Modern And Smart Power Transmission System
Tag: GS 2 Governance
- The Government recently accepted a Task Force report to modernise the transmission system in India.
- The Power Ministry established a task force under the leadership of the CMD of POWERGRID to recommend methods for modernising the Transmission Sector and making it smart and prepared for the future.
- The Task Force report proposes the following solutions to realise the government’s vision of providing 24×7 dependable and affordable power to the people:
- Operation of grid using Centralized Remote Monitoring
- Deployment of Process Bus based Protection Automation and Control GIS/Hybrid Substation.
Need for a Modern transmission system:
- With India’s emphasis on renewable energy, which is inherently variable, the transmissions system must be able to accommodate a greater proportion of renewable capacity in the power-mix.
- In an era of rising cybercrime, the transmission system requires robust cyber security protections.
- Features such as self-correcting systems and data-driven decision-making are required to ensure 24×7 industry-critical availability.
- India’s aggregate technical and commercial (AT&C) losses are exceptionally high, resulting in a power shortage at the consumer level.
- Low tariffs and cross-subsidisation contribute to a substantial difference between the average per-unit cost of supply (ACS) and average revenue realised (ARR).
Initiatives by government for improving Access :
- KUSUM scheme: The scheme intends to promote the use of solar pumps for agriculture and provides a suitable alternative to the power subsidy model in agriculture.
- Pradhan Mantri Sahaj Bijli Har Ghar Yojana (Saubhagya scheme): It seeks to provide last-mile connectivity and power connections to all of India’s unconnected households.
- Deendayal Upadhyaya Gram Jyoti Yojana (DDUGJY): The rural electrification scheme provides for (a) the separation of agriculture and non-agriculture feeders; and (b) the strengthening and expansion of rural sub-transmission and distribution infrastructure.
- India should utilise advancements like smart metering ,predictive maintenance , for ensuring 24/7 electricity supply to every house hold.
Govt brings crypto trading under India’s money laundering laws
Tag: GS 2 Government Policies & Interventions Issues Arising out of their Design & Implementation
- The government recently imposed anti-money-laundering measures on cryptocurrencies.
- The Finance Ministry announced that anti-money laundering legislation has been applied to crypto trading, storage, and related financial services.
The notification included the following:
- Exchange between virtual digital assets and fiat currencies; o Exchange between one or more forms of virtual digital assets;
- Transfer of virtual digital assets, safekeeping or administration of virtual digital assets or instruments enabling control over virtual digital assets; and
- Participation in the issuance of virtual digital assets or instruments enabling control over virtual digital assets.
- Virtual digital assets: Virtual digital assets were defined as any code or number or token generated through cryptographic means with the promise or representation of having inherent value.
- Role of FIU-IND: Indian crypto exchanges will then be required to report suspicious activity to the Financial Intelligence Unit India (FIU-IND).
- In line with the global trend: The move is in line with the global trend of requiring digital-asset platforms to follow anti-money laundering standards similar to those followed by other regulated entities like banks or stock brokers.
- Filling the policy vacuum: In the past couple of years, digital currency and assets such as NFTs (non-fungible tokens) have gained traction globally.
- o Since the launch of cryptocurrency exchanges, trading in these assets has multiplied exponentially.
- o However, India did not have a clear policy on regulating or taxing such asset classes until the previous year.
- What is Cryptocurrency?
- It is a digital currency that can be substituted for traditional currency.
- Cryptography is used to secure and verify transactions in cryptocurrencies. Additionally, it is used to regulate the supply of cryptocurrencies.
- It is supported by the blockchain, a decentralised peer-to-peer network.
- Bitcoin, the first cryptocurrency, was introduced in 2009 by Satoshi Nakamoto.
- Features of Cryptocurrency
- Cheaper to transfer:
- Some coins are used to transfer value (measured in a currency like dollars) cheaper and faster than using credit or conventional means.
- Meaning the cost to send someone crypto, which can be converted into regular currency, is cheaper than something like a check or wire transfer.
- No physical form:
- Cryptocurrency does not exist in physical form (like paper money) and is typically not issued by a central authority.
- However, it can be and many governments are working to create a crypto coin version of its respective fiat currency.
- Cryptocurrencies typically employ decentralised control as opposed to a digital currency issued by a central bank.
- When created with decentralised control, each cryptocurrency operates through distributed ledger technology, typically a blockchain, which serves as a public database of financial transactions.
- While the supposed potential benefits from crypto assets have yet to materialize, significant risks have emerged.
- Undermining the monetary policy & international monetary system: The widespread adoption of crypto assets could undermine monetary policy, circumvent capital flow management measures, and exacerbate fiscal risks.
- o Widespread adoption could also have significant long-term effects on the international monetary system.
- Security Risks: Cyberattacks on wallets, exchange mechanism (Cryptojacking).
- They are prone to issues like Hijacking, Routing Attacks, Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attacks.
- Shield to Crime: Used for illegal trade, illegal activities, and organised crime.
- Lack of Liquidity and Lower Acceptability: Outside the traditional banking systems.
- Price Volatility: Prone to price fluctuations and waste of computing power.
- Threat to the Indian rupee: If a large number of investors invest in digital coins rather than rupee-based savings like provident funds, the demand of the latter will fall.
- Consumer protection and enforcement: Due to the decentralised nature of digital instruments of bitcoins, any regulatory regime over crypto assets is challenging.
- There is a great likelihood of execution of unauthorised trades not in consonance with any regulatory framework.
Indian Government’s stand on Cryptocurrency
- • The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has long advocated a ban on all cryptocurrencies, citing their potential to destabilise India’s monetary and fiscal stability.
- Despite lacking a regulatory framework for cryptocurrencies, the Indian government introduced a new tax regime last year, taxing crypto income at 30% and crypto transactions at 1% tax deducted at source (TDS).
|Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) 2002
· It was enacted in January 2003, and both the Act and the Rules enacted under it entered into force on July 1, 2005.
· The PMLA was enacted by the U.S. Congress in response to international efforts to combat the threat posed by the laundering of criminal proceeds with transnational repercussions and their impact on national financial systems..
· The PML Act aims to combat money laundering in India and has three primary goals: To prevent and control money laundering;
o To confiscate and seize the property obtained from the laundered money;
o and To address any other issue related to money laundering in India.
· The Act also includes a proposed section 4 penalty.
o Section 3 of the PMLA defines the offence of money laundering as anyone who directly or indirectly attempts to engage in, knowingly assists, is a party to, or is actually involved in any process or activity involving the proceeds of crime and presenting them as untainted property.
Jan Aushadhi Diwas
Tag: GS 2 Government Policies & Interventions Governance
- On ‘5th Jan Aushadhi Diwas,’ the Union Minister for Health and Family Welfare also inaugurated the ‘NaMo Day Care Centre’ and launched four NaMo Mobile Healthcare Units.
- From 1 to 7 March 2023, the Department of Pharmaceuticals will celebrate Jan Aushadhi Diwas to raise awareness about the Jan Aushadhi Scheme.
- It is intended to raise awareness about the use of generic medicines and the advantages of the Jan Aushadhi Pariyojana, as well as its defining characteristics and accomplishments.
- Jan Aushadhi Mitra’ promotes the advantages of Jan Aushadhi Kendras for the benefit of the populace.
Pradhan Mantri Bhartiya Janaushadhi Pariyojana (PMBJP)
- It was introduced in November 2008 by the Department of Pharmaceuticals, Ministry of Chemicals and Fertilizers, Government of India.
- As of January 31, 2023, the number of stores has grown to 9082.
- According to the PMBJP, 743 of the nation’s 764 districts have been covered.
- This programme ensures that everyone in the country has easy access to reasonably priced medicine.
By the end of December 2023, the government aims to increase the number of Pradhan Mantri Bhartiya Janaushadhi Kendras to 10,000.
- The PMBJP’s product assortment includes 1,759 pharmaceuticals and 280 surgical instruments.
- Additionally, new medicines and nutraceuticals such as protein powder, malt-based food supplements, protein bar, immunity bar, sanitizer, masks, glucometer, and oximeter have been introduced.
National Assessment and Accreditation Council (NAAC)
Tag: GS 2 Education Governance
- The Office of the Comptroller and Auditor General has recently called the National Assessment and Accreditation Council’s assessment procedures into question.
- The National Assessment and Accreditation Council (NAAC) was founded in 1994 as an autonomous institution of the University Grants Commission (UGC) in Bengaluru.
o The University Grants Commission is a statutory body established by the Department of Higher Education in accordance with the UGC Act of 1956, which is responsible for the coordination, determination, and maintenance of higher education standards in India.
- NAAC’s mission, as articulated in its vision statement, is to integrate quality assurance into the operation of higher education institutions (HEIs).
- It evaluates and accredits higher education institutions with grades ranging from A++ to C.
- It determines, through a multi-step process, whether a higher education institution meets the quality standards set by the evaluator in terms of curriculum, faculty, infrastructure, research, and other parameters.
- The accreditation process begins with the institute submitting an assessment request to the NAAC.
- The applicant is required to submit a self-study report (SSR) containing quantitative and qualitative metrics.
- The data is then validated by expert teams of the National Assessment and Accreditation Council (NAAC), followed by spot visits by peer teams comprised of assessors from universities across India.
- • In 2019, the UGC introduced a programme called “Paramarsh.” Under the programme, some of the highest-performing institutions will serve as mentors to at least five institutions seeking accreditation.
- • The NAAC also considered issuing Provisional Accreditation for Colleges (PAC), which would allow one-year-old institutions to apply for accreditation valid for two years.
- The National Education Policy (2020) has set the ambitious goal of achieving the highest level of accreditation for all higher education institutions within the next 15 years.
|India’s Higher Educational System
• India’s higher education system is the third largest in the world in terms of students, following China and the United States, with approximately 38 million students enrolled in 50,000 academic institutions (including 1,057 universities).
• Despite having the largest number of universities in the world (over 900), only 15 Indian higher education institutions are in the top 1,000.
• Although 75 percent of higher education is in the private sector, the government established the best institutions — IITs, IIMs, NITs, AIIMS, and NLS.
• India is the second-largest source of international students worldwide (behind China);
· • It aims to double its gross enrolment rates from 26.3% to 50% by 2035.
Controlled reentry experiment of MT1 Satellite
Tag: GS 3
- The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) successfully carried out the controlled re-entry experiment for the decommissioned Megha-Tropiques-1 (MT-1) satellite.
What is the Reentry of Satellites?
- In response to the growing number of objects in space (Space Debris), the international aerospace community has adopted guidelines and evaluation procedures to reduce the number of non-operational spacecraft and spent rocket upper stages orbiting the Earth.
- Allowing these spacecraft to reenter the atmosphere, either through natural orbital decay (uncontrolled) or controlled entry, is one method of post-mission disposal.
Methods of doing it
- Orbital decay or uncontrolled: Reduce the perigee altitude so that atmospheric drag causes the spacecraft to enter the Earth’s atmosphere more quickly. In such cases, however, it cannot be guaranteed that the debris impact footprint will avoid inhabited landmasses.
- • Controlled entry is typically achieved by increasing the amount of propellant and the size of the propulsion system so that the spacecraft enters the atmosphere at a steeper angle. The vehicle will then enter the atmosphere at a more precise latitude and longitude, allowing the debris footprint to be positioned over an uninhabited area, typically the ocean.
|What is Space Debris?
• Even minute paint particles can cause damage to a spacecraft travelling at these speeds. In fact, millimeter-sized orbital debris represents the highest mission-ending risk to most robotic spacecraft operating in low Earth orbit.
• In 1996, a French satellite was damaged by debris from a French rocket explosion ten years prior.
• On February 10, 2009, a defunct Russian spacecraft collided with a functional American Iridium commercial spacecraft and destroyed it. More than 2,300 large, trackable debris pieces and numerous smaller debris pieces were added to the inventory of space debris by the collision.
· China’s 2007 anti-satellite test, which used a missile to destroy an old weather satellite, added more than 3,500 pieces of large, trackable debris and many more smaller debris to the debris problem.
How ISRO did it?
- The MT1 satellite was launched in 2011, and its perigee has been gradually lowered through a series of 20 manoeuvres since August 2022.
- The final two de-boost burns were conducted on March 7, 2023, and the final perigee was estimated to be less than 80 kilometres, indicating that the satellite would enter the denser layers of Earth’s atmosphere and then undergo structural disintegration.
- The most recent telemetry indicates that the satellite has re-entered Earth’s atmosphere and disintegrated over the Pacific Ocean, according to the Mission Operations Complex in ISTRAC (ISRO Telemetry, Tracking and Command Network).
- In recent years, ISRO has taken proactive measures to enhance compliance with internationally accepted guidelines for the mitigation of space debris.
ISRO System for Safe and Sustainable Space Operations Management (IS4OM) has been established to lead these efforts.
- The controlled reentry exercise is additional evidence of India’s ongoing efforts to ensure the long-term viability of outer space activities.
Gender Gap in STEM Field
Tag: GS 3 Science & Technology
- The United Nations has emphasised the need for inclusive technology and digital education in order to close the gender gap in the STEM fields (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics).
- Science, technology, engineering, and mathematics, referred to collectively as STEM fields, are still dominated by men.
- Given the pervasive influence of STEM fields on contemporary life, the underrepresentation of women in these fields presents a significant challenge.
- International Women’s Day 2023 (IWD) was recently observed with the theme “DigitALL: Innovation and technology for gender equality.”
Gender Gap in STEM Field
- Global Scenario:
- Globally, 18 percent of women enrolled in higher education pursue STEM fields, compared to 35 percent of men.
- Even in STEM fields, there is a gender divide, with equal numbers of boys and girls pursuing natural sciences, but a disproportionate number of boys pursuing engineering, manufacturing, and construction.
- According to the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), 41% of women in developing nations are illiterate, compared to 20% of men.
- Indian Scenario:
o In India, girls are significantly underrepresented in engineering programmes compared to their male counterparts.
o According to the All India Survey of Higher Education for 2020-2021, the total enrollment in UG, PG, MPhil, and PhD engineering programmes is 36,86,291, with 71% of enrolled students being male and 29% being female.
o However, among all students enrolled in STEM fields, women outnumber men 53 percent to 47 percent, with recent increases observed. Multiple factors, however, make it unlikely that an increase in employment will accompany these gains.
Reasons for Gender Gap
- Societal attitudes: Despite the availability of resources such as mentors and scholarship programmes, societal attitudes towards women’s education discourage families from investing as much as they do in boys’ education.
- For instance, stereotypical gender roles such as women being housewives exist.
- Gender bias in curriculum: For example, in India, over fifty percent of illustrations in elementary math and science textbooks depict boys, while only six percent depict girls.
- In the United Kingdom, over a quarter of girls say that the male-dominated nature of the technology industry has discouraged them from pursuing a career in the field, and only 22% can name a notable woman in the field.
- Discrimination in employment: Women continue to face the same kind of discrimination at work as they face in society.
- Timing in a scientists’ career: The peak of a scientist’s career coincides with the time when women typically marry or have children. This is detrimental to their career. Even a six-month delay in scientific research, especially experimental work, will result in your work falling behind and your career suffering.
- Lack of STEM Institutions: STEM institutions and colleges dosent’s established in the nearby area.
- Cascading impact: Lack of women in STEM to inspire other girls.
- The government has taken numerous steps to encourage women to pursue careers in science. Several include:
- Gender Advancement for Transforming Institutions (GATI): It is a pilot project under the Department of Science and Technology to promote gender equity in science and technology. In the first phase of GATI, 30 educational and research institutes have been selected by DST, with a focus on women’s participation in leadership roles, faculty, and the number of women students and researchers.
- Knowledge Involvement in Research Advancement through Nurturing (KIRAN): It is a plan developed by the Department of Science and Technology to both encourage women scientists and prevent them from abandoning research due to family obligations.
- SERB-POWER (Promoting Opportunities for Women in Exploratory Research): SERB – POWER offers structured research support to ensure equal access and weighted opportunities for Indian women scientists engaged in R&D.
- • University Research Consolidation through Innovation and Excellence in Women’s Universities
- (CURIE) Programme: Only women Universities are being supported for the development of research infrastructure and the creation of state-of-the-art research laboratories to enhance women’s participation in the S & T domain.
- Vigyan Jyoti Scheme: It encourages girl students of Class 9 to 12 to pursue education and career in S&T, particularly in the areas where women are underrepresented.
- National Award for woman scientist: In order to recognise the contribution of women scientists in the field of Earth System Sciences, the Ministry of Earth Sciences has instituted a special award known as the “National Award for woman scientist,” which is presented annually on the Foundation Day to one woman scientist.
- Setting up of creches: Some institutions are setting up creches so that the scientist mothers can carry on with their research work uninterrupted.
Societal systems, biological asymmetry, and family upbringings have instilled in children, particularly girls, a sense that they are incapable of achieving their goals.
- Flexibility on the part of the worker: Circumstances should be created to make working easier for women in STEM fields and the rest of the field. In this regard, providing menstrual leaves and creche facilities would be a positive step.
- Additional reforms, such as Return-to-work programmes for women, closing the gender pay gap, and implementing a well-planned role model for STEM programmes.
Importance of maintaining a “constant vigil” on Indian Borders
Tag: GS 3 Defence
- The Ministry of Defense emphasises the need for constant vigilance along the northern and western borders and along the coast.
- At the Naval Commanders Conference held aboard the INS Vikrant, the Indian defence minister emphasised the need for re-strategic planning due to the ever-changing global order.
- The meeting emphasised the unpredictability of future conflicts and the need for constant vigilance along the northern and western borders and the entire coastline.
- The defence sector is expected to transform India’s economy, and orders valued at more than USD 100 billion are expected to be placed within the next 5 to 10 years.
Importance of border vigilance
- National security: India shares borders with multiple nations, some of which have a history of hostility.
- Constant vigilance in these areas contributes to national security and the prevention of potential security threats.
- Preventing illegal activities: Border and coastline areas are often used for illegal activities such as smuggling, human trafficking, and drug trafficking.
- Vigilance helps to prevent such illegal activities and ensure the safety and security of citizens.
- Protecting sovereignty: India’s borders and coastlines are its first line of defence, and maintaining vigilance helps to preserve its independence.
- Economic growth: India’s ports and coastal areas are important for economic growth and development, and vigilance helps to ensure the safety and security of these areas.
- Disaster management: Natural disasters such as cyclones and tsunamis can cause widespread damage and loss of life in coastal areas.
- Vigilance helps to ensure timely evacuation and disaster management in such situations.
Challenges of border vigilance:
- Geographic barriers: The northern and western borders of India are characterized by difficult terrain such as mountains, deserts, and forests, which makes it challenging to maintain constant vigilance.
- Infiltration attempts: The borders are porous, making them vulnerable to infiltration attempts by terrorists, smugglers, and other illegal activities.
- Lack of infrastructure: The lack of infrastructure in remote border areas makes it challenging to monitor and secure the borders effectively.
- Climate and weather conditions: Harsh climate and weather conditions, such as extreme temperatures, heavy rains, and snowfall, pose challenges to border and coastline surveillance.
- Coordination with multiple agencies: Multiple agencies, including the military, paramilitary forces, and local law enforcement agencies, must collaborate to maintain vigilance in border and coastal regions.
- Technology and equipment: The deployment of modern technology and equipment, such as unmanned aerial vehicles, radars, and sensors, is necessary for effective border and coastline surveillance.
Government steps to secure Indian borders:
- Strengthening border infrastructure:
- • The government has allocated substantial funds for the construction of roads, border outposts, and fencing along the border, enhancing the mobility of security forces and enhancing border surveillance.
- Use of modern technology:
- The government has deployed modern technology such as unmanned aerial vehicles, radars, and sensors for effective surveillance along the border.
- Strengthening border forces:
- The government has increased the strength of border forces such as the Border Security Force (BSF) and the Indo-Tibetan Border Police (ITBP) and provided them with better equipment and training.
- Smart fencing:
- The government is also working on the development of smart fencing along the border, which will have a network of surveillance devices to detect any intrusions.
- Cross-border connectivity:
- The government is also focusing on enhancing cross-border connectivity via road, rail, and air networks in an effort to increase border region security.
- Comprehensive Integrated Border Management System (CIBMS):
- CIBMS is a high-tech surveillance system that uses modern technology such as thermal imagers, underground sensors, and laser barriers to secure the border.
- Border Area Development Programme (BADP):
- This programme aims to promote the development of border regions by providing basic infrastructure such as roads, schools, and health centres and by encouraging economic activity..
- Scheme for Protection and Empowerment of Women in Border Areas (SPARSH):
- It aims to provide border women with education and vocational training so that they can become self-sufficient.
- Coastal Security Scheme:
- It aims to enhance the surveillance capabilities of coastal states and Union Territories to prevent any threats from the sea.
- Overall, these schemes and initiatives are aimed at securing the borders of India, promoting the development of border areas, and providing assistance to the families of security personnel.
- Overall, these steps are aimed at strengthening border security and ensuring effective vigilance along the border areas to prevent any security threats.
- Overall, vigilance in border and coastline areas is crucial for maintaining national security, preventing illegal activities, protecting sovereignty, promoting economic growth, and ensuring effective disaster management.
First IAF woman officer to command frontline Unit
Tag: GS 3
- Shaliza Dhami is the first female officer in the Indian Air Force to command a combat unit on the front lines; she will lead a missile squadron in the Western sector.
- The missile squadron is equipped with systems that can defeat airborne threats, such as fighter jets, helicopters, and unmanned aerial vehicles flying at low to high altitudes.
Women in Command
- Women are primarily appointed to administrative positions, as opposed to the regular armed forces and services, in which Colonels command officers and men and lead them at the front. The significance of opening the position of Commanding Officer (CO) to women lies in the fact that it is a highly desirable position in the Army.
- The latest development comes two months after the first female officer, Captain Shiva Chouhan, was deployed to the Siachen glacier and weeks after the Indian Army selected 108 women officers for promotion from Lieutenant Colonel to Colonel.
- In the last seven to eight years, more doors have been opened for women in the military than in the preceding two decades. In all three services, gender discrimination has been eliminated.
- In 2015, the Israeli Air Force (IAF) decided to induct women into the fighter stream for the first time, marking a significant turning point for women in the military.
- Women are not only piloting fighter jets, but also the newest transport aircraft, such as the C-17s and C-130Js. They are eligible for permanent commission, assume command positions, serve in high-altitude regions, undergo training at the National Defense Academy, and are inducted into the personnel below officer cadre (PBOR).
- Women are expected to serve aboard submarines in the near future. However, tanks and infantry combat positions remain off-limits to women.
|Indian Air Force (IAF)
· • The headquarters of the Indian Air Force is in New Delhi. For effective command and control, the IAF has seven commands under which various stations and units are dispersed across the nation.
• The organisation is separated into five operational and two functional commands. Each Command is led by an Air Marshal-ranking Air Officer Commanding-in-Chief.
• Objective: An operational command’s objective is to conduct military operations using aircraft within its area of responsibility, while functional commands’ objective is to maintain combat readiness.