UPSC Prelims News of 18 February 2023
Unlawful Activities Prevention Act
Context: The Union Home Ministry has recently designated Khalistan Tiger Force (KTF) and Jammu and Kashmir Ghaznavi Force (JKGF) as terrorist organizations, under the provisions of the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, 1967.
About the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA), 1967
- UAPA was passed in 1967. It aims at effective prevention of unlawful activities and associations in India.
- Unlawful activity refers to any action taken by an individual or association intended to disrupt the territorial integrity and sovereignty of India.
- Key provisions of the UAPA, 1967:
- The Act assigns absolute power to the central government, by way of which if the Centre deems an activity as unlawful then it may, by way of an Official Gazette, declare it so.
- It has death penalty and life imprisonment as highest punishments.
- Under the UAPA, the investigating agency can file a charge sheet in maximum 180 days after the arrests and the duration can be extended further after intimating the court.
- Applicability: Under UAPA, both Indian and foreign nationals can be charged. It will be applicable to the offenders in the same manner, even if crime is committed on a foreign land, outside India.
- 2004 Amendment Act: The 2004 amendment, added “terrorist act” to the list of offences to ban organizations for terrorist activities.
- Till 2004, “unlawful” activities referred to actions related to secession and cession of territory.
- 2019 Amendment Act:
- The Act empowers the Director General of National Investigation Agency (NIA) to grant approval of seizure or attachment of property when the case is investigated by the said agency.
- The Act empowers the officers of the NIA, of the rank of Inspector or above, to investigate cases of terrorism in addition to those conducted by the DSP or ACP or above rank officer in the state.
Context: A preliminary investigation of the Nepal Yeti Airlines crash has found that propellers of the plane were found in an unusual “feathered” position.
- When engines experience failure in mid-air, the pilot flying variable-pitch propellers can change the pitch/ angle of the propeller blades so that they slice the airflow in a more or less parallel motion.
- This reduces the ‘drag’ and increases the gliding distance, preventing airspeed from falling below unsafe limits. This is known as ‘feathering’ of propellers.
- In case feathering is not used, the wind hitting the aircraft’s powerless propellers causes windmilling, which increases gliding resistance.
- Feathering is part of the checklist if the crew of an aircraft, facing emergency, is planning a forced landing.
- Significance: Feathering significantly reduces drag, giving the aircraft valuable extra landing distance, when engines have lost power.
- Drawbacks: Feathering can only be used by aircraft with variable-pitch propellers.
Context: Recently, Google has cautioned against ‘hallucinating’ chatbots.
About ‘Hallucinating’ Chatbots
- Hallucination in AI chatbots is when a machine provides convincing but completely made-up answers,
- It is not a new phenomenon and developers have warned of AI models being convinced of completely untrue facts, responding to queries with madeup answers.
- In 2022, Meta released their AI conversational chatbot called BlenderBot 3.
- BlenderBot 3 was capable of searching the internet to chat with users about any topic and would learn to improve its skills and safety through feedback from users.
- However, Meta engineers had warned that the chatbot should not be relied upon for factual information and that the bot could apparently “hallucinate”.
How AI chatbots start hallucinating
- Hallucinations can occur because these models require the capability to rephrase, summarise and present intricate tracts of text without constraints.
- This raises the problem of facts not being sacred and they can be treated in contextual form when sifting through information.
- An AI chatbot could possibly take widely available information rather than factual information as an input.
- The problem becomes especially acute when complex grammar or arcane source material is used.
- Therefore, AI models can start presenting and even believing in ideas or information that may be incorrect but which are fed to them by a large number of user inputs.
Context: The meteorological office of the UK, recently explained that Mammatus clouds are among the most extraordinary and easily recognizable cloud formations.
About Mammatus clouds
- Mammatus clouds are some of the most unusual and distinctive cloud formations, with a series of bulges or pouches emerging from the base of a cloud.
- Formation: They are usually formed in association with large cumulonimbus clouds.
- Typically, turbulence within the cumulonimbus cloud will cause mammatus to form, especially on the underside of the projecting anvil as it rapidly descends to lower levels.
- This reverses the usual cloud-forming process of upward growth, making for an uneven cloud base.
- They have also been known to form on other cloud types, such as stratocumulus, altostratus and altocumulus and even along the underside of volcanic ash clouds.
- Effects: These clouds bring thunderstorms due to their huge mass of unstable air, along with hail, heavy rain and lightning in the vicinity.
Context: Agriculture ministry has approved the commercial release of Nano-DAP.
About Nano DAP
- Urea and Di-Ammonium Phosphate (DAP) are largely consumed fertilizers in the country. IFFCO has received the patent for their nano variants from the Indian government for a period of 20 years.
- Nano-DAP will be manufactured by India Farmers Fertilizer Cooperative (IFFCO) and Coromandel International.
- 500-ml bottles of nano-DAP will have the same effectiveness of a bag (1350 kg) of conventional soil nutrient.
- Benefits: It will help India save foreign exchange and also reduce government subsidy significantly.
- Nano-DAP will be instrumental in reducing soil, air, and water pollution.
- Nano Fertilizers hold great promise for application in plant nourishment because of the size-dependent qualities, high surface-volume ratio and unique optical properties.
- Nano fertilizer releases plant nutrients in a controlled manner contributing to higher nutrient use efficiency.
Munich Security Conference
Context: A foreign billionaire has levelled allegations against the Indian government during the Munich Security Conference.
About Munich Security Conference:
- The Munich Security Conference, an annual conference on global security issues, was founded by a German official and publisher Ewald-Heinrich von Kleist during the Cold War.
- It is a venue for diplomatic initiatives to address the world’s most pressing security concerns annually.
- MSC Conference has been cancelled only twice since its inception. Once in 1991 when the first Gulf War broke out and then in 1997 as a result of the retirement of Kleist-Schmenzin.
- Aim: The MSC’s objective is to build trust and to contribute to the peaceful resolution of conflicts by sustaining a continuous, curated and informal dialogue within the international security community.
- The MSC conceives of its conferences as a type of “marketplace of ideas” where initiatives and solutions are developed and opinions are exchanged.
- In addition to its annual flagship conference, the MSC regularly convenes high-profile events on particular topics and regions and publishes the Munich Security Report.
Jan Jal Abhiyan
Context: The Prime Minister addressed the ‘Jal-Jan Abhiyan’ of Brahma Kumaris.
- JJA is jointly run by Ministry of Jal Shakti, and Brahma Kumaris organization.
- It is a positive initiative towards water conservation to save humans and humanity.
- Campaign is based on idea that goal of water conservation can be achieved only by creating collective consciousness among people towards water conservation.
- The campaign is to run for eight months and will focus on building new water bodies and also on preserving more than 5,000 water bodies.
- The target of the campaign is to reach at least ten crore people and organize 10,000 programs.
About Brahma Kumaris
- The organization originated in Hyderabad (now in Pakistan). The headquarters of the organization is located in Mount Abu, Rajasthan.
- The founder of the organization was Lekhraj Kriplani.
- In 1980, the organization registered with the UN Department of Public Relations and in 1983, it received “Consultative Status” from UNESCO.
Saman Bird Sanctuary
Context: Recently, there has been a decline in the number of migratory bird species from North Asia and Central Asia at the Saman Bird Sanctuary.
The Saman Bird Sanctuary
- The Saman Bird Sanctuary in the Mainpuri district of Uttar Pradesh is a seasonal oxbow lake on the Ganges floodplain.
- It was designated as Ramsar Wetland in 2019.
- The Ramsar Convention is the intergovernmental treaty that provides the framework for the conservation and wise use of wetlands and their resources.
- The Convention was adopted in the Iranian city of Ramsar in 1971 and came into force in 1975.
- It’s one among 467 IBA Sites in the country (Important Bird & Biodiversity Area) designated by the Birdlife International having rich birdlife diversity.
- It is heavily reliant on the arrival of the south-westerly monsoon in July and August, which provides the vast majority of annual rainfall.
- The Sanctuary regularly provides refuge to over 50,000 waterbirds
- It is an important wintering site for many migrating birds including the greylag goose (Anser anser), with over 1% of the South Asian population present during winter.
- Vulnerable species including the sarus crane and greater spotted eagle are also found in this wetland.