Daily Current Affairs : 6th June 2020

Daily Current Affairs for UPSC CSE

Topics Covered

  1. Light Detection and Ranging (LiDAR)
  2. Payments Infrastructure Development Fund (PIDF)
  3. Sundeban
  4. UNSC Non Permanent Seat
  5. Periodic Labour Force Survey
  6. Facts for Prelims

1. Light Detection and Ranging

Context: The coronavirus pandemic has stopped archaeologists from going to dig at sites, but not a U.K.-based team from continuing its research. Equipped with airborne survey data, a team of volunteers, locked down in their homes, sat and analysed thousands of images derived from Light Detection and Ranging (LiDAR) data.

About LiDAR

  • LiDAR stands for light detection and ranging. It is basically a remote sensing method that uses light in the form of a pulsed laser to measure distances to the subject. These light pulses – when combined with other data, generate accurate, high-resolution three-dimensional information of the object.

How Lidar is used in archaeology

  • Modern LiDAR relies on laser sensors that are deployed from the air or via handheld units. As lasers shine on the area to be mapped, they emit brief pulses of light. The amount of time it takes for those pulses to reflect back to the instrument is measured, and each measurement is plotted using GPS. Computers then use that data to construct a 3-D map of the area.
  • Archaeologists, who use it to map topography, plan excavations, and spot archaeological sites they’d never be able to see with the naked eye. LiDAR will also help in understanding domestic architecture, and defensive architecture like moats and fortifications in the area
  • It is relatively quick and inexpensive compared to archaeological excavations, and can offer a high-level view not accessible to researchers who focus on just a few sites on the ground.

Strengths and Limitations of using Lidar in Archaeology

  • One of LiDAR’s strengths is how well it can pinpoint tiny surface anomalies that indicate small sites like graves or big ones like sunken cities.
  • But LiDAR has its limitations: It can’t reach beneath the ground, and trees in densely wooded areas can sometimes cause features to be missed.

Other Uses

  • LiDAR is typically used to collect high-density data in order to produce high-resolution maps.
  • LiDAR sensors are being fitted under drones to create readings of the terrain, transmission lines, buildings, and trees. Experts say LiDAR accurately maps the ground beneath and can provide a highly accurate 3D model when compared with terrestrial sampling methods. This technology is mostly used for ground-based surveys.
  • Apart from aerial surveys, the LiDAR sensor is the most important component in self-driving cars. The LiDAR sensor provides continuous 360 degrees of visibility and accurate depth information.
  • LiDAR was first used on a spacecraft during the Apollo 15 mission in 1971, when astronauts mapped the surface of the moon.

2. Payments Infrastructure Development Fund

Context: The RBI has created a Payments Infrastructure Development Fund (PIDF) to encourage acquirers to deploy Points of Sale (PoS) infrastructure in both physical and digital modes in tier-3 to tier-6 centres and north eastern states.

About the Fund

  • The fund will encourage acquirers to deploy Point of Sale infrastructure in both Physical and digital modes in tier 3 to tier 6 centres and North Eastern States.
  • It will be in total a 500cr fund in which RBI will make an initial contribution of ₹250 crore to the PIDF, covering half of the fund, while the remaining contribution will be from card-issuing banks and card networks operating in the country.
  • The PIDF will be governed through an Advisory Council and managed and administered by RBI.
  • The PIDF will also receive recurring contributions to cover operational expenses from card-issuing banks and card networks.
  • RBI will also contribute to yearly shortfalls, if necessary.

Need of the Fund

  • Given the high cost of merchant acquisition and merchant terminalisation, most of the POS terminals in the country are concentrated in tier 1 and 2 cities and towns and other regions have been left out


  • It will provide further fillip to the digitisation of payment systems.
  • It is necessary to give impetus to acceptance infrastructure across the country, more so in under-served areas.

3 . Sunderbans

Context: About 28% of the Sunderbans have been damaged by Cyclone Amphan. Around 1,200 sq km of the 4,263 sq km forests had been “destroyed”.The damage has been much more on the Indian side and not on the Bangladesh side. Some trees also turned yellow and red after the cyclone, 

About Sunderbans

  • Sundarbans is vast contiguous mangrove forest ecosystem in the coastal region of Bay of Bengal spread across India and Bangladesh.
  • The Indian Sunderbans, an area south of the Dampier Hodges line, is spread over 9,630 sq km, of which the mangrove forest accounts for 4,263 sq km.
  • It is located in delta region of Padma, Meghna and Brahmaputra river basins.
  • It is the largest tidal halophytic mangrove forest in the world.
  • It was recognized as UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1987.
  • Sundarbans forests are known for Royal Bengal Tiger and other numerous species of animals, including Chital Deer, Crocodile and Snakes.
  • It is facing threat from climate change and rise in sea level.
  • It also faces threat from widespread construction and clearing of mangrove forests for fisheries.

Why the Sunderbans tree has turned red and yellow?

  • The phenomenon is mostly due to salinity.
  • The trees that turned yellow were not mangrove trees, it was mostly due to the dense fog of saline water.
  • This raises doubt on the survival of the trees. If the salinity of the soil comes down, some trees can survive.

Importance of Mangroves during a cyclone

  • Mangroves reduces the wind speed and also break the waves during a cyclone.

Importance of Mangroves

  • Carbon storage. Mangroves “sequester carbon at a rate two to four times greater than mature tropical forests and store three to five times more carbon per equivalent area than tropical forests” like the Amazon rainforest. This means that conserving and restoring mangroves is essential to fighting climate change, the warming of the global climate fueled by increased carbon emissions, that is already having disastrous effects on communities worldwide. At the same time, mangroves are vulnerable to climate change as sea level rise pushes ecosystems inland.
  • Water. Mangroves are essential to maintaining water quality. With their dense network of roots and surrounding vegetation, they filter and trap sediments, heavy metals, and other pollutants. This ability to retain sediments flowing from upstream prevents contamination of downstream waterways and protects sensitive habitat like coral reefs and seagrass beds below.
  • Fisheries: Mangrove forests are home to a large variety of fish, crab, shrimp, and mollusk species. These fisheries form an essential source of food for thousands of coastal communities around the world. The forests also serve as nurseries for many fish species, including coral reef fish. A study on the Mesoamerican reef, for example, showed that there are as many as 25 times more fish of some species on reefs close to mangrove areas than in areas where mangroves have been cut down. This makes mangrove forests vitally important to coral reef and commercial fisheries as well.
  • Timber and plant products: Mangrove wood is resistant to rot and insects, making it extremely valuable. Many coastal and indigenous communities rely on this wood for construction material as well as for fuel. These communities also collect medicinal plants from mangrove ecosystems and use mangrove leaves as animal fodder. Recently, the forests have also been commercially harvested for pulp, wood chip, and charcoal production.
  • Biodiversity. Home to an incredible array of species, mangroves are biodiversity hotspots. They provide nesting and breeding habitat for fish and shellfish, migratory birds, and sea turtles. 
  • Coastal protection: The dense root systems of mangrove forests trap sediments flowing down rivers and off the land. This helps stabilizes the coastline and prevents erosion from waves and storms. In areas where mangroves have been cleared, coastal damage from hurricanes and typhoons is much more severe. By filtering out sediments, the forests also protect coral reefs and seagrass meadows from being smothered in sediment.
  • Tourism: Given the diversity of life inhabiting mangrove systems, and their proximity in many cases to other tourist attractions such as coral reefs and sandy beaches, it is perhaps surprising that only a few countries have started to tap into the tourism potential of their mangrove forests. Places as diverse as Bonaire and offer snorkelling expeditions in and around mangroves to witness a marvellous variety of baby fish, jellyfish, and urchins against a magical background of interwoven roots delving deep into the sandy substrate. Great potential exists elsewhere for revenue generation in this manner, which values the mangroves intact and as they stand.

4. UNSC Non Permanent Seat Voting

Context : India will highlight international terrorism, United Nations reforms and Security Council expansion, streamlining the world body’s peacekeeping operations and technology initiatives during its upcoming tenure as a non-permanent member of the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) in 2021-22

About UNSC Members

  • The UNSC Council is composed of 15 Members:Five permanent members : China, France, Russian Federation, the United Kingdom, and the United States, and ten non-permanent members elected for two-year terms by the General Assembly (with end of term year)

Election of Non Permanent Members

  • Each year, the General Assembly elects five non-permanent members (out of ten in total) for a two-year term. The ten non-permanent seats are distributed on a regional basis:
    • five for African and Asian countries;
    • one for Eastern European countries;
    • two for Latin American and Caribbean countries;
    • two for Western European and other countries.
  • As stipulated in rule 144 of the rules of procedure, a retiring member is not eligible for immediate re-election.
  • In accordance with rule 92 of the rules of procedure, the election is held by secret ballot and there are no nominations.
  • Under rule 83 of the rules of procedure, the non-permanent members of the Security Council are elected by a two-thirds majority

About India’s Endorsement from the Asia Pacific Group

  • Of the five seats for Africa and Asia, three are for Africa and two for Asia; there is an informal understanding between the two groups to reserve one for an Arab country. The Africa and Asia Pacific group takes turns every two years to put up an Arab candidate.
  • India now has been endorsed by the Asia Pacific Group . The endorsement means that India has a “clean slate” candidature – that is there is no other contestant from the group
  • In the next step, all 193 members of the UN General Assembly will vote for five non-permanent seats in June 2020, India will need to show the support of at least 129 countries to go through to the UNSC. 
  • If selected this will be the eighth time India will occupy a non-permanent UNSC seat. In 2010, when India stood for the UNSC seat of 2011-2012, it won 187 of the 190 votes polled.
  • India began the process for another seat shortly after it had ended its previous tenure in 2011-2012. By rotation, that seat would have reached India only in the 2030s, and India had to reach out to Afghanistan, which had put in its bid already for the 2021-22 slot, to request it to withdraw. Afghanistan did so because of the special relationship between the two countries.


  • India has a unique role to play at the UNSC, given the near-complete polarisation among the permanent members (P-5 nations), with the U.S., the U.K. and France on one side, and Russia and China on the other. India’s ability to work with both sides is well known.
  • The year 2022 also has a sentimental value attached to it, as it marks the 75th year of India’s Independence, and a place at the UNSC would no doubt add to the planned celebrations that year. Since 2013, when it first announced the bid, the government has run a quiet but consistent campaign towards this goal.
  • It is also significant that despite the poor state of bilateral relations with Pakistan, and the many challenges India has faced from China at the UN, both the countries agreed to the nomination

5 . Periodic Labour Force Survey

Context : National Statistical Office had on Thursday released the PLFS for 2018-19, which showed that unemployment rate inched slightly lower to 5.8 per cent from 6.1 per cent a year ago.

About Periodic Labour Force Survey

  • Considering the importance of availability of labour force data at more frequent time intervals, National Statistical Office (NSO) launched Periodic Labour Force Survey (PLFS) on April 2017. The objective of PLFS is primarily twofold:
    • to estimate the key employment and unemployment indicators (viz. Worker Population Ratio, Labour Force Participation Rate, Unemployment Rate) in the short time interval of three months for the urban areas only in the Current Weekly Status (CWS)
    • to estimate employment and unemployment indicators in both usual status  (principal activity status + subsidiary economic activity status) and CWS in both rural and urban areas annually
      • Principal activity status– The activity status on which a person spent relatively long time(major time criterion) during 365 days preceding the date of survey, was considered the usual principal activity status of the person.
      • Subsidiary economic activity status– The activity status in which a person in addition to his/her usual principal status, performs some economic activity for 30 days or more for the reference period of 365 days preceding the date of survey, was considered the subsidiary economic status of the person.

Conceptual Framework of Key Employment and Unemployment Indicators

ThePeriodic Labour Force Survey (PLFS) gives estimates of Key employment and unemployment Indicators like the Labour Force Participation Rates (LFPR), Worker Population Ratio (WPR), Unemployment Rate (UR), etc. These indicators are defined as follows:

  • Labour Force Participation Rate (LFPR): LFPR is defined as the percentage of persons in labour force (i.e. working or seeking or available for work) in the population.
  • Worker Population Ratio (WPR): WPR is defined as the percentage of employed persons in the population.
  • Unemployment Rate (UR): UR is defined as the percentage of persons unemployed among the persons in the labour force.
  • Activity Status- Usual Status: The activity status of a person is determined on thebasis of the activities pursued by the person during the specified reference period. When the activity status is determined on the basis of the reference period of last 365 days preceding the date of survey, it is known as the usual activity status of the person.
  • Activity Status- Current Weekly Status (CWS): The activity status determined on the basis of a reference period of last 7 days preceding the date of survey is known as the current weekly status (CWS) of the person.

Key Findings

  • Delhi, Bihar, Haryana, Kerala, Goa, Odisha and Punjab were among the 20 states and Union Territories which clocked a higher unemployment rate than the all-India unemployment rate of 5.8 per cent in 2018-19, while the rest of the 16 regions including Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan, Maharashtra, Gujarat, Karnataka and West Bengal recorded lower joblessness rate than the country’s average
  • For the age group 15 years and above, the unemployment rate for the major states higher than the overall rate of 5.8 per cent was recorded as: Delhi (10.4 per cent), Bihar (9.8 per cent), Haryana (9.3 per cent), Kerala (9.0 per cent), Goa (8.7 per cent), Punjab (7.4 per cent) and Odisha (7.0 per cent).
  • Among the youth in the age group 15-29 years, for which the all-India unemployment rate stood at 17.3 per cent in 2018-19,
  • High joblessness among graduates was visible in Bihar, Andhra Pradesh, Delhi, Uttar Pradesh and Telangana, where unemployment rate of urban males was recorded at a higher rate than the national average. The all-India unemployment rate for urban males in 2018-19 stood at 12.9 per cent, with Bihar leading among major states with 21.3 per cent.

6 . Facts for Prelims

Largest International Land Port in India

  • Petrapole in West Bengal is the largest international land port in India.
  • It is situated on the India-Bangladesh border 
  • It accounts for a majority of bilateral trade between India and Bangladesh.

Pangong Lake

  • Pangon lake or Pangong Tso, is a salt water lake located in the Himalayas
  • It is an endorheic lake, it means the it has a limited drainage basin that normally retains water and allows no outflow to other external bodies of water, such as rivers or oceans, but converges instead into lakes or swamps, permanent or seasonal, that equilibrate through evaporation.
  • It is not a part of the Indus river basin area and geographically a separate landlocked river basin
  • It is a salt water lake.
  • Lake stretches out from India to China. One-third of water body, its 45 km stretch, is in Indian control while the rest of the 90 km is under Chinese control. The Line of Actual Control passes through the lake

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