Table of Contents
- Open Network for Digital Commerce (ONDC)
Facts for Prelims
- Sahyadri Tiger Reserve (STR)
- Hemidactylus quartziticolus
- Patriot air defense system
Open Network for Digital Commerce (ONDC)
The ONDC (Open Network for Digital Commerce) is gradually challenging the dominance of Zomato and Swiggy by offering users cheaper prices for the same food items.
About Open Network for Digital Commerce (ONDC):
- ONDC is an initiative that promotes open networks for the exchange of goods and services over digital or electronic networks.
- It is based on open-sourced methodology, using open specifications and network protocols independent of any specific platform.
- The initiative is led by the Department of Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade (DPIIT), Ministry of Commerce, as a non-profit effort.
Participation and Expansion:
- Initially, the ONDC platform primarily included grocery and food item merchants.
- However, it is gradually expanding to include beauty, fashion, personal care products, electronics, and more.
- Partners such as Paytm, Meesho, Magicpin, Mystore, Craftsvilla, and Spice Money act as online storefronts for businesses on the ONDC platform.
Significance of ONDC:
- ONDC allows buyers and sellers to transact regardless of their affiliation with a specific e-commerce portal.
- This benefits smaller online retailers and new entrants, providing them with opportunities for growth.
- The platform aims to digitize the entire value chain, standardize operations, promote supplier inclusion, improve logistics efficiency, and enhance value for consumers.
- It offers equal-opportunity participation and aims to make e-commerce more inclusive and accessible for consumers, expanding their freedom of choice.
- ONDC enables transactions of any denomination, making it a truly ‘open network for democratic commerce.’
- The ONDC expects to onboard 90 crore users and 12 lakh sellers over the next five years, facilitating 730 crore additional purchases.
Challenges with ONDC:
- Threat to local businesses: Local businesses may face challenges competing with the discounts and offers provided by prominent e-commerce players, potentially squeezing them out of the network over time.
- Liability concerns: The strategy paper lacks clarity on liability issues regarding transactions and the delivery of substandard products and services.
- Applicability of existing laws: There is a lack of clarity regarding the applicability of existing e-commerce laws to the ONDC network.
Indian E-commerce Industry:
- Growth and potential: The Indian e-commerce industry has been experiencing significant growth and is projected to reach a gross merchandise value of $350 billion annually by 2030.
- Factors driving growth: Factors fueling e-commerce growth in India include increased smartphone penetration, rising affluence, and low data prices.
- Market segments: Electronics and apparel dominate the e-commerce market, accounting for nearly 70% of transaction value. Emerging categories include ed-tech, hyperlocal services, and food-tech.
- Expansion in tier-2 and tier-3 cities: E-commerce is gaining popularity in smaller cities, with tier-2 and tier-3 cities accounting for a significant portion of shoppers and orders.
- The ONDC should focus on establishing consumer trust through mechanisms for grievance redressal and transparent policies for returns, refunds, and cancellations.
A shift towards a facilitator-driven, interoperable decentralized network is also recommended.
Sahyadri Tiger Reserve (STR)
Report of the Sahyadri Tiger Reserve (STR) water hole census has been released recently, and a total of 374 animals from 18 wild species of animals and birds were recorded.
About Sahyadri Tiger Reserve (STR):
- Located in the Sahyadri Ranges of Western Ghats in Maharashtra.
- Combines the Koyna Wildlife Sanctuary and the Chandoli National Park in southern Maharashtra.
- Includes the area around the Koyna Dam, Warna River, and other small rivers and streams originating from the Western Ghats.
- Consists of evergreen, semi-evergreen, and moist deciduous forests.
- Habitat includes woodlands, grasslands, and plateau known as “Sadaa” with significant habitat value.
- Fodder species like karvi, bamboo, and kumbal are present.
- Fruit species like Zizyphus rugosa, Ficus racemosa, Sideroxylon tomentasa, Ficus arnottiana, Acacia concinna, Terminalia chebula, Terminalia bellerica, Vangueria spinosa, Emblica officinalis, and Carissa conjesta are abundant.
- Home to endangered top carnivores such as tigers, wild dogs, and leopards.
- Herbivores in the reserve include gaur, sambar, four-horned antelope, mouse deer, and giant squirrel.
- Several endangered butterflies, including the Atlas Moth and Moon Moth, have been documented.
- The Indian long-billed vulture has been observed on the crest line.
A new species of gecko, Hemidactylus quartziticolus, has been discovered from the scrub habitats of Vallanadu and Kurumalai reserves forest areas in Tamil Nadu.
About Hemidactylus quartziticolus:
Introduction to the Gecko:
- Geckos are small, nocturnal lizards found in warm regions all over the world.
- There are about 1,500 species of geckos, and they vary in size.
- Geckos can be found on every continent except Antarctica and in different habitats such as rainforests, deserts, and mountains.
- They usually have a short, stout body, a big head, and well-developed limbs.
Details about Hemidactylus quartziticolus:
- The new gecko is called Quartzite brookish gecko or Thoothukudi brookish gecko.
- It is the 53rd species of Hemidactylus found in India and the seventh that is only found in Tamil Nadu.
- The name Hemidactylus quartziticolus comes from its habitat, which is over the quartz rocks.
- It is distinct from other geckos due to its dorsal scalation, number and arrangement of precloacal-femoral pores, and other unique features.
- It has the most densely packed tubercles among Indian Hemidactylus, almost resembling the most tuberculate Indian Cyrtopodian.
- Three key features of Hemidactylus quartziticolus that make it unique are its enlarged tubercles, continuous series of 34-38 precloacal-female pores, and the few lamellae (four) under digit I of manus and pes.
Patriot Air defense system
Ukrainian forces recently utilized a Patriot air defense system to neutralize Russia’s ‘unstoppable’ ‘Kinzhal hypersonic missile.
About Patriot System:
Overview of Patriot System:
- The Patriot System is a theater-wide surface-to-air missile defense system.
- It is considered one of the most advanced air defense systems in the United States.
- Built by Raytheon Technologies Corp, it is commonly known as the Phased Array Tracking Radar for Intercept on Target (Patriot).
History and Combat Usage:
- The system was first used in combat during the 1991 Gulf War.
- It provided protection to Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, and Israel during the conflict.
- It was also utilized during the U.S. invasion of Iraq in 2003.
Components and Mobility:
- The Patriot System is a mobile defense system that consists of various elements.
- These include powerful radar, a control station, launch stations, a power generator, and support vehicles.
Different Interceptors and Capabilities:
- The system’s capabilities depend on the type of interceptor used.
- The PAC-2 interceptor employs a blast-fragmentation warhead.
- The newer PAC-3 missile utilizes advanced hit-to-kill technology.
- Raytheon has manufactured over 240 Patriot systems.
- Currently, 18 countries, including the United States, utilize this system.
- The Middle East has shown a significant demand for the Patriot System due to regional threats, particularly from Iran.
- According to Raytheon, the system has successfully intercepted over 150 ballistic missiles in combat since 2015.