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The Hindu Editorial Analysis | 26th July ’21 | PDF Download

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  • China Building World’s First Waterless Nuclear Reactor Using Thorium
    • Molten-salt nuclear reactor
    • Could be deployed in desert-like regions and help power homes of larger populations
    • Powered by liquid thorium
    • Thorium is also relatively safer when compared with uranium, as, it is known to solidify quite quickly when exposed to open air.
  • The molten reactor system works by letting liquid thorium to flow through the reactor, allowing for a nuclear chain reaction to commence while transferring the heat to a steam generator outside.
  • The thorium then returns to the reactor and the cycle continues.

  • The concept to use liquid salt instead of uranium was first conceptualized in the 1940s, however, earlier iterations faced numerous problems such as corrosion and cracking of pipes that transfer the molten salts.
  • However, in recent years, developments in the field have made molten salt reactors far more feasible.
  • China aims to build its first molten salt reactor by the end of this decade — 2030 — and the national government aims to build several of such reactors in deserts of central and western China.
  • 22nd Anniversary of Kargil Vijay Diwas being celebrated across country today
  • PM Modi calls upon countrymen to move forward with mantra of ‘Nation First, Always First’
  • Over 43.31 crore COVID vaccine doses administered in country so far under Nationwide Vaccination Drive
  • Nine tourists killed in landslide incident at Kinnaur district of Himachal Pradesh
  • Olympics Update: Sindhu, Mary Kom win their round 1; Panwar, Deepak crash out of 10 meter Air Rifle; India lose 1-7 to Australia in hockey
  • PM Modi congratulates people as Kakatiya Rudreshwara Temple inscribed as UNESCO World Heritage Site
  • HM Amit Shah inaugurates various schemes in Guwahati
  • PM Modi announces Rs. 2 lakh ex-gratia for kin of those killed in Kinnaur landslides
  • Tap water supply reaches to 66% schools, 60% anganwadi centres in villages across country
  • Health Ministry organises communication awareness workshop with Community Radio Stations
  • US Secretary of State Antony Blinken to arrive in New Delhi on Wednesday
  • Indian embassy in Kabul issues security advisory for Indian nationals living in Afghanistan
  • One crore people to be given COVID vaccine each month: Bangladesh Health Minister
  • Japan sends 2.45 lakh AstraZeneca COVID vaccines to Bangladesh, 3 million doses to follow
  • Indian Railways’ Oxygen Express arrives in Bangladesh

New cabinet’s new job | ToI

  • Electricity (Amendment) Bill, 2021 and Deposit Insurance
  • Credit Guarantee Corporation (Amendment) Bill, 2021
  • The former would make electricity distribution markets competitive and the latter financial markets.
  • India needs a new legislation in place of the archaic University Grants Commission (UGC) Act of 1956.
  • FM Nirmala Sitharaman had promised this reform as far back as July 5, 2019.
  • A draft legislation for setting up Higher Education Commission of India (HECI) was also promised by FM
  • A modern-day economy cannot be built on a higher education system governed by a 65-year-old legislation.
  • The UK, after which we had modelled our higher education system, got rid of its own University Grants Committee as far back as 1983.

  • Open doors for foreign universities
  • The current system of establishing new universities by state or central government legislation must be replaced by one that allows entry based on pre-specified norms and criteria that the HECI would set.
  • Urgent progress is required towards privatisation of central public-sector enterprises (CPSEs).
  • It is highly disconcerting that despite approval by the Cabinet since 2016, we have not seen a single CPSE privatised.
  • Possibly, this was because the Department of Public Enterprises (DPE), which formulates policy for CPSEs, and the Department of Investment and Public Asset Management, which is responsible for their privatisation, were housed in different ministries.
  • But now that DPE has been moved to the finance ministry, the two departments are under the same ministry.
  • With a major roadblock thus removed, FM must see to it that at least a few CPSEs get transferred to private hands within the current fiscal year.
  • A specific CPSE whose privatisation carries great significance is Air India.  Its current debt exceeds $10 billion, of which $3.5 billion has been added in the last three years alone.
  • The government must also deliver on the privatisation of banks.
  • The Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code has at long last genuinely empowered creditors and begun to yield speedy resolution of large, complex cases of bankruptcy.
  • But poorly-run public-sector banks remain a weak link in the process, resulting in low recoveries in many instances.
  • Finally, simplification, rationalisation and an end to exemption raj applied to corporate profit tax system must now be extended to personal income taxation.
  • The idea should not be to extract maximum revenue from those who pay and let evaders get away.
  • A good tax system is one with a broad base and moderate tax rates so as not to disincentivise work effort and incentivise tax evasion.
  • Likewise, it is necessary to eliminate the differences in tax rates on incomes derived from sales of assets depending on the type of asset and period for which it is held.
  • Today, profits on shares in listed companies held for one year or longer are classified as long-term capital gains (LTCG) and taxed at the rate of 11.5%.
  • But profits on shares in unlisted companies and real estate are classified as LTCG only if held for two or more years and are taxed at rates of 20% or more.
  • Such differences distort investment incentives across different classes of assets and lack a clear economic rationale.

Military Convergence Formula | TH

  • The Chief of Defence Staff General Bipin Rawat’s recent description of the Indian Air Force (IAF) as a supporting arm — in an interview on July 2.
  • The IAF chief Air Chief Marshal R.K.S. Bhadauria’s rebuttal
  • Armies and navies will see air power as an adjunct, history being the reason.
  • From Vietnam to Afghanistan, air power failed to deliver the promised results to the U.S. But everyone acknowledges how greatly air power can aid victories though.
  • The IAF is 25% short on fighter squadrons.
  • A pan service shortage of about 400 pilots, almost 10% of their authorised strength, further aggravates this.
  • Vulnerabilities should be known to all stakeholders.
  • The 67-year-old naval air arm figures among the top 10 air forces of the world.
  • Confidence needs to be developed that rightly staffed apex joint organisations can draw up professional operational plans for air power.
  • With dwindling budgets, a steadily deteriorating security situation and the march of technology, the armed forces understand the need to synergise.
  • The need for a comprehensive National Security Strategy to guide the services develop capacities required in their respective domains.
  • The need to transform professional education and inter-service employment to nurture genuine respect for others.
  • The armed forces must resolve their differences among themselves, as the politicians or bureaucrats cannot do it.
  • Ensure good quality staff, in adequate numbers, at apex joint organisations, to reassure individual services and those in the field that they are in safe hands.
  • Acceptance of the fact that what works for other countries need not work for us.

A climate risk | TH

  • For most of last week, all-India rainfall has been over 50% more than what is normal for this time of the year.
  • Many regions in the Konkan coast and the southern peninsula have been seeing instances of extreme rainfall.
  • According to India Meteorological Department (IMD) data on the regional distribution, the ‘South Peninsula’ has seen 29% more rain from June 1-July 25 than what is normal for this period.
  • Rainfall in Mahabaleshwar, Maharashtra, was torrential enough to beat its all-time record, according to the IMD.
  • Much evidence is accumulating that there is a distinctive change in climate patterns.
  • The frequency and the strength of cyclones over the Arabian Sea have increased in the last two decades.
  • There has been a 52% increase in the frequency of cyclones over the Arabian Sea from 2001-2019 and an 8% decrease over the Bay of Bengal compared to 1982-2002, when, historically, most cyclones have been in the Bay of Bengal, according to a new study in Climate Dynamics.
  • Even the duration of these cyclones has increased by 80%.
  • More cyclones are bringing in more moisture from the Arabian Sea and contributing to extreme rainfall events over the western coast, the most recent example being cyclone Tauktae in May, which at 185 kilometres per hour was among the strongest cyclones to approach Mumbai.
  • Studies show that a heating globe has increased atmospheric moisture levels, contributing to short, intense spells of rains.
  • The interaction between warming, rainfall and temperature is complex and variables such as aerosol emissions, particulate matter pollution, agriculture and forestry patterns must be accounted for.
  • But the bigger challenge is to undertake so-called climate-proofing of the most vulnerable regions and taking warnings of scientific risk assessment seriously.
  • Four years after an inter-ministerial committee recommended that India launch fiat money in digital form, the Reserve Bank of India has indicated that pilot projects to figure out its viability are likely to be launched soon.
  • The much-awaited Cryptocurrency and Regulation of Official Digital Currency Bill, 2021, is yet to be introduced.
  • China, having already engaged in pilot projects for its digital RMB, is in fact planning a major roll-out soon.
  • There are crucial decisions to be made about the design of the currency with regards to how it will be issued, the degree of anonymity it will have, the kind of technology that is to be used, and so on.
  • While official digital currencies can borrow the underlying technology feature of private cryptocurrencies, they significantly differ from the latter in their philosophy and goals.
  • Also to be considered are possible impacts of the introduction of an official digital currency on people, the monetary policy, and the banking system.
  • There are risks to be considered as well, not the least of which will be those emerging from cyberattacks.
  • What is more, many laws need to be amended to make the digital rupee a reality.
  • So, while India might have done exceedingly well in digital payments in recent years — the Deputy Governor said they have grown at a compounded annual growth rate of 55% over the last five years — the digital rupee will be something else altogether.

Q.) Who was the first Indian woman to receive Olympic medal?

  1. Mary Kom
  2. Karnam Malleswari
  3. Sakshi Malik
  4. Saina Nehwal

Q.) Mirabai Chanu won a silver medal in the 49 kg weightlifting category at the Tokyo Olympics. Who won the gold?

  1. Hou Zhihui
  2. Aisah Windy Cantika
  3. Fang Wan-Ling
  4. Sterckx Nina

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