Today's Headlines

Today's Headlines - 31 October 2023

Global Renewable Alliance

GS Paper III 

Why in News?

Global installed hydropower capacity (excluding pumped hydro) would need to grow by almost 17% from the 2022 level. Moreover, triple renewable energy capacity (COP28), and double energy efficiency by 2030 are required to limit global warming.

About COP28:

  • The 28th Conference of Parties (COP28) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) will be held from 30 November to 12 December 2023 in Dubai, United Arab Emirates (UAE).
  • Dakar Declaration in news:
    • The Dakar Declaration issued by the ministers from the least developed countries (LDCs) in October 2023, outlines their expectations and priorities for the 28th Conference of Parties (COP28) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change.
    • The declaration emphasizes urgent global action, increased climate finance, operationalisation of the Loss and Damage Fund, an ambitious Global Stocktake, and the operationalisation of the UNFCCC centralized carbon market mechanism.
    • The Dakar Declaration highlights the unique vulnerabilities of the least developed countries to climate change and calls for urgent and concrete actions by all countries, particularly developed nations and major emitters, to address the climate crisis, provide support to vulnerable nations, and ensure a sustainable and equitable future.

What is the role of ISA in tripling Renewable Energy capacity?

  • International Solar Alliance (ISA) is a joint effort declared by the Indian PM during the Paris Summit (COP21) to mobilize efforts of tropical countries against climate change through the deployment of solar energy solutions.
  • At present, 116 countries are signatories to the ISA Framework Agreement and 94 countries have ratified.
  • Solar energy contributes to more than 50% of new renewable energy capacity additions every year. Currently, all member states of the United Nations are eligible to join the ISA.

Initiatives taken by ISA in tripling renewable Energy capacity:

  • ISA has launched the Green Hydrogen Innovation Centre to produce, transport and use low and zero-carbon hydrogen.
  • It provides guarantees in crowding in private sector investment into solar mini-grids in Africa.
  • ISA is strengthening 20 solar startups in Africa which is to be expanded in other regions.

What are the challenges in tripling renewable energy capacity by 2030?

  • Need for higher capacity: Annual capacity additions have been more than doubled till 2022, rising by about 11% per year on average since past years from 2015. To triple the total capacity by 2030, the world would have to add nearly 1,000 GW of new capacity every year. Hence, a higher annual growth rate is required to put renewable on track to meet the 2030 capacity target.
  • Need for more stronger and strategic policy: A higher annual growth rate would require a much stronger policy push from governments.
  • Huge Cost: According to an IRENA outlook, investments of about 5.3 trillion USD would be required per year, till 2050, for energy transition to limit the global rise in temperatures to within 1.5 degree Celsius from pre-industrial times.
  • Sufficiency of Climate Goals and Temperature: Even if the tripling target is achieved by 2030, it alone would not be sufficient for the 1.5-degree Celsius goal.
    • Renewable energy, if tripled, would be able to avoid only 7 billion tonnes of CO2 equivalent or less than one-third of what is required.

Way Ahead:

  • There is an urgent need to boost cross-sector infrastructure planning, increase cross-border cooperation and develop regional power grids.
  • The adoption of targets with specific and real-time horizons is required to practically implement the targets on the ground.
  • Strong regulatory frameworks including building codes and energy efficiency standards for appliances should be implemented from the core with efficiency.
  • Fiscal and financial incentives are needed to enhance the desired output in the limited time frame.
  • Public campaigns to build awareness of the role of energy efficiency measures are needed to build effective public participation.


Do you think India will meet 50 percent of its energy needs from renewable energy by 2030? Justify your answer. How will the shift of subsidies from fossil fuels to renewables help achieve the above objective? Explain.

News in brief

The moon is 40 million years older


Over half a century after astronauts returned with the final collection of moon rocks from the Apollo period, researchers found in their new study that the moon was formed about 4.46 billion years ago based on a new technology called Atom Probe Tomography (APT). 

How did scientists discover the moon’s new age?

  • The scientists re-examined crystals from lunar sample 72255, which was known to contain 4.2 billion-year-old zircon.
  • Since zircon is the earliest mineral known to exist on Earth, it provides important insights into the genesis of life on Earth and the planet.
  • Using APT, which has nanoscale spatial resolution, the researchers in the present study were able to identify the lead clustering in the samples.
  • The distribution of lead is commonly used to estimate the age of zircon in rock.

Why is zircon relevant to the age of the moon?

  • According to the researchers' analysis, the leading hypothesis for the formation of the Earth-moon system is the giant impact hypothesis.
  • In this hypothesis, Earth is believed to have crashed with a massive object known as Theia, which may have been as large as Mars.
  • Researchers say that caused an ejection of debris that quickly formed into the sphere we call our moon.
  • There were subsequent bombardments of the moon’s surface, which left some zircon modified and other zircon pristine, or preserved.
  • Researchers redetermined the moon’s age using the preserved zircon with crystal grains from lunar sample 72255.


Researchers identify a new mushroom species from the Western Ghats


Researchers at the Jawaharlal Nehru Tropical Botanic Garden and Research Institute identified and described the new mushroom species ‘Candolleomyces albosquamosus’.

About Candolleomyces albosquamosus:

  • The new species has been named Candolleomyces albosquamosus - ‘albosquamosus’ for the white woolly scale-like structures on its pileus or cap.
  • It has a honey-yellow cap and grows to 58 mm.
  • Its habitats include dead logs or bamboo culms in the natural forest.
  • The ‘cap,’ or pileus, of a mature Candolleomyces albosquamosus, is 12 mm to 38.5 mm in diameter and bell-shaped.
  • The honey-yellow coloured pileus turns brownish-grey or brownish-beige with age.
  • The ‘stipe’ – the stem of the mushroom is white in colour and cylindrical.




Xerography revolutionized the way we copy, print, and distribute textual material. 


  • Xerography is a type of photocopying method whose process doesn’t involve messy liquid chemicals.
  • Xerographic machines are in ubiquitous use around the world today to quickly and cheaply reproduce printed material.
  • An American attorney named Chester F. Carlson invented it in 1938.

Functioning of Xerography:

Xerography has a few basic elements:

  • Photoconductive surface: It is a surface coated with a photoconductive material. When it gets exposed to light, allows electrons to flow through it (i.e., conducts electricity) but blocks them when it’s dark.
  • The sheet of paper to be copied is illuminated with a bright light. The darker parts of the paper – where something is printed, i.e. – don’t reflect the light whereas the unmarked parts do.
  • Lenses and mirrors transfer this reflected light, causing it to land on the photoconductive surface.
  • In the parts of the surface where the light falls, the photo-conducting material becomes conductive and allows the electrons near its surface to dissipate downwards (into a grounding).
  • So, the parts that remain negatively charged at the end of this step correspond to parts of the paper-to-be-copied (TBC) where something was printed.
  • After that, the surface is covered with a powdered material known as toner. Since the toner has a positive charge, it will settle in areas where the surface has a negative charge. The surface then transfers the pattern of toner on it to a sheet of paper.
  • Finally, the toner is heated so that it melts and fuses with the paper. This is the paper that rolls out of the photocopying machine.


“Carbon nanoflorets” 


Carbon nanoflorets made by IIT Bombay researchers can convert incident sunlight to heat with 87% efficiency. 


  • It absorbs sunlight at many frequencies and converts it to heat with unprecedented efficiency.
  • As per the study, it is a suitable candidate to heat other materials, such as water, using solar energy because the nanoflorets do not easily release the heat produced into the environment.
  • It is extremely black which means it is a good absorber of light.

Properties of carbon nanoflorets:

The carbon nanoflorets’ high efficiency comes from three properties:

  • The nanoflorets absorb three frequencies in sunlight – infrared, visible light, and ultraviolet. While, photovoltaic materials used in solar panels, absorb only visible and ultraviolet light.
    • Infrared radiation makes up more than half of the energy that sunlight carries on its way to Earth. Consequently, the nanoflorets are able to absorb far more solar energy.
  • The carbon nanoflorets don’t lose heat to their environment. Parts of the structure at some distance from each other possess different physical properties.
    • As a result, heat waves in the material aren’t carried over long distances, reducing the amount of heat dissipated.


'Can't Regulate Political Alliances' - ECI


In PIL against the use of the acronym "INDIA" by opposition parties, ECI said it cannot regulate political alliances under the Representation of People Act, 1951.


  • Election Commission India has been vested with the authority to register associations of bodies or individuals of a political party in terms of Section 29A of the Representation of People Act (RPA), 1951.
  • Political alliances are not recognised as regulated entities under the RPA or the Constitution.
  • The Kerala High Court in the case of Dr George Joseph Themplangad v. Union Of India & Ors. held that there is no statutory provision mandating the ECI to regulate the functioning of political alliances.

Section 29A of RPA,1951:

  • A party seeking registration has to submit an application to the ECI within a period of 30 days following the date of its formation as per guidelines prescribed by the ECI in the exercise of the powers conferred by Article 324 of the Constitution.

Administrative Powers of the Election Commission:

  • The ECI has the authority to establish the boundaries of electoral seats for various elections.
  • It has the authority to register any political party and monitor its election expenditures.
  • It has the power to guarantee the application of the "Model Code of Conduct" for political campaigns.
  • It is empowered to designate representatives from various civil services as observers for elections and expenditures.

Advisory Powers of the EC:

  • The President of India may receive advice from the ECI about the circumstances behind the disqualification of members of Parliament.
  • It advises the Governors on the disqualification of state legislature members.
  • In situations pertaining to post-election disputes between candidates and political parties, it provides advice to the Supreme Court and the High Courts.

Quasi-Judicial Powers of EC:

  • It can resolve disagreements over the recognition that political parties and candidates have received.
  • It can preside over cases involving disagreements over the distribution of electoral emblems to political parties and candidates.
  • The State Election Commission oversees the elections for municipalities and panchayats. They are advised by and accountable to the ECI.


Meri Maati Mera Desh campaign


The Amrit Kalash Yatra of the Meri Maati Mera Desh campaign culminated at Kartavya Path today. It also marks the closing ceremony of Azadi Ka Amrit Mahotsav.

About Meri Maati Mera Desh:

  • It is a nationwide campaign that was launched on 9th August 2023 to pay tribute to the ‘Veers’ who laid down their lives for the country. This campaign is the concluding event of the 'Azadi ka Amrit Mahotsav,' which began on 12th March 2021.
  • It envisions a unified celebration of India's soil and valour, commemorating the nation's journey of freedom and progress.
  • This campaign comprises many activities and ceremonies conducted across the country at Panchayat/Village, Block, Urban Local Body, State and National levels:
  • Dedication of Shilaphalakam (Memorial):
    • Shilaphalakam, inscribed with the names of Bravehearts shall be erected locally within Panchayats/Villages as well as urban sites—likely near Amrit Sarovar.
  • Panch Pran Pledge:
    • At the memorial site, people will take a solemn pledge covering the Panch Pran, affirming their commitment to the country. The pledge is –
      • Make India developed and self-reliant by 2047.
      • Remove any trace of colonial mindset.
      • Celebrating the heritage.
      • Strengthen unity and respect those who protect the country.
      • Perform the duties of a citizen.
  • Vasudha Vandhan:
    • Panchayats/villages/urban local bodies will replenish Mother Earth by planting 75 saplings of indigenous species and developing the ‘Amrit Vatika’.
  • Veeron Ka Vandan:
    • Felicitation ceremonies shall be held to honour the freedom fighters and the families of deceased freedom fighters.
  • Rashtragaan:
    • Hoisting of the National Flag and singing of Rashtragaan shall be undertaken at the sites.
  • Amrit Kalash Yatra:
    • Volunteers from all corners of the country would collect Mitti (soil) from Panchayats/Villages and bring it to the block level. Similarly, Mitti shall be collected from smaller urban bodies and brought to larger municipalities/urban local bodies. Subsequently, Mitti Kalash having the soil from the Panchayats/Villages/urban areas, would be carried to the National Capital.


National Unity Day 


Sardar Vallabh Patel's birthday which falls on 31st October is also celebrated as National Unity Day.

About National Unity Day:

  • In the year 2014, the Government of India decided to observe the birth anniversary of Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel as the “Rashtriya Ekta Diwas” (National Unity Day) on October 31st every year.
  • With the idea that this occasion will provide an opportunity to re-affirm our nation's inherent strength and resilience to withstand the actual and potential threats to our country's unity, integrity, and security.

About Vallabhai Patel:

  • Vallabhai Patel, the deputy Prime Minister of India, was responsible for the Home, States, and Information and Broadcasting portfolios after India gained independence.
  • He tackled the complex issue of states' integration into the Union of India, reducing the Princely States from 562 to 26 administrative units and bringing democracy to nearly 80 million people.
  • As Minister of Home Affairs, he presided over efforts to restore order and peace in a country ravaged by communal strife. He sorted out partition problems and reorganized services to form a new Indian Administrative Service, providing a stable administrative base for the new democracy.
  • In his memory, the Statue of Unity, a colossal symbol of India's unity, stands tall on the banks of the Narmada River in Vadodara, Gujarat. The statue was unveiled in 2018.


Commodity markets


West Asian conflict could trigger a “dual shock” to global commodity markets.

About Commodity Market:

  • It is a marketplace for buying, selling, and trading raw materials or primary products.
  • Commodities are often split into two broad categories: hard and soft
    • Hard commodities include natural resources that must be mined or extracted, such as gold, rubber, and oil.
    • Soft commodities are agricultural products or livestock, such as corn, wheat, coffee, sugar, soybeans, etc.

Commodity trading in India:

  • As of 2016, India was home to six national commodity exchanges, which included the Multi Commodity Exchange (MCX), National Commodity and Derivatives Exchange (NCDEX), Indian Commodity Exchange (ICEX), National Multi Commodity Exchange (NMCE), ACE Derivatives Exchange (ACE), and Universal Commodity Exchange (UCX), in addition to various regional exchanges.
  • Notably, in 2018, both the National Stock Exchange (NSE) and the Bombay Stock Exchange (BSE) entered the commodities trading arena.
  • Earlier, the regulatory authority responsible for overseeing commodity trading was the Forward Markets Commission (FMC), established in 1953. However, as of September 2015, FMC merged with the Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI), which subsequently directed the exit of several commodity exchanges.




The Delhi government has directed departments to geo-tag projects to seek financial approval.


  • Geotagging is the process of adding metadata that contains geographical information about a location to a digital map.
  • The data usually consists of latitude and longitude coordinates but may also include a timestamp and links to additional information. Geotag metadata can be added manually or programmatically.
  • Geotagging provides helpful insight into consumer activity. Organizations can provide specialised offers and messaging by using geotags to analyze where and how consumers interact with their brands.
  • Geotags also reveal where individuals are when engaging with a website, or where they move throughout the day with their mobile device.


Securities Appellate Tribunal (SAT)


The SAT quashed SEBI’s order that had barred Zee Entertainment Enterprises promoter from holding key managerial posts in the company.


  • The SAT is a statutory and autonomous body created as per provisions of Section 15K of the Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) Act, 1992.
  • The presiding officer and other members of the board are elected by the selection committee by the Prime Minister of India.
  • The jurisdiction of the SAT extends to companies situated across India.
  • It hears and disposes of appeals against orders passed by the SEBI or by an adjudicating officer under the act; and to exercise jurisdiction and powers and authority conferred on the Tribunal.


Dark pattern sales deemed ‘cybercrime’


Consumer Affairs Secretary called online malpractices by airlines, and travel portals “cybercrime”. The concerned Ministry will examine complaints about paid airline seats, denied boarding, and delays in refunds.

What is the ‘Dark pattern’:

A dark pattern is one where an entity nudges consumers to buy products they didn’t intend to, which is an unfair trading practice and can constitute a cybercrime.

Key grievances of the consumers:

  • Manipulating seat selection:
    • Despite having seats available, they show all seats unavailable and charge an extra fee to buy a seat to complete the purchase
  • Extra fees:
    • There are other malpractices, such as SpiceJet’s booking website goading passengers to buy travel insurance by using phrases such as, “I will risk my trip” if they choose to decline the purchase, inducing fear that doing so could be harmful.
  • Refunds and compensation:
    • There are also concerns about denied boarding and delayed refunds.

Provisions regarding airfares:

  • In 2015, the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) issued a circular allowing airlines to “unbundle” airfares for certain items, which can be charged separately.
    • These include preferential seating, meals, access to lounges, and check-in baggage above 15 kg.
  • According to the Ministry of Civil Aviation’s “Passenger Charter” of 2019 –
    • In case of a flight cancellation, an airline must accommodate a passenger on an alternate flight.
    • If it fails to inform the passenger at least 24 hours before departure, then it has to pay out an additional compensation of ₹5,000 to ₹10,000.
    • Similarly, for denied boarding, there is a compensation of ₹10,000 to ₹20,000 in certain situations.
    • Refunds have to happen immediately if payment is in cash, or within seven days if through credit card.

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