Daily Current Affairs 25.04.2023 ( After death of two cheetahs, M.P. seeks new site for the felines, The many benefits of marriage equality, How to check relative humidity on a hot day to keep yourself cool , Nuclear liability issues not yet resolved for Jaitapur project: French firm EDF, India, China hold ‘frank and in-depth’ talks , Malaria set to be notifiable disease across India even as cases show a decline )

Daily Current Affairs 25.04.2023 ( After death of two cheetahs, M.P. seeks new site for the felines, The many benefits of marriage equality, How to check relative humidity on a hot day to keep yourself cool , Nuclear liability issues not yet resolved for Jaitapur project: French firm EDF, India, China hold ‘frank and in-depth’ talks , Malaria set to be notifiable disease across India even as cases show a decline )


1. After death of two cheetahs, M.P. seeks new site for the felines

On Sunday, the Kuno Park had its second cheetah fatality in less than a month.

The Madhya Pradesh Forest Department has asked the Central government for an “alternative” site for cheetahs currently introduced at the Kuno National Park (KNP), which has seen the death of two felines in less than a month.

A senior State forest official on condition of anonymity said they do not have enough logistical support for the upkeep of the cheetahs, brought in two batches of eight and 12 from Namibia and South Africa, respectively, since September last year.

“We need nine staffers to keep an eye on one cheetah round the clock. We don’t have enough hands,” the official said.

However, S.P. Yadav, Head of Project Cheetah and senior official in the National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA), told The Hindu that “as of today [Monday] we haven’t got such a request but if we do, we will look at it”.

He also said that mortality among cheetahs was expected and Project Cheetah’s planning factored this in. “Even if 50% of the animal population survives, it should be considered a success,” he said.

While the existing population of cheetahs would remain within the larger Kuno landscape, newer batches of imported cheetahs would be located in Gandhi Sagar and Nauradehi wildlife sanctuaries in M.P. These are reserves that are still being developed to be made suitable for hosting cheetahs.

On Sunday, the KNP witnessed a second cheetah fatality in less than a month as a six-year-old male feline named Uday, translocated from South Africa in February, died. The exact cause of the feline’s death has not been identified yet, an official earlier said. The incident is seen as a major setback for the ambitious Project Cheetah, under which 20 felines were translocated to KNP in Sheopur district from Namibia and South Africa in separate batches in September 2022 and February this year. One of the eight Namibian cheetahs, Sasha, aged more than four-and-a-half-years, died of a kidney ailment on March 27.

Another cheetah, named Siyaya, recently gave birth to four cubs in KNP. Besides, cheetah Oban, now renamed Pavan, has strayed out of the KNP multiple times.

Two-States plan

Asked about the space shortage, the M.P. forest official said it was secondary and added that “not just space, we need a lot of logistics”. Notably, before the cheetahs were imported, some experts had cautioned that shortage of space was likely to affect the cheetah reintroduction project at the KNP, which has a core area of 748 sq. km and buffer zone of 487 sq. km.

M.P. Principal Chief Conservator of Forest (Wildlife) J.S. Chauhan said his department has written a letter to the NTCA, requesting for an alternative place for the cheetahs. “If we start developing our sites like the Gandhi Sagar or the Nauradehi in M.P. as alternate sites, it will take two years and three years, respectively,” an official said.

The M.P. forest officials, however, pointed out that it is not a matter about two States. “The Centre has a major role to play. We need a note from the Centre to proceed. We desperately need intervention from the Centre. If they don’t take the decision, it will be detrimental to the interest of the cheetah project,” a State forest official said.

According to some wildlife experts, a cheetah needs 100 sq. km area for its movement. However, KNP Director Uttam Sharma said, “Nobody exactly knows how much space a cheetah needs given the fact that these felines became extinct here seven decades ago. In fact, we are learning about them after their translocation.”

Bhopal-based journalist Deshdeep Saxena, who writes on wildlife and environment, said the international community of cheetah experts and biologists has always questioned this project for its “unscientific approach”. There are issues of lack of space and prey for the African cheetahs in KNP, he claimed.

2. The many benefits of marriage equality

Last week, the Supreme Court started hearing petitions from lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ+) petitioners seeking same-sex marriage equality. The hearings were widely covered by the media in India because the issue of marriage equality for LGBTQ+ persons is sometimes seen as controversial.

I am a happily married lesbian who chose to legally marry my same-sex partner in the U.K. in 2011 because I did not have the right to marry her in India, even though the institution of marriage is of fundamental importance to Indian society. In India, getting married is one of the highlights of becoming an adult. Remaining single and not being married is frowned upon by the entire family as married couples are generally seen as more accepted and respectable than a non-married couple in our traditional culture.

Therefore, excluding LGBTQ+ persons from marriage excludes us from full benefits of participating in family and community life. It excludes us from acceptance in society. Why is there opposition to two LGBTQ+ persons taking vows in front of family, friends, colleagues and community? Why can we not be recognised as spouses under the law?

Distortion of the union

A common reason given is that marriage is defined as a union between a man and a woman only, so to allow LGBTQ+ persons to marry would somehow distort this union. But I don’t see how some LGBTQ+ citizens getting married takes anything away from the millions of marriages of heterosexual couples.

We know by now that same-sex attraction is a natural part of human society, not any crime or illness. The fact is that some people of the same sex fall in love with each other and want to get married. We want to make life-long promises to each other, gain respect and recognition of our families and community, and join the families of our partners as a son-in-law or a daughter-in-law.

LGBTQ+ marriage takes nothing away from those “straight” couples who already enjoy marriage equality, yet it means everything to the lives of those LGBTQ+ couples seeking this fundamental right.

Marriage benefits a couple in tangible and intangible ways. Many people may not appreciate these until they get married. Tangible benefits include the ability to open joint bank accounts, jointly buy or rent a property, jointly own and share financial assets, be recognised as a relative under the Indian Income Tax Act, access a spouse’s health and life insurance, and inherit a spouse’s assets if one partner dies. These are essential protections which most heterosexual couples take for granted, but they are denied to members of the LGBTQ+ community.

Intangible benefits include gaining legitimacy, respect and affection from society and being able to participate fully in all family events. Marriage equality enhances family bonds and encourages unity.

Others may wonder, if Indian society is ready for this change? Public opinion has changed considerably in the private sector over the last five years. Human resource (HR) practices of leading companies have progressed a long way since the Supreme Court de-criminalised homosexual acts by striking down Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) in 2018.

Protecting employees

Efforts to improve diversity and inclusion in the Indian workplace have gathered momentum. Many corporations have applied core HR principles of fairness, equality and non-discrimination to their LGBTQ+ employees and have re-written their equal opportunity and anti-discrimination policies to explicitly protect LGBTQ+ employees from discrimination, bullying and harassment. Some companies extend benefits such as spouse health insurance to same-sex partners of their employees. However, these policies have been challenging to implement with insurance companies as same-sex partners are not legally recognised as spouses.

These inclusive and fair policies have not led to negative consequences or backlash from the majority workforce. In fact, it has been the opposite — inclusive policies which encourage a diverse workforce have resulted in more loyalty and engagement as employees feel they can be their authentic selves at work and still fully belong to their organisation, a feeling they may not get at home.

It is now time for this sense of belonging to be felt at home too, which starts with belonging to the family and being allowed to marry. LGBTQ+ citizens deserve the right to participate in one of society’s major institutions. We deserve to be treated equally under the law in our country.

Being allowed to marry will enable our sense of belonging and will help to gain the acceptance we are seeking in society.

Same-sex marriage equality will enable the LGBTQ+ community’s sense of belonging and will help them gain the acceptance they are seeking in society

3. How to check relative humidity on a hot day to keep yourself cool

Relative humidity is important as it factors in the amount of vapour that air can hold at different temperatures. This article explains how one can calculate it through a simple experiment with household items; mathematical equations or an app or device


Relative humidity is a simple concept as far as weather phenomena go, but it has significant, far-reaching consequences for how we must take care of ourselves on a hot or wet day.

Humidity is the amount of moisture in the air around us, and there are three ways to track it. The most common of them is absolute humidity — the mass of water vapour in a given volume of air and water vapour mixture, expressed as kg/m3. The second is specific humidity, equal to the mass of the moisture divided by the mass of air. It is expressed as a dimensionless number (but sometimes as grams per kilogram among other similar units).

The third way is relative humidity: it is important because it factors in the amount of vapour that air can hold at different temperatures. Determining its value is a bit more complicated — it is the vapour density of the air divided by the saturation vapour density at dry-bulb temperature.

Why does relative humidity matter?

On a hot day, our body uses sweat to cool itself. Sweat is released via our skin to the surface. There, the liquid evaporates. When water changes phase from liquid to vapour, it absorbs heat from the surface on which it lies. So when sweat evaporates, it absorbs heat from the skin, cooling it.

The higher the relative humidity of air, the more it is filled with moisture. When air already contains a lot of moisture, it won’t easily accept more. This means that the sweat on your skin can’t evaporate. At the same time, the body keeps sweating as it is still expecting to cool itself. As a result, if the relative humidity is high, you can sweat on a hot day even when you are sitting still while your body keeps accumulating heat. This can quickly become dangerous.

A relative humidity of 30-60% is generally considered to be comfortable. Environments that have lower levels than this typically use humidifiers to increase the humidity. When the level is higher, a fan will help move the air around you and help sweat evaporate better.

In both cases, drinking water is important.

What does relative humidity imply physically?

Warmer air can hold more moisture than cooler air. So at the same absolute humidity, the relative humidity of warmer air will be lower than that of cooler air. It is like saying two vessels can hold the same amount of water — just that the bigger vessel will be less full than the smaller vessel.

This is why, for example, while Chennai had an absolute humidity of 70% at 2.30 pm on April 23, its relative humidity was lower, around 60%, because it had an ambient temperature of 32°C. The change in the capacity for moisture as the air warms is also non-linear, meaning it doesn’t increase by the same amount as the air warms. For example, the difference as it warms over 20º C from -20º C to 0º C is small, but there is an enormous improvement in its vapour-carrying capacity as it warms over 20º C from 30º C to 50º C.

How do you measure relative humidity?

There are a few ways to measure relative humidity. One is to conduct a simple experiment with household items, another is to use maths and a third is to use an app or device.

For the experiment, you need two mercury thermometers, some cotton, rubber bands, and access to cold water.

First, make sure both thermometers show the same reading, say, under a fan. Next, soak some cotton in cold water and wrap it around the bulb of one of the thermometers with a rubber band. Hold this thermometer under the fan, such that water from the cotton evaporates, and record the thermometer reading after five minutes. Hold up the other thermometer in the air and record its reading after five minutes. You will thus have the wet-bulb and dry-bulb temperatures, respectively.

Next, subtract the wet-bulb temperature from the dry-bulb temperature to get the temperature difference. Finally, use the relative humidity chart (on the right) to get the relative humidity value. For example, if the difference was 6°C and the dry-bulb temperature was 28°C, the relative humidity would have been 59%.

A psychrometer is a device that has two such thermometers plus a chart to get the final reading. Modern, electronic psychrometers can calculate the relative humidity directly.

For a rough sense, the lower the wet-bulb temperature, the drier the air is, and the less relatively humid it is.

For the mathematical method, there are two ways (among others) to estimate the relative humidity, one simpler and one a bit more involved.

The first way is to divide the actual vapour pressure (e) by the saturated vapour pressure (es). The vapour pressure is the amount of moisture that air contains. The ‘saturated’ value is the maximum possible amount. The given formula requires the dew point (Td), which you can obtain from a weather website.

RH = (e/es)*100

e = 6.11 x 10((7.5 x Td)/(237.3 + Td))

For es, use the same formula but replace Td with T, the actual temperature.

The second way is to calculate relative humidity starting from the specific humidity, pressure and temperature, using the Clausius-Clapeyron equation.

If you prefer software, search for “hygrometer” in your phone’s app store to locate some options. (A hygrometer is an instrument that measures humidity.) Note that the app will only work if your phone has a sensor that can sense humidity. If you like hardware, psychrometers and devices called hygrometers are available in physical as well as online stores.

Why does the wet-bulb temperature matter?

A more direct way to understand the implications of relative humidity for your wellbeing is in the form of the wet-bulb temperature (also known as the adiabatic saturation temperature). It is the lowest temperature a surface — like your skin — can reach when water evaporates from it. The wet-bulb temperature is equal to the dry-bulb temperature when the relative humidity is 100%.

A wet-bulb temperature in an environment of 32-35ºC or higher can be quickly lethal, even if you are not doing any physical activity or are in the shade. (At least one study has shown that even a wet-bulb temperature of more than 29º C can be dangerous.)

The climate crisis is rendering heatwaves more common, more frequent, more spread out, and more potent over the Indian subcontinent. As a study published in May 2022 says, “Whether today’s most impactful heatwaves could have occurred in a pre-industrial climate, traditionally a central focus of attribution research, is fast becoming an obsolete question. The next frontier for attribution science is to inform adaptation decision-making in the face of unprecedented future heat.”

One way to adapt is to keep an eye on the relative humidity, drink lots of water, and cool yourself.

4. Nuclear liability issues not yet resolved for Jaitapur project: French firm EDF

A file photo of the nuclear power project site at Jaitapur.

Two years after the French energy company Electricite de France (EDF) submitted its techno-commercial offer for the construction of six nuclear power reactors in Maharashtra’s Jaitapur, talks between Indian and French officials over several issues, including liability, have not resulted in any breakthrough yet.

According to sources in Delhi and Paris, the talks over the high cost of power per unit has also become a major issue in the conclusion of the agreement for the 9,900-MW project, which is the world’s biggest nuclear power generation site under consideration at present.

“The topic [of liability] has been discussed between the French and Indian governments and my understanding is that it is progressing towards convergence. …this topic would have to be solved before any contract can be signed,” an EDF official said in response to a question from The Hindu, as part of a presentation to a group of international journalists invited to Paris.

The statement is significant, as in October 2022, the Minister of Space and Atomic Energy, and Minister of State in the PMO, Jitendra Singh, promised an early resolution to all the issues, within months.

“Dr. Jitendra Singh assured the France Minister that the technical, financial and civil nuclear liability issues will be resolved at the earliest by both the sides and well before the scheduled visit of the French President Mr. Emmanuel Macron in early 2023,” an official press release stated. On Monday, the Minister’s office did not immediately respond to a request to comment on the latest position in the talks.

Mr. Macron put off his visit scheduled for March, and is now expected to visit Delhi in September for the G-20 summit. However, Prime Minister Narendra Modi is expected to travel to Paris in July, and officials said they were attempting to “speed up” the talks between EDF and the Indian operator Nuclear Power Corporation of India Ltd (NPCIL).

Sources said India’s regulator, the Department of Atomic Energy, as well as NPCIL have not yet signed off on EDF’s technical specifications for its European pressurised reactors, and the costing suggested was significantly high.

5. India, China hold ‘frank and in-depth’ talks

Tardy progress: PLA soldiers during military disengagement along the Line of Actual Control in Ladakh in 2021.

The 18th round of talks between senior military commanders was held on the Chinese side of the Chushul-Moldo border meeting point; days ahead of the first visit by the Chinese Defence Minister since the start of crisis, they agreed that peace along the border areas would ‘enable progress’ in ties


India and China on Sunday held “frank and in-depth” talks on the two remaining friction areas on the Line of Actual Control (LAC), and days ahead of the first visit by the Chinese Defence Minister to New Delhi since the start of the border crisis, agreed that restoring peace along the border areas would “enable progress” in recently strained relations.

The 18th round of talks between senior military commanders since the start of the April 2020 LAC crisis, triggered by China’s multiple transgressions and mobilisation of troops, was held on Sunday on the Chinese side of the Chushul-Moldo border meeting point.

“The two sides had a frank and in-depth discussion on the resolution of the relevant issues along the LAC in the Western Sector so as to restore peace and tranquillity in the border areas, which will enable progress in bilateral relations. In line with the guidance provided by the State leaders and further to the meeting between the two Foreign Ministers in March 2023, they had an exchange of views in an open and candid manner,” said a statement on Monday evening issued in New Delhi.

China’s Foreign Ministry spokesperson Mao Ning said in Beijing that “according to the important common understanding of the leaders of both countries, the two sides held in-depth exchange of views on expediting the resolution of relevant issues.”

No breakthrough yet

The statements suggested no breakthrough as yet on the two remaining friction points in Demchok and Depsang. Both sides have disengaged in four other areas along the LAC, setting up buffer zones in some of them.

The 18th round of talks followed the first in-person meeting of the Working Mechanism for Consultation and Coordination on India-China Border Affairs (WMCC) since July 2019, which was held in Beijing in February.

At the WMCC, both sides “reviewed the situation along the LAC” and said they “discussed proposals for disengagement in the remaining areas in an open and constructive manner, which would help in restoration of peace and tranquillity along the LAC in Western Sector and create conditions for restoration of normalcy in bilateral relations”.

India has maintained that disengagement, and subsequently de-escalation along the LAC which has seen tens of thousands of troops deployed in forward areas, are both critical to restoring ties.

Relations have since 2020 been in a state of freeze, barring the record bilateral trade figures reported in 2021 and 2022 with India’s imports of Chinese goods reaching record highs, as well as the resumption of high-level visits on account of India’s hosting of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) and G-20 summits this year.

China’s new Defence Minister, General Li Shangfu, will this week make his first visit to India, which is also the first high-level military visit since the LAC crisis began, for the SCO Defence Ministers’ meet.

Investment inflow

While trade has boomed, New Delhi has, as the same time, all but curtailed the inflow of once surging Chinese investment. India has not yet given the green light for resuming direct flights between the two countries, first suspended because of the pandemic, and yet to restart after close to three years, while cross-border movement of business people and tourists has reduced to a trickle.

Chinese officials in statements have recently claimed border management has already moved towards “normalised” control, although that is not the view in New Delhi given the continued deployment of troops close to the LAC.

India has seen China’s mass deployments as leaving in tatters past understandings that helped maintain peace, since the first agreement on peace and tranquillity signed in 1993.

The claim of “normalised” management was repeated again on Monday by the Communist Party-run Global Times, which said “the border issue is shifting from a stand-off to normalised management.”

“The China-India border issue is now gradually shifting from a conflict and a stand-off to a normalised management phase, and the situation on the border is expected to become steadier and calmer in the future,” Qian Feng, director of the research department at the National Strategy Institute at Tsinghua University, told the newspaper.

“But the border issue remains complex, so it still requires both sides to further implement mechanisms at all levels and through different channels to meet each other halfway as much as possible, so as to find a fair and reasonable solution.”

Chinese experts are yet to offer any explanation of why the PLA mobilised in unprecedented numbers in April 2020, and contravening past agreements, pushed up towards China’s LAC claim lines in several areas, denying India access to the overlapping “grey zones” patrolled previously by both sides.

6. Malaria set to be notifiable disease across India even as cases show a decline

The country plans to be malaria-free by 2027 and to eliminate the disease by 2030. file photo

Malaria is all set to become a notifiable disease across India, with Bihar, Andaman and Nicobar Islands and Meghalaya too in the process of putting the vector-borne disease in the category. This will then require by law that cases be reported to government authorities. Currently, malaria is a notifiable disease in 33 States and Union Territories in India.

Confirming the development, a senior Health Ministry official said this is part of India’s vision to be malaria-free by 2027 and to eliminate the disease by 2030. The Health Ministry has also initiated a joint action plan with the Ministry of Tribal Affairs for malaria elimination in tribal areas.

Meanwhile, delivering the keynote address at the Asia-Pacific Leaders’ Conclave on Malaria Elimination on Monday, Health Minister Mansukh Mandaviya said that in India, malaria is not just a public health issue but also a social, economic, and political challenge that requires the cooperation of all stakeholders.

“India was the only high-burden, high-impact country in the southeast Asia region to report a decline in malaria cases in 2020 as compared to 2019. India witnessed a 85.1% decline in malaria cases and 83.36% decline in deaths during 2015-2022.”

Kept in check

The Health Ministry added that there is now availability of near-real time data monitoring through an integrated health information platform (HIP-Malaria Portal) and periodic regional review meetings to keep a check on malaria growth across India.

Dr. Poonam Khetrapal Singh, World Health Organisation regional director, southeast Asia, added that countries affected by malaria in this region should accelerate the reach of high-impact tools and strategies to prevent, detect and treat it.

“Intensified efforts must be made to reach at-risk and vulnerable populations with currently available strategies and tools. Globally, children in the poorest households are five times more likely to be infected with malaria. Malaria is also more prevalent among young children whose mothers have a lower level of education and live in rural areas. Reaching these populations with available malaria prevention, diagnosis and treatment is critical for achieving the global technical strategy for malaria 2016-2030 and Sustainable Development Goal targets and delivering on the promise of zero malaria for everyone, everywhere,” she said.

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