Daily Current Affairs for UPSC CSE
- Food Processing Industry
- Fugitive Economic Offenders Act
- Heat Index
- India- ASEAN Relationship
- Global Biofuel alliance
- How unemployment is measured
- Facts for Prelims
1 . Food Processing Industry
Context: India’s food processing sector is expected to generate 9 million jobs by 2024, and by 2030 India’s household consumption would quadruple, making it the world’s fifth-largest consumer of food and food technology, said Prabodh Halde, western region chairman, All India Food Processors’ Association.
What is food processing
- Food processing refers to a series of techniques and methods used to transform raw ingredients into consumable food products.
- This can include various activities like washing, cutting, cooking, packaging, and preserving foods to enhance their safety, shelf life, taste, and nutritional value.
- Food processing is essential in modern food production to meet the demands of consumers and ensure food safety standards are met. It can range from simple methods like canning to complex industrial processes like extrusion or fermentation.
- Agricultural Growth: India is an agrarian economy with a vast agricultural sector. Food processing helps in reducing post-harvest losses, adding value to agricultural produce, and increasing farmers’ income.
- Food Security: It plays a crucial role in ensuring food security by preserving and making food available throughout the year, reducing wastage, and stabilizing prices.
- Employment Generation: The food processing industry is a major source of employment, especially in rural areas, providing jobs in processing, packaging, transportation, and marketing of food products.
- Export Potential: Processed food products have export potential, contributing to foreign exchange earnings and boosting the country’s economy.
- Nutritional Improvement: Processing can enhance the nutritional content of food through fortification, enrichment, and preservation techniques, addressing malnutrition concerns.
- Convenience and Diversity: Processed foods offer convenience to consumers and a wide variety of choices, catering to diverse tastes and preferences.
- Rural Development: Establishing food processing units in rural areas can promote rural development, reduce migration, and improve the standard of living.
- Infrastructure Development: The food processing industry’s growth stimulates the development of infrastructure such as cold storage facilities, transportation networks, and packaging technologies.
- Integration with Agriculture: It encourages integration between agriculture and industry, fostering a more efficient and sustainable food supply chain.
- Meeting Urban Demand: As urbanization increases, processed foods help meet the demand for convenient, ready-to-eat, and packaged food products in urban areas.
- Raw Materials: The industry relies on a steady supply of raw materials, such as fruits, vegetables, grains, and livestock, which must meet quality and safety standards.
- Farm Management: Proper farming practices, including crop cultivation, animal husbandry, and fisheries management, are essential to ensure a consistent and healthy supply of raw materials.
- Harvesting and Procurement: Efficient methods for harvesting, collecting, and procuring raw materials are critical to maintain their quality.
- Transportation: Effective transportation networks are needed to move raw materials from farms and production centers to processing facilities while maintaining freshness and safety.
- Storage: Adequate storage facilities, including cold storage for perishables, are crucial to prevent spoilage and preserve raw materials.
- Processing Facilities: Well-equipped processing plants with appropriate machinery and technology are essential for converting raw materials into finished food products.
- Quality Control: Stringent quality control measures and testing are needed at various stages to ensure product safety, consistency, and compliance with standards.
- Packaging: Proper packaging materials and techniques are required to protect products from contamination, extend shelf life, and meet labeling regulations.
- Distribution and Logistics: Efficient distribution channels and logistics networks are necessary to transport finished products to consumers, wholesalers, retailers, or export markets.
- Marketing and Sales: Effective marketing strategies, including branding, advertising, and distribution channels, play a vital role in promoting and selling food products.
- Compliance and Regulations: The industry must adhere to food safety, labeling, and quality regulations imposed by government authorities.
- Research and Development: Ongoing research and development efforts are essential for product innovation, improving production processes, and meeting changing consumer preferences.
- Waste Management: Proper waste disposal and environmental considerations are important to minimize the environmental impact of food processing operations.
- Human Resources: Skilled labor, including food technologists, quality control personnel, and production workers, is crucial for maintaining product quality and safety.
- Technology Adoption: Embracing technology, such as automation and data analytics, can enhance efficiency, reduce costs, and improve product quality.
- Market Intelligence: Understanding market trends and consumer preferences is essential for developing products that meet consumer demand.
- The emerging sector, had attracted $4.18 billion in foreign direct investments (2014-2020).
- The sector significantly contributes to India’s economy, accounting for 13% of exports and 6% of industrial investment.
- With a market size of $1.3 billion, the thriving Indian gourmet food sector sustains an impressive 20% CAGR.
- The sector is aiming to double its GDP contribution from present 8% to 20% by 2030.
Schemes and measures introduced by the government for the sector
- National Mission on Food Processing (NMFP): NMFP seeks to promote food processing through capacity building, technology upgradation, and market access.
- Pradhan Mantri Kisan SAMPADA Yojana (PMKSY): This umbrella scheme includes several components and aims to modernize and reduce wastage in the food processing industry.
- Inclusion of food & agro-based processing units and cold chain as an agricultural activity under Priority Sector Lending norms in 2015.
- As a measure toward ease of doing business,the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) through notifications in 2016 has shifted from product-by-product approval to an ingredient and additive-based approval process.
- 100% Foreign Direct (FDI) approval under automatic route has been permitted for the food processing sector
- A Special Food Processing Fund of Rs. 2000 crore was set up with National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development (NABARD) to provide affordable credit for investments in setting up Mega Food Parks (MFP) as well as processing units in the MFPs.
- In 2019, the coverage of the fund was extended to the setting up of Agro-Processing Clusters along with setting up of individual manufacturing units.
- Also, a Designated Food Parks (DFP) scheme would be introduced in different states for the purpose of availing affordable credit from the special funds with NABARD.
2 . Fugitive Economic Offenders Act
Context: Assets worth over $1.8 bn recovered under FEOA.
Who is a Fugitive Economic Offender ?
- A Fugitive Economic Offender is a legal term in India.
- It relates to any individual against whom a warrant for arrest in relation to a “scheduled offence” has been issued by any Indian court under the Fugitive Economic Offenders act.
- It applies to individuals who either left India to avoid criminal prosecution; or, being abroad, refuses to return to India to face criminal prosecution. The list of Fugitive Economic Offenders currently residing abroad includes Vijay Mallya, Jatin Mehta, Vinay Mittal, Nirav Modi, Mehul Choksi, Lalit Modi.
- The Act was introduced to deter fugitive economic offenders from evading the process of law in India by staying outside the jurisdiction of Indian courts.
- Nirav Modi is the second person to be declared a fugitive economic oﬀ ender, under the Fugitive Economic Oﬀ enders Act, after liquor baron Vijay Mallya.
Provisions of the act
- Under the FEO Act, a person can be declared a fugitive economic offender (FEO) upon the satisfaction of two conditions:
- An arrest warrant has been issued against the person for any Scheduled Offences where the value involved is over Rs 100 crore, and
- He/she has left the country and refuses to return to face prosecution.
- To declare a person an FEO, an application will be filed in a Special Court (designated under the Prevention of Money-Laundering Act, 2002) containing details of the properties to be confiscated, and any information about the person’s whereabouts.
- The Special Court will require the person to appear at a specified place at least six weeks from issue of notice. Proceedings will be terminated if the person appears.
- The Act allows authorities to provisionally attach properties of an accused, while the application is pending before the Special Court.
- Upon declaration as an FEO, properties of a person may be confiscated and vested in the central government, free of encumbrances (rights and claims in the property). Further, the FEO or any company associated with him may be barred from filing or defending civil claims.
3 . Heat Index
Context: In August 2023,Iran recorded a scorching heat index of 70 degrees Celsius (°C) in the coastal part of the country, a metric at which survival of life is unfathomable, if not impossible. The country had also declared public holidays on August 2 and 3 on account of “unprecedented heat,” Reuters reported. This is not the first time this year that Iran is dealing with extreme heat. In July, U.S.-based weather observer Colin McCarthy reported that the Persian Gulf Airport recorded a heat index of 66.7 °C.
What is heat index?
- Heat index, also known as apparent temperature, is a measure of how the temperature feels to humans.
- Relative humidity is an important factor that determines heat index, along with air temperature.
- In 2024, India is scheduled to launch its own heat index to quantify the impact of heat on its population and generate impact-based heat wave alerts for specific locations.
How is it calculated?
- A complex formula to calculate heat index was published by Dr. Robert Steadman, a professor in the textiles and clothing department of Colorado State University, in 1979. Dr. Steadman published papers describing his calculations of heat index.
- The formula for calculating the heat index was first introduced in 1979 and has been refined over the years. The formula takes two primary variables into account:
- Temperature (T): This is the actual air temperature in degrees Fahrenheit.
- Relative Humidity (RH): This is the percentage of moisture in the air relative to the maximum amount of moisture the air can hold at that temperature. It is a measure of humidity.
- Dew point, which is the temperature at which gas is transformed into a liquid state, is an important factor in the calculation of heat index. He used 14 °C as the dew point in his calculations.
- In terms of atmospheric moisture, it’s the temperature at which air cannot hold any more water vapour, and droplets of water begin to form.
- Dr. Steadman’s study considers a typical adult human of either sex, with a height of 1.7 metres and a weight of 67 kg.
- Some countries have developed their own corresponding indices to measure heat index instead of using the one developed by Dr. Steadman.
Is it important to measure the heat index?
- Warmer air has the ability to hold more moisture compared to cooler air. So, when the temperature goes up, the air can hold more water vapor, which affects how it feels to us in terms of heat. This feeling is often measured as the “heat index” or “apparent temperature.”
- During heatwaves, the air is usually more humid, which means it contains a lot of moisture. This is why the heat index during a heatwave can be higher than just the actual temperature. When the air is humid, it can make the temperature feel even hotter to us.
- High humidity can cause problems for our bodies because it makes it harder for us to get rid of excess heat. Our bodies naturally try to stay at a certain temperature, around 36.1 to 37.2 °C. When we can’t cool down properly, our heart rate increases as our core temperature rises. This can lead to issues like heat exhaustion, rashes, and other symptoms. In severe cases, if not treated promptly, it can even be life-threatening. So, it’s essential to take precautions during hot and humid weather to stay safe and cool.
- At high temperatures, the human body can lose excess heat through perspiration and cool itself. But when humidity is high as well, it is difficult to sweat and then for that sweat to evaporate because the air around is already saturated with moisture. This makes it difficult for the body to lose heat. On the other hand, if the humidity is low, evaporation of sweat is easier, thus making the apparent temperature feel close to the actual air temperature.
- This is why a measure of heat index is more useful than just the temperature to gauge the impact of heat on humans.
4 . India-ASEAN Relationship
Context: The Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) is an “important pillar” of India’s Act East policy, said Prime Minister, as he departed for Indonesia to attend the 20th ASEAN-India summit in Jakarta.
- The Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) is a regional grouping that aims to promote economic and security cooperation among its ten members: Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, and Vietnam.
- The group has played a central role in Asian economic integration, joining negotiations to form the world’s largest free trade agreement and signing six free trade deals with other regional economies.
- ASEAN was preceded by an organisation formed on 31 July 1961 called the Association of Southeast Asia (ASA), a group consisting of Thailand, the Philippines, and the Federation of Malaya.
- ASEAN itself was created on 8 August 1967, when the foreign ministers of five countries: Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, and Thailand, signed the Bangkok Declaration.
- ASEAN’s primary objectives are: to accelerate economic growth, social progress and cultural development in the region; and to promote regional peace and stability through abiding respect for justice and the rule of law in the relationship among countries in the region and adherence to the principles of the United Nations Charter.
Background of India – ASEAN Relationship
The relationship between India and ASEAN has evolved significantly, culminating in the Strategic Partnership in 2012. India’s journey began as a Sectoral Partner in 1992 and progressed to become a Summit Level Partner in 2002. There are 30 Dialogue Mechanisms spanning various sectors between India and ASEAN.
In 2017, India and ASEAN commemorated 25 years of Dialogue Partnership and 15 years of Summit Level interaction, with 2018 marking five years of Strategic Partnership
India-ASEAN – areas of cooperation
- Trade and Economic Cooperation: Economically, India-ASEAN trade and investment relations have grown significantly, with ASEAN ranking as India’s fourth-largest trading partner. Investment flows between the regions have also been substantial, signifying a robust economic partnership. Notably, the ASEAN-India Free Trade Area has been fully implemented, bolstering economic ties.
- Security and Counterterrorism: Cooperation in counterterrorism, maritime security, and defense engagement is crucial for regional stability. India participates in ASEAN-led forums like the ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF) and the East Asia Summit (EAS) to address security concerns.
- Cultural and Educational Exchanges: Promoting people-to-people ties through cultural exchanges, scholarships, and educational programs fosters a deeper understanding between India and ASEAN member states.
- Connectivity and Infrastructure Development: India is involved in several infrastructure projects in ASEAN, such as the India-Myanmar-Thailand Trilateral Highway and the Kaladan Multi-Modal Transit Transport Project, which aim to enhance connectivity in the region.
- Science and Technology Collaboration: Collaboration in science and technology, including space research and disaster management, strengthens the technological capabilities of both India and ASEAN countries.
- Climate Change and Environmental Cooperation: Addressing climate change and environmental challenges is a shared priority. Both sides work together on initiatives related to renewable energy, sustainable development, and biodiversity conservation.
- Crisis Response and Humanitarian Assistance: Cooperation in disaster relief and humanitarian assistance helps in responding effectively to natural disasters and emergencies in the region.
- Healthcare and Pharmaceuticals: Collaboration in healthcare and pharmaceuticals, especially in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic, has been a focal point of cooperation.
- Regional Forums and Diplomacy: India actively participates in ASEAN-led regional forums and diplomacy to address regional and global issues, contributing to peace and stability in the region.
- Funds – Several funds, including the ASEAN-India Cooperation Fund, ASEAN-India S&T Development Fund, and ASEAN-India Green Fund, facilitate projects in areas such as agriculture, science and technology, environment, and climate change. These initiatives further cement the India-ASEAN partnership.
- Geopolitical Competition: The region is marked by complex geopolitics, including competition between major powers like China and the United States. India and ASEAN nations must navigate these dynamics carefully.
- Economic Disparities: Economic disparities exist among ASEAN member states, which can pose challenges to economic integration and cooperation with India. Bridging these gaps is crucial for balanced development.
- Infrastructure Development: Despite infrastructure projects, there are still connectivity gaps in the region, hindering trade and people-to-people exchanges. Further investment and development are needed.
- Maritime Disputes: Some ASEAN nations have territorial disputes in the South China Sea, which can create tensions. India supports freedom of navigation and peaceful resolution of these disputes but must tread carefully to avoid escalation.
- Bureaucratic Hurdles: Bureaucratic red tape and administrative complexities can slow down cooperation efforts, making it necessary to streamline processes for smoother collaboration.
- Security Challenges: Transnational threats like terrorism, piracy, and cyberattacks require constant vigilance and coordinated efforts between India and ASEAN nations.
- Divergent Interests: While both India and ASEAN seek economic growth and stability, their specific interests and priorities may not always align. Balancing these differences can be a challenge.
- Cultural and Linguistic Diversity: The diversity within ASEAN in terms of cultures, languages, and historical backgrounds can sometimes pose challenges in building common understanding and cooperation.
- Environmental Concerns: Climate change and environmental degradation are growing concerns. Both sides need to work together to address these issues effectively.
- Political Stability: Political instability in some ASEAN nations can affect the overall regional stability and cooperation efforts.
- Competing Regional Blocs: The presence of multiple regional blocs and organizations in Asia, such as ASEAN, SAARC (South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation), and others, can lead to overlapping interests and competition for influence.
- Rivalries Within ASEAN: Differences in foreign policy approaches and priorities among ASEAN member states can at times hinder a unified response to regional challenges.
Addressing these challenges requires sustained diplomatic efforts, flexibility, and a commitment to the principles of mutual respect and cooperation.
5 . Global Biofuel Alliance
Context : Global energy sector has witnessed a historic moment today with announcement of the Global Biofuels Alliance (GBA) by Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi on the sidelines of the G20 Summit.
About Global Biofuel Alliance
- GBA is an India-led Initiative to develop an alliance of Governments, International organizations and Industry to facilitate adoption of biofuels. Bringing together the biggest consumers and producers of biofuels to drive biofuels development and deployment, the initiative aims to position biofuels as a key to energy transition and contribute to jobs and economic growth.
- GBA will support worldwide development and deployment of sustainable biofuels by offering capacity-building exercises across the value chain, technical support for national programs and promoting policy lessons-sharing.
- It will facilitate mobilizing a virtual marketplace to assist industries, countries, ecosystem players and key stakeholders in mapping demand and supply, as well as connecting technology providers to end users.
- It will also facilitate development, adoption and implementation of internationally recognized standards, codes, sustainability principles and regulations to incentivize biofuels adoption and trade.
- GBA as a tangible outcome of the G20 presidency, will help strengthen India’s position globally.
- Alliance will focus on collaboration and will provide additional opportunities to Indian industries in the form of exporting technology and exporting equipment.
- It will help accelerate India’s existing biofuels programs such as PM-JIVANYojna, SATAT, and GOBARdhan scheme, thereby contributing to increased farmers’ income, creating jobs and overall development of the Indian ecosystem.
- The global ethanol market was valued at USD 99.06 billion in 2022 and is predicted to grow at a CAGR of 5.1% by 2032 and surpass USD 162.12 billion by 2032. As per IEA, there will be 3.5-5x biofuels growth potential by 2050 due to Net Zero targets, creating a huge opportunity for India.
Countries and organizations which have already joined GBA
19 countries and 12 international organisations have already agreed to join.
- G20 countries (07) supporting GBA: 1. Argentina, 2. Brazil, 3. Canada, 4. India 5. Italy, 6. South Africa, 7..USA
- G20 Invitee Countries (04) supporting GBA: 1. Bangladesh, 2. Singapore, 3. Mauritius, 4. UAE
- Non G20 (08) supporting GBA: 1. Iceland, 2. Kenya, 3. Guyana, 4. Paraguay, 5. Seychelles, 6. Sri Lanka, and 7. Uganda have agreed to be initiating members of GBA, and 8. Finland
- International organizations (12): World Bank, Asian Development Bank, World Economic Forum, World LPG Organization, UN Energy for All, UNIDO, Biofutures Platform, International Civil Aviation Organization, International Energy Agency, International Energy Forum, International Renewable Energy Agency, World Biogas Association.
- GBA Members constitute major producers and consumers of biofuels. USA (52%), Brazil (30%) and India (3%), contribute about 85% share in production and about 81% in consumption of ethanol.
What is biofuel?
- Biofuel is a fuel that is produced over a short time span from biomass, rather than by the very slow natural processes involved in the formation of fossil fuels, such as oil.
- Biofuel can be produced from plants or from agricultural, domestic or industrial biowaste.
Types of biofuels
- Bioethanol: This is a type of alcohol fuel made by fermenting sugars and starches found in crops like corn, sugarcane, wheat, and other grains. It is often blended with gasoline and used as an alternative fuel for vehicles.
- Biodiesel: Biodiesel is produced from vegetable oils, animal fats, or recycled cooking oils through a chemical process called transesterification. It can be used in diesel engines and is seen as a cleaner alternative to conventional diesel fuel.
- Biogas: Biogas is generated through the anaerobic digestion of organic materials, such as sewage, agricultural waste, food scraps, and manure. It primarily consists of methane and carbon dioxide and can be used for electricity generation or as a substitute for natural gas.
- Hydrogen Biofuels: These biofuels involve the production of hydrogen gas from biomass sources or via the electrolysis of water using renewable electricity. Hydrogen can be used in fuel cells to generate electricity or as a fuel for vehicles.
- Algal Biofuels: Algae can be cultivated to produce oils that can be converted into biofuels. Algal biofuels have the potential to yield high oil content and can be more sustainable than some other feedstocks.
- Cellulosic Biofuels: These biofuels are made from non-food feedstocks like agricultural residues (e.g., corn stover, wheat straw), woody biomass, and energy crops like switchgrass. They aim to be more environmentally friendly and reduce competition with food production.
Benefits of Biofuels
- Reduced Greenhouse Gas Emissions: Biofuels produce fewer greenhouse gas emissions when burned compared to fossil fuels, helping mitigate climate change.
- Energy Security: Biofuels reduce dependence on imported fossil fuels, enhancing national and global energy security.
- Renewable Resource: Biofuels are derived from renewable biomass sources, making them sustainable over the long term.
- Rural Development: Biofuel production often involves agriculture, creating jobs and income opportunities in rural areas.
- Waste Utilization: They can be produced from organic waste materials, reducing waste disposal issues and environmental impact.
- Diversification of Energy Sources: Biofuels diversify the energy mix, reducing reliance on a single energy source.
- Air Quality Improvement: Use of biofuels in transportation can lead to cleaner air and reduced air pollution.
- Technological Innovation: Biofuel development drives advancements in biotechnology, benefiting other industries.
- Job Creation: The biofuel sector creates jobs in farming, processing, distribution, and research.
- Reduced Oil Price Volatility: Biofuels can stabilize fuel prices by offering an alternative to petroleum-based fuels.
6 . How unemployment is measured
Context: The question of unemployment has the potential to make or break any government. In order to successfully tackle it, it is important to understand how it is defined and measured in a developing economy like India.
What Is Unemployment ?
- The International Labour Organization (ILO) defines unemployment as being out of a job; being available to take a job; and actively engaged in searching for work. Therefore, an individual who has lost work but does not look for another job is not unemployed.
- The labour force is defined as the sum of the employed and the unemployed.
- Those neither employed nor unemployed — such as students and those engaged in unpaid domestic work — are considered out of the labour force.
- The unemployment rate is measured as the ratio of the unemployed to the labour force. The unemployment rate could also fall if an economy is not generating enough jobs, or if people decide not to search for work.
Measuring unemployment in India
- Measuring unemployment is complicated in a developing economy like India, because decisions to search for work are constrained by social norms.
- According to a 2009-10 survey undertaken by the National Sample Survey Organisation (NSSO), 33.3% of rural women and 27.2% of urban women aged 15 and above who were engaged in domestic work reported willingness to work if it were made available within the premises of the household.
- This represents 18.8% of the rural female population aged 15 and up; the labour force participation rate (LFPR) for rural women that year was 26.5%.
- These women would not be counted among the unemployed because they are not actively looking for work.
- A definition of unemployment that focuses on actively searching for a job may underestimate the true picture in a developing economy.
- Measuring unemployment in India is difficult due to the informal nature of jobs.
- Unlike developed economies, individuals do not hold one job year-round. An individual may be unemployed this week, but may have worked as a casual labourer last month, and as a farmer for most of the year.
- The NSSO adopts two major measures for classifying the working status of individuals in India — the Usual Principal and Subsidiary Status (UPSS) and the Current Weekly Status (CWS).
- An individual’s principal status, whether employed, unemployed or out of the labour force, is based on the activity in which they spent relatively long time in the previous year. A person who is not a worker, according to the principal status, would still be counted as employed according to the UPSS if they were engaged in some economic activity in a subsidiary role for a period of not less than 30 days.
- Thus, an individual unemployed for five months and working for seven months in the previous year would be considered a worker according to the principal status, while an individual unemployed for nine months but working for three months would be counted as employed as per the approach.
- The CWS adopts a shorter reference period of a week. An individual is counted as being employed if they have worked for at least one hour on at least one day during the seven days preceding the date of survey.
- UPSS unemployment rates will always be lower than CWS rates because there is a greater probability that an individual would find work over a year as compared to a week.
- The low bar for classifying an individual as employed explains why unemployment rates are lower in rural areas than urban.
- In agrarian economies, where individuals have access to family farms or some form of casual agrarian work, there is greater probability of finding some kind of work when compared to urban areas.
- These definitions may ‘underestimate’ unemployment, but they were largely designed to capture the extent of the informal economy.
- The Centre for Monitoring Indian Economy classifies individuals based on their activity in the day preceding the interview. They, therefore, estimate a higher unemployment rate, but lower labour force participation rates. This is because in an informal economy, there is a lower chance of an individual having work on any given day as compared to longer periods of a week or a year.
7 . Facts for Prelims
- Horizon Europe is a 7-year European Union scientific research initiative, successor of the Horizon 2020 programme and the earlier Framework Programmes for Research and Technological Development.
- The European Commission drafted and approved a plan for Horizon Europe to raise EU science spending levels by 50% over the years 2021–2027.
- Horizon Europe supports European partnerships in which the EU, national authorities and/or the private sector jointly commit to support the development and implementation of a programme of research and innovation activities.
- It tackles climate change, helps to achieve the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals and boosts the EU’s competitiveness and growth.
- Surbahar, sometimes known as bass sitar, is a plucked string instrument used in the Hindustani classical music of the Indian subcontinent.
- It is closely related to the sitar, but has a lower pitch.
- Depending on the instrument’s size, it is usually pitched two to five whole steps below the standard sitar.
- The jal tarang is a melodic percussion instrument that originates from the Indian subcontinent.
- It consists of a set of ceramic or metal bowls filled with water.
- The bowls are played by striking the edge with beaters, one in each hand.
- The earliest mention of the jal tarang is found in Vatsyayana’s Kamasutra, as playing on musical glasses filled with water.
- Jal tarang was also mentioned in the medieval Sangeet Parijaat text, which categorized the instrument under Ghan-Vadya (idiophonic instruments in which sound is produced by striking a surface, also called concussion idiophones.)
- The Rudra veena also called Bīn in North India is a large plucked string instrument used in Hindustani Music, especially dhrupad.
- It is one of the major types of veena played in Indian classical music, notable for its deep bass resonance.
- The rudra veena is seen in temple architecture predating the Mughals.
- It is also mentioned in court records as early as the reign of Zain-ul Abidin (1418-1470),and attained particular importance among Mughal court musicians.
Fixed and Floating interest rate
- In a fixed interest rate, the rate is constant and doesn’t change. It might apply to the entire term of the loan or debt obligation, or for just part of it. It endows a borrower with greater certainty and security.
- A floating interest rate is an interest rate that changes periodically. The rate of interest moves up and down, or “floats,” reflecting economic or financial market conditions. Often, it moves in tandem with a particular index or benchmark, or with general market conditions.
- Floating interest rates are generally lower than fixed interest rates, due to the risk differentiation. Floating interest rate loans do not draw any prepayment penalty— unlike fixed rate loans.
- Researchers in the RIKEN Nishina Center for Accelerator-Based Science, in Japan, have demonstrated a set-up that can use electron scattering to ‘see’ inside an unstable nuclei, including those that don’t occur naturally.
- The previous experiments used thin foils that were easy to hold. The new one is more sophisticated, using an apparatus to hold the nuclei of caesium-137 atoms as well as make sure electrons could interact with them, using a system called SCRIT.
- The SCRIT system, which is short for ‘Self-Confining Radioactive-isotope Ion Target’ is a method which enables in trapping the target ions in three dimensions along the electron beam using the electric attractive force between the ions and the electron.
- The resulting overlap between the target ions and the electron beam is very good. This ‘overlap’ meant that the electrons had a good chance of colliding with the ions.
- SCRIT allowed the researchers to achieve this with as few as 108 caesium-137 ions. Without SCRIT, they would have required a trillion-times more.
UPI Lite X and Tap & Pay:
- Launched by National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI) for feature phone users, the UPI Lite X offers an upgrade that enables peer-to-peer transactions even without an active network or internet connection.
- Transactions can be completed with a simple tap between phones, provided they are equipped with near-field communication (NFC) functionality.
- The actual money transfer will take place once either of the phones reconnects to a network zone.
- UPI Tap & Pay employs small cards equipped with NFC chips, which are linked to the user’s distinctive QR code and UPI ID.
- To obtain these cards, users should visit their nearest partner bank, where they’ll find a self-service kiosk for generating contactless UPI cards.
- After selecting a card design from the available options, users need to scan their QR code, which verifies and associates it with the UPI ID.
- The card is then promptly issued and can be affixed to mobile phones for convenient tap-based payments.
- The National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI), at the Global Fintech Fest, has launched a conversational payments initiative aimed at increasing convenience and accessibility for users known as “Hello! UPI”
- It allows users to make payments by engaging in conversations with their smartphones — whether it’s splitting a restaurant bill, sending money to a friend, or settling utility bills.
- The NPCI has partnered with the Bhashini programme, AI4Bharat at IIT Madras, to co-develop Hindi and English payment language models.