23 June, 2020 71 Min Read
|GS-I||Scientists detect ionospheric irregularities||Geography|
|Jagannath Rath Yatra||Art and Culture|
|GS-II||Right to Information Act,2005||National and Political Issues|
|Russia-India-China: RIC||International Organisations|
|Arms trade treaty||International Organisations|
|GS-III||Decarbonising Transport in India project||Environment and Sustainable development|
|PT Pickups||Decarbonising Transport project by NITI Aayog||Environment and Sustainable development|
|Foldscope could be a better alternative to clinical microscope||Science and Technology|
|Bum La Pass||Geography|
|Sharavathi Monkey Park||Environment and Sustainable development|
|Indian Gaur||Environment and Sustainable development|
|Malabar Gliding Frog||Environment and Sustainable development|
|Minks||Environment and Sustainable development|
|Reverse Zoonosis||Science and Technology|
|National Institute of Public Finance and Policy (NIPFP)||Governance|
GS-I : Geography
Scientists detect ionospheric irregularities during major space weather events that influence communication & navigation systems
Causes of Geomagnetic storms
Importance of studying thermosphere?ionosphere-magnetosphere interactions
Jagannath Rath Yatra
The Indo-Aryan style prefers a tower with rounded top and curvilinear outline while the tower of the Southern or Dravidian style is usually in a shape of a rectangular truncated Pyramid.
GS-II : National and Political Issues
Right to Information Act,2005
Objectives of the Act
Reasons for Adoption of Information Act
The factors responsible for adoption of information act are as follows-
Features of the Act
What is Public Authority?
"Public authority" means any authority or body or institution of self government established or constituted—
RTI vs Legislations for Non Disclosure of Information
RTI vs Right to Privacy
When the question of harmonising the contradicting rights arises, it should
RTI vs OSA
The OSA was enacted in 1923 by the British to keep certain kinds of information confidential, including, but not always limited to, information involving the affairs of state, diplomacy, national security, espionage, and other state secrets.
RTI and Political Parties
Why activists want political parties to be brought under RTI?
Stand of Political Parties
GS-Paper-2 IO RIC
Recently, the Ministry of External Affairs has announced that it will participate in the virtual meeting of the Russia-India-China (RIC) grouping scheduled to be held on 23rd June, 2020. It can be noted that the RIC was also a platform for the first meeting between India and China in New Delhi after the end of Doklam standoff.
Special Session: This special session of the RIC has been called by the current Chair- Russia to commemorate the 75th anniversary of the victory in the second world war over Nazism and creation of the United Nations (24th October, 2020). It will also discuss the current situation of the global pandemic and the challenges of global security, financial stability and RIC cooperation in that context.
Regional connectivity projects such as the International North South Transport Corridor involving India, Russia and Iran are expected to figure in the agenda.
Relevance of RIC for India
India is committed to protect its sovereignty and territorial integrity in the border areas and RIC would give the platform for resolution of differences (along the Indo-China Border) through dialogue.
Moreover, the RIC forms the core of both the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) and the BRICS as greater cooperation between China, India and Russia would lead to strengthening of both SCO and BRICS.
The RIC is a significant multilateral grouping, because it brings together the three largest Eurasian countries which are also incidentally geographically contiguous. RIC, hence provides a worthwhile platform to discuss issues like West Asia, Afghanistan, climate change, terrorism, regional connectivity, tensions on Korean Peninsula, etc.
Arms trade treaty
GS-Paper-2 IO PT-MAINS
President Donald Trump pulled the US back from an international agreement on the arms trade (signed in 2013 by then-President Barack Obama), telling the National Rifle Association the treaty is “badly misguided.” Trump made the announcement at the NRA’s annual convention, where he vowed to fight for gun rights and implored members of the nation’s largest pro-gun group — struggling to maintain its influence — to rally behind his re-election bid. He would be revoking the United States’ status as a signatory of the U.N. Arms Trade Treaty, which regulates the multibillion-dollar global arms trade in conventional weapons, from small arms to battle tanks, combat aircraft and warships.
Dropping out of the treaty is part of a broader Trump administration overhaul of arms export policies to bolster a domestic industry that already dominates global weapons trade.
Can the numbers speak?
The roots of what is known today as the Arms Trade Treaty (ATT) can be traced back to the late 1980s, when civil society actors and Nobel Peace Prize Laureates voiced their concerns about the unregulated nature of the global arms trade and its impact on human security.
The ATT is part of a larger global effort begun in 1997 by Costa Rican President and 1987 Nobel Peace Prize laureate Óscar Arias. In that year, Arias led a group of Nobel Peace Prize laureates in a meeting in New York to offer the world a code of conduct for the trade in arms.
The lack of an international global framework for the trade in arms was profoundly worrisome given the immense volume of the global trade in conventional arms and its potential effect in the disruption of peace and sustainable development.
The Arms Trade Treaty (ATT) is a multilateral treaty that regulates the international trade in conventional weapons. Its objectives include:
For the purpose of:
Other relevant aspects of the treaty to be highlighted are:
In a nutshell, the ATT sets out global standards to conduct legal and rightful activities in a transparent manner. This, in turn, helps to identify where and how arms are diverted into the illicit market and raises the bar regarding accountability for irresponsible transfers of arms.
It entered into force on 24 December 2014. 101 states have ratified the treaty; 34 states have signed but not ratified it.
Gun activists had denounced the treaty when it was under negotiation as an infringement of civilian firearm ownership, despite the well-enshrined legal principle that says no treaty can override the Constitution or U.S. laws. The treaty is aimed at cracking down on illicit trading in small arms, thereby curbing violence in some of the most troubled corners of the world.
It was the first legally binding treaty to regulate the international trade in conventional arms and was overwhelmingly approved by the 193-member U.N. General Assembly in April 2013.
India’s stand on ATT
India is not in favour of this UN treaty because of the following reasons:
IAEA and OPCW have mechanism to check compliance. But such strong verification mechanism is absent in ATT. Does not explicitly cover drones and grenades. India cannot accept that the Treaty be used as an instrument in the hands of exporting states to take unilateral force majeure measures against importing states parties without consequences.
Treaty speaks about crime and genocide but does not boldly underline the diversion of weapons to terrorist and non-state actors. In past, USA and its allies have armed of rebels in Nicaragua, Syria, Libya, even, Al-Qaeda in Afghanistan. Treaty is biased: puts higher responsibility on importer country than exporter. Exporting nation can stop arms-ammunition supply, citing reason of poor compliance with the treaty.
India always favoured disarmament and regulations over international trade of weapons. But ATT is neither inclusive nor balanced in nature. Therefore, India has abstained.
Decarbonising Transport in India project
GS- PAPER-3 Pollution PT-MAINS
NITI Aayog in collaboration with International Transport Forum will launch the 'Decarbonising Transport in India' project on with the intention to develop a pathway towards a low-carbon transport system for India.
It is part of the Decarbonising Transport in Emerging Economies (DTEE) family of projects, which supports transport decarbonisation across different world regions. India, Argentina, Azerbaijan, and Morocco are current participants. The DTEE is a collaboration between the ITF and the Wuppertal Institute, supported by the International Climate Initiative (IKI) of the German Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety.
About International Transport Forum
PT Pickups : Environment and Sustainable development
Decarbonising Transport: International Project to Develop Pathway to Low-CO2 Mobility for India
About International Transport Forum
Foldscope could be a better alternative to clinical microscope
Dr. Alka Rao‘s group at the Institute of Microbial Technology (IMTECH), Chandigarh, in collaboration with a team of doctors from a government hospital in Panchkula, Haryana, a private hospital in the National Capital Region (NCR), and a medical college from Imphal, have explored and validated the clinical utility of Foldscope in the diagnosis of diseases using various patient samples.
The study findings have been published in the Journal of Microscopy.
Study of optical properties of super-massive black-hole can provide clue to emission mechanism from its close vicinity
Through 153 nights, 17 scientists from 9 countries in Europe and Asia including researchers from Aryabhatta Research Institute of Observational Sciences (ARIES), Nainital, an autonomous institution of the Department of Science and Technology (DST), Government of India took 2263 image frames and observed the changes in a very high energy gamma-ray emitting blazar ‘1ES 0806+524’ using seven optical telescopes in Europe and Asia.
Bum La Pass
The Bum La Pass is a mountain pass located at the Indo-China border above 15,200 ft above sea level, it is about 37 km away from Tawang in Arunachal Pradesh. The road to Bum La is also a historical route, the People's Liberation Army of China invaded India during the 1962 Sino-Indian War.
In 2006, Bumla pass was re-opened to traders for the first time in 44 years. Traders from both sides of the pass were permitted to enter each other's territories, in addition to postal workers from each country. The area includes route taken by the 14th Dalai Lama when he escaped China and reached India to take refuge.
It is one of the five officially agreed Border Personnel Meeting points between the Indian Army and the People's Liberation Army of China for regular consultations and interactions between the two armies to improve relations.
Other important pass in Arunachal Pradesh are
Border Personnel Meeting points
Border Personnel Meeting points are locations along the disputed Sino-Indian border where the armies of both countries hold ceremonial and practical meetings to resolve border issues and improve relations. While border meetings have been held since the 1990s, the first formal Border Personnel Meeting point was established in 2013.
There are five meeting points, two in the Indian Union Territory of Ladakh, one in Sikkim, and two in Arunachal Pradesh, they are as follows
International Boundary Lines between India-China
Sharavathi Monkey Park
Karnataka government has decided to develop a monkey park in Shivamogga district. The monkey park will be established on the uninhabited islands in the Sharavathi backwaters region. The park will be the first such in the state and will be set up on 100 acres of land at the Nagavalli forest in Hosanagara taluk, Shivamogga district.
The proposed 100-acre monkey park will have fruit-bearing trees, water sources, and solar fence will be put up around the area to avoid monkeys venturing outside the park premises. The idea came up following a spike in the cases of monkeys raiding agricultural and plantation crops in Malnad region in recent times and several protests by farmers. As a solution to the menace, the State government took a decision to establish the park and in the 2020-21 budget, ?6.25 crore was allocated for the purpose.
In Himachal Pradesh, there are state-of-the-art monkey sterilization and rehabilitation centers to address the monkey menace, however it has failed to attain its objective.
The Indian Gaur or Bison (Bos gaurus) is the largest and the tallest in the family of wild cattle and is a grazing animal. It is categorized as vulnerable under IUCN Red List, and protected under Wild Life Protection Act, 1972: Schedule I.
It is kept well and protected in some of the famous national parks of India like Nagarhole, Bandipur, Kabini and Masinagudi (Mudumalai). The destruction in the grasslands has led to the decline in availability of food for these animals.
The illegal hunting of the Indian bison is done for their commercial value as well as due to the high demand of gaur meat in the illegal market of India-Nepal border. Recently, the first population estimation exercise of the Indian Gaur (Bison) was carried out in the Nilgiris Forest Division, Tamil Nadu.
World Wide Fund for Nature India assisted the exercise and highlighted that there are estimated 2,000 Indian gaurs across the division.
Malabar Gliding Frog
Recently, a rare amphibian, Malabar Gliding Frog (Rhacophorus malabaricus) was spotted in Pullad, Kerala. In the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List it is placed in the Least Concern category. The amphibian is endemic to the rainforest of western ghats.
Endemic species are those plants and animals that exist only in one geographical region. It is a green frog with slender body, webbed feet, unusual body positions and very well camouflaged.
Camouflage, also called cryptic coloration, is a defense mechanism or tactic that organisms use to disguise their appearance, usually to blend in with their surroundings. It has a body length of 10 cm, making it one of the largest mossy frogs.
Mossy Frogs, have the skin which is green in colour and resembles moss growing on the rock. As their body is so soft, they can live only in moist forests with streams.
Minks are small semi-aquatic mammals raised for their fur. Mink oil is used in some medical products and cosmetics, as well as to treat, preserve and waterproof leather.
There are two extant species referred to as "mink" - the American mink and the European mink. All European mink have a large white patch on their upper lip, whereas only some American mink have this marking, therefore, any mink without the patch is certainly of the American species.
Zoonosis is an infectious disease caused by a pathogen that has jumped from an animal to a human. When the pathogen is transmitted from human to animals, it is known as reverse zoonosis.
The animal infected through the process may in turn re-transmit the infection to humans under some circumstances. Recently novel coronavirus SARS-CoV-2 has begun infecting minks farms in the Netherlands.
It could largely have been transmitted through indirect routes such as through feed or bedding material, infectious droplets or by contaminated dust from the bedding. Literature has shown that the phenomenon of reverse zoonosis can also happen in case of other pathogens such as resistant bacteria. This can add to the greater spread of bacterial infections in animals. It can also involve an increased use of antibiotics to treat or prevent such infections, eventually contributing to another slow pandemic of antimicrobial resistance.
National Institute of Public Finance and Policy (NIPFP)