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Daily Current Affairs Analysis I eKuhipath I June 6, 2021

GS M Paper III

Economy/Sustainable Development

  1. India slips two spots to rank 117 on 17 Sustainable Development Goals adopted as 2030 agenda: Report

  • India’s rank has slipped by two places from last year to 117 on the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) adopted as a part of the 2030 agenda by 193 United Nations member states in 2015.
  • The State of India’s Environment Report 2021 revealed that India’s rank was 115 last year and dropped by two places primarily because of major challenges like
  • ending hunger and achieving food security (SDG 2),
  • achieving gender equality (SDG 5) and building resilient infrastructure,
  • promoting inclusive and sustainable industrialization and
  • fostering innovation (SDG 9) remain in the country.

Additional information

  • The 17 SDGs adopted by UN member states are

SDG1End poverty in all its forms everywhere,

SDG 2End hunger, achieve food security and improved nutrition and promote sustainable agriculture

SDG3Ensure healthy lives and promote well-being for all of all ages

SDG4Ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all

SDG 5Achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls

SDG 6Ensure availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all

SDG 7Ensure access to affordable, reliable, sustainable, and modern energy for all

SDG 8Promote sustained, inclusive, and sustainable economic growth, full and productive employment, and decent work for all

SDG 9- Build resilient infrastructure, promote inclusive and sustainable industrialization, and foster innovation

SDG 10Reduce inequality within and among countries

SDG 11Make cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient, and sustainable

SDG 12Ensure sustainable consumption and production pattern

SDG 13Take urgent action to combat climate change and its impacts

SDG 14Conserve and sustainably use the ocean, seas, and marine resources for sustainable development

SDG 15Protect, restore and promote sustainable use of terrestrial ecosystems, sustainably manage forests, combat desertification, and halt and reverse land degradation and halt biodiversity loss

SDG 16Promote peaceful and inclusive societies for sustainable development, provide access to justice for all and build effective, accountable, and inclusive institutions at all levels

SDG 17Strengthen the means of implementation and revitalize the global partnership for sustainable development

Environmental Performance Index (EPI)

  • The report also said that India ranked 168 out of 180 countries in terms of the Environmental Performance Index (EPI) which is calculated on various indicators, including environmental health, climate, air pollution, sanitation and drinking water, ecosystem services, biodiversity, etc.
  • India’s rank was 172 in the environmental health category, which is an indicator of how well countries are protecting their populations from environmental health risks.
  • According to the EPI 2020 report by Yale University, India ranked 148, 21 positions behind Pakistan which was at 127th position in the category of biodiversity and habitat which assesses countries’ actions toward retaining natural ecosystems and protecting the full range of biodiversity within their borders.

HRD/Education

  1. Union Education Minister approves the release of Performance Grading Index (PGI) 2019-20 for States and Union Territories
  • Union Education Minister approved the release of Performance Grading Index (PGI) 2019-20 for States and Union Territories of India which includes a set of 70 parameters to catalyze transformational change in the field of school education.
  • The PGI for States and Union Territories was first published in 2019 with the reference year 2017-18. The PGI: States/UTs for 2019-20 is the third publication in this series.
  • The PGI exercise envisages that the index would propel States and UTs towards undertaking multi-pronged interventions that will bring about the much-desired optimal education outcomes. 
  • Punjab, Chandigarh, Tamil Nadu, Andaman & Nicobar Islands, and Kerala occupy the highest grade (Grade A++) for 2019-20.

Infrastructure:

Transport and Communication

  1. Indian Railways on way to becoming “Largest Green Railways” in the world with Zero Carbon Emission

  • Indian Railways (IR) is working in mission mode to become the largest Green Railways in the world and is moving towards becoming a “net zero carbon emitter” before 2030.
  • Railways are guided by a holistic vision of being an environment friendly, efficient, cost-effective, punctual, and modern carrier of passengers as well as freight to serve the growing needs of New India.
  • IR is looking at helping the environment with steps ranging from massive electrification, water & paper conservation, to saving animals from being injured on Railway tracks.

Environment Sustainability Report

  • The Environment Sustainability Report published by IR and subsidiary units each year sets up a framework document defining strategies and focus points in the context of climate change, the issues at stake, and steps for dealing with them.
  • It helps railways to support government commitments such as the Paris agreement on climate change, the UN Sustainable Development Goals, and National Disaster Management Plans.

Energy.

  1. Clean Energy Ministerial’s (CEM) – Industrial Deep Decarbonisation Initiative (IDDI):
  • India along with Govt. of the United Kingdom launched a new workstream to promote industrial energy efficiency under the Clean Energy Ministerial’s (CEM) – Industrial Deep Decarbonization Initiative (IDDI) co-ordinated by UNIDO, at the 12th Chief Energy Ministerial (CEM).
  • The objective is to infuse green technologies and  stimulate demand for low-carbon industrial material

Industrial Deep Decarbonization Initiative (IDDI)?

  • It is a global coalition of public and private organizations that are working to stimulate demand for low carbon industrial materials.
  • In collaboration with national governments, IDDI works to standardize carbon assessments, establish ambitious public and private sector procurement targets, incentivize investment into low-carbon product development, and design industry guidelines.
  • Coordinated by United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO).
  • Members: the UK, India, Germany, and Canada.

Clean Energy Ministerial (CEM):

  • It was established in December 2009 at the UN’s Framework Convention on Climate Change conference of parties in Copenhagen.
  • CEM is a high-level global forum to promote policies and programs that advance clean energy technology, share lessons learned and best practices, and encourage the transition to a global clean energy economy.
  • 29 countries are part of CEM including India.

Science and Technology

Awareness in the field of IT, Space and Biotechnology

  1. World is getting closer to Internet from the skies through LEO satellites
  • Bharti Airtel owned satellite communications company OneWeb’s total Low Earth Orbit (LEO) satellite count stands at 218 after the latest launch of 36 new LEO satellites.
  • The launch took place on 28 May, 18:38 BST, and was carried out by European satellite launch company, Arianespace, from the Russian spaceport, Vostochny Cosmodrome.
  • The launch is part of OneWeb’s ‘five to 50’ program, which is meant to bring satellite-based broadband Internet to countries like the UK, Alaska, US, Northern Europe, Greenland, Iceland, the Arctic seas, and Canada. The company has said that its services will start from 2022.

What is OneWeb?

  • OneWeb is a global communications company that aims to deliver broadband satellite Internet around the world through its fleet of LEO satellites.
  • The launch roll-out of the satellites is facilitated by French company Arianespace using Russian-made Soyuz rockets.
  • The company has announced plans to enter the Indian market by 2022.

LEO technology

  • LEO satellites have been orbiting the planet since the 1990s, providing companies and individuals with various communication services.
  • LEO satellites are positioned around 500km-2000km from earth, compared to stationary orbit satellites which are approximately 36,000km away.
  • As LEO satellites orbit closer to the earth, they can provide stronger signals and faster speeds than traditional fixed-satellite systems.
  • However, LEO satellites travel at a speed of 27,000 kph and complete a full circuit of the planet in 90-120 minutes.
  • LEO satellite broadband is only preferable in areas that cannot be reached by fiber and spectrum services as it is highly expensive in comparison to the three mediums of Internet – fiber, spectrum, and satellite.
  1. Why is NASA sending water bears, baby squid to the International Space Station?
  • NASA has sent glow-in-the-dark baby squids and about 5,000 tardigrades, also called water bears, to the International Space Station.
  • They were part of the 22nd SpaceX cargo resupply mission.

Objectives

  • It could help scientists design improved protective measures for astronauts going on long-duration space travel.
  • The experiments are also aimed at better understanding how beneficial microbes interact with animals, potentially leading to breakthroughs in improving human health on Earth.

Why send Microbes?

  • One of these studies involves looking at how the water bears– tiny animals (around 1mm long) that can adapt to extreme conditions on Earth, including high pressure, temperature, and radiation– would behave in a spaceflight environment.
  • By learning how the water bears can survive in low gravity conditions, it would be possible to design better techniques to keep astronauts healthy on long-duration space missions.
  • Microbes play a crucial role in the normal development of animal tissues and in maintaining human health, and the research will allow scientists to have a better understanding of how beneficial microbes interact with animals when there is a lack of gravity.
  • In the human body, microorganisms contribute to a variety of functions, including digestion, developing the immune system, and detoxifying harmful chemicals. A disruption in our relationship with these microbes can lead to disease.
  • Scientists also want to look at how microgravity conditions affect the relationship between the bobtail squid –which are also tiny (3 mm long) – and beneficial microbes, as part of a study called UMAMI, short for Understanding of Microgravity on Animal-Microbe Interactions.

International Space Station [ISS]

  • A space station is essentially a large spacecraft that remains in low-earth orbit for extended periods of time. It is like a large laboratory in space and allows astronauts to come aboard and stay for weeks or months to carry out experiments in microgravity.
  • The ISS has been in space since 1998 and has been known for the exemplary cooperation between the five participating space agencies that run it: NASA (United States), Roscosmos (Russia), JAXA (Japan), ESA (Europe), and CSA (Canada).
  • The ISS circles the Earth in roughly 93 minutes, completing 15.5 orbits per day.

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