Daily Prelims Notes 20 March 2023
- March 20, 2023
- Posted by: OptimizeIAS Team
- Category: DPN
Daily Prelims notes
20 March 2023
Table Of Contents
- Microsoft 365 Co-pilot
- What is GPT-4 and how is it different from ChatGPT?
- Climate Change and Oceans
- Raccoon dogs linked to coronavirus pandemic
- Late Life Depression
- No antibiotics, plasma therapy to treat adult COVID patients: govt
- Include ST women in Hindu Succession Act, DMK MP urges Centre
- Background radiation higher in Kerala, but no risk: study
- Universal Health Coverage
- Amid heat over Adani stocks, NSE says all its decisions ‘transparent’
- Millions of dead fish wash up amid heat wave in Australia
- Finance min invites application for RBI deputy governor post
- Dastur Energy working with Carbon Recycling International to produce green methanol from captured carbon dioxide
- Sebi, investment bankers turn cautious as IPO market faces uncertainty
- Eco-Sensitive Zones (ESZ)
- Dirt cheap backup: Why Finland’s installation of the world’s 1st sand battery may be a game-changer
- Coastal crisis
Subject: Science and Technology
Section : AWARENES OF IT AND COMPUTERS
- Microsoft has launched Copilot, bringing in the power of generative artificial intelligence to most of its apps in the Microsoft Office 365 suite.
- Copilot is integrated into Microsoft 365 in two ways.
- Firstly, it has been integrated with the apps such as Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook, and Teams.
- Secondly, it has launched Business Chat, which works across your calendar, emails, chats, documents, meetings and contacts to lessen your drudgery and make you more productive.
- Earlier this month Microsoft unveiled Dynamics 365 Copilot.
- The AI tool is meant to assist applications that handle tasks such as sales, marketing and customer service.
- Based on technology from OpenAI, the software can draft contextual chat and email answers to customer-service queries.
What can copilot do?
- Copilot can give you a first draft, based on the prompts you give, to edit and iterate on. This can save you a lot of effort and time.
- In PowerPoint, it can help you in creating ‘beautiful’ presentations with a simple prompt, adding relevant content from a document you made last week or last year.
- Copilot in Excel can analyse trends and create professional-looking data visualisations in seconds.
- In Outlook, Copilot helps you clear your inbox in minutes.
- In Teams, it can summarise key discussion points — including who said what and where people are aligned, and where they disagree.
- One can ask it to write a message to one’s team about the updated product strategy. In no time, it can generate a quick summary based on the meeting one held an hour ago based on the meetings, emails and chat threads around the meeting.
2. What is GPT-4 and how is it different from ChatGPT?
Subject: Science and Technology
Section: AWARENES OF IT AND COMPUTERS
- AI powerhouse OpenAI announced GPT-4, the next big update to the technology that powers ChatGPT and Microsoft Bing, the search engine using the tech.
- GPT-4 is supposedly bigger, faster, and more accurate than ChatGPT, so much so, that it even clears several top examinations with flying colours, like the Uniform Bar Exam for those wanting to practice as lawyers in the US.
- Where GPT-3.5-powered ChatGPT only accepted text inputs, GPT-4 can also use images to generate captions and analyses. But that’s only the tip of the iceberg.
About GPT 4.0:
- Generative Pre-training Transformer or GPT-4 is a large multimodal model created by OpenAI.
- Multimodal models can encompass more than just text – GPT-4 also accepts images as input.
- GPT-3 and GPT-3.5 only operated in one modality, text, meaning users could only ask questions by typing them out.
- OpenAI says that GPT-4 also “exhibits human-level performance on various professional and academic benchmarks.”
- The language model can pass a simulated bar exam with a score around the top 10 per cent of test takers and can solve difficult problems with greater accuracy.
- For example, it can “answer tax-related questions, schedule a meeting among three busy people, or learn a user’s creative writing style.”
- GPT-4 is also capable of handling over 25,000 words of text, opening up a greater number of use cases that now also include long-form content creation, document search and analysis, and extended conversations.
How is it different from GPT 3.0?
- The most noticeable change to GPT-4 is that it’s multimodal, allowing it to understand more than one modality of information.
- GPT-3 and ChatGPT’s GPT-3.5 were limited to textual input and output, meaning they could only read and write.
- However, GPT-4 can be fed images and asked to output information accordingly.
- It can analyse the image as well unlike the Google lens which can only provide information related to the image.
- One of the biggest drawbacks of Generative models is that they get the facts mix up and provide misinformation. OpenAI claims that GPT 4.0 has been trained to avoid those mistakes.
- GPT-4 can process a lot more information at a time:
- ChatGPT’s GPT-3.5 model could handle 4,096 tokens or around 8,000 words but GPT-4 pumps those numbers up to 32,768 tokens or around 64,000 words.
- GPT-4 has an improved accuracy, upto 40% higher than that of GPT 3.5.
- GPT-4 is better at understanding languages that are not English.
Applications of GPT 4.0:
- GPT-4 has already been integrated into products like Duolingo, Stripe, and Khan Academy for varying purposes.
- Microsoft has confirmed that the new Bing search experience now runs on GPT-4.
Subject : Environment
Section: Climate change
Impact of Climate Change on Oceans:
Sea Surface Temperature (SST)
- Sea surface temperature the temperature of the water at the ocean surface is an important physical attribute of the world’s oceans.
- The surface temperature of the world’s oceans varies mainly with latitude, with the warmest waters generally near the equator and the coldest waters in the Arctic and Antarctic regions.
- As the oceans absorb more heat, sea surface temperature increases, and the ocean circulation patterns that transport warm and cold water around the globe change.
Melting Of the Polar Region
- Wintertime Arctic sea ice continues to dip to new lows as the oceans warm.
- Meanwhile, Antarctica is shrinking underwater, as submerged ice is rapidly melting, according to recent studies.
- The effects of this warming on iconic species such as polar bears are well-documented. Under the surface, though, the problem is no less urgent.
- Dwindling sea ice results in the loss of vital habitat for seals, walruses, penguins, whales and other megafauna.
- Sea ice is a critical habitat for Antarctic krill, the food source for many seabirds and mammals in the Southern Ocean. As sea ice has receded in recent years, Antarctic krill populations have dropped, resulting in declines in the species that depend on the krill.
Rise in sea level
- When land-based polar ice melts, it finds its way to the sea. But when water warms, it expands to take up more space a major yet unheralded cause of sea-level rise.
- With sea-level rise accelerating at a rate of about one-eighth of an inch per year, the effects on humanity are plain:
- Higher ocean temperatures are melting polar ice and glaciers from the Greenland and Antarctic sheets at a rapid rate, resulting in an unprecedented rise of sea levels that has the potential to displace more than 680 million people living across low-lying coastal communities, according to a 2019 UN report.
- Recent research revealed that several major coastal cities could be almost entirely underwater due to sea level rise by the middle of the century, including Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam; Shanghai, China; and Mumbai, India.
- Marine heatwaves have doubled in frequency, and have become longer-lasting, more intense and extensive. The IPCC says that human influence has been the main driver of the ocean heat increase observed since the 1970s.
- The majority of heatwaves took place between 2006 and 2015, causing widespread coral bleaching and reef degradation. In 2021, nearly 60 percent of the world’s ocean surface experienced at least one spell of marine heatwaves.
Warming oceans alter currents
- Climate change affects ocean temperatures as well as wind patterns taken together, these can alter oceanic currents.
- The impacts of changes in ocean currents on humanity could be severe, as currents play a major role in maintaining Earth’s climate. For example, Europe’s relatively mild climate is maintained in part by the large Atlantic current called the Gulf Stream, which is experiencing an “unprecedented slowdown.” Changing these currents will have major implications worldwide for the climate, including changes in rainfall, with more rain in some areas and much less in others and fluctuating air temperatures.
- Burning of fossil fuels that increases greenhouse gas levels in the atmosphere, is also altering the chemical composition of seawater by making it more acidic. The ocean absorbs 30 percent of the carbon dioxide in the atmosphere and when that carbon dissolves into the water, it forms carbonic acid.
- Acidification can dissolve the calcium carbonate shells of marine species such as corals, scallops, lobsters and crabs, and some microscopic plankton that are a foundation of the food web throughout the ocean. These shell-forming organisms provide critical habitats and food sources for other marine life. Increased acidification can also limit the ability of certain fish to detect predators, disrupting the entire marine food chain.
- Warming oceans impair water movement, which leads to poor exchange of oxygen between the surface waters and deeper waters. This results in oxygen minimum zones and dead zones in the ocean.
- The ideal oxygen levels in the oceans should lie between 7 and 8 milligrams per litre (mg/l). Marine organisms start to leave their homes when the levels drop to 4 mg/l
Loss of marine biodiversity
- Rising temperatures increase the risk of irreversible loss of marine and coastal ecosystems. Today, widespread changes have been observed, including damage to coral reefs and mangroves that support ocean life, and migration of species to higher latitudes and altitudes where the water could be cooler.
- Latest estimates from the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization warn that more than half of the world’s marine species may stand on the brink of extinction by 2100.
- At 1.1°C increase in temperature today, an estimated 60 percent of the world’s marine ecosystems have already been degraded or are being used unsustainably. A warming of 1.5°C threatens to destroy 70 to 90 percent of coral reefs, and a 2°C increase means a nearly 100 percent loss – a point of no return.
Role of Oceans in reducing Climate Change:
- Oceans are the largest heat sink on the planet: The ocean generates 50 percent of the oxygen we need, absorbs 25 percent of all carbon dioxide emissions and captures 90 percent of the excess heat generated by these emissions. It is not just ‘the lungs of the planet’ but also it is largest ‘carbon sink’ – a vital buffer against the impacts of climate change. The ocean is central to reducing global greenhouse gas emissions and stabilizing the Earth’s climate.
- Mitigating role of Marine Ecosystems:
- Ocean habitats such as seagrasses and mangroves, along with their associated food webs, can sequester carbon dioxide from the atmosphere at rates up to four times higher than terrestrial forests Their ability to capture and store carbon make mangroves highly valuable in the fight against climate change.
- Mangroves also support healthy fisheries, improve water quality, and provide coastal protection against floods and storms.
- Coral reefs are among the most ecologically and economically valuable ecosystems on our planet. Covering less than 0.1 percent of the world’s ocean, they support over 25 percent of marine biodiversity and serve up to a billion people with coastal protection, fisheries, sources of medicine, recreational benefits, and tourism revenues.
- Marine protected areas – areas of the ocean set aside for long-term conservation aims – offer one of the best options to maintain the ocean’s health. Today marine protected areas cover 6.35 percent of the ocean – almost ten times as much as in 2000.
- Oceans are incredible source of renewable energy
- Off-shore wind power is generated by the airflow through wind turbines that mechanically turn electric generators.
- Wind power could cover more than one third of global power needs, becoming the world’s foremost energy source
- Ocean energy systems use the kinetic and thermal energy of seawater – waves or currents for instance – to produce electricity or hea
- These energy sources don’t emit carbon dioxide or other greenhouse gases that contribute to global warming.
- The prospects of green shipping
- Approximately 80 percent of world trade is transported by maritime shipping – which accounts for nearly 3 percent of global greenhouse gas emissions. Reducing the CO2 emissions of ships to zero by 2050 is crucial in the fight against climate change. This means moving away from traditional fossil fuels to new zero-emission energy sources, such as hydrogen, ammonia, methanol, or wind.
- Green shipping corridors – maritime routes between two ports that support zero-emissions technologies for ships – are one way to accelerate the decarbonization of the shipping sector.
Subject : Environment
Section: International Conventions
- PROBLUE is an Umbrella Multi-Donor Trust Fund (MDTF) administered by the World Bank that supports the development of integrated, sustainable and healthy marine and coastal resources.
- With the Blue Economy Action Plan as its foundation, PROBLUE contributes to the implementation of Sustainable Development Goal 14 (SDG 14) and is fully aligned with the World Bank’s twin goals of ending extreme poverty and increasing the income and welfare of the poor in a sustainable way.
- PROBLUE supports the World Bank’s overall oceans portfolio, which is worth over $9 billion in active projects as of June 2021.
- PROBLUE focuses on four key areas:
- The management of sustainable fisheries and aquaculture
- Addressing threats posed to ocean health by marine pollution, including litter and plastics, from marine or land-based sources
- The sustainable development of key oceanic sectors such as tourism, maritime transport and off-shore renewable energy
- Building government capacity to manage marine resources, including nature-based infrastructure such as mangroves, in an integrated way to deliver more and long-lasting benefits to countries and communities
Need for PROBLUE
- Oceans are reaching a tipping point, under threat from many fronts, from overfishing and marine pollution to coastal erosion, all of which are exacerbated by climate change. Healthy oceans provide jobs, food, drive economic growth and keep the planet cool, so a break from business as usual is required.
- PROBLUE was established in response to client demand, and it helps us identify current trends and emerging threats to oceans, and solutions for action.
- Trust funds like PROBLUE can play a key role in raising awareness and promoting investment.
Donors for PROBLUE
- Norway was an early partner to PROBLUE, announcing their contribution at the 2018 World Bank Group and IMF Spring Meetings, followed by Sweden, Iceland, France and Germany. Today, PROBLUE is supported by Australia, Canada, Denmark, the European Commission, France, Germany, Iceland, Ireland, Norway, Sweden, the United Kingdom and the United States.
5. Raccoon dogs linked to coronavirus pandemic
Subject :Science and Technology
Context: A new analysis of genetic data collected from the Huanan Seafood Market in Wuhan, China, has linked coronavirus to raccoon dogs, adding evidence to the belief that the pandemic might have originated from the infected animals sold at the site.
More on the News:
- The genetic data was gathered from swabs taken from in and around the market back in January 2020, shortly after the Chinese government had shut down the market because of suspicions that it was linked to the outbreak of a new virus, the New York Times said.
- A previous analysis of the same data was published last year, showing that it contained both Covid and human DNA. Moreover, Chinese researchers at the time denied that the samples consisted of any animal DNA.
- The new findings have now proved them wrong and have revealed that the Covid-positive samples were rich in DNA from raccoon dogs. However, they don’t prove that these animals or any other animals were responsible for triggering the pandemic.
- A report published by NPR said, “raccoon dogs and related mammals sold for food at a live animal market in China in 2003 were found to carry a coronavirus similar to the virus found in humans during a SARS coronavirus outbreak at the time”.
- A 2022 study after taking samples from about 2,000 animals of 18 different species in China found that wild animals known to be consumed by humans, including raccoon dogs, carried 102 different viruses from 13 viral families — 21 of those posed a high-risk to humans. It also added that raccoon dogs specifically carried four canine coronaviruses that were genetically similar to those found in humans, NPR mentioned.
- Raccoon dogs are neither dogs nor raccoons.
- They belong to the canid family and are closely related to foxes.
- They are the only canids that hibernate during the winter.
- There are two species of raccoon dogs: Nyctereutesprocyonoides, the common raccoon dog and Nyctereutes p. viverrinus, the Japanese raccoon dog.
- They are omnivores and relish food sources such as rodents and berries.
- Raccoon dogs are originally from East Asia and are commonly found in parts of China, Korea and Japan, where they are known as tanuki.
- They are also found in Europe, where they were first brought in by fur traders in the 1920s. Today, raccoon dogs are considered to be a threat to the local ecosystem in Europe and an EU report declared them “one of the most successful alien carnivores in Europe.”
- For decades, these animals have been farmed for their fur. Every year, according to the Humane Society of the United States, millions of them are killed in China, which is a leading producer of raccoon dog pelts. To meet this huge demand, sellers raise raccoon dogs in small and crowded facilities while transporting them in small cages, often stacked with those of other animals. This serves as a perfect breeding ground for the spread of different diseases.
Subject : Science and technology
- Late-life depression (LLD)/ Geriatric depression is caused by multiple factors working together.
- It has three broad risk factors:
- psychological, and
- Biological risk factors
- Studies have found some evidence for genetic contribution to LLD.
- Stress that accumulates over one’s life leads to a sustained secretion of cortisol, the hormone that regulates the body’s stress response.
- Increased cortisol levels lead to the loss of brain cells in the hippocampus, which is implicated in memory and learning.
- This brain cell loss can be partially mitigated by the use of antidepressants.
- Vascular depression is associated with brain lesions, which appear as bright spots on brain scans that disrupt brain signalling and brain circuits.
- Heart attacks and heart conditions often lead to LLD, as do diabetes and hip fracture
- Psychological risk factors
- Neuroticis (the personality disposition to experience negative emotions, anger, irritability, and emotional instability) is consistently implicated in LLD.
- Depressed individuals may overreact to life events or misinterpret them.
- Social risk factors
- Lower socioeconomic status has been associated with depression across the life cycle.
- Perceived social support is the most robust predictor of LLD symptoms.
How is late-life depression treated?
- Generally a four-pronged approach is used to treat geriatric depression, involving:
- brain stimulation,
- family therapy.
- Talking therapies, such as cognitive behaviour therapy (CBT), help to identify maladaptive thought patterns, and then restructure these patterns to help the depressed individual cope and feel better.
7. No antibiotics, plasma therapy to treat adult COVID patients: govt
Subject : Science and technology
- The COVID19 National Task Force of the Union Health and Family Welfare Ministry on Sunday issued revised clinical guidelines for the management of adult COVID19 patient.
- As per the new guidelines, convalescent plasma therapy and drugs, including lopinavir-ritonavir, molnupiravir, favipiravir, azithromycin and doxycycline, are not to be used for treatment.
About Convalescent Plasma Therapy (CPT)
- Patients who have recovered from a disease have permanent antibodies generated by the immune system floating in their blood plasma, the liquid component of blood.
- To turn that into a drug, the plasma is harvested, tested for safety, and purified to isolate those protective antibodies.
- When injected into a new patient, the plasma-derived therapy, provides “passive immunity” until the patient’s immune system can generate its own antibodies.
Recent Use of CPT
- The United States used plasma of recovered patients to treat patients of Spanish flu (1918-1920).
- Hong Kong used it to treat Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) patients in 2005.
- In 2009, H1N1(Swine Flu) patients were treated with CPT.
- Convalescent serum was also used in the 2013 West African Ebola epidemic.
- A protocol for treatment of Middle East respiratory syndrome (MERS) coronavirus with convalescent plasma was established.
- The process to infuse plasma in a patient can be completed quickly. It only requires standard blood collection practices, and extraction of plasma.
- If whole blood is donated (350-450 ml), a blood fractionation process is used to separate the plasma.
- Otherwise, a special machine called aphaeresis machine can be used to extract the plasma directly from the donor.
- While blood is indeed extracted from the donor, the aphaeresis machine separates and extracts the plasma using a plasma kit, and the remaining blood components are returned into the donor’s body.
WHO Guidelines Regarding CPT
- WHO guidelines in 2014 mandate a donor’s permission before extracting plasma.
- Plasma from only recovered patients must be taken, and donation must be done from people not infected with HIV, hepatitis, syphilis, or any infectious disease.
- If whole blood is collected, the plasma is separated by sedimentation or centrifugation, then injected in the patient.
- If plasma needs to be collected again from the same person, it must be done after 12 weeks of the first donation for males and 16 weeks for females.
Chance of Success in case of COVID-19 Treatment
- The treatment has been successful in other disease outbreaks.
- As a disease develops, the body has already begun developing antibodies against the virus.
- Infusing convalescent plasma is essentially like topping with more antibodies hoping that increased amount of antibodies will dampen the disease progression.
- Antibodies in the plasma bind to the virus and prevent them from entering the cells.
- But by the time it is given, many cells have already been infected. Hence, convalescent plasma therapy might not prove effective against COVID-19 treatment.
8. Include ST women in Hindu Succession Act, DMK MP urges Centre
- A Member of Parliament has urged the Central government to include women from the Scheduled Tribes (ST) communities in Hindu Succession Act.
Hindu Succession Act
- The Mitakshara school of Hindu law was codified as the Hindu Succession Act, 1956.
- The Act governs the succession and inheritance of property among Hindus.
- According to Section 2 of the Act, the provisions of the Act apply to anyone who is a Hindu by religion which includes people belonging to the Virashaiva, a Lingayat community, or a follower of the Brahmo, Prarthana, or Arya Samaj.
- As per Section 2(2) of the Act, the provisions of the Act shall not apply to the members of any Scheduled Tribes as defined under Article 366 of the Constitution unless the Union Government makes a notification in the Official Gazette to direct otherwise.
- The Hindu Succession Act of 1956 however only recognised male members as legal heirs.
- Through the Hindu Succession (Amendment) Act, 2005, women were extended coparcenary rights.
- The law applied to ancestral property and intestate succession where such successions took place according to the law and not through a will.
For further notes on Hindu Succession Act, refer – https://optimizeias.com/tribal-women-too-are-entitled-to-equal-share-in-property-rules-madras-hc/
9. Background radiation higher in Kerala, but no risk: study
Subject :Science and Technology
Section: Nuclear technology
- In parts of Kerala, background radiation levels are nearly three times more than what’s been assumed, a pan-India study by scientists at the Bhabha Atomic Research Centre (BARC) has found.
- Background radiation is a measure of the level of ionizing radiation present in the environment which is not due to deliberate introduction of radiation sources.
- Background radiation originates from a variety of sources, both natural and artificial.
- Background radiations are the radioactive radiations such as alpha, beta, and gamma.
How radiation occurs?
- Radiation results from the disintegrating nucleus of an unstable element and these can be from anywhere, including from inside our bodies to the constituents of matter.
- Gamma rays are a kind of radiation that can pass unobstructed through matter.
- Though extremely energetic, they are harmless unless present in large concentrated doses.
Limitations on radiation exposure:
- The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) specifies maximum radiation exposure levels and this has also been adopted by India’s atomic energy establishment.
- Public exposure should not exceed 1 milli-Sievert every year.
- Those who work in plants shouldn’t be exposed to over 30 milli-Sievert every year.
Current levels in Kerala:
- The present study found that average natural background levels of gamma radiation in India was roughly 0.8 milli sievert/year.
- This doesn’t mean that those at Kollam are being exposed to higher, dangerous levels of radiation.
Causes of background radiation in India:
- The higher radiation levels in Kollam (Kerala) are attributed to monazite sands that are high in thorium.
- In southern India, because of the presence of granite and basaltic, volcanic rock has higher levels of radiation from uranium deposits.
Sievert (symbol: Sv)
- It is a unit in the International System of Units (SI) intended to represent the stochastic health risk of ionizing radiation, which is defined as the probability of causing radiation-induced cancer and genetic damage. The sievert is important in dosimetry and radiation protection.
Subject :International Relations
Section: Nuclear technology
- The right to health is one of the fundamental rights of every human being. India’s constitution guarantees the right to life, which includes the right to health, as a basic human right.
- The World Health Organization (WHO) has defined health as a certain totality of health to the realms of mental and social well-being and happiness beyond physical fitness, and an absence of disease and disability.
- However, achieving health in its wider definition requires addressing health determinants, which necessitates intersectoral convergence beyond medical and health departments.
The Alma Ata Declaration of Primary Health Care:
- In 1978, the International Conference on Primary Health Care was held in Alma Ata, Kazakhstan.
- The Alma Ata declaration of primary health care, which mandated basic health care for all citizens, was not implemented in its entirety, resulting in partial coverage of the population and partial responsibility of the government to pay for health care.
- It mandated all health promotion activities, and the prevention of diseases including vaccinations and treatment of minor illnesses and accidents to be free for all using government resources, especially for the poor.
Newer concept of UHC:
- The focus on primary care, as mandated by the Alma Ata declaration of primary health care, must be revived to ensure that healthcare services are accessible, affordable, and of good quality for all citizens.
- A tax-funded model of Universal Health Care would ensure that healthcare services are available to all citizens without discrimination.
- It would also ensure that the burden of healthcare financing is shared by the government and the citizens, with the government taking the responsibility for providing healthcare services to all citizens.
- Such a model would also prioritise primary healthcare services, which are essential for promoting good health and preventing diseases.
- Additionally, a tax-funded model would ensure transparency and accountability in healthcare delivery.
- Government should also focus on intersectoral convergence beyond medical and health departments, such as women and child development, food and nutrition, agriculture and animal husbandry, civil supplies, rural water supply and sanitation, social welfare, tribal welfare, education, and forestry, to address health determinants.
India and UHC
- India, through its National Health Policy 1983, committed itself to the ‘Health for All’ goal by 2000.
- The National Rural Health Mission (NRHM) in India, which operationalized a Comprehensive Primary Health Care model, is a sensible move towards achieving UHC.
- The National Health Mission with concurrent intersectoral thrusts on Poshan Abhiyan, National Food Security, the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act, water sanitation, Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan, etc. is a better model of fully taxfunded Universal Health Care, but the Ayushman Bharat Jan Arogya Bhima Yojana damages (AB-JAY) that approach.
Limitations of AB-JAY:
- While the intentions of the Ayushman Bharat Jan Arogya Bima Yojana (AB-JAY) are noble, it has received criticism from various quarters.
- One of the primary concerns is that it is an insurance-based model and not a tax-funded model, which means that the financial burden of the scheme falls on the government and the beneficiaries.
- The scheme provides insurance cover to only those who have been identified as being below the poverty line, which means that a large section of the population is excluded from the scheme.
- Additionally, the scheme has been criticised for its narrow focus on secondary and tertiary care, which ignores the importance of primary care in promoting good health.
11. Amid heat over Adani stocks, NSE says all its decisions ‘transparent’
- Amid criticism by the Opposition of its decision to exclude three Adani group stocks from short-term surveillance, NSE on Sunday defended its action, saying such moves are based on non-discretionary, pre-announced and automatically applicable rules and involve no human interventions.
- After the National Stock Exchange (NSE) and BSE last week announced that three Adani group companies — Adani Enterprises, Adani Power and Adani Wilmar — will move out of the short-term additional surveillance measure (ASM), the Congress had asked why the stock exchange regulator, the Securities and Exchange Board of India (Sebi), is standing by and allowing investors to take on added exposure to such stocks.
Additional Surveillance Mechanism (ASM)
- The ASM was introduced in 2018 by SEBI with the intention to protect investors from market volatility and unusual changes in share price.
- The shortlisting of securities for placing in ASM is based on criteria that are jointly decided by the Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) and exchanges, covering the parameters of:
- High low variation,
- Client concentration,
- Close-to-close price variation,
- Market capitalization [Market Cap = Current Share Price * Total Number of Shares Outstanding. For example, a company with 20 million shares selling at $100 a share would have a market cap of $2 billion]
- Volume variation,
- Price-Earnings Ratio, (Read below)
- Delivery percentage, and
- Number of unique PANs.
- Put simply, an ASM shortlisting signals to investors that the stocks have seen unusual activity.
- The shortlisting of securities under ASM is purely on account of market surveillance and it should not be construed as an adverse action against the concerned company / entity.
- Stricter measures are imposed on those stocks to discourage speculators and intra-day traders from taking heavy positions in stocks.
Stricter Exchange Rules imposed on ASM stocks:
- Percentage price band
- If Stock A enters the surveillance list today (say July 31), it will be moved into a percent price band on August 1. That is, its price can move only 5 percent either way from the previous day’s closing level. The stock will be halted from trading for the rest of the day if it breaches the 5 percent limit.
- From the fifth trading day (August 7, in our example), 100 percent margin money will be required to trade Stock A.
- Trade-To-Trade Settlement
- A stock in the surveillance list will be moved to a Trade-To-Trade Settlement if its PE ratio shoots above 100. It will be moved out of the list if its PE falls below 10 or below the ratio of Nifty 500 Index.
- Trade to Trade settlement is a segment where shares can be traded only for compulsory delivery basis.
- It means Trade to Trade shares cannot be traded on intraday. Each share purchased/sold which are parts of this segment need to be taken delivery by paying full amount.
- Price to Earnings Ratio or Price Earnings Multiple is the ratio of share price of a stock to its earnings per share (EPS).
- PE ratio is one of the most popular valuation metrics of stocks. It provides an indication of whether a stock at its current market price is expensive or cheap.
12. Millions of dead fish wash up amid heat wave in Australia
Subject : Environment
- Millions of fish have washed up dead in southeastern Australia in a die-off that authorities and scientists say is caused by depleted oxygen levels in the river after recent floods and hot weather.
- People north of Menindee say there’s cod and perch floating down the river everywhere.
- The Department of Primary Industries said the fish deaths were likely caused by low oxygen levels as floods recede,a situation made worse by fish needing more oxygen because of the warmer weather.
- State agencies also started to release higher-quality water where possible to boost dissolved oxygen levels in the area.
Dissolved Oxygen (DO)
- Dissolved oxygen (DO) is defined as the amount of oxygen that is present in water.
- The average dissolved oxygen content in freshwater is 0.0010 percent by weight (10 parts per million or 10 ppm), which is 150 times lower than the oxygen concentration in an equivalent volume of air.
- Adequate dissolved oxygen is crucial for all forms of life and is required for excellent water quality.
- Aquatic life is stressed when dissolved oxygen levels fall below 5.0 mg/L. Lower concentrations result in more stress.
- Large fish kills can occur when oxygen levels fall below 1-2 mg/L even for a few hours.
- The decrease in the level of dissolved oxygen is termed as Biological Oxygen Demand (BOD).
- Because bacteria that feed on sewage multiply in numbers and respire, any release of raw sewage into a river results in a fall in dissolved oxygen level. This respiration depletes oxygen in the water quickly, resulting in fish deaths.
Factors affecting DO
- Presence of organic and inorganic wastes in water decreases the dissolved oxygen content of the water.
- A number of factors like surface turbulence, photosynthetic activity, O2 consumption by organisms and decomposition of organic matter are the factors which determine the amount of DO present in water.
- The quality of water increases with an increase in DO levels.
Biochemical Oxygen Demand
- Water pollution by organic wastes is measured in terms of Biochemical Oxygen Demand (BOD).
- BOD is the amount of dissolved oxygen needed by bacteria in decomposing the organic wastes present in water. It is expressed in milligrams of oxygen per litre of water.
- The higher value of BOD indicates low DO content of water.
- Since BOD is limited to biodegradable materials, it is not a reliable method of measuring water pollution.
Chemical Oxygen Demand (COD)
- COD measures the amount of oxygen in parts per million required to oxidise organic (biodegradable and non-biodegradable) and oxidizable inorganic compounds in the water sample.
13. Finance min invites application for RBI deputy governor post
Subject : Economy
Section: Monetary Policy
- The finance ministry has initiated the process to appoint a new Reserve Bank deputy governor in place of MK Jain, whose extended term is coming to an end in June.
- The applicant should have an experience of 15 years in banking and financial market operations, said a public notice, indicating that candidates from the private sector will also be considered for the appointment.
- Also, It may be noted that the Financial Sector Regulatory Appointments Search Committee (FSRASC) is free to identify and recommend any other person also, based on merit, who has not applied for the post.
- The committee may also recommend relaxation in the eligibility and qualifications/experience criteria, in respect of outstanding candidates
- Traditionally, one of the four deputy governors is from the public sector banking industry. If the government decides to appoint someone from the private sector, it would be a first for the Reserve Bank of India.
Reserve Bank of India – Composition
- The Reserve Bank’s affairs are governed by a central board of directors. The board is appointed by the Government of India in keeping with the Reserve Bank of India Act. They are appointed/nominated for a period of four years.
- Full-time: Governor and not more than four Deputy Governors
- Four Deputy Governors of which two are appointed from outside — one, a commercial banker and the other, an economist.
- The remaining two are promoted from within the RBI.
- Nominated by Government: ten Directors from various fields and two government Official
- Others: four Directors – one each from four local boards.
Financial Sector Regulatory Appointment Search Committee
- FSRASC was set up based on the recommendation of the Financial Sector Legislative Reforms Commission as a “standing committee” to “recommend suitable persons for selection of Chairperson and Whole Time and Part Time Members of the financial sector regulators.”
- The Finance Ministry’s objective was to adopt a uniform selection process for all financial sector regulators without going into the related issues of tenure, age and qualification.
- It is headed by Cabinet Secretary.
- Apart from the Cabinet Secretary, who heads it, it includes
- Additional Principal Secretary to the Prime Minister;
- Secretary, Department of Economic Affairs or Department of Financial Services (depending on the administrative role);
- Chairperson of the regulatory authority concerned, and
- Three outside experts.
14. Dastur Energy working with Carbon Recycling International to produce green methanol from captured carbon dioxide
Subject : Environment
Section: Climate change
What is Carbon capture?
Human activities often result in emissions of carbon dioxide. Often, in order to stop or reduce the emissions, we have no option but to stop or reduce the activity itself. For example, if somebody is using a wood-fired cookstove, she can shift to a gas-fired cookstove to reduce emissions. However, in some cases, the emitted carbon dioxide can be ‘captured’, so that the gas doesn’t rise up in the atmosphere and cause (further) global warming. For example, it is possible to collect the fumes coming out of the chimneys of coal-fired power plants and ‘box’ them up. Carbon capture’ refers to the techniques used to gather carbon dioxide emissions and put them away so that they don’t cause harm.
How does it work?
There are essentially two ways of approaching Carbon capture and storage, or CCS.
- Technology solutions entail putting up machinery to capture fumes (such as from factories, large engines etc) and removing carbon dioxide from them. The next step is, of course, to figure out a way of disposing off the carbon dioxide. The most basic way to do this is to bury the gas underground – in pores of sedimentary rock formations, or in dead oilfields, that is, in sands that once held oil or gas, or in underground coal seams. This works if you don’t have to transport the carbon dioxide over large distances to the burial ground. The captured carbon dioxide could be injected into living oil and gas wells so as to push out the hydrocarbons. Scientists have also suggested that the carbon dioxide could also be injected into gas hydrates (frozen gas-water mixture), where upon the carbon dioxide will push out the gas in the hydrate and take its place.
- Nature-based solutions do not ‘capture’ carbon dioxide but offset the emissions by sucking up the gas from the atmosphere – whether these should really come under ‘carbon capture and storage’ is a moot question. Nature-based solutions essentially involve growing trees. Mangroves are said to have an enormous potential to suck up carbon dioxide and are therefore in the limelight today.
- CCUS is considered an important tool to help countries halve their emissions by 2030 and reach net zero by 2050.
- These goals are crucial to meet the Paris Agreement targets for restricting global warming to 2 degrees Celsius (°C), and preferable to 1.5°C, over pre-industrial levels.
- CCUS technologies also provide the foundation for carbon removal or “negative emissions” when the CO2 comes from bio-based processes or directly from the atmosphere.
- There are around 35 commercial facilities applying CCUS to industrial processes, fuel transformation and power generation.
- CCUS facilities currently capture almost 45 Mt CO2 globally, but this needs to increase.
Does it help in reducing global warming?
If done on the scale required, it would definitely help reduce global warming. In 2019 (the pre-pandemic year), the world emitted 36.7 billion tons of carbon dioxide. Today, CCS projects are negligible in comparison with the emissions.
Is carbon capture happening on the ground? If so, where?
The earliest CCS projects are believed to be Sleipner and Snovhit projects in Norway, which have captured and sequestered about 24 million tons of carbon dioxide in their 23 years of operations. In 2014, the Boundary Dam project in Canada was built to capture and bury around 6 million tons of carbon dioxide a year, but the project has been experiencing some problems. A few more projects have come up since then. According to the Global CCS Institute, as of 2018, there were 43 large-scale facilities – 18 in commercial operation, five under construction and 20 in various stages of development.
If it is in vogue for decades, why has it taken off in a big way?
CCS is costly. Typically, if you want to do CCS in a thermal power project, the process would take away between 6 and 10 per cent of the power generation for itself. Then, there are capital and maintenance costs. Until now, there was no great urgency to do CCS projects.
What is Indian government’s plan with respect to carbon capture?
The Indian government’s plans are more in the realm of ‘nature-based solutions’. It is very difficult to see technology CCS coming up in India, unless financially supported by the developed countries.
- Carbon avoidance involves measures aimed at preventing carbon from being released into the atmosphere.
- Carbon avoidance can occur either via carbon offsets or via direct carbon reduction measures.
- Many human activities carry a significant carbon footprint, but particularly intense are the industrial burning of fossil fuels, and the destruction of natural carbon sinks such as forests.
- Carbon avoidance projects aim to curb these emissions by targeting these activities and capturing the emission they create, or preventing the activities altogether.
The impact of carbon avoidance on emissions-
- Carbon avoidance via offsets does not work at the core issue of reducing overall CO2 emissions. Carbon avoidance via direct carbon reduction measures does work at the core issue of reducing overall CO2 emissions.
- The effectiveness of carbon avoidance via carbon offsets depends on the type of project and if the project is realized, additional, permanent, meets certain key criteria and project standards, and does not engage in greenwashing. Carbon avoidance via direct carbon reduction measures is effective because it cuts emissions at their source.
The main benefits of carbon avoidance
- Carbon avoidance aids in climate change mitigation, improves air quality, and protects ecosystems.
The main drawbacks of carbon avoidance
- Carbon offset limitations and global reliance on fossil fuels are drawbacks to carbon avoidance measures
15. Sebi, investment bankers turn cautious as IPO market faces uncertainty
Section: Financial Market
- IPO is the selling of securities to the public in the primary market.
- Primary market deals with new securities being issued for the first time. It is also known as the new issues market.
- It is different from secondary market where existing securities are bought and sold. It is also known as the stock market or stock exchange.
- It is when an unlisted company makes either a fresh issue of securities or an offer for sale of its existing securities or both for the first time to the public.
- It is generally used by new and medium-sized firms that are looking for funds to grow and expand their business.
Context: The Supreme Court on March 16, 2023, indicated that it may relax restrictions imposed on development activities in the Eco-Sensitive Zones (ESZ) spread over a one-kilometre radius of protected areas (PA) such as national parks and wildlife sanctuaries.
- The basic aim of ESZ is to regulate certain activities around National Parks and Wildlife Sanctuaries so as to minimise the negative impacts of such activities on the fragile ecosystem encompassing the protected areas
- ESZs are notified by MoEFCC, Government of India under Environment Protection Act 1986
- The guidelines include a broad list of activities that could be allowed, promoted, regulated or promoted. This is an important checklist for conservationists to keep in mind while identifying threats in ESZs.
- For this purpose, the ministry has asked all states to constitute a committee comprising the wildlife warden, an ecologist and a revenue department official of the area concerned to suggest the requirement of an eco-sensitive zone and its extent.
- The width of the ESZ and type of regulation may vary from protected area to area. However, as a general principle, the width of the ESZ could go up to 10 kms around the protected area.
- Still there is no consensus among six states and union over notification of ESZ in western ghats, as there is need for balance between ecology and economic growth
- Union Government in 2010 had set up the Western Ghats Ecology Expert Panel headed by DrMadhavGadgil. In his report submitted in 2011, DrGadgil had recommended that large swathes of areas falling within the Western Ghats be marked as ecologically sensitive areas and excluded from damaging activities.
- However, owing to opposition from states, the MoEF set up another committee in August 2012 called the High Level Working Group headed by former ISRO Chief Dr K Kasturirangan who further reduced the area to be notified as ESAs. However, this report too was rejected by many states.
17. Dirt cheap backup: Why Finland’s installation of the world’s 1st sand battery may be a game-changer
Subject : Science and Technology
What is a Sand Battery?
- A “sand battery” is a high temperature thermal energy storage that uses sand or sand-like materials as its storage medium. It stores energy in sand as heat.
- The battery uses sand as a medium to store thermal energy.It was invented by Polar Night Energy.
- Thebattery has four metres wide and seven metres high steel container with 100 tonnes of recycled sand.
- The latest battery model can store up to 8 megawatt-hours of energyas heat.
- The reservoir is so well-insulated from the outer environment thatit can retain temperatures up to 600 degrees Celsius and prevent heat losses over time.
- The sand at the core is very far from the boundary, so the heat stored in the core does not easily get lost, even if we wait for days or weeks.
- The battery receives electricity from the grid through excess solar and wind power, which is converted to heat and transferred to the sand.
- Sand is a very effective medium for retaining heat over a long period, storing power for months at a time.
- Its main purpose is to work as a high-power and high-capacity reservoir for excess wind and solar energy.The energy is stored as heat, which can be used to heat homes, or to provide hot steam and high temperature process heat to industries that are often fossil-fuel dependent.
- The sand battery helps toambitiously upscale renewables production by ensuring there’s always a way to benefit from clean energy, even if the surplus is massive.
- Water-based storage systems are a renewable alternative to produce building heat.
- The sand battery can store heat up to 600 degrees Celsius, thus having a great significance.
Subject : Geography
Section: Physical Geography
Context: Odisha is fast losing its shoreline to rising sea levels. Its adaptation plans must not only be immediate but also fool proof
Why in news?
74 villages in the state are severely affected by shoreline erosion—the highest in the country.
Integrated Coastal Zone Management (ICZM):
- ICZM aims to improve livelihood of coastal communities and conserve the coastal ecosystem.
- The ICZM plan involves identification of infrastructure requirements and livelihood improvement means in coastal districts. Conservation of mangroves is among the components.
- The national component of the project includes mapping of the country’s coastline and demarcation of the hazard line.
- It is a World Bank assisted project.
- It is being implemented by the Department of Forests and Environment with assistance from the Union Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change (MoEFCC).
- The National Centre for Sustainable Coastal Management (NCSCM), Chennai, will provide scientific and technical inputs.
Society of Integrated Coastal Management (SICOM)
- SICOM has been established under the aegis of the Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate change, Government of India with a vision for vibrant, healthy and resilient Coastal and Marine Environment for continuous and enhanced outflow of benefits to the Country and the Coastal Community.
Main Roles, Responsibilities and Objectives: –
- Nodal agency for strategic planning, management, execution, monitoring and successful implementation of Integrated Coastal Zone Management (ICZM) practices in across the country and National Project Management Unit (NPMU) for the ICZM Project and ENCORE project in all the 13 Coastal States/UTs.
- To act as a technical Secretariat to the National Coastal Zone Management Authority (NCZMA) related to regulatory provisions and CRZ classification of coastal stretches of the country.
- Coordinating agency and an interface for various ministries of Govt. Of India and the Govts and various line departments of the 13 Coastal State/UTs., Funding Institutions (World Bank) for Enhancing Coastal and Ocean Resource Efficiency Project (ENCORE)
- To support to check violations to CRZ through improved technology-enabled enforcement strengthened institutions and regulatory and legal reforms.
- SICOM has also embarked upon the Pilot Blue Flag Programme, a first in India under Beach Environment & Aesthetic Management Services (BEAMS) for development of world class Beaches in India
- Capacity building of Coastal State Units in planning, implementation and management of Integrated Coastal Zone Management programs and other national and State organization / agencies associated with the projects
- Serving as an interface among coastal communities, experts, and governments, including providing with and disseminating examples of best practices and guidelines for coastal and marine ecological security and livelihood security of coastal and island communities
- To undertake any additional work or function as may be assigned by MOEF&CC from time to time in the areas of coastal management and other related activities