Argutes

Daily Current Affairs for UPSC Civil Services Exam – 01 December 2021

1. Zero Defect Zero Effect Scheme

Union Minister for MSME in a written reply to Rajya Sabha today informed that approximately 23,948 MSMEs had registered with intent to adopt the principle of the Zero Defect Zero Effect Scheme (ZED).

About the scheme

  1. The objective of the scheme for promotion of Zero Defect and Zero Effect (ZED) manufacturing amongst micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs)
  2. The ZED Assessment for their certification so as to:
    • Develop an Ecosystem for Zero Defect Manufacturing in MSMEs.
    • Promote adaptation of Quality tools/systems and Energy Efficient manufacturing.
    • Enable MSMEs for manufacturing of quality products.
    • Encourage MSMEs to constantly upgrade their quality standards in products and processes.
    • Drive manufacturing with the adoption of Zero-Defect production processes and without impacting the environment.
    • Support ‘Make in India’ campaign.
    • Develop professionals in the area of ZED manufacturing and certification.
    • There are 50 parameters for ZED rating and additional 25 parameters for ZED Defence rating under ZED Maturity Assessment Model.
  3. The MSMEs are provided financial assistance for the activities to be carried out for ZED certification i.e., Assessment / Rating, Additional rating for Defence angle, Gap Analysis, Handholding, Consultancy for improving the rating of MSMEs by Consultants and Re-Assessment / Re-Rating.
  4. Quality Council of India (QCI) has been appointed as the National Monitoring & Implementing Unit (NMIU) for the implementation of ZED.
  5. The scheme is an extensive drive to create proper awareness in MSMEs about ZED manufacturing and motivate them for assessment of their enterprise for ZED and support them.
  6. After ZED assessment, MSMEs can reduce wastages substantially, increase productivity, expand their market as IOPs, become vendors to CPSUs, have more IPRs, develop new products and processes etc,

2. Young Water Professional Program

The Indian Institute of Technology Guwahati, Australia India Water Centre, and Western Sydney University virtually launched the first edition of the India Young Water on 29th November 2021.

Indo-Australia partnership

  1. Both the countries highlighted that water is a key priority area of collaboration between India and Australia and both countries are working actively on this front.
  2. It is also noted that the Young Water Professional Program is a significant milestone in the India-Australia relationship and will go a long way in institutional strengthening and capacity building.
  3. India is not running out of water, in fact, water is running out of India. However, the shortage in India is of storage, not of water.
  4. Even though Independent India since 1947 has built more than 5800 large dams, the storage is abysmally small.
  5. India needs to look at newer opportunities through campaigns like ‘catch the rain, where it falls and when it falls which was launched under National Water Mission.”

Significance of the launch

  1. The launch of the India Young Water Professional Program marks a significant milestone in the Australia-India collaboration in the field of water conservation.
  2. This program will be implemented by the Australia India Water Centre (a consortium of Australian and Indian universities).
  3. This initiative aims to provide a structured platform for capacity building with strategic and long-term investment to support the water management reforms in India.
  4. The objectives are to equip water professionals with the necessary skills, knowledge, behaviors, and networks that will better enable them to contribute to the development and management of water resources in India

About the Program

  1. This program is unique and different from typical capacity building and training programs. It is focused on the Engaged Training and Learning Model.
  2. About 70% of the program is focused on project-based learning through Situation Understanding and Improvement Projects (SUIP).
  3. The Program focuses on gender equality and diversity because sustainable water management can only benefit from the views and skills of all members of society.
  4. A total of 20 participants have been selected for the first edition of this program (10 men and 10 women) from central and state implementing agencies of the National Hydrology Project

3. Groundwater Level In India

About 33% of wells registered a decline in groundwater levels in the range of 0 to 2 meters, the Ministry of Jal Shakti said, noting that a decline of more than four meters has also been observed in a few pockets of cities like Delhi, Chennai, Allahabad, Kanpur, and Lucknow.

Responding to a question in Rajya Sabha, the Ministry noted that the Central Ground Water Board (CGWB) is periodically monitoring the groundwater levels throughout the country, including metro cities, on a regional scale, through a network of monitoring wells.

Insights

  1. In order to assess the decline in water level on a long-term basis, the water level data collected by CGWB during November 2020 has been compared with the decadal average (2010-2019).
  2. The analysis of water level data indicated that about 33% of the wells monitored have registered declines in groundwater levels in the range of 0–2 meters.
  3. The decline of more than 4 meters has also been observed in a few pockets of Delhi, Chennai, Indore, Coimbatore, Madurai, Vijayawada, Dehradun, Jaipur, Allahabad, Ghaziabad, Kanpur, and Lucknow

Central Ground Water Board

  1. It is a subordinate office of the Ministry of Water Resources, Government of India
  2. It is the National Apex Agency entrusted with the responsibilities of providing scientific inputs for management, exploration, monitoring, assessment, augmentation, and regulation of groundwater resources of the country.
  3. Central Ground Water Board was established in 1970 by renaming the Exploratory Tube wells Organization under the Ministry of Agriculture, Government of India.
  4. It is headed by the Chairman and has four main wings, namely (i) Sustainable Management & Liaison (SML), (ii) Survey, Assessment & Monitoring (SAM), (iii) Exploratory Drilling & Materials Management (ED&MM) and (iv) Water Quality & Training and Technology Transfer (WQ&TT).
  5. Each wing is headed by a Member. The administrative & financial matters of the Board are being dealt with by the Director (Administration) and Finance & Accounts Officer (FAO) respectively.

4. Multidimensional Poverty Index

Three districts in Uttar Pradesh have nearly 70 percent and above population who are multidimensionally poor, and Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, and Madhya Pradesh combined have the top 10 districts with the highest poverty ratio among states, according to the Multidimensional Poverty Index (MPI) report prepared by the NITI Aayog.

The MPI uses the globally accepted methodology developed by the Oxford Poverty and Human Development Initiative (OPHI) and the UN Development Programme (UNDP).

Highlights of the Report

  1. Kerala is a standout state with the lowest percentage of the population being multidimensionally poor at 0.71%, with nine out of its 14 districts having a poverty ratio of less than 1%.
  2. Kottayam is an outlier district with not even a single poor person.
  3. This is based on data analyzed from the first-ever MPI report, which puts the all-India poverty ratio at 25.01%.
  4. The MPI seeks to measure poverty across its multiple dimensions and in effect complements existing poverty statistics based on per capita consumption expenditure.
  5. It has three equally weighted dimensions — health, education, and standard of living — which in turn are represented by 12 indicators such as nutrition, school attendance, years of schooling, drinking water, sanitation, housing, bank accounts, among others.
  6. Among states, Bihar has the highest proportion of people  at 51.91% of its population  who are multidimensionally poor.
  7. Eleven Bihar districts have a poverty ratio above 60%, with the highest rate of 64.75% in Kishanganj, followed by Araria (64.65%), Madhepura (64.43%), Purba Champaran (64.13), and Supaul (64.10%).
  8. The lowest ratio was in Patna at 29.20%, followed by Bhojpur (40.50%), Siwan (40.55%), Rohtas (40.74%), and Munger (40.99%).
  9. Three districts in Uttar Pradesh have a poverty ratio of nearly 70% and more: Shrawasti (74.38%), Bahraich (71.88%), and Balrampur (69.45%). Lucknow has the lowest poverty ratio in the state at 12.16%, followed by Kanpur Nagar (14.34%), Gautam Budh Nagar (17.08%), and Ghaziabad (17.47%).
  10. Nine out of Kerala’s 14 districts had a poverty ratio of less than 1%, with Kottayam’s ratio at zero percent, followed by Ernakulam (0.10%). The highest ratio in the state is in Wayanad district at 3.48 percent. The overall poverty ratio in Kerala is 0.71%.
  11. Union Territory of Puducherry has among the lowest multidimensional poverty in each of its four districts: Yanam at 5.18%, Karaikal at 3.13%, Puducherry at 1.30%, and Mahe at 0.08%. The overall poverty ratio in UT is 1.72%.

Click here to know about Global Multidimensional Poverty Index

5. First privately developed cryogenic rocket engine

Spacetech start-up Skyroot Aerospace announced last week that it has successfully tested Dhawan-1, India’s first privately developed fully cryogenic rocket engine.

Insights

  1. Named in honor of Indian rocket scientist Satish Dhawan
  2. The rocket successfully demonstrates the technology that will power the upper stages of its upcoming Vikram-2 orbital launch vehicle, one of three launch vehicles Skyroot has designed specifically for the small satellite market.
  3. Vikram-1 can carry a payload of up to 225 kilograms to a 500 kilometer sun-synchronous polar orbit (SSPO), or 315 kilograms to 45-degree inclination 500 kilometer low Earth orbit (LEO).
  4. The largest rocket, Vikram-3 can transport 580 kilograms to SSPO, or 720 kilograms to LEO.
  5. All vehicles can be assembled and launched within 72 hours from any launch site.
  6. Dhawan-1’s engine has been developed using 3D printed technology and is fuelled by Liquid Natural gas (LNG), which is considered the rocket fuel of the future, and Liquid Oxygen (LoX) – a high-performance, low-cost, and clean rocket fuel.
  7. This is a completely ‘Made-in-India’ cryogenic engine developed using 3D printing with a superalloy, reducing manufacturing time by more than 95 percent.
  8. A liquid-fuelled launch vehicle is propelled by burning liquid fuel mixed with oxidizer and although an LNG propulsion system is considered to have lower performance
  9. But it does have advantages such as; a lower risk of explosion, less costly propellants and the fuel is less evaporable in space, meaning it is suitable for a vehicle that travels to space for a prolonged period.

Skyroot

  1. Founded in 2018 by former ISRO rocket scientists
  2. Skyroot has also reportedly signed a launch deal with satellite provider Dhruva Space as the company gears up to raise an additional $40 million next year to fund its booster development.
  3. The company also raised $11 million and signed a memorandum of understanding with Precious Payload, a New York City-based company that helps arrange rocket launches for satellite producers.
  4. Skyroot is now looking to expand its team by hiring a project management lead, aerospace systems development lead, avionics integration, and test engineers, to name just a few of the available positions.

6. Central Bank Digital Currency

The ministry of finance in a written reply to a question regarding the Central Bank Digital Currency or the CBDC has said that it has received a proposal from the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) in October 2021 for an amendment to the Reserve Bank of India Act, 1934 to enhance the scope of the definition of ‘bank note’ to include currency in digital form.

Insights

  1. Central Bank Digital Currency (CBDC) is introduced by a Central Bank.
  2. RBI has been examining use cases and working out a phased implementation strategy for the introduction of CBDC with little or no disruption.
  3. The introduction of CBDC has the potential to provide significant benefits, such as reduced dependency on cash, higher seigniorage due to lower transaction costs, reduced settlement risk.
  4. The introduction of CBDC would also possibly lead to a more robust, efficient, trusted, regulated, and legal tender-based payments option.
  5. There are also associated risks that need to be carefully evaluated against the potential benefits
  6. Unregulated cryptocurrencies can destabilize the macro-economy and create big speculative bubbles. To that extent, the RBI is right.

Cryptocurrency and Regulation of Official Digital Currency Bill

  1. The Cryptocurrency and Regulation of Official Digital Currency Bill, 2021, notified in a Lok Sabha bulletin days ago, seeks to prohibit all private cryptocurrency.
  2.  On top of that, it also seeks to introduce a digital currency of its own, backed by the Reserve Bank of India.
  3. It also proposed to create a facilitative framework for the creation of the official digital currency to be issued by the Reserve Bank of India.
  4. Further, it sought to allow for certain exceptions to promote the underlying technology of cryptocurrency and its uses.

Click here to know more

7. Credit Card from PVC

  1. HSBC India has launched India’s 1st credit card made from recycled PVC (Polyvinyl chloride) plastic.
  2. The cards have been introduced in partnership with global cards manufacturer IDEMIA to gradually eliminate single-use PVC plastic.
  3. The cards are made from 85 per cent recycled plastic and each card will save 3.18gm of plastic waste in addition to helping lower overall carbon emission.
  4. The card was launched as a part of a new program launched by HSBC Group to introduce sustainable cards across all its global locations to support its global commitments to sustainability and a net-zero in its operations by 2030.