Daily Prelims Notes 3 October 2022
- October 3, 2022
- Posted by: OptimizeIAS Team
- Category: DPN
Daily Prelims Notes
3 October 2022
Table Of Contents
- National Security Council
- Hindu Mahasabha
- Agri Drones getting a boost
- Satellite Broadband Services
- Fast-melting Arctic ice is turning the ocean acidic and threatening life
- In groundwater near a Delhi landfill- heavy metals like lead and cadmium
- Green Steel
- Fodder Inflation
- Bank deposits
- Statutory Liquidity Ratio
Context :Prime Minister Narendra Modi has told all ministers and secretaries not to ignore background notes or other communication shared by National Security Council Secretariat (NSCS) and National Security Advisor (NSA), and to take them seriously, sources said.
About National Security Council
- NSC of India is a three-tiered organization that oversees political, economic, energy and security issues of strategic concern.
- The National Security Advisor (NSA) presides over the NSC, and is also the primary advisor to the prime minister. The current National Security Advisor is Ajit Doval.
- It was formed in 1998, where all aspects of national security are deliberated upon.
Three tier Structure:
- NSC comprises the three tier structure- Strategic Policy Group (SPG), the National Security Advisory Board (NSAB) and the National Security Council Secretariat.
- The SPG chaired by the Cabinet Secretary is the principal forum for inter-ministerial coordination and integration of the relevant inputs.
- The NSAB undertakes long-term analysis and provides perspectives on issues of national security.
- The National Security Council Secretariat, which reports to National Security Advisor Ajit Doval, has been brought into the government’s Allocation of Business (AOB) rules, thus granting it constitutional recognition and legal authority.
- NSCS acts as the secretariat for the PM-led National Security Council (NSC).
- It operates within the executive office of the prime minister of India, liaising between the government’s executive branch and the intelligence services, advising leadership on intelligence and security issues.
- The Ministers of Home Affairs, Defence, External Affairs and Finance are its members.
Subject : History
Context :A Durga Puja in Kolkata organised by the All India Hindu Mahasabha depicted the ‘asura’ as a bespectacled, dhoti-clad bald man with a walking stick, appearing similar to Mahatma Gandhi.
- Akhil Bharat Hindu Mahasabha is one of the oldest organizations of India as it was formed in 1907.
- Eminent leaders extended this Organization in 1915 on All India basis.
- In the 1930s, it emerged as a distinct party under the leadership of Vinayak Damodar Savarkar, who developed the far-right ideology of Hindutva (Hindu-ness) and became a fierce opponent of the secular nationalism espoused by the Congress.
- During the Second World War, the Mahasabha supported the British war effort and briefly entered coalitions with the Muslim League in provincial and central councils.
- It opposed the Quit India Movement and supported the British.
- The party opposed the 1947 partition of India and sought the establishment of a secular and united state named Hindustan with same rights for citizens without regards to religion
- The Eminent personalities who founded this Organisation and who presided over the All India Sessions held include Pandit Madan Mohan Malaviya, Lal Lajpat Rai, Veer Vinayak Damodar Savarkar, etc.
Context :The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has asked banks to start giving loans to farmers who want to buy Kisan Drones. This can help farming become more tech-based.
- The RBI’s instructions to banks are in line with the Union Budget 2022–23, which said that the use of ‘Kisan drones’ would be encouraged for agricultural purposes.
- The RBI told banks that they can use the unit costs as a basis for lending Kisan drones to individuals and farmer producer organizations (FPOs) to make it easier for a lot of farmers to get them.
- Depending on what kind of drone it is, the price per unit can go as high as ₹10 lakh.
- The latest rules say that both the Central Government and the State Governments will give a 40% subsidy per drone.
- The Kisan drone will have an unmanned tank filled with insecticides and nutrients.
- The drones are expected to have a high capacity of 5 to 10kg.
- The drone will spray the same amount of pesticide on about one acre of land in just 15 minutes.
- It will save time, will require less effort and spraying will be done uniformly.
- Kisan Drones will be used to boost the agricultural sector in the country.
- The use of Kisan Drones will be promoted for crop assessment, digitization of land records and spraying of insecticides and nutrients.
- It will usher in a new edge revolution as high capacity drones will be used to carry vegetables, fruits, fishes to the market directly from the farms.
Subject : Science & technology
Context: The race for providing satellite broadband connectivity in India is heating up as companies like Jio, Oneweb, Hughes and Tata-backed Nelco are preparing to provide these services.
- Earlier last month, Hughes Communications India (HCI), a satellite internet service provider launched India’s first high throughput satellite (HTS) broadband service powered by ISRO satellites.
- It used Ku-band capacity from ISRO GSAT-11 and GSAT-29 satellites with Hughes Jupiter Platform ground technology to deliver high-speed broadband.
- The two biggest developments in the global satellite communication space are the emergence of LEO (low-earth orbit constellations) and HTS (High Throughput Satellites Service).
- LEO satellites have been orbiting the planet since the 1990s, providing companies and individuals with various communication services
- LEO satellites are positioned around 500km-2000km from earth, compared to stationary orbit satellites which are approximately 36,000km away.
- Latency, or the time needed for data to be sent and received, is contingent on proximity.
- As LEO satellites orbit closer to the earth, they are able to provide stronger signals and faster speeds than traditional fixed-satellite systems.
- Additionally, because signals travel faster through space than through fibre-optic cables, they also have the potential to rival if not exceed existing ground-based networks.
- However, LEO satellites travel at a speed of 27,000 kph and complete a full circuit of the planet in 90-120 minutes.
- As a result, individual satellites can only make direct contact with a land transmitter for a short period of time thus requiring massive LEO satellite fleets and consequently, a significant capital investment.
- Due to these costs, of the three mediums of Internet – fibre, spectrum and satellite – the latter is the most expensive.
- Therefore, LEO satellite broadband is only preferable in areas that cannot be reached by fibre and spectrum services.
- OneWeb’s target market will therefore be rural populations and military units operating away from urban areas.
- High-throughput satellite (HTS) is a satellite connectivity that provides higher bandwidth, which increases the amount of data that can be transferred between a satellite and a ground station.
- Higher-throughput refers to higher data processing and transfer capacity than conventional satellites, when using the same amount of orbital spectrum.
- A conventional satellite connectivity has low bandwidth and high latency of connectivity – time taken to transfer data between a sender and receiver.
- The new HTS service will extend broadband connectivity to the remotest locations to boost the local economy.
- The service will support applications like Wi-Fi hotspots for community internet access, managed SD-WAN solutions, backhaul to extend mobile network reach, and satellite internet for small businesses.
How satellite broadband is it different from existing broadband services?
- The main difference is that aggregation of all the data generated and transmitted by users accessing the internet happens in the sky or space that is in the satellite.
- In contrast to this, if we take a look at cellular networks, aggregation happens on the ground, in the base stations through optical fibre, cable, etc.
- Another key difference is that to access satellite services, we will need a dish antenna just like we do in the case of TV services, so a normal mobile handset cannot directly access satellite broadband.
- For a user to access satellite broadband a clear line of sight to the satellite is needed.
Subject : Geography
Context: A team of researchers has flagged the changing chemistry of the western region of the Arctic Ocean after discovering acidity levels increasing three to four times faster than ocean waters elsewhere.
- The team also identified a strong correlation between the accelerated rate of melting ice and the rate of ocean acidification.
- The study, published on ‘Science’, the journal of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, is the first analysis of Arctic acidification that includes data from 1994 to 2020.
- Scientists have predicted that by 2050,Arctic sea ice in this region will no longer survive the increasingly warm summers. As a result, the ocean’s chemistry will grow more acidic, creating life-threatening problems for the diverse population of sea creatures, plants and other living things that depend on a healthy ocean.
- Crabs, for example, live in a crusty shell built from the calcium carbonate prevalent in ocean water.
- Polar bears rely on healthy fish populations for food,fish and sea birds rely on plankton and plants, and seafood is a key element of many humans’ diets.
- Seawater is normally alkaline, with a pH value of around 8.1.
Researchers point to sea-ice melt as the key mechanism to explain this rapid pH decrease, because it changes surface water in three primary ways–
- The water under the sea ice, which had a deficit of carbondioxide, now is exposed to the atmospheric carbon dioxide and can take it up freely.
- The seawater mixed with meltwater is light and can’t mix easily into deeper waters, which means the carbon-di-oxide is concentrated at the surface.
- The melt water dilutes the carbonate ion concentration in the seawater, weakening its ability to neutralise the carbon dioxide into bicarbonate and rapidly decreasing ocean pH.
Subject: Science and Technology
Tokenisation refers to replacement of actual card details with an alternate code called the “token”, which shall be unique for a combination of card, token requestor (i.e. the entity which accepts request from the customer for tokenisation of a card and passes it on to the card network to issue a corresponding token) and device (referred hereafter as “identified device”).
- Conversion of the token back to actual card details is known as de-tokenisation.
- A tokenised card transaction is considered safer as the actual card details are not shared with the merchant during transaction processing.
- The card holder can get the card tokenised by initiating a request on the app provided by the token requestor. The token requestor will forward the request to the card network which, with the consent of the card issuer, will issue a token corresponding to the combination of the card, the token requestor, and the device.
- The customer need not pay any charges for availing this service.
- Tokenisation has been allowed through mobile phones and / or tablets for all use cases / channels (e.g., contactless card transactions, payments through QR codes, apps etc.).
- Tokenisation and de-tokenisation can be performed only by the authorised card network.
- Normally, in a tokenised card transaction, parties / stakeholders involved are merchant, the merchant’s acquirer, card payment network, token requestor, issuer and customer. However, an entity, other than those indicated, may also participate in the transaction.
- Actual card data, token and other relevant details are stored in a secure mode by the authorised card networks. Token requestor cannot store Primary Account Number (PAN),, card number, or any other card detail. Card networks are also mandated to get the token requestor certified for safety and security that conform to international best practices / globally accepted standards.
- Customers have the option to register / de-register their card for a particular use case, i.e., contactless, QR code based, in-app payments, etc.
- A customer can request for tokenisation of any number of cards. For performing a transaction, the customer shall be free to use any of the cards registered with the token requestor app.
- Customers have the option to set and modify per transaction and daily transaction limits for tokenised card transactions.
- All complaints should be made to the card issuers. Card issuers shall ensure easy access to customers for reporting loss of “identified device” or any other such event which may expose tokens to unauthorised usage.
- In May 2022, the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) issued notices to the Secretary of the Union JalShakti Ministry, the Chief Secretary of the Delhi government, and the Chairman of the Central Pollution Control Board, asking for detailed reports on contamination of groundwater near landfill sites in Delhi and steps taken or proposed to be taken to deal with the problem.
- The samples of groundwater from the Bhalswa landfill got tested by a NABL-accredited laboratory. Here’s what the results show-
- LEAD UP to 50 times the acceptable limit, cadmium up to seven times— shows the analysis of groundwater near Bhalswa landfill.
Source of toxicity–
- Sources of toxicity can be any way of ingestion, inhalation, or contact with the skin or things contaminated with lead.
- There are multiple sources of lead and cadmium since they are used in multiple products at home and in industrial processes.
- Plastic can be a big source, both lead and cadmium are used as stabilisers.
- When you dump a lot of plastic, it can leach over time.
- Electronic products dumped at the site, batteries, and circuits in lights might have these metals.
- Pigments and paints all of these might have these metals.
Impact of the toxicity of water–
- These are heavy metals so they are
- Cadmium can cause cancer of organs, including the lungs and prostate.
- Lead can cause a type of anaemia where the haemoglobin is less.
- There is a permissible limit that the body can take out, beyond that level, lead can cause iron deficiency.
- The presence of cadmium can also lead to kidney involvement. It can cause tubular defects in the kidney.
- It can cause developmental abnormalities in children.
An analysis of the results by the Centre for Science and Environment (CSE) flagged the following:
- Submersible pump:
- Very high amount of total dissolved solids (TDS) around 5 times the permissible limit, hardness, heavy metals such as lead and cadmium, and total alkalinity were above permissible limits.
- If this water is used to grow vegetables, the vegetables can be contaminated.
Response from local bodies–
- A list of questions was sent to the Municipal Corporation of Delhi (MCD). On whether the MCD has any plans to address the issue of groundwater contamination due to the landfill.
- A response from the MCD spokesperson said that the civic body has started biomining of legacy waste to clear the dumpsite.
- On whether the MCD is aware of groundwater contamination as a result of leachate from the Bhalswa landfill, the MCD said that there is no such study available with the department.
- Cleaning the aquifer is very costly.
- Once it’s contaminated with heavy metals or bacteriological contaminants, it’s very difficult to clean.
- But if the hardness or TDS level is high,recharge of groundwater can help in improving the quality.
- Piped water is available in the area only once in two days.
- The areas around landfills also have informal sector operators who reprocess some of the waste.
WHAT THESE PARAMETERS MEAN–
- TOTAL DISSOLVED SOLIDS: inorganic and organic matter dissolved in water, includes calcium, magnesium, sulphate, chlorides. “TDS in water supplies originate from natural sources, sewage, urban and agricultural runoff, and industrial wastewater”: World Health Organisation
- TOTAL COLIFORM:“Total coliforms are bacteria that are found in the soil, in water that has been influenced by surface water, and in human or animal waste. These bacteria themselves do not normally cause any serious illness, however, their presence is used to indicate that other pathogenic organisms of fecal origin may be present in water:” CPCB.
- LEAD, CADMIUM: Heavy metals. “These metals can be toxic and carcinogenic. Sources can be industrial solid waste dumping and leaching into groundwater through rainwater”: 2007 report on groundwater quality, CPCB
- SULPHATE, CHLORIDES, AND BICARBONATES ALONG WITH CALCIUM AND MAGNESIUM INCREASE HARDNESS OF WATER: These are inorganic dissolved salts. Hard water can create gastrointestinal problems: 2007 report on groundwater quality, CPCB
- Achieving green steel: How India can bridge the gaps to decarbonise the sector
Steel sector :
- The steel industry is very important for the Indian economy and has been the backbone of the country’s industrial development.
- More than 75% of steel is still largely made in coal-fired blast furnaces, which pump large amounts of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere.
What is green steel ?
- Essentially, green steel is the manufacturing of steel without the use of fossil fuels.
- So-called “green hydrogen” is one solution that could help reduce the steel industry’s carbon footprint.
Transitions in the Indian steel sector
- At present, the country’s iron and steel sector is financially weak. More than 80 per cent of the country’s reserves are in the states of Odisha, Jharkhand, West Bengal, Chhattisgarh and the northern regions of Andhra Pradesh.
- Western states Gujarat, Maharashtra and Karnataka have made good use of the available non-conventional sources of energy in the region. This can be further developed once the greening of the grid happens.
- A clean steel sector in eastern India can become an essential part of the green energy transition happening across the country.
Decarbonising the sector: Green steel:
- In order to decarbonise the iron and steel sector, the primary emphasis through technological interventions would be on substituting the primary production processes with cleaner alternatives.
- The three main ways to produce steel from iron through clean technologies are :
- Carbon capture, utilisation and storage (CCUS)
- Replacing conventional sources of energy with low-carbon hydrogen
- Direct electrification through electrolysis of iron ore
Some of the interventions to be explored are:
- Increasing energy efficiency through the adoption of technologies that are cost-effective should be allowed especially.
- There are many old plants that need to be refurbished. Such plants can improve their energy efficiency with the application of largely used efficiency measures.
- Electricity-based manufacturing methods would continue to become green as the grid becomes greener.
- Increasing the use of scrap helps in lowering the energy used for making steel since it can be added to electric arc furnaces and blast furnaces, with basic oxygen furnace methods.
- Constructing a suitable infrastructure for recycling
- India has gained success through its Perform Achieve Trade scheme, according to which energy efficiency certificates are traded between the designated consumers. These include the iron and steel sector.
Fodder inflation at 9-yr high, late rains, crop damage deepen crisis
- The Wholesale Price Index or WPI-based fodder inflation – 25.54 per cent in August 2022, the highest in the last nine years.
- Fodder Inflation has been rising since December 2021.
- The overall WPI inflation in August 2022 at 12.41 per cent is the lowest since September 2021.
- Shortage of green fodder and dry fodder -paddy and wheat straw is not fully converted into good quality fodder rather burned.
- Combine harvesters leave the large part of the stalk on the field and need a second round of cutting for fodder.
- Crop damage- due to late and heavy monsoon rain.
- Changing cropping pattern-farmers are now moving away from cereal crops that yield fodder.
- Decline in grazing grounds-due to conversion of land into protected areas and growth of invasive plants.
- Breed and crossbreed-Cows crossbred with foreign breeds like Jersey and Friesian Holstein were introduced in India in the 1970s, give more milk but require more to eat.
- The high fodder inflation has a direct impact on rural livelihoods since as per the National Statistical Office report ‘Situation Assessment of Agricultural Households and Land and Livestock Holdings of Households in Rural India, 2019’,
- 43.8 per cent of the total 9.3 crore agricultural households use green fodder, 52.4 percent dry fodder, 30.4 per cent concentrates, and 12.5 per cent other animal feed during July-December 2018.
Common Inflation types:
- Currency inflation: It is caused by the printing of currency notes.
- Credit inflation: This happens when credit expansion leads to a rise in the price level.
- Deficit-induced inflation: It happens when expenditure exceeds the revenue, and the government can ask RBI to print money to meet the budget deficit.
- Demand-Pull inflation: It happens when an increase in aggregate demand over the available output leads to a rise in the price level.
- Cost-push inflation: This may arise from the overall increase in the cost of production.
The flow of financial assets of households witnessed a decline with bank deposits registering a fall in growth, even as their holdings in mutual funds, equity and small savings showed a significant rise during fiscal 2021-22.
- Bank deposits recorded a decline in 48% as interest rates declined to decadal lows in the banking system during covid as per RBI.
- The total financial assets of households fell to 10.8 percent of the GDP, from 16 per cent in the previous year.
- Components where financial assets of households rose:
- Households’ direct investment in stock markets
- Mutual funds through systematic investment plans (SIPs)
- Investment in small savings
- Post-Covid low the repo rate regime
- Households include Small & Marginal Enterprises which closed down and had little ability to save during pandemic.
- High inflation level of 7 per cent-making real deposit rate negative.
- It consists of money placed into banking institutions for safekeeping. These deposits are made to deposit accounts such as savings accounts, current accounts, and money market accounts.
- The account holder has the right to withdraw deposited funds, as set forth in the terms and conditions governing the account agreement.
- Mainly, there are two types of deposits viz. Time Deposits and Demand Deposits.
- If the funds deposited can be withdrawn by the customer (depositor / account holder) at any time without any advanced notice to banks; it is called demand deposit.
- When money is deposited with a “tenure” , it cannot be withdrawn before its maturity is fixed at a particular time. Such deposits are called “Time deposits” or “Term deposits”.
- Bank Deposits in India: In India there are four major types of Bank Deposits
- Current Account:
- A current account is a special type of account that has lower restrictions than a savings account when it comes to withdrawals and transactions.
- It is also known as a demand deposit account and it is meant for businessmen to conduct their business transactions smoothly.
- Banks also offer overdraft facilities on these, i.e., they let account-holders withdraw more money than there is in the account.
- Savings Accounts:
- It offers high liquidity and is very popular among the masses. It does, however, have cash withdrawal and transaction limits to promote digital payments.
- Banks provide an interest rate which is only slightly higher than inflation, so it is not very optimal for investment.
- Recurring Deposits:
- It is a special type of term deposit where you do not need to deposit a lump sum savings, rather a person has to deposit a fixed sum of money every month.
- There are no premature withdrawals allowed in the account, but for a penalty, you can close the account before the maturity date of the deposit.
- Fixed Deposits:
- It is an investment avenue offered by banks, financial institutes and Non-Banking Financial Companies (NBFCs) that offers guaranteed returns.
- It gives a higher interest than a regular savings account and offers a wide range of tenures ranging from 7 days to 10 years.
- Current Account:
Banks’ excess holdings of SLR securities moderate to 8.8% from 10.4 per cent at end-March 2022.
- Reduction in the excess holdings of statutory liquidity ratio (SLR) securities of Scheduled Commercial Banks (SCBs) indicates credit rise.
- Current SLR in India – 18.00% (minimum required)
- Excess SLR holdings provide collateral buffers to banks for availing funds under the LAF and are also a component of the liquidity coverage ratio (LCR).
Statutory Liquidity Ratio:
- Statutory Liquidity Ratio popularly called SLR is the minimum percentage of deposits that the commercial bank maintains through gold, cash and other securities.
- These deposits are maintained by the banks themselves and not with the RBI or Reserve Bank of India unlike the Cash Reserve Ratio.
- Banks earn returns on money parked as SLR
- Section 24 and Section 56 of the Banking Regulation Act 1949 mandates all scheduled commercial banks, local area banks, Primary (Urban) co-operative banks (UCBs), state co-operative banks and central co-operative banks in India to maintain the SLR.
- It comprises of– cash, gold and SLR securities, comprising central and state government securities:
- Dated securities
- Treasury Bills of the Government of India;
- Dated securities of the Government of India issued from time to time under the market borrowing programme and the Market Stabilization Scheme;
- State Development Loans (SDLs) of the State Governments issued from time to time under the market borrowing programme; and
- Any other instrument as may be notified by the Reserve Bank of India
The liquidity coverage ratio (LCR)
- It refers to the proportion of highly liquid assets held by financial institutions, to ensure their ongoing ability to meet short-term obligations.
- The LCR was introduced as part of the Basel III reforms following the 2008 global financial crisis and was finalised by the Basel Committee on Banking Supervision in January 2013.
- LCR = High-Quality Liquid Asset Amount (HQLA) / Total Net Cash Flow Amount
Read Basel Accords