Daily Current Affairs – 04-08-2023

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    Offshore Areas Mineral (Development and Regulation) Amendment Bill, 2023

    Syllabus: GS2/ Government Policies and Interventions for Development in various sectors and Issues arising out of their Design and Implementation

    In News

    • Recently, the Parliament passed the Offshore Areas Mineral (Development and Regulation) Amendment Bill, 2023.

    About

    • The proposed amendment will bring major reform by introducing auction as the method of allocation of operating rights in the offshore areas.
    • The objective behind the move is to use the national wealth in the sea for the overall development of the country.
    • The OAMDR Act of 2002 came into force in 2010. However, no mining activity has been undertaken in the offshore areas to date. Hence, the Centre has proposed the amendments to bring several reforms in the offshore mining sector.
    • The previous efforts to allocate offshore blocks faced challenges due to a lack of a proper legal framework and pending litigations over block allocations. 

    Key Provisions of the Bill

    • Introduction of composite licensing: The amendment has brought in a new composite licensing regime where an explorer would also have the right to develop and mine the mineral under a single licence .
    • Introduction of Auction: The government aims to introduce auctions as the route to award production leases for offshore minerals.  
    • Mining of atomic minerals: Moreover, certain critical and sensitive minerals including atomic minerals would be allocated only to government entities or PSUs so far.
    • Validity of concessions: Under the Act, a production lease is granted for a period of up to 30 years.  It may be further renewed for up to 20 years.  
    • Setting up a non-lapsable Offshore Areas Mineral Trust under the Public Account of India: To ensure the availability of funds for exploration, mitigation of adverse impact of offshore mining, disaster management and research
    • Mining in reserved areas:  The Act allows the government to reserve offshore areas that are not held under any operating right. 
    • Strengthened Penalties: The Bill proposes an increase in fines for illegal mining and other related offenses to deter illegal activities.  
    • Ease of doing business: The enhance transparency in the allocation of minerals seated in country’s offshore basins, with a provision for granting production lease only through auction.

    Gains for India

    • As India aims to become a high-growth economy, it needs to harness its maritime resources to its optimal capacity.
    • Extraction of minerals from these areas will serve India’s strategic interests and give it a stronger hold on its territorial waters.
    • It will encourage the participation of the public-private sector.
    • The private sector will bring a high level of technology & expertise in the exploration sector.

    Source: ET

    Bihar’s Caste-based Survey

    Syllabus: GS1/Population & Associated Issues; Poverty & Developmental Issues; GS2/Government Policies & Interventions

    In News

    • Patna High Court recently upheld the caste-based survey being conducted by the Bihar government.

    More about the news

    • In the beginning of this year, the Bihar government began conducting a survey of households to collect and publish data on caste with the aim of “ensuring all-round development of all sections of the State.”
    • The caste survey was challenged under two significant grounds: 
    • It violated a citizen’s fundamental right to privacy and 
    • The state had no power to carry out such a survey.
    • In its previous decisions, the Patna HC itself had stayed the caste survey.

    Addressing the challenged points of caste-based survey

    • Privacy argument: 
      • Responding to the petitioner’s argument that the right to privacy of those being surveyed will be infringed due to the queries concerning their religion, caste, and monthly income, the court referred to the triple-requirement test laid down in Puttaswamy judgement.
      • Court reiterated that permissible restrictions can be imposed on the fundamental right, in the state’s legitimate interests, provided they are proportional and reasonable.
      • Adding that the disclosures “are voluntary” and aimed at “bringing forth development schemes for the identified backward classes”, the court clarified that the data collected is not for “taxing, branding, labeling or ostracizing individuals or groups” but to “identify the economic, educational and other social aspects of different communities/classes/groups, which require further action by the State” for their upliftment.
    • Competence: 
      • The petitioners claimed that only the Union government can conduct a “census”
      • The legislative, and by extension, executive, powers of the Centre and States are divided into three lists found in the Constitution’s Seventh Schedule. 
      • Among these, Entry 69 of the Union List contains the Centre’s exclusive power to conduct a “census”, the petitioners said. 
      • They also relied on Article 246, which deals with the Parliament’s power to exclusively legislate “on any of the matters enumerated in List I in the Seventh Schedule”.
      • Meanwhile, the Bihar government argued that in 2011, a caste census was conducted by the Centre, the details of which weren’t disclosed.
      • It pointed out that Entry 45 of the Concurrent List, containing subjects over which both the Centre and the states can legislate, is similar to Entry 94 of the Union List, as both confer powers to collect statistics for verifying details, to achieve the economic and social planning goals listed under the Concurrent List.
    • Integrity and security:
      • There is also the question raised of data integrity and security which has to be more elaborately addressed by the state.

    Relevance and need for the caste count:

    • A step towards equality:
      • A caste census would help us point out those castes that are not represented in the institutions of this country so that steps towards equality can be established.
      • It would also justify the extension of reservations to various communities.
      • The aim is that every section of society can progress properly.
    • The Last Caste data with the government:
      • last caste census was in 1931 and the government still uses this as a basis to estimate demography and different caste groups. 
      • There have been significant changes in the demography of this country.
    • Data unavailability:
      • The Rohini Commission too, faced difficulties due to the unavailability of data on various communities classified under OBCs.
        • The Commission was set up to examine the issue of sub-categorisation of OBCs.
    • Effective service delivery:
      • A fresh estimate of the population is necessary to ensure more effective delivery of targeted welfare.
    • State actions on caste data collection:
      • Karnataka, Odisha and Telangana had carried out similar counts in the name of “socio-economic surveys”.
    • Popular demand:
      • Along with Bihar, other states like Jharkhand and Odisha are also reiterating their support for the caste census. 

    Criticisms:

    • A colonial practice:
      • Every Census until 1931 had data on caste. So it was a colonial practice of divide and rule which drove them toward collecting such data.
      • Every Census in independent India from 1951 to 2011 has published data on Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes, but not on other castes. 
    • May increase caste divisions:
      • the 21st century India should be discussing ‘let’s do away with caste’ rather than further divide India on those lines. 
      • Caste census may “rekindle divisive feelings among people.
    • Demand for reservations:
      • Reservations that were implemented for 10 years have continued for 75 years and a caste-based census may lead to a demand for more.
    • No constitutional Mandate:
      • Unlike in the case of the SCs and the STs, there is no constitutional mandate for the Registrar-General and Census Commissioner of India, to provide the census figures of the OBCs and the BCCs.
    • Difficulties in such count:
      • The Union government contended that such an exercise was not feasible given that there are too many castes and sub-castes in each state and Union territory making it difficult to classify them.
        • People use their clan/gotra, sub-caste and caste names interchangeably.
      • The government has cited numerous administrative, operational and logistical reasons.
      • Census data enumerators are part-timers with 6-7 days of training and are “not an investigator or verifier
        • There is a fear that such counting could endanger the census exercise itself.
    • Political agenda:
      • At a deeper level there are politics involved in the matter.
      • Bihar’s politics has been dominated by the Other Backward Castes (OBCs), the numerically powerful social group.
    • Socio-economic caste census (SECC)
      • The Union government cited that the socio-economic caste census (SECC) conducted by the government in 2011 contained too many discrepancies and the data was withheld.

    History of Caste Census

    • A population census was first carried out by the British colonial state in 1872.
    • The 65-page census enumerated the populations of various castes, including Brahmins, Kshatriyas and Rajputs across several provinces.
    • Caste populations were specifically counted based on their traditional occupations at the time.
      • For instance, “Hindoos” in the Madras province were counted in 17 sets, which included “priests, warriors, traders, agriculturists, shepherds and pastoral castes” among others.
    • The last time comprehensive data on caste was collected was in the 1931 Census.

    Why has it not been carried out since 1931?

    • The categories of ‘Race, Caste or Tribe’ were replaced by the ‘Scheduled Tribe/ Scheduled Caste’.
    • There is little documentation about the discussion or debate that had transpired between leaders of the time on what the census would include.
    • Subsequent reports and studies have attributed to the belief that “including caste data in census enumeration will perpetuate the caste system and deepen social divisions”.
      • Recording of caste was abandoned after Indian Independence in 1947, to help smooth the growth of a secular state.

    Source: TH

    Great Nicobar Project

    Syllabus: GS2/ Government Policies & Interventions Development Processes & Development Industry

    In News

    • The ambitious Great Nicobar Project may see 9.64 lakh trees felled to enable the construction of a trans-shipment port, an international airport, a 450 MVA gas and solar-based power plant in the Great Nicobar island.

    About

    • In lieu of the trees being chopped, compensatory afforestation would be carried out in Haryana as “the scope of plantation in Andaman and Nicobar Islands is very limited”.
    • 15 percent of the development area will be preserved as green and open spaces, potentially reducing the number of trees to be felled.
    • Regarding the potential loss of biodiversity, various conservation bodies  will prepare a Biodiversity conservation or management plan.

    Great Nicobar Development Plan

    • Timeline: In 2022, the central government granted environmental clearance for the project which will be implemented in phases over the next 30 years.
    • Bodies: The project is being spearheaded by Andaman and Nicobar Islands Integrated Development Corporation (ANIIDCO), under a vision plan conceived by the NITI Aayog.
    • Estimated Cost: Rs 72,000 crore.

    Significance (Justification by Government)

    • Its strategic location provides opportunities to tap into the flow of Global trade
      • The Island lies adjacent to the Malacca Strait, a major Indian Ocean chokepoint. 
      • And its southern tip, Indira Point is near the major international sea route which carries about 20-25% of global sea trade and 35% of world oil supplies.
    • There is geo-political significance of having a stronger presence in the island given the consolidation by foreign countries in the crucial Indian Ocean Region by way of diplomacy and military footprint with adjacent states.
    • This project will enhance the socio-economic growth of the local populace and will improve connectivity with the Indian mainland and other global cities. Pristine beaches, lush evergreen rainforests, scenic hills are tourism assets which will attract high-end tourists.

    Major Concerns Raised

    • Environmental & Ecological:
      • The island was declared a biosphere reserve in 1989 and included in the UNESCO’s Man and Biosphere Programme in 2013. The project will lead to the diversion of 15 percent of its forest area and the feeling of 9.64 lakh trees in phases.
      • The island is home to many endemic species of plants and animals which will be threatened. 
      • For loss of mangrove cover, the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) report argues that compensatory afforestation to be carried out in Haryana and Madhya Pradesh. But far-field afforestation, that too in areas that have no ecological comparison, makes no sense.
      • The project will end up destroying vast stretches of coral reefs. The EIA report recommends ‘translocation’ of these organisms. But transplanted corals do not have a high survival rate.
    • Geological:
      • The area is prone to severe natural disasters. The Island lies in close proximity to the Ring of Fire and to the epicentre of the 2004 Indian Ocean earthquake which displaced the sea floor by 10-20m vertically.
    • Regarding Tribals:
      • The Great Nicobar Island has a population of about 8,000. Once completed, the project is expected to attract more than 3 lakh people, which is equal to the current population of the entire 1,000-km-long island chain.
      • This project will run counter to the rights of indigenous vulnerable tribal communities, such as the Nicobarese and Shompen.
      • More than three-fourth of the island is designated as a tribal reserve under The Andaman and Nicobar Islands (Protection of Aboriginal Tribes) Amendment Regulation, 1956. This means that the land is meant for exclusive use of the community and others cannot access the area without their express permission.

    Concluding Remarks

    • Growth in terms of GDP should be reconsidered if it ends up in the irretrievable loss of natural capital.
    • The Great Nicobar Project moves forward, the delicate balance between development and ecological preservation will be closely monitored. 
    • The government’s assurances regarding biodiversity conservation and compensatory afforestation will be under scrutiny, as stakeholders and environmentalists keep a vigilant eye on the project’s implementation.

    Great Nicobar Island

    • Great Nicobar Island (GNI) is the southernmost of the Andaman and Nicobar Islands in the Bay of Bengal and is located north of Sumatra island of Indonesia.
    • Indira Point, earlier known as Pygmalion Point, lies at the tip of the Great Nicobar Island and is the southernmost point of India.
    • The island has several rivers, including the Alexandra, Amrit Kaur, Dogmar and Galathea.
    • Mount Thuillier is the highest point on the Island.
    • INS Baaz, located near Campbell Bay on the island, is a naval air station under the joint-services Andaman and Nicobar Command (ANC) of the Indian Armed Forces.

    Source: TH

    Advocates (Amendment) Bill, 2023

    Syllabus: GS2/Government Policies and Interventions

    In News

    • The Rajya Sabha recently passed the Advocates (Amendment) Bill, 2023, which aims to regulate the legal profession.

    More about the News

    • The amendment would help to regulate the legal profession through a single Act, the Advocates Act, 1961.
    • The Bill repeals certain sections related to touts in the Legal Practitioners Act, 1879, and incorporates the provisions of section 36 of the Legal Practitioners Act, 1879, in the Advocates Act, 1961.

     Key features of the Bill include: 

    • Touts: Every High Court, district judge, sessions judge, district magistrate, and revenue officer (not below the rank of a district collector) may frame and publish lists of touts.  
      • Tout refers to a person who: (i)either procures the employment of a legal practitioner in return of any payment, or (iii) frequents places such as the precincts of civil or criminal courts, revenue-offices, or railway stations to procure such employment.  
      • The Court or judge may exclude from the premises of the Court any person whose name is included in the list of touts.
    • Preparation of lists: The authorities may order subordinate courts to hold an inquiry into the conduct of persons alleged to be touts.  Once proven, his name may be included in the list of touts.  No person will be included in such lists without getting an opportunity of showing cause against his inclusion.
    • Penalty: Any person who acts as a tout while his name is included in the list of touts will be punished with imprisonment up to three months, a fine up to Rs 500, or both.

    Advocates Act, 1961 

    • It established the Bar Council of India and State Bar Councils and State Bar Councils must exist in every state.
    • Advocates may be transferred from one state to another, they are not permitted to enroll in more than one State-Bar Council.
    • A self-governing authority has been given to the Bar Council.
    • It also included provisions that allowed for the consolidation of all legal system legislation into a single class or document.
    • Various Bar Council regulations have been implemented in both state and central laws.
    • A single title called ‘advocate’ replaced the several titles that were previously granted to advocates such as legal practitioners, vakils, attorneys, etc.

    About the Bar Council of India

    • It is a statutory body created by Parliament under the Advocates Act, 1961 to regulate and represent the Indian bar. 
    • It performs the regulatory function by prescribing standards of professional conduct and etiquette and by exercising disciplinary jurisdiction over the bar. 
    • It also sets standards for legal education and grants recognition to Universities whose degree in law will serve as qualification for enrolment as an advocate.
    • In addition, it performs certain representative functions by protecting the rights, privileges and interests of advocates and through the creation of funds for providing financial assistance to organise welfare.

    Source: IT

    The Press and Registration of Periodicals Bill, 2023

     

    Syllabus: GS2/Governance

    Context:

    • The Press and Registration of Periodicals Bill, 2023 was passed by the Rajya Sabha recently, which repeals the existing Press and Registration of Books Act, 1867.

    About The Press and Registration of Books Act, 1867:

    • It governs the registration of print and publishing industry in the country.
    • It was aimed to regulate printing presses and newspapers in India, preserve copies of books and newspapers printed in India, and provide for registration of books and newspapers.
      • Book for the purposes of the Act, includes even a pamphlet and every sheet of music, map, chart etc.
      • Electronic media was outside the purview of this Act of 1867.

     

    Key features of the Bill:

    • Registration of periodicals: The Bill provides for the registration of newspapers, periodicals, and books and catalogues. It also includes any publication containing public news or comments on public news.
      • Periodicals do not include books or scientific and academic journals.
    • Process of getting a certificate of registration: Registration of a printing press: The Bill provides that a declaration specifying the printer/ publisher be made to the District Magistrate (DM) who sends the declaration to the Press Registrar through an online portal, who then issues a certificate of registration.
      • Making such declaration and authentication by the DM is necessary for the publication of the newspaper.
      • Earlier, a person wanting to start a newspaper has to submit an application with the DM, who sends it to the Press Registrar to check for title availability.
      • The registration process moves forward only after the Press Registrar conveys the availability of the title to the DM, who then administers the oath to the person keen on starting the newspaper according to provisions of the Act.
      • Thus, the new bill reduces the time required for registration of newspapers and periodicals significantly.
    • For Foreign periodicals: An exact reproduction of a foreign periodical may be printed in India only with the prior approval of the central government.
    • Press Registrar General: The Bill provides for the Press Registrar General of India who will issue registration certificates for all periodicals.
      • Other functions of the Press Registrar General include:
        • Maintaining a register of periodicals,
        • Making guidelines for the admissibility of title of periodicals,
        • Verifying circulation figures of prescribed periodicals, and
        • Revising, suspending, or cancelling registration.
    • Suspension and cancellation of registration: The Bill allows the Press Registrar General to suspend a periodical’s registration for a minimum period of 30 days which can extend to 180 days. The registration may be suspended due to:
      • Registration obtained by furnishing false information,
      • Failure to publish periodicals continuously, and
      • Giving false particulars in annual statements.
      • The Press Registrar General may cancel the registration if the publisher does not correct such defects. Registration may also be cancelled if:
        • A periodical has the same or similar title as any other periodical,
        • The owner/ publisher has been convicted of a terrorist act or unlawful activity, or for acting against the security of the state.    
    • Penalties and appeal: The Bill empowers the Press Registrar General to impose penalties for:
      • Publishing periodicals without registration (up to five lakh rupees),
      • Failing to furnish annual statements within the specified time (up to Rs 20,000 on first default).
      • If a periodical is published without registration, the Press Registrar General may direct its publication to be stopped. Not complying with such direction within six months will be punishable with imprisonment of up to six months.
      • Any person may appeal against the refusal to issue a registration certificate, suspension/ cancellation of registration, or imposition of penalty.  Such appeals may be filed before the Press and Registration Appellate Board within 60 days.

    ET
     

    Communication Interoperability and Security Memorandum of Agreement

    Syllabus :GS 2/International Relations 

    In News

    • Pakistan’s Cabinet has approved the signing of a new security pact with the U.S. which is named as Communication Interoperability and Security Memorandum of Agreement(the CIS-MOA).

    About CIS-MOA

    • It is a foundational agreement that the U.S. signs with its allies and countries with which it wants to maintain close military and defence ties. 
      • Origin : The agreement, first signed between the Joint Staff Headquarters of Pakistan and the U.S. Department of Defence in October 2005 for 15 years, expired in 2020. The two sides have now renewed that arrangement which covers joint exercises, operations, training, basing and equipment.
    • It also provides legal cover to the U.S. Department of Defence for ensuring the sale of military equipment and hardware to other countries.
    • The development comes days after Pakistan and the U.S. agreed to further enhance their bilateral relations, including in the defence field.
      • The signing of the CIS-MOA means that the two countries are keen to maintain the institutional mechanism.

    Implications 

    • The signing of the CIS-MOA indicates that the U.S. might sell some military hardware to Pakistan in coming years.
    • The move that indicates a fresh start in defence cooperation after years of distrust between the two nations and may open avenues for Islamabad to get military hardware from Washington
    • However, there was no official announcement from either side about the signing of the agreement. 

    Concerns for India 

    • India and the U.S. have committed to deepening defence and security cooperation, but the indulgence of Pakistan  can dampen that spirit.

    Way Ahead 

    • India  and the US have been skilfully managing their differences over Afghanistan, the crisis in Ukraine, and the lingering threat of U.S. sanctions under its Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act.
    • The Pakistan factor should not undermine India’s close security ties with the U.S.
    • India and the U.S. need to work to ensure that the spectacular gains made in bilateral ties are preserved and nourished.

    Source:TH

    Facts In News

     

    UNMESHA AND UTKARSH Festivals

    Syllabus: GS-1/Art and Culture, Art forms and literature

    In News: 

    • The President of India inaugurated ‘Unmesha’ and ‘Utkarsh’ festivals in Bhopal, Madhya Pradesh. 
      • These festivals were organised by Sahitya Akademi and Sangeet Natak Akademi, with the purpose of celebrating inclusivity and cultural diversity.

    Unmesha – International Literature Festival

    • It is India’s most inclusive and Asia’s largest literature festival in terms of the number of languages.
    • With over 575 authors participating in 102 languages, it is set to become World’s largest literature festival.
    • The festival will include discussions on Ocean literature, Ecocriticism, Machines and Literature, the idea of India, Creativity-boosting education, and translation., along with poetry and story readings.

    Utkarsh – Festival of Folk and Tribal Performing Arts 

    • This festival stands for the progress of tribal people and to showcase their art forms and preserve  their culture and tradition.
    • This will help in creating a collective endeavor in which they can actively participate in the country’s development.

    About Sahitya Akademi

    • It was established in 1954 by the Government of India as India’s National Academy of Letters.
    • It is an autonomous organisation working under the Ministry of Culture.  It was registered as a society on 7 January 1956, under the Societies Registration Act, 1860.
    • It preserves and promotes literature contained in twenty four Indian languages (including English).
    • The Akademi also undertakes literary exchange programmes with various countries across the globe to promote Indian Literature.
    • The primary focus of Sahitya Akademi is to promote and encourage all sections of the literary community in India: young writers, women writers, Dalit writers, writers from the Northeast, etc.

    About Sangeet Natak Akademi

    •  Sangeet Natak Akademi is an autonomous body of the Ministry of Culture, Government of India. 
    • It is the apex body in the field of performing arts in the country.
    • By order of the Ministry of Education, Government of India, it was established in 1952, with Dr. P. V. Rajamannar served as its first Chairman.
    • It was founded in 1953 with the goal of preserving and promoting India’s rich intangible cultural legacy, which is conveyed via music, dance, and theater.

    Source: PIB

    Ludwigia Peruviana

    Syllabus: GS3/ Conservation

    In Context 

    •  Ludwigia Peruviana is  threatening elephant habitats and foraging areas in Valparai(Tamil Nadu).

    About Ludwigia Peruviana

    • It is an aquatic weed native to some countries in Central and South America, including Peru.
    • It grows fast along water bodies.
    • It is among the 22 priority invasive plants in Tamil Nadu.
    • It was probably introduced as an ornamental plant for its tiny yellow flowers .
      • It has infested the majority of the hill station’s swamps, locally known as vayals, where elephants used to find lush grass even in the summer. 
      • It is reviving the risk of human-elephant conflicts in the region.

    Himalayan Vultures

    Syllabus: GS-3/Environment, Species in News

    In News 

    • Researchers have recorded the first instance of captive breeding (breeding outside the natural environment) of the Himalayan vulture in India at the Assam State Zoo. This is the second such instance in the world, after France.

    About Himalayan Vultures:

    • Common name: Himalayan Vultures; Himalayan Griffon
    • Scientific name: Gyps himalayensis
    • Description: 
      • They are vultures with stout bills, loosely feathered ruff, long wings, and a short tail. 
      • It is the largest of the Gyps species, averaging larger in every method of measurement than its relatives, and is perhaps the largest and heaviest bird in the Himalayas.
    • Habitat: It inhabits mostly in higher altitudes of the Tibetan Plateau and the Himalayas, at altitudes more than 1500 meters.
    • Distribution: Western China, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Afghanistan, and Pakistan are all home to this species. Additionally, it can be found in Mongolia, the Himalayan mountain range in India, and central China.
    • IUCN status: Near Threatened.

    Vulture Population In India

    • Declining Status:
      • Since the 1990s, the number of vultures has been steadily declining.
      • Three severely endangered species of vultures—the Oriental white-backed, long-billed, and slender-billed vultures saw a sharp decline in population between the 1990s and 2007, when 99% of the species vanished.
      • Red-headed vultures, who are critically endangered, saw a 91% fall in population while Egyptian vultures saw an 80% decline.
    • Threats: 
      • Diclofenac and other vulture-toxic non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medicines (NSAIDs).

    Role of Vultures in Ecology

    • As carcasses eaters, vultures are the key to a built-in infection-control system.
      • Presence of acid in their stomach is potent enough to kill the pathogens. Thus, the chain of the infection is broken.
    • Scavengers like vultures do their part of keeping the ecosystem clean and balanced by eating rotten animal remains. The wonder is that vultures avoid contracting the disease despite eating contaminated carcasses.

     

    Initiatives for Conservation 

    • The Vulture Conservation Breeding Programme was developed by the Bombay Natural History Society (BNHS) and the Central Zoo Authority (CZA).
    • The MoEFCC released the Action plan for Vulture Conservation 2006 with the Drugs Controller General of India  banning the veterinary use of diclofenac in the same year.
    • Vulture Action Plan 2025: Eight locations around the nation, including two in Uttar Pradesh, where vulture populations were still present, are participating in the Vulture Safe Zone program.
    • Four Vulture Conservation Breeding Centres (VCBCs) established by Bombay Natural History Society (BNHS) at Pinjore in Haryana, Bhopal in Madhya Pradesh, Rani in Assam, and Rajabhatkhawa in West Bengal are involved in conservation breeding of vultures.

     

    Other types of Vulture species 

    Source: TH

    Lactose Intolerance

     

    Syllabus: GS3/Awareness in the field of Science and Technology

    Context

    • There is a rise in the cases of lactose intolerance.

    About Lactose Intolerance 

    • It occurs in people who lack the enzyme (lactase) they need to break down lactose, the sugar in milk.
    • If one is deficient in lactase, the undigested lactose passes on to the colon, where it produces extra gas and water, resulting in bloating, cramps and diarrhoea. 
    • It is not a disorder but a digestive system’s reaction to milk sugar (lactose) which it cannot digest. 
    • As one ages, there is a normal decline in the amount of lactase that the small intestine produces. This is one of the reasons why lactose intolerance might seem to be creeping up on one during adulthood and beyond.
    • It is a specific digestive issue associated with the consumption of dairy products and ceases to be a problem when the person totally avoids or restricts milk products in the diet. 

    Source: TH

    Meri Maati Mera Desh’ campaign 

    Syllabus :GS 2/Government Policies and Interventions 

    In News

    • The Prime Minister has recently announced the ‘Meri Maati Mera Desh’ campaign during his Mann Ki Baat broadcast. 

    About  ‘Meri Maati Mera Desh’ campaign 

     

    • It aims to honour the brave freedom fighters and bravehearts who sacrificed their lives for the country. 
    • It will include various programs across the country to remember the bravehearts (Veers). 
      • Shilaphalakams (memorial plaques) commemorating them will be installed in gram panchayats, close to Amrit Sarovars.
        • Installing Shilaphalakam as tribute to bravehearts, Mitti ka Naman and Veeron ka Vandan are the key components of the campaign Meri Maati Mera Desh. 

    Source: PIB

    Arash /Dorra  Gas Field 

    Syllabus :GS 1/Places In News/GS 2/IR

    In News

    • Saudi Arabia, Kuwait rejected Iran claims to disputed gas fields .

    About Arash /Dorra 

    • The offshore field, known as Arash in Iran and Dorra in Kuwait and Saudi Arabia
      • It  has long been a focal point of contention between the three countries.
    • The row over the field stretches back to the 1960s, when Iran and Kuwait each awarded an offshore concession, one to the Anglo-Iranian Oil Company, the forerunner to BP, and one to Royal Dutch Shell.
      • The two concessions overlapped in the northern part of the field, whose recoverable reserves are estimated at some 220 billion cubic metres (nearly eight trillion cubic feet).
    • Developments: 
      • In 2022 ,Kuwait and Saudi Arabia signed an agreement to jointly develop the field, despite objections from Iran which branded the deal as “illegal”.
      • Iran and Kuwait have held unsuccessful talks for many years over their disputed maritime border area, which is rich in natural gas.
      • Recent attempts to revive negotiations have failed, and Iran’s oil minister said Tehran may pursue work at the field even without an agreement.

    Source:TH
     

    Incandescent light bulbs

     

    Syllabus: Prelims

    Context:

    • The United States bans incandescent light bulbs stating that light bulbs must emit a minimum of 45 lumens per watt, while incandescent bulbs provide just 15 lumens per watt.

    About:

    It is a source of electric light that works by incandescence, which is the emission of light caused by heating the filament.

    • History:
      • Thomas Edison (1889) is widely considered to be the inventor of the incandescent bulb.
      • There are a number of people who invented components and prototypes of the light bulb well before Edison.
      • British physicist Joseph Wilson Swan received the first patent for a complete incandescent light bulb with a carbon filament in 1879.
    • Working:
      • It consists of a glass enclosure containing a tungsten filament. An electric current passes through the filament, heating it to a temperature that produces light.
      • It usually contains a stem or glass mount attached to the bulb’s base which allows the electrical contacts to run through the envelope without gas/air leaks. Small wires embedded in the stem support the filament and/or its lead wires.
      • The enclosing glass enclosure contains either a vacuum or an inert gas to preserve and protect the filament from evaporating.
    • What are the issues associated with it?
      • Low efficacy and quality of light, short lifespan, high costs involved, sensitivity to external shocks affecting the filament of the bulb, and negative environmental impact etc.

     

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