World Bank Report on Heat Waves
GS PAPER 1: Salient features of World’s Physical Geography
Prelims Exam: About Heat Waves
Mains Exam: Measures to Slowdown effect of heatwaves
Why in News?
From 2030 onwards, more than 160 to 200 million people could be exposed to a lethal heat wave in India every year, and around 34 million Indians will face job losses due to heat stress-related productivity decline. By 2037, the demand for cooling is likely to be eight times more than current levels, the World Bank has said in a report.
- According to the report, “Climate Investment Opportunities in India’s Cooling Sector”, this could open an investment opportunity of $1.6 trillion by 2040 besides reducing greenhouse gas emissions significantly and creating 3.7 million jobs.
- With the demand for cooling shooting up, there will be a demand for a new air-conditioner every 15 seconds, the report said, leading to an expected rise of 435% in annual greenhouse gas emissions over the next two decades.
- There is a need to shift to a more energy-efficient pathway which could lead to a substantial reduction in expected CO2 levels.
- The report proposes a roadmap to support New Delhi’s India Cooling Action Plan (ICAP) 2019, through new investments in three major sectors: building construction, cold chains and refrigerants.
- Adopting climate-responsive cooling techniques as a norm in both private and government-funded constructions can ensure that those at the bottom of the economic ladder are not disproportionately affected by rising temperatures.
Measures Suggested by Report
- The report suggests that India’s affordable housing program for the poor, the Pradhan MantriAwasYojana (PMAY), can adopt such changes on scale.
- It also proposed enacting a policy for district cooling which could lead to the consumption of 20-30% less power than the most efficient conventional cooling solutions.
- District cooling technologies generate chilled water in a central plant which is then distributed to multiple buildings via underground insulated pipes.
- This brings down the cost for providing cooling to individual buildings.
- Apart from this, guidelines for implementation of local and city-wide urban cooling measures such as cool-roofs should also be considered.
- To minimise rising food and pharmaceutical wastage during transport due to higher temperatures, the report recommends fixing gaps in cold chain distribution networks.
- Investing in pre-cooling and refrigerated transport can help decrease food loss by about 76% and reduce carbon emissions by 16%.
- Improvements in servicing, maintenance and disposal of equipment that uses hydro chlorofluorocarbons, alongside a shift to alternative options with a lower global warming footprint, are also recommended.
- This can create two million jobs for trained technicians over the next two decades and reduce the demand for refrigerants by around 31%.
- A heat wave is a rise in air temperature that, if experienced by humans, is fatal.
- It is a stretch of unusually hot weather with temperatures that are higher than average and often last three days or longer.
- Heatwaves typically occur in India between March and June. May is the peak month of the heat wave over India. Every season, on average, two to three heatwave events are anticipated.
- In India, central and northwest, as well as the coastal states of Andhra Pradesh and Odisha, report heatwaves frequently which occur due to favorable atmospheric conditions.
Favourable Conditions for Heat Waves
- Transportation / Prevalence of hot dry air over a region: For the purpose of distributing hot air over the area, there should be a region of warm, dry air and a suitable flow pattern.
- Absence of moisture in the upper atmosphere: Moisture prevents temperatures from rising.
- The sky should be practically cloudless: To allow the area to be as well-insulated as possible.
- Large amplitude anti-cyclonic flow over the area: Heat waves typically originate over Northwest India and move progressively south and east, but not west (since the prevailing winds during the season are westerly to northwesterly).
|India Cooling Action Plan Launched
India is one of the first countries in the world to develop a comprehensive Cooling Action plan which has a long term vision to address the cooling requirement across sectors and lists out actions which can help reduce the cooling demand. Cooling requirement is cross sectoral and an essential part for economic growth and is required across different sectors of the economy such as residential and commercial buildings, cold-chain, refrigeration, transport and industries.
The India Cooling Action seeks to
(i) reduce cooling demand across sectors by 20% to 25% by 2037-38,
(ii) reduce refrigerant demand by 25% to 30% by 2037-38,
(iii) Reduce cooling energy requirements by 25% to 40% by 2037-38,
(iv) recognize “cooling and related areas” as a thrust area of research under national S&T Programme,
(v) training and certification of 100,000 servicing sector technicians by 2022-23, synergizing with Skill India Mission. These actions will have significant climate benefits.
Pradhan MantriAwasYojana (PMAY)
Pradhan MantriAwasYojana (PMAY) is an initiative by the Government of India in which affordable housing will be provided to the urban poor with a target of building 2 crore (20 million) affordable houses by 31 March 2022. It has two components: Pradhan MantriAwasYojana (Urban) (PMAY-U) for the urban poor and Pradhan MantriAwaasYojana (Gramin) (PMAY-G and also PMAY-R) for the rural poor. This scheme is converged with other schemes to ensure houses have a toilet, SaubhagyaYojana electricity connection, UjjwalaYojana LPG connection, access to drinking water and Jan Dhan banking facilities, etc. Total1 crore homes are approved against total demand of 1.12 crore as of 28 December 2019.
- The World Bank is an international financial institution that provides loans and grants to the governments of low- and middle-income countries for the purpose of pursuing capital projects.
- The World Bank is the collective name for the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD) and International Development Association (IDA), two of five international organizations owned by the World Bank Group.
- It was established along with the International Monetary Fund at the 1944 Bretton Woods Conference. After a slow start, its first loan was to France in 1947.
- In the 1970s, it focused on loans to developing world countries, shifting away from that mission in the 1980s.
- For the last 30 years, it has included NGOs and environmental groups in its loan portfolio. Its loan strategy is influenced by the Millennium Development Goals as well as environmental and social safeguards.
JOINT HADR EXERCISE ‘SAMANVAY 2022’
GS Paper: 2- International treaties and agreements
Prelims exam: HADR Exercise ‘Samanvay 2022’
Mains exam: Disaster management in India
Why in News?
The Annual Joint HADR Exercise ‘Samanvay 2022’ was conducted by the IAF at Air Force Station, Agra from 28 November 2022. Various stakeholders from the country and representatives from ASEAN member countries participated in the exercise.
About ‘Samanvay 2022’
- Samanvay is an annual joint exercise involving various stakeholders from India and representatives from the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) counties.
- Along with the involvement of various stakeholders from the country, the exercise witnessed participation by representatives from the ASEAN countries as well.
- It emerged as a significant step towards achieving synergy between various stakeholders and facilitated exchange of knowledge, experience and best practices with the participants including those representing the ASEAN member countries.
- The aim of the exercise is to assess the efficacy of institutional disaster management structures and contingency measures.
- The exercise also aims to provide a unique platform for the exchange of domain knowledge, experience and best practices with the participating ASEAN member countries.
- Samanvay 2022 will promote a synergistic approach towards Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Relief (HADR) by various national and regional stakeholders involved in Disaster Management including the Civil Administration, the Armed Forces, NDMA, NIDM, NDRF, DRDO, BRO, IMD, NRS and INCOIS.
- This multi-agency engagement is expected to contribute to the evolution of institutional frameworks for effective communication, interoperability, cooperation and their application for the successful conduct of HADR.
GS PAPER 3: Emerging technology
Prelims Exam: About Digital Rupee
Mains Exam: Significance of Digital Rupee
Why in News?
RBI launched ‘Digital Rupee’ for retail transactions on December 1
- Digital Rupee (e₹-R) will be the responsibility of RBI and not of any commercial bank
- -e₹-R can be converted into denomination of currency notes and coins
- Digital rupee can be used even without a bank account
After the introduction of e₹-R, there is no need to carry cash in pocket, nor will there be a need for online payment by any third party. The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has announced to launch it as a pilot project. e₹-R will be a digital token that will get legal recognition like a paper note or a metal coin.
RBI has said that it will launch the first tranche for retail digital rupee (e₹-R) on December 1. E₹-R will be in the form of a digital token. It will also represent legal tender. RBI also said that the digital rupee (e₹-R) will be issued in the same denomination as paper notes (1, 2, 5, 10, 20, 50, 100, 200, 500 and 2000) or coins (0.50, 2000). 1, 2, 5, 10, 20) are issued.
Digital Rupee pilot project will start from 4 cities
Cities like Mumbai, New Delhi, Bengaluru and Bhubaneshwar have been included in the pilot project of the first phase of digital rupee for retail transactions. Subsequent phases will include the cities of Ahmedabad, Gangtok, Guwahati, Hyderabad, Indore, Kochi, Lucknow, Patna and Shimla. The Reserve Bank has said that the scope of the pilot project may be gradually expanded to include more banks, users and locations, as required.
The pilot will test the robustness of the entire process of creation, distribution and retail use of the digital rupee in real time. Based on the experiences from this pilot, various features and applications of the e₹-R token and architecture will be tested in future pilots.
How will e₹-R work?
- e₹-R digital token can be obtained through the bank. Initially these tokens will be available from eight banks.
- e₹-R will be available in digital wallet which can be used through mobile phone or computer-laptop
- It will be distributed through Subsidiaries i.e. Banks
- Payment will have to be made through e₹-R digital wallet through QR code at the shopkeeper
- e₹-R can be transacted from person to person and between person and traders
- No interest will be earned on e₹-R and it can be deposited in the bank like cash
- e₹-R can be converted into denomination of currency notes and coins
- e₹-R digital token will be available in these banks
The e-Digital Rupee will be available to a Closed User Group (CUG) of customers and merchants participating in the pilot project at select locations. Four banks will be involved in the first phase of the retail digital rupee pilot project. These include State Bank of India, ICICI Bank, Yes Bank, IDFC First Bank. Bank of Baroda, Union Bank of India, HDFC Bank and Kotak Mahindra Bank will be included in the second phase pilot project.
What is CBDC?
Central bank digital currency is a digital form of notes issued by a central bank in accordance with their monetary policy. Instead of printing money, the central bank issues electronic tokens or accounts backed by the full faith and credit of the government. A digital currency issued by the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) is legal tender. Amendments to the Reserve Bank of India Act, 1934 for the issuance of CBDC on March 30, 2022 were notified by the government through a gazette notification. CBDC is similar to fiat currency and can be exchanged one-on-one with fiat currency. CBDCs, around the world, are in the conceptual, development or experimental stages.
There will be two types of CBDC
– Retail (CBDC-R): Retail CBDC will likely be available for use by all
– Wholesale (CBDC-W): It is designed only for select financial institutions
The Digital Rupee pilot project will cover select locations in a Closed User Group (CUG) consisting of participating customers and merchants. The digital rupee will be in the form of a digital token that represents legal tender.
How will you be able to do digital rupee transactions?
Users will be able to transact with digital rupee through digital wallets offered by participating banks and stored on mobile phones. These transactions can be done both Person to Person (P2P) and Person to Merchant (P2M).
Digital Rupee payments can be made easily to merchants using the QR code displayed at merchant locations. Digital Rupee will provide features of virtual cash like trust, security and finality of settlement. No interest can be earned on cash in case it is converted into other forms of money, such as capital deposits in banks. This pilot project will test the robustness of the entire process of creation, distribution and retail use of digital rupee in real time. Based on the learnings, various features and applications of the digital rupee token and architecture will be tested in future pilot projects.
Digital economy will get a boost
Regarding the ‘Digital Rupee’, the Finance Minister said that the Central Bank Digital Currency (CBDC) will give a big boost to the digital economy. Digital currency will create a more efficient and cost-effective currency management system.
Features of Digital Rupee:
1) CBDC is a sovereign currency issued by central banks in line with their monetary policy
2) It appears as a liability on the balance sheet of the central bank
3) It should be accepted as a means of payment, legal tender, enterprises, and government agencies and as a secure store of value by all citizens
4) CBDC is freely convertible to commercial bank money and cash
5) CBDC is a fungible legal tender that does not require holders to have a bank account
6) CBDC is expected to reduce money issuance and transaction costs
GDP growth rebounds to 6.3% in September quarter
GS PAPER 3:Growth
Prelims Exam: About GDP Growth Data
Mains Exam: Significance of GDP
Why in News?
India’s economy regained momentum in the September quarter as the manufacturing sector shrugged off any teething impact from the July 1 implementation of the Goods and Services Tax to propel gross domestic product (GDP) growth to 6.3%.
- GDP growth recovered in the second fiscal quarter from a three-year low of 5.7% in the preceding three-month period, while Gross Value Added (GVA) growth accelerated to 6.1% from 5.6% in the first quarter, according to official data released by the government.
- “The GDP figure for Q2 at constant prices is 6.3% versus 7.5% in the second quarter of the previous financial year,”.
- The manufacturing sector expanded by 7% in the quarter, a robust acceleration from 1.2% in the first quarter.
- Still, the pace was slower than the 7.7% seen in the second quarter of 2016-2017.
- Other sectors that witnessed growth of more than 6% were electricity, gas, water supply and other utility services, and trade, hotels, transport and communication services related to broadcasting.
Agriculture a concern
- “The sector that has performed worse is agriculture, which grew at 1.7%,”
- “The performance in the agriculture sector has been held up by the non-crop sector. This year’s crop production, while higher than the five-year average, is lower than last year, which saw a strong growth.”
- The agriculture sector grew by 2.3% in the first quarter, and by 4.1% in the year-earlier period.
- The uptick in gross fixed capital formation, which grew by 4.7% in the second quarter compared with 1.6% in the first quarter.
Difference Between GDP & GVA
- GDP calculates national income by adding up all expenditures in the economy. On the other hand, GVA calculates the national income from the supply side by looking at the value-added in each sector of the economy.
- The two measures of national income are linked as follows:
- GDP = GVA + Taxes earned by the government — subsidies provided by the government
- For instance, if the government earned more from taxes than it spent on subsidies, GDP will be higher than GVA.
- But if the government provided subsidies in excess of its tax revenues, the absolute level of GVA would be higher than that of GDP.
- Hence, simply put, GDP provides the demand side of the economy and GVA the supply side.
Project Great Indian Bustard
GS Paper: 3- Conservation
Prelims exam: Great Indian Bustard
Mains exam: Protection of Great Indian Bustards
Why in News?
The Supreme Court on Wednesday sought the government’s response about evolving a ‘Project Great Indian Bustard’ conservation programme to bring attention to the peril faced by the critically endangered bird species.
About Great Indian Bustard
- Indian Bustard is third largest species of bustard bird and easily distinguished by black head like a crown on forehead.
- It is regarded as India’s most critically endangered bird and the state bird of Rajasthan.
- It is regarded as the flagship grassland species, signifying the viability of the ecosystem of these habitats.
- It is mostly confined to Rajasthan and Gujarat. There are small populations in Maharashtra, Karnataka, and Andhra Pradesh.
- It is protected under Wildlife Protection Act 1972 of India.
- The biggest threat to this species is hunting which is followed by occasional poaching outside Protected Areas, collisions with high tension electric wires, fast moving vehicles and free-ranging dogs in villages.
- Other threats include habitat loss and alteration as a result of widespread agricultural expansion and mechanized farming, infrastructural development such as irrigation, roads, electric poles, as well as mining and industrialization.
- International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List: Critically Endangered
- Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES): Appendix I
- Convention on Migratory Species (CMS): Appendix I
- Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972: Schedule 1
Behaviour and ecology
- The great Indian bustard is omnivorous. Apparently, insects, consisting mainly of Orthoptera, but also beetles are preferred in the diet. Alternatively, they take grass seeds, berries, rodents and reptiles.
- In cultivated areas, they feed on crops such as exposed groundnut, millets and pods of legumes.
Important steps taken by the Government for protection of Great Indian Bustards
- The Great Indian Bustard is listed in Schedule-I of the Wild Life (Protection) Act, 1972, thereby, according it highest degree of legal protection from hunting.
- Important habitats of Great Indian Bustards are designated as National Parks/Sanctuaries for their better protection.
- The endangered great Indian bustards are found in fair numbers in Desert National Park (Rajasthan), Kutch Bustard Sanctuary (Gujarat), Great Indian Bustard Sanctuary (Maharashtra) Rollapadu Wildlife Sanctuary (Andhra Pradesh), Karera and Ghatigaon Sanctuary (Madhya Pradesh).
- Ministry has taken up an initiative on conservation breeding of the Great Indian Bustard in collaboration with Rajasthan, Gujarat and Maharashtra Forest Departments and technical support from Wildlife Institute of India, Dehradun.
- The objective of this programme is to build up captive population of Great Indian Bustard and to release the chicks in the wild for increasing the population and also to promote in-situ conservation of the species.
- The species has been identified for conservation efforts under the component ‘Species Recovery Programme’ of the Centrally Sponsored Scheme (CSS)-Development of Wildlife Habitat.
- Ministry has also constituted a Task Force for suggesting Eco- friendly measures to mitigate impacts of power transmission lines and other power transmission infrastructures on wildlife including the Great Indian Bustard.