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Goaltide Daily Current Affairs 2020

Oct 06, 2020

Current Affair 1:
NCRB data on atrocities on Scheduled caste.

The recent incident in Hathras highlighted the issue of atrocities against the marginalized communities, especially the SCs. Data from the NCRB indicates that the reported atrocities against SCs increased by around 19% between 2015 & 2019.

In this story, we take a look at the trends in reporting of Crimes/Atrocities against the Scheduled Castes (SCs) over the years and across the states. The data is collated from the NCRB’s (National Crime Records Bureau) annual Crime in India (CII) reports.

As per NCRB data, a total of 45,935 cases were registered for crimes/atrocities against SCs in the year 2019. In 2015, a total of 38.6 thousand crimes were recorded under these provisions which increased to 45.9 thousand in 2019, an increase of 19%.

Although UP reported highest number of these crimes, crime rate is the highest in Rajasthan

As per the 2011 census, there are around 20 crore persons belonging to the Scheduled Castes (SCs). In 2019, a total of 11.8 thousand crimes against SCs were recorded in Uttar Pradesh, which is more than a quarter of the total crimes against SCs in the country.

However, it has to be noted that UP also has the highest SC population in the country. The total SC population in UP as per 2011 census is 4.13 crores i.e. 20% of the total SC population in the country. In terms of the number of crimes reported with respect to the SC population, UP reported 28.6 crimes per lakh of SC population in 2019.

Rajasthan has the highest Crime Rate of atrocities committed against the SCs with 55.6 crimes per one lakh SC population.

Crimes against SCs were reported are under different sections of category

Under reporting of cases

In a report titled ‘Access to Justice for Dalits in India’, the challenges faced by victims of the marginalized communities to get a case registered with the police for a crime committed against them, are highlighted.

The actual number of crimes is difficult to estimate in the wake of widespread under reporting. This also raises serious questions around the numbers being reported officially. We will conclude now. We have covered women, crimes in previous Current Affairs section. We will continue with other left groups. Keep following.

Current Affair 2:
Precision agriculture (PA)

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Recently, a session on “Sensors and Sensing for Precision Agriculture” was organised by the Indian Council of Agricultural Research-Indian Agricultural Research Institute (ICAR-IARI).

Precision agriculture (PA) is an approach to farm management that uses information technology (IT) to ensure that the crops and soil receive exactly what they need for optimum health and productivity. The goal of PA is to ensure profitability, sustainability and protection of the environment. PA is also known as satellite agriculture, as-needed farming and site-specific crop management (SSCM).

A key component of this farm management approach is the use of information technology and a wide array of items such as GPS guidance, control systems, sensors, robotics, drones, autonomous vehicles, variable rate technology, GPS-based soil sampling, automated hardware, telematics, and software.

Why Precision Farming is important for farmers in India?

In India, one major problem is the small field size. More than 58 per cent of operational holdings in the country have size less than one hectare (ha).

Only in the states of Punjab, Rajasthan, Haryana and Gujarat do more than 20 per cent of agricultural lands have an operational holding size of more than four ha. Commercial as well as horticultural crops also show a wider scope for PA in the cooperative farms. So., we need more yields from less space.

Precision farming is an approach where inputs are utilized in precise amounts to get increased average yields, compared to traditional cultivation techniques.

 

Current Affair 3:
Nobel Prize for Physics 2020

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The 2020 Nobel Prize in Physics has been awarded jointly to mathematical-physicist Roger Penrose (British), and the duo of Reinhard Genzel (German) and Andrea Ghez (American), all for their work in the field of black holes.

Roger Penrose received half of this year’s prize for the discovery that a black hole formation is a robust prediction of the general theory of relativity.

Genzel and Ghez shared the other half of the prize for their discovery of a ‘supermassive compact object’ at the centre of the Milky Way. This is thought to be our galaxy’s central supermassive black hole, called Sagittarius A*

Black holes

Black holes are objects in spacetime where gravity is so strong that not even light can escape. A black hole is a singularity. At singularities, all laws of physics, as we know them, break down.

  1. Black holes are one of three compact objects, the other two being white dwarfs and neutron stars.
  2. They were first predicted as a part of Einstein’s theory of general relativity in 1915, following which many notable theoretical physicists and cosmologists worked on its equations, trying to understand black holes and singularities.
  3. In 1965, 10 years after Einstein died, Roger Penrose and Stephen Hawking, the late theoretical physicist, proved mathematically that black holes can form.
  4. They also explained the singularity at the heart of a black hole, where gravity and density approach infinity and all known laws of nature cease to exist.
  5. Penrose and Hawking’s work, called the Penrose-Hawking singularity theorems, is considered to be one of the most groundbreaking papers published in theoretical physics.
  6. Hawking was not awarded the Nobel as the prize is not given posthumously.

Sgr A*

Since the 1930s, it was known that there was a strong source of radio waves at the heart of the Milky Way, coming from the direction of the constellation Sagittarius.

  1. The radio source was called Sgr A* because it was “exciting”, and excited states of atoms are denoted with an asterisk.
  2. Sgr A* was thought to be around 4 million times the mass of the sun.
  3. In 2002, Reinhard Genzel’s team at the Max Planck Institute for Extraterrestrial Physics, Germany, reported observations of the motion of a star called S2 near Sgr A* over 10 years.
  4. His findings ruled out alternative objects and strengthened the argument for Sgr A* being a supermassive black hole.
  5. Genzel’s early pioneering work was performed in collaboration with noted physicists Rainer Schödel and Andreas Eckart, who made seminal contributions to the findings.
  6. Meanwhile, Andrea Ghez of the University of California Los Angeles (UCLA), US, developed models for kinematics of stars near the centre of the Milky Way to investigate this region and also produce images.
  7. In 2008, Genzel led the team that published first evidence for the supermassive black hole.

Ghez is the fourth woman to win the physics Nobel. The three previous women winners of the prize were Marie Curie for radiation (1903, shared with Pierre Curie and Antoine Henri Becquerel), Maria Goeppert Mayer for modelling the nuclear structure (1963, shared with J. Hans D. Jensen and Eugene Wigner), and Donna Strickland, for chirped pulse amplification in lasers (2018, shared with Gérard Mourou and Arthur Ashkin).

Current Affair 4:
Ratification of 7 Persistent Organic Pollutants

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The Stockholm Convention is a global treaty to protect human health and environment from POPs, which are identified chemical substances that persist in the environment, bio-accumulate in living organisms, adversely affect human health/ environment and have the property of long-range environmental transport (LRET).

Exposure to POPs can lead to cancer, damage to central & peripheral nervous systems, diseases of immune system, reproductive disorders and interference with normal infant and child development.

Why POPs are dangerous?

Persistent Organic Pollutants (POPs) are organic chemical substances, that is, they are carbon-based. They possess a particular combination of physical and chemical properties such that, once released into the environment, they:

Now India with respect to POPs.

India had ratified the Stockholm Convention on January 13, 2006 as per Article 25(4), which enabled it to keep itself in a default "opt-out" position such that amendments in various Annexes of the convention cannot be enforced on it unless an instrument of ratification/ acceptance/ approval or accession is explicitly deposited with UN depositary.

Considering its commitment towards providing safe environment and addressing human health risks, the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change (MoEFCC) had notified the 'Regulation of Persistent Organic Pollutants Rules, on March 5, 2018 under the provisions of Environment (Protection) Act, 1986.

The regulation inter alia prohibited the manufacture, trade, use, import and export seven chemicals namely (i) Chlordecone, (ii) Hexabromobiphenyl, (iii) Hexabromodiphenyl ether and Heptabromodiphenylether (Commercial octa-BDE), (iv) Tetrabromodiphenyl ether and Pentabromodiphenyl ether (Commercial penta-BDE), (v) Pentachlorobenzene, (vi) Hexabromocyclododecane, and (vii) Hexachlorobutadiene, which were already listed as POPs under Stockholm Convention.

 

The Cabinet's approval for ratification of POPs demonstrates India's commitment to meet its international obligations with regard to protection of environment and human health. It also indicates the resolve of the Government to take action on POPs by implementing control measures, develop and implement action plans for unintentionally produced chemicals, develop inventories of the chemicals' stockpiles and review as well as update its National Implementation Plan (NIP).

The ratification process would enable India to access Global Environment Facility (GEF) financial resources in updating the NIP.

Current Affair 5:
Reforms in Exploration and Licensing Policy

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The Union Cabinet chaired by Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi has approved the Policy framework on reforms in exploration and licensing sector for enhancing domestic exploration and production of oil and gas.

The objective of the Policy is to attract new investment in Exploration and Production (E&P) Sector, intensification of exploration activities in hitherto unexplored areas and liberalizing the policy in producing basins.

Considering stagnant/declining domestic production of oil and gas, rise in import dependence and decline in investment in E&P activities, the need to bring further policy reforms was felt. The policy reforms focus on four major areas.

  1. Firstly, increasing exploration activities in unexpected areas. In basins where no commercial production is there, exploration blocks would be bid out exclusively on the basis of exploration work programme without any revenue or production share to Government. Royalty and statutory levies, however, will be paid by Contractor.
  2. For unallocated/unexplored areas of producing basins, the bidding will continue to be based on revenue sharing basis but more weightage to work programme. An upper ceiling on biddable revenue share has also been prescribed to prevent unviable bids.
  3. The policy also provides for shorter exploration period and fiscal incentive for commencement of early production.
  4. Contractor will have full marketing and pricing freedom for crude oil and natural gas to be sold at arm's length basis through transparent and competitive bidding process.
  5. Secondly, to incentivize enhanced gas production, marketing and pricing freedom has been granted for those new gas discoveries whose Field Development Plan (FDP) is yet to be approved
  6. Fiscal incentive is also provided on additional gas production from domestic fields over and above normal production
  7. Thirdly, to enhance production from existing nomination fields of ONGC and OIL, enhanced production profile will be prepared by both PSUs.
  8. For production enhancement, bringing new technology, and capital, NOCs will be allowed to induct private sector partners
  9. Fourthly measures will be initiated for promoting ease of doing business through setting up coordination mechanism and simplification of approval of DGH, alternate dispute resolution mechanism etc.

Conclusion:

Through this policy, a transparent, investor friendly and competitive policy framework is envisaged to accelerate exploration activities and provide impetus to expeditious production of oil and gas.

  1. The production enhancement scheme for nomination field of NOCs is likely to augment production by leveraging new technology, capital and management practices through private sector participation.
  2. With enhanced E&P activities, there would be macro-economic spin off benefits in terms of development of support services, employment generation, transfer of advanced technology etc.
  3. The enhanced production would help in reducing import dependence, improve energy security of country and save the precious foreign exchange on import bill.

 

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