Daily Prelims Notes 20 March 2021
- March 20, 2021
- Posted by: OptimizeIAS Team
- Category: DPN
Daily Prelims Notes
20 March 2021
Table Of Contents
- MILAN 2T ATGM
- MMDR AMENDMENT BILL
- THE CONSTITUTION (SCHEDULED CASTES) ORDER (AMENDMENT) BILL 2021
- DIATOM TEST
- GLOBAL HUNGER INDEX
- RANTHAMBORE TIGER RESERVE
- ALUMINIUM AIR BATTERY
- SAAMAR CAMPAIGN
- WORLD HAPPINESS REPORT
- TRISHNA MISSION
- NPCA SCHEME
- REGENT HONEYEATER
- VACCINE WASTAGE
- MOSCOW SUMMIT
Subject : Defence
Context : Defence Ministry Seals Deal To Acquire 4,690 India-Made Anti-Tank Missiles For Army.
About MILAN-2T Anti-Tank Guided Missiles
- The Milan-2T is a Tandem Warhead ATGM with the range of 1,850 metres.
- The tandem warheads comprise a forward charge and a rear charge separated by a blast shield.
- It is produced by Bharat Dynamics Limited (BDL) under license from MBDA Missile Systems, France.
- It can be fired from ground as well as vehicle-based launchers.
- It can be deployed in anti-tank role for both offensive and defensive tasks.
Subject : Legislations
Context : Recently, the Lok Sabha has passed a Bill to amend the Mines and Mineral (Development and Regulation) Act (MMDR Act) through a voice vote.
Key Changes under MMDR (Amendment) Bill 2021
- It removes the distinction between captive and non-captive mines and seeks to introduce an index-based mechanism by developing a National Mineral Index (NMI) for statutory payments.
- The National Mineral Exploration Trust (NMET) which is entrusted with responsibility of looking after the functioning of the mining sector will be made an autonomous body.
- Sale of minerals by captive mines: It proposes to allow captive miners of both coal and other minerals to sell up to 50 per cent of their production after meeting the requirements of the end-use plant and on paying additional royalty to the state government.
- It proposes to fix additional royalty payments to states for the extension of mining leases for central public sector enterprises.
- Auction by the central government in certain cases: It proposes to empower the central government to conduct auctions or re-auction processes for the grant of a mining lease if a state government fails to complete the auction process.
- Conditions for lapse of mining lease: The Act provides that a mining lease will lapse if the lessee:
is not able to start mining operations within two years of the grant of a lease, or
has discontinued mining operations for a period of two years.
- The Bill adds that the threshold period for lapse of the lease may be extended by the state government only once and up to one year.
Subject : Polity
Context : The Lok Sabha passed The Constitution (Scheduled Castes) Order (Amendment) Bill, 2021 that seeks to put seven castes under one nomenclature of “DevendrakulaVellalars” with some exceptions for some of the castes in certain districts of Tamil Nadu.
- The castes include Devendrakulathan, Kadaiyan, Kalladi, Kudumban, Pallan, Pannadi and Vathiriyan.
- The State government had earlier accepted a recommendation of a committee to reclassify the seven sub sects under the generic name ‘DevendrakulaVelalar’ and forwarded it to the Centre.
- The change in nomenclature was a long pending demand of the community and did not involve either the deletion or addition of any community in its ambit.
- The reason why a whole new addition was not made to the Scheduled Castes list was to ensure that old caste certificates issued to these communities under the old name not be rejected.
Subject : Science & tech
Context : Recently, the Maharashtra Anti-Terrorist Squad (ATS) has relied on a forensic test known as diatom tests for leads in the alleged murder case of Mansukh Hiran.
- A number of tests have been developed to confirm the cause of such deaths (death by drowning) with the diatom test emerging as one of the most important tests.
- The test entails findings if there are diatoms in the body being tested.
What are Diatoms?
- Diatoms are photosynthesizing algae which are found in almost every aquatic environment including fresh and marine waters, soils and almost anywhere that is moist.
- They are unicellular, photosynthetic, autotrophic organisms that have a characteristic structure frustules, comprising two thecas i.e. silica cell walls.
- The diatoms are subdivided into two major orders i.e. Centrales and Pennales depending on the shape of the frustule.
- The Centrales are radially symmetric and the Pennales have bilateral symmetry.
Science behind Diatom Test
- A body recovered from a water body does not necessarily imply that the death was due to drowning.
- If the person is alive when he enters the water, the diatoms will enter the lungs when the person inhales water while drowning.
- These diatoms then get carried to various parts of the body, including the brain, kidneys, lungs and bone marrow by blood circulation.
- If a person is dead when is thrown in the water, then there is no circulation and there is no transport of diatom cells to various organs.
- The Diatom analysis is considered positive only when the number of diatoms recovered from the body is more than a minimal established limit.
- The result of a diatom test will be different if a person is thrown in the water after he is dead.
Reliability of Diatom Test
- It is reliable unless and until the deceased person has been drinking water from the same source of water before his death.
- The diatom test need not be done if classical signs of drowning like froth at mouth and nostrils, cadaveric spasm, presence of water from drowning medium is seen in stomach and oedema of lungs are present.
Subject : International Reports
Context : Union Minister for Agriculture questioned in the Rajya Sabha the methodology and data accuracy of the Global Hunger Index (GHI) report, which has placed India at 94th among 107 countries in 2020.
- The Minister said the government had written to the NGO, Welthungerhilfe, which compiles the report, expressing concerns about their methodology, data accuracy and sample size.
- India’s ranking had improved from 102 in 2019 to 94 in 2020. But still, India was ranked below countries such as Nepal, Bangladesh and Myanmar.
Global Hunger Index
- Annual Report: Jointly published by Concern Worldwide and Welthungerhilfe.
- It was first produced in 2006. It is published every October. The 2020 edition marks the 15th edition of the GHI.
- Aim: To comprehensively measure and track hunger at the global, regional, and country levels.
- Calculation: The GHI scores are calculated each year to assess progress and setbacks in combating hunger. It is calculated on the basis of four indicators:
Undernourishment: Share of the population with insufficient caloric intake.
Child Wasting: Share of children under age five who have low weight for their height, reflecting acute undernutrition.
Child Stunting: Share of children under age five who have low height for their age, reflecting chronic undernutrition.
Child Mortality: The mortality rate of children under the age of five.
- Based on the values of the four indicators, the GHI determines hunger on a 100-point scale where 0 is the best possible score (no hunger) and 100 is the worst.
- Each country’s GHI score is classified by severity, from low to extremely alarming.
Subject : Environment
Context : Seven Tigers Are ‘Missing’ From Rajasthan’s Ranthambore Since A Year, Activists Concerned.
- Ranthambore Tiger Reserve lies in the eastern part of Rajasthan state in Karauli and SawaiMadhopur districts, at the junction of the Aravali and Vindhya hill ranges.
- Parks and Sanctuaries Included: It comprises of the Ranthambore National Park as well as SawaiMansingh and Keladevi Sanctuaries.
- The Ranthambore fort, from which the forests derive their name, is said to have a rich history of over 1000 years. It is strategically located atop a 700 feet tall hill within the park and is believed to have been built in 944 AD by a Chauhan ruler.
- The vegetation includes grasslands on plateaus and dense forests along the seasonal streams.
- The forest type is mainly tropical dry deciduous with ‘dhak’ (Butea monsoperma), a species of tree capable of withstanding long periods of drought, being the commonest.
- This tree is also called as ‘Flame of forest’ and is one of the many flowering plants that add colour to the dry summers here.
- Wildlife : The park is rich in wildlife with tiger at the apex of the food chain in mammals.
- Other animals found here are leopards, striped hyenas, common or hanuman langurs, rhesus macaques, jackals, jungle cats, caracals, blackbuck, Blacknaped hare and chinkara, etc.
- The park is rich in birds with about 272 species recorded so far.
Subject : Science & tech
Context : State-owned Indian Oil Corporation Ltd. has entered into a joint venture with Israel-based battery technology startup Phinergy to develop aluminium-air technology based battery systems for electric vehicles and stationary storage, as well as hydrogen storage solutions.
- Top automakers, including Maruti Suzuki and Ashok Leyland, have already signed letters of intent with the newly formed joint venture to commercially deploy the battery solutions produced by IOC Phinergy.
- Aluminium-air batteries are said to be a lower cost and more energy-dense alternative to lithium-ion batteries which are currently in widespread use for electric vehicles in India.
- Aluminium-air batteries utilise oxygen in the air which reacts with an aluminium hydroxide solution to oxidise the aluminium and produce electricity.
- Aluminium-air battery-based electric vehicles are expected to offer much greater range of 400 km or more per battery compared to lithium-ion batteries which currently offer a range of 150-200 kilometres per full charge.
- The aluminium plate in an aluminium-air battery is converted into aluminium trihydroxide over time and that aluminium can be reclaimed from aluminium trihydroxide or even traded directly for industrial uses.
- Aluminium-air based batteries are also expected to be significantly cheaper than lithium-ion batteries, thereby reducing the cost of electric vehicle.
- One of the key downsides of aluminium-air batteries is that they cannot be recharged like lithium-ion batteries.
- Therefore, large scale use of aluminium-air battery based vehicles would require the wide availability of battery swapping stations.
Subject : Governance
Context : The Jharkhand government announced the launch of SAAMAR (Strategic Action for Alleviation of Malnutrition and Anemia Reduction) campaign to tackle malnutrition in the state.
- The campaign aims to identify anaemic women and malnourished children and converge various departments to effectively deal with the problem in a state where malnutrition has been a major problem.
- SAAMAR has been launched with a 1000 days target, under which annual surveys will be conducted to track the progress.
- To tackle severe acute malnutrition children, every AnganwadiCentres will be engaged to identify these children and subsequently will be treated at the Malnutrition Treatment Centres.
- In the same process the anaemic women will also be listed and will be referred to health centres in serious cases.
- All of these will be done through measuring Mid-Upper Arm Circumference (MUAC) of women and children through MUAC tapes and Edema levels, swelling in a small area or the entire body—malnutrition is one of the reasons attributed to this disease.
- Angawadi’sSahayia and Sevika will take them to the nearest Health Centre where they will be checked again and then registered on the portal of State Nutrition Mission.
Subject : International Report
Context : World Happiness Report 2021: Finland ranks first, India 139th.
- Finland has been declared the world’s happiest country for the fourth year running, according to the World Happiness Report 2021 published.
- Meanwhile, India ranked 139th out of the 149 countries in the list — a slight improvement since last year, when it was ranked 140th.
- Of the 10 top countries in the list, nine were in Europe. Finland was followed by Denmark, Switzerland, Iceland, the Netherlands, Norway, Sweden, Luxembourg, New Zealand and Austria.
- The report evaluated levels of happiness by taking into account factors such as GDP, social support, personal freedom, and levels of corruption in each nation.
- But this year, the authors had a unique new challenge to address in the report — the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic and its devastating impact on nations around the world.
About World Happiness Report:
- It is released by the Sustainable Development Solutions Network for the United Nations by the UN General Assembly.
- It is a landmark survey of the state of global happiness that ranks countries by how happy their citizens perceive themselves to be.
Subject : Science & tech
Context : India, France working on third joint space mission: ISRO Chairman.
- Officials said ISRO and CNES have completed the feasibility study to realise the earth observation satellite mission with thermal infrared imager, TRISHNA (Thermal infraRed Imaging Satellite for High resolution Natural resource Assessment) and are working towards finalising an implementing arrangement for the joint development.
- According to ISRO officials, ISRO and French space agency CNES (Centre National dEtudesSpatiales) have undertaken two joint missions ‘Megha-Tropiques’, which was launched in 2011, and ‘Saral-Altika’ in 2013.
- TRISHNA is a future high-resolution space-time mission in the thermal infrared (TIR) led jointly by the French (CNES) and the Indian (ISRO) space agencies for a launch planned in 2025.
- The scientific objectives guiding the definition of the mission are, in order of priority, the monitoring of the water status and of the stress of continental ecosystems, the monitoring of coastal and inland waters, the urban environment, and applications to the solid Earth, the cryosphere and the atmosphere.
- TRISHNA will be positioned on a polar orbit at an altitude of 761 km, providing a revisit of 3 passages over 8 days with global coverage.
Subject : Environment
Context : Over Rs 1,000 crore has been released for the conservation of 157 wetlands in the country under the National Plan for Conservation of Aquatic Eco-systems (NPCA).
- Under the NPCA scheme, the central assistance is based on proposals received from state governments, in conformity with the guidelines and budget availability.
- Accordingly, so far, MoEFCC has sanctioned projects for conservation of 157 wetlands in the country and released an amount of about Rs 1,039 crore as central share.
National Plan for Conservation of Aquatic Ecosystems (NPCA)
- NPCA is a single conservation programme for both wetlands and lakes.
- It is a centrally sponsored scheme, currently being implemented by the Union Ministry of Environment and Forests (MoEF).
- It was formulated in 2015 by merging of the National Lake Conservation Plan and the National Wetlands Conservation Programme.
- NPCA seeks to promote better synergy and avoid overlap of administrative functions.
Subject : Environment
Context : It has come to light that some specimens of the regent honeyeater (Anthochaeraphrygia), have been singing songs which ecologist Ross Crates — who observed the phenomenon — described as “weird”.
- The regent honeyeater (Anthochaeraphrygia) is a critically endangered bird endemic to southeastern Australia.
- It is commonly considered a flagship species within its range, with the efforts going into its conservation having positive effects on many other species that share its habitat.
- Recent genetic research suggests it is closely related to the wattlebirds.
- A flagship species is a species selected to act as an ambassador, icon or symbol for a defined habitat, issue, campaign or environmental cause.
- Flagship species are species that have the ability to capture the imagination of the public and induce people to support conservation action and/or to donate funds.
- These are popular, charismatic species that serve as symbols and rallying points to stimulate conservation awareness and action.
Subject : Science & tech
Context : A concern flagged by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, vaccine wastage is an expected part of any large inoculation drive.
- Vaccine wastage is directly linked to vaccine usage, which is the proportion of vaccines administered against vaccines issued to a vaccination site.
- The vaccine wastage rate is defined as 100 minus the vaccine usage rate.
- And the wastage rate directly determines the “wastage factor” that needs to be established for each vaccine in the immunisation schedule to accurately plan vaccine needs.
- It is broadly divided into two categories: wastage in unopened vials, and in opened vials.
- Wastage in unopened vials can occur due to six broad reasons: if the expiry date has been reached; if the vaccine is exposed to heat; if the vaccine has been frozen; breakage; missing inventory and theft; and while discarding unused vials returned from the vaccination site.
- Wastage in opened vials can occur due to five broad reasons: while discarding remaining doses at the end of the session; not being able to draw the number of doses in a vial; submergence of opened vials in the water; suspected contamination; and poor vaccine administration practices.
Subject : International Relations
Context : Afghan government, Taliban agree to accelerate peace talks after Moscow summit.
- Moscow hosted the international conference on Afghanistan on Thursday, at which Russia, the United States, China and Pakistan released a joint statement calling on the Afghan sides to reach a peace deal and curb violence, and on the Taliban not to launch any offensives in the spring and summer.
- The conference aimed to reinvigorate negotiations which have been taking place between the Afghan government and the Taliban in Qatar’s capital Doha, largely stalled over government accusations that the insurgents have failed to halt violence.
- The Moscow conference was the first time the United States had sent a senior representative to talks on Afghanistan under a format launched by Russia in 2017.
- Washington agreed last year with the Taliban to withdraw its troops by May 1 after nearly two decades, and is looking for support among regional powers for its plans for the peace process.