Factly :-News Articles For UPSC Prelims | Feb 18, 2021

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List of Today’s Factly Articles

  1. “Hydrogen as a Fuel”: Applications, Advantages and Disadvantages
  2. MSDE rolls out “Mahatma Gandhi National Fellowship(MGNF) Program”
  3. Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs launches Pilot “Pey Jal Survekshan”
  4. “Production Linked Incentive(PLI) scheme” for telecom sector
  5. What is the “Char Dham Project”?
  6. India to gift 2 lakh vaccine doses to ‘UN peacekeeping forces’

“Hydrogen as a Fuel”: Applications, Advantages and Disadvantages

What is the news?

In the Budget 2021-22, the Government of India announced the National Hydrogen Mission. This mission will aim at generating hydrogen from green power sources and using it as a fuel.

About Hydrogen

  1. Hydrogen is the chemical element with the symbol H and atomic number. It is the lightest element in the periodic table. Moreover, it is the most abundant chemical substance in the universe.
  2. However, the most common element in nature is not available freely. Hydrogen also exists only in combination with other elements. Thus, it has to be extracted from natural compounds, like water.
  3. Hydrogen is categorized by colour tabs, based on its source. We can divide it into ‘grey’ hydrogen (produced from fossil fuels), ‘blue’ hydrogen (produced from fossil fuels with carbon capture and storage) or ‘green’ hydrogen (produced from renewable electricity).
  4. Green Hydrogen is specifically focussed upon in the government mission.

Hydrogen as a fuel:

  • Hydrogen is considered an alternative to fossil and other types of fuels.
  • However, Hydrogen is a carrier of energy, not a source of it. Fuel cells are required to transform Hydrogen into electricity and use it. Cells use oxidizing agents through an oxidation-reduction reaction, to convert chemical energy into electrical energy.
  • In the case of Hydrogen, fuel cells combine Hydrogen and Oxygen to generate electricity.  A catalyst, usually made from platinum is generally used for this.

Advantages of Hydrogen fuel:

  • Readily Available: It is a basic earth element and is available in abundance.
  • Doesn’t Produce Harmful Emissions: When it burns, it doesn’t emit harmful substances. The only by-product or emission from the usage of hydrogen fuel is water. It makes this fuel 100% clean.
  • Environmentally Friendly: It is a non-toxic substance which is rare for a fuel source.
  • Fuel Efficient: Compared to diesel or gas, it is much more fuel efficient as it can produce more energy per pound of fuel.

Disadvantages of Hydrogen Fuel:

  • Expensive: Although it is widely available, it is time-consuming to separate hydrogen gas from its companion substances.
  • Difficult to Store: Hydrogen is very difficult to store. Its transportation even in a small amount is very expensive.
  • Not Easy to Replace Existing Infrastructure: There is not much infrastructure that can support hydrogen as fuel. Also, cars need to be refitted in order to accommodate hydrogen as fuel.
  • Highly Inflammable: Since it is a very powerful source of fuel, hydrogen can be very flammable. Hydrogen gas burns in air at very wide concentrations – between 4% and 75%.

Source: Indian express

MSDE rolls out “Mahatma Gandhi National Fellowship(MGNF) Program”

What is the news?

Ministry of Skill Development and Entrepreneurship(MSDE) rolls out Mahatma Gandhi National Fellowship(MGNF) Programme under the SANKALP scheme. It will strengthen district skill administration and the District Skill Committees(DSCs).

Mahatma Gandhi National Fellowship(MGNF) Program:

  1. It is a two-year academic program. It aims to address the challenge of the non-availability of personnel for the implementation of various skill development programs at national, state, and district levels.
  2. MGN fellows will be trained to understand the overall skill ecosystem. They will be attached to DSCs and help them manage the skill development planning at the district level. It will provide them with practical experience on the ground.
  3. Implementation: IIM Bangalore’s Centre of Public Policy(CPP) will implement it.
  4. Eligibility: Graduates from a recognized university and citizens of India in the age group of 21-30 years are eligible to apply for it.

Skills Acquisition and Knowledge Awareness for Livelihood (SANKALP) Scheme:

  • Type: Centrally Sponsored Scheme
  • Duration: The scheme was launched in 2018 and has a tenure till March 2023.
  • Ministry: It is an outcome-oriented scheme of the Ministry of Skill Development & Entrepreneurship(MSDE). The World Bank is providing loan assistance to this program.
  • Aim: It will improve short-term skill training qualitatively and quantitatively through strengthening institutions. Moreover, it will bring in better market connectivity and inclusion of marginalized sections of the society.
  • The scheme aims to implement the mandate of the National Skill Development Mission (NSDM).
  • The outcomes in the scheme are measured through the Results Framework. This framework is agreed upon between MSDE and the World Bank.

Result Framework: Under the scheme, four key result areas have been identified viz:

  • Institutional Strengthening (at National, State & District level);
  • Quality Assurance of skill development programs;
  • Inclusion of marginalized population in skill development; and
  • Expanding Skills through Public-Private Partnerships(PPPs).

Source: The Hindu

Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs launches Pilot “Pey Jal Survekshan”

What is the News?

The Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs launched a  Pilot Pey Jal Survekshan.

About Pey Jal Survekshan

  1. It is a drinking water survey launched in 10 cities under Jal Jeevan Mission (Urban).
  2. Ministry: Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs.
  3. Purpose: It will ascertain the equitable distribution of water, reuse of wastewater in target cities. Moreover, it will map water bodies with respect to the quantity and quality of water.
  4. Coverage: It will cover 10 cities; Agra, Badlapur, Bhubaneswar, Churu, Kochi, Madurai, Patiala, Rohtak, Surat, and Tumkur.

Key Features:

  • The survey will be monitored through a technology-based platform. This platform will monitor the beneficiary responses.
  • Authorities will collect data through various methods; face-to-face interviews with citizens and municipal officials, on-call interviews, water sample collection, laboratory testing, and field survey.
  • Based on the learnings of the pilot survey, this exercise will extend to all Atal Mission for Rejuvenation and Urban Transformation (AMRUT) cities.

Click Here to Read about Jal Jeevan Mission(Urban)

 Source: AIR

“Production Linked Incentive(PLI) scheme” for telecom sector

What is the News?

The Union Cabinet has approved the production-linked incentive(PLI) scheme for the telecom sector.

About the production-linked incentive(PLI) scheme for the telecom Sector

  • Aim of the scheme: It will make India a global hub for manufacturing telecom equipment. Moreover, it will create jobs and reduce imports especially from China.
  • Focus of the scheme: The scheme will offset the huge import of telecom equipment worth more than Rs 50,000 crore. By that, it will encourage the foreign manufacturers and domestic manufacturers to set up production units in India.  
  • Coverage: The scheme will cover domestic manufacturing of equipment such as
    • core transmission equipment,
    • 4G/5G and next-generation radio access network and wireless equipment,
    • Internet of Things (IoT) access devices,
    • enterprise equipment such as switches and routers
  • Duration of the Scheme: The scheme will be operational from April 1 and will run for the next five years.
  • Eligibility: The eligibility for the scheme will be subject to;
    • Achieving a minimum threshold of cumulative investment
    • incremental sales of manufactured goods, with 2019-20 as the base year.
  • Incentives: For the inclusion of MSMEs in the scheme, the minimum investment threshold has been kept at ₹10 crores while for others it is ₹100 crore. Further, for MSMEs, It proposes a 1% higher incentive in the first three years.

Significance of the scheme:

  • The scheme may lead to an incremental production of about ₹2.4 lakh crore with exports of about ₹2 lakh crore over five years. Moreover, it may bring in investments of more than ₹3,000 crores.
  • With the inclusion of telecom equipment manufacturing under the ambit of PLI schemes, the total number of sectors under such programmes stands at 13.

Click here to Read about PLI Scheme

 Source: The Hindu

What is the “Char Dham Project”?

What is the News?

In the Supreme Court, the government denies any link between the Char Dham road-widening project and the recent flash floods in the Rishi Ganga valley. It claimed many lives and damaged the Tapovan hydro project.

Char Dham Project:

  • Char-Dham Road Project is a prestigious two-lane expressway project. The Ministry of Road Transport and Highways is executing this program in Uttarakhand.
  • Purpose: The project proposes widening roads up to 10 meters to improve the accessibility to Char-Dham (shrines); Yamunotri, Gangotri, Badrinath, and Kedarnath.
  • Implementing Agencies: Uttarakhand State Public Works Department (PWD), Border Roads Organisation (BRO), and the National Highway & Infrastructure Development Corporation Limited (NHIDCL).
  • Project Mode: The work under the program is being implemented in Engineering, Procurement, and Construction (EPC) mode.
    • Under the EPC model, the project cost is completely borne by the government. But the contractor is legally responsible to complete the project under some fixed predetermined timeline. It may also involve scope for a penalty in case of time overrun.
  • Chamba Tunnel: It is a 440-meter-long tunnel built by BRO on the Rishikesh-Dharasu road Highway(NH94) in Uttarakhand. The construction of the tunnel is a part of the Chardham project.

Source: The Hindu

India to gift 2 lakh vaccine doses to ‘UN peacekeeping forces’

What is the News?

India has announced a gift of 2,00,000 doses of vaccine to the UN Peacekeeping Forces.

About United Nations Peacekeeping forces:

  • It was created in 1948. They are often referred to as Blue Berets or Blue Helmets because of their light blue berets or helmets
  • Purpose: It provides security, political, and peacebuilding support to countries under conflicts. It helps countries make the difficult, early transition from conflict to peace.
  • Principles: They are guided by three basic principles:
    • Consent of the parties
    • Impartiality
    • Non-use of force except in self-defense and defense of the mandate.
  • Authorised by: Every peacekeeping mission is authorized by the UN Security Council.
  • Peacekeeping forces: Member states contribute their manpower for Peacekeeping forces on a voluntary basis.
  • Funding: The financial resources of UN Peacekeeping operations are the collective responsibility of UN Member States. Every Member State is legally obligated to pay their respective share for peacekeeping.

India and the UN Peacekeeping forces:

  • India is consistently among the top troop-contributing nations to the UN. At present, 5,424 personnel of India are serving in eight countries. It is currently the fifth-largest contribution.
  • India’s contribution to the regular budget is 0.83% and 0.16% of the peacekeeping budget.

Other Countries Contributions:

  • The US has never contributed ground troops. But it contributes 27% of the U.N. peacekeeping budget.
  • China currently contributes over 2,500 troops in various UN missions. It provides for 12% of the UN’s regular general budget and 15% of the peacekeeping budget.

Source: The Hindu


9 PM Daily Current Affairs Brief – February 18, 2021

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