Current Affairs Analysis

1st & 2nd August Current Affairs Analysis – IASToppers

Barakah nuclear power plant; The High Level Group (HLEG) on Agricultural Exports; What is Sea level rise? What is Regional SLR? Global efforts against sea level rise; Galapagos Islands; Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ); draft Environment Impact Assessment (EIA) Notification; What are the apprehensions on draft EIA? How does the draft notification compare with global norms? Mullaperiyar dam; Muslim Women Rights Day ; Gramodyog Vikas Yojana; Khadi Vikas Yojana; SKOCH Gold Award; SKOCH Award; Dhole; BeiDou; Cataract; INST; Idu’l Zuha;etc.
By IASToppers
August 04, 2020

Contents

Polity & Governance

  • Muslim Women Rights Day
  • Mullaperiyar Dam Plea

Government Schemes & Policies

  • Programmes launched under the Gramodyog Vikas Yojana
  • SKOCH Gold Award

Economy

  • 15th Finance Commission’s HLEG on Agricultural Exports submits report

Environment, Ecology & Disaster Management

  • A report released on coastal flooding
  • What are the key changes in the EIA Notification 2020?
  • Dhole

Bilateral & International Relations

  • Why Ecuador was angered by a Chinese flotilla near its waters
  • BeiDou

Science & Technology

  • Economical nonsurgical prevention of cataract

Key Facts for Prelims

  • Idu’l Zuha
  • Barakah nuclear power plant

For IASToppers Current Affairs Analysis Archive, Click Here

Polity & Governance

Muslim Women Rights Day

A meeting consisting of important government dignitaries was held on the occasion of Muslim Women Rights Day on 1st August.

  • Marks the occasion of the passing of The Muslim Women (Protection of Rights on Marriage) Act, 2019.
  • One year since the law was passed and there is a decline of about 82 per cent in Triple Talaq cases thereafter.
  • Globally, Egypt was the first Muslim nation which abolished Triple Talaq in 1929. Similarly, Sudan in 1929, Pakistan in 1956, Bangladesh in 1972, Iraq in 1959, Syria in 1953, Malaysia in 1969 also abolished the practice of Triple Talaq.
[Ref: PIB]

Mullaperiyar Dam Plea

The Supreme Court agreed to hear a plea by a resident of Kerala to lower the water level of Mullaperiyar dam to 130 feet saying there is a danger of earthquakes and floods in the area as the monsoon progresses in the State.

About Mullaperiyar Dam Issue:

  • The Mullaperiyar Dam or Mullaiperiyar Dam is a masonry gravity dam on the Periyar River in the state of Kerala.
  • It is located on the Cardamom Hills of the Western Ghats.
  • It was constructed between 1887 and 1895 by John Pennycuick.
  • A 999-year lease was signed Maharaja of Travancore and the Secretary of State for India for the Periyar Irrigation works.
  • The Periyar National Park is located around the dam’s reservoir.

About the Mullaperiyar Dam dispute:

  • Though located in Kerala, it is operated and maintained by Tamil Nadu. The dam benefits vast farmland in Tamil Nadu.
  • Supreme Court judgment in February 2006, allowed Tamil Nadu to raise the level of the dam to 152 ft (46 m) after strengthening it.
  • Responding to it, Mullaperiyar dam was declared an ‘endangered’ scheduled dam by the Kerala Government under the disputed Kerala Irrigation and Water Conservation (Amendment) Act, 2006.
  • Kerala in 2006, constituted the Dam Safety Authority to prevent Tamil Naidu from raising the water level in the Mullaperiyar dam from 136 ft to 142 ft.
  • In May 2014, the Supreme court declared the Act unconstitutional and dismissed the review petitioned filed by the Kerala government and restrained it from interfering with the rights of Tamil Nadu from raising the water level in the dam from 136 feet to 142 feet.
  • The control and safety of the dam and the validity and fairness of the lease agreement have been points of dispute between the two states.
[Ref: The Hindu]

Government Schemes & Policies

Programmes launched under the Gramodyog Vikas Yojana

  • Recently, the Ministry of Micro Small and Medium Enterprises (MSME) approved a programme for the benefit of artisans involved in the manufacturing of Agarbatti and to develop village industry under ‘Gramodyog Vikas Yojana’.
  • As per the programme, initially, four Pilot Projects will be started, including one in the North Eastern part of the country.
  • Each targeted cluster of artisans will be supported with about 50 Automatic Agarbatti making machines and 10 Mixing machines. Accordingly, a total of 200 Automatic Agarbatti making machines and 40 Mixing machines will be provided to the artisans.

Role of KVIC:

  • Khadi and Village Industries Commission (KVIC), one of the statutory organizations, working under the MSME, will provide training, and assist artisans working in this area, with Agarbatti manufacturing machines.
  • KVIC will tie-up with Khadi institutions / Agarbatti manufacturers in the country, having a good track record, to provide work and raw material to ‘Agarbatti making artisans.

Expected Benefits:

  • Act as a catalyst in reviving Agarbatti manufacturing in the villages and small towns.
  • Generate a minimum of about 500 additional jobs.
  • Boost domestic Agarbatti Industry.
  • Reduce imports of Agarbatti.

About Gramodyog Vikas Yojana

  • Along with Khadi Vikas Yojana, Gramodyog Vikas Yojana are the two umbrella schemes of formed after merging of 8 different schemes of Khadi & Village Industries.
  • Gramodyog Vikas Yojana aims to promote and develop the village industries through common facilities, technological modernization, training etc.

Components of Gramodyog Vikas Yojana:

  • Research & Development and Product Innovation: R&D support would be given to the institutions that intend to carry product development, new innovations, design development, product diversification processes etc.
  • Activities of existing dedicated verticals of Village Industries: This includes Agro-Based & Food Processing Industry, Mineral-Based Industry, Handmade Paper, Leather & Plastic Industry among others.
  • Capacity Building: Under the Human Resource Development and Skill Training components, exclusive capacity building of staff as well as the artisans.
  • Marketing & Publicity: The village institutions will be provided market support by way of preparation of product catalogue, Industry directory, market research, new marketing techniques, buyer-seller meet, arranging exhibitions etc.

About Khadi Vikas Yojana

  • It includes:
    • Rozgar Yukt Gaon.
    • Design House (DH).
    • Market Promotion Development Programme (MPDA).
    • Interest Subsidy Eligibility Certificate (ISEC).
    • Khadi Reforms Development Programme (KRDP).
    • Workshed Scheme for Khadi Artisans.
    • Strengthening the infrastructure of existing weak Khadi institutions and assistance for marketing infrastructure.
    • Khadi (S&T).
[Ref: PIB]

SKOCH Gold Award

  • Ministry of Tribal Affairs (MoTA) has received the SKOCH Gold Award for its Empowerment of Tribals through IT-enabled Scholarship Schemes project.
  • Under the project, MoTA has integrated all 5 Scholarship Schemes with Direct Benefit Transfer (DBT) Portal under the DBT Mission.

About SKOCH Award:

  • Skoch Award instituted in 2003.
  • It is the highest civilian honour in the country conferred by an independent organisation.
  • The awards recognise leadership and excellence in accelerating socio-economic changes.
  • Conferred to people, projects and institutions.
  • Awardees are selected based on the nomination, jury evaluation, presentation of shortlisted nominees, focus group discussions, interactions and peer evaluation.
  • The 66th SKOCH 2020 Competition was entitled India Responds to COVID Through Digital Governance.
[Ref: PIB]

Economy

15th Finance Commission’s HLEG on Agricultural Exports submits report

The High Level Group (HLEG) on Agricultural Exports set up by the Fifteenth Finance Commission has submitted its report to the Commission.

Terms of Reference of the HLEG:

  • To assess export & import substitution opportunities for Indian agricultural products in the changing international trade scenario and suggest ways to step up exports.
  • To recommend strategies to increase farm productivity, enable higher value addition, ensure waste reduction etc. related to Indian agriculture.
  • To identify the impediments for private sector investments along the agricultural value chain and 3 suggest policy measures and reforms that would help attract the required investments.
  • To suggest appropriate performance-based incentives to the state governments for the period 2021-22 to 2025-26, to accelerate reforms in the agriculture sector.

Recommendations

HLEG has made its recommendations to:

  • Focus on 22 crop value chains – demand driven approach.
  • Solve Value Chain Clusters (VCC) holistically with focus on value addition.
  • Create State led export plan with participation from stakeholders.
  • Private Sector should play an anchor role.
  • Centre should be an enabler.
  • Robust institutional mechanism to fund and support implementation.

State-led Export Plan

It is a business plan for a crop value chain cluster, that will meet the desired value chain export aspiration. For the success of the State led Export Plan, the following factors needed to be considered:

  • Plans should be collaboratively prepared with private sector players and Commodity Boards.
  • Leveraging of state plan guide and value chain deep dives.
  • Private sector should play an anchor role in driving outcomes and execution.
  • Centre should enable state-led plans.
  • Institutional governance should be promoted across state and centre.
  • Funding through convergence of existing schemes, Finance Commission allocation and private sector investment.

Potential of Indian Agriculture

  • India’s agricultural export has the potential to grow from USD 40 billion to USD 70 billion in a few years.
  • Estimated investment in agricultural export could be USD 8-10 billion across inputs, infrastructure, processing and demand enablers.
  • Additional exports are likely to create a 7-10 million jobs. It will lead to higher farm productivity and farmer income.

Finance Commission:

  • It is a constitutional body set up by the President of India, every five years or earlier.
  • The 73rd Constitutional Amendment requires both the Centre and states to help Panchayati Raj institutions to evolve as a unit of self-governance by assigning them funds, functions and functionaries.
  • The Finance Commission Grants are divided into four sub-heads: Grants for rural local bodies, for urban local bodies, Assistance to State Disaster Relief Funds and Post devolution revenue deficit grants.
[Ref: PIB]

Environment, Ecology & Disaster Management

A report released on coastal flooding

A new research was recently published in Scientific Reports on the coastal flooding.

What is Sea level rise?

  • Sea level rise is an increase in the level of the world’s oceans due to the effects of global warming.

Causes

The change in sea levels is linked to three primary factors, all induced by global climate change:

  • Thermal expansion: When water heats up, it expands. About half of the sea-level rise over the past 25 years is attributable to warmer oceans simply occupying more space.
  • Melting glaciers: Recently, higher temperatures caused by global warming have led to greater-than-average summer mountain glaciers melting as well as diminished snowfall due to later winters and earlier springs. That creates an imbalance between runoff and ocean evaporation, causing sea levels to rise.
  • Loss of Greenland and Antarctica’s ice sheets: Increased heat is causing the massive ice sheets that cover Greenland and Antarctica to melt more quickly. Meltwater from above and seawater from below is seeping beneath Greenland’s ice sheets, lubricating ice streams and causing them to move more quickly into the sea.
    • There is already melting in West Antarctica, and glaciers in East Antarctica are also showing signs of destabilizing.

Consequences

  • Effects: Devastating effects on coastal habitats farther inland, destructive erosion, wetland flooding, aquifer and agricultural soil contamination with salt, and lost habitat for fish, birds, and plants.
  • Higher sea levels are also coinciding with hurricanes, contributing to more powerful storm surges.
    • Between 1963-2012, almost half of all deaths from Atlantic hurricanes were caused by storm surges.
  • Already, flooding in low-lying coastal areas is forcing people to migrate to higher ground.
    • The higher coastal water levels threaten basic services such as Internet access, since much of the underlying communications infrastructure lies in the path of rising sea.

What is Regional SLR?

  • Sea level rise is not uniform across the world. For instance, the gravitational pull of the polar ice sheets has different effects on sea levels in different parts of the world, which means regional SLR can be higher or lower than the global SLR.
  • Also, regional SLR can be higher or lower. For instance, SLR in places such as Scotland and Alaska could be significantly less than the regional SLR for eastern US.

Highlights of the study

  • By 2100, the global population exposed to episodic coastal flooding will increase from 128-171 million to 176-287 million.
    • The value of global assets exposed to these episodes is between $6,000-$9,000 billion, or 12-20 % of global GDP.
  • By 2100, flooding incidents that are typically associated with a 1 in a 100-year event could occur as frequently as 1 in 10 years due to sea level rise.
  • 0.5-0.7 % of the world’s land area is at a risk of episodic coastal flooding by 2100, impacting 2.5-4.1 % of the population, assuming there are no coastal defenses measures in place.
  • Globally, of the 68% area that is prone to coastal flooding, over 32% can be attributed to regional SLR. This will significantly increase coastal flooding by 2100.

How much of a threat is sea level rise?

  • As per Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), oceans will rise between 26 to 77 centimeters by 2100 with temperatures warming 1.5 °C.
  • In September 2019, Indonesia announced that its capital would be relocated from Jakarta to the province of East Kalimantan on the lesser populated island of Borneo.
    • The relocation was meant to reduce the burden on Jakarta, from poor quality air and traffic gridlocks, and is particularly prone to flooding. The combination of climate change and heavy congestion makes Jakarta, the world’s fastest-sinking city, by about 25 cm into the ground every year.
  • As per some projections, climate change is expected to inundate sections of Mumbai by 2050.
  • Other cities that regularly feature in the lists endangered by climate change include Guangzhou (China), Jakarta, Miami (USA), and Manila (Philippines).

Global efforts against sea level rise

  • Giant Sea Wall: Indonesia’s government launched a coastal development project called a Giant Sea Wall or “Giant Garuda” (Garuda is the name of a bird from Hindu mythology and is Indonesia’s national symbol) in 2014 meant to protect the city from floods.
  • Northern European Enclosure Dam: Researchers proposed an extraordinary measure to protect 25 million people, and important economic regions of 15 Northern European countries from rising seas as a result of climate change. They suggested a Northern European Enclosure Dam (NEED), enclosing all of the North Sea by constructing two dams to protect Northern Europe against SLR.
  • NASA Missions: NASA continuously measures the weight of glaciers and ice sheets – with the twin GRACE satellites from 2002 to 2017, and with the GRACE-Follow On satellites since 2018.

Suggestions

  • Well-designed coastal protection could both reduce expected damages and be cost efficient for urban and densely populated area.
  • Building seawalls and planting mangroves or other vegetation to absorb water.
[Ref: Indian Express]

What are the key changes in the EIA Notification 2020?

The Ministry of Environment has published the draft Environment Impact Assessment (EIA) Notification 2020, to replace the existing EIA Notification, 2006 under the Environment (Protection) Act, 1986.

What is EIA notification?

  • An EIA notification is issued under Section 3 of the Environment Protection Act, 1986, to impose restrictions on setting up new projects or expansion or modernisation of existing projects. The section stipulates that such measures must benefit the environment.

Background

  • A signatory to the Stockholm Declaration (1972) on Environment, India enacted water (prevention and control of pollution) act, 1974 and air (prevention and control of pollution) act, 1981.
  • But it was only after the Bhopal gas leak (1984) that the India legislated an umbrella Act of Environment (Protection) Act, 1986.
  • Under this Act, India notified its first EIA norms in 1994, setting in place a legal framework for regulating activities that access, utilise, and affect (pollute) natural resources. Every development project has been required to go through the EIA process for obtaining prior environmental clearance ever since.
  • The 1994 EIA notification was replaced with a modified draft in 2006. Earlier in 2020, the government redrafted it again to incorporate the amendments and relevant court orders issued since 2006.

How does the draft EIA Notification differ from the one now in force?

  • Among the major departures from existing regulations is the removal of several activities from the purview of public consultation.

A list of projects has been included under Category B2, exempted from the requirement of an EIA. The projects under this category include:

  • Offshore and onshore oil, gas and shale exploration and hydroelectric projects up to 25 MW,
  • Irrigation projects between 2,000 and 10,000 hectares of command area,
  • Small and medium mineral beneficiation units and cement plants,
  • Small foundries involving furnace units, some categories of re-rolling mills, small clinker grinding units, acids other than phosphoric or ammonia, sulphuric acid,
  • MSMEs in dye and dye intermediates, bulk drugs, synthetic rubbers, medium-sized paint units,
  • All inland waterway projects and expansion of highways between 25 km and 100 km with defined parameters,
  • Aerial ropeways in ecologically sensitive areas,
  • Specified building construction and area development projects and
  • Coal and non-coal mineral prospecting and solar photovoltaic projects

What are the apprehensions?

Exemption

  • There is apprehension that the exemption from EIA for listed B2 category activity will seriously affect the environment, since these will be carried out without oversight.

Post-facto approval for projects

  • It allows post-facto approval for projects. Hence, projects can be awarded clearances, even if they have started construction or are running without securing environmental clearances.
  • It is feared that violations will get legitimized (as the only solution would be to impose a fine/punishment as damage to environment has already occurred).

Liberal norms

  • For project modernization and expansion, the norms in Notification 2020 are liberal, with only those involving more than 25% increase in projects requiring EIA, and over 50% attracting public consultation.

Non-compliance over reporting

  • Under new EIA, project proponents need to submit only one annual report on compliance with conditions, compared to the existing two. The move is seen as retrograde, because in 2016, deficiency in semi-annual compliance reporting was 43%-78%, while failure to comply with conditions ranged from 5% to 57%.
  • Non-compliance was encountered particularly in river valley and hydroelectric power projects and thermal power projects.
    • After the gas leak at LG Polymers in Visakhapatnam in May, the Environment Ministry told the National Green Tribunal that the unit lacked environment clearance, exposing the low effectiveness of rules.

Arbitrary power to Central government:

  • The EIA Notification 2020 excludes reporting by the public of violations and non-compliance. Instead, the government will take cognisance of reports only from the violator-promoter, government authority, Appraisal Committee or Regulatory Authority.
  • Such projects can then be approved with conditions, including remediation of ecological damage, which, again, will be assessed by the violator (and not an unconnected agency), although Central Pollution Control Board guidelines must be used.
  • While projects concerning national defence and security are naturally considered strategic, the government will decide which projects are strategic and which are not for other projects.

The 2020 draft says no information on “such projects shall be placed in the public domain”. This opens a window for clearance for any project deemed strategic without having to explain why.

Avoiding EIA Process

  • Also, building and construction in areas between 20,000 sq. metres and 50,000 sq. metres do not require environmental clearance.
  • In the sand mining sector, no public hearing will now take place for mining in an area of 0-5 hectare.

Reduction of time to submit response:

  • The notice period for public hearing has been cut from 30 days to 20 days.
  • This will make it difficult to study the draft EIA report, more so when it is not widely available or provided in the regional language.
  • This will also curtail the time for the preparation of views, comments and suggestions and is detrimental to the transparency of EIA.

How does the draft notification compare with global norms?

  • EIA rules must meet the requirements of the precautionary principle of avoiding harm, and intergenerational equity.
  • The European Union, as an evolving example, has modified its EIA in accordance with the Aarhus Convention, 1998, which stipulates that environmental rights and human rights are linked, the present generation owes an obligation to future generations and interactions between the public and public authorities must take place in a democratic context.

 [Ref: The Hindu]

Dhole

  • A paper titled ‘A strategic road map for conserving the endangered dhole Cuon alpinus in India’ by the scientists from the Wildlife Conservation Society-India, the University of Florida, the Wildlife Conservation Trust, and the National Centre for Biological Sciences was published recently in Mammal Review.

Key Findings:

  • The states of Karnataka, Maharashtra and Madhya Pradesh were adequately equipped to maintain their high ranks in consolidating forest habitats and recover dhole populations by increasing prey density and reducing the pressure on forests.
  • However, Arunachal Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Odisha, Telangana and Goa will need to increase financial investments in the forest and wildlife sectors and reduce the ease of granting forest clearances for infrastructure projects.
  • It also found that improving habitat conditions and prey densities in the Eastern Ghats of Andhra Pradesh, Telangana and Odisha would strengthen the link between dhole populations in the Western Ghats and central India.

About Dhole:

  • The Dhole is a native to Central, South, East Asia, and Southeast Asia.
  • The dhole is a highly social animal, living in large clans without rigid dominance hierarchies.
  • It is a diurnal pack hunter which preferentially targets medium- and large-sized ungulates.
  • Dhole is a habitat generalist, and can occur in a wide variety of vegetation types, including primary, secondary and degraded forms of tropical dry and moist deciduous forests; evergreen and semi-evergreen forests; temperate deciduous forests; boreal forests; dry thorn forests; grassland–scrub–forest mosaics; temperate steppe; and alpine steppe.

Threats:

  • Habitat loss, Loss of prey, competition with other species like Tigers and Leopards and disease transfer from domestic dogs

Conservation Status:

  • IUCN Status: Endangered
  • Listed under Schedule II of Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972.
[Ref: The Hindu, IASToppers.com]

Bilateral & International Relations

Why Ecuador was angered by a Chinese flotilla near its waters

Ecuador was on alert recently as a flotilla of 260 mostly Chinese fishing vessels was sighted near the Galapagos archipelago.

  • The flotilla was detected in an international water corridor situated between two areas of Ecuadorian jurisdiction– 200 miles away from both the Galapagos Islands and mainland Ecuador.

What is the issue?

  • Every year, Ecuador faces the challenge of protecting its natural habitat from Chinese vessels.
  • Chinese ships frequent Ecuador’s waters this time of the year when the cold Humboldt Current brings in nutrients that lead to a high congregation of marine species. Thus, chinese vessels come to fish near Ecuador`s important Galapagos marine reserve every year and harvested many protected species.
  • Ecuador`s argument: Chinese ships reach the outer limit of the archipelago, outside the Ecuador’s exclusive economic zone (EEZ). Ecuador’s argument is that chinese vessel might have infiltrate Ecuador’s waters.
  • Also, illegal Chinese fishing just on the edge of the protected zone is ruining Ecuador’s efforts to protect marine life in the Galápagos.
    • In 2017, when a Chinese ship did enter Ecuador’s waters, its authorities discovered 300 tonnes of wildlife, mostly the critically endangered scalloped hammerhead sharks – a delicacy in China.
  • China’s argument: Chinese fishing boats are operating legally in waters outside the exclusive economic zone (EEZ) of the Galapagos. According to the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea, fishing in waters outside the exclusive economic zone does not impact the rights and interests of coastal countries.  

Possible solution

  • To address the issue of international fishing pressure, Ecuadorian President proposed forming a regional environmental protection alliance with neighboring Latin American countries with Pacific coastlines, from Chile to Costa Rica. 
  • Ecuador will also extend the exclusive economic zone to a 350-mile circumference around the Galapagos which would join up with the Ecuadorian mainland’s economic zone, closing off a corridor of international waters in between the two where the Chinese fleet is currently located.

Conflict of china with other nations

  • The Chinese distant-water fishing fleet is notorious for operating adjacent to other nation’s maritime boundaries. The zone just outside of Argentinian waters in the South Atlantic sees frequent confrontations between Chinese and Argentine Navy patrol vessels.

About Galapagos Islands

  • The Galápagos Islands, spread over almost 60,000 sq km, is a volcanic archipelago in the Pacific Ocean. It is located 1,000 kilometers from Ecuador.
  • It includes more than 125 islands, islets, and rocks populated by a diversity of wildlife.
  • The islands are formed at the meeting point of three tectonic plates—the Nazca, Cocos, and Pacific—and they are situated at the crossroads of three major Pacific currents: Cold South Equatorial Current, Warm Panama Current and Deep sea Cromwell Current.
  • The giant tortoises found here – ‘Galápagos’– give the islands its name.
  • Ecuador made a part of the Galapagos a wildlife sanctuary in 1935, and the sanctuary became the Galapagos National Park in 1959. In 1978, the islands became UNESCO’s first World Heritage Site.

Ecological diversity

  • Renowned worldwide for its unique species, the islands host a wide array of aquatic wildlife, -including marine iguanas, fur seals, and waved albatrosses.
  • The Galápagos marine reserve has one of the world’s greatest concentrations of shark species, including endangered whale and hammerhead varieties.
  • It was here that the British naturalist Charles Darwin made key observations in 1835 that shaped his theory of evolution. Darwin described the islands as a “world in itself”.

What is Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ)?

  • The United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS), also called the Law of the Sea Convention, divided the marine area of a country in five parts: i) Internal Waters ii) Territorial Sea iii) Contiguous Zone iv) Exclusive Economic Zone v) Continental Shelf and vi) High Seas and Deep Ocean Floor.
  • These zones give coastal States different jurisdictional rights. In general, a State has more rights in zones near to its coastline than it does further into the ocean.

Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ)

  • Countries may claim an EEZ that extends 200 nautical miles from the baseline.

In this zone, a coastal State:

  • Has the exclusive right to exploit or conserve any resources found within the water, on the sea floor, or under the sea floor’s subsoil. These resources encompass both living resources (fish) and non-living resources (oil and natural gas).
  • Have exclusive rights to engage in offshore energy generation from the waves, currents, and wind within their EEZ.

Unlike the territorial sea and the contiguous zone, the EEZ only allows for the above two mentioned rights. It does not give a coastal State the right to prohibit or limit freedom of navigation or overflight, subject to very limited exceptions.

[Ref: Indian Express]

BeiDou

  • China officially commissioned the navigation system BeiDou.
  • China’s navigation system uses a network of satellites and can provide positional accuracies of under ten metres.
  • Initiated BeiDou in 1994, aims to integrate its application in different sectors, including fishery, agriculture, special care, mass-market applications, forestry and public security.
  • Offers services ranging from accurate positioning, navigation and timing as well as short message communication.

Other Navigational Services:

Country Name of the service
USA Global Positioning System (GPS)
Russia GLONASS
The European Union (EU) Galileo
India Navigation with Indian Constellation (NavIC).
[Ref: Indian Express]

Science & Technology

Economical nonsurgical prevention of cataract

  • A team of scientists from the Institute of Nano Science & Technology (INST), an autonomous institute under the Department of Science & Technology, Government of India has developed nanorods from Aspirin and found it to be an effective non–invasive small molecule-based nanotherapeutics against cataract.
  • Their research published in the Journal of Materials Chemistry B.
  • The aspirin nanorods prevent the aggregation of crystallin protein and various peptides derived from its fragmentation, which play a crucial role in cataract formation.

Expected Benefits:

  • Could help prevent cataracts in an economical and less complicated way.
  • Benefit patients especially in developing countries who cannot access expensive cataract treatments and surgeries.

About Cataract:

  • Cataract a major form of blindness that occurs when the structure of crystallin proteins that make up the lens in our eyes deteriorates, causing damaged or disorganised proteins to aggregate and form a milky blue or brown layer, which ultimately affects lens transparency.
  • Thus, prevention of the formation of these aggregates as well as their destruction in the early stage of disease progression is a major treatment strategy for cataracts.
[Ref: PIB]

Key Facts for Prelims

Idu’l Zuha

  • The President of India greeted fellow citizens on the eve of Idu’l Zuha/ Eid al-Adha.
  • Eid al-Adha is the last of the two Islamic holidays celebrated worldwide each year (the other being Eid al-Fitr) and considered the holier of the two.
  • It honours the willingness of Ibrahim to sacrifice his son Ismael as an act of obedience to God’s command. Before Ibrahim could sacrifice his son, however, God provided a lamb to sacrifice instead.
  • In commemoration of this intervention, an animal (usually a sheep) is sacrificed ritually.
[Ref: PIB]

Barakah Nuclear Power Plant

  • Recently, the United Arab Emirates announced the startup of its Barakah nuclear power plant.
  • This is the first for the Arab world.
[Ref: NDTV]
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