IASCLUB Daily Current Affairs : 30 August 2019

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‘Fit India Movement’ kicked off on National Sports Day

Topic : GS Paper II HEALTH

The Prime Minister, Narendra Modi launched the ‘Fit India’ Movement’ on National Sports Day.

Issues:

  • In India, there is a worrying trend of the younger generation grappling with lifestyle diseases.
  • There is a surge in diabetes and hypertension cases and other lifestyle diseases.

Details:

  • The Fit India Movement aims to encourage people to inculcate physical activity and sports in their everyday lives.
  • The PM, launching the event, said that the initiative is the need of the hour and will take the country towards a healthier future.
  • Stressing the need to stay fit and healthy, this day was observed to spread awareness on the importance of sports and daily activities in every individual’s life.
  • A committee, headed by Sports Minister Kiren Rijiju and comprising government officials, members of Indian Olympic Association (lOA), national sports federations, private bodies and fitness promoters, has been formed to take the movement forward.
  • Countries like China, Australia and Germany have already started campaigns to make their country fitter.

National Sports Day:

  • The Sports Day of India (Rashtriya Khel Divas) marks the birth anniversary of the legendary hockey player Major Dhyan Chand, who was born on August 29 in the year 1905.
  • On this day, President of India honours eminent sports personalities with major awards including Khel Ratna, Arjuna Awards, Dronacharya Awards and Dhyan Chand Award.

Russia set to offer submarines during Modi-Putin summit

Topic : GS Paper II  INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS

Russia is likely to offer India its conventional submarines at the summit between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and President Vladimir Putin at Vladivostok.

More in News :

  • Modi is to visit Vladivostok to attend the Eastern Economic Forum as well as the annual bilateral summit with Russian President Vladimir Putin.
  • This is the 20th summit between the leaders of the two countries since the year 2000 when the mechanism was institutionalized.
  • The meeting between Modi and Putin will be their third this year—previously they met on the margins of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation meet in the Kyrgyz capital Bishkek and the G20 meet in Osaka.
  • The two countries are looking to get Indian investment into Russia’s Far East that borders China, a region rich in mineral resources.
  • The submarines will be offered on the government-to-government route under the Navy’s Project-75I at the summit.
  • This is expected to save a lot of time in the procurement process.
  • The Navy is looking to buy six advanced conventional diesel-electric submarines under Project 75I that, after several delays, has made progress in the past several months.
  • The procurement is under the Strategic Partnership (SP) model, and is the second project to be processed through this route after the Navy’s tender for utility helicopters.
  • The Russian submarine will likely be based on the Amur 1650 conventional submarine, modified to suit Indian requirements.

UN warns of rising seas, storm surges

Topic : GS Paper III ENVIRONMENT AND ECOLOGY

According to the draft of a major UN report, there would be serious blowbacks over the next few centuries from oceans and Earth’s frozen zones.

Issues:

  • According to Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), our long-time habit of loading the atmosphere with planet-warming CO2 has spawned a host of consequences, starting with irreversible sea-level rise.
  • Destructive changes already set in motion could see
    • A steady decline in fish stocks
    • A hundred-fold or more increase in the damages caused by superstorms
    • Hundreds of millions of people displaced by rising seas
  • Without deep cuts to manmade emissions, at least 30% of the northern hemisphere’s surface permafrost could melt by century’s end, unleashing billions of tonnes of carbon and accelerating global warming even more.

Concern:

  • The 900-page scientific assessment is the fourth such tome from the UN in less than a year, with others focused on a 1.5-Celsius cap on global warming, the state of biodiversity, and how to manage forests and the global food system.
  • All four conclude that humanity must overhaul the way it produces and consumes almost everything to avoid the worst ravages of climate change and environmental degradation.

Details:

  • The report found that, even under optimistic scenarios in which warming is capped at two degrees Celsius, Earth will likely see more than a 100-fold increase in the damages caused by superstorms and 280 million people displaced by rising seas.
  • Earth’s ice- or snow-covered regions, known as the cryosphere, have also been hammered by man-made warming, with ice sheets shedding more than 400 billion tonnes in mass each year.
  • Mountain glaciers, the fresh water source for a billion people in the Andes, Himalayas and elsewhere is threatened with local extinction.
  • According to the findings, a third to 99% of the world’s permafrost could also melt by 2100 if emissions continue unabated, potentially releasing a carbon bomb of greenhouse gases.
  • It finds that, as the 21st century unfolds, melting glaciers will first give too much and then too little to billions who depend on them for fresh water.
  • The report concludes that, by 2050, many low-lying megacities and small island nations will experience “extreme sea level events” every year.
  • It is said that, even if the world manages to cap global warming at two degrees Celsius, the global ocean waterline will rise enough to displace more 250 million people.

Two new species of eels discovered

Topic : GS Paper III ENVIRONMENT AND ECOLOGY

Two new species of marine eel are discovered and documented this year by Estuarine Biology Regional Centre (EBRC) of the Zoological Survey of India (ZSI) at Gopalpur-on-sea in Odisha.

More in news :

  • Till now, 10 species of short brown unpatterned moray eels have been discovered in the world, out of which two were found in Indian waters.
  • One of them is a short brown un-patterned moray eel now named ‘Gymnothorax andamanensesis’.
  • With this new discovery, the number of short brown un-patterned moray eels discovered from the Indian coast has increased to three.
  • Similarly, a new white-spotted moray eel, named ‘Gymnothorax smithi’ has also been identified.
  • Marine eels are mostly found in shallow waters but some of them live offshore in sandy or clayey bottoms ranging up to 500 metres.

Marine biodiversity is still considerably unexplored in India, which has a long coast line. Increased knowledge about it through exploration will be a great help in its conservation and proper utilisation.

 

‘100% FDI in coal will boost competitiveness’

Topic : GS Paper III ECONOMY

The Centre’s recently announced 100% foreign direct investment (FDI) in the coal sector.

More in news :

  • India is one of the largest importers of thermal coal. Government allowing 100% FDI in coal mining will attract global miners. This will result in FDI inflow along with updated technology, and increase India’s coal production.
  • It is believed that the Centre’s announcement allowing 100% foreign direct investment (FDI) in the coal sector should enhance Coal India Limited’s (CIL) competitiveness and efficiency.
  • 100% FDI in mining is believed to send a positive signal to global investors and give a significant push to the economy.
  • Increased mining will also lower “avoidable imports of coal that India has to make due to the prevalent demand-supply gap.

Scope for improvement:

  • It is opined that the government has taken a slew of measures, but more needs to be done.
  • The FDIs look for large mines and a simplified single-window for mining leases and environmental and forest clearances.
  • While the announcement would kindle the interest of global miners, they would need increased ease-of-doing business and time-bound approvals before they invest here.
  • In India, it takes at least six years from getting a mine allocation to actually starting mining operations.
  • This has now been fixed at 66 months. The Coal Ministry is taking steps such as doing away with the need for prior approval before a State government hands over the mining lease, which typically takes 6-12 months.
  • Overseas investors usually do not view such long timelines favourably.

Prelims Fact :

GI tag for T.N.’s Dindigul lock, Kandangi saree

  • Dindigul lock and the Kandangi saree were given the GI tag by the Geographical Indications Registry in Chennai.

Dindigul Lock:

  • The famous Dindigul locks are known throughout the world for their superior quality and durability, so much so that even the city in Tamil Nadu is called Lock City.
  • The abundance of iron in this region is the reason for the growth of the lock-making industry.
  • Though machine-made locks are easily available, government institutions like prisons, godowns, hospitals and even temples use the older pattern locks.
  • These lock manufacturing units are limited to an area of 5 km in and around Dindigul.
  • There are over 50 varieties of locks made by the artisans using raw materials such as MS flat plates and brass plates procured from the nearby towns, including Madurai and Salem.

Kandangi saree:

  • The Kandangi saree, manufactured in Karaikudi taluk in Sivaganga district, Tamil Nadu.
  • The original Kandangi saree is manually made using a winding machine, loom, shuttle and bobbin.
  • It is a team effort of the families who live in the town of Karaikudi and it forms part of their livelihood.
  • These sarees are characterised by the large contrast borders, and some of them are known to have borders covering as much as two-thirds of the saree.
  • The sarees are usually around 5.10 meters – 5.60 meters in length.
  • The Kandangi sarees exude brilliant colours like bright yellow, orange, red and a minimal black in the traditional pattern of stripes or checks with broad borders woven in coarse cotton.
  • Over the years, more interesting colours have been introduced for the saree, which is worn in a particular manner.

Editorial Section :

Tinkering for optics: On FDI rule changes – The Hindu

 

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