19th February – Prelims Booster

11000 crores project transmission project

The government plans to set up a 900-km power transmission link that will help large solar and wind energy projects in Ladakh supply electricity across the country.

Details –

  • The move is part of India’s strategy to develop the Union territory of Ladakh.
  • The ₹11,000-crore marque project seeks to resolve grid connectivity problems faced by the region.
  • The power link will initially transfer around 2,500 megawatts (MW) and will be developed in the third phase of the green energy corridors to help tap Ladakh’s solar energy potential of 40 gigawatts (GW).

Funding of the project –

  • Various options are being discussed to facilitate the power transmission project. It can be either a VGF (viability grant funding) project or a PPP (public-private partnership) project or a mix of both. It may also have a generation component.
  • VGF is a grant and is at the centre of India’s infrastructure-creation plans through PPPs

Significance –

  • This is expected to attract investments for setting up green energy projects in the cold desert region.
  • The strategic project assumes significance as it will help supply power to the people of Leh and Kargil districts, besides defence establishments, during harsh winters and also help transmit surplus power to the rest of the country in summers.
  • However, its construction will be a logistical challenge, considering the region remains snow covered for nearly six months with very low temperature and oxygen levels.
  • India is running what will become the world’s largest clean energy programme with the aim of achieving 175GW of clean energy capacity by 2022 as part of its global climate change commitments. New Delhi plans to add 100GW of solar capacity by 2022, including 40GW from rooftop projects.

State of Bird Report 2020

India is hosting the 13th Conference of Parties (COP) of the Convention on the Conservation of Migratory Species of Wild Animals (CMS) from 17th to 22nd February, 2020 at Gandhinagar in Gujarat.

Details –

  • The theme of CMS COP-13 is ‘Migratory species connect the planet and we welcome them home’.
  • The mascot for CMS COP-13 is ‘Gibi – The Great Indian Bustard’.
  • Recently, the State of India’s Bird 2020 was released at the 13th Conference of Parties of the Convention on the Conservation of Migratory Species of Wild Animals  is taking place in Gandhinagar, Gujarat.

State of Bird Report 2020 –

  • The groups that show the greatest decline are raptors, migratory shorebirds, and habitat specialists, including White-rumped Vulture, Richard’s Pipit, Indian Vulture, Large-billed Leaf Warbler, Pacific Golden Plover and Curlew Sandpiper.
  • Of the 261 species for which long-term trends could be determined, 52 per cent have declined since 2000, with 22 per cent declining strongly
  • The species that have shown an increase in numbers include Rosy Starling, Feral Pigeon, Glossy Ibis, Plain Prinia and the Ashy Prinia
  • In all, 43 per cent of species showed a long-term trend that was stable and 5 per cent showed an increasing trend.

Convention on the Conservation of Migratory Species of Wild Animals –

  • In order to protect the migratory species throughout their range countries, a Convention on Conservation of Migratory Species (CMS), has been in force since 1983, under the aegis of the United Nations Environment Programme.
  • Also referred to as the Bonn Convention, it provides a global platform for the conservation and sustainable use of migratory animals and their habitats and brings together the States through which migratory animals pass, the Range States, and lays the legal foundation for internationally coordinated conservation measures throughout a migratory range.
  • APPENDIX I – Under this convention, migratory species threatened with extinction are listed on Appendix I and Parties strive towards strictly protecting these animals, conserving or restoring the places where they live, mitigating obstacles to migration and controlling other factors that might endanger them.
  • APPENDIX II – Migratory species that need conservation and management or would significantly benefit from international co-operation are listed in Appendix II of the Convention.

New accounting year for RBI from 2021

The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) is aligning its July-June accounting year with the government’s April-March fiscal year in order to ensure more effective management of the country’s finances.

Background –

  • When it commenced operations on April 1, 1935, with Sir Osborne Smith as its first Governor, the RBI followed a January-December accounting year. 
  • On March 11, 1940, however, the bank changed its accounting year to July-June.
  • Now, the next accounting year will be a nine-month period from July 2020 to March 31, 2021 and thereafter, all financial years will start from April, as it happens with the central and state governments.
  • The Bimal Jalan Committee on Economic Capital Framework (ECF) of the RBI had proposed a more transparent presentation of the RBI’s annual accounts, and a change in its accounting year to April-March from the financial year 2020-21. 
  • It said the RBI would be able to provide better estimates of projected surplus transfers to the government for the financial year for budgeting purposes.

Advantage of aligning accounting year –

  • Better management of transfer of dividend or surplus to the government.
  • Governments, companies, and other institutions follow the April-March year, it will help with effective management of accounting.
  • Reduce the need for interim dividend being paid by the RBI, and such payments may then be restricted to extraordinary circumstances.
  • It will obviate any timing considerations that may enter the selection of open market operations or Market Stabilisation Scheme as monetary policy tools. 
  • It will also bring greater cohesiveness in monetary policy projections and reports published by the RBI, which mostly use the fiscal year as the base.

Expert Committee on Economic Capital Framework (ECF) –

  • The ECF is an objective, rule-based, transparent methodology for determining the appropriate level of risk provisions (fund allocation to capital reserve) that is to be made under Section 47 of the Reserve Bank of India Act.
  • The Central Board of the RBI in its meeting held on November 19, 2018, in consultation with the Government of India (Government), constituted an Expert Committee to review the extant ECF of the RBI.
  • The Committee was chaired by former Governor Bimal Jalan.
  • In the past the Subramanyam Group (1997), Malegam Committee (2014), ECF (2015) and the Usha Thorat Committee (2004) were appointed to make recommendations on the ECF.

Kala Kumbh

With an objective to promote Geographical Indication (GI) crafts and heritage of India the Ministry of Textiles is organising Kala Kumbh – Handicrafts Thematic Exhibition in various parts of the country through the Office of Development Commissioner (Handicrafts).

Details –

  • The exhibitions are planned in various major cities like Bengaluru, Mumbai, Kolkata and Chennai.
  • The exhibitions are sponsored by Export Promotion Council for Handicrafts (EPCH).

What is GI tag?

The GI tag is used on handicrafts which correspond to a specific geographical location or origin (e.g., a town, region, or country). As on August 2019, 178 GI handicraft products were registered from all over India.

Daily MCQs

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