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[Mission 2023] INSIGHTS DAILY CURRENT AFFAIRS + PIB SUMMARY 07 March 2023

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 ina 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. Landslide Atlas of India
  2. Even with ‘moderate emissions’, India’s heat is set to get worse

 

GS Paper 2:

  1. What does it take to buy an electoral bond?

 

GS Paper 3:

  1. How to become a green hydrogen superpower?

 

Facts for Prelims (FFP)

  1. SC lowers criterion for Consumer courts
  2. PMLA appellate authority
  3. Integrated Pensioners’ Portal
  4. Real-time train tracking
  5. Global Greenhouse Gas Monitoring Infrastructure (GGGMI)
  6. Lewis superacids
  7. Disease Caused by proximity to pigeon
  8. International Big Cat Alliance (IBCA)
  9. Great Seahorse

 

Landslide Atlas of India

GS Paper 1

Syllabus: Geography- Geophysical phenomenon.

 

Source: The Tribune, NRSC (Data given in the article is taken from this report)

 

Context: All 12 districts of Himachal Pradesh have figured on a list prepared by the National Remote Sensing Centre (NRSC) of locations prone to landslides.

  • The Landslide Atlas of India was released by Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) at the “National Meet on Disaster Risk Management — Trends & Technologies” held at Hyderabad.
  • The NRSC, one of the centres of ISRO, manages data from aerial and satellite sources.

 

 

 

About Landslide:

  • A landslide is “a movement of a mass of rock, earth or debris down a slope”.

 

 

Types of flows

  • Debris flows: It is a form of rapid mass movement in which a combination of loose soil, rock, organic matter, and slurry that flows downslope. They are commonly caused by intense precipitation or rapid snowmelt.
  • Earth flow: It is a down-slope viscous flow of fine-grained material saturated with water.
  • Mudflow: A mudflow is a wet or viscous fluid mass of fine and coarse-grained material that flows rapidly along drainage channels.
  • Creep: Creep is the slow, steady, downward movement of material under gravity that occurs in a large area

 

 

 

Key Findings:

  • India is among the top four countries with the highest landslide risk, where every year the estimated loss of life per 100 km2 is greater than one.
  • This Atlas provides risk assessment in landslide locations during the period of 1998-2022 and covers vulnerable regions in 17 states and 02 UTs of India in the Himalayas and Western Ghats.
  • Northwest Himalayas contribute 66.5% of landslides in India, followed by Northeast Himalayas (18.8%) and Western Ghats (14.7%).
  • Top 5 districts based on their exposure to landslide: Rudraprayag and Tehri Garhwal (Uttarakhand), Thrissur (Kerala), Rajouri (J&K), and Palakkad (Kerala)
  • The database includes three types of landslide inventory – seasonal, event-based and route-wise

 

About NRSC:

National Remote Sensing Centre (NRSC) has the mandate for the establishment of ground stations for receiving satellite data, generation of data products, dissemination to the users, development of techniques for remote sensing applications including disaster management support, geospatial services for good governance and capacity building for professionals, faculty, and students.

 

Fig: Features of landslide

 

Insta Links:

Landslides in India (Mindmap)

 

Mains Link:

Disaster preparedness is the first step in any disaster management process. Explain how hazard zonation mapping will help disaster mitigation in the case of landslides UPSC 2019

Differentiate the causes of landslides in the Himalayan region and Western Ghats (UPSC 2021)

Even with ‘moderate emissions’, India’s heat is set to get worse

GS Paper 1

Syllabus: Important Geophysical phenomena

 

Source: TH

Context: The climate crisis is no longer a distant event that might happen in the future.

Indications of the impending climate crisis:

  • Temperatures are rising, rainfall patterns are shifting, and extreme events such as record-high temperatures, etc.
  • For example, the month of February (this year) in India was the hottest since 1901.
  • According to a 2021 study (The Lancet), more than five million people died (between 2000-2019) on average each year worldwide because of extreme temperatures.
  • The IPCC 6th Assessment Report states that extreme heat events will grow with increasing global warming.

 

The case of India:

  • A study shows that the temperature in India has been steadily increasing during both summer and winter.
  • The recorded increase in maximum and minimum temperature over 30 years (1990-2019) is up to 0.9º C and 0.5º C, respectively.

 

 

Impact of increasing heat:

  • A cause of suffering and death in extreme cases.
  • It undermines systems such as agriculture and other climate-sensitive sectors that support the livelihoods and well-being of people.

 

Climate projections for the districts of India (2021-2050):

  • The summer maximum temperature will increase (between 2º C – 3.5º C) even under a ‘moderate emissions’ scenario.
  • Even winter minimum temperatures are projected to increase by 0.5º C to 3.5º C in the future.
  • The diurnal temperature range (DTR – variation between high and low air temperature during a single day) is also changing.
    • A Department of Science and Technology study (2020) shows an asymmetric increase in the minimum temperature compared to the maximum.
  • This will, in turn, increase the risk of heat stress → drought, deteriorating soil quality, crop failure, job loss, higher migration, morbidity, and mortality → can affect ecological systems, and the carbon economy.
  • According to a 2019 ILO report, India is expected to lose 5.8% of working hours in 2030 due to heat stress.

 

Way ahead:

  • Implement the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction through improved early warning systems, public awareness, and formulation of heat action plans.
  • Prepare district-level heat hotspot maps to design long-term measures to reduce deaths due to extreme heat.

 

Best practices: Innovative strategies such as –

  • Emergency cooling centres (similar to the ones in Toronto and Paris);
  • Survival guides that are strategically displayed to survive extreme heat or heat waves (like in Athens);
  • White roofs (Los Angeles);
  • Green rooftops (Rotterdam);
  • Self-shading tower blocks (Abu Dhabi); and
  • Green corridors (Medellin).

Related news: PM Modi chairs high-level meet to review preparedness for hot weather conditions this summer

 Source: TH

Context: The PM of India called for preparing separate awareness material for different stakeholders like common citizens, medical professionals, local body authorities, and disaster response teams.

PM asked:

●        The FCI is to take measures to ensure optimal storage of grains in extreme weather conditions.

●        The IMD prepares daily weather forecasts which makes predictions easy to interpret and disseminate.

●        For detailed fire audits of all hospitals.

 

Heat Wave:

●        A heat wave is a period of abnormally high temperatures, more than the normal maximum temperature that occurs during the summer season in the NW parts of India.

●        Heat waves typically occur between March and June.

●        According to the IMD, heat waves need not be considered till the maximum temperature of a station reaches at least 40°C for Plains and at least 30°C for Hilly regions.

Insta Links:

Heat Waves and Climate Change

What does it take to buy an electoral bond?

GS Paper 2

Syllabus: Government Policies and Interventions and Issues arising out of their Design and Implementation

 

Source: IE

Context: Five years ago, the sale window for the first tranche of Electoral Bonds was opened in March 2018.

Introduction of Electoral bonds:

 

  • The Electoral Bond Scheme (EBS), announced in the 2017 Union Budget, was notified by the Central Government in 2018.
  • These bonds can be purchased from select SBI branches by any Indian person or corporation incorporated in India.

 

Performance of EBS:

 

Concerns related to the operation of EBS:

  • Introduce a new type of anonymity by –
    • Reducing public and legislative oversight. For example, only the ruling party via the SBI has a full account of all donations.
    • Political parties do not disclose electoral bond donors. The only requirement is the annual audit reports with all donations received via electoral bonds.
  • Impact of anonymity: Dilutes one voter-one vote principle, an undue advantage to the ruling party, etc.

 

Way ahead:

  • In 2021, the SC refused to stay the sale of electoral bonds and suggested bringing in more transparency.
  • The information regarding donors and donations should be accessible to the Parliament, the Election Commission of India and the Opposition via SBI.
  • The RTI must be strengthened.
  • Ex-CEC (OP Rawat) suggests that the political funding scheme could be improved by appointing an “independent watchdog”.

 

Best practice: Jharkhand Mukti Morcha recently disclosed the identities of EB donors – the first political party to do so

 

Insta Links:

The need to have full disclosure of electoral bonds and political funding

 

Mains Links:

Do you think that setting up an “independent watchdog” to oversee the electoral bond system will ensure the much-needed transparency and accountability in the electoral bond scheme? Critically analyse.

How to become a green hydrogen superpower?

GS Paper 3

Syllabus: Infrastructure (Energy)/Conservation, environmental pollution and degradation

 

Source: TH

Context: The 2023 Union Budget has allocated ₹19,700 crore for the National Green Hydrogen Mission. This could help India establish itself as a green H2 superpower.

 

Importance of Green H2 for India:

  • India has committed to 50% electricity capacity from non-fossil sources by 2030.
  • An energy transition in the industry (most GHG emissions come from steel, cement, fertilizers, and petrochemicals) is needed at the same time.
  • Green H2 can serve as an energy source (heavy industry, mobility, and power storage) and an energy carrier (as green ammonia/blended with natural gas).
    • It holds the promise of fuelling industrial growth while simultaneously reducing industrial emissions.
  • With abundant sunshine and wind energy resources, India is geographically blessed to become one of the lowest-cost producers of green H2.

 

Priorities to convert the vision into reality: Government and industry must act in sync for –

  • Becoming a big player domestically – a necessity to be a major player in the international market.
    • The mission introduces a Strategic Interventions for Green Hydrogen Transition (SIGHT) fund (₹13,000 crores) to support heavy industries to increase demand, offering economies of scale, etc.
    • Blending mandates for refineries can be another demand trigger.
  • As the second-largest steel producer in the world, India can aspire to become the largest green steel producer.
    • Costs of green steel, made from green H2, could be reduced with economies of scale and changes in production technologies.
  • India can be an attractive destination for domestic and foreign investment.
    • A mission secretariat can ensure project clearance is streamlined and reduce financial risks.
  • Becoming more competitive (with targeted public funding) in manufacturing the most critical and high-value components of electrolysers in India.
    • The SIGHT fund offers ₹4,500 crores to support electrolyser manufacturing under the performance-linked incentive scheme.
    • The mission allocates ₹400 crores for R&D, which can be leveraged to crowd in private capital into technology co-development
  • Establishing bilateral partnerships to develop resilient supply chains.
    • Indian companies should consider joint projects in countries with good renewable energy resources and cheap finance to become export competitive.
  • India must coordinate with major economies to develop rules for a global green H2 economy.
    • India’s G20 presidency is an opportunity to craft rules, addressing operational threats, industrial competitiveness and strategic threats.
  • India should promote a global network of green hydrogen via which companies could collaborate.

 

Conclusion

Green hydrogen will be a critical industrial fuel of the 21st century. India is well-positioned to show leadership, which is in India’s and the planet’s collective interest.

 

Insta Links:

India’s green hydrogen challenge

 

Mains Links:

What are the key features of the National Clean Air Programme (NCAP) initiated by the Government of India? (UPSC 2020)

 

Prelims Links: (UPSC 2016)

Which of the following best describes/ describes the aim of the ‘Green India Mission’ of the Government of India?

  1. Incorporating environmental benefits and costs into the Union and State Budgets thereby implementing the `green accounting’
  2. Launching the second green revolution to enhance agricultural output so as to ensure food security to one and all in the future
  3. Restoring and enhancing forest cover and responding to climate change by a combination of adaptation and mitigation measures

 

Select the correct answer using the code given below.

  1. 1 only
  2. 2 and 3 only
  3. 3 only
  4. 1, 2 and 3

 

Ans: 3

 

Facts for Prelims (FFP)


SC lowers criterion for Consumer courts

 Source: BS

Changes made by SC:

  • Reduced mandatory professional experience for appointment (at state consumer commission and district forums):
  • President (From presently 20 years to 10 years)
  • Member (from presently 15 years to 10 years)
  • Introduced written exams and viva voce to check candidates’ performance.

Consumer Protection Rules, 2020 govern the appointment of the President and members to State and District Consumer Disputes Redressal Commissions.

About Article 142:

Article 142 of the Indian Constitution empowers the Supreme Court’s verdicts and rulings to be enforced. It stipulates that in the performance of its jurisdiction, the top court may issue any verdict or order necessary to provide “complete justice” in just about any case before it.

 

PMLA appellate authority

 

Source: IE

 

Context: The Delhi High Court has directed the central government to take swift action in appointing a chairperson and other members of the appellate authority provided under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA)

 

Change needed:

  • Need for multiple benches of the PMLA appellate authority to function simultaneously to reduce the caseload
  • Decisions in respect of provisional attachments had to be taken within the prescribed time of 180 days.

 

Recently, with the increase in the number of cases relating to economic offenders taking shelter in foreign countries, the Government has passed the Fugitive Economic Offenders Act, 2018 (FEOA).

  • Under the act, ED is mandated to attach the properties of the fugitive economic offenders who have escaped from India warranting arrest and provide for the confiscation of their properties to the Central Government.

 

Prelims Links

Which one of the following groups of items is included in India’s foreign-exchange reserves? (UPSC 2013)

 

(a) Foreign-currency assets, Special Drawing Rights (SDRs) and loans from foreign countries
(b) Foreign-currency assets, gold holdings of the RBI and SDRs
(c) Foreign-currency assets, loans from the World Bank and SDRs
(d) Foreign-currency assets, gold holdings of the RBI and loans from the World Bank

 

Ans: B

 

Integrated Pensioners’ Portal

 Source: PIB

 Context: The Indian Department of Pension & Pensioners’ Welfare has announced the creation of an Integrated Pensioners’ Portal to integrate various pension-related portals like Pension Disbursing Bank portals, ANUBHAV, CPENGRAMS, CGHS into a single platform to offer ease of living for pensioners.

 

Benefits:

  • Will address problems faced by pensioners, including change of bank, submission of life certificate, submission of the death certificate of pensioners, pension slip and retrieval of pension slip, income tax deduction, and pension receipt information.
  • The new portal will integrate all 18 Pension disbursing banks
  • To ensure Ease of Living for the elder citizens”

Related News:

 Also, a nationwide digital life certificate through a face authentication campaign was undertaken in November 2022, resulting in 30 lakh pensioners submitting their life certificates digitally.

In November 2014, an Aadhar-based scheme for online submission of digital life certificates, “Jeevan Pramaan” was launched to ensure transparency and “Ease of Living” for pensioners while submitting their life certificates.

 

The ‘Bhavishya’ platform (for Pension Payment and processing) is an integrated online pension processing system that was made mandatory for all central government departments from 2017

 

Indian Railways ties up with ISRO for real-time train tracking

 Source: The Hindu 

Context: The Indian Railways is harnessing the power of data analytics for integrated transportation. It has commenced a project, which will now enable real-time tracking of train movements with the assistance of satellite imagery under the Real Time Train Information System (RTIS) project.

 

How will it work:

  • Railways will take technology help from ISRO.
  • ISRO has developed its own regional navigation satellite system called Navigation with Indian Constellation (NavIC) and Bhuvan, a web-based utility which allows users to explore a set of map-based content being deployed for tracking.

Benefits:

  • Real-time tracking of trains is useful during accidents, floods and landslides when there is a need to pin down the train’s exact location for rendering help.
  • On-time services.

 

Global Greenhouse Gas Monitoring Infrastructure (GGGMI)

 Source: The Hindu 

Context: The U.N.’s World Meteorological Organization has come up with a new Global Greenhouse Gas Monitoring Infrastructure that aims to provide better ways of measuring planet-warming pollution and help inform policy choices.

 

About the GGGMI:

  • Need: The current global greenhouse gas (GHG) monitoring relies heavily on research funding and capabilities, which makes sustained monitoring challenging.
    • The three major greenhouse gases are carbon dioxide, methane and nitrous oxide. Of those, CO2 accounts for around 66% of the warming effect on the climate.
  • Working The GGGMI will engage with the broader scientific community and other UN agencies involved in GHG monitoring activities.
  • Benefit: The infrastructure will improve our understanding of the carbon cycle and provide critical and timely input to the UNFCCC processes.
    • It will help humans understand climate change and to provide support to mitigation action taken by the Parties to the UNFCCC and the Paris Agreement.

The increase in CO2 levels from 2020 to 2021 was higher than the average growth rate over the past decade, and methane saw the biggest year-on-year jump since measurements.

The 2015 Paris Agreement on climate change saw countries agree to cap global warming at “well below” two degrees Celsius (3.6 degrees Fahrenheit) above levels measured between 1850 and 1900 – and 1.5C if possible.

 

About WMO:

The World Meteorological Organization (est. 1950; HQ: Geneva) is a specialized agency of the United Nations responsible for promoting international cooperation on atmospheric science, climatology, hydrology and geophysics

 

Lewis superacids

 Source: The Hindu

 Context: Researchers at Paderborn University, Germany have reported being able to make a unique class of catalysts – used in chemistry to accelerate reactions – called “Lewis super-acids

  • These can be used to break strong chemical bonds and speed up reactions.

 What are Lewis Acids and Bases?

  • A Lewis acid is any substance, such as a Hydrogen ion (H+) that can accept a pair of nonbonding electrons. In other words, a Lewis acid is an electron-pair acceptor.
  • A Lewis base is any substance, such as the OH- ion, that can donate a pair of nonbonding electrons. A Lewis base is therefore an electron-pair donor.

Applicability:

Being able to make these super acids, enables non-biodegradable fluorinated hydrocarbons, similar to Teflon, and possibly even climate-damaging greenhouse gases, such as Sulphur hexafluoride, to be converted back into sustainable chemicals.

 

 

Disease Caused by proximity to pigeon

 Source: IE

 Context: Recently Thane Municipal Corporation (TMC) in Maharashtra warned people against feeding pigeons.

Diseases spread by proximity to Pigeon

  • Pigeons may lead to various kinds of lung diseases, ranging from respiratory allergies to serious infections.
  • Severe cases may lead to Pneumonia-Psittacosis, which is a bacterial infection
  • Hypersensitive pneumonia (a lung disease which is contracted by living near pigeons) (also known as Pigeon Breeder’s Disease)
  • Histoplasmosis (fungal infection with high mortality rates)
  • Cryptococcal infections (it may lead to pulmonary or meningeal infections)

Mode of transmission: The breathable antigen arising from the bird droppings and feathers goes into the lung and leads to an immunological reaction, which damages the lung.

 

International Big Cat Alliance (IBCA)

Source: IE

Context: India has proposed to launch a mega global alliance under its leadership to protect big cats and assured support over five years with guaranteed funding of $100 million

About IBCA

  • Aim:
    • Protection and conservation of the seven major big cats — tiger, lion, leopard, snow leopard, puma, jaguar and cheetah.
    • To provide a platform for “dissemination of information on benchmarked practices, capacity building, resources repository, research and development, awareness creation”, etc., on the protection and conservation of big cats.
  • Governance structure:
    • General Assembly (consisting of all member countries)
    • A council (seven to 15 member countries elected by the General Assembly for a term of 5 years)
    • A Secretariat (headed by IBCA Secretary General for a specific term)
  • Funding: 1st five years will be supported by India’s “total grant assistance” of $100 million.
    • After that IBCA is expected to sustain itself through membership fees, and contributions from bilateral and multilateral institutions and the private sector. However, the proposed move has invited criticism, too.
  • Membership: It will be open to 97 “range” countries, which contain the natural habitat of these big cats, as well as other interested nations, international organisations, etc.

India is the only country in the world to have tigers, lions, leopards, snow leopards and cheetahs in the wild. India has all the big cats, except the pumas and jaguars, today.

 

Great Seahorse

Source: The Hindu

 

Consider the following animals: (UPSC 2013)

  1. Sea cow
  2. Sea horse
  3. Sea lion

Which of the above is/are mammal/mammals?

(a) 1 only
(b) 1 and 3 only
(c) 2 and 3 only
(d) 1, 2 and 3

 

Ans: B

 

A sea cow is a sea-grass-eating marine mammal. Sea horses are tiny fish. Sea lions are marine or aquatic mammals.

 

Optional

 Sociology/ Pub Ad

 

Sociology

 

Agriculture

 

ECONOMY

 

PSIR

IE: Is G20 meet India’s NAM moment with a difference?

 

Read the Daily CA in PDF Format here:

 


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