TOPIC: INDIAN ECONOMY-PLANNING
GDP GROWTH FOR THIS YEAR AT 5%
Context: The Ministry of Statistics has said in a statement that the Gross domestic product is estimated to grow 5.0 per cent in 2019/20, slower than the 6.8 per cent growth of 2018/19.
This is the slowest pace in 11 years.
STATE OF INDIAN ECONOMY
- Annual economic growth slowed to 4.5 per cent in the July-September quarter, the weakest pace since 2013, blamed on weakening demand and private investment, putting pressure on the Government to speed up reforms as five rate cuts have failed to help.
- Indian growth had slowed to 3.1 per cent in 2008/09 after the global financial crisis.
- The unemployment rate rose to 7.7 percent in December from 7 percent a year earlier, data released by the Centre for Monitoring Indian Economy, a Mumbai-based think tank, showed.
CAUSES FOR THE DECLINE
- The decline has been mainly on account of deceleration in manufacturing sector growth, which is expected to come down to 2 percent in 2019-20 from 6.2 percent in the year-ago fiscal
- The deceleration was also witnessed in sectors like agriculture, construction and electricity, gas and water supply, as per the first advanced estimates of the national income released by National Statistical Office (NSO)
- Data so far this year points to a weaker-than-expected activity, with global trade tensions and rising crude oil prices posing risks
- The government is expected to announce tax concessions for individuals and increase spending on infrastructure after cutting corporate tax rates last year.
- Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman had last week unveiled a plan to invest Rs 102 lakh crore in infrastructure over the next five years in a bid to make India a $5 trillion economy by 2025
- The slowdown in economic growth implies the government will have to come up with a fiscal stimulus in the budget.
TOPIC: LIFE SCIENCE, AGRICULTURE, SCIENCE, HEALTH AND HYGIENE
GENOME OF INDIAN COBRA SEQUENCED
Context: A consortium of scientists, including some from India, have mapped the genome of the Indian Cobra, among the most poisonous snakes in the country.
- Every year, approximately five million people worldwide are bitten by venomous snakes resulting in about 400,000 amputations and more than 100,000 deaths.
- Each year, about 46,000 people die and 140,000 people are disabled in India from snakebites by the ‘Big 4’ the Indian cobra, the common krait, Russell’s viper, and the saw-scaled viper.
- Knowing the sequence of genes could aid in understanding the chemical constituents of the venom and contribute to development of new anti-venom therapies, which have remained practically unchanged for over a century.
- High-quality genomes of venomous snakes will enable generation of a comprehensive catalogue of venom-gland-specific toxin genes that can be used for the development of synthetic anti-venom of defined composition
CAUSE OF CONCERN
- Sequencing a genome is an important step to making anti-venom but wouldn’t on its own solve the problem of making and supplying enough of the product to address the huge volume and variety of snakebites in India, according to independent scientists.
- Though bites from 60 of 270 species of Indian snakes are known to kill or maim, anti-venom now available is only effective against the ‘Big 4.’
- These 4 species are not found in northeastern India but the region reports a significant number of snake bites. That implies we need new kinds of anti-venom against species here.
- The krait in Punjab produces venom chemically different from the krait in South India.
- The Sind krait from western India is over 40 times more potent than that of the spectacled cobra, making it the most toxic Indian snake.
- Unfortunately, the polyvalent anti-venom fails to effectively neutralise the venom of this species as well.
- India is the snakebite capital of the world. Killing so many people every year, thus there is a need to make it a public health issue.
TOPIC: ROLE AND IMPACT OF SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY IN DEVELOPMENT OF INDIA
WOMAN PRESIDENT FOR ISC 2021
Context: The Indian Science Congress Association, Kolkata that met in the city on the sidelines of ISC 2020 has elected Vijay Laxmi Saxena, co-ordinator, Bioinformatics Infrastructure Facility, Kanpur, as the general president for ISC 2021.
She will be the second woman to lead the ISC in its 107-year history.
INDIAN SCIENCE CONGRESS
- Indian Science Congress Association is a premier scientific organisation of India with headquarters at Kolkata, West Bengal.
- The association started in the year 1914 in Kolkata and it meets annually in the first week of January.
- It has a membership of more than 30,000 scientists.
TOPIC: HISTORY & CULTURAL HERITAGE
(INDIA AND KARNATAKA)
ARTIST AKBAR PADAMSEE NO MORE
Context: Celebrated painter and artist Akbar Padamsee died at the Isha Yoga Center near Coimbatore on 7th January, 2020.
- He was one of the most versatile and prolific artists of the modern age
- He was considered one of the pioneers in Modern Indian paintingalong with H. Raza, F.N. Souza and M.F. Husain.
- His paintings extensively depicted the elements and senses.
- Though Akbar Padamsee was best known for his radical paintings, he was also a photographer, sculptor, film-maker, engraver and lithographer.
- But Padamsee was most recognized and decorated for his paintings which have found a place of prominence in eminent galleries in India and around the world.
- His brother was the celebrated late film-maker and ad-man Alyque Padamsee.
- Born into a Muslim family, Padamsee embraced a free-spirited seeking that was reflected in the versatile themes of his work.
- He was deeply influenced by Vivekananda’s commentary on the yogasutras of Patanjali.
AWARDS AND HONOURS
- Padamsee was awarded the Padma Bhushan in 2010.
- He was also awarded Fellowships by the Lalit Kala Akademi and the JD Rockefeller Foundation apart from recognition by several global art bodies.
- The family took on the name ‘Padamsee’ when his grandfather earned the title “Padmashree” after he distributed his entire granary to his village in Kutch during a famine.
TOPIC: OVERVIEW OF INDIAN CONSTITUTION.
HC ASKS ISHA FOUNDATION TO DISCLOSE AMOUNT COLLECTED FOR CAUVERY CALLING
Context: The Karnataka High Court has directed the Isha Foundation, led by Jaggi Vasudev (Sadghuru), to disclose details of money collected for the Cauvery Calling project and also the manner in which it was collected.
THE COURT OBJECTIONS
- The court has stated that even spiritual organisations are bound by law
- Expressing displeasure over not specifying the name of the ‘authorized signatory’ and whether the collection of funds was voluntary or not in the statement of objections filed by the foundation, the court asked the latter what it was doing in the name of spirituality.
- Going through the objections filed by the foundation, the bench pointed out that it had nowhere mentioned that the contributions were voluntary.
- During the hearing, the foundation’s counsel contended that it was creating awareness among public, especially farmers, about the environment through the project.
- The bench said that though the cause was good, it cannot be embarked upon by forcing people to pay money.
Meanwhile, the bench also asked as to why there was no enquiry about the money being collected by the foundation.
- In reply, the state government submitted that state was not sponsoring the project in question, but the foundation was joining them in the Krishi Aranya Project.
- Cauvery Callingis a project launched by Isha Foundation, under the tutelage of its founder Jaggi Vasudev, to support farmers in planting an estimated 2.4 billion trees through agroforestry.
- It aims to cover one third of Cauvery basinwith tree cover as a tool of conserving the river.
- The movement has been positively received by several influential figures.
- Vice president of India, Venkaiah Naidu, and deputy Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu, Panneerselvamsupported the movement and conveyed their wishes.
- Bollywood actress Kangana Ranauthad donated 4.2 million rupees whilst Hollywood actor Leonardo DiCaprio wrote a Facebook post supporting the movement.
- After Di Caprio’s support, 95 NGOs and eminent public intellectuals had written an open letter to him urging to withdraw his support to the movement
- It claimed that the program presented a simplistic view of river conservation, especially without accounting for social issues and had a potential to harm the tributaries and accompanying wild life habitats.
- Isha foundation claimed letter as ‘factually incorrect’.
- A Public Interest litigationhas been filed in the Karnataka High Court questioning the huge amounts of fundraising for the movement and the usage of government owned land for a private purpose without any proper study.
- Isha Foundationis a non-profit, spiritual organization founded in 1992 by Sadhguru Jaggi Vasudev.
- It is based at the Isha Yoga Center near Coimbatore, India.
- The foundation offers yogaprograms under the name of Isha Yoga.
- The foundation is run entirely by volunteers and it has over 9 million volunteers
TOPIC: LIFE SCIENCE, AGRICULTURE, SCIENCE, HEALTH AND HYGIENE
SOLID WASTE MANAGEMENT BYLAWS FINALISED
Context: The Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) has finalized the solid waste management (SWM) bylaws, which will be tabled before the civic council for approval.
THE DRAFT BYLAWS
- The draft SWM bylaws call for separate tenders for dry and wet waste collection were notified in August 2019, as per rule 15 of the Solid Waste Management Rules, 2016, following which public objections and suggestions were invited.
- According to senior civic officials, they received nearly 40 objections from various civil society organisations, non-government organisations, and residents’ welfare associations.
- While most organisations, including Solid Waste Management Round Table (SWMRT) and CIVIC, largely supported the bylaws, they said that penalties for various offences were less and needed to be enhanced.
- Many organisations felt that enforcement on the ground will be effective only if penalties are prohibitive
- Some organisations had raised objections to the bulk waste generator classification.
- Under the new classification, anyone who generated more than 10 kg is said to be a bulk waste generator.
- While the BBMP collects waste from households at no charge, bulk generators have to pay for services.
- They urged the BBMP to align the definition of bulk waste generators to address the issue.
- Most organisations, especially SWMRT, sought segregated collection of waste, as the BBMP had set up separate infrastructure for both wet and dry.
- They also urged the civic body to not go back on separate collection of segregated waste, as envisaged in the new garbage tenders.
- While there is a dedicated budget for SWM, the user charge is minimal compared to the cost incurred.
- The BBMP should rationalize the user charges or SWM cess, which is the fee imposed to provide waste collection, transportation, processing, and disposal.
- The laws should be effectively implemented on ground.
PAPER IV: GENERAL STUDIES 3
TOPIC: LIFE SCIENCE, AGRICULTURE, SCIENCE, HEALTH AND HYGIENE
SOLID WASTE MANAGEMENT RULES, 2016
- The Union Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change (MoEF&CC) notified the new Solid Waste Management Rules (SWM), 2016.
- They replaced the Municipal Solid Wastes (Management and Handling) Rules, 2000.
- These rules were the sixth category of waste management rules brought out by the ministry, as it has earlier notified plastic, e-waste, biomedical, hazardous and construction and demolition waste management rules.
WASTE GENERATION IN INDIA
- According to the government 62 million tonnes of waste is generated annually in the country at present, out of which 5.6 million tonnes is plastic waste, 0.17 million tonnes is biomedical waste, hazardous waste generation is 7.90 million tonnes per annum and 15 lakh tonnes is e-waste.
- Only about 75-80 per cent of the municipal waste gets collected and only 22-28 per cent of this waste is processed and treated.
KEY PROVISIONS OF SWM RULES, 2016
- SEGREGATION AT SOURCE
- The rules have mandated the source segregation of waste in order to channelize the waste to wealth by recovery, reuse and recycle.
- Waste generators would now have to segregate waste into three streams- Biodegradables, Dry (Plastic, Paper, metal, Wood, etc.) and Domestic Hazardous waste (diapers, napkins, mosquito repellants, cleaning agents etc.) before handing it over to the collector.
- COLLECTION AND DISPOSAL OF SANITARY WASTE
- The manufacturers or brand owners of sanitary napkins are responsible for awareness for proper disposal of such waste by the generator and shall provide a pouch or wrapper for disposal of each napkin or diapers along with the packet of their sanitary products.
- COLLECT BACK SCHEME FOR PACKAGING WASTE
- As per the rules, brand owners who sale or market their products in packaging material which are non‐biodegradable, should put in place a system to collect back the packaging waste generated due to their production.
- USER FEES FOR COLLECTION
- The new rules have given power to the local bodies across India to decide the user fees.
- Municipal authorities will levy user fees for collection, disposal and processing from bulk generators.
- As per the rules, the generator will have to pay “User Fee” to the waste collector and a “Spot Fine” for littering and non-segregation, the quantum of which will be decided by the local bodies.
- WASTE PROCESSING AND TREATMENT
- As per the new rules, it has been advised that the bio-degradable waste should be processed, treated and disposed of through composting or bio-methanation within the premises as far as possible.
- Residual waste shall be given to the waste collectors or agency as directed by the local authority.
- The developers of Special Economic Zone, industrial estate, industrial park to earmark at least 5 per cent of the total area of the plot or minimum 5 plots/ sheds for recovery and recycling facility.
- PROMOTING USE OF COMPOST
- As per the rules, the Department of Fertilizers, Ministry of Chemicals and Fertilizers should provide market development assistance on city compost and ensure promotion of co‐marketing of compost with chemical fertilizers.
- PROMOTION OF WASTE TO ENERGY
The SWM Rules, 2016 emphasise promotion of waste to energy plants.
- They fail to incentivize and impose a strict penalty in case of poor implementation.
- The rules have not pushed for decentralized management of waste but have encouraged centralised treatment such as waste to energy, the present state of which is not good in the country.
- Also, the informal sector has been considerably neglected in the new rules.
- The new rules are applicable beyond municipal areas and have included urban agglomerations, census towns, notified industrial townships, areas under the control of Indian Railways, airports, special economic zones, places of pilgrimage, religious and historical importance, and State and Central Government organisations in their ambit.
- A massive awareness campaign in association with communities, NGOs, students and other stakeholders needs to be planned to push for better implementation of these rules.
- The Rules need to focus on making solid waste management a people’s movement by taking the issues, concerns and management of solid waste to citizens and grass-roots.
QUESTION: Discuss the key provisions of solid waste management rules, 2016. What is its significance in the success of Swachh bharat Abhiyaan? (20 marks)