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Thursday, August 04, 2022



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Wednesday, August 03, 2022

Vision IAS International Relations Mains 365 English 2022 PDF


Vision IAS International Relations Mains 365 English 2022 PDF

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Daily Current Affairs, 03rd August 2022



1)  Tiranga bike rally organised by Union Culture Minister G Kishan Reddy

•A Har Ghar Tiranga Bike Rally by Members of Parliament was launched in Delhi from the famed Red Fort by Vice President M. Venkaiah Naidu. The Tiranga Bike rally is organised by Union Culture Minister G Kishan Reddy. In honour of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Har Ghar Tiranga campaign, a bike rally was held from Red Fort to Vijay Chowk. Additionally present were Union Ministers Pralhad Joshi and Piyush Goyal.

2)  India Navy and France Navy conducted exercise in the Atlantic Ocean

•The Indian Navy guided-missile frigate INS Tarkash, while on her long-range overseas deployment, conducted a Maritime Partnership Exercise (MPX) with French naval ships in the North Atlantic Ocean on July 29 and 30. INS Tarkash and French Fleet Tanker FNS Somme carried out a replenishment at sea, followed by cooperative air operations with the maritime surveillance aircraft Falcon 50, taking part in several mock missile engagements and air defence drills.

•The successful conduct of these surface and aerial exercises symbolise the high degree of professionalism and interoperability that exists between the two navies. India and France are maritime nations with dynamic maritime economy sectors like marine technology and scientific research, fisheries, port and shipping, to name a few. Possessing vast exclusive economic zones, their fate is closely linked to the sea and the ocean.

3)  GoI released commemorative postage stamp to honour Tricolour designer P Venkayya

•The government of India released a special commemorative postage stamp to mark the 146th birth anniversary of Pingali Venkayya, the designer of India’s national flag. The stamp was released by Prime Minister Narendra Modi during an event “Tiranga Utsav” organised by the Ministry of Culture at Indira Gandhi Stadium, in New Delhi.

•The event will also display the original design of the national flag made by Pingali Venkayya. The current flag is the modified version of the first design of the flag. The Tiranga Utsav will also witness the grand launch of the “Har Ghar Tiranga” anthem and video. Venkayya, born on August 02, 1876, near Machilipatnam town in Andhra Pradesh, was a freedom fighter and a follower of Gandhian principles.

4)  India to participate combat exercise drill “Pitch Black 2022” in Australia

•India will be part of the mega air combat exercise “Pitch Black 2022” among 17 nations, to be held in the Northern Territory of Australia. India’s participation in the exercise, “Pitch Black”, has been confirmed by the Australian government. Over 100 aircraft and 2,500 military personnel from 17 nations will be part of the drill. The exercise is scheduled to take place from August 19 to September 6.

•This year’s participants include Australia, Canada, India, France, Germany, Indonesia, Japan, Malaysia, the Netherlands, New Zealand, the Philippines, the Republic of Korea, Singapore, Thailand, the UAE, the UK and the US.

5)  Sujoy Lal Thaosen gets the additional charge of DG of ITBP

•Sashastra Seema Bal’s director general in New Delhi, Dr. Sujoy Lal Thaosen assumed the additional responsibility of Director General of the Indo-Tibetan Border Police. Dr. Thaosen is a Madhya Pradesh Cadre IPS Officer from the 1988 batch. Dr. Thaosen received the charge and traditional baton from IPS Sanjay Arora. The ITBP, established in 1962, patrols the Indo-Chinese border. Additionally, it is used for a number of internal security tasks, such as anti-Naxal operations in Chhattisgarh.

6)  Jio getting ready to launch World’s Most Advanced 5G Network across India

•Reliance Jio, owned by billionaire Mukesh Ambani, became the highest bidder for 5G spectrum, paying Rs 88,078 crore to buy over half of the airwaves offered in the most recent auction. The Adani group paid Rs 212 crore for 400 MHz, or less than 1% of all spectrum sold, according to Telecom Minister Ashwini Vaishnaw. Jio has also acquired the 700 MHz band.

7)  Indian Air Force will retire all squadrons of MiG-21 by 2025

•The Indian Air Force will retire one of its four remaining squadrons, MiG-21 (Russian combat aircraft) fighter jets by 2022 September and the other three are scheduled to be phased out by 2025. The old MiG-21s will be replaced with newer fighter jets. Six MiG-21s have been lost in crashes in the last 20 months, killing five pilots. The IAF also plans to start the phasing out of the three squadrons of MiG-29 fighter jets in the next five years.

8)  GST collection for July 2022 second highest ever at Rs 1.49 lakh crore

•Goods Services Tax collection has risen 28 per cent to touch the second-highest level of Rs 1.49 lakh crore in July on the back of economic recovery and steps taken to curb tax evasion. Goods and Services Tax (GST) collection stood at Rs 1,16,393 crore in the same month a year ago. GST, introduced in July 2017, touched a record high of Rs 1.68 lakh crore in April 2022.

9)  RBI’s Financial Inclusion Index(FI-Index) Inches Up

•The Reserve Bank of India’s composite financial inclusion index (FI-Index) capturing the extent of financial inclusion across the country rose to 56.4 in March 2022, showing growth across parameters. RBI now publishes the index annually in July every year.

•The index stood at 53.9 in March last year. It was at 43.4 for the period ending March 2017, showing rapid improvement in reach of financial services over the past five years.

10)  A book titled “Dangerous Earth” by Marine biologist Ellen Prager

•Marine biologist Ellen Prager has come up with a book titled “Dangerous Earth: What we wish we knew about volcanoes, hurricanes, climate change, earthquakes and more”. In the book, the author seeks to respond to the most compelling question: Why can’t we better predict natural disasters?

11)  A book titled “Lion Of The Skies: Hardit Singh Malik” by Stephen Barker

•A book titled “Lion of the Skies: Hardit Singh Malik, the Royal Air Force and the First World War” is all about an “India’s first fighter pilot” who participated in the World War, long before the Indian Air Force was born. The book has been written by author Stephen Barker, who describes in great detail, how challenging it was for an Indian to serve in the British armed forces, fighting racial discrimination – both institutional and interpersonal.

•During the First World War, Hardit Singh Malik served as a fighter pilot for both Royal Flying Corps (RFC) and the Royal Air Force (RAF) for fighting the Germans. He is also the first Indian Ambassador to France.

12)  4th ONGC Para Games 2022 inaugurated by Shri Hardeep Singh Puri

•The fourth edition of the ONGC Para Games was officially launched in New Delhi’s Thyagaraj Sports Complex by Union Minister of Petroleum, Natural Gas, Housing, and Urban Affairs Shri Hardeep Singh Puri. The 4th ONGC Para Games are being held by Oil and Natural Gas Corporation Limited (ONGC) from August 2-4, 2022, and feature 275 Persons with Disabilities (PwD) who work for eight central oil and gas public organisations.

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The HINDU Notes – 03rd August 2022



๐Ÿ“ฐ A turning point in crypto regulation, led by Europe

If GDPR marked a decisive moment in consumer data protection, MiCA could point to responsible crypto management

•There has been a lot of noise over Finance Minister Nirmala Sitaraman’s answer to a question recently in Parliament about the Indian government’s stance on cryptocurrencies. Some headlines even went as far as to suggest that there was a fresh plan to ban crypto in India.

•As per my reading, the only thing the Finance Minister’s answer reveals is that while India’s central bank wants a ban on cryptocurrencies, any legislation for the “regulation or for banning crypto” can be effective only after significant international collaboration.

A seamless asset

•This is true. Crypto is an Internet-native asset not limited by geographical boundaries. To transfer crypto, one does not need a pipeline or shipping container. A steady Internet connection and some elemental knowledge of crypto services are what are needed that will allow anyone in the world to transfer crypto assets.

•Further, crypto assets are not issued or controlled by any enterprise. There are a little over 19 million bitcoins in circulation at present, out of the total capped supply (hence, the scarcity) of 21 million bitcoins. Any of the estimated 75 million crypto wallet holders could be owning these bitcoins, or their fractions (called satoshis or sats).

•How then can such a seamless financial asset be regulated? How can regulators monitor the flow of capital in and out of their jurisdiction? Answers to these questions will lead us to a framework to regulate the crypto industry. Fortunately, global consensus is emerging on this aspect.

•This June, amid all the attention over inflation and the related capital market turmoil, the European Parliament and Council, the legislative arms of the European Union, came to a provisional agreement on long-awaited regulations on crypto, namely, the Regulation of Markets in Crypto-Assets, or MiCA.

•It took two years of brainstorming and negotiations for Europe to get here. But before we parse through MiCA, it is important to understand why European regulations are noteworthy.

•The European market is second to the United States economically and behind Asia in terms of the number of Internet users. Yet, Europe is the global yardstick on technology regulations. The General Data Protection Regulation, or GDPR, first published in 2016 and implemented in 2018, marked a turning point on consumer data protection and privacy not just in Europe but the world over.

•The GDPR introduced a framework for seeking user consent and introduced several progressive rules such as the right to forget. The Supreme Court of India has also held that the right to privacy is a fundamental right and an integral part of the right to life and liberty.

Setting standards

•Now, Europe is showing us the path to regulate crypto assets. So, how does MiCA intend to regulate an asset not limited by geography? It proposes to regulate crypto asset services and crypto asset issuers. By regulating these entities, Europe intends to provide consumer protection, transparency, and governance standards, regardless of the decentralised nature of the technology.

•For instance, under MiCA, crypto asset service providers will be liable in case they lose investors’ assets, and will be subject to European market-abuse regulations, including those on market manipulation and insider trading.

•Then, MiCA goes further to put forth specific regulations for stablecoins, rightly demarcating them from other crypto assets. Under the proposed rules, issuers of stablecoins — asset-referenced tokens is the term it uses — are subject to a greater degree of compliance and declaration. Under MiCA, stablecoin issuers must maintain reserves to cover all claims of the coins, and should implement a process for immediate redemption if and when holders seek one.

The TerraUSD example

•This is significant. The recent collapse of TerraUSD, an algorithmic stablecoin that had no adequate reserve and relied mainly on the demand-and-supply balance with its sister coin, Luna, had caused significant losses to retail and institutional investors. If the laws Europe proposes were in effect, TerraUSD issuers would have had to maintain 1:1 reserve, which would have prevented the bank run that roiled the crypto market.

•To be clear, Europe still has some distance to cover to implement these proposed rules. But like the GDPR did for data protection, Europe has shown the way forward to regulate crypto in a manner that enables responsible businesses and protects users. It would not be too long for other nations to follow suit.

๐Ÿ“ฐ Making sense of the ‘freebies’ issue

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Tuesday, August 02, 2022

IAS Parliament Mainstorming 2022 Science & Technology PDF


IAS Parliament Mainstorming 2022 Science & Technology PDF

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Daily Current Affairs, 02nd August 2022



1)  Muslim Women’s Rights Day 2022 observed on 01st August

•Muslim Women’s Rights Day is observed every year on the 01st of August to celebrate the enforcement of the law against the ‘Triple Talaq’ rule among Muslims. According to the Shariat or Muslim Personal Law, Muslim men were given the privilege to end their marriage anytime by uttering the word Talaq three times in a row. But the law was repealed by the Indian Government in 2019.

2)  World Lung Cancer Day observed globally on 01st August

•Every year, World Lung Cancer Day is observed on 01st August to raise awareness about the causes and treatment of lung cancer and highlight the issues of lack of sufficient research funding for the ailment. Lung cancer is one of the leading causes of cancer deaths among men and women.

3)  WB to form 7 new districts, making a total of 30 districts

•The Mamata Banerjee-led West Bengal government has chosen to create seven new districts in the state in an effort to streamline administrative procedures. With this, there are currently 30 districts in West Bengal as a whole. There used to be 23 districts in Bengal, but the number will become 30. Sunderban, Ichhemati, Ranaghat, Bishnupur, Jangipur, Behrampur, and one more district would be named in Basirhat are among the seven new districts, according to West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee.

4)  Japan, US, and South Korea participate in missile defence drill

•A joint ballistic missile defence exercise between South Korea, the US, and Japan will begin this week in the waters off Hawaii as part of increased security cooperation against North Korea‘s growing military threats, a media outlet claimed. According to the sources, the biannual Pacific Dragon drill will take place. Australia and Canada will also take part in the exercise in the edition of 2022, in addition to the three other nations.

5)  Monkeypox virus: Centre creates special task force under VK Paul

•The Centre announced that it will set up a task force to keep track of monkeypox cases in India. Dr. VK Paul, Member (Health), Niti Aayog, will serve as the team’s leader, and members will include the Secretaries of the Union Health Ministry, Pharma, and Biotech. Dr. Paul countered that there was no need for excessive alarm but that society and the nation should remain on guard.

6)  Aurangabad: First smart city in India to receive data from Google’s EIE

•The Environmental Insights Explorer (EIE) data from Google was officially released in Aurangabad on Wednesday, according to the Aurangabad Smart City Development Corporation Limited (ASCDCL). This makes Aurangabad the first city in the nation to experience this. The data would aid research groups in formulating sustainable solutions for the city, according to ASCDCL authorities, who noted that the EIE dashboard for Aurangabad was introduced by Google during an event in New Delhi.

7)  Satyendra Prakash assume charges as new Principal DG, Press Information Bureau

•Senior Indian Information Service officer, Satyendra Prakash has been appointed as the Principal Director General of the Press Information Bureau (PIB). A 1988 batch Indian Information Service (IIS) officer, Prakash, the Principal Director General of the Central Bureau of Communication, will succeed Jaideep Bhatnagar, who superannuated.

•In a career spanning over three decades, Prakash has served in various capacities in the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting, including as Additional Director General, News & Current Affairs in Doordarshan, and Director (Media), Ministry of Communications & IT and Ministry of Civil Aviation in the Press Information Bureau.

8)  Nilekani Center established by IIT-M to promote Indian language technology

•The Nilekani Centre at AI4Bharat was established by the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Madras to advance the state of Indian language technology and make a positive social impact. Rohini and Nandan Nilekani have donated Rs 36 crore through Nilekani Philanthropies to fund this Center, which was opened by Nandan Nilekani. IIT Madras launched the AI4Bharat programme to create open-source language AI for Indian languages.

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The HINDU Notes – 02nd August 2022



๐Ÿ“ฐ AlphaFold: A tour de force in science

How have our methods of predicting protein structures changed with AI-based tools? What does this development signify for structural biology?

•DeepMind, a company owned by Google, announced this week that it had predicted the three-dimensional structures of more than 200 million proteins using AlphaFold.

•AlphaFold is an AI-based protein structure prediction tool. It used processes based on “training, learning, retraining and relearning” to predict the structures of the entire 214 million unique protein sequences deposited in the Universal Protein Resource (UniProt) database.

•The Indian community of structural biology needs to take advantage of the AlphaFold database and learn how to use the structures to design better vaccines and drugs. 

•The story so far: DeepMind, a company based in London and owned by Google, announced this week that it had predicted the three-dimensional structures of more than 200 million proteins using AlphaFold. This is the entire protein universe known to scientists today.

What is AlphaFold?

•AlphaFold is an AI-based protein structure prediction tool. It is based on a computer system called deep neural network. Inspired by the human brain, neural networks use a large amount of input data and provides the desired output exactly like how a human brain would. The real work is done by the black box between the input and the output layers, called the hidden networks. AlphaFold is fed with protein sequences as input. When protein sequences enter through one end, the predicted three-dimensional structures come out through the other. It is like a magician pulling a rabbit out of a hat.

How does AlphaFold work?

•It uses processes based on “training, learning, retraining and relearning.” The first step uses the available structures of 1,70,000 proteins in the Protein Data Bank (PDB) to train the computer model. Then, it uses the results of that training to learn the structural predictions of proteins not in the PDB. Once that is done, it uses the high-accuracy predictions from the first step to retrain and relearn to gain higher accuracy of the earlier predictions. By using this method, AlphaFold has now predicted the structures of the entire 214 million unique protein sequences deposited in the Universal Protein Resource (UniProt) database.

What are the implications of this development?

•Proteins are the business ends of biology, meaning proteins carry out all the functions inside a living cell. Therefore, knowing protein structure and function is essential to understanding human diseases. Scientists predict protein structures using x-ray crystallography, nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy, or cryogenic electron microscopy. These techniques are not just time-consuming, they often take years and are based mainly on trial-and-error methods. The development of AlphaFold changes all of that. It is a watershed movement in science and structural biology in particular.

•AlphaFold has already helped hundreds of scientists accelerate their discoveries in vaccine and drug development since the first public release of the database nearly a year back.

What does this development mean for India?

•From the seminal contribution of G. N. Ramachandran in understanding protein structures to the present day, India is no stranger to the field and has produced some fine structural biologists. The Indian community of structural biology is strong and skilled. It needs to quickly take advantage of the AlphaFold database and learn how to use the structures to design better vaccines and drugs. This is especially important in the present context. Understanding the accurate structures of COVID-19 virus proteins in days rather than years will accelerate vaccine and drug development against the virus.

•India will also need to speed up its implementation of public-private partnerships in the sciences.

•The public-private partnership between the European Molecular Biology Laboratory’s European Bioinformatics Institute and DeepMind made the 25-terabyte AlphaFold dataset accessible to everyone in the scientific community at no cost.

•Learning from this, India could facilitate joint collaborations with the prevalent hardware muscle and data science talent in the private sector and specialists in academic institutions to pave the way for data science innovations.

Is AlphaFold one-of-a-kind tool in predicting protein structures?

•Although a tour-de-force in structural biology, like any other method, AlphaFold is neither flawless nor the only AI-based protein structure prediction tool. RoseTTaFold, developed by David Baker at the University of Washington in Seattle, U.S., is another tool. Although less accurate than AlphaFold, it can predict the structure of protein complexes.

•The development of AlphaFold is sure to make many scientists feel vulnerable, especially when they compare their efforts from years of hard work in the lab to that of a computer system. However, this is the time to adjust and take advantage of the new reality.

๐Ÿ“ฐ Working towards animal health

A collaboration is needed between veterinary science and human health experts to forge effective tools

•The developments unleashed by COVID-19 have once again put the spotlight on the pressing need to create greater collaborations and synergies between research on human health and animal health. India has a livestock population of 1.6 billion, that in turn translates into a scenario where approximately 280 million farmers rely on the livestock and related industries for livelihood.

•From the perspective of trade, the dairy industry in the country is valued at $160 billion, while the meat industry is valued at $50 billion. In addition, livestock and related activities have significant overlap with wildlife and humans. In the current atmosphere of climate change and unpredictable weather, animal husbandry assumes significance as a source of reliable income to farmers.

Increase in zoonotic diseases

•Statistics indicate that globally, we have witnessed around 9,580 instances of disease outbreaks from 2000 to 2010, of which 60% diseases were zoonotic in nature. Likewise, the incidences of disease outbreaks across the globe have been increasing at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 6%. In India, we see that annual outbreak of zoonotic diseases translates into an estimated annual loss of $12 billion to the economy.

•Thus, even though these diseases do not affect human health directly, they are responsible for huge consequences to farmers, exports and gross domestic product (GDP) growth nationally. In this background, close collaboration is the need between veterinary science and human health experts to forge effective tools for pandemic preparedness. A major loophole in the context of pandemic preparedness can be attributed to the fact that it has largely been human centric, leaving a large unaddressed gap for diseases of pandemic potential in animals.

•The Department of Animal Husbandry in Government of India has been working towards increased investment in preparedness to protect health and building economic resilience so that India could become a world leader in animal pandemic preparedness. To this end, the Department of Animal Husbandry and Dairying (DAHD) has set up a dedicated ‘One Health Unit’ in collaboration with the Gates Foundation. One of the primary focus areas of the unit has been on coming up with an “animal pandemic preparedness” model by creating a mechanism for storage and seamless exchange of data and information on livestock health — this will be implemented through the National Digital Livestock Mission (NDLM).

•So far, synergies from advances in human vaccines have not been leveraged in animal vaccine development. Thus, to incentivise the growth of the animal health industry in India, companies can now avail incentives for setting up or expansion of animal vaccine and related infrastructure under the Animal Husbandry Infrastructure Fund. 

•Additionally, DAHD in collaboration with the Office of the Principal Scientific Adviser, Central Drugs Standard Control Organisation (CDSCO), Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR), and the Indian Pharmacopoeia Commission (IPC) has set up an Empowered Committee for Animal Health to streamline the animal health regulatory ecosystem in the country.

•To create a robust pandemic preparedness model, it is imperative to juxtapose the data on animal health with the available data on human health. Within the framework of the NDLM, so far, substantial progress has also been made by linking all the animal disease diagnostic labs involved in sero-surveillance through a single portal, and harmonisation of SOPs used by labs.

Creating a successful model

•A successful animal pandemic preparedness model template would entail seamless coordination with critical ecosystem partners to ensure timely and successful development of animal drugs and vaccines. The ecosystem partners would include entities carrying out pathogen prioritisation and aiding pharma companies in vaccine research, Indian pharma companies, and global organisations like World Organisation for Animal Health, Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunisations, Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, etc.

•This pandemic preparedness initiative would thus enable the linking and comparison of real-time information regarding diseases between wildlife and human systems — that would create a reliable mechanism for forecasting disease outbreaks. This India-focused initiative will also present a good starting point to lead global pandemic preparedness effort because this threat is faced by other countries as well, including developed economies.

•The dynamic model under preparation would further result in enhanced disease surveillance so that we are better prepared before the next outbreak hits. 

๐Ÿ“ฐ Using a rupee route to get around a dominating dollar

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Vision IAS Security Mains 365 English 2022 PDF


Vision IAS Security Mains 365 English 2022 PDF

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