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Goaltide Daily Current Affairs 2020

Aug 07, 2020

Current Affair 1:
Landslide near Eravikulam National Park

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News:

Recently, landslides have been reported at the Nayamakkad tea estate at Pettimudy which is located about 30 km from Munnar, adjacent to the Eravikulam National Park (ENP), Kerala.

Introduction to Landslides in India.

India is vulnerable to different types of landslides which cause significant destruction in terms of loss of lives and property. As per GSI, about 0.42 million km2 covering nearly 12.6% of land area of our country is prone to landslide hazards. Mountainous region of the North-Western Himalayas, the Sub-Himalayan terrain of the North-East, the Western and Eastern Ghats are prone to landslides covering 22 States and 2 Union Territories. Majority of landslide prone areas are located in the earthquake prone seismic Zone-IV and V.

You will remember rough map of Landslide prone areas of India.

A Checklist of Causes of Landslides Ground Causes: very important for UPSC exam.

  1. Weak, sensitivity, or weathered materials
  2. Adverse ground structure (joints, fissures etc.)
  3. Physical property variation (permeability, plasticity etc.)

Morphological Causes

  1. Ground uplift (volcanic, tectonic etc.)
  2. Erosion (wind, water)
  3. Vegetation removal (by forest fire, drought etc.)

Physical Causes

  1. Prolonged precipitation
  2. Rapid draw- down
  3. Earthquake
  4. Volcanic eruption
  5. Thawing
  6. Shrink and swell
  7. Artesian pressure

Man- made Causes

  1. Excavation (particularly at the toe of slope
  2. Loading of slope crest
  3. Draw -down (of reservoir)
  4. Deforestation
  5. Irrigation
  6. Mining
  7. Artificial vibrations
  8. Water impoundment and leakage from utilities

Features of Eravikulam National Park:

It is located in the High Ranges (Kannan Devan Hills) of the Southern Western Ghats in the Devikulam Taluk of Idukki District, Kerala. It spreads over an area of 97 square km and hosts South India's highest peak, Anamudi (2695 m), in its southern area.

In Tamil Naidu Disaster Management site, we found one information:

An overall evaluation of the pattern and nature of landslides occurrences in the Kerala part of Western Ghats and its corresponding eastern flank falling within Tamil Nadu reveals the following main features:

  1. Almost all mass movements occur during monsoons (SW and NE monsoon) in the western flank of western Ghats and during occasional cyclonic events in the eastern flank indicating that main triggering mechanism is the over- saturation of overburden caused by heavy rains.
  2. There seems to be a relation between intensity of rainfall and slope failures.
  3. Majority of the catastrophic mass movements is confined to the overburden without affecting the underlying bedrock.
  4. Improper land use practices such as heavy tilling, agricultural practices and settlement patterns have contributed to creep and withdrawal of toe support in many cases
  5. A common factor noticed in most of these vulnerable slopes’ deforestation in the recent past, cultivation of seasonal crops and increase in settlements.
  6. In all the vulnerable slopes terracing/ contour bounding is adopted mainly to prevent soil erosion and to enhance percolation during dry season for cultivation of cash crops as well as seasonal crops. Invariably, in all these cases, natural drainage lines on slopes are blocked or modified without adequate provision for surface drainage of excess storm water during high intensity rains prevalent in the area.
  7. In some areas developmental activities like construction of buildings, road cutting, embankments, cut and fill structures causes modification of natural slopes, blocking of surface drainage, loading of critical slopes and withdrawal to toe support promoting vulnerability of critical slopes.

Current Affair 2:
MSMEs in India

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MSMEs account for around 30% of India’s GDP. MSMEs account for a major share of India’s GDP. They are spread across various sectors including manufacturing & services and service both domestic and global market.

As per the data provided in Annual Report 2018-19, of the Ministry of Micro Small and Medium Enterprises, the  volume GVA ( Gross Value Addition) of MSMEs have increased over the five year period of 2012-17 , however their share in the total GVA and GDP has slightly reduced.

Around 11 crore people employed by MSMEs as per 2015-16 survey

As per National Sample Survey (NSS) 73rd round conducted during 2015-16, MSMEs created around 11.1 crores jobs. Out of these, a majority are employed in Trade with 3.87 crores. MSMEs involved in Manufacturing employ around 3.6 crores while another 3.62 lakh crores are employed in Other services. A minute portion i.e. around 7 thousand jobs are under ‘Non-captive Electricity Generation and Transmission.

Out of the total employment in MSMEs, 6.12 crores are employed in Urban areas and the remaining 4.97 crores jobs are in Rural areas.

More than 99% of the MSMEs are Micro Enterprises

As per the estimates of National Sample Survey, there are a total of 6.33 crore MSMEs in India as of 2015-16.  Of these, 3.24 crores are in Rural areas and 3.09 crores in urban areas.  More than 99 % i.e. around 6.31 crores of MSMEs are Micro Enterprises. There are estimated to be around 3.31 lakh Small scale enterprises and 0.05 lakh medium scale enterprises.

Type of Ownership of Enterprises

State-wise Distribution of estimated MSMEs

State of Uttar Pradesh had the largest number of estimated MSMEs with a share of 14.20 % of MSMEs in the country.

Cabinet approval for change of definition for MSMEs

As the number indicates, significantly large portion of MSMEs are categorized under Micro enterprises. This categorization is done on the basis of an earlier definition of MSMEs, the one which has changed in subsequent years.

On 01 June 2020, the Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs has approved a change in the definition on the MSMEs. This change in definition is based on the announcement made as part of the Atma Nirbhar package.

New definition:

As per the initial definition provided under MSME Development Act, the criteria of classification were different for enterprises involved in Manufacturing activities and those involved in Services. This has now been modified in the new definition, wherein no classification was made on the basis of activity of the enterprise.

 

Further, in the earlier definition, only the investment was considered as a criterion. As per the new definition, even turnover is included for classification of MSMEs. This is based on an Expert committee report of RBI, which recommended the use of turnover as criteria instead of investment.

Apart from definition, the summary of the announcements made by government in relation to MSMEs are,

Current Affair 3:
Loya Jirga: Grand Assembly of Afghanistan

Recently, a three-day Loya Jirga-grand assembly has been called in Afghanistan to decide on freeing about 400 Taliban fighters convicted for serious crimes including murder and abductions.

The term Loya Jirga is important for exam.

Loya Jirga

  1. It is a mass national gathering that brings together representatives from the various ethnic, religious, and tribal communities in Afghanistan.
  2. It is a highly respected centuries-old consultative body that has been convened at times of national crisis or to settle national issues.
  3. According to the Afghan Constitution, a Loya Jirga is considered the highest expression of the Afghan people. It is not an official decision-making body and its decisions are not legally binding.

However, the Loya Jirga's decision is seen as final, with the president and parliament expected to respect the ruling.

Current Affair 4:
New grasshopper species named after Indian researcher

Source Link

 

CA27. Weird Shape of our solar system

Link: https://indianexpress.com/article/technology/science/nasa-solar-system-shape-heliosphere-6545479/

National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) scientists have developed a new prediction about the shape of the bubble that surrounds our solar system. This has been made possible after the data collected from a model that was developed using various NASA missions.

Earlier, scientists thought that the shape of our heliosphere that travels through space as it orbits around the centre of the galaxy is similar to that of a comet with a round leading edge with a long tail trailing behind. The scientists have not been able to figure out the shape of our solar system’s heliosphere because its closest edge is more than ten billion miles from Earth. With the help of two Voyager spacecraft, they have been able to measure this region.

More about news:

  1. To study our boundary to the interstellar space, astronomers have been capturing and observing particles flying toward our planet.
  2. Galactic cosmic rays, the charged particles that come from different parts of the galaxy along with existing ones help scientists study the boundary of our galaxy as they travel out towards the heliosphere and are bounced back by a series of electromagnetic processes.
  3. Under NASA’s Interstellar Boundary Explorer (IBEX), scientists use these particles as radar to know our boundary to interstellar space.
  4. There are two fluids mixed together. You have one component that is very cold and one component that is much hotter, the pick-up ions, said Opher, a professor of astronomy at Boston University.
  5. If you have some cold fluid and hot fluid, and you put them in space, they won’t mix — they will evolve mostly separately. What we did was separate these two components of the solar wind and model the resulting 3D shape of the heliosphere.

What is heliosphere?

The Heliosphere acts like a shield to our solar system that guards us against the rest of the galaxy from particles shot after a supernova (a powerful and luminous stellar explosion). However, it can’t absorb all of the radiations and lets a quarter of these galactic rays into our solar system. The particles that break through our heliosphere are still dangerous, but our planet is protected by its magnetic field and atmosphere.

That’s why there is a need to understand our heliosphere which will be a major breakthrough in future space exploration.

Current Affair 5:
Weird Shape of our solar system

Source Link

National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) scientists have developed a new prediction about the shape of the bubble that surrounds our solar system. This has been made possible after the data collected from a model that was developed using various NASA missions.

Earlier, scientists thought that the shape of our heliosphere that travels through space as it orbits around the centre of the galaxy is similar to that of a comet with a round leading edge with a long tail trailing behind. The scientists have not been able to figure out the shape of our solar system’s heliosphere because its closest edge is more than ten billion miles from Earth. With the help of two Voyager spacecraft, they have been able to measure this region.

More about news:

  1. To study our boundary to the interstellar space, astronomers have been capturing and observing particles flying toward our planet.
  2. Galactic cosmic rays, the charged particles that come from different parts of the galaxy along with existing ones help scientists study the boundary of our galaxy as they travel out towards the heliosphere and are bounced back by a series of electromagnetic processes.
  3. Under NASA’s Interstellar Boundary Explorer (IBEX), scientists use these particles as radar to know our boundary to interstellar space.
  4. There are two fluids mixed together. You have one component that is very cold and one component that is much hotter, the pick-up ions, said Opher, a professor of astronomy at Boston University.
  5. If you have some cold fluid and hot fluid, and you put them in space, they won’t mix — they will evolve mostly separately. What we did was separate these two components of the solar wind and model the resulting 3D shape of the heliosphere.

What is heliosphere?

The Heliosphere acts like a shield to our solar system that guards us against the rest of the galaxy from particles shot after a supernova (a powerful and luminous stellar explosion). However, it can’t absorb all of the radiations and lets a quarter of these galactic rays into our solar system. The particles that break through our heliosphere are still dangerous, but our planet is protected by its magnetic field and atmosphere.

That’s why there is a need to understand our heliosphere which will be a major breakthrough in future space exploration.

Current Affair 6:
Cellular structure identified in coronavirus replication

Source Link

Science based news. Just read it for to keep yourself update.

Scientists have identified a structure in host cells which the novel coronavirus likely uses to synthesize components that will be assembled into fully infectious viruses, an advance which may lead to the development of new drugs against COVID-19. The study, published in the journal Science Advances, uncovers a coronavirus-specific structure in cells, which may act as a target for much-needed antiviral strategies against this family of viruses. According to the scientists, corona virus replicates their large genomes in the host cell's cytosol -- the jelly-like material in which the components of the cell are suspended.

More about news:

  1. The viruses replicate by transforming host cell membranes into peculiar double-membrane vesicle (DMV) structures.
  2. In the current study, they noted that the newly made viral genetic material, its RNA molecule, needs to be exported from these DMVs to the cytoplasm to be packaged into complete, infectious forms of the virus.
  3. To date, however, they said no openings to the cytosol have been detected in the DMV replication compartments.
  4. Seeking to understand how viral RNA is exported from sealed DMVs, the scientists, Georg Wolff and his colleagues, used a powerful microscopy technique called electron tomography to visualize the middle stage of infection of a cell by mouse hepatitis coronavirus.
  5. This virus was used instead of the novel coronavirus SARS-CoV-2 due to biosafety constraints for such electron microscopy studies.
  6. The scientists identified a coronavirus-specific crown-shaped structure -- a molecular pore spanning the two DMV membranes -- that likely plays a role during RNA release from the compartment.
  7. Then using pre-fixed samples of SARS-CoV-2-infected cells, they showed that the structure is also present in SARS-CoV-2-induced DMVs.
  8. According to the researchers, this structure may be a generic complex with a pivotal role in the coronavirus replication cycle, facilitating the export of newly synthesized viral RNA from the DMVs to the cytosol.
  9. Although the exact mode of function of this molecular pore remains to be elucidated, it may offer a general coronavirus-specific drug target, the scientists noted.

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