Daily Current Affairs for UPSC CSE
- Global Overturning Circulation
- District Mineral Foundation
- RBI dividend
- Facts for Prelims
1 . Global Overturning Circulation
Context: A team of researchers from the Goa-based National Centre for Polar and Ocean Research and the School of Earth, Ocean, and Atmospheric Sciences in Goa University reconstructed the past deep-water circulations of the Indian Ocean.
What is Global overturning circulation?
- Global overturning circulation — the equatorward transport of cold, deep waters and the poleward transport of warm, near-surface waters — controls ocean heat distribution and atmospheric carbon dioxide levels, thus playing a critical role in global climate.
About the Research
- A new study (Nature Communications) by a team of researchers from the Goa-based National Centre for Polar and Ocean Research and the School of Earth, Ocean and Atmospheric Sciences in Goa University has now sort out the issue of deep-water circulation of Indian Ocean.
- Studies have indicated that tectonically driven changes in the ocean gateways such as the closure of the Central American Seaway, a body of water that once separated North America from South America, since the late Miocene period, had a dramatic impact on the circulation.
Indian Ocean Deep water circulation
- The Indian Ocean does not have any major deep-water formations of its own. It acts only as a host for NCW and AABW.
- The northern parts of the Indian Ocean are located at one of the terminals ends of the GOC, far away from the deep-water formation regions and oceanic seaways.
- Few studies have been carried out in the Indian Ocean to reconstruct past deep water circulations based on iron-manganese crust records and authigenic neodymium isotope composition of sediment cores.
- But iron-manganese crusts are situated at deeper depths and are bathed only by AABW, making it suitable only for the reconstruction of the history of AABW, and authigenic neodymium isotope records are available only from the Bay of Bengal region. But they too cannot help as the Himalayan rivers that empty into the Bay also bring in substantial amounts of Neodymium particulates.
Findings of the study
- Recent study by the scientists have generated an authigenic neodymium isotope record from the Arabian Sea and reconstructed the DWC record of the Indian Ocean for the period from 11.3 million years ago (Miocene era) to 1.98 million years ago (Pleistocene era).
- The record shows a clear shift from the Pacific water dominated deep circulation system before about nine million years ago, to the onset of a modern-like deep water circulation system in the Indian Ocean comprising of Antarctic bottom water and northern component water during the Miocene-Pliocene transition (about six million years ago).
- This finding suggests a widespread impact of the late Miocene Central American Seaway closure on the evolution of ocean deep water circulation and validates the so-called Panama Closure Hypothesis.
What is Panama Closure Hypothesis?
- The “Panama Hypothesis” states that the gradual closure of the Panama Seaway, between 13million years ago (13Ma) and 2.6Ma, led to decreased mixing of Atlantic and Pacific water Masses, the formation of North Atlantic Deep water and strengthening of the Atlantic thermohaline circulation, increased temperatures and evaporation in the North Atlantic, increased precipitation in Northern Hemisphere (NH) high latitudes, culminating in the intensification of Northern Hemisphere Glaciation (NHG) during the Pliocene, 3.2–2.7Ma.
- Previously it was thought that tectonic changes might have led to the formation of two separate water bodies — northern component water in the North Atlantic and Antarctic Bottom Water (AABW) in the Southern Ocean.
- Consequently, it is also hypothesised that there would have been large-scale changes in the Deep-Water Circulation (DWC) in the oceans across the world, thus impacting global climate through ocean-atmosphere carbon dioxide and heat exchanges.
- But these formulations have remained untested due to lack of adequate data.
- Some records that are available are from near the deep-water formation regions mostly from the Pacific and the Atlantic Oceans.
- Hence, they might not necessarily reflect the impact and change in deep water circulation.
- But the present study is highly significant since it provides unequivocal evidence in support of the theory that the closing of the gap between North and South America had led to the evolution of the modern form of GOC.
2 . District Mineral Foundation
Context: The Meghalaya State’s Revenue Minister, Kyrmen Shylla unveiled East Jaintia Hills district’s first Astroturf arena on the outskirts of Khliehriat.
About the News
- Rat-hole coal mining shaved off much of the greenery around Khliehriat and adjoining Ladrymbai, together the hub of the black gold business less than two decades ago.
- To compensate for this the first Astroturf field in the East Jaintia Hills district is set amid abandoned rat-hole coal mines but the funding came from limestone mining.
- The Khliehriat stadium is probably the first in Meghalaya, if not the northeast, established from the District Mineral Foundation Trust (DMTF), set up from 30% of the royalty the government gets from the mining of major and minor minerals in a particular district.
- According to the district’s official website, the Jaintia Hills have a total deposit of 37.25 million tonnes of coal and 1,054 million tonnes of limestone.
- Meghalaya has about 9% of India’s total limestone reserves, feeding cement plants in the State and elsewhere.
What is District Mineral Foundation (DMF)?
- Mining is an important income-generating activity in India and is a source of employment and raw materials for the manufacturing sector, construction, agriculture, and energy industries. However, while mining activities benefit the country, the policies and regulations, at times, undermine the local environment, livelihoods and people’s rights.
- Therefore, under the Mines and Minerals (Development and Regulation) Amendment Act 2015, the Central Government instituted the District Mineral Foundations (DMF) Funds in 2015.
- Section 9B of the act provides for the establishment of District Mineral Foundation (DMF) in any district affected by mining-related operations.
- The object of the DMF is to work for the interest and benefit of persons, and areas affected by mining-related operations.
- The funds collected in the mining-affected districts, managed by non-profit trusts, are to be used for the welfare of the mining-affected population, including the tribal and forest-dwelling communities and recognising them as partners in natural resource-led development and protecting the environment.
- A separate DMF is created in each district that has mining.
- The mining companies shall pay DMF 30 per cent of the royalty amount for leases granted before 2015 and 10 per cent for leases granted through the auction mechanism post-2015.
What is Pradhan Mantri Khanij Kshetra Kalyan Yojana (PMKKKY)?
- The Pradhan Mantri Khanij Kshetra Kalyan Yojana (PMKKKY) has been launched by the Government which will be implemented through funds collected under DMF.
- Under the PMKKKY, the funds would be utilized to minimize the adverse effect of mining on the local environment, health, and socioeconomics and ensure long-term sustainable livelihoods for the affected mining communities.
- Under PMKKKY, 60 percent of the DMF fund has been allocated to high-priority areas such as drinking water supply, environment preservation, and pollution control, health care, education, women and child welfare, the welfare of aged and disabled people, skill development, and sanitation.
- The remaining fund can be used for other priority areas like physical infrastructure, irrigation, energy development, and other measures to enhance the mining area’s environmental quality.
What is Rat Hole Mining?
- Rat-hole mining refers to the mining of minerals like coal, limestone, iron ore, etc., by drilling long tunnels downwards from the surface is called Rat-hole mining.
- Rat hole mining is technically simpler done by the tribals of Meghalaya.
- The National Green Tribunal banned rat hole mining in Jaintia Hills from April 2014.
- Impact of Rat Hole Mining
- Rat-hole mining activity had initiated environmental degradation in the region due to deforestation, biodiversity loss, pressure on local resources, and soil erosion.
- The damage caused to the local eco-system is permanent
3 . RBI Dividend
Context: The Surplus available with the Reserve Bank of India for transfer or the RBI dividend to the Union government is likely to remain low in the current financial year ending March 2023 because of higher expenditure incurred by the central bank due to rising interest rates and higher costs in managing surplus liquidity in the system.
What is RBI dividend? Why does the RBI pay a dividend to Government?
- As the manager of Government finances, every year, the RBI pays a dividend to Government to help with the Government’s finances from its surplus profit. The RBI was founded in 1934 and has been operating according to the Reserve Bank of India Act of 1934. Chapter 4, section 47 of the Act, titled “Allocation of Surplus funds” mandates for any profits made by the RBI from its operations to be sent to the Centre.
- Under Section 47 of the RBI Act, “after making provision for bad and doubtful debts, depreciation in assets, contributions to staff and superannuation funds 2 [and for all other matters for which provision is to be made by or under this Act or which] are usually provided for by bankers, the balance of the profits shall be paid to the Central Government.”
- It is according to this Act, the RBI pays dividend to the government from its surplus profits.
How does the RBI earn its profit?
- The RBI earns money in a variety of ways. Open market operations, wherein a central bank purchases or sells bonds in the open market in order to regulate money supply in the economy, are a major source of income for the RBI. Apart from the interest received from these bonds, the RBI may also profit from favourable changes in bond prices.
- Dealings in the foreign exchange market that the RBI engages in may also contribute to the bank’s profits. The RBI, for instance, may buy dollars cheaply and sell them dear in the future to pocket profits.
- However, that unlike commercial banks, the primary mandate of the RBI is not to earn profits but to preserve the value of the rupee. Profit and loss are thus merely a side effect of its regular operations to shape monetary policy.
Why RBI pays lower dividend?
- Several aspects affect the quantum of surplus generated by the RBI.
- Interest rate the central bank must pay when banks park their funds with the RBI (Reverse Repo Rate)
- Rupee depreciation against dollar.
- As bond prices dropped with rising yields, RBI had to provide for mark-to-market losses.
- Interest Rate – Under reverse repo, the RBI borrows from banks, while under the repo window, RBI lends to banks. The reverse repo rate is 3.35 per cent and the repo rate is 6.25 per cent. The lower dividend could be due to higher interest payments to banks which parked their surplus liquidity in the reverse repo window.
- Rupee Depreciation against Dollar – The Indian Rupee has depreciated nearly 10 per cent this year so far, breaching the key sentiment level of 82 against the US dollar for the first time in history.
- Drop in Bond Prices – Bond yields had risen further since then in most overseas markets with the 10-year US bond yield rising by 185 basis points to 3.59 per cent in the last 12-month period. When the yield goes up, the prices of the bond drop, leading to a loss in mark-to-market holdings.
4 . Facts for Prelims
National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA)
- The National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA), headed by the Prime Minister of India, is the apex body for Disaster Management in India.
- Setting up of NDMA and the creation of an enabling environment for institutional mechanisms at the State and District levels is mandated by the Disaster Management Act, 2005.
- Objective -NDMA is mandated to lay down the policies, plans and guidelines for Disaster Management. India envisions the development of an ethos of Prevention, Mitigation, Preparedness and Response.
- Functions And Responsibilities
- Lay down policies on disaster management
- Approve the National Plan
- Approve plans prepared by the Ministries or Departments of the Government of India in accordance with the National Plan
- Lay down guidelines to be followed by the State Authorities in drawing up the State Plan
- Lay down guidelines to be followed by the different Ministries or Departments of the Government of India for the Purpose of integrating the measures for prevention of disaster or the mitigation of its effects in their development plans and projects
- Coordinate the enforcement and implementation of the policy and plans for disaster management
- Recommend provision of funds for the purpose of mitigation
- Provide such support to other countries affected by major disasters as may be determined by the Central Government
- Take such other measures for the prevention of disaster, or the mitigation, or preparedness and capacity building for dealing with threatening disaster situations or disasters as it may consider necessary
- Lay down broad policies and guidelines for the functioning of the National Institute of Disaster Management.
- Context: The impact of extreme weather events is felt at Sagar island, location of the annual fair and the largest island, to which villagers left homeless elsewhere have retreated
- Geotextiles have been placed along the beach to prevent erosion after the cyclone Yaas of May 2021, when it suffered a major structural change.
What are Geotextiles?
- Geotextiles refer to permeable synthetic textile material.
- Generally, it is produced from polyester or polypropylene polymers.
- Geotextiles are used to increase soil stability, provide erosion control, or aid in drainage.
- Geotextile is an ideal textile material for roads, ports, landfills, breakwater construction, drainage structures and other civil projects.
- According to The Textile Institute, “permeable textile material used for filtration, drainage, separation, reinforcement and stabilization purposes as an integral part of civil engineering structures of earth, rock or other constructional materials”.
- The Gangasagar fair and pilgrimage is held annually on Sagar Island’s southern tip, where the Ganges enters the Bay of Bengal. This confluence is also called Gangasagar or Gangasagara. Near the confluence is the Kapil Muni Temple.
- The mela of Ganga Sagar is one of the biggest with more than 30 lakhs of pilgrims from various part of the country.
- Ganga Sagar, the largest and the oldest living tradition in Bengal, has been mentioned in Indian epics such as the Ramayana and Mahabharata, putting its existence as early as 400 BCE.
- Legends suggest that the first Kapil Muni’s temple was constructed by Queen Satyabhama in 430 AD, and the present idol was established by Swami Ramanand in 1437, marking the beginning of a pilgrimage that remains timeless till today.
- Gangasagar is not just a pilgrimage; it is an intricate intermingling of emotion and faith. It is the season of harvest in many parts of India, while in other parts it is the season of new beginnings. People from different strata of society come together to thank the sun god for the good harvest.
Soul of steel alpine challenge
- The defence minister Rajnath Singh introduced the “Soul of Steel” Alpine Challenge an initiative to promote the tourism in border areas
- This is an initiative of CLAW and backed by Indian Army.
- The ‘Soul of Steel’ expedition will test one’s high-altitude endurance and will initially have 12 Indian participants plus six international teams, between the age group of 18 and 30 years.
- The challenge will be spread across three months.
What is CLAW Global?
- CLAW (Conquer Land Air Water) Global, is a team of Special Forces veterans and people with disabilities from different nationalities, religion, abilities etc., to project the power of self-belief and collective effort to create a powerful perception of ability and freedom.
- Hunga Tonga–Hunga Haʻapai is a submarine volcano in the South Pacific located about 30 km south of the submarine volcano of Fonuafoʻou and 65 km north of Tongatapu, Tonga’s main island.
- It lies along the Pacific ‘Ring of fire’, and is just over 60 kilometres from the island nation of Tonga.
- The Pacific ‘Ring of Fire’ or Pacific rim, or the Circum-Pacific Belt, is an area along the Pacific Ocean that is characterised by active volcanoes and frequent earthquakes. It is home to about 75 per cent of the world’s volcanoes – more than 450 volcanoes. Also, about 90 per cent of the world’s earthquakes occur here.