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12th July Current Affairs

India to surpass China as the most populous country in a year

(GS-II: Issues related to population and poverty, UN, Government policies and interventions for developments of various social sectors etc)

In News:

On World Population Day(11 July), the United Nations released a report (world population prospectus) projecting India to surpass China as the world’s most populous country next year.

Details:

It further stated that the world population is forecast to reach eight billion by mid-November 2022.

The forecast by the UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs said the world’s population is growing at its slowest pace since 1950.

Key Highlights:

China and India most populous countries: According to World Population Prospects 2019, China with a 1. 44 billion population and India with 1.39 billion are the two most populous countries in the world, representing 19 and 18 per cent of the world’s population, respectively.

India taking over China: However, by around 2023, India’s population will overtake China to become the most populous country with China’s population projected to decrease by 31.4 million, or around 2.2 per cent, between 2019 and 2050.

Population to reach eight billion: The UN forecast also stated, that the world’s population is expected to reach eight billion.

Net drop in birth rates: While a net drop in birth rates is observed in several developing countries, more than half of the rise forecast in the world’s population in the coming decades will be concentrated in eight countries, the report said.

Eight countries are the Democratic Republic of Congo, Egypt, Ethiopia, India, Nigeria, Pakistan, the Philippines and Tanzania.

Challenge to SDGs: Many are projected to double in population between 2022 and 2050, putting additional pressure on resources and posing challenges to the achievement of the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

Older age population growth: The population of older persons is increasing both in numbers and as a share of the total.

Sustained drop in fertility: A sustained drop in fertility has led to an increased concentration of the population at working ages (between 25 and 64 years), creating an opportunity for accelerated economic growth per capita.

Migration: International migration is having an important impact on population trends in some countries.

Over the next few decades, migration will be the sole driver of population growth in high-income countries.

Coved-19: The Covid-19 pandemic has had significant demographic consequences affecting all components of population change, including mortality, fertility and migration.

Global life expectancy fell 1. 8 years between 2019 and 2021 due to excess mortality associated with the pandemic.

The impact of the pandemic on fertility is less clear-cut.

Comparison with India:

In India, the Registrar General comes out with a population projection based on the Census.

The last such projection was released in 2019 and it was based on Census 2011.

The Census projection is slightly lower than the UN projection.

India’s fertility rate is expected to dip from 2. 01  presently to 1.78 in 2050 and 1.69 in 2100, compared to the global average of 2.3 at present.

The findings reveal that the positive number of births in India among women aged 15 to 19 might fall from the current 988,000 to 282,000 by 2050, and then to 132,000 by 2100.

MPs’ panel oppose Mediation Bill

(GS-II: Parliament- Structure, functioning and conduct of business, parliamentary committees etc)

In News:

The Parliamentary Standing Committee on Law and Justice, headed by Sushil Kumar Modi, has recommended substantial changes to the Mediation Bill, meant for the institutionalization of mediation and establishment of the Mediation Council of India.

Details:

The panel cautioned against making pre-litigation mediation compulsory and warned the Centre against the provision to give higher courts the power to frame rules for mediation.

Key Issues:

Clause 26 of the Bill: It provides for the court-annexed mediation.

This clause gives the powers to the court to make rules for ‘court-annexed mediation’, which is unconstitutional.

Pre-litigation mediation mandatory: Making pre-litigation mediation mandatory may actually result in the delaying of cases and may prove to be an additional tool in the hands of truant litigants to delay the disposal of cases.

Non-applicability of provisions to non-commercial matters: Non Applicability of the provisions of the Bill to disputes/matters of non-commercial nature involving the Government and its agencies.

Appointment of chairperson and members: Appointment of the Chairperson and Members of the Mediation Council of India should be made by a Selection Committee constituted by the Centre.

Dark Matter

(GS-III: Science and Technology)

In News:

One of the most sensitive dark matter detector experiments named LUX-ZEPLIN (LZ) in the U.S.A, has been used for finding evidence of dark matter in the universe.

What is dark matter and why is it so elusive?

All interactions in the universe are a result of four fundamental forces acting on particles — strong nuclear force, weak nuclear force, electromagnetic force and gravitation.

Dark matter is particles that do not have a charge — which means they do not interact through electromagnetic interactions.

“dark”: because they do not emit light.

“matter”: because they possess mass like normal matter and hence interact through gravity.

Dark matter is elusive because: Gravitational force is extremely weak. A particle that interacts so weakly becomes rather elusive to detect.

Evidence for Dark Matter:

By observing the rotation of galaxies: there are discrepancy changes in how stars revolve around the galaxy centre than what should be the ideal path. This has been contributed to the presence of dark matter along the path.

By the observations of the Bullet Cluster of galaxies: The Bullet cluster is formed through the merging of two galaxy clusters. The merger didn’t take place as per the observable calculations, signifying the presence of another massive matter particle, ‘the dark matter’.

Dark matter particles are made up of: No definite answer is known, but scientists say:

‘Neutrino’ would have been an excellent candidate if it had been more massive, but being too light, it doesn’t fit the bill.

Other postulated entities include the supersymmetric partner of the Z boson, a particle that mediates the electro-weak interaction.

Dark energy: It is a hypothetical form of energy that exerts a negative, repulsive pressure, behaving like the opposite of gravity.

It is causing the rate of expansion of our universe to accelerate over time, rather than to slow down. That’s contrary to what one might expect from a universe that began in the Big Bang.

Did you know about the XENON1T experiment?

It is the world’s most sensitive dark matter experiment and was operated deep underground at the INFN Laboratori Nazionali del Gran Sasso in Italy.

It uses the dual-phase (liquid/gas) xenon technique and is located underground at the Laboratory Nazionali del Gran Sasso of INFN, Italy.

PM Modi unveils national emblem on new Parliament building

(GS-I: Indian culture will cover the salient aspects of Art Forms, literature, and Architecture from ancient to modern times)

In News:

Prime Minister Narendra Modi unveiled the National Emblem cast on the roof of the new Parliament building.

Details:

The concept sketch and process of casting the National Emblem on the roof of the building went through eight different stages of preparation from clay modelling/ computer graphics to bronze casting and polishing.

About National Emblem:

On 26 January 1950, a representation of the Lion Capital of Ashoka placed above the motto, Satyameva Jayate, was adopted as the State Emblem of India.

It was chosen as a symbol of contemporary India’s reaffirmation of its ancient commitment to world peace and goodwill.

History:

The state emblem is an adaptation from the Sarnath Lion Capital of Ashoka.

In the original, there are four lions, standing back to back, mounted on an abacus with a frieze carrying sculptures in high relief of an elephant, a galloping horse, a bull and a lion separated by intervening wheels over a bell-shaped lotus

Carved out of a single block of polished sandstone, the Capital is crowned by the Wheel of the Law (Dharma Chakra).

Significance:

While Buddhist interpretations say the animals represent different phases of the Buddha’s life, non-religious interpretations say they depict the reign of emperor Ashoka in the four geographical directions, while the wheels depict his enlightened rule.