Daily Prelims Notes 14 March 2021
- March 14, 2021
- Posted by: OptimizeIAS Team
- Category: DPN
Daily Prelims Notes
14 March 2021
Table Of Contents
- OPERATION GREEN – TOP TO TOTAL
- FOREIGN EXCHANGE RESERVE
- EXTREME WET BULB TEMPERATURE
- PALAMU TIGER RESERVE
- ADENOVIRUS VACCINE
- MARTIAN BLUEBERRIES
- PM 2.5 & NITROGEN DIOXIDE
Context: Air quality commission shuts down after ordinance lapses.
- An ordinance is any law promulgated by the President in those circumstances when the Indian parliament is not in session.
- The ordinance making powers of the President are listed in Article 123 of the Constitution.
- The President has certain law-making powers that aid him to promulgate ordinances when either of both the Houses of Parliament is not in session which makes enacting laws in the parliament out of question.
- An Ordinance can be issued on any subject that the Parliament has the power to legislate on. In that way, the president’s powers are limited in the same way as the Parliament is.
Limitations of the President’s Power:
- The ordinance making power of the executive is limited through the following:
- The legislature is not in session: The President can only promulgate an Ordinance when either of the two Houses of Parliament is not in session.
- Immediate action is required: The President cannot promulgate an Ordinance unless he is satisfied that there are circumstances that require taking ‘immediate action’.
- Parliamentary approval during the session: Ordinances must be approved by Parliament within six weeks of reassembling or they shall cease to operate. They would also cease to operate in case resolutions disapproving the Ordinance are passed by both the Houses.
Features and Properties of the Ordinance:
- An ordinance can be retrospective that is it can be legislated from before the time it is approved.
- An ordinance promulgated when Parliament is in session is considered null and void.
- The Ordinance in order to stay a law must be approved by the Parliament within six weeks from its reassembly. Its existence ceases in case the parliament takes no action within six weeks from its reassembly.
- Acts and laws and happenings that took place under the ordinance remain active till the time it lapses.
- Indian President is one of the rarest ones among the world leaders to have the power of making ordinances.
- The power of ordinance promulgation cannot be considered a substitute for the President’s legislative power.
- President’s power to roll out ordinance is justiciable in case intentions are proved mala fide.
- Ordinances can only be made on the subjects where the Indian Parliament is allowed to make laws.
- Fundamental Rights of the citizens guaranteed by the Indian Constitution cannot be taken away through an ordinance.
- The ordinance would also be considered void in case both the houses pass a resolution disapproving it.
Context: Gurugram: 1 dead, 3 injured after lightning strikes tree
- It is a very rapid and massive discharge of electricity in the atmosphere. It is the process of occurrence of a natural ‘electrical discharge of very short duration and high voltage between a cloud and the ground or within a cloud’, accompanied by a bright flash and sound, and sometimes thunderstorms.
- Inter cloud or intra cloud (IC) lightning are visible and harmless.
- It is cloud to ground (CG) lightning, which is harmful as the ‘high electric voltage and electric current’ leads to electrocution.
- It is a result of the difference in electrical charge between the top and bottom of a cloud.
- The lightning-generating clouds are typically about 10-12 km in height, with their base about 1-2 km from the Earth’s surface. The temperatures at the top range from -35°C to -45°C.
- As water vapour moves upwards in the cloud, it condenses into water due to decreasing temperatures. A huge amount of heat is generated in the process, pushing the water molecules further up.
- As they move to temperatures below zero, droplets change into small ice crystals. As they continue upwards, they gather mass, until they become so heavy that they start descending.
- It leads to a system where smaller ice crystals move upwards while larger ones come down. The resulting collisions trigger release of electrons, in a process very similar to the generation of electric sparks. The moving free electrons cause more collisions and more electrons leading to a chain reaction.
- The process results in a situation in which the top layer of the cloud gets positively charged while the middle layer is negatively charged.
- In little time, a huge current, of the order of lakhs to millions of amperes, starts to flow between the layers.
- It produces heat, leading to the heating of the air column between the two layers of cloud.
- It is because of this heat that the air column looks red during lightning.
- The heated air column expands and produces shock waves that result in thunder sounds.
Subject: Government Schemes
Context : The Ministry of Food Processing and Industries (MoFPI) has refused to give assent to the Railways proposal last month to include seven major items — tea leaves, bamboo, rubber, betel nut, black pepper, mustard, and soyabean — under “Operation Greens-TOP to Total”, which provides 50 per cent subsidy on transportation of fruits and vegetables.
‘Operation Green’s TOP to TOTAL’ Scheme
- Objective: The objective of intervention is to protect the growers of fruits and vegetables from making distress sale due to lockdown and reduce the post-harvest losses.
- Eligible Crops: Fruits – Mango, Banana, Guava, Kiwi, Lichi, Papaya, Citrus, Pineapple, Pomegranate, Jackfruit; Vegetables – French beans, Bitter Gourd, Brinjal, Capsicum, Carrot, Cauliflower, Chillies (Green), Okra, Onion, Potato and Tomato.
- Any other fruit/vegetable can be added in future on the basis of recommendation by Ministry of Agriculture or State Government.
- Eligible Entities: Food Processors, FPO/FPC, Co-operative Societies, Individual farmers, Licensed Commission Agent, Exporters, State Marketing/Co- operative Federation, Retailers etc. engaged in processing/ marketing of fruits and vegetables.
- Pattern of Assistance: The Ministry of FPI will provide subsidy @ 50 % of the cost of the following two components, subject to the cost norms:
- Transportation of eligible crops from surplus production cluster to consumption centre; and/or
- Hiring of appropriate storage facilities for eligible crops (for maximum period of 3 months).
Context: The country’s foreign exchange reserves declined by $4.255 billion to $580.299 billion in the week ended March 5, according to RBI data.
- Foreign exchange reserves are assets held on reserve by a central bank in foreign currencies, which can include bonds, treasury bills and other government securities.
- It needs to be noted that most foreign exchange reserves are held in U.S. dollars.
- These assets serve many purposes but are most significantly held to ensure that the central bank has backup funds if the national currency rapidly devalues or becomes altogether insolvent.
- India’s Forex Reserves include:
Foreign Currency Assets
Special Drawing Rights
Reserve position with the International Monetary Fund (IMF)
Foreign Currency Assets
- FCA are assets that are valued based on a currency other than the country’s own currency.
- FCA is the largest component of the forex reserve. It is expressed in dollar terms.
- FCA includes the effect of appreciation or depreciation of non-US units like the euro, pound and yen held in the foreign exchange reserves.
- Currency appreciation refers to the increase in value of one currency relative to another in the forex markets.
- Currency depreciation is a fall in the value of a currency in a floating exchange rate system.
- In a floating exchange rate system, market forces (based on demand and supply of a currency) determine the value of a currency.
Special Drawing Rights
- The SDR is an international reserve asset, created by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) in 1969 to supplement its member countries’ official reserves.
- The SDR is neither a currency nor a claim on the IMF. Rather, it is a potential claim on the freely usable currencies of IMF members. SDRs can be exchanged for these currencies.
- The value of the SDR is calculated from a weighted basket of major currencies, including the U.S. dollar, the euro, Japanese yen, Chinese yuan, and British pound.
- The interest rate on SDRs or SDRi is the interest paid to members on their SDR holdings.
Reserve Position in the International Monetary Fund
- A reserve tranche position implies a portion of the required quota of currency each member country must provide to the International Monetary Fund (IMF) that can be utilized for its own purposes.
- The reserve tranche is basically an emergency account that IMF members can access at any time without agreeing to conditions or paying a service fee.
Subject: Science & tech
Context: A new study suggests that large swaths of the tropics will experience dangerous living and working conditions if global warming isn’t limited to 1.5 degrees Celsius.
- A study published Monday suggests that sharply cutting emissions of greenhouse gases to stay below that limit, which is equivalent to about 2.7 degrees Fahrenheit of warming since 1900, will help the tropics avoid episodes of high heat and high humidity — known as extreme wet-bulb temperature, or TW — that go beyond the limits of human survival.
Extreme Wet Bulb Temperature
- The wet-bulb temperature (WBT) is the temperature read by a thermometer covered in water-soaked cloth (wet-bulb thermometer) over which air is passed.
- At 100% relative humidity, the wet-bulb temperature is equal to the air temperature (dry-bulb temperature); at lower humidity the wet-bulb temperature is lower than dry-bulb temperature because of evaporative cooling.
- The wet-bulb temperature is defined as the temperature of a parcel of air cooled to saturation (100% relative humidity) by the evaporation of water into it, with the latent heat supplied by the parcel.
- A wet-bulb thermometer indicates a temperature close to the true (thermodynamic) wet-bulb temperature. The wet-bulb temperature is the lowest temperature that can be reached under current ambient conditions by the evaporation of water only.
- Even heat-adapted people cannot carry out normal outdoor activities past a wet-bulb temperature of 32 °C (90 °F), equivalent to a heat index of 55 °C (130 °F).
- The theoretical limit to human survival for more than a few hours in the shade, even with unlimited water, is 35 °C (95 °F) – theoretically equivalent to a heat index of 70 °C (160 °F), though the heat index doesn’t go that high.
Context: Don’t lay 3rd broad gauge track in core area of Palamu Tiger Reserve: Jharkhand to Centre.
- The Palamau Tiger Reserve is one of the nine original tiger reserves in Jharkhand, India and the only one in this state. It forms part of Betla National Park and Palamau Wildlife Sanctuary.
- The area in Latehar District in Jharkhand was set aside as protected in 1974 under the Indian Forests Act. Before the formation of the reserve, the area was used for cattle grazing and camping; it was acutely prone to forest fire. In 1973, the area was set up as the Palamu Tiger Reserve.
- The tiger population is extremely scarce and counting them has become particularly difficult due to Naxalite activities that have increased since 1990. As of 2012, the count, using DNA to prevent over-counting, is one male and five female tigers
- Apart from tigers and elephants, leopards, gaurs, sambars and wild dogs live in the reserve. Though the North Koel River runs through the reserve, the animals depend on man-made holes for water, making them easily accessible to humans.
- Over 140 species of birds (including peafowl) have been sighted in the reserve.
North Koel River
- North Koel River rises on Ranchi plateau in Jharkhand.
- It joins the Sone River a few miles north-west of Haidarnagar.
- It meanders through the northern part of Betla National Park.
Subject: Science & tech
Context: Unlike the mRNA vaccine platform used by Pfizer and Moderna, where vaccine efficacy reached 94% and 95%, respectively, the vector-based vaccine platform technology used by AstraZeneca and Johnson & Johnson have shown lower efficacy.
Adenovirus Vector Vaccine :
- In this vaccine, adenovirus is used as a tool to deliver genes or vaccine antigens to the target host tissue.
- Adenovirus: Adenoviruses (ADVs) are DNA viruses ranging from 70-90 nanometre in size, which induce many illnesses in humans like cold, respiratory infection etc.
- Adenoviruses are preferred for vaccines because their DNA is double stranded which makes them genetically more stable and the chances of them changing after injection are lower.
- Rabies vaccine is an adenovirus vaccine.
- However, there are drawbacks of adenovirus vector vaccines like pre-existing immunity in humans, inflammatory responses etc.
- Just as human bodies develop immune responses to most real viral infections, they also develop immunity to adenoviral vectors.
- Since adenoviral vectors are based on natural viruses that some humans might already have been exposed to, these vaccines might not work for everyone.
Subject: Science & tech
Context: Martian ‘blueberries’ find a parallel on Earth. Similar haematite concretions have been found in Kutch, Gujarat.
- In 2004, NASA’s Mars exploration rover ‘Opportunity’ found several small spheres on the planet, informally named Martian blueberries.
- Opportunity’s spectrometers studied the mineralogy and noted they were made of iron oxide compounds called haematites. This caused excitement, as the presence of haematites suggests that there was water present on Mars.
- The widely accepted formation mechanism of haematite concretion [hard solid mass] is precipitation from aqueous fluids.
- Haematite is known to form in oxidising environments, and based on our experience on Earth, we infer that water must have also played a crucial role in the formation of grey haematite on Mars.
Opportunity & Spirit Rover Mission
- Opportunity was the second of the twin Mars Exploration Rovers to land on Mars in January 2004.
- It landed 90 days after its twin rover Spirit landed. Spirit landed at Gusev Crater and Opportunity landed on the opposite side of Mars at Meridiani Planum.
- NASA expected 90-day lifetimes for the rovers. Both Opportunity and Spirit far exceeded their expected lifetime.
- Spirit’s mission ended in May 2011 after travelling eight kilometres and Opportunity had logged 45 kilometres before losing contact in June 2018.
Subject : Environment
Context : PM2.5 and NO2 contributing to the spread and virulence of SARS-CoV-2 infections, says Health Minister.
- 5 refers to particles that have diameter less than 2.5 micrometres (more than 100 times thinner than a human hair) and remain suspended for longer.
- These particles are formed as a result of burning fuel and chemical reactions that take place in the atmosphere. Natural processes such as forest fires also contribute to PM2.5 in the air. These particles are also the primary reason for occurrence of smog.
Nitrogen oxide (NOx)
- NOx is a generic term for the various nitrogen oxides produced during combustion.
- They are produced mainly in internal combustion engines and coal-burning power plants.
- They are also produced naturally by lightning.
- Oxygen and nitrogen do not react at ambient temperatures. But at high temperatures, they produce various oxides of nitrogen. Such temperatures arise inside an internal combustion engine or a power station boiler.
- Agricultural fertilisation and the use of nitrogen-fixing plants also contribute to atmospheric NOx, by promoting nitrogen fixation by microorganisms.