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06 April Current Affairs

FAME 2 scheme

In News:

NITI Aayog & Rocky Mountain Institute (RMI) Release Technical Analysis of FAME II Scheme. Report looks at potential saving in areas of energy, oil and carbon emissions.

Key highlights from the report:

Effects of FAME II will go beyond the vehicles that are eligible under the FAME II.

There is considerable energy and CO2 savings associated with the two, three, and four-wheeled vehicles and buses covered by FAME II over their lifetime, as well as the potential savings associated with greater adoption levels by 2030.

The electric buses covered under FAME II will account for 3.8 billion vehicle kilometers travelled (e-vkt) over their lifetime.

In order to capture the potential opportunity in 2030, batteries must remain a key focal point as they will continue to be the key cost driver of EVs.

Vehicles eligible under FAME II scheme can cumulatively save 5.4 million tonnes of oil equivalent over their lifetime worth Rs 17.2 thousand crores.

EVs sold through 2030 could cumulatively save 474 million tonnes of oil equivalent (Mtoe) worth INR 15 lakh crore and generate net CO2 savings of 846 million tonnes over their operational lifetime.

What are the salient features of FAME 2 scheme?

Faster Adoption and Manufacturing of Hybrid and Electric Vehicles, or FAME 2 scheme aims to boost electric mobility and increase the number of electric vehicles in commercial fleets.

Target: The outlay of ₹10,000 crore has been made for three years till 2022 for FAME 2 scheme.

The government will offer the incentives for electric buses, three-wheelers and four-wheelers to be used for commercial purposes.

Plug-in hybrid vehicles and those with a sizeable lithium-ion battery and electric motor will also be included in the scheme and fiscal support offered depending on the size of the battery.

How will FAME 2 scheme help improve charging infrastructure?

The centre will invest in setting up charging stations, with the active participation of public sector units and private players.

It has also been proposed to provide one slow-charging unit for every electric bus and one fast-charging station for 10 electric buses.

Projects for charging infrastructure will include those needed to extend electrification for running vehicles such as pantograph charging and flash charging.

FAME 2 will also encourage interlinking of renewable energy sources with charging infrastructure.

Background:

FAME India is a part of the National Electric Mobility Mission Plan. Main thrust of FAME is to encourage electric vehicles by providing subsidies. FAME focuses on 4 areas i.e. Technology development, Demand Creation, Pilot Projects and Charging Infrastructure.

Way ahead:

India needs auto industry’s active participation to ease electric mobility transition. The auto and battery industries could collaborate to enhance customer awareness, promote domestic manufacturing, promote new business models, conduct R&D for EVs and components, consider new business models to promote EVs.

Government should focus on a phased manufacturing plan to promote EVs, provide fiscal and non-fiscal incentives for phased manufacturing of EVs and batteries. Different government departments can consider a bouquet of potential policies, such as congestion pricing, ZEV credits, low emission/exclusion zones, parking policies, etc. to drive adoption of EVs.

Green Urban Areas

In News:

CPWD recently organized National Seminar on “Greenery and Landscaping”.

Following recommendations were made during the Seminar:

Green Urban Areas play an important role in the social and natural sustainability and improve quality of life.

Greenery and Dense plantation have a major impact on the conservation of energy, and reduce the energy requirement of the building.

In order to maintain sustainable environment, pollution free clean air, it is essential to take up the plantation work.

Cost of land has increased manifold and high rise buildings are coming up, people are getting hardly any area for the greenery. Keeping in view the same, plantation, greenery and other environment friendly applications should be planned around the building by way of dwarf trees, small shrubs, ground covers, hanging baskets, creepers, etc.

There is need to adopt wood alternative in building construction. Use of alternate materials like Bamboo needs to be encouraged.

Orientation and proper training should be imparted to the persons engaged in landscaping and Horticulture, for implementation of the new technologies in this field to save the labour and cost of the project in long run.

Emphasis should be given for conserving and transplanting indigenous and grown up trees.

Herbal and medicinal plants need to be encouraged. Herbal plants are useful for keeping the life healthy.

Application of Organic Manure needs to be adopted for healthy and nutritious food.

Water conserving irrigation method like drip irrigation, Sprinkler irrigation and pop up system needs to be adopted.

Plants and greenery help in reducing adverse effects of climate change. Therefore every individual should adopt minimum one tree.

Green initiative needs to be taken up on a mission mode by every nation, every city, every society and every individual so that future generations may lead happy and healthy life.

What are Green Urban Areas/Spaces and why are they significant?

Green spaces such as parks and sports fields as well as woods and natural meadows, wetlands or other ecosystems, represent a fundamental component of any urban ecosystem.

Green urban areas facilitate physical activity and relaxation, and form a refuge from noise. Trees produce oxygen, and help filter out harmful air pollution, including airborne particulate matter. Water spots, from lakes to rivers and fountains, moderate temperatures.

Urban parks and gardens play a critical role in cooling cities, and also provide safe routes for walking and cycling for transport purposes as well as sites for physical activity, social interaction and for recreation. Recent estimates show that physical inactivity, linked to poor walkability and lack of access to recreational areas, accounts for 3.3% of global deaths.

Green spaces also are important to mental health. Having access to green spaces can reduce health inequalities, improve well-being, and aid in treatment of mental illness. Some analysis suggests that physical activity in a natural environment can help remedy mild depression and reduce physiological stress indicators.

Hindu New Year

In News:

Hindu New Year was welcomed in different parts of the country with traditional festivities and celebrations.

Details:

The Chaitra Sukladi, Ugadi, Gudi Padava, Navareh, Navroz and Chetti Chand are the same festivals in different names, marking the occasion.

Andhra Pradesh and Telangana: Ugadi.

Karnataka: Yugadi /Ugadi.

Maharashtra: Gudi Padwa.

Sindhis: Cheti Chand.

Manipuris: Sajibu Cheiraoba.

Hindus of Bali and Indonesia also celebrate their new year on the same day as Nyepi.

Kashmir: Navreh.

History of Muslim League in Kerala and India

In New:

Uttar Pradesh chief minister Yogi Aditynath recnelty equated the Indian Union Muslim League (IUML) with the pre-partition Muslim League.

About Muslim League:

It was a political party established in 1906 in the British Indian Empire. Its strong advocacy for the establishment of a separate Muslim-majority nation-state, Pakistan, successfully led to the partition of British India in 1947 by the British Empire.

The party arose out of a literary movement begun at The Aligarh Muslim University in which Syed Ahmad Khan was a central figure.

The first stage of its formation was the meeting held at Lucknow in September 1906, with the participation of representatives from all over India.

With global events leading up to World War II and the Congress party’s effective protest against the United Kingdom unilaterally involving India in the war without consulting the Indian people, the Muslim League went on to support the British war efforts.

Evolution post- independence:

Soon after Partition, the All India Muslim League, which had led the movement for Pakistan, was disbanded. Over the next few months, the party of Mohammed Ali Jinnah was succeeded by the Muslim League in West Pakistan and The All Pakistan Awami Muslim League in East Pakistan.

In East Pakistan, the Awami Muslim League championed the cause of Bengali nationalism, and sought to chart a course independent from Punjabi-dominated West Pakistan. Under the leadership of Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, East Pakistan ultimately broke free from the West.

In India:

In independent India, the All India Muslim League was succeeded by the Indian Union Muslim League (IUML). The IUML fought elections under the Constitution of India, and has always had a constant, if small, presence in Lok Sabha. The IUML is the strongest in Kerala, and has a unit in Tamil Nadu as well. It has long been recognised by the Election Commission of India as a state party in Kerala.

Source: Indian Express

Hayabusa2

In News:

Japan’s spacecraft Hayabusa-2 recently dropped an explosive on an asteroid to make a crater. It’s aim was to make a crater on asteroid. Also, this spacecraft will collect its underground samples to find possible clues to the origin of the solar system.

Details:

Notably, Hayabusa2 is the second Japanese spacecraft to land on an asteroid, after Hayabusa achieved a similar feat back in 2005.

Hayabusa:

In mid-September 2005, Hayabusa landed on the asteroid Itokawa, and managed to collect samples in the form of grains of asteroidal material. It returned to Earth with the samples in June 2010, thereby becoming the first spacecraft to return asteroid samples to Earth for analysis.

Hayabusa2:

It is an asteroid sample-return mission operated by the Japanese space agency, JAXA.

It was launched on 3 December 2014 and rendezvoused with near-Earth asteroid 162173 Ryugu on 27 June 2018.

It is in the process of surveying the asteroid for a year and a half, departing in December 2019, and returning to Earth in December 2020.

Hayabusa2 carries multiple science payloads for remote sensing, sampling, and four small rovers that will investigate the asteroid surface to inform the environmental and geological context of the samples collected.

Since it arrived at Ryugu in June 2018, Hayabusa 2 has dropped two hopping landers, collectively known as MINERVA-II, onto the surface of the space rock to take pictures and measure the asteroid’s temperature.

The Hayabusa2 payload incorporates multiple scientific instruments:

Remote sensing: Optical Navigation Camera (ONC-T, ONC-W1, ONC-W2), Near-Infrared Camera (NIR3), Thermal-Infrared Camera (TIR), Light Detection And Ranging (LIDAR).

Sampling: Sampling device (SMP), Small Carry-on Impactor (SCI), Deployable Camera (DCAM3).

Four rovers: Mobile Asteroid Surface Scout (MASCOT), Rover-1A, Rover-1B, Rover-2.

The scientific objectives of Hayabusa2 mission are twofold:

  • To characterize the asteroid from remote sensing observations (with multispectral cameras, near-infrared spectrometer, thermal infrared imager, laser altimeter) on a macroscopic scale.
  • To analyse the samples returned from the asteroid on a microscopic scale.

What is the significance of the mission?

Ryugu is a C-type asteroid – a relic from the early days of the Solar System. Scientists think that C-type asteroids contain both organic matter, and trapped water, and might have been responsible for bringing both to Earth, thereby providing the planet with the materials necessary for life to originate.

Source: The Hindu

Rajasthan’s Gujjar quota faces a legal challenge

In News:

The Supreme Court has refused to entertain a plea challenging the grant of 5% quota to Gujjars and four other castes in jobs and educational institutions in Rajasthan through an amendment in February.

Details:

SC has dismissed the appeal against a Rajsthan High Court order refusing to grant interim relief on the petition challenging the quota to Gujjars and others, treating them as socially and economically backward classes.

What’s the issue?

Rajasthan government has proposed to give 5% reservation to Gujjars and four other nomadic communities in jobs and education in Rajasthan, citing them as being an “extremely backward class”.

However, the PIL argues that this law breached the 50% ceiling on reservation. The PIL had also cited the proportion of Gujjars’ population as per the last Census instead of referring to the quantifiable data of backwardness in education and public employment.

Rajasthan Backward Classes Amendment Bill, 2019:

The Rajasthan government has passed the Rajasthan Backward Classes (Reservation of Seats in Educational Institutes in the State and of Appointments and Posts in Services under the State) Amendment Bill, 2019.

The bill seeks to provide 5% reservation to Gujjars, Banjaras, Gadia Lohars, Raikas and Gadaria. At present, the communities are provided 1% reservation under More Backward Classes (MBC).

The bill has increased the OBC reservation in Rajasthan from the present 21% to 26%. It has also increased the income limit for defining creamy layer in OBC from Rs. 2.5 lakh to Rs. 8 lakh/annum.

The Rajasthan government has also passed a resolution requesting the Centre to include the bill in Schedule IX of the Indian Constitution. This is because Rajasthan has breached the 50% cap on reservations set by the Supreme Court.

What is Ninth schedule all about?

A law enacted and included in the Ninth Schedule gets protection under Article 31-B (validation of certain Acts and Regulations) and is not subject to judicial review. However, in 2007, the Supreme Court ruled that all laws including those in the Ninth Schedule would be open to judicial review if they violated the basic structure of the constitution.

What are the concerns?

Multiple commissions appointed by State governments have recommended the implementation of the 5% quota on the basis of the community’s “extreme” or “most” backward nature.

But the lack of adequate data in the absence of a proper socio-economic caste census to prove this has led to the policy’s undoing in judicial orders.

Also, the repeated agitations reveal the shortfall in adequate, gainful and secure job opportunities in States such as Rajasthan.

Source: The Hindu

Enemy properties

In News:

The government has sold enemy shares worth around Rs 1,150 crore in IT major Wipro to LIC and two other state-owned insurers.

Details:

Enemy properties are those properties that were left behind by the people who took citizenship of Pakistan and China.

There are 9,280 such properties left behind by Pakistani nationals and 126 by Chinese nationals.

Of the total properties left behind by those who took Pakistani citizenship, 4,991 are located in Uttar Pradesh, the highest in the country. West Bengal has 2,735 such estates and Delhi 487.

The highest number of properties left by Chinese nationals is in Meghalaya (57).West Bengal has 29 such properties and Assam seven.

The estimated value of all enemy properties is approximately Rs 1 lakh crore.

Enemy properties Act:

After the Indo-Pakistan War of 1965, the Enemy Property Act was enacted in 1968, which regulates such properties and lists the custodian’s powers.

The government amended the Act in the wake of a claim laid by the heirs of Raja Mohammad Amir Mohammad Khan, known as Raja of Mahmudabad, on his properties spread across Uttar Pradesh and Uttarakhand.

The government has vested these properties in the Custodian of Enemy Property for India, an office instituted under the Central government.

Source: The Hindu

CCI

The Competition Commission of India (CCI) was established under the Competition Act, 2002 for the administration, implementation and enforcement of the Act, and was duly constituted in March 2009.

Chairman and members are appointed by the central government.

The following are the objectives of the Commission:

  • To prevent practices having adverse effect on competition.
  • To promote and sustain competition in markets.
  • To protect the interests of consumers.
  • To ensure freedom of trade.

Functions of the commission:

It is the duty of the Commission to eliminate practices having adverse effect on competition, promote and sustain competition, protect the interests of consumers and ensure freedom of trade in the markets of India.

The Commission is also required to give opinion on competition issues on a reference received from a statutory authority established under any law and to undertake competition advocacy, create public awareness and impart training on competition issues.

The Competition Act:

The Competition Act, 2002, as amended by the Competition (Amendment) Act, 2007, prohibits anti-competitive agreements, abuse of dominant position by enterprises and regulates combinations (acquisition, acquiring of control and M&A), which causes or likely to cause an appreciable adverse effect on competition within India.

 

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