Daily Current Affairs for UPSC IAS: 14th February 2020

Daily Current Affairs for Government Exams:

Today Current Affairs: 14th February 2020 for UPSC IAS exams, State PSC exams, SSC CGL, State SSC, RRB, Railways, Banking Exam & IBPS, etc

 

Contents:

  1. The Future of Earth, 2020 report.
  2. The global cost of air pollution from fossil fuels.
  3. Arth Ganga Project.
  4. India-US Trade Relations.
  5. Apiary on Wheels in Delhi.
  6. Criminalization in politics.
  7. Other important current affairs

 

1. “The Future of Earth, 2020” report:

The South Asia Future Earth Regional Office, the Divecha Centre for Climate Change and the Indian Institute of Science have released “The Future of Earth, 2020” report. The report has been prepared with the aim of reducing carbon footprint and halting global warming below 2 degrees Celsius by 2050.

Key Findings:

  • Five Global Risks
    • Climate change
    • Extreme weather
    • Biodiversity loss
    • Food crisis
    • Water crisis
  • Extreme heatwaves can accelerate global warming by releasing large amounts of stored carbon from affected ecosystems, and at the same time intensify water crises and/ or food scarcity.
  • The loss of biodiversity weakens the capacity of natural and agricultural systems to cope with climate extremes, thus increasing vulnerability to food crises.
  • Strains on food production are expected to increase, as a result of various forces including climate change, biodiversity loss, and a global population on the rise.
  • Greenhouse Gas Emissions:
    • Despite declarations of a climate crisis or climate emergency by the leaders of more than 700 cities, states and governments, the concentration of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere during 2019 reached more than 415 parts per million (ppm).
    • The five years from 2014 to 2018 were the warmest recorded over land and ocean since 1880.
  • Decline in Biodiversity
    • Humans have significantly altered 75% of the planet’s land area. About a quarter of species in assessed plant and animal groups are threatened.
    • In 2018, the world’s last male northern white rhino died in his Kenyan enclosure, while the Brazillian blue parrot, Spix’s Macaw, was declared extinct in the wild.

2. The global cost of air pollution from fossil fuels:

A new Greenpeace report has estimated the global cost of air pollution from fossil fuels at around $2.9 trillion per year, or $8 billion per day — 3.3% of the world’s GDP.

  • India is estimated to bear a cost of $150 billion, or 5.4% of the country’s GDP, which is the third-highest absolute cost from fossil fuel air pollution worldwide.
  • China and the US are estimated to bear the highest absolute costs from fossil fuel air pollution, respectively at $900 billion and $600 billion.
  • Globally, air pollution is estimated to cause 4.5 million premature deaths each year. This includes 3 million deaths attributable globally to PM2.5, which is one of the principal pollutants in northern Indian cities including Delhi.
  • Globally, PM2.5 is also estimated to cause the loss of 62.7 million years of life, 2.7 million emergency room visits due to asthma, 2 million preterm births and 1.75 billion work absences. The 2 million preterm births include 981,000 in India and over 350,000 in China.

In India, exposure to fossil fuels also leads to a loss of around 490 million workdays.

 

3. Arth Ganga Project:

During the first meeting of the National Ganga Council in Kanpur (Uttar Pradesh) in 2019, the Prime Minister urged for a holistic thinking process where ‘Namami Gange’ evolves to ‘Arth Ganga’.

  • Arth Ganga’ implies a sustainable development model with a focus on economic activities related to Ganga.
  • As part of this process, farmers will be encouraged to engage in sustainable agriculture practices, including zero budget farming, planting of fruit trees and building plant nurseries on the banks of Ganga.
  • The above practices, along with the creation of infrastructure for water sports and development of campsites, cycling, and walking tracks, etc., would help to tap the ‘hybrid’ tourism potential of the river basin area for purposes of religious as well as adventure tourism.
  • Almost half of the Indian population lives around the Ganges River belt. Moreover, of India’s total freight, about 1/5th originates and 1/3rd terminates in the states around Ganges Belt.
  • Thus, the inland waterway is one of the most important pillars of the “Arth Ganga” project.
  • National Waterway-1 is an inland water transport route between Haldia in West Bengal and Prayagraj in Uttar Pradesh.
  • The Ministry of Shipping is also developing Varanasi (Uttar Pradesh) Freight Village and Sahibganj (Jharkhand) Industrial Cluster-cum-Logistics Park with an objective of creating synergy with Inland Waterways.
  • The income generated from encouraging ecotourism and Ganga wildlife conservation and cruise tourism etc. would help to generate sustainable income streams for cleaning of Ganga.

 

4. India-US Trade Relations:

The United States Trade Representative (USTR) removed India from its list of developing countries that are exempt from investigations into whether they harm American industry with unfairly subsidized exports.

  • The USTR also eliminated Brazil, Indonesia, Hong Kong, South Africa, and Argentina from getting special preferences under the methodology for countervailing duty (CVD) investigations, stating that the previous guidance that dated back to 1998 “is now obsolete”.
  • The US removed India from the list on account of it being a G-20 member and having a share of 0.5% or more of world trade.
  • The move has cast a shadow on India being able to restore preferential benefits under the Generalised System of Preference (GSP) as part of its trade talks with the US, as only developing countries are eligible for it.
  • For purposes of US CVD law, the USTR, therefore, considers countries with a share of 0.5% or more of world trade to be developed countries. India’s share in global exports was 1.67% in 2018. In global imports, it was 2.57%.

 

5. Apiary on Wheels in Delhi:

Union Minister of MSME flags off Apiary on Wheels in Delhi.

  • ‘Apiary on Wheels’ is a unique concept designed by Khadi and Village Industries Commission (KVIC) for the easy upkeep and migration of Bee Boxes having live Bee colonies.
  • Apiary on Wheels is a platform that can carry 20 Bee Boxes from one place to another without any difficulty.
  • KVIC launched Honey Mission in 2017 and has been training beekeepers, distributing Bee Boxes and helping rural, educated but unemployed youth to earn extra income through beekeeping activities, at their doorstep.

 

6. Criminalization of Polity:

The Supreme Court ordered political parties to publish the entire criminal history of their candidates for the Assembly and Lok Sabha elections along with the reasons that goaded them to field suspected criminals over decent people.

  • The information should be published in a local and a national newspaper as well as the parties’ social media handles.
  • It should mandatorily be published either within 48 hours of the selection of candidates or less than two weeks before the first date for filing of nominations, whichever is earlier.
  • It ordered political parties to submit compliance reports with the Election Commission of India within 72 hours or risk contempt of court action.
  • The judgment is applicable to parties both at the Central and State levels.
  • The published information on the criminal antecedents of a candidate should be detailed and include the nature of the offenses, charges framed against him, the court concerned and the case number.

 

Others important current affairs:

1. Union Culture Minister said that a plan to restore the Konark Sun temple in Odisha would be drawn up soon.

  • According to the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI), the temple had been filled with sand and sealed by the British authorities in 1903 to stabilize the structure.
  • It is located on the coastline of Odisha in Puri district. The temple was originally constructed at the mouth of the river Chandrabhaga, but the waterline has receded since then.
  • It was built in the 13th century. The temple is attributed to king Narasingha deva I of the Eastern Ganga Dynasty about 1250 CE.
  • Also called the Surya Devalaya, the temple is dedicated to the Hindu god Surya.
  • The temple complex has the appearance of a 100-foot high solar chariot, with 24 wheels and pulled by six horses, all carved from stone.
  • It is a classic example of the Odisha style of Architecture or Kalinga Architecture.
  • It is oriented towards the east so that the first rays of the sunrise strike the main entrance.
  • The wheels of the temple are sundials, which can be used to calculate time accurately to a minute.
  • The temple, built from Khondalite rocks, was also known as ‘BLACK PAGODA’ due to its dark color.
  • It was given the status of a World Heritage Site in 1984 by UNESCO.
  • The temple remains a site of contemporary worship for Hindus, during the annual Chandrabhaga Festival, around the month of February.

2. Narayana Murthy’s son-in-law Rishi Sunak appointed as UK’s new finance minister.

  • In a massive elevation, Indian-origin politician Rishi Sunak was appointed the UK’s new finance minister on Thursday by Prime Minister Boris Johnson in an extensive Cabinet reshuffle amid reports of serious differences within Downing Street.
  • The 39-year-old son-in-law of Infosys co-founder Narayana Murthy will join Priti Patel on the top government bench after she held on to her post as Home Secretary.
  • The MP for Richmond in Yorkshire, married to Murthy’s daughter Akshata, first entered the UK Parliament in 2015 and has fast risen up the Conservative Party ranks as a staunch Brexiteer who had back Johnson’s strategy to leave the European Union (EU).

3. Rajinder K. Pachauri, former Chairman of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), died on Thursday. He was 79.

  • Pachauri was the founder and chief executive of The Energy Resources Institute (TERI).
  • In 2002, he was elected Chairman of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, established by the World Meteorological Organisation and the United Nations Environment Programme.
  • He received the Nobel Peace Prize on behalf of the IPCC, with former U.S. Vice President Al Gore, in 2007.
  • Pachauri had to step down as executive vice-chairman of TERI after he was accused of sexual harassment by a woman colleague in 2015.

4. The Governing Council of International Fund for Agriculture let in Rome recently.

  • The council says that by 2030 around 100 million people will be pushed to poverty.
  • The council also said that this is mainly due to climate change impact on agriculture.
  • The Government representatives and global development from all over the world attended the 43rd Governing Council of IFAD.
  • The Council reported that around 90% of 17.2 million people displaced were due to climate-related disasters.
  • The council suggests that there is an urgent need to invest in rural development.
  • This will help avoid catastrophes arising due to climate change.

5. Portugal President Rebelo de Sousa is to make a four-day visit to India. The last visit by a Portugal President to India was in 2007.

  • The Portugal President during his visit will hold talks with President Ram Nath and PM Modi. He will also travel to the states of Maharashtra and Goa.
  • The countries will sign agreements over the transfer of technologies in water and sewerage management systems.
  • His visit comes ahead of his taking over as European Union Council Presidency. He will preside over as the President of the European Union in 2021.
  • It is to be noted that the first India-EU summit was held in 2000 during the presidency of Portugal

6. The International Hockey Federation named the Indian Hockey captain Manpreet Singh as Player of the Year, 2019.

  • Manpreet is the first Indian to win the title. The accolade was introduced in 1999.
  • Manpreet Singh is the Indian National Hockey team captain since 2017.
  • He was named the Indian Squad at the 2016 Summer Olympics. He has played several international games including Asian Games, Common Wealth Games, Men’s Hockey Champions Trophy.
  • He is known for his best sportsmanship and patriotism at the 2016 Sultan Azlan Shah Cup.

7. The Government of India is to host the National Organic Food Festival at the National Capital between February 21, 2020, and February 23, 2020.

  • The festival is the first of its kind. Around 150 women entrepreneurs are to participate in the festival
  • The Ministry of Food Processing is organizing National level Food Festival for 3 days.
  • Several Self-Help Groups are to exhibit their spices, fruits, and vegetable, honey, dry fruits, cereals, etc.
  • The main aim of the festival is to boost the production of organic products.
  • The festival is to be conducted under the theme: Unleashing India’s Organic Market Potential

8. President Ram Nath Kovind presented the President’s Colours Awards to INS Shivaji.

  • The Indian Naval Station Shivaji has completed 75 years of service. Last year, the award was given to the Indian Naval Academy.
  • The award was presented to the Indian Naval Station at Lonavala. The station was commissioned as HMIS (Her Majesty’s Indian Ship) in 1945. The motto of the shipping establishment is
  • Motto: Karmasu Kaushalam (Skill at Work)

9. Manipur CM launches ‘Anganphou Hunba’ program in Imphal

  • Manipur Chief Minister N Biren Singh has launched the ‘Anganphou Hunba’ (Early Paddy Crop) program at Arapti Mayai Leikai in Imphal East.
  • The State government has planned to provide irrigation water by the Minor Irrigation Department to places having adequate arable land and many farmers.
  • Manipur government has also taken up steps to produce a sufficient quantity of fishes by providing loans to 800 selected fish farmers.

10. Government renames two prominent institutes after Sushma Swaraj

  • The Government of India (GoI) has renamed two institutions (Pravasi Bharatiya Kendra and Foreign Service Institute) after Sushma Swaraj in honor of the late External Affairs Minister.
  • The Pravasi Bharatiya Kendra is a cultural center that reflects India’s connection with its diaspora around the world.
  • The Foreign Service Institute is an institution where the training of the diplomats takes place

11. India bans e-cigarettes in both domestic and international flights

  • The Bureau of Civil Aviation Security (BCAS) has issued a circular that Electronic-Cigarettes and all forms of Electronic Nicotine Delivery System (ENDS) will not be allowed in both domestic and international flights as well as at airports, Under the Prohibition of Electronic Cigarettes Act, passed in December 2019.
  • The offenders will be sentenced to prison for up to one year and also a fine of Rs. 1 lakh.

12. Mobile World Congress canceled Over Coronavirus fears

  • The annual telecoms industry gathering ‘the Mobile World Congress’ at Barcelona canceled.
  • The decision comes after dozens of tech companies and wireless carriers dropped out, with the latest cancellations by Nokia, Vodafone, Deutsche Telekom, and Britain’s BT.
  • The event was hosted by the Global System for Mobile Communications telecoms association.
  • More than 100,000 people usually attend the annual event, about 6,000 of whom travel from China.

13. State of the World’s Children Report 2019” of UNICEF

  • As per UNICEF’s State of the World’s Children Report 2019, the Under 5 Mortality Rate in India is 37 per 1,000 live births against Global average of 39 per 1,000 live births in 2018.
  • As per the UNICEF 2019 report, Globalization, urbanization, inequities, humanitarian crises and climate shocks are driving unprecedented negative changes in the nutrition situation of children around the world.

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