Current Affair – June 19, 2021

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CURRENT AFFAIRS

Panel formed to discuss theatre commands

  • A high-level committee consisting of representatives from the services and the Ministries concerned has been formed for wider consultations on the creation of integrated tri service theatre commands.
  • The proposed Air Defense Command plans to integrate all air assets of the armed forces, while the Maritime Theatre Command plans to bring in all assets of Navy, Coast Guard as well as coastal formations of Army and Air Force under one umbrella. On land, the Army’s Northern Command and Western Command would be converted into two to five theatre commands.

The panel includes

  • The Vice Chiefs of the three services,
  • The Chief of Integrated Defence Staff to the Chairman Chiefs of Staff Committee, and
  • Representatives from Ministries such as Home Affairs, Finance and Law.

Mandate of the committee

  • The committee will examine all issues and find a way forward before a formal note on their creation is sent to the Cabinet Committee on Security.
  • It was necessitated due to some aspects like bringing in paramilitary forces, which are under the Home Ministry, under the purview of the theatre commands and financial implications that may arise in the process of integration.

Chief of Defence Staff

  • The mandate of the Chief of Defence Staff (CDS) includes bringing about jointness among the three services,including through the establishment of joint/theatre commands.
  • The country’s first CDS Gen. Bipin Rawat had constituted teams headed by the Vice Chiefs of three services to study and submit recommendations on the formation of various commands.
Source: The Hindu

New Technology for carbon coating of lithium battery

  • Researchers at the International Advanced Research Centre for Powder Metallurgy & New Materials (ARCI), an autonomous institute of the Department of Science & Technology, Govt. of India, have developed a non-expensive way to coat carbon on lithium metal oxide electrodes for lithium-ion batteries.
  • The life of the lithium-ion cells prepared using these electrode materials is expected to be doubled due to protective carbon coating.

Lithium-ion batteries

  • Lithium-ion batteries are the most commonly used power source for electric vehicles. However, its penetration to the daily usage against gasoline-based vehicles require drastic improvement in the lifetime and cost as well as mileage per charge.
  • The active components of lithium-ion batteries are cathode, anode, and electrolyte. While commercial graphite is used as anode, lithium metal oxides or lithium metal phosphates are used as a cathode in Lithium-ion battery. The electrolyte is a lithium salt dissolved in organic solvents.
  • The capacity of the lithium-ion battery determines the mileage of the electric vehicle. Before the capacity reduces to 80%, the number of charging cycles determines the life of the battery.

Carbon coating

  • Carbon being inert to most chemicals and stable under the operating window is the best choice of coating material to improve the cyclic stability of the active materials.

· Carbon coating on the active materials can double the lifetime of the lithium-ion cells. However, coating carbon on lithium metal oxide is very challenging, because of the difficulty involved in coating carbon during the synthesis of lithium metal oxide material in a single step.

New research

· The new technique to coat carbon in situ on lithium transition metal oxides in single step while synthesizing the oxide itself.

  • In ARCI method, a carbon precursor is trapped in between the transition metal hydroxide layers to minimize the

Generally, carbon is coated on oxide materials using a second step, which is not uniform and is expensive as well.   reaction with oxygen even when heat-treated in the air during solid- state synthesis.

  • Uniform carbon coating on the lithium transition metal oxides was achieved through this technique.
Source: PIB

HT Bt Cotton

The illegal cultivation of herbicide tolerant (HT) Bt cotton has seen a huge jump this year, with seed manufacturers claiming that the sale of illegal seed packets has more than doubled from 30 lakh last year to 75 lakh this year.

About the Issue

  • Bt cotton is the only transgenic crop that has been approved by the Centre for commercial cultivation in India. It has been genetically modified to produce an in insecticide to combat the cotton bollworm, a common pest.
  • The HT Bt cotton has not been approved by regulators. The variant adds another layer of medication, making the

plant resistant to the herbicide glyph sate.

Concerns

  • Concerns in usage of HT Bt cotton include glyphosate having a carcinogenic effect, as well as the unchecked spread ofherbicide resistance to nearby plants through pollination, creating a variety of super weeds.
  • No accountability of the quality of seed, it pollutes the environment, the industry is losing legitimate seed sale and the government also loses revenue in terms of tax collection.
  • It will not only decimate small cotton seed companies but also threatens the entire legal cotton seed market in India.
Source: The Hindu

Solar thermal Forward Osmosis

  • Narippaiyur, a village in Ramanathapuram District, a drought prone area situated in the South-East corner of Tamil Nadu will benefit from 20,000 litters from sea water – thanks to the solar thermal Forward Osmosis (FO) sea water desalination system installed in the place.
  • Ramanathapuram District, situated in the South-East corner of Tamil Nadu, is severely affected by scarcity of potable water due to salinity, brackishness and also poor sources of ground water. The district of has a long coastal line.
  • The Water Technology Initiative, Department of Science & Technology (DST) has supported this field based effort in the district through the consortium members led by Indian Institute of Technology Madras (IITM), KGISL Institute of Technology (KITE), Empereal– KGDS Renewable Energy (P) and ICT Mumbai has developed the customised FO technology.

About the technology

  • The sea water FO technology operates at near 2 bar pressure unlike sea water RO that operates at 50 bar pressure.
  • It is versatile, has high energy efficiency and low operation and maintenance costs compared to other technologies.

Significance

  • It will successfully overcoming a major drinking water shortage in the village.
  • The FO system facilitates high recovery, low energy consumption, potential for resource recovery, especially in solutions of high osmotic pressure, less fouling of the membrane because of low pressure operation, easier and more effective cleaning of the membrane, longer membrane life and lower operating costs.
  • It can pave way for scaling up the emerging technology in various coastal rural areas of the country to address drinking water shortage.

About the technology

  • The sea water FO technology operates at near 2 bar pressure unlike sea water RO that operates at 50 bar pressure. It is versatile, has high energy efficiency and low operation and maintenance costs compared to other technologies.
  • The produced water will be supplied to the local people with the support of villagers and panchayat. This initiative of DST can pave way for scaling up the emerging technology in various coastal rural areas of the country to address drinking water shortage.
Source: PIB

Reservoirs in Monsoon

  • Frequent thunder showers and two strong cyclones— Tauktae and Yaas — brought significant rainfall during the summer. Thus, even before the southwest monsoon covers the entire country, the 130 major reservoirs monitored by the Central Water Commission have already stored 27% of their total capacity.
  • This is well over the average storage for this time of the year — 21% averaged for the last 10 years.

Reservoir status

  • As of June 17, the collective stock in the 130 reservoirs was 47.63 billion cubic metres (BCM), or 27% of the total live storage capacity of 174.23 BCM. In June last year, they had stocked 55.11 BCM.
  • Of the 130 reservoirs, 49 have more water than they had stored in June 2020. A majority of these reservoirs are located in seven states — Jharkhand, Tripura, Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, Kerala, Karnataka and Tamil Nadu.
  • Of the reservoirs with less storage than in June 2020, many are in the larger states of Maharashtra, Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh and Odisha, besides Punjab, Himachal Pradesh, Chhattisgarh and Uttarakhand.
  • This year, two large dams — Hariharjhore in Odisha and Ujjain in Maharashtra — have reached dead stock. This time last year, Hariharjhore had stocked 59% of its capacity.
  • Stocks are above normal in the basins of the Ganga, Narmada, Tapi, rivers of Kutch, Krishna, Mahanadi and Cauvery. The river basins of Mahi and Indus have normal and deficient reserves, respectively.

Region by region

  • In eight reservoirs in the Northern region (Himachal Pradesh, Punjab, Rajasthan), the available stock was 3.82 BCM, or 20% of their total live storage capacity. This is below the storage of 2020 (38%) and also the 10-year average (32%).
  • In the 20 reservoirs in the Eastern region (Jharkhand, Odisha, West Bengal, Tripura, Nagaland), the available water stock or 23% of their total live storage capacity. Last year, these reservoirs had stored 28%. The 10-year average stock is 21%.
  • The Western region comprising Gujarat and Maharashtra has 42 major reservoirs. These are currently at 28% of their total live capacity. In June 2020, they were at 36% of capacity; the 10-year average is 19%.
  • In the 23 reservoirs of Central India (UP, Uttarakhand, MP, Chhattisgarh), the current storage is 28% of their total live capacity. This is below last year’s storage (37%) as well as the 10-year average here (24%).
  • The Southern region of Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, Karnataka, Kerala and Tamil Nadu has 37 reservoirs, in which the available stock is 16.55 BCM, or 30% of capacity. This is higher than the stocks of 2020 (24%) and also the 10-year average (17%).

Weather & storage

  • The summer of 2021 saw unusually cool day temperatures over most regions. This could have led to below-average evaporation from surface water stocks across the core heat zones, where heat waves and high day temperatures are common during March-June.

· The cooler summer was also due to frequent thunderstorms that brought rainfall spells at many places between March and May.

  • During the second and third weeks of May, Cyclones Tauktae and Yaas caused widespread rainfall over two-thirds of the country between them — Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, Goa, Maharashtra, Gujarat, Odisha, West Bengal, Jharkhand, Uttar Pradesh, Delhi, Bihar and some parts of the Northeast.
  • The all-India weekly rainfall during May 12-19 and May 20-26 was, respectively, 127% and 94% above the Long Period Average.

·  All these factors contributed to the stocking of at least 80% of their June normal capacity in 110 of the 130 reservoirs.

Source: Indian Express

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