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Here are the topics covered for 16th October 2023: FCRA Registered NGOs,New investment slowed again in Q2, The world needs to stop taking water for granted,Tradeable Green Credit, GI Tag, Hepatitis C
Table of Content
GS-2:FCRA Registered NGOs
GS- 3:New investment slowed again in Q2, The world needs to stop taking water for granted, Tradeable Green Credit
Facts for Prelims: GI Tag, Hepatitis C
FCRA Registered NGOs
- A new report by the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) shows that nearly half of the fresh FCRA registrations in the religious category are for Christian NGOs.
- The Indian government has been tightening its grip on foreign-funded NGOs in recent years. In 2020, the Foreign Contribution (Regulation) Act (FCRA) was amended to make it more difficult for NGOs to receive foreign funding. The government has also cancelled the FCRA registration of several NGOs, alleging violations of the law.
About FCRA Registrations:
- FCRA Registered NGOs are Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) that have been registered under the Foreign Contribution (Regulation) Act (FCRA), 2010. This act regulates the receipt and utilisation of foreign contributions by NGOs in India.
- Under the FCRA, NGOs can register to receive foreign contributions for cultural, economic, educational, religious, or social programs.
- It must also be registered under the Indian Societies Registration Act, 1860 or the Companies Act, 2013.
- Once registered under the FCRA, an NGO is allowed to receive foreign contributions through a designated bank account. It must also submit annual reports to the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) detailing its receipt and utilization of foreign funds
- The FCRA is intended to prevent the misuse of foreign funds and to ensure that NGOs are accountable to the government.
Recent report findings:
- The MHA report shows that 194 NGOs were registered under “religious-Christian” from 2014 to October 1, 2023. This is the highest number of registrations in any religious category.
- The report also shows that the government has cancelled the FCRA registration of four Christian NGOs in 2023 on grounds of violation.
- These organizations faced allegations related to religious conversion and using foreign funds to build churches in specific regions.
- The government’s crackdown on foreign-funded NGOs has raised concerns among civil society groups.
- The government has defended its actions, saying that it is necessary to prevent the misuse of foreign funding and to ensure that NGOs are accountable to the government.
- The government should ensure that the FCRA is not used to target NGOs arbitrarily or to stifle dissent. The government should also work with NGOs to develop a transparent and accountable system for foreign funding.
New investment slowed again in Q2
- In the second quarter of the fiscal year 2023-24, fresh investment announcements have decreased by 13% to ₹6.9 lakh crore.
- This drop is significant compared to the first quarter and even more substantial compared to the same period in the previous year.
- The decline is attributed to reduced proposed investments by the Central government and foreign investors and a general contraction across various sectors including manufacturing, mining, infrastructure, and electricity.
- During the first quarter, there was already a 45.8% sequential decline in investment commitments, with 2,745 new projects worth ₹7.91 lakh crore. In the second quarter, only 2,238 new projects with a combined investment intention of ₹6.88 lakh crore were announced, marking an 18.5% contraction in project numbers.
- Private investments have also decreased for the second consecutive quarter, though at a slower rate compared to the first quarter’s substantial 62.5% contraction. In the second quarter, foreign investors announced 66.5% less investment compared to the first quarter, while domestic private companies increased their investments by 17.8%, although the number of new projects decreased.
- Public capital expenditure, which had been a driving force for investment in recent times, also decreased in the first two quarters of this year. Fresh investment intentions for the government fell by 25.6% in the second quarter compared to the first quarter. Within the government sector, Union government agencies saw a significant 47.4% decrease in new project announcements.
- The second half of the year is uncertain due to upcoming state elections and global geopolitical risks. Mid-sized private firms may be cautious due to uncertain global demand and geopolitical instability. Large private investors seeking government support will be a focus.
- Top contributing states: Odisha and Telangana (over one-third of investments), Maharashtra had the most new projects (436) but ranked third in investment value. Gujarat had the second-highest project count but lower investment value, followed by Madhya Pradesh and Tamil Nadu.
The world needs to stop taking water for granted
- This year’s World Food Day theme, “Water is Life, Water is Food,” underscores the urgency of responsible water management, particularly in the context of climate change and associated challenges.
- Water is a vital component of food and nutrition security, but its availability is increasingly limited, primarily due to climate change and other contributing factors.
- Agricultural production is being significantly impacted by extreme weather events and fluctuating water resources, leading to repercussions on food security and nutrition.
- This is particularly challenging for small-scale farmers who lack access to financial resources, technology, and irrigation.
- Furthermore, climate change is affecting the nutritional quality of crops. Variations in rainfall and higher temperatures can lead to decreased crop yields and a reduction in the nutrient content of food.
Addressing these challenges requires various strategies, such as:
- Investment in innovative technologies that empower farmers to enhance productivity, adapt to climate change, and build resilience.
- Promotion of environmentally and socially sustainable, economically viable irrigation and water management methods.
- Reduction of the environmental impact of agricultural production, minimizing bio-hazards and pollution.
- Provision of improved sanitation and drinking water resources to rural communities.
- Adoption of efficient food and water recycling practices.
- Strengthening institutions and capacities for equitable and sustainable water regulation, management, access, and ownership.
- The United Nations’ food agencies are collaborating with the Indian government and state authorities to implement these solutions. For instance, the FAO is actively involved in programs like the farmer water school initiative in Uttar Pradesh and the Andhra Pradesh Farmer Managed Groundwater Systems project. The WFP is partnering with the Government of Odisha to develop solutions for smallholder farmers, focusing on women.
- It is imperative that we take immediate action to ensure prudent water management and guarantee food and nutrition security for everyone.
Tradeable Green Credit
- The government has introduced a novel program aimed at enabling individuals or entities to earn green credits, which can subsequently be traded on a dedicated exchange.
- Green credits are units of incentives provided for specific environmentally positive actions.
- The Ministry of Environment, Forest, and Climate Change has stated that this national-level Green Credit program utilizes a market-based approach to incentivize environmental actions among various stakeholders. This initiative follows the ‘LiFE’ (Lifestyle for Environment) campaign and is completely voluntary.
The program encompasses eight categories of activities:
- Tree plantation: Promoting efforts to increase green cover nationwide.
- Water management: Encouraging water conservation, harvesting, and efficient use, as well as wastewater treatment and reuse.
- Sustainable agriculture: Supporting natural and regenerative agricultural practices and land restoration to enhance productivity, soil health, and nutritional value of food.
- Waste management: Promoting sustainable waste management practices, including collection, segregation, and environmentally sound disposal.
- Air pollution reduction: Encouraging measures to reduce air pollution and other pollution abatement actions.
- Mangrove conservation and restoration: Promoting initiatives for conserving and restoring mangroves.
- To avail of green credit, individuals or entities must electronically register their activities with the Administrator through a dedicated website. A designated agency will then verify the activity, and based on their report.
- The Administrator will grant the applicant a green credit certificate. The calculation of green credit for any activity will be based on resource requirements, scale, scope, size, and other relevant parameters necessary to achieve the desired environmental outcomes.
- The Green Credit program encourages eco-friendly actions through a voluntary initiative, allowing individuals and entities to earn and trade green credits for activities promoting environmental sustainability.
- These activities encompass tree plantation, water management, sustainable agriculture, waste management, air pollution reduction, and mangrove conservation. Participants can register online, obtain verified green credit certificates, and actively contribute to environmental goals.
Facts for Prelims
- A Geographical Indication (GI) tag serves as a distinctive identifier for specific products linked to a particular geographic region or place of origin, like Darjeeling Tea or Kanchipuram Silk.
- The GI tag restricts the use of the product’s name to authorized users or residents of the designated geographical area.
- It acts as a safeguard against imitation or copying by others.
- The validity of a registered GI extends for a period of 10 years.
- The legal framework and responsibilities surrounding GIs are established through the Geographical Indications of Goods (Registration and Protection) Act of 1999 in India, which aims to facilitate the registration and enhance the protection of geographical indications for various goods.
- This Act is in accordance with the regulations of the World Trade Organization’s Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS).
- The importance of protecting both industrial property and geographical indications, as integral facets of intellectual property, is underscored in Articles 1(2) and 10 of the Paris Convention.
- Hepatitis C is a viral infection that causes liver inflammation. It can range from a mild illness lasting a few weeks to a serious, lifelong illness.
- Hepatitis C is most commonly spread through contact with blood from an infected person.
- This can happen through sharing needles or syringes, or from unsafe medical procedures such as blood transfusions with unscreened blood products.
- Symptoms of hepatitis C can include Fatigue, Nausea and vomiting, Abdominal pain, Dark urine, and Yellowing of the skin and eyes (jaundice).
- There is no vaccine for hepatitis C, but there are effective treatments available.
- Treatment for hepatitis C typically involves taking antiviral medications for 8-12 weeks. Most people who are treated for hepatitis C are cured of the infection.
- If hepatitis C is left untreated, it can lead to serious health problems, including Cirrhosis (scarring of the liver), Liver cancer, and Liver failure.