Topic 1 : Goa Liberation Day
Why in news: On December 19, 1961, India annexed Goa in a quick military operation, after years of diplomatic efforts to secure its independence from Portugal failed.
Goa under the Portuguese
- Goa became a Portuguese colony in 1510, when Admiral Afonso de Albuquerque defeated the Sultan of Bjiapur, Yusuf Adil Shah.
- In 1947, when the rest of India became independent from the British, Goa, Dadra and Nagar Haveli and Daman and Diu continued as Estado da Índia, or the Portuguese states of India.
- An independence movement had been gaining ground here, in step with the liberation movement in the rest of the country.
- Tristão de Bragança Cunha, known as the father of Goan nationalism, founded the Goa National Congress at the Calcutta session of the Indian National Congress in 1928.
- In 1946, socialist leader Ram Manohar Lohia led a historic rally in Goa.
- Alongside these were groups, such as the Azad Gomantak Dal, who thought an armed resistance was the only way forward.
Indian diplomacy failure
- Nehru preferred to secure Goa’s independence through negotiations and diplomacy.
- The dictator of Portugal, Antonio de Oliveira Salazar went a step ahead to declare the India territories as not colonies, but overseas provinces, integral parts of ‘metropolitan Portugal’.
- Portugal by this time had joined the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO), and Salazar demanded that any military action by India be met with a NATO response.
- The government of India persisted with efforts at negotiations, through a diplomatic office it had established in Lisbon.
- Reasons for resorting to military action:
- Because there had been no forward movement from Portugal’s side despite years of consistent Indian efforts.
- African nations also under Portuguese colonial rule wanted India to expedite the liberation of Goa.
- In 1961, preparations for an armed attack on Goa began in full swing.
- The final trigger for military action was the Portuguese firing on an Indian steamer from Anjadip.
- Operation chutney and Operation Vijay:
- On 1 December, India began a surveillance and reconnaissance exercise called Operation Chutney.
- Two frigates began to patrol the coast of Goa, and the Indian Navy mobilised sixteen ships, divided into four task groups.
- The Indian Air Force (IAF) began flights to lure any Portuguese fighter jets to reveal their positions.
- The Indian Army stationed troops around the borders of Goa, Daman and Diu.
- The army would lead Operation Vijay to liberate Goa, and the navy and the air force would support it.
- On the evening of December 19, Governor-General Vassalo e Silva surrendered thus ending over 400 years of Portuguese rule in India.Topic 2 : Yogmaya Temple
Why in news: From a Mughal-sponsored structure to a concrete building, the Yogmaya Temple in Mehrauli, New Delhi, India, close to the Qutb complex is a historically important monument.
- It is believed to be standing at the site of an ancient temple that is said to have come up during the period of the Mahabharata but of which no trace exists anymore.
- A noble in the court of Mughal Emperor Akbar II by the name of Lala Sidhu Mal built the temple between 1806 and 1837.
- The area was known as Yoginipura in ancient Jain texts and Prithviraj Chauhan himself was said to have patronised a Yogini temple here shortly before his city’s destruction.
- Yogmaya Temple, also Jogmaya temple, is dedicated to the goddess Yogmaya, also considered to be a sister of Krishna
- During Aurangzeb’s reign a rectangular Islamic Style hall was added to the temple.
- The present temple was restored in early 19th century.
- The temple is also an integral part of an important inter-faith festival of Delhi, the annual Phool Walon Ki Sair.
Topic 3 : The National Capital Territory of Delhi Laws (Special Provisions) Second (Amendment) Bill, 2023
Why in news: Both Houses of Parliament recently passed The National Capital Territory of Delhi Laws (Special Provisions) Second (Amendment) Bill, 2023 to extend the protection, which would have ended with this year, until December 31, 2026.
Background of this law:
- Following orders passed by the Delhi High Court and Supreme Court, the Municipal Corporation of Delhi began a sealing drive in 2006 against unauthorised constructions in the city.
- The UPA government of Manmohan Singh enacted The Delhi Laws (Special Provisions) Act, 2006 to protect certain kinds of unauthorised constructions for a period of one year.
- Thereafter, the protections were extended one year at a time until 2011, through amendments passed by Parliament. In 2011, The National Capital Territory of Delhi Laws (Special Provisions) Second Act came into force, which gave protections for a period of three years until December 31, 2014.
The recent amendment:
- The amendment replaces the year 2023 with 2026, extending the protections for another three years.
- Unauthorised constructions up to June 1, 2014 are covered.
- The Act says that orderly arrangements have to be made for the relocation and rehabilitation of residents of slums and jhuggi-jhompri clusters, unauthorised colonies, urban villages and farmhouses with construction beyond what is permissible, as per the 2011 Act.
- It recalls that The NCT of Delhi (Recognition of Property Rights of Residents in Unauthorised Colonies) Act, 2019 conferred ownership rights to residents of unauthorised colonies.
- This process of conferring the ownership rights to the residents of unauthorised colonies and action as per the Development Control Norms for unauthorised colonies is under progress and will take time.
- The work on conferring ownership rights that started in 2019 was delayed by the Covid-19 pandemic.
- It was told in Lok Sabha that about 40-50 lakh individuals live in unauthorised colonies, which means 8-10 lakh households could be eligible for ownership rights.
- So far, only 4 lakh registrations have taken place, and conveyance deeds have been issued in just 20,881 cases.Topic 4 : Greenwashing
Why in news: Recently, the United Kingdom’s ad regulator banned advertisements from Air France, Lufthansa, and Etihad were accused of ‘greenwashing’ for allegedly misleading consumers regarding the environmental impact of air travel.
- Britain’s Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) identified three Google ads that suggested the flights operated by Air France, Lufthansa, and Etihad were sustainable.
- After carrying out an investigation, the ASA found that none of the aforementioned ads corroborate their environmental claims.
- They were in violation of the UK ad code, which states such absolute claims need to be supported by a high level of substantiation.
What is Greenwashing?
- Greenwashing is when firms or governments give a false impression that all of their products or activities are climate-friendly or help in reducing emissions.
- Greenwashing may also occur when a company highlights sustainable aspects of a product to overshadow its environmentally damaging activities.
- It is performed through the use of environmental imagery, misleading labels, and hiding tradeoffs.
- Greenwashing is a play on the term ‘whitewashing,’ which means using false information to intentionally hide wrongdoing, error, or an unpleasant situation in an attempt to make it seem less bad than it is.
- The infamous 2015 Volkswagen scandal, in which the German car company was found to have been cheating in emissions testing of its supposedly green diesel vehicles.
- This was a case of greenwashing.
Aviation industry and emissions
- Currently, the aviation industry is responsible for approximately 2.5% of all human-produced CO2 emissions, according to the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s (IPCC) 2022 estimates.
- The IPPC has said that aviation’s contribution could increase to 5% of the total contribution by 2050 if measures are not taken to address these emissions.
- The highest predicted value is 15%.
- If non-CO2 emissions, like water vapour, are also accounted for, the airline industry would be responsible for causing almost 5% of historical global warming.
- Emissions from domestic flights are attributed to a country’s emission accounts.
- However, emissions from international flights are not attributable to any country.
- They are instead counted as ‘bunker fuels’ and no country has any responsibility to curtail these emissions.Topic 5 : The Donkey Route
Why in news: ‘Dunki’, the upcoming Shah Rukh Khan movie , is based on migration of people from India and Pakistan through Donkey Route to America.
- Donkey flight termed as “Dunki” in Punjabi is an illegal immigration technique used for unauthorized entry into countries like the United States, Canada, and the United Kingdom.
- This method has gained notoriety among migrants, particularly those from Indian states such as Haryana, Gujarat and Punjab.
- The first step in the most popular donkey route from India is to reach a Latin American country.
- Countries like Ecuador, Bolivia, and Guyana have visa on arrival for Indian citizens.
- Some other countries, including Brazil and Venezuela, give tourist visas to Indians easily.
- A migrant’s route also depends on which countries his agent has ‘links’ in — links to human trafficking networks.
- Most agents land their clients in a Latin American country, and then take them to Colombia.
- Crossing a dangerous forest
- From Colombia, the migrants enter Panama.
- This involves crossing the Darién Gap, a dangerous forest between the two countries.
- Risks here include a lack of clean water, wild animals, and criminal gangs.
- At the US border
- The 3,140-km border separating the United States and Mexico has fencing, which the migrants have to jump across.
- Many choose to cross the dangerous Rio Grande river.
- It is after crossing over that migrants are detained and then kept in camps.
- A journey dangerous and expensive
- An average donkey trip may cost between Rs 15 lakh and Rs 40 lakh.
- But sometimes, the cost is as high as Rs 70 lakh.Topic 6 : Dharavi redevelopment plan
Why in news: Thousands of protesters led by Opposition parties in Maharashtra marched towards billionaire Gautam Adani’s Mumbai office to express their dissent against the ₹23,000 crore Dharavi Redevelopment Project.
- Dharavi, Asia’s largest slum cluster, and the third largest in the world, is home to nearly 58,000 families who migrated to India’s financial capital from across the subcontinent over decades.
- It stands on a 300-hectare slice of prime land in the heart of the city overlooking the Bandra-Kurla Complex (BKC), India’s premium business district.
What is the Dharavi Redevelopment Project?
- In 1999, the BJP-Sena government first proposed to redevelop Dharavi.
- In 2004, the Congress government formed the Dharavi Redevelopment Authority under the Slum Redevelopment Authority (SRA) intending to make Mumbai, a slum-free city.
- However, the project never got off the ground due to various reasons.
- According to SRA, 48.35% of Mumbai’s population lives in slums which occupy about 24% of the city’s area.
- In November 2022, Adani Properties Private Limited successfully secured the 259-hectare redevelopment project through competitive bidding.
- The redevelopment plan is an integrated development approach of the residential, commercial, and industrial with a floor space index of over 4.
- Although a Dubai-based consortium – Seclink Technologies Corporation – successfully bid against Adani in January 2019, the tender was not awarded due to the decision to incorporate 47.5 acres of Railway land into the redevelopment project.
- The Seclink Technologies Corporation launched a legal battle alleging the State government improperly cancelled an original 2018 tender for the slum redevelopment and favoured Adani Group in giving the new contract.
- It is alleged that the redevelopment project involves TDR irregularities worth over ₹100 crore.
- There is a need for fair treatment during redevelopment and the government should give 500 sq.ft houses for Dharavi residents.
- The government aimed to offer 300 sq.ft houses for free to residents with evidence of their slum structure’s existence before January 1, 2000.
- For those who established residency in Dharavi between 2000 and 2011, the houses were made available at a designated price.
Current status of the project:
- In September, the DRP and Adani Properties formed a Special Purpose Vehicle (SPV) called the Dharavi Redevelopment Project Pvt Ltd (DRPPL).
- The developer holds 80% equity in SPV and the State government will hold the remaining 20%.
- The chairman/chairperson of the SPV will be appointed by the government, and the managing director will be appointed by the Adani Group.
- Both positions are still vacant.
- Upon assuming responsibility, the team’s initial objective will be to formulate the master plan for the redevelopment and conduct a survey.
- The deadline for submitting the master plan is set at 150 days.
- This plan will provide comprehensive information about the designated areas for rehabilitation buildings and free sale buildings, along with the positioning of public amenities such as schools, hospitals, gardens, and playgrounds.
- The masterplan and survey reports will be submitted to the government which will take a final call.
When will the project be finished?
- The Maharashtra government is highly optimistic about completing the entire process of rehabilitation and redevelopment in seven years starting next year.
- However, the developer stated that the period is ‘insufficient’ and sought at least 10-12 years for the entire process to be completed.Topic 7 : Red Sea
Why in news: U.S. Defense Secretary announced the creation of a multinational operation to safeguard commerce in the Red Sea following a series of missile and drone attacks by Yemen’s Iran-aligned Houthis.
About Red Sea:
- The Red Sea is a seawater inlet of the Indian Ocean, lying between Africa and Asia.
- Its connection to the ocean is in the south, through the Bab el Mandeb strait and the Gulf of Aden.
- To its north lie the Sinai Peninsula, the Gulf of Aqaba, and the Gulf of Suez (leading to the Suez Canal).
- It is underlain by the Red Sea Rift, which is part of the Great Rift Valley.
- The Red Sea is the world’s northernmost tropical sea, and has been designated a Global 200 ecoregion.
Topic 8 : SAFAR system
Why in news: The Founder-Director of SAFAR (System of Air Quality and Weather Forecasting Research) spoke about issues related to air pollution in an interview recently.
About SAFAR system:
- SAFAR stands for System of Air Quality and Weather Forecasting And Research (SAFAR).
- It is a government-backed initiative to monitor and forecast air quality in some metropolitan cities.
- Nodal ministry: Ministry of Earth Sciences (MoES).
- SAFAR envisages a research based management system where strategies of air pollution mitigation go hand in hand with nation’s economic development to target a win-win scenario.
Framework developed by SAFAR:
- The framework was first developed and implemented for Delhi in 2010, used in Pune from 2013 and in 2015 it was extended to Mumbai and in Ahmedabad (2017).
- SAFAR chose to demonstrate its forecasting model in four different and contrasting micro-climates of Indian cities.
- There are six elaborate components in the framework including:
- Observational Network for Air Pollution and Weather Parameters,
- Quality Control and Quality Assurance,
- Inventory of Emissions: To keep track of pollution sources,
- SAFAR-Air Quality and Weather Forecasting Model,
- Data to Information Translation: The AQI Concept, &
- Technology and Outreach for Product Development and Dissemination.
- It monitors all weather parameters like:
- wind speed, and wind direction,
- UV radiation, and
- solar radiation..
- SAFAR framework considers almost all pollutants levels—PM10, 1, 2.5, CO, NOx, SO2, Volatile Organic Compounds etc.— through automatic analysers.
Range of the air quality forecast:
- We can give air quality forecasts 24, 48 and 72 hours in advance.
- And in case of extreme pollution events like dust storms or stubble burning issues, we also started extended range forecasts which give forecasts five days in advance.
What is emission inventory?
- An emission inventory is nothing but accounting for all sources of pollutants in a particular area at a particular time.
- It details the:
- amount and types of air pollutants released into the air
- provides information on the types of sources that are emitting the pollutants and
- their location.