9 PM Current Affairs Brief – November 12th, 2019

India worst affected by climate change among G20 says report

News: A study titled ‘Brown to Green’ by Climate Transparency (CT) has said that India is worst affected by climate change among G20 countries.


Key Takeaways from the study

  • India, Russia, France, Italy and Germany are the top 5 for average climate related annual deaths at 3,661.
  • India, China, EU, Indonesia, Russia, Saudi Arabia and Turkey will likely meet or surpass their NDCs targets (except for curbing emissions from land use change and forestry sector).
  • However, none of the G20 countries’ NDCs were aligned to limit the global temperature rise to 1.5 degree C.
  • 82% of the G20’s energy mix continued to be fossil fuels, which had to come down to at least 67% by 2030 and to 33% by 2050 to be compatible with the ‘1.5 degree C’ target.
  • India had the most ambitious NDC and it could align it with the ‘1.5 degree C target’ if it continued to abandon planned coal-fired power plants in favour of cheaper renewable energy technology.
  • India is currently investing the most in renewable energy while Brazil and Germany were the only G20 countries with long term renewable energy strategies.
  • Australia, China, India, Indonesia, Japan, Mexico, Russia, South Africa, Turkey and the US needed a coal phase-out plan.

Note: Climate Transparency (CT) is a global consortium that puts together climate information on G20 countries.

Additional Information:

About Paris Climate Change Agreement

  • The Paris Agreement was adopted at the UNFCC COP21 held in Paris in 2015. 195 UNFCCC members have signed the agreement, and 187 have become party to it
  • Aim: It aims to strengthen the global response to the threat of climate change and specifies long-term goals regarding global average temperatures, adaptation to climate change and finance flows
  • Goals:
    • Temperature: hold warming below 2°C above pre-industrial levels with effective efforts to limit warming to 1.5°C
    • Adaptation: Increasing the ability to adapt to the adverse impacts of climate change and foster climate resilience and low greenhouse gas emissions development
    • Low Emission Finance flows: Making finance flows consistent with a pathway towards low greenhouse gas emissions and climate-resilient development
  • Approach: Intended Nationally Determined Targets: The Paris Agreement gives flexibility to both developed and developing countries to determine their own targets. The INDCs set out each country’s plan for addressing climate change, including a target for reducing GHG emissions, and how the countries intend to achieve that target.

About G20:

  • G20 is an international forum of the governments and central bank governors from 20 major economies formed in 1999.
  • The group accounts for 85% of world GDP and two-thirds of the population.
  • They have no permanent staff of its own and its chairmanship rotates annually between nations divided into regional groupings.

Centre forms committee to draft new water policy

News: The Jal Shakti Ministry has finalised a committee to draft a new National Water Policy (NWP).


About the Committee:

  • It will be chaired by Mihir Shah, who is a former Planning Commission member and a water expert.
  • The committee has 10 principal members, including Shashi Shekhar, a former secretary of Water Resources, and A.B. Pandya, former chairman of the Central Ground Water Board.
  • The committee is expected to produce a report within six months.

About National Water Policy 2012

  • It put emphasis on the need for a national water framework law, comprehensive legislation for optimum development of inter-State rivers and river valleys, amendment of Irrigation Acts, Indian Easements Act, 1882, etc.
  • It recommended setting up of Water Regulatory Authority.
  • It put forward the concept of an Integrated Water Resources Management approach that took the “river basin/ sub-basin” as a unit for planning, development and management of water resources.
  • It also proposed that a portion of river flows ought to be kept aside to meet ecological needs.
  • It also stressed for a minimum quantity of potable water for essential health and hygiene to all its citizens to be made available within easy reach of households.

Suranga Bawadi on World Monument Watch list

News:Suranga Bawadi has been included in the World Monument Watch list for 2020 along with 24 other monuments from across the world.


About Suranga Bawadi:

  • Suranga Bawadi is an integral part of the ancient Karez system of supplying water through subterranean tunnels built during the Adil Shahi era in Vijayapura,Karnataka.
  • The magnificent underground system was built to supply water to the city which had a population of nearly 12 lakh then.

Significance of inclusion:

  • Suranga Bawadi has been selected under the ‘Ancient Water System of the Deccan Plateau’ by World Monuments Fund.
  • The inclusion will help Suranga Bawadi to get funds for restoration within the next two years.
  • The World Monuments Fund would also coordinate with the authorities concerned for restoration and create public awareness on its importance.

About World Monuments Fund:

  • World Monuments Fund(WMF) is a private, international, non-profit organization founded in 1965.It is is headquartered in New York,USA.
  • It is dedicated to the preservation of historic architecture and cultural heritage sites around the world through fieldwork, advocacy, grantmaking, education, and training.

About World Monuments Watch:

  • The World Monuments Watch is a global program launched in 1995 by World Monuments Fund.
  • It aims to identify imperiled cultural heritage sites and provide direct financial and technical support for their preservation.
  • It is a biennial selection program of at risk cultural heritage sites that combine great historical significance with contemporary social impact.
  • It is a nomination-based program that uses cultural heritage conservation to empower communities and improve human well-being.

Additional information:

About Karez System:

  • Karez is a water harnessing technology in which groundwater is brought to the surface by a tunnel.
  • In this system,no mechanical pump or lift is used.Gravity alone brings the water from the underground source.
  • The Karez is found in 38 countries worldwide and most of these are concentrated in the Middle East region.Persia is known for the earliest known and documented Karez system.

Fall Armyworm controlled in Odisha

News:Odisha have succeeded in thwarting an attack by the Fall Armyworm (FAW) on maize crop due to proper precaution and timely management by the state agriculture department and awareness among farmers.


About Fall Armyworm:

  • The Fall Armyworm(FAW) or Spodoptera frugiperda is an invasive agricultural pest.It was first reported in West Africa in 2016.
  • FAW was spotted for the first time in India in Karnataka in June 2018 and then spread to ten other states including Odisha.
  • The pest attacks the crop within 45 days of sowing, chewing away the unopened green leaves in the growth stage.If not monitored effectively, the damage can be massive even up to 100%.
  • The pest can attack at least 80 types of crops including bajra, jawar, ragi, paddy, wheat and vegetables.However, in Odisha the attack have been confined to maize.

Additional information:

About Invasive species:

  • An invasive species can be any kind of living organism amphibian , plant, insect, fish, fungi, bacteria or even an organism’s seeds or eggs that is not native to an ecosystem and causes harm.
  • The characteristics of invasive species includes (a)rapid reproduction and growth (b)high dispersal ability (c)phenotypic plasticity (ability to adapt physiologically to new conditions) and (d)ability to survive on various food types in a wide range of environmental conditions.

Explained: Who are the travellers quoted in Ayodhya judgment?

News:In the Ayodhya judgment, the Supreme Court has relied in part on centuries-old travelogues, gazetteers and books to provide an account of the faith and belief that the Hindus placed in the Janmasthan.


About the travellers quoted by Supreme Court:

Joseph Tieffenthaler(1710-1785):

  • Tieffenthaler was an 18th-century missionary who travelled to India from Italy for 27 years.
  • In India,he was commissioned at the famous observatory of Sawai Jai Singh, the Raja of Jaipur and was later attached at the Jesuit College in Agra which was built with the patronage of Akbar.
  • Tieffenthaler had also lived in Awadh where Ayodhya is located for over five years.

William Finch (died 1613):

  • William Finch is known to have arrived in India in 1608 at Surat with Sir William Hawkins, a representative of the East India Company. 
  • He is said to be the earliest English language account of Kashmir as well as trade routes connecting Punjab and eastern Turkistan and western China.
  • William Finch’s account has been recorded in the 1921 book ‘Early Travels in India (1583-1619) by the historiographer Sir William Foster.
  • According to the book,Finch had visited Ayodhya between 1608 and 1611 and did not find any building of importance of Islamic origin.

Robert Montgomery Martin(1801-1868):

  • Martin was from Dublin in Ireland.He was an Anglo-Irish author and civil servant. He practised medicine in Ceylon (present day Sri Lanka), East Africa and Australia. 
  • He then went on to work in Kolkata where helped found the paper ‘Bengal Herald’.He later returned to England where he wrote about the British Empire.
  • He had written about the worship of Lord Ram in the Ayodhya region.He also refers to the destruction of temples and the erection of mosques during that time.

Bolivia to call fresh election after Organization of American States(OAS) audit

News:Bolivia’s President has called for a new election after the Organization of American States(OAS) which monitored the elections found clear manipulation and called for the result to be annulled.


About Organization of American States(OAS):

  • The Organization of American States(OAS) is the world’s oldest regional organization which came into being in 1948.It is headquartered at Washington D.C,United States.
  • The organisation was founded for the purpose of regional solidarity and cooperation among its member states.
  • It brings together all 35 independent states of the Americas and constitutes the main political, juridical and social governmental forum in the Hemisphere. 
  • In addition,it has also granted permanent observer status to 69 states as well as to the European Union(EU).India is also one of the observer state.
  • The Organization uses a four-pronged approach to effectively implement its essential purposes based on its main pillars: democracy, human rights, security and development.

India, EU to push for free trade pact again

News:India and the European Union has once again restarted talks on a Bilateral Trade Investment Agreement(BTIA).


About Bilateral Trade Investment Agreement(BTIA):

  • Bilateral Trade and Investment Agreement is a Free Trade Agreement between India and EU which was initiated in 2007. 
  • Even after a decade of negotiations,India and EU have failed to resolve certain issues which have led to a deadlock in negotiations.

Why is there a deadlock?

European Union(EU) Demands:

  • The EU has asked India to adopt stringent Intellectual Property(IP) protection standards.But this could impact Indian public health and affect the Indian pharmaceutical sector.
  • EU has also asked India to reduce taxes on liquor and automobiles. However,India is trying to set up its own automobile industry which would not be able to match the competition from EU automobiles and tax reduction on wines and spirits is not acceptable as these are regarded as sin goods.
  • Further,it has also asked India to liberalise accountancy and legal services.But,India do not want foreign lawyers and accountants to practice in India as there is already a shortage of jobs.
  • India has also cancelled most bilateral investment agreements with EU member states in 2016 on grounds that they were outdated.

India’s Demands:

  • India has not been granted data secure status by the EU.Being considered data secure is crucial for a number of services especially in the IT and ITES sectors.
  • Liberalisation of services in Mode 1 (cross-border trade) and Mode 4 (presence and movement of natural persons).
  • Free access to European Markets for the Indian textile industry.

Ayodhya verdict Explained: What is adverse possession, the Muslim claim SC rejected?

News:One of the key legal questions the Constitution Bench has answered was related to adverse possession raised by the Uttar Pradesh Sunni Central Waqf Board, in its suit filed in 1961.


What is Adverse possession?

  • In simple terms, adverse possession is hostile possession of a property which has to be continuous, uninterrupted and peaceful. 
  • The apex court said that the adverse possession claimed by Muslims was not continuous and exclusive in nature and hence they could not assert the right of adverse possession.

What constitutes adverse possession?

  • The apex court relied on observations made by the former Supreme Court judge Justice S Rajendra Babu (in Karnataka Board of Wakf v Government of India). 
  • The Bench quoted the 2004 judgment which said that a person who claims adverse possession should show:(a) on what date he came into possession (b) what was the nature of his possession (c) whether the factum of possession was known to the other party (d) how long his possession has continued and (e) his possession was open and undisturbed.
  • This effectively meant that the onus was on Muslims to prove with facts that the possession was undisturbed.
  • However,besides being unable to prove possession between 1528 and 1860,the Muslims also failed to establish that the possession was undisturbed.

Students clean up beaches as part of ‘Nirmal Tat Abhiyaan’

News:The Ministry of Environment is undertaking a mass cleanliness drive in 50 identified beaches under the Swachh – Nirmal Tat Abhiyaan.


About Swachh – Nirmal Tat Abhiyaan:

  • The objective of the abhiyaan is to make beaches clean and create awareness amongst people about the importance of coastal ecosystems.
  • The identified beaches are in 10 coastal States/Union Territories (UTs) namely Gujarat, Daman & Diu, Maharashtra, Goa, Karnataka, Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Puducherry, Andhra Pradesh and Odisha.
  • The cleaning drives in all beaches are being undertaken involving school  students of Eco-clubs, district administration, institutions, volunteers, local communities and other stakeholders.
  • The collected waste will be processed as per Waste Management Rules, 2016.
  • The Environment Education Division under the Society of Integrated Coastal Management(SICOM) of Environment Ministry will be responsible for the overall coordination for the drive in 50 beaches. 

Additional information:

About Solid Waste Management Rules,2016:

  • These rules had replaced the Municipal Solid Waste(Management and Handling) Rules,2000.
  • The rules are applicable beyond municipal areas and have included urban agglomerations, census towns, notified industrial townships among others.
  • The rules focus on segregation of waste at source, responsibility on the manufacturer to dispose of sanitary and packaging wastes, user fees for collection, disposal and processing from the bulk generator.
  • The rules also provides for integration of waste pickers/ rag pickers and waste dealers in the formal system.This is to be done by State Governments and Self Help Group or any other group to be formed.

HADR Exercise Tiger TRIUMPH to Commence at Visakhapatnam

News: ‘TIGER TRIUMPH’ is scheduled on the Eastern seaboard from 13 to 21 Nov 19.


About Tiger Triumph

  • It is the first India US joint Tri services Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Relief (HADR) Exercise.
  • The tri service drill is being organised under the aegis of the headquarters of the Integrated Defence Staff.
  • The Exercise is aimed to developing interoperability for conducting HADR operations.  HADR operations seek to provide immediate succour and relief to the disaster affected population.

Additional Information:

Integrated Defence Staff (IDS):

  • It is an organisation responsible for fostering coordination and enabling prioritisation across the different branches of the Indian Armed Forces.
  • It is composed of representatives from the Indian Army, Indian Navy, Indian Air Force, Ministry of External Affairs, Defence Research and Development Organisation, Ministry of Defence and Ministry of Finance.
  • It is headed by Chief of Integrated Defence Staff along with Deputy Chiefs of Integrated Defence Staff.
  • IDS advises and assists the chairman of the Chiefs of Staff Committee.
  • It was established in 2001 after the recommendations of the Kargil Review Committee and is located at New Delhi.
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