Daily Current Affairs – 29-05-2023

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    Reports on Global Warming of 1.5 °C

    Syllabus :GS 3/Environmental Pollution and Degradation 

    In News

    Major Findings 

    • The predictions of the recently released reports point to precipitation anomalies and an increase in marine heat waves as compared to marine cold spells.
    • The El Niño, which is currently brewing, will further strengthen this year, resulting in a 98% possibility of witnessing temperatures higher than 2016 at least in one of the years in the 2023-27 period. 
    • Global surface temperature: The annual mean global surface temperature between 2023 and 2027 will be 1.1-1.8 degree Celsius higher than the baseline temperature of 1850-1900 or pre-industrial levels. 
      • In 2022, it was 1.15 degrees above the baseline, and by 2027, the average will exceed 1.5 degrees, a critical point beyond which there may be no return.
    • The cryosphere is shrinking, and there is a mass loss of glaciers in High-mountain Asia, Western North America, and South America. 
      • Due to the alarming rate of warming of the Arctic Ocean, the Greenlandic ice sheet is melting at a faster pace, contributing to the increase in sea level.

    What is the 1.5 degree Celsius target?

    • The 1.5 °C is the goal of the Paris Agreement which is a legally binding international treaty on climate change.
      • It was adopted by 196 Parties at the UN Climate Change Conference (COP21) in Paris, France, on 12 December 2015. It entered into force on 4 November 2016.
    • The Paris Agreement is a landmark in the multilateral climate change process because, for the first time, a binding agreement brings all nations together to combat climate change and adapt to its effects.
    • Its overarching goal is to hold “the increase in the global average temperature to well below 2°C above pre-industrial levels” and pursue efforts “to limit the temperature increase to 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels.

    Why is it needed ?

    • In recent years, world leaders have stressed the need to limit global warming to 1.5°C by the end of this century.
    • That’s because the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change indicates that crossing the 1.5°C threshold risks unleashing far more severe climate change impacts, including more frequent and severe droughts, heatwaves and rainfall.

    Issues 

    • Historically, developed countries are responsible for a major chunk of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. 
      • Therefore, they are expected to assume more responsibility and implement climate action. 
    • However, the Climate Performance Index over the years has shown otherwise.
      • Countries like Australia, the U.S., Japan, Russia and Canada have made little progress in meeting their pledges. 
    • Additionally, polluters like China, Iran and Saudi Arabia rank low in climate performance.
    • The pandemic pushed the world into a socio-economic crisis. On the road to recovery, countries pledged measures to build-back. 
      • However, in most cases there is little to no consideration for building-back in a sustainable manner. 
    • The Ukraine conflict has further added to woes and sparked an energy crisis threatening climate goals.
    •  For example, warming greater than the global average is being experienced in the Arctic, with the term ‘polar amplification’ gaining more traction. 

    Global Impacts 

    • Climate risks and hazards impact human population and the ecosystem depending on exposure, vulnerability, and adaptive capacity. 
      • It has exacerbated food insecurity, displacement, and deaths. 
    • Climate change has been affecting crop yield negatively and the risks posed by agricultural pests and diseases have also increased in the past few years.
    • Countries like Ethiopia, Nigeria, South Sudan, Somalia, Yemen, and Afghanistan are facing acute food shortages resulting in malnutrition and hunger, demanding urgent humanitarian assistance. 
    • However, food insecurity in these countries is due to the complex interaction of climate conditions with other factors such as droughts, cyclones, and political and economic instability.
    • The heatwaves in Pakistan and India in 2022 resulted in a decline in crop yields. 
    • The floods in Pakistan affected croplands in southern and central parts of the country and displaced eight million people within the country.
    • Aquatic and terrestrial ecosystems have also not been immune to such changes in climate patterns. Phenological shifts and mismatches have been recorded due to climate change. 
    • The population of migratory species has declined in Sub-Saharan Africa. Additionally, the warming above 1.5 degree Celsius can prove lethal for coral reefs which are already prone to bleaching. 
    • According to the WMO, extreme weather anomalies have caused the deaths of two million people and incurred $4.3 trillion in economic damages over the past fifty years. In 2020-2021, 22,608 disaster deaths were recorded globally.

    Impact on India

    • India has been increasingly facing the brunt of climate change. 
    • February 2023 was recorded as the hottest month since record-keeping began in 1901. 
    • In 2022, India witnessed extreme weather events for 80% of the days. Indian monsoons were wetter than usual last year after recording extreme heat during the pre-monsoon period, resulting in wildfires in Uttarakhand and acute food shortages.
    • According to the Climate Change Performance Index 2023, India ranked eighth with a high-performance after Denmark, Sweden, Chile, and Morocco.

    Way Ahead 

    •  Being an emerging economy with development needs, India is attempting to balance its development needs with ongoing climate action both at the domestic and international levels. 
    • With domestic measures like the Green Hydrogen Mission and the introduction of green bonds, India is performing fairly well despite contributing only a miniscule to cumulative GHG emissions. At the international level, through the International Solar Alliance and Coalition for Disaster Resilient Infrastructure, India can prove to be a responsible climate player keeping in mind that it has a long way to go in very little time.

    Source:TH

    New Parliament Building

    Syllabus: GS2/ Government policies & intervention

    In News

    • Prime Minister Narendra Modi inaugurated the new Parliament building, which will have exquisite artwork and a ceremonial sceptre ‘Sengol’ among several features. 

    Features of new Parliament Building

    • Design: It has a built-up area of about 65,000 sq m, with its triangular shape ensuring the optimum utilisation of space.
    • Capacity: The new building will house a larger Lok Sabha hall with a capacity of up to 888 seats, and a larger Rajya Sabha hall with a capacity of upto 384 seats. The Lok Sabha may accommodate up to 1,272 seats for joint sessions of Parliament.
    • Theme: The Lok Sabha hall is based on the peacock theme, India’s national bird. The Rajya Sabha is based on the lotus theme, India’s national flower.
    • Constitutional Hall: A state of the art Constitutional Hall in the building “symbolically and physically puts the Indian citizens at the heart of our democracy”, says the official website.
    • Central Lounge: A Central Lounge that will complement the open courtyard will be a place for members to interact with each other. The courtyard will have a banyan, the national tree.
    • divyang friendly: The new Parliament will be divyang friendly, and people with disabilities will be able to move around freely, says the website.
    • Modern features: The building will have ultra-modern office spaces that will be secure, efficient, and equipped with the latest communications technology. The new building will have large committee rooms with the latest audio-visual equipment, and will provide a superior library experience.
    • Platinum-rated Green Building: The new Sansad Bhavan is a “Platinum-rated Green Building” and embodies India’s commitment towards environmental sustainability.

    Need a new Parliament building

    • Old: The existing Parliament House, which was commissioned in 1927, is almost a century old Heritage Grade-I building that has seen a massive increase in parliamentary activities and users over the decades.
    • Ad hoc modifications: Ad hoc constructions and modifications have been made over time, and the building “is showing signs of distress and over-utilization and is not able to meet the current requirements in terms of space, amenities and technology”.
    • Narrow seating space for MPs: The present building was never designed to accommodate a bicameral legislature for a full-fledged democracy. The number of Lok Sabha seats is likely to increase significantly from the current 545 after 2026, when the freeze on the total number of seats lifts. The seating arrangements are cramped and cumbersome, with no desks beyond the second row.
    • Distressed infrastructure: The addition of services like water supply and sewer lines, air-conditioning, firefighting equipment, CCTV cameras, etc., have led to seepage of water at several places and impacted the aesthetics of the building. Fire safety is a major concern at the building
    • Obsolete communication structures: Communications infrastructure and technology is antiquated in the existing Parliament, and the acoustics of all the halls need improvement.
    • Safety concerns: The current Parliament building was built when Delhi was in Seismic Zone-II; currently it is in Seismic Zone-IV, says the website. This raises structural safety concerns.
    • Inadequate workspace for employees: Over the years, inner service corridors were converted into offices which resulted in poor-quality workspaces. In many cases, these workspaces were made even smaller by creating sub-partitions to accommodate more workers.

    Central Vista Redevelopment Project

    • The new parliament building has been developed as part of India’s Central Vista Redevelopment Project.
    • Central Vista Redevelopment Project refers to the ongoing redevelopment to revamp the Central Vista, India’s central administrative area located near Raisina Hill, New Delhi. 
    • The area was originally designed by Sir Edwin Lutyens and Sir Herbert Baker during British colonial rule.
    • Scheduled between 2020 and 2026, the project aims to 
      • revamp a 3 km long Kartvyapath between Rashtrapati Bhavan and India Gate, 
      • convert North and South Blocks to publicly accessible museums by creating a new common Central Secretariat to house all ministries, 
      • establishing a new Parliament building near the present one with increased seating capacity for future expansion, 
      • establishing new residence and office for the Vice-President and the Prime Minister near the North Block and South Block and convert some of the older structures into museums.

    Source: IE

    Joint Malnutrition Estimates

    Syllabus:GS2/Health

    In News

    • The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), World Health Organisation (WHO) and World Bank have released Joint Malnutrition Estimates.

    About

    • The UNICEF, WHO and the World Bank inter-agency team update the joint global and regional estimates of malnutrition among children under 5 years of age each year. 
    • These estimates of prevalence and numbers affected for child stunting, overweight, wasting and severe wasting are derived for the global population as well as by regional groupings of United Nations (UN) regions and sub-regions, Sustainable Development Goals (SDG), UNICEF, WHO and World Bank regions, as well as World Bank country-income group classifications.

    Findings

    Indian Scenario:

    • Reduction in Stunting: Corresponding with global and regional trends, India continues to show a reduction in stunting and recorded 1.6 crore fewer stunted children under five years in 2022 than in 2012.
      • Stunting among children under five years in India dropped from a prevalence rate of 41.6% in 2012 to 31.7% in 2022 with the numbers dropping from 52 lakh to 36 lakh. 
      • This was accompanied by India’s share of the global burden of stunting declining from 30% to 25% in the past decade.
    • Wasting and Obesity Increased: However, wasting continues to remain a concern and so does growing levels of obesity.
      • The overall prevalence of wasting in 2022 was 18.7% in India, with a share of 49% in the global burden. 
      • The prevalence of obesity marginally increased in a decade from 2.2% in 2012 to 2.8% in 2022 thereby contributing to 8.8% of the global share. 
      • But the overall classification for obesity is low and much lower than the global prevalence of 5.6%.

    Global Scenario:

    • Stunting Declined: Globally, stunting declined from a prevalence rate of 26.3% in 2012 to 22.3% in 2022.
    • Obesity: There was no improvement on the weight issue worldwide, as its prevalence rate grew from 5.5% to 5.6%. 
    • The Joint Malnutrition Estimates (JME) reveal insufficient progress to reach the 2025 World Health Assembly (WHA) global nutrition targets and the 2030 Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 2 targets.
      • Only about one-third of all countries are ‘on track’ to halve the number of children affected by stunting by 2030. 
      • Fewer countries are expected to achieve the 2030 target of 3% prevalence for overweight.

    In line with National Family Health Survey (NFHS)

    • The decline in stunting in India is commensurate with NFHS-5 (2019-2021) data which estimated its prevalence at 35.5% as against 38% in NFHS-4 (2016) and 48% in NFHS-3 (2006).
    • NFHS-5 showed evidence of continued reduction of stunting and instances of underweight children.
    • It also showed an improvement in access to health services — family planning, ante-natal care, deworming, breastfeeding counselling.
    • In India, it has been found that two-thirds of children at 12 or 24 months had wasting at birth or at one month of age. This means two-thirds of the wasting is caused by maternal malnutrition.

    Source: TH

    New NavIC Satellite 

    Syllabus: GS3/ Science & Tech

    In News

    • The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) launched the first of the second-generation satellites for its navigation constellation successfully.

    About 

    • Christened NVS-01, the first of ISRO’s NVS series of payloads is the heaviest in the constellation and was launched by a Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle (GSLV) rocket from Sriharikota.
    • Each of the seven satellites currently in the Indian Regional Navigation Satellite System (IRNSS) constellation, operationally named NavIC, weighed much less.

    Features of Second-generation NavIC satellite

    • Atomic Clock: The satellite will have a Rubidium atomic clock onboard, a significant technology developed by India which only a handful of countries possess. 
      • The satellite-based positioning system determines the location of objects by using the atomic clocks on board; failure of clocks means the satellites are no longer able to provide accurate locations.
      • Several of the existing satellites stopped providing location data after their onboard atomic clocks failed — this was the main reason for the launch of the replacement satellite in 2018. 
    • L1 signals for better use in wearable devices: The second generation satellites will send signals in a third frequency, L1, besides the L5 and S frequency signals that the existing satellites provide, increasing interoperability with other satellite-based navigation systems.
      • The L1 frequency is among the most commonly used in the Global Positioning System (GPS), and will increase the use of the regional navigation system in wearable devices and personal trackers that use low-power, single-frequency chips.
    • Longer mission life: The second-generation satellites will also have a longer mission life of more than 12 years. The existing satellites have a mission life of 10 years.

    Practical purpose of the NAvIC constellation 

    • NavIC is in use for projects like public vehicle safety, power grid synchronisation, real-time train information systems, and fishermen’s safety. 
    • Other upcoming initiatives such as common alert protocol based emergency warning, time dissemination, geodetic network, and unmanned aerial vehicles are in the process of adopting the NavIC system.
    • Some cell phone chipsets such as the ones built by Qualcomm and MediaTek integrated NavIC receivers in 2019. 

    Significant Features of regional navigation system

    • There are four global satellite-based navigation systems — the American GPS, the Russian GLONASS (GLObalnaya NAvigatsionnaya Sputnikovaya Sistema), the European Galileo, and the Chinese Beidou. Japan has a four-satellite system that can augment GPS signals over the country, similar to India’s GAGAN (GPS Aided GEO Augmented Navigation).
    • NavIC is better than GPS in some aspects. While GPS can get you within 20 metres of your target, NaVIC is more accurate and can get you even closer—within 5 metres. 
      • For individual users, this might not be significant but for military equipment like guided missiles, it is crucial. 
    • However, unlike GPS, which can be used anywhere in the world, NaVIC is regional and can only be used within India and up to 1,500 km from its borders.
    • NavIC uses satellites in high geo-stationery orbit — the satellites move at a constant speed relative to Earth, so they are always looking over the same region on Earth.
    • NavIC signals come to India at a 90-degree angle, making it easier for them to reach devices located even in congested areas, dense forests, or mountains.
    • With the use of NavIC picking up, the government has been looking at the possibility of increasing the coverage area of the system.

    Source: IE

    Foucault pendulum

    Syllabus :GS 3/Science and Technology 

    In News

    One of the features of the recently inaugurated  new Parliament building in New Delhi  is a Foucault pendulum suspended from its ‘Constitutional Gallery’ area. 

    • At the latitude of Parliament, it takes 49 hours, 59 minutes and 18 seconds for the pendulum to complete one rotation.

    About Foucault pendulum

    • The Foucault pendulum is named for Léon Foucault (1819-1868), the French physicist who first devised the apparatus in the mid-19th century.
    • It is a deceptively simple device used to illustrate the earth’s rotation. 
    • The pendulum consists of a heavy bob suspended at the end of a long, strong wire from a fixed point in the ceiling. 
    • It has been designed and installed by the National Council of Science Museums (NCSM), Kolkata.

    Do you know ?

    • In 1991, the then-new Inter-University Centre for Astronomy and Astrophysics, Pune, commissioned the country’s first Foucault pendulum for public display from NCSM. 
    • After several studies and failed tests, NCSM installed the setup in 1993.
    • NCSM subsequently installed another Foucault pendulum in the Queensland Science Museum, Brisbane. 

    Source:TH

    Rs 75 Coin Launched to mark inauguration of New Parliament

    Syllabus: GS2/ Government policies & intervention

    News 

    • A new commemorative coin with a denomination of Rs 75 was unveiled by Prime Minister Narendra Modi at the inauguration of the new Parliament building.

    Features

    • The latest Rs 75 coin is circular in shape with a diameter of 44mm. 
    • The composition of the coin is of a quaternary alloy — 50 per cent silver, 40 percent copper, 5 per cent nickel and 5 percent zinc.

    Inscriptions

    • The face of the coin shall bear the Lion Capital of Ashoka Pillar in the centre, with the legend Satyameva Jayate inscribed below, flanked on the left periphery with the word “Bharat” in Devnagri script and on the right periphery the word “INDIA” in English.
    • The other side of the coin displays an image of the new parliament building. The inscription “Sansad Sankul” is written in Devanagari script on the upper periphery while the words “Parliament Complex” in English on the lower periphery of the coin.

    Background of Commemorative Coins

    • India has been issuing commemorative coins since the 1960s for several reasons such as paying homage to notable personalities, spreading awareness about government schemes, or remembering key historic events.
    • The country released its first commemorative coin in 1964 in honour of Jawaharlal Nehru, who had passed away that year.

    Power to design and mint coins

    • The Coinage Act, 2011 gives the central government the power to design and mint coins in various denominations. 
    • In the case of coins, the role of the RBI is limited to the distribution of coins that are supplied by the central government.
    • All coins are minted in the four mints owned by the Government of India in Mumbai, Hyderabad, Kolkata and Noida.

    Source: IE