Current Affairs 13th April 2023 for UPSC Prelims Exam
Context: The rejuvenation of the Kuttamperoor River in Alappuzha has been completed after 6 years.
Rejuvenation of Kuttamperoor River
- Kuttamperoor River: The Kuttamperoor River in Kerala, is a tributary of both Pamba and Achankovil rivers.
- Rejuvenation of the Kuttamperoor: This river had died due to years of waste dumping, encroachments and other anthropogenic activities.
- The Major Irrigation department removed encroachments, deepened the channel and constructed bunds on both sides.
- A number of residents along the river provided land for the river project.
- Impact: The revival of Kuttamperoor river would boost tourism in the region. The restoration of water flow has brought many freshwater fish species back to the river and is expected to help control floods in the region.
Stats IQ: Growing River Pollution in India
- Polluted river stretches in India: Maharashtra has the highest number of polluted river stretches (53), followed by Assam (44), Madhya Pradesh (22), Kerala (21), Gujarat (20), Odisha (19), and West Bengal and Karnataka (17).
- Polluted Rivers in India: The Central Pollution Control Board has termed the Cooum River in Chennai the “most polluted” river in India. Other highly polluted rivers in the country are Sabarmati in Gujarat and Bahela in Uttar Pradesh.
- Causes of River Pollution: Rivers in the country are polluted mainly due to:
- Discharge of untreated or partially treated sewage from cities / towns and industrial effluents.
- Problems in operation and maintenance of sewage / effluent treatment plants.
- Rapid urbanization and industrialization.
River Rejuvenation (revival) in India
- Need for River Rejuvenation: Growing water crisis on account of depleting fresh water resources due to shrinking and degradation of river ecosystems is a major impediment to achieving national goals pertaining to environment, conservation, climate change and sustainable development.
- Ongoing river rejuvenation project
- Jhelum, Chenab, Ravi, Beas, Sutlej, Yamuna, Brahmaputra, Luni, Narmada, Godavari, Mahanadi, Krishna, and Cauvery Rivers.
- The 13 rivers collectively cover a total basin area that represents 57.45% of the geographical area of India.
- Method: The different models of forestry plantations including timber species, medicinal plants, grasses, shrubs and fuel fodder and fruit trees are aimed to augment water, ground water recharge and contain erosion.
- Potential Benefits:
- Creation of green cover expansion toachieve a ‘Green India’ through the ‘Van Bhagidari and Jan Bhagidari’ of the current generation.
- Forestry interventions will increase the cumulative forest cover across 13 riverscapes.
- The proposed interventions would help to sequester 50.21 million tons CO2.
- The proposed interventions will help in ground water recharge and reduction in sedimentation.
- Rs. 449.01 crore is likely to be generated from expected non-timber and other forest produce.
- Employment of 344 million man-days shall be generated through planned activities as provisioned in 13 DPRs.
Geographical Concept of River Rejuvenation:
- Concept: The earth’s crust is far from stable and in the course of a river’s development, parts may be uplifted or depressed, giving rise to certain characteristics features associated with rejuvenation, i.e. being young again.
- Process of river rejuvenation: A negative movement occurs when there is an uplift of land or a fall in sea level.
- This will steepen the slope so that active down-cutting is renewed.
- A fall in sea level leaves the flood-plain at an increased altitude above the sea level.
- The river with its renewed vigour cuts into the former flood-plain, leaving behind terraces on both sides of the river. There is also a break in the graded profile of the river, often marked by a series of rapids.
- Impact of Rejuvenation:
- The point where the old and rejuvenated profile meets is called the Knick Point or Rejuvenated Head.
- If rejuvenation occurs in the upper-course, the river valleys are deepened and steep-sided Gorges are formed.
- In the middle and lower course vertical corrasion replaces lateral corrasion and the existing meanders are vertically eroded by the rejuvenated stream.
- A distinct new inner trench is cut in the old valley, and the river develops a deep valley with entrenched or incised meanders.
National Credit Framework (NCrF)
Context: A directive has been issued by UGC to implement National Credit Framework (NCrF) across all higher educational institutes.
- NCrF is a meta-framework that will seamlessly integrate the credits earned through school education, higher education, and vocational and skill education.
- It contains guidelines that have to be followed by schools, colleges and universities in adopting the credit system.
- Such a framework was recommended by the National Education Policy (NEP), which had put emphasis on the integration of general academic education and vocational and skill education.
- Academic Bank of Credits (ABC) technology platform will store credits accumulated by each student. ABC will be able to store credit irrespective of the type of learning, i.e., academic, vocational, or experiential learning.
Working of Credit System
- School education: The credits earned by a student during the entire duration of schooling will be 160 credits.
- Higher education: Under the NCrF, one credit will correspond to 30 notional learning hours in a year of two semesters.
- A student will have to earn a minimum of 20 credits every semester. They need a minimum of 40 credits to move to the next level. They can also earn more than 40 credits in a year through additional learning.
- A student will have earned 120 credits by the end of a three-year Bachelor’s degree course.
- Additional credits: They can be earned from specialised knowledge. They include:
- Study in four Vedas and the four subsidiary Vedas (Ayurveda–medicine, Dhanurveda – weaponry, Gandharveda-music and Silpa – architecture), Nayaya, Mimansa, Purana, Dharmashastra, Vedanga, the six auxiliary sciences, grammar, phonetic, metre, astronomy, ritual, and philosophy.
- Medals or holding positions in national and international events.
- Padma or other awards conferred by central or state governments.
- Vocational or experiential learning
- High impact social work
- Credit is recognition that a learner has completed a prior course of learning, corresponding to a qualification at a particular level. It is a way of evaluating learning outcomes.
Environment Impact Assessment (EIA)
Context: Records of the Union Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change show that in the last five years, some 110 changes have been introduced in the 2006 EIA notification vide office memorandums.
More on the News
- Office memorandums are available in public domain but the changes introduced in them do not have to undergo public consultation since they are not considered an act of change in law.
- Some of these changes have been challenged in the National Green Tribunal. Others have skipped the public eye and been integrated with the 2006 EIA notification.
- The year 2022-23 saw the highest number of changes introduced in the 2006 notification in the last five years.
What is an Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA)?
- EIA is a decision-support tool for those deciding whether or not to approve a development project.
- The purpose of an EIA is to determine the potential environmental, social, and health effects of a proposed development so that those who make decisions about the project’s development and approval are aware of the likely consequences of their decisions before making them, and thus are more accountable.
- Its goal is to make decision-making more informed and transparent while also attempting to avoid, eliminate, or mitigate potential negative consequences by considering alternative ideas, sites, or methods.
Evolution of EIA in India
- In 1976-77, the Planning Commission asked the Department of Science and Technology to investigate river-valley projects from an environmental standpoint.
- Until 1994, the Central Government’s environmental clearance (EC) was an administrative decision with no statutory backing.
- In 1994, under the Environmental (Protection) Act 1986, the Union Ministry of Environment and Forests issued an EIA notification requiring EC for any expansion or modernization of any activity, as well as the establishment of new projects.
- In September 2006, the Ministry of Environment, Forests, and Climate Change (MoEFCC) announced new EIA regulations.
Salient Features of EIA 2006 Notification
- The EIA Notification, 2006 has categorized the projects into two categories namely; Category ‘A’ and Category ‘B’ based on their impact potential.
- Category A projects require mandatory environmental clearance and thus they do not undergo the screening process.
- Category B projects undergoes screening process and they are classified into two types. Category B1 projects (Mandatorily requires EIA). Category B2 projects (Do not require EIA).
- Thus, Category A projects and Category B, projects undergo the complete EIA process whereas Category B2 projects are excluded from complete EIA process.
- The public consultation process has been made more structured. It has two components i.e., comments through correspondence and by public hearing at site. Provision to videograph the proceedings of the public hearing has been made.
- NOCs (No-Objection Certificates) from other regulatory agencies such as SPCB etc. are not a prerequisite for considering application for environmental clearance.
Context: According to the Copernicus Climate Change Service (C3S), temperatures were above average over southern and central Europe and below average over most of northern Europe.
About Copernicus Programme:
- Copernicus is implemented by the European Commission (EC) with the support from the European Space Agency (ESA) for the Space component and the European Environment Agency (EEA) for the in situ component.
- It was established in 2014, previously it was known as Global Monitoring for Environment and Security (GMES)
- It enables high quality and continuous observation of earth.
- Objective of Copernicus
- To monitor and forecast the state of the environment on land, sea and in the atmosphere, in order to support climate change mitigation and adaptation strategies, the efficient management of emergency situations and the improvement of the security of every citizen.
- It improves people’s safety, e.g. by providing information on natural disasters such as forest fires or floods, and thus help to prevent the loss of lives and property, and damages to the environment.
- Satellites: It is served by dedicated satellites (the Copernicus Sentinel families) and a set of additional Contributing Missions (satellites run by various commercial and national agencies).
- Since the launch of Sentinel-1A in 2014, the European Union set in motion a process to place a constellation of almost 20 more satellites in orbit before 2030.
- Six Copernicus Services: They transform the full, free and open data into value-added information:
- The Copernicus Atmosphere Monitoring Service
- The Copernicus Marine Environment Monitoring Service
- The Copernicus Land Monitoring Service
- The Copernicus Climate Change Service
- The Copernicus Emergency Management Service
- The Copernicus Security Service
- World Meteorological Organization (WMO) uses Copernicus data as one of the six leading global datasets to compile its own State of the Global Climate reports.
Context: Cumbum grapes recently received the Geographical Indication tag or GI tag.
About Cumbum Grapes
- It is also known as Cumbum Panneer Thratchai in Tamil Nadu.
- The Panneer grapes were first introduced in Tamil Nadu by a French priest in 1832.
- These grapes are rich in vitamins, tartaric acid and antioxidants and reduce the risk of some chronic diseases.
- The grapes grown are suitable for making wine, spirit, jams, canned grape juice and raisins.
- This variety is popular for its quick growth and early maturity. This ensures that the crop is available in the market almost throughout the year.
- It is located at the Western Ghats in Tamil Nadu is known as the ‘Grapes city of South India’ and cultivates the Panneer Thratchai.
- Agro-climate and the soil condition of the Cumbum region is very conducive for the cultivation of the Panneer variety.
- The rich soil and water of the land are said to enhance the flavour of the natural fruit.