Prelims Objective Practices Questions
(I.) Under Buddhism, Abhaya Mudra indicates-
a) Gesture of reassurance, blessing and protection.
b) To invoke earth as witness to the truth
c) Gesture of threat and warning
d) Gesture of Charity
(II.) Black Hole Tragedy is associated with–
a) The Battle of Buxar
b) The Anglo Maratha wars
c) The Battle of Plassey
d) The Carnatic wars
(III.) Which of the following are the Ozone depleting substances–
a.) Hydro Bromo Fluro Carbons (HBFCs)
c.) Methyl bromide
d.) Carbon tetrachloride
e.) Methyl chloroform
Select the correct answer code:-
a) All except 3
b) All except 4
c) All except 5
d) All of the above
Prelims Specific Facts
- Delhi confirmed its first case of monkeypox, a day after the infection was declared a Public Health Emergency of International Concern by the World Health Organization.
NEWS-2 – Godavari
- The principal tributaries of the river are the Pravara, the Purna, the Manjra, the Penganga, the Wardha,the Wainganga the Pranhita (combined flow of Wainganga, Penganga, Wardha), the Indravati, the Maner and the Sabri.
Godavari river rises from Trimbakeshwar near Nasik in Maharashtra and flows for a length of about 1465 km before outfalling into the Bay of Bengal.
- Drainage Basin:-
The Godavari basin extends over states of Maharashtra, Telangana, Andhra Pradesh, Chhattisgarh and Odisha in addition to smaller parts in Madhya Pradesh, Karnataka and Union territory of Puducherry.
NEWS-3 Wind power rates may bottom out
- In a reverse auction, the buyer puts up a request for a required good or service. Sellers then place bids for the amount they are willing to be paid for the good or service, and at the end of the auction the seller with the lowest amount wins.
- Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE) said it would be doing away with the practice of reverse auctions – when companies bid to offer the lowest price – while awarding contracts for setting up wind-energy projects. However, wind industry experts say this alone will not necessarily improve the sector’s fortunes.
- India has committed to installing 60,000 MW of wind power projects by 2022, but has met only two thirds of the target.
- There were complaints from the industry that e-reverse auctions are leading to tariffs being artificially lowered leading to unhealthy competition.
- While reverse auctions were the norm for all renewable energy projects, including solar and wind projects since 2015, the government’s change of stance signals that the rock bottom prices associated with clean energy projects per unit solar power costs have fallen to Rs 2.40 a unit do not reflect the true costs or renewable energy.
- The cost of large tracts of land required to install wind turbines is among the reasons cited for the dwindling health of the sector.
NEWS-4 5G spectrum auction from tomorrow
- A recent study by the Zoo logical Survey of India (ZSI) on snow leopard (Pantherauncia) has thrown up interesting insights on the elusive mountain cat and its prey species.
- The study under the National Mission on Himalayan Studies revealed a strong link between habitat use by snow leopard and its prey species Siberian ibex and blue sheep.
- “We found that the snow leopard detection probability was high if the site was used by its prey species – ibex and blue sheep. Whereas, in the case of the prey species, the probability of detection was low when the predator was present and detected.
- Classified as ‘Vulnerable’ by the International Union for Conservation of Nature Red list and listed in Schedule-I species of the Indian Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972, snow leopards are elusive mountain cats.
- Snow leopards live in the mountainous regions of central and southern Asia. In India, their geographical range encompasses a large part of the western Himalayas including the states of Jammu and Kashmir, Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand and Sikkim and Arunachal Pradesh in the eastern Himalayas.
- A beam of light installed by the government at Central Park here to pay tribute to freedom fighters has been getting brighter with each message posted on the web site. Thirty-four lakh mes sages have been sent as on Sunday, according to those involved with the project.
- Prime Minister Narendra Modi had on Saturday tweeted about “Digital Jyot” and asked people to send in their messages at digitaltribute.in to make the beam brighter.
- Installed on March 12, the beam gets brighter as more messages paying tribute to freedom fighters are posted by the public on the web site.
- Pope Francis arrived in Canada, where he is expected to personally apollogise to Indigenous survivors of abuse committed over a span of decades at residential schools run by the Catholic Church.
- China on Sunday launched the second of three modules to its permanent space station, in one of the final missions needed to complete the orbiting outpost by year’s end.
- A live feed on state broad caster CCTV showed the 23 tonne Wentian (“Quest for the Heavens”) laboratory module launching on the back of China’s most powerful rocket, the Long March 5B, at 2:22 p.m. (0622 GMT) from the Wenchang Space Launch Centre on the southern island of Hainan.
- China began constructing the space station in April 2021 with the launch of the Tianhe module, the main living quarters, in the first of 11crewed and uncrewed missions in the undertaking.
- The Wentian lab module, 17.9 m long, will provide space for experiments, along with the other lab module yet to be launched – Mengtian (“Dreaming of the Heavens”).
Editorial of the Day
Weighing in on India’s investment – led revival
- The Finance Minister, Nirmala Sitaraman, said recently that India’s long-term growth prospects are embedded in public capital expenditure programmes. She added that an increase in public investment would crowd in ( or pull in ) private investment, thus reviving the economy.
- When it was faced with a slow down after the Asian financial crisis of 1997, the Atal Bihari Vajpayee led-National Democratic Alliance government initiated public road building projects . In the form of the Golden Quadrilateral ( to link metro cities using a high quality road network) and the Pradhan Mantri Gram Sadak Yojana ( to ‘provide good all weather road connectivity to unconnected habitations’), these initiatives sowed the seeds of economic revival, culminating in an investment and export-led boom in the 2000s; GDP grew at 8%-9% annually.
- In comparison, the investment record during the 2010s has been dismal. However, a recent uptick is evident in the real gross fixed capital formation (GFCF) rate the fixed investment to GDP ratio ( net of inflation). The ratio recovered to 32.5% in 2019-20 from a low of 30.7% in 2015-16.
- Moreover, the budgetary definition of investment refers to financial investments (which include purchase of existing financial assets, or loans offered to States) and not just cap ital formation representing an expansion of the productive potential.
- The National Accounts Statistics provides disaggregation of gross capital formation (GCF) by sec tors, type of assets and modes of financing; over 90% of GCF consists of fixed investments. The upturn in the investment rate is welcome, though its productive potential de pends on its composition. Contrary to Ms. Sitaraman’s contention, the investment distribution has hardly changed over the last decade, with the public sector’s share remaining 20%.
- As roads and communicationsare classic public goods, investment in them is welcome. But over-emphasising it may be lop-sided. For healthy domestic output growth, there is a need for balance between “directly productive investments” (in farms and factories) and infrastructure investments. And this balance was missed. Moreover, the share of agriculture and industry shrank even as the economy’s gross capital formation rate trended down wards.
- The case of manufacturing is distressing. Its share in the investment ratio (column 2.1) fell from 19.2% in 2011-12 to 16.5% in 2019 20. It is not surprising that ‘Make in India’ failed to take off, import dependence went up, and India became deindustrialised. Import dependence on China is alarming for critical materials such as fertilizers, bulk drugs (active pharmaceutical ingredients or APIs) and capital goods. This became acute during the COVID-19 pandemic, as China imposed export restrictions – prompting the Prime Minister to announce the ‘Atmanirbhar Bharat’ campaign.
- With declining in vestment share, industrial output growth rate fell from 13.1% in 2015 16 to a negative 2.4% in 2019-20, as Statistics.
MC12 over, it’s ‘gains’ for the developed world
- Who were the main winners and losers in the recently conclud ed 12th Ministerial Conference (MC12) of the World Trade Organization (WTO)? Even a cursory examination of the outcomes of the meeting leaves us in no doubt that the European Union (EU) and some other developed countries are the overwhelming winners, while India finds itself on the losing side.
- In October 2020, India and South Africa put forth a proposal seeking to temporarily suspend the protection of intellectual property rights such as patents, copy rights, industrial designs etc.
- India has also failed in many of its other objectives, such as securing the right to raise revenues by taxing electronic transmissions. In the area of fisheries subsidies, it gets two years to have suitable regulatory mechanisms in place to monitor fish catch and reporting. Otherwise, subsidies to traditional fishermen will be prohibited. Although it has secured a temporary reprieve to provide subsidies for enhancing its fishing fleets, it will have to fight an uphill battle on this issue in future negotiations.
Explainer of the Day
Adding digital layers of indignity
- Two recent technocratic initiatives by the Union government under score these issues again. The Integrated Child Development Scheme (ICDS), launched in 1975, is one of the world’s largest early childhood care and development programmes. An important component of ICDS is supplementary nutrition for children in the 0 to 6 years age group, pregnant women and lactating mothers. This became a legal entitlement when it became part of the National Food Security Act in 2013. As per this, the rights-holders get hot cooked meals or take-home rations at the local Anganwadis. In 2021, the Union government launched the Poshan Tracker, a centralised platform, to monitor all nutrition initiatives, including ICDS.
- As per Union government circulars, the updating of Aadhaar of ICDS rights-holders, including children, on the Poshan Tracker is mandatory, and subsequent Central funds for supplementary nutrition to States is being made contingent on this. Nearly three-fourths of children between the ages of 0 to 5 years do not have Aadhaar cards, and Supreme Court orders specify that children cannot be denied their rights for lack of Aadhaar. The government has responded saying that only the Aadhaar of mothers need to be authenticated at Anganwadis. However, it does not provide any data or evi dence to show how many “fake” or “ghost” children exist. In our study of Common Service Centres (CSC), even CSC owners reported that bio metrics of 42% of the users don’t work on the first attempt. This is borne out in other studies too.
As per the recent National Family Health Survey, 36% of children under the age of five are stunted and nearly one-third of children in this age group are underweight. These are per-pandemic numbers and this would have worsened since the pandemic. In such light, creating new hurdles for children migrants or otherwise and young mothers to access food in the name of digitisation appears cruel.
- The Union government has issued an order introducing the National Mobile Monitoring Software (NMMS) app to record attendance of MGNRE GA workers at worksites. As per the order, the app will record “two time stamped and geo-tagged photo graphs of the workers in a day” which “increases citizen oversight of the programme besides potentially enabling processing of payments faster.” In worksites with 20 or more workers, the app will replace physical attendance registers.
- MGNREGA workers could complete their share of work and leave. This gave them time for household work or for other work that gave them supplementary income. The app makes this hard as they have to now stay back at the worksite even after completing their work only to get photographed and geo-tagged. Even from a hard economic standpoint, this move deters workers’ contribution to the GDP. The attendance at worksites is taken by Mates who are usually local women in charge of worksite supervision. Now, Mates have to carry smart phones which many don’t own. Another ground report by Vijayta Lalwani shows that many Mates are forced to take loans to buy smart phones to use the app. It also demonstrates how a worker has lost more than 1,100 of her wages because the app failed to upload her attendance. It has also been a bane for many officials.
- Both these technocratic initiatives point to a digital avatar of panopticon with no evident positives for the rights-holders. The sense of being constantly watched induces fear among people. This normalises and exacerbates the power asymmetry between the rights-holders and the government as the rights-holders begin to internalise and accept this form of coercion.
A shot in the arm for rule of law
- Arrest and confinement to police custody or judicial custody often smacks of vindictiveness. An average police officer invariably believes that it is only in the rigour of custody that a suspect will cough out the truth.
- Justice Krishna Iyer had said in State of Rajasthan, Jaipur V. Balchand alias Baliay (1977): “The basic rule is bail, not jail, except where there are circumstances suggestive of fleeing from justice or thwarting the course of justice or creating other troubles in the shape of repeating offences or intimidating witnesses and the like by the petitioner who seeks enlargement on bail from the court.” That bail is the rule and jail the exception has been reiterated in several judicial and other forums.
- The Supreme Court also drew attention to the problem of overcrowding of prisons, which has attendant issues such as corruption, crime and hygiene within prisons.
- One, there is an insistence during trial on judicial custody, which is different from what prevails in many countries, especially the U.K., where grant of bail is much more liberal. And two, court proceedings are tortuous as a result of the collusion between principal players in the scene. This situation has been discussed with only a marginal impact.
Indian sports bodies under scandal and scrutiny
- A seven-member delegation of the world football governing body FIFA and the Asian Football Confederation had come to the country last month for a meeting with the Committee of Administrators (COA). The CoA was entrusted with the running of football by the Supreme Court after the executive committee of the AIFF was dissolved for violating the Central government’s sports code. It was mandated that by July 31, the amendments to the AIFF’s new constitution have to be made and the elections for the national football body completed by September 15. If not, India would face a FIFA ban.
The challenges of fibrisation a head of India’s 5G deployment
- India is preparing to auction off about 72 Ghz of airwaves to rollout 5G services in the country. However, the infrastructure needed for such a rollout requires existing radio towers to be connected via optical – fibre cables.
- The process of connecting radio towers with each other via optical fibre cables is called fiberisation. It helps provide full utilisation of network capacity, and carry large amounts of data once 5G services are rolled out. It will also aid in providing additional bandwidth and stronger backhaul support. The backhaul is a component of the larger transport that is responsible for carrying data across the network. It represents the part of the network that connects the core of the network to the edge.
- Fibre-based media, commonly called optical media, provides almost infinite bandwidth and coverage, low latency and high insulation from interference. With 5G, it will also be necessary to increase the density of mobile towers to provide better coverage to consumers and businesses. This calls for increased requirements for fiber deployment, Mr. Paul said.
- To transition into 5G, India needs at least 16 times more fibre, according to estimates by STL, a technology company specialised in optical fibers and cables.
- In India, currently only 33% of the towers are fiberised, compared to the 65%-70% in South Korea and 80%-90% in the U.S., Japan and China, according to a 2021 report by India Infrastructure Research. The fibre kilometer (fkm) per capita in India is lower than other key markets. Ideally, a country needs 1.3 km of fibre per capita to ensure good fiberisation. India’s fkm is just .09 compared to 1.35 in Japan, 1.34 in the U.S. and 1.3 in China, the report noted.
- There is also a need to increase data capacity in the fiberised towers. These tower sites which are connected via fibre are called fibre point of presence (POP). Currently these fibre POPS at a tower site can handle data at one to five Gbps speed, Nitin Bansal, managing director, India & head – Networks, Southeast Asia, Oceania & India, Ericsson.
- To reach the targeted level of fiberisation, India requires about 2.2 lakh crore of investment to help fiberise 70% towers. About *2.5 lakh crore will be needed to set up 15 lakh towers in the next four years, according to estimates by the National Broadband Mission and Cellular Operator Association of India (COAI).
- Government programmes like BharatNet and Smart Cities will further add to the demand of fibre deployment, necessitating a complete tower fiberisation. Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, in his 2020 Independence Day speech, laid out the vision to connect every village in the country with optical fiber cable (OFC) in 1,000 days. To achieve that vision, cables must be laid at a speed of 1,251 km a day, around 3.6 times the current average speed of 350 km a day.
- One of the biggest issues in the way of fiberisation remains the Right of Way (ROW) rules. The Indian Telegraph RoW Rules 2016 were gazette notified by the Department of Telecommunications (DoT), Govt. of India on November 15, 2016. The rules aim to incorporate nominal one-time compensation and uniform procedure for establishment of Overground Telegraph Line (OTL) anywhere in the country.
- While all States/UTS are required to implement these rules, they are not in complete alignment and still require certain amendments to align, the EY report pointed out.
- The low-Earth Orbit (LEO) satellites will be well-suited to offer not only backhaul, but also direct connectivity. As the 5G standard is adopted, new markets will open up for satellite operators, including IoT, private 5G, and cellular backhaul.