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Today’s important articles/news in various newspapers (26th April)

Dear aspirants, following are the links of various articles taken from various newspapers. Click the link to read further. To get notification, follow the blog. Thank you

1. India’s double rush for electric vehicles and oil refineries

A successful switch to electric vehicles, coupled with strategically increased refining capacity, could be both a geoeconomic and geopolitical manoeuvre.

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  • The Union government announced that only electric vehicles (EVs) will be sold in India from 2030.
  • The current National Electric Mobility Mission Plan (NEMMP) has set a sales target of only 5-7 million EVs and hybrid electric vehicles annually by 2020.
  • On the other hand, the Indian automobile market, which includes two-, three- and four-wheelers, is expected to clock an annual sales figure of around 23 million by 2030.
  • Replacing these with EVs would require a significant push as far as vehicle-charging infrastructure and batteries are concerned.

FAME India schemeias-toppers-fame

An important issue: It is difficult to stop producing just petrol

  1. Refineries are systems that heat, cleave, and mix each drop of oil into objects of value like petrol, plastics, and pharmaceuticals
  2. These complicated processes make it difficult to stop producing just petrol without affecting the multitude of other refined products and inputs that have entrenched oil worldwide
    Important constituents of the crude oil(other than petrol)
  3. In India, this includes diesel to run trains on India’s railway network, which carries 23 million passengers daily;
  4. asphalt used to pave nearly 50,000km of roads and highways connecting economic nerve centres to far-flung borders;
  5. LPG that is slated for a 6% increase this year for cooking in a majority of urban households, and replacing wood and animal dung fires in rural areas;
  6. and jet fuel that will enable India’s intensifying desire for air travel
  7. Moreover, a host of other refined petroleum products also find their way into Indian industry, agriculture,households and transportation—from fertilizer to fabrics to food
  8. Even the new EVs employed to reduce oil demand themselves contain many plastic parts (like seats, dashboards and bumpers) and rubber tyres that are derived from oil

The main issue

  1. An EV future that replaces petrol and diesel engines could be one of the keys to sustainable Indian growth
  2. But to ensure this is the case, it must be determined where the displaced hydrocarbon feedstock will go

What should be done?

  1. In order to provide tangible environmental benefits, spare oil fractions cannot be shifted to:
    (1) petrol and diesel exports, (2) used to produce low-quality residual oils to generate electricity to recharge EVs, or (3) result in inefficient refinery operations (that could lead to higher-priced petroleum products)
  2. Instead, it will be important to identify desired outcomes through a thorough refining analysis
  3. that considers new refining configurations, new product slates, redundancies or gaps in refining assets, product transfers across regional boundaries, and impacts on greenhouse gas emissions
  4. The goal is to ensure that EVs offer up an important piece to solve the petroleum puzzle

2. Bamboo Mission extended

The Union Cabinet on Wednesday approved the extension of the National Bamboo Mission (NBM) till 2019-20 at an expenditure of Rs. 1,290 crore.

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Extension of the National Bamboo Mission (NBM) 

  1. The Union Cabinet has approved the extension of the National Bamboo Mission (NBM) till 2019-20 at an expenditure of Rs. 1,290 crore
  2. The Mission will ensure holistic development of the bamboo sector by addressing complete value chain and establishing effective linkage of producers (farmers) with industry
  3. The scheme will benefit directly and indirectly the farmers as well as local artisans and associated personnel engaged in bamboo sector, including associated industries

Other decisions taken by the government

  1. The CCEA (Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs) has also approved the setting up of an executive committee for the formulation of guidelines of the NBM and to make the changes therein,
  2. including cost norms for various interventions from time-to-time as per the needs and specific recommendations of States, with the approval of the Union Minister for Agriculture & Farmers Welfare

3. Revisit AFSPA

Its revocation in some areas is welcome,but should it be on the statute books at all?

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  • The extent of ‘disturbed areas’ in Meghalaya was earlier limited to within 20 km of its border with Assam.
  • The whole of Nagaland, most of Assam, and Manipur excluding the areas falling under seven Assembly constituencies in Imphal, continue to be under the law, which provides protection to the point of total immunity from prosecution for the security forces operating in the notified areas.
  • In Arunachal, the areas under AFSPA have been reduced to the limits of eight police stations, instead of the previous 16, in three districts bordering Assam.
  • There is no sign that the vigour of the law will be diluted, but the area of its use may be progressively curtailed over time. It was withdrawn in Tripura in 2015.
  • Assam has been empowered to decide on how long it needs the cover of AFSPA. Even though there is ample evidence that the law has created a sense of impunity among the security forces wherever it has been invoked, the Centre is still far from abrogating the Act, mainly because the Army favours its continuance.
  • In a rare intervention in a matter concerning internal security, in 2016 the Supreme Court had ruled that the armed forces cannot escape investigation for excesses committed in the discharge of their duties even in ‘disturbed areas’.

On November 19, 2004, the Central government appointed a five member committee headed by Justice B P Jeevan Reddy to review the provisions of the act in the north eastern states.

The committee submitted its report in 2005, which included the following recommendations:
(a) AFSPA should be repealed and appropriate provisions should be inserted in the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, 1967;
(b) The Unlawful Activities Act should be modified to clearly specify the powers of the armed forces and paramilitary forces and
(c) grievance cells should be set up in each district where the armed forces are deployed.

The 5th report of the Second Administrative Reforms Commission on public order has also recommended the repeal of the AFSPA.

4. Is global warming killing the Great Barrier Reef ?

The amount of coral death measured by researchers was closely linked to the amount of bleaching and level of heat exposure.

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What Is The Great Barrier Reef?

The reef is a breeding area for humpback whales, migrating from the Antarctic and is also the habitat of a few endangered species including the Dugong (Sea Cow) and large Green Sea Turtle. In recognition of its significance, UNESCO listed the Great Barrier Reef as a World Heritage Site in 1981.

A closer encounter with the Great Barrier Reef’s impressive coral gardens reveals many astounding underwater attractions including the world’s largest collection of corals (in fact, more than 400 different kinds of coral), coral sponges, molluscs, rays, dolphins, over 1500 species of tropical fish, more than 200 types of birds, around 20 types of reptiles including sea turtles and giant clams over 120 years old.

What is new study?

  • The study published in the journal Nature found that 29 per cent of the 3,863 reefs comprising the world’s largest reef system lost two-thirds or more of their corals, transforming the ability of these reefs to sustain full ecological functioning.
  • When corals bleach from a heatwave, they can either survive and regain their colour slowly as the temperature drops, or they can die.
  • As part of a global heat and coral bleaching event spanning 2014-2017, the Great Barrier Reef experienced severe heat stress and bleaching again in 2017, this time affecting the central region of the Great Barrier Reef.
  • The study is unique because it tests the emerging framework for the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List of Ecosystems, which seeks to classify vulnerable ecosystems as ‘safe,’ ‘threatened’ or ‘endangered.’
  • The Great Barrier Reef is certainly threatened by climate change, but it is not doomed if we deal very quickly with greenhouse gas emissions.

5. ‘Cryptocurrency ban could cost India dear’

The Reserve Bank of India’s decision to bar banks and non-banking financial companies from having any links to firms or individuals dealing in cryptocurrencies could lead to millions, if not billions of dollars leaving the country, according to a cryptocurrency company looking to enter the Indian market later this year.

introduction-to-bitcoins-and-cryptocurrency-2-638

  • As per the RBI’s policy, a citizen of India is allowed to remit $250,000, which is Rs. 1.5 crore. If people start sending money out of India just to trade cryptocurrencies, is the RBI or the government of India ready to lose those million or billions out of India?
  • Indians do trade extensively on international exchanges and will continue to do so even if the RBI cuts off their link to the fiat currency since it has not banned people from trading one cryptocurrency for another.
  • Even if the RBI cuts off the fiat currency supply to the industry, people will trade cryptocurrency to cryptocurrency, which they have not banned.

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