Government Schemes & Policies
- The Recycling of Ships Bill, 2019 becomes an Act after receiving assent of President of India
- Good Governance Index launched
- PM Modi to release operational guidelines for Jal Jeevan Mission
Environment, Ecology & Disaster Management
- Massive locust invasion threatens Gujarat farmers
- Mysuru Zoo gets four animals from Assam Zoo
Art & Culture
- Orange festival kicks off in Tamenglong
Person in News
- PM Modi remembers Madan Mohan Malviya on his 158th birth anniversary
Key Facts for Prelims
- National Consumer Day
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Government Schemes & Policies
The Recycling of Ships Bill, 2019 becomes an Act after receiving assent of President of India
The Recycling of Ships Act has come into force with President of India giving assent to the law which provides for safe and environmentally sound recycling of ships.
- When the Hong Kong International Convention for Safe and Environmentally Sound Recycling of Ships, 2009 comes into force, its provisions will be implemented under the provisions of the Recycling of Ships Act, 2019.
About Recycling of Ships Act, 2019
- The act aims to provide for the regulation of recycling of shipsby setting certain international standards.
Prohibits hazardous material
- Restricts and prohibits the use or installation of hazardous material, which applies irrespective of whether a ship is meant for recycling or not.
- For new ships, such restriction or prohibition on use of hazardous material will be immediate, while existing ships shall have a period of five years for compliance. Restriction or prohibition on use of hazardous material would not be applied to warships and non-commercial ships operated by Government.
- The Act imposes a statutory duty on ship recyclers to ensure environmentally sound removal of hazardous wastes from ships.
- Ship recycling facilities are required to be authorized and ships shall be recycled only in such authorized ship recycling facilities.
Ship-specific recycling plan
- Ships shall be recycled in accordance with a ship-specific recycling plan. Ships to be recycled in India shall be required to obtain a Ready for Recycling Certificate in accordance with the Hong Kong International Convention (HKC).
What is Hong Kong International Convention?
- The Hong Kong International Convention for the safe and environmentally sound recycling of shipsis a multilateral convention adopted in 2009.
- It hasnot entered into force yet.
- It is aimed at ensuring that ships, when being recycled after reaching the end of their operational lives, do not pose any unnecessary risk to human health and safety or to the environment.
- Regulations in the Convention cover the design, construction, operation and preparation of ships.
- Upon entry into force of the Hong Kong Convention, ships to be sent for recycling will be required to carry an inventory of hazardous materials, which will be specific to each ship.
Why ship recycling is hazardous to environment and workers?
- Ships sold for scrapping may contain environmentally hazardous substances such as asbestos, heavy metals, hydrocarbons, ozone depleting substancesand others.
- Shipbreaking is carried out mainly in the informal sector and is rarely subject to safety controls or inspection.
- Large amounts of carcinogens and toxic substances not only intoxicate workers but are also dumped into the soil and coastal waters.
- An average size ship contains up to 7 tonnes of asbestos which is often sold in the local communities after scrapping. Asbestos, particularly used in engine rooms because of its thermal insulation, when breaks into fine fibres, suspends in the air for long periods of time and can lead to fatal diseases such as lung cancer if inhaled.
- Majority of shipyards have no waste management systemsto prevent pollution.
- India is the leader in the global ship recycling industry, with a share of over 30% of the market.
- The ship-recycling industry is a labour-intensive sector, but it is susceptible to concerns on environmental safety.
- 90 % of ship-breaking in the world is carried out in Bangladesh, China, India, Pakistan and Turkey.
- India handles around 5 million ship gross tonnage (MnGT) annually, which is around 25% share of the world’s ship recycling industry. The Indian government plans to nearly double this by 2024, at around 9 MnGT.
Good Governance Index launched
A good governance index (GGI) was launched by the central government to assess the state of governance in the country.
About Good Governance Index (GGI)
- GGI is a uniform tool across States to assess the Status of Governance and impact of various interventions taken up by the State Government and UTs.
- The objectives of GGI are to provide quantifiable data to compare the state of governance in all states and UTs, enable them to formulate suitable strategies for improving governance.
- Another significant contribution of the GGI would be contributing in tracking the progress of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) at state level.
Sectors taken into consideration while calculating GGI
The GGI takes into consideration ten sectors:
- Agriculture and Allied Sectors
- Commerce & Industries
- Human Resource Development
- Public Health
- Public Infrastructure & Utilities
- Economic Governance
- Social Welfare & Development
- Judicial & Public Security
- Citizen-Centric Governance
These Sectors are measured on total 50 indicators.
The states and UTs are divided into three groups: a). Big States, b). North-East & Hill States and c). UTs. The states and UTs are ranked on all indicators separately, at the same time composite ranking is also calculated for these states and UTs.
The Good Governance Day is observed on the birth anniversary of former Prime Minister Shri Atal Bihari Vajpayee.
Highlights of Good Governance Index 2019
- Top 3 states: i) Tamil Nadu ii) Maharashtra iii) Karnataka
- Tamil Nadu has achieved excellence in all the sectors except in sectors like agriculture and allied sectors, commerce and industries, social welfare and development. Tamil Nadu has top-scored particularly in sectors like public infrastructure and law and order.
- In the North-East and Hill states, Himachal Pradesh has topped the list. Arunachal Pradesh and Nagaland are the least performing states.
- Similarly, among Union Territories, Pondicherry, Chandigarh, and Delhi lead the ranking, with Lakshwadeep at the bottom.
PM Modi to release operational guidelines for Jal Jeevan Mission
The Centre’s most recent flagship scheme – Jal Jeevan Mission (JJM) to provide drinking water to 14.6 crore rural households- is set to be operationalized with Prime Minister to release the Operational Guidelines on Good Governance Day.
- The new guidelines will emphasise the critical role of the gram panchayat level – paani samiti or village committee to run and maintain the water supply system in their community and also bring in systems for water use charges.
About Jal Jeevan Mission
- Jal Jeevan Mission is a central government initiative under the Ministry of Jal Shakti.
- It aims to ensure Functional Household Tap Connection (FHTC) for every household in India by 2024.
- It also aims to create local infrastructure for rainwater harvesting, groundwater recharge and management of household waste water for reuse in agriculture.
- The Har Ghar Nal Se Jal programme, announced by Finance Minister recently, forms a crucial part of the Jal Jeevan Mission.
- The Jal Jeevan Mission is based on a community approach to wateras it includes information, education and communication as key components.
- The Mission is based on various water conservation efforts like point recharge, desilting of minor irrigation tanks, use of greywater for agriculture and source sustainability.
- The Mission will converge with other Central and State Government Schemes to achieve its objectives of sustainable water supply management across the country.
Current status of clean drinking water accessibility in India
- India has 16 % of the world population but has only 4 % of world’s freshwater resources.
- Out of 17.87 Crore rural households in the country, about 14.6 Crore which accounts for 81.67% are yet to have household water tap connections.
- In 1980, just 1% of India’s rural areas had access to safe, usable water but by 2013, that had increased to 30%.
- The Asian Development Bank has forecast that by 2030, India will have a water deficit of 50 %.
- A WaterAid report in 2016 ranked India among the worst countries in the world for the number of people without safe water.
- The Union Ministry of Water Resources has estimated India’s current water requirements to be around 1100 billion cubic metres per year, which is estimated to be around 1200 billion cubic metres for the year 2025.
Environment, Ecology & Disaster Management
Massive locust invasion threatens Gujarat farmers
Sharing borders with neighbouring Pakistan, Gujarat is under attack from hoppers — new-born locusts — that have flown in across the international border. They have ravaged farms in North Gujarat, devastating farmers in the three border districts Banaskantha, Patan and Kutch.
- This is the first time since 1993-’94 that Gujarat has witnessed such a locust invasion. The locusts insects fly in during the day and settle on the farms at night making it difficult to ward off the swarms.
- Locusts are a collection of certain species of short-horned grasshoppers. They are grasshoppers that have entered into a migratory phase of their life.
- Locusts are sometimes solitary insects similar to grasshoppers. However, locusts have another behavioural phase called the gregarious phase (When environmental conditions produce many green plants and promote breeding, locusts can congregate into thick, mobile, ravenous swarms).
Impact on Agriculture
- Locusts have formed plagues since prehistory. Locust swarms devastate crops and cause major agricultural damage. They occur in many parts of the world, but today locusts are most destructive in sustenance farming regions of Africa.
Locust Warning Organisation (LWO)
- Indian government established a permanent locust warning and control organization under ICAR in 1939. It monitors locust situation/activities over the desert area in parts of Rajasthan, Gujarat and Haryana. Its field headquarters is at Jodhpur.
Mysuru Zoo gets four animals from Assam Zoo
Sri Chamarajendra Zoological Gardens, popularly known as the Mysuru Zoo, has received four new animals from Assam State Zoo: Indian Rhino, a pair of Hoolock Gibbon and Black Leopard, under the animal exchange programme.
- Hoolocks are the second-largest of the gibbons, after the siamang. They are native to eastern Bangladesh, Northeast India and Southwest China.
- The western hoolock gibbon is found in all the states of the north-east, restricted between the south of the Brahmaputra river and east of the Dibang river.
- The eastern hoolock gibbon only inhabits pockets of Arunachal Pradesh and Assam in India, and southern China and north-east Myanmar.
- Western hoolock is listed as Endangered in the IUCN Redlist, while the Eastern hoolock is listed as
- With long and slender arms, they swing from tree to tree in a mode of locomotion known as Brachiation, and can brachiate at speeds upto 55 km/hr.
- Indian Rhinoceros, also called as Greater One-Horned Rhinoceros, is the largest of the three Asian Rhinoceroses.
- The Indian Rhinoceros is more or less equivalent in size to the White Rhinoceros of Africa and is distinguishable from the Javan Rhinoceros by its greater size, the presence of a large horn, tubercles on its skin, and a different arrangement of skin folds.
- Black Panther is the melanistic colour variant of any Panthera species. Black leopards only differ from other leopards in their black colour of their coat, due to a pigment in their body called “melanism.”
- Black Panthers in Asia and Africa are called leopards and those in the Americas are Jaguars.
- Close examination of the colour of leopard and black panther show that the typical black markings are still present in black panther, but are hidden by the excess black pigment of melanin. This is called ghost striping.
Art & Culture
Orange festival kicks off in Tamenglong
Manipur chief minister inaugurated the 16th State level Orange Festival-cum-centenary celebration of Tamenglong district administration at the district headquarters. Tamenglong was known to the world for its oranges having unique taste and Amur Falcon migratory birds.
- This festival is primarily to promote the Orange Growers in the Tamenglong. District. The festival also Aims to promote tourism and the unique culture and traditions of the people of Tamenglong District.
- The festival is organized by district administration, Tamenglong under the sponsorship of North Eastern Council and Government of Manipur.
- The Amur falcon is a small raptor of the falcon family.
- It breeds in south-eastern Siberia and Northern China before migrating in large flocks across India and over the Arabian Sea to winter in Southern Africa.
- Primarily recorded from northeast India, with a few scattered sight records in peninsular India, Amur falcon is generally considered rare.
- It is listed as Least Concern in IUCN red list.
Person in News
PM Modi remembers Madan Mohan Malviya on his 158th birth anniversary
Prime Minister of India paid tribute to Bharat Ratna awardee Madan Mohan Malviya on his 158th birth anniversary and said that the late freedom fighter made “invaluable contribution” in education.
About Madan Mohan Malviya
- Madan Mohan Malviya was a famed Indian educationist and freedom fighter who is also called ‘Mahamana’.
- In 2014, he was posthumously conferred with Bharat Ratna, the country’s highest civilian award.
- He participated in Salt Satyagraha and the Civil Disobedience Movement.
- He is credited with popularising the term ‘Satyameva Jayate’ (a mantra from the Upanishad).
- He advocated free and compulsory primary education and supported the nationalisation of railways.
- He became president of Indian National Congress four times: in Lahore (1909), in Delhi (1918), in Delhi (1930) and in Calcutta (1932). He acted as a bridge between the Moderates and the Extremists in the Congress.
- He is also remembered for his role in ending the Indian indenture system, especially in the Caribbean.
- He founded Hindu Mahasabha in 1906.
- He founded the Banaras Hindu University (BHU) in 1916.
Key Facts for Prelims
National Consumer Day
- Every Year 24th December is observed as National Consumer Day with a specific theme in India. On this day the Consumer Protection Act, 1986 had received the assent of the president.
- The theme of National Consumer Day 2019 is “Alternate consumer grievance/dispute redressal”.