Paper 1 – Geography
Why You Should Know?
Tamil Nadu and neighbouring areas are bracing for heavy rainfall with cyclone Mandous expected to cross India’s coast between Puducherry and Sriharikota on the night of December 9.
In detail –
- The well-marked low pressure area over southeast Bay of Bengal intensified into a depression on December 6 and it further intensified into a “deep depression” and lay about 750 km off Chennai as on Wednesday.
- In its bulletin issued on Thursday, the IMD said the cyclone “is expected to move west-northwest and cross north Tamil Nadu, Puducherry and adjoining South Andhra Pradesh coast between Puducherry and Sriharikota with a wind speed of 70 km per hour around midnight of December 9.”
- As per the bulletin, heavy to very rainfall is likely to occur at that places.
What is a cyclone?
- A cyclone is a low pressure system that forms over warm waters. Essentially, it is a system of high speed winds rotating around a low-pressure area, with the winds blowing counterclockwise in the Northern Hemisphere and clockwise in the Southern Hemisphere.
- According to the World Meteorological Organization- Tropical cyclones are one of the biggest threats to life and property even in the formative stages of their development.
- They include a number of different hazards that can individually cause significant impacts on life and property, such as storm surge, flooding, extreme winds, tornadoes and lighting.
- Combined, these hazards interact with one another and substantially increase the potential for loss of life and material damage.
How are cyclones named?
- Cyclones that form in every ocean basin across the world are named by the regional specialised meteorological centres (RSMCs) and Tropical Cyclone Warning Centres (TCWCs).
- There are six RSMCs in the world, including the India Meteorological Department (IMD), and five TCWCs.
- As an RSMC, the IMD names the cyclones developing over the north Indian Ocean, including the Bay of Bengal and Arabian Sea, after following a standard procedure.
- The IMD is also mandated to issue advisories to 12 other countries in the region on the development of cyclones and storms.
- The name Cyclone Mandous is given by UAE.
Which ocean in India sees more storms?
- The months of October-November and May-June see storms of severe intensity develop in the North Indian Ocean — comprising the Bay of Bengal and the Arabian Sea — with an average of five developing in a calendar year.
- According to the IMD, of these five storms, four are in the Bay of Bengal and one in Arabian Sea.
Sources – IE
Why You Should Know?
An 18-member herd of all female elephants from the forests of Gudiyattam and Pernambattu of Tamil Nadu are currently on the prowl in the Koundinya wildlife sanctuary zone in Chittoor district, apparently “in search of mates”.
In detail –
- The herd is accompanied by four calves, under the age of 3. The forest officials say that it’s a unique phenomenon to see such a large female herd crossing into the sanctuary.
About Koundinya Wildlife Sanctuary
- Kaundinya Wildlife Sanctuary is a wildlife sanctuary and an elephant reserve situated in Andhra Pradesh, India.
- It is the only sanctuary in Andhra Pradesh with a population of Asian elephants, which migrated after 200 years from neighbouring regions.
- The habitat of Kaundinya sanctuary is rugged with high hills and deep valleys.
- The sanctuary has dry deciduous forests with thorny scrubs interspersed with trees.
- These forests have small ponds, tanks and the Kaindinya and Kaigal tributaries of Palar River.
- The sanctuary is situated in region where the Kolar Plateau ends and slopes down into the plains of Tamil Nadu creating many valleys and ghats.
Flora and fauna
- The sanctuary is covered by southern tropical dry deciduous and thorn forests.
- Some of the important flora consists of Albizia amara, Acacia, Lagerstroemia, Ficus, bamboo, and a species which is a regeneration of Santalum album.
- The sanctuary is primarily an elephant reserve and is home of Indian elephants.
- The vulnerable yellow-throated bulbul is present in the sanctuary.
- Some of the other animals found in the sanctuary are sloth bear, panther, cheetal, chowsingha, sambar, porcupine, wild boar, jungle cat, jackal, jungle fowl, starred tortoise and slender loris.
Source – TH
Counting of Votes
Paper 2 –Polity
Why You Should Know?
For a country like India where each individual constituency can have lakhs of voters, counting votes is a complex process that requires both pace and precision.
In detail –
Where are the votes counted?
- Ideally, all votes should be counted in one location in the constituency.
- But during General Elections, when seats are larger with multiple Assembly constituencies, many counting centres can be appointed, depending on the number of votes that need to be counted.
- The location(s) for counting votes is decided by the Returning Officer (RO), with multiple centres in assembly segments being under the supervision of the Assistant Returning Officers (ARO).
- In counting centres, ideally all votes are counted in one big hall having multiple tables.
- However, if the RO feels there is a risk of overcrowding, more rooms may be opened up after permission from the Election Commission (EC).
- Counting centres are housed in walled accommodation with strict security requirements. Government school and college buildings are commonly used.
The Returning Officer
- The RO is appointed for each constituency by the Election Commission.
- During the duration of the election, the RO is the highest authority in the constituency having a wide range of powers in order to peacefully and impartially conduct elections.
- With respect to counting of votes, the RO has the following duties:
- to designate the counting centres and get them approved by the Commission well in advance;
- to send notice to the candidates about the place, date and time of counting of votes;
- to appoint and train counting staff;
- to count the votes and declare the result.
- ROs themselves do not count all votes but verify the counting at multiple stages and announce the results.
- They are the final authority in the matter of vote counting in an election.
- To assist the RO, the EC also appoints Assistant Returning Officers (AROs) to assist the RO in carrying out all the duties.
- In case of multiple counting centres in a a constituency, each centre will be under the supervision of one ARO.
- The number of AROs appointed can vary, depending on the requirements of the constituency.
- Generally, the District Magistrate is the ex-officio RO in Lok Sabha elections while the Sub-Divisional Magistrate is the RO in state assembly elections.
Counting Supervisors and Assistants
- A counting room will have multiple counting tables with each counting a set number of postal ballots/EVMs on a round to round basis.
- On each table, there is a counting supervisor and up to two assistants who do the actual counting.
- They should be gazetted officers and are appointed by the RO.
- They receive specific training pertaining to the tasks they are expected to undertake.
- For instance, for those counting postal ballots, the training is different from that received for counting EVM votes.
- The Election Commission appoints observers at each counting room, who are supposed to record the proceedings and file a report.
- They are generally employees of the Government of India, and are tasked with the duty to oversee overall functioning of the election apparatus.
- Micro-observers are appointed for each table where votes are being counted.
- Observers are also supposed to randomly verify votes counted for some EVMs in each round of counting.
- Overall, they are the eyes and ears of the Election Commision on the ground and are there to ensure that all procedures are being followed.
Candidates and Counting Agents
- Candidates who were on the ballot are also allowed in the counting room along with their representatives.
- All parties and candidates send counting agents in order to ensure that votes are counted fairly and according to procedure, and lodge complaints, if any.
- These counting agents are bound by a certain code prescribed in the Handbook for Counting Agents and must themselves follow the EC’s instructions in order to not disrupt the counting process.
- While armed forces are typically not supposed to enter counting rooms, they are in charge of maintaining multiple layers of security, both at the counting room as well as the path through which EVMs are brought to the counting rooms from their strong rooms (where they are stored after polling).
- The security forces, including CRPF and local police, are under the authority of the RO of the constituency.
Source – IE
Non-fossil fuel based electricity
Paper 3 – Energy Resources
Why Should You Know?
India takes another big step towards achieving 500 GW of non-fossil fuel based electricity installed capacity by 2030.
In details –
- Shri R K Singh Union Minister for Power and NRE launches plan “Transmission System for Integration of over 500 GW RE Capacity by 2030″.
- Ministry of Power had constituted a high-level committee under Chairperson, Central Electricity Authority with representatives from Solar Energy Corporation of India, Central Transmission Utility of India Ltd, Power Grid Corporation of India Ltd, National Institute of Solar Energy, and National Institute of Wind Energy for planning the transmission system required for having 500 GW of non-fossil fuel based installed capacity by 2030.
- The Committee prepared a detailed Plan titled “Transmission System for Integration of over 500 GW RE Capacity by 2030″ in consultation with States and other stakeholders.
- The Plan is a major step towards achievement of the goal of integrating 500 GW of non-fossil fuel based capacity by 2030 by providing broad plan of required transmission system for having 537 GW of Renewable Energy capacity by the year 2030.
- The transmission plan also includes transmission system required for evacuation of 10 GW off-shore wind located in Gujarat and Tamilnadu at an estimated cost of Rs. 0.28 lakh crore. With the planned transmission system, the inter-regional capacity will increase to about 1.50 lakh MW by 2030 from 1.12 lakh MW at present.
- Considering the availability of Renewable Energy based generation for a limited period during day, the Plan also envisages installation of Battery Energy Storage Capacity of the order of 51.5 GW by 2030 to provide Round the Clock power to end-consumers.
- The Plan has identified major upcoming non-fossil fuel based generation centres in the country, which include Fatehgarh, Bhadla, Bikaner in Rajasthan, Khavda in Gujarat, Anantapur, Kurnool RE Zones in Andhra Pradesh, offshore wind potentials in Tamil Nadu and Gujarat, RE park in Ladakh etc. and based on these potential generation centres, transmission systems have been planned.
- The planned transmission system projected will provide a visibility to the Renewable Energy Developers about the potential generation sites and scale of investment opportunity.
- Further, it will also provide the Transmission Service Providers the vision of growth opportunity available in the transmission sector along with investment opportunity of about 2.44 lakh crore.
- With the above transmission plan for having 500 GW of non-fossil fuel capacity by 2030, along with transparent bidding system, an open market, an expeditious dispute resolution system, India will continue to be one of the most attractive destinations for investment in Renewable Energy.
Renewable energy in india
- India has emerged as one of the world leaders in energy transition with the fastest rate of growth of renewable energy capacities in the world.
- India has huge ambitions in energy transition and plans to have 500 GW of non-fossil fuel based electricity installed capacity by 2030, so that cleaner fuel comprises of 50% of the installed capacity mix by 2030.
- The installed electricity generating capacity in the country at present is 409 GW comprising of 173 GW from non-fossil fuel sources, which is about 42% of the total installed electricity generating capacity.
- For evacuation of power from the planned Renewable capacity by 2030, a robust transmission system needs to be in place in advance as the gestation period of wind and solar based generation projects is much less than that of associated transmission system.
- A comprehensive plan has been finalized to meet this objective.
What is Renewable energy
- Renewable energy includes all the energy which is not polluting and whose source does not decay, or whose source is replenished.
- Some examples of renewable energy are solar energy, wind energy, hydroelectric energy, tidal energy, biogas, biofuel, etc. is in india.
- Renewable energy sources are safe, self-generating and reliable, along with being available in large quantities throughout the year.
- Also their equal distribution is also possible. India has abundant sources of organic matter, solar energy, wind energy, biogas and small hydroelectric power generation.
Sources – TH
Paper 3 – Economy
Why You Should Know?
A MoU was signed between Walmart Global Sourcing India Private Limited and The National Small Industries Corporation Limited on 6th December, 2022.
In detail –
- Through this MoU NSIC will be able to extend the NSIC schemes and other services to MSMEs who would participate in various Vriddhi program.
- Moreover, the MSMEs would get the exposure to various advantages of gaining working capital, bulk procurement support etc. under various opportunities offered by NSIC.
- MSMEs who are part of the NSIC ecosystem will also be linked to the Vriddhi program in relevant clusters and get access to existing business training content, advisory support, tools and knowledge under the program – “free of cost”.
- The MoU will play a critical role in enabling MSME’s reach $2 trillion worth of exports by 2030.
About National Small Industries Corporation
- National Small Industries Corporation Limited (NSIC) is a Mini Ratna government agency established by the Ministry of Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises , Government of India in 1955.
- It was established to promote and develop micro and small scale industries and enterprises in the country.
- It was founded as a Government of India agency later made into a fully owned government corporation.
- NSIC is the nodal office for several schemes of Ministry of MSME such as Performance & Credit Rating, Single Point Registration, MSME Databank, National SC ST Hub, etc.
- Government of India to promote small and budding entrepreneurs of post independent India, decided to establish a government agency which can mediate and provide help to small scale industries (SSI).
- As such they established National Small Industries Corporation with objectives to provide machinery on hire purchase basis and assisting and marketing in exports.
- Further, SSIs registered with NSIC were exempted from paying Earnest money and provided facility of free participation in government tendered purchases.
- Also for training persons the training facilities centres and for providing assistance in modernising the small industries several branches of NSIC were opened up by government over the years in several big and small towns, where small industries were growing.
- NSIC also helps in organising supply of raw materials like coal, iron, steel and other materials and even machines needed by small scale private industries by mediating with other government companies like Coal India Limited, Steel Authority of India Limited, Hindustan Copper Limited and many others, who produce this materials to provide same at concessional rates to SSIs.
- Further, it also provides assistance to small scale industries by taking orders from Government of India owned enterprises and procures these machineries from SSI units registered with them, thus providing a complete assistance right from financing, training, providing raw materials for manufacturing and marketing of finished products of small scale industries, which would otherwise not be able to survive in face of competition from large and big business conglomerates.
- It also helps SSI by mediating with government owned banks to provide cheap finance and loans to budding small private industries of India.
- Nowadays, it is also providing assistance by setting up incubation centres in other continents and also international technology fairs to provide aspiring entrepreneurs and emerging small enterprises a platform to develop skills, identify appropriate technology, provide hands-on experience on the working projects, manage funds through banks, and practical knowledge on how to set up an enterprise.
- Walmart is an American multinational retail corporation that operates a chain of hypermarkets (also called supercenters), discount department stores, and grocery stores from the United States, headquartered in Bentonville, Arkansas.
- The company was founded by Sam Walton in nearby Rogers, Arkansas in 1962 and incorporated under Delaware General Corporation Law on October 31, 1969.
- Walmart Supercenters offer a one-stop shopping experience by combining a grocery store with fresh produce, bakery, deli and dairy products with electronics, apparel, toys and home furnishings.
Sources – PIB
Toilets 2.0 campaign
Paper 2 – Government Policies
Why You Should Know?
Under the Toilets 2.0 campaign, citizens across the country are uniting to give a new look to public and community toilets in Indian cities by making them clean and beautiful.
In detail –
What is Toilets 2.0?
- With an aim to maintain an overall clean and safe environment across the country, the Swachh Bharat Mission-Urban 2.0 has taken a step forward recognizing the need to improve public and community toilets in urban areas of India.
- Keeping in view the goal of the mission, the Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs launched the Toilets 2.0 campaign on 19 November 2022, on the occasion of World Toilet Day.
- The campaign focuses on five thematic areas, namely People for Toilets, Partners for Toilets, Design Toilets, Rate Your Toilets and My Thoughts-Our Toilets.
People for Toilets theme
- Along with identifying toilets that need to be redesigned, urban local bodies have mobilized people under the theme People for Toilets with the aim of maintaining cleanliness and maintenance.
- In this episode, cultural heritage is being depicted through beautiful wall paintings on the outer walls of the toilets.
- The Guntur Municipal Corporation organized the Swachh Wall Art Competition, under which citizens created beautiful images through wall painting on the walls of several public toilets.
- Citizens from remote areas of Jammu and Kashmir to Andhra Pradesh are undertaking cleanliness drives outside public toilets with the help of NGOs and self-help groups.
- The Chandigarh Municipal Corporation appreciated the efforts of its sanitation workers for their selfless work and felicitated those who cleaned public toilets during the campaign.
- Vijayawada has taken a step forward in its efforts to transform public toilets across the region and work towards making toilets better and sustainable with public participation.
- Newly constructed toilets are being launched at several places to improve the user experience in Malleshwaram.
- The urban local bodies are also organizing various awareness campaigns and promotional activities to ensure that the public is aware of the campaign and promote the use of public toilets under the theme.
- The public is being asked to volunteer as CT/PT assistants to provide community service in the city and help take the main message of the campaign to the people.
- Around 80,000 volunteers have registered so far to participate in toilet beautification activities under this campaign.
- With the aim of better functioning of public and community toilets, potential partners are being motivated to adopt toilets, for which, under the theme Partners for Toilets, organizations, institutions or individuals can partner to operate and maintain urban public toilets.
Sources – PIB
Animal Welfare Board
Paper 3 – Biodiverstiy
Why You Should Know?
Animal Welfare Board of India issues advisories with regard to stray dogs and pet dogs
In detail –
- In recent times, it has been brought to the notice of the Animal Welfare Board of India (AWBI) that atrocities against the dogs, feeders of dogs and care givers and conflicts among urban residents are increasing day by day.
- This could be happening because of sporadic incidences of dog bites taking place in the cities of Delhi, Gurgaon, Faridabad, Noida, Mumbai, Pune, Nagpur etc.
Animal Birth Control (Dog) Rule, 2001
- The Central Government has framed the Animal Birth Control (Dog) Rule, 2001 which is to be implemented by the local authority to control the population of stray dogs.
- The main focus of the rules is on anti-rabies vaccination of stray dogs and neutering of stray dogs as means of population stabilization.
- However, it has been noticed that there is lack of proper implementation of Animal Birth Control (Dog) Rules, 2001 by the Municipal Corporation / Local Bodies and instead attempts are made for relocation of dogs from the urban areas.
The SC’s orders
- The Supreme Court has in various orders specifically mentioned that relocation of dogs cannot be permitted.
- The Municipal Corporations need to implement the ABC and Anti Rabies Program jointly.
- The RWA also cannot deny feeding of dogs or creation of feeding spot in those areas where these dogs are residing.
- The Animal feeders/ care givers are feeding these animals from their own resources and out of Compassion.
- The Constitution of India has allowed the Citizen of India to do so under 51 A (g). Therefore, the feeder cannot be prevented from feeding the animals or care giving following the AWBI Advisories.
- Therefore, all the RWAs and Citizen of India are requested not to take any kind of adverse action against the feeders of dogs, nor to relocate or resort to poisoning of dogs or other atrocities which is against the law of the land.
- Animal Welfare Board of India (AWBI) is a Statutory Body established under the Prevention of Cruelty to Animal Act, 1960 (PCA Act).
- The AWBI is an advisory body to the Central Government and State Government and also looks after the matter of implementation of PCA Act, 1960 and the Rules framed under this Act.
- The Board consists of 28 Members. The term of office of Members is for a period of 3 years.
Sources – PIB
Commission for Air Quality Management
Why You Should Know?
Recently The sub-committee held a meeting to initiate action under the Graded Response Action Plan (GRAP) of the Commission for Air Quality Management (CAQM) in NCR (National Capital Region) and its surrounding areas.
In detail –
- The meeting was held to review the situation after implementation of GREP Level-III on December 4, 2022 and the overall air quality of Delhi in the last few days with a decline of more than 100 points in the Overall Air Quality Index (AAQI).
- In view of the remarkable improvement, it was called to take appropriate decision.
- In this meeting, the Commission comprehensively reviewed the overall air quality standards of Delhi-NCR.
- The Commission noted that the overall AQI of Delhi is not indicating to move into the “severe” category in the next few days and is likely to fluctuate between ‘poor’ to ‘very poor’ category as per the forecast issued by IMD/IITM.
- It is advised that restrictions be eased in the entire NCR and Phase-III of GRAP be withdrawn with immediate effect.
- Construction and demolition project sites and industrial units, which have been issued specific orders for closure due to violation/non-compliance of various statutory instructions, rules, guidelines etc. Will not resume operations.
- All activities envisaged under Phase-I as well as Phase-II will continue
About Commission for Air Quality Management
- The Commission for Air Quality Management (CAQM) was established as a statutory body by the government in August 2021.
- The Commission has been set up for Air Quality Management in National Capital Region and Adjoining Areas for better co-ordination, research, identification and resolution of problems surrounding the air quality index and for matters connected therewith or incidental thereto.
- The CAQM has replaced the Environment Pollution (Prevention and Control) Authority (EPCA) which was appointed by the SC and had been active for 22 years.
Functions of the Commission include
- co-ordinating actions taken under the Ordinance by concerned state governments (Delhi, Haryana, Punjab, Rajasthan, and Uttar Pradesh).
- planning and executing plans to prevent and control air pollution in the NCR.
- providing a framework for identification of air pollutants.
- conducting research and development through networking with technical institutions,
- training and creating a special workforce to deal with issues related to air pollution, and
- preparing various action plans such as increasing plantation and addressing stubble burning.
Sources – PIB
Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI)
Paper 2 – Governance
Why You Should Know?
Recently TheTelecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI)issuesd Telecom Tariff (69th Amendment) Order 2022.
In detail –
- Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) on December 7, 2022 requested companies to provide free SMS during disasters/non-disasters.
- Telecom Tariff (69th Amendment) Order 2022 on Tariff for SMS and Cell Broadcast Alerts broadcast through Common Alerting Protocol platform released.
- According to this, now the companies will have to give free messages made at the time of disaster.
- However, in the absence of instructions under the Disaster Management Act, SMS sent under the CAP will be charged at two paise per message by the telecom service provider whose network was used to send them.
- This provision is for messages to be sent in disaster or normal situations.
- The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) has made this arrangement by issuing the 69th amendment in the Telecom Tariff Order 2022.
- Accordingly, no charge will be levied even for sending messages under ‘Cell Broadcast System (CBS)’.
- Under this system, messages can be sent to all the devices connected to the mobile tower.
What is TRAI?
- The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) is a regulatory body set up by the Government of India under section 3 of the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India Act, 1997.
- It was established on 20 February 1997 to regulate telecom services and tariffs in India. Earlier regulation of telecom services and tariffs was overseen by the Central Government.
- It consists of a Chairperson and not more than two full-time members and not more than two part-time members.
- The TRAI Act was amended by an ordinance, effective from 24 January 2000, establishing a Telecom Disputes Settlement and Appellate Tribunal (TDSAT) to take over the adjudicatory and disputes functions from TRAI.
Mission and Objective
- TRAI’s mission is to create and nurture conditions for the growth of telecommunications in India to enable the country to have a leading role in the emerging global information society.
- One of its main objectives is to provide a fair and transparent environment that promotes a level playing field and facilitates fair competition in the market.
- TRAI regularly issues orders and directions on various subjects such as tariffs, interconnections, quality of service, Direct To Home (DTH) services and mobile number portability.
Sources – AIR