Monday, 12th June 2023

Table of contents

1   Daily Current Affairs

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Cyclone affects the Monsoon onset

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Thaw in US-China Ties and Impact on India

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Mission on Advanced and High-Impact Research (MAHIR)

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CACP Report on Price Policy for Kharif Crop 2023-24

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Lessons from Thailand on Tourism

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Reviving rubber industry - Edukemy Current Affairs

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Cyclone Biparjoy - Edukemy Current Affairs

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Homo naledi - Edukemy Current Affairs

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5th State Food Safety Index - Edukemy Current Affairs

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Respiratory Syncytial Virus - Edukemy Current Affairs

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Genetic Diversity - Edukemy Current Affairs

2   Daily Editorial Analysis

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Technology: Borderless and anonymous

.... Show less Show more
Daily Current Affairs

Cyclone affects the Monsoon onset


In News: The impact of global warming on the monsoons is manifest in the onset, withdrawal, seasonal total rainfall, and its extremes. Global warming also affects the cyclones over the Indian Ocean and the typhoons over the northwestern Pacific Ocean.

About

  • The monsoon is a critical time of year for India, as it brings much-needed rainfall to the country. However, the monsoon can also be affected by cyclones, which can cause widespread damage and disruption.
  • A cyclone is a large, rotating storm that forms over warm ocean waters. When a cyclone forms near the coast of India, it can bring strong winds, heavy rain, and flooding. The cyclone can also disrupt the monsoon, causing it to start later or end earlier than usual.
  • Climate change is making cyclones more intense and destructive. The warmer ocean waters are providing more energy for cyclones to form, and the rising sea levels are making coastal areas more vulnerable to flooding. The Arabian Sea and the Bay of Bengal have both warmed by more than 1º C in recent years. This warming can lead to the formation of stronger cyclones.

Cyclones can impact the onset of the monsoon season in the following ways:

  • Delayed Onset: When a cyclone forms over the Indian Ocean or the Bay of Bengal, it can disrupt the monsoon flow and prevent the advancement of monsoon winds over the Indian subcontinent. The presence of a cyclone system can act as a barrier, inhibiting the northward progression of the monsoon and leading to a delayed onset.
  • Weakening of Monsoon Currents: Cyclones are characterized by intense low-pressure systems accompanied by strong winds. These winds counteract the flow of monsoon winds, reducing their strength and causing a temporary weakening of the monsoon currents. This weakening can further delay the onset of the monsoon season.
  • Redistribution of Atmospheric Moisture: Cyclones draw in moisture from surrounding areas and release it in the form of heavy rainfall within their vicinity. This localized concentration of moisture can lead to a temporary reduction in moisture availability over other regions, affecting the overall moisture balance necessary for the onset of the monsoon.
  • Interaction with Monsoon Systems: Depending on the intensity and location of the cyclone, it can either strengthen or weaken the monsoon circulation. If a cyclone moves parallel to the coast, it may enhance the moisture inflow and intensify the monsoon, while a cyclone moving inland can disrupt the monsoon flow and delay its onset.

 

 

https://www.thehindu.com/sci-tech/energy-and-environment/monsoon-onset-cyclone-biparjoy-climate-change-explained/article66945760.ece/amp/

Keywords: GS-1 Geography
Daily Current Affairs

Thaw in US-China Ties and Impact on India


In News: While the Indian Prime Minister visits USA to discuss building their relationship in light of a greater alignment in Asia and the Indo-Pacific, there seems to progress towards a detente between USA and China.

About US and China Relationships:

  • Trade sanctions: There have been sanctions and increased tariffs imposed on the import items by both the countries. Trade rivalry elevated more due to the confrontational attitude of the previous US president.
  • Support for Taiwan: Nancy Pelosi’s visit and growing military support for Taiwan was not welcomed by China as it was against the One China vision.
  • Contention in South China Sea: China’s claim virtually over the entire South China Sea has been frequently opposed by the USA, which considers stability and security of the Indo pacific essential for global order.
  • Formation of Quadrilateral Alliance: USA along with Japan, India and Australia have formed a diplomatic partnership for promoting stability, resilience and prosperity in the Indo-Pacific is being viewed by China as an attempt to contain China.
  • Technology sanctions such as those put on Huawei and the issue of surveillance by Chinese balloons in American airspace has further strained their relationships.

Various outreach efforts by USA:

  • Rescheduling of Anthony Blinken’s visit after it was cancelled due to China’s balloon incident in USA’s airspace.
  • Secret visit of CIA director to China and meeting with Chinese officials to stabilise the relationship and prevent a possible open conflict. He also emphasised on the importance of maintaining open lines of communications in intelligence channels
  • Visit of US National Security Advisor to China to meet former Foreign Minister Wang Yi where the discussions continued for more than eight hours.
  • Change in approach of USA where in the G7 meeting Biden used the word “de-risk” for their economic engagement with China instead of the more combative “decouple”. USA was not looking to decouple from China but rather to de-risk and diversify their relationship.

Concerns for India:

  • Shared Perception of China’s rise: The US and India have come closer over a shared perception of China’s rise along with greater integration of their economy. Recognition of the sphere of influence of China by the USA would put India into an uncomfortable position.
  • Border Security concern: India’s embrace of Quad and the US Indo-Pacific strategy came after the Doklam standoff in 2018 and the PLA’s incursions into eastern Ladakh in 2020.
  • Concerns over Indo Pacific stability: The shared interests in stabilising the Asian balance of power were the objective realities demanding a solid India-US strategic partnership. A mutual agreement between the USA and China would make India and other Asian countries lose their advantage of the USA's influence.
  • Bilateral defence cooperation: Currently, both India and USA are in talks for a significant elevation of bilateral defence cooperation, including technology transfers and joint defence industrial production.
  • The thaw in US and China relationship could prove to be counterproductive and emergence of a US-China G2 for global stability could become India’s worst nightmare.

However, another perspective of the détente between US and China relationship could be improved regional stability, increase in global trade and peace in the Indo Pacific. This could be possible only when the US tries to push in its key demands of decrease in China’s aggressiveness in the South China Sea.

 

https://indianexpress.com/article/explained/explained-global/express-explained-the-us-china-thaw-8653367/

 

Keywords: GS-2 International relations
Daily Current Affairs

Mission on Advanced and High-Impact Research (MAHIR)


In News: Government is launching Mission on Advanced and High-Impact Research, MAHIR, to quickly identify emerging technologies in the power sector.

About

  • The Mission on Advanced and High-Impact Research (MAHIR) is a significant initiative launched by the Ministry of Power and the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy.
  • It aims to leverage emerging technologies in the power sector through indigenous development and collaboration.

Mission Objectives

  • To identify emerging technologies and areas of future relevance for the Global Power Sector and take up indigenous end-to-end development of relevant technologies
  • To provide a common platform for Power Sector Stakeholders for collective brainstorming, synergetic technology development and devise pathways for smooth transfer of technology
  • To support pilot projects of indigenous technologies (developed especially by Indian Start-ups) and facilitate their commercialization
  • To leverage foreign alliances and partnerships to accelerate research & development of advanced technologies and to build competencies, capabilities and access to advanced technologies through bilateral or multilateral collaborations, thereby facilitating exchange of knowhow and Technology Transfer.
  • To seed, nurture and scale up scientific and industrial R&D and to create vibrant & innovative ecosystem in the Power Sector of the country
  • To make our Nation among the leading Countries in Power System related Technologies & Applications development.

Areas Identified for Research

  • Alternatives to Lithium-Ion storage batteries
  • Modifying electric cookers / pans to suit Indian cooking methods
  • Green hydrogen for mobility (High Efficiency Fuel Cell)
  • Carbon capture
  • Geo-thermal energy
  • Solid state refrigeration.
  • Nano technology for EV battery
  • Indigenous CRGO technology

Funding of the Mission:

  • Pooling resources from the Ministry of Power, Ministry of New & Renewable Energy, and Central Public Sector Enterprises under these ministries and also from the Government of India's budgetary resources.

Structure of the Mission

  • MAHIR mission has a two-tier structure consisting of a Technical Scoping Committee and an Apex Committee.

Scope of the Mission

  • After the identification and approval of research areas, a global invitation will be extended for outcome-linked funding proposals.
  • The selection process for these proposals will be based on a Quality cum Cost-Based Selection (QCBS) method.
  • Funding will be provided for pilot projects involving technologies developed by Indian start-ups, with a focus on facilitating their commercialization.
  • Additionally, there will be a strong emphasis on encouraging international collaboration and promoting technology transfer.

 

https://newsonair.gov.in/News?title=Govt-launching-Mission-on-Advanced-and-High-Impact-Research%2C-MAHIR&id=462147

 

Keywords: GS-3 Environment
Daily Current Affairs

CACP Report on Price Policy for Kharif Crop 2023-24


In News: CACP recommends bringing urea under the nutrient-based subsidy (NBS) regime to address imbalanced use of nutrients.

About CACP Report on Price Policy for Kharif Crop 2023-24:

  • The Commission for Agricultural Costs and Prices (CACP) has recently released its report on the Price Policy for Kharif Crop 2023-24.
  • The report highlights the issue of imbalanced use of nutrients in agriculture and recommends bringing urea under the nutrient-based subsidy (NBS) regime.
  • At present, Urea is excluded from the NBS which is one of the primary reasons for worsening plant nutrient imbalance.
  • Keeping urea out of the NBS allows the government to retain direct control over its maximum retail price (MRP) and subsidy.
  • As per findings, the imbalanced use of nutrients, deficiency of micro and secondary nutrients, and depletion of soil organic carbon have led to declining fertilizer response and
  • Urea's affordability and unchanged price have resulted in higher sales of urea compared to other fertilizers like DAP and NPK leading to its overuse and so negatively impacting soil health.
  • Also, the challenges posed by high and volatile international fertilizer prices are impacting the availability and affordability of fertilizers for farmers.
  • The report emphasizes the need to address nutrient imbalances caused by fertilizer subsidies and recommends capping the number of subsidized bags of fertilizers per farmer.
  • Overall, implementing the cap would not only reduce the government's subsidy burden but also will allow resources to be redirected to agriculture research and development and infrastructure.

 

https://www.downtoearth.org.in/news/agriculture/cacp-recommends-centre-to-bring-urea-under-nbs-regime-to-check-overuse-89907

 

Keywords: GS-3: Agriculture: Government Policies
Daily Current Affairs

Lessons from Thailand on Tourism


In News: Experts opinions that India should learn lessons from Thailand on Tourism

About Lessons from Thailand on Tourism

  • Thailand has in recent years emerged as a successful tourism destination, providing valuable lessons for other countries, including India.
  • It has experienced a significant increase in tourist arrivals, jumping from 30 million in 2015 to 40 million in 2019.
  • Major steps by Thailand:
    • Innovative initiatives like Eathai, a street food concept in the basement of a shopping mall to attract visitors with its diverse offerings and efficient ordering process.
    • The integration of services such as VAT refunds to enhance the overall tourist experience.
    • Visa-free policy has been instrumental in attracting tourists from various countries.
    • Flexibility and responsiveness to industry concerns through initiatives like the removal of the Thailand Pass requirement etc.,
  • India, with 11 million tourists in 2019, can implement successful strategies by adopting genuinely radical measures to revamp its tourism approach such as:
    • Visa-free travel for G20 and Southeast Asian countries to boost tourism.
    • Focusing on attracting foreign tourists through Indian tourism ministry's "Dekho Apna Desh" campaign with a foreigner component in it.
    • Refreshing and reinvigorating its "Incredible India!" campaign to maintain impact factor among foreigners.
    • Removing the need for visas, rather than withdrawing e-visa availability during diplomatic tensions, for a more sensible approach.
  • Overall, implementing the lessons from Thailand can help India build a stronger and more vibrant tourism industry.

 

https://www.livemint.com/opinion/columns/india-could-learn-from-thailand-how-to-boost-tourism-11686157728130.html

 

Keywords: GS-3: Tourism
Daily Current Affairs

Reviving rubber industry - Edukemy Current Affairs


In News: India attempts to revive its dwindling rubber industry

About Reviving rubber industry:

  • India's rubber industry in recent years has faced challenges ranging from falling production to abandoned
  • The decline in rubber production has been attributed to poor returns, high labor costs, and plummeting prices.
  • Despite the rise in demand for natural rubber in India, particularly from the tire industry, the domestic producers have been hurt due to imports as the international rubber prices are usually lower.
  • For revival, the Automotive Tyre Manufacturers Association (ATMA) and the Rubber Board are collaborating to create new rubber plantations in Northeast India and West Bengal.
  • Also, the Genetically modified (GM) rubber plants are being developed to withstand different climatic conditions.
  • GM technology is seen as the future of rubber plantations, offering improved qualities specially to cope up with Climate change which pose a major challenge to rubber farming.
  • Technological solutions such as motorized tapping machines are being adopted to increase efficiency and productivity.
  • Overall, Innovation and revitalization efforts are needed to reverse the decline and promote sustainable growth in the rubber industry.

 

https://www.bbc.com/news/business-65543616

 

Keywords: GS-3: Industries
Daily Current Affairs

Cyclone Biparjoy - Edukemy Current Affairs


In News: Cyclone Biparjoy changes its path, heads to Gujarat coast

About

  • Cyclone Biparjoy was stationed about 850 km west of Goa and 900 km southwest of Mumbai. The IMD has not yet predicted any major impact on countries adjoining the Arabian Sea, including India, Oman, Iran, and Pakistan.
  • ‘Biparjoy’ was suggested by Bangladesh and the word means ‘disaster’ or ‘calamity’ in Bengali.
  • Worldwide, there are six regional specialized meteorological centers (RSMCs) and five regional Tropical Cyclone Warning Centers (TCWCs) mandated for issuing advisories and naming of tropical cyclones.
  • IMD is one of the six RSMCs providing tropical cyclone and storm surge advisories to 13 member countries under the WMO/Economic and Social Commission for Asia-Pacific (ESCAP) Panel.
  • RSMC, New Delhi, is also mandated to name the tropical cyclones developing over the north Indian Ocean, including the Bay of Bengal and the Arabian Sea.
  • Some rules are to be followed while naming cyclones, such as being neutral to politics, religious beliefs, cultures, and gender, avoiding offensive or cruel names, and keeping the name short and easy to pronounce.
  • After Bangladesh, the next cyclone will be named ‘Tej’ based on India’s suggestion.

 

https://indianexpress.com/article/india/alert-sounded-as-cyclone-biparjoy-changes-its-path-heads-to-gujarat-coast-8657697/

 

Keywords: GS-1 Geography
Daily Current Affairs

Homo naledi - Edukemy Current Affairs


In News: Discoveries within the Cradle of Humankind’s limestone caves in South Africa are changing the way scientists understand human evolution.

About

  • It is a species of human discovered in the Rising Star cave system, a UNESCO World Heritage Site in South Africa in 2013.
  • The remains of at least 15 individuals, including adults, juveniles, and infants, were found, making it the largest collection of a single hominin species in Africa.
  • Homo naledi exhibits a combination of primitive and modern features and is not a direct ancestor of modern humans.
  • These short-statured, small-brained ancient cousins are thought to have lived in Southern Africa between 335,000 and 241,000 years ago (possibly up to 2 million years ago).

https://www.cnn.com/2023/06/10/world/homo-naledi-science-newsletter-wt-scn/index.html

 

Keywords: GS-3 Science
Daily Current Affairs

5th State Food Safety Index - Edukemy Current Affairs


In News: The Food Safety Index evaluates the performance of states and Union territories across different aspects of food safety.

About

  • State Food Safety Index was developed by Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI), a statutory body under the Ministry of Health & Family Welfare.
  • First State Food Safety Index was released in 2019
  • The index is a benchmarking model that provides an objective framework for evaluating food safety across all States/UTs.

The parameters include:

  • Human Resources and Institutional Data
  • Compliance
  • Food Testing – Infrastructure and Surveillance
  • Training & Capacity Building and Consumer Empowerment.
  • Top performers in the 5th edition were Kerala (Large states), Goa (small state) and J&K (UTs).

 

https://www.newindianexpress.com/nation/2023/jun/08/food-safety-index-2023-kerala-punjab-lead-tn-slips-to-3rd-spot-2582948.html

 

Keywords: GS-3 Economy
Daily Current Affairs

Respiratory Syncytial Virus - Edukemy Current Affairs


In News: European regulators have approved the region's first vaccine for respiratory syncytial virus (RSV), which causes thousands of hospitalisations and deaths annually.

About

  • Respiratory syncytial virus, or RSV, is a common respiratory virus that usually causes mild, cold-like symptoms. Most people recover in a week or two, but RSV can be serious, especially for infants and older adults.
  • RSV is the most common cause of bronchiolitis (inflammation of the small airways in the lung) and pneumonia (infection of the lungs) in children younger than 1 year of age.
  • There is no reliable cure available for RSV infection.

 

https://www.reuters.com/business/healthcare-pharmaceuticals/eu-authorises-gsks-rsv-vaccine-2023-06-07/

 

Keywords: GS: 3 Science
Daily Current Affairs

Genetic Diversity - Edukemy Current Affairs


In News: Genetic diversity depends on species with larger body sizes, mother care.

About

  • Genetic diversity refers to the variation in genes within a population, species, or ecosystem. It encompasses the range of different genetic traits and combinations present among individuals.
  • Genetic diversity is essential for the survival and adaptation of organisms to changing environments, as it provides the raw material for natural selection to act upon.
  • It increases a population's ability to resist diseases, withstand environmental pressures, and maintain long-term viability.
  • The loss of genetic diversity can have detrimental effects, as it reduces the ability of a population or species to adapt and survive in the face of challenges.
  • Preserving and promoting genetic diversity is crucial for the conservation of biodiversity and the sustainability of ecosystems.

 

https://www.thehindu.com/sci-tech/science/genetic-diversity-depends-on-species-with-larger-body-sizes-mother-care-ccmb-scientists/article66942567.ece

 

Keywords: GS-3
Daily Editorial Analysis

Technology: Borderless and anonymous


Exam View: Challenges by explosion of technology; India and global technological order

Context: India, as the G-20 chair, can take the lead in shaping this era of high technology, where geography-based rules are no longer easily enforceable simply because of the declining significance of conventional geographical borders.

Decoding the editorial: Challenges by explosion of technology

Challenge to the notion of a nation-state

  • A nation-state is a territorially-bounded sovereign polity.
  • While geographical boundaries are still essential to be safeguarded against physical aggression/invasion, there are now several externalities occurring across the borders of nation-states, i.e. cyber-attacks, which have a ripple effect on the physical boundaries to challenge their socio-economic and political existence.
  • The advent of Web3, massive peer-to-peer networks and blockchains has allowed actors, both state and non-state, to influence areas such as trade, commerce, health and education even while remaining outside of financial and judicial scope.

Geography-based rules are no longer easily enforceable

  • Absence of a globally-accepted norms:
    • When such activities fall foul of the laws of a particular geographically-determined nation-state, it is extremely difficult to enforce the law in that particular geography and book the recalcitrant actors under the laws of the nation-state.
    • It is difficult to collect incontrovertible evidence without cooperation from other geographies.
    • When the national sovereignty of countries is challenged by activities beyond their physical boundaries, their existing constitutionally set-up institutions comprising the executive, legislature and judiciary will prove inadequate in tackling them.
  • Problems in enforceability:
    • It is also difficult to establish applicability of any country-specific legislation due to the universal nature of technology, leading to problems in enforceability.

Newer technologies expose the incapacity of the government to administer

  • A nation-state is no longer the only conduit through which multinational corporations, non-governmental organisations and supranational organisations, both legitimate and illegitimate, state and non-state actors, need to operate.
  • These entities have transcended physical boundaries to collaborate with the rest of the world, independent of traditional administrative and regulatory institutions.
    • For example: Topographical maps, which used to be produced by public and military institutions, are now available entirely by private non-state actors, such as Apple or Google Maps.

New-age imperialism

  • On the economic side, “with a valuation of more than $4,100 billion, the five largest American tech companies (Google, Amazon, Facebook, Apple, and Microsoft) have symbolically surpassed Germany’s GDP (the world’s fourth largest economy) in terms of valuation”.
  • One of the most important levers of these companies is data and their use.
  • Only a handful of companies now hold unparalleled economic power and influence over it.

India and global technological order

  • India desires a principle-based global order for technology
    • It would help in streamlining the enforceability challenges in the adoption and diffusion of technology and providing guidance to emerging economies on how to deal with the evolving definitions of their sovereignty.
  • As per India, there is a need for digital health framework
    • It should be inclusive of a data-sharing ecosystem based on privacy, free flow of data, and a global regulatory system trusted by all countries or nation-states, particularly developing countries.
    • As seen in the case of the COVID-19 pandemic, the way forward in managing future global pandemics is probably by the adoption of digital health.

  • India has emphasised upon the need to have a globally-coordinated approach to the regulation of digital assets.
    • The Finance Minister while addressing a meeting with the International Monetary Fund on the guidelines of a G-20 event on virtual private digital assets, emphasised the potential risks digital assets pose to the world’s financial ecosystem.

With India, as the current chair of the G-20, this is the perfect opportunity to take leadership in resolving these issues.

 

Source:

https://www.thehindu.com/opinion/op-ed/a-global-order-as-technologys-much-needed-pole-star/article66938860.ece/amp/

Keywords: GS Paper-3: IT & Computers, Mobilisation of resources. GS Paper-2: Groupings and agreements involving India and/or affecting India’s interests.
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