Why are India’s garbage landfill burning?
GS Paper III
Context: The dump in Kochi is on fire. This serves as a clear warning that, as summer approaches, Indian cities need to be ready for further instances of this nature.
What are Landfills?
- Garbage landfills are locations where waste products are disposed of by burying them in the ground. They are sometimes referred to as trash disposal sites or dumps.
- They are intended to confine the trash and keep it apart from the surrounding area, stopping the spread of contaminants and tainted soil and water sources.
- The disposal of non-hazardous municipal solid waste, such as domestic garbage, construction waste, and yard waste, is frequently done at garbage dumps.
- Yet, depending on the rules and limitations in existence, they can also be used for the disposal of hazardous waste and other kinds of industrial waste.
Is landfilling best way for waste management?
- Garbage disposal through landfill is not seen as the best option because of its potential for harm to the environment.
- Landfills occupy room.
- If not adequately controlled, hazardous gases like methane and carbon dioxide might be released, contaminating soil and groundwater.
- In close proximity areas, landfills may produce noise and odour pollution.
Alternative methods for garbage disposal:
- Recycling entails separating recyclables like paper, glass, metals, and plastics from other waste streams and converting them into new goods.
- Composting is the process of turning organic waste products like paper, yard trimmings, and food scraps into a nutrient-rich soil supplement.
- Waste-to-energy: This process involves burning, gasifying, or pyrolyzing trash to turn it into energy. Heat or electricity can be produced using the energy created.
- Recovery of landfill gas entails gathering and using the methane gas produced by decaying garbage in landfills to produce heat or power.
- Mechanical and biological processes are used in this process to separate and treat waste products, resulting in compost and recyclable materials.
- Anaerobic digestion: This is a biological process that breaks down organic waste in the absence of oxygen, producing biogas and fertilizer.
Landfills in India:
- More than 95% of the rubbish produced in Indian cities is collected by local governments.
- The optimum waste processing efficiency is between 30 and 40%.
- Around 60% of the components in municipal solid waste in India are biodegradable, 25% aren’t, and 15% are inert.
- Communities are required to segregate the processing of wet and dry trash and to recycle recovered byproducts.
Why do Indian landfills often catch fire in summers?
- In Indian cities, the pace of processing is far lower than the rate of garbage production.
- Untreated trash is kept in open landfills for a very long time.
- Waste that is dumped openly might contain combustible items like rags, clothing, and inferior plastics.
- The biodegradable portion composts considerably more quickly in the heat, raising the heap’s temperature.
- The likelihood of the dump catching fire is increased by higher temperatures and combustible materials.
- Some flames are known to burn for several months.
Is there a permanent solution?
Two long-term options exist for handling landfill fires.
Closing landfills in a methodical manner and completely capping the waste with soil Due to the fact that the land cannot be utilised for other purposes, this option is inappropriate for the Indian setting. The management of methane emissions is one of the unique standard operating procedures for closed landfills.
With the help of bioremediation, remove the trash piles: To separate combustible refuse-derived fuel (RDF), such as plastics, rags, garments, etc., from biodegradable material, excavate old garbage and employ automated sifting equipment. Although the bio-soil may be given to farmers to enhance their soil, the recovered RDF can be used as fuel in cement kilns. There will be a need to dump the inert portion.
Some immediate measures to manage landfill fires:
- Split the area into blocks. Depending on the kind of garbage, segregate it from combustible materials, and cover any exposed areas with dirt to lessen the risk of fire spreading.
- Cover the landfill’s most exposed area, which has many plastic and fabric items, with dirt.
- Provide the fresh-waste block with adequate moisture: To cool the garbage heap, sprinkle water on it and stir the material often.
- Sort the incoming waste: Instead of dumping mixed fractions, dispose of it in designated blocks when you arrive.
- On time delivery to kilns: Non-recyclable and non-biodegradable garbage should be sent to cement kilns after being already separated and bagged.
- For quick response, sites should have water tankers with sprinklers.
- The local government should prepare an action plan in advance and collaborate with the closest fire department.
- Workers who handle waste (plant managers, segregators, etc.) should be trained in fundamental fire safety procedures.
- Those who live close to landfills should also receive fire safety training and equipment.
- The most combustible area of the dump should be routinely under constant camera observation by the municipality.
- You shouldn’t enter the site with flammable items like chemical waste, matchsticks, or lighters.
- Cleaning and relocating equipment at the site, such as sieves and balers, should be done near the combustible material.
- Security guards and on-site workers should live away from the combustible area.
Source: The Hindu
NSO’s New Data: India’s GDP Growth
GS Paper III
Context: An updated set of statistics on India’s yearly and quarterly national income from the National Statistical Office (NSO) has been made public, offering a conclusive evaluation of the COVID-19 pandemic’s effect on GDP growth. the most recent data and industry performance, indicating regions of expansion and decrease.
Recovery since pre-COVID year:
- In its second advance estimate (SAE), the NSO predicts a contraction of (-) 5.7% in 2020–21, which is less than its first advance estimate (FAE), which predicted a contraction of (–) 7.7%.
- Sectors that benefitted: According to the updated estimate, the manufacturing, construction, and finance sectors profited the most.
- Real GDP increased to 136.9 lakh crore in the COVID-19 year, surpassing the preceding estimate of 134.4 lakh crore. The economy expanded by 9.1% in 2021–2022 and 7% in 2022–2023.
- Negative growth in 2020: During 2019–20 and 2022–2023, the compound annual average growth rate was 3.2%. India’s negative growth rate in 2020 may be seen when compared to other nations like China, Bangladesh, and Vietnam.
- The overall GVA in 2022–23 is 11.3% greater than in 2019–20.
- The mining and quarrying industry continues to exhibit declines at (-) 0.3%.
- Commerce, lodging, transportation, etc., have a meagre 4.3% increase.
- With 18.6%, the construction industry is growing faster than average.
- The manufacturing sector has had strong growth of 14.8%.
- Banking and real estate sectors all climbed by 14.3%.
- Agriculture saw 12% growth.
- Spending on final consumption by the government (GFCE) increased by 7.4%.
- Private final consumption expenditure (PFCE) and gross fixed capital formation both grew by 17.7% and 13.1%, respectively.
Investment and Capacity Utilization:
- The nominal ratio of gross fixed capital formation to GDP grew from 28.6% in 2019–20 to 29.2% in 2022–23.
- Real investment rates rose from 31.8% in 2019–20 to 34% in 2022–23.
- From 8.5 in 2019–20, the estimated incremental capital output ratio (ICOR) dropped to 4.9 in 2022–23.
- The manufacturing sector’s capacity utilisation ratio was only 70.3% in 2019–20, but it rose to 73.5% in the first half of 2022–23.
- Lower capacity utilisation and greater ICOR are indicators of moderate growth.
Quarterly Growth and Projections:
- Real GDP growth in Q3 2022–2023 dropped to 4.4% from 6.3% in Q2 and 13.2% in Q1 to reflect this.
- Both the third quarter’s growth rate and the fourth quarter’s anticipated growth rate are quite modest.
- High frequency indicators suggest that economic activity has improved.
- In January and February 2023, the PMI manufacturing index stayed above its long-term average.
The most recent information available from the NSO on India’s GDP growth offers a definitive evaluation of the COVID-19 pandemic’s effects on the nation’s economy. According to the NSO statistics, India’s economy is recovering from the COVID-19 epidemic, but more slowly.
Source: The Hindu
Who were Alluri Sitharama Raju and Komaram Bheem?
GS Paper I
Context: A Telugu film that draws inspiration from the lives of Indian liberation heroes Komaram Bheem and Alluri Sitharama Raju is attracting interest on a worldwide scale.
Who was Alluri Sitharama Raju?
- Around 1897 or 1898, Raju is thought to have been born in Andhra Pradesh.
- He is reported to have turned sanyasi at the age of 18 and, thanks to his austerity, medical knowledge, and mastery of wild animals, he was able to exude a magical aura among the hill and tribal peoples.
- The anger of the hill people of Ganjam, Visakhapatnam, and Godavari was channelled by Raju at an early age into a successful guerilla fight against the British.
Advent into revolutionary activities:
- The traditional podu (shifting) farming of the indigenous people was under danger due to colonial control since the government wanted to protect forest lands.
- The Forest Act of 1882 prohibited the harvesting of minor forest products like roots and leaves, and the colonial authorities drove indigenous people into labour.
- The new rules and processes endangered the tribal people’s way of life themselves as they were exploited by muttadars, local headmen hired by the colonial authority to extort rent.
- Armed resistance broke out in August 1922 as a result of strong anti-government feeling that was shared by the muttadars who felt betrayed by the British for restricting their rights.
Contribution to freedom struggle:
- Up until May 1924, the Rampa or Manyam Rebellion was fought as a guerilla conflict before Raju, the charismatic “Manyam Veerudu” or “Hero of the Forest,” was ultimately apprehended and put to death.
- Mahatma Gandhi’s Non-Cooperation Campaign and the Rampa Uprising were place at the same time.
- Raju often extolled the virtues of Mahatma Gandhi, claimed to have drawn inspiration from the Non-Cooperation Movement, and encouraged people to wear khadi and abstain from alcohol.
- But, he also maintained that force, not nonviolence, was required to liberate India.
Who was Komaram Bheem?
- Sankepally hamlet in the Komarambheem District, which was renamed after him in 2016, is home to the Gond tribal people and was the birthplace of Komram Bheem.
- A jagirdar who was an informant for the Nizam was living on Bheem’s family’s land, which prompted him to kill the jagirdar in a fit of wrath.
- He travelled to Assam and spent five years working as a labourer in coffee and tea farms there to elude the law.
- Bheem became literate despite not having any formal education and became aware of movements like Birsa Munda’s.
Resistance against the Nizam government:
- Those who were grazing livestock and gathering firewood for cooking were subject to “Bambram” and “Dupapetti,” which were taxes levied by the Nizam administration.
- Bheem advocated “Jal, Jangal, Zameen” among the tribal populace to oppose this taxation.
- He taught tribal people how to use firearms, and with the aid of a guerrilla force made up of members of the Gond and Koya groups, the villages in Adilabad were prepared.
Death and legacy:
- The tribal defence failed to hold off Nizam’s troops despite their best attempts.
- In the Jodeghat jungle, they killed Bheem.
- The phrase “Jal, Jangal, Zameen” from Bheem has been used throughout much of India to this day as a rallying cry for the rights of indigenous people to natural resources.
Source: The Hindu
India-Italy Flourishing Relations
GS Paper II
Context: The 75th anniversary of diplomatic ties between Italy and India was recently celebrated during the summit between Prime Ministers Giorgia Meloni of Italy and Narendra Modi of India. It also signalled a crucial turning point in the bilateral relationship since it heralded the beginning of a strategic alliance between the two nations.
Highlights of the current visit of PM Meloni:
- India and Italy are now strategic partners. They chose defence as one of the areas where they may begin a new chapter in their relationship and agreed to take their relationship to that level.
- Support for startups: The meeting resulted in the creation of a “Startup Bridge” between Italy and India.
- Exercises in bilateral defence: Defense is a crucial area of cooperation between nations. They also determined to regularly organise joint military training exercises and drills.
- To increase people’s mobility, India and Italy also penned a Declaration of Intent on migration and mobility and signed memoranda of understanding with the Morarji Desai Institute of Yoga in Italy and Sarva Yoga International in Kolkata.
India-Italy Flourishing Partnership:
- Trade on a bilateral basis: Italy and India have further up their cooperation in recent years, setting a record of over 15 billion euros in 2022, more than twice the amount seen in 2020.
- Five-Year Action Plan: In 2020, a five-year action plan with clearly defined goals was developed. These priorities included infrastructure, food processing, advanced manufacturing, energy transformation, and creative industries.
- Italy has joined every international project supported by India, including the International Solar Alliance, the Coalition for Disaster Relief Infrastructure, and the Indian Ocean Rim Association.
- Italian and Indian cultural exchanges have increased, ranging from historical preservation to the creative industries, such as fashion, design, and film.
- 13 new cooperative initiatives in scientific research and technology have been launched as a result of the collaboration between the two nations.
- Mobility: During the past several years, there has been a noticeable growth in the number of Indian students and employees coming to Italy, where there is already a sizable Indian population that actively participates in the Italian economy, numbering over 2,000,000.
- Health Sector: Throughout the epidemic, Italy and India worked together by sharing knowledge and best practises, supporting collaborative research efforts, and exchanging experiences and best practises.
- Strategic Partnership: The Joint Declaration signed at the most recent summit reaffirms the two countries’ commitment to forging a strategic relationship that will also pay attention to fields including energy, defence, cybersecurity, and space.
- Indo-Pacific and Expanded Mediterranean: A link between the Indo-Pacific and the expanded Mediterranean was found, where Italy is a key actor in terms of trade, investments, and energy security.
- Support for the G20 President: Italy provided the Indian G20 Presidency with full support, making contributions centred on the themes that were the focus of Italy’s G20 Presidency in 2021.
- Italian and Indian efforts to find a resolution to the turmoil in Ukraine will be underway.
- European-Indian Strategic Partnership: Both Prime Ministers pledged to strengthen the European-Indian strategic relationship and backed continued discussions on free trade agreements, agreements to safeguard investments, and agreements to protect geographical indications.
What makes Italy a crucial partner for India?
- Economic cooperation: Italy has one of the biggest economies in the EU and is home to a number of huge multinational companies. Both nations have significant economic relations, and India’s economy is expanding.
- Trade and Investment: With almost 700 Italian firms operating in India, Italy is the 13th largest investor in that country. Infrastructure, energy, the automotive industry, and textiles are just a few of the industries in India where Italian businesses are investing.
- Cultural Relations: India and Italy have a long history of mutually beneficial cultural exchange. The histories of art, literature, music, and architecture are quite old in both nations. India is recognised for its vast cultural diversity, whereas Italy is noted for its classical art.
- Strategic Collaboration: Both parties are devoted to advancing peace and security and share the same goal of a multipolar world order. On international concerns including terrorism, climate change, and UN reform, both nations collaborate closely.
- People-to-People Contacts: With the sizeable Indian diaspora in Italy, there are many interpersonal relationships between Italy and India. Around 150,000 individuals of Indian descent reside in Italy, and they make a substantial contribution to the nation’s social, cultural, and economic fabric. More major people-to-people exchanges between the two nations are being encouraged by the expanding tourist industry.
The observance of international law, freedom of navigation, and territorial integrity are the cornerstones of Italy and India’s strategic alliance. It intends to improve bilateral ties and puts an emphasis on industries including defence, cybersecurity, space exploration, and energy. The two nations seek to strengthen their ties based on a shared appreciation of the importance of genuine friendship and solidarity in these trying times.
Source: Indian Express
Electricity Discoms: Public Hearings And Public Participation in Decision Making
GS Paper II
Context: The fact that power distribution firms need 20% of the Union Budget in yearly income speaks volumes about the scope of their activities. The article covers the value of public input in electricity distribution firms’ decision-making processes as well as the function of public hearings held by energy regulatory commissions (ERCs) in this respect. Hearings will now again be conducted in-person, according to a recent public notification from the central ERC.
Electricity Regulatory Commissions (ERCs):
- Electricity regulatory councils, or ERCs, are autonomous statutory organisations that the government has set up to control the production, transmission, distribution, and trade of electricity in a certain state or area.
- ERCs’ main responsibility is to safeguard the interests of energy customers by making sure that they receive their power at fair and affordable prices while also guaranteeing the sector’s financial stability.
- ERCs also have the authority to determine prices, licence power producing and distribution businesses, and resolve conflicts between industry participants.
- ERCs play a crucial role in the electrical industry by ensuring that there is a fair and open regulatory environment that fosters innovation, efficiency, and competition.
Importance of Public Participation in the decision-making process of electricity distribution companies:
- Transparency: Public participation promotes transparency in the decision-making process, It ensures that stakeholders are informed about the decisions being made, the rationale behind them, and the potential impact on the community.
- Accountability: It creates a system of checks and balances that helps ensure that decisions made are in the best interest of the public.
- Improved Decision Making: Public participation can provide DISCOMs with valuable insights and perspectives from the community. This can help improve decision-making by ensuring that decisions are made based on a comprehensive understanding of the issues and the needs of the community.
- Trust is boosted when the public participates in decision-making, which benefits both the community and DISCOM. As a result, there may be more support for the choices taken, higher acceptance of the results, and less likelihood of disagreement or conflict.
- Public engagement may give the community a voice in the choices that have an impact on their everyday life. As a result, there may be a better sense of involvement and participation in subsequent decision-making processes, as well as a larger sense of ownership and responsibility for the outcomes.
In-person Public Hearings:
Pros of In-person Public Hearings:
- Increased feeling of community: In-person hearings allow for face-to-face contacts that can help develop trust and promote conversation. They also create a better sense of community.
- Physical presence: Participants may more easily be heard and have their issues addressed at in-person hearings since they can physically be present in the room.
- Improved comprehension: Because attendees may ask questions and get explanations in-person, in-person hearings may be more effective at communicating complicated information and statistics.
- Transparency may be improved by having hearings in person since they provide the general public a chance to observe and hear the processes firsthand and to hold regulators and utilities responsible.
Cons of In-person Public Hearings:
- Accessibility: Not all members of the public may be able to attend in-person hearings, particularly those who are physically unable to do so, live far away, or have other obligations.
- Time-consuming and expensive: Attending and organising in-person hearings can take a lot of time and money, which can restrict the variety of views that are represented and discourage participation.
- Restricted participation: Attending hearings in person may restrict participation to individuals who are comfortable speaking in front of groups or who can afford to go there. This might possibly exclude some marginalised groups.
Pros of Online Public Hearings:
- Accessibility: Because participants can attend online hearings from any location with an internet connection, they are more accessible to a larger audience.
- Convenience and adaptability: Because participants can attend online hearings at their own speed and from the comfort of their homes, they offer more convenience and adaptability for all parties.
- Online hearings may encourage participation from a wider range of groups, including people who would not feel comfortable speaking in front of a group or making the trip to an in-person hearing.
- Cost-effectiveness: Hosting and attending online hearings can be less expensive, which can free up more resources for other steps in the regulatory process.
Cons of Online Public Hearings:
- Technical issues: Poor internet connections or issues with the online platform might make it difficult for participants to participate and reduce the hearing’s efficacy in online settings.
- Reduced feeling of community: Online hearings could not have the same sense of community as in-person hearings have, which might restrict the chance for conversation and relationship-building.
- Digital divide: Those without dependable internet connection or the required gear to participate in online hearings may not be able to access them.
- Online hearings may cause privacy issues since participants may feel awkward disclosing personal information or expressing their opinions in a public setting.
What could be the best option?
- The ideal method for ensuring high-quality public involvement is a hybrid mode that offers both in-person and online possibilities.
- Reverting to the pre-pandemic practise of only holding hearings in person eliminates a practical channel for customer involvement and has an influence on the kind of meaningful interactions that may take place on an in-person platform.
- In addition to in-person hearings, offering an online method would improve public engagement, close access gaps, provide citizens freedom in how they participate, and create a viable outlet for it.
The greatest way to increase access and guarantee high-quality public involvement is to conduct public hearings in hybrid mode, with the option of method being left to the person. Institutions must continue to develop the necessary tools and expertise for conducting online hearings while also enhancing the process.
Source: Indian Express