Sarat Chandra IAS Academy

Sarat Chandra IAS Academy -UPSC Civils Daily Current Affairs 7th October -2021

CURRENT AFFAIRS 07-10-2021

                                                                                                  

Topics                                                                                                                                                    

  • Amendments to the Forest (Conservation) Act, 1980 (FCA)
  • The International Air Transport Association (IATA)-Net Zero Carbon Emissions By 2050
  • 30 years of adoptioning the Madrid Protocol
  • Gujarat HC and Sabarmati river conservation
  • Tax Inspectors Without Borders (TIWB) Programme

 

 

 1.Amendments to the Forest (Conservation) Act, 1980 (FCA)

#GS3- Environmental Impact Assessment Biodiversity and Environment

 Context

  • The Union Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change has recommended a number of changes to the Forest (Conservation) Act, 1980 (FCA), which could make it easier for infrastructure projects to be built in forest areas.

In depth information

 The proposal’s main features are:

  • The proposed adjustments aim to improve Sections 1 and 2 of the Act by adding and changing them.
  • 1A new section:
  • A provision has been included to the proposed new section 1A to exempt forest land that is “used for subterranean exploration and production of oil and natural gas through Extended Reach Drilling (ERD) originating outside forest territory” from the application of FCA.
  • The exemption is subject to the central government’s rules and restrictions.
  • Section 2 now includes a new explanation:
  • “survey, reconnaissance, prospecting, exploration, or investigation” for future forest activities will not be classed as a “non-forestry activity.”
  • This means that such surveys would not need to be approved by the government in advance.
  • Only if the action takes place in a wildlife sanctuary, national park, or tiger reserve is there an exception.
  • Exemption:
  • Land purchased by the railways for creating a rail line or a road by a government agency before 25.10.1980 (the day the FCA was established) would be exempted from seeking a forest clearance — if they put the land to the same purpose for which it was obtained.
  • It seeks to exempt cultivation of native species of palm and oil-bearing trees from the concept of “non-forest purpose”.
  • Clause to be Removed:
  • Section 2(iii) of the FCA requires the consent of the central government before leasing forest lands to any private person, corporation, or organisation that is not owned or managed by the central government.

Why was it important to make these changes?

  • The fundamental conflict in the FCA is that the state is committed to increase forest cover, which makes it more difficult for States and private groups to access land for infrastructure projects.
  • Several ministries have expressed dissatisfaction with how the Act has been applied to railway and highway right-of-ways.
  • As of today, a landholding agency (Rail, NHAI, PWD, etc.) must seek approval under the Act and pay specified compensation levies such as Net Present Value (NPV) and Compensatory Afforestation (CA) for the use of land that was originally purchased for non-forest uses.
  • With more area falling under the concept of “forest,” it’s getting more difficult for state governments or private industry to exploit “forest” land for non-forestry uses.
  • This has resulted in a number of legal cases throughout the years, as well as disputes about the legal meaning of “forest.”
  • States have been told to offer a definition of what constitutes a forest, but many have refused because doing so would have political ramifications. All of this has resulted in differing interpretations of the FCA over time.
  • The proposed change is part of a larger effort to streamline existing forest laws.

FCA

  • Such approval is required under the FCA, which was enacted in 1980 and revised in 1988.
  • 1980 Forest (Conservation) Act
  • The FCA is the primary piece of legislation in the country that governs deforestation.
  • It forbids the felling of trees for any “non-forestry” purpose without first obtaining permission from the central government.
  • Local forest rights holders and wildlife authorities are consulted as part of the clearance procedure.

 

2.The International Air Transport Association (IATA)-Net Zero Carbon Emissions By 2050

#GS3- Conservation related issues.

Context:

  • The 77th Annual General Meeting of the International Air Transport Association (IATA) approved a resolution calling for the global air transport industry to achieve net-zero carbon emissions by 2050.
  • This commitment will be in line with the Paris Agreement’s goal of limiting global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius.

In depth information

What does it mean to be “net-zero”?

  • The term “net zero emissions” refers to achieving a balance between the amount of greenhouse gas emissions produced and the amount of greenhouse gas emissions removed from the atmosphere.
  • To begin, human-caused emissions (such as those from fossil-fueled vehicles and factories) should be reduced to near-zero levels. Second, any remaining GHGs should be offset by an equal amount of carbon sequestration.

What about India, for example?

Emissions:

  • India’s per capita CO2 emissions are around a ninth of those in the United States and about a third of the global average of 4.8 tonnes per person (as of 2015).
  • However, behind China and the United States, India is currently the world’s third-largest CO2 emitter.

The Commitment Debate:

  • India is under international pressure to commit to net-zero emissions by 2050.
  • On the one hand, few argue that India should commit to reducing its “net” emissions (emissions minus uptake of emissions) to zero by 2050, backed by legislation. As a result, India will become “hypercompetitive,” attracting investment and job creation.
  • More aggressive regulations to promote electric vehicles, greener electricity, and hydrogen electrolysis, for example, can produce jobs in the auto manufacturing industry, as well as the electrical and construction industries.
  • On the other hand, there is a long-standing idea of “shared but differentiated responsibility” that demands richer countries to take the lead and argue against any vow that could limit India’s energy consumption for development prematurely.

Sectors with the highest emissions:

  • Energy>Industry>Forestry>Transport>Agriculture>Building

Challenges to come:

  • It’s still possible: It will be difficult for India to deploy renewable energy technology on a large scale without a suitable regulatory and innovation-driven environment.
  • Climb the share of renewable in the power mix: In order for India to achieve its net-zero target, the share of renewable in the power mix must increase to 90%. In 2019-2020, this will be roughly 11%.
  • Coal-fired Power Plants: India must phase out coal-fired power plants by 2050 and eliminate them entirely.
  • Technology Access: Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS) availability, or lack thereof, will determine the shape of India’s energy systems. Biofuels would have to account for 98 percent of India’s oil if CCS technology was not commercially viable, compared to a tiny amount now.
  • Over two-thirds of India’s industrial and transportation energy consumption would need to be electrified, compared to a current percentage of electricity in industrial energy use of less than 20% and negligible in transport energy use.

What countries have declared net-zero goals?

  • New Zealand’s government approved the Zero Carbon Act in 2019, committing the country to a carbon-free future by 2050.
  • The UK parliament enacted laws mandating the government to cut the country’s net greenhouse gas emissions by 100%.
  • President Joe Biden of the United States announced that by 2030, the country’s greenhouse gas emissions will be reduced by at least 50% from 2005 levels.
  • World War Zero was begun in 2019 with the purpose of bringing together unusual allies on climate change and achieving net-zero carbon emissions by 2050 in the country.
  • The European Commission’s “Fit for 55” plan asks all of the EU’s 27 member countries to reduce emissions by 55% below 1990 levels by 2030.
  • China stated that it would achieve net-zero emissions by 2060 and that it would not allow emissions to exceed those of 2030.

 

3.30 years of adoptioning the Madrid Protocol

#GS3- Environmental Pollution & Degradation

Context

  • The Union Minister of India recently spoke at an international conference honouring the signing of the Madrid Protocol on Antarctic Treaty Environmental Protection.

In depth information

  • The Madrid Protocol, which underlines India’s commitment to maintaining Antarctic environmental and dependent ecosystems, has been signed and implemented for 30 years.
  • India supports the declaration of Antarctica as a natural reserve dedicated to peace and science, as well as the total conservation of the Antarctic environment and its dependent and connected ecosystems.

Currently, the treaty claims to:

  • In the Indian Antarctic programme, effectively implement all ATCM Decisions, Resolutions, and Measures.
  • In both the Indian Antarctic research stations, Maitri and Bharati, green alternate energy systems such as solar panels and wind energy generators are being used to gradually reduce the use of fossil fuels and make the stations more efficient using alternate green energy.
  • Reduce your carbon impact by only using vehicles and machinery when absolutely necessary.
  • Deliver people resources, goods, and machines to Antarctica via a common supply ship.
  • Control the entrance of non-native species to Antarctica using whatever means possible, including vector transmission.

The Antarctic Treaty and India

  • India ratified the Antarctic Treaty on August 19, 1983, and received consultative status on September 12, 1983.
  • India joined the Madrid Protocol, which took effect on January 14, 1998.
  • India is one of the Antarctic Treaty’s 29 Consultative Parties.
  • India is also a member of the Council of Managers of the National Antarctic Program (COMNAP) and the Scientific Committee for Antarctic Research (SCAR) (SCAR). All of these depictions demonstrate India’s prominent position among nations engaged in Antarctic research.

 

4.Gujarat HC and Sabarmati river conservation

#GS3 – Conservation and pollution related issues.

Context:

  • The Gujarat High Court has taken suo motu notice of the Sabarmati River’s slow demise as a result of wastewater discharge. It just handed down a decision in this regard.

The decision of the High Court is as follows:

  • Water and power would not be provided to industrial entities deemed to have discharged pollutants into Gujarat’s Sabarmati River.
  • They will also be sanctioned, identified, and publicly disgraced.
  • All polluting units will be barred from participating in any industrial fairs, public-private cooperation events, and other similar events.

The public confidence in water:

  • Water resources are kept in public trust under our Constitution. As a result, the court decided to invoke the ‘Public Trust Doctrine’ to impose strict penalties on municipal organisations and companies that pollute rivers.

Challenges:

  • The Sabarmati is in its final stages of life for 120 kilometres of its 371-kilometer journey. This is especially true of the river’s stretch along Ahmedabad’s Sabarmati riverfront.
  • The river has been irreparably damaged by the excessive presence of pollutants and the lack of natural flow.
  • Effluents and sewage from industrial operations are released into the Sabarmati river on a regular basis.
  • Regardless, industrial entities have been given legal licence to engage in these activities.

The necessity of the hour:

  • We are absolutely reliant on rivers for our survival, hence they are our lifeline. Our absolute ignorance and casual attitude toward our environment and preserving rivers and riversides is the primary cause of this dangerous condition.
  • As a result, it is past time for us to take decisive action in this respect.
  • Rivers belong to all of us, and each and every one of us should recognise this.
  • It is each and every individual’s equal responsibility to maintain them clean.

Sabarmati is a city in India.

  • The Sabarmati River rises in the Dhebar Lake in the Udaipur district of Rajasthan, in the southern section of the Aravalli range.
  • It runs in a south-western direction, passing through the Rajasthani cities of Udaipur and Sabarkantha, Mehsana, Gandhinagar, Ahmedabad, and Anand, as well as the Gujarati districts of Sabarkantha, Mehsana, Gandhinagar, Ahmedabad, and Anand.
  • It reaches the Gulf of Khambhat after a 371-kilometer journey.

 

5.Tax Inspectors Without Borders (TIWB) Programme

#GS2- India & Foreign Relations GS 3 Indian Economy & Related Issues

Context

  • Tax Inspectors Without Borders (TIWB) just begun their programme in the Seychelles.
  • India was chosen as the program’s partner administration and has provided a tax expert.

In depth information

 Program for Tax Inspectors Without Borders:

  • The TIWB initiative is a capacity-building initiative.
  • It’s a joint OECD/UNDP effort that began in July 2015 with the goal of improving developing countries’ auditing capabilities and multinational companies’ compliance around the world.
  • It sends trained professionals to developing nations in Africa, Asia, Eastern Europe, Latin America, and the Caribbean to assist in the development of tax capacity in areas such as audit, criminal tax investigations, and the efficient use of automatically transferred data.
  • In several of the world’s least developed countries, TIWB aid has resulted in enhanced domestic resource mobilisation.

Concerning the situation

  • The duration of this programme is scheduled to be 12 months.
  • India will work with the TIWB Secretariat and the UNDP Country Office in Mauritius and Seychelles during this time.
  • The goal is to assist Seychelles in developing its tax administration by sharing best audit practises and passing technical know-how and skills to its tax auditors.
  • The curriculum will concentrate on Transfer Pricing examples in the tourism and financial services industries.
  • This is the 6th TIWB programme to be supported by India, which has provided Tax Experts.
  • India has already provided assistance to Bhutan under the similar initiative.
  • It shows India’s commitment to South-South Cooperation, the SAGAR initiative, and an older brother approach to the Indian Ocean nations.

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