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DAILY CURRENT AFFAIRS IAS | UPSC Prelims and Mains Exam – 23rd August 2021

  • IASbaba
  • August 24, 2021
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(PRELIMS + MAINS FOCUS)


Drug abuse on rise, will have huge consequences: HC

Part of: GS Prelims and GS- II –  Health; Policies and interventions

In news The Delhi High Court has observed that the menace of drug abuse was on the rise in the country.

  • It’s consequences can be experienced across the board from causing economic issues to societal disintegration.
  • The harmful effects of drugs on an individual and on society have been researched extensively 
  • The purpose of enacting the NDPS [Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances] Act was to curb this menace.
  • An NCB team had recently intercepted a person of Nepali nationality who was caught with 475 g of charas.

What is Narcotics Control Bureau?

  • It was constituted by the Government of India in 1986 under the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act, 1985.
  • It is the apex coordinating agency under the Ministry of Home Affairs.
  • The National Policy on Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances is based on Article 47 of the Indian Constitution which directs the State to endeavour to bring about prohibition of the consumption, except for medicinal purposes, of intoxicating drugs injurious to health.
  • Drug abuse control is the responsibility of the central government.
  • Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act, 1985
  • It provides for the penalty of property derived from or used in illegal traffic in narcotic drugs.
  • The Act made an express provision for constituting a Central Authority for the purpose of exercising the powers and functions of the Central Government under the Act.

News source: TH 


Madur mats

Part of: GS Prelims and GS – I- Culture; GS-III – GI tag

In news Two women from Sabang in West Bengal’s Paschim Medinpur district have been given the National Handicraft Award in recognition of their outstanding contribution to the development of crafts.

Gauri Rani Jana and Gauri Bala Das were honoured for their skills in making madur floor mats that are unique to West Bengal. 

About Madur mats

  • These are An intrinsic part of the Bengali lifestyle
  • They are made of natural fibres.
  • Around 74% of the weavers make hand woven mats and the remaining develop loom based products. 
  • Few of the traditional mat making families still retain the knowledge of weaving a fine variety of exclusive mats locally known as Masland or Mataranchi.
  • WBKVIB (West Bengal Khadi & Village Industries Board) has taken up an initiative to develop skill, capacity and institutions of Madurkathi artisans, facilitate market linkage in order to augment their earnings and provide infrastructural support in Purba and Paschim Medinipur.
  • Women Of the Households Are Involved In Weaving This beautiful craft.

About Masland

  • Masland is a fine quality madur mat, which takes weeks to weave. 
  • During the 18th century, Masland mats flourished under royal patronage. 
  • In 1744, Nawab Alibardi Khan issued a charter to land-owning jagirdar in this regard, and as a result, it was obligatory to supply Masland mats for use in the Collectorate.

Do you know?

Madurkathi

  • Madurkathi was awarded the geographical indication (GI) tag by the Geographical Indication Registry in April 2018. 
  • Madurkathi is a rhizome-based plant ( Cyperus tegetum or Cyperus pangorei ) found abundantly in the alluvial tracts of Purba and Paschim Medinipur.

News source: TH 


India’s Wool Sector

Part of: Prelims and GS – III – Employment 

In news Amid the rising demand of import of wool, shepherds in Uttarakhand will get a batch of lambs through crossbreeding of sheep indigenous to the region with Australian Merino sheep by the end of the year.

  • Australian Merino sheep are known to have the softest and finest wool used for apparels.
  • The main trigger for import was the deteriorating quality and quantity of carpet and apparel grades wool, largely due to inbreeding.

wool sector in India

  • India is the seventh-largest producer of wool and accounts for nearly 2 to 3% of total world production.
  • India has the third largest sheep population in the world with over 64 million sheep. The annual wool production is in the range of 43-46 million kg.
  • Due to the insufficient domestic production, India depends on imports for raw wool, particularly on Australia and New Zealand.
    • This wool is then used to prepare products like carpets, yarn, fabrics and garments for the domestic market and for exporting, especially to the United States and Europe.
  • Rajasthan is the largest wool producer and is known for its superior carpet grade Chokla and Magra wool.
    • Carpet grade is rougher than apparel grade and accounts for 85% of India’s production.
  • Apparel grade wool accounts for less than 5% of production and coarse grade fit for making rough blankets accounts for the rest.
  • Significance:
    • The wool textile industry provides employment to 2.7 million workers – 1.2 million in the organised sector, 1.2 million in sheep rearing and farming, and 0.3 million weavers in the carpet sector.

News source: TH 


Malabar naval exercise

Part of: GS Prelims and GS- II – International Relations; GS – III – Defence and security

In news The Quad countries — India, the U.S., Australia and Japan — will carry out the next edition of the Malabar naval exercise from August 26 to 29 off the coast of Guam amid mounting global concerns over China’s growing military muscle-flexing in the Indo-Pacific region.

  • Indian stealth frigate INS Shivalik and anti-submarine warfare corvette INS Kadmatt arrived in Guam, an island territory of the U.S. in the Western Pacific,
  • The Malabar-21 will witness high-tempo exercises among destroyers, frigates, corvettes, submarines, helicopters and long-range maritime patrol aircraft of the participating navies.
  • Senior officials from the Quad nations had held talks on advancing practical cooperation to achieve the goal of a free and open Indo-Pacific.
  • China has been suspicious about the purpose of the exercise as it feels that the annual war game is an effort to contain its influence in the Indo-Pacific. 

About Malabar Exercise

  • Malabar is an annual military exercise between the navies of India, Japan and the U.S. held alternately in the Indian and Pacific Oceans. 
  • The annual Malabar exercise started in 1992 as a bilateral event between the navies of India and the United States. 
  • It was expanded into a trilateral format with the inclusion of Japan in 2015.
  • This year’s Malabar exercise will see participation from Australia as well.

Uttarakhand’s Narayankoti Temple: Adopt a Heritage Project

Part of: GS Prelims and GS- III – Tourism sector

In news Recently, the Narayankoti temple (Uttarakhand) has been included under the Centre’s Adopt a Heritage project.

Adopt a Heritage Project:

  • Launched on 27th September, 2017 (World Tourism Day), it is a collaborative effort by the Ministry of Tourism, Ministry of Culture and Archaeological Survey of India (ASI), State/UTs Governments.
  • Aim:
    • To develop tourism amenities at heritage/ natural/ tourist sites spread across India to make them tourist friendly, in a planned and phased manner.
  • Implementation:
    • The sites/monuments are selected on the basis of tourist footfall and visibility and can be adopted by private and public sector companies and individuals — known as Monument Mitras — for an initial period of five years.
  • The Monument Mitras are selected by the ‘oversight and vision committee,’ co-chaired by the Tourism Secretary and the Culture Secretary, on the basis of the bidder’s ‘vision’ for development of all amenities at the heritage site.
  • There is no financial bid involved.
  • The corporate sector is expected to use Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) funds for the upkeep of the site.

About Narayankoti Temple:

  • The temple is a group of ancient temples, about 2 km from Guptkashi on the Rudraprayag-Gaurikund highway.
  • This is the only place in the country which has nine planetary temples in a group that are a “symbol of nine planets”.
  • It is devoted to Lakshmi Narayana who is associated with Pandavas.
  • It is believed that these temples were constructed in the 9th century.

Other Related Schemes

News source: IE


(News from PIB)


PM-KUSUM and Rooftop Solar Programme Phase-II

Part of: GS Prelims and GS- II – Government policies and interventions

In news Recently, the Ministry of New and Renewable (MNRE) has conducted a review of implementation of Prime Minister’s Kisan Urja Suraksha Evam Utthan Mahabhiyan (PM-KUSUM) scheme and Rooftop Solar Programme Phase-II and suggested measures for expansion of the schemes.

About PM-KUSUM:

  • The PM-KUSUM scheme was launched by the MNRE in 2019, to support installation of off-grid solar pumps in rural areas and reduce dependence on grid, in grid-connected areas.
  • The objective of the scheme is to enable farmers to set up solar power generation capacity on their barren lands and to sell it to the grid.
  • The government’s Budget for 2020-21 expanded the scope for the scheme with 20 lakh farmers to be provided assistance to install standalone solar pumps; another 15 lakh farmers to be given help to solarise their grid-connected pump sets.

About Rooftop Solar Programme Phase II: 

  • The aim is to achieve a cumulative capacity of 40,000 MW from Rooftop Solar Projects by the year 2022.
  • In a grid-connected rooftop or small Solar Voltaic Panel system, the DC power generated from the Solar Voltaic panel is converted to AC power using the power conditioning unit and is fed to the grid.
  • This scheme is being implemented in the states by distribution companies (DISCOMs).
  • The MNRE is providing a 40% subsidy for the first 3 kW and 20% subsidy beyond 3 kW and upto 10 kW of solar panel capacity.
  • Objectives of the Rooftop Solar Programme
    • To promote the grid-connected SPV rooftop and small SPV power generating plants among the residential, community, institutional, industrial and commercial establishments.
    • To mitigate the dependence on fossil fuel based electricity generation and encourage environment-friendly Solar electricity generation.
    • To create an enabling environment for investment in the solar energy sector by the private sector, state government and the individuals.
    • To create an enabling environment for the supply of solar power from rooftop and small plants to the grid.

News source: PIB


NTPC commissions largest Floating Solar PV Project in the country

Part of: GS Prelims and GS-III- Infrastructure

In news: The National Thermal Power Corporation (NTPC) Ltd, has commissioned the largest floating solar PV project of 25MW on the reservoir of its Simhadri thermal station in Visakhapatnam, Andhra Pradesh. 

  • This is also the first solar project to be set up under the Flexibilization Scheme, notified by the Government of India in 2018.

About floating solar PV project 

  • The floating solar installation has a unique anchoring design and it is spread over 75 acres in an RW reservoir. 
  • This floating solar project has the potential to generate electricity from more than 1 lakh solar PV modules that would not only help to light around 7,000 households but also ensure at least 46,000 tons of CO2e are kept at arm’s length every year during the lifespan of this project. 
  • The project is also expected to save 1,364 million litres of water per annum. 
  • This would be adequate to meet the yearly water requirements of 6,700 households.

Simhadri thermal station

  • The 2000MW coal-based Simhadri Station is the first power project to implement an open sea intake from the Bay of Bengal which has been functional for more than 20 years.
  • NTPC is also planning to set up a hydrogen-based micro-grid system on a pilot basis at Simhadri.

NTPC 

  • NTPC is India’s first energy company to declare its energy compact goals as part of the UN High-level Dialogue on Energy (HLDE) and has set a target to install 60 gigawatts (GW) of renewable energy (RE) capacity by 2032. 
  • With a total installed capacity of 66900 MW, NTPC Group has 71 Power stations including 29 Renewable projects. 

News Source: PIB


(Mains Focus)


ECONOMY/ GOVERNANCE/ RIGHTS

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

Gig Workers

Context: Recent posts on Social Media levelling allegation on Food Delivery Companies

Some of the complaints on Food Delivery Platforms like Swiggy & Zomato are:

  • Low payouts
  • Opaque payout calculations and alleged cheating, 
  • Unexplained differences in surge rates
  • Order clubbing and assignments to avoid incentive pay
  • Zone extensions to avoid return bonuses

Issues: 

  • Lack of Transparency & Trust: Many of the grievances arise because of a trust deficit between the gig workers and the platforms. 
  • Outdated Governance Framework: India has protected workers through heavy-handed industrial regulation and labour laws, which suit the factory floor. They are irrelevant, insufficient, and ineffective in addressing disputes that originate on these platforms.
  • Algorithm dependent decisions: A large component of delivery platform’s cost is gig worker fees. An analysis of the grievances suggests that many are linked to the way gig work is assigned, performed and rewarded – all of which are decided by Machine Learning (ML) algorithms that try to cut costs & maximise profits.

Way Ahead: 

  • Need to harness the power of technology towards improving trust between platforms and gig workers.
  • Algorithm audits are one such technique, where an auditor has access to the algorithms and examine the results produced by them to expose any biases or shortcomings.
  • Another technique is the use of “sock puppets” where researchers use computer programmes to impersonate user accounts. Auditors can use these accounts to identify instances where the platform algorithms produce undesirable results. 
  • Regulators can examine work conditions as a function of work allocation, performance, and pay related to each gig, and mandate transparency related to each of these.

Connecting the dots:


(RSTV Debate)


10TH AUG 2021: The Big Picture – Global temperature: UN’s code red

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-DNNBD_nLF0&t=588s

ENVIRONMENT/ GOVERNANCE

  • GS-23: Environmental Conservation
  • GS-2: Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues arising out of their design and implementation

Global temperature: UN’s code red

Context: Global temperature: UN’s code red. United Nations’ inter-governmental panel on climate change (IPCC) has projected global temperature to reach or exceed 1.5°C of warming over the next 20 years under all scenarios. 

  • The Climate Change 2021: The Physical Science Basis report has been prepared by the IPCC’s Working Group I and is the first of the three instalments of the Sixth Assessment Report (AR6).
  • It provides clarity on the future of the planet as concentrations of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions continue to accumulate unabated in the atmosphere and declare that almost all the observed warming of the planet since the late-1800s is human caused and most of them are irreversible.

KEY TAKEAWAYS:

  • The average surface temperature of the Earth will cross 1.5 degrees Celsius in the next 20 years, and 2°C by the middle of the century without sharp reduction of emissions. 
  • There will be further warming in the coming decades unless there are immediate, strong and rapid reductions to global emissions. 
  • Thus, even if emissions are brought to net-zero by mid-century, there will be an “overshoot” of the 1.5°C limit by 0.1°C. 
  • Retreating snowlines and melting glaciers can cause a change in the water cycle, the precipitation patterns, increased floods as well as an increased scarcity of water in the future.
  • The effect of human activities has warmed the climate at a rate unprecedented in 2,000 years. 
  • CO2 concentrations are the highest in at least two million years Carbon budget for a 66 per cent chance of keeping warming to below 1.5C is now 400 billion tonnes of CO2. 
  • Extreme sea level events that previously occurred once in 100 years could happen every year by the end of this century.

Effect on India: 

  • As the rise in temperature of Indian ocean will be comparatively higher so will be case in increase of sea level rise. 
  • Extreme temperatures, draught, cyclones, etc. all kind of effects Indian subcontinent will face.
  • India would face similar impacts in addition to frequent occurrence of glacial lake bursts in the Himalayan region and inundation of low-lying coastal areas. 
  • For India, possible increase in annual mean precipitation could be accompanied by more severe rainfall events over southern parts of the country in the next few decades.
  • Also, if emissions continue to rise, oceans and land, two important sinks and the latter a key part of India’s climate action plan, would be greatly weakened in their ability to absorb atmospheric carbon dioxide.

What Needs to Be Done:

  • The report explains that from a physical science perspective, limiting human-induced global warming to a specific level requires limiting cumulative carbon dioxide emissions, reaching at least net zero CO2 emissions, along with strong reductions in other greenhouse gas emissions.
  • “Strong, rapid and sustained reductions in methane emissions would also limit the warming effect resulting from declining aerosol pollution”.
  • All nations, especially the G20 and other major emitters, need to join the net-zero emissions coalition and reinforce their commitments.
  • Greater emphasis on widening observational networks, sustained monitoring, expanding research on regional changes in climate and their impacts. 
  • Afforestation efforts helps to mitigate climate change through carbon sequestration.  

Conclusion 

  • The message of the IPCC report is crystal clear: we have to raise the ambition level of mitigation. Inclusive and green economies, prosperity, cleaner air and better health are possible for all, if we respond to this crisis with solidarity and courage. 

Can you answer this question now?

  • Elucidate the United Nations’ inter-governmental panel on climate change (IPCC) report on the Climate Change 2021.

(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.

Q.1 Consider the following statements:

  1. India is the seventh-largest producer of wool 
  2. India has the third largest sheep population in the world.

Which of the above is or are correct? 

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

Q.2 Prime Minister’s Kisan Urja Suraksha Evam Utthan Mahabhiyan (PM-KUSUM) scheme comes under which of the following Ministry?

  1. Ministry of Power
  2. Ministry of Agriculture
  3. Ministry of MSMEs
  4. Ministry of New and Renewable (MNRE) Energy

Q.3 Where is Narayankoti Temple located?

  1. Uttarakhand 
  2. Tamil Nadu
  3. Himachal Pradesh
  4. Madhya Pradesh

ANSWERS FOR 21st August 2021 TEST YOUR KNOWLEDGE (TYK)

1 C
2 B
3 A

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