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IASbhai Current Affairs News Analysis | Prelims & Mains 2020-21 is an initiative to dilute major articles from leading Newspapers in India which are most relevant to UPSC preparation –‘THE HINDU, LIVEMINT , INDIAN EXPRESS’ and help millions of readers who find difficulty in answer writing and making notes everyday. Hence we choose articles on daily basis and analyse them with respect to UPSC PRELIMS 2021.

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ORANGE COLOUR: Important for Prelims.

RED COLOUR: Important for Mains.

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BLUE COLOUR : Important Links/Survey.

PINK COLOUR: Reports/Themes/Summits.

Current Affairs News Analysis for UPSC | 26th Dec 2020

‘BBX11’ : Gene that greens plants

      HEADLINES:

IISER scientists identify the gene that greens plants

      WHY IN NEWS:

The study was recently published in the prestigious U.K. journal New Phytologist

SYLLABUS COVERED: GS 3: Science

      ISSUE: 

Researchers at IISER have identified a gene that facilitates in the greening of plants by playing a crucial role in regulating the levels of protochlorophyllide — an intermediate in the biosynthesis of the green pigment chlorophyll.

BBX11 

  • Dr. Sourav Datta, Associate Professor, Department of Biological Sciences, IISER Bhopal, and a PhD research student Nikhil Job have identified the gene ‘BBX11’.
  • The synthesis of chlorophyll in plants is a lengthy, multi-step process.

 When a seedling emerges from under the soil it must quickly synthesise chlorophyll to start supporting its own growth

  • Using genetic, molecular and biochemical techniques, the duo found a mechanism where two proteins oppositely regulate the ‘BBX11’ gene to maintain optimum levels of ‘BBX11’.

PROTOCHLOROPHYLLIDE

  • In order to facilitate quick synthesis of chlorophyll, plants make a precursor of chlorophyll called ‘protochlorophyllide’ in the dark.

Protochlorophyllide which glows red when blue light is shone on the plant 

  • As soon as the plant comes out into the light from under the soil, light-dependent enzymes convert protochlorophyllide to chlorophyll.
  • The amount of protochlorophyllide synthesised needed to be proportional to the number of enzymes available to convert them to chlorophyll.

PHOTOBLEACHING

“If there is excess of free protochlorophyllide, then exposure to light converts it into molecules that cause ‘Photobleaching’.

Thus, it is very important to regulate the amount of protochlorophyllide synthesized by the plant and here comes the vital plant played by the ‘BBX11’ gene 

  • If it is less, plants are unable to efficiently ‘green’ in order to harvest sunlight.
  • If the amount of protochlorophyllide is more, then plants bleach under the light.

      IASbhai WINDUP: 

The study could have tremendous implications in the agriculture sector in tropical countries like India 

  • It can help provide leads to optimise plant growth under stressful and rapidly changing climatic conditions.

Due to the rapidly changing climatic conditions, farmers in several states in India, especially in Maharashtra, are suffering huge losses in crop yields 

  • This often leads to severe distress among the farming community as indicated by the high number of farmer suicides in Maharashtra for several years.
  • Severe drought, high temperature and high light are some of the major reasons for crop failure.
  • Young seedlings emerging out of the soil are extremely sensitive to high irradiance of light.
     SOURCES:  THE HINDU |Current Affairs News Analysis for UPSC | 26th Dec 2020 

Army seeks to expedite helicopter deal

      HEADLINES:

Army seeks to expedite helicopter deal

      WHY IN NEWS:

It will seek a waiver from Defence Ministry as Cheetahs and Chetaks are in dire need of replacement

SYLLABUS COVERED: GS 3: Defence

      ISSUE: 

About 75% of the Army’s fleet of Cheetah and Chetak helicopters is over 30 years old.Utility chopper: The Ka-226T deal with Russia has been stuck over indigenisation.

KA-226T UTILITY HELICOPTERS 

  • The deal for Ka-226T utility helicopters with Russia has not concluded five years after it was announced.

Its fleet of Cheetah and Chetak helicopters are at the end of their service life 

  • The Army is set to approach the Defence Ministry for a waiver to take the deal forward.

OPERATIONAL CAPABILITY

The total technical life of these helicopters will start finishing from 2023 onwards 

  • So the existing deficiencies will keep increasing.

BACKGROUND

  • In 2015, India and Russia had concluded an Inter-Governmental Agreement (IGA) for at least 200 Ka-226T twin-engine utility helicopters estimated to cost over $1 billion.
  • The deal envisaged about 60 helicopters to be directly imported and remaining 140 manufactured locally.

They are to replace the ageing and obsolete Cheetah and Chetak fleet of the Army and the Air Force 

  • A joint venture India Russia Helicopters Ltd (IRHL) has been set up between Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd (HAL) and Russian Helicopters (RH) which will assemble the helicopters in India.
  • The Request For Proposal (RFP) issued by the MoD to IRHL for 200 helicopters stated 70% localisation over which the final deal has been held up as the JV quoted localisation of 62.4% in its response.
  • Efforts to resolve this impasse in the last few months by adopting a revised methodology has not made any progress, it has been learnt.

      IASbhai WINDUP: 

IMPORT CONTENT

  • “Even indigenous platforms like Advanced Light Helicopter (ALH) and Light Combat Aircraft (LCA) have significant import content.

The ALH has 46% import content by valueLCA – 40% and SU-30MKI assembled by HAL with technology transfer also has 40% 

  • The Army has around 185 Cheetah and Chetak helicopters with around 20 helicopters with HAL for overhaul for around a year at any point of time.
     SOURCES:  THE HINDU | Current Affairs News Analysis for UPSC | 26th Dec 2020

Indian Institute of Skills

      HEADLINES:

Skill Ministry and Tata launch first batch of Indian Institute of Skills, Mumbai

      WHY IN NEWS:

  • First batch will include two short-term courses in Factory Automation and Digital (Smart) Manufacturing
  • TATA IIS, Mumbai offers 75% scholarship for first 100 students as early bird incentive
MINISTRY? :-Ministry of Skill Development and Entrepreneurship
SYLLABUS COVERED: GS 3: Skill development

      ISSUE: 

INDIAN INSTITUTE OF SKILLS 

GOAL

The primary goal behind setting up the institute is to create industry-ready workforce as per the evolving demands of the national and global markets 

  • The institute aspires to become a beacon to other institutions of its kind in the years to come.
  • It aspires to be one of the most premier training institutions in the country and will be equipped with world-class vocational training facilities.

JOIN VENTURE

The institute is a joint initiative between Ministry of Skill Development & Entrepreneurship (MSDE), Government of India and Tata Indian Institute of Skills 

  • Formal agreement for setting up institute has been signed between MSDE and TATA IIS on 11th November, 2020.

VISION

The vision is :

To propelling India to the forefront of skill development and job creation under Skill India Mission 

  • To provide an impetus to Skill India programme through private sector participation.

INITIATIVES

  • The first batch at TATA-Indian Institute of Skills will commence training with two courses in Factory Automation, with duration ranging from 1 to 4 weeks, depending upon the pre-qualification profile of the trainee.

The institute will also offer scholarships to the first 100 students along with attractive fee options during this initial launch phase 

  • An early bird scholarship scheme of 75% has also been announced for the first 100 students/trainees.

Current Affairs News Analysis for UPSC | 26th Dec 2020

      IASbhai WINDUP: 

  • The institute plans to provide trainings in highly specialized areas such as defense, oil & gas, aerospace, and other emerging businesses to meet industry demands.
  • Training and learning at Tata-IIS Mumbai will be driven through strong industry connect in both public and private sectors.
  • The institute is quipped with modern training methodologies leveraging digital and augmented learning platforms.
     SOURCES:  PIB   | Current Affairs News Analysis for UPSC | 26th Dec 2020

IFFCO gas leak: How dangerous is ammonia?

      HEADLINES:

IFFCO gas leak: How dangerous is ammonia?

      WHY IN NEWS:

Ammonia is stored for industrial use in liquid form under high pressure or in gaseous form at low temperature, as was the case in the IFFCO unit where the accident took place.

SYLLABUS COVERED: GS 3: Science

      ISSUE: 

Two persons died and several took ill in a major ammonia gas leakage at the Indian Farmers Fertilizer Cooperative Limited (IFFCO) unit at Prayagraj

AMMONIA AND HUMAN BODY 

  • The victims had come in contact with the concentrated form of ammonia gas that leaked heavily from the plant.

tri-hydroid of nitrogen (NH3), ammonia is a building block for ammonium nitrate (NH4NO3) that is used in agriculture as a high-nitrogen fertiliser 

  • Ammonia is stored for industrial use in liquid form under high pressure or in gaseous form at low temperature.

HOW AMMONIA GAS AFFECTS THE HUMAN BODY?

  • Ammonia, even in moderate concentration, can cause irritation to eyes, skin, nose and throat.

Ammonia interacts immediately upon contact with moisture present in the skin, eyes, oral cavity, respiratory tract to form ammonium hydroxide 

  • Ammonium hydroxide is very caustic and disrupts the cell membrane lipids, ultimately leading to cellular destruction.
  • As cell proteins break down, water is extracted, resulting in an inflammatory response that causes further damage.
  • Ammonia is highly soluble in water, is found in soil, air, and water.
  • It is naturally present in the body and secreted by the kidneys to neutralise excess acid.
  • However, it is highly diluted when in the environment and does not affect the human body to a noticeable level.

      IASbhai WINDUP: 

APPLICATIONS

Ammonia is critical in the manufacturing of fertilizers, and is one of the largest-volume synthetic chemicals produced in the world 

  • More than 80 per cent of ammonia made is consumed in the manufacturing of fertilizer, and most of the remainder goes into the production of formaldehyde.
     SOURCES:    IE   | Current Affairs News Analysis for UPSC | 26th Dec 2020

India’s first driverless metro

      HEADLINES:

India’s first driverless metro in Delhi and why it is significant

      WHY IN NEWS:

The first ‘driverless’ train will roll out on the 38-km-long Line 8 or Magenta Line of the Delhi Metro, which has a 390-km-long network spread across the national capital and adjoining cities such as Noida, Gurugram, Faridabad, Ghaziabad and Bahadurgarh.

SYLLABUS COVERED: GS 3: Transport

      ISSUE: 

The Centre has also notified changes in the Metro Railways General Rules, 2020 as the previous norms did not allow driverless services.

DRIVERLESS TRAIN 

  • Delhi Metro, the country’s largest urban mass rapid transit system, had commenced operations on December 24, 2002.
  • Since then, its network has been growing, with another 61-km set to be added under the Phase IV expansion project.
  • The transition to ‘driverless’ mode is the latest in the series of changes over the last 18 years.

HOW MUCH CONTROL DO DRIVERS HAVE?

  • Even now, trains are mostly remotely controlled from the command rooms of the DMRC known as Operations Control Centre (OCC).

OCC is from where teams of engineers track and monitor in real time train movement across the DMRC network 

  • The OCCs are akin to air traffic control towers equipped with large display walls and communication technology.
  • The level of control that the drivers or train operators have over trains vary from line to line.

DRIVERS HAVE MORE CONTROL?

  • The target speed is, however, decided by the Automatic Train Protection (ATP) system, which means drivers cannot run trains above a certain limit.

The remaining corridors, including Line 8 for now, are covered by the Automatic Train Operation (ATO) mode.

  • Under this mode, drivers only press the departure command after closing doors at every platform.
  • But the ATO mode is occasionally switched off even on these lines and drivers are made to run trains manually so that they remain prepared to intervene in case of emergencies.

WHAT WILL CHANGE ON THE TRACK?

  • From ATP and ATO, metro will switch to Driverless Train Operation (DTO) mode.
  • In this mode, trains can be controlled entirely from the three command centres of the DMRC, without any human intervention.

The Communication Based Train Control (CBTC) signalling technology also makes it possible to monitor and troubleshoot every aspect of train operations remotely Manual intervention is required only in cases of hardware replacement 
 

  • Rolling stock controllers will monitor train equipment in real-time, download faults and other events captured by CCTVs and assist traffic controllers in executing commands remotely.
  • All station controllers will also have access to on board CCTV feed.
  • But the system will still be one step away from the Unattended Train Operation (UTO) mode, the final stage of driverless services.

HOW SAFE WILL BE TRAINS RUNNING?

  • DMRC points out its train operations already involve a considerable degree of automation.
  • And the high-resolution cameras, once installed, will obviate the need for manual monitoring of tracks from the drivers’ cabins.
  • DMRC has also engaged a consultant (consortium of Systra MVA and Systra France) for inspection and review of systems for implementation of UTO operation.
SUGGESTED READING : KISAN RAIL  
     SOURCES:  IE   | Current Affairs News Analysis for UPSC | 26th Dec 2020

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