Thursday, 16th February 2023

Table of contents

1   Daily Current Affairs

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New SOP post-Joshimath crisis - Edukemy Current Affairs

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Report on Sea-rise - Edukemy Current Affairs

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Forecasting extreme weather events

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Moonshot Projects - Edukemy Current Affairs

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Custodial Deaths - Edukemy Current Affairs

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Aero India 2023 - Edukemy Current Affairs

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Cotton Futures Contract - Edukemy Current Affairs

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River Cities Alliance RCA - Edukemy Current Affairs

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Portugal Capital Lisbon - Edukemy Current Affairs

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Atacama Large Millimetre/Submillimetre Array (ALMA)

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Blackbuck - Edukemy Current Affairs

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Doctrine of Necessity - Edukemy Current Affairs

2   Daily Editorial Analysis

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E-commerce and Export - Edukemy Current Affairs

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Daily Current Affairs

New SOP post-Joshimath crisis - Edukemy Current Affairs


In News: The Union environment ministry has issued a Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) for all highway projects near border areas.

About the News:

The SOP emphasises environmental safeguards such as landslide and disaster management, precautions to be taken during tunnelling or drilling, and the protection of river catchments and hydrology, after:

  • Rapid sliding of land was reported in large parts of Joshimath town leading to the development of cracks in hundreds of homes and other structures recently.
  • Experts studying the subsidence at Joshimath have pointed to uncontrolled development under the Char Dham project and nearby hydropower project as factors that may have amplified the town’s vulnerabilities.

What is the new SOP for highway projects near border areas?

  • Vulnerability assessment: If the proposed route passes through any hilly area, comprehensive study should be carried out through a reputed technical institute on the basis of –
    • vulnerability for landslides,
    • slope stability,
    • vulnerability of the project area from the point of view of seismic activity,
    • eco-fragility study of the area.
  • Detailed study of tunnelling: A detailed study on tunnelling and locations of tunnelling with geological structural fraction and its possible impact on existing structures in its vicinity, flora, fauna, terrain etc shall be carried out.
  • Proper disposal of construction waste: Bituminous material and hazardous materials must not be allowed to contaminate water courses and dump sites for these materials should be secured so that they do not leach into groundwater
  • Mandating measures: To prevent noise and air pollution, traffic, and creation of green belts along the highways.
  • Some mandatory clearances for highway projects: Forest clearance under Forest Conservation Act; Coastal Regulation Zone clearance; and wildlife clearance by the National Board for Wildlife.

What was the need for an SOP?

  • Exemptions for highway projects in border areas were notified by the Union environment ministry in July, 2022.
    • These exemptions were from obtaining prior environment clearances and changing the environmental impact assessment policy since 2006.
    • Some high-altitude stretches of the Char Dham road project in Uttarakhand and other highway projects in the western and eastern Himalayas and several parts of northeast India will no longer need environmental appraisal because they fall within 100km of a border or line of control.
  • High-powered committee on Char Dham road highlighted concerns of hill cutting, unstable slopes, tree cutting and muck dumping.
  • Orders of Justice Nariman in the Char Dham matter from September 2020 asked the road width to be reduced to 5.5 metres and trees to be planted along sides of the road to improve the binding capacity of the soil.
  • Environmental assessments were not carried out for the 900km Char Dham project as it was divided into 53 small projects. Only new national highways and expansion of highways longer than 100km need prior environmental clearance as per a 2018 affidavit by the government to the National Green Tribunal.

 

Source:

https://www.hindustantimes.com/india-news/after-joshimath-crisis-environmental-safeguards-key-in-centre-s-sops-101676312662642.html

 

Keywords: GS Paper-2: Government policies and interventions, GS Paper-3: Disaster management
Daily Current Affairs

Report on Sea-rise - Edukemy Current Affairs


In News:

Recently, the World Meteorological Organisation (WMO) released a report titled "Global Sea-level Rise and Implications"

About the News:

  • WMO report is based on the future estimates based on climate models and ocean-atmosphere physics.
  • According to the findings, the speed of melting of the largest global ice mass in Antarctica is uncertain.
  • The World Meteorological Organization (WMO) is a specialized agency of the United Nations (UN) that is responsible for promoting international cooperation in the fields of meteorology, climatology, hydrology, and related geophysical sciences.
  • Almost 11% of the global population, around 896 million people, lived within the Low Elevation Coastal Zone in 2020 and this number would increase to beyond 1 billion people by 2050.
  • In this regard, the report stresses the critical role of urban systems, especially at the coast, in enabling climate resilient development.

Major findings of the report:

  • The report states that India, China, Bangladesh, and the Netherlands face the highest threat of sea-level rise globally.
  • Several big cities across all continents are threatened by the rise in sea level, including Mumbai, Dhaka, London, and New York, among others.
  • Sea-level rise is a major economic, social, and humanitarian challenge, and threatens coastal farmlands, water reserves, infrastructure, human lives, and livelihoods.
  • The impacts of sea-level rise are boosted by storm surges and tidal variations.
  • Continued and accelerating sea-level rise will encroach on coastal settlements, infrastructure, and ecosystems.
  • Population potentially exposed to a 100-year coastal flood is projected to increase by about 20% if global mean sea level rises by 0.15 metres relative to 2020 levels.
  • The report highlights that climate change will increasingly put pressure on food production and access, especially in vulnerable regions.
  • This rise will undermine food security and nutrition, besides increasing the frequency, intensity, and severity of droughts, floods, and heatwaves.

World Meteorological Organisation (WMO)

  • It was established in 1950 and is headquartered in Geneva, Switzerland.
  • It has 193 member states and territories, including India, China, the United States, and the United Kingdom.
  • The mission of the WMO is to provide world leadership in expertise and international cooperation in weather, climate, hydrology, and related environmental issues.
  • It coordinates global observation and information systems for weather, climate, and water, and helps its members to share information and data to support decision-making in these areas.
  • It is responsible for the development of the World Weather Watch, the Global Atmosphere Watch, and the World Climate Programme, which are all international networks that monitor the Earth's environment.
  • WMO also plays a key role in the implementation of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) and the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).

 

https://indianexpress.com/article/india/mumbai-dhaka-london-new-york-among-metros-in-line-of-sea-level-rise-threat-report-8445371/#:~:text=The%20report%20%E2%80%94%20%E2%80%9CGlobal%20Sea%2D,Angeles%2C%20Buenos%20Aires%20and%20Santiago.

 

Keywords: general Studies - 3 Environment and Climate Change
Daily Current Affairs

Forecasting extreme weather events


In News:

Indian Meteorological Department (IMD) will soon establish a center in northwest India to provide warnings on short notice and has augmented the Doppler Weather Radar (DWR) Network in Ladakh, Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand, and Jammu and Kashmir, which will help predict extreme weather events more accurately.

About:

  • As per a 2022 Centre for Science and Environment (CSE) study, India recorded extreme weather events on 314 out of the 365 days. The year 2022 was the fifth warmest for the country and extreme weather events
    • Claimed 3,026 lives,
    • Affected at least 1.96 million hectares of crop area,
    • Destroyed 423,249 houses, and
    • Killed over 69,899 animals.
  • Doppler Weather Radar:
    • A DWR works on the Doppler principle.
    • Doppler effect or shift is the apparent change in frequency of a wave in relation to an observer who is moving relative to the wave source.
    • It is designed to improve precision in long-range weather forecasting and surveillance using a parabolic dish antenna and a foam sandwich spherical radome.
    • DWR has the equipment to measure rainfall intensity, wind shear, and velocity and locate a storm center and the direction of a tornado or gust front.
    • Unlike other radars, a DWR has the ability to detect air motion, wind, speed of wind, rains, temperature, thunderstorms, hail, squalls, lightning, cyclones, and cloud movements and volumetric analysis of cloud and reflectivity index.

 

Source: https://www.pressreader.com/india/hindustan-times-st-noida/20230214/281908777313299

Keywords: GS Paper-3: Science and technology
Daily Current Affairs

Moonshot Projects - Edukemy Current Affairs


In News: The government has begun stakeholder consultations to identify 'moonshot' projects and the role of industry.

About:

  • Seven centres of excellence (CoE) will undertake research in moonshot areas. CoEs will be government institutions like National Institute of Pharmaceutical Education and Research (NIPERs) and India Institute of Technologies (IITs).

  • Moonshot projects: These are ambitious explorations that aim to push the technology frontier and that would require the pursuit of world-class technology development and leadership in applying artificial intelligence (AI) technologies to solve some of the biggest challenges.
  • For example: Google’s natural language processing (NLP) infrastructure for Indian languages, with features of sentiment and semantic analysis.
  • Origin: In 1961, US President John F. Kennedy planned to put people on the Moon. Eight years later, two American astronauts took the famous giant leap for mankind on the moon.
    • However, the bigger impact of that moonshot was the resultant building of a massive military and industrial innovation complex that propelled the US to the top of the industrial economy.
  • Importance of ‘moonshot’ projects for India: The next 15 years are going to be critical for India’s growth story due to the opportunity to combine demographic dividend with AI-driven hyper-innovation, in which 50 billion smart machines and devices will combine with billions of connected humans.
  • Need:
    • Re-skilling the existing workforce with the changing needs of the job market.
    • Promotion of job creation in new areas like data annotation could help absorb redundant workforce due to increasing automation.
    • Adoption of AI across the value chain startups, private sector, PSUs and government entities.

 

Source:

https://economictimes.indiatimes.com/industry/healthcare/biotech/pharmaceuticals/government-steps-up-efforts-to-drive-innovation-in-pharmaceutical-sector/articleshow/97888378.cms

 

Keywords: GS Paper-3: Science and technology
Daily Current Affairs

Custodial Deaths - Edukemy Current Affairs


In News: Union Ministry of Home Affairs briefs Rajya Sabha on an alarming increase in custodial deaths in India

Key points:

  • Custodial death is when an accused dies during pre-trial or after conviction, caused by the direct or indirect actions of the police while in their custody.
  • Custody means keeping an individual in protective care based on the apprehension that he or she may cause harm to society.
  • Types of Custody:
    • Police custody is when a police officer arrests an individual accused of committing a crime and brings him to the police station.
    • Judicial custody is when the accused is kept in the custody of the magistrate of the concerned area.
  • Major reasons for Custodial Deaths: According to National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) custodial deaths are mainly due to factors including suicide, poor miserable conditions, medical facilities, infightings, torture and violence by the police, etc.,
  • The Universal Declaration of Human Rights, 1948 (UDHR) declares that every person should be treated as innocent until proven guilty and that no person should be tortured or treated cruelly.
  • Violative of fundamental rights: Custodial deaths go against the fundamental structure of the Constitution of India and violate various fundamental laws guaranteed by the Constitution,
    • Article 20(1): It prohibits punishment above what is mentioned in the law that deals with the offense.
    • Article 20(3): It states that no person accused of any offense shall be compelled to be a witness against himself.

 

https://indianexpress.com/article/india/custodial-deaths-highest-in-gujarat-last-5-years-maharashtra-up-tamil-nadu-bihar-rajya-sabha-8441974/

 

Keywords: newsletter
Daily Current Affairs

Aero India 2023 - Edukemy Current Affairs


In News: Indo-US Air-Launched Unmanned UAV likely to be flight tested later this year

About

  • Aero India 2023 is a five-day aerospace and defense show held at Air Force Station in Yelahanka, Bangalore.
  • It is the 14th edition of the show and the theme for Aero India 2023 is "The Runway to Billion Opportunities."
  • The show includes an India Pavilion that displays indigenous equipment and technologies to forge partnerships with foreign companies to achieve the vision of "Make in India, Make for the World."
  • Important aerial displays include Light Combat Aircraft Tejas, Light Combat Helicopters, Light Utility Helicopters, Sukhoi-30, and Dhruv Advanced Light Helicopters,
  • A prototype of the Air-Launched Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (ALUAV) developed jointly by India and the United States was launched from the C130J aircraft in the show.
  • On the likely participation of the U.S.'s F-35 stealth aircraft which would be the most advanced aircraft in the airshow.

 

https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/aero-india-2023-indo-us-air-launched-unmanned-uav-likely-to-be-flight-tested-later-this-year/article66500470.ece

 

Keywords: Daily CA
Daily Current Affairs

Cotton Futures Contract - Edukemy Current Affairs


In News:  Trading in newly launched Cotton Futures Contract has commenced with the collaborative approach of the Government of India, Multi Commodity Exchange MCX, etc.

About Future Contract

  • A futures contract is a legal agreement to buy or sell a particular commodity asset, or security at a predetermined price at a specified time in future.
  • Futures contract is held at a recognized stock exchange.
  • Exchange acts as a mediator and facilitator between the parties.
  • It will help in real price discovery and will provide a platform for the industry to hedge their risk from future adverse price volatility

https://www.thehindu.com/business/trading-in-new-cotton-future-contract-starts-at-mcx/article66508459.ece

 

Keywords: General Studies -3, Indian Economy
Daily Current Affairs

River Cities Alliance RCA - Edukemy Current Affairs


In News: Recently, Driving Holistic Action for Urban Rivers (DHARA), an annual meeting of RCA members, was held.

About DHARA

  • DHARA provides a platform to co-learn and discuss solutions for managing local water resources.
  • RCA is a dedicated platform for river cities to ideate, discuss and exchange information for sustainable management of urban rivers.
  • It focuses on three broad themes- Networking, Capacity Building and Technical Support.
  • RCA includes cities from both Ganga basin and non- Ganga basin states.
  • RCA is a successful partnership of Ministry of Jal Shakti and Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs.

 

https://pib.gov.in/PressReleasePage.aspx?PRID=1898469

 

Keywords: General Studies - 2 Government Intervention and Policies
Daily Current Affairs

Portugal Capital Lisbon - Edukemy Current Affairs


About

  • Independent Committee for Study of Child Abuse in the Catholic Church, set up by Portuguese bishops, has reported abuse of over 4800 children since 1950.
  • Portugal is a South Western European country situated mostly on the Iberian Peninsula.
  • It also has small archipelagos of Madeira and the Azores in the Atlantic Ocean.
  • Political Boundaries: It shares its land border with Spain only and maritime border with Morocco only.

Geographical Points:

  • Highest Point: Pico Volcano on Pico Island of Azores and Serra da Estrela on Mainland.
  • Biggest River: Tagus Tejo River.

 

https://www.wionews.com/world/we-are-outraged-teachers-in-portugal-intensify-their-protest-against-govt-561036

 

Keywords: General Studies - 1, Geographical location
Daily Current Affairs

Atacama Large Millimetre/Submillimetre Array (ALMA)


In News: Recently, a research team from Italy has detected an elusive black galaxy, dubbed invisible using ALMAg ALMA.

About

  • ALMA is a single telescope of revolutionary design, composed of 66 high precision antennas located on the Chajnantor plateau, 5000 meters altitude in northern Chile.
  • It is a state-of-the-art telescope to study light from some of the coldest objects in the Universe.
  • This light has wavelengths of around a millimeter, between infrared light and radio waves, and is therefore known as millimeter and submillimetre radiation.
  • Light at these wavelengths comes from some of the earliest and most distant galaxies in the Universe.
  • ALMA is an international collaboration including teams from Europe, Taiwan, Japan, US, Canada, Chile, Korea, etc.

 

https://www.ndtv.com/feature/elusive-dark-galaxy-revealed-by-alma-telescope-observations-report-3763179 

 

Keywords: General Studies – 3 Science and Technology, Space observatories
Daily Current Affairs

Blackbuck - Edukemy Current Affairs


In News: The blackbuck population has increased threefold in Odisha’s Ganjam district, the only habitat of the most elegant member of the antelope family in the state, over 12 years.

About:

  • The Blackbuck is a species of antelope native to India and Nepal. It is widespread in Rajasthan, Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Odisha, and other areas throughout peninsular India.
  • It has been declared as the State Animal of Punjab, Haryana, and Andhra Pradesh.
  • Major Threats: Habitat Fragmentation, Deforestation, Natural Calamities, Illegal Hunting.

Protection Status:

  • WPA act of 1972 - Schedule - 1
  • IUCN Red List - Near Threatened

 

https://www.downtoearth.org.in/news/wildlife-biodiversity/blackbuck-haven-in-odisha-protection-by-locals-triple-numbers-87652

 

Keywords: General Studies – 3 Environment and Ecology
Daily Current Affairs

Doctrine of Necessity - Edukemy Current Affairs


Context: Recently, Competition Commission of India (CCI) has resumed assessing mergers and acquisition deals, invoking the ‘doctrine of necessity’.

About

  • The term Doctrine of Necessity is a term used to describe the basis on which administrative actions by the administrative authority, which are designed to restore order, are found to be constitutional.
  • The doctrine is based on the writings of the medieval jurist Henry de Bracton.
  • The basic rule underlying this principle is that ‘Justice must not only be done but must also appear to be done’.
  • The doctrine of necessity shields the adjudicators from bias. The doctrine of necessity disqualifies such adjudicators who resort to bias while arriving at decisions. But, there are certain exceptions wherein such biased decisions given by the adjudicator are held valid. The exceptions are as follows
    • There is no availability of another competent person for arbitration.
    • In the absence of whom (the adjudicator) a quorum cannot be formed.
    • There is no possibility of establishing another competent tribunal.

 

https://www.thehindubusinessline.com/economy/back-on-track-cci-resumes-ma-approvals-invokes-doctrine-of-necessity-to-get-around-lack-of-quorum/article66490713.ece/amp/

 

Keywords: General Studies – 2 Polity and Governance
Daily Editorial Analysis

E-commerce and Export - Edukemy Current Affairs


Exam View: India e-commerce Policy, India export policy, free trade agreements, challenges with e-commerce export in India.

India is rapidly becoming one of the top competitors in the global e-commerce market. The fate of "Made in India" products has changed as a result of the massively increased access to the global market that e-commerce is providing to Indian business owners.

Customers still choose digital shelves after enjoying the convenience of internet purchasing during the pandemic. Online shoppers are thought to number 2.14 billion worldwide, and the number is expanding quickly.

This is a great opportunity for Indian businesses to begin seriously considering global potential. Indian entrepreneurs may integrate themselves into global supply chains and build robust export enterprises because of the expansion of the internet, growing e-commerce platforms, manufacturing on demand, simpler access to funding, and flexible models for transportation and shipping.

However, there are bottlenecks related to logistics, cross-border payments, compliance requirements, and more. It will take a lot of work to expand the export opportunities for millions of small businesses across the country.

Challenges with E-Commerce Exports in India

  • Infrastructural Barriers: Lack of proper infrastructure, such as warehousing and transportation, makes it difficult for e-commerce businesses to scale and reach a larger audience.
  • Lack of Standardization: Lack of standardization in terms of product quality, delivery, and customer service can make it difficult for e-commerce businesses to gain a competitive edge.
  • Competition from International Players: Competition from well-established international e-commerce companies can make it difficult for Indian companies to grow and succeed in the global market.
  • Payment and Financial Services: Access to payment and financial services, especially for small businesses, is still a major challenge.
  • Lack of Trust: Customers are often hesitant to make online purchases from unfamiliar websites, which can limit the growth of e-commerce exports.
  • Shipping and Delivery: Shipping and delivery of products to foreign countries can be expensive and time-consuming, leading to dissatisfaction among customers.

Reforms required for leading the global E-commerce Export Market:

  • Simplifying Export Regulations: The government can simplify the export regulations and procedures to make it easier for e-commerce companies to start exporting.
  • Strong Logistics Network: A strong logistics network is crucial for e-commerce exports, and India needs to develop this network to ensure that products reach their destination on time.
  • Creating more awareness about e-commerce exports on the ground is through:
    • Education and training can help in gaining a better understanding of the benefits and opportunities offered by e-commerce exports.
    • Networking events can serve as a platform for businesses and individuals to connect and share ideas.
    • Marketing campaigns can also play a crucial role in creating awareness about e-commerce exports.
  • Improving Infrastructure: India needs to invest in better infrastructure facilities such as roads, ports, and warehouses to make it easier for e-commerce companies to export their products.
  • Encouraging Foreign Investment: The government can encourage foreign investment in the e-commerce sector to bring in more resources and expertise to help companies grow.
  • Strong Partnerships and trade Agreements: The government can build strong partnerships with other countries and organizations to help Indian e-commerce companies access new markets and find new customers.

To achieve this, a trident combined force of the Government, MSMEs, and the industry will have to work together to unlock the huge cross-border trade potential that lies ahead of us. Furthermore, an in-depth understanding of the prevailing challenges in this relatively new segment and developing potential policy and strategy solutions for them are the need of the day, with work cut out for academics, experts, and policy analysts.

 

https://www.thehindubusinessline.com/opinion/e-commerce-can-propel-exports/article66500898.ece

 

Keywords: General Studies -3 Indian Economy, e-commerce sector in India
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