Today's Headlines

Today's Headlines - 20 December 2022

Historic biodiversity Agreement 

GS Paper - 3 (Environment and Ecology)

At The U.N. biodiversity conference in Montreal, negotiators reached an agreement to protect 30% of land and water considered important for biodiversity by 2030, known as 30 by 30. The UN biodiversity conference on 19 December 2022 would represent the most significant effort to protect the world’s lands and oceans and provide critical financing to save biodiversity in the developing world.

More about the outcome

  1. The global framework comes on the day the United Nations Biodiversity Conference, or COP15, is set to end in Montreal.
  2. China, which holds the presidency at this conference, released a new draft that gave the sometimes contentious talk’s much-needed momentum.
  3. The most significant part of the agreement is a commitment to protect 30% of land and water considered important for biodiversity by 2030, known as 30 by 30. Currently, 17% of terrestrial and 10% of marine areas is protected.
  4. The deal also calls for raising $200 billion by 2030 for biodiversity from a range of sources and working to phase out or reform subsidies that could provide another $500 billion for nature.
  5. As part of the financing package, the framework asks for increasing to at least $20 billion annually by 2025 the money that goes to poor countries. That number would increase to $30 billion each year by 2030.
  6. Creating a fund under the GEF is the best way to obtain something immediate and efficient.
  7. A completely new fund would have taken several years to establish and deprived developing countries of immediate cash for biodiversity.


Navy’s new guided missile destroyer

GS Paper - 3 (Defence Technology)

The second of the Project 15B stealth guided missile destroyers built by Mazagon Dock Shipbuilders Limited (MDSL)INS Mormugao (Pennant D67), was commissioned into the Indian Navy. The ship, named after a key port in Goa, was commissioned a day before the Goa Liberation Day celebrations.

What is Project 15B?

  1. Over the last decade, the Indian Navy has commissioned three guided missile destroyers of the Kolkata class — INS KolkataINS Kochi, and INS Chennai — under the project codenamed 15A.
  2. These ships were a step ahead of their precursor Delhi class of ships — INS DelhiINS Mysore, and INS Mumbai.
  3. All these ships were built by MDSL, one of the country’s most important Defence PSUs. A ship ‘class’ describes a group of vessels of similar tonnageusagecapabilities, and weaponry.
  4. The contract for four guided missile destroyers more advanced than the Kolkata class was signed in January 2011. This was Project 15B, and the lead ship, INS Visakhapatnam (Pennant D66) was commissioned into the Navy in November 2021.
  5. Designed by the Warship Design Bureau, Indian Navy’s in-house warship design body, and built by MDSL in Mumbai, the four ships of Project 15B were to be named after four major cities around the country — VisakhapatnamMormugaoImphal, and Surat. A ship class is identified by its lead ship, in this case INS Visakhapatnam.

What are the Specifications?

  1. INS Mormugao — and the other three ships in the class — are 163 m long and 17.4 m wide, with a displacement of 7,300 tonnes.
  2. The ship’s firepower consists of vertically launched Barak-8 surface-to-air missiles and BrahMos surface-to-surface cruise missiles for long-range engagement of shore- and sea-based targets.
  3. The destroyer will also be armed with indigenously developed 533 mm torpedo launchers and RBU-6000 anti-submarine rocket launchers. It can operate two multi-role helicopters — Sea King or HAL Dhruv. The ship also has rail-less helicopter traversing, and hangar facility.
  4. The ‘combined gas and gas’ (COGAG) configuration integrates four gas turbines. The propulsion system allows the ship to reach a maximum speed of 30 knots (55 km/h), and a maximum range of 4,000 nautical miles (7,400 km).


Goa Liberation Day' is celebrated

GS Paper - 1 (History)

Goa Liberation Day' is celebrated on 19 December to commemorate the state's liberation from Portuguese rule in 1961. As part of Operation Vijay, the Indian armed forces used the armed forces trifecta with the help of local resistance movements to eradicate European rule from the country.

More about this day

  1. Dr. Ram Manohar Lohia led the Goa liberation movement on 18 June 1946, with the aim of liberating Goa by gathering young Goans. As a result, Goa Revolution Day is now celebrated on this day.
  2. It took Goa 14 years after India gained independence from Portuguese rule to become independent.
  3. On 19 December 1961, Jawaharlal Nehru sent armed forces to the coastal state.
  4. The Portuguese surrendered and the state was liberated. As a result, Goa, Daman, and Diu became Union Territories of India.
  5. Goa continued to be a Union Territory till 1987 and then was given statehood by becoming the 25th state of India.


  1. The Portuguese colonial presence in Goa began in 1510, when Afonso de Albuquerque defeated the ruling Bijapur king with the help of a local ally, Timayya, and subsequently established a permanent settlement in Velha Goa (or Old Goa).
  2. Over the following centuries, the Portuguese fought frequent battles with the Marathas and the Deccan sultanates.
  3. During the Napoleonic Wars, Goa was briefly occupied by the British between 1812 and 1815. In 1843, the capital was moved to Panjim from Velha Goa.
  4. Goa was Portugal’s most prized possession in India and the biggest territory in Estado da India Portuguesa or the Portuguese empire in India


ICRA banking sector outlook

GS Paper -3 (Economy)

Domestic rating agency ICRA upped its banking sector outlook to ‘positive’ on healthy asset growth, improving asset quality and stronger capital buffers. The agency expects asset quality to improve to a decadal best of 4 per cent from gross non-performing assets (NPAs) perspective by the end of FY24.

According to rating agency

  1. The banking system’s credit growth will slow down to 11-11.6 per cent in FY24, after a very healthy growth of 15.2-16.1 per cent expected in FY23.
  2. bulk of the credit growth story will be led by state-owned lenders which are in far better shape now having recognised and provided for loan losses and also after some capital infusions.
  3. The state-owned banks’ net NPAs will come down to 1.3-1.6 per cent by FY24-end, while the same for private sector lenders will be 0.8-0.9 per cent, it said.
  4. Net interest margins made by banks will narrow down in FY24 on the deposit rate hikes, but higher loan volumes will ensure that banks book healthy growth on interest to make healthy profits.

Some risk for the banking sector:

It include higher than expected compression of spreads because of

  1. The inability to pass on the rising deposit costs.
  2. Economic slump leading to higher slippages in asset quality.
  3. Pay scale and pension revisions for state-run lenders, which are currently under negotiation.
  4. The small businesses area, which needs closer monitoring, are most at risk in a rising interest scenario and some of them dependent on exports will be in more difficulty.


Freezing of Great Barrier Reef coral

GS Paper -3 (Environment)

Scientists working on Australia’s Great Barrier Reef have successfully trialled a new method for freezing and storing coral larvae that could eventually help rebuild reefs threatened by climate change. They are scrambling to protect coral reefs as rising ocean temperatures destabilise delicate ecosystems.


  1. The Great Barrier Reef has suffered four bleaching events in the last seven years including the first ever bleach during a La Nina phenomenon, which typically brings cooler temperatures.
  2. Cryogenically frozen coral can be stored and later reintroduced to the wild but the current process requires sophisticated equipment including lasers.
  3. They say a new lightweight “cryomesh” can be manufactured cheaply and better preserves coral.
  4. In a December lab trial, the world first with Great Barrier Reef coral, scientists used the cryomesh to freeze coral larvae at the Australian Institute of Marine Sciences (AIMS).
  5. It involved scientists from AIMS, the Smithsonian National Zoo and Conservation Biology Institute, the Great Barrier Reef foundation and the Taronga Conservation Society Australia as part of the Reef Restoration and Adaptation Program.

What are Coral Reefs?

  1. They are one of the true wonders of the world, remarkable ecosystems in their own right; living, breathing animals that are an incredibly important part of our natural world.
  2. Some 4,000 species of fish and around 25 percent of marine life rely on coral reefs at some point in their lives. They also help form other ecosystems.
  3. Coral reefs cover more than 284,000 sq. kmmostly in the warmer equatorial waters of the Red Sea, The Indian Ocean and the Pacific.
  4. Local communities rely on coral reefs for their livelihoods. They provide many ecosystem services to people, including food, coastal protection, medicines, safe passage and harbours, and recreation.
  5. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) estimates the net economic value of the world’s coral reefs to be tens of billions of US dollars per year, by contributing to tourism and fishing and marine industries.

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