Topic 1: Impact of Climate Change on Indian Economy
Context: The World Meteorological Organization (WMO) announced that global temperatures are likely to surge to record levels in next five years.
- According to WMO, the combined effect of heat-trapping greenhouse gases and an EI Nino event will result into phenomenal rise in global temperatures in next 5 years.
- WMO warned that the economic cost of extreme weather, climate and water-related events has been soaring.
Visible evidences of Climate Change:
- Anomalies in temperature and precipitation (rain, hail, snow etc.)
- RBI’s latest report on currency and finance has highlighted that rise in annual average temperature in India has sharpen during the last 20 years.
- The south west monsoon has become more erratic and average annual rainfall in India has gradually declined.
- While the dry spells have become more frequent, intense wet spells have also increased.
- Also, that India is relatively more exposed to floods and storms (i.e., cyclones and hailstorms) than droughts and heat waves.
How vulnerable is India?
- The Global Climate Risk Index 2021, ranked India seventh in the list of most affected countries in terms of exposure and vulnerability to climate risk events.
- One of the alternate ways to look at India’s vulnerability to climate change is to look at the structure of India’s economy that has undergone considerable change since independence.
- Bulk of the economic activities have shifted from the agriculture and allied sector to services sector.
- Since services sector is globally considered to be emission-light with relatively lower energy intensity of output, this has implication for carbon emissions.
- The highest emission intensive sectors such as metal industries, electricity and transports (air, land and water) together accounted for around just 9% of India’s total GVA (gross value added) in 2018-19.
- In other Words, the sectoral composition of the Indian economy helps reduce its carbon emissions.
- However, notwithstanding this, fossil fuels have an overwhelmingly large share (over 90%) in India’s primary energy consumption and that needs to change.
The macroeconomic impact of Climate Change:
- Climate change can adversely impact both the supply side as well as the demand side.
- It can stroke inflation, reduce economic output, trigger uncertainty and change consumer behaviors.
- In 2020, the World Bank said that India could account for 34 million job losses from heat stress-associated productivity decine by 2030.
- In 2022, IPCC stated that India is one of the most vulnerable countries globally in terms of the population that would be affected by the sea level rise.
- The risks from climate change are categorized in two main ways:
- The physical risks (gradual and sustained change in temperature and precipitation) as well as acute events like extreme weather occurrences.
- The transition risks i.e., economy-wide changes arising from the transition towards a low-carbon economy.
- Even if lndia follows the “Nationally Determined Contributions, path of achieving net zero by 2070, India’s GDP is likely to lower by anywhere between 8.5% to almost 10% under current policy scenario by 2050.
- However, if the global CO2 emissions reach net zero by 2050, then the impact of climate change on India’s GDP will be the lowest.
Source: The Indian Express
Topic 2: Second Production-Linked incentive (PLI) initiative for the steel industry.
Context: The government is set to introduce a second production-linked industry aimed at bolstering the local capital goods industry.
- The expansion of the PLI scheme for steel industry aims to support the manufacture of capital goods and critical consumables such as refractories, low carbon and low loss of ignition fluxes, rollers, carbon capture units and other imported materials required in steel making.
- The new PLI would be an extension of the current scheme, with a focus on capital assistance to produce special steel grades that are not covered by existing PLI provisions.
- The idea is to make the countries steel sector self-sufficient to meet not only domestic demands but become an important centre to meet the steel needs of the globe.
- While the PLI-1 provided incentives to promote the manufacturing of special steel not being made in the country, the PLI-2 will look to expand the list of special steel while also supporting domestic manufacturing of capital goods and consumables.
The five categories of specialty steel which have been chosen in the PLI Scheme are:
- Coated/Plated Steel Products
- High Strength/Wear resistant Steel
- Specialty Rails
- Alloy Steel Products and Steel wires
- Electrical Steelass
Topic 3: India-Germany push trilateral projects
- India and Germany signed the Triangular Development Partner agreement in 2022. It is a joint declaration on agroecology and sustainable management of natural resources
- These projects aim to support sustainable development goals (SDGs) in third world countries in Asia, Africa and the Indo-Pacific.
- So far, New Delhi and Berlin have started work with four nations i.e., Peru, Malawi, Cameroon and Ghana.
- The projects range from promoting agri-business among women in Malawi to potato production in Cameroon through agri-tech.
- The objective of the project is to build on individual strengths in development cooperation and offer sustainable projects to third countries.
- It aims to help such countries in addressing development challenges and achieving SDGs and SDG-related climate targets.
Topic 4: North-South Transport Corridor (NSTC)
Context: Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has revived the hope for international North-South Transport Corridor.
- The idea of NSTC was conceived in early 2000s by Russia, India, and Iran, when an intergovernmental agreement was signed to create a multimodal transport corridor,
- The idea was to build a transport corridor linking Russia’s Baltic Sea coast to India’s western ports in the Arabian Sea via Iran.
- Russia, India and Iran signed preliminary agreements to develop the 7,200-km-long International North-South Transport Corridor (NSTC) in 2002.
- NSTC was eventually ratified by 13 countries i.e., India, Russia, Iran, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Bulgaria, Armenia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Oman, Tajikistan, Turkey and Ukraine.
- However, despite its perceived potential there was little progress on the project’s implementation for years.
- The western sanctions on Iran over its nuclear Programme had been one of the reasons for the slow movement of the project.
- The western nations were reluctant to invest in the Islamic Republic (Iran) fearing sanctions.
- However, Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, and the sanctioned by West, have brought Moscow and Tehran closer, giving a fresh impetus to the NSTC.
Present status of the project:
- In February, 2023 Vladimir Putin reaffirmed that Russia was developing the NSTC, which would open up new routes for trade with India, Iran, Pakistan as well as Gulf countries.
- Russia intends to develop the ports of the Black Sea and the Sea of Azov, to facilitate the North-South International Corridor.
- According to the original plan, the corridor has several branches. It would link Russia to Iran through Azerbaijan on the western side of the Caspian Sea.
- The eastern branch runs along the eastern coast of the Caspian Sea and links the main corridor to different road and rail networks of Central Asian countries such as Turkmenistan and Kazakhstan.
What are the Stakes for India?
- India is dependent on imports for about 80% of its energy requirements.
- The NSTC would open fresh avenues for energy security.
- India has substantially increased its energy ties with Russia post Ukrainian war.
- The corridor can also boost trade between India and Central Asia.
- India is now pressing to connect the Chabahar port to the corridor.
Challenges to the Project?
- Construction of the Rasht-Astara railway, along the Caspian Sea, has been lagging because of financial issues.
- The Russian rail gauge, which is used in former Soviet republics as well, is different from that of Iran.
- Both Russia and Iran are grappling through sanctions and would find it difficult to make huge investment in the project.
- Iran’s relationship with Azerbaijan remains tense. Baku has repeatedly accused Iran of interference in its internal matters.
- The war between Azerbaijan and Armenia has complicated the geopolitics of the Caucasus.
However, despite the challenges, the Russians and the Iranians seem determined to go ahead as they see the corridor as a potential game changer in their plans for Eurasian economic integration.
Topic 5: Skewed Student-teacher; gross violation of Right to Education Act
- Even after 14 years of implementation of the Right to education, the proportion of single-teacher schools in India is still a high 14.7%.
- The Right to Education Act states that every school must have at least two teachers.
- The Act also requires presence of a primary school within one kilometer of every habitation.
- In some states, the single-teacher schools are likely to have something to do with low population density, scattered settlement patterns and low fertility rates.
- In Kerala, single-teacher schools seem to be a second-best arrangement for tiny habitations. The proportion of single-teacher schools in Kerala was also low (4%)
- However, in many states there are plenty of single-teacher schools with a large number of children.
- Only nine in India’s 21 major states had an average pubic-teacher ratio below 30 in single-teacher schools.
Source: The Hindu