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Current Affairs 08 August 2023

CONTENTS

  1. Rahul Gandhi’s MP Status Restored
  2. Incident Response System
  3. Charge Sheet
  4. Chandrayaan-3
  5. Himalayan Vulture
  6. LK-99
  7. National Handloom Day

Rahul Gandhi’s MP Status Restored


Context:

Congress leader Rahul Gandhi, whose conviction in a defamation case over remarks on the Modi surname was stayed by the Supreme Court, returned to the Lok Sabha. The Lok Sabha Secretariat has notified the restoration of Rahul’s membership.

Relevance:

GS II: Polity and Governance

Dimensions of the Article:

  1. Legal Provisions for Disqualification of MPs/MLAs
  2. Operation of Disqualification
  3. Impact on Disqualification

Legal Provisions for Disqualification of MPs/MLAs:

Disqualification under Articles 102(1) and 191(1):
  • Members of Parliament (MPs) and Members of Legislative Assemblies (MLAs) can be disqualified on various grounds, including holding an office of profit, being of unsound mind, insolvency, or lacking valid citizenship.
Disqualification under the Tenth Schedule (Anti-Defection Law):
  • The Tenth Schedule of the Constitution deals with disqualification of lawmakers on grounds of defection.
  • Lawmakers can be disqualified if they voluntarily give up the membership of their political party, vote contrary to the party’s direction, or join another party after being elected.
Disqualification under The Representation of the People Act (RPA), 1951:
  • The RPA includes provisions for disqualification of lawmakers in criminal cases and other instances.
  • Section 8(1A) includes specific offences like promoting enmity, bribery, and undue influence at elections.
  • Section 8(2A) lists offences related to hoarding, adulteration, and conviction under the Dowry Prohibition Act.
  • Section 8(3A) disqualifies a convicted person sentenced to imprisonment for at least two years.
  • Section 9 deals with disqualification for corruption, disloyalty, and entering into government contracts while being a lawmaker.

Specific Provisions of RPA:

  • Section 8: Disqualification for conviction of offences.
  • Section 8(1A): Disqualification for specific offences.
  • Section 8(2A): Disqualification for certain offences related to hoarding, adulteration, etc.
  • Section 8(3A): Disqualification for conviction with imprisonment of at least two years.
  • Section 9: Disqualification for corruption, disloyalty, and government contracts.
  • Section 9(A): Disqualification for involvement in government contracts.
  • Section 10: Disqualification for holding office under a government company.
  • Section 10(A): Disqualification for failure to lodge election expense accounts.
  • Section 11: Removal or reduction of period of disqualification.
  • Section 11(A): Disqualification arising from conviction and corrupt practices.
  • Section 11(B): Removal of disqualifications.
Impact and Significance:
  • These legal provisions ensure accountability and integrity among lawmakers, preventing those involved in certain criminal activities or acts of defection from holding public office.
  • Disqualification serves as a mechanism to maintain the ethical standards and trustworthiness of elected representatives.

Operation of Disqualification:

Reversal of Disqualification:
  • Disqualification of a lawmaker can be reversed if a higher court grants a stay on the conviction or decides the appeal in favor of the convicted lawmaker.
  • In the ‘Lok Prahari v Union of India’ case (2018), the Supreme Court clarified that disqualification will not operate from the date of the stay of conviction by the appellate court.
  • The stay must not be merely a suspension of sentence but a stay of conviction itself.
Appeal Against Conviction and Disqualification:
  • Section 8(4) of the Representation of the People Act (RPA) stated that disqualification takes effect only after three months have passed from the date of conviction.
  • During this period, a person can file an appeal against the conviction before a higher court.
  • Earlier, the law allowed a pause on disqualification if an appeal against conviction was filed before a higher court.
  • However, the Supreme Court, in the ‘Lily Thomas v Union of India’ case (2013) and later in ‘Lok Prahari v Union of India’ (2018), declared Section 8(4) unconstitutional.
  • This means that filing an appeal alone does not prevent disqualification; the convicted lawmaker must obtain a specific order of stay against the conviction from the appellate court.

Impact on Disqualification:

  • Disqualification remains in effect unless a higher court stays the conviction or decides in favor of the appellant.
  • The stay of conviction must be a complete stay, not just a suspension of sentence.
  • Filing an appeal against conviction is not sufficient to prevent disqualification; a specific stay order from the higher court is required.
Significance:
  • The operation of disqualification ensures that lawmakers convicted of certain offenses do not continue to hold public office while their appeal is pending.
  • This upholds the principles of justice and accountability in the legal and political systems.

-Source: Indian Express


Incident Response System


Context:

The National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) recently said several states and Union territories (UTs) are yet to implement the Incident Response System (IRS).

Relevance:

GS III: Disaster Management

Dimensions of the Article:

  1. Incident Response System (IRS)
  2. National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA)
  3. Disaster Management Act, 2005

Incident Response System (IRS)

  • The Incident Response System (IRS) is a comprehensive framework that integrates facilities, equipment, personnel, procedures, and communication channels within a unified organizational structure.
  • Its primary purpose is to efficiently manage and coordinate resources to achieve specific objectives related to responding to incidents, emergencies, and disasters.
Components and Functions:

Responsible Officer (RO):

  • As per the administrative structure and the Disaster Management Act of 2005, a Responsible Officer is designated at the state and district levels.
  • The RO holds overall responsibility for incident response management.
  • They have the authority to delegate responsibilities to Incident Commanders (ICs) for effective on-ground management.

Incident Commander (IC):

  • The IC is appointed by the RO and assumes the role of leading and managing the response efforts for a specific incident.
  • The IC oversees Incident Response Teams (IRTs) and ensures that the incident is managed efficiently and in alignment with the established objectives.

Incident Response Teams (IRTs):

  • IRTs are specialized teams operating at different administrative levels, including state, district, sub-division, and tehsil/block.
  • An IRT comprises various positions within the IRS organization, led by the IC. These teams are activated in response to early warnings or disaster situations.

Early Warning Activation:

  • When an early warning is received, the RO triggers the activation of relevant IRTs.
    • In sudden disaster scenarios without prior warning, the local IRT becomes the “first responder” and takes immediate action.
  • If the incident escalates, higher-level IRTs are informed and may assume control.

Hierarchy and Merging:

  • In cases where an incident becomes complex or unmanageable at the local level, higher-level IRTs take over.
  • In such situations, lower-level IRTs may merge with higher-level ones, with the IC of the lower-level IRT assuming specific roles assigned by the IC of the higher-level IRT.

Delegation of Duties:

  • When a lower-level IRT merges with a higher-level one, the IC of the lower-level IRT can play roles like Deputy IC, Operations Sections Chief (OSC), or other responsibilities as directed by the IC of the higher-level IRT.
Key Principles:
  • Structured Response: IRS follows a structured approach to incident management, ensuring clear roles and responsibilities at each level.
  • Rapid Activation: Early warnings prompt the activation of IRTs, facilitating swift response and decision-making.
  • Adaptability: The IRS is adaptable to the scale and complexity of incidents, allowing for seamless coordination between different levels of response.
  • Importance: The Incident Response System is crucial for effectively managing incidents and emergencies. By establishing a well-defined organizational structure, clear roles, and efficient communication channels, IRS enhances the ability to respond promptly, mitigate risks, and ensure the safety and well-being of communities during critical situations.

 National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA)

  • National Disaster Management Authority, abbreviated as NDMA, is an apex Body of Government of India, with a mandate to lay down policies for disaster management.
  • NDMA was established through the Disaster Management Act enacted by the Government of India in 2005. Hence, NDMA is a Statutory body.
  • The vision of NDMA is “To build a safe and disaster resilient India by developing a holistic, proactive, multi-disaster oriented and technology - driven strategy through a culture of prevention, mitigation, preparedness and response”.
  • NDMA is responsible for framing policies, laying down guidelines and best-practices for coordinating with the State Disaster Management Authorities (SDMAs) to ensure a holistic and distributed approach to disaster management.
  • It is headed by the Prime Minister of India and can have up to nine other members. Since 2014, there have been four other members.
  • The tenure of the members of the NDMA shall be five years.
  • The phrase disaster management is to be understood to mean ‘a continuous and integrated process of planning, organising, coordinating and implementing measures, which are necessary or expedient for prevention of danger or threat of any disaster, mitigation or reduction of risk of any disaster or severity of its consequences, capacity building, preparedness to deal with any disaster, prompt response, assessing the severity or magnitude of effects of any disaster, evacuation, rescue, relief, rehabilitation and reconstruction’.
Disaster Management Act, 2005
  • The Disaster Management Act, 2005, (23 December 2005) received the assent of The President of India on 9 January 2006.
  • The Act extends to the whole of India.
  • The Act provides for “the effective management of disasters and for matters connected there with or incidental thereto.”
  • The Act calls for the establishment of National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA).
  • The Act enjoins the Central Government to Constitute a National Executive Committee (NEC).
  • All State Governments are mandated under the act to establish a State Disaster Management Authority (SDMA).
  • The Chairperson of District Disaster Management Authority (DDMA) will be the Collector or District Magistrate or Deputy Commissioner of the district.
  • The Act provides for constituting a National Disaster Response Force “for the purpose of specialist response to a threatening disaster situation or disaster” under a Director General to be appointed by the Central Government.
  • Definition of a “disaster” in the DM Act states that a disaster means a “catastrophe, mishap, calamity or grave occurrence in any area, arising from natural or man-made causes.
  • The objective of the Act is to manage disasters, including preparation of mitigation strategies, capacity-building and more.
  • The Act contains the provisions for financial mechanisms such as the creation of funds for emergency response, National Disaster Response Fund and similar funds at the state and district levels.
  • The Act also devotes several sections various civil and criminal liabilities resulting from violation of provisions of the act.

-Source: Indian Express


Charge Sheet


Context:

Rajasthan DGP recently ordered the preparation of a charge sheet against the accused in the rape and murder of a 14-year-old girl

Relevance:

GS II: Polity and Governance

Dimensions  of the Article:

  1. Charge Sheet in the Criminal Justice System
  2. What is an FIR?
  3. What are cognizable offence and non-cognizable offence?

Charge Sheet in the Criminal Justice System

Definition and Origin:
  • Under CrPC Section 173: A charge sheet, originating from Section 173 of the Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC), stands as a formal report produced by police officers post an investigative process.
Comprehensive Documentation:
  • Recording Investigative Journey: This document encapsulates the entirety of the investigation journey, beginning from the initiation with the lodging of a First Information Report (FIR).
  • Culmination of Investigation: The charge sheet records the meticulous procedure undertaken until the finalization of the investigation, culminating in the preparation of the conclusive report.
Key Information Included:
  • Pertinent Details: Within the charge sheet, one can find essential particulars such as the identities of individuals taken into custody.
  • Charges and Accuser Identification: It outlines the specific charges under which the individuals are detained and the identities of those pressing the charges.
Precursor to Prosecution:
  • Legal Proceedings Activation: Following the submission of the charge sheet to a court of law, this act initiates the commencement of prosecution procedures against the accused parties.
Time Constraint for Submission:
  • Prescribed Time Frames: In cases falling under the jurisdiction of lower courts, the charge sheet must be filed within 60 days from the accused’s arrest. For matters under the purview of the Court of Sessions, the timeline extends to 90 days.
  • Safeguarding Accused Rights: Should the charge sheet not be filed within the stipulated time, the accused is granted the right to default bail as a safeguard.
Distinct from FIR:
  • Clear Differentiation: While both the First Information Report (FIR) and the charge sheet play roles in the realm of criminal cases, they bear distinctive purposes and content.
  • FIR: Serves as the initial complaint or report that sets off the investigative process.
  • Charge Sheet: Functions as an exhaustive police-generated report post the conclusion of the investigation.

What is an FIR?

  • An FIR is the document that has been prepared by the police after verifying the facts of the complaint.
  • The FIR may contain details of the crime and the alleged criminal.
  • The term first information report (FIR) is not defined in the Indian Penal Code (IPC), Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC), 1973, or in any other law, but in police regulations or rules, information recorded under Section 154 of CrPC is known as First Information Report (FIR).
    • Section 154 (“Information in cognizable cases”) says that “every information relating to the commission of a cognizable offence, if given orally to an officer in charge of a police station, shall be reduced to writing by him or under his direction, and be read over to the informant; and every such information, whether given in writing or reduced to writing as aforesaid, shall be signed by the person giving it, and the substance thereof shall be entered in a book to be kept by such officer in such form as the State Government may prescribe”.
    • Also, “a copy of the information as recorded…shall be given forthwith, free of cost, to the informant”.
Three important elements of an FIR:
  • The information must relate to the commission of a cognizable offence,
  • It should be given in writing or orally to the head of the police station
  • It must be written down and signed by the informant, and its key points should be recorded in a daily diary.
What happens after an FIR is filed?
  • The police will investigate the case and will collect evidence in the form of statements of witnesses or other scientific materials. They can arrest the alleged persons as per law.
  • If there is sufficient evidence to corroborate the allegations of the complainant, then a chargesheet will be filed. Or else, a Final Report mentioning that no evidence was found will be filed in court.
  • If it is found that no offence has been committed, a cancellation report will be filed. If no trace of the accused persons is found, an ‘untraced’ report will be filed.

What are cognizable offence and non-cognizable offence?

  • A cognizable offence/case is one in which a police officer may, in accordance with the First Schedule of the CrPC, or under any other law for the time being in force, make an arrest without a warrant.
  • In the First Schedule, “the word ‘cognizable’ stands for ‘a police officer may arrest without warrant’; and the word ‘non-cognizable’ stands for ‘a police officer shall not arrest without warrant’.”

What is the difference between a complaint and an FIR?

  • The CrPC defines a “complaint” as “any allegation made orally or in writing to a Magistrate, with a view to his taking action under this Code, that some person, whether known or unknown, has committed an offence, but does not include a police report.”
  • However, an FIR is the document that has been prepared by the police after verifying the facts of the complaint. The FIR may contain details of the crime and the alleged criminal.
  • If, on the basis of a complaint, it appears that a cognizable offence has been committed, then an FIR under Section 154 CrPC will be registered, and police will open an investigation. If no offence is found, the police will close the inquiry.
  • Section 155 (“Information as to non-cognizable cases and investigation of such cases”) says: “When information is given to an officer in charge of a police station of the commission within the limits of such station of a non-cognizable offence, he shall enter or cause to be entered the substance of the information in a book…and refer the informant to the Magistrate. No police officer shall investigate a non-cognizable case without the order of a Magistrate having power to try such case or commit the case for trial.”

-Source: Indian Express


Chandrayaan-3


Context:

Chandrayaan-3, India’s ambitious lunar mission, has achieved a significant milestone by entering lunar orbit twenty-three days after its departure from Earth.

Relevance:

GS III: Science and Technology

Dimensions of the Article:

  1. How Space Missions Work?
  2. Chandrayaan Missions
  3. Chandrayaan-3 Mission Objectives
  4. Launch Window and its Precision
  5. Duration of Lander’s Journey to the Moon
  6. Reasons for Exploring the Moon

How Space Missions Work?

Rocket and Spacecraft Components:
  • A space mission consists of two main components: the rocket (or carrier) and the spacecraft (satellite or payload).
  • The rocket’s primary function is to transport the spacecraft into space, while the spacecraft carries out its mission once in space.
  • In most missions, the rocket is destroyed after completing its job, while the spacecraft remains operational.
Powered Flight and Launch:
  • The launch of a spacecraft involves a period of powered flight, where the rocket rises above Earth’s atmosphere and accelerates.
  • Rockets are powered by a propellant, a combination of fuel and oxidizers, which generate the energy required for lift-off.
  • The powered flight continues until the rocket’s last stage burns out and the spacecraft separates.
  • By this point, the spacecraft ideally should have been placed into the intended orbit of the planetary body it is targeting.

Chandrayaan Missions:

Chandrayaan-1:
  • Chandrayaan-1 was India’s first lunar exploration mission launched on October 22, 2008.
  • The primary objective was to create a three-dimensional atlas of the Moon and conduct chemical and mineralogical mapping of the lunar surface.
  • It operated for at least 312 days, making over 3,400 orbits around the Moon.
  • The mission made significant discoveries related to the presence of water (H2O) and hydroxyl (OH) on the lunar surface, with enhanced abundance towards the polar regions. Ice was also detected in the North polar region.
Chandrayaan-2:
  • Chandrayaan-2 aimed to explore the south pole of the Moon and consisted of an Orbiter, Lander, and Rover.
  • It was launched in July 2019 but encountered a partial success.
  • On September 7, 2019, the lander named Vikram and the rover named Pragyaan crashed on the Moon’s surface.
  • Despite the setback, the Orbiter performed well and continued to gather data.
  • It built upon the water discovery of Chandrayaan-1 and found signatures of water at all latitudes.
  • The Large Area Soft X-Ray Spectrometer (CLASS) on the mission also detected the minor elements chromium and manganese for the first time through remote sensing.

Chandrayaan-3 Mission Objectives:

  • The main objective of the Chandrayaan-3 mission is to demonstrate India’s technical capabilities and achieve a successful soft landing on the Moon.
  • A soft landing refers to safely landing a spacecraft on the Moon’s surface at a gentle pace, without human intervention, after traveling through space at high speeds.
Payloads and Scientific Objectives:
  • The payloads on the lander and rover will be similar to those used in the Chandrayaan-2 mission.
  • The lander will carry four scientific payloads to study lunar quakes, thermal properties of the lunar surface, changes in plasma near the surface, and perform a passive experiment to measure the distance between Earth and the Moon accurately. One of the payloads will be provided by NASA.
  • The rover will carry two payloads to study the chemical and mineral composition of the lunar surface, focusing on elements like magnesium, aluminum, and iron in the lunar soil and rocks.
Landing Site and Importance of the South Pole:
  • The landing site for Chandrayaan-3 will be near the south pole of the Moon, which is the same as the previous  Chandrayaan-2 mission.
  • The lunar south pole offers challenging conditions but holds promise for deep space scientific discoveries.
  • NASA highlights the significance of lunar polar volatiles, which are chemical elements or compounds in a solid state that can melt or evaporate at moderately warm temperatures. Understanding their distribution on the Moon is crucial.
  • If these volatiles contain elements like hydrogen and oxygen, it could have a profound impact on future deep space exploration and commerce, potentially reducing the need for Earth-based supplies to support human activities in space.

Launch Window and its Precision:

Definition of Launch Window:
  • A launch window refers to the specific time period during which a mission must be launched.
  • For example, Chandrayaan-3 took off at 2:35 pm, indicating the designated launch window for that mission.
  • Importance of Precision:
  • The precise timing of a launch window is crucial for missions that require the spacecraft to approach another spacecraft, a planet, or a specific point in space.
  • It ensures that the orbits of the spacecraft and the target body overlap at some point in the future.
Illustration with Athletics Race Track:
  • The European Space Agency (ESA) offers an analogy to explain the concept.
  • Imagine the Solar System as an athletics race track.
  • If you want to intercept a runner on the opposite side of the track, you could chase them, but it would require a lot of energy and a long distance to catch up.
  • However, a more efficient method is to walk across the center of the circular track, reaching the other side at the same time as the runner.
  • Timing is crucial: arriving too early means waiting, while arriving too late means missing the runner completely and having to wait for another lap.
Curved Paths in Spaceflight:
  • The analogy demonstrates that straight-line paths do not exist in spaceflight due to the curved paths of celestial bodies.
  • Planets, including Earth, move in long, curved orbits around the Sun, following circular or elliptical paths.
  • Calculating the constant movement of Earth and other planetary bodies is essential to determine the shortest and most fuel-efficient path for the spacecraft.

Duration of Lander’s Journey to the Moon:

The journey of the lander to the Moon is expected to take approximately 42 days, with the landing scheduled for August 23 at lunar dawn.

Process and Manoeuvres:
  • The Chandrayaan-3 mission will be launched into space by the Launch Vehicle Mark-III (LVM-III).
  • Initially, the spacecraft will be in an orbit around the Earth at an altitude of 179 km.
  • Through a series of manoeuvres, the spacecraft will gradually increase its orbit to escape Earth’s gravity and head towards the Moon.
  • Upon reaching proximity to the Moon, the spacecraft will need to be captured by the Moon’s gravity.
Orbit Reduction and Descent:
  • Following capture by the Moon’s gravity, further manoeuvres will be conducted to reduce the spacecraft’s orbit to a circular one at 100×100 km.
  • At this stage, the lander, carrying the rover inside, will separate from the propulsion module and begin its powered descent towards the Moon’s surface.
Lunar Day and Night:
  • The lander and rover have a mission life of one Lunar day, which lasts for 14 Earth days.
  • Each Lunar day and night is equivalent to approximately one month (close to 28 Earth days) as the Moon completes one rotation on its axis and one revolution around the Earth.
  • The extreme drop in temperatures during lunar nights makes it challenging for the lander and rover to survive, which is why they are being landed at dawn.

Reasons for Exploring the Moon:

  • The Moon is the closest cosmic body to Earth and provides an opportunity for space discovery and documentation.
  • It serves as a test bed to demonstrate technologies required for future deep-space missions.
  • Exploring the Moon can stimulate technological advancements, foster global collaborations, and inspire the next generation of explorers and scientists.

-Source: Indian Express


Himalayan Vulture


Context:

Recently, the Assam State Zoo in Guwahati has achieved a groundbreaking feat by successfully breeding the elusive Himalayan vulture (Gyps himalayensis) in captivity for the first time in India.

Relevance:

GS III: Environment and Ecology

Dimensions of the Article:

  1. Exploring the Himalayan Vulture
  2. Ketoprofen and Aceclofenac: Impact on Vultures

Exploring the Himalayan Vulture

Conservation Status:
  • IUCN Red List: Near Threatened.
  • CITES Appendix II.
Impressive Characteristics:
  • Stature and Wingspan: Among the largest Old World vulture species, boasts an imposing wingspan and formidable presence.
  • Camouflaged Plumage: Adorned with shades of black and brown, aiding in seamless blending with rugged mountain landscapes.
  • Mastery of Scavenging: Possesses a powerful hooked beak and keen eyesight, excelling as an efficient scavenger, vital for carrion clean-up.
Habitat and Range:
  • Himalayan Haven: Primarily found in the towering peaks and valleys of the Himalayan mountain range.
  • Winter Migration: Commonly migrates to the Indian plains during the winter season.
  • Extensive Range: Thrives across countries like India, Nepal, Bhutan, and China, adapting to challenging high-altitude settings.
Ecosystem Role:
  • Ecological Cleaner: Serves as a crucial top predator and scavenger, maintaining habitat health by disposing of animal remains.
  • Disease Prevention: Acts as a shield against disease spread from decaying carcasses, contributing to ecosystem balance.
Captive Breeding Challenges and Success:
  • Snowy Breeding Habits: Natural breeding in snow-clad mountains posed captivity challenges.
  • Acclimatization Triumph: Successful zoo breeding via long-term captivity and acclimatization to tropical conditions.
Threats and Conservation Efforts:
  • Vulnerability Factors: Habitat loss, food scarcity, and accidental poisoning from veterinary drugs contribute to its vulnerable status.
  • Conservation Breeding Centers: Vital role played by centers like the Vulture Conservation Breeding Centre (VCBC) in Rani, Assam, in safeguarding this vulture species.

Ketoprofen and Aceclofenac: Impact on Vultures

Ketoprofen and Aceclofenac: NSAIDs for Pain and Inflammation:
  • Ketoprofen and aceclofenac are non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) commonly used to alleviate pain and reduce inflammation in animals, particularly cattle.
  • These drugs are prescribed for various conditions including arthritis, injuries, and post-surgery pain management.
Harmful Effects on Vultures:
  • Lethal Consequences: These NSAIDs have proven to be detrimental to vultures, leading to severe health consequences and even death.
  • Kidney Failure: Consumption of animal carcasses treated with ketoprofen or aceclofenac results in kidney failure among vultures.
  • Carcass Contamination: Vultures feeding on treated animal remains ingest the drugs, which wreak havoc on their renal system, ultimately causing fatal damage.
Ecological Impact:
  • Ecosystem Disruption: The decline in vulture populations due to NSAID toxicity disrupts the ecological balance, as vultures play a crucial role in scavenging carcasses and preventing the spread of diseases.
  • Carrion Cleanup: Vultures’ natural scavenging behavior contributes to the removal of carcasses, thus reducing the risk of diseases that could arise from decaying animal remains.
Conservation Concerns and Measures:
  • Drastic Decline: The toxic effects of these NSAIDs have significantly contributed to the decline of vulture populations in certain regions.
  • Conservation Initiatives: Awareness campaigns, changes in veterinary practices, and efforts to limit the use of these harmful drugs in livestock have been implemented to mitigate the impact on vultures.
  • Vulture Safe Zones: Establishing designated areas where safe food sources are available can help safeguard vultures from the dangers of NSAID-contaminated carcasses.
Importance of Vulture Conservation:
  • Environmental Balance: Vultures’ role in carrion disposal prevents the spread of diseases and contributes to a healthier ecosystem.
  • Biodiversity Protection: Ensuring vulture survival is crucial for maintaining biodiversity and preventing imbalances in the food chain.

-Source: The Hindu


LK-99


Context:

A group of South Korean scientists have recently claimed the discovery of a material they named LK-99. According to their reports, LK-99 is a superconductor at room temperature and pressure.

Relevance:

GS III: Science and Technology

Dimensions of the Article:

  1. Discovery of LK-99: Implications and Significance
  2. About Superconductors

Discovery of LK-99: Implications and Significance

Exploration of Apatite Materials:
  • The discovery made by a South Korean group highlights an unexpected material known as apatite.
  • Apatites are minerals characterized by a phosphate scaffold arranged in a tetrahedral or pyramidal structure, where one phosphorus atom is surrounded by four oxygen atoms.
Creation of LK-99:
  • The scientists began with lead apatite and introduced copper atoms as substitutions for some of the lead atoms.
  • This resulted in a new material named LK-99, which is essentially copper-substituted lead apatite.
Evidence of Superconductivity:
  • The researchers found that when 10% of the lead atoms were replaced with copper in LK-99, the material exhibited the properties of a superconductor.
  • Superconductors are materials that can conduct electric current without any resistance when cooled to extremely low temperatures.
  • Remarkably, LK-99 retained its superconductivity even when exposed to an external magnetic field, up to a certain critical threshold. This behavior aligns with the characteristics of known superconductors.
Implications of LK-99:
  • If the claims regarding LK-99 being a room-temperature superconductor are verified, it could have profound implications for electrical conductivity and technology.
  • The widespread adoption of superconductors in everyday devices could lead to enhanced energy efficiency, reduced power losses, and groundbreaking technological advancements.
Potential Benefits:
  • The utilization of superconductors at room temperature could revolutionize various sectors, including electronics, transportation, and power generation.
  • Devices and systems incorporating superconductors could operate with minimal energy losses and improved performance.
  • This discovery has the potential to drive innovations and reshape industries, ushering in a new era of sustainable and efficient technology.

About Superconductors

  • Superconductors are remarkable materials known for their unique property of exhibiting zero electrical resistance at extremely low temperatures.
  • This intrinsic feature allows them to conduct electric current without any loss of energy, making them invaluable for various applications.

Examples of Superconductors:

  • Notable examples of superconductors include Lanthanum-Barium-Copper Oxide, Yttrium-Barium-Copper Oxide, and Niobium-Tin, among others.

Historical Discovery:

  • The discovery of superconductivity dates back to 1911 when Kamerlingh Onnes observed that the electrical resistance of mercury vanished at temperatures just a few degrees above absolute zero.
  • This groundbreaking phenomenon was termed “superconductivity” and marked a turning point in the understanding of materials’ behavior at low temperatures.
Applications and Utilizations:
  • Superconducting cables are used for long-distance power transmission due to their ability to carry electricity without any energy loss, enhancing overall efficiency.
  • The exceptional magnetic properties of superconductors make them indispensable in the construction of Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) machines, enabling high-quality medical imaging.
  • Particle accelerators like the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) employ superconducting magnets to generate strong magnetic fields, allowing particles to attain remarkable velocities.
  • In the realm of transportation, superconducting magnets power magnetic levitation (maglev) trains, enabling them to glide above tracks and achieve high speeds with minimal friction.
  • Electric motors and generators enhanced with superconducting materials offer higher efficiency and greater power density, contributing to improved performance.
  • Superconducting materials are also gaining attention in the field of quantum computing due to their potential to exhibit quantum states, which can revolutionize computational capabilities.
Revolutionizing Technology:
  • The ability of superconductors to eliminate electrical resistance has led to transformative advancements across diverse domains, from energy transmission and medical imaging to particle physics and quantum computing.
  • The pursuit of higher-temperature superconductors continues, as achieving superconductivity at less extreme conditions could unlock even more widespread applications.

-Source: The Hindu


National Handloom Day


Context:

The Prime Minister has paid a tribute to India’s rich cultural diversity and all those working to celebrate India’s artistic traditions on the occasion of National Handloom Day.

Relevance:

GS-I Art and Culture

Introduction
  • Handloom sector is a symbol of the country’s glorious cultural heritage and an important source of livelihood in the country.
  • The sector is key to women empowerment as over 70% of handloom weavers and allied workers is women.

National Handloom Day

  • 7th August was chosen as the National Handloom Day to commemorate the Swadeshi Movement which was launched on the same date in the year 1905.
  • On this day, the handloom weaving community is honoured and the contribution of this sector in the socio-economic development of this country is highlighted.
  • The objective is to generate awareness about Handloom Industry amongst public at large and its contribution to the socio-economic development.
  • The objective is to generate awareness about Handloom Industry amongst public at large and its contribution to the socio-economic development.
  • The more the world knows about the richness and diversity of these products, the greater our artisans and weavers will benefit.

February 2024
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