17-18th The hindu Current Affairs

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Questions

Green Grids-One Sun One World One Grid initiative will be launched by India and which of the following country?

The USA

France

Japan

The UK

2) With reference to TB, consider the following statements:

1. It is a viral disease, impacting mostly the lungs of patient.

2. Nikshay is a digital platform, to manage and monitor information of TB patients.

Which of the statements given above is/are correct?

1 only

2 only

Both 1 and 2

Neither 1 nor 2

3) World Energy Outlook report is released by which of the following ogranisation?

World Energy Council

International Energy Forum

International Energy Agency

International Renewable Energy Agency

4) Climate Resilience Information System and Planning (CRISP-M) tool is related to which of the following scheme/program?

Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (MGNREGS)

Swachh Bharat Mission-Urban 2.0

Atal Mission for Rejuvenation and Urban Transformation 2.0.

Jal Jeevan Mission

5)With reference to Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development, consider the following statements:

1. The OECD is an intergovernmental economic organisation, founded to stimulate economic progress and world trade.

2. It is headquartered in Paris, France.

3. India is a member of OECD.

Which of the statements given above is/are correct?

2 only

2 and 3 only

1 and 2 only

1 and 2 only

6)With reference to E-2025 Initiative, consider the following statements:

1. It is a consortium of 110 companies globally.

2. These companies have pledged to become completely reliant on electric vehicles for operational needs by the year 2025.

Which of the statements given above is/are correct?

1 only

2 only

Both 1 and 2

Neither 1 nor 2

Explanation for 6th Question

The E-2020 initiative was launched by WHO in 2017.  Building on the successes of the E-2020, WHO has launched the E-2025 initiative. As part of this initiative, WHO has identified 25 countries that have the potential to eliminate malaria within a 5-year timeline.

Prelims Specific Facts

1) On October 15, 2021, seven new defence companies were dedicated to the nation by the Defence Ministry.

The seven companies that were carved out of the Ordnance Factory Board (OFB), are:

  • Munitions India Limited (MIL),
  • Troop Comforts Limited (TCL),
  • Gliders India Limited (GIL),
  • Armoured Vehicles Nigam Limited (AVANI),
  • Advanced Weapons and Equipment India Limited (AWE India),
  • India Optel Limited (IOL) and
  • Yantra India Limited (YIL).

All these companies started business operations from October 1, 2021. Government decided to convert the 200-year-old OFB government department to seven 100 per cent government-owned corporate entities in order to enhance efficiency, functional autonomy, and unlock new growth potential & innovation. 

2)Dr APJ Abdul Kalam Prerna Sthal was inaugurated on October 15, 2021 at Naval Science & Technological Laboratory (NSTL), Visakhapatnam. Highlights Prerna Sthal was inaugurated to commemorate 90th birth anniversary of Bharat Ratna Dr APJ Abdul Kalam as well as to commemorate ‘Azadi Ka Amrit Mahotsav.

3) Nasa launches Lucy spacecraft, first space mission to study Trojans Asteroids :- Nasa launched Lucy spacecraft, the first space mission to study the Trojans Asteroids. Lucy will journey for 12 years, observing one main belt asteroid and seven Trojan asteroids.

The swarms of Trojan asteroids associated with Jupiter are thought to be remnants of the primordial material that formed the outer planets. These primitive bodies hold vital clues to deciphering the history of the solar system.

The Jupiter Trojan asteroids are leftover raw materials from the formation of our Solar System’s giant planets (Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, and Neptune) over 4 .5 billion years ago .

Other asteroid missions

Dawn mission (NASA) orbited Ceres and Vesta the two largest worlds in the belt between Mars and Jupiter. 

Hayabusa mission (JAXA-Japan) probed asteroid “Ryugu” 

OSIRIS-REX(NASA) spacecraft probed asteroid “Bennu” and collected samples from there. 

4) Chhetri’s India win 8th SAFF Championship title, captain equals Messi in 3-0 drubbing of Nepal. 

Talisman Sunil Chhetri equalled the iconic Lionel Messi with his 80th international strike as an inspired India blanked Nepal 3-0 for their eighth SAFF Championship title here on Saturday. India extended their domination in the regional tournament.

5) The Director-General of the World Health Organisation has set up the WHO Scientific Advisory Group for the Origins on Novel Pathogens (SAGO).

The SAGO will advise the Secretariat on technical and scientific considerations on emerging and re-emerging pathogens. An Indian epidemiologist, Dr Raman Gangakhedkar, will be part of the World Health Organization’s (WHO) Scientific Advisory Group for determining the origin of covid-19 pandemic.

6) As per the International Monetary Fund’s ‘Fiscal Monitor’ Report, the global debt has jumped to a new high of USD 226 trillion. Advanced economies and China contributed more than 90 per cent to the accumulation of world-wide debt in 2020.

What does the report say about India

India’s debt increased from 68.9 per cent of its GDP in 2016 to 89.6 per cent in 2020. It is projected to jump to 90.6 per cent in 2021.

8) India-Central Asia Ties

India has decades-old wish to connect with the resource and fuel-rich Central Asian nations.

Since the emergence of the Central Asian Republics as independent countries in the early 1990s, New Delhi has been trying to establish ties with them.

Trade and collaboration:-

India’s trade with the five Central Asian Republics—Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan—was below $ 2 billion in 2018.

The potential areas for collaboration include construction, sericulture and pharmaceuticals to IT and tourism.

Much of this trade was routed through Iran, Russia or the United Arab Emirates (UAE).

Efforts for connectivity

  • Turkmenistan–Afghanistan–Pakistan–India (TAPI) Gas Pipeline
  • Development of Iran’s Chabahar Port
  • Zaranj-Delaram Highway
  • International North-South (Transit) Corridor (INSTC)

About INSTC

In 2000, India, Iran and Russia agreed on a new route for trade that later came to be known as INSTC.

It was aimed at cutting the costs and time in moving cargo between Russia and India.

The pact was ratified in 2002 and the original multi-modal route linked Mumbai in India to Bandar Abbas and Bandar-e-Anzali in Iran, then across the Caspian Sea to Astrakhan, Moscow and St. Petersburg in Russia.

Over the years, more countries joined the INSTC.

In 2003, India and Iran announced the development of the Chabahar port in the Sistan-Balochistan province.

9) The Centre has accorded ‘Maharatna’ status to the state-owned Power Finance Corporation Ltd (PFC), thus giving PFC greater operational and financial autonomy.

About PFC Ltd.

Power Finance Corporation Ltd. (PFC) is an Indian financial institution under the ownership of Ministry of Power.

Established in 1986, it is the financial backbone of Indian Power Sector.

PFC is the 8th highest profit making Central Public Sector Enterprise (CPSE) as per the Department of Public Enterprises Survey for FY 2017–18.

It is India’s largest NBFC and also India’s largest infrastructure finance company.

Benefits of Maharatna Status

This new status will enable PFC to offer competitive financing for the power sector, which will go a long way in making available affordable & reliable ‘Power For All 24×7’.

This will also impart enhanced powers to the PFC Board while taking financial decisions.

It can make equity investments to undertake financial joint ventures and wholly-owned subsidiaries and undertake mergers and acquisitions in India and abroad.

It can also structure and implement schemes relating to personnel and Human Resource Management and Training.

It can also enter into technology Joint Ventures or other strategic alliances among others.

10) Mudumalai Tiger Reserve

Mudumalai National Park is a national park in the Nilgiri Mountains in Tamil Nadu.

It is located in the Nilgiri District and shares boundaries with the states of Karnataka and Kerala.

It is part of the Nilgiri Biosphere Reserve and was declared a tiger reserve in 2007.

It harbours several endangered and vulnerable species including Bengal tiger, Indian leopard, Indian elephant and gaur.

Try this PYQ:

Q. Recently there was a proposal to translocate some of the lions from their natural habitat in Gujarat to which one of the following sites?

(a) Corbett National Park

(b) Kuno Palpur Wildlife Sanctuary

(c) Mudumalai Wildlife Sanctuary

(d) Sariska National Park

10 ) Russians land after first movie shoot in space :- Name of the movie is VYZOV.

Name of the Actress involved :- Yulia Pereslid
Country of making movie :- Russia
Where :- In the ISS ( international Space Station )

11) China has Tested an Hypersonic Missile :- So we should learn about different types of Missiles on the basis of the Mach number.

Subsonic conditions occur for Mach numbers less than one, M < 1 . For the lowest subsonic conditions, compressibility can be ignored

As the speed of the object approaches the speed of sound, the flight Mach number is nearly equal to one, M = 1, and the flow is said to be transonic

At some places on the object, the local speed exceeds the speed of sound. Compressibility effects are most important in transonic flows and lead to the early belief in a sound barrier. Flight faster than sound was thought to be impossible.

In fact, the sound barrier was only an increase in the drag near sonic conditions because of compressibility effects. Because of the high drag associated with compressibility effects, aircraft do not cruise near Mach 1.

Supersonic conditions occur for Mach numbers greater than one, 1 < M < 3. Compressibility effects are important for supersonic aircraft, and shock waves are generated by the surface of the object. 

For high supersonic speeds, 3 < M < 5, aerodynamic heating also becomes very important for aircraft design.

For speeds greater than five times the speed of sound, M > 5, the flow is said to be hypersonic. At these speeds, some of the energy of the object now goes into exciting the chemical bonds which hold together the nitrogen and oxygen molecules of the air. At hypersonic speeds, the chemistry of the air must be considered when determining forces on the object. The Space Shuttle re-enters the atmosphere at high hypersonic speeds.

12) Exercise Yudh Abhyas:- Exercise Yudh Abhyas is the largest running joint military training and defence cooperation endeavour between India and USA. This 2021 is the 17th Edition of the Exercise.

13)Henley Passport Index :- The firm’s Henley Passport Index, based on exclusive data provided by the International Air Transport Association (IATA), has been regularly monitoring the world’s most travel-friendly passports since 2006.

Editorials of the Day

Editorial 01 :- Alarming hunger or statistical artefact? :-

Author says that there are two things that we can do after seeing the recent ranking of India in the GHI.

India ranked 101/119 Countries.
GHI is measured through 4 Parameters :-
1) Undernourishment where the GHI takes Calorie value (33.33%)
2) Child stunting (16.66%)
3) Child Wasting (16.66%)
4) Under-5 Mortality

The first one that is Undernourishment data is received through the FAO by using the calorie intake.

Author says that the methodology used here is flawed since just by seeing the calorie we can not determine the extent of undernourishment :-

1) 1st reason for this is that the calorie intake does not considers the Hidden Hunger i.e the lack of micronutrients.

2) Calorie intake depends upon the factors like nature of work, for example Kerala has less intake as compared to UP but the problem of undernourishment is more in UP.

3) Author says that Stunting Problem is more pronounced in India as compared to subsaharan countries but the problem of wasting is almost comparable.

4) Author also makes a point that India’s Child mortality is less when compared to Stunting in the sub-saharan countries.

Author finally concludes by saying that either we can cry that the methodology is incorrect or we can take steps to improve upon the situation of India on different parameters.

Editorial 02 :- Explained: How severe is India’s coal crisis, and what is the govt doing to address it?

India’s thermal power plants currently have an average of four days worth of coal stock against a recommended level of 15-30 days, with a number of states highlighting concerns about blackouts as a result of the coal shortage.

What is the extent of the current coal crisis?

A number of states including Delhi, Punjab and Rajasthan have raised concerns about potential blackouts as a result of low coal inventory at thermal power plants. Rajasthan, Punjab and Bihar have already reported load shedding as a result of thermal power plants operating at low capacity.

Reasons of Coal shortage :-

The shortage in coal is a result of a sharp uptick in power demand as the economy recovered from the effects of the pandemic.

Total power demand in August was 124 billion units up from 106 billion units in August 2019. A sharp increase in the international prices of coal due to a shortage in China and low accumulation of stock by thermal power plants in the April-June period have also contributed to the coal shortage.

Heavy rains in coal bearing areas in September had also led to a slowdown in the supply of coal to thermal plants.

Decrease in Imports.

Coal and lignite fired thermal power plants account for about 54 per cent of India’s installed power generation capacity but currently account for about 70 per cent of power generated in the country.

What is the government doing to address the situation?

  • Officials at the power, coal and railways ministries are monitoring the coal supplies to thermal plants and have taken steps to increase the daily shipments of coal to power generators.
  • The power ministry has also permitted power generators using local coal to use up to a 10 per cent blend of imported coal to boost coal stocks. Despite international coal prices being near record highs, the government estimates that a 10 per cent blend of imported coal would likely lead to a 20-22 paise increase in the per unit (kilowatt-hour) cost of power generation.
  • Generators could seek to increase the price they charge to discoms under Power Purchase Agreements with power distribution companies as these companies are currently meeting shortfalls in power supply by purchasing power at significantly higher rates on power exchanges.

Author says that in the longer run The current crisis is an opportunity for the country to cut coal dependence and push renewable energy for the long term

16) What are Zeolites :- Zeolites are crystalline solids structures made of silicon, aluminum and oxygen that form a framework with cavities and channels inside where cations, water and/or small molecules may reside. They are often also referred to as molecular sieves.

There are three main uses of zeolites in industry: catalysis, gas separation and ion exchange.

  • Catalysis: Zeolites are extremely useful as catalysts for several important reactions involving organic molecules. The most important are cracking, isomerisation and hydrocarbon synthesis. Zeolites can promote a diverse range of catalytic reactions including acid-base and metal induced reactions. Zeolites can also be acid catalysts and can be used as supports for active metals or reagents.
    Zeolites can be shape-selective catalysts either by transition state selectivity or by exclusion of competing reactants on the basis of molecular diameter. They have also been used as oxidation catalysts. The reactions can take place within the pores of the zeolite, which allows a greater degree of product control.
    The main industrial application areas are: petroleum refining, synfuels production, and petrochemical production. Synthetic zeolites are the most important catalysts in petrochemical refineries.
  • Adsorption: Zeolites are used to adsorb a variety of materials. This includes applications in drying, purification, and separation. They can remove water to very low partial pressures and are very effective desiccants, with a capacity of up to more than 25% of their weight in water. They can remove volatile organic chemicals from air streams, separate isomers and mixtures of gases. A widely used property of zeolites is that of gas separation. The porous structure of zeolites can be used to “sieve” molecules having certain dimensions and allow them to enter the pores. This property can be fine tuned by variating the structure by changing the size and number of cations around the pores. Other applications that can take place within the pore include polymerisation of semi conducting materials and conducting polymers to produce materials having unusual physical and electrical attributes.
  • Ion exchange: Hydrated cations within the zeolite pores are bound loosely to the zeolite framework, and can readily exchange with other cations when in aqueous media. Applications of this can be seen in water softening devices, and the use of zeolites in detergents and soaps. The largest volume use for zeolites is in detergent formulations where they have replaced phosphates as water-softening agents. They do this by exchanging the sodium in the zeolite for the calcium and magnesium present in the water. It is even possible to remove radioactive ions from contaminated water.

17) Soil Reclamation Project in the Sunderbans :- In the last week of May 2021, when large areas of the Sunderbans were inundated by saline water under the impact of Cyclone Yaas, farmers across the region had given up hope for fresh crop this season. 

How is it done :- “The salinity of the plot after the cyclone was 17.4 dS/m [salinity is measured using deciSiemens per metre -dS/m] but after the desalination exercise it was down to 2.04 dS/m. Also cultivated was a variety of paddy which is relatively less resistant to soil salinity and the output has been very encouraging.

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