State Ranking Index for NFSA
GS Paper 2: Government Policy and Intervention, Poverty and Hunger eradication
Prelims exam level: Ranking, NFSA Act
Mains Exam level: Not much
Why in news
Union Minister of Consumer Affairs, Food & Public Distribution released the 1st edition of ‘State Ranking Index for NFSA’ during the conference of Food Ministers of States/UTs on ‘Food Nutrition and Security in India’ organised by the Department of Food and Public Distribution.
About State Ranking Index for NFSA
● “State ranking Index for NFSA” attempts to document the status and progress of implementation of NFSA and various reform initiatives across the country, post consultation with states.
● It highlights the reforms undertaken by States and UTs and creates a cross-learning environment and scale-up reform measures by all states and union territories.
● The present Index is largely focused on NFSA Distribution and will include procurement, PMGKAY (Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Anna Yojana) Distribution in future.
● The Index for ranking the states and UTs is built on three key pillars which covers the end-to-end implementation of NFSA through TPDS. These pillars are:
○ NFSA- Coverage, targeting and provisions of the Act,
○ Delivery platform, and
○ Nutrition initiatives.
● Odisha has been adjudged the top ranked State followed by Uttar Pradesh at the 2nd spot and Andhra Pradesh at third amongst the General Category States in ‘State Ranking Index for NFSA’.
● Among the Special Category states/UTs, Tripura stood first followed by Himachal Pradesh and Sikkim respectively.
● Further, among the 3 UTs where Direct Benefit Transfer (DBT)-Cash is operational, Dadra and Nagar Haveli & Daman and Diu is the top ranked UT; the other two are Puducherry(2nd) and Chandigarh(3rd).
NFSA (National Food Security Act)
The National Food Security Act (NFSA) was introduced by the Government of India in 2013. It is responsible for the provision of subsidised food grains to upto 75% of the rural population and 50% of the urban population of all states and Union Territories (UTs). The enactment of the NFSA marks a watershed in the approach to food security from welfare to a rights-based approach.
● The Act was signed into law on 12th September 2013 retroactive to 5th July 2013.
● The Act is in line with Goal 2 of the Sustainable Development Goals set by the United Nations General Assembly.
○ Goal 2 seeks sustainable solutions to end hunger in all its forms by 2030 and to achieve food security.
○ The aim is to ensure that everyone everywhere has enough good-quality food to lead a healthy life.
● Schemes such as the Mid-Day Meal Scheme (MDMS), the Public Distribution System (PDS), and the Integrated Child Development Services (ICDS) are included under the Act.
● The Act is being implemented by all the States and the Union Territories.
World Zoonosis Day
GS Paper 2: Issues Relating to Development and Management of Social Sector/Services relating to Health, Education, Human Resources.
Prelims exam level: Zoonotic diseases
Mains exam Level: Zoonotic diseases and their impact on India
Why in News
Indian Immunologicals Limited (IIL) organised a nationwide free vaccination camp against zoonotic diseases on account of World Zoonosis Day 2022.
• Diseases that transmit from animals to human beings are called zoonotic diseases
• The day is observed annually on July 6 to commemorate the first immunisation against a zoonotic illness.
India, a potential hotspot for zoonotic diseases
• Zoonotic diseases such as rabies have imperilled human health since antiquity. Dogs are the source of most human rabies deaths, contributing up to 99% of all rabies transmissions to humans, and every year it causes 18,000 to 20,000 deaths.
• A recent report from the State of the World’s Forests 2022 predicts India as a potential hotspot for zoonotic viral diseases.
• About 70% of all emerging diseases such as rabies, swine flu, nipah, brucellosis, leptospirosis, porcine cysticercosis and zika that affect humans are zoonotic in nature.
Infrared light to renewable energy
GS Paper 3: Science & Technology
Prelims exam level: Electromagnetic waves, Infrared light
Mains Exam level: Not much
Why in news
New material discovered can convert infrared light to renewable energy.
What is ‘Electromagnetic Waves’
● Electromagnetic waves or EM waves are waves that are created as a result of vibrations between an electric field and a magnetic field. In other words, EM waves are composed of oscillating magnetic and electric fields.
● Electromagnetic waves are formed when an electric field comes in contact with a magnetic field.
● They are hence known as ‘electromagnetic’ waves.
● The electric field and magnetic field of an electromagnetic wave are perpendicular (at right angles) to each other. They are also perpendicular to the direction of the EM wave.
● Electromagnetic waves are a renewable energy source used for electricity generation, telecommunication, defence and security technologies, sensors, and healthcare services.
● Scientists use high-tech methods to manipulate such waves precisely, in dimensions that are thousands of times smaller than the human hair, using specialized materials.
● However, not all the wavelengths of light (electromagnetic waves) are easy to utilize, especially infrared light, since it is difficult to detect and modulate.
● For infrared light applications, intelligent and cutting-edge materials are required which can enable excitation, modulation, and detection at desired spectral range with high efficiencies.
● Only a few existing materials can serve as hosts for light-matter interactions in the infrared
● The operational spectral range of such materials also does not cover the industrially important short wavelength infrared (SWIR) spectral range.
● In a significant development, researchers from Bengaluru’s Jawaharlal Nehru Centre for Advanced Scientific Research (JNCASR), an autonomous institute of Department of Science and Technology (DST) have discovered a novel material called single-crystalline scandium nitride (ScN) that can emit, detect, and modulate infrared light with high efficiencies.
How is the material made?
● Researchers have utilised a scientific phenomenon called polariton excitations that occur in tailored materials when light couples with either the collective free electron oscillations or polar lattice vibrations to achieve this feat.
● They have carefully controlled material properties to excite polaritons (a quasi-particle) and achieve strong light-matter interactions in single-crystalline scandium nitride (ScN) using infrared light.
● These exotic polaritons in the ScN can be utilised for solar and thermal energy harvesting.
● Also belonging to the same family of materials as gallium nitride (GaN), scandium nitride is compatible with modern complementary metal oxide semiconductor (CMOS) or Si-chip technology and, therefore, could be easily integrated for on-chip optical communication devices.
Infrared radiation (IR)
● Infrared radiation (IR), or infrared light, is a type of radiant energy that’s invisible to human eyes but that we can feel as heat. All objects in the universe emit some level of IR radiation, but two of the most obvious sources are the sun and fire.
● British astronomer William Herschel discovered infrared light in 1800.
● Within the electromagnetic spectrum, infrared waves occur at frequencies above those of microwaves and just below those of red visible light, hence the name “infrared.”
● Waves of infrared radiation are longer than those of visible light.
● IR frequencies range from about 300 gigahertz (GHz) up to about 400 terahertz (THz), and wavelengths are estimated to range between 1,000 micrometers (µm) and 760 nanometers (2.9921 inches), although these values are not definitive, according to NASA.
FPI exit from India
GS Paper 3: Indian Economy
Prelims exam level: FPI, FDI
Mains exam Level: Importance of FPI and impact of their exit
Why in News
Foreign Portfolio Investors (FPIs) have been on a selling spree in India.
What are FPIs?
• Foreign portfolio investors are those that invest funds in markets outside of their home turf.
• Their investments typically include equities, bonds and mutual funds.
• They are generally not active shareholders and do not exert any control over the companies whose shares they hold.
• The passive nature of their investment also allows them to enter or exit a stock at will and with ease.
What factors spur FPI moves?
• Promise of attractive returns on the back of economic growth draws investors including FPIs into a country’s markets.
• FPIs also show keenness to invest in bonds when there is a favourable differential between the real interest rates on offer in the country they aim to invest in, and other markets, but more specifically, compared with the largest economy in the world, the U.S.
Why have FPIs been selling India holdings?
• COVID induced lockdown
• Post-pandemic, uneven recovery of the economy.
• Russia-Ukraine issue
o if inflation quickens in the overseas market where the investor has placed funds in, then real returns are even further impacted.
• Weak Consumption expenditure.
• Raising up of the interest rates by the U.S. Fed
o If the dollar strengthens against the rupee, then an investor is able to realise fewer dollars for a given quantum of rupee assets liquidated.
• Depreciation of Rupee
What impact does an FPI sell-off have?
• Domestic currency weakens: When FPIs sell their holdings and repatriate funds back to their home markets, the local currency takes a beating.
o They sell rupees in exchange for their home market currency. As supply of the rupee in the market rises, its value declines.
• Costlier Imports: With a weaker rupee, we have to shell out more funds to import the same unit of goods.
o The most telling impact is on the cost of our crude oil imports that contribute to 85% of our oil needs.
• Market Capitalisation Drops: Their selling actions have triggered a significant decline in benchmark indices, resulting in a drop in market capitalisation of companies.
GS Paper 3: Disaster
Prelims exam level: Cloudburst and other forms of precipitation
Mains exam Level: Not Much
Why in News
Cloud burst wreaked havoc in Himachal Pradesh’s Kullu; several houses destroyed
What is a cloudburst?
• Cloudbursts are short-duration, intense rainfall events over a small area.
• According to the India Meteorological Department (IMD), it is a weather phenomenon with unexpected precipitation exceeding 100mm/h over a geographical region of approximately 20-30 square km.
• The cloudburst is a natural phenomenon, but occurs quite unexpectedly, very abruptly, and rather drenching.
• In the Indian Subcontinent, it generally occurs when a monsoon cloud drifts northwards, from the Bay of Bengal or the Arabian Sea across the plains than on to the Himalaya that sometimes brings 75 millimetres of rain per hour.
How does a cloudburst occur?
• Cloudburst is basically a rainstorm and occurs mostly in the desert and mountainous regions, and in interior regions of continental landmasses due to the warm air current from the ground or below the clouds rushes up and carries the falling raindrops up with it.
• The rain fails to fall down in a steady shower, which causes excessive condensation in the clouds as new drops form and old drops are pushed back into it by the updraft.
• Various studies have shown that during the cloudburst, the relative humidity and cloud cover is
The amount of water vapour present in air expressed as a percentage of the amount needed for saturation at the same temperature.
at the maximum level with low temperature and slow winds.
How is cloudburst different from rainfall?
• Rain is condensed water falling from a cloud while cloudburst is a sudden heavy rainstorm.
• A report in the Down to Earth said a cloudburst is different from rain only in the amount of rainfall recorded.
• Rain over 100mm per hour is categorised as a cloudburst.