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Daily Current Affairs – 2020

Topic: For Prelims and Mains

Gross Budgetary Support (GBS)

Why in news?

During the Parliamentary Consultative Committee meeting of the North Eastern Region,

The issue of utilisation of 10% GBS in NER by Non-exempt Central Ministries/Departments was discussed in detail.

Gross Budgetary Support:

  • The Government’s support to the Central plan is called the Gross Budgetary Support.
  • It includes sources of revenue raised by the Government and tax collection.
  • The amount to be allocated to GBS is fixed by the Finance Commission.
  • It collects the requirement of all the ministries and fixes the amount based on priority.
  • Like other budget, GBS is also split into revenue and capital components.

Rare Earth Elements

Why in news?

US Army will fund rare earths plant for weapons development.

More about the news

  • The decision comes after China threatened to stop exporting Rare Earth materials to the US amid the ongoing trade war between the countries.
  • At present, China refines approximately 80%-90% of the world’s Rare Earths, thereby having substantial control over their supply.

Rare Earth Elements :

  • The rare earth elements (REE) are a set of seventeen metallic elements. These include the fifteen lanthanides on the periodic table plus scandium and yttrium.
  • Scandium and yttrium are considered rare earth elements since they tend to occur in the same ore deposits as the lanthanides and exhibit similar chemical properties.
  • While named rare earths, they are in fact not that rare and are relatively abundant in the Earth’s crust.
  • What is unusual is to find them in quantities significant enough to support economic mineral development.

Applications:

  • Rare earth elements play an essential role in defense.
  • The military uses night-vision goggles, precision-guided weapons, communications equipment, GPS equipment, batteries, and other defense electronics.
  • Rare earth metals are key ingredients for making the very hard alloys used in armored vehicles and projectiles that shatter upon impact.
  • They have distinctive electrical, metallurgical, catalytic, nuclear, magnetic and luminescent properties.
  • Its usage range from daily use (e.g., lighter flints, glass polishing mediums, car alternators) to high-end technology (lasers, magnets, batteries, fiber-optic telecommunication cables).
  • Even futuristic technologies need these REMs (For example high-temperature superconductivity, safe storage and transport of hydrogen for a post-hydrocarbon economy, environmental global warming and energy efficiency issues).

Due to their unique magnetic, luminescent, and electrochemical properties, they help in technologies perform with reduced weight, reduced emissions, and energy consumption; therefore give them greater efficiency, performance, miniaturization, speed, durability, and thermal stability.

Facts for Prelims

Global High-Resolution Atmospheric Forecasting System (GRAF):

  • International technology company IBM is planning to develop this high-resolution weather forecast model that will also rely on user-generated data to improve the accuracy of forecasts available in India.
  • IBM GRAF, as the forecast system is called, can generate forecasts at a resolution of 3 kilometres.

 

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