News Snippet

News 1: Chandrayaan-2 gauges sodium content on Moon’s surface

News 2: UN peacekeepers

News 3: NCST expresses concern over continued distress in Odisha’s ‘village of widows’

News 4: EC freezes Sena election symbol

News 5: Indian Navy to join Malabar exercise

News 6: Regulating Online Games

News 7: Noble Prize for Economy

Other important news:
  1. Hydrazine hydrate imports to fall by 60%

News 1: Chandrayaan-2 gauges sodium content on Moon’s surface


Background

  • Scientists from Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) have mapped out the global distribution of sodium on the Moon’s surface. They used the CLASS instrument (Chandrayaan-2 large area soft X-ray spectrometer) carried by the second Indian Moon mission, Chandrayaan-2.
  • This is the first effort to provide a global-scale measurement of sodium on the lunar surface using X-ray fluorescent spectra. X-ray fluorescence is commonly used to study the composition of materials in a non-destructive manner. When the sun gives out solar flares, a large amount of X-ray radiation falls on the moon, triggering X-ray fluorescence.

Importance of sodium

When compared to Earth, the moon is significantly depleted of volatile elements such as sodium. “The amount of volatiles on the moon today can be used to test formation scenarios of the Earth-Moon system. Sodium can be used as a tracer of the volatile history of the moon,” 

New findings

  • Sodium is the only element apart from potassium that can be observed through telescopes in the lunar atmosphere (its exosphere). This new map of sodium would enable understanding of the surface-exosphere connection.
  • “As the solar cycle is in its ascending phase, we expect more solar flares that would ensure a larger coverage of all elements on the moon by CLASS at the highest spatial resolution ever,”.

Chandrayaan – 2 mission

  • Chandrayaan-2 is the second lunar exploration mission developed by the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO), after Chandrayaan-1. It consists of a lunar orbiter, and also included the Vikram lander, and the Pragyan lunar rover, all of which were developed in India.
  • The main scientific objective is to map and study the variations in lunar surface composition, as well as the location and abundance of lunar water.
  • Chandrayaan-2 is an Indian lunar mission to explore the unchartered south pole of the celestial body by landing a rover.  
  • India’s Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle, GSLV MkIII-M1 had successfully launched the 3,840-kg Chandrayaan-2 spacecraft into the earth’s orbit on July 22.
  • The 1,471-kg ‘Vikram’, named after Vikram Sarabhai, father of the Indian space programme, was designed to execute a soft landing on the lunar surface, and to function for one lunar day, which is equivalent to about 14 earth days.
  • 27-kg robotic vehicle ‘Pragyan‘, which translates to ‘wisdom’ in Sanskrit, can travel up to 500 metres from the landing spot on the moon and leverages solar energy for its functioning.


News 2: UN peacekeepers


Background

The number of fatalities among the United Nations Peacekeeping Forces (UNPKF) in direct attacks is growing, said UN Undersecretary General Jean-Pierre Lacroix.

UN Peace Keeping Force

  • India has been among the largest troop-contributing countries to the U.N. peacekeeping missions.
  • As of November 2021, India is the second-highest military (1,888) and fifth highest (139) police-contributing country to the United Nations Organization Stabilization Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (MONUSCO).
  • The U.N. Peacekeeping mission is a joint effort between the Department of Peace Operations and the Department of Operational Support and aims to assist host countries to transition from situations of conflict to peace.
  • The U.N. began its Peacekeeping efforts in 1948 when it deployed military observers to West Asia.
  • The Peacekeeping mission’s role was to monitor the Armistice Agreement between Israel and its Arab Neighbours.
  • U.N. Peacekeepers provide security as well as political and peacebuilding support to conflict-ridden countries.

The three basic principles that guide U.N.’s Peacekeeping missions are:

  • Consent of the parties
  • Impartiality
  • Non-use of force except in self-defense and defense of the mandate

News 3: NCST expresses concern over continued distress in Odisha’s ‘village of widows’


Background

The National Commission for Scheduled Tribes has expressed concern over the misery of and despair among the women whose husbands died after suffering from lung ailments following exposure to harmful particles in a pyrophyllite grinding unit at Madarangajodi village in Odisha’s Keonjhar district.

National Commission for Scheduled Tribes

Type: Constitutional body under Article 338A

The National Commission for Scheduled Tribes (NCST) was established by amending Article 338 and inserting a new Article 338A in the Constitution through the Constitution (89th Amendment) Act, 2003.

By this amendment, the erstwhile National Commission for Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes was replaced by two separate Commissions namely- (i) the National Commission for Scheduled Castes (NCSC), and (ii) the National Commission for Scheduled Tribes (NCST) w.e.f. 19 February 2004

Functions

  1. To inquire into specific complaints relating to Rights & Safeguards of STs.
  2. To participate and Advise in the Planning Process relating to Socio-economic development of STs, and to Evaluate the progress of their development under the Union and any State.
  3. To submit report to the President annually and at such other times as the Commission may deem fit, upon/ working of Safeguards, Measures required for effective implementation of Programmers/ Schemes relating to Welfare and Socio-economic development of STs.
  4. To discharge such other functions in relation to STs as the President may, subject to the provisions of any law made by Parliament, by rule specify.
  5. The Commission would also discharge the following other functions in relation to the protection, welfare and development & advancement of the Scheduled Tribes

News 4: EC freezes Sena election symbol


Background

  • The Election Commission issued an interim order freezing the ‘bow and arrow’ election symbol of the Shiv Sena, making it clear that the rival factions led by Uddhav Thackeray and Maharashtra Chief Minister Eknath Shinde, each claiming to be the “real Shiv Sena” after parting ways, cannot use the symbol for the high-stakes November 3 Andheri (East) Assembly bypoll.
  • The EC order came days after the Supreme Court rejected the Uddhav-led Sena’s prayer to stay proceedings pending before the poll panel over a request by Shinde for recognition of his faction as the “real Shiv Sena” and permission to use the party’s ‘bow and arrow’ election symbol.

How does the ECI decide who gets the symbol?

  • Para 15 of the Symbols Order, 1968 — which has been cited by the ECI in the case of the Shiv Sena — states: “When the Commission is satisfied… that there are rival sections or groups of a recognized political party each of whom claims to be that party the Commission may, after taking into account all the available facts and circumstances of the case and hearing (their) representatives… and other persons as desire to be heard decide that one such rival section or group or none of such rival sections or groups is that recognized political party and the decision of the Commission shall be binding on all such rival sections or groups.”

And what happens to the group that doesn’t get the parent party’s symbol?

  • In the case of the first Congress split, the EC recognized both the Congress (O) as well as the breakaway faction whose president was Jagjivan Ram. The Congress (O) had a substantial presence in some states and satisfied the criteria fixed for recognition of parties under Paras 6 and 7 of the Symbols Order.
  • This principle was followed up to 1997. However, things changed when the Commission dealt with the cases of splits in the Congress, Janata Dal, etc. — disputes which led to the creation of Sukh Ram and Anil Sharma’s Himachal Vikas Congress, Nipamacha Singh’s Manipur State Congress, Mamata Banerjee’s West Bengal Trinamool Congress, Lalu Prasad’s RJD, Naveen Patnaik’s Biju Janata Dal, etc.
  • The EC in 1997 did not recognize the new parties as either state or national parties. It felt that merely having MPs and MLAs is not enough, as the elected representatives had fought and won polls on tickets of their parent (undivided) parties.
  • The EC introduced a new rule under which the splinter group of the party — other than the group that got the party symbol — had to register itself as a separate party and could lay claim to national or state party status only on the basis of its performance in state or central elections after registration.

News 5: Indian Navy to join Malabar exercise


Background:

  • Japan will host the 2022 edition of the Malabar naval exercise consisting of India, Australia, Japan and the U.S. in the second week of November.
  • The Indian Navy will also participate in the International Fleet Review (IFR) being hosted in the first week of November to commemorate the 70th anniversary of the Japanese Maritime Self Defence Force (JMSDF).

Malabar exercise:

  • Malabar is a multilateral war-gaming naval exercise that was started in 1992.
  • It began as a bilateral exercise between the navies of India and the United States. Two more editions of the exercise were carried out in 1995 and 1996, after which there was a break until 2002 in the aftermath of India’s nuclear tests.
  • From 2002 onward, the exercise has been conducted every year. Japan and Australia first participated in 2007, and since 2014, India, the US and Japan have participated in the exercise every year.

News 6: Regulating Online Games


Background

A task force has been set up by the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY) to propose contours of a national-level legislation to regulate online gaming.

Why a Central Law?

  • Online gaming so far has been a state subject, but state governments have said they find it extremely difficult to enforce certain rules like geo-blocking certain apps or websites within the territory of their state
  • Also, there is a concern that rules passed in one state are not applicable in another, which has caused inconsistency in how the online gaming industry is regulated in the country.
  • State governments also do not have enough blocking powers like the Centre to issue blocking orders for offshore betting sites.

Why to regulate it?

  • There have been a number of reported incidents of people losing large sums of money on online games, leading to suicides in various parts of the country
  • No regulatory framework to govern various aspects of online gaming companies such as having a grievance redressal mechanism, implementing player protection measures, protection of data and intellectual property rights, and prohibiting misleading advertisements.

How big is the Online Gaming Market?

  • It is estimated to reach $5 billion in 2025
  • Number of paying gamers increased by 17% from 80 million in 2020 to 95 million in 2021.

What are the recommendations of the task force?

  • Creating a regulatory body for the online gaming industry, which will determine what qualifies as a game of skill or chance, and accordingly certify different gaming formats, seek compliance and enforcement.
  • A three-tier dispute resolution mechanism, similar to that prescribed under the Information Technology Rules, 2021 for online streaming services, consisting of a
    1. grievance redressal system at the gaming platform level
    2. self regulatory body of the industry
    3. oversight committee led by the government
  • Any online gaming platform – domestic or foreign– offering real money online games to Indian users will need to be a legal entity incorporated under Indian law
  • These platforms will also be treated as ‘reporting entities’ under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act, 2002, and will be required to report suspicious transactions to the Financial Intelligence Unit-India.

News 7: Noble Prize for Economy


Background

The 2022 Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences was divided equally between the American economists Ben S. Bernanke, Douglas W. Diamond, and Philip H. Dybvigfor research on banks and financial crises

 

Unlike the other Nobel prizes, the economics award wasn’t established in the will of Alfred Nobel but by the Swedish central bank in his memory in 1968, with the first winner selected a year later. It is the last prize announced each year.


Hydrazine hydrate imports to fall by 60%

India imports almost all of its annual requirement of 17,000 tonnes of hydrazine hydrate, which is mainly used as a starting product in agrochemical, pharmaceutical, automotive and leisure industries.


 

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