We have initiated some changes in the 9 PM Brief and other postings related to current affairs. What we sought to do:
- Ensure that all relevant facts, data, and arguments from today’s newspaper are readily available to you.
- We have widened the sources to provide you with content that is more than enough and adds value not just for GS but also for essay writing. Hence, the 9 PM brief now covers the following newspapers:
- The Hindu
- Indian Express
- Business Standard
- Times of India
- We have also introduced the relevance part to every article. This ensures that you know why a particular article is important.
- Since these changes are new, so initially the number of articles might increase, but they’ll go down over time.
- It is our endeavor to provide you with the best content and your feedback is essential for the same. We will be anticipating your feedback and ensure the blog serves as an optimal medium of learning for all the aspirants.
- For previous editions of 9 PM Brief – Click here
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Mains Oriented Articles
GS Paper 2
- Framing the legislation, forgetting the transparency
- The upcoming crisis in Indian federalism
- Disable unconstitutional sections
The Times of India
GS Paper 3
The Times of India
Down To Earth
Prelims Oriented Articles (Factly)
- India to display relics of St. Ketevan
- NTPC to build India’s largest solar park in Rann of Kutch
- MoEFCC issues SOP: Violations may lead to closing, demolition of projects
- Suborbital flight: Fast enough to reach space, not stay there
- Finance Minister of India and Bhutan jointly launches BHIM–UPI in Bhutan
- India’s first cryptogamic garden opens in Dehradun
- NTPC renewable arm to set up India’s first green hydrogen mobility project in Leh
- Rising fuel prices eating into health spends: SBI report
- What is Kongu nadu?
- State of Food Security and Nutrition in the World 2021 report
- The benefits and hazards of liquid oxygen
Mains Oriented Articles
GS Paper 2
It is time for New Delhi to review its old ‘one China’ policy stance
Source: Live mint
Syllabus: GS 2- India and its neighborhood
Relevance: The article highlights one of the policy measures available with India, against Chinese aggression.
Synopsis: India should adopt tougher positions on Tibet and Taiwan as it recalibrates ties with Beijing after China’s border aggression
Prime Minister Narendra Modi publicly congratulated the Dalai Lama on his 86th birthday. It was the first time since 2015 that the Prime Minister publicly greeted the Dalai Lama. The move has naturally raised a whole set of questions about India’s China policy at large.
- India’s decision not to extend formal wishes to the Chinese Communist Party on its centenary should be seen together with a greeting for the Dalai Lama. The Chinese president has warned that foreign powers will get their heads bashed if they attempt to bully or influence the country.
- China’s regime is far less secure than it seems on the surface, so that aggression is its preferred nature. It is under greater scrutiny for its conduct in Xinjiang and Hong Kong. It will become even more defensive in Tibet and Taiwan.
Why should India change its policy towards China?
Tibet is at the very heart of a major Sino-Indian geopolitical fault line. Beijing is keen to take control of the post-Dalai Lama era in Tibet.
- Firstly, China has rejected demands for Tibetan autonomy and made it clear that any successor of the Dalai Lama must have its approval.
- Secondly, disturbed by the efficiency of India’s special frontier force which included Tibetan refugees in India, the Chinese People’s Liberation Army is trying to recruit more Tibetans in its ranks.
- Thirdly, India’s recognition of Chinese sovereignty over Tibet was contingent upon China’s acceptance of Tibetan autonomy. Since 2010, India has not been using this term in its official statements and documents.
- Fourthly, China is refusing to abide by agreements of the past. If Beijing is not sensitive to India’s core interests, New Delhi should signal its resolve to move away from old arrangements. Modi has done well to signal that a rethink may be in the offing, but something substantive is needed now.
- Fifthly, India’s Tibet policy only satisfies China. The younger generation of Tibetans is dissatisfied with India’s jumbled approach. Many in India questioned the value of a policy that is not reciprocal.
- Lastly, India’s position in the past was hopeful that such a policy would result in the normalisation of Sino- Indian ties and an eventual resolution of the border dispute. China’s mean behaviour has broken those hopes.
- It is time for New Delhi to follow-up a policy response that challenges the Chinese regime, stimulates its Tibetan spiritual leadership on the question of succession, and mobilises global opinion on the issue.
- As India recalibrates its China policy post-Galwan, Tibet and Taiwan are two issues that need a serious relook. It is time to acknowledge that the old framework has collapsed along with the breakdown at the border.
Why Centre’s new rule for digital media face legal test
Source- The Times of India
Syllabus- GS 2 – Indian Constitution—historical underpinnings, evolution, features, amendments, significant provisions, and basic structure.
Synopsis: There are few reasons that stakeholders are challenging the constitutional validity of IT rule 2021
- More than 10 petitions have challenged the constitutional validity of the government’s Information Technology (Intermediary Guidelines and Digital Media Ethics Code) Rules, 2021.
What are these rules, and to whom do they apply?
- The new rules are intended to create a level playing field for print, television and digital media. They also create a regulatory framework for digital media.
- The rules mandate a three-tier oversight process for publishers of news and online curated content [OTT platform].
- The tighter regulations for social media firms require them to remove any content flagged by authorities within 36 hours.
- OTT platforms will also face stringent scrutiny and need to set up following–
- Self-classify content into five major age-based categories.
- Provide parental locks for mature content.
- Reliable age verification mechanism for adult-only content.
- Self-regulatory mechanism.
Why are the new rules being opposed?
- Social Media –
- Against user privacy – WhatsApp filed a case in the Delhi HC. It challenged the new digital rules on grounds that the requirement for the company to provide access to encrypted messages will break privacy protections.
- Twitter raised concern over criminal liabilities. Under the new IT rules, compliance officers can face criminal charges for content posted on their platforms.
- Digital news media-
- There was no dialogue with digital news media platforms prior to the rules being announced. Digital news media is opposed to the restrictions since they were not consulted.
- Digital News Publishers Association (DNPA) in its petition states that new IT rules are imposing “arbitrary, vague, disproportionate and unreasonable” restrictions on digital news media and social media intermediaries.
- OTT Platform-
- The government had been putting pressure on streaming firms to set up a self-regulatory mechanism. This has led to a split among OTT platforms, who have set up two self-regulatory bodies, the Digital Publishers Content Grievances Council (DPCGC) and the Indian Broadcasting and Digital Foundation (IBDF),
- The OTT platform argues that they should have the freedom to decide on the composition and working of the self-regulatory mechanism.
Framing the legislation, forgetting the transparency
Source: The Hindu
GS2: Government Policies and Interventions for Development in various sectors and Issues arising out of their Design and Implementation.
Synopsis: Discussions and transparency indicate trust in the people by an elected government. However, there is little evidence of that in the framing of the IT guidelines.
- The Cable Television Networks (Regulation) Amendment Bill aimed to regulate the business of lakhs of cable operators, multi-system operators, and broadcasters.
- The Atal Bihari Vajpayee government, much like the present Government, was clueless about the number of cable operators.
- Many had sizeable stakes in the real estate business in the country and carried the channels for a price which was at the centre of animosity between the broadcasters and the cable operators.
- The draft of the proposed Bill was discussed with all stakeholders and spilled over months.
- Eventually passed by Parliament in 2002, the Cable Television Networks Regulation (Amendment) Act was not a perfect Act and undergone many more amendments.
- But the changes were the outcome of intense discussions with all stakeholders.
This is a marked departure from the manner in which the new Information Technology (Intermediary Guidelines and Digital Media Ethics Code) Rules, 2021 is being pushed through.
Need to regulate digital media:
- Lack of data: Former Ministry of Information and Broadcasting Minister commented that the Ministry officials had no fix on the number of OTT platforms and users in the country.
- Increasing user base: There are over 200 million OTT subscribers. There are around 550 million television and smartphone consumers in the country. The figures are expected to double by 2025.
- No regulation: it’s business along with the entertainment industry had reached ₹1.82 trillion in 2019 and has been projected to cross ₹2.4 trillion by 2022.
Issues with Information Technology (Intermediary Guidelines and Digital Media Ethics Code) Rules, 2021:
- Firstly, the Government never put up the amendments for public discussion.
- However, while amending the Press and Registration of Books Act, 1867, the Ministry had put out the draft on its website inviting discussions.
- Secondly, lesser time to comply.
- The IT rules came into effect on February 25 with the Government giving digital publishers three months to comply.
- Thirdly, the Digital News Publishers Association, the Press Trust of India, and now the News Broadcasters Association have moved courts petitioning that the code restricts free speech and exceeds the mandate of the IT Act.
- Fourth, India has not followed best practices and the new rules are characterised by excessive government overreach. Most countries have set up an enabling architecture for OTT platforms to grow.
- The EU Audiovisual Media Services Directive, encourages self-regulation and co-regulation among players, with a specific focus on child safety and violence, and hate speech.
- In the United Kingdom, programming on video-on-demand services is regulated by Ofcom, which not only provides editorial rules but also has specific provisions for protecting those under 18 and the prohibition of content inciting hatred.
- In the United States, OTT content remains unregulated.
- Lastly, there is a question about the government’s mandate to control and regulate digital news.
- There is a question over the formulation of a self-regulating code for digital media by the government, as it makes no sense.
Hence, freedom of expression and public debate should be given adequate importance as they are the heart of the content.
Terms to know:
The upcoming crisis in Indian federalism
Source: The Hindu
Syllabus: GS 2 – Issues and Challenges Pertaining to the Federal Structure
Relevance: Delimitation of the constituency is a major bone of contention. It somewhere disincentivizes population control.
The freeze on Lok Sabha seats would be removed after 2026. The centre should therefore take appropriate steps so that states which have managed to control their population are not punished politically.
- The Indian Constitution may face an unprecedented crisis in 2026 when there will be a dramatic change in the composition of the Lok Sabha.
- Since 1976, seats in the Lok Sabha have reflected the 1971 census and have not taken into account changes in the population.
- The primary reason for this has been unequal population growth among States.
- India’s most highly developed and prosperous States have been successful at family planning, while the poorer States continue to expand.
- The freeze was thus a chance to ensure that India’s most successful States are not punished politically for their success.
Reason behind emergence of crisis:
- Post 2026, when this compact ends, there will be a seismic shift in national power towards India’s poorest and most populated States.
- This would generate much resentment among the States that will lose political and economic power and influence. This calls for a realignment in the balance between the democratic principle and the federal principle in the Indian Constitution.
About Indian Federalism:
- Article 1 of the Indian Constitution says, India is a Union of States. The choice of words is deliberate: it is the several States that, together, make up the Indian Union.
- India has adopted a unique quasi-federal structure with a strong centre. The ethnic, linguistic, and cultural diversity of India made the adoption of federalism inevitable, but the fear of separatist tendencies warranted establishment of a strong centre.
Tussle between democratic principle and the federal principle:
- An inherent contradiction between the principles of democracy and federalism arises when federal units are unequal, population and economics.
- In a democratic setup, all citizens are equal and are thus entitled to equal representation in governance. But this would imply that bigger States are likely to dominate the national conversation over smaller States.
- Small States fear that they would get a smaller share of the pie economically, a much reduced say in national issues, and be irrelevant in the political governance of the country.
- Thus, federal democracies have incorporated into their governing structures various kinds of compromises to ensure a balance between democratic principles and federal ones.
- For instance, US Constitution protects states in following ways:
- National powers over the States are limited
- Each State regardless of size had two seats in the Senate, giving smaller States an outsized role in national governance
- Presidents are elected by electoral votes, which means they must win States rather than the total national population. Presidents George W. Bush and Donald Trump won without winning the popular vote.
- Similarly, India enabled formation of various states on linguistic basis in 1956 to uphold federal principles and respect the demands of people for greater autonomy.
What can India do to alleviate the fear of less populous states?
- First, the powers of States vis-à-vis the Centre contained in the Lists and in the provisions dealing with altering boundaries of States must be increased. This will alleviate the fear of smaller States of being dominated by bigger ones.
- Second, the role and composition of the Rajya Sabha must be expanded. This would allow smaller States a kind of brake over national majoritarian politics that adversely impact them.
- Third, constitutional change and the change in financial redistribution between the States must require the consent of all or nearly all States. The fate of the Goods and Services Tax, or GST, serves as a salutary warning in this regard.
- Fourth, serious thought must be given to breaking up the biggest States into smaller units. This would prevent them from dominating the national conversation.
- National bonds of affection and patriotism will not be severed by devolution of powers though they will be at least severely strained when one part of the country is empowered over another.
- There is an urgent need to reimagine our national compact — another freeze will only kick this thorny issue down the road and will continue to perpetuate an increasingly undemocratic set up.
Disable unconstitutional sections
Source: The Hindu
Syllabus: GS 2 – Structure, Organization, and Functioning of the Executive and the Judiciary
Relevance: Laws that are declared unconstitutional by the judiciary, are still in use. What policy measures are required to ensure the proper implementation of orders.
The police must ensure that no FIR is registered under unconstitutional sections and no one is harassed for the negligent actions of SHOs. A multipronged approach is desired to achieve this objective. This includes regular training, disabling online registration of FIR under unconstitutional sections and taking corrective actions against negligent police officers.
- Recently, the Supreme Court expressed shock while hearing an application filed by the People’s Union for Civil Liberties (PUCL).
- It observed that criminal cases are still being registered by the police under Section 66A of the Information Technology (IT) Act, 2000. However, the section was declared unconstitutional by the SC in 2015 (Shreya Singhal v. Union of India).
- The PUCL said that 1,307 cases had been registered since 2015 across the States. Therefore, the Court must issue guidelines against registering FIRs by the police under this head.
- Undoubtedly, the registration of FIRs by the police under these sections is illegal and violative of the Court’s directions.
Sections declared unconstitutional by the court:
- In 2015, the Supreme Court had declared Section 66A of the IT Act as unconstitutional. The section made the online posting of information considered as “grossly offensive” a crime punishable by jail.
- However, the court held that it was violative of Article 19(1)(a) of the Constitution and not saved under the ambit of reasonable restrictions defined in Article 19(2).
- It had also said that the expressions used in Section 66A were open-ended, undefined, and therefore arbitrary.
- In 1983, the Court had struck down Section 303 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC). It provided capital punishment for murder by a person serving a life term in another case.
- In Mithu v. State of Punjab, it held that the punishment was not based on rational principle as no judicial discretion was available to a life convict.
- In 2018 (Navtej Singh Johar v. Union of India), the Court read down Section 377 of the IPC criminalising “unnatural sex” as being unconstitutional.
- Similarly, in Joseph Shine v. Union of India (2018), the Court held adultery as defined under Section 497 of the IPC as being manifestly arbitrary, discriminatory and violative of the dignity of a woman and therefore, unconstitutional.
Steps to improve the situation:
- The supervisory police officers at the sub-divisional level must ensure that such sections, if invoked, are removed at the earliest. The Superintendents of Police must fix responsibility on the erring officer and take corrective action.
- If the SHOs and others don’t mend their ways despite reprimands, their annual confidential reports could be dented with adverse entries.
- Action can also be initiated under the new Section 166A of the IPC, which provides punishment for up to two years for disobeying directions under the law.
- A prudent focus should be placed on educating police officers of all ranks about unconstitutional provisions in basic training institutes.
- There could be a mention in brackets near the provision that the provision has been struck down, so that FIRs are not registered under those sections.
- Unconstitutional sections of the IPC can be disabled in the Crime and Criminal Tracking Network and Systems (CCTNS).
- Most States register FIRs in the CCTNS either on a real-time basis or in offline mode and synchronise this data with the State Data Centre as soon as connectivity is restored.
Chhattisgarh has disabled these Sections in the system; a similar thing could be done by other states as well.
Terms to know:
It’s time victims of UAPA demanded restitution, justice
Source: The Indian Express
Syllabus: GS 2 – Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues arising out of their design and implementation.
Relevance: The unfortunate death of Father Swamy has brought the spotlight again on the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA),1967.
Getting bail under UAPA is hard, but the State must compensate for the misuse of UAPA Provisions.
About the UAPA:
The Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act,1967 is a grossly abused legislation. Data reveal that thousands of UAPA arrests without bail in recent years. Further, there is also a minuscule conviction rate, perhaps below 2 percent.
It is invoked disproportionately, indeed overwhelmingly, against minorities, indigenous peoples, tribals, and, increasingly, those who stand up for them is well known.
Few examples of getting bail under UAPA:
Getting Bail under UAPA is a treacherous one. Father Stan Swamy’s case is one such example. Few other examples are,
- An NIA court in Mumbai acquitted two persons charged under UAPA citing lack of evidence after they had spent almost nine years in jail.
- Similarly, a Tripura man was discharged by the NIA court at Bengaluru. The NIA found that no charge could be framed in the absence of any material to link him with a shooting incident at the Indian Institute of Science on December 28, 2005.
Compensation for malicious prosecution under UAPA:
The judgments granting bail to student activists along with the death of Father Stan is a wake-up call for reforming the provisions of UAPA.
- In Nilabati Behera (1993) case, the court clarified that the doctrine of sovereign immunity has no application in the constitutional scheme. The Supreme Court under Article 32 or a High Court under Article 226 can decide compensation for a citizen for malicious loss of liberty.
- The doctrine of Sovereign Immunity: It means that the state or the sovereign can commit no legal wrong and is immune from civil suits and criminal prosecution
- The 277th Report of the Law Commission of India (2018) also strongly recommended institutionalized compensation.
- Recently in Bilkis Yakub Rasool (2020) case, the Supreme Court directed the Gujarat government to pay Rs 50 lakh in compensation.
It’s clear, then, that the stage is set for compensation claims. So, India also has to include state compensations to limit malpractice as a practice.
GS Paper 3
Task for new IT Minister Ashwini Vaishnaw
Source – The Indian Express
Syllabus – GS 3- Awareness in the fields of IT, Space, Computers, robotics, nano-technology, bio-technology, and issues relating to intellectual property rights.
Relevance: This article enumerates the challenges that the new IT minister must solve at priority.
Synopsis – The most pressing problems and challenges that the new IT Minister must address.
- Recently, the Union Cabinet witnessed a reshuffle. Ashwini Vaishnaw was appointed Minister of Electronics and Information Technology, Railways, and Communication.
- As IT minister, he has enormous hurdles, including new IT rules, personal data privacy legislation, internet access, and internet shut down.
Challenges in front of new IT minister-
- First, Access to the internet in rural areas- Despite the number of internet users has been growing rapidly, there is still a large rural population with no access to the internet.
- Rural-urban gap in internet penetration – Rural penetration rate not even one-third of the urban penetration rate. Around 37,439 villages are still not covered by telecom service providers.
- The Government initiative also lacking to fulfill their target. For example-
- Bharat Net program aims to have an optical fiber network in all gram panchayats. However, the project has regularly missed all its deadlines, while the expenses are rising.
- National Digital Literacy Mission also witnessed slow progress.
- Second, the Frequent Internet shut down by the government- India and Myanmar were responsible for the longest internet shutdowns in 2019 and 2020. In India, the total economic loss due to internet shutdown was around $2.4
- The amendments to the Temporary Suspension of Telecom Services (Public Emergency or Public Safety) Rules, 2017 also fall short to promote active compliance.
- Third, issues related to the new IT rule- The IT Rules, 2021 have faced significant criticism on several grounds, such as it creates lots of uncertainty and dispute. The new IT rule lacks a comprehensive digital governance framework.
- Forth, Curb data breaches- Another significant concern is the increasing number of data breaches. In India, the average data breach cost Rs 14 crore in 2020, up 9.4 percent from 2019.
- The average time to discover and control a breach has increased dramatically. This signifies a significant amount of information and data loss for users.
What needs to be done?
- Updating the IT Act- There is a need to draw up a comprehensive new framework for digital governance in India.
- The process for updating the IT Act, 2000 must be made public. This required consultations with stakeholders as well as the creation of a draft report on the Act’s future based on technical and legal input.
- Address the digital divide – The digital divide must be bridged urgently, not just by extending India’s digital infrastructure, but also by emphasizing complete digital literacy.
- The Ministry must provide more openness and accountability in the blocking process, beginning with the proactive publication of shutdown orders.
- It is necessary to provide statutory measures for data security and strengthen the powers of the Indian Computer Emergency Response Team to enact proactive action against data breaches.
Improve weather models
Source- The Business Standard
Synopsis – For a more accurate weather forecast, a broader set of models and modelers is required.
Relevance: Weather forecasting is important for agriculture and local authorities.
Syllabus – GS 3 – Science and Technology- developments and their applications and effects in everyday life.
- The India Meteorological Department (IMD) has been criticized for its recent inability to correctly forecast weather.
- The pattern of mistakes over the previous six weeks indicates deeper issues. Either the models need to be re-examined or the forecasts are presented with undue certainty.
Recent failure of IMD
- In North India – The IMD had predicted that the monsoon is expected to cover Delhi, Haryana, parts of west Uttar Pradesh, and west Rajasthan by June.
- However, The Southwest Monsoon has reached almost all parts of the country, but has stayed away from parts of north India.
- On July 5, the IMD again said the monsoon is likely to spread into northwest India, covering Punjab and north Haryana by July 10. However, there were no signs of any relief even on July 10.
- In Kerala– On May 30, the IMD bulletin projected that the monsoon would arrive in Kerala on May 31; However, it was later revised to imply that the monsoon would arrive on June 3.
What needs to be done-?
- States can turn to private providers for ensemble predictions rather than relying on point forecasts from a single government agency.
- The private weather forecaster, Skymet’s model, has arguably performed more effectively in predicting monsoon onset over past years.
- Legitimate private forecasters should have access to a broad set of relevant data points, collected by state agencies. It will make their forecasts available to a wider audience.
- For Example– the NITI Aayog has partnered with private weather modeling companies in precision agricultural research.
Growth matters but income levels matter more
Source: The Hindu
GS-3: Indian Economy and issues relating to planning, Mobilization of Resources, Growth, Development, and Employment.
Relevance: An aspirant can understand the importance of various policy measures in the time of economic difficulties.
Synopsis: The magnitude of contraction in the economy and the policy responses towards it raises the question of growth prospects for the next year.
Issues that are threatening the growth prospects of the Indian Economy
- Magnitude of contraction in the economy: The contraction in trade (-18.2%), construction (-8.6%), mining (-8.5%), and manufacturing (-7.2%) is a matter of concern as these sectors account for the bulk of low-skilled jobs.
- Rising unemployment rate:
- According to the unemployment data released by the Centre for Monitoring Indian Economy (CMIE), over 15 million jobs were lost in May 2021. It is higher than the 12.3 million in November 2016, the month of demonetization.
- The job losses also bring out the high informality and vulnerability of labor in India, as of the total jobs lost during April-May, 17.2 million were of daily wage earners.
- It is known that employment and aggregate demand in an economy are related. Similarly, there is a positive correlation between aggregate demand and output growth.
- Hence, the prospects of growth revival in the next year look weak at the moment
- Low business confidence
- Business confidence index (BCI), from the survey by the industry body FICCI, declined to 51.5 from 74.2 in the previous round.
- Declining household income and lack of savings have given rise to weak demand. This in turn had impacted the business confidence.
- Low Manufacturing Purchasing Managers’ Index
- PMI has slipped to a 10-month low, indicating that the manufacturing sector is showing signs of strain, with growth projections being revised lower.
- Both BCI and PMI slipping down indicates that the overall optimism towards 2021-22 is low, which could impact investments and cause further job losses.
Why it is said that the government’s response will not aid growth recovery?
Since last year, the policy responses have been to rely on credit easing, focusing more on supply side measures, with more and more guarantees by the government to improve the flow of credit to important sectors. However, this policy stance is unlikely to prop up growth for three reasons
- First, the bulk of the policy measures, including the most recent, are supply side measures and not on the demand side. In times of financial anxiety, what is needed is direct state spending for a quick demand boost.
- Second, large parts of all the stimulus packages announced till now would work only in the medium term. These include policies related to the external sector, infrastructure, and manufacturing sector. In fact, some policies towards agriculture, such as productivity enhancement through the introduction of new varieties, will only work over years.
- Third, the use of credit backstops as the main plank of policy has limits compared to any direct measure on the demand side, as this could result in poor growth performance if private investments do not pick up. Further, the credit easing approach would take a longer time to multiply incomes, as lending involves a lender’s discretion and the borrower’s obligation.
What is required now is a sharp revival in overall demand. Income levels matter more than growth rates at this juncture. Hence, the government should find ways to increase the disposable income of its people to revive growth.
Terms to know:
KUSUM wilts under poor planning: Multiple repackaging impacts its success
Source: Business Standard
Syllabus: GS 3 – Agriculture and allied activities.
Relevance: Power is one of the most important inputs for India’s agriculture sector.
Multiple repackaging has impacted the success of this four-year-old flagship scheme to de-dieselise agriculture through solar-powered pump sets.
- The PM-KUSUM (Pradhan Mantri Kisan Urja Suraksha Evam Utthaan Mahabhiyan) scheme was launched in 2018 as a saviour for the farmers.
- Since then, the same scheme has been announced in several “reform packages” and Union Budgets with varying budgetary allocation by the Centre and reduced incentives.
Objectives of the scheme:
- The goal was to de-dieselise the farm sector by replacing diesel pumps with solarised ones.
- It would also reduce the burden on state-owned discoms that have to supply subsidized electricity to the agriculture sector.
- At the same time, discoms were to buy the excess solar power generated by these installations, giving farmers another source of income.
Progression of the scheme and associated issues:
- In 2018, it had an outlay of Rs 1.4 trillion, including budgetary support of Rs 48,000 crore, over 10 years.
- First Issue: The finance ministry said these sums were too high. It asked the ministry of new and renewable energy (MNRE) to rework the numbers and look at “alternative funding modes for the KUSUM scheme”.
- Second issue: States like Gujarat and Maharashtra were already installing solar pumps under their own schemes. They were reluctant to merge their schemes with a central program and let the Centre take the credit for incentivising irrigation for the farmers.
- By the end of 2018, MNRE decided to get the Indian Renewable Energy Development Agency (IREDA) to raise the required funds. But that plan, too, went nowhere, the principal reason being a funds crunch.
- In July 2019, the MNRE issued an order targeting a solar capacity of 25,750 MW by 2022 under the PM-KUSUM scheme with the central financial support of Rs 34,422 crore.
- Energy Efficiency Services Limited (EESL) issued a tender for off-grid solar water pump systems across India under PM KUSUM; 181,200 solar pumps were to be installed. The price of pumps was cut 60 percent owing to the large size of the tender.
- Third issue: There is no public data on the installations, but senior officials claim the target would be met.
- In the February 2020 budget speech, the scheme was expanded to support 20 lakh farmers for setting up stand-alone solar pumps and help another 15 lakh (1.5 million) farmers solarise their grid-connected pump sets.
- Fourth issue: None of the announcements was “new” as such but amounted to repackaging, reflecting the slow progress of the scheme.
- Then in November 2020, the central financial support for the scheme was scaled down to Rs 34,035 crore and the 2022 target increased to 30.8 Gw. At the same time, the obligation on discoms to buy solar power from farmers throughout the year was removed.
- Fifth issue: The removal of obligation on discoms acted as a disincentive for farmers towards the adoption of solar-powered pumps.
- In January 2021, EESL issued another tender for off-grid/standalone solar pumps totalling 317,000 to be set up across all states and Union Territories.
- Sixth issue: This ambitious plan ran into legal trouble. Close to a dozen companies that participated in the tender have moved to Delhi High Court against the bidding process for lacking transparency.
- The Centre has again repackaged the scheme in 2021. It is now part of the new reform programme for state-owned discoms.
- The scheme would have an outlay of Rs 303,758 crore with an estimated gross budgetary support of Rs 97,631 crore.
- All power sector reform schemes, including the PM-KUSUM scheme, would be subsumed into this umbrella programme.
- The government believes that once the feeder separation for agriculture was done, farmers would effectively be getting free power from solar-run irrigation systems.
- Agriculture subsidies would cease to exist in the next four to five years if the discoms are able to solarise the agriculture feeders.
- Farmers will get free power during the day, and discoms would be able to redirect that amount of electricity to other consumers.
Farm tools can improve the conditions of poor landless agricultural laborers
Source: Down to Earth
Syllabus: GS3 – Issues related to agriculture
Relevance: Measures to improve the plight of landless agricultural laborers
Synopsis: Majority of those engaged in farming are landless agricultural laborers. A course of action for improving their financial and economic condition.
Landless Agricultural laborers
Landless agricultural laborers are the ones who invest their time in growing crops on others’ farms. They don’t have any stake-holding in farm assets.
Why should we focus on landless agricultural laborers?
In agriculture, labor is an important component, but is usually not under consideration most of the time.
- Landless agricultural labor is a vital factor in agricultural production. These laborers’ productivity and earnings are important determinants of the level of economic development.
- Also, they form the bulk of those engaged in farming. At present, the latest census data (2011) a total of 263 million persons (26.3 crores) households are involved in farming activities. Out of this only 119 million persons are land-owning farmers while 144 million are landless workers and peasants. In other words, the number of landless farm workers and landless peasants is significantly higher than those of land-owning farmers.
Is asset-holding a solution?
The following example shows the impact of asset-holding (farm tools in this case) on landless agricultural laborers.
- Location: It was done in Nandurbar district of Maharashtra. The area is predominantly tribal. Landless agricultural laborers routinely migrate from the district in search of work due to lack of availability of rural credit as well as lack of employment opportunities in villages.
- What was done?: In 2019-20, the Development Support Centre (DSC), a resource-based organization, decided to ensure basic farm assets to landless laborers with fund support from a number of corporate social responsibility funds.
- Some 528 farm toolkit sets including harvester sickles, weeding sickles, hoes, 375 battery spray pumps, and 480 seed dibblers were given to landless farm laborers and small and marginal farmers in Nandurbar and Nawapur blocks in Maharashtra.
- The farm toolkits are outfitted with high-quality equipment sets, with advanced technology that guarantees a quality output beyond manual yield.
- Aim: The development of assets for landless agriculture laborers while promoting access to farm tools and technologies for small and marginal farmers at the same time.
- Cumulative growth on an increasing number of workdays, with a higher order of labor productivity and degree of motivation
- Improved quality of labor to farm when one is equipped with his / her own farm tools.
- Higher demand for labor and 20% more earning days to the landless laborers in a single crop cycle. This implies that now they have the potential to earn an optimum surplus over and above what they survive on.
- Another observation was that the laborers enhanced their investment from these returns. The proportion of re-investments made from the new income earned through original investment was 11-14% more in the project area. The beneficiaries were also found saving some of their income for emergencies in the future.
GoI should not contest arbitral awards in Indian courts
Relevance: Issues in implementation of arbitral awards due to India’s legacy Bilateral Investment Treaty (BIT) structure.
Synopsis: In the aftermath of the Cairn arbitral award, a analysis of issues involved and probable future course of action.
A French court recently allowed Cairn to take control of 20 government of India properties in central Paris, reportedly valued at over $23 million. This means that India now faces the unpleasant prospect of a similar run on other assets, including strategic oil and gas assets across the globe.
What are arbitral awards?
These refer to the decision of an arbitral tribunal, whether in a domestic or international arbitration. Arbitration is one of the methods of Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR).
- ADR is the procedure for settling disputes without litigation. Arbitration is a procedure in which the dispute is submitted to an arbitral tribunal which makes a decision on the dispute that is binding on the parties.
India & arbitral awards
All foreign arbitral awards are enforceable in India as India is a signatory to the New York Convention of 1963. However, India signed the New York Convention with one limitation, i.e. only awards that are “considered commercial under the law in force in India” shall be enforceable in India.
What is a BIT?
A BIT is a reciprocal sovereign-to-sovereign guarantee that protects investments and investors of one country in the territory of the other. It additionally provides for dispute resolution mechanisms, such as arbitration, and gives investors the right to private action.
Why treaty holders approach foreign courts?
Due to the following reasons, treaty holders like Cairns, Vodafone like to approach foreign courts:
1]. Arbitral awards are not commercial awards under Indian laws
- Delhi high court, hearing a case between the Union of India and Vodafone, was of a prima facie view that investment treaty awards could not be categorized as commercial under Indian laws. This, because they were born from a sovereign-to-sovereign guarantee, and not as a pure commercial contract between two contracting parties.
2]. Arbitral awards under BITs are not foreign court judgements: Arbitral awards pronounced under BITs are by definition not judgments by foreign courts. In the case of the foreign judgements, there is domestic legislation that allows enforcement in India. BIT awards don’t have this advantage.
So, treaty award holders like Cairn identify Government of India’s foreign assets and seek refuge before foreign courts.
|Also Read: Cairn energy dispute and other such disputes with private entities – Explained|
Arbitration disputes – Retrospective taxation
India, from 1994 onwards, has been a signatory to 86 BITs and has been involved in 21 separate arbitration disputes.
- Retrospective taxation dispute: Retrospective taxation clause was applied to Vodafone and Cairn. This prompted Cairn and Vodafone to take recourse to the dispute resolution/ arbitration clauses under India’s BITs with the UK and Netherlands, respectively. In December 2020, the Permanent Court of Arbitration at the Hague ruled that India’s retrospective tax demand was in breach of the guarantee of “fair and equitable treatment” as contained in the India-UK BIT. An award of $1.2 billion was passed in favour of Cairn Energy Plc. Similarly, Vodafone BV was awarded an undisclosed amount by PCA.
GoI recognised these issues emerging from its legacy BITs and issued a model BIT in 2016. The model BIT, which has since formed the basis of various renegotiated BITs, attempted to carve out an exception from liability against measures and laws regarding taxation.
But it was also realised that carving out of such exceptions may not send the right signal to the investment community at large.
Therefore, GoI has added a specific clarification that awards under the new BIT shall be treated as commercial, and will be enforceable under the existing legislative framework in India.
|Also Read: Problems with India’s Model BIT – Explained|
Prelims Oriented Articles (Factly)
India to display relics of St. Ketevan
Source: The Hindu
What is the News?
According to the Archaeological Survey of India(ASI), the relics of St. Queen Ketevan that were found in Goa in 2005 are likely to be put on display in India as well as her native Georgia.
Who was St Queen Ketevan?
- St Queen Ketevan also known as Ketevan the Martyr. She was the queen of Kakheti, a kingdom in eastern Georgia, in the 17th century.
- She was killed in 1624 for not converting to Islam, and parts of her remains were brought to Goa by Augustinian monks.
Where were her relics found?
- The relics of the martyred Queen Ketevan were found by the ASI in 2005 in the ruins of the Church of St. Augustine. They have ever since been in the possession of the Indian government.
What has happened now?
- Indian Government has gifted one part of the relics of St Queen Ketevan to Georgia.
- However, the larger part of the relic remained with the ASI in Goa as a reminder of our shared past. This would be publicly displayed for the first time.
NTPC to build India’s largest solar park in Rann of Kutch
What is the News?
NTPC Renewable Energy Ltd (NTPC REL), a 100% subsidiary of NTPC, will set up the country’s single largest solar park at Rann of Kutch in Gujarat.
About the Solar Park in Gujarat:
- The 4,750-megawatt(MW) Solar Park at Rann of Kutch in Gujarat will be set up by NTPC Renewable Energy ltd.
- The project has been approved under Mode 8 (Ultra Mega Renewable Energy Power Park) of Solar Park Scheme.
- This will be India’s largest solar park to be built by the largest power producer of the country.
Other Projects of NTPC:
- NTPC has commissioned India’s largest Floating Solar of 10 MW on the reservoir of Simhadri Thermal Power Plant, Andhra Pradesh.
- Further, a 100 MW Floating Solar Project on the reservoir of Ramagundam Thermal Power Plant, Telangana is in the advanced stage of implementation.
- Floating solar refers to a solar power production installation mounted on a structure that floats on a body of water, typically an artificial basin or a lake.
- Ultra Mega Solar Power Projects are a series of solar power projects planned by the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy.Each power project has a minimum capacity of 500 MW.
About Development of Solar Parks and Ultra Mega Solar Power Projects Scheme:
- The Solar Park Scheme was launched by the Ministry of New & Renewable Energy in 2014.
- Under this scheme, it was proposed to set up at least 25 Solar Parks and Ultra Mega Solar Power Projects. It aimed at over 20,000 MW of solar power installed capacity within a span of 5 years starting from 2014-15.
- The capacity of the Scheme has now been enhanced from 20,000 MW to 40,000 MW in 2017. The parks are also proposed to be set up by 2021-22.
- There are eight modes under which the scheme is being implemented.
MoEFCC issues SOP: Violations may lead to closing, demolition of projects
Source: Indian Express
What is the News?
The Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change has issued the Standard Operating Procedure(SOP) to deal with cases of environmental violations.
- The SOP is a result of orders from the National Green Tribunal which earlier in 2021 directed the ministry to put in place penalties and an SOP for green violations.
Key Features of the SOP:
- The SOP gives powers to government agencies such as the CPCB, state pollution control boards and state environment impact assessment authorities to identify cases of environmental violations and take penal action against them.
Categories of Green Violations:
- Projects without environmental clearance: These are those projects where construction work including expansion of an existing project has begun without the project proponent having acquired environmental clearance.
- Non-Compliance: These are those projects in which prior environmental clearance has been accorded to the project, but it is in violation of norms prescribed in the approval.
Non Permissible Projects:
- Projects that are not permissible for environmental clearance are to be demolished.
- Projects which are permissible according to environmental law but which have not acquired the requisite clearance are to be shut down.
Expansion of Project:
- In cases of expansion of a project where environmental clearance has not been received, the government agency can force the project proponent to revert to the level of construction/manufacturing before the expansion.
Permissibility of a Project:
- Permissibility of the project shall be examined from the perspective of whether such activity/project was at all eligible for grant of prior Environmental Clearance(EC).
- For instance, if a Red Industry is functioning in a Coastal Regulation Zone (CRZ)-I area, it means that activity was in the first place not permitted at the time of commencement of the project. Such projects shall be closed and demolished.
- In Violation cases, where operations have not commenced, 1% of the total project cost incurred up to the date of filing of the application (for instance a fine of Rs 1 lakh for a project worth Rs 1 crore) will be levied.
- In cases where operations have commenced without the required environmental clearance, 1% of the total project cost and in addition 0.25% of the total turnover during the period of violation will be levied.
Suborbital flight: Fast enough to reach space, not stay there
Source: Indian Express
What is the News?
Virgin Group founder Richard Branson and five others undertook a trip to the “edge of space”, and reached an altitude of 85 km from Earth before returning. Such a trip is called a Suborbital Flight.
What is Suborbital Flight?
- Suborbital Flights occur when a spacecraft reaches space, but its velocity is such that it cannot orbit the Earth once they reach there.
How does Suborbital Flight work?
- When an object travels at a horizontal speed of about 28,000 km/hr or more, it goes into orbit. Satellites need to reach that threshold speed in order to orbit Earth.
- Such a satellite would be accelerating towards the Earth due to gravity, but its horizontal movement is fast enough to offset the downward motion so that it moves along a circular path.
- This is because any object traveling slower than 28,000 km/hr must eventually return to Earth.
- However, Unity spacecraft traveled far enough to reach the “edge of space”. These are suborbital flights because they will not be traveling fast enough to orbit Earth once they reach there.
- Such a trip allows space travelers to experience a few minutes of “weightlessness”.
Analogy of Suborbital Flight:
- For an analogy, consider a cricket ball thrown into the air. Given that no human hand can give it a speed of 28,000 km/hr (about 8 m/sec), the ball will fly in an arc until its entire kinetic energy is swapped with potential energy.
- At that instant, it will lose its vertical motion momentarily, before returning to Earth under the influence of gravity.
- A suborbital flight is like this cricket ball, but traveling fast enough to reach the “edge of space” and yet without enough horizontal velocity to go into orbit.
- If an object travels as fast as 40,000 km/hr, it will achieve escape velocity and never return to Earth.
Finance Minister of India and Bhutan jointly launches BHIM–UPI in Bhutan
What is the News?
The Union Minister of Finance of India along with the Finance Minister of Bhutan has jointly launched BHIM–UPI in Bhutan.
Significance of this launch:
- Bhutan is now the first country to adopt UPI standards for its QR deployment. It will also be the first country in our immediate neighbourhood to accept mobile-based payments through the BHIM App.
- Further, Bhutan is also the second country after Singapore to have BHIM-UPI acceptance at merchant locations
What is BHIM?
- Bharat Interface for Money(BHIM) was developed by the National Payments Corporation of India(NPCI) in 2016.
- It is a payment app that lets you make simple, easy and quick transactions using Unified Payments Interface (UPI).
What is UPI?
- Unified Payments Interface(UPI) is an instant real-time payment system developed by NPCI facilitating inter-bank transactions.
- The interface is regulated by the Reserve Bank of India and works by instantly transferring funds between two bank accounts on a mobile platform.
- NPCI is an umbrella organisation for operating retail payments and settlement systems in India.
- It is an initiative of the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) and Indian Banks Association(IBA) under the provisions of the Payment and Settlement Systems Act, 2007 for creating a robust Payment and Settlement Infrastructure in India.
India’s first cryptogamic garden opens in Dehradun
Source: Indian Express
What is the News?
India’s first cryptogamic garden housing nearly 50 species of lichens, ferns, and fungi was inaugurated in the Chakran Town of Uttarakhand’s Dehradun district.
Why was this Chakran Town chosen?
- The Cryptogamic Garden is located at Deoban in Chakrata at a height of 9,000 ft.
- This site was chosen because of its low pollution levels and moist conditions which are conducive for the growth of these species.
- Further, Deoban has pristine majestic forests of Deodar and Oak which create a natural habitat for cryptogamic species.
What is Cryptogam?
- A cryptogam is a plant or a plant-like organism that reproduces by spores without flowers or seeds.
- The term Cryptogamae means “hidden reproduction”, referring to the fact that no seed is produced. Thus, cryptogams represent the non-seed-bearing plants.
- Cryptogamic plants include Algae, mosses, liverworts, lichens, ferns, and fungi
Groups: The three major groups of Cryptogams are:
- Thallophyta: Thallophyta is a division of the plant kingdom including primitive forms of plant life showing a simple plant body. They lack roots, stems, or leaves and are predominantly aquatic, both in marine and freshwater habitats.
- Examples: It includes algae-like Cladophora, Ulothrix, Spirogyra.
- Bryophyta: Bryophytes include the various mosses and liverworts that are found commonly growing in moist, shaded areas in the hills. Bryophytes are also called amphibians of the plant kingdom because these plants can live in soil but are dependent on water for sexual reproduction. They play an important role in plant succession on bare rocks/soil.
- Pteridophyta: The Pteridophytes include horsetails and ferns. Pteridophytes are used for medicinal purposes and as soil binders. They are also frequently grown as ornamentals. Evolutionarily, they are the first terrestrial plants to possess vascular tissues – xylem and phloem. The pteridophytes are found in cool, damp, shady places, though some may flourish well in sandy-soil conditions.
Other Types of Cryptogams:
- Lichens: They are a complex life form that is a symbiotic partnership of two separate organisms, a fungus, and algae.
- Fungi: It is a kingdom of usually multicellular eukaryotic organisms that are heterotrophs.
NTPC renewable arm to set up India’s first green hydrogen mobility project in Leh
What is the News?
NTPC Renewable Energy Ltd has signed a MoU with the Union Territory of Ladakh to set up India’s First Green Hydrogen Mobility Project in Ladakh Region.
Note: Green Hydrogen is clean hydrogen generated by using renewable energy such as solar power and wind energy. The by-products are water and water vapor.
About India’s First Green Hydrogen Mobility Project:
- The Green Hydrogen Mobility Project will enable NTPC to help Ladakh in developing a carbon-free economy based on renewable sources and green hydrogen.
- Features: As part of the project, NTPC has planned to ply 5 hydrogen buses in the Ladakh region. The company will also be setting up a solar plant and a green hydrogen generation unit in Leh.
- Significance: This project will put Leh as the first city in the country to implement a green hydrogen-based mobility project.
Rising fuel prices eating into health spends: SBI report
Source: Times of India
What is the news?
A recent report by SBI shows that expenditure on non-discretionary items (including health) is reducing due to rising fuel prices. This calls for urgent lowering of prices through tax rationalisation.
- SBI has released a report which tries to show the relationship between rising inflation and expenditure on non discretionary items.
- The retail inflation has breached the 6% threshold owing to rising fuel prices. In many cities petrol has breached the Rs. 100/litre mark.
Findings of SBI report:
- An analysis of SBI card spends indicates that spending towards non-discretionary health expenditure has been substantially reduced to accommodate increased expenditure on fuel.
- In fact, such spending has more than crowded out the spending on other non-discretionary items, like grocery and utility services.
- The share of non discretionary spend on items like fuel has jumped to 75% in June, 2021 from 62% in March, 2021.
- Citing the data, the agency argued that there was an urgent need to lower fuel prices through tax rationalisation.
- The governments, at the Centre and in states, have been mopping up revenue through high excise and VAT on petrol and diesel.
- A reduction in levies is desired as petrol in India is currently dearer than BRICS, Indonesia, Thailand and the US as per a report by CARE ratings.
What is Kongu nadu?
Source: Indian Express
What is the news?
A list of new Union Cabinet ministers issued in Tamil Nadu has triggered a debate in political circles, by referring to ‘Kongu Nadu’, the informal name for a region in the western part of the state.
- ‘Kongu Nadu’ is neither a place with a PIN code nor a name given formally to any region. It is a commonly used name for part of western Tamil Nadu.
- In Tamil literature, it was referred to as one of the five regions of ancient Tamil Nadu. There were mentions of ‘Kongu Nadu’ in Sangam literature as a separate territory.
- In the present state of Tamil Nadu, the term is informally used to refer to a region that includes the districts of Nilgiris, Coimbatore, Tirupur, Erode, Karur, Namakkal and Salem, as well as Oddanchatram and Vedasandur in Dindgul district, and Pappireddipatti in Dharmapuri district.
- The name derives from Kongu Vellala Gounder, an OBC community with a significant presence in these districts.
- Unlike Telangana or Uttarakhand, there has never been a demand or discussions about a separate Kongu Nadu in the modern political history of Tamil Nadu.
State of Food Security and Nutrition in the World 2021 report
Source: Down to Earth
What is the news?
Key findings of the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO)’s latest State of Food Security and Nutrition in the World 2021 report
- The FAO report has quoted a study done in 63 low- and middle-income countries covering a population of 3.5 billion on changes in the income of people. It has extrapolated its impact on choice of diets.
- Dip in people’s affordability of healthy food: There is a significant dip in people’s affordability for healthy food due to a loss in income. The pandemic led to an additional 141 million people being unable to afford a healthy diet in the countries studied.
- Loss of income & rise in food prices: The primary reason for a dip in affordability is the loss of income. But food price rise has made the situation more acute. By the end of 2020, global consumer food prices were the highest in six years. In the first four months of 2021, they continued to rise.
- Healthy diet costs more: Cost of a healthy diet was 60% more than a diet that just meets “requirements for essential nutrients” and almost five times as much as a diet that just meets “the minimum dietary energy needs through a starchy staple”.
- Lack of access to adequate and healthy food: In 2020, some 2.37 billion people couldn’t access adequate food, an increase of 320 million people in comparison to the 2019 figure. More people in 2020 were unable to afford a healthy diet in comparison to 2019.
- Severe food insecurity: Nearly 12% of the global population faced severe levels of food insecurity or they ran out of food and in worst situations, must have a day without food. In 2020, the rise in the food insecure population was more than the combined number of the last five years.
- Increased hunger levels: The overall decline in food intake has also increased hunger levels in 2020, making the primary Sustainable Development Goal of ending hunger by 2030 impossible now. Between 720 and 811 million people in the world endured hunger in 2020. In comparison to 2019, there were an additional 161 million people who faced hunger.
- Undernourishment: The increase in the number of undernourished was more than five times greater than the highest increase in undernourishment in the last two decades. Undernourishment due to the pandemic has impacted children the most, also a global goal to fix by 2030.
- In 2020, 149 million children (under five years of age) will grow up stunted or too short for their age. Some 45 million children have been wasted, or do not have the right weight for their height.
Findings of other studies
Global Food Policy Report 2021
According to the recently released Global Food Policy Report 2021 by the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI)
- The impacts of rising poverty and reduced livelihoods are reflected clearly in rising levels of food insecurity and decreasing diet quality.
- Widespread food insecurity and a shift toward consumption of low-quality diets could, in turn, have devastating consequences for health and nutrition in low- and middle-income countries, especially among women of reproductive age and young children.
What is a healthy diet as per WHO?
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), “a healthy diet contains a balanced, diverse and appropriate selection of foods eaten over a period of time” and “it protects against malnutrition in all its forms, including non-communicable diseases such as diabetes, heart disease, stroke and cancer.
Why a healthy diet is necessary?
According to the WHO,
- Poor diet is a major reason for malnutrition, stunting and wasting among children, obesity, overweight and underweight and also diet-related non-communicable diseases.
- Poor diets are responsible for 22% of all deaths among adults in the world.
The benefits and hazards of liquid oxygen
Source: Down to Earth
About Liquid oxygen:
Liquid oxygen has a pale blue colour and is a cryogenic liquid. Cryogenic liquids are liquefied gases that have a normal boiling point below -238 degrees Fahrenheit (-150 degrees Celsius).
Benefits of Liquid Oxygen:
- In commerce, liquid oxygen is classified as an industrial gas and is widely used for industrial and medical purposes.
- Liquid oxygen is used as an oxidant for liquid fuels in the propellant systems of missiles and rockets.
- Oxygen is widely applied in the metal industries in conjunction with acetylene and other fuel gases for metal cutting, welding, hardening, cleaning and melting.
- Liquid oxygen therapy is the medical process of providing additional oxygen to a patient who cannot get enough oxygen on their own. Conditions such as asthma, lung disease and pneumonia can be treated by this method.
Hazards of Liquid Oxygen:
- Contact with liquid oxygen can cause severe skin and eye irritation and burns as well as frostbite.
- Similarly, Inhalation of 80 per cent oxygen at one atmospheric pressure for more than 12 hours can cause irritation of the respiratory tract, nausea, dizziness, vision loss, coughing, chest pain etc.
- A characteristic neurological syndrome can be observed when pure oxygen is inhaled at pressures greater than two or three atmospheres.
- Characteristic epilepsy-like convulsions, which may be preceded by visual disturbances such as loss of peripheral vision, also occur. Continued exposure can cause severe convulsions, leading to death.
- Some common materials like asphalt, kerosene, cloth, wood, paint, tar and dirt containing oil or grease can react violently with liquid oxygen at certain pressures and temperatures.
But these effects are reversible after reduction of oxygen pressure.