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Rights of the Child

Paper: General Studies 2

Topic: Indian Constitution- historical underpinnings, evolution, features, amendments, significant provisions and basic structure.

Why in the news?

  • The Union Cabinet had on Wednesday approved the amendments to the POCSO Act. This is the first time child pornography has been defined in the Indian legal setup. 
  • According to the new definition, child pornography is “any visual depiction of sexually explicit conduct involving a child which includes photograph, video, digital or computer generated image indistinguishable from an actual child and an image created, adapted or modified but appear to depict a child”.
  • The initiative to define child pornography has been taken to convey the message that from now there will be zero tolerance for child pornography and for that reason definition of child pornography was essential
  • The ministry has also revised fines for possessing and distributing child pornography. Fine with the intent to transmit, possess porn in any form but fail to delete or destroy is at least Rs 5,000 for first offence and Rs 10,000 for repeated offenders. The upper limit of fine has not been set.
  • Fine for any person who transmits or distributes child porn except the ones producing it as evidence in court would face imprisonment of three years with fine. Earlier, the fine for possessing child pornography was between Rs 1000-3000.

 

Global Multidimensional Poverty Index Report, 2019

Paper: General Studies 2

Topic: Issues relating to poverty and hunger.

Why in the news?

  • According to the global MPI 2019 report released Thursday, between 2005-06 and 2015-16, India, lifted 271 million out of poverty, significantly reducing deprivations in many of the ten indicators, particularly in “assets, cooking fuel, sanitation and nutrition”.
  • It shows that, in the 101 countries studied – 31 low income, 68 middle income and 2 high income – 1.3 billion people are “multidimensionally poor”(which means that poverty is defined not simply by income, but by a number of indicators, including poor health, poor quality of work and the threat of violence).
  • India has registered the fastest absolute reduction in the Multidimensional Poverty Index (MPI) value among ten countries, spanning every developing region, whose combined population is two billion people. And Jharkhand is among the poorest regions in the world improving the fastest.
  • In this period, the report stated,  the incidence of multidimensional poverty in India has almost halved, to 27.9 per cent from 55.1 per cent

What is the Multidimensional Poverty Index?

The global Multidimensional Poverty Index (MPI) is an international measure of acute poverty covering over 100 developing countries. It is released by the UNDP. It complements traditional income-based poverty measures by capturing the severe deprivations that each person faces at the same time with respect to education, health and living standards.

  • The MPI assesses poverty at the individual level. If someone is deprived in a third or more of ten (weighted) indicators, the global index identifies them as ‘MPI poor’, and the extent – or intensity – of their poverty is measured by the number of deprivations they are experiencing.
  • The MPI can be used to create a comprehensive picture of people living in poverty, and permits comparisons both across countries, regions and the world and within countries by ethnic group, urban/rural location, as well as other key household and community characteristics.

 

Inland Waterways

Paper: General Studies 3

Topic: Infrastructure: Energy, Ports, Roads, Airports, Railways etc.

Why in the news?

  • An inland waterways vessel containing cargo from Bhutan to Bangladesh will be flagged off via River Brahmaputra ( NW 2) and the Indo Bangla Protocol Route on July 12. 
  • This is a first of its kind movement where an Indian inland waterways is being used for connecting two countries – landlocked Bhutan and Bangladesh.
  • Cargo transportation on waterways rose to 72.31 Million Tonnes in the year 2018-19, from 55.20 MT in 2016-17 and 55.03 MT in 2017-18.

Why is development of Inland waterways important?

  • The exports through Inland Waterways mode will serve as an alternate mode of transportation which is cheaper and more environment friendly. 
  • It also offers larger shipment size as compared to road, avoiding congestion on land routes. While this consignment is being transported in one single barge through Inland Waterways, by road it would have taken 50 trucks of 20 Metric Ton capacity to carry the same volume of cargo.
  • No need of huge investment for the infrastructure like other modes of transport and less annual cost for maintenance of river channels.

 

India-based Neutrino Observatory

Paper: General Studies 3

Topic: Achievements of Indians in science & technology; indigenization of technology and developing new technology.

About the India-based Neutrino Observatory

  • India-based Neutrino Observatory (INO) is a particle physics research project under construction to primarily study atmospheric neutrinos in a 1,300 meters (4,300 ft) deep cave under Ino Peak at Pottipuram Theni, Tamil Nadu, India. 
  • This project is anticipated to provide a precise measurement of neutrino mixing parameters. The project is a multi-institute collaboration and one of the biggest experimental particle physics projects undertaken in India.
  • The project aims to set up a 51000 ton Iron Calorimeter (ICAL) detector to observe naturally occurring atmospheric neutrinos in a cavern at the end of an approximately 2 km long tunnel in a mountain. This will help to reduce the noise from cosmic rays that is ever present over-ground and which would outnumber the rare neutrino interactions even in a detector as large as ICAL.

What is a neutrino?

  • Proton, neutron, and electrons are tiny particles that make up atoms. The neutrino is also a tiny elementary particle, but it is not part of the atom. Such particles are also found to exist in nature. Neutrino has a very tiny mass, no charge and spin half. It interacts very weakly with other matter particles. So weakly that every second, trillions of neutrinos fall on us and pass through our bodies unnoticed.
  • Neutrinos come from the sun (solar neutrinos) and other stars, cosmic rays that come from beyond the solar system, and from the Big Bang from which our Universe originated. They can also be produced in the lab.
  • Neutrinos come in three types or “flavours” – electron neutrino, tau neutrino and muon neutrino.
  • They can change from one flavor to another as they travel. This process is called neutrino oscillation and is an unusual quantum phenomenon.

How will the Iron Calorimeter detect the neutrino?

  • The ICAl consists of 150 layers of alternating iron slabs and glass detectors called Resistive plate chambers.
  • The muon neutrino interacts with the iron to produce a muon which is electrically charged. This charge is picked up by sensors in the glass RPCs which set off an electrical pulse, to be measured by the electronics. By piecing together the pulses set off in successive glass plates, the path followed by the muon is tracked. This is used to infer the properties of the neutrino which caused the pulses.

What are the results expected from this experiment?

  • Studying these neutrinos can help us understand what goes on in the interior of the sun.
  • If the properties of neutrinos are understood better, they can be used in astronomy to discover what the universe is made up of.
  • Neutrinos interact very little with the matter around them, so they travel long distances uninterrupted. Since they take time to cross these distances, they are in effect uninterrupted for very long times. The extragalactic neutrinos we observe may be coming from the distant past. These inviolate messengers can give us a clue about the origin of the universe and the early stages of the infant universe, soon after the Big Bang.
  • Apart from direct future uses of neutrinos, there are technological applications of the detectors that will be used to study them. For instance, X-ray machines, PET scans, MRI scans, etc., all came out of research into particle detectors. Hence the INO detectors may have applications in medical imaging.

 

Gaganyaan

Paper : General Studies 3

Topic: Achievements of Indians in science & technology; indigenization of technology and developing new technology.

Why in the news?

  • A Gaganyaan National Advisory Council has been created with members from different institutions and industries
  • The Gaganyaan Advisory Council comprises of Secretaries of Department of Space, Department of Science and Technology, Department of Defence Research and Development, Department of Scientific and Industrial Research, Principal Scientific Advisor to PM, Senior Officials from Armed Forces, Indian Coast Guard, Former Chairman of ISRO, Member of Space Commission, Former Director of Aeronautical Development Agency, Former Indian Astronaut, Directors of Premier Academic and Research Institutions and Heads of various Indian Industries.

What is Gaganyaan?

  • The Gaganyaan programme, an indigenous mission that would take Indian astronauts to space
  • Gaganyaan is an Indian crewed orbital spacecraft that is intended to send 3 astronauts to space for a minimum of seven days by 2022, as part of the Indian Human Spaceflight Programme.
  • The spacecraft, which is being developed by the Indian Space Research Organisation (Isro), consists of a service module and a crew module, collectively known as the Orbital Module.
  • It will be for the first time that India will launch its manned mission to space, making the country fourth in line to have sent a human to space.
  • Isro’s Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle GSLV Mk III, the three-stage heavy-lift launch vehicle, will be used to launch Gaganyaan as it has the necessary payload capability.
  • GSLV Mk III is designed to carry 4 ton class of satellites into Geosynchronous Transfer Orbit (GTO) or about 10 tons to Low Earth Orbit (LEO). The powerful cryogenic stage of GSLV Mk III enables it to place heavy payloads into LEO’s of 600 km altitude.

 

Prelims Specific

  • To curb the menace of unauthorized PDW (PACKAGED DRINKING WATER) in Railway premises, an all India drive named “Operation Thirst” was launched on 08th & 09th July 2019 by the Railway Protection Force.