09 August 2021 Daily Current Affairs

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Questions

Which of the following are the protected areas of Great Indian Bustards (GIB)?

Desert National Park Sanctuary

Pakhui Wildlife Sanctuary

Rollapadu Wildlife Sanctuary

Karera Wildlife Sanctuary

Select the correct answer code:

 a) 1, 2, 3

 b) 1, 3, 4

 c) 1, 4

 d) 1, 2, 3, 4

2)Which of the following elements/compounds is/are Indoor air pollutants?

Volatile organic compounds

Formaldehyde

Asbestos

Radon

Select the correct answer code:

 a) 1, 2, 3

 b) 1, 3, 4

 c) 2, 3, 4

 d) 1, 2, 3, 4

3)Some species of plants are insectivorous. Why?

 a) They cannot synthesize certain vitamins themselves and depend on the insects digested by them

 b) They have remained in that particular stage of evolution as living fossils, a link between autotrophs and heterotrophs

 c) They are adapted to grow in nitrogen deficient soils and thus they depend on insects for sufficient nitrogenous nutrition

 d) Their growth in shady and dark places does not allow them to undertake sufficient photosynthesis and thus they depend on insects for nutrition

Prelims Specific News Items

  1. Arigato in Tokyo Olympics :- Arigato means the thanking you ceremony or Thank you.

    India got 48th Position overall in tokyo olympics with total 7 medals ( 1- G, 2 – S, 4 – B )

2)Union Minister launches ‘PM-DAKSH’ Portal and ‘PM-DAKSH’ Mobile App :-

The Union Minister for Social Justice and Empowerment has launched ‘PM-DAKSH’ Portal and ‘PM-DAKSH’ Mobile App.

About PM-DAKSH Portal:
  • PM-DAKSH stands for Pradhan Mantri Dakshta Aur Kushalta Sampann Hitgrahi Yojana.
  • Nodal Ministry: It was launched by the Ministry of Social Justice & Empowerment (MoSJ&E) in 2020-21. 
  • Purpose: It is a National Action Plan for skilling marginalized persons covering SCs, OBCs, EBCs, DNTs, Sanitation workers including waste pickers.
  • Developed by: The Portal has been developed by the Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment, in collaboration with National e-Governance Division(NeGD).
  • Features: Under this Programme, eligible target groups are being provided with skill development training programmes on
    1. Up-skilling/Reskilling
    2. Short Term Training programme
    3. Long Term Training Programme
    4. Entrepreneurship Development Program (EDP).
  • Implementation: The training programs are being implemented through Government Training Institutes, Sector Skill Councils constituted by the Ministry of Skill Development and Entrepreneurship and other credible institutions.
Note:
  • Under the Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment, three Apex Corporations are functioning. They are,
    1. National Scheduled Castes Finance and Development Corporation,
    2. National Backward Classes Finance and Development Corporation and
    3. National Safai Karamcharis Finance and Development Corporation. 
  • These Corporations are providing loans at concessional interest rates to the target groups of backward classes, scheduled castes and Safai Karamcharis for self-employment. 
  • Besides, they are also providing free training for skill development of the target groups.  

3) National Innovations in Climate Resilient Agriculture(NICRA) :-

What is the News?

Union Minister of Agriculture and Farmers Welfare has informed Rajya Sabha about National Innovations in Climate Resilient Agriculture(NICRA)

About NICRA:
  • National Innovations in Climate Resilient Agriculture (NICRA) is a network project of the Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR) launched in February 2011. 
  • Aim: The project aims to enhance the resilience of Indian agriculture to climate change and climate vulnerability through strategic research and technology demonstration. 
  • The research on adaptation and mitigation covers crops, livestock, fisheries and natural resource management.
Objectives of NICRA:
  • To enhance the resilience of Indian agriculture covering crops, livestock and fisheries to climatic variability and climate change through the development and application of improved production and risk management technologies.
  • To demonstrate site specific technology packages on farmers’ fields for adapting to current climate risks
  • To enhance the capacity building of scientists and other stakeholders in climate resilient agricultural research and its application.

Components: The Project is composed of Four Components:

  • Strategic research on adaptation and mitigation
  • Technology demonstration on farmers fields to cope with current climate variability
  • Sponsored and competitive research grants to fill critical research gaps
  • Capacity building of different stakeholders

4) Khel Ratna Award will hereby be called the Major Dhyan Chand Khel Ratna Award :-=

What is the News?

The government of India has announced that the Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna Award will be called the Major Dhyan Chand Khel Ratna Award.

About Major Dhyan Chand Khel Ratna Award:
  • Major Dhyan Chand Khel Ratna Award (formerly known as Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna) is the highest sporting honour of India.
  • It is awarded annually by the Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports since 1991-92.
  • Named After: The award is named after Dhyan Chand (1905–79)
  • The recipients of the award are selected by a committee constituted by the Ministry and are honoured for their “spectacular and most outstanding performance in the field of sports over a period of four years” at the international level. 
  • As of 2020, the award comprises a medallion, a certificate and a cash prize of ₹25 lakh.
About Major Dhyan Chand:
  • Major Dyan Chand is a three-time Olympic gold medallist.
  • He is an Indian Hockey Player widely regarded as the greatest field hockey player of all time.
  • His birthday, on August 29, marks National Sports Day, when the National Sports Awards are presented each year.

5) Increasing Temperature and Low Winter Precipitation are Causing Retreat of Glaciers in Zanskar Valley, Ladakh :-

What is the News?

According to a study by Wadia Institute of Himalayan Geology (WIHG), Pensilungpa Glacier (PG) located in Ladakh”s Zanskar Valley is retreating.

About the Study:
  • Wadia Institute of Himalayan Geology (WIHG), Dehradun, is an autonomous institute under the Department of Science & Technology. The WIHG has been studying the glaciers since 2015.
  • Method: The study is based on the field observations of glacier mass balance collected via stake networking over the glacier surface from 2016-2019.
    • Stake networking is a method where a stake made of bamboo is installed (insert) on the glacier surface using the steam drill for mass balance measurement.
Key Findings of the Study:
  • Pensilungpa Glacier (PG) located in Zanskar, Ladakh is retreating. The study has attributed the retreat to an increase in the temperature and decrease in precipitation during winters
  • The study also points to the significant influence of debris cover on the mass balance and retreat of the glacier’s endpoint, especially in summer.
  • It is also possible that the precipitation of summer periods at higher altitudes will change from snow to rain, and that may influence the summer and winter patterns.
  • The study suggests that due to continuous rise in the air temperature in line with the global trend, the melting would increase.

6) All about Abnindra nath Tagore : Celebrations marking 150 years of his birth.

He was also the first major exponent of Swadeshi values in Indian art, thereby finding the influential Bengal school of art, which led to the development of modern Indian painting.

Tagore sought to modernise Mughal and Rajput styles to counter the influence of Western models of art, as taught in art schools under the British Raj. Along with other artists from the Bengal school of art, Tagore advocated in favour of a nationalistic Indian art derived from Indian art history, drawing inspiration from the Ajanta Caves.

Two famous paintings :- 

Bharat Mata is a work painted by the Indian painter Abanindranath Tagore in 1905. The work depicts a saffron clad woman, dressed like a sadhvi, holding a book, sheaves of paddy, a piece of white cloth and a garland (mala) in her four hands. The painting was the first illustrated depiction of the concept, and was painted during with Swadesh ideals during the larger Indian Independence movement.

ii) Passing of Shah Jahan 

Editorial of the Day

Revisit the idea of ‘aging out’ India’s coal plants :-

As part of the Union Budget address for 2020-21, the Finance Minister, Nirmala Sitharaman, said that the shutting down of old coal power plants, which are major contributors to emissions, will aid the achievement of India’s Nationally Determined Contributions.

Advantages of shutting down old coal power plants

  • The availability of under-utilised newer and presumably more efficient coal-based capacity means that shutting down older inefficient plants would lead to improved efficiencies, reduced coal usage, and hence, cost savings.
  • It would be uneconomical for old plants to install pollution control equipment required to meet the emission standards announced by the Environment Ministry, and hence it would be better to retire them.

Why the decision needs finer scrutiny?

  • Some old plants are cost-effective: There are also several old plants, which generate at lower costs, such as plants at Rihand, Singrauli, and Vidhyanchal (Madhya Pradesh).
  • Locational advantage: This may be due to locational advantage rather than efficiency, as older plants are likely to be located closer to the coal source, reducing coal transport costs.
  • Not cost-effective: Savings in generation cost from shutting down plants older than 25 years would be less than ₹5,000 crore annually, which is just 2% of the total power generation cost.
  • Not effective in reducing coal consumption: Savings in coal consumption by replacing generation from plants older than 25 years with newer coal plants are also likely to be only in the 1%-2% range.
  • Economical even after installing pollution control equipments: There are some old plants that may continue to be economically viable even if they install pollution control equipment as their current fixed costs are very low.

Important roles played by old thermal power plants

  • Significant part of power supply: Plants older than 25 years make up around 20% of the total installed thermal capacity in the country and play a significant role in the country’s power supply.
  • Supporting renewable: To support the growing intermittent renewable generation in the sector, there is an increasing need for capacity that can provide flexibility, balancing, and ancillary services.
  • Old thermal capacity, with lower fixed costs, is a prime candidate to play this role until other technologies (such as storage) can replace them at scale.
  • Political economy risk: There is also a political economy risk, as aggressive early retirement of coal-based capacity, without detailed analyses, could result in real or perceived electricity shortage in some States, leading to calls for investments in coal-based base-load capacity by State-owned entities.

Way forward

  • Nuanced analysis needed: Instead of using the age as the only criteria a more disaggregated and nuanced analysis needs to be used.
  • Constraint related to renewable and increasing demand: We also need to take into account aspects such as intermittency of renewables, growing demand, and need to meet emission norms, to make retirement-related decisions.

Conclusion

It may be prudent to let old capacity fade away in due course, while focusing on such detailed analysis and weeding out the needless capacity in the pipeline, to derive long-term economic and environmental benefits.

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