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[Mission 2023] INSIGHTS DAILY CURRENT AFFAIRS + PIB SUMMARY 24 March 2023

InstaLinks :  help you think beyond the issue but relevant to the issue from UPSC prelims and Mains exam point of view. These linkages provided in this ‘hint’ format help you frame possible questions ina your mind that might arise(or an examiner might imagine) from each current event. InstaLinks also connect every issue to their static or theoretical background. This helps you study a topic holistically and add new dimensions to every current event to help you think analytically

Table of Contents:

GS Paper 2:

  1. Parliamentary panel recommends new law to define power, functions of CBI
  2. India-Japan Relations

 

GS Paper 3:

  1. Technology and Innovation Report 2023
  2. High-speed internet: How will India develop a 6G network?
  3. India’s disputed compensatory afforestation policy at odds with new IPCC report

 

Content for Mains Enrichment (CME)

  1. Story on Happiness
  2. Shaheed Diwas

 

Facts for Prelims (FFP)

  1. Khandagiri, Udaygiri caves 
  2. Lily Thomas SC verdict
  3. Call Before u Dig application
  4. DigiClaim
  5. Patent monopoly/evergreening
  6. Candida auris
  7. Desalination—a viable solution to water scarcity
  8. Ban on transgender women from female events

 


 

Parliamentary panel recommends new law to define power, functions of CBI

GS Paper 2

 Syllabus: Statutory, Regulatory and various Quasi-judicial Bodies

 

Source: TH

 Context: According to a Parliamentary Committee, existing law governing the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) has many limitations and there is a need to enact new legislation to define its status, functions and powers.

 

Background:

  • The CBI was established in 1963 (on the recommendation of the Santhanam Committee on Prevention of Corruption) and is governed by the Delhi Special Police Establishment (DSPE) Act, 1946.
  • According to the DSPE Act, the consent of the State government is a prerequisite for any investigation by the CBI.
  • As of date, 9 States have withdrawn the general consent and the recommendation of the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Personnel, Public Grievances, Law and Justice came amid these withdrawals.

 

Issues faced by the CBI:

  • A caged parrot: For instance, to prosecute any MLA/state minister, the CBI needs sanction from the Speaker of the state Assembly (for MLAs)/ the Governor (for state ministers).
    • Since all these sanctioning authorities have links to the ruling dispensation, Opposition parties feel they are unfairly targeted.
  • Structural constraints: Both the legal structure and the changes made in the Rules governing CBI have hindered the functioning of the CBI.
  • Political tug-of-war: Increasingly hostile relations between the Centre and the state governments (usually ruled by opposition parties).
  • Inadequate manpower: 1,709 posts are vacant against its sanctioned strength of 7,295 → increasing pendency of cases, hampering the quality of investigation → impacting the effectiveness and efficiency of the agency.
  • Opaqueness: The details of the cases and the annual report CBI is also not accessible to the general public.

 

Efforts to reform the institution:

  • In the landmark 1997 Vineet Narain judgement, the SC fixed the tenure of the CBI Director at two years to secure the autonomy of the CBI.
  • The Central Vigilance Commission (CVC) – supervision powers over CBI – has been given statutory status (CVC Act, 2003).
  • The Lokpal Act 2013, laid down that the CBI Director should be chosen, unanimously or by majority vote, by a search committee headed by the PM (LoP, CJI as other members), from a Home Ministry-drawn list.
  • However, these reforms have been progressively diluted by various governments over the years.
    • For example, the DSPE Act has been amended (2021) to give the government the power to extend the term of CBI director by one year – diluting autonomy.

 

Recommendations of the parliamentary committee:

  • A new law (also recommended by the 2nd ARC) to define the status, functions and powers of the CBI → safeguards to ensure objectivity and impartiality.
  • Fill up vacancies at the earliest. The CBI director should monitor the progress in this regard on a quarterly basis.
  • Reduce dependence on deputations and strive to recruit permanent staff in the ranks of inspector of police and DSP.
  • Details of cases should be available in the public domain → empower the citizens → make the functioning of CBI more accountable, responsible, efficient and transparent.
    • For this, a case management system which would be a centralised database should be considered.

Insta Links:

Freeing the caged parrot

India-Japan Relations

GS Paper 2

Syllabus: Bilateral Relations of India

 

Source: TH, TOI

Context: Japan’s Prime Minister recently visited India

 

Major Initiatives announced during the visit:

  • Free and Open Indo-Pacific (FOIP): It is aimed at curbing China’s growing assertiveness in the Indo-Pacific region.
  • The key initiatives of the strategy include promoting respect for sovereignty and territorial integrity, opposing unilateral changes by China through force, and improving cooperation to address global challenges.
    • Japan will focus on Southeast Asia, South Asia (particularly Northeast India), and the Pacific Islands.
    • Japan will promote the Bay of Bengal-Northeast India industrial value chain concept
    • It will assist in developing maritime law enforcement capabilities of countries to free oceans from geopolitical risks.
    • Japan’s concept of FOIP is complementary to India’s concept of the Indo-Pacific Oceans Initiative (IPOI)
    • India and Japan will assume the presidencies of G20 and G7 this year respectively.

 

Other major dimensions of India-Japan Relations are:

Dimensions of India-Japan Relations Examples
Shared values ·        Democracy, Freedom and Rule of Law

 

Defence and Security Cooperation ·        India and Japan Vision 2025: To work together for peace and prosperity in the Indo-Pacific region and the world.

·        Relationship elevated to Special Strategic and Global Partnership (2014)

·        “2+2” Dialogue

·        Acquisition and Cross-Servicing Agreement with India

·        Inclusive and Rule-based International order in Indo-pacific

·        FOIP (see description above)

·        Military exercise: Dharma Guardian (army), Veer Guardian (Air Force), MILAN, JIMEX (Navy) and Malabar respectively.

Strengthening India’s Act East Policy ·        Japan is supporting strategic connectivity linking South Asia to Southeast Asia through the synergy between the ”Act East” policy and ”Partnership for Quality Infrastructure.”
Economic Cooperation ·        Japanese help during India’s BOP crisis in 1991.

·        Bilateral trade: Over US $ 20 billion (2022)

·        Comprehensive and Economic Partnership Agreement (CEPA) since 2011

·        Industries Competitiveness Partnership

·        Japan was the 4th largest investor in India in FY2020.

Culture ·        Buddhism

·        Healthcare: Narrative of AHWIN (Japan’s) for AYUSHMAN Bharat

Investment and ODA ·        India has been the largest recipient of the Japanese Official Development Assistance (ODA) Loan for the past decades. E.g., Delhi Metro, Western Dedicated Freight Corridor (DFC) and High-Speed Railways in India
Global Partnership ·        Both are members of G4, Asia-Africa Growth Corridor, Supply chain resilience initiatives, QUAD
Space ·        LUPEX Mission (India’s lunar lander and Japanese rover will explore the moon)
Nuclear Cooperation ·        India-Japan Nuclear Deal 2016 will help India build the six nuclear reactors in southern India
Digital Infrastructure Cooperation ·        Cooperation in promoting joint projects for digital transformation in various fields like 5G, Open RAN, Telecom Network Security, submarine cable systems, and Quantum Communications.
Challenges ·        Climate change and WTO talks ( Japan siding with developed countries); Japan’s frosty relations with Russia (Kuril Island dispute)
Conclusion Relations between two power can greatly support stability in the world. Also, Japan can help in India’s rise e.g. India’s quest to become a global semiconductor Chip Manufacturing hub

 

Insta Links

70 YEARS OF INDIA-JAPAN TIES

 

Mains Links

The India-Japan relationship is facing challenges due to the changing global geopolitical scenario. Analyse the challenges and suggest measures to address them. (250 Words)

 

Prelims Links

Consider the following countries: ( UPSC 2018)

  1. Australia
  2. Canada
  3. China
  4. India
  5. Japan
  6. USA

Which of the above are among the ‘free-trade partners’ of ASEAN?

(a) 1, 2, 4 and 5
(b) 3, 4, 5 and 6
(c) 1, 3, 4 and 5
(d) 2, 3, 4 and 6

 

Ans: C

Technology and Innovation Report 2023

GS Paper 3

Syllabus: Awareness of Science and Technology

 

Source: UN News

 

Context: The Technology and Innovation Report 2023 was recently released by UNCTAD.

  • It highlights the opportunities that green innovation – goods and services with smaller carbon footprints offer developing countries to spur economic growth and enhance technological capacities.

 

Key Highlights from the report:

  • The report analyses the market size of 17 green and frontier technologies, such as artificial intelligence, the Internet of Things, and electric vehicles, and their potential to create jobs.
  • Widening North-South Divide: While countries in the EU reach a Research & Development expenditure of 3% of GDP, only a few developing countries reach 1% of GDP expenditure.
  • Most countries have increased their climate-change-related, green official development assistance (ODA).
  • Within the UN system, Global Environmental Facility (GEF) is the largest public sector funding source for transferring Environmentally Sound Technologies (ESTs).

 

India’s ranking:

  • India remains the greatest overperformer ranking at 67 positions better than expected, followed by the Philippines (54 positions better) and Viet Nam (44 better).

 

Key recommendations:

  • UNCTAD calls on their governments and business communities to invest in more complex and greener sectors, boost technical skills and scale up investmentsin the technology infrastructure needed to grow green industries.

 

Insta Links:

Science, Technology and Innovation (STI) policy

High-speed internet: How will India develop a 6G network?

GS Paper 3

Syllabus: Science and Technology

 

Source: Indian Express

 Context: Prime Minister has unveiled a vision document for the rollout of 6G communications technology in India by 2030 titled Bharat 6G.

  

The vision document has been prepared by the Technology Innovation Group on 6G (TIG-6G) constituted by the Department of Telecommunications (DoT).

  • 6G Vision is based on principles of Affordability, Sustainability, and Ubiquity.
  • The Vision is fully aligned with the national Vision of Atmanirbhar Bharat and will seek to empower every Indian to become Atmanirbhar (self-reliant) in their lives.

 

What is India’s 6G roadmap?

  • The 6G project will be implemented in two phases, and the government has also appointed an apex council to oversee the project and focus on issues such as standardisation, identification of the spectrum for 6G usage, create an ecosystem for devices and systems, and figure out finances for research and development etc.
  • In phase one, support will be provided to explorative ideas, risky pathways and proof-of-concept test
  • Ideas and concepts that show promise and potential for acceptance by the global peer community will be adequately supported to develop them to completion, establish their use cases and benefits, and create implementational IPs and testbeds leading to commercialisation as part of phase two.

 

What is India’s immediate action plan?

  • The apex council will facilitate and finance research and development, design and development of 6G technologies by Indian start-ups, companies, research bodies and universities.
  • A key focus of the council will be on new technologies such as Terahertz communication, radio interfaces, tactile internet, artificial intelligence for connected intelligence, new encoding methods and waveforms chipsets for 6G devices.

 

How are other regions looking at the 6G rollout?

  • South Korea has outlined a 6G research and development, for attaining global leadership, developing key original technologies, making significant contributions to international standards and patents, and building a strong foundation for 6G research and industry.
  • In Japan, the Integrated Optical and Wireless Network (IOWN) Forum has published its Vision 2030 white paper for 6G,

 

Insta Links:

6G – facts for prelims

 

India’s disputed compensatory afforestation policy at odds with new IPCC report

GS Paper 3

 Syllabus: Conservation, Environmental Pollution and Degradation, Environmental Impact Assessment

 

Source: TH

 Context: India’s compensatory afforestation policy that allows forests in one part to be cut down and replaced with those elsewhere is contested on many grounds.

 

Background:

  • Afforestation is part of India’s climate pledges – adding a carbon sink of 2.5-3 GtCO2e through additional forest and tree cover by 2030.
  • According to the Forest (Conservation) Act 1980, the project proponent that wishes to divert the land must identify land elsewhere to afforest and pay for the afforestation exercise.
  • Afforestation is also codified in the Compensatory Afforestation Fund Management and Planning Authority (CAMPA) – a body created on the SC’s orders in 2002 and chaired by the Union Environment Minister.
  • CAMPA is meant to promote afforestation and regeneration activities as a way of compensating for forest land diverted to non-forest uses (dam or mine).
  • It was made a legal requirement through the Compensatory Afforestation Fund (CAF) Act 2016.

 

Why is afforestation contested?

  • According to the Synthesis Report of the IPCC, the preservation of natural ecosystems rather than restoring the destroyed ones is being recognised as an important means to mitigate climate change.
  • According to the CAG report (2013), most of the money (~Rs 47,000 crore in 2019) in the CAMPA fund had been unspent.
  • CAMPA has also come under fire for facilitating the destruction of natural ecosystems → adversely impacting livelihood, biodiversity, hydrology and the climate.
  • Planting non-native species or artificial plantations wouldn’t compensate for the ecosystem loss as well be hazardous to the existing ecosystem.
  • For example, the Haryana govt is planning to develop the world’s largest curated safari using CAMPA funds received from deforestation in Great Nicobar.

 

Significance of the natural ecosystems: Provides biodiversity, local livelihoods, hydrological services and sequester carbon.

 

Recommendations: Renewable energy projects like wind and solar plants must be promoted to mitigate the adverse impacts of natural ecosystem diversion.

 

Challenges for India:

  • Many solar parks in India have triggered conflicts with people living nearby.
  • Wind farms in the Western Ghats had reduced the abundance and activity of predatory birds, which consequently increased the density of lizards.

 

Conclusion:

  • Climate actions, such as technologies to combat climate change, renewable energy farms, etc. should not come at the cost of natural ecosystems.
  • Not degrading existing ecosystems in the first place will do more to lower the impact of the climate crisis than restoring ecosystems that have been destroyed.

Related news: DTE

 

Context: CSE-DTE releases 2023 State of India’s Environment report.

 

Findings of the report:

●       The year 2022-2023 saw two huge trends in terms of the environment: The reversal of gains for the energy transition and the overwhelming impact of climate change.

●       In 2022, India witnessed extreme weather events on 271 days out of 304 days, which claimed over 2,900 lives.

●       Over 30,000 water bodies have been encroached on in the country.

●       India is generating 150,000 tonnes of municipal solid waste every day – more than half of which is either dumped in landfills or remains unattended.

●       Four years and 11 months is the average duration of life lost to air pollution in India and rural India is losing more years.

●       Environmental crimes continue unabated and courts need to decide on 245 cases every day to clear the backlog.

●       India’s overall global rank in meeting the UN-mandated SDGs has slipped to 121/163 in 2022.

 

Insta Links:

The problems with Compensatory Afforestation in India

 

Content for Mains Enrichment (CME)


Story on Happiness

A sage named Narada travels to find the happiest person in the world but fails to find one until he meets a poor farmer who is always content and happy despite his poverty.

 

Narada asked him to teach him how to be happy like him. The farmer then gave Narada a small bag of rice and told him to carry it on his back and walk around the village. Narada was confused but followed the farmer’s instructions. But the more he walked, the heavier the bag of rice became. Narada soon realized that the bag was becoming a burden, and he was starting to feel tired and unhappy. He went back to the farmer and told him about his experience. The farmer smiled and said, “Happiness is not about what you have or what you do. It’s about how you carry your burdens.”

 

Narada understood the lesson and realized that happiness is not something that can be found outside of oneself. It comes from within, from having faith, gratitude, and contentment, no matter what one’s circumstances may be.

 

Usage: The example can be used in Essay paper on themes related to Happiness

 

Shaheed Diwas

 Source: IE

Shaheed Diwas is observed on 23rd March every year to pay tribute to the sacrifice of Bhagat Singh, Sukhdev, and Rajguru who were executed by the British government in 1931 for mistakenly assassinating a British police officer, John Saunders (although their target was British police superintendent, James Scott—who was involved in the death of Lala Lajpat Rai)

  • The day is also known as Sarvodaya Day or Martyrs’ Day.
  • It is different from the Martyrs’ Day observed on 30th January, which commemorates the assassination of Mahatma Gandhi.
Ethical Lesson Examples from Bhagat Singh’s Life
Patriotism Bhagat Singh believed in the idea of an independent, socialist India, and was willing to sacrifice his life for the cause.
Courage He and his associates carried out a bombing of the Central Legislative Assembly in Delhi to protest against the repressive British regime, and then courted arrest by shouting slogans.
Selflessness Bhagat Singh refused to accept the offer of a job from a wealthy family in order to stay true to his revolutionary ideals.
Justice and Fairness He went on a hunger strike in jail to protest the inhumane treatment of prisoners, and to draw attention to the cause of Indian independence.
Integrity When he was offered a deal by the British government to save his life in exchange for renouncing his revolutionary ideals, he refused to accept it.

 


Facts for Prelims (FFP)


Khandagiri, Udaygiri caves

 Source: New Indian Express

 Context: The Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) has warned that Khandagiri and Udaygiri caves are eroding and the speed of deterioration has been rapid in the last 10 years.

 

About Khandagiri – Udaygiri Caves:

  • Udayagiri and Khandagiri Caves have created during the reign of Kalinga King Kharavela in the first and second centuries BC, near modern-day Bhubaneswar.
  • Between the 7th and 12th centuries, Udayagiri, also known as Madhavapura Mahavihara, was a major Buddhist centre.
  • Udayagiri has 18 caves whereas Khandagiri has 15 caves. Each of these caves has various inscriptions either in Brahmi script or Devanagari script.
  • Hathi Gumpha, Ananta Gumpha, Ganesha Gumpha, Jaya Vijaya Gumpha, Mancapuri Gumpha, Bagha/Vyaghra/Vyaghra Gumpha, and Sarpa Gumpha are all famous caves.

 

Lily Thomas SC verdict

 Source: IE

 Context: A Surat court sentenced Congress leader (Rahul Gandhi) to two years in jail in a 2019 defamation case and also granted him bail and suspended his sentence for 30 days to allow him to appeal.

 

Background:

  • As per Section 8(3) of the Representation of the People Act 1951, conviction of a lawmaker for an offence with a two-year sentence or more leads to disqualification from the House.
  • As per Section 8(4) of the RPA the disqualification takes effect only after three months have elapsed from the date of conviction.
    • Within that period, the convicted lawmaker could have filed an appeal against the sentence before a higher court.
  • However, this provision was struck down as “unconstitutional” in the SC’s landmark 2013 ruling in ‘Lily Thomas v Union of India’.

 

Options available after conviction:

  • Get his conviction stayed by a higher court.
  • Approaching the President. As per Article 103 of the Constitution, the disqualification case of an MP will be decided by the President in consultation with the Election Commission.

 

Call Before u Dig application

 Source: Indian Express

Context: Prime Minister launched the ‘Call Before u Dig’ (CBuD) app, to facilitate coordination between excavation agencies and underground utility owners to prevent damage to utilities due to digging.

 

Need for the app:

  • An initiative of the Department of Telecommunications, Ministry of Communications, aims to prevent damage to underlying assets like optical fibre cables that occurs because of uncoordinated digging and excavation, leading to losses of about Rs 3,000 crore every year.
  • It will save potential business loss and minimise discomfort to the citizens due to reduced disruption in essential services like road, telecom, water, gas and electricity.

 

How does the app work?

The CBuD app will connect excavators and asset owners through SMS/Email notifications and click-to-call so that there are planned excavations in the country while ensuring the safety of underground assets.

 

DigiClaim

 Source: PIB

 Context: Union Ministry of Agriculture & Farmers Welfare has launched the National Crop Insurance Portal’s digitized claim settlement module namely DigiClaim under the ambit of Pradhan Mantri Fasal Bima Yojana (PMFBY)

  • Developed by the integration of the National Crop Insurance Portal (NCIP) and the Public Finance Management System (PFMS)

  

Benefits: 

  • It will disburse claims electronically, thus easing the lives of insured farmers and providing them with sustainable financial support.
  • It is part of the Indian government’s effort to make farmers self-reliant and strong.
  • DigiClaim will reduce claim reversal and enable farmers to track their claim settlement process in real-time through their mobile phones
  • Farmers’ claims will be processed directly to their respective bank accounts in a transparent and accountable manner.

 

Other technology being used in PFMS: Weather Information and Network Data Systems (WINDS), Yield Estimation System based on Technology (YES-Tech), Collection of Real-Time Observations and Photographs of Crops (CROPIC), and Farmer Grievance Portal

 

About PFMS:

Description
About Launched in 2016 and is being administered by the Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers Welfare.
Eligibility Farmers including sharecroppers and tenant farmers growing notified crops in the notified areas are eligible for coverage.
Objectives ·        To provide insurance coverage and financial support to the farmers in the event of failure of any of the notified crops as a result of natural calamities, pests & diseases. To stabilize the income of farmers

·        To encourage farmers to adopt innovative and modern agricultural practices

·        To ensure investment in the agriculture sector.

Premium ·        Kharif crops (2%), 1.5% for all Rabi crops and 5% for commercial and horticultural crops.

·        Premium over and above these limits is shared by the Central and State Governments on a 50:50 basis

·        The scheme is now optional for loanee farmers (since 2020)

·        Since February 2020, the central government has limited its premium subsidy to 30% for unirrigated areas and 25% for irrigated ones (previously no upper limit of subsidies)

Scope PMFBY is currently the largest crop insurance scheme in the world in terms of farmer enrolments.

 

Patent monopoly/evergreening

 Source: TH

 Context: India rejects Johnson & Johnson’s attempt to extend monopoly on lifesaving TB drug – Bedaquiline.

 

Background:

  • Bedaquiline is a crucial drug in the treatment of multi-drug resistant TB patients for whom the first-line drug treatment (Isoniazid, Rifampicin, Pyrazinamide and Ethambutol) has stopped working.
  • Over 55,000 patients benefited from access to Bedaquiline in India in 2019.
  • When J&J filed for evergreening of its patent on fumarate salt (a formulation of Bedaquiline), its patent evergreening practice was challenged by two TB survivors in 2019.

 

Why is Patent Monopoly/Evergreening?

  • It is a practice of modifying drugs (without improving efficacy) in order to extend their patent life and profitability.
  • Evergreening → establishes monopoly → undermines competition.
  • The Indian Patents Act, 1970 prohibits the mischievous practice of evergreening of patents → making the drugs affordable and promoting domestic generic drug markers.

 

Indian Patent Office’s order in the J&J case:

  • The claimed invention is not patentable since it was obvious and lacked an innovative step mandated under Section 3(e) of the Patents Act.
  • According to Patents Act Section 3(d), derivatives of well-known compounds and salt forms are not patentable.

 

Candida auris

 Source: BBC 

Context: An emerging fungus called Candida auris is spreading rapidly and geographically, according to a warning from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

About Candida auris:

Feature Information
Type of organism Yeast-type fungus
Discovery First discovered in 2009 in the ear canal of a patient at the Tokyo Hospital (auris is Latin for the ear).)
Infections Can cause bloodstream infections, respiratory infections, central nervous system and organ infections, and skin infections
Mortality rate Estimated to be between 30% to 53% of patients affected by an invasive infection
Drug resistance Resistant to the most common types of antifungal drugs and some strains are resistant to all medicines
Spread Transmission is mainly through contaminated surfaces in hospitals, and can easily spread leading to outbreaks
Risk factors Higher risk in hospital settings, nursing homes, and for patients in intensive care. Also, those who have been on antibiotics for a long time have a higher risk
Difficulty in identification Identifying a C. auris infection is quite difficult and it can easily be mistaken for other fungi, leading to the wrong treatment
C. auris is usually harmless Most of the time, Candida yeasts live on our skin without causing problems, but they can cause infections if we are unwell or they get into the wrong place, like the bloodstream or the lungs.
Potential cause for rising infections Rising temperatures linked to climate change may have played a role in the rising number of infections
Other superbug fungi on the WHO priority watchlist Cryptococcus neoformans ( it lives in the environment (soil, decaying wood)), Aspergillus fumigatus (environmental mould) and Candida albicans (commonly found in human microbiota (mouth, throat, gut, vagina, and skin))

 

Desalination—a viable solution to water scarcity

Source: IE

Context: While around 70% of Earth’s surface is covered with water, less than 1% per cent is drinkable. The desalination of our oceans into drinking water has emerged as the ultimate means to drought-proof regions suffering from water poverty

Aspects of Desalination Description
Definition A process of removing salt and other minerals from seawater or brackish water to make it potable for human consumption
Techniques Thermal distillation or reverse osmosis membrane (uses the principle of osmosis to remove salt and other impurities, by transferring water through a series of semi-permeable membranes)
Global Usage Over 20,000 desalination plants operating in over 170 countries, with the largest in Saudi Arabia, UAE, and Israel
Examples Minjur Desalination Plant in Chennai ( using reverse osmosis, largest water desalination plant in India). Also, the Chennai-based National Institute of Ocean Technology (NIOT) will set up a Desalination plant in Lakshadweep

 

Environmental impact Desalination is highly energy-intensive and can have significant greenhouse gas emissions, and generate toxic brine effluent (concentrated salt water) that impacts marine ecosystems
Sustainable solutions Renewable energy can be used to power desalination plants for a more sustainable solution
Alternative to RO Desalination Technology Low-temperature Thermal Desalination (LTTD) – It works on the principle that water in the ocean 1,000 or 2,000 feet below is about 40 C to 80 C colder than surface water.

E.g. 100,000 litre-a-day plant in Kavaratti (Lakshadweep islands) based on LTTD is operational

Cost The cost of desalination has decreased from around $5 per cubic meter in the 2000s to 50 cents today
Future outlook Desalination may become a more important means of ensuring water security in regions suffering from water scarcity and climate change impacts

 

Ban on transgender women from female events

 Source: TH

World Athletics Council has voted to ban transgender women with Differences in Sex Development (DSD) who have undergone male puberty from competing in elite female competitions, effective from March 31.

  • DSD means a person’s sex development is different to most other people’s.

 

About the News Description
Reason for the Ban ·        Emerging science has shown that transgender women retain an advantage in strength, endurance, power, and lung capacity – even after suppressing testosterone.

·        To maintain fairness for female athletes above all other considerations.

·        To “protect the integrity and future of the female category”.

Other Sports Bodies to Ban Transgender Rugby and swimming
What is Testosterone? It is a hormone that is primarily produced in the testicles in males and in smaller amounts in the ovaries in females. It is responsible for the development of male physical characteristics such as increased muscle mass, bone density, and body hair.
Normal level of Testosterone Male: 10 to 35 nanomoles per liter (nmol/L)

Female0.5 to 2.4 nmol/L.

Level permitted by World Athletics All athletes with a difference in sex development would be barred from competing internationally in all events unless they reduced their testosterone to 2.5 nanomoles per litre for a minimum of six months
About World Athletics It is the international governing body (founded in 1912; HQ: Monaco) for athletics, and it is responsible for setting rules and regulations, organizing international competitions, and promoting the sport worldwide. It has over 200 national member federations.

 

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