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Daily Current Affairs

16-April -2024- Top News of the Day

1. Jammu and Kashmir High Court Quashes Detention, Asserts India Not a Police State

Topic: GS2 – Governance – Government policies – Interventions for development in various sectors

This topic is relevant for both Prelims and Mains as the analysis provides insights into the principles of rule of law, constitutional rights, and legal procedures governing preventive detention in India.

 

Context:
  • The Jammu and Kashmir High Court, in its recent ruling, quashed the detention of a Kashmir resident under the Public Safety Act (PSA) while asserting that India cannot be considered a police state.
  • The court emphasized that in a democratic country governed by the rule of law, the police and magistracy cannot detain and interrogate individuals without registering a case against them.
More about the news:

Dominance of Police Dossier in Detention Grounds:

  • Justice Rahul Bharti, in his order dated March 22, highlighted that the grounds of detention heavily relied on the verbatim reproduction of police dossier contents.
  • However, the order pointed out the absence of any reference to the petitioner’s involvement in a registered criminal case, indicating a lack of antecedent culpability.

Absence of Legal Authority for Interrogation:

  • The court raised questions about the legal basis for the petitioner’s interrogation, especially in the absence of any registered criminal case against him.
  • It noted that the grounds of detention mentioned the petitioner’s alleged revelations during interrogation but failed to specify the legal authority under which he was picked up and interrogated.

Violation of Rule of Law in Preventive Detention:

  • Highlighting the principles of rule of law in India, the court emphasized that citizens cannot be subjected to interrogation without the registration of a criminal case against them.
  • It criticized the practice of basing preventive detention on purported interrogations without legal backing and emphasized the importance of adherence to legal procedures.

Role of District Magistrate under Public Safety Act:

  • The court underscored that the district magistrate, while exercising powers under the J&K Public Safety Act, is not supposed to merely echo the police version in detention orders.
  • Instead, they are expected to adhere to legal standards and ensure proper documentation of the legal authority for detention based on objective grounds.

Conclusion:

  • The court’s ruling reflects its commitment to upholding the rule of law and ensuring that legal procedures are followed in matters of detention, particularly under preventive laws like the Public Safety Act.
  • It underscores the importance of legal accountability and adherence to due process in safeguarding individual rights and liberties.
What is Public Safety Act?
  • The Jammu & Kashmir Public Safety Act (PSA), 1978 is a preventive detention law, under which a person is taken into custody to prevent him or her from acting in any manner that is prejudicial to “the security of the state or the maintenance of the public order”.
  • It is very similar to the National Security Act that is used by other state governments for preventive detention.
  • It comes into force by an administrative order passed either by Divisional Commissioner or the District Magistrate and not by a detention order by police based on specific allegations or for a specific violation of laws.
  • Issues with Public Safety Act
  • Detention Without Trial:
  • The PSA allows for the detention of a person without a formal charge and without trial.
  • It can be slapped on a person already in police custody; on someone immediately after being granted bail by a court.
  • Unlike in normal circumstances, a person who is detained under the PSA need not be produced before a magistrate within 24 hours of the detention.
  • No Right to File Bail Application:
  • The detained person does not have the right to move a bail application before the court, and cannot engage any lawyer to represent him or her the detaining authority.
  • Limited legal remedies:
  • The only way this administrative preventive detention order can be challenged is through a habeas corpus petition filed by relatives of the detained person.
  • The High Court and the Supreme Court have the jurisdiction to hear such petitions.
  • However, if the order is quashed, there is no bar on the government passing another detention order under the PSA and detaining the person again.
  • Discretionary powers:
  • The District Magistrate who has passed the detention order has protection under the Act, which states that the order is considered “done in good faith”.
  • Therefore, officials are protected from any prosecutions or any legal proceedings.
  • Section 8 of the PSA:
  • It provides a vast number of reasons for detention, ranging from “promoting, propagating, or attempting to create, feelings of enmity or hatred or disharmony on grounds of religion, race, caste, community, or region” to incitement, instigation, abetment and actual commission of such acts, and leaves it to district collectors or district magistrates to decide, giving a 12-day period within which an advisory board has to approve the detention.
  • No Distinction Between Minor and Major Offences:
  • It allows detention for up to 1 year for disturbance of public order and 2 years for actions “prejudicial to the security of the State”.
  • All these actions bear an unsettling resemblance to the British response to protests against the Rowlatt Act of 1919.

 

PYQ: Consider the following statements: (2023)

1. According to the Constitution of India, the Central Government has a duty to protect States from internal disturbances.

2. The Constitution of India exempts the States from providing legal counsel to person being held for preventive detention

3. According to the Prevention of Terrorism Act, 2002, confession of the accused before the police cannot be used as evidence.

How many of the above statements are correct?

(a) Only one

(b) Only two

(c) All three

(d) None

Practice Question:  Explain the significance of the recent ruling by the Jammu and Kashmir High Court regarding the detention of a Kashmir resident under the Public Safety Act (PSA). Discuss the key observations made by the court and their implications for the rule of law and individual rights in the region.

Top of Form

(250 words/15 m)

 

2. Iran-Israel Conflict Raises Concerns Over India's Crude Oil Supply and Prices

Topic: GS2 – International Relations – Bilateral Relations

GS3– Indian Economy

This topic is relevant for both Prelims and Mains in the context of understanding how global events, such as conflicts in West Asia, can affect India’s economy.

 

Context:
  • The escalating tensions between Iran and Israel could have significant repercussions for India, particularly in terms of crude oil imports.
  • This analysis delves into the potential implications of the conflict on India’s economy and energy security.
More about the news:

Geopolitical Risk and Oil Prices:

  • Any escalation in the Iran-Israel conflict is likely to increase geopolitical tensions in West Asia, leading to higher risk premiums in international oil markets.
  • This would result in costlier crude oil imports for India, which heavily relies on imports to meet over 85% of its crude oil requirement.

Sensitivity of Indian Economy to Oil Prices:

  • India’s economy is highly sensitive to oil price volatility due to its extreme import dependency.
  • High oil prices not only lead to inflationary pressures but also impact India’s trade balance, foreign exchange reserves, currency value, and overall economic health.

Current Oil Price Trends:

  • International oil prices have surged recently amid tensions between Iran and Israel, with global benchmark Brent crude surpassing the $90-per-barrel mark.
  • This uptick in prices adds to existing pressures stemming from production cuts by major oil producers.

Potential Impact on Indian Oil Imports:

  • While India does not currently import Iranian oil due to US sanctions, any disruption in Iranian supply would intensify competition among major buyers like China and India for oil from other suppliers, primarily Russia.
  • India also imports significant volumes of crude oil from other West Asian countries like Iraq, Saudi Arabia, and the UAE.

Concerns Over Supply Disruptions:

  • The conflict raises concerns over potential supply disruptions in the wider region, including through critical shipping routes like the Strait of Hormuz.
  • Indian refiners are closely monitoring the situation to assess its impact on oil shipments and prices.

Risk Mitigation Strategies:

  • While Indian refiners express confidence in securing oil supplies from a large and diversified supplier base, concerns persist regarding potential price-related impacts.
  • High oil prices could exert pressure on refiners and fuel retailers’ financials, necessitating careful consideration of pricing strategies in the face of global market volatility.

Conclusion:

  • As tensions escalate between Iran and Israel, India finds itself at risk of facing higher crude oil prices and potential supply disruptions.
  • The country’s heavy dependence on oil imports underscores the importance of closely monitoring geopolitical developments in West Asia and implementing effective risk mitigation strategies to safeguard its energy security and economic stability.
Challenges for India
  • Remain Unaffected: India has strategic ties with both Iran and Israel and for decades, it has been able to balance between the two sides. But if the conflict widens, it would be difficult for it to maintain an ambivalent position.
  • A Testing Time: The emerging Israel-Iran conflict will test the Indian resilience in multiple domains be it political, diplomatic, economic or security.
  • Concerning Consequences: An escalation between the two countries has direct and tangible consequences for India, mainly on three accounts: its people, its economic interests and strategic needs.
  • Impact on People: There are about 18,000 Indians in Israel and about 5,000-10,000 Indians in Iran, about 90 lakh people are living and working in the Gulf and West Asia region. Any conflict that expands will end up posing a risk to the Indian community that is based in the region. Example: India asked its citizens not to travel to Israel and Iran.
  • Impact on Strategic Needs: India has invested in a strategic relationship with major Arab countries, Iran, and Israel. India has been working in this region to push for the India-Middle-East-Europe Economic corridor, which has strategic as well as economic benefits for India. An escalating conflict could adversely impact the consensus that has been built.
  • Impact on Economic Interests: Though imports from Russia have increased, Arab states account for two-thirds of India’s oil needs. Higher oil prices will push up inflation and delay any interest rate cuts critical to boost GDP growth. Merchandise exports, already slow, will drop further. Sensex and Nifty fell due to escalating Iran-Israel conflict, making investors risk-averse.

 

Practice Question:  Analyze the potential impact of escalating tensions between Iran and Israel on India’s economy, particularly focusing on the implications for crude oil imports and energy security. Discuss the sensitivity of India’s economy to oil price volatility and the strategies that can be adopted to mitigate risks arising from geopolitical uncertainties in West Asia. (250 words/15 m)

3. Tamil Nadu's Economic Complexity Shines: A Model of Diversified Growth and Entrepreneurship

Topic: GS3 – Indian Economy – Inclusive Growth

This topic is relevant for both Prelims and Mains in the context of understanding the economic structure and industrialization patterns of states like Tamil Nadu.

 

Context:
  • Tamil Nadu (TN) emerges as India’s leading state in terms of economic complexity, as evidenced by the diversity of its Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and employment landscape.
  • The state boasts a robust economy with a well-balanced mix of sectors, including industry, services, and construction, which collectively contribute significantly to its GDP and employment generation.
More about the news:

Comparative Analysis with Gujarat:

  • While Gujarat surpasses Tamil Nadu in terms of industrialization, with a higher share of Gross Value Added (GVA) from the factory sector, TN exhibits a more diversified economic structure.
  • Gujarat’s economy, although heavily industrialized, remains less balanced due to its relatively higher dependence on agriculture compared to Tamil Nadu.

Importance of Agriculture in TN:

  • Agriculture plays a crucial role in TN’s economic complexity, with the state boasting the highest contribution from the livestock sub-sector compared to other states in India.
  • This underscores the significance of agriculture diversification within TN’s economy, with notable achievements in the dairy, poultry, and egg processing industries.

Cluster-Based Industrialization:

  • TN’s economic transformation is characterized by the emergence of medium-scale businesses and the development of industrial clusters.
  • These clusters, specializing in various industries such as textiles, engineering goods, and leather, have contributed significantly to employment generation and economic growth, particularly in small urban and peri-urban centers.

Role of Entrepreneurship:

  • Entrepreneurship has been a driving force behind TN’s industrialization, with entrepreneurs from diverse social backgrounds and communities leading the way.
  • While historically dominated by certain communities, such as the Nattukottai Chettiars and Brahmins, TN’s entrepreneurial landscape has evolved to include individuals from peasant stock and provincial mercantile castes, fostering a culture of innovation and economic growth.

Inclusive Growth and Social Progress:

  • TN’s success in achieving industrialization and economic diversification can be attributed to its inclusive growth model, supported by investments in public health and education.
  • This approach has not only facilitated economic development but also contributed to social progress, as evidenced by high social progress indices and widespread entrepreneurship across diverse communities.

Conclusion:

  • Tamil Nadu’s economic complexity, characterized by a diversified economic structure, cluster-based industrialization, and inclusive growth, positions it as a key player in India’s economic landscape.
  • The state’s emphasis on entrepreneurship, coupled with investments in social infrastructure, underscores its resilience and potential for sustained growth amidst evolving economic dynamics.
Dravidian Model of Governance
  • Contribution to Indian Economy: Tamil Nadu’s contribution of nine percent to the Indian economy showcases the state’s robust economic growth.
  • GDP Ranking: Securing the second position in contributing to the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of the nation, with a growth rate of 8.19 percent, surpassing the national average of 7.24 percent.
  • Inflation Control: The state has effectively controlled inflation, with rates falling to 5.97 percent compared to the national figure of 6.65 percent.
  • Export Preparedness: Topping the list of the Export Preparedness Index in the country, with a particular focus on leading in the export of electronic goods.
  • Industrial Investment Climate: Creating a favorable climate for industrial investment, elevating Tamil Nadu to the third position in the country from its previous rank of 14.
  • Education: Achieving the second position in the field of education and securing the first place in innovative industries.
  • Empowerment Initiatives: Prioritizing the welfare of women, young people, persons with disabilities, and marginalized communities, leading to significant improvements in their quality of life.
  • Scheme Implementations: Extensive distribution of assistance to people amounting to ₹6,569.75 crore, including initiatives like the Kalaignar Magalir Urimai Thittam, free bus travel for women, and healthcare schemes benefiting millions of citizens.

 

Practice Question:  Explain the factors contributing to Tamil Nadu’s economic growth and diversification. How does Tamil Nadu’s industrial landscape differ from other states in India? (150 words/10 m)

4. India will get above-average rainfall from southwest monsoon, says IMD

Topic: GS1 – Geography – Important Geophysical phenomena

Critical for UPSC as it covers India’s agricultural outlook, weather forecasting, and understanding climate phenomena like El Nino.

Context
●   The India Meteorological Department forecasts a 6% above-average monsoon with a 30% chance of ‘excess’ rainfall, despite ongoing El Nino conditions.

 Additional information on this news:

  • The India Meteorological Department (IMD) predicts a 6% above-average monsoon rainfall for June-September, despite ongoing El Nino conditions.
  • El Nino is expected to transition to La Nina by June, potentially leading to surplus rainfall in the latter half of the monsoon season.
  • IMD’s forecasting methods include statistical analysis and weather simulations, both indicating a similar outlook for this year’s monsoon.
  • The IMD plans to update its forecast in May, providing more information on the spatial distribution of rainfall.
  • There’s a 30% chance of ‘excess’ rainfall, defined as over 10%, compared to the typical 17% chance.
  • June and July are crucial months for agriculture, but specific rainfall amounts for these months weren’t provided in the briefing.
 More about Southwest Monsoon:

Formation:

●  Onset: The Southwest Monsoon typically begins in late May or early June, marking the arrival of rainy season in India.

●  Origin: The monsoon originates from the Indian Ocean, where warm, moisture-laden air masses are drawn towards the Indian subcontinent.

Factors: Several factors influence the formation of the Southwest Monsoon, including the differential heating of land and sea, the presence of the Himalayas, and the movement of the Intertropical Convergence Zone (ITCZ).

● ITCZ Influence: The ITCZ, a belt of low pressure near the equator, shifts northward during summer, bringing moisture-laden winds from the southern hemisphere towards India.

● Impact of Himalayas: The Himalayan mountain range acts as a barrier, forcing the moisture-laden winds to ascend, cool, and release precipitation, leading to heavy rainfall in the region.

●  Regional Variability: The onset and intensity of the monsoon can vary across different regions of India, influenced by factors such as topography, proximity to the coast, and local wind patterns.

●  Importance: The Southwest Monsoon is vital for agriculture in India, as it provides the majority of the country’s rainfall, supporting crop cultivation and ensuring food security.

●  Monsoon Forecasting: The Indian Meteorological Department (IMD) employs various methods, including statistical models, dynamical models, and historical data analysis, to forecast the onset and progress of the Southwest Monsoon, aiding in preparedness and risk management.

Significance for Indian economy:

● Agricultural Backbone: The Southwest Monsoon is critical for India’s agricultural sector, as it provides around 70% of the country’s annual rainfall, supporting crop cultivation.

●  Food Security: The timely arrival and adequate distribution of monsoon rainfall are essential for ensuring sufficient water supply for crops, thereby maintaining food security for the nation.

●  Economic Contribution: Agriculture accounts for a significant portion of India’s GDP and employs a large percentage of the population, making the monsoon vital for sustaining rural livelihoods and economic stability.

●  Water Resources: Monsoon rains replenish reservoirs, rivers, and groundwater levels, serving as a primary source of water for irrigation, drinking, and industrial purposes throughout the year.

●  Impact on GDP: The performance of the agricultural sector, heavily dependent on the monsoon, directly influences India’s GDP growth rate and overall economic health.

PYQ: What characteristics can be assigned to monsoon climate that succeeds in feeding more than 50 percent of the won population residing in Monsoon Asia?(250 words/15m) (UPSC CSE (M) GS-1 2017)
Practice Question:  How does the India Meteorological Department’s forecast of a potentially ‘excess’ monsoon rainfall for the year, amidst El Nino conditions, impact India’s agricultural sector? Discuss with reference to weather forecasting methods and the implications of climate phenomena. (250 Words /15marks)

 

5.DDA flouts NGT guidelines, continues construction on crowded Yamuna floodplain

Topic: GS3 – Environment – Environmental pollution and degradation

Significant for UPSC as it addresses environmental management, adherence to legal guidelines, and urban development challenges in India.

Context
●   The news reveals Delhi Development Authority’s contentious project of constructing permanent structures on the Yamuna floodplain, despite 2015 NGT guidelines and expert warnings, potentially exacerbating flood risks and environmental concerns.

 Additional information on this news:

  • The Delhi Development Authority (DDA) plans permanent structures on the Yamuna floodplain despite 2015 National Green Tribunal (NGT) guidelines.
  • Last year’s severe floods in Delhi were attributed in part to encroachments on the floodplain reducing water holding capacity and constricting river flow.
  • The DDA’s ‘Restoration and Rejuvenation of River Yamuna Floodplains Project’ includes concrete ghats, sitting areas, a cafe, pool, offices, convention center, and more.
  • The Principal Committee overseeing Yamuna’s floodplain hasn’t met in over 21 months, despite guidelines prohibiting construction without its approval.
  • DDA proceeded with construction at Baansera despite committee disapproval, later gaining approval from a committee lacking independent experts.
  • Concrete structures contradict guidelines, claiming no permanent construction in floodplain during panel meetings.
  • Experts criticise the project for concretizing riverbanks, reducing floodplain’s water-carrying capacity.
  • Suggestions favour restoring natural river forms over concrete embankments, as in the Sabarmati model.
  • DDA defends the project, claiming it frees up previously encroached floodplain areas and includes appropriate vegetation.
  • Despite attempts, DDA and L-G’s office haven’t responded to queries regarding the project’s discrepancies.
 Importance of floodplains for river ecosystem:

● Biodiversity Hotspots: Floodplains support diverse ecosystems, including wetlands, grasslands, and forests, harbouring a rich variety of plant and animal species. These habitats provide breeding grounds, feeding areas, and shelter for numerous organisms, contributing to biodiversity conservation.

● Water Regulation: Floodplains play a crucial role in regulating water flow and reducing flood risk by acting as natural sponges, absorbing excess water during periods of high flow and releasing it slowly during dry seasons. This helps mitigate the impact of floods and droughts, ensuring water availability for both human and ecological needs.

Nutrient Cycling: Floodplains facilitate nutrient cycling by trapping sediments and organic matter carried by rivers during floods. Decomposition of organic material enriches the soil, enhancing fertility and supporting plant growth. Nutrient-rich floodplain soils also sustain productive agricultural lands, benefiting local communities.

● Floodplain Agriculture: Floodplains support agriculture by providing fertile soils and ample water supply, enabling cultivation of crops such as rice, vegetables, and fruits. Traditional floodplain farming practices, such as paddy cultivation, utilise seasonal inundation cycles to enhance crop yields and maintain soil fertility.

● Fisheries and Aquatic Life: Floodplains are vital spawning and nursery grounds for fish and other aquatic species. The seasonal flooding creates diverse aquatic habitats, promoting fish breeding, growth, and migration. This supports local fisheries, sustains livelihoods, and ensures food security for riparian communities.

Erosion Control: Vegetation in floodplains stabilises soil, reduces erosion, and prevents sedimentation in rivers. Root systems of plants bind soil particles, preventing them from being washed away during floods. This helps maintain riverbank integrity, safeguarding infrastructure and preventing land degradation.

Recreational and Cultural Value: Floodplains offer recreational opportunities such as birdwatching, hiking, and nature photography. They also hold cultural significance for indigenous communities, providing spiritual connections, traditional fishing grounds, and ceremonial sites. Protecting floodplains preserves cultural heritage and promotes sustainable tourism.

PYQ: Account for the huge flooding of million cities in India including the smart ones like Hyderabad and Pune. Suggest lasting remedial measures. (250 words/15m) (UPSC CSE (M) GS-1 2020)
Practice Question:  Discuss the ecological significance of floodplains for river ecosystems and their multifaceted roles in supporting biodiversity, water regulation, agriculture, and cultural heritage. (250 Words /15 marks)

6. Scientists grasp at straws to save corals from fish

Topic: GS3 – Environment – Conservation

Significant for UPSC due to its relevance to marine conservation, environmental sustainability, and innovative solutions for ecological restoration.

Context
●  The news highlights efforts by researchers to protect laboratory-grown coral from predatory fish using biodegradable cages, aiming to bolster coral reef restoration projects.

 Additional information on this news:

  • Researchers aim to protect laboratory-grown coral from predatory fish threatening restoration efforts in coral reefs worldwide.
  • Existing methods in South Florida show less than a 40% survival rate due to predation, impacting projects costing over $100 per coral piece.
  • Marine researcher Kyle Pisano and partner Kirk Dotson developed ‘Coral Fort’, a biodegradable cage using drinking straws, boosting survival rates to over 90%.
  • The cage dissolves over time, eliminating the need for maintenance or removal, unlike stainless steel or PVC pipe barriers.
  • ‘Coral Fort’ consists of a limestone disc surrounded by eight vertical drinking straws made from polyhydroxyalkanoate (PHA), derived from canola oil fermentation.
  • The absence of a top allows sunlight for juvenile coral growth while deterring parrot fish, optimising survival rates.
  • Reef Fortify Inc., formed by Dotson and Pisano, aims to scale production of ‘Coral Fort’ to make it more affordable.
More About Coral Reefs:

● Ecosystem Diversity: Coral reefs are diverse underwater ecosystems formed by colonies of tiny marine organisms called coral polyps. They host a wide array of marine life, including fish, invertebrates, and plants, contributing to global biodiversity.

● Habitat and Shelter: Coral reefs provide habitat and shelter for numerous marine species, including fish, crustaceans, and mollusks. The complex structures of reefs offer hiding places, breeding grounds, and food sources for various organisms.

●  Coastal Protection: Coral reefs act as natural barriers, protecting coastlines from erosion, storm surges, and wave action. The physical structure of reefs dissipates wave energy, reducing the impact of storms and preventing coastal erosion.

● Carbon Sink: Coral reefs play a crucial role in carbon sequestration and storage. The calcification process by coral polyps removes carbon dioxide from the water, helping mitigate ocean acidification and climate change.

● Economic Importance: Coral reefs support important economic activities such as tourism, fishing, and pharmaceutical research. Reef-based tourism generates revenue through diving, snorkelling, and recreational activities, while fisheries rely on reefs for sustenance and livelihoods.

●  Cultural Value: Coral reefs hold cultural significance for many coastal communities, serving as sources of food, income, and inspiration for art and folklore. They are integral to the cultural identity and traditions of indigenous peoples and island nations.

Threats and Conservation: Coral reefs face numerous threats, including climate change, ocean acidification, overfishing, pollution, and coral bleaching. Conservation efforts focus on mitigating these threats through marine protected areas, sustainable fishing practices, pollution reduction, and climate change mitigation measures. Protecting coral reefs is essential for maintaining marine biodiversity, supporting coastal livelihoods, and preserving cultural heritage.

PYQ: Assess the impact of global warming on coral life system with examples. (150 words/10m) (UPSC CSE (M) GS-1 2019)
Practice Question:  How can biodegradable cages enhance coral reef restoration efforts and address predatory threats? Discuss with examples. (150 Words /10 marks)

7. How does hydrocarbon extraction happen?

Topic: GS3 – Science and Technology – Development & their applications

Crucial for UPSC due to its relevance to energy security, environmental sustainability, and geological processes in resource management.

Context
●  The news provides an overview of hydrocarbon formation, extraction methods, and environmental challenges, emphasising sustainability in the context of energy production.

 Overview of Hydrocarbon Formation and Location:

  • Over time, geological processes have compressed organic matter into hydrocarbons within underground rock formations.
  • Common forms include natural gas, coal, crude oil, and petroleum, found in underground reservoirs created by overlaying rock types.
  • Petroleum geologists assess rock formations for porosity and permeability to determine hydrocarbon potential.

Accessing Hydrocarbons:

  • Drilling and reservoir engineers extract hydrocarbons by creating production wells using drilling machines.
  • Steel casings lined with cement protect the well from collapsing and prevent fluid intrusion.
  • Modern drilling rigs utilise advanced technology for drilling and monitoring processes.

Extraction Methods:

  • After drilling, completion involves removing the drill string and creating openings in the casing for hydrocarbon flow.
  • Hydrocarbons may naturally flow or require pump jacks to lift them to the surface.
  • Enhanced recovery methods like steam injection are used to maximize extraction.

Well Depletion and Closure:

  • Production phases include primary, secondary, and tertiary methods, depending on natural and artificial pressure differentials.
  • Wells are abandoned or decommissioned based on economic viability and environmental considerations.
  • Improperly plugged or abandoned wells contribute to methane emissions and environmental risks.

Environmental Impact and Challenges:

  • Hydrocarbon extraction and well closure processes contribute to carbon emissions and environmental degradation.
  • Improperly abandoned wells are a significant source of methane emissions, posing environmental risks.
  • Addressing decommissioning challenges and mitigating environmental impacts are crucial for sustainable hydrocarbon extraction.

Conclusion:

  • Hydrocarbon extraction involves complex processes, from geological assessment to extraction and well closure.
  • Balancing economic viability with environmental considerations is essential for sustainable hydrocarbon extraction practices.
PYQ: Petroleum refineries are not necessarily located nearer to crude oil producing areas, particularly in many of the developing countries. Explain its implications. (250 words/15m) (UPSC CSE (M) GS-1 2017)
Practice Question:  Discuss the process of hydrocarbon extraction, its environmental implications, and the challenges associated with sustainable resource management. (250 Words /15 marks)

8. Number of unicorns in India’s start-up ecosystem to rise by a fifth in FY25

Topic: GS3 – Indian Economy – Issues relating to growth.

Relevant to UPSC for understanding India’s entrepreneurial landscape, fintech growth, economic trends, and financial inclusion initiatives.

Context
●   The news discusses the projected increase in unicorns in India’s start-up ecosystem for FY25, highlighting the emergence of ‘soonicorns’ and the dominance of fintech companies, despite financial challenges and cash burn concerns.

Additional information on this news:

  • Indian start-up ecosystem to see a 20% increase in unicorns in FY25, with several ‘soonicorns’ nearing unicorn status.
  • Probables include Bookmyshow, Navi, Paymate, Refyne, Clear, Ind Money, Jupiter, Ninjacart, and Biz on Go.
  • Current valuations range from $600-930 million, with Turtlemint and Paymate closest to unicorn status at over $900 million.
  • Last fiscal year ended with 112 unicorns, including InCred Finance, valued collectively at over $350 billion.
  • ‘Soonicorns’ have a combined valuation of over $15 billion, with fintechs comprising a significant portion.
  • Fintech sector dominates the unicorn landscape, with digital payments growth and government initiatives driving unprecedented growth.
  • Fintechs benefit from RBI’s digital-lending guidelines, attracting investor interest, and addressing financial inclusion challenges.
  • Many ‘soonicorns’ still report losses due to cash burn from staff and marketing expenses, despite increasing revenues.
  • Digital innovation in fintech sector enables broader financial inclusion, bypassing traditional banking systems in developing nations.
  • Despite financial challenges, the growth trajectory of ‘soonicorns’ indicates promising market potential and investor confidence.
 What is a Unicorn Startup?

●     A unicorn startup is a privately-held company valued at over $1 billion.

●     Coined by venture capitalist Aileen Lee in 2013, it represents rare and exceptional success in the startup world.

●     Unicorns are typically disruptive, innovative, and rapidly growing companies.

●     They attract substantial funding from venture capitalists, private equity firms, and other investors.

●     Examples include Uber, Airbnb, SpaceX, and Robinhood, known for transforming industries and generating significant wealth for investors and founders.

●       Some of the Indian Unicorn startups are – Flipkart, Ola, Cred, Policybazaar, BharatPay

●     Unicorn status signifies market dominance, scalability, and potential for high returns on investment.

Practice Question:  Examine the significance of the emerging ‘soonicorns’ in India’s start-up ecosystem, highlighting the dominance of fintech companies and their role in fostering financial inclusion. (250 Words /15 marks)

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