Daily Current Affairs for UPSC CSE
- Tradeable Green Credit and Carbon Credit Programme
- PM Svanidhi
- Laws of War
- Facts for Prelims
1 . Tradeable Green Credit and Carbon Credit Programme
Context: The government has introduced a special programme allowing an individual or entity to earn Green Credit and trade it on a dedicated exchange.
What is a Green Credit?
- Green Credit refers to a unit of an incentive provided for specified activities that deliver a positive impact on the environment.
About Green Credit programme
- It is an innovative market-based mechanism designed to incentivize voluntary environmental actions across diverse sectors, by various stakeholders like individuals, communities, private sector industries, and companies.
- It will be implemented under the purview of the Environment Protection Act, serving as a framework to motivate and reward eco-friendly behavior.
- The Indian Council of Forestry Research and Education is responsible for implementing the programme.
- It is a follow-up action of the ‘LiFE’-(Lifestyle for Environment) campaign.
- In its initial phase, the GCP focuses on two key activities: water conservation and afforestation.
- The rules identified eight sectors for these activities: Tree plantation; water; sustainable agriculture; waste management; air pollution reduction; mangrove conservation and restoration; Ecomark (a government scheme to identify environment-friendly products) and sustainable building and infrastructure.
Working of the programme
- To obtain Green Credits, individuals and entities must register their activities through the central government’s dedicated app/website www.moefcc-gcp.in. The Administrator will verify the activity through a designated agency, with self-verification for small projects. Once verification is complete, the Administrator will grant a Green Credit certificate which will be tradable on the green credit platform.
- The calculation of Green Credit shall be based on equivalence of resource requirement, parity of scale, scope, size, and other relevant parameters to achieve the desired environmental outcome.
- A Green Credit Registry will be included. The administrator will establish and maintain the trading platform.
- The green credits will be tradable and those earning them will be able to put these credits up for sale on a proposed domestic market platform.
- It is independent of the carbon credit provided under the Carbon Credit Trading Scheme, 2023 under the Energy Conservation Act, 2001. However, An environmental activity generating Green Credits may have climate co-benefits such as reduction or removal of carbon emissions too. Therefore, an activity generating Green Credits under Green Credit Programme may also get Carbon Credits from the same activity under carbon market.
What are carbon markets ?
- In a nutshell, carbon markets are trading systems in which carbon credits are sold and bought. Carbon markets are essentially a tool for putting a price on carbon emissions.
- One tradable carbon credit equals one tonne of carbon dioxide or the equivalent amount of a different greenhouse gas reduced, sequestered or avoided.
- Article 6 of the Paris Agreement provides for the use of international carbon markets by countries to fulfil their NDCs.
- Carbon allowances or caps, meanwhile, are determined by countries or governments according to their emission reduction targets.
- A United Nations Development Program release in 2022 noted that interest in carbon markets is growing globally, i.e, 83% of NDCs submitted by countries mention their intent to make use of international market mechanisms to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
Carbon Credit Scheme
- Carbon credit implies a tradeable permit to produce a specified amount of carbon dioxide or other greenhouse emissions.
- The central government or any authorized agency may issue carbon credit certificates to entities registered and compliant with the scheme.
- The entities will be entitled to trade the certificates. Any other person may also purchase a carbon credit certificate on a voluntary basis.
- Reduction or removal of carbon emissions: Carbon trading programs create economic incentives for companies and industries to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions. This encourages innovation and the adoption of cleaner technologies and practices.
- Market-Driven Approach: Cap-and-trade systems use market principles to achieve environmental goals. This allows for flexibility in how emissions are reduced, with companies able to choose cost-effective strategies for achieving their targets.
2 . Earthquake
Context: In what can be termed as unusual, a shallow focus (14 km depth) earthquake of 6.3 magnitude struck about 40 kms northwest of Herat in Afghanistan.
About the news
- The earthquake in Afghanistan occurred as a result of thrust faulting near the far western terminus of the Hindu Kush mountain range.
- Just 30 minutes after the first quake, Herat was struck by another shallow focus earthquake again with 6.3 magnitude. After three days, on 11th October, a third shallow focus earthquake of same magnitude stuck Herat.
- Earthquakes are generally followed by aftershocks of relatively lesser magnitude. However, the second earthquake on October 7 that struck within 30 minutes is being called a fresh quake and not an aftershock due to its magnitude.
What are Earthquakes?
- An earthquake is the shaking of the surface of the Earth resulting from a sudden release of energy in the Earth‘s lithosphere that creates seismic waves.
- Earthquakes are caused mostly by rupture of geological faults but also by other events such as volcanic activity, landslides, mine blasts, and nuclear tests.
- An earthquake’s point of initial rupture is called its hypocenter or focus. The epicentre is the point at ground level directly above the hypocenter.
Types of Earthquakes
- Tectonic Earthquakes: These are the most common type of earthquakes and occur due to the movement of Earth’s tectonic plates. When these plates shift, they can either collide (compressional), move apart (extensional), or slide past each other (transform). The stress built up along plate boundaries is released in the form of seismic waves, causing earthquakes. The majority of large, damaging earthquakes are tectonic in origin.
- Volcanic Earthquakes: Volcanic earthquakes occur in volcanic regions and are directly related to the movement of molten rock (magma) beneath the Earth’s surface. These earthquakes are often associated with volcanic eruptions and are caused by the pressure changes and the movement of magma.
- Collapse Earthquakes: Collapse earthquakes occur when underground cavities, such as mines or caverns, collapse due to the removal of resources like minerals, oil, or water. These man-made earthquakes can be significant but are localized near the mining or extraction site.
- Explosion Earthquakes: Explosion earthquakes are caused by the detonation of explosives for various purposes, including mining, quarrying, or engineering projects. These are also human-induced seismic events.
- Magnitude: Earthquake magnitude is a measure of the energy released at the earthquake’s source. The Richter scale is used to measure the magnitude.
- Intensity: Earthquake intensity describes the effects of an earthquake at specific locations, often on the Modified Mercalli Intensity (MMI) scale.
- Seismographs: Seismographs are instruments that detect and record ground motion caused by seismic waves.
- Seismometers: Seismometers are modern instruments used to measure ground motion. They are more advanced than traditional seismographs and can provide detailed data about an earthquake’s intensity, depth, and location.
What are Seismic Waves
- Seismic waves are the vibrations or waves of energy that travel through the Earth’s interior and along its surface during an earthquake or other seismic events. These waves are responsible for the shaking and ground motion associated with earthquakes. Seismic waves play a crucial role in understanding and studying the Earth’s interior, and they are typically classified into two main types:
- Body Waves :
- Primary Waves (P-waves): P-waves are the fastest seismic waves and can travel through solids, liquids, and gases. They are compressional waves, which means that particles move in the same direction as the wave is traveling. P-waves are the first to arrive at a seismograph station after an earthquake and are often referred to as “compressional” or “push-pull” waves.
- Secondary Waves (S-waves): S-waves are slower than P-waves and can only travel through solid materials. They are shear waves, meaning that particles move perpendicular to the wave’s direction. S-waves arrive after P-waves and are responsible for the side-to-side or shaking motion during an earthquake.
- Surface Waves: Love Waves: Love waves are surface waves that cause horizontal shaking of the ground, much like S-waves. They are slower than both P-waves and S-waves.
- Rayleigh Waves: Rayleigh waves are also surface waves, but they have a rolling motion, combining up-and-down and side-to-side movements. They are slower than P-waves and S-waves and are responsible for the most destructive shaking during an earthquake.
- The process of folding occurs when rock is compressed, as it is along colliding plate boundaries. Upturned folds are called anticlines and down turned folds are called synclines. Anticlines and synclines are geologic structures, that is, they are folds in rock material. They give expression to the surface as linear ridges (anticlines) and troughs (synclines). The sides of the fold are called the limbs. Each fold has an axial plane, an imaginary plane that runs down its length and divides the fold in half.
- Symmetrical or open folds with their near-vertical axial planes and gently dipping limbs of about the same angle are a product of gentle compression. Symmetrical folds are found near the margins of mountain systems where tectonic activity is relatively quiet. If the compression is more pronounced from one direction, an overturned fold may occur. Extreme directed pressure may lay the fold over with its axial plane nearly horizontal with the surface producing a recumbent fold. Sometimes the length of the folds are tilted creating plunging folds. One of the best examples of folded topography is the Appalachian mountains found in the Ridge and Valley physiographic province of North America.
- When enormous stresses build and push large intact rock masses beyond their yield limit, faulting of the surface is likely to occur.
- A fault is a fracture along which movement occurs. The plane that extends into the earth and along which slippage occurs is called the fault plane.
- The fault dip is the angle from horizontal that the fault plane makes. The map direction that the fault takes is called the strike, measured east or west of true north. Generally, two walls are distinguished, the footwall and hanging wall. The hanging wall moves horizontally, vertically, or in both directions relative to the footwall. We identify the hanging and foot walls relative to the fault plane. The hanging wall is above the fault plane while the foot wall is below. The steep face of an exposed block is called the fault scarp. The fault line is the trace of the fault along the surface.
- Faults can be traced for thousands of kilometers across the surface at tens of kilometers in depth. The sudden slippage of rock masses past one another results in shock waves that we feel as an earthquake.
Effects of Earthquake
- Ground Shaking: The most immediate and noticeable effect of an earthquake is ground shaking. The intensity of shaking varies with the earthquake’s magnitude and proximity to the epicenter. Severe shaking can lead to structural damage, landslides, and ground rupture.
- Structural Damage: Buildings, bridges, and other structures can sustain damage during an earthquake, ranging from minor cracks to complete collapse. The severity of damage depends on factors like construction quality, building design, and the intensity of shaking.
- Liquefaction: In areas with loose, water-saturated soils, the intense shaking from an earthquake can cause liquefaction. This occurs when the soil temporarily loses its strength, leading to the sinking or tilting of buildings and infrastructure.
- Tsunamis: Underwater earthquakes, especially those associated with subduction zones, can trigger tsunamis. These massive sea waves can inundate coastal areas and cause widespread destruction.
- Landslides: The shaking of the ground during an earthquake can trigger landslides, particularly in hilly or mountainous regions. These landslides can bury communities and infrastructure.
- Aftershocks: Aftershocks are smaller seismic events that follow the main earthquake. They can continue for hours, days, or even years after the initial earthquake, causing additional damage.
Why is Afghanistan prone to Earthquakes ?
- Earthquakes are quite common in Afghanistan due to active interactions between three tectonic plates of the Arabia, Eurasia, and India.
- Earthquakes in western and central Afghanistan are primarily influenced by the northward movement of the Arabia plate relative to the Eurasia plate.
Cause of second quake
- In simple terms, the reason the second earthquake was not called an aftershock is because it had the same magnitude as the first earthquake. Typically, aftershocks are smaller earthquakes that follow a larger main earthquake. However, in this case, the two earthquakes had equal magnitudes.
- The main reason for this occurrence is related to the geological features of the region. Earthquakes are often caused by the movement of tectonic plates beneath the Earth’s surface. When one fault (a fracture in the Earth’s crust) ruptures, it can release stress in the Earth’s crust, but this stress can then transfer to another fault, potentially causing another earthquake of similar or even greater magnitude. This second earthquake is not considered an aftershock because it’s not smaller than the first quake.
- In the specific case mentioned in Afghanistan, the two earthquakes happened along the same fault line, and the fault there is long and wide. It’s like a chain reaction – when one part of the fault moves, it can set off another section of the same fault. Additionally, the region has complex geological features with multiple faults, and the earthquakes seem to have migrated from west to east, which is a pattern often observed in such areas.
- So, even though these earthquakes happened in close proximity and time, they were not considered aftershocks because they had the same magnitude and were part of a more complex interaction of faults in the region.
3 . PM Svanidhi
Context: The Prime Minister Street Vendors’ Atma Nirbhar Nidhi offered some support to the street vendors , but representatives from the community say that it does not match the distress they faced at the time Of Covid, as most are from marginalised groups.
About the scheme
- It is launched by the Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs.
- It aims to empower Street Vendors by not only extending loans to them, but also for their holistic development and economic upliftment.
- It intends to facilitate collateral free working capital loans of up to INR10,000/- of one-year tenure, to approximately 50 lakh street vendors, to help resume their businesses in the urban areas, including surrounding peri-urban/rural areas.
- The PM SVANidhi scheme offers incentives in the form of:
- Interest subsidy @ 7% per annum on regular repayment of loan
- Cashback upto INR1200/- per annum on undertaking prescribed digital transactions
- Eligibility for enhanced next tranche of loans.
- The scheme is available to all street vendors who are engaged in vending in urban areas as on or before March 24, 2020. The eligible vendors are identified as per following criteria:
- Street vendors in possession of Certificate of Vending/Identity Card issued by Urban Local Bodies (ULBs)
- The vendors, who have been identified in the survey but have not been issued Certificate of Vending/Identity Card; Provisional Certificate of Vending would be generated for such vendors through an IT based Platform. ULBs are encouraged to issue such vendors the permanent Certificate of Vending and Identification Card immediately and positively within a period of one month
- Street Vendors, left out of the ULB led identification survey or who have started vending after completion of the survey and have been issued Letter of Recommendation (LoR) to that effect by the ULB/Town Vending Committee (TVC)
- The vendors of surrounding development/peri-urban/rural areas vending in the geographical limits of the ULBs and have been issued Letter of Recommendation (LoR) to that effect by the ULB/TVC.
Issues in implementation
- Covid effect: street vendors, one of the most vulnerable sections of society both economically and socially — are facing the brunt of poverty and administrative neglect, especially after the pandemic.
- Inadequate incentives: The unions working among street vendors in Delhi-NCR complain that the offering did not match the lockdown distress they faced.
- Lack of licensing: For a 2-crore population, the government and the Municipal Corporation of Delhi (MCD) can provide more licences to street vendors.
- Aversion of banks to lend: Banks are not ready to provide loans even with a strict directive from the Union Urban Development Ministry.
4 . Laws of War
Context: On October 7, Hamas, a Palestine-based terrorist group, launched an attack on Israel, killing hundreds of civilians and taking many hostage. Israel has retaliated with all its might, triggering a war in West Asia.
What are the laws of war?
- There are two separate and independent international law questions related to wars.
- First, under what conditions or when can countries use force in their international relations? This is known as jus ad bellum, regulated by the United Nations (UN) Charter.
- Second, how is a war to be fought, that is, what military actions are permissible? This is known as jus in bello.
- Assuming a country is justified under the UN Charter to use force, it still must ensure that it satisfies jus in bello obligations. Justification to use force does not relieve a country of its obligations to use such force in accordance with international law.
- The ‘how’ of using force or the law of war is known as international humanitarian law (IHL), which provides the rules that must be followed during an armed conflict.
- IHL is contained in customary international law, the Geneva Conventions of 1949 and the Additional Protocols of 1977. It regulates the conduct of the parties or groups engaged in an armed conflict. Its primary objective is to protect civilians and reduce the suffering a war unleashes. No matter how just the cause of fighting a war, warring parties must comply with IHL.
Do the laws of war apply to the ongoing military conflict between Israel and Hamas
- The laws of war apply because the military conflict between Israel and Hamas is an armed conflict. As was held by the International Criminal Tribunal for former Yugoslavia in the Prosecutor versus Dusko Tadić case.
- International law classifies armed conflicts into two categories — international armed conflict (IAC) and non-international armed conflict (NIAC). According to Common Article 2 of the Geneva Conventions, IAC includes all cases of declared war or any other armed conflict between two or more countries. NIAC includes non-governmental forces (Hamas) involved in battle with governmental forces (Israel).
- Common Article 3 of the Geneva Convention applies to NIAC. Thus, Israel and Hamas are obliged to abide by IHL.
Law on civilian killings
- The primary objective of IHL is that during an armed conflict, a distinction is always made between combatants and civilians. War parties can only attack combatants and military targets, not civilians and civilian objects.
- Indiscriminate attacks that fail to distinguish between combatants and civilians are forbidden and thus illegal.
- Accordingly, the killing of civilians by Hamas is illegal. Israel’s illegal and belligerent occupation of the Palestinian territory since 1967 does not allow Hamas to kill, injure, abduct, or torture Israeli civilians or target civilian installations.
- Also, any military attack that causes disproportionate harm to civilians, when judged against the expected military benefit, is barred. Israel reportedly dropped 6,000 bombs on Gaza, causing widespread destruction and death. This is a disproportionate use of force.
- Hamas’s horrific attack on Israel does not justify Israel inflicting disproportionate harm on the civilian population in Gaza. All this amounts to grave breaches of the 1949 Geneva Conventions and constitutes as war crimes.
Is hostage-taking legal
- Hamas has taken Israelis hostage which is illegal. Hostage-taking is specifically recognized as a war crime by Article 8 of the Rome Statute — a treaty establishing the International Criminal Court.
- Article 1 of the International Convention Against the Taking of Hostages recognises hostage-taking as a crime.
What about the Gaza Strip blockade
- Israel’s plan to block the supplies of food, electricity, water, and fuel in the Gaza Strip, where close to two million people live, amounts to collective punishment — retaliating against a group for the conduct of individual/s said to belong to that group.
- This action will exacerbate the already harsh air and sea blockade of the Gaza Strip since 2007. Such an action violates a fundamental tenet of IHL that no person should be punished for actions they didn’t commit.
- Punishing all Gaza Strip residents for Hamas’s actions is illegal and a war crime.
- Additionally, under IHL, warring parties must give advance warning to civilians to evacuate before attacking, which should be effective. If civilians are not given adequate time to evacuate, the warning will be ineffective. Israel’s warning to the residents of the Gaza Strip is not effective.
- Given the air and sea blockade, the civilians do not have a realistic possibility of moving to safe places. In any case, civilians who do not move out despite the warning must also be protected.
- Both sides need to respect their IHL obligations and an investigation should be launched into the war crimes committed.
5 Facts for Prelims
Hepatitis C & Gold Tier status as per WHO
- WHO announced that Egypt had made unprecedented progress towards eliminating hepatitis C. According to the WHO, Egypt became the first country to achieve “gold tier” status on the path to elimination of hepatitis C as per the global health body criteria.
- Achieving the gold tier means that Egypt has fulfilled the programmatic requirements that facilitate the reduction of new hepatitis C infections and deaths to levels that position the country to end the hepatitis C epidemic
- Hepatitis C is a viral infection that primarily affects the liver. Unlike hepatitis A and B, there is no vaccine for hepatitis C. Prevention primarily relies on avoiding infection.
International Classification of Diseases (ICD)
- The International Classification of Diseases (ICD) is a globally used medical classification used in epidemiology, health management and for clinical purposes.
- The ICD is maintained by the World Health Organisation (WHO), which is the directing and coordinating authority for health within the United Nations System.
- Nanopore sequencing is a unique, scalable technology that enables direct, real-time analysis of long DNA or RNA fragments.
- It works by monitoring changes to an electrical current as nucleic acids are passed through a protein nanopore. The resulting signal is decoded to provide the specific DNA or RNA sequence.
- The long, real-time sequencing reads provided by nanopore technology provide additional insight into all DNA sequencing applications including: Microbiology , human genetics, clinical research, and plant and animal research.
- It is an Israeli mobile all-weather air defense system developed by Rafael Advanced Defense Systems and Israel Aerospace Industries.
- The system is designed to intercept and destroy short-range rockets and artillery shells fired from distances of 4 kilometres (2.5 mi) to 70 kilometres (43 mi) away and whose trajectory would take them to an Israeli populated area.
- It is generally defined as a type of dormancy, which is a survival strategy used to sustain lack of food and other extreme conditions.
- Animals that aestivate become inactive and stop feeding in response to warm temperatures.
- The duration of aestivation varies among species; some enter this state for a few months, others for a longer period.
- During aestivation, the animals undergo important physiological and biochemical adjustments, such as changes in energy consumption, metabolic activity, and immune response.
- It is generally observed in lung fish, amphibians, reptiles, small mammals, and certain invertebrates, such as mollusks.