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[Mission 2023] INSIGHTS DAILY CURRENT AFFAIRS + PIB SUMMARY 13 April 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 2:

  1. National Credit Framework (NCrF)
  2. How can L-G act without the aid and advice of the Council of Ministers?

 

GS Paper 3:

  1. The Forest Rights Act, 2006
  2. Natural farming

 

Content for Mains Enrichment (CME)

  1. Gender-neutral Supreme Court
  2. India’s 1st 3D printed post office

 

Facts for Prelims (FFP)

  1. India’s first-ever REITs and InvITs index
  2. Green deposits
  3. Protection of Plant Varieties and Farmers’ Rights Authority
  4. Bhu-Aadhaar or ULPIN
  5. Large Hadron Collider (LHC)
  6. Uranium-241
  7. Magnetoresistance
  8. Europe’s JUICE mission
  9. Unified Portal of Central Bureau of Narcotics
  10. Zero Click Spyware

 

National Credit Framework (NCrF)

GS Paper 2

 Syllabus: Issues Relating to the Development and Management of Social Sector/Services relating to Education, Human Resources

 

Source: TW

 

Context: The University Grants Commission (UGC) released the NCrF, which will allow students to earn educational credits at all levels, irrespective of the mode of learning i.e. homeschooling, offline, online, or blended.

 

 

Insta Links:

NEP 2020

 

Mains Links:

National Education Policy 2020 is in conformity with Sustainable Development Goal-4 (2030). It intends to restructure and reorient the education system in India. Critically examine the statement. (UPSC 2020)

How can L-G act without the aid and advice of the Council of Ministers?

GS Paper 2

 Syllabus: Issues and Challenges Pertaining to the Federal Structure

 

Source: TH

 Context: The Supreme Court observed how can the Lieutenant Governor (L-G) act without aid and advice of the Council of Ministers in nominating 10 members to the MCD.

 

What was the case?

 The petitioner’s (Delhi govt) claims:

  • According to the Delhi Municipal Corporation Act, the MCD had to include 10 people – Aldermen (above 25 years of age), having special knowledge/experience in municipal administration, to be nominated by the administrator/LG.
  • According to the Constitutional scheme (Article 239 AA) these powers were to be exercised only under the “aid and advice” of the CoM, except where the LG is required by law to act at their discretion.
  • If there is a difference of opinion, the LG may refer the matter to the President and under no circumstances has any independent decision-making power.
  • The nominations made by the L-G are ultra vires (to the Constitution and the SC’s 2018 verdict) and illegal.

The LG’s claims: An amendment to the GNCTD Act 1991 (the Government of NCT Act) was made (whose notification is under challenge in SC) after the SC’s 2018 judgement. The amendment provides for such nominations to be made by LG.

 

What the SC said? It said neither the DMC (Delhi Municipal Commission) Act nor any other provision of law says anywhere that such nomination is to be made by the administrator at his discretion.

Insta Links:

Centre vs Delhi Govt on control over services: timeline of a dispute

 

Mains Links:

Whether the Supreme Court Judgement (July 2018) can settle the political tussle between the Lt. Governor and the elected government of Delhi? Examine. (UPSC 2018)

Natural farming

GS Paper 3

 Syllabus: Agriculture

 

Source: DTE

 Context: As per a new study, Zero Budget Natural Farming (ZBNF) in Andhra Pradesh has led to significantly higher crop yield compared to organic or conventional (synthetic fertilisers and pesticides) farming under the state’s APCNF programme.

 

Findings of the study:

  • ZBNF yields were higher than both conventional and organic treatments in several districts in Andhra Pradesh
  • Immediate yield benefit observed after adopting ZBNF: This helped farmers on short-term land leases, as they may not be able to farm the same land every season
  • Nutrient availability remains unaffected in ZBNF: Previously it was thought that conventional agriculture (which uses synthetic fertilisers), increases extractable nutrient concentrations compared to organic and ZBNF treatments.
  • If ZBNF covered 25% of the total crop area in Andhra Pradesh, $70 million would be saved in fertilizer subsidies every year

About Andhra Pradesh Community Managed Natural Farming (APCNF) programme

It was launched in 2016, for pushing 100 per cent chemical-free agriculture. It has worked with over 6 lakh farmers (out of a total estimated 60 lakh) in the state, on natural farming.

 

Issues with conventional fertilizers:

Intensive use of synthetic pesticides and fertilisers comes with a number of associated risks to farmers’ finances, human health, greenhouse gas emissions, biodiversity loss and environmental pollution.

 

Comparison between Conservation Agriculture (CA) and ZBNF:

Conservation Agriculture (CA)ZBNF
1.      CA is a modern farming approach that uses low levels of external inputs and emphasizes technological solutions for yield improvement1.      ZBNF is an approach that emphasizes natural farming techniques and no external inputs
2.      It emphasizes the use of cover crops and improved seeds2.      It places more emphasis on natural mulching and the use of indigenous seeds
3.      It is considered to be more cost-effective and economically viable.

 

3.      It has a lower ecological footprint and potentially higher carbon sequestration potential
Both approaches focus on soil health, water conservation, adoption of reduced tillage, application of crop residues and intercropping to minimise soil disturbance

 

Mains Link

 Zero Budget Natural Farming (ZBNF) promises to end a reliance on loans and drastically cut production costs, ending the debt cycle for farmers. Comment. (250 Words)

The Forest Rights Act, 2006: What makes implementation challenging

GS Paper 2

 Syllabus: Government Policies and Interventions for Development in various sectors and Issues arising out of their Design and Implementation

 

Source: DTE

 

Context: Even after 16 years, implementation provisions under the Forest Rights Act, 2006, have been far from satisfactory.

 

The Scheduled Tribes and Other Traditional Forest Dwellers (Recognition of Forest Rights) Act 2006 (FRA):

Current Affairs

 

  • It recognizes the rights of forest-dwelling communities to forest resources.
  • It also provides rights to the allocation of forest land for developmental purposes to fulfil the basic infrastructural needs of the community.
  • In conjunction with the Land Acquisition Rehabilitation and Settlement Act 2013, FRA protects the tribal population from eviction without rehabilitation and settlement.
  • The Gram Sabha is a highly empowered body under the Act, enabling the tribal population to have a decisive say in the determination of local policies and schemes impacting them.

 

Reasons for non-implementation of FRA:

  • Lack of clarity about where and how much forest land might be eligible for Community Forest Resource Rights (CFRR) claims.
  • Consequently, there is no target against which the state government’s performance can be measured.

 

The potential area that could be marked for granting of CFRR in 4 states:

 

Why this gap?

  • The complexity of land and forest settlement in India.
  • The poor quality of land records and maps available.
  • A crude estimate can be made from village land use data provided in the census’ village amenities tables → likely to be significantly lower than the actual area → large tracts of forests being demarcated as Reserve Forest (RF) → not being part of any revenue village.

 

Estimate the CFRR potential area in two parts:

  • All villages have more than 10 hectares (ha) of forest area within their revenue boundaries as per Census 2011.
  • All villages that are in or adjacent to RF patches that are outside village revenue boundaries.
    • The customary boundaries of these villages should extend at least 2 km into the forest (to be identified using GIS).

 

Conclusion: The correct estimation of the CFRR potential areas will potentially benefit the livelihoods of a total of around 62.6 million people (in 4 states in the table above).

 

Inta Links:

IFR review: States do dubious paperwork, cite baseless reasons for refusing forest rights to tribals

Gender-neutral Supreme Court

Content for Mains Enrichment (CME)

 

Source: TH

 The Supreme Court of India, under the guidance of Chief Justice D.Y. Chandrachud, has taken steps towards inclusivity and sexuality sensitization for the LGBTQIA+ community, which will ensure a dignified work environment for the LGBTQIA+ community.

Steps taken:

  • The court has created nine universal restrooms at different locations in the main building and the additional building complex
  • It made the online appearance portal gender neutral
  • It has inducted senior advocate Menaka Guruswamy as a member of the Gender Sensitization and Internal Complaints Committee (GSICC)

 

Usage: The example shows the importance of inclusive infrastructure and sexuality sensitization in public buildings and courts.

India’s 1st 3D printed post office

Source: PIB

Bengaluru (Cambridge Layout in Ulsoor) is set to have India’s first post office built using 3D printing technology.

Benefits: The 1,100 sqft building is expected to cost 30-40% less than conventional buildings.

 

Significance: The successful completion of this project may encourage other government organizations to explore the use of 3D printing technology in construction, paving the way for more innovation and cost savings in public infrastructure.

 

Usage: This example can be used to show how technology can be used to save public money and give a better public infrastructure.

Consistent Renewable energy

Source: TH         

A Manipur village (Hengbung) in northeast India has benefited from a pumped-storage hydropower system that combines hydro with solar power.

The system features two interconnected reservoirs that can store renewable power for release later and enables the provision of consistent lighting in homes and streets.  Foundation for Environment and Economic Development Services (FEEDS), a local NGO was involved in the initiative

India is aiming to increase its renewable generation to 500 GW by 2030.

Usage: Smaller hydropower has been said to be the solution for energy security in hilly areas. This example can be used for showing innovation, community participation with the help of NGOs and getting the local solution to issues.

India’s first-ever REITs and InvITs index

Facts for Prelims (FFP)

Source: LM

 Context: NSE Indices Ltd, a subsidiary of the National Stock Exchange (NSE), has launched India’s first-ever Real Estate Investment Trusts (REITs) and Infrastructure Investment Trusts (InvITs) Index.

 

Aim: To track the performance of REITs and InvITs that are publicly listed and traded on the NSE.

 

What are NSE Indices?

NSE Indices (set up: 1998; HQ: Mumbai; a subsidiary of the National Stock Exchange of India) provides a variety of indices and index-related products and services to Indian capital markets.

Green deposits

Source: IE

 Context: Reserve Bank of India issued detailed guidelines for acceptance of ‘green deposits’ by banks and NBFCs.

Framework for ‘Green Deposits’:

Information
Definition of Green DepositInterest-bearing deposits are offered by banks and NBFCs for a fixed period, with proceeds used to promote sustainable investments in environmentally-friendly sectors
EligibilityAll scheduled commercial banks including small finance banks (excluding RRBs, LABs, and payment banks) and all deposit-taking NBFCs registered with RBI, including HFCs
DenominationIndian Rupees only
SectorsRenewable Energy, Energy Efficiency, Clean Transportation, Climate Change Adaptation, Sustainable Water and Waste Management, Green Buildings, etc.
ExclusionsProjects involving new or existing extraction, production and distribution of fossil fuels; Nuclear power generation; Direct waste incineration; Landfill projects; Hydropower plants larger than 25 MW, etc.
MonitoringGreen deposit funds are subject to independent third-party verification on an annual basis.

Protection of Plant Varieties and Farmers’ Rights Authority

Source: Hindu Business Line

 Context: Kerala Agricultural University has been notified as a centre of the Protection of Plant Varieties and Farmers’ Rights Authority under the Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers’ Welfare.

Objective: To protect the rights of Kerala farming communities over the traditional plant varieties.

 

About Protection of Plant Varieties and Farmers’ Rights (PPV&FR)

Bhu-Aadhaar or ULPIN

Source: IE

 NameBhu-Aadhaar (“bhu” meaning earth/land) or Unique Land Parcel Identification Number (ULPIN)
DescriptionIt is a 14-digit identification number for every surveyed parcel of land in India, launched in 2021
PurposeTo prevent land fraud and maintain updated land records
Key FeaturesBased on the longitude and latitude coordinates of the land parcel. Dependent on detailed surveys and geo-referenced cadastral maps
BenefitsWill help mitigate the huge pendency of court cases (66 per cent of all civil suits in India are related to land or property disputes); Reduce the GDP loss (about 1.3% of GDP) due to projects being stalled over litigation involving land disputes; Sharing of land records data across departments, financial institutions, and stakeholders; help develop land banks; and lead towards Integrated Land Information Management System (ILIMS).
ULPIN is part of DILRMPDigital India Land Records Modernisation Programme (DILRMP) was launched in 2008 as a Central Sector scheme under the Ministry of Rural Development.
About ILIMSContains information on parcel ownership, land use, taxation, location boundaries, land value, encumbrances and more. Aims to develop a system that can be customized by different states as needed
What are Cadastral Maps?A cadastral map is a detailed and accurate map that shows the boundaries and ownership of land parcels within a specific area. It is used by governments to maintain land records and for land administration purposes, such as property tax assessment, land-use planning, and resolving land disputes.

Large Hadron Collider (LHC)

Source: TH

 

Context: Currently, engineers are warming up the LHC for its third season of operations, following upgrades

 

What is the Large Hadron Collider (LHC)?

The LHC is the world’s largest science experiment that smashes tiny particles called hadrons together at really high speeds. It uses protons as the particles and has a long circular pipe where they’re accelerated.

About LHCDescription
AimLHC is expected to throw up evidence of “new physics” — or physics beyond the Standard Model of Particle Physics, which explains how the basic building blocks of matter interact, governed by four fundamental forces.

 

WorkingLHC studies the smallest known building blocks of matter. It fires two beams of protons almost at the speed of light in opposite directions, guided by the magnetic field of superconducting electromagnets
Built byEuropean Organisation for Nuclear Research (CERN)
Location27-km-long track loop buried 100m underground on the Swiss-French border
ExperimentsATLAS, CMS
AchievementsDiscovery of Higgs boson or “God particle” during the first run; using data to look beyond Standard Model
New questTo further understanding of “dark matter”
Nobel prize Peter Higgs and his collaborator François Englert were awarded the Nobel Prize for physics in 2013 for the discovery of the Higgs Boson
What are Hadrons?Hadrons are subatomic particles that are made up of smaller particles called quarks. They are one of the two main types of particles that make up matter, the other being leptons.
What are Bosons?In particle physics, a boson is a type of subatomic particle that follows Bose-Einstein statistics, named after the Indian physicist Satyendra Nath Bose.

Uranium-241

Source: TH

 Context: Recently, physicists in Japan discovered a previously unknown isotope of uranium, with atomic number 92 and mass number 241, i.e., uranium-241. Physicists were in search of a ‘magic number’.

 

What is a “Magic Number”?

In nuclear physics, “magic numbers” are specific numbers of protons or neutrons in atomic nuclei that correspond to Stable configurations. The heaviest known ‘magic’ nucleus is lead (82 protons). After this nucleus becomes unstable.

 

What are Isotopes?

Isotopes are atoms of the same element that have the same number of protons but differ in the number of neutrons in their nuclei. Isotopes of an element have nearly identical chemical properties but may differ in their physical properties such as density and radioactivity.

About U-241Information
DiscoveryResearchers accelerated uranium-238 nuclei into plutonium-198 nuclei at the KEK Isotope Separation System (KISS) using multinucleon transfer. The resulting nuclear fragments contained different isotopes.
MethodTime-of-flight mass spectrometry was used to measure the mass of each nucleus.
Half-life Theoretical calculations suggest it could have a half-life of 40 minutes.
SignificanceThis is the first such discovery since 1979.
ImportanceRefines our understanding of nuclear physics and has implications for designing nuclear power plants and models of exploding stars. Measuring the mass of uranium and its neighbourhood elements yields essential nuclear information to understand the synthesis of heavy elements in explosive astronomical events.
Future ImplicationsThis new approach using multinucleon transfer reaction and KISS is expected to lead to the discovery of more neutron-rich actinide nuclides, elucidating the stability of nuclides and the process of astronomical nucleosynthesis.
About UraniumUranium (chemical symbol U) is a naturally occurring radioactive element.
Isotopes of UraniumIn its natural state, Uranium consists of three isotopes (U-234 (0.0057%), U-235 (0.72%) and U-238 (99.28%)). Other isotopes that cannot be found in natural uranium are U-232, U-233, U-236 and U-237.

Magnetoresistance

Source: Th

 Context: Researchers in the UK, led by Nobel laureate Andre Geim, have discovered that graphene displays an anomalous giant magnetoresistance (GMR) at room temperature.

 

What is Magnetoresistance?

Magnetoresistance is a phenomenon where the electrical resistance of a material change in response to a magnetic field. The magnetoresistance observed in the graphene-based device was “almost 100 times higher than that observed in other known semimetals in this magnetic field range.”

 

Usage of GMR: GMR is used in hard disk drives, magnetoresistive RAM in computers, biosensors, automotive sensors, microelectromechanical systems, and medical imagers.

 

About Graphene:

 Graphene (an allotrope of carbon) is an incredibly thin material made up of a single layer of carbon atoms arranged in a hexagonal pattern. It is part of graphite but has unique properties of its own.

Europe’s JUICE mission

 

Source: IE

Context: The European Space Agency’s JUICE spacecraft is to blast off on an eight-year journey through the Solar System

 

About the JUICE mission:

NameJUICE (JUpiter ICy moons Explorer)
Launch DateApril 2023 (scheduled) on the Ariane 5 rocket for 8 years journey (arrival on Jupiter in 2031); lift off from French Guiana
GoalsStudy Jupiter and its three largest moons (Ganymede, Callisto, and Europa) to understand if their oceans could have ever been suitable habitats for life.
AgencyEuropean Space Agency (ESA) under its Cosmic Vision 2015-2025 programme
Instruments10 scientific instruments, including an optical camera, ice-penetrating radar, spectrometer, and magnetometer.
Importance of Jupiter’s moonFirst discovered by astronomer Galileo Galilei more than 400 years ago, Jupiter’s icy moons have huge oceans of liquid water — the main ingredient for life as we know it. That has made Ganymede and Europa prime candidates in the search for life.
GanymedeIt is the Solar System’s largest moon and the only one that has its own magnetic field, which protects it from radiation.
EuropaIt is believed that underneath Jupiter’s Europa’s icy surface, the amount of water is twice that on Earth. NASA is expected to launch its Europa Clipper in 2024 to gather data on Europa’s atmosphere, surface and interior.

 

SignificanceThe first time the ESA has sent a spacecraft beyond the asteroid belt.

Unified Portal of Central Bureau of Narcotics

Source: ET

 Context: The Central Bureau of Narcotics has launched a unified portal to facilitate licensing and ExIM (Export and IMport) authorizations for the pharmaceutical and chemical industries.

Aim: To instil efficiency, transparency, and accountability within the department while ensuring the availability of essential narcotic drugs to patients and their families.

 

Features of the portal: Cloud-based storage, simplified process, and database integration with other government services, including Bharat Kosh, GST, PAN- NSDL validation, e-Sanchit, and UIDAI.

 

About CBN:  

Central Bureau of Narcotics (est. 1950; HQ: Gwalior) is affiliated with India’s Department of Revenue (Ministry of Finance) and regulated by the country’s Central Board of Indirect Taxes and Customs. The main function of CBN is to stop opium production and trade and to issue licenses for the production of legal synthetic drugs. It implements various United Nations Conventions and the provisions of the NDPS Act, 1985.

Zero Click Spyware

 

Source: ET

 Context: An Israeli company’s (QuaDream Ltd) Spyware has been used against journalists, opposition figures and advocacy organizations across at least 10 countries – according to new research published Tuesday by Microsoft Corp and the internet watchdog Citizen Lab.

 

What is Spyware?

Spyware refers to software programs that are designed to collect data from a computer or device without the user’s knowledge or consent.

About Zero Click Spyware

It is a no-interaction-needed hacking tool, known as “Zero-Click”, which can remotely compromise devices without an owner needing to open a malicious link or download a tainted attachment.

 

What are Zero-click attacks?

Zero-click attacks are a type of cyber-attack where a device or system is compromised without any interaction or action from the user. Zero-click attacks often rely on zero-days, which are vulnerabilities that are unknown to the software maker and for which no fix is presently available.

 

Optional:

 Sociology/ Indian Society

  

Pub Ad

 

Economy:

  

Agriculture

 

Read the Daily CA in PDF Format here:

 


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