ENVIRONMENT, GEOGRAPHY AND AGRICULTURE
1. INTERNATIONAL SOLAR ALLIANCE GENERAL ASSEMBLY
THE CONTEXT: The fourth general assembly of The International Solar Alliance (ISA), is to be held virtually between October 18th and October 21st, 2021.
- The Fourth Assembly of the ISA will deliberate on the key initiatives around the operationalisation of the OSOWOG initiative, the $1 trillion Solar Investment Roadmap for 2030, and approval of a Blended Financial Risk Mitigation Facility.
- World leaders of ISA member countries will also discuss the strategic plan of the ISA for the next five years encompassing a Country Partnership Framework, Strategy for Private Sector Engagement, and initiatives such as Viability Gap Financing scheme to facilitate affordable finance for solar energy projects across ISA’s membership.
- The ISA will also discuss the partnership with Global Energy Alliance (GEA) to scale up technical and financial support to LDCs and SIDS.
- A detailed report on One Sun One World One Grid (OSOWOG) is expected to be discussed at the Assembly.
- With India’s Ministry of New and Renewable Energy, the World Bank and the ISA signing a tripartite agreement on OSOWOG, the initiative could be the world’s most important renewables catalyst.
- The International Solar Alliance (ISA) was conceived as a coalition of solar-resource-rich countries (which lie either completely or partly between the Tropic of Cancer and the Tropic of Capricorn) to address their special energy needs.
- The ISA will provide a dedicated platform for cooperation among solar-resource-rich countries, through which the global community, including governments, bilateral and multilateral organizations, corporates, industry, and other stakeholders, can contribute to help achieve the common goal of increasing the use and quality of solar energy in meeting energy needs of prospective ISA member countries in a safe, convenient, affordable, equitable and sustainable manner.
- It was launched by the Prime Minister of India and the President of France on 30th November 2015 in Paris, France on the side-lines of the Conference of the Parties (COP-21)
2. PRINCE WILLIAM’S INAUGURAL EARTH SHOT PRIZE
THE CONTEXT: An India-based entrepreneur’s technology that recycles agricultural waste to create fuel was named among the winners of Prince William’s inaugural Earth shot Prize that honours people trying to save the planet.
- Dubbed as the “Eco Oscars,” the prizes have been created by the Duke of Cambridge and renowned British naturalist David Attenborough.
- Their aim is to provide assistance to and inspire innovative local solutions amid the growing climate crisis faced globally.
- Vidyut Mohan led Takachar’s innovation was recognised for its affordable technology to convert crop residues into sellable bio-products. The technology reduced smoke emissions by 98 per cent and calls for improving air quality.
- Vidyut Mohan from Takachar was awarded for this technology in the “clean our air” category.
- Other winners included a land-based coral farm in the Bahamas to restore dying coral reefs, a green hydrogen technology developed to transform how homes and buildings are powered.
3. MUMBAI LOST 40% GREEN COVER BETWEEN 1991 AND 2018
THE CONTEXT: According to a recent study, Mumbai lost 81% of its open land (barren spaces without any vegetation), 40% green cover (forests & scrublands) and approximately 30% of its water bodies (lakes, ponds, floodplains) between 1991 and 2018, while the built-up area (areas developed upon) rose by 66% in the same period.
- It concludes that the city witnessed a 2- degree Celsius average temperature rise across 27 years.
- The extreme heat that one experiences while strolling through any urban landscape is caused by the Urban Heat Island Effect, a micro-climatic phenomenon.
- This is due to a number of causes, the most prominent being the usage of materials such as concrete.
SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY
4. GEOSPATIAL ENERGY MAP OF INDIA
THE CONTEXT: NITI Aayog in collaboration with the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) has developed a comprehensive Geographic Information System (GIS) Energy Map of India with the support of Energy Ministries of Government of India.
- The GIS map provides a holistic picture of all energy resources of the country which enables visualisation of energy installations such as conventional power plants, oil and gas wells, petroleum refineries, coal fields and coal blocks, district-wise data on renewable energy power plants and renewable energy resource potential, etc through 27 thematic layers.
- The map attempts to identify and locate all primary and secondary sources of energy and their transportation/transmission networks to provide a comprehensive view of energy production and distribution in a country.
- It is a unique effort aimed at integrating energy data scattered across multiple organizations and presenting it in a consolidated, visually appealing graphical manner.
- It leverages the latest advancements in web-GIS technology and open-source software to make it interactive and user friendly.
- The Geospatial Energy Map of India will be useful in planning and making investment decisions. It will also aid in disaster management using available energy assets.
5. ARMY TRAINS OFFICERS ALONG LAC IN TIBETOLOGY
THE CONTEXT: With a view to orienting its officers and men posted along the Line of Actual Control (LAC) in Tibetan culture and also preparing them to better understand the information warfare, the Army has begun a course in Tibetology in a tie-up with the Central Institute of Himalayan Cultural Studies in Arunachal Pradesh.
- The Army’s Training Command, ARTRAC, has identified seven institutes for Tibetology across the country, two of which are in the northeast. The other one is the Namgyal Institute of Tibetology in Sikkim.
- Lamas who were proficient in Tibetan issues were hired from the Bomdila Monastery to teach the course.
6. TRADE TALKS BETWEEN INDIA- ISRAEL
THE CONTEXT: India and Israel agreed to resume long-pending negotiations on a free trade agreement, as External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar met his Israeli counterpart YairLapid in Jerusalem.
- Both also joined a virtual quadrilateral meeting with U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken and UAE Foreign Minister Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed.
- The quadrilateral meeting, seen as an outcome of last year’s Abraham Accords brokered by the U.S. that saw the UAE and Israel establish diplomatic relations, also underlines India’s close relationships with both the West Asian countries and Washington.
- The India-Israel relationship will enter its 30th year.
- The FTA talks would begin in November and concluded by June 2022.
- During the talks, India and Israel also agreed to mutually recognise each other’s vaccination process “in principle”, although for the moment Israel will only allow Indians vaccinated with Covishield to travel there, but not those vaccinated with Covaxin, which is still awaiting an Emergency Use Authorisation (EUA) from the World Health Organisation.
7. KUSHINAGAR CONNECT TO SRI LANKA
THE CONTEXT: When the Prime Minister declares open the Kushinagar International Airport in Uttar Pradesh on October 20, a sizeable Sri Lankan contingent, led by a member of the first family, will be present.
- The airport is expected to provide seamless connectivity to tourists from Sri Lanka, Japan, Taiwan, South Korea, China, Thailand, Vietnam, Singapore and so on.
- Kushinagar is the centre of the Buddhist circuit, which consists of pilgrimage sites at Lumbini, Sarnath and Gaya.
- Buddhist pilgrims consider Kushinagar a sacred site where, they believe, Gautama Buddha delivered his last sermon and attained ‘Maha- parinirvana’ or salvation.
- To mark the occasion, Sri Lanka will present to India photographs of two murals painted by renowned Sri Lankan artist SoliasMendis at the KelaniyaRajamahaVihara, a popular Buddhist temple near Colombo.
- One of the murals depicts ‘ArahatBhikkhu’ Mahinda, son of Emperor Ashoka delivering the message of the Buddha to King Devanampiyatissa of Sri Lanka.
- The other shows the arrival of ‘TheriBhikkhuni’ Sanghamitta, the daughter of the Emperor, in Sri Lanka, bearing a sapling of the ‘sacred Bodhi tree’ under which Siddhārtha Gautama is believed to have obtained enlightenment.
PRELIMS PRACTICE QUESTIONS
Q1. Geographic Information System (GIS) Energy Map of India is developed by:
a) NITI Aayog and ISRO
c) Indian School of Mines, Dhanbad
d) None of the above
ANSWER FOR OCTOBER 16, 2021 PRELIMS PRACTICE QUESTIONS
- YudhAbhyas – Army
- Cope India – Air force
- Malabar – Navy
- Tiger Triumph – Tri-service