Sarat Chandra IAS Academy

Current Affairs of 16th November -2020

 

TOPICS OF THE DAY:

  1. Pradhan MantriKisanUrja Suraksha evam Utthaan Mahabhiyaan(PM-KUSUM) Scheme
  2. Countdown to greater India – Canada convergence
  3. RCEP?
  4. Ramsar site

 

1) Pradhan Mantri Kisan Urja Suraksha evam Utthaan Mahabhiyaan(PM-KUSUM) Scheme:

Relevant to: Prelims

Highlights: MNRE has amended /clarified Implementation Guidelines of Pradhan Mantri Kisan Urja Suraksha evam Utthaan Mahabhiyaan(PM-KUSUM) Scheme

  • The Scheme consists of three components.

The Component-A includes installation of Decentralized Ground Mounted Grid Connected Renewable Power Plants

  • Component-B includes installation of standalone Solar Powered Agriculture Pumps and? Component-C includes Solarisation of Grid- connected Agriculture Pumps.
  • Amendments/Clarifications: For Component-A scope has been increased by including pasturelands and marshy lands owned farmers. Size of solar planthas been reduced so that small farmers can participate and completion period increased from nine to twelve months
  • For Component-B,MNRE will retain 33% of eligible service charges for nation-wide Information, Education and Communication (IEC) activities
  • Under Component-C, individual farmers having grid connected agriculture pumps are being supported to solarise their pumps. Farmers will be provided solar panels and they will be able to use the generated solar power to meet the irrigation needs and sell the surplus solar power
  • About PM-KUSUM: Ministry: Ministry of new and renewable energy
  • Kisanurja Suraksha evam Utthan Mahabhiyan (KUSUM) is a farmer-oriented solar power scheme that will allow setting up grid-connected solar plants in rural areas and off-grid solar pumps.
  • under the scheme, the government plans to incentivise farmers to run solar farm, water pumps and use barren land for generating power for extra income up to Rs 60,000 per acre every year.
  • It aims at boosting farmers‘ income by allowing them to sell additional power to the grid through solar plants.
  • It has a target to set up 25,750 megawatts (MW) solar capacity by 2022 to power irrigation pumps.

It comprises of three components:

  • Setting up of 10,000 MW of decentralised ground /stilt-mounted grid-connected solar or other renewable energy based power plants
  • Installation of 17.5 lakh standalone solar agriculture pumps

 

2) Countdown to greater India – Canada convergence:

Relevant to: (GS2: International Relations)

Highlights: The major issue between India and Canada is the differences over Khalistan issue and Canada Government active support to Khalistan activists. Today, both India and Canada are working towards convergence of interests. They are

  • Khalistan differences: Canada Government started prioritising concerns of Government o India.
  • G2G diplomacy is supported by people diplomacy – Track 1.5 dialogue is an engagement between career diplomats, think tanks, Independent experts from various fields.
  • Canada increased its focus on Indo – pacific – Canada have differences with china. In line with Germany, France – Canada is also showing increased interest and focus on Indo pacific.
  • Trade and Investments – they are on constant rise. Trade stands at c$10bn and investments at C$50bn
  • Education – After visa restrictions in USA, Canada become a destination for Indian students. Indian students estimated to have spent close $5bn in Canada
  • Diaspora – Indian diaspora is becoming strong in all the fields including politics. Today, they are 1.6mn in number.

 

3) RCEP-Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP):

Relevant to: GS Prelims and Mains GS 2

What is RCEP?

It is a free trade deal involving the 10 countries of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean), Australia, China, South Korea, Japan, as well as New Zealand.

Why in News?

The Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP), a mega trade bloc comprising 15 countries led by China, that came into existence on 15th November 2020, said India would have to write expressing “intention” to join the organisation to restart negotiations for membership.

  • In a statement after the initialising ceremony among member-countries on the sidelines of the 37th ASEAN Summit held virtually, the newly formed organisation laid down the path for restarting discussions.
  • RCEP, which comprises the 10 ASEAN members and Australia, China, Japan, South Korea and New Zealand.
  • The China-backed group is expected to represent at least 30% of the global GDP and will emerge as the largest free trade agreement in the world.
  • The mega trade bloc is a landmark initiative, which is expected to boost commerce among the member-countries spread across the Asia-Pacific region.
  • India’s ties with China in recent months have been disturbed by the military tension in eastern Ladakh along the LAC. In the meantime, India has also held maritime exercise with Japan, Australia and the United States for the “Quad”, interpreted as an anti-China move.

However, these moves did not influence Japanese and Australian plans regarding RCEP

The pact aims to cover the trade in goods and services, as well as investment, intellectual property and dispute resolution.

The purpose of the deal is to create an “integrated market” spanning all 16 countries. This means that it would be easier for the products and services of each of these countries to be available across the entire region.

The countries involved account for almost half of the world’s population, over a quarter of world exports, and make up around 30% of the global Gross Domestic Product (GDP).

 

4) New Ramsar sites:

Relevant to : Biodiversity

Context: The Lonar lakes in Maharashtra and Sur Sarovar, also known as Keetham lake, in Agra, have been added to the list of recognised Ramsar sites.

Details The Ramsar Convention on Wetlands of International Importance Especially as Waterfowl Habitat is a treaty for conservation and sustainable use of such sites. It is named after Ramsar, the Iranian city where the treaty was signed in 1971, and places chosen for conservation under it are given the tag ”Ramsar site”.

  1. Lonar Lake:
  • It is located in Buldhana district, Maharashtra.
  • It is an endorheic or closed basin, almost circular in shape, formed by a meteorite impact some 50,000 years ago, onto the basalt bedrock. It is one of the four known, hyper-velocity, impact craters in basaltic rock anywhere on Earth.
  • It is high in salinity and alkalinity, as the lack of an outflow leads to a concentration of minerals as the lake water evaporates.
  • Specialized micro-organisms such as anaerobes, cyanobacteria and phytoplankton survive in this harsh chemical environment.
  • Fauna: Vulnerable Asian woolly neck (Ciconia episcopus) and common pochard (Aythya ferina), grey wolf (Canis lupus).
  • It is a National Geological Monument recognised by Geological Survey of India (GSI).
  • It is the only crater lake in the country formed by the meteorite impact.
  • It was identified as a unique geographical site by a British officer C J E Alexander in 1823.
  • Minerals in the lake soil are very similar to the minerals found in moon rocks brought back during the Apollo Program [IIT Bombay study].
  • Hemadpanti temples are located at periphery of the lake.

Recently, the colour of Lonar lake water had turned pink due to a large presence of the salt-loving ‘Haloarchaea’ microbes. Haloarchaea or halophilic archaea is a bacteria culture which produces pink pigment and is found in water saturated with salt.

 

2. Sur Sarovar:

  • It is also known as Keetham Lake, located in Agra district, Uttar Pradesh.
  • It is a human-made reservoir, which provides refuge to resident and migratory birds, and more than 60 species of fish.
  • It is important for bird species which migrate on the Central Asian flyway. It is a bird sanctuary.
  • Fauna: Greater spotted eagle (Clanga clanga), Sarus crane (Grus anti gone) and catfish Wallago attu.
  • It is also culturally significant, with a temple complex dedicated to Surdas, who was a 16th century blind devotional poet and singer of the Bhakti movement, present within the complex.
  • It is located within semi- arid region characterized by dry climate and ridge and ravine topography.

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