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Current Affairs for UPSC Civil Services Exam – July 09, 2024

Table of contents

{GS1 – Geo – IG – Soil} Soil Moisture Anomaly (SMA) in India

  • Context (DTE): The study, “Unearthing India’s soil moisture anomalies: impact on agriculture and water resource strategies,” analyses the changes in soil moisture levels across India.
  • It compared data from 2023 with historical averages between 2000 and 2005.

Soil Moisture Anomaly (SMA) index

  • It is intended to reflect the soil’s degree of dryness or saturation compared with normal conditions.
  • It shows the influence of soil moisture stress on crop production.
  • Negative SMA indicates drought vulnerability, while positive SMA indicates flood vulnerability.

Findings of study

  • Drought vulnerability: In 2023, about 32.8 per cent of India’s total land area experienced a negative Soil Moisture Anomaly (SMA).
  • Flood vulnerability: Soil moisture levels exceeded the historical average in about 47.7 percent of India’s geographical area, indicating wetter soil conditions than usual.
  • Positive SMA could be used for winter crops, reducing the need for surplus irrigation.
  • Detailed state-wise assessment of seasonal, pre-monsoon, monsoon and post-monsoon SMA was done.
  • It underscores the need for tailored water management policies to optimise agriculture productivity and improve climate resilience.
  • It also highlighted the regional disparities across different seasons and suggested mitigation measures. For example, the rice paddies in West Bengal need more water than the wheat fields in Punjab.

{GS2 – Governance – Police} New Provisions for Police Officers

  • Context (TH): The Bureau of Police Research and Development (BPRD) has issued Standard Operating Procedures to guide police officers in implementing the new provisions under new criminal laws.

First Information Report (FIR) Registration

  • Police stations cannot deny FIR registration due to jurisdictional disputes. They must register a “zero FIR” and transfer it to the appropriate station (Section 173 of the BNSS).
  • FIRs can be filed orally, in writing, or electronically. Electronic FIRs must be signed by the complainant within three days. The e-filing mode will be determined by agencies like CCTNS or police websites.
  • A Zero FIR is a special type that can be filed at any police station, regardless of jurisdiction.

Mandatory Videography

  • The BNSS mandates videography in several scenarios:
    • During police searches (Section 185)
    • At crime scenes (Section 176)
    • When searching for a place or taking possession of property (Section 105)
  • The failure to comply with these provisions may benefit the accused.
  • The National Informatics Centre has developed a cloud-based mobile app called eSakshya to assist enforcement agencies in capturing and geo-tagging photos and videos.

Provisions on Arrest

  • Police stations must prominently display information (physically and digitally) about arrested individuals, including names, addresses, and offences (Section 37 of the BNSS).
  • Section 35(7) of the BNSS introduces restrictions on arresting frail, sick, or elderly persons charged with offences punishable by less than three years’ imprisonment.
  • Permission from a Deputy Superintendent of Police or above is required to arrest someone infirm, elderly, or charged with a minor offence punishable by less than 3 years imprisonment (Section 35(7)).
  • Handcuffs can only be used if there’s a risk of escape or harm to oneself or others (as per SC guidelines).

Investigation Timelines

  • The BNSS introduces new timelines for investigations:
    • Medical reports in rape cases must be forwarded to the Investigating Officer (IO) within seven days.
    • POCSO case investigations must be completed within two months.
    • IOs must inform the informant or victim about the progress of the investigation within 90 days.

Electronic Evidence

  • Section 193(3)(h) emphasises maintaining a clear chain of custody for electronic devices seized as evidence, as they are vulnerable to tampering.

Terrorism Cases

  • Section 113 of the Bharatiya Nyaya Sanhita (BNS) defines a ‘terrorist act’.
  • It empowers officers not below the rank of Superintendent of Police (SP) to decide whether to register a case under this section or the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA).
  • While specific guidelines are not provided, SPs may consider factors such as:
    • Whether the terrorist organisation is notified under the UAPA
    • Estimated time needed to complete the investigation
    • The rank of the IO and the level of scrutiny required
    • The perceived danger posed by the accused

{GS2 – IR – Russia-Ukraine} Russia’s ‘high income’ rating despite sanctions **

  • Context (IE): The World Bank has upgraded Russia from an ‘upper-middle income’ country to a ‘high-income’ one, a status it last had in 2014.

A map of the world Description automatically generated

Credit: IE

Russia’s economic resilience

  • In nominal terms, Russia ranks 72nd globally in per-capita GNI and 53rd in purchasing power parity.
  • The increase in real (3.6%) and nominal (10.9%) GDP was caused by growth in trade (+6.8%), the financial sector (+8.7%), and construction (+6.6%).
  • World Bank suggested that economic activity in Russia was influenced by a large increase in military-related activity in 2023.

Why sanctions didn’t work?

  • Oil and gas exports: Sanctions on Russia are not as stringent as they were on Iran or Venezuela. Russia’s fossil fuel exports to Western Europe have fallen, but export volumes have remained relatively steady.
  • Investment: It has recovered from the drop in 2022, adding an estimated 4.5 percentage points to the growth in GDP in 2023, mainly due to:
    • Increased resources flowing to the country’s defence and manufacturing sectors.
    • Domestic goods are substituting some imports, resulting in investments in new production facilities.
    • Some MNCs have stayed back, hoping the war will end and sanctions will be lifted.
  • Consumption: Recovery in private consumption added 2.9 percentage points to GDP growth driven by buoyant credit and a strong labour market (unemployment rate only 3%).
    • Monetary incentives for military recruitment have let consumers carry on with their spending.
  • Government spending: Fiscal impulse estimated at 1.2 percentage points of GDP in 2023. Defence spending in Russia has been ramped up to an estimated 7% of GDP.
  • Sanction manoeuvre: Learning from past sanctions, Russian policymakers have learned to manoeuvre around these punitive measures.
  • Central Bank role: Hawkish monetary policies of the Russian central bank also stimulated the economy.

World Bank’s income rankings

  • The World Bank classifies economies into four groups based on per-capita gross national income (GNI) in US dollars: low, lower-middle, upper-middle, and high.
  • Criteria for high-income countries: $14,005 or more per person.
  • Russia, Bulgaria and Palau upgraded their status to “high-income countries“.

Improvement in Ukraine’s ranking

  • Ukraine improved its status from a lower-middle-income country to an upper-middle-income country.
  • However, this was purely because of the base effect and a resumption of economic activity in the country’s western and northern parts, partly due to the war.

{GS2 – Polity – Inter-State Disputes} Kalasa-Banduri project

  • Context (DTE): A team from the Progressive River Authority for Water and Harmony (PRAWAH), the central authority for the Mahadayi River, visited Belagavi district in Karnataka.
  • They discussed the Kalasa and Banduri projects in detail, including survey plans.

Mahadayi River Dispute

  • The Mahadayi River, also known as Mandovi or Mhadei, has been at the centre of a four-decade-old dispute between Karnataka and Goa.
  • The conflict began in 1985 when Karnataka proposed a 350-megawatt hydroelectric project to divert more than 50% of the river’s water for irrigation.
  • Goa, as the lower riparian state, has consistently opposed this water diversion scheme.
  • The Mahadayi Water Tribunal was established under the Interstate River Water Disputes Act in 2010.
  • In 2018, the tribunal allocated water usage among the three states: Goa (24 tmcft), Karnataka (5.4 tmcft), and Maharashtra (1.33 tmcft). Karnataka appealed this decision to the Supreme Court.
  • Karnataka was allowed to draw extra water also for power generation. Despite the verdict, Karnataka hasn’t received any water due to the ongoing dispute.

A map of a river Description automatically generated

Credits: Wikimedia

Environmental Concerns and Project Revisions

  • Goa raises concerns about deforestation due to the project.
  • Karnataka maintains a revised project report that minimises forest impact and ensures reforestation.
  • Goa has also claimed the project would impact tiger conservation, despite reports from the National Tiger Conservation Authority suggesting no evidence of tiger presence in the Kanakumbi forest.
  • The PRAWAH team’s visit aims to assess whether Karnataka has begun construction, gather information about natural water flow and distribution, and verify claims about tiger reserves.

Kalasa-Banduri Project

  • The Karnataka government’s Kalasa-Banduri Project proposes to divert water from the Mandovi River via the Kalasa and Banduri canals into the Malaprabha River.
  • It aims to provide drinking water to parts of four districts: Dharwad, Belagavi, Bagalkote, and Gadag.
  • The entire project envisions the construction of 11 dams on the Mandovi River.
  • Goa claims the project threatens to disrupt the Western Ghats, a mega biodiversity hotspot, by affecting the flow of macronutrients and impacting the flora and fauna in the Mahadayi Wildlife Sanctuary.
  • Goa argues that the diversion would increase tidal base water, affecting residents along the Surla River and depleting underground water sources.

{GS3 – Envi – Conservation} Cabinet Approval for BBNJ Agreement Signing

  • It is an international treaty under the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS).
  • It addresses growing concerns over the long-term protection of marine biodiversity in the high seas.
  • It is a significant step towards the conservation and sustainable use of marine biological diversity in areas beyond national jurisdiction, commonly known as the ‘High Seas’.
  • The Ministry of Earth Sciences will implement the BBNJ Agreement in India.

Key Features

  • It adopts an inclusive, integrated, and ecosystem-centric approach based on the precautionary principle.
  • It promotes using traditional knowledge alongside the best available scientific knowledge.
  • It helps minimise impacts on the marine environment through area-based management tools and establishes rules for conducting environmental impact assessments.
  • It is expected to achieve several Sustainable Development Goals, particularly SDG14 (Life Below Water).
  • The BBNJ Agreement will be the third implementation agreement under UNCLOS, joining the 1994 Agreement on Deep Seabed Mineral Resources and the 1995 UN Fish Stocks Agreement.

{GS3 – Envi – Conservation} Spotted Hyenas Outcompeting Leopards

  • Context (DTE): Spotted hyenas are increasingly out-competing leopards in a Tanzanian protected area.
  • Concern: This could disrupt ecosystem balance, potentially leading to overpopulation of prey species normally controlled by leopards.

Reasons for Spotted Hyenas Outcompeting Leopards

  • Social Structure: Spotted hyenas live in groups called ‘clans’ or ‘cackles’, which enable cooperative hunting and defence strategies. But leopards are solitary animals except during mating season.
  • Human Tolerance: Hyenas are tolerated by local communities because they scavenge on dead or sick livestock and generally avoid conflict with humans. In contrast, leopards are often hunted or persecuted for attacking livestock and occasionally threatening human safety.
  • Kleptoparasitism: Hyenas are ‘kleptoparasitic‘, stealing kills from other predators, including leopards. This allows them to gain food without spending energy on hunting, giving them a competitive edge.
  • Size and Physical Competition: Larger, more powerful male leopards can defend against hyenas. But they must give way to their rivals in human-dominated areas with richer resources.
  • Behaviour Change: Female leopards are smaller than males and more vulnerable to hyenas. So, female leopards completely change their behaviour and become diurnal, as hyenas are nocturnal.
  • Adaptability: Hyenas are adaptable to various environmental conditions and human-altered landscapes.

Spotted Hyena or Laughing Hyena

  • One of Africa’s most successful hunters. They are the largest of three hyena species in the world.
  • Distribution: They are found across sub-Saharan Africa.
  • Habitat: They inhabit various habitats, from savannas and grasslands to forest edges.
  • They live in large groups called clans (up to 80 individuals), led by females.
  • Have good hearing and sharp eyesight at night. Fast runners and can run for long distances without tiring.
  • Known for strong jaws & ability to crush bones. Make various sounds, including distinctive “laughing”.
  • Conservation Status: IUCN: LC

{GS3 – IE – Banking} RBI Calls for Action on CDR and Banking Sector Risks

  • Context (ET): RBI expressed concern over the persistent higher credit growth than deposit mobilisation, which could potentially risk business sustainability.
  • RBI has instructed banks to find ways to reduce their credit-deposit ratio.
  • The meeting also covered topics such as mule accounts and cybersecurity risks.
  • Mule accounts are bank accounts used to transfer illegally acquired money on behalf of others.

Credit-Deposit Ratio Concerns

  • The RBI’s latest financial stability report warned that credit growth exceeding 18% could lead to higher impairments, given the prolonged trend of credit growth outpacing deposit mobilisation.
  • As of June 2024, sectoral credit growth stood at 15.6% year-on-year, while deposit growth lagged at 12.1%, which led many banks to offload their government securities to fund credit growth.

Credit-Deposit Ratio

  • The credit-deposit ratio is a measure that indicates how much a bank lends out of the deposits it has mobilised. CDR = (Total Loans / Total Deposits) × 100.
  • A lower ratio suggests the bank has more liquidity, while a higher ratio indicates less liquidity.
  • A very high CDR indicate that the bank is taking on risk by lending out a larger portion of its deposits.
  • It reflects how much of the bank’s deposits are being used for lending (banks’ primary source of income).

{GS3 – IE – Securities} Uniform Charge Structure for Stock Market Institutions

  • Context (TH): SEBI has issued a directive requiring stock exchanges and other market institutions to implement a uniform and equal charge structure for all members, regardless of transaction volume.
  • Stock exchanges traditionally levy transaction fees on stockbrokers based on volume. Brokers with higher trading volumes pay lower fees per transaction.

Need for SEBI’s Intervention

  • It aims to create a “level playing field” for all brokers, as charges cannot be based on transaction volume.
  • There was a discrepancy between the charges collected by brokers daily and those paid to exchanges monthly, resulting in brokers collecting more than they paid to exchanges.
  • SEBI was concerned about potential misleading disclosures to clients regarding exchange charges.
  • It is believed the current charge structure could hinder equal and fair access for all market participants.

Key Points on the Directive

  • The regulator has mandated that charges recovered from end clients must be “true to label,” ensuring that exchanges receive the exact amount instituted on the end client through brokers.
  • SEBI has asked for consideration of existing per-unit transaction charges to potentially benefit end clients through reduced charges.

Potential Impact on Stockbrokers

  • The difference between what brokers collect from clients and pay to exchanges is a significant revenue stream for some brokers. The impact will vary depending on a broker’s reliance on this income stream and the existence of alternative revenue sources.
  • Discount brokers, who often rely heavily on volume-based discounts, are expected to be most affected.
  • E.g. Zerodha earns ~10% of its revenue from the difference of charges paid and collected. In FY24, this difference constituted a small percentage of Geojit Financial’s total income and profit before tax.

{GS3 – IS – Bodies} National Security Council

  • Context (IE): The centre has appointed Rajinder Khanna, former RAW chief, as Additional National Security Adviser (ANSA), a newly created post.

Key changes in the structure of NSCS

  • The Centre restructured the reporting relationships both within the National Security Council Secretariat (NSCS) and between the National Security Advisor (NSA) and the Union ministries.
  • The NSA now presides over a much bigger organisation, with an ANSA and three deputy NSAs. His new role appears more advisory and less operational.
  • The NSA would deal with advisory outfits such as the National Security Advisory Board and the Strategic Policy Group.
  • The Chief of Defence Staff (CDS) and the three service chiefs, the Union defence, home, foreign and other secretaries, are also required to report to the NSA alongwith daily reporting to a minister.
  • ANSA would now be the gatekeeper in the communication chain between six mid-level unit heads (three Dy NSAs and three service officers) and the NSA.

National Security Advisor (NSA)

  • The National Security Advisor (NSA) is the senior member of the Indian National Security Council and the Prime Minister’s principal foreign and national security policy advisor.
  • He receives all intelligence reports (R&AW and IB) and coordinates their presentation to the PM.
  • He participates in high-level diplomatic conversations on security issues.
  • He serves as the Secretary of the Prime Minister-led National Security Council.

National Security Council Secretariat (NSCS)

  • It is overseen by the Prime Minister and operates with NSA as its secretary. It serves as the apex body for all matters concerning internal and external security.
  • It has four verticals:
    1. Strategic Planning;
    2. Internal Affairs;
    3. Intelligence and Technology;
    4. Military.

National Security Council (NSC)

  • The National Security Council (NSC) of India is a three-tiered organisation that oversees political, economic, energy and security issues of strategic concern.
  • It was set up by the Vajpayee government in 1998 following the nuclear tests by India & Pakistan.
  • Before that national security functions were carried out by the Principal Secretary to the PM.
  • It operates within the executive office of the Prime Minister of India, liaising between the government’s executive branch and the intelligence services, advising leadership on intelligence and security issues.
  • Members: National Security Advisor (NSA), the Deputy and Additional National Security Advisors, the Ministers of Defence, External Affairs, Home, Finance of the Government of India, and the Vice Chairman of the NITI Aayog. The military has no representation in this tier.
  • The NSC is headed by the Prime Minister. The National Security Adviser (NSA) acts as the secretary of the NSC. (Brajesh Mishra was the first NSA).
  • Headquarters: New Delhi
  • Its primary objective is to provide authoritative and holistic assessments of India’s security challenges across military, internal security, economic, technological, and external relations domains.

Organisational Structure

  • The three-tier structure of the NSC comprises of:
    1. Strategic Policy Group,
    2. National Security Advisory Board and
    3. Secretariat from the Joint Intelligence Committee.
Strategic Policy Group (SPG)
  • It is the principal mechanism for inter-ministerial coordination and integration of relevant inputs in formulating national security policies.
  • It is headed by the NSA. Earlier, it was headed by the Cabinet Secretary.
  • It includes the chiefs of the Armed Forces, the Intelligence Bureau and Research and Analysis Wing.
  • Its main task is to make policy recommendations to the National Security Council.
  • The Cabinet Secretary coordinates the implementation of SPG decisions by the Union Ministries and departments and State governments.
National Security Advisory Board (NSAB)
  • It advises the Council on issues relating to national security that the Council may refer to.
  • It consists of a convenor and other persons of eminence outside the government with expertise in foreign affairs, external security, defence and armed forces, strategic analysis, etc.
  • The NSAB undertakes long-term analysis and provides perspectives on issues of national security.
  • The first NSAB was set up in 1998 with K. Subrahmanyam as its convener.

Learn in detail about National Security Strategy.

{GS3 – S&T – Tech} Diamonds and Quantum Technology**

  • Context (TH): The Customs Department’s restrictions on diamond imports are hindering India’s National Quantum Mission (NQM), an initiative to advance quantum technologies.

Quantum Technology

  • Quantum technology is a field of science and engineering that utilises the principles of quantum mechanics (fundamental theory describing nature at the atomic and subatomic scales).
  • It is used to develop superior quantum computers, sensors, encryption systems, etc.

Use of Diamond in Quantum Technology

  • Diamonds normally consist of carbon atoms arranged in a crystal structure called diamond cubic.
  • However, the atomic structure of some diamonds sometimes has two missing carbon atoms (defects). They are substituted by a nitrogen atom and a ‘hole’. This is called a ‘nitrogen-vacancy’ centre.
  • These ‘centres’ are very sensitive to the slightest variations in magnetic fields
  • An electron at such a centre can be individually tweaked and made to behave like a qubit.

Qubits

  • Quantum computers use qubits (quantum bits) as the basic unit of information.
  • Binary bits can represent either 0 or 1, but qubits can exist in a superposition of states, meaning they can represent both 0 and 1 simultaneously. This allows qubits to carry more information.
  • This property also allows quantum computers to perform multiple calculations parallelly.

Lab Grown Diamonds Over Natural Diamonds

  • Quantum scientists prefer lab-grown diamonds over natural diamonds because:
    • Controlled Defects: Lab-grown diamonds can be engineered with nitrogen-vacancy centres, offering precise and tailored properties for quantum applications.
    • Scalability and Reliability: Lab-grown diamond production scales predictably, ensuring reliable supply for research and development, unlike natural diamond mining.
    • Ethical and Environmental Impact: Lab-grown diamonds are more ethical and environmentally friendly than mined diamonds, promoting sustainable practices in R&D.

Issue in India

  • Indian diamantaires are not yet equipped to make diamonds with quantum-research-ready ‘defects.’
  • The diamonds with the appropriate defects have to be imported from Europe or the US.
  • However, research facilities cannot import these diamonds as they are not classified as gemologists according to India’s customs laws.
  • They have to buy it from the import and export companies in India that are licensed to import diamonds.
  • This increases the cost and hinders the R&D of quantum technology in India.

{Prelims – In News} Coffee Prices in India and El Nino

  • Context (DTE): Increased demand for Indian coffee in the international market has surged the prices of robusta coffee beans and equalled them to premium arabica beans in India.
  • This increase in demand is due to drought caused by El Nino, which has affected the production of major producers like Brazil and Vietnam.

Arabica

  • Two main varieties of coffee grown in India are Arabica and Robusta.

For details on Coffee, visit > Coffee

Feature Arabica Robusta
Flavour Milder, smoother, aromatic Stronger, harsher, bitter
Market Value Higher Lower
Caffeine Content Lower (1.2% by weight) Higher (2.4% by weight)
Use Single-origin coffees, blends Blends (strength, crema, caffeine), instant coffee
Growing Altitude Higher Lower
Climate Cool, equable (15-25°C) Hot, humid (20-30°C)
Farming Suitability Large holdings Any size farm
Pest & Disease Resistance Lower (susceptible to White Stem Borer, leaf rust, etc.) Higher
Shade Requirement More shade Less shade
Harvest Season Nov-Jan Dec-Feb
  • The major coffee-producing states are Karnataka (70% of the total output), Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, and Odisha.

{Prelims – Bio – Diseases} Contagious virus found in kimchi

  • Context (IE): Kimchi contaminated with norovirus caused thousands of deaths in a South Korean city.
  • Since kimchi is typically consumed raw, any norovirus present won’t be killed during preparation.
  • Kimchi is a traditional Korean side dish consisting of salted and fermented vegetables.

Norovirus

  • It is a pathogen that can cause foodborne illness. It’s a hardy virus that thrives in the human gut and is shed in large amounts in the stool and vomit of infected individuals.
  • Transmission: These body fluids can cause further transmission. Contamination can occur during preparation or fermentation if an infected person handles the ingredients without proper handwashing.
  • Common symptoms: Nausea, Vomiting, diarrhoea, Abdominal cramps, Low-grade fever, Headache, Body aches, and rarely death.
  • Period of infection: Symptoms typically appear within 12-48 hours of exposure and can last 1-3 days.
  • Vulnerable population: More severe in young children, elderly & persons with compromised immunity.
  • Prevention: Personal Hygiene, safe and clean water, disinfection of surfaces and storage at appropriate temperature to prevent bacterial growth.

{Prelims – Envi – Species} Brown Palm Civet (Paradoxurus jerdoni)

A map of a river Description automatically generated

  • The brown palm civet (Paradoxurus jerdoni) also called the Jerdon’s palm civet is a palm civet endemic to the Western Ghats of India.
  • Physical description: It has a uniformly brown pelage, darker around the head, neck, shoulder, legs, and tail. Unlike other civets, brown palm civets have no distinct facial markings.
  • Distinctive feature: Reversed direction of hair growth on the nape, similar to the golden palm civet.
  • Distribution: From Castle Rock in Goa to the southern tip of the Western Ghats in Kalakkad Mundanthurai Tiger Reserve.
  • Habitat: They are nocturnal, arboreal, small carnivores that thrive in the high-altitude tropical rainforests of the Western Ghats in India. They prefer an altitudinal range of 500 to 1,300 m.
  • Diet: They are predominantly frugivorous, with a diet consisting of 97% fruit.
  • Conservation Status: IUCN: Least Concern | CITES: Appendix III
  • Ecological significance: Their ability to disperse seeds over an extensive range and thrive in fragmented habitats could play a role in restoring patches of degraded forest in the Western Ghats.

Brown Palm Civet (Paradoxurus jerdoni) · iNaturalistA map of the country Description automatically generated

Credits: iNaturalist

{Prelims – In News} ISI mark for Utensils

  • Context (PIB): The Government of India has mandated ISI marking by the Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS) for stainless steel and aluminium utensils.
  • The Department for Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade (DPIIT), Ministry of Commerce and Industry issued the Quality Control Order regarding it.

Stainless Steel Utensils: Durability and Elegance

  • It is a steel alloy with chromium and other metals such as nickel, molybdenum, and manganese.
  • The BIS has codified these attributes in the Indian Standard IS 14756:2022, comprising:
    • Material Requirements ensuring the safe composition.
    • Shapes and Dimensions provide uniformity and practicality.
    • Workmanship and Finish mandating high-quality craftsmanship and aesthetics.
    • Performance Parameters include tests like staining, mechanical shock, thermal shock, dry heat, coating thickness, nominal capacity, and flame stability tests.

Aluminium Utensils: Lightweight and Efficient

  • The BIS has developed the Indian Standard IS 1660:2024, which outlines the specifications for wrought and cast aluminium utensils up to 30 litres in capacity.
  • It also includes standards for hard anodised and non-stick unreinforced plastic coating.
  • Key elements of the IS 1660:2024:
    • Covers the overall quality and thickness of materials used.
    • Classification and Material Grades.
    • Details the shapes, dimensions, and workmanship needed for high-quality utensils.
    • Performance Tests, including specific tests for aluminium lunch boxes.

{Prelims – Sci – Bio} Cognitive Test

  • Context (IE): Amid concern over Joe Biden’s fitness to stay in the race for the White House, there have been calls for the President to take a cognitive test to determine the level of his mental acuity.
  • A cognitive test checks for problems with certain brain functions called “cognition” (cognitive impairment). Cognition includes thinking, learning, remembering, and using judgment and language.
  • Cognitive testing is a structured and validated process that seeks to identify deficits, the reasons for their occurrence, and the spheres of the subject’s brain they affect.
  • It is recommended for people who have memory deficits, think they are losing memory or becoming forgetful, have difficulty focusing or in judgment, etc.
  • Cognitive testing is often used to screen older adults for mild cognitive impairment).
  • The test is basically like an exam in which a psychologist checks functions such as memory, retention, language functioning, calculating ability, and special organising ability to evaluate the functioning of individual brain parts responsible for each of these mental functions.
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