August 2019

Daily Current Affairs (20-08-19)


Related Topics: International Relations, Climate Change


  • The BASIC countries — a grouping of Brazil, South Africa, India and China — held their 28th Ministerial meeting on Climate Change between August 14 and August 16 in Sao Paulo, Brazil.
  • India was represented by Union Minister for Environment, Forest and Climate Change, who underlined the importance of the grouping in “making the 2015 Paris climate Agreement accepted by all countries in its true letter and spirit”.
  • The Meeting was held in the run-up to United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCC) Conference of Parties (COP-25) meet scheduled to be held in December 2019.

Highlights of the Meeting

  • In the joint statement, ministers reaffirmed their commitment to the successful implementation of the UNFCCC, the Kyoto Protocol and the Paris Agreement, in accordance with the principles of equity and common but differentiated responsibilities and respective capabilities (CBDR-RC).
  • It stated the importance of “responsible, comprehensive, urgent and ambitious actions against climate change, including in the urban environment.”
  • The grouping jointly urged developed countries to fulfill their climate finance commitments of mobilizing $100 billion annually by 2020 for developing countries on a grant basis and in a transparent manner.
[Under the Green Climate Fund (GCF) mechanism, the developed countries are expected to jointly mobilize $100 billion per year by 2020, from a variety of sources, to address the mitigation and adaptation needs of developing countries]
  • This support should be new and additional, and over and above their 0.7% of Gross National Product (GNP) commitment with respect to Official Development Assistance (ODA).
  • The Meeting highlighted the significant gaps in pre-2020 climate efforts of developed countries not only in mitigation, but also in adaptation and support to developing countries.
  • The ministers underlined that the “implementation gaps” (on the part of rich nations) should not present a burden to developing countries in the post-2020 period.
  • It was decided that China will host the next meeting of the BASIC Ministers.

Who are the BASIC countries?

  • The BASIC countries are a bloc of four advanced developing countries namely Brazil, South Africa, India and China.
  • It was formed as the result of an agreement signed by the four countries on November 28, 2009.
  • The signatory nations, all recently industrialised, committed to acting together at the upcoming United Nations Climate Change Conference, commonly known as the Copenhagen Summit, scheduled in Copenhagen, Denmark from December 7-18 of that year (2009).

Significance of Grouping

  • These four countries collectively account for one-third of world’s geographical area and nearly 40% of world’s population.
  • Since 2009, the BASIC group of countries have cooperated in international climate negotiations, reflecting their aspiration to have a larger say in global politics.
  • These nations have a broadly common position on reducing greenhouse gas emissions and raising the massive funds that are needed to fight climate change.

[Sources: The Hindu, Indian Express, Times of India, PIB]



Related Topics: Science & Technology, NASA’s MMS Mission


  • NASA’s Magnetospheric Multiscale mission (MMS) has captured an “interplanetary shock” on the Sun for the first time.
  • The footage shows a clump of ions from the solar wind fly away from the Sun as they “bounce off” the shock.
  • The charged particles can be seen flying away from the side of the Sun before spreading out into the solar system.

What is an Interplanetary Shock?

  • Interplanetary shocks are a type of collisionless shock — ones where particles transfer energy through electromagnetic fields instead of directly bouncing into one another.
  • These collisionless shocks are a phenomenon found throughout the universe, including in supernovae, black holes and distant stars.
  • Interplanetary shocks start at the Sun, which continually releases streams of charged particles called the solar wind.

NASA’s Magnetospheric Multiscale Mission (MMS)

  • It was launched by NASA in 2015.
  • The mission is focused on studying the magnetic environment surrounding Earth.
  • MMS consists of 4 identical spacecraft that orbit around Earth through the dynamic magnetic system surrounding our planet to study ‘Magnetic reconnection’.
[Magnetic reconnection is a phenomenon unique to plasma, that is, the mix of positively and   negatively charged particles that make up the stars fill space and account for an estimated 99 percent of the observable universe]
  • MMS studies collisionless shocks around Earth to gain a greater understanding of shocks across the universe.

[Sources: NASA, Live Science]


Related Topics: Maritime Security, SAGAR


  • Defence Minister visited the Information Management and Analysis Centre (IMAC) and Information Fusion Centre – Indian Ocean Region (IFC-IOR) located at Gurugram.
  • Both the centres are under the National Maritime Domain Awareness (NMDA) Project.

NMDA Project

The NMDA project was launched in accordance with the vision of Prime Minister Modi on SAGAR (Security And Growth for All in the Region).

About IMAC

  • It monitors movement of more than 120,000 ships a year passing through the Indian Ocean.
  • The cargo carried by these ships account for 66 per cent of world crude oil, 50 per cent of container traffic and 33 per cent of bulk cargo.
  • Thus, IMAC performs a very crucial role in collecting shipping information, analysing traffic patterns and sharing the inputs with the user agencies.


  • It is a collaborative initiative by the Indian Navy in coordination with partner nations and multi-national maritime agencies to enhance Maritime Domain Awareness and Maritime Security.
  • The Centre is likely to host International Liaison Officers from the partner nations in the near future.

[Source: PIB]



Related Topics: Environment, Government policies


Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change has proposed a draft National Resource Efficiency Policy 2019 which aims to streamline the efficient use of the resources with minimum negative impact on environment driven by serious sustainability concern.

Need for the Policy

  • Natural resources form the backbone of any economic development.
  • India, as one of the fastest growing economies with GDP at 2.6 trillion USD, has increased its material consumption to six times, from 1.18 billion tonnes (BT) in 1970 to 7 BT in 2015.
  • The material consumption is expected to increase further to provide for an increasing population, rapid urbanization and growing aspirations.
  • Enhancing resource efficiency and promoting the use of secondary raw materials has emerged as a strategy for ensuring that the potential trade-off between growth, resource constraints and environmental well-being can be minimized.

Key Highlights

  • The Policy provides an overarching collaborative framework for resource efficiency across all sectors in the country, covering both biotic and abiotic resources and life cycle stages and aspires for cross-sectoral stakeholder partnerships for the cause of resource efficiency for sustainable development.
  • It intends to minimize the inherent cost of economic growth on the natural environment by setting up a National Resource Efficiency Authority (NREA) with a core working group housed in the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change and a members group with representations from different ministries, state/union territory, and other stakeholders.
  • The authority would be supported by an Inter-Ministerial National Resource Efficiency Board to guide on the aspects critical to its implementation.
  • Reuse and Recycle is at the core of the draft policy, which lays focus on adequate waste management practices.
  • It also plans to offer tax benefits on recycled materials, green loans to small and medium Enterprises (SMEs) and soft loans to construct waste disposal facilities, apart from setting up Material Recovery Facilities (MRF).

Guiding Principles of the Policy

  • Reduction in primary resource consumption to ‘sustainable’ levels, in keeping with achieving the Sustainable Development Goals and staying within the planetary boundaries
  • Creation of higher value with less material through resource efficient and circular approaches
  • Waste minimization
  • Material security, and creation of employment opportunities and business models beneficial to the cause of environment protection and restoration

[Sources: Livemint, PIB]


               FACTS OF THE DAY

  • ISRO has successfully manoeuvred Chandrayaan-2 satellite into lunar orbit using the on-board propulsion system. Following this a series of four-orbit manoeuvres will be performed, to reach an orbit of 100 Kilometres over the surface of the moon. The lander and rover within it will separate from the Orbiter at this stage and soft-land on the South Pole of the moon on 7th of September.
  • The Karnataka state government has notified Nictoine as “Class A poison”. The step has been taken to strengthen enforcement of the ban on production and sale of electronic cigarettes.
  • Sadbhavana Diwas is celebrated on 20 August every year to commemorate the birth anniversary of former PM Rajiv Gandhi.
  • The India-Maldives MoU on Training and Capacity Building Programme for Maldivian Civil Servants was operationalised following discussions between the senior officials of the Department of Administrative Reforms and Public Grievances (DARPG), the National Centre for Good Governance (NCGG) and the Maldives Civil Service Commission.





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