Thursday, 6th April 2023

Table of contents

1   Editorial of the day

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India and South Asia - Edukemy Current Affairs

2   Daily Current Affairs

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National Electricity Plan for 2022-27

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Syndicated Loan - Edukemy Current Affairs

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Skyroot test fire 3-D printed engine

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Pattanam Site - Edukemy Current Affairs

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Catalyst offers to make hydrogen more viable as fuel

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Turkey Objection to Sweden NATO membership

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Internet connectivity in Andaman and Nicobar Island

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Seed Bank at Asola Bhatti Sanctuary

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New Butterfly: C. bromus in Kerala

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Bandipur Tiger Reserve - Edukemy Current Affairs

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Artificial meteor shower - Edukemy Current Affairs

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Sodium cyanide (NaCN) - Edukemy Current Affairs

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Editorial of the day

India and South Asia - Edukemy Current Affairs


Exam view: Uncertainties in South Asia; Unique Indian Values; Way forward for India in South Asia; India and SAARC.

In News: Amid growing unpredictability in the South Asian region, a noteworthy publication titled "India's Relations with her Neighbours," authored by K. Subrahmanyam, an eminent member of India's strategic affairs community, was released in March 1987 through Strategic Analysis, the premier journal of the Institute for Defence Studies and Analyses (IDSA). This document offers potential solutions to address the current situation.

Unique Indian values

  • The South Asian region constitutes an integrated civilisational area bound together by shared religions, languages, cultural traditions and blood ties. Yet, the values underlying the Indian state stand out.

Secularism and linguistic autonomy

  • They were compulsions, if Indian unity and integrity were to be preserved.
  • However, for countries like Pakistan and Bangladesh and sometimes India too, there is a conflict between those would like to build social, political and economic structures and processes on the basis of continually evolving knowledge and those who would like to freeze such evolution, arguing that societal structures and processes should be based on traditions, scriptures and belief systems formulated centuries ago.

Democracy and federalism

  • India pursued these values because they were not just imported western values but because they were absorbed and internalised during India’s century-long freedom struggle.
  • Democracy was no more an import than Islam or Christianity in India.
  • India had endured because of its enormous capacity to absorb, internalise, modify and transform, and yet retain its personality.
  • Hence, local government, free press, trade union rights, liberal democratic multiparty competitive politics, adult suffrage, secular outlook and acceptance of the state as a vehicle of development became planks in the freedom struggle.

India as a unity

  • The unity and integrity of a nation must be based on a social contract among the people to be formulated and sustained through representative structures.
  • According to western scholars, India was never united before the British brought the whole country under a single administrative structure.
  • However, three or four centuries ago, there were no nation states anywhere in the world. Even at that stage in the world outside India, there was widespread recognition of India and Hindustan as a unity in terms of culture, civilisation, and even administrative structure.
  • The British Queen, Elizabeth I, granted a charter to the East India Company. The westerners named the ocean around India as the Indian Ocean.
  • It is such shared historical memories that bind a people together as a nation, not language and not religion.

Way forward for India in South Asia:

  • Economic and technological growth: With growth, India’s neighbours will adjust themselves to the Indian reality and stop thinking in terms of invoking China and other extra-regional powers as countervailing factors.
  • India should develop its military power: This is necessitated to respond to the pressures of this age of coercive diplomacy.
  • Focus on relations with the industrialised world: India’s diplomacy as distinct from its aid programmes, trade and people-to-people interaction, should place less emphasis on its South Asian neighbours.
  • Low key role in the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC): India’s neighbours want this and India should exercise extreme patience till such time as its neighbours realise how much it can help them in their nation-building.
  • Reciprocity: It is a basic requirement for cooperation on issues such as river waters and the use of natural resources.

Source:

https://epaper.thehindu.com/ccidist-ws/th/th_delhi/issues/31435/OPS/G5FB30815.1+G63B30LHU.1.html

Keywords: GS Paper-2: International relations
Daily Current Affairs

National Electricity Plan for 2022-27


In News: The National Electricity Plan (NEP) 2022-27 has been rolled out which marks a discernible reversal in the policy thrust from its last edition.

About National electricity Plan:

  • As per Section 3 of the Electricity Act 2003, Central Electricity Authority (CEA) has to prepare the National Electricity Plan (NEP) in accordance with the National Electricity Policy and to notify such plan once in five years.
  • CEA shall prepare NEP that would be for a short-term framework of 5 years while giving a 15-year prospective plan to forecast long term demand of different regions
  • The 1st NEP was notified in August, 2007 and the current NEP includes a review of the period 2017-22, detailed capacity addition requirements during the years 2022-27 and Perspective Plan projections for the years 2027-32.

Major Highlight of NEP 2022-2027:

  • Shift towards coal energy: The fresh draft, in a tacit admission of the ground realities, cites the need for fresh coal-based capacity ranging from 17 GW to nearly 28 GW till 2031-32.
  • Reversal from past trends, where the focus was almost entirely on renewable energy for incremental capacity addition and fresh coal-fired capacity was virtually ruled out.
  • Increase in battery storage investments as by 2031-32, projected battery storage requirement would be between 51 GW to 84GW with a daily usage rate of 5-hours. This would translate into investments between Rs 5- 8 lakh crore in battery storage systems over the next ten years.
  • Increase in plant load factors of coal-fired power plants from 55% up to 2026-27 to 62 % in 2031-32 is projected.
  • Alternate options available for capacity augmentation:
    • Battery Energy Storage systems (BESS) especially based on Lithium - ion batteries are one of the storage options. Since the cost of BESS is reducing and it has various advantages of balancing the grid against load fluctuations, intermittency in generation etc., it can provide energy time-shifting and is suitable for large scale deployment.
    • Hybrid generation models blended with off-stream pumped storage projects, where surplus solar power could be diverted to water-based energy storage or pump storage plants (PSP). This would perform solar energy shifts and provide backup power.

Challenges in implementing the NEP

  • Continued reliance on old, inflexible coal-fired plants for base load capacity and a large fleet of 25 years old thermal power plants run-on old technology and does not promise robust reliability.
  • Reliance on renewable generation for meeting capacity addition makes the grid increasingly dependent on renewables available only during certain parts of the day that do not necessarily align with the peak demand curve.
  • Poor assessment and evaluation: There is also no assessment of ramping rate for thermal plants under various scenarios of a solar generation going out. This leads to issues such as overloading, under loading, or power interruptions.
  • Lack of fundings: To increase dependence and adoption of BESS, investments to the tune of 15 lakh crores are needed. However the CEA has allocated a budget of 8 lakh crore for the next 10 years.

Source:

https://indianexpress.com/article/business/commodities/coal-fired-projects-back-on-mega-lithium-battery-storage-push-in-new-power-policy-blueprint-8532812/

Keywords: GS-3 Infrastructure (Energy)
Daily Current Affairs

Syndicated Loan - Edukemy Current Affairs


In News: Reliance Industries Ltd., and its telecom arm Jio Infocomm have raised a $5 billion in India’s largest syndicated loan.

About

  • A syndicated loan, also known as a syndicated bank facility, is financing offered by a group of lenders—referred to as a syndicate—who work together to provide funds for a single borrower.
  • The borrower can be a corporation, a large project, or a sovereign government. The loan can involve a fixed amount of funds, a credit line, or a combination of the two.
  • Syndicated loans arise when a project requires too large a loan for a single lender or when a project needs a specialized lender with expertise in a specific asset class.
  • Syndicating the loan allows lenders to spread risk and take part in financial opportunities that may be too large for their individual capital base. Interest rates on this type of loan can be fixed or floating, based on a benchmark rate such as the London Interbank Offered Rate (LIBOR). LIBOR is an average of the interest rates that major global banks borrow from each other.

Additional Information

  • In cases of syndicated loans, there is typically a lead bank or underwriter, known as the arranger, the agent, or the lead lender.
  • The lead bank may put up a proportionally bigger share of the loan, or it may perform duties such as dispersing cash flows among the other syndicate members and administrative tasks.
  • The main goal of syndicated lending is to spread the risk of a borrower default across multiple lenders or banks, or institutional investors, such as pension funds and hedge funds. Because syndicated loans tend to be much larger than standard bank loans, the risk of even one borrower defaulting could cripple a single lender.
  • Syndicated loans are also used in the leveraged buyout community to fund large corporate takeovers with primarily debt funding.
  • Syndicated loans can be made on a best-efforts basis, which means that if enough investors can't be found, the amount the borrower receives is lower than originally anticipated.
  • These loans can also be split into dual tranches for banks that fund standard revolving credit lines and institutional investors that fund fixed-rate term loans.

Source:

https://epaper.thehindu.com/ccidist-ws/th/th_delhi/issues/31435/OPS/G5FB3081D.1+GSJB30BTM.1.html

 

Keywords: GS –3 Indian Economy
Daily Current Affairs

Skyroot test fire 3-D printed engine


In News: An Indian private space technology startupSkyroot Aerospace’ has recently test-fired its 3D-printed Dhawan II engine for 200 seconds.

  • The engine was developed by the company for its heavier vehicle, Vikram II and the endurance test of Dhawan II demonstrated impressive performance results.
  • The startup is currently developing three launch vehicles: Vikram I, Vikram II, and Vikram III.

About:

  • Vikram I is a small satellite launch vehicle which uses three solid-fuel stages to take satellites to orbit that can carry payloads of up to 250kg to Low Earth Orbit (LEO).
  • The Dhawan II engine is designed to be used as the upper stage of the Vikram II rocket, which is a medium-lift launch vehicle scheduled to become launch-ready by next year.
  • The engine is 3D-printed, which reduces the cost and time required for manufacturing and thus will enhance the payload carrying capacity of a rocket.
  • It uses a liquid hydrogen and liquid oxygen fuel combination, which makes it highly efficient and capable of achieving high velocities.
  • For the experiment, Skyroot's used its indigenously developed mobile cryogenic engine test pad and the test was carried out at Solar Industries propulsion test facility in

 

https://indianexpress.com/article/technology/science/skyroot-testfires-3d-printed-cryogenic-engine-8538786/

 

Keywords: GS-3 Science and Technology
Daily Current Affairs

Pattanam Site - Edukemy Current Affairs


In News: The material evidences from recent excavations suggests that the site is an example of a space and time with no caste or institutionalised creed, but with a close connect to nature.

About

  • Pattanam is an archaeological site in Kerala, India and is often referred to as the ‘first emporium’ of the Indian Ocean, Muziris — of which Pattanam is part.
  • It is an example of the Greco-Roman classical age coming into direct contact with an ancient South Indian civilisation.
  • The excavations reveal a multicultural society that had commercial and cultural exchanges with several regions of the world from the 5th century BC to the 5th century AD
  • The absence of religious and martial remains suggests that religion and war did not exist as they are known today
  • The burials at Pattanam were of a secondary nature, where the dead were cremated first and the osseous remains ceremoniously buried later
  • The genotype results and ancestry analyses of samples point to South Asian, West Asian, and Mediterranean lineages, suggesting a secular ethos.

 

https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/kerala/at-the-heart-of-pattanams-excavations-lies-a-secular-plural-life/article66688099.ece

 

Keywords: GS-1 Ancient India
Daily Current Affairs

Catalyst offers to make hydrogen more viable as fuel


In News: Researchers at the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT), Mandi, have recently developed a novel carbon-based catalyst.

About

  • Water electrolysis consumes a lot of energy and the traditional catalysts, based on iridium and ruthenium, are expensive and in great demand in other sectors.
  • The new catalyst can make water electrolysis more efficient, as well as being more stable and affordable than other catalysts that perform the same function.
  • Researchers have produced a porous carbon material containing nitrogen that functions both as a catalyst and as the anode in electrolysers, and could substitute the metal-based catalysts.
  • This material, called ‘laser carbon’, was produced by exposing a sheet of a polyimide polymer to a laser beam, carbonising the exposed bits and leaving the remainder rich in nitrogen.
  • In an electrolyser, the nitrogen atoms drew electron clouds towards themselves, encouraging nearby carbon atoms to bond with atoms or molecules containing electron pairs.
  • The location of these atoms became active sites for the oxygen evolution reaction (OER) while the Laser carbon reduced the OER overpotential, allowing it to proceed vigorously.

Advantages of laser carbon

  • Laser carbon is simpler to synthesise and can be batch-manufactured with a laser in an environmentally friendly process, unlike other carbon-based catalysts.
  • The production process increases the surface area of laser carbon present to catalyse the reaction.
  • While the material’s catalytic activity is inferior to that of metal-based catalysts, it can be improved in the fabrication process and use of other polymers.
  • The researchers also hopes that this catalyst will make hydrogen more viable as fuel by making water electrolysis more efficient, stable, and affordable.

 

https://www.thehindu.com/sci-tech/novel-catalyst-offers-to-make-hydrogen-more-viable-as-fuel/article66684088.ece

 

Keywords: GS-3, Science and Technolgy
Daily Current Affairs

Turkey Objection to Sweden NATO membership


In News: Turkey and Hungary continue to block Sweden's path to NATO membership while Finland has officially joined NATO recently after its application was ratified in record time.

  • A shift could come after the Turkey elections, but there is no timetable, and approval is not guaranteed.
  • Sweden in its part has insisted that it has implemented the Madrid agreement – including tougher anti-terrorism laws – and that some of Ankara's other demands are impossible to meet.

Reasons for delay:

  • Turkey says Stockholm harbours members of what it considers terrorist groups, and has demanded their extradition as a step toward ratifying Swedish membership.
  • Turkey has objected to protests in Stockholm during which the Muslim holy book, the Koran, was burned and, on a separate occasion, an effigy of Erdogan was hanged upside down.
  • While Turkey condemns such incidences as hate crimes, Sweden claims these being covered by freedom of speech laws.
  • Hungary flays Sweden for its hostile attitude to Budapest for years, and is angry about Swedish criticism of Prime Minister Viktor Orban over the perceived erosion of rule of law.
  • However, unlike Turkey, Hungary does not have a list of demands, but stresses the need for grievances to be addressed before it can ratify Sweden’s accession to NATO.

Impact on Sweden's security:

  • Sweden has received assurances of support from countries including the United States, Britain, and Germany.
  • Sweden already cooperates closely with NATO and its security position is better now than prior to its application to NATO.
  • Sweden has a strong air force and a submarine fleet tailored to Baltic Sea conditions which will be a boost for NATO in the region.

 

https://indianexpress.com/article/explained/explained-global/after-finland-joins-nato-why-is-turkey-making-sweden-wait-8538425/

 

Keywords: GS-2, International relations
Daily Current Affairs

Internet connectivity in Andaman and Nicobar Island


Why in news? Three years after the launch of the undersea Internet cable, Andaman & Nicobar Islands struggle with choppy connectivity.

About

  • Andaman & Nicobar Islands (ANI) is currently encountering a number of challenges that necessitate the adoption of an objective viewpoint in order to ensure the comprehensive and enduring progress of ANI towards inclusivity and sustainability.
  • The undersea cable between the Andaman and Nicobar Islands and Chennai, i.e., CANI, connecting the Union Territory to the global Internet, has seen a reasonable level of interest from telecom operators.
  • The Universal Service Obligation Fund (USOF) provided information that telecom operators have purchased over 70 GBPS of bandwidth for internet connectivity in Andaman and Nicobar Islands (ANI).
  • Airtel and BSNL account for the lion’s share of the purchased bandwidth, with 60 GBPS being allocated to the two telcos. Airtel even launched 5G services in Port Blair.

https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/three-years-after-the-launch-of-the-undersea-internet-cable-andaman-nicobar-islands-struggle-with-choppy-connectivity/article66687896.ece

 

Keywords: GS-3, economy, Infrastructure development
Daily Current Affairs

Seed Bank at Asola Bhatti Sanctuary


Why in news? A ‘seed bank’, which collects and stores seeds of species of plants that are native to the Aravallis, is gradually taking shape at a nursery at the Asola Bhatti Wildlife Sanctuary

About

  • The project is being implemented jointly by the Forest Department and the Bombay Natural History Society (BNHS).
  • The nursery at Asola Bhatti Wildlife Sanctuary is growing more than 100 species of native grasses, plants, and trees, and provides saplings for plantation by agencies in the city.
  • Seed bank aims is to supply native saplings for the city and reintroduce species that have become rare or hard to locate.
  • The seed bank also aims to create awareness around the trees that are disappearing in Delhi, have these trees available for people to be able to grow them, and map where they are.
  • The plan is to raise production to around 10 lakh saplings every year.

https://indianexpress.com/article/cities/delhi/at-asola-bhatti-sanctuary-a-seed-bank-of-plants-native-to-the-aravallis/

 

Keywords: GS-3, environment, and Ecology
Daily Current Affairs

New Butterfly: C. bromus in Kerala


Why in news?  A group of lepidopterists has discovered a butterfly subspecies from the fringes of Akkulam and Vembanad lakes in Kerala.

About

  • New butterfly belongs to the skipper butterfly family of Lepidoptera (moths and butterflies).
  • It is the first documented subspecies of the Bromus swift ( Caltoris bromus) butterfly in the Western Ghats and Peninsular India.
  • The discovery of Caltoris bromus sadasiva brings the count of butterfly species in the Western Ghats to 336 and the count of skipper butterflies to 83, with the last skipper butterfly discovery being almost 75 years ago.
  • Caltoris, an Indo-Australian genus has over 15 species distributed across south-east Asia. Caltoris bromus, one of them, has two other subspecies Caltoris bromus bromus and Caltoris bromus yanuca.

https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/kerala/new-butterfly-species-discovered-in-kerala/article66691743.ece#:~:text=Caltoris%20bromus%20sadasiva%20is%20the,documented%20in%20the%20Western%20Ghats&text=A%20group%20of%20lepidopterists%20has,and%20Vembanad%20lakes%20in%20Kerala.

 

Keywords: GS-3, environment, and Ecology
Daily Current Affairs

Bandipur Tiger Reserve - Edukemy Current Affairs


Why in news? Recently, Bandipur completed 50 years as a Project Tiger Reserve, Prime Minister Indira Gandhi launched the flagship conservation programme to arrest the big cat’s dwindling population.

About

  • Bandipur Tiger Reserve was established in 1973 under Project Tiger. In 1985, by including adjacent areas from Venugopala Wildlife Park, it was enlarged and named Bandipur National Park.
  • It is situated in two contiguous districts (Mysore and Chamarajanagar) of Karnataka and is located at the tri-junction area of the States Karnataka, Tamil Nadu and Kerala.
  • Bandipur Tiger Reserve lies in “Western Ghats Mountains Biogeography Zone”, surrounded by Mudumalai Tiger Reserve (Tamil Nadu) in the South, Wayanad Wildlife Sanctuary (Kerala) in the Southwest & on the North West Side the Kabini Reservoir separates the Bandipur and Nagarahole Tiger Reserve.
  • It is recognized as one of the Mega Biodiversity Areas in the country and is home to rich floral and faunal diversity.
  • The Bandipur Tiger Reserve is part of the Mysore Elephant Reserve and is an important component of the country’s first biosphere reserve, the Nilgiri Biosphere Reserve.

 

https://www.thehindu.com/sci-tech/energy-and-environment/bandipur-completes-50-years-as-project-tiger-reserve-but-its-legacy-dates-back-to-the-maharajas/article66687924.ece

 

Keywords: GS-3, Environment and ecology
Daily Current Affairs

Artificial meteor shower - Edukemy Current Affairs


Why in news? Artificial meteor showers could soon be a reality.

About

  • In 2025, an ALE company headquartered in Tokyo intends to launch a satellite known as Sky Canvas. Its aim is to provide individuals worldwide with the chance to witness the first-ever live human-created meteor shower.
  • Additionally, the project seeks to collect atmospheric data from the mesosphere, which is the earth's third atmospheric layer.
  • ALE intends to achieve this by deploying a pressure-driven system of gas tanks that will propel pellets at a rate of 8 kilometers per second.

https://indianexpress.com/article/technology/science/japan-company-artificial-meteor-shower-8528008/

 

Keywords: GS-3, Science and Technology, Space
Daily Current Affairs

Sodium cyanide (NaCN) - Edukemy Current Affairs


Why in news? India initiates anti-dumping probe into import of sodium cyanide from China, EU, Japan, Korea

About

  • NaCN is a cyanide salt, a sodium salt, and a one-carbon compound with the chemical name Sodium cyanide.
  • It is also called Cyanogran, a Cyanide of sodium or Cyanobrik. It is extremely poisonous and inhibits various metabolic processes.
  • Cyanogran is a crystalline solid white in colour which can also be obtained in powder or lump solid form. It contains an equal number of cyanide anions and sodium cations.

Application

  • It is widely used as a test reagent for the proper functioning of chemoreceptors and in industrial processes.
  • It also used in the extraction of gold, mining industry, rodenticide, to clean metals, manufacturing of dyes, making of electroplating solutions, production of hydrocyanic acid, in agricultural chemicals, to prepare nitriles.

https://indianexpress.com/article/india/india-initiates-anti-dumping-probe-import-sodium-cyanide-china-eu-japan-korea-8536199/

 

Keywords: GS-3, Environment and Ecology
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