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Environment

Earth Overshoot Day

Why in News?

This year’s Earth overshoot day fell on August 1st.

What is Earth Overshoot Day?

  • Earth Overshoot Day, previously known as Ecological Debt Day, marks the date when humanity’s demand for ecological resources and services in a given year exceeds what Earth can regenerate in that year.
  • It is hosted and calculated by Global Footprint Network (GFN).
  • The concept of Earth Overshoot Day was first conceived by Andrew Simms of the UK think tank New Economics Foundation.
  • The first global Earth Overshoot Day campaign was launched in 2006. WWF has participated in Earth Overshoot Day since 2007.

About GFN

  • It is an international think tank that coordinates research, develops methodological standards and provides decision-makers with a menu of tools to help the human economy operate within Earth’s ecological limits.

How is the date of Earth Overshoot Day determined?

  • Just as a bank statement tracks income against expenditures, Global Footprint Network measures a population’s demand for and ecosystems’ supply of resources and services.
  • These calculations then serve as the foundation for calculating Earth Overshoot Day.
  • Earth Overshoot Day is computed by dividing the planet’s bio capacity by humanity’s Ecological Footprint and multiplying by 365, the number of days in a year:
  • Earth Overshoot Day = (Planet’s Bio capacity / Humanity’s Ecological Footprint) x 365
  • For each year, GFN calculates the number of days of that year that Earth’s bio capacity suffices to provide for humanity’s Ecological Footprint. The remainder of the year corresponds to global overshoot.

What is Planet’s Bio Capacity?

  • The amount of ecological resources Earth is able to generate that year.
  • Likewise Bio capacity of a city or state or nation can also be determined.
  • A city, state, or nation’s bio capacity represents its biologically productive land and sea area, including forest lands, grazing lands, cropland, fishing grounds, and built-up land.

What is Ecological Footprint?

  • It is the humanity’s demand for resources for the concerned year.
  • The Ecological Footprint measures a population’s demand for
    • Plant-based food and fiber products,
    • Livestock and fish products,
    • Timber and other forest products,
    • Space for urban infrastructure, and
    • Forest to absorb its carbon dioxide emissions from fossil fuels.

How are these measured?

  • Both measures are expressed in global hectares—globally comparable, standardized hectares with world average productivity.
  • A hectare is equivalent to 10,000 square meters or 2.47 acres.

Ecological Deficit

  • If a population’s demand for ecological assets exceeds the supply, that region runs an ecological deficit.
  • A region in ecological deficit meets demand by importing, liquidating its own ecological assets (such as overfishing), and/or emitting carbon dioxide into the atmosphere.
  • At the global level, ecological deficit and overshoot are the same, since there is no net import of resources to the planet.

Did you know?

The Country Overshoot Day for the US fell on March 15, 2018. If everyone lived like US residents, we would need five earths to meet our annual consumption.

Portuguese man o' war

Why in News?

A cluster of Portuguese man-of-war, washed ashore on the Baga beach in north Goa and tourists and residents have been warned against swimming.

What is Portuguese man-of-war?

  • Commonly known as ‘bluebottle’ or ‘floating terror’, the Indo- Pacific Portuguese man-of-war is a marine hydrozoan found in the Indian and Pacific Oceans.
  • It is not a true jellyfish, not even a single organism, but a siphonophore, a colonial animal made up of tiny specialised animals called polyps, which are all connected to each other and function like the organs and tissues of single multicellular organisms.
  • A gas-filled bladder allows it to float on the surface, propelled by currents, tides, and by a sail at the top of the bladder.
  • A single long tentacle of venomous cnidocytes, hanging below the float, provides the animal with a means of capturing prey.
  • It is composed of four separate colonies of polyps and medusoids. The colony consists of a gas-filled polyp that keeps it afloat, and three other polyp types which help in capture and digestion of prey and reproduction.

Why a warning?

  • Stings from a Portuguese man o' war cause severe pain to humans. It leaves whip-like, red welts on the skin that lasts for days.
  • The venom can affect lymph nodes and can cause swelling of the larynx, airway blockage, cardiac distress, and an inability to breathe.
  • Other symptoms can include fever and shock, and in some extreme rare cases, even death.

Note: There are two major species of Portuguese man-of-war- the Atlantic and the Indo-Pacific.

Polity

Article 35A

Why in news?

The Supreme Court is scheduled to hear petitions challenging Article 35A as unrest brews in Kashmir in protest.

What is article 35 A?

  • Article 35 A empowers the state legislature of Jammu and Kashmir to define and confer special rights and privileges to ‘permanent residents’ in
    • Public sector jobs
    • Acquisition of property in the State
    • Scholarships
    • Other public aid and welfare

How it came into being?

  • In 1927, owing to the ‘Kashmir for the Kashmiri’ movement, the Maharaja passed an order that granted the state subjects, the right to government office and the right to land use and ownership, which were not available to non-state subjects.
  • Article 35A was incorporated into the Constitution in 1954 by an order of the President, which followed the 1952 Delhi Agreement, which extended Indian citizenship to the ‘State subjects’ of Jammu and Kashmir.

On what grounds is it being challenged?

  • The parliamentary route of lawmaking was bypassed when the President incorporated Article 35A into the Constitution. The Nehru government did not place it before the Parliament.
  • It is also being challenged on grounds of
    • Being against the “very spirit of oneness of India” as it creates a “class within a class of Indian citizens”
    • Being a violation of fundamental rights under Articles 14, 19 and 21 of the Constitution because it restricts citizens from other States from getting employment or buying property within Jammu and Kashmir.
    • It also challenges the validity of Article 370 citing it was only a ‘temporary provision’ to help bring normality in Jammu and Kashmir and strengthen democracy in that State

Government Schemes|Health

Ayushman Bharat Scheme

Why in news?

Prime minister reviewed the preparations for launch of Health insurance programme under Ayushman Bharat.

What is the Scheme?

Ayushman Bharat-National Health Protection Scheme:

  • The scheme will provide coverage up to 5 lakh rupees per family per year for secondary and tertiary care hospitalization.

Target beneficiaries

  • The scheme will cover over 10 crore poor and vulnerable families (approximately 50 crore beneficiaries)
  • Beneficiaries will be based on Socio Economic and Caste Census 2011 (SECC)

Features of the scheme

  • The scheme integrates two schemes viz. Rashtriya Swasthya Bima Yojana (RSBY) and Senior Citizen Health Insurance Scheme (SCHIS).
  • It includes pre and post-hospitalization expenses. It will cover all pre-existing conditions from beginning of the policy.
  • It will also pay defined transport allowance per hospitalization to the beneficiary.
  • The scheme allows the beneficiary to take cashless benefits from any public or private empaneled hospitals across the country.
  • This will be the world’s largest government funded health care programme.
  • Ayushman Bharat National Health Protection Mission Council (AB-NHPMC) will be set up at apex level. It will be chaired by Union Health and Family Welfare minister.

Security

Tejas

Why in news?

  • The government is to hand over control of the aircraft manufacturing division of Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) to the Indian Air Force (IAF).
  • This is to prevent more time and cost overruns on the indigenous Light Combat Aircraft (LCA) project

What is the LCA project?

The Light Combat Aircraft programme was sanctioned in 1983, to replace India's ageing MiG-21 fighters. The aircraft made its first flight in 2001and in 2003, the LCA was officially named "Tejas"

Tejas

  • It is India’s Indigenous Light Combat Aircraft.
  • LCA Tejas is a single-seat, single-jet engine, multirole light fighter designed by the Aeronautical Development Agency and Hindustan Aeronautics Limited primarily for the Indian Air Force and Navy.
  • The aircraft is equipped to handle air-to-air missiles, air-tosurface missiles, anti-ship missiles, bombs and rockets.
  • It is considered to be the lightest multi-role supersonic aircraft of its class.
  • The production of Tejas Mk-1A will begin in 2019.
  • The process is to install an Advanced Electronically Scanned Array (AESA) radar and Self-Protection Jammer.
  • The Tejas is the second supersonic fighter developed by Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) after the HAL HF-24 Marut.

More about HAL

  • HAL is an Indian state-owned aerospace and defence company based in Bangalore, Karnataka.
  • It is governed under the management of the Indian Ministry of Defence.
  • HAL built the first military aircraft in South Asia.
  • It is currently involved in the design, fabrication and assembly of aircraft, jet engines, helicopters and their spare parts.
  • Customers oh HAL include both civil and defence
  • Some of the customers are IAF, Indian Navy, army, ISRO, DRDO, BRO, Govt. of Maharashtra, Govt. of Karnataka etc
  • HAL was established as Hindustan Aircraft Limited in Bangalore in 1940 by Walchand Hirachand.

Economy

White Label ATMs

Why in news?

Cash supply stress and cost pressures is said to be hurting the growth of white label ATMs in the country.

What is a white label ATM?

  • Automated Teller Machines (ATMs) set up, owned and operated by non-bank entities are called "White Label ATMs" (WLAs) as they are devoid of any bank logo.
  • They provide the banking services to the customers of banks in India, based on the cards (debit/credit/prepaid) issued by banks.
  • Non-bank entities that set up, own and operate ATMs are called "White Label ATM Operators" (WLAO)
  • The white label operators have the autonomy to decide on the locations and create their own brand with fixed annual targets mandated by the central bank
  • Customers from any bank can use these ATMs, provided they pay a fee for using the service.
  • The white label ATMs do not accept cash deposits.

Static interchange fee

  • It is the amount paid by one bank to the other when its customer uses the other bank’s ATM network.
  • There is a demand to raise this from 15% to 18%

Did you know?

Tata Communications Payment Solutions Limited (TCPSL) became the first company to be authorized by RBI to open White Label ATMs under the brand name 'Indicash’.

What is a Brown Label ATMs

'Brown label' ATM are those Automated Teller Machines where

  • Hardware and the lease of the ATM machine is owned by a service provider,
  • But cash management and connectivity to banking networks is provided by a sponsor bank whose brand is used on the ATM.