Daily Current Affairs : 1st and 2nd August 2023

Daily Current Affairs for UPSC CSE

Topics Covered

  1. Space Debris
  2. Deep Tech Startup Policy
  3. Net Zero in EV
  4. Multi State Cooperative Societies
  5. Sub categorization of OBC
  6. WHO report on Tobacco control
  7. Facts for Prelims

1 . Space Debris

Context: It was a double delight for scientists at ISRO as the space agency scripted a successful mission and also reaped victory in a unique scientific experiment using the fourth stage of a Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV) rocket.

What are the significance of the Launch?

  • ISRO successfully placed seven Singaporean satellites into intended orbits on board a PSLV. During the mission, the scientists decided to perform a unique experiment in which the fourth stage of the rocket would be lowered into a 300 km high orbit after placing customer satellites at an altitude of 536 km “to mitigate the space debris problem.
  • According to ISRO, normally, after a successful mission, a rocket stays in orbit for “decades” as space debris, before re-entering into earth’s atmosphere. But the orbit-lowering, the duration has now been reduced to “two months.
  • The experiment is being done with an intent to have a lower lifespan of the stage being spent in space, primarily to make sure that the space debris mitigation problems are addressed through the conscious efforts to bring back the PSLV upper stage in a controlled manner, and to demonstrate that in this mission.
  • ISRO undertook a similar exercise during the launch of the PSLV-C55 mission.

What are space debris?

  • Space debris is defunct artificial objects in space—principally in Earth orbit—which no longer serve a useful function. These include derelict spacecraft—nonfunctional spacecraft and abandoned launch vehicle stages—mission-related debris, and particularly numerous in Earth orbit, fragmentation debris from the breakup of derelict rocket bodies and spacecraft.
  • LEO is an orbital space junk yard. There are millions of pieces of space junk flying in LEO. Most orbital debris comprises human-generated objects, such as pieces of space craft, tiny flecks of paint from a spacecraft, parts of rockets, satellites that are no longer working, or explosions of objects in orbit flying around in space at high speeds.
  • Most “space junk” is moving very fast and can reach speeds of 18,000 miles per hour, almost seven times faster than a bullet. Due to the rate of speed and volume of debris in LEO, current and future space-based services, explorations, and operations pose a safety risk to people and property in space and on Earth.
  • Falling of Space debris- Junk from space objects falling to the earth are not unheard of. Most such incidents involve relatively small fragments from rockets that survive the friction of the atmosphere. These usually do not make big news. Also, most of the times, the space junk falls into oceans, thus posing little danger to human populations. But there have been a few highly publicized falls as well. In recent times, a large chunk of a 25-tonne Chinese rocket fell into the Indian Ocean in May 2021, Recently debris of an ISRO fell into the shores of the western Australia.

How much space junk is there?

  • While there are about 2,000 active satellites orbiting Earth at the moment, there are also 3,000 dead ones littering space. There are around 34,000 pieces of space junk bigger than 10 centimetres in size and millions of smaller pieces that could nonetheless prove disastrous if they hit something else.

How does space junk get into space?

  • All space junk is the result of us launching objects from Earth, and it remains in orbit until it re-enters the atmosphere.
  • Some objects in lower orbits of a few hundred kilometres can return quickly. They often re-enter the atmosphere after a few years and, for the most part, they’ll burn up – so they don’t reach the ground. But debris or satellites left at higher altitudes of 36,000 kilometres – where communications and weather satellites are often placed in geostationary orbits – can continue to circle Earth for hundreds or even thousands of years. Some space junk results from collisions or anti-satellite tests in orbit.  

How can we clean up space junk?

  • To tackle this problem, several companies around the world have come up with novel solutions.
  • These include removing dead satellites from orbit and dragging them back into the atmosphere, where they will burn up. Ways could do this include using a harpoon to grab a satellite, catching it in a huge net, using magnets to grab it, or even firing lasers to heat up the satellite, increasing its atmospheric drag so that it falls out of orbit.

2 . Deep Tech Startup policy

Context: The office of the Principal Scientific Adviser to the Government put out a draft National Deep Tech Startup Policy (NDTSP) for public comment, following two versions that were iterated at high levels with other government departments, academia and stakeholder firms.

About the News

  • The Indian government has released the draft National Deep Tech Startup Policy (NDTSP) with a comprehensive nine-point program aimed at creating a conducive ecosystem for the deep tech sector.
  • This is crucial for enhancing India’s capabilities and global competitiveness in the field of early-stage technologies based on scientific or engineering advancements that are yet to be developed for commercial applications.

About Deep Technology

  • Deep Technology refers to innovations founded on advanced scientific and technological breakthroughs. Due to their disruptive nature, they have the potential to solve India’s most pressing societal issues.
  • The Draft National Deep Tech Startup Policy (NDTSP) is strategically formulated to stimulate innovation, spur economic growth, and promote societal development through the effective utilization of deep tech research-driven innovations. This initiative centralizes on bolstering deep tech startups, thereby solidifying India’s financial stability and stimulating the transition towards a knowledge-centric economy, consequently augmenting India’s overall productivity.
  • NDTSP aims to harness the transformative potential of technological advancement across diverse sectors, serving as a catalyst to stimulate ripple effects throughout the economy and laying the groundwork for new industry creation. This policy aims to significantly strengthen India’s capabilities and enhance global competitiveness.

About the Initiative

  • The National Deep Tech Startup Policy (NDTSP) aims to address the challenges confronting deep tech startups through definitive policy interventions to create a conducive ecosystem. Acknowledging the key significance of deep technology in propelling innovation, economic growth, and societal development, the NDTSP lays the foundation for India’s emerging Deep Tech Startup ecosystem.

Nine-Point Program

  • The draft NDTSP outlines a nine-point program to support deep tech startups:
    • Nurturing Research, Development, and Innovation
    • Strengthening the Intellectual Property Regime
    • Facilitating Access to Funding
    • Enabling Shared Infrastructure and Resource Sharing
    • Creating Conducive Regulations, Standards, and Certifications
    • Attracting Human Resources and Initiating Capacity Building
    • Promoting Procurement and Adoption
    • Ensuring Policy and Program Interlinkages
    • Sustaining Deep Tech Startups
    • Complementing Existing Initiatives

 Significance of the policy

  • The policy is designed to complement and enhance the existing Startup India policies, programs, and initiatives. By fostering a favourable ecosystem for deep tech startups to thrive, the government aims to address the unique and complex challenges faced by these ventures.
  • The policy seeks to “ensure India’s position in the global deep tech value chain,” in areas such as semiconductors, Artificial Intelligence (AI) and space technology.
  • The policy seeks to bolster research and development in deep tech start-ups, which work on fundamental and technical problems, unlike firms that monetise technology with distinguished business models
  • The policy also seeks to find approaches to provide financing to deep tech start-ups at critical moments, such as before they go to market with their products or ideas.
  • The policy also seeks to simplify the intellectual property regime for such start-ups, ease regulatory requirements, and proposes measures to promote these firms. For instance, the NDTSP suggests that an Export Promotion Board be created to ease barriers of entry for Indian deep tech start-ups into foreign markets, and that clauses to ease such market access be included in foreign trade agreements.

3 . Net Zero EV

Context: A crucial element of the world’s transition to becoming net-zero is electric vehicles (EVs). In this milieu, hybrid EVs present a big opportunity for economically developing countries: while their power generation and grid capacity and reliability, the fraction of renewable sources in the power generation mix, and availability of fast-charging infrastructure are still less than ideal, hybrid EVs offer a way to begin the transition instead of waiting.

What is net-zero for a vehicle?

  • Net-zero for a vehicle includes emissions at both the tailpipe of the vehicle and at the power plant. Making vehicles net-zero requires cutting emissions from both new and existing vehicles.

What are the different types of EVs?

  • Any vehicle propelled by an electric drivetrain, taking electric power from a portable, electrical energy source, is called an Electric vehicle (EV).
  • In a hybrid EV, an internal combustion engine (ICE) is used to produce electricity with an electrical generator. A small battery, typically 1-5kWh, is used in a hybrid EV as an energy buffer to store the electricity. The battery can’t be charged from the grid.
  • a battery EV or a plug-in EV – has no ICE and hence no tailpipe emissions. The battery typically is much larger at 20-120 kWh. And it can only be charged from the grid.
  • A plug-in hybrid EV is still a hybrid EV with a much larger battery, typically 5-15 kWh. This larger battery can also be charged from the grid. This means a plug-in hybrid operates like a fully electric vehicle as long as there is energy in the battery.
  • A fuel-cell EV uses a fuel cell to produce electricity for the drivetrain together with a small battery buffer to manage variations.

What is the fuel economy of hybrid and fully electric EVs?

  • The use of an ICE in combination with a generator and battery in a hybrid EV results in the fuel economy of these vehicles being 1.5-2x times higher than in conventional ICE vehicles for city driving and 1-1.5x times higher for highway driving. A plug-in hybrid EV combines the best of both hybrid and full EVs. Using a small battery (5-15kWh) that can be charged from the grid, it can cover 80-90% of all short, day-to-day commutes in a fully electric mode with 3-4x higher fuel economy than conventional vehicles. A driver on intercity trips can switch to the hybrid mode.

What are the net emissions of hybrid EVs?

  • Apart from fuel economy, an important metric is the net emissions of a vehicle. Well-to-wheel emissions include both tailpipe emissions and emissions due to fuel production – electricity or fossil fuels.
  • The life-cycle emissions is a more comprehensive index that includes well-to-wheel emissions and emissions due to vehicle and battery production, maintenance, and end-of-life recycling.

How do EVs’ life-cycle emissions compare to ICE vehicles?

  • According to an analysis by the International Council on Clean Transportation of life-cycle emissions of various vehicles in the U.S., Europe, China, and India, switching to full EVs will result in 19-34% lower emissions by sedans and 38-49% by SUVs – even with the fossil-fuel-dominated energy mix in India.
  • By 2030, when renewables account for a greater share in the grid, emissions are expected to be 30-56% lower.

What are the challenges to transitioning to electric mobility?

  • Lack of Fast charging infrastructure- a successful transition to full EVs requires fast-charging infrastructure along highways. This is vital because people generally want to own one affordable car serving both short and long-distance travel needs over 5-15 years, and want to drive without range anxiety. The lack of a fast-charging infrastructure will discourage people from buying full EVs. The indicative prices for EV fast-chargers are: capital cost of $500-1,000/kW, service and maintenance at 5% per year; and an installation cost of around 50% of the charger cost. The high cost and wide variation are due to the high-capacity power connections required, the cost of making and installing a new transformer and cables; service-level agreements; DC charger plug options and quantities; customisation costs; labour costs; and permits.
  • Lack of access to Grid- many parts of the world, especially economically developing nations, don’t yet have access to a grid or the grid isn’t 100% reliable. The relatively high charging power for slow-charging (<22kW) and fast-charging (<350kW) make the problem more prominent vis-à-vis generation and transmission capacities. This in turn could retard the transition to EVs.
  • Mass -market price points of cars in the economically developing world are much lower, ~$12,000 – whereas EVs with a range of 300-400 km will reach parity with conventional vehicles in the richest countries at a price of $25,000-35,000 in the short term. This is due to the high battery costs, between $130-200/kWh at the pack level. EVs with higher range will need larger battery packs and thus be more expensive.

How can hybrid or plug-in hybrid EVs help us decarbonise?

  • Hybrid EVs – either full or plug-in hybrids – present a big opportunity to lower emissions in the interim, i.e. from today, with ICE vehicles, until have full EVs powered 100% by renewable energy.
  • The 1.5-2x higher fuel economy of hybrids and 3-4x higher fuel economy of plug-in hybrids in electric mode drastically reduces fuel costs, emissions, and oil imports.
  • Plug-in hybrids in particular can match several (but not all) of the benefits of full EVs vis-à-vis emissions and performance without requiring large batteries. With a limited all-electric range, this may not cater to all use cases, such as taxis.
  • Finally, the purchase price of hybrid cars is only 5-15% higher than conventional vehicles and is independent of the vehicle range.

4 . Multi state cooperative societies Bill

Context: The Rajya Sabha passed the Multi-State Cooperative Societies (Amendment) Bill, 2023, as INDIA members walked out. The Bill, which had been approved by Lok Sabha on July 25, 2023, was passed in Rajya Sabha by voice vote.

What are multi-State cooperatives?

  • According to the International Cooperative Alliance (ICA), cooperatives are people-centred enterprises jointly owned and democratically controlled by and for their members to realise common economic, social and cultural needs and aspirations.
  • Multi-State cooperatives are societies that have operations in more than one State — for instance, a farmer-producers organisation which procures grains from farmers from multiple States.
  • The board of directors are from all the States these collectives operate in and control all the finances and administration.
  • There are close to 1,500 MSCSs registered in India with the highest number being in Maharashtra.

Multi state cooperative societies (Amendment) Bill, 2023

What are the Key features of the Bill?

  • Election of board members: Under the Act, elections to the board of a multi-state co-operative society are conducted by its existing board.  The Bill amends this to specify that the central government will establish the Co-operative Election Authority to: (i) conduct such elections, (ii) supervise, direct, and control the preparation of electoral rolls, and (iii) perform other prescribed functions.  The Authority will consist of a chairperson, vice-chairperson, and up to three members appointed by the central government on the recommendations of a selection committee.
  • Amalgamation of co-operative societies: The Act provides for the amalgamation and division of multi-state co-operative societies.  This can be done by passing a resolution at a general meeting with at least two-thirds of the members, present and voting.  The Bill allows state co-operative societies to merge into an existing multi-state co-operative society, subject to the respective state laws.  At least two-thirds of the members of the co-operative society present and voting at a general meeting must pass a resolution to allow such a merger.
  • Fund for sick co-operative societies: The Bill establishes the Co-operative Rehabilitation, Reconstruction and Development Fund for revival of sick multi-state co-operative societies.  A sick multi-state co-operative society is one that has: (i) accumulated losses equal to or exceeding the total of its paid-up capital, free reserves, and surpluses, and (ii) suffered cash losses in the past two financial years.  The central government may prepare a scheme for rehabilitation and reconstruction of the society.  Multi-state co-operative societies that are in profit for the preceding three financial years shall finance the Fund.  They will deposit either one crore rupees or one percent of their net profit into the Fund, whichever is less.
  • Restriction on redemption of government shareholding: The Act provides that the shares held in a multi-state co-operative society by certain government authorities can be redeemed based on the bye-laws of the society.  These government authorities include: (i) the central government, (ii) state governments, (iii) the National Co-operative Development Corporation, (iv) any corporation owned or controlled by the government, or (v) any government company.  The Bill amends this to provide that any shares held by the central and state governments cannot be redeemed without their prior approval.

What are the key issues in this Bill?

  • Sick multi-state co-operative societies will be revived by a Fund that will be financed through contributions by profitable multi-state co-operative societies.  This effectively imposes a cost on well-functioning societies.
  • Giving the government the power to restrict redemption of its shareholding in multi-state co-operative societies may go against the co-operative principles of autonomy and independence.

Background of the co- operatives

  • Co-operatives are voluntary, democratic, and autonomous organisations controlled by their members who actively participate in its policies and decision-making.   Multi-state co-operative societies operate in more than one state.  These operate in various sectors such as agriculture, textile, poultry, and marketing. 
  • As per the Constitution, states regulate the incorporation, regulation, and winding up of state co-operative societies. Parliament can legislate on matters related to incorporation, regulation, and winding up of multi-state co-operatives.
  • Multi-State Co-operative Societies Act, 2002 – The Multi-State Co-operative Societies Act, 2002 provides for the formation and functioning of multi-state co-operatives. In 2011, the Constitution was amended (adding Part IXB) to specify guidelines for running co-operative societies. These guidelines provide for: (i) composition of the boards of co-operatives, (ii) election of members of the board, (iii) audit of accounts of co-operative societies, and (iv) supersession of the board. 
  • The Supreme Court, in July 2021, held that Part IXB will only be applicable to multi-state co-operative societies, as states have the jurisdiction to legislate over state co-operative societies.
  • Over the years, various experts have also highlighted several shortcomings with respect to the functioning of co-operatives. These include:
    • Inadequacies in governance
    • Politicisation and excessive role of the government
    • Inability to ensure active membership
    • Lack of efforts for capital formation
    • Inability to attract and retain competent professionals.
  • In addition, there have also been cases where elections to co-operative boards have been postponed indefinitely.
  • The 2022 Bill seeks to amend the Act to align its provisions with those provided under Part IXB of the Constitution and address concerns with the functioning and governance of co-operative societies. 

5 . Sub Categorization of OBC

Context: The long-awaited report of a commission set up to examine the sub-categorisation of Other Backward Classes (OBCs) was submitted to President Droupadi Murmu, the last working day of the commission.

Committee to examine the sub-categorisation of Other Backward Classes (OBCs)  

  • The four-member commission headed by Justice G Rohini, a retired Chief Justice of Delhi High Court, was appointed on October 2, 2017, and received as many as 13 extensions to its tenure.
  • The commission was set up in recognition of the perceived distortions in the affirmative action policy, which was seen as leading to a situation in which a few castes cornered the bulk of benefits available under the 27% quota for OBCs and tasked with suggesting corrective actions. The contents of the report have not been made public as yet.

What is the need for sub-categorisation of OBCs?

  • OBCs get 27% reservation in central government jobs and admission to educational institutions. There are more than 2,600 entries in the Central List of OBCs, but over the years, a perception has taken root that only a few affluent communities among them have benefited from the quota. Therefore, there is an argument that a “sub-categorisation” of OBCs — quotas within the 27% quota — is needed in order to ensure “equitable distribution” of the benefits of reservation.

What were the terms of reference of the Rohini Commission?

The commission’s brief was originally to :

  • “Examine the extent of inequitable distribution of benefits of reservation among the castes or communities included in the broad category of OBCs with reference to such classes included in the Central List”;
  • Work out the mechanism, criteria, norms and parameters in a scientific approach for sub-categorisation within such OBCs”; and
  • “Take up the exercise of identifying the respective castes or communities or sub-castes or synonyms in the Central List of OBCs and classifying them into their respective sub-categories”.
  • It was set up with a tenure of 12 weeks ending January 3, 2018, but was given repeated extensions.
  • On July 30, 2019, the commission wrote to the government that it had “noted several ambiguities in the list… [and] is of the opinion that these have to be clarified/ rectified before the sub-categorised central list is prepared”.

What are the challenges in subcategorization of OBC?

  • On the sub-categorisation front, one of the challenges Commission faced has been the absence of population data of various communities for a comparison with their representation in jobs and admissions.
  • There are 2,633 castes and sub-castes in the OBCs’ Central List. In 2018, the Commission analysed the data of 1.3 lakh Central jobs given under the 27 per cent OBC quota over the preceding five years and OBC admissions to Central higher education institutions, including universities, IITs, NITs, IIMs and AIIMS, over the preceding three years.
  • The findings of the study noted : 97% of all jobs and educational seats have gone to just 25% of all sub-castes classified as OBCs; 24.95% of these jobs and seats have gone to just 10 OBC communities; 983 OBC communities — 37% of the total — have zero representation in jobs and educational institutions; 994 OBC sub-castes have a total representation of only 2.68% in recruitment and admissions. However, absence of data on population of different communities is a big challenge before the Commission to reach any conclusion.

6 . WHO report on Tobacco control

Context: Hundreds of enforcement drives, putting up ‘No Smoking’ signs, and creating awareness about the effects of smoking and second-hand smoke resulted in a 27% reduction in smoking in public places in the city, the WHO report on Tobacco control report said.

About the Report

  • The WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (WHO FCTC) and its guidelines provide the foundation for countries to implement and manage tobacco control. To help make this a reality, WHO introduced the MPOWER measures.
  • These measures are intended to assist in the country-level implementation of effective interventions to reduce the demand for tobacco, contained in the WHO FCTC.
  • MPOWER stands for monitor tobacco uses and prevention policies; protect people from tobacco smoke; offer help to quit tobacco; warn about dangers of tobacco; enforce bans on tobacco advertising; and raise taxes on tobacco products. The report assesses the implementation of these measures.

What are the key findings of the report?

  • In the 15 years since the MPOWER measures were first introduced, 5.6 billion people in the world – or 71% of the entire population – remain protected by at least one of the measures. This has increased from just 5% of the population in 2008.
  • The number of countries implementing at least one MPOWER measure has increased from 44 countries in 2008 to 151 in 2022, according to the report. At least four countries – Brazil, Turkiye, Netherlands, and Mauritius – have implemented all the measures.
  • With a focus on second-hand smoking, the report says that almost 40% countries now have completely smoke-free indoor public spaces.
  • There are at least 44 countries in the world that still do not implement any MPOWER measure. There are 53 countries that do not completely ban smoking in healthcare facilities. And only half of the countries have smoke-free workplaces and restaurants.

Why is it important to curb second-hand smoke?

  • The report focuses on controlling second-hand smoking (being in the presence of someone who is smoking) by creating smoke-free public areas and also de-normalising the act of smoking in the society.
  • Of the estimated 8.7 million tobacco-related deaths each year, 1.3 million are of non-smokers exposed to second-hand smoke, the report says quoting the Global Burden of Disease 2019. Second-hand smoke has been linked to almost 400,000 deaths due to heart disease, over 250,000 deaths due to chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, over 150,000 deaths due to stroke and lower respiratory disease each, and over 100,000 deaths due to diabetes.
  • The report also adds that severe asthma, respiratory tract infections, and sudden infant death syndrome are more common among children exposed to second-hand smoke. Around 51,000 deaths in children and adolescents under the age of 20 years is linked to exposure to second-hand smoke.

How does India fare?

  • When it comes to India, the report states that the country has the highest level of achievement when it comes to putting health warning labels on tobacco products and providing tobacco dependence treatment.
  • With 85% of cigarette packs carrying health warnings both on the front and back, India figures among the top 10 countries in terms of the size of health warnings. The cigarette packets in the country also carry a toll-free number for a quit-line.
  • India has also banned the sale of e-cigarettes, and banned smoking in healthcare facilities and educational institutions. The report ranks the implementation of these bans an 8 out of 10 in healthcare facilities, 6 in schools, and 5 in universities.

Way forward

  • One of the biggest steps in the works is implementing warnings on OTT platform content when actors are seen using tobacco products.
  • India already has a comprehensive law on tobacco control, but some amendments are needed in the 20-year-old legislation. There is a need to ban the loose sale of cigarettes.

7 . Facts for Prelims

Contributions of Bal Gangadhar Tilak

  • About Bal Gangadhar Tilak
  • Bal Gangadhar Tilak, was popularly known as Lokmanya, and dedicated his life for the cause of “Purna Swaraj”
  • He was called ‘The Father of the Indian Unrest’ by the British people who ruled India till 1947.
  • Being the first and foremost leader of the Indian Independence Movement, Bal Gangadhar Tilak became popular as the ‘Father of Swaraj’.
  • To ensure that youngsters in India attain quality education, Bal Gangadhar Tilak found the Deccan Education Society in 1884.
  • Bal Gangadhar Tilak joined the Indian National Congress Party in the year 1890.
  • Before Independence, Bal Gangadhar Tilak started weeklies such as Kesari (The Lion) and Mahratta. Kesari was Marathi language weekly while Mahratta was English weekly. Through these newspapers Tilak became widely known for his criticisms of British rule.
  • Bal Gangadhar Tilak had popular leaders such as Bipin Chandra Pal and Lala Lajpat Rai as his political companions. The three were popularly known as ‘Lal-Bal-Pal triumvirate.’
  • When Bal Gangadhar Tilak was imprisoned during the freedom struggle, he wrote a book titled ‘Gita-Rahasya’ from behind the bars.
  • Bal Gangadhar Tilak founded the Indian Home Rule League and served as its president and in 1916 he concluded the Lucknow Pact with Mohammed Ali Jinnah, which provided for Hindu-Muslim unity in the nationalist struggle.

Anna Bhau Sathe

  • Tukaram Bhaurao Sathe popularly known as Anna Bhau Sathe was a social reformer, folk poet, and writer from Maharashtra, India.
  • Sathe was a Dalit born into the untouchable community, and his upbringing and identity were central to his writing and political activism. He is credited as a founding father of ‘Dalit Literature’ and played vital role in Samyukta Maharashtra Movement.
  • His works center around strong judgment and a ruthless attack on caste and class differences, influenced by Ambedkar’s philosophy. He was born into poverty and caste discrimination in Maharashtra, where he belonged to the Dalit community. Before working in a mill, he worked a variety of jobs and was drawn to Communist ideology.
  • Sathe has written 35 novels, 10 folk plays, 24 short stories, 10 ballads, a play, and a travelogue. Many more of his works have never been published. The predominance of Brahminical craftsmanship neglected Dalit workmanship and culture. American author Eleanor Zelliot noticed that low-standing works of art were delivered yet remained mysterious and dismissed.
  • Sathe devoted himself to promoting the communist party and co-founded the “Red Flag Performing Troupe” in 1944. His writings emphasised the struggles of factory workers and the disparities in Mumbai, fostering class consciousness among workers.
  • Sathe’s writing, which focused on daily realities, caste/class struggles, and social interactions, was shaped by his personal experiences. A mix of communism and Ambedkarism, he commended Lenin and Ambedkar in his works. Additionally, he defied oppression by rechristening Tamasha Loknatya.

GI Tag

  • Seven products from across India including four from Rajasthan were given the Geographical Indication (GI) tag by the Geographical Indications Registry in Chennai.
  • Jalesar Dhatu Shilp (metal craft), Goa Mankurad mango, Goan Bebinca, Udaipur Koftgari metal craft, Bikaner Kashidakari craft, Jodhpur Bandhej craft and Bikaner Usta Kala craft were the ones which got the tag.
  • The application for the mankurad mango was filed by the All Goa Mango Growers Association. This variety of mango is also known as malcorada, cardozo mankurad, corado, and Goa mankur. The Portuguese named the fruit malcorada, which means ‘poor coloured’, and with time, it became mankurad aamo (mango) in Konkani.
  • The application for the Goan bebinca was filed by the All Goa Bakers and Confectioners Association. Bebinca, also known as the ‘queen of Goan desserts’, is a traditional Indo-Portuguese pudding.
  • At Jalesar in Uttar Pradesh’s Etah district, once the capital of Magadha king Jarasandha, over 1,200 small units are engaged in making ‘Jalesar Dhatu Shilp’, including ghungrus (anklets), ghantis (bells) and other decorative metal craft and brassware. The Thatheras community, which resides in a mohalla (locality) named Hathuras, makes these products.
  • Among the four different crafts from Rajasthan given GI tags is ‘Udaipur Koftgari Metal Craft’. According to the documents submitted to the GI Registry, weapons are exquisitely ornamented by a complicated process of etching designs, heating, and then cooling, intertwined with embedding gold and silver wire into the metal, pressing and flattening it to a smooth surface with moonstone, and finally polishing it.
  • The GI tag has also been secured by the ‘Bikaner Kashidakari Craft’ traditionally created on cotton, silk or velvet with a variety of fine stitches and mirror-work, mainly for objects associated with marriage, especially gift items. The mirrors are believed to repel the ‘evil eye’ with their reflective surfaces. The weaving of fabrics by hand used to be done by the Meghwal community in Bikaner and nearby districts.
  • The ‘Jodhpur Bandhej Craft’ is the Rajasthani art of tying and dyeing. Bandhej is one of the most famous textile art forms of Rajasthan. The fabrics used for Bandhej are muslin, silk and voile. Cotton thread is used for tying the fabric.
  • The ‘Bikaner Usta Kala Craft’ is also known as gold nakashi or gold manauti work due to the prominence of its long-lasting golden colour. Untreated raw camel hide is processed and moulded by the Dapgar community of leather craftspeople for the requirements of the Usta.

Zero FIR

  • When a police station receives a complaint regarding an alleged offence that has been committed in the jurisdiction of another police station, it registers an FIR and then transfers it to the relevant police station for further investigation.
  • This is called a Zero FIR. No regular FIR number is given. After receiving the Zero FIR, the revenant police station registers a fresh FIR and starts the investigation.
  • The provision of Zero FIR came up after the recommendation in the report of the Justice Verma Committee, which was constituted to suggest amendments to the Criminal Law in a bid to provide for faster trial and enhanced punishment for criminals accused of committing sexual assault against women, according to a 2020 circular released by the Puducherry government. The committee was set up after the 2012 Nirbhaya gang rape case.
  • The provision says: “A Zero FIR can be filed in any Police Station by the victim, irrespective of their residence or the place of occurrence of crime.
  • The objective of a Zero FIR is to ensure the victim doesn’t have to run from pillar to post to get a police complaint registered. The provision is meant to provide speedy redressal to the victim so that timely action can be taken after the filing of the FIR.

Translunar Injection

  • A trans-lunar injection (TLI) is a propulsive manoeuvre used to set a spacecraft on a trajectory that will cause it to arrive at the Moon.
  • he first space probe to attempt TLI was the Soviet Union’s Luna 1 on January 2, 1959 which was designed to impact the Moon. The burn however didn’t go exactly as planned and the spacecraft missed the Moon by more than three times its radius and was sent into a heliocentric orbit. Luna 2 performed the same maneuver more accurately on September 12, 1959 and crashed into the Moon two days later

Akira Ransomware

  • Ransomware is a malware designed to deny a user or organization access to files on their computer. By encrypting these files and demanding a ransom payment for the decryption key, cyberattackers place organizations in a position where paying the ransom is the easiest and cheapest way to regain access to their files
  • The Akira ransomware is designed to encrypt data, create a ransomware note and delete Windows Shadow Volume copies on affected devices. The ransomware gets its name due to its ability to modify filenames of all encrypted files by appending them with the “.akira” extension.
  • The ransomware is designed to close processes or shut down Windows services that may keep it from encrypting files on the affected system. It uses VPN services, especially when users have not enabled two-factor authentication, to trick users into downloading malicious files.
  • Once the ransomware infects a device and steals/encrypts sensitive data, the group behind the attack extorts the victims into paying a ransom, threatening to release the data on their dark web blog if their demands are not met.
  • Ransomware is typically spread through spear phishing emails that contain malicious attachments in the form of archived content (zip/rar) files. Other methods used to infect devices include drive-by-download, a cyber-attack that unintentionally downloads malicious code onto a device, and specially crafted web links in emails, clicking on which downloads malicious code. The ransomware reportedly also spreads through insecure Remote Desktop connections.

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