Lithium Finding in India
• For the first time, the Geological Survey of India (GSI) found lithium resources in Jammu and Kashmir.
- The Salal-Haimana area in the Reasi District of Jammu and Kashmir has “inferred” lithium resources of 5.9 million tonnes, according to the Geological Survey of India (GSI).
What are ‘Inferred’ Resources?
• Mineral Resources are broken down into three groups: inferred, indicated, and measured. These groups are in order of geological certainty.
• An inferred mineral resource is a mineral resource for which the quantity, grade (or quality), and mineral content can be estimated with a low level of confidence. Geological evidence suggests and assumes it, but geology hasn’t been able to prove it.
Stages of Geological Exploration for Lithium
• The Geological Survey of India (GSI) has put the recent discovery of resources into the G3 stage, which is the first stage of exploration.
•The United Nations Framework Classification for Resources (UNFC) says that there are four stages of exploring a mineral deposit: reconnaissance (G4), preliminary exploration (G3), general exploration (G2), and detailed exploration (G2) (G1).
•G4 is usually the first step in the process of getting minerals out of the ground.
Significance of Findings
- Lithium, also known as “white gold,” is a strategic metal that is used in the following ways in india:
- Electric mobility: with the focus of the current government By 2030, nearly three-quarters of Indian two-wheelers are expected to be electric vehicles (EVs), and all new cars are expected to be EVs. In the near future, most of them will have to be powered by lithium-ion battery packs.
- Climate change mitigation: India wants to cut its carbon footprint by 33–35% from what it was in 2005 by 2030 and be carbon neutral by 2070. Technologies like lithium-ion batteries and hydrogen fuel cells are likely to be key parts of this plan.
- Energy Transition: The success of switching from a gas-powered car to an electric one depends on the battery, which costs at least 30% of the price of the vehicle. In the last five years, India’s need for these important resources has increased by a factor of six. This is because the country wants to be the centre for making electronics and solar panels.
- Energy security: By 2030, the country will need 27 GW of grid-scale energy storage systems, according to the Central Electricity Authority. For this, you will need a lot of lithium.
- Economy: As many government programmes, such as the PLI, focus on electronics and semiconductors. Having access to lithium resources can help set up supply chains that go from beginning to end.
- It also cuts down on imports and makes more jobs available. At the moment, the country gets all of the lithium it needs from outside. India had to get a lot of the lithium it needed from Hong Kong and China.
- About Lithium
• The chemical symbol for lithium is Li, and its atomic number is 3. It is a soft alkali metal that looks like silver.
• Under normal conditions, it is the metal with the lowest density and the solid element with the lowest density.
•Lithium, like all alkali metals, is very reactive and can catch fire. It must be kept in a vacuum, an inert atmosphere, or an inert liquid like clean kerosene or mineral oil.
• Most of the reserves found so far are in Chile, Australia, Argentina, Bolivia, and China.
• In South America, Argentina, Bolivia, and Chile hold 54% of the world’s lithium reserves. The area is called the “Lithium Triangle,” and it is mostly made up of salt pans in the Atacama Desert and other dry areas nearby.
Other Potential sources of Lithium in India
- In India, brines in the areas of Sambhar and Pachpadra in Rajasthan and Rann of Kutch in Gujarat may be able to be used to get lithium.
- The major mica belts located in Rajasthan, Bihar and Andhra Pradesh and the pegmatite belts in Odisha, Chhattisgarh, alongside rock mining being undertaken at Mandya, Karnataka, are other potential geological domains of the country.
Concerns related to recent findings in J&K
- “Inferred” is the word for the new find. The “inferred” mineral resource is the part of a resource for which the quantity, grade, and mineral content can only be estimated with a low level of confidence.
- The lithium find in J&K, in inferred terms, is also comparatively small, considering that proven reserves in Bolivia are 21 million tonnes, 17 million tonnes in Argentina, 6.3 million tonnes in Australia, and 4.5 million tonnes in China.
- There are also environmental concerns associated with such extractions that need to be dealt with carefully.
- In 1851, the Geological Survey of India (GSI) was set up. The Ministry of Mines has an office there.
- The principal function of GSI relates to creation and updation of national geoscientific data and mineral resource assessment, air-borne and marine surveys and conducting multifarious geotechnical, geo-environmental and natural hazards studies.
India-US: Exercise to respond to nuke & bioterror attacks
• In a first, India and the US practise how to stop nuclear, chemical, and biological attacks.
More about the news
- Exercise TARKASH:
- The National Security Guard (NSG) and the US Special Operations Forces (SOF) are practising in Chennai.
- Chemical, Biological, Radiological, and Nuclear (CBRN) terror response was added for the first time to an Indo-US joint exercise.
- During the joint exercise, the two special forces also did mock counter-terrorism drills together in different parts of Chennai. This was done to improve how well the two special forces could work together and communicate with each other.
- Sixth edition:
- This is the sixth time the activity has been done. It started on January 16 and will end on February 14.
- Russian allegations:
- The exercise comes in the backdrop of Russian allegations against Ukraine recently that Kyiv had orchestrated a chemical attack in Kharkiv.
- The training provided an opportunity for both the forces to gain proficiency and enhance skill sets for an effective CBRN terror response.
- Subject matter experts in Chemical, Biological, Radiological and Nuclear warfare from the US Special Forces and the NSG exchanged valuable knowledge in handling CBRN threat in an urban counter-terrorism environment.
- Russian allegations:
• The UN says it is a “serious threat to international peace and security” for non-state actors, like terrorists and their supporters, to get their hands on and use WMDs or CBRNs.
Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)
- Democracy, the rule of law, human rights, and religious freedom are values that India and the US both believe in. These values bring the two countries together.
- Bilateral engagement:
- India and the United States have a global strategic partnership that covers almost all areas of human life. This partnership is based on shared democratic values, similar interests on a wide range of issues, and strong contacts between people.
- Regular conversations between leaders have been a key part of the growing relationship between the two countries.
- Despite COVID-19 pandemic, India-U.S. cooperation witnessed intense engagement under various bilateral dialogue mechanisms in a wide range of areas including defence, security, health, trade, economic, science & technology, energy and people-to-people ties.
- Defence and Security:
- Defense cooperation between India and the US is based on the “New Framework for India-US Defense Cooperation,” which was renewed in 2015 for ten years.
- The defence relationship was called a “Major Defense Partnership” in 2016. (MDP).
- The MDP recognizes a shared desire to build a comprehensive, enduring and mutually beneficial defence partnership.
- Several defence agreements have been signed in recent years. These include:
- Logistics Exchange Memorandum of Association (August 2016)
- Memorandum of Intent between the U.S. Defence Innovation Unit (DIU)
- the Indian Defence Innovation Organisation – Innovation for Defence Excellence (2018)
- Communications Compatibility and Security Agreement (September 2018)
- Industrial Security Agreement (December 2019);
- Basic Exchange and Cooperation Agreement (October 2020).
- Bilateral military exercises and defence exchanges are important ways to strengthen cooperation between military forces.
- In November 2019, a tri-services exercise called “Tiger Triumph” took place. This was in addition to a number of exercises between different services.
- Yudh Abhyas (Army), Vajra Prahar (Special Forces), RIMPAC, and Red Flag are some of the bilateral and regional exercises.
- In November 2020, the Royal Australian Navy joined the U.S., India, and Japan in the Bay of Bengal and the Arabian Sea for the MALABAR Naval Exercise.
- Both sides have done PASSEX with the US carrier groups in the Indian Ocean Region.
- The four Quad partners (India, Japan, the U.S., and Australia) first got together to form a “Core Group” in 2004. This was done to quickly get help ready for the 2004 Tsunami. Since 2017, there have been more and bigger Quad engagements.
- In 2019, the first Quad Foreign Ministerial Meeting was held in New York (December 2019).
- Counter Terrorism Cooperation:
- o There have been big steps forward in working together to stop terrorism through sharing information, working together on operations, and using each other’s technology and tools. The India-U.S. Joint Working Group on Counter-Terrorism is in charge of keeping an eye on the growing cooperation on CT.
- Cyber Security Cooperation:
- The Cyber Framework between India and the US, which was signed in September 2016, allows for more cooperation in the cyber domain.
- Trade & Economic Relations:
- The rapidly expanding trade and commercial linkages form an important component of the multi-faceted partnership between India and the United States.
- The U.S. is India’s second largest trading partner and a major destination for our exports of goods and services.
- Bilateral trade in goods and services stood at US$ 146 billion in 2019.
- During the financial year 2020-21, India received the highest ever foreign direct investment amounting to USD 81.72 billion, as per data published by the Ministry of Commerce and Industry, Government of India.
- The US replaced Mauritius as the second largest source of foreign direct investment into India during 2020-21 with inflows of USD 13.82 billion.
- The US is one of the top 5 investment destinations for Indian FDI.
- Energy sector:
- India and the US have a strong bilateral partnership in the energy sector.
- In 2010, the Energy Dialogue between the two countries began.
- Science and Technology:
- Science and technology cooperation between India and the US is multifaceted and has been steadily growing since the India-US Science and Technology Cooperation Agreement was signed in October 2005 and renewed for ten years in September 2019.
- ISRO and NASA are working together to build a microwave remote sensing satellite called NASA ISRO Synthetic Aperture Radar. This satellite will be used to look at Earth (NISAR).
- Education partnership:
- It is an important pillar of India-US ties and both the countries share strong linkages and history of higher education collaborations.
- The United States Educational Foundation in India (USEFI) was set up on February 2, 1950, after India and the US signed a bilateral agreement on education exchange.
- Indian Diaspora:
- About 4.2 million Indian Americans/Indian origin people reside in the US. The Indian Americans [3.18 million] constitute the third largest Asian ethnic group in the US.
Dawoodi Bohras Community
- A group of nine Supreme Court judges were told about a series of petitions that questioned the power of Dawoodi Bohra community leaders to kick people out of their group.
- The Dawoodi Bohra community’s Arabic Academy at Aljamea-tus-Saifiyah (The Saifee Academy) in Mumbai was opened by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
Who are the Dawoodi Bohras?
- • They are Shia Muslims, and their lineage goes back to the Fatimi Imams in Egypt, who are direct descendants of the Prophet Mohammed.
- • Their leader is called the Al-Dai-Al-Mutlaq, which means “unrestricted missionary.” He led from Yemen for the first 450 years, and then from India for the last 450 years. The current leader is the 53rd al-Dai al-Mutlaq, His Holiness Dr. S
- They today are generally highly educated, thriving business people and qualified professionals in numerous fields.
- Aggregating to around 1 million members, the Dawoodi Bohras have settled in over 40 countries across the globe to practice their faith and lead meaningful and prosperous lives
- Power to excommunicate
- The leader of the community is recognised by the members as having the right to excommunicate its members.
- In real life, being excommunicated means you can’t go to a mosque that belongs to the community or a burial site that belongs to the community.
- Among the members of the community who have faced excommunication in the past are those who contested the headship of the leaders.
- Arguments against The Bombay Prevention of Excommunication Act, which has since been revoked, was passed in November 1949. Its goal was to stop the practise of excommunication, which was common in some communities, because it deprived its members of their legal rights and privileges and was “in keeping with the spirit of changing times and in the public interest.”
- Arguments for: The 51st leader of the community challenged the constitutional validity of the Act, stating it violated fundamental rights guaranteed by the Constitution under Articles 25 (Freedom of conscience and free profession, practice and propagation of religion) and 26 (Freedom to manage religious affairs).
- It was submitted that the power of excommunication was part of the management of community affairs in matters of religion, and depriving the Dai-ul-Mustlaq (leader) of the right and making its exercise a penal offence “struck at the very life of the denomination and rendered it impotent to protect itself against dissidents and schismatics”
- Supreme Court’s Observations: .
- Earlier: In 1962, the Supreme Court’s Constitution Bench ruled that Dai’s job is an important part of the community and that the power to excommunicate is meant to keep people in line and protect the religion, not to punish. State of Bombay v. Sardar Syedna Saifuddin).
- Recent: A Constitution Bench led by Justice S K Kaul said that the 1962 judgment needed a relook.
• The court said that the matter needed to be looked at for two main reasons: balancing the rights under Article 26(b), which says that religious denominations have the right to run their own religious affairs, and Article 21, which says that the practise can be protected under Article 26(b) if it meets the constitutional morality standard.
|Khatna(Female Genital Mutilation)
• The budget for 2023–2024 shows a small increase in money for the WCD Ministry for women.
- The budget for the Gender Budget went from?1,71,006,47 crore in 2022–2023 to?2,23,219.75 crore in 2023–2024, which is a 23% increase from 2022–2023.
- In 2022-23, the gender component made up 4.9% of the whole budget, but in 2022-23, it was only 4.23 %.
- The Union Ministry for Women and Child Development got 1% more money than it had before.
- About 90% of gender budgeting is done in five ministries: Rural Development, Women and Child Development, Agriculture, Health and Family Welfare, and Education.
- Important things that need to be fixed, like transportation, water collection, and safety, are not being fixed.
- The amount of money given to Mission Shakti, which includes important programmes to protect women, went down by 1.2%.
- Part A of the Gender Budget, which shows how much money is set aside for programmes that only help women, has grown by 70% since last year.
- Most of the money from this increase went to the Pradhan Mantri Awaas Yojana rural housing programme. This program’s place in the Gender Budget is questioned because it does not only help women.
- In the Union Budget, a new small savings plan for women called the Mahila Samman Savings Certificate was announced. This plan will let women save up to?2 lakh for two years at a fixed interest rate of 7.5%.
- The Ministry of Women and Child Development (MWCD) put out a Handbook on Gender Budgeting in 2015, which has a lot of information on how to put GRB into action in real life.
• The rules of “Mission Shakti” will be in effect as of April 1, 2022.
It has two sub-schemes:
- The Ministry of Women and Child Development (MoWCD) says that gender budgeting is a way to achieve gender mainstreaming and make sure that women get the same benefits from development as men.
- •Every year, along with the Union Budget, the government puts out a Gender Budget Statement (GBS) to look at programmes from a gender perspective and show how much money is set aside for women.
- Instead of making a separate budget for women, the budget is looked at from the point of view of women.
- The goal is to look at how the budget affects women and men differently and make sure it fits with what has been promised.
- Examples of programs that benefit women more than men include: Nal se Jal (piped water supply), Ujjwala Yojana (cooking fuel), and Swachh Bharat Abhiyan (toilet construction).
|Importance of Gender Budgeting||Challenges of Gender Budgeting|
Helps achieve gender equality and women’s empowerment, which are important for long-term growth.
|• There isn’t enough data and information about how government policies and programmes affect women and men.
• People don’t want to change and don’t know how important gender budgeting is.
• There isn’t enough political will or money to make gender budgeting work well.
Complex budgeting and decision-making structures make it hard to include gender considerations.
ISRO’s SSLV-D2 launch
• The Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) just sent the Small Satellite Launch Vehicle on its second test flight (SSLV).
More about the news
- o The Small Satellite Launch Vehicle (SSLV-D2) was successfully launched from the first launch pad at the Satish Dhawan Space Centre SHAR in Sriharikota, Andhra Pradesh.
- It was the first launch by ISRO in 2023.
- It will put the Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) earth observation satellite EOS-07 and two co-passenger satellites Janus-1 and AzaadiSat2 in a 450-km circular orbit around the Earth. Janus-1 and AzaadiSat2 were made by start-ups.
- G20 logo:
- The satellite will also carry the G20 logo to space and the NCC song to celebrate 75 years of the organisation.
Janus-1 is a technology demonstration satellite that was made by the American company Antaris and two Indian companies, XDLinks and Ananth Technologies.
It is a six-unit cube satellite that weighs only 10.2 kg and has five payloads from Singapore, Kenya, Australia, and Indonesia.
The whole satellite was made in 10 months, which is less than half the time it takes to make a satellite this size.
Significance of SSLV
- Multiple satellites & multiple drop-offs:
- SSLV is a great way to launch multiple microsatellites at once, and it can also drop satellites out of orbit more than once.
- SSLV can send Mini, Micro, or Nanosatellites (10 kg to 500 kg in weight) into a flat 500 km orbit.
- Development of commercial Market:
- The new vehicle was made to take advantage of the growing commercial market for small and microsatellites. It can launch satellites on demand.
- Until now, small satellites had to “piggyback” on big satellite launches on ISRO’s workhorse.
- Less time, manpower & cost-effective:
o It will only take 72 hours to put together, while a launch vehicle now takes 70 days.
o Instead of 60 people, only six people will need to do the job.
So, the whole job will be done quickly, and it will only cost about Rs 30 crore.
o It will be a vehicle that can be called for when needed.
Previous development flight:
- The vehicle’s first development flight that took place last August after repeated delays due to the pandemic, failed to place the satellites in precise orbit.
- A failure analysis report on why satellites were not injected in desired orbits during the August launch suggests that it was because of vibrations picked up by the accelerometers on-board, which led to the systems thinking that they were faulty.
|About Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle
• The PSLV was made to launch satellites into polar and sun-synchronous orbits from low-Earth orbit, while the GSLV was made to launch heavier INSAT class geosynchronous satellites into orbit.
Difference between circular and elliptical orbits
Data on Aarogya Setu
- • The Minister of State for Electronics and IT recently told Parliament that contact information about citizens that was collected through the Aarogya Setu app has been deleted.
- The app was launched as a contact tracing platform by the Centre during the first wave of the Covid-19 pandemic in 2020.
What Data Was Collected?
- • It was a contact-tracing app that could get a person’s name, phone number, and gender, as well as their current location and Bluetooth information.
Who could access the data:Only approved employees of the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, State Health Departments, National and State Disaster Management Authorities, and District Civil Surgeons had safe access to the data collected by Aarogya Setu.
Concerns with Aarogya Setu
- Mandatory Nature: At first, the app was needed to take a train or plane, and some people worried that they might not have a smartphone, which was needed to use the app.
- Privacy Concerns: The government said that the data was encrypted and made anonymous, but it was not clear what protocols were used to make the data anonymous.
- The app also offered a static anonymisation ID, which privacy experts claimed was a weaker model compared to dynamic anonymisation IDs.
Karnataka High Court on Privacy Concerns of the App
• A petition was filed in the Karnataka High Court in 2020 against the mandatory nature of the app and its data collection practices.
Ayushman Bharat Health Account numbers
• The National Health Authority announced that its flagship Ayushman Bharat Digital Mission will be integrated with the Aarogya Setu app. This will let users create 14-digit unique Ayushman Bharat Health Account numbers from the app.
- The app will also have extra features, such as a QR code for sharing health status, an Open API, health advisories, and information about testing labs.
• The National Informatics Centre (NIC) made the Arogya Setu app as a public-private partnership to help the people of India work together to fight COVID-19 in a strong way.
PM inaugurates two new Vande Bharat Express
• Recently, PM started two Vande Bharat trains that will run between Mumbai and the pilgrimage towns of Shirdi and Solapur.
- Two Vande Bharat trains were opened at the same time for the first time.
- The two trains are Mumbai-Solapur Vande Bharat Train and Mumbai-Sainagar Shirdi Vande Bharat Train.
- o The Mumbai-Solapur Vande Bharat train is the 9th Vande Bharat train in the country. It makes it easier to get to important pilgrimage sites like Siddheshwar in Solapur, Akkalkot, Tuljapur, Pandharpur near Solapur, and Alandi near Pune.
- The Mumbai-Sainagar-Shirdi Vande Bharat Train will be the country’s tenth Vande Bharat train.
- It is an important step towards fulfilling the Prime Minister’s vision of building better, efficient and passenger-friendly transport infrastructure for New India.
|Vande Bharat Express – Indigenously built semi-high-speed train
• On February 9 and 10, 2023, the first City Sherpa meeting of the sixth Urban20 (U20) cycle was held in Ahmedabad.
Priority areas for the Urban 20 event
• Getting people to act in ways that are good for the environment;
• Making sure there is enough water;
• Speeding up climate finance;
• Promoting “local” identity;
• Rethinking frameworks for urban governance and planning; and • Kickstarting digital urban futures.
• The first meeting of the U20, which is made up of cities from the G20 countries, took place in Buenos Aires in 2018.
•The U20 is a group of mayors from the G20 cities that work together on a common plan and a joint position to help national leaders with their discussions.
•Contributions from the U20 are shared with the G20 Presidency and Heads of State. This makes cities even more important as economic and political leaders around the world.
- The U20 brings together a group of Participating Cities.
- • These cities are important economic or population centres. They are major C40 and UCLG member cities from G20 countries.
- C40 Cities: C40 connects 96 of the world’s largest and most influential cities, representing 700+ million citizens and one-quarter of the global economy.
- United Cities and Local Governments (UCLG): UCLG is the world organisation of local and regional governments and their associations. It represents and defends their interests on the world stage.
- The UCLG network includes 70% of the world’s people and is present in all parts of the world.
• Create a platform on behalf of urban centres and in close cooperation with global networks of local governments that can be shared with all G20 leaders.
• Make the G20 agenda better by looking for synergies and adding unique city perspectives and good practises.
• Come up with ways to improve climate action and sustainable economic growth by putting together a communique that uses G20 policy recommendations, international frameworks, and city suggestions.
• Ask G20 members to include strategic or urgent urban issues that need synergistic solutions with national governments in their annual discussions.
Rise in jobs in Renewable sectors
• A recent study found that the number of jobs in the solar and wind energy sectors has grown by eight times.
o The Council on Energy, Environment, and Water, the Natural Resources Defense Council India, and the Skill Council for Green Jobs all worked together on the study.
- The report only looked at full-time jobs. It did this by using a formula to calculate a co-efficient, called FTE, for each sector—solar rooftop, utility solar, and wind. This was done by dividing the amount of time an employee spent on a certain task by the number of standard working hours in a year.
- These FTE numbers are used as coefficients to estimate the total number of people who will be working on solar and wind energy projects (MW).
Key Findings of the Report
- India’s solar and wind energy industries hired 52,700 new project development workers in the last financial year. This is an increase of eight times the number of project development workers in the financial year 2021.
- As of FY’22, there were 1,64,000 people working in India’s solar and wind energy industries, which is a 47% increase from FY’21.
- Of the 52,100 new jobs, almost all of them were in the solar energy sector.
- The study also showed that there is a “huge shortage” of skilled workers in upstream manufacturing, like making polysilicon, ingots, wafers, and cells.
- Most jobs right now are in putting together solar modules.
- The study also showed that there is a “huge shortage” of skilled workers in upstream manufacturing, like making polysilicon, ingots, wafers, and cells.
|Renewable Energy in India