Thursday, 4th May 2023

Table of contents

1   Editorial of the day

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Role of Nuclear power in Climate Change Strategy

2   Daily Current Affairs

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Local Reservation in Job - Edukemy Current Affairs

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ECI Advisory to Star Campaigner

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IF-CAP - ADB - Edukemy Current Affairs

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No Priority for Worker dues after Liquidation under IBC: SC

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Cross-Border Collaboration Vital for Tiger Conservation

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TRANS- FAT ELIMINATION VALIDATION PROGRAMME

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African Swine Fever and Pygmy Hog

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Psychedelic Substances - Edukemy Current Affairs

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Returns to Root Project - Edukemy Current Affairs

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Clearing Corporation (CC) - Edukemy Current Affairs

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ASEAN-India Maritime Exercise (AIME)

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RBI’s Gold Reserves - Edukemy Current Affairs

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Organ on a Chips - Edukemy Current Affairs

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Northern Lights (Aurora Borealis)

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Editorial of the day

Role of Nuclear power in Climate Change Strategy


Exam View: Status of Nuclear Energy, Advantages of Nuclear Energy, Concern with Nuclear Energy, Way Forward

Context: The recent announcement of collaboration between National Thermal Power Corp (NTPC) and Nuclear Power Corp of India Ltd (NPCIL), jointly developing nuclear power plants of 4.2GW capacity by 2035 is a welcome step towards a march to meet the net zero target.

Status of Nuclear Energy:

Nuclear power is considered as being the only source of energy suitable to support continuous industrialisation and urbanisation.

  • Nuclear energy is the fifth-largest source of electricity in India, contributing about 3% of India’s total electricity generation.
  • NPCIL is the public sector enterprise under the Department of Atomic Energy entrusted with the task of nuclear power generation in the country.
  • India currently has over 22 nuclear reactors in 7 power plants across the country, which together produce 6,780 MW of nuclear power.
  • Reasons for limited expansion of nuclear energy in India:
    • Safety concerns.
    • High initial cost of setting up a nuclear power plant.
    • India’s policy framework which makes nuclear power a public sector monopoly.

Globally Nuclear energy is seeing re-emergence post energy crisis after Ukraine- Russia war. Although Germany has shut down its last reactors, other advanced countries are working to scale them up.

  • France relies on nuclear energy for about 70% of its power requirements.
  • The US gets 20% of its electricity from nuclear power.
  • The UK, South Korea and Japan, the site of the 2011 Fukushima accident, are planning to increase the share of nuclear power in their electricity mix.
  • China is targeting a 10% share of nuclear power in its energy mix by 2035.

Advantages of Nuclear Energy:

  • Clean Fuel: The carbon emissions from a nuclear power plant are much lower than a traditional thermal power plant thus enabling India to meet its Climate Goals.
  • Limitations attached to other renewable energy sources: Renewable energy sources like wind, solar etc. have certain challenges associated with them such as:
    • Solar and wind energy generation is land-intensive and needs energy storage systems, making them unsuitable as a base load source of electricity.
    • Intermittent nature of other renewable sources, presenting challenges for grid management.
  • Reduce Indian imports: India draws nearly 63% of its total energy generation from thermal sources dependent on coal and gas leading to large import bills. Nuclear energy could reduce imports and the country's current account deficit.
  • Resource Base: India has vast thorium reserves which could be exploited using a thermal breeder reactor.
  • Address the huge demand supply gap in India due to its rapidly growing economy. Focusing on nuclear now will help India to tackle those challenges.

Concerns with Nuclear Energy:

  • Transportation, storage and disposal of Nuclear Waste: Nuclear waste generated during electricity generation have radioactive and cancerous properties. Its safe disposal becomes a big concern.
  • Nuclear Disaster: Radiation leaks from reactors can prove fatal for human beings as nuclear radiation can cause genetic defects, mutations and other physiological defects. Example Chernobyl, 1986 and Fukushima, 2011.
  • Cost Overruns: Nuclear power plants are capital intensive and recent nuclear builds have suffered major cost overruns due to delays in projects. Capital cost of nuclear power plants are 2.5 times that of coal-based plants
  • Safety Concerns following the Fukushima accident have led to protests against each planned reactor turning locals against the nuclear projects.
  • Inadequate Foreign Research: Since 2010, an incompatibility between India’s civil liability law and international conventions has limited the provision of foreign technology in nuclear research.

Way Forward:

  • Permission to private players to venture into the field of nuclear energy, combined with strong institutional arrangements for a suitably empowered independent regulatory authority that will enforce safety standards on all operators
  • Commercialising small modular reactors (SMRs), which are typically under 300 MW in capacity which could reduce costs by enabling prefabrication of reactor units in factories.
  • Amendments to Civil Liability for Nuclear Damage Act, 2010, to bring private companies into the country’s nuclear power sector, which extends liability to suppliers of nuclear equipment in case an equipment failure leads to a disaster.

 

Source:

https://www.livemint.com/opinion/columns/expanding-nuclear-power-in-india-opportunities-and-challenges-for-private-sector-participation-and-policy-reform-11683139229040.html

Keywords: GS-3 Science and Technology- developments, Infrastructure-Energy
Daily Current Affairs

Local Reservation in Job - Edukemy Current Affairs


In News: Happening Haryana slips as investments drop amid worries over law reserving jobs for locals.

About

  • The state's share of new investment projects in the country has decreased to 1.06% in 2022-23, the lowest in six years, as a result of the implementation of Local Reservation Law in jobs. This has led to a decline in the number of new investment projects received by the state compared to previous years, with only a 3% share in the previous year.
  • In 2022, Haryana implemented the Haryana State Employment of Local Candidates Act, 2020, which reserved 75% of private sector jobs with monthly salaries up to Rs 30,000 specifically for individuals from the local area.
  • Job reservation Bills or laws for domiciles have also been announced in other States including Andhra Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh and Jharkhand.

Constitutionally Validity

  • The Constitution of India, as per Article 16, does not explicitly prohibit the implementation of reservations based on domicile or residence.
  • Consequently, it appears constitutionally permissible to prioritize local candidates for local job opportunities, considering that these individuals bear the brunt of any negative externalities resulting from job-creating establishments.

 

https://www.thehindu.com/business/Industry/happening-haryana-slips-as-investment-address/article66797708.ece

 

Keywords: GS-2 Polity and Constitution
Daily Current Affairs

ECI Advisory to Star Campaigner


In News: The Election Commission of India (ECI), taking serious note of plummeting level of campaign discourse during ongoing General Elections to Karnataka Legislative Assembly has issued an advisory to all National and State Parties and candidates to exercise caution and restraint in their utterances during campaigning.

About the ECI advisory:

  • ECI has been made aware of instances of inappropriate vocabulary and language used during the on-going campaign by persons, in particular, by those invested with the statutory status of star campaigner.
  • ECI noted that National Parties and Star Campaigners enjoy extra enablement within the Representation of People Act and advised the parties and stakeholders to remain within the confines of the Model Code of Conduct (MCC) and the legal framework in their utterances while campaigning.
  • ECI also advised that campaigners are expected to contribute in maintaining and raising the level of discourse to “issue” based debate, provide pan India perspective, depth to the local discourse and to reassure all sections of electors to participate fully and fearlessly in a free and fair election.
  • ECI noted that as per the MCC, use of provocative and inflammatory statements, use of intemperate and abusive language transgressing the limits of decency and attacks on the character and conduct of political rivals vitiates the level playing field.
  • Thus, the Commission has directed CEOs to ensure widest publicity of this advisory and compliance thereof failing which appropriate action must be initiated as per regulatory & legal framework.

Source: 

https://pib.gov.in/PressReleasePage.aspx?PRID=1921454

Keywords: GS-2 Representation of People's Act, Indian Constitution, Powers of Constitutional Bodies
Daily Current Affairs

IF-CAP - ADB - Edukemy Current Affairs


In News: The multilateral funding agency Asian Development Bank (ADB) is planning to raise funds in rupee-denominated bonds to finance projects in India and announced the Innovative Finance Facility for Climate in Asia and the Pacific (IF-CAP) program to accelerate climate change financing in the region.

About IF-CAP:

  • ADB's intention to provide $20 billion-$25 billion in resources over five years was to advance the country's aspirations for fast, inclusive, and green growth.
  • India has also been seeking an increase in investments in priority sectors of clean energy, infrastructure spending and climate financing from multilateral lending institutions.
  • In line with climate change financing requirements, ADB announced its newest climate finance program: the Innovative Finance Facility for Climate in Asia and the Pacific (IF-CAP), which will use guarantees from partners for leverage to accelerate billions of dollars in much-needed climate change investment
  • IF-CAP's initial partners are Denmark, Japan, the Republic of Korea, Sweden, the United Kingdom, and the United States.
  • Intended Benefits of IF-CAP
    • With a model of '$1 in, $5 out', the initial ambition of $3 billion in guarantees could create up to $15 billion in new loans for much-needed climate projects across Asia and the Pacific, he said.
    • Financing will help vulnerable countries in Asia and the Pacific region meet their mitigation and adaptation goals.
    • It will support ADB’s raised ambition for $100 billion in climate finance from 2019-2030.

 

Source:

https://www.thehindu.com/business/Economy/asian-development-bank-may-look-at-fresh-issuance-of-rupee-denominated-bonds/article66802871.ece

Keywords: GS-3 Indian Economy and mobilization of resources.
Daily Current Affairs

No Priority for Worker dues after Liquidation under IBC: SC


In News: The Supreme Court (SC) endorsed a provision of the Companies Act, 2013, that says workers' dues will not get preferential payment in case of liquidation under the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code (IBC), 2016.

About the News:

  • The SC bench was hearing a batch of petitions led by Moser Baer Karamchari Union seeking to strike down Section 327(7) of the Companies Act, 2013 as arbitrary and violative of Article 21.
  • The bench stated that the waterfall mechanism is based on a structured mathematical formula, and the hierarchy is created in terms of payment of debts in order of priority with several qualifications.
  • Striking down any one of the provisions or rearranging the hierarchy in the waterfall mechanism may lead to several trips and disrupt the working of the equilibrium as a whole and stasis, resulting in instability.
  • The bench also added that every change in the waterfall mechanism is bound to lead to cascading effects on the balance of rights and interests of the secured creditors, operational creditors and even the Central and state governments.

About the Waterfall Mechanism:

  • It is a mechanism of liquidation applied when a debtor cannot repay the credit creditors. It enlists the order of priority for the distribution of assets during liquidation of the company.
  • In the waterfall mechanism, after the costs of the insolvency resolution process and liquidation, secured creditors share the highest priority along with a defined period of dues of the workmen.
  • Under Section 53 of IBC, the unpaid dues of the workmen are adequately protected and the secured creditors take significant haircuts for workmen to be compensated on an equitable basis in a just and proper manner.

Source:

https://economictimes.indiatimes.com/news/economy/policy/no-priority-for-worker-dues-after-liquidation-under-ibc/articleshow/99943689.cms

Keywords: GS-3 Government Policies & Interventions, Transparency & Accountability
Daily Current Affairs

Cross-Border Collaboration Vital for Tiger Conservation


In News: The Bangladesh environment minister while supporting the creation of the International Big Cats Alliance (IBCA) for protection and conservation of seven big cats, stressed on the need for strengthening the Trans boundary collaboration.

About the News:

  • Bangladesh Minister at International Conference on Tiger Conservation at Mysuru, organised as part of 50 years of Project Tiger, presented Bangladesh’s vision to double the number of wild tigers by achieving zero poaching targets with the active participation of the local community.
  • Bangladesh is implementing the National Tiger Recovery Program (2022 to 2034) and the second-generation Bangladesh Tiger Action Plan (2018-2027) which includes tiger survey; genetic study; SMART patrolling and monitoring Sundarbans with drones.
  • Capacity building programs for frontline staff of the Forest Department as well as the local community to ensure protection & conservation of Sundarbans and Bengal tigers is carried out.
  • Bangladesh and India signed a protocol for strengthening collaboration for the Conservation of the Royal Bengal Tiger in the Sundarbans in 2011.
  • Wildlife Crime Control Unit has been established under the Forest Department to combat illegal wildlife trade and to strengthen the capacity of wildlife education, research and training.
  • The Bangladesh government is engaging the local community in tiger conservation activities by forming a Village Tiger Response Team, Co-management Committee and Community Petrol Group to mitigate tiger-human conflicts.

Source:

https://www.tbsnews.net/bangladesh/transboundary-collaboration-india-needed-bengal-tiger-conservation-minister-614190

 

Keywords: GS-3 Conservation, Government Policies & Interventions
Daily Current Affairs

TRANS- FAT ELIMINATION VALIDATION PROGRAMME


In News: WHO Launches Trans-Fat Elimination Validation Program for Countries

About Trans-Fat Elimination Validation Programme

  • It is an initiative by the World Health Organization (WHO) to recognize countries that have eliminated industrially produced trans-fat from their national food supplies.
  • The program aims to promote the elimination of trans-fat globally and to protect the heart health of people.
  • The first annual meeting of the Trans-Fat Elimination Technical Advisory Group will evaluate the applications submitted by countries for the WHO Validation Certificate.
  • To qualify for the certificate, countries must demonstrate that a best-practice trans-fat policy has been implemented and that adequate monitoring and enforcement systems are in place.
  • At present, there are 44 countries currently having best-practice policies in effect, covering 37% of the world population.
  • An additional six countries have passed best-practice policies that will come into effect soon, extending protections to 44% of the world population.
  • By enacting and implementing best-practice policies now, countries can qualify during a future cycle to receive recognition from WHO.

 

https://www.who.int/news/item/14-04-2023-who-trans-fat-elimination-validation-program-is-now-open-for-country-applications

 

Keywords: GS-III: International bodies and initiatives
Daily Current Affairs

African Swine Fever and Pygmy Hog


In News: African Swine fever threatens India’s Pygmy Hog and other Asian Wild Pig Species

About African Swine Fever and Pygmy Hog

  • African Swine Fever (ASF) is a livestock illness that has been affecting porcine populations in Asia since its emergence in China in 2018.
  • Wild pig species, such as pigmy hogs and the Visayan warty pig of the Philippines, are at risk due to their small populations and limited ranges.

Pigmy Hog:

  • The pygmy hog or Porcula salvinia is the world's smallest and rarest wild pig species with IUCN status of critically endangered in India.
  • It is listed as Critically Endangered by the IUCN and in Schedule I of the Indian Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972.
  • The species was historically known from only a few locations in northern West Bengal and north-western Assam in India besides in Nepal and Bhutan.
  • It measures about 65 cm in length, with a head and body length range of 55–71 cm and adult animals weigh 6·6–9·7 kg.
  • Pygmy Hogs prefer undisturbed patches of grassland dominated by early successional riverine communities.
  • They feed on roots, tubers, shoots, and ground vegetation, along with worms and other invertebrates and, probably, small vertebrates.

 

https://www.downtoearth.org.in/news/wildlife-biodiversity/african-swine-fever-threatens-india-s-pygmy-hog-other-asian-wild-pig-species-science-article-89008

 

Keywords: GS-III: Environment, Conservation
Daily Current Affairs

Psychedelic Substances - Edukemy Current Affairs


In News: Doctors mulls research to find possibility of depression treatment using Psychedelics

About Psychedelic Substances

  • Psychedelics are a group of drugs that alter perception, mood, and thought processing while a person is still clearly conscious.
  • The two most commonly used psychedelics are d-lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD) and psilocybin while the less common ones include mescaline and N, N-dimethyltryptamine.
  • Psychedelics work by boosting brain serotonin levels and have therapeutic effects that require a 'trip' mediated by the activation of specific receptors in the brain.
  • Psychedelics are non-addictive and non-toxic and compared to illicit drugs, they cause much less harm to the end-user.
  • The term 'psychedelic' was first used in 1957 by a psychiatrist named Humphrey Osmond to denote the therapeutic tendency of these drugs to 'unmask' repressed elements of the psyche.
  • The modern-day use of psychedelics is commonly associated with the German chemist Arthur Heffter isolating mescaline from the peyote cactus in 1897
  • Psychedelics have a long history of use in ceremonial, healing, and spiritual rituals, dating back millennia.
  • Between 1947 and 1967, LSD was widely used as a therapeutic catalyst in psychotherapy, until it was criminalized in the Nixon era.
  • Ketamine, a dissociative anesthetic with psychedelic properties, is currently used under strict medical supervision to treat treatment-resistant depression.
  • Research has suggested that psychedelics may have the potential in treating depression, anxiety, PTSD, addiction, and other mental health disorders.

 

https://www.thehindu.com/sci-tech/science/psychedelic-drugs-recreational-use-medicinal-use-treatment-resistant-depression/article66789786.ece

 

Keywords: GS-III: Science and Tech
Daily Current Affairs

Returns to Root Project - Edukemy Current Affairs


Why in news? Recently, Australia High Commission in India announced grants for Project "Return to Roots" in Kargil of Ladakh.

About:

  • The project “Return to Roots” aims to integrate traditional knowledge with the current school science curriculum in alignment with the goals of the National Education Policy which includes increasing scientific engagement among school children of the tribal background.
  • This project is expected to have significant benefits for the Kargil region.
  • Benefits:
    • It will provide a unique opportunity for students to learn about their culture and heritage while also gaining valuable scientific knowledge.
    • The project is also expected to promote greater engagement with the local community and foster a sense of pride in their traditions.
  • This was announced during a Special Meeting at Srinagar chaired by the Australian high commissioner to India.

https://newsonair.com/2023/05/02/australian-high-commission-in-india-announces-its-government-grant-for-project-in-kargil/

 

Keywords: General Studies –2 Government Policies & Interventions
Daily Current Affairs

Clearing Corporation (CC) - Edukemy Current Affairs


Why in news? Recently, European Securities and Markets Authority (ESMA) has withdrawn recognition of six Clearing Corporation in India.

About:

  • Clearing Corporation is an organization associated with an exchange to handle the confirmation, settlement, and delivery of transactions in a prompt and efficient manner.
  • Clearing Corporation of India was first introduced under the ministry of the central counterparty in April 2001.
  • Clearing Corporation of India (CCIL), Indian Clearing Corporation Ltd, NSE Clearing Ltd, Multi Commodity Exchange Clearing, India International Clearing Corporation, and NSE IFSC Clearing Corporation are the six clearing corporations.

 

https://m.economictimes.com/markets/stocks/news/eu-market-regulator-withdraws-recognition-of-6-indian-clearing-corporations/articleshow/99936279.cms

 

Keywords: General Studies –3 Indian Economy & Related Issues
Daily Current Affairs

ASEAN-India Maritime Exercise (AIME)


Why in news? Recently, India sent two frontline warships to take part in the first-ever ASEAN-India maritime exercise (AIME-2023).

About:

  • AIME-2023 is the first time India has been involved in exercises with the ASEAN though there have been exercises with ASEAN nations separately.
    • Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) is a regional intergovernmental organization comprising ten Southeast Asian countries.
  • Two major Indian Navy warships-- the INS Delhi, an indigenously built destroyer, and INS Satpura, a Shivalik-class, recently built modern stealth frigate-- are part of the exercise.
  • Aim: Enhancing interoperability and exchange of best practices among participating navies.
  • With AIME-2023, India becomes the 4th ASEAN dialogue partner, after Russia, China and the US, to hold the ASEAN+1 maritime exercise.
  • The maiden exercise will be conducted off the coast of Singapore and will feature harbour and at-sea events off the coast of Singapore.

 

https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/inaugural-asean-india-maritime-exercise-in-south-china-sea-from-may-2-8/article66800942.ece

 

Keywords: General Studies –3 Defence
Daily Current Affairs

RBI’s Gold Reserves - Edukemy Current Affairs


Why in news? Recently, Reserve Bank of India’s total gold reserves has reached a new high to around 800 tonnes.

About:

  • RBI has consistently increased its gold holdings for past five fiscal years through February 2023.
  • This was done to bolster and diversify its reserves amid rising global economic uncertainty and geopolitical tensions, which threaten to diminish the value of world’s reserve currency, the dollar.
  • Global forex reserves held by Central Banks comprise currencies like dollar, euro, pound, other currencies, gold and IMF’s currency quotas called Special Drawing Rights (SDR).
    • SDR is defined as a basket of five currencies namely the U.S. dollar, the Euro, the Chinese Renminbi, the Japanese Yen, and the British Pound Sterling.

 

https://www.livemint.com/news/india/rbi-acquires-10-tonnes-of-gold-in-march-quarter-among-top-five-gold-buyers-as-central-banks-diversify-reserves-11683049997410.html

 

Keywords: General Studies –3 Economy
Daily Current Affairs

Organ on a Chips - Edukemy Current Affairs


Why in news? Recently, the organ-on-a-chip developer Emulate has raised $82 million to boost its offerings aimed at replicating human biology through easier-to-manage in vitro cellular models.

About:

  • Organ-on-a-chip is a microfluidic device that aims to mimic the structure and function of specific human organs or tissues in vitro.
  • It is also known as micro physiological systems or “tissue chips”.
  • These recapitulate the complex structures and functions of living human organs.
  • It is a small, transparent chip made of biocompatible materials such as silicon, glass, or polymers, and contains tiny channels lined with living cells.
  • The living cells are derived from human tissues and can be cultured to replicate the microenvironment of the specific organ being modelled.
  • Organ-chips are designed to accurately recreate the natural physiology and mechanical forces that cells experience in the human body.
  • Chips are lined with living human cells and their tiny fluidic channels reproduce blood and/or air flow just as in the human body.
  • It comprises advanced in vitro technology that enables experimentation with biological cells and tissues outside the body.
  • It has numerous potential applications, including drug development, disease modelling, and toxicity testing.

Examples:

    • Lung-on-a-chip mimics the air-blood interface in the lungs
    • Heart-on-a-chip mimics the mechanical and electrical properties of the heart
    • Liver-on-a-chip replicates the metabolic activity of the liver.
    • Brain-on-a-chip models the blood-brain barrier and neural activity in the brain

 

https://www.sciencedirect.com/topics/medicine-and-dentistry/organ-on-a-chip

 

Keywords: General Studies – 3 Science & Technology, Biotechnology
Daily Current Affairs

Northern Lights (Aurora Borealis)


Why in news? Recently, Indian Astronomical Observatory captured the phenomenon of Northern Lights in Ladakh (34-36°N) for the first time.

About:

  • The Northern Lights and Southern Lights are natural light display that occurs in the polar regions.
  • It occurs when incoming charged particles from the sun strike oxygen and nitrogen and interact with earth’s magnetosphere.
  • Although most of the particles are blocked by magnetosphere, some of the ions become trapped in ring-shaped around planet and are seen as Northern lights.
  • Conditions to have witnessed aurora lights are a clear sky, no clouds, and total darkness.
  • This was the first time that the aurora was captured on camera in India by the Indian Astronomical Observatory. The auroras are normally seen at higher altitudes in parts of Alaska, Norway, and other countries.

 

https://m.timesofindia.com/etimes/trending/india-captures-the-rare-aurora-lights-on-camera-for-the-first-time/articleshow/99930846.cms

 

Keywords: General Studies –1 Geography
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