The ‘Paris Agreement’, the biggest environment agreement ever, was ‘adopted’ by more than 190 countries
 The overall goal of the Paris agreement, to keep global temperature rise to a specified quantum
compared to pre-industrial levels, is pegged at either “below 1.5°C”, or, as “well below 2°C”.
 India felt that a transparency and accountability regime should not treat rich and poor nations alike
 India Position is based on logic that developing nation still lacks necessary technology to measure perils
of climate change. For example, India does not have the capacity to measure automotive emissions
based on vehicle use accurately, while the U.S. does that every year.
Salient feature of Draft
 Developed country as Role model- Extent to which developing countries would effectively implement
their commitments would depend on developed countries living up to their own commitments on
financing, technology transfer and capacity building.
 On peaking of greenhouse gas emissions- The discussion is on making it “as soon as possible” with the
caveat that peaking requires deeper cuts of emissions by developed countries and longer periods for
developing countries
 Achieving zero GHG emissions growth by 2060-80 is proposed
 Fund mobilisation - Appropriate pricing of greenhouse gas emissions in its many forms, is an important
instrument for the reorientation of investment and finance flows consistent with a pathway towards low
emission and climate resilient economies and societies.
 Technology framework – By providing overarching guidance to the work of the Technology Mechanism”.
It would promote and facilitate enhanced action on technology development and transfer.
 The agreement is much more comprehensive than the Kyoto Protocol which was limited to assigning
greenhouse gas emission reduction targets for a group of developed countries
 It asks every country to make “nationally determined” contributions in the fight against climate change.
 It also seeks to establish a mechanism by which the climate actions of all the countries can be
periodically monitored and evaluated to see whether the world was actually able to combat climate
change and whether the actions needed to be scaled up
Win- Win Situation for all
 Developed Nation- The developed countries have ensured that henceforth climate actions would be
taken by every nation and not just them, as was the requirement in the existing climate framework
represented by the Kyoto Protocol of 1997.
 Developing Nation- The developing countries were able to take heart from the fact that the allimportant
principle of ‘differentiation’ – that developed nations, being primarily responsible for
greenhouse gas emissions, must take greater action to fight climate change – has been retained, even
though in a diluted form
 The island nations and least developed countries — Most vulnerable to climate change were happy to
have forced the rest of the world to acknowledge the need to take a 1.5 degree path instead of the 2 degree
it is more comfortable with.
Few of contentious issues which remain unsolved are underneath
 Long term quantified emissions reduction for a 2050 target
 Finance for developing countries
 Updated targets for countries based on stocktaking of carbon dioxide, equitable distribution of the
remaining carbon budget for the world.
 Making explicit the responsibility of developing countries versus developed nations
 Binding targets: Countries have pledged their emission reduction targets. But these are only pledges. EU
and the US are strongly opposed to a legally binding road-map
 Periodic Revision of Target- The emission reduction numbers don’t add for now and they need to be
revised every 5 years or so. Developed countries don’t accept any criteria that includes historical
accumulated emissions
 Reporting action: After 2020 once the agreement comes in to force countries will have to report back
periodically how they are faring against their pledges. This could become the Trojan horse that brings
parity between the two without saying as much.
 Developing country targets- most developing countries have made their targets for the Paris agreement
conditional on the nature of the Paris agreement as well as the delivery of finance and technology.
Developed countries want at least a part if not the full target from each developing country to be
enshrined unconditionally
 Technology transfer: Developed countries oppose the proposals from different developing country
groups including India to address issues of intellectual property resources, future technology
development and an institutional arrangement for this under the Paris agreement.
 Adaptation- Developed countries see the core agreement as only about reducing emissions and
accounting for these reductions
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 The union cabinet has approved the Rs. 3,679-crore National Hydrology Project (NHP).
 It aims to collect hydro-meteorological data across India and use it for efficient water management in the country.
 It will set up a system for timely and reliable water resource data acquisition, storage, collation and management
 It will help to build capacity of state and central organisations in water resource management through the use of information systems and adoption of state-of-the-art technologies like remote sensing
 assist in promoting ‘efficient and equitable’ use of water, especially groundwater, down to the village level and provide information on quality of water as well
 help in gathering hydro-meteorological data which will be stored and analysed on a real-time basis and can be seamlessly accessed by any user at the state, district or village-level
 cover the entire country, unlike earlier hydrology projects that covered only 13 states
 Funding pattern- 50% would come from World Bank loans while the rest would be given as budgetary support.
 Better information to the public about availability of water in the country. Thus, prudent decision in activities like cropping pattern can be made.
 Increase in lead time in flood forecast from one day to at least three days.
 Mapping of flood inundation areas for use by disaster management authorities.
 Improved reservoir operations through seasonal yield forecast and drought management.
 Better assessment of surface and ground water resources in a river basin for better planning and allocation of resources.
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Why in news
 Recently, the State Medicinal Plant Board of Kerala has undertaken a project to protect these groves by activities like bio-fencing, preparing inventory of plant wealth, cleaning up water bodies and creating awareness about conservation.
What are sacred groves?
 Forest Fragments of various sizes, which are community protected and usually have a significant religious connotation for that community.
Significance of sacred groves
 Traditional uses
 Medicinal use as it is a repository for plants with Ayurvedic properties.
 Source of replenishable resources like fruits and honey
 The groves are often associated with ponds and streams. They help in meeting the water requirement of communities and also in recharging aquifers.
 Hunting and felling trees is a taboo. This vegetation cover helps in preventing soil erosion.
 Modern uses
 In modern times, they have become biodiversity hotspots due to progressive habitat destruction in neighbouring areas.
 They act as a rich gene pool including rare, threatened and endangered species.
 Sacred groves in urban landscapes act as ‘lungs’ to the city as well
 Urbanization and encroachment
 Over-exploitation of resources like overgrazing and excessive firewood collection
 Religious practices; clearing them for construction of shrines and temples
 Invasion by invasive species
Protection measures
 The Wildlife (Protection) Amendment Act, 2002 had introduced a new protected area category called ‘community reserve’. Sacred Groves have been put under this.
 Under this significant power is given to the local communities with respect to administration of these areas.
 Many NGOs also work with local people for their protection.
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Why in news?
Australia’s Great Barrier Reef is suffering its worst coral bleaching in recorded history with 93 per cent of the World Heritage site affected.
About coral bleaching
 Bleaching occurs when abnormal environmental conditions, such as warmer sea temperatures, cause corals to expel tiny photosynthetic algae, draining them of their colour.
 When a coral bleaches, it is not dead. Corals can survive a bleaching event, but they are under more stress and are subject to mortality.
 Corals can recover if the water temperature drops and the algae are able to re-colonise them.
Other threats to corals
 Pollution due to agricultural run-off leading to eutrophication, sediments run-off, mining and oil spill pollution.
 Crown-of-thorns starfish prey on coral polyps
 Unsustainable overfishing of keystone species can disrupt food chains vital to reef life.
 Shipping accidents.
About Great Barrier Reef
 It is world’s largest coral reef system composed of over 2,900 individual reefs.
 The Great Barrier Reef can be seen from outer space and is the world's biggest single structure made by living organisms.

UPSC 2007
Q. The largest coral reef in the world is found near the coast of which one of the following countries?
(a) Australia
(b) Cuba
(c) Ghana
(d) Philippines
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Why in news?
 The ministry of social justice recently sent the draft bill on the ‘Rights of Transgender Persons Bill, 2015’ to the law ministry for finalization before it is sent to the cabinet for approval.
 The legislation is modelled on the private members’ bill moved by Rajya Sabha MP Tiruchi Siva and passed by the Upper House on
April 24, 2015.
 The government then assured the House that it would bring its own law in Lok Sabha after “correcting infirmities” in Siva’s Bill.
Salient Provisions
 It provide for the formulation and implementation of a comprehensive national policy for ensuring overall development of the Transgender Persons and for their welfare to be undertaken by the State.
 The Bill provides recognition of transgender people before law and gives them rights and entitlements including reservation in education and government jobs under the OBC quota(except SC/ST).
 Transgender should be declared as the third gender, and a Transgender Person should have the option to
identify as ‘man’, ‘woman’ or ‘transgender’ as well as have the right to choose any of the options independent of surgery/hormones.
 Only the nomenclature ‘transgender’ should be used and nomenclatures like ‘other’ or ‘others’ should not be used.
 Certificate to be provided by a state level authority that a person is a transgender person.
 Government shall take all necessary steps to ensure that transgender persons enjoy the right and entitlements as given in Constitution of India on an equal basis with others.
 No child who is a transgender shall be separated from his or her parents on grounds of being a transgender except on an order of competent Court, if required in the best interest of the child.
 Government shall take all appropriate measures to prevent abuse, violence and exploitation against Transgender Persons.
 The bill calls for necessary amendments in IPC to cover the cases of sexual assault on Transgender Persons.
 Non discrimination
 The Bill also states that Government is duty bound to take appropriate steps in protecting rights of Transgenders and to ensure that they are not being discriminated against.
 No establishment shall discriminate against any Transgender Person in any matter relating to employment including but not limited to recruitment, promotion and other related issues.
 The Bill also has provisions regarding social security, health, rehabilitation & recreation, Education, skill development & employment of Transgenders.
 The community which has around 6 lakhs population as per 2011 census had been neglected since a long time, will finally get its dues as citizens of our country.
 The Bill attempts to do cover all types of discrimination faced by the community and clearly lists them to avoid ambiguities. Provision for reservation and support through scholarships etc will help in their empowerment in true sense.
 Will create awareness among the people and sensitize them to be compassionate for the cause of the community and look at them with respect.

Private Member Bill
 Bills may be broadly classified into Government Bills and Private Members’ Bills depending upon their initiation in the House by a Minister or a Private Member.
 Every member of the parliament who is not a minister is called a private member.
 In Lok Sabha, the last two and a half hours of a sitting on every Friday are generally allotted for transaction of Private Members’ Business, i.e., Private Members’ Bills and Private Members’ Resolutions.
 The last Private Members’ Bill passed by Parliament

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Budget 2016–17 has made three important Provisions relating to central transfers to states.
Rationalization of Centrally Sponsored Schemes (CSS)
 Background
 Government of India through NITI Aayog constituted a subgroup of chief ministers for rationalizing and restructuring the CSS.
 It recommended that focus of the CSS should be on the schemes that comprise the National Development Agenda.
 It further recommended that the schemes be divided into “Core” and “Optional” schemes and amongst the Core Schemes those for social protection and inclusion should be called “Core of the Core”.
 The subgroup further recommended that the investment levels in the Core Schemes should be maintained so as to ensure that the optimum size of the programme does not shrink.
 New Framework for Grants in Budget 2016-17
 The government on the recommendation of the subgroup of chief ministers restructured the grants.
 As per the decision of Government, the existing funding pattern of schemes defined as 'core of the core' have been retained.
 The funding pattern of 'core' schemes, which also form part of the National Development agenda, will be shared 60:40 between the Centre and the States (90:10 for the 8 North Eastern States and 3 Himalayan states).
 In case a scheme/sub-scheme in the above classification that has a Central Funding pattern of less than 60:40, the existing funding pattern will continue.
 The other optional schemes will be optional for the State Governments and their fund sharing pattern will be 50:50 between the Centre and the States (80:20 for the 8 North Eastern States and 3 Himalyan States). Examples of such schemes are Border Area Development Programme, National River Conservation Plan, Shyama Prasad Mukherjee RURBAN Mission etc.
 In Union Budget 2016–17 the total number of CSS has been brought down to 28.

Core of the Core (6 Schemes)
 Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (MGNREGA)
 National Social Assistance Programme
 Umbrella Scheme for the Development of Scheduled Castes
 Umbrella Programme for Development of Scheduled Tribes (Tribal Education and Van Bandhu Kalyan Yojana)
 Umbrella Programme for Development of Backward Classes and other vulnerable groups
 Umbrella Programme for Development of Minorities (a) Multi Sectoral Development Programme for Minorities. (b) Education Scheme for Madaras and Minorities

Core (18 Schemes)
For example
 Green Revolution (a) Krishi Unnati Yojana (b) Rashtriya Krishi Vikas Yojana
 White Revolution - Rashtriya Pashudhan Vikas Yojna (Livestock Mission, Veternary Services and Dairy Development)
 Pradhan Mantri Krishi Sinchai Yojana
 Swachh Bharat Abhiyan
 National Health Mission (NHM)
 Integrated Child Development Services (Umbrella ICDS)
 Member of Parliament Local Area Development Scheme. etc

Devolution of taxes post the Fourteenth Finance Commission (FFC) award
 Tax devolution has witnessed a major jump in the total resource transfers to states due to the increase in tax devolution to 42% of the divisible pool.
 Aggregate transfer to states2 in 2016–17 is ₹9, 18,093 crore as compared to ₹8, 18,034 crore in 2015–16.

Effective outcome-based monitoring of implementation of schemes and doing away with the plan and non-plan expenditure distinction in the budget after the completion of the Twelfth Five Year Plan
 An exercise to rationalize Plan and Non Plan schemes of all Ministries and Departments had been undertaken.
 The existing programmes and schemes have been re-organized into outcome based Umbrella programmes and schemes to avoid thin spread of resources.

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Very basics of wind, useful for UPSC prelimns. so here we cover why wind blows ? what are trade winds? how monsoon generates? what are jet streams ? so lets move. 

What is wind?

  • Wind is air in motion. 
  • It is produced by the uneven heating of the earth’s surface by the sun. 
  • Since the earth’s surface is made of various land and water formations, it absorbs the sun’s radiation unevenly. 
  • Two factors are necessary to specify wind: speed and direction.

What causes the wind to blow?

  • As the sun warms the Earth's surface, the atmosphere warms too. 
  • Some parts of the Earth receive direct rays from the sun all year and are always warm. Other places receive indirect rays, so the climate is colder.
  • Warm air, which weighs less than cold air, rises. 
  • Then cool air moves in and replaces the rising warm air. This movement of air is what makes the wind blow.

What is a windstorm?

  • A windstorm is just a storm with high winds or violent gusts but little or no rain.

What is a gust front?

  • A gust front is the leading edge of cool air rushing down and out from a thunderstorm. 
  • There are two main reasons why the air flows out of some thunderstorms so rapidly. 
  • The primary reason is the presence of relatively dry air in the lower atmosphere. 
  • This dry air causes some of the rain falling through it to evaporate, which cools the air. Since cool air sinks (just as warm air rises), this causes a down-rush of air that spreads out at the ground. 
  • The edge of this rapidly spreading cool pool of air is the gust front. 
  • The second reason is that the falling precipitation produces a drag on the air, forcing it downward. 
  • If the wind following the gust front is intense and damaging, the windstorm is known as a down-burst. 

What is a downburst?

  • A downburst is created by an area of significantly rain-cooled air that, after hitting ground level, spreads out in all directions producing strong winds. 
  • Unlike winds in a tornado, winds in a down-burst are directed outwards from the point where it hits land or water. 
  • Dry downbursts are associated with thunderstorms with very little rain, while wet downbursts are created by thunderstorms with high amounts of rainfall. 

What is a derecho?

  • A derecho is a widespread and long-lived windstorm that is associated with a fast-moving band of severe thunderstorms. 
  • They can produce significant damage to property and pose a serious threat life, primarily by downburst winds. 
  • To be classified as a derecho, the path length of the storm has to be at least 280 miles long. Widths may vary from 50-300 miles. 
  • Derechos are usually not associated with a cold front, but a stationary front. They occur mostly in July, but can occur at anytime during the spring and summer.

What is the jet stream?

  • The jet stream is a fast flowing, river of air found in the atmosphere at around 12 km above the surface of the Earth just under the tropopause. 
  • They form at the boundaries of adjacent air masses with significant differences in temperature, such as of the polar region and the warmer air to the south. 
  • Because of the effect of the Earth's rotation the streams flow west to east, propagating in a serpentine or wave-like manner at lower speeds than that of the actual wind within the flow.

What is a monsoon?

  • A monsoon is a seasonal wind, found especially in Asia that reverses direction between summer and winter and often brings heavy rains. 
  • In the summer, a high pressure area lies over the Indian Ocean while a low exists over the Asian continent. 
  • The air masses move from the high pressure over the ocean to the low over the continent, bringing moisture-laden air to south Asia. 
  • During winter, the process is reversed and a low sits over the Indian Ocean while a high lies over the Tibetan plateau so air flows down the Himalaya and south to the ocean. 
  • The migration of trade winds and westerlies also contributes to the monsoons. 
  • Smaller monsoons take place in equatorial Africa, northern Australia, and, to a lesser extent, in the southwestern United States. 

What are the global wind patterns?

  • The equator receives the Sun's direct rays. Here, air is heated and rises, leaving low pressure areas behind. 
  • Moving to about thirty degrees north and south of the equator, the warm air from the equator begins to cool and sink. 
  • Between thirty degrees latitude and the equator, most of the cooling sinking air moves back to the equator. The rest of the air flows toward the poles.

What are the trade winds?

  • The trade winds are just air movements toward the equator. 
  • They are warm, steady breezes that blow almost continuously. 
  • The Coriolis Effect makes the trade winds appear to be curving to the west, whether they are traveling to the equator from the south or north.

What are the doldrums?

  • The doldrums is an area of calm weather. 
  • The trade winds coming from the south and the north meet near the equator. 
  • These converging trade winds produce general upward winds as they are heated, so there are no steady surface winds. 

What are the prevailing westerlies?

  • Between thirty and sixty degrees latitude, the winds that move toward the poles appear to curve to the east. 
  • Because winds are named from the direction in which they originate, these winds are called prevailing westerlies. 
  • Prevailing westerlies in the Northern Hemisphere are responsible for many of the weather movements across the United States and Canada. 

What are the polar easterlies?

  • At about sixty degrees latitude in both hemispheres, the prevailing westerlies join with the polar easterlies to reduce upward motion. 
  • The polar easterlies form when the atmosphere over the poles cools. 
  • This cool air then sinks and spreads over the surface. As the air flows away from the poles, it is turned to the west by the Coriolis effect. 
  • Again, because these winds begin in the east, they are called easterlies. 

What is a sea breeze?

  • On a warm summer day along the coast, this differential heating of land and sea leads to the development of local winds called sea breezes. 
  • As air above the land surface is heated by radiation from the Sun, it expands and begins to rise, being lighter than the surrounding air. 
  • To replace the rising air, cooler air is drawn in from above the surface of the sea. 
  • This is the sea breeze, and can offer a pleasant cooling influence on hot summer afternoons.

What is a land breeze?

  • A land breeze occurs at night when the land cools faster than the sea. 
  • In this case, it is air above the warmer surface water that is heated and rises, pulling in air from the cooler land surface.

How is wind helpful to Earth?

  • Wind is the fastest growing source of electricity in the world. It's often one of the least expensive forms of renewable power available. 
  • Some experts say it can sometimes be the cheapest form of any kind of power. 
  • Generating power from the wind leaves no dangerous waste products behind. Best of all, its supply is unlimited. 

How do windmills work?

  • Windmills work because they slow down the speed of the wind. 
  • The wind flows over the airfoil shaped blades causing lift, like the effect on airplane wings, causing them to turn. 
  • The blades are connected to a drive shaft that turns an electric generator to produce electricity.

What are some different types of wind names?

  1. chinook-(westerly wind off the eastern side of the Rocky Mountains) 
  2. santa ana-(easterly towards Southern California ) 
  3. scirocco-(southerly from North Africa to southern Europe) 
  4. mistral-(northwesterly from central France to Mediterranean)
  5. marin-(southeasterly from Mediterranean to France) 
  6. bora-(northeasterly from eastern Europe to Italy) 
  7. gregale-(northeasterly from Greece) 
  8. etesian-(northwesterly from Greece) 
  9. libeccio-(southwesterly towards Italy)
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