Daily Current Affairs :1st and 2nd December 2023

Topics Covered

  1. X-ray Polarimeter Satellite (XPoSat)
  2. Loss and Damage Fund
  3. DAC
  4. Green Credit initiative
  5. Interpol
  6. Facts for Prelims

1 . X-ray Polarimeter Satellite (XPoSat)


The Indian Space Research Organisation has announced a plan to launch its first X-ray Polarimeter Satellite (XPoSat) to investigate the polarisation of intense X-ray sources.

About XPoSat

  • XPoSat (X-ray Polarimeter Satellite) is India’s first dedicated polarimetry mission to study various dynamics of bright astronomical X-ray sources in extreme conditions.
  • The spacecraft will carry two scientific payloads in a low earth orbit.
  • The primary payload POLIX (Polarimeter Instrument in X-rays) will measure the polarimetry parameters (degree and angle of polarization) in medium X-ray energy range of 8-30 keV photons of astronomical origin. The XSPECT (X-ray Spectroscopy and Timing) payload will give spectroscopic information in the energy range of 0.8-15 keV.

Importance

  • The emission mechanism from various astronomical sources such as blackhole, neutron stars, active galactic nuclei, pulsar wind nebulae etc. originates from complex physical processes and are challenging to understand. While the spectroscopic and timing information by various space based observatories provide a wealth of information, the exact nature of the emission from such sources still poses deeper challenges to astronomers.
  • The polarimetry measurements add two more dimension to our understanding, the degree of polarization and the angle of polarization and thus is an excellent diagnostic tool to understand the emission processes from astronomical sources.
  • The polarimetric observations along with spectroscopic measurements are expected to break the degeneracy of various theoretical models of astronomical emission processes. This would be the major direction of research from XPoSat by Indian science community.

XPoSat Payloads

  • POLIX : POLIX is an X-ray Polarimeter for astronomical observations in the energy band of 8-30 keV. The payload is being developed by Ramam Research Institute (RRI), Bangalore in collaboration with U R Rao Satellite Centre (URSC). The instrument is made of a collimator, a scatterer and four Xray proportional counter detectors that surrounds the scatterer. The scatterer is made of low atomic mass material which causes anisotropic Thomson scattering of incoming polarised X-rays. The collimator restricts the field of view to 3 degree x 3 degree so as to have only one bright source in the field of view for most observations. POLIX is expected to observer about 40 bright astronomical sources of different categories during the planned lifetime of XPoSat mission of about 5 years. This is the first payload in the medium X-ray energy band dedicated for polarimetry measurements.
  • XSPECT : XSPECT is an X-ray SPECtroscopy and Timing payload onboard XPoSat, which can provide fast timing and good spectroscopic resolution in soft X-rays. Taking advantage of the long duration observations required by POLIX to measure X-ray polarization, XSPECT can provide long-term monitoring of spectral state changes in continuum emission, changes in their line flux and profile, simultaneous long term temporal monitoring of soft X-ray emission in the X-ray energy range 0.8- 15 keV. An array of Swept Charge Devices (SCDs) provide an effective area >30 cm2 at 6 keV with energy resolution better than 200 eV at 6 keV. Passive collimators are used to reduce the background by narrowing the field of view of XSPECT. XSPECT would observe several types of sources viz X-ray pulsars, blackhole binaries, low-magnetic field neutron star (NS) in LMXBs, AGNs and Magnetars

2 . Loss and Damage Fund


Context : On the first day of the 28th Conference of Parties or COP-28 here on Thursday, member countries agreed to make operational a Loss and Damage (L&D) Fund meant to compensate countries already dealing with climate change.

About Loss and Damage Fund

  • The World Bank will be the “interim host” of the Fund for a period of four years. It will be managed by an independent secretariat.
  • All developing countries are eligible to apply for and every country has been “invited” to contribute to the Fund. Payments are voluntary and a certain percentage has been set apart for a category of countries called the Least Developed Countries and Small Island Developing States.
  • Fund has received commitments worth nearly $250 million from countries, though billions of dollars are still needed to meet its purpose. The UAE, the host country, and Germany made a financial commitment of $100 million each; the U.S. $17 million, the U.K. approximately $50.6 million, and Japan $10 million for the Fund. The European Union committed $145 million, over and above the German contribution.

Importance

  • Loss and damage from climate change cost about $1.5 trillion ($1,500 billion) in 2022, says a study published by the University of Delaware. Several developing countries and some of the poorest lost an average of about 8.3% of the GDP due to climate change. The Fund, as it stands now, does not specify how often it will be replenished.

What is Loss and Damage

  • Loss and damage refers to the negative consequences that arise from the unavoidable risks of climate change, like rising sea levels, prolonged heatwaves, desertification, the acidification of the sea and extreme events, such as bushfires, species extinction and crop failures.
  • As the climate crisis unfolds, these events will happen more and more frequently, and the consequences will become more severe.

Background

  • At the 19th Conference of the Parties (COP 19) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) in Warsaw, Poland, in 2013, representatives of member countries formally agreed to establish the L&D fund. It was being created to provide financial and technical assistance to economically developing nations that were incurring L&D due to climate change. 
  • At COP 25, the Santiago Network for L&D was set up, but countries failed to commit any fund. 
  • At COP 26, the Glasgow Dialogue on finance for L&D was established to continue discussions over the next three years on the fund. 
  • Finally, at COP 27 in 2022, after intense negotiations, representatives of the UNFCCC’s member states agreed to set up the L&D fund and a Transitional Committee (TC) to figure out how the new funding mechanisms under the fund would operate. The TC was also to prepare recommendations that countries would consider, deliberate on, and potentially adopt by COP 28. 

How much loss and damage is the world facing?

  • Research shows that 55 vulnerable countries have suffered $ 525 billion combined climate crisis-fuelled losses in the last 20 years. The number is estimated to reach $ 580 billion per year by 2030. Global warming has changed the way the world lives, with vulnerable communities being the worst affected.
  • According to the IPCC, losses and damages will increase in future as global warming continues to rise. It will be unequally distributed and impact developing nations the most and, in them, the socially and financially weaker sections.

How will L&D funds ensure climate justice? 

  • Adaptation and L&D are not mutually exclusive concepts. They exist on a continuum of climate resilience, and both have a place in the collective efforts to combat climate change. 
  • A successful response to climate change requires balancing of the proactive measures of adaptation with the moral and financial responsibility of addressing the losses and damages that are an inescapable part of a climate-altered world. 
  • The L&D fund was conceived as a critical component of global climate action, recognising that some of the consequences of climate change are irreversible and beyond the capacity of vulnerable nations to handle. 
  • To achieve climate justice, rich countries must meet their obligations to reduce emissions and deliver finance in line with what is fair, and uphold the principles of equity, justice, and solidarity in the face of a changing climate. 
  • Otherwise, global climate action will get derailed, putting more pressure on the already beleaguered COP 28 talks. 

3 . DAC


Context : In a major move to enhance the combat capabilities of the armed forces significantly, the Union government accorded initial approval to defence acquisition projects estimated at ₹2.23 lakh crore that included procurement of 97 Tejas light combat aircraft and 156 Prachand combat helicopters.

Details of the projects cleared by DAC

  • The DAC approved a proposal of the Indian Air Force to upgrade its Su-30 fighter fleet by state-run aerospace major Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd. It further accorded Acceptance of Necessity (AoN) or initial approval for procurement of two types of anti-tank munitions namely area denial munition (ADM) Type-2 and -3.
  • The top body on procurement of military hardware also cleared acquisition and integration of automatic target tracker (ATT) and digital basaltic computer (DBC) for T-90 tanks besides approving another proposal to buy medium-range anti-ship missiles (MRAShM) for the Navy. MRAShM is a lightweight surface-to-surface missile which will be a primary offensive weapon aboard various Indian naval ships.
  • The DAC accorded AoNs for procurement of Light Combat Helicopter for Indian Air Force and Indian Army and Light Combat Aircraft (LCA) Mk-1A for IAF from Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) under Buy (Indian-IDDM) category,”
  • 97 Tejas light combat aircraft (Mark 1A) are being procured for the IAF and 156 light combat helicopters (LCH) are being procured for the Army and the IAF.
  • The Defence Ministry said 98% of the total procurement will be sourced from domestic industries and that the move will give a substantial boost to the Indian defence industry in achieving the goal of aatmanirbharta (self-reliance).

Defence Acquisition Council

  • Defence Acquisition Council (DAC) under the Defence Minister was constituted for overall guidance of the defence procurement planning process.
  • It was constituted based on the Group of Ministers recommendations on “Reforming the National Security System,” 

Compostion

  • Defence Minister: Chairman
  • Minister of State for Defence: Member
  • Chief of Army Staff: Member
  • Chief of Naval Staff: Member
  • Chief of Air Staff: Member
  • Defence Secretary: Member
  • Secretary Defence Research & Development: Member
  • Secretary Defence Production: Member
  • Chief of Integrated Staff Committees HQ IDS: Member
  • Director General (Acquisition): Member
  • Dy. Chief of Integrated Defence: Staff Member Secretary

Objective

  • The objective of the Defence Acquisition Council is to ensure expeditious procurement of the approved requirements of the Armed Forces in terms of capabilities sought and time frame prescribed by optimally utilizing the allocated budgetary resources.

Functions

  • Accord of Acceptance of Necessity to acquisition proposals;
  • Categorization of the acquisition proposals relating to ‘Buy’, ‘Buy & Make’ and ‘Make’;
  • Issues relating to Single vendor clearance;
  • Decision regarding ‘offset’ provisions in respect of acquisition proposals above Rs. 300 crores;
  • Decisions regarding Transfer of Technology under ‘Buy & Make’ category of acquisition proposals
  • Field Trial evaluation.          

Indigenization Categories

Ser NoCategoryDPP 2016DAP 2020(i)Buy (Indian-IDDM)Min 40%Min 50%(ii)Buy (Indian)Min 40%Indigenous design – Min 50%Otherwise – Min 60%(iii)Buy & Make (Indian)Min 50% of MakeMin 50% of Make (iv)Buy (Global – Manufacture in India)–Min 50% of Buy plus Make(v)Buy (Global)–Min 30% for Indian vendors


4 . Green Credit Initiative


Context : Refraining from fresh commitments to contain global temperature rise, Prime Minister Narendra Modi in his address at COP-28, offered to host the 33rd edition of the annual summit due in 2028 in India. He said that developed countries ought to be “vacating the carbon space” before 2050 and made a pitch for the world’s countries to join India on its “Green Credit initiative” which was a “non-commercial” effort to create a carbon sink.

What is Green Credit Initiative?

  • The Green Credit Initiative was first introduced by the ministry of environment, forest and climate change on October 13, 2023. There are two main priorities of the initiative – water conservation and afforestation.
  • The environment ministry defined the initiative as a “market-based mechanism designed to incentivize voluntary environmental actions across diverse sectors by various stakeholders like individuals, communities, private sector industries, and companies.”
  • Under this scheme, green credits will be assigned to specific environmental activities, and will be treated as tradable commodities. These green credits will be able to be sold on domestic market platforms.
  • The main purpose of this initiative is to boost voluntary environmental activities like tree plantation, water conservation, sustainable agriculture, and waste management by incentivizing it for big corporations and private companies, bringing about a change in the climate issues faced by the country.

5 . Interpol


Context : A high-ranking Indian delegation to the 91st Interpol General Assembly has urged other member countries to deny safe haven to crime, criminals, and the proceeds of crime.

About Interpol

  • International Criminal Police Organization is an inter-governmental organization. Currently there are 194 member countries, and interpol help police in all of them to work together to make the world a safer place.
  • To do this, they enable them to share and access data on crimes and criminals, and offer a range of technical and operational support.
  • The General Secretariat coordinates day-to-day activities to fight a range of crimes. Run by the Secretary General, it is staffed by both police and civilians and comprises a headquarters in Lyon, a global complex for innovation in Singapore and several satellite offices in different regions.
  • In each country, an INTERPOL National Central Bureau (NCB) provides the central point of contact for the General Secretariat and other NCBs.
  • In India CBI is the central Point of Contact

Functions

  • The General Secretariat provides a range of expertise and services to member countries. Interpol manages 17 police databases with information on crimes and criminals (from names and fingerprints to stolen passports), accessible in real-time to countries.
  • Offer investigative support such as forensics, analysis, and assistance in locating fugitives around the world. Training is an important part of the function so that officials know how to work efficiently with our services.
  • Expertise supports national efforts in combating crimes across three global areas; terrorism, cybercrime and organized crime.
  • Officials working in each specialized crime area run a variety of different activities alongside member countries. This can be investigative support, field operations, training and networking.
  • Research and development in international crime and trends.

Interpol Notices

  • INTERPOL Notices are international requests for cooperation or alerts allowing police in member countries to share critical crime-related information.
  • Notices are published by the General Secretariat at the request of a National Central Bureau and are made available to all our member countries. Notices can also be used by the United Nations, International Criminal Tribunals and the International Criminal Court to seek persons wanted for committing crimes within their jurisdiction, notably genocide, war crimes, and crimes against humanity.
  • Most Notices are for police use only and are not made available to the public. However, in some cases, for example to alert the public, or to request help from the public, an extract of the Notice can be published on the website. United Nations Special Notices are public.

Different Notices

  • Red Notice: To seek the location and arrest of wanted persons wanted for prosecution or to serve a sentence.
  • Yellow Notice: To help locate missing persons, often minors, or to help identify persons who are unable to identify themselves.
  • Blue Notice: To collect additional information about a person’s identity, location or activities in relation to a crime.               
  • Black Notice: To seek information on unidentified bodies.
  • Green Notice: To provide warning about a person’s criminal activities, where the person is considered to be a possible threat to public safety.
  • Orange Notice: To warn of an event, a person, an object or a process representing a serious and imminent threat to public safety.
  • Purple Notice: To seek or provide information on modus operandi, objects, devices and concealment methods used by criminals.
  • INTERPOL–United Nations Security Council Special Notice: Issued for groups and individuals who are the targets of UN Security Council Sanctions Committees.       

Interpol General Assembly

  • The General Assembly is INTERPOL’s supreme governing body, comprising representatives from each of our member countries.
  • It meets once a year and each session last around four days.
  • Each member country may be represented by one or several delegates who are typically chiefs of police and senior ministry officials.
  • Its purpose is to ensure that INTERPOL’s activities correspond to the needs of our member countries. It does this by determining the principles and measures for the Organization to reach its objectives, and by reviewing and approving the programme of activities and financial policy for the coming year.
  • In addition, the General Assembly elects the members of the Executive Committee, the governing body which provides guidance and direction in between sessions of the Assembly.
  • On the agenda each year are also the major crime trends and security threats facing the world.
  • As the largest global gathering of senior law enforcement officials, the General Assembly also provides an important opportunity for countries to network and share experiences.
  • The General Assembly takes decisions in the form of Resolutions. Each member country represented has one vote.
  • The decision-making process is made by either a simple or two-thirds majority, depending on the subject matter.
  • These Resolutions are public documents and available from 1960 to the current date on this site.
  • INTERPOL: International Criminal Police Organization is an inter-governmental organization.
    • It has 195 member countries, and they help police in all of them to work together to make the world a safer place.

6 . Facts for Prelims


Exercise Milan

  • Exercise Milan is a biennial multilateral naval exercise which began in 1995, and has since significantly expanded in scope and scale to become the largest exercise held by India.
  • The last edition of Milan, which is held off Visakhapatnam, saw participation from over 40 countries.

INS Mahe, INS Malvan and INS Mangrol

  • INS Mahe, INS Malvan and INS Mangrol are anti submarine warfare ship

Green Climate Fund

  • Created by the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), the Fund aims to support a paradigm shift in the global response to climate change.
  • It allocates its resources to low-emission and climate-resilient projects and programmes in developing countries. The Fund pays particular attention to the needs of societies that are highly vulnerable to the effects of climate change, in particular Least Developed Countries (LDCs), Small Island Developing States (SIDS), and African States.
  • The Green Climate Fund was established by 194 countries party to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change in 2010. It is designed as an operating entity of the Convention’s financial mechanism and is headquartered in the Republic of Korea. It is governed by a 24 Board member Board, representing countries, and receives guidance from the Conference of the Parties to the Convention (COP).

Adaptation Fund

  • The Adaptation Fund (AF) was established in 2001 to finance concrete adaptation projects and programmes in developing country Parties to the Kyoto Protocol that are particularly vulnerable to the adverse effects of climate change.
  • The Adaptation Fund is financed with a share of proceeds from the clean development mechanism (CDM) project activities and other sources of funding. The share of proceeds amounts to 2 per cent of certified emission reductions (CERs) issued for a CDM project activity.
  • The Adaptation Fund is supervised and managed by the Adaptation Fund Board (AFB).  The AFB is composed of 16 members and 16 alternates and meets at least twice a year (Membership of the AFB). 
  • The World Bank serves as the interim trustee of the Adaptation Fund by invitation of the Parties to the Kyoto Protocol. On behalf of the Fund, the World Bank performs two core functions: it sells the Certified Emission Reduction certificates that help support the fund and manages the Adaptation Fund trust fund.

ALTÉRRA

  • ALTÉRRA is a new climate focused investment vehicle established by Lunate, an independent global investment manager with over US$50 billion in assets. ALTÉRRA will have a dedicated Investment Board, which will be chaired by COP28 President
  • Aiming to mobilize US$250 billion globally by 2030, ALTÉRRA, is set to become the world’s largest private investment vehicle for climate change action.
  • Funded by the UAE, US$30 billion has been put forward to help finance a new climate economy that, along with contributions from the private sector and other partners, will aim to mobilize US$250 billion globally by 2030, to get investment where it is needed most, including for emerging markets and developing economies

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