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UPSC Civils Daily Current Affairs 26th January 2022

Sarat Chandra IAS Academy – UPSC Civils Daily Current Affairs 26th January 2022

 UPSC Civils Daily Current Affairs 26th January 2022

UPSC prelims and mains coaching center in Hyderabad

Topics         

  • The Burkina Faso crisis
  • The All-India Environment Service
  • Food fortification
  • Sela Tunnel Project
  • The Non-Fungible Tokens (NFTs)

1.The Burkina Faso crisis

#GS2-Regional Groupings and International issues

Context

  • Burkina Faso’s army recently stated that President Roch Kabore had been deposed, that the constitution had been suspended, that the government and national legislature had been dissolved, and that the country’s borders had been blocked.
  • In Mali and Guinea, the army has overthrown administrations in the last 18 months.
  • After President Idriss Deby died fighting insurgents on the battlefield in Chad’s north last year (2021), the military took command.

In depth information

Burkina Faso:

  • Burkina Faso, a former French territory, has been plagued by instability since obtaining independence in 1960, including three coups.
  • The name of the country, which means “land of the honest men,” was chosen by revolutionary military leader Thomas Sankara when he seized control in 1983. In 1987, he was overthrown and killed.
  • Since 2015, the government has been facing an Islamist insurgency that began in neighbouring Mali and has spread throughout the country. This has inflamed military resentment and harmed the once-thriving tourism business.
  • Burkina Faso, despite being a gold producer, is a landlocked country with a history of coups dating back to its independence from France in 1960.
  • Islamist terrorists control large swaths of Burkina Faso’s territory, forcing citizens in some places to follow their strict interpretation of Islamic law, while the military’s battle to crush the rebellion has depleted the country’s limited resources.
  • In recent months, Kabore has seen waves of protests in response to terrorists’ killings of civilians and soldiers, some of whom have ties to the Islamic State and al Qaeda.
  • The unrest erupted in November 2021, when alleged Islamists killed 53 people, mostly members of the security services.

About:

  • The army cited the deterioration of the security situation and Kabore’s incapacity to unite the West African nation and successfully respond to problems, including an Islamist insurgency, in making the announcement.
  • The Patriotic Movement for Safeguard and Restoration, or MPSR in French, issued the declaration in the name of a previously unknown organisation. All branches of the army are represented by the MPSR.
  • After conversations with diverse sections of the country, the MPSR announced it will provide a timeline for restoring constitutional order “within an acceptable time frame.”
  • Burkina Faso’s borders have also been closed, according to the military.

Global Reaction:

  • African and Western governments criticised the “attempted coup,” and the European Union demanded the President’s “immediate” release.
  • The US also demanded the President’s release, urging “security forces members to respect Burkina Faso’s constitution and civilian government.”
  • The United Nations’ Secretary-General strongly condemns any attempted takeover of the government by the force of arm in Burkina Faso and calls on the coup leaders to lay down their guns.
  • The African Union and the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) have both criticised the forcible takeover of power, with ECOWAS claiming responsibility for the deposed president’s safety.
  • The African Union is a continental organisation made up of 55 African countries.
  • The Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) is made up of fifteen member countries in the Western African region.

 

2.The All-India Environment Service

#GS3-Environmental Impact Assessment

Context

  • The Supreme Court has issued notice to the Centre in response to a petition demanding the creation of a “Indian Environment Service.”

About

  • In 2014, a committee led by former Cabinet Secretary TSR Subramanian advocated the establishment of the India Environment Service (IES).
  • Scientists recruited into the Ministry of Environment and Forests, as well as officials from the Indian Administrative Services, are currently in charge of environmental control (IAS).
  • The Supreme Court indicated reluctance to intervene in government administrative concerns, but asked the Centre how it plans to create such a mechanism.

Need of IES/ Issues

  • India is concerned about constant environmental degradation, ecological imbalance, climate change, water scarcity, and other issues.
  • On environmental issues, there is a lack of effective coordination among Ministries and Intuitions, as well as a shortage of skilled employees in administration, policy formation, and policy execution.
  • Current approval and monitoring processes operate in a semi-amateurish manner, resulting in inadequate environmental management.
  • The formation of an All India Service called the “Indian Environment Service” is urgently needed, as it will serve as an expert group to fill posts in this subject in the public and quasi-governmental sectors over the next several decades.
  • Given the current administrative structure, it is reasonable to assume that government employees will not be able to devote additional time to environmental issues.
  • Lack of trained professionals involved in administration, policy creation, and policy implementation supervision are among the reasons.
  • India’s environmental policies and legislative framework were solid, but its implementation was lacking.
  • This will emphasise the importance of a green economy and sustainable development, as well as Article 21’s right to a clean environment.

What is the T.S.R. Subramanian environmental committee report?

About

  • It was established in August 2014 to examine the country’s environmental legislation as well as the procedures followed by the Ministry of Environment, Forestry, and Climate Change (MoEF&CC).
  • It proposed a number of changes to better line with the government’s economic growth goals.
  • It proposed changes to nearly all green legislation, including those governing the environment, forests, wildlife, and coastal zone clearances.
  • The report was later rejected by the Parliamentary Standing Committee because it dilutes essential components of environmental legislation intended to safeguard the environment.
  • Another group, with greater experience and time, should be formed to study the environmental legislation, according to the committee.

Recommendations have been made:

  • The report proposed a ‘Environmental Laws (Management) Act’ (ELMA), which called for full-time expert bodies—the National Environmental Management Authority (NEMA) and the State Environmental Management Authority (SEMA)—to be established at the federal and state levels, respectively, to evaluate project clearance in a time-bound manner (using technology and expertise), allowing for single-window clearance.
  • They proposed a “fast track” system for “linear” projects (roads, railways, and transmission lines), electricity and mining projects, and “projects of national importance” to speed up the environmental decision-making process.
  • The Environment Protection Act will incorporate the Air Act and the Water Act.
  • Once NEMA and SEMA are established, the existing Central Pollution Control Board and State Pollution Control Boards, which monitor and control the conditions imposed on industry to protect the environment, are proposed to be merged into NEMA and SEMA.
  • The report also suggests that each project be reviewed for a “environmental reconstruction cost” depending on the environmental harm it causes, and that this cost be added to the project’s cost.
  • During the project’s life, this cost must be recovered as a cess or duty from the project proponent.
  • It advocated establishing a National Environment Research Institute “on the lines of the Indian Council of Forestry Research and Education” to promote the use of cutting-edge technology in environmental governance and, finally, to establish a National Environment Research Institute.
  • Based on credentials and other information required by MoEF&CC/ DoPT/ UPSC, an Indian Environment Service could be constituted as an all-India service.”

Ahead of Schedule

  • The continuous destruction of our ecosystem necessitates special attention from both the Civil Service and the government.
  • To strike a balance between the two, an Indian Environmental Service Academy may be established to train officers in environmental enforcement.

 

3.Food fortification

#GS3-Food security related issues.

Context:

  • According to the Food Fortification Resource Centre (FFRC) of the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI), more than 70% of India’s population consumes less than half of the daily recommended dietary requirement of micronutrients.
  • These inadequacies are prevalent not only among rural women and children, but also among metropolitan populations in India.

In depth information

The Key to Closing the Nutritional Gap:

  • Because a portion of the population lacks access to nutritious foods, fortification is critical in closing the nutrition gap.
  • The Centre has approved a trial project on “Fortification of Rice and its Distribution under Public Distribution System” in order to directly treat anaemia and micronutrient deficiencies in the country.
  • Several states, including Andhra Pradesh, Gujarat, Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu, Chhattisgarh, Uttar Pradesh, Odisha, Telangana, Uttarakhand, and Madhya Pradesh, have begun distribution of fortified rice as part of the government’s food fortification strategy.
  • Adding important micronutrients to staple foods and condiments is an effective strategy to alleviate deficits.
  • As part of the fortification plan, timely implementation of food fortification in social and nutrition security programmes will be critical in tackling undernutrition in India.

Rice fortification is required:

  • Malnutrition is prevalent among women and children in the country.
  • Every second woman in the country is anaemic, and every third child is stunted, according to the Food Ministry.
  • On the Global Hunger Index, India ranks 94th out of 107 countries and is classified as having “severe hunger” (GHI).
  • Malnutrition and a lack of key nutrients are important roadblocks in the development of disadvantaged mothers and children.

What is the definition of food fortification?

  • The practise of adding vitamins and minerals to regularly consumed foods during processing to boost their nutritional value is known as food fortification.
  • It’s a tried-and-true, safe, and affordable technique for improving diets and preventing and controlling micronutrient deficiencies.
  • Fortification is defined by the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) as “deliberately enhancing the content of critical micronutrients in a food to improve nutritional quality and give public health benefit with little risk to health.”

Rice with added nutrients:

  • Rice fortification, according to the Food Ministry, is a cost-effective and complementary technique for increasing vitamin and mineral content in diets.
  • 1 kg fortified rice will contain iron (28 mg-42.5 mg), folic acid (75-125 microgram), and Vitamin B-12, according to FSSAI standards (0.75-1.25 microgram).
  • In addition, rice can be fortified with micronutrients such as zinc (10 mg-15 mg), Vitamin A (500-750 microgram RE), Vitamin B1 (1 mg-1.5 mg), Vitamin B2 (1.25 mg-1.75 mg), Vitamin B3 (12.5 mg-20 mg), and Vitamin B6 (1.5 mg-2.5 mg) per kilogramme, either separately or in combination.

What are some of the advantages of fortification?

  • Because the nutrients are added to commonly consumed staple meals, this is a wonderful way to enhance the health of a broad segment of the population at once.
  • Fortification is a safe way to improve people’s nutrition. People’s health is not jeopardised by the addition of micronutrients to diet.
  • It does not necessitate any modifications in people’s eating habits or patterns. It is a socially and culturally appropriate method of nutrient delivery.
  • It has no effect on the food’s properties, such as taste, texture, or appearance.
  • It can be adopted rapidly and show effects in terms of improved health in a short amount of time.
  • This strategy is cost-effective, especially when current technology and distribution platforms are utilised.

 

4.Sela Tunnel Project

#GS3-Infrastructure Internal Security

Context

  • The final explosion for the 980-meter Sela Tunnel (Tunnel 1) under Project Vartak was recently conducted by the Border Roads Organisation (BRO).

In depth information

  • Prime Minister Narendra Modi lay the foundation stone for the Sela Tunnel Project in 2019.
  • It is found in Arunachal Pradesh’s West Kameng District.
  • Tunnel 1, a 980-meter single tube tunnel, and Tunnel 2, a 1555-meter twin-tube tunnel, are part of the project.
  • Tunnel 2 has a bi-lane tube for traffic and an emergency escape tube.
  • It’s being dug beneath the 4,200-meter Sela Pass on the Trans-Arunachal Highway’s NH 13 section.

Significance

  • It will provide all-weather communication between Assam’s Guwahati and Arunachal Pradesh’s Tawang.
  • It is being built to provide Tawang with all-weather connectivity.
  • The tunnel would also allow for more efficient movement of troops and weapons along the Line of Actual Control (LAC).

 

5.The Non-Fungible Tokens (NFTs)

#GS3-S&T

Context

  • The creator of a series of NFTs (Non-Fungible Tokens), a fast growing segment of the cryptoworld, is being sued by a French luxury fashion firm.

In depth information

Non-Fungible Tokens

  • NFTs are one-of-a-kind, irreplaceable tokens that may be used to verify ownership of digital goods like music, artwork, and even tweets and memes.
  • In contrast to fungible currency such as money, the term ‘non-fungible’ simply means that each token is unique (a ten-rupee note can be exchanged for another and so on).
  • Bitcoin and Ethereum, for example, are fungible, which implies that one Bitcoin may be swapped for another.
  • However, because the two are different and thus unique, an NFT cannot be traded for another NFT.
  • Depending on which asset it represents, each token has a different value.

How does an NFT transaction work?

  • NFT transactions are recorded on blockchains, which are digital public ledgers, with the Ethereum blockchain hosting the majority of NFTs.
  • Artists began to see NFTs as a handy way to sell their work in 2021, and they became popular.

Why are they so popular?

  • Another advantage is that NFTs are part of a new type of financial system known as decentralised finance (DeFi), which eliminates the need for institutions like banks.
  • As a result, decentralised finance is regarded as a more democratic financial system because it facilitates laypeople’s access to capital by virtually eliminating the function of banks and other related institutions.
  • Despite this, because NFTs are a decentralised system, anyone can sell a digital asset as one.
  • This can occasionally cause issues. For example, if you sell someone else’s artwork as an NFT, you might be infringing on their copyright.

UPSC Civils Daily Current Affairs 26th January 2022

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