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04 March Current Affairs

BEE- Star Rating Programme

In News:

To commemorate its 19th foundation day, Bureau of Energy Efficiency (BEE), Ministry of Power organized a Stakeholder Consultation to develop a vision towards building an energy efficient India.

Key Points:

On this occasion, BEE expanded the coverage of its star labelling programme by including energy efficient Deep freezer and Light Commercial Air Conditioners (LCAC).

With this inclusion BEE will cover 26 appliances.

Deep freezer and Light Commercial Air Conditioners (LCAC) are major energy guzzlers in commercial space.

The program will be initially launched in voluntary mode from 2nd March, 2020 to 31st December, 2021. Thereafter, it will be made mandatory after reviewing the degree of market transformation in this particular segment of appliances.

Through this initiative, it is expected to save around 2.8 Billion Units by FY2030, which is equivalent to GreenHouse Gas (GHG) reduction of 2.4-million-ton Carbon Dioxide.

The Star Labeling Programme has been formulated by the Bureau of Energy Efficiency, under the Energy Conservation Act, 2001.

During the event, a database on energy efficiency named Urja Dakshata Information Tool (UDIT) was also launched. This initiative has been taken by the BEE with the World Resources Institute (WRI).

It is a user-friendly platform that explains the energy efficiency landscape of India across industry, appliances, building, transport, municipal and agriculture sectors.

It will also showcase the capacity building and new initiatives taken up by the Government across the sectors in the increase energy efficiency domain.

Energy Efficiency in India :-

Transition: India’s energy sector is set for a transition with recent developmental ambitions of the Government e.g. 175 GW of installed capacity of renewable energy by 2022, 24X7 Power for all, Housing for all by 2022, 100 smart cities mission, promotion of e- mobility, electrification of railway sector, 100% electrification of households, Solarization of agricultural pump sets, and promotion of clean cooking.

Potential of Energy Efficiency: Energy Efficiency has the maximum GreenHouse Gas (GHG) abatement potential of around 51% followed by renewables (32%), biofuels (1%), nuclear (8%), carbon capture and storage (8%) as per the World Energy Outlook (WEO 2010). World Energy Outlook (WEO) is the flagship publication of the International Energy Agency.

India can avoid building 300 GW of new power generation up to 2040 with implementation of ambitious energy efficiency policies.

Positives: Successful implementation of Energy Efficiency Measures contributed to electricity savings of 7.14% of total electricity consumption of the country and emission reduction of 108.28 million tonnes of CO2 during 2017-18.

Defence Expenditure as a Part of GDP

In News:

The Minister of State for Defence gave information about the defence expenditure as a part of GDP in Rajya Sabha.

Key Points :-

The Defence Expenditure is increasing every year in absolute terms, implying higher spending. However, Defence Budget as a percentage of GDP may appear to be decreasing due to the increasing trend in the growth of GDP.

In Budget Expenditure(BE) 2019-20, total Defence Budget (including Miscellaneous and Pensions) is 15.47% of total Central Government Expenditure.

In BE 2019-20, the Capital Budget of the Ministry of Defence is approximately 31.97% of the total capital expenditure of the Central Government Expenditure.

The expenditure on operations/ maintenance and Defence Infrastructure has been maintained optimally.

Concentration of Black Carbon on Gangotri Glacier

In News:

According to a research done by the Wadia Institute of Himalayan Geology, the concentration of black carbon on Gangotri glacier has almost doubled in the past few years primarily because of agricultural burning and forest fires.


Scientists have been monitoring black carbon through two weather stations on way to Gangotri glaciers – namely Chirbasa station at a height of 3,600 m, and Bhojbasa station at a height of 3,800 m – for the last few years.

Wadia Institute of Himalayan Geology (WIHG) is an autonomous institution under the Department of Science & Technology. It is headquartered in Dehradun (Uttrakhand).

Key Findings :

Seasonal Variation :-

The concentration of the black carbon increases in summer months due to varied factors. Scientists have found a range of black carbon up to 4.62 micrograms per cubic metre.

In the non-summer months, the concentration comes down to about 2 micrograms per cubic metre.

Reasons for Increase in Black Carbon Concentration in Summer Season :-

Period from April to June shows remarkable increase in black carbon concentration primarily due to direct and indirect activities related to tourism.

Also, forest fires contribute to increasing black carbon concentration. According to the Forest Survey of India, the forest fire activity is generally reported in Uttarakhand from February to June, with a peak in fire incidences in May and June.

Besides man made, other reasons for forest fires in the state include lightning, friction of falling rocks and monkeys accidentally throwing stones that create sparks leading to forest fires.

Over 44,554 hectares of forest area has been damaged in forest fires in Uttarakhand since its formation in 2000.

The lowest black carbon concentration has been recorded during August followed by December, likely due to the absence of tourist activities and forest fire incidences during these months.

Local Sources of Black Carbon :-

Forest fires, domestic and commercial fuel wood burning, seasonal burning of crop residue and developmental activities.

Pollution from local, regional and global sources that accumulate over the Himalayan region and increase the concentration of black carbon.

Possible Impact :-

Black materials absorb more light and emit infra-red radiation which increases the temperature. So, when there is an increase in black carbon in the higher Himalayas, it will contribute to faster melting of the Himalayan glaciers.

In the longer run, the changes in the atmospheric composition of the high Himalayan will affect the weather pattern (such as rain and snow precipitation patterns), and accordingly natural resources and socio-economic activities of Himalayan communities.

Way Forward :-

The Black Carbon (BC) aerosols contribute significantly towards global warming due to its light-absorbing nature. Their presence in the eco-sensitive zone, such as the Himalayan glacier valleys, is a matter of serious concern and needs to be meticulously monitored.

Jammu University and Airport to be Renamed

In News:

Resolutions have been passed to rename the Jammu Airport and the Jammu University after Hindu Dogra monarchs Maharaja Hari Singh and Maharaja Gulab Singh, respectively.


Maharaja Gulab Singh founded the Dogra dynasty and became the first monarch of J&K in 1846.

Maharaja Hari Singh:

Maharaja Hari Singh was the last Dogra monarch, who acceded to India in 1947.

Soon after the accession, an interim state government was instituted by a proclamation made by the Maharaja on March 5, 1948.

The Instrument of Accession:

The Instrument of Accession (IoA) is a legal document executed by Maharaja Hari Singh, the then ruler of the princely state of Jammu & Kashmir, on October 26, 1947, declaring that the state accedes to India.

The IoA gave India’s Parliament the power to legislate in respect of J&K only on the matters of defence, external affairs and communications.

Apart from defence, communications and external affairs, the IoA mentions ancillary subjects that include elections to the dominion legislature.

8th Foundation Day of LPAI

In News:

Recently, the 8th Foundation Day of the Land Ports Authority of India (LPAI) has been celebrated in New Delhi.


LPAI is involved in the development of land ports (also known as Integrated Check Posts (ICPs)) to maintain regional connectivity across the international borders of India.

Currently, the LPAI is building the Passenger Terminal Building at Dera Baba Nanak, Kartarpur Sahib Corridor.

Land Ports Authority of India:

The Land Ports Authority of India is a statutory body established under Land Ports Authority of India Act, 2010.

Committee of Secretaries in 2003 recommended setting up of Integrated Check Posts (ICPs) at major entry points on India’s land borders.

These ICPs were planned to house all the regulatory agencies like Immigration, Customs, Border Security etc. together with support facilities in a single complex to serve as a single-window facility as is prevalent at Airports and Seaports.

LPAI intends to provide safe, secure and systematic facilities for movement of cargo as well passengers at its ICPs along the international borders of India.


It plans, constructs and maintains roads, terminals and ancillary buildings other than national highways, State highways and railways, at an ICP.

It establishes and maintains warehouses, container depots and cargo complexes for the storage or processing of goods with the establishment of hotels, restaurants and restrooms at ICP.