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Here are the topics covered for 06 & 07 August 2023: Water Neutrality in Indian Industries: Promoting Responsible Water Management, Jan Vishwas Act: Constitutional Challenge to Separation of Powers, World Breastfeeding Week 2023: Celebrating Breastfeeding for Sustainable Development, Digital Health Incentives Scheme (DHIS): Pioneering Healthcare Technology Adoption, Bhu-Vision: Revolutionizing Soil Testing and Agronomy, Himalayan Vulture Conservation and Ketoprofen/Aceclofenac Ban, Excess Cane Payments: Resolving Tax Disputes for Sugar Mills, Nuclear Signalling: New Guardrails for Nuclear Tensions, 5% of Birds in India are Endemic: Celebrating Biodiversity, Israeli Spike Non-Line of Sight (NLOS) Anti-Tank Guided Missiles: Elevating Defense Capabilities, Assam’s Manas Tiger Reserve: Overcoming Staffing Challenges for Tiger Conservation, Einstein Cross: Illuminating the Fascinating Phenomenon of Gravitational Lensing, Chandrayaan-3 Lunar Mission, Digital Portal for Central Registrar of Cooperative Societies (CRCS): Promoting Cooperative Sector Efficiency, BharatNet: Expanding Connectivity for Remote Regions, 75 Endemic Birds of India: Celebrating Avian Biodiversity, Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS), Perucetus Colossus (Ancient Giant Whale), Orbit Reduction Manoeuvre (ORM): Advancing Chandrayaan-3’s Lunar Mission, 9th National Handloom Day.
Table of Contents:
GS Paper 1
- Water Neutrality in Indian Industries: Promoting Responsible Water Management
GS Paper 2:
- Jan Vishwas Act: Constitutional Challenge to Separation of Powers
- World Breastfeeding Week 2023: Celebrating Breastfeeding for Sustainable Development
- Digital Health Incentives Scheme (DHIS): Pioneering Healthcare Technology Adoption
GS Paper 3:
- Bhu-Vision: Revolutionizing Soil Testing and Agronomy
- Himalayan Vulture Conservation and Ketoprofen/Aceclofenac Ban
- Excess Cane Payments: Resolving Tax Disputes for Sugar Mills
- Nuclear Signalling: New Guardrails for Nuclear Tensions
- 5% of Birds in India are Endemic: Celebrating Biodiversity
- Israeli Spike Non-Line of Sight (NLOS) Anti-Tank Guided Missiles: Elevating Defense Capabilities
- Assam’s Manas Tiger Reserve: Overcoming Staffing Challenges for Tiger Conservation
- Einstein Cross: Illuminating the Fascinating Phenomenon of Gravitational Lensing
- Chandrayaan-3 Lunar Mission
- Digital Portal for Central Registrar of Cooperative Societies (CRCS): Promoting Cooperative Sector Efficiency
- BharatNet: Expanding Connectivity for Remote Regions
- 75 Endemic Birds of India: Celebrating Avian Biodiversity
Prelims Related Facts
- Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS)
- Perucetus Colossus (Ancient Giant Whale)
- Orbit Reduction Manoeuvre (ORM): Advancing Chandrayaan-3’s Lunar Mission
- 9th National Handloom Day
Water Neutrality in Indian Industries: Promoting Responsible Water Management
Context: NITI Aayog’s introduction of a standardized approach for water neutrality highlights India’s commitment to sustainable water management.
Water Neutrality Approach:
- Water neutrality involves balancing total freshwater consumption and quantifiable water savings through efficiency strategies, water reuse, and local offset.
Significance and Goals:
- Resource Conservation: Water neutrality ensures responsible water consumption, conserving a vital natural resource.
- Environmental Impact: Industries adopting water neutrality reduce their ecological footprint and promote sustainability.
- Sustainable Development: Achieving water neutrality aligns with national goals and fosters sustainable industrial growth.
POCSO Act and Child Protection
- Ministry of Women and Child Development
- Protection of Children from Sexual Offenses (POCSO) Act
POCSO Act Overview
- Enacted on November 14, 2012
- Aims to address sexual exploitation and abuse of children
- Gender-neutral nature
- Updated in 2019 with stricter penalties including death penalty
- Reporting cases made easier; non-reporting is an offense
- Explicitly defines terms like ‘sexual assault’ and ‘storage of child pornography’
POCSO Rules 2020
- Interim compensation and special relief for child needs
- Immediate payment for essentials through Child Welfare Committee
- Support person provided to assist child throughout investigation and trial
Challenges with POCSO Act
- Investigation issues due to low representation of women in the police force
- Lapses in investigation, evidence preservation, and crime scene management
- Lack of cross-examination for prosecutrix statements
- Age determination challenges for juvenile victims
- Delays in filing charges due to resource constraints and complexities
- Insufficient conditions to prove recent intercourse, affecting conviction rates
Initiatives to Curb Child Abuse
- Child Abuse Prevention and Investigation Unit
- Beti Bachao Beti Padhao campaign
- The Juvenile Justice Act, Child Marriage Prohibition Act, and Child Labour Prohibition and Regulation Act
- Setting up POCSO Courts under Special Fast Track Courts
Recommendations for Improvement
- Provide funding and personnel for efficient investigations
- Train investigating officers for proper handling of cases
- Establish special courts for swift handling of cases
Jan Vishwas Act: Constitutional Challenge to Separation of Powers
- Jan Vishwas Act: Legal reform to enhance business environment by decriminalizing offenses or making them “compoundable.”
- Shifts power to impose penalties from judiciary to bureaucracy.
- Raises concerns about contravening constitutional separation of powers.
Background on Separation of Powers:
- Indian Constitution aims for separation of powers between judiciary and executive.
- Historic separation achieved around 1970 for criminal magistracy.
Challenges to Judicial Independence:
- Creation of judicial tribunals, statutory regulators, and adjudicatory officers blurs executive-judicial line.
- Jan Vishwas Act empowers bureaucrats as prosecutors and judges, raising constitutional concerns.
Constitutionality of Jan Vishwas Act:
- Grants bureaucrats authority to impose penalties, raising question of “judicial function.”
- Government cannot act as prosecutor and judge, undermining rule of law.
- Jan Vishwas Act raises concerns over separation of powers.
- Upholding independence of judiciary crucial for democracy.
- Bureaucratic encroachment on judicial powers must be prevented.
World Breastfeeding Week 2023: Celebrating Breastfeeding for Sustainable Development
- UNICEF and WHO commend progress in exclusive breastfeeding rates and stress the importance of support, particularly at workplaces.
- World Breastfeeding Week observed annually in August, aligned with Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
- Theme: “Let’s make breastfeeding at work, work.”
- Goal: Reach 70% breastfeeding rate by 2030.
- Exclusive breastfeeding vital for infant health, immunity, growth, and development.
- Global rate increased by 10%, reaching 48%.
Government’s Initiative for Breastfeeding in India
- MAA (Mothers Absolute Affection): Ministry of Health and Family Welfare program to promote breastfeeding.
- Vatsalya – Maatri Amrit Kosh: Collaboration with Norwegian government for a National Human Milk Bank and Lactation Counselling Centre.
Digital Health Incentives Scheme (DHIS): Pioneering Healthcare Technology Adoption
Context: The extension of the Digital Health Incentives Scheme (DHIS) by the National Health Authority (NHA) signifies India’s proactive approach to integrating healthcare technology.
- DHIS offers financial incentives to medical facilities and digital health solution providers for adopting and implementing digital health technologies.
- The initiative aims to facilitate the creation and linkage of digital health records with Ayushman Bharat Health Account (ABHA) numbers.
Benefits and Significance:
- Modernizing Healthcare: DHIS promotes the incorporation of technology in healthcare, enhancing patient care and management.
- Patient Empowerment: Linked health records empower patients to access their health information and make informed decisions.
Bhu-Vision: Revolutionizing Soil Testing and Agronomy
Context: The introduction of Bhu-Vision, an IoT-based soil testing and agronomy advisory platform, marks a significant stride in India’s agricultural technology landscape.
- Bhu-Vision employs IoT technology to swiftly conduct 12 soil parameter tests in just 30 minutes, improving speed and accuracy.
- The platform delivers accurate soil health information, enabling farmers to optimize crop management and enhance agricultural productivity.
Impact on Agriculture and Sustainability:
- Bhu-Vision aids in creating a comprehensive soil health map, guiding sustainable agricultural practices.
- The platform facilitates precision farming, resource optimization, and data-driven decision-making for improved agricultural sustainability.
Himalayan Vulture Conservation and Ketoprofen/Aceclofenac Ban
- Assam State Zoo achieves breakthrough in breeding elusive Himalayan vulture in captivity.
- Vulture’s significance in cleaning carrion, maintaining ecosystem balance.
- Ban on ketoprofen and aceclofenac for vulture conservation, as they cause kidney failure in vultures.
- Ketoprofen and aceclofenac used as NSAIDs for treating pain and inflammation in animals.
- Significant role of vultures in preventing disease spread and ecosystem health.
Excess Cane Payments: Resolving Tax Disputes for Sugar Mills
- Cooperative sugar mills allowed to claim excess cane payments as “business expenditure.”
- Sugarcane major crop in India, especially in states like Maharashtra, UP, Karnataka, and Tamil Nadu.
- Fair and Remunerative Price (FRP) set by the government for sugarcane.
- Some mills pay excess cane payment as incentive, leading to tax disputes.
- Government amendments in Finance Act and Income Tax Act resolve the issue.
- Expected relief of around Rs 10,000 crore to cooperative sugar mills.
Nuclear Signalling: New Guardrails for Nuclear Tensions
- Conflict in Ukraine sparks concerns about traditional nuclear escalation strategies.
- Nuclear deterrence and taboo shaped by uniqueness and destructive power of nuclear weapons.
- Cold War lessons may no longer suffice in current geopolitical landscape.
Current Nuclear Landscape:
- Russia’s nuclear doctrine allows for use in response to attacks or aggression.
- Need for new guardrails to prevent inadvertent escalation.
Responses and Hope:
- NATO emphasizes conventional retaliation as preferred option.
- China’s President opposes nuclear weapon use or threats.
- World must preserve nuclear taboo to prevent devastation.
- Clearer guidelines and communication needed to prevent nuclear escalation
5% of Birds in India are Endemic: Celebrating Biodiversity
Context: The Zoological Survey of India’s publication titled “75 Endemic Birds of India” highlights the remarkable biodiversity of India, revealing that 5% of the country’s bird species are endemic.
- The publication showcases that out of India’s total bird species, 78 species (5%) are exclusive to the nation, reflecting diverse ecosystems and habitats.
- The Western Ghats and Andaman-Nicobar Islands emerge as critical hotspots for endemic bird species.
Conservation and Insights:
- This insight into endemic species emphasizes the importance of targeted conservation efforts to protect these unique avian populations.
- The publication provides a comprehensive view of India’s avian diversity and underscores the need for biodiversity preservation.
Israeli Spike Non-Line of Sight (NLOS) Anti-Tank Guided Missiles: Elevating Defense Capabilities
Context: The Indian Air Force’s (IAF) strategic advancement involves the acquisition of Israeli Spike NLOS anti-tank guided missiles, signifying a substantial leap in defense capabilities.
- Cutting-Edge Technology: These advanced missiles incorporate cutting-edge electro-optical and fiber-optic technologies for precise targeting.
- Extended Range: With a range of up to 30 kilometers, these missiles provide the IAF with a powerful tool to engage distant and concealed targets.
- Integration: Integration of Spike NLOS missiles with Mi-17V5 helicopters enhances operational versatility, especially in challenging terrains and border regions.
Significance and Implications:
- Strengthening defense capabilities underscores India’s commitment to national security and preparedness.
- The acquisition exemplifies the synergy between domestic production and strategic foreign acquisitions, vital in addressing evolving security challenges.
Assam’s Manas Tiger Reserve: Overcoming Staffing Challenges for Tiger Conservation
Context: Assam’s Manas Tiger Reserve, known for its rich biodiversity and tiger population, is currently grappling with a significant hurdle – nearly 63% of its essential staff positions remain unfilled. This situation arises during a crucial transition phase for the reserve, with a shift from being a low-tiger-density area to becoming a high-tiger-density region.
- Staff Shortage: The reserve is facing a severe shortage of staff, which hampers effective management and protection efforts, including anti-poaching measures and habitat conservation.
- Transition Impact: As the region transitions to a higher tiger density, the absence of adequate personnel may lead to increased human-tiger conflicts and habitat degradation.
Ecological Diversity and Impact:
- Manas Tiger Reserve boasts diverse ecosystems, including semi-evergreen forests, deciduous forests, grasslands, and swamp forests, supporting unique flora and fauna.
- The staffing challenge could undermine conservation efforts, endangering the tiger population and overall ecological health.
Einstein Cross: Illuminating the Fascinating Phenomenon of Gravitational Lensing
Context: Astronomers’ recent discovery of the Einstein cross provides a unique insight into the gravitational lensing phenomenon.
Gravitational Lensing Explained:
- The Einstein cross exemplifies Albert Einstein’s theory of general relativity, demonstrating how massive objects bend light as it passes through their gravitational fields.
- The foreground elliptical galaxy distorts and splits light from a distant background galaxy, forming a distinctive pattern of four smudges around the foreground galaxy’s glow.
- Validation of Theory: The Einstein cross observation substantiates Einstein’s theory and its predictions on light bending by massive objects.
- Studying Distant Objects: Gravitational lensing enables the study of distant celestial objects, contributing to a deeper understanding of the universe.
Chandrayaan-3 Lunar Mission
- India’s third lunar mission, aimed at a soft landing on the moon’s surface
- Entered lunar orbit 23 days after departure from Earth
- Launched on July 14, 2023, to explore the moon’s surface
Orbital Manoeuvre Explained:
- Utilizing propulsion systems to change a spacecraft’s orbit, commonly known as a burn.
- For distant spacecraft like those around the Sun, it’s termed a deep-space manoeuvre (DSM).
- Transition phase during transfer orbits is called coasting.
Various Orbital Transfer Techniques:
- Hohmann Transfer Orbit: Transition between circular orbits at different altitudes in the same plane.
- Bi-Elliptic Transfer: Utilizes two half-elliptic orbits, potentially requiring less delta-v.
- Low Energy Transfer: Energy-efficient trajectory using minimal fuel.
- Orbital Inclination Change: Altering orbit inclination at orbital nodes, usually avoided due to high delta-v.
- Constant-Thrust Trajectory: Prolonged engine burn with constant thrust, allowing high acceleration over time.
Digital Portal for Central Registrar of Cooperative Societies (CRCS): Promoting Cooperative Sector Efficiency
- Union Home Minister Amit Shah launched the CRCS digital portal in Pune, Maharashtra.
- Aiming to enhance ease of doing business and streamline processes in the cooperative sector.
- Implement paperless applications with automatic compliance to the Multi-State Co-operative Societies Act (MSCS Act).
- Facilitate digital communication, enhance transparency, and improve decision-making through analytics.
Key Features of the Digital Portal:
- Encompasses modules like registration, amendment of bye-laws, annual return filing, appeal, audit, and more.
- Integrates recent changes to the MSCS Act, ensuring compliance with the latest legal framework.
- Accelerates application processing through an electronic workflow for timely governance.
- Secure OTP-based user registration and validation checks for data protection and adherence to regulations.
BharatNet: Expanding Connectivity for Remote Regions
- Union Cabinet approved ₹1,39,579 crore for the upcoming phase of Bharat Net, aiming to extend 5G connectivity to remote areas.
- Targets 6.4 lakh villages within two years, employing a ring topology system for expansion.
Pilot Project Achievements:
- Covered 60,000 villages in four districts in eight months, resulting in around 5.67 lakh active household connections.
- Small private companies serve as Internet Service Providers (ISPs) under a 50-50 revenue sharing model.
Expansion and Future Plans:
- Aims to launch Bharat Net formally, offering packages priced at ₹399, ₹599, and ₹799, with online payment options.
- Government investment of approximately $8.5 billion to provide fast broadband internet connectivity to all six lakh villages.
75 Endemic Birds of India: Celebrating Avian Biodiversity
- Zoological Survey of India (ZSI) unveiled “75 Endemic Birds of India” publication, showcasing the unique biodiversity of Indian birds.
India’s Avian Diversity:
- India houses 1,353 bird species, with 78 (5%) being endemic, found exclusively within the country.
- Western Ghats, Andaman-Nicobar Islands, and Eastern Himalayas are critical hotspots for endemic bird species.
Conservation and Significance:
- Publication emphasizes the importance of targeted conservation efforts for endemic species.
- Provides insights into each species’ traits, habitats, breeding habits, and more to inform conservation decisions.
Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS)
- UK government’s commitment to CCS as a key strategy for achieving net-zero emissions
- Point-source CCS and direct air capture
- Steps involve capture, compression, transportation, and injection into storage sites
- Applications include mineralization, synthetic fuels, agriculture, and dry ice production
Perucetus Colossus (Ancient Giant Whale)
- Recently identified ancient whale species
- Estimated skeletal mass exceeds any known mammal or aquatic vertebrate
- Found in Southern Peru, 39 million years old, with estimated mass up to 340 tonnes and 20 meters in length
- Suggests gigantism’s origin in marine mammals may be earlier than thought
Orbit Reduction Manoeuvre (ORM): Advancing Chandrayaan-3’s Lunar Mission
- ISRO’s Chandrayaan-3 executed a successful orbit reduction manoeuvre following lunar orbit insertion.
- Multiple moon-bound manoeuvres and detachment of the lander and rover are scheduled by August 17.
- De-orbiting manoeuvres will pave the way for a soft landing on August 23.
9th National Handloom Day
- Observed on August 7 to promote and recognize handloom weavers’ skills
- Honors the Swadeshi Movement’s historical significance
- Theme for 2023: “Handlooms for Sustainable Fashion.”