29 Jun, 2020
87 Min Read
|GS-I||The Mapillah uprising||Modern History|
|70 Years of Korean War||World History|
|GS-II||Digital innovation is the way forward – Over the top platform||Governance|
|Electricity (Amendment) Bill 2020||Governance|
|GS-III||One Sun One World One Grid||Economic Issues|
|“Global solar grid could cause sun burns”||Economic Issues|
|MMR vaccine can help fight sepsis in Covid patients|
|Why India is producing less and less oil|
|“Facebook is weakening democracy” – Role of Social Media|
|GS-IV||NITI Aayog: Navigating the New Normal||Ethics|
|PT Pointer||China Study Group (CSG)||International Relations|
|Statistics Day||Economic Issues|
|Kala- azar Disease|
|National Centre for Polar and Ocean Research- Coccolithophores|
The Mapillah uprising
By, Mohammed Ayoob is University Distinguished Professor Emeritus of International Relations, Michigan State University
The spark that lit the fire
70 Years of Korean War
Part of: GS-I- World history (PT-MAINS-PERSONALITY TEST)
Recently North and South Korea separately marked the 70th anniversary of the start of the Korean War.
The Korean War
It led to an official ceasefire without a Peace treaty. Thus, the war officially never ended.
Exchange of Prisoners of war (PoWs).
Establishment of Korean Demilitarised Zone (DMZ) – a strip of land running across the Korean Peninsula to serve as a buffer zone between North Korea and South Korea.
The Korean DMZ intersects but does not follow the 38th parallel north.
South Korea did not sign the armistice as it refused to accept it.
However, in December 1991, North and South Korea signed a pact agreeing to refrain from aggression.
GS- PAPER-2 Digital India MAINS-IV
The Covid-19 pandemic has impacted every single industry, but the businesses that were most affected are those which solely rely on the social gatherings of people and the media and entertainment industry is not an exception.
However, Over the Top (OTT) platforms such as Netflix, Hotstar, Prime Video and online gaming are booming in this time of crisis, thereby testifying to the ongoing information revolution.
Though the Indian media landscape has traditionally been very dynamic, the issue of content regulation has always been important in India because of the diverse nature of Indian society in terms of religion, economic status, caste and language. Therefore, the effect that OTT has on society forms the basis of its regulation by the state.
Thus, there is a need to understand both the benefits and challenges associated with the use of Over the Top Platform (OTT) in India.
Benefits Associated with OTT Platforms
Lack of Regulation: While traditional media in India are regulated under specific laws such as Films are regulated under the Cinematograph Act of 1952—which provides for the certification of cinematograph films for public exhibition.
The Cable Television Networks (Regulation) Act, 1995 —that applies to content appearing on cable televisions. However, there is no such specific law for regulation of content over OTT platforms.
Censorship Problem: Generally, the Government in India censors the content on grounds of public morality, communal harmony or cultural preservation, among various reasons. However, due to the lack of censorship, content on OTT platforms can disrupt the social harmony and the moral fabric of society.
No Consensus of Self Regulation: OTT platforms had signed a self-regulation code under the aegis of the Internet and Mobile Association of India. However, there’s no consensus on the code amongst the various OTT platforms operating in India.
Cultural Homogenisation: India is projected to become the second largest online video-viewing audience by 2020. In this context, OTT platforms are streaming a lot of cross-cultural content. Though it is good for creating a cosmopolitan world, it has aggravated some of the means in the society like cultural imperialism.
While the government recognizes the need for self-regulation in OTT, it wants video streaming platforms to agree to a common code.
Besides, there is a need to include online content explicitly within the ambit of this common code which will prohibit indecency in video streaming, advertisements, books, films, paintings, writings etc.
Part of: GS-III- Energy security (PT-MAINS-PERSONALITY TEST)
Recently, the Central government has introduced the Electricity (Amendment) Bill 2020 to amend various provisions in the Electricity Act 2003.
Rationale Behind Amendment:
National Selection Committee: Instead of the separate Selection Committee (for appointment of Chairperson and members of State Electricity Regulatory Commissions-SERCs), there is a proposal to set up a National Selection Committee.
However, the Central Government is also considering continuing with the existing separate Selection Committees for each state – but making them Standing Selection Committees so that there is no need for constituting them afresh every time a vacancy occurs.
The only difference is that it will now be proposed to be presided by the Chief Justice of the High Court of the state.
Introduction of Direct Benefit Transfer: Direct Benefit Transfer will be beneficial for both the State Governments and as well as Distribution Companies.
It will be beneficial for the State Government because it will ensure that the subsidy reaches the people who are actually entitled and the State Government gets clear accounts of the amount given as subsidy. It will benefit the distribution company by making sure that the subsidies due are received as per the number of beneficiaries.
National Renewable Energy Policy: India is a signatory to the Paris Climate Agreement. It is therefore proposed to have a separate policy for the development and promotion of the generation of electricity from renewable sources of energy.
The policy prescribes a minimum percentage of purchase of electricity from renewable sources of production. It seeks to give special attention to hydro power.
Cost Reflective Tariff: There had been the issue of lazy attempts from the commissions in adopting the tariffs determined, causing issues of cost escalation. To address this problem, the Amendment has prescribed a period of 60 days to adopt the determined tariffs. Failing such a timeline of 60 days, the tariff would be deemed to be accepted.
Payment Security: It is proposed to empower Load Dispatch Centres to oversee the establishment of adequate payment security mechanisms before the dispatch of electricity, as per contracts. Late payment of dues of generating and transmission companies have reached unsustainable levels. This impairs the finances of the Gencos and Transcos and also increases the Non-Performing Assets of the Banks.
Ease of Doing Business:
Establishment of Electricity Contract Enforcement Authority (ECEA): It is an Authority headed by a retired Judge of the High Court with powers to execute their orders as a decree of a civil court.
The Authority will enforce the performance of contracts related to purchasing or sale or transmission of power between a generating company, distribution licensee or transmission licensee. Central Electricity Regulatory Commission (CERC) and State Electricity Regulatory Commissions (SERCs) do not have powers to execute their orders as decree of a civil court.
Cross Subsidy: The Bill provides for the SERCs to reduce cross subsidies as per the provisions of the Tariff Policy.
Strengthening of the Appellate Tribunal (APTEL): It is proposed to increase the strength of APTEL to at least seven to facilitate quick disposal of cases. To be able to effectively enforce its orders, it is also proposed to give it the powers of the High Court under the provisions of the Contempt of Courts Act.
Penalties: In order to ensure compliance of the provisions of the Electricity Act and orders of the Commission, sections 142 and section 146 of the Electricity Act are proposed to be amended to provide for higher penalties.
Cross Border Trade in Electricity: Provisions have been added to facilitate and develop trade in electricity with other countries.
Distribution sub-licensees: To improve quality of supply, an option is proposed to be provided to Discoms to authorise another person as a sub-license to supply the electricity in any particular part of its area, with the permission of the State Electricity Regulatory Commission.
The Bill provides the Central government more power to determine tariffs and regulations in the power sector. Since electricity is a Concurrent subject, States must not be deprived of their powers, through this Amendment.
One Sun One World One Grid
Recently, the Government of India has called for bids to roll-out the ‘One Sun One World One Grid’ (OSOWOG) plan. The plan focuses on a framework for facilitating global cooperation, building a global ecosystem of interconnected renewable energy resources (mainly solar energy) that can be seamlessly shared.
Far East including countries like Myanmar, Vietnam, Thailand, Lao, Cambodia etc.
Far West covering the Middle East and the Africa Region.
Three Phases of the Plan:
First Phase: It deals with the Middle East, South Asia and South-East Asia (MESASEA) interconnection.
Fostering cross-border energy trade is an important part of India’s Neighbourhood-first policy.
India has been supplying power to Bangladesh and Nepal and has been championing a South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) electricity grid minus Pakistan to meet electricity demand in the region.
The initial plans also involve setting up an under-sea link to connect with Oman in the West.
Second Phase: It deals with the MESASEA grid getting interconnected with the African power pools.
Third Phase: It is about global interconnection.
India is already expediting ISA's plan to set up the World Solar Bank (WSB) with a capital of USD 10 billion.
“Global solar grid could cause sun burns”
Part of: GS-III- Energy security (PT-MAINS-PERSONALITY TEST)
In recent years, India has leveraged forums like the G20 and the UNFCCC to collaborate with major powers in new areas of growth and in bringing about global reforms. One such initiative is One Sun One World One Grid’ (OSOWOG).
Under OSOWOG vision, India seeks to replicate its global solar leadership (International Solar Alliance) by encouraging the phased development of a single globally connected solar electricity grid to leverage the multiple benefits (Low cost, Zero pollution) of solar energy.
The underlying logic behind OSOWOG is that a grid spread across multiple time zones could balance intermittent renewables with other renewables: the setting sun in one part of the grid is made up for by solar, wind or hydropower produced in a distant place.
OSOWOG seems to be a brilliant idea in pursuit of sustainable development. However, it faces certain challenges in its implementation.
Creation of Supranational Rule-Based Organisation: Institution building is key to fulfilling the ambitions of a multi-country grid project. In this context, ISA can act as an independent supranational institution to take decisions about how the grid should be run and conflicts settled.
Promoting MicroGrids: Along with prioritizing designing microgrids, public policy attention is needed for developing battery technologies at scale for local applications.
Constructively Engaging with China: Given India’s dependence on Chinese imports, OSOWOG will have to find ways of engaging with Chinese ambitions in a constructive manner rather than in a zero-sum way. Also, there is a pressing need to build its domestic capacity in solar equipment under the Make in India program.
Establishing a global solar grid is a novel idea, especially in context of climate change. However, underlying issues in its implementation needs to be addressed first. Apart from it, India can explore the possibility of establishing a federation of regional grids like SAARC grid.
MMR vaccine can help fight sepsis in Covid patients
A live attenuated vaccine is derived from a disease-causing pathogen, which has been weakened in the laboratory so that it does not cause severe illness when a person is vaccinated with it.
Why India is producing less and less oil
Why is production falling?
Why are there not more private players?
What policy changes could help?
Part of: GS-III- Envi-Pollution (PT-MAINS-PERSONALITY TEST)
Recently, the Centre for Science and Environment (CSE) has observed an increase in ozone (a harmful pollutant) levels in the several cities of the country. The analysis is based on Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) data from 22 cities in 15 States. It has also observed that the particulate matter and nitrous oxide levels fell during the lockdown to control Covid-19 outbreak.
Concept of Summer Pollution
The government needs to take active steps to mitigate primary pollutants, which lead to ground ozone formation. These steps involved curbing private vehicle usage, increasing electric mobility, scaling up public transport and pedestrian infrastructure, deploying citywide parking management, and aggressively controlling industrial emissions.
“Facebook is weakening democracy” – Role of Social Media
Part of: GS-III- Internal security (MAINS-PERSONALITY TEST)
The introduction of the printing press in 15th century Europe revolutionised the social landscape, helping information spread further and faster than ever before. This had a deep link with the spread idea of democracy all over the world. In the present era, social media represents a similar paradigm shift.
Today, social media plays a crucial role in facilitating and distributing content related to all the matters that have a larger influence on public opinion and subsequently on democracy.
Although social media helps in the deepening of democracy, it also tends to weaken the concept of democracy and the emergence of anarchy, because of its unregulated nature and its role in the spread of fake news.
Social Media and Deepening of Democracy
Ill-effects of Social Media On Democracy
Social media awareness is needed which may enable citizens to be in a position to distinguish between truth and falsehood – and to know when democratic processes are being manipulated. Social Media Platforms can provide safeguards in the event that democratic processes are being intentionally disrupted or harmful falsehoods are spreading; it can help people find out what is true.
Part of: GS-IV- Ethics-Persuasion (MAINS-PERSONALITY TEST)
The National Institution for Transforming India (NITI) Aayog, in partnership with several other stakeholders, has launched a behaviour change campaign called ‘Navigating the New Normal, and its website.
The campaign has two parts:
The portal focuses on easy implementation of four key behaviours in the unlock phase: mask-wearing (essential focus), social distancing, Hand hygiene, and not spitting in public.
Limitations of Behavioural Science
Theme: SDG- 3 (Ensure healthy lives and promote well-being for all at all ages) & SDG- 5 (Achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls)
Other awards in the field of Statistics
Recently, a team of researchers from the National Centre for Cell Science (NCCS), Pune have found new biomolecules to fight drug resistance in Kala-azar (visceral leishmaniasis). NCCS is an autonomous organisation under the Department of Biotechnology, Government of India. It was established to facilitate cell biology research in the country.
There are three types of leishmaniasis:
Visceral leishmaniasis, which is commonly known as Kala-azar in India, is fatal in over 95% of the cases, if left untreated.
Resistance to Drug: The only drug available against leishmaniasis, miltefosine, is rapidly losing its effectiveness because of emerging resistance to this drug due to a decrease in its accumulation inside the parasite.
Responsible Proteins: A protein called ‘P4ATPase-CDC50’, is responsible for the intake of the drug by the parasite, and another protein, called ‘P-glycoprotein’, is responsible for throwing this drug out from within the parasite’s body.
A decrease in the activity of the former protein, and an increase in the activity of the latter results in less accumulation of miltefosine inside the parasite’s body, thus causing it to become resistant to the drug.
While exploring ways to tackle miltefosine resistance, the researchers worked with one of the species of Leishmania that causes infection, called Leishmania major.
They tried to manipulate these transporter proteins in the species in a manner that would result in increased uptake of the drug and a decrease in its being thrown out of the parasite’s body.
They used computational methods to design small molecules, called peptides, that could very specifically interact with the transporter proteins of Leishmania major alone, and not interfere with human proteins in any way.
A peptide is a short chain of amino acids. Amino acids are organic compounds that combine to form proteins.
Also read: https://www.aspireias.com/daily-news-analysis-current-affairs/The-Orphan-Drug-Act-Rare-diseases
Recently, the National Centre for Polar and Ocean Research (NCPOR) carried out the study of Coccolithophores (microscopic ancient marine algae) and found that there is a decrease in the concentration of oceanic calcium carbonate (CaCO3) in the southern Indian ocean.
**Diatoms are single-celled algae which occur after sea ice breakdown with climate change and ocean acidification.
**Diatoms increase the silicate concentration in the waters and which in turn decreases CaCO3 and reduces coccolithophores diversity.
**It will affect the growth and skeleton structure of coccolithophores, with potential significance for the world ocean ecosystem.
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