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

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


OFB corporatisation gets Cabinet approval

Part of: GS Prelims and GS -III – Defence and security 

In news

  • The Union Cabinet approved a plan to corporatise the Ordnance Factory Board (OFB).
  • OFB has 41 factories which will be divided into seven fully government owned corporate entities on the lines of Defence Public Sector Undertakings (DPSU).
  • Once implemented, the OFB will cease to exist.
  • There will be no change in service conditions  of the employees

Benefits of the approval

  • Make the country self-sufficient in defence manufacturing
  • Transform the ordnance factories into productive and profitable assets,
  • Deepened specialisation in the product range
  • Enhanced competitiveness
  • Improved quality 
  • Help in overcoming various existing shortcomings like eliminating inefficient supply chains 

Tamil Nadu industrial corridor

Part of: GS Prelims and GS -II – International relations and GS-III – Infrastructure

In news

  • The Asian Development Bank (ADB) and the Government of India signed a $484 million loan to improve transport connectivity and facilitate industrial development in the Chennai–Kanyakumari Industrial Corridor (CKIC) in Tamil Nadu.
    • CKIC is part of India’s East Coast Economic Corridor (ECEC).
    • It stretches from West Bengal to Tamil Nadu 
    • It connects India to the production networks of South, Southeast, and East Asia. 
    • ADB is the lead partner of the Government of India in developing ECEC.

About the CKIC

  • The project shall provide: 
    • seamless road connectivity across industrial clusters
    • transport gateways and consumption centers
    • help reduce logistics and production costs 
  • Objective: To accelerate industrial transformation by providing essential transport, energy and urban infrastructure 
  • It emphasises sustainability, climate change resilience, and road safety elements. 

Features of the CKIC

  • Seven-year contracts for long-term maintenance of road projects.
  • Incorporating climate change adaptation measures in highway upgrades such as improved drainage, raised road embankments and resizing of bridges and culverts.
  • Strengthening road safety improvement programs through advanced technologies.

Pic courtesy: Wikipedia


Children and Digital Dumpsites Report released by WHO 

Part of: GS Prelims and GS -III – E-waste 

In news

  • The World Health Organization (WHO) in its recent report “Children and Digital Dumpsites” has highlighted the risk that children working in informal processing are facing due to discarded electronic devices or e-waste.
    • It is the first ever WHO report on electronic waste and child health.
    • E waste refers to old, end-of-life or discarded electronic items and their parts. 

Key highlights of the report 

  • Around 12.9 million women are working in informal waste sector exposing them to toxic e-waste (like Nickel, lead and Mercury) and put them and their unborn children at risk. 
  • Children exposed to e waste are particularly vulnerable to the toxic chemicals they contain due to their smaller size, less developed organs and rapid rate of growth and Development. 

Suggestions 

  • Environmentally sound disposal of e-waste and safety of workers. 
  • Monitor e waste exposure and health outcomes. 
  • Facilitate better use of e waste

Do you know?

  • According to UN Global e waste monitor 2020 53.6 million metric tonnes of e waste was generated worldwide in 2009. 
  • Out of this, only 17.4% of e waste was collected and recycled. 
  • India is the third largest electronic waste generator after China and USA. 
  • In 2016 India enacted E waste (Management) Rules under which e Waste is categorised under two broad categories: Information technology and Telecommunications equipment and consumer electrical and electronic. 

Pic courtesy: Iasbaba


India extends $100 mn loan to Sri Lanka for Solar Energy Projects

Part of: GS Prelims and GS II – GS -II – International relations 

In news 

  • Recently, India has signed an agreement extending a USD 100 million Line of Credit (LOC) to Sri Lanka for Solar Energy projects. 
    • The LOC is for a period of 20 years, with an interest of 1.75%.
    • It was signed between the Government of Sri Lanka and the Export-Import (EXIM) Bank of India.
    • EXIM Bank is a specialized financial institution, wholly owned by the Government of India.
  • LOC will help Financing various projects in Sri Lanka’s solar energy sector 

India’s Initiatives for Global Cooperation Solar Energy

    • Launched by the Indian Prime Minister and the French President in 2015 
    • ISA’ vision: To enable One World, One Sun, One Grid (OSOWOG).
    • Focus: A framework for facilitating global cooperation, building a global ecosystem of interconnected renewable energy resources (mainly solar energy) that can be smoothly shared.

Schemes for Promoting Solar Energy in India


Miscellaneous

New Norms on Hallmarking of Gold

  • Recently, the Ministry of Consumer Affairs, Food & Public Distribution made it mandatory for the hallmarking of gold jewellery, which will be implemented in a phased manner.

  • Hallmarking is a “guarantee of purity or fineness” of precious metal articles, which started in 2000.
  • Earlier, it was optional for the jewellers
    • In the first phase, jewellers having annual turnover above Rs. 40 lakh will come under its purview.
    • The Bureau of Indian Standard (BIS) operates the gold and silver hallmarking scheme in India,
    • Till now, only 40% of gold jewellery has been hallmarked.
  • Benefits: 
    • Protect the public against cheating
    • Transparency 
    • Quality assurance 

(Mains Focus)


HEALTH/ SCIENCE & TECH

Topic:

  • GS-2: Issues relating to development and management of health
  • GS-3: Awareness in the fields of IT

Technology in India’s health sector

Context: According to WHO “Universal health coverage (UHC) is the single most powerful concept that public health has to offer. It is a powerful social equalizer and the ultimate expression of fairness.” 

Emerging technologies can be leveraged to move towards the goalpost of UHC, some of these are

  • Robots: Hospitals can use robots to deliver medicines and food to COVID-19 patients. This helps to reduce the chances of hospital staff contracting the infection.
  • Blockchain technology: The health blockchain would contain a complete indexed history of all medical data, including formal medical records and health data from mobile applications & wearable sensors. This can help in addressing the interoperability challenges that health information and technology systems face. 
  • AI and the Internet of Medical Things: IoMT is defined as a connected infrastructure of medical devices, software applications, and health systems and services. IoMT can be utilized to provide health-care applications that can help in quick diagnosis of illness.
  • Cloud computing is another application that can facilitate collaboration and data exchanges between doctors, departments, and even institutions and medical providers to enable best treatment.

What are the possible challenges to above technologies?

The possible constraints in this effort are 

  • Standardisation of health data
  • Developing a template for sharing data
  • Reengineering many of the institutional and structural arrangements in the medical sector
  • Organisational silos in bureaucracy
  • Data security and Data privacy
  • High investments

Way Ahead

  • Digital Strategy: India needs to own its digital health strategy that works and leads towards universal health coverage and person-centred care. Such a strategy should emphasise the ethical appropriateness of digital technologies, cross the digital divide, and ensure inclusion across the economy.
  • Using Local Knowledge: In addition to robust health systems, an effective national response must also draw upon local knowledge. Primary health centres in India could examine local/traditional knowledge and experience and then use it along with modern technology.

Connecting the dots:


ECONOMY/ GOVERNANCE

Topic:

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

Deep Ocean Mission

Context: The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs approved the Deep Ocean Mission of the Ministry of Earth Sciences with a view to explore the deep ocean for resources and develop deep-sea technologies for sustainable use of ocean resources.

To be implemented at an estimated cost of Rs 4,077 crore for a period of five years, the mission supports the blue economy initiatives of the Government of India. 

  • Blue Economy is the sustainable use of ocean resources for economic growth, improved livelihoods and jobs, and ocean ecosystem health.

Importance of Oceans for India

  • For India, with 7,517 km long coastline, nice coastal states with 30 percent of the country’s population and three sides surrounded by the oceans, the ocean is a major economic factor supporting fisheries and aquaculture, tourism, livelihoods and blue trade. 
  • The oceans are also storehouse of food, energy, minerals, medicines.
  • They are also modulator of weather and climate system of earth. Thus, oceanic health is important for Indian nonsoons.
  • Oceans also provide ecosystem services like carbon sequestration, coastal protection, waste disposal and the existence of biodiversity.

The Deep Ocean Mission will consist of six major components:

  1. Development of Technologies for Deep Sea Mining, and Manned Submersible
  • A manned submersible will be developed to carry three people to a depth of 6,000 metres in the ocean with a suite of scientific sensors and tools. 
  • An Integrated Mining System will also be developed for mining Polymetallic Nodules from a depth of 6,000 metres in the central Indian Ocean. 
  1. Development of Ocean Climate Change Advisory Services
  • A suite of observations and models will be developed to understand and provide future projections of important climate variables on seasonal to decadal time scales under this proof of concept component. 
  1. Technological innovations for exploration and conservation of deep-sea biodiversity:
  • The bio-prospecting of deep-sea flora and fauna including microbes and studies on sustainable utilisation of deep-sea bio-resources will be the main focus of the mission. 
  1. Deep Ocean Survey and Exploration:
  • The primary objective of this component is to explore and identify potential sites of multi-metal Hydrothermal Sulphides mineralisation along the Indian Ocean mid-oceanic ridges. 
  1. Energy and freshwater from the ocean:
  • Studies and detailed engineering design for offshore Ocean Thermal Energy Conversion (OTEC) powered desalination plant is envisaged in the concept proposal.
  1. Advanced Marine Station for Ocean Biology:
  • This component is aimed at the development of human capacity and enterprise in ocean biology and engineering. 
  • This component will translate research into the industrial application and product development through on-site business incubator facilities. 

Conclusion

One of the biggest bottleneck for this initiative is that the technologies required for deep-sea mining have strategic implications and are not commercially available. Thus, there is scope for indigenisation.

Connecting the dots:


(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 International Solar Alliance (ISA) was launched by Which of the following countries?

  1. India and France
  2. India and China
  3. India and USA
  4. India and Russia

Q.2 Consider the following statements regarding East Coast Economic Corridor (ECEC):

  1. It stretches from Sikkim to Tamil Nadu 
  2. ADB is the lead partner of the Government of India in developing ECEC.

Which of the following is/are correct?

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

Q.3 Which of the following will be the nodal Ministry for the Deep Ocean Mission (DOM)?

  1. Ministry of Environemnt
  2. Ministry of Defence
  3. Ministry of Sci and Technology
  4. Ministry of  Earth Sciences (MoES)

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

1 D
2 D

Must Read

On Big Tech:

Indian Express

On Artificial Intelligence:

Hindustan Times

On UAPA:

The Hindu

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