Sarat Chandra IAS Academy

Sarat Chandra IAS Academy -UPSC Civils Daily Current Affairs 13th October -2021

CURRENT AFFAIRS 13-10-2021

 

                                                                                                   

Topics                                                                                                                                                   

  • The Indian Space Association (ISpA)
  • The carbon policy for agriculture in India
  • Nobel Prize for Economic Sciences, 2021
  • NASA is preparing to launch ‘Lucy’
  • Dr Abdul Qadeer Khan

 

 

1. The Indian Space Association (ISpA)

#GS3- Achievements of Indians in S&T

 Context

  • The Indian Space Association (ISpA), a government and private sector business organisation, was recently founded by the Prime Minister.

ISpA’s Goal:

  • To support the Center’s activities in commercial space exploration and space-based communication.

Significance

1.Organised:

  • It will be a well-organized method of bringing the ISRO and the commercial sector together.

2.New highways:

  • Indian talent has been given opportunities in both the public and private sectors. Several private sector businesses, on the other hand, have expressed interest in India’s space domain, with space-based communication networks taking centre stage.

3.Framework:

  • Collaborate with stakeholders from all parts of the ecosystem to develop an enabling policy framework.
  • Better infrastructure: Private enterprises’ skills can be utilised to provide state-of-the-art technologies.

4.Funding:

  • The issue of funding could be overcome with the participation of the business sector. Elon Musk’s SpaceX, Richard Branson’s Virgin Galactic, and Jeff Bezos’ Blue Origin are the best examples. It will also assist the government in reducing this load.

5.State rollback:

  • In areas where the government “wasn’t needed,” the private sector should take charge. The government’s role will be limited to that of a facilitator.

6.Creating global connections:

  • However, a number of private sector enterprises have expressed an interest in India’s space sector, with space-based communication networks taking centre stage.

7.Improved R&D:

  • For research and development in the space sector, a stronger partnership among academics, business, and government was required.

8.Increasing self-reliance:

  • ISpA aspires to support the Government of India’s objective of creating India AtmaNirbhar and a global leader in space, which is quickly becoming humanity’s next growth frontier.

Satellite Internet’s Importance in India

  • India’s Digital Future:
  • The Modi government’s vision of a Digital India, in which the majority of government services are supplied directly to the customer, depends on the proliferation of the Internet in India.
  • Internet access in mountainous areas:
  • Although the government plans to connect all villages and gramme panchayats to high-speed Internet via BharatNet over the next 1000 days, internet access in hilly areas and remote parts of Northeast India remains a struggle.
  • Satellite internet is more suitable for rural locations:
  • Satellite Internet will be necessary for broadband access in remote areas and sparsely inhabited areas where terrestrial networks are unavailable.
  • Satellite communications, on the other hand, are now confined to use by corporations and institutions for emergency communications, important trans-continental communications, and connecting to isolated places with no connectivity.
  • Getting on the same page as the rest of the world:
  • India had only 3 lakh satellite communications users as of August 2021, compared to 45 lakh in the United States and 21 lakh in the European Union.

Private Initiatives

  • OneWeb:
  • OneWeb, supported by Bharti Group, said that it has reached an agreement with ISRO’s commercial branch, NewSpace India Limited (NSIL), to launch its satellite in India starting in 2022.
  • OneWeb is currently constructing its initial constellation of 648 low-earth orbit satellites, with 322 already in space.
  • Its services to the Arctic region, which includes Alaska, Canada, and the United Kingdom, are slated to begin this year.
  • It plans to launch high-speed, low-latency connectivity services throughout India and the rest of the world by late 2022.
  • Communication via space:
  • The space-based communications network has taken momentum in India, with several Indian and international corporations betting on it as the next frontier for bringing high-speed, low-cost Internet access to previously inaccessible locations. This includes StarLink from SpaceX, OneWeb from Sunil Bharti Mittal, and others.
  • Amazon’s Project Kuiper, Hughes Communications, a US satellite manufacturer, and others.
  • Internet access via satellite:
  • In addition, StarLink and Amazon are in talks with the Indian government about obtaining a licence to provide satellite-based Internet services. SpaceX intends to launch a network of 12,000 satellites, with over 1,300 already in orbit.

Way forward

  • For the space industry to thrive, the government should make it easier for small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) to acquire funding and expedite the development of its space policy.
  • Four pillars are being worked on by the government:
  • The private sector has the freedom to innovate.
  • The government’s function as a facilitator.
  • Educating and preparing youth for the future.
  • To regard the space sector as a resource for the ordinary man’s advancement.
  • India has stated its intention to liberalise the space sector, allowing more private companies to use the ISRO’s facilities for building and launching satellites, ahead of big launches next year.
  • While draughts of a new space policy have been circulated, they have yet to take shape.

 

2.The carbon policy for agriculture in India

#GS3-Agriculture and related issues

 Context

  • From October 31 to November 12, the United Kingdom will host the 26th UN Climate Change Conference of the Parties (COP26) in Glasgow, with the purpose of accelerating progress toward the Paris Agreement’s targets. The focus should be on low-cost climate funding and green technology transfer.
  • Agriculture’s contribution to India’s total emissions has gradually decreased. In absolute terms, however, agricultural emissions have risen to a level comparable to China’s. India must take action to address this problem.

In depth information

 India has reason to be concerned.

  • According to the Global Carbon Atlas, India ranks third in total greenhouse gas emissions, emitting roughly 2.6 billion tonnes (Bt) CO2eq yearly, trailing China (10 Bt CO2eq) and the United States (5.4 Bt CO2eq), and Russia (1.7 Bt) and Japan (1.4 Bt CO2eq) (1.2 Bt).
  • In 2019, India was rated seventh on the list of countries most affected by extreme weather disasters, with losses of $69 billion (in PPP) (Germanwatch, 2021).
  • The fact that India has 22 of the world’s 30 most polluted cities is cause for alarm.
  • According to the World Air Quality Report 2020, Delhi is the world’s most polluted capital.

Issues highlighted in the global climate change negotiations

  • Nations are still arguing about who should bear responsibility for historical global emitters and how to remedy the problem.
  • Emissions per capita and the emission intensity of GDP are frequently discussed in global climate change negotiations.
  • The United States has the most per capita emissions (15.24 tonnes) among the top five absolute emitters, followed by Russia (11.12 tonnes).
  • India’s per capita emissions are under 1.8 tonnes, compared to the global average of 4.4 tonnes per capita.
  • China comes first among the top five absolute polluters in terms of emissions per unit of GDP, with 0.486 kg per 2017 PPP $ of GDP, which is quite close to Russia’s 0.411 kg per 2017 PPP $ of GDP.
  • India is somewhat higher than the global average of 0.26 (kg per 2017 PPP $ of GDP), at 0.27 kg, compared to 0.25 in the United States and 0.21 in Japan.
  • India pledged in its 2016 Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) to “lower emission intensity of its GDP by 33 to 35 percent by 2030 from 2005 levels.”

Emissions by sector and the contribution of agriculture

  • Electricity and heat generation, as well as agriculture, forestry, and other land use, account for 50% of global emissions.
  • However, the energy sector accounts for the biggest share of India’s emissions (44%), followed by manufacturing and construction (18%), agriculture, forestry, and land use (14%) and transportation, industrial processes, and waste (the remaining 4%).
  • Agriculture’s contribution to overall emissions has gradually decreased from 28% in 1994 to 14% in 2016.
  • In absolute terms, however, agricultural emissions climbed to almost 650 Mt CO2 in 2018, which is comparable to China’s agricultural emissions.

What factors contribute to India’s agricultural emissions?

  • The livestock industry accounts for the majority of agricultural emissions in India (54.6 percent) in the form of methane emissions. The reason behind this is-
  • -fermentation that occurs in the animals’ digestive systems
  • -the usage of nitrogenous fertilisers, which generate nitrous oxides, in agricultural soils (19%);
  • -rice cultivation in anaerobic circumstances (17.5 percent) and,
  • -livestock management (6.9%), as well as crop residue burning (2.1 percent ).

Steps to take:

 Agriculture’s carbon policy

  • Compensate farmers with carbon credits: A carbon strategy for agriculture should aim not merely to cut emissions but also to reward farmers with globally marketable carbon credits.
  • Focus on livestock:
  • With the world’s largest livestock population (537 million), India need better feeding practises and increased production from fewer cattle.
  • Switch rice fields to maize:
  • While direct-seeded rice and alternative wet and dry methods can help reduce carbon emissions in rice fields, the actual solution is to switch rice fields to maize or other less water-intensive crops.
  • Fertilizer efficiency:
  • In the national inventory, agricultural soils are the single largest source of nitrous oxide (N2O) emissions.
  • Between 1980-81 and 2014-15, nitrous oxide emissions from nitrogen fertiliser use grew by about 358 percent.
  • Promoting fertigation and subsidising soluble fertilisers would be an alternative for better and more efficient fertiliser use.
  • Subsidies and incentives:
  • The government should encourage and provide subsidies for drip irrigation, as well as transitioning from rice to corn or other less water-intensive crops and pushing soluble fertilisers at the same rate as granular urea.

 

3.Nobel Prize for Economic Sciences, 2021

#GS3- Indian Economy & Related Issues ,Inclusive Growth & Related Issues

Context

  • The Nobel Prize in Economic Sciences for 2021 will be split in half, with half going to Canadian-born David Card and the other half to Israeli-American Joshua D Angrist and Dutch-American Guido W Imbens.
  • Unlike the other Nobel prizes, the economics award was founded in Alfred Nobel’s memory by the Swedish central bank in 1968, rather than by his will.

 In depth information.

The Nobel Prize in Economics will be awarded in 2021.

Contributions:

 David card:

  • He studied the effects of minimum wages, immigration, and education on the labour market.
  • “Increasing the minimum wage does not always lead to fewer jobs,” according to one of the study’s key results.
  • It also led to the realisation that “those born in a country can profit from new immigration, whereas persons who immigrated earlier risk being negatively affected.”
  • It also shed light on the importance of educational resources in determining pupils’ future employment prospects.

Joshua Angrist and Guido Imbens:

  • Guido Imbens and Joshua Angrist were recognised for their “methodological contributions” to the study instrument.
  • “How exact inferences about causation and effect may be formed from natural experiments,” their study proved.

 

4.NASA is preparing to launch ‘Lucy’

#GS3-Space Technology, Achievements of Indians in Science & Technology

 Context

  • The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) is preparing to launch ‘Lucy,’ its first mission to investigate Jupiter’s Trojan Asteroids.

In depth information

Lucy’s mission:

  • Duration:
  • The solar-powered mission is expected to last more than 12 years, during which time the spacecraft will visit eight asteroids over a distance of nearly 6.3 billion kilometres to learn more about the “young solar system.”
  • Name and Debut:
  • ‘Lucy,’ a 3.2 million-year-old ancestor of a hominid species, inspired the mission’s name (which include humans and their ancestors). An Atlas V 401 rocket will launch the spacecraft into orbit.
  • Donald Johnson, an asteroid
  • The spacecraft will make its first contact with an asteroid in the main belt, which sits between Mars and Jupiter. After the paleoanthropologist who found the fossilised remains of ‘Lucy,’ this asteroid is called ‘Donald Johnson.’

Significance:

  • The Trojan asteroids are thought to be made of the same material that led to the construction of planets about 4 billion years ago when the solar system was created.
  • As a result, the mission’s goal is to figure out what makes up the various asteroids that make up the Trojan asteroid swarms, determine their mass and densities, and search for and investigate any satellites or rings that may orbit the Trojan asteroids.
  • Scientists will be able to learn more about its origins and evolution, as well as why it appears the way it does, by studying them.

What are asteroids, exactly?

  • Planets are rocky objects that orbit the sun but are too tiny to be named planets.
  • Based on their orbits, they are classified as follows:
  • Between Mars and Jupiter is the main asteroid belt.
  • Trojan asteroids circle a larger planet at two positions known as Lagrange points, when the sun’s and planet’s gravitational pulls are equal.
  • Jupiter, Neptune, and Mars all have trojans, according to NASA. They also reported an Earth trojan in 2011.
  • Near-Earth Asteroids (NEA) are asteroids that orbit Earth closer than the sun.

 

5. Dr Abdul Qadeer Khan

#GS2 and GS3-Defence Technology, Nuclear Technology

 Context

  • Abdul Qadeer Khan, a Pakistani physician, died recently. He is credited as the man who single-handedly assured Pakistan’s nuclear weapons development. This was crucial because it put Pakistan on par with India in terms of nuclear weapons capability.
  • As a result, he is regarded as the “father” of Pakistan’s “atom bomb” or Nuclear Hero.
  • The western world, on the other hand, branded him a nuclear thief or “the greatest nuclear proliferator of all time.”

In depth information

Dr. Abdul Qadeer Khan’s bio:

  • Khan, who was working as a German-Dutch translator in a uranium enrichment facility in Holland in 1975, offered his talents to then-President Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, who wanted Pakistan to have its own nuclear programme.
  • He designed the first centrifuges for Pakistan, putting the country on the road to uranium enrichment.
  • He joined the Pakistan Atomic Energy Commission’s nuclear weapons programme in 1976.
  • A Dutch court found him guilty of stealing.
  • He’s also been accused of smuggling nuclear secrets to North Korea, Iran, and Libya.
  • He was arrested and placed under house arrest as a result of this.
  • By 1998, Pakistan had completed its first nuclear tests, thanks to his efforts.
  • Nishan-e-Imtiaz (Order of Excellence, Pakistan’s highest civilian honour) and Mohsin-e-Pakistan were bestowed upon him by Pakistan (Benefactor of Pakistan).

The Nuclear Tests and Nuclear Doctrine in India:

  • In 1965, India and the NAM countries presented the UN Disarmament Commission with a set of guidelines to prevent the spread of nuclear weapons. These include the following: not transferring nuclear technology to others.
  • There will be no use of nuclear weapons against non-nuclear states.
  • Non-nuclear states are protected by the United Nations.
  • Nuclear testing is prohibited under the nuclear disarmament treaty.
  • With the codename “Smiling Buddha,” India conducted its first nuclear test in Pokhran in May 1974.
  • Five nuclear tests were carried out as part of the Pokhran-II series in 1998.
  • Operation Shakti was the name given to the series of experiments.
  • In 2003, India adopted the ‘No First Use’ nuclear doctrine, which states that nuclear weapons will only be used in response for a nuclear strike on its territory.
  • India had 156 nuclear weapons at the start of 2021, up from 150 at the start of the previous year, and Pakistan had 165, up from 160 in 2020. (SIPRI Yearbook 2021).
  • Pakistan has not declared a policy of “no first use,” and nothing is known about its nuclear philosophy.

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