Daily Current Affairs

1ST JANUARY,2021 : MOST POWERFUL DAILY CURRENT AFFAIRS CONCEPTS

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UPSC PRELIMS+MAINS 

Index

  1. A) Schemes, Policies, Initiatives, Awards and Social Issues
  2. Pradhan Mantri Kisan Urja Suraksha evam Utthan Mahabhiyan (PM-KUSUM) Scheme (PIB)
  3. B) Polity, Bills, Acts and Judgments
  4. Virtual Courts Vs Online Courts (PIB)
  5. C) Economy
  6. Index of Eight Core Industries (TH)
  7. Anti-Dumping Duty (TH)
  8. Financial Action Task Force (FATF) (TH)
  9. D) Science and Technology, Defence, Space
  10. Swine Flu Vs Bird Flu (TH)
  11. The Concept of Lightning (IE)
  12. E) Miscellaneous
  13. Justice Clocks (PIB)
  14. One Nation One Application: National e-Vidhan Application (NeVA) (PIB)
  15. National Youth Parliament Scheme (PIB)

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

  1. Pradhan Mantri Kisan Urja Suraksha evam Utthan Mahabhiyan (PM-KUSUM) Scheme (PIB)

  • Context: The Ministry of New and Renewable Energy has issued an order for the scale-up and expansion of the Pradhan Mantri Kisan Urja Suraksha evam Utthan Mahabhiyan (PM-KUSUM) Scheme.

Analysis

  • The target now is to achieve an enhanced solar capacity of 30.8 gigawatt (GW) by 2022.
  • The scheme had aimed to add a solar capacity of 25,750 MW (25.75 GW) by 2022.
  • The scheme aims to provide financial and water security to farmers.
  • The scheme now consists of three components.
  • The first is 10,000 MW of decentralized ground-mounted grid-connected renewable power plants up to 2 MW.
  • The second is the installation of 20 lakh (up from 17.50 lakh) stand-alone solar-powered agriculture pumps.
  • The third component is solarisation of 15 lakh (up from 10 lakh) grid-connected solar powered agriculture pumps.
  • Due to COVID-19 the implementation was slow during first half of the year, however, progress picked-up from August 2020 onwards.
  • Based on the learning during first year, provisions for feeder level solarisation are being included in the scheme.
  • Convergence of Scheme with Pradhan Mantri Krishi Sinchayee Yojana (PM-KSY) and Agriculture Infrastructure Fund has also been provided for.
  • For ease of availability of finance the Reserve Bank of India included the three components of the Scheme under Priority Sector Lending Guidelines.
  • In November, 2020, MNRE amended/clarified implementation Guidelines of Pradhan Mantri Kisan Urja Suraksha evam Utthaan Mahabhiyaan (PM-KUSUM) Scheme based on the learnings from the implementation of the Scheme during the first year.
  • Scope of scheme has been increased by including pasturelands and marshy lands owned farmers.
  • Size of solar plant has been reduced so that small farmers can participate and completion period increased from nine to twelve months.
  • Further, penalty for shortfall in generation removed for ease of implementation by farmers.
  • As per the same MNRE order, Central Financial Allowance (CFA) will be allowed for solar pumps to be set up and used by Water User Associations (WUAs)/Farmer Producer Organisations (FPOs)/Primary Agriculture Credit Societies (PACSs) or for cluster-based irrigation system along with individual farmers.

Other Measures to increase Solar Energy Generation

  • Announcement of a target of installing 100 GW of solar energy capacity by December, 2022.
  • Waiver of Inter State Transmission System (ISTS) charges and losses for inter-state sale of solar power for projects to be commissioned up to December, 2022.
  • Permitting Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) up to 100 percent under the automatic route.
  • Notification of standard bidding guidelines to enable distribution licensees to procure solar and wind power at competitive rates in cost effective and transparent manner.
  • Declaration of trajectory for Renewable Purchase Obligation (RPO) up to year 2022.
  • Implementation of Green Energy Corridor project to facilitate grid integration of large-scale renewable energy capacity addition.

India Solar Cities Programme

  • Solar City aims at minimum 10% reduction in projected demand of conventional energy at the end of five years, through a combination of enhancing supply from renewable energy sources in the city and energy efficiency measures.
  • At least one city in each State to a maximum of seven cities in a State may be supported by the Ministry.
  • The cities may have population between 0.5 to 50 lakh.

Suryamitra Programme 

  • The Suryamitra Skill Development Programme is designed with the objective to develop skilled and employable workforce (Suryamitras) catering to the needs of Solar PV industries.

Solar Pumps

  • Solar pumps convert solar energy into electricity and fed to a pump that circulates water.
  • There are two main types of solar pumps:
  • Surface pumps to move water through pipes.
  • Submersible solar water pumps are used to move water from inside wells to the surface.

Solar Pumps vs. Wind Pumps

  • Solar pumps have some distinct advantages over wind pumps:
  • Solar-power systems collect energy even when it’s cloudy outside, while wind systems rely on gusty conditions for peak efficiency.
  • Solar-power systems also often cost less than wind systems, and are less expensive to maintain.
  • Solar systems are also more mobile than wind systems.
  • When sunlight falls on the solar panels it produces direct current (DC) which then feeds the motor to pump out the water.

Difference between AC and DC current

  • In direct current(DC), the electric charge (current) only flows in one direction. Electric charge in alternating current (AC), on the other hand, changes direction periodically.
  • We tend to get less losses to resistance when distributing AC over long distances.
  • We can use thinner wires for AC which means they’re cheaper to make and suspend.
  • Sector wise details of Installed Capacity from renewables excluding large hydro above 25 MW is as follows:
SectorInstalled capacity (GW)
Solar Power36.32
Wind Power38.26
Bio Energy10.31
Small Hydro4.74
Wind Solar Hybrid0
Round the Clock (RTC) Power0

B) Polity, Bills, Acts and Judgments

2.Virtual Courts Vs Online Courts (PIB)

  • Nine virtual Courts have been set up at Delhi (2 courts), Faridabad (Haryana), Pune & Nagpur (Maharashtra) Kochi (Kerala), Chennai (Tamil Nadu), Gauhati (Assam) and Bengaluru (Karnataka) to try traffic offenses.
  • The concept is aimed at reducing the footfalls in the court by eliminating the presence of the violator or advocate in the court.
  • Virtual court can be managed by a virtual judge (which is not a person but an algorithm) whose jurisdiction can be extended to the entire state and working hours can be 24X7.
  • As on 08.12.2020, these courts have handled 35,02,896 cases and realised Rs.130.72 Cr in
  • In November 2020, Delhi High Court has issued “Digital NI Act Courts-Project Implementation Guidelines” and operationalization is expected soon to have Virtual Courts dealing with Negotiate Instruments Act cases.
  • Besides being environmentally friendly as cases are adjudicated in a paperless manner, it has led to saving of judicial manpower and added to the convenience of citizens.

Distinction between virtual courts and online courts

  • In Virtual Courts, Plaint and other documents such as vakalatnama, written submissions are filed electronically; Court fees are paid electronically; Evidence is submitted digitally; arguments are heard over videoconferencing; witnesses give their testimony remotely over videoconferencing and Judge decides the case online either presiding from the physical Courtroom or from some other place.
  • A copy of the Order or the Judgement is made available on the website of the Court or through some electronic means.
  • In comparison, online courts have asynchronous hearings, while in virtual courts the interactions are synchronous.
  • What that means is that while in virtual courts the advocates, judges, witnesses and litigants are all required to be present or available at the time of the hearing, in online courts this isn’t the case.
  • In such a system of hearing, all the participants are not needed to be present together or simultaneously for the hearing to proceed and the evidence can be presented to judges without the need for their synchronous availability.
  • At the risk of eliminating nuances, while virtual courts are basically mechanisms of conducting a court over videoconferencing, online courts are a relatively more advanced means of justice delivery.
  • As far as the legal sanctity of virtual courts or videoconferencing is concerned – it was provided for by the Supreme Court in its April 6, 2020 order invoking article 142 of the Constitution.
  • This order covered all the High Courts, and they were in fact endowed with the discretion of adopting such a technology basis to their own needs customisation in view of the evolving pandemic scenario in different states.
  • Model rules were drafted and circulated as well amongst all the High Courts while the District or lower courts were to adopt rules as prescribed by their parent High Courts.
  • In Naresh Shridhar Mirajkar and Ors. v. State of Maharashtra and Ors, the Supreme Court stated — “… Public trial in open Court is undoubtedly essential for the healthy, objective and fair administration of justice. Trial held subject to the public scrutiny and gaze naturally acts as a check against judicial caprice or vagaries and serves as a powerful instrument for creating confidence of the public in the fairness, objectivity, and impartiality of the administration of justice.”

C) Economy

3.Index of Eight Core Industries (TH)

  • Context: The Office of Economic Adviser, Department for Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade released Index of Eight Core Industries for the Month of November, 2020.
  • Output from India’s eight core sectors hit a three-month low in November, contracting 2.6% in the festive month with coal, fertilizers and electricity the only sectors to record positive growth on a year-on-year basis, suggesting the economy is still not out of the woods.
  • The good news is that the Index of Eight Core Industries was revised upwards for both August and October, based on updated data inputs received by the Office of Economic Adviser in the Department for Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade that compiles the data.

Analysis

Core Industries

  • Index of Eight Core Industries has the base: 2011-12.
  • The Eight Core Industries comprise 27 % of the weight of items included in the Index of Industrial Production (IIP).
  • The data relating to core industries is released by the Office of the Economic Adviser, Department for Promotion of Industry & Internal Trade, Ministry of Commerce and Industry.
  • The Index of Eight Core Industries is a monthly production index, which is also considered as a lead indicator of the monthly industrial performance.
  • Since April, 2014, Electricity generation data from Renewable sources are also included.
  • Since March 2019, a new steel product called Hot Rolled Pickled and Oiled (HRPO) under the item ‘Cold Rolled (CR) coils’ within the production of finished steel has also been included.
  • The eight core industries are, in descending order of their weights:
  • Petroleum Refinery Products (weight: 28.04%)
  • Electricity (weight: 19.85%)
  • Steel (weight: 17.92 %)
  • Coal production (weight: 10.33 %)
  • Crude Oil (weight: 8.98 %)
  • Natural Gas (weight: 6.88 %)
  • Cement (weight: 5.37%)
  • Fertilizer (weight: 2.63 %)

Aluminium sector as India’s ninth core industry

  • The Centre must actively consider classifying the aluminium sector as India’s ninth core industry, according to a report by VK Saraswat, NITI Aayog member, and Aniruddha Ghosh, a Delhi-based economist.
  • The aluminium sector contributes to nearly 2 per cent of manufacturing GDP and is a high direct and an indirect employment multiplier creating close to 800,000 jobs.
  1. Anti-Dumping Duty (TH)

  • Context: The designated authority under the Ministry of Commerce and Industry has recommended the levy of anti-dumping duty on viscose spun yarn imported from China, Vietnam and Indonesia.
  • The Indian Manmade Yarn Manufacturers Association had sought the levy as import of viscose yarn from these countries was hurting domestic manufacturers. After an investigation, the Directorate General of Trade Remedies has recommended the move.

Analysis

  • Binding tariffs, and applying them equally to all trading partners (most-favored-nation treatment, or MFN) are key to the smooth flow of trade in goods.
  • The WTO agreements uphold the principles, but they also allow exceptions — in some circumstances.
  • Three of these issues are:
  • actions taken against dumping (selling at an unfairly low price);
  • subsidies and special “countervailing” duties to offset the subsidies;
  • emergency measures to limit imports temporarily, designed to “safeguard” domestic industries.

Countervailing Duty (CVD)

  • It is an additional import duty imposed on imported products (by the importing country) when such products enjoy benefits like export subsidies and tax concessions in the country of their origin.
  • The objective of CVD is to nullify or eliminate the price advantage (low price) enjoyed by an imported product when it is given subsidies or exempted from domestic taxes in the country where they are manufactures.
  • The WTO permits member countries to impose countervailing duty when the exporting country gives export subsidy.

Anti-Dumping Duty

  • Dumping is a process where a company exports a product at a price lower than the price it normally charges on its own home market.
  • An anti-dumping duty is a protectionist tariff that a domestic government imposes on foreign imports that it believes are priced below fair market value.
  • Typically, anti-dumping action means charging extra import duty on the particular product from the particular exporting country in order to bring its price closer to the “normal value” or to remove the injury to domestic industry in the importing country.
  • Anti-dumping duty is imposed on the basis of margin of dumping which can vary across countries, producers or exporters.
  • Accordingly, there are variable rates of anti-dumping duty on different exporting countries, producers or exporters
  • The use of anti-dumping measure as an instrument of fair competition is permitted by the WTO.
  • The WTO agreement allows governments to act against dumping where there is genuine (“material”) injury to the competing domestic industry.
  • In order to do that the government has to be able to show that dumping is taking place, calculate the extent of dumping (how much lower the export price is compared to the exporter’s home market price), and show that the dumping is causing injury or threatening to do so.
  • Disputes in the anti-dumping area are subject to binding dispute settlement before the Dispute Settlement Body of the WTO.

Anti-Dumping and Customs Duty

  • Although anti-dumping duty is levied and collected by the Customs Authorities, it is entirely different from the Customs duties not only in concept and substance, but also in purpose and operation.
  • The following are the main differences between the two:
  • Anti-dumping and the like measures in their essence are linked to the notion of fair trade.
  • The object of these duties is to guard against the situation arising out of unfair trade practices while customs duties are there as a means of raising revenue and for overall development of the economy.
  • Customs duties fall in the realm of trade and fiscal policies of the Government while anti-dumping and anti-subsidy measures are there as trade remedial measures.
  • Anti-dumping duties are not necessarily in the nature of a tax measure inasmuch as the Authority is empowered to suspend these duties in case of an exporter offering a price undertaking. Thus, such measures are not always in the form of duties/tax.
  • Anti-dumping and anti-subsidy duties are levied against exporter/country in as much as they are country specific and exporter specific as against the customs duties which are general and universally applicable to all imports irrespective of the country of origin and the exporter.

Extent of anti-dumping duty

  • Under the WTO arrangement, the National Authorities can impose duties up to the margin of dumping i.e. the difference between the normal value and the export price.
  • The Indian law also provides that the anti-dumping duty to be recommended/levied shall not exceed the dumping margin.
  • The anti-dumping duty cannot be levied retrospectively beyond 90 days from the date of issue of Notification imposing duty.

Authority for Anti-Dumping

  • Anti-dumping and anti-subsidies & countervailing measures in India are administered by the Directorate General of anti-dumping and Allied Duties (DGAD) functioning in the Dept. of Commerce in the Ministry of Commerce and Industry and the same is headed by the “Designated Authority”.
  • The Designated Authority’s function, however, is only to conduct the anti-dumping/anti-subsidy & countervailing duty investigation and make recommendations to the Government for the imposition of anti-dumping or anti-subsidy measures.
  • Such duty is finally imposed/levied by a Notification of the Ministry of Finance.
  • Thus, while the Designated Authority (in the Department of Commerce) recommends the anti-dumping duty, provisional or final, it is the Ministry of Finance, Dept. of Revenue which acts upon such recommendation within three months and imposes/levies such duty.
  • Safeguard measures, on the other hand, are administered by another Authority namely, Director General (Safeguard), which functions under the Dept. of Revenue, Ministry of Finance.
  • The Standing Board of Safeguards (chaired by the Commerce Secretary) considers the recommendations of the DG (Safeguards) and then recommends the impositions of the Safeguard Duty as it deems fit, to the Ministry of Finance which levies the duty.

Minimum Level of Imports

Individual exporter:

  • Any exporter whose margin of dumping is less than 2% of the export price shall be excluded from the purview of anti-dumping duties even if the existence of dumping, injury as well as the causal link is established.

Country:

  • Further, investigation against any country is required to be terminated if the volume of the dumped imports, actual or potential, from a particular country accounts for less than 3% of the total imports of the like product.
  • However, in such a case, the cumulative imports of the like product from all these countries who individually account for less than 3%, should not exceed 7% of the import of the like product.

APPEAL

  • The law provides that an order of determination of existence degree and effect of dumping is appealable before the Customs, Excise and Gold (Control) Appellate Tribunal (CEGAT).
  • However, as per the judicial view, only the final findings/order of the Designated Authority/Ministry of Finance can be appealed against before the CEGAT.
  • Appeal cannot lie against the Preliminary findings of the Authority and the provisional duty imposed on the basis thereof.
  • The Appeal to the CEGAT should be filed within 90 days.
  1. Financial Action Task Force (FATF) (TH)

  • Context: The Financial Action Task Force (FATF) had deferred its once-a-decade evaluation of India’s anti-money laundering regime scheduled for this year, citing the COVID-19 pandemic, and indicated that the onsite review to be conducted by global experts may now take place in early 2021.
  • The FATF undertakes peer reviews of each member on an ongoing basis to assess the implementation of its recommendations and provides a detailed analysis of each country’s system for preventing criminal abuse of the financial system. The FATF review of India will happen [in 2021].

Analysis

  • FATF is an inter-governmental body established in 1989 by a Group of Seven (G-7) Summit in Paris.
  • G-7 Countries: Canada, U.S., U.K., Italy, France, Germany and Japan – the seven largest advanced economies.
  • Earlier it was G-8 when Russia was suspended from it because of Russia’s annexation of Crimea, a part of Ukraine.
  • It helps in combating money laundering, terrorist financing and other related threats to the integrity of the international financial system.
  • The FATF’s decision-making body, the FATF Plenary, meets three times per year.
  • The FATF monitors:
  • the progress of its members in implementing necessary measures,
  • reviews money laundering and terrorist financing techniques and counter-measures, and
  • promotes the adoption and implementation of appropriate measures globally.
  • In collaboration with other international stakeholders, the FATF works to identify national-level vulnerabilities with the aim of protecting the international financial system from misuse.
  • The FATF is an international policy-making body. It does not take a role in law enforcement matters, investigations or prosecutions.
  • The FATF does not address at all issues related to low tax jurisdiction or tax competition. The FATF mandate focuses only on the fight against laundering of proceeds of crimes and the financing of terrorism.

FATF Members and Observers

  • The FATF currently comprises 39 members (37 countries including China and India and 2 regional organizations – European Commission, Gulf Co-operation Council), representing most major financial centres in all parts of the globe.
  • Pakistan is not a member of FATF.
  • From the Indian sub-continent, India is the only member of FATF.
  • FATF Observers: Indonesia.

D) Science and Technology, Defence, Space

6.Swine Flu Vs Bird Flu (TH)

  • Context: Prohibitory orders were imposed and a one-km radius area was declared a “zero mobility zone” in Rajasthan’s Jhalawar town on Thursday after over 50 crows were found dead because of avian influenza. The mass death of crows was also reported recently from Jodhpur.

Analysis

  • H5N1is a type of influenza virus that causes a highly infectious, severe respiratory disease in birds called avian influenza (or “flu”).
  • Human cases of H5N1avian influenza occur occasionally, but it is difficult to transmit the infection from person to person.
  • Infected birds pass on H5N1through their saliva, nasal secretions, and faeces.
  • H5N8 first appeared in China in 2014
  • The strain came from the H5N1 virus which started its menace in China in 1996.

Swine flu

  • The pandemic influenza strain, or swine flu, that spread globally in 2009 was referred to as
  • There are four major types of influenza that infect humans, known as influenza A, B, C and D.
  • Influenza A and B can both cause serious infections and are the cause of what we call the flu.
  • Influenza C viruses differ from influenza A and B, and only cause a mild infection, so they don’t appear in vaccines.
  • Influenza A viruses infect humans and many different animals.
  • Influenza B viruses circulate among humans and cause seasonal epidemics.
  • Influenza C viruses can infect both humans and pigs but infections are generally mild and are rarely reported.
  • Influenza D viruses primarily affect cattle and are not known to infect or cause illness in people.
  • Influenza type A viruses are of most significance to public health due to their potential to cause an influenza pandemic.
  • Depending on the origin host, influenza A viruses can be classified as avian influenza, swine influenza, or other types of animal influenza viruses.
  • Aquatic birds are the primary natural reservoir for most subtypes of influenza A viruses.
  • A pandemic influenza strain is one that humans have not been previously exposed to, so people do not have immunity to it.

Hs and Ns

  • Surface antigens (foreign proteins) haemagglutinin

(H) and neuraminidase (N) form the viral coat of the H1N1 influenza viruses.

  • Viruses attach by their haemagglutinin onto receptors on the surface of cells in order to infect them, like a grappling hook.
  • The neuraminidase removes these receptors from infected cells at the right time to allow newly synthesised viruses to escape and spread.
  • Among influenza A viruses there are 18 different types of haemagglutinin, from H1 to H18 and 11 different types of neuraminidase, from N1 to N11. Each virus has one type of H (such as H1) and one type of N (such as N1).
  • Influenza B strains do not circulate in animals, so they cannot cause a pandemic. But, like influenza A viruses, they continually change, so we will never become immune to every strain.
  1. The Concept of Lightning (IE)

Context: Lightning strikes have caused 1,771 deaths between April 1, 2019 and March 31, 2020, according to a report published on December 31 on lightning incidents in India.

The report has been prepared by Climate Resilient Observing Systems Promotion Council (CROPC), a non-profit organisation that works closely with India Meteorological Department (IMD).

Analysis

What does the report highlight?

  • Lightning strikes originate from Chotanagpur Plateau – the confluence of Odisha, West

Bengal and Jharkhand—and extended to Bangladesh to Patkai plateau of Meghalaya

affecting other North eastern states.

The reason for death was that people were caught

unawares and about 78 per cent deaths took place due to people standing under isolated

tall trees. About 22 per cent of the people were struck in the open.

  • The report mentions that the rapid degradation of environments like global warming, deforestation, depletion of water bodies, concretizations, rising pollution and aerosol levels have cumulatively pushed the environment to extremes. “And lightning is direct promulgation of these climatic extremities.”
  • It has been observed that during pre-monsoon to initial monsoon, fatalities are more to
  • farmers as they are out in the agriculture field or in orchards.
  • In the later part of the year—September onwards—majority died while standing under tall trees or inside their huts.

Lightning-an atmospheric phenomenon

Lightning is a very rapid and massive discharge of electricity in the atmosphere, some of which is directed at the earth’s surface.

So, how does lightning occur?

  • Lightning is the process of occurrence of a natural ‘electrical discharge of very short
  • duration and high voltage between a cloud and the ground or within a cloud’, accompanied by a bright flash and sound, and sometimes thunderstorms.
  • Inter cloud or intra cloud (IC) lightning which are visible and are harmless.
  • It is cloud to ground (CG) lightning, which is harmful as the ‘high electric voltage and electric current’ leads to electrocution.
  • Lightning is a giant discharge of electricity accompanied by a brilliant flash of light and a loud crack of thunder.
  • The spark can reach over five miles (eight kilometers) in length, raise the temperature of the air by as much as 50,000 degrees Fahrenheit (27,700 degrees Celsius), and contain a hundred million electrical volts.
  • Lightning is not confined to thunderstorms. It’s been seen in volcanic eruptions, extremely intense forest fires,surface nuclear detonations, heavy snowstorms, and in large
  • Every lightning strikes around a fixed period and almost similar geographical locations in similar patterns.
  • As per the report, Kalbaishakhi—Norwesters, which are violent thunderstorms with lightning—claims life in eastern India; pre-monsoon lightning deaths occur mostly in Bihar, Jharkhand, Chhattisgarh and UP.

What kind of technology is used to forecast lightning strikes?

  • Early lightning forecasts uses satellite observations, inputs from ‘network of Doppler and other radars’, ‘lightning detection Sensors’ among others.
  • This makes Lightning Forecast unique with best possible lead time of even a week.

Relief and Preparedness Measures by the Government

  • The Centre had increased compensation for victims of natural disaster to Rs 4 lakh in
  • There have been phenomenal losses of animal life also from lightning strike.
  • Lightening is not a notified disaster as per the Ministry of Home Affairs
  • The NDMA has issued comprehensive guidelines for preparations of Lightning action
  • plans to states, but a large number of fatalities show the implementation also needs a
  • more ‘scientific and focused community-centric approach’ as well as the convergence of
  • various departments.

Development of lightning

  • Ice in a cloud may be key in the development of lightning.
  • Ice particles collide as they swirl around in a storm, causing a separation of electrical charges.
  • Positively charged ice crystals rise to the top of the thunderstorm, and negatively charged ice particles and hailstones drop to the lower parts of the storm. Enormous charge differences develop.
  • A moving thunderstorm also gathers positively charged particles along the ground that travel with the storm.
  • As the differences in charges continue to increase, positively charged particles rise up tall objects such as trees, houses, and telephone poles—and people.
  • The negatively charged bottom part of the storm sends out an invisible charge toward the ground.
  • When the charge gets close to the ground, it is attracted by all the positively charged objects,and a channel develops. The subsequent electrical transfer in the channel is lightning.

Some observations

  • If your hair stands up in a storm, it could be a bad sign that positive charges are rising through you, reaching toward the negatively charged part of the storm. Your best bet is to get yourself immediately indoors.
  • The rapid expansion of heated air causes thunder.
  • Since light travels faster than sound, the thunder is heard after the lightning.
  • Not all lightning forms in the negatively charged area low in the thunderstorm cloud. Some lightning originates in the top of the thunderstorm, the area carrying a large positive charge. Lightning from this area is called positive lightning.
  • Positive lightning is particularly dangerous, because it frequently strikes away from the rain core, either ahead or behind the thunderstorm. It can strike as far as 5 or 10 miles (8 or 16 kilometers) from the storm, in areas that most people do not consider to be a lightning-risk area.
  • In addition to the visible flash that travels through the air, the current associated with the lightning discharge travels along the ground. Although some victims are struck directly by the main lightning stroke,many victims are struck as the current moves in and along the ground.
  • A house or other substantial building offers the best protection from lightning. However, people should avoid contact with anything that conducts electricity, including landline telephones. Most people hurt by lightning while inside their homes are talking on the telephone at the time.
  • A shelter that does not contain plumbing or wiring throughout or some other mechanism for grounding from the roof to ground is not safe.
  • Victims of lightning do not retain the charge and are not “electrified.” It is safe to help them.
  • Lightning can—and often does—strike in the same place twice.Tall buildings and monuments are frequently hit by lightning.
  • A motor car with a metal top can offer you some protection—but keep your hands from the metal sides.
  • An umbrella can increase your chances of being struck by lightning if it makes you the tallest object in the area.
  • Always avoid being the highest object anywhere—or taking shelter near or under the highest object.
  • Most people do not realize that they can be struck by lightning even when the center of a thunderstorm is 10 miles (16 kilometers) away and there are blue skies overhead.
  • Some scientists think that lightning may have played a part in the evolution of living organisms.
  • The immense heat and other energy given off during a stroke has been found to convert elements into compounds that are found in organisms.
  • Lightning also helps in nitrification (Nitrogen Cycle); it concerts the atmospheric nitrogen (N2) into nitrates and nitrites.
  • Lightning can kill people or cause cardiac arrest. Injuries range from severe burns and permanent brain damage to memory loss and personality change.
  • Difference Between Lightning and High Voltage Electricity.
FactorLightningHigh Voltage
Energy Level25 kA typical, millions of voltsUsually much lower
Time of ExposureBrief, instantaneousProlonged
PathwayFlashover, orificeDeep, internal
BurnsSuperficial and minorDeep with major injury

Steps to follow in the event of lightening

Time of ExposureBrief, instantaneousProlonged
PathwayFlashover, orificeDeep, internal
BurnsSuperficial and minorDeep with major injury
  1. Follow the 30/30 rule. Count the seconds after a lightning flash. If you hear thunder within 30 seconds, seek safe shelter (see step 2). Do not go outside again until 30 minutes after the last lightning strike. More than half of lightning-related deaths happen after the thunderstorm has passed. The danger exists whenever thunderstorms are in the area, even when clear skies are directly overhead.
  2. Only use safe shelters. Full-size buildings, such as houses or businesses, work best. Stay away from sheds or open shelters (picnic awnings or baseball dugouts). Hard-top cars, vans, and trucks work well, but not golf carts, soft-top convertibles (even with the top up), bicycles, or motorcycles. Whether in a building or a car, keep all windows and doors closed.
  3. While inside, avoid anything that conducts electricity and is plugged into a wall socket — phones, electrical outlets, lights, desktop computers, televisions, stereos, and water faucets (metal plumbing conducts electricity) are just some of the items to avoid. Portable devices such as wireless phones (stay away from the base station that’s plugged into the wall), flashlights, unplugged laptop computers, and personal MP3 players are all fine. Avoid metal door or window frames.
  4. If you’re caught outside, go inside immediatelyNo safe options exist outside. Run to your car or a safe building as soon as you hear thunder.
  5. Lightning can and does strike in the same place twice — hundreds of times, really. Conditions that draw lightning aren’t likely to change. If lightning strikes close to you, do not assume you are safe until the storm passes.
  6. Did you know that rubber shoes do nothing to protect you from lightning? That talking on the telephone is the leading cause of lightning injuries inside the home? That standing under a tall tree is one of the most dangerous places to take shelter?

 E) Miscellaneous

7.Justice Clocks (PIB)

  • To make effective use of database created through National Judicial Data Grid (NJDG) and to make the information available to public, LED Display Message Sign Board System called Justice Clocks have been installed in 18 High Courts.
  • The purpose of Justice Clock is to bring awareness to the public about justice sector, advertising the various schemes of the department and to give status of various fields to the public.

9.One Nation One Application: National e-Vidhan Application (NeVA) (PIB)

  • ‘e-Vidhan’ is one of the 44 Mission Mode Projects (MMPs) under Digital India Programme to make the working of the all the legislatures paperless.
  • The Ministry of Parliamentary Affairs has been made the ‘Nodal Ministry’ for the implementation of e-Vidhan MMP re-designating it as National e-Vidhan Application (NeVA).
  • e-Vidhan software of Himachal Pradesh Vidhan Sabha was upgraded as National Vidhan Application (NeVA), a single application covering all 39 Houses (Lok Sabha+ Rajya Sabha+ 31 Assemblies+ 6 Councils).

10.National Youth Parliament Scheme (PIB)

  • A new portal based National Youth Parliament Scheme (NYPS) has been developed for better implementation of the Youth Parliament Programme by improving upon the process.
  • The Ministry of Parliamentary Affairs has been conducting youth parliament competitions in around 8000 schools/ Universities and colleges in the country to inculcate democratic values and ethos among youth.
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