Daily Prelims Notes 13 July 2021
- July 13, 2021
- Posted by: admin1
- Category: DPN
Daily Prelims Notes
13 July 2021
Table Of Contents
- Inflation remains above 6% in June
- Red sanders worth ₹6.2 crore seized 1 held
- G-secs: RBI unveils retail direct scheme
- Records of freedom fighters to be digitised to mark 75 years of Independence: Minister
- Afghan situation to dominate Jaishankar’s central Asian visit
- Southwest monsoon delay
- Kongu Nadu
- APEDA and NAFED MoU
- m-RNA based vaccine
- Asset Reconstruction Company
Context: According to data released by the Ministry of Statistics and Program Implementation, retail inflation had touched a six-month high in May 2021. It has remained at 6.3% in June 2021.
- Inflation has exceeded the Monetary Policy Committee’s target of 4 (+/-2) %, for the second straight month.
- At present, the RBI has a target for retail inflation or CPI of 4% with a margin of 2 percent on either side.
- This has led to questions over whether the panel can continue with its accommodative stance to help revive growth.
- An accommodative stance means RBI will cut rates to inject money into the financial system whenever needed.
- A change in the stance to ‘neutral’ means RBI will alter rates in any direction to control the money supply in the system.
- If the RBI cuts the interest rate, it may further lead to an increase in retail inflation. For containing inflation, RBI should raise interest rates. But raising interest rates at this stage would be catastrophic for India’s GDP growth.
- Economists have stressed that the lack of fiscal policy action to cool prices could cause a faster unwinding of RBI’s growth-supporting approach to interest rates.
Consumer Price Index / Retail Inflation
- It measures price changes from the perspective of a retail buyer.
- The CPI calculates the difference in the price of commodities and services such as food, medical care, education, electronics etc, which Indian consumers buy for use.
- The CPI has several sub-groups including food and beverages, fuel and light, housing and clothing, bedding and footwear.
- Four types of CPI are as follows:
- CPI for Industrial Workers (IW).
- CPI for Agricultural Labourer (AL).
- CPI for Rural Labourer (RL).
- CPI (Rural/Urban/Combined).
- Of these, the first three are compiled by the Labour Bureau in the Ministry of Labour and Employment. Fourth is compiled by the National Statistical Office (NSO) in the Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation.
- Base Year for CPI is 2012.
- The Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) uses CPI data to control inflation.
Context : The Andhra Pradesh police raided red sanders dump in Tamil Nadu.
- Pterocarpussantalinus or Red Sanders is a tree endemic to South India.
- They are found in the Tropical Dry Deciduous forest of the Palakonda and Seshachalam hill ranges of Andhra Pradesh and also found in Tamil Nadu and Karnataka.
- It is used for various purposes such as immunity medicine; it is used in Ayurveda and Siddha medicine.
- The IUCN has classified red sanders as endangered (Assessment year: 2020).
- Earlier, while farmers could grow red sanders, they required permits to fell and transport the wood.
- The Directorate General of Foreign Trade (DGFT) revised its export policy in 2019 to permit the export of red sanders if it is obtained from cultivated land.
Context :The RBI announced the unveiling of a scheme under which retail investors will be allowed to open retail direct gilt accounts (RDG) directly with the central bank.
- RDG account can be opened through a dedicated online portal, which will provide registered users access to the primary issuance of government securities and to NDS-OM.
- NDS-OM is a screen based electronic anonymous order matching system for secondary market trading in government securities owned by RBI.
- The scheme aims at facilitating investment in government securities (G-secs) by individual investors.
- A Government Security (G-Sec) is a tradable instrument issued by the Central Government or the State Governments.
- It acknowledges the Government’s debt obligation.
- Such securities are short term (usually called treasury bills, with original maturities of less than one year- presently issued in three tenors, namely, 91 day, 182 day and 364 day) or long term (usually called Government bonds or dated securities with original maturity of one year or more).
- In India, the Central Government issues both, treasury bills and bonds or dated securities while the State Governments issue only bonds or dated securities, which are called the State Development Loans (SDLs).
- G-Secs carry practically no risk of default and, hence, are called risk-free gilt-edged instruments.
- Gilt-edged securities are high-grade investment bonds offered by governments and large corporations as a means of borrowing funds.
Context: Culture Minister G. Kishan Reddy on Monday said the National Archives’ records related to freedom fighters would be digitised within a year as a part of the commemoration of 75 years of Independence next year.
National Archives of India
- The National Archives of India is the custodian of the records of enduring value of the Government of India(Under Ministry of Culture).
- Established on 11 March, 1891 at Calcutta (Kolkata) as the Imperial Record Department, it is the biggest archival repository in South Asia.
- It has a vast corpus of records viz., public records, private papers, oriental records, cartographic records and microfilms, which constitute an invaluable source of information for scholars-administrators and users of archives.
- The holdings in the National Archives are in a regular series starting from the year 1748 and has 40kms of shelf space.
- The Director General of Archives, heading the Department has been given the mandate for the implementation of the Public Records Act, 1993 and the rules made there under, the Public Records Rules, 1997 for the management, administration and preservation of public records.
Subject : International Relations
Context : Mr. Jaishankar will first attend the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) ministerial in Dushanbe on July 13-14 after which he will travel to Tashkent for a regional connectivity conference on July 15-16.
About Shanghai CooperationOrganisation
- The SCO is a permanent intergovernmental international organisation. It is a Eurasian political, economic, and security alliance and has been the primary security pillar of the region.
- It was established in 2001. It was preceded by the Shanghai Five mechanism.
- The Heads of State Council (HSC) is the supreme decision-making body in the SCO. It meets once a year and adopts decisions and guidelines on all important matters of the organisation.
- The organisation has two permanent bodies:
the SCO Secretariat based in Beijing.
the Executive Committee of the Regional Anti-Terrorist Structure (RATS) based in Tashkent.
- Eight member states: India, Kazakhstan, China, Kyrgyzstan, Pakistan, Russia, Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan.
- Four observer states: Afghanistan, Belarus, Iran and Mongolia.
- Climate change may be sparking more lightning across the world, and there is an increasing scientific evidence pointing to the trend.
- At least 30 people were killed in separate incidents of lightning in various parts of the country in the past 24 hours. While Rajasthan reported 18 deaths
What is lightning?
- Lightning is an electrical discharge caused by imbalances between storm clouds and the ground, or within the clouds themselves.
- Lightning is a very rapid and massive discharge of electricity in the atmosphere, some of which is directed towards the Earth’s surface. These discharges are generated in giant moisture-bearing clouds that are 10-12 km tall. The base of these clouds typically lies within 1-2 km of the Earth’s surface, while their top is 12-13 km away. Temperatures towards the top of these clouds are in the range of minus 35 to minus 45 degrees Celsius.
- As water vapour moves upward in the cloud, the falling temperature causes it to condense. Heat is generated in the process, which pushes the molecules of water further up.
- As they move to temperatures below zero degrees celsius, the water droplets change into small ice crystals. They continue to move up, gathering mass — until they are so heavy that they start to fall to Earth.
- This leads to a system in which, simultaneously, smaller ice crystals are moving up and bigger crystals are coming down.
- Collisions follow, and trigger the release of electrons — a process that is very similar to the generation of sparks of electricity. As the moving free electrons cause more collisions and more electrons, a chain reaction ensues.
- This process results in a situation in which the top layer of the cloud gets positively charged, while the middle layer is negatively charged. The electrical potential difference between the two layers is huge of the order of a billion to 10 billion volts. In very little time, a massive current, of the order of 100,000 to a million amperes, starts to flow between the layers.
- An enormous amount of heat is produced, and this leads to the heating of the air column between the two layers of the cloud. This heat gives the air column a reddish appearance during lightning. As the heated air column expands, it produces shock waves that result in thunder.
- While the Earth is a good conductor of electricity, it is electrically neutral. However, in comparison to the middle layer of the cloud, it becomes positively charged. As a result, about 15%-20% of the current gets directed towards the Earth as well. It is this flow of current that results in damage to life and property on Earth.
- There is a greater probability of lightning striking tall objects such as trees, towers or buildings. Once it is about 80-100 m from the surface, lightning tends to change course towards these taller objects.
- This happens because air is a poor conductor of electricity, and electrons that are travelling through air seek both a better conductor and the shortest route to the relatively positively charged Earth’s surface.
Climate change and lightning
The rise in incidences and intenstity of lightning strikes in Brazil could be due to global warming and the growth of major urban centers, a study by the Atmospheric Electricity Group and published in Geophysical Research Letters in 2020. .
- Coastal areas may be at the highest risk.
- An increase of one degree Celsius would increase the frequency of lightning strikes by 12 per cent, warned California University in a study published 2015.
- lightning was added to the Global Climate Observing System’s list of Essential Climate Variables in 2016
- A majority of evidence on natural time scales showed an increase of lightning with warming, though that is not finally proven, experts concluded in the first meeting of the Glocal Climate Observing System Task Team on Lightning Observations for Climate Applications (TTLOCA),
- Urbanisation, increased population and a warmer climate guarantee an intensification of the human exposure to lightning hazard,
- A research in 1994 predicted a 5-6 per cent increase in lightning strikes per 1°C, with the exact magnitude dependent on the geographical location, season and diurnal cycle
Cloud burst, lightning linked to forest fires
The availability of more moisture over land due to warming, Cloud burst, lightning linked to forest fires
- a link between cloud burst events, which cause sudden heavy rainfall often triggering flash floods, and forest fires.
- the scientists have studied the concentration of cloud condensation nuclei (CCN are tiny droplets or cloud seeds on which water vapour condenses) in different weather conditions in the Central Himalayan region and have found that there is a five times higher concentration of CCN in the atmosphere during forest fires as against during rains.
- This means there is more condensation during fire events, which explains excessive rainfall after forest fire
Status in India
- In 2010, a 10-year study Relationship between Lightning Activity over Peninsular India and Sea Surface Temperature of lightning activity over Peninsular India established a link between cyclonic storms that developed over the Bay of Bengal and weather disturbances over the Arabian Sea during the post monsoon season, to be driving the lightning activity over the coastal and adjoining continental region of the peninsula.
- Death due to Lightening, Bihar >Uttar Pradesh> Madhya Pradesh
- This is an increase of 34 per cent compared to previous year;
- Lightning strikes increased in Punjab >Bihar >Haryana
- The lightning incidents recorded during the period revealed that seasonality of lightning was different for different states.
- States should undertake lightning micro-zonation for the regions depending on their geography to handle the disaster and death risks better,
- More common than is sometimes realised in the urban areas. As a whole, India sees 2,000-2,500 lightning deaths every year on average.
- Occurrences of lightning are not tracked in India, and there is simply not enough data for scientists to work with.
- Lightning rarely hits people directly but such strikes are almost always fatal.
- People are most commonly struck by what are called “ground currents”.
- The electrical energy, after hitting a large object (such as a tree) on Earth, spreads laterally on the ground for some distance, and people in this area receive electrical shocks.
- It becomes more dangerous if the ground is wet (which it frequently is because of the accompanying rain), or if there is metal or other conducting material on it. Water is a conductor, and many people are struck by lightning while standing in flooded paddy fields.
- The Met office routinely issues warnings for thunderstorms. But this is a very generic advisory, and for locations that are very large in area.
- Predicting a thunderstorm over a pinpointed location is not possible. Nor is it possible to predict the exact time of a likely lightning strike.
- For reasons given above, taking shelter under a tree is dangerous. Lying flat on the ground too, can increase risks. People should move indoors in a storm, indoors, they should avoid touching electrical fittings, wires, metal, and water.
Lightning Resilient India Campaign (LRIC)
Lightning Resilient India Campaign (LRIC) is a joint initiative of Climate Resilient Observing-Systems Promotion Council (CROPC), National Disaster Management Authority, India Meteorological Department (IMD), Union Ministry of Earth Science, World Vision India, UNICEF among others. The campaign aims to reduce the number of deaths to less than 1,200 a year by 2022.
The southwest monsoon, one of the most stable weather systems on the planet, has gone for a toss in 2021. As on July 12, the country-wide deficit of monsoon rainfall stands at seven per cent below normal.
Reasons for Delay
- the progress and rains happened because coincided with cyclones, Tauktae in the Arabian Sea and Yaas in the Bay of Bengal, just before the onset of monsoon rains, ‘onset’ of monsoon because the cyclone dragged the monsoon trough onto Kerala and it met the definition of the onset
- The monsoon is delayed due to lower-than-usual temperatures in northern Pakistan and northern India because it takes a longer time to heat these regions to monsoon temperature.
- It led to the absence of the formation of the low-pressure system over the north Bay of Bengal. However, nature abhors a vacuum. As a result, suitable conditions occur for the appearance of synoptic-scale
- Rossby waves in between the African Jet and mid-latitude westerly winds that led to the longest break and heatwaves in Delhi, are unlikely to have affected the Indian monsoon .
- Madden Julian oscillation and Indian Ocean Dipole. The Madden Julian Oscillation is an eastward moving pulse of cloud and rainfall
- The meandering jet streams are called Rossby Waves.
- Rossby waves are natural phenomenon in the atmosphere and oceans due to rotation of earth.
- In planetary atmospheres, they are due to the variation in the Coriolis effect (When temperature contrast is low, speed of jet stream is low, and Coriolis force is weak leading to meandering) with latitude.
- Rossby waves are formed when polar air moves toward the Equator while tropical air is moving poleward.
- The existence of these waves explains the low-pressure cells (cyclones) and high-pressure cells (anticyclones).
Madden Julian Oscillation
- It is an eastward moving cyclic weather along the tropics. It influences rainfall, sea surface temperature, winds.
- It consists of two phases. Enhanced Rainfall Phase and Suppressed Rainfall Phase.
- Rainfall Phase: winds at the surface of the earth converge to push the air upwards throughout the atmosphere. This rising air increases condensation and rainfall.
- Suppressed Rainfall Phase: The winds at the top of the atmosphere converge and forces the air to sink down. As air sinks, it dries and suppresses rainfall.
- The El Nino, Indian Ocean Dipole and Madden Julian Oscillation are the atmospheric and oceanic phenomena that affect the weather on a large scale.
- The Indian Ocean Dipole pertains only to the Indian Ocean. However, the other two affects weather till mid latitudes.
- When the Madden Julian Oscillation is over the Indian Ocean, it brings good rainfall for the Indian subcontinent. On the other hand, when it stays longer over the Pacific, it dries up Indian Monsoon winds.
Context: There is a debate in Tamil Nadu over an alleged attempt to bifurcate the state, after some BJP handles were seen supporting the idea of ‘Kongu Nadu’.
- Kongu Nadu’ is neither a place with a PIN code nor a name given formally to any region. It is a commonly used name for part of western Tamil Nadu.
- In Tamil literature, it was referred to as one of the five regions of ancient Tamil Nadu. There were mentions of ‘Kongu Nadu’ in Sangam literature as a separate territory.
- It refer to a region that includes the districts of Nilgiris, Coimbatore, Tirupur, Erode, Karur, Namakkal and Salem, as well as Oddanchatram and Vedasandur in Dindgul district, and Pappireddipatti in Dharmapuri district
- The debate, therefore, lacks any political or social context
Context: APEDA, under the Commerce &Industry Ministry, would facilitate exports by co-operatives, farmer produce organisations, partners and associates identified and promoted by NAFED.
The Agricultural and Processed Food Products Export Development Authority (APEDA) has signed an MoU with National Agricultural Cooperative Marketing Federation of India Ltd (NAFED)
APEDA and NAFED will facilitate participation of farmers’ co-operatives in global trade including B2B & B2C fairs to be organised in India and abroad and to mutually co-operate in international business development & promotions.
The MoU also entails,
- Providing assistance towards capacity building of co-operative societies and self-help groups for their social & environmental compliances and skilling as per international standards.
- Both the organisations would organise awareness programs, skill development programmes and workshops
- to facilitate registered exporters get assistance under various government schemes and help co-operatives sell their products globally and build capacities, per an official release.
- the key areas of cooperation include facilitating APEDA registered exporters to get assistance under all the Government schemes implemented through NAFED.
- envisages ensuring sustainability and growth of exports by cooperatives by addressing issues such as technology, skill, quality products and market access.
Context: India will soon have a mRNA based vaccine from US-based biotech firm, Moderna Inc, joining the fight against Covid-19.
The non-replicating vector vaccines such as Covishield and Sputnik V and the inactivated pathogen based Covaxin. India’s vaccination programme so far has relied mainly on Covishield and Covaxin which are not mRNA vaccines.
- The human immune system is usually slow to identify and target a fast-replicating virus like Covid-19. Vaccines introduce the target to the immune system beforehand and get it geared up, well before an actual virus enters the body.
- Traditional vaccines use dead or weakened viruses to train the immune cells. Messenger Ribonucleic Acid or mRNA based vaccines are encoded with target virus’s genetic information. They carry these instructions to the body that then develops the spike protein, while leaving out harmful parts of the virus.
- Active immune cells identify this spike protein and begin the process of making antibodies for the spike. They also store vital information for the future. When the actual coronavirus with the spike enters the body, the immune system is alert and ready to attack it.
- The spike protein essential to this process is unique to SARS-CoV-2, elimInating the risk of autoimmune reaction on healthy cells.
- mRNA based treatment started in mid-90’s and was nearly abandoned due to lower stability, quick trigger of an immune reaction and inefficient delivery.
- mRNA vaccines can be made and developed rapidly
- mRNA vaccines allow for a high degree of modulation including addressing cancer treatments.
- They are non-infectious causing lower side effects.
Context: The much-awaited bad bank — National Asset Reconstruction Company Ltd (NARCL) has been incorporated, with the Corporate Affairs Ministry giving legal recognition few days back.
- The setting up of an ARC along with an asset management company (AMC) (to be called India debt Management Company to take over the stressed debt of banks.
- The AMC will be controlled by the private sector and would help around the stressed assets for recovery.
- A bad bank is basically an entity that houses the bad loans (non-performing assets) of a bank and will resolve or liquidate bad debt (stressed debt) to recover
- Bad bank conveys the impression that it will function as a bank but has bad assets to start with.
- Technically, a bad bank is an Asset Reconstruction Company (ARC) or an Asset Management Company (AMC) that takes over the bad loans of commercial banks, manages them and finally recovers the money over a period of time.
- The bad bank is not involved in lending and taking deposits, but helps commercial banks clean up their balance sheets and resolve bad loans.
- The takeover of bad loans is normally below the book value of the loan and the bad bank tries to recover as much as possible subsequently.
- In May 2020 the banking sector, led by the Indian Banks’ Association, had submitted a proposal for setting up a bad bank to resolve the NPA problem, proposing equity contribution from the government and banks.
- In 2017 the Economic Survey suggested Public Sector Asset Rehabilitation Agency or PARA, to buy out the NPAs of high value from Indian banks.