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24 June, 2020

68 Min Read

GS-III :
Sustainable Developmental Goals Index 2019

Sustainable Developmental Goals Index 2019

GS-Paper-3 Environment SDG PT-MAINS

The SDG India Index (NITI AAYOG) dashboard displays overall & detailed info on the progress made by States & UTs on Global Goals of the United Nations including their incremental progress from 2018, using interactive visualizations.

The SDG index shows that Kerala is on the first rank for 2019 followed by Himachal Pradesh, Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh. The report attributes the improvement in India's performance to several welfare programs including Swachh Bharat Abhiyan and Ujjwala Yojana.

Imp Points

  • According to the index, most of the states still need to work more on subjects like gender equality and nutrition.
  • Bihar and Jharkhand need to put more efforts to improve on the major parameters of the SDG so that they also match the standards of other states.
  • In Uttar Pradesh and Assam, a lot of good work has been done in the last year on various parameters like health, education, poverty, hunger, due to which the ranking of these states has improved further.
  • When it comes to Uttar Pradesh, it is among the leading states to improve its performance, which has gained 13 points more than the last year.

Analysis

NITI Aayog has released the second edition of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) India Index (SDG Index 2.0).

  • The index documents the progress made by India’s States and Union Territories towards achieving the 2030 SDG targets.
  • The Index spans 16 out of 17 SDGs which marks an improvement over the 2018 Index, which covered only 13 goals.
  • The SDG India Index has been developed in collaboration with the Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation (MoSPI), the United Nations, and the Global Green Growth Institute.
  • The year 2020 will be the 5th anniversary of the adoption of SDGs by 193 countries at the UN General Assembly.

Methodology Followed

  • A composite score for SDG Index (2019) was computed in the range of 0–100 for each State/UT based on its aggregate performance across 16 SDGs.
    • The higher the score of a State/UT, the closer it is towards achieving the 2030 national targets.
  • States /UTs are classified based on the SDG India Index Score as follows:
    • Aspirant: 0–49
    • Performer: 50–64
    • Front Runner: 65–99
    • Achiever: 100

National Analysis

  • India's composite score improved from 57 in 2018 to 60 in 2019-20 with major success in water and sanitation, power and industry. However, nutrition and gender equality continue to be problem areas for India, requiring a more focused approach from the government
  • The ranks of 14 states have dropped in the index compared to 2018.
  • All states and union territories except for Delhi have scored above 65.

State/UT Wise Analysis

  • Kerala has the top rank with a score of 70 followed by Himachal Pradesh with 69 points. Further, Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu and Telangana shared the third spot with each state scoring 67 on the Index.
  • Bihar has emerged as the worst performer with the lowest score of 50. Jharkhand, Arunachal Pradesh, Meghalaya and Uttar Pradesh are also some of the worst-performing states on the index.
  • Uttar Pradesh has shown maximum improvement followed by Odisha and Sikkim.
  • Union Territories: Chandigarh has topped the list with the score of 70 followed by Puducherry with 66.

How will the Index will be useful to States/UTs?

  1. Support States/UTs to assess their progress against national targets and performance of their peers to understand reasons for differential performance and devise better strategies to achieve the SDGs by 2030.
  2. Support States/UTs to identify priority areas in which they need to invest and improve by enabling them to measure incremental progress.
  3. Highlight data gaps related across SDGs for India to develop its statistical systems at the national and State levels.

Significance and analysis:

  • India is the first country in the world with a government-led, sub-national measure of progress on Sustainable Development Goals.
  • The SDG India Index acts as a bridge between these mandates, aligning the SDGs with the Hon’ble Prime Minister’s clarion call of Sabka Saath, Sabka Vikas, Sabka Vishwas, which embodies the five Ps of the global SDG movement: people, planet, prosperity, partnership and peace.
  • The Index is designed to function as a tool for focused policy dialogue, formulation and implementation, and moving towards development action pegged to globally recognizable metrics.
  • The Index also supplements NITI Aayog’s continuous efforts to encourage evidence-based policymaking by supporting States/UTs to benchmark their progress, identifying priority areas and sharing best practices.
  • The SDG India Index 2019 also helps highlight crucial gaps related to monitoring SDGs and the need for improving statistical systems at the National/State/UT levels.
  • Further, the Index highlights the need for improvements in data collection, reporting and methodology.
  • NITI Aayog is also exploring partnerships for disaggregating data and developing capacity for real-time monitoring and measuring incremental progress.
  • There are many schemes to achieve those goals which the central and state governments are running.
  • There is a need to train and motivate people to achieve the goals.
  • The SDGs still remain outside of the system. We are not mainstreaming many of the concerns.
  • There is a lot of overlap. India has 40% food wastage which impact SDG goal 2.
  • The growth which has taken in technology is very critical in achieving our targets.
  • If we use cutting edge technology in the monitoring and evaluation in a correct way in achieving SDGs it will give results.
  • Interconnectivity between the goal is very critical and important.
  • Each district, taluk and gram panchayats should have a SDG plan.
  • We should develop proper monitoring measure.
  • There is a need that Technology and People should converge.

Source: TH

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GS-III : Economic Issues MSME
Information about Country of Origin by the sellers made mandatory on GeM to promote Make in India and Aatmanirbhar Bharat

Information about Country of Origin by the sellers made mandatory on GeM to promote Make in India and Aatmanirbhar Bharat

  • Government e-Marketplace (GeM), a Special Purpose Vehicle under the Ministry of Commerce and Industry, has made it mandatory for sellers to enter the Country of Origin while registering all new products on GeM.
  • Further, sellers, who had already uploaded their products before the introduction of this new feature on GeM, are being reminded regularly to update the Country of Origin, with a warning that their products shall be removed from GeM if they fail to update the same. GeM has taken this significant step to promote ‘Make in India’ and ‘Aatmanirbhar Bharat’.
  • GeM has also enabled a provision for indication of the percentage of local content in products.
  • With this new feature, now, the Country of Origin as well as the local content percentage are visible in the marketplace for all items.
  • More importantly, the ‘Make in India’ filter has now been enabled on the portal.
  • Buyers can choose to buy only those products that meet the minimum 50% local content criteria.
  • In case of Bids, Buyers can now reserve any bid for Class I Local suppliers (Local Content > 50%).
  • For those Bids below INR 200 crore, only Class I and Class II Local Suppliers (Local content > 50% and > 20% respectively) are eligible to bid, with Class I supplier getting purchase preference.
  • Since its inception, GeM is continuously working towards promotion of ‘Make in India’ initiative.
  • The Marketplace has facilitated entry of small local sellers in Public Procurement, while implementing ‘Make in India’ and MSE Purchase Preference Policies of the Government in the true sense.
  • GeM is enabling quick, efficient, transparent and cost-effective procurement, especially in this hour of need when government organizations require products and services urgently to fight against the Covid-19 pandemic.
  • The purchases through GeM by Government users have been authorised and made mandatory by Ministry of Finance .

Source: PIB

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GS-III :
Compressed Bio-Gas plants to be brought under Priority Sector Lending

Financing for Compressed Bio-Gas plants to be brought under Priority Sector Lending

Context

  • The Government is in the process of including Compressed Bio-Gas under Priority Sector Lending.
  • Shri Pradhan, along with Tamil Nadu Chief Minister, inaugurates CBG Plant at Namakkal in Tamil Nadu and CBG Fuel Stations.
  • He further added that Central Financial Assistance or Subsidy for setting up CBG plants has been extended to 2020-21 to promote new projects.

About SATAT

  • The 'SATAT' (Sustainable Alternative Towards Affordable Transportation) scheme on CBG was launched on 1.10.2018 which envisages targeting production of 15 MMT of CBG from 5000 plants by 2023.
  • Oil Marketing Companies have offered long term pricing on CBG to make projects bankable and have agreed to execute long term agreements on CBG.
  • The Minister said that Bio-manure, an important by-product of CBG Plants, is also in the process of being included in Fertilizer Control Order 1985.
  • This will make it easier to market and provide an opportunity for organic farming across the country as the 5000 CBG Plants are expected to produce 50 MMT Biomanure.

CBG potential of Tamil Nadu

  • On the CBG potential of Tamil Nadu from existing waste and biomass sources, Shri Pradhan said that utilizing about 2.4 MMTPA of it shall result in setting up of around 600 Plants across the State which would result in the investment of about Rs. 21,000 crore and direct employment potential of about 10,000.
  • CBG produced from the Plant can fuel more than 1000 vehicles per day in Salem – Namakkal region. The Biogas Plant shall also fuel 2 industries with green alternative fuel.
  • The Minister said that there is immense potential in India's Oil and Gas sector and the projects that have been initiated in the recent past would go a long way in ensuring India’s energy security.

About Biogas

  • Biogas production is growing steadily, as more people are setting up biogas plants to produce biogas.
  • Biogas is a renewable, as well as a clean, source of energy.
  • The gas generated through bio-digestion is non-polluting and it reduces greenhouse emissions.
  • He said “Harnessing the full potential of biofuels to generate alternative energy in various forms, including Compressed Biogas or CBG, ethanol, 2G ethanol, and biodiesel will help achieve our PM Modi's vision of reducing import dependence of oil and ensuring sustainable energy future in the country.”

Importance of CBG

  • Government of India has been promoting Biofuels including CBG to increase the green-energy mix, reduce import dependence, create employment especially in semi-urban & rural areas and reduce pollution.
  • Usage of CBG shall assist in achieving climate change goals of India as per the Paris Agreement 2015.
  • This shall also be in alignment with schemes of Government of India like Swachh Bharat, Atmanirbhar Bharat and Make in India.

Source: PIB

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GS-III :
Study of optical properties of super-massive black-hole

Study of optical properties of super-massive black-hole

GS- PAPER-3 S&T PT-MAINS

Through 153 nights, 17 scientists from 9 countries in Europe and Asia including researchers from Aryabhatta Research Institute of Observational Sciences (ARIES), Nainital (PT), an autonomous institution of the Department of Science and Technology (DST), Government of India took 2263 image frames and observed the changes in a very high energy gamma-ray emitting blazar ‘1ES 0806+524’ using seven optical telescopes in Europe and Asia.

A blazar is a feeding super-massive black-hole (SMBH) in the heart of a distant galaxy that produces a high-energy jet viewed face-on from Earth. Blazars are one of the most luminous and energetic objects in the known universe with a jet composed of ionized matter traveling at nearly the speed of light directed very nearly towards an observer.

Blazars are among one of the most favourite astronomical transient objects because they emit radiation in the complete electromagnetic (EM )spectrum, and their flux and polarization are highly variable.

Recent news

The first photograph of a black hole was revealed by scientists recently.

What is a black hole?

  • A black hole is an object in space that is so dense and has such strong gravity that no matter or light can escape its pull. Because no light can escape, it is black and invisible.
  • There’s a boundary at the edge of a black hole called the event horizon, which is the point of no return — any light or matter that crosses that boundary is sucked into the black hole. It would need to travel faster than the speed of light to escape, which is impossible.
  • Anything that crosses the event horizon is destined to fall to the very centre of the black hole and be squished into a single point with infinite density, called the singularity.

If black holes are invisible, how can we detect or photograph them?

  1. By looking for the effects of their extreme gravity, which pulls stars and gases toward them.
  2. Also, while anything past the event horizon is invisible, outside that boundary there is sometimes a spiral disk of gas that the black hole has pulled toward — but not yet into — itself.
  3. The gases in that accretion disk are heated up as they accelerate toward the black hole, causing them to glow extremely brightly. The colours they glow are invisible to us, but are detectable with an X-ray telescope.
  4. Scientists have also detected the gravitational waves generated when two black holes collide. light surrounding the black hole right to the edge of the event horizon, which is the goal of the Event Horizon Telescope.

How big are black holes?

Small black holes are called stellar-mass black holes. They have masses similar to those of larger stars — about five to 20 times the mass of the sun. The other kind is supermassive black holes, which are millions to billions of times more massive than the sun. That’s the kind the Event Horizon Telescope has been trying to photograph, as bigger objects ought to be easier to see. There is some evidence that black holes between these two sizes exist, but that has yet to be confirmed.

While black holes are very massive, that doesn’t mean they take up a lot of space. Because they’re so dense, they’re actually quite small. According to NASA, a black hole 20 times the mass of the sun could fit inside a ball 16 kilometres wide — the width of the Island of Montreal at its widest point.

Where are black holes found?

Supermassive black holes are found at the centre of most galaxies, including our own Milky Way. The one in our galaxy is called Sagittarius A* and is one of those the Event Horizon Telescope has been attempting to photograph.

Sagittarius A* isn’t the only black hole in our galaxy, though. Earlier this year, astronomers discovered another 12 within three light-years of it, suggesting there could be upwards of 10,000 black holes around the galactic centre.

Where do black holes come from?

Supermassive black holes are believed to form at the same time as the galaxy that surrounds them, but astronomers aren’t sure exactly how.

Stellar mass black holes form when a star with a mass greater than three times that of our sun runs out of fuel. It explodes into a supernova and collapses into an extremely dense core that we know as a black hole — something predicted by Albert Einstein’s general theory of relativity.

Einstein’s theory also predicts the size and shape of the black holes that the Event Horizon Telescope is trying to photograph.

For WHITE DWARFS read: https://imagine.gsfc.nasa.gov/science/objects/dwarfs1.html

Source: AIR

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GS-III :
ULV sprayer through drones

ULV sprayer through drones

To overcome the limitation of importing equipment, Department of Agriculture, Cooperation & Farmers’ Welfare (DAC&FW), under Make in India initiative, has taken up the challenge to indigenously develop a vehicle mounted ULV sprayer for locust control.

What is ULV(Ultra-Low volume) sprayer?

Ultra-low volume application of pesticides has been defined as spraying at a Volume Application Rate (VAR) of less than 5 L/ha for field crops or less than 50 L/ha for tree/bush crops. VARs of 0.25 – 2 l/ha are typical for aerial ULV application to forest or migratory pests.

ULV spraying is a well-established spraying technique and remains the standard method of locust control with pesticides and is also widely used by cotton farmers in central-southern and western Africa. It has also been used in massive aerial spraying campaigns against disease vectors such as the tse-tse fly.

A major benefit of ULV application is high work rate (i.e. many hectares can be treated in one day). It is a good option if all (or some) of these conditions apply:

  • large area of land to treat
  • rapid response required
  • little or no water for making pesticide tank mixtures
  • logistical problems for supplies
  • difficult terrain: poor access to target site

Importance of drones to control locusts

  • At present, the sole supplier of vehicle mounted sprayers is M/s Micron Sprayers, UK. Supply order for 60 nos. of sprayers was placed on the firm in February 2020.
  • However, the ground control vehicles with sprayers used for locust control can spray up to a height of 25-30 ft only.
  • The tractor mounted sprayers also has a limitation in reaching inaccessible areas and tall trees.
  • Therefore, the necessity of exploring aerial spray option was explored.
  • During a review, Union Minister of Agriculture and Farmers’ Welfare Shri Narendra Singh Tomar directed that deployment of Drones should be explored for Locust control.
  • As the existing policy guidelines issued by Ministry of Civil Aviation (MoCA) did not permit use of drones with payload of pesticides, so DAC&FW requested MoCA for permitting the same and Ministry of Civil Aviation approved conditional exemption to Government entity i.e. Directorate of Plant Protection, Quarantine & Storage, Faridabad (DPPQ&S) for Drone operations for locust control on 21.05.2020.
  • Subsequent to the conditional exemption given by MoCA, two firms were empanelled for providing services of drones for spray of pesticides for Locust control.
  • Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations has appreciated that India is the first country in the world which is controlling Desert Locust through Drones.

Source: PIB

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GS-III : Economic Issues Agriculture
Minimum Support Price for Mature Dehusked Coconut

Government declares Minimum Support Price for Mature Dehusked Coconut

  • Government of India has declared Minimum Support Price for mature dehusked coconut for the season 2020 at Rs. 2700/- per quintal, thus hiking the MSP by 5.02% from Rs. 2571/- per quintal during season 2019.

Homogeneous Development

  • This decision has given utmost importance to the interests of farmers growing all kinds of crops throughout the country.
  • The hike in the MSP for mature dehusked coconut facilitates procurement of fresh coconut thereby ensuring that the benefit of MSP reaches the millions of smallholder coconut farmers.
  • Shri Tomar said that coconut being a small holder’s crop, aggregation and arranging copra making facility at farmer’s level is not common.
  • Even though MSP for milling copra is Rs. 9960/- per quintal for 2020 crop season, declaration of higher MSP for dehusked coconut ensures immediate cash to the small farmers, who are unable to hold the product and who are having insufficient facility for copra making.
  • This will be a relief to the coconut farmers who are already affected by the pandemic and the consequent disruption in the supply chain.

Source: PIB

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GS-III : Economic Issues Education
YUKTI 2.0

YUKTI 2.0

About YUKTI 1.0

  • Union Minister for HRD Shri Ramesh Pokhriyal “Nishank” has launched a web-portal YUKTI (Young India Combating COVID with Knowledge, Technology and Innovation) .
  • It’s a unique portal and dashboard to monitor and record the efforts and initiatives of MHRD.
  • The portal intends to cover the different dimensions of COVID-19 challenges in a very holistic and comprehensive way.
  • In the wake of COVID-19 threat, our primary aim is to keep our academic community healthy, both physically & mentally and to enable a continuous high-quality learning environment for learners.
  • The portal is an effort of HRD Ministry to achieve this goal in these difficult times.
  • It will cover the various initiatives and efforts of the institutions in academics, research especially related to CoVID, social initiatives by institutions and the measures taken for the betterment of the total wellbeing of the students.
  • The portal will cover both qualitative and quantitative parameters for effective delivery of services to the academic community at large.
  • The portal will also allow various institutions to share their strategies for various challenges which are there because of the unprecedented situation of COVID-19 and other future initiatives.
  • The portal will also establish a two-way communication channel between the Ministry of HRD and the institutions so that the Ministry can provide the necessary support system to the institutions.
  • He said that we are confident that this portal will help in critical issues related to student promotion policies, placements related challenges and physical and mental well-being of students in these challenging times.

About YUKTI 2.0

  • YUKTI 2.0 is logical extension of earlier version of ‘YUKTI’, an initiative of MHRD, to identify ideas relevant in COVID pandemic.
  • The minister appreciated the initiative and said that our Prime Minister has given us the mission of making Bharat ‘Atmanirbhar’ and, YUKTI 2.0 initiative is a very important step in that direction.
  • This initiative helps the youth to convert their ideas into enterprises.
  • More importantly, initiative like YUKTI 2.0 will also help in fostering the culture of innovation and entrepreneurship in our academic institutions.

Source: PIB

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GS-II :
International Comparison Program,2017

Purchasing Power Parities and the size of Indian Economy: Results from the 2017 International Comparison Program

  • The World Bank has released new Purchasing Power Parities (PPPs) for reference year 2017, under International Comparison Program (ICP), that adjust for differences in the cost of living across economies of the World.
  • Globally 176 economies participated in 2017 cycle of ICP.

International Comparison Program (ICP)

  • The International Comparison Program (ICP) is the largest worldwide data-collection initiative, under the guidance of UN Statistical Commission (UNSC), with the goal of producing Purchasing Power Parities (PPPs) which are vital for converting measures of economic activities to be comparable across economies.
  • Along with the PPPs, the ICP also produces Price Level Indices (PLI) and other regionally comparable aggregates of GDP expenditure.
  • ICP provides the data of : PPP, PLI and GDP expenditures.
  • India has participated in almost all ICP rounds since its inception in 1970.
  • The Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation is National Implementing Agency (NIA) for India, which has the responsibility of planning, coordinating and implementing national ICP activities.
  • India is also proud to have been a co-Chair of the ICP Governing Board along with Statistics Austria for the ICP 2017 cycle.

WORLDWIDE STATUS

  • The Purchasing Power Parities (PPPs) of Indian Rupee per US$ at Gross Domestic Product (GDP) level is now 20.65 in 2017 from 15.55 in 2011. (Decreased)
  • The Exchange Rate of US Dollar to Indian Rupee is now 65.12 from 46.67 during same period.
  • The Price Level Index (PLI)the ratio of a PPP to its corresponding market exchange rate—is used to compare the price levels of economies, of India is 47.55 in 2017 from 42.99 in 2011.
  • In 2017, India retained and consolidated its global position, as the third largest economy, accounted for 6.7 percent ($8,051 billion out of World total of $119,547 billion) of global Gross Domestic Product (GDP) in terms of PPPs as against China (16.4%) and United States (16.3%), respectively.
  • India is also third largest economy in terms of its PPP-based share in global Actual Individual Consumption and Global Gross Capital Formation.

REGIONAL STATUS: ASIA-PACIFIC REGION

  • In 2017, India retained its regional position, as the second largest economy, accounted for 20.83 % (HK$ 48,395 billion out of Asia-Pacific total of HK$ 232,344 billion) of Regional Gross Domestic Product (GDP) in terms of PPPs where China was at 50.76% (first) and Indonesia at 7.49% (third). India is also second largest economy in terms of its PPP-based share in regional Actual Individual Consumption and regional Gross Capital Formation.
  • Among 22 participating economies in Asia-Pacific region, the Purchasing Power Parities (PPPs) of Indian Rupee per Hong Kong Dollar (HK$) at Gross Domestic Product (GDP) level is now at 3.43 in 2017 from 2.97 in 2011. T
  • he Exchange Rate of Hong Kong Dollar to Indian Rupee is now at 8.36 from 6.00 during same period. The Price Level Index (PLI of India has is now at 64.00 in 2017 from 71.00 in 2011.

Source: PIB

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GS-III :
NDRF

NDRF

The NDRF was set up in accordance with Section 46 of the Disaster Management Act, 2005. It is meant to “meet the expenses for emergency response, relief and rehabilitation” for any threatening disaster situation. Although Section 46 includes a clause regarding grants made by any person or institution, provisions for such donations had not been made.

Contribution to NDRF

  • Recently the Supreme Court sought a response from the Centre to a plea that contributions made to the PM CARES Fund to fight coronavirus (COVID-19) should be transferred entirely to the NDRF. Following this, Finance Ministry has given approval to a proposal to allow individuals and institutions to contribute directly to the National Disaster Relief Fund (NDRF).
  • According to recent procedure laid out by the Finance Ministry “receipts in the form of grants/donations made by any person for the purpose of disaster management may be taken as receipts of GoI under a new minor head” being created for the purpose. Similar procedures may be followed for contributions to the State Disaster Relief Funds as well.
  • This is a significant development at a time when many have expressed concerns about donations sent to the PM CARES Fund or the Prime Minister’s National Relief Fund, as both claim they are not public authorities subject to questions under the Right to Information Act.

Source: PIB

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