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INSIGHTS DAILY CURRENT AFFAIRS + PIB SUMMARY- 08 May 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. 

 

Table of Contents:

GS Paper 2:

1. Social stock exchanges (SSEs).

 

GS Paper 3:

1. Lumpy Skin Disease.

2. SpaceX’s Starship landing.

3. About uranium and its uses.

4. UN Report on human-caused methane emissions.

 

Facts for Prelims:

1. Kabasura Kudineer.

2. e-Sanjeevani OPD.

3. Pulayar Community.


GS Paper  :  2


 

Topics Covered: Protection of vulnerable sections of the society.

Social stock exchanges (SSEs):


Context:

SEBI’s technical group (TG) on social stock exchanges (SSEs) has submitted its report.

  • The expert panel was headed by Harsh Bhanwala, ex-Chairman, Nabard.

Key recommendations made:

1. Eligibility:

Both for-profit (FP) and not-for-profit organisations (NPO) should be allowed to tap the SSE provided they are able to demonstrate that social intent and impact.

Corporate foundations, political and religious organisations should be made ineligible to raise funds using the SSE mechanism.

2. Modes available for fundraising:

For NPOs, it shall be equity, zero coupon zero principal bond (ZCZP), development impact bonds, social impact fund, currently known as social venture fund (SVP) with 100 per cent grants-in grants out provision, and donations by investors through mutual funds.

For FP enterprises, it will be equity, debt, development impact bonds, and social venture funds.

3. Corpus size of the fund:

Minimum corpus size for such funds be reduced from Rs 20 crore to Rs 5 crore and the minimum subscription amount be reduced from Rs 1 crore to Rs. 2 lakh.

4. The capacity building fund for SSE:

It should have a corpus of Rs 100 crore. This fund should be housed under Nabard. Exchanges and other developmental agencies such as SIDBI should be asked to contribute towards this fund.

5. List of broad activities based on those identified by Niti Aayog under sustainable development goals that SEs can engage in:

These include eradicating hunger, poverty malnutrition and inequality; promoting gender equality by empowerment of women and LGBTQIA+ communities; training to promote rural sports; and slum area development, affordable housing.

What is social stock exchange (SSE)?

  • It is a novel concept in India and such a bourse is meant to serve private and non-profit sector providers by channelling greater capital to them.
  • As per the proposal, SSE can be housed within the existing stock exchange such as the BSE and/or National Stock Exchange (NSE).

Significance:

  • With this, Social welfare enterprises and non-profits could soon get to raise so-called social capital on a transparent electronic platform, aiding the process of rebuilding livelihoods ravaged by the coronavirus pandemic.
  • These recommendations, if implemented as a package, can result in a vibrant and supportive ecosystem, enabling the non-profit sector to realise its full potential for creating social impact.

Need for social capital:

India will need a significant amount of patient capital to repair and rebuild those livelihoods, which are the bedrock of her economy. Conventional capital that prioritises financial returns will not be able to carry such a burden all by itself.

  • Social capital, on the other hand, is more suited for this role. It is not only patient but its goal is precisely to support and fortify social structures that are in danger of collapsing because of COVID-19.

What is a social enterprise?

A social enterprise is a revenue-generating business. Its primary objective is to achieve a social objective, for example, providing healthcare or clean energy.

  • This in no way means that a social enterprise can’t be highly profitable. In fact, most social enterprises look and operate like traditional businesses. The only catch is that the profit these entities generate is not necessarily used for payouts to stakeholders, but reinvested into their social programmes.

InstaLinks:

Prelims Link:

  1. What is a social enterprise?
  2. What is SSE?
  3. What is social capital?
  4. SEBI- key functions.

Mains Link:

India will need a significant amount of social capital to repair and rebuild those livelihoods, which are the bedrock of her economy. Discuss. 

Sources: Economic Times.


GS Paper  :  3


 

Topics Covered: Economics of animal rearing.

Lumpy Skin Disease:


What is it?

  • Lumpy Skin Disease is a viral illness that causes prolonged morbidity in cattle and buffaloes.
  • Caused by the poxvirus Lumpy skin disease virus (LSDV).

 Symptoms:

  • It appears as nodules of two to five centimetre diameter all over the body, particularly around the head, neck, limbs, udder (mammary gland of female cattle) and genitals. The lumps gradually open up like large and deep wounds.

Spread:

  • It spreads through mosquitoes, flies and ticks and also through saliva and contaminated water and food.

Affected Countries:

  • LSD is endemic to Africa and parts of West Asia, where it was first discovered in 1929.
  • In Southeast Asia the first case of LSD was reported in Bangladesh in July 2019.
  • In India it was first reported from Mayurbhanj, Odisha in August 2019.

Treatment:

There is no treatment for the virus, so prevention by vaccination is the most effective means of control.

Context:

  • The Bihar government sounded an alert and issued an advisory about the likely spread of the disease.

Concerns:

  • In India, which has the world’s highest 303 million heads of cattle, the disease has spread to 15 states within just 16 months.
  • This might have a devastating impact on the country, where most dairy farmers are either landless or marginal landholders and milk is among the cheapest protein sources.

InstaLinks:

Prelims Link:

  1. About the disease.
  2. Symptoms.
  3. Treatment.

Mains Link:

Discuss the Concerns associated with the spread of this disease for India.

Sources: Down to Earth.

 

Topics Covered: Awareness in space.

SpaceX’s Starship landing:


Context:

Serial number 15 (SN15), a prototype of the futuristic Starship rocket developed by Elon Musk’s SpaceX company, was able to launch and successfully land on Wednesday, heralding a new era in space exploration for NASA.

Background:

The latest successful landing is a relief for NASA and SpaceX, as four previous prototypes of Starship had failed to do so, getting destroyed during or soon after touchdown at the southeastern tip of Texas, near Brownsville.

What is Starship?

  • It is a full-scale, stainless steel, bullet-shaped rocketship built by SpaceX.
  • The spacecraft has been described as a game-changer for space travel, being a fully reusable transportation system for crew and cargo to the Earth’s orbit, Moon and Mars.
  • SpaceX has described Starship as “the world’s most powerful launch vehicle” with an ability to carry over 100 metric tonnes to the Earth’s orbit.

Significance of the latest development:

Reusability is at the heart of making interplanetary travel accessible, SpaceX believes, since a majority of the launch cost is attributed to the expense of building a rocket that is ultimately designed to burn up during re-entry.

Potential Applications:

  • Starship can deliver satellites further and at lower marginal costs than Falcon vehicles and it can ferry both cargo and crew to the International Space Station (ISS).
  • Once developed, Starship is also expected to help carry large amounts of cargo to the Moon, for human spaceflight development and research.
  • Beyond the Moon, the spacecraft is being designed for carrying crew and cargo for interplanetary missions as well.

NASA’s Artemis mission:

  • Last month, NASA chose SpaceX to build a lander for its Artemis programme, which plans to send humans to the Moon in this decade.
  • The vehicle, which is based on Starship, will carry the next man and the first woman to land on the Moon.
  • With the Artemis programme, NASA aims to demonstrate new technologies, capabilities and business approaches that will ultimately be needed for the future exploration of Mars.

InstaLinks:

Prelims Link:

  1. About Artemis space mission.
  2. Objectives.
  3. About Starship.
  4. Important interplanetary space missions.

Sources: Indian Express.

 

Topics Covered: Disaster management.

About uranium and its uses:


Context:

The Maharashtra Anti-Terrorism Squad (ATS) has arrested two persons with 7 kg natural uranium estimated to be worth around Rs 21 crore.

  • The duo were placed under arrest under the Atomic Energy Act of 1962 for possessing uranium without licence.

What exactly is uranium and what are its uses?

Occurrence: occurs naturally in low concentrations in soil, rock and water and is commercially extracted from uranium-bearing minerals.

Applications:

  1. Uranium that has a silvery grey metallic appearance is mainly used in nuclear power plants due to its unique nuclear properties.
  2. Depleted uranium is also used as shield against radiation in medical processes using radiation therapy and also while transporting radioactive materials.
  3. Though itself radioactive, uranium’s high density makes it effective in halting radiation.
  4. Its high density also makes it useful as counterweights in aircraft and industrial machinery.

Uranium Mining In India:

  • In India, Uranium deposits occur in the Dharwar rocks.
  • It occurs along the Singbhum Copper belt (Jharkhand); Udaipur, Alwar and Jhunjhunu districts of Rajasthan, Durg district of Chhattisgarh, Bhandara district of Maharashtra and Kullu district of Himachal Pradesh.
  • Significant quantity of reserves were recently discovered in parts of Andhra Pradesh and Telangana between Seshachalam forest and Sresailam (Southern edge of Andhra to Southern edge of Telangana).

InstaLinks:

Prelims Link:

  1. Radioactive vs non radioactive elements.
  2. What is half life of an element? How is it measured?
  3. Abundance of various elements in earth’s crust.
  4. How uranium contaminates groundwater?
  5. Uranium limits- BIS vs WHO.

Mains Link:

A recent report has highlighted uranium contamination in India’s groundwater. Discuss the causes, its effects and ways to address the issue?

Sources: Indian Express.

 

Topics Covered: Conservation related issues.

UN Report on human-caused methane emissions:


Context:

The report, titled Global Methane Assessment: Benefits and Costs of Mitigating Methane Emissions was recently released by the Climate and Clean Air Coalition and the United Nations Environment Programme.

 

Key findings:

Main Concerns:

  • Human-caused methane emissions are increasing faster currently than at any other time since record keeping began in the 1980s.
  • Carbon dioxide levels have dropped during the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic. However, methane in the atmosphere reached record levels last year.
  • This was a cause of concern as methane was an extremely powerful greenhouse gas. It was responsible for about 30 percent of warming since pre-industrial times.

Sources of human-caused methane emissions:

  • Most human-caused methane emissions came from three sectors: Fossil fuels, waste and agriculture.
  • Oil and gas extraction, processing and distribution accounted for 23 per cent of methane emissions in the fossil fuel sector. Coal mining accounted for 12 per cent of emissions.
  • Landfills and wastewater made up about 20 per cent of emissions in the waste sector. In the agricultural sector, livestock emissions from manure and enteric fermentation constituted for roughly 32 per cent and rice cultivation eight per cent of emissions.

Mitigation potential varied between countries and regions:

  • Europe had the greatest potential to curb methane emissions from farming, fossil fuel operations and waste management.
  • India had the greatest potential to reduce methane emissions in the waste sector. China’s mitigation potential was best in coal production and livestock, while Africa’s was in livestock, followed by oil and gas.
  • The fossil fuel industry had the greatest potential for low-cost methane cuts.

Suggestions:

  1. Human-caused methane emissions must be cut by 45 per cent to avoid the worst effects of climate change.
  2. Such a cut would prevent a rise in global warming by up to 0.3 degrees Celsius by 2045.
  3. It would also prevent 260,000 premature deaths, 775,000 asthma-related hospital visits annually, as well as 25 million tonnes of crop losses.

Three behavioural changes — reducing food waste and loss, improving livestock management and adopting healthy diets (vegetarian or with a lower meat and dairy content) — could reduce methane emissions by 65–80 million tonnes per year over the next few decades.

Sources: Down to Earth.

 


Facts for Prelims:


Kabasura Kudineer:

  • Kabasura Kudineer is a traditional formulation used by Siddha practitioners for managing common respiratory health.
  • It is a herbal concoction, comprising dry ingredients of ginger, pippali, clove, cirukancori root, mulli root, kadukkai, ajwain and many other herbs.
  • The ingredients are powdered and mixed with water, then boiled to make a decoction of one-fourth of its initial volume.

Context:

The Ministry of Ayush has launched a massive nationwide campaign to distribute its proven poly herbal Ayurvedic drug AYUSH 64 and Siddha drug Kabasura Kudineer for the benefit of the vast majority of out of hospital COVID patients.

e-Sanjeevani OPD:

  • The e-Sanjeevani OPD is a flagship telemedicine platform of the Government, developed by the Centre for Development of Advance Computing (C-DAC), Mohali under the aegis of Ministry of Health and Family Welfare (MoHFW).
  • It provides free consultations to Indian citizens.

Pulayar Community:

  • The Pulayar, also Pulaya, or Holeya or Cheramar, are one of the main social groups found in Kerala, Karnataka and in historical Tamil Nadu or Tamilakam.
  • Pulayas are noted for their music, craftsmanship, and for certain dances which include, Kōlam-thullal (a mask dance which is part of their exorcism rituals) and Mudi-āttam or hair-dance.
  • Mahatma Ayyankali (1863- 1941) was called as Pulaya King.

Context:

Two Tribal settlements (Kattupatti and Kuzhipatti) of Pulayar community within the limits of Anamalai Tiger Reserve in Tamil Nadu are gearing up for their annual festival of local deity Vairapattan.


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