Daily Current Affairs

Prelims Prominence - July 14th 2017

Social Development

India ranks 116 out of 157 nations on 2017 SDG index

India has been ranked low 116 out of 157 nations on the 2017 Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) Index and Dashboard report released by Sustainable Development Solutions Network (SDSN) and Bertelsmann Stiftung. The index assesses the performance of countries towards achieving the ambitious SDGs. It ranks countries based on their performance across the 17 SDGs. Key Highlights of 2017 SDG Index and Dashboard report Top Countries in 2017 SDG Index: Sweden (1st), Denmark (2nd), Finland (3rd), Norway (4th), Czech Republic (5th), Germany (6th), Austria (7th), Switzerland (8th) and Slovenia (9th).United States was ranked 42nd on the Index, Russia and China ranked 62nd and 71st respectively. It shows that the countries which are closest to fulfilling the objectives of the goals are not the biggest economies but comparably small, developed countries. India’s performance: India with a score of 58.1 was ranked 116th on the index, behind countries such as Nepal, Sri Lanka, Bhutan and China. Pakistan was ranked 122. In 2016, India was ranked 110th.

About Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs):

The SDGs are the set of 17 non-binding goals featuring 169 targets to be implemented from 2015 to 2030. They were adopted by member countries of United Nations at the 2015 UN Sustainable Development Summit held in New York. These goals intend to achieve sustainable development and are more comprehensive than earlier Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).

Question For Mains :
Q. Is India Heading on the right path to achieve the SDG? What are the constraints ? Evaluate.

Environment

NGT declares 100m from edge of Ganga as No-development Zone

The National Green Tribunal (NGT) has passed a slew of directions, measures, fines, and strict deadlines to rejuvenate River Ganga. It declared 'No-Development Zone' along an area of 100 metres from the edge of the river in the stretch between Haridwar in Uttarakhand and Unnao in Uttar Pradesh. This zone must be turned into green belts. NGT directions The NGT has banned dumping of waste of any kind within 500 metres from the edge of River Ganga. Rs. 50,000 environment compensation will be imposed on anyone who dumps waste in the river. The apex environment regulator also directed all authorities concerned to complete various projects including setting up of a sewage treatment plant and cleaning drains within two years. The NGT also directed Uttarakhand and Uttar Pradesh governments to formulate guidelines for regulating religious activities on the ghats of Ganga River or its tributaries. It also ordered to stop indiscriminate extraction of groundwater from all industrial units falling in the catchment area of Ganga River. The NGT also directed Uttar Pradesh government to be duty-bound to shift tanneries within six weeks, from Jajmau in Kanpur to leather parks in Unnao or any other appropriate place. It also appointed a supervisory committee, headed by the secretary of the Union Water Resources Ministry and comprising IIT professors and officials from UP government to oversee implementation of the directions passed in its verdict. It also asked the committee to submit reports at regular intervals.

About NGT :

The legislate Act of Parliament defines the National Green Tribunal Act, 2010 as follows,
"An Act to provide for the establishment of a National Green Tribunal for the effective and expeditious disposal of cases relating to environmental protection and conservation of forests and other natural resources including enforcement of any legal right relating to environment and giving relief and compensation for damages to persons and property and for matters connected therewith or incidental thereto".

Question For Mains :
Q.In the debate of Development vs Environment, the Environment seems to have taken a back seat.Elucidate in light of current events

International Relations

US House of Representatives passes Bill on defence co-operation with India

The United States House of Representatives has passed an amendment to National Defense Authorisation Act (NDAA), 2018, a $621.5 billion defence expenditure bill to advance defence cooperation with India. India related amendment in the bill was adopted by a voice vote in the House by 344-81. Now, NDAA needs to be passed by the US Senate before it can be sent to US President Donald Trump to sign into law.
The India-related amendment in NDAA 2018, requires the US Secretary of Defence, in consultation with the Secretary of State to develop a strategy for advancing defence cooperation between US and India. The amendment asks the State Department and Pentagon to develop a strategy to addresses common security challenges, the role of US partners and allies in India-US defence relationship, and role of the defence technology and trade initiative. It also asks them to address issues to advance communications interoperability and security memorandum of agreement and the basic exchange and cooperation agreement for geospatial cooperation.

What Is National Defense Authorisation Act ?

It is a United States federal law specifying the budget and expenditures of the United States Department of Defence. Each year's NDAA also includes other provisions. The US Congress oversees the defence budget primarily through two yearly bills: the NDAA and Defense appropriations bills. They are authorization bill that determines the US agencies responsible for defence, establishes funding levels and sets the policies under which money will be spent. The NDAA-2017 had designated India as a major defence partner of US. This designation had brought India at par with closest partners of US in terms of defence trade and technology transfer.

Question For Mains :
Q. Is the Axis of India - US a step towards stabilization of the Asian Region ? Comment.