INDIAN POLITY, GOVERNANCE AND SOCIAL JUSTICE
1. OVER 1 CRORE DOSES: INDIA RECORDS HIGHEST SINGLE-DAY VACCINE COVERAGE
THE CONTEXT: India on 27th August administered a record one crore vaccine doses, the highest single day tally achieved since the roll out of the COVID-19 immunization drive on January 16.
- As per the provisional data, the country reported 1,00,64,032 vaccinations and crossed 62 crore cumulative vaccinations.
- As per the official data, India has administered a cumulative 62.17 crore vaccinations: 49.08 crore first dose, and, 14.08 crore second dose.
- On 26th August, India crossed 50 percent first dose vaccine coverage of the eligible adult population.
Reference: Indian express
ENVIRONMENT, GEOGRAPHY AND AGRICULTURE
2. BRICS-AGRICULTURAL RESEARCH PLATFORM
THE CONTEXT: Union Minister for Agriculture and Farmers Welfare announced the operationalization of BRICS Agricultural Research Platform prepared and set up in India for strengthening the cooperation in the field of agricultural research & innovations amongst the BRICS member States.
- The BRICS- Agricultural Research Platform, as a global platform for science-led agriculture will help in addressing the issues of world hunger, undernutrition, poverty and inequality by promoting sustainable agricultural development through strategic cooperation in agriculture and allied sector.
- The BRICS-ARP has been operationalised to intensify cooperation in the areas of agricultural research, technology, policy, innovations and capacity building including technologies for smallholder farming and to sustainably increase yields and farmers income in the BRICS member countries.
- The platform shall escalate the exchange of research findings and innovation and best practices for upscaling in the respective BRICS Nations.
3. THE DEEPAR BEEL WILDLIFE SANCTUARY
THE CONTEXT: The Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change notified the Eco sensitive zone of Deepar Beel Wildlife Sanctuary on the southwestern edge of Guwahati.
ABOUT DEEPAR BEEL WLS
- Deepar Beel is one of the largest freshwater lakes in Assam and the State’s only Ramsar Site (declared in 2002), besides being an Important Bird Area.
- The wetlands have for decades been threatened by a railway track — set to be doubled and electrified — on its southern rim, a garbage dump and encroachment for human habitation and commercial units.
- Among activities prohibited in the eco-sensitive zone are hydroelectric pro- jects, brick kilns, commercial use of firewood and discharge of untreated effluents in natural water bodies or land areas.
ECO-SENSITIVE ZONES (ESZS) OR ECOLOGICALLY FRAGILE AREAS (EFAS)
- They are areas notified by the MoEFCC around Protected Areas, National Parks and Wildlife Sanctuaries.
- The purpose of declaring ESZs is to create “shock absorbers” to the protected areas by regulating and managing the activities around such areas.
- They act as a transition zone from areas of high protection to areas involving lesser protection.
- The Environment (Protection) Act, 1986 does not mention the word “Eco-Sensitive Zones”.
- However, Rule 5(1) of the Environment (Protection) Act 1986 (EPA) states that the central government can prohibit or restrict the location of industries and carry on certain operations or processes on the basis of certain considerations.
- An ESZ could go up to 10 kilometres around a protected area as provided in the Wildlife Conservation Strategy, 2002.
Reference: The Hindu
4. SHORT-TERM PM2.5 EXPOSURE IS DEADLY TOO
THE CONTEXT: Researchers have found a strong association between short-term exposure to PM2.5 (particles that have a diameter less than 2.5 micrometres) and mortality in Delhi.
- They also noted that the city’s Graded Response Action Plan, designed to curb pollution levels, was not effective, with more ambitious, long-term goals to cut emissions required to bring about significant health benefits.
- The study — the result of a collaboration between Harvard University, Population Foundation of India, and the Delhi-based Centre for Chronic Disease Control — is the first of its kind to look into over 7 lakh deaths not caused by accidents between 2010 and 2016 to arrive at its conclusion.
- This study assessed whether changes in PM2.5 levels over 24 hours can affect the number of deaths that occur every day. It was found that with every 25 μg/m3 increase over 24 hours, mortality increases by 0.8 per cent.
- Delhi’s PM2.5 levels exceeded 130 µg/m3 in 2016 — over 10 times the recommended World Health Organization (WHO)’s levels — and have been on the rise since.
- 5 particles are considered dangerous for health because they can penetrate the lungs and enter the bloodstream, causing a higher risk of developing cardiovascular, respiratory diseases, and lung cancer. This risk is aggravated by chronic exposure.
Reference : The Print
SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY
THE CONTEXT: Minister of State for Electronics & Information Technology, launched QSim – Quantum Computer Simulator Toolkit, to enable Researchers and Students to carryout research in Quantum Computing in a cost effective manner.
- QSim is an outcome of the project “Design and Development of Quantum Computer Toolkit (Simulator, Workbench) and Capacity Building”.
- This is one of the first initiatives in the country to address the common challenge of advancing the Quantum Computing research frontiers in India.
- This project is being executed collaboratively by IISc Bangalore, IIT Roorkee and C-DAC with the support of Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY), Government of India.
- QSim allows researchers and students to write and debug Quantum Code that is essential for developing Quantum Algorithms.
- Quantum systems are highly sensitive to disturbances from environment, even necessary controls and observations perturb them. The available and upcoming Quantum devices are noisy and techniques to bring down the environmental error rate are being intensively pursued.
- QSim allows researchers to explore Quantum Algorithms under idealized conditions and help prepare experiments to run on actual Quantum Hardware.
- QSIM can serve as an important educational / research tool providing an excellent way to attract students / researchers to the field of Quantum Technology and provides a platform to acquire the skills of ‘programming’ as well as ‘designing’ real Quantum Hardware.
6. SUPER-MASSIVE BLACK HOLES
THE CONTEXT: Indian researchers have discovered three supermassive black holes from three galaxies merging together to form a triple active galactic nucleus, a compact region at the center of a newly discovered galaxy that has a much-higher-than-normal luminosity.
- This rare occurrence in our nearby Universe indicates that small merging groups are ideal laboratories to detect multiple accreting supermassive black holes and increases the possibility of detecting such rare occurrences.
- Supermassive black holes are difficult to detect because they do not emit any light. But they can reveal their presence by interacting with their surroundings.
- When the dust and gas from the surroundings fall onto a supermassive black hole, some of the mass is swallowed by the black hole, but some of it is converted into energy and emitted as electromagnetic radiation that makes the black hole appear very luminous. They are called active galactic nuclei (AGN) and release huge amounts of ionized particles and energy into the galaxy and its environment.
- Both of these ultimately contribute to the growth of the medium around the galaxy and ultimately the evolution of the galaxy itself.
- According to the researchers, a major factor impacting galaxy evolution is galaxy interactions, which happen when galaxies move close by each other and exert tremendous gravitational forces on each other.
- During such galaxy interactions, the respective supermassive black holes can get near each other. The dual black holes start consuming gas from their surroundings and become dual AGN.
- If two galaxies collide, their black hole will also come closer by transferring the kinetic energy to the surrounding gas. The distance between the blackholes decreases with time until the separation is around a parsec (3.26 light-years). The two black holes are then unable to lose any further kinetic energy in order to get even closer and merge. This is known as the final parsec problem.
- The presence of a third black hole can solve this problem. The dual merging blackholes can transfer their energy to the third blackhole and merge with each other.
- Many AGN pairs have been detected in the past, but triple AGN are extremely rare, and only a handful has been detected before using X-ray observations. However, the researchers expects such triple AGN systems to be more common in small merging groups of galaxies. Although this study focuses only on one system, results suggest that small merging groups are ideal laboratories to detect multiple supermassive black holes.
7. INDIA-AUSTRALIA AIM FOR ‘EARLY HARVEST’ TRADE PACT BY DECEMBER
THE CONTEXT: The trade ministers of India and Australia have agreed to speed up trade negotiations with an aim to reach an interim ‘early harvest’ pact by December for liberalising the bilateral flow of goods and services.
ABOUT EARLY HARVEST SCHEME
- Early harvest scheme is a precursor to a free trade agreement (FTA) between two trading partners.
- This is to help the two trading countries to identify certain products for tariff liberalisation pending the conclusion of FTA negotiation.
- It is primarily a confidence building measure between two trading partners
- An Early Harvest Scheme (EHS) is an agreement between two states (or regional trading blocs) which liberalizes tariffs on certain goods preceding the conclusion of a Free Trade Agreement (FTA)
Reference: The Hindu
Q1. Consider the following statements about Eco- sensitive zone:
- They are transition areas around the protected areas of National parks and wildlife sanctuaries.
- They are notified under the provisions of Environment (Protection) Act 1986.
- They can be up to 20 Kms around the protected areas.
Which of the statements given above is/are correct?
a. 1 only
b. 1 and 2 only
c. 1 and 3 only
d. 1, 2 and 3
ANSWER FOR AUGUST 27, 2021 PRELIMS PRACTICE QUESTIONS (REFER RELEVANT ARTICLE)
Q.1 ANSWER: D)
- The Sambhar Salt Lake, India’s largest inland salt lake, is located 80 km southwest of the city of Jaipur and 64 km northeast of Ajmer, Rajasthan.
- It receives water from five rivers: Medtha, Samaod, Mantha, Rupangarh, Khari, Khandela.
- It is surrounded by the Aravali hills on all sides (Centripetal drainage).
- It has been designated as a Ramsar site (recognized wetland of international importance) because the wetland is a key wintering area for tens of thousands of pink flamingos and other birds that migrate from northern Asia and Siberia.
Q2. ANSWER: B)
- The Women Entrepreneurship Platform (WEP) is NITI Aayog’s flagship initiative – a one-of-its-kind, unified information portal for women entrepreneurs.
- It strives to improve industry linkages and awareness of existing programs and services and provide access to peer support, learning resources, fundraising opportunities and mentorship.
- With an overarching objective of becoming an aggregator platform that solves for the information asymmetry in the ecosystem, WEP serves as a one stop solution for information and services relevant to women entrepreneurs.
- The platform currently hosts over 16,000 registered users and 30 partners and caters to six focus areas: Funding & Financial Management, Incubation Connects, Taxation & Compliance Support, Entrepreneur Skilling & Mentorship, Community & Networking and Marketing Assistance.
- tentatively assigned as Meso-Neoproterozoic based on the available evidence of stromatolites and organic-walled microfossils
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