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8th June Current Affairs

What is the SDG India Index?

About the Index for Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs):

First launched in December 2018, the index has become the primary tool for monitoring progress on the SDGs in India.

It has also fostered competition among the states and UTs by ranking them on the global goals.

The index is developed in collaboration with the United Nations in India.

It tracks the progress of all states and UTs on 115 indicators aligned with the National Indicator Framework (NIF) of the Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation.

How are states and UTs ranked?

The SDG India Index scores range between 0–100, higher the score of a State/UT, the greater the distance to target achieved.

States and UTs are classified in four categories based on Index score:

  • Aspirant: 0–49.
  • Performer: 50–64.
  • Front-runner: 65–99.
  • Achiever: 100.

Currently, there are no states in the aspirant and achiever category.

What are its latest findings?

Country’s overall SDG score improved by 6 points — from 60 in 2019 to 66 in 2020-21.

This improvement is on accounts of improvement in performance in providing facilities including clean water and sanitation, affordable and clean energy among others.

Kerala retained its rank as the top with a score of 75, Himachal Pradesh and Tamil Nadu both took the second spot with a score of 74.

Bihar, Jharkhand and Assam were the worst performing states in this year’s India index.

Chandigarh maintained its top spot among the UTs with a score of 79, followed by Delhi (68).

Clean Energy Ministerial’s (CEM) – Industrial Deep Decarbonization Initiative (IDDI)

In News:

India along with Govt. of United Kingdom launched new workstream to promote industrial energy efficiency under the Clean Energy Ministerial’s (CEM) – Industrial Deep Decarbonization Initiative (IDDI) at the 12th Chief Energy Ministerial (CEM).

What is Industrial Deep Decarbonization Initiative (IDDI)?

It is a global coalition of public and private organisations who are working to stimulate demand for low carbon industrial materials.

In collaboration with national governments, IDDI works to standardise carbon assessments, establish ambitious public and private sector procurement targets, incentivise investment into low-carbon product development and design industry guidelines.

Coordinated by United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO).

Members: The IDDI is co-led by the UK and India and current members include Germany and Canada.

About Clean Energy Ministerial (CEM):

Establishment:

It was established in December 2009 at the UN’s Framework Convention on Climate Change conference of parties in Copenhagen.

CEM is a high-level global forum to promote policies and programs that advance clean energy technology, to share lessons learned and best practices, and to encourage the transition to a global clean energy economy.

29 countries are part of CEM including India.

Internet through LEO satellites

In News:

OneWeb, which is a Low Earth Orbit (LEO) satellite communications operator, has launched its next batch of 36 satellites from Russia.

Details:

With the latest launch, OneWeb’s total in-orbit constellation stands at 218 satellites. These would be a part of OneWeb’s 648 LEO satellite fleet.

About OneWeb’s LEO internet programme:

Using LEO satellites OneWeb seeks to offer connectivity across the UK, Alaska, Northern Europe, Greenland, the Arctic Seas and Canada. The company expects the service to be switched on before the end of the year.

It calls this programme the ‘Five to 50’ service of offering internet connectivity to all regions north of 50 degrees latitude.

What are the benefits of LEO satellites based internet?

LEO satellites are positioned around 500km-2000km from earth, compared to stationary orbit satellites which are approximately 36,000km away.

As LEO satellites orbit closer to the earth, they are able to provide stronger signals and faster speeds than traditional fixed-satellite systems.

Because signals travel faster through space than through fibre-optic cables, they also have the potential to rival if not exceed existing ground-based networks.

Challenges:

LEO satellites travel at a speed of 27,000 kph and complete a full circuit of the planet in 90-120 minutes. As a result, individual satellites can only make direct contact with a land transmitter for a short period of time thus requiring massive LEO satellite fleets and consequently, a significant capital investment.

Criticisms of LEO satellites:

The balance of power has shifted from countries to companies since most of these are private companies run projects. As a result, there are questions related to who regulates these companies, especially given the myriad of nations that contribute to individual projects.

Complicated regulatory framework:

Stakeholders in these companies are from various countries. Thus it becomes challenging to receive requisite licences to operate in each country.

Satellites can sometimes be seen in the night skies which creates difficulties for astronomers as the satellites reflect sunlight to earth, leaving streaks across images.

Satellites travelling at a lower orbit can also interrupt the frequency of those orbiting above them.

Those objects, colloquially referred to as ‘space junk,’ have the potential to damage spacecraft or collide with other satellites.

Potential:

LEO satellite broadband is preferable in areas that cannot be reached by fibre and spectrum services. The target market will therefore be rural populations and military units operating away from urban areas.

Are there any other similar projects?

OneWeb’s chief competitor is Starlink, a venture led by Elon Musk’s SpaceX. Starlink currently has 1,385 satellites in orbit and has already started beta testing in North America and initiating pre-orders in countries like India.