Daily Current Affairs 01-07-2024

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    Syllabus: GS2/Polity

    • The three new criminal laws which will come into effect from July 1 are Bharatiya Nyaya Sanhita 2023, Bharatiya Nagarik Suraksha Sanhita 2023 and Bharatiya Sakshya Adhiniyam 2023. 
    • The laws will replace the Indian Penal Code, 1860 (IPC), the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973 (CrPC), and the Indian Evidence Act, 1872 (IEA) respectively.
    • If the date of the offence committed falls before July 1, then the case will be filed under the old laws.
      • This is because the new laws didn’t exist when the crime happened (before July 1). 
    • UAPA’s definition of ‘terrorist act’ adopted: Section 113 of the Act has modified the definition of the crime of terrorism to entirely adopt the existing definition under Section 15 of the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, 1967 (UAPA).
      • Damage to monetary stability of India by way of production or smuggling or circulation of counterfeit Indian paper currency, coin or of any other material has also been added as a terrorist offense.
      • The offense is punishable with death or imprisonment for life. 
    • Cruelty defined: The Act proposes to define “cruelty” against a woman by her husband and his relatives, which is punishable with a jail term of up to three years. The newly inserted section 86 defines ‘cruelty’ as 
    • Wilful conduct likely to drive a woman to commit suicide or cause grave injury or danger to the life, limb, or health (whether mental or physical); 
    • Harassment of a woman to coerce her or any person related to her to meet any unlawful demand for property or valuable security.
    • Crimes against Women and Children: Provisions related to the gang rape of a minor woman are consistent with the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act (Pocso).
      • A provision for life imprisonment or death penalty in the case of girls below 18 years of age has also been made.
      • There is the provision of 20 years imprisonment or life imprisonment in all cases of gang rape and the new crime category of gang rape of a woman under 18 years of age in the Sanhita.
    • Innovative Legal Procedures: Features like Zero FIR allow complaints to be filed at any police station, streamlining the initiation of legal action.
    • Mental illness replaced by ‘unsoundness of mind’: The revised Act replaces the term ‘mental illness’ with ‘unsoundness of mind’ in a majority of the provisions.
      • It has also added the term ‘intellectual disability’ along with unsoundness of mind in section 367.
    • Enhancement of minimum punishment for ‘mob lynching’: It has removed the minimum punishment of seven years and now penalises mob lynching at par with murder.
    • Petty organized crime: It includes a more precise definition; ’Whoever, being a member of a group or gang, either singly or jointly, commits any act of theft, snatching, cheating, unauthorised selling of tickets, unauthorised betting or gambling, selling of public examination question papers or any other similar criminal act, is said to commit petty organised crime.’ 
    • Community service defined: Under Section 23, ‘work which the Court may order a convict to perform as a form of punishment that benefits the community, for which he shall not be entitled to any remuneration.’
      • A Magistrate of the First or Second Class has been specifically empowered to impose this punishment, to encourage a more reparative approach to minor crimes.
    • Handcuffing: It should be restricted to select heinous crimes like rape and murder instead of extending its usage to persons who have been accused of committing ‘economic offences.’
      • In another significant change, the power of the police to use handcuffs has been expanded beyond the time of arrest to include the stage of production before court as well.
    • Preventive detention powers: The detained person must be produced before the Magistrate or released in petty cases within 24 hours.
    • Admissibility of electronic evidence: Section 61 of the original Bill allowed the admissibility of electronic evidence by underscoring that an electronic record shall have the same legal effect as a paper record.
    • This provision has now been revised to state that the admissibility of an electronic record is subject to section 63 (corresponding to the requirement of a certificate under section 65B of the Indian Evidence Act). 

    Source: LM

    Syllabus: GS3/Defence

    • Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) has taken up a preliminary study on the design and development of an indigenous conventional submarine under Project-76.
    • It is expected to take upto a year after which a formal case will be put up to the Cabinet Committee on Security (CCS) for project sanction. 
    • This will be a continuation of the Advanced Technology Vessel (ATV) project, to build a conventional submarine, under which the Arihant series of nuclear ballistic missile submarines (SSBN) are being built and another project for building nuclear-powered submarines (SSN) is currently underway.
    • Project 75 includes the indigenous construction of six diesel electric attack submarines of Scorpene class.
    • The submarines are being constructed by the Mazagon Dock Shipbuilders Limited (MDL) in Mumbai in collaboration with the Naval Group of France.
    • Under the project INS Kalvari, INS Khanderi, INS Karanj and INS Vela were commissioned between 2017 and 2021.
    • The fifth submarine ,INS Vagir, was commissioned recently.  The sixth submarine Vagsheer has begun its sea trials.
    • Under P-76, there will be substantial indigenous content, including weapons, missiles, combat management system, sonars, communications, Electronic Warfare suite, mast and periscope, sources said.
    • The Navy has a 30-year submarine building programme and after the P-75I, it intends to design and build conventional submarines indigenously.
    • Indian Navy’s submarine fleet includes both nuclear-powered and conventionally-powered submarines:
    • SSBNs (Ballistic Missile Submarines): The Indian Navy operates the INS Arihant-class submarines, which are nuclear-powered ballistic missile submarines (SSBNs).
      • These submarines are armed with nuclear-tipped ballistic missiles and form a crucial part of India’s nuclear deterrence strategy.
    • SSNs (Nuclear-Powered Attack Submarines): The Indian Navy is also developing the INS Chakra-class nuclear-powered attack submarines (SSNs), leased from Russia. These submarines enhance India’s capability for long-range maritime patrols and anti-ship operations.
    • SSKs (Diesel-Electric Attack Submarines): The Navy operates several classes of diesel-electric attack submarines, primarily built indigenously or acquired from foreign sources.
      • These include the Shishumar-class (Type 209) submarines acquired from Germany, as well as the Kalvari-class (Scorpène) submarines built in collaboration with France.
    • The Navy has 16 conventional submarines in service. These are seven Russian Kilo-class submarines, four German-origin HDW submarines and five French Scorpene-class submarines.
    • India’s submarine fleet is based at two locations: Visakhapatnam on the east coast and Mumbai on the west coast.
    • Kalvari Class: INS Kalvari is the first of the six Scorpene class submarines built under Project 75. The Submarine was commissioned in 2017.
    • Sindhughosh Class: Sindhughosh class submarines are the Kilo class diesel-electric submarines. They are designated 877EKM, and were built under a contract between Rosvooruzhenie and the Ministry of Defence (India).
      • The submarines have a displacement of 3,000 tonnes, a maximum diving depth of 300 meters, top speed of 18 knots, and are able to operate solo for 45 days with a crew of 53.
    • Shishumar Class: The Shishumar class vessels (Type 1500) are diesel-electric submarines. These submarines are developed by the German yard Howaldtswerke-Deutsche Werft (HDW).
      • The ships were commissioned between 1986 and 1994. These submarines have a displacement of 1660 tons when surfaced, a speed of 22 knots (41 km/h), and a complement of 40 including eight officers.
    • Future Developments:
      • The Indian Navy has ongoing projects to enhance its submarine fleet, including the development of additional Scorpène-class submarines under the Project 75 program and plans for indigenous development of SSNs and SSBNs.
    • Submarines are crucial for the Indian Navy’s strategy to safeguard its maritime interests, maintain sea lines of communication, and provide deterrence capability. 
    • They play a significant role in both defensive operations and power projection in the Indian Ocean region.
    • The Indian Navy continues to modernize and expand its submarine fleet to meet evolving security challenges and enhance its maritime capabilities.

    Source: TH

    Syllabus: GS3/Science and Technology 

    • Space junk, or space debris, is a growing problem that poses a global threat to space exploration and human safety.
    • Space debris are defined as all non-functional, man-made objects, including fragments and elements thereof, in Earth orbit or re-entering into Earth’s atmosphere.
    • Kessler Syndrome: It is a theoretical scenario in which a cascade of collisions between artificial objects in low Earth orbit leads to a rapidly increasing amount of space debris, making the use of near-Earth space impossible for an extended period of time.
    • According to NASA, debris can travel at speeds of up to 18,000 mph, which is 10 times faster than the speed of a bullet, so even a tiny chip can rupture a spacesuit or damage delicate solar arrays and electronics on a satellite.
    • The International Space Station has experienced damage from a two-inch piece of space junk striking one of its components in 2021, and astronauts have had to evacuate to a space capsule due to the threat of incoming debris. 
    • The Space Liability Convention of 1972: It defines responsibility in case a space object causes harm.
      • The treaty says that “a launching State shall be absolutely liable to pay compensation for damage caused by its space objects on the surface of the earth or to aircraft, and liable for damage due to its faults in space. 
    • Zero Debris Charter: Twelve nations and the European Space Agency (ESA) have signed the Zero Debris Charter at the ESA/EU Space Council. It aims to become debris neutral in space by 2030.
    • Absence of law: However, there is no law against space junk crashing back to earth.
    • RemoveDebris mission: It is the European Space Agency’s debris removal demonstration mission in the low Earth orbit (LEO) that aims to test and validate multiple active debris removal technologies.
    • Space Debris Removal System (SDRS): It is a proposed mission by the Russian Space Agency (Roscosmos) to demonstrate the feasibility of removing space debris from low Earth orbit.
    • Cleanup Mission: It is China National Space Administration’s (CNSA) to demonstrate the feasibility of cleaning up space debris using a combination of active and passive methods.
    • Project NETRA (Network for space object Tracking and Analysis), an early warning system, was initiated by ISRO to help detect space hazards to Indian satellites.
      • The project is expected to give India its own capability in space situational awareness (SSA), something that other space powers already have.
      • The SSA is used to predict threats from debris to Indian satellites.
    • The ISRO System for Safe and Sustainable Operations Management (IS4OM) was established in 2022 to continually monitor objects posing collision threats and to mitigate the risk posed by space debris.

    Source: TOI

    Syllabus :GS 3/Environment 

    • The World Bank has approved a second round of 1.5 billion dollars in financing to help India accelerate the development of low-carbon energy. 
    • In June 2023, the World Bank approved the 1.5 billion dollars for the First Low-Carbon Energy Programmatic Development Policy Operation.
      •  The fresh funding is expected to help India expand its green hydrogen production and boost the mobilisation of finance for low-carbon investments.
    • India, as one of the world’s fastest-growing economies, faces a critical challenge in balancing economic growth with environmental sustainability.
      • Central to this challenge is the transition from conventional fossil fuels to cleaner, renewable energy sources. 
      • This shift is not merely a trend but a necessity driven by global environmental concerns, energy security, and economic imperatives.
    • India is pursuing energy transition in various sectors including electricity, industry, transport, agriculture, cooking, etc
    • India stands 4th globally in Renewable Energy Installed Capacity (including Large Hydro), 4th in Wind Power capacity & 5th in Solar Power capacity (as per REN21 Renewables 2024 Global Status Report).
    •  India saw the highest year-on-year growth in renewable energy additions of 9.83% in 2022. 
    • The installed solar energy capacity has increased by 30 times in the last 9 years and stands at 84.27 GW as of May 2024. 
    • India has been ranked 63rd on a global Energy Transition Index released June 2024 by the World Economic Forum.
    • Environmental: With cities grappling with severe air pollution and concerns over climate change growing, reducing dependency on coal and fossil fuels is crucial to improving air quality and mitigating global warming.
    • Energy Security: Diversifying energy sources enhances India’s energy security by reducing reliance on imported fossil fuels, thus stabilising energy prices and mitigating geopolitical risks.
    • Economic Opportunities: The renewable energy sector offers significant economic opportunities, including job creation, technological innovation, and attracting investments.
      • India has become a global hub for solar energy manufacturing, driving down costs and increasing accessibility.
    • Inspiration  for World :   India can serve as an example for the world by fostering what is potentially the largest green workforce in the world and building a domestic supply of critical battery materials via recycling, contributing significantly to the fight against climate change on both national and international scales.
    • Financial Viability and Cost Competitiveness: the costs of renewable energy technologies, particularly solar and wind, have decreased significantly over the years, achieving cost competitiveness with conventional sources remains a challenge.
      • Factors such as initial capital costs, land acquisition, and financing barriers can make renewable projects financially challenging, especially for smaller developers and in rural areas.
    • Infrastructure Development : Building the necessary infrastructure to support renewable energy deployment, such as transmission lines, substations, and energy storage facilities, is essential but often faces logistical and bureaucratic hurdles.
      • Delays in infrastructure development can hinder the timely commissioning of renewable projects and affect grid connectivity.
    • Policy and Regulatory Framework :inconsistencies in policies across different states, regulatory delays in project approvals, and evolving regulatory frameworks pose challenges for investors and developers.
    • Lack trained manpower : there is a shortage of trained professionals and technicians with specialized skills in renewable energy technologies.
    • India has taken bold action to develop a domestic market for green hydrogen, underpinned by rapidly expanding renewable energy capacity.
      • The first tenders under the National Green Hydrogen Mission’s incentive scheme have demonstrated significant private sector interest
      • Permitting Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) up to 100 percent under the automatic route for renewable energy projects
      • Launch of Schemes such as Pradhan Mantri Kisan Urja Suraksha evam Utthaan Mahabhiyan (PM-KUSUM), Solar Rooftop etc.
      • Panchamrit  :The country has set an enhanced target at the COP26 of 500 GW of non-fossil fuel-based energy by 2030. This has been a key pledge under the Panchamrit. 
    • India has implemented various measures, including the waiver of transmission system charges for inter-state solar and wind power sales, establishing renewable power purchase obligations, and creating Ultra Mega Renewable Energy Parks.
    • In October 2018, Prime Minister Narendra Modi proposed the idea of One Sun, One World, One Grid (OSOWOG) for the first time at the First Assembly of the International Solar Alliance (ISA)
    • India’s resources, including its long coastline, abundant sunshine, and various vacant lands, can facilitate renewable power generation via hydro, solar, and wind. 
    • The nation thus has the potential to rank among the top global producers of both wind and solar energy.
    •  Continued commitment to renewable energy targets, supportive policies, technological advancements, and international collaborations will be key to accelerating India’s green energy transition.

    By addressing existing challenges effectively, India can not only meet its energy needs sustainably but also emerge as a global leader in renewable energy innovation and implementation.

    Source:Air

    Syllabus: GS1/History and Culture

    Context

    • 100-year-old miniature paintings were damaged, as water entered the Siri Fort museum after heavy rain in Delhi.

    What are Miniature Paintings?

    • Miniature painting is a traditional style of art that is very detailed, often referred to as painting or working “in miniature”.
    • Artists use fine brushes made from animal hair and natural pigments, often mixed with binders like gum.

    Origin of Indian Miniature Paintings

    • The earliest Miniature paintings in India can be traced back to the 7th century AD, when they flourished under the patronage of the Palas of Bengal. 
    • Buddhist texts and scriptures were illustrated on 3-inch-wide palm leaf manuscripts, with images of Buddhist deities.
    • With the advent of Persian influences in the 15th century, paper replaced palm leaves, while hunting scenes and varied facial types started appearing along with the use of rich aquamarine blues and golds.

    Miniature Paintings in Medieval India

    • Miniature Art in India truly thrived under the Mughals (16th-18th century AD), defining a rich period in the history of Indian art. 
    • Due to decreased patronage during the reign of Aurangzeb, many artists proficient in Mughal Miniature Art migrated to other princely courts.
      • Rajput school: It encompasses various regional schools, each associated with a specific Rajput kingdom, including Mewar, Marwar, Jaipur, Bundi, Kota, Kishangarh etc.
      • Pahari school: Pahari painting includes several distinct schools or styles, each associated with a particular region or court, such as Guler, Kangra, Chamba, Basohli, and Mandi.

    Source: IE

    Syllabus: GS3/Environment

    Context

    • Scientists have found the first evidence of insects crossing an entire ocean where the painted lady butterflies reached South America from West Africa, after a 4,200 kilometers journey across the Atlantic.

    About

    • Family: Nymphalids
    • Wing Span Range (male to female): 50-56mm
    • Distribution: It is one of the most widespread of all butterflies, found on every continent except Antarctica and South America.
    • IUCN Status: Least Concern

    Source: Live Science

    Syllabus: GS2/International Relations

    Context

    • India and Togo have reviewed bilateral relations and discussed ways to further strengthen bilateral ties between the two countries.

    About

    • India and Togo have cordial bilateral relations. India recognized the Togolese Republic since it attained Independence in 1960.
    • The bilateral trade and Indian investment in Togo have been growing steadily and bilateral trade registered 6.58 billion dollars during 2022-23.
    • Development Partnership: India has extended five Lines of Credit (LOCs) worth around US$150 million bilaterally to Togo for various projects. 
    • Indian Technical and Economic Cooperation (ITEC) Programme: India offers training for Togo officials in human resource development under the ITEC programme.
    • Indian Community: The Indian community in Togo is small and there are about 1,000 Indians living in the country.

    Source: AIR

    Syllabus :GS 2/Health /GS3/S&T

    In News

    • Kerala government  issued a warning against amoebic Meningoencephalitis.

    About Meningoencephalitis 

    • Meningoencephalitis, in simple terms, refers to the inflammation of the meninges and brain, and is considered an infectious neurological emergency. 
    • Amoebic meningoencephalitis  is caused by Naegleria fowleri, also called ‘brain-eating amoeba’, which lives in fresh warm water, such as lakes and rivers. 
    •  It travels up to the brain from the nose, where it destroys the brain tissues and results in its swelling. 
    • The symptoms include headache, fever, nausea, vomiting, altered mental status, and seizures.
    • Measures  :Hold your nose or wear a nose clip if you are jumping or diving into freshwater.
      • Always keep your head above water in hot springs.
      • Don’t dig in shallow water because the ameba is more likely to live there.
      • Use distilled or boiled tap water when rinsing your sinuses or cleansing your nasal passages.

    Source:TH

    Syllabus: Species in News

    Context

    • The Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change (MoEFCC) has approved Rs 56 crore for the next phase of the conservation of Great Indian Bustard (GIB) and Lesser Florican.
      • The plan includes habitat development, in-situ conservation, completion of the conservation breeding centre, releasing captive-bred birds and habitat development among other things.

    About

    • Scientific Name: Ardeotis nigriceps
    • Appearance: The great Indian bustard can easily be distinguished by its black crown on the forehead contrasting with the pale neck and head.
      • The body is brownish and the wings are marked with black, brown and grey. 
    • Diet: They feed on grass seeds, insects like grasshoppers and beetles, and sometimes even small rodents and reptiles.
    • Habitat: Flat open landscapes with minimal visual obstruction and disturbance, therefore adapt well in grasslands. 
    • Distribution: Its population is confined mostly to Rajasthan and Gujarat. Small population occur in Maharashtra, Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh.
    • Threats:
      • Poaching outside Protected Areas, 
      • collisions with high tension electric wires, fast moving vehicles and free-ranging dogs in villages,
      • habitat loss.
    • Conservation Status:
      • Listed in Schedule I of the Indian Wildlife (Protection)Act, 1972, 
      • Appendix I of CITES, 
      • Critically Endangered on the IUCN Red List.

    Source: IE

    Syllabus: GS3/Science & Technology

    Context

    • There is a new and growing question – whether companies are making over-inflated claims about their use of AI.
      • Tech companies and startups marketing themselves as using AI, but not doing so forms the basis of ‘AI washing’.

    About

    • AI washing is a term derived from greenwashing, where companies exaggerate their environmental friendliness to appeal to customers. 
    • Similarly, businesses that claim to have integrated AI into their products, when they’re actually using less sophisticated technology, can be accused of AI washing.
    • When it comes to AI washing, there are several types.
      • Some companies claim to use AI when they’re actually using less-sophisticated computing, while others overstate the efficacy of their AI over existing techniques, or suggest that their AI solutions are fully operational when they are not.
    • Concerns: AI washing can have concerning impacts for businesses, from overpaying for technology and services to failing to meet operational objectives the AI was expected to help them achieve.
      • For investors it can make it harder to identify genuinely innovative companies.

    Source: IE

    Syllabus: GS3/Economy

    Context

    • Recently, the Financial Services Institution Bureau (FSIB) has selected Challa Sreenivasulu Setty as the next chairman of State Bank of India (SBI).

    About the Financial Services Institution Bureau

    • It is an autonomous body of Government of India for developing and implementing appropriate methodologies for making recommendations for appointments, extension and termination of members of the Boards in the institutions specified in the Government of India gazette notification.
    • It was established to replace the Banks Board Bureau (BBB).
    • Its primary mandate is to recommend candidates for appointment as whole-time directors and non-executive chairpersons on the boards of financial services institutions.
    • Additionally, the FSIB aims to advise on personnel management matters within these institutions.
    • Vision: Search and Select apposite personages for Board of Public Sector Banks, Public Sector Financial Institutions and Public Sector Insurance Companies and recommend measures to improve Corporate Governance in these Institutions.
    • Mission: To Promote excellence in Corporate Governance in Public Sector Financial Institutions.
    Do You Know?

    Mission INDRADHANUSH was launched in 2015 for the revamp of Public Sector Banks (PSBs), consisting of Appointments; Bank Board Bureau; Capitalization; De-stressing PSBs and Strengthening Risk Control measures and NPA Disclosures; Empowerment; Framework of Accountability; and Governance Reforms.
    BBB, as an autonomous body of the Government of India, was set up in 2016 by way of amendment to the Nationalised Banks (Management and Miscellaneous Provisions) Scheme.
    – Earlier, the Delhi High Court ruled that the BBB lacked competence to select general managers and directors of state-run general insurers.

    Source: Live Mint

    Syllabus: GS3/Science and Technology

    Context

    • Recently, researchers from Kerala have devised a method to produce activated carbon, suitable for supercapacitor fabrication, from coconut husks.

    Quest for Ideal Supercapacitor Electrode Material

    • Supercapacitors, with significantly higher capacitance and energy storage capacity than conventional capacitors, play a crucial role in sustainable energy storage.
      • A supercapacitor (aka ultracapacitor or electrochemical capacitor) is an electrochemical energy storage device, which can be used to store and deliver charge by reversible adsorption and desorption of ions at the interface between the electrode material and electrolyte.
    • However, finding an ideal supercapacitor electrode material has been a challenge. Researchers addressed it by leveraging coconut husk-derived activated carbon.

    Key Findings

    • Prototype supercapacitors made from coconut husk-derived activated carbon are four times more efficient than existing supercapacitors.
    • The innovative microwave-assisted method is relatively inexpensive and yields activated carbon with an impressive surface area of 1,200 m²/g and highly porous structures.
    • The high-power output of these supercapacitors can power two LEDs for 20 minutes.

    Microwave-Assisted Method

    • The researchers utilised an advanced microwave pyrolysis reactor to produce high-quality carbon within just five minutes
    • It eliminates impurities like ash and generates zero waste.
    • The resulting activated carbon exhibits exceptional supercapacitor capability, making it an ideal material for various applications.

    Source: TH

    Syllabus: GS 3/Defense

    In News

    • General Upendra Dwivedi took over as the 30th Chief of the Army Staff (COAS) from General Manoj Pande who superannuated after more than four decades of service.

    About COAS

    • The Chief of the Army Staff (COAS) in India holds a pivotal role in overseeing the Indian Army. 
    • COAS is  appointed by the the Appointments Committee of the Cabinet (ACC)
    • The COAS is typically a four-star general and is appointed from among the senior-most officers in the Army.
    •  The appointment is based on seniority, experience, and suitability for the role.
    • The COAS retires after three years of appointment or at the age of 62,  whichever is earlier.
    • Functions : The COAS exercises command and control over the entire Indian Army. This involves strategizing and planning military operations, ensuring preparedness for any contingencies, and maintaining operational readiness.
      • The COAS represents the Indian Army in various national and international forums. They engage in diplomacy with military counterparts from other nations, fostering bilateral and multilateral military cooperation and partnerships.

    Equivalent Services Ranks of Indian Armed Forces

    Source: TH