Factly :-News Articles For UPSC Prelims | Feb 9, 2021

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List of Today’s Factly Articles

  1. Chinese energy projects near Tamil Nadu cleared by Sri Lanka
  2. What are the “NDMA guidelines for GLOFs related disasters”
  3. Veerashaiva “Lingayats” demanding for Quota
  4. PM to inaugurate “World Sustainable Development Summit 2021”
  5. “Ka-226T utility chopper”
  6. Sri Lanka settles “Currency Swap Facility” with India
  7. “5G Technology” roll-out in India

Chinese energy projects near Tamil Nadu cleared by Sri Lanka

What is the News?

The Sri Lankan Government has cleared a Chinese project to set up hybrid wind and solar energy projects on three Sri Lankan islands.

Note: This development comes after Sri Lanka had recently decided to pull out of the East Container Terminal(ECT) deal with India and Japan.

About the Project:

  1. China’s hybrid renewable energy systems project is to be constructed on the three Islands namely Delft, Nainativu, and Analativu.
  2. These islands are managed by the Sri Lankan Navy.
  3. It will be implemented as a joint venture between the Sri Lankan government and Etechwin, a subsidiary of the Chinese wind turbine manufacturer Gold wind.
  4. Funding: Asian Development Bank will fund the project.

Concerns of India:

  1. These three Islands are located off the northern Jaffna peninsula which is 45 km from Rameswaram in Tamil Nadu.
  2. The delft island is in northern Sri Lanka and is one of the closest points to India.
  3. Kachchatheevu is the tiny island that India ceded to Sri Lanka in 1974. It is located Between Delft Island and Rameshwaram.
  4. The waters around these islands are an area of contest and rivalry between Tamil Nadu and Jaffna fishers. The matter has been on the bilateral agenda for decades.

Previous Instances:

  • In 2018, India had voiced concern over China’s $300 million housing project for war-affected areas. It accused the Sri Lankan Government of holding an opaque bidding process. The project was eventually dropped.

Source: The Hindu


What are the “NDMA guidelines for GLOFs related disasters”

What is the News?

NDMA has issued guidelines to reduce disasters related to Glacial Lake Outburst Floods (GLOFs). Recently GLOF is suspected to have caused the flash floods in Uttarakhand’s Chamoli.

What are Glacial Lake Outburst Floods(GLOFs)?

  • It refers to the flooding that occurs when the water dammed by a glacier or a moraine is released suddenly.

 Click Here to Read Further on GLOFs

  • According to National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA), Climate change is facilitating the glacial retreat in most parts of the Hindu Kush Himalayas. It is resulting in the formation of numerous new glacial lakes. Due to that, this area has become prone to GLOFs.

NDMA Guidelines for Reducing GLOFs:

The NDMA, headed by PM, had issued detailed guidelines on how to reduce and deal with disasters caused by GLOFs:

  1. Identify and Mapping Dangerous Lakes: Potentially dangerous lakes can be identified. This identification will be based on field observations, past events, geomorphologic and geotechnical characteristics, etc.
  2. Use of Technology: It has recommended the use of Synthetic-Aperture Radar imagery. It will automatically detect changes in water bodies, including new lake formations, during the monsoon months.
  3. Structural Measures: It recommends reducing the volume of water with various methods to manage lakes structurally. Methods are pumping or siphoning out water and making a tunnel through the moraine barrier or under an ice dam.
    • Example: In 2014, a landslide occurred along Phuktal (tributary to Zanskar river) in Kargil district of Ladakh. It led to a potential flood situation. The NDMA created an Expert Task Force which along with the Army used explosives to channel water from the river. It used controlled blasting and manual excavation of debris for this purpose.
  4. Constructions and development in High prone areas should be prohibited. It is a very efficient means to reduce risks at no cost.
  5. Land Use Planning: Land use planning regulations need to be developed. In downstream areas, Infra. development should be monitored prior to, during, and after the construction.
  6. Trained Local Manpower: Apart from specialized forces such as NDRF, ITBP, and the Army, there is a need for trained local manpower. These teams will assist in planning and setting up emergency shelters, distributing relief packages, identifying missing people, and addressing the needs for food, healthcare, water supply, etc.
  7. Early Warning System: A robust early warning system in vulnerable zones should be put in place.
  8. Emergency medical response team: Quick Reaction Medical Teams, mobile field hospitals, Accident Relief Medical Vans, and heli-ambulances should be set up in areas inaccessible by roads.
  9. Psychological Counselling: The guidelines also call for psychological counseling of victims.

Source: Indian Express


Veerashaiva “Lingayats” demanding for Quota

What is the News?

The Veerashaiva Lingayats are demanding inclusion in the Other Backward Classes(OBC) quota category.

Who are the Lingayats?

  • Lingayats are classified as a Hindu sub-caste called Veerashaiva Lingayats.
  • They are essentially followers of the 12th-century philosopher Saint Basavanna who was against the caste system and Vedic rituals.
  • They are a dominant community who make up nearly 17% of Karnataka’s six crore population.

What is the current controversy?

  1. Currently, Veerashaiva Lingayats have been provided 5% reservation under a special category called 3B.
  2. However, a sub-sect called the Panchamasali Lingayats are demanding reservations under the category 2A. This category currently provides 15% reservations to backward castes. Panchamasali Lingayats are basically agriculturists who account for nearly 70% of Lingayats.
  3. Hence, Karnataka CM has directed the chairman of the Karnataka Backward Classes Commission to conduct a study. The Commission will submit a report on the social, economic, and educational status of the Panchamasali community to determine their inclusion under the 2A category.

Characteristics of Lingayatism:

  • The Lingayats are strict monotheists. They enjoin the worship of only one God, namely, Linga (Shiva).
  • Lingayatism rejects any form of social discrimination including the caste system.
  • The Lingayats always wear the Ishtalinga (a necklace with a pendant that contains a small Shiva Linga). They believe that they will be reunited with Shiva after their death by wearing the lingam.
  • Lingayats are not cremated but are buried in a sitting, meditative position.

Source: Indian Express


PM to inaugurate “World Sustainable Development Summit 2021”

What is the News?
The Prime Minister will inaugurate the World Sustainable Development Summit 2021.

About World Sustainable Development Summit(WSDS):

  1. It is an annual event organized by The Energy and Resources Institute(TERI) since 2001. The summit was earlier known as Delhi Sustainable Development Summit.
  2. Purpose: The Summit brings together a wide number of participants in the fight against climate change. Participants include governments, business leaders, academicians, climate scientists, youth, and civil society.
  3. Key Partners: The Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change(MoEFCC), Ministry of New and Renewable Energy, and the Ministry of Earth Sciences are key partners of the Summit.
  4. Theme for 2021: “Redefining our common future: Safe and secure environment for all”.

The Energy and Resources Institute(TERI)

  • It is a non-profit research institute. It was established in 1974 as Tata Energy Research Institute and renamed to The Energy Resources Institute in 2003.
  • Purpose: It conducts research work in the fields of energy, environment, and sustainable development for India and the Global South.
  • Location: New Delhi.

Other Initiatives by TERI:

  • Lighting a Billion Lives(LaBL): It is an initiative of TERI to provide clean lighting access to the bottom of the pyramid communities.
  • Green Olympiad: It is conducted by TERI in association with MoEFCC. It is an international environment examination that is annually organized for middle and high-school students.
  • Green Rating for Integrated Habitat Assessment (GRIHA): It was conceived by TERI and developed with the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy. It is a national rating system for green buildings in India.

Source: PIB


“Ka-226T utility chopper”

What is the News?

According to Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL), the total indigenous content of the Ka-226T utility helicopters is between 27%-33%. These helicopters are to be locally manufactured with the Transfer of Technology(ToT) from Russia. However, the final deal is held up.

Facts:

 India-Russia Deal on Ka-226T

  • In 2015, India and Russia had concluded an Agreement for at least 200 Ka-226T twin-engine utility helicopters. The estimated cost was over $1 billion. Among them, 60 helicopters to be directly imported and the remaining 140 manufactured locally.
  • The helicopter is meant to replace the ageing and obsolete Cheetah and Chetak fleet of the Army and Air Force.
  • However, the final deal is held up as the Russian proposal of 62% indigenous content in assembled helicopters falls short of the tender requirement of 70%.

 Ka-226T:

  • Ka-226T is a design of Russia’s famous Kamov design bureau. It is a light helicopter with a maximum take-off weight of over 3.5 tonnes. It can carry a payload of up to 1 tonne.

Key Features of KA-226T:

  • It uses coaxial rotors. It means it has two sets of rotors mounted one on top of the other and typically no tail rotor.
    • Coaxial rotors give improvements in lifting and payload capacity over conventional choppers.
    • This is particularly beneficial in high-altitude environments. Because in high altitudes aircraft’s performance at take-off tends to diminish due to the lower air density.
  • It also has a unique, detachable ‘mission’ compartment instead of a conventional cabin.
    • This allows the helicopter to be adapted for different roles such as surveillance, cargo delivery etc.

Source: The Hindu


Sri Lanka settles “Currency Swap Facility” with India

What is the News?
The Central Bank of Sri Lanka(CBSL) has settled a $400 million currency swap facility from the Reserve Bank (RBI) of India.

What is a Currency Swap Facility?

  1. The term swap means exchange. Under this agreement, two contracting countries loan each other a specified amount in local currencies.
  2. The parties agree to swap back this amount at a specified date. It uses the same exchange rate as agreed initially.
  3. This facility uses the local currencies of the countries under agreement. Thus, it eliminates the need for the currency of any other country like US Dollars.

Benefits of Currency Swap facility:

  1. The swap operations carry no exchange rate or other market risks. The transaction terms are set in advance.
  2. It reduces the need of maintaining foreign exchange reserves for bilateral trade. Thus, it promotes bilateral trade.
  3. Hence, it ensures financial stability (protecting the health of the banking system).

Examples of Currency Swap Arrangement:

  • India-Japan Currency Swap:
    • In 2018, India and Japan had signed a bilateral currency swap agreement.
    • Under this, RBI will get a certain amount of yen or dollars and the Bank of Japan will get an equivalent amount in Indian rupees on a decided swap rate.
    • After a specified period, both the countries will repay the amount at the same swap rate.
  • SAARC Currency Swap Framework 2019-22:
    • It came into operation in 2012. In 2019, the RBI revised the framework from 2019-2022. Under this, RBI will continue to offer swap arrangement within the overall corpus of USD 2 billion.
    • The currency swap facility will be available to all SAARC member countries subject to their signing the bilateral swap agreements.
    • Based on the terms and conditions of the framework, the RBI would enter into bilateral swap agreements with SAARC central banks who want to avail swap facility.
    • The drawls can be made in US Dollars, Euro, or Indian Rupee. The framework also provides certain concessions for swap drawals in Indian Rupee.

Source: The Hindu


“5G Technology” roll-out in India

What is the News?

The Standing Committee on Information Technology has slammed the Department of Telecommunications(DoT) for the delay in the launch of 5G services.

Facts:

 What is 5G technology?

  • 5G or fifth generation is the latest upgrade so far in the long-term evolution (LTE) mobile broadband networks. The 5G technology mainly works in 3 bands, (low, mid and highfrequency spectrum).
  • Benefits of 5G: 5G would provide
    1. Near Instantaneous connectivity —20 times faster than 4G.
    2. Reduced latency (faster response time)
    3. Energy saving
    4. Cost reduction
    5. Higher system capacity and
    6. mass device connectivity.

 Key observations made by the Committee on 5G:

  • Lack of preparedness: The sufficient preparatory work had not done for introducing 5G services in India. The report also mentioned the country will likely witness only partial deployment by 2021-end or early 2022.
  • Delay in deployment of 5G: The committee has raised concerns that the deployment of 5G services in the country may be further delayed, judging from previous experience:
    • 2G was deployed globally in 1991, it was deployed in India in 1995;
    • 3G was deployed globally in 1998 but deployed in India ten years later, i.e. in 2008.
    • 4G services were launched in India seven years after their global launching in 2008.
    • Hence, now when many countries are swiftly moving towards 5G technology, India is likely to witness delay in deployment.
  • Spectrum Issues: The Committee finds that inadequate availability of spectrum. The high spectrum prices in India may hinder the roll-out of 5G in India.
  • No Guidelines for 5G Trials: The telecom companies had submitted 5G trial applications in January 2020. But till date, guidelines for trials had not been made clear. Also, there was no set date for the commencement of 5G trials.

Read about the challenges in 5G technology roll-out

Source: The Hindu

 

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