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Insights Daily Current Affairs + PIB: 24 September 2019


Insights Daily Current Affairs + PIB: 24 September 2019


 

Table of contents:

 

GS Paper 1:

  1. Naming of cyclones.

 

GS Paper 2:

  1. ‘UMMID’ initiative.
  2. Participatory Guarantee Scheme (PGS).

 

GS Paper 3:

  1. Methane-powered rocket engine.
  2. Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS).
  3. Black carbon.
  4. How PM Modi’s 450 GW power plan can change Indian economy.

 

Facts for Prelims:

  1. Microhyla eos.
  2. World Rhino Day.
  3. Ladakhi Shondol dance.
  4. Special expenditure observers.
  5. International Sign Language Day.

GS Paper 1:

 

Topics Covered:

  1. Important Geophysical phenomena such as earthquakes, Tsunami, Volcanic activity, cyclone etc., geographical features and their location- changes in critical geographical features (including water-bodies and ice-caps) and in flora and fauna and the effects of such changes.

 

Naming of Cyclones

 

What to study?

For Prelims: A brief overview of recent cyclones and their origins.

For Mains: Classification and naming of cyclones.

 

Context: Tropical Storm Hikaa develops into Cyclone.

 

How are cyclones named?

Each Tropical Cyclone basin in the world has its own rotating list of names.

For cyclones in the Bay of Bengal and Arabian Sea, the naming system was agreed by eight member countries of a group called WMO/ESCAP and took effect in 2004.

 

How the names are chosen?

The member countries submitted eight names each. The first cyclone after the list was adopted was given the name in the first row of the first column — Onil, proposed by Bangladesh.

Subsequent cyclones are being named sequentially, column-wise, with each cyclone given the name immediately below that of the previous cyclone.

Once the bottom of the column is reached, the sequence moves to the top of the next column. So far, the first seven columns have been exhausted.

 

 

Why name cyclones?

  • Makes it easier for the media to report on these cyclones, heightens interest in warnings, and increases community preparedness.
  • Easier to remember than numbers and technical terms.

 

Why eastern coast of India is more vulnerable?

In addition to the storms that originate in the southeast Bay of Bengal and the adjoining Andaman Sea, breakaway typhoons over the Northwest Pacific move across the South China Sea into the Bay of Bengal, intensifying into cyclones.

In contrast, Arabian Sea cyclones are mostly their own formations and they also generally move north-west, away from India’s west coast.

Besides, the Arabian Sea is colder than the Bay of Bengal, which inhibits the formation and intensification of the cyclonic system in the former. Warm sea surface temperature is an ideal platform for cyclones.

 

 

 

Facts for prelims:

Cyclones are given many names in different regions of the world – They are known as typhoons in the China Sea and Pacific Ocean; hurricanes in the West Indian islands in the Caribbean Sea and Atlantic Ocean; tornados in the Guinea lands of West Africa and southern USA.; willy-willies in north-western Australia and tropical cyclones in the Indian Ocean.

 

Sources: pib.


GS Paper 2:

 

Topics Covered:

Development processes and the development industry the role of NGOs, SHGs, various groups and associations, donors, charities, institutional and other stakeholders.

 

‘UMMID’ initiative

 

What to study?

For Prelims: Key features of the initiative.

For Mains: Significance and the need for initiative.

 

Context: Government launches ‘UMMID’ initiative to tackle inherited genetic diseases of new born babies.

UMMID (Unique Methods of Management and treatment of Inherited Disorders) initiative:

Department of Biotechnology has started the UMMID Initiative which is designed on the concept of ‘Prevention is better than Cure’.

UMMID aims to create awareness about genetic disorders amongst clinicians and establish molecular diagnostics in hospitals so that the fruits of developments in medical genetics reach the patients in India.

 

UMMID initiative aims to:

  1. Establish NIDAN (National Inherited Diseases Administration) Kendras to provide counselling, prenatal testing and diagnosis, management, and multidisciplinary care in Government Hospitals wherein the influx of patients is more.
  2. Produce skilled clinicians in Human Genetics.
  3. Undertake screening of pregnant women and new born babies for inherited genetic diseases in hospitals at aspirational districts.

 

Need for and significance of the initiative:

In India’s urban areas, congenital malformations and genetic disorders are the third most common cause of mortality in newborns. With a very large population and high birth rate, and consanguineous marriage favored in many communities, prevalence of genetic disorders is high in India.

Establishment of patient care services for genetic disorders is the need of the time.

 

Sources: pib.


Topics Covered:

  1. Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues arising out of their design and implementation.

 

Participatory Guarantee Scheme (PGS)

 

What to study?

For Prelims: Key features of the scheme.

For Mains: Significance of the scheme, the need for certifying organic products.

 

Context: The head of India’s food safety regulator has said that she expects the Union Agriculture Ministry’s Participatory Guarantee Scheme (PGS) to incentivise more farmers to grow organic food.

 

Participatory Guarantee Scheme (PGS):

  • Union Agriculture Ministry’s PGS is a process of certifying organic products, which ensures that their production takes place in accordance with laid-down quality standards.
  • The certification is in the form of a documented logo or a statement.
  • According to the International Federation of Organic Agriculture Movements (IFOAM), the Bonn-based global umbrella organisation for the organic agriculture movement, PGSs are “locally focused quality assurance systems” that “certify producers based on active participation of stakeholders and are built on a foundation of trust, social networks and knowledge exchange”.

 

Advantages of PGS:

  1. Procedures are simple, documents are basic, and farmers understand the local language used.
  2. All members live close to each other and are known to each other. As practising organic farmers themselves, they understand the processes well.
  3. Because peer appraisers live in the same village, they have better access to surveillance; peer appraisal instead of third-party inspections also reduces costs
  4. Mutual recognition and support between regional PGS groups ensures better networking for processing and marketing.
  5. Unlike the grower group certification system, PGS offers every farmer individual certificates, and the farmer is free to market his own produce independent of the group.

 

However, the operational manual also identifies some limitations of PGS:

  • PGS certification is only for farmers or communities that can organise and perform as a group within a village or a cluster of continguous villages, and is applicable only to farm activities such as crop production, processing, and livestock rearing, and off-farm processing “by PGS farmers of their direct products”.
  • Individual farmers or group of farmers smaller than five members are not covered under PGS. They either have to opt for third party certification or join the existing PGS local group.

 

Sources: Indian Express.


GS Paper 3:

Topics Covered:

Science and Technology- developments and their applications and effects in everyday life Achievements of Indians in science & technology; indigenization of technology and developing new technology.

 

Methane-powered rocket engine

 

What to study?

For Prelims: why methane? Benefits.

For Mains: Challenges ahead and ways to address them.

 

Context: ISRO is developing two ‘LOx methane’ engines (liquid oxygen oxidiser and methane fuel) engines.

 

Why use methane?

  1. Methane, which can be synthesised with water and carbon dioxide in space, is often described as the space fuel of the future.
  2. Unsymmetrical Di-Methyl Hydrazine, along with Nitrogen tetroxide for oxidiser, currently being used by ISRO, is said to be highly toxic and cancer-causing.
  3. Whereas Methane, apart from being non-toxic, has a higher specific impulse (which means one kg of the gas can life one kg of mass for a longer time), it is easy to store, does not leave a residue upon burning, less bulky, and, importantly, can be synthesised up in space.

 

Sources: the Hindu.


Topics covered:

  1. Conservation, environmental pollution and degradation, environmental impact assessment.

 

Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS)

 

What to study?

For prelims: key features of the program.

For mains: significance, need and potential of such programs, challenges ahead and ways to address them.

 

What is it?

Launched in Surat by Gujarat Government, the Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS) is a regulatory tool that is aimed at reducing the pollution load in an area and at the same time minimising the cost of compliance for the industry.

ETS is a market in which the traded commodity is particulate matter emissions.

It is also being described as the world’s first market for trading in particulate matter emissions.

 

How is it being implemented?

The Gujarat Pollution Control Board (GPCB) sets a cap on the total emission load from all industries.

Various industries can buy and sell the ability to emit particulate matter, by trading permits (in kilograms) under this cap. For this reason, ETS is also called a cap-and-trade market.

 

How does the trading take place?

  1. At the beginning of every one-month compliance period (during which one emission permit is valid), 80 per cent of the total cap of 280 tonnes for that period is distributed free to all participant units.
  2. These permits are allocated based on an industry’s emission sources (boilers, heaters, generators) as this determines the amount of particulate matter emitted.
  3. Remaining 20 per cent of the permits will be offered during the first auction of the compliance period, at a floor price of Rs 5 per kilogram. Participating units may buy and sell permits among each other during the period.
  4. The price is not allowed to cross a ceiling of Rs 100 per kilogram or fall below Rs 5 per kg, both of which may be adjusted after a review.

 

Significance and benefits:

  1. The reason for trading is that in a cap and trade market, the regulator will measure pollution over a period of time and industries must own enough permits to cover their total emissions.
  2. Factories who find it very expensive to reduce pollution, will seek to buy more permits. Those who can easily reduce pollution are encouraged to do so because then they have excess permits to sell.
  3. Eventually, after buying and selling by plants that find it cheap to cut pollution and those for whom it is expensive, most pollution is taken care of.
  4. Whatever the final allocation, the total number of permits does not change so the total pollution is still equal to the predefined cap. And yet the costs to industry are decreased.

 

Sources: Indian Express.


Topics Covered:

  1. Conservation, environmental pollution and degradation, environmental impact assessment.

 

Black carbon

 

What to study?

For Prelims: What is black carbon?

For Mains: concerns associated, need for regulation.

 

Context: According to a recent study published, black carbon particles emitted by the vehicular exhaust and coal-fired power plants, have been detected on the fetus-facing side of the placenta.

This is expected to affect the overall development of the unborn baby.

 

Findings:

  1. Concentration of black carbon particles was highest in the placentas of women who are most exposed to airborne pollutants in their daily life.
  2. Inhalation of these particles by the mother gets translocated from the mothers’ lungs to the placenta, resulting in life-long changes to the development of the baby along with permanently damaging the lung tissues.
  3. The link between exposure to dirty air and increased cases of miscarriages, premature births, and low birth weights which in turn increases the chances for diabetes, asthma, stroke, heart disease and a lot of other conditions, has been established in this study.

 

What is Black Carbon?

Black carbon consists of pure carbon in several linked forms. It is formed through the incomplete combustion of fossil fuels, biofuel, and biomass, and is emitted in both anthropogenic and naturally occurring soot.

 

Harmful effects of BC:

Black carbon (BC) is a pollutant known to aggravate breathing disorders. Because BC particles strongly absorb solar and terrestrial radiation and heats up the atmosphere it can upset the monsoon system. If deposited on snow, it could accelerate the heating of snow and quicken the melting of glaciers.

 

 

Sources: the Hindu.


Topics Covered:

  1. Infrastructure- energy.

 

How PM Modi’s 450 GW power plan can change Indian economy?

 

Context: At the global climate summit, Prime Minister Narendra Modi made a path-breaking pledge to more than double India’s non-fossil fuel target to 450 gigawatts.

 

Climate Action Summit:

The Climate Action Summit aims to boost action to implement the Paris Agreement, which was signed in 2015.

The Paris deal aims to strengthen the global response to the threat of climate change by keeping a global temperature rise this century well below 2 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels and to pursue efforts to limit the temperature increase even further to 1.5 degrees Celsius.

 

Increasing the share of non-fossil fuels in India’s fuel mix to 450 gigawatts (GW) can transform country’s economy in three ways:

  1. Help to reduce India’s dependence on coal, the fossil fuel which contributes to 60% of the country’s total carbon emissions.
  2. Can make India a global leader in new cost effective solar technologies provided it can beat China, which leads in manufacturing of cheaper solar photo-voltaic and other equipment. 
  3. Can give boost to electric mobility in India, which rightly has been the Centre’s focus in the recent months.

 

Need of the hour:

  1. For being renewable innovator, India needs to focus on green technology research in premier institutes such as Indian Institute of Sciences in Bengaluru and Indian Institutes of Technology, which are working in different fields of new and renewable energy.
  2. India also needs to provide skill training to youth in the area, which according to New and Renewable Energy ministry can generate around 10 million jobs by 2022, India’s target year to achieve 175 GW of renewable energy under the Paris climate agreement.

 

What should the government do?

  1. Integrate energy and environment policy: The various ministries currently engaged with energy and the environment should be collapsed into one omnibus Ministry of Energy and Environment.
  2. An “Energy and Environment Security Act” should be passed at the earliest possible opportunity.
  3. Decarbonisation, demand management and efficiency should be the watchwords of the government’s energy policy.
  4. Intensify exploration and enhance recovery.
  5. Increase Natural Gas usage.

 

Way ahead:

Such a transition would be a costly affair and will need easy and cost effective technology transfer from the developed western world. But, it also provides India an opportunity to innovate in reducing emissions from coal which is possible through different carbon sequestration technologies.

 

Sources: pib.


Facts for prelims:

 

Microhyla eos:

It is a newly discovered species of frog from Arunachal Pradesh.

  • It was discovered from riparian habitats in a primary evergreen forest in the Namdapha Tiger Reserve of the state, which is also the eastern-most protected area in the country.
  • Since Arunachal Pradesh is popularly known as ‘the land of rising sun’ or ‘the land of dawn-lit mountains’, the new species has been named as eos, after the mythological Greek goddess of dawn.

Microhyla are a group of narrow-mouthed frogs that is primarily and widely distributed in Asia. Commonly known as ‘Rice Frogs’ or ‘Chorus Frogs‘, the genus currently comprises of 49 recognised species. 

 

Ladakhi Shondol dance:

Context: This dance has entered into the Guinness Book of World Records.

It is known as the ‘royal dance of Ladakh’.

It is famous dance which was earlier used to be performed by artists for King of Ladakh on special occasion.

 

Special expenditure observers:

Context: ECI appoints former IRS officers as special expenditure observers for Maharashtra polls.

Key facts:

  • They are appointed by ECI exercising the powers conferred on it under Article 324 of the Constitution and Section 20B of The Representation of the People Act 1951.
  • The special observers will be supervising and monitoring the work being done by the electoral machinery.
  • They will also ensure that stringent and effective enforcement action is undertaken based on intelligence inputs and complaints received through C-VIGIL, Voter Helpline 1950 against all persons or entities trying to induce voters by distributing cash, liquor and freebies etc in order to vitiate the poll process.

 

International Sign Language Day:

  • UN declared 23rd September as International Sign Language Day.
  • The day was first observed in 2017. This date was selected because this was the date when the World Federation of the Deaf was established in 1951.
  • The theme for 2019 is Sign Language-Rights for all.
  • The objective of celebrating this day is enhancing the awareness of sign language and making the reach of sign language greater.

About the Indian Sign Language Research and Training Centre (ISLRTC):

  • It is an autonomous body under the Department of Empowerment of Persons with Disabilities, Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment.
  • The Centre was established in 2015.
  • The Centre carries out many activities for promoting the use of Indian Sign Language as the educational mode for deaf students at primary, secondary and higher education levels.