PRELIMS


Defence Procurement Procedure (DPP)

GS Prelims and Mains III – Defence; Challenges to internal security; Security Related News

Basics:

  • The Defence Procurement Procedure (DPP) 2013 mandates that acquisitions worth over ₹1,000 crore should be first cleared by the Cabinet Committee on Security (CCS).
  • The DPP structure was introduced after the Kargil War.

Role of CCS

  • Major decisions with respect to the significant appointments, issues of national security, defence policy and expenditure of India are taken by the Cabinet Committee on Security (CCS) in India.
  • The Prime Minister chairs the CCS. The committee comprises the Minister of External Affairs, the Home Minister, Finance Minister and the Defence Minister.

About Defence Acquisition Council (DAC)

  • DAC – is the government’s highest decision-making body on procurement.
  • DAC is chaired by Union Defence Minister.
  • To counter corruption and speed up decision-making in military procurements.

The decision flowing from the Defence Acquisition Council are to be implemented by the following 3 Boards –

  1. Defence Procurement Board headed by the Defence Secretary
  2. Defence Production Board headed by the Secretary (Defence Production)
  3. Defence Research & Development Board headed by the Secretary (Defence Research & Development)

Renaming of places

GS Prelims and Mains II – Indian Polity

News:

  • Centre has given consent to the renaming of at least 25 towns and villages across India in the past one year
  • Allahabad and Faizabad are the latest additions to the growing list of places that have been renamed.

Name change requirements

  • The Home Ministry gives its consent to the change of name of any place after taking no-objections from the Ministry of Railways, Department of Posts and Survey of India.
  • These organisations have to confirm that there is no such town or village in their records with a name similar to the proposed one.
  • The renaming of a State requires amendment of the Constitution with a simple majority in Parliament. For changing the name of a village or town, an executive order is needed.

What is the procedure of changing a name of state?

  • Process for changing the name of a state can be initiated by state itself. However, by virtue of article 3, the parliament has power to change the name of a state even if such proposal does not come from the concerned state.

Phasing out hydrofluorocarbons (HFC)

GS Prelims and Mains III – Environment and Ecology concerns; Global warming

News:

  • In 2016, India was a signatory to a compact of 107 countries to “substantially phase” out a potent greenhouse gas, called hydrofluorocarbons (HFC), by 2045 and move to prevent a potential 0.5 C rise in global temperature by 2050.
  • HFCs are a family of gases that are largely used in refrigerants at home and in car air-conditioners. They substantially worsen global warming.
  • India, China, the United States and Europe have committed themselves to reducing the use of HFC by 85% by 2045.

Concern:

  • By 2022, India is expected to have a fourth of the world’s air conditioning units, and the risks to climate from this could be immense.

Animal in news:  Sangai deer

GS Prelims and Mains III – Animal conservation

News:

  • The sangai is an endemic and endangered subspecies of brow-antlered deer found only in Manipur, India. It is also the state animal of Manipur and is under threat from poachers.
  • There are less than 260 deer in its natural habitat, the 40 sq. km. Keibul Lamjao national park.

About Sangai

  • The sangai is an endemic and endangered subspecies of brow-antlered deer found only in Manipur, India. It is also the state animal of Manipur. Its common English name is Manipur brow-antlered deer or Eld’s deer and the scientific name is , Rucervus eldii eldii.
  • The brow-antlered deer or the dancing deer is found in its natural habitat only at Keibul Lamjao National Park over the floating biomass locally called “phumdi” in the south eastern part of Loktak Lake.
  • Phumdi is the most important and unique part of the habitat. It is the floating mass of entangled vegetation formed by the accumulation of organic debris and biomass with soil. Its thickness varies from few centimeter to two meters. The humus of phumdi is black in colour and very spongy with large number of pores. It floats with 4/5 part under water.
  • IUCN status: Endangered

Miscellaneous

Cyclone Gaja : : Cyclone Gaja is likely to cross the Tamil Nadu coast. Named by Sri Lanka, it is the 55th tropical cyclone since the naming convention started in 2004.


MAINS


NATIONAL

TOPIC:General studies 3

  • Science and technology

Ripples of discord: on gravitational waves

Introduction

  • On September 14, 2015, the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-wave Observatory (LIGO) made the Nobel Prize winning detection of gravitational waves.
  • These observations are again in news due to some controversy among scientists over noise in detection.

What are Gravitational waves?

  • Gravitational waves are ‘ripples’ in the fabric of space-time caused by some of the most violent and energetic processes in the Universe.
  • Albert Einstein predicted the existence of gravitational waves in 1916 in his general theory of relativity.

What causes Gravitational Waves?

The most powerful gravitational waves are created when objects move at very high speeds. Some examples of events that could cause a gravitational wave are:

  • When a star explodes asymmetrically, for example, supernovas
  • When two big stars orbit each other
  • When two black holes orbit each other and merge

Why it is difficult to detect gravitational waves?

  • The objects that create gravitational waves are far away. And sometimes, these events only cause small, weak gravitational waves.
  • The waves are then very weak by the time they reach Earth. This makes gravitational waves hard to detect.

How are Gravitational Waves detected?

  • When a gravitational wave passes by Earth, it squeezes and stretches space. LIGO can detect this squeezing and stretching.
  • Each LIGO observatory has two “arms” that are each more than 2 miles (4 kilometers) long.
  • A passing gravitational wave causes the length of the arms to change slightly.
  • The observatory uses lasers, mirrors, and extremely sensitive instruments to detect these tiny changes.

Role of LIGO

  • This is where LIGO’S detection of such waves in the universe gains significance in understanding the nature of black hole and its effect on space and time.
  • LIGO has made six of such detection of these waves. Five of these were mergers of black holes in very different locations in space. One was the detection of a merger of two neutron stars.
  • Each of these mergers of black holes had different characteristics with respect to their mass.
  • Physicists had earlier modeled such mergers of black holes. LIGO provided them with actual data of the event. The last few detections of such merger have been done by another detector VIRGO.

The Controversy

  • A group of scientists questioned the validity of the data collected by LIGO after first detection.
  • The scientists argued that weeding out noise from such experiments was important which was not done properly by LIGO Scientific Collaboration (LSC).
  • On this, LIGO has put up a clarification regarding the claim on noise and LSC plans to come out with a research paper that carries detailed explanations on the disputed issue of noise.

NATIONAL

TOPIC:General studies 3

  • Science and technology
  • Agricultural practices and Biodiversity

Protect the little helpers

Introduction

  • Across India’s agrarian plains, plantations and orchards, millions of birds, bats and insects toil to pollinate crops.
  • However, many of these thousands of species may be in dangerous decline.

Significance of Pollinators

  • In 2015, the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES) found that pollinators lead to huge agricultural economic gains.
  • The report estimated pollinator contribution in India to be $0.831-1.5 billion annually for just six vegetable crops.
  • This is an underestimation considering that nearly 70% of tropical crop species are dependent on pollinators for optimal yields.

Do you know?

What is IPBES?

  • It is an independent intergovernmental body, established by member States in 2012. Around 130 states are member to it.
  • It provides policymakers with objective scientific assessments about the state of knowledge regarding the planet’s biodiversity, ecosystems and the benefits they provide to people, as well as the tools and methods to protect and sustainably use these vital natural assets.

Mission of IPBES

  • To strengthen knowledge foundations for better policy through science, for the conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity, long-term human well-being and sustainable development.

What does IPBES do?

To some extent IPBES does for biodiversity what the IPCC does for climate change.

  • Assessments
  • Policy Support
  • Building Capacity & Knowledge
  • Communications & Outreach

Decline of Pollinators and its impact

  • The decline of moths, bees, butterflies, hoverflies and other pollinators is undeniably linked to human activity: large tracts of natural habitats have been cleared for monoculture cultivation, while the use of pesticides and fertilisers is pushing out nature’s little helpers.
  • In a series of studies at the University of Calcutta, researchers have showed that native Indian bees, when exposed to multiple pesticides, suffer from memory and olfactory impairment, lower response rates, and oxidative stress which damages cells.
  • A study estimated that between 1964 and 2008, there was a 40-60% growth in relative yields of pollinator-dependent crops, while pollinator-independent crops such as cereals and potatoes saw a corresponding 140% rise in yields.
  • In Kashmir, researchers have pinned lowering yields of apple trees on the declining frequency of bee visits.
  • In north India, lowering yields of mustard cultivation may be caused by disappearing pollinators.

What steps various countries has taken?

  • At the turn of the millennium, many countries, particularly the U.S., observed with some anxiety the phenomenon of bees deserting their hives.
  • By 2014-15, the U.S. had established a Pollinator Health Task Force and a national strategy that focused on increasing the monarch butterfly population and planting native species and flowers in more than 28,000 sq km to attract pollinators.
  • Around the same time, the U.K. developed 23 key policy actions under its National Pollinator Strategy.
  • After the IPBES report, almost 20 countries have joined the Coalition of the Willing on Pollinators.

Way forward

  • Apart from promoting organic farming and lowering pesticide usage, landscape management is the key.
  • The EU Pollinators’ Initiative adopted in June can provide pointers to India, particularly a policy of direct payment support to farmers to provide buffer strips for pollinators for nectar- and pollen-rich plants.
  • India has millions of hectares of reserve forests, some of which have been converted to pulpwood plantations. Much of this can be restored to become thriving homes for pollinators.
  • The same can be done in gram panchayat levels. Fallow areas and government land can be used to plant flowering species for pollinators.

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