Current Affairs for IAS Exams - 28 February 2023
Mahila Samman Savings Certificate
- Union Finance Minister announced a small savings scheme for women.
- Mahila Samman Savings Certificate (MSSC) will be made available for 2 years up to March 2025.
- It will offer a 7.5% interest rate and will have the benefit of a partial withdrawal option.
- Deposit facility up to Rs.2 lakh in the name of women or girls for a tenor of 2 years.
About Small Saving Schemes (SSSs)
- SSSs are investment tools administered by the government to encourage residents to save for the long term.
- All the money pooled from different SSSs goes to the National Small Savings Fund (NSSF), established in 1999 within the Public Account of India.
Types of Small Saving Schemes:
- Postal deposits: Savings account, recurring deposits, time deposits and monthly income scheme.
- Savings certificates: National Small Savings Certificate and Kisan Vikas Patra.
- Social security schemes: Public Provident Fund (PPF), Senior Citizens Savings Scheme (SCSS), and Sukanya Samridhi Account Scheme.
Significance of Small Saving Schemes:
- Offering slightly higher interest rates compared to bank deposits.
- Some SSSs have income tax benefits and assured returns.
- Funds are channelized to the government in order to finance a part of their expenditure.
India issues notice to Pakistan to modify Indus Waters Treaty
- India has informed Pakistan of its intent to amend the 62-year-old Indus Waters Treaty for management of cross-border rivers because the Pakistani side’s “intransigence” in handling disputes has raised questions about the integrity of the pact, people familiar with the matter.
- IWT, water sharing treaty, signed in 1960 by India and Pakistan with WB as athird-party guarantor.
- It delimits the rights and obligations of both countries concerning the use of waters on Indus River System.
- It allocates Western Rivers (Indus, Jhelum, Chenab) to Pakistan and Eastern Rivers (Ravi, Beas, Sutlej) to India.
- Maximum area of Indus Basin is in Pakistan followed by India, China and Afghanistan.
- India issued the notice in view of Pakistan’s non compliance in resolving disputes over Kishenganga (on Kishenganga River, tributary of Jhelum) and Ratle hydropower projects (on Chenab River), both in Jammu and Kashmir.
- India is allowed to construct hydroelectric power facilities on tributaries of Jhelum and Chenab rivers with certain restrictions under IWT, 1960.
- Dispute redressal mechanism provided under Article IX of IWT is a graded mechanism.
- It’s a 3-level mechanism.
- World Bank’s (WB) role is largely procedural and limited to designating neutral experts (NE) or chair of court of arbitration (CoA).
- India has invoked Article XII (3) of treaty i.e., a provision to amend Treaty.
- Treaty can be amended or terminated only with duly ratified treaty between two countries.
IEEFA projects exponential growth of battery storage assets in India
- A new report has projected exponential growth in India’s Battery Energy Storage System (BESS).
- BESS are rechargeable batteries that can store energy from different sources and discharge it when needed.
- It consists of one or more batteries and can be used to balance the electric grid, provide backup power, and improve grid stability.
- Lithium-ion batteries, which are used in mobile phones and electric cars, are currently dominant storage technology for large scale plants to help electricity grids ensure a reliable supply of renewable energy.
Significance of BESS
- Ensures peak-time power supply.
- Round-the-clock power to overcome intermittent nature of renewable energy.
- Less requirement of expensive transmission and distribution network upgrades.
- Faster responses for balancing grid (voltage and frequency regulation) than coal-fired power plants.
Issues with BESS
- Absence of Time-of-Day (ToD) pricing structure in India hampering investment. Under ToD, cost of electricity depends on time of day.
- Low mineral reserve of Lithium cobalt.
SCO Film Festival 2023
- The five-day of SCO Film Festival opened in Mumbai recently.
- Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO), formed in 2001 is the world’s largest regional organization in terms of geographic scope and population.
- It covering approximately 60% of the area of Eurasia, 40% of the world population, and more than 30% of global GDP.
- India, China, Russia, Pakistan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan are the member nations.
About SCO Film Festival
- It is being organized by the National Film Development Corporation, a Public Sector Undertaking of the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting, in association with the SCO Council of Heads of States.
- It aims to build cinematic partnerships, have an exchange of programmes, nurture young filmmaking talent and act as a bridge between the cultures of the Shanghai Cooperation.
- As part of the SCO Film Festival in India, it is endeavoured to showcase selected films from the Members, Observer States and Dialogue partners States.
National Logistics Portal
- Union Minister for Ports, Shipping and Waterways inaugurated The National Logistics Portal (marine) in New Delhi.
- The National Logistic Portal (marine) (NLP) is a project of national importance, as envisaged by the Ministry of Ports Shipping Waterways and the Ministry of Commerce & Industry.
- It is a one-stop platform aimed at connecting all the stakeholders of the logistics community using IT, to improve efficiency and transparency by reducing costs and time delays and achieving easier, faster, and more competitive offerings of services, to promote the growth of the logistics sector and thereby improve trade.
- NLP will be a single window for all trade processes of the logistics sector spread across the country covering all modes of transport in the waterways, roadways, and airways along with an E-marketplace to provide a seamless end-to-end logistic service coverage.
- NLP Is a one stop marketplace where all logistic stakeholders are integrated for easier, speedier & competitive services thereby promoting trade and growth.
::SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY::
GJ 1002 b and c
- Recently an international group of researchers has discovered the presence of two planets with masses comparable to that of the Earth in orbit around the star GJ 1002.
About GJ 1002 b and c:
- The two new planets are named, GJ 1002 b and GJ 1002 c.
- These planets lie in so-called habitable zones, within which water could be found in liquid form, and which is located in the immediate vicinity of the star due to its low luminosity.
- Planet b has a mass slightly higher than Earth’s, is the closer of the two and its year lasts only 10 days.
- Planet c is about a third more massive than Earth and takes about 20 days to orbit the star.
- The two planets were discovered using the radial velocity (RV) method.
Radial Velocity method:
- This method is based on the detection of variations in the velocity of the central star, due to the changing direction of the gravitational pull from an unseen exoplanet as it orbits the star.