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Daily Current Affairs – 2020

Topic: For Prelims and Mains

BS Norms

26th Aug 2020

Why in News ?

The supply of Euro-VI grade fuel (also known as Bharat Stage VI (BS-VI grade fuel) began in cities adjoining the National Capital Region (NCR) on April 1, 2019.

Delhi in April 2018 became the first city in the country to roll-out BS-VI grade fuel, both petrol and diesel.

 What are BS norms?

  • The Bharat stage emission standards (BSES) are emission standards instituted by the Government of India to regulate the output of air pollutants from compression ignition engines and Spark-ignition engines equipment, including motor vehicles.
  • The standards and the timeline for implementation are set by the Central Pollution Control Board under the MoEFCC.
  • These standards are based on the lines of European norms commonly known as EURO 2, EURO 3 and so on.
  • The fourth iteration BS IV or BS4 was introduced in 2017 and the delay between the introduction of BS3 and BS4 resulted in fast-tracking the BSVI or BS6 emission instead of BSV or BS5 norms.
  • Each of these emission norms has stricter emission standards compared to its predecessors.
  • Difference between BS-IV and the new BS-VI:
  • Diesel Particulate Filter (DPF) and Selective Catalytic Reduction (SCR) are being introduced with the roll-out of BS VI norms, which were not a part of BS IV.
  • Real Driving Emission (RDE),which will measure a vehicle’s emission in real-time conditions against laboratory conditions, will be introduced in India for the first time with the implementation of BS VI.
  • In BS VI, Onboard Diagnostics (OD) has been made mandatoryfor all vehicles.
  • The sulphur traces in BS6 fuel is five times lower(10 ppm) as compared to sulphur traces in B.
  • The emission of NOx (nitrogen oxides) from diesel cars is also expected to reduce by nearly 70% and 25% from cars with petrol engines.

 Related Terms

Particulate Filter

A diesel particulate filter is a device designed to remove diesel particulate matter or soot from the exhaust gas of a diesel engine.

Selective Catalytic Reduction (SCR)

SCR is an advanced active emissions control technology system that injects a liquid-reductant agent through a special catalyst into the exhaust stream of a diesel engine.

The reductant source is usually automotive-grade urea, otherwise known as Diesel Exhaust Fluid (DEF).

On Board Diagnostic(OBD)

It is a comprehensive electronic system, which detects exhaust emission related failures in passenger vehicles, light duty trucks and since some years also in heavy duty vehicles, which run on combustion engines.

These types of engines produce toxic exhaust emissions like HC, CO, NOx and soot.

Global Competitiveness Index 2020

Topic: For Prelims and Mains

Why in News? Global Competitiveness Index (GCI) compiled by the World Economic Forum(WEF) has been released.

About the index

  • The Global Competitiveness Index is released by the World Economic Forum(WEF).
  • It was launched in 1979.
  • It ranks the competitiveness landscape of 141 economies through 103 indicators organised into 12 pillars.

These 12 pillars are

(1) Institutions

(2) Infrastructure

(3) ICT adoption

(4) Macroeconomic stability

(5) Health

(6) Skills

(7) Product market

(8) Labour market

(9) Financial system

(10) Market size

(11) Business dynamism and

(12) Innovation capability.

Highlights of the report:

  • Singapore has replaced the US as the world’s most competitive country. The US was positioned at 2nd place and was followed by Hong Kong at third place and Netherlands and Switzerland at 4th and 5th places respectively.
  • China was ranked at 28th position and was the highest ranked among BRICS nations.
  • Vietnam showed higher improvements in the region and was ranked at 67.
  • The report has also said that Asia Pacific was the most competitive region globally.
  • It was followed by Europe and North America.

India’s ranking:

  • India has moved down 10 places to rank 68th in 2019 from 58th in 2018 on the global competitiveness index.
  • The index has flagged limited ICT (information, communications and technology) adoption, poor health conditions and low healthy life expectancy as the reasons.
  • India is also among the worst-performing BRICS nations along with Brazil which is ranked even lower than India at 71st this year.
  • In the overall ranking, India is followed by some of its neighbours including Sri Lanka at 84th place, Bangladesh at 105th, Nepal at 108th and Pakistan at 110th
  • Other key findings of the report on India
  • India was ranked high at 15th place in terms of corporate governance, while it is ranked second globally for shareholder governance.
  • In terms of the market size, India is ranked third and has the same rank for renewable energy regulation.
  • Besides, India has also punched above its development status when it comes to innovation which is well ahead of most emerging economies and on par with several advanced economies.
  • According to the report, India also needs to work on its skill base, market efficiency, trade openness and worker protection rights.
  • The ratio of female workers to male workers in India was 0.26.
  • It was ranked at 128th place and was very low as compared to certain other developing countries.

 World Food Prize 2020

Why in News?

Indian-American soil scientist – Dr. Rattan Lal – has been declared the winner of the World Food Prize 2020.

  • He played a major role in developing and mainstreaming a soil-centric approachto increasing food production that conserves natural resources and mitigates climate change.
  • Three separate United Nations Climate Change Conferences have adopted his strategy of restoring soil health as a means to sequestering carbon.
  • In 2007, he was among those recognised with a Nobel Peace Prize Certificatefor his contributions to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) reports, when the IPCC was named co-recipient of the Nobel Prize.

Key Points

  • Objective:The World Food Prize is the foremost international honor recognizing the achievements of individuals who have advanced human development by improving the quality, quantity or availability of food in the world.
  • Field Covered:It is an annual award that recognizes contributions in any field involved in the world food supply including plant, animal and soil science; food science and technology; nutrition, rural development, etc.
  • Eligibility:It is open for any individual without regard to race, religion, nationality or political beliefs.
  • Cash Prize:In addition to the cash award of $2,50,000, the laureate receives a sculpture designed by the noted artist and designer, Saul Bass.

 Presentation of the Award:

  • The Prize is presented each October on or around UN World Food Day (16thOctober).
  • It is presented by the World Food Prize Foundationwhich has over 80 companies, individuals, etc. as donors.
  • The World Food Prize Foundation is located in Des Moines, USA.

Background:Norman E. Borlaug,winner of the Nobel Peace Prize in 1970 for his work in global agriculture, conceived the Prize. He is also known as the Father of the Green Revolution.

  • The World Food Prize was created in 1986 with sponsorship by General Foods Corporation.
  • It is also known as the“Nobel Prize for Food and Agriculture”.
  • M.S. Swaminathan,the father of India’s green revolution, was the first recipient of this award in 1987.

 

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