Current Affairs Today - Current Affairs 2015

India ranks 24th in Environmental Democracy Index

India has ranked 24th out of 70 countries in the first Environmental Democracy Index (EDI).

The index was recently released by Washington-based World Resources Institute (WRI) and Access Initiative.

In the first edition of this index, Lithuania has topped among the 70 countries.

Top ten countries are: Lithuania, Latvia, Russia, United States, South Africa, United Kingdom, Hungary, Bulgaria, Panama and Colombia.

Key facts from EDI report

  • Right to environmental information has been established in the 93 per cent of the assessed countries.
  • However, many nations lag on providing citizens basic environmental information i.e. around 79 per cent of assessed countries have earned only fair or poor ratings for public participation.
  • Nearly half or around 46 per cent of assessed countries do not provide any ambient air quality data online for their capital cities.
  • In 73 per cent of the countries, courts or their judiciary hear environmental cases.
  • Only 14 per cent of the countries assessed have legal mechanisms that help women to access courts in order to obtain redress when their environmental rights are violated.

About Environmental Democracy Index (EDI)

  • EDI evaluates progress of countries in enacting laws in order to promote citizen engagement and accountability, transparency in environmental decision-making.
  • The index evaluates countries based on recognised international standards including 75 legal and 24 practice indicators.

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Union Cabinet approves PSLV Continuation Programme

Union Cabinet has approved continuation of Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV) programme for another fifteen operational flights of PSLV-C36 to PSLV-C50.

The decision in this regard was taken at a Union Cabinet meeting chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in New Delhi.

All the fifteen operational flights under this programme will be completed during the period 2017-2020.

The continuation PSLV programme will enable Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) to launch of satellites required for earth observation & navigation and Space Sciences.

It will also help government to clinch commercial launch service contracts and meet the demand for the launch of satellites at a frequency of four to five launches per year.

The continuation of programme will add additional 3090 crore rupees on government exchequer.

About Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV) programme

  • It was sanctioned by Union Government in 2008 to use PSLV as a workhorse vehicle to meet the country’s satellite launch requirements.
  • The operationalisation of this programme has made India self-reliant in the launching capability of satellites for the purpose of earth observation, disaster management, space sciences and navigation.
  • PSLV also has emerged as a versatile launch vehicle to carry out Geo-synchronous Transfer Orbit (GTO), Sun-Synchronous Polor Orbit (SSPO) and low inclination Low Earth Orbit (LEO) missions.

Thus, continuation of PSLV programme will help to sustain India’s capability and self-reliance in the launching of similar satellites for national requirements and even play key role in commercial launch opportunities also.

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Union Cabinet approves revival of the Sindri unit of the Fertilizer Corporation India

Union Cabinet has approved the revival of closed urea unit of Fertilizer Corporation India Limited (FICL) at Sindri in Jharkhand with an investment of 6000 crore rupees.

Decision in this regard was taken at Union Cabinet meeting chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in New Delhi.

FICL’s Sindri unit was lying defunct and was not in operation along with its associated facilities since 2002.

Union government has taken this decision in order to meet the growing demand of urea in eastern states of India including Bihar, West Bengal and Jharkhand.

Starting this plant will also ease the pressure on railway and road infrastructure due to transportation of urea on long distance from Western and Central Regions. This unit will also create 500 direct and 3000 indirect employments in this region.

Apart from this decision, Union Cabinet also gave its nod for setting up of a new ammonia-urea complex at Namrup in Assam on Public Private Partnership (PPP) mode with an estimated investment of 4500 crore rupees.

This approved complex will have an annual capacity of 8.64 lakh metric tonnes and play key role in meeting the growing demand of urea in North-East, Bihar, West Bengal and Jharkhand. It will also accelerate the economic development of the region and open new avenues for the people of the North-East.

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