03 st Dec, 2018-IAS Current Affairs
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‘Digital Sky platform’ (GS3: Infrastructure)
Issue: Civil Aviation Ministry announced recently it has started the registration process for drone operators in the country, to be done through a portal called ‘Digital Sky’.
About the initiative
- Under these norms, drone users will be required to do one-time registration of their drones. They will also need to register the pilots of drones as well as their owners.
- For drones of micro size and above categories, operators are required to register on the Digital Sky portal
- To get the permission to fly, RPAS (remotely piloted aerial system) or drone operators or remote pilots will have to file a flight plan.
- “Flying in the ‘green zones’ will require only intimation of the time and location of the flights via the portal or the app. Permissions will be required for flying in ‘yellow zones’ and flights will not be allowed in the ‘red zones’
- The location of these zones will be announced subsequently
‘Hornbill festival’ (GS1: Indian Culture)
Issue: The Union Home Minister Shri Rajnath Singh inaugurated the hugely popular Hornbill Festival 2018 in Kohima coinciding with the Formation Day of Nagaland.
About Hornbill festival
The Hornbill Festival is a celebration held every year from 1 – 10 December, in Nagaland, Northeast India. The Hornbill Festival provides a colorful mixture of dances, performances, crafts, parades, games, sports, food fairs and religious ceremonies. The festival both exposes the culture and tradition of tribal peoples, and reinforces Nagaland’s identity as a unique state in India’s federal union.
The Hornbill Festival has contributed significantly to enhancing the state’s tourism brand. Tourism promoters believe that the Hornbill Festival in Nagaland allows tourists to have an insight into the different tribes of Nagaland.
About Hornbill species
They are a family of bird found in tropical and subtropical Africa, Asia and Melanesia. They are characterized by a long, down-curved bill which is frequently brightly colored and sometimes has a casque on the upper mandible.
They are monogamous breeders nesting in natural cavities in trees and sometimes cliffs. A number of species of hornbill are threatened with extinction, mostly insular species with small ranges.
The Indian subcontinent has 10 species of hornbills, of which 9 are found in India and adjoining countries, while the Sri Lanka grey hornbill is restricted to the island. The most common widespread species in the Indian subcontinent is the Indian grey hornbill
‘Ex Cope India 2018’ (GS2: Bilateral relations)
Issue: Ex Cope India-18 is the fourth edition in the series of Bilateral Joint exercise held between IAF and USAF, which is conducted in India
The aim of exercise is to provide operational exposure and undertake mutual exchange of best practices towards enhancing operational capability.
‘Whistleblower’ (GS2: Governance)
Issue: Sun Pharma shares crashed as much as 10% on the news of whistleblower, their biggest daily loss since May 2017
Who is a Whistleblower?
A whistleblower is an employee who makes complaints about a company’s misconduct, such as complaints about health and safety code violations, shareholder fraud, financial mismanagement or other illegal activities. Employees that follow up with the complaints or give information to investigators are also considered whistleblowers
Protection for whistleblowers in India
Whistle Blowers Protection Act, 2014 is an Act in the Parliament of India which provides a mechanism to investigate alleged corruption and misuse of power by public servants and also protect anyone who exposes alleged wrongdoing in government bodies, projects and offices. The wrongdoing might take the form of fraud, corruption or mismanagement. The Act will also ensure punishment for false or frivolous complaints
Features of the act
- The Act seeks to protect whistle blowers, i.e. persons making a public interest disclosure related to an act of corruption, misuse of power, or criminal offense by a public servant.
- Any public servant or any other person including a non-governmental organization may make such a disclosure to the Central or State Vigilance Commission.
- Every complaint has to include the identity of the complainant.
- The Vigilance Commission shall not disclose the identity of the complainant except to the head of the department if he deems it necessary. The Act penalizes any person who has disclosed the identity of the complainant.
- The Act prescribes penalties for knowingly making false complaints.
The Central Vigilance Commission plans to create more awareness about corruption in India. To encourage the fight against corruption, CVC has provided on their website, a “Lodge Complaints Online” portal.
‘CoP 24 summit’ (GS3: Conservation of Environment)
Issue: The world is “way off course” in its plan to prevent catastrophic climate change, the United Nations warned on Monday as nations gathered in Poland to chart a way for mankind to avert runaway global warming.
COP24, also known as the Katowice Climate Change Conference, is a conference being held between 2 and 14 December 2018 in Katowice, Poland. The conference aims to finalize the practical implementation of the 2015 Paris Agreement, part of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).
Main agenda of CoP 24 meeting
- leaders from at-risk nations such as Fiji, Nigeria and Nepal plead their case at the COP24 climate talks, which aim to flesh out the promises agreed in the 2015 Paris climate accord
- Poland — heavily reliant on energy from coal — will push its own agenda: a “just transition” from fossil fuels
- The Paris deal saw nations agree to limit global temperature rises to below two degrees Celsius (3.6 Fahrenheit) and under 1.5C if possible.
- Officials from nearly 200 countries now have two weeks to finalize how those goals work in practice, even as science suggests the pace of climate change is rapidly outstripping mankind’s response.
Main concern with achieving climate change goals
Under Paris, richer nations — responsible for the majority of historic greenhouse gas emissions — are expected to contribute funding that developing nations can access to make their economies greener. But US President Donald Trump’s decision to withdraw from the Paris accord has dented trust among vulnerable nations, who fear there is not enough cash available to help them adapt to our heating planet.
It is an international environmental treaty adopted on 9 May 1992 and opened for signature at the Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro from 3 to 14 June 1992. It then entered into force on 21 March 1994, after a sufficient number of countries had ratified it. The UNFCCC objective is to “stabilize greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere at a level that would prevent dangerous anthropogenic interference with the climate system”
The framework sets non binding limits on greenhouse gas emissions for individual countries and contains no enforcement mechanisms. Instead, the framework outlines how specific international treaties (called “protocols” or “Agreements”) may be negotiated to specify further action towards the objective of the UNFCCC
The parties to the convention have met annually from 1995 in Conferences of the Parties (COP) to assess progress in dealing with climate change. In 1997, the Kyoto Protocol was concluded and established legally binding obligations for developed countries to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions in the period 2008–2012.The 2010 United Nations Climate Change Conference produced an agreement stating that future global warming should be limited to below 2.0 °C (3.6 °F) relative to the pre-industrial level. The Protocol was amended in 2012 to encompass the period 2013–2020 in the Doha Amendment, which as of December 2015 had not entered into force. In 2015 the Paris Agreement was adopted, governing emission reductions from 2020 on through commitments of countries in Nationally Determined Contributions. The Paris Agreement entered into force on 4 November 2016.
About Paris Climate change
‘Climate change and Finance’ (GS3: Environment)
Issue: The World Bank Group will spearhead a five-year, $200 billion investment to fight climate change.
Objective of climate change
The financing will support higher-quality forecasts, early warning systems and climate information services. The fund is expected to used to build more climate-responsive social protection systems in 40 countries and finance “climate smart agriculture investments” in 20 countries.
The World Bank will contribute half the funds, while the rest will be raised by International Finance Corporation, the Multilateral Investment Guarantee Agency and private capital. The funding will be applied over a five-year period starting in 2021, the statement said.
‘National Green Tribunal’ (GS3: Environmental pollution)
Issue: The National Green Tribunal (NGT) directed the Delhi government to deposit an environmental compensation of Rs. 25 crore with the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) for failing to curb air pollution in the national capital.
The National Green Tribunal has been established on 18.10.2010 under the National Green Tribunal Act 2010 for effective and expeditious disposal of cases relating to environmental protection and conservation of forests and other natural resources including enforcement of any legal right relating to environment and giving relief and compensation for damages to persons and property and for matters connected therewith or incidental thereto. It is a specialized body equipped with the necessary expertise to handle environmental disputes involving multi-disciplinary issues. The Tribunal shall not be bound by the procedure laid down under the Code of Civil Procedure, 1908, but shall be guided by principles of natural justice.
The Tribunal’s dedicated jurisdiction in environmental matters shall provide speedy environmental justice and help reduce the burden of litigation in the higher courts. The Tribunal is mandated to make and endeavor for disposal of applications or appeals finally within 6 months of filing of the same. Initially, the NGT is proposed to be set up at five places of sittings and will follow circuit procedure for making itself more accessible. New Delhi is the Principal Place of Sitting of the Tribunal and Bhopal, Pune, Kolkata and Chennai shall be the other four place of sitting of the Tribunal.
‘G20 summit in India’(GS2: Multilateral agencies)
Issue: India will host the annual G20 summit in 2022, coinciding with the country’s 75th anniversary of Independence.G20 members comprise Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, the European Union, France, Germany, India, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, Mexico, Russia, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, South Korea, Turkey, the UK, and the US.
Highlights of G20 2018 summit in relation to India
- Prime Minister Narendra Modi stressed cooperation among G20 countries on issues related to the global economy, trade tensions, crude oil prices, terrorism, and fugitive economic offenders.
- He highlighted the current challenges which the global economy face, the threat of increasing financial vulnerabilities mainly arising from the monetary policies of advanced economies and oil price volatility.
- The prime minister talked about the escalating trade tensions and the collateral damage it causes to the least developed countries and other emerging economies, referring mainly to the ongoing US-China trade war.
- Modi highlighted and stressed the price stability of crude oil because any instability in crude prices causes a lot of pressure, especially on domestic economies to adapt their economic policies because of price fluctuations.
- Another important point which Modi highlighted was the need for carrying out reforms in the World Trade Organisation (WTO).
- He stressed that reforming the WTO is very necessary to carry forward the dialogue on trade, in services and promoting the global value chain in the agricultural sector.
- PM Modi also stressed that it is time to fully implement and operationalise the various aspects of the 11-point agenda against terrorism which was issued last year as a part of the Hamburg Declaration.
- He advocated strengthening of the United Nations’ counter-terrorism network and urged the BRICS and G20 nations to work unitedly towards that goal.