‘No Money for Terror’ (NMFT) Ministerial Conference

In News

  • The Prime Minister recently addressed the ‘No Money for Terror’ (NMFT) Ministerial Conference on Counter-Terrorism Financing.

India’s stand at the Conference

  • Standing against Nations using terrorism as a tool of foreign policy:
    • Prime Minister strongly asked to avoid any ambiguity in dealing with terrorism and also warned against nations that use terrorism as a tool of foreign policy.
      • He emphasised that “Only a uniform,  unified  and zero-tolerance approach  can defeat terrorism.”
    • State support of terrorism:
      • The Prime Minister highlighted state support as one of the major sources of political, ideological and financial support to terrorism.
  • Terror financing:
    • Throwing light on the difference between fighting a terrorist and fighting terrorism, the Prime Minister said that a terrorist may be neutralised with weapons and immediate tactical responses but these tactical gains will soon be lost without a larger strategy aimed at hurting their finances
  • Organised crime:
    • The Prime Minister underlined organised crime as another source of terror funding 
    • He emphasised deep links between criminal gangs and terrorist outfits.
  • Global institutions against terrorism:
    • Highlighting the complex environment, the Prime Minister stressed that the United Nations Security Council,  Financial Action Task Force, Financial Intelligence Units, and the Egmont Group, are boosting cooperation in the prevention, detection and prosecution of illegal fund flow. 
    • PM also highlighted that the framework is helping the war against terror in multiple ways over the past two decades. 
  • Impacts on the local economy:
    • He said that the long-term impact of terrorism is particularly hard on the poor and the local economy, be it tourism or trade.
About No Money For Terror (NMFT) conferenceNMFT in India:It was the third Ministerial ‘No Money for Terror (NMFT)’ Conference on 18th and 19th of November.The conference was hosted by the Ministry of Home Affairs in New Delhi. Aim:It aims to progress the discussions on combating terrorist financing held by the international community in the previous two Conferences in Paris (2018) and Melbourne (2019)Focused Areas: Global trends in terrorism and terrorist financing, Use of formal and informal channels of funds for terrorism, Emerging technologies and terrorist financing and Requisite international co-operation to address related challenges.It also intended to include discussions on technical, legal, regulatory and cooperation aspects of all facets of terrorism financing.Global presence:The Conference intended to bring together representatives of 75 countries and international bodies for extended deliberations over two days.


  • About:
  • An offence to intimidate a population or to compel a government or an international organisation to do or abstain from doing any act, which causes:
  • Death or serious bodily injury to any person.
  • Serious damage to public or private property, including a place of public use, a State or government facility, a public transportation system, an infrastructure facility or the environment.
  • Damage to property, places, facilities, or systems resulting in or likely to result in a major economic loss.
  • It encompasses a range of complex threats like organized terrorism in conflict zones, foreign terrorist fighters, radicalised ‘lone wolves’, etc.
  • Factors Responsible for the Growth of Terrorism:
    • State-sponsorship and safe havens.
    • State-of-the-art communication systems.
    • Access to advanced technology.
    • Networking of terrorist groups with the criminal underworld.
  • Impacts:
    • It poses a major threat to international peace and security and undermines the core values of humanity, peace and growth.
    • In addition to the devastating human cost of terrorism, in terms of lives lost or permanently altered, terrorist acts destabilise governments and undermine economic and social development.
    • Terrorist acts often defy national borders.
    • Terrorist attacks using CBRNE materials (Chemical, Biological, Radiological, Nuclear and Explosives) have catastrophic consequences on communities and infrastructure.

India’s efforts in combating terrorism

  • Constitutional backing:
    • India has been at the forefront of global action against terrorism and has always played an active role in the global promotion and protection of human rights.
    • Terrorism is a crime against humanity and violates most Fundamental Human Right, namely the Right to Life (Article 21).
  • Acts & agencies:
    • Comprehensive Integrated Border Management System: 
      • It vastly improves the capability of Border Security Force (BSF) in detecting and controlling the cross border crimes like illegal infiltration, smuggling of contraband goods, human trafficking and cross border terrorism, etc.
    • Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, 1967: 
      • It enables more effective prevention of certain unlawful activities of individuals and associations and for dealing with terrorist activities, and other related matters.
    • National Investigation Agency: 
      • It is India’s counter-terrorist task force and is empowered to deal with terror-related crimes across states without special permission from the states.
    • Policy of Zero-Tolerance Against Terrorism: 
      • India calls for zero-tolerance against terrorism and focuses on developing a common strategy to curb it.
  • India’s action plan at UNSC:
    • In January 2021, at the 20th anniversary of the UN Security Council (UNSC) Resolution 1373, India presented an eight-point action plan to deal with the scourge of terrorism.
      • Summoning the political will to unhesitatingly combat terrorism.
      • Decrying double standards in the fight against terrorism.
      • Reform of the working methods of the Committees dealing with Sanctions and Counter-Terrorism.
      • Firmly discouraging exclusivist thinking that divides the world and harms the social fabric.
      • Enlisting and delisting individuals and entities under the UN sanctions regimes objectively not for political or religious considerations.
      • Fully recognising and addressing the link between terrorism and transnational organized crime.
      • Combating terrorist financing.
      • Immediate attention to adequate funding to UN Counter-Terrorism bodies from the UN regular budget.

Agricultural Education in India & the role of ICAR

In Context

  • Recently, the Kerala High Court set aside the appointment of the Vice-Chancellor of the Kerala University of Fisheries and Ocean Studies (KUFOS). 

More about the News

  • The court as listed two specific violations for not accepting the appointment: 
    • The search committee recommended a single name and not a panel of three names; and 
    • In the search committee, the State government included the Director-General of the Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR) instead of a nominee of the UGC.
  • Issue:
    • Breaking the equilibrium:
      • Over the past five decades, the ICAR was successful in facilitating agricultural education as a national expert body and without overstepping into the constitutional jurisdiction of the State governments. 
      • The Kerala High Court’s judgment threatens to disrupt this delicate equilibrium maintained over the past five decades. 
    • Jeopardising the uniformity in agricultural education:
      • The judgment also threatens to jeopardise the ICAR’s ongoing efforts to ensure a minimum level of uniformity in agricultural education in the country, including in the appointment of Vice-Chancellors. 
    • Substituting the role of the ICAR:
      • ICAR’s Model Act stipulates the constitution of the search committee for Vice-Chancellors with three members:
        • The Director-General of ICAR; 
        • One nominee of the government; and 
        • One nominee of the Chancellor. 
        • But the Kerala High Court judgment has made the presence of an ICAR representative invalid and necessitates its replacement with a UGC representative.
      • Essentially, the court has sought to substitute the role of the ICAR with the UGC’s regulations.
      • What is at stake is not just the spirit of federalism but also the unique status conferred to agricultural education by the Constitution.
Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR)About:It is the apex body for coordinating, guiding and managing research and education in agriculture including horticulture, fisheries and animal sciences in the entire country.It is the largest network of agricultural research and education institutes in the world.Ministry:It is an autonomous organization under the Union Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers Welfare, Government of India.HQ: New Delhi.President of ICAR: The Union Minister of Agriculture serves as its president.National Agricultural Education Accreditation Board (NAEAB):ICAR provides accreditation to agriculture universities, colleges and programmes, through its accreditation unit, National Agricultural Education Accreditation Board (NAEAB).The accreditation serves only as a badge of quality assurance. It is not mandatory, is not a form of affiliation or recognition and does not give approval to open an institute or a program.

Evolution of agricultural education in India

  • Opinions of constituent assembly:
    • Few members in the constituent assembly suggested that the Union government must play a central role in agriculture. 
    • But, T.T. Krishnamachari suggested that “beyond taking certain powers for the purpose of co-ordination, Centre is not capable of handling this vast problem [of agriculture]”.
  • Agricultural Education as a part of State List:
    • Thus, agriculture was included in the List II (State List) in the Seventh Schedule of the Constitution. 
    • More importantly, agricultural education was detached from the other streams of higher education and attached to the occupied field of agriculture in List II.
      • Education was included in List III (Concurrent List). 
    • Implications of the move:
      • The legal implication of the exclusion of agricultural education from Concurrent List is that agricultural universities have historically been facilitated by the ICAR.
    • DARE:
      • After independence, the Department of Agricultural Research and Education (DARE) was set up in 1973 in the Ministry of Agriculture
      • The major functions of DARE were to facilitate agricultural research and education, coordinate between the Centre and the States, and attend to matters related to the ICAR.  
  • Yashpal Committee recommendations:
    • The committee to Advise on Renovation and Rejuvenation of Higher Education (Yashpal Committee, 2009) has recommended setting up of a constitutional body – the National Commission for Higher Education and Research.
      • It would be a unified supreme body to regulate all branches of higher education including agricultural education.
    • Presently, regulation of agricultural education is the mandate of
      • ICAR, 
      • Veterinary Council of India (Veterinary sub-discipline) and 
      • Indian Council of Forestry Research and Education (Forestry sub-discipline).
University Grants Commission (UGC) About:It is a statutory body set up by the Department of Higher Education, Ministry of Education, Government of India in accordance to the UGC Act 1956 Responsibility:It is charged with coordination, determination and maintenance of standards of higher education in India. It provides recognition to universities in India, and disbursements of funds to such recognized universities and colleges. Headquarter & regional centres:The headquarters are in New Delhi.It has six regional centres in Pune, Bhopal, Kolkata, Hyderabad, Guwahati and Bangalore.The types of universities regulated by the UGC include:Central universities, or Union universities: These are established by an act of parliament and are under the purview of the Department of Higher Education in the Ministry of Education.State universities: These are run by the state government of each of the states and territories of India and are usually established by a local legislative assembly act. Deemed university, or “Deemed to be University”:It is a status of autonomy granted by the Department of Higher Education on the advice of the UGC.Private universities: These too are approved by the UGC. They can grant degrees but they are not allowed to have off-campus affiliated colleges.

Draft Digital Personal Data Protection Bill 2022

In News

  • Recently, the latest draft of the data protection law, the Digital Personal Data Protection Bill, 2022 (DPDP Bill, 2022), has been made open for public comments.

Key Points

  • Background:
    • The data protection Bill has been in the works since 2018 when a panel led by Justice B N Srikrishna had prepared a draft version of the Bill.  
    • It is India’s first attempt to domestically legislate on the issue of data protection.
    • The government made revisions to this draft and introduced it as the Personal Data Protection Bill, 2019 (PDP Bill, 2019) in the Lok Sabha in 2019. 
    • Due to delays caused by the pandemic, the Joint Committee on the PDP Bill, 2019 (JPC) submitted its report on the Bill after two years in December, 2021. 
    • The report was accompanied by a new draft bill, namely, the Data Protection Bill, 2021 that incorporated the recommendations of the JPC. 
    • However, in August 2022, citing the report of the JPC and the “extensive changes” that the JPC had made to the 2019 Bill, the government withdrew the PDP Bill.
    • Now, the government is expected to introduce the Bill in Parliament in the budget session of 2023.
  • Aim: 
    • Regulating online space including separate legislation on data privacy, the overall internet ecosystem, cyber security, telecom regulations, and harnessing non-personal data for boosting innovation in the country.
  • Reason for so many changes:
    • Harm to privacy:
      • Constant interactions with digital devices have led to unprecedented amounts of personal data being generated round the clock by users (data principals). 
      • When coupled with the computational power available today with companies (data fiduciaries), this data can be processed in ways that increasingly impair the autonomy, self-determination, freedom of choice and privacy of the data principal.
    • Inadequate present laws:
      • The current legal framework for privacy enshrined in the Information Technology Rules, 2011 (IT Rules, 2011) is wholly inadequate to combat such harms to data principals, especially since the right to informational privacy has been upheld as a fundamental right by the Supreme Court (K.S. Puttaswamy vs Union of India [2017]). 
      • It is inadequate on four levels;
        • The extant framework is premised on privacy being a statutory right rather than a fundamental right and does not apply to processing of personal data by the government; 
        • It has a limited understanding of the kinds of data to be protected;
        • It places scant obligations on the data fiduciaries which, moreover, can be overridden by contract 
        • There are only minimal consequences for the data fiduciaries for the breach of these obligations.

Scope of Present Bill

  • The DPDP Bill, 2022 applies to all processing of personal data that is carried out digitally. 
  • This would include both personal data collected online and personal data collected offline but is digitised for processing. 
  • In effect, by being completely inapplicable to data processed manually, this provides for a somewhat lower degree of protection as the earlier drafts only excluded data processed manually specifically by “small entities” and not generally.
  • As far as the territorial application of the law is concerned, the Bill covers processing of personal data which is collected by data fiduciaries within the territory of India and which is processed to offer goods and services within India. 

Major provisions of the revamped Bill

  • High penalties:
    • Companies dealing in personal data of consumers that fail to take reasonable safeguards to prevent data breaches could end up facing penalties as high as around Rs 200 crore.
      • Penalties are expected to vary on the basis of the nature of non-compliance by data fiduciaries (entities that handle and process personal data of individuals).
    • Companies failing to notify people impacted by a data breach could be fined around Rs 150 crore.
    • Those failing to safeguard children’s personal data could be fined close to Rs 100 crore. 
    • In the previous version of the Bill, withdrawn earlier this year, the penalty proposed on a company for violation of the law was Rs 15 crore or 4 percent of its annual turnover, whichever is higher. 
  • The Data Protection Board
    • It is an adjudicating body proposed to enforce the provisions of the Bill which is likely to be empowered to impose the fine after giving the companies an opportunity of being heard.
  • Personal data
    • The new Bill will only deal with safeguards around personal data and is learnt to have excluded non-personal data from its ambit.
      • Non-personal data essentially means any data which cannot reveal the identity of an individual. 

Significance of the revamped Bill 

  • Strong safeguards: Fines for data misuse prescribed in the previous version of the Bill were not seen as an effective deterrent.
    • The higher penalties being proposed now will prompt entities to build strong safeguards to protect data and enforce fiduciary discipline.
  • Companies would face punitive actions in the nature of financial penalties in the event of misuse of data and data breaches.
  • The upcoming data protection Bill will put an end to misuse of customer data with companies facing financial consequences.
  • There will also be a strict or purpose limitation of data collected by companies and the time till which they can store it under the new Bill.
  • Data fiduciaries will be required to stop retaining personal data and delete previously collected data after the initial purpose for which it was collected was fulfilled. 

Way Ahead

  • While protecting the rights of the data principal, data protection laws need to ensure that the compliances for data fiduciaries are not so onerous as to make even legitimate processing impractical. 
  • The challenge lies in finding an adequate balance between the right to privacy of data principles and reasonable exceptions, especially where government processing of personal data is concerned. 
  • Given the rate at which technology evolves, an optimum data protection law design needs to be future proof — it should not be unduly detailed and centred on providing solutions to contemporary concerns while ignoring problems that may emerge going forward. 
  • The law needs to be designed for a framework of rights and remedies that is readily exercisable by data principals given their unequal bargaining power with respect to data fiduciaries.
Data Protection Bill, GloballyAbout: An estimated 137 out of 194 countries have put in place legislation to secure the protection of data and privacy.Africa and Asia showing 61% (33 countries out of 54) and 57% adoption respectivelyOnly 48% of Least Developed Countries (22 out of 46) have data protection and privacy laws.EU Model: The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) focuses on a comprehensive data protection law for processing of personal data. It has been criticised for being excessively stringent, and imposing many obligations on organisations processing data, but it is the template for most of the legislation drafted around the world.In the EU, the right to privacy is enshrined as a fundamental right that seeks to protect an individual’s dignity and her right over the data she generates. The European Charter of Fundamental Rights recognises the right to privacy as well as the right to protection of personal data, and is backed by a comprehensive data protection framework, which applies to processing of personal data by any means, and to processing activities carried out by both the government and private entities. There are certain exemptions such as national security, defence, public security, etc, but they are clearly defined and seen as exclusions on the periphery.US Model:  Privacy protection is largely defined as “liberty protection” focused on the protection of the individual’s personal space from the government. It is viewed as being somewhat narrow in focus because it enables collection of personal information as long as the individual is informed of such collection and use. The US template has been viewed as inadequate in key respects of regulation.There is no comprehensive set of privacy rights or principles in the US that, like the EU’s GDPR, addresses the use, collection, and disclosure of data. Instead, there is limited sector-specific regulation. The approach towards data protection is different for the public and private sectors. The activities and powers of the government vis-a-vis personal information are, however, sufficiently well-defined and addressed by broad legislation such as the Privacy Act, the Electronic Communications Privacy Act, etc.

Problem of Non-performing assets (NPAs)

In News

  • Recently, according to data furnished by the Reserve Bank of India (RBI), the mega write-off exercise has enabled banks to reduce their non-performing assets (NPAs) or defaulted loans by Rs 10,09,510 crore ($123.86 billion) in the last five years.
    • But, banks have been able to recover only 13 percent of it so far.  

About the news 

  • This huge write-off would have been enough to wipe out 61 per cent of India’s estimated gross fiscal deficit of Rs 16.61 lakh crore for 2022-23.
  • The banking sector reported a decline in gross NPAs to Rs 7, 29,388 crore, or 5.9 per cent of the total advances as of March 2022.
    • Gross NPAs were 11.2 per cent in 2017-18.
  • Once a loan is written off by a bank, it goes out from the asset book of the bank.
    • The bank writes off a loan after the borrower has defaulted on the loan repayment and there is a very low chance of recovery. 
    • The lender then moves the defaulted loan, or NPA, out of the assets side and reports the amount as loss. 
  • Public sector banks reported the maximum share of write-offs at Rs 734,738 crore accounting for nearly 73 per cent of the exercise.

What is NPA?

  • A loan becomes an NPA when the principal or interest payment remains overdue for 90 days. 

Types of NPA

  • Sub Standard:  A sub-standard asset is one that is classified as an NPA for a period not exceeding twelve months.
  • Doubtful: A doubtful asset is one that has remained as an NPA for a period exceeding twelve months.
  • Loss: A loss asset is one where loss has already been identified by the bank or an external institution, but it is not yet completely written off, due to its recovery value, however little it may be.
Why do banks write off loans?After a loan turns bad, a bank writes it off when chances of recovery are remote. It helps the bank reduce not only its NPAs but also taxes since the written off amount is allowed to be deducted from the profit before tax.After write-off, banks are supposed to continue their efforts to recover the loan using various options. They have to make provisioning also. 

Causes for Banking NPA

  • Financial crisis
    • Before the financial crisis of 2008 India’s economy was in a boom phase. 
    • During this period banks lent extensively to corporates in the expectation that the good times will continue in future.
  • Earning of the corporates
    • Low earnings affected their ability to pay back loans. This is one of the most important reasons behind the increase in NPA of public sector banks.
  • Relaxed lending norms
    • Another major reason for rising NPA was the relaxed lending norms for corporate houses.
    • Their financial status and credit rating were not analysed properly.
  • Public Sector banks 
    • It provides a major portion of the credit to industries and it is this part of the credit distribution that forms a great portion of NPA.
  • The priority sector lending (PSL) sector 
    • This has contributed substantially to the NPAs. Priority sectors include agriculture, education, housing, MSMEs.
  • Credit default by promoters
    • There are also cases of credit default by promoters, where the funds have been diverted by over-invoicing imports, sourced via a promoter owned subsidiary abroad or exporting to shell companies and then declaring that they defaulted.

Issues with NPA

  • Provisioning
    • The bad loans lead to banks having to save a part of their operating revenue to account for bad loans which is called Provisioning. 
    • The technical term used for provisioning is Capital Adequacy Ratio (CAR) or Capital to Risk (weighted) Assets Ratio (CRAR).
  • Less profitable
    • The banks are required to provision for bad loans out of their operating income. 
    • The concerned bank becomes less profitable because it has to use some of its profits from other loans to make up for the loss on the bad loans. 
  • Risk-averse
    • The officials of such banks hesitate from extending loans to business ventures that may remotely appear risky for the fear of aggravating an already high level of non-performing assets (or NPAs).
  • Downfall in the share markets
    • Any reduction in the perceived valuation of the banks might lead to loss of share value of the banks, leading to general downfall in the share markets. This could result in wiping out shareholders’ wealth from the financial markets.
  • Rising Bad Loans
    • In spite of various efforts, a substantial amount of NPAs continue on the balance sheets of banks primarily because the stock of bad loans as revealed by the Asset Quality Review is not only large but fragmented across various lenders.

Way forward

  • The writing off NPAs is a regular exercise carried by banks to clean up the balance sheet.
  • It is primarily intended at cleansing the balance sheet and achieving taxation efficiency.
  • In Technically Written Off accounts: loans are written off from the books at the Head Office, without foregoing the right to recovery.
  • Write-offs are generally carried out against accumulated provisions made for such loans.
    • Once recovered, the provisions made for those loans flow back into the profit and loss account of banks. 
  • Steps Taken for NPA
    • Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code (IBC)
    • Strengthening of Securitization and Reconstruction of Financial Assets and Enforcement of Securities Interest (SARFAESI Act) and Debt Recovery Tribunals
    • Setting up of dedicated Stressed Asset Management Verticals (SAMVs) in banks for large-value NPA accounts etc.
    • Existing ARCs have been helpful in the resolution of stressed assets, especially for smaller value loans. 
    • However, considering the large stock of legacy NPAs, additional options/alternatives are needed.

Collapse of FTX Cryptocurrency Exchange

In News

  • A sharp decline in the prices of Bitcoin, the collapse of the Terra Luna network and new crypto-tax regulations in India have compounded miseries for investors and the overall industry.
    • However, the sudden market meltdowns turned more intense after the shocking FTX crash.

About the news 

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  • FTX was one of the largest and fastest-growing crypto exchanges in the world, largely tapping into the crypto derivatives market.
    • Before the collapse, it was the second-largest cryptocurrency exchange globally and, along with Binance, accounted for a majority of global cryptocurrency trades.
  • This event dragged Bitcoin’s price to a two-year low.

What’s the platform used for?

  • FTX is set up as two verticals: 
    • One can be accessed by global users, and the other is specifically built in compliance with U.S. law. 
    • FTX.US, catered to U.S. residents as they could not legally trade on the FTX International platform. 
    • FTX claimed to have over one million customers in 2021.
  • FTX International offered investors an option to trade in tokenized stocks, which are digital coin-based derivatives of shares of actual companies. 
  • It also allowed users to bet on expected valuations of pre-IPO companies. Such features attracted users to the platforms. 

Major challenges

  • The latest crypto crash affected not just FTX users, but also traders investing in top cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin and Ether.
  • Investors holding large reserves of the exchange’s own FTT token took a hard hit as it lost most of its value in just hours.
  • About 130 affiliated firms are now part of the bankruptcy proceedings
How different is this from the Luna, Celsius, and Voyager collapses?Terra [LUNA] is a cryptocurrency project (not a platform) which collapsed in May this year.Formerly one of the top cryptocurrencies by market capitalization, its LUNA cryptocurrency and Terra USD [UST] stable coin lost over 90% of their value.This caused liquidity shortages that prompted lending platforms like Celsius and Voyager to suspend withdrawals, which hastened their own collapse and legal woes.FTX is a crypto exchange rather than a lending platform.

Way Forward 

  • The volatile crypto market from here could face more regulation, according to some experts.
  • Crypto companies are deeply intertwined: they invest in one another, buy one another’s tokens and lend tokens and capital to one another which means the collapse of FTX could continue to topple others.
  • This fallout makes a strong case for why we need decentralised systems like Defi. We will see an increase in transparency and widespread adoption of a decentralised system.
  • This crash will force Web3 firms to build better solutions and develop effective rules for evaluating systematic risk.
  • The incident has brought up the need for regulations in the sector: The step taken by Binance to launch an industry recovery fund to help projects during a liquidity crunch is a positive step in that direction.

India’s Long-term Climate Action Strategy

In News

  • Recently, India submitted its long-term climate action strategy to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) at the UN Climate Conference (COP27).


  • The Paris Agreement of 2015 required countries to submit a plan demonstrating how they would switch their economies from being reliant on fossil fuel to clean energy sources. 
  • This was to include measures to be taken to keep temperatures from rising beyond 2°C, and preferably keep it at 1.5°C by the end of the century and becoming carbon neutral or achieving net zero. 
  • India has committed to being net zero by 2070. The deadline to make a commitment was 2020 but the pandemic meant deadlines were extended. 
  • India is now in a group of about 60 countries — the Paris Agreement has over 190 signatories — to have submitted a strategy document to the UN.

CoP 27

  • COP27 was labelled as an “implementation” conference, in the sense that countries were determined to solve outstanding questions on climate finance. 
  • This refers to money that developed countries had committed to developing countries to help them turn their economies away from fossil fuels, build infrastructure resilient to climate shocks and access technologies to enable widespread use of renewable energy.
  • Conference of Parties(COP):
    • It is the supreme decision-making body of the UNFCCC.
    • Aim: The agreement seeks to limit global warming to well below 2°C, preferably to 1.5°C, compared to pre-industry levels. 
    • Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs): To achieve the targets under the agreement, the member countries have to submit the targets themselves, which they believe would lead to substantial progress towards reaching the Paris temperature goal.
      • Initially, these targets are called Intended Nationally Determined Contributions (INDCs). 
      • They are converted to NDCs when the country ratifies the agreement.

The elements of India’s low emissions strategy

  • India’s strategy underlines the use of nuclear power and hydrogen as critical to transition India into a carbon-neutral economy.
  • The Long-Term Low-Carbon Development Strategy underlines India’s right to an equitable and fair share of the global carbon budget. 
  • The remaining budget for a 50% likelihood to limit global warming to 1.5°C, 1.7°C and 2°C is 380 GtCO2 (nine years at 2022 emissions levels), 730 GtCO2 (18 years) and 1,230 GtCO2 (30 years).
    • One gigatonne (Gt) CO2 is a billion tonnes of carbon dioxide. 
  • The journey to net zero is a five decade long one and India’s vision is therefore evolutionary and flexible, accommodating new technological developments and developments in the global economy and international cooperation.
  • India’s plan is to maximise the use of electric vehicles: Ensure that by 2025 the percentage of ethanol blended with petrol increases to 20% from the existing 10% and make a ‘strong shift’ of passenger and freight vehicles to public transport. 
  • India will also focus on improving energy efficiency:  By the Perform, Achieve and Trade (PAT) scheme, expand the National Hydrogen Mission, increase electrification, and enhance material efficiency and recycling.
    • The PAT scheme refers to an emissions trading scheme where industries such as aluminium, fertilizer, iron and steel, that are extremely carbon intensive, have to reduce their emissions by a fixed amount or buy energy saving certificates from firms that have exceeded reduction targets. 
    • This scheme has been on since 2012 and has so far prevented 60 million tonnes of CO2 from being emitted.

NDCs and these Commitments

  • The NDCs, which India must periodically update, are voluntary commitments by countries to reduce emissions by a fixed number relative to a date in the past to achieve the long-term goal of climate agreements of preventing global temperature rising beyond 1.5°C or 2°C by the end of the century. 
  • Thus, India’s most updated NDC commits to ensuring that half its electricity is derived from non-fossil fuel sources by 2030 and reducing the emissions intensity by 45% below 2005 levels by 2030. 
  • They are concrete targets unlike the low-carbon strategy which is qualitative and describes a pathway.


  • Funding: 
    • Of nearly $100 billion annually committed in 2009, which was to have been arranged for by 2020, less than a third has come in. 
    • Much of this, and this has been pointed out by several countries including India, is in the form of loans or come with conditions that increase the economic burden on developing countries.
  • Clear delivery: 
    • There is a demand that developed countries must come up with a new target, described in negotiations as a New Collective Quantified Goal, with a clear path of delivery and a higher amount, to the tune of “trillions of dollars” to account for increased costs of energy transition. 
  • Loss and Damage:
    • This is a proposal to compensate the most vulnerable countries and developing countries who are facing the brunt of climate change for the damage that has already incurred. 
    • The European Union was resistant to announcing a fund this year, on the grounds that it would take years to materialise and there were other options to get money flowing where it was most needed. 
  • Action plans falling short:
    • It’s been at least two-and-a-half decades since the world decided to restrain its greenhouse gas emissions.
      • Latest assessments suggest that current action plans of countries to meet climate goals are falling woefully short.
  • Rising emissions:
    • In absolute terms, the annual global emissions are still rising, now touching almost 50 billion tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent. 
    • In the decade between 2010 and 2019, the global emissions grew by over one percent on average.
      • This is significantly slower than the growth in the previous decade, of about 2.6 percent, but for meeting climate targets, it is not good enough.
  • Global issues:
    • Economic:
      • Amid a deepening energy crisis and prevailing economic gloom, there is little appetite among countries to scale up climate action.
    • Ukraine war:
      • The energy and economic crisis caused by the Ukraine war is threatening to undo even the small gains made.
  • Possibility of increase:
    • Moreover, even if the growth in emissions is halted immediately, or is made to decline, it does not solve the problem. 
    • This is because the warming of the planet is the result of accumulated emissions in the atmosphere and not the current emissions.
      • Carbon dioxide, the main greenhouse gas, remains in the atmosphere for about 100 years, so the effect of any immediate decline in emissions would have an impact only after several decades.
    • As a result, the average global temperatures have risen faster in the last one decade than any time earlier. 
  • Inadequate & unfair response:
    • The response in terms of emission cuts has been inadequate. 
    • The rich and industrialised countries:
      • These were the main polluters and hence mainly responsible to bring down emissions, have not met their collective targets. 
    • Developing countries:
      • Countries like China or India, which were not major emitters till sometime back, have seen their emissions rise steeply.

Global picture

  • EU:
    • As a bloc, the European Union has done relatively better on climate goals, with the United Kingdom, which is struggling with an economic downturn right now, halving its emissions from 1990 levels, UN data shows. 
  • USA:
    • The United States, the world’s leading emitter until it was overtaken by China in the mid 2000s, has been a major laggard, cutting its emissions by only about 7 percent from 1990 levels.
  • India & China:
    • China’s emissions have risen by almost four times, and India’s by about three times, during this period.

Way Ahead

  • Approaching the action plans:
    • First, climate change is a global problem and it requires cooperation between all nations.
    • Second, it needs rules that are fair and just, for the poor and the rich alike.
    • Third, science is clear that humans are responsible for the global temperature rise and that this increase will lead to more and more variable and extreme weather events, much like what we are seeing now.
    • Four, it is possible to estimate each country’s responsibility for the stock of emissions already in the atmosphere — the historical cumulative emissions that have “forced” climate change impacts.
    • And fifth, countries that have not yet contributed to the emissions will do so in the future, simply because the world has reneged on the need to make global rules that would apply fairly to all.
  • Suggestion by Emissions Gap Report:
    • For a realistic chance to keep global warming within 1.5 degree Celsius, annual emissions would need to drop from the current level of about 50 billion tonnes of CO2 equivalent to about 33 billion tonnes by 2030 and 8 billion tonnes by 2050, according to the newest Emissions Gap Report. 
    • Even for meet the 2-degree target, emissions have to come down to about 41 billion tonnes by 2030 and 20 billion tonnes by 2050.
    • This would require drastic action from all the major emitters.

Great Knot

In News

A great knot from Russia has found its way to Kerala’s coast, flying over 9,000 km for a winter sojourn.

  • Great knots to be re-sighted in India among the nearly thousand ones tagged with MOSKVA rings in the Kamchatka peninsula in eastern Russia.

The migratory path of the Great Knot

About Great knot

  • Scientific Name: Calidris tenuirostris
  • It is a small wader. 
  • It is the largest of the calidris species 
  • Habitat: Grassland, Marine Neritic, Marine Intertidal, Marine Coastal/Supratidal.
    • This species breeds in northeast Siberia, Russia, wintering mainly in Australia, but also throughout the coastline of South-East Asia and on the coasts of India, Bangladesh, Pakistan, and the eastern coast of the Arabian Peninsula. 
  • Threats Information: Loss of intertidal stopover habitats in the Yellow Sea region is thought to be a key driver in the population declines of shorebirds
    • It is also potentially threatened by climate change.
    • Recent evidence shows a very rapid population decline caused by the reclamation of non-breeding stopover grounds, and under the assumption that further proposed reclamation projects will cause additional declines in the future.
  • Protection Status: It is listed as an ‘endangered’ species by the IUCN.
    • It is listed in Appendix I of the Convention on the Conservation of Migratory Species of Wild Animals


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