November 2019

Daily Current Affairs (12-11-19)

ENVIRONMENT

‘ZERO CARBON ACT’ OF NEW ZEALAND

Related Topic in KAS Prelims Syllabus:

Environment [Paper-II]: Issues and concerns related to environment, its legal aspects, policies and treaties for the protection of environment at the National and the International level

News

  • The Parliament of New Zealand has passed Zero-Carbon Act, which will commit New Zealand to zero carbon emissions by 2050 or sooner, as part of the country’s attempts to meet its Paris climate accord commitments.
  • The Act is not a separate legislation but is an amendment to the existing Climate Change Responses Act, 2002.

Context

  • According to New Zealand’s Ministry for the Environment, the country is well positioned to undertake steps to mitigate climate change.
  • Its capacity to generate electricity from renewable resources is at 80 per cent, and it is working towards phasing out the use of offshore oil and gas.
  • It is working towards investing over $14.5 billion to better its public transport system and walking and cycling infrastructure over the next 10 years.

About the Act

  • The idea for the bill was first proposed by the youth-led climate organization, Generation Zero.
  • The Act is titled Climate Change Response (Zero Carbon) Amendment Act.
  • It provides a framework by which New Zealand will be able to develop and implement climate change policies in line with the Paris Agreement to limit the temperature increase to 1.5 degree Celsius.

Key Aims of the Act

  • Reduce all greenhouse gases (except methane) to net zero by 2050
  • Establish a system of Emissions budget
  • Establish an independent Climate Change Commission
  • Reduce emissions of biogenic methane (produced from biological sources) up to 24-47 percent below 2017 levels by 2050 and to 10 percent below 2017 levels by 2030

Biogenic Methane

  • The Act proposes separate targets for biogenic methane.
  • It is because methane is a short-lived gas and degrades into the atmosphere over the decades even though it is a more potent greenhouse gas than carbon dioxide.
  • Biogenic methane is emitted by livestock, waste treatment and wetlands.

[Source: Indian Express]

 

SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY

ANAEMIA AMONG MEN

Related Topic in KAS Prelims Syllabus:

Science & Technology [Paper-II]: Public Health and Community Medicine

News

  • A study titled ‘Anaemia among men in India: A nationally representative cross-sectional study’ was published in Lancet Global Health recently.
  • The study is aimed to determine variation in prevelance of anaemia across States by socio-demographic characteristics and whether the variations are similar to that among women.

Background

Population-based studies on anaemia in India have mostly focused on women and children, with men with anaemia receiving much less attention despite anaemia’s adverse effect on health, wellbeing, and economic productivity.

Key Highlights

  • Among men, the prevalence of any anaemia was 23.2%, moderate or severe anaemia was 5.1%, and severe anaemia was 0.5%.
  • Anaemia among men in India is an important public health problem with State-level prevalence in men varying from 9.19% in Manipur to 32.86% in Bihar.

  • Men with less education, less household wealth and those living in rural areas were more likely to have anaemia.
  • The prevalence was higher for younger age groups.
  • Among men with anaemia, 21.7% had moderate or severe anaemia; among women with anaemia, 53.2% had moderate or severe anaemia.
  • Geographic and socio-demographic patterns of anaemia in India appear to be similar between men and women.

What is Anaemia?

  • WHO defines anaemia as a condition in which the number of red blood cells or their oxygen-carrying capacity is insufficient to meet physiological needs.
  • Anaemia in men can cause fatigue, lethargy, creates difficulty in concentrating, thereby reducing the quality of life and decreasing economic productivity.
  • An estimated 1.9 billion people had anaemia in 2013, which is 27% of the world’s population, and 93% of these cases occur in low- and middle-income countries.
  • Factors such as consuming smokeless tobacco, being underweight, level of urbanisation and household wealth are associated with a higher probability of developing the disease.

[Source: Indian Express, Hindustan Times]

 

ECONOMY

INTERNATIONAL TREATY OF PLANT GENETIC RESOURCES FOR FOOD AND AGRICULTURE (ITPGRFA)

Related Topic in KAS Prelims Syllabus:

Agriculture [Paper-II]: Agriculture Sector, Technological change in Agriculture, Policies for sustainable agriculture and organic farming

News

Union Agriculture Minister attended the eight session of the Governing Body of International Treaty of Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture (ITPGRFA), at Rome, Italy.

Governing Body Sessions

  • The Eight Session is being held from 11th to 16th November, 2019 with participation of delegates from 146 countries, international organizations, civil societies, farmers’ organizations, FAO officials and UN organizations.
  • The Governing Body Sessions are held biennially.

Seed Treaty

  • ITPGRFA is also known as Seed Treaty.
  • It is a comprehensive international agreement for ensuring food security through the conservation, exchange and sustainable use of the world’s Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture (PGRFA), as well as the fair and equitable benefit sharing arising from its use.
  • It also recognizes farmers’ rights, subject to national laws.

Protection of Plant Varieties and Farmers’ Rights (PPV&FR) Act, 2001

  • Union Agriculture Minister informed the delegates of the session about the uniqueness of Indian legislation PPV&FR Act to protect Farmers’ Rights and breeder’s rights.
  • As per the Act, a farmer who has evolved or developed a new variety is entitled for registration and protection in like manner as a breeder of a variety.
  • Farmer’s variety can also be registered as an extant variety.
  • A farmer is entitled to save, use, sow, resow, exchange, share or sell his farm produce including seed of a variety protected under the Act provided farmer shall not be entitled to sell branded seed of a variety protected under the PPV&FR Act, 2001.
  • Farmers are eligible for recognition and rewards for the conservation of Plant Genetic Resources of land races and wild relatives of economic plants.
  • Under the provisions of this Act, 138 farmers/farming communities have been awarded with Plant Genome Saviour Awards.
  • India has received about 16,620 applications for Plant Variety Protection out of which 10,920 (66%) have been received from farmers alone.
  • PPV&FR Authority has registered about 3631 plant varieties out of which 1597 (44%) belong to the farmers.
[Source: PIB, Vikaspedia]

 

FACTS OF THE DAY

NEW OIL FIELD DISCOVERED IN IRAN
  • Iran has discovered a new oil field in the country’s south with over 50 billion barrels of crude.
  • The field was located in Iran’s southern Khuzestan province, home to its crucial oil industry.
  • Iran currently has the world’s fourth-largest proven deposits of crude oil and the world’s second-largest deposits of natural gas.
  • It shares a massive offshore field in the Persian Gulf with Qatar.
  • The new oil field could become Iran’s second-largest field after one containing 65 billion barrels in Ahvaz.
WORLD’S FIRST CNG PORT TERMINAL
  • Gujarat Government has given its nod to the world’s first compressed natural gas (CNG) port terminal at Bhavnagar.
  • It will be developed jointly by U.K.-headquartered Foresight Group and Mumbai-based Padmanabh Mafatlal Group.
  • Gujarat Maritime Board (GMB) had signed an MoU with Foresight Group to set up this port terminal at Bhavnagar in the Vibrant Gujarat Summit held in January, 2019.
  • Apart from the CNG terminal, the investors would also develop a Ro-Ro terminal, liquid cargo terminal and container terminal at Bhavnagar port with a cumulative investment of 1,900 crore.
  • The proposed CNG port terminal will have a capacity to handle 1.5 million metric tonne per annum (MMTPA).
NEW SIGNAL FISH DISCOVERED OFF KERALA COAST
  • Scientists from the University of Kerala and the Ocean Science Foundation, USA have reported the discovery of the new species of signal fish, the first one of the genus recorded in Indian waters.
  • The species named Pteropsaron indicum was collected by trawlers at a depth of 70 metres during a marine biodiversity survey.
  • Pteropsaron indicum is one of the distinctly larger species of signal fish.
  • Signal fishes are tiny and fragile and are often found in waters below 50 m.
  • They are a poorly studied group of benthic species found in deep sandy habitats, usually close to coral reefs.
  • The discovery of the species indicates the presence of patchy corals off the Kerala coast and thus assumes great significance.
T.N. SESHAN
  • Former Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) Tirunellai Narayana Iyer Seshan has passed away in Chennai.
  • He was born in Thirunellai, Palakkad district of Kerala.
  • He was a retired 1955 batch Indian Administrative Service (IAS) officer of Tamil Nadu cadre.
  • Seshan was credited with ushering in major electoral reforms during his tenure as the 10th CEC between December 12, 1990, and December 11, 1996.
  • He was remembered as an official who upheld democratic values and ensured free and fair elections in the country.
  • Seshan had earlier served as the 18th Cabinet Secretary of India in 1989 and was awarded the Ramon Magsaysay Award for his services in 1996.

 

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