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UPSC Prelims News 24th September 2022

 

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.

UPSC Prelims News of 23 September 2022

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.
  • Objectives:
    • 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.

Significance:

  • 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.

Recent developments

  • In August 2022, the swarm drone system equipped with artificial intelligence has been inducted into the mechanized forces of Indian Army.

 

E-FAST

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.

About e-FAST:

  • 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.

Significance:

  • 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.

Working:

  • 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.

Significance:

  • 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.

UPSC Prelims News of 26 September 2022

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