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Dialogue on Disaster and Climate Resilience in South Asia

Context:

UNESCAP South Asia and Pacific virtually organized a special dialogue on disaster and climate resilience in South Asia during the Fourth South Asia Forum on SDGs.

Details:

  • It was jointly organized by the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (UNESCAP) and the Government of Maldives.
  • It aims to scale up multi-hazard and multi-sectoral preparedness systems for future cascading disasters.
  • It highlighted that South Asian nations are facing challenges of extreme weather events like floods, cyclones, heat waves, cold waves, landslides, and drought as well as the COVID-19 pandemic and its recovery.

Objectives:

  • To identify opportunities and imperatives to overcome the challenges in implementing the systemic approach to disaster and public health risk management.
  • To formulate the strategies for capitalizing on existing regional and sub-regional cooperation mechanisms including the South Asian Forum on SDG.

Initiatives:

  • The vision for eliminating single-use plastics, expansion of forest cover, improvement, and restoration of 26 million hectares of degraded land by 2030 have already started yielding positive results.
  • India took the initiative for the coalition for resilient infrastructure and announced the global Coalition for Disaster Resilient Infrastructure (CDRI), at the UN Climate Action Summit 2019.
  • India is also hosting the SAARC Disaster Management Centre which works closely with Universities of SAARC and BIMSTEC member States.

United Nations ESCAP

  • It serves as the United Nations’ regional hub promoting cooperation among countries to achieve inclusive and sustainable development.
  • It is the largest regional intergovernmental platform with 53 Member States and 9 associate members.
  • It has emerged as a strong regional think-tank offering countries sound analytical products that shed insight into the evolving economic, social, and environmental dynamics of the region.

Source: PIB

Guidelines for Implementation of Feeder Level Solarisation

Context: 

Ministry of New and Renewable (MNRE), after consultation with state governments, has decided to issue Guidelines for Implementation of Feeder Level Solarisation under Component-C of PM-KUSUM Scheme. 

  • The objective of Component-C is to provide reliable day-time power to farmers, enhancing their income by purchasing surplus solar power and thus incentivizing them for saving water. 

Implementation Agency:

  • The Distribution Company (DISCOM)/Power Department will be the implementing agency for feeder level solarisation in their respective areas. 

Details:

  • In the case of feeder level solarisation, farmers will get daytime reliable solar power for irrigation, but there is no provision for selling surplus solar power. Therefore, farmers can be incentivized for saving water and enhancing their income. 
  • This will be an important measure for conserving groundwater levels.

 KUSUM Scheme 

  • It aims to provide energy security along with financial and water security to farmers. 
  • The scheme targets to add a decentralized solar power capacity of 25,750 megawatts by 2022.

Components:

Component A:

  • 10,000 MW of Decentralized Ground Mounted Grid Connected Renewable Power Plants of individual plant size up to 2 MW
  • Under it, renewable energy-based power plants of capacity 500 kW to 2 MW will be set up by individual farmers/groups of farmers/ cooperatives/ panchayats/ Farmer Producer Organisations (FPO)/Water User associations (WUA) on barren/fallow land. 
  • These power plants can also be installed on cultivable land on stilts where crops can also be grown below the solar panels. 
  • The renewable energy power project will be installed within a five km radius of the sub-stations in order to avoid the high cost of sub-transmission lines and to reduce transmission losses. 
  • The power generated will be purchased by local DISCOM at a pre-fixed tariff.

Component B:

  • Installation of 17.50 lakh standalone Solar Powered Agriculture Pumps of individual pump capacity up to 7.5 HP. 
  • Under it, individual farmers will be supported to install standalone solar Agriculture pumps of capacity up to 7.5 HP for replacement of existing diesel Agriculture pumps/irrigation systems in off-grid areas, where grid supply is not available.
    • Pumps of capacity higher than 7.5 HP can also be installed, however, the financial support will be limited to 7.5 HP capacity.

Component C:

  • Solarisation of 10 Lakh Grid-connected Agriculture Pumps of individual pump capacity up to 7.5 HP. 
  • Under it, individual farmers having grid-connected agriculture pumps will be supported to solarise pumps. 
  • The farmer will be able to use the generated solar power to meet the irrigation needs and the excess solar power will be sold to DISCOMs at a pre-fixed tariff.

Source: PIB

Advisory For Advertisers For Online Gaming, Fantasy Sports On TV

Context:

Union Ministry of Information and Broadcasting has issued an advisory for Advertisers For Online Gaming, Fantasy Sports On TV.

Details:

  • It provides that all private satellite TV channels stating that no advertisement should present online gaming for real money winnings as an income opportunity or an alternative employment option.
  • As per the ASCI guidelines, no gaming advertisement may depict any person under the age of 18 years engaged in playing an online game for real money winnings or suggest that such persons can play these games.
  • According to the advisory, private television channels will have to follow the guidelines issued by the Advertising Standards Council of India (ASCI).
  • All broadcasters are advised that the guidelines issued by ASCI are complied with and advertisements broadcast on television adhere to the guidelines of the ASCI.

Need:

  • The ministry had come to notice that a large number of advertisements on online gaming, fantasy sports, among others, have been appearing on television, and concerns were expressed that such advertisements appear to be misleading.
  • The concerns were expressed that such advertisements appear to be misleading and do not correctly convey to the consumers the financial and other risks associated.

Advertising Standards Council of India (ASCI):

  • ASCI was established in 1985 and committed to the cause of Self-Regulation in Advertising.
  • It is a voluntary self-regulatory council, registered as a not-for-profit Company under section 25 of the Indian Companies Act.
  • It is aimed at ensuring the protection of the interests of consumers.
  • ASCI’s goals include monitoring, administering, and promoting standards of advertising practices in India with a view to:
    • ensuring truthfulness and honesty of representations and claims made through advertising and safeguarding against misleading advertising.
    • ensuring that advertising is not offensive to generally accepted norms and standards of public decency.
    • safeguarding against indiscriminate use of advertising for promotion of products or services which are generally regarded as hazardous to society or to individuals or which are unacceptable to society as a whole.
    • ensuring that advertisements observe fairness in competition and the canons of generally accepted competitive behavior.

Source: PIB

Passage Exercise (PASSEX)

Context:

Indian Navy is undertaking a Passage Exercise (PASSEX) with the Russian Federation Navy (RuFN ) in the Eastern Indian Ocean Region (IOR).

Details:

  • The exercise involves the participation of RuFN guided-missile cruiser Varyag, the large anti-submarine ship Admiral Panteleyev and medium ocean tanker Pechenga.
  • Indian Navy is being represented by indigenously constructed guided-missile frigate Shivalik and anti-submarine corvette Kadmatt along with integral helicopters.
  • The exercise is aimed at enhancing interoperability, improving understanding, and imbibing best practices between both the friendly navies.
  • It would involve advanced surface and anti-submarine warfare exercises, weapon firings, seamanship exercises, and helicopter operations.
  • PASSEXs are conducted regularly by the Indian Navy with units of friendly foreign navies, whilst visiting each other’s ports or during a rendezvous at sea.

INS Shivalik:

  • It is a multi-role stealth frigate that has been built by shipyard Mazagaon Docks Limited (MDL) under Project 17.
  • The Atmospheric Control System filters and controls the temperature and humidity of the air coming into the ship at all times, including the air being used by the engines.
  • It has the indigenous Kavach chaff-dispensing system to counter incoming missiles, as also indigenous sonars and antisubmarine warfare systems.

INS Kadmatt:

  • It is the second ship of Project 28 (P28) class Anti-Submarine Warfare (ASW) Corvettes.
  • It is named after one of the large islands amongst the Lakshadweep group of Islands off the west coast of India.
  • INS Kadmatt has a multitude of networks to provide a contemporary and process-oriented System of Systems for optimal functioning of the warship such as:
    • Total Atmospheric Control System (TACS),
    • Integrated Platform Management System (IPMS),
    • Integrated Bridge System (IBS),
    • Battle Damage Control System (BDCS) and
    • Personnel Locator System (PLS)

Source: PIB

UN Removes Cannabis from ‘Most Dangerous Drug’ Category

Context:

United Nations Commission on Narcotic Drugs (CND) has voted to remove cannabis and cannabis resin from the ‘most dangerous drug’ category. The cannabis has been removed from Schedule IV of the 1961 Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs.

Cannabis:

  • According to the WHO, cannabis is a generic term used to denote the several psychoactive preparations of the plant Cannabis sativa.
    • The major psychoactive constituent in cannabis is Delta-9 tetrahydrocannabinol (THC).
  • The Mexican name marijuana is frequently used in referring to cannabis leaves or other crude plant material in many countries.
  • Most species of cannabis are dioecious plants that can be identified as either male or female.
  • As per The WHO, cannabis is by far the most widely cultivated, trafficked, and abused illicit drug in the world.

Background:

  • The 53-member CND has chosen to affirm a World Health Organisation (WHO) recommendation from 2019 to remove cannabis from its ‘most dangerous’ category.
  • In January 2019, the WHO made six recommendations related to the scheduling of cannabis in UN treaties.

India’s stand on Cannabis:

  • India was part of the voting majority, along with the US and most European nations whereas China, Pakistan, and Russia were among those who voted against.
  • In India, the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances (NDPS) Act, 1985, illegalizes any mixture with or without any neutral material, of any of the two forms of cannabis i.e. charas and ganja, or any drink prepared from it.
  • India is a signatory of the United Nations Convention Against Illicit Traffic in Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances in 1990, the Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs, 1961, and the Convention on Psychotropic Substances of 1971.

International Law on Cannabis:

  • The Vienna-based CND, founded in 1946, is the UN agency mandated to decide on the scope of control of substances by placing them in the schedules of global drug control conventions.
  • Cannabis has been on Schedule IV (the most dangerous category) of the 1961 Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs for as long as the international treaty has existed.
  • Currently, over 50 countries allow medicinal cannabis programs, and its recreational use has been legalized in Canada, Uruguay, and 15 US states.

1961 Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs:

  • It is an international treaty to prohibit the production and supply of specific (nominally narcotic) drugs and of drugs with similar effects except under license for specific purposes.
  • Objective: To limit the possession, use, trade-in, distribution, import, export, manufacture, and production of drugs exclusively for medical and scientific purposes.
  • It combats drug trafficking through international cooperation to deter and discourage drug traffickers.

Source: Indian Express