Daily Prelims Notes 19 December 2021
- December 19, 2021
- Posted by: OptimizeIAS Team
- Category: DPN
Daily Prelims Notes
19 December 2021
Table of Contents
- Agni-P Missile
- Pacific Light Cable Network
- Climate Change in Arctic
- Sacred Groves
- Chamber of Princes
- Mosquitoes and Climate Change
- Sangolli Rayanna
- Iron Fortification
- Petroleum and Natural Gas Regulatory Board
- Open Acreage Licensing Policy
- Order of Druk Gyalpo
Subject – Defence and Security
Context – DRDO tests Agni-P missile for second time
- A new generation nuclear-capable ballistic missile, Agni-P (Prime), was successfully flight tested from the Dr APJ Abdul Kalam island off the coast of Odisha.
- Agni-P is a new generation advanced variant of the Agni class of missiles.
- It is a two-stage canisterised solid propellant ballistic missile with dual redundant navigation and guidance system that can be launched from rail and road and stored for a longer period.
- It can be transported across the length and breadth of the country, as per requirements.
- Canisterisation of missiles reduces the time required to launch the missile while improving its storage and mobility.
- The new ballistic missile, which has a range capability between 1,000 and 2,000 kilometres, weighs half of Agni III and has new kinds of propulsion and new guidance.
- It also comes with the technologies found in the 4000-kilometre range Agni-IV and 5000-kilometre range Agni-V. The new Agni P can be used to target enemy warships in the Indo-Pacific.
- Agni class of missiles are the mainstay of India’s nuclear launch capability which also includes the Prithvi short range ballistic missiles, submarine launched ballistic missiles and fighter aircraft.
- The longest of the Agni series, Agni-V, an Inter-Continental Ballistic Missile (ICBM) with a range of over 5,000 km, has already been tested several times and validated for induction.
Subject – Science and Tech
Context – U.S. recommends approving Google, Meta undersea data cable to Asia
- The Biden administration recommended Alphabet’s Google and Facebook parent Meta get permission to use an undersea cable system to handle growing internet traffic with Asia.
- The administration urged the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to grant licenses for the companies to send and receive data on the existing 8,000-mile Pacific Light Cable Network.
- The undersea fiber-optic cable system connects the United States, Taiwan, the Philippines and Hong Kong.
- Undersea cables transmit nearly all the world’s internet data traffic.
About Pacific Light Cable Network
- Pacific Light Cable Network (PLCN) connects Hong Kong, Taiwan, the Philippines and the US.
- PLCN offers the first direct submarine cable connectivity between Hong Kong and Los Angeles, the US, spanning approximately 13000 km. PLCN offers the shortest RTD between Hong Kong and Los Angeles.
- PLCN is the first and currently the only submarine cable system in the world to deploy with C+L band optical technology. C+L band technology had been technically feasible when PLCN project was launched in the end of 2015.
Subject – Environment
Context – The Arctic Circle has continued to warm at more than twice the rate as the rest of the world through 2021
- People living in the cold but rapidly warming Arctic region seem to be trapped between two crises: The novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic and a changing climate.
- “The COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated existing challenges for Alaska natives in accessing traditional foods,” said the Arctic Report Card published recently by the Arctic Program of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.
- It was only “the strength of indigenous cultural and economic practices such as food sharing networks that helped mitigate these challenges,” found the report.
- One such network is the Indigenous Food Knowledges Network, which operates in the Arctic and the United States mid-west, bridging the two diverse regions.
- The Arctic Ocean is acidifying faster than the rest of the global oceans, which threatens the entire ecosystem that the ocean supports.
- The Arctic Circle, one of the most climatologically important regions on the planet, has continued to warm at more than twice the rate as the rest of the world through 2021.
- The warming has also caused major disruptions in the ecology of the Arctic region. Scientists observed a higher ocean primary productivity than the long-term average between 2003 and 2020.
- Ocean primary productivity is measured in terms of the extent of phytoplankton in the oceans, which form the first link in the food web of most marine ecosystems.
Subject – Environment
Context – Punjab’s sacred groves, hosting native flora and fauna, and associated with people’s beliefs and traditions, need urgent attention.
- Sacred groves are communally protected forests which usually have a significant religious connotation for the protecting community.
- The Sacred Groves comprises of patches of forest or natural vegetation that are usually dedicated to local folk deities.
- Indian sacred groves are often associated with temples, monasteries, shrines or with burial grounds.
- Hunting and logging are usually strictly prohibited within these patches.
- Other forms of forest usage like honey collection and deadwood collection are sometimes allowed on a sustainable basis.
- The introduction of the protected area category community reserves under the Wild Life (Protection) Amendment Act, 2002 has introduced legislation for providing government protection to community held lands, which include sacred groves.
- Among the largest sacred groves of India are the ones in Hariyali, near Gauchar in Chamoli District of Uttarakhand, and the Deodar grove in Shipin near Shimla in Himachal Pradesh.
- In India, there are over a lakh sacred groves across different states called by different names like Kaavu in Malayalam, Koyil kaadu in Tamil, Orans in Rajasthan, Devara kaadu in Karnataka, and Sernas in Madhya Pradesh.
Subject – History
Context – Suspended MPs have been protesting in front of the statue of Mahatma Gandhi inside the Parliament complex.
- The Chamber of Princes (Narendra Mandal) was an institution established in 1920 by a royal proclamation of King-Emperor George V to provide a forum in which the rulers of the princely states of India could voice their needs and aspirations to the colonial government of British India. It survived until the end of the British Raj in 1947.
- The Chamber had an advisory and consultative role. It was represented by 120 princes out of 565 in all.
- In all its years of existence, only the rulers of Bikaner, Patiala, Nawanagar and Bhopal were chosen as chancellors of the Chamber of Princes.
- The Chamber of Princes usually met only once a year, with the Viceroy of India presiding, but it appointed a Standing Committee which met more often.
- The full Chamber elected from its princely ranks a permanent officer styled the Chancellor, who chaired the Standing Committee.
- The chamber convened at the Parliament House. Today the hall is used as the parliament’s library.
Subject – Environment
Context – In a warming world, viruses and their mosquito vectors are fast acquiring traits to gang up on humans
- Aedes mosquitoes are originally found in tropical and subtropical parts of the world. Though most serious diseases such as dengue, chikungunya, yellow fever and zika are transmitted by just two species — Aedes aegypti and Aedes albopictus — these are fast emerging throughout the world as a public health threat.
- A aegypti is native to sub-Saharan Africa, and in its native environment it lives in tree holes and small pools of water and bites non-human primates.
- Similarly, A albopictus is native to tropical southeast Asia, where it was originally a forest species that fed on wild animals.
- While human-made conditions have made it easy for the mosquitoes to spread over larger areas, global warming has further aided in their proliferation as warm and wet environments are excellent places for mosquitoes to breed.
- A aegypti is heat-tolerant and the A albopictus is heat-limited.
Subject – History
Context – Prohibitory orders have been clamped on Belagavi till Monday morning after a statue of Sangolli Rayanna, a 19th century icon who fought against the British, was vandalised.
- He was an Indian military Shetsanadi (Sainik) and warrior in the Kittur princely state of the Karnataka.
- He was the Shetsanadi of the Kingdom of Kittur ruled at the time by Rani Chennamma and fought the British East India Company till his death.
- Sangolli Rayanna also participated in the 1824 rebellion and was arrested by the British, who released him later.
- He mobilised local people and started a guerilla type war against the British.
- The British troops could not defeat him in open battle. Hence, by treachery, he was caught in April 1831 and tried by the British and sentenced to death.
Subject – Environment
Context – After 50 years, gharials alive and kicking in Beas Reserve
- Gharials, sometimes called gavials, are a type of Asian crocodilian distinguished by their long, thin snouts which resembles a pot (ghara in Hindi).
- Population of Gharials are a good indicator of clean river water.
- Gharials are a type of Crocodilians that also includes crocodiles, alligators, caimans, etc. India has three species of Crocodilians namely:
- Gharial (Gavialis gangeticus): International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN)- Critically Endangered.
- Mugger crocodile (Crocodylus palustris): IUCN- Vulnerable
- Saltwater crocodile (Crocodylus porosus): IUCN- Least Concern
- In comparison to Crocodiles, Gharials are very shy and unharmful species.
Gharial reintroduction in the Beas Conservation Reserve
- The Beas Conservation Reserve is a 185-kilometre stretch of the Beas River located primarily in the north-west of the State of Punjab.
- The gharial reintroduction in the Beas Conservation Reserve is an ambitious programme of the Punjab government.
- The reptiles were commonly sighted in the Beas River till the 1960s but later became extinct.
- The gharial can be found in north Indian rivers such as the Ganga, Yamuna and Chambal and their tributaries.
- The Reserve also hosts the only known population in India of the endangered Indus river dolphin (Platanista gangetica minor).
- Further threatened species include the endangered masheer (Tor putitora) and hog deer (Axis porcinus) as well as the vulnerable smooth-coated otter (Lutrogale perspicillata).
- In 2017, a programme was initiated to re-introduce the critically endangered gharial (Gavialis gangeticus) with 47 individuals released into the River 30 years after their disappearance.
- The Beas originates near the Rohtang Pass, at a height of 4,062 m above sea level, on the southern end of the Pir Panjal Range, close to the source of the Ravi.
- It is a tributary of Indus river.
- It meets the Satluj river at Harike in Punjab.
- It is a comparatively small river which is only 460 km long but lies entirely within the Indian territory.
- The river flows through Kullu Valley.
- It forms a gorge at Kati and Largi in the Dhauladhar range.
- Harike wetland is a Ramsar site, a wetland of international importance.
Subject – Governance
Context – Inescapable risks of mandatory iron fortification – Fortification will increase serum ferritin without changing haemoglobin level
- Iron is not safe in excess; it is an oxidant with a variety of ill-effects.
- Iron increases the risk for many non-communicable diseases like diabetes, hypertension and even high blood cholesterol.
- The iron body stores is measured by serum ferritin concentration.
- Fortification of any one staple (rice, wheat, or salt) will increase serum ferritin, without necessarily changing the haemoglobin level.
- No less than 50% of Indian children, aged 5-19 years, already had a biomarker of either high blood sugar or high blood lipids, even when thin or stunted.
- The WHO is having a consultation this year to evaluate if haemoglobin diagnostic cut-offs for anaemia should be lowered in different geographies, one of which is India.
- This is partly based on a recent paper in The Lancet by us, that showed that the cut-offs were likely lower than the WHO cut-off in Indian children.
- This lowering has been also confirmed in a study of no less than 32 countries worldwide, as well as another in pregnant women.
- A lower cut-off will mean lower (halved) anaemia prevalence.
To know more about Fortified Rice, please refer August 2021 DPN.
Subject – Economy
Context – City gas licensing round draws 430 bids
- It is a statutory body in India, constituted under the act of Parliament of India, namely Petroleum and Natural Gas Regulatory Board Act, 2006.
- Its primary functions include regulation of refining, transportation, distribution, storage, marketing, supply and sale of petroleum products and natural gas.
- PNGRB authorises the CGD networks, natural gas and petroleum product pipelines, determines tariff, lays down the technical and safety standards etc.
- Entities will have to register with the PNGRB to market petroleum products and natural gas, operate LNG terminals and establish storage facilities beyond specified capacity.
- The PNGRB will have the same powers as a civil court to settle disputes. The Appellate Tribunal under the Electricity Act will serve as the Appellate Tribunal for this Act.
Subject – Economy
Context – India offers 8 oil, gas blocks for bidding in latest round
- The Hydrocarbon Exploration and Licensing Policy (HELP) replacing the erstwhile New Exploration Licensing Policy (NELP) was approved in March 2016 and the Open Acreage Licensing Policy (OALP) along with the National Data Repository (NDR) were launched in June 2017 as the key drivers to accelerate the Exploration and Production (E&P) activities in India.
- It provides a single, uniform Licence for exploration and production of conventional as well as unconventional hydrocarbon resources.
- Under OALP, companies are allowed to carve out areas they want to explore oil and gas in. Companies can put in an expression of interest for any area throughout the year but such interests are accumulated thrice in a year. The areas sought are then put on auction.
- The successful roll-out of the HELP regime, followed by OALP Bid Rounds, has led to an increase in exploration acreages in India.
- The OALP has helped in removing red-tapism and brought in a quantum jump in the Exploration & Production sector.
- The revenue-sharing model is used for offering fields.
- Producers have complete marketing and pricing freedom for crude oil and natural gas produced.
- Working – Under the OALP, once an explorer selects areas after evaluating the National Data Repository (NDR) and submits the EoI, it is to be put up for competitive bidding and the entity offering the maximum share of oil and gas to the government is awarded the block.
Subject – IR
Context – Modi to get Bhutan’s top civilian award
- Bhutan conferred the Order of the Druk Gyalpo, its highest civilian honour, on Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
- The Order of the Dragon King (Druk Gyalpo) is the highest decoration of the Kingdom of Bhutan, awarded in recognition of a lifetime of service to the people and Kingdom of Bhutan.
Subject – Science and Tech
Context – WHO emergency nod for Serum Institute’s Covovax
- The World Health Organisation said it had granted emergency approval to the India-manufactured coronavirus vaccine Covovax.
- The jab, produced by the Serum Institute of India under licence from the U.S – based Novavax, will now be distributed as part of global vaccine-sharing system Covax, giving a much-needed boost to ongoing efforts to vaccinate more people in lower income countries.
- Covovax requires two doses and is stable at 2 to 8 degrees Celsius refrigerated temperatures.