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Daily Current Affairs – 2020

Topic: For Prelims and Mains

Environmental Challenges

3rd Sep 2020

Environment protection should be considered a national issue and not be viewed through an ideological or political lens.

India’s environmental ranking:

  • In the environmental performance index ranking shows India at 118 in 2006, 123 in 2010, 155 in 2014 and 177 in 2018. Thus, the index shows a consistent drop for several years.
  • The Environmental Performance Index has been developed by two U.S. universities (Yale and Columbia) in collaboration with the World Economic Forum and European Commission.

 Political record:

  • The link between the great winter smog and pollution in North India, and the present EIA draft is not reasonable, since winter pollution in North India did not begin in 2014.
  • The winter smog and pollution in North India demonstrate the irregularities of federalism, where the rules of the Centre and States differ.
  • There are problems of environmental laws which are effective in principle against point sources like industries but not against agriculture related pollution such as stubble burning or public usage pollution relating to vehicular and household sources (which are predominantly non-point in nature).
  • The UPA governments were unable to frame subordinate legislation and implement the Forest Rights Act effectively for eight long years.
  • ‘Forests’ was a State subject until transferred to the Concurrent list by the 42nd Amendment Act. However, the powers of the State governments continue, which is why, regardless of political affiliation, State governments hesitate to fully implement the Forest Rights Act.

Focus on deforestation:

  • Deforestation has to be a primary concern for any government. Forest clearances for mining and industries are a major cause, but not the only causes of deforestation. Other causes include the following:
  • The slash-and-burn (or jhoom cycle) due to population pressure.
  • conversion of forest to cultivated land;
  • increasing use of timber for household and industry purposes.

While diversion of forests for mining and industry is regulated by law and challenged in courts, the other major drivers are not even discussed.

Crucial dimensions:

  • The vital dimensions of environment preservation are as follows:
  • The balance of requirements between the environment and poverty eradication.
  • The critical need to harmonise the working of the central, State, and local governments as also intelligence, monitoring and compliance with law.

Way forward:

  • The environment is a national issue which requires the unwavering participation of all governments, and all citizens, regardless of political affiliation and it should not be looked from an ideological or political viewpoint.

 

East Asia Summit

Why in News?

The 8th East Asia Summit (Economic Ministers Meeting) have stressed the importance of further strengthening regional economic cooperation and accelerating post-COVID economic growth.

East Asia Summit: It was established in 2005.It is a forum of 18 countries.

Objective: It is a forum of strategic dialogue and cooperation on the key political, security, and economic challenges facing the Indo-Pacific region.

Members: It comprises the ten member states of the ASEAN countries along with 8 members Australia, China, Japan, India, New Zealand, the Republic of Korea, Russia and the United States.India is a founding member of the East Asia Summit.

Priority Areas: There are six priority areas of regional cooperation within the framework of the EAS which are- a) Environment and Energy

  1. b)Education
  2. c)Finance
  3. d)Global Health Issues and Pandemic Diseases
  4. e)Natural Disaster Management and
  5. f) ASEAN Connectivity.

First Summit: It was held in Kuala Lumpur,Malaysia in 2005.

 

Pantanal Wetland

Why in News?

Pantanal Wetland is currently suffering its worst fires in more than two decades with nearly 12% of its vegetation reportedly already lost.

 

Pantanal Wetland: It is a natural region encompassing the world’s largest tropical wetland area and the world’s largest flooded grasslands.

Location: It is located mostly within Brazil but it extends into portions of Bolivia and Paraguay.

Significance:

  • In 2000, part of this ecoregion, the ‘Pantanal Conservation Area’ representing 3% of the Brazilian Pantanal was inscribed on UNESCO’s World Heritage List.
  • In the same year, a part of Pantanal Wetland was named as UNESCO Biosphere Reserve.
  • The Pantanal Biosphere Reserve is home to a diversity of flora and fauna that is particularly valuable containing at least 4,700 described species.

 

FACTS FOR PRELIMS

Renati Chola Era Inscription:

A rare inscription dating back to the Renati Chola era has been unearthed in a remote village of Kadapa district, Andhra Pradesh.

Facts:

  • The inscription was written in archaic Telugu.
  • It was assigned to the 8th Century A.D., when the region was under the rule of Chola Maharaja of Renadu.
  • The inscription seems to throw light on the record of a gift of six Marttus (a measuring unit) of land to a Brahmin Priest.

Additional Information:

  • The Telugu Cholas of Renadu (also called as Renati Cholas) ruled over Renadu region, the present day Cuddapah district.
  • The earliest of this family was Nandivarman (500 AD).

Etikoppaka’ dolls:

The famous art of ‘Etikoppaka’ dolls of Visakhapatnam district was mentioned in the Prime Minister’s “Mann ki Baat” programme.

Facts:

  • ‘Etikoppaka’ dolls:Etikoppaka is a small village on the banks of Varaha River in Visakhapatnam district of Andhra Pradesh.
  • In 2017, the Etikoppaka toys acquired a Geographical Indications (GI) tag.
  • Features: Toys are made of soft wood and lacquer color.
  • Coloured with natural dyes derived from seeds, lacquer, roots and leaves.
  • The way of toy making is also known as turned wood lacquer craft.

 

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