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The Hindu 25 August 2019

UPSC - Daily Current Affair

 

SL. NO.

TOPICS

THE HINDU

PAGE NO.

1

Will India change its 'No First Use' policy?

14

2

IIT-H develops waterproofing material using fly ash

15

3

UAE honours Modi with its highest civilian award 

PM, crown prince discuss trade 

Bahrain honour for Modi 

10

4

Understanding clouded leopards and their habitats

15

5

Surcharge may still apply to AIFs

13

 

Title

1. Will India change its 'No First Use' policy? (The Hindu, Page 14)

Syllabus 

Mains: G.S. III in Security

Theme

Indian Nuclear Doctrine

Highlights

Recent context:

  • Defence Minister Rajnath Singh had said that India’s ‘No First Use’ (NFU) policy on nuclear weapons depended upon changed circumstances in the future and had therefore raised apprehensions on the likely revision of India’s NFU policy and nuclear doctrine.

  • However it was later clarified that it was a personal statement rather than that of Government of India.

 

Main aspects of CMD:

  • The main purpose of CMD is to ensure a nuclear arsenal that can assure a second-strike capability. This implies that in the event of another nation carrying out a first nuclear strike of any magnitude against India, India’s nuclear forces shall be ready to ensure survivability of the attack and the capability to carry out a massive nuclear retaliation aimed at the enemy country.

  • CMD intends to convey a non-aggressive and defensive nuclear posture by projecting a nuclear arsenal that fulfils the bare needs of defence and security.

  • CMD does not imply indefinite expansion of the nuclear arsenal and also it is not an arbitrary control on number of nuclear weapons India  may possess. The number of nuclear weapons India may possess over time depends upon India's security situation. 

  • While India is committed to maintain the deployment of a deterrent which is both minimum and credible, it will not accept any restraints on building its nuclear R&D capability.

 

Title

2. IIT-H develops waterproofing material using fly ash (The Hindu, Page 15)

Syllabus 

Prelims: Science & Technology

Mains: G.S. III in Technology

Theme

Fly Ash & Stearic Acid

Highlights

In News – 

  • Researchers at the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Hyderabad have developed a cheap waterproofing material by coating fly ash, a waste by-product from coal-based thermal power plants, with stearic acid, which is a surfactant. 

  • Fly ash is extremely water-loving (hydrophilic) material, but it turns into a highly water-repelling surface once coated with stearic acid.   

 

FLY ASH

  • Fly ash is a byproduct from burning pulverized coal in electric power generating plants.

  • Pulverized Coal - powdered coal or coal dust.

  • During combustion, mineral impurities in the coal (clay, feldspar, quartz, and shale) fuse in suspension and float out of the combustion chamber with the exhaust gases. 

  • As the fused material rises, it cools and solidifies into spherical glassy particles called fly ash. 

  • Fly ash is collected from the exhaust gases by electrostatic precipitators or bag filters. 

  • Fly ash chemically reacts with the byproduct calcium hydroxide released by the chemical reaction between cement and water to form additional cementitious products that improve many desirable properties of concrete. 

  • Two types of fly ash are commonly used in concrete: Class C and Class F. 

  • Class C are often high-calcium fly ashes with carbon content less than 2% whereas, Class F are generally low-calcium fly ashes with carbon contents less than 5% but sometimes as high as 10%. 

  • Fly ash is most commonly used as a pozzolan in Portland Cement Concrete (PCC) applications. Pozzolans are siliceous or siliceous and aluminous materials, which in a finely divided form and in the presence of water, react with calcium hydroxide at ordinary temperatures to produce cementitious compounds.

  • Fly ash utilization, especially in concrete, has significant environmental benefits including: 

  1. increasing the life of concrete roads and structures by improving concrete durability

  2. net reduction in energy use and greenhouse gas and other adverse air emissions when fly ash is used to replace or displace manufactured cement

  3. reduction in amount of coal combustion products that must be disposed in landfills. 

 

STEARIC ACID

  • Stearic Acid is a saturated long-chain fatty acid with an 18-carbon backbone. Stearic acid is found in various animal and plant fats, and is a major component of cocoa butter and shea butter.

  • Octadecanoic acid is a C18 straight-chain saturated fatty acid component of many animal and vegetable lipids. As well as in the diet, it is used in hardening soaps, softening plastics and in making cosmetics, candles and plastics.

 

COATING FLY ASH with STEARIC ACID

  • The stearic acid has a hydrophilic part called the head and hydrophobic portion called the tail. While the head of stearic acid which is hydrophilic binds to fly ash particles, the water-repelling tail remains free. Numerous free hydrophobic tails of stearic acid makes the fly ash surface water repellent.   

  • The stearic acid-coated fly ash surface can be made to behave like one of the two naturally occurring water-repelling materials by the varying the surface roughness of fly ash. 

 

Title

3. UAE honours Modi with its highest civilian award (The Hindu, Page 10)

    PM, crown prince discuss trade (The Hindu, Page 10)

    Bahrain honour for Modi (The Hindu, Page 10)

Syllabus 

Prelims: Current Events of International Importance

Mains: G.S. II in International Relations

Theme

India’s relationship with UAE

Highlights

Order of Zayed

  • UAE has honoured PM Modi with its highest civilian award - ‘Order of Zayed’ in recognition of PM Modi’s pivotal role in building bilateral ties between India and UAE. 

  • The award was conferred on Indian Prime Minister by the Abu Dhabi Crown Prince, Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, in a ceremony held at the Presidential Palace in Abu Dhabi.

  • The ‘Order of Zayed’ award has earlier been bestowed upon several world leaders, including Russian President Vladimir Putin, Britain’s Queen Elizabeth II and Chinese President Xi Jinping.   

  • The award has been named after Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, the founding father of the UAE, “acquires special significance as it was awarded to Prime Minister in the year of the birth centenary of Sheikh Zayed”.   

 

The King Hamad Order of the Renaissance    

  • Prime Minister Modi has also been honoured with “The King Hamad Order of the Renaissance” by the Bahrain King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa on bilateral, regional issues.    

 

PM urges NRIs in UAE to invest in India

  • PM urged the NRIs of UAE to invest in India and said political stability and predictable policy framework” had made India an “attractive” investment destination. 

  • PM said that the government has framed all its policies to promote growth, generate employment avenues and boost “Make in India” prospects and also ensured that investors get good returns on their investment. 

Investment in Jammu & Kashmir

  • PM highlighted that Jammu & Kashmir has been neglected for years and urged NRIs to invest particularly in Jammu and Kashmir as Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh have a huge scope for development. 

  • PM gave special impetus on development initiatives in Jammu and Kashmir and said that investment by the NRI community will play a role in the growth engine of India and also create job opportunities for the youth.   

  • PM highlighted the tourism potential of the two newly created UTs. 

  • PM also urged the entrepreneurs to identify and market several herbal and organic products which are scattered across J&K and Ladakh as global marketing of such herbal products will also benefit the locals including farmers who will be motivated to grow such herbal plants. 

 

Trade discussion between PM & Crown Prince

  • Both India and UAE are working closely to implement the commitment of $75 billion investment by the UAE in India. 

  • To improve trade and cultural ties between India and the UAE. 

  • Ways to improve trade and people-to-people relations between India and UAE.

  • With the robust flow of bilateral investments and an annual bilateral trade of about $60 billion, the UAE is India’s third-largest trade partner.

  • UAE is also the fourth-largest exporter of crude oil to India.

  • Increasing interest in investments in India in sectors such as renewable energy, food, ports, airports and defence manufacturing. 

  • Investments in infrastructure and housing are being enhanced.     

 

Title

4. Understanding clouded leopards and their habitats (The Hindu, Page 15)

Syllabus 

Prelims: Geography & Environment

Mains: G.S. I in Geography & G.S. III in Environment

Theme

Clouded leopards

Highlights

In news- 

Recently a research paper published by over 20 researchers from across the globe has helped understand clouded leopard’s habitats, migration corridors and laid out the conservation strategies.

  • In India, the Dampa tiger reserve in Mizoram was chosen as the study site. 

  • According to the researchers Dampa had one of the highest population densities of clouded leopards, from the sites surveyed.

  • The study also noted that when the closed-canopy forest cover declined by just 35%, the clouded leopard detection dropped by 25%.

  • This shows that clouded leopard presence was positively associated with forest cover and rain, suggesting that deforestation and reduction in rainfall patterns as a result of climate change may negatively influence clouded leopard distributions.

 

About  Clouded Leopards

  • This are beautiful Asian cat, named for its spotted coat and is seldom seen in the wild.

  • The Clouded Leopard is found from the Himalayan foothills in Nepal through mainland Southeast Asia into China.

  • The specie is most strongly associated with primary tropical forest which is rapidly disappearing across its range

  • Categorised as -Vulnerable as per IUCN red list 

  • These medium-sized cats are typical rain-forest dwellers but can also be found in the drier forests of Southeast Asia.

  • In 2018, India added clouded leopards to its Recovery Programme for Critically Endangered Species to aid more research and strengthen conservation efforts.

 

Major threats-

    • Hunted for the illegal wildlife trade – large numbers of skins have been seen in market surveys.

    • Trade in bones for medicines, meat for exotic dishes and live animals for the pet trade.

    • The frequency of Clouded Leopard parts available at market indicates increased pressure from hunting.

    •  The other causes are attributed primarily to (1) direct exploitation, (2) range fragmentation, and (3) reduction in habitat quality.

  • Included on CITES Appendix I and protected by national legislation over most of its range.

  • Hunting is banned in Bangladesh, Cambodia, China, India, Malaysia, Myanmar, Nepal, Thailand, and Viet Nam.

 

About Dampa tiger reserve

  • It is a wildlife reserve set in the Lushai hill ranges of Mizoram, near the Bangladesh border.

  • Rainforests of Dampa harbour several species such as the swamp deer, tiger, leopard, elephant and hoolock gibbon.

  • Various species of birds are found in the reserve including three hornbill species, namely, the Great Hornbill, Wreathed Hornbill and the Oriental Pied Hornbill.

  • The giant flying squirrel and the Fellas squirrel are highlights of the Dampa Tiger Reserve.

  • It consists of tropical evergreen, semi-evergreen, tropical moist deciduous and sub-montane type of vegetation.

  • The Tropic of Cancer passes through the centre of the reserve.

 

 

Title

5. Surcharge may still apply to AIFs (The Hindu, Page 13)

Syllabus 

Prelims: Economy

Mains: G.S. III in Economy

Theme

Alternative Investment Fund 

Highlights

What is the news?

  • Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman sais that the surcharge that was announced in the Union Budget would not be applicable on foreign portfolio investors (FPIs) but made no mention of Alternative Investment Funds (AIFs), especially those falling under Category III segment. 

 

What are Alternative Investment Fund? 

  • Alternative Investment Fund” means any fund established or incorporated in India in  the form of a trust or a company or a limited liability partnership or a  body corporate which 

  • It is   a privately   pooled investment   vehicle which collects   funds from investors, whether  Indian or foreign, for investing it in accordance with a defined investment policy for the benefit of its investors

  • It is not covered under the  Securities and Exchange Board of  India (Mutual Funds) Regulations,   1996, Securities and Exchange Board   of India (Collective Investment Schemes)   Regulations, 1999 or any other regulations of the Board to regulate fund management activities

  • An AIF under the SEBI (Alternative Investment Funds) Regulations, 2012 can be established or incorporated in the form of a trust or a company or a limited liability partnership or a body corporate. Most of the AIFs registered with SEBI are in trust form.  

 

In what categories can an applicant seek registration as an AIF? 

  • Applicants can seek registration as an AIF in one of the following categories, and in sub-categories thereof, as may be applicable: 

  • Category I AIF:

    • Venture capital funds (Including Angel Funds) 

    • SME Funds o Social Venture Funds 

    • Infrastructure funds  

  • Category II AIF 

  • Category III AIF

 

What is Category I AIF?

  • AIFs which invest in start-up or early stage ventures or social ventures or SMEs or infrastructure or other sectors or areas which the government or regulators consider as socially or economically desirable and shall include venture capital funds, SME Funds, social venture funds, infrastructure funds and such other Alternative Investment Funds as may be specified. 

 

What is Category II AIF?

  • AIFs which do not fall in Category I and III and which do not undertake leverage or borrowing other than to meet day-to-day operational requirements and as permitted in the SEBI (Alternative Investment Funds) Regulations. Various types of funds such as real estate funds, private equity funds (PE funds), funds for distressed assets, etc. are registered as Category II AIFs.

 

What is Category III AIF?

  • AIFs which employ diverse or complex trading strategies and may employ leverage including through investment in listed or unlisted derivatives. Various types of funds such as hedge funds, PIPE Funds, etc. are registered as Category III AIFs.

 

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