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UPSC Civil Services Daily Current Affairs 6th June 2022

 CURRENT AFFAIRS

 

TOPICS:

10% ethanol blending goal met, says PM

GSIII Energy Security

PM calls for protection of soil health

GS III agriculture or Environmental pollution and degradation

Surrogacy law faces challenge in court

GS II POLICIES AND ITS EFFECTS ON INDIAN DIASPORA

Why are FPIs dumping Indian stocks?

GS III Foreign investment models

Housing scheme lags in urban areas

GS III Infrastructure

 

 

10% ethanol blending goal met, says PM

Context:

India has achieved the target of 10% ethanol blending in petrol, five months ahead of schedule, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said on Sunday.

  • The 10% blending target was to be achieved in November 2022.
  • This achievement led to a reduction of 27 lakh tonnes of carbon emissions and saved foreign exchange worth 41,000 crore.
  • Farmers earned 40,600 crore in the past eight years due to increase in ethanol blending.
Why India need ethanol based petroleum
  • India is the world’s third-biggest oil importer.
  • Relying on foreign suppliers to meet over 85% of its demand.
  • Ethanol extracted from sugarcane as well as damaged food grains such as wheat and broken rice and agriculture waste is less polluting and its use also provides farmers with an alternate source of income.
  • Using animal waste to generate biogas that could be used for cooking medium and running vehicles and use of organic fertilizers.
  • Ensuring climate justice.
  • Fight against climate change.
  • To reduce dependency on fossil fuels.
Challenges in shifting:
  • Food security issues may arise
  • Water usage in agriculture increases
  • Exploitation of soil
  • Efficiency of the fuel is less than fossil fuels
  • Vehicles need technology upgradation (E20 fuel)
Pathway for achieving 20% ethanol blending by 2025-26.
  • The National Biofuel Policy 2018, is aimed at reducing dependence on imports by encouraging fuel blending.
  • The target for mixing 20% ethanol in petrol has been brought forward from 2030 to 2025-26.

 

PM calls for protection of soil health

Context:

On the eve of world environment day PM of India calls for protection of soil.

  • Intensive cultivation and improper nutrient replenishment have affected soil fertility.
  • Soil plays a central role for economic and social development. It ensures food, fodder, fiber and renewable energy supplies to sustain human, animal and plant life.
Reasons for Poor Soil Health in India:
  • Soil health is showing signs of fatigue due to intensive cultivation, over-mining of nutrients by crops with lesser replenishments through organic and inorganic sources.
  • The eroded soil causes siltation of reservoirs and reduces reservoir capacity.
  • Physical degradation of soil due to waterlogging
  • Chemical degradation of soil health based on parameters like salinization (alkalinisation), acidification, soil toxification through chemicals.
  • Urbanisation – municipal and industrial wastes are being dumped in the soil with heavy metals having carcinogenic effects.
  • In terms of major macro-nutrients (nitrogen-phosphorus-potassium, or npk), the study found that Indian soils are generally deficient in nitrogen and phosphorous, while high in potassium.
  • Phosphorous is low mostly in Indo-Gangetic plains, Central and North East India.
  • Also, nitrogen deficiency is across the country, with the deficiency higher in central and southern India than in the Gangetic plains.
  • Degradation of soil health has also been reported due to long-term imbalanced use of fertiliser nutrients.

Soil erosion results in loss of organic carbon, nutrient imbalance, soil compaction, decline in soil biodiversity, and contamination with heavy metals and pesticides

SOIL HEALTH CARD SCHEME
  • Soil Health Card is a Government of India’s scheme promoted by the Department of Agriculture & Co-operation under the Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers’ Welfare.
  • It is used to assess the current status of soil health and, when used over time, to determine changes in soil health that are affected by land management.
  • A Soil Health Card displays soil health indicators and associated descriptive terms
  • A farm will get the soil card once in every 3 years
  • The main aim behind the scheme was to find out the type of particular soil. And then provide ways in which we can improve it.
  • Even if a soil has some limitations, we can do something to get the most out of it. And that is what the government is trying to do with the help of this scheme.

 

Surrogacy law faces challenge in court

Context:

  • Why marital status, age or gender should be the criteria for prohibiting someone from commissioning a surrogacy.
  • Its provisions deny choice and privacy and are discriminatory said by the petitioners in the court.
  • It is against gender equality
  • It is against to the article 21 of the constitution ( denying the choice )
Surrogacy (Regulation) Act, 2021
  • This act was introduced to curb unethical practices related to issues such as sex selection and exploitation of surrogate mothers, with provisions for jail term in case of violations.
  • The law defines a couple as a married Indian “man and woman” and prescribes an age band of 23 to 50 for the woman and 26 to 55 for the man to opt for surrogacy.
  • The couple should not have a child of their own.
  • The law allows a single woman to choose surrogacy, she has to be a widow or a divorcee between the age of 35 and 45.
  • Single men are not eligible
  • The surrogate mother has to be a close relative of the couple, a married woman with a child of her own and aged between 25 and 35
  • Under the act, a couple can opt for surrogacy only on medical grounds and should produce certificates of eligibility
Why are FPIs dumping Indian stocks?

Foreign portfolio investors (FPIs) have been on a selling spree in India. May figures of about 44,000 crore formed the highest monthly quantum of Selloff since March 2020 when India announced a nationwide lockdown.

What are FPIs?
  • FPIs are those that invest funds in markets outside of their home turf.
  • Their investments typically include equities, bonds and mutual funds
  • The passive nature of their investment allows them to enter or exit a stock at will and with ease.
  • They are generally not active shareholders, so no control over a company
What factors spur FPI moves?
  • Promise of attractive returns
  • For example, as per data from the National Securities Depositories Ltd. (NDSL), FPIs brought in about ? 3,682 crore in 2002. This grew to ?79 lakh crore in 2010. In 2017 it crossed 2Lakh crore.
  • Nationwide lockdown, triggering concerns around economic growth
  • FPIs show keenness to invest in bonds
Why have FPIs been selling India holdings?
  • Post pandemic, recovery in the Indian economy has been uneven
  • The second wave of the COVID19 pandemic in 2021 devastated lives and livelihoods.
  • Russia launched an attack on Ukraine.

Eg; Sunflower oil and wheat exports effected

  • Supply and demand mismatch
  • Inflation is increasing

The Reserve Bank’s upper comfort level of 6% was breached long time ago (now inflation is around 7.8%)

  • Industry not fully recovered from pandemic
  • Consumption expenditure too has remained weak in the subcontinent.
  • S. Federal Reserve raising the benchmark interest rate starting March this year
What impact does an FPI selloff have?
  • When FPIs sell their holdings and repatriate funds back to their home markets, the local currency takes a beating.
  • Supply of the rupee in the market rises, its value declines. In this instance, the rupee has recently been seeing all time lows.
  • Imports become costlier. The most telling impact is on the cost of our crude oil imports that contribute to 85% of our oil needs.

 

Housing scheme lags in urban areas

Context:

The central government’s flagship programme, the Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana Gramin (PMAYG), aimed at constructing houses in rural areas, has a completion rate of 67.72% at the end of six years since it began in 2016.

In contrast to the urban version of the scheme that started a year ahead but is lagging behind with a 50% completion rate.

About Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana Gramin (PMAY-G)
  • The Pradhan Mantri Awaas Yojana – Gramin was introduced with the view to boost the “Housing for All” scheme by the year 2022.
  • The main aim of the PMAY-G scheme is to provide pakka house with some of the basic amenities.
  • The PMAYG was initiated in November 2016 with a target of completing 2.7 crore houses.
  • Implemented by the Ministry of Rural development.
  • Under this scheme only 1.8 crore houses have been constructed, which is 67.72% of the target.
The Pradhan Mantri Awas YojanaUrban (PMAYU)
  • PMAY-U Was initiated in June 2015 with a target of constructing 1.2 crore homes.
  • Implemented by Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs (MoHUA)
  • According to the latest numbers from the Union Urban Development Ministry, only 60 lakh units have been completed to date.
  • Affordable Rental Housing Complexes (ARHCs), a sub-scheme under Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana – Urban (PMAY-U).
  • This will provide ease of living to urban migrants/ poor in Industrial Sector as well as in non-formal urban economy to get access to dignified affordable rental housing close to their workplace.
  • PMAY (U) has made a mandatory provision for the female head of the family to be the owner or co-owner of the house under this Mission.
Reasons for delay
  • Covid-19 pandemic.
  • In urban areas lack of clear titles and other land documents.
  • Centre and State conflict over the scheme
  • Centre 60:40 state (centrally sponsored scheme)

State was unable to get a loan to fund its share.

UPSC Civil Services Daily Current Affairs 6th June 2022

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