3rd May 2021 | UPSC Current Affairs
3rd May Current Affairs MCQs
Python-5 air-to-air missiles
Relevance: Science and Technology
Context: Tejas Aircraft Adds 5th-Generation Python-5 Air-to-Air Missile.
What is Python- 5?
- Python-5 is a fifth-generation air-to-air missile (AAM) manufactured by Rafael Advanced Defence Systems of Israel. The missile can engage enemy aircraft from very short ranges and near beyond visual range.
- It has a speed of Mach 4 and an operational range of more than
- It is a dual-use missile suitable for air-to-air and surface-to-air missions. It integrates a fifth-generation imaging seeker, modern software, advanced infrared counter-countermeasure (IRCCM) and flight control systems.
- It weighs 105kg. It can carry an 11kg high explosive fragmentation warhead equipped with an active laser proximity fuse.
- It is also equipped with the lock-on-before launch (LOBL) and lock-on-after launch (LOAL) In LOAL mode, the target information is transmitted from the launch aircraft to the missile.
- Tejas is a single-engine, fourth-generation, multirole light fighter designed by the Aeronautical Development Agency (ADA) in collaboration with the Aircraft Research and Design Centre (ARDC) of Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) for the Indian Air Force and Indian Navy.
- It has a maximum payload capacity of 4000 kg and can attend the maximum speed of Mach 1.8.
- The range of the aircraft is 3,000km
- Tejas is an indigenously manufactured Light Combat Aircraft (LCA). Notably, this is among the world’s smallest and lightest multi-role fighter aircraft belonging to the Supersonic class.
- Tejas has many advanced features like Beyond Visual Range Missile capabilities, Air-to-Air Refuelling and Air-to-Ground weapons.
Context: Several houses and buildings were damaged after an earthquake of magnitude 6.4 on the Richter scale hit Assam.
What is an earthquake?
- An earthquake is what happens when two blocks of the earth suddenly slip past one another. The surface where they slip is called the fault or fault plane. During an earthquake, vibrations caused by the breakage of rock along a fault zone radiate outward from the point of rupture. The instrument used to record and measure these vibrations is called a
- The location below the earth’s surface where the earthquake starts is called the hypocentre, and the location directly above it on the surface of the earth is called the
What Causes Earthquakes?
- Tectonic plates are constantly moving due to convection currents triggered by molten lava inside the earth’s crust. This constant movement leads to either the plates sliding against each other or drifting away from each other.
- When these plates move against each other, there is a point where they interact this point is known as a fault line. This fault line is sometimes known as a fracture in the earth’s crust.
- The moment the plates begin to move, the potential energy, commonly known as stored energy, is released from the hypocentre. The outcome is an earthquake.
Types of Earthquakes
- Tectonic Earthquakes– The tectonic plates are capable of moving slowly and gradually. The movement of these plates occurs in different forms; towards each other, away from each other, sliding past each other or colliding with each other. A huge tremor occurs when 2 moving tectonic plates slide over one another. This type of earthquake is known as a tectonic earthquake.
- Volcanic Earthquakes– These are less prevalent. They typically take place before or after an eruption.
- Explosion Earthquakes– These are caused by nuclear explosions. They are, essentially, man triggered kinds of earthquakes and represent the biggest impact of modern-day nuclear war.
- Collapse Earthquakes- They are sometimes referred to as mine bursts. Collapse earthquakes are instigated by the pressure generated within the rocks. This kind of earthquake leads to the collapse of the roof of the mine instigating more tremors.
What is the Richter scale?
- The Richter magnitude scale was developed in 1935 by Charles F. Richter of the California Institute of Technology as a mathematical device to compare the size of earthquakes.
- The magnitude of an earthquake is determined from the logarithm of the amplitude of waves recorded by seismographs.
- Adjustments are included for the variation in the distance between the various seismographs and the epicentre of the earthquakes. On the Richter scale, magnitude is expressed in whole numbers and decimal fractions.
- In theory, the Richter scale has no upper limit, but, in practice, no earthquake has ever been registered on the scale above magnitude 8.6.
Context: Saudi Arabia has launched the Saudi Green Initiative and Middle East Green Initiative
About the Saudi Green Initiative
- The Saudi Green Initiative aims to raise the vegetation cover, reduce carbon emissions, combat pollution and land degradation, and preserve marine life.
- It aims to reduce carbon emissions by more than 4% of global contributions, through a renewable energy programme that will generate 50% of Saudi’s energy from renewables by 2030.
- As part of the initiative, 10 billion trees will be planted in the Kingdom.
- Saudi Arabia is working towards raising the percentage of its protected areas to more than 30% of its total land area, representing roughly 6,00,000 sq km, exceeding the global target of 17%.
About Middle East Green Initiative
- As part of the Middle East Green initiative, Saudi Arabia will work with the Gulf Cooperation Council countries and regional partners to plant an additional 40 billion trees in the West Asian region.
- It represents 5% of the global target of planting one trillion trees and reducing 2.5% of global carbon levels.
- Saudi Arabia will be sharing its expertise and know-how with its neighbouring countries to reduce carbon emissions resulting from hydrocarbon production in the region by 60% and globally by 10%.
- The aim is to start implementing the plan in the fourth quarter of 2021 and continue for the next two decades.
- Saudi Arabia will convene an annual summit called the Middle East Green Initiative which will host leaders from the government, scientists and environmentalists to discuss the details of implementation.
- In partnership with participating countries, innovative methods will be researched to irrigate trees from treated water, cloud seeding and other purpose-driven solutions such as planting native trees which requires support for three years to grow and will then be able to survive on their own with natural irrigation.
About Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC)
- The GCC was established by an agreement concluded on 25 May 1981 in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.
- The GCC is a political and economic union of Arab states bordering the Gulf. Its 6 members are the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Oman, Kuwait and Bahrain.
- The GCC Headquarters are in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.
- The GCC Charter states that the basic objectives are to have coordination, integration and inter-connection between the Member States in all fields, strengthening ties between their peoples, formulating similar regulations in various fields such as economy, finance, trade, customs, tourism, etc.
Advanced Chaff Technology
Relevance: Science and Technology
Context: Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) develops Advanced Chaff Technology to safeguard naval ships from missile attack.
About Advanced Chaff Technology
- Chaff is an electronic countermeasure technology used by militaries worldwide to protect naval ships or other sensitive targets from radar and radio frequency (RF) guiding mechanisms of the enemy missile.
- The chaff rockets deployed in the air reflect as multiple targets for the missile guidance systems and deflecting adversary missiles, thus protecting their assets.
- Chaff is thin pieces of aluminium, metallized glass fibre or plastic, which either appears as a cluster of primary targets on radar screens or swamps the screen with multiple returns.
- DRDO’s facility Defence Laboratory Jodhpur (DLJ) has indigenously developed three variants of this critical technology, namely Short Range Chaff Rocket (SRCR), Medium-Range Chaff Rocket (MRCR) and Long Range Chaff Rocket (LRCR).
- A small quantity of chaff material, when deployed in the air, acts as a decoy and deflects the enemy’s missiles, thereby keeping India’s ships safe.
Difference between chaff and flares:
- Both chaff and flares are defensive countermeasures deployed by military aircraft. The purpose is to confuse radar-guided or infrared-guided anti-aircraft missiles fired so that they could be diverted.
- Chaff is composed of much small aluminium or zinc coated fibres stored on-board the aircraft in tubes. In case the aircraft feels threatened by any radar tracking missiles, chaff is ejected into the turbulent wake of air behind the plane.
- Flares however are useful in distracting the heat-seeking missiles. Mostly magnesium pellets are ejected from the tubes to ignite while being followed by an aircraft behind. The flares burn at more than 2000 Fahrenheit and emit high amounts of infrared light.
- DRDO is the R&D wing of the Ministry of Defence, with a vision to empower India with cutting-edge defence technologies and a mission to achieve self-reliance in critical defence technologies and systems, while equipping our armed forces with state-of-the-art weapon systems and equipment following requirements laid down by the three Services.
- DRDO was formed in 1958 from the amalgamation of the then already functioning Technical Development Establishment (TDEs) of the Indian Army and the Directorate of Technical Development & Production (DTDP) with the Defence Science Organisation (DSO). Today, DRDO is a network of more than 50 laboratories.
- DRDO is India’s largest research organisation. It has a network of laboratories engaged in developing defence technologies covering various fields, like aeronautics, armaments, electronics, land combat engineering, life sciences, materials, missiles, and naval systems.
Relevance: Science and Technology
Context: PM CARES to fund 1 lakh portable oxygen concentrators.
What are Oxygen Concentrators?
- An oxygen concentrator is a medical device that concentrates oxygen from ambient air. Atmospheric air has about 78 per cent nitrogen and 21 per cent oxygen, with other gases making up the remaining 1 per cent.
- The oxygen concentrator takes in this air, filters it through a sieve, releases the nitrogen back into the air, and works on the remaining oxygen.
- This oxygen, compressed and dispensed through a cannula, is 90-95 per cent pure. A pressure valve in concentrators helps regulate supply, ranging from 1-10 litres per minute.
How are concentrators different from oxygen cylinders and Liquid medical oxygen (LMO)?
- Oxygen concentrators are the easiest alternatives to cylinders but can only supply 5-10 litres of oxygen per minute (critical patients may need 40-50 litres per minute) and are best suited for moderately ill patients.
- Concentrators are portable and unlike LMO that need to be stored and transported in cryogenic tankers, need no special temperature. And unlike cylinders that require refilling, concentrators only need a power source to draw in ambient air.
About PM CARES Fund
- The Prime Minister’s Citizen Assistance and Relief in Emergency Situations Fund were created on 28 March 2020, following the COVID-19 pandemic in India. The fund will be used for combat, and containment and relief efforts against the coronavirus outbreak and similar pandemic like situations in the future.
- Donations to PM CARES Fund would qualify for 100% exemption under the Income Tax.
- Donations to PM CARES Fund will also qualify to be counted as Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) expenditure under the Companies Act, 2013
- PM CARES Fund has also got exemption under the Foreign Contribution Regulation Act, 2010 and a separate account for receiving foreign donations has been opened.
- Objectives :
- To undertake and support relief or assistance of any kind relating to a public health emergency or any other kind of emergency, calamity or distress, either man-made or natural, including the creation or up-gradation of healthcare or pharmaceutical facilities, other necessary infrastructure, funding relevant research or any other type of support.
- To render financial assistance, provide grants of payments of money or take such other steps as may be deemed necessary by the Board of Trustees to the affected population.
- Constitution of the Trust :
- Prime Minister is the ex-officio Chairman of the PM CARES Fund and Minister of Defence, Minister of Home Affairs and Minister of Finance, Government of India are ex-officio Trustees of the Fund.
- The Chairperson of the Board of Trustees (Prime Minister) shall have the power to nominate three trustees to the Board of Trustees who shall be eminent persons in the field of research, health, science, social work, law, public administration and philanthropy.
- Any person appointed a Trustee shall act in a pro bono capacity.
Relevance: Health-related issues
Context: Breakthrough infections amongst fully vaccinated healthcare workers in Kerala is emerging as a new concern.
What are Breakthrough infections?
- Vaccines are hailed to be the greatest weapons against the invisible enemy SARS-CoV-2 that causes COVID-19. However, there remains a bleak possibility that the virus may find a way to attack those who have already been inoculated. This scenario is known as ‘vaccine breakthrough infection’ where the pathogen infiltrates the immune response generated by the vaccines.
- The chances of infection after full vaccination are relatively less. In India, just 0.04% of such re-infection cases have been reported so far, according to the country’s apex medical body the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR).
Why do breakthrough infections happen?
- No vaccine is 100% effective against any viral disease. Hence, all types of vaccine, be it Moderna or Pfizer or Covaxin and have small chances of causing breakthrough infection. In addition, it must be noted that vaccines are a shield against severe forms of COVID-19 and not an infection. They reduce the chances of disease-related mortality and help patients recover fast.
- It takes at least two weeks for vaccines to develop an immune response after getting the shots. Therefore, during this period, the chances of contracting the virus are equivalent to the person who has not received the shots.
- There are also chances that the emerging mutant forms of the coronavirus may trigger infection again and evade the defence response induced by vaccines.
- The Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR), New Delhi, the apex body in India for the formulation, coordination and promotion of biomedical research, is one of the oldest medical research bodies in the world.
- The ICMR is funded by the Ministry of Health & Family Welfare. The Council’s research priorities coincide with the National health priorities, such as control and management of communicable diseases, fertility control, maternal and child health, control of nutritional disorders, etc.
- ICMR continues to provide extramural funding to strengthen research capabilities within the institutes of the council as well as other research institutes, medical colleges and Non-Governmental Organizations for various research projects.
- Mission of ICMR
- Generate, manage and disseminate new knowledge
- Increase focus on research on the health problems of the vulnerable, the disadvantaged and marginalized sections of the society
- Harness and encourage the use of modern biology tools in addressing health concerns of the country
- Encourage innovations and translation related to diagnostics, treatment, methods/vaccines for the prevention of diseases.
- Inculcate a culture of research in academia especially medical colleges and other health research institutions by strengthening infrastructure and human resources.
Relevance: Science and Technology
Context: Indian Scientists have developed a high-yielding and pest-resistant variety of soybean called MACS 1407.
More on News:
- This newly developed variety is suitable for cultivation in the states of Assam, West Bengal, Jharkhand, Chhattisgarh and North-Eastern states.
- Its seeds will be made available to farmers for sowing during the 2022 Kharif season.
- It has been developed by scientists from MACS– Agharkar Research Institute(ARI), Pune, an autonomous institute of the Department of Science & Technology in collaboration with the Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR), New Delhi.
- It is resistant to major insect pests like girdle beetle, leaf miner, leaf roller, stem fly, aphids, whitefly and defoliators.
- Its thick stem, higher pod insertion (7 cm) from the ground, and resistance to pod shattering make it suitable even for mechanical harvesting. It is suitable for rain-fed conditions in northeast India.
Global Electric Vehicle (EV) Outlook 2021
Relevance: Reports and Indices
Context: International Energy Agency (IEA) has released the Global Electric EV Outlook 2021 Report.
More on News:
- The Global EV Outlook is an annual publication that identifies and discusses recent developments in electric mobility across the globe.
- It is developed with the support of the members of the Electric Vehicles Initiative (EVI).
- According to the report, Sales of electric vehicles (EVs) hit a record in 2020, a milestone fueled by climate-conscious buyers who can be choosier and pay less in an increasingly competitive market.
- The report highlighted that the number of electric vehicles worldwide is expected to increase to 145 million by 2030.
- The agency’s Global EV Outlook 2021 estimates the number of electric vehicles across the globe by the end of the decade could eliminate the need for more than 2 million barrels a day of gasoline and diesel fossil fuels.
The National Conference on Agriculture for Kharif Campaign-2021
Context: Union Minister of Agriculture & Farmers Welfare inaugurated ‘The National Conference on Agriculture for Kharif Campaign-2021.
More on News:
- The conference was organized through video conference to interact with the States on challenges & strategies for effective crop management during the ensuing Kharif season.
- During the conference, the discussion was held to review and assess the preparedness for management of Kharif crops and ensuring availability of seeds, pesticides, fertilizers, machinery and their prepositioning at Block levels.
- Besides this, the discussion also took place on preparedness for the drought-like situation if it occurs in any district, integrated nutrient management and integrated pest management, crop diversification and increasing farmer’s income.
- It focused on strategy for the production of oilseeds and pulses; marketing of Rabi crops and procurement at MSP, action plan and advisory/guidelines for agriculture management in the wake of the COVID pandemic.
- The ministry has announced the setting of higher production targets of food grains from 301.92 to 307 million tonnes for the year 2021-22 in comparison to production targets for the previous corresponding year 2020-21.
- As per the 2nd advance estimate, the achievements are likely to be 34 million tonnes for the year 2020-21.
- Higher production targets for pulses and oilseeds are the necessity of the nation to reduce our dependency on import and to achieve the dream of Aatmanirbhar Bharat.
Sustainable Livelihoods for Tribal Households in India
Relevance: Government schemes and initiatives
Context: Tribal Cooperative Marketing Development Federation of India Limited (TRIFED) joined hands with The LINK Fund to work towards tribal development.
More on News:
- TRIFED, as the nodal agency working for the empowerment of Tribals, has been focusing its efforts on finding new ways to improve the lives and the livelihoods of the tribal people.
- With this objective in mind, TRIFED has entered into a collaborative project titled “Sustainable Livelihoods for Tribal Households in India” with The LINK Fund.
- TRIFED and The LINK Fundhave entered into a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to work together towards Tribal Development and employment generation by providing support to tribal for increasing value addition in their produce and products.
- As a part of this association, both the organizations will also work together to creating women-centred infrastructure and innovation and entrepreneurship.
- The LINK Fund is a practitioner-led fund that, headquartered in Geneva, Switzerland and works to end extreme poverty and mitigate the effects of climate change.
Relevance: International Relations
Context: The UK has become the first country to announce the regulation of the use of self-driving vehicles at slow speeds on motorways.
More on News:
- The British government has said that it was working on specific wording to update the country’s Highway Code for the safe use of self-driving vehicle systems.
- It added that the government will start with Automated Lane Keeping Systems (ALKS) – which use sensors and software to keep cars within a lane, allowing them to accelerate and brake without driver input.
- According to the government, the use of ALKS would be restricted to motorways, at speeds under 60 km per hour.
About Self-driving vehicles:
- Self-driving vehicles are cars or trucks in which human drivers are never required to take control to safely operate the vehicle.
- While design details vary, most self-driving systems create and maintain an internal map of their surroundings, based on a wide array of sensors, like radar.
Global Forest Goals Report 2021
Context: United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs (UN-DESA) has released the Global Forest Goals Report 2021.
- This report calls for greater sustainability and a greener, more inclusive economy to tackle the threats of COVID-19, climate change and the biodiversity crisis faced by forests.
- It provides an initial overview of progress towards achieving the six Global Forest Goals and their 26 associated targets as contained within the United Nations Strategic Plan for Forests 2030.
- The United Nations Strategic Plan for Forests 2017-2030 was created with a mission to promote sustainable forest management and enhance the contribution of forests and trees to the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.
- The Plan recognizes that to create a world in which forests could provide economic, social, environmental and cultural benefits for present and future generations, they will be needed by humanity in the first place.
- The first Global Forest Goal in the Plan provides for increasing forest area by three per cent by 2030.
Network for Greening the Financial System (NGFS)
Context: Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has joined the Central Bank and Supervisory NGFS.
- It was launched at the Paris One Planet Summit in December 2017.
- The NGFS is a group of Central banks and supervisors willing to share the best practices and contribute to the development of the environment and climate risk management in the financial sector.
- It also aims to mobilise mainstream finance to support the transition towards a sustainable economy.
RBI expects to benefit from the membership of NGFS by learning from and contributing to global efforts on Green Finance which have assumed significance in the context of climate change
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