Important Current Affairs for CLAT-14th October 2022

Maharashtra: Mumbai airport completely switches to renewable energy

The Adani group-AAI-operated Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj International Airport (CSMIA), Mumbai airport has switched to green energy sources, fulfilling 95 per cent of its requirement from hydro and wind, while the rest 5 per cent from solar power. The facility witnessed a rise in natural energy procurement with 57 per cent in green consumption in April to a whopping 98 per cent. In August, the Mumbai Airport finally attained 100 per cent utilisation of renewable sources of energy.

With this green transition to renewable energy, the Mumbai Airport has ensured a reduction of around 1.20 lakh tonnes of CO2 equivalent every year, thereby moving closer to the airport’s target of becoming net zero by 2029.

Notably, the CSMIA was the first in India to launch hybrid technology that solely runs on green energy since April 2022. This sustainable initiative undertaken by the CSMIA is part of the airport’s efforts that reduces its carbon footprint and further propels its journey towards ‘Net Zero’ emissions.

Key points:

  • The CSMIA has prepared a roadmap to achieve “Net Zero Carbon Emission” by 2029. In April 2022, the CSMIA enhanced its capacity usage of green energy and deployed a 10 Kwp Hybrid Solar Mill consisting of 2 Kwp Turbo Mill (3 Savonious type VAWT) and 8 Kwp Solar PV modules with an estimated minimum energy generation of 36 Kwh/day.

  • This first-of-its-kind, fully integrated, hybrid renewable energy product, harnesses solar and wind energy combined to generate electricity. This green transition to renewable energy ensures a reduction of around 1 lakh 20 thousand tonnes of CO2 equivalent (tCO 2 e) every year, thus moving closer to the CSMIA’s target of Net Zero by the year 2029.

  • The CSMIA implemented a Carbon Accounting and Management System (CAMS) based on ISO 14064-1:2018 to identify, measure and manage Green House Gas (GHG) emissions. The CSMIA is the first Indian airport to have participated in the Airport Carbon Accreditation (ACA) programme of the Airports Council International (ACI) in 2012.

Cabinet Extends Rs 22,000 Cr as one time grant to Oil PSUs to Cover Losses in Domestic LPG

The government will extend a one-time grant of Rs 22,000 crore to three state-owned fuel retailers to cover for the losses they incurred on selling domestic cooking gas LPG below cost in the last two years, I&B Minister Anurag Thakur said.

Cabinet Approves Grant:

The Union Cabinet headed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi at a meeting, approved the one-time grant to three oil marketing companies – Indian Oil Corporation (IOC), Bharat Petroleum Corporation Ltd (BPCL) and Hindustan Petroleum Corporation Ltd (HPCL). The grant will be for covering the losses they incurred on selling LPG below cost to consumers from June 2020 to June 2022. The three firms sell domestic LPG at government-regulated prices to consumers.

How The International Prices Affected:

Between June 2020 to June 2022, the international prices of LPG soared by around 300 per cent. However, to insulate consumers from fluctuations in international LPG prices, the cost increase was not fully passed on to consumers of domestic LPG, an official statement said. Accordingly, domestic LPG prices have risen by only 72 per cent during this period, it said adding this led to significant losses for the three firms. “Despite these losses, the three PSU OMCs have ensured continuous supplies of this essential cooking fuel in the country. The government has therefore decided to give a one-time grant to the three PSU OMCs for these losses in domestic LPG,” it said.

International E-Waste Day 2022 observed on 14 October

International E-Waste Day 2022:

Each year, International E-Waste Day is held on 14 October, an opportunity to reflect on the impacts of e-waste and the necessary actions to enhance circularity for e-products. ​​​​​International E-Waste Day was developed in 2018 by the Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment recycling (WEEE) Forum to raise the public profile of waste electrical and electronic equipment recycling and encourage consumers to recycle. 2022 is the fifth edition of International E-Waste Day.

This year, the main focus of International E-Waste Day will be those small electrical devices that we no longer use but keep in drawers and cupboards or often toss in the general waste bin. This is why International E-Waste Day (#ewasteday) 2022 will be focusing on small items of e-waste, under the slogan “Recycle it all, no matter how small!”. #ewasteday will take place on 14 October 2022.

About E-Waste:

According to the United Nations, in 2021 each person on the planet will produce on average 7.6 kg of e-waste, meaning that a massive 57.4 million tons will be generated worldwide. Only 17.4% of this electronic waste, containing a mixture of harmful substances and precious materials, will be recorded as being properly collected, treated and recycled. Many initiatives are undertaken to tackle this growing concern, but none of them can be fully effective without the active role and correct education of consumers.

The International Telecommunication Union (ITU) also indicates that e-waste is one of the largest and most complex waste streams in the world. According to the Global E-waste Monitor 2020, the world generated 53.6 Mt of e-waste in 2019, only 9.3 Mt (17%) of which was recorded as being collected and recycled. E-waste contains valuable materials, as well as hazardous toxins, which make the efficient material recovery and safe recycling of e-waste extremely important for economic value as well as environmental and human health. The discrepancy in the amount of e-waste produced and the amount of e-waste that is properly recycled reflects an urgent need for all stakeholders including the youth to address this issue.

CRII: India up six places for reducing inequality, ranks 123 globally

Commitment to Reducing Inequality Index (CRII):

According to the latest Commitment to Reducing Inequality Index (CRII), India has moved up six places to rank 123 out of 161 countries for reducing inequality but continues to be among the lowest performers in health spending. Norway leads the CRII followed by Germany and Australia.

The Index which is prepared by Oxfam International and Development Finance International (DFI) measures government policies and actions in three areas proven to have a major impact on reducing inequality. The three areas are public services (health, education, and social protection), taxation and workers’ rights.

CRI Index 2022: Performance of India:

  • India’s overall rank has improved by six points from 129 in 2020 to 123 in 2022. It has moved up 12 places to rank 129 for reducing inequality through progressive spending. The country ranks 16 for progressive taxation, up by three.

  • Under ranking for minimum wage, India has fallen 73 places due to the country being reclassified as not having a national minimum wage.

  • Under the ‘Impact of public spending on reducing inequality indicator’, India has moved up 27 places and under ‘Impact of tax on reducing inequality indicator’, India has moved up 33 places.

  • India is once again among the lowest performers in terms of health spending, having lost 2 places (­2) in the rankings to 157th (or 5th lowest in the world).

  • India’s health spending is 3.64 per cent of total spending. This is the lowest out of all BRICS and neighbouring countries, the report said. While China and Russia are spending 10 per cent, Brazil is at 7.7 per cent and South Africa is highest at 12.9 per cent.

  • The Oxfam report based on the index said India features among the lowest performers on health spending again. The index showed that it has dropped a further two places in the rankings, to 157th, the 5th lowest in the world.


CRI Index 2022: Other Highlights of the Index

  • The 2022 CRII report shows India making marginal gains when it comes to reducing inequality during the COVID-19 pandemic. India which was ranked 129 in the previous index in 2020 has moved up six places mainly due to indicators quantifying impact of public spending and impact of tax on reducing inequality,” said Amitabh Behar, CEO of Oxfam India.

  • Despite huge pressure on government finances, 143 of 161 countries froze the tax rates on their richest citizens, and 11 countries even lowered them.

  • Our index shows that most governments have completely failed to take the steps needed to counter the inequality explosion created by COVID-19. They ripped away public services when people needed them most, and let billionaires and big corporations off the hook as they reap profits at record number said Gabriela Bucher, Oxfam International’s Executive Director.

World Bank Extends Loan of $250 million for SALT Project in Andhra Pradesh

The World Bank has extended an unconditional loan of $250 million to the Supporting Andhra’s Learning Transformation (SALT) project in appreciation of the path-breaking reforms implemented by the state government. The reforms initiated under the SALT project have brought about a paradigm shift in the way education was imparted and the outcomes had been encouraging according to Special Chief Secretary B. Rajasekhar (School Education).

Key Points related to SALT Project in Andhra Pradesh

  • The SALT Project is the first project in the school education sector to be funded by the World Bank without any precondition.

  • Approximately ₹53,000 crores has been spent on school education in the last three years.

  • In the academic year 2022-2023, more than 40,31,239 children were studying in government schools.

  • The lack of facilities or the adoption of English medium in government schools is not at all the reason for the number of children decreasing according to Mr. Rajasekhar.

  • During the occasion, Joint Director of School Education M. Ramalingam and Director of Examinations D. Devendra Reddy were present.

Israel and Lebanon Agreed to ‘Historic Agreement’ on the Maritime Dispute

Lebanon and Israel have reached a “historic” deal to end a long-running maritime border dispute in the gas-rich Mediterranean Sea, according to negotiators from the two countries. Lebanon’s deputy speaker Elias Bou Saab said, after submitting the United States-brokered final draft of the deal to President Michel Aoun, that an agreement had been reached that satisfies both sides.

What Has Been Said:

“Lebanon has obtained its full rights, and all of its remarks have been taken into account,” said Bou Saab. Lebanon’s presidency voiced hope that “the agreement on the demarcation will be announced as soon as possible”. Aoun had previously said that a deal would not signify a “partnership” with Israel. The two countries are technically at war.

Israeli National Security Adviser Eyal Hulata, who headed the Israeli negotiating team, mirrored Bou Saab’s remarks. “All our demands were met, the changes that we asked for were corrected. We protected Israel’s security interests and are on our way to an historic agreement,” he said in a statement. Meanwhile, Israeli Prime Minister Yair Lapid’s office hailed “an historic achievement that will strengthen Israel’s security”.

Significance Of The Deal:

While limited in scope, an agreement may ease security and economic concerns between the two countries. The deal would resolve a territorial dispute in the eastern tip of the Mediterranean Sea in an area where Lebanon aims to explore for natural gas, and near waters where Israel has already found commercially viable quantities of hydrocarbons.

Concerns Of Both Sides:

Lebanon had previously had a number of concerns about the border. The first related to a borderline marked by buoys that was created by Israel as its forces withdrew from Lebanon in 2000. Beirut asked for language in the draft to be changed to avoid this becoming an international maritime border. Lebanon objected to the Qana gas field in a southern Lebanese exploration block extending into Israeli waters. The field is yet to be explored. And while Lebanon refuses to pay any profits from its share of that field to Israel, Israel says it may fall under its exclusive economic zone.

What The US Said:

“The agreement will provide for the development of energy fields for the benefit of both countries, setting the stage for a more stable and prosperous region, and harnessing vital new energy resources for the world,” Mr Biden said in a statement. The White House said that President Joe Biden had congratulated the Israeli and Lebanese leaders on moving forward with the deal to establish a permanent maritime boundary.

A long history of conflict:

Israel and Lebanon have been at war for decades since 1948, with both countries staking claim over a swathe of territory in the Mediterranean Sea, which contains part of the Karish gas field and Qana, a prospective gas field. Negotiations pertaining to the Israeli-Lebanese border dispute over gas-rich waters off the countries’ Mediterranean coasts have been ongoing since October 2020. While some steps remain for the maritime deal to be officially ratified, the fact alone that both countries can agree on something that they say will improve security and revenues for each is a victory, says former U.S. ambassador to Israel Dan Shapiro.

Nitin Gadkari introduces Toyota pilot project on Flex-Fuel Strong Hybrid EV

Flex-Fuel Strong Hybrid EV:

Union Minister for Road, Transport & Highways, Nitin Gadkari has unveiled the Toyota Corolla Altis Flex-fuel car, which has been touted as first of its kind pilot project on Flexi-Fuel Strong Hybrid Electric Vehicles (FFV-SHEV) in India. This project intends to examine whether ethanol-powered flex-fuel vehicles can be viable in Indian conditions.