GS Paper I
Context: Due to the lack of a price for natural resources like air and forests, GDP expansion in every nation has resulted in environmental damage. The G-20’s largest economies must come to an understanding on the value of nature in order to prevent this, particularly through pricing carbon effluents. India can take the lead in carbon pricing as the G-20’s president this year, which would open up unforeseen pathways towards decarbonization.
Pricing Carbon at present:
- Carbon is priced in three different ways: a tax on carbon, an emissions trading system (ETS), and import tariffs based on the carbon content.
- GHG emission: Just 30% of the world’s greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions are priced in 46 nations.
- IMF’s suggested price: For the United States, China, and India, respectively, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) suggested price ceilings of $75, $50, and $25 per tonne of carbon.
- Benefits: In the EU, British Columbia, Canada, and Sweden, the cost of carbon pricing on specific businesses was typically surpassed by the benefits of the economy as a whole in terms of damages prevented.
- Renewable energy gets a boost from carbon pricing, which increases the appeal of solar and wind energy investments.
- A domestic tax on carbon emissions that directly discourages the use of fossil fuels while generating money for the development of renewable energy sources or the defence of disadvantaged consumers. Korea and Singapore, as an example.
- Emissions Trading System (ETS): A system that enables organisations with extra emission permits to sell them to those that exceed their permitted emissions levels. European Union and China, for instance.
- Tax on Carbon Content in Imports: a tariff on imported items depending on the volume of carbon emissions generated during their production, intended to deter the import of goods with significant emissions. As an illustration, “proposed by the European Union.”
- Carbon Offsets: A voluntary system through which organisations or people fund initiatives to cut greenhouse gas emissions. These activities might involve reforestation, renewable energy, or energy conservation. The project’s carbon savings can subsequently be used to offset the buyer’s emissions.
Carbon pricing for India:
- A carbon tax may be the most enticing of the three pricing options for India since it may directly deter the use of fossil fuels while generating income that can be used to fund the development of greener energy sources or the protection of disadvantaged customers.
- For India, the IMF suggested a beginning price of $25 per tonne.
- The biggest barrier is the defence put out by industrial companies that they are losing their competitive edge to exporters from nations with lower carbon prices.
- The rates within each group should be the same for all high-, middle-, and low-income nations.
- The most fierce competition will be for early adopters: With further measures, a high enough carbon price across China, the US, India, Russia, and Japan alone (which account for more than 60% of world effluents) might have a significant impact on global effluents and warming. The most fierce competition will be for early adopters.
- the leadership of India As the host nation of the G-20 conference in September, India has the opportunity to take the initiative and propose a worldwide carbon pricing scheme in the battle against climate change.
- Communications are crucial: Every form of carbon pricing will meet fierce political resistance, therefore it’s important to convey the concept of social gains.
India, which is the G-20’s president this year, can lead the way in setting carbon pricing. India can encourage investment in renewable energy, safeguard disadvantaged customers, and advance the global effort to combat climate change by pricing carbon effluents. Effective communication is necessary to make sure that the concept of carbon pricing is accepted on a social level, and any kind of carbon pricing will encounter strong political resistance.
Source: The Hindu
ISRO’s Mission RLV LEX
GS Paper III
Context: In the Aeronautical Test Range in Chitradurga, Karnataka, the Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) successfully tested an autonomous landing mission for a reusable launch vehicle (RLV).
What is a Reusable Launch Vehicle (RLV)?
- In contrast to conventional rockets, which are only intended to be used once to send a cargo into space, RLVs are constructed to be used several times.
- As they eliminate the need to produce brand-new rockets for every trip, they are viewed as a more economical and environmentally friendly choice for space launches.
- Typically, they are made up of a reusable orbiter that functions something like a space shuttle and a reusable booster that supplies the initial thrust required to launch the orbiter and cargo into space.
- The orbiter and rocket return to Earth and land on a runway after the cargo is launched into orbit so they may be repaired and used for further launches.
Why developing RLV is a big feat?
- Developing RLVs requires advanced technologies, including-
- Heat-resistant materials for protecting the spacecraft during re-entry into Earth’s atmosphere
- Advanced guidance and control systems for landing and
- Reliable propulsion systems for launching and landing
ISRO’s RLV-TD project:
- To offer affordable access to space, ISRO is researching key technologies for a completely reusable launch vehicle.
- Hypersonic flight (HEX), autonomous landing (LEX), return flight experiment (REX), powered cruise flight, and the Scramjet Propulsion Experiment are among the technologies being developed with the RLV-TD (SPEX).
- It has a fuselage, a nose cap, two delta wings, and two vertical tails and has the appearance of an aeroplane.
Development of RLV:
(1) First RLV experiment:
- In 2016, a rocket fueled by a traditional solid booster (HS9) engine sent the RLV-TD into orbit.
- The spacecraft travelled 450 kilometres before splashing down in the Gulf of Bengal when re-entering the earth’s orbit at a speed of Mach 5.
- The successful validation of crucial technologies include autonomous navigation, guidance and control, reusable thermal protection system, and re-entry mission management.
(2) Second RLV experiment:
- On April 2, 2023, a Chinook Helicopter lifted the RLV LEX to a height of 4.5 kilometres before releasing the RLV for testing.
- After being released in flight, the RLV performed an autonomous landing on the airfield at the Aeronautical Test Range in exactly the same ways as a space re-entry vehicle would.
- It reached landing conditions similar to those that an orbital re-entry spacecraft may encounter when travelling back.
Advantages of RLVs:
- Reusable launch vehicles are regarded as an affordable, dependable, and flexible method of reaching space.
- Using RLVs can cut the price of a launch by close to 80% of its current price.
Global RLV technologies:
- Many human space flight missions have been completed by NASA space shuttles.
- With its Falcon 9 and Falcon Heavy rockets, the private space launch services operator SpaceX has proven largely reusable launch vehicles since 2017.
- Starship is a system of entirely reusable launch vehicles that SpaceX is also developing.
- Reusable launch systems are being developed by several commercial launch service companies and governmental space organisations.
- RLVs have the potential to dramatically lower the cost of space launches because traditional rockets require the production of new rockets for every flight, which adds significantly to their cost.
- The price each launch can be greatly decreased by recycling spacecraft.
- Also, because they may be launched immediately rather than needing to be produced and put together for each mission, RLVs can offer more flexibility and dependability for space missions.
Source: The Hindu
Sodium Intake Target
GS Paper II
Context: The WHO has just released the “Global Report on Sodium Consumption Reduction,” which details how its 194 member nations are doing in their efforts to reduce population salt intake by 30% by 2025. However, progress has been sluggish, with just a few nations significantly advancing the cause. There is a suggestion to move the deadline to 2030 as a result.
The target of reducing population sodium intake:
- The World Health Organization (WHO) established the objective in its Global Action Plan for the Prevention and Control of Noncommunicable Diseases in 2013 to reduce salt consumption in the population by 30% by 2025.
- The strategy intends to lower the mean population intake of salt/sodium by 30% by 2025 and to reduce premature mortality from non-communicable illnesses, particularly cardiovascular diseases, by 25%.
- The goal of lowering salt consumption is to lessen the burden of hypertension, a significant risk factor for cardiovascular disease.
Why reducing sodium intake is essential for India?
- Reduced salt consumption and lower blood pressure: There is a direct link between reduced sodium consumption and lower blood pressure, which lowers the risk of myocardial infarction and stroke. According to a research published in The BMJ, reducing salt consumption by 1 gramme per day lowers systolic blood pressure by 5 mm Hg.
- cardiovascular illness A major risk factor for cardiovascular disease, the leading cause of death globally, is high blood pressure. In 2001, it was a factor in 54% of strokes and 47% of coronary heart illnesses worldwide.
- Cardiovascular disease has a devastating economic impact on LMICs, with a $3.7 trillion estimated cost between 2011 and 2025 as a result of early death and disability. This is equivalent to 2% of LMICs’ GDP. Cardiovascular disease alone would cost the Indian economy more than $2 trillion between 2012 and 2030, underscoring the need for efficient interventions to lessen the financial and health effects of the condition in LMICs.
How cardiovascular disease and hypertension pose significant challenges in India?
Cardiovascular diseases as primary cause of mortality and morbidity:
- According to statistics from the WHO, the Global Burden of Disease Study, and the Registrar General of India, cardiovascular illnesses have become the leading cause of death and morbidity. data from the Global Burden of Disease Study, the WHO, and the Indian Registrar General.
- In the previous 25 years, the age-adjusted death rate from cardiovascular disease climbed by 31%.
Hypertension as leading risk factor for such diseases in India:
Prevalence of hypertension in India:
- more common among males than women who are 15 or older.
- Punjab and Uttarakhand in the north also record significant occurrence rates. Particularly prevalent in southern regions, especially Kerala.
Pre-hypertensive population in India:
- characterised by systolic blood pressure readings between 120 and 139 mmHg or diastolic readings between 80 and 89 mmHg.
- On a nationwide basis, 5% of women and 49.2% of men are employed.
- For Indians with blood pressure values between 130 and 139/80-89 mmHg, there are significant risks of cardiovascular disease, stroke, and early death.
- The US standards’ newly defined stage-I hypertension now includes many Indians who were previously classed as pre-hypertensive.
- Circulatory system disorders: According to the 2020 Report on Medical Certification of the Cause of Death, circulatory system disorders are the cause of 32.1% of all fatalities that have been officially reported, with hypertension serving as a significant risk factor.
Global Efforts to Reduce Sodium Intake:
- By 2025, the WHO wants the population’s salt consumption to be 30% lower.
- Just a few nations have significantly advanced towards the goal.
- India had a score of 2 on the WHO salt scale, indicating that further work is required to address the health issue.
- Voluntary initiatives: The Union government has launched a number of initiatives to encourage Indians to reduce their salt intake.
- Eat Right India: The FSSAI has put the Eat Right India campaign into practise, which aims to change the country’s food system and provide all citizens with safe, wholesome, and sustainable nourishment.
- FSSAI started a campaign on social media called “Aaj Se Thoda Kam.”
Urgent Need for a Comprehensive National Strategy:
- The ordinary Indian continues to consume an alarming amount of salt despite awareness campaigns. Data indicates a daily intake of about 11 grammes on average.
- To reduce salt use, India requires a coordinated national policy.
- The Union and State governments must work together to address hypertension, which is frequently brought on by a diet high in salt.
India urgently needs to cut back on its sodium consumption since excessive salt consumption can have negative effects on one’s health. Although the government has started a number of voluntary programmes, these have not been successful. To reduce salt use, India requires a comprehensive national strategy that involves the public, business, and the government. The Union and State governments must work together to address hypertension, which is frequently brought on by a diet high in salt.
Source: The Hindu
GS Paper III
Context: The Extremely Fragile Tribal Peoples in the area have experienced substantial cultural trauma as a result of recent rehabilitation initiatives.
What is Polavaram Project?
- On the Godavari River in Andhra Pradesh, there is a multipurpose national irrigation project called Polavaram.
- By its Right canal, it will make it easier to move water between basins from the Godavari River to the Krishna River.
- Its reservoir extends into sections of the states of Orissa and Chhattisgarh as well.
- The project is a large, multipurpose terminal reservoir that will be used to build infrastructure for irrigation, hydropower, and drinking water.
- The Andhra Pradesh Bifurcation Act of 2014 gave the 2008-started initiative national status.
- Even though the Andhra Pradesh government moved up the deadline for completion to the 2022 Kharif season, construction on the project is still not finished.
The necessity of the project:
- Potential for irrigation: Household and industrial water supply to the nearby steel plant and other nearby companies, as well as to the cities, towns, and villages along the route.
- the use of hydroelectric power. Pisciculture, navigation for mineral and forest products, urbanisation, and tourism with new picnic areas are all in development.
- Flood control: With the aid of the Polavaram Irrigation Project, the Godavari River’s flow may be controlled to prevent damage to standing crops, loss of property and livestock valued at many billions of rupees on the plains.
- Navigation: The Polavaram Project makes it easy to deliver food grains and forest products quickly and affordably to the marketing centres.
- Rehabilitation: It has a significant impact on the area’s social, cultural, and economic structure. Particularly forcing individuals whose homes and properties are still under water to relocate has a terrible psychological impact.
- It may cause a sizable portion of its land, including tribal regions that are protected, to submerge.
- Like Konda Reddis, many PVTGs’ lives are entwined with the river.
- The rehabilitation of such tribes apart from the river harms their tribal culture beyond repair.
- Habitat degradation: As a result of nature’s devastation, the water cycle may shift. Unexpected floods may also occur, endangering the flora and other natural features of riverbanks.
- Effects on Fauna: Territorial animals’ normal movement patterns may be hampered.
While thinking about the tribal people’s rehabilitation, the implementing authorities should take into account their traditional reliance on the river.
Source: Indian Express
Sucide by Medical Student
GS Paper II
Context: 64 MBBS and 55 postgraduate medicos committed suicide in the previous five years, according to a National Medical Commission (NMC) answer to a recent Right to Information (RTI) request.
A research found that between 2010 and 2019 there were 358 documented suicide fatalities among medical students (125), residents (105), and doctors (128).
The NMC, India’s top governing body for medical education, requested late in 2022 that all medical institutions in the nation record information on suicides due to concerns regarding occurrences of suicide and suicidal thoughts among medical students.
Compared to the general population, doctors have a nearly 2.5 times higher suicide risk.
Reasons for Suicide Medicals:
- Suicide is a complicated, multifaceted problem. Student doctors endure a variety of challenges, including exhausting 24-hour shifts, irregular work schedules, separation from family, hostile work environments, unsupportive management, sleep deprivation, financial difficulties, exam stress, occasionally inhumane ragging, and discrimination based on caste and regionalism.
- At practically all medical colleges, there are no norms, protections, or support systems in place.
- Although there is an anti-ragging committee at the NMC that keeps track of complaints, ineffective implementation is still an issue.
- The transition to college occurs at the same time as a crucial developmental stage marked by individuation, a break from the family, the formation of new social ties, and an increase in responsibility and autonomy. The brain is also growing quickly and is more sensitive than usual to risk exposures experienced by university students, such as psychological stresses, recreational substances, binge drinking, and sleep disturbance.
What is Suicide?
- When someone kills themself intentionally in an attempt to terminate their life, it is considered suicide.
- When someone makes an effort to commit suicide but does not succeed, they have attempted suicide.
Data on suicide deaths in India:
- Suicide is the leading cause of death for those between the ages of 15 and 29 in India, taking more than one lakh lives per year.
- According to the paper, the suicide rate jumped from 10.2 to 11.3 per 100,000 people in the last three years.
- Family issues and diseases are the most frequent causes of suicide, accounting for 34% and 18% of all suicide-related fatalities, respectively.
Rise in Suicide cases:
In this pandemic circumstance, there have been more suicide attempts in India; individuals have lost their employment; many have been stranded someplace alone for months; and the emotional and psychological effects of a pandemic raise the risk of suicide by causing emotions of hopelessness.
Reasons for Suicide:
- Family Problems (other than marriage related problems)
- Marriage Related Problems
Legal status of Suicide in India:
- IPC Section 309: According to IPC Section 309, “Anyone tries suicide or does any action that contributes to the commission of such an offence must be punished with simple imprisonment for a period not to exceed one year.”
- Suicide attempt is no longer a crime in India under section 309 of the IPC. No one, quote, “should be deprived of his life or personal liberty unless in accordance with the method provided by law,” as stated in Article 21 of the constitution. Article 21 mentions the right to life, however there is no mention of the “Right to die” in any other article.
- In 1971 and 2008, the Law Commission made recommendations to remove IPC Section 309.
Government of India Initiatives:
- Mental Healthcare Act 2017: It succeeded the Mental Health Act of 1987 and went into effect in May 2018. It was enacted in 2017. The law made suicide attempts legal in India. Also, it provided WHO classifications for mental diseases. Finally establishing efforts to combat stigma in Indian culture, it also limited the use of ECT and outlawed its use on children.
- It falls under the umbrella of the Atmanirbhar Bharat Abhiyan. The programme seeks to offer students psychosocial help for their mental health and wellbeing.
- A national suicide prevention strategy was recently unveiled by the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare. The strategy on suicide prevention includes multi-sector partnerships and time-bound action plans to reduce suicide mortality by 10% by 2030.
- Suicide is a complicated problem, thus addressing it will inevitably need cross-sector cooperation. Parents’ and students’ interventions must also be taken into account.
- The creation of a “integrated system of student mental health care” should be led by the universities.
Source: Indian Express
Facts for Prelims
‘Ice Memory’ Project:
- Up to 125 metres (137 yards) below the surface, where frozen geochemical traces from three centuries ago are present, scientists will drill a series of tubes.
- To remove ice, the scientists will labour for three weeks in conditions as cold as -13 degrees Fahrenheit (-25 degrees Celsius).
- The enterprise is managed by the Ice Memory foundation.
- The ice cores will provide researchers important information about previous environmental conditions.
- A set of ice tubes will be shipped to Antarctica for storage in a “ice memory sanctuary” under the snow, while another set will be utilised for instant study.
- The samples will be kept safe for next generations of researchers.
- Water from melting ice is changing the geochemical records kept in the old ice underneath, and the Arctic is warming between two and four times faster than the world average.
- Thus, scientists are in a race against time to preserve important ice records before they vanish completely from the planet’s surface.
- The US’s 1965 launch of a nuclear reactor into space.
- A government-sponsored effort for the development of atomic devices that are small, light, and dependable for use in space, on the water, and on land.
- To generate at least 500 watts of power in Earth orbit for a year or more.
- Fuel made of enriched uranium, zirconium hydride, and a liquid sodium-potassium alloy as cooling.
- Direct conversion of heat from the reactor into electricity was accomplished using a thermoelectric converter.
- Was made to be remotely started and operated in space and weighed less than 431 kg, including the instruments and shielding.
- Polar orbit on April 3, 1965, using an Atlas-Agena D rocket launched from Vandenberg Air Force Base.
- Just six hours of ignition, reached on-orbit criticality, and after 200 hours of reactor operation, was set to autonomous operation at full power.
- On May 16, 1965, communication with SNAP-10A was lost for roughly 40 hours. As a result, the reactor’s reflectors ejected from the core, shutting down the core and ending operations.
- All test flight goals were accomplished, with the exception of the operation’s duration, which was just 43 days as opposed to the anticipated year or more.
- The US is known to have launched just one nuclear reactor into space, but Russia has launched numerous, including one that crashed and spewed radioactive debris over Canada in 1978.
- Continues to be in Earth orbit, and NASA expects it to do so for 2,000 years or more.
- In contrast to other vascular plants, ferns reproduce by spores.
- Its characteristic frond-shaped leaves, sometimes known as fronds, are frequently delicately split into smaller leaflets.
- Ferns may thrive in a number of habitats, from rainforests to deserts, and they are vital to many ecosystems because they provide as a habitat for animals and a source of food and protection for a wide range of other plants.
- Ferns are natural markers of healthy woods, and the park’s climate is favourable for their growth.
- Ferns naturally grow in soilless environments and are a member of the epiphytic family.
- Leaching from the park’s many trees, which are home to many ferns, provides them with water and nutrients.
- The first of its type in Munnar, the Fernarium is a collection of ferns.
- 52 different fern species have already been planted, and the goal is to eventually cover all 104 species that may be found in the park.