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March 31, 2021
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April 2, 2021
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1st April Current Affairs

The Indian Ocean border dispute between Kenya and Somalia

In News:

Kenya has said it will not take part in proceedings of the International Court of Justice (ICJ) over its maritime border dispute with Somalia.

What’s the issue?

The main point of disagreement between the two neighbours is the direction in which their maritime boundary in the Indian Ocean should extend.

Where is the disputed area?

According to Somalia, the sea border should be an extension of the same direction in which their land border runs as it approaches the Indian Ocean, i.e. towards the southeast.

Kenya, on the other hand, argues that the territorial southeast border should take a 45 degree turn as it reaches the sea, and then run in a latitudinal direction, i.e. parallel to the equator. Such an arrangement would be advantageous for Kenya, whose coastline of 536 km is more than 6 times smaller than Somalia’s (3,333 km).

Why is this area important?

The triangular area thus created by the dispute is around 1.6 lakh sq km large, and boasts of rich marine reserves. It is also believed to have oil and gas deposits.

Government questions methodology and data accuracy of Global Hunger Index

In News:

The government has questioned the methodology and data accuracy of the Global Hunger Index (GHI) report, alleging that children considered healthy were also counted to determine the ranking.

Details:

The government has already written to NGO Welthungerhilfe, which compiles the report, expressing concerns about their methodology, data accuracy and sample size and was yet to hear from them.

What’s the issue?

In the latest report, India was ranked below countries such as Nepal, Bangladesh and Myanmar when it was among the top 10 food-producing countries in the world.

India was ranked at the 94th position out of 107 countries that were studied.

What is Global Hunger Index?

The report is a peer-reviewed publication released annually by Welthungerhilfe and Concern Worldwide.

It tracks hunger at global, regional and national levels.

How are Countries ranked?

The GHI scores are based on a formula that captures three dimensions of hunger—insufficient caloric intake, child undernutrition, and child mortality—using four component indicators:

UNDERNOURISHMENT: the share of the population that is under-nourished, reflecting insufficient caloric intake

CHILD WASTING: the share of children under the age of five who are wasted (low weight-for-height), reflecting acute undernutrition.

CHILD STUNTING: the share of children under the age of five who are stunted (low height-for-age), reflecting chronic undernutrition.

CHILD MORTALITY: the mortality rate of children under the age of five.

Score:

The GHI ranks countries on a 100-point scale, with 0 being the best score (no hunger) and 100 being the worst. Values less than 10 reflect low hunger, values from 20 to 34.9 indicate serious hunger; values from 35 to 49.9 are alarming; and values of 50 or more are extremely alarming.

Key findings:

  • India has the highest prevalence of wasted children under five years in the world, which reflects acute undernutrition.
  • The report put India under serious category with the score of 27.2.
  • In the region of the south, east, and south-eastern Asia, the only countries which fare worse than India are Timor-Leste, Afghanistan, and North Korea.
  • The child stunting rate in India was 37.4 %.
  • The child wasting was at 17.3 %.
  • The undernourishment rate of India was at 14% and child mortality at 3.7 %.

What are aluminium-air batteries?

In News:

State-owned Indian Oil Corporation Ltd. has entered into a joint venture with Israel-based battery technology startup Phinergy to develop aluminium-air technology based battery systems for electric vehicles and stationary storage, as well as hydrogen storage solutions.

What is an aluminium-air battery?

Aluminium-air batteries utilise oxygen in the air which reacts with an aluminium hydroxide solution to oxidise the aluminium and produce electricity.

Benefits:

Lower cost and more energy-dense alternative to lithium-ion batteries which are currently in widespread use for electric vehicles in India.

Offer much greater range of 400 km or more per battery compared to lithium-ion batteries which currently offer a range of 150-200 kilometres per full charge.

The aluminium plate in an aluminium-air battery is converted into aluminium trihydroxide over time and that aluminium can be reclaimed from aluminium trihydroxide or even traded directly for industrial uses.

Challenges:

Aluminium-air batteries  cannot be recharged like lithium-ion batteries. Therefore, large scale use of aluminium-air battery based vehicles would require the wide availability of battery swapping stations.

Why is this technology important for India’s EV push?

Currently, India is largely dependent on imports of lithium-ion batteries from China for electric vehicles. A viable alternative to lithium-ion batteries and boost the domestic manufacture of batteries will help meet India’s growing demand for energy storage.

India, Japan agree for greater cooperation in patent verification

In News:

India and Japan have agreed to recognize each other’s offices to act mutually as competent International Searching and International Preliminary Examining Authority (ISA/IPEA) for any international patent application filed with them.

This decision was taken during the recent review meet of Patent Prosecution Highway (PPH) programme.

About the Patent Prosecution Highway (PPH) programme:

The Patent Prosecution Highway (PPH) is a set of initiatives for providing accelerated patent prosecution procedures by sharing information between some patent offices.

How it works?

This would allow a patent applicant to demand fast-tracking of his patent application by showing that his product or process has already been granted a patent in Japan.

Under this Pilot programme, Indian Patent Office may receive patent applications in certain specified technical fields only, namely, Electrical, Electronics, Computer Science, Information Technology, Physics, Civil, Mechanical, Textiles, Automobiles and Metallurgy etc.

PPH programme would lead to the following benefits for the Indian IP office:

  • Reduction in time to dispose patent applications.
  • Reduction in pendency of patent applications.
  • Improvement in quality of search and examination of patent applications.
  • An opportunity for Indian inventors including MSMEs and Start ups of India to get accelerated examination of their patent applications in Japan.