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DAILY CURRENT AFFAIRS IAS | UPSC Prelims and Mains Exam – 22nd August 2022

  • IASbaba
  • August 22, 2022
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(PRELIMS & MAINS Focus)


Armed Forces Tribunal (AFT)

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Syllabus

  • Prelims – Polity & Governance

In News: Defence Minister said that the Government is committed to make the Armed Forces Tribunal (AFT) more empowered and responsive and implement measures that were required in this direction.

Armed Forces Tribunal

  • It was established in August 2009 by the Armed Forces Tribunal Act 2007.
  • The Law Commission’s 169th report stated that disciplinary and service matters required quick resolutions and proposed a special tribunal for the military forces.
  • It is a military tribunal with the power of adjudication or trial of disputes and complaints related to commission, appointments, enrolments and conditions of service.
  • Besides the Principal Bench in New Delhi, AFT has 10 Regional Benches.

Composition

  • The Tribunal is composed of Judicial Members as well as Administrative Members.
  • The Judicial Members are retired High Court Judges.
  • Administrative Members are retired Members of
  • the Armed Forces who have held rank of Major General/ equivalent or above for a period of three years or more; or
  • the Judge Advocate General(JAG) who have experience in the post for at least one year.

Power/Jurisdiction

  • The Tribunal is empowered to adjudicate appeals against any order, decision, finding or sentence passed by a court-martial or any related matter.
  • It is also empowered to grant bail to an accused who is in military custody.
  • The Tribunal may have the powers to substitute for the findings of the court martial. It may:
  • remit the whole or any part of the sentence, with or without conditions;
  • mitigate the punishment awarded
  • commute such punishment to any lesser punishment or enhance the sentence awarded by a court martial.
  • Armed Forces Tribunal has both Original and Appellate Jurisdiction

Jurisdiction of other courts

  • In 2015, a Supreme Court bench had held that AFT verdicts could not be challenged before the high courts.
  • It had also said that an appeal against the AFT orders would lie before the apex court but only if a point of law of general public importance is involved.
  • In January 2020, the Supreme Court made it clear that the verdicts of the Armed Forces Tribunals (AFT) can be challenged before the high courts.
  • In March 2022, Delhi High Court held that the Armed Forces Tribunal Act, 2007 excludes the administrative supervision of the High Court under Article 227(4) of the Constitution.
  • However, it does not exclude the judicial superintendence and jurisdiction under Article 226.

Note:

  • Over 4.83 crore cases are pending in courts across the country,
  • While over four crore cases are pending in lower courts, the Supreme Court has over 72,000 pending cases.

Must Read: Pendency of Cases + Mediation Bill, 2021

Source: The Hindu


GI Tag for Mithila Makhana

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Syllabus

  • Prelims – Current Affairs

In News: The government has awarded Geographical Indication (GI) tag to Mithila Makhana, a move which is expected to help growers get the maximum price for their premium produce.

  • Mithila Makhana or Makhan is a special variety of aquatic fox nut cultivated in Mithila region of Bihar and Nepal.

Aranmula Kannadi

  • The sector fell into bad times as labour and raw material costs increased due to floods and the pandemic.
  • Aranmula Kannadi literally means the mirror of Aranmula, a small town in Pathanamthitta district, Kerala. It was the first craft item from the state to receive a geographical indication tag in 2005.
  • These special and rare mirrors are created by a handful of highly skilled traditional artisan families belonging to the town’s Vishwakarma community.
  • The alloy formula they use is a secret passed down through generations.
  • Made on demand, every piece, irrespective of its size, takes significant time and effort to finish.

  • The uniqueness of this mirror is its front reflection, unlike the back reflection in normal glass mirrors. This means the reflective surface is placed on a back support, as opposed to regular mirrors where the reflective surface is behind glass.
  • These mirrors also have a cultural significance in Kerala: It is regarded as one of the eight auspicious objects (ashtamangalya) displayed during religious festivals or auspicious occasions and ceremonies.
  • It is believed to bring prosperity, luck and wealth into the life of its custodian.

GI Tag

  • A GI is primarily given to an agricultural, natural or a manufactured product (handicrafts and industrial goods) originating from a definite geographical territory.
  • Typically, such a name conveys an assurance of quality and distinctiveness, which is essentially attributable to the place of its origin.
  • GI tag in India is governed by Geographical Indications of Goods (Registration & Protection) Act, 1999. It is issued by the Geographical Indications Registry (Chennai).
  • This tag is valid for a period of 10 years following which it can be renewed.

Benefits of GI Tag

  • It provides legal protection to Indian Geographical Indications thus preventing unauthorized use of the registered GIs by others.
  • It promotes economic prosperity of producers of goods produced in a geographical territory.
  • The GI protection in India leads to recognition of the product in other countries thus boosting exports.

Must Read: Narasinghapettai nagaswaram

Source: Indian Express

Downtoearth.org

Previous Year Question

Q.1) Which of the following has/have been accorded ‘Geographical Indication’ status

  1. Banaras Brocades and Sarees
  2. Rajasthani Daal-Bati-Churma
  3. Tirupathi Laddu

Select the correct answer using the code given below.

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


Mandala Art

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Syllabus

  • Prelims – Art and Culture

What is mandala and its origins:

  • Literally meaning “circle” or “centre” in Sanskrit, mandala is defined by a geometric configuration that usually incorporates the circular shape in some form.
  • It is believed to be rooted in Buddhism, appearing in the first century BC in India.
  • In Hinduism, the mandala imagery first appeared in Rig Veda (1500 – 500 BCE).

The meaning of the motif:

  • It is believed that by entering the mandala and moving towards its centre, one is guided through the cosmic process of transforming the universe from one of suffering to that of joy.
  • The eight spokes of the wheel (the dharma chakra) represent the eightfold path of Buddhism (practices that lead to liberation from rebirth), the lotus flower depicts balance, and the sun represents the universe.
  • In Hinduism, a mandala or yantra is in the shape of a square with a circle at its centre.

Mandala in modern Indian art:

  • While it continues to appear in thangka paintings, it has a central place in the practice of mainstream artists associated with the tantric and neo-tantric spiritual movements.
  • In 1960s Sohan Qadri and Prafulla Mohanty gained widespread recognition for their works that were imbibed with tantric symbolism, such as mandalas that are also used in the rituals of tantric initiation.
  • Geometric compositions also dominated works of artists such as Biren De, GR Santosh, Shobha Broota, and famously SH Raza, who visualised the Bindu as the centre of his universe and the source of energy and life.

Source: Indian Express

Previous Year Question

Q.1) With reference to the history of India, the terms “kulyavapa” and “dronavapa” denote (2020)

  1. measurement of land
  2. coins of different monetary value
  3. classification of urban land
  4. religious rituals

Per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances

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Syllabus

  • Prelims – Science and Technology

In News: A recent study published in Environment Science and Technology has found that rainwater from many places across the globe is contaminated with “per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances,” (PFAs).

What are PFAs?

  • According to the US Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), PFAs are man-made chemicals used to make nonstick cookware, water-repellent clothing, stain-resistant fabrics, cosmetics, firefighting forms and many other products that resist grease, water and oil.
  • PFAs can migrate to the soil, water and air during their production and use.
  • They are called as “forever chemicals” because of their tendency to stick around in the atmosphere, rainwater and soil for long periods of time.
  • PFAs can migrate to the soil, water and air during their production and use.
  • Since most PFAs do not break down, they remain in the environment for long periods of time.
  • Some of these PFAs can build up in people and animals if they are repeatedly exposed to the chemicals.

What harm do PFAs cause?

  • A variety of health risks that are attributed to PFA exposure, include decreased fertility, developmental effects in children, interference with body hormones, increased cholesterol levels and increased risk of some cancers.
  • Recent research has also revealed that long-term low-level exposure to certain PFAs can make it difficult for humans to build antibodies after being vaccinated against various diseases.

How can these chemicals be removed from rainwater?

  • While there is no known method that can extract and remove PFAs from the atmosphere itself, there are many effective, albeit expensive, methods to remove them from rainwater that has been collected through various rainwater harvesting methods.
  • One way to do this would be to use a filtration system with activated carbon.
  • The activated carbon will need to be removed and replaced regularly.
  • Also, the old contaminated material must be destroyed.

Source: Indian Express

Previous Year Question

Q.1) With reference to polyethylene terephthalate, the use of which is so widespread in our daily lives, consider the following statements: (2022)

  1. Its fibres can be blended with wool and cotton fibres to reinforce their properties.
  2. Containers made of it can be used to store any alcoholic beverage.
  3. Bottles made of it can be recycled into other products.
  4. Articles made of it can be easily disposed of by incineration without causing greenhouse gas emissions.

Which of the statements given above are correct ?

  1. 1 and 3
  2. 2 and 4
  3. 1 and 4
  4. 2 and 3

National Automated Fingerprint Identification System (NAFIS)

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Syllabus

  • Prelims – Current Affairs

In News:  Union Home Minister inaugurated the National Automated Fingerprint Identification System (NAFIS).

  • According to the Ministry of Home Affairs, NAFIS, which was developed by the National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB), would help in the quick and easy disposal of cases with the help of a centralised fingerprint database
  • In April this year, Madhya Pradesh became the first state in the country to identify a deceased person through NAFIS.

What is NAFIS?

Conceptualized and managed by the NCRB at the Central Fingerprint Bureau (CFPB),the NAFIS project is a country-wide searchable database of crime- and criminal-related fingerprints.

  • The web-based application functions as a central information repository by consolidating fingerprint data from all states and Union Territories.
  • According to a 2020 report by the NCRB, it enables law enforcement agencies to upload, trace, and retrieve data from the database in real time on a 24×7 basis.
  • NAFIS assigns a unique 10-digit National Fingerprint Number (NFN) to each person arrested for a crime.
  • This unique ID will be used for the person’s lifetime, and different crimes registered under different FIRs will be linked to the same NFN.
  • By automating the collection, storage, and matching of fingerprints, along with digitizing the records of fingerprint data, NAFIS will “provide the much-needed unique identifier for every arrested person in the CCTNS (Crime and Criminal Tracking Network & Systems) database as both are connected at the backend.

Since when has India relied on fingerprinting as a crime-fighting tool?

  • A system of fingerprinting identification first emerged in colonial India, where it was tested before it spread to Europe and beyond.
  • At first, it was used by British colonial officials for administrative rather than criminal purposes.
  • William Herschel, the chief administrator of the Hooghly district of Bengal, from the late-middle 1800s onwards, used fingerprinting to reduce fraud and forgeries, in order to ensure that the correct person was receiving government pensions, signing land transfer deeds, and mortgage bonds.
  • The growing use of fingerprinting was deeply tied to how 19th century British officials understood crime in India.

How did the use of fingerprinting develop in crime fighting in India?

  • The uniqueness of every individual’s fingerprints was first proposed in Europe by the German anatomist Johann Mayer in 1788, and was confirmed through detailed studies by the Scottish doctor Henry Faulds around the same time that Herschel had begun to implement fingerprinting as a means of identification in Bengal.
  • Tracing a single set of fingerprints from a large collection of fingerprint cards required a workable system of classification.
  • While similar attempts were made in England and beyond, the Bengal Police were able to create fingerprint records which replaced the use of anthropometric measurements by 1897, when the world’s first Fingerprint Bureau was established in Calcutta, four years before a similar decision was taken in England.
  • The Inspector General of the Bengal Police, Edward Henry, recruited two Indian sub-inspectors, Aziz-ul-Haq and H C Bose, for this task.
  • It was Haq who first devised a system of primary classification and a system for indexing names in court conviction registers.
  • Henry, however, declined to acknowledge the crucial contributions of his Indian subordinates when he presented the so-called “Henry System of Classification” in England in 1901, and established a fingerprint bureau in Scotland Yard.
  • It was only in 1925 that Henry admitted the invaluable efforts of Haq and Bose to the system of classification, for which the colonial state bestowed on them the titles of Khan Bahadur and Rai Bahadur respectively.

Source: Indian Express


Facial recognition technology

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Syllabus

  • Prelims – Science and Technology

Context: Right to Information (RTI) responses received by the Internet Freedom Foundation, a New-Delhi based digital rights organisation, reveal that the Delhi Police treats matches of above 80% similarity generated by its facial recognition technology (FRT) system as positive results.

Why is the Delhi Police using facial recognition technology?

  • The Delhi Police first obtained FRT for the purpose of tracing and identifying missing children.
  • According to RTI responses received from the Delhi Police, the procurement was authorised as per a 2018 direction of the Delhi High Court in Sadhan Haldar vs NCT of Delhi.
  • Things took a turn after multiple reports came out that the Delhi Police was using FRT to surveil the anti-CAA protests in 2019.
  • In 2020, the Delhi Police stated in an RTI response that, though they obtained FRT as per the Sadhan Haldar direction which related specifically to finding missing children, they were using FRT for police investigations.
  • The widening of the purpose for FRT use clearly demonstrates an instance of ‘function creep’ wherein a technology or system gradually widens its scope from its original purpose to encompass and fulfil wider functions.
  • As per available information, the Delhi Police has consequently used FRT for investigation purposes and also specifically during the 2020 northeast Delhi riots, the 2021 Red Fort violence, and the 2022 Jahangirpuri riots.

What is facial recognition?

  • Facial recognition is an algorithm-based technology which creates a digital map of the face by identifying and mapping an individual’s facial features, which it then matches against the database to which it has access.
  • It can be used for two purposes: firstly, 1:1 verification of identity wherein the facial map is obtained for the purpose of matching it against the person’s photograph on a database to authenticate their identity.
  • For example, 1:1 verification is used to unlock phones. However, increasingly it is being used to provide access to any benefits or government schemes.
  • Secondly, there is the 1:n identification of identity wherein the facial map is obtained from a photograph or video and then matched against the entire database to identify the person in the photograph or video.
  • Law enforcement agencies such as the Delhi Police usually procure FRT for 1:n identification.
  • For 1:n identification, FRT generates a probability or a match score between the suspect who is to be identified and the available database of identified criminals.
  • A list of possible matches are generated on the basis of their likelihood to be the correct match with corresponding match scores.
  • However, ultimately it is a human analyst who selects the final probable match from the list of matches generated by FRT.
  • According to Internet Freedom Foundation’s Project Panoptic, which tracks the spread of FRT in India, there are at least 124 government authorised FRT projects in the country.

Why is the use of FRT harmful?

  • India has seen the rapid deployment of FRT in recent years, both by the Union and State governments, without putting in place any law to regulate their use.
  • The use of FRT presents two issues: issues related to misidentification due to inaccuracy of the technology and issues related to mass surveillance due to misuse of the technology.
  • Extensive research into the technology has revealed that its accuracy rates fall starkly based on race and gender.
  • This can result in a false positive, where a person is misidentified as someone else, or a false negative where a person is not verified as themselves.
  • Cases of a false positive result can lead to bias against the individual who has been misidentified.
  • In 2018, the American Civil Liberties Union revealed that Amazon’s facial recognition technology, Rekognition, incorrectly identified 28 Members of Congress as people who have been arrested for a crime.
  • Of the 28, a disproportionate number were people of colour.
  • The use of this technology by law enforcement authorities has already led to three people in the U.S. being wrongfully arrested.
  • However, even if accurate, this technology can result in irreversible harm as it can be used as a tool to facilitate state sponsored mass surveillance.
  • At present, India does not have a data protection law or a FRT specific regulation to protect against misuse.
  • In such a legal vacuum, there are no safeguards to ensure that authorities use FRT only for the purposes that they have been authorised to, as is the case with the Delhi Police.
  • FRT can enable the constant surveillance of an individual resulting in the violation of their fundamental right to privacy.

Source: The Hindu


Public Goods Vs Private Goods

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Syllabus

  • Prelims – Economy

In News: Government of India has clarified that there is no plan to levy any charges for UPI services.

  • Finance Ministry said, UPI is a digital public good with immense convenience for the public and productivity gains for the economy. The clarification came amid some reports that there may be possibility of UPI transactions charge.

What are Public Goods?

  • Public goods are the commodities or services provided by the nature of the government of a country, free of cost or by taxing the few people to offer smass benefit to the public in general.

Characteristics of Public Goods

  • These commodities or services develop the infrastructure and living standard of a country.

Features of Public Goods

  • Non-Rival: The public goods are non-competitive, i.e. it can serve many people at the same time without hindering the usage of one another.
  • Non-Excludable: These goods are usually free of cost and can be used by anyone without any restriction.
  • Non-Rejectable: The consumption of such goods cannot be dismissed or unaccepted by the public since it is available collectively to all the people.
  • Free-Riding: The goods categorized under public goods benefit even those who have not paid for it. Such people are termed as free-riders.

What are Private Goods?

  • Private goods are the products or services which are manufactured or produced by the companies owned by entrepreneurs who aim at meeting customer’s requirement to earn profits through the trading of such goods in the free market.

Characteristics of Private Goods

  • Private goods serve the personal needs of consumers.

Following are the various characteristics of these goods:

  • Rival: The private products involve rivalry or competition among the consumers for its usage since the consumption by one person will restrict its use by another.
  • Excludable: These goods involve cost, and therefore the non-payers are excluded from the consumption.
  • Rejectable: Private goods can be unaccepted or rejected by the consumers since they have multiple alternatives and the right to select the product according to their preference.
  • Traded in Free Market: Such goods can be freely bought and sold in the market at a given price.
  • Opportunity Cost: These goods have an opportunity, i.e. the consumer has to let go of the benefit from a similar product while selecting a particular private commodity.

Digital Public Goods

  • Digital public goods are open-source software, open data, open AI models, open standards, and open content that adhere to privacy and other applicable laws and best practices, do no harm by design, and help attain the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

Source: The Hindu

Previous Year Question

Q.1) In India, which of the following can be considered as public investment in agriculture? (2020)

  1. Fixing Minimum Support Price for agricultural produce of all crops
  2. Computerization of Primary Agricultural Credit Societies
  3. Social Capital development
  4. Free electricity supply to farmers
  5. Waiver of agricultural loans by the banking system
  6. Setting up of cold storage facilities by the governments

Select the correct answer using the code given below:

  1. 1, 2 and 5 only
  2. 1, 3, and 4 and 5 only
  3. 2, 3 and 6 only
  4. 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 and 6

Non Fungible Tokens

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Syllabus

  • Prelims – Science and Technology

Non Fungible Tokens

  • Anything that can be converted into a digital form can be an NFT.
  • Everything from drawings, photos, videos, GIFs, music, in-game items, selfies, and even a tweet can be turned into an NFT, which can then be traded online using cryptocurrency.

Working of NFT:

  • If anyone converts its digital asset to an NFT, he/she will get proof of ownership, powered by Blockchain.
  • There is a need for a cryptocurrency wallet and an NFT marketplace where one can buy and sell NFTs.
  • Some of the NFT marketplaces are OpenSea.io, Rarible, Foundation.
  • NFTs are different from other digital forms in that they are backed by Blockchain technology.
  • NFTs can have only one owner at a time.
  • Apart from exclusive ownership, NFT owners can also digitally sign their artwork and store specific information in their NFTs metadata.
  • This will be only viewable to the individual who bought the NFT.

How is an NFT different from a cryptocurrency?

  • Apart from NFTs and cryptocurrencies being built on Blockchain, both are different from each other.
  • Cryptocurrency is a currency and is fungible, meaning that it is interchangeable.
  • For instance, if one holds one crypto-token, say one Ethereum, the next Ethereum that the one holds will also be of the same value.
  • However, NFTs are non-fungible, which means the value of one NFT is not equal to another.
  • Nonfungible means NFTs aren’t mutually interchangeable.
  • Every art is different from others, making it non-fungible, and unique.

Source: The Hindu

Previous Year Question

Q.1) With reference to Non-Fungible Tokens (NFTs), consider the following statements.(2022)

  1. They enable the digital representation of physical assets.
  2. They are unique cryptographic tokens that exist on a blockchain.
  3. They can be traded or exchanged at equivalency and therefore can be used as a medium of commercial transactions.

Which of the statements given above are correct?

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

Number of women scientists goes up

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Syllabus

  • Prelims – Current Affairs – About CSIR
  • Mains – GS 1 (Society); GS 2 (Governance)

In News: The appointment of Dr N Kalaiselvi as the first woman director general of India’s largest research and development organisation, the 80-year-old Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR), underlined a significant trend — official data show the participation of women in science research has been generally increasing over the past two decades in the country.

Stats

  • More than a quarter — 28% — of participants in extramural R&D projects in 2018-19 were women, up from 13% in 2000-01 due to various initiatives taken by successive governments.
  • The number of women principal investigators in R&D had risen more than four times from 232 in 2000-01 to 941 in 2016-17.
  • The percentage of women among researchers went from 13.9% in 2015 to 18.7% in 2018, the data show.
  • The increase in women’s participation, especially in research, is due to a combination of government programmes and natural progression.
  • Results of the All India Survey on Higher Education (AISHE) 2019 showed a 53% and 55% participation of women in science education at the Bachelor’s and Master’s levels respectively, numbers that are comparable with many developed countries. But at doctoral level, women graduates (44%) lagged behind men (56%).
  • Department of Science and Technology supported Gender Advancement for Transforming Institutions (GATI) project, based on the UK’s Athena Swan Charter, was introduced.
  • In the first phase of GATI, 30 educational and research institutes have been selected by DST, with a focus on women’s participation in leadership roles, faculty, and the numbers of women students and researchers.

What are the Causes for Under-representation?

Stereotypes: The paucity of women in STEM is not merely due to skill inadequacy, but also a result of assigned stereotypical gender roles.

  • It is still considered okay to judge the parental or life-partner status of a woman scientist while deciding to hire her or give her a leadership position, overlooking her merit.

Patriarchal and Societal Causes: There are patriarchal attitudes in hiring practices or awarding fellowships and grants etc.

  • Matters related to marriage and childbirth, responsibility related to running of households and elder care further hinder the representation of women in these ‘non-conventional’ fields.

Lack of Role Models: Lack of women leaders and women role models may be preventing more women from entering these fields.

Absence of Supportive Institutional Structure:

  • Women leave the workforce, due to the absence of supportive institutional structures during pregnancy, safety issues in fieldwork and workplace.

Initiatives launched to Promote Women in Science

  • Vigyan Jyoti Programme was launched to address the underrepresentation of women in different fields of Science Technology Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) in the country.
  • Initially, it was introduced at the school level wherein meritorious girl students of Class 9-12 were being encouraged to pursue higher education and career in the STEM field.
  • Recently, the programme was extended to 100 districts in its 2nd phase.
  • KIRAN scheme was launched in 2014-15 to provide opportunities for women scientists in moving up the academic and administrative ladder.
  • The Department of Science & Technology has also additionally established Artificial Intelligence (AI) labs in women universities with the goal to foster AI innovations and to prepare skilled manpower for AI-based jobs in future.
  • Under the Indo-US Fellowship for Women in STEMM (WISTEMM) program, women scientists can work in research labs in the US.
  • The Gender Advancement for Transforming Institutions (GATI) program was launched to develop a comprehensive Charter and a framework for assessing Gender Equality in STEM.

Way Forward

  • The problem needs to be addressed at two levels – at societal level which requires long term effort and the policy and institutional level, which can be started with immediate effect.
  • There is an immediate need to invest in supporting infrastructure, incentivising institutions to promote gender equity, transparency in decision making to bridge the persisting gender imbalance in STEM majors.
  • However, schools need to break the ‘gendered notions of intelligence’ and encourage girls not only to take science at secondary and higher secondary level but also to pursue their career in STEM.
  • This would help not only in women being able to chase their dreams but science itself would be benefitted from other points of view.

While the situation is definitely improving, and the increase in numbers of women in STEM is indicative of this, the road is yet long. We have a long way to go.

Source: Indian express


Cloudbursts

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Syllabus

  • Prelims – Geography
  • Mains – GS 1 (Geography)

Context: Recently, over 20 people have been killed in destruction caused by cloudbursts and flash floods in different parts of Himachal Pradesh and Uttarakhand over the last three day.

  • As heavy rainfall was observed in these states during the short duration of time which leads to the heavy rainfall triggering landslides and flash floods that have disrupted rail and road traffic, and resulted in house and wall collapses.

What are cloudbursts?

  • A cloudburst is a localized but intense rainfall activity.
  • According to the India Meteorological Department (IMD) a cloudburst features very heavy rainfall over a localized area at a very high rate of the order of 10 cm per hour featuring strong winds and lightning over a geographical region of approximately 20 to 30 Sq. Kms.
  • By this definition, 5 cm of rainfall in a half-hour period over the same area would also be categorized as a cloudburst.

How common are cloudbursts?

  • Cloudbursts are not uncommon events, particularly during the monsoon months.
  • Most of these happen in the Himalayan states where the local topology, wind systems, and temperature gradients between the lower and upper atmosphere facilitate the occurrence of such events.
  • However, not every event that is described as a cloudburst is actually, by definition, a cloudburst. That is because these events are highly localized.
  • Because of the nature of terrain, the heavy rainfall events often trigger landslides and flash floods, causing extensive destruction downstream.
    • This is the reason why every sudden downpour that leads to destruction of life and property in the hilly areas gets described as a “cloudburst”, irrespective of whether the amount of rainfall meets the defining.

Is it possible to forecast cloudburst?

  • The India Meteorological Department forecasts rainfall events well in advance, but it does not predict the quantum of rainfall — in fact, no meteorological agency does.
  • The forecasts are for a relatively large geographical area, usually a region, a state, a meteorological sub-division, or at best a district. As they zoom in over smaller areas, the forecasts get more and more uncertain.)
  • Therefore, specific cloudburst events cannot be forecast.
  • No forecast ever mentions a possibility of a cloudburst. But there are warnings for heavy to very heavy rainfall events, and these are routinely forecast four to five days in advance.

As per the IMD, there is no long-term trend that suggests that cloudbursts are rising. However, the incidents of extreme rainfall, as also other extreme weather events, are increasing, not just in India but across the world.

Several studies have shown that climate change will increase the frequency and intensity of cloudbursts in many cities across the globe.

  • In May, the World Meteorological Organization noted that there is about a 40% chance of the annual average global temperature temporarily reaching 1.5°C above the pre-industrial level in at least one of the next five years.

     

Source: Indian Express


Solar energy: For Amrit Kaal in agriculture

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Syllabus

    • Mains – GS 3 (Energy); GS 3 (Environment)

    Context: By making solar energy the ‘third crop’, promoting this innovation on a mission mode, the government can double farmers’ income.

    • Recently, India celebrated 75 years of Independence and entered the Amrit Kaal toward 2047.
    • The famous slogan of late Lal Bahadur Shastri, “Jai Jawan, Jai Kisan,” was extended by Atal Bihari Vajpayee to include “Jai Vigyan.” Now, our current Prime Minister has extended it to, “Jai Anusandhan”.

    Challenges with respect to growing population and availing the food:

    • As per the latest UN Population reports, India is likely to surpass China by 2023. So, the biggest challenge will be feeding a country whose per capita income still hovers around $2,300.
    • The per capita income is likely to grow between 5 to 6 per cent per annum, under normal conditions.
    • As they rise from low-income levels, people are likely to demand not just more food but safe and nutritious food.
    • So, the first challenge would be to align our Agri-policies and strategies to the emerging demand pattern.

    The above infographic shows that:

    • Poultry and fisheries have the fastest growth, while it has been the slowest in cereal production despite regular Government intervention is the most in cereals through the massive procurement of rice and wheat under MSP.
    • While those sub-sectors of agricultural economy that rely on market forces, no matter how imperfect, still perform better.

    We need to focus on the food system as a composite entity. It has five dimensions:

    • Production, marketing, and consumption is the traditional part of the food system and need to add two more.
    • The environmental sustainability of our food systems and their nutritional outcomes.
    • As in the past, The Green Revolution of the 1960s brought about a marked improvement in the yield of agricultural crops such as rice and wheat.
    • However, intense use of irrigation, chemical fertilizers and pesticides lead to negative environmental consequences.

    Promotion of climate-resilient and environment sustainable agriculture.

    • To check on declining groundwater table, rejuvenate our soils, and Carbon markets need to be developed so that farmers can be incentivized to change existing farming practices that are not compatible with environmental sustainability.
    • Adaptation of digital technology (e-technology in the aid of farmers) will help in better adaptation and implement of this initiative. We need to become a nation of innovators in agriculture like Israel, Holland, and the US.
    • Making the agri-food system vibrant and competitive requires significantly augmenting farmers’ income by Diversification of crops toward high-value crops by building efficient value chains by the participation of private sector.
    • There is also need to bring innovation and advancement of technology in the field such as use of solar energy (“solar as a third crop”) on fields.
    • On one acre of cultivated land, which grows two crops a year, one can have more than 400 solar panels (trees) of 10 to 12 feet in height, with due spacing for regular cultivation.

    So, it will help the adding the farmer’s income in two ways

    • Reducing to zero, the current electricity bill
    • Generating income by selling solar energy: As Solar energy generated from 400 panels will be the “third crop” that can be bought by the power companies and incorporated into the grid for distribution.
    • A pilot programme in the Najafgarh KVK area revealed that farmers could earn additional income of up to Rs one lakh/acre, when the capital cost is being incurred by another entrepreneur.
    • In addition to that it will help in pollution reduction, therefore it will be sustainable crop production.

    Therefore, the production of crop by using the method is “inclusive growth, green growth” model that needs to supplement the solar parks model being developed by entrepreneurs which will help in better utilisation of social capital and powers of mobilization.

    And it will lead to double and stabilize farmers’ incomes which will help in achieve the purpose of slogan of “Jai Anusandhan”.

    Source: Indian Express

    Source: Indian Express


Baba’s Explainer – Freebies

Freebies

Syllabus

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

Read Complete Details on Freebies


Daily Practice MCQs

Daily Practice MCQs

Q.1) Consider the following statements about per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAs)

  1. PFAs are man-made chemicals used to make products that resist grease, water and oil.
  2. They are called as “forever chemicals” because of their tendency to stick around in the atmosphere, rainwater and soil for long periods of time.

Choose the correct statements:

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

Q.2) Mithila Makhana, a special variety of aquatic fox nut was awarded Geographical Indication (GI) tag recently by Government of India. Mithila Makhana is cultivated in which of the following state of India?

  1. Odisha
  2. Madhya Pradesh
  3. Bihar
  4. Rajasthan

Q.3) Consider the following statements about Non Fungible Tokens

  1. They are backed by Blockchain technology.
  2. NFTs can have only one owner at a time.
  3. NFTs aren’t mutually interchangeable.

Choose the incorrect statements:

  1. 2 only
  2. 3 only
  3. 2 and 3
  4. None

Comment the answers to the above questions in the comment section below!!

ANSWERS FOR ’22nd August 2022 – Daily Practice MCQs’ will be updated along with tomorrow’s Daily Current Affairs.


ANSWERS FOR 20th August 2022 – Daily Practice MCQs

Answers- Daily Practice MCQs

Q.1) – c

Q.2) – d

Q.3) – d

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