INDIAN POLITY, GOVERNANCE AND SOCIAL JUSTICE
1. IATA’S TRAVEL PASS
THE CONTEXT: After IndiGo, SpiceJet will also start trials of IATA’s travel pass next week onwards. This means that starting August 23, passengers on SpiceJet’s Mumbai-Male flights would be able to use IATA’s travel pass to show their vaccination status.
ABOUT IATA’S TRAVEL PASS
- The travel pass will be a mobile app that will help passengers manages their travel in line with government requirements for Covid-19 tests or vaccines.
- The IATA Travel Pass will also enable authorised labs and test centres to securely send test results or vaccination certificates to passengers.
- Digital passports like the IATA travel pass have been developed to provide governments with the means to verify the authenticity of tests or vaccinations, airlines with the ability to provide accurate information to their passengers on test requirements and verify that a passenger meets the requirements for travel and travellers with accurate information on test requirements, where they can get tested, and the means to securely convey their travel health credentials to airlines and border authorities.
- In addition to IndiGo and SpiceJet, global airlines such as Singapore Airlines, Qatar Airways, Emirates, Etihad, British Airways, Air France, Virgin Atlantic, Swiss Air, Thai Air, and several others have joined the IATA travel pass initiative.
Reference: Indian express
2. GOVERNMENT MONITORING BOOSTER DOSE MOVE IN U.S.
THE CONTEXT: The Union Health Ministry said it was closely following the developments in the United States, which has given the green signal for booster dose of COVID-19 vaccine that is to start rolling out soon.
- Doctors in India are also advocating booster dose. They stated that giving a third dose after a space of six-eight months had been shown to increase immune response markedly as per some research papers.
- The scenario in the U.S. is different, as most of the population has been fully vaccinated, so there is no harm in giving booster doses, although we will only be able to understand its benefits after studies are conducted on it. It is certainly going to be a trend in future to get a booster dose every year, just like the flu vaccine.
- As the virus keeps on mutating, even vaccines need to be updated with the latest strain annually. It has to be decided whether it would be administered on a yearly basis or not or whether every person would require it.
- All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) Director Randeep Guleria had explained that India will have to take a serious look at bringing in booster doses to ensure that the population here is able to keep up the antibody levels in the body which will offer better protection to the emerging variants.
- This is when the WHO has raised alarm at the vast vaccine gap between high-income and low-income countries.
- Currently in India, we still do not have guideline recommendations for booster doses of vaccine. However, with the upcoming scientific evidence, we may see a role for such booster doses in the near future.
Reference: The Hindu
ENVIRONMENT, GEOGRAPHY AND AGRICULTURE
3. SOLAR ELECTRIC VEHICLE (EV) CHARGING STATION
THE CONTEXT: The Delhi-Chandigarh Highway has become the first e-vehicle friendly highway in the country, with a network of Solar-based Electric Vehicle Charging stations (SEVCs) set up by Bharat Heavy Electricals Limited (BHEL) under the FAME-1 [Faster Adoption and Manufacturing of (Hybrid) & Electric Vehicles in India] scheme of the Ministry of Heavy Industries.
- The EV charging station at Karnal lake resort, is strategically located at the midpoint of Delhi-Chandigarh highway, and is equipped to cater to all types of E- cars plying currently in the country.
- Further, the company is also working on upgrading the other charging stations on this highway, within this year.
- The establishment of similar EV chargers at regular intervals of 25-30 kms.
- On the highway will allay range-anxiety among Electric Vehicle users and bolster their confidence for inter-city travel.
- The SEVC stations are equipped with individual grid-connected rooftop solar plants that will supply green and clean energy to the charging stations.
4. INDIA DEVELOPED ROBUST MECHANISM FOR ONLINE TRADING OF ENERGY SAVING CERTIFICATES
THE CONTEXT: Ministry of Power issued more than 57 lacs Energy Saving Certificates to 349 industrial units because they saved more energy than the targets. These units will be able to trade certificates through Power Exchange Portal after a month to those units who could not achieve their targets.
- Ministry of Power has taken several initiatives to enhance energy efficiency of major industrial sectors. The objective is to reduce consumption of fossil fuel, coal, oil and gas thereby leading to low carbon economy. This will not only enhance energy security for India but will also contribute towards climate goals as per the Paris Agreement.
- PAT scheme as a market-based mechanism, under National Mission for Enhanced Energy Efficiency (NMEEE) is to enhance cost effectiveness through certification of excess energy savings in energy intensive industries that can be traded.
- The scheme seeks to reduce the specific energy consumption (SEC), i.e. energy used per unit of production in energy intensive large industries.
- Under this scheme, an Energy Audit is done to verify the baseline data (current level of efficiency) and thereafter energy saving targets are given.
- Energy Saving Certificates (ESCerts) are issued to those plants that have achieved excess energy savings over their targets. Units that are unable to meet the targets either through their own actions or through purchase of ESCerts are liable to financial penalty under the Energy Conservation Act, 2001.
- After Issuance of ESCerts DCs are required to register with the Registry as Eligible Entity before registering with the power exchanges for trading of ESCerts and book keeping of ESCerts. The Trading of ESCerts takes place on the Power Exchange platform.
- The Government of India has set up the Bureau of Energy Efficiency (BEE) on 1st March 2002 under the provision of the Energy Conservation Act, 2001.
- The mission of the Bureau of Energy Efficiency is to assist in developing policies and strategies with a thrust on self-regulation and market principles with the primary objective of reducing energy intensity of the Indian economy within the overall framework of the Energy Conservation Act, 2001.
- This will be achieved with active participation of all stakeholders, resulting in accelerated and sustained adoption of energy efficiency in all sectors.
ABOUT AZADI KA AMRIT MAHOTSAV
- “Azadi Ka Amrit Mahotsav”, is the Government’s initiative to mark 75 years of India’s Independence.
- The idea behind the Mahotsav that starts the celebration of 75 years of India’s Independence 75 weeks before 15th August, 2022 and extends up to Independence Day 2023 is to showcase accomplishments since 1947 so as to instil a sense of pride and to create a vision for ‘India@2047’. The commemorations will include 75 events for 75 weeks with one prominent event every week.
5. DELHI’S FIRST SMOG TOWER
THE CONTEXT: The smog tower will be inaugurated by Chief Minister on August 23, 2021. Next, experts will start monitoring the performance of the tower and then assess its impact on the environment.
- On January 13, 2020, the Supreme Court ordered the Delhi government to build a smog tower at Connaught Place in the city by April 13, 2020, to pollution.
- On the same day, the court also ordered a smog tower to be installed in Anand Vihar by the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) by the same time.
- The smog tower is a pilot project and is expected to influence the air quality of more than 1 km in the downwind direction.
Reference: The Hindu
6. COVID-19 VACCINE: $11 BILLION GLOBAL MARKET OPPORTUNITY FOR INDIA
THE CONTEXT: According to Care Ratings agency’s report India’s pharmaceutical sector is looking at an opportunity to the tune of $10 to 11 billion in the form of COVID-19 vaccine supply, in both domestic and export markets in the next three years.
- However, the Indian vaccine makers are unlikely to get the premium pricing enjoyed by US-based multinational companies which is anywhere between $15 and 25 per dose and their average realization could remain anywhere between $3.25 and $3.50 per dose.
- According to CARE Ratings, the majority of domestic demand is expected to be fulfilled by March 2022, when the export opportunities in the high-income markets such as Europe, North America and developed Asian countries are likely to be completely exhausted.
- As of August 10, 2021, over 4.35 billion COVID-19 vaccine shots have been administered globally. The USA, China and most of the European countries have vaccinated more than 50% of their total eligible population with at least one dose.
- As the majority of the Indian populace is expected to get vaccinated during 2021, the opportunity for the domestic pharma companies for this period is about $4.6 billion. However, the same is expected to increase to $4.9 billion during 2022 with an increase in exports.
- Furthermore, with near saturation of demand, the sales opportunity is expected to come down to about $1.6 billion during 2023, thus, $10-11 billion worth of opportunity for Indian vaccine manufacturers during 2021-2022.
Reference: The Hindu
7. PAKISTAN-BASED TERROR GROUPS OPERATE WITH IMPUNITY
THE CONTEXT: Amid the rapidly unfolding events following the Taliban’s takeover of Afghanistan, India flagged heightened activities of the proscribed Haqqani network and said other Pakistan-based terrorist groups such as the Lashkar-e-Toiba and Jaish-e-Mohammed continue to operate with impunity and encouragement.
- Addressing the United Nations Security Council (UNSC), External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar said the events in Afghanistan have naturally enhanced global concerns about their implications for both regional and international security.
- India holds the current presidency of the UNSC.
- It is, therefore, vital that this Council does not take a selective, tactical or complacent view of the problems we face. We must never countenance sanctuaries for terrorists or overlook their raising of resources. And when we see state hospitality being extended to those with innocents’ blood on their hands, we should never lack the courage to call out their double-speak.
- The UNSC briefing considered the 13th report of the Secretary General on the threat posed by the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) to international peace and security. The August 3 report states that ISIL-Khorasan (ISIL-K), a self-proclaimed branch of the ISIL, has expanded its presence in several provinces of Afghanistan and strengthened its positions in and around Kabul.
Reference: Indian express
8. DRDO DEVELOPS ADVANCED CHAFF TECHNOLOGY FOR INDIAN AIR FORCE
THE CONTEXT: Defence Research & Development Organisation (DRDO) has developed an Advanced Chaff Technology to safeguard fighter aircraft of the Indian Air Force (IAF) against hostile radar threats.
- Defence Laboratory Jodhpur, a DRDO laboratory developed the advanced Chaff material and chaff cartridge-118/I in collaboration with High Energy Materials Research Laboratory (HEMRL), a Pune based laboratory of DRDO, meeting qualitative requirements of IAF.
- The Indian Air Force has started the process of induction of this technology after completion of successful user trials.
- In today’s electronic warfare, survivability of fighter aircraft is of prime concern because of advancement in modern radar threats. To ensure survivability of aircraft, Counter Measure Dispensing System (CMDS) is used which provides passive jamming against Infra-Red and radar threats.
- Chaff is a critical defence technology used to protect fighter aircraft from hostile radar threats.
- The importance of this technology lies in the fact that very less quantity of chaff material deployed in the air acts as decoy to deflect enemy’s missiles for ensuring safety of the fighter aircraft. The technology has been given to the industry for production in large quantities to meet the annual rolling requirement of the Indian Air Force.
9. BRICS SIGNS DEAL ON COOPERATION IN REMOTE SENSING SATELLITE DATA SHARING
THE CONTEXT: According to ISRO, Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa (BRICS) signed an agreement for cooperation in remote sensing satellite data sharing.
- The pact inked on August 17 enables building a virtual constellation of specified remote sensing satellites of BRICS space agencies and their respective ground stations will receive the data.
- This will contribute in strengthening multilateral cooperation among BRICS space agencies in meeting the challenges faced by mankind, such as global climate change, major disasters and environmental protection.
Reference: The Hindu
10. INDIA, AUSTRALIA SIGN DOCUMENT TO BOOST NAVAL TIES
THE CONTEXT: Chiefs of the Indian and Australian navies signed a ‘Joint Guidance for the Australia-India Navy to Navy Relationship’ document to streamline interaction between the two forces at various levels.
- The document is aligned to the ‘2020 Comprehensive Strategic Partnership’ agreed to by prime ministers of the two nations, and aims to ensure a shared approached to regional and global security challenges.
- Australia and India, along with the US and Japan are members of the four-nation Quadrilateral Security Dialogue, or the Quad, which has irked China. The navies of the four Quad nations will also participate in the Malabar Naval Exercise later this year.
- The strengthening of the naval ties with Australia comes at a time when India and China are involved in an over 15-month long military standoff in eastern Ladakh.
- The document’s highlights include “close cooperation in regional and multilateral fora” including the Indian Ocean Naval Symposium (IONS), Western Pacific Naval Symposium (WPNS), Indian Ocean Rim Association (IORA) and Expert Working Groups subordinate to the ASEAN Defence Ministers’ Meeting Plus framework.
- Indian and Australian bilateral defence relationship has strengthened over the years, and Comprehensive Strategic Partnership, Mutual Logistics Support Agreement, conduct of trilateral Maritime Security Workshop and participation of the Australian navy in Exercise Malabar are significant milestones which underline the role played by both Navies in bolstering this relationship in recent times.
- The document would be pivotal in consolidating the shared commitment to promote peace, security, stability and prosperity in the Indo – Pacific region.
Reference: Indian express
Q1. Which of the following highway has become the first e-vehicle friendly highway in the country?
a) Delhi- Kolkata Highway
b) Delhi-Mumbai Highway
c) Delhi-Chandigarh Highway d) Delhi to Chennai Highway
ANSWER FOR AUGUST 19, 2021 PRELIMS PRACTICE QUESTIONS (REFER RELEVANT ARTICLE)
Q.1 Answer: a)
- Statement 1 is incorrect: Kigali amendment is amendment done to Montreal protocol in 2016
- Statement 2 is correct: envisages phasing out of hydrofluorocarbons (HFC) by 80-85% of present levels by 2040 in a phased manner by all signatory countries.
- Statement 3 is correct: Hydro fluorocarbons (HFCs) are both Ozone Depleting Substances as well as Green House Gases. At the same time, they are also Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs).