Argutes

Daily Current Affairs for UPSC Civil Services Exam – 14 October 2021

1. NGT Unique

  1. The Supreme Court has declared the National Green Tribunal’s (NGT) position as a “unique” forum endowed with suo motu powers to take up environmental issues across the country.
  2. The court said the NGT need not wait for the “metaphorical Godot” to knock on its portal to flex its considerable muscles to save the environment.
  3. The exercise of power by the NGT is not circumscribed by the receipt of applications.
  4. When substantial questions relating to the environment arise and the issue is civil in nature, the NGT, even in the absence of an application, can self-ignite action either towards amelioration or towards prevention of harm

About NGT

  1. It is a specialized body set up under the National Green Tribunal Act, 2010 for effective and expeditious disposal of cases relating to environmental protection and conservation of forests and other natural resources.
  2. NGT is mandated to make dispose of applications or appeals finally within 6 months of the filing of the same.
  3. The role of the NGT is not simply adjudicatory in nature.
  4. The Tribunal has to perform equally vital roles that were preventative, ameliorative or remedial in nature.
  5. The NGT is one of the most progressive Tribunals in the world.

Structure of NGT

  1. The Tribunal comprises the Chairperson, the Judicial Members, and Expert Members.
  2. They shall hold office for a term of 5 years and are not eligible for reappointment.
  3. The Chairperson is appointed by the Central Government in consultation with the Chief Justice of India (CJI).
  4. A Selection Committee shall be formed by the central government to appoint the Judicial Members and Expert Members.
  5. The Tribunal has jurisdiction over all civil cases involving substantial questions relating to the environment (including enforcement of any legal right relating to the environment).
  6. National Green Tribunal also has appellate jurisdiction to hear appeals as a Court (Tribunal).
  7. The Tribunal is not bound by the procedure laid down under the Code of Civil Procedure 1908, but shall be guided by principles of ‘natural justice.
  8. While passing any order/decision/ award, it shall apply the principles of sustainable development, the precautionary principle, and the polluter pays principle.
  9. There are to be at least 10 and a maximum of 20 full-time Judicial members and Expert Members in the tribunal.

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2. New Rules on Pregnancy

  1. The government has notified new rules under which the upper limit for termination of a pregnancy has been increased from 20 to 24 weeks for certain categories of women.
  2. According to new Rules, 2021, these categories include survivors of sexual assault or rape or incest, minors, and women whose marital status changes during an ongoing pregnancy, and women with physical disabilities.
  3. The new rules also cover mentally ill women, cases of fetal malformation that has a substantial risk of being incompatible with life
  4. The rules also cover if the child is born it may suffer from such physical or mental abnormalities to be seriously handicapped.
  5. Earlier, abortion required the opinion of one doctor if it is done within 12 weeks of conception and two doctors if it is done between 12 and 20 weeks.

Medical Board

  1. A state-level medical board will be set up to decide if pregnancy may be terminated after 24 weeks in cases of fetal malformation
  2. The function of the Medical Board shall be to examine the woman and her reports if she approaches for medical termination of pregnancy
  3. It provides the opinion with regard to the termination of pregnancy or rejection of a request for termination within three days of receiving the request.
  4. The Board has also been tasked to ensure that the termination procedure, when advised by it, is carried out with all safety precautions along with appropriate counseling within five days of the receipt of the request for medical termination of pregnancy.

3. Draft Rules for Plastic Wase Management Rules

  1. The Union environment ministry has come out with a draft notification for regulation of extended producer responsibility under plastic waste management rules 2016.
  2. The draft specifies the quantity of waste that will have to be managed by producers, importers, and brand owners who generate plastic packaging waste in India

Insights

  1. EPR means the responsibility of a producer for the environmentally sound management of the product until the end of its life.
  2. People and stakeholders can submit objections or suggestions to the environment ministry on the draft within 60 days.
  3. EPR covers three categories of plastic packaging including rigid plastic packaging; flexible; plastic sheets, carry bags (including compostable plastics), plastic sachet or pouches; and multi-layered plastic packaging.
  4. This EPR target for producers increases to 70% in 2022-23 and 100% from 2023-24 onwards.
  5. EPR targets apply for importers and brand owners but the quantity would be different depending upon the quantity of packaging waste they are responsible for.
  6. For brand owners, the EPR target in 2021-22 shall be the average weight of fresh plastic packaging material purchased and introduced in the market in the last two years plus the average quantity of pre-consumer plastic packaging in the last two years.
  7. There are targets in the draft for recycling plastic packaging waste which is mostly 30 to 50% of EPR in 2023-24.
  8. Those plastics which cannot be recycled will be sent for end-of-life disposal such as road construction, waste to energy, waste to oil, cement kilns, etc
  9. The draft gives producers, importers, and brand owners of plastic waste an opportunity to trade in EPR certificates.
  10. They can use the surplus EPR certificates for offsetting the previous year’s shortfall; carry it forward for use in the succeeding year and sell it to other producers and brands.
  11. CPCB will draft guidelines for imposition and collection of environment compensation.
  12. All producers, importers, brands, recyclers, etc will have to be registered with CPCB through an online centralized portal.
  13. In case of irregularity or false information provided by them, the registration would be revoked for a five-year period, and /or a penalty may also be imposed.

4. New Cicadas discovered

  1. A new cicada species Platyomia kohimaensis was found in the Naga Hills, Nagaland almost after a century.
  2. No new cicada was discovered after those found by British entomologists in the Naga Hills in the early 1900s.
  3. The collection site of Platyomia kohimaensis was a semi-disturbed forest patch, with human activities as evident nearby in the form of farming and agricultural land.
  4. The main threat to many cicada species is their rapidly diminishing natural habitat, where they live and breed
  5. Some cicadas like Savazana mirabilis and Salvazana imperialism they discovered in Meghalaya prefer only certain tree species found in undisturbed forests.

What are cicadas

  1. Cicadas are hemipteran insects known for their loud, complex, and species-specific acoustic signals or songs.
  2. The generic diversity of cicadas in India and Bangladesh ranks the highest in the world, followed by China.
  3. Cicadas, with their acoustic signatures, act as indicators of a healthy forest ecosystem.
  4. As of now, it’s not even recognized as a taxon of significance.
  5. Most cicadas are canopy dwellers and are found in natural forests with large trees.
  6. The periodical cicada Chremistica ribhoi described in 2013 is confined to areas surrounding the Nongkhyllem Wildlife Sanctuary in Meghalaya.

5. TRAI Recorded top speed

  1. Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (Trai) has recorded the top speed of 4G at around 20 megabits per second in the Reliance Jio network in the country.
  2. The department has begun the process for the commercial launch of 5G in India. It has sought Trai”s views on the base price of the spectrum to be allocated for 5G services.

5G Technology

  1. 5G is the next generation of mobile broadband that will eventually replace, or at least augment 4G LTE connection.
  2. Operate in the millimeter-wave spectrum (30-300 GHz) which has the advantage of sending large amounts of data at very high speeds.
  3. Operate in 3 bands, namely low, mid and high-frequency spectrum.
  4. Reduced latency will support new applications that leverage the power of 5G, the Internet of Things (IoT), and artificial intelligence.
  5. Increased capacity on 5G networks can minimize the impact of load spikes, like those that take place during sporting events and news events.

6G Technology

  1. 6G (sixth-generation wireless) is the successor to 5G cellular technology.
  2. It will be able to use higher frequencies than 5G networks and provide substantially higher capacity and much lower latency (delay).
  3. One of the goals of the 6G internet will be to support one microsecond-latency communication (delay of one-microsecond in the communication).
  4. This is 1,000 times faster – or 1/1000th the latency – than one-millisecond throughput.
  5. It seeks to utilize the terahertz band of frequency which is currently unutilized.
  6. Terahertz waves fall between infrared waves and microwaves on the electromagnetic spectrum.
  7. These waves are extremely tiny and fragile, but there’s a huge amount of free spectrum up there that would allow for spectacular data rates.

6. Intermediate Mass Blackhole

Scientists from Chennai Mathematical Institute, with their collaborators, have analyzed data from the LIGO-VIRGO observatories and estimated the fraction of the binary black hole mergers detected so far that show potential to form intermediate-mass black holes. This throws light on the puzzle of how intermediate-mass black holes form.

BlackHoles

  1. Black holes form when a massive star undergoes a supernova explosion towards the end of its lifetime.
  2. The black hole forms from the remnants of the explosion.
  3. However, there are factors that place limits on the mass of a black hole so formed.
  4. Black holes with masses between approximately 45-135 times the solar mass are unlikely to be produced by standard stellar evolution as the pair-instability process either limits the max mass of the black hole or completely disrupts the star during the supernova explosion.
  5. The two detectors of the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory (LIGO) made the first observation of a pair of binary black holes on September 19, 2014.
  6. Since then with other gravitational wave observatories, about 40 mergers have been detected, of which nearly five have masses above 100 times the solar mass.

Puzzle

  1. What puzzles astronomers and cosmologists are that gravitational wave detectors have seen several such “intermediate-mass black holes”.
  2. One of the theories of intermediate-mass black hole formation has to do with ‘hierarchical growth’.
  3. That is, if the black holes exist among a dense cluster of stars, the remnant (black hole) of a merger can pair up with another black hole close by to form a binary.
  4.  This can eventually merge to form a second remnant which is more massive.
  5. This process, happening in a hierarchical manner, can explain intermediate-mass black hole formation.

LIGO- India

  1. The LIGO-India observatory is scheduled for completion in 2024 and will be built in the Hingoli District of Maharashtra.
  2. LIGO India is a planned advanced gravitational-wave observatory to be located in India as part of the worldwide network.
    The LIGO project operates three gravitational waves (GW) detectors.
  3. Two are at Hanford in the State of Washington, north-western USA, and one is at Livingston in Louisiana, south-eastern USA.
  4. The LIGO-India project is an international collaboration between the LIGO Laboratory and three lead institutions in the LIGO-India consortium: Institute of Plasma Research, Gandhinagar; IUCAA, Pune; and Raja Ramanna Centre for Advanced Technology, Indore.
  5. It will significantly improve the sky localization of these events.
  6. This increases the chance of observation of these distant sources using electromagnetic telescopes, which will, in turn, give us a more precise measurement of how fast the universe is expanding.

Kicks in mergers

  1. During the mergers, gravitational waves take away energy and linear momentum, as a reaction, the remnant black hole acquires an opposite momentum.
  2. This is the “kick” it receives.
  3. These kicks can be quite large, giving it a velocity of up to 1000 kilometers per second
  4. . If this kick velocity is above the escape velocity of the star cluster in which the black hole is formed, it literally escapes from the environment and moves out.
  5. This prevents it from undergoing further hierarchical mergers.
  6. The extent of the kick received by the remnant can be calculated from the masses of the merging black holes and their spin
  7. The kick estimates help understand which mergers have the possibility of undergoing further hierarchical mergers and forming into intermediate-mass black holes.

7. ePLI bond

  1. Department of Posts, Ministry of Communications, launched the digital version of the Postal Life Insurance policy bonds, also termed as “ePLI bond”, on the occasion of Azadi Ka Amrit
  2. It is the Department of Posts’ first digital integration with Digilocker which will greatly facilitate citizens in a meaningful way by providing ease of access and quick claim settlements.
  3. ePLI bond is made available in collaboration with DIGILOCKER, National eGovernance Division (NeGD), Ministry of Electronics & IT (MeitY) Government of India.
  4. ​​DigiLocker has been providing a secure cloud-based platform for storage, sharing, and verification of documents & certificates for various organizations.
  5. By securely logging in to the Digilocker, the user can download the digital copy of the Policy bond on their mobile phone.
  6. Both the Postal Life Insurance (PLI) as well as the  Rural Postal Life Insurance (RPLI) policy bonds are available in electronic form.
  7. ePLI policy bonds having a digital signature is valid proof as per the Rule 9A of the Information Technology Rules.
  8. It shall be treated at par with the original policy bond issued by the Department of Posts for processing all types of Financial & Non-financial requests related to PLI/RPLI.

8. Global Girlhood Report 2021: Girls’ rights in crisis

It is a global report released by the organization Save the Children released on International Day of the Girl.

Highlights of the Report

  1. Child Marriage Kills More Than 60 Girls A Day
  2. More than an estimated 22,000 girls a year are dying from pregnancy and childbirth resulting from child marriage
  3. With the highest rate of child marriage in the world, West and Central Africa account for nearly half (9,600) of all estimated child marriage-related deaths globally, or 26 deaths a day.
  4. South Asia sees 2,000 child marriage-related deaths every, followed by East Asia and the Pacific with 650 deaths, and Latin American and the Caribbean, with 560 annual deaths
  5.  COVID-19 pandemic has worsened inequalities that drive child marriage.
  6. A further 10 million girls are now expected to marry by 2030 leaving more girls at risk of dying.
  7. Gender inequality continues to fuel child marriage, as revealed in a national report from Save the Children in Nigeria.
  8. On focusing in Nigeria there is a belief that children born to young mothers are healthier and smarter is widespread among many communities. There’s also a common perception that younger girls “refresh” older men with their “younger blood.”
  9. Child marriage practice is still widespread in Burkina Faso which has one of the highest rates of child marriage globally.