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Important Current Affairs for CLAT-10th July 2023

WMO Revives Ozone-UV Bulletin After 7 Years, Shows Steady Recovery of Ozone Layer

The World Meteorological Organization (WMO) has published an updated bulletin on the ozone layer, signaling promising signs of recovery. After a seven-year hiatus, the WMO-Global Atmosphere Watch bulletin has returned to provide the latest information on stratospheric ozone and ultraviolet radiation worldwide. The recovery of the ozone layer is crucial for safeguarding life on Earth from harmful UV radiation and ensuring the health of ecosystems.

The bulletin highlights the importance of monitoring and protecting the ozone layer and provides insights into its recovery progress.

Key Points:

  1. Ozone Layer Recovery:

  • The WMO bulletin reveals strong signs of recovery in the ozone layer, particularly over the Antarctic region.

  • The recovery process is expected to be complete in most parts of the atmosphere in the coming decades.

  • The Montreal Protocol of 1987, which banned ozone-depleting substances, has played a significant role in the observed recovery.

  • As of now, 99% of the production and use of ozone-depleting substances have been phased out.

  1. Importance of Ozone Layer:

  • The ozone layer shields Earth from harmful UV radiation, preventing skin cancer, cataracts, and immune system damage in humans.

  • Depletion of the ozone layer also impacts other ecosystems by altering biochemical processes and species growth.

  1. Role of Monitoring and Research:

  • The WMO bulletin emphasizes the need for high-quality measurements of stratospheric ozone and its drivers to understand long-term changes.

  • The bulletin replaces previous reports and provides a broader scope by including information on UV radiation and stratospheric ozone worldwide.

  1. Ozone Layer Status in 2022:

  • Observations indicate that the Antarctic ozone hole had a late onset and significant extent and depth in October and November 2022.

  • Delayed onset and decreasing early September Ozone Mass Deficits are considered evidence of the ozone layer’s recovery.

  • The eruption of the Hunga Tonga-Hunga Ha’apai volcano in January 2022 increased water vapor content in the stratosphere, resulting in less ozone in the lower stratosphere of the southern hemisphere.

  1. Climate Change Impact:

  • The recovery of the ozone layer is being slowed down by climate change, which also affects the lower atmosphere’s climate.

  • Ozone depletion contributes to climate change, creating a complex relationship between the two phenomena.

World Meteorological Organization (WMO), key points

The World Meteorological Organization (WMO) is a specialized agency of the United Nations responsible for promoting international cooperation in meteorology, climatology, hydrology, and related fields. Here are some key points about the WMO:

  1. Establishment: The WMO was established in 1950 and currently has 193 member states and territories.

  2. Mission: The mission of the WMO is to facilitate the worldwide exchange of meteorological, climatological, hydrological, and related information and to promote its use in various sectors, including public safety, aviation, agriculture, and environmental protection.

  3. Weather and Climate Services: The WMO works to improve weather forecasting and climate services through the exchange of data, development of observational and forecasting systems, and coordination of research and training programs.

  4. Global Observing System: The WMO coordinates a global network of observing systems that collect meteorological and environmental data from various sources, including satellites, weather stations, ocean buoys, and radars.

  5. Climate Change: The WMO plays a crucial role in assessing and understanding climate change. It supports international efforts such as the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) and provides scientific guidance on climate-related issues.

World Population Day 2023: Date, Theme, Significance and History

World Population Day is commemorated annually on July 11th to raise awareness and educate individuals about the challenges and consequences associated with global population growth. It serves as a reminder to continuously work towards addressing these issues and improving the lives of everyone on the planet. The observance of World Population Day aims to promote understanding and encourage collective efforts in tackling the impacts of population growth.

World Population Day 2023-Theme

According to United Nations, the theme for this year’s World Population Day is – Unleashing the power of gender equality: Uplifting the voices of women and girls to unlock our world’s infinite possibilities.

World Population Day 2023-Significance

World Population Day focuses on bringing attention to critical issues concerning the global population. It aims to raise awareness about various challenges such as gender inequality, economic crises, and poverty. This day serves as a reminder to actively strive for the betterment of people’s lives and drive positive transformations. The United Nations celebrates World Population Day with a vision of creating a future where everyone has equal opportunities and limitless potential. Moreover, it works towards building a sustainable world in line with the goals outlined in the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

World Population Day 2023-History

The United Nations Development Programme’s Governing Council established World Population Day in 1989, inspired by the Day of Five Billion observed on July 11, 1987. In 1990, the United Nations General Assembly, through Resolution 45/216, decided to continue celebrating World Population Day to raise awareness about population issues and their interconnection with the environment and development.

The first World Population Day was observed on July 11, 1990, in more than 90 countries. Since then, numerous organizations, institutions, and United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) country offices, in partnership with governments and civil society, have been marking this day to bring attention to population-related concerns.

Issues with Green Hydrogen

India, the interest of producing green hydrogen has been increasing which is hydrogen produced using renewable energy sources. Green house significantly reduce green-house gas emission as it does not contain any carbon dioxide when burned.

Green Hydrogen:

The production of green hydrogen through electrolysis involves the use of water as the primary element which is used to produce electric current from renewable energy source in order to break it into oxygen and hydrogen gas.

Hydrogen produced through electrolysis is 100% sustainable source of energy as it does not emit any harmful gas or cause any kind of environmental pollution during the production process.

Use of Green Hydrogen

Some of the common uses of green hydrogen are:

  • Green hydrogen is used in the chemical industries for manufacturing ammonia and fertilizers.

  • Green hydrogen is also used in the petrochemical industries to produce petroleum products.

  • Green hydrogen is also starting to be used in steel industries, a sector which is under considerable pressure in Europe because of its polluting effect.

Green Hydrogen in Domestic Use

With regard to use of green hydrogen as domestic purposes, several projects are underway to replace the natural gas network with a green hydrogen network that provides electricity and heat to households without producing pollutants emission.

Significance of Green Hydrogen

  • Green Hydrogen energy is vital for India to meet its Nationally Determined Contribution (NDC) Target and ensure regional energy security, access and security.

  • Green hydrogen used as an energy storage option which would be essential to meet the future requirements.

  • Production of green hydrogen will help in reducing India’s dependency to import fossil-fuels.

  • The localisation of electrolyser production and the development of green hydrogen can create a new green technologies market in India worth USD 18-20 billion and thousands of jobs.

Challenges related to Green Hydrogen

  • The main challenge in the production of green hydrogen is high cost of production. The production of green hydrogen is more expensive than producing hydrogen through any fossil fuel.

  • There is a lack of infrastructure in India for the production, storage and distribution of the green hydrogen which includes lack of refuelling stations and pipelines for transporting hydrogen.

  • Due to lack of awareness and understanding of green hydrogen among the general public, there is limited adoption of this technology in India.

  • Extraction of green hydrogen is one of the biggest challenge facing by the industry for using hydrogen commercially.

Steps to promote the use of Green Hydrogen

  • In order to reduce the production cost of green hydrogen it is necessary to increase the capacity to generate renewable energy sources in India.

  • There is a need to develop infrastructure for the production, storage and distribution of green hydrogen.

  • The government by implementing regulatory incentives, such as tax credits and subsides to promote the use of green hydrogen in India.

  • It is important to make general public aware about the benefits of green hydrogen. Indian Landscape for Green Hydrogen

  • In November, 2022 PM announced his plan to launch a comprehensive National Hydrogen Energy Mission at the 3rd Global RE-invest Conference with an aim to reduce India’s carbon emission by 5 million tonnes by 2030.

  • The Green Hydrogen Policy was notified by the Ministry of Power on February 17, 2022 to regulate and facilitate the transition from fossil fuels to green hydrogen.

India Permits Potato Imports From Bhutan Till June 2024

The DGFT (Directorate General of Foreign Trade) has issued a notification declaring that the import of potatoes from Bhutan will continue without the need for an import license until June 30, 2024. This decision aims to maintain a steady supply of potatoes while fostering bilateral trade relations between the two countries. Additionally, the DGFT has also facilitated the import of fresh areca nut from Bhutan and outlined a procedure for the allocation of quota for the export of broken rice.

Background of the Import Policy

Under the previous import policy, the import of Potatoes from Bhutan was allowed freely without an import license until June 30, 2023. However, in light of recent developments, the Ministry of Commerce and Industry has extended the period for importing Potatoes from Bhutan without any license. The Ministry’s notification outlines the specific changes in the import policy for Potatoes. According to the amendment, the revised policy now allows businesses to import Potatoes from Bhutan without an import license until June 30, 2024. This extension provides clarity and eliminates the need for additional documentation and requirements.

Legal Framework and Rationale

The amendment aligns with the powers granted by the Foreign Trade (Development & Regulation) Act, 1992, and the Foreign Trade Policy, 2023. These regulations empower the Ministry of Commerce and Industry to modify and update import policies to facilitate trade and ensure the smooth flow of imports.

Enhancing Trade in Areca Nut

In a separate notification, the DGFT has also announced the permission to import 17,000 metric tonnes of fresh (green) areca nut from Bhutan, without the condition of a minimum import price (MIP). This move opens up opportunities for traders to engage in the import of areca nut through the Land Customs Station (LCS) in Chamurchi, a village situated in the Jalpaiguri district of India, close to the Bhutan border. The absence of the MIP condition further facilitates trade by providing flexibility in pricing.

Telecom Secretary K Rajaraman Appointed as New IFSCA Chairman by Centre

Telecom Secretary K Rajaraman has been selected by the government as the new chairperson of the International Financial Services Centres Authority (IFSCA). Rajaraman will take over from Injeti Srinivas, who served as the inaugural chairperson since 2020. According to a gazette notification, Rajaraman’s appointment is valid for three years starting from the date he assumes charge, or until he reaches the age of 65, or until further orders are issued, whichever occurs earlier.

About the International Financial Services Centres Authority (IFSCA)

  • The International Financial Services Centres Authority (IFSCA) was formed in April 2020 through the enactment of the International Financial Services Centres Authority Act, 2019. Its headquarters is situated in GIFT City, Gandhinagar.

  • The IFSCA serves as a unified regulatory body responsible for the development and supervision of financial products, services, and institutions within the International Financial Services Centre (IFSC) in India. Currently, GIFT IFSC is India’s first international financial services center. Before the establishment of IFSCA, domestic financial regulators such as RBI, SEBI, PFRDA, and IRDAI regulated activities within the IFSC.

  • The primary goals of IFSCA are to foster strong global connections, cater to the needs of the Indian economy, and function as an international financial hub for the region and the global economy at large.

Ministry of Education Releases Report on Performance Grading Index 2.0 for States/UTs for the Year 2021-22

Introduction:

  • The Indian Education System is one of the largest globally, with millions of schools, teachers, and students from diverse backgrounds.

  • The Ministry of Education has devised the Performance Grading Index (PGI) to assess the performance of the school education system at the state/UT level.

  • The PGI provides a comprehensive analysis and creates an index for evaluating the education system.

Ministry of Education Releases Report on Performance Grading Index 2.0 for States/UTs for the Year 2021-22

Reasons for PGI 2.0:

  • The previous versions of PGI have become outdated and redundant.

  • The new PGI 2.0 aligns with the National Education Policy (NEP) 2020 and monitors indicators related to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

  • It focuses on quality indicators, includes digital initiatives and teacher education, and utilizes data from UDISE+ for better uniformity and comparability.

Structure of PGI 2.0:

  • PGI 2.0 comprises 73 indicators grouped into two categories: Outcomes and Governance Management (GM).

  • These categories are further divided into six domains: Learning Outcomes (LO), Access (A), Infrastructure & Facilities (IF), Equity (E), Governance Process (GP), and Teachers Education and Training (TE&T).

Grading System:

Ministry of Education Releases Report on Performance Grading Index 2.0 for States/UTs for the Year 2021-22

  • PGI 2.0 classifies States/UTs into ten grades.

  • The highest achievable grade is Daksh, awarded to those scoring over 940 points out of a total of 1000.

  • The lowest grade is Akanshi-3, given to those scoring up to 460 points.

Objectives of PGI 2.0:

  • The aim is to encourage multi-pronged interventions to achieve optimal education outcomes.

  • It helps identify gaps and prioritize areas for intervention in the school education system.

  • Indicators are aligned with the NEP 2020 and policy initiatives for effective progress tracking.

Efficacy of PGI 2.0:

  • PGI 2.0 scores and grades attained by States/UTs in 2021-22 showcase the effectiveness of the system.

  • Indicator-wise scores highlight areas for improvement within each State/UT.

Key highlights in short

  • The Ministry of Education has released the Performance Grading Index (PGI) 2.0 for States/UTs for the year 2021-22.

  • PGI 2.0 replaces the previous versions and focuses on qualitative assessment, digital initiatives, and teacher education.

  • The structure comprises 73 indicators grouped into two categories: Outcomes and Governance Management.

  • States/UTs are classified into ten grades, with Daksh being the highest achievable grade and Akanshi-3 being the lowest.

  • PGI 2.0 aligns with the National Education Policy (NEP) 2020 and aims to improve education outcomes and identify areas for intervention.

  • The release of PGI 2.0 demonstrates the efficacy of the system in assessing and improving the education system.

NHB Operationalizes ₹10,000-Crore Urban Infrastructure Development Fund

The National Housing Bank (NHB) has announced the operationalization of the ₹10,000-crore Urban Infrastructure Development Fund (UIDF), as outlined in this year’s Budget. The fund aims to facilitate the creation of urban infrastructure in tier-2 and tier-3 cities, supplementing the efforts of state governments.

Key Points:

Objective and Scope:

  • The UIDF, managed by NHB, provides a stable and predictable source of finance for urban infrastructure development.

  • The fund targets 459 tier-2 cities and 580 tier-3 cities based on the 2011 census population data.

Loan Details:

  • The initial corpus of the fund is ₹10,000 crore.

  • Interest rate on UIDF loans is set at bank rate minus 1.5 percent (currently 5.25 percent).

  • The principal loan amount is repayable in five equal annual installments within seven years, including a two-year moratorium period.

  • Interest on the loan is payable quarterly

Eligible Projects:

  • Focus areas include basic services such as sewerage and solid waste management, water supply and sanitation, and construction and improvement of drains.

  • Priority is given to impact-oriented projects.

  • Project proposals must fall within a minimum size of ₹5 crores (₹1 crore for northeast and hilly states) and a maximum size of ₹100 crore

Activities Covered

  • Water supply network (new/augmentation/rehabilitation)

  • Construction and improvement of drains/storm water drains

  • Sewerage network (new/augmentation/rehabilitation)

  • Sewage treatment plants – secondary/tertiary treatment

  • Comprehensive projects of pay and use toilets operated and managed by the private sector

  • Solid Waste Processing Plants (new/augmentation)

  • Land reclamation from legacy dumpsite remediation

  • Roads (excluding maintenance works) within area development projects with provisions for underground utilities

  • Electric/gas crematorium

  • Transit-oriented development for creating dense, mixed-use developments near public transportation

  • Town planning schemes for greenfield development

  • Parks with open gyms not involving major construction work

Exclusions

  • The fund cannot be used for maintenance works or administrative/establishment expenses.

  • Housing, power and telecom, rolling stock (buses and trams), urban transport, health, and education institutions are not covered by UIDF.

Accessing the Fund:

  • Both new and ongoing projects are eligible for UIDF.

  • Projects must align with various urban missions and programs of the Government of India.

  • States are encouraged to leverage resources from the grants of the 15th Finance Commission and existing schemes.

  • Appropriate user charges should be adopted while accessing the UIDF

Fund Allocation:

  • The normative allocation for the first tranche of ₹10,000 crore under UIDF for 2023-24 has been advised by NHB to States and UTs.

  • Allocation is based on the urban population percentage in respective States/UTs in eligible towns/cities

Implementation:

  • The Finance Department of States/UTs is designated as the nodal department for fund implementation.

  • NHB is operationalizing the fund through its regional offices across the country.

Introduction: The Indian Education System is one of the largest globally, with millions of schools, teachers, and students from diverse backgrounds. The Ministry of Education has devised the Performance Grading Index (PGI) to assess the performance of the school education system at the state/UT level. The PGI provides a comprehensive analysis and creates an index for evaluating the education system. Ministry of Education Releases Report on Performance Grading Index 2.0 for States/UTs for the Year 2021-22_60.1 Ministry of Education Releases Report on Performance Grading Index 2.0 for States/UTs for the Year 2021-22 Reasons for PGI 2.0: The previous versions of PGI have become outdated and redundant. The new PGI 2.0 aligns with the National Education Policy (NEP) 2020 and monitors indicators related to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). It focuses on quality indicators, includes digital initiatives and teacher education, and utilizes data from UDISE+ for better uniformity and comparability. Structure of PGI 2.0: PGI 2.0 comprises 73 indicators grouped into two categories: Outcomes and Governance Management (GM). These categories are further divided into six domains: Learning Outcomes (LO), Access (A), Infrastructure & Facilities (IF), Equity (E), Governance Process (GP), and Teachers Education and Training (TE&T). Grading System: Ministry of Education Releases Report on Performance Grading Index 2.0 for States/UTs for the Year 2021-22_70.1 Ministry of Education Releases Report on Performance Grading Index 2.0 for States/UTs for the Year 2021-22 PGI 2.0 classifies States/UTs into ten grades. The highest achievable grade is Daksh, awarded to those scoring over 940 points out of a total of 1000. The lowest grade is Akanshi-3, given to those scoring up to 460 points. Objectives of PGI 2.0: The aim is to encourage multi-pronged interventions to achieve optimal education outcomes. It helps identify gaps and prioritize areas for intervention in the school education system. Indicators are aligned with the NEP 2020 and policy initiatives for effective progress tracking. Efficacy of PGI 2.0: PGI 2.0 scores and grades attained by States/UTs in 2021-22 showcase the effectiveness of the system. Indicator-wise scores highlight areas for improvement within each State/UT. Key highlights in short The Ministry of Education has released the Performance Grading Index (PGI) 2.0 for States/UTs for the year 2021-22. PGI 2.0 replaces the previous versions and focuses on qualitative assessment, digital initiatives, and teacher education. The structure comprises 73 indicators grouped into two categories: Outcomes and Governance Management. States/UTs are classified into ten grades, with Daksh being the highest achievable grade and Akanshi-3 being the lowest. PGI 2.0 aligns with the National Education Policy (NEP) 2020 and aims to improve education outcomes and identify areas for intervention. The release of PGI 2.0 demonstrates the efficacy of the system in assessing and improving the education system.

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