Sarat Chandra IAS Academy

Daily Current Affairs 21st August

Sarat Chandra IAS Academy -UPSC Civils Daily Current Affairs 21st August-2021

Daily Current Affairs 21st August – Topics

  • Kigali Amendment to the Montreal Protocol
  • Malabar rebellion of 1921
  • Union government exempts police forces from disability reservation rule:
  • Nuclear fusion and the recent breakthrough
  • PRASHAD Scheme
  • Advanced Chaff technology by DRDO

 

  1. Kigali Amendment to the Montreal Protocol

#GS3 #Environmental Pollution & Degradation #Ozone Layer Depletion and Ozone Hole

#International Environment Agencies & Agreements

Context: The Government of India has decided to ratify the Kigali Amendment to the Montreal Protocol.

  • Kigali amendment enables the phase-out of hydrofluoro carbons (HFCs), a set of chemicals infamous for their capacity to warm the Earth.

Key Details:

  • It comes soon after the ratifications by the United States and China, the world’s largest producers and consumers of HFCs.
  • 122 nations had ratified the Kigali Amendment by the end of July 2021.
  • The United States, China and India are in separate groups of countries, with different time schedules to phase out their HFCs and substitute them with climate-friendly alternatives.
    • India has to cut its HFC use by 80% by the year 2047, while China and the United States have to achieve the same by the year 2045 and 2034 respectively.
  • India will complete its phasedown of HFCs in 04 steps from 2032 onwards with a cumulative reduction of 10% in 2032, 20% in 2037, 30% in 2042 and 80% in 2047.
  • Current legislation framework, the Ozone Depleting Substances (Regulation and Control) Rules will be amended to allow appropriate control of the production and consumption of hydrofluorocarbons to ensure compliance with the Kigali Amendment will be done by mid-2024.

Background: Montreal Protocol and Kigali amendment

  • The Montreal Protocol was initially shaped to preserve and restore the ozone layer from Ozone-Depleting Substances (ODSs) like the Chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs), that were earlier used in the air-conditioning and refrigerant industry.
  • HFCs were used to substitute the substances banned in that agreement because they have zero impact on the ozone layer.
  • However, HFCs are potent greenhouse gases that led to climate change, so Kigali amendment adds HFCs to the list of chemicals that countries promise to phase out.
  • 197 countries adopted an amendment to gradually cut down HFCs under the Montreal Protocol in Kigali, Rwanda in 2016.
  • The Kigali Amendment aims for the phase-down of hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) by cutting their production and consumption. It is a legally binding agreement designed to create rights and obligations in international law.

Under the amendment:

  • Article 5 of the Montreal Protocol formed separate standards for developing countries and non-developing.
  • Whether a country was considered as developing or non-developing depended on individual economic conditions at the time of the agreement or pending special request.
  • The Kigali Amendment created 03 updated groups for agreement with the additional terms.
    • The 01st group, which includes the “old” industrialized countries, is committed to reducing the use of HFCs by 45% by 2024 and by 85% by 2036, compared to their use between 2011 and 2013.
    • A 02nd group, which includes China and Brazil, is committed to reducing its consumption by 80% by 2045.
    • Deadline is extended to 2047 for the rest of the countries which forms 03rd group, including India and few other countries in the Middle East, which are large consumers of air conditioning.
  • Also, Parties that experience monthly average temperatures over 35 degrees Celsius for at least two months annually, over a period of 10 consecutive years, may request a waiver.
  • There are also provisions for financial assistance to various countries, to help them transition to climate-friendly alternatives.

Implications:

  • This amendment was seen as one of the most significant breakthroughs in the global efforts to fight climate change, because the HFCs, a set of 19 gases used extensively in the air-conditioning and refrigerant industry, are known to be hundreds, even thousands, of times more potent than carbon dioxide in their ability to cause global warming.
  • It is a crucial step towards achieving the target of limiting the rise in global temperatures to 2 degrees Celsius from pre-industrial times.
  • The collective action is likely to prevent emissions of up to 105 million tonnes of Co2 equivalent of greenhouse gases helping to avoid up to 0.5 degree Celsius of global temperature rise by 2100, while continuing to protect the ozone layer.
  • Montreal Protocol has been a far more effective and successful agreement than the other climate change tools.
    • It has already resulted in the phase-out of 98.6% of ozone-depleting substances. The remaining 1.4% are the HCFCs that are in the process of being transitioned.
    • India has successfully phased out all the Ozone Depleting Substances as per the Montreal Protocol Schedule

Significance for India:

  • India is one of the early countries to launch a cooling action plan back in 2019.
    • This inclusive plan is meant to reduce cooling demand, allowing refrigerant transition, enhancing energy efficiency and better technology options with a 20-year time frame.
  • The signing of the Kigali Amendment is a signal for the markets to make a quicker transition from HFCs to cleaner gases.
  • The ratification would signify that India is ready to compete in the market for climate-friendly refrigerants, which will boost domestic innovation and attract international investments.
  • It would boost domestic manufacturing and employment generation goals.
  • HFCs phrase down implementation will include combined effect with on-going government programmes and schemes of the Union government with the objective to maximize the economic arid social co-benefits, besides environmental gains.
  • The decision would pave the way for India to achieve its climate change mitigation goals and cooling commitments.

                                    Montreal protocol v/s Paris Agreement:

 

  1. Malabar rebellion of 1921

#GS1 #Modern Indian History #The freedom struggle #Salient features of Indian society

Context: Recently, a political leader said that the Malabar (Moplah) rebellion or Mappila riots, of 1921 was one of the first manifestations of the Taliban mindset in India.

  • August 20, marks the centenary of the Malabar rebellion, which is also known as the Moplah (Muslim) riots.
  • The name Moplah is given to Malayali-speaking Muslims in Kerala.

What is the Malabar rebellion of 1921?

  • In 1921, With a population of one million, 32% of that of Malabar as a whole, the Moplahs formed the largest and fastest growing community in Malabar.
  • Malabar rebellion is basically an uprising of Muslim tenants against British rulers and local Hindu landlords.
    • The shifting of the Mappilas into the inland for economic opportunities led to a clash of religious identities both with the local Hindu population and the British.
  • Charged up by the fiery speeches by Muslim religious leaders and anti-British sentiments, the Moplahs launched a violent rebellion.
    • Numerous acts of violence were reported and a series of oppressions were committed both against the British and the Hindu landlords.
  • The uprising, which began on August 20, 1921, went on for several months.
  • Some historical accounts believe that uprising led to the loss of around 10,000 lives, including 2,339 rebels.

Various viewpoints on the character of the rebellion:

  • It has often been seemed as one of the first nationalist uprisings in south India against British authority.
    • Kerala government in 1971 had included the participants of the rebellion in the category of freedom fighters.
    • Rebels attacked several symbols and institutions of the colonial state, such as telegraph lines, train stations, courts and post offices.
  • It has also been described as a peasant revolt against the oppressions of landlords.
  • Some historians call it a case of religious fanaticism, as most of the landlords were Namboodiri Brahmins while most of the tenants were Mopillahs Muslims.
    • The rebellion resulted in mass killings of over 10,000 Hindus, raping of women, forced religious conversions, destruction or damage of nearly 300 temples, loot and arson of properties worth crores of rupees and burning of houses belonging to the Hindus.
  • The broad consensus on the rebellion is that, it has started off as a struggle against political power, which later took on a communal colour.

Cause of the rebellion:

  • Malabar had come under British control as part of the Madras Presidency after the 4th Anglo-Mysore war.
  • The British had introduced new tenancy laws that enormously favoured the landlords known as Janmis and started a far more abusive system for peasants than before.
  • The new laws took away all guaranteed rights of the peasants regarding land, share in the produce they earlier got and in effect rendered them landless.
  • The trigger of the uprising came from the Non-Cooperation Movement launched by the Congress in 1920 along with the Khilafat agitation.
  • The anti-British sentiment was further fuelled by Non-Cooperation movement in 1920 along with the Khilafat agitation.
  • In the initial stages, the movement had the support of Mahatma Gandhi and other Indian nationalist leaders, but as it turned violent they distanced themselves from it.

Collapse:

  • By the end of 1921, the British took a heavy-handed approach towards the rebellion who had raised a special battalion, the Malabar Special Force for the riot and martial law imposed the rebellion was crushed by the British

Wagon Tragedy:

  • In November 1921, 67 out of total 90 Mappila prisoners were suffocated to death when they were being transported in a closed freight wagon from Tirur to the Central Prison in Podanur. This event is called the Wagon Tragedy.

 

  1. Union government exempts police forces from disability reservation rule:

#GS2 # Issues Relating to Development and Management of Social Sector/Services relating to Health, Education, Human Resources.

Context: Recently, Union government exempted posts under police forces from the mandated 4% reservations for persons with disabilities (PwD) in government jobs.

Key Details:

  • Ministry of Social Justice and empowerment issued a notification saying that Section 34 of the Rights of Persons with Disabilities Act, 2016, which provides for four percent reservation in jobs for PwD in government establishments, would not apply to all categories of posts under Indian Police Service, the Indian Railway Protection Force Service and the police forces of Delhi, Andaman and Nicobar Islands, Lakshadweep and Daman and Diu and Dadra and Nagar Haveli.
  • The decision for this exemption has been taken in consultation with the Chief Commissioner for Persons with Disabilities, after taking into account the nature and type of work.
  • In a different notification, the union government also exempted all categories of posts of combatant personnel of Central armed police forces like Border Security Force, the Central Reserve Police Force, the Central Industrial Security Force, the Indo-Tibetan Border Police, the Sashastra Seema Bal and the Assam Rifles from the provisions of the reservation under the 2016 act.
  • Earlier in 2018, the government had exempted all categories of posts of combatant personnel in the Armed forces from the provision.
  • This makes distinction between combat and non-combat roles in the security forces.

Concerns:

  • The provisions of the Act did not attempt to provide blanket exemptions from hiring PwD, but to make sure that combat roles are not allotted to them.
  • There are many roles that PwD could fill within police forces and exempting all categories of roles is wrong, as per rights groups.
  • Disability rights activists opposed this move as its against the spirit and intent of the provisions that allow exemptions under 2016 act.

Rights of Persons with Disabilities Act, 2016:

  • The Act replaces the Persons with Disabilities (Equal Opportunities, Protection of Rights and Full Participation) Act, 1995.
  • It is in the line with the United National Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UNCRPD), to which India is a signatory.
  • As per the act, Disability has been defined based on an evolving and dynamic concept.
  • The types of disabilities have been increased from 7 to 21.
  • The act added mental illness, autism, spectrum disorder, cerebral palsy, muscular dystrophy, chronic neurological conditions, speech and language disability, thalassemia, haemophilia, sickle cell disease, multiple disabilities including deaf blindness, acid attack victims and Parkinson’s disease which were largely overlooked in previous act.
  • In addition, the Government has been authorized to notify any other category of specified disability.
  • Persons with minimum of 40 percent of a disability are eligible for certain benefits like reservations in education and employment, preference in government schemes, etc.
  • The Bill provides few rights and entitlements to disabled persons which includes disabled friendly access to all public buildings, hospitals, modes of transport, polling stations, etc
  • Violation of any provision of the Act is punishable with imprisonment up to six months, and/or fine of Rs 10,000.
  • The Chief Commissioner for Persons with Disabilities and the State Commissioners will act as regulatory bodies and Grievance Redressal agencies and also monitor implementation of the Act.

 

  1. Nuclear fusion and the recent breakthrough

#GS3 # Developments & their Applications & Effects in Everyday Life- Nuclear technology # Awareness in Different Fields

Context: Recently, researchers at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory demonstrated the “fusion ignition” for the first time.

  • This advancement has taken the world closer to the dream of near-limitless clean energy through nuclear fusion.

Key Details about the experiment:

  • In the experiment, laser energy was used to heat and pressurise a small target or fuel pellets which triggered the fusion reactions.
    • These pellets containing deuterium and tritium fused creating conditions similar to that at the centre of our Sun. and produced more energy.
  • These reactions released positively charged particles called alpha particles, which in turn heated the surrounding plasma. (At high temperatures, electrons are ripped from atom’s nuclei and become a plasma or an ionised state of matter.
  • The heated plasma also released alpha particles and a self-sustaining reaction called ignition took place.

Significance of the Experiment:

  • Researches have used new diagnostics, improved laser precision, which led them to achieve a yield of more than 1.3 megajoule.
    • This output is higher than the previous highest energy achieved.
  • Ignition helps amplify the energy output from the nuclear fusion reaction and this could help provide clean energy for the future.
  • Duplicating the conditions at the centre of the Sun will allow us to study states of matter like Plasma that we’ve never been able to create in the lab before
  • This will also help in gaining insights into quantum states of matter and even conditions closer and closer to the beginning of the Big Bang.

About Nuclear Fusion:

  • Nuclear fusion is a reaction in which two or more atomic nuclei are combined to form one or more different atomic nuclei and subatomic particles (neutrons or protons).
  • The difference in mass between the reactants and products is manifested as either the release of energy.
    • This difference in mass arises due to the difference in atomic binding energy between the nuclei before and after the reaction.
  • Fusion is the process that powers active or main sequence stars and other high-magnitude stars, where large amounts of energy are released.
  • Harnessing this fusion energy could provide an unlimited amount of renewable energy.
    • In the sun, the extreme pressure produced by its immense gravity creates the conditions for fusion to happen.
  • Fusion reactions take place in a state of matter called plasma.
    • Plasma is a hot, charged gas made of positive ions and free-moving electrons that has unique properties distinct from solids, liquids and gases.
  • At high temperatures, electrons are ripped from atom’s nuclei and become a plasma or an ionised state of matter.

 

  1. PRASHAD Scheme

#GS1 # Indian Heritage & Culture # Temple Architecture #GS2 #Government policies and interventions

Context: Prime Minister Modi has inaugurated several projects in Somnath, Gujarat on August 20 via video conferencing under PRASHAD (Pilgrimage Rejuvenation and Spiritual, Heritage Augmentation Drive) scheme at a total cost of over Rs 47 crore.

Key Details:

  • Somnath Promenade, Somnath Exhibition Centre, and the reconstructed temple precinct of Old (Juna) Somnath are among the projects to be inaugurated.
    • The Somnath Exhibition Centre, built in the premises of ‘Tourist Facilitation Centre’, displays exhibits from the dismantled parts of the old Somnath temple.
    • The sculptures carry Nagar style temple architecture of old Somnath.
    • The reconstructed temple precinct of Old (Juna) Somnath was completed by the Somnath Trust at a cost of Rs 3.5 crore.
      • This temple is also referred to as the Ahilyabai Temple since it was built by Queen Ahilyabai of Indore, after she found the old temple in ruins.
    • The Prime Minister also laid foundation stone of Shree Parvati Temple during the event.
      • Shree Parvati Temple is proposed to be constructed with a total outlay of Rs 30 crore. This will include temple construction in Sompura Salats Style, development of Garbha Griha and Nritya Mandap.
    • PM Modi is also the incumbent chairman of Shree Somnath Trust (SKT), the religious trust which manages and maintains the Somnath temple complex.

What is PRASHAD Scheme:

  • ‘National Mission on Pilgrimage Rejuvenation and Spiritual, Heritage Augmentation Drive’ (PRASHAD) was launched in 2014-15 by Tourism ministry.
  • It is a Central Sector Scheme fully financed by the central government.
  • It is aimed at integrated development of identified pilgrimage and heritage destinations.
    • This includes infrastructure development such as entry points (Road, Rail and Water Transport), last mile connectivity, basic tourism facilities.
  • The projects recognized under this scheme shall be executed through the identified agencies by the respective State/ Union Territory Government.
  • For enhanced sustainability of the project, it also seeks to involve Public Private Partnership (PPP) and Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) as well.

Sompura Salat:

  • Sompura Salat are a Hindu Brahmin community of Gujarat, which have branched off from Sompura Brahmin community.
  • They are also found in southern Rajasthan, especially in the Mewar region.
  • Their origin is said to be from Prabhas Patan famous for the Somnath temple. The term “salat” is derived from Shilavat, the old term for a temple architect.
  • They have been involved in the construction and restoration of numerous Jain temples in Gujarat and southern Rajasthan, as well as temples built by Jains from regions in other parts of India.
  • Though traditions in the family call for elders to pass the learnings of the Shilpa Shastras and the art of ancient temple architecture to the next generation, the modern age calls for certain upgrades to that technique.
  • Ram janm Bhumi Temple is also designed by the Sompura Family.

 

6.Advanced Chaff technology by DRDO

#GS3 # Indigenization of Technology & Developing New Technology – Defence # Various Security Forces & Agencies & Their Mandate

Context: The Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) has recently developed an advanced chaff technology to protect Indian Air Force Fighter Jets from enemy missiles.

Key Details:

  • Advanced chaff material and chaff cartridge – 118/I was developed by two DRDO laboratories namely Defence Laboratory of Jodhpur and High Energy Materials Research Laboratory (HEMRL) of Pune.
    • It complies with the qualitative requirements of the IAF.
  • Indian Air Force started the process of induction of this new technology after completing its successful trials.
  • This Technology has now been transferred to the industry in order to produce it in large quantities and meet annual rolling requirement of the IAF.
  • This development is being appreciated as it has reinforced the Aatmanirbhar Bharat initiative of the Indian Government in strategic defence technologies.

What is Chaff technology? How does it work?

  • A chaff is basically an electronic counter-measure technology used by militaries worldwide to protect high-value targets such as fighter jets or naval ships from radars and radio frequency (RF) guiding mechanisms of the enemy missiles.
  • The chaff deployed in the air reflect as multiple targets for the missile guidance systems, thus deceiving the enemy radars or deflecting adversary missiles.

Significance of this development:

  • Survivability of fighter aircraft is of major concern in present day’s electronic warfare because of advancement in modern radar threats.
  • To ensure survivability of aircraft, Counter Measure Dispensing System (CMDS) is used which offers passive jamming against infra-red and radar threats.
  • Chaff is a crucial defence technology which aids in protection of fighter aircraft from hostile radar threats.
    • The importance of this technology lies in the fact that very less quantity of chaff material deployed in the air acts as decoy to deflect enemy’s missiles for ensuring safety of the fighter aircraft.

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