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DAILY NEWS ANALYSIS

Monthly DNA

25 Nov, 2022

21 Min Read

Waste Water Management

GS-I : Indian Geography Water resources

Waste Water Management

  • Nearly half, or 43%, of the world's rivers are contaminated with pharmaceutical active components at levels that could be fatal to human health.
  • Waste water management and process controls must be given top priority by the pharmaceutical industry to reduce antibiotic contamination and antimicrobial resistance (AMR).
  • In India's many states, notably in pharmaceutical centers like Himachal Pradesh, Andhra Pradesh, and Telangana, widespread pharmaceutical contamination has been documented.

About Waste Water:

  • Wastewater, often known as sewage, is the polluted form of water produced by rainwater runoff and human activity.
  • Typically, it is classified according to how it is produced, such as home sewage, industrial sewage, or storm sewage (stormwater).
  • Ordinarily, untreated sewage deposited into a body of water can naturally clean itself through stream cleaning and self-purification.
  • However, sewage discharge has increased at a rate that is significantly greater than the rate of natural purification as a result of population growth and widespread urbanization.
  • The water body becomes eutrophicated as a result of the extra nutrients produced, gradually lowering the quality of the water.
  • Eutrophication is the process by which a body of water becomes too enriched with minerals and nutrients, causing an excessive growth of algae or an algal bloom, and ultimately depleting the water body's oxygen levels.

Treatment of waste water:

  • Before wastewater or sewage enters aquifers or other natural bodies of water including rivers, lakes, estuaries, and seas, contaminants must be removed through wastewater treatment, also known as sewage treatment.
  • Sewage treatment facilities on-site (STPs) process and clean wastewater to make it suitable for reuse.
  • STPs primarily use household sewage to remove pollutants from wastewater.

What is India's current state of waste water management?

  • In 2021, the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) produced a study stating that India's current water treatment capacity is 27.3% and its current sewage treatment capacity is 18.6% (with an additional 5.2% capacity being installed).
  • Even while India's waste and sewage treatment capacity is more than the 20% global average, it is still far from sufficient, and failing to take prompt action and scale up the sewage treatment capacity could have detrimental effects.
  • According to government figures, 62.5% of India's urban wastewater was either not treated at all or only slightly treated.
  • A 2019 research paper claims that only 7000 million litres per day (MLD) of the 33000 MLD of waste created each day gets collected and treated at the majority of the sewage treatment plants built under the Ganga Action Plan and Yamuna Action Plan.

The Water (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Act, 1974, (Amended in 1988)

  • The purpose of this legislation is to prevent and control water contamination and to maintain or restore the water's wholesomeness.
  • Specifically, the 1977 Water (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Cess Act (Amended in 2003)
  • It proposes to make provisions for the imposition and collection of a cess on water used by individuals engaged in specific industries and by local governments.

The Environmental Protection Act (1986)

  • It gives the central government the authority to establish requirements for sewage and effluent discharge, to look into and guarantee compliance, and to carry out research.
  • All types of environmental contamination, such as that in the air, water, and land, are covered by this Act.

Governmental Programs:

  • Under the Swachh Bharat Mission 2.0, the Indian government moved its emphasis to the management of solid waste, sludge, and greywater.
  • The Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs (MoHUA) set specific requirements for cities to attain ODF+, ODF++, and Water+ classifications as a result of a persistent focus on achieving Open Defecation-Free (ODF) status.
  • Sewage & septage management initiatives were started by MoHUA under the Atal Mission for Rejuvenation and Urban Transformation (AMRUT) Mission.

What are the Waste Water Management Challenges?

  • Water is designated as a State topic in Schedule 7 of the Indian Constitution, but it is expressly bound by the rules listed in the Union List.
  • It gives the State the freedom to create laws governing the use of water within the State on issues like water supply, irrigation, drainage and embankments, water storage, etc. while allowing the Parliament to pass legislation regulating and developing interstate waters in the larger public interest.
  • The United States similarly exhibits this disjointed approach to wastewater and its effects. The 73rd and 74th constitutional amendment acts further splinter local, rural and urban levels of water resource governance.
  • Due to the power disparities between the Center and the States caused by these constitutional procedures, there is uncertainty regarding federal jurisdiction.
  • One State's inaction specifically impacts the interests of one or more other States and results in disagreements when it comes to wastewater management.
  • While well-developed networks of interconnected sewers and drainage are necessary for centralised wastewater treatment solutions in order for effluent to be collected in one place. Because of this, they are costly, labor- and time-intensive.

Way Forward

  • Water governance must be acknowledged at all levels for the effective operation of policies and the general development of water bodies, even though a decentralised approach is required for better assessment and resolution of wastewater concerns.
  • In this respect, wastewater must be considered both as an issue of environmental degradation and as a problem in the water sector that needs to be addressed by all national, state, and local governments in a coordinated manner.
  • It is essential to supplement centralised treatment facilities with less expensive substitutes like:
  • Small townships, urban and rural clusters, gated enclaves, companies, and industrial parks are all possible locations for decentralised wastewater treatment facilities. They can be set up right on the job site, treating the wastewater at the source.
  • Utilizing fungi and bacteria, bioremediation uses microbes to break down contaminants and dangerous effluents.It has been shown to be quite efficient at cleaning lakes and ponds across the nation.
  • Phytoremediation is the employment of plants and related soil bacteria to lower the concentrations or toxic effects of contaminants.

Source: Down To Earth

Old Pension Scheme

GS-II : Governance Policies and Programmes

Old Pension Scheme

In various jurisdictions, a few political parties have pledged to reinstate the Old Pension Scheme.

About The Old Pension Scheme:

  • The plan guarantees a post-retirement income for life.
  • Employees under the previous plan receive a pension based on a pre-established formula that is equal to 50% of the last wage received.
  • Additionally, they benefit from the twice-yearly modification of the Dearness Relief (DR).
  • There was no salary deduction and the compensation is predetermined. Additionally, the General Provident Fund(GPF) was a provision of the OPS
  • Only Indian government personnel have access to GPF. In essence, it permits all government workers to pay a portion of their salaries into the GPF.
  • At the time of retirement, the employee receives the complete amount that has accumulated over the course of their employment.
  • The cost of the pension is covered by the government. The program was abandoned in 2004.

Concerns:

Insufficient Funds for Pensions:

  • The biggest issue was that the pension liability was still unfunded, meaning that there was no corpus created just for pensions that would grow over time and could be used to make payments.
  • Every year, the budget of the Indian government included money for pensions, but there was no clear strategy for how they would be paid in the future.

Additionally unsustainable was the OPS.

  • For starters, as seniors' benefits grew annually, such as salaries of current employees or pensioners who benefited from indexation, or what is known as "dearness relief," pension liabilities would continue to rise.
  • Additionally, improved medical facilities would lead to longer payouts due to an increase in longevity.
  • The Union and state governments now have a significant pension burden as a result of this.

What Efforts Were Being Made to Address Related Issues?

  • The Old Age Social and Income Security (OASIS) initiative was the subject of a report ordered in 1998 by the Union Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment. The report was submitted in January 2000 by an expert committee.
  • The unorganized sector workers who lacked retirement income security were the main focus of OASIS.
  • According to the OASIS research, investors should consider three different types of funds: growing, balanced, and safe. These funds will be offered by six different fund managers.
  • The remaining amount would be invested in government or business bonds. Each person will have their own retirement account and be expected to contribute at least Rs 500 annually.
  • At least Rs 2 lakh would be taken out of the retirement account after retirement to buy an annuity.
  • For the duration of the person's life, an annuity provider invests the money and pays a fixed monthly income (Rs 1,500 at the time the report was written).

What was the New Pension Scheme's genesis?

  • The New Pension Scheme, which was announced in December 2003, was based on the OASIS assessment.
  • With effect from January 2004, the Central Government implemented the National Pension System (NPS) (except for armed forces).
  • The Union Cabinet approved improvements to the NPS in 2018–19 to benefit central government employees who are covered by the program and to streamline and improve it.
  • The government started the NPS as a strategy to get rid of its pension responsibilities.
  • An article in the news highlighted early 2000s studies that claimed that India's pension debt was out of control.
  • The Central Civil Services (Pension) Rules, 1972 were changed in response to the establishment of NPS.
  • After retirement, people can utilize some of the pension money as a lump sum withdrawal and the remainder to purchase an annuity for a steady income.
  • Implementation: The nation's PFRDA (Pension Fund Regulatory and Development Authority) is responsible for overseeing and implementing NPS.
  • All assets under the NPS are officially owned by the National Pension System Trust (NPST), which was established by PFRDA.

Features:

  • The NPS's All-Nationals Model enables all Indian citizens (including NRIs) between the ages of 18 and 70 to sign up.
  • Employees contribute their salaries to their pension corpus as part of a participation program, and the government matches their contributions. The money is subsequently invested through Pension Fund Managers in specified investment plans.
  • Government employees who participate in this NPS contribute 10% of their base pay, and their employers may also contribute up to 14%.
  • According to the Finance Ministry, Central government personnel has the choice of Investment Pattern and Pension Funds (PFs) as of 2019.
  • 40% of the corpus is invested in annuities, which is taxed, and the remaining 60% can be withdrawn tax-free upon retirement.
  • Even private persons are eligible to join the programme.

NPS issues include:

  • In contrast to OPS, the NPS mandates that employees deposit 10% of their base salary as well as the dearness allowance.
  • The pension amount is not fixed, and there is no GPF benefit.
  • The scheme's return-based nature and market linkage are its main drawbacks. Simply said, the reward is unpredictable.

Source: The Financial Express

Narco Test

GS-II : Governance Law and Order

Narco Test

  • It has recently come to the spotlight after a Delhi Court ordered a Narco Test for Aaftab Amin Poonawala in the bone-chilling Shradha Walkar killing case.
  • The Court took into consideration international norms on human rights, the Right to a fair trial, and the Right against self-incrimination under Article 20(3) of the Constitution.

What is a Narco Test?

  • In a narco or narco-analysis test: a drug called sodium pentothal is injected into the body of the accused, which transports them to a hypnotic or sedated state, in which their imagination is neutralised.
  • In this hypnotic state, the accused is understood as being incapable of lying, and is expected to divulge information that is true.
  • Sodium pentothal or sodium thiopental is a fast-acting, short duration anesthetic, which is used in larger doses to sedate patients during surgery.
  • It belongs to the barbiturate class of drugs that act on the central nervous system as depressants.
  • Truth serum: Because the drug is believed to weaken the subject’s resolve to lie, it is sometimes referred to as a truth serum, and is said to have been used by intelligence operatives during World War II.

What is a Polygraph Test?

  • A test such as this is said to have been first done in the 19th century by the Italian criminologist Cesare Lombroso, who used a machine to measure changes in the blood pressure of criminal suspects during interrogation.
  • A polygraph test is based on the assumption that physiological responses that are triggered when a person is lying are different from what they would be otherwise.
  • A polygraph test does not involve injecting drugs into the body; rather instruments like cardio-cuffs or sensitive electrodes are attached to the suspect, and variables such as blood pressure, pulse rate, respiration, change in sweat gland activity, blood flow, etc., are measured as questions are put to them.
  • A numerical value is assigned to each response to conclude whether the person is telling the truth, is deceiving, or is uncertain.

What is the need for such a test?

  • Investigating agencies have sought to employ these tests in the investigation, which are sometimes seen as being a softer alternative to torture or third-degree to extract the truth from suspects.
  • However, neither method has been proven scientifically to have a 100% success rate, and remains contentious in the medical field as well.

Related Case and Guidelines

Selvi & Ors vs State of Karnataka & Anr’ (2010)

  • A Supreme Court Bench ruled that no lie detector tests should be administered except on the basis of the consent of the accused.
  • Guidelines for the Administration of Polygraph Test on an Accused
  • It was published by the National Human Rights Commission in 2000 which says that the subject's consent should be recorded before a judicial magistrate.

Can the results of these tests be considered as “confessions”?

  • No it cannot be considered as a confession because those in a drugged-induced state cannot exercise a choice in answering questions that are put to them.
  • However, any information or material subsequently discovered with the help of such a voluntarily-taken test can be admitted as evidence

Source: Hindustan Times

Finfluencers

GS-III : Economic Issues Terminology

Finfluencers

  • The Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) is drafting regulations for "finfluencers," as they are also referred to.
  • Finfluencers are persons who use open social media platforms to share their personal stories and recommendations regarding money and stock investments.
  • Their films offer advice on setting a budget, investing, purchasing real estate, using cryptocurrencies, and monitoring market trends.

What is the purpose of the rules?

  • There are now significantly more "unregistered" investment advisors offering unasked-for "stock" suggestions on social media networks.
  • Additionally, several businesses employed finfluencers to increase the value of their stock using social media sites.
  • There is no distinction between listed and unlisted businesses when it comes to fraud, and this is especially true given that technology dangers and digital data thefts are on the rise.
  • Diversion of money or assets results in a financial crisis, anarchy, a loss of shareholder wealth, an ethical problem, and reputational harm.

About SEBI.

  • In compliance with the terms of the Securities and Exchange Board of India Act, 1992, SEBI was founded as a statutory entity in 1992.
  • The Securities and Exchange Board of India's core responsibilities include promoting and regulating the securities market as well as safeguarding the interests of investors in securities.
  • India's Mumbai is where it has its headquarters.

Structure:

The following individuals will make up the SEBI Board: -

  • Chairman
  • Two people chosen among the Central Government Ministry's staff members who deal with finance
  • One representative from the Reserve Bank of India's staff
  • Five more members, of whom at least three must be full-time employees, will be chosen by the national government.
  • Whenever necessary, SEBI also appoints various committees to investigate the most important topics at hand.

A Securities Appellate Tribunal (SAT)

  • It has also been established to defend the rights of organisations who feel wronged by SEBI's judgement.
  • A Presiding Officer and two more Members make up SAT.
  • It has the same authority as a civil court does. Additionally, anyone who feels wronged by the SAT's decision or order may file an appeal with the Supreme Court.

Source: The Hindu

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