Current Affairs - July 2019

Latest Current Affairs July, 2019 with Current Affairs, news summary on current events of National and International importance of July, 2019 for Banking, SSC, CLAT, UPSC, State PCS, IBPS, Railways and other Competitive Examinations.

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Scaly-Foot Snail: 1st ever Species Endangered due to Deep Sea Mining

A rare snail species called ‘Scaly-Foot Snail’ found at only three spots on Indian Ocean floor near Madagascar has become the 1st species to be officially declared threatened due to deep-sea mining. It was added by International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) to its updated Red List of Endangered Species on 18 July 2019.

About Scaly-Foot Snail

Scaly-foot snail (or Chrysomallon squamiferum) is otherwise known as Sea Pangolin. It has become the 1st marine species to be assessed as officially endangered due to potential threat of deep sea mining.

Found: It is found at 3 hydrothermal vents in Indian Ocean, east of Madagascar.

It was recently added by International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) to its updated Red List of Endangered Species.

A hydrothermal vent is a fissure on seafloor from which geothermally heated water issues and when this happens, hot water mixes with cold seawater thus depositing minerals such as copper and manganese on ocean floor.

Research: According to the report published in Nature journal, the researchers settled on including snail in new Red List based on the criteria that it was found at just 3 spots on ocean floor and looming threat of deep-sea mining.

Steps Taken: At present there is a freeze on all ocean-floor mining activities globally. Moreover, International Seabed Authority (ISA), a United Nations (UN) agency, is currently formulating guidelines on how to conduct ocean-floor mining, which should be completed by 2020.

Many experts hope that scaly-foot snail finding its way into Red List would act as a deterrent to mining companies and it is not the case then at least 14 more species found in a hydrothermal vent ecosystem could be included in next edition of IUCN’s Red List to be out in late 2019.

Govt targets to install Rooftop Solar projects of 40,000 MW by 2022

Government has set a target for installation of Rooftop Solar projects (RTS) of 40,000 MegaWatt (MW) by 2022 in the country including installation of RTS on rooftop of houses. New and Renewable Energy Minister RK Singh submitted reply in this regard to Rajya Sabha.

Key Highlights

Grid Connected Rooftop Solar programme is being implemented by Union Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE). Projects include installation of solar panels on rooftop of houses.

Total Rooftop Solar Installations in India: As of 18 July 2019 over 1700 Mega Watt of grid-connected rooftop systems has been installed in India. On an average it is estimated that 1.5 million units per MegaWatt/year are generated from solar rooftop plants.

Gujarat Model: In terms of area of solar rooftop installations, Gujarat has stood 1st in India with total 261.97 megawatts (MW) of installed rooftop solar capacity at present. Out of total 261.97 MW installation, 183.51 MW are subsidised installations and 78.45 MW are non-subsidised installations. On an average it is estimated that 1.5 million units per MW/year are generated from solar rooftop units.

Gujarat is followed by Maharashtra with 198.52MW and Tamil Nadu with 151.62MW in terms of installed rooftop capacity.

Grid Connected Rooftop Solar Programme

This programme seeks to achieve a cumulative capacity of 40,000 MW from rooftop solar projects by year 2022.

It will be implemented in two phases with a total central financial support of ₹11,814 crore.

Phase II programme provides for central financial assistance (for residential rooftop solar installations) up to 40% for rooftop systems up to 3kW and 20% for those with a capacity of 3-10kW. This 2nd phase will also focus on increasing involvement of distribution companies (DISCOM).

What is Solar Rooftop System?

Rooftop solar installations as opposed to large-scale solar power generation plants can be installed on roofs of any residential, commercial, institutional and industrial building.

They are of 2 types:

  • Solar Rooftop System which have storage facility by using battery
  • Grid Connected Solar Rooftop System.

Environmental Significance: On considering average energy generation of 1.5 million units per MW, it is expected that addition of 38 GW solar rooftop plants under Phase-II (by year 2022) will result in CO2 emission reduction of about 45.6 tonnes/year.

Employment Opportunity: Besides increasing self-employment approval is likely to generate employment opportunity equivalent to 9.39 lakh job years for skilled and unskilled workers.