News: June 18, 2020

Sub: Science And Technology
Topic: Research and Technology
Weightage:
Category: Prelims & Mains

 

News: 1/10

Civil Aviation

Acts

Aircraft (Amendment) Bill, 2020

  • The Bill converts three existing bodies under the Ministry of Civil Aviation into statutory bodies under the Act.  These three authorities are:
    1. Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) - DGCA carries out safety oversight and regulatory functions 
      • For regulatory functions, DGCA co-ordinates with the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO).
    2. Bureau of Civil Aviation Security (BCAS) - BCAS carries out regulatory oversight functions related to civil aviation security
    3. Aircraft Accidents Investigation Bureau (AAIB) - AAIB to carry out investigations related to aircraft accidents and incidents
  • Each of these bodies will be headed by a Director General who will be appointed by the centre.  

Drones

  • As per DGCA requirements, drone pilot training organisations must have at least three serviceable remotely piloted aircraft (RPA) of one type at any given time. RPAs are drones that can be flown beyond the visual line of sight. Once an institution fulfils these requirements, the DGCA will approve them as an  Remote pilot training organisations (RPTOs), initially for a period of five years
  • Students will be awarded course completion certificates on clearing the exam with a minimum of 70% marks.

draft Unmanned Aircraft System (UAS) Rules, 2020

  • Unmanned Aircraft (UA) classified based upon the Maximum All-Up-Weight (including payload) of the UA: Nano- (250g), micro (upto 2kg), small (upto 25kg), medium (upto 150kg), large (more than 150kg)
  • No UAS or part or component thereof shall be imported or manufactured in India unless Certificate of Manufacture is obtained
  • All flights of an unmanned aircraft need permission through online platform
  • No person other than a ‗Qualified Remote Pilot‘ under these rules shall operate a UAS in India except the Nano class of UA.
  • An imagery may be captured by an unmanned aircraft except in the non permissible area
  • No Unmanned Aircraft shall carry or drop any payload, unless as specified by the Director-General.
  • Third party insurance compulsory for all UAs

[In News]

  • June, 20
    • DGCA to decide about middle seat occupancy
    • Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) has brought out a draft circular that proposes to allow interested organisations under the Central and State governments. Currently only few organisations are permitted to operate as RPTOs with primary focus on training fixed wing aircrafts pilots. Now, entities selected by the DGCA will be able to train drone pilots and grant commercial pilots licences and private pilot licences.
    • Food delivery apps seeking permissions for drone delivery
  • Aug, 20
    • Directorate General of Civil Aviation allows operations to resume in Karipur airport, Kerala after crash

Sub: History
Topic: Ancient and Medieval India
Weightage:
Category: Prelims & Mains

 

News: 2/10

Books from medieval era in focus

  • Nizam al-Mulk
    •  Siyasatnama - about government and administration 
    • He was a scholar and wazeir during Ghaznavid dynasty.

Sub: Geography
Topic: India Physical Setiings
Weightage:
Category: Prelims & Mains

 

News: 3/10

Mountain Passes In Focus

Passes sorted by states

  • Arunachal Pradesh
    • Bum La
    • Tulung La
  •  Sikkim
    • Naku La
  •  Uttarakhand
    • Lipulekh pass - At trijunction of China, India and Nepal

[In News]

  • June 20
    • Last time shots were fired in 1975 at Tulung La

Sub: Economics
Topic: Banking, Finance and Tax System Finance and Banking - India
Weightage:
Category: Prelims & Mains

 

News: 4/10

Reserve Bank of India (RBI)

Established under Reserve Bank of India Act, 1934, RBI controls monetary and other banking policies of the government.

RBI has four subsidiaries, earlier National Housing Bank(NHB) was also a subsidiary of RBI

  1. Deposit Insurance and Credit Guarantee Corporation of India(DICGC)
  2. Bharatiya Reserve Bank Note Mudran Private Limited(BRBNMPL)
  3. Reserve Bank Information Technology Private Limited (ReBIT)
  4. Indian Financial Technology and Allied Services (IFTAS)

Initiatives in focus

Payments Infrastructure Development Fund (PIDF)

  • To encourage acquirers to deploy Points of Sale (PoS) infrastructure - both physical and digital modes - in tier-3 to tier-6 centres and north eastern states.
  • RBI will make an initial contribution of ₹250 crore to the PIDF, covering half of the fund, while the remaining contribution will be from card-issuing banks and card networks operating in the country
  • PIDF will be governed through an Advisory Council and managed and administered by RBI.
  • RBI will also contribute to yearly shortfalls, if necessary.

RBI loan moratorium scheme

  • As per the RBI circular, banks and other financial institutions are permitted to provide a moratorium of three months for all term loan installments which are due for payment between 1 March and 31 May.
    • It has been extended till August
    • Banks can restructure loans from large corporates, MSMEs, and individuals to help stem the rising stress on incomes and balance sheets. Individual borrower's loan can be extended by 2 years by year end.
  • Term loans will include all kinds of retail loans such as vehicle loan, home loan, and personal loan, agricultural term loans as well as crop loans. It will also include credit card dues
  • The RBI has asked all banks, financial institutions including housing finance companies, non-banking finance companies, small finance banks, regional rural banks, small finance banks, local area banks to provide moratorium.
  • Interest will continue to be charged during the moratorium

Others

  • All urban and multi-State cooperative banks to come under the direct supervision of the RBI
    • Currently cooperative banks are regulated by their respective states under Registrar of Cooperative Societies
  • RBI has asked all banks / NBFCs to disclose names of all digital lending platforms on their websites. Also immediately, after sanction but before execution of the loan agreement, the sanction letter shall be issued to the borrower on the letter head of the bank/ NBFC concerned

Terminology

  • MFIs - MFI are small lending institutions that give tiny loans to low-income borrowers typically at an interest rate of 22-25 percent. They mainly source money from banks.
  • Moratorium  - A moratorium period is a time during the loan term when the borrower is not required to make any repayment.

Tools

RBI uses many tools to regulate credit and monetary policy in country.

  • Repo Rate -The rate of interest at which RBI lends money to banks, RBI buys government bonds and agrees to sell them back to banks at a fixed rate.
    • Repo Linked Lending Rate (RLLR) = Repo Rate + Margin charged by the bank.
    • Repo Rate is used for controlling inflation, and Reverse Repo Rate is used for controlling money supply. 
  • Reverse Repo Rate: The interest rate at which RBI borrows funds from banks for the short term, often for one day. Reverse Repo Rate is always lower than Repo Rate. An increase in Reverse Repo Rate provides incentive to banks to park their surplus funds in RBI and buy government bonds in return. thus decrease liquidity in market.
  • Open Market Operations (OMO): Open Market Operations is the sale and purchase of government securities and treasury bills by RBI to regulate money supply in economy
  • Long Term Repo Operations (LTRO): Under LTRO, RBI provides longer term (one to three year) loans to banks at the prevailing Repo Rate. As banks get long-term funds at lower rates, their cost of funds falls. In turn, they reduce interest rates for borrowers.
    • Targeted LTRO / TLRTO: Under Targeted LRTO funds are to be deployed in investment grade bonds, commercial paper (CPs) and non-convertible debentures (NCDs) of Non-Banking Financial Companies (NBFCs) and Micro Finance Institutions (MFIs)
  • Operation Twist
    • Operation twist involves the simultaneous purchase and sale of government securities to bring down long-term interest rates, and push up short-term rates. Business investment and housing demand are primarily determined by longer-term interest rates, so this is done to reduce long term interest rates,
    • RBI will sell short term bonds and use the funds to buy long term bonds. This raises their demand and hence prices., and this inflated price reduces the yield (interest) of the borrower, thus lowering the interest on long term bonds.
      • Bond yields and prices are inversely correlated.

Fund lending

  • Base Rate
    • Base Rate is the minimum interest rate of a bank below which it cannot lend, except in some cases allowed by the RBI.
    • It varied from bank to bank.
    • Base rate calculation is based on cost of funds, margin or profit, operating expenses and cost of maintaining cash reserve ratio
  • MCLR (Marginal Cost of funds based Lending Rate) - From financial year 2016-17 banks in country shifted from base rate to MCLR to compute their lending rate, as banks were reluctant to change their base rates to reflect Repo Rate.
    • MCLR refers to the minimum interest rate of a bank below which it cannot lend
    • MCLR is a tenor linked internal benchmark. The actual lending rates are determined by adding the components of spread to the MCLR. Banks will review and publish their MCLR of different maturities, every month, on a pre-announced date. 
      • Tenor means the amount of time left for the repayment of a loan
    • MCLR is based on marginal cost of funds, tenor premium, operating expenses and cost of maintaining cash reserve ratio.
      • Marginal cost of funds = (92% x Marginal cost of borrowings) + (8% x Return on net worth) 
      • Marginal cost of borrowing refers to - average rates at which deposits of a similar maturity were raised in the specified period preceding the date of review, weighed by their outstanding balance in the bank’s books. It is based on  interest rate which banks pay to depositors.
    •  MCLR is largely determined by marginal cost of funds and especially by deposit rates and Repo Rates
    • Banks were still lethargic to lower their rates, and usually offered home loans linked to six month or one-year MCLR, So RBI, in October 2019 announced that all new floating rate personal or retail loans (housing, auto etc.) shall be linked to an external benchmark. 
  • External benchmark rate (EBR): Lending rate based on an external benchmark.
    • Banks are free to choose from any of the external benchmark mentioned below:
      • RBI's Repo Rate
      • Government of India 3-Months Treasury Bill yield published by the Financial Benchmark India Private Ltd (FBIL)
      • Government of India 6-Months Treasury Bill yield published by the FBIL
      • Any other benchmark market interest rate published by the FBIL
    • Interest rate applicable on home loans = external benchmark + bank's spread (margin) + risk premium

[In News]

  • June, 20
    • A supreme court bench asked RBI, whether the moratorium would eventually lead to payment of interest on interest deferred for six months. Solicitor-General said that moratorium is a deferment and not a waiver, and waiving the interest completely will not be easy for banks and MFIs as they have to pay interest to their depositors.
    • In wake of PMC scam, and to bring more transparency, all urban and multi-State cooperative banks under the direct supervision of the RBI. CPI(M) is opposing the move
    • RBI comes heavily on banks/NBFCs as it found violations of fair practices (high interest, low transparency) by digital platforms that were acting as agency of theses lenders.
  • July, 20
    • RBI says it deployed several tools to maintain abundant liquidity in market.
  • Aug, 20
    • RBI allows loan restructuring but has not extended the moratorium in its third review of the monetary policy since the COVID-19 pandemic

Sub: Society
Topic: Human Development Health
Weightage:
Category: Prelims & Mains

 

News: 5/10

Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking

Global

  • United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC)
    • World Drug Report, 2020
      • In its annual report, UNODC cautions about hardships from pandemic could lead to increase in drug abuse.
      • India had fourth highest seize of opium in 2018 after Iran, Afghanistan and Pakistan.

India

Scheme of Prevention of Alcoholism and Substance (Drug) Abuse

  • Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment is the nodal Ministry for drug demand reduction in India, and has been implementing this scheme since 1985-86. Recent revisions were made in 2015 and a tollfree Drug-de-Addiction Helpline was started
  • The Ministry recognizes drug abuse as a psycho-socio-medical problem, which can be best handled by adoption of a family/community-based approach by active involvement of NGOs/CBOs.
  • Under this scheme, financial assistance up to 90% of the approved expenditure is given to the voluntary organizations and other eligible agencies for setting up/running Integrated Rehabilitation Centre for Addicts (IRCAs). In the case of North-Eastern States, Sikkim and Jammu & Kashmir, the quantum of assistance is 95% of the total admissible expenditure
  • The Scheme provides financial support to NGOs and employers mainly for the following items:
    • Awareness and Preventive Education
    • Drug Awareness and Counselling Centres (CC)
    • Integrated Rehabilitation Centres for Addicts (IRCAs)
    • Workplace Prevention Programme (WPP)
    • De-addiction Camps (ACDC)
    • NGO forum for Drug Abuse Prevention
    • Innovative Interventions to strengthen community based rehabilitation
    • Technical Exchange and Manpower development programme
    • Surveys, Studies, Evaluation and Research on the subjects covered under the scheme.

Drug Abuse

  • Article 47 of the Constitution provides that “The State shall regard the raising of the level of nutrition and the standard of living of its people and the improvement of public health as among its primary duties and, in particular, the State shall endeavor to bring about prohibition of the consumption except for medicinal purposes of intoxicating drinks and of drugs which are injurious to health.
  • Nasha Mukt Bharat / drug-free India campaign -  for 272 vulnerable districts, launched by the Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment 

[In News]

  • June, 20
    • World Drug Report by UNODC
  • Aug, 20
    • 38 people died over 48 hours in three districts of Punjab allegedly after consuming spurious liquor.
      • Death toll rises to 98

Sub: Economics
Topic: Banking, Finance and Tax System Finance and Banking - India
Weightage:
Category: Prelims & Mains

 

News: 6/10

Qualified Institutional Placements (QIP)

SEBI has allowed companies to make two qualified institutional placements (QIPs) with a gap of just two weeks between them. Earlier it used to be a gap of six months. Also

Qualified Institutional Placements (QIP)

  • QIP is a capital raising tool wherein a listed company can issue equity shares, fully and partly convertible debentures, or any security other than warrants that are convertible into equity shares. But unlike in an IPO or an FPO, only listed institutes can participate in a QIP.
  • The company needs to have 10% of the securities issued under mutual funds. No individual allottee is allowed to have more than 50% of the total amount issued
  • SEBI introduced the QIP process in 2006, to prevent listed companies in India from developing an excessive dependence on foreign capital.

Sub: Geography
Topic: India Physical Setiings
Weightage:
Category: Prelims & Mains

 

News: 7/10

Lakes and Rivers in focus

Lakes

  • Ladakh
    • Pangong Tso lake
  • Maharashtra
    • Lonar lake
      • Lonar lake in Buldhana district had turned pink.
      • CSIR-NEERI and Geological Survey of India will give their findings in 4 weeks, about glass formation  on surface of lake
      • As per study by Pune based institute, the pink coloration is due to Haloarchaea or halophilic archaea bacteria. the bacteria is found in salt saturated water bodies. The coloration is supposed to be temporary

Rivers

Himalayan rivers

  • Brahmaputra River
    • Originates from Angsi glacier near Mansarovar Lake, and enters India along the eastern side of Namcha Barwa mountains
    • Tributaries : Subansiri, Bhareli, Manas, Sankos, Jaldhaka, Tista on right bank; Dibang, Lohit, Dhansiri, Kolong on left bank
  • Indus River
    • Tributaries
      • Shyok River - Flows through northern Ladakh and enters Gilgit Baltistan. Originates in Siachen Glacier
  • Ganges
    • Tributaries
      • Ghaghra River
        • Tributaries
          • Kali River (Mahakali, Sharda) - originates in the Pithoragarh district in Uttarakhand, and flows along western boundary of Nepal. Dudhwa National Park in Uttar Pradesh lies in its basin

Peninsular rivers

East flowing rivers

  • Godavari
    • Largest river of peninsular India, it rises in Western Ghats near Nasik.
    • Major tributaries from left are Purna, Maner, Penganga, Pranhita (the combined Wardha and Wainganga), Indravati, Tal, and Sabri. Major tributary from right is Manjira
    • The delta is characterized by extensive mangrove swamps, mud-flats, lagoons and barrier splits
  • Krishna
    • Originates in Western Ghats near Mahabaleshwar
    • Major tributaries: Bhima, Tungbhadra
      • Tungbhadra:  Tungabhadra River is formed by the confluence of the Tunga River and the Bhadra River at Koodli which flow down the eastern slope of the Western Ghats in Karnataka. It joins Krishna River near Alampur Village in Telangana near Sangameshwara temple and Jogulamba temple
    • Dams - Nagarjuna Sagar dam
    • The delta is characterized by extensive mangrove swamps, mud-flats, lagoons and barrier splits
West flowing rivers
  • Sharavathi - West flowing river, which originates and flows entirely within Karnataka, and it houses Jog Falls
  • Periyar
    • It originates from the Sivagiri peaks of Sundaramala in Tamil Nadu.
    • Dams: Iduki dam,  Mullaperiyar dam
    • Tributaries - Muthirapuzha, Mullayar, Cheruthoni, Edamala, Chalakudy
      • Chalakudy
        • The river has its origin in the Anamalai region of Tamil Nadu. The river hosts Athirappilly hydroelectric project

Other rivers

  • Nag river - The river gives Nagpur city its name, and originates in Lava hills. There is a lobby which places its origin further below at Ambazari dam, so as to carry with industrialization in upper stretch.

[In News]

  • June, 20
    • Union government is going to take stock of water utilisation from the Krishna and Godavari rivers following Telangana to assess whether there will be surplus water for new projects
  • July, 20
    • Nagpur Bench of the Bombay High Court takes note of pollution in Nag river.
  • Aug, 20
    • With a considerable increase in the water level in the Mullaperiyar dam following heavy rain, Kerala has asked Tamil Nadu to initiate urgent measures to keep the storage in the dam at a manageable level
    • Heavy rainfall in Krishna, Bhima, Tungabhadra basin areas of Maharashtra is expected to increase inflows to various dams and barrages in the neighbouring state.

Sub: Science And Technology
Topic: Physics And Chemistry
Weightage:
Category: Prelims & Mains

 

News: 8/10

COVID Control

Drugs

  • Dexamethasone
    • Is an anti-inflammatory drug, and has gained traction for its success against corona virus
    • UK's 'RECOVERY Trial' study showed success with low doses of Dexamethasone to target lung inflammation
    • As per Clinical Management Protocol, it can be used as an alternative to methylprednisolone for managing moderate to severe cases.
    • Dexamethasone is part of the National List of Essential Medicines (NLEM)
  • Hydroxychloroquine (HCQ)
    • Anti-malarial drug, which was seen as part of preventive treatment against COVID
      • WHO in June said HCQ shows very limited success in reducing mortality rate of COVID patients. Following this, India lifted all bans on its export.
    • Cleared by Ministry of Health and Family Welfare for treatment of COVID-19 patients under emergency use
  • Methylprednisolone - anti-inflammatory drug used in COVID-19 treatment
  • Favipiravir
    • Sold under brand FabiFflu, is an anti-viral drug for COVID-19 patients from age group 18-75 with mild to moderate symptoms
    • Originally developed to treat influenza
  • Itolizumab 
    • From biocon, approved by ICMR for patients with moderate to severe acute respiratory distress
    • Normally used to cure skin ailment psoriasis
  • Remdesivir
    • Antiviral drug, cleared by Ministry of Health and Family Welfare for treatment of COVID-19 patients under emergency use for patients in moderate stage requiring oxygen support
    • As part of the agreements, the drugmakers will receive technology transfer of the manufacturing process for Remdesivir, and get to set their own prices for the generic product they produce.
    • The licenses are royalty-free until the World Health Organization (WHO) declares the end of the Public Health Emergency of International Concern regarding COVID-19 or until an alternative is approved to treat or prevent COVID-19, whichever is earlier.
  • Tocilizumab
    • Antiviral drug, cleared by Ministry of Health and Family Welfare for treatment of COVID-19 patients with moderate disease with progressively increasing oxygen requirements and in mechanically ventilated patients not improving despite use of steroids
    • Thwarts pro-inflammatory cytokines released by immune system
  • Covaxin
    • Drug Controller General of India (DCGI), Central Drugs Standard Control Organisation(CDSCO) has permitted phase-I and II of human clinical trials of ‘Covaxin’, the country’s first vaccine candidate for COVID-19, developed by Bharat Biotech in collaboration with ICMR-National Institute of Virology
    • It is an inactivated vaccine, wherein a dead virus is injected into the body to generate an antibody response
  • Sputnik V
    • The vaccine is based on an adenoviral vector which normally causes respiratory viral infections. Vectors are vehicles, which can induce a genetic material from another virus into a cell.
    • The gene from adenovirus, which causes the infection is removed, while a gene with the code of a protein from another virus spike is inserted. This inserted element is safe for the body but still helps the immune system to react and produce antibodies, which protect us from the infection.
    • Sputnik V uses two vaccines using two different vectors, the second vaccination takes place in 21 days for long lasting immunity

Initiatives

  • Clinical Management Protocol for COVID-19
    • By Directorate General of Health Services, Ministry of Health and Family Welfare
    • Symptoms - fever, cough, fatigue, shortness of breath, sore throat and diarrhoea. They have also complained of loss of smell (anosmia) or loss of taste (ageusia)
    • Risk factors - For ages more than 60 years, and in those with underlying non-communicable disease like diabetes, hypertension, cardiac arrest, etc.
    • Treatment
      • Mild COVID-19 cases - may be given symptomatic treatment such as antipyretic (Paracetamol) for fever and pain.
      • Moderate COVID019 cases - patients will be isolated in Dedicated Covid Health Centre (DCHC) or District hospital or Medical College hospitals.
      • Severe - Hydroxychloroquine (HCQ) may be considered for any of those having high risk features for severe disease
  • Policy Responses to COVID19: Policy tracker by International Monetary Fund, summarizes the key economic responses, governments are taking to limit the human and economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic
  • COVID-19 Economic Stimulus Index (CESI)
    • By Columbia University and World Bank, the index standardises the economic responses taken by governments, thus allowing use to study cross-country differences in policies
    • The two main components of index are: fiscal stimulus package (as a percentage of GDP) and the interest rate cut by the monetary policy authority 

Terminology

  • Pre-symptomatic spread - Pre-symptomatic spread is the transmission of the virus by people who don't look or feel sick, but will eventually get symptoms later. 
  • Asymptomatic spread  - Asymptomatic spread is the transmission of the virus by people who do not have symptoms and will never get symptoms from their infection.
  • Spike protein / S protein - A protein that protrudes from the surface of SARS-CoV-2 virus that attaches it to human enzyme ACE2 receptor, after which the virus enters the cell and makes multiple copies of itself.

Tests

  • Enzyme-Linked Immuno-Sorbent Assay antibody test (ELISA)
    • developed by National Institute of Virology in Pune along with Zydus Cadila. 
    • The blood sample is placed inside the small wells of an ELISA plate. These plates are coated with the antigen or the inactivated form of the virus. If the blood contains antibodies, it binds to the antigen and a substrate solution is added to the well. The reaction usually produces a colour change, thus detecting antibodies.
    • In India, the ELISA test for Covid-19 is only approved for serosurveys - which estimate the proportion of the population exposed to infection, and for surveys in high-risk areas and segments like containment zones
  • Rapid Antigen Detection Test (RADT)
    • Approved by ICMR. RADT checks for antigen production from a nasal swab.
      • An antigen means any toxin in the body which produces an immune response.
    • It takes about 30 minutes to give result. However rapid test has been found to have a higher chance of false negatives.
  • Real Time Reverse Transcription–Polymerase Chain Reaction (RT-PCR)
    • Real time RT–PCR is one of the most precise (and expensive) laboratory methods for detecting the COVID-19 virus.
    • Cleared by ICMR, it takes about 1 day to get result
    • Once the swab is taken, RT–PCR checks for virus's RNA
    • RT–PCR cannot be used for detecting past infections, only for active infections.
  • TrueNat
    • Commonly used for tuberculosis and HIV 
    • Cleared by ICMR, it works on same principle of RT-PCR. It involves taking nasal or oral swabs
    • The TrueNat machine is small and portable, mostly running on batteries, and provides result within 60 minutes.

A positive result from ELISA or rapid antibody test may not mean the person needs isolation or is infectious; it may simply mean the person was exposed to the virus and has developed antibodies. These two tests, being cheaper than RT-PCR, are employed in large-scale population surveys

Treatment

  • Convalescent plasma therapy
    • Convalescent plasma therapy is a passive immunisation process. It is simply the transfusion of plasma containing antibodies from immune survivors of infectious diseases to the affected individuals
    • As per protocol by Ministry of Health and Family Welfare , Convalescent plasma therapy may be considered for patients with moderate illness with no improvement in condition despite the use of steroids.

[In News]

  • June, 20
    • SARS-COVID 2, COVID-19
    • Drug approvals
  • July, 20
    • Russian vaccine clears first phase clinical trial.
    • ICMR cautions itolizumab, tocilizumab over claims of significantly reducing mortality rates
    • A new research shows spike protein changing its shape to hairpin form after attaching to ACE2 receptors
  • Aug, 20
    • Russia registers first COVID-19 vaccine

Sub: Geography
Topic: India Physical Setiings Resources
Weightage:
Category: Prelims & Mains

 

News: 9/10

Fossil Fuels

Coal

  • Most of the world’s coal was formed in Carboniferous age (Gondwana coal), about 350 million years ago
  • Based on amount of carbon, ash and moisture content, coals are classified into
    • Lignite : First stage of coal, 40-55% carbon, prone to self combustion
      • Peat : precursor to coat formation, it is soft organic material of decayed plants
    • Bituminous coal: Second stage of coal, about 40-80% carbon. USed for electricity, coke and gas.
    • Anthracite : High concentration of carbon

Initiatives in focus

  • 100% FDI has been allowed in coal and lignite mining subject to provisions of Coal Mines (Special Provisions) Act, 2015 and the Mines and Minerals (Development and Regulation) Act, 1957
  • FDI is also permitted for setting up processing plants like washeries provided company do not sell the washed or sized coal in the open market, but supply the processed coal back to those who are supplied them raw coal

Oil

  • Properties - upto 95% hydrocarbons, and rest is organic compounds like oxygen, nitrogen, sulphur
  • It is obtained from sedimentary rocks of earth, and formed 3 million years ago in tertiary period
  • India
    • In India, oil is mainly found in Mumbai High, Khambhat gulf, and Assam
    • Assam is the oldest oil producing state in India. Oil is mainly found in upper Assam area along Brahmaputra valley
      • Baghjan natural gas - Near Maguri-Motapung wetland and close to the Dibru-Saikhowa National Park
  • Extraction
    • Fracking -  Fracking or hydraulic fracturing is the process of creating fractures in rocks and rock formations by injecting specialized fluid into cracks to force them to open further. 

Global Bodies

  • Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC)
    • OPEC was founded in 1960 to coordinate the petroleum policies of its members and mutual corporation
    • Ecuador, Indonesia and Qatar were former members

Natural Gas

  • Consists mainly methane along with small percentage of carbon dioxide, nitrogen, sulfur
  • It is mainly found dissolved in oil or as gas cap above oil.
  • 70% of India’s natural gas reserves are found in the Bombay High basin and in Gujarat especially in Gulf of Khambhat or Cambay
  • Offshore gas reserves are also located in Assam, Andhra Pradesh coast (Krishna Godavari Basin) and Tamil Nadu coast (Cauvery Basin)

[In News]

  • June, 20
    • 100% FDI has been allowed in coal and lignite mining 
    • OPEC struggling in pandemic

Sub: International Relations
Topic: India and its neighbors
Weightage:
Category: Prelims & Mains

 

News: 10/10

Indo China Relations

Defence

Current conflict

  • Galwan river - Galwan river is a tributary of Shylok river, a tributary of Indus river. It flows from Aksai chin to Ladakh.
  • Pangong Tso - Lake in Ladakh and Tibet. Not part of Ramsar Convention
  • Five fingers of the Tibetan palm - Cited in the 1950s by Chinese officials, Xizang (Tibet) was China’s right palm, and it was its responsibility to 'liberate' the fingers, defined as Ladakh, Nepal, Sikkim, Bhutan, and the North East Frontier Agency (NEFA, or Arunachal Pradesh).

LAC agreements

  • Agreement on the Maintenance of Peace and Tranquillity along the Line of Actual Control in the India-China Border Areas, 1993
    • Neither side shall use or threaten to use force against the other by any means.
    • Two sides shall strictly respect and observe the line of actual control. No activities of either side shall overstep the line of actual control
  • Agreement on Confidence Building Measures in the Military Field along the Line of Actual Control in the India-China Border Areas, 1996
    • Neither side shall use its military capability against the other side.
    • The two sides reiterate their determination to seek a fair, reasonable and mutually acceptable settlement of the boundary question.
    • Reaffirmed in 2003 in Declaration on Principles for Relations and Comprehensive Cooperation between India and China
  • Confidence Building Measures in the Military Field Along the Line of Actual Control in the India–China Border, 2005
    • The differences on the boundary question should not be allowed to affect the overall development of bilateral relations
    •  The two sides will give due consideration to each other’s strategic and reasonable interests, and the principle of mutual and equal security.
    • The boundary should be along well-defined and easily identifiable natural geographical features to be mutually agreed upon between the two sides.
    • In reaching a boundary settlement, the two sides shall safeguard due interests of their settled populations in the border areas.
  • Working Mechanism for Consultation and Coordination of India-China Border Affairs (WMCC), 2012
    • WMCC is focussed on management of relations between the troops on the ground in border areas, the Special Representatives mechanism between the two countries is engaged in finding a solution to the vexed boundary issue between the two neighbours. 
    • It is headed by joint secretary-level officials from both sides
  • Border Defence Cooperation Agreement between India and China, 2013
    • The two sides shall implement border defence cooperation by exchanging information, by jointly combating smuggling, by assisting other side if a personnal or livestock crosses other's side.
    • Resolve border deference  through flag meetings and periodic meetings
    • Work with the other side in combating natural disasters or infectious diseases that may affect or spread to the other side
    • Two sides may establish Border Personnel Meeting sites in all sectors, as well as telephone contacts and telecommunication links
    • The two sides agree that they shall not follow or tail patrols of the other side in areas where there is no common understanding of the line of actual control 
    • In case a doubtful situation arises with reference to any activity by either side in border areas where there is no common understanding of the line of actual control, either side has the right to seek a clarification from the other side. 

Initiatives

  • The Chinese and Indian armies have agreed to not use unmanned aerial vehicles at the friction points in eastern Ladakh along the Line of Actual Control (LAC)

Trade

Belt and Road Initiative (BRI)

  • China proposed the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), erstwhile One Belt One Road, in 2013 to improve connectivity and cooperation on a transcontinental scale.
  • Bangladesh-China-India-Myanmar Economic Corridor (BCIM) is not part of initiative after India's reservations over China's expansion
  • CPEC : India opposes it as the road is bound to pass through Gilgit-Baltistan

Geography

  • Islands
    • East China sea
      • Senkaku Islands / Diaoyu Islands - disputed island between Japan and China

[In News]

  • June, 20
    • border talks
  • July, 20
    • Pakistan committed to completion of CPEC
    • Japan accuses China for sending its ships to Senkaku Islands

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