20th August Current Affairs
August 25, 2021
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August 25, 2021
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21th August Current Affairs

PM-KUSUM Scheme

(GS-II: Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues arising out of their design and implementation)

In News:

The Union Minister for Power and MNRE recently reviewed the implementation of PM-KUSUM Scheme.

He emphasised on the importance of PM-KUSUM scheme for farmers which provides them a day-time reliable source of power for irrigation activities and also increasing their income.

Pradhan Mantri Kisan Urja Suraksha evem Utthan Mahabhiyan / (PM KUSUM) Scheme:

The Scheme is an initiative of the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE).

It is a scheme for farmers for installation of solar pumps and grid connected solar and other renewable power plants in the country.

Approved in February 2019, the objective of the scheme is to provide financial and water security.

The scheme aims to add solar and other renewable capacity of 25,750 MW by 2022.

Key features:

As per provisions of the PM-KUSUM Scheme, the grid connected agriculture pumps can be solarised with central and state subsidy of 30% each and farmer’s contribution of 40%.

It will also include feeder level solarisation.

Scheme implementation:

State Nodal Agencies (SNAs) of MNRE will coordinate with States/UTs, Discoms and farmers for implementation of the scheme.

Scheme benefits:

The scheme will open a stable and continuous source of income to the rural landowners for a period of 25 years by utilisation of their dry/uncultivable land.

In case cultivated fields are chosen for setting up solar power projects, the farmers could continue to grow crops as the solar panels are to be set up above a minimum height.

The solar pumps will save the expenditure incurred on diesel for running diesel pumps and provide the farmers a reliable source of irrigation through solar pumps apart from preventing harmful pollution from running diesel pumps.

Malabar rebellion of 1921

(GS-I: Modern Indian history from about the middle of the eighteenth century until the present- significant events, personalities, issues)

In News:

August 20, marks the centenary of the Malabar rebellion, which is also known as the Moplah (Muslim) riots.

It has often been perceived as one of the first nationalist uprisings in southern India.

However, the riots, which had led to the deaths of hundreds of Hindus in the Malabar region, still remains a debated topic among historians.

What was the Mapilla rebellion?

The Mapilla rebellion or Moplah Rebellion (Moplah Riots) of 1921 was the culmination of a series of riots by Moplahs (Muslims of Malabar) in the 19th and early 20th centuries against the British and the Hindu landlords in Malabar (Northern Kerala).

The year 2021 will mark the 100th year anniversary of the uprising.

Causes and outcomes of the revolt:

The resistance which started against the British colonial rule and the feudal system later ended in communal violence between Hindus and Muslims.

Gandhiji along with Shaukat Ali, the leader of the Khilafat movement in India, visited Calicut in August 1920 to spread the combined message of non-cooperation and Khilafat among the residents of Malabar.

In response to Gandhiji’s call, a Khilafat committee was formed in Malabar and the Mappilas, under their religious head Mahadum Tangal of Ponnani who pledged support to the non-cooperation movement.

Most of tenants’ grievances were related to the security of tenure, high rents, renewal fees and other unfair exactions of the landlords.

The British government responded with much aggression, bringing in Gurkha regiments to suppress it and imposing martial law.

Wagon Tragedy:

A noteworthy event of the British suppression was the wagon tragedy when approximately 60 Mappila prisoners on their way to prison, were suffocated to death in a closed railway goods wagon.

China’s three-child policy

(GS-II: Effect of policies and politics of developed and developing countries on India’s interests, Indian diaspora)

In News:

China’s legislature has formally amended the country’s family planning rules to allow couples to have three children, also announcing a number of policy measures aimed at boosting declining birth rates.

What necessitated this?

The changes come in the wake of China’s once-in-ten year population census that recorded rapidly declining birth rates over the past decade.

The National Bureau of Statistics said that 12 million babies were born last year, the lowest number since 1961.

Firstly, why was one-child policy implemented?

China embarked upon its one-child policy in 1980, when the Communist Party was concerned that the country’s growing population, which at the time was approaching one billion, would impede economic progress.

It was enforced through several means, including incentivising families financially to have one child, making contraceptives widely available, and imposing sanctions against those who violated the policy.

Criticisms associated with this policy:

Chinese authorities have long hailed the policy as a success, claiming that it helped the country avert severe food and water shortages by preventing up to 40 crore people from being born.

However, the one-child limit was also a source of discontent, as:

The state used brutal tactics such as forced abortions and sterilisations.

It violated human rights, and was unfair to poorer Chinese since the richer ones could afford to pay economic sanctions if they violated the policy.

It gave way for enforcing reproductive limits as a tool for social control.

It affected the sex ratio- skewed towards males.

It led to abortion of female fetuses rose and so did the number of girls who were placed in orphanages or abandoned.

It made China’s population age faster than other countries, impacting the country’s growth potential.

Why was it discontinued?

Fears of a rapidly ageing population undermining economic growth forced the ruling Communist Party to allow two children per married couple.

What necessitated further reforms?

While the relaxation did result in some improvement in the proportion of young people in the country, the policy change was deemed insufficient in averting an impending demographic crisis.

Challenges ahead:

Experts say relaxing limits on reproductive rights alone cannot go a long way in averting an unwanted demographic shift.

The main factors behind fewer children being born are:

Rising costs of living, education and supporting ageing parents.

Country’s pervasive culture of long working hours.

Many couples believing that one child is enough, and some expressing no interest in having children.

Kigali Amendment to the 1989 Montreal Protocol

(GS-III: Conservation and pollution related issues)

In News:

India has decided to ratify Kigali Amendment, a key amendment to the Montreal Protocol.

What is Kigali Amendment?

Negotiated in the Rwandan capital in October 2016.

The amendment has already come into force from the start of 2019.

It enables the gradual phase-down of hydrofluorocarbons, or HFCs, a family of chemicals used extensively in the air-conditioning, refrigeration and furnishing foam industry.

Goals under Kigali Amendment:

Before the middle of this century, current HFC use has to be curtailed by at least 85 per cent. Countries have different timelines to do this.

India has to achieve this target by 2047 while the developed countries have to do it by 2036. China and some other countries have a target of 2045.

While the reductions for the rich countries have to begin immediately, India, and some other countries, have to begin cutting their HFC use only from 2031.

Significance and the expected outcomes:

If implemented successfully, the Kigali Amendment is expected to prevent about 0.5°C rise in global warming by the end of this century.

No other single intervention to cut greenhouse gas emissions comes even close to this in terms of returns offered and the ease of implementation.

It is thus considered crucial to achieving the Paris Agreement target of restricting temperature rise to within 2°C from pre-industrial times.

What are hydrofluorocarbons?

HFCs are known to be much worse than carbon dioxide in causing global warming.

In fact, according to the UN Environment Programme (UNEP), the average global warming potential of 22 of the most used HFCs is about 2,500 times that of carbon dioxide.

About Montreal Protocol:

The 1989 Montreal Protocol is meant to protect the ozone layer of the upper atmosphere.

The Protocol mandated the complete phase-out of CFCs and other ozone-depleting substances (ODS), which it has successfully managed to do in the last three decades.

What are the concerns now?

CFCs were gradually replaced, first by HCFCs, or hydrochlorofluorocarbons, in some cases, and eventually by HFCs which have minimal impact on the ozone layer.

The transition from HCFCs to HFCs is still happening, particularly in the developing world.

HFCs, though benign to the ozone layer, were powerful greenhouse gases.

If left unabated, their contribution to annual greenhouse gas emissions is expected to reach up to 19% by 2050.