Expected Most Important Topics for UPSC - 2018 (Part - 13) (Download PDF)


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Bharatmala project - National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) is set to get the power to approve projects with a construction cost of more than Rs. 1,000 crore. Currently, all such highway projects need to be approved by the Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA).

  • Mainly to ensure faster implementation of the Bharatmala programme.

  • It is an umbrella program under the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways.

Project 28 (Defence)

  • A class of anti - submarine warfare corvettes currently in service with the Indian Navy.

  • They are the first anti - submarine warfare stealth corvettes to be built in India.

  • Project was approved in 2003, with construction of the lead ship, INS Kamorta commencing on 2005.

  • 3 of the 4 corvettes, INS Kamorta and INS Kadmatt, INS Kiltan were commissioned in 2014,2016 and 2017 respectively.

Rooftop Solar to Become Norm by 2040: Niti Aayog

  • Rooftop solar to be norm in the country by 2040, as per Niti Aayog’s draft National Energy Policy (NEP).

  • Increased electricity share may not be viable to tap rooftop solar for homes.

  • Share of solar and wind is expected to be 14 – 18%: 9 – 11 % in electricity, and 3 – 5 % and 2 – 3 % in the primary commercial energy mix respectively, by 2040 Overall share of fossil fuels would come down from 81 % in 2012 to 78%.

  • Overall share of fossil fuels would come down from 81 % in 2012 to 78%.

  • Advent of Electric Vehicles (EVs) will curb a rise in share of oil.

INS Aridhaman

  • It is India’s 2ndstrategic nuclear submarine which is going to be launched soon.

  • Aridhaman belongs to Arihant class submarine, carrying ballistic missiles and powered by light water nuclear water.

  • It will carry K-15 and K-4 ballistic missiles as does INS Arihant.

  • K-4 is an intermediate range ballistic missile that can hit targets far as 3500 km.

  • INS Arihant was inducted into service in 2016.

Sampoorna Bima Gram Yojana

  • Ministry of Communications launched Sampoorna Bima Gram Yojana to give rural people affordable life insurances services.

  • At least 1 village (having a minimum of 100 households) will be identified in each district.

  • Provide with minimum of one RPLI (Rural Postal Life Insurance) policy for each households.

  • Coverage of all households in identified, is the primary objective of this scheme.

  • All villages under Saansad Adarsh Gram Yojana will be brought under its ambit.

Sansad Adarsh Gram Yojana

  • It is a village development project under which each MP will take responsibility of developing physical and institutional infrastructure in 3 villages by 2019.

  • Goal: To develop 3 Adarsh Grams by March 2019, of which one would be achieved by 2016.

  • Thereafter, 5 such Adarsh Grams (one per year) will be selected and developed by 2024.

  • The main objectives are:

    • Holistic development of the identified Gram Panchayats.

    • Improving the standard of living and quality of life.

    • To generate models of local level development.

    • Effective local governance which can motivate and inspire neighbouring Gram Panchayats to learn and adapt.

India’S Battle for Gender Equality:

  • Recent judicial judgments on triple talaq and right to privacy and verdict in Gurmeet Ram Rahim case have reinvigorated conservation on women’s safety and gender equality.

  • These cases shown the light on some of the social structures and practices.

  • That work to threaten constitutionally enshrined principles of equality and justice.

  • Gender inequality refers to unequal treatment or perceptions of individuals wholly or partly because of their gender.

  • This Index examines gender gap in four major areas:

    • Economic participation and opportunity: 134th

    • Educational achievements: 126th

    • Health and Life expectancy: 141st

    • Political empowerment: 15th

Lynching Emerges as a Disastrous Face in India

  • In last few years, cow vigilantism has been the catalyst of violence across India.

  • Government fails to respond to mob violence in line with constitutional principles.

  • Just when on 29th June 2017 when PM Narendra Modi made a public statement about condemning for killing in the name of cow protection, a small mob lynched a man in Jharkhand.

  • The victim was beaten to death for allegedly carrying beef.

  • Growing incidents of mob violence in many parts of the country are a matter of serious concern.

  • One of the major aspects of such lynching is executed either for religion or caste.

Incredible India 2.0 Campaign

  • President of India launched Incredible India 2.0 campaign and Adopt a Heritage project on the occasion of World Tourism Day.

  • Campaign will focus on developing at least 10 cities where the spirituality quotient, medical and wellness potential will be promoted.

  • At present cities from UP: Ayodhya, Agra, Mathura, Varanasi-Sarnath, and Gorakhpur, Haryana-Kurukshetra, Assam-Guwahati, and Tamil Nadu- Kanyakumari have been identified for developing tourist circuit.

Prakriti Khoj

  • It is an environment awareness initiative by the Union Ministry of Environment.

  • Objective: To reach out to young minds to trigger their sensitivity towards environment protection and conservation.

  • Schools under the National Green Corps (NGC) programme will get an opportunity to participate in the national level environmental quiz competition under this initiative.

Mukundra Hill Tiger Reserve

  • NTCA has given nod for shifting tigers from Ranthambhore National Park to Mukundara Hills tiger reserve.

  • Mukundara Hills, located in the south - eastern Rajasthan, is the third notified tiger habitat in the State, after Ranthambhore and Sarika.

  • The reserve covers the existing Darrah, Chambal and Jawahar Sagar wildlife sanctuary.

Ahmedabad Gets Status of India’S First World Heritage City by UNESCO

  • The commercial capital of Gujarat, Ahmedabad, has been formally accorded the status of India’s first World Heritage City by UNESCO.

  • In July, the UN agency had inscribed Ahmedabad as India’s first World Heritage City at a meeting held in Poland.

  • India now has a total of 36 World Heritage Inscriptions — 28 cultural, 7 natural and 1 mixed site.

Aquatic Rhabdops – New Species in Western Ghats

  • Scientists have described a new species of non - venomous endemic snake “Aquatic Rhabdops” from the Western Ghats.

  • It is 3 foot long nocturnal snake hunts for prey underwater.

  • Aquatic Rhabdops is found only in the laterite plateaus of the Northern Western Ghats in Goa, Southern Maharashtra and Northern Karnataka.

  • All Rhabdops snakes are endemic to India.

Gharial Exchange Program

  • Bangladesh Forest Department and IUCN have piloted the first ever gharial exchange programme to initiate the captive breeding of the species in Bangladesh.

  • The gharial is a crocodilian of the family Gavialidae, native to the northern part of the Indian Subcontinent.

  • It is listed as Critically Endangered in the IUCN red list.

Forest Plus Program

  • Forest Plus, also known as Land Use Science is a joint programme by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change (MoEF&CC).

  • It aims to strengthen capacity for REDD (Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation) implementation in India.

  • It brings together experts to develop technologies, tools and methods of forest management to meet the technical challenges of managing forests for the health of ecosystem, carbon stocks, biodiversity and livelihood.

Monitor Lizard

  • India is home to four varieties of monitor lizard - Agra, Yellow, Water, and Large Bengal.

  • Monitor Lizards are protected under Schedule 1 of the Wildlife Protection Act, 1972.

  • They share their Schedule 1 status with tigers, rhinos, elephants and leopards, and hunting or harming them can attract jail terms of at least 3 - 7 years.

  • Their trade is restricted under Appendix 1 of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES).

Asian Nature Conservation Foundation (ANCF):

  • The Nature Conservation Foundation is a non - governmental wildlife conservation and research organisation based in Mysore, India.

  • They promote the use of science for wildlife conservation in India.

  • The organisation was founded in 1996.

  • Their mission is to carry out “science - based and socially responsible conservation”.

Dam Safety Measures and Emergency Action Plan

  • A workshop was organised by Tamil Nadu Water Resources Department in collaboration with Central Water Commission, with the purpose to increase awareness about dam safety measures and finalizing Emergency Action Plan.

  • Dam Rehabilitation and Improvement Plan (DRIP): It is an externally - aided project.

  • 80 % of the total project is provided by the World Bank as loan/credit and remaining 20 % is borne by the States/Central Government (for CWC).

  • Objective: To strengthen the dam safety institutional setup of participating States/Implementing Agencies.

30Th Anniversary of Montreal Protocol & 23Rd World Ozone Day Celebrated

  • 30th Anniversary of Montreal protocol and 23rd World Ozone Day was celebrated on September 16th across the country.

  • Theme – “Caring for all life under the Sun”.

  • Every year, on September 16, World celebrates the International day for the preservation of Ozone layer as the World Ozone Day.

  • The first ozone hole discovered 30 years ago in May 1985 over Antarctica.

Wetland (Conservation and Management) Rules 2017:

  • In a major decision, the union environment ministry notified the new Wetland (Conservation and Management) Rules 2017.

  • This rules prohibit a range of activities in wetlands like setting up and expansion of industries, waste dumping and discharge of effluents.

  • The new rules will replace the 2010 version of the rules.

  • The new rules stipulate setting up of a State Wetlands Authority in each State and UTs.

Natural Capital:

  • Natural capital can be defined as the world’s stocks of natural assets which include geology, soil, air, water and all living things.

  • Critical natural capital (CNC) is defined as that part of the natural environment, which performs important and irreplaceable functions.

  • Significance of natural capital:

    • Ecosystem service

    • Immaterial And Intangible Nature

    • Balancing nature

    • Economic contribution

Amendment to the Environment Protection Act, 1986

  • The Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change proposed an amendment to the Environment Protection Act, 1986 to impose fines of up to Rs. 1 crore on polluter.

  • Significance of the proposed amendment:

    • To make pollution a civil offence

    • An Expert Panel

    • 1 crore as penalty

    • Spot Penalties For Minor Violations

Animal Monitoring Goes Real Time in Periyar Reserve

  • Video surveillance - cum - communication network installed.

  • Monitoring of wild animals and forest terrains is unfolding real time in the Periyar Tiger Reserve.

  • Microwave antennas and towers are used to set up the network.

  • A cost - effective ‘video surveillance cum-communication enhancer intranet network.

Indian Sedimentary Basins

  • Recently, Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs gave its approval to acquire 48,243 Line Kilometer (LKM) 2D seismic data for appraisal of Indian sedimentary basins by 2019 - 20, for prospecting of oil and natural gas reserves.

  • Significance:

    • Increasing GDP

    • Boost Hydrocarbon Exploration and Licensing Policy (HELP)

    • Employment opportunity

Van Mahotsav:

  • Van Mahotsav, a week - long festival, is being celebrated in different parts of India.

  • It is usually celebrated between 1 July to 7 July.

  • Programmes like screening of short films and documentaries, seminars and exhibition, painting and poster competitions are organised to mark the occasion.

  • Van Mahotsav began in 1950, with a tree plantation drive, in which national leaders participated.

SIERRA ODC Building Has Been Recognised as the World’S Second Highest Ranking Green Building

  • The building has scored 103 points out of 110 under LEED certification.

  • The building uses 100 % renewable energy.

  • Sierra has also installed a 100 % water recycling system.

  • It uses the recycled water for watering the fauna that is set up in nearly 25 % of the premises.

  • Address: Annamalai Industrial Estate, Kalapatti, Coimbatore, Tamil Nadu.

National Centre for Sustainable Coastal Management

  • Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change has formed a new institution, the National Centre for Sustainable Coastal Management.

  • The centre is located in Chennai and established with the objective of creating a new National Coastal Mission.

  • NCSCM’s core strength is the coastal system research for the well - being of coastal communities and promoting sustainable development.

  • NCSCM’s researches will be useful for arriving at policy decisions and for capacity building of coastal communities.

NGT Prohibits Dumping of Waste Near Ganga Banks

  • Green Tribunal for ’ No Development Zone ’ close to river.

  • An area of 100 metres from the edge of the Ganga between Haridwar and Unnao has been declared a ‘No Development Zone, ’ with the National Green Tribunal (NGT) on Thursday prohibiting dumping of waste within 500 metres of the river.

  • An environment compensation of Rs. 50,000 will be imposed on anyone dumping waste in the river.

Ku Haritha Haaran:

  • Chief Minister K Chandrashekhar Rao will be formally launching third phase of Telangana ku Haritha Haaram programme.

  • Telangana CM, launched it on July 5 2015 with an aim to increase the tree cover in the Telangana State.

  • It is a flagship programme of the Telangana Government envisages to increase the present 24 % tree cover in the State to 33 % of the total geographical area of the State.

Early Warning System:

  • Live displays, ashing lights alert people to wild elephant movement in Karnataka.

  • It is an early warning system for wild elephant movement in and around habitations that uses crowd sourced information, digital displays and mobile phone technology.

  • People in Karnataka’s Sakaleshpur taluk, who face frequent conflicts with elephant s, see the alerts on a public digital display.

Egyptian Vultures:

  • Breeding of the rare and threatened Egyptian vultures in a human habitat at the Punjabi University campus in Patiala.

  • It has come as a pleasant surprise for birding enthusiasts.

  • Egyptian vulture is successfully breeding within a human habitation in Punjab and, more importantly, has become a resident species.

  • Due to greatly quick populace decrease in India this species has been enrolled as Endangered (EN) vulture species in the IUCN Red - IUCN Red - list of Threatened Species in 2012.

Sri Venkateswara Zoological Park:

  • Sri, Venkateswara Zoological Park, which has been caring for rescued lions and tigers, has now lost a white tiger cub.

  • Sri Venkateswara Zoological Park is located in Tirupati, Andhra Pradesh, India.

  • It was established on 29 September 1987 and covers an area of 5532 acres (22 square kilometers).

  • It is the Second largest zoo park in Asia.

A Sunderbans Denizen Staves Extinction:

  • A critically endangered resident of the Sunderbans is set to get a new home, beginning a slow journey to recovery from a disastrous.

  • Decline in the wild.

  • It is more threatened than the Bengal tiger, but far less known.

Oriental White Ibis Nesting in Ganjam:

  • A group of Oriental white ibis birds have nested at Beguniapada in Ganjam district of Odisha.

  • According to ornithologist, this indicates that these birds feel secure at Beguniapada and that the environment was conducive for breeding.

  • Usually Oriental white ibis are seen in large number in Chilika lake during winter months.

  • These birds had started building nests on a few coconut trees.

Sixth Mass Extinction in Earth:

  • In July through various papers National academy of Science has contended that the sixth mass extinction in Earth’s history is already underway.

  • Scientists analysed both common and rare species and found billions of regional or local populations have been lost.

  • Nearly half of the 177 mammal species surveyed lost more than 80 % of their distribution between 1900 and 2015.

  • On an average, two vertebrate species disappear every year.

Antayodya Express:

  • Chhattisgarh Chief Minister and union minister of state for railways flagged off Antyodaya Express in the Raipur recently.

  • The train is equipped with modern coaches, RO drinking water, mobile charging facilities, bio-toilets, LED lights and other facilities.

  • The Express is a long - distance, fully unreserved, superfast train service, operated on dense routes.

  • This kind of train service was announced in the Railway Budget in 2016.

- Published/Last Modified on: May 30, 2018

Environment/Ecology, Govt. Schemes/Projects, Yojana

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