Today's Headlines

Today's Headlines - 14 July 2023

Western Disturbances for heavy rainfall

GS Paper - 1 (Geography)

The weather department has attributed the heavy rainfall over Chandigarh and its adjoining areas to a Western Disturbance (WD), which hit the northern parts of India.

What are Western Disturbances?

  • WD is a storm originating from the Mediterranean region, completely different from the monsoon.
  • The WD is known for moisture usually being carried in the upper atmosphere, contrary to its tropical counterparts where the moisture is carried in the lower atmosphere. WDs are frequent, and their spells can be long or short.
  • The region was already experiencing monsoon rain when the WD arrived in India after crossing Afghanistan and Pakistan, which also received heavy rainfall recently.
  • However, the Western Disturbance has started withdrawing. The heavy rain is expected to continue, after which the rain will last, but not with the same intensity as now.

How are Western Disturbances different from the monsoon?

  • The monsoon is well-definedIn India, it is confirmed that the monsoon arrives in July and lasts till September.
  • However, WDs have no fixed time of arrival. Also, while the monsoon period is around three months, WDs can last for very short spells.

How is a Western Disturbance forecast?

  • According to the weather department, the prediction of an upcoming Western Disturbance can only be made around six days before its arrival.
  • To keep tabs on it, the weather departments concerned monitor the activities over the Mediterranean region every half an hour.
  • As of now, there is no indication of any further Western Disturbance for the northern region, including Chandigarh. But we cannot rule out the possibility of more such weather systems.


Different kinds of moon missions

GS Paper - 3 (Space Technology)

The Chandrayaan-3 mission is India’s third lunar mission and second attempt to make a soft landing on the surface of the Moon. It’s one of the several space missions lined up to go to the celestial body, including Russia’s Luna 25 mission and NASA’s Artemis II.

Different kinds of moon missions so far

  • Flybys: These are the missions in which the spacecraft passed near the Moon but did not get into an orbit around it. Some early examples of flyby missions were Pioneer 3 and 4 by the United States and Luna 3 of the then USSR.
  • Orbiters: These were spacecraft that were designed to get into a lunar orbit and carry out prolonged studies of the Moon’s surface and atmosphere. India’s Chandrayaan-1 was an Orbiter, as were 46 other Moon missions from various countries.
  • Impact Mission: These are an extension of Orbiter missions. While the main spacecraft keeps going around the Moon, one or more instruments on board make an uncontrolled landing on the lunar surface. They get destroyed after the impact, but still send some useful information about the Moon while on their way.
  • Landers: These missions involve the soft landing of the spacecraft on the Moon. These are more complicated than the Orbiter missions. The first landing on the moon was accomplished on 31 January 1966, by the Luna 9 spacecraft of the then USSR.
  • Rovers: These are an extension of the lander missions. The lander spacecraft, because they are bulky and have to stand on legs, remain stationary after landing. The instruments on board can carry out observations and collect data from close quarters but cannot come in contact with the Moon’s surface or move around.
  • Human missions: These involve the landing of astronauts on the moon’s surface. So far only NASA of the United States has been able to land human beings on the moon. So far, six teams of two astronauts each have landed on the moon, all between 1969 and 1972.


Uniform 28% on online gaming

GS Paper - 3 (Economy)

The Goods and Services Tax (GST) Council, in its 50th meeting, decided to levy a uniform 28 per cent tax on full face value for online gamingcasinos and horse-racing. The government is now expected to bring in a legal amendment to facilitate this in the monsoon session of Parliament, which will enable inclusion of online gaming and horse racing under actionable claim and hence, facilitate taxation of these categories with no distinction for game of skill or chance.

What is the decision of the GST Council?

  • The uniform levy of 28 per cent tax will be applicable on the face value of the chips purchased in the case of casinos, on the full value of the bets placed with bookmaker/totalisator in the case of horse racing, and on the full value of the bets placed in case of online gaming.
  • Earlier, the ministerial panel on online gamingcasinoshorse-racing had discussed the other option of levying tax on gross gaming revenue or platform fee, that is, the charge paid to avail the gaming services, but this did not find favour.
  • The government will bring in amendments to the GST-related laws to include online gaming and horse racing in Schedule III as taxable actionable claims.
  • In the context of GST, an actionable claim is defined as goods under the Central Goods and Services Tax Act, 2017.
  • It is a claim to an unsecured debt or a claim to any beneficial interest in movable property that is not in the possession of the claimant.
  • So far, lotterybetting, and gambling were classified as actionable claims. Now, horse racing and online gaming will be added.

How big is the online gaming market in India?

  • The revenue of the Indian mobile gaming industry is expected to exceed $1.5 billion in 2022, and is estimated to reach $5 billion in 2025.
  • The industry in the country grew at a CAGR of 38% between 2017-2020, as opposed to 8% in China and 10% in the US. It is expected to grow at a CAGR of 15% to reach Rs 153 billion in revenue by 2024.
  • India’s percentage of new paying users (NPUs) in gaming has been the fastest growing in the world for two consecutive years, at 40% in 2020 and reaching 50% in 2021.