Daily Current Affairs News: January 5, 2021

Bengal buys dirtiest coal-based power generated in India

Thermal power purchased by West Bengal was generated from the most polluting plants in India, the Centre for Science and Environment (CSE) has found.

  • Most coal-based thermal power plants (TPPs) supplying to the state had not taken measures to control sulphur dioxide (SO2) emissions, the Delhi-based non-profit found.
  • The Union Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change (MoEF&CC) had stipulated norms to control particulate matter, SO2 and oxides of nitrogen in December 2015. However, the Union Ministry of Power is seeking further relaxation of the SO2 norms.
  • SO2 emissions from power plants are responsible for over half the anthropogenic emissions in India. SO2 in the ambient air reacts to form more deadly secondary particulates in the ambient air.

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India-China And The Indo Pacific

  • There has been a growing importance of the Indian and Pacific Oceans.
  • Indo-pacific is now at the centre of global political discourse.
  • The region is marked by uncertainty about expansionist Chinese territorial policies and concerns about the United States’ long-term commitment to Asia.
  • So far, India’s policy has been to stay away from the contested power politics in the region.
  • India has a cordial relations with most of the stakeholders in the region.
  • In the region, India’s engagement has been at every fronts — bilateral, plurilateral and multilateral platforms.
  • But given Chinese aggression along the Sino-Indian border, India is in the process of redefining its priorities in the wider Indo-Pacific region.
  • Managing the strategic challenge from China is the main concern for India.
  • India wants to check China’s expansionist tendencies, India is now ready to embark on a more proactive role in the region.

Source: This note is based on the article India, China, and the Indo-Pacific: New Delhi’s recalibration is underway. (ORF)

Rationale of farm protests

  • The recently enacted farm laws and the amendment to the Essential Commodities Act by the Union government has led to a standoff with no resolution in sight.
  • The Centre has overlooked a fundamental aspect that no one size of farming pattern fits all.
  • Agriculture is under the State List of the Constitution.
  • The National Agricultural Research Project divides our country into 127 different agro-climatic zones.
  • The different zones include varying landholding patterns, weather/climate, soil content, production patterns and water levels.
  • The present laws fail to factor in the heterogeneity in our farming patterns.
  • The amendment to the Essential Commodities Act, 2020 gives unbridled power to hoarders and traders.
  • By removing many cereals from the list of “essential items’, the Centre has actually encouraged unlimited hoarding and speculative trade.

Source: This Note is based on the article: Understanding the rationale of farm protests (Hindustan Times)