Daily Prelims Notes 11 June 2023
- June 11, 2023
- Posted by: OptimizeIAS Team
- Category: DPN
Daily Prelims Notes
11 June 2023
Table Of Contents
- Cyclones could’ve been a rarity in the Arabian sea historically; but not storms, says historians
- What is happening to Arctic sea ice?
- Unemployment rate falls to 7.7% in May on dip in labour participation
- Indian Army’s Air Defence widens wings
- India looks at devising own standards to assess socio-economic progress
- Trials find a potential drug to target cannabis addiction
- Nord Stream sabotage probe turns to clues inside Poland: report
- asks CERC to ‘couple’ power exchanges
- Forest fires cause pollution worse than that in toxic cities, says NRSC study
- Officers’ club to heritage space: Inception of ASI Children’s Museum
Section: Physical geography
- The Arabian Sea is witnessing Cyclone Biporjoy. The fourth-strongest cyclone that occurred in June in the Sea, is expected to make landfall around June 14. It follows Cyclone Vayu (2019), Cyclone Nisarga (2020) and Cyclone Tauktae (2021), all of which occurred off the west coast of India.
Increased frequency of cyclones in Arabian sea:
- A 2021 study had noted a 52 per cent increase in the frequency of cyclonic storms on the west coast of India.
Tracing the storms through historical literary evidence:
- One simple indicator was to see how many fewer shipwrecks there are in the Arabian Sea compared with the Bay of Bengal.
- Ibn Majid, an Arab navigator, had mentioned several storms in his treatises.
- Shipwrecks due to storms are mentioned in Jataka stories.
- A lot of caves in the western Deccan were where Avalokiteshwara, the Buddhist Bodhisattva, was worshipped, especially by merchants and sailors because he was believed to protect them from shipwrecks.
- The Periplus of the Erythraean Sea and a lot of Arabic accounts are also very careful about the windows for appropriate travel in the Arabian Sea because at some points the monsoon blows faster and sometimes slower.
- It was also a time when ships were more delicate than they are now. So obviously sailors would be concerned about any adverse weather activity in the Arabian Sea and not just necessarily cyclones.
- Medieval Warm Period which began in the ninth century and continued till the 12 century or so.
- That is when the Indian Ocean was a bit warmer resulting in drier summers and more sustained monsoons. But it was not anywhere near the scale of the global warming being witnessed today.
- That led to an increase in commercial activity across the Indian Ocean by Fatimid Egypt, the Cholas in India and the Song Dynasty in China, on the other side of the ocean. The Songs exchanged embassies with the Cholas.
Section: Physical geography
- A recent study says that the loss of Arctic sea ice is inevitable in the decades ahead, even if the world somehow gets its act together and sharply reduces carbon emissions.
Why is the Arctic sea ice important?
- It influences the global climate and the rise and fall in Arctic sea temperatures.
- It reflects more sunlight back to space than liquid water, thus playing a vital role in keeping polar regions cool and maintaining the earth’s energy balance.
- Sea ice also keeps the air cool by forming a barrier between the cold air above and the relatively warmer water below. As the amount of sea ice decreases, the Arctic region’s cooling effect is reduced, and this may initiate a ‘feedback loop’ whereby ocean warming caused by more absorption of solar energy leads to an even greater loss of sea ice and further warming.
- Impact of changes in sea ice:
- Positive impact: Presents “commercial and economic opportunities” with the opening up of shipping lanes and increased access to natural resources in the Arctic region.
- Negative impact: It can affect biodiversity and impact mammals such as polar bears and walruses, which rely on the presence of sea ice for hunting, breeding, and migrating.
- It also affects the traditional subsistence hunting lifestyle of indigenous Arctic populations such as the Yup’ik, Iñupiat, and Inuit
What does the new study say?
- The world will see its first ‘sea-ice-free summer’ before 2050.
- The global emissions will drive temperatures to beyond 4.5°C making the Arctic ice-free by 2081-2100.
- There is no scenario under which the Arctic sea ice can be saved in summer.
- Moreover, if drastic reductions in emissions aren’t undertaken, we could very well be seeing the first such summer in the 2030s.
- The diminished sea ice while warming the Arctic also leads to a weakening of the polar jet streams, which are currents of air that form when warm and cold air meet.
- This weakening has been linked to rising temperatures and heatwaves in Europe as well as unseasonal showers in northwest India.
- While the ice-free summer may be inevitable, reducing carbon emissions might mean being better able to adapt to climate ‘tipping points.’
Section: Employment and poverty
Context: The rate in India fell to 7.7 per cent in May due to a decline in the labour participationat441.9million, according to a data released by private economic thinktank CMIE.
- Unemployment rate in India among people aged 15 years and above fell to 7.7 per cent in May 2023, from 8.5 per cent in the previous month
- The unemployment rate inched down as a consequence of a fall in the labour participation, which implies a fall in the number of people who entered the labour market in search of work.
- Compared to April, labour participation rate (LPR) fell by 1.1 percentage point to 39.6 per cent in May, she said.
- This drop in LPR in May was expected because April witnessed a large number of people entering the labour force but only a small share was able to secure employment in the month. This was bound to discourage many from searching for work in the month of May. As a result, the labour force shrunk in size from 453.5 million to 441.9 million.
- Meanwhile, the decline in labour participation in May 2023 was considerably higher in rural India compared to urban India.
- In urban India, the labour force shrunk by close to 4.5 million.
- There were around 147 million people in the urban labour force in April, which inched down to 142.5 million in May.
- the urban labour market recorded a fall in the number of employed as well as unemployed people.
- The 4.5 million fewer people in the urban labour force in May was the result of a combination of a decline in jobs by around 2.4 million and a fall in the number of unemployed in urban India by 2.1 million.
- This resulted in a total of 129.5 million people in the urban workforce, and around 13 million unemployed persons, it added.
Various indicators of employment and unemployment
- Labour Force Participation Rate (LFPR)-the percentage of persons in labour force (working or seeking or available for work) in the population of all age
- Unemployment rate -refers to the percentage of unemployed persons in the labour force. Labour force includes persons who are either employed or unemployed but seeking work.
- Worker Population Ratio (WPR)-the percentage of employed persons in the population.
- Usual Status: The activity status determined on the basis of the reference period of the last 365 days preceding the date of survey, it is known as the usual activity status of the person.
- Current Weekly Status (CWS): The activity status determined on the basis of a reference period of the last 7 days preceding the date of survey is known as the current weekly status (CWS) of the person).
Subject :Science and technology
- The Indian Army’s reorientation from the western borders to the northern borders in the aftermath of the 2020 standoff with China, along with lessons from the ongoing war in Ukraine, are impacting the ongoing transformation of the Army Air Defence (AAD).
Army Air Defence (AAD):
- The Army Air Defence — called Air Defence Artillery till 2005 — has been in existence since 1940, though its ground-based air defences have increasingly moved to the Air Force. The modernisation of the AAD has stagnated post-1996.
- Army Air Defence (AAD) has the responsibility of providing Point Air Defence to the national strategic assets like nuclear plants, oil refineries, military airbases, military-industrial complexes, communication nodes, logistic nodes, gun areas, surface-to-surface missiles and so on.
- A range of new systems, mostly indigenous, are being inducted under Project Akashteer which will build a comprehensive air defence picture for the monitoring, tracking and shooting of air defence assets.
- This will link all the radars and control centres of AAD and consolidate the air defence picture, removing duplications or overlaps and also integrating all the weapons.
- The air defence requirements on the northern borders are different from the western front; the need is for lightweight radars and weapon systems with mobility for deployment in the mountains while catering to the infantry’s requirements.
- The war in Ukraine has also changed the requirements, forcing the army to factor in new threats to air defence such as unmanned aerial vehicles or UAVs, loitering munitions, swarm drones and cruise missiles.
Man-Portable Air Defense System (MANPADS):
- The Ukraine conflict has shown that Man Portable Air Defence Systems (MANPADS) are highly effective when in range with night vision enabled.
- Man-Portable Air-Defence Systems are short-range, lightweight and portable surface-to-air missiles that can be fired by individuals or small groups to destroy aircraft or helicopters.
- They help shield troops from aerial attacks and are most effective in targeting low-flying aircrafts.
- MANPATs or Man-Portable Anti-Tank Systems work in a similar manner but are used to destroy or incapacitate military tanks.
- MANPADS can be shoulder-fired, launched from atop a ground vehicle, fired from a tripod or stand, and from a helicopter or boat.
- Weighing anywhere between 10 to 20 kilograms and not being longer than 1.8 metres.
- They are fairly lightweight as compared to other elaborate weapon systems, making them easy to operate by individual soldiers.
- Operating MANPADS requires substantially less training.
- MANPADS have a maximum range of 8 kilometres and can engage targets at altitudes of 4.5 km.
- Most MANPADS have passive or ‘fire and forget’ guidance systems, meaning the operator is not required to guide the missile to its target, enabling them to run and relocate immediately after firing.
- The missile stays locked on to the targeted object, not requiring active guidance from the soldier.
- The missiles are fitted with Infrared (IR) seekers that identify and target the airborne vehicle through heat radiation being emitted by the latter.
- Weighing anywhere between 10 to 20 kilograms and not being longer than 1.8 metres.
Akash surface-to-air missile systems
- Akash is India’s first indigenously produced medium range SAM that can engage multiple targets from multiple directions and it can be launched from mobile platforms like battle tanks or wheeled trucks. It has a nearly 90% kill probability.
- The development of the Akash SAM was started by the DRDO in the late 1980s as part of the Integrated Guided Missile Development Programme.
- It is unique in the way that It can simultaneously engage multiple targets in group mode or autonomous mode.
- It has built-in Electronic Counter-Counter Measures (ECCM) features, which means that it has mechanisms on-board that can counter the electronic systems that deceive the detection systems.
- The missile is supported by the indigenously developed radar called ‘Rajendra’.
- It can engage targets at a speed 2.5 times more than the speed of sound and can detect and destroy targets flying at low, medium and high altitudes.
- The missile is reportedly cheaper and more accurate than US’ Patriot missiles due to its solid-fuel technology and high-tech radars.
Subject : Schemes
- Release of a working paper titled “Re-examining the estimates of India’s development indicators by international organizations” by the Economic Advisory Council to the Prime Minister.
- The Union Government has discarded the one-size-fits-all international data parameters used to measure the socioeconomic progress of the country. It has proposed to devise its own strategy.
- However, health activists are divided on this move of the Government.
- One group favours international norms as aspirational standards.
- While others support the government’s decision.
- India is redrawing its assessment approach to accommodate its national diversity and local anthropometric measurements.
- In March 2023, the Union Health Ministry released its own mechanism for estimating the tuberculosis burden in India.
- India has also questioned the WHO’s mathematical modelling for COVID-19 deaths estimation and called it “unscientific”.
- India has dropped questions relating to anaemia and disability from the National Family Health Survey-6 (NFHS).
- It is suggested that the three widely used development indicators (child stunting, female labour force participation rate, and life expectancy at birth) often present a misleading picture of overall development.
- Experts highlight that improper adjustments using modelling procedures end up skewing data for India. For example, the United Nations Population Division sharply reduced the estimates for calculating life expectancy at birth for India from 70.19 in 2019 to 67.24 in 2021.
- It is also said that the growing use of environmental, social, and governance (ESG) norms in investment and trade decisions increases the need for accurate data.
- It is pointed out that the issue of misappropriation is well-known in the medical field and countries like the U.S., U.K., and Indonesia have developed their own growth chart for reference by medical practitioners.
- There is a growing concern about the universal applicability of these standards leading some countries to adopt their own country-specific growth benchmarks.
- It is suggested by some health experts that utilizing the WHO 2006 standards results in overestimating stunting and wasting cases in India.
- Currently, using these standards would translate into approximately 10 million and 12 million more children being classified as stunted and wasted.
- The overall data from 21 developing countries demonstrated that the prevalence of severe wasting in infants under six months increased by 3.5 times, whereas severe child wasting increased by 1.7 times after applying the WHO standard.
Social Progress Index
- The Social Progress Index is published by a non-profit entity called Social Progress Imperative, which is based out of the United States of America (USA).
- Social Progress Index ranks the social performance of 149 countries over 51 different indicators.
- In this Index, the social performance of a country is assessed independently of economic factors. The index is primarily based on social and environmental indicators capturing 3 major dimensions of social progress. The 3 dimensions are listed below.
- Foundations of Well Being
- Basic Human Needs
- India scored 56.80 out of 100 in Social Progress Index 2020; with a rank of 117 among 163 nations.
Subject : Science and technology
- In the results of clinical trials published in the journal Nature Medicine on 8 June, researchers noted that molecule AEF0117 shows promise in treating cannabis addiction.
Cannabis Use Disorder
- According to the article, cannabis is the most widely used recreational substance in the world and 19.5 percent of those who consume it develop cannabis use disorder (CUD), or cannabis addiction. So far, there is no drug or treatment for it.
- A research group at French biotechnology company Aelis Farma developed and tested the molecule AEF0117 and found that it targets the body’s cannabinoid receptor, CB1, and reduces the drug’s effects without triggering any withdrawal symptoms.
- According to the article, the active ingredient in cannabis known as tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) stimulates CB1 — a protein that is present in the peripheral nervous system and central nervous system.
- Once CB1 is activated by THC, it affects feelings of pleasure, motivation, cognition and pain.
About Cannabis Cultivation:
- Cannabis refers to a group of three plants with psychoactive properties, known as Cannabis sativa, Cannabis indica, and Cannabis ruderalis.
- Cannabis is made up of more than 120 components, which are known as cannabinoids but experts have a pretty good understanding of two of them, known as cannabidiol (CBD) and tetrahydrocannabinol (THC).
- The Mexican term ‘marijuana’ is frequently used in referring to cannabis leaves or other crude plant material in many countries.
- The unpollinated female plants are called hashish. Cannabis oil (hashish oil) is a concentrate of cannabinoids obtained by solvent extraction of the crude plant material or of the resin.
- In India farming of cannabis has been legalised in Uttarakhand, and controlled cultivation of cannabis is also being done in some districts of Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh and Uttar Pradesh.
Legal Provisions in India
- The central law that deals with cannabis (weed or marijuana) in India is the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act, of 1985.
- The NDPS Act prohibits the sale and production of cannabis resin and flowers, but the use of leaves and seeds of the cannabis plant is permitted
- The states have the power to regulate and form the state rules for it.
Subject : International Relations
Section: Places in news
- Investigators in Germany are examining evidence suggesting a sabotage team used Poland as an operating base to blow up the Nord Stream pipelines in the Baltic Sea, the Wall Street Journal (WSJ) reported.
- The investigators reconstructed the two-week voyage of the Andromeda, a 50-foot (15-metre) yacht suspected of being involved in the sabotage of the Nord Stream 1 and 2 pipelines, the newspaper said.
About Nord Stream pipelines
- The Nord Stream pipeline is a natural gas pipeline that runs under the Baltic Sea, connecting Russia and Germany.
- The pipeline was built with the aim of transporting natural gas from Russia to Europe, bypassing traditional transit countries such as Ukraine.
- The first line of the Nord Stream pipeline was completed in 2011 and the second in 2012, and it has since become a major source of natural gas for Europe.
- Nord Stream 1 is a 1,224 km underwater gas pipeline running from Vyborg in northwest Russia to Lubmin in northeastern Germany via the Baltic Sea.
- Nord Stream 2, which runs from Ust-Luga in Leningrad (Russia) to Lubmin, has the capacity to handle 55 billion cubic metres of gas per year once it becomes fully operational.
- The Nord Stream pipeline has significant economic and political implications for both Europe and Russia.
- For Europe:
- The Nord Stream pipeline provides a reliable and cost-effective source of natural gas, which is a crucial energy source for many countries in the region.
- Many European businesses have large investments in Nord Stream 2 and there is pressure on governments from these businesses.
- Finally, a reduction in gas from Russia would increase already high gas prices and that would not be popular domestically.
- For Russia:
- As for Russia, which has the largest natural gas reserves in the world, around 40% of its budget comes from sales of gas and oil.
- Furthermore, the Nord Stream pipeline provides Russia with a way to increase its influence over Europe’s energy markets, as it becomes a major supplier of natural gas to the region.
Subject : Economy
- The Ministry of Power has asked the Central Electricity Regulatory Authority (CERC) to initiate the process of coupling multiple power exchanges.
Central Electricity Regulatory Commission (CERC):
- CERC – a key regulator of the power sector in India, is a statutory body functioning with quasi-judicial status under the Electricity Act 2003.
- It was initially constituted in 1998 under the Ministry of Power’s Electricity Regulatory Commissions Act, 1998 for –
- Rationalisation & regulation of electricity tariffs,
- Transparent policies regarding subsidies,
- Promotion of efficient and environmentally benign policies, and
- CERC was instituted primarily to regulate –
- The tariff of Power Generating companies owned or controlled by the government of India, and any other generating company which has a composite scheme for power generation and interstate transmission of energy
- In accordance with the Electricity Act 2003, the CERC is also responsible for development of the power market in India for efficient, transparent and competitive price discovery through power exchanges.
Power Exchanges in India:
- At present India has three power exchanges – Indian Electricity Exchange (IEX), Power Exchange of India (PXIL) and Hindustan Power Exchange (HPX) functioning with guidance from the CERC.
- Indian Electricity Exchange (IEX):
- IEX is approved and regulated by the CERC and has been operating since 2008 and is a publicly listed company with NSE and BSE since 2017.
- It is India’s premier energy marketplace, providing a nationwide automated trading platform for the physical delivery of electricity, renewables, and certificates.
- It is powered by state-of-the-art, intuitive and customer centric technology, enabling efficient price discovery and facilitating the ease of power procurement.
- More recently, IEX has pioneered cross border electricity trade expanding its power market beyond India in an endeavour to create an integrated South Asian Power Market.
- The IEX has the largest market share of 88% in total power trade at multiple exchanges in India.
- Power Exchange India Limited (PXIL):
- It is India’s first institutionally promoted Power Exchange that provides innovative and credible solutions to transform the Indian Power Markets since 2008.
- Both IEX and PXIL have started their real-time market (RTM) trading platforms for electricity transactions in 2020. The real-time market is a platform widely used across the world.
- Hindustan Power Exchange (HPX):
- It is the new age power exchange in the Indian Electricity Market that provides a comprehensive market platform for different electricity products.
- It provides opportunity to market participants to transact in the most equitable and transparent manner through advanced technology and customised value-added services.
What will be the Advantages of Coupling the Exchanges?
- In the present scenario, buyers and sellers at each exchange do trading of electricity and discover spot price separately at these exchanges.
- Market coupling is done to couple different markets operating in different geographies.
- After coupling of exchanges, the price discovery of energy at trading platforms would be uniform, transparent and is expected to bring down power tariffs significantly.
- Government has requested the CERC to initiate the process of consultation and finalisation of coupling.
Subject : Environment
- As massive fires engulfed forests in Uttarakhand last month, a study by the National Remote Sensing Centre (NRSC) found that such high-magnitude events had the potential to destroy a wide variety of flora and fauna as the levels of pollution become higher than those in some highly polluted cities in the country.
About the Study
- The Hyderabad-based NRSC studied changes induced by forest fires in the atmosphere over Uttarakhand, using space-based observations and model simulations.
- The study revealed that concentrations of trace gases and aerosols rose to alarming levels during a massive fire in April-May 2016.
- “CO (carbon monoxide) levels were more than double the normal values, while NO2 (nitrogen oxide) concentrations were nearly three times the normal values.
- “Elevated levels of AOD (aerosol optical depth) also indicate that substantial amount of aerosols was emitted during the main phase as well as towards the end of the fire event,” said the NRSC study
Various pollutants because of forest fires
- CO, CO2 (carbon dioxide), NO2, CH4 (methane) and ozone, in addition to photo-chemically reactive compounds, and fine and coarse particulate matter
National Remote Sensing Centre (NRSC)
- NRSC is one of the primary centres of the Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO), Department of Space (DOS).
- Mandate: NRSC has the mandate for:
- establishment of ground stations for receiving satellite data,
- generation of data products
- development of techniques for remote sensing applications, including disaster management support.
- Geospatial services for good governance and
- capacity building for professionals, faculty, and students.
Subject : History
Section: Art and Culture
- In the heart of Delhi, in the bustling neighbourhood of Siri Fort, a rather non descript board welcomes visitors to the ASI Children’s Museum.
- Shut for over two years, its doors opened again late last month and initiatives are now being planned to invite children and introduce them to sculptures from prominent historical sites located across India whose replicas the museum houses.
- A plaque that gives details of a Standing Buddha sculpture from the 5th Century in Mathura shares that this is a rare sculpture of Buddha in Abhaya mudra (with the right hand raised and palm facing outwards).
- The Shalabhanjika sculpture, dated 9th-10th Century, from the Pratihara period and located in Gyaraspur in Madhya Pradesh, carved in buff sandstone and in dvibhangamudra, is introduced to children as Indian Mona Lisa.
- This mudra involves raising the right hand up to shoulder height, with the palm facing outwards.
- It represents fearlessness, protection, and the dispelling of negativity.
Mudra in Buddhism
- In Buddhism, mudras are hand gestures or positions that are used during meditation and other practices to help focus the mind, channel energy, and deepen one’s connection to the teachings. Here are some of the mudras commonly used in Buddhism:
Dhyana Mudra: In this mudra, the hands are placed on the lap, with the right hand on top of the left, and the thumbs touching.
- This mudra symbolizes meditation, concentration, and inner peace.
Anjali Mudra: This is the most common mudra used in Buddhism, and it involves pressing the palms together in front of the chest, with the fingers pointing upwards.
- It represents respect, greeting, and gratitude.
Vitarka Mudra: This mudra is also known as the “teaching mudra” or “gesture of discussion,” and it involves holding the right hand up, with the thumb and index finger touching to form a circle.
- It represents the transmission of knowledge and the communication of the Buddha’s teachings.
Varada Mudra: In this mudra, the right hand is extended downwards, with the palm facing outwards.
- It represents generosity, compassion, and the granting of wishes.
Bhumisparsha Mudra: This mudra involves touching the ground with the fingertips of the right hand, while the left hand rests on the lap.
- It represents the moment of the Buddha’s enlightenment, and the gesture symbolizes the earth witnessing his attainment of enlightenment.
Uttarabodhi Mudra: In this the hands are held in front of the chest with the fingers of the left hand pointing upward and the fingers of the right hand pointing downward. The thumbs are then placed together in the center, creating a triangle shape.
- This mudra represents the union of wisdom and compassion, the balance of masculine and feminine energies, and the attainment of enlightenment through the integration of all aspects of thyself.
- Dharma Chakra Mudra: In this the hands are held in front of the chest with the thumb and index finger of each hand forming a circle. The remaining three fingers of each hand are extended upwards, representing the Three Jewels of Buddhism: the Buddha, the Dharma (his teachings), and the Sangha (the community of practitioners). The circle made by the thumb and index finger represents the wheel of the Dharma, which
- This mudra represents the constant cycle of birth, death, and rebirth, and the Buddha’s teachings as the means to break free from this cycle.
Karana Mudra: In this the left hand is brought up to the heart, palm facing forward. The index and little fingers point straight upward. while the other three fingers are curled towards the palm.
- This gesture is often seen in depictions of the Buddha or bodhisattvas, as a symbol of protection and dispelling of negativity. The index finger is said to represent the energy of wisdom and the ability to overcome obstacles.
Jnana Mudra: In this the index finger and thumb are brought together to form a circle, while the other three fingers are extended outwards.
- This gesture represents the unity of individual consciousness with the universal consciousness, and the connection between the practitioner and the teachings of the Buddha.
Tarjani Mudra: In this, the index finger is extended upward, while the other fingers are curled towards the palm. Tarjani Mudra, also known as the “threatening gesture”
- It is used as a symbol of warning or protection against evil forces or harmful influences.