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Sarat Chandra IAS Academy -UPSC Civils Daily Current Affairs 1st December – 2021

CURRENT AFFAIRS 01-12-2021

 Daily Current Affairs – Topics

 

  • Krishna River Water Dispute
  • The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) -Corporates Houses & Banking
  • Jaitapur Nuclear Power Project
  • India Young Water Professional Programme- 1st edition
  • Black-and-Orange Flycatcher

1. Krishna River Water Dispute

#GS2- Government Policies

Context

  • Telangana and Andhra Pradesh recently informed the Supreme Court that Karnataka has not provided any information for the previous 14 years on how much Krishna River water it has diverted.

In depth information

Karnataka’s Recent Response

  • Karnataka claims that its dam and irrigation projects worth thousands of crores to provide water to the state’s parched northern areas have been stalled for years due to the Supreme Court’s 2011 decision not to publish the KWDT decisions issued in December 2010 in the Official Gazette under Section 6(1) of the Inter-State Water Disputes Act of 1956.
  • The publishing of the Tribunal’s order is a necessary requirement for its implementation.
  • The KWDT award has a 40-year lifespan, of which 10 years have already passed and another 10 years are needed to finish the job.
  • The KWDT award has a 40-year lifespan, of which 10 years have already passed and another 10 years are needed to finish the job.
  • As a result, Karnataka will be unable to use water for 20 of the next 40 years.
  • Karnataka has stated that the conflict between Andhra Pradesh and Telangana is between the two states and does not affect it.
  • It also claims that a lot of water is wasted, “streaming down into the ocean,” and that it is necessary to capture it for irrigation and replenishing parched regions.

The Krishna River water issue has a long history.

The Krishna Water Dispute Tribunal (KWDT) was established:

  • The Inter-State River Water Dispute Act of 1956 established the KWDT in 1969.
  • Justice R.S. Bachawat was in charge of it.
  • It was established to resolve inter-state water conflicts over the sharing of Krishna rivers.
  • In 1973, it presented its report, which was later published in 1976.
  • It divided the 2060 TMC (thousand million cubic feet) of Krishna water into three parts: 560 TMC for Maharashtra, 700 TMC for Karnataka, and 800 TMC for Andhra Pradesh, based on a 75% reliability.
  • It was also stated that the KWDT order could be reviewed or altered by a competent body or tribunal at any time after May 31, 2000.

Three issues were addressed by the KWDT:

  1. the extent to which current uses should be protected rather than future or anticipated uses;
  2. diversion of water to another watershed; and
  3. rules governing the usage of water in the most efficient way possible.

The tribunal allocated water based on the basis of equitable apportionment.

Challenges

  • The specific jurisdiction of KRMB has yet to be determined by the Centre.
  • A time restriction for tribunal adjudication should be established.
  • To promote an autonomous functioning mechanism of the Board, the upper age restriction for the chairman of KRMB should be set.
  • The Tribunal’s orders should be made legally obligatory, and contempt should be punished severely.
  • The Disputes Resolution Commission’s powers should be clearly specified.

Ahead of Schedule

  • The river should not be in the hands of a single state. It’s a general public trust. The state is only a custodian; nonetheless, states have become dogmatic about their custodianship. They’ve begun to assert their rights as territorial claims.
  • In the Cauvery Basin, we need to be more responsible in terms of how we use water for agriculture and urbanization.
  • To make the solution sustainable and ecologically viable, planning must be done at the basin level.

 

2. The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) -Corporates Houses & Banking

#GS3- Banking Sector & NBFCs

Context

  • The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has put on hold recommendations from its Internal Working Committee (IWG), which stated that after modifications to the Banking Regulations Act, 1949, significant business and industrial houses may be allowed to promote banks.
  • The RBI has accepted 21 of the IWG’s 33 proposals on private bank ownership, but has remained silent on granting banking licences to large corporations.

 In depth information

  • About: Corporate Houses (CH) were engaged in the banking sector until the late 1960s, when the banks they supported were nationalised amid charges of linked lending and misappropriation of depositors’ funds.
  • With the first round of private bank licencing completed in 1993, the banking sector was reopened to the CHs following liberalisation (1991).
  • Since then, there have been two further rounds of private-sector bank licencing – in 2003-04 and 2013-14 – ending in the universal bank on-tap licencing regime in 2016.
  • In 2013-14, however, even some well-known corporations were not considered.

Advantages of allowing corporations to own banks include:

  • Filling the Capital Gap: Currently, the government continues to take money from taxpayers’ pockets to fund public sector banks.
  • As a result, the capital requirement can be met by enabling large corporations to enter the banking sector.
  • Financial Inclusion: While a major portion of the population currently lacks access to banking in the country, corporate entry would result in the opening of more branches and, as a result, the inclusion of more individuals into the banking system.
  • Improving Competition: In the Indian banking system, privatisation of banks has long been a recommended reform. Allowing companies to operate in the banking sector will put even more pressure on public sector banks to compete.
  • Allowing corporations to own banks raises a number of concerns.

Moral Hazard and Connected Lending:

  • Banks could hide linked party or related party lending behind complicated company structures and subsidiaries, or by lending to suppliers of promoters and their group firms, making it difficult for supervisors to avoid or discover self-dealing or connected lending.
  • Connected lending occurs when a bank’s controlling owner gives loans to himself, his related parties, and group firms on favourable terms.
  • Even without becoming promoters of a bank, large business groups account for a significant portion of non-performing assets (NPAs) in the banking sector.
  • In terms of ethics, this will diminish the bank’s status as a reliable financial institution and create a moral hazard or conflict of interest.
  • Circular Lending and Regulatory Difficulties:
  • Corporate bank X funds projects for an industry group that owns corporate bank Y, corporate bank Y funds projects for an industry group that owns bank Z, and corporate bank Z funds projects for an industry group that owns bank X under circular financing.
  • It’s difficult to track such financing in real time because of accessible legal structures and the growth of shell firms.
  • Inequality and Wealth Concentration:
  • Corporations that own banks will bolster the power of large industry groups, which already control several key areas of the economy, such as telecommunications, organised retail, aviation, software, and e-commerce.
  • This will hasten the concentration of wealth and widen the gap between rich and poor.
  • In Opposition to the Previous Decision:
  • The banking sector in India has been in turmoil for some years, and the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) issued new limits in 2016 regarding the maximum amount of money that can be lent to a single company.
  • This judgement was based on the idea that if a bank lends too much to a single company, it risks losing that money if the company fails.
  • As a result, the advice to allow industry groups to enter the banking sector is in direct conflict with the 2016 judgment.

Next Steps

  • Before handing over considerable economic power to businesses, it is critical to complete long-overdue financial reforms and increase the RBI’s functional autonomy.
  • Recent failures of internal and external controls, such as PNB’s alarming fraud, and bank and NBFC failures such as Lakshmi Vilas Bank, Yes Bank, and others, in which all stakeholders lost money and credibility, have prompted the need for new regulations with a high degree of supervisory mechanism and corporate governance, as well as a strong Information Technology (IT) and Artificial Intelligence (AI) enabled platform.
  • When a corporation is a promoter, severe rules regarding the usage of bank funds and the monitoring of related party transactions are required.
  • The fit and proper criterion must be foolproof, and the general public must benefit from the process.

 

3. Jaitapur Nuclear Power Project

Tags: GS 3 Mobilization of Resources Energy

Context

  • The Jaitapur nuclear power project in Maharashtra is making progress, with the French business EDF and the Nuclear Power Corporation of India Limited (NPCIL) collaborating to get the project off the ground.

About

  • In 2008, an agreement between India and France was made to develop a nuclear power station in Jaitapur.
  • It would be the most powerful nuclear power plant in the world.
  • Six cutting-edge EPR reactors with a total installed capacity of 9.6 GWe will generate low-carbon electricity.
  • Electricity would be provided to seven crore households.
  • This project will represent India and France’s strong collaboration, as well as their commitment to a low-carbon future, and will directly benefit Maharashtra by creating thousands of employment.

 India’s Nuclear Power Generation Situation Currently

 

  • In the year 2020-21, nuclear power will account for around 3.1 percent of total electricity output in the country.
  • Two BWR reactors were the first nuclear power reactors produced in India, and they were built by GE as turnkey projects with Indo-US cooperation at Tarapur.
  • There are currently 22 reactors in operation with a combined capacity of 6780 MW, with one reactor, KAPP-3 (700 MW), linked to the grid on January 10, 2021.
  • Ten (10) nuclear power reactors with a total capacity of 8000 MW are now under construction (including a 500 MW PFBR being built by Bharatiya Nabhikiya Vidyut Nigam Limited BHAVINI).

Civil Nuclear Cooperation on a Global Scale:

  • India was given the opportunity to build nuclear reactors with international collaboration after signing the International Civil Nuclear Cooperation Agreement in 2008.

Cooperation with other countries:

  • India is not a signatory to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty because of its weapons programme. As a result, the country was mostly banned from nuclear power plants and material trade, which impeded civil nuclear energy growth until 2009.
  • The 48-nation Nuclear Supplier Group (NSG) granted India a waiver on September 6, 2008, allowing it access to civilian nuclear technology and fuel from other countries.
  • Agreements on civil nuclear cooperation:
  • France, the United States, Russia, Namibia, Canada, Argentina, Kazakhstan, Republic of Korea, Czech Republic, Australia, Sri Lanka, and the United Kingdom have all signed civil nuclear cooperation agreements with India. Mongolia has also signed a Memorandum of Understanding on civil nuclear cooperation. India and Japan exchanged a Memorandum in December 2015, confirming that they have reached an agreement on a Cooperation Agreement for the Peaceful Uses of Nuclear Energy.

Nuclear Energy’s Advantages

  • There have been three reasons in favour of nuclear energy: it is clean, inexpensive, and can produce electricity 24 hours a day, seven days a week (baseload).
  • Carbon footprint is minimal.
  • Nuclear energy is a long-term green energy source that will be necessary in the future to attain a low-carbon footprint and meet the nation’s long-term industrial needs.
  • Source of Clean Energy:
  • Nuclear reactors’ thermal energy might be utilised to decarbonize other energy-intensive industries, such as transportation, which is the major source of carbon pollution.
  • The Most Reliable Source of Energy
  • Highly qualified, trained, and licenced staff carry out the activities according to well-defined processes.
  • All workers working at nuclear power facilities are outfitted with appropriate Personal Protection Equipment and monitoring aids.

Project Problems

  • Liability for Nuclear Damage
  • The lack of clarity surrounding the Civil Liability for Nuclear Damage Bill 2010, which was passed by the Indian Parliament in August 2010, is preventing the contract from being finalised.
  • A section of the Civil Liability for Nuclear Damage Bill of 2010 deals with the legal binding of guilty groups in the event of a nuclear accident.
  • Only the operator (NPCIL) has the right to sue the manufacturers and suppliers. Victims will be unable to file a lawsuit against anyone.
  • The question of clearance
  • Anti-nuclear activists in India have highlighted concerns about the environmental implications of nuclear power as well as geological challenges.
  • Despite the fact that the Maharashtra state government finished land acquisition in 2010, only a small number of persons have accepted settlement checks.
  • The area’s seismicity
  • Because Jaitapur is a seismically vulnerable place, the threat of an earthquake has been on people’s thoughts.
  • Jaitapur is located in Zone III of India’s earthquake hazard zoning system. This zone is known as the Moderate Risk Zone, and it includes locations that are vulnerable to MSK VIII.
  • While clearing the proposed location, the presence of two significant creeks was overlooked.
  • Disposal of nuclear waste
  • It’s unclear if the site’s nuclear waste will be shipped for recycling or removed for disposal.
  • Each year, the plant is expected to produce 300 tonnes of used nuclear fuel.

Regulations that are quite strict

  • Strict rules on maintenance, workforce levels, operator training, and plant inspections have cost the business a lot of money.
  • Concerns about the environment
  • Because each fission event involving uranium or plutonium nuclei produces radioactive elements known as fission products, all nuclear reactors produce radioactive waste materials.
  • For hundreds of millions of years, some of these are radioactive. Nuclear waste is an unavoidable long-term environmental hazard, despite decades of research.
  • Concerns about safety:
  • Nuclear reactors, as seen in Fukushima and Chernobyl, are also capable of catastrophic failures. A single nuclear meltdown can pollute vast swaths of land, rendering them unusable for decades.

Next Steps

  • We must ensure that every nuclear power plant in the world has the highest levels of nuclear safety, as determined by IAEA safety criteria.
  • The widespread recognition of nuclear energy’s societal benefits will have a cascade impact on its acceptability, especially in rural India, catalysing the country’s economic progress.

 

4. India Young Water Professional Programme- 1st edition

#GS1-Water Resources

Context

  • The first edition of the India Young Water Professional Program was inaugurated by the Ministry of Jal Shakti.
  • Its launch is a water-related water-relatedwater-relatedwater-relatedwater-relatedwater-relatedwater-relatedwater-relatedwater-relatedwater-related water The goal of this programme is to train future water leaders.

In depth information

  • About: The National Hydrology Project has taken on this project. Australia India Water Centre will implement it (a consortium of Australian and Indian universities).
  • It is centred on a model of engaged training and learning. The Program will use the 70-20-10 framework to achieve its goals, which asserts that learning requires three types of experience:
  • 70 percent of the time (learn and develop on the job)
  • 20 percent exposure (learn and develop through others)
  • Education accounts for 10% of the total (learn and develop through formal training)
  • It also emphasises gender equality and diversity, because sustainable water management can only benefit from all members of society’s perspectives and abilities.
  • It is outcome-oriented, and by the end of the programme, participants will have learned specific tools and techniques.
  • A second edition of YWP will be planned in the second half of 2022, based on the success of the first.

The program’s objectives

  • To provide water professionals with the required skills, information, behaviours, and networks so that they may better contribute to India’s water resource development and management.
  • To fulfil the water sector’s competency needs and priorities in India.
  • The Australia-India Water Centre will carry out the program’s implementation (a consortium of Australian and Indian universities).

What are the Program’s main characteristics?

  • For starters, the Program is unlike any other capacity-building or training programme. The Engaged Training and Learning Model is the focus.
  • Through Situation Understanding and Improvement Projects, around 70% of the curriculum is devoted to project-based learning (SUIP).
  • Second, the Program emphasises gender equality and diversity since sustainable water management requires all parts of society to contribute their perspectives and abilities.

What purpose does this programme serve?

  • The programme is a huge step forward in the water connection between Australia and India. It will also assist in the preparation of future water leaders.

 

 5. Black-and-Orange Flycatcher

#GS3- Species in News

Context

  • For the Black-and-orange Flycatcher and the Nilgiri Flycatcher, researchers from Kerala Agricultural University built species distribution models.

In depth information

Concerning the research

  • The research focused on two Western Ghats endemic species: the Black and Orange Flycatcher (BOF) and the Nilgiri Flycatcher (NIF)
  • The goal of the study was to identify the species’ existing potential suitability and prospective responses to future climate change. The MaxEnt algorithm was used to do this.
  • Findings: According to the study, climate change might cause these two species to lose 31 percent and 46 percent of their range by 2050, respectively.

Nilgiri Flycatcher (BOF) and Black-and-orange Flycatcher(NIF)

  • The Nilgiri Flycatcher and the Black-and-orange Flycatcher are monotypic species indigenous to the southern Western Ghats and restricted to higher elevations.
  • BOF favours the shola forest understory, particularly among the stunted evergreen forest patches of the Western Ghats’ sky islands.
  • The NIF can also be found above 600 metres, but it is more common above 1200 metres.
  • Furthermore, in the Western Ghats, around 75% of the currently adequate sites for both of these species are outside the protected area network.

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