Daily Prelims Notes 17 April 2022
- April 17, 2022
- Posted by: OptimizeIAS Team
- Category: DPN
Daily Prelims Notes
17 April 2022
Table Of Contents
- Telecom Spectrum Auction
- Anti Nutrients
- Ammonia Pollution In Yamuna
- Zomato defers quality policy
Subject: Science & tech
Context- Why are telecom companies upset with the regulator despite its proposal to cut prices by 40%?
The story so far:
- The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) this week released recommendations on auction of spectrum, including those likely to be used for oﬀering 5G services.
- The telecom regulator has suggested cutting prices of airwaves across various bands by 35-40% from its earlier proposed base price.
- However, the Cellular Operators Association of India, whose members include the three private telcos, Bharti Airtel, Reliance Jio and Vodafone Idea, has expressed disappointment, given the industry’s demand for a 90% reduction in the prices.
What is Spectrum?
- Spectrum refers to the invisible radio frequencies that wireless signals travel over.
- Those signals are what enable us to make calls from our mobile devices, tag our friends on Instagram, call an Uber, pull up directions to a destination, and do everything on our mobile devices.
- The frequencies we use for wireless are only a portion of what is called the electromagnetic spectrum.
- Portions of electromagnetic spectrum are grouped in “bands” depending on their wavelengths—the distance over which the wave’s shape repeats.
- The full electromagnetic spectrum ranges from three Hz (extremely low frequency) to 300 EHz (gamma rays).
- The portion used for wireless communication sits within that space and ranges from about 20 KHz to 300 GHz.
- When we talk about radio spectrum, we are talking about the range of radio frequencies that are used for communicating.
How Does Spectrum Work?
- Because a range of spectrum frequencies can be used for cellular communications, different bands have slightly different characteristics.
- For the purposes of wireless communication, we can think of spectrum in three categories: low-, mid-, and high-band spectrum.
- Low-band spectrum (under 3 GHz) travels longer distances with minimal signal interruption. Today’s wireless networks are built primarily on low-band spectrum, and the wireless industry has used this spectrum to build high-speed wireless networks.
- High-band spectrum (above 24 GHz) travels much shorter distances—think meters, not miles—compared to low-band spectrum, but offers high capacity and ultra-fast speeds.
- Mid-band spectrum (between 3 and 24 GHz) blends the characteristics of both low- and high-band spectrum—providing a mix of coverage and capacity.
- A spectrum auction is a process whereby a government uses an auction system to sell the rights to transmit signals over specific bands of the electromagnetic spectrum and to assign scarce spectrum resources.
- In India, the Department of Telecommunications (DoT) conducts auctions of licenses for electromagnetic spectrum.
- India was among the early adopters of spectrum auctions beginning auctions in 1994.
- The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) was established on 20th February, 1997 by the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India Act, 1997.
- Objectives of TRAI:
- TRAI’s mission is to create and nurture conditions for growth of telecommunications in the country.
- TRAI regulates telecom services including fixation/revision of tariffs for telecom services which were earlier vested in the Central Government.
- It also aims to provide a fair and transparent policy environment which promotes a level playing field and facilitates fair competition.
- Headquarters: The head office of the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) is located at New Delhi.
- The function of the TRAI is to make recommendations on the following matters:
- Need for introduction of new service provider.
- Revocation of license for non-compliance of terms and conditions of licence.
- Measures to facilitate competition and promote efficiency in the operation of telecommunication services to facilitate their growth.
- Technological improvements in the services provided by the service providers.
Subject: Science & Tech
Context- Improving natural iron absorption from ironrich grains is a better strategy than chemical iron fortiﬁcation of cereals.
Iron Deficiency In India:
- The iron deﬁciency occurs less likely due to an iron deﬁcient diet, and more likely due to poor absorption of dietary iron.
- With poor, cereal based diets, iron is not well absorbed, because of a substance called phytate that is present in cereal grains, which binds tightly to dietary iron and impedes its absorption.
- Similarly, drinking tea or taking paan after meals also blocks iron absorption because of other inhibitory substances called polyphenols, which also bind iron tightly.
- Chronic body inﬂammation also blocks iron absorption from the intestine.
- This iron absorption blockade can be overcome by eating fruits (vitamin C) with meals, or simply changing behavior, like avoiding tea with meals.
Millets for Iron Deficiency:
- Alternatively, dietary iron intake could be increased in a natural manner, by eating iron rich grains like millets, which will increase iron intake naturally, and not excessively.
- It is laudable that there is interest in promoting millet consumption in India for adults and children: these ancient grains are good for us in many ways, and not just for their rich iron content.
- They are also high in calcium, zinc, magnesium, potassium, dietary ﬁbre, and important vitamins such as thiamine, riboﬂavin, folic acid, and niacin.
About Anti- Nutrients:
- The term “anti-nutrients” suggests what they are.
- Whereas nutrients are substances that nourish plants and animals to grow and live, anti-nutrients earn their title because they can block the absorption of nutrients.
- Anti-nutrients are naturally found in animals and many plant-based foods.
- In plants, they are compounds designed to protect from bacterial infections and being eaten by insects.
- There are several compounds in the foods we eat classified as anti-nutrients. Examples include:
- Glucosinolates and goitrogens in cruciferous vegetables (broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, kale)—can prevent the absorption of iodine, which may then interfere with thyroid function and cause goiter. Those already with an iodine deficiency or a condition called hypothyroidism are most susceptible.
- Lectins in legumes (beans, peanuts, soybeans), whole grains—can interfere with the absorption of calcium, iron, phosphorus, and zinc.
- Oxalates in green leafy vegetables, tea, beans, nuts, beets—can bind to calcium and prevent it from being absorbed.
- Phytates (phytic acid) in whole grains, seeds, legumes, some nuts—can decrease the absorption of iron, zinc, magnesium, and calcium.
- Saponins in legumes, whole grains—can interfere with normal nutrient absorption.
- Tannins in tea, coffee, legumes—can decrease iron absorption.
Subject: Science & Tech
Context- Graphene material has been known to show exotic phases ranging from insulator to superconductor.
- Twistronics (from twist and electronics) is the study of how the angle (the twist) between layers of two-dimensional materials can change their electrical properties.
- Materials such as bilayer graphene have been shown to have vastly different electronic behavior, ranging from non-conductive to superconductive, that depends sensitively on the angle between the layers.
Twisted Bilayer Graphene:
- Graphene is a two dimensional material comprising a single layer of carbon atoms arranged in a hexagonal lattice.
- Stacks of graphene layers can make up graphite.
- Graphene possesses several interesting properties by itself, and, moreover, it can be combined with other materials to form useful devices.
- One such material is twisted bilayer graphene.
- This is made by placing two layers of graphene on top of each other such that they are aligned well, and then twisting one layer, so that it makes a well calibrated, known angle with respect to the former.
- When such a twist is given, the lattice shows what are called moire patterns. Moire patterns are wavy fringe like patterns that we see, for example, when two layers of synthetic fabric overlap and move with respect to each other.
- Bilayer graphene can be used to construct field effect transistors or tunneling field effect transistors, exploiting the small energy gap.
- A material system known as magic-angle twisted trilayer graphene exhibits superconductivity. The observation that this superconductivity persists under a strong magnetic field could lead to advances in quantum computation.
4. Ammonia Pollution In Yamuna
Context- Water supply was disrupted in parts of Delhi once again when ammonia levels in the Yamuna river remained high on Saturday, according to the Delhi Jal Board (DJB).
What is Ammonia and what are its effects?
- Ammonia is a colourless gas and is used as an industrial chemical in the production of fertilizers, plastics, synthetic fibres, dyes and other products. Its chemical formula is NH3.
- Ammonia occurs naturally in the environment from the breakdown of organic waste matter, and may also find its way to ground and surface water sources through industrial effluents or through contamination by sewage.
- Ammonia reduces the amount of oxygen in water as it is transformed to oxidised forms of nitrogen. Hence, it also increases Biochemical oxygen demand (BOD).
- If the concentration of ammonia in water is above 1 ppm it is toxic to fishes.
- In humans, long term ingestion of water having ammonia levels of 1 ppm or above may cause damage to internal organs.
A cause of concern:
- The concentration of ammonia in the river was 4 ppm (parts per million), seven times the level of around 1 ppm that the Delhi Jal Board’s water treatment plants (WTPs) can process.
- The acceptable maximum limit of ammonia in drinking water, as per the Bureau of Indian Standards, is 0.5 ppm.
Where does Ammonia come from?
- Ammonia is produced for commercial fertilizers and other industrial applications.
- Natural sources of ammonia include the decomposition or breakdown of organic waste matter, gas exchange with the atmosphere, forest fires, animal and human waste, and nitrogen fixation processes.
How is it treated?
- The DJB at present does not have any specific technology to treat ammonia.
- The only solution it adapts is to reduce production at its water treatment plants.
- In addition to this, the board mixes raw water that carries a high concentration of ammonia with a fresh supply.
- The amount of chlorine added to disinfect raw water is also increased when high levels of ammonia are detected.
What is the long-term solution to the problem?
- Ozone-based units to treat ammonia levels up to 4 ppm should be installed at Water Treatment Plants.
- Stringent implementation of guidelines against dumping harmful waste into the river, and making sure untreated sewage does not enter the water are two things pollution control bodies are expected to do.
- But, a more organic method agreed upon by environmentalists and experts is to maintain a sustainable minimum flow, called the ecological flow.
- This is the minimum amount of water that should flow throughout the river at all times to sustain underwater and estuarine ecosystems and human livelihoods, and for self-regulation.
- The lack of a minimum ecological flow also means an accumulation of other pollutants.
About Yamuna River:
- The river Yamuna, a major tributary of river Ganges, originates from the Yamunotri glacier near Bandarpoonch peaks in the Mussoorie range of the lower Himalayas in Uttarkashi district of Uttarakhand.
- It meets the Ganges at the Sangam in Prayagraj, Uttar Pradesh after flowing through Uttarakhand, Himachal Pradesh, Haryana and Delhi.
- Length: 1376 km
- Important Tributaries: Chambal, Sindh, Betwa, Ken, Tons, Hindon.
5. Zomato defers quality policy
Section: Corporate Governance
Context: Zomato has decided to postpone the proposed plan to ban restaurants based on customer complaints about food quality until next month and has informed restaurants that it will seek feedback from them on how it can strengthen the policy before implementing it.
- Under the policy, called ‘Severe Food Quality’ rules, Zomato proposed it would temporarily ban restaurants if consumers complained about their food quality.
- The platform had listed the presence of hazardous objects in food, serving non-vegetarian food instead of vegetarian, delivering the wrong type of meat, and rotten food as examples of severe food quality issues.
- Zomato said it would get feedback from stakeholders on the policy. Besides, the disablement will be in consultation with the restaurant management and will only be applicable till necessary remedial actions are undertaken and verified through a Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI)-approved hygiene and safety auditor.
- FSSAI welcomed Zomato’s policy, saying it would ensure customers receive good quality food.
- The FSSAI had earlier launched a hygiene rating for restaurants, cafes, dhabas etc, to make sure customers get good quality food at such outlets. The ratings, voluntary in nature, include several parameters and an inspection by local authorities or a third-party audit of a restaurant’s premises and food offerings.
- The National Restaurants Association of India (NRAI), which had criticised Zomato saying that the firm was overstepping with the policy said while the intent of the policy is understandable, the implementation leaves a lot of grey areas and scope for misuse. Further the action of delisting is draconian.
- Restaurants, meanwhile, are waiting to see how the policy will finally shape up to be and have called for a two-way process., to consider the issue of fake complaints and equally penalise customers engaging in such activities.
To know about FSSAI, refer: https://optimizeias.com/food-safety-and-standards-authority-of-india-fssai/