- Cable Connectivity to Andaman & Nicobar Islands (CANI)
- World Biofuel day
- World Elephant Day: Tackling Human-Elephant Conflict
Focus: GS-III Industry and Infrastructure
Why in news?
Prime Minister launched and dedicated to the nation, the submarine Optical Fibre Cable (OFC) connecting Andaman & Nicobar Islands to the mainland through video conferencing.
- The Services have already begun on a major chunk of the islands from Chennai to Port Blair, Port Blair to Little Andaman and Port Blair to Swaraj Island.
- The main obstacles were: the laying of cables for about 2300 kilometers under the sea as surveying in the deep sea, maintaining the quality of the cable and laying of the cable with specialised vessels overcoming challenges such as high waves, storms and monsoons and the tough times owing to Corona Pandemic.
Benefits highlighted by the PM
Ease of Living
- This Optical Fibre Project which links A&N Islands with the rest of the country will improve ease of living and aid speedy development of national security linked border areas and island states.
Increase Opportunities through Digital India
- The Submarine Cable will help A&N in getting cheaper & better connectivity and all the benefits of Digital India, especially in improving online education, tele-medicine, banking system, online trading and in boosting tourism.
- This is very crucial as Andaman & Nicobar is an important centre for India’s Economic-Strategic Cooperation and the Indian Ocean has been the center of India’s trade and strategic prowess for thousands of years.
- Under the Act-East policy, the role of Andaman and Nicobar in India’s strong relations with East Asian countries and other countries connected to the sea is very high and is going to increase.
Port Led Development
- Andaman & Nicobar will be developed as a hub of Port Led Development as it is at a Competitive Distance from many ports of the World and the CANI will help in the effort.
- A country which has better network of ports and their connectivity will be able to provide a boost to trade in the 21st Century.
International Maritime Trade
- The focus of these projects including CANI are also on promoting Ease of Business in the sea and simplifying Maritime Logistics.
- The speedy construction of the deep draft inner harbor and the proposal to construct TransShipment Port in Great Nicobar etc., are along the same lines of thought.
Click here to read about the Benefits of the Submarine Cable connectivity to Andaman and Nicobar and more (3rd Article)
High Impact Projects & Better Land, Air and Water Ways
- High Impact Projects are being expanded in 12 islands of Andaman and Nicobar.
- The effort is to further improve physical connectivity through road, air and water apart from providing for better internet & mobile connectivity.
- Main focus is on the work on two major bridges and the NH-4 in order to improve the road connectivity of North and Middle Andaman.
- the Port Blair Airport is being enhanced to handle larger capacity and Passenger Terminals in Swaraj Dweep, Shaheed Dweep and Long Island along with Water Aerodrom Infrastructure like Floating Jetty will be ready in the near future.
- 4 Ships are also being built at Kochi Shipyard and shall be delivered soon to improve the Water connectivity between the islands and the mainland.
Focus: GS-III Environment and Ecology
Why in news?
A webinar on the occasion of the World Biofuel day was organized by the Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas, with the theme “Biofuels towards Atmanirbhar Bharat”.
Highlights of discussions
- The scope of producing Biofuels is immense in India as India being a large agricultural economy, has a large amount of agricultural residues available.
- If we look at the Biofuels, there are three major areas- Ethanol, Bio-diesel and Biogas.
- If we are able to exploit these three, then we can reduce our dependence on import of crude to a very large extent and import of gas also.
- The support of the State Governments to the sector in necessary a very big way because the agricultural residues and all the other wastes, which may come from the municipal solid wastes or other form of wastes all has to be collected segregated, managed and then supplied to various plants which may come up.
- There is a very crucial need for sensitizing other stakeholders, primarily, the farmers and also the common public who may be producing wastes and not managing the wastes the way it should be managed so that it can further be used and converted into useful forms.
- Biofuels have multiple benefits such as reduction on import dependence, ensuring a cleaner environment, generating additional income for farmers and employment generation.
- By reducing crop burning & conversion of agricultural residues/wastes to biofuels there will be further reduction in Green House Gas emissions.
Since, 2014, the Government of India has taken a number of initiatives to increase blending of biofuels.
The major initiatives include
- Administrative price mechanism for ethanol,
- Simplifying the procurement procedures by OMCs,
- Amending the provisions of Industries (Development & Regulation) Act, 1951,
- Long term ethanol procurement policy,
- Ethanol distillation capacity addition and
- Enabling lignocellulosic route for ethanol procurement.
National Policy on Biofuels
- In order to promote biofuels in the country, first National Policy on Biofuels was made by Ministry of New and Renewable Energy during the year 2009.
- National Policy on Biofuels -2018 builds on the achievements of the earlier National Policy on Biofuels setting new agenda consistent with the redefined role of emerging developments in the renewable sector aiming to bring in renewed focus taking into context the international perspectives and National scenario.
- The policy envisages an indicative target of 20% blending of ethanol in petrol and 5% blending of bio-diesel in diesel by 2030.
- The Policy categorises biofuels as “Basic Biofuels” viz. First Generation (1G) bioethanol & biodiesel and “Advanced Biofuels” – Second Generation (2G) ethanol, Municipal Solid Waste (MSW) to drop-in fuels, Third Generation (3G) biofuels, bio-CNG etc. to enable extension of appropriate financial and fiscal incentives under each category.
- The Policy expands the scope of raw material for ethanol production by allowing use of Sugarcane Juice, Sugar containing materials like Sugar Beet, Sweet Sorghum, Starch containing materials like Corn, Cassava, Damaged food grains like wheat, broken rice, Rotten Potatoes, unfit for human consumption for ethanol production.
- The Policy allows use of surplus food grains for production of ethanol for blending with petrol with the approval of National Biofuel Coordination Committee – so that farmers get appropriate price for their produce during the surplus production phase.
- The Policy encourages setting up of supply chain mechanisms for biodiesel production from non-edible oilseeds, Used Cooking Oil, short gestation crops.
Importance of biofuels in India
- Globally, biofuels have caught the attention in last decade and it is imperative to keep up with the pace of developments in the field of biofuels.
- Biofuels in India are of strategic importance as it augers well with the ongoing initiatives of the Government such as Make in India, Swachh Bharat Abhiyan, Skill Development and offers great opportunity to integrate with the ambitious targets of doubling of Farmers Income, Import Reduction, Employment Generation, Waste to Wealth Creation.
World Biofuel Day
Every year 10th August is observed as World Bio-Fuel Day in a bid to create awareness about non fossil-fuels (Green Fuels) as an alternative to conventional fossil fuels and to highlight the various efforts made by the Government in the biofuel sector.
Focus: GS-III Environment and Ecology
Why in news?
The Union Environment Minister on the eve of World Elephant Day at an event said that efforts are in full swing to provide food and water to the animals in the forests itself to deal with the growing human-animal conflict cases.
- To manage conflicts and avoid loss of valuable lives of both the humans & elephants, it is important to strengthen the human-elephant coexistence.
- A booklet was released which is a pictorial guide of a variety of management inventions successfully adopted by the elephant range states and serves as a reference manual for adoption of the best possible site-specific mitigation measures that can be adopted to reduce human – elephant conflict.
- The National Portal on human elephant conflict called “Surakhsya” for collection of real time information & also for managing the conflicts on a real time basis will help to set the data collection protocols, data transmission pipelines and data visualization tools to enable policy-makers to leverage HEC data for policy formulation and for preparation of Action Plans for mitigation of conflicts.
World Elephant Day
- World Elephant Daycelebrated on August 12 is an international annual event, dedicated to the preservation and protection of the world’s elephants.
- The goal of World Elephant Day is to create awareness on elephant conservation, and to share knowledge and positive solutions for the better protection and management of wild and captive elephants.
- Asian elephants are listed as “Endangered” on the IUCN Red List of threatened species.
- The current population estimates indicate that more than 60 % of the Asian elephant population is held in India.
- Indian Elephant has also been listed in the Appendix I of the Convention of the Migratory species.
- Elephant is the Natural Heritage Animal of India and India also celebrates this day to spread awareness towards conservation of the species.
- Elephant-human conflict is a result of habitat loss and fragmentation.
- When elephants and humans interact, there is conflict from crop raiding, injuries and deaths to humans caused by elephants, and elephants being killed by humans for reasons other than ivory and habitat degradation.
- Such encounters foster resentment against the elephants amongst the human population and this can result in elephants being viewed as a nuisance and killed.
- In addition to the direct conflicts between humans and elephants, elephants also suffer indirect costs like degradation of habitat and loss of food plants.