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Insights Daily Current Events, 20 October 2015

Insights Daily Current Events, 20 October 2015

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Paper 2 Topic: Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues arising out of their design and implementation.

Karnataka, Gujarat lift ban on Maggi

The governments of Gujarat and Karnataka have lifted the ban on Nestle India’s Maggi noodles, becoming the first two states to do so.

  • Karnataka’s move would allow Nestle India to manufacture the product at its plant in the state. The company’s other Maggi manufacturing plants are in Goa, Punjab, Himachal Pradesh and Uttarakhand.
  • These developments also come at a time when the country’s apex food regulator FSSAI is unlikely to challenge court-directed retests that Maggi instant noodles cleared last week.
  • Gujarat’s food and drug control agency removed the ban following the Bombay High Court’s verdict removing the ban across the country.

Background:

  • The popular brand of Nestle India was banned on June 5 following a directive of the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI), the Central food watchdog.
  • Some Maggi noodles samples were reportedly found to contain higher-than-permissible levels of monosodium glutamate (MSG).
  • Maggi noodles has been at the centre of controversy since laboratory tests ordered by Uttar Pradesh food inspectors on a batch of maggi allegedly found eight times as much lead as permissible. Several states had banned the product since then.

About Monosodium glutamate (MSG):

  • It is one of the most common, naturally occurring non-essential amino acid, which is found in tomatoes, Parmesan cheese, potatoes, mushrooms, and other vegetables and fruits.
  • In the food industry, it is used as a taste enhancer that increases the meaty, savoury flavor of food.
  • Although the U.S Food and Drug Administration recognises MSG as safe, it is considered far more harmful in India. It has long-term effects, but show signs of discomfort among sensitive people whenever consumed.
  • Typical MSG complaints include: Burning sensations of the mouth, head and neck Headaches Weakness of the arms or legs Upset stomach Hives or other allergic-type reactions with the skin.
  • Scientists have also discovered that the compound can destroy Retina and parts of the Brain. It can also lead to nervous disorders and radical hormone fluctuations.
  • Many studies have also shown that it is particularly harmful for pregnant women and nursing mothers as infants and very young children are susceptible to brain damage and underdevelopment.

sources: the hindu, wiki.

Paper 2 Topic: Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues arising out of their design and implementation.

Kerala notifies stringent norms for transportation of livestock

The Kerala state government has notified stringent rules for livestock transportation. These rules are aimed at curbing cruelty to animals.

  • These rules have been notified by the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways by amending the Central Motor Vehicles Rules 1989 and by inserting a separate rule, 125 E, in the principal rules.

Details:india-cattle-transportation

  • According to these rules, from January 1, 2016, the motor vehicles carrying animals should have permanent partitions so that the animals being transported are carried individually in each partition.
  • For cows and buffaloes the partition should be 2 sq.m., while for horses and mares it should be 2.25 sq. m. The partition size should be 0.3 sq. m. for sheep and goats, 0.6 sq. m. for pigs, and 40 sq. cm. for poultry.
  • The specifications of the Bureau of Indian Standards will have to be followed by the transporter or consigner of livestock.
  • The motor vehicles meant for carrying animals will not be permitted to carry any other goods. The Regional Transport Officers have been asked to issue special licences for such vehicles.

At present, the transportation of animals falls under the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act, 1960 that came into force in 1978 and was amended in 2001 and 2009. The implementation of the rules had come in for criticism as it was a non-cognizable offence and the penalty was Rs. 50.

Implications of these new rules:

  • It would end the horrendous nightmare being faced by animals while being transported by road.
  • These rules will improve health of the animals and drastically improve the livestock transportation in the country.

However, the cost of transportation of livestock will go up as the transporters will be able to ferry only fewer animals in a vehicle.

sources: the hindu.

 

Paper 3 Topic: Conservation; Environmental pollution

Developed world’s climate change targets less than fair: Report

A recently released report by an NGO suggests that almost all developing countries, including India and China, have taken on more than their fair share of the burden through their intended nationally determined contributions (INDCs).

  • However, the report suggests that the developed countries have taken on less than their fair share of the burden.
  • The report assesses whether countries have taken a fair burden to keep the global temperature rise below two degrees Celsius by the end of the century in relation to their historical responsibilities for causing the problem and their current capacities.

Important observations made by the report:

  • The US has committed to only a fifth of its fair share and the European Union (EU) just over a fifth in the fight against climate change through its new targets.
  • The US compared to a fair share of reduction by 12,943 million tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent (MTCO2e) only intended to reduce its emissions by 2,089 MTCO2e by 2030.
  • The EU had pledged to reduce its emissions by 1,587 MTCO2e instead of a fair burden of 7,036 MTCO2e.
  • China should have reduced 3,371 MTCO2e of emissions but has offered to reduce 4,888 MTCO2e by 2030.
  • India could have fairly taken a burden of reducing emissions by 54 MTCO2e but has committed to reducing it by 280 MTCO2e.

The report took 1850 as base year to calculate the historical emissions and to measure the reductions in absolute terms against the base year.

What is the “Burden”, according to the report?

According to the report, the burden is the target the countries have formally given to the United Nations (UN), to be undertaken under the global Paris climate change agreement. The target — on reducing emissions, providing finance and technology — is meant to be achieved between 2020 and 2030.

What are INDCs?

These are individual country commitments which are expected to indicate through their form and strength what shape any 2015 agreement might take.

  • Countries across the globe have committed to create a new international climate agreement by the conclusion of the U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) Conference of the Parties (COP21) in Paris in December 2015.
  • In preparation, countries have agreed to publicly outline what post-2020 climate actions they intend to take under a new international agreement, known as their Intended Nationally Determined Contributions (INDCs).
  • The INDCs combine the top-down system of a United Nations climate agreement with bottom-up system-in elements through which countries put forward their agreements in the context of their own national circumstances, capabilities and priorities, within the ambition to reduce global greenhouse gas emissions enough to keep global temperature rise to 2 degrees Celsius.
  • The INDCs will not only contain steps taken towards emission reductions, but also aim to address steps taken to adapt to climate change impacts, and what support the country needs-or will provide to address climate change.
  • In February 2015, Switzerland became the first nation to submit its INDC to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, later followed by the European Union.

sources: the hindu, pib, bs.