General Knowledge Current Affairs

Wednesday, April 12, 2023

COP 27: Indian Lead in Global Climate Change Management

As we approach COP 27, the 27th Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), it is essential to take stock of the global efforts to tackle climate change. The world is at a critical juncture, with the consequences of global warming already visible in the form of rising sea levels, extreme weather events, and the loss of biodiversity. The need for urgent action is clear, and India is poised to take a leadership role in global climate change management.

India is the third-largest emitter of greenhouse gases in the world, after China and the United States. However, it is also one of the fastest-growing economies, with ambitious plans to transition to a low-carbon future. India has set a target to achieve 450 gigawatts of renewable energy capacity by 2030, and it is well on its way to achieving that goal. The country has also launched several initiatives to promote sustainable development, such as the Smart Cities Mission and the Atal Mission for Rejuvenation and Urban Transformation (AMRUT).

India has been a vocal advocate for climate action on the global stage, and it has played a key role in shaping the Paris Agreement. The country has committed to reducing its greenhouse gas emissions intensity by 33-35% below 2005 levels by 2030 and to achieving 40% of its electricity capacity from non-fossil fuel sources by 2030. India has also pledged to create an additional carbon sink of 2.5-3 billion tonnes of CO2 equivalent through additional forest and tree cover by 2030.

India's leadership in climate change management extends beyond its domestic efforts. The country has been at the forefront of efforts to promote international cooperation on climate action, particularly through the International Solar Alliance (ISA). The ISA is a coalition of more than 120 countries, initiated by India and France, which aims to promote the deployment of solar energy on a global scale. The ISA has already launched several initiatives, such as the Affordable Solar Power for Agriculture (ASPA) program and the One Sun, One World, One Grid (OSOWOG) initiative.

India's leadership in climate change management is particularly crucial in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic. The pandemic has highlighted the interconnectedness of global challenges, such as public health and climate change. As countries around the world focus on recovery and rebuilding, there is an opportunity to promote a green recovery and to accelerate the transition to a sustainable future. India's leadership in this regard is essential, both in terms of its domestic efforts and its role in promoting international cooperation.

As we approach COP 27, it is essential for all countries to step up their efforts to tackle climate change. The stakes are high, and the consequences of inaction are dire. India's leadership in global climate change management is an inspiration to the world, and it is essential that the country continues to play a leading role in shaping the global response to this critical challenge.

BRICS Journey: An Analysis of Achievements and Failures

As we look at the journey of the BRICS countries (Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa), it is important to analyze their achievements and failures. The BRICS countries represent a significant portion of the world's population and economy, and their decisions can have a global impact. In this article, we will examine the journey of the BRICS countries, their achievements, and their failures.

The Journey of the BRICS Countries

The BRICS countries were first identified by Jim O'Neill, the former chairman of Goldman Sachs Asset Management, in 2001. He identified them as emerging economies that had the potential to become dominant global players. The countries had several similarities, such as large populations, significant natural resources, and high economic growth rates. The BRICS countries were brought together in 2006, and their first summit was held in 2009. Since then, the BRICS countries have been meeting annually to discuss issues such as economic cooperation, political coordination, and cultural exchange.

Achievements of the BRICS Countries

The BRICS countries have made significant achievements in several areas. One of the most significant achievements is economic growth. The BRICS countries have shown remarkable economic growth over the past two decades. For example, China's economy has grown from $1.2 trillion in 2000 to $14.1 trillion in 2020. India's economy has grown from $477 billion in 2000 to $2.9 trillion in 2020. Brazil's economy has grown from $559 billion in 2000 to $2.4 trillion in 2020.

The BRICS countries have also made significant progress in poverty reduction. According to the World Bank, the BRICS countries have lifted more than 800 million people out of poverty since 2000. China alone has lifted more than 700 million people out of poverty, which is a remarkable achievement.

Another significant achievement of the BRICS countries is infrastructure development. The BRICS countries have invested heavily in infrastructure development over the past two decades. For example, China has built the world's largest high-speed rail network, which has improved connectivity and reduced travel times. India has also made significant progress in infrastructure development, with the construction of new highways and airports.

Failures of the BRICS Countries

Despite their achievements, the BRICS countries have also faced several challenges and failures. One of the most significant challenges is income inequality. Despite the significant progress in poverty reduction, income inequality remains a significant issue in the BRICS countries. According to the World Bank, the Gini coefficient (a measure of income inequality) in the BRICS countries ranges from 0.42 (South Africa) to 0.63 (Brazil). This is significantly higher than the Gini coefficient in developed countries such as the US and the UK.

Another significant challenge faced by the BRICS countries is corruption. Corruption remains a significant issue in the BRICS countries, and it has a negative impact on economic growth and development. According to Transparency International, the BRICS countries are among the most corrupt countries in the world. Brazil, Russia, and India are ranked 105th, 135th, and 86th, respectively, out of 180 countries in the Corruption Perceptions Index. China and South Africa are ranked slightly higher, at 78th and 69th, respectively.


In conclusion, the journey of the BRICS countries has been a mix of achievements and failures. The BRICS countries have made significant progress in several areas, such as economic growth, poverty reduction, and infrastructure development. However, they have also faced several challenges, such as income inequality and corruption. It is important for the BRICS countries to continue to work together.

Sunday, April 9, 2023

Plastic Waste Management (PWM)

Swachh Bharat Mission-Urban (SBM-U) 2.0 under The Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs (MoHUA) lays special emphasis on reduction of plastic waste generation and compliance of Plastic Waste Management (PWM) Rules dated 12.08.2021. Key focus areas include source segregation of waste; segregated collection and transportation; the processing of segregated waste; setting up of Material Recovery Facility (MRF) in all ULBs; continuous awareness generation for reducing Single Use Plastic (SUP) and use of substitute products. In addition, the following initiatives have been taken:

  • Additional Central Assistance (ACA) to States and Union Territories (UTs) is released for establishing Solid Waste Management (SWM) projects for processing of all kinds of waste,
  • A ‘Plastic Waste Management Advisory’ has been developed capturing the plastic waste generation, plastic waste management rules and various ways to manage plastic waste through reduce, reuse, recycle and recovery techniques;
  • ‘Swachh Survekshan’ and ‘Star Rating Protocol’ have been introduced which have been aligned with Plastic Waste Management (amendment) Rules 2021 to encourage cities to phase out single-use plastic, etc.

In addition, all States/UTs have constituted the Special Task Force (STF) under the chairpersonship of the Chief Secretary / Administrator for elimination of identified single use plastic items and effective plastic waste management and development of comprehensive action plan in this regard. A National Level Taskforce has also been constituted by the Ministry for taking coordinated efforts to eliminate identified single use plastic items and effective implementation of Plastic Waste Management Rules, 2016.

For effective monitoring of ban on identified single use plastic (SUP) items and plastic waste management in the country, online platforms that are in operation are National Dashboard on elimination of single use plastics and effective plastic waste management; Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) Monitoring Module for Compliance on Elimination of Single Use Plastic and CPCB Grievance Redressal App.

Regular enforcement drives have been undertaken by CPCB, State Pollution Control Board (SPCBs)/ Pollution Control Committees (PCCs) to implement ban on identified single use plastic items and on plastic carry bags having thickness less than one hundred twenty microns.

Further, to develop alternatives to single use plastics, the MoEF & CC organized "India Plastic Challenge - Hackathon 2021". Two Start-ups in the area of alternatives to single use plastics were awarded in the India Plastic Challenge Hackathon 2021. A National Expo on Eco-Alternatives to single use plastic and Startup Conference was organized on 26th and 27th September, 2022 in Chennai by MoEF & CC and Government of Tamil Nadu in which more than 150 manufacturers of eco-alternatives from across the country have participated. The eco-alternatives included material made from sea-weed, bagasse, rice and wheat bran, rice stubble, plant and agricultural residue, banana and areca leaves, jute and cloth. The list of manufacturers of eco-alternatives is available on National Dashboard on elimination of single use plastics and effective plastic waste management.


Tuesday, March 28, 2023

W20 (Women 20) for India's G20 Presidency

W20 (Women 20) is an official engagement group under the G20 which was established during the Turkish presidency in 2015. Its primary objective is to ensure that gender considerations are mainstreamed into G20 discussions and translated into the G20 Leaders’ Declaration as policies and commitments that foster gender equality and women’s economic empowerment.

W20 India took over the presidency from W20 Indonesia on 12 December 2022. W20, under India’s presidency, is focused on actualizing Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi’s vision of “Women-Led Development” with a with the vision to create a world of equality and equity where every woman lives with dignity and where every woman gets the opportunity to thrive, transcend and transform their lives and those of others. W20, 2023 is focusing on removing barriers to women-led development and ensure an enabling environment and ecosystem for women to realize their full potential, transforming their lives as well as of others.

The goal that has been set by the W20 2023 is to ensure continuity of the W20 agenda from the past presidencies while establishing a stronger W20 global and national network. These inclusive consultations and actions will be feeding into the W20 Communique and G20 Leaders’ Declaration. W20, 2023 aims to ensure that the W20 communique is representative and comprehensive and will provide solutions to enhance the status of women across the globe.

There are five priority areas of W20 under India’s Presidency which include, Women in Entrepreneurship, Women Leadership at Grassroots, Bridging the Gender Digital Divide, Education & Skill Development and Women & Girls as change makers Climate Resilience Action.

Dr. Sandhya Purecha, Chairperson of Sangeet Natak Akademi is the chair of W20. Other eminent Indian Delegates of the group include, Dr.Jyoti Kiran Shukla, ex-chairperson of the 5th Rajasthan Finance Commission, Prof. Shamika Ravi, Member Economic Council of Prime Minster of India, Ms.Bharati Ghosh IPS (Retd.), Ms.Raveena Tandon, Actor, Ms.Bansuri Swaraj, Advocate, Supreme Court of India and Dharitri Patnaik, Entrepreneur & Philanthropist as Chief Coordinator of W20 Secretariat. W20 has approximately 100 delegates representing the 19 countries and EU which works collaboratively and intensely on the five task forces, the policy recommendations and drafting of the Communique. Since taking over from W20 Indonesia, W20 India has signed more than 15 MOUS with various organizations as knowledge and network partners, conducted 40 Jan Bhagidari programs with thousands of women across 10 states in India.

The Inception Meet at Aurangabad, Maharashtra will be held on 27-28 February, 2023. This will be followed by two other W20 International meets at Jaipur, Rajasthan on 13th-14th April and at the W20 Summit in Mahabalipuram, Tamil Nadu on 15th-16th June.

The city of Aurangabad is all set to host the Inception Meeting of W20. ‘Pursuit of gender equality, equity and dignity for women-led development’ is the theme of the Inception meeting and it envisages discussing, deliberating and developing a cogent strategy to target gender-related issues. The Meeting will welcome International delegates from G20 nations, guest countries and International organizations.

The Inception meeting of W20 will be privileged to have the presence of the Honourable Minister of Women & Child Development and Minority Affairs, Smt. Smriti Zubin Irani who will share her valuable thoughts on gender equality and women’s empowerment with the august gathering. Dr. Bhagat Kishanrao Karad, MoS, Ministry of Finance, Government of India and Shri Devendra Fadnavis, Deputy Chief Minister, Government of Maharashtra. will also attend Further, the meeting will be marked by the presence of Shri Amitabh Kant, India’s G20 Sherpa, Dr. Gulden Turktan, Founder chair of W20 and Ms Uli Silalahi, chair of W20 Indonesia 2022.

Various panel discussions during the Inception meeting will deliberate on empowering women in nano, micro & start up enterprises; role of women as change makers in climate resilience action; creating an enabling ecosystem for women leaders at the grassroots; improving access through infrastructure and skill to bridge the gender digital divide; creating pathways for education, skill development and entrepreneurship; and on women led development in India. The stories of unconventional women in India breaking barriers in different fields including in the Indian Navy, in grassroots entrepreneurship, etc., will also be shared with delegates.

In addition, the Inception meeting will have cultural programmes and a visit to the heritage sites of Aurangabad, ancient Ellora caves to showcase the historical and cultural heritage of Maharashtra. Today India is witnessing a rapid transition from women’s development to women-led development. The country is moving with the vision of Hon’ble Prime Minister of a new India where women are equal partners in the sustainable development of the country. India is committed towards nurturing a society where empowered women live with dignity and contribute as equal partners.

W20 meetings are envisaged to play a pivotal role in driving collaboration and providing further impetus to gender equity and women’s economic empowerment.

Monday, March 27, 2023

India stands third in world in terms of fish production

India stands third in the world in terms of fish production. The Department of Fisheries, Ministry of Fisheries, Animal Husbandry and Dairying has taken several initiatives for the development of fisheries and attract farmers towards fisheries along with agriculture to increase their income through its various schemes namely (i) implementation of Centrally Sponsored Scheme (CSS) - Blue Revolution: Integrated Development and Management of Fisheries for a period of 5 years from 2015-16 to 2019-20 (ii) Pradhan Mantri Matsya Sampada Yojana (PMMSY) with effect from the financial year 2020-21 to 2024-25 in all States/Union Territories (iii) Fisheries and Aquaculture Infrastructure Development Fund (FIDF) with a total fund size of Rs 7522.48 crore implemented for a period of 5 years from 2018-19 to 2023-24 for providing concessional finance, (iv) issuance of Kisan Credit Cards (KCC) to fishers and fish farmers.

PMMSY implemented inter-alia envisages fisheries developmental activities namely construction ponds, Re-circulatory Aquaculture System (RAS), inland cages, sea cages, finfish hatcheries, deep sea fishing vessels, biofloc units, ornamental fish rearing units, seaweed rafts, monoline tubes for seaweed cultivation, integrated fish farming, Fishing Harbours/Fish Landing Centres, ice plants/cold storages, fish feed mill/plants, fish transportation facilities, retail markets, disease diagnostic centre & quality testing labs, aquatic referral labs, sagar mitras, livelihood & nutritional support to fishers during ban/lean period. These activities significantly contribute towards enhancing fish production, doubling fishers and fish farmers income and generation of employment.

Under PMMSY, financial assistance is provided to various States/UTs for taking up fisheries developmental activities. During last two years i.e 2020-21 & 2021-22 and current financial year 2022-23, Department of Fisheries, Government of India under PMMSY has accorded approval to the fisheries developmental proposal of States/UTs amounting to Rs. 11010.00 crore with central share of Rs. 3864.99 crore. Further, the Department through National Fisheries Development Board (NFDB) is providing grant for taking up various training programmes in fisheries in collaboration with States/UTs, Quasi-government organizations involved in fisheries sector, National and Regional level institutions, Kirishi Vigyan Kendras (KVKs), Farmers Training Centres (FTCs), Universities, Colleges of Fisheries and other Academic institutions.

APEDA organizes Global Millets (Shree Anna) Conference

Under the visionary leadership of Hon'ble Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi, the Agricultural and Processed Food Products Export Development Authority (APEDA), Ministry of Commerce and Industry, Government of India has organized the Global Millets (Shree Anna) Conference today at Subramaniam Hall, NASC Complex, Pusa Road, New Delhi to stimulate the exports of millets from India and provide market linkage to the producers.

Around 100 Indian millet exhibitors from different parts of the country and around 100 international buyers from various countries like the USA, UAE, Kuwait, Germany, Vietnam, Japan, Kenya, Malawi, Bhutan, Italy and Malaysia have been invited to the Conference. This conference provides an excellent opportunity for trade and networking among the participants. APEDA requested 30 potential millet importing countries to send their major buyers for this conference to visit the exhibition and travel around the stalls of 100 exhibitors of unique products of millets. Additionally the details of all the millet exhibitors under different categories in the exhibition area have been displayed digitally through which the importers can source millets directly from this list of Indian millet producers. The Virtual Trade Fair (VTF) is operational 24X7 365 days wherein exhibitors and buyers can interact based on the products displayed in the VTF.

The conference will also feature a series of informative sessions, including keynote, and presentations in a digital platform. These sessions will focus on various aspects of millet and its value-added products, processing, packaging, and export potential providing valuable insights for both exhibitors and buyers.

The event is expected to generate a significant impact on the millet industry, further promoting its growth and development in the global market. The Conference organised by APEDA provided a platform for B2B meetings between International and National Buyers, Exporters, Progressive Growers, FPOs of millets to explore direct marketing and export opportunities for millets and its value-added products.

India’s export of Millets is 64 million USD in the year 2021-22. There is an increase in export of Millets by 12.5 % during the period April-December 2023 as compared to the same period last year. Export of millets has witnessed a change in paradigm in the last decade. The major importing countries were USA, Australia, Japan, Belgium etc in 2011-12 which had been shifted to Nepal (USD 6.09 million), UAE (USD 4.84 million) and Saudi Arabia (USD 3.84 million) in 2021-22. Kenya, Pakistan were also among the potential import destinations of India in the last decade. The other seven destinations in the current top-ten list of India’s millet export are Libya, Tunisia, Morocco, UK, Yemen, Oman and Algeria. India is exporting millets to 139 countries across the globe. The export of value-added products of Indian millets are also spread across the world.

Today India has the potential to lead the world as a key player in the global supply chain of millet & its value added products. APEDA in the forefront with the mandate of export promotion of agri products of the nation selected these unique products from the nutritional millet basket & displayed in the global market targeting to bring a global millet revolution. APEDA participated in the opening ceremony of the International Year of Millets 2023 organised by FAO at its HQ in Rome, Italy displaying different varieties of Millets and value-added Millet products. APEDA organised a Buyer-Seller Meet for export promotion of Millets at Jakarta, Medan, Nepal, Brussels , Belgium. In addition, Virtual Buyer Seller Meet was organized with Malaysia, EU, UAE, Malaysia, Japan and Algeria.

An exclusive millet gallery was set up during GULFOOD 2023 wherein start-ups, new entrepreneurs, FPOs, exporters, and women entrepreneurs displayed their millet products to give wide publicity to the Indian millets & its value-added products before the importers across the world and 5000 participant companies from 125 countries.

APEDA in association with Indian Missions abroad promoted Indian millets during the Republic Day celebrations. Millets products were sourced from various Startups and sent to the Embassy of India in various countries like Doha, Qatar, Italy, Uzbekistan, Bahrain, Malaysia, Russia, Tokyo, Indonesia, the Republic of Korea Saudi Arabia, Perth, Denmark, Argentina, Egypt, Canada, Guatemala, Algeria, and China for promotion during the Republic Day celebrations.

APEDA has formulated a robust strategy focussing to expand the global basket with millets and its value-added products to achieve USD 100 million targets by 2025 with monumental efforts to broaden global reach. India is marching ahead in the International Year of Millets 2023 with a basket of nutritiously rich Indian Millets – popularly known as Shree Anna in the global market.

India is flourishing the nutritious millet basket with a range of innovative value-added products of millet. APEDA in collaboration with the Indian Institute of Millets Research and respective State Agricultural universities has incubated more than 200 start-ups to develop a range of millet-based value-added products, Ready to Eat, Ready to Cook and Ready To Serve products, easy meal solutions as wholesome food suitable for all age groups.

India is the largest producer of millet. The country is enriched with a wide range of millets produced in major millet-growing states like Rajasthan, Maharashtra, Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, etc. India produced 17.96 million Metric Tonnes (MT) of Millets. Millet grown in India is Pearl Millet, Sorghum, Finger Millet, and minor Millets like Proso Millet, Kodo Millet, Little Millet, Foxtail Millet, Browntop Millet, Barnyard Millet, Amaranthus, and Buckwheat. The Indian government has also been promoting Millet production as part of its National Food Security Mission. As a result of these factors, millet production in India is expected to continue to grow in the coming years.

As we are progressing ahead in IYOM 2023, India is enriched with unique varieties of value-added products of millets which range from millet pizza base, millet ice creams, ice cream cones and cups, millet cakes & brownies, breakfast cereals, traditional Indian dosa, poha, upma, pasta, noodles millet milk, tea, consumable millet tea cups that are so environment friendly that they can either be consumed directly or utilized as feed/fodder.

A lot of value-added products have been created with millets such as Idli, Dosa, Idiyappam, Roti, Puttu, Upma, Porridge, Chapati, Pancakes, Vermicelli upma, Pasta, Noodles, Macaroni, Semolina/Suji, Muesli, Instant mixes, Mudde as Breakfast items, Halwa, Adhirasam, Kesari, Nutritious ball, Payasam/Kheer as Sweets, Vada, Pakoda, Murukku, Bhelpuri, Boli, Pappads, Ready to eat mixes, Flakes, Puffs, Millet Laddus, Millet rusks as Snacks and some bakery products like Bread, Cake, Cookies, Soup sticks,Edible biscuit cups, Health bars, Spreads, Muffins, etc. Beverages like Beer, Soups, Malted millet-based beverage, Germinated Ragi drink mix, Multigrain drink mix, Ready to drink beverages have also been created with millets. In addition to these, some other food items created with millets include Biryani, Weaning foods/infant foods, Chat mixes, etc.

APEDA has shown to the world the nutritious millets that India has to offer. The journey in the promotion of Millet has made a positive impact showing pick up in millet exports. Gearing up to take India from a leading producer to the leading exporter of Millets, contributing towards a prosperous future for millions of Indian farmers across the country and making valuable additions to achieve food & nutritional security. The journey has just begun to bring the goodness of Indian Millets to the global consumer.

Saturday, March 25, 2023

Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO): A Background

The SCO is an inter-governmental regional organization of Central Asia or Eurasia. It was established in 2001 in the present form. Its primary objective is to promote cooperation among members for peace stability and prosperity in the region. At present, it has eight members. Iran has joined as its 9th member; which will be admitted as full member in 2023.

The SCO was originally formed in 1996 as Shanghai Five by five countries- Kazakhstan, China, Kyrgyzstan, Russia and Tajikistan. Shanghai Five (1996) emerged from a series of border demarcation and demilitarization talks which the four former Soviet republics held with China to ensure stability along the borders. With the joining of Uzbekistan in 2001, it was renamed as SCO. India and Pakistan joined in 2017. India's membership was supported by Russia, which China supported Pakistan's membership as a counterbalance to India's accession.

The SCO Charter was adopted in 2022 and came into force in 2003. Its Head¬quarter is located in Beijing, China. RATS or Regional Anti-Terrorism Structure is the permanent body of the SCO. The RATS is located in Tashkent, Uzbekistan and works a permanent organ for addressing the challenge of terrorism and extremism in the region.

India joined first as an Observer in 2005 and elevated to the position of permanent membership in 2017. The Chairmanship of SCO is rotated among mem¬bers in alphabetical order. Thus, India has become the Chair of SCO for the year 2023. It means the next summit of the SCO will be held in India in 2023. The Summit is the highest decision-making body of the SCO.