GS Paper I- History and Geography of the World and Society.

India To Host World Environment Day On June 5, 2018.

Background

  • India, a country that ranks third from the bottom in the global Environmental Performance Index, will host the World Environment Day this year, on June 5.
  • The United Nations Under-Secretary General and head of UN Environment, Erik Solheim made the announcement on 19th Feb, 2018 along with Minister of Environment, Forest and Climate Change, Harsh Vardhan.
  • The theme for this year is ‘Beat Plastic Pollution’, which urges governments, industry, communities and individuals to come together and explore sustainable alternatives and urgently reduce the production and excessive use of single-use plastic that is polluting our oceans, damaging marine life and threatening human health.

Highlights Of The Development-

  • India, said Solheim, had demonstrated tremendous global leadership on climate change and the need to shift to a low carbon economy and will help galvanise greater action on plastics pollution.
  • This came despite the fact that India was one of three countries to reject concrete target in a UN agreement to reduce plastic waste in oceans in December 2017. The Independent had reported that, led by the US, India and China rejected specific, internationally-agreed goals to tackle ocean plastic waste. In the face of this opposition, the agreement that emerged was not legally binding and had no timetable.
  • Solheim’s statement on Monday called India an emerging leader, given it has one of the highest recycling rates in the world.
  • A year-long study by the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR), from February 2017, showed this to be true, at least in the case of polyethylene terephthalate or PET, a plastic used in drinking water bottles and food containers.
  • The study said that, of the 900 kilo tonnes (kt) of PET produced annually here, 65 percent is recycled at registered facilities, 15 percent in the hands of the unorganised sector, 10 percent is reused by people at home. Japan’s recycling rate is 72.1 percent, Europe’s is 48.3 percent and US’ is 31 percent.
  • The world’s production all kinds of plastic is estimated at 300 million tonnes (mt), annually. This, according to the UN, means the world uses 500 billion plastic bags a year, and buys one million plastic bottles a minute.
  • Estimates from 2014-15 show that India produces one tenth of the plastic produced by the United States, giving it an advantage.
  • Conversely, a study by the World Economic Forum, in 2017, spelled gloom, saying that the world’s oceans will have more plastic than fish by 2025, at the current rate of plastic dumping.

Sources- News18.

 

GS Paper II- Governance.

Assam Govt Introduces Yoga Council Bill In Assembly.

Background

  • The Assam government on 15th February, 2018 introduced a Bill in the state Assembly to set up a yoga council for regulating the teaching and practice of yoga.
  • The proposed council will aim at assuring quality of service and avoid misinterpretation and misuse of the system.
  • On behalf of the Health Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma, Parliamentary Affairs Minister Chandra Mohan Patowary introduced ‘The Assam Yoga Council Bill, 2018’ in the House.

 

Highlights Of The Development-

  • During the introductory remarks, All India United Democratic Front (AIUDF) MLA Aminul Islam opposed the proposed council saying the existing healthcare facilities in the state are in bad shape and the focus should be to improve them instead of spending money on something new.
  • Congress MLA and former minister Rakibul Hussain pointed out that minister Sarma, who also holds the finance portfolio, has been absent in the House since the beginning of the Budget Session and requested the Speaker to allow introduction of such bills when he is present.
  • However, Speaker Hitendra Nath Goswami allowed tabling of the Bill in the House and requested the members to discuss the need of the council while deliberating the document at a later stage.
  • In his written statement on the Bill, Sarma said that it is time Assam establishes a Yoga Council for setting up of a proper mechanism necessary for regulating yoga and naturopathey sector.
  • The council is proposed to be set up in order to assure quality of service and avoid misinterpretation and misuse of the system, besides ensuring yoga institutions to offer safe, reliable and quality medical healthcare, he added.
  • Sarma said the council will be empowered to grant affiliation and accreditation to institutions teaching yoga as well as withdraw the same.
  • The other objectives are to confer registration on the institutionally qualified professional practitioners, to confer registration to other yoga practitioners fulfilling the terms and conditions laid down in the draft Bill, he added.
  • The minister further said in his statement that the council will regulate course curriculum of studies for registration by yoga practitioners and advise the state government as well as academic institutes in the matter of research on the subject.

Sources- PTI.

 

GS Paper III- Security.

India Test Fires Medium Range Nuclear Capable Agni-II Missile.

Background

  • India on 20th February, 2018 test-fired its medium range nuclear capable Agni-II missile with a strike range of 2,000 km from Abdul Kalam Island off Odisha coast.
  • The trial of the surface-to-surface missile was conducted from a mobile launcher at the Launch Complex-4 of the Integrated Test Range (ITR) at around 8.38 am.
  • The Intermediate Range Ballistic Missile (IRBM) has already been inducted into the services and this test was carried out by the Army’s Strategic Forces Command (SFC) with logistic support provided by the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO).

 

Highlights Of The Development-

  • The 20-mt-long Agni-II ballistic missile has a launch weight of 17 tonne and can carry a payload of 1,000 kg over a distance of 2,000 kms.
  • The state-of-the-art missile, already a part of the country’s arsenal for strategic deterrence, was launched as a training exercise by the armed forces, a DRDO scientist said.
  • Agni-II, a two-stage missile, equipped with advanced high accuracy navigation system and guided by a unique command and control system was propelled by solid rocket propellant system.
  • The entire trajectory of the trial was tracked by a battery of sophisticated radars, telemetry observation stations, electro-optic instruments and two naval ships located near the impact point in the down range area of the Bay of Bengal.
  • Agni-II was developed by the Advanced Systems Laboratory along with other DRDO laboratories and integrated by the Bharat Dynamics Limited, Hyderabad.
  • The missile is part of the Agni series of missiles which includes the Agni-I with a 700 km range, Agni-III with a 3,000 km range, Agni-IV and Agni-V both having long range capabilities.
  • The first proto type of the Agni-II missile was carried out on April 11, 1999 and last launch was a user’s trial on May 4, 2017.

Sources- The Indian Express.