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DAILY CURRENT AFFAIRS IAS | UPSC Prelims and Mains Exam – 8th December 2022

  • IASbaba
  • December 8, 2022
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Commission for Air Quality Management in NCR and Adjoining Areas (CAQM)

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Syllabus

  • Prelims – Governance and Environment

Context: Recently Commission for Air Quality Management in NCR and Adjoining Areas (CAQM) has revoked the Stage-3 of the Graded Response Action Plan in entire National Capital Region, NCR with immediate effect in view of the  improvement in overall  air quality.

About CAQM:

  • Commission for Air Quality Management in National Capital Region (NCR) and Adjoining Areas (CAQM) was established by the CAQM Ordinance, 2020 and CAQM, Act 2021.
  • The Act provides for the constitution of a Commission for better co-ordination, research, identification, and resolution of problems related to air quality in the National Capital Region (NCR) and adjoining areas.
  • Adjoining areas have been defined as areas in the states of Haryana, Punjab, Rajasthan, and Uttar Pradesh adjoining the NCR where any source of pollution may cause adverse impact on air quality in the NCR.
  • Apart from consolidating all agencies that monitored, investigated and planned mitigation of air pollution in the region, the commission has replaced the Supreme Court-appointed Environment Pollution (Prevention and Control) Authority (EPCA) which had been running for 22 years.

Powers of the CAQM:

  • The rulings by the Commission on air pollution will override anything contained in any other law.
  • The powers of the Commission will also supersede that of any other body in matters of air pollution.
    • Therefore, in cases where conflict may arise between orders or directions issued by the other State governments, State Pollution Control Boards or even the Central Pollution Control Board, the orders of the Commission will prevail.
  • The Commission will have the power to take measures, issue directions and entertain complaints “for the purpose of protecting and improving the quality of air in the National Capital Region”.
  • It will also coordinate action taken by states on air pollution and will lay down parameters for air quality and emission or discharge of environmental pollutants.
  • It will also have powers to restrict industries in any area, carry out random inspections of any premises including factories and be able to close down an industry or cut its power and water supply in case of non-compliance.
  • It will also be monitoring the measures taken by the States to prevent stubble burning.

Comprehensive policy formulated by CAQM: Commission for Air Quality Management in NCR and adjoining areas (CAQM) recommended a uniform pricing policy for natural gas in the region pointing out that with the key commodity being outside the purview of the GST, State taxes are making it costlier. As per the policy

  • All thermal power plants located within 300 kilometre radius of Delhi will have to ensure compliance with emission standards as per the deadline set by the Ministry of Environment and Forest.
  • phasing out diesel-run auto-rickshaws in Gurugram, Faridabad, Gautam Buddha Nagar and Ghaziabad by December 31, 2024 and
  • The remaining districts in the National Capital Region (NCR) by December 31, 2026.
  • Only Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) and electric autos will be registered in NCR from January 1, 2023.
  • Fuels pumps in Delhi-NCR will not give fuel to vehicles not having a valid pollution-under-check certificate from January 1, 2023.
  • Tax structure to be rationalised for the NCR sub-regions till the time GST reforms are possible to make gas more competitive and enable its rapid adoption to replace coal and other dirty fuels in the region.
  • State governments have been asked to implement a scrappage policy for end-of-life vehicles that cannot be used anymore.
  • The use of coal in the industrial application will be banned from January 1, 2023.
  • To prevent stubble burning, Punjab and Haryana will have to utilise 6 million tonnes and 2 million tonnes of paddy straw industrial applications, respectively as well as thermal power plants, biomass power and production of bio-fuels by December 31, 2026.
  • The policy also stressed the need to upscale the application of bio-decomposer solution, which decomposes paddy straw.
  • For effective traffic management, the policy mandates the development of early warning systems to inform commuters and plan route diversions in Delhi, Gurugram, Faridabad, Gautam Buddha Nagar and Ghaziabad districts.
  • It also focuses on strengthening the quality of air pollution data and filling gaps through sensor-based monitoring to cover rural and peri-urban areas.

About Environment Pollution Control Authority (EPCA):

  • EPCA was constituted with the objective of ‘protecting and improving’ the quality of the environment and ‘controlling environmental pollution’ in the National Capital Region. The EPCA also assists the apex court in various environment-related matters in the region.
  • EPCA is Supreme Court mandated body tasked with taking various measures to tackle air pollution in the National Capital Region. It was notified in 1998 by Environment Ministry under Environment Protection Act, 1986.

About Graded Response Action Plan:

Source: NewsOnAir

Previous Year Questions

Q.1) In the Guidelines, statements: context of WHO consider the Air Quality following

  1. The 24-hour mean of PM2.5 should not exceed 15 ug/m³ and annual mean of PM 2.5 should not exceed 5 µg/m³.
  2. In a year, the highest levels of ozone pollution occur during the periods of inclement weather.
  3. PM10 can penetrate the lung barrier and enter the bloodstream.
  4. Excessive ozone in the air can trigger asthma.

Which of the statements given above are correct? (2022)

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

Q.2) “R2 Code of Practices” constitute a tool available for promoting the adoption of  (2021)

  1. Environmentally responsible practices in the electronics recycling industry
  2. Ecological management of ‘’Wetlands of International Importance” under the Ramsar Convention
  3. Sustainable practices in the cultivation of agricultural crops in degraded lands
  4. ‘’Environmental Impact Assessment’’ in the exploitation of natural resources

Kangaroo Court

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Syllabus

  • Prelims – Governance and Social Issues

Context: A kangaroo court headed by the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK) union secretary for the Bargur South constituency in Thogarapalli panchayat, Tamil Nadu subjected a couple to fine for their love marriage.

About kangaroo court:

  • Oxford Dictionary defines it as “an unofficial court held by a group of people in order to try someone regarded, especially without good evidence, as guilty of a crime or misdemeanour”.
    • It is used to refer to proceedings or activities where a judgement is made in a manner that is unfair, biased, and lacks legitimacy.
  • Why the word ‘kangaroo’ is used is also not clear, but there are several theories.
  • Some dictionaries say the association with the animal could have a relation to Australians, though the term probably originated in America.
  • The Collins Dictionary argues that it could be to evoke a sense that “justice progresses by leaps and bounds” in case of kangaroo court verdicts.
  • Another theory relates to both the animal’s peculiar hopping movement, and the historical aspect.

Source: The Hindu


Prime Minister’s Awards for Excellence in Public Administration 2022

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Syllabus

  • Prelims – Governance

Context: The Government of India has approved the Scheme for the Prime Minister’s Awards for Excellence in Public Administration, 2022. The awards are scheduled to be distributed during the celebration of Civil Services Day, 2023 in Vigyan Bhawan on 21st April, 2023.

About Prime Minister’s Awards for Excellence in Public Administration:

  • PM Awards for Excellence in Public Administration has been initiated with a view to acknowledge the outstanding and creative work done by Districts/implementing units and Central/State organizations for the welfare of citizens.
  • Outstanding work done in the five identified priority programmes was awarded on Civil Services Day 2022:
    • Promoting “Jan Bhagidari” or People’s Participation in Poshan Abhiyan.
    • Promoting excellence in sports and wellness through the Khelo India scheme.
    • Digital payments and Good Governance in PM SVANidhi Yojana.
    • Holistic Development through One District One Product scheme.
    • Seamless, End-to-End Delivery of Services without Human Intervention.

About National Civil Service Day:

  • 21st April is celebrated as the National Civil Service Day as it marks the anniversary (21st April 1947) of the historic address given by the country’s 1st home minister Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel to the newly appointed administrative services officers.
  • During the Speech, Sardar Patel had referred to the newly-appointed civil servants as the “steel frame of India”.
  • Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel is regarded as the ‘Father of all-India Services’.
  • The country’s first National Civil Service Day event was organised on 21st April 2006 in New Delhi’s Vigyan Bhawan. Since then, this function has become an annual affair that celebrates the contributions of civil servants to the country’s development.
  • On this day, Prime Minister’s Awards for Excellence in Public Administration are awarded “to acknowledge, recognize and reward the extraordinary and innovative work done by Districts/ Organizations of the Central and State Governments”.

Source: PIB


Neuralink

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Syllabus

  • Prelims – Science and Technology

In news: Neuralink, the Elon Musk company is the target of a federal investigation over its animal trial program, has been trying to develop a brain chip that would enable the paralyzed to walk and the blind to see.

  • Musk said last week he believes Neuralink can start human clinical trials in six months.

About Neuralink:

  • Founded in 2016 by Elon Musk and a group of engineers.
  • Neuralink is building a brain chip interface that can be implanted within the skull, which it says could eventually help disabled patients to move and communicate again, and restore vision.
  • Neuralink’s device has a chip that processes and transmits neural signals that could be transmitted to devices like a computer or a phone.
  • Neuralink has produced several examples of testing aspects of its technology successfully on animals, including a video in 2021 that showed a macaque playing a simple videogame after being implanted with a brain chip.
  • It has yet to secure U.S. regulatory approval to move to human trials
  • Its competitor Synchron has less ambitious goals for its medical advances.

Application:

  • The company hopes that a person would potentially be able to control a mouse, keyboard or other computer functions like text messaging with their thoughts.
  • Neuralink also believes its device will eventually be able to restore neural activity inside the body, allowing those with spinal cord injuries to move limbs.
  • The San Francisco and Austin-based company also aspires to cure neurological conditions such as Alzheimer’s and dementia.

Source: Indianexpress

Previous Year Question

Q.1) With reference to Web 3-0, consider the following statements : (2022)

  1. Web 3-0 technology enables people to control their own data.
  2. In Web 3-0 world, there can be blockchain based social networks.
  3. Web 3-0 is operated by users collectively rather than a corporation.

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

Exit Polls

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Syllabus

  • Prelims – Polity

In news: As voting for Gujarat elections ends today, exit polls will be out by the evening.

What are Exit polls:

  • An exit poll asks voters which political party they are supporting.
  • It is held after voters have cast their votes in an election; while an opinion poll, is held before the elections.
  • An exit poll gives an indication of which way the winds are blowing in an election, along with the issues, personalities, and loyalties that have influenced voters.
  • Exit polls in India are conducted by a number of organisations, often in tie-ups with media organisations. The surveys can be conducted face to face or online.

Factors of a good exit poll:

  • A sample size that is both large and diverse
  • A clearly constructed questionnaire without an overt bias – so that data can be collected coherently and analysed systematically to arrive at vote share estimates.
  • Political parties often allege that these polls are motivated, or financed by a rival party. Critics also say that the results gathered in exit polls can be influenced by the choice, wording and timing of the questions, and by the nature of the sample drawn.

Rules in India:

  • In 1957, during the second Lok Sabha elections, the Indian Institute of Public Opinion had conducted such a poll.
  • In India, results of exit polls for a particular election are not allowed to be published till the last vote has been cast.
  • Exit polls can’t be telecast from before voting begins till the last phase concludes

Source: Indianexpress

Previous Year Questions

Q.1) Consider the following statements: (2017)

  1. In the election for Lok Sabha or State Assembly, the winning candidate must get at least 50 percent of the votes polled, to be declared elected.
  2. According to the provisions laid down in the Constitution of India, in Lok Sabha, the Speaker’s post goes to the majority party and the Deputy Speaker’s to the Opposition.

Which of the statements given above is/are correct?

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

ChatGPT

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Syllabus

  • Prelims – Science and Technology

In News: Last week, OpenAI, introduced a new chatbot called ChatGPT.

About ChatGPT:

           

  • ChatGPT is a ‘conversational’ AI.
  • It is based on the company’s GPT 3.5 series of language learning models (LLM).
  • GPT stands for Generative Pre-trained Transformer 3
  • This is a kind of computer language model that relies on deep learning techniques to produce human-like text based on inputs.
  • It has gone viral is because of the kind of responses it gives, being seen as a replacement for much of the daily mundane writing, from an email to even college-style essays.
  • The model is trained to predict what will come next, and that’s why one can technically have a ‘conversation’ with ChatGPT.
  • It is trained using “Reinforcement Learning from Human Feedback (RLHF).”
  • OpenAI uses Microsoft Azure’s cloud infrastructure to run these models.
  • Users have the option of downvoting or upvoting a response.

How to access:

  • Currently, it is open in beta to all users.
  • One can go to the OpenAI website and sign up to try out ChatGPT by creating an account.
  • The chatbot has already crossed one million users, and you might get a message that the beta is full.

Application:

  • It will answer queries just like a human would.
  • Such as tips on how to set up a birthday party, write an essay on why parliamentary democracy is better, and even a fictional meeting between two well-known personalities.
  • It can answer follow-up questions and can also admit its mistakes, challenge incorrect premises, and reject inappropriate requests.
  • It is being seen as a replacement for the basic emails, party planning lists, CVs, and even college essays and homework.
  • It can also be used to write code, solve math equations, and even spot errors in code.
  • It can write fiction but not at the level of a humans.

Limitations:

  • It may generate incorrect information, and create “biased
  • Its knowledge of the world and events after 2021 is limited
  • It could give “plausible-sounding but incorrect or nonsensical
  • It can sometimes overuse certain phrases
  • The chatbot displayed clear racial and sexist biases
  • The chatbot gives answers which are grammatically correct and read well– though some have pointed out that these lack context and substance, which is largely true.

About Open AI:

  • ChatGPT is a start-up of Open AI focused on artificial intelligence and its potential use cases.
  • OpenAI’s notable investors include Microsoft, Khosla Ventures and Reid Hoffman’s charitable foundation. Greg Brockman is the company’s chairman and president, while Sam Altman is the CEO. Ilya Sutskever is Open AI’s chief scientist.
  • The company is best known for Dall-E — the AI-based text-to-image generator

Source: Indianexpress

Previous Year Question

Q1) 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

Remission of Duties and Taxes on Exported Products (RoDTEP) Scheme

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Syllabus

  • Prelims – Economy

In News: RoDTEP Scheme gets extended to Chemicals, Pharmaceuticals and Articles of Iron & Steel under chapters 28, 29, 30 and 73 of ITC(HS) schedule of items.

About the scheme:

  • RoDTEP stands for Remission of Duties and Taxes on Export Products.
  • The scheme is being implemented from 1st January 2021
  • It replaced MEIS (Merchandise Exports from India Scheme).
  • RoDTEP is based on the globally accepted principle that taxes and duties should not be exported, and taxes and levies borne on the exported products should be either exempted or remitted to exporters.
  • The RoDTEP scheme rebates/refunds the embedded Central, State and local duties/taxes to the exporters that were so far not being rebated/refunded.
  • The rebate is issued as a transferable electronic scrip by the Central Board of Indirect Taxes & Customs (CBIC) in an end-to-end IT environment.
  • Quick verification through digitisation – Verification of the records of the exporters will be done with the help of an IT-based risk management system to ensure speed and accuracy of transaction processing.
  • The ICEGATE portal (Indian Customs Electronic Gateway) will contain the details regarding the credits availed by the exporter.

Aim:

  • to boost exports which were relatively poor in volume previously.
  • to support domestic industry and make it more competitive in the international markets.
  • Export centric industries are being reformed and introduced to better mechanisms to increase their competitiveness, boost exports, generate employment and contribute to the overall economy.
  • Achieving our vision of building an Aatmanirbhar Bharat.

Source PIB


Textile Industry in India

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Syllabus

  • Mains – GS 2 (Governance)

Context: The textile industry is coming under greater Environmental, social and governance (ESG) scrutiny. Traceability in supply chain and recycling of textile waste are vital going forward.

About Textile Industry in India:

  • The Indian textile and apparel market is currently estimated at over $150 billion, of which, export constitutes over $40 billion.
  • A recent report pointed out that the global textile and apparel trade is set to reach $1,000 billion by 2025-26 and that in the same period the Indian textile and apparel market will reach $250 billion.
  • India holds a 4% share of the U.S.$840 billion global textile and apparel market, and is in fifth position.
  • It contributes 3% to Indian Gross Domestic Product, 7% of Industrial Output, 12% to the export earnings of India and employs more than 21% of total employment.
  • India is also the second largest producer of silk in the world and 95% of the world’s hand woven fabric comes from India.
  • India is the 6th largest producer of Technical Textiles with 6% Global Share, largest producer of cotton & jute in the world.
  • Technical textiles are functional fabrics that have applications across various industries including automobiles, civil engineering and construction, agriculture, healthcare, industrial safety, personal protection etc.

Fabric-wise stats:

  • Cotton – Second largest cotton and cellulosic fibres producing country in the world.
  • Silk – India is the second largest producer of silk and contributes about 18% to the total world raw silk production.
  • Wool –India has 3rd largest sheep population in the world, having 6.15 crores sheep, producing 45 million kg of raw wool, and accounting for 3.1% of total world wool production. India ranks 6th amongst clean wool producer countries and 9th amongst greasy wool producers.
  • Man-Made Fibres– the fourth largest in synthetic fibres/yarns globally.
  • Jute – India is the largest producer and second largest exporter of the jute goods.

Significance of the sector:

  • Economical: In 2019–20, the domestic textile and apparel market was worth $150.5 billion.
  • Trade: India registered $ 41 bn in textile exports in CY 2021, with a CAGR (2.7) marginally higher than the global average.
  • Employment: The second-largest employer in India, the textile and garment sector employs 100 million people in supporting sectors in addition to 45 million workers directly.
  • Raw material for other sectors: Technical textiles are useful materials that are used in a variety of fields, such as automotive, civil engineering, healthcare, agricultural, personal protection, and construction.

Factors favouring growth of the Indian Textile Industry:

  • Raw material base: India has high self- sufficiency for raw material particularly natural fibres. India’s cotton crop is the third largest in the world. Indian textile Industry produces and handles all types of fibres.
  • Labour: Cheap labour and strong entrepreneurial skills have always been the backbone of the Indian textile Industry.
  • Flexibility: The small size of manufacturing which is predominant in the apparel industry allows for greater flexibility to service smaller and specialized orders.
  • Rich Heritage: The cultural diversity and rich heritage of the country offers good inspiration base for designers.
  • Domestic market: Natural demand drivers including rising income levels, increasing urbanization and growth of the purchasing population drive domestic demand.

Challenges faced by the textile sector:

  • Highly fragmented: The unorganized sector and small and medium-sized businesses dominate India’s textile industry, which is highly fragmented.
  • Outdated Technology: Due to market competition and access issues, the Indian textile sector struggles to keep up with international standards. This is especially true of small-scale businesses.
  • Issues with Tax Structure: The GST (Goods and Service Tax) tax structure makes clothing expensive and uncompetitive in both domestic and foreign markets. The threat of growing labor and worker salaries is another.
  • Exports Stagnant: For the past six years, the sector’s exports have stayed constant at a level of USD 40 billion.
  • Lack of Scale: Bangladesh has at least 500 machines per factory on average, whereas the average size of the textile units in India is only 100, which is significantly smaller.
  • Lack of Foreign Investment: One of the concerns is that there is a lack of foreign investment in the textile business because of the issues mentioned above.

Government of India initiatives to promote the growth of the Textile Industry:

  • The National Technical Textile Mission: It seeks to enhance domestic technical textile consumption while establishing the nation as a global leader in the field. By 2024, it hopes to increase the size of the domestic market to between $40 billion and $50 billion USD.
  • Amended Technology Upgradation Fund Scheme (ATUFS): In order to modernize the textile industry’s technology, the government approved the “Amended Technology Upgradation Fund Scheme (ATUFS)” in 2015.
  • The Scheme for Integrated Textile Parks (SITP) aims to help small and medium-sized textile business owners cluster investments in textile parks by providing financial support for the parks’ top-notch infrastructure.
  • The SAMARTH (Scheme for Capacity Building in the Textile Sector): The government started the SAMARTH Scheme for Capacity Building in Textile Sector (SCBTS) to alleviate the scarcity of trained people.
  • The North East Region Textile Promotion Scheme (NERTPS) is a program that supports all areas of the textile industry with infrastructure, capacity building, and marketing assistance.
  • Power-Tex India: It includes innovative power-loom textile research and development, new markets, branding, subsidies, and worker welfare programs.
  • The Silk Samagra Scheme seeks to lessen the nation’s reliance on imported silk by enhancing the quality and productivity of domestically produced silk.
  • ICARE Jute: This pilot initiative, which was started in 2015, aims to help jute growers overcome their challenges by offering certified seeds at discounted prices and by popularizing many recently developed retting technologies under water-restrictive conditions.
  • PM Mega Integrated Textile Region and Apparel (PM MITRA) Parks: It aims to integrate the entire textile value chain from spinning, weaving, processing/dyeing, printing to garment manufacturing at one location.

Way Forward:

India needs to frame a suitable policy whereby the Indian textile industry can contribute to advancing our energy transition commitment. To achieve the sustainable target, it is necessary to adopt good regulatory practices and increased focus on quality, compliance and investment.

As part of this, we need policies to encourage recycling of discarded textiles. This is important given the socio-economic status of the country and income disparities. Recently, Bangladesh’s readymade garments initiated ‘green manufacturing’ practices to help conserve energy, water, and resources. India could bring such initiative into action to combat sustainability of textile industry.

Sustainable practices such as regenerative organic farming, sustainable manufacturing energy (renewable sources of energy are used) and circularity are needed to be adopted to make textile industry sustainable. The Indian government is committed to promoting sustainability through project sustainable resolution.

Source:  The Hindu


Technology in aid of Coffee Production

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Syllabus

  • Mains – GS 3 (Economy) and (Science and Technology)

Context: A block chain-enabled trading platform for coffee that will help connect growers with roasters and traders directly is likely to be launched by the Coffee Board of India. It will ensure better realizations of prices for the growers and will also help address the traceability issue for the buyers.

About Coffee and its production in India:

  • It is believed to be an indigenous plant of the Abyssinian Plateau in Ethiopia
  • The plant reached Arabia in 11th century as the propagators of Sufi Islam carried it with them.
  • In the 17th Century Baba Budan Giri, a Sufi saint smuggled 7 beans of Coffee from Yemen to India while coming from a Hajj pilgrimage.
  • He planted the beans on the slopes of the Chandragiri Hills in Chikkamagaluru district, Mysore State (present day Karnataka).
  • This hill range was later named after him as the Baba Budan Hills and is one of the major Coffee producing areas.

Climatic conditions:

  • Heavy rainfall from 150 to 250 cm but stagnant water is harmful.
  • So grown on hill slopes at elevations from 600 to 1,600 meters above sea level.
  • Hot and humid climate with temperature varying between 15°C and 28 °C.
  • It does not tolerate frost, snowfall, high temperature above 30°C and strong sun shine and is generally grown under shady trees.
  • Dry weather is necessary at the time of ripening of the berries
  • Well-drained, rich friable loams containing a good deal of humus and minerals like iron and calcium are ideal for coffee cultivation.

Coffee production India:

  • In India, coffee is traditionally grown in the Western Ghats spread over Karnataka, Kerala, and Tamil Nadu.
  • Coffee cultivation is also expanding rapidly in the non-traditional areas of Andhra Pradesh and Odisha as well as in the North East states.

Types of Coffees in India

  • The two main varieties of coffee viz. Arabica and Robusta are grown in India.
  • Arabica is mild coffee, but the beans being more aromatic, it has higher market value compared to Robusta beans.
  • On the other hand, Robusta has more strength and is, therefore, used in making various blends.

Platform will help in Price discovery

Current mechanism

  • Currently, the coffee trade is largely unorganized and is not under the purview of the APMC system.
  • Though prices of Indian coffee mirror the broader trend in the New York and London terminals.
  • The curing houses and traders fix the actual farm gate prices depending upon the locations and quality parameters.

New mechanism based on blockchain platform:

  • Coffee growers, curers, traders and exporters can participate and trade online on the trading platform where the price discovery will happen.
  • Once the trading platform is operationalized-
    • Growers can sell directly from their farm gates or
    • They can ship to an empanelled warehouse that will approve the quality parameters and then the trade takes place online.
  • Sellers can give a base price or an expected price for their coffees.
  • After the seller accepts the trade, then a smart contract will be generated, after which the buyer has to transfer the money into the escrow account of the platform within 24 hours.
  • Subsequently the seller has to ship or the warehouse has to raise the clearance.
  • The buyer can go and collect the commodity and then the money moves to the seller’s account from the escrow account.

Advantages of having this platform:

  • The blockchain-based traceability application by Acviss is an anti-counterfeiting solution that helps to reorganize the unstructured supply chain.
  • It provides transparency in transactions, and protects farmers from fraud and fake GI tag products with the help of quality evaluation.
  • This app also helps farmers to generate stable income and protects them from any collateral damage with the help of automated payments, insurance and financing as there are no middlemen involved.
  • For the end users, this app also helps consumers by providing authenticated certifications ensuring that the bought product is safe for consumption.

Way Forward:

The platform developed by the Acviss Technologies could be a game changer for all the stakeholders from growers, traders to buyers and can give fillip to the digitalization in Agri marketing. Although it remains to see if the Coffee Board can materialize such a beneficial platform given the past records of the coffee board wherein it had failed to activate a similar block chain based e-marketplace in collaboration with Eka Plus.

About Coffee Board of India:

  • It is a statutory organization constituted under Section (4) of the Coffee Act, 1942.
  • It functions under the administrative control of the Ministry of Commerce and Industry, Government of India.
  • It is headquartered in Bengaluru.
  • The Board has a Central Coffee Research Institute at Balehonnur (Karnataka)
  • The Board comprises 33 Members including the Chairperson who are appointed by the GoI.
  • Role of Coffee Board:
    • Coffee Board serves as the friend, philosopher and guide to the Coffee sector covering the entire value chain.
    • The Board is mainly focusing its activities in the areas of research, extension, development, market intelligence, external & internal promotion, and welfare measures.

Source:  The Hindu

Previous Year Question

Q.1) Consider the following States:

  1. Andhra Pradesh
  2. Kerala
  3. Himachal Pradesh
  4. Tripura

How many of the above are generally known as tea-producing States? (2022)

  1. Only one State
  2. Only two States
  3. Only three States
  4. All four States

Silicon Diplomacy

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Syllabus

  • Mains – GS 2 International Relations

Context:

  • Semiconductors are becoming a critical geopolitical focal point. Technology alliances and diplomatic initiatives are being championed as the pathway toward building supply chain resilience.
  • India, as a fledgling semiconductor power, has an important role in the current setup of the industry.
  • India must aim to utilise diplomacy and collaboration to become an indispensable part of the global semiconductor ecosystem.

Semiconductors are the brains of modern electronics:

  • Semiconductors, with specified electrical properties, that sit between the conductor and insulator.
  • They typically have four electrons in their valence shell (outermost shell), which helps in binding with other atoms to form crystals such as silicon crystals.
  • They are an essential component of electronic devices, enabling advances in communications, computing, healthcare, military systems, transportation, clean energy, and countless other applications.
  • A diode, integrated circuit (IC) and transistor are all made from semiconductors.
  • A semiconductor chip controls and manages the flow of electric current in electronic equipment and devices.

Current Techno-Democratic Alliances:

  • The Quad Semiconductor Supply Chain Initiative
  • The Quad in 2021 decided to include semiconductors as an area of collaboration, as part of The Quadrilateral Security Dialogue.
  • primary objective is to ensure a competitive market, prevent monopolies, and strengthen the current supply chain against future shocks.
  • US leads the world in chip design with its private sector design behemoths (such as Intel, Qualcomm, NVIDIA and AMD).
  • US owns all Electronic Design Automation (EDA) software licences used in chip design.
  • Japan has expertise in the production of silicon wafers (substrates on which designs are imprinted) and semiconductor manufacturing materials such as photoresists or etching gas, and remains critical to the fabrication process.
  • Australia is an important source of critical minerals such as silica, gallium and indium, which are essential for developing silicon-based and composite semiconductor products.
  • India can provide the required human resources, especially in the chip design services segment.
  • The Chip4 Alliance
  • It is a semiconductor industry alliance with US, South Korea, Japan and Taiwan, to keep mainland China’s fledgling semiconductor industry at bay.
  • It covers all the key areas of the value chain of the semiconductor ecosystem.
  • Taiwan is the global epicentre of semiconductor manufacturing, with over 60 percent of the world’s chips being manufactured.
  • South Korea is home to semiconductor behemoth Samsung, which has design and manufacturing capability.
  • Japan has dominance over the production of critical manufacturing equipment and materials such as
  • In 2021, China imported US$350 billion worth of semiconductors, with the US and South Korea being its biggest suppliers.
  • US-EU Trade and Technology Council (TTC)
  • to coordinate their respective chip investments so that they do not end up engaging in a ‘subsidy race’
  • Cross-border information dissemination

Challenges of semiconductors:

  • As a political weapon including use of semiconductors as a punitive tool to hurt certain economies.
  • Various restrictions have been imposed on exports, trade, and access to semiconductor technology that prevent certain states from moving up the value chain.
  • Export control mechanisms have been put in place for semiconductor technology considering its dual-use and military capabilities such as the Wassenaar Agreement.
  • Possibility of unilateral controls on countries’ export of emerging technologies, which can hamper the chances of other countries accessing critical materials and equipment.
  • US’s Export Control Reform Act (ECRA 2018), which identifies export controls essential for technologies directly related to the country’s national security.
  • 2020 US sanctions on China related to semiconductors and chips.
  • US also directed other companies, such as ASML Holding, a Dutch company known for their photolithography lithography tools—an integral semiconductor manufacturing equipment—to halt any exports to China
  • Extensive dominance of US – The most recent sanctions are so extensive that they could cause an economic fallout for China and other semiconductor manufacturers.
  • They can create high-end weapon systems which poses risks to national security.
  • Semiconductor technology is being used in the diplomatic and geopolitical space as a tool of punitive action.
  • In Russia-Ukraine war, West, imposed technology sanctions to punish Russia. Semiconductors and chips were central to the sanctions.

Suggestions for future:

  • Quad Semiconductor Resilience Fund Building to cover import duties and license fees.
  • Joint setting up of fabrication facilities focusing on emerging industries like AI, Quantum, Electric Vehicles, and 5G/6G Communications.
  • Building Centres of Excellence (CoEs) in all Quad countries
  • Japan can build a CoE dedicated to semiconductor manufacturing
  • Australia can host a CoE on critical materials for developing chips.
  • India, has design workforce and can build design architecture
  • Increase cooperation amongst other semiconductor alliances.
  • Semiconductors can be one of the central focus areas in the EU-India TTC agreement signed in 2021
  • In India-Taiwan collaboration, India can convince Taiwan to focus on building a low-investment trailing edge fab in the country to improve output volume and build redundancy into the ecosystem.
  • India must position itself as a credible alternative for Taiwan’s ATMP giants (Foxconn, Winstron) and its design behemoths (MediaTek) to outsource the assembly and design processes to the country.
  • The availability of a skilled workforce in semiconductor design, as well as the low-cost labour needed for Assembly, Testing, Marking and Packaging (ATMP) facilities, can help India attract other potential.
  • Champion free and open semiconductor technologies
  • Open standards provide a royalty-free alternative on which technologies and platforms can be built
  • The current industry standards remain licensed and hard to adopt for startups. Hence, it can level the playing field across the global ecosystem.
  • For example, RISC-V, currently being developed to reduce the dependency on the licensed Arm instruction set architecture.
  • Open-Source Hardware (OSH) projects related to EDA tools (currently dominated by three American companies) can be funded to remove existing bottlenecks.
  • India can pave the way for procurement and deployment of open-source alternatives for design firms while saving their resources on licences and royalty fees.

Way forward:

  • The Covid-19 pandemic exposed the fragilities of the semiconductor supply chain in the form of dependencies and bottlenecks
  • Hence, multilateral cooperation in the industry is no longer a choice but a necessity.
  • India’s market share may be negligible, but key partnerships and alliances can help the local ecosystem grow.
  • In this era of silicon diplomacy, India must tread a path favourable to international cooperation, which can help its domestic industry specialise in a specific area of the supply chain.

Baba’s Explainer – India and G20 Presidency

India and G20 Presidency

Syllabus

  • GS-2: Important International institutions, agencies and fora- their structure, mandate.

Context: On December 1, India assumed the presidency of the G20 forum, taking over from Indonesia. Prime Minister Narendra Modi called it a “huge opportunity for India”.

Read Complete Details on India and G20 Presidency


Practice MCQs

Daily Practice MCQs

Q.1) With reference to ChatGPT, consider the following statements :

  1. ChatGPT is a kind of computer language model based on deep learning techniques
  2. ChatGPT, among other things, can be used to write fiction.
  3. ChatGPT has been developed by Elon Musk’s Tesla

Which of the statements given above are correct?

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

Q.2) Consider the following statements:

  1. Exit polls are conducted after the votes have been cast, while opinion polls are conducted before.
  2. Exit polls asks voters which political party they voted for.

Which of the statements given above is/are correct?

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

Q.3) Consider the following states:

  1. Karnataka
  2. Assam
  3. Tamil Nadu
  4. Kerala

How many of the above are generally known as coffee-producing States?

  1. Only one State
  2. Only two States
  3. Only three States
  4. All four States

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

ANSWERS FOR ’ 7th December 2022 – Daily Practice MCQs’ will be updated along with tomorrow’s Daily Current Affairs.st


ANSWERS FOR 6th December – Daily Practice MCQs

Answers- Daily Practice MCQs

Q.1) – a

Q.2) – b

Q.3) – a

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