UPSC Daily Current Affairs : 08-June-2020

Topic Covered :

  1. Catalyzing Online Dispute Resolution (ODR) in India

  2. ARCI develops Rare earth based magnetocaloric material for cancer treatment

  3. Saudi Arabia raises July crude prices after OPEC+ extends cuts

  4. Plans afoot for India’s first Coal Exchange

CATALYZING ONLINE DISPUTE RESOLUTION (ODR) IN INDIA

Why in news?

  • In a first, NITI Aayog, in association with Agami and Omidyar Network India, brought together key stakeholders in a virtual meeting on 6 June 2020 for advancing online dispute resolution in India.


Highlights:

  • ODR is the resolution of disputes, particularly small- and medium-value cases, using digital technology and techniques of alternate dispute resolution (ADR), such as negotiation, mediation, and arbitration.

  • While courts are becoming digitized through the efforts of the judiciary, more effective, scalable, and collaborative mechanisms of containment and resolution are urgently needed.

  • ODR can help resolve disputes efficiently and affordably.

  • Private ODR and ADR providers need to be complemented to ensure that online resolution can reach different industries, locations, and parts of the country and also support the public institutions in a big way. 

  • The future will be a hybrid model that combines the best of both worlds—offline courts, online courts and ODR. We will have to reimagine the whole process of justice delivery to work in the hybrid system and this will require good data.


Source : PIB ( https://pib.gov.in/PressReleseDetail.aspx?PRID=1630080 )


ARCI DEVELOPS RARE EARTH BASED MAGNETOCALORIC MATERIAL FOR CANCER TREATMENT

Why in news?

  • Scientists at the International Advanced Research Centre for Powder Metallurgy and New Materials (ARCI), an autonomous R&D Centre of Department of Science and Technology (DST) has developed a rare-earth-based magnetocaloric material that can be effectively used for cancer treatment.


Highlights:

  • The magnetocaloric materials (certain materials in which application and removal of a magnetic field causes the materials to become warmer or cooler) developed by ARCI are being tested at Sree Chitra Tirunal Institute for Medical Sciences & Technology (SCTIMST).

  • A paper on the research work has been published in the Journal of Alloys and Compounds.

Background :

  • Advancements in magnetic materials led to the development of magnetic hyperthermia to try to address the issues of side effects of cancer treatment like chemotherapy.

  • In magnetic hyperthermia, magnetic nanoparticles are subjected to alternating magnetic fields of few Gauss, which produce heat due to magnetic relaxation losses. Usually, the temperature required to kill the tumor cells is between 40 and 45°C.

  • However, the drawback in magnetic hyperthermia is the lack of control of temperature, which may damage the healthy cells in the body and also have side effects like increased blood pressure etc.

These problems can be avoided by using magnetocaloric materials, as it can provide controlled heating. 


Source : PIB ( https://pib.gov.in/PressReleseDetail.aspx?PRID=1630080 )


SAUDI ARABIA RAISES JULY CRUDE PRICES AFTER OPEC+ EXTENDS CUTS

Why in news?

  • Saudi Arabia has raised the selling prices for its crude grades to all destinations for July, a day after OPEC, led by Riyadh, and its allies agreed to extend record oil production cuts until the end of July.


Highlights:

  • State oil giant Saudi Aramco has raised the July price for its Arab light crude to Asia to plus $0.20 a barrel, up $6.10 from June, it said in a statement on Sunday.

  • The hike in the OSPs may discourage more demand for Saudi crude, and would force other Gulf oil producers to follow the increase in pricing.

  • Riyadh has said it would reduce its crude output in June by 1 million barrels per day, more than its commitment under the OPEC+ pact, but it did not say whether it would continue with this voluntary additional reduction in July.


Source : Globe and Mail ( https://www.theglobeandmail.com/business/international-business/article-saudi-arabia-raises-july-crude-prices-after-opec-extends-cuts/ )


PLANS AFOOT FOR INDIA’S FIRST COAL EXCHANGE

Why in news?

  • India has decided to set up a coal trading platform, taking a giant leap towards completely throwing open the sector to market forces as the country gears up for commercial coal mining auctions, which will increase the number of sellers of coal. 


Highlights:

  • As per the proposal, entire coal produced in the country will be traded on a ‘Coal Exchange,’ an online platform where pricing is determined transparently through demand and supply.

  • The exchange is being thought out on the lines of commodity exchanges, power bourses or the proposed gas exchange.

  • This could mean the end of new Fuel Supply Agreements (FSA) regime of Coal India where the state-run miner signs contracts for coal supply with consumers.

  • Coal India Ltd is expected to remain a dominant player in the sector given its production target of one billion tonnes by 2024 and will sell incremental capacity at market prices.

  • Coal consumers and traders welcomed the move but said the exchange should be started only when there are multiple buyers and sellers.

  • The coal ministry is likely to begin auctions of about 50 coal blocks for commercial coal mining on Thursday. 

  • The government official said that discussions have begun in the ministry and a coal exchange is certain to be set up after the government addresses all related concerns. 

  • Countries across the world already have coal exchanges and it is a tested model. However, the government should let the market mature with large number of players to ensure obtaining right value for coal at the proposed market.


Source : Economic Times ( https://economictimes.indiatimes.com/industry/indl-goods/svs/metals-mining/plans-afoot-for-indias-1st-coal-exchange/articleshow/76250222.cms )


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