Thursday, 21st July 2022

Table of contents

1   News Snapshot

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Committee on MSP - Edukemy Current Affairs

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Europe heatwave - Edukemy Current Affairs

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Plastic Waste Management - Edukemy Current Affairs

2   This Day in History

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Womesh Chandra Banerjee - Edukemy Current Affairs

3   Terms & Concepts

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India's VL-SRSAM: Ship Defense Triumph

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Boosting Growth: SEBI's Hybrid Securities Move

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Crisis Hits Iraq's Sawa Lake - Edukemy Current Affairs

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"Suposhit Maa Abhiyan" - Edukemy Current Affairs

4   Editorial of the day

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Revamp India’s school health services: The Hindu

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Madras HC to Karnataka: Troubling Views on Women

5   Case Study of the Day

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Rice Husk Furniture: Sustainable Innovation

.... Show less Show more
News Snapshot

Committee on MSP - Edukemy Current Affairs


In News

The government has notified a committee tasked with making MSP more effective and transparent.

About the News

  • Recently, the e government notified a committee to promote zero budget-based farming, to change crop pattern keeping in mind the changing needs of the country, and to make MSP (minimum support price) more effective and transparent.
  • The Committee will be headed by former Agriculture Secretary Sanjay Agrawal and has Ramesh Chand of NITI Aayog as member.
    • The government has also assigned three places for representatives of the Samyukta Kisan Morcha (SKM), which had led a sustained farmers’ agitation against three agriculture laws, now repealed. The SKM has, however, rejected the committee and announced that it will not nominate any representatives.

About the Committee

  • The committee has been constituted by the Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers’ Welfare, as a follow-up to an announcement by the Prime Minister on November 19, 2021 when he had declared the government’s intention to withdraw the three farm laws.
    • The farmers had demanded for repeal of the three farm laws — Farmers Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Act, 2020; Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement on Price Assurance and Farm Services Act, 2020; and the Essential Commodities (Amendment) Act, 2020.
  • The protesting farm unions led by the SKM had demanded a legal guarantee on MSP, based on Swaminathan Commission’s ‘C2+50% formula’ (C2 is a type of cost incurred by farmers).
    • But the terms and references of the committee do not mention legal guarantee of MSP. What they do mention is making MSP “more effective and transparent”.

What is the committee tasked with?

  • For MSP, its agenda is:
    • Suggestions to make available MSP to farmers of the country by making the system more effective and transparent
    • Suggestions on practicality to give more autonomy to Commission for Agricultural Costs and Prices (CACP) and measures to make it more scientific
    • To strengthen the Agricultural Marketing System as per the changing requirements… to ensure higher value to the farmers through remunerative prices… by taking advantage of the domestic and export opportunities.
  • On natural farming, the committee has been asked to give
    • Suggestions for programmes and schemes for value chain development, protocol validation & research for future needs and support for area expansion under the Indian Natural Farming System by publicity and through involvement and contribution of farmer organizations.
    • It has also been tasked with suggesting strategies for research and development institutions being made knowledge centres, and introducing a natural farming system curriculum in educational institutions; suggesting a farmer-friendly alternative certification system and marketing system for natural farming processes and products; deliberating on issues related to chain of laboratories for organic certification of natural farming products, and other aspects.
  • For crop diversification, the committee will deliberate on, among various aspects, mapping of cropping patterns of agro-ecological zones; strategy for a diversification policy to change the cropping pattern according to changing needs; arrangement for agricultural diversification and a system to ensure remunerative prices for the sale of new crops.

Source:

Keywords: MSP, Committee, CACP, agriculture, economy, GS Paper 3
News Snapshot

Europe heatwave - Edukemy Current Affairs


In News

An extraordinarily hot summer in Europe crossed another peak recently with some places in Britain recording temperatures above 40°C.

About the News

  • It is for the first time any place in the United Kingdom had breached 40°C mark. In June, 2022, a few places in France had recorded temperatures in excess of 45°C, an all-time high for France.
  • Devastation due to extreme weather has been particularly acute in western Europe, which has been hit by raging wildfires, drought, and hundreds of heat-related deaths, ringing alarm bells about a looming climate emergency.
  • Considering the average annual temperature, the last eight years have been the hottest ever recorded through direct measurements since the 1880s, a NASA analysis showed. The temperature in 2021 was the sixth highest ever recorded.

What is behind the extreme heat waves?

  • Scientists are near-unanimous that the heat waves are a result of climate change caused by human activity.
    • Global temperatures have already risen by more than 1°C, and studies in the U.K. had shown that a one degree rise in temperature raises the probability of the country witnessing 40°C by ten times.
  • The rising global temperature, which this year led to deviations above the normal by as much as 15 degrees in Antarctica, and by more than 3 degrees in the north pole, have also induced changes in old wind patterns.
    • These changes turned western Europe into what has been described as a “heat dome” — a low pressure area that began to attract hot air from northern Africa.
  • In the case of the S., the record temperatures are being linked to changes in the jet stream — a narrow band of westerly air currents that circulate several kilometers above the earth’s surface.
    • While a conventionally strong jet stream would bring cooler air from the northern Atlantic, in recent years the jet stream has weakened and split into two, leading to intense and more frequent heat waves over parts of the American continent.

What have been the impacts of these Heatwaves?

  • The greater frequency, intensity and duration of the heat waves have also been linked to the growing incidence of drought in different parts of E
  • With the winters ending sooner, vegetation starts to grow sooner — before the snows of winter have replenished the water tables and the rivers. This has led to progressive depletion of water tables and increasingly drier soil and shallower river
  • While the reduction in soil moisture has made forest fires more probable, drying rivers — critical for both agriculture and hydro power — have affected harvests and energy security.
    • With the frequency and duration of heat waves rising this summer, Europe’s energy requirements have shot up at just the wrong time — in the midst of rising fuel costs caused by a ban on Russian gas that European politicians imposed in response to the Ukraine invasion.

Sources:

Keywords: Europe heatwave, UK, climate change, environment, Ecology, GS Paper 3
News Snapshot

Plastic Waste Management - Edukemy Current Affairs


In News

The Ministry of Environment, Forest & Climate Change (MoEFCC) has recently launched ‘Prakriti’& other green initiatives for effective plastic waste management. 

About the News

  • Active public participation is a pre-requisite to add momentum to India’s pledge of phasing out Single Use Plastics by 2022.
  • Therefore to bring small lifestyle changesthat can play a big role in ensuring environment sustainability by curbing plastic pollution and to spread greater awareness on the same, (MoEFCC) has launched ‘Prakriti’ and other green initiatives.
  • This will further teach about various efforts and initiatives that MoEFCC and Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) have taken in order to ensure effective Plastic Waste Management (PWM) in the country.

Green Initiatives for plastic waste management:

The recent report by the Inter-governmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has emphasized the urgent need for reduction of global emissions  and abatement of plastic pollution. It has credited India’s emphasis on equity at all scales in climate action and sustainable development.

Recent Initiatives of the Government:

    • In a drive toward global action on plastic pollution, India will implement a blanket ban on single-use plastic items such as earbuds with plastic sticks, plastic flags, plates, glasses, cutlery, etc to be banned from July 2022
    • “Swachh Bharat Harit Bharat Green Pledge” had also been administered on same lines.
    • India’s plastic waste management rules 2016 were amended banning the import of plastic waste SUVs with effect from July 2022 onward.
    • National Dashboard on Elimination of Single Use Plastic and Plastic Waste Management (MoEFCC): This aims to connect all stakeholders including Central Ministries/ Departments, State/UT Governments, etc. through one platform and track status and progress made for elimination of single use plastic & effective management of plastic waste.
    • Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) Portal for Plastic Packaging (CPCB): This portal will look after tasks that will help in overall operational functions like improving accountability, traceability, transparency and facilitating ease of reporting compliance to EPR Obligations by Producers, Importers and Brand-owners.
    • Mobile App for Single Use Plastics Grievance Redressal (CPCB): This app will allow citizens to check sale/usage/manufacturing of single use plastic in their region and tackle the plastic menace.
    • Monitoring module for single use plastic (CPCB): This is for local bodies, State pollution control board/PCCs and CPCB, etc. to inventorize details of single use plastic production, its sale & usage, etc. in commercial establishments at district level, and on-ground enforcement of ban on single use plastics.
    • Industrial production of Graphene from Waste Plastic (G B Pant NIHE & NRDC) will promote more industries to come forward to up cycle plastic waste.

Source:

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Keywords: Plastic Waste Management, Ecology, environment, GS Paper 3
This Day in History

Womesh Chandra Banerjee - Edukemy Current Affairs


On 21 July 1906, Womesh Chandra Banerjee breathed his last. He was the first President of the Indian National Congress and a prominent lawyer of the Calcutta High Court. He was again made the President of the Congress session held in Allahabad in 1892 AD. In 1864, he went to study law in England. However, before that, he worked with Girish Chandra Ghosh, to start the newspaper ‘Bengalee’ where he compiled a summary of weekly news for three years at just Rs 20 as stipend. At the age of 41, Womesh presided over the first session of the Indian National Congress.

He was the first Indian to act as a Standing Counsel in the Calcutta High Court; he officiated four times. Womesh Chunder Bonnerjee was also the first Indian to contest the election for the British House of Commons. He lost elections on two occasions before which he finally broke into the ranks of the British Parliament to become the first Indian member; he won the seat by just five votes.

Sources:

Keywords: Womesh Chandra Banerjee, Hisotry, Congress President, GS Paper 1
Terms & Concepts

India's VL-SRSAM: Ship Defense Triumph


  • Context: The Vertical Launch Short Range Surface to Air Missile (VL-SRSAM), has been recently flight tested by the DRDO and Indian Navy off the coast of Chandipur in Odisha.
  • VL-SRSAM is an indigenously developed shipborne weapon system designed and developed jointly by three facilities of the DRDO for deployment of Indian Naval warships.

  • The missile has thecapability of neutralizing various aerial threats at close ranges including sea-skimming targets (technique used by anti-ship missiles to avoid radar and infrared detection).
  • The missile has been designed to strike high-speed airborne targets at the range of 40 to 50 km and at an altitude of around 15 km.
  • Its design is based on Astra missile which is a Beyond Visual Range Air to Air missile.
    • Astra is India's first air-to-air all weather beyond-visual-range active radar homing air-to-air missile (is an air-to-air missile that is capable of engaging at ranges of 20 nautical milesor beyond) developed by the 

Source:

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Keywords: GS Paper 3: Science and Technology/Security- VL-SRSAM, Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO), ASTRA Missile, Beyond Visual Range Air to Air missile.
Terms & Concepts

Boosting Growth: SEBI's Hybrid Securities Move


  • Context: SEBI has recently set up an advisory committee on hybrid securities to make recommendations for giving a fillip to the growth of such instruments.
  • Hybrid security is a single financial security that combines two or more different financial instruments.

  • Often referred to as "hybrids," it generally combines both debt and equity characteristics. 
  • The most common type of hybrid security is a convertible bond that has features of an ordinary bond but is heavily influenced by the price movements of the stock into which it is convertible.
  • They are bought and sold on an exchange or through a brokerage.
  • Hybrid securities are beneficial to investors because they provide investors with protection during bankruptcy as compared to common stock.
    • That is, hybrid investors are eligible to be paid before common stockholders in bankruptcy.
  • Additionally, hybrid securities generally provide a higher rate of return than the typical debt instruments.

Source:

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Keywords: GS Paper 3: Economy- Hybrid Securities, SEBI, Debt, equity, Investors, bankruptcy, stockholders.
Terms & Concepts

Crisis Hits Iraq's Sawa Lake - Edukemy Current Affairs


  • Context: The Sawa Lake has been noted to have gone dry recently due to mismanagement by local investors, government neglect and climate change.
  • The Sawa Lake is a biodiverse wetland situated near the city of Samawa, south of the capital Baghdad.
  • It is an endorheic basin formed over limestone rock and studded with gypsumformationlocated near River Euphrates.

  • This lake has no inlet or outlet, but it draws water from the Euphrates through a system of joint cracks and fissureswhich transport water to aquifers beneath it.
  • It is characterized by arid climate and the water level of the lake fluctuatesduring dry and wet seasons.
  • Its saline water allows no plant growth in the lake or on its shores.
  • It has some religious significance as it is said to have formed on the day the Prophet Muhammad was born in 570 A.D. 
  • It is called as “Iraq’s pearl of the south”.
  • In2014, Lake Sawa was named a Ramsar site, an international designation for important wetlands.

Source:

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Keywords: GS Paper 3: Environment and Ecology- Sawa Lake, Iraq’s pearl of the south, Ramsar Site, endorheic basin, gypsum formations, River Euphrates, Limestone Rock.
Terms & Concepts

"Suposhit Maa Abhiyan" - Edukemy Current Affairs


  • Context: Recently, the second phase of "Suposhit Maa Abhiyan" was launched in Kota, Rajasthan.
  • Suposhit Maa Abhiyan, a campaign to protect the health of our future generations through a nation-wide campaign, was launched in Kota, Rajasthan in 2020.

  • It is a nutritional support program for pregnant mothers and girls. The campaign will not only look after pregnant women but also newborn babies will be part of this scheme.
    • According to the plan, women will be given food
    • At the same time, the health of the child, including medical examination, blood, medicine, delivery, will be taken care of.
    • Only one pregnant women from a family will be covered by the scheme.
  • The pregnant women are to be registered on a website, following which they will be ‘adopted’. These identified women would be given nutritional support in the form of food items for a month.

Source:

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Keywords: GS Paper 2: Welfare Schemes for Vulnerable Sections of the population by the Centre and States: Suposhit Maa Abhiyan, nutrition, Mother, Newborn
Editorial of the day

Revamp India’s school health services: The Hindu


Essence: In two and half years of the COVID-19 pandemic, there has barely been any serious initiative about school health. One of the reasons for wrongly designed, and often very rudimentary, school health services — not only in India but also in most low- and middle-income countries — is, arguably, limited understanding and clarity on what constitutes well-functioning and effective school health services.

UNESCO, UNICEF, the World Health Organization (WHO) and the World Bank have published an inter-agency framework called FRESH — an acronym for Focusing Resources on Effective School Health. The FRESH framework and tools has four core areas which suggest that school health services need to focus on school health policies, i.e., water, sanitation and the environment; skills-based health education and school-based health and nutrition services..

The article suggests steps that can be taken by the States. Every challenge has a silver lining The onus is on health policy makers and programme managers in every Indian State to do everything in the best interests of children.

Why should you read this article?

  • To understand the need for reforms in health services in schools
  • To know the steps that can be taken to provide effective health services

Sources:

Keywords: Health, School, GS Paper 2
Editorial of the day

Madras HC to Karnataka: Troubling Views on Women


Essence: Article throws light on gender inclinations of our Institutions like courts, bureaucracies, schools and civic associations.

Recent observation by Madras High Court that removal of the mangalsutra by the woman from her body amounted to “mental cruelty” towards her husband is troubling particularly because men do not have a visible counterpart to mangalsutra to declare his dedication towards marriage.

A survey in Karnataka showed overwhelming belief that childcare is women’s responsibility and, second, that they put up with domestic violence for the “good” of the family.This is troubling because it shows that it isn’t really about women at all. It is about their duties and the fact of their definition by the duties.

Women should have a place in society where they can make decisions for their own life and that will also lead to the overall good of the society.

Why should you read this article?

  • To understand deep rooted patriarchal thinking in our institutions.

Source:

Keywords: Women, Gender equality, Patriarchy, institutions, UPSC, GS Paper 1
Case Study of the Day

Rice Husk Furniture: Sustainable Innovation


Background

  • Paddy cultivation, which was a part of art and culture in earlier days, is now purely a business.
  • In Chennai, B.L. Bengani started a furniture company based on rice husk as main raw material for same.

About The Company:

  • Bengani started working in a furniture company at a very young age and eventually became a billionaire.
  • But later he realized that the cost of success was the death of million of trees and made researches to replace wood with something more sustainable.
  • He found out that rice husk to be the better alternative when mixed some minerals and resin which is pest-proof, weather-proof and halts the spread of fire.
    • Lighter and larger than the actual rice grain it protects, the husk is a yellowish cover which is usually separated as part of the milling process, after which the rice is polished.
  • This wood is used to make furniture which is more sustainable and causes lesser degradation of the nature.

Quote: “Sustainability is no longer about doing less harm. It’s about doing more good.” — Jochen Zeitz, President and CEO of Harley-Davidson.

Source: 

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Keywords: UPSC, GS Paper 3, Rice Husk, Sustainability, environment, Science and Technology; Ecology, Case study
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