Syllabus: GS1/ Natural resources in India
- Oil and Natural Gas Corporation (ONGC) has started crude oil production from its deep-sea project in the Krishna-Godavari (KG) basin block KG-DWN-98/2.
- The project is likely to increase ONGC’s total Oil and Gas production by 11 percent and 15 per cent respectively and is expected to add 7 percent each to India’s current production of oil and natural gas.
– The offshore KG-DWN-98/2 block is located next to the prolific KG-D6 block of Reliance Industries in the Bay of Bengal.
– It is located around 35 km from the coast of Andhra Pradesh in water depths of 300-3,200 metres.
– For the project, ONGC employed a cluster development approach, bunching up the discoveries in three clusters.
- Large projects like KG-DWN-98/2 are critical to the country’s objective of reducing its reliance on oil and gas imports to meet its rapidly growing energy needs.
- India is the world’s third-largest consumer of crude oil and depends on imports to meet over 85 percent of its requirement.
- The country is also a major importer of natural gas, as domestic gas output is able to meet around 50 per cent of the demand.
- Offshore drilling refers to the process of extracting oil and natural gas from beneath the seabed. This activity involves drilling wells in the seabed and is typically conducted in continental shelves.
- Offshore drilling holds significance for India in several ways, contributing to the country’s energy security, economic development, and technological advancement.
- The Krishna-Godavari basin is a sedimentary passive margin pericratonic (comprises fluvial, lacustrine and paludal sediments and is characterized by plant fossils) basin located on the east coast of India.
- The basin came into existence following rifting along the eastern continental margin of Indian Craton in early Mesozoic.
- The basin is bounded by the Eastern Ghats to the east and the Deccan Traps to the west.
- The basin is divided into two sub-basins: the Krishna sub-basin and the Godavari sub-basin.
- The Krishna-Godavari basin is an important economic asset for India. The basin provides a significant source of energy, minerals, and other natural resources for the country.
- The basin is also a major source of employment for the region.
- It is one of the most important hydrocarbon-producing basins in India, accounting for about 20% of the country’s oil and gas production. The oil and gas produced in the basin is found in the sandstone and shale formations.
- The Krishna-Godavari basin is also home to a number of other natural resources, including iron ore, which is mined in the region.
- The basin also has a number of limestone deposits, which are used in the construction industry.
Land Ports in India
Syllabus: GS1/ Geography
- The Land Ports Authority of India (LPAI) recently released a report on ‘Engendering Land Ports in India’ in New Delhi.
- The main objective of the report is to develop a framework for gender inclusive cross border trade and tourism through land Ports in the country.
- The report is a step towards making a gender positive environment in the land Ports of the country.
|Land Ports Authority of India (LPAI)
– Established in: 2012 as a statutory body under the LPAI Act, 2010.
– Parent body: Department of Border Management, Ministry of Home Affairs,
– Mandate: LPAI is responsible for developing state-of-the-art infrastructure across its land ports.
a. The facilities include a Cargo Terminal Building, Passenger Terminal Building, Mechanised equipment for cargo handling, security and surveillance across land ports and forex counters.
– With just two land ports under its aegis in 2012, India now has 11 operational land ports across its land borders with Bangladesh, Nepal and Pakistan.
Land Ports in India
- Land ports are also known as Integrated Check Posts (ICPs).
- There are 11 operational land ports in India- Attari, Agartala, Dawki, Petrapole, Raxaul, Rupaidiha, Jogbani, Moreh, Sutarkandi, Srimantapur and Passenger Terminal Building (PTB) at Dera Baba Nanak.
- Of the total 11 land ports, major trade was registered through Attari, Agartala, Petrapole, Raxaul, Jogbani, Sutarkandi and Srimantapur in 2023.
- Land ports accounted for trade worth Rs 76,000 crore and facilitated the movement of approximately 24 lakh passengers in 2023, a report accessed by ANI states.
Need of Land Ports in India
- Owing to its central geographical location, India shares over a 15,000 kms long international land border with seven countries in South Asia, namely Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, China, Myanmar, Nepal and Pakistan.
- There are several designated entry and exit points for cross-border movement of persons, goods and vehicles.
- For several years, inadequate infrastructure at designated border checkpoints has often been one of the major hindrances to regional trade, impeding the movement of both goods and passengers.
- Hence, the Committee of Secretaries in 2003 recommended setting up of Integrated Check Posts (ICPs) that would provide complete state of the art infrastructure facilities.
India & UK sign MoU for Bilateral International Cadet Exchange Programme
Syllabus: GS2/International relations
- India and U.K. recently signed a MoU for bilateral international cadet exchange programme during the Defence Minister’s visit.
- Both Ministers discussed a range of defence, security and cooperation matters with particular emphasis on enhancing defence industrial collaboration.
- The LoA on R&D was also signed between India’s Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) and UK’s Defence Science and Technology Laboratory (DSTL).
- These documents will provide impetus to the people-to-people exchanges particularly among the youth, and a larger area of defence research collaboration between the two countries.
India-UK Relations: A Multifaceted Partnership
- India and the UK enjoy a long and complex relationship, shaped by history, culture, and common interests.
- Colonial past: The UK ruled India for over 200 years, leaving behind a complex legacy of shared history and cultural influences.
- Independence and diplomatic relations: India gained independence in 1947, and both countries established diplomatic relations soon after.
- Strategic partnership: Upgraded in 2004, the relationship focuses on cooperation in areas like counter-terrorism, cyber security, trade, and climate change.
- Regular high-level exchanges: Prime ministerial visits and meetings between foreign ministers occur regularly, reflecting the importance both countries place on this partnership.
- Commonwealth of Nations: Both India and the UK are members of the Commonwealth of Nations, a group of former British colonies, fostering continued collaboration and dialogue.
- Significant trade and investment: The UK is the 6th largest investor in India and has invested $34,513.58 Mn in FDI inflows between April 2000 to September 2023.
- The UK is also the 18th largest trading partner for India, while India ranks 6th among foreign investors in the UK.
- Focus on technology and innovation: Collaboration in areas like artificial intelligence, healthcare, and infrastructure development is expanding.
- Joint economic initiatives: Both countries are working on initiatives like the Enhanced Trade Partnership and the UK-India Free Trade Agreement to further boost economic ties.
Cultural and Social Dimensions:
- Strong diaspora: The UK has a large Indian diaspora of 1.864 million as per the 2021 Census and forms 3.1% of the total population of the UK, which is 59.597 million.
- Educational and academic partnerships: Numerous student exchange programs and academic collaborations foster knowledge sharing and cultural understanding.
- Bollywood and cricket: Shared passion for these cultural spheres further strengthens the bond between the two nations.
Trade and Investment:
- Protectionism and barriers: Brexit raised concerns about increased trade barriers on Indian exports to the UK. Additionally, domestic protectionist policies in both countries can hinder the flow of goods and services.
- Diversification beyond traditional sectors: Over Reliance on sectors like IT and pharmaceuticals limits the scope of trade and necessitates broader diversification.
Political and Security Tensions:
- Geopolitical alignments: While both countries share concerns about China’s growing influence, their differing alignments with other powers like the US and EU can sometimes create friction.
- Regional security issues: Divergent stances on issues like Kashmir and Afghanistan can complicate strategic cooperation.
- Human rights concerns: Concerns raised by India about UK visa practices and by the UK about alleged human rights violations in India can sometimes strain the relationship.
- Open and transparent communication: Engaging in constructive dialogue and addressing concerns openly can build trust and understanding.
- Focus on common interests: Prioritizing areas of shared concern like counter-terrorism, climate change, and economic growth can solidify the foundation of the partnership.
- Creative solutions and flexibility: Adapting to changing circumstances and finding innovative solutions to complex problems can maintain momentum and progress.
- Engaging stakeholders: Involving businesses, civil society, and academic communities can broaden the partnership and garner wider support.
- Overall, India-UK relations are multifaceted and dynamic, rooted in history but evolving with shared interests and aspirations.
- Addressing challenges while building on existing strengths holds the key to further strengthening this important partnership in the 21st century.
Draft Guidelines for Coaching Sector
- The Government is discussing the guidelines to regulate the misleading ads, fake claims by the coaching sector.
- The Central Consumer Protection Authority (CCPA) conducted the first meeting of the Committee constituted to prepare Guidelines.
- Need: Recently, CCPA has issued notices to 31 coaching institutes for misleading advertisement and imposed fine on 9 of them for misleading advertisement.
- Applicability: The Guidelines shall be applicable to all the coaching institutes whether online or physical and cover all forms of advertisement regardless of form, format or medium.
- Defining Misleading Advertisement: It is defined under the Consumer Protection Act 2019 which inter-alia include concealing important information related to the course opted by the successful candidates.
- Coaching institutes shall not make false claims regarding success rates or number of selections and any other practices that may lead to consumer misunderstanding or subvert consumer autonomy and choice.
- DO’s and DON’Ts before coming up with advertisements:-
- Coaching Institute shall mention requisite information with successful candidate photo – Rank secured by successful candidate, course opted by successful candidate, duration of course, whether it is paid or free.
- Coaching institutes shall not claim 100% selection or 100% job guaranteed or guaranteed preliminary or mains.
- The font of disclaimer or important information in the advertisement shall be the same as that used in the claim/advertisement. The placement of such information shall be at a prominent and visible place in the advertisement.
- Penalty for misleading advertisement by the coaching sector will be governed as per Consumer Protection Act, 2019.
The Central Consumer Protection Authority (CCPA)
- CCPA was established in 2020 under the provisions of the Consumer Protection Act, 2019.
- The primary mandate of the CCPA is to promote, protect, and enforce the rights of consumers. It aims to ensure fair trade practices and protect consumers from unfair business practices.
- Enforcement of Consumer Rights: The CCPA has the authority to investigate, inquire into, and take appropriate action against unfair trade practices, misleading advertisements, and violations of consumer rights.
- Penalties and Compensation: The authority can impose penalties on businesses or individuals found guilty of unfair trade practices.
Boeing 737 MAX Aircrafts & Safety Issue
- Boeing had asked 737 MAX operators globally to carry out inspections after a loose bolt was found in the rudder control system of one of the planes.
- Three Indian airlines — Akasa Air, SpiceJet, and Air India Express — operate 737 MAX-8 planes which were also inspected for safety concerns as directed by the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA).
Aviation Sector in India
- India is the third-largest domestic aviation market in the world, after the USA and China.
- The Indian Aviation Industry is one of the fastest growing in the world, it was valued at $20 Billion in 2020 and is projected to double by 2027.
- India has 137 airports which include 103 Domestic Airports, 24 International Airports, and 10 Customs Airports.
Regulation of Aviation Sector in India
- The Ministry of Civil Aviation is responsible for formulation of national policies for the development and regulation of the Civil Aviation sector.
- It is responsible for the administration of the Aircraft Act, 1934, Aircraft Rules, 1937 and various other legislations pertaining to the aviation sector.
- It exercises administrative control over attached and autonomous organizations like the Directorate General of Civil Aviation, Bureau of Civil Aviation Security, Indira Gandhi Rashtriya Uran Akademi and affiliated Public Sector Undertakings like Airports Authority of India and Pawan Hans Helicopters Limited.
- The Directorate General of Civil Aviation is the regulatory body primarily dealing with safety issues.
- It is responsible for regulation of air transport services to/from/within India and for enforcement of civil air regulations, air safety and airworthiness standards.
- It also co-ordinates all regulatory functions with the International Civil Aviation Organisation.
- Airports Authority of India (AAI): The AAI is responsible for managing and developing civil aviation infrastructure, including airports and air navigation services.
- Bureau of Civil Aviation Security: The main responsibilities of BCAS include laying down standards and measures with respect to security of civil flights at international and domestic airports in India.
- Bilateral Air Services Agreements (BASAs): India enters into bilateral agreements with other countries to regulate air services between them. These agreements outline the number of flights, routes, and other operational details between the two countries.
Challenges Faced by Indian Aviation Sector
Safety Related Challenges
- Pilot Fatigue: Pilot fatigue remains a safety concern globally. Ensuring that pilots adhere to regulated duty hours, receive sufficient rest between flights, and have access to adequate facilities for rest is essential to prevent fatigue-related incidents.
- Technological Integration: Ensuring that pilots are adequately trained to handle and troubleshoot new technologies is essential for maintaining safety.
- Maintenance Practices: Strict adherence to maintenance schedules, regulatory standards, and the use of quality spare parts are essential for preventing technical failures that could compromise aircraft safety.
- Aircraft Aging: The aging fleet of some airlines can pose safety challenges.
- Communication and Coordination: Effective communication and coordination among different stakeholders, including air traffic control, airlines, and ground services, are crucial for preventing misunderstandings and ensuring safe and efficient operations.
- Emergency Response Preparedness: Being prepared for emergency situations, including engine failures, medical emergencies, or other in-flight incidents, is essential.
Industry Related Challenges
- High Operating Costs: Airlines in India often face high operating costs, including fuel prices, airport charges, and maintenance expenses.
- These factors impact the profitability of airlines and can lead to increased ticket prices for passengers.
- Cutthroat Pricing: To attract passengers, airlines in India often resort to dramatically slashing ticket prices, making it challenging to balance the books, especially when operational costs remain high.
- Infrastructure Constraints: Despite significant growth, the infrastructure at many airports in India faces challenges in terms of capacity, maintenance, and modernization.
- Airspace Congestion: The limited availability of airspace and outdated air traffic management systems contribute to congestion and delays in flight operations.
- Volatility in Fuel Prices: Fluctuations in global oil prices can significantly impact the operating costs of airlines.
- Technological Advancements: While technological advancements can enhance safety and efficiency, keeping up with rapidly evolving technologies requires significant investments.
- Regular maintenance, stringent checks, and adherence to retirement policies are crucial for ensuring the airworthiness and safety of older aircraft.
- Regular drills and training exercises should be conducted to enhance the preparedness of flight and ground crews.
- Adhering to international aviation security standards set by organizations such as the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) is crucial for maintaining the security of aircraft.
- Compliance ensures a consistent and standardized approach to aviation security.
- Streamlining regulatory processes is crucial for a more agile and responsive industry.
European Union’s Carbon Border Tax
Syllabus: GS3/Conservation, Environmental Pollution & Degradation
- The European Union (EU)’s Carbon Border Adjustment Mechanism (CBAM) is a concern for India and there is a pressing need for India to formulate its own carbon taxation measures.
What is Carbon Border Adjustment Mechanism (CBAM)?
- It is a tool to put a fair price on the carbon emitted during the production of carbon intensive goods and at most significant risk of carbon leakage like cement, iron and steel, aluminium, fertilisers, electricity and hydrogen that are entering the EU.
- According to a Global Trade Research Initiative (GTRI) report, CBAM will translate into a 20-35% tax on select imports into the EU.
- It intends to tax carbon-intensive products coming into the EU from January 1, 2026.
- The EU intends to achieve the target of a 55% reduction in Greenhouse Gas (GHG) emissions by 2030, compared to 1990 levels, under the European Green Deal by the CBAM.
Significance of CBAM
- Combating Greenhouse Gas Emissions: As a price on carbon, it discourages emissions. As a trade-related measure, it affects production and exports.
- By ‘equalising’ the price of carbon between domestic products and imports, the EU claims to promote fair competition, levelling the playing field between EU and non-EU businesses.
What are the issues with the CBAM?
- According to the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD):
- Russia, China and Turkey were most exposed to the CBAM.
- India, Brazil and South Africa would be most affected among the developing countries.
- Mozambique would be the most exposed least-developing country.
Challenges for India w.r.t. CBAM
- Acting as a Trade Barrier: India’s exports of carbon-laden products to Europe — mainly aluminium and iron-and-steel — have been burdened with green reporting rules which is a trade barrier in itself.
- India’s 26.6% of exports of iron ore pellets, iron, steel, and aluminium products go, and exported these goods worth $7.4 billion in 2023 to the EU.
- India exported steel and aluminium, contributing nearly 14% of its export mix for all products.
- Uncompetitive Exports: India’s products have a higher carbon intensity than its European counterparts, the carbon tariffs imposed will be proportionally higher making Indian exports substantially uncompetitive.
- Impacting Balance of Payment (BoP): International climate policies compel other countries to impose similar regulation eventually translating to ‘a significant impact’ on India’s trading relationships and balance of payments.
- India is reportedly among the top eight countries that will be adversely affected by the CBAM.
Options available to India
- Carbon Trading Mechanism in India: The Carbon Credit and Trading Scheme (CCTS): It was notified by the Union Government under the Energy Conservation Act, 2001, to develop the country’s first-ever domestic carbon market.
- It was set up as the regulatory framework for the Indian Carbon Market (ICM), with BEE as the administrator.
- It envisioned the formation of a National Steering Committee for Indian Carbon Market (NSCICM) for the governance and direct oversight of the Indian Carbon Market (ICM). The committee will be chaired by theSecretary (Ministry of Power); and co-chaired by the Secretary (Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change).
- BEE will be the administrator for the ICM and will be responsible for the development of the GHG emissions trajectory and the targets for the entities to be obligated under the notification.
- The Central Electricity Regulatory Commission (CERC) will be the regulator for the trading of carbon credit certificates.
- It will have to be generated and bought by domestic and overseas markets and will not be applicable to the voluntary carbon market.
- Under the Paris Agreement of 2015, India has pledged to reduce the emissions intensity of its GDP by 45% by 2030, from the 2005 level.
Conclusion and Way Forward
- A carbon tax is a vital tool for mitigating climate change and promoting sustainable development, alongwith an effective way to generate revenue, incentivise cleaner technologies, and enhance a country’s international competitiveness.
- India has set the target of reducing the carbon intensity of its GDP by 33-35% by 2030.
- The government must consider the various challenges and opportunities in designing and implementing a carbon tax policy, including determining an appropriate tax rate, ensuring equity, simplifying the tax system, and ensuring transparency.
- A successful carbon tax policy in India could serve as a model for other countries and demonstrate the country’s commitment to addressing climate change.
Karnataka High Court Bans mining around KRS Dam
- The Karnataka High Court has banned all types of mining and quarrying activities within a 20-km radius of the Krishnarajasagar (KRS) dam.
- The ban will apply even for those mining activities for which permissions/ licenses were already granted by the authorities.
- The ban will be in force till a decision to be taken by the State committee on dam safety, set up as per the provisions of the Dam Safety Act, 2021.
Major threats to dams in India
- Aging: With over 6,000 dams in India, ranked third globally in terms of large dams and approximately 80% of these dams exceeding 25 years of age while 234 surpassing the century mark, ensuring their safety is of paramount importance.
- For India, 2025 is set to be a big year as more than 1,000 dams would turn roughly 50 years or older.
- Sediments & siltation: Accumulation of sediments and siltation decreases a reservoir’s capacity over the years.
- Flooding: The country gets concentrated rainfall every year for a designated time period as opposed to distributed rainfall, which contributes to the dams’ vulnerability.
- In India, the downstream areas are often exposed to flood disasters & flooding has caused 44% of dam failures in India.
- Seismic threat: Some of the Himalayan dam systems, including the Tehri Dam, are in an active seismic area given that the Himalayan mountain system is constantly changing and growing giving rise to several tectonic movements.
Dam Safety Act, 2021
- About: It is an Act to provide for the surveillance, inspection, operation, and maintenance of the specified dam for prevention of dam failure related disasters.
- It also provides for an institutional mechanism to ensure their safe functioning and for matters connected therewith or incidental thereto.
- These are dams with height of more than 15 meters, or height between 10 meters to 15 meters with certain design and structural conditions.
- Provision of National Bodies:
- The National Committee on Dam Safety (NCDS): Its functions include evolving policies and recommending regulations regarding dam safety standards. It will be chaired by the National Water Commissioner.
- The National Dam Safety Authority: Its functions include implementing policies of the National Committee, providing technical assistance to State Dam Safety Organisations (SDSOs), and resolving matters between SDSOs of states or between a SDSO and any dam owner in that state.
- Dam Safety Unit: Dam owners are now required to have a dedicated Dam Safety Unit, prepare Emergency Action Plans, and conduct Comprehensive Safety Evaluations at regular intervals.
- Head of dam safety: Chairman of the Central Water Commission (CWC) would head dam safety protocols at the national level.
- Constitution of state bodies: State will constitute two bodies i.e. State Committee on Dam Safety and State Dam Safety Organisation.
- These bodies will be responsible for the surveillance, inspection, and monitoring the operation and maintenance of dams within their jurisdiction.
- Classification of dams: Provisions require States to classify dams based on hazard risk, Conduct regular inspections, Create emergency action plans, Institute emergency flood warning systems, Undertake safety reviews and period risk assessment studies,Report and record incidents of dam failures.
- Failure to comply with any provision of the Act is punishable with imprisonment and/or fines.
- If such obstruction or refusal to comply with directions results in loss of lives or imminent danger thereof, [entity] shall be punishable with imprisonment for a term which may extend to two years.
|Krishnarajasagar (KRS) dam
– The dam is below the confluence of river Kaveri with its tributaries Hemavati and Lakshmana Tirtha, in the Mandya district of Karnataka.
– The dam was built during the period between 1911 to 1932, under the leadership of Sir M Visvesvaraya.
– It was a dream and vision of the great Maharaja of Mysore, Krishna Raja Wadiyar IV.