14th July | Current Affairs News Analysis | Prelims & Mains 2020

Current Affairs News Analysis | Prelims & Mains 2020 | 14th July 2020

Dear Aspirants
IASbhai Current Affairs News Analysis | Prelims & Mains 2020 is an initiative to dilute major articles from leading Newspapers in India which are most relevant to UPSC preparation –‘THE HINDU, LIVEMINT , INDIAN EXPRESS’ and help millions of readers who find difficulty in answer writing and making notes everyday. Hence we choose articles on daily basis and analyse them with respect to UPSC PRELIMS 2020.

“The road to success and the road to failure are almost exactly the same.” –Colin R. Davis

HIGHLIGHT INFO:

ORANGE COLOUR: Important for Prelims.

RED COLOUR: Important for Mains.

BLACK COLOUR: Must Read !

BLUE COLOUR : Important Links/Survey.

PINK COLOUR: Reports/Themes/Summits.

Today's Must Read Articles : Today's Must Read Articles :

“Green Railway” by 2030

      HEADLINES:

Indian Railways on MISSION MODE of becoming a “Green Railway” by 2030( Net Zero Carbon Emission)

      WHY IN NEWS:

Hot from PIB !

MINISTRY? :-Ministry of Railways
SYLLABUS COVERED: GS 3: Railways

      LEARNING: 

For PRELIMS nothing much here . Just Keep an eye on total electrified Broad Gauges(BG).

For MAINS formulate points and revise them multiple times . This question can be a guest in Mains this year .

      ISSUE: 

“Green Railway” by 2030

Ministry of Railways, with a goal of transforming Indian Railways into Green Railways by 2030 has taken a number of major initiatives towards mitigation of global warming and combating climate change.

Railway Electrification, improving energy efficiency of locomotives & trains and fixed installations, green certification for installations/stations, fitting bio toilets in coaches and switching to renewable sources of energy are parts of its strategy of achieving net zero carbon emission.

GREENFIELD INITIATIVES

  • Electrification of all routes on Broad Gauge by December 2023.
  • Solar and wind energy to power the Railway electricity grid in a big way.
  • Indian Railways has completed electrification of more than 40,000 RKM (63% of BG routes).
  • 100 MW of Solar plants have been commissioned on roof-tops of various buildings including 900 stations.
  • A total of 69,000 coaches have been fitted with 2, 44,000 bio-toilets in Indian Railways.
  • Indian Railways has completed electrification of more than 40,000 Route km (RKM) (63% of BG routes) in which 18,605 km electrification work has been done during 2014-20.
  • Indian Railways has fixed a target of electrification of 7000 RKM for the year 2020-21.

      IASbhai WINDUP: 

  • With this in mind 365 km major connectivity work has been commissioned during COVID period.
  • All routes on BG network have been planned to be electrified by December 2023.
  • Indian Railways is focusing on electrification of last mile connectivity & missing links.

     SOURCES:THE HINDU & PIB | Current Affairs News Analysis | Prelims & Mains 2020

Dilution of NOx emission limit for coal-fired power stations

      HEADLINES:

Experts flag dilution of NOx emission limit for coal-fired power stations

      WHY IN NEWS:

The SC on July 8 relaxed limits for coal-fired power stations commissioned between December 2003 and 2016 — to 450 mg / Nm3 from 300 mg / Nm3

MINISTRY? :-MOC
SYLLABUS COVERED: GS 3: Coal : Thermal Power Plants

      LEARNING: 

  • We want you to grasp every judgement or verdict related to NGT or any environmental issue on the table.
  • The essence here is you can be a potential conservator at the end of such analysis .
  • You can also ponder some of your analysis too. Let us know in the comment section !

      ISSUE: 

COAL PLANTS _ UPSC

VERDICT
Power stations commissioned between December 2003 and 2016 can emit 450 milligram / normal cubic metre (mg / Nm3 ) oxides of nitrogen (NOx), up from 300 earlier, the Supreme Court said July 8, 2020. 

  • Experts have cautioned against further relaxation.
  • A joint committee of the Union power and environment ministries in August 2019 recommended watering down emission limits.

THE ORDER

  • The 300 mg / Nm3 limit was according to a December 2015 notification by the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change (MoEF&CC).
  • To verify the claim of load-affecting emissions, CPCB in collaboration with National Thermal Power Corporation Ltd (NTPC) monitored emissions at seven units of four thermal power plants between February 13 and April 2, 2019.
  • Some units did not comply during partial load operations even after combustion modification.
  • Combustion modification is a NOx-control technique where no new investment is required to set up pollution control systems and marginal reductions can be achieved.

Bharat Heavy Electricals Ltd, India’s leading supplier of boiler components, assured that NOx emission level of 450 mg / Nm3 could be achieved by combustion modification.

  • Coal-fired power stations with capacity of 121,340 megawatt were commissioned, which is 58 per cent of the total installed utility-based coal-fired capacity.
  • Ministry has been seeking relaxation in NOx emission limits for new plants from 100 mg / Nm3, citing performance issues in the pollution control technology.
  • With the Supreme Court July 8 order, power stations will not have to install further technologies like selective non-catalytic reactors to bring emissions below 300 mg / Nm3.
  • The technology installation cost about 10-20 lakhs / MW.

WHAT EXPERTS SAY

  • “Coal-fired power plants are some of the most polluting industries in the country.

THESE COAL PLANTS ACCOUNT FOR

  • 60 per cent of the total PM emissions from all industry.
  • 45 per cent of the SO2
  • 30 per cent of oxides of nitrogen and
  • Over 80 per cent of the mercury emissions.

So even as we continue using coal, India’s thermal power sector must clean up its act.

      IASbhai WINDUP: 

  • After the agreed five-year extension given to this sector in 2017, most of the total installed coal-fired capacity will not be compliant with the crucial sulphur dioxide (SO2) standards by 2022.
  • There is little information in the public domain about compliance with particulate matter (PM) or NOx standards.
  • There was no direction to the thermal power plants that they must meet the crucial water standards, which would make the sector more responsible on its usage.

     SOURCES:THE HINDU & PIB | Current Affairs News Analysis | Prelims & Mains 2020

Snake Bites

      HEADLINES:

Global Eco Watch: 1.2 million Indians died of snake bites in last 20 years

SYLLABUS COVERED: GS 3: Miscellaneous

      ISSUE:  

snakebite

1.2 million Indians were killed in the last 20 years due to snake bites mostly involving Russell's Vipers, Kraits and Cobras. Photo: Wikimedia Commons 1.2 million Indians were killed in the last 20 years due to snake bites mostly involving Russell’s Vipers, Kraits and Cobras.

STUDIED BY

  • The study was published in the journal eLife.
  • It was based on data collected from India’s Million Death Study.

KEY FACTS

  • Half of the victims were between 30 and 69 years of age while a quarter were children.
  • Half of the deaths happened in the summer monsoon between June and September and most of the victims were bit on the legs.
  • Most of the deaths happened because people could not access swift medical care.

The snake species most responsible were Russell’s vipers, kraits and cobras.

      IASbhai WINDUP: 

Between 2001 and 2014, 70 per cent of the snake bite deaths occurred in the states of Bihar, Jharkhand, Madhya Pradesh, Odisha, Uttar Pradesh, Andhra Pradesh (including Telangana) Rajasthan and Gujarat.

     SOURCES:THE HINDU & PIB | Current Affairs News Analysis | Prelims & Mains 2020

Iran, China set to clinch 25-year deal

      HEADLINES:

Iran, China set to clinch 25-year deal

      WHY IN NEWS:

Beijing will get larger role in Chabahar

SYLLABUS COVERED: GS 2 : IR

      LEARNING: 

For PRELIMS it is important to understand the important projects going on and map them out as Chabahar port has already been asked once.

For MAINS make a note of all important projects and the strategic value .

      ISSUE: 

Iran and China are close to finalising a 25-year Strategic Partnership which will include Chinese involvement in Chabahar’s duty-free zone, an oil refinery nearby, and possibly a larger role in Chabahar port as well.

Comprehensive Plan for Cooperation between Iran and China”, being finalised by officials in Tehran and Beijing, the cooperation will extend from :

  • Investments and Infrastructure,
  • Manufacturing and Upgrading
  • Energy and Transport Facilities, 
  • Refurbishing Ports,
  • Refineries.
  • Other Installations
  • Iranian Oil And Gas Supplies To China During That Period.

RAILWAY PROJECT

  • The proposed tie-up comes with the construction of a railway line from Chabahar port to Zahedan, in Afghanistan for which an MoU had been signed with the PSU Indian Railways Construction Ltd (IRCON) four years ago.

The MoU, signed during Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to Tehran in 2016, was to construct the Chabahar-Zahedan railway as “part of transit and transportation corridor in trilateral agreement between India, Iran and Afghanistan.   

  • Despite several site visits by IRCON engineers, and preparations by Iranian railways, India never began the work, ostensibly due to worries that these could attract U.S. sanctions.
  • Iran proposed a tie-up between the Chinese-run Pakistani port at Gwadar and Chabahar last year, and has offered interests to China in the Bandar-e-Jask port 350km away from Chabahar, as well as in the Chabahar duty-free zone.

      IASbhai WINDUP: 

  • Each of those possibilities should be watched closely by New Delhi
  • Iranian officials denied a report that also suggested Chabahar port, where India took charge of operations at one terminal last December, would be leased to China.

     SOURCES:THE HINDU & PIB | Current Affairs News Analysis | Prelims & Mains 2020

Virus immunity may disappear

      HEADLINES:

Virus immunity may disappear within months of recovery: study

      WHY IN NEWS:

In many patients, antibodies do not last more than 90 days

SYLLABUS COVERED: GS 3:Health:Diseases

      LEARNING: 

This is just an update which you must make note ! Let us dive in .

      ISSUE: 

Patients who recover from COVID-19 infections may lose their immunity to reinfection within months

STUDIED BY

King’s College London

KEYFACTS

  • The levels of antibodies in more than 90 confirmed virus patients and how they changed over time.

Blood tests showed even individuals with only mild COVID-19 symptoms mounted some immune response to the virus.

  • Of the study group, 60% showed a “potent” viral response in the first few weeks after infection.
  • After three months only 16.7% had maintained high levels of COVID-19-neutralising antibodies.

After 90 days several patients had no detectable antibodies in their bloodstream.

  • When the body encounters an external danger such as a virus, it mobilises cells to track down and kill the culprit.
  • As it does so, it produces proteins known as antibodies that are programmed to target the specific antigen the body is fighting, like a key cut for a particular lock.

      IASbhai WINDUP: 

  • This is an important study that starts to define the longer-term dynamics of the antibody response to SARS-CoV-2.
  • Even those with a positive antibody test — especially those who cannot account for where they may have been exposed — should continue to use caution, social distancing and appropriate mask use.

     SOURCES:THE HINDU & PIB | Current Affairs News Analysis | Prelims & Mains 2020

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