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 1:
1. Sovereign Gold Bond Scheme.
2. Merger of three jumbo black holes spotted.
3. Eco-sensitive zone of the Deepar Beel Wildlife Sanctuary notified.
4. Animal Discoveries 2020.
5. Punjab govt. to give incentives to industries for using stubble.
Facts for Prelims:
1. Islamic State Khorasan Province.
GS Paper 3
Topics Covered: Indian Economy and issues relating to planning, mobilization of resources, growth, development and employment.
The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has announced the Sovereign Gold Bond Scheme 2021-22 Series VI, which will be open for subscription for the period August 30-September 3, 2021.
About the Sovereign Gold Bond Scheme:
- The sovereign gold bond was introduced by the Government in 2015.
- Government introduced these bonds to help reduce India’s over dependence on gold imports.
- The move was also aimed at changing the habits of Indians from saving in physical form of gold to a paper form with Sovereign backing.
Eligibility: The bonds will be restricted for sale to resident Indian entities, including individuals, HUFs, trusts, universities and charitable institutions.
Denomination and tenor: The bonds will be denominated in multiples of gram(s) of gold with a basic unit of 1 gram. The tenor will be for a period of 8 years with exit option from the 5th year to be exercised on the interest payment dates.
Minimum and Maximum limit: The minimum permissible investment limit will be 1 gram of gold, while the maximum limit will be 4 kg for individual, 4 kg for Hindu Undivided Family and 20 kg for trusts and similar entities per fiscal (April-March) notified by the government from time to time.
Joint Holder: In case of joint holding, the investment limit of 4 kg will be applied to the first applicant only.
Collateral: Bonds can be used as collateral for loans. The loan-to-value (LTV) ratio is to be set equal to ordinary gold loan mandated by the Reserve Bank from time to time.
Do you know the differences between Sovereign Gold Bond and Gold ETF (Exchange Traded Fund)? Reference: read this.
- Eligibility for scheme?
- Can they be used as collateral?
- What is the minimum and maximum permissible limit?
- Who can issue these bonds?
Discuss the key features and significance of Sovereign Gold Bond Scheme.
Sources: the Hindu
GS Paper 3
Topics Covered: Awareness in space.
A rare merging of three supermassive black holes has been spotted by a team of astrophysicists in India.
- All three merging black holes were part of galaxies in the Toucan constellation.
- The discovery was made using data from the Ultraviolet Imaging Telescope (UVIT) onboard the first Indian space observatory ASTROSAT, the European integral field optical telescope called MUSE mounted on the Very Large Telescope (VLT) in Chile and infrared images from the optical telescope (IRSF) in South Africa.
Important learning from this discovery:
- Presence of third black hole solves the final parsec problem:
What is it?
If two galaxies collide, their black hole will also come closer by transferring the kinetic energy to the surrounding gas. The distance between the blackholes decreases with time until the separation is around a parsec (3.26 light-years). The two black holes are then unable to lose any further kinetic energy to get even closer and merge. This is known as the final parsec problem.
How presence of third black hole solves this problem?
The presence of a third black hole can solve this problem. The two can come closer when another black hole or a star passes by and takes away some of their combined angular momentum. Thus, the dual merging blackholes merge with each other in the presence of a third.
Significance of the discovery:
Many Active Galactic Nuclei (AGN, supermassive black hole at the centre of a galaxy) pairs have been detected in the past, but triple AGN are extremely rare, and only a handful has been detected before using X-ray observations.
What is a black hole?
- A black hole is an object in space that is so dense and has such strong gravity that no matter or light can escape its pull. Because no light can escape, it is black and invisible.
- There’s a boundary at the edge of a black hole called the event horizon, which is the point of no return — any light or matter that crosses that boundary is sucked into the black hole. It would need to travel faster than the speed of light to escape, which is impossible.
- Anything that crosses the event horizon is destined to fall to the very centre of the black hole and be squished into a single point with infinite density, called the singularity.
There are supermassive blackholes, which are several million solar masses in size, at the centres of galaxies, and these are known as Active Galactic Nuclei. Learn more about them here.
- About the General Theory of Relativity.
- When was the first gravitational wave detected?
- LIGO- mission objectives, observatories and funding.
- What are event horizon and singularity in the context of a black hole?
- LIGO India- proposed site, partners and objectives.
- Where is Virgo locator located?
Discuss the applications and significance of findings of the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory (LIGO) detector.
Sources: the Hindu.
GS Paper 3
Topics Covered: Conservation, environmental pollution and degradation, environmental impact assessment.
- The notification specified an area “to an extent varying from 294 metres to 16.32 km” as the eco-sensitive zone, with the total area being 148.9767 sq. km.
The wetland has for decades been threatened by a railway track — set to be doubled and electrified — on its southern rim, a garbage dump, and encroachment from human habitation and commercial units.
Implications of the latest move:
- No new commercial hotels and resorts shall be permitted within 1 km of the boundary of the protected area or up to the extent of the eco-sensitive zone, whichever is nearer, except for small temporary structures for eco-tourism activities.
- Among activities prohibited in the eco-sensitive zone are hydroelectric projects, brick kilns, commercial use of firewood and discharge of untreated effluents in natural water bodies or land areas.
About Deepar Beel:
- It is a permanent freshwater lake, in a former channel of the Brahmaputra River, to the south of the main river.
Why this wetland needs protection?
The wetland of Deepar Beel constitutes a unique habitat for aquatic flora and avian fauna.
- About 150 species of birds have been recorded in the sanctuary, out of which two are critically endangered, one endangered, five vulnerable and four near-threatened.
- Elephants regularly visit the wetland from adjoining Rani and Garhbhanda Reserve Forest and the wetland is an integral part of the elephant habitat.
- Besides these, 12 species of reptiles, 50 species of fish, six species of amphibians along with 155 species of aquatic macro-biota have been recorded in the sanctuary.
What are the Eco-sensitive Zones (ESZs)?
- Eco-Sensitive Zones (ESZs) or Ecologically Fragile Areas (EFAs) are areas notified by the MoEFCC around Protected Areas, National Parks and Wildlife Sanctuaries.
- The purpose of declaring ESZs is to create some kind of “shock absorbers” to the protected areas by regulating and managing the activities around such areas.
- They also act as a transition zone from areas of high protection to areas involving lesser protection.
- The Environment (Protection) Act, 1986 does not mention the word “Eco-Sensitive Zones”.
- An ESZ could go up to 10 kilometres around a protected area as provided in the Wildlife Conservation Strategy, 2002.
- Moreover, in the case where sensitive corridors, connectivity and ecologically important patches, crucial for landscape linkage, are beyond 10 km width, these should be included in the ESZs.
Recently, four more sites got Ramsar Recognition. Which are those sites? Reference: read this.
- How an eco-sensitive zone is declared?
- How is it declared?c
- About Wayanad Wildlife Sanctuary.
- About Nilgiri Biosphere Reserve.
Discuss the need for eco sensitive zones around the protected areas.
Sources: the Hindu.
GS Paper 3
Topics Covered: Conservation related issues.
It is a document published recently by the Zoological Survey of India (ZSI).
- It reveals that 557 new species have been added to India’s fauna in 2020, which includes 407 new species and 150 new records.
- The number of faunal species in India has climbed to 1,02,718 species.
Important Species added:
- Trimeresurus salazar, a new species of green pit viper discovered from Arunachal Pradesh;
- Lycodon deccanensis, the Deccan wolf snake discovered from Karnataka;
- Sphaerotheca Bengaluru, a new species of burrowing frog named after the city of Bengaluru.
- Xyrias anjaalai, a new deep water species of snake eel from Kerala;
- Glyptothorax giudikyensis, a new species of catfish from Manipur;
- Clyster galateansis, a new species of scarab beetles from the Great Nicobar Biosphere.
- Myotis cf. frater, a bat species earlier known from China, Taiwan and Russia, has been reported for the first time from Uttarakhand in India;
- Zoothera citrina gibsonhilli, an orange-headed thrush earlier known from southern Myanmar to south Thailand (central Malay peninsula), was reported for the first time from India based on a collection made from the Narcondam island in the Andaman & Nicobar Islands.
Zoological Survey of India:
- The Zoological Survey of India (ZSI), a subordinate organization of the Ministry of Environment and Forests was established in 1916.
- It is a national centre for faunistic survey and exploration of the resources leading to the advancement of knowledge on the exceptionally rich faunal diversity of the country.
- It has its headquarters at Kolkata and 16 regional stations located in different geographic locations of the country.
Do you know about the Species Recovery Programme, which is one of the three components of the Integrated Development of Wildlife Habitats (IDWH)? Reference
Sources: the Hindu.
GS Paper 3
Topics Covered: Conservation and pollution related issues.
In an effort to check stubble burning menace during the paddy season, Punjab Government has announced a slew of measures.
- Certain categories of industries have been permitted to install paddy-straw-fired boilers to claim fiscal incentives.
- Cumulative fiscal incentives of ₹25 crore have been provided to the first 50 existing industries on ‘first come first serve’ basis for using paddy straw as fuel in boilers.
- Non-fiscal incentives to industries are in terms of availability of ‘Panchayat’ land for storage of paddy straw with lease agreement upto 33 years.
- Balers would be made available on priority in areas where paddy straw is used as fuel in boilers.
The move would help in tackling the menace of stubble burning during harvesting of Kharif crops, thus also conserving the fertility of soil and saving the beneficial micro-organisms.
What is stubble burning?
It is a common practice followed by farmers to prepare fields for sowing of wheat in November as there is little time left between the harvesting of paddy and sowing of wheat.
Impact: Stubble burning results in emission of harmful gases such carbon diaoxide, sulphur dioxide, nitrogen dioxide along with particulate matter.
Why farmers opt for stubble burning?
- They do not have alternatives for utilising them effectively.
- The farmers are ill-equipped to deal with waste because they cannot afford the new technology that is available to handle the waste material.
- With less income due to crop damage, farmers are likely to be inclined to light up their fields to cut costs and not spend on scientific ways of stubble management.
Advantages of stubble burning:
- It quickly clears the field and is the cheapest alternative.
- Kills weeds, including those resistant to herbicide.
- Kills slugs and other pests.
- Can reduce nitrogen tie-up.
Effects of Stubble Burning:
- Pollution: Open stubble burning emits large amounts of toxic pollutants in the atmosphere which contain harmful gases like methane (CH4), Carbon Monoxide (CO), Volatile organic compound (VOC) and carcinogenic polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons. They may eventually cause smog.
- Soil Fertility: Burning husk on ground destroys the nutrients in the soil, making it less fertile.
- Heat Penetration: Heat generated by stubble burning penetrates into the soil, leading to the loss of moisture and useful microbes.
Alternative solutions that can avoid Stubble Burning:
- Promote paddy straw-based power plants. It will also create employment opportunities.
- Incorporation of crop residues in the soil can improve soil moisture and help activate the growth of soil microorganisms for better plant growth.
- Convert the removed residues into enriched organic manure through composting.
- New opportunities for industrial use such as extraction of yeast protein can be explored through scientific research.
What needs to be done- Supreme Court’s observations?
- Incentives could be provided to those who are not burning the stubble and disincentives for those who continue the practice.
- The existing Minimum Support Price (MSP) Scheme must be so interpreted as to enable the States concerned to wholly or partly deny the benefit of MSP to those who continue to burn the crop residue.
An innovative experiment has been undertaken by the Chhattisgarh government by setting up gauthans.
- A gauthan is a dedicated five-acre plot, held in common by each village, where all the unused stubble is collected through parali daan (people’s donations) and is converted into organic fertiliser by mixing with cow dung and few natural enzymes.
- The scheme also generates employment among rural youth.
- The government supports the transportation of parali from the farm to the nearest gauthan.
- The state has successfully developed 2,000 gauthans.
Sources: the Hindu.
Facts for Prelims:
Islamic State Khorasan Province:
- IS-K – Islamic State Khorasan Province – is the regional affiliate of the Islamic State group.
- It is the most extreme and violent of all the jihadist militant groups in Afghanistan.
- IS-K was set up in January 2015 at the height of IS’s power in Iraq and Syria, before its self-declared caliphate was defeated and dismantled by a US-led coalition.
- “Khorasan” refers to a historical region covering parts of modern-day Afghanistan and Pakistan. The group initially included Pakistan until a separate Pakistan section was declared in May 2019.
Articles to be covered tomorrow:
- Centre to ease path for Monetisation.