GS Paper: 1- Art and Culture
Prelims exam: Pashmina shawls, Chiru (Tibetan Antelope)
Why in News
Traders of universally prized Pashmina shawls are complaining that “obsolete testing methods” have resulted in many of their export consignments being flagged by Customs authorities for presence of Shahtoosh guard hair, which is obtained from endangered Tibetan antelopes.
- The name “pashmina” is derived from the Persian word “Pashm,” which means “soft gold.”
- Cashmere, an animal fibre obtained from the Changthangi goat of Ladakh, is the source of pashmina.
- It is native to Leh-Ladakh and Jammu & Kashmir’s high-altitude regions.
- In addition to its typical dye-absorbing property, it is well renowned for being warm, lightweight, and soft.
- The Guinness Book of World Records has recognised pashmina as the priciest fabric ever made.
- Pashmina wool, the finest variety of cashmere, is valued on the international market and is thinner than human hair.
Economic benefits: Pashmina is a largely unorganised cottage and handicraft industry which provides employment and livelihood to approximately six lakh people, most notably to local skilled villagers and artisans in Kashmir.
About Pashmina Shawls
- They are a beautiful variation on shawls made of cashmere wool.
- Pashmina is obtained from a breed of mountain goats (Capra hircus) found on the Changthang Plateau in Tibet and parts of Ladakh.
- Every spring, goats used for pashmina shed their winter coats. One goat sheds between 80 and 170 grammes of fibre. The goats’ undercoat is naturally shed in the spring (moulting season), and it grows back in the winter.
- Instead of shearing the goat as is done with other fine wool, the undercoat is removed by combing the animal.
- The pashmina wool shawl was promoted as a substitute for the Shahtoosh shawl. The reason behind is that Shahtoosh Shawls are made from the Tibetan Antelope.
- Shahtoosh is the fine undercoat fibre obtained from the Tibetan antelope, known locally as chiru, a species living mainly in the northern parts of the Changthang Plateau in Tibet.
Chiru (Tibetan Antelope)
- It inhabits high altitude plains and montane valleys made up of alpine and desert steppe and pasture at an elevation of 3,250–5,500 metres.
- This antelope is thought to be closely related to the goat family.
- Predators that prey on chirus and their young calves include wolves, lynx, snow leopards, and red foxes.
- IUCN Red List: “Near Threatened.”
- It is included in Schedule I of the 1972 Wildlife Protection Act.
- In order to further conserve it, two of its most important habitats—the Changthang Cold Desert Wildlife Sanctuary and the Karakorma Wildlife Sanctuary—have been designated as Wildlife Sanctuaries.
- For a very long time, Chiru have been hunted for their underfur. This fur is prized for its fineness and is historically used to manufacture the Shahtoosh shawls.
- A single shawl is made from three to five hides.
- Additionally, the wool cannot be sheared or combed, and the animals have to be killed in order to get the fur.
- Shahtoosh shawls are currently illegal to purchase and own in India and many other nations.
- Shahtoosh shawls and scarves were prohibited from being sold and traded after the Tibetan antelope was added to the CITES (Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora) list in 1979.
GS Paper: 2- Agreements involving India,International Institutions
Prelims exam: G20 Presidency
Mains exam: Aims and Objective of G20
Why in News
The G20 presidency of India officially began on December 1 after the unveiling of the country’s logo, website, and theme by the Indian government. One Earth, One Family, One Future was Modi’s rallying cry, which was aptly emphasised by the phrase “Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam.”
- The G20 is a global organisation that was founded in 1999 by the leaders of 20 of the world’s largest economies.
- The European Union and 19 of the largest economies in the world are included.
- More than 80% of the world’s GDP, 75% of trade, and 60% of the population are represented by its members.
- The leaders of the G20 nations occasionally take part in summits to address the topics or challenges that affect the world.
- India has been a G20 member since the group’s founding in 1999.
Aims and Objectives
- The group aims to avoid balance of payments issues and market volatility by enhancing the coordination of monetary, fiscal, and financial policies.
- By improving the coordination of monetary, fiscal, and financial policy, the forum seeks to prevent difficulties with balance of payments and turbulence on financial markets.
- It aims to deal with problems that are outside the purview of any one institution.
- More than 80% of the world’s GDP, 75% of trade, and 60% of the population are produced by its members.
- War between Russia and the west: It must however take into account a complex geopolitical situation, including increased hostility between the US and China and tensions between the G7 and Russia over the conflict in Ukraine.
- India’s attempts to be mediator: The recent admonition from PM Modi to President Putin that “now is not the time for war” is rooted in the values of nonviolence and peace that are part of the Buddha and Gandhian legacies.
- Energy crisis: Developmental priorities must come first. It will be necessary to find common ground on disagreements on energy diversification and the newest trade and technological challenges.
- Economic crisis: Stagflation in the US, China, and Europe poses a threat to the prognosis for the world economy. A key requirement is macroeconomic and trade policy coherence.
- Disruptions in the supply chain: At the “Global Supply Chain Resilience” meeting in October 2021, Prime Minister of India promoted collaboration on three crucial issues, including trusted sources, transparency, and time frames. He mentioned the disruption of supply chains brought on by the Ukraine issue at the SCO Summit this year, as well as the severe energy and food shortages.
- Open application programming interface: As economies throughout the world quickly transition to a digital economy, it’s critical to reach agreement on an open source, free-to-use API and an interoperable architecture for public digital platforms. This would maximise the positive effects of the digital transformation for the benefit of all people, including the development of new data, measuring tools, economic growth indicators, and Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
- Promotion of the LiFE philosophy: Modi presented Mission LiFE at the COP26 in Glasgow, which puts human conduct at the centre of the story of global climate action. The Mission aims to create and support Pro-Planet People (P3), a global network of people dedicated to embracing and supporting ecologically responsible lives. This is predicated on the notion that responsible individual behavior can undo the damage wrought upon nature.
- Focus on climate finance: India will need to pay close attention to climate finance at COP27 and while it holds the G20 presidency, particularly a new quantified objective beyond the current annual $100 billion pledge by Advanced Economies (AEs) to support developing countries in climate change adaptation and mitigation from 2020 to 2025. The delayed pledge is expected to be carried out in 2023, when India will hold the G20 presidency, and after that the G20 must raise the standard.
- In order to assist in the G20’s goal of achieving global net zero, India has the scale and capacity to serve as a shining example of rapid and decarbonized economic growth. The key is a functional global framework for GH2 development and trade, as well as green ammonia and green shipping. Solutions may come from consistent supplies of essential minerals and technology alliances for energy storage, such as a global battery coalition.
- Alternative energy sources: Given the current lack of support for civilian nuclear energy in Europe as a result of the instability of the energy market, the G20 might work toward an extended and robust framework for civilian nuclear energy cooperation, including for compact modular reactors.
New guidelines for TV channels
GS Paper: 2 (Governance)
Prelims Exam: Authorities related to this
Mains Exam: Significance of New TV channels Guidelines
Why in News?
The Union Cabinet has approved new guidelines for uplinking and downlinking of TV channels, under which all stations holding permission except for foreign channels and where it may not be feasible will have to broadcast content on issues of national importance and social relevance for at least 30 minutes every day.
- The provision has been introduced as “airwaves/frequencies are public property and need to be used in the best interest of society”.
- The eight listed themes include education and spread of literacy; agriculture and rural development; health and family welfare; science and technology; welfare of women; welfare of the weaker sections of society; protection of environment and of cultural heritage; and national integration.
- The consolidated guidelines exempt channels including those related to sports, where it would not be feasible to broadcast such content.
- would ease the issue of permission to the companies and limited liability partnership (LLP) firms [which have been allowed for the first time] registered in India for uplinking-downlinking of TV channels and associated activities.
- Only prior registration of events would be necessary for live telecast.
- Prior permission would not be needed for change of language or conversion of mode of transmission, from Standard Definition to High Definition or vice versa ,only prior intimation would suffice.
Telecom Regulatory Authority of India
- The entry of private service providers brought with it the inevitable need for independent regulation. The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) was, thus, established with effect from 20th February 1997 by an Act of Parliament, called the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India Act, 1997, to regulate telecom services, including fixation/revision of tariffs for telecom services which were earlier vested in the Central Government.
- TRAI’s mission is to create and nurture conditions for growth of telecommunications in the country in a manner and at a pace which will enable India to play a leading role in emerging global information society.
- One of the main objectives of TRAI is to provide a fair and transparent policy environment which promotes a level playing field and facilitates fair competition.
- In pursuance of above objective TRAI has issued from time to time a large number of regulations, orders and directives to deal with issues coming before it and provided the required direction to the evolution of Indian telecom market from a Government owned monopoly to a multi operator multi service open competitive market.
- The directions, orders and regulations issued cover a wide range of subjects including tariff, interconnection and quality of service as well as governance of the Authority.
- The TRAI Act was amended by an ordinance, effective from 24 January 2000, establishing a Telecommunications Dispute Settlement and Appellate Tribunal (TDSAT) to take over the adjudicatory and disputes functions from TRAI. TDSAT was set up to adjudicate any dispute between a licensor and a licensee, between two or more service providers, between a service provider and a group of consumers, and to hear and dispose of appeals against any direction, decision or order of TRAI.
|New Information Technology (Intermediary Guidelines and Digital Media Ethics Code) Rules 2021 Rules 2021
GS PAPER 3: Environment
Prelims Exam: Authorities and Data Related to this
Mains Exam: Conservation of Water
Why in News?
Groundwater extraction in India saw an 18-year decline, according to an assessment by the Central Ground Water Board (CGWB) made public.
- The total annual groundwater recharge for the entire country is 437.6 billion cubic metres (bcm).
- Annual groundwater extraction for the entire country is 239.16 bcm.
- Total 7,089 assessment units in the country, 1,006 units have been categorised as “over-exploited” in the report.
- The 2022 assessment suggests that groundwater extraction is the lowest since 2004, when it was 231 bcm.
Central Ground Water Board (CGWB)
Central Ground Water Board (CGWB), a subordinate office of the Ministry of Water Resources, Government of India, is the National Apex Agency entrusted with the responsibilities of providing scientific inputs for management, exploration, monitoring, assessment, augmentation and regulation of ground water resources of the country. Central Ground Water Board was established in 1970 by renaming the Exploratory Tube wells Organization under the Ministry of Agriculture, Government of India. It was merged with the Ground Water Wing of the Geological Survey of India during 1972.
Availibility of water
Water being a state subject the projects on water conservation are planned, funded, executed and maintained by the State Governments. Government of India supplements the efforts of the States through technical and financial assistance to them through various schemes and programmes.
Water conservation initiatives are taken up by the Central Government on continuous basis and are covered under various schemes and programmes such as Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (MGNREGS), Atal BhujalYojana, Pradhan MantriSinchayeeYojana (PMKSY), Atal Mission for Rejuvenation and Urban Transformation (AMRUT), Unified Building Bye Laws (UBBL) of Delhi, 2016, Model Building Bye Laws (MBBL), 2016, Urban and Regional Development Plan Formulation and Implementation (URDPFI) Guidelines, 2014 etc.
GS PAPER 1: Geography
Prelims Exam: Tectonic plates location, Faults
Mains Exam: Suggest some measure to curb the impact of earthquake on people
Why in News?
AT LEAST six people were killed when a powerful 6.6-magnitude earthquake jolted the remote mountainous region of western Nepal.
What is Earthquake?
An earthquake (also known as a quake, tremor or temblor) is the shaking of the surface of the Earth resulting from a sudden release of energy in the Earth‘s lithosphere that creates seismic waves. Earthquakes can range in intensity, from those that are so weak that they cannot be felt, to those violent enough to propel objects and people into the air, damage critical infrastructure, and wreak destruction across entire cities.
Type of Faults
A- Strike-slip faults
Strike-slip faults are steep structures where the two sides of the fault slip horizontally past each other; transform boundaries are a particular type of strike-slip fault. Strike-slip faults, particularly continental transforms, can produce major earthquakes up to about magnitude 8. Strike-slip faults tend to be oriented near vertically, resulting in an approximate width of 10 km (6.2 mi) within the brittle crust. Thus, earthquakes with magnitudes much larger than 8 are not possible.
B- Normal faults
Normal faults occur mainly in areas where the crust is being extended such as a divergent boundary. Earthquakes associated with normal faults are generally less than magnitude 7. Maximum magnitudes along many normal faults are even more limited because many of them are located along spreading centers, as in Iceland, where the thickness of the brittle layer is only about six kilometres (3.7 mi)
C- Reverse faults
Reverse faults occur in areas where the crust is being shortened such as at a convergent boundary. Reverse faults, particularly those along convergent plate boundaries, are associated with the most powerful earthquakes, megathrust earthquakes, including almost all of those of magnitude 8 or more. Megathrust earthquakes are responsible for about 90% of the total seismic moment released worldwide
What causes earthquakes and where do they happen?
The earth has four major layers: the inner core, outer core, mantle and crust. The crust and the top of the mantle make up a thin skin on the surface of our planet.
But this skin is not all in one piece ,t is made up of many pieces like a puzzle covering the surface of the earth. Not only that, but these puzzle pieces keep slowly moving around, sliding past one another and bumping into each other. We call these puzzle pieces tectonic plates, and the edges of the plates are called the plate boundaries. The plate boundaries are made up of many faults, and most of the earthquakes around the world occur on these faults. Since the edges of the plates are rough, they get stuck while the rest of the plate keeps moving. Finally, when the plate has moved far enough, the edges unstick on one of the faults and there is an earthquake.
Surface Waves (L-waves):
Body Waves – Travel through Earth’s interior.
Primary (P-waves): Push-pull (compress and expand) motion.
Travels through solids, liquids, and gases. 2)
Secondary (S-waves): “Shake” motion at right angles to their direction of travel (i.e. shearing).
Travels only through solids (This is how we know that the outer core is a liquid).
India’s seismic zones