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OJAANK IAS ACADEMY

06 July 2022 – Current Affairs

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State Ranking Index for NFSA

Paper 2 – Governance
Why Should You Know?

Recently the Union Minister of Consumer Affairs, Food & Public Distribution, Textiles and Commerce & Industry Shri Piyush Goyal released the first edition of ‘State Ranking Index for NFSA’.

In Details –
  • On July 5, 2022 the Union Minister of Consumer Affairs, Food & Public Distribution, Textiles and Commerce and Industry, Shri Piyush Goyal released the 1st edition of ‘State Ranking Index for NFSA’ during the conference of Food Ministers of States/UTs on ‘Food Nutrition and Security in India’ organized by Department of Food and Public Distribution.
  • Ms. Sadhvi Niranjan Jyoti, Minister of State for Consumer Affairs, Food & Public Distribution and Rural Development along with Secretary DFPD, Shri Sudhanshu Pandey along with Food Ministers and senior officials of 8 states were present at the daylong conference.
  • The National Food Security Act (NFSA) was enacted on July 5, 2013 and in order to celebrate the day, the conference was organized to deliberate and discuss nutritional security, food security, best practices followed in Public Distribution System, crop diversification, reforms in PDS and storage sector.
Ranking –
  • Odisha tops the ranking of states regarding the implementation of the National Food Security Act (NFSA). It is followed by Uttar Pradesh and Andhra Pradesh.
  • Tripura has secured the first position in the special category states (Northeast states, Himalayan states and island states). Himachal Pradesh and Sikkim are in second and third place.
  • The report said that despite the logistics constraints, these sectors competed well with the general category states. According to the ranking of the government, Odisha is at the first position with a score of 0.836. It is followed by Uttar Pradesh (0.797) and Andhra Pradesh (0.794).
  • Gujarat is at the fourth position. It is followed by Dadra and Nagar Haveli and Daman Diu, Madhya Pradesh, Bihar, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu and Jharkhand. Kerala is ranked 11th, Telangana 12th, Maharashtra 13th, West Bengal 14th and Rajasthan 15th. Punjab is ranked 16th, followed by Haryana, Delhi, Chhattisgarh and Goa.
About the Index –
  • This “State ranking Index for NFSA” attempts to document the status and progress of implementation of NFSA and various reform initiatives across the country, post consultation with states.
  • It highlights the reforms undertaken by States and UTs and create a cross-learning environment and scale-up reform measures by all states and union territories.
  • The present Index is largely focused on NFSA Distribution and will include procurement, PMGKAY Distribution in future.
  • The Index for ranking the states and UTs is built on three key pillars which covers the end-to-end implementation of NFSA through TPDS. These pillars are:
  • NFSA— Coverage, targeting and provisions of the Act,
  • Delivery platform, and
  • Nutrition initiatives. The detailed list of the States is at Annexure-I.

Rim of the Pacific exercise

Paper 2 – International Relations
Why Should You Know?

Recently Indian navy’s INS satpura and P8I participate in the RIMPAC harbour phase.

In details –
  • Indian Navy’s indigenous Frigate INS Satpura and P8I LRMRASW aircraft are at Pearl Harbour in Hawaii taking part in one of the largest multilateral Naval Exercises, the Rim of the Pacific exercise, also known as RIMPAC.
  • While Satpura reached Hawaii on 27 Jun 22, the P8I aircraft arrived on 02 Jul 22. The harbour phase of the exercise saw participation in multiple symposiums, exercise planning discussions and sports competitions.
  • The crew also visited the historic museum ship USS Missouri and paid homage to fallen soldiers who made the supreme sacrifice during World War II at USS Arizona Memorial.
  • INS Satpura and one P8I maritime patrol aircraft are participating in the exercise which spans over six weeks of intense operations and training aimed at enhancing interoperability and building trust among Navies of friendly foreign countries.
  • 28 countries, 38 warships, 09 land forces, 31 unmanned systems, 170 aircraft and over 25,000 personnel are participating in the multi-dimensional exercise.
  • The sea phase commences on 12 Jul 22 and will culminate with the closing ceremony on 04 Aug 22.
  • Indian Navy’s P8I LRMRASW aircraft arrived at AFB Hickam, Joint Base Pearl Harbour, Hawaii, USA to participate in the 28th edition of the biennial Rim of Pacific (RIMPAC-22), the world’s largest international maritime exercise.
  • The P8I Detachment led by Cdr Puneet Dabas was received by Wg Cdr Matt Stuckless (RAAF), Head of MPRA operations from Hickam airfield.
  • P8I will be participating in coordinated multinational, multiplatform advanced Anti Submarine Warfare operations along with 20 MPRAs from seven participating nations.
About RIMPAC –
  • On 29 June 2022. The U.S. Navy launched the 28th edition of the biennial Rim of the Pacific (RIMPAC), the world’s largest international maritime exercise.
  • Twenty-six nations, 38 surface ships, four submarines, nine national land forces, more than 30 unmanned systems, approximately 170 aircraft and more than 25,000 personnel will train and operate in and around the Hawaiian Islands and Southern California
  • This year’s exercise program will include gunnery, missile, anti-submarine and air defense exercises, as well as amphibious, counter-piracy, mine clearance, explosive ordnance disposal, diving and salvage operations. Additionally, the exercise will also introduce space and cyber operations for all partner nations.
  • It is noteworthy that the RIMPAC started in 1971 as an annual exercise by the US, Australia, and Canada. But from 1974, maritime exercise became a biennial event.
  • It is aimed at enhancing interoperability and building trust among Navies of friendly foreign countries.

UN World Drug Report 2022

Paper 2 – Health
Why Should You Know?

Recently UN Office on Drugs and Crimes launches UN World Drug Report 2022.

In details –
  • The World Drug Report 2022 presents an overview of the current trends on global drug markets and includes the latest information on drug use, production, and trafficking.
  • It analyzes the gender gap relating to drug use and the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • The WDR 2022 also considers the potential futures for the global opiates market given the recent changes in Afghanistan, looks at the impact of cannabis legalization, investigates the relationship between drugs and conflict, and includes a section with a specific focus on the impact of drugs on the environment.
What the report says?
  • According to this report, the legalization of cannabis has increased its daily use and related health effects.
  • The report highlights the expansion of synthetic drugs into new markets, the growth in the manufacture of cocaine.
  • According to this report; Around 284 million people aged 15-64 worldwide used drugs in 2020.
  • There was a 26% increase in drug use compared to the previous decade. Young people are consuming more drugs. In Africa and Latin America, the majority of people under the age of 35 are being treated for drug use disorders.
  • Globally 2 million people were injecting drugs. Of these, about half were infected with hepatitis C, 1.4 million with HIV, and 1.2 million with HIV and hepatitis C.

The three new ‘exotic’ sub-atomic particles discovered

Paper 3 – Science & Technology
Why Should You Know?

Recently The Scientists at CERN discover 3 exotic subatomic particles.

In details –
  • As scientists at CERN’s Large Hadron Collider (LHC) continue to uncover the mysteries of the universe’s formation, they have discovered three never-before-seen subatomic particles.
  • The new “exotic particles” include a new kind of ‘pentaquark’ and the first-ever pair of ‘tetraquarks.’
  • The new discovery is by physicists who are part of the Large Hadron Collider beauty (LHCb) collaboration.
  • The LHC, re-ignited after three years in April, was cranked up to unprecedented levels of energy on July 5, and has begun smashing together protons at almost the speed of light, which could throw up “new” physics beyond the Standard Model.
What are quarks?
  • Quarks are elementary particles that come in six “flavours”: up, down, charm, strange, top, and bottom. They usually combine together in groups of twos and threes to form hadrons such as the protons and neutrons that make up atomic nuclei.
  • But they can also combine into four-quark and five-quark particles, called tetraquarks and pentaquarks. These exotic hadrons were predicted by theorists about six decades ago — around the same time as conventional hadrons — but they have been observed by LHCb and other experiments only in the past 20 years.
What about tetraquarks and pentaquarks?
  • According to the CERN release, most exotic hadrons discovered in the past two decades are tetraquarks or pentaquarks containing a charm quark and a charm antiquark — with the remaining two or three quarks being an up, down or strange quark or their antiquarks.
  • Two years ago, however, the LHCb experiment discovered an exotic tetraquark made up of two charm quarks and two charm antiquarks, and two “open-charm” tetraquarks consisting of a charm antiquark, an up quark, a down quark and a strange antiquark.
  • And last year it found the first-ever instance of a “double open-charm” tetraquark with two charm quarks and an up and a down antiquark, CERN said.
  • Open charm means that the particle contains a charm quark without an equivalent antiquark.
Importance –
  • The observation will help develop unified model of exotic hadrons.
  • The new kind of pentaquark and the first duo of tetraquarks will provide a better understanding of the strong force that holds the nuclei of atoms together.
  • “Finding new kinds of tetraquarks and pentaquarks and measuring their properties will help theorists develop a unified model of exotic hadrons, the exact nature of which is largely unknown,” said Dr. Chris Parkes, spokesperson of LHCb Collaboration.

India-Australia cooperation in critical minerals sector

Paper 2 – International Relations
Why Should You Know?

Recently India, Australia decided to strengthen cooperation in critical minerals sector.

In details-
  • India and Australia decided to strengthen their partnership in the field of projects and supply chains for critical minerals.
  • As part of his six-day tour of Australia, Union Coal and Mines Minister Pralhad Joshi met his counterpart, Resources and Northern Australia Minister Madeleine King, after which Australia confirmed that it would “commit A$5.8 million to the three-year India-Australia Critical Minerals Investment Partnership”.
  • Australia has the resources to help India fulfil its ambitions to lower emissions and meet growing demand for critical minerals to help India’s space and defence industries, and the manufacture of solar panels, batteries and electric vehicles….Australia welcomes India’s strong interest and support for a bilateral partnership which will help advance critical minerals projects in Australia while diversifying global supply chains.
What are critical minerals?
  • Critical minerals are elements that are the building blocks of essential modern-day technologies, and are at risk of supply chain disruptions.
  • These minerals are now used everywhere from making mobile phones, computers to batteries, electric vehicles and green technologies like solar panels and wind turbines. Based on their individual needs and strategic considerations, different countries create their own lists.
  • However, such lists mostly include graphite, lithium and cobalt, which are used for making EV batteries; rare earths that are used for making magnets and silicon which is a key mineral for making computer chips and solar panels.
  • Aerospace, communications and defence industries also rely on several such minerals as they are used in manufacturing fighter jets, drones, radio sets and other critical equipment.
Why is this resource critical?
  • As countries around the world scale up their transition towards clean energy and digital economy, these critical resources are key to the ecosystem that fuels this change. Any supply shock can severely imperil the economy and strategic autonomy of a country over-dependent on others to procure critical minerals.
  • But these supply risks exist due to rare availability, growing demand and complex processing value chain. Many times the complex supply chain can be disrupted by hostile regimes, or due to politically unstable regions.
  • As a US government statement in February noted: “As the world transitions to a clean energy economy, global demand for these critical minerals is set to skyrocket by 400-600 per cent over the next several decades, and, for minerals such as lithium and graphite used in electric vehicle (EV) batteries, demand will increase by even more — as much as 4,000 per cent.”
  • They are critical as the world is fast shifting from a fossil fuel-intensive to a mineral-intensive energy system.
What is the China ‘threat’?
  • According to the 2019 USGS Mineral Commodity Summaries report, China is the world’s largest producer of 16 critical minerals.
  • China, according to a report on the role of critical minerals by the International Energy Agency, is “responsible for some 70% and 60% of global production of cobalt and rare earth elements, respectively, in 2019.
  • The level of concentration is even higher for processing operations, where China has a strong presence across the board. China’s share of refining is around 35% for nickel, 50-70% for lithium and cobalt, and nearly 90% for rare earth elements.”
  • It also controls cobalt mines in the Democratic Republic of Congo, from where 70% of this mineral is sourced.
  • In 2010, China suspended rare earth exports to Japan for two months over a territorial dispute. The decision, according to the Brookings Institution, made the market prices of RREs jump anywhere between 60% to 350%. The prices returned to normal only after a year of China resuming shipments.
Other countries taking step about it-
  • In 2021, the US ordered a review of vulnerabilities in its critical minerals supply chains and found that an over-reliance on “foreign sources and adversarial nations for critical minerals and materials posed national and economic security threats”. Post the supply chain assessment, it has shifted its focus on expanding domestic mining, production, processing, and recycling of critical minerals and materials.
  • India has set up KABIL or the Khanij Bidesh India Limited, a joint venture of three public sector companies, to “ensure a consistent supply of critical and strategic minerals to the Indian domestic market”. Announcing the formation of KABIL in 2019, Coal and Minister Pralhad Joshi had said: “While KABIL would ensure mineral security of the nation, it would also help in realizing the overall objective of import substitution.”
  • Australia’s Critical Minerals Facilitation Office (CMFO) and KABIL had recently signed an MoU aimed at ensuring reliable supply of critical minerals to India.
  • The UK on Monday unveiled its new Critical Minerals Intelligence Centre to study the future demand for and supply of these minerals. It also said that the country’s critical mineral strategy will be unveiled later this year.
  • In June last year, the US, Canada and Australia had launched an interactive map of critical mineral deposits with an aim to help governments to identify options to diversify their critical minerals sources.

Severe drought in Italy

Paper 3- Environment
Why Should You Know?

Recently, in view of severe drought in Italy, emergency was declared in five northern regions.

In details –
  • The Italian government declared a state of emergency on Monday July 4, 2022 in five regions because of a drought caused by lack of rain and rising temperatures.
  • To help the regions that have been especially hard hit, Italy is sending $37.5 million in relief funds distributed to the Emilia-Romagna, Friuli Venezia Giulia, Lombardy, Piedmont and Veneto regions.
  • according to analysis by the Po River District Basin Authority – For the Po basin, this is the most serious water crisis of the last 70 years.
  • The Tiber River, which flows through central Italy and Rome and is seen flowing under the famous Vittorio Emanuele II bridge in the image above, is also running at very low levels.
  • The Po River runs east across the northern part of the country from the Pian del Re of Monte Viso to the Adriatic Sea near Venice, according to European Commission data. It is the longest river in Italy and 17 million people, or one-third of the total population, live in its basin.
Why this is happening?
  • The crisis comes from three years of drought and warmer temperatures.
  • There are two categories of causes for this water crisis: One is the rainfall deficit of the last three years. There has been a low level of rainfall, of course not just this year but also in previous years.
  • The general rise in temperatures is also contributing; there is no doubt that climate change is having an effect.
  • Also, Italy is losing water from the Po River because of “structural causes,” meaning “poor maintenance of the basins, poor network maintenance.” 
  • The Po River and surrounding drainage basins are important regions for agriculture and livestock. More than half the national stock of cattle, 3.1 million animals, and 65% of the national stock of pigs, or 6 million animals, live in the region, according to European Commission data.
  • The drought has devastated Italy’s rice crop, wiping out 30% of the total harvest, according to a statement Sunday from Coldiretti, an agricultural organization in the European Union.
  • The devastation to the rice crop is coming at an especially painful time for the industry because it had already decreased its seed planting by 10,000 hectares due to a “record increase in production costs” caused by the war in Ukraine.

The new 6-Lane tunnel at Khambatki Ghat

Paper 3- Infrastructure
Why Should You Know?

The new 6-Lane tunnel at Khambatki Ghat on Pune-Satara highways (NH-4)   expected to be completed by March 2023

In details –
  • Union Minister for Road Transport and Highways Shri Nitin Gadkari informed that The new 6-Lane tunnel at Khambatki Ghat on Pune-Satara highways (NH-4) is a twin tunnel with 3 lanes each & currently under construction is in full progress.
  • He said the existing ‘S’ curve in Satara-Pune direction shall be completed soon that would lead to drastic reduction in accident risks.
  • The total capital cost for the 6.43 km long project is approximately Rs 926 Crore and is expected to be completed by March 2023.
  • the tunnel is going to enhance connectivity and most importantly, provide direct benefits to the commuters through their Value Over Time (VOT) and Value Over Cost (VOC) savings.
  • The average travel time at Pune-Satara and Satara – Pune stretch through Khambataki Ghat is 45 minutes and 10-15 minutes respectively. With the completion of this tunnel, average travel time shall be reduced to 5-10 minutes.
About Khambatki Ghat –
  • Khambatki Ghat is a mountain pass on Pune-Kolhapur section of National Highway 48 in Maharashtra, India.
  • This ghat lies in the Sahyadri mountain ranges (Western Ghats) and has picturesque mountain-scapes and a pleasant climate.
  • This ghat is en route Bengaluru from Pune. People going to Panchgani and Mahabaleshwar via Pune also use this ghat.
  • Mahabaleshwar and Panchgani are two major tourist locations followed by the Sajjangad and Kas plateau, where thousands of tourists visit every year.

 Indigenous technology developed by IIT Kharagpur

Paper 3 – Science & Technology
Why Should You Know?

Recently Indigenous technology developed by IIT Kharagpur for BLDC motor and smart controller for e-Rickshaws transferred for commercial production.

In details –
  • It is a fact that more than 90% of the components and its technology for Electric Vehicles (like motor/controller/ converter/Battery Management System/ Charger) are being imported in our country which are not suitable as per our environment, road and traffic conditions.
  • Therefore, to address this challenge and to increase the local manufacturing, Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY) has initiated a programme for Indigenous Development of Electric Vehicle Sub-systems.
  • Initially, technology development  for 2W/3W has been taken up as it contributes to more than 80% of the vehicles on our roads.
  • An Indigenous, Efficient, Affordable and Certified BLDC motor and smart controller for e-Rickshaws has been developed by IIT Kharagpur under the above mentioned program.
  • On July 5, 2022 this technology was transferred to M/s Brushless Motor India Pvt Ltd. for commercial production. This technology transfer has happened as part of Digital India Week which was inaugurated by Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi on 4th July, 2022 at Gandhinagar, Gujarat.

 Growing Toy Exports

Paper 3 – Economy
Why Should You Know?

Toy imports down by 70% and exports up 61% over last three years as Make in India yields positive results for the sector

In details –
  • The import of toys is down by 70% in the last three years.
  • For HS Codes 9503, 9504, and 9505, the import of toys to India has reduced from USD 371 Mn in FY 2018-19 to USD 110Mn in FY 2021-22 thus showing a decrease of 70.35 percent.
  • For the HS Code 9503, toys imports have decreased even faster, from USD 304 Mn in FY 2018-19 to USD 36 Mn in FY 2021-22 for HS Code 9503.
  • Additionally, the exports have jumped by 61.38% over the same period.
  • For HS Codes 9503, 9504, and 9505, the export of toys has increased from USD 202 Mn in FY 2018-19 to USD 326 Mn in FY 2021-22, up by 61.39 percent.
  • For HS Code 9503, exports of Toys have increased from USD 109 Mn in FY 2018-19 to USD 177 Mn in FY 2021-22.
  • Speaking to media during the 13th Edition of Toy Biz B2B (Business to Business) International Exhibition from 2-5 July 2022 at Pragati Maidan, New Delhi today, Shri Anil Agrawal said that in his address in “Mann ki Baat” in August 2020, Prime Minister had given a clarion call on “Rebranding the Indian Toy Story” and emphasized on the availability of right kind of toys for children, using toys as a learning resource, designing of toys based on Indian value system, Indian history, and culture to strengthen domestic designing and position India as a global manufacturing hub for toys.
  • He said the industry had benefitted from a number of interventions by the government and results show the success of Make in India programme. He added that the imports were mainly restricted to some components of the toys.
Interventions by the government for the Toy Sector.
  • Directorate General of Foreign Trade (DGFT) mandated sample testing of each consignment and no permission for sale unless the quality testing is successful. In case of failure, the consignment is either sent back or destroyed at the cost of the importer.
  • Basic Custom Duty (BCD) on Toys-HS Code-9503 has been increased from 20% to 60% in February, 2020.
  • The Government issued Toys (Quality Control) Order, 2020 on 25/02/2020 through which toys have been brought under compulsory Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS) certification with effect from 01/01/2021.
  • As per the Quality Control Order (QCO), every toy shall conform to the requirements of relevant Indian Standard and bear the Standard Mark under a licence from BIS as per Scheme-I of BIS (Conformity Assessment) Regulations, 2018.
  • This QCO is applicable to both domestic manufacturers as well as foreign manufacturers who intend to export their toys to India.
  • QCO on Toys was amended on 11.12.2020 to exempt goods and articles manufactured and sold by artisans registered with Development Commissioner (M/o Textile) and also by registered proprietor and authorized users of a product registered as Geographical Indication by the Office of Controller General of Patents, Designs and Trademarks (CGPDTM).
  • BIS made special provisions on 17.12.2020 so as to grant license to micro scale units manufacturing toys without testing facility for one year and not to insist on establishing in-house facility.
  • BIS has granted 843 licenses to domestic manufacturers from safety of toys, out of these, 645 licenses have been granted for non-electric toys and 198 licenses granted for electric toys. In addition to this, 6 licenses have been granted to international toy manufacturers.
About Toy Biz B2B –
  • All the 96 exhibitors have showcased the diverse product category ranging from traditional plush toys, construction equipment toys, dolls, building block toys, board games, puzzles, electronic toys, educational toys, ride-ons, etc.
  • All the toys products were ‘Made In India’ product manufactured domestically by small, medium and large enterprises.
  • The Toys bearing GI tag such as Chennapatna, Varanasi etc. are also being displayed.
  • The exhibition is showcasing toys based on Indian ethos & value system duly endorsing ‘Vocal for Local’ theme.
  • Each toy category has affordable and high-end versions. This is a major shift from the 12th edition of the exhibition held in 2019, wherein of 116 stalls, 90 stalls exhibited only imported toys.
  • This exhibition witnessed a footfall of over 3,000 visitors from India and international buyers’ delegation from Saudi Arabia, UAE, Bhutan, USA etc.

 Sweden-Finland in NATO

Paper 2 – International Relations
Why Should You Know?

Recently Sweden and Finland sign agreement to join NATO.

In details –
  • Sweden and Finland signed the Protocol to Join the North Atlantic Treaty Organization yesterday at NATO Headquarters.
  • The signing was done in the presence of Finnish Foreign Minister Peka Havisto and Swedish Foreign Minister Ann Linde.
  • The Protocol has been signed following a tripartite agreement between Turkey, Finland and Sweden. NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg has described Sweden and Finland joining NATO as historic.
  • It is noteworthy that the Turkish parliament may refuse to ratify the agreement. This is an obstacle for Sweden and Finland as finalizing the process of joining them in NATO would require formal approval from all 30 member states.
  • As a close partner, he has already attended a few meetings of the coalition which involved issues that affect him at the moment. Both countries can, as official invitees, attend all meetings of ambassadors, even though they do not yet have any voting rights.
What is NATO?
  • The North Atlantic Treaty Organization also called the North Atlantic Alliance, is an intergovernmental military alliance between 30 member states – 28 European and two North American.
  • Established in the aftermath of World War II, the organization implements the North Atlantic Treaty, which was signed in Washington, D.C., on 4 April 1949.
  • NATO is a system of collective security: its independent member states agree to defend each other against attacks by third parties.
  • During the Cold War, NATO operated as a check on the perceived threat posed by the Soviet Union. The alliance remained in place after the dissolution of the Soviet Union and has been involved in military operations in the Balkans, the Middle East, South Asia, and Africa.
  • NATO’s main headquarters are located in Brussels, Belgium, while NATO’s military headquarters are near Mons, Belgium.

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