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DAILY NEWS ANALYSIS

Monthly DNA

26 Sep, 2022

31 Min Read

Group of Four (G4) on UNSC Reform

GS-II : International organisation United Nation

Group of Four (G4) on UNSC Reform

Under the auspices of The Group of Four (G4), the External Affairs Minister of India met with his counterparts from Brazil, Germany, and Japan.

Details about the news

  • G4 discussed concerns pertaining to the UN Security Council reform during a meeting that took place alongside the 77th session of the UNGA (UNSC).
  • The UNSC reform and G4 members' permanent participation in the body are the group's main areas of interest.

Who are the G-4 countries, or the Group of Four?

  • Brazil, Germany, India, and Japan make up the G4, a group that aspires to join the UNSC permanently.
  • The G4 nations are supporting one another's applications for UNSC permanent membership.
  • The G4 countries often get together after the yearly high-level UN General Assembly session.

Highlights of the meeting

Moving Reforms Forward:

  • The group reaffirmed their commitment to advancing reform during the most recent meeting.
  • They also expressed disappointment about the lack of development in this area.
  • Global concerns are complex, and reforms are required.
  • The G4 believed that immediate reform of the U.N. decision-making bodies was necessary due to the complexity and interconnectedness of world affairs.
  • No real advancement and a lack of transparency
  • G4 ministers voiced worry that the Inter-Governmental Negotiations did not achieve "significant progress" during the 76th Session of the U.N. General Assembly, the year-long session that recently ended (IGN).
  • The G4 claims that this session was limited by a lack of transparency.

Why are UNSC reforms necessary?

  • Ironically, the UN only has 5 permanent members despite representing a much bigger world.
  • The Security Council's current membership reflects post-World War II realities and is therefore out of step with the shifting global power dynamics.
  • Big powers were granted privileges when the UNSC was first established in order to include them on the council. This was essential for both the organization's smooth operation and to prevent collapse similar to that of the League of Nations.
  • Africa, South America, and Far Eastern Asia are not represented in the council's permanent membership.

Why does India want a permanent seat on the UN Security Council?

Overview:

  • India never requested permanent membership in the UN Security Council throughout the first 40 years of its existence.
  • Even in 1993, when India sent the UN a written proposal in response to a resolution on reforms passed by the General Assembly, it did not make clear that it wanted permanent membership for itself.
  • India has only begun to request permanent participation in the council in the recent several years.
  • Given the magnitude of its economy, population, and status as the world's largest democracy, India deserves a permanent seat on the council.
  • India has grown to be a significant role not just in Asia but also globally.
  • If India were a permanent member of the Security Council, it would be a more representative body.

Need:

  • The ability to veto measures immense power.
  • India has been attempting to classify Masood Azhar as a global terrorist since 2009. China's veto authority kept causing delays.
  • India will be able to advance its interests more effectively.
  • The USSR actually began to boycott the UNSC at one point, and it was during that time that the US was able to pass a resolution ending the Korean War. From that point on, the USSR understood it was pointless to boycott the UN. If any resolution is against them, it must maintain its veto power.
  • Being a permanent member will acknowledge India's emergence as a major global player, ready to contribute significantly to the goals of the Security Council for global peace and security.
  • India will be able to benefit from the "prestige" that comes with having a permanent seat on the council.

Challenges:

  • Lack of Political Will: Although there is a general consensus that the system has to reform, different nations perceive the need for change differently.
  • Coffee Club: Over the past six years, it has been crucial in delaying UN Security Council reforms. It is an informal organisation with 40 or so member states, largely middle-sized governments who oppose greater regional powers gaining permanent seats.
  • Chinese Opposition: China's status as a permanent member prevents India from progressing to that status.

Security Council of the United Nations

  • It is one of the six principal bodies of the UN and works to uphold world peace and security.
  • On January 17, 1946, it conducted its inaugural meeting in Westminster, London.
  • Headquarters is in New York.
  • Membership: There are 15 members of the council.
  • China, France, Russia, the United Kingdom, and the United States are permanent members with veto power.
  • More than 50 member states of the UN have never been Security Council members.

The UNSC elections

  • Out of a total of 10, the General Assembly elects five non-permanent members each year to serve terms of two years.
  • India's two-year term as a non-permanent member of the Council expires on December 31 of this year.

The following table shows how the 10 non-permanent seats are allocated among the regions:

  • Five for the states of Africa and Asia.
  • One for the nations of Eastern Europe.
  • Two for the Western European and other States; two for the Latin American and Caribbean States
  • Candidate nations must receive a two-thirds vote of the Member States that are present and casting ballots in the Assembly in order to be elected to the Council.

Way Forward

  • Outside of the P5, India has received the most votes for UNSC membership. India may use this position to demonstrate its maturity and determination to be recognised as a responsible global power.
  • India requires a permanent seat at the organization, which was established to uphold international peace, security, and order in order to play a vital and important role.

Read Also : UNSC and India

Source: The Hindu

Fly Ash

GS-III : Biodiversity & Environment Environmental Pollution

Fly Ash

  • The National Green Tribunal (NGT) has emphasised the urgent need for Chhattisgarh to increase the use and disposal of fly ash.

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About

  • 15 state, national, and privately owned electricity generating units are concentrated in Korba, Chhattisgarh, makes the situation much more dire.

What is Fly Ash?

  • Burning pulverised coal in thermal power plants produces fly ash as a byproduct.
  • Clay, feldspar, quartz, and shale, mineral impurities in coal, fuse in suspension during combustion and float out of the combustion chamber with the exhaust gases.
  • Fly ash, which are spherical glassy particles, are formed as the fused material cools and solidifies as it rises.
  • Ash concentration ranges from 30-45% in low-grade coal used in thermal power generation. The low ash level of the imported high-grade coal is between 10% and 15%.
  • Since low-grade coal makes up the majority of the fuel used in thermal plants, a lot of ash is produced, which needs a lot of space to be utilised as a landfill or disposal ponds.
  • Depending on the chemical and physical characteristics of the fly ash as well as the cement, all fly ashes display cementitious qualities to varied degrees.
  • Fly ash is composed of silica dioxide (SiO2), aluminium oxide (Al2O3), ferric oxide (Fe2O3), and calcium oxide(CaO) in significant concentrations.
  • Uses: It is a top-notch material for producing building supplies such as hollow blocks, mosaic tiles, and bricks.
  • Fly ash bricks can significantly contribute to soil preservation.
  • There are a number of environmentally beneficial ways to use fly ash so that it doesn't contaminate the air and water.
  • It involves filling low-lying areas and mines, building roads, dams, and embankments, and using fly ash in the production of cement and ready-mix concrete.

Significant environmental and health risks

  • The majority of the heavy elements present in fly ash, such as lead, nickel, chromium, cadmium, and arsenic, are poisonous by nature.
  • Due to direct exposure, mangrove destruction, drastically reduced crop yields, groundwater pollution, etc., they seep into the surrounding soil and can cause respiratory problems, asthma, and other allergies in addition to entering food chains.

Uses of fly ash

  • Some of the Portland cement found in concrete can be replaced with fly ash. It is good for the environment since it requires less Portland cement, which is a major source of CO2 in concrete.
  • Currently, fly ash is used in the production of bricks, blocks, and tiles and has a long history of use in the construction industry.
  • The usage of fly ash bricks in construction projects 500 kilometres from thermal power plants is now required by the Union Government.

A new rule for thermal power plants' use of fly ash (TPPs)

  • Thermal Power Plants (TPPs) must guarantee fly ash use at 100% within three to five years.
  • The current regulations allow TPPs to stagger the full utilisation of fly ash over a four-year cycle.
  • As part of the "polluter pays principle," it also instituted fines of Rs 1,000 on non-compliant plants beginning on April 1 of the following year.
  • According to the widely accepted "polluter pays" principle, individuals who cause pollution should be responsible for paying the costs associated with controlling it in order to protect public health and the environment.
  • According to this, the Central Pollution Control Board's (CPCB) allocated account will receive the fines that have been collected.

Initiatives Developed

  • The government has created a web portal for tracking fly ash generation and utilization statistics of thermal power plants as well as a mobile application termed "ASH TRACK" to enable 100% ash utilisation by all coal-based thermal power plants.
  • Ash-Park has created a programme to raise awareness about the use of fly ash and its products on numerous platforms.
  • NTPC roles : The National Thermal Power Corporation (NTPC) has built a transportation system that makes it more affordable to move fly ash from power plants to cement manufacturers in large quantities.
  • The fly ash that NTPC generates will be turned into a by-product that will provide income.
  • One example of this is the development of geopolymer and nano aggregates from leftover fly ash for use in building buildings and roads.

Suggestions

  • Programs to raise awareness: The NGT ordered that Chhattisgarh's common people be made aware of the exploitation of fly ash for its own purposes.
  • Follow instructions: The state authority shall direct all carriers to follow instructions provided by the federal and state governments for the secure carriage of fly ash and bottom ash.
  • If the authorities received a report about an illegal disposal, strict action should be taken.
  • Pond ash supply: Thermal power plants should provide pond ash to brick producers and road construction projects.
  • Promoting R&D to improve power plant efficiency would also aid in lowering ash generation.

Read Also: Carbon Watch

Source: Down To Earth

Draft Indian Telecommunication Bill 2022

GS-III : Economic Issues Telecom sector

Draft Indian Telecommunication Bill 2022

  • To control Internet-based OTT (Over-The-Top) telecom services, the Department of Telecommunications (DoT) recently announced the draught Indian Telecommunications 2022 Bill.

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What are the Draft Bill's Main Points?

  • The Indian Telegraph Act, 1885, Indian Wireless Telegraphy Act, 1933, and The Telegraph Wires (Unlawful Protection) Act, 1950 are the three independent laws that now regulate the telecommunications industry. The proposed Bill consolidates these laws.
  • Dilution of TRAI Authority: The DoT has also suggested to reduce the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India's (TRAI) authority when it comes to giving new licences to service providers.

Regulation of OTT:

  • Internet-based and over-the-top (OTT) communication services including WhatsApp calls, Facetime, Google Meet, and others have been categorised as telecom services by the government.
  • It was a long-standing demand of the telecom industry to level the playing field. OTT platforms do not currently require a licence to provide services, but telecom firms must.
  • Additionally, OTTs and internet-based communications would need a licence to provide services if they were included in the scope of telecom services.
  • Return Provision: The telecom ministry has put out a provision that would refund payments in the event that a telecom or internet provider gave up his licence.
  • Payment Default by Licensees: In the event of payment default and under extraordinary circumstances, such as financial strain, consumer interest, preserving market competition, or reliability and continued supply of telecommunication services, the government may postpone payment of such amounts, convert part or all of the amounts due into shares, write off the outstanding balance, or grant relief from payment.
  • In the event of bankruptcy: The Central Government may take any additional actions that may be required, including permitting the licensee or assignee to continue using the spectrum, in the event that the organisation to which the spectrum has been assigned becomes insolvent.
  • The Universal Service Obligation Fund (USOF) would be renamed the Telecommunication Development Fund in this proposal (TDF).
  • The USO fund is produced by the telecom service providers' yearly revenue. The Consolidated Fund of India will first receive credit for any funds received for the TDF.
  • The money will be used to improve connection in underserved urban, rural, and remote locations. Additionally, it will promote the introduction of new communications services and help with skill development and research into new telecommunication services.

What is the current state of the Indian telecom industry?

Current Situation:

  • With 1.17 billion subscribers as of 2022, India has the second-largest telecom industry globally. The overall teledensity in India is 85.11%.
  • The industry's rapid expansion over the past few years has been primarily fueled by low prices, increased accessibility, the introduction of Mobile Number Portability (MNP), expanding 3G and 4G coverage, and changing subscriber usage patterns.
  • The third-largest industry in terms of foreign direct investment (FDI) inflows, the telecom sector supports 2.2 million jobs directly and 1.8 million jobs indirectly.
  • The amount of FDI entering the telecom sector between 2014 and 2021 increased by 150% to USD 20.72 billion from USD 8.32 billion between 2002 and 2014.
  • In the telecom industry, 100% Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) is currently permitted via the automatic method.
  • India is predicted to have 920 million unique mobile customers by 2025, including 88 million 5G connections, making it the second-largest smartphone market in the world behind the United States. India now has about 1 billion installed smartphones.

Initiatives:

  • Production Linked Incentive (PLI) Scheme worth INR 12,195 Crores for the production of telecom and networking equipment is one of the PLI Programs under the Atmanirbhar Bharat Abhiyan. More than INR 4,000 Crores worth of incentives have been set aside for the Design Led Manufacturing Scheme of the current PLI Scheme.
  • Large-scale structural and procedural reforms have been implemented in 2021 to improve liquidity and reduce financial stress within the telecom sector.
  • The Bharat Net Project has installed optical fiber lines to 178,247-Gram Panchayats, of which 161,870 are operational. In addition, 4,218 Gram Panchayats have been linked through satellite, bringing the total number of Gram Panchayats that are ready for service to 166,088.
  • Prime Minister Wi-Fi Access Network Interface (PM-WANI): Public Wi-Fi service is made available through Public Data Offices (PDOs) dispersed around the nation to hasten the growth of broadband internet services.

Challenges:

  • Declining Average Revenue Per User (ARPU): The Indian telecom industry is looking at consolidation as the only way to increase revenues because ARPU drop is now sharp and persistent, accompanied with declining profits and occasionally serious losses.
  • The Supreme Court's decision to grant the government's request in 2019 to collect an adjusted gross income of roughly Rs 92,000 crore from telcos has added to their concern.
  • Limited availability of the spectrum Compared to China and European countries, the amount of spectrum available is less than 40% and 50%, respectively.
  • Low Broadband Penetration: The country's low broadband penetration is a cause for concern. According to a white paper on broadband given at the most recent International Telecommunication Union (ITU), only 7% of Indians have access to the internet
  • Applications that are over the top (OTT), such as WhatsApp, OLA, and others, do not require a telecoms company's consent or a contract. The revenue of telecom service providers is hampered as a result.
  • Huge shifts in the demands placed on the telecom equipment that help connect the entire system from the main server to the user.

Way ahead

  • In order to leverage new features and techniques to provide clients with better and feature-rich service, the telecom industry in India must overcome a number of obstacles, such as preserving a sufficient amount of spectrum and accelerating the adoption of new technology.
  • The Draft Telecommunication Bill 2022 addressed these issues and is available for comment, which would help develop a comprehensive strategy for India's future in the field of telecommunications.

Source: The Indian Express

Alliance for Asian Palm Oil

GS-III : Economic Issues Industry

Alliance for Asian Palm Oil

  • The Asian Palm Oil Alliance (APOA) is made up of the top industry associations for the five biggest Asian importers of palm oil: India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, and Nepal.
  • The APOA held its first general body meeting in conjunction with the Globoil Summit in Agra, India, and the following gathering is anticipated to take place in Indonesia in early 2023.
  • One of the World's Leading Edible Oils and Agri Trade Conference, Exhibitions & Awards is the Globoil Summit.
  • Additionally, Globoil India will celebrate its 25th anniversary in 2022.

What is APOA?

  • The APOA works to increase palm oil consumption in its member nations while also preserving the economic and commercial interests of palm oil-consuming nations.
  • The coalition would aim to change the stigma associated with palm oil and promote it as a premium, affordable, and healthful vegetable oil.
  • Companies or trade associations involved in the production or refinement of palm oil across the continent would be allowed to join APOA.

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About palm oil

  • The vegetable oil that worldwide most people use is palm oil.
  • It is important for the creation of detergents, plastics, cosmetics, and biofuels, it plays a significant role.
  • Together, Indonesia and Malaysia produce over 90% of the world's palm oil, with Indonesia producing the most—more than 45 million tonnes in 2021.
  • Leading consumers of the good are the European Union, China, and India (EU).
  • Around 13–14 million tonnes (MT) of edible oil are imported into India each year.
  • While other oils, such soy and sunflower, are imported from Argentina, Brazil, Ukraine, and Russia, only about 8 MT of palm oil is brought in from Indonesia and Malaysia.
  • Around 40% of the world's palm oil is consumed in Asia, whereas just 12% is traded in Europe. The two countries that export the most palm oil worldwide are Indonesia and Malaysia.
  • With 15% of the world's imports, India is Asia's top importer of palm oil, followed by China (9%), Pakistan (4%) and Bangladesh (2%).

Read Also: National Food Security Mission

Source: The Financial Express

Carbon Dating Method

GS-III : S&T S&T

Carbon Dating Method

The District Court in Varanasi allowed a petition seeking Carbon Dating of the structure inside the Gyanvapi mosque that the Hindu side has claimed is a ‘Shivling’.

What is Carbon dating?

  • It is a widely-used method applied to establish the age of organic material, things that were once living.
  • Living things have carbon in them in various forms.
  • The dating method makes use of the fact that a particular isotope of carbon called C-14, with an atomic mass of 14, is radioactive, and decays at a rate that is well known.
  • The most abundant isotope of carbon in the atmosphere is carbon-12 or a carbon atom whose atomic mass is 12.
  • A very small amount of carbon-14 is also present.

Process :

  • Plants get their carbon through the process of photosynthesis, while animals get it mainly through food. Because plants and animals get their carbon from the atmosphere, they too acquire carbon-12 and carbon-14 isotopes in roughly the same proportion as is available in the atmosphere.
  • When they die, the interactions with the atmosphere stop.
  • Now, carbon-12 is stable and does not decay, while carbon-14 is radioactive. Carbon-14 reduces to one-half of itself in about 5,730 years.
  • This is what is known as its ‘half-life’.
  • So, after a plant or animal dies, the ratio of carbon-12 to carbon-14 in the body, or its remains, begins to change.
  • This change can be measured and can be used to deduce the approximate time when the organism died.

Application

  • Though extremely effective, carbon dating cannot be applied in all circumstances.
  • Specifically, it cannot be used to determine the age of non-living things, like rocks, for example. Also, the age of things that are more than 40,000-50,000 years cannot be arrived at through carbon dating.
  • There are other methods to calculate the age of inanimate things, but carbon dating can also be used in an indirect way in certain circumstances. For example, the age of the ice cores in glaciers and polar regions is determined using carbon dating by studying the carbon dioxide molecules trapped inside large ice sheets.

Read Also: Nuclear Programme of India

Source: The Indian Express

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