Daily Prelims Notes 27 May 2022
- May 27, 2022
- Posted by: OptimizeIAS Team
- Category: DPN
Daily prelims Notes
27 May 2022
Table Of Contents
- Mining Rules
- Bharat Bill Payment System (BBPS)
- Gold pricing
- WTO and Fisheries
- Capital expenditure
- Green Hydrogen: Fuel for future
- Artificial light to control malaria
- Icebergs and fog to beat global water scarcity
- Share of non-CO2 pollutants contributing to global warming almost as much as CO2
- System of Rice Intensification: An water efficient production process
- Welcome to the elusive world of crypto mining: Rohtak rig, 3 engineers, Rs 3-lakh electricity bill
- Cases of Buffalopox, India’s latest emerging viral threat, underline the need to understand evolutionary biology
- The Xinjiang Police Files
Section: Environment laws
The Mines Ministry has proposed to do away with the need for forest clearance
for exploration of mineral blocks.
A provision may be inserted in the Mines and Minerals (Development and Regulation) Act (MMDR Act) to provide that any reconnaissance or prospecting operations undertaken within the period specified in MMDR Act in a forest land shall not be considered as diversion of forest land for non-forest purpose under the Forest Conservation Act, 1980.
- Reconnaissance and prospecting operations (exploration) do not cause any perceptible change in the forest land or the biodiversity thereon.
- No permanent diversion of forest land for non-forest activities is required for such activities which are for a short duration of 3-5 years.
- The low conversion ratio of exploration activities to mining activity is 100:1.
Diversion of forest land to non-forest activities:
Forest Conservation Act of 1980 (FCA) regulates the diversion along with others:
- Restricts use of forest for non-forest purpose
- Restricts dereservation of reserve forests
- Regulates diversion of forest land by way of lease to private industries and individuals.
- Restricts clear felling of trees
- Constitution of Advisory Committee for grant of approval for any of the activities above.
Note that the FCA does not itself ban any non-forest activity or the dereservation of forest land. It merely states that any such non-forest activity requires that the permission of the Central Government be secured for such actions i.e. Under this Act, no State Government can authorise such conversion without securing Central Government’s approval.
Mines and Minerals (Development and Regulation) Act:
- Mines and Minerals (Regulation and Development) Act (1957) enacted to regulate the mining sector in India.
- This act is applicable to all minerals except minor minerals and atomic minerals.
- Mining minor minerals comes under the purview of state governments. River sand is considered a minor mineral.
- For mining and prospecting in forest land, prior permission is needed from the Ministry of Environment and Forests.
- This act provides for:
- The governance of mining leases within the country.
- The purpose of why the lease is given.
- How to ensure the well being of the people living in the areas where mines are auctioned.
- The act was amended by The Mines and Minerals (Development and Regulation) Amendment Act, 2015.
- The amendment was proposed to bring transparency to the allocation of the mining licence process by auctions.
- The amendment seeks to introduce a system of auctions to allocate mining licenses.
- A fixed percentage to the revenue of any mine will be allocated to development of the area around it, to be called a District Mineral Foundation.
- The state government will set the rates and it will be in addition to the royalty.
- A National Mineral Exploration Trust was set up to explore and promote non-coal minerals.
- The licences will have a validity of 50 years, compared to the previous 30 years. There will be no renewal of licences, only re-auction.
Section: Monetary Policy
The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has reduced the minimum net worth requirement for non-bank Bharat Bill Payment Operating Units (BBPOUs) from ₹100 crore to ₹25 crore.
- Facilitate more bill payments through Bharat Bill Payment System (BBPS)
- Encourage participation of non-bank Bharat Bill Payment Operating Units (BBPOUs) in BBPS.
Bharat Bill Payment System (BBPS):
The Bharat Bill payment system is a Reserve Bank of India (RBI) conceptualized system driven by National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI).
It is a one-stop ecosystem for payment of all bills providing an interoperable and accessible “Anytime Anywhere” Bill payment service to all customers across India with certainty, reliability and safety of transactions.
All recurring payments will be a part of Bharat BillPay ecosystem. The current live categories part of Bharat BillPay are as follows:
Electricity, Telecom (Mobile Post-paid, Landline Post-paid and Broadband), DTH, Gas-Pipeline, Water, LPG, Gas Booking, Insurance (Life, General, Health), Loan Repayments, FASTag Recharge, Cable, Education Fees, Housing Society, Municipal Taxes, Municipal Services, Hospital Subscription Fees etc..
Other categories like mutual funds, credit cards, recurring deposits, clubs and association, metro recharge etc. would be covered under Bharat BillPay shortly.
- Bharat Bill Payment Central Unit (BBPCU)-National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI) has been authorized by RBI as the Bharat Bill Payment Central Unit (BBPCU) and is responsible for setting business standards, rules and procedures for technical and business requirements for all participants. The BBPCU undertakes clearing and settlement activities related to transactions routed through Bharat BillPay.
- Bharat Bill Payment Operating Unit (BBPOU)-Bharat Bill Payment Operating Unit aka BBPOU is the entity that is authorized by the Reserve Bank of India. It can be a Bank or a Non-Bank. BBPOU may choose to integrate either with the customers, (COU: Customer OU) or with the billers (Biller OU) or may wish to participate as both – which means such BBPOU will be integrated with customers as well as billers.
- Agent Institutions-Eligible Entities who wish to offer or those who are currently in Bill payment, collection and aggregation business, would operate under a COU (Customer BBPOU). Customer BBPOU will on-board Agent institutions which may further on-board agents and/ or set up customer service points in various regions and locations.
- Agents- Agents are the customer touch points and service points in the Bharat BillPay ecosystem available in the form of agent outlets, Business Correspondent outlets, Bank branches, collection centres, retail outlets.
- Biller/Utility Company-Service providers, who shall receive payments from customers for services rendered. By participating in the Bharat BillPay scheme, the biller will be able to receive payments from third party channels for the services provided to the customer. A biller may tie up with up to two BBPOUs to access the entire universe of its consumers and all payment channels.
Gold prices are not moving up even as inflation is raging globally. Traditionally, gold is considered to be the best bet against inflation. However, in the current scenario gold prices seem to be moving in a tight range even though inflation is making waves globally.
- Tighter monetary policy-The rising rates will make it quite attractive for investors to stay in the currency to earn the higher currency yield leading to non rising demand of gold.
- The appreciation in the US Dollar due to rising rates of interest. Gold being quoted in US Dollars, the price is bound to come down.
Gold is dealt with by the four types of firms in the industry. They are exploration or development, mining, consumers and recyclers. The 3 categories of consumers are industrial, jewellery producers and investors.
- Gold prices are fixed on a daily basis.
- It is an agreement between the participants on the same side in the market to buy and sell gold at a fixed price or to maintain the market conditions to make the price stay at a certain level by controlling the supply and demand.
- Gold Fixing is done at London Bullion Market Association-The prices are set daily at 10:30 am GMT and 3pm GMT in US dollars.
Types of prices
There are 2 types of prices, spot price and futures price:
- Spot price-This is the current market price at which gold was bought or sold for immediate payment and delivery.
- Futures price-This is the price at which the participants in a futures contract agree to transact on the date of settlement.
Sources of pricing:
The spot prices are sourced at:
- OTC markets-This is a decentralized market of securities that is not listed in an exchange.
- Large banks and bullion traders-They buy and sell gold as part of the trading process and thus resulting in a reliable source of spot pricing for gold.
The Futures prices are sourced at
The exchanges are the primary source of gold futures prices. The major gold exchanges are:
- TOCOM, Japan
- Shanghai Gold Exchange, China
- MCX, Mumbai
- DGCX, Dubai
- Istanbul Gold Exchange, Istanbul
- COMEX, New York
Drivers to determine the gold rates
There are 6 fundamental drivers that help determine the gold rates. They are as follows:
- Price movements of other commodities and the demand for these commodities. Indirect pricing of the production cost.
- US and Global inflation which is driven by the rising money supply.
- Twin deficits that result from trade and growth imbalances against the US. This culminates in a fear factor.
- Activities of the Central Bank such as money printing, gold purchases and sales.
- Real interest rates in the US, compared to inflation and wages. This culminates in financial repression.
- Using the production or demand or inventory formula in the form of demand and supply.
Gold pricing in India:
- International prices do have a bearing on gold rates in India, though the rates might not be the exact same as they are internationally.
- Gold in India is primarily imported by banks at an internationally determined rate.
- Banks supply this gold to dealers after adding their fee to it.
- The Indian Bullion Jewellers Association IBJA then gets into the act of determining prices by speaking to the ten biggest gold dealers in the country. These dealers give their respective ‘buy’ and ‘sell’ quotes, depending on the rate at which they purchased gold. IBJA then takes the average of these ‘buy’ and ‘sell’ quotes and determines the gold rate for a particular day based on this average. This average rate is adjusted for local taxes and a rate fixed accordingly.
- Dealers generally arrive at their ‘buy’ and ‘sell’ rates by taking the international cost of gold and multiplying/adjusting it to the exchange value of the Rupee and adding any import duties and taxes such as VAT. Dealers ensure that they add their margin to the rates they give, keeping in mind their requirements. This procedure ensures that gold rates in India are on par with international trends and customers can purchase gold without any worry of being cheated with regards to gold rates.
Section :External sector
India will endorse a proposal at the World Trade Organization (WTO) on fishery subsidies if the agreement is equitable and does not tie the member-countries to a disadvantageous position in perpetuity, official sources said on Wednesday.
- India favours a 25-year exemption from over-fishing subsidy prohibition for developing countries that are not engaged in distant-water fishing.
- It suggests big subsidisers abolish their dole-outs within these 25 years, setting the stage for most developing nations to follow suit.
WTO negotiations on fisheries subsidies were launched in 2001 at the Doha Ministerial Conference, with a mandate to “clarify and improve” existing WTO disciplines on fisheries subsidies. It was elaborated in 2005 at the Hong Kong Ministerial Conference, including with a call for prohibiting certain forms of fisheries subsidies that contribute to overcapacity and overfishing.
At the 2017 Buenos Aires Ministerial Conference (MC11), ministers decided on a work programme to conclude the negotiations by aiming to adopt, at the next Ministerial Conference, an agreement on fisheries subsidies which delivers on Sustainable Development Goal 14.6
|SDG 14.6 targets to “by 2020, prohibit certain forms of fisheries subsidies which contribute to overcapacity and overfishing, and eliminate subsidies that contribute to IUU fishing, and refrain from introducing new such subsidies, recognizing that appropriate and effective special and differential treatment for developing and least developed countries should be an integral part of the WTO fisheries subsidies negotiation.”
The chair of the fisheries subsidies negotiations, Ambassador Santiago Wills of Colombia, on 24 November 2021 submitted a draft agreement on fisheries subsidies for the consideration of ministers.
Section :Fiscal Policy
The Centre has raised the capital expenditure target by 35.4% on year to Rs 7.5 trillion for FY23 to continue the public investment-led economic recovery of the pandemic-battered economy. The capex last year was Rs 5.5 trillion.
To keep the momentum of government spending, the finance ministry has allowed all ministries to utilize the unspent portion of the funds released to them in a quarter in the subsequent quarter.
- The flexibility can be availed by the ministries and departments in the first quarter of a financial year after intimating the budget division of the finance ministry.
- The unspent balances from the second and third quarters can be utilised in the third and fourth quarters respectively only with “formal and prior approval of the expenditure secretary.
|Usually, the ministries and departments are allowed to spend 25% of their budget in each quarter. No more than 33% and 15% of expenditure of the Budget Estimates during a financial year would be permissible in the last quarter and last month of the financial year, respectively.
Capital expenditure (CAPEX) is defined by the Union government as money spent on the acquisition of assets such as land, buildings, machinery, and equipment, as well as stock investments.
What are the examples of Capital Expenditure?
- Capital expenditure is the part of the government spending that goes into the creation of assets like schools, colleges, hospitals, roads, bridges, dams, railway lines, airports, and seaports.
- Capital expenditure also covers the acquisition of equipment and machinery by the government, including those for defense purposes.
- Capital expenditure also includes investment by the government that yields profits or dividends in the future.
Benefits of Capital expenditure:
- Multiplier effect – Capex has the maximum multiplier effect (change in rupee value of output with respect to a change in rupee value of expenditure).
This multiplier effect works through the expansion of ancillary industries and services and job creation.According to the National Institute of Public Finance and Policy, every rupee spent as a revenue expenditure has a multiplier effect of Rs 0.98 while Capex delivers a multiplier effect of Rs 2.25 in the year it is incurred and Rs 4.80 during the course of the entire expenditure.
- Labour productivity – On the supply side, Capex can facilitate labor productivity.
- Macroeconomic stabilizer – Capital expenditure is an effective tool for countercyclical fiscal policy and acts as a macroeconomic stabilizer
- Revenue generation – Capital expenditure leads to the creation of assets that are long-term in nature and allow the economy to generate revenue for many years and boosts operational efficiency.
- Liability reduction – Along with the creation of assets, repayment of loans is also capital expenditure as it reduces liability.
- Economic growth – Government CAPEX catalyzes private investment, increases production capacity thereby speeding up economic growth which in turn creates a lot more jobs.
Crowd in private investment- by making available inputs and social overhead capital.
Section : Fiscal Policy
At the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, a few days ago, Minister of Petroleum and Natural Gas Hardeep Singh Puri said India will emerge as the leader of green hydrogen by taking advantage of the current energy crisis across the globe.
What is Green Hydrogen?
- The term ‘green’ signifies how the electricity is generated to obtain the hydrogen, which does not emit greenhouse gas when burned.
- Green hydrogen is produced through electrolysis using renewable sources of energy such as solar, wind or hydel power.
- Hydrogen can be ‘grey’ and ‘blue’ too.
- Grey hydrogen is generated through fossil fuels such as coal and gas and currently accounts for 95% of the total production in South Asia.
- Blue hydrogen, too, is produced using electricity generated by burning fossil fuels but with technologies to prevent the carbon released in the process from entering the atmosphere.
Advantages of Hydrogen as a duel
- The intermittent nature of renewable energy, especially wind, leads to grid instability.
- Green hydrogen can be stored for long periods of time. The stored hydrogen can be used to produce electricity using fuel cells.
- In a fuel cell, a device that converts the energy of a chemical into electricity, hydrogen gas reacts with oxygen to produce electricity and water vapour.
- Hydrogen, thus, can act as an energy storage device and contribute to grid stability.
- Renewable developers see green hydrogen as an emerging market and some have targeted the transport sector, although electric vehicles have begun to catch the imagination of consumers today.
Recent initiatives in India
- Under the Paris Agreement, India is committed to reducing its greenhouse gas emissions by 33-35% from the 2005 levels, which can be achieved by promoting Green Hydrogen.
- To reduce India’s energy import bill, and in order to become energy independent by 2047, the government stressed the need to introduce green hydrogen as an alternative fuel that can make India the global hub and a major exporter of hydrogen.
- The National Hydrogen Mission was launched on August 15, 2021, with a view to cutting down carbon emissions and increasing the use of renewable sources of energy.
- On April 20, 2022 the public sector OIL, which is headquartered in eastern Assam’s Duliajan, set up India’s first 99.99% pure green hydrogen pilot plant.
Subject: Science and Technology
- While the total number of cases has declined from about 81.1 cases per 1,000 population to 59 per 1,000 since 2000, there were still an estimated 240 million cases and 600,000 deaths in 2020 globally.
- While vaccines look promising, there is still a steady rise of antimalarial drug resistance, especially in East Africa.
- The parasites are evolving mutations which allow them to escape routine diagnosis. The mosquitoes are also evolving increased resistance to insecticides.
- In a new research, the use of artificial lights to trick malaria-transmitting mosquito species that feed nocturnally into behaving as if it’s daytime is being developed which may deter feeding, helping to keep people safe from malaria-carrying mosquito bites.
- This device is based on the theory that as light regulates much of the timing of biological events, like when birds breed, lions hunt – and humans’ sleep patterns.
- This means that all life on the planet has evolved with such regular day-night cycles.
- The gene for the melatonin hormone, which regulates sleep-awake cycles, is shared between widely different and old taxonomic groups, such as plants and animals.
- The Anopheles group of mosquitoes, which is responsible for all of Africa’s malaria cases, is a nocturnal feeder.
- After mating, the females will seek out a blood meal. In doing so, they transfer the Plasmodium parasite which causes malaria.
- So, to trick the mosquito into not feeding, a short pulse of Light Emitting Diode (LED) light, commonly used lights in homes as “downlights” or reading lamps can be used.
- Artificial light at night can be employed to change mosquitoes’ behavior.
Section :climate change
- As climate change worsens and with population rising worldwide, water shortages are a top threat to human development and security, making use of unconventional water resources both timely and important.
- Unconventional Water Resources involve 5 methods such as:
- Harvesting water from air and ground
- Tapping deep groundwater
- Reusing used water
- Moving water physically
- Developing new water.
- Fog harvesting and micro-catchment rainwater harvesting have been marked as low-cost and low-impact methods.
- Efficient fog harvesting systems — wherein moisture in fog is collected through rocks, flora or mesh nets — can yield within 20 litres per square metre per day, for a decade.
- Micro-catchments, on the other hand, have shown potential for households or farmlands in dry environments with low rainfall.
- Icebergs, the world’s largest source for freshwater can be towed to water scarce countries for use.
Section : climate change
- Global temperatures are likely to exceed 1.5 degrees Celsius over pre industrial levels by 2035 and 2°C by 2050 if the focus is merely on decarbonisation efforts.
- The Working Group III report of the Intergovernmental Panel for Climate Change (IPCC), which deals with mitigating climate change, focuses on CO2 and a few greenhouse gases, but excludes other non-CO2 pollutants.
- There is a need to urgently bend the emission curve of methane, HFCs, black carbon soot and a few other precursor gases that increase lower atmosphere ozone.
Green House effect :
- Some atmospheric gases absorb and re-emit infrared energy from the atmosphere down to the Earth’s surface. This process, the greenhouse effect, leads to a mean surface temperature that is 33 °C greater than it would be in its absence. If it were not for the greenhouse gas effect, Earth’s average temperature would be a chilly -18 °C.
- The Earth has a natural greenhouse effect due to trace amounts of water vapour (H2O), carbon dioxide (CO2), methane (CH4) and nitrous oxide (N2O) in the atmosphere. These gases let the solar radiation reach the Earth’s surface, but they absorb infrared radiation emitted by the Earth and thereby lead to the heating of the surface of the planet.
- One needs to distinguish between the natural greenhouse effect and the enhanced greenhouse effect. The natural greenhouse effect is caused by the natural amounts of greenhouse gases, and is vital to life. In the absence of the natural greenhouse effect the surface of the Earth would be approximately 33 °C cooler. The enhanced greenhouse effect refers to the additional radiative forcing resulting from increased concentrations of greenhouse gases induced by human activities
- The main greenhouse gases whose concentrations are rising are carbon dioxide, methane, nitrous oxide, hydrochlorofluorocarbons (HCFCs), hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) and ozone in the lower atmosphere.
- The Global Atmosephere Watch (GAW) observes, analyses and publishes greenhouse gas data collected by fifty countries around the globe from the High Arctic to the South Pole. The greenhouse gases monitored include:
- Carbon Dioxide (CO2) (incl. Δ14C, δ13C and δ18O in CO2, and O2/N2 Ratios)
- Methane (CH4)
- Nitrous Oxide (N2O)
- Halocarbons and SF6
- Molecular Hydrogen (H2)
- Without tackling non-CO2 pollutants, these gases will continue to trap heat and keep the warming above 1.5°C, as there are not many cooling aerosols to mask the warming.
- The Glasgow Climate Pact, an agreement signed during the 2021 United Nations Climate Change Conference (CoP26), recognised the need to consider further actions to reduce non-carbon dioxide greenhouse gas emissions, including methane, by 2030.
The Punjab government is promoting Direct Seeding of Rice (DSR) technique of paddy
- The System of Rice Intensification was first developed in Madagascar in the 1980s and since then, several countries in the world have been practicing it.
- System of Rice Intensification (SRI) is a methodology for increasing the productivity of irrigated rice by changing the management of plants, soil, water and nutrients particularly by eliciting greater root growth.
- The System of Rice Intensification involves cultivating rice with as much organic manure as possible, starting with young seedlings planted singly at wider spacing in a square pattern; and with intermittent irrigation that keeps the soil moist but not inundated, and frequent inter cultivation with weeder that actively aerates the soil.
SRI is based on the following principles:
- Young seedlings between 8-12 days old (2-3 leaf stage) are transplanted to preserve potential for tillering and rooting ability;
- Careful planting of single seedlings rather than in clumps that are often plunged in the soil; v Wider spacing at 25 cm x 25 cm. in square planting rather than in rows;
- Use of cono-weeder/ rotary hoe/power weeder to aerate the soil as well as controlling weeds; v Alternate wetting and dry method rather than continuous flooding in the field;
- Use of organic manure or vermicompost / FYM
It promises to save 15 to 20% ground water, and improves rice productivity, which is almost at a stagnant point now.
- It gives equal or more produce than the conventional rice cultivation, with less water, less seed and less chemicals, thus reducing investments on external inputs.
- Unlike DSR, which is suitable only for mid to heavy textured soils, SRI is suitable in all types of soil including less fertile soil as in such soil the number of seedlings can be increased to double.
- Under SRI 2kg seed is required to grow a nursery for one acre against 5kg seed required in the traditional method.
- In traditional sowing from the day of transplanting till the crop turns 35-40 days fields are kept under flood-like conditions, but SRI doesn’t require continuous flooding, it needs intermittent irrigation.
- Irrigation is given to maintain soil moisture near saturation initially, and water is added to the field when the surface soil develops hairline cracks.
- It also maintains soil health, lowers input costs by 10-20% as it requires 25% less urea and its root system is quite strong due to young plants’ transplantation which prevents lodging from rain or wind.
- Also small and marginal farmers can increase their income by spending less and getting more yield. This matures in 5-15 days less time.
- However, SRI permits greater weed growth because of alternate wetting and drying of fields and for that cono-weeder can be employed.
- Higher yields – Both grain and straw
- Reduced duration (by 10 days)
- Less chaffy grain %
- Grain weight increased without change in grain size
- Higher head rice recovery
- Withstand cyclonic gales
- Cold tolerance
- Soil health improves through biological activity
- Higher labour costs in the initial years
- Difficulties in acquiring the necessary skills
- Not suitable when no irrigation source available
Subject: Science & Technology
Context: ‘The elusive world of cryptocurrency mining’
- Mining is the process by which networks of specialized computers generate and release new Bitcoin and verify new transactions.
- Mining is the process that Bitcoin and several other cryptocurrencies use to generate new coins and verify new transactions. It involves vast, decentralized networks of computers around the world that verify and secure blockchains – the virtual ledgers that document cryptocurrency transactions. In return for contributing their processing power, computers on the network are rewarded with new coins.
- It’s a virtuous circle: the miners maintain and secure the blockchain, the blockchain awards the coins, the coins provide an incentive for the miners to maintain the blockchain.
Mining rigs are mining platforms that have one or more computers designed for the mining process.
Mining aims to keep the blockchain of the different cryptocurrencies up and running and safe from potential attacks.
When it comes to mining cryptocurrencies, you need a lot of computing power and electricity to be able to earn the rewards and mining rigs allow you to do the job faster than other computers and can earn more.
Types of mining rigs
Depending on the type of mining hardware they use, mining rigs can be classified into 3 types:
- CPU: CPU mining rigs are very simple and cheap equipment and are often used by users who want to mine cryptocurrencies directly from their own computer. CPU mining is very expensive and increasingly obsolete and represents a big disadvantage in terms of electricity costs. For those who want to try to mine cryptocurrencies with CPU and do not want to invest a lot, they will have to download some programs on their PC before starting to mine.
The advantage of this type of mining is that it does not require high equipment or electricity costs.
The disadvantage is that it is the slowest form of mining, has a low hash rate and, because of this, is very unprofitable.
Although CPU mining is not advised, there are several altcoins that do allow easy CPU mining.
- GPU: GPU mining rigs are the best for those who want to set up their own mining platform. This is the most popular and favorite mining method among miners.
GPU mining equipment uses very powerful graphics cards with high hashing power. There are dedicated or simple GPUs (desktop PCs used for example for video games as they usually have very powerful graphics cards).
Generally, to get the best results, you should use the maximum amount of GPU available. But, even if you have simpler equipment, the results are not long in coming and are noticeable. The only disadvantage is that they are quite expensive and require maintenance, cooling and a lot of electricity.
- ASIC: the word ASIC stands for: Application Specific Integrated Circuits). These are special devices designed to mine certain types of cryptocurrencies.
They are also the most widely used devices for cryptocurrency mining, as they promise good profits. However, they are not the most environmentally friendly and cheapest solution.
These are the three most popular types of mining rigs in the crypto ecosystem and, as we have seen, GPU rigs are the most popular, followed by ASICs and CPUs.
Subject: Science & Technology
Context: ‘Outbreaks of buffalopox that belongs to the same family of viruses as monkeypox in west India’
Content: Buffalopox is caused by Buffalopox virus (BPXV), it is a Poxviridae. The natural host is buffalo, they are known to infect the cows and humans too. These infects are sporadic and epidemic usually seen in domestic and commercial farm setting.
- Buffalopox was first described in India, later in other countries, and has become an emerging contagious viral zoonotic disease infecting milkers with high morbidity among affected domestic buffalo and cattle.
- BPXV is a member of the genus Orthopoxvirus and a close variant of the vaccinia virus (VACV).
- BPXV shares a most recent common ancestor of VACV Lister strain, which had been used for inoculating buffalo calves to produce a Smallpox vaccine.
- Over time, VACV evolved into BPXV by establishing itself in buffaloes to be increasingly pathogenic to this host and to make infections in cattle and humans.
Incubation period: The incubation period in animals is 2-4 days and 3-19 days in humans.
The signs and symptoms of Buffalopox: Usually the mild form of disease exists, it is very rare to find a severe form.
In mild form: – The febrile illness with vesicular lesions are localized usually in inguinal region hands, forearms, over the parotid and found in base or inner surface of ears and eyes. It is occasionally accompanied with lymphadenopathy& Severe Malaise.
In severe form: -The lesions are generalized and can result in high morbidity.
Investigations: The lesions samples are taken via swab test and electron microscopy. The PCR (Polymerase chain reaction) test is also done.
Treatment: Broad spectrum antibiotics along with antiseptic dressing on the affected lesions.
Prognosis of Buffalopox: Usually the mild form exists, rarely the severe form is seen. The prognosis is good.
Complications: The complication is Necrotic tissue formation usually occurs in few cases.
Differential diagnosis: – Cowpox disease
Management: -Wearing gloves while milking and handling is an effective management.-Treating the infected host also reduced chances of further sporadic or epidemic spread.
Subject : International relations
Section : Mapping
Context: The Xinjiang Police Files’, published this week by the Victims of Communism Memorial Foundation with cooperation from 13 media outlets from 10 countries, have given the world an inside view of China’s “re-education camps” and the “prison-like” conditions that Uighur Muslims are being subjected to inside them.
- The Uighurs are a predominantly Muslim minority Turkic ethnic group, whose origins can be traced to Central and East Asia.
- The Uighurs speak their own language, similar to Turkish, and see themselves as culturally and ethnically close to Central Asian nations.
- The Uighurs are considered to be one of the 55 officially recognized ethnic minority communities in China.
- However, China recognises the community only as a regional minority and rejects that they are an indigenous group.
- Currently, the largest population of the Uighur ethnic community lives in Xinjiang region of China.
- A significant population of Uighurs also lives in the neighbouring Central Asian countries such as Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan and Kazakhstan.
- Xinjiang is technically an autonomous region within China — its largest region, rich in minerals, and sharing borders with eight countries, including India, Pakistan, Russia and Afghanistan.
Where is Xinjiang?
- Xinjiang lies in the north-west of China and is the country’s largest region.
- Like Tibet, it is autonomous, meaning – in theory – it has some powers of self-governance.
- But in practice, both regions are subjected to major restrictions by the central government.
- Xinjiang is a mostly desert region and produces about a fifth of the world’s cotton.
- In December 2020, research seen by the BBC showed that up to half a million people were being forced to pick cotton in Xinjiang. There is evidence that new factories have been built within the grounds of the re-education camps.
- The region is also rich in oil and natural gas and because of its proximity to Central Asia and Europe is seen by Beijing as an important trade link.
- In the early 20th Century, the Uyghurs briefly declared independence for the region but it was brought under the complete control of China’s new Communist government in 1949.