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6th April Current Affairs

Sutlej Yamuna Link (SYL) Canal

(GS-II: Functions and responsibilities of the Union and the States, issues and challenges pertaining to the federal structure, devolution of powers and finances up to local levels and challenges therein)

In News:

The Haryana Assembly has passed a resolution seeking completion of the SYL Canal.

Details:

The canal, once completed, will enable sharing of the waters of the rivers Ravi and Beas between the two states.

Punjab’s demands:

As per a state government study, many areas in Punjab may go dry after 2029. The state has already over-exploited its groundwater for irrigation purposes as it fills granaries of the Centre by growing wheat and paddy worth Rs 70,000 crore every year. As per reports, water in about 79% of the state’s area is over-exploited.

In such a situation, the government says sharing water with any other state is impossible.

What is the Sutlej Yamuna Link (SYL) Canal, and the controversy over it?

Historical background:

The creation of Haryana from the old (undivided) Punjab in 1966 threw up the problem of giving Haryana its share of river waters.

Punjab was opposed to sharing waters of the Ravi and Beas with Haryana, citing riparian principles, and arguing that it had no water to spare.

However, Centre, in 1976, issued a notification allocating to Haryana 3.5 million acre feet (MAF) out of undivided Punjab’s 7.2 MAF.

In a reassessment in 1981, the water flowing down Beas and Ravi was estimated at 17.17 MAF, of which 4.22 MAF was allocated to Punjab, 3.5 MAF to Haryana, and 8.6 MAF to Rajasthan.

The Eradi Tribunal headed by Supreme Court Judge V Balakrishna Eradi was set up to reassess availability and sharing of water. The Tribunal, in 1987, recommended an increase in the shares of Punjab and Haryana to 5 MAF and 3.83 MAF, respectively.

The canal:

To enable Haryana to use its share of the waters of the Sutlej and its tributary Beas, a canal linking the Sutlej with the Yamuna, cutting across the state, was planned.

A tripartite agreement was also negotiated between Punjab, Haryana, and Rajasthan in this regard.

The Satluj Yamuna Link Canal is a proposed 214-kilometer long canal to connect the Sutlej and Yamuna rivers. However, the proposal met obstacles and was referred to the Supreme Court.

What is Haryana’s demand?

Haryana has been seeking the completion of the SYL canal to get its share of 3.5 million acre-feet of river waters. It has maintained that Punjab should comply with the 2002 and 2004 Supreme Court orders in this regard. Haryana is getting 1.62 million acre-feet of the Ravi-Beas waters.

What is the IPCC, and why are its Assessment Reports important?

(GS-III: Conservation related issues)

In News:

The third part of the IPCC’s Sixth Assessment Report was released recently.

Details:

The first part of the report was released in August last year. That one was centred around the scientific basis of climate change.

The second part of the report is about climate change impacts, risks and vulnerabilities, and adaptation options.

The third and final part of the report is focused on looking into the possibilities of reducing emissions.

What is the Sixth Assessment Report (AR6)?

The Sixth Assessment Report (AR6) of the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) is the sixth in a series of reports intended to assess scientific, technical, and socio-economic information concerning climate change.

This report evaluates the physical science of climate change – looking at the past, present, and future climate.

It reveals how human-caused emissions are altering our planet and what that means for our collective future.

The Assessment Reports, the first of which had come out in 1990, are the most comprehensive evaluations of the state of the earth’s climate.

So far five reports have been released (1990, 1995, 2001, 2007 and 2015).

Significance of IPCC Reports:

IPCC reports form the scientific basis on which countries across the world build their policy responses to climate change.

These reports, on their own, are not policy prescriptive: They do not tell countries or governments what to do. They are only meant to present factual situations with as much scientific evidence as is possible.

And yet, these can be of immense help in formulating the action plans to deal with climate change.

These reports also form the basis for international climate change negotiations that decide on the responses at the global level. It is these negotiations that have produced the Paris Agreement, and previously the Kyoto Protocol.

Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC):

It is an intergovernmental body of the United Nations responsible for advancing knowledge on human-induced climate change.

It was established in 1988 by the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) and the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP).

Headquarter: Geneva, Switzerland.

Function: To provide policymakers with regular assessments of the scientific basis of climate change, its impacts and future risks, and options for adaptation and mitigation.

Highlights of the third part:

The report found that over the past decade, emissions have continued to rise. Average annual global greenhouse gas emissions in the decade of 2010-19 were at their highest levels in human history.

Limiting global warming to around 1.5degrees Celsius requires global GHG emissions to peak before 2025 at the latest, and be reduced by 43% by 2030.

Pledges to Paris Agreement are Insufficient: Current pledges made by countries who have signed the Paris Agreement are known as Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs).

Abysmal climate finance flows from developed countries have affected energy transition in developing countries.

Green Hydrogen Potential

(GS-III: Conservation related issues)

In News:

Indian Oil Corporation (IOC), Larsen & Toubro (L&T), and ReNew Power (ReNew) have signed a binding term sheet to set up a Joint Venture (JV) company to develop the green hydrogen sector in India.

The Joint Venture will aim to supply green hydrogen at an “industrial scale”.

Significance:

India can become a hub for green hydrogen as the country has an inherent advantage in the form of abundant renewable energy.

India, being a tropical country, has a significant edge in green hydrogen production due to its favourable geographical conditions and abundant natural resources.

Producing hydrogen from renewables in India is likely to be cheaper than producing it from natural gas.

Efforts in this regard:

The Centre has released draft guidelines on the National Hydrogen Mission which aims to increase production to 5 million metric tonnes (MMT) by 2030 to meet about 40 percent of domestic requirements.

The centre is considering a proposal to introduce a Rs 15,000-crore Production Linked Incentive (PLI) scheme for electrolysers.

In February, the centre notified a green hydrogen and green ammonia policy that offers 25 years of free power for any new renewable energy plants set up for green hydrogen production before July 2025.

The government is also planning to introduce mandates requiring that the oil refining, fertiliser and steel sectors procure green hydrogen for a certain proportion of their requirements.

What is green hydrogen?

Hydrogen when produced by electrolysis using renewable energy is known as Green Hydrogen which has no carbon  footprint.

Significance of Green Hydrogen:

Green hydrogen energy is vital for India to meet its Nationally Determined Contribution (INDC) Targets and ensure regional and national energy security, access and availability.

Green Hydrogen can act as an energy storage option, which would be essential to meet intermittencies (of renewable energy) in the future.

In terms of mobility, for long distance mobilisations for either urban freight movement within cities and states or for passengers, Green Hydrogen can be used in railways, large ships, buses or trucks, etc.

Applications of green hydrogen:

Green Chemicals like ammonia and methanol can directly be utilized in existing applications like fertilizers, mobility, power, chemicals, shipping etc.

Green Hydrogen blending up to 10% may be adopted in CGD networks to gain widespread acceptance.

Benefits:

It is a clean-burning molecule, which can decarbonize a range of sectors including iron and steel, chemicals, and transportation.

Renewable energy that cannot be stored or used by the grid can be channelled to produce hydrogen.

State of denotified tribes

(GS-II: Welfare schemes for the Vulnerable Sections of the society)

In News:

A standing committee of Parliament, in its report, has criticised the functioning of the development programme for de-notified, nomadic and semi-nomadic tribes.

Who are de-notified, nomadic and semi-nomadic tribes?

They are communities that were ‘notified’ as being ‘born criminals’ during the British regime under a series of laws starting with the Criminal Tribes Act of 1871.

They are the most vulnerable and deprived.

Measures for their welfare:

The National Commission for De-notified, Nomadic and Semi-Nomadic Tribes (NCDNT) was constituted in 2006. It was headed by Balkrishna Sidram Renke.

Scheme for economic empowerment of DNT communities: It has been formulated to provide coaching, health insurance, facilitate livelihood and financial assistance for construction of homes for the members of DNT.

The Development and Welfare Board for De-notified, Nomadic and Semi-Nomadic Communities (DWBDNC) has been set up in 2019 under the Societies Registration Act, 1860 under the aegis of Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment for the purpose of implementing welfare programmes.

A committee has been set up by the NITI Aayog to complete the process of identification.

Ethnographic studies of DNCs are being conducted by the Anthropological Survey of India, with a budget of Rs 2.26 crore sanctioned.

What are the issues now?

Lack of Constitutional Support: These tribes somehow escaped the attention of our Constitution makers and thus got deprived of the Constitutional support unlike Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes.

No categorisation: A number of these tribes are categorised under SC, ST and OBC, many are not. However, 269 DNT communities are not covered under any reserved categories.

No money spent in 2021-22 under the Scheme for economic empowerment of DNT communities.

Budgetary allocation has been reduced to Rs 28 crore for 2022-23 against the budgetary allocation of Rs 50 crore for 2021-22.

Issues with the functioning of the Development and Welfare Board for De-notified, Nomadic and Semi-Nomadic Communities (DWBDNC).

There is no permanent commission for these communities.

Their numbers:

The Renke commission estimated their population at around 10.74 crore based on Census 2001.

1,262 communities have been identified as de-notified, nomadic and semi-nomadic.

Reasons for their deprivation:

These communities are largely politically ‘quiet’. They lack vocal leadership and also lack the patronage of a national leader.

Lack of education.

Small and scattered numbers.

Associated commissions and committees:

Criminal Tribes Inquiry Committee, 1947 constituted in the United Provinces (now Uttar Pradesh), Ananthasayanam Ayyangar Committee in 1949 (it was based on the report of this committee the Criminal Tribes Act was repealed), and Kaka Kalelkar Commission (also called first OBC Commission) constituted in 1953.