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[Mission 2023] INSIGHTS DAILY CURRENT AFFAIRS + PIB SUMMARY 29 June 2022

 

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. PM Modi’s gifts to G7 leaders – a celebration of the craft traditions of India 

2. Nigeria’s latest lithium find

 

GS Paper 2:

1. ‘Partners in the Blue pacific’ initiative to counter China

2. PM Gati Shakti scheme in academic programs

3. G7 to cap Russia’s income from oil sales

4. China’s interventions in the Horn of Africa

 

GS Paper 3:

1. Russia Gold import ban

 

Content for Mains Enrichment (Ethics/Essay):

1. Padma Shri Doc Uses Makeshift Boats for Free Cancer Treatments in Silchar

 

Facts for Prelims:

1. Protect Free Speech, ‘Online and Offline’

2. Performance Grading Index for districts (PGI-D)

3. Revised Swachh certification protocols to sustain ODF status

4. Uranium deposit in Rajasthan

5. Patent for bacterial cement mortar brick

6. Microplastics help viruses survive longer in water, remain infectious: Study


 

PM Modi’s gifts to G7 leaders – a celebration of the craft traditions of India

Gs Paper-1

Syllabus: Indian Culture – Salient aspects of Art Forms, Literature and Architecture from ancient to modern times

Context:

PM Modi’s gifts to G7 leaders (* not to be mugged up, just go through it once)

 

Gulabi meenakari brooch and cufflink (GI-tagged art form of Varanasi in Uttar Pradesh)To-US President Joe BidenCurrent Affairs
Black pottery (Nizamabad, UP)Japanese PM Kishida FumioCurrent Affairs
Nandi-themed dokra art piece ( Chhattisgarh)Argentina President Alberto FernandezCurrent Affairs
Hand-painted tea set (Bulandshahr, UP)British Prime Minister Boris Johnson
Ittar bottles  packed in a custom-made zardozi box ( Kannauj, UP)French President Emmanuel MacronCurrent Affairs
Marble inlay table top (Agra, UP)Italian Prime Minister ( because of similarity with Opus sectile – a form of pietra dura famous during Roman empire)

 

Current Affairs
Range of moonj baskets and cotton durries ( Prayagraj, Amethi, and Sultanpur in UP)Senegal President Macky SallCurrent Affairs
A handmade knotted silk carpet (Kashmir)Canadian PM Justin TrudeauCurrent Affairs
Metal marodi carving matka ( Moradabad)German Chancellor Olaf ScholzCurrent Affairs
Lacquerware Ram Darbar

( Varanasi, UP)

Indonesian President

(because of similarity with – Indonesian version of Ramayana – known as Kakawin Ramayana)

 

Current Affairs
/ 29 June CA, Today's Article

Nigeria’s latest lithium find

Gs Paper-1

 Syllabus: Distribution of key natural resources across the world

 

Context:                   

High-grade lithium has been discovered in Nigeria.

About: Lithium is a soft, silvery metal. It has the lowest density of all metals. It reacts vigorously with water. Lithium and most lithium minerals are mined along with other high-value metallic minerals such as tin, niobium-tantalum (columbite-tantalite), and uranium (in pyrochlore).

Greenbushes mine in Western Australia is the largest hard-rock lithium mine in the world.  Global lithium mine production hit a record high of 100,000 tonnes in 2021, a 21 per cent increase over 2020 (82,500 tonnes).

Globally, the demand for Lithium has been increasing because of its vast application mainly as a Lithium-ion battery.

Lithium-ion batteries are generally more expensive but have better performance and are becoming the preferred technology. The different types of Lithium-ion batteries commonly used are:

 

 

Status of India with respect to these critical mineral resources

  • India imports almost all of its need for rare earth metals and of lithium, Cobalt (mostly from China)
  • India’s demand for these critical resources has risen 6 fold in the last five years as it tries to be the electronic and solar manufacturing hub
  • India’s first-ever Lithium deposit site was found in Southern Karnataka’s Mandya district
Government Steps for critical metals
  • Khanij Bidesh India Ltd. (KABIL) has been setup to source and acquire mines in Argentina, Bolivia and Chile (called lithium triangle).
    • It also carries out exploratory work to extract lithium from the brine pools of Rajasthan and Gujarat and the mica belts of Odisha and Chhattisgarh.
  • Critical Minerals Strategy for India: It identified 49 minerals which will be vital for India’s future economic growth
  • Collaboration with other world powers: Under QUAD, India is collaborating to ensure just and fair global governance of critical mineral resources and remove supply constraints
  • ISRO has commercialized indigenously developed lithium ion battery technology and has selected 14 companies for transfer of technology.
  • 1st Lithium ion batteries manufacture plant in India: by CSIR along with RAASI Solar Power Private Limited
  • Policy proposed to incentives companies for setting up recycling facilities for lithium ion batteries and make it incumbent on producers to collect used batteries

 

Current Affairs 

/ 29 June CA, Today's Article

‘Partners in the Blue pacific’ initiative to counter China

Gs Paper-2

Syllabus: Effect of policies and politics of developed and developing countries on India’s interests

 

Context:

The US and its allies — Australia, New Zealand, Japan and the United Kingdom — have launched a new initiative called ‘Partners in the Blue Pacific’ for “effective and efficient cooperation” with the region’s small island nations.

 

Why this new initiative?

  • To counter China: The geostrategic competition in the pacific region intensified after China confirmed a common cooperation agreement with 10 Pacific nations.

 

What are the Partners in the Blue Pacific (PBP) initiative?

The PBP is a five-nation “informal mechanism” to support Pacific islands and boost diplomatic, and economic ties in the region.

  • Aim: To enhance “prosperity, resilience, and security” in the Pacific through closer cooperation. Through the PBP, these counties will direct more resources here to counter China’s aggressive outreach.
    • Elevate Pacific regionalism”, and forge stronger ties with the Pacific Islands Forum.
  • Areas of cooperation: climate crisis, connectivity and transportation, maritime security and protection, health, prosperity, and education”.

 

How is China trying to transform its ties in the Pacific?

  • China signed a security pact with the Solomon Islands: It raised serious concerns about the Chinese military getting a base in the southern Pacific, close to the US island territory of Guam, and right next to Australia and New Zealand.
  • Common Development Vision: It is an agreement between 10 Pacific nations, which will help China to work with “traditional and non-traditional security,” and expand law enforcement cooperation with these countries.
    • It made a warning that the Pacific states becoming part of “Beijing’s orbit”.

 

 What is being done by the US and its allies to counter China?

Apart from PBP, the US and its allies launched

  • Indo-Pacific Economic Framework for Prosperity (IPEF): It is a US-led initiative that aims to strengthen economic partnership among participating countries to enhance resilience, sustainability, inclusiveness, economic growth, fairness, and competitiveness in the Indo-Pacific region. India is part of it along with 13 other countries.
  • Partnership for Global Infrastructure and Investment (PGII) — It is a plan to mobilise $600bn in fundingfor the developing world in a move seen as a counter to China’s Belt and Road plan.
  • Global gateway by EU– to narrow the global investment gap worldwide
  • Asia-Africa Growth Corridor: India-Japan collaboration for development, connectivity and cooperation between Asia and Africa.

 

Why is the Pacific region strategically important?

  • US Department of Defence Report (2019): It called the Indo-Pacific the “single most consequential region for America’s future”.
  • Huge geography: Spanning a vast stretch of the globe from the west coast of the United States to the western shores of India
  • Huge population: the region is home to the world’s most populous state (China), most populous democracy (India), and largest Muslim-majority state (Indonesia), and includes over half of the earth’s population.
  • Military importance: Among the 10 largest standing armies in the world, 7 reside in the Indo-Pacific; and 6 countries in the region possess nuclear weapons.
  • Trading power: Nine of the world’s 10 busiest seaports are in the region, and 60 per cent of global maritime trade transits through Asia, with roughly one-third of global shipping passing through the South China Sea alone.

 

The US has long maintained a balance of power in the region with its hub-and-spoke system where America is the hub and its allies are spokes whose security is guaranteed by the US military power. China is trying to make its own version of the same system.

 

Insta Links

INDIA’S INDO-PACIFIC VISION

 

Practice Question:

Q. India’s carefully calibrated policy towards Indo-pacific is centred on two pillars of strengthening engagement and stronger partnerships with like-minded countries. Elaborate. (15M)

Source: Indian Express

/ 29 June CA, Today's Article

PM Gati Shakti scheme in academic programs

Gs Paper-2

Syllabus: Issues related to the development of the social sector(Education)

 

Context:

  • Union Education Secretary addressed an online workshop on “Leveraging Satellite communication, Geo-informatics, and Geospatial technology for urban planning and to promote multimodal logistics” organized by NITIE Mumbai in association with the Ministry of Education and Bhaskaracharya National Institute for Space Applications and Geo-informatics (BISAG-N).
  • He emphasized on leveraging the capabilities of the Gati Shakti platform by all the state governments to scale up their efficiency and economy.

 

Some of the action points that emerged at the workshop:

  • Educational Institutions need to contribute to the training of students and industry professionals.
  • The institutions should be encouraged to use the platform developed by BISAG-N and carry out research work, projects, internships etc.
  • To strengthen the platform for applications including infrastructure development.
  • To encourage research in Logistics and Supply chain networks.
  • Workable and pragmatic coordination and integration to synchronize NEP 2020 and PM Gati Shakti mission
  • The institutes emphasized the introduction of syllabus through Interdisciplinary courses in Logistics and Supply Chain and integration of emerging technologies to remove silos among the different departments.

 

PM Gati Shakti Mission

 

  • Integrated planning: It will ensure integrated planning and implementation of infrastructure projects in the next four years, with a focus on expediting works on the ground, saving costs and creating jobs.
  • Subsuming NIP: The Gati Shakti scheme will subsume the Rs 110 lakh crore National Infrastructure Pipeline(NIP) that was launched in 2019.
  • Creation of Corridors: It also aims to have 11 industrial corridors and two new defence corridors – one in Tamil Nadu and the other in Uttar Pradesh.
  • Connectivity: Extending 4G connectivity to all villages is another aim. Adding 17,000 km to the gas pipeline network is being planned.
  • Integrated Approach: It intends to bring together 16 infrastructure-related Ministries.
  • Gati Shakti Digital Platform: It involves the creation of a common umbrella platform through which infrastructure projects can be planned and implemented in an efficacious manner by way of coordination between various ministries/departments on a real-time basis.

 

Current Affairs

 

Insta Links:

NEP 2020

 

Practice Questions:

Q. Critically analyze the provisions of New Educational Policy(NEP) 2020.

 

Q. With reference to PM Gati Shakti’s mission, consider the following statements:

  1. It aims to have 11 industrial corridors and five new defence corridors.
  2. It will subsume the National Infrastructure Pipeline(NIP).

Which of the statements given above is/are not correct?

a. 1 only

b. 2 only

c. Both 1 and 2

d. Neither 1 nor 2

Ans: (a)

Justification:

The Gati Shakti scheme

  • It will subsume the Rs 110 lakh crore National Infrastructure Pipeline that was launched in 2019.
  • It also aims to have 11 industrial corridors and two new defence corridors – one in Tamil Nadu and the other in Uttar Pradesh.
  • Extending 4G connectivity to all villages is another aim. Adding 17,000 km to the gas pipeline network is being planned.

Source: PIB

/ 29 June CA, Today's Article

G7 to cap Russia’s income from oil sales

Gs Paper-2

Syllabus: Effect of policies and politics of developed and developing countries on India, bilateral regional and global grouping.

 

Context:

  • Leaders of the world’s wealthiest democracies struck a united stance to support Ukraine for “as long as it takes” as Russia’s invasion grinds on.
  • G7 countries decided to explore far-reaching steps to cap Kremlin income from oil sales that are financing the war.

 

Current Affairs

 

Key Highlights:

  • The G7 summit in Germany underlined their intent to impose “severe and immediate economic costs” on Russia.
  • G7 agreed on a ban on imports of Russian gold and to step up aid to countries hit with food shortages by the blockade on Ukraine grain shipments through the Black Sea.

 

Implications of the ban on Russian oil:

 

Current Affairs

 

Insta Links:

G7

 

Practice Questions:

Q. G7 countries underlined their intent to impose “severe and immediate economic costs” on Russia. Critically analyze.

 

Q. Which of the following is/are part of the G7 grouping?

  1. India
  2. Germany
  3. France
  4. Japan
  5. China

Select the correct answer using the codes given below:

a. 1, 2 and 3 only

b. 2, 3 and 4 only

c. 1, 3, 4 and 5 only

d. 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5

Ans: (b)

Justification:

 

Current Affairs

Source: The Hindu

/ 29 June CA, Today's Article

Russia Gold import ban

Gs Paper-3

Syllabus: Effects of liberalisation on the economy (post-1991 changes), changes in industrial policy and their effects on industrial growth.

 

Context:

G7  have decided to ban Russian gold imports in order to punish it for the invasion of Ukraine.

 

How a G-7 Russian gold ban would work:

 

  • Will put economic pressure: Already Russia has defaulted on its foreign debtfor the first time since the 1917 Bolshevik Revolution, and Gold is Russia’s second-largest export industry after energy.
  • A ban on imports of Russian gold will target its ability to interact with the global financial system.

 

Why ban Gold?

  • Gold used to support currency: The US says Russia has used gold to support its currency as a way to circumvent the impact of sanctions.
  • One way to do that is by swapping gold for a more liquid foreign exchange that is not subject to current sanctions.

 

Will the ban work?

  • No, it may not work: Some experts say since only a few countries are implementing the gold ban, the move is largely symbolic.
  • Yes, it may:
    • Restrict export revenue: While Russia will still able to sell gold to other countries outside the Group of Seven jurisdictions, it will “impact the ability of Russia to earn export revenue”
    • Create threat of secondary sanctions: Countries outside G7, who trade with Russia may face a ban.

 

How much gold does Russia have?

  • Russia began increasing its gold purchases in 2014 after the US issued sanctions on Russia for invasion of Crimea. Now the country holds $100 billion to $140 billion in gold reserves.
  • Gold gives $19bn in revenue every year: Gold is Russia’s second most lucrative export after energy and nearly 90% of the revenue comes from G-7

 

Impact on India:

  • Since India is not part of the G7, the move will not directly impact it. However, India may face problems in issuing payments for gold purchases.
  • May increase the price of Gold: India is the largest importer and consumer of Gold and limited supply may increase its price.

 

Insta Links

Lessons from Russia to India

 

Practice Questions

Q. The fallout from the Ukraine crisis will, directly and indirectly, impact the Indian economy. Analyze. What steps are needed to protect the Indian economic interests? (15M)

Source: Indian Express

/ 29 June CA, Today's Article

China’s interventions in the Horn of Africa

Gs Paper-2

Syllabus: India and its neighbourhood, bilateral, regional and global grouping.

 

Context:

  • China has been investing across the African continent throughout the last decade.
  • The emphasis has been on investments and raw materials, but it took a new turn, with the first “China Horn of Africa Peace, Governance and Development Conference”.
  • This is the first time China aims “to play a role in the area of security”.
  • The conference held in Ethiopia witnessed the participation of foreign Ministries from the following countries of the Horn: Kenya, Djibouti, Ethiopia, Sudan, Somalia, South Sudan, and Uganda.

 

Current Affairs        

 

Recent projects between China and the Horn of Africa:

 

 

Current Affairs

 

Insta Links:

The geopolitical significance of Horn of Africa for India

 

Practice Questions:

Q. China is paving huge investments into the Horn of Africa. Discuss its implications for India. (10M)

 

Q. Which of the following countries is/are part of the Horn of Africa?

  1. Eritrea
  2. Sudan
  3. Kenya
  4. Djibouti

Select the correct answer using the codes given below:

a. 1, 2 and 4 only

b. 1 and 4 only

c. 2, 3 and 4 only

d. 1, 2, 3 and 4

Ans: (b)

Justification:

Current Affairs

/ 29 June CA, Today's Article

Content for Mains Enrichment (Ethics/Essay):

Assam Floods: Padma Shri Doc Uses Makeshift Boats for Free Cancer Treatments in Silchar

 

At the flooded Cachar Cancer Hospital in Silchar, Padma Shri award  Dr Ravi Kannan is ensuring that the treatment of poor patients doesn’t stop. He visited patients at their homes and made alternative arrangements so that medication is not halted.

 

Current Affairs

 

Kannan left his practice in Chennai and moved to Assam with his family in 2007 to provide basic healthcare facilities to the people of Barak Valley through Cachar Cancer Hospital and Research Centre in Silchar.

This highlights how values of Dedication, compassion, and Duty towards public service can take a long way in the betterment of society.

/ 29 June CA, Today's Article

Facts For Prelims

 Protect Free Speech, ‘Online and Offline’

Context:

India has signed the ‘2022 Resilient Democracies Statement (RDS)’ along with G7 countries

The statement calls for:

  • Guarding the freedom, independence and diversity of civil society actors and protecting the freedom of expression and opinion online and offline
  • India will work towards equitable, inclusive and sustainable solutions to global challenges and reaffirm the rules-based International order.
  • It is in line with the 2021 Carbin Bay open societies statement.

 Performance Grading Index for districts (PGI-D)

Context:

The 1st ever report on PGI-D for the year 2018-19 and 2019-20 was released to grade schools in Indian districts.

  • Conducted by: Department of School Education and Literacy (DoSEL under the ministry of education)
  • Importance: Will help prioritise interventions in school education
  • Methodology: It grades districts in 10 grades e.g. Daksh (>90 points ), Utkarsh (81-90%), etc.
  • Data collection: from Unified District Information System for Education (UDISE), National Achievement Survey (NAS) of NCERT, and Shagun portal of DoSEL.
  • State achievers: Chandigarh (Top), Gujarat, Kerela, Delhi
  • District achiever: Sikar, Jhunjhunu and Jaipur (all in RJ)
  • No ‘Daksh’ achiever district
  • Other Metrics: National Achievement survey (for school education by MoE); School Equality Index (grades states and UT by Niti Ayog).

Revised Swachh certification protocols to sustain ODF status

Context:

Swachh Bharat Mission Urban 2.0 (SBM-U 2.0) has launched the revised Swachh Certification Protocols for Open Defecation Free (ODF), ODF+, ODF++, and Water+ certifications.

SBM-U was launched in 2014 to achieve 100% ODF status in all urban local bodies. 2.0 refers to the 2021-22 to 2025-26 phase..

Uranium deposit in Rajasthan

Context:

Huge reserves of uranium was found at Rohil (Khandela Tehsil) in Sikar district, which is over 120 km from the state capital Jaipur.

  • Status: After Jharkhand and Andhra Pradesh, Rajasthan is the third state where uranium — which is considered one of the rare minerals in the world — has been found.
  • World: The largest producers of uranium in the world are Kazakhstan, Canada and Australia
    • India imports uranium mostly from Kazakhstan and Canada
  • Commercial: The Rajasthan government has forayed into the field of uranium mining by issuing a letter of intent (LoI) to the Uranium Corporation of India.
  • Use: Uranium is mainly used for generating electricity and also for nuclear energy, medicines, defence equipment and photography
  • Characteristics: Uranium is a silvery-white metallic chemical element.  Uranium-235 (its isotope) is the only naturally occurring isotope, capable of sustaining nuclear fission.

Patent for bacterial cement mortar brick

Context:

Cement mortar brick with the inclusion of bacteria in combination, claims to be superior to the conventional bricks in terms of strength, the life of a structure and possesses a ‘self-healing’ property.

Microbialcreat composite is a new-age material with the property of self-healing upon cracking. This action is by the precipitation of lime (calcium carbonate) by the non-pathogenic bacteria used in the composite, upon coming into contact with air and water through the crack. The precipitated lime will cover the crack, thereby improving the stability of the surface.

 Microplastics help viruses survive longer in water, remain infectious: Study

Context:

A layer of microbial cells or biofilm forms on the surface of microplastics soon after they are released into freshwater, this nutrient-rich coating becomes a hospitable surface for microorganisms that hop onto the floating microplastics.

Viruses on microplastics remained alive in water for three days or more, Viruses associated with biofilm-colonized pellets were more stable compared to those remaining in the water


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