Daily Prelims Notes 14 September 2020
- September 14, 2020
- Posted by: OptimizeIAS Team
- Category: DPN
Table Of Contents
- Hybrid warfare
- Nerve agent
- Continental shelf
- Nano fertilizers
- Negative impact of high fiscal deficit
- Backwaters of Kottayam
- Business Advisory Committee
Subject: Science and tech
Early this month, the Chinese-only website of Zhenhua Data Information Technology Co, the company monitoring foreign targets, was pulled down
- It targets individuals and institutions in politics, government, business, technology, media, and civil society.
- Claiming to work with Chinese intelligence, military and security agencies, Zhenhua monitors the subject’s digital footprint across social media platforms, maintains an “information library,” which includes content not just from news sources, forums, but also from papers, patents, bidding documents, even positions of recruitment.
- Significantly, it builds a “relational database”, which records and describes associations between individuals, institutions, and information. Collecting such massive data and weaving in public or sentiment analysis around these targets, Zhenhua offers threat intelligence services
- A shift in the arena of violence from military to political, economic and technological is called hybrid warfare.
- It refers to the use of unconventional methods as part of a multi-domain war fighting approach. These methods aim to disrupt and disable an opponent’s actions without engaging in open hostilities.
2. Nerve agent
Subject: Science and tech
Tests performed on Russian politician Alexei Navalny at the German hospital showed the presence of Soviet-era nerve agent Novichok.
- The name Novichok means “newcomer” in Russian, and applies to a group of advanced nerve agents developed by the Soviet Union in the 1970s and 1980s.
- They were known as fourth-generation chemical weapons and were developed under a Soviet programme codenamed Foliant.
- Some variants of Novichok are thought to be five to eight times more toxic than the VX nerve agent
- They are highly toxic chemicals that prevent the nervous system from working properly, and can be fatal.
- Nerve agents take different forms – including powder and gas – but they tend to be a liquid, which can seep through the skin.
- Some of the agents are also reported to be ‘binary weapons’, meaning the nerve agent is typically stored as two less toxic chemicals. When they are mixed together, they react to produce the more toxic agent.
- Nerve agents disrupt normal messaging from the nerves to the muscles. This causes muscles to become paralysed and can lead to the loss of many bodily functions.
- Agents will act within seconds or minutes if inhaled and slightly more slowly if exposure is the result of skin contamination.
- Turkey’s seismic research vessel Oruc Reis returned to waters near the southern province of Antalya
- NATO members Turkey and Greece have overlapping claims to continental shelves and rights to potential energy resources in the eastern Mediterranean.
- Tensions flared last month after Ankara sent Oruc Reis to map out possible oil and gas drilling prospects in waters claimed by Greece, Cyprus and Turkey.
- The term “continental shelf” is used by geologists generally to mean that part of the continental margin which is between the shoreline and the shelf break or, where there is no noticeable slope, between the shoreline and the point where the depth of the superjacent water is approximately between 100 and 200 metres.
- Continental Shelf is the gently sloping seaward extension of continental plate. These extended margins of each continent are occupied by relatively shallow seas and gulfs.
- Gradient of continental is of 1° or even less. The shelf typically ends at a very steep slope, called the shelf break.
- The continental shelves are covered with variable thicknesses of sediments brought down by rivers, glaciers etc. Massive sedimentary deposits received over a long time by the continental shelves, become the source of fossil fuels.
- The shelf is formed mainly due to
- submergence of a part of a continent
- relative rise in sea level
- Sedimentary deposits brought down by rivers
- Importance of continent shelves
- Marine food comes almost entirely from continental shelves;
- They provide the richest fishing grounds;
- They are potential sites for economic minerals
Subject: Science and tech
India will be self-reliant in fertiliser production by 2023 as new units are being set up with an investment of Rs 40,000 crore to reduce dependency on imports. Addressing a webinar organised by cooperative IFFCO for farmers of Karnataka, the minister said the government is promoting nano fertilisers .
- Nano fertilizers are being studied as a way to increase nutrient efficiency and improve plant nutrition, compared with traditional fertilizers.
- A nano fertilizer is any product that is made with nano particles or uses nanotechnology to improve nutrient efficiency.
- Three classes of nano fertilizers have been proposed:
- nano scale fertilizer (nano particles which contain nutrients)
- nano scale additives (traditional fertilizers with nano scale additives)
- nano scale coating (traditional fertilizers coated or loaded with nano particles)
- Nano material coatings (such as a nano membrane) may slow the release of nutrients or a porous nano fertilizer may include a network of channels that retard nutrient solubility. The use of nanotechnology for fertilizers is still in its infancy but is already adopted for medical and engineering applications.
- Another promising application of nanotechnology is the encapsulation of beneficial microorganisms that can improve plant root health. These could include various bacteria or fungi that enhance the availability of nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium in the root zone. The development of nano biosensors to react with specific root exudates is also being explored.
5. Negative impact of high fiscal deficit
Government deficit is possibly the most dominating issue in the global financial markets these days.
- A high government deficit leaves little for the private sector for investment and puts upward pressure on interest rates—also referred as crowding out.
- But in an open economy, the country can always import capital to naturalize the impact of reduced saving because of higher deficit. But, again, import of foreign capital would result in appreciation of the currency, affecting exports and growth.
- It has threat of a ratings downgrade.
Tourism authorities filming pink blooms in backwater villages to ensure people around the world connected to the destinations.
- The backwaters in the Malabar Coast are called
- Backwaters are the shallow lagoons or inlets of the sea, lying parallel to the coastline.
- The backwaters have a unique ecosystem: freshwater from the rivers meets the seawater from the Arabian Sea.
- The kayals are formed by the action of waves and shore currents creating low barrier islands across the mouths of the many rivers flowing down from the Western Ghats range.
- Kayals have facilitated the functioning of the National Waterway 3 from Kollam to Kottapuram, and runs almost parallel to the coastline of southern Kerala facilitating both tourism and cargo movement.
7. Business Advisory Committee
The Congress and other opposition parties raised demands of discussion on issues of national security like the border situation with China, handling of the COVID-19 pandemic, economy and GST compensation to states in the first business advisory committee (BAC) meeting for Lok Sabha.
- The Business Advisory Committee of Lok Sabha consists of 15 members including the Speaker who is the ex-officio Chairperson.
- The members are nominated by the Speaker.
- In practice, a new Committee after being nominated by the Speaker is constituted and assumes office in the first week of June every year.
- Casual vacancies are filled by nomination of new members for the unexpired term of the Committee.
- The Committee generally meets at the beginning of each Session and thereafter as and when necessary.
- Almost all sections of the House are represented on the Committee.
- The function of the Committee is to recommend the time that should be allotted for the discussion of such government legislative and other business as the Speaker, in consultation with the Leader of the House, may direct to be referred to the Committee.
- The Committee, on its own initiative, may also recommend to the Government to bring forward particular subjects for discussion in the House and recommend allocation of time for such discussions.
- The decisions reached by the Committee are always unanimous in character and representative of the collective view of the House.