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14th January Current Affairs

Ethanol production

In News:

The Union Cabinet has approved a modified scheme for interest subvention for ethanol production, expanding the scheme to include grain-based distilleries and not just molasses-based ones.

Implications:

The decision would encourage ethanol production from grains like barley, maize, corn and rice.

The scheme would boost production and distillation capacity to 1,000 crore litres and help in meeting the goal of 20% ethanol blending with petrol by 2030.

About Ethanol Blended Petrol (EBP) Programme:

Launched in 2003 on pilot basis.

The aim is to promote the use of alternative and environmental friendly fuels.

Ethanol:

Ethanol can be produced from sugarcane, maize, wheat, etc which are having high starch content.

In India, ethanol is mainly produced from sugarcane molasses by fermentation process.

Ethanol can be mixed with gasoline to form different blends.

As the ethanol molecule contains oxygen, it allows the engine to more completely combust the fuel, resulting in fewer emissions and thereby reducing the occurrence of environmental pollution.

Since ethanol is produced from plants that harness the power of the sun, ethanol is also considered as renewable fuel.

Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act (AFSPA)

In News:

The Ministry of Home Affairs has declared the entire State of Nagaland as a “disturbed area” for six more months under the Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act (AFSPA).

Details:

MHA said the area comprising the whole of Nagaland is in such a “disturbed and dangerous condition” that the use of armed forces in aid of the civil power is necessary.

What does the AFSPA mean?

In simple terms, AFSPA gives armed forces the power to maintain public order in “disturbed areas”.

Powers given to armed forces:

They have the authority to prohibit a gathering of five or more persons in an area, can use force or even open fire after giving due warning if they feel a person is in contravention of the law.

If reasonable suspicion exists, the army can also arrest a person without a warrant; enter or search premises without a warrant; and ban the possession of firearms.

Any person arrested or taken into custody may be handed over to the officer in charge of the nearest police station along with a report detailing the circumstances that led to the arrest.

What is a “disturbed area” and who has the power to declare it?

A disturbed area is one which is declared by notification under Section 3 of the AFSPA. An area can be disturbed due to differences or disputes between members of different religious, racial, language or regional groups or castes or communities.

The Central Government, or the Governor of the State or administrator of the Union Territory can declare the whole or part of the State or Union Territory as a disturbed area.

Has there been any review of the Act?

On November 19, 2004, the Central government appointed a five-member committee headed by Justice B P Jeevan Reddy to review the provisions of the act in the north eastern states.

The committee submitted its report in 2005, which included the following recommendations: (a) AFSPA should be repealed and appropriate provisions should be inserted in the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, 1967; (b) The Unlawful Activities Act should be modified to clearly specify the powers of the armed forces and paramilitary forces and (c) grievance cells should be set up in each district where the armed forces are deployed.

The 5th report of the Second Administrative Reforms Commission on public order has also recommended the repeal of the AFSPA.

Subhash Chandra Bose

In News:

Subhash Chandra Bose had unfurled the Tricolour in Port Blair on 30th December, 1943.

Background:

Bose had arrived in Port Blair, Andaman and Nicobar Islands in 1943 after Japan handed them over to his Azad Hind government. Japan had captured the islands during the second world war.

About Azad Hind Government:

Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose had announced the establishment of the provisional government of Azad Hind in occupied Singapore in

Known as Arzi Hukumat-e-Azad Hind, it was supported by the Axis powers of Imperial Japan, Nazi Germany, the Italian Social Republic, and their allies.

He had launched a struggle to free India from British rule under the banner of the provisional government-in exile during the latter part of the Second World War.

Who were part of this?

Under his provisional government, the Indians living abroad had been united. The Indian National Army drew ex- prisoners and thousands of civilian volunteers from the Indian expatriate population in Malaya (present-day Malaysia) and Burma (now Myanmar).

Under the provisional government, Bose was the head of the state, the prime minister and the minister for war and foreign affairs.

Captain Lakshmi headed the women’s organisation while S A Ayer headed the publicity and propaganda wing.

Revolutionary leader Rash Behari Bose was designated as the supreme advisor.

Key Points related to Subhash Chandra Bose:

Subhash Chandra Bose was twice elected President of the Indian National Congress, (1938-Haripur and 1939-Tripuri).

He resigned from the Congress Presidentship in 1939 and organised the All India Forward Bloc a faction within the Congress in Bengal.

Why lightning still kills so many Indians?

In News:

Lightning strikes have caused 1,771 deaths between April 1, 2019 and March 31, 2020.

How can deaths be minimised?

Every lightning strikes around a fixed period and almost similar geographical locations in similar patterns.

As per CROPC (Climate Resilient Observing Systems Promotion Council), early lightning warning to farmers, cattle grazers, children and people in open areas is the key.

Then a local lightning safety action plan, like installing Lightning Protection Devices, is also need to prevent deaths.

What is the impact of lightning?

The Centre had increased compensation for victims of natural disaster to Rs 4 lakh in 2015.

In the last five years there were 13,994 fatalities, which bring the total compensation to around Rs 359 crore.

There have been phenomenal losses of animal life also from lightning strike.

What is lightning?

It is a very rapid — and massive — discharge of electricity in the atmosphere, some of which is directed towards the Earth’s surface.

These discharges are generated in giant moisture-bearing clouds that are 10-12 km tall.

What is anaemia?

In News:

Indian women and children are overwhelmingly anaemic, according to the National Family Health Survey 2019-20.

What is anaemia?

The condition of having lower than normal number of red blood cells or quantity of haemoglobin.

It can make one feel tired, cold, dizzy, and irritable and short of breath, among other symptoms.

A diet which does not contain enough iron, folic acid or vitamin B12 is a common cause of anaemia.

Why is anaemia so high in the country?

Iron-deficiency and vitamin B12-deficiency anaemia are the two common types of anaemia in India.

Among women, iron deficiency prevalence is higher than men due to menstrual iron losses and the high iron demands of a growing foetus during pregnancies.

Lack of millets in the diet due to overdependence on rice and wheat, insufficient consumption of green and leafy vegetables, and dominance of packaged and processed foods which are low in nutrition could be the reasons behind the high prevalence of anaemia in India.