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Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change

Paper: General Studies 1

Topic: changes in critical geographical features (including water bodies and ice-caps) and in flora and fauna and the effects of such changes.

Why in the news?

India is hosting the Second Lead Author Meeting of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Working Group III Sixth Assessment Report at New Delhi, beginning 30th September to 4th October 2019.

What is the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC)?

  • Created in 1988 by the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) and the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), the objective of the IPCC is to provide governments at all levels with scientific information that they can use to develop climate policies. IPCC reports are also a key input into international climate change negotiations.
  • The IPCC is an organization of governments that are members of the United Nations or WMO. The IPCC currently has 195 members. Thousands of people from all over the world contribute to the work of the IPCC. 
  • For the assessment reports (AR), IPCC scientists volunteer their time to assess the thousands of scientific papers published each year to provide a comprehensive summary of what is known about the drivers of climate change, its impacts and future risks, and how adaptation and mitigation can reduce those risks.
  • An open and transparent review by experts and governments around the world is an essential part of the IPCC process, to ensure an objective and complete assessment and to reflect a diverse range of views and expertise. Through its assessments, the IPCC identifies the strength of scientific agreement in different areas and indicates where further research is needed. 
  • The IPCC does not conduct its own research.

 

Indian Monsoon

Paper: General Studies 1

Topic: Salient features of world’s physical geography.

Why in the news?

  • The rainfall during the southwest monsoon season, which ended on Monday, has been termed as “above normal” as the country experienced its wettest monsoon in 25 years, according to the India Meteorological Department (IMD).
  • Rainfall during September this year was the second heaviest in 102 years, according to the IMD’s 2019 Southwest Monsoon Rainfall report, issued on Monday.
  • The rainfall across India during June to September this year was recorded at 968 mm, taking the total rainfall to 110 percent of the Long Period Average (LPA), which was last seen in 1994, according to the agency.
  • Meteorologists attributed this excess rain to the continuous low-pressure systems that formed over the Bay of Bengal and traversed along the monsoon trough, bringing good spells of rainfall, mainly over central Indian regions. The larger states like Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Odisha, Rajasthan, along with Chhattisgarh, benefitted due to these systems, some of these that lasted for as long as even 10 days
  • The weakening of El Nino in early July helped the monsoon regain strength after a delayed onset and rainfall in June being 33 per cent short of normal.
  • The monsoon trough, this season, largely remained to the south of its normal position, that enhanced the rainfall activity over central, west and south peninsular regions during the months of July and August. IMD officials also observed that the north-western regions remained on the warmer side in comparison to the southern region. This difference in temperatures acted favourably in pulling monsoon winds landwards, keeping the monsoon active for most of the season.

What is the monsoon trough?

A trough is a belt of low pressure extending to large area. This trough is seen during monsoon period and is hence known as Monsoon trough. It is a part of the Inter Tropical Convergence Zone (ITCZ) where the northern hemisphere and southern hemisphere winds meet. This is normally shown as a line connecting the location of monsoon low pressure areas. 

What is the Long Period Average?

  • LPA is the average rainfall received by the country as a whole during the south-west monsoon, for a 50-year period. This acts as a benchmark against which the rainfall in any monsoon season is measured. 
  • The country is said to have received deficient rainfall if the actual rainfall falls below 90 per cent of LPA. Similarly, the country is said to have received excess rainfall if the rainfall is greater than 110 per cent of LPA. It is deemed ‘normal’ when the actual rainfall received falls between 96 and 104 per cent of LPA.

 

School Education Quality Index (SEQI)

Paper: General Studies 2

Topic: Issues relating to development and management of Social Sector/Services relating to Health, Education, Human Resources.

Why in the news?

  • The first edition of the School Education Quality Index (SEQI) was released yesterday.
  • School Education Quality Index (SEQI) was developed by NITI Aayog to evaluate the performance of States and Union Territories (UTs) in the school education sector. The index aims to bring an ‘outcomes’ focus to education policy by providing States and UTs with a platform to identify their strengths and weaknesses and undertake requisite course corrections or policy interventions.

What are its findings?

  • Of the 20 Large States, 10 perform better on the Outcomes category, with the most noticeable performance differences observed in the cases of Karnataka, Jharkhand and Andhra Pradesh. The other Large States perform better on the Governance Processes Aiding Outcomes category, with the most noticeable performance differences observed in the cases of Odisha, Punjab and Haryana.
  • Of the eight Small States, seven perform better on the Outcomes category, with the most noticeable performance differences observed in the cases of Manipur, Tripura and Goa. Sikkim is the only Small State that performs better on the Governance Processes Aiding Outcomes category.
  • Of the seven UTs, four perform better on the Outcomes category, with the most noticeable performance differences observed in Dadra & Nagar Haveli. Delhi, Daman & Diu and Lakshadweep perform better on the Governance Processes Aiding Outcomes category
  • Among the 20 Large States, 18 improved their overall performance between 2015-16 and 2016-17. The average improvement in these 18 states is 8.6 percentage points although there is a lot of variation around that average in terms of the fastest and slowest improving States. Due to this variation, many States that improved their overall performance score still show a decline in rank.
  • Five Small States have shown an improvement in their overall performance score between 2015-16 and 2016-17, with the average improvement being around nine percentage points. However, as in the case of Large States, there is considerable variation between the fastest and slowest improving States. States such as Meghalaya, Nagaland and Goa outpaced the others, improving by 14.1, 13.5 and 8.2 percentage points respectively, thus improving their ranks in the process.
  • All seven UTs have shown an improvement in their overall performance scores. The average improvement is 9.5 percentage points. Daman & Diu, Dadra & Nagar Haveli and Puducherry improved their overall performance scores by 16.5, 15.0 and 14.3 percentage points respectively, which enabled them to improve their ranking on incremental performance.
  • SEQI also included an analysis of States and Union Territories for each indicator under study. For instance, indicators such as average score in Class 3, 5 and 8 for Language and Mathematics, Transition Rates from primary to upper-primary level, capturing equity in learning outcomes between general and marginalised sections of society, supply a wealth of data for future action and policy design for every State.

Index of Eight Core Industries

Paper: General Studies 3

Topic:  Indian Economy and issues relating to planning, mobilization of resources, growth, development and employment.

Why in the news?

The Eight Core Industries comprise 40.27 per cent of the weight of items included in the Index of Industrial Production (IIP). The combined Index of Eight Core Industries stood at 128.2 in August, 2019, which declined by 0.5 per cent as compared to the index of August, 2018. Its cumulative growth during April to August, 2019-20 was 2.4 per cent.

What are Core Industries?

  • Among the industries that go into the IIP basket, in order to provide an indication of how the industries whose production performance was ‘core’ in nature (because of their likely impact on general economic activity as well as other industrial activity) are performing, the exercise of bringing out an Index of Core Industries was initiated in the Office of the Economic Adviser, with six industries, viz. Coal, Cement, Electricity, Crude Oil, Refinery products, and Steel. 
  • The Index of Six Core industries had a combined weight of 26.7 per cent in the earlier series of the IIP with base year 1993-94. When the base year for IIP was revised to 2004-05, the base year for the Index of Core Industries (ICI) was also revised to 2004-05, along with a revised weighting diagram. In the new series, two new additions, i. e. of Natural Gas and Fertilizers were made to make it an Index of Eight Core Industries accounting for 37.9 percent weight in the Index of Industrial Production (IIP). 
  • The ICI is widely used by policy makers, including, Ministry of Finance, other Ministries and Departments, Banks financing Infrastructure projects, Reserve Bank of India (RBI) and Railway Board.