Daily Prelims Notes 3 November 2022
- November 3, 2022
- Posted by: OptimizeIAS Team
- Category: DPN
Daily Prelims Notes
3 November 2022
Table Of Contents
- Biosphere Reserves
- Fertilizer subsidy
- G20 and Env
- Sovereign Green Bonds
- SEBI-recovery of dues
- Steel ‘waste’ sent to BRO to build border road in Arunachal
- India successfully tests Ballistic Missile Defence Interceptor capable of neutralising long-range adversary missiles
- IIT-Roorkee discovers antiviral molecules to treat Covid-19
- GSLV MkIII lifts India into a new orbit in satellite launches
- Science and Engineering Research Board (SERB) awards national post-doctoral fellowships to 301 researchers
- Consent of accused is must to get password Delhi HC
- Ela Bhatt and the SEWA movement:
- Disqualification of legislators:
- Ethiopia and Tigray agree to end Civil war
November 3 will be the first ‘The International Day for Biosphere Reserves’, to be celebrated beginning 2022.
What are Biosphere Reserves?
- They are sites for testing interdisciplinary approaches to understanding and managing changes and interactions between social and ecological systems, including conflict prevention and management of biodiversity.
- They are places that provide local solutions to global challenges. Biosphere reserves include terrestrial, marine and coastal ecosystems. Each site promotes solutions reconciling the conservation of biodiversity with its sustainable use.
- Biosphere reserves are nominated by national governments and remain under the sovereign jurisdiction of the states where they are located.
- Biosphere Reserves involve local communities and all interested stakeholders in planning and management.
- They integrate three main “functions”:
- Conservation of biodiversity and cultural diversity
- Economic development that is socio-culturally and environmentally sustainable
- Logistic support, underpinning development through research, monitoring, education and training
- These three functions are pursued through the Biosphere Reserves’ three main zones
- Core Areas
- It comprises a strictly protected zone that contributes to the conservation of landscapes, ecosystems, species and genetic variation
- Buffer Zones
- It surrounds or adjoins the core area(s), and is used for activities compatible with sound ecological practices that can reinforce scientific research, monitoring, training and education.
- Transition Area
- The transition area is where communities foster socio-culturally and ecologically sustainable economic and human activities.
What are the Functions of Biosphere Reserve?
- Managing Biosphere Reserve’s genetic resources, endemic species, ecosystems, and landscapes.
- It may prevent man-animal conflict eg., death of tiger Avni who was shot dead when she turned man-eater
- Along with the wildlife, culture and customs of tribals are also protected
- Promoting economic and human growth that is sustainable on a sociocultural and ecological level.
- It seeks to strengthen the three pillars of sustainable development: social, economic and protection of the environment.
- Promoting research activities, environmental education, training and monitoring in the context of local, national and international conservation and sustainable development.
How many Biosphere Reserves are in India?
There are 18 biosphere reserves in India:
- Cold Desert, Himachal Pradesh
- Nanda Devi, Uttarakhand
- Khangchendzonga, Sikkim
- Dehang-Debang, Arunachal Pradesh
- Manas, Assam
- Dibru-Saikhowa, Assam
- Nokrek, Meghalaya
- Panna, Madhya Pradesh
- Pachmarhi, Madhya Pradesh
- Achanakmar-Amarkantak, Madhya Pradesh-Chhattisgarh
- Kachchh, Gujarat (Largest Area)
- Similipal, Odisha
- Sundarban, West Bengal
- Seshachalam, Andhra Pradesh
- Agasthyamala, Karnataka-Tamil Nadu-Kerala
- Nilgiri, Tamil Nadu-Kerala (First to be Included)
- Gulf of Mannar, Tamil Nadu
- Great Nicobar, Andaman & Nicobar Island
What is the International Status of Biosphere Reserve?
- For natural areas, UNESCO has established the term “Biosphere Reserve” to reduce conflicts between development and preservation.
- Under the Man and Biosphere Reserve Program of UNESCO, national governments that meet a minimal set of requirements can nominate biosphere reserves.
- There are currently 738 biosphere reserves in 134 countries, including 22 transboundary sites.
There are total 12 biosphere reserves of India which have been recognized internationally under Man and Biosphere Reserve program:
- Nilgiri (First to be included)
- Gulf of Mannar
- Nanda Devi
- Achanakmar – Amarkantak
- Great Nicobar
- Khangchendzonga (under Man and Biosphere Reserve Program in 2018)
- Panna, Madhya Pradesh (The latest included BR)
What is Man and Biosphere Programme?
- Launched in 1971, UNESCO’s Man and the Biosphere Programme (MAB) is an intergovernmental scientific programme that aims to establish a scientific basis for the improvement of relationships between people and their environments.
- MAB combines natural and social sciences, economics and education to improve human livelihoods and the equitable sharing of benefits, and to safeguard natural and managed ecosystems, thus promoting innovative approaches to economic development that are socially and culturally appropriate, and environmentally sustainable.
What is Biosphere Conservation?
- A scheme called Biosphere Reserve is being implemented by the Government of India since 1986, in which financial assistance is given in 90:10 ratio to the Northeastern Region States and three Himalayan states and in the ratio of 60:40 to other states for maintenance, improvement, and development of certain items.
- The State Government prepares the Management Action Plan which is approved and monitored by the Central MAB Committee.
World Network of Biosphere Reserves (WNBR)
- The UNESCO World Network of Biosphere Reserves (WNBR) covers internationally designated protected areas, known as biosphere reserves, which are meant to demonstrate a balanced relationship between people and nature (e.g. encourage sustainable development). They are created under the Man and the Biosphere Programme (MAB).
- The World Network of Biosphere Reserves promotes North-South and South-South collaboration and represents a unique tool for international co-operation through sharing knowledge, exchanging experiences, building capacity and promoting best practices.
- World Network of Mountain Biosphere Reserves is a new initiative under UNESCO’S MAN AND BIOSPHERE PROGRAMME
- The Ecological Footprint is the only metric that measures how much nature we have and how much nature we use
What is the Ecological Footprint?
- The Ecological footprint is a measure of how much biologically productive land and
water area an individual, population or activity uses to produce all the resources it
consumes, to house all its infrastructure, and to absorb its waste1 given prevailing
technology and resource management practices.
- People obtain resources from forests, cropland, fisheries, and grazing land. They also use these areas for accommodating roads, houses and energy infrastructure. Waste absorption also utilizes area-based ecosystem services, for example to assimilate carbon dioxide emissions from fossil fuel burning or cement production. The Ecological footprint adds up the areas required to produce resources or assimilate waste to
the extent that they are mutually exclusive. The sum of these areas then measures the total human demand on nature.
- In other words, ecological footprint analysis builds on “mass flow balance,” where each flow is translated into the ecologically productive areas necessary to support them.
How the Footprint Works
- Ecological Footprint accounting measures the demand on and supply of nature.
- On the demand side, the Ecological Footprint adds up all the productive areas for which a population, a person or a product competes. It measures the ecological assets that a given population or product requires to produce the natural resources it consumes (including plant-based food and fiber products, livestock and fish products, timber and other forest products, space for urban infrastructure) and to absorb its waste, especially carbon emissions.
- The Ecological Footprint tracks the use of productive surface areas. Typically these areas are: cropland, grazing land, fishing grounds, built-up land, forest area, and carbon demand on land.
- On the supply side, a city, state or nation’s biocapacityrepresents the productivity of its ecological assets (including cropland, grazing land, forest land, fishing grounds, and built-up land). These areas, especially if left unharvested, can also serve to absorb the waste we generate, especially our carbon emissions from burning fossil fuels.
- Both the Ecological Footprint and biocapacity are expressed in global hectares—globally comparable, standardized hectares with world average productivity.
- If a population’s Ecological Footprint exceeds the region’s biocapacity == biocapacity deficit.
- Its demand for the goods and services that its land and seas can provide—fruits and vegetables, meat, fish, wood, cotton for clothing, and carbon dioxide absorption—exceeds what the region’s ecosystems can regenerate. In more popular communications, we also call this “an ecological deficit.”
- A region in ecological deficit meets demand by importing, liquidating its own ecological assets (such as overfishing), and/or emitting carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. If a region’s biocapacity exceeds its Ecological Footprint, it has a biocapacity reserve.
- Conceived in 1990, the Ecological Footprint launched the broader Footprint movement, including the carbon Footprint.
- Ecosystems have a limited ability to supply us with natural resources. This is based
on factors such as water availability, climate, soil fertility, solar energy, technology
and management practices. This capacity to renew, driven by photosynthesis, is
Biocapacity deficit Vs Ecological overshoot
When a population’s ecological footprint exceeds the biocapacity of its territory, it runs a biocapacity deficit. This deficit is balanced either through the use of biocapacity from elsewhere, or local overuse, called ‘ecological overshoot’. At the global level, deficit and overshoot are identical since there is no interplanetary trade allowing for biocapacity use from elsewhere.
Global Footprint Network
- Global Footprint Network calculates the ecological footprint of countries on an annual basis.
- Global Footprint Network was founded in 2003 with the goal of changing how the
world manages its natural resources and responds to climate change.
- Global Footprint Network publishes yearly national footprint and Biocapacity
-The Accounts measure the ecological resource use and resource capacity of nations over time.
What is UNESCO?
- UNESCO is the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization. It contributes to peace and security by promoting international cooperation in education, sciences, culture, communication and information.
- UNESCO promotes knowledge sharing and the free flow of ideas to accelerate mutual understanding and a more perfect knowledge of each other’s lives. UNESCO’s programmes contribute to the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals defined in the 2030 Agenda, adopted by the UN General Assembly in 2015.
Subject : Economy
The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs has approved a ₹51,875 crore subsidy for phosphatic and potassic fertilizers for the rabi season.
It is in accordance with a commitment to ensure the availability of P&K (phosphatic and potassic) fertilizers to the farmers at affordable prices and international volatility in prices of fertilizers.
The subsidy on P&K fertilizers, which includes support for indigenous fertilizer through freight subsidy, will be provided on the basis of the nutrient-based subsidy (NBS) rates approved by the CCEA.
Types of fertilizers:
- Primary fertilizers includes Nitrogen, Phosphorus, Potassium-
- Nitrogenous – Urea
- Phosphatic – Di-ammonium Phosphate
- Potassic – Muriate of Potash (MoP) fertilizers.
- Secondary fertilizers include Calcium, Magnesium and Sulphur.
- Some micronutrients include – Zinc, Iron, Boron, Chloride etc.
- Subsidy on Urea: The Centre pays subsidy on urea to fertilizer manufacturers on the basis of cost of production at each plant and the units are required to sell the fertilizer at the government-set Maximum Retail Price (MRP).
- Farmers pay a fixed price of Rs 242 per bag (45 kg) which covers about 20% of cost of production, the balance is provided by the government as subsidy to fertilizer units.
- Subsidy on Non-Urea Fertilizers: Retail prices of phosphatic and potassic (P&K) fertilizers, including DAP and Mop were ‘decontrolled’ ( or fixed by the companies) in 2010 with the introduction of a ‘fixed-subsidy’ regime as part of NBS mechanism.
- The Nutrient Based Subsidy (NBS) Programme for Fertilizers was initiated in the year 2010.
- Under the scheme, a fixed amount of subsidy decided on an annual basis is provided on each grade of subsidized Phosphatic and Potassic (P&K) fertilizers, except for Urea, based on the nutrient content present in them.
- Apart from this, fertilizers which are fortified with secondary and micronutrients such as molybdenum (Mo) and zinc are given additional subsidy.
- The scheme is administered by the Department of Fertilizers under the Ministry of Chemicals & Fertilizers.
- The subsidy on Phosphatic and Potassic (P&K) fertilizers is announced by the Government on an annual basis for each nutrient on a per kg basis.
- These rates are determined taking into account the international and domestic prices of P&K fertilizers, exchange rate, inventory level in the country etc.
- NBS policy intends to increase the consumption of P&K fertilizers so that optimum balance (N:P:K= 4:2:1 ) of NPK fertilization is achieved.
Present regime of fertilizer subsidy – Partial DBT (Since April 2018)
- The subsidy goes to fertiliser companies, although its ultimate beneficiary is the farmer who pays MRPs less than the market-determined rates.
- Manufacturers of fertilizers (urea) receive 100% of subsidy after fertiliser is delivered to the farmer, and the latter’s identity viz. Aadhaar is captured on the point of sale (PoS) machine at the dealer’s shop.
- The manufacturers sell urea at the maximum retail price (MRP) controlled by the Centre, which is kept at a low level. They also get subsidy reimbursement on a unit-specific basis under the new pricing scheme (NPS).
- The MRPs of non-urea fertilisers are decontrolled or fixed by the companies. The Centre, however, pays a flat per-tonne subsidy on these nutrients to ensure they are priced at “reasonable levels (based on Nutrient based Subsidy scheme)
The Government has introduced the Direct Benefit Transfer (DBT) system in Fertilizers from October 2016 and the Pan-India Roll out has been completed by March, 2018. Under the fertilizer DBT system, 100% subsidy on various fertilizer grades is released to the fertilizer companies on the basis of actual sales made by the retailers to the beneficiaries. Sale of all subsidized fertilizers to farmers/buyers is made through Point of Sale (PoS) devices installed at each retailer shop and the beneficiaries are identified through Aadhaar Card, KCC, Voter Identity Card etc.
Subject : International Relations
The G20 summit to be held in September 2023, under India’s presidency, is expected to pass a marquee declaration to ensure energy and supply chain security.
- India has been championing a global electricity grid plan—One Sun One World One Grid.
- Energy Transition Working Group (ETWG) has been set up
G20’s environmental initiatives-The G20 recognises the importance of collective action in tackling environmental challenges and climate change while promoting transitions towards more flexible, transparent and cleaner energy systems.
- Climate Sustainability Working Group (CSWG)
- In the G20 framework, the Energy Sustainability Working Group (ESWG) was established in 2013 to cover all energy-related issues.
- In 2017, considering that energy policy and climate change issues are closely linked to each other, the Climate Sustainability Working Group (CSWG) was newly established under the Sustainability Working Group (SWG).
- In 2018, under the Argentine presidency, CSWG was separated from ESWG and became one of the Working Groups in the Sherpa process.
- Global Initiative on Reducing Land Degradation and Enhancing Conservation of Terrestrial Habitats
- In November 2020, at the Riyadh (Virtual) Summit of the G20 leaders, the G20 launched the Global Initiative on Reducing Land Degradation and Enhancing Conservation of Terrestrial Habitats.
- The ambition of this Global Initiative is to prevent, halt and reverse land degradation and reduce degraded land by 50 per cent by 2040.
- The initiative will be implemented through the Initiative Coordination Office under oversight of the UNCCD.
The One Sun One World One Grid Declaration (OSOWOG)
- It was jointly released by Prime Minister Narendra Modi and UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson at the COP26 Climate Meet in Glasgow.
- In the first assembly of the International Solar Alliance (ISA), in October 2018, Prime Minister Narendra Modi floated the idea of the OSOWOG initiative.
- The UK and India decided to merge the UK’s Green Grids Initiative (GGI) and ISA’s OSOWOG into GGI-OSOWOG as part of the UK-India Virtual Summit
- Its objective is to aid in developing a worldwide grid through which clean energy can be transmitted anywhere, anytime (use power at night in one part of the world from solar energy generated on the other side of the world where it is day time).
- It also aims to help in reducing storage needs and enhancing the viability of solar projects. Its ultimate goal is to reduce carbon footprints and energy costs.
- The ISA and the World Bank are also helping in executing the project.
How will it be implemented?–OSOWOG is divided into three main phases.
- In the first phase, the Indian grid would be connected to the grids of Middle East, South Asia and South-East Asia to develop a common grid. This grid would then be used to share solar energy as per need, in addition to other renewable energy sources.
- The second phase would connect the functional first phase to the pool of renewable resources in Africa.
The third phase would look at achieving true global interconnection. The idea will be to integrate as many countries as possible to create a single power grid of renewable energy. This can then be accessed by all countries.
Subject : Economy
The Indian government is all set to debut in the green bonds market soon, as laid out in the Union Budget.
- The Finance Minister in her Budget 2022 speech promised to issue sovereign green bonds.
- Indian companies have already been tapping into the international green bond market through segments beyond green bonds, among which sustainability linked bonds (SLBs) .
What is the Significance of Sovereign Guarantee to Green Bonds?
- Sovereign green issuance sends a powerful signal of intent around climate action and sustainable development to governments and regulators.
- It will catalyze domestic market development and provide impetus to institutional investors.Thus, bring in a new set of investors to India’s debt market
- It will provide benchmark pricing, liquidity and a demonstration effect for local issuers, helping to support the growth of a local market.
- Sovereign green bonds can support the proliferation of electric buses and allied charging infrastructure in India by providing cost-effective financing options. Thus, bring in much needed capital for its green transition.
- Corporates have been issuing green bonds in India but the country’s global share stood at just 1% in the first half of 2022.
- It is a type of fixed-income instrument that is specifically earmarked to raise money for climate and environmental projects.
- The first green bond was issued in 2007 by the European Investment Bank, the EU’s lending arm. This was followed a year later by the World Bank. Since then, many governments and corporations have entered the market to finance green projects.
- These bonds are typically asset-linked and backed by the issuing entity’s balance sheet, so they usually carry the same credit rating as their issuers’ other debt obligations.
- They are designated bonds intended to encourage sustainability and to support climate-related or other types of special environmental projects.
- Aims and Objectives:
- They are aimed at energy efficiency, pollution prevention, sustainable agriculture, fishery and forestry, the protection of aquatic and terrestrial ecosystems, clean transportation, clean water, and sustainable water management.
- They also finance the cultivation of environmentally friendly technologies and the mitigation of climate change.
Countries that have issued sovereign green bonds:
Belgium, Chile, Denmark, Egypt, Fiji, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Hungary, Indonesia, Ireland, Italy, Lithuania, Mexico, Netherlands, Nigeria, Philippines, Poland, Serbia, Seychelles, South Korea, Spain, Sweden and UK
A Sustainability-linked bond (SLB)
- It is a fixed income instrument (Bond) where its financial and/or structural characteristics are tied to predefined Sustainability/ESG objectives.
- The objectives are measured through predefined Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) and evaluated against predefined Sustainability Performance Targets (SPTs).
- SLBs can be used to finance any corporate activity and their proceeds do not need to be allocated to specific projects. Yet, the issuer commits to reaching ambitious, science-based and measurable Sustainability Performance Targets (SPTs) around pre-determined KPIs, and to having these reviewed by an external party.
- Bonds where the proceeds are used to finance or refinance green projects, social projects or a combination of both are called Green, social and Sustainability bonds respectively, and should not be confused with SLBs.
SLBs are bonds whereby the proceeds from the issuance are not ring-fenced to green or sustainable purposes (unlike “use of proceeds” green bonds or sustainable bonds) and may be used for general corporate purposes or other purposes.
Subject : Economy
The Securities and Exchange Board of India (Sebi) has segregated dues to the tune of ₹67,228 crore under the “difficult to recover” category at the end of March 2022.
- It includes –those who failed to pay the fine and fees due to the markets watchdog, and those who did not comply with SEBI’s direction to refund investors’ money.
- A huge portion of the total pertains to Collective Investment Scheme (CIS) and those due to the parallel proceedings before various courts and court-appointed committees.
Recovery and Refund by SEBI:
- DTR dues are ones that could not be recovered even after exhausting all the modes of recovery
- Segregation of dues as DTR is purely an administrative act and this will not preclude the recovery officers from recovering the amount.
- Sebi is empowered to recover penalties imposed by the adjudicating officer, the amount directed to be disgorged, and the money ordered to be refunded to the regulator.
- The Recovery and Refund Department deals with recovery proceedings against the defaulters who have failed to pay the penalty, fees, disgorgement amount or monies directed to be refunded to investors and refund of such monies.
- Recovery Division 1-The Division handles work related to:
- Policy matters related to recovery and refund
- recovery cases where the principal amount exceeds one crore and refund related work
- litigation related to recovery
- coordination with the Recovery Officers (ROs) posted at regional offices and maintaining centralized databases.
- Recovery Division 2-The Division handles work related to:
- Recovery cases where the principal amount due is up to Rupees one crore.
- Litigation related to recovery;
- Wadhwa committee related refund work in IPO matters..
- Recovery Division 3-The Division handles work related to:
- Certain assigned recovery cases where the principal due amount exceeds Rupees one crore and refund related work;
- Recovery cases where the principal amount due is up to Rupees one crore;
- Litigation related to recovery.
- Special Enforcement Cell-The Division handles work related to refund and litigation of Sahara Matter.
Collective Investment Scheme (CIS):
- Under the Securities Laws (Amendment) Act 2014, when a corpus amount of Rs 100 crore or more is gathered from investors, it is referred to as a Collective Investment Scheme.
- A collective investment scheme is one in which a group of people pool their money and invest it in an asset.
- The asset’s returns are then shared among the group based on their share of the total investment.
- According to Section 11AA of the SEBI Act, CIS is any scheme or arrangement that meets the following criteria:
- the contributions or payments made by the investors, by whatever name called, are pooled and used solely for the purposes of the scheme or arrangement;
- the contributions or payments are made to such scheme or arrangement by the investors with the intention of receiving profits, income, produce, or property, whether movable or immovable, from such scheme or arrangement;
- the property, contribution, or investment that forms part of the scheme or arrangement is handled on behalf of the investors, whether identifiable or not.
- A Collective Investment Management Company is a business entity formed under the Companies Act of 1956 and registered with SEBI under the SEBI (Collective Investment Schemes) Regulations of 1999 with the purpose of organizing, operating, and managing a Collective Investment Scheme.
- A copy of the scheme’s offer document must be filed with SEBI, and if no changes are proposed by SEBI within 21 days after filing, the Collective Investment Management Company may disseminate the offer document to the general public for the purpose of raising money.
Structure of a CIS
- According to the Collective Investment Scheme Regulations of 1999, the CIS must be set up as a trust.
- The Trustee follows the established laws and regulations and works for the interest of the unitholders, safeguarding the assets and ensuring compliance.
- The Collective Investment Management Company appoints the Trustee who is in charge of the CIS’s assets.
- Fund Manager
- The fund manager, as the name implies, is in charge of the CIS’s funds and oversees and controls all of the CIS’s investment decisions.
- The fund manager is also responsible for the following tasks:
- scheme unit pricing
- valuing the scheme
- managing the scheme’s portfolio
- Individuals that combine their money into the plan are referred to as shareholders.
- As a result, individuals have a right to collect the investment returns as well as a right to the asset to the amount of their share and on the basis of the agreement signed when they joined the scheme.
Schemes that are not treated as CIS
- any scheme or arrangement developed or offered by a co-operative society;
- any scheme or arrangement under which non-banking financial companies accept deposits;
- any scheme or arrangement providing for any Scheme, Pension Scheme, or Insurance Scheme framed under the Employees Provident Fund and Miscellaneous Provisions Act, 1952;
- any scheme or arrangement in which deposits are accepted under section 58A of the Companies Act, 1956;
- any scheme or arrangement in which deposits are accepted by a company declared as a Nidhi or a mutual benefit society under section 620A of the Companies Act, 1956.
- any scheme or arrangement falling within the meaning of Chit business as defined in the Chit Fund Act, 1982.
- any scheme or arrangement under which contributions made are in the nature of subscription to a mutual fund.
Subject : Science
- Science and Technology Minister Dr Jitendra Singh flagged off the dispatch of a 1,600-metric tonne processed steel slag railway rack from Tata Steel’s Jamshedpur plant to the Border Road Organisation’s (BRO) ‘Project Arunank’ in Itanagar, Arunachal Pradesh.
About Project Arunank-
- Project Arunank is responsible for the construction and maintenance of approximately 1113 Kms of roads in Arunachal Pradesh and Assam.
- The project was carved out from one of the oldest projects of BRO Project Vartak.
- Project Arunank is named after the state of Arunachal Pradesh.
- The project is being carried out by CSIR-CRRI along with Tata Steel and BRO.
- In this project the processed steel slag aggregate — a by-product of steel manufacturing — will be used in the construction of steel slag road stretches in strategic areas.
- This project is a perfect example of ‘waste to wealth’.
Steel production in India-
- India is currently the world’s second-largest producer of crude steel, producing over 118 million tonnes of crude steel.
- Of this, around 20% of steel slag is generated as solid waste and its disposal is a big challenge to steel industries.
- India is the 2nd largest consumer of finished steel in 2021 (106.23 MT), preceded by China.
- The National Steel Policy, 2017 envisage 300 million tonnes of production capacity by 2030-31.
- The per capita consumption of steel has increased from 57.6 kgs to 74.1 kgs during the last five years.
- Major steel-producing states in India- Odisha, Chhattishgarh, Jharkhand and Karnataka.
- It is a by-product of steelmaking and is produced during the separation of the molten steel from impurities in steel-making furnaces.
- It comes out during the manufacturing of steel through three processes, namely basic oxygen furnace (BOF) route, electric arc furnace (EAF) and induction furnace (IF).
- The slag occurs as a molten liquid melt and is a complex solution of silicates and oxides that solidifies upon cooling.
- There are several different types of steel slag produced during the steel-making process namely- furnace or tap slag, raker slag, synthetic or ladle slags, and pit or cleanout slag.
Uses of steel slag-
- It can be used as a granular base or as an aggregate material in construction applications
- Slag is used in asphalt paving on Highways and road construction
- Carbon dioxide sequestration using steel slag
- Recently a six-lane highway in Surat made of steel slag — a first in India is being inaugurated.
Benefits of using steel slag in road construction-
- The use of such material in road construction increases its durability.
- It helps in reducing the cost of construction as slag-based materials have better properties than natural aggregates.
- The use of steel slag in road construction will also address the shortage of natural aggregates in the country.
Subject : Science
The Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) conducted a successful maiden flight test of phase-II Ballistic Missile Defence (BMD) interceptor AD-1 missile with a large kill altitude bracket from the APJ Abdul Kalam Island off the coast of Odisha on November 2.
About AD-1 missile-
- The system, which is capable of striking down incoming adversary missiles and aircraft, has been developed under the Ballistic Missile Defence programme.
- The AD-1 (Air Defence) is a long-range interceptor missile designed for both low exo-atmospheric and endo-atmospheric interception of long-range ballistic missiles as well as aircraft.
- The missile is propelled by a two-stage solid motor and equipped with an indigenously developed advanced control system and a navigation and guidance algorithm to precisely guide the vehicle to the targets that move at very high speeds.
- The fully functional ballistic missile defence system contained high-power radars and could potentially protect large areas from adversary missiles or other air attacks.
India’s Ballistic missile defence (BMD) programme-
- The development of anti-ballistic missiles is said to have started by the DRDO around the 2000s (after the 1999 Kargil war) in view of the development of ballistic assets by Pakistan and China.
- Phase-1 of the programme is said to have been completed towards the end of the 2010s and consisted of the advanced air defence systems and air defence systems based on the Prithvi missile.
- Pradyumna Ballistic Missile Interceptor is going to replace the Prithvi air defence, as per the DRDO.
- The second phase focuses on the development of anti-ballistic defence systems like the US’s Theatre High-Altitude Area Defence system, which can neutralise intermediate-range ballistic missiles. Akash Surface-to-Air Missiles (SAM) is part of AAD.
- The AD-II, which is capable of neutralising missiles of even higher ranges, is also said to be under development.
- India also conducted its first successful anti-satellite (ASAT) test, under Mission Shakti in March 2019.
- A ballistic missile follows a ballistic trajectory to deliver one or more warheads on a predetermined target.
- It is a rocket-propelled self-guided strategic-weapons system that follows a ballistic trajectory to deliver a payload from its launch site to a predetermined target.
- These weapons are guided only during relatively brief periods—most of the flight is unpowered.
- Short-range ballistic missiles stay within the Earth’s atmosphere, while intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs) are launched on a sub-orbital trajectory.
- These weapons are in a distinct category from cruise missiles, which are aerodynamically guided in powered flight.
- They can be launched from aircraft, ships, and submarines in addition to land-based silos and mobile platforms.
- Ballistic missiles can carry conventional high explosives as well as chemical, biological, or nuclear munitions.
Ballistic Missile Classes and Range
Difference Between Ballistic Missiles and Cruise Missiles
- Unlike the long arcing trajectory of a ballistic missile, a cruise missile travels at lower altitudes and on far straighter trajectories.
- Cruise missiles don’t leave the atmosphere at any point during their flight, nor do they travel unpowered for any significant duration.
- Cruise missiles can be launched from land, sea or air for land attacks and anti-shipping purposes, and can travel at subsonic, supersonic and hypersonic speeds.
- A cruise missile either locates its target or has a preset target.
- Since they stay relatively close to the surface of the earth, they cannot be detected easily by anti-missile systems, and are designed to carry large payloads with high precision.
Subject : Science
- Researchers at IIT-Roorkee have identified “anti-viral molecules” that they say can be used to treat Covid-19.
About the research-
- The team identified three such antiviral molecules through drug repurposing, computational and antiviral experimental studies.
- College officials said the Covid-19 pandemic spurred both computational and experimental studies all over the world to understand the structure and nature of SARS-COV-2 viral proteins and develop vaccines and cures for it.
- These studies have resulted in the availability of a “protein data bank”, which is a repository of structures of proteins and viruses.
- The team focused on discovering molecules that acted on a specific part of the viral proteins called nucleotide-binding pockets (NBP).
- The NBP binds to the nucleotides — the building blocks of RNA and DNA—and helps in the replication of the virus.
- NBP-targeting drugs are known and used for viral diseases such as HIV, Hepatitis B, Hepatitis C, and Herpes, among others.
- The team is executing protein structure-based drug-repurposing research on SARS-CoV-2 molecules for clinical evaluation and eventual use as antiviral therapeutics.
Subject : Science
What is ISRO’s GSLV Mk III?
- India’s heaviest rocket launcher, GSLV MkIII, is the third-generation rocket from the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO).
- The project to develop it was approved in 2002, with a mandate of achieving the capability to launch a four-tonne class satellite into Geosynchronous orbit.
- Weighing 641 tonnes, which is equivalent to a large aircraft, GSLV (Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle) MkIII made its maiden launch on June 5, 2017, from the Satish Dhawan Space Centre in Sriharikota.
- The launcher is capable of lifting four-tonne class satellites to Geosynchronous Transfer Orbit (GTO) and about 10,000 tonnes to Low Earth Orbit (LEO).
- The heavy rocket costs around ₹400 crores.
- GSLV MkIII is configured as a three-stage vehicle with two solid strap-on motors (S200); one liquid core stage (L110); and a high-thrust cryogenic upper stage (C25).
- The S200 solid motor is among the largest solid boosters in the world with 204 tonnes of solid propellant.
- The L110 stage uses a twin liquid engine configuration with 115 tonnes of liquid propellant, while the C25 is configured with the fully indigenous high-thrust cryogenic engine (CE20) with a propellant loading of 28 tonnes.
- The overall length of the vehicle is 43.5 m with a gross lift-off weight of 640 tonnes and a 5m-diameter payload fairing.
- The powerful cryogenic stage enables it to place heavy payloads into LEO at 600 km altitude as was witnessed in the recent launch of 36 satellites of OneWeb.
Other launch vehicles of ISRO-
- India has two operational launchers — the workhorse and most reliable launcher Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV), and GSLV. The next variant of GSLV is GSLV MkIII.
Significance of GSLV-MKIII’s recent launches-
- The Chandrayaan-2 spacecraft launched on July 22, 2019, into its planned orbit with a perigee (nearest point to Earth) of 169.7 km and an apogee (farthest point to Earth) of 45,475 km, was a highly complex mission.
- It represented a significant technological leap compared to the previous missions of ISRO, comprising an Orbiter, Lander and Rover to explore the unexplored South Pole of the Moon.
- The recent successful launch of OneWeb satellites makes India a cost-effective destination to launch commercial satellites.
Next major target for GSLV Mk-III-
- GSLV MkIII is identified as the launch vehicle for the Gaganyaan mission, which aims at carrying three crew to LEO and bring them back safely to a predetermined location on Earth.
Where does India stand today in the satellite launch market?
- The ISRO, through its commercial arms, has earned around $279 million (as per July 2022 data) in foreign exchange by launching satellites for global clients.
- ISRO has been providing launch services for customer satellites since 1999 — more than 350 customer satellites from over 30 countries have been launched by PSLV.
- With the recent launch of OneWeb, GSLV has made a grand entry into the commercial launch
- service market for heavier satellites.
Commercial arms of ISRO-
- Antrix Corporation Limited is an Indian government-owned company under the administrative control of the Department of Space.
- It was incorporated in September 1992, as a commercial and marketing arm of ISRO by prompting, commercially delivering and marketing products and services emanating from ISRO.
- NewSpace India Limited (NeSL) is a Public Sector Undertaking of the Government of India and the commercial arm of the Indian Space Research Organisation.
- It was established on 6 March 2019 under the administrative control of the Department of Space and the Company Act 2013.
- IN-SPACe is an autonomous nodal agency, approved by the Union Government and will be governed by the Department of Space.
- This organisation shall act as a medium between ISRO and the private space sector in India.
- Under the Indian National Space Promotion and Authorisation Centre, the private parties will be allowed to perform space activities and use the equipment and facilities of the Department of Space (DoS) for the launch manifest.
- Science and Engineering Research Board (SERB) has announced the names of 301 young researchers selected for support under the SERB-National Post-Doctoral Fellowship (N-PDF).
About the fellowship-
- The fellowship, initiated in 2015, supports young budding researchers to establish themselves as independent scientists.
- The fellowship is awarded to work for two years in frontier areas of science and engineering. The selected fellows will work under a mentor who holds a regular academic/research position in a recognised institution in India.
- The fellowship amount is Rs. 55,000 per month (consolidated) and Rs. 35,000 per month for candidates who have submitted the thesis, but the degree has not been awarded.
- The fellows will receive a research grant of Rs. 2,00,000 and overheads of Rs. 1,00,000 per annum.
- To date, around 23000 applications have been received in the last eight years, out of which about 3500 fellows have benefitted.
- N-PDF 2022 fellows will bring this number to 3800.
- Candidates within the age limit of 35 years, with a PhD/MD/MS degree from a recognised University, and those who have submitted their PhD/MD/MS thesis and are awaiting the award of the degree are eligible to apply for it.
Areas of research under the fellowship-
- The fellowships are broadly given in five thematic areas: Chemical Sciences, Earth & Atmospheric Sciences, Engineering Sciences, Life Sciences, and Physical and Mathematical Sciences.
About the Science and Engineering Research Board (SERB)-
- A statutory body established by SERB ACT,2008, under the Department of Science and Technology (DST).
- The Board is chaired by the Secretary to the Government of India in the Department of Science and Technology and shall have other senior government officials and eminent scientists as members.
- Vision is to position science and technology as the fulcrum for social and economic change by supporting relevant, competitive, and quality scientific research and development.
- The mandate of SERB includes promoting basic research in Science and Engineering and providing financial assistance to persons engaged in such research, academic institutions, research and development laboratories, industrial concerns, and other agencies for such research.
- The Board aims to enable quicker decisions on research issues, significantly improving the responsiveness to the genuine needs of the research scientists and the S&T system of India.
Other fellowships awarded by the SERB-
- In addition to the N-PDF, SERB also offers several other awards and fellowships, including the JC Bose National fellowship; Abdul Kalam TIN fellowship; Ramanujan fellowship; SERB Research Scientists Scheme; SERB Power fellowship; SERB Women Excellence Award; Teachers Associateship for Research Excellence (TARE); SERB Science and Technology Award for Research (SERB-STAR); SERB Technology Translation Award (SERB-TETRA); and National Science Chair.
- Besides offering twelve research grants, it also runs two national and three international research networking programmes.
- Recently the Delhi court had ordered the CBI not to compel the accused to provide a computer password.
What is the issue:
- Special Judge Naresh Kumar Laka had dismissed the CBI application, observing that the man is protected by Article 20(3) of the Constitution of India as well as Section 161(2) of CrPC
- An investigating officer in a CBI case has no right to be provided with the computer password of the accused without his consent since it may interfere with his right to privacy.
What is the legal aspects:
- Article 20(3) of the Constitution provides that no person accused of any offence shall be compelled to be a witness against himself.
- Section 161 (2) of the CrPC stipulates that no person shall answer questions which would have a tendency to expose him to a criminal charge or to a penalty or forfeiture.
What is the difference between the laws governing obtaining of evidence in the US and India:
- In India, the law on the point of appreciation of evidence, which has been obtained illegally, is different from the US.
- In the USA, if an evidence is obtained by illegal means,it cannot be relied on in court of law based on the doctrine of ‘fruit of the poisoned tree’.
- Whereas in India if an evidence is obtained by resorting to illegal means or by not following the established procedure of law, it can still be used in certain circumstances.
What is the Criminal Procedure (Identification) Act 2022:
- The Act replaces the colonial-era Identification of Prisoners Act, 1920.
- The new law allows investigators to collect certain identifiable information of convicts and other persons for purposes of identification and investigation in criminal matters.
- It provides for a legal sanction to the police to take physical and biological samples of convicts as well as those accused of crimes.
- It empowers police to collect Finger-impressions, Palm-Print impressions, Footprint impressions, Photographs, Iris and Retina scan, Physical, Biological samples and their analysis, Behavioural Attributes including signatures, Handwriting or any other examination
- The law also empowers the National Crime Records Bureau to store, preserve, share with any law enforcement agency and destroy the record of measurements at the national level.
- The records can be stored up to a period of 75 years.
- Under the act, a Magistrate may direct a person to give details for the purpose of an investigation or proceeding under the CrPC.
Subject : Polity
- Elaben Bhatt, The Gandhian, SEWA founder, and women’s empowerment activist dies.
Who was Ela Bhatt:
- She was known as the “Gentle Revolutionary” who changed the lives of lakhs of women through her organisation, providing them with microloans for five decades.
- She founded the Self-Employed Women’s Association (SEWA) in 1972
- She also headed the women’s wing of Majoor Mahajan Sangh-the Textile Labour Association founded by Anasuya Sarabhai and Mahatma Gandhi.
- She was the chairperson of the Sabarmati Ashram Memorial and Preservation Trust, also co-founded the Women’s World Banking, a global network of microfinance organisations,of which she was chairperson from 1984 to 1988.
- She was also nominated to Rajya Sabha, and was a member of the Planning Commission.
- She had also acted as an advisor to organisations like the World Bank.
- In 2007, she joined the Elders, a group of world leaders founded by Nelson Mandela to promote human rights and peace.
- She was a prodigious writer who penned in Anasuya, our Gujarati newsletter, a play on street vendors.One of her famous book was We are Poor But We are Many.
- She was a recipient of the Padma Bhushan, Ramon Magsaysay Award and Indira Gandhi International Prize for Peace among many other awards.
What is SEWA:
- The full form of SEWA is the Self Employed Women’s Association.
- It was founded by Ela Bhatt in 1972 as a branch of Textile Labour Association a labour union founded by Gandhi in 1918
- It is a trade union based in Ahmedabad India, that promotes the rights of low-income, independently employed female workers and is one of the largest organization of informal workers in the world.
Subject : Polity
- Recently two legislators from Uttar Pradesh were convicted of criminal charges and one of them has been disqualified from the state assembly.
When does conviction attract disqualification:
- Section 8 of the Representation of the People Act (RPA), 1951, contains provisions to decriminalize electoral politics.
- There are two categories of criminal cases that attract disqualification upon conviction.
- Category 1 – Disqualification for 6 years upon any conviction.
- If the punishment is fine, the 6-year period will start from the date of conviction, but if there is a prison sentence, the disqualification will start on the date of conviction and will continue up to the completion of 6 years after the date of release from jail.
- Major offences under this category:
- Making speeches that cause enmity between groups.
- Bribery during elections and other electoral offences.
- Offences relating to rape and cruelty to women by husbands and relatives.
- Special laws such as the Protection of Civil Rights Act, Customs Act, Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, Laws for prevention of Sati, corruption, terrorism and insult to the national flag and national anthem etc, are among the category of offences that entail disqualification regardless of the period of punishment.
- All other criminal provisions fall in the 2nd category under which at least 2 years in prison is needed for disqualification.
Is there legal protection for legislators against disqualification:
- Under Section 8(4) of the RPA, legislators could avoid immediate disqualification until 2013.
- The provision said that with respect to a Member of Parliament or a State legislator the disqualification will not take effect for three months. If within that period, the convicted legislator files an appeal or revision application, it will not take effect until the disposal of the appeal or application. In other words, the mere filing of an appeal against conviction will operate as a stay against disqualification.
- In Lily Thomas vs. Union of India, the Supreme Court struck down clause (4) as unconstitutional, thus removing the protection enjoyed by lawmakers.
Can the disqualification be removed:
- The Supreme Court has the power to stay not only the sentence, but also the conviction of a person.
- In some rare cases, conviction has been stayed to enable the appellant to contest an election. However, the SC has made it clear that such a stay should be very rare and for special reasons.
- The RPA itself provides a remedy through the Election Commission. Under 11 of the Act, the EC may record reasons and either remove, or reduce the period of, a person’s disqualification. The EC exercised this power for Sikkim Chief Minister P.S. Tamang, who served a one-year sentence for corruption, and reduced his disqualification so as to contest a byelection and remain in office
Some of Supreme Court Judgments to decriminalize Politics:
- In Association for Democratic Reforms (ADR) vs. Union of India in 2002 SC mandated the disclosure of information relating to criminal antecedents, educational qualification, and personal assets of a candidate contesting elections.
- In Lily Thomas vs Union of India 2013 SC ruled that any MP, MLA, or MLC who is convicted of a crime and sentenced to a minimum of two years in jail loses their membership in the house immediately and also declared Section 8(4) of the Representation of the People Act 1951 invalid
- In Public Interest Foundation and Ors. vs Union of India 2014 the Supreme Court directed that trials of sitting MPs and MLAs be completed within a year of charges being filed against them.
- In Rambabu Singh Thakur v Sunil Arora 2020 Supreme Court stated that all candidates contesting election should make their criminal records public if they wish to run for office.
Recently the parties in the conflict in Ethiopia’s northern region of Tigray have agreed to cease hostilities and end civil war.
- The Mediation was led by the African Union Mediator Olusegun Obasanjo.
Some facts about Ethiopia:
- It is a landlocked country located in the Horn of Africa, officially known as the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia.
- The country lies completely within the tropical latitudes and is relatively compact, with similar north-south and east-west dimensions.
- The capital of Ethiopia is Addis Ababa.
- It is the tenth-largest country in Africa in terms of area.
- It is the most populous landlocked country in the world.
- The neighbouring countries of Ethiopia are Sudan in the southeast, Eritrea to the south, Djibouti and Somalia to the west, Kenya to the north, and South Sudan to the east.
- Ethiopia has more than 70 ethnic groups which major are Oromo (34.5%), Amhara (26.91%), Somali (6.20%), Tigre (6.07%)
What was the Conflict in Ethiopia?
- Ethiopia’s northernmost region is Tigray which is a home to the majority of Eritrea’s estimated 7 million ethnic Tigrayans, who have disproportionate power in national affairs.
- The provincial administration, commanded by the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF), a Marxist political organisation, mounted a full-scale siege of a vital Ethiopian military post at Sero in early November, employing tanks, heavy artillery, and mortars.
Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed declared the TPLF assault a treason and authorised a federal onslaught against the area, sparking the conflict.
Tigray Region :
- The Tigray Region is the northernmost of the nine regions (kililat) of Ethiopia.
- Tigray is the homeland of the Tigrayan, Irob and Kunama peoples.
- Tigray is also known as Region 1 according to the federal constitution.
- Its capital and largest city is Mekelle.
- Tigray is bordered by Eritrea to the north, Sudan to the west, the Amhara Region to the south and the Afar Region to the east and south east.