UPSC Prelims News of 24th September 2022
PM Cares Fund
Context: Veteran industrialist Ratan Tata, former Supreme Court judge KT Thomas, and former deputy Lok Sabha speaker Kariya Munda were nominated as trustees of the PM CARES Fund.
- Other Members: Prime Minister is the ex-officio Chairman of the PM CARES Fund
- Ex-officio Trustees of the Fund: Minister of Defence, Minister of Home Affairs and Minister of Finance, Government of India.
About PM CARES Fund
- It was created during the Covid-19 pandemic.
- Objective: To deal with any kind of emergency or distress situation, like posed by the pandemic, and to provide relief to the affected individuals.
- The fund consists entirely of voluntary contributions from individuals/organizations and does not get any budgetary support.
- Donations to PM CARES Fund would qualify for 80G benefits for 100% exemption under the Income Tax Act.
- A total of ₹7,031.99 crore was collected under PM CARES Fund between 2020-21.
Innovation Roadmap of the Mission Integrated Biorefineries
Context: The launch of the “Innovation Roadmap of the Mission Integrated Biorefineries” was announced by the Union government.
About the mission
- The initiative was launched with active inputs from Brazil, Canada, EC and the UK at the Global Clean Energy Action Forum-2022 in Pittsburgh, in the United States.
- The Mission seeks greater international collaboration and the increased financing for energy research, development, and demonstration (RD&D) during the next five years.
- The mission aims to fill the void by identifying gaps and challenges in current biorefining value chains, prioritizing eight key actions to support the Mission and provide a guiding path for the mission to achieve its goal.
- A strategy framework will be provided to policymakers to establish a rising RD&D portfolio over the next five years, specific proposals for financing across the entire spectrum of vital biorefinery technologies, and rapid action suggestions.
India’s initiatives towards clean energy:
- India has agreed to reach 500 GW non-fossil energy capacity by 2030, shift 50% of energy requirements to renewable, reduce overall anticipated carbon emissions by one billion tons, reduce the carbon intensity of the economy by 45% over 2005 levels, and achieve net zero carbon emissions by 2070.
- India has announced the funding opportunity of the Hydrogen Valley Platform, which aims to optimize the hydrogen demand and supply by onsite generation and utilization.
- India is supporting R&D innovations in advanced bio-fuels and waste-to-energy technologies.
Swarm Drone Technology
Context: The government has announced registrations for “Mehar Baba Competition-II”, which is aimed at developing technology for a “Swarm Drone Based System to Detect Foreign Objects on Aircraft Operating Surfaces”.
What are Swarm Drones?
- SWARM is an acronym for ‘Smart War-Fighting Array of Reconfigured Modules’.
- The basic ‘Drone Swarm Technology’ revolves around the ability of a very large number of drones, generally in the mini/micro category to autonomously make decisions based on shared information.
- In simple terms it is like a hive of bees geared towards a single larger objective but each bee capable of acting on its own in relation to other bees to meet that objective.
- Drone Swarms could be particularly useful in urban warfare and anti-terrorist operations where they could be launched inside built up areas to seek out hidden militants and neutralize them.
- They have the potential to revolutionize the dynamics of modern warfare.
- In August 2022, the swarm drone system equipped with artificial intelligence has been inducted into the mechanized forces of Indian Army.
Context: NITI Aayog, in collaboration with World Resources Institute (WRI), India, has launched the country’s first national electric freight platform called e-FAST India.
- E-FAST India (Electric Freight Accelerator for Sustainable Transport – India) brings different stakeholders together, from across the freight ecosystem.
- It is on supported by the World Economic Forum, CALSTART and RMI India.
- Partnerships: It will help strengthen partnerships and identify and support innovative freight solutions.
- Electrification: The platform aims to raise awareness on freight electrification through on-ground demonstration pilots and evidence-based research.
- Policy support: Support will be provided to scalable pilots and inform policies that will accelerate freight electrification in India.
- Climate goals: India being the third-largest truck market, early adoption of zero-emission trucks would help in accelerating domestic climate goals and also support global climate action.
Importance of freight sector:
- The freight sector plays a critical role in India’s economy by enabling the delivery of goods and critical resources.
- The freight sector ensured a steady movement of essential goods and medical supplies across India during Covid crisis.
Total Cost of Ownership (TCO) Evaluator:
- The TCO Evaluator, launched during the event by WRI, is an intuitive excel-based application.
- It analyses cost components and performance parameters of light/medium/heavy-duty freight. It compares electric variants with its diesel/petrol/CNG counterparts.
- This comparison by the application offers valuable insights to policy makers, fleet operators, manufacturers and owners.
Avalanche Monitoring Radar
Context: India’s first avalanche monitoring radar system has been installed in North Sikkim by the Army and Defence Geoinformatics and Research Establishment (DGRE).
About the Avalanche Monitoring Radar System
- It was made operational by DGRE, a laboratory under the DRDO.
- It uses a series of short microwave pulses which detect an avalanche in under three seconds.
- The radar can permanently scan the targeted slope for avalanche and track the path of the avalanche and its size in case it is triggered.
- The radar is also linked to an alarm system enabling automatic control and warning measures in case an avalanche is triggered.
- Images and videos of the event are automatically recorded for future analysis.
- All-weather solution: The radar can see through snow, fog as well as in the night.
- It will help in forecasting and mitigation of avalanche hazards faced by the Army in the Himalayan region.
- It will assist in saving lives of troops and reducing damage to property in super high altitude areas.
What are Avalanches?
- An avalanche is a rapid flow of snow down a slope, such as a hill or mountain.
- Causes: Avalanches can be triggered by wind, rain, warming temperatures, heavy snowfall, earthquakes and human activity such as snow sports and vibration etc.
Types of Avalanches
- Slab avalanches made of tightly packed snow, triggered by a collapse of an underlying weak snow layer.
- Sluff avalanches occur when the weak layer of a snowpack is on the top (Sluffs are much less dangerous than slab avalanches).
- Cornices are overhanging masses of wind-deposited snow that protrude from sharp terrain features like ridges or peaks.
- Powder snow avalanches where snow grains are largely or completely suspended and moved by air in a state of fluid turbulence.