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4th June Current Affairs

National Achievement Survey (NAS)

(GS-II: Issues related to Education)

In News:

The outcomes of the latest National Achievement Survey (NAS) were recently released.

Details:

The first edition of NAS was carried out in 2001.

What is NAS?

It is a periodic exercise carried out broadly in alternate years to monitor the health of the country’s school education system.

Designed by the Ministry of Education along with the National Council for Educational Research and Training (NCERT).

Objectives: To provide a snapshot of learning outcomes in key subjects at the the end of Classes 3, 5, 8 and 10. These classes are generally seen to mark important stages in the development of a child’s cognitive abilities.

Key findings of NAS 2021:

Compared with 2017, the national average scores of students across subjects have dropped by up to 47 marks.

In Class 3, the average scores of students in language, maths and Environmental Science have dropped.

In Class 5, the scores in language, maths and EVS have dropped.

Class 8 has seen national average scores of language, maths, science and social science come down.

In Class 10, maths, science, social science, and modern Indian language scores have dropped.

Regional-, gender-, or community-wise variations:

Except for Punjab and Rajasthan, the performance of nearly all states have declined compared to 2017 levels.

There were no marked differences between the scores of boys and girls. There were some variations among communities, though.

Implications of the findings:

The NAS findings once again highlight the need for urgent interventions to improve foundational learning levels.

It will help to unravel the gaps in learning and will support state/UT governments in developing long term, mid-term and short-term interventions to improve learning levels.

NAS findings will help in capacity building for teachers, officials involved in the delivery of education.

What are the Eco-sensitive Zones (ESZs)?

(GS-III: Conservation related issues)

In News:

The Supreme Court has directed that every protected forest, national park and wildlife sanctuary across the country should have a mandatory eco-sensitive zone (ESZ) of a minimum one km starting from their demarcated boundaries.

What’s the issue?

The judgment came on a petition instituted for the protection of forest lands in the Nilgiris district of Tamil Nadu.

Subsequently, the scope of that writ petition was enlarged by the court so as to protect such natural resources throughout the country.

Directions by the Court:

In case any national park or protected forest already has a buffer zone extending beyond one km, that would prevail.

In case the question of the extent of buffer zone was pending a statutory decision, then the court’s direction to maintain the one-km safety zone would be applicable until a final decision is arrived at under the law.

Mining within the national parks and wildlife sanctuaries shall not be permitted.

The Principal Chief Conservator of Forests and Home Secretaries of States responsible for the compliance of the judgment.

About ESZs:

Eco-Sensitive Zones (ESZs) or Ecologically Fragile Areas (EFAs) are areas notified by the MoEFCC around Protected Areas, National Parks and Wildlife Sanctuaries.

The purpose of declaring ESZs is to create some kind of “shock absorbers” to the protected areas by regulating and managing the activities around such areas.

They also act as a transition zone from areas of high protection to areas involving lesser protection.

The Environment (Protection) Act, 1986 does not mention the word “Eco-Sensitive Zones”.

An ESZ could go up to 10 kilometres around a protected area as provided in the Wildlife Conservation Strategy, 2002.

Moreover, in the case where sensitive corridors, connectivity and ecologically important patches, crucial for landscape linkage, are beyond 10 km width, these should be included in the ESZs.

Significance of ESZ:

The purpose of declaring ESZs around national parks, forests and sanctuaries is to create some kind of a “shock absorber” for the protected areas.

These zones would act as a transition zone from areas of high protection to those involving lesser protection.

Need of the hour:

The nation’s natural resources have been for years ravaged by mining and other activities.

Hence, the government should not confine its role to that of a “facilitator” of economic activities for the “immediate upliftment of the fortunes of the State”.

It has to act as a trustee for the benefit of the general public in relation to the natural resources so that sustainable development could be achieved in the long term.

Green Bonds

(GS Paper-III: Conservation related issues)

In News:

India is likely to face an uphill battle if it goes ahead with its first sovereign green bond sale as it aims to issue the securities in rupees, putting off most overseas investors.

What’s the issue?

The timing might not be ideal for India though, especially for a rupee issuance.

The currency has slumped more than 4% this year amid concern the Reserve Bank of India is behind the curve in tackling inflation, with elevated crude oil prices adding to pressures on the net importer.

What Is a Green Bond?

A green bond is a type of fixed-income instrument that is specifically earmarked to raise money for climate and environmental projects.

These bonds are typically asset-linked and backed by the issuing entity’s balance sheet, so they usually carry the same credit rating as their issuers’ other debt obligations.​

Green bonds may come with tax incentives to enhance their attractiveness to investors.

The World Bank is a major issuer of green bonds.

How Does a Green Bond Work?

Green bonds work just like any other corporate or government bond.

Borrowers issue these securities in order to secure financing for projects that will have a positive environmental impact, such as ecosystem restoration or reducing pollution.

Investors who purchase these bonds can expect to make as the bond matures.

In addition, there are often tax benefits for investing in green bonds.

Green Bonds Vs Blue Bonds:

Blue bonds are sustainability bonds to finance projects that protect the ocean and related ecosystems.

This can include projects to support sustainable fisheries, protection of coral reefs and other fragile ecosystems, or reducing pollution and acidification.

All blue bonds are green bonds, but not all green bonds are blue bonds.

Green Bonds Vs Climate Bonds:

“Green bonds” and “climate bonds” are sometimes used interchangeably, but some authorities use the latter term specifically for projects focusing on reducing carbon emissions or alleviating the effects of climate change.

Veer Savarkar

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

In News:

May 28th 2022 marked the 139th birth anniversary of Veer Savarkar.

Who is Veer Savarkar?

Born on May 28, 1883 in Bhagur, a city in Maharashtra’s Nashik.

Nationalism and social reforms:

Formed a youth organization- Mitra Mela, this organization was put into place to bring in national and revolutionary ideas.

He was against foreign goods and propagated the idea of Swadeshi.

He championed atheism and rationality and also disapproved orthodox Hindu belief. In fact, he even dismissed cow worship as superstitious.

He also Worked on abolishment of untouchability in Ratnagiri. Dr Babasaheb Ambedkar also compared his work to Lord Buddha.

Vinayak Savarkar was a president of Hindu Mahasabha from 1937 to 1943.

When congress ministries offered resignation on 22nd oct 1939, Hindu mahaasabha under his leadership cooperated with Muslim league to form government in provinces like Sindh, Bengal and NWFP.

In Pune, Savarkar founded the “Abhinav Bharat Society”.

He joined Tilak’s Swaraj Party.

He founded the Free India Society. The Society celebrated important dates on the Indian calendar including festivals, freedom movement landmarks, and was dedicated to furthering discussion about Indian freedom.

He believed and advocated the use of arms to free India from the British and created a network of Indians in England, equipped with weapons.

Important works:

Book- The History of the war of Indian Independence.

An armed revolt against the Morley-Minto reform.

Two-nation theory in his book ‘Hindutva’.