are occurring, or are likely to occur as a result of technological developments, pollution or other human interference.

2. Sustainable Water Management Conference

  • Water is a key strategic resource for our country. India accounts for 18% of the world population, whereas we have only 4% of the world water resources that too with large temporal and spatial variability.
  •  The situation gets further aggravated when we need to meet the challenge of conflicting sectoral demands.  Thus, there is an urgent need to manage precious water resources in a judicious manner.
  •  Ministry of Jal Shakti (MOJS), Government of India is striving hard towards sustainable development and management of water resources. In this endeavor, MOJS is implementing a number of schemes with active participation of the states and  National Hydrology Project (NHP)is one of the such important scheme.  This Central Sector Scheme is being implemented by Department of Water Resources, River Development and Ganga Rejuvenation with support from World Bank.
  • The project has a  coverage on Pan India basis and intends to set up of a system for timely and reliable water resources data acquisition, storage, collation, management and dissemination. NHP would also be a platform to develop tools and systems for informed decision making in field of flood management, reservoir operations, drought management, etc.
  • The project also seeks to build capacity of the State and Central sector organizations in water resources management through the use of Information Systems and adoption of State-of-the-art technologies. To achieve the objectives as above, NHP contemplates to promote international level knowledge exchange, solutions exchange and networking necessary to realize these changes.
  • In this regard, a series of annual Conferences with the theme Sustainable Water Management are being organised under NHP which are proposed to be hosted by different Implementing Agencies. These conferences provide a platform for practicing engineers, scientists, academia and decision makers to come together regularly to discuss evolving water management challenges and opportunities in India.

3. NITI Aayog, is designed to live up to the principle of ‘Team India’ with its following officially demarcated functions

  • Cooperative and Competitive Federalism: It will be the ‘primary platform’ for operationalising cooperative federalism, enabling states to have active participation in the formulation of national policy, as well as achieving time-bound implementation of quantitative and qualitative targets through the combined authority of the Prime Minister and the Chief Ministers.
  • Shared National Agenda: It will ‘evolve’ a shared vision of national development priorities and strategies, with the active involvement of the states. This will provide the framework ‘national agenda’ for the Prime Minister and Chief Ministers to implement.
  • State’s Best Friend at the Centre: It will support states in addressing their own challenges, as well as building on strengths and comparative advantages. This will be through various means, such as coordinating with ministries, championing their ideas at the Centre, providing ‘consultancy’ support and ‘building capacity’

4. Pak. skips opening session of SCO joint exercise

  • Pakistan did not participate in the inaugural session of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) joint exercise on urban earthquake and rescue in Delhi.
  • However, it is expected to participate in the drill being organised by the National Disaster Response Force.
  • The joint exercise is aimed at improving the collective preparedness and building a common understanding of internationally recognised procedures to co-ordinate post-earthquake responses. It would be helpful in developing understanding among counterpart teams to tackle any disaster situation

5. End stubble burning immediately, orders SC

  • In a bid to save Delhi from air pollution, the Supreme Court has said it would hold the entire State administrative and police mechanisms of Punjab, Haryana and Uttar Pradesh — from the Chief Secretary to the local policeman — responsible if even one instance of stubble burning occurred in the future.
  • The court said any instance of stubble burning from now on would be penalised.

Stubble burning is intentionally setting fire to the straw stubble that remains after grains, like paddy, wheat, etc., have been harvested. The practice was widespread until the 1990s, when governments increasingly restricted its use

  • A high level committee under Secretary of Department of Agriculture Research and Education (DARE) has been set up. The committee has recommended for adopting mechanized crop residue management. As per the recommendations Ministry of Agriculture & Farmers Welfare has formulated a Scheme which was included in the 2018-19 Budget.
  • The Central Sector Scheme, ‘Promotion of Agricultural Mechanization for In-Situ Management of Crop Residue in the State of Punjab, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh & NCT of Delhi’ was launched by the Government of India to tackle air pollution and to subsidize machinery required for in-situ management of crop residue in the States of Punjab, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh and NCT of Delhi.
  •  Within one year of its implementation utilizing an amount of Rs. 500 crore, the happy seeder/zero tillage technology was adopted in 8 lakh hectares of land in the North- Western States of India.
  • Under the scheme, financial assistance @50% of the cost is provided to the farmers for purchase of in-situ crop residue management machines on individual ownership basis. The financial assistance for establishment of Custom Hiring Centres of in-situ crop residue management machinery is @ 80% of the project cost.
  • the Governments of Punjab, Haryana and Uttar Pradesh respectively, for distribution of in-situ crop residue management machinery to the farmers on subsidy, establishment of Custom Hiring Centres (CHCs) of in-situ crop residue management machinery and undertaking Information, Education and Communication (IEC) activities for creating awareness among farmers.

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