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DAILY NEWS ANALYSIS

Monthly DNA

19 Dec, 2022

30 Min Read

Groundwater Protection

GS-I : Indian Geography Water resources

Groundwater Protection

The United Nations-Water Summit on Groundwater 2022 emphasised the importance of groundwater in global food production and food security.

Significant Highlights:

  • The conference was hosted by UN-Water, UNESCO, and the International Groundwater Resources Assessment Centre.
  • The summit was organised to raise global awareness about groundwater conservation.
  • It also marked the end of the UN-"Groundwater: Water's Making the Invisible Visible" campaign, which ran until 2022.

UN-Water Conference in 2023:

  • The United Nations 2023 water conference in New York City offers unprecedented opportunities for progress on SDG 6 (Sustainable Development Goal 6 is about clean water and sanitation for all) and all water-related goals on the agenda for 2023.

Groundwater management:

To ensure success, five acceleration instruments must be used:

  • Governance
  • Data and knowledge
  • Innovation
  • Capacity Building
  • Finance
  • A coalition on transboundary water cooperation was formed.
  • Transboundary waters accounted for 60% of all freshwater flowing globally.
  • Only 32 countries have operational agreements covering 90 per cent or more of their transboundary basin and aquifer area.

The supply-demand gap for water is widening. As a result, the combination of these three facts can either be a source of future conflict or a catalyst for mutually beneficial cooperation.

South Asia:

  • South Asia is the world's largest consumer of groundwater.
  • As of today, the region draws over 600 billion cubic metres of groundwater per year, both from transboundary aquifers and from very ancient water sources.
  • Once extracted, this groundwater cannot be recharged.
  • South Asia accounts for less than 5% of the global land area.
  • However, it is home to more than a third of the world's irrigated land and more than a fourth of the world's population.
  • Groundwater supplies approximately 85 per cent of the water needed for agricultural irrigation and 90 per cent of drinking water in South Asia.
  • The massive extraction of groundwater is also causing the rivers to dry up. This is yet another significant challenge for the region.

Groundwater Threat:

Human-caused degradation, which is frequently associated with poor land, agricultural, and waste management, threatens:

  • Current groundwater uses and human and ecosystem health
  • Future generations' benefits are limited.
  • Because much of the groundwater in South Asia is heterogeneous, the problem is exacerbated.
  • Only 30% of South Asia's land cover hosts 70% of groundwater, with the remainder hosted in areas covered by Himalayan rivers.
  • Water pollution is another major issue as groundwater is contaminated by contaminants such as arsenic and fluoride. These pollutants affect more than 400 million people. So, in India, there is not only a quantity problem but also a water quality problem.

Significance:

  • Groundwater has become an increasingly important natural resource in India, meeting the freshwater needs of various sectors.
  • Groundwater has steadily emerged as the foundation of India's agricultural and drinking water security.
  • Groundwater is the primary source of water for one-fourth of the world's population. India is the world's largest groundwater user, with nearly 250 cubic kilometres extracted in 2017.
  • The majority of this was used for irrigation, with the remainder going to towns and villages.

Various Government initiatives to protect the depletion of groundwater:

Ministry Of Jal Shakti:

  • Overall planning for the development of Ground Water Resources, the establishment of utilizable resources and formulation of policies for exploitation, overseeing of and support to State level activities in groundwater development.

Central Ground Water Board:

  • It develops and disseminates technologies, and monitor and implement national policies for the Scientific and Sustainable development and management of India's Ground Water Resources, including their exploration, assessment, conservation, augmentation, protection from pollution and distribution, based on principles of economic and ecological efficiency and equity.

Atal Bhujal Yojana:

  • Atal Bhujal Yojana (Atal Jal) is a community-led sustainable groundwater management program. The major objective of the Scheme is to improve the management of groundwater resources in select water-stressed areas in identified states viz. Gujarat, Haryana, Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Rajasthan, and Uttar Pradesh.

Rajiv Gandhi National Ground Water Training & Research Institute :

  • It was established during IXth Five Year Plan at Raipur as a training wing of Central Ground Water Board, Ministry of Jal Shakti,
  • It is envisaged to function as "Centre of Excellence" in training and research in the core and applied field of ground water.

National Hydrology Project (NHP):

  • NHP improve and expand hydrology data and information systems, and strengthen water resources operation and planning systems.
  • NHP will contribute to the GOI Digital India initiative by integrating water resources information across state and central agencies.
  • It establishes real-time monitoring systems for surface and groundwater, hydrologic and flood inundation forecasting, water infrastructure operations, groundwater modelling etc.

India Water Resources Information System (India -WRIS):

  • India WRIS is managed by the National Water Informatics Centre (NWIC), a unit of the Ministry of Jal Shakti.
  • India-WRIS Project with the aim of dissemination of data in the public domain constitute the most important aspect of the water resources management
  • It is a centralised platform to act as a repository of water resources and related data including groundwater

Way Forward:

  • Groundwater governance, actions, and investments should be prioritised in vulnerable and hazard-exposed regions, such as Sub-Saharan Africa, Small Island Developing States, coastal zones, areas with no or slowly renewable and vulnerable aquifers, and aquifers with naturally occurring but hazardous contaminants.
  • The emphasis should be on underserved and difficult-to-reach communities, such as women, youth, and indigenous people.
  • Capacity-building measures should be implemented in order to better govern and manage groundwater and achieve sustainable development goals.
  • Groundwater protection must be ensured in all sectors, including agriculture.
  • South Asian governments must improve integrated water management, which includes both surface and groundwater.

Source: UNESCO

Vocational Education to the youth

GS-II : Government policies and interventions Government policies and interventions

Vocational Education to the youth

Under the auspices of the centrally sponsored Samagra Shiksha scheme, the Department of School Education and Literacy is carrying out the endeavor to vocationalize school education.

Aim of the scheme:

  • The programme aims to combine general academic instruction with vocational education in all secondary and senior secondary schools,
  • It will also improve the students' employability and entrepreneurial skills, it will also expose them to the workplace, and increase student awareness of various career options so they can make a decision in line with their aptitude, competence, and aspirations.

Steps taken by the government:

  • The Samagra Shiksha programme has been updated, and several additional interventions pertaining to vocational education have been added.
  • Along with government schools, the scope of vocational education has been broadened to include government-aided institutions as well.
  • The Hub and Spoke Model of Practical Education has been adopted, allowing students from neighbouring schools (spoke schools) to use the infrastructure present in the Hub schools for vocational training.
  • Pre-vocational education is discussed at the Upper Primary level.
  • Internships, bag-free days, and other initiatives have been added to Samagra Shiksha's Innovation component.
  • UGC has taken measures to assist higher education institutions across the nation in offering skill-based education in accordance with the National Skill Qualification Framework (NSQF).
  • The institutions are now able to provide full-time, credit-based programmes with a variety of entry and departure points at the Certificate, Diploma, Advanced Diploma, and Research levels.

Skill Hubs Initiative(SHI)

  • The major element of Pradhan Mantri Kaushal's Skill Hubs Initiative (SHI) was launched by the Ministry of Skill Development and Entrepreneurship (MSDE) in conjunction with the Ministry of Education. 3.0 Vikas Yojana (PMKVY 3.0).
  • Goal: SHI is intended to mainstream and integrates vocational education with general education as per the National Education Policy, 2020. (NEP, 2020).
  • Training in skills: The Ministry of Skill Development and Entrepreneurship (MSDE) offers both long-term and short-term skill training through a number of programmes, including the Pradhan Mantri Kaushal Vikas Yojana (PMKVY), Jan Shikshan Sansthan (JSS), and the National Apprenticeship Promotion Scheme (NAPS).

What is Vocational education?

  • The definition of vocational education is "education based on occupation and employment." Technical and vocational education and training (TVET) and career and technical education (CTE) are other names for vocational education (TVET).
  • It offers several degrees of training for numerous skills, crafts, and careers throughout all walks of life. It involves a variety of practical tasks.
  • Due to the direct development of skill in a specific set of procedures by the student, it is occasionally referred to as technical education.

Need for the vocational education:

  • It help to those who must immediately support their families after completing senior secondary education must begin working as well.
  • While Compared to academic degrees, vocational courses are often more practical and skills-based.
  • Vocational education must be analysed from a variety of multifaceted perspectives. Of course, one is the practical training aspect. The other is sustainable employment creation.

About National Council for Vocational Training (NCVT):

  • The Government of India established the National Council for Vocational Training in 1956 as an advisory body.
  • The National Council, whose members represent various Central and State Government Departments, is presided over by the Minister of Labor.
  • Its main objective is to establish and grant National Trade Certificates in engineering, non-engineering, building, textile, leather, and other trades that the Indian Government has included in its purview.
  • Additionally, it sets criteria for curricula, tools, lodging rates, course lengths, and training techniques.
  • It administers exams in a variety of trade courses and establishes the standards of competence needed to pass the test leading to the issuance of a National Trade Certificate.

Implementation Issues with Vocational Education:

  • In India, there are numerous private institutions that provide courses in vocational training and completion, but the majority of them are not officially recognised by the government.
  • At the secondary level, dropout rates are very high.
  • Only Grades 11, and 12, are currently provided for vocational education.
  • Lack of Private & Industry Participation
  • Less vocational schools across the nation.
  • Lack of properly qualified teachers.
  • Absence of new fields for vocational education and skill development.
  • There is a severe teacher and instructor shortage in the nation.
  • Absence of opportunity for ongoing skill improvement.
  • Because the current educational system is unresponsive to the skill requirements of the current and future industries, there is a supply-demand mismatch on a number of different levels.

Way Forward

  • India's demographic dividend can be fully utilized by training and skilling the youth with a focus on women. Vocational Education can bridge the gap between the demographic dividend and demographic burden and can make a significant contribution to India's economic development.

Source: PIB

Black Carbon: Explained

GS-III : Biodiversity & Environment Air Pollution

Black Carbon: Explained

  • In Lok Sabha, the Minister of State for Environment, Forest and Climate Change outlined the various measures taken to counter black carbon.
  • Under the Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) Geosphere-Biosphere Programme, under which ISRO operates a network of aerosol observatories and black carbon mass concentration is one of the parameters being measured.

What is black carbon?

  • Soot, often known as black carbon, is a type of tiny particulate air pollution (PM2.5).
  • It is created when fossil fuels, wood, and other fuels burn inefficiently.
  • Soot is a term used frequently to describe the complicated mixture of particulate debris produced by incomplete combustion.
  • CO2, carbon monoxide, volatile organic compounds, organic carbon, and black carbon particles are all produced as a result of incomplete combustion.
  • Black carbon has a brief lifespan in the atmosphere, only remaining there for a few days to a few weeks.
  • India is the second-largest producer of black carbon in the world, and emissions are anticipated to skyrocket over the next few decades.

Impact of the black carbon:

  • Black carbon is good at absorbing light and heating its surroundings, it plays a significant role in global warming.
  • Additionally, it affects regional circulation, cloud formation, and rainfall patterns. Effect on health:
  • It has an adverse effect on health as it is the main contributor to fine particulate matter (PM2.5) air pollution, which is the primary cause of ill health and early death due to the environment, is black carbon and its co-pollutants.
  • Household and ambient (outdoor) PM2.5 air pollution is believed to be the cause of 7 million premature deaths annually.

Effects on Ecosystems and the Vegetation:

  • In addition to depositing on plant leaves and raising their temperature, black carbon can also reduce the sunlight that reaches the earth and alter rainfall patterns, all of which can have an impact on ecosystem health.
  • The effects of changing rainfall patterns can be felt far into the future on both ecosystems and human livelihoods.

Various steps by the government:

  • Pradhan Mantri Ujjwala Yojana encourages the use of cleaner fuels for home cooking.
  • BS-IV to BS-VI standards for gasoline and automobiles will be skipped starting on April 1, 2020.
  • More cities are now connected to the metro train network, which has been improved.
  • Introduction of cleaner, alternative fuels, such as ethanol blends and gaseous fuels (CNG, LPG, etc.).
  • As part of a new programme called "Sustainable Alternative Towards Affordable Transportation (SATAT)," 5000 compressed biogas (CBG) production facilities will be built, and CBG will then be sold on the open market.
  • Agribusiness machines and equipment for in-situ crop residue management are promoted under the Central Sector Scheme on "Promotion of Agricultural Mechanization for in-situ management of Crop Residue in the States of Punjab, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh, and NCT of Delhi" with a 50% subsidy to individual farmers and an 80% subsidy for the establishment of Custom Hiring Centers.
  • The National Clean Air Programme is being implemented by the Central Government as a long-term, time-bound, national policy to address the issue of air pollution across the nation in a comprehensive manner, with aims to achieve a 40% decrease in particulate matter concentrations by 2025–26.
  • Based on ambient air quality levels surpassing national ambient air quality requirements and cities with a million or more residents, the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) has designated 131 cities.
  • For implementation in these cities, city-specific Clean Air Action Plans have been created and released.
  • These plans specify time-bound goals to reduce air pollution from sources specific to each city (soil &road dust, vehicles, domestic fuel, municipal solid waste burning, construction material and industries, etc.).
  • To ensure that the municipal plans are carried out effectively, annual plans with minute details are also created.
  • The phase-2 of the Faster Adoption and Manufacturing of Electric Vehicles (FAME) programme has been launched.
  • Switching to zigzag technology in brick kilns to reduce pollution switching to natural gas piping for industrial units.

Solutions :

The following actions would significantly improve public health, particularly in underdeveloped nations.

Household Energy:

  • Use clean-burning modern fuel cookstoves and clean-burning biomass stoves to replace traditional cooking methods.
  • Get rid of kerosene lights.
  • For heating and cooking, use coal briquettes instead of lump coal.
  • Modernize conventional brick kilns by switching to vertical shaft kilns for industrial production.
  • Adapt coke ovens to modern recovery ovens.

Transport:

  • For both on- and off-road vehicles, use diesel particulate filters.
  • Quick conversion to soot-free buses and trucks and Euro VI/6 vehicles
  • Get rid of the high-emission diesel cars.

Agriculture:

  • Prohibit the burning of agricultural waste in open fields.

Fossil Fuels:

  • Reduce oil flaring and increase gas output.

Waste Control

  • Do not burn municipal rubbish in the open and proper disposal and handling of municipal waste.

Way Forward

  • The measures to prevent black carbon emissions can reduce near-term warming of the climate, increase crop yields and prevent premature deaths.
  • Black carbon’s short atmospheric lifetime, combined with its strong warming potential, means that targeted strategies to reduce emissions can provide climate and health benefits within a relatively short period of time.

Source: PIB

Indian & Chinese troop Clash in Tawang Sector

GS-III : Internal security Border Areas

Indian & Chinese troop Clash in Tawang Sector

  • Recently, troops from India and China clashed along the Yangtze River in Arunachal Pradesh's Tawang sector.
  • Since the Galwan Valley incident in 2020, this was the first incident involving Indian soldiers and Chinese PLA troops.
  • Both sides have been patrolling areas up to their claim lines since 2006.

More On the News:

  • According to the Indian Army, there are some areas along the Line of Actual Control (LAC) in the Tawang Sector where perceptions differ.
  • The LAC is divided into three sectors: western (Ladakh), central (Himachal Pradesh and Uttarakhand), Sikkim, and eastern (Arunachal Pradesh).
  • The incident occurred a few days after China objected to Operation Yudhabhyas, an India-US joint military exercise in the Uttarakhand hills at Auli, claiming it violated border agreements from 1993 and 1996.

What does Arunachal Pradesh mean from an Indian and Chinese perspective?

Strategic Relevance:

  • The largest state in the northeast, Arunachal Pradesh was formerly known as the Northeast Frontier Agency (NEFA) until 1972. It shares international borders with Tibet to the north and northwest, Bhutan to the west, and Myanmar to the east.

To the northeast, the state acts as a shield:

  • Arunachal Pradesh, however, is regarded by China as a portion of southern Tibet.
  • Furthermore, although China may claim the entire state, its primary interest is in the Tawang district, which is located in the northwest of Arunachal and borders Bhutan and Tibet.

Bhutan Factor:

  • If Beijing gained control of Arunachal, Bhutan would have Chinese neighbours on both its western and eastern borders.
  • China has already started constructing motorable roads connecting strategic points on Bhutan's western border.

Waterpower:

  • Due to China's control over India's northeastern region's water supply. It has built a number of dams and is able to use flooding or drought as a geostrategic weapon against India.
  • The Tsangpo river, which has its source in Tibet, enters India and travels through Arunachal Pradesh before changing its name to the Brahmaputra.
  • A dam breach in Tibet in 2000 resulted in floods that wreaked havoc in northeast India, killing 30 people and going missing more than 100 more.

Why is the Tawang Sector of Interest to China?

  • Tawang may be of tactical interest to China because it offers a strategic entrance into the northeastern region of India.
  • Tawang is a key location in the route connecting Tibet and the Brahmaputra Valley.
  • Tawang Monastery: The Galden Namgey Lhatse, the second-largest Tibetan Buddhist monastery in the world after Lhasa's Potala Palace, is located in Tawang, which also borders Bhutan.
  • Merag Lodroe Gyamtso established the monastery in 1680–1681 to carry out the wishes of the Fifth Dalai Lama.
  • The monastery, according to China, is proof that the neighbourhood was once part of Tibet. To bolster their claim over Arunachal, they point to earlier connections between the Tawang monastery and the Tibetan monastery in Lhasa.

China's Anxieties and Cultural Connections:

  • There are some tribes in the upper Arunachal region with ties to the Tibetan people, and Tawang is a significant centre for Tibetan Buddhism.
  • There are members of the Monpa tribe who follow Tibetan Buddhism and who can be found in some parts of Tibet.
  • Some experts claim that China is concerned that the presence of these ethnic groups in Arunachal may eventually spark a pro-democracy Tibetan movement against the Chinese government.

Political Relevance:

  • The Dalai Lama entered India through Tawang in 1959 during a crackdown in China and spent some time in the Tawang monastery.

Way Forward

  • To effectively protect its interests, India must be alert to any new developments in China close to its border.
  • Additionally, it needs to develop a strong infrastructure in its difficult border regions to ensure the efficient movement of personnel and other logistical supplies.
  • Border guards should carry on their conversation, quickly disengage, keep a safe distance, and defuse tensions.

Source: The Hindu

Self-Reliance in Defence Sector

GS-III : Economic Issues Defense industry

Self-Reliance in Defence Sector

The government has implemented a number of reforms and legislative efforts over the past few years to stimulate domestic design, development, and production of defence equipment, thereby encouraging self-reliance in the nation's defence industry & technology.

Steps taken by the government:

  • Process for industrial licencing has been streamlined with a longer term of validity
  • Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) policy liberalisation permitting 74% FDI via automatic route
  • The Innovations for Defence Excellence (iDEX) programme was launched with the participation of startups and micro, small, and medium-sized businesses (MSMEs)
  • SRIJAN, a new indigenization portal launched to help Indian businesses, primarily MSMEs, indigenize
  • Creation of two defence industrial corridors, one in each of Tamil Nadu and Uttar Pradesh
  • Progressive growth in defence budget allocation Military modernization spending plan for domestic purchases

Note

  • The proportion of domestic purchases in total purchases has been increasing. Domestic purchases made up 54% of all purchases in 2018–19; this percentage increased to 59% in 2019–20, and to 64% in 2020–21. This year, it has been increased to 68%, with 25% of the budget designated for purchases from private businesses.

Why should India focus on self-reliance in the defence sector?

  • Even if India aims to have an economy worth $5 trillion, it is clear that it has many gaps in its national security.
  • For important military inventory products, there is a glaring high dependency index on foreign suppliers (traditionally the former USSR, now Russia).
  • This reliance creates a large-scale national vulnerability and weakens India's pursuit of real and respectable strategic autonomy.
  • Additionally, the current fighting capacity gaps highlight India's weaknesses in defending its key national security interests.
  • In the previous five years, India's defence exports have increased eight-fold.
  • More than 75 countries throughout the world are recipients of Indian exports of defence goods.

Various challenges:

  • World issues: Unforeseen occurrences, such as the Russian invasion of Ukraine, as well as other elements, such as the COVID, which impacted the world economy and its supply lines.
  • Rupee depreciation: The difficulties experienced by the Indian defence industrial ecosystem are made worse by the global difficulties, which are already complex.
  • Production: Over the past 50 years, South Korea and China have shown that their countries are skilled at industrial design and manufacturing, but India has missed the bus.
  • The design and production of semiconductor chips have become the new standard for measuring economic growth and military might thanks to technological advancements.
  • India has yet to develop a profile that would be considered pertinent in this field, where the US and China are now embroiled in fierce competition.
  • Lack of essential Technologies: The indigenous manufacturing is hampered by a lack of design expertise in critical technologies, insufficient R&D funding, and the inability to produce significant subsystems and components.
  • There is very little interaction between the R&D establishment, production organisations (public or commercial), and end users.
  • Lack of Coordination: India's capacity for defence manufacturing is hampered by the Ministry of Industrial Promotion's and the Ministry of Defence's conflicting responsibilities.

Steps to Follow:

  • Mandatory Disclosure of Technology for Subsystems: When India purchases any weapon systems, there must be a plan in place for the ultimate production of ammunition and replacement parts in India. This will save us from needing to import supplies on short notice during emergencies.
  • The same is true of facilities for repairs, upkeep, and overhauling armament platforms.
  • Exporting weapons of defence: When a transparent policy is used to open the door to defence exports, investment—whether Indian or foreign—will be viable.
  • Conflict of Interest: The DRDO's position as the government's sole adviser, developer, and technology evaluator creates a conflict of interest that prevents private players from participating.

Way Forward

  • Effective defence capabilities, maintaining national sovereignty, and achieving military superiority all depend on self-reliance in defence production.
  • Achieving this will guarantee strategic independence, affordable defence gear, and could result in savings on the cost of defence imports, which can then be used to fund the nation's physical and social infrastructure.
  • The utmost objective in the national policy discussion should be to gradually alter this techno-strategic landscape in India's favour.
  • This will present an opportunity to increase employment in India, which will raise the economy's growth indicators.

Source: PIB

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