Magazine

English Hindi

Index

Prelims bits

Prelims Bits (1st Week)

Environment and Ecology:

Global Wind Report 2021 – Status of Wind Energy Production in India & World explained

  • Context:Global Wind Report 2021 was published by the Global Wind Energy Council (GWEC) on March 25, 2021.
  • About:The Global Wind Energy Council (GWEC) was established in the year 2005 that provides a credible and representative forum for the entire wind energy industry on an international scale.
  • The headquarters of the committee is in Belgium.
  • Although 2020 is a record year for the global wind power industry, the report warns that in order to achieve global climate goals and limit global warming to below 2°C, it is necessary to increase the speed of new wind power installations before the next decade Three times higher than the pre-industrial level
  • The current global wind power capacity has reached 743GW.
  • This is helping the world reduce more than 1.1 billion tons of carbon dioxide annually
  • It is equal to the annual carbon emissions of South America.
  • The global wind power market increased four times in size over the past decade but the record growth was seen in 2020.
  • This increase was driven by a surge of installations in China and the US alone

First Inter State Tiger Relocation Project – Why it failed? Facts about Satkosia Tiger Reserve

  • Context: The five year-old tigress spent 28 months in captivity in SatkosiaTiger Reserve, Odisha as the two states lingered on the process for her relocation despite the NationalTiger Conservation Authority (NTCA) shelving off the much-vaunted inter-state tiger translocation drive.Sundari was tranquillised on Tuesday and caged before being relocated to Madhya Pradesh
  • About: The tiger relocation project was initiated in 2018 wherein two big cats, a male (Mahavir) from Kanha Tiger Reserve and a female(Sundari) from Bandhavgarh from Madhya Pradesh were located to Satkosia Tiger Reserve in Odisha, to shore up the tiger population in the state.
  • Sundari was brought to Satkosia a week after Mahavir’s arrival. The relocation was meant to serve two purposes — reducing tiger population in areas with excess tigers to majorly reduce territorial disputes, second, to reintroduce tigers in areas where the population has considerably reduced due to various reasons.
  • Both the big cats were selected for the translocation project as per the NTCA guidelines and in collaboration with the Wildlife Institute of India and the Government of India.
  • Two key factors were considered for choosing theanimal — first, a dispersing young animal which is tofind a new and second, and an adult transient which wasyet to establish any territory.Tigress Sundari wastranquilised before being relocated to MadhyaPradesh.

Polity:

Overseas Citizenship of India – New Rules for OCI cardholder – No need to carry old Indian passports

  • Context: People of Indian origin and the Indian diaspora having Overseas Citizens of India (OCI) cards are now not required to carry their old, expired passports for travel to India, as required earlier, according to a government notification that has been welcomed by members of the community
  • About:Government of India launched the ‘Overseas Citizenship of India (OCI) Scheme’ by making amendments to Citizenship Act, 1955 in 2005.
  • On 09 January 2015, the Government of India discontinued the PIO card and merged it with Who are OCI OCI card
  • He/She is a citizen of another country having an Indian origin. He/She was a citizen of India on or before the commencement of the constitution; or
  • He/She is a citizen of another country, but was eligible for the citizenship of India at the time of the commencement of the constitution; or
  • He/She is a citizen of another country and belonging to a territory that became a part of India after the 15th August 1947; or
  • He/She is a child/grandchild/great grandchild of such a citizen; or
  • He/She is a minor child, whose parents are both Indian citizens or one parent is a citizen of India and is a spouse of foreign origin of an Indian citizen or of an OCI cardholder
  • Any person having citizenship of Bangladesh or Pakistan is not eligible to apply for the OCI card. Even a person having a background of serving any foreign military are also not eligible for the scheme.
  • Exceptions:
    • Anyone who is applying for OCI card should hold a valid Passport of another country
    • Individuals who do not have citizenship of any other country are not eligible to gain an OCI status.
    • Individuals whose parents or grandparents hold citizenship of Pakistan and Bangladesh are not eligible to apply.

Economy:

Equalisation Levy Retaliation – US proposes tariffs of up to 25% on select Indian goods

  • Context: In its first retaliatory action under the Joe Biden administration, the US has proposed to impose retaliatory tariffs up to 25% on around 40 Indian products including shrimps,basmati rice, gold and silver items
  • About: In response to the equalisation levy or digital services tax (DST) imposed by India on non-resident e-commerce operators
  • The United States Trade Representative (USTR) said this would collect duties on goods of India in the range of the amount of DST, that India is expected to collect from US whose initial estimates are pegged at $55 million per year.
  • It proposed similar actions for five other countries Austria, Italy, Spain, Turkey, and the United Kingdom
  • In January, USTR said that the DSTs adopted by Austria, India, Italy, Spain, Turkey, and the UK were subject to action under Section 301, because they discriminated against US digital companies, were inconsistent with principles of international taxation, and burdened American companies.
  • What Is The Issue
    • Corporate taxes are levied on profits.
    • But multinational companies often move profits, through smart accounting, to low-tax jurisdictions.
    • Nearly all of the major tech firms, from Apple to Google to Facebook, have their European headquarters in Ireland which levies lower taxes than other major European Union countries.
  • So, what action countries took?
    • In 2016, the European Commission ordered Apple to pay nearly $15 billion to Ireland for having received “illegal tax benefits” over two decades.
    • Last July, France enforced a digital tax of 3% on revenues of large internet companies — revenues cannot be moved as easily as profits.
  • Since 2016, India has charged an equalisation levy, a 6% tax on ad spends of technology companies.The Centre collected Rs 900 crore in FY19.
  • Through the Finance Act 2020, the government expanded the scope of the equalization levy to revenues generated by non-resident e-commerce companies operating in India.
  • The 2% digital services tax came into effect on 1 April.The tax came as a surprise to e-commerce companies as the provision was not part of the finance bill and was introduced as an amendment at the last minute before the Parliament passed the bill.

Science and Technology:

What is NISAR Mission? NASA ISRO joint Earth Observing mission for world’s natural resources

  • Context:The US State Department on Thursday referred to the joint Earth observing mission— NISAR, between ISRO of India and NASA, and observed that, the “stellar” partnership between the two nations will be a very useful tool to address the matters pertaining to disaster preparedness, While it will also cater to the need for management of natural resources across the world
  • About:NASA and ISRO are collaborating on developing a satellite called NISAR, which will detect movements of the planet’s surface as small as 0.4 inches over areas about half the size of a tennis court.
  • The satellite will be launched in 2022 from the Satish Dhawan Space Center in Sriharikota, India, into a near-polar orbit and will scan the globe every 12 days.
  • Over the course of its three-year mission of imaging the Earth’s land, ice sheets and sea ice to give an “unprecedented” view of the planet.
  • It’s an SUV-sized satellite that is being jointly developed by the space agencies of the US and India.
  • The partnership agreement was signed between NASA and ISRO in September 2014, according to which NASA will provide one of the radars for the satellite, a high-rate communication subsystem for science data, GPS receivers and a payload data subsystem.
  • ISRO, on the other hand, will provide the spacecraft bus, the second type of radar (called the S-band radar), and the launch vehicle and associated launch services.
  • The images will be able to capture changes in the Earth caused by certain activities.
  • For instance, drawing drinking water from an underground aquifer can leave signs on the surface.
  • If too much of it is drawn out, the ground begins to sink, which is what scientists believe the images will be able to show them.

Government scheme and Initiative:

Sabarmati Riverfront Development Project Phase 2 – Key aims of SRDP explained

  • Context:The Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation, in its draft budget for 2021-22, has set aside Rs 1,050 crore for the Sabarmati River Front Development phase 2,work on which is to begin soon
  • About:By channelling the river to a constant width of 263 m along the part that passes Ahmedabad city,204 hectares have been reclaimed along the 11-km stretch of the Sabarmati Riverfront in the first phase of the project, on both the banks.
  • This land is excluding the Central Business District (CBD) area of 126 hectares.
  • The reclaimed land includes roads, both upper and lower promenades, as well as the land to be developed.
  • As per the Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation’s Special Purpose Vehicle, the Sabarmati River Front Development Corporation Ltd (SRDFCL),
  • The main considerations in allocating land uses for the reclaimed portions have been existing land use along the river; extent, location and configuration of reclaimed land available; potential for development; the structural road network and form of the city; bridges; and the possibility of providing adequate infrastructure in the new development.
  • The 5-6 km stretch along Ashram Road, which is the city’s commercial artery, from Usmanpura to Ellisbridge on the west bank covering 126 hectares, and52 hectares on the east bank from Gandhi bridge to Dadhichibridge (Shahpur to Dudheshwar), is slated to be the new commercial hub.
  • The development here, on the lines of the Town Planning (TP) scheme applied across the city, will witness pedestrian-friendly roads,By requiring buildings to align their façades along the road side, wider roads requiring 6-metre wide arcade, and active frontage for pedestrians.
  • Both the AMC and AUDA (Ahmedabad Urban Development Corporation) will work on creating avenues for new development and redevelopment.

Energy Swaraj Yatra – Union Education Minister takes ride in bus by IIT Bombay Professor

  • Context: Union Education Minister Ramesh Pokhriyal‘Nishank’ took a ride in the ‘Energy Swaraj Yatra’ bus built by Dr Chetan Singh Solanki, Professor, Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Bombay.
  • About: The bus runs on solar energy and has a complete work cum-residential unit and Solanki has been travelling on it to raise awareness about the use of solar power
  • Mr Pokhriyal said that projects like these are in line with the National Education Policy which has an in-built framework for imparting skills on the use of solar energy in schools and colleges.He highlighted that the ‘Energy Swaraj Yatra’ is designed with the purpose of creating a public movement towards adoption of 100percent solar energy.
  • The bus has facilities to allow the occupant to perform all daily activities including sleeping,working, cooking, bathing, meeting and training.
  • The bus is fitted with 3.2 kW solar panels and 6 kWh of battery storage. The Energy Swaraj Yatra began in 2020 and will continue till 2030
  • Dr Solanki has taken up a mission to create awareness regarding adoption of solar energy. He has pledged to not go home until 2030 and said that he would live and travel in the solar bus. He has been recently conferred with the Brand Ambassador of Solar Energy of Madhya Pradesh by Chief Minister, Madhya Pradesh, Shri. Shivraj Singh Chouhan.

Miscellaneous:

Suez Canal Blocked – What went wrong with one of the world’s busiest shipping lanes?

  • Context: The cargo ship blocking the Suez Canal is holding up traffic that carries nearly $10 billion worth of goods every day,so a quick clearing of the logjam is key to limiting the economic fallout.
  • About: Efforts continued to dislodge the Ever Given container ship and restore traffic on the critical man-made waterway that connects the Mediterranean to the Red Sea and provides a shipping shortcut between Europe and Asia.
  • When it comes to shipping goods from Asia to Europe, there are virtually no alternatives such as rail or truck transportation.
  • The blockage will delay a range of parts and raw materials for European products such as cotton from India for clothes, petroleum from the Middle East for plastics, and auto parts from China
  • There will be less direct impact on the United States, which receives most shipments from Asia on the West Coast.
  • Still, imports from Europe may be delayed, and the blockage will prevent empty shipping containers from being returned to Asia, adding to a container shortage caused by rising demand for consumer goods during the pandemic.
  • India – The Biggest Importer Via Suez Canal
  • India is the top importer of crude oil and products via the Suez Canal, higher than China, South Korea or Singapore, according to data from Vortexa, an oil and gas analytics platform.
  • And more than two-thirds of India’s crude comes from the Gulf region. “If the issue is not solved today it will start to have implications on the bigger trade flow and shipping sectors. If it is not solved by the coming spring tide (27/28 March) it will begin to affect refining operations on a broader scale”.
  • For India, though, the main hit could be seen on the import and export of ethane with the US, and the imports of crude from Latin America, the uptake of which was recently increased