21-23 June 2022 The Hindu Newspaper Analysis

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1) Third Generation Biofuels refers to biofuel derived from

  1. Algae
  2. Food crops
  3. Methane

Select the correct answer code:

a) 1, 2
b) 3 only
c) 1 only
d) None of the above

2) Consider the following statements.

  1. Continuous passage of electric current in a circuit produces heat.
  2. Electrons are consumed in an electric circuit.

Which of the above statements is/are correct?

a) 1 only
b) 2 only
c) Both 1 and 2
d) Neither 1 nor 2

3) Consider the following statements regarding Hydrogen.

  1. It is highly flammable.
  2. Hydrogen does not occur in deposits or reserves like fossil fuel.
  3. Water is the most abundant compound of hydrogen found on earth.

Which of the above statements is/are correct?

a) 2, 3
b) 1, 2, 3
c) 1, 2
d) 1, 3

4) Which one of the following books of ancient India has the love story of the son of the founder of Sunga dynasty?

  a) Meghadoota

  b) Malavikagnimitra

  c) Ratnavali

  d) Swapnavasavadatta

5) Ptolemy, a Greek writer, mentions many important ports in the Deccan. Among them, the greatest port of the Satavahanas in Western Deccan was

a) Pulamayi
b) Satakarni
c) Kalyani
d) Ganjam

6) Consider the following statements regarding the ruler Harshvardhana.

  1. Hiuen Tsang converted him to Hinayana Buddhism.
  2. He abolished the dowry system in his kingdom.
  3. He organized a religious assembly at Kanauj.

Which of the above statements is/are incorrect?

a) 1, 2
b) 2 only
c) 3 only
d) 1, 3

Prelims News Analysis

1) Use of ICT in PM e-Vidya scheme” by Ministry of Education won UNESCO’s recognition, called King Hamad Bin Isa Al-Khalifa Prize  recently.

PM e-VIDYA programme was launched by Ministry of Education, as part of ‘Atmanirbhar Bharat Abhiyaan’ by in May 2020. The programme unifies all efforts associated to digital, on-air, online education, in order to enable multi-mode access for imparting education using technology to minimise learning losses.

Major initiatives of PM eVidya:-

Major initiatives of PM eVidya scheme include:

DIKSHA (one nation, one digital platform)– It is India’s digital infrastructure to provide quality e-content for school education in states or UTs and QR coded Energized Textbooks for grades.

SwayamPrabha TV channel (one class, one channel)– one earmarked channel for each class from 1 to 12.

Extensive use of Community radio, Radio, and CBSE Podcast- Shiksha Vani.

Special e-content for visually and hearing impaired. It has been developed on Digitally Accessible Information System (DAISY) as well as in sign language on YouTube/NIOS website.

2) Stealth Frigate of Indian Navy, INS Talwar, is currently deployed for “Op Sankalp”. The frigate is commemorating the 3rd continuous year of presence of Indian Navy in the Gulf for protection of Maritime Interests of India.

Indian Navy has launched the Operation Sankalp in the Gulf region on June 19, 2019 in the aftermath of deteriorating security situation in the region, following attacks on merchant ships in Gulf of Oman.

It was started to ensure safe passage of Indian Flag Vessels passing through Strait of Hormuz.

The operation is run in close association with stakeholders including Ministry of External Affairs, Ministry of Shipping, Ministry of Defence and Ministry of Petroleum & Natural Gas.

3) Indian Institute of Technology Madras has developed a robot called to clean septic tanks and eliminate manual scavenging in India. It is all set to be deployed in field.

4) The Khuvsgul Lake National Park of Mongolia has been added to the World Network of Biosphere Reserves by UNESCO.

This programme is taking place in Paris, France.

The Man and Biosphere Programme is an intergovernmental scientific program. It was set up in early 1970s by UNESCO.

The primary aim of the programme is to establish a scientific basis for enhancing relationship between people and their environments.

The World Network of Biosphere Reserves by UNESCO covers internationally designated protected areas called as biosphere reserves. 

Criteria for designation of BR :-

A site that must contain an effectively protected and minimally disturbed core area of value of nature conservation.

The core area should be typical of a bio-geographical unit and large enough to sustain viable populations representing all trophic levels in the ecosystem.

The management authority to ensure the involvement/cooperation of local communities to bring variety of knowledge and experiences to link biodiversity conservation and socio-economic development while managing and containing the conflicts.

Areas potential for preservation of traditional tribal or rural modes of living for harmonious use of environment.

Structure and functions of BR:-

Biosphere reserves are demarcated into following 3 inter-related zones:

Core Zone : Core zone must contain suitable habitat for numerous plant and animal species, including higher order predators and may contain centres of endemism. Core areas often conserve the wild relatives of economic species and also represent important genetic reservoirs having exceptional scientific interest. A core zone being National Park or Sanctuary/protected/regulated mostly under the Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972. Whilst realizing that perturbation is an ingredient of ecosystem functioning, the core zone is to be kept free from l human pressures external to the system.

Buffer Zone : The buffer zone, adjoins or surrounds core zone, uses and activities are managed in this area in the ways that help in protection of core zone in its natural condition. These uses and activities include restoration, demonstration sites for enhancing value addition to the resources, limited recreation, tourism, fishing, grazing, etc; which are permitted to reduce its effect on core zone. Research and educational activities are to be encouraged. Human activities, if natural within BR, are likely to continue if these do not adversely affect the ecological diversity.

Transition Zone : The transition area is the outermost part of a biosphere reserve. This is usually not delimited one and is a zone of cooperation where conservation knowledge and management skills are applied and uses are managed in harmony with the purpose of the biosphere reserve. This includes settlements, crop lands, managed forests and area for intensive recreation and other economic uses characteristics of the region.

India has 12 internationally recognised BRs. They are as follows.

Biosphere Reserves in India

  • There are 18 biosphere reserves in India:
    • Cold Desert, Himachal Pradesh
    • Nanda Devi, Uttrakhand
    • 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

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.

5)Four new corals recorded from Indian waters :- Scientists have recorded four species of corals for the first time from Indian waters. These new species of azooxanthellate corals were found from the waters off the Andaman and Nicobar Islands.

The azooxanthellate corals are a group of corals that do not contain zooxanthellae and derive nourishment not from the sun but from capturing different forms of planktons.

They are deep-sea representatives with the majority of species being reported from depths between 200 metres and 1,000 metres. They are also reported from shallow waters unlike zooxanthellate corals that are restricted to shallow waters.

Name of the Corals : Truncatoflabellum crassum (Milne Edwards and Haime, 1848), T. incrustatum (Cairns, 1989), T. aculeatum (Milne Edwards and Haime, 1848), and T. irregulare (Semper, 1872) under the family Flabellidae.

What are Coral Polyps:-

Coral reefs are built by and made up of thousands of tiny animals—coral “polyps”—that are related to anemones and jellyfish.

Polyps are shallow water organisms which have a soft body covered by a calcareous skeleton. The polyps extract calcium salts from sea water to form these hard skeletons.

The polyps live in colonies fastened to the rocky sea floor.

Zooxanthellae are photosynthetic organisms, which contain chlorophyll a and chlorophyll c, as well as the dinoflagellate pigments peridinin and diadinoxanthin. There Corals are shallow depth corals.

6) What is Probity:-

The principles of probity, ethics and good governance operate on many levels – from, the individual, to the organisation and on to the ‘watch-dog’.

Probity is the act of strict adherence to the highest principles and ideals (integrity, good character, honesty, decency) rather than avoiding corrupt or dishonest conduct. It balances service to the community against the self-interest of individuals. Moreover, Probity has been described as a risk management approach ensuring procedural integrity. 

For individuals, probity is about understanding the limits of their authority and powers and acting within those limits. Public servants need to be conscious at all times of the need to uphold the highest standards of conduct in their dealings on the government’s behalf, which includes acting with integrity and avoiding conflicts of interest.

For organisations, probity is about setting values at an organisation level, and then implementing those values through policies and codes of practice.

7) Keibul Lamjao National Park (KLNP) in Manipur :- Famous for Sangai ( brow antlered deer ).

Unlike other national parks in India, Keibul Lamjao National Park is a 40 sq km patch comprising mainly of floating biomass (locally called phumdi) and water body, in the southern rim of the saucer-shaped Loktak Lake, a Ramsar wetland of international importance and the largest freshwater lake in northeast India. As per the 2016 census, the park is home to 260 sangai.

8) G-7 Countries :- The G7 is an informal grouping of seven of the world’s advanced economies: Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the United Kingdom, the United States and the European Union.

9) Israel uncovers remains of mosque:- Israeli archaeologists unveiled a rare ancient mosque in the country’s south that the antiquities officials said sheds light on the region’s transition from Christianity to Islam.
The remains of the mosque, believed to be more than 1,200 years old, were discovered during works to
build a new neighbourhood in the Bedouin city of Rahat, the Israel Antiquities Authority said in a statement. The mosque is located in the Negev desert.

10) Agnipath Scheme :-

What are the two narratives of Agnipath Scheme :-

The first terms the scheme as “transformative” and “a new idea of a new era”that would have a “positive impact on the human resources management of the armed forces”.

The second narrative, voiced mainly by military veterans, warns that the scheme will erode the ethos of the military and blunt its winning edge.Both narratives take an extreme position, and as usual, the truth lies somewhere in between.

Why should Agnipath scheme be adopted :-

  • It will reduce the average age of the army from 32 to 25 years.
  • It will make Army or any other force more technology friendly and make it more ready for the future warfares.
  • The military will get the best people to form the core of the junior leadership.
  • After serving for four years, the Agniveers will go into civil society “where they can contribute immensely towards the nation-building process”.

There are also some Challenges with the scheme :-

  • What would be the motivation level of Agniveers, a majority of whom know that they will be out of the military after four years?
  • Is a six-month training period sufficient for soldiers, many of whom would be straight away pitched into life-and-death situations along the borders or encounter-terrorism operations?
  • Would the military’s attractiveness as a career reduce, leading to a dilution in the quality of recruits.
  • Will it not lead to the Militarisation of the society.

What should be the way forward:- In a country with such a huge population of 130 billion, Clash of opinions is bound to happen but just because some new initiatives or issues are having challenges doesn’t mean that we do not try the idea. Although sufficient precautions should be taken and the idea should be thoroughly discussed among various stakeholders.

11) What is “Payments Vision 2025”?

Released by: Reserve Bank of India(RBI)

Core Theme: E-Payments for Everyone, Everywhere, Everytime (4 Es)

Vision: Provide every user with Safe, Secure, Fast, Convenient, Accessible, and Affordable e-payment options (6 Attributes).

Goalposts: The activities to be taken up by the RBI till 2025 have been captured across five anchor goal posts: 1) Integrity, 2) Inclusion, 3) Innovation, 4) Institutionalization and 5) Internationalization.

Actions to be taken under the Payment Vision 2025:

– Regulations for BigTechs and fintech in payments,

– Guidelines on payments involving “Buy Now Pay Later” (BNPL) services,

– Introducing the central bank digital currency (CBDC),

– Geotagging of digital payment infrastructure and transactions, 

– Create a payments system for processing online merchant payments using internet/mobile banking, and 

– Linking credit cards and credit components of banking products to the Unified Payments Interface (UPI).

12) On June 8, 2022 Algeria announced to suspend its treaty of “friendship, good neighbourliness, and co-operation”, that it signed with Spain 20 years ago.

This move has proved beneficial for both the countries. It came after Spain decided to shifting its position regarding Western Sahara dispute.

This deal was signed in 2002, for promoting dialogue and cooperation on economic, political, financial, defence and education issues.

About Western Sahara dispute

The Western Sahara dispute was started in 1884, with colonisation of this region by Spain. In 1975, Spain decided to withdraw from Western Sahara. following this, the region descended into a conflict between Morocco, Mauritania and Polisario Front. All of them were trying to control the region.

Polisario Front decided to establish Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic (SADR) in Western Sahara. However, SADR did not get Western recognition.

In 1975, this matter came to International Court of Justice. Court decided that, neither Morocco nor Mauritania could claim sovereignty on Western Sahara region. Thus, it called for decolonization of the region.

13) Ruchira Kamboj has been appointed as the next Permanent Representative of India to the United Nations. She is currently Indian ambassador to Bhutan. Ruchira Kamboj will succeed T S Tirumurti. She is likely to take up assignment soon.

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