UPSC Prelims News of 4 October 2022
Draft Guidelines For Listing RRBs
Context: The Union government issued draft guidelines that set certain basic criteria for regional rural banks (RRBs) to raise capital.
New Draft Guidelines for RRBs
|Net worth:||They should have a net worth of at least Rs 300 crore during the previous three years.|
|Capital adequacy:||They must have capital adequacy above the regulatory minimum level of 9% in each of the preceding three years.|
|Profitability:||The RRBs should have a profitability track record and earned operating profit of minimum Rs 15 crore for at least three out of the previous five years.|
|Losses:||There should not be any accumulated losses. A return on equity of minimum 10% in three out of the preceding five years should have given by the lender.|
|Identifying lender:||The responsibility of identifying suitable lenders for issuing initial public offering (IPO) has been given to the respective sponsor banks.|
|Selecting for IPO:||The sponsor bank will take into account the relevant norms and regulations of the SEBI and RBI regarding capital raising and disclosure requirements while identifying RRBs for IPO.|
Regional Rural Banks (RRBs)
- RRBs were formed under the RRB Act, 1976 with an aim of providing credit and other facilities to small farmers, agricultural labourers and artisans in rural areas.
- Stakes: RRBs are sponsored by Public Sector Banks (PSBs). Currently, the Centre holds 50% of the dtskes. 35% and 15% are held by the concerned sponsor banks and state governments, respectively.
- Raising capital:
- The RRB Act was amended in 2015, allowing such banks to raise capital from sources other than the Centre, states and sponsor banks.
- The RBI has given option to issue perpetual debt instruments as another way to raise regulatory capital and has made these instruments eligible for inclusion as extra tier-1 capital.
Biomass Co-Firing Targets
Context: India missed the target of ensuring that at least 5% of coal used in thermal plants was mixed with biomass.
More on the News
- The Power Ministry had ordered that all thermal power plants must ensure 5% of biomass co-mixing by October 2022.
- Thermal power plants that do not comply with the policy on biomass co-firing would face cut in coal supply.
- India has around 180 thermal power plants, out of which 39 of them have co-fired biomass pellets.
- In the pollution-hit Delhi-NCR region, 10 thermal power plants had started co-firing with biomass and coal.
What is Biomass co-firing?
- Biomass co-firing is the practice of substituting a part of the fuel in coal thermal plants with biomass.
- These biomass pellets are made from wood wastes, agricultural waste, commercial grasses, and forestry residues.
Benefits of Biomass co-firing
- Reduces coal consumption: Biomass pellets have the same calorific value as coal. Mixing them with coal reduces coal consumption.
- Import cost reduction: Use of biomass reduces coal consumption. Since majority of coal is imported, a significant amount of foreign exchange will be saved.
- Reduces carbon footprint: It has been reported that using biomass along with coal reduces carbon emissions. This will ultimately help reduce carbon footprint.
- Reduces farm pollution: Biomass can be prepared using farm stubbles, which prevents farmers from setting their crop stubble on fire.
Context: A recent study has found a strong correlation between the accelerated rate of melting ice and the rate of ocean acidification in the Arctic Ocean.
Key Highlights of the Study
- The acidity levels of the western region of the Arctic Ocean is increasing three to four times faster than ocean waters elsewhere.
- Scientists have predicted that by 2050, Arctic sea ice in this region will no longer survive the increasingly warm summers.
- As a result, the ocean’s chemistry will grow more acidic, creating life-threatening problems for the diverse population of sea creatures, plants and other living things that depend on a healthy ocean.
What is Ocean Acidification?
- It refers to a reduction in the pH of the ocean over an extended period of time, caused primarily by uptake of carbon dioxide (CO2) from the atmosphere.
- The ocean absorbs about 30 percent of the CO2 that is released in the atmosphere, and as levels of atmospheric CO2 increase, so do the levels in the ocean.
- Process: When CO2 is absorbed by seawater, a series of chemical reactions occur resulting in the increased concentration of hydrogen ions. This increase causes the seawater to become more acidic and causes carbonate ions to be relatively less abundant.
How Melting-Arctic ice is turning the ocean more acidic?
- The meltwater dilutes the carbonate ion concentration in the seawater, weakening its ability to neutralize the carbon dioxide into bicarbonate and rapidly decreasing ocean pH.
Context: Ministry of Education launched YUVA 2.0 – Prime Minister’s Scheme for Mentoring Young Authors.
Features of YUVA 2.0
- It is a programme to train young and budding authors to promote reading, writing and book culture in the country, and project India and Indian writings globally.
- It will help to develop a stream of writers who can write on various facets of Democracy in India encompassing the past, present and future; spectrum of subjects to promote the Indian heritage, culture, and knowledge system.
- It will provide a window to the aspiring youth to articulate themselves and present a comprehensive outlook of Indian Democratic values at domestic as well as international platforms.
- India ranks third in the field of book publishing.
- A total of 75 authors will be selected through an All India Contest to be conducted through www.mygov.in from 2nd October – 30th November this year.
- Implementing Agency: National Book Trust (NBT), India, under the Ministry of Education, will ensure phase-wise execution of the Scheme under well-defined stages of mentorship.
Context: Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) confirmed that the Mars Orbiter craft has lost communication with ground station.
- It’s non-recoverable and the Mangalyaan mission has attained end-of-life.
Mars Orbiter Mission (MoM)
- The Mars Orbiter Mission (MOM), commonly referred to as Mangalyaan.
- Mangalyaan was launched in 2013 onboard PSLV-C25 as the first interplanetary mission from India, making ISRO the fourth space agency in the world to launch such a mission beyond Earth’s orbit.
- After completing 300 days of interplanetary journey, it was inserted to the Martian orbit on September 24, 2014.
- India is the first Asian nation to reach the Mars orbit and the first in the world to achieve it on its first attempt.
- Aim: Studying Martian atmosphere.
- Objective: To explore Martian surface features, mineralogy, morphology, and atmosphere using indigenous scientific instruments.
- To develop technologies required in planning, designing, management and operations of an interplanetary mission.
- MOM was designed for a lifespan of six months as a technology demonstrator. However, it lived for about eight years in the Martian orbit with significant scientific results on Mars as well as on the Solar corona.
- Significant scientific understanding on the Martian surface features, morphology, as well as the Martian atmosphere and exosphere
- On September 27, 2022, MOM completed eight years in the Martian orbit.