News & Editorial Analysis 1 March 2023
The Hindu News Analysis
1 – IMD:
GS II Topic Statutory and Non-Statutory Bodies:
The India Meteorological Department predicts that on Tuesday, temperatures will be “above normal” in most of northeast, eastern, central, and parts of northwest India (IMD).
The India Meteorological Department (IMD) was established in 1875. It is a division of the Ministry of Earth Sciences of the Indian government.
It is the principal agency in charge of meteorological observations, seismology, and weather forecasting.
IMD is one of the six regionally focused meteorological centres that make up the World Meteorological Organization.
The Regional Specialized Meteorological Centre (RSMC) of Tropical Cyclones in New Delhi is responsible for naming the cyclones in the northern Indian Ocean.
The headquarters of IMD are in New Delhi.
To compile weather data and provide current and future projections so that weather-sensitive industries like agriculture, irrigation, shipping, aviation, and offshore oil explorations can run as efficiently as possible.
To give alerts concerning hazardous weather events, such as tropical cyclones, nor’easters, dust storms, heavy rain, snow, cold, and heat waves, which can cause both property damage and human fatalities.
To provide the meteorological information required for managing water resources, industry, oil exploration, and other nation-building initiatives, IMD is essential.
To conduct and further the study of meteorology and associated subjects.
2 – Heatwaves:
GS I Topic Geography related issues:
The department’s accompanying forecast map indicates that, with the exception of the northeastern States, Jammu & Kashmir, Uttarakhand, Himachal Pradesh, Kerala, and coastal Karnataka, the majority of India is expected to experience heatwaves from March to May.
What is a heat wave?
A heatwave is characterised by a maximum temperature of at least 40 degrees Celsius for plains, 37 degrees Celsius for coastal regions, and at least 30 degrees Celsius for hilly regions, according to the IMD.
What are the criterias?
A heatwave is proclaimed when temperatures exceed normal levels by 4.5 to 6.4 degrees Celsius, while a severe heatwave is declared when temperatures exceed normal levels by more than 6.4 degrees Celsius.
When the actual maximum temperature in plains exceeds 45 degrees Celsius, IMD classifies heatwaves as happening; heatwaves are considered severe when they reach 47 degrees Celsius.
A heatwave and a severe heatwave are also declared by the IMD if the locality has daily highs between 45 and 47 degrees.
Due to the following reasons, India is experiencing more heat waves:
increased effects of paved and concrete surfaces, lack of trees in urban areas
Due to the impact of urban heat islands, ambient temperatures may feel 3 to 4 degrees warmer than they actually are.
More heat waves were projected despite the average global temperature rise of 0.8 degrees during the past century. Evening temperatures are rising as well.
Worldwide, longer-lasting and more intense heat waves are occurring more frequently as a result of climate change.
High UV radiation levels where temperatures are moderate to high.
Due to a mix of severe heat stress and a predominately rural population, India is vulnerable to heat waves.
How could India manage heat waves in the future?
identifying hotspots of heat by adequate meteorological data monitoring, promoting the speedy development and implementation of local Heat Action Plans through tactical inter-agency cooperation, and concentrating an emergency response on the most vulnerable populations.
An examination of current labour laws, industry regulations, and occupational health standards for worker safety in relation to climate.
Coordination and policy intervention across the three industries of health, water, and power are essential.
the encouragement of traditional adaptation strategies like staying inside and dressing comfortably.
Simple design principles like shady windows, underground water tanks, and insulating construction materials are growing in popularity.
Through early implementation of local Heat Action Plans and effective inter-agency communication, the government may take significant action to protect vulnerable people.
3 – Coin Vending Machines:
GS III Topic Indian Economy:
RBI Governor Shaktikanta Das recently addressed the Monetary Policy Committee (MPC), where he disclosed that the bank’s top regulator will launch a pilot project with banks to assess the performance of a coin-dispensing machine based on QR codes.
Simply put, the vending machines would instead issue coins with the necessary amount being debited from the customer’s account via United Payments Interface rather than physically displaying banknotes (UPI). Customers might choose to take out coins in the required quantities and denominations. Here, the primary objective is to increase currency accessibility.
Features of the new vending machine:
The equipment will be made available in 12 cities in the initial phase.
These gadgets will employ UPI-based code systems to provide coins. The bills were previously shown physically by the devices.
What is a coin-operated, QR-coded vending machine?
As a result, the consumer is not forced to use cash. He will instead use a pin or his bank account password to get cash. As soon as he enters the pin or password, the vending machine verifies his bank account and quickly issues coins from that account. Formerly, in order to obtain coins, the consumer had to insert cash notes.
The apparatus is necessary:
To increase coin availability in the country and disperse coins more extensively across the country
Coins are plentiful in the country, but they are not distributed equally, so how can we fix this?
Where are the new vending machines located?
These new coin-operated vending machines will be distributed throughout 12 cities and total 19. They ought to be placed in common areas like retail malls, train stations, and other places where people may access them readily.
4 – Adopt a Heritage Scheme:
GS II Topic Government Policies and Interventions:
It is possible for private companies, corporations, and governmental organisations to come to agreements about the adoption and maintenance of state-owned archaeological sites or monuments. Businesses that enter into such agreements are known as Monument Mitras. By August 15 and another 500 sites shortly after, the federal government anticipates that this campaign, which began in February, will have preserved 500 sites. The number of locations featured in the controversial 2017 “Adopt a Heritage” campaign has increased tenfold, as seen by this number. Unless the “revamped” system is suspended, the country’s priceless pluralistic heritage may soon be lost forever.
What is the “Adopt a Heritage” Program?
It was a collaborative effort by the State/UT governments, the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI), the Ministry of Tourism, the Ministry of Culture, and others.
The project intends to develop a cooperative relationship between all of its stakeholders in order to effectively promote “ethical tourism.”
It was formally launched by the President of India on September 27, 2017, World Tourism Day.
In order to increase the sustainability of our tourism and heritage, it aims to engage public sector businesses, private sector businesses, and corporate citizens/individuals. At ASI/State Historic Sites and other important tourist locations in India, world-class tourism infrastructure and services will be developed, operated, and maintained.
Organizations or businesses would become “Monument Mitras” under the unique concept of “Vision Bidding,” which provides the agency with the best vision for the heritage site the opportunity to combine pride with their CSR initiatives.
The project primarily focuses on providing basic amenities like cleanliness, public conveniences, drinking water, ease of access for senior citizens and people with disabilities, standardised signage, illumination, and advanced amenities like surveillance system, night viewing facilities, and an enhanced tourist experience that will increase domestic and international tourist footfall.
Why the “Adopt a Heritage” Program exists:
The diverse infrastructure and service assets’ operations and upkeep result in a number of common problems for the cultural sites.
It is necessary to create a dependable system for delivering immediate access to fundamental amenities and ongoing access to high-end amenities.
The government must provide more funding in order to maintain cultural riches. The Archaeological Survey of India safeguards 3,686 ancient structures and archaeological monuments, including 36 World Heritage Sites (ASI). Four Memorandums of Understanding have been signed, and 95 monuments and tourist destinations have received approval by 31 agencies or Monument Mitras for adoption. The government will increase the scope of the initiative.
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The Hindu Editorial Analysis
Unpacking The New Set Of E-Waste Rules:
The issue of handling e-waste is a multifaceted and ongoing concern in an era of rising urbanisation, digitalization, and population expansion. The first set of e-waste regulations, which were announced in 2011, were put into effect in 2012.
Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR):
The implementation of EPR was a crucial component of the Rules (2011). “Producers” are responsible for making sure that electronic and electric gadgets are disposed of appropriately after being used by consumers in accordance with EPR compliance.
E-waste guidelines from 2016 were thorough and contained provisions for “product stewardship” and “permission,” which were amended in 2018. Other stakeholder groups, such as “Producer Responsibility Organizations,” were also included in these regulations (PRO).
E-Waste (Management) Regulations for 2022:
Also, in November 2022, the Ministry of Environment and Forests (MoEFCC) announced new e-waste laws that would go into force on April 1, 2023. These restrictions address several significant issues, but not all of them. The first main chapter of the laws contains an EPR framework, with “Registration of Stakeholders” as the primary requirement (manufacturer, producer, refurbisher and recycler).
Stakeholder authorization was prioritised in the previous regulations, but there wasn’t enough compliance because to a subpar monitoring mechanism and a lack of transparency. For instance, the majority of “refurbishers” or “repair firms” in Delhi run their operations illegally, according to India’s Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB).
Many reputable recyclers, however, only perform operations up until the pre-processing or segregation stage before passing e-waste to the unorganised sector, which is blatantly against the law.
A “digitalized systems approach” under the new regulations (2022) may now address these issues. The practise of collecting and/or weighing “scrap” while pretending that 100% of it has been collected in order to meet targets is known as “paper trading” or “false trail,” and standardising the e-waste value chain through a shared digital “portal” may ensure transparency and is crucial to reduce its occurrence.
Ignoring the unorganised sector was narrow-minded:
In “effective” e-waste recycling, component recovery and residue disposal are two essential phases. In order to reduce reliance on virgin resources, component recovery requires accurate and efficient rare earth metal recoveries.
The rules make brief reference to the two subjects but do not specify what must be done to guarantee the “recovery tangent.” In order to ensure maximum efficiency, the authorities should regularly monitor the quantity of e-waste that was sent for recycling in comparison to the “recovery” at the end. The recyclers’ activity must be recorded in the system.
The new announcement also abolishes PRO and dismantlers and transfers responsibility for recycling to licenced recyclers. These recyclers will have to collect a predetermined amount of trash, recycle it, and use the website to generate digital certificates.
This choice seems a little short-sighted and could cause some initial instability, which the unofficial channels might try to take advantage of. PROs acted as a link between official recyclers and manufacturers by bidding for contracts from producers and setting up “certified and authorised” recycling.
Function of the informal sector:
Because of its “illegality,” the informal sector, which is crucial to treating e-waste, is not acknowledged in the new legislation. Since the informal sector receives 95% of India’s e-waste, it acts as the “face” of the nation’s e-waste disposal. The management of e-waste could therefore develop greatly as a result of them.
The most problematic step in the hierarchical process of e-waste collection, segregation, and recycling in the informal sector is when the waste is sent to the informal dismantlers/recyclers. The following procedures—collecting mixed garbage, sorting e-waste, and grouping e-waste according to type—do not involve any hazardous techniques and should be utilised wisely to enhance e-waste collection.
Unofficial aggregators have been used in the data collection process by a Delhi-based PRO called “Karo Sambhav.” This project provides financial and legal security to the unorganised sector, and e-waste is entered into a safe and organised system.
To guarantee that the law is implemented effectively, stakeholders must have the skills and desire to properly dispose of e-waste. To increase consumer awareness, boost reverse logistics, build stakeholder capacity, upgrade the current infrastructure, enhance product design, rationalise input control, and build a dependable collection and recycling system on the ground, concurrent and continuing operations are necessary.
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The Indian Express Editorial Analysis
Why India Needs Stable Capital Flows:
The current account deficit (CAD) grew from 2.2% of GDP in the first quarter of 2022–23 to 4.4% in the second, according to the RBI’s quarterly statistics.
In contrast, the extraordinary surplus in 2020–21 was 0.9% of GDP. The third quarter of the current fiscal year may see a drop in the CAD due to the widening of the merchandise trade imbalance.
The global trade deficit fell to $37.73 billion in the third quarter of 2022–2023 from $49.1 billion in the second quarter. The most recent data show that due to a considerable increase in net services exports, the trade imbalance significantly dropped in January, falling to $1.27 billion.
Does the current account deficit pose a problem?
Indian CADs contain both positive and negative components.
A logical outcome of rising investment, portfolio choices, and country demographics is a planned deficit.
High and persistent CADs, however, might not be preferred if they are supported by shaky finance and signal wider difficulties like low export competitiveness.
Economists claim that the country’s CAD typically rises when output drops as opposed to when demand rises, highlighting the significance of external shocks.
For instance, rising oil prices, which would occur if oil were employed as a production input, would raise production costs and impede economic progress. With the current situation’s inelastic demand for oil imports as well as its significant share of all of India’s imports, CADs rise in tandem with slowing growth.
Stable capital flows are preferred to narrow the CAD:
India is exposed to the risks associated with its financing because to significant and ongoing CADs.
As long as they can be financed by dependable capital inflows, such FDI inflows, CADs are preferred since they are less subject to capital flight.
Yet, if deficits are financed by irregular capital movements, such as portfolio flows, there may be reason for concern. Portfolio changes are unpredictable and more likely to reverse during a global financial catastrophe.
The structure of finance is crucial. However, they have proven insufficient for the current fiscal year, even if FDI inflows were enough to fill the deficit in 2021–2022.
Only about 18% of CADs were funded by portfolio and FDI inflows in the second quarter of 2022–23.
Thus, there is a financial issue. Since they allow debtor countries like India to utilise and allocate cash to industries with the potential to increase long-term productivity and economic growth, steady capital flows are favoured.
The CAD must be balanced by the use of services and remittance:
Remittances and service exports have reduced rising merchandise trade deficits.
India’s service exports climbed by 23.5% in 2021–2022. In the first half of 2022-2023 compared to the same time in the previous year, service exports rose by 32.7%.
Moreover, remittances rose by 25% between April and September 2022, totaling $48 billion. Unlike to capital flows, which are pro-cyclical and have a negative response to the Fed’s contractionary monetary policy, remittances have demonstrated exceptional stability.
Policymakers should consider the medium-term economic situation:
In the medium term, policymakers must halt the negative impacts of the slowdown in global trade on exports of products.
A capital flight could occur if the US Fed raises rates further, which would put additional pressure on the exchange rate market.
With the current state of the economy, this could be challenging because an unstable import basket and a depreciated currency will lead to imported inflation.
As a result, government must simultaneously negotiate free trade agreements and focus policy activities on structural changes to boost trade competitiveness in order to enhance exports.
The two deficit concerns India is currently facing are high fiscal and CAD deficits.
In light of mounting worries about a global recession, aggressive fiscal consolidation may not be ideal. But, by providing steady financing and using exchange rates as a shock absorber to navigate the hard global economic situation, a comfortable external environment can be preserved.
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