Daily Prelims Notes 26 March 2023
- March 26, 2023
- Posted by: OptimizeIAS Team
- Category: DPN
Daily Prelims Notes
26 March 2023
Table Of Contents
- UN Water Conference 2023
- In Uttarakhand, point and shoot plastic
- Char Dham
- Be vigilant against Interest rate risk, FM tells banks
- Bommai govt’s bid to scrap 4% Muslim quota touches off firestorm
- SC gives states, UT’s , HC’s 3 months to set up online RTI portal
- Anji Khan Bridge
- Tornadoes rip through Mississippi
- Fatty Liver Disease
- Origin of Nuclear Fuel
- Sorghum’s alkaline tolerance can improve crop yields
Section: International convention
Context: UN 2023 Water Conference in New York culminated with a breakthrough response to the global water crisis, with governments, businesses and civil society committing billions of dollars to advance the water agenda, a dealmaker for accelerating sustainable development overall.
More on the News:
- Some 10,000 participants gathered at UN Headquarters and online from 22 to 24 March 2023, to urgently scale up action to address the water crisis and ensure equitable access to water for all.
- Co-hosted by the Kingdom of the Netherlands and the Republic of Tajikistan, the Conference brought together world leaders, civil society, business leaders, young people, scientists, academics, the UN System and others from across sectors — agriculture, energy, environment and water — around a common goal: to urgently tackle the water crisis and set the world back on track to achieving Sustainable Development Goal 6 – On Clean Water and Sanitation.
- To achieve this, the Secretary-General highlighted key game-changers: from reinforcing water’s place as a fundamental human right and reducing the pressures on the hydrological system, to developing new, alternative food systems to reduce the unsustainable use of water in food production and agriculture and designing and implementing a new global water information system to guide plans and priorities by 2030.
- The Secretary-General also advocated for integrating the approach on water, ecosystems and climate to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and strengthen communities — from resilient infrastructure, water pipelines and wastewater treatment plans, to ensuring every person in the world is protected with early warning systems against natural disasters by 2027; and continued to press for climate justice and global action to limit global warming to a 1.5-degree rise.
- Lastly, he called for a dramatic acceleration in resources and investment into the ability of all countries to reach SDG 6.
UN 2023 Water Conference – A watershed moment for the SDGs
- Access to safe water, sanitation and hygiene is the most basic human need for health and well-being, and a declared human right. But some 2 billion people around the world still lack access to safe drinking water and 40 per cent of the world’s population are affected by water scarcity.
- Agriculture demands alone account for some 70% of water usage. Adding to the pressure, more than 90 per cent of disasters are water-related, with climate change hitting hardest through water. And humanity’s demand for water keeps growing, with pressure on freshwater projected to increase by more than 40 per cent by 2050.
- Against this background, conference deliberations ranged from the urgency of the water crisis, including its role in forced migration, climate change and conflicts to stressing its critical link to good health, poverty reduction and food security.
- Attention was also given to solutions, with deliberations spanning the need for better data collection, enhanced governance systems, capacity development opportunities and funding gaps in the water sector.
Transformative Water Action Agenda
- Water Action Agenda, the key outcome of the Conference, captured over 700 commitments aimed at driving transformation from a global water crisis to a water-secure world. The agenda represents the global community’s bold resolve to address the water challenges through a more coordinated and results-driven approach. A number of other follow-up steps are also under consideration – including the appointment of a Special Envoy on Water.
- The conference outcomes will also receive concrete follow-up in three key upcoming Summits: the SDG Summit during the UN General Assembly in September 2023, the Summit of the Future in 2024, the World Social Summit in 2025, and through the annual High- level political forum on sustainable development, Conference of Parties and other United Nations processes, as well as the Dushanbe Water Process.
Commitments of Member States:
- The US announced a commitment of up to $49 billion in investments to support climate-resilient water and sanitation infrastructure and services.
- Japan will proactively contribute to the solution of water-related social issues faced by the Asia-Pacific region by developing “quality Infrastructure”, providing financial assistance worth approximately 500 billion yen ($3.65 billion) over the next five years.
- Vietnam pledged to develop policies for major river basins management by 2025 and to ensure all households would have access to clean running water by 2030.
- Switzerland submitted 5 commitments to contribute to the UN’s work, including in the areas of the Water Convention and transboundary cooperation. Switzerland is the co-chair of the Interactive Dialogue on Water for Cooperation.
- With the Continental Africa Investment Programme (AIP), the African Union Commission aims to close Africa’s water investments gap by mobilising at least US$30 billion/year by 2030 through a range of initiatives, including the International High-Level Panel on Water
- By 2030, the EU aims to support the access of 70 million individuals to an improved drinking water source and/or sanitation facility. The EU will also support Member States with €20 million funding to accelerate the deployment of wastewater surveillance for COVID-19.
- India has committed investments of over $240 billion in the water sector and is implementing the largest dam rehabilitation programme in the world as well as efforts to restore groundwater level.
2. In Uttarakhand, point and shoot plastic
Subject : Environment
Context: The Himalayan State is implementing a QR code-based project to prevent littering the Char Dham route with plastic bottles and packets.
More on the News:
- The Uttarakhand government has chosen the Char Dham yatra route that includes temples at Badrinath, Kedarnath, Gangotri, and Yamunotri to implement a unique waste-disposal system in the Himalayas.
- Hemkund Sahib and the Valley of Flowers will also see the implementation of a QR-code-based system that will streamline collection of waste and reduction of garbage along the route.
- Visitors will scan a QR code on each plastic bottle and multi-layer plastic bag (of chips or biscuits) and pay a deposit over the maximum retail price (MRP). They can claim this amount back as a refund when they deposit the waste at a point at the end of the yatra.
- Last year, the project was piloted during the summer months, and executed compulsorily in Kedarnath, en route to the centuries-old Shiva temple on the banks of the Mandakini river.
- The project last year saved 1.63 lakh single-use plastic bottles from entering the fragile mountain ecosystem.
Importance of Himalayas
- Source of Rivers: Abundant rainfall and vast snow-fields as well as large glaciers in Himalayas are the feeding grounds of the mighty rivers of India.
- Critical for Energy Security: Almost 33% of the country’s thermal electricity and 52% of its hydropower is dependent on river waters originating in the Himalayas.
- Sustaining the Monsoon: The Himalayas play a very significant role in influencing the climate of India. By virtue of their high altitude, length and direction, they effectively intercept the summer monsoons coming from the Bay of Bengal and Arabian Sea and cause precipitation in the form of rain or snow.
- Tourism: By virtue of their scenic beauty and healthy environment, the Himalayan ranges have developed a large number of tourist spots.
Challenges in the region:
- No Proper Waste Management: The cities of the Himalayas are growing and beginning to see the same root as the cities of the plains from mountains of garbage and plastic, untreated sewage, unplanned urban growth and even local air pollution because of vehicles.
- Unsustainable Tourism: Unfortunately, our mountains are treated only as tourist destinations without realizing that over draining resources beyond a point can be disastrous.
- Climate Change: Melting ice and snow due to climate change form new glacial lakes, as well as increase the volumes of existing ones. This could raise the threat of glacial-lake outburst floods.
Extended Producer Responsibility
- Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) is a policy approach that holds producers responsible for the entire lifecycle of their products, including their environmental impact. EPR is based on the principle that the producer of a product should bear the responsibility for the environmental and social impact of that product, even after it has been sold and used.
- This includes the collection, reuse, recycling, and proper disposal of products and their packaging. EPR shifts the burden of waste management from local governments and taxpayers to the producers, who have the knowledge and resources to design and manage a sustainable product lifecycle.
- EPR typically includes the following components:
- Product design: Producers are encouraged to design products that are more durable, repairable, and recyclable.
- Collection and recycling: Producers are responsible for setting up collection and recycling systems for their products, and ensuring that the products are properly recycled or disposed of.
- Financing: Producers are required to finance the collection and recycling of their products, either through direct payment or through contributions to a producer responsibility organization.
- Reporting: Producers are required to report on their EPR activities, including the amount of waste generated, the amount of waste collected and recycled, and the costs of EPR.
Subject : Environment
Section: Places in news
- Char Dham means Four Dhams i.e. Four religious places. Char Dham in Uttarakhand is a collective term used for religous circuit covering Holy hindu pilgrimage centres of Badarinath, Kedarnath, Gangotri and Yamunotri.
- All four temple shrines are located in Garhwal Himalayas range of Uttarakhand.
- This is considered as most sacred religious places to be visited by Hindus, to get rid of their sins and pave path to ultimate goal of human life – the Moksha.
- Yamunotri: The first shrine of chota chardham, this temple is dedicated to River Yamuna (Hindu Goddess, Daughter of Sun God).It is situated in Gharwal Region of Uttarakhand State.
- Gangotri: The temple is devoted to Goddess Ganges (Most sacred River in India). It is second shrines of chota chardham circuit.
- Kedarnath: The temple is devoted to God Shiva. There is 12 main Jyotirlinga of shiva & Kedarnath is one of the main jyotirling. Third shrine of chota chardham.
- Badrinath: The temple is dedicated to God Vishnu. It is also the part of main Chardham Circuit in India & forth shrine of Chota chardham Yatra.
4. Be vigilant against Interest rate risk, FM tells banks
Section: Monetary policy
- Amid fears of contagion effects from banking crises in the U.S. and Europe, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman has asked banks to remain vigilant about “interest rate risks” and undertake regular stress tests, even as public sector bankers assured her all possible steps are being taken to safeguard themselves from any potential financial shock.
- Sitharaman, also urged banks to try attracting more deposits now that the government has reduced “the tax arbitrage in some debt instruments”, hinting at the Finance Bill changes to strip some of the tax benefits that are available to debt mutual funds from April 1.
Interest Rate Risk
- Interest rate risk is the exposure of a bank’s current or future earnings and capital to adverse changes in market rates.
- Interest rate risk is the potential for investment losses that can be triggered by a move upward in the prevailing rates for new debt instruments.
- If interest rates rise, for instance, the value of a bond or other fixed-income investment in the secondary market will decline.
- The change in a bond’s price given a change in interest rates is known as its duration.
- Interest rate risk is measured by a fixed income security’s duration, with longer-term bonds having a greater price sensitivity to rate changes.
- Interest rate risk can be reduced through diversification of bond maturities or hedged using interest rate derivatives.
5. Bommai govt’s bid to scrap 4% Muslim quota touches off firestorm
Subject : Polity
- There seems to be no data based rationale behind Karnataka Cabinet’s decision to scrap reservation for Muslims under Category 2B in the Other Backward Classes (OBCs) and distribute them among the two dominant communities of Vokkaligas and Lingayats under the two newly formed categories 2C and 2D.
- Karnataka State Commission for Backward Classes had not only not recommended these interventions, but had specifically recommended that no changes be effected in the reservation matrix till it submitted its final report.
Reservation for Lingayats and Vokkaligas
- The Cabinet already created category 2C and 2D to accommodate the castes that figured in 3A (Vokkaliga) and 3B (VeerashaivaLingayat) till then.
- The decision was based on the interim report on the demand of several communities for increase in reservation, submitted by the Karnataka State Backward Classes Commission.
Karnataka’s reservation policy before the changes
- Reservations for Scheduled Castes, Scheduled Tribes, Backward Classes, and Muslims are capped at 50% in accordance with an order of the Supreme Court.
- The quota break-up is as follows: Category I (Backward Classes) 4%; Category II A (OBCs) 15%; Category II B (Muslims) 4%; Category III A (Vokkaligas, etc.) 4%; Category III B (Lingayats, Marathas, Bunts, Christians) 5%; SCs 15%; and STs 3%.
- A total 95 communities and their sub-sects are recognized as Backward Classes, and 102 communities and their sub-sects as OBCs.
Concerns over the change
- A senior Minister in the government, on condition of anonymity, told that the decision was “ad_hoc” and was borne out of “political compulsions”.
- More significantly, why not hike reservation for other communities in Categories 1 and 2A that are more backward than the land owning communities.
- Indra Sawhney judgment of the Supreme Court clearly says any addition or deletion of a community from the reservation matrix must be based on an empirical data based study by the commission.
- Reservation to muslims is based on their backwardness and not religion.
For further notes on OBC Reservation , refer – https://optimizeias.com/odisha-for-tweak-in-obc-law-to-include-castes-in-state-list/
6. SC gives states, UT’s , HC’s 3 months to set up online RTI portal
Subject : polity
- The Supreme Court has directed the States and Union Territories to set up and operationalise online Right to Information (RTI) portals within three months to ensure transparency in governance.
- Section 6(1) of the Right to Information Act, 2005 stipulated that an information seeker had a statutory right to move an application through electronic means.
- However, several High Courts and most district courts entertain only physical RTI applications.
- The Supreme Court launched an online portal that will help citizens file and access applications under the Right to Information (RTI) Act in matters related to the court.
- Though the Act was enacted in October 2005, after a lapse of 17 years, online web portals are still to be operationalised by some of the High Courts.
Section 6 of RTI Act : Manner of making a request for information
- Section 6(1) provides for the manner of making a request by a person who desires to obtain any information under this Act.
- Manner of making requests: In writing or through electronic means.
- Language: English/Hindi/official language of the area in which the application is being made.
- Any fee: Such application shall be accompanied by the prescribed fee.
- To whom application is made: To the CPIO/SPIO of the concerned public authority or to the Central Assistant Public Information Officer/State Assistant Public Information Officer.
- Contents of application: Particulars of information sought by the applicant.
- When the request cannot be made in writing
- The proviso to Section 6(1) deals with a case where the applicant has made an oral request for information. It states that where a person cannot make a written request, the CPIO/SPIO shall assist such person to reduce his request in writing.
- Applicant need not give his details
- As per Section 6(2), a person seeking information under the Act need not disclose any reason for such request or his personal details except such information that might be required for contacting him.
- When the information requested is held by another public authority, etc:
- Section 6(3) deals with the case where an application is made to a public authority requesting information that is held by another public authority, or the subject matter of which is more closely related with the functions of another public authority. In this case, the public authority to whom the application is filed must transfer the application, or the concerned portion of it, to that other public authority and notify the applicant of the transfer as soon as possible. The section provides for a maximum of five days for transferring the application.
Subject : GEOGRAPHY
Section: Places in news
About Anji Khan Bridge:
- It is an under-construction railway bridge in the Reasi district of Jammu and Kashmir.
- It will be the first cable-stayed railway bridge in India.
- It forms a part of the Udhampur Srinagar Baramulla Rail Link Project (USBRL) connecting Katra and Reasi Station on the Jammu-Baramulla line.
- It is an asymmetrical cable-stayed bridge balanced on the axis of a central pylon, and it has tunnels on both ends.
- The cable-stayed portion of the Anji bridge is 472.25 metres, while the total length of the bridge is 725.5 metres, which is divided into four parts, including an embankment.
- The central span of the bridge is 290 metres; its total deck width will be 15 metres.
- It stands at the height of 331 metres above the Anji river bed.
- Trains can run up to 100km/h, and the bridge can withstand wind speeds up to 213 km/hr.
8. Tornadoes rip through Mississippi
Subject : Geography
Section: physical geography
- A night of tornadoes left behind a trail of devastation in the US state of Mississippi on Friday.
- The extremely powerful and large tornadoes destroyed buildings and knocked out power in multiple states.
- A tornado is a narrow, violently rotating column of air that extends from a thunderstorm to the ground.
- Because wind is invisible, it is hard to see a tornado unless it forms a condensation funnel made up of water droplets, dust and debris.
- Tornadoes can be among the most violent phenomena of all atmospheric storms we experience.
- Tornadoes come in many shapes and sizes, and they are often visible in the form of a condensation funnel originating from the base of a cumulonimbus cloud, with a cloud of rotating debris and dust beneath it.
- It is generally accompanied by extreme weather such as heavy downpours, hail storms, and lightning.
What causes tornadoes?
- These violent storms occur around the world, but the United States is a major hotspot with about a thousand tornadoes every year.
- Although they can occur at any time of the day or night, most tornadoes form in the late afternoon.
- By this time the sun has heated the ground and the atmosphere enough to produce thunderstorms.
- The most violent tornadoes come from supercells, which are large thunderstorms that have winds already in rotation.
- Tornadoes form when warm, humid air collides with cold, dry air.
- The denser cold air is pushed over the warm air, usually producing thunderstorms.
- The warm air rises through the colder air, causing an updraft.
- The updraft will begin to rotate if winds vary sharply in speed or direction.
- As the rotating updraft, called a mesocycle, draws in more warm air from the moving thunderstorm, its rotation speed increases.
- Cool air fed by the jet stream, a strong band of wind in the atmosphere, provides even more energy.
- Water droplets from the mesocyclone’s moist air form a funnel cloud. The funnel continues to grow and eventually it descends from the cloud until it touches the ground to become a tornado.
- Once a tornado hits the ground, it may live for as little as a few seconds or as long as three hours.
How tornadoes are forecasted?
- Tornadoes are hard to predict because compared to other extreme weather events, they are relatively small.
- That makes them difficult to observe. Meteorologists use Doppler radar, weather balloons, satellites, and computer modeling to watch the skies for severe storms and tornadic activity.
- Doppler radars record wind speeds and identify areas of rotation within thunderstorms.
Scale to measure the intensity of Tornado
- The Fujita Scale (F0 to F5) is used to rate the severity of tornadoes after they occur by the extent of the damage they cause.
- F0 is the least intense; F5 the most intense.
Difference between Tornadoes and Funnel Clouds
- A tornado is a tightly spinning column of air in contact with the ground beneath a thunderstorm cloud.
- In contrast, a funnel cloud spins in mid-air without touching the ground.
Difference between Cyclones and Tornadoes
Subject : Science and technology
- A high-quality study showed that inadequate sleep duration was strongly associated with an elevated risk of developing non-alcoholic fatty liver disease, and adequate sleep helped prevent it.
- Several experiments on lab mice and rats have shown the impact of inadequate sleep which increased Liver enzymes, blood, and liver fat.
- Sleep deprivation stresses liver cells and the activity of certain genes that escalate insulin resistance and fat content within liver cells also increased with sleep deprivation.
- The sympathetic nerves that supplied the liver, best known for their role in responding to stress and danger, were hyperactive in sleep deprived people.
- With every one-hour decrease in sleep time from the recommended seven-eight hours, the risk of fat deposition in the liver increased by 24% compared with those who slept adequately.
- Importance of sleep:
- Sleep is a vital function of human life and accounts for up to one-third of the lifespan. Contrary to normal belief, during sleep, the brain is not ‘resting’ but is engaged in various activities necessary to improve well-being, increase life, and especially impact the liver.
- A study of nearly 55,500 people from Europe showed that those who slept 7-8.5 hours daily had higher life expectancy than those who slept less than seven hours.
- In those between ages 50 and 75 without sleep disturbances, the expectation of living longer without chronic disease development was significantly higher.
Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease:
- Nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) is an umbrella term for a range of liver conditions affecting people who drink little to no alcohol.
- The main characteristic of NAFLD is too much fat stored in liver cells.
- Early-stage NAFLD does not usually cause any harm, however, individuals with NAFLD can develop nonalcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH), an aggressive form of fatty liver disease, which is marked by liver inflammation and may progress to advanced scarring (cirrhosis) and liver failure.
- This damage is similar to the damage caused by heavy alcohol use.
- Having high levels of fat in the liver is also associated with an increased risk of serious health problems, such as diabetes, high blood pressure and kidney disease.
- Increase in NAFLD in diabetic patients will heighten the chances of developing heart problems.
- If detected and managed at an early stage, it’s possible to stop NAFLD getting worse and reduce the amount of fat in the liver.
Subject : Science and technology
Section: Nuclear energy
- Scientists in China have developed a technique to reliably identify whether some nuclear fuel originated in one of two common kinds of nuclear reactors using experimental data and machine-learning (ML).
- The reactor type, the fuel’s exposure time inside the reactor, and the extent of the fuel’s enrichment can uniquely identify spent nuclear fuel.
- Nuclear fuel is a highly regulated material because of its destructive potential.
- Countries maintain detailed inventories to safeguard it.
- Identifying the origin of nuclear fuel is a difficult task in nuclear forensics.
- Nuclear forensics uses analytical methods to identify the origins of nuclear materials and whether they were used for military applications.
- Spent fuel from boiling water reactors (BWRs) is hard to differentiate from that from pressurised water reactors (PWRs) because both “use water as moderator and have similar thermal neutron spectra, so they are quite similar in neutron reaction mechanism.
- Therefore, scientists from China have trained data from the database to develop three ML models to distinguish fuel from BWRs from that from PWRs.
- In BWRs, the fuel rods are submerged in water. When the fuel fissions, the water boils and the steam drives a turbine. In PWRs, the fuel rods aren’t exposed to the water; only the heat is exchanged.
11. Sorghum’s alkaline tolerance can improve crop yields
Subject : Geography
Section: Economic Geography
- As the world’s soils continue to be impacted by salt, researchers have identified a protein that plays a crucial role in helping plants like sorghum grow in alkaline, salty soils.
- The findings could inform the design of crops better suited to grow in underutilised sodic lands.
- Researchers performed a genome wide association study of plant growth in alkaline conditions using sorghum and identified Alkaline Tolerance 1 (AT1) -a major locus specially related to the plant’s sensitivity to alkaline, sodic soils.
- Sorghum, also called great millet, Indian millet, is cereal grain plant of the grass family (Poaceae) and its edible starchy seeds.
- Sorghum plants are very hardy and can withstand high temperature and drought conditions.
- The plant originated in Africa, where it is a major food crop. The variety of the crop found in India is called jowar that originated here.
- The grain is popular across the world because it has a low glycaemic index, is gluten-free and nutritious.
- Note: The lower the glycemic index of a cereal, the lower is the relative rise in blood glucose level after two hours of consuming it.
- The key varieties of millets include Sorghum, Pearl Millet, Ragi, Small Millet, Foxtail Millet, Barnyard Millet, Kodo Millet and others.
- Jowar has a dedicated All-India Coordinated Research Project since 1969.
Cultivation of Jowar/Sorghum in states
- Jowar is a tropical crop of Madhya Pradesh and is cultivated in the northwestern districts of M
- Kharif crop is cultivated in the districts like Ujjain, Morena, Ratlam, Shivpur, and Bhind. The Jowar Rabi crop is cultivated in the districts of MP like Chhindwara, Khandwa, Balaghat, Dhar, Jhabua, Khargone, and Seoni.
- In geography, it has been seen that Jowar/Sorghum is a kind of crop that can be raised in both Rabi and Kharif seaso It can be seen that regions having less than 100 cm rainfall is the proper place for the growth of this crop.
- It grows well in the dry regions where there is no irrigation for provision.
Different varieties of soil are needed for the cultivation of this crop and the district of MP has the variety of soil for the production of this crop. The growth of this crop can mainly happen in the plain regions of MP but it is also raised in the gentle slopes of 1200 meter height.