Temple of Thirunelly’s Vilakkumadom
Tags: GS1, Art and Culture
- The Indian National Trust for Art and Cultural Heritage (INTACH) has urged the government to preserve historically significant structures, including the 600-year-old Vilikkumadom.
- Vilakkumadom is believed to have been constructed in the 15th century AD at the Sree Mahavishnu Temple in Thirunelly, Wayanad district, Kerala.It is said that the construction of Vilakkumadom began without the permission of the temple’s caretaker, Kottayam Raja. The structure remained unaltered after the Kottayam Raja ordered construction.
- The Thirunelly Maha Vishnu temple is an iconic structure located in Wayanad, Kerala, close to the Brahmagiri highlands. It is also known as ”Kashi of the South” and ”Sahyamala Kshetram”.
- Thirunelli Temple is the only temple in the world where devotees can perform all life-related rituals, beginning with birth and ending with death and life after death.On the banks of the stream Papanasini, which descends down from Mount Brahmagiri, the rituals are performed.
- On the western side of the temple is the Lord Shiva-dedicated cave temple Gunnika.
|Indian National Trust for Art and Cultural Heritage (INTACH)
Shadow Day Zero
Tags: GS1, Physical Geography
- On April 25, at 12:17 IST, Bengaluru and all locations along 130 degrees north latitude experienced a “Zero Shadow Day.”
What is ‘Zero Shadow Day’(ZSD)?
- A ZSD is a day in which the Sun does not cast a shadow at solar noon, when it is precisely at the zenith (the highest point in the sky).
- ZSD occurs twice yearly for locations in the tropics (between the Tropic of Cancer and Tropic of Capricorn at +23.5 and -23.5 degrees of latitude, respectively). Therefore, locations in India north of Ranchi do not experience Zero shadow day.
- One ZSD occurs during Uttarayan (the movement of the Sun from south to north from the winter solstice to the summer solstice) and the other occurs during Dakshinayan (the return from north to south).
- The dates will alter based on geographic location.
Why does a ZSD happen?
- Uttarayan and Dakshinayan occur because the Earth’s axis of rotation is inclined approximately 23.5° with respect to the axis of revolution around the Sun.When the Sun is at its zenith, its beams align with the shadow, making it appear as if there is no shadow.
Recognizing Temperature Outliers
Tags: GS1, Important Geophysical Phenomena
- The month of March 2023 was the second warmest on record.
More about the news
- Warm March:
- March 2023 was the second warmest month recorded by instruments.
- The warmest March was in 2016, when the strongest El Nio of the 21st century triggered a’mini’ global warming.
- We anticipate March to mark the commencement of India’s scorching summer season.
- However, March in a particular year may be cooler due to other climate factors, such as a La Nia, and particularly when averaged over a large region such as India or even an Indian state.
- Heating of the Arabian Sea:
- In March, the Arabian Sea has also warmed more than anticipated.
- This circumstance may favor a stronger monsoon, but it may also promote cyclogenesis (i.e. the origin of cyclonic circulation) over the Arabian Sea.
- Temperature anomaly:
- The average temperature anomaly from January to March in 2023 rates as the fourth warmest such period on record.
About the “Temperature anomalies”
- What is a temperature anomaly?
- Temperature anomaly refers to a deviation from a reference value or long-term average.
- A positive anomaly indicates that the observed temperature was warmer than the reference value, whereas a negative anomaly indicates that the observed temperature was cooler than the reference value.
- This product is a diagnostic instrument for climate on a global scale that provides an overview of average global temperatures relative to a reference value.
- Global warming does not indicate that every month or year will be warmer than the previous month or year.Instead, it would be preferable to commence by calculating the 10-year weather average.
- Decade-to-decade warming demonstrates unequivocally that humans are now ensuring that each decade is warmer than the last.
- What causes the anomalies?
- The land-ocean-atmosphere mechanisms that dynamically determine weather and climate are responsible for the global distribution of temperature anomalies.
Rising global temperatures
- Human induced warming:
- Since the Industrial Revolution, global air temperatures have been increasing.
- Even though natural variability plays a small role, the evidence suggests that human activities—particularly emissions of heat-trapping greenhouse gases—are primarily responsible for the warming of our planet.
- What does the analysis say?
- The average global temperature has increased by at least 1.1° Celsius (1.9° Fahrenheit) since 1880, according to an ongoing temperature analysis led by scientists.
- Since 1975, the preponderance of the warming has occurred at a rate of approximately 0.15 to 0.20°C per decade.
- Pattern of warming:
- Temperatures do not rise at the same rate everywhere at all times due to global warming. Temperatures might rise 5 degrees in one region and decline 2 degrees in another.
- For instance, extremely cold winters in one region may be balanced by remarkably warm winters in another region.
- Because water is slower to acquire and release heat (thermal inertia), warming is typically greater over land than over the oceans.
- Warming may also vary significantly across distinct landmasses and ocean basins.
- Influence of rise:
- Due to predictable, cyclical events (night and day, summer and winter) and difficult-to-predict wind and precipitation patterns, the local and short-term temperatures we experience can fluctuate substantially.
- Challenge for India:
- India’s large population faces adaptation challenges as a result of extreme heat surges during the summer and monsoon season rainfall.
- Heatwaves are a leading cause of death and a challenge to the public health infrastructure.
- Extreme rainfall that persists for an extended period of time causes flooding, which damages agriculture and infrastructure and causes human migration and death.
Possibility of intense heatwaves
- Excessively hot summer:
- Due to the end of the strong La Nina phase in the equatorial Pacific Ocean, which has a general cooling influence on the earth’s atmosphere, this summer is expected to be extremely hot.
- Possibility of El Nino’s occurrence:
- According to new forecasts, El Nino, which has the opposite effects of La Nina, is expected to begin earlier than anticipated between May and July.El Nino also has the tendency to reduce India’s monsoon rainfall.
- Shortfall in rain:
- A shortfall in rains is already being apprehended, which could exacerbate the effects of a hot summer, even though the India Meteorological Department has predicted a normal monsoon.
- Climate scientists must provide the correct context when comparing and ranking individual months.
- This will assist the general public in comprehending global warming and its cascading effects on the weather they experience every day.
- And the greater the degree to which individuals comprehend the local effects of global warming, the more likely they are to engage in climate action.
World Health Organization (WHO)
- According to the World Health Organization, a quantity of tainted cough syrup manufactured in India was discovered in the Marshall Islands and Micronesia.
- Guaifenesin is an expectorant used to relieve chest congestion and respiratory symptoms.
- Analysis of samples of Guaifenesin Syrup TG Syrup from the Marshall Islands revealed unacceptable levels of diethylene glycol and ethylene glycol as contaminants.
- Diethylene glycol and ethylene glycol are toxic to humans and can be fatal if ingested.
- The WHO has linked other cough syrups manufactured in India to the fatalities of children in The Gambia and Uzbekistan.
Regulation of Drugs in India
- Drugs and Cosmetics Act, 1940: The primary purpose of the Act is to ensure that drugs and cosmetics sold in India are secure, effective, and compliant with state quality standards.
- The Drugs & Cosmetics
- (Amendment) Act of 2008 amended the Drugs and Cosmetics Act of 1940 to include harsher penalties for the manufacturing and distribution of counterfeit and adulterated drugs.
- New Drugs, Medical Devices and Cosmetics Bill, 2022: To accommodate changing requirements and encourage the adoption of new technology, the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare released a draft bill in July 2022 to replace the existing Drugs and Cosmetics Act 1940. This act governs drug importation, production, and distribution across the country.
- Central Drugs Standard Control Organization: The Ministry of Health and Family Welfare is the apex department of the Central Drugs Standard Control Organization (CDSCO) of the Government of India. CDSCO is a regulatory agency for Indian pharmaceuticals and medical devices.
- Drugs Controller General of India: The Drugs Controller General of India (DCGI) is the leader of the Government of India’s Central Drugs Standard Control Organization.
- It is responsible for approving licenses for certain categories of pharmaceuticals in India, including blood and blood products, intravenous fluids, vaccines, and sera.
- DCGI also establishes guidelines for the manufacture, sale, import, and distribution of pharmaceuticals in India.
- Indian Pharmaceutical Industry
- The Indian pharmaceutical industry rates third in the world in terms of pharmaceutical production by volume and is renowned for its inexpensive generic medicines and vaccines.
- India is a leading exporter of pharmaceuticals, with exports to more than 200 countries. Over fifty percent of Africa’s demand for generics is met by India, as well as forty percent of generic demand in the United States and twenty-five percent of all medication in the United Kingdom.India is also the primary provider of DPT, BCG, and measles vaccines, accounting for 60% of global vaccine demand. India supplies 70% of WHO’s vaccines (as per the essential Immunization schedule).
Estimates for India’s National Health Accounts for 2019–20
- Recent publication of the National Health Accounts Estimates for India (2019-20).
- Out-of-Pocket Expense (OOPE) as a percentage of Total Health Expenditures decreases from 62.6% in 2014-2015 to 47.0% in 2019-2020.
- The share of government health expenditures in the country’s total GDP rises from 1.13 percent in 2014-2015 to 1.35 percent in 2019-2020.
- Furthermore, the share of health sector expenditure in General Government Expenditures (GGE) has steadily increased from 3.94% to 5.02% between 2014-15 and 2019-20.
- The increase in private health insurance is a sign of a country’s maturity in the insurance industry, as private health insurance coverage increases. It supplements the government’s primary, secondary, and tertiary healthcare system.
- The proportion of Current Government Health Expenditures (CGHE) allocated to primary care has increased from 51.3% in 2014-15 to 55.9% in 2019-20.
- The percentage of THE (Total Health Expenditure) attributable to Social Security Expenditure (SSE), which includes government-funded health insurance, medical reimbursement to government employees, and social health insurance programs, has increased from 5.7% in 2014-2015 to 9.3% in 2019-2020.
- Between 2014-15 and 2019-20, government health expenditure per capita doubled from Rs. 1,108 to Rs. 2,014.
|About National Health Account (NHA) estimates
Out-of-Pocket Expenditure (OOPE) in health:
• Out-of-pocket expenditure is the money paid directly by households at the time of receiving health care.
• This occurs when services are neither provided for free by a government health facility nor covered by any public or private insurance or social protection program.
Tags: GS 3, Indian Economy & Related Issues
- The Government of Rajasthan is preparing to introduce the Rajasthan Platform-based Gig Workers (Registration and Welfare) Bill, 2023, which contains stringent provisions against errant aggregators, including the prohibition of their operations within the state.
Highlights of the Bill
- Rajasthan Platform-based Gig Workers Welfare Board: It will formulate welfare policies and hear the complaints of piece rate employees. The bill grants the board the authority to determine the amount of cess that each aggregator must pay to this social welfare fund. This levy shall be a proportion of each transaction.
- Unique ID: Regardless of the duration of their engagement with the platform, all platform-based gig employees shall be automatically registered with the board. Each platform-based gig worker enrolled with one or more aggregators in the state shall be issued a unique identification number by the board. This identification card is valid for three years.
- Penalty: Data of the contract workers employed by the board and sharing data of every transaction that takes place on their platform can result in fines of up to?10 lakh for the first violation and up to?1 crore for subsequent violations.
- The bill also authorizes the board to recommend the temporary or permanent suspension of the aggregator’s operations in the state.
- The draft bill presently in the hands of the department of law will be made available for public comment shortly.
- Who are gig workers?
- Non-standard or freelance work entails income-earning activities outside of conventional, long-term employer-employee relationships.
- A gig economy is a labor market that significantly relies on temporary and part-time positions filled by independent contractors and freelancers as opposed to permanent full-time employees.
- The term is borrowed from the music industry, where “gigs” are singular or short-term engagements at different venues.
- The gig economy connects freelancers with customers via digital platforms to provide short-term services or asset-sharing.
- Examples include ride-hailing apps, meal delivery apps, and vacation rental apps.
Reasons for a rise in Gig Workers
- Post Pandemic: The trend accelerated during the 2020 COVID-19 pandemic, as gig workers delivered essentials to homebound consumers and those whose positions were eliminated turned to part-time and contract work.
- Freedom to work from anywhere: Many of these positions do not require independent contractors to report to an office, thereby facilitating independent contracting work.
- Wide Range of Applicants: Employers have access to a larger pool of applicants because they are no longer required to employ based on proximity.
- Rise of Technology and Internet: The proliferation of high-speed internet and mobile devices has made it simpler to work from anywhere.
- Convenient for Small Organisations: Employers who cannot afford to hire full-time workers will frequently hire part-time or temporary workers to handle busy periods or specific initiatives.
- More income with more work: People often find they need to move or take multiple positions to afford the lifestyle they want. It’s also common to change careers many times throughout a lifetime, so the gig economy can be viewed as a reflection of this occurring on a large scale.
- Benefits Employers: Employers do not need to provide related benefits, such as medical insurance, Provident Fund, and year-end bonuses which make it a better option for them to pay only for work on a unit basis.
- Work for All: Students can choose lower-skilled jobs and work without academic or professional qualifications. Retirees, housewives, etc. may find it difficult to find part-time jobs on weekdays, but now they can make good use of their spare time to earn extra money.
- Hurdle in growth of full time employee: While not all employers are inclined to hire temporary workers, the gig economy trend can make it more difficult for full-time workers to advance in their careers, as temporary workers are frequently less expensive to hire and more flexible in terms of their availability.
- Work-life balance: For some employees, the flexibility of gig work can disrupt the work-life balance, sleep patterns, and daily activities.
- Can replace Full time employees: Freelancers can reduce the number of full-time employees required by the company.
- No job security: Workers in the freelance economy resemble entrepreneurs more than traditional employees. This may imply greater freedom of choice for the worker, but it also implies the security of a steady job with regular pay and benefits.
- No regular job benefits: Many employers save money by avoiding paying benefits such as health coverage and paid vacation time. because there is no formal employment relationship with the platform company, there are usually no employee benefits in short-term contracts, which are less guaranteed than full-time and part-time jobs, and are difficult to write on resumes.
India and Gig Economy
- In 2020, 7.7 million workers participated in the gig economy.
- By 2029-2030, the gig workforce is projected to grow to 23.5 million workers.
- Approximately 47% of gig work consists of medium-skilled jobs, 22% of high-skilled jobs, and 31% of low-skilled jobs. The concentration of workers with medium skills is progressively decreasing, while the concentration of workers with low and high skills is increasing.
- While it is anticipated that the dominance of medium skills will persist until 2030, contract work requiring other skills will emerge.
Steps Taken by Government of India for Gig Workers
- Code of Social Security, 2020: The government has enacted the Code on Social Security, 2020, which calls for the development of suitable social security schemes for contract workers and platform workers in regards to life and disability insurance, accident insurance, health and maternity benefits, old age protection, etc. However, these Code provisions have not yet taken effect.
- Platform employees are individuals whose jobs rely on online software applications or digital platforms. Non-platform gig employees are typically part-time or full-time wage workers and independent contractors in conventional sectors.
- e-Shram Portal: • In 2021, the government introduced the e-Shram portal for the registration and establishment of a Comprehensive National Database of Unorganized Workers, including gig workers and platform workers.
- It permits self-declaration registration on the portal, which is available for approximately 400 occupations.
Report on the State of the Global Climate 2022: WMO
Tags: GS 3, Environmental Pollution & Degradation
The World Meteorological Organization has published the State of the Global Climate 2022 report.
About the Report
- It focuses on critical climate indicators, including greenhouse gases, temperatures, the rise in sea level, ocean heat and acidification, sea ice, and glaciers. Additionally, it emphasizes the effects of climate change and extreme weather.
- It depicts changes on a global scale on land, in the ocean, and in the atmosphere that are the result of record levels of heat-trapping greenhouse gases.
Major Highlights of the Report
- Increase in Greenhouse Gases (GHGs) emissions: In 2022, global greenhouse gas emissions continued to rise. Carbon dioxide levels are at 149% of pre-industrial levels, methane levels are at 262%, and nitrous oxide levels are at 124%.
- The annual increase of methane from 2020 to 2021 was 18 ppb. This is the greatest growth ever recorded.
- High Global Mean Temperature: In 2022, the planet was 1.15 0.13 °C warmer than its pre-industrial average (1850-1900), making the last eight years the warmest on record.Despite the moderating effects of La Nia, 2022 was the fifth or sixth warmest year on record.
- Above Normal Precipitation: In 2022, large portions of Asia and the south-west Pacific, parts of northern South America and the Caribbean, the eastern Sahel region, parts of southern Africa, Sudan, and eastern Europe will experience above-normal precipitation.
- Regions with inadequate precipitation included western and central Europe, northwest Africa, parts of the Middle East, Central Asia and the Himalayas, Eastern Africa, and portions of the Indian Ocean.
- Madagascar, central and southern South America, and central and western North America.
- Ocean Heat Content: As GHGs accumulate in the atmosphere, land and ocean temperatures rise. On timescales of centuries to millennia, it is expected that the ocean will continue to warm well into the future, a change that is irreversible.
- In 2022, 58 percent of the ocean surface was affected by at least one marine heatwave and 25 percent by at least one marine frigid spell.
- Rise in Sea Level: In 2022, global mean sea level continued to rise. In the past 30 years, the sea level has risen approximately 3,4 0.3 millimeters per year.
- Ocean Acidification: The average pH of the world’s oceans has been consistently decreasing at rates not seen in at least the past 26,000 years.
- Sea Ice Extent: For the majority of the year, Arctic sea ice extent was below the long-term average.
- The extent of Antarcticsea ice fell to its lowest level and nearly 1 million km 2 below the long-term average (1991-2020).
- The Antarcti sea ice extent continued to be below average.
- The Greenland Ice Sheet concluded its 26th consecutive year with a negative total mass balance. Summit Station, the highest point in Greenland, experienced its warmest September and its first thaw. The first heavy rain descended upon the ice sheet.
- Glacier Mass Balance: The glaciers have been losing mass nearly every year.
- Exceptional Melt in Swiss Alps: In Switzerland 6% of the volume of glacier ice was lost between 2021 and 2022.
- For the first time in recorded history, no snow survived the summer at even the highest measurement sites, resulting in no accumulation of fresh ice.
- Extreme Events: Rising global temperatures have contributed to an increase in the frequency and severity of extreme weather events, such as cold and heat waves, floods, droughts, wildfires, and storms, throughout the globe.
Socio-economic and Environmental Impacts
- Drought gripped East Africa: Five consecutive moist seasons have seen below-average precipitation, the longest such stretch in forty years. As of January 2023, it was estimated that over 20 million people in the region confronted severe food insecurity due to drought and other shocks.
- Record breaking rain: Pakistan experienced extensive inundation in July and August. There were more than 1,700 fatalities, 33 million people were afflicted, and nearly 8 million were displaced. Damages and economic losses were estimated to total $30 billion.
- Record breaking heatwaves: Europe was affected during the summer. In some regions, extreme heat was accompanied by extremely arid conditions. In Spain, Germany, the United Kingdom, France, and Portugal, the number of fatalities attributable to the heat exceeded 15 000.
- China experienced its most extensive and prolonged heatwave since national records began, resulting in the highest summer on record by more than 0.5 °C.
- Food insecurity: As of 2021, 2,3 billion people were food insecure, including 924 million who were severely food insecure. The projected number of undernourished persons in 2021 is 767.9 million, or 9.8% of the global population. One-third are in Africa and half are in Asia.
- In the pre-monsoon season of 2022 in India and Pakistan, heatwaves reduced crop yields. This, combined with the ban on wheat exports and restrictions on rice exports imposed by India following the outbreak of conflict in Ukraine, posed a threat to the availability, access, and stability of staple foods on international food markets and posed significant risks to countries already suffering from staple food shortages.
- Population Displacement: During the course of the year, the catastrophic effects of drought on pastoral and agricultural livelihoods and starvation displaced nearly 1,2 million Somalis. In drought-affected areas, Somalia hosted nearly 35,000 refugees and asylum seekers at the same time. In Ethiopia, an additional 512 000 internal displacements due to drought were recorded.
- The flooding in Pakistan affected some 33 million people, including about 800 000 Afghan refugees hosted in affected districts around 8 million people have been internally displaced by the floods.
- Environment: The impact of climate change on ecosystems and the environment is significant. Recent research focusing on the unique high-elevation region surrounding the Tibetan Plateau, the largest store of snow and ice outside of the Arctic and Antarctic, discovered that global warming is causing the expansion of the temperate zone.
- Climate change also affects recurring events in nature, such as the flowering of cherry blossoms in Japan, which has been documented since 801 AD and has shifted to earlier dates since the late 1800s. In 2021, complete bloom occurred on March 26, the earliest date recorded in over 1200 years.
- Ecosystems: Climate change affects ecosystems and the services they provide, including terrestrial, freshwater, coastal, and marine ecosystems. Some ecosystems are more vulnerable than others.
- Ecosystems are degrading at an unprecedented rate, limiting their capacity to support human well-being and diminishing their ability to adapt and develop resilience.
- Suggestions as per the Report
- Adaptation: Early Warning Systems inform governments, communities, and individuals on how to mitigate the imminent effects of impending hazardous weather by providing advance notice.
- However, even if adaptation is enhanced, climate change will persist if the underlying drivers are not addressed.
- Without immediate and significant reductions in greenhouse gas emissions across all sectors and regions, it will be impossible to keep global warming below 1.5 degrees Celsius.
- Mitigation: It is imperative to reduce or mitigate greenhouse gas emissions from fossil fuels whenever practicable.
- Transitioning to renewable energy sources is crucial to reducing greenhouse gas emissions.
|About World Meteorological Organization (WMO)
• It is an intergovernmental organization with 193 Member States and Territories.
• By ratifying the WMO Convention in 1950, the WMO became the specialized United Nations agency for meteorology (weather and climate), operational hydrology, and related geophysical sciences.
• The Geneva-based Secretariat is led by the Secretary-General; • the World Meteorological Congress is its supreme body.
Projects in Dadra and Nagar Haveli and Kerala
Tags: GS 3, Infrastructure
- The prime minister lays the cornerstone and dedicates numerous national development projects in Kerala and Dadra and Nagar Haveli.
More about News
- Projects in Kerala:
- Kochi inaugurates India’s first water metro;
- Thiruvananthapuram breaks ground on multiple rail initiatives and the Digital Science Park;
- Kerala inaugurates its first Vande Bharat Express;
- Projects in Dadra and Nagar Haveli
- Dedicates the NAMO Medical Education and Research Institute to the Nation
- Hands over the keys to PMAY Urban recipients
- Kochi Water Metro
- Kochi Water Metro is a project being implemented by Kochi Metro Rail Corporation Limited (KMRL) with assistance from Kreditanstalt für Wiederaufbau, a German funding agency.
- Kochi Water Metro will serve as a model for the rest of the country; it will benefit the state’s remote tourism.
- Digital Science Park
- The nation’s first Digital Science Park will be established in Thiruvananthapuram, Kerala.
- The Digital Science Park will contain common facilities to support the development of products in the field of Industry 4.0 Technologies, such as AI, Data Analytics, Cyber Security, etc.
- The state-of-the-art fundamental infrastructure will facilitate high-end applied research by industries and the co-development of products with universities.
- Vande Bharat Express
- Vande Bharat is India’s first indigenous semi-high-speed railway. • The first ‘Vande Bharat Express’ train was inaugurated in February 2019 on the New Delhi – Kanpur – Allahabad – Varanasi route.
- The Vande Bharat Express, previously known as Train 18, is an electric multiple-unit train designed and manufactured by the Chennai-based government-owned Integral Coach Factory (ICF).
- Due to its rapid acceleration and deceleration, it can attain high speeds and reduce travel time by 25% to 45%.