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DAILY CURRENT AFFAIRS IAS | UPSC Prelims and Mains Exam – 2nd August 2022

  • IASbaba
  • August 3, 2022
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(PRELIMS & MAINS Focus)


The technology powering hybrid electric vehicles

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Syllabus

  • Prelims – Science & Technology
  • Mains – GS 3 (Science & Technology)

In News: In recent months, automakers have launched hybrid electric vehicles in India, offering car buyers more choices in the nascent electric vehicle market.

  • These new hybrid electric vehicles from different automakers, are relying on hybrid technology and its advantages over conventional internal combustion engine (ICE)-powered vehicles to change car buyers’ minds.

What is a hybrid electric vehicle?

  • A hybrid electric vehicle (HEV) uses an ICE (a petrol/diesel engine) and one or more electric motors to run.
  • It is powered by the electric motor alone, which uses energy stored in batteries, by the ICE, or both.
  • The powertrain of the HEV is more complex than a regular ICE-powered car as it has EV components and a conventional ICE.
  • That means a typical HEV will have a low-voltage auxiliary battery, a traction battery pack to store electricity for the electric motor, an electric generator, an AC/DC converter, a power electronics controller, a thermal system to maintain working temperature, an ICE, a fuel tank, fuel filler, a transmission and an exhaust system.

How do HEV powertrains work?

  • HEV powertrains are designed to power cars in a series, parallel or series-parallel (power split) methods.
  • A series HEV uses only the electric motor to drive the wheels, while the ICE powers the generator, which in turn recharges the battery.
  • A parallel HEV, based on the driving condition, uses the best power source to power the vehicle. It will alternate between the electric motor and the ICE to keep the car moving.
  • A series-parallel HEV offers a combination of both models and allows to split power, wherein power is routed from the ICE alone or from the battery to the electric motor to drive the vehicle.
  • Moreover, in all three designs, the battery is charged through regenerative braking technology.

Regenerative braking

  • Regenerative braking recovers some of the kinetic energy that would otherwise turn into heat and instead converts it into electricity.
  • Regenerative braking is a way of taking the wasted energy from the process of slowing down a car and using it to recharge the car’s batteries. On a normal car, braking simply wastes energy – but with regenerative braking, some of the energy is able to be reused.

How does regenerative braking work?

  • A regenerative braking system (RBS) used in automotive applications has several advantages like better braking efficiency in stop-and-go traffic which enhances fuel economy and also helps in reducing carbon emissions.
  • Besides, RBS also helps in energy optimisation resulting in minimum energy wastage.
  • The efficiency of HEVs and EVs will in large part be determined by their ability to recover as much energy as possible while braking, with a higher degree of energy recovery lowering fuel consumption.
  • The adoption of regenerative braking technology in the auto industry is increasing on account of the operating efficiency of vehicles through reduced fuel consumption and the extended range of batteries.
  • The technology is also used in electric railways.
  • Rail transit can be described as frequent acceleration and braking of trains across many stations.
  • This increases the potential for braking energy recovery using energy storage systems, which can recuperate and reuse braking energy from metro cars, further enhancing energy efficiency.

What are the different types of HEVs?

The HEVs can be categorised into micro, mild and full hybrid vehicles, based on the degree of hybridisation.

  • A full HEV will have a larger battery and a more powerful electric motor compared with a mild HEV. As a result, a full HEV can power the vehicle for longer distances using just electric mode,
  • A mild HEV cannot drive using only the electric motor and uses the battery at traffic lights or in stop-and-go traffic to support the ICE.
  • Micro hybrids do not offer electric torque assistance as they lack an electric motor, but they have an idle stop-start system and energy management functions.
  • There are plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEVs) that are just like full HEVs, but they can be charged using a wall outlet, as they have an onboard charger and a charging port.
  • PHEVs generally use the electric motor until the battery is almost drained, and then automatically switch to the ICE.

What are the main advantages of using hybrid technology?

  • Most vehicles with hybrid technology offer better fuel efficiency, more power, and minimum emissions.
  • The design of hybrid vehicles for reduced engine size and car weight as compared to ICE vehicles, translates into increased mileage to favour the demand for these vehicles.
  • Moreover, with the increase in total power and torque, HEVs can deliver instant torque and provide high torque even at low speeds.

What are some challenges of hybrid technology?

  • In a price-sensitive market like India, one of the major challenges for HEVs is the high vehicle cost.
  • Battery, a vital component of an HEV, increases the cost of the vehicle, making it pricier than vehicles powered only by an ICE. The RBS also adds to the higher cost of an HEV.

Source: The Hindu

Previous Year Question

Q.1) In India, the term “Public Key Infrastructure” is used in the context of (2021)

  1. Digital security infrastructure
  2. Food security infrastructure
  3. Health care and education infrastructure
  4. Telecommunication and transportation infrastructure

Weapons of Mass Destruction and their Delivery Systems (Prohibition of Unlawful Activities) Amendment Bill, 2022

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Syllabus

  • Prelims – Current Affairs
  • Mains – GS 3 (Security)

In News: The Weapons of Mass Destruction and their Delivery Systems (Prohibition of Unlawful Activities) Amendment Bill, 2022, was passed in Rajya Sabha.

  • The Bill amends the Weapons of Mass Destruction and their Delivery Systems (Prohibition of Unlawful Activities) Act, 2005.
  • The 2005 Act prohibits unlawful activities (such as manufacturing, transport, or transfer) related to weapons of mass destruction, and their means of delivery.
  • Weapons of mass destruction are biological, chemical, or nuclear weapons.

Amendments

  • Prohibition on financing certain activities: The Bill bars persons from financing any prohibited activity related to weapons of mass destruction and their delivery systems.
  • To prevent persons from financing such activities, the central government may freeze, seize or attach their funds, financial assets, or economic resources (whether owned, held, or controlled directly or indirectly).
  • It may also prohibit persons from making finances or related services available for the benefit of other persons in relation to any activity which is prohibited.

Source: Indian Express


Kerala opposes changes to MMDR Act

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Syllabus

  • Prelims – Current Affairs
  • Mains – GS 1 (Geography); GS 3 (Economy, Security)

In News: The Kerala government has opposed the new set of proposed amendments to the Mines and Minerals (Development and Regulation) Act.

  • The State Industries Minister stated that the amendments are a breach of States’ rights as minerals come under the purview of States.
  • The Centre had invited suggestions from the public to the draft amendments to the MMDR Act.

Proposed amendments

  • The main objection is against the sixth item in the note for consultation sent to the State governments that will empower the Centre to auction some minerals from the list of atomic minerals.
  • Kerala strongly opposes the proposed amendment as State governments are the owners of the mines and minerals located within the territory of the State concerned, and under Entry 23 of List II of the Constitution and the Constitutional right of the State under Article 246(3), State Assemblies can make laws on such minerals.

Must Read: MMDR (Mines and Minerals Development and Regulation) Act, 1957

Ownership of Mineral:

  • The State Governments are the owners of minerals located within the boundary of the State concerned, under the provisions of the Mines and Minerals (Development and Regulation) Act, 1957 and Mineral Concession Rules, 1960.
  • However, for minerals specified in the First Schedule to the Mines and Minerals (Development and Regulation) Act, 1957 approval of the Central Government is necessary.
  • The Central Government is the owner of the minerals underlying the ocean within the territorial waters or the Exclusive Economic Zone of India.
  • Schedule I contains minerals such as coal and lignite, minerals of the “rare earths” group containing Uranium and Thorium.

Atomic Minerals

  • Uranium and Thorium are the main atomic minerals.
  • Other atomic minerals are beryllium, lithium and zirconium.

Thorium

  • Thorium is a chemical element with symbol Th and atomic number 90.
  • It is one of only two significantly radioactive elements that still occur naturally in large quantities.
  • Thorium is estimated to be about three to four times more abundant than uranium in the Earth’s crust, and is chiefly refined from monazite sands.
  • Monazite is a widely scattered on the Kerala Coast
  • Thorium is predicted to be able to replace uranium as nuclear fuel in nuclear reactors.

Source: The Hindu

Previous Year Questions (PYQs)

Q.1) With reference to the mineral resources of India, consider the following pairs: (2010)

Mineral         90% Natural sources in

  1. Copper: Jharkhand
  2. Nickel:     Orissa
  3. Tungsten: Kerala

Which of the statements given above is/are correct?

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

Q.2) Consider the following minerals: (2020)

  1. Bentonite
  2. Chromite
  3. Kyanite
  4. Sillimanite

In India, which of the above is/are officially designated as major minerals?

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

GST collections continue to surge

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Syllabus

  • Prelims – Current Affairs – Economy
  • Mains – GS 3 (Economy)

In News: The Goods and Services Tax (GST) yielded ₹1,48,995 crore in revenues during the month of July, the second-highest monthly collections since the launch of the GST regime and the highest in three months.

  • July’s GST collection is 28% higher than the same month last year, driven by a 48% surge in revenues from import of goods, while revenues from domestic transactions, including import of services are 22% higher than a year ago.

Reasons

  • High inflation rate, buoyancy in consumption patterns triggered by the economic recovery, alongside greater enforcement actions against anti-evasion activities have contributed to the rise in GST collections.

What do the improved revenues signify?

  • Experts say that action against tax evaders, including steps being taken by state authorities, have resulted in better compliance and helped push the growth in GST collections along with economic recovery and higher inflation rate.
  • It will help boost the government’s GST collections beyond the budgeted figures.
  • After the end of the compensation regime for states in June 2022, the higher GST revenue growth is expected to ease the revenue concerns for some states going ahead.

Must Read: GST- Five years on + Centre and States have equal powers to make GST-related laws

Source: Indian Express

The Hindu

Previous Year Question

Q.1) What is/are the most likely advantages of implementing ‘Goods and Services Tax (GST)’? (2017)

  1. It will replace multiple taxes collected by multiple authorities and will thus create a single market in India.
  2. It will drastically reduce the ‘Current Account Deficit’ of India and will enable it to increase its foreign exchange reserves.
  3. It will enormously increase the growth and size of economy of India and will enable it to overtake China in the near future.

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

African swine fever

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Syllabus

  • Prelims – Science & Technology

In News: After Wayanad, African swine fever has been confirmed at a private pig farm in Kannur district, after more than 15 pigs on the farm had died due to the disease in the last ten days.

  • African swine fever (ASF) is a highly contagious viral disease of domestic and wild pigs, whose mortality rate can reach 100%.
  • It is not a danger to human health, but it has devastating effects on pig populations and the farming economy.
  • There is currently no effective vaccine against ASF.
  • The virus is highly resistant in the environment, meaning that it can survive on clothes, boots, wheels, and other materials.
  • It can also survive in various pork products, such as ham, sausages or bacon.
  • Therefore, human behaviours can play an important role in spreading this pig disease across borders if adequate measures are not taken.

Source: The Hindu


ISRO to undertake maiden flight of SSLV on August 7

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Syllabus

  • Prelims – Science & Technology

In News: ISRO will undertake the maiden flight of its newly developed Small Satellite Launch Vehicle (SSLV) on August 7.

  • On its first flight, the SSLV will carry one of India’s Earth Observation Satellites – EOS-2 – that will have applications in mapping and developing various GIS applications.
  • It will also carry the AzadiSat, a satellite developed by 750 rural students from across the country coordinated by SpaceKidz India.
  • SpaceKidz India is a space start-up creating “Young scientists” for the “Country” and spreading awareness among children for a “borderless world”.

Small Satellite Launch Vehicle (SSLV)

  • SSLV is a rocket that is designed to orbit satellites weighing less than 500kg in Low Earth Orbit and 300 kg to Sun Synchronous Orbit (SSO).
  • It is a 3 stage Launch Vehicle configured with three Solid Propulsion Stages and liquid propulsion-based Velocity Trimming Module (VTM) as a terminal stage.

Key Features

  • SSLV is the smallest vehicle at 110-ton mass at ISRO.
  • It will take only 72 hours to integrate, unlike the 70 days taken now for a launch vehicle. Only six people will be required to do the job, instead of 60 people.
  • The other features include: flexibility in accommodating multiple satellites, Launch on demand feasibility, minimal launch infrastructure requirements, etc.

Significance

Seamless launch of small satellites

  • The SSLV is intended to cater to a market for the launch of small satellites into low earth orbits with a quick turn-around time.
  • Suited for launching multiple microsatellites & supports multiple orbital drop-offs.
  • Shift the burden of commercial launches from PSLV
  • The SSLV is likely to cost a fourth of the current PSLV.

Source: Indian Express

Previous Year Question

Q.1) With reference to India’s satellite launch vehicles, consider the following statements: (2018)

  1. PSLVs launch the satellites useful for Earth resources monitoring whereas GSLVs are designed mainly to launch communication satellites.
  2. Satellites launched by PSLV appear to remain permanently fixed in the same position in the sky, as viewed from a particular location on Earth.
  3. GSLV Mk III is a four-staged launch vehicle with the first and third stages using solid rocket motors; and the second and fourth stages using liquid rocket engines.

Which of the statements given above is/are correct?

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

AlphaFold

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Syllabus

  • Prelims – Science & Technology

In News: DeepMind, a company based in London and owned by Google, announced that it had predicted the three-dimensional structures of more than 200 million proteins using AlphaFold.

  • This is the entire protein universe known to scientists today.

What is AlphaFold?

  • AlphaFold is an AI-based protein structure prediction tool.
  • It is based on a computer system called deep neural network.
  • Inspired by the human brain, neural networks use a large amount of input data and provides the desired output exactly like how a human brain would.
  • The real work is done by the black box between the input and the output layers, called the hidden networks.
  • AlphaFold is fed with protein sequences as input.
  • When protein sequences enter through one end, the predicted three-dimensional structures come out through the other.

How does AlphaFold work?

  • It uses processes based on “training, learning, retraining and relearning.”
  • The first step uses the available structures of 1,70,000 proteins in the Protein Data Bank (PDB) to train the computer model.
  • Then, it uses the results of that training to learn the structural predictions of proteins not in the PDB.
  • Then, it uses the high-accuracy predictions from the first step to retrain and relearn to gain higher accuracy of the earlier predictions.
  • By using this method, AlphaFold has now predicted the structures of the entire 214 million unique protein sequences deposited in the Universal Protein Resource (UniProt) database.

What are the implications of this development?

  • Proteins are the business ends of biology, meaning proteins carry out all the functions inside a living cell.
  • Therefore, knowing protein structure and function is essential to understanding human diseases.
  • The development of AlphaFold is a watershed movement in science and structural biology in particular.
  • AlphaFold has already helped hundreds of scientists accelerate their discoveries in vaccine and drug development since the first public release of the database nearly a year back.

What does this development mean for India?

The Indian community of structural biology is strong and skilled.

  • It needs to quickly take advantage of the AlphaFold database and learn how to use the structures to design better vaccines and drugs.
  • India will also need to speed up its implementation of public-private partnerships in the sciences.
  • The public-private partnership between the European Molecular Biology Laboratory’s European Bioinformatics Institute and DeepMind made the 25-terabyte AlphaFold dataset accessible to everyone in the scientific community at no cost.
  • India could facilitate joint collaborations with the prevalent hardware muscle and data science talent in the private sector and specialists in academic institutions to pave the way for data science innovations.

Source: The Hindu

Previous Year Question

Q.1) The term ‘ACE2’ is talked about in the context of (2021)

  1. genes introduced in the genetically modified plants
  2. development of India’s own satellite navigation system
  3. radio collar for wildlife tracking
  4. spread of viral diseases

Pendency of Cases

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Syllabus

  • Mains – GS 2 (Polity – Judiciary)

In News: Union Law Minister tabled data on pendency of cases in High Court and number of female judges in Judiciary in a reply to question in Rajya Sabha.

Pendency of cases

  • Over 59 lakh cases were pending in the High Courts until July 22.
  • Allahabad High Court has the highest number of pending cases at over 10 lakh.
  • Next are the High Courts of Rajasthan (just over 6 lakh) and Bombay (just under 6 lakh).

Women judges

  • The 4 women judges in the Supreme Court are against a sanctioned strength of 34 judges, and the 96 women judges in the High Courts are against a sanctioned strength of 1,108 judges.
  • Out of the 96 women judges in the High Courts, Delhi and Madras HCs between them account for one-fourth, at 12 women judges each.

Must Read: Judicial Accountability

Source: Indian Express


Baba’s Explainer – Antarctic Regulation

Antarctic Regulation
  • GS-3: Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues arising out of their design and implementation.
  • GS-3: Conservation, environmental pollution and degradation

Context: The Parliament has passed the Indian Antarctic Bill 2022 to assist in protecting the frozen continent where India operates two research centres and is part of several scientific explorations.

  • Till date, India neither has any laws governing its activities on the continent, nor any authority to issue permits for any kind of expeditions.
  • Antarctica is the southernmost continent and does not have any indigenous population. The entire region is demilitarised and is used for scientific and peaceful purposes as per the Antarctic Treaty

Read Complete Details on Antarctic Regulation


Daily Practice MCQs

Daily Practice MCQs

Q.1) Which of the below given pairs is/are correctly matched?

Port Country
Astrakhan port Russia
Anzali port Azerbaijan
Bandar Abbas Iran

Choose the correct code:

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

Q.2) Consider the following statements

  1. The State Governments are the owners of minerals located within the boundary of the State concerned
  2. To grant mineral concessions for minerals specified in the First Schedule to the Mines and Minerals (Development and Regulation) Act, 1957 approval of the Central Government is necessary

Choose the correct statements:

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

Q.3) Consider the following statemnets about Regenerative braking

  1. It recovers some of the kinetic energy that would otherwise turn into heat and instead converts it into electricity.
  2. A regenerative braking system (RBS) used in automotive applications leads better braking efficiency in stop-and-go traffic which enhances fuel economy

Choose the incorrect statements:

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

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

ANSWERS FOR ’2nd August 2022 – Daily Practice MCQs’ will be updated along with tomorrow’s Daily Current Affairs.


ANSWERS FOR 1st August 2022 – Daily Practice MCQs

Answers- Daily Practice MCQs

Q.1) – d

Q.2) – d

Q.3) – d

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