Daily Current Affairs 22

17th January,2021 ; Daily Current Affairs 

Daily Current Affairs    Date : 17th January,2021

 (30+ Questions hit in Prelims 2021 from this series)

Covers 4 Most relevant Sources

  • The Hindu
  • Indian Express
  • PIB
    Mint

Index

  • A) Schemes, Policies, Initiatives, Awards and Social Issues
  • Chips to Startup (C2S) Programmeand Design Linked Incentive (DLI) Scheme (PIB)
  • B) Science and Technology, Defence, Space
  • What is ‘Tor Browser’?(TH, pg 1)
  • Technologies in Autonomous Vehicles. (TH, pg 15)
  • The Concept of Web3 (TH, pg 15)
  • C) Economic Developments: India and World
  • What is Creative Destruction (TH, pg 6)
  • D) Agriculture, Geography, Environment and Biodiversity
  • Undersea Volcanic Eruption in Tonga (TH, pg 11)
  • E) Art, Culture and History
  • Guru Ravidas: Teachings and Literary works

(TH, pg 9)

 

A) Schemes, Policies, Initiatives, Awards and Social Issues

  1. Chips to Startup (C2S) Programme and Design Linked Incentive (DLI) Scheme (PIB)
  • Context:In order to transform India into the next semiconductor hub, the Ministry of Electronics and Information (MeitY) has sought applications from 100 academia, R&D organisations, start-ups and MSMEs under its Chips to Startup (C2S) Programme.

Analysis

  • The Chips to Startup (C2S) Programme aims to train 85,000 number of high-quality and qualified engineers in the area of Very Large-Scale Integration (VLSI) and Embedded System Design as well as result in development of 175 ASICs (Application Specific Integrated Circuits), Working Prototypes of 20 System on Chips (SoC) and IP Core repository over a period of 5 years.
  • The C2S Programme addresses each entity of the value chain in electronics.
  • C-DAC (Centre for Development of Advanced Computing), a scientific society operating under MeitYwill serve as the nodal agency for the programme.

Design Linked Incentive (DLI) Scheme

  • With an overall vision to create a vibrant ecosystem for Semiconductor Chip Design in the country, the Ministry of Electronics and Information (MeitY) is also seeking applications from 100 domestic companies, start-ups and MSMEs under its Design Linked Incentive (DLI) Scheme.
  • The scheme, which was a part of ₹76,000 crore ($10 billion) package that the government announced in December, aims to nurture at least 20 domestic companies involved in semiconductor design and facilitating them to achieve turnover of more than ₹1500 Crore in the next 5 years.
  • C-DAC (Centre for Development of Advanced Computing), a scientific society operating under MeitY, will also serve as the nodal agency for implementation of the DLI scheme.

 

B) Science and Technology, Defence, Space

  1. What is ‘Tor Browser’?(TH, pg 1)
  • Context:A Delhi court has dismissed the bail plea of Sulli Deals app creator Aumkareshwar Thakur, saying that granting him relief at this juncture will prejudice a fair investigation.
  • In July, 2021, the app was made on Github platform to auction Muslim women and the matter came to light when the Delhi Police took suo moto cognisance of this matter.
  • The court noted that the accused had consciously used ‘Tor Browser’ so that his identity could not be disclosed.

Analysis

What is Tor?

  • The Tor project is a non-profit organisation that conducts research and development into online privacy and anonymity.
  • It is designed to stop people – including government agencies and corporations – learning your location or tracking your browsing habits.
  • Based on that research, it offers a technology that bounces internet users’ and websites’ traffic through “relays” run by thousands of volunteers around the world, making it extremely hard for anyone to identify the source of the information or the location of the user.
  • Its software package – the Tor browser bundle – can be downloaded and used to take advantage of that technology, with a separate version available for Android smartphones.
  • There are some trade-offs to make: for example, browsing using Tor is slower due to those relays, and it blocks some browser plugins.

Who created Tor?

  • The original technology behind Tor was developed by the US navy.
  • When it launched in 2002, the Tor project’s emphasis was on protecting internet users’ privacy from corporations rather than governments – in the 2000/01 dotcom bubble, everyone was offering free services, and by free they meant ‘we take all your information and sell it as many times as possible.

Who uses Tor? 

  • The Tor project team say its users fall into four main groups:
  • normal people who want to keep their internet activities private from websites and advertisers;
  • military professionals and law enforcement officers who need to mask their IP addresses when working undercover online, or investigating;
  • those concerned about cyberspying; and
  • users evading censorship in certain parts of the world.

The dark side of Tor

  • The cloak of anonymity provided by Tor makes it an attractive and powerful for criminals.
  • Tor can mask users’ identities, but also host their websites via its “hidden services” capabilities, which mean sites can only be accessed by people on the Tor network.

 

  1. Technologies in Autonomous Vehicles (TH, pg 15)
  • Context: The General Motors has announced its plans to introduce a “personal autonomous vehicle” by 2025.

Analysis

  • Autonomous driving normally refers to self-driving vehicles or transport systems that move without the intervention of a human driver.
  • At the heart of this technology are three sensors: camera, radar and LIDAR (Light Detection and Ranging), all of which help the vehicle accurately perceive its surroundings.

Sensor 1: Camera

  • A camera system operates much like a human eye — it can discern colours, shapes, recognise traffic signage, lane markings etc.
  • Most cars have stereo cameras i.e., two cameras separated by a short distance.
  • This enables it to perceive depth (like humans).
  • It does not transmit any sensing signals and relies on ambient light that is reflected from objects.
  • So, the absence of adequate ambient light (at night) limits its ability, as can other environmental conditions like fog and blinding sunlight.

Sensor 2: Radar

  • A radar sensor transmits its own signals, which bounce off targets and reflect back to the radar.
  • Thus, unlike a camera, a radar is not dependent on ambient light.
  • Further, a radar transmits radio waves which can penetrate fog.
  • The radar measures the time between the transmission of the signal and arrival of a reflected signal from a target to estimate the distance to the target.
  • A moving target induces a frequency shift in the signal (‘Doppler shift’) which enables the radar to instantaneously and accurately measure target speed.
  • Thus, radars can accurately measure the range and velocity of targets largely independent of environmental conditions such as fog, rain and bright sunlight. However, unlike a camera, a radar cannot discern colour nor recognise street signs. A radar also has poor ‘spatial resolution’.
  • So, an approaching car would be visible as a blob —and individual features (such as the wheels, body contour etc.) would not be discernible like they would in a camera.
  • Thus, the capabilities of a camera and a radar sensor complement each other, which is why many cars come equipped with both cameras and radars.

Sensor 3: LIDAR

  • LIDAR is another sensor which is used in autonomous vehicles as it scans the environment with a laser beam.
  • LIDAR combines the best features of both radar and camera. Like a radar, it generates its own transmit signal (thus does not depend on daylight), and can accurately determine distances by measuring the time difference between the transmitted and the reflected signal.
  • However, LIDAR does have its disadvantages — LIDAR signals cannot penetrate fog, discern colour or read traffic signs. The technology is also significantly costlier than radar or camera.

More about LiDAR

  • LiDAR, which stands for Light Detection and Ranging,is a remote sensing method that uses light in the form of a pulsed laser to measure ranges (variable distances) to the Earth.
  • These light pulses—combined with other data recorded by the airborne system— generate precise, three-dimensional information about the shape of the Earth and its surface characteristics.
  • A LiDAR instrument principally consists of a laser, a scanner, and a specialized GPS receiver.
  • Airplanes and helicopters are the most commonly used platforms for acquiring LiDAR data over broad areas.
  • Two types of LiDAR are topographic and bathymetric.
  • Topographic LiDAR typically uses a near-infrared laser to map the land, while bathymetric LiDAR uses water-penetrating green light to also measure seafloor and riverbed elevations.
  • LiDAR systems allow scientists and mapping professionals to examine both natural and manmadeenvironments with accuracy, precision, and flexibility.
  • LiDAR technology has immense potential for India, especially for agriculture, archaeology and geology-related application

LiDAR in News

  • National High Speed Rail Corporation Limited has adoptedLight Detection and Ranging Survey (LiDAR) technique using Laser enabled equipment mounted on a Helicopter for conducting ground survey for the preparation of Detailed Project Report for the proposed Delhi-Varanasi HSR corridor.
  • The aerial LiDAR survey technique, for the first time for any railway project in India, was adopted for the Mumbai- Ahmedabad High Speed Rail (MAHSR) Corridor primarily because of its high accuracy.

 

  1. The Concept of Web3 (TH, pg 15)
  • Context: The concept of Web3, also called Web 3.0, used to describe a potential next phase of the internet, created quite a buzz in 2021.

Analysis

  • The model, a decentralised internet to be run on blockchain technology, would be different from the versions in use, Web 1.0 and Web 2.0.
  • Of the earlier versions, Web 1.0 was mostly static where users would go to a website and read and interact with static information; The differentiating characteristic of Web 2.0, which we use now, is that users can create content.
  • In Web 2.0, most of the data in the internet and the internet traffic are owned or handled by a few large companies creating issues of data privacy, data security and abuse of data. Web3 offers a solution to these problems.

What is Web3 and how will it address the problems of data monopoly?

  • Web3 enables peer to peer (seller to buyer) transaction by eliminating the role of the intermediary.
  • Currently if a seller has to make a business to the buyer, both the buyer and seller need to be registered on a “shop” or “platform” like Amazon or Ebay or any such e-commerce portal.
  • What this “platform” currently does is that it authenticates that the buyer and seller are genuine parties for the transaction. Web3 tries to remove the role of the “platform”.
  • For the buyer to be authenticated, the usual proofs aided by block chain technology will be used. The same goes for the seller. With block chain, the time and place of transaction are recorded permanently.
  • This concept can be extended to other transactions also.
  • Consider a social media application where you want to share pictures with your followers. It could be a broadcast operation from you aided by blockchain and you don’t need social media accounts for all the participants to be able to perform this.
  • The key concepts in Web3 seen so far are peer to peer transaction and block chain.
  • The spirit of Web3 is Decentralized Autonomous Organization (DAO) which is that all the business rules and governing rules in any transaction are transparently available for anyone to see and software will be written conforming to these rules.
  • Crypto-currency and block chain are technologies that follow the DAO principle.
  • With DAO, there is no need for a central authority to authenticate or validate.

 

C) Economic Developments: India and World

  1. What is Creative Destruction (TH, pg 6)
  • Context:It was based on an editorial in the Hindu on ‘the economic dogma of lower prices, regardless of the means, as a sole and worthy pursuit.’

Analysis

  • Creative destruction (restructuring) describes the deliberate dismantling of established processes in order to make way for improved methods of production.
  • Creative destruction is most often used to describe disruptive technologies such as the railroads or, in our own time, the internet.
  • The term was coined in the early 1940s by economist Joseph Schumpeter, who observed real-life examples of creative destruction, such as Henry Ford’s assembly line. He considered it ‘the essential fact about capitalism’.
  • Creative destruction may not always lead to job losses and concentration of economic wealth. The entertainment industry was turned upside down by the internet, but its need for creative talent and product remains the same or greater. The internet destroyed many small businesses but created many new ones online.

 

  1. D) Agriculture, Geography, Environment and Biodiversity
  2. Undersea Volcanic Eruption in Tonga (TH, pg 11)
  • Context:A massive volcanic eruption in Tonga that triggered tsunami waves around the Pacific caused “significant damage” to the island nation’s capital and smothered it in dust.

Analysis

Undersea volcanic eruption

  • This type of eruption happens in a volcano which is located under the ocean surface.
  • There are an estimated one million undersea volcanoes, and most of them are located near the tectonic plates.
  • Apart from lava, these openings also spew out ash.
  • These deposit on the ocean’s floor and lead to the formation of sea mounds – underwater mountains that are formed on the ocean floor but do not reach the water surface.
  • According to USGS, there are about 1,350 potentially active volcanoes worldwide.
  • Many of those are located along the Pacific Rim in what is known as the “Ring of Fire”.
  • Tonga is also located on the Ring of Fire.

Impact of volcanic eruption on Earth’s climate

  • Huge volcanic eruptions can sometimes cause temporary global cooling as sulfur dioxide is pumped into the stratosphere.
  • The sulfur dioxide moves into the stratosphere and combines with water to form sulfuric acid aerosols.
  • The sulfuric acid makes a haze of tiny droplets in the stratosphere that reflects incoming solar radiation, causing cooling of the Earth’s surface.

Tsunami

  • A tsunami is a series of ocean waves caused by any large and sudden disturbance of the sea surface.
  • Normally, the seismic waves cause only oneinstantaneous vertical wave; but, after the initial disturbance, a series of afterwaves are created in the water that oscillate between high crest and low trough in order to restore the water level.
  • Tsunamis can be generated by landslides, volcanic eruptions, or even meteorite impacts in the ocean.
  • But they are most often caused by an earthquake where there’s a sudden displacement of the ocean floor.
  • An earthquake generates a tsunami if it is of sufficient force and there is violent movement of the earth to cause substantial and sudden displacement of a massive amount of water.
  • When that happens, there’s a transfer of energy from the seafloor to the ocean, causing waves on the surface to radiate outward in all directions.
  • In deep waters, these waves may not even be detectable.
  • But when the tsunami enters shallower waters, the wave speed slows and its height increases.
  • The potential warning signs of an incoming tsunami: a strong earthquake that causes difficulty standing; a rapid rise or fall of the water along the coast; a load ocean roar.
  • A large wall of turbulent water, called a “bore,” may also form.
  • Tsunamis can affect locations thousands of miles away from where they formed.
  • A tsunami is not a single wave but a series of waves, also known as a wave train.
  • The first wave in a tsunami is not necessarily the most destructive. Tsunamis are not tidal waves.
  • Where the ocean is deep, tsunamis can travel unnoticed on the surface at speeds up to 500 miles an hour (800 kilometers an hour).
  • A tsunami may be less than a foot (30 centimeters) in height on the surface of the open ocean, which is why they are not noticed by sailors.
  • But the powerful shock wave of energy travels rapidly through the ocean as fast as a commercial jet.
  • Once a tsunami reaches shallow water near the coast, it is slowed down.
  • The top of the wave moves faster than the bottom, causing the sea to rise dramatically.
  • Scientists are able to calculate arrival times of tsunamis in different parts of the world based on their knowledge of water depths, distances, and when the event that generated them occurred.
  • Geological features such as reefs, bays, river entrances, and undersea formations may dissipate the energy of a tsunami.
  • Most tsunamis cause the sea to rise no more than 10 feet (3 meters).
  • The speed of wave in the ocean dependsupon the depth of water. It is more in theshallow water than in the ocean deep.
  • As aresult of this, the impact of tsunami is less overthe ocean and more near the coast where theycause large-scale devastations.
  • Therefore, aship at sea is not much affected by tsunamiand it is difficult to detect a tsunami in thedeeper parts of sea.
  • It is so because over deepwater the tsunami has very long wave-lengthand limited wave-height.
  • Thus, a tsunami waveraises the ship only a metre or two and eachrise and fall takes several minutes.
  • As opposedto this, when a tsunami enters shallow water,its wave-length gets reduced and the periodremains unchanged, which increases the waveheight.
  • Sometimes, this height can be up to15m or more, which causes large-scaledestructions along the shores. Thus, these arealso called Shallow Water Waves.
  • Tsunamisare frequently observed along the Pacific ringof fire, particularly along the coast of Alaska,Japan, Philippines, and other islands of SoutheastAsia, Indonesia, Malaysia, Myanmar, SriLanka, and India etc.
  • Coastal areas are densely populated the worldover, and these are also centres of intensehuman activity, the loss of life and property islikely to be much higher by a tsunami ascompared to other natural hazards in thecoastal areas.
  • Tsunamis have been relatively rare in the Indian Ocean. They are most prevalent in the Pacific.

What is the difference between a tsunami and a tidal wave?

  • Although both are sea waves, a tsunami and a tidal wave are two different and unrelated phenomena.
  • A tidal wave is a shallow water wave caused by the gravitational interactions between the Sun, Moon, and Earth.
  • A tsunami is an ocean wave triggered by large earthquakes that occur near or under the ocean, volcanic eruptions, submarine landslides, or by onshore landslides in which large volumes of debris fall into the water.
  • In case of tidal waves, only the surface layer of water is involved, whereas in case of tsunamis, the whole column of water down to the sea floor is involved.
  • A tidal wave is a predictable event but Tsunamis are not.

Do you know?

  • Water vapour and steam constitute 60 to 90 per cent of the total gases discharged during a volcanic eruption.
  • Volcanic eruptions emit water vapourand toxic gases into the atmosphere, such as carbon dioxide, sulphur dioxide, hydrogen sulfidehydrochloric acid and carbon monoxide.

 

E) Art, Culture and History

  1. Guru Ravidas: Teachings and Literary Works(TH, pg 9)
  • Context:The Chief Minister of Punjab wrote to the Election Commission of India (ECI), demanding the postponement of the February 14 Assembly election in Punjab in view of Guru Ravidas Jayanti.
  • The birth anniversary of Guru Ravidas falls on February 16.

Analysis

About Ramananda (1300-1380 AD)

  • He was a vaishnava saint settled in Uttar Pradesh and considered to be the founder of Ramanandi sampradaya which is the largest ascetic community in India. He was a devotee of Lord Rama.
  • He made an attempt towards a synthesis between Advaita Vedanta and Vaishnava bhakti.
  • Kabir and Ravidas were among his disciples. He was the first to use Hindi for the propagation of his teachings.

Guru Ravidas

  • He is venerated as a guru (teacher) in the region of Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan, Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh and mainly Punjab and Haryana.
  • Ravidas was an Indian mystic poet-saint of the Bhakti movement and founder of the Ravidassia religion during the 15th to 16th century CE.
  • He was a poet-saint, social reformer and spiritual figure.
  • While his original occupation was leather work, but he was influenced from Bakhti movement which was tried to end of many evils of society, which was spread in society of that time.
  • He began to spend most of his time in spiritual pursuits as a Vaishnava Hindu in the Ramananda tradition.
  • He abandoned saguna with attributes, image forms of supreme beings, and focused on the nirguna form of supreme beings.
  • As his poetic hymns in regional language inspired other and breathe a sprit of humility and self- surrender.
  • He did not indulge in high philosophic speculation about the nature and essence of God and his relation with the world and man.
  • His cardinal doctrines are not different from those of Kabir, and like him he uses Rekhta, even the Persian language, and Sufi terms to show the identity of Hinduism and Islam.
  • He believed in a God who was the Absolute Lord of all.
  • The Adi Granth and the Panchvani are the two of the oldest documented sources of the literary works of Guru Ravidas.
  • Ravidas’s poetry covers topic such as the definition of a just state where there are no second or third class unequal citizens, the need for dispassion, and who is real Yogi.
  • He called this concept of ‘just’ state as ‘Be-gampura’ where there is no place for any kind of grief or fear.
  • The songs of Ravidas discuss Nirguna-Saguna themes, as well as ideas that are at the foundation of Nath Yoga philosophy of Hinduism.
  • Ravidas’ teachings agreed with Vedic and ancient scripture, he subscribed to nondualism, discussed spiritual ideas and philosophy with everyone including Brahmins without gender or caste discrimination,
  • According to him, if any person does all the religious ritual and he have lack of humanity then his all these religious ritual are in vain.
  • Ravidas is the founder of devotional religious practice- now a separate religion Ravidassia. His statement is that the religious seeker should remember God day and night giving up religious dispute.
  • Ravidas realized the condition of society of that time and gave a pratical solution through religion.

Do you know?

  • Anantadas, a writer who belonged to the bhakti poet-saint Ramananda group, wrote a biography of major bhakti poet-saints about 1600 C.E.

This text, called the Parcais or Parchais, included Ravidas among the saint whose biography and poems were included.