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Daily Current Affairs for UPSC – 16 January 2023

Daily Current Affairs for UPSC 2023

Q) Recently seen in news, the ‘Matsya 6000’ is best related to which one of the following?

  1. It is an anti-submarine warfare corvette.
  2. It is an all-weather early warning system for cyclones.
  3. It is an indigenously developed manned submersible vehicle.
  4. It is an Offshore Patrol Vessel for anti-piracy operations.

Daily Current Affairs for UPSC – 14 January 2023

Explanation:

  • Option (3) is correct: ‘MATSYA 6000’ is an indigenously developed manned submersible vehicle. It is being designed and developed by National Institute of Ocean Technology (NIOT), Chennai under Ministry of Earth Sciences (MoES). India will send three persons to six thousand metre below sea level for exploration of resources like minerals under Samudrayaan Mission. Matsya 6000 will facilitate the MoES in conducting deep ocean exploration of resources such as gas hydrates, polymetallic manganese nodules etc. It has an endurance of 12 hours under normal operation and 96 hours in case of emergency for human safety.

Q) With reference t to the Coral Reefs, consider the following statements:

  1. Crown-of-thorn starfish share a symbiotic relationship with coral reefs.
  2. Incidence of El Niño and sea level rise due to global warming have positive effects on the coral growth.
  3. Invasive species called zooxanthellae is responsible for mass bleaching of coral reef around the world.

Which of the statements given above is/are not correct?

  1. 1 and 2 only
  2. 1 and 3 only
  3. 2 and 3 only
  4. 1, 2 and 3

Explanation:

  • Statements 1 and 2 are incorrect: The first mass bleaching of coral reef event occurred in 1998 when the El Niño weather pattern caused sea surfaces to heat, causing 8% of the world’s coral to die. The longest and most damaging bleaching event took place from 2014 to 2017. Besides predatory crown-of-thorn starfish (COTs) attacks which prey on hard corals and tropical cyclones, a new study, global warming poses a more significant threat to coral growth and reef accretion than ocean acidification. The study also found that the effects of temperature on the metabolism of corals were stronger than the effects of increased ambient Carbon dioxide (CO2). High temperatures can cause certain coral species to become more dominant or extinct, altering the composition of coral communities. Rising ocean temperatures can increase the incidence and severity of coral diseases. Moreover, sea level rise may lead to increase in sedimentation for reefs located near land-based sources of sediment. Sedimentation runoff can lead to the smothering of coral. It is been evident that global warming has resulted into changes in storm patterns around the world, this leads to stronger and more frequent storms that can cause the destruction of coral reefs.
  • Statement 3 is incorrect: Corals are marine invertebrates or animals which do not possess a spine. They are the largest living structures on the planet. Each coral is called a polyp and thousands of such polyps live together to form a colony, which grow when polyps multiply to make copies of themselves. Corals are of two types — hard corals and soft corals. Hard corals extract calcium carbonate from seawater to build hard, white coral exoskeletons. Soft corals also add their own skeletons to the hard structure over the year.  Corals share a symbiotic relationship with single-celled algae called zooxanthellae. The algae prepares food for corals through photosynthesis and also gives them their vibrant colouration. When exposed to conditions like heat stress, pollution, or high levels of ocean acidity, the zooxanthellae start producing reactive oxygen species not beneficial to the corals. So, the corals kick out the colour-giving algae from their polyps, exposing their pale white exoskeleton and leading to coral starvation as corals cannot produce their own food. Severe bleaching and prolonged stress in the external environment can lead to coral death.

Q) Consider the following statements:

  1. Supernova is a cosmic explosion occurring when stars meet their end.
  2. Exoplanets are planets that orbit other stars which exist beyond our solar system.
  3. The ‘Local Bubble’ is a 1,000-light-year-wide cavity.

Which of the statements given above is/are correct?

  1. 1 and 2 only
  2. 1 and 3 only
  3. 2 and 3 only
  4. 1, 2 and 3

Explanation:

  • Statements 1 and 3 are correct: The Local Bubble is a 1,000-light-year-wide cavity or a superbubble in an interstellar medium. Local bubble also exists in the Milky Way. Studies have shown that star-forming regions occur along the surface of bubbles due to accumulation of gases and debris. Despite their discovery, mechanisms powering the formation and expansion of local bubbles are not known. The role played by magnetic fields in their formation is also not known. Local Bubble is thought to have originated from supernovae roughly 14 million years ago. Supernova is a cosmic explosion occurring when stars meet their end.
  • Statement 2 is correct: Exoplanets are planets that orbit other stars and are beyond our solar system.  Exoplanets come in a host of different sizes and are known to have different kinds of temperatures. Also, they are made up of elements similar to those of the planets in our solar system, but the mixture of those elements may differ. Recently, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) has announced that the James Webb Space Telescope has discovered its first new exoplanet.

Q) With reference to ‘Rare Earth Metals’, consider the following statements:

  1. At present, 25 percent of the world’s total production of rare earth metals is mined in Europe.
  2. Due to their great demand, light rare earth elements are more important than heavy elements.
  3. India is a member in the Minerals Security Partnership, which seeks to protect the rare earth metals supply chain.
  4. The most prevalent rare earth element is cerium, which is also used in NASA’s space shuttle programme.

Which of the statements given above is/are correct?

  1. 1, 2 and 3 only
  2. 2, 3 and 4 only
  3. 4 only
  4. 1, 2, 3 and 4

Explanation:

  • Statement 1 is incorrect: Currently, no rare earths are mined in Europe and it mostly imports them from other regions. According to a report, 98 per cent of rare earths used by the European Union were sent by China. Recently a Swedish state-owned mining company, LKAB, has discovered more than one million tonnes of rare earth oxides in the northern area of the country. The discovery is the largest known deposit in Europe. It will reduce their reliance on China for the import of these rare earth elements and other key industrial supplies.
  • Statement 2 is incorrect: Rare Earth Metals are a family of 17 elements in the periodic table, which involve 15 Lanthanides group elements, along with Yttrium and Scandium. These elements are not often found in concentrated enough clusters to make them viable to mine. It was the scarcity of these minerals that led to them being called rare earths. Elements are divided into two forms: Light rare earth elements are uncritical as they are abundantly available. Heavy rare earth elements are more critical due to their high demand and less availability.
  • Statement 3 is incorrect: Minerals Security Partnership (MSP) aims at catalyzing investment from governments and the private sector to develop strategic opportunities. It also focuses on supply chains of minerals such as Cobalt, Nickel, Lithium, and also the 17 ‘rare earth’ minerals. Its members are US, Australia, Canada, Finland, France, Germany, Japan, the Republic of Korea (South Korea), Sweden, the United Kingdom, and the European Commission.
  • Statement 4 is correct: Rare Earth Metals are important in technologies of consumer electronics, computers and networks, communications, clean energy, advanced transportation, healthcare, environmental mitigation, and national defence. Scandium is used in televisions and fluorescent lamps. Yttrium is used in drugs to treat rheumatoid arthritis and cancer.  Cerium, the most abundant rare earth element, is essential to NASA’s Space Shuttle Programme. Elements like neodymium and dysprosium, which are used in wind turbine motors. Switching from internal combustion cars to electric vehicles has led to a rise in demand for rare earth magnets (made from neodymium, boron, and iron) and batteries

Q) Consider the following statements about REWARD Project:

  1. The project aims to increase agriculture’s resilience to climate change by improving watershed management practices.
  2. It is a joint initiative of the Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers Welfare and the World Bank.
  3. It is being implemented in all the states that have arid and semi-arid areas.

Which of the statements given above is/are correct?

  1. 1 only
  2. 1 and 2 only
  3. 2 and 3 only
  4. 1, 2 and 3

Explanation:

  • Statement 1 is correct but statement 3 is incorrect: The Rejuvenating Watersheds for Agricultural Resilience through Innovative Development (REWARD) project aims to help national and state institutions adopt improved watershed management practices to help increase farmers’ resilience to climate change and promote higher productivity and better incomes. It is a project which is being implemented in three-four Indian states. The Government of India, the State Governments of Karnataka and Odisha and the World Bank has signed a loan agreement for implementation of REWARD Project.
  • Statement 2 is incorrect: This project is a joint initiative of the Department of Land Resources, Ministry of Rural Development in association with the World Bank. The World Bank has decided to get Sub-Saharan farm officials to Karnataka to learn from its REWARD Project.

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FAQs

Recently seen in news, the ‘Matsya 6000’ is best related to which?

It is an indigenously developed manned submersible vehicle.

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