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India becomes World No.2 LPG importer

India has become world’s second largest LPG importer, a position that was previously occupied by Japan. China remains as the world’s top importer. According to Petroleum Planning & Analysis Cell, LPG imports in the country has increased 23% during the financial year 2016-2017 to about 11 million tonnes.

The main reason behind the increase in the consumption of LPG in India is due to the two government schemes coupled with free gas connections. From May 2016, the government is providing free cooking gas connections to women from extremely poor households, to reduce the use of polluting fuels such as wood and dried cow dung. This has increased India’s active LPG users to about 200 million, which is 60% more than Japan’s entire population. According to the World Health Organization, polluting fuels used for cooking purposes results in 1.3 million premature deaths in India every year.

India has set an ambitious target of increasing LPG usage to cover 80% of the households by March 2019. As per the present estimates of the oil ministry, demand for fuel will touch 35 million tonnes by 2031-32 in India.

Pradhan Mantri Ujjwala Yojana (PMUY)

PMUY was launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in May 2016 with the tagline of Swachh Indhan, Behtar Jeevan. The scheme’s motive is to provide free of cost LPG (cooking gas) connections to women from BPL Households.

The scheme seeks to empower women and protect their health by shifting them from traditional cooking based on unclean cooking fuels or on fossil fuels to clean cooking gas. It is being implemented by Union Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas. The scheme will be implemented over three years’ time period until the financial year 2018-19.

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Belle-II detector system integrated with powerful SuperKEKB accelerator

The High Energy Accelerator Research Organisation (KEK) completed the ‘rolling-in’ of the Belle-II experiment in Tsukuba, Japan. With this, it moves a step forward by integrating particle detector with powerful accelerator.

The term roll-in refers to the operation of moving the entire Belle II detector system from its assembly area to the beam collision point. The Belle II detector’s total weight is about 1400 tons. 

About Belle-II experiment 

  • Belle II experiment consists of an upgraded detector to record the enormous numbers of particle processes that are produced by the SuperKEKB accelerator.
  • The experiment is designed to study violations of the Standard Model of particle physics. It is grand collaboration of 700 scientists from 23 countries including India.
  • The detector precisely measures elementary particle interactions artificially created with the upgraded SuperKEKB accelerator.
  • In the Belle II experiment, various elementary particles generated from high energy electron-positron collisions will be observed using the 8-meter tall Belle II detector consisting of seven types of subdetectors.
  • The detector will provide measurements of direction and momenta of newly produced particles. Compared to previous Belle experiment, Belle Ⅱ will allow collection of much larger data samples with much improved measurement precision.
India’s contribution

Belle-II has a significant Indian participation both on experimental and theoretical sides. The fourth layer of the six-layer i.e. highly sensitive particle detector (the heart of Belle-II) has been built by Indian scientists from Tata Institute of Fundamental Research (TIFR), Mumbai. Scientists from the Indian Institutes of Technology (IIT) Bhubaneswar, Chennai, Guwahati and Hyderabad, Panjab University, Institute of Mathematical Sciences (Chennai), Punjab Agricultural University, Malaviya National Institute of Technology (Jaipur), Indian Institute of Science Education and Research (Mohali) are also participating in this research.

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Japan officially recognises Bitcoin as currency

Japan has officially recognized bitcoin and digital currencies as legal money along the lines of other fiat currencies with effect from April 1, 2017.

The recognition comes after implementation of a new law amending Banking Act in Japan for legalizing these currencies. It will help in integration of digital currency into legal banking system through regulatory scrutiny. 

Key Facts
  • The recognition means regulations governing banks and financial institutions will be applicable to crypto-currency and digital currencies exchange platforms
  • They will be also required to comply with strict Anti-Money Laundering (AML) and Know Your Customer (KYC) requirements, along with annual audits.
  • Other requirements include meeting the stated capital and cyber security requirements to ensure consumer protection.
  • It also makes these digital currencies as “property of value,” meaning that they can be used for payment in the broader marketplace and that it may be bought or sold.

What is Bitcoin?

  • Bitcoin is a form of digital currency or virtual currency created and held electronically. No one controls it that is not regulated by any central bank or government.
  • They aren’t printed, like dollars or euros – they’re produced by people, and increasingly businesses, running computers all around the world, using software that solves mathematical problems.
  • It is also called a “cryptocurrency” since it is decentralized and uses cryptography to prevent double-spending, a significant challenge inherent to digital currencies.
  • Bitcoin is a distributed peer-to-peer digital currency that functions without the inter-mediation of any central authority.
  • It can also be traded on an open market and its exchange rate fluctuates much like a stock market i.e. based on the demand.

Bitcoin infographic

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