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DAILY CURRENT AFFAIRS IAS | UPSC Prelims and Mains Exam – 18th February 2021

  • IASbaba
  • February 18, 2021
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(PRELIMS + MAINS FOCUS)


75 years of Shri Ram Chandra Mission

Part of: GS Prelims and GS – I – Culture

In news

  • The Prime Minister recently addressed the event organized to commemorate 75 years of Shri Ram Chandra Mission.

Important value additions 

  • Shri Ram Chandra Mission (SRCM) is a non-profit organization and a spiritual movement originating in India. 
  • It teaches the practice of “Sahaj Marg” or “Heartfulness Meditation”. 
  • It was registered in 1945 by Ram Chandra of Shahjahanpur, Uttar Pradesh.
  • Current headquarter:  Hyderabad, Telangana
  • Sahaj Marg (The Natural Path) is a form of Raja Yoga. 
  • It is a meditation system involving meditation, cleaning, and prayer.

Pilot Pey Jal Survekshan launched 

Part of: GS Prelims and GS – II – Policies and interventions

In news

  • Pilot Pey Jal Survekshan under Jal Jeevan Mission- Urban, JJM-U was launched recently. 
  • Ministry: Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs 

Key takeaways 

  • It will be conducted in cities to ascertain equitable distribution of water, reuse of wastewater and mapping of water bodies with respect to quantity and quality of water through a challenge process.
  • It will be first launched in 10 cities- Agra, Badlapur, Bhubaneswar, Churu, Kochi, Madurai, Patiala, Rohtak, Surat and Tumkur.
  • JJM-U is designed to provide universal coverage of water supply to all households through functional taps in all 4,378 statutory towns in accordance with SDG – 6.

Related articles:


Enrolment module for TECHNOGRAHIS launched

Part of: GS Prelims and GS – II – Policies and Interventions

In news

  • An Enrolment Module for TECHNOGRAHIS has been launched. 
  • Ministry: Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs (MoHUA).

Key takeaways 

  • TECHNOGRAHIS are students from IITs, NITs, engineering, planning and architecture colleges, faculty members, academicians, and stakeholders.
  • MoHUA is promoting six Light House Projects (LHPs) as Live Laboratories for transfer of technology to the field.
  • The LHPs are model housing projects. 
  • About 1,000 houses at each location are being built with allied infrastructure facilities.
  • Interested candidates can register themselves to visit these Live Laboratories in LHP sites for learning, consultation, generation of ideas and solutions, experimentation, innovation, and technical awareness.
  • They will also get regular updates from the sites for information dissemination till the completion of the LHPs. 

NASA’s Perseverance and China’s Tianwen-1 set to land on Mars

Part of: GS Prelims and GS – III – Space; Sci & Tech

In news

  • NASA’s Perseverance and China’s Tianwen-1 are set to land on Mars on February 18 and in May 2021 respectively.

NASA’s Perseverance Rover

  • It is the most sophisticated Mission. 
  • It is set to land at Jezero Crater, which was likely filled with water in the past.
  • It is NASA’s 4th generation, Mars Rover. 
  • Goal: To look for biosignatures in the dried-up lake bed at Jezero Crater.

Tianwen-1

  • Tianwen-1 is the first mission to Mars from China. 
  • It carries an orbiter, a lander, and a rover. 
  • It will orbit Mars for a few months before attempting to land in May this year.

E-Chhawani portal launched 

Part of: GS Prelims and GS – III – Defence and Security

In news

  • E-Chhawani portal and mobile app was launched recently. 
  • Ministry: Ministry of Defence 

Key takeaways 

  • Objective: To provide online civic services to over 20 lakh residents of 62 Cantonment Boards across India.
  • Through the portal, the residents of cantonment areas will be able to avail basic services like renewal of leases, application for birth & death certificates, water & sewerage connections, etc. 
  • Developed by: eGov Foundation, Bharat Electronics Limited (BEL), Directorate General Defence Estates (DGDE) and National Informatics Centre (NIC).

Constitutional provisions regarding Governors of India

Part of: GS Prelims and GS – II – Constitution

In news

  • Dr. Kiran Bedi was recently removed as Puducherry Lieutenant Governor. 
  • Telangana Governor Dr. Tamilisai Soundararajan has been given additional charge as Lieutenant Governor of Puducherry.

Important value additions 

  • Article 153: There shall be a Governor for each State. 
  • One person can be appointed as Governor for two or more States.
  • The governor acts in ‘Dual Capacity’ as the Constitutional head of the state and as the representative.
  • He acts as a bridge between union and state governments.
  • Article 157 and Article 158: Eligibility requirements. A governor must:
    • Be a citizen of India.
    •  Be at least 35 years of age.
    • Not be a member of the either house of the parliament or house of the state legislature.
    • Not hold any office of profit.
  • Term of office : 5 years
  • It can be terminated earlier by:
    • Dismissal by the President on the advice of the council of ministers. 
    • Dismissal by the President whose acts are upheld by courts as unconstitutional and malafide.
    • Resignation by the governor.

Miscellaneous

Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala

  • Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala was appointed head of the World Trade Organisation. 
  • She is the first female and first African to hold the role in its history. 

  • She will serve a four-year term as director general.
  • WTO is an international body that deals with the rules of trade between nations.

(Mains Focus)


SOCIETY/ GOVERNANCE

Topic:

  • GS- 1: Society
  • GS-2: Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues arising out of their design and implementation

Vaccine Hesitancy

  • Vaccine hesitancy is defined as a reluctance or refusal to vaccinate despite the availability of vaccine services.

What factors has led to Vaccine Hesitancy?

The debates around hesitancy for COVID-19 vaccines include 

  • concerns over safety, efficacy, and side effects due to the record-breaking timelines of the vaccines
  • competition among several companies, misinformation
  • Religious taboos
  • A storm of misinformation around COVID-19 vaccines 
  • Susceptible of people to misinformation due to existing biases, information overload and limited attention spans.

Way Ahead

  • The target audience must be the swing population i.e., people who are skeptical but can be persuaded through scientific facts and proper communication.
  • Use the celebrity effect — the ability of prominent personalities to influence others to take vaccines.
  • Celebrities can serve as agents of positive social change, erasing scepticism associated with vaccine adoption and prompting information-seeking and preventative behaviours
  • Fact-check any news related to COVID-19 vaccines.
  • The infodemic around vaccines can be tackled only by actively debunking myths, misinformation and fake news on COVID-19 vaccines.

Connecting the dots:

  • Sociological analysis of rumours: Click here

ECONOMY/ GOVERNANCE

Topic:

  • GS-2: Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues arising out of their design and implementation.
  • GS-3: Indian Economy and issues relating to planning, mobilization, of resources, growth, development and employment; Government Budgeting

Green Hydrogen

Context: Less than four months after the USA announced an investment up to $100 million in hydrogen production and fuel cell technologies R & D, India has announced a National Hydrogen Mission (NHM).

Finance Minister in the Union budget for 2020-21 formally proposed for NHM which aims for generation of hydrogen from green power resources. The Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE) will publish the draft regulations within a month.

Pilot Projects underway in India

  • In October, Delhi became the first Indian city to operate buses running on hydrogen spiked compressed natural gas (H-CNG) in a six-month pilot project. The buses will run on a new technology patented by IOCL for producing H-CNG — 18 per cent hydrogen in CNG — directly from natural gas.
  • Power major NTPC Ltd is operating a pilot to run 10 hydrogen fuel cell-based electric buses and fuel cell electric cars in Leh and Delhi, and is considering setting up a green hydrogen production facility in Andhra Pradesh.

Hydrogen Fuel

  • Hydrogen does not occur freely in nature in useful quantities.
  • It can be made from natural gas or it can be made by passing electric current through water.
  • When hydrogen is burned, it only emits water vapour and carbon dioxide (CO2) is not produced. 
  • It is more efficient than internal combustion engine. 
  • Although hydrogen is a clean molecule, the process of extracting it is energy-intensive. Also, manufacturing hydrogen fuel based vehicle is expensive.

The sources and processes by which hydrogen is derived, are categorised by colour tabs. 

  • Hydrogen produced from fossil fuels is called grey hydrogen; this constitutes the bulk of the hydrogen produced today. 
  • Hydrogen generated from fossil fuels with carbon capture and storage options is called blue hydrogen
  • Hydrogen generated entirely from renewable power sources is called green hydrogen. In the last process, electricity generated from renewable energy is used to split water into hydrogen and oxygen.

The case for green hydrogen

Green hydrogen has specific advantages. 

  • Environment Friendly: Green Hydrogen as energy source is seen as the next big thing as its usage would lead to zero emissions
  • Potential to Decarbonise various sectors: It is a clean burning molecule, which can decarbonise a range of sectors including iron and steel, chemicals, and transportation. 
  • Efficient utilization of Renewable Energy: Renewable energy that cannot be stored or used by the grid can be channelled to produce hydrogen.
  • Reduced Dependence on Rare Minerals: Green Hydrogen also holds the key to clean electric mobility that doesn’t depend on rare minerals. Green Hydrogen helps achieve long-term vision of reduced dependency on minerals and rare-earth element-based battery as energy storage.
  • Helps Achieve Paris Goal: Green hydrogen energy is vital for India to meet its Nationally Determined Contributions and ensure regional and national energy security, access and availability
  • Energy Security: Green energy helps reduce import dependency on fossil fuels

How Hydrogen based vehicles are better than Battery based Electric Vehicles?

  • EV still has dependence on Coal: India’s electricity grid is predominantly coal-based and will continue to be so, thus negating collateral benefits from a large-scale EV push — as coal will have to be burnt to generate the electricity that will power these vehicles
  • In several countries that have gone in for an EV push, much of the electricity is generated from renewables — in Norway for example, it is 99 per cent from hydroelectric power.
  • Applicable to multiple sectors: Experts believe hydrogen vehicles can be especially effective in long-haul trucking and other hard-to-electrify sectors such as shipping and long-haul air travel. Using heavy batteries in these applications would be counterproductive, especially for countries such as India, where the electricity grid is predominantly coal-fired.
  • Efficiency: Hydrogen based vehicles enables a refuelling time of just five minutes, compared to 30-45 minutes charging for a Battery based EV. Also, consumers get about five times better energy storage per unit volume and weight

Challenges with regard to Hydrogen Fuel

  • Fuelling Infrastructure: A big barrier to the adoption of hydrogen fuel cell vehicles has been a lack of fuelling station infrastructure — fuel cell cars refuel in a similar way to conventional cars, but can’t use the same station (only 500 in the world & that too in Europe, Japan, South Korea)
  • Safety is seen as a concern: Hydrogen is pressurised and stored in a cryogenic tank, from there it is fed to a lower-pressure cell and put through an electro-chemical reaction to generate electricity.
  • Scaling up the technology and achieving critical mass remains the big challenge. More vehicles on the road and more supporting infrastructure can lower costs. 

Connecting the dots:

  • Hydrogen Fuel Cell for Vehicles: Click here

(TEST YOUR KNOWLEDGE)


Model questions: (You can now post your answers in comment section)

Note: 

  • Correct answers of today’s questions will be provided in next day’s DNA section. Kindly refer to it and update your answers. 
  • Comments Up-voted by IASbaba are also the “correct answers”.

Q.1 In a case, if the same person is appointed as the governor of two or more states, the emoluments and allowances payable to him will be born by:

  1. One of the two states decided by the President
  2. The first state in which he was appointed
  3. Both the states shared by in such proportion as determined by the President of India.
  4. The second state in which he has been appointed

Q.2 Consider the following states:

  1. Mumbai 
  2. Goa
  3. Chhattisgarh 
  4. Telangana 

Arrange the above states chronologically in order of their formation:

  1. 1-3-2-4
  2. 1-2-3-4
  3. 2-1-3-4
  4. 2-1-4-3

Q.3 E-Chhawani portal and mobile app was launched recently by which of the following Ministry? 

  1. Ministry of Power 
  2. Ministry of Environment 
  3. Ministry of Defence 
  4. Ministry of Education 

Q.4 Consider the following statements:

  1. Tianwen-1 is the first mission to Mars from Japan. 
  2. NASA’s Perseverance Rover will land at Jezero Crater, which was likely filled with water in the past.

Which of the above is/are correct?

  1. 1 only
  2. 2 only
  3. Both 1 and 2
  4. Neither 1 nor 2

ANSWERS FOR 17th February 2021 TEST YOUR KNOWLEDGE (TYK)

1 B
2 C

Must Read

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The Hindu

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The Hindu

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