Daily Current Affairs for UPSC CSE
- Public WiFi
- Presence of Animal Products in Indus Valley Civilization
- Malana Cream
- EPF Subsidy Scheme
- Additional Borrowing
- Facts for Prelims
1 . Public Wi-Fi Networks
Context : The Union Cabinet on Wednesday approved a proposal for setting up public WiFi hotspots across the country via public data offices or PDOs
About the Scheme
- Approval has been provided for setting up of Public Wi-Fi Networks by Public Data Office Aggregators (PDOAs) to provide public Wi-Fi service through Public Data Offices (PDOs) spread across length and breadth of the country to accelerate proliferation of Broadband Internet services through Public Wi-Fi network in the country.
- There shall be no license fee for providing Broadband Internet through these public Wi-Fi networks.
- The proposal will promote the growth of Public Wi-Fi Networks in the country and, in turn, will help in proliferation of Broadband Internet, enhancement of income and employment and empowerment of people.
This Public Wi-Fi Access Network Interface will be known as PM-WANI.PM-WANI eco-system will be operated by different players as described herein under:
- Public Data Office (PDO): It will establish, maintain, and operate only WANI compliant Wi-Fi Access Points and deliver broadband services to subscribers.
- Public Data Office Aggregator (PDOA): It will be an aggregator of PDOs and perform the functions relating to Authorization and Accounting.
- App Provider: It will develop an App to register users and discover WANI compliant Wi-Fi hotspots in the nearby area and display the same within the App for accessing the internet service.
- Central Registry: It will maintain the details of App Providers, PDOAs, and PDOs. To begin with, the Central Registry will be maintained by C-DoT.
- While no registration would be required for PDOs, PDOAs and App Providers will get themselves registered with DoT through online registration portal (SARALSANCHAR; without paying any registration fee. Registration shall be granted within 7 days of the application. This is expected to be more business friendly and in line with efforts for ease of doing business.
- COVID-19 pandemic has necessitated delivery of stable and high speed Broadband Internet (data) services to an increasingly large number of subscribers in the country including areas which do not have 4G mobile coverage. This can be achieved by deployment of Public Wi-Fi.
- Proliferation of public Wi-Fi will not only create employment but also enhance disposable incomes in the hands of small and medium entrepreneurs and boost the GDP of the country.
- Proliferation of Broadband Services through public Wi-Fi is a step towards digital India and consequential benefit thereon.
- No License Fee for providing broadband internet services using public Wi-Fi Hotspots will massively encourage its proliferation and penetration across the length and breadth of the country. Availability and use of Broadband will enhance incomes, employment, quality of life, ease of doing business etc.
2 . Presence of Animal Products in Indus Valley Civilization
Context : A new study has found the presence of animal products, including cattle and buffalo meat, in ceramic vessels dating back about 4,600 years at seven Indus Valley Civilisation sites in present-day Haryana and Uttar Pradesh.
About the Study
- The study, which was published in the Journal of Archaeological Science and was conducted as a part of the Two Rains project of the University of Cambridge and Banaras Hindu University,
- Study, titled “Lipid residues in pottery from the Indus Civilisation in northwest India’’ looks at the food habit of the people of that era on the basis of lipid residue analysis found in pottery from Harappan sites in Haryana.
Details of the Study
- Study of lipid residues in Indus pottery shows a dominance of animal products in vessels, such as the meat of non-ruminant animals like pigs, ruminant animals like cattle or buffalo and sheep or goat, as well as dairy products. Analysis of lipid residues involved extraction and identification of the fats and oils that were absorbed in the vessels.
- Lipids are relatively less prone to degradation and have been discovered in pottery from archaeological contexts around the world. However, they have seen very limited investigation in ancient ceramics from South Asia.
- About 50-60% of domestic animal bones found at Indus Valley sites come from cattle/buffalo. The high proportions of cattle bones may suggest a cultural preference for beef consumption across Indus populations, supplemented by the consumption of mutton/lamb
About Lipid Analysis
- Lipids are a broad category of compounds that are insoluble in water; those of archaeological interest include fatty acids, triacylglycerols, sterols, waxes, and terpenes.
- Lipid analysis is suitable for the study of vessel contents because they are present in virtually all human food, they have a relatively high stability with increased temperature (up to 400°C), and their decomposition from cooking temperatures is minimal, compared to carbohydrates and proteins.
- Over the last four decades, different instrumental techniques have been used to obtain information about archaeological lipid residues.
- The most commonly employed involve component separation with gas chromatography: gas chromatography with a flame ionization detector (GC), gas chromatography with mass spectrometry (GC/MS), and, recently, gas chromatography-combustion-isotope ratio analysis (GC-C-IRMS).
3 . Malana Cream
Context : Narcotics Control Bureau in Mumbai claimed to have seized the contraband ‘Malana Cream
What is Malana Cream?
- It is the charas or hash or hashish which comes from the Malana Valley in Kullu district of Himachal Pradesh. Charas, called bhang in Himachal, is the resin obtained from a species or strain of the cannabis plant (botanical classification of cannabis is disputed), which grows naturally in the valley and is also cultivated illegally.
- The valley has a single village, Malana, and the hash resin produced there is generally more ‘creamy’, or clay-like, as compared to that produced in other parts of the state.
What makes it unique?
- The cannabis plant has a number of chemical compounds called cannabinoids, among which tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) is the primary psychoactive constituent which produces the high sensation.
- Strains of the plant with low levels of THC are used for industrial and non-drug purposes such as making ropes, paper, textiles etc. Plants with a high level of another cannabinoid called CBD (cannabidiol) are used for medicinal purposes.
- A high proportion of THC in the plant extract is required for recreational drug use and Malana Cream is believed to be particularly rich in THC, making it more potent. Resin extracted from the plant, generally by rubbing using hands, is also concentrated further to obtain the more potent hash oil.
- In addition, charas from Malana has a distinct set of turpenes, aromatic compounds associated with flavour and other characteristics. These characteristics are the result of unique climatic conditions of the valley.
How is it produced so widely if it is illegal?
- Malana is a remote village which remained isolated from other habitations in the area for centuries and developed its own distinct culture. The nearest road is still four kilometres down the hill, and it was built in 2007 to facilitate a hydropower project. Before the road, residents had to trek a distance of 26 km over 12 to 15 hours to reach the market in the adjacent valley
- Malana emerged on the global map with the emergence of the counterculture movement in western countries, and started attracting users of psychedelic drugs from all parts of the world.
- Charas was banned in India in 1986 under the NDPS Act, but the plant was considered an important crop in Kullu, used for a variety of other purposes such as making footwear.
- With greater road connectivity, Malana and its neighbouring Parvati Valley became notorious for ‘drug tourism’, with domestic as well as foreign tourists thronging to the area lured by the easy availability of drugs as well as picturesque treks.
- Security agencies sometimes have to trek for hours and even days to locate and burn the fields of cannabis or track down peddlers. Those involved in the lucrative trade move their fields further uphill or to remoter parts of the mountains when this happens. Also, the plant grows naturally in the area, so it cannot be eliminated altogether
4 . EPF Subsidy Scheme
Context : The Union Cabinet has approved the Atmanirbhar Bharat Rojgar Yojana.
About the Scheme
- According to the scheme government will pay Employees Provident Fund (EPF) contributions of both the employee and employer for two years for new workers hired from October 1 to June 30, 2021.
- For companies that employ up to 1,000 workers, the government would pay the entire contribution – 12% of wages paid by the employee and the employer each.
- For establishments with over 1,000 workers, it would pay the 12% share of the employee alone.
- The scheme will apply to those earning less than ₹15,000 a month.
- The Employees Provident Fund Organisation would credit the amount into the Aadhaar-seeded accounts of the members.
5 . Additional Borrowing
Context : The Centre on Wednesday granted permission to nine States to borrow an additional ₹23,523 crore for successfully implementing the ‘One Nation One Ration card’ reform.
- In view of the challenges posed by the COVID 19 pandemic for mobilisation of financial resources, the Government of India has strengthened the hands of the States through multiple measures. These included grant of additional borrowing permission of 2% of the Gross State Domestic Product (GSDP) in the year 2020-21.
- However, to ensure long-term debt sustainability and prevent any adverse impact on future, a part of the additional borrowing was linked to the States carrying out reforms in the sectors critical for service delivery to the citizens. One of the sectors identified for reforms is the Public Distribution System.
- Out of the additional borrowing limit of 2% of GSDP, 0.25% is linked to implementation of “One Nation One Ration Card system”. This was aimed to ensure that the beneficiaries under the National Food Security Act (NFSA) and other welfare schemes, especially the migrant workers and their families, get ration from any Fair Price Shop (FPS) across the country.
- Other aims of the intended reform were to better target beneficiaries, elimination of bogus/ duplicate/ ineligible ration cards and thus enhance welfare and reduce leakage. For this, the reform conditions stipulated Aadhar Seeding of all Ration Cards, biometric authentification of beneficiaries and automation of all the Fair Price Shops (FPS) in the State.
About the News
- The States that have completed the reform of the public distribution system and have been granted additional borrowing permission for 0.25% of the Gross State Domestic Product (GSDP) are Gujarat, Kerala, Andhra Pradesh, Haryana, Karnataka, Telangana, Uttar Pradesh and Goa.
6 . Facts for Prelims
India Workplace Equality Index
- The ‘India Workplace Equality Index’, touted as the country’s first comprehensive benchmarking tool for employers to measure their progress on LGBT+ inclusion at the workplace, was launched on Thursday with its first report virtually announcing winners from among 65 companies which shared data on their diversity and inclusion practices.
- The IWEI comes two years after the Supreme Court’s landmark reading down of Section 377. Hotelier-activist Keshav Suri through his non-profit Keshav Suri Foundation, partnered with Pride Circle, Stonewall UK and FICCI, to bring the IWEI to India Inc.
- The index measures nine areas: policies and benefits, employee lifecycle, employee network group, allies and role models, senior leadership, monitoring, procurement, community engagement and additional work.
- Morocco is located in the Maghreb region of North Africa. It overlooks the Mediterranean Sea to the north and the Atlantic Ocean to the west, with land borders with Algeria to the east and Western Sahara (status disputed) to the south.
- Morocco has become the fourth Arab nation this year to recognise Israel
UN Population Award
- HelpAge India has been presented the UN Population Award for 2020 (institutional category), according to a release issued by UNFPA.
- Pobitora Wildlife Sanctuary is referred to as ‘Mini Kaziranga’ for similar features, of their nutritious food.
Asian Development Outlook
- The Asian Development Outlook is an annual publication produced by the Asian Development Bank (ADB)
- It offers economic analysis and forecasts, as well as an examination of social development issues, for most countries in Asia