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INSIGHTS DAILY CURRENT AFFAIRS + PIB SUMMARY- 15 February 2021

InstaLinks help you think beyond the issue but relevant to the issue from UPSC prelims and Mains exam point of view. These linkages provided in this ‘hint’ format help you frame possible questions in your mind that might arise(or an examiner might imagine) from each current event. InstaLinks also connect every issue to their static or theoretical background. This helps you study a topic holistically and add new dimensions to every current event to help you think analytically. 

current affairs, current events, current gk, insights ias current affairs, upsc ias current affairs

 

Table of Contents:

GS Paper 2:

1. Kailash Range.

 

GS Paper 3:

1. Soil Health Card scheme.

2. One Nation One Ration Card scheme.

3. ISRO Announces ‘Bhuvan’.

4. National Coal Index.

5. FASTags.

 

Facts for Prelims:

1. World Radio Day.

2. Mandarin duck.

3. Arjun Main Battle Tank MK-1A.

4. Dickinsonia.

 


GS Paper  : 1


 

Topics Covered: India and its neighbourhood- relations.

Kailash Range:


Context:

The Kailash Range was the theatre of conflict during the 1962 Chinese offensive, with key battles at Rezang La and Gurung Hill.

  • In 2020, Indian troops secured Kailash Ridge in an operation that took the Chinese by surprise.

The Kailash Range:

The Karakoram Range ends on the northern side of the Pangong Tso.

  1. The Kailash Range originates from the southern bank and runs northwest to southeast for over 60 km.
  2. The Kailash Ridge is characterised by rugged, broken terrain with heights varying between 4,000-5,500m.
  3. Its key features include Helmet Top, Gurung Hill, Spanggur Gap, Muggar Hill, Mukhpari, Rezang La and Rechin La. The Ridge dominates Chushul Bowl; an important communications centre.

mountain

InstaLinks:

Prelims Link:

  1. About Kailash Range/Ridge.
  2. Key features.
  3. Karakoram range.
  4. Division of Himalayas.

Mains Link:

Himalayas are not only the physical barrier, they are also a climatic, drainage and cultural divide. Analyze.

Sources: Indian Express.

 


GS Paper  : 2


 

Topics Covered: Major crops cropping patterns in various parts of the country, different types of irrigation and irrigation systems storage, transport and marketing of agricultural produce and issues and related constraints; e-technology in the aid of farmers.

World Pulses Day:


Context:

February 10 is a designated global event to recognize and emphasize the importance of pulses and legumes as a global food.

  • The UN General Assembly adopted 2016 as the International Year of Pulses (IYP).

World Pulses Day 2021 Theme: #LovePulses.

Background:

Burkina Faso (a landlocked country in West Africa) proposed the observance of World Pulses Day. In 2019, the General Assembly announced February 10 as the World Pulses Day.

Key Points:

  • India is the biggest producer and consumer of pulses in the world and it has almost achieved self-sufficiency in pulses.
  • India accounted for 62% of world’s total pulses production in 2019-20.
  • In the last five-six years, India has increased pulses production from 140 lakh tonnes to more than 240 lakh tonnes.

Benefits of pulses:

  1. Pulses are rich in nutritional and protein values and are an important part of a healthy diet.
  2. Pulses, and legumes (lentils, peas, chickpeas, beans, soybeans, and peanuts) play an equally important role in health maintenance and overall improvement.
  3. Pulses also contribute majorly to achieving the goals of the 2030 Agenda of Sustainable Development.
  4. Pulses play a critical role in marking challenges of poverty, food chain security, degraded health, and climate change.
  5. Pulses and legume crops help in improving the feasibility of agricultural production systems.
  6. Pulses contribute to environmental benefits. The nitrogen-fixing properties of pulses improve soil fertility, which increases the productivity and fertility of the farmland.
  7. Pulses are important for a healthy diet.

major_crops

InstaLinks:

Prelims Link:

  1. Pulses- climatic conditions.
  2. Important regions growing pulses in India.
  3. Benefits of pulses.
  4. World pulses day.

Mains Link:

Why and how should India increase production of pulses? Examine.

Sources: PIB.

 

Topics Covered: Major crops cropping patterns in various parts of the country, different types of irrigation and irrigation systems storage, transport and marketing of agricultural produce and issues and related constraints; e-technology in the aid of farmers.

Soil Health Card scheme:


Context:

The scheme is being implemented in 32 States and UTs.

About the Scheme:

  • Launched by the Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers’ Welfare on December 5, 2015.
  • Under the scheme, village level Soil Testing Labs will be set up by youth having education in agriculture, Women Self Help Groups, FPOs etc.
  • The scheme also focuses on enabling employment generation after appropriate skill development.

What is the Soil Health Card (SHC)?

  • SHC is a printed report that a farmer will be handed over for each of his holdings.
  • Soil Health Card provides two sets of fertilizer recommendations for six crops including recommendations of organic manures.

It will contain the status of his soil with respect to 12 parameters, namely: pH, Electrical Conductivity (EC), Organic Carbon (OC), Nitrogen (N), Phosphorus (P), Potassium (K), Sulphur (S), Zinc (Zn), Boron (B), Iron (Fe), Manganese (Mn), Copper (Cu) of farm holdings.

Objectives of SHC:

  • A SHC is meant to give each farmer soil nutrient status of his/her holding.
  • Advise him / her on the dosage of fertilizers and also the needed soil amendments that s/he should apply to maintain soil health in the long run.

Significance of SHC:

The scheme provides for the analysis of soil composition by the State Governments once in every two years so that remedial steps can be taken to improve soil nutrients. While the Soil Health Management Scheme has turned out to be a blessing for the farmers, it is also creating jobs for the agrarian youth.

Sources: PIB.

 

Topics Covered: Public Distribution System objectives, functioning, limitations, revamping; issues of buffer stocks and food security; Technology missions; economics of animal-rearing.

One Nation One Ration Card scheme:


Context:

Punjab becomes 13th State to complete One Nation One Ration Card system reform.

  • The State has become eligible to mobilise additional financial resources of one thousand five hundred and sixteen crore rupees through Open Market Borrowings.

About the scheme:

One Nation One Ration Card (RC) will ensure all beneficiaries especially migrants can access PDS across the nation from any PDS shop of their own choice.

Benefits: no poor person is deprived of getting subsidised foodgrains under the food security scheme when they shift from one place to another. It also aims to remove the chance of anyone holding more than one ration card to avail benefits from different states.

Significance: This will provide freedom to the beneficiaries as they will not be tied to any one PDS shop and reduce their dependence on shop owners and curtail instances of corruption.

Standard format of ‘one nation, one ration card’:

A standard format for ration card has been prepared after taking into account the format used by different states.

  • For national portability, the state governments have been asked to issue the ration card in bi-lingual format, wherein besides the local language, the other language could be Hindi or English.
  • The states have also been told to have a 10-digit standard ration card number, wherein first two digits will be state code and the next two digits will be running ration card numbers.
  • Besides this, a set of another two digits will be appended with ration card number to create unique member IDs for each member of the household in a ration card.

InstaLinks:

Prelims Link:

  1. What is PDS?
  2. What is NFSA? Eligibility? Benefits?
  3. How are fair price shops established?
  4. Key features of One Nation One Ration Card (RC) scheme.

Mains Link:

Discuss the significance of One Nation One Ration Card scheme.

Sources: PIB.

 

Topics Covered: Awareness in Space.

ISRO Announces ‘Bhuvan’:


Context:

The Department of Space (DoS), under which ISRO comes, has signed an MoU with geospatial technology company CE Info Systems Pvt Ltd.

  • The collaboration will enable them to jointly identify and build a holistic geospatial portal utilising earth observation datasets, ‘NavIC’, Web Services and APIs (application programming interface) available in MapmyIndia.
  • The geospatial portals will be called ‘Bhuvan’, ‘VEDAS’ and ‘MOSDAC’.

Key facts:

Bhuvan is the national geo-portal developed and hosted by ISRO comprising geospatial data, services, and tools for analysis.

VEDAS (Visualisation of Earth observation Data and Archival System) is an online geoprocessing platform that uses optical, microwave, thermal, and hyperspectral EO data covering applications particularly meant for academia, research and problem solving.

MOSDAC (Meteorological and Oceanographic Satellite Data Archival Centre) is a data repository for all the meteorological missions of ISRO and deals with weather-related information, oceanography, and tropical water cycles.

What is NAVIC?

Navigation with Indian Constellation (NavIC) is an independent regional navigation satellite system designed to provide position information in the Indian region and 1500 km around the Indian mainland.

NavIC will provide two types of services:

  1. Standard Positioning Service (SPS) which is provided to all the users.
  2. Restricted Service (RS), which is an encrypted service provided only to the authorised users.

Its applications include:

  1. Terrestrial, Aerial and Marine Navigation.
  2. Disaster Management.
  3. Vehicle tracking and fleet management.
  4. Integration with mobile phones.
  5. Precise Timing.
  6. Mapping and Geodetic data capture.
  7. Terrestrial navigation aid for hikers and travellers.
  8. Visual and voice navigation for drivers.

How many satellites does NAVIC consist of?

It is powered by eight IRNSS satellites, of which one provides messaging services.

Three of these will be geostationary over the Indian Ocean, i.e., they will appear to be stationary in the sky over the region, and four will be geosynchronous – appearing at the same point in the sky at the same time every day.

  • This configuration ensures each satellite is being tracked by at least one of fourteen ground stations at any given point of time, with a high chance of most of them being visible from any point in India.

Why it is necessary to have indigenous global navigation system?

Having a global navigation system bolsters the ability of a nation to serve as a net security provider, especially through the guarantee of such assurance policies. It can also play a significant role in relief efforts post disasters such as the tsunami in the Indian Ocean region in 2004 and the Pakistan-India earthquake in 2005.

Sources: Indian Express.

 

Topics Covered: Infrastructure- energy.

National Coal Index:


Context:

Ministry of Coal has started Commercial Auction of coal mines on revenue share basis.

  • In order to arrive at the revenue share based on market prices of coal, National Coal Index (NCI) was conceptualized.

What is the NCI?

The NCI is a price index which reflects the change of price level of coal on a particular month relative to the fixed base year.

  • The base year for the NCI is FY 2017-18.
  • Rolled out on 4th June 2020.

The aim is to have an index that will truly reflect the market price of coal.

Benefits:

  • For taxation purpose, the Coal Index will be the base indicator.
  • For future calculation of upfront amount and intrinsic value of mine, this Index will be helpful.
  • For calculation of annual escalation (monthly payment), this index can be basis.

InstaLinks:

Prelims Link:

  1. About NCI.
  2. Key features.
  3. Types of coal.
  4. What is Coal Gasification?
  5. How is it done?
  6. What are the byproducts?
  7. Benefits of Gasification?
  8. What is Underground Coal Gasification?
  9. What is coal liquefaction?
  10. Benefits of Liquefaction.

Mains Link:

Write a note on goal gasification and liquefaction. Discuss their significance.

Sources: PIB.

 

Topics Covered: Infrastructure- roadways.

FASTags:


Context:

Union Road Transport and Highways Ministry has decided that all lanes in the fee plazas on National Highways shall be declared as ‘FASTag lane of the fee plaza’ from midnight of 15th/16th February 2021.

  • Any vehicle not fitted with FASTag will have to pay twice the fee for the category of the vehicle they are driving at electronic toll plazas across India.

How does FASTag work?

  • The device employs Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) technology for payments directly from the prepaid or savings account linked to it.
  • It is affixed on the windscreen, so the vehicle can drive through plazas without stopping.
  • The payment method is a part of the National Electronic Toll Collection (NETC) programme. The National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI) collects the payments.

Why do we need this scheme?

  • According to the National Highways Authority of India (NHAI), these devices will make passing through tolls considerably smoother since drivers will no longer have to carry cash or stop to make a transaction.
  • Cameras at toll booths will take photos of passengers in a vehicle, which will be useful for the Ministry of Home Affairs as there will be a record of a vehicle’s movement.

RFID

Sources: PIB.

 


Facts for Prelims:


World Radio Day:

  • Every year on February 13 World Radio Day is celebrated.
  • First proclaimed by the member states of UNESCO in 2011 and later adopted internationally by the UN General Assembly in 2012.
  • The objective of World Radio Day is to promote the medium, increase accessibility, and encourage more people to use it.

The 2021 edition of WRD is divided into three main sub-themes.

  1. Evolution: The world changes, radio evolves.
  2. Innovation: The world changes, radio adapts and innovates.
  3. Connection: The world changes, radio connects.

Mandarin duck:

  • First spotted in Maguri-Motapung beel in Assam.
  • Also called the (Aix galericulata), it was first identified by Swedish botanist, physician and zoologist Carl Linnaeus in 1758.
  • The migratory duck breeds in Russia, Korea, Japan and northeastern parts of China. It now has established populations in Western Europe and America too.

mandarin_duck

Arjun Main Battle Tank MK-1A:

  • The Arjun Main Battle Tank project was initiated by DRDO in 1972 with the Combat Vehicles Research and Development Establishment (CVRDE) as its lead laboratory.
  • The Arjun tanks stand out for their ‘Fin Stabilised Armour Piercing Discarding Sabot (FSAPDS)’ ammunition and 120-mm calibre rifled gun.
  • It also has a computer-controlled integrated fire control system with stabilised sighting that works in all lighting conditions.

Dickinsonia:

  • Researchers have discovered three fossils of the earliest known living animal — the 550-million-year-old ‘Dickinsonia’ — on the roof of the Bhimbetka Rock Shelters, about 40 km from Bhopal.
  • Dickinsonia is an extinct genus of a basal animal that lived during the late Ediacaran period. The fossils are known only in the form of imprints and casts in sandstone beds.
  • Ediacaran Period is a geological period that spans 94 million years from the end of the Cryogenian Period 635 million years ago to the beginning of the Cambrian Period 541 million years ago.


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