Daily Current Affairs – 2020
Topic: For Prelims and Mains
Hybrid Annuity Model (HAM)
Why in News?
It was introduced by the transport ministry in January 2016 to revive investments in road infrastructure projects.
About the HAM
HAM’s a hybrid — a mix of the EPC (engineering, procurement and construction) and BOT (build, operate, transfer) models. Under the EPC model, NHAI pays private players to lay roads.
- The private player has no role in the road’s ownership, toll collection or maintenance (it is taken care of by the government).
- Under the BOT model though, private players have an active role — they build, operate and maintain the road for a specified number of years — say 10-15 years — before transferring the asset back to the government.
Under BOT, the private player arranged all the finances for the project, while collecting toll revenue or annuity fee from the Government, as agreed. The annuity fee arrangement is known as BOT-Annuity; essentially, the toll revenue risk is taken by the government, while the private player is paid a pre-fixed annuity for construction and maintenance of roads.
Now, HAM combines EPC (40 per cent) and BOT-Annuity (60 per cent). On behalf of the government, NHAI releases 40 per cent of the total project cost.
It is given in five tranches linked to milestones. The balance 60 per cent is arranged by the developer. Here, the developer usually invests not more than 20-25 per cent of the project cost (as against 40 percent or more before), while the remaining is raised as debt.
Topic: For Prelims /Mains
Iron & Steel Industry
Steel is an alloy of iron and carbon in which the carbon content ranges up to 2%. Iron ore, coking coal and limestone are required in the ratio of approximately 4:2:1. Some quantities of manganese are also required to harden the steel.
- The iron and steel industry is the basic industrysince all the other industries — heavy, medium and light, depend on it for their machinery. Iron and steel is a heavy industry because all the raw materials as well as finished goods are heavy and bulky entailing heavy transportation costs.
- India is currently the 2ndlargest producer of crude steel in the world.
- Production and consumption of steelis often regarded as the index of a country’s development. Per capita finished steel consumption in 2018 was 224.5 kg for the world and 590.1 kg for China. The same for India was 74.1 kg in 2018.
- The Government has launched the National Steel Policy 2017that aims to increase the per capita steel consumption to 160 kgs by 2030-31.
- Odisha is the highest steel producing state in the country. The ores of Odisha are rich in
Growth of steel industry would lead to:
- Employment opportunities across the entire value chain.
- Socio-economic growth of Eastern India.
- Reduced disparity between the East and other regions of the country.
- Hematite and magnetite are the most important iron ores in India.
- Hematite refers to a ferric oxide containing no crystal water, and its chemical formula is Fe2O3 (iron oxide).
- The pure hematite theoretical iron content is 70%.
- Its appearance is from red to light gray, sometimes black, and the stripes are dark red. Commonly known as “red mine.”
- Hematite is abundant in nature, but pure hematite is less, often co-existing with magnetite and limonite.
- The main iron-bearing mineral of magnetite is tri iron tetroxide, and its chemical formula is Fe3O4.
- The theoretical iron content is around 72%.
- The appearance color is usually carbon black or slightly light blue black, metallic luster, streaks (color appearing on the board when the surface is uneven on the white porcelain plate) black. Commonly known as the green mine.
- The most prominent feature of this ore is its magnetic nature.
- Magnetite is generally very hard, dense in structure and poor in reducing performance.
Why in News?
All the historically and culturally significant mountains of the Eastern Ghats should be declared UNESCO cultural heritage sites.
The five States that the Ghats encompass – Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, Karnataka and Odisha should prepare an action plan to protect and conserve their ecology and natural resources, the Greens’ Alliance for Conservation of Eastern Ghats (GRACE) and the Council for Green Revolution (CGR) have said.
About Eastern Ghats:
- The Eastern Ghats run parallel to the eastern coastal plains of India. Unlike the Western Ghats, they are discontinuous in natureand is dissected by the rivers that drain into the Bay of Bengal.
- As discussed above, most of these rivers have their origin in the Western Ghats. It must be noted that the Eastern Ghats are lower in elevation than the western Ghats. The highest peak of western Ghats is the Mahendragiri.
- The difference in the elevation levels of the highest peaks in both the ghats can also be compared.
- Anaimudi which is the highest peak of the western Ghatshas a height of 2695 mts whereas Mahendragiri of eastern Ghats is of 150 mts.
- The main crop produced in the Eastern Ghats is the Rice, which is also the staple food of the people living in the region.
- The Eastern Ghats reappear as more or less a continuous hill range in Cuddapah and Kurnool districts of Andhra Pradeshwhere they are called as Nallamalai Range [Naxalite hideout in AP] with general elevation of 600-850 m.
- The southern part of this range is called the Palkonda range.
Facts for Prelims
Vidya Daan :
The Union HRD Ministry has launched the Vidya Daan 2.0 program for inviting e-learning content contributions.
- ‘Vidya Daan’ is a digital program to enable contributions to improve teaching & learning.
- It encourages the sharing of high quality, curated, relevant & curriculum-linked digital content.
- This program attempts to synergize countrywide developments in the field of education by providing schools all over India, from the Metro cities to the smallest villages with good quality e-content.
Petersberg Climate Dialogue:
The 11th session of ‘Petersberg Climate Dialogue’ was held for the first time through video conferencing.
Facts: Petersberg Climate Dialogue has been organized by the Government of Germany since 2010.
Aim: To provide a forum for informal high-level political discussions, focusing both on international climate negotiations and the advancement of climate action.
- The 11th Dialogue was co-chaired by Germany and the United Kingdom, the incoming Presidency of 26th Conference of Parties (COP 26) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).
- Union Minister for Environment and Climate Change, Prakash Javadekar represented India in the virtual Dialogue.