IASToppers-Current-Affairs-Analysis-16th-Jan-2016
Current Affairs Analysis

16th January 2016 Current Affairs Analysis

By IT's Current Affairs Analysis Team
January 16, 2016

Contents

Polity & Governance

  • Dept of Biotech and BIRAC to Participate in the Bharat Innovation Fund

Environment & Ecology

  • IMD launches a system to monitor aerosols and black carbon in atmosphere
  • Center notifies revised standards for CETPs to minimise water pollution
  • Environment Ministry Holds First National Stakeholder Consultation on the Biodiversity Finance Initiative


Polity & Governance


Dept of Biotech and BIRAC to Participate in the Bharat Innovation Fund

 

The Government of India’s Department of Biotechnology (DBT), along with the Biotechnology Industry Research Assistance Council (BIRAC) has announced its participation in the Bharat Innovation Fund.

  • The DBT will engage with the Bharat Fund, as part of DBT’s efforts under the Startup India initiative, to help commercialize technologies from its labs and facilities.
  • It is also mentoring startups in the healthcare, agri-tech, and other biotech-related areas.
  • The DBT will also invest Rs. 50 crore over the next 3 years to support startups through this Fund. 
  • Productive innovations from the department of biotechnology can make a huge impact in people’s lives, as has been seen in the advances of medicine in recent years.
  • It is expected to be operational later this year, and provide a range of support to Indian startups tackling real challenges. 

About Bharat Innovation Fund:

  • This fund, launched by the Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi in September 2015 during the Startup Konnect event in California.
  • The Bharat Fund is a public-private-academia partnership set up by Indian Institute of Management (IIM) Ahmedabad’s Centre for Innovation Incubation and Entrepreneurship (CIIE).
  • The fund will support innovation and innovative startups in areas of healthcare and life-sciences, sustainability, and digital technologies. 
  • The Bharat Innovation Fund will use important tools such as labs, mentorship, funding, and networking to support entrepreneurs who take on hard challenges of an ever-broadening Indian market.
  • The objective of the fund, inter-alia, is to support and provide funding (grants, seed capital, venture capital) and business support to innovation-driven start-ups that solve real problems faced by the masses of India through technology-enabled and rapidly scalable solutions.
  • It will focus on – healthcare and life-sciences (including biotech, medical devises), sustainability (energy, agriculture, environment, water), and digital technologies (especially in manufacturing, design). 
  • The Bharat Fund shall be managed and coordinated by CIIE at the IIM, Ahmedabad. 

 

Environment & Ecology

 

IMD launches a system to monitor aerosols and black carbon in atmosphere


The Indian Meteorological Department (IMD) has launched a System of Aerosol Monitoring and Research (SAMAR) which will help the country in studying concentration of black carbon in atmosphere due to air pollution and its impact on climate.

  • The system was launched by the Union science and technology minister Harsh Vardhan on the IMD’s 141st foundation day.

At present, country has to depend on other countries’ research for this purpose.

About SAMAR:

  • The System of Aerosol Monitoring and Research (SAMAR) is equipped with many sophisticated equipments including 12 sky radiometers.
  • It will study aerosols’ different properties and determine how it impacts the climate over a longer period of time.

About Aerosols:

  • Aerosols are a subset of air pollution that contains gases, fumes and dust in harmful proportion.
  • Aerosols particles can be both solid and liquid which also affects environmental visibility.

[Ref: PIB, ToI]

 

Center notifies revised standards for CETPs to minimise water pollution


The Ministry of Environment, Forest & Climate Change has notified the revised standards for Common Effluent Treatment Plants (CETPs) operating at various industrial clusters in the country.

  • The primary aim of the revised standards is to minimise water pollution.

These standards were finalised after extensive consultations with industries and other stakeholders and detailed deliberations with the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB).

Details of the revised standards:

  • A provision of soil and groundwater quality monitoring twice a year (pre- and post-monsoon) has been introduced in the standards to study the impact of disposal of treated effluent on land, in case of mode of disposal as ‘on land for irrigation’. This monitoring will be carried out by the respective CETP management. 
  • The mode of ‘Discharge into sea’ (marine outfalls) providing very high dilution will qualify for a relaxed maximum permissible concentration of Chemical Oxygen Demand (COD).
  • The maximum permissible concentration of Fixed Dissolved Solids (FDS) by constituent units to CETP has been specified in terms of maximum allowable contribution value. 

The State Pollution Control Boards are empowered to prescribe standards for Inlet quality of effluent in respect of Bio-chemical Oxygen Demand (BOD), Chemical Oxygen Demand (COD), Total Suspended Solids (TSS) and Total Dissolved Solids (TDS) considering CETP design and local needs & conditions. This provision will help in enforcing the norms for treated effluent quality for the CETP constituent industrial units. 

Significance of the revised standards:

The revised standards will help in significantly improving the performance of CETPs through

  • Implementation of design inlet quality,
  • Addressing the problems of the coastal pollution due to industrial discharges and
  • Keeping a close watch on the impact of discharge of industrial effluent on soil and ground water quality. 

[Ref: PIB]

 

Environment Ministry Holds First National Stakeholder Consultation on the Biodiversity Finance Initiative

 

The Environment Ministry started a two-day National Stakeholder Consultation Meeting on Biodiversity Finance Initiative to conserve India’s biodiversity.

Details:

  • The objective of the meeting is to introduce the BIOFIN project to the various stakeholders, enumerate the programmes/activities being undertaken by different organizations in the context of India’s 12 National Biodiversity Targets developed in line with 20 global Aichi biodiversity targets.
  • The meeting also assesses the expenditure being made by different organizations for activities related to biodiversity conservation.
  • A global high level panel set up by the Convention on Biological Diversity has estimated that USD 150-440 billion need to be invested annually in biodiversity for effective implementation of Aichi global biodiversity targets. 
  • The Ministry has partnered with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) in a global project on Biodiversity Finance Initiative (BIOFIN).

Background:

  • India has updated its National Biodiversity Action Plan (NBAP) and also developed 12 National Biodiversity Targets in 2014.
  • As part of the exercise of updating NBAP, the Ministry had undertaken an assessment of budgetary allocations and expenditures related to biodiversity conservation in India.

About BIOFIN project:

  • The Biodiversity Finance Initiative (BIOFIN) is a global partnership that helps government’s cost, plan and pay for action on biodiversity conservation and its sustainable use.
  • Launched in 2012, the BIOFIN methodology is being used by 19 countries to analyze, calculate and develop strategies to generate the funds they need to meet national biodiversity targets.
  • The initiative is run by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) with support from the Governments of Germany, Switzerland, Norway, Flanders and the European Union. 

[Ref: PIB, Wiki]

 

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