Print Friendly, PDF & Email

[Mission 2023] INSIGHTS DAILY CURRENT AFFAIRS + PIB SUMMARY 11 August 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 2:

1. PESA ACT 1996

2. The new U.S. Bill on climate action

 

GS Paper 3:

1. Electricity (Amendment) Bill 2022

 

Content for Mains Enrichment (Essay/Ethics)

1. Nallathamby Kalaiselvi

2. Chess Olympiad 2022

3. Lessons to be learnt from Japan for Sustainable Development

4. Techno-Nationalism

 

Facts for Prelims:

1. Centre releases ₹1.16 lakh cr. to States

2. Recognition of Minorities at the District level

3. Rule 267

4. Eklavya Model Residential Schools (EMRS)

5. EC to hold meeting on inclusive polls

6. Extension of urban housing scheme till 2024

7. Cooperatives on Government e-Marketplace (GeM)

8. UN sanctions regime

9. Technology Innovation Hubs (TIH)

10. ONDC (Open Network for Digital Commerce)

11. Blue Bonds

12. ECOSTRESS

13. World Lion’s Day

14. Butterfly Mine

15. Indigenous vaccine for Lumpy Skin disease


PESA ACT 1996

GS Paper 2

Syllabus: Polity: Local Self Government

 

Source: Indian Express, Times of India

Context: Chhattisgarh has implemented Panchayats (extension to the scheduled area) or PESA Rules 2022.  Also, recently a political party unveiled a six-point “guarantee” for tribals, including the “strict implementation” of the Panchayats (Extension to the Scheduled Areas) Act

Direction: Make a separate note on PESA, it is important for both Prelims and Mains.

About PESA Rules 2022

  • Chhattisgarh’s PESA Rules mandate that 50% of the members of the Gram Sabha are from Tribal communities (of which 25% will be female members). For PESA Act to be effective, it is important that Rules be framed by the states.
  • Status: Out of 10 states (Andhra, Telangana, Chhattisgarh, Gujarat, HP, Jharkhand, MP, Maharastra, Odisha, and Rajasthan) who have notified 5th Schedule Areas, only 7 states (including Chhattisgarh and Gujarat) have notified Rules to implement the PESA Act.
    • States coming in the 6th Scheduled are: Assam, Meghalaya, Tripura, and Mizoram (remember as ‘AMTM’)

 

What is PESA Act 1996?

  • It extends the provisions of Panchayats (Part IX of the constitution) to the Fifth Schedule Areas. These areas have a huge tribal population.
  • It ensures self-governmance through Gram Sabhas (village assemblies) for people living in the Scheduled Areas.

Background:

The 73rd constitutional amendment (19992) gave shape to a three-tier Panchayati Raj Institution, however, its application to the scheduled and tribal areas under Article 243(M) was restricted.

  • It was after the Bhuria Committee recommendations in 1995 that PESA Act 1996 came into existence.

 Powers provided to Gram Sabha under PESA:

  • Developmental related Power: consultation before the land acquisition, prevent land alienation, power to enforce prohibition, prior approval of all developmental projects and control over tribal sub-plan, maintenance of cultural identity and tradition, control over schemes affecting the tribals etc.
  • Judicial powers: Dispute resolution as per traditional laws and customs: the collective resolution of disputes on the basis of customs, traditional laws and religious beliefs of tribal areas.
  • Ownership and management of natural resources: E.g. water, forest, common lands (‘Jal, Jangal, and Zameen’), minor forest produce, minor minerals, etc.
    • Minor Forest Produce: It has been defined under FRA 2006, as those including all nontimber forest produce of plant origin, including bamboo, brushwood, stumps, cane, tussar, etc.

Issues Related to PESA:

The state governments are supposed to enact state laws for their Scheduled Areas in consonance with this national law. This has resulted in the partially implemented PESA.

  • The partial implementation has worsened self-governance in Adivasi areas, like in Jharkhand.
  • Many experts have asserted that PESA did not deliver due to the lack of clarity, legal infirmity, bureaucratic apathy, absence of a political will, resistance to change in the hierarchy of power, and so on.
  • As per Social audits conducted across the state, In reality, different developmental schemes were being approved on paper by Gram Sabha, without actually having any meeting for discussion and decision making.

 

Insta Links

PESA ACT

 

Mains Link

Q. The PESA Act is considered to be the backbone of tribal legislation in India, in this backdrop do you think the proper implementation of it can rejuvenate self-governance in the tribal pockets of the country? Analyse. (15M)

 

Prelims Link

The Government enacted the Panchayat Extension to Scheduled Areas (PESA) Act in 1996. Which one of the following is not identified as its objective?

(a) To provide self-governance

(b) To recognize traditional rights

(c) To create autonomous regions in tribal areas

(d) To free tribal people from exploitation

Answer: C

The establishment and functions of most of the autonomous councils are based on the 6th Schedule.

Q.Consider the following statements and answer the question below

    1. It was after the Virginus Xaxa Committee recommendations in 1995 that PESA Act 1996 came into existence.
    2. PESA Act is legislation that extends the provisions of Panchayats to the Fifth Schedule Areas.
    3. State governments are expected to amend their respective Panchayati Raj Acts without making any law that would be inconsistent with the mandate of PESA.

Which of the following statements are true?
a) 1 and 2                                             b) 2 and 3
c) Only 2                                              d) 1, 2 and 3

 Answer: B

PESA act was passed on recommendations of the Bhuria Committee. State governments are expected to amend their respective Panchayati Raj Acts without making any law that would be inconsistent with the mandate of PESA.

The new U.S. Bill on climate action

GS Paper 2 and 3

Syllabus: Climate change, laws to govern global warming, regional and global grouping for climate action etc

 

Directions: Just go through it once. Can be used as examples. Not so important.

Source: The Hindu

 

Context:

  • The S. Senate approved a Bill titled the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) 2022 with a focus on climate, healthcare and tax provisions to address inflation.
  • The bill is a scaled-down version of President Biden’s Build Back Better Act (BBBA), which failed to get approval from the Senate.

 What are the climate change provisions?

  • Package for the clean energy transition: The Bill marks the largest American investment aimed toward making the U.S. a leader in clean energy.
    • It includes packages worth $369 billion for the clean energy transition.
    • The Bill provides significant investment in renewable energy through heavy tax credits for wind and solar energy projects and electric vehicles.
  • Tax deduction to low and middle-income households: It provides a tax deduction to low and middle-income households to go electric and seeks to lower the energy bills of American households.
  • Bolster domestic production: It also aims to bolster the domestic production of heat pumps and critical minerals.
  • Tax on large and profitable companies to meet the green investment
  • Methane fee: It also imposes a fee on methane leaks from oil and gas drilling.
    • At the same time, the Bill also aims at more investments in fossil fuels.
  • Expand oil and gas drilling: It seeks to expand oil and gas drilling, with the federal government offering land for onshore and offshore drilling with the prerequisite that the entity will develop renewable energy.
    • Thus, it handcuffs the expansion of oil and gas with renewable energy development.

Issues with the bill:

  • Issues of fossil industry: Fossil fuel supporters criticize the bill as it does not take into account the communities that are dependent on the fossil fuel industry for their income.
  • Workers of coal plants: A protest by the workers of a coal plant in the state of West Virginia was recorded after their own Senator Joe Manchin agreed to back the bill.
  • Provisions for fossil fuels: Climate advocates criticise the bill for coupling the development of renewable energy, which is the cause of global warming, with land leasing for oil and gas drilling.
    • The Bill still contains giveaways to the fossil fuel sector.

How does the Bill help the U.S. achieve its climate targets?

 

Similar climate packages announced by other countries:

  • Invest in Kisida by Japan: In May 2022, Japan announced its ‘Invest in Kisida’ plan which aims for a $1.1 trillion investment to bolster the Japanese economy.
    • As part of the plan, the country aims to transition to clean energy and achieve a 46% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by 2030.
  • Fit for 55 by EU: In June 2021, the European Union (EU) proposed a similar ‘Fit for 55’ plan to reduce emissions by 55% by 2030.
    • The plan is expected to become law soon.

 

Conclusion:

  • Turning point for global climate action: Thus, the Bill can prove to be a turning point for global climate action as the S. is one of the largest emitters of greenhouse gases globally.
    • However, it does not address any issues of global climate finance which is a major impediment to global climate action.
  • Achieving Paris Agreement: It is a mere step toward achieving the climate target agreed upon in the Paris Agreement, where Article 2 states global temperature should be limited to below 2°C.
  • Benchmark for other emitters: Even though the Bill is not enough to address the climate crisis, such historic initiatives by global leaders in greenhouse gas emissions can be a benchmark for other large emitters to push their climate action programmes.

 

Insta Links:

Financial and technological commitments under UNFCCC and Paris Agreement

 

Mains Link

Q. Describe the major outcomes of the 26th session of the Conference of the Parties (COP) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). What are the commitments made by the India conference? (UPSC 2021)

 

Prelims Link

Among the following crops, which one is the most important anthropogenic source of both methane and nitrous oxide? (UPSC 2022)

a. Cotton

b. Rice

c. Sugarcane

d. Wheat

Ans: B

Justification:

  • Irrigated rice or paddy crop cultivation has been identified as one of the leading global agricultural sources of anthropogenic methane (CH4) emissions.
  • It has been estimated that global rice production is responsible for 11% of total anthropogenic CH4 emissions.
  • Irrigated rice fields are the major source of methane from rice fields.
  • Although irrigated rice comprises only 50% of the harvested rice area, it produces 70% of the rice harvested.

Electricity (Amendment) Bill 2022

GS Paper 3

Syllabus: Infrastructure- Energy

 

Source: Indian Express

Context: The government has tabled the Electricity (Amendment) Bill 2022 in the Lok Sabha and then referred it to the parliamentary standing committee on energy for wider consultation.

Direction: Just go through it once. No need to make notes right now as it will undergo many changes.

Electricity Amendment Bill,2022 amends the previous Electricity Act of 2003.

  • Electricity Act, 2003 regulates the electricity sector in India by setting up the Central and State Electricity Regulatory Commissions (CERC and SERCs) to regulate interstate and intrastate matters, respectively.

Provisions of the Bill:

  • Benefits for consumers:
    • Allows multiple Discoms in the same area: More than one power distributor can operate in an area. This is aimed at boosting competition and giving more choice to the consumers. The new supplier can use existing supply lines.
    • Regulator must decide in 90 days or the application will be deemed to be approved.
    • It will end distribution monopolies and improve the viabilities of business.
  • Benefit for DISCOMs:
    • Fixing of Tariffs:There will be “mandatory” fixing of minimum as well as maximum tariff ceilings by the “appropriate commission” to avoid predatory pricing by power distribution companies and to protect consumers.
    • It aims to ensure graded and timely tariff revisions.
  • Benefits for remote areas and farmers:
    • Cross-subsidy Balancing Fund: Cross-subsidy refers to the arrangement of one consumer category subsidizing the consumption of another consumer category. E.g. commercial consumers subsidies residents or farmers. The state government will set up such a fund.
  • Benefit for Environment:
    • Renewable purchase obligation(RPO):Under the previous act SERCs are empowered to specify renewable purchase obligations(RPO) for discoms. RPO refers to the compulsory procurement of a certain percentage of electricity from renewable sources.
    • As per the Bill, RPO should not be below a minimum percentage prescribed by the central government or DISCOMS may face a penalty.
    • Promotion of green energy
  • Improved regulation: The Bill seeks to strengthen payment security mechanisms and give more powers to regulators.

Issues with the Bill:

    • Violates Federal Principal: ‘Electricity’ is a state subject and any legislation on it should be in consultation with the state government. However, no consultation was done before introducing the bill.
    • Inequity: Provision to encourage competition may lead to more entities entering lucrative and urban areas, while loss-making areas may continue to be underserved.
    • Fear of end of subsidies by farmers.
    • Privatization of distribution companies may result in job losses
      • There is a fear that the  Bill might result in the privatization of profits and the nationalization of losses
    • Multiple distribution licensees may lead to a situation similar to the telecom sector where monopoly companies will destroy the public sector and smaller companies.

Mains Links:

Q. What are the problems being faced by the Power Sector? Will the recently proposed Electricity (Amendment ) Bill 2022 help overcome these issues? Critically evaluate (15M)

 

Prelims Link

Which one of the following is the purpose of ‘UDAY’, a scheme of the Government? (UPSC 2016)

(a) Providing technical and financial assistance to start-up entre-preneurs in the field of renewable sources of energy

(b) Providing electricity to every household iv the country by 2018

(c) Replacing the coal-based power plants with natural gas, nuclear, solar, wind and tidal power plants over a period of time.

(d) Providing for financial turnaround and revival of power distribution companies

Answer: D

Ujjwal DISCOM Assurance Yojana is the financial turnaround and revival package for electricity distribution companies of India initiated by the Government of India with the intent to find a permanent solution to the financial mess that the power distribution is in.

 

Content For Mains Enrichment (Ethics/Essay)


Examples which can be used for Women’s Empowerment

Nallathamby Kalaiselvi

The first woman to head the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR), Dr Nallathamby Kalaiselvi, is credited with developing novel materials to be used as electrodes in lithium-ion batteries that improve their storage capacities.

 

Chess Olympiad 2022

Koneru Humpy, Harika Dronavalli, Tania Sachdev, R Vaishali and Bhakti Kulkarni – a delightful mix of long-serving mould-breakers and young prodigies – were the top players in the women’s section. Harika Dronavalli played Chess Olympiad Medal While Being 9 Months Pregnant.

They still made history – as the first-ever Indian women’s team to win a medal at an Olympiad.

 

Lessons to be learnt from Japan for Sustainable Development

The people of the Edo Period (1603-1867), Japan lived with time as it changed with the seasons, cherished materials and used the wisdom of reuse as a matter of course and realised a recycling-oriented lifestyle for many years.

At the start of the 1600s, Japan’s rulers feared that Christianity — which had recently been introduced to the southern parts of the country by European missionaries — would spread.

In response, they effectively sealed the islands off from the outside world in 1603, with Japanese people not allowed to leave and very few foreigners allowed in. This became known as Japan’s Edo period and the borders remained closed for almost three centuries until 1868.

This allowed the country’s unique culture, customs and ways of life to flourish in isolation. The people of the Edo period lived according to what is now known as the “slow life”, a sustainable set of lifestyle practices based around wasting as little as possible. Even light didn’t go to waste — daily activities started at sunrise and ended at sunset.

  • This needs to be recaptured in the modern age in order to achieve a more sustainable culture — and there are some modern-day activities that can help.
  • For instance, zazen, or “sitting meditation”, is a practice from Buddhism that can help people carve out a space of peace and quiet to experience the sensations of nature. These days, a number of urban temples offer zazen sessions.

 

 

Techno-Nationalism

Context: Report “Internet in India” by the Internet and Mobile Association of India(IAMAI) has recently highlighted this word.

Definition: Techno-nationalism is a way of understanding how technology affects the society and culture of a nation.

Aim: It is aimed at the use of technology to advance nationalist agendas, with the goal of promoting connectedness and a stronger national identity.

Examples:

  • Use of Social media in election campaign: The 2014 elections were the first time internet streaming played a significant role in disintermediating broadcast media. The 2019 elections were marked by the extensive role played by social media platforms such as Facebook and WhatsApp.
  • Indonesia is not just controlling online gaming apps and services but also actively promoting indigenously developed gaming apps.
  • From Kenya to Brazil the countries are witnessing preemptive actions to insulate the electoral processes of their respective democracies from the spread of viral fake news and disinformation on WhatsApp.
  • China: created digital surveillance; restricted online gaming for children.
  • From securing semiconductor supply chains to regulating data flows, techno-nationalism is on the political agenda of western democracies and eastern nations alike.

 


Facts for Prelims


Centre releases ₹1.16 lakh cr. to States

Context: Central government released funds (double the usual amount) to help front-load State governments’ capital spending abilities in this financial year, after the expiry of the assured Goods and Services Tax (GST) compensation to States from this July.

Front-loaded approach by the Centre: In order to incentivize States to increase their capital expenditure, to spur spending and growth.

States get revenue from the Center:

    • Devolution (States’ share of taxes):As state’s share of taxes from the Gross Tax Revenue (extra-budgetary)
    • Scheme Related Transfer: As Centrally Sponsored Schemes from the Scheme Expenditure. (Based on Budget Allocations).
    • Finance Commission Grants: As Transfer to States from the Transfers, Expenditure, and Other Expenses. (Based on Budget Allocations)
    • Other Transfers: Other grants or loans. (Based on Budget Allocations)

 

15th Finance Commission’s recommended:

    • Vertical Devolution (Union to States): States’ share in the divisible pool of taxes to 41%for the five-year period starting 2021-22.
    • Horizontal Devolution (allocation between the states): The commission suggested 12. 5% weightage to demographic performance, 45% to income, 15% each to population and area, 10% to forest and ecology and 2.5% to tax and fiscal efforts.

 

Recognition of Minorities at the District level

Context: Recently, the Supreme court has pronounced that recognition of minorities at the district level is contrary to law.

    • SC (in Kerela Education Bill Case, 1958) had rejected that minorities be identified at the block or district level.
    • SC (in TMA Pai Case, 2008) had said that Linguistic and religious minorities are determined by taking the state as a unit and not at the national level.

Minorities in India:

    • Recognition: Currently, only those communities notified under section 2(c) of the NCM (National Commission for Minorities) Act, 1992, by the central government are regarded as a minority.
    • The Muslims, Christians, Sikhs, Buddhists, Zoroastrians (Parsis) and Jains (in 2014) have been notified as minority communities.

Constitutional Status:

    • Constitution doesn’t define the word ‘minorities’
    • Article 29 (Right to conserve distinct language, script and culture): It grants protection to both religious as well as linguistic minorities. Its scope is not necessarily restricted to minorities only.
    • Article 30 (Right to establish and administer educational institutions of their choice): The protection under it is confined only to minorities (religious or linguistic).
    • Article 350-B (provides for a Special Officer for Linguistic Minorities appointed by the President of India)

 

Rule 267

Context: In his parting address, Vice-President M. Venkaiah Naidu advocated against indiscriminate demand from members to invoke rule 267 that allows for the suspension of the day’s business to discuss other important issues in the Parliament.

Direction: Just go through it once.

Issues: Rule 267 of Rajya Sabha should be resorted to in the rarest of the rare cases that justify the suspension of other rules of the house

Status of house disruptions: For the first 17 years since 1978, the annual productivity of the Rajya Sabha has been more than 100%. Since then it has been on a downslide with the lowest annual productivity recorded at 40% in the year 2018.

Challenges faced by parliamentarians:

    • Disruptions don’t allow members to speak in the House, thereby reducing their enthusiasm to speak.
    • Low percentage of members attending the meetings of standing committees
    • One who makes a reasonably good speech — well argued and supported by statistics, examples or case studies — rarely get adequate attention.
    • Only the politics of pandemonium(Chaos) grabs headlines in the news.

What can be done:

Presiding officers can conduct what is called in-camera proceedings in their chambers, especially for Zero Hour and Question Hour.

 

Eklavya Model Residential Schools (EMRS)

Context: ‘Samvaad’ (a virtual interaction) with the students of EMRS was organized by the Ministry of Tribal Affairs

About EMRS:

    • It was started in 1997-98, to provide quality education ( middle and high-level education) to scheduled tribe (ST) students in remote areas (with high tribal population), in form of residential schools.
    • Every block with more than 50% ST population and at least 20,000 tribal persons will have an EMRS.
    • Provision: Set up by grants provided under Article 275(1)of the Constitution.
    • Set up as an autonomous societyunder the ministry of tribal affairs — similar to Navodaya Vidyalaya Samiti — to run the EMRSs.

STs constitute 8.6% of the country’s total population (11 crores).

 

EC to hold virtual regional forum meeting on inclusive polls

Context:

The Election Commission of India will host a virtual meeting of the Asian Regional Forum on the theme of inclusive and accessible elections, as a precursor to the ‘Global Summit for Democracy’ next month.

Aim: It is aimed at generating synergy amongst international organizations, and electoral bodies from around the world and promoting intellectual and institutional mobilization to strengthen electoral democracy in the world.

Last year, the first Summit for Democracy was hosted by the United States “to renew democracy at home and confront autocracies abroad”.

India’s status on Democracy:

    • Freedom House 2021 report put India as only “partly free
    • V-Dem report called India an “electoral autocracy”.
    • Global State of Democracy 2021 report: India was amongst the 10 most backsliding democracies—a more severe and deliberate kind of democratic erosion.

 

Cabinet approves extension of urban housing scheme till 2024

Context:  The union cabinet has approved the extension of the flagship urban housing scheme — Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana (Urban) — till December 31, 2024.

About PMAY:

    • Launched in 2015, the original deadline for the scheme aimed at providing affordable housing with incentives was March 2022.
    • It was launched with the aim to achieve housing for all by 2022.

Status:

According to data on the PMAY site, a total of 12.26 million houses have been sanctioned so far, out of which 61.77 lakh houses have been completed.

    • In December 2021, the cabinet approved the extension of the rural housing scheme, PMAY-Gramin (Rural) till March 2024.
    • The Urban scheme is being implemented through four verticals:
      • Beneficiary-Led Construction (BLC)
      • Affordable Housing in Partnership (AHP)
      • In-situ Slum Redevelopment (ISSR)
      • Credit Linked Subsidy Scheme (CLSS).
    • While the Center provides financial assistance, state governments and union territories implement the scheme including the selection of beneficiaries.

 

Cooperatives on Government e-Marketplace (GeM)

Context: Cooperatives have been onboarded to the GeM portal, thus allowing them to procure like other government agencies. Until now, cooperatives were purchasing from the open market.

Direction: Cooperatives are important.

GeM is a one-stop portal for the online procurement of goods and services. It has been developed by the Directorate General of Supplies and Disposals (Ministry of Electronics)

About cooperatives:

  • Def: It is a voluntary association of individuals having common needs who join hands for common economic interests.
  • Based on the principle of: Voluntary and open membership, Autonomy to members, Aimed at community concerns.
  • A separate ‘Ministry of Co-operation’ has been created by the Central Government for realizing the vision of ‘Sahkar se Samriddhi’ (Prosperity through Cooperation)
  • Constitutional provisions:
    • Under the ‘state list’ of the 7th schedule
    • Forming a cooperative is a fundamental right under Art19(1)(c) and states must promote cooperatives (Art 43-B)
    • 97th A Act 2011 added a new part PartIX-B regarding cooperative working in India.
  • History:  The first credit cooperative society was formed in Banking in 1903. Cooperative got a legal status with the enactment of the Cooperative Credit Societies Act, 1904.

 

 

UN sanctions regime

Context:  India has said to the UN that the credibility of the United Nations’ sanctions regime is at an “all-time low”. Double standards and continuing politicisation have rendered the credibility of the sanctions regime at an all-time low

Issues with the Sanction regime:

    • Double standards: Some countries such as China, Pakistan, Afghanistan and the United Nations Secretariat have adopted “selectivity” and “double standards” against terrorism.
    • China: China’s decision to place a hold on terror listings, the “glorification” of terror acts by the Pakistan
      • Frequent blocks and ‘technical holds’ placed by China in its attempts to add a number of terrorists to the UNSC-designated terrorist listings, including the top leadership of the LeT and the JeM based in Pakistan and Afghanistan.
        • For E.g. China thwarted a more recent joint proposal by India and the U.S. to list LeT deputy chief Abdul Rahman Makki.
    • Taliban regime in Afghanistan: It has provided shelter to terror groups, including ISIL-Khorasan which was behind the attacks on a Gurdwara in Kabul.
    • UN Secretary-General’s report on terrorism: In its section on threats in Central and South Asia, referred only to ISIL-K, and not to the allied groups that target India.
    • Pakistan: Dawood Ibrahim, crime syndicates turning to terror received “state hospitality” in a “neighbouring country”, despite being listed by the UNSC.

Background:

    • UNSC’s‘ sanctions regime’ against al-Qaeda and the Islamic State (ISIL), which was first put into place in the late 1990s and then updated as a part of the global war on terrorism.
    • UNSC 1267 Committee: It was established for the purpose of overseeing the implementation of sanctions measures imposed on Taliban-controlled Afghanistan, but eventually its scope has been enlarged to include individuals as well as organizations.

What should be done:

The practice of placing holds and blocks on listing requests without giving any justification must end. All members of the UNSC should pronounce together in one voice, sooner rather than later, when it comes to this collective fight against international terrorism.

  

Technology Innovation Hubs (TIH)

Context: Joint India-US research projects will be implemented through TIH

Direction: Just go through it once.

About TIH

    • It comes under National Mission on Interdisciplinary Cyber-Physical Systems (NM-ICPS) and is aimed at providing requisite infrastructure (testbeds and data sets), enabling collaboration (e.g. on AI and wireless) and encouraging exchange programmes.

NM-ICPS was launched in 2018 for 5 year period to enable academia-industry-government collaboration and provide technical support for CPS implementations.

Activities under NM-ICPS are: Technology Development; Human Resources and Skill development; Entrepreneurship; Innovations and International Collaborations.

 

ONDC (Open Network for Digital Commerce)

Context: Microsoft will onboard the Government led ONDC.

ONDC (launched by DPIIT) is aimed at decentralizing and democratizing digital commerce. It will allow small merchants and mom-and-pop stores in any part of the country to access consumers (similar to those done by Amazon and Flipkart ).

It is an open-source platform and will work in e-commerce, similar to what UPI does in digital payment. Integration of the platform will be provided by the Quality Council of India.

Need for ONDC: There has been rising dominance of global players in India’s e-commerce, which makes the entry of smaller players difficult. ONDC eyes at transforming from an operator-driven platform-centric model to a facilitator-driven interoperable open network model.

 

Blue Bonds

Context: SEBI has proposed the ‘blue bonds’ for sustainable finance

About Blue bond

    • It will be a debt instrument to support investments in healthy oceans and blue economies (i.e. use of ocean resources for economic growth)- sustainable exploitation of ocean resources, fishing, and extracting renewable energy.
    • It will catalyse progress towards SDG 14 (Life Below Water)
    • UN Decade of Ocean Science for sustainable development (2021-2030)
    • First Blue Bond: the Republic of Seychelles, in 2018, was the first to come with a sovereign blue bond.

Other similar types of bonds: Green Bond (used to fund projects that have positive environmental and/or climate benefits)

 

 

ECOSTRESS

Context: NASA’s ECOsystem and Spaceborne Thermal Radiometer Experiment on Space Station (ECOSTRESS) are helping in understanding the pattern and reasons behind wildfires.

About:

It is a multiple wavelength imaging spectrometers to study the effectiveness of water use by vegetation, the water stress and their ability to adapt to a warming climate. By measuring the rate of release of water by plants, the intensity of coming wildfires can be measured.

A spectrometer is an optical instrument used to measure the properties of light over a specific portion of the electromagnetic spectrum.

 

World Lion’s Day

Context: August 10 is celebrated as world Lion’s day

Direction: Just go through it once

Significance: Over the course of five decades, the global lion population has decreased by about 95%, necessitating a need to work towards its conservation, which World Lion Day emphasizes on.

  • Increase public awareness of the threats they face, protect their natural habitat, and build more habitats.

About Lion (Panthera Leo)

    • Lions are the second-largest cats after tigers. They live in groups (called Pride).
    • The lion is an apex and keystone predator
    • IUCN Status: Asiatic lion: Endangered while African Lion: Vulnerable
    • India: Gir Forest (Gujarat) is home to the only wild population of lions outside of Africa. The population of the lion has continuously expanded in India ( from 523 to 674 ( between 2015 and 2020))
    • Difference between Male and females: Males have a thick mane of hair around their head while females don’t have it.
    • Difference between Asiatic and African lion: The male Asiatic lion has a relatively short, sparse and darker mane compared to the fuller mane of the African lion. The most distinguishing characteristic of the Asiatic lion is the longitudinal fold of skin that runs along its belly.

 

Butterfly Mine

The UK Ministry of Defence, in its intelligence assessment of the ongoing war in Ukraine, has sounded an alarm on the possible use of the PFM-1 series ‘Butterfly Mines’ by the Russian military in Donetsk and Kramatorsk.

The PFM-1 and PFM-1S are two kinds of anti-personnel landmines that are commonly referred to as ‘Butterfly mines’ or ‘Green Parrots’. These names are derived from the shape and colour of the mines. The main difference between the PFM-1 and PFM-1S mine is that the latter comes with a self-destruction mechanism which gets activated within one to 40 hours.

 

 

Agriculture Minister launches indigenous vaccine for Lumpy Skin disease

Context:

 Union Minister for Agriculture and Farmers Welfare, launched the indigenous vaccine Lumpi-ProVacInd to protect livestock from Lumpy Skin disease.

  • The vaccine has been developed by the National Equine Research Center, Hisar (Haryana) in collaboration with the Indian Veterinary Research Institute, Izzatnagar (Bareilly).

Lumpy skin disease (LSD)

    • It is an infectious disease in cattle caused by a virus of the family Poxviridae, also known as the Neethling virus.
    • The disease is characterized by fever, enlarged superficial lymph nodes and multiple nodules (measuring 2–5 centimetres (1–2 in) in diameter) on the skin and mucous membranes (including those of the respiratory and gastrointestinal tracts).
    • Infected cattle also may develop edematous swelling in their limbs and exhibit lameness.
    • The virus has important economic implications since affected animals tend to have permanent damage to their skin, lowering the commercial value of their hide.
    • Additionally, the disease often results in chronic debility, reduced milk production, poor growth, infertility, abortion, and sometimes death.

Join our Official Telegram Channel HERE

Subscribe to our YouTube Channel HERE

Follow our Twitter Account HERE

Follow our Instagram ID HERE