Call Us Now

+91 9606900005 / 04

For Enquiry

legacyiasacademy@gmail.com

Current Affairs 28 December 2023

  1. Japan’s SLIM Lunar Orbit Entry: Implications for Chandrayaan 4
  2. T+0, Instant settlement cycle
  3. Press and Registration of Periodicals Bill, 2023
  4. Valmiki Tiger Reserve
  5. Good Governance Day
  6. Ionosphere
  7. Gaucher disease


Context:

Japan’s Smart Lander for Investigating Moon (SLIM) successfully entered lunar orbit on December 25, marking a crucial step before its planned moon landing on January 19. This development positions Japan to potentially become the fifth country to achieve a soft landing on the moon, following India’s success with Chandrayaan 3 in August. The outcome of SLIM’s mission carries significance, as it may impact the upcoming Chandrayaan 4 mission.

Relevance:

GS III: Science and Technology

Dimensions of the Article:

  1. SLIM: Japan’s Lunar Mission
  2. SLIM’s Lunar Mission Objectives
  3. SLIM’s Impact on Chandrayaan 4 Mission

SLIM: Japan’s Lunar Mission

Overview of SLIM
  • Developed and launched by the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) on September 7, 2023.
  • Weighs 590 kg at launch, significantly lighter than Chandrayaan 3.
  • Launched alongside XRISM, a next-gen X-ray space telescope, onboard an H-2A rocket.
  • Entered an elliptical orbit around the moon on December 25.
Comparison with Chandrayaan 3
  • SLIM’s launch closely follows the success of Chandrayaan 3’s surface component and Luna 25’s failure.
  • SLIM marks Japan’s second attempt in 2023 for a lunar soft landing.
Journey to the Moon
  • SLIM’s lighter weight is attributed to carrying less fuel.
  • Utilized a longer but fuel-thrifty route based on weak-stability boundary theory.
  • Built up kinetic energy around Earth through multiple swings, allowing for a more fuel-efficient journey.
  • Sacrificed time for fuel efficiency, reaching lunar orbit after four months.
  • December 25 marked SLIM’s orbital capture around the moon.
Innovative Approach
  • SLIM’s deflection toward the moon, rather than slowing down, utilized the combined forces of Earth and lunar gravity.
  • Physicists developed this approach in the late 1980s during the ‘Hiten’ mission.
  • SLIM’s unique trajectory prioritized fuel efficiency over a faster journey to the moon.

A diagram illustrating SLIM’s path from the earth to the moon, spanning four months. | Photo Credit: JAXA

SLIM’s Lunar Mission Objectives

Precision in Lunar Landing

  • SLIM is known as the “moon sniper” for its remarkable precision in landing.
  • Scheduled to attempt a landing within 100 meters of its chosen site on the moon.

Historical Context

  • Past moon-landing missions had more lenient area tolerances for landing spots.
  • For example, the Vikram lander of Chandrayaan 3 had a 4 km x 2.5 km area tolerance.
  • China’s Chang’e 3 holds the record for the most precise moon landing, 89 meters away from its chosen spot within a 6 km x 6 km ellipse.

Landing Site and Data Utilization

  • SLIM’s landing site is near the Shioli Crater at 13.3º S and 25.2º E.
  • Similar to Chandrayaan 3, SLIM will use data from JAXA’s SELENE orbiter to guide its descent.
  •  

Technical Specifications

  • SLIM’s lower mass, only 120 kg excluding fuel, contributes to its maneuverability.
  • Its small size tests the efficiency of its design.

Additional Exploration

  • Before landing, SLIM will deploy two small rovers, Lunar Excursion Vehicle (LEV) 1 and 2.
  • LEV-1, LEV-2, and SLIM will collectively study the lunar surface, gather temperature and radiation readings, and attempt to explore the moon’s mantle.

SLIM’s Impact on Chandrayaan 4 Mission

Targeting Moon’s South Pole

  • Scientists aim for the moon’s south pole region due to perpetually shadowed craters containing water-ice.
  • Chandrayaan 3’s success marked the conclusion of the second phase of India’s lunar exploration program.

Lunar Polar Exploration (LUPEX) Mission

  • LUPEX, or Chandrayaan 4, is the first mission of the third phase.
  • Joint venture with Japan (pending Indian approval) and scheduled for a potential launch in 2026.
  • LUPEX will explore an area closer to the moon’s south pole compared to Chandrayaan 3.

Challenges and Technologies

  • Moon’s polar terrain is rocky with craters and steep slopes, requiring precise landing.
  • Downrange and cross-range limits for LUPEX will be lower, demanding advanced navigation systems.
  • SLIM’s tested technologies, including a feature-matching algorithm, are crucial for LUPEX’s success.

Collaboration Details

  • JAXA expected to provide the launch vehicle and lunar rover; India contributes the lander module.
  • The landing site for LUPEX is yet to be determined.

JAXA’s SLIM Mission Timing

  • SLIM’s mission launch closely follows Chandrayaan 3’s success and precedes Russia’s Luna 25 spacecraft failure.
  • SLIM’s success on January 19 sets a record for the smallest-ever area tolerance in a moon landing.

-Source: The Hindu



Context:

The Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) has put forth a proposal to introduce a facility for clearing and settlement of funds and securities on T+0 (same day), providing an optional instant settlement cycle. This initiative aims to complement the existing T+1 settlement cycle in the secondary markets for the equity cash segment.

Relevance:

GS III: Indian Economy

Dimensions of the Article:

  1. SEBI’s Proposal: Advancing Settlement Cycles
  2. Benefits of Instant Settlement Mechanism
  3. T+1 Settlement Cycle

SEBI’s Proposal: Advancing Settlement Cycles

Introduction of T+0 and Instant Settlement Cycle:
  • SEBI proposes the introduction of a shorter settlement cycle alongside the existing T+1 cycle.
  • The new cycles include T+0 settlement and an instant settlement cycle implemented in two phases.
Phase 1: T+0 Settlement Cycle:
  • Optional T+0 settlement cycle for trades until 1:30 PM.
  • Settlement of funds and securities on the same day by 4:30 PM.
Phase 2: Instant Settlement Cycle:
  • Optional immediate trade-by-trade settlement (funds and securities).
  • Trading permitted until 3:30 PM in this phase.
Rationale for Shorter Settlement Cycle:
  • Increased growth in Indian securities markets necessitates more efficient and secure measures.
  • Focus on enhancing market efficiency, particularly for retail participants.
  • Leverage the widespread adoption of UPI and instant payment platforms for equity transactions.
  • Address investor preferences for reliable, low-cost, and high-speed transactions in the current market landscape.

Benefits of Instant Settlement Mechanism

  • Immediate Receipt of Funds and Securities:
    • Enables instant receipt of funds and securities compared to the current T+1 settlement.
  • Elimination of Settlement Shortages:
    • Mitigates the risk of settlement shortages by requiring availability of both funds and securities before placing an order.
  • Improved Market Liquidity:
    • Faster settlement enhances market liquidity as investors gain quicker access to their funds after selling securities.
  • Reduced Margin Requirements:
    • Traders may need lower margin or collateral with the assurance of rapid settlement, potentially reducing trading costs.
  • Price Stability:
    • Market price stability is enhanced as the security’s price is less likely to undergo significant changes between trade execution and settlement.
  • Enhanced Investor Control:
    • Provides investors with greater control over securities and funds, particularly for UPI clients trading through blocked amounts.
  • Establishing Equities as a Superior Asset Class:
    • Instant settlement contributes to positioning Indian equities as an asset class with superior features such as resilience, low cost, and efficient transaction times, surpassing emerging alternatives.

T+1 Settlement Cycle

Background: Trade Settlement

  • Settlement involves the transfer of funds and securities on the settlement date, marking the completion of a trade.
Current Cycle of Trade Settlement
  • SEBI has progressively shortened settlement cycles: T+5 to T+3 in 2002, and further to T+2 in 2003.
  • The current settlement cycle in the Indian stock market is T+1, effective from January 2023.
  • India became the second country, after China, to adopt the T+1 settlement cycle for top-listed securities.
T+1 Settlement Plan
  • Under T+1, trade-related settlements must be completed within 24 hours of a transaction.
  • For instance, if an investor buys shares on Wednesday, they are credited to the demat account on Thursday.
Benefits
  • Prompt Fund Receipt and Share Transfer:
    • Investors receive money within a day of selling shares, and buyers get shares in their demat account within a day.
  • Reduced Exposure to Counterparty Risk:
    • Quicker settlement mitigates counterparty risk as trade obligations are fulfilled rapidly.
  • Capital Efficiency:
    • Shorter settlement cycles reduce the capital tied up for collateralizing risk, enhancing capital efficiency.

-Source: Indian Express



Context:

Recently, the Lok Sabha passed the Press and Registration of Periodicals Bill, 2023, repealing the colonial era law of the Press and Registration of Books Act, 1867. The Bill has already been passed by Rajya Sabha in August 2023.

Relevance:

GS II: Government Policies and Interventions

Dimensions of the Article:

  1. Key Features of Press and Registration of Periodicals Bill, 2023

Key Features of Press and Registration of Periodicals Bill, 2023

Scope and Coverage:

  • The Bill addresses the registration of periodicals, specifically publications containing public news or comments on public news.
  • Exclusions: Books and scientific/academic journals are not considered periodicals under this legislation.

Online Registration:

  • Periodical publishers can register online through the Press Registrar General and designated local authority.

Prohibition and Declaration:

  • Individuals convicted of terrorism or actions against state security are barred from publishing periodicals.
  • A shift from the previous act’s requirement, declarations regarding periodicals are now submitted to the Press Registrar General instead of the District Magistrate.

Reproduction of Foreign Periodicals:

  • Reproduction of foreign periodicals in India requires prior approval from the central government, with specific registration protocols outlined.

Role of Press Registrar General:

  • The Press Registrar General of India is introduced, responsible for issuing registration certificates, maintaining a periodical register, establishing title guidelines, verifying circulation figures, and managing registration revisions, suspensions, or cancellations.

Online Declarations for Printing Presses:

  • Declarations regarding printing presses can now be submitted online to the Press Registrar General.

Suspension and Cancellation:

  • The Press Registrar General can suspend a periodical’s registration for a minimum of 30 days (extendable to 180 days) for reasons such as false information, discontinuity in publication, or inaccurate annual statements.
  • Registration may be canceled for issues like title similarity or convictions related to terrorism or acts against national security.

Penalties and Imprisonment:

  • The Press Registrar General has the authority to impose penalties for unregistered publication or failure to submit annual statements promptly.
  • Non-compliance may lead to imprisonment for up to six months.

Appeals Mechanism:

  • Provisions for appeals against refusal of registration certificates, suspension/cancellation of registration, or imposed penalties are available.
  • Appeals can be filed before the Press and Registration Appellate Board within a 60-day timeframe.

-Source: Indian Express, PIB



Context:

The National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA) recently declared a notable rise in the tiger population at Valmiki Tiger Reserve (VTR), with the number of big cats increasing from 31 in 2018 to 54 in 2023.

Relevance:

GS III: Environment and Ecology

Dimensions of the Article:

  1. Factors Behind Increased Tiger Population in VTR
  2. Key Features of Valmiki Tiger Reserve (VTR)
  3. About the National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA)

Factors Behind Increased Tiger Population in VTR:

  • Sand and Stone Mining Ban: A complete prohibition on sand and stone mining within VTR, coupled with stringent restrictions in its eco-sensitive zone, led to an augmentation of grassland cover.
  • Grassland Expansion: The surge in grassland cover plays a vital role in supporting prey populations, thereby enhancing the prospects of carnivore survival.
  • Conservation Efforts: The reserve is dedicated to managing and sustaining the tiger population through initiatives like raising awareness among local residents and closely monitoring mining activities to mitigate human-wildlife conflict.
  • Recognition by NTCA: The National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA) acknowledged these efforts, categorizing the reserve as ‘Very Good.’

Key Features of Valmiki Tiger Reserve (VTR):

  • Unique Status: VTR holds the distinction of being Bihar’s sole tiger reserve, situated at the easternmost extremity of the Himalayan Terai forests.
  • Geographical Location: Located in Bihar’s West Champaran district, it shares borders with Nepal to the north and Uttar Pradesh to the west.
  • Bio-geographic Region: Positioned in the Gangetic plains bio-geographic region, the reserve features a blend of Bhabar and Terai region vegetation.
  • Forest Cover: As per the Forest Survey of India Report 2021, approximately 85.71% of the total area is enveloped by forest cover.
  • Rich Fauna: The diverse wildlife includes species such as tiger, sloth bear, leopard, wild dog, bison, and wild boar.
  • River Flow: The reserve is traversed by rivers like Gandak, Pandai, Manor, Harha, Masan, and Bhapsa, contributing to its ecological diversity.

National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA):

  • Establishment: Formed in December 2005 based on the recommendations of the Tiger Task Force, which was appointed by the Prime Minister of India. This reorganization aimed at efficiently managing Project Tiger and multiple Tiger Reserves in the country.
  • Legal Framework: The Wildlife Protection Act of 1972 was amended in 2006 to incorporate the establishment of the National Tiger Conservation Authority, tasked with executing the Project Tiger plan to safeguard endangered tigers.
  • Leadership: Chaired by the Minister for Environment and Forests, the Authority comprises eight experts or professionals well-versed in wildlife conservation and tribal welfare. Additionally, it includes three Members of Parliament, with two elected by the House of the People and one by the Council of States.
  • Tiger Census: Conducts a comprehensive tiger census every four years across India to monitor and assess the tiger population and conservation efforts.
Functions and Responsibilities:
  • Normative Standards: Lays down standards and guidelines for tiger conservation in Tiger Reserves, National Parks, and Sanctuaries.
  • Information Dissemination: Provides information on protection measures, conservation plans, tiger estimation, disease surveillance, mortality surveys, patrolling, and other relevant management aspects.
  • Facilitation: Supports tiger reserve management in states through eco-development and people’s participation, aligning with approved management plans. Also, backs similar initiatives in surrounding areas following central and state laws.
  • Reporting: Prepares an Annual Report presented in Parliament along with the Audit Report.

-Source: The Hindu



Context:

Good Governance Day (25th December) is being celebrated on the birth anniversary of former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee.

Relevance:

GS II: Polity and Governance

Dimensions of the Article:

  1. About Good Governance
  2. Challenges to Good Governance in India
  3. Steps taken to promote Good Governance in India

About Good Governance

  • Decision-making and decision-implementation processes are referred to as governance.
  • The term “governance” can be employed in a variety of situations, including corporate, national, international, and municipal government.
  • The method in which authority is exercised in the administration of a country’s economic and social resources for development is the definition of good governance.
  • Chanakya lived in an era when good administration was a concept. In Arthashastra, he had elaborated on the subject.
  • Good governance is based on administration that is centred on the needs of the citizenry.
8 Principles of Good Governance:
  • Participation
  • Rule of Law
  • Consensus Oriented
  • Equity and Inclusiveness
  • Effectiveness and Efficiency
  • Accountability
  • Transparency
  • Responsiveness

Challenges to Good Governance in India

  • In the government and other related industries, women are underrepresented.
  • Many people believe that India’s high level of corruption makes it difficult to increase the effectiveness of government.
  • A citizen has the right to prompt justice, yet there are many reasons why the average person doesn’t receive it. Lack of staff and logistics at the court’s disposal is one such reason.
  • Only when given the necessary authority can lower level governments run effectively. This is especially important for the Panchayati Raj Institutions (PRIs), who are now struggling with a lack of resources and staff to carry out the duties that the constitution has given them.
  • Public policy development and governance are being negatively impacted by the criminalization of politics and the unholy alliance between government officials, commercial interests, and elected officials.
  • Other problems such as problems of globalisation, liberalisation, and the market economy, as well as environmental security and sustainable development.

Steps taken to promote Good Governance in India

  • As a party to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), India is under an international obligation to effectively guarantee citizens the Right to Information as per Article 19 of the ICCPR. RTI Act, 2005 marks a significant shift in Indian democracy. It gives greater access of the citizen to the information which in turn improves the responsiveness of the government to community needs.
  • Various steps taken towards e-Governance such as Digital India Initiative, MyGov, PRAGATI (Pro-Active Governance And Timely Implementation), Common Services Centres 2.0 (CSC 2.0), e-Courts etc., effectively delivers better programming and services in the era of newly emerging information and communication technologies (ICTs), which herald new opportunities for rapid social and economic transformation worldwide.
  • The think tank called the National Institution for Transforming India (NITI Aayog) was established replacing the Centralised Planning Commission to  promote “cooperative federalism”.
  • The Aspirational Districts Programme (ADP) was launched in January 2018 to transform the lives of people in the under-developed areas of the county in a time bound manner.
  • Government has launched the ‘Make in India’ initiative and took various steps to improve business conditions including legislation meant to improve the country’s business environment and policy ecosystems (such as the Bankruptcy Code, the Goods and Services Tax or GST, and the anti-money-laundering law).

-Source: Indian Express



Context:

A team of scientists from the Indian Institute of Geomagnetism (IIG) have examined the long-term seasonal ionospheric observations at Indian Antarctica station Bharati between 2010 and 2022 and also with solar activity following the Sun’s 11-year cycle.

Relevance:

GS I: Geography

Dimensions of the Article:

  1. About the Ionosphere

About the Ionosphere:

Definition and Location:

  • The ionosphere is a segment of Earth’s upper atmosphere, spanning an altitude range of 100-1000 km.
  • Positioned above the mesosphere, thermosphere, and exosphere, it is partially ionized and exhibits dynamic behavior.

Polar Regions Dynamics:

  • At polar regions, the ionosphere is particularly dynamic, serving as a significant energy sink for space weather events within the magnetosphere-ionosphere system.
  • Vertical magnetic field lines in polar areas contribute to unique interactions.

Active Atmosphere Layer:

  • Overlapping with multiple atmospheric layers, including the mesosphere, thermosphere, and exosphere, the ionosphere is characterized by constant growth and shrinkage.
  • Its activity is closely tied to solar energy absorption.

Solar Influence:

  • Being a highly active atmospheric layer, the ionosphere’s dimensions fluctuate based on solar energy absorption.
  • It plays a vital role in space weather events.

Observational Challenges in Antarctica:

  • Observations in the ionosphere over Antarctica are relatively limited compared to the Arctic due to geographical constraints and a sparse station network.

Scientific Findings:

  • Long-term observations at Bharati station, Antarctica, revealed substantial seasonal variations in total electron count (TEC), with equinoctial months exhibiting maximum ionization.
  • Particle precipitation and convectional plasma transport from high latitudes were identified as contributing factors.

Seasonal Density Variations:

  • During polar days with 24 hours of sunlight in the summer, the ionospheric density was approximately twice that of polar nights in the Bharati region.

Study Significance:

  • Decade-long studies provide insights into the ionosphere’s impact on satellite-based navigation and communication systems.
  • Understanding these effects aids in developing mitigation strategies.

-Source: The Hindu, PIB



Context:

Children suffering from lysosomal storage disorders like Gaucher disease are facing a bleak future as their treatment has been stopped due to the exhaustion of one-time support from the Union health Ministry.

Relevance:

GS II: Health

Dimensions of the Article:

  1. About Gaucher Disease

About Gaucher Disease:

Type of Disorder: Gaucher disease is an inherited lysosomal storage disorder (LSD).

Nature of the Disease:

  • It leads to the accumulation of fatty substances (sphingolipids) in the bone marrow, liver, and spleen.
  • This accumulation weakens bones and causes enlargement of organs.

Symptoms:

  • Enlarged spleen and liver.
  • Eye movement disorders.
  • Yellow spots in the eyes, among others.

Treatment:

  • No cure for Gaucher disease.
  • Treatments focus on relieving symptoms and significantly improving the quality of life.
Types of Gaucher Disease:
  • Type 1:
    • Affects spleen, liver, blood, and bones.
    • Does not impact the brain or spinal cord.
    • Treatable, but no cure exists.
  • Type 2:
    • Rare form appearing in babies under 6 months.
    • Causes enlarged spleen, movement problems, and severe brain damage.
    • No treatment available.
  • Type 3:
    • Most common form appearing before age 10.
    • Causes bone and organ abnormalities and neurological (brain) problems.
    • Treatments can extend life into the 20s or 30s.

-Source: Times of India


February 2024
MTWTFSS
 1234
567891011
12131415161718
19202122232425
26272829 
Categories