TABLE OF CONTENTS
A. GS1 Related B. GS2 Related INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS 1. 'Howdy, Modi' C. GS3 Related ENVIRONMENT 1. Pyrolysis (NGT tells CPCB to regulate import of waste tyres) 2. Environmental flows (Government sets early deadline for Ganga hydro projects to ensure flow levels) D. GS4 Related E. Editorials INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS 1. Are Saudi Arabia’s oil supplies vulnerable? F. Tidbits 1. Jaishankar discusses terrorism with Finland G. Prelims Facts 1. Leukemia H. UPSC Prelims Practice Questions I. UPSC Mains Practice Questions
A. GS1 Related
B. GS2 Related
- It is a mega diaspora event.
- The summit, with the tagline of ‘Shared Dreams, Bright Futures’ will highlight the contributions of Indian-Americans to enrich the American life as well as the key role played in strengthening relations between the two nations.
- The event will include a cultural program and an address by PM Modi.
- A 90-minute cultural program titled, ‘Woven: The Indian-American Story’ is going to celebrate the contributions of Indian-Americans to the cultural, and social landscape of the United States.
- Modi has previously addressed similar gatherings at Madison Square Garden in New York and the Silicon Valley in California but this is being touted as the biggest ever gathering by a global political leader.
What is the political significance of the event?
- The White House had issued a statement saying, “It will be a great opportunity to emphasise the strong ties between the people of the US and India, to reaffirm the strategic partnership between the world’s oldest and largest democracies, and to discuss ways to deepen their energy and trade relationship.”
- The Mega event will see the participation of a large number of elected officials, including senators, congressmen, governors, judges, and business leaders.
How have earlier Prime Ministers of India invested in Indian Diaspora?
- Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi was the first to appreciate the potential role diaspora could play in advancing national development and improving India’s ties with the US.
- As he launched the reform era, P V Narasimha Rao sought investments from the diaspora.
- Atal Bihari Vajpayee formalised India’s engagement with the diaspora by institutionalising the Pravasi Bharatiya Divas.
- But few leaders have showered the kind of personal and political attention on the diaspora that Modi
- Modi went beyond demanding that the diaspora do more for India. He promised that India would do more for them as well.
Role played by the Indian Diaspora
- The Indian diaspora (including non-resident Indians and persons of Indian origin) is estimated to be more than 30 million and growing.
- Its substantive concentration is in the Anglo-American world, the Gulf and the former colonies of the British empire. Its presence is growing beyond these traditional areas. So has its political and economic influence in the host nations.
- But nowhere is the presence of the diaspora more expansive than in the US. As a rich and accomplished minority, the Indian-American community has become influential in all walks of life in the US.
- In the last decade for example, the diaspora generated much needed political support in the US Congress for changing the American non-proliferation laws and facilitating civil nuclear cooperation with India.
- Today, the diaspora might once again have a critical role in informing the Congress and the wider public about the situation in Kashmir and explaining the historic context and the logic behind India’s recent actions.
However, Modi’s visit to the US will also showcase some of the emerging problems with India’s diaspora diplomacy.
- First, Islamabad’s imitation of Delhi in the mobilisation of Pakistani diaspora is certainly flattering.
- While it is reasonable for Pakistan to get its diaspora to support the improvement of US-Pak relations, Islamabad is also firing at the Modi government from the shoulders of the Pakistani diaspora.
- Besides galvanising the Pakistani-Americans, Islamabad is also mobilising the Muslim American communities on Kashmir and other issues.
- Pakistan is expected to organise protests against Modi in both Houston and New York.
- As India’s outreach to the diaspora strengthens, Modi must also give some thought to a broader strategy of connecting with all people of South Asian origin.
- Second, while India welcomes the opportunity to serenade the American president in front of the diaspora, Delhi should be careful about not crossing some red lines.
- China, for example, is getting into trouble in many countries for turning its relationship with the diaspora into an active intervention in the domestic politics of the host nation.
- Given the current polarisation of US domestic politics and the profound hostility towards Trump among the Democrats, Delhi has to be careful not to be seen as tilting in favour of one side.
- In his embrace of the Indian American community at Houston, the PM has an opportunity to fine-tune his diaspora diplomacy by reaffirming the commitment to inclusive development of all Indians, irrespective of their caste or creed and emphasising the new possibilities for the collective progress of the Subcontinent as a whole.
- Modi must also underline that the main purpose of India’s diaspora engagement in America is about elevating the strategic partnership with the US to a higher level.
C. GS3 Related
- Pyrolysis is the thermal decomposition of tyres in the absence of oxygen. It is a process where the material is put through a thermochemical treatment under high temperature to produce industrial oil and other matters.
- The National Green Tribunal (NGT) has directed the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) to regulate import of waste tyres for use in pyrolysis industry so that India does not become a dump yard for highly polluting hazardous waste material from other countries.
- In 2014, the National Green Tribunal banned the burning of used tyres in the open or using them as fuel in brick kilns, because they produce toxic smoke known to be hazardous to health.
- The toxic pollutants emitted affect public health adversely.
- The workers employed in such unscientific practices suffer from neurological disorders, skin diseases, cancer etc.
- The activity emits highly carcinogenic/cancer-causing pollutants such as polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAH), dioxin, furans and oxides of nitrogen which are extremely harmful to the respiratory system.
Failure to comply by rules
- The Ministry of Environment and Forests has a well-defined Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) for operation of such plants. However, only a very small percentage of these plants are partially compliant with the SOP.
- According to CPCB report in most cases, it was observed that the reason for non-compliance is not meeting the criteria of Standard Operating Procedure [SOP] of Ministry of Environment and Forests and the consent conditions issued by the State Pollution Control Boards
Steps to be taken
- NGT says there is a need for restrictions on import and regulation of unregulated units
- Accordingly, the CPCB may issue appropriate directions on the subject after due consideration on the issue.
- The directions should also deal with the restrictions on import so as to ensure that India does not become a dump yard for highly polluting hazardous waste material from other countries and also to ensure that health of the workers involved in the process
- Used tyres can be recycled through cleaner processes than pyrolysis.
- Through a technology called CRMB (Crum Rubber Modified Bitumen), rubber from used tyres is added to bitumen with crushed stones to lay roads. While this process was implemented by the Centre until 2010, it has been neglected since.
- Contractors are deliberately avoiding this technology. The motive, it said, was to make more money by using the tyres to produce fuel through pyrolysis and other processes.
- Stricter norms for granting permission for import of waste tyres are required.
- Permission should be given only to a company having mechanical recycling equipment for processing of waste tyres in an environment friendly manner.
- Such companies must submit end use certificate and power consumption bill to show genuine in-house processing of waste tyres and who their end customers are. This should be certified by an independent auditor
- It refers to minimum water levels that must be maintained in the river at all times of the year for its health and sustainability
- It is defined in terms of the quantity, quality and timing of water running through rivers and wetlands.
- They sustain aquatic ecosystems and human livelihoods.
Importance of Environmental Flows
- Flows are needed for maintaining the river regime, making it possible for the river to purify itself, sustaining aquatic life and vegetation, recharging groundwater, supporting livelihoods, facilitating navigation, preserving estuarine conditions, preventing the incursion of salinity, and enabling the river to play its role in the cultural and spiritual lives of the people.
Threats to minimum flow
- River flows are threatened by a proliferation of dams and over-abstraction of water for agriculture, industry and urban use.
- The Centre has cut down by two years the grace period accorded to hydropower projects on the upper stretches of the Ganga, for complying with environmental-flow requirements.
- In October 2018, amidst protests by Ganga activists and monks, the government had passed a notification requiring hydropower projects to release minimum quantities of water.
- However, it gave hydropower projects “three years (2018-2021)” to make modifications to projects to comply with these norms.
Reduction in time Period for execution of Minimal water flow
- But in September 2019 via a gazette notification, the government advanced this deadline to December 15 2019.
- This decision was taken because the Central Water Commission has for a year monitored flows from these projects and found that all the projects had the capacity to comply with the e-flow regime
D. GS4 Related
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- External Affairs Minister Jaishankar is on a three-day visit to Finland, the current chair of the European Union that supported India on the Kashmir issue.
- This is amidst Pakistan’s bid to internationalise the Kashmir issue after India revoked Jammu and Kashmir’s special status.
- The two Countries had “long discussion” on terrorism and reviewed bilateral relationship with special focus on green technologies.
- India’s decision to revoke Jammu and Kashmir’s special status as a “National Security Connotation,” emphasising that the “epicentre of global terrorism” is right there in the country’s “neighbourhood”.
- Jaishankar said India is opposed to terrorism in all its forms and manifestations and believe there is no justification for it.
G. Prelims Facts
- White Blood Cells (WBC), also called leukocytes, are an important part of the immune system.
- These cells help fight infections by attacking bacteria, viruses, and germs that invade the body.
- White blood cells originate in the bone marrow but circulate throughout the bloodstream
- Leukemia is a type of cancer found in your blood and bone marrow and is caused by the rapid production of abnormal white blood cells.
- These abnormal white blood cells are not able to fight infection and impair the ability of the bone marrow to produce red blood cells and platelets.
H. UPSC Prelims Practice Questions
Q1. With reference to National Investigation Agency:
- It deals with offenses of terrorism only
- it does not extend to citizens of India outside India
- It extends to persons on ships and aircrafts registered in India wherever they may be
Which of above statements is/ are incorrect?
a) 1 only
b) 1 and 2 only
c) 1, 2 and 3
Q2. Yellow Vest recently seen in news was a protest in which country?
a) United Kingdom
Q3. Consider the following statements about IMMSAREX
- It is the world’s largest international maritime warfare exercise
- It is hosted and administered by the United States Navy
Which of above statements is/ are correct?
a) 1 only
b) 2 only
Q4. Which of the following islands are part of the Pacific Ocean?
- Comoro Islands
- Nauru Island
- Solomon Islands
- Agalega Islands
- Assumption Islands
Choose the correct option:
a) 1, 2 and 3 only
b) 4 and 5 only
c) 2 and 3 only
d) 1, 4, and 5 only
I. UPSC Mains Practice Questions
- The Indian Diaspora has played a major role in upgrading India’s relationship worldwide. Substantiate. (150 Words)
- Explain why India needs to rethink about it’s Water Governance Strategies and reorganize its institutional structure. (250 Words)
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