Agnipath scheme is in national interest, says Delhi High Court
Relevance in UPSC: General Studies paper -2: Welfare Schemes for Vulnerable Sections of the population by the Centre and States and the Performance of these Schemes; Mechanisms, Laws, Institutions and Bodies constituted for the Protection and Betterment of these Vulnerable Sections.
- The Delhi High Court on Monday upheld the validity of the Agnipath scheme launched by the Union government for recruitment in the armed forces.
- The Delhi High Court on Monday upheld the validity of the Agnipath scheme launched by the Union government for recruitment in the armed forces.
- Dismissing a bunch of petitions, a Division Bench of Chief Justice Satish Chandra Sharma and Justice Subramonium Prasad said the scheme was introduced in national interest.
- Agneepath Army Bharti Scheme is a central government scheme for youth to give entry into the Indian army.
- In this scheme, the government gives 4 years of job in the Indian army with an annual package of up to 6.9 lakh.
|Name of the scheme||Agneepath Yojana Entry Scheme, India|
|Beneficiary||Youth of India|
|Purpose||To Give Opportunities to the youth to serve in the armed forces as Agniveers.|
|Service Time||4 Years|
|Age Limit||18-25 years|
Key features of the Agneepath scheme
- It’s a Pan India married-based recruitment system. That means anyone from anywhere in India can apply for this job.
- It’s a four-year tenure job.
- Opportunity to serve in the armed forces as Agniveers.
- Attractive monthly emoluments and handsome Seva Nidhi package.
- 100% opportunity to apply for permanent enrollment.
- Enrollment model based on Agneepath scheme.
- Based on married organizational requirements, 25% of Agniveers selected based on a Central, transparent, rigorous system, after 4 years.
Objectives of the Scheme
- To enhance youthful profile of the Armed Forces so that they are at their fighting best at all times with increased risk taking ability.
- To attract young talent from the society to effectively exploit, adopt and use emerging modern technologies with enhanced technical thresholds of intake while leveraging Technical Institutions of the country.
- To provide an opportunity to the youth who may be keen to serve the Nation in uniform albeit for a short period of time.
- To imbibe The Armed Forces ethos, cotzraye, camaraderie, commitment and teamwork in the youth.
- To provide abilities and qualities such as discipline, dynamism, motivation and work-skills so that the youth remains an asset.
- Difficult to Find Another Job
- No Pension Benefit
- Training May Remain Unutilized
Significance of Such Step for the Country
- Furure Ready Soldiers
- More Employment Opportunities
- Higher Skilled Workforce
SC raps government on plea on ED chief’s term
Relevance in UPSC: General Studies paper -2: Important Aspects of Governance, Transparency and Accountability, E-governance- applications, models, successes, limitations, and potential; Citizens Charters, Transparency & Accountability and institutional and other measures.
- These amendments had paved the way for the government to stretch Mr. Mishra’s tenure by a year till November 2022. On the strength of these changes, the government had again given the 1984-batch Indian Revenue Service officer his third extension in November 2022. He is expected to continue till November 18, 2023.
- The Directorate of Enforcement (ED) is a law enforcement agency and economic intelligence agency responsible for enforcing economic laws and fighting economic crime in India.
- It is part of the Department of Revenue, Ministry of Finance, Government of India.
- It is composed of officers from the Indian Revenue Service, Indian Police Service, and the Indian Administrative Service as well as promoted officers from its own cadre.
- The origin of the ED goes back to 1 May 1956, when an “enforcement unit” was formed, within the Department of Economic Affairs, for handling Exchange Control Laws violations under the Foreign Exchange Regulation Act, 1947.
- In 1957, the unit was renamed as the Enforcement Directorate.
- Sanjay Kumar Mishra former Chief Commissioner of Income Tax, New Delhi was appointed as ED chief in the rank of Secretary to the Government of India, from October 2018.
- The prime objective of the Enforcement Directorate is the enforcement of two key Acts of the Government of India namely, the Foreign Exchange Management Act, 1999 (FEMA) and the Prevention of Money Laundering Act, 2002 (PMLA), and The Fugitive Economic Offenders Act, 2018 (FEOA).
Organizational set up
- The Directorate of Enforcement, with its headquarters at New Delhi, is headed by the director of enforcement.
- There are five regional offices at Mumbai, Chennai, Chandigarh, Kolkata, and Delhi headed by special directors of enforcement.
- For the trial of an offence punishable under section 4 of PMLA, the Central Government (in consultation with the chief justice of the High Court), designates one or more Sessions Courts as Special Court(s).
- The court is also called “PMLA Court”. Any appeal against any order passed by PMLA court can directly be filed in the High Court for that jurisdiction.
- In July 2022, according to data shared by the union government in Parliament, only 23 people have been convicted in 5,422 cases registered under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) in the 17 years after the law was passed, which is a conviction rate of less than 0.5%.
- The cases by ED have gone up six times in NDA’s second term, which led to accusations by opposition parties stating that ED is being misused by the BJP for their political ends.
Karnataka best equipped to supply renewable energy: report
Relevance in UPSC: General Studies paper -3: Infrastructure: Energy, Ports, Roads, Airports, Railways etc.
- Karnataka is currently the State with the best equipped power systems to transition its electricity system from being fossil-powered to renewable energy sources, followed by Andhra Pradesh and Gujarat, says an analysis by the Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis (IEEFA) and Ember.
- As part of its international obligations, India has committed to generating about half of its electricity from non-fossil fuel sources and reducing the emissions intensity of its gross domestic product (GDP) by 45% by 2030.
- Achieving this is predicated on States tweaking their infrastructure used to deliver electricity, to efficiently accommodate inputs from multiple power sources such as solar, wind, hydropower and existing fossil fuel sources.
- The Centre has approved the Intra-State Transmission System — Green Energy Corridor Phase-II that lays the infrastructure for connecting electricity generated from renewables with the power grid in seven States.
- The corridor scheme, with a total estimated cost of ₹12,000 crore, would receive 33% Central financial assistance, or ₹3,970 crore.
Green Energy Corridor – Intra-State Transmission System Phase-II scheme
- The Government of India approved the Green Energy Corridor – Intra-State Transmission System Phase-II scheme on 06.01.2022.
- The project cost is Rs. 12,031.33 crore with Central Financial Assistance (CFA) @ 33% of the project cost i.e. Rs 3,970.34 crore.
- The transmission infrastructure under the scheme will be setup in seven states namely Gujarat, Himachal Pradesh, Karnataka, Kerala, Rajasthan, Tamil Nadu and Uttar Pradesh.
Renewable Energy in India
- India ranks 3rd in renewable energy country attractive index in 2021 and 3rd largest energy consuming country in the world.
- India stands 4th globally in Renewable Energy Installed Capacity (including Large Hydro), 4th in Wind Power capacity & 4th in Solar Power capacity (as per REN21 Renewables 2022 Global Status Report).
- The country has set an enhanced target at the COP26 of 500 GW of non-fossil fuel-based energy by 2030. This has been a key pledge under the Panchamrit. This is the world’s largest expansion plan in renewable energy.
- India was the second largest market in Asia for new solar PV capacity and third globally (13 GW of additions in 2021). It ranked fourth for total installations (60.4 GW), overtaking Germany (59.2 GW) for the first time.
- India’s installed renewable energy capacity has increased 396% in the last 8.5 years and stands at more than 174.53 Giga Watts (including large Hydro), which is about 42.5% of the country’s total capacity (as of February 2023). India saw the highest year on year growth in renewable energy additions of 9.83% in 2022.
- The installed solar energy capacity has increased by 24.4 times in the last 9 years and stands at 63.3 GW as of Feb 2023. The installed Renewable energy capacity (including large hydro) has seen an increase of around 128 % since 2014.
|Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis (IEEFA)
· The Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis (IEEFA) examines issues related to energy markets, trends, and policies.
· The Institute’s mission is to accelerate the transition to a diverse, sustainable and profitable energy economy.
· Institute is located in Cleveland, Ohio, United States
Unpacking the new set of e-waste rules
Relevance in UPSC: General Studies paper -3: Conservation, Environmental Pollution and Degradation, Environmental Impact Assessment.
- The burgeoning problem of managing e-waste is a cross cutting and persisting challenge in an era of rapid urbanisation, digitalisation and population growth.
- The first set of e-waste Rules was notified in 2011 and came into effect in 2012. An important component of the Rules (2011) was the introduction of Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR).
- Under EPR compliance, ‘producers’ are responsible for the safe disposal of electronic and electric products once the consumer discards them.
- E-waste rules 2016, which were amended in 2018, were comprehensive and included provisions to promote ‘authorisation’ and ‘product stewardship’.
- Other categories of stakeholders such ‘Producer Responsibility Organisations (PRO) were also introduced in these rules.
E-Waste (Management) Rules 2022
- In November 2022, the Ministry of Environment and Forests further notified a new set of e-waste rules, which will come into force from April 1, 2023.
- These rules address some of the critical issues but are silent on others. The first main chapter of the E-Waste (Management) Rules 2022 includes the provision of an EPR framework, the foremost requirement being the ‘Registration of Stakeholders’ (manufacturer, producer, refurbisher and recycler).
- The earlier rules placed importance on seeking authorization by stakeholders, but a weak monitoring system and a lack of transparency resulted in inadequacy in compliance.
- Most of the ‘refurbishers’ or the ‘repair shops’ operating in Delhi are not authorised under the Central Pollution Control Board of India.
- Further, many formal recyclers undertake activities only up to the pre-processing or segregation stage, and thereafter channelise e-waste to the informal sector, which is a pure violation of law.
- A ‘digitalized systems approach’, introduced in the new rules (2022), may now address these challenges.
- Standardising the e-waste value chain through a common digital ‘portal’ may ensure transparency and is crucial to reduce the frequency of ‘paper trading’ or ‘false trail’, i.e., a practice of falsely revealing 100% collection on paper while collecting and/or weighing ‘scrap’ to meet targets.
Electronic waste, or e-waste
- Electronic waste, or e-waste, is a term for electronic products that have become unwanted, obsolete, and have reached the end of their useful life.
- It refers to all items of electrical and electronic equipment and its parts that have been discarded by its owner as waste without the intent of re-use.
What is E-waste Management?
- E-waste management is a complicated process given the multitude of actors that are involved in the process.
- The major stakeholders in the value chain include importers, producers/manufacturers, retailers (businesses/government/others), consumers (individual households, businesses, government and others), traders, scrap dealers, dissemblers/dismantlers and recyclers.
- To critically assess each in the different stages of processing, it is important to understand the e-waste value chain.
- The process involves four stages: generation, collection, segregation and treatment/disposal.
The New START treaty on pause
Relevance in UPSC: General Studies paper -2: Important International Institutions, agencies and fora – their Structure, Mandate.
- On February 23, on the eve of the first anniversary of his country’s “special military operation” in Ukraine, Russian President Vladimir Putin announced that Moscow was unilaterally suspending the last remaining nuclear arms control treaty with the U.S., stating that the West was trying to destroy Russia.
- Making the announcement at the end of his nearly two-hour-long state of the-nation address to Russian lawmakers, Mr. Putin said that Moscow ought to stand ready to resume nuclear weapons tests if the U.S. does.
- This move would end a global ban in place on nuclear weapons tests since Cold War times. In response, the S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken said Mr. Putin’s move was “deeply unfortunate and irresponsible”.
What is the New START nuclear treaty?
- Signed by then US president Barack Obama and his Russian counterpart, Dmitry Medvedev, in 2010, the New Start treaty caps the number of strategic nuclear warheads that the United States and Russia can deploy.
- Together, the US and Russia own 90% of the world’s nuclear weapons.
- The Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (START I), signed in 1991, expired in late 2009 and another treaty, the Strategic Offensive Reductions Treaty (SORT or Moscow Treaty), was signed in 2002. However, the New START treaty replaced the 2002 pact and was the last remaining nuclear weapons control agreement between the two powers.
- Under the agreement, Russia and the U.S. exchange data twice a year on ballistic missiles under the treaty’s purview and on bombers, test sites, nuclear bases etc.
- The treaty also mandates the two parties to send notifications within five days if they change or update something in their stockpile, like moving missiles to a new base or deploying a new warhead to the system.
What does the suspension mean for global arms control?
• Following Mr. Putin’s announcement, NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg said the move had made the world a more dangerous place, adding that “with today’s decision on New START, full arms control architecture has been dismantled.”
• Observers say the move not only disturbs the fragile calculus of nuclear arms controls between the two largest nuclear powers but could also give an opportunity to other nuclear-armed countries, especially China and others like Pakistan, Iran, Israel, and India among others, to increase their arsenals.
• A Reuters analysis quoted Tong Zhao, U.S.-based nuclear expert at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace as saying that the move could hamper arms control cooperation between the U.S. and China.
National Science Day
- India celebrates National Science Day every February 28.
- It was on this day in 1928, C.V. Raman announced the discovery of an optical effect called the Raman effect.
- In honour of India’s G20 leadership, the event this year has the theme “Global Science for Global Wellness.”
North East’s 1st compressed biogas plant
- North East’s 1st compressed biogas plant in Assam: The foundation stone-laying ceremony for the first-ever compressed biogas plant project in northeast India took place at Domora Pathar in Sonapur.
- The plant, which is being built by businessmen Pankaj Gogoi and Rakesh Doley under the name Redlemon Technologies, is expected to begin operating in November 2023 and will have a 5 tonne-per-day production capacity for compressed biogas from raw materials like municipal solid wastes and cattle manure.
Bird Survey Dharoi 2023
- The Gujarat Forest Department, BCSG (Bird Conservation Society of Gujarat), and the Adams Nature Retreat Resort together organized the bird survey in Dharoi Gujarat.
- It is a wetland and is spread over 107 square kilometres. The wetland is located in the trijunction of the Mehsana, Banaskantha, and Sabarkantha districts.
- During the survey, the bird watchers mapped and recorded the population and diversity of waterfowl in Dharoi. For this reason, the survey was unique and the first of its kind.
- The first Bird Survey Dharoi was conducted in 2022.