We have restarted CA MCQs. We strongly suggest you to attempt the Current Affairs MCQs as it will help you to revise Current Affairs better. It covers CA from Hindu, Indian Express and PIB.
Daily Current Affairs for UPSC CSE
- Nobel Prize – Physics
- Nobel Prize Chemistry
- Criterion for SCStatus
- Insolvency and Bankruptcy code
- Nobel Prize – Medicine
- UN convention to combat desertification
- PMAY & Ujwala yojana
- Mediation Bill
- Facts for Prelims
1 . Nobel Prize – Physics
Context: Alain Aspect, John F. Clauser and Anton Zeilinger won the prize in physics for their advances in quantum mechanics on the behavior of subatomic particles, opening the door to work on supercomputers and encrypted communication.
What the scientists worked on
- The three conducted a series of experiments on something called entangled quantum states, where two separate particles behave like a single unit.
- Their pathbreaking results will have implications in the fields of quantum computers, quantum networks and secure quantum encrypted communication. Put simply, quantum computers use quantum mechanics to solve problems too complex for regular computers.
- For a long time, scientists have examined if the correlation in entangled particles was because they “contained hidden variables, instructions that tell them which result they should give in an experiment.
- In the 1960s, John Stewart Bell developed the mathematical inequality that is named after him.
- This states that if there are hidden variables, the correlation between the results of a large number of measurements will never exceed a certain value.
- However, quantum mechanics predicts that a certain type of experiment will violate Bell’s inequality, thus resulting in a stronger correlation than would otherwise be possible,”.
- Clauser worked on Bell’s ideas, and his measurements supported quantum mechanics by violating a Bell inequality.
- His experiment had some loopholes, which were closed by Aspect.
- Zeilinger “started to use entangled quantum states. Among other things, his research group has demonstrated a phenomenon called quantum teleportation, which makes it possible to move a quantum state from one particle to one at a distance.”
- The fundamentals of quantum mechanics are not just a theoretical or philosophical issue.
- Intense research and development are underway to utilise the special properties of individual particle systems to construct quantum computers, improve measurements, build quantum networks and establish secure quantum encrypted communication.”
- This year’s laureates have explored these entangled quantum states, and their experiments laid the foundation of the revolution currently underway in quantum technology.
2 . Nobel Prize Chemistry
Context: Scientists Carolyn R. Bertozzi, Morten Meldal and K. Barry Sharpless won the 2022 Nobel Prize in Chemistry for discovering reactions that let molecules snap together to create desired compounds and that offer insight into cell biology.
- This year’s Nobel Prize in Chemistry has gone to three scientists who, through their work, have made a strong case for adopting an alternative approach to producing new complex molecules in the laboratory or industry, which minimizes waste and increases overall efficiency.
- Carolyn Bertozzi and Barry Sharpless of the United States and Morten Meldal of Denmark have been given the Prize for developing the relatively recent field of ‘Click Chemistry’ and demonstrating its vast potential in the pharmaceutical and other industries.
About Click Chemistry
- The name has been taken from the click sound that airline seat belts make when they are fastened. The idea is that while trying to produce any particular compound or a complex molecule, one must look for starting molecules that easily react with each other.
- In other words, look for molecules that easily fit into each other, or ‘click’ with each other. It makes the resultant chemical reaction more efficient.
- Sharpless, who is the originator of the concept of ‘Click Chemistry’, has now won the Nobel Prize for the second time, making him only the fifth scientist to achieve this distinction.
- His previous Nobel Prize came in 2001 in recognition of a different kind of work.
- The Nobel Prize committee said that the work of the three scientists, besides being “elegant, clever, novel and useful”, also sought to bring the “greatest benefit to humankind”.
- This year’s Prize in Chemistry deals with not overcomplicating matters, instead working with what is easy and simple.
- The chair of the Nobel Prize Committee for Chemistry said that functional molecules can be built even by taking a straightforward route.
3 . Criterion for SC Status
Context: The Supreme Court of India has sought the most recent position of the Union government on a batch of petitions challenging the Constitution (Scheduled Castes) Order of 1950, which allows only members of Hindu, Sikh and Buddhist religions to be recognised as SCs.
Who all are included in the Constitution Order of 1950?
- When enacted, the Constitution (Scheduled Castes) Order of 1950, initially provided for recognising only Hindus as SCs, to address the social disability arising out of the practice of untouchability.
- The Order was amended in 1956 to include Dalits who had converted to Sikhism and once more in 1990 to include Dalits who had converted to Buddhism.
- Both amendments were aided by the reports of the Kaka Kalelkar Commission in 1955 and the High Powered Panel (HPP) on Minorities, Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes in 1983 respectively.
- On the other hand, the Union government in 2019 rejected the possibility of including Dalit Christians as members of SCs, rooting the exclusion on an Imperial Order of 1936 of the then colonial government, which had first classified a list of the Depressed Classes and specifically excluded “Indian Christians” from it.
Why are Dalit Christians excluded?
- Ever since the amendment to include Sikhs as SCs in 1956, the Office of the Registrar General of India (RGI) has been reluctant in expanding the ambit of the Order beyond members of Hinduism or Sikhism.
- Responding to the Ministry of Home Affairs’s (MHA) 1978 request for an opinion on the inclusion of Dalit Buddhists and Christians, the RGI had cautioned the government that SC status is meant for communities suffering from social disabilities arising out of the practice of untouchability, which it noted was prevalent in Hindu and Sikh communities.
- It also noted that such a move would significantly swell the population of SCs across the country. However, the amendment to include Buddhist converts as SCs was passed in 1990, which at the time did not require the approval of the RGI — a mandate introduced in the rules for inclusion framed in 1999.
- In 2001, when the RGI again opined against including Dalit Christians and Muslims as SCs, it referred to its 1978 note and added that like Dalit Buddhists, Dalits who converted to Islam or Christianity belonged to different sets of caste groups and not just one, as a result of which they cannot be categorised as a “single ethnic group”, which is required by Clause (2) of Article 341 for inclusion.
- Moreover, the RGI opined that since the practice of “untouchability” was a feature of Hindu religion and its branches, allowing the inclusion of Dalit Muslims and Dalit Christians as SCs could result in being “misunderstood internationally” as India trying to “impose its caste system” upon Christians and Muslims.
- The 2001 note also stated that Christians and Muslims of Dalit origin had lost their caste identity by way of their conversion and that in their new religious community, the practice of untouchability is not prevalent.
Is there a case for inclusion?
- The petitions arguing for inclusion have cited several independent Commission reports that have documented the existence of caste and caste inequalities among Indian Christians and Indian Muslims, noting that even after conversion, members who were originally from SCs continued to experience the same social disabilities.
- This was substantiated in the First Backward Classes Commission’s report in 1953, the Report of the Committee on Untouchability Economic and Educational Development Of the Scheduled Castes in 1969, the HPP report on SCs, STs, and Minorities in 1983, the Mandal Commission Report, the report of the Prime Minister’s High-Level Committee formed in 2006, a 2008 study conducted by the National Commission for Minorities, the Ranganath Misra Commission Report and several other studies.
- In addition to this, the petitions have argued against the proposition that caste identity is lost upon conversion, noting that even in Sikhism and Buddhism, casteism is not present and yet they have been included as SCs. Furthermore, the above-mentioned reports argue that caste-based discrimination continues even after conversion, hence entitling these communities to SC status.
- However, the Union government refuses to accept the reports of the Commissions on the basis that these reports do not have enough empirical evidence to support their claims.
4 . Insolvency and Bankruptcy code
Context: Speaking at the sixth anniversary of the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Board of India (IBBI), Union Finance Minister said that the country could not afford to lose the “sheen” of its insolvency law, the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code (IBC).
What is the IBC?
- In a growing economy, a healthy credit flow and generation of new capital are essential, and when a company or business turns insolvent or “sick”, it begins to default on its loans.
- In order for credit to not get stuck in the system or turn into bad loans, it is important that banks or creditors are able to recover as much as possible from the defaulter, as quickly as they can.
- In 2016, at a time when India’s Non-Performing Assets and debt defaults were piling up, and older loan recovery mechanisms were performing badly, the IBC was introduced to overhaul the corporate distress resolution regime in India and consolidate previously available laws to create a time-bound mechanism with a creditor-in-control model as opposed to the debtor-in-possession system.
- When insolvency is triggered under the IBC, there can be just two outcomes: resolution or liquidation.
What are the challenges for the IBC?
- According to its regulator IBBI, the first objective of the IBC is resolution — finding a way to save a business through restructuring, change in ownership, mergers etc.
- The second objective is to maximise the value of assets of the corporate debtor while the third is to promote entrepreneurship, availability of credit, and balancing of interests.
- Keeping this order in mind, when one looks at the IBBI data for the 3,400 cases admitted under the IBC in the last six years, more than 50% of the cases ended in liquidation, and only 14% could find a proper resolution.
- Furthermore, the IBC was touted as a time-bound mechanism. Timeliness is key here so that the viability of the business or the value of its assets does not deteriorate further.
- The IBC was thus initially given a 180-day deadline to complete the resolution process, with a permitted 90-day extension.
- It was later amended to make the total timeline for completion 330 days — which is almost a year.
- However, in FY22, it took 772 days to resolve cases involving companies that owed more than ₹1,000 crore.
- The average number of days it took to resolve such cases increased rapidly over the past five years, experts said.
- When it comes to haircuts — the debt foregone by the lender as a share of the outstanding claim — the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Finance pointed out in 2021, that in the five years of the IBC, creditors on an average had to bear an 80% haircut in more than 70% of the cases.
What are experts saying?
- In order to address the delays, the Parliamentary Standing Committee suggested that the time taken to admit the insolvency application and transfer control of the company to a resolution process, should not be more than 30 days after filing.
- The IBBI has also called for a new yardstick to measure haircuts.
- It suggested that haircuts not be looked at as the difference between the creditor’s claims and the actual amount realized but as the difference between what the company brings along when it enters IBC and the value realized.
5 . Nobel Prize – Medicine
Context: Swedish scientist Svante Paabo won the Nobel Prize in medicine for his discoveries on human evolution that provided key insights into our immune system and what makes us unique compared with our extinct cousins, the award’s panel said.
- Mr. Paabo has spearheaded the development of new techniques that allowed researchers to compare the genome of modern humans and that of other hominins — the Neanderthals and Denisovans.
- While Neanderthal bones were first discovered in the mid-19th century, only by unlocking their DNA — often referred to as the code of life — have scientists been able to fully understand the links between species.
- Pääbo brought Neanderthals — believed to be among the many human-like species and losers of the evolutionary race — to the centre of the question of human evolution.
- Thanks to his work, it is now known that Europeans and Asians carry anywhere between 1%-4% of Neanderthal DNA.
- Thus, a large fraction of humanity will be influenced in terms of propensity to disease and adaptability to conditions by a species that evolved, like humans, in Africa, but 1,00,000 years earlier.
- Pääbo demonstrated this by pioneering and perfecting techniques to extract DNA from fossil remains, a herculean task as they contain too little and are easily contaminated.
- By building on these methods, Pääbo and his colleagues eventually published the first Neanderthal genome sequence in 2010.
Earlier efforts at sequencing human genome
- The first complete sequence of the human genome was only completed in 2003.
- Comparative analyses with the human genome demonstrated that the most recent common ancestor of Neanderthals and Homo sapiens lived around 8,00,000 years ago; that both species frequently lived in proximity and interbred to an extent that the Neanderthal genetic stamp lives on.
- In 2008, a 40,000-year-old fragment from a finger bone yielded DNA that, in Pääbo’s lab, turned out to be from an entirely new species of hominin called Denisova. This was the first time that a new species had been discovered based on DNA analysis.
- Further analysis showed that it too had interbred with humans and 6% of human genomes in parts of Southeast Asia are of Denisovan ancestry.
- These discoveries throw up philosophical questions on what it means to be a ‘species’.
- Pääbo’s win must inspire future biologists in India to pursue deep questions and use science to shed new light rather than compartmentalise themselves in an academic straitjacket.
6 . UN convention to combat desertification
Context: With limited funds to deal with the task of restoring degraded land and reversing desertification in the country, the government is now planning to bring convergence between the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (MGNREGS) and the Pradhan Mantri Krishi Sinchayee Yojana (PMKSY).
- According to the Desertification and Land Degradation Atlas published by the Environment Ministry in 2021, at least 30% of India’s total geographical area is under the category of “degraded land”.
- Jharkhand, Rajasthan, Delhi, Gujarat and Goa have more than 50% of land area undergoing desertification or degradation, while States with less than 10% land degradation are Kerala, Assam, Mizoram, Haryana, Bihar, Uttar Pradesh, Punjab and Arunachal Pradesh.
- The Union government now wants the States to undertake these activities using MGNREGS funds, which go towards both material and wage components.
- In 2019, the government raised its target of restoration of degraded land from 21 million hectares to 26 million hectares by 2030 following a commitment made during the UN Convention to Combat Desertification (COP14). Nearly three years on, the government is nowhere near this target.
- Though the Ministry has been making efforts to contribute towards meeting the international commitment, the constraints posed on economy by the pandemic restricted the target to 4.95 million hectares by 2025-26. Therefore, there is a compelling reason for the Ministry to explore alternative opportunities to fulfil the commitment, the advisory read.
- The Rural Development Ministry is now hoping that by making use of the MGNREGS, which for the financial year 2022-23 has a budget of ₹73,000 crore, the government can scale up the area to be covered.
- As of now, there is Central allocation of ₹8,134 crore for developing 4.95 million hectares.
- By the Ministry’s own estimate, a convergence with the MGNREGS could help take up treatment of about 30% more land than feasible with the current scheme size.
About UN Convention to Combat Desertification
- The United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD), adopted in 1994, is the sole legally binding international agreement linking environment and development to sustainable land management.
- The Convention addresses specifically the arid, semi-arid, and dry sub-humid areas, known as the drylands, where some of the most vulnerable ecosystems and peoples can be found.
- Parties to the Convention meet in Conferences of the Parties (COPs) every two years, as well as in technical meetings throughout the year, to advance the aims and ambitions of the Convention and achieve progress in its implementation.
- When land is degraded and usable land becomes scarce, women are differentially and disproportionately affected given their substantial role in agriculture and food production, greater vulnerability to poverty, and typically weaker legal protections and social status.
- Nearly 80 per cent of employed women in least developed countries report agriculture as their primary source of livelihood, while women comprise 43 per cent of the world’s agricultural labour force.
- The Convention text stresses the important role played by women in regions affected by desertification and/or drought, particularly in rural areas of developing countries, and the importance of ensuring men’s and women’s full participation in efforts to combat desertification and mitigate the effects of drought.
- The Convention unites governments, scientists, policymakers, the private sector and communities with a shared vision to restore and manage the world’s land. This work is crucial to ensure the sustainability of the planet and the prosperity of future generations.
|Desertification It is a type of land degradation in drylands in which biological productivity is lost due to natural processes or induced by human activities whereby fertile areas become increasingly arid. It is the spread of arid areas caused by a variety of factors, such as climate change and overexploitation of soil as a result of human activity.|
7 . PMAY & Ujwala yojana
Context: According to government data, more than six years since its launch, there appears to be a significant gap between the annual consumption of LPG by Pradhan Mantri Ujjwala Yojana (PMUY) beneficiaries and non-PMUY consumers. According to the data shared by the government, over 69% of houses constructed under the Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana (Gramin) are either wholly or jointly owned by women in rural areas.
- According to data obtained under the Right To Information (RTI) Act from three oil marketing companies (OMCs) – Indian Oil Corporation, Bharat Petroleum Corporation Limited and Hindustan Petroleum Corporation Limited – a total number of 179 crore cylinders were sold to 30.5 crore active LPG subscribers in India in the financial year 2021-22.
- Of this, nine crore PMUY beneficiaries refilled 31 crore cylinders at an average of 3.5 cylinders a year per consumer. On the other hand, 21.5 crore non-PMUY consumers refilled 148 crore cylinders at an average of seven cylinders a year per consumer.
- Overall, the average consumption of total active LPG consumers in India in FY22 was approximately six cylinders a year per consumer, the RTI data showed.
- Though the PMUY website says 99% of households in India now have access to LPG connections, the ground reality appears to be different.
- The PMUY scheme was launched in May 2016 to make clean cooking fuel available to rural and below poverty line households to replace traditional cooking fuels such as firewood, coal and cow-dung.
- A rough calculation of the RTI data suggests that for a household of four people, about seven to eight cylinders a year may be required if all the cooking is done using LPG.
- But the RTI data essentially indicates that Ujjwala [PMUY] beneficiaries are not able or willing to purchase as many cylinders as non-Ujjwala consumers.
- There may be many people who have not refilled even a single cylinder despite enrolling for the LPG connection.
- Ever since the scheme was launched, LPG consumption among PMUY beneficiaries has remained low, except for the financial year 2020-21, when the Union government offered free refills to the beneficiaries as part of its COVID-19 relief package.
About Pradhan Mantri Ujjwala Yojana (PMUY)
- Pradhan Mantri Ujjwala Yojana (PMUY) aims to safeguard the health of women & children by providing them with a clean cooking fuel – LPG, so that they don’t have to compromise their health in smoky kitchens or wander in unsafe areas collecting firewood.
- The cooking fuel scheme was introduced by the Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas through oil marketing companies i.e., IOC, HPCL and BPCL through their network of distributors across the country.
- Pradhan Mantri Ujjwala Yojana was launched on May 1st, 2016, in Ballia, Uttar Pradesh.
- Under this scheme, 5 Cr LPG connections will be provided to BPL families with a support of Rs.1600 per connection in the next 3 years.
- Ensuring women’s empowerment, especially in rural India, the connections will be issued in the name of women of the households.
- Rs. 8000 Cr. has been allocated towards the implementation of the scheme. Identification of the BPL families will be done through Socio Economic Caste Census Data.
PMUY – Eligibility
- Adult woman belonging to any of the following categories.
- SC Households
- ST Households
- Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana (Gramin)
- Most Backward Classes
- Antyodaya Anna Yojana (AAY)
- Tea and Ex- Tea Garden tribes
- Forest Dwellers
- People residing in Islands and River Islands
- SECC Households (AHL TIN)
- Poor Household as per 14-point declaration
- Applicant must have attained 18 years of age.
- There should not be any other LPG connections in the same household.
What is Ujjwala 2.0?
- It was launched on August 10, 2021. Ujjwala 2.0 now aims to cover 10 million more beneficiaries in the second phase of the scheme.
- In the Union Budget for the financial year 2021-22, provision for an additional 10 million LPG connections under the PMUY scheme was announced.
Benefits of Ujjwala 2.0
- Under Ujjwala 2.0, migrant workers can avail a free cooking gas connection on the basis of a self-declaration without any need for documents like address proof.
- Ujjwala 2.0 aims to provide deposit-free LPG connections to low-income families who could not be covered under the first phase of PMUY.
- Along with deposit-free access to LPG supplies, the beneficiaries will also be provided with a stove (hotplate) free of cost. Under the scheme, the first gas cylinder is free worth over Rs 800, but consumers need to pay for subsequent cylinders.
- Cash assistance worth Rs 1,600 for a PMUY connection is provided by the government. The cash assistance covers a security deposit of cylinder, pressure regulator, LPG hose, domestic gas consumer card, and inspection/installation/demonstration charges.
How to apply for PM Ujjwala Yojna 2.0?
- The enrollment procedure for Ujjwala 2.0 will require minimal paperwork where migrants will not be required to submit address proofs or ration cards, only a self-declaration for family and a ‘proof of address’ will be essential.
- The following are the mandatory criteria to apply for Ujjwala 2.0:
- Only a woman can be an applicant
- Must be listed under a BPL family in any category
- Applicant must be 18 years of age
- Bank account number and IFSC code
- There should not be any other LPG connections in the same household
- Ujjwala connection mandatory to be eKYC.
- Applicant’s Aadhaar card and BPL ration card as proof of identity
- Supplementary KYC to support status of the family
About Pradhan Mantri Awaas Yojana Gramin (PMAYG)
- The Pradhan Mantri Awaas Yojana – Gramin (PMAY-G) was introduced with the view to boost the “Housing for All” scheme.
- The central government came up with the vision to fulfil the ‘Housing for All’ scheme by the year 2022.
- The main aim of the PMAY-G scheme is to provide pucca houses with some of the basic amenities.
- This scheme is meant for people who do not own a house and people who live in kutcha houses or houses which are severely damaged. At present, the minimum size of the houses to be built under the PMAY-G scheme has been increased to 25 sq. mt. from 20 sq. Mt.
PMAYG Subsidy Scheme
- Under the scheme, beneficiaries can avail themselves of a loan of up to Rs.70,000 from financial institutions.
- Interest subsidy is 3%
- The maximum principal amount for the subsidy is Rs.2 lakh
- The maximum amount of subsidy that can be availed is Rs.38,359 for the EMI payable
Features of PMAYG Scheme
- The cost of the unit will be shared in a 60:40 ratio between the Central and State governments in plain areas, i.e., Rs.1.20 lakh of assistance for each unit.
- In the Himalayan states, northeastern states, and the Union Territory (UT) of Jammu & Kashmir, the ratio is 90:10 with up to Rs.1.30 lakh of assistance for each unit.
- 100% financing from the Centre for Union Territories including the UT of Ladakh.
- Beneficiaries are provided Rs.90.95 per day of unskilled labor from MGNREGS.
- Beneficiaries are identified using parameters from Socio-Economic and Caste Census (SECC) and verified by Gram Sabhas.
- Assistance for construction of toilets of up to Rs.12,000 to be provided under Swachh Bharat Mission-Gramin (SBM-G) in collaboration with MGNREGS or other schemes.
- Payments are made electronically directly to bank accounts or post office accounts that are linked to Aadhaar.
8 . Mediation Bill
Context: The Mediation Bill, 2021 was introduced in the Rajya Sabha on December 20, 2021, with the Parliamentary Standing Committee being tasked with a review of the Bill. In its report, the Committee recommends substantial changes to the Mediation Bill, aimed at institutionalising mediation and establishing the Mediation Council of India.
Why does India need to promote mediation?
- While there is no standalone legislation for mediation in India, there are several statutes containing mediation provisions, such as the Code of Civil Procedure, 1908, the Arbitration and Conciliation Act, 1996, the Companies Act, 2013, the Commercial Courts Act, 2015, and the Consumer Protection Act, 2019.
- The Mediation and Conciliation Project Committee of the Supreme Court of India describes mediation as a tried and tested alternative for conflict resolution.
- As India is a signatory to the Singapore Convention on Mediation (formally the United Nations Convention on International Settlement Agreements Resulting from Mediation), it is appropriate to enact a law governing domestic and international mediation.
What are the key features of the Bill?
- The Bill aims to promote, encourage, and facilitate mediation, especially institutional mediation, to resolve disputes, commercial and otherwise.
- The Bill further proposes mandatory mediation before litigation. At the same time, it safeguards the rights of litigants to approach competent adjudicatory forums/courts for urgent relief.
- The mediation process will be confidential, and immunity is provided against its disclosure in certain cases.
- The outcome of the mediation process in the form of a Mediation Settlement Agreement (MSA) will be legally enforceable and can be registered with the State/district/taluk legal authorities within 90 days to ensure authenticated records of the settlement.
- The Bill establishes the Mediation Council of India and also provides for community mediation.
What are the concerns with the Bill?
- According to the Bill, pre-litigation mediation is mandatory for both parties before filing any suit or proceeding in a court, whether or not there is a mediation agreement between them.
- Parties who fail to attend pre-litigation mediation without a reasonable reason may incur a cost.
- However, as per Article 21 of the Constitution, access to justice is a constitutional right which cannot be fettered or restricted. Mediation should just be voluntary and making it otherwise would amount to denial of justice.
- Additionally, according to Clause 26 of the Bill, court-annexed mediation, including pre-litigation mediation, will be conducted in accordance with the directions or rules framed by the Supreme Court or High Courts.
- However, the Committee objected to this. It stated that Clause 26 went against the spirit of the Constitution.
- In countries that follow the Common Law system, it is a healthy tradition that in the absence of statutes, apex court judgments and decisions carry the same weight. The moment a law is passed however, it becomes the guiding force rather than the instructions or judgments given by the courts. Therefore, Clause 26 is unconstitutional.
- Furthermore, the Bill considers international mediation to be domestic when it is conducted in India with the settlement being recognised as a judgment or decree of a court.
- The Singapore Convention does not apply to settlements that already have the status of judgments or decrees. As a result, conducting cross-border mediation in India will exclude the tremendous benefits of worldwide enforceability.
- In order to enable a faster resolution of disputes, the Bill should be implemented after discussion with stakeholders.
- If the issues of the Bill aren’t fixed, our aspirations to become an international mediation hub for easy business transactions could be crushed before they’ve even begun.
9 . Facts for Prelims
SASTRA Ramanujan Prize
- The award was instituted by the Shanmugha Arts, Science, Technology & Research Academy (SASTRA) in 2005 with a cash prize of $10,000.
- It is presented annually to individuals aged 32 and below, who made outstanding contributions in the field of mathematics, influenced by Srinivasa Ramanjuan in a broad sense.
- The SASTRA Ramanujan Prize for 2022 will be awarded to Yunqing Tang, Assistant Professor with the University of California, Berkeley, U.S.A.
- Ms. Yunqing’s works “display a remarkable combination of sophisticated techniques, in which the arithmetic and geometry of modular curves and of Shimura varieties play a central role, and her results and methods are bound to have major impact on future research in this area.”
- Tang’s most recent joint work with Frank Calegari and Vesselin Dimitrov on modular equations is of great significance and also has ties with Ramanujan’s own work.
- The induction of the indigenously developed light combat helicopter (LCH), now named Prachand, into the Indian Air Force (IAF) is a milestone for the country’s efforts to achieve self-reliance in defence production and manufacturing.
- It is a twin-engine LCH, designed and developed by HAL.
- It is a 5-8 tonne class dedicated combat helicopter.
- It was conceptualised after the 1999 Kargil conflict when the need for such a dedicated platform capable of operating at high altitudes was felt.
- It is the only attack helicopter in the world which can land and take-off at an altitude of 5,000 m (16,400 ft) with considerable load of weapons and fuel significantly augmenting the firepower of the IAF and the Army in high altitude areas.
- The helicopter has a combat radius of 500 km and goes up to a service ceiling of 21,000 feet which makes it ideal to operate at high altitude areas of the Siachen glacier.
- Four LCH had been delivered to the IAF and four more would be delivered within this financial year.
- The first prototype of the helicopter took its first flight on March 29, 2010 and has since undergone extensive testing and evaluation. The LCH is armed with 20 mm nose gun, 70 mm rockets, anti-tank guided missile ‘Dhruvastra’ and air-to-air missile ‘Mistral-2’ of MBDA which has a maximum interception range of 6.5 km.
Biomass cofiring in Thermal plants
- The Power Ministry in October 2021 had decreed that all thermal power plants ensure 5% compliance by October 2022.
- Biomass pellets have the same calorific value as coal and mixing them with coal saves consumption as well as reportedly cuts emissions.
- Cofiring is a near term, low-cost option for efficiently and cleanly converting biomass to electricity by adding biomass as a partial substitute fuel in high-efficiency coal boilers.
- In 2020-21, only eight power plants had co-fired biomass pellets, and this number had risen to 39 as of the biginning of this week.
- India has around 180 thermal power plants. In the Delhi-NCR region, a hotbed of air pollution, 10 thermal power plants had started co-firing with biomass and coal.
- As of now, 83,066 tonnes of biomass have been co-fired in 39 thermal power plants across the country and have generated close to 55,390 MW of power.
- Opec+ is a group of 23 oil-exporting countries which meets regularly to decide how much crude oil to sell on the world market.
- At the core of this group are the 13 members of Opec (the Organisation of Oil Exporting Countries), which are mainly Middle Eastern and African countries. Opec was formed in 1960 as a cartel, with the aim of fixing the worldwide supply of oil and its price.
- Today, the Opec nation produces around 30% of the world’s crude oil. Saudi Arabia is the biggest single oil producer within Opec, producing more than 10 million barrels a day.
Emergency Credit Line Guarantee scheme
- The ECLGS was announced in May 2020 in wake of the outbreak of COVID-19 to help various sectors, especially in the MSME segment, to get credit at a concessional rate of 7 per cent.
- Aim: To provide 100% guarantee coverage to Banks and NBFCs to enable them to extend emergency credit facilities to Business Enterprises / MSMEs in view of COVID-19 to meet their additional term loan/additional working capital requirements.
- Loans of about Rs 3.67 lakh crore have been sanctioned under ECLGS till August 5, 2022.
- The loans under ECLGS provide a 100 per cent guarantee to lending institutions in respect of the credit facility extended by them under the scheme to eligible borrowers.
- In Budget 2022-23, Finance Minister announced extending the validity of ECLGS till March 2023 and an increase in the limit of guaranteed cover by Rs 50,000 crore.
- The additional amount of Rs 50,000 crore would be made applicable to enterprises in hospitality and related sectors till the validity of the scheme (March 31, 2023).
Drug controller general of India
- Drugs Controller General of India (DCGI) is the head of department of the Central Drugs Standard Control Organization of the Government of India responsible for approval of licences of specified categories of drugs such as blood and blood products, IV fluids, vaccines, and sera in India.
- Drugs Controller General of India comes under the Ministry of Health & Family Welfare.
- It also sets standards for manufacturing, sales, import, and distribution of drugs in India.
- The standard and quality of manufacturing, selling, import and distribution of drugs in India.
- Preparation and maintenance of national reference standard.
- To bring about the uniformity in the enforcement of the Drugs and Cosmetics Act.
- Training of Drug Analysts deputed by State Drug Control Laboratories and other Institutions
- Analysis of Cosmetics received as survey samples from CDSCO (central drug standard control organisation)