Daily Prelims Newsletter for upsc 20 Dec 2021

Daily Prelims Newsletter For UPSC
| RaghukulCS

20 Dec 2021-Monday

Table Of Contents

Table of Contents

SBI’s Changed Lending Rates

The State Bank of India (SBI) has increased the benchmark lending rate or base rate by 10 basis points, to 7.55%. The SBI also revised the benchmark prime lending rate to 12.3%.

Benchmark Lending Rate

  • Benchmark Interest Rate means the rate that is used as a standard or base to pay the interest rate for deposits and loans.
  • it is the base rate or minimum interest rate of a bank, below which it cannot lend, except for DRI allowances, loans to bank’s own employees, and to bank’s depositors against their own deposits.
  • The base rate system has replaced the Benchmark Prime Lending Rate (BPLR) from July 1, 2010.
  • In the Indian Interbank market, Mumbai Interbank Offer Rate (MIBOR)–the Indian equivalent of LIBOR – and Mumbai Interbank Bid Rate (MIBID) are the interest rate benchmarks.
  • The function of both MIBOR and MIBID is to act as financial benchmarks.
  • MIBID/MIBOR rate is used as a benchmark rate for the majority of deals struck in the derivative market.

Immune Amnesia

As the global vaccination rate of the measles vaccine fell from 86% (2019) to 84% (2020), this has mounted a concern over the immune amnesia caused by measles.

  • Immune amnesia means the contagious infection can wipe out the immune system’s memory of other illnesses.
  • The children who recover from measles may become susceptible to other pathogens they may have had protection from before they had the measles virus.
  • It was found, in 2012, that measles infects and destroys memory and memory-like cells which is near-total and permanent.
  • Once the measles infection is over, the body has to relearn everything almost from scratch. Oddly, the only virus we’ll definitely be able to recognise after falling sick with measles is measles itself.

Overdraft Facility

Ministry of Rural Development will launch the Overdraft facility of Rs. 5,000 to verified women SHG members under Deendayal Antyodaya YojanaNational Rural Livelihoods Mission (DAY-NRLM).

DAY-NRLM is a flagship program of the Ministry of Rural Development launched in 2011.
It aims to eliminate rural poverty through mobilizing poor women into community institutions like SHGs and strengthening their livelihood base by accessing necessary credit from banks.
  • For Individuals – Overdraft occurs when there isn’t enough money in an account to cover a transaction or withdrawal, but the bank allows the transaction anyway.
  • An overdraft is like any other loan: The account holder pays interest on it and will typically be charged a one-time insufficient funds fee.
  • For Government – If the Ways and Means Advances (WMA) exceeds 90 days, it would be treated as an overdraft.
  • The interest rate on overdrafts is 2 percentage points more than the repo rate.

Ways and Means Advances

  • The RBI gives temporary (short-term) loan facilities to the central and state governments, it is called Ways and Means Advances (WMA) and it was introduced in 1997, to meet mismatches in the receipts and payments of the government.
  • These are given at the repo rate, which is 4.40 percent.
  • The government can avail of immediate cash from the RBI, if required, But it has to return the amount within 90 days.

Map of Underground Fungal Networks

Scientists have unveiled plans to map the world’s huge underground webs of fungi for the first time.

  • Underground fungal networks underpin the health of plants, trees, and broader ecosystems by creating thread-like webs in soil.
  • They suck in CO2 and transport nutrients like phosphorus to plants.
  • Fungal networks are under threat from the use of fertilizer in agriculture, urbanization, and climate change.
  • Significance of the map – The world-first map will help identify the most biodiverse hotspots that could better protect natural ecosystems and store carbon dioxide to help tackle climate change.
  • The map will be used to identify sites with the potential to store more CO2.
  • It would also identify at-risk areas and work to improve the conservation of below-ground biodiversity hotspots.

Chalcolithic Culture in Central India

Why in News

Recently, the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) carried out excavations at two prominent sites of Chalcolithic affiliations in Central India (Eran, district Sagar and at Tewar, district Jabalpur) in the state of Madhya Pradesh.

Key Points

Chalcolithic Culture:

  • The end of the Neolithic period saw the use of metals. Several cultures were based on the use of copper and stone implements.
    • Such a culture is called the Chalcolithic (Chalco = Copper and Lithic = Stone)
    • The Chalcolithic cultures followed the Bronze Age Harappa culture.
    • It spanned around2500 BC to 700 BC.
  • Salient Features: The Chalcolithic culture of a region was defined according to certain salient features like copper artifacts, beads of semi-precious stones, stone tools, and terracotta figurines.
  • Characteristics:
    • Rural Settlements: The people were mostly rural and lived near hills and rivers and they survive hunting, fishing, and farming.

First Metal Age of India: Since this was the first metal age, copper and its alloy bronze which melted at low temperature were used for the manufacture of various objects during this period.

Art and Craft: The specialty of the Chalcolithic culture was wheel-made pottery mostly of red and orange color.

  • Different types of pottery were used but Black-and-Red pottery among them was quite common.
  • The Ochre-Coloured Pottery (OCP)was also in use.

Program for the Development of Semiconductors

Why in News?

Recently, the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY) has approved a comprehensive Program for the Development of Semiconductors and Display Manufacturing Ecosystems in the country.
  • The government proposes to provide incentives worth Rs 76,000 crore for the development of semiconductors and display manufacturing ecosystems over the next six years.

Semiconductors

  • Any of a class of crystalline solids intermediate in electrical conductivity between a conductor and an insulator.
  • Semiconductors are employed in the manufacture of various kinds of electronic devices, including diodes, transistors, and integrated circuits. Such devices have found wide application because of their compactness, reliability, power efficiency, and low cost.

Incentives Under the Programme

  • Semiconductor Fabs and Display Fabs:
    • Fiscal support of up to 50% of the project cost for setting up semiconductor and display fabrication units.
    • Set up high-tech clusters with the required
  • Semiconductor Laboratory (SCL):
    • MeitY will take the requisite steps for the modernization and commercialization of the Semi-conductor Laboratory (SCL).
    • MeitY will explore the possibility for the Joint Venture of SCL with a commercial fab partner to modernize the brownfield fab facility.
  • Compound Semiconductors:
    • support of 30% of capital expenditure to approved units.
    • At Least 15 such units are expected to be established under this scheme.
  • India Semiconductor Mission:
    • In order to drive the long-term strategies for developing a sustainable semiconductor and display ecosystem, a specialized and independent India Semiconductor Mission (ISM) will be set up.
    • ISM will be led by global experts in the semiconductor and display industry.

Significance:

  • Strategic Importance: In the current geopolitical scenario, trusted sources of semiconductors and displays hold strategic
  • Employment: It will create highly skilled employment
  • Multiplier Effect: Development of the semiconductor and display ecosystem will have a multiplier effect across different sectors.
  • Boost to Electronic Sector: The program will us her in a new era in electronics manufacturing by providing a globally competitive incentive package to companies in semiconductors and display manufacturing as well as design.
  • Self-Reliance: This shall pave the way for India’s technological leadership in these areas.

Wildlife Protection (Amendment) Bill,2021

What is the News?

  • The Government of India has introduced in Lok Sabha the Wildlife Protection (Amendment) Bill,2021.

What is the purpose of the Wildlife Protection (Amendment) Bill,2021?

  • The Bill seeks to amend the Wildlife Protection Act,1972.
  • It seeks to ensure that the WPA,1972 complies with the requirements of the CITES.

What are the key provisions of the Wildlife Protection (Amendment) Bill,2021?

  • Standing Committees of State Boards of Wildlife:
  • The Bill proposes the setting up of Standing Committees of State Boards of Wildlife.
  • These committees will function like the National Board for Wildlife (NBWL).
  • It will be able to make decisions on wildlife management and permissions granted for projects without having to refer most projects to the NBWL.

Rationalization of Schedules for Wildlife: 

  • The bill rationalizes Schedules for Wildlife under the Act by bringing it down from 6 to 4 major schedules.
  • A schedule is a categorization of wildlife depending on how critically endangered they are, for example, A schedule I category of wildlife (such as Tigers) is the highest protected under the Act.

 Wildlife Management Plans: 

  • The Bill mandates that Wildlife Management Plans which are prepared for sanctuaries and national parks across the country will now become a part of the Wildlife Act.
  • Further, these will have to be approved by the Chief Wildlife Warden of the state.
  • This will ensure far stricter protection to these protected areas.
  • Earlier, the plans were approved through executive orders.

LogiXtics – Unified Logistics Interface Platform’s (ULIP) Hackathon

What is the News?

The Department for Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade(DPIIT) has launched the Unified Logistics Interface Platform’s (ULIP) Hackathon named ‘LogiXtics’.

What is ULIP Hackathon – LogiXtics?

  • LogiXtics is a hackathon organized under the ULIP.
  • The hackathon will be a competitive event where everyone is invited to showcase their strategic, coding, and domain skills on a national-level platform to solve the existing logistics industry issues. 

Who is organizing this Hackathon? 

  • NITI Aayog and Atal Innovation Mission and supported by National Industrial Corridor Development Corporation(NICDC) and NICDC Logistics Data Bank Services Limited(NLDSL).

Why is this hackathon launched? 

  • India incurs one of the highest logistics costs as a percentage (14%) of GDP in comparison to developed countries like the U.S. and Germany – where it is only 8% to 9%.
  • Reduction of logistics cost to 9% can save up to 50 billion USD.

What is Unified Logistics Interface Platform(ULIP)?

  • ULIP is being developed as a technology platform in the logistics sector.
  • It aims to enhance efficiency and reduce logistics costs in India by creating a transparent platform that can provide real-time information to all stakeholders and remove all asymmetry of information.
  • The platform will also converge the visibility of multi-modal transport across the existing systems of various Ministries/Departments working in silos.

Algo Trading

What is the News?

Securities and Exchange Board of India(SEBI) has proposed that all orders emanating from the Application Programming Interface(API) of stockbrokers should be treated as algorithmic trading.

Key Features of Algo Trading 

  • First, the algo runs on the broker’s systems and not on the investor’s system. 
  • Secondly, algo trading requires no human involvement from either the broker or the investor. 
  • Thirdly, the algo trading system automatically monitors the livestock prices and initiates an order when the given criteria are met.

What is API?

  • API stands for Application Programming Interface.
  • It is a program that establishes an online connection between a data provider and an end-user.

What role does API play in trading?

  • APIs have become increasingly popular with the rise of automated trading systems.
  • In the past, retail traders were forced to screen for opportunities in one application and separately place trades with their broker. 
  • Many retail brokers now provide APIs that enable traders to directly connect their screening software with the brokerage account to share real-time prices and place orders.

What are SEBI’s proposals on Algo Trading?

  • There is a need to create a regulatory framework for algo trading.
  • For this, all orders emanating from APIs should be treated as an algo order and be subject to control by the stockbroker.
  • APIs carrying out algo trading should be tagged with the unique algo ID provided by the stock exchange.
  • All Algo developed by any entity has to run on the servers of brokers, wherein the broker has control of client orders, order confirmations, and margin information.
  • The stockbroker is responsible for all algos emanating from its APIs and redressal of any investor disputes.

What are market concerns against these proposals?

  • Securing exchange approvals for any algo is already an extremely tedious and complex process.
  • If these proposals are implemented, brokers will have to stop offering APIs and might shift to some other system.

James Webb Telescope

What is the News?

NASA is set to launch the James Webb Telescope on 24th December 2021.

What is the James Webb Telescope?

  • James Webb Telescope is an international collaboration between NASA, European Space Agency(ESA), and the Canadian Space Agency and is considered the successor of the Hubble Space Telescope.
  • The telescope will be launched on an Ariane 5 ECA rocket.
  • Once in space, the telescope will be situated near the second Lagrange point of the Earth-Sun system, which is around 1,500,000 km from Earth and directly opposite the Sun.

What is the purpose of the James Webb Telescope? 

  • The telescope will be able to look back over 13.5 billion years to see the first stars and galaxies of our early universe.
  • The telescope will allow us to
  1. look deeper into our solar system than ever before,
  2. give us a clearer view of exoplanets in the solar system,
  3. help us understand how the universe itself was formed and
  4. help to get a detailed atmospheric characterization of potentially habitable exoplanets.

How will the telescope work in the sky?

  • The telescope works in the infrared spectrum, collecting infrared light from the object it is focused on.
  • Infrared light is electromagnetic radiation with longer wavelengths than visible light.
  • This particular trait of the telescope would help it look farther back in time more effectively than other telescopes.
  • It will also help scientists look into the atmosphere of stars, which is usually shrouded with dust and gas during formation. 
  • Note: Infrared light can easily penetrate through such cosmic dust and gas.

What are the challenges with the James Webb Telescope?

  • One of the biggest challenges is that once the telescope is deployed, it will be almost impossible to make any physical repairs on it.
  • In contrast, the Hubble Space Telescope could be repaired as it orbits Earth at an altitude of 570 km above it. On the other hand, the Webb will be roughly 1.5 million kilometers away.

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