Topic 1: Thawing Permafrost could destabilize thousands of industrial sites in Arctic
Context: Amidst Rising Global Temperatures, thawing permafrost is likely to destabilize thousands of industrial sites and linked contaminated areas in the Arctic.
- The arctic is dotted with industrial facilities such as oilfields and pipelines, mines and military bases.
- The consequences of global warming and thawing permafrost were not taken into account for long and permafrost was considered as a favorable condition for the disposal of industrial legacies and other wastes.
- However, a recent study found out that, thawing permafrost poses environmental threat to thousands of sites with legacy industrial contamination.
- Thawing permafrost in the industrial areas of Arctic could spread toxic substances across the region.
- These infrastructures are built on permafrost, which was once believed to be perennially stable and reliable.
- The toxic waste from these industrial facilities too has been buried in the permafrost on the assumption that it would stay locked away permanently.
- The known industrial waste types in the permafrost region include “drilling and mining wastes, toxic substances like drilling muds and fluids, mine waste heaps, heavy metals, spilled fuels, and radioactive waste”.
Source: Indian Express
Topic 2: Gujarat to become India’s Green Hydrogen Hub
Context: Gujarat has signed MoUs with several big corporates, including Reliance, Adani, which have pledged huge investments in green energy projects.
- According to the state government, Gujarat aims to become hub for green hydrogen by creating a production capacity of 8 metric tonnes per annum (MTPA) by 2035.
- The State is framing a new policy for green hydrogen manufacturing, which will be given the status of a ‘priority sector’.
- The State Cabinet approved the allotment of 1.99 lakh hectares of land in the Kutch-Banas kantha border areas for establishing Green Hydrogen projects.
- Besides the government will provide a range of incentives to the industries investing in the State’s green hydrogen projects.
- According to the land allotment policy, the companies must meet 50% of their green hydrogen production capacity within five years of commissioning their plants and 100% within eight years.
- As a State with a favorable policy regime and solid infrastructure base, Gujarat will be a hub for green energy and its ecosystem,
- The State is expecting around ₹10 lakh crore worth of investments in this new sector over the next 15 years.
- Therefore, Gujarat has set the ball rolling to become the country’s green hydrogen manufacturing hub and retain its dominance over the industrial sector.
Source: The Hindu
Topic 3: Localizations of Sustainable Development Goals
Context: Bhopal has become the first city in India to join the growing global movement.
- In 2015, the 193 member-states of the United Nations adopted the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, which consists of 17 Sustainable Development Goals and 169 targets as a plan of action for ‘people’, ‘the planet’, and ‘prosperity’.
- Following the release of its Voluntary Local Review (VLR), Bhopal has become the first city in India to join the growing global movement on localisation of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
- A VLR is a tool to demonstrate how local actions are leading the way in equitable and sustainable transformations for people.
- Cities are the most important stakeholders in Agenda 2030 as at least 65% of the 169 targets could not possibly be achieved without the engagement of local urban stakeholders.
- Bhopal’s VLR is the result of a collaboration between the Bhopal Municipal Corporation, UN-Habitat, and a collective of over 23 local stakeholders.
- It has mapped 56 developmental projects to the SDGs across the three pillars i.e., people, planet and prosperity.
- As the first city in India to join the growing global movement on localisation of Sustainable Development Goals, Bhopal’s drive should encourage other Indian cities to tell their own stories.
Source: The Hindu
Topic 4: Right to Assembly
Context: The Andhra Pradesh High Court has set aside the state governemnt order that sought to regulate public gatherings or ‘assembly on roads, roadside and margins.
The court in its order noticed that historically, culturally and politically, the tradition of public meetings, processions, assembly etc. on streets, highways etc. has been recognized in this country and it is an important facet of political life in India.
What is the government order and why was it issued?
- The Andhra Government in January issued directions under the provisions of the Police Act, 1861, to regulate public meetings or “assembly on roads, roadsides and margins”.
- The Andhra Pradesh government contended before the court that it had decided to “regulate” the conduct of meetings in light of certain fatal accidents that occurred in the recent past.
- The state government relied on Sections 30, 30A, and 31 of the Police Act, 1861, to issue directions.
What was the Observation of the Court?
- The court observed that Police Act only gives authorities the power to “regulate” the conduct of assemblies, processions, etc., on public roads or thoroughfares.
- The requirement of obtaining a license is to be preceded by the formation of an opinion of the officer that there may be a breach of peace, etc.
- The court noted that the net effect of the state government order was to impose a ban on all meetings on public highways, state highways, municipal and panchayat roads, etc.
- The court reasoned that the fact that an accident or incident occurred at a particular place cannot be used as an “objective” or “cause” to curtail the right to assemble, to take out processions, etc.
- The right to assemble, to protest peacefully, and to express one’s opinion freely” is too precious a freedom to be taken away by an “ipse dixit” (unproven assertion) given by the officer of the state.
- The Court said that such a right can only be subject to a ‘reasonable restriction’ while placing reliance on the Supreme Court’s 2018 decision in ‘Mazdoor Kisan Shakti Sangathan v Union of India and Another’, which laid down guidelines for peaceful assembly.
Source: The Indian Express
Topic 5: Generative AI (Artificial Intelligence)
What is Generative AI?
- Generative artificial intelligence (AI) describes algorithms that can be used to create new content, including audio, code, images, text, simulations, and videos.
- Recent breakthroughs in the field of Generative AI have the potential to drastically change the way people approach content creation.
- Generative AI and transformers (that help predict the next word or a sentence) were were invented to understand languages better.
- Generative AI is finding applications across various domains for e.g., example, it is aiding drug discovery, as well as finding applications for other domains.
- Generative AI can be used to help businesses with patent research and market research.
- For example, if a company is trying to invent a new product, generative AI can be used to search through patent databases to see if the product has already been patented.
- Tools like ChatGPT are free chatbot that can generate an answer to almost any question it’s asked. Released in Nobember,2022 it’s already considered the best AI chatbot ever.
- Generative AI, has the potential to save businesses a significant amount of time and money as about 80% of the questions that financial institutions ask are easily solvable by Generative AI.
- However, people are still cautious about the use of Generative AI in highly-regulated sectors like the banking, financial services, insurance and healthcare sectors as the tools like ChatGPT, Bing and Bard are still replete with inaccuracies.
- For example: Samsung employees reportedly leaked the company’s secret information to ChatGPT after the semiconductor division allowed its engineers to use ChatGPT.
- Further the impact of Generative AI on jobs is yet to be seen.
Source: Live Mint