8th Feb, 2019-IAS Current Affairs
‘Atal Bhujal Yojana (ABHY)’ (GS2: Government policies for development in various sectors)
Issue: The World Bank has approved Atal Bhujal Yojana (ABHY)
What is the scheme about?
It is Rs.6000 Crore scheme, for sustainable management of ground water with community participation. The funding pattern is 50:50 between Government of India and World Bank. The identified over-exploited (OE) and water stressed areas for the implementation of the scheme fall in the States of Gujarat, Haryana, Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Rajasthan and Uttar Pradesh. Nine blocks of Bundelkhand region in Madhya Pradesh viz. Chhatarpur (Chhatarpur district), Naugaon (Chhatarpur district), Rajnagar (Chhatarpur district), Sagar (Sagar district), Niwari (Tikamgarh district), Baldeogarh (Tikamgarh district), Palera (Tikamgarh district), Patheria (Damoh district) and Ajeygarh (Panna district) have been identified in the scheme.
Mode of working of the scheme
ABHY envisages active participation of the communities in various activities such as formation of ‘Water User Associations’, monitoring and disseminating ground water data, water budgeting, preparation & implementation of Gram-panchayat-wise water security plans and IEC activities related to sustainable ground water management.
‘Sustainable growth’ (GS3: Conservation of Environment)
Issue: A Workshop on MoEFCC-Global Environment Facility, UNDP Small Grants Programme (SGP) was inaugurated
UNDP has been supporting the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change (MoEFCC) in implementing the Global Environment Facility (GEF) and financed Small Grants Programme (SGP) in India since 1997. Projects under the SGP are implemented through a National Host Institution – Centre for Environment Education (CEE), and other NGO partners and stakeholders that has presence in different parts of the country.
The Global Environment Facility was established on the eve of the 1992 Rio Earth Summit to help tackle our planet’s most pressing environmental problems. Since then, the GEF has provided over $17.9 billion in grants and mobilized an additional $93.2 billion in co-financing for more than 4500 projects in 170 countries. Today, the GEF is an international partnership of 183 countries, international institutions, civil society organizations and the private sector that addresses global environmental issues.
The GEF has supported a range of notable achievements:
- PROTECTED AREAS: Investment in over 3,300 Protected Areas, covering more than 860 million hectares (ha), an area larger than the size of Brazil.
- SUSTAINABLE LANDSCAPE AND SEASCAPE: Biodiversity protection and planning for more than 350 million ha of productive landscapes and seascapes.
- SUSTAINABLE FOREST MANAGEMENT: Support for over 380 forest-related projects, with $2.1 billion in grants that leveraged an additional $9.5 billion.
- SUSTAINABLE LAND MANAGEMENT: 103 million ha are under sustainable land management (SLM). These have benefited more than 50 million smallholders.
- GHG EMISSION REDUCTION: Support for 940 climate change mitigation projects expected to contribute 8.4 billion tonnes of direct and indirect GHG emission reductions over time.
- INTEGRATED WATER RESOURCES MANAGEMENT: Sustainable management of 43 trans-boundary river basins in 84 countries.
- SAFE DISPOSAL OF HAZARDOUS CHEMICALS: Phase-out of 29,000 tons of ODP (ozone depleting potential) and sound disposal of more than 200,000 tons of POPs legacy in developing countries.
- ADAPTATION TO CLIMATE CHANGE: Vulnerability reduction for more than 11 million people in 130 countries.
About Small Grants programme (SGP)
Small Grants Programme (GEF UNDP/SGP) globally in 122 countries is funded by Global Environment Facility (GEF) as the corporate program of the GEF is executed by the United Nation Development Program (UNDP), on behalf of the GEF partnership. In India the program is hosted through the National Host Institution (NHI) i.e – Centre for Environment Education (CEE) as the responsible party for the GEF Small Grants Programme which is being implemented under a full scale project of the GEF by Ministry of Environment & Forest, (MoEF) Government of India (GoI) and executed through the United Nation Development Program (UNDP).
GEF UNDP/SGP seeks to support initiatives, which demonstrate community-based innovative, gender sensitive. Participatory approaches and lessons learned from other development projects that lead to reduce threats to the local and global environment problems.
Achievements of SGF
- 110,000 hectares of land brought under sustainable land and resource management in the Western Ghats, Himalayan Front and Arid and Semi-Arid Regions through sustainable measures such as organic farming and community managed enterprises for non-timber forest products; improved agricultural, land and water management practices; and promotion of sustainable income generation activities among the small farm holders, below
- 85,000 MTs of CO2 emissions reduced through a range of alternative energy and energy efficient technologies such as efficient cook stoves, solar driers, and briquetting units, plastic wasters recycling units, micro-hydro, biomass and pine needle-based energy options, which resulted in enhancing the livelihoods of poor and marginalized communities.
‘Artificial intelligence’ (GS3: Science)
Issue: In view of increasing use of Artificial Intelligence (AI) technology across the world, IIT Kharagpur, IIT-Madras, IIIT-Kancheepuram, NIT Silchar, and NIT Bhopal have set up centres for Artificial Intelligence.
What is Artificial Intelligence?
Artificial intelligence (AI) is an area of computer science that emphasizes the creation of intelligent machines that work and reacts like humans. Some of the activities computers with artificial intelligence are designed for include:
- Speech recognition
- Problem solving
Artificial intelligence is a branch of computer science that aims to create intelligent machines. It has become an essential part of the technology industry.
Research associated with artificial intelligence is highly technical and specialized. The core problems of artificial intelligence include programming computers for certain traits such as:
- Problem solving
- Ability to manipulate and move objects
‘Sabko Shiksha Achchi Shiksha’ (GS2: Issues related to Health)
Issue: The Government of India has taken several initiatives to provide ‘Sabko Shiksha Achchi Shiksha’ i.e. for making available good quality education, accessible and affordable for all.
Measures taken in that regard include:
In pursuance of the proposal of the Union Budget, 2018-19, to treat school education holistically without segmentation from pre-school to Class XII, the Department of School Education and Literacy has launched the Samagra Shiksha – an Integrated Scheme for School Education as a Centrally Sponsored Scheme with effect from the year 2018-19. This programme subsumes the three erstwhile Centrally Sponsored Schemes of Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan (SSA), Rashtriya Madhyamik Shiksha Abhiyan (RMSA) and Teacher Education (TE).
About the programme
Samagra Shiksha is an overarching programme for the school education sector extending from pre-school to class XII and aims to ensure inclusive and equitable quality education at all levels of school education. It envisages the ‘school’ as a continuum from pre-school, primary, upper primary, secondary to senior secondary levels. The main emphasis of the Scheme is on improving quality of school education and the strategy for all interventions would be to enhance the Learning Outcomes at all levels of schooling. The Objectives of the Samagra Shiksha are (a) Provision of quality education and enhancing learning outcomes of students; (b) Bridging Social and Gender Gaps in School Education; (c) Ensuring equity and inclusion at all levels of school education; (d) Ensuring minimum standards in schooling provisions; (e) Promoting Vocationalisation of education; (f) Support States in implementation of Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education (RTE) Act, 2009; and (g)Strengthening and up-gradation of SCERTs/State Institutes of Education and DIET as nodal agencies for teacher training.
‘Nuclear Waste disposal’ (GS3: Science)
Issue: Government has taken several measures to ensure safe disposal of nuclear waste in India.
Some of the measures taken in this regard include:
- The solid wastes generated from nuclear facilities, depending upon their radioactivity content are stored/ disposed of in engineered structures such as stone lined trenches, reinforced concrete trenches and tile holes. These structures are designed on multi-barrier principle for ensuring effective containment of radioactivity. These structures are located within plant/facility premises in access-controlled areas.
- The areas where the waste disposal structures are located are provided with bore-wells in a planned manner. These bore wells are routinely monitored to confirm effective confinement of radioactivity present in the disposed waste. The regular monitoring is done as per the requirements which are in line with the guidelines of International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).
- The monitoring of various environmental matrices such as air, water, soil etc., in and around the waste disposal facilities is carried out by independent Environmental Survey Laboratories (ESL) of Bhabha Atomic Research Centre (BARC) which are stationed at all the nuclear sites.
What is IAEA?
The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) is an international organization that seeks to promote the peaceful use of nuclear energy, and to inhibit its use for any military purpose, including nuclear weapons. The IAEA was established as an autonomous organisation on 29 July 1957. Though established independently of the United Nations through its own international treaty, the IAEA Statute, the IAEA reports to both the United Nations General Assembly and Security Council
The IAEA has its headquarters in Vienna, Austria. The IAEA has two “Regional Safeguards Offices” which are located in Toronto, Canada, and in Tokyo, Japan. The IAEA also has two liaison offices which are located in New York City, United States, and in Geneva, Switzerland. In addition, the IAEA has laboratories and research centers located in Seibersdorf, Austria, in Monaco and in Trieste, Italy.
The IAEA serves as an intergovernmental forum for scientific and technical co-operation in the peaceful use of nuclear technology and nuclear power worldwide. The programs of the IAEA encourage the development of the peaceful applications of nuclear energy, science and technology, provide international safeguards against misuse of nuclear technology and nuclear materials, and promote nuclear safety (including radiation protection) and nuclear security standards and their implementation.
‘E-NAM’ (GS3: Indian Agriculture)
Issue: Inter State trade of agricultural produce in wholesale mandis through National Agriculture Market (e-NAM) platform is gathering pace with the latest transaction taking place at Madhya Pradesh Mandsaur e-NAM mandi
E-NAM i.e National Agriculture Market is a pan-India electronic trading (e-trading) portal which seeks to network the existing physical regulated wholesale market (known as APMC market) through a virtual platform to create a unified national market for agricultural commodities. e-NAM platform promotes better marketing opportunities for the farmers to sell their produce through online, competitive and transparent price discovery system and online payment facility. It also promotes prices commensurate with quality of produce. The e-NAM portal provides a single window services for all APMC related information and services. This includes commodity arrivals, quality, prices, buy & sell offers & e-payment settlement directly into farmers’ account, among other services. Farmers can access the information on e-NAM easily through their mobile phones from anywhere. This online trading platform aims at reducing transaction costs, bridging information asymmetry and help in expanding the market access for farmers.
‘Space technology’ (GS3: Science)
Issue: Space Science experiments often demand development of new technologies. Some of the new developments made in the last three years are as listed below:
- Development of highly polished optical mirrors – for a solar coronographic mission – Aditya-L1
- Development of large, light-weight collimators with non-cylindrical aperture – for x-ray polarimetric applications – XpoSAT mission
- Development of indigenous silicon sensors and coatings for optical and IR spectroscopic applications – for payloads on Chandrayaan-2 mission
- Indian Space research Organisation through the programme called RESPOND (Sponsored Research) is encouraging academia to participate in the R & D activities. Respond programme provides support to research projects in wide range of topics in space technology, space science and applications to universities/ institutions.
‘Friedlieb Ferdinand Runge’ (Facts that can be asked in Prelims)
Issue: Friedlieb Ferdinand Runge, born on February 8, 1794, was a German chemist who analyzed the chemical composition of coffee beans and isolated its active ingredient.
In 1855, while conducting his experiments he noticed certain reagents precipitating on blotting paper. This was further studied by German chemist Raphael E. Liesegang and named as Liesegang rings.