IAS Gyan

Daily News Analysis


9th October, 2019


Thaw in chill, Beijing to Delhi: Xi’s visit is on

Ending days of suspense over the fate of the proposed second India-China informal summit, Beijing has officially confirmed to New Delhi about Chinese President Xi Jinping’s visit to India on October 11 and 12.

Reasons of suspense :

-       Chinese ambassador to Pakistan had said that China will stand by the Pakistan’s resolution on Jammu & Kashmir.

-       India had considered it departure from earlier stated Chinese position which considered it as a bilateral matter between India and Pakistan.

-       It was violation of the Wuhan Spirit and an interference in internal matter of India.

Further developments:

-       Chinese ambassador to India highlighted people to people contact & cultural issues and economic and trade cooperation between two countries.

-       He highlighted about investment of more than 1000 companies over worth $8 billion and generation of 2 lakh jobs.

-       Export from India to China grew by 15 % in last 5 years.

-       1 million mutual visits per year and 2 rounds of High-Level P2P & Cultural Exchanges mechanism meeting undertook within people to people & cultural ties.

For the record, China refrained from making an official announcement about President Xi Jinping’s scheduled visit to India and maintained that India and China have a “tradition” of high-level exchanges and two sides were maintaining communication on high level exchanges in the next phase.

About Wuhan Summit:

-       It was  first Informal Summit in Wuhan on April 27-28, 2018, to exchange views on overarching issues of bilateral and global importance.

-       It focussed on their respective visions and priorities for national development in the context of the current and future international situation.

-       Both countries expected peaceful , stable and balanced relations for stable neighbourhood.

-       They agreed for proper management of bilateral relations for Asian century.

-       They agreed to significantly enhance efforts to build on the convergences through the established mechanisms in order to create the broadest possible platform for the future relationship.

-       The two leaders further directed their militaries to earnestly implement various confidence building measures agreed upon between the two sides, including the principle of mutual and equal security, and strengthen existing institutional arrangements and information sharing mechanisms to prevent incidents in border regions.

-       They reiterated the importance of building an open, multipolar, pluralist and participatory global economic order which will enable all countries to pursue their development and contribute to the elimination of poverty and inequality in all regions of the world.

-       The two leaders highly assessed the opportunity for direct, free and candid exchange of views offered by the Informal Summit and agreed on the utility of holding more such dialogues in the future.

Reference : https://indianexpress.com/article/india/thaw-in-chill-beijing-to-delhi-xis-visit-is-on-6059721/


Explained: How plan for clean air works

Starting October 15, some stricter measures to fight air pollution will come into force in Delhi’s neighbourhood, as part of the Graded Response Action Plan (GRAP).

The action plan has already been in effect for two years in Delhi and the National Capital Region (NCR).

About GRAP ( Graded Response Action Plan )

Approved by the Supreme Court in 2016, the plan was formulated after several meetings that the Environment Pollution (Prevention and Control) Authority (EPCA) held with state government representatives and experts.

-       GRAP works only as an emergency measure.

-       As such, the plan does not include action by various state governments to be taken throughout the year to tackle industrial, vehicular and combustion emissions.

-       When the air quality shifts from poor to very poor, the measures listed under both sections have to be followed since the plan is incremental in nature.

Importance of GRAP:

-       It created a step-by-step plan for the entire Delhi-NCR region

-       It brought  on board several agencies: all pollution control boards, industrial area authorities, municipal corporations, regional officials of the India Meteorological Department, and others.

Procedure of enacting GRAP:

-       Before the imposition of any measures, EPCA holds a meeting with representatives from all NCR states, and a call is taken on which actions has to be made applicable in which town.

-       Last year, the ban on using diesel generator sets was implemented only in Delhi.

-       This year, it is being extended to a few NCR towns. Rural areas are, however, being left out of this stringent measure because of unreliable power supply.

Impact of GRAP:

-       The biggest success of GRAP has been in fixing accountability and deadlines.

-       coordination among as many as 13 agencies from four states is simplified to a degree because of the clear demarcation of responsibilities.

-       It led to closure of the thermal power plant at Badarpur.

-       It brought BS-VI fuel to Delhi before the deadline set initially.

-       It banned pet coke as fuel in NCR.

Measures under GRAP:

Severe+ or Emergency  (PM 2.5 over 300 µg/cubic metre or PM10 over 500 µg/cu. m. for 48+ hours)

-       Stop entry of trucks into Delhi (except essential commodities)

-       Stop construction work

-       Introduce odd/even scheme for private vehicles and minimise exemptions

-       Task Force to decide any additional steps including shutting of schools

Severe (PM 2.5 over 250 µg/cu. m. or PM10 over 430 µg/cu. m.)

-       Close brick kilns, hot mix plants, stone crushers

-       Maximise power generation from natural gas to reduce generation from coal

-       Encourage public transport, with differential rates

-       More frequent mechanised cleaning of road and sprinkling of water

Very Poor (PM2.5 121-250 µg/cu. m. or PM10 351-430 µg/cu. m.)

-       Stop use of diesel generator sets

-       Enhance parking fee by 3-4 times

-       Increase bus and Metro services

-       Apartment owners to discourage burning fires in winter by providing electric heaters during winter

-       Advisories to people with respiratory and cardiac conditions to restrict outdoor movement

Moderate to poor (PM2.5 61-120 µg/cu. m. or PM10 101-350 µg/cu. m.)

-       Heavy fines for garbage burning

-       Close/enforce pollution control regulations in brick kilns and industries

-       Mechanised sweeping on roads with heavy traffic and water sprinkling

-       Strictly enforce ban on firecrackers



What we know about the universe — the science behind Physics Nobel Prize

This year’s Nobel Prize for Physics, announced on Tuesday, recognises research that helps us understand our place in the universe.

About Nobel Prize:

-       Canadian-American cosmologist James Peebles, 84, won one-half of the Prize for his theoretical work helping us understand how the universe evolved after the Big Bang

-       The other half went to Swiss astronomers Michel Mayor, 77, and Didier Queloz, 53, for their discovery of an exoplanet that challenged preconceived ideas about planets.

Evolution of Universe :

-       Modern cosmology assumes that the universe formed as a result of the Big Bang.

-       In decades of work since the 1960s, Peebles used theoretical physics and calculations to interpret what happened after.

-       His work is focused largely on Cosmic Microwave Background (CMB) radiation, which is electromagnetic radiation left over from the early universe once it had cooled sufficiently following the Big Bang.

-       Peebles and colleagues have correlated the temperature of this radiation with the amount of matter created in the Big Bang, which was a key step towards understanding how this matter would later form the galaxies and galaxy clusters.

-       From their work derives our knowledge of how mysterious the universe is — just 5% known matter and the rest unknown, as dark matter (26%) and dark energy (69%).


-       The hunt for extra-terrestrial life, if any exists, depends on finding habitable planets, mainly outside our Solar System.

-       The planet discovered by Mayor and Queloz in 1995 is 50 light years away, orbiting the star 51 Pegasus that is similar to our Sun.

-       Called 51 Pegasus b, the exoplanet is not habitable either, but it challenged our understanding of planets and laid the foundation for future discoveries.

-       Using a spectrograph, ELODIE, built by Mayor and collaborators and installed at the Haute-Provence Observatory in France, they predicted the planet by observing the “Doppler effect” — when the star wobbles as an effect of a planet’s gravity on its observed light.

-       It is a gas giant comparable to Jupiter, yet it very hot, unlike icy cold Jupiter; 51 Pegagsus b is even closer to its star than Mercury is to our Sun.

-       Today, it is accepted that these hot gas giants represent what Jupiter would look like if it were suddenly transported closer to the Sun.

The discovery of the planet “started a revolution in astronomy”, as described in the official Nobel Prize website.

Reference: https://indianexpress.com/article/explained/explained-what-we-know-about-the-universe-the-science-behind-physics-nobel-prize-6059693/