Today's Headlines

Today's Headlines - 10 May 2023

Cyclone Mocha building over Bay of Bengal

GS Paper - 1 (Geography)

The Indian Meteorological Department (IMD) has said that a cyclonic or low-pressure area is developing in the Bay of Bengal and can lead to high rainfall in the next few days in the region, from 8 May to 12 May. This weather system will be called Cyclone Mocha (pronounced ‘Mokha’). Southern states are also expected to witness rainfall. It has been predicted to have very heavy rainfall likely over Andaman & Nicobar Islands.

What has the IMD said about Cyclone Mocha?

  1. The weather office has warned fishermen of rains and high-speed winds in the southeast Bay of Bengal with windspeed reaching 40-50 kmph from 7 May 2023 onwards.
  2. Between 7 May and 9 May, the cyclonic storm is expected to make landfall on the eastern coast of the country.
  3. Thereafter, it is likely to intensify into a cyclonic storm while moving nearly northwards towards central Bay of Bengal. The cyclonic storm may take shape around 9 May.

What is a cyclone and how are they formed?

  1. cyclone is a low-pressure system that forms over warm waters. Usually, a high temperature anywhere means the existence of low-pressure air, and a low temperature means high-pressure wind.
  2. These differences have to do with how ascending and descending air behaves. As air warms over hotter regions it ascends, leading to low pressure at the surface it is covering.
  3. When air cools in colder areas it descends, leading to high pressure at the surface. In a depression or low-pressure situation, the air is rising and blows in an anticlockwise direction around the low in the northern hemisphere and in a clockwise direction in the southern hemisphere.
  4. The is because of the Coriolis effect, a result of the earth’s rotation on its axis. As warm air rises and cools, water vapour condenses to form clouds and this can lead to rains.
  5. Weather systems formed over the Bay of Bengal in the peak of summer in May are among the strongest in the North Indian Ocean region.
  6. Warm seas present ripe conditions for the development and strengthening of cyclones and fuel these systems over the water.

How are cyclones named?

  1. Cyclones that form in every ocean basin across the world are named by the regional specialised meteorological centres (RSMCs) and Tropical Cyclone Warning Centres (TCWCs). There are six RSMCs in the world, including the India Meteorological Department (IMD), and five TCWCs.
  2. As an RSMC, the IMD names the cyclones developing over the north Indian Ocean, including the Bay of Bengal and the Arabian Sea, after following a standard procedure.
  3. The IMD is also mandated to issue advisories to 12 other countries in the region on the development of cyclones and storms.
  4. This cyclone will be named Mocha (Mokha), a name suggested by Yemen after the Red Sea port city, which is known to have introduced coffee to the world over 500 years ago.

Total ban on diesel vehicles

GS Paper -3 (Climate)

panel formed by the Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas has recommended a ban on the use of diesel-powered four-wheeler vehicles by 2027 in cities with a population of more than 1 million, and instead transition to electric and gas-fuelled vehicles.

More about the news:

The Energy Transition Advisory Committee, headed by former petroleum secretary Tarun Kapoor, has also recommended that city transport should be a mix of Metro trains and electric buses by 2030.

Background of this proposal:

  1. The panel’s recommendations come in the wake of the government’s stated aim to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and to produce 40 per cent of its electricity from renewables as part of its 2070 net zero goals.
  2. The proposed ban will have a significant footprint, a large number of cities in India have more than 1 million people, and include not just the metropolitan centres, but also smaller towns and cities such as Kota, Raipur, Dhanbad, Vijayawada, Jodhpur, and Amritsar.

Companies’ status making diesel cars:

  1. Maruti Suzuki, the country’s largest passenger vehicle manufacturer, stopped making diesel vehicles from April 1, 2020, and has signalled that it does not have plans to re-enter this segment.
  2. The diesel engine is, however, part of the models in Hyundai and Kia, while Japan’s Toyota Motor has the Innova Crysta range.
  3. Home grown carmakers Mahindra and Tata Motors too have diesel models in the market.

Preference for diesel vehicles:

  1. The higher fuel economy of diesel engines over petrol powertrains is one factor. This stems from the greater energy content per litre of diesel, and the inherent efficiency of the diesel engine.
  2. Diesel engines do not use high-voltage spark ignition (spark plugs), and thus end up using less fuel per kilometre as they have higher compression ratios, making it the fuel of choice for heavy vehicles.
  3. Diesel engines offer more torque (rotational or turning force) and are less likely to stall as they are controlled by a mechanical or electronic governor, thereby proving to be better for haulage.

Reason why carmakers started to move away from diesel?

  1. Due to higher compression ratio of diesel engines means there are increased emissions of oxides of nitrogen (NOx), which in effect cause green house.
  2. Due to high cost of upgrading diesel engines, to new BS-VI emission norms, that kicked in from April 1, 2020.

Overall reaction to such a proposal:

  1. In case of medium and heavy commercial vehicles that are used for the transportation of goods on the highways that crisscross the country, and for buses plying across most Indian cities, where diesel is the mainstay.
  2. Auto industry players argue that carmakers having a presence in the diesel segment are already in compliance with current emission norms, and have invested heavily to transition their diesel vehicle fleet from the BS-IV to BS-VI emission norms.
  3. In the commercial vehicles segment, where diesel penetration is very high and alternative fuels options such as electric vehicles, CNG, LNG, and hydrogen are still only being explored, a total ban would cause serious disruption.
  4. Oil marketing companies claim that as emission standards under BS-VI have necessitated oil refineries to substantially reduce the level of sulphur in diesel in view of the National Auto Fuel Policy brought in force by the Centre.
  5. The Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS) has brought out the specification for “diesel with 7 per cent biodiesel”, which further lowers the emission footprint of diesel.

NSO report on Agriculture output

GS Paper -3 (Agriculture)

The share of crops in the gross value of output of agriculture and allied sectors has declined by 7.5 percentage points in the last 10 years, while livestock’s share has increased by 5 percentage points during the same period, shows a report released by the National Statistical Office (NSO).

More about the news:

The agriculture and allied sectors comprise four sub-sectors namely crop, livestock, forestry & logging and fishing & aquaculture.

The NSO’s report on ‘State-wise and Item-wise Value of Output from Agriculture, Forestry and Fishing’:

Crops share in Agriculture:

The crops sub-sector accounted for 62.4% of the agriculture and allied sectors in 2011-12, which has gradually come down to 54.9% in 2020-21.”

Livestock share:

The share of the livestock sub-sector in the agriculture and allied sectors has increased to 30.58 in 2020-21 from 25.57 per cent in 2011-21.

Share of forestry and logging:

It has increased from 7.8 percent in 2011-12 to 8.42 per cent in 2020-21.

Share of fishing and aquaculture:

It rose from 4.19 per cent to 6.08 per cent during this period.

  • According to the report, the gross value of output (at constant prices 2011-12) of the Agriculture, Forestry and Fishing sector (excluding irrigation) was recorded at Rs 26.12 lakh in 2020-21, which was Rs 19.08 lakh crore in 2011-12.
  • In 2020-21, three states—Uttar Pradesh (Rs 3.11 lakh crore), Maharashtra (RS 2.46 lakh crore) and Rajasthan (Rs 2.36 lakh crore)—contributed the most in the gross value of agriculture, forestry and fishing sector in the country.

India’s measures to encourage energy transition

GS Paper -3 (Economy)

India is taking various measures as part of its net zero commitments to encourage energy transition for industries in the domestic market as well as at the global level said Director General (DG) of Bureau of Energy Efficiency (BEE).

More about the news:

  1. India’s forward-looking measures are slated to be discussed at the upcoming meets of the Energy Transitions Working Group (ETWG).
  2. BEE, under the Ministry of Power, promotes the use of energy-efficient processes, equipment, devices and systems.
  3. There is a need forpreferential treatment for the use of energy-efficient equipment or appliances.
  4. India’s G20 presidency will focus on “accelerating energy transition in hard-to-abate sectors, need for expanding markets for low carbon industrial products through standards for green materials.
  5. There is need for development of a common mission on energy efficiency that elevates, supports and invests with a particular focus on developing economies.
  6. India will focus on highlighting best practices in terms of policy development and inducing behavioural changes for effective outcomes, accelerating efforts on adoption of super-efficient appliances and their future deployments through appropriate incentives.

Steps taken by India:

  1. India has emphasised on the importance of carbon pricing in reducing greenhouse gas emissions and urged G-20 countries to explore options for implementing carbon pricing mechanisms.
  2. India is encouraging the member countries to increase their investments in clean energy technologies, including solar, wind, and energy storage, improving access to finance for clean energy projects.
  3. In area of energy efficiency, India has suggested G-20 countries to adopt energy-efficient technologies and practices, particularly in the building and transportation sectors and its efforts in reducing energy demand and emissions.

Schemes and programmes:

  1. The government launched Ujwal DISCOM Assurance Yojana (UDAY) which aims to improve the financial health of state power distribution companies by reducing their debt burden and improving their operational efficiency.
  2. Pradhan Mantri Ujjwala Yojana (PMUY) was introduced in 2016 to provide clean cooking fuel to women in rural areas; it provides free LPG connections to eligible households and has already benefitted more than eight crore households.
  3. Initiatives such as Faster Adoption and Manufacturing of (Hybrid &) Electric Vehicles (FAME) India Scheme and Atal Jyoti Yojana
  4. To promote the adoption of electric and hybrid vehicles and solar-powered lighting to rural areas, a move thatreduces emission footprint.
  5. The India-led International Solar Alliance (ISA) aims at promoting solar energy globally and helped India to increase its renewable energy capacity significantly and reduce its reliance on fossil fuels.

Way forward:

The government's efforts towards energy transition are expected to continue in the coming years to achieve its target of net-zero emissions by 2070.

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