Current Affairs May – 2022
- INTERNATIONAL ( WORLD)
- HISTORY , ART & CULTURE
- SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY
- RANKS AND REPORTS
- BIODIVERSITY AND ENVIRONMENT
- AWARDS AND HONOURS
- OBITUARIES /DEATHS
- SPORTS/ GAMES
- IMPORTANT DAYS
- STATE’s News
INTERNATIONAL / WORLD NEWS
- Transnistria risks being drawn into the Russia-Ukraine war because of reports of a series of explosions in its territory.
|Where is Transnistria?
The political make-up of Transnistria
- Independence: Transnistria is not recognised as independent even by Russia and its economy is dependent on Russia for subsidies and free gas.
- Citizenship: Most Transnistrians have dual citizenship of Russia and Transnistria or triple citizenship of Moldova, Transnistria, and Russia.
- Language: Unlike the rest of Moldova, which speaks Romanian, the majority of people in Transnistria speak Russian and use the cyrillic script like Russians.
- Governance: It has its own government (which is pro-Russian), Parliament, armed force, constitution, flag, anthem, etc. In a referendum held in 2006, over 97% of Transnistrians voted for future integration with Russia and after the annexation of Crimea, the government asked if it could be absorbed into Russia. Russia, however, was not keen on this.
- But Transnistria is host to over 1,500 Russian “peacekeepers” and is home to a large Russian ammunition depot at Cobasna.
“Declaration for the Future of the Internet”
- The United States and 60 other partner countries signed a political declaration called the “Declaration for the Future of the Internet”.
- India, China and Russia are among the nations that have not signed this declaration.
- Note : India also did not sign the Budapest Convention on Cybercrime, 2001.
What is the Declaration for the Future of the Internet?
- Vision: -To champion a single interconnected communications system for all of humanity amid surging state-sponsored or condoned malicious behaviour. Principles of the Declaration
- Commitments to protecting human rights and fundamental freedoms of all people,
- Promote a global Internet that advances the free flow of information,
- Advancing “inclusive and affordable” connectivity,
- Promote trust in the global digital ecosystem including through the protection of privacy and
- Protecting and strengthening the multistakeholder approach to governance that keeps the Internet running for the benefit of all.
Note : These principles are not legally binding but should rather be used as a reference for public policymakers as well as citizens, businesses and civil society organizations. § Significance of this declaration
- There has been a recent rise in the repression of Internet freedoms by some authoritarian governments, the use of digital tools to violate human rights, the growing impact of cyberattacks, the spread of illegal content and disinformation and the excessive concentration of economic power.
- In the backdrop of this, this declaration was needed to have free and open internet.
India-Nordic Countries Bilateral Talks
- Recently, the Prime Minister of India held a series of bilateral meetings with his counterparts from Denmark, Norway, Sweden, Iceland and Finland (Nordic Countries).
- At the meetings, a discussion was made regarding ways to further deepen bilateral ties and views were exchanged on regional and global developments.
- The meeting was organized on the sidelines of the second India-Nordic Summit in the Danish capital, Copenhagen.
- Note : India and Denmark agreed to further strengthen the Green Strategic Partnership with a focus on green hydrogen, renewable energy and wastewater management.
Significance of Nordic Countries for India?
- India and Nordic countries enjoy robust business partnerships though the economics of these countries individually is much smaller than those of the G20 countries.
- The combined GDP is over USD 1.6 trillion, with a per capita income of around USD 54,000.
- The total bilateral trade and services between India and the Nordic countries is USD 13 billion.
- Areas of Cooperation: The countries which have technological prowess and growing business ties will explore cooperation in five areas of mutual interest. These include green partnership, digital and innovation economy, trade and investment linkages, sustainable development, and collaboration regarding the Arctic region.
- Apart from the United States, India is the only other country with which the Nordic countries have summit-level meetings.
ASSOCIATION OF ASIAN ELECTION AUTHORITIES (AAEA)
- India has been unanimously elected as the new Chair of the Association of Asian Election Authorities (AAEA) for 20222024 at the recently held meeting of the Executive board and General Assembly at Manila, Philippines on May 7, 2022.
- Commission on Elections, Manila was the current chair of AAEA. The new member in the Executive Board now includes Russia, Uzbekistan, Sri Lanka, Maldives, Taiwan and Philippines.
- The Association of Asian Election Authorities (AAEA) was established in 1998. Currently 20 Asian Election Monitoring Bodies (EMBs) are members of AAEA.
- Election commission of India (ECI) is a founder member EMB of the AAEA and also served on the Executive Board of the AAEA as the Vice Chair during 2011-13 and Chair during 2014-16.
- The mission of the Association of Asian Election Authorities is to provide a non-partisan forum in the Asian region for sharing experiences and best practices among election authorities.
- AAEA is also an Associate Member of the 118 member Association of World Election Bodies (A-WEB).
- Recently, the Indian Prime Minister has visited Lumbini, Nepal, the birthplace of Buddha, where he laid a foundation stone along with Nepalese Prime Minister for a Buddhist Vihara, being built with Indian assistance.
- The PM celebrated the 2566th Buddha Jayanti celebrations and addressed a gathering of people, including Buddhist scholars and monks, from Nepal and India.
What are the Highlights of the Visit?
- International Centre for Buddhist Culture and Heritage: He performed the ‘shilanyas’ ceremony to launch the construction of the India International Centre for Buddhist Culture and Heritage in the Lumbini Monastic Zone. The centre will be a world-class facility welcoming pilgrims and tourists from all over the world to enjoy the essence of spiritual aspects of Buddhism. The facility is aimed at catering to scholars and Buddhist pilgrims from all over the world who visit Lumbini.
- Hydropower Projects: The two leaders signed five agreements, including one between the Satluj Jal Vidyut Nigam (SJVN) Ltd and the Nepal Electricity Authority (NEA) for development and implementation of 490.2 megawatts Arun-4 hydropower project. Nepal also invited Indian companies to invest in the West Seti hydropower project in Nepal.
- Setting up a Satellite Campus: India has offered to set up a satellite campus of the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) in Rupandehi and has sent some draft memoranda of understanding for signing between Indian and Nepali universities.
- Pancheshwar Multipurpose Project: Nepal discussed some pending projects like the Pancheshwar Multipurpose Project, an important arm of the Mahakali Treaty signed between Nepal and India in 1996, and West Seti Hydropower Project, a reservoir-type project with a projected capacity of 1,200 megawatts.
India hosts SCO-RATS Meet
- India hosts SCO-RATS (Shanghai Cooperation Organization’s Regional Anti Terror Structure) meet. The meeting discussed boosting cooperation in combating various regional security challenges.
- More about the present SCO-RATS meet
- Officials from China, Pakistan, Russia, and other members of SCO participated in the meeting.
- India assumed the chairmanship of the Council of Regional Anti-Terrorist Structure of SCO (RATS SCO) on October 28 for a period of one year.
Indo-Pacific Economic Framework (IPEF)
- Recently, India’s Prime Minister participated in an event in Tokyo to launch the Indo-Pacific Economic Framework (IPEF).
- IPEF : It is a US-led initiative that aims to strengthen economic partnership among participating countries to enhance resilience, sustainability, inclusiveness, economic growth, fairness, and competitiveness in the Indo-Pacific region. The IPEF was launched with a dozen initial partners who together represent 40% of the world GDP.
Nagorno-Karabakh ( Armenia- Azerbaijan dispute)
- Nagorno-karabakh(Artsakh): It is a landlocked region in the South Caucasus within the mountainous range of Karabakh.
- Dispute: Nagorno-Karabakh is a disputed territory internationally recognized as part of Azerbaijan but mostly governed by the Republic of Artsakh, de facto independent state with an Armenian ethnic majority backed by neighbouring Armenia.
Investment Incentive Agreement (IIA)
- The Government of India and the Government of the United States of America have signed an Investment Incentive Agreement (IIA) in Tokyo, Japan.
- The Agreement is the legal requirement for DFC(Development Finance Agency of the USA), to continue providing investment support in India.
- Note: This present IIA supersedes the Investment Incentive Agreement signed between the Government of India and the Government of the United States of America in the year 1997.
- World Health Assembly’s 75th session is being held at World Health Organization (WHO) Headquarters (HQ), Geneva from 22nd to 28th May, 2022.
- Union Minister of Health and Family Welfare emphasized upon India’s commitment towards building a more resilient global health security architecture.
- Health for peace, peace for health is the theme of the World Health Assembly, 2022.
- India’s six Accredited Social Health Activists (ASHA) workers were awarded the Global Health Leaders Award at the ongoing 75th World Health Assembly to recognize their “outstanding contributions to advancing global health, demonstrated leadership, and commitment to regional health issues.”
Atal New India Challenge 2.0 (ANIC 2.0) Launch
- Atal Innovation Mission has launched the phase 1 of the 2nd edition of the Atal New India Challenge (ANIC 2.0) Atal New India Challenge is a flagship program of Atal Innovation Mission, NITI Aayog.
- Aim: To seek, select, support and nurture technology-based innovations that solve sectoral challenges of national importance and societal relevance.
- Goal: To support innovations in areas critical to India’s development and growth – Education, Health, Water and Sanitation, Housing, Energy, Mobility, and Space Application among others.
- To address the Commercialization Valley of Death – supporting innovators scale over the risks associated with access to resources for testing, piloting and market creation.
- Funding: The challenge supports selected start-ups through the commercialization stage over a course of 12 – 18 months with a funding of up to INR 1 crore along with other associated support from the AIM’s innovation ecosystem. What does Valley of Death mean?
- The Valley of death is an expression used by Venture Capitalists(VCs) to describe the critical initial phase of a startup company. During this period, startup companies operate without any existing revenue, relying on their initial invested capital. Surviving the Death Valley curve means beginning to generate sufficient revenue to become self-sustainable before the initial invested capital runs dry. This is a significant milestone for startup companies.
Atal Innovation Mission
- AIM is Government of India’s flagship initiative to promote a culture of innovation and entrepreneurship in the country. Its objective is to develop new programmes and policies for fostering innovation in different sectors of the economy, provide platform and collaboration opportunities for different stakeholders, create awareness and create an umbrella structure to oversee the innovation ecosystem of the country.
SC seeks govt. view on making sports a right
- The Supreme Court has asked the Centre and States to respond to a report recommending sports to be expressly made a fundamental right under Article 21 of the Constitution. The report was submitted by the Supreme Court’s amicus curiae, senior advocate Gopal Sankaranarayanan to the court.
- The report was filed in a response to a petition which asked to amend the Constitution to make sports a fundamental right in India.
Major Recommendations of the Report:
- The report suggested that the phrase ‘sport’ be replaced by ‘physical literacy’, which is a term “firmly established as a right in the leading sporting nations of the world”.
- As per the report, all school boards should be directed to ensure that from the academic year commencing 2022-2023, at least 90 minutes of every school day will be dedicated to free play and games.
- The report suggested that State governments ought to ensure that from the current academic year, “all non-residential colleges and schools should compulsorily allow access during non-working hours to neighbourhood children to use their playgrounds and sports facilities for free, subject to basic norms of identification, security and care”.
- Subsequently, the court has directed the Centre to respond to the report’s view to establish a ‘National Physical Literacy Mission’ that includes curriculum design, compliance monitoring, review, grievance redressal and selfcorrection mechanisms” which starts at the school level to groom children for various sports.
- The policy will include the institution’s commitment to a ‘no-child-left-behind’ approach that ensures that the institution’s physical literacy activities are designed and delivered in a manner that is inclusive in nature.
Major Government Initiatives to promote Sports: ( Important for Mains examination )
- The Government of India makes the significant investment on programmes for the youth, through various Ministries/ Departments.
- In addition, the State Governments and a number of other stakeholders are also working to support youth development and to enable productive youth participation in sports and physical activities.
- Khelo India: It has been formed after merger of Rajiv Gandhi Khel Abhiyan (RGKA), Urban Sports Infrastructure Scheme (USIS) and National Sports Talent Search Scheme (NSTSS).
- Target Olympic Podium Scheme (TOPS): TOPS was formulated by the Government of India in September, 2014. It aims to identify, groom and prepare potential medal prospects for Olympics. It provides financial/infrastructural/technical assistance to India’s top athletes so that they can win medals in the Olympics.
- Mission Olympic Cell: The Mission Olympic Cell is a dedicated body created to assist the athletes who are selected under the TOP Scheme. The idea of the MOC is to debate, discuss and decide the processes and methods so that the athlete receives best assistance.
- Army Boys Sports Company Scheme (ABSC): The main objective of the Scheme is to make use of the good infrastructure and disciplined environment of the Army for training boys in the age group of 8-16 years of age, to achieve excellence in sports. After attaining the required age of seventeen and a half years, the trainees are also offered placement in the Army.
- Special Area Games Scheme (SAGS): Special Area Games (SAG) Scheme aims at scouting natural talent for modern competitive sports and games from inaccessible tribal, rural and coastal areas of the country and nurturing them scientifically for achieving excellence in sports.
- Come & Play Scheme: The Come & Play Scheme was initiated for optimum utilization of Sports Authority of India
(SAI) sports’ facilities in Delhi and across the country, and primarily focussed on encouraging local sportspersons in areas where SAI sports facilities/Centres are operational.
The level of ethanol blending in petrol in India has reached 9.99%.
- Ethanol: It is one of the principal biofuels, which is naturally produced by the fermentation of sugars by yeasts or via petrochemical processes such as ethylene hydration.
- Ethanol Blending Programme (EBP): It is aimed at reducing the country’s dependence on crude oil imports, cutting carbon emissions and boosting farmers’ incomes.
- Blending Target: The Government of India has advanced the target for 20% ethanol blending in petrol (also called E20) to 2025 from 2030.
What is the Significance of Ethanol Blending?
- Reduce dependency on imported, expensive Petroleum. Today, India imports 85% of its oil requirements.
- Save Money: India’s net import of petroleum was 185 million tonnes in 2020-21 at a cost of USD551 billion.
- Less Polluting: Ethanol is a less polluting fuel and offers equivalent efficiency at a lower
Eklavya Model Residential Schools
- Recently, the Ministry of Tribal Affairs has laid the foundation stone for the construction of Eklavya Model Residential School (EMRS) in Nashik, Maharashtra..
What are EMRS?
- EMRS is a scheme for making model residential schools for Indian tribals (ST- Scheduled Tribes) across India. It started in the year 1997-98. The EMR School follows the CBSE curriculum. At present, there are 384 functional schools spanned across the country established at par with Navodaya Vidyalaya with focus on special state-of-the-art facilities for preserving local art and culture besides providing training in sports and skill development. As per existing EMRS Guidelines of 2010, at least one EMRS is to be set up in each Integrated Tribal Development Agency (ITDA) / Integrated Tribal Development Project (ITDP) having 50% ST population in the area. As per the budget 2018-19, every block with more than 50% ST population and at least 20,000 tribal persons, will have an Eklavya Model Residential School by the year 2022.
Amendments to the National Policy on Biofuels
- Recently, the Union Cabinet approved amendments to the National Policy on Biofuels, 2018.
- Instead of 2030, the Centre plans to move ahead with its ethanol blending target of 20% of petrol containing ethanol by 2025-26.
- It will promote the production of biofuels in the country, under the Make in India program, by units located in Special Economic Zones (SEZ)/ Export Oriented Units (EoUs).
- New members to the NBCC: The government has allowed the addition of new members to the National Biofuel Coordination Committee (NBCC). NBCC was constituted under the Chairmanship of Minister, Petroleum & Natural Gas (P&NG) to provide overall coordination, effective end-to-end implementation and monitoring of biofuel programme. NBCC has members from 14 other ministries.
- Export of Biofuels: Permission will be granted for the export of biofuels in specific cases.
National Achievement Survey (NAS) 2021 report : released by Ministry of Education
- The Department of School Education and Literacy, Ministry of Education released the National Achievement Survey (NAS) 2021 report.
- Higher the classes lower their achievements: The survey found that the learning levels (achievements) of students drop as they progress to a higher class. The survey also highlighted that in India 48 per cent of the students commute to school on foot. For example, the average performance of students at the national level with a scaled score of 500 starts decreasing in higher classes. For example, the national average performance of a class 3 student in the language is 323 out of 500, but the same dips to 260 in Class 10.
- Fall in student performance: There is a fall of up to nine percentage points between 2017 and 2021 in the performance of students in subjects ranging from maths to social sciences.
- Performance of States: The majority of states/union territories were significantly below the overall national score. Punjab was the best performer across all grades and subjects. Apart from that, states such as Kerala, Rajasthan, Maharashtra and union territories such as Chandigarh showed better results than the national average.
- Burden during the pandemic: Nearly 80% students found learning at home during the pandemic “burdensome” and felt that they learnt better in school
- The survey found that as many as 24% of the students surveyed did not have access to digital devices at home, 38% said they faced difficulty carrying out learning activities at home during the pandemic.
- Challenges in learning science: The survey found that out of a score of 500, students across various classes performed better at languages but lagged behind in subjects like mathematics and science.
- For example, in Class 3, students scored the highest in languages (323), followed by EVS (307), and mathematics (306).
- Backward classes faced struggle: Across various subjects and classes, SC, ST and OBC students performed worse than general category students. For instance, while general category students in Class 8 scored an average of 260 marks in mathematics, SC students scored 249 marks, ST scored 244 marks and OBCs scored 253 marks.
100 Million Tonnes Coal Gasification by 2030:
- Recently, the Ministry of Coal has organized the National Mineral Congress. The Ministry has also prepared a National Mission document to achieve 100 MT Coal Gasification by 2030. What is Coal Gasification?
- Coal gasification is a process in which coal is partially oxidised with air, oxygen, steam or carbon dioxide to form a fuel gas. This gas is then used instead of piped natural gas, methane and others for deriving energy.
- China has the biggest number of coal gasification projects in the world. 5% of China’s total coal consumption is from its gasifier. The US also has some coal gasification plants running.
- In-situ gasification of coal – or Underground Coal Gasification (UCG) – is the technique of converting coal into gas while it is still in the seam and then extracting it through wells.
- It produces Syngas which is a mixture consisting primarily of methane (CH4), carbon monoxide (CO), hydrogen (H2), carbon dioxide (CO2) and water vapour (H2O).
- Syngas can be used to produce a wide range of fertilizers, fuels, solvent and synthetic materials.
What are the advantages of coal gasification?
a) Used in a variety of applications such as in the production of electricity and making chemical products such as fertilisers,
b) The hydrogen obtained from coal gasification can be used for various purposes such as making ammonia, powering a hydrogen economy or upgrading fossil fuels,
c) Methane or natural gas extracted from coal gasification can be converted into LNG for direct use as fuel in the transport sector.
What are the concerns associated with coal gasification?
- Coal gasification is one of the more water-intensive forms of energy production. There are concerns about water contamination, land subsidence and disposing of wastewater safely.
Prime Minister’s Employment Generation Programme
- The Ministry of Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises has approved the extension of the Prime Minister’s Employment Generation Programme (PMEGP) for five years till FY26. The PMEGP has now been approved for continuation over the 15th Finance Commission Cycle for five years from 2021-22 to 2025-26 with an outlay of Rs 13,554.42 crore.
What is the PMEGP Scheme?
- The Government of India approved the introduction of a credit linked subsidy programme called Prime Minister’s Employment Generation Programme (PMEGP) in 2008 for generation of employment opportunities through establishment of micro enterprises in rural as well as urban areas. It allows entrepreneurs to set up factories or units.
- It is a central sector scheme being administered by the Ministry of Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MoMSME).
- Implementing Agency at the National Level: Khadi and Village Industries Commission (KVIC) – a statutory organization under the administrative control of the Ministry of MSME.
- Any individual, above 18 years of age.
- Only new projects/units are considered for sanction of loans.
- Self-help groups that have not availed benefits under any other public scheme, societies, production co-operative societies, and charitable trusts.
- Maximum Cost of Project/Unit Admissible:
- Manufacturing Sector: Rs. 50 lakh
- Service Sector: Rs.20 lakh
- Rural Areas: 25% for general category and 35% for special category, which includes SC/ST/OBC/Minorities, NER, Hill and Border Areas, transgender, physically disabled, north eastern region, aspirational and border district applicants.
- Urban Areas: 15% for general category and 25% for special category.
- Role of Banks: Loans are provided by Public Sector Banks, Regional Rural Banks, Co-operative Banks and Private Scheduled Commercial Banks approved by respective State Task Force Committee.
POLITY (Articles, Acts or Sections in News)
Office of Profit :
- Recently, the Election Commission issued notice to Jharkhand chief minister on a reference that he held an “office of profit” by granting a mining lease to himself in 2021.
- The chief minister is accused of violating a provision of the Representation of the People Act.
- Under Article 102 (1) and Article 191 (1) of the Constitution, an MP or an MLA (or an MLC) is barred from holding any office of profit under the central or state government.
Sedition : Section 124A of the Indian Penal Code dealing with the offense of sedition.
- The law was originally drafted in 1837 by Thomas Macaulay, the British historian-politician, but was inexplicably omitted when the Indian Penal Code (IPC) was enacted in 1860.
- Section 124A was inserted in 1870 by an amendment introduced by Sir James Stephen when it felt the need for a specific section to deal with the offence.
- Today the Sedition is a crime under Section 124A of the Indian Penal Code (IPC).
Sedition Law Today:
- Section 124A IPC: It defines sedition as an offence committed when “any person by words, either spoken or written, or by signs, or by visible representation, or otherwise, brings or attempts to bring into hatred or contempt, or excites or attempts to excite disaffection towards the government established by law in India”.
- Disaffection includes disloyalty and all feelings of enmity. However, comments without exciting or attempting to excite hatred, contempt or disaffection, will not constitute an offence under this section.
Punishment for the Offence of Sedition:
- It is a non-bailable offence. Punishment under Section 124A ranges from imprisonment up to three years to a life term, to which a fine may be added.
- A person charged under this law is barred from a government job.
- They have to live without their passport and must produce themselves in the court at all times as and when required.
- The Supreme Court invoked its extraordinary powers to do complete justice under Article 142 of the Constitution and ordered the release of A.G. Perarivalan in former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi assassination case.
- Background : In 2018, the Tamil Nadu Cabinet had decided to pardon Perarivalan. However, the Governor refused to take a decision on his release and transferred the petition to the President. Against this delay in release, a petition was filed before the Supreme Court.
- Supreme Court’s view : The court held that the TN Council of Minister’s advice to pardon Perarivalan was binding on the Governor under Article 161 (Governor’s power of pardon) of the Constitution. This means that the Governor prima facie had no authority to transfer the mercy plea to the President.
Why was this a case for the Governor and not the President?
- Perarivalan was not a death-sentenced convict (Earlier, the apex court had commuted his death penalty to a life sentence for murder in 2014). Hence, the Governor had no business forwarding the pardon plea to the President after sitting on it for years together. Had this been a death penalty, the case would have been different. Hence, by invoking Article 142, the court ordered the release of A.G. Perarivalan. Why did the Supreme Court invoke Article 142?
- Governor’s delay to decide Perarivalan’s pardon for more than two years has compelled the apex court to employ its constitutional powers under Article 142 to do justice to Perarivalan. After all, the court said, a Governor’s non-exercise of power under Article 161 of the Constitution was not immune from judicial review. What was the Centre’s argument on this issue?
- Centre’s argument was that the President exclusively and not the Governor had the power to grant pardon in a case under Section 302 (murder) of the Indian Penal Code. But the court said that such a contention would render Article 161 a “dead-letter”. This would rather create an extraordinary situation whereby pardons granted by Governors in murder cases for the past 70 years would be rendered invalid.
SC permits MP for providing OBC Quota in Local Body Polls
- Recently, the Supreme Court (SC) permitted Madhya Pradesh to provide reservation to Other Backward Classes (OBC) in Local Body Elections, modifying an earlier order that suspended the quotas due to a lack of data.
- Currently, local bodies in Madhya Pradesh have quotas only for Scheduled Castes, Scheduled Tribes and women.
Competition Commission of India (CCI)
- Recently, Finance Minister participated in the 13th Annual Day commemoration of the Competition Commission of India (CCI). Finance Minister also inaugurated the regional office at Kolkata and launched an upgraded website of CCI.
- CCI : Competition Commission of India (CCI) is a statutory body of the Government of India responsible for enforcing the Competition Act, 2002, it was duly constituted in March 2009.
- The Monopolies and Restrictive Trade Practices Act, 1969 (MRTP Act) was repealed and replaced by the Competition Act, 2002, on the recommendations of the Raghavan committee.
- The Competition Act was passed in 2002 and has been amended by the Competition (Amendment) Act, 2007. It follows the philosophy of modern competition laws. In accordance with the provisions of the Amendment Act, the Competition Commission of India and the Competition Appellate Tribunal have been established. The government replaced the Competition Appellate Tribunal (COMPAT) with the National Company Law Appellate Tribunal (NCLAT) in 2017.
- Composition: The Commission consists of one Chairperson and six Members who shall be appointed by the Central Government.
- The Chairperson and every other Member shall be a person of ability, integrity and standing and who, has been, or is qualified to be a judge of a High Court, or, has special knowledge of, and professional experience of not less than fifteen years in international trade, economics, business, commerce, law, finance, accountancy, management, industry, public affairs, administration or in any other matter which, in the opinion of the Central Government, may be useful to the Commission.
- Role of CCI : To eliminate practices having adverse effects on competition, protect the interests of consumers and ensure freedom of trade in the markets of India.
Recognition of Sex Work as a Profession
- Recently, in a significant order, Supreme Court has recognised sex work as a “profession” and observed that its practitioners are entitled to dignity and equal protection under law.
- The court invoked its special powers under Article 142 of the Constitution. Article 142 provides discretionary power to the Supreme Court as it states that the Supreme Court in the exercise of its jurisdiction may pass such decree or make such order as is necessary for doing complete justice in any cause or matter pending before it.
- In 2020, the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) recognised sex workers as informal workers.
Highlights of the Supreme Court Judgment :
- Criminal Law: Sex workers are entitled to equal protection of the law and criminal law must apply equally in all cases, on the basis of ‘age’ and ‘consent’. When it is clear that the sex worker is an adult and is participating with consent, the police must refrain from interfering or taking any criminal action. Article 21 declares that no person shall be deprived of his life or personal liberty except according to procedure established by law. This right is available to both citizens and non-citizens. Sex workers should not be “arrested or penalised or harassed or victimised” whenever there is a raid on any brothel, “since voluntary sex work is not illegal and only running the brothel is unlawful”.
- Right of Child of a Sex Worker: A child of a sex worker should not be separated from the mother merely on the ground that she is in the sex trade. Basic protection of human decency and dignity extends to sex workers and their children. Further, if a minor is found living in a brothel or with sex workers, it should not be presumed that the child was trafficked. In case the sex worker claims that he/she is her son/daughter, tests can be done to determine if the claim is correct and if so, the minor should not be forcibly separated.
- Medical Care: Sex workers who are victims of sexual assault should be provided every facility including immediate medico-legal care.
- Role of Media: Media should take “utmost care not to reveal the identities of sex workers, during arrest, raid and rescue operations, whether as victims or accused and not to publish or telecast any photos that would result in disclosure of such identities.
India receives highest-ever FDI inflow of $83.57 bn in FY22
- The central government announced that India has recorded the highest ever annual FDI inflow of $83.57 billion during FY22. In 2020-21, the inflow stood at $81.97 billion. India is rapidly emerging as a preferred country for foreign investments in the manufacturing sector. FDI equity inflow in manufacturing sectors has increased by 76 per cent in 2021-22 ($21.34 billion) compared to 2020-21 ($12.09 billion).
- In terms of top investor countries, Singapore is at the top with 27 per cent, followed by the US (18 per cent) and Mauritius (16 per cent) during the last fiscal.
- Among sectors, computer software and hardware attracted maximum inflows.The services sector and automobile industry followed it.
Semicon India – 2022 : Bengaluru
- Recently, Ministry of Electronics & Information Technology has inaugurated the first ever Semicon India 2022 Conference under India Semiconductor Mission in Bengaluru.
- Semicon India – 2022 has been organized to take forward the vision of the Prime Minister to make India a leader in the electronics manufacturing, semiconductor design, manufacturing & innovation.
- Theme of the Conference: Catalyzing India’s Semiconductor Ecosystem.
India Semiconductor Mission (ISM)
- The ISM was launched in 2021 with a total financial outlay of Rs 76,000 crore under the aegis of the Ministry of Electronics and IT (MeitY). It is part of the comprehensive program for the development of sustainable semiconductor and display ecosystem in the country. The programme aims to provide financial support to companies investing in semiconductors, display manufacturing and design ecosystem.
Repo Rate and CRR increased by RBI
- The Reserve Bank of India’s Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) has increased the policy Repo Rate by 40 basis points to 4.40%, with immediate effect and Cash Reserve Ratio (CRR) of banks by 50 basis points to 4.5% of Net Demand and Time Liabilities (NDTL).
- This is the first increase in the policy repo rate by RBI since May 2020.
Why has RBI hiked Repo Rate and CRR?
- The decision has been taken in view of the global scenario, wherein there has been a sharp rise in inflation due to current geopolitical tensions.
- Inflation has risen to its highest level in the last 3-4 decades in major economies with global crude oil prices remaining volatile and above USD 100 per barrel.
- The hike in Repo rate and CRR is aimed at reining in elevated inflation amid the global turbulence in the wake of the Ukraine war.
- The RBI aimed to keep inflation – which is already close to 7% — at its desired level and control and monitor money flow into the banking system.
- There has also been a spike in fertiliser prices and other input costs, which has a direct impact on food prices in India.
- There was a spike in the headline CPI (Consumer Price Inflation) inflation to 6.95% in March 2022.
Bitcoin (Crypto currency) as legal tender in CAR
- Recently, the Central African Republic (CAR) became the second country after El Salvador to adopt Bitcoin as legal tender.
- The Union Budget 2022-2023 of India has also proposed to introduce a digital currency in the coming financial year. It was also announced that “any income from transfer of any virtual digital asset shall be taxed at the rate of 30%.”
- Union Minister for Ports, Shipping & Waterways inaugurated the 1st Incredible India International Cruise Conference 2022 in Mumbai.
- India aims to increase cruise passenger traffic from 0.4 million at present to 4 million.
- Economic potential of Cruise tourism is expected to go up from USD 110 mn to USD 5.5 bn in the years to come.
- ‘Four theme based coastal destination circuits such as Gujarat Pilgrimage tours, West Coast – Cultural and scenic tours, South Coast – Ayurvedic wellness tours and East Coast – Heritage tourism have been developed to activate cruise demand.
- The Maritime Vision Document 2030 has also been prepared with focus on heritage tourism,Ayurveda tourism,coastal tourism,river cruise tourism etc.
- Upgradation and modernisation are being carried out at seven major ports in the country including the flagship New International Cruise terminal coming up in Mumbai at BPX-Indira Dock, which is expected to be commissioned by July 2024. Similar infrastructure upgradation is taking place in Goa, New Mangalore, Kochi, Chennai, Visakhapatnam and Kolkata. ‘
- The IMF raised the yuan’s weighting to 12.28% from 10.92 % in its first regular review of the SDR evaluation since the Chinese currency was included in the basket in 2016.
- The weighting of the US dollar rose to 43.38 % from 41.73 %, while those of euro, Japanese yen and British pound declined.
- The ranking of the currencies’ weighting remains the same after the review, with the yuan continuing to be in third place.
- The change came amid a sharp depreciation of the yuan since late April, as it faces a double whammy of slowing domestic growth because of Covid-induced lockdowns and capital outflows due to its widening monetary policy divergence with the US. India’s quota in IMF:
- In 2016, IMF’s quota and governance reforms took place.
- According to which, India’s voting rights increased by 0.3% from then 2.3% to 2.6% and China’s voting rights increased by 2.2% from then 3.8% to 6%.
- Presently, India holds 2.75% of SDR quota, and 2.63% of votes in the IMF.
- India’s foreign exchange reserves also incorporate SDR other than gold reserves, foreign currency assets and Reserve Tranche in the IMF.
States’ Power to Make GST Laws
- Recently, the Supreme Court in a judgment championing the importance of “Cooperative Federalism” for the well-being of democracy, held that Union and State legislatures have “equal, simultaneous and unique powers” to make laws on Goods and Services Tax (GST) and the recommendations of the GST Council are not binding on them.
- The apex court’s decision came while confirming a Gujarat High Court ruling that the Centre cannot levy Integrated Goods and Services Tax (IGST) on ocean freight from Indian importers. The Supreme Court has held that GST on ocean freight paid in case of import of goods is unconstitutional. Submissions by the Union of India
- As per Articles 246A and 279A, the GST Council is the ultimate policy-making and decision-making body for framing GST laws. The GST Council recommendations would override the legislative power of Parliament and state legislatures and would be binding on Parliament and state legislatures. The Supreme Court’s Observations on federalism in this case
- The SC rejected the UOI submissions. It held that the sovereignty of Parliament and the state legislatures, as well as the fiscal autonomy of the states cannot be diminished.
- Democracy and federalism are interdependent for their survival. If the states had been conferred less power, they could still resist the Union mandate through different forms of political contestation as permitted by constitutional design.
- Article 246A confers simultaneous or concurrent powers on Parliament and the state legislatures to make laws relating to GST.
- Under Article 279A, the GST Council has to make “recommendations” on various topics including the tax rate and exemptions. The GST Council recommendations have only a persuasive value. Both the Union and states have been conferred equal power to legislate on GST. The binding recommendations would disrupt fiscal federalism. Article 279A has made no provision to make the decision of the majority binding on the dissenting states.
Ban on Export of Wheat
Indian Government has prohibited wheat exports, claiming a threat to food security, partially owing to the conflict in Ukraine and as a blistering heatwave reduced supply and pushed local prices to new highs.
Ban on Export of Sugar
- The government has decided to “restrict” the export of sugar, effective from June 1. India is the biggest producer of sugar and the second-largest exporter after Brazil.
- The government has moved export of sugar from the ‘open category’, which requires no government intervention, to ‘restricted’ category.
- This means that export of sugar is allowed only with specific permission from the Directorate of Sugar,
Department of Food and Public Distribution (DFPD), Ministry of Consumer Affairs, Food & Public Distribution.
- Also, the curbs come into effect from June 1 and will continue till October 31, or until further orders.
- Unlike wheat, where export has been banned, sugar would continue to be exported, but from June 1, permission would be required to send the shipments out. Reason for ban on Sugar Export:
- These steps were taken to maintain “domestic availability and price stability of sugar”.
- The decision was in the wake of “unprecedented growth in exports of sugar” and the need to maintain sufficient stock of sugar in the country.
- It is for the first time in six years that the Centre is regulating sugar exports.
Duty-Free Import of Edible Oil:
- Govt has also scrapped all duties and cesses on crude soyabean and sunflower oil imports. It was announced in the wake of a surge in edible oil prices in India.
- India is one of the world’s largest vegetable oil importers and relies on imports for 60% of its needs. Meanwhile, after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, edible oil prices have shot up significantly. Sunflower oil is imported into India majorly from Ukraine and Russia. In February 2022, agri-cess on crude palm oil was reduced to 5% with effect from the earlier 7.5%.
- Recently, the Ministry of Commerce and Industry has released the data, which showed that the US has surpassed China becoming India’s top trading partner in 2021-22.
- Major export items from India to the US include petroleum, polished diamonds, pharmaceutical products, jewellery, frozen shrimp, whereas major imports from the US include petroleum, rough diamonds, liquified natural gas, gold, coal, waste and scrap, almonds and so on.
- The data showed that China was India’s top trading partner from 2013-14 till 2017-18 and also in 2020-21.
- Before China, the UAE was the country’s largest trading partner. Bilateral Trade with the US:
- Bilateral trade between the US and India stood at USD 119.42 billion (2021-2022) as against USD 80.51 billion in 202021.
- Exports to the US increased to USD 76.11 billion in 2021-22 from USD 51.62 billion in the previous fiscal year, while imports rose to USD 43.31 billion as compared to about USD 29 billion in 2020-21.
- America is one of the few countries with which India has a trade surplus. In 2021-22, India had a trade surplus of USD 32.8 billion with the US.
Jute Crisis in West Bengal
- Jute is known as the golden fibre. It is used in making gunny bags, mats, ropes, yarn, carpets and other artefacts.
- Recently, the West Bengal’s jute industry is facing a severe crisis. Several mills (like Reliance Jute Mill, the Gondolpara Jute Mill etc.) have announced the temporary suspension of operations this year.
Reasons of crisis :
- High Rate of Procurement by Mills: Mills are procuring raw jute at prices higher than what they are selling them at after processing.
- Mills do not acquire their raw material directly from the farmers because: Farmers are far-off from the mills locations. Mills would have to go to multiple farmers to acquire the requisite quantity as no single farmer produces enough to fulfil the requirements of the entire mill. The procurement now flows through middlemen or traders. As a standard practice, the middlemen charge mills for their services, which involves procuring jute from farmers, grading, bailing and then bringing the bales to the mills.
- The government has a fixed Minimum Support Price (MSP) for raw jute procurement from farmers, which is Rs. 4,750 per quintal for the 2022-23 season. However, this reaches the mill at Rs. 7,200 per quintal, that is, Rs. 700 more than the Rs. 6,500 per quintal cap for the final product.
- Impact of Cyclone: The situation particularly has become worrisome recently with the occurrence of Cyclone Amphan in May 2020 and the subsequent rains in major jute producing States.
- These events led to lower acreage, which in turn led to lower production and yield compared to previous years.
- Also, this led to production of a lower quality of jute fibre in 2020-21 as water-logging in large fields resulted in farmers harvesting the crop prematurely. Concerns
- As the jute sector provides direct employment to 3.70 lakh workers in the country and supports the livelihood of around 40 lakh farm families, closure of the mills is a direct blow to workers and indirectly, to the farmers whose production is used in the mills. West Bengal, Bihar and Assam account for almost 99% of India’s total production.
- India is the largest producer of jute followed by Bangladesh and China. However, in terms of acreage and trade, Bangladesh takes the lead accounting for three-fourth of the global jute exports in comparison to India’s 7%. It is mainly concentrated in eastern India because of the rich alluvial soil of Ganga-Brahmaputra delta. Major jute producing states include West Bengal, Bihar, Odisha, Assam, Andhra Pradesh, Meghalaya and Tripura.
Direct Seeding of Rice (DSR)
In Punjab and Haryans, governments are giving incentives for farmers opting for Direct Seeding of Rice (DSR).
|What is DSR and How is it Different from Normal Transplanting of Paddy?|
||Direct Seeding of Rice (DRS)
Advantages and disadvantages of Direct Seeding of Rice (DRS):
India’s ‘First Lavender Festival’ in Bhaderwah
- Union Minister of Science and Technology has inaugurated India’s ‘First Lavender Festival’ in Bhaderwah and termed Bhaderwah as the birthplace of India’s Purple Revolution or Lavender Revolution.
- Note: India’s first National Institute of High Altitude Medicine is also being built in Bhaderwah. What is Lavender?
- Lavandula (common name lavender) is a genus of 47 known species of flowering plants in the mint family, Lamiaceae. The flowers may be blue, violet or lilac in the wild species, occasionally blackish purple or yellowish.
- Cultivation: Lavender cultivation has employed about 5,000 farmers and young entrepreneurs in geographically remote areas of J&K. More than 1,000 farming families are cultivating it on more than 200 acres.
- ‘Lavender Cultivation’ is getting promoted under CSIR-IIIM’s Aroma Mission.
- Applications: Lavender has been used over centuries in traditional medicine and cosmetics. For instance, the main product is Lavender oil which sells for at least Rs. 10,000 per litre.
- Lavender water, which separates from lavender oil, is used to make incense sticks (Agarbatti).
- Hydrosol is formed after distillation from the flowers. This is used to make soaps and room fresheners.
What is the status of lavender cultivation under the CSIR-AROMA Mission?
- CSIR-IIIM introduced lavender to farmers in Doda, Rama, Kishtwar, Kathua, Udhampur, etc.
- The mission provided free quality planting material and an end-to-end technology package for cultivation, processing, value addition and marketing of the Lavender crop to the farmers.
- CSIR-IIIM also installed 50 distillation units at different locations across J&K under CSIR-Aroma Mission.
HISTORY, ART AND CULTURE
- Recently, the Prime Minister paid tributes to Jagadguru Basaveshwara on the sacred occasion of Basava Jayanthi.
- About Basava Jayanti: Basava Jayanti is a Hindu festival celebrated by Lingayats in Karnataka. The day marks the birth anniversary of Lord Basavanna. About Shri Basavanna
- He was a 12th-century poet and philosopher and was the founder of Lingayatism. He was a Hindu Shaivite social reformer. He also served as a chief minister during the reign of the Kalachuri-dynasty king Bijjala I.
- The Lingayats (Followers of Lingayatism) are a Hindu sect with a wide following in southern India that worships Shiva as the only deity.
Contributions of Basavanna
- Believed in a society free of the caste system, with equal opportunity for all. Preached about manual hard work.
- Introduced new public institutions such as the Anubhava Mantapa (or, the “hall of spiritual experience”), which welcomed men and women from all socio-economic backgrounds to discuss spiritual and mundane questions of life, in the open.
- Used poetry, known as Vachanaas, to spread social awareness and bring equality to the 12th-century society.
Martand Sun Temple
- The Jammu and Kashmir Lieutenant Governor participated in a religious ceremony held in the ruins of the 8th century Martand Sun temple, a protected monument under the Archaeological Survey of India. This temple has been recognised as a “Site of national importance”.
- The Martand Sun Temple, also known as Pandou Laidan is a Hindu temple dedicated to Surya (the chief solar deity in Hinduism) and built during the 8th century CE.
- The Martand Sun Temple was built by the third ruler of the Karkota Dynasty, Lalitaditya Muktapida, in the 8th century CE. It is said to have been built during 725-756 CE.
- Martand is another Sanskrit synonym for Surya.
- It is now in ruins, as it was destroyed by the orders of Muslim ruler Sikandar Shah Miri.
- The temple is located five miles from Anantnag in the Indian union territory of Jammu and Kashmir.
- The Archaeological Survey of India(ASI) has made significant discoveries at the Rakhigarhi site.
- Rakhigarhi is a village and an archaeological site belonging to the Indus Valley Civilisation in the Hisar District of Haryana.
- It was part of the mature phase of the Indus Valley Civilisation, dating to 2600-1900 BCE. The site is located in the Ghaggar-Hakra River plain.
- Rakhigarhi is the largest Harappan site in the Indian subcontinent.
- Other large sites of Indus valley Civilization (Harappan civilization) in Indian sub-continent are Harappa, Mohenjodaro and Ganveriwala in Pakistan and Dholavira (Gujarat) in India.
- The site was excavated by Amarendra Nath of ASI.
What are the recent significant discoveries made at Rakhigarhi?
- Skeletal Remains: The skeletons of two women were found at Mound No. 7 believed to be nearly 5,000 years old.
- Jewellery Unit: A large number of steatite beads, beads of semi-precious stones, shells, and objects made of agate and carnelian have been recovered. This discovery signifies that trading was also done from the city.
- Other noteworthy finds include steatite seals, terracotta bangles, terracotta unbaked sealing with relief of elephants and the Harappan script. The team also recovered some Harappan sealings (impression of a seal on a surface) indicating that seals were used to mark objects belonging to a set of people or community as they are today.
Iron Excavations in Mayiladumparai (Tamil Nadu)
- Researchers conducted excavations at the Mayiladumparai site near Krishnagiri in Tamil Nadu. Carbon dating of these iron items pushes evidence of iron being used in India back to 4,200 years ago.
- Note: Mayiladumparai is an important site with cultural material dating back between the Microlithic (30,000 BCE) and Early Historic (600 BCE) ages. This site was discovered by Prof Rajan in the 1990s.
- Note : Before this, the earliest evidence of iron use was from 1900-2000 BCE for the country and from 1500 BCE for Tamil Nadu. The latest evidence dates the findings from Tamil Nadu to 2172 BCE.
- Iron is not known to have been used in the Indus Valley, from where the use of copper in India is said to have originated (1500 BCE).
- Union Minister of Tourism, Culture and DoNER inaugurates amenities at ancient Kanheri Caves on the occasion of Buddha Purnima.
- The Kanheri Caves are a group of caves and rock-cut monuments cut into a massive basalt outcrop in the forests of the Sanjay Gandhi National Park, on the former island of Salsette in the western outskirts of Mumbai.
- The Kanheri caves comprise more than 110 different rock-cut monolithic excavations and is one of the largest single excavations in the country.
- These excavations were primarily undertaken during the Hinayana phase of Buddhism but also has several examples of the Mahayana stylistic architecture as well as few printings of the Vajrayana order.
- The name Kanheri is derived from ‘Kanhagiri’ in Prakrit and occurs in the Nasik inscription of the Satavahana ruler Vasisthiputra Pulumavi.
- They contain Buddhist sculptures and relief carvings, paintings and inscriptions, dating from the 1st century CE to the 10th century CE.
- Kanheri was mentioned in the travelogues of foreign travellers. The earliest reference of Kanheri is ascribed to Fa-Hein who visited India during 399-411 CE.
PM Modi’s gifts for his Quad colleagues
- As the India Prime Minister travelled to Tokyo to attend the Quad Summit, he carried with him gifts for leaders of the US, Australia and Japan showcasing India’s rich cultural heritage and art forms.
|Sanjhi art panel for US President Joe Biden
||Gond art painting for Australian PM Anthony Albanese
||Wooden hand-carved box with a Rogan painting for Japanese PM Fumio Kishida
APPOINTMENTS and RESIGNATIONS
Rajiv Kumar : 25th CEC
- Recently, the President appointed Rajiv Kumar as the Chief Election Commissioner (25th CEC). He replaced Sushil Chandra.
- Note : Election Commission of India (ECI) was established in accordance with the Constitution on 25th January 1950 (celebrated as national voters’ day). The secretariat of the commission is in New Delhi.
- Article 324 (Part XV) of Indian Constitution deals with the Superintendence, direction and control of elections to be vested in an Election Commission.
Vinai Kumar Saxena
- Appointed as new lieutenant governor of Delhi as Anil Baijal resigned.
- Saxena was the chairman of the Khadi and Village Industries Commission, an organisation under the Ministry of Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises.
- Vinay Mohan Kwatra : India’s new Foreign Secretary. A 1988-batch Indian Foreign Service (IFS) officer, Mr Kwatra succeeded Harsh Vardhan Shringla who retired from service.
- Manik Saha : Chief Minister of Tripura.
He took over as new CM after the resignation of Biplab Kumar Deb.
- Sunil Arora : the former chief election commissioner Sunil Arora has been named as the new non-executive chairman of Gram Unnati’s board.
- Justice Pradip Kumar Mohanty : he gets the additional charge of Lokpal chairperson after justice Pinaki Chandra Ghose completed his term as the Lokpal chief.
- S. Raju : The Indian Army’s Director General of Military Operations, Lieutenant General Baggavalli Somashekar Raju has been appointed as the Vice Chief of the Army Staff from May 1.
- Tarun Kapoor : Former petroleum secretary Tarun Kapoor has been appointed as an advisor to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, according to a government order issued.
- Sangeeta Singh : She has been given additional charge of Chairman, Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT), after incumbent JB Mohapatra retired as the head of the direct taxes administration body on April 30.
- Nidhi Chibber : chairperson of the Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE).
- Rajiv Ranjan and Sitikantha Pattanaik : appointed as executive directors by the Reserve Bank of India (RBI).
- Vijay Shekhar Sharma : re-appointed as the Managing Director (MD) and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Paytm for another 5 years term. His tenure will be from December 19, 2022, to December 18, 2027.
- IFS Vivek Kumar : Private Secretary (PS) of Prime Minister Narendra Modi .
- Nand Mulchandani : Indian-Origin, Nand Mulchandani has been appointed as the first-ever Chief Technology Officer (CTO) of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), the first line of defence for the United States.
- Arvind Krishna : IBM Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, Arvind Krishna has been elected to the Board of Directors of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York.
- Yoon Suk-yeol : new South Korea’s new president.
- Anthony Albanese : Australia’s 31st prime minister.
- Elisabeth Borne : second woman Prime Minister of France.
- Mahindra Rajapaksa : Sri Lankan prime minister Mahindra Rajapaksa resigned from his position on 9th May 2022. He sent his resignation letter to the president of Sri Lanka Gotabaya Rajapaksa. He has been accused of misleading Sri Lanka’s economy and pushing Sri Lanka towards Bank corruption and economic crisis.
- Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan: President of the UAE.
He is also Ruler of Abu Dhabi. He has replaced Sheikh Khalifa Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, who died at the age of 73.
SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY
Anabolic Steroids and their health impacts
- Recently, two Tokyo Olympians have been banned for using anabolic steroids.
How Anabolic steroids are different from corticosteroids ?
- Anabolic steroids are essentially lab-made versions of the male hormone testosterone and have a similar effect of increasing muscle mass as the natural hormone does.
- They are very different from the steroids that are prescribed by doctors for inflammations, and several autoimmune diseases. These steroids are called corticosteroids and are lab-made molecules that mimic the action of the hormone called cortisol which controls the body’s stress response, metabolism and inflammation. What are anabolic Steroids normally prescribed for?
- They are mainly used by doctors to a) help patients gain weight after a severe illness or injury, b) prescribed in small doses to the elderly to build muscle mass and c) to men who have low levels of natural testosterone. How are anabolic steroids misused?
- Anabolic steroids are misused mainly by those who want to bulk up as it helps increase one’s muscle mass. What are the health impacts of anabolic steroids?
- The use of anabolic steroids in the short term can cause acne and hairfall. Extended misuse of the substance can also lead to gynecomastia (growth of breasts in men) and erectile dysfunction.
- In women, it can lead to the growth of facial hair. It may also cause extreme anger, paranoia, and impaired judgement.
- Long-term use can lead to kidney disease and even failure, liver damage and tumours, enlarged heart and high blood pressure. It can also lead to stunted growth in teenagers.
Air Independent Propulsion (AIP) system
- Recently, France’s Naval Group declined the bid for the P-75I Project, citing it does not use AIP (Air-Independent Propulsion) Technology yet.
|What is the P-75I project?|
|In June 1999, the Cabinet Committee on Security approved a 30-year plan for the Navy to indigenously build and induct 24 submarines by 2030.|
|In the first phase, two lines of production were to be established — the first, P-75; the second, P-75I.|
|Each line was to produce six submarines.|
|The contract for P-75 was signed in 2005 with the Naval Group, then known as DCNS, in partnership with Mazagon Dock Shipbuilders Ltd (MDL).|
|The first Kalvari Class (Scorpene Class) submarine under the project was commissioned in December 2017.|
|While P-75 deliveries were delayed, P-75I has seen long delays even before it has kicked off.|
|The first Request for Information was issued in 2008, then again in 2010, but the RFP was issued only in July 2021.|
What is AIP ?
- AIP is a technology for conventional non-nuclear submarines.
- Submarines are essentially of two types: conventional and nuclear.
- The conventional submarines use diesel-electric engines, which require them to surface almost daily to get atmospheric oxygen for fuel combustion.
- If fitted with an AIP system, the submarine will need to take in oxygen only once a week.
- The indigenously developed AIP, which is one of the key missions of the Naval Materials Research Laboratory (NMRL – DRDO), is considered one of the ambitious projects of the DRDO (Defence Research and Development Organisation) for the Navy.
Fuel Cell Based AIP system:
- In a fuel cell based AIP, an electrolytic fuel cell releases energy by combining hydrogen and oxygen, with only water as the waste product ensuring less marine pollution.
- The cells are highly efficient, and do not have moving parts, thus ensuring that the submarine has a low acoustic emission of sound.
What are the Advantages and Disadvantages of AIP?
- Advantages: Fuel cell-based AIP has merits in performance compared to other technologies. AIP technology allows a conventional submarine to remain submerged for much longer than ordinary diesel-electric submarines. All conventional submarines have to surface to run their generators that recharge the batteries that allow the boat to function under water. However, the more frequently a submarine surfaces, the higher the chances of it being detected. AIP allows a submarine to remain submerged for more than a fortnight, compared to two to three days for diesel-electric boats.
- Disadvantages: Installing AIP increases the length and weight of the boats, requires pressurised liquid oxygen (LOX) storage on-board and supply for all three technologies. MESMA (Autonomous Submarine Energy Module) and the Stirling engine have some acoustic noise from moving parts; and the submarine’s unit cost increases by around 10%.
Venus Mission 2024
- Indian Space Research Organization(ISRO) is planning to launch Venus Mission in December 2024.
- Objective: To study the Venusian atmosphere which is toxic and corrosive in nature as clouds of sulfuric acid cover the planet.
- 2024 has been chosen keeping in mind the fact that Venus will be in close proximity to Earth in the year 2025. When Venus and Earth are in such close proximity, a spacecraft can be placed in Venus’ orbit with the least amount of propellant. The next similar window is slated only in 2031.
- Earlier, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) announced two new robotic missions (DaVinci Plus and Veritas) to Venus.
- Health authorities in the United Kingdom have confirmed a case of monkeypox, a rare viral infection similar to smallpox, in an individual who recently travelled to that country from Nigeria.
- Genus : The monkeypox virus is an orthopoxvirus, which is a genus of viruses that also includes the variola virus, which causes smallpox, and vaccinia virus, which was used in the smallpox vaccine.
- Monkey Pox infection was first discovered in 1958 following two outbreaks of a pox-like disease in colonies of monkeys kept for research — which led to the name ‘monkeypox’.
- Symptoms: Monkeypox typically presents clinically with fever, rash and swollen lymph nodes.
- It causes the lymph nodes to swell (lymphadenopathy), which smallpox does not.
- While vaccination eradicated smallpox worldwide in 1980, monkeypox continues to occur in a swathe of countries in Central and West Africa, and has on occasion showed up elsewhere.
- Clades : According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), two distinct clade are identified: the West African clade and the Congo Basin clade, also known as the Central African clade.
- Monkeypox is a zoonosis, that is, a disease that is transmitted from infected animals to humans.
- Cases occur close to tropical rainforests inhabited by animals that carry the virus. Monkeypox virus infection has been detected in squirrels, Gambian poached rats, dormice, and some species of monkeys.
- Transmission : Human-to-human transmission is, however, limited. Transmission, when it occurs, can be through contact with bodily fluids, lesions on the skin or on internal mucosal surfaces, such as in the mouth or throat, respiratory droplets and contaminated objects.
- Incubation Period: The incubation period (time from infection to symptoms) for monkeypox is usually 7-14 days but can range from 5-21 days.
- Fatality Rate: Typically, up to a tenth of people ill with monkeypox may die, with most deaths occurring in younger age groups.
- Treatment: Vaccinia vaccine used during the smallpox eradication programme was also protective against monkeypox. A new third generation vaccinia vaccine has now been approved for prevention of smallpox and monkeypox. Antiviral agents are also being developed.
5G/O-RAN (Open-Radio Access Network)
- The Ministry of Communications has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with M/s VVDN Technologies Private Limited to facilitate registered startups, innovators and MSMEs working in the field of Open RAN (Radio Access Network) to get their product tested at the existing lab of M/s VVDN.
- Such testing certification shall accelerate the research innovation in domestic design and manufacturing. It is aimed that India shall be emerging as a design leader in 5G/O-RAN. This test certification eco system will make India as design testing and certification hub of Asia.
What is Radio Access Network(RAN)?
- RAN is a key part of a mobile network system that uses cellular radio connections to link individual devices to other parts of a network.
- It comprises antennae which transmit and receive signals to and from our smartphones or other compatible devices. The signal is then digitized in the RAN-base station and connected to the network.
What is Open RAN?
- Currently, RAN is provided as an integrated platform of both hardware and software. Therefore, it is difficult to mix vendors for the radio and baseband unit and in most cases, they come from the same supplier.
- The idea of Open RAN is to change this. It aims to enable a multi-supplier RAN solution that allows for the separation – or disaggregation – between hardware and software.
- With Open RAN, telecom players would have the flexibility to use in-house solutions or solutions from multiple vendors for RAN services.
What are the benefits of Open RAN?
- More opportunities for telecom operators: Open RAN would allow telecom operators to look beyond traditional vendors, thus creating opportunities for lesser-known vendors from abroad as well as from home to be part of the growing 5G ecosystem, based on their innovation competence.
- Network flexibility: Being software-centric, it is scalable, agile and best of networks with improved network performance using artificial intelligence and machine learning.
- Reduced cost: Open RAN would reduce a telecom operator’s network deployment cost as it is interoperable with other networks such as 4G.
Sagittarius A* (Sagittarius A(asterisk)
- Scientists from the Event Horizon Telescope(EHT) facility have revealed the first image of the black hole named Sagittarius A* at the centre of our galaxy i.e. the Milky Way.
- Sagittarius A* is a supermassive black hole at the center of our galaxy i.e. the Milky Way. It is located near the border of the constellations Sagittarius and Scorpius. SgrA* possesses 4 million times the mass of our sun and is located about 26,000 light-years and 5.9 trillion miles (9.5 trillion km)—from Earth. The diameter of Sagittarius A* is about 17 times that of the sun, meaning it would sit within the innermost planet Mercury’s solar orbit. Is this the first-ever image of a black hole?
- In 2019, the Event Horizon Telescope released the first-ever image of a black hole M87* – the black hole at the centre of another galaxy Messier 87 which is a supergiant elliptic galaxy. How is Sagittarius A* different from M87*?
Imaging Sagittarius A* (SgrA*) was much more difficult than imaging M87* for the following reasons: 1) SgrA* is only one-thousandth the size of M87*, 2) the line of sight of SgrA* is obscured by a lot of matter and 3) variability of SgrA* makes it difficult to image.
What is Event Horizon?
- Black holes are extraordinarily dense objects with gravity so strong that not even light can escape, making viewing them extremely challenging. A black hole’s event horizon is the point of no return beyond which anything—stars, planets, gas, dust and all forms of electromagnetic radiation—gets dragged into oblivion.
What is an Event Horizon Telescope (EHT)?
- EHT is a group of 8 radio telescopes (used to detect radio waves from space) located in different parts of the world.
What is the significance of this discovery?
- This image of the black hole referred to as Sagittarius A* (SgrA*) gave further support to the idea that the compact object at the centre of our galaxy is indeed a black hole. This discovery also strengthens Einstein’s general theory of relativity.
India’s first 5G testbed facility inaugurated by Prime Minister
- The 5G testbed has been developed as a multi-institute collaborative project by eight institutes led by IIT Madras.
- Purpose: It will enable startups and industry players to test and validate their products locally and reduce dependence on foreign facilities.
- Note: In the absence of a 5G testbed in India, startups and other industry players were required to go abroad to test and validate their products for installation in a 5G network.
What is 5G?
What is 5Gi Technology?
Endosulfan: The Supreme Court has slammed the Kerala government for State’s inaction in providing relief to the Endosulfan pesticide exposure victims. This also amounts to a breach of the Supreme Court’s 2017 judgment which had ordered the
State to pay ₹5 lakh each to the victims in three months. What is Endosulfan?
- Endosulfan is a widely-banned pesticide with hazardous effects on human genetic and endocrine systems.
- Use of Endosulfan: Sprayed on crops like cotton, cashew, fruits, tea, paddy, tobacco etc. for control of pests such as whiteflies, aphids, beetles, worms etc. Effects of Endosulfan
- Environment: Endosulfan in the environment gets accumulated in food chains leading to higher doses and causing problems. If Endosulfan is released into water, it is expected to absorb into the sediment and may bioconcentrate in aquatic organisms.
- Humans And Animals: The endosulfan ingestion results in diseases ranging from physical deformities, cancer, birth disorders and damage to the brain and nervous system. Ban on Endosulfan
- The Supreme Court in India has banned the manufacture, sale, use, and export of endosulfan throughout the country, citing its harmful health effects in 2011. It is also listed under the Rotterdam Convention (1998) on the Prior Informed Consent. The use of endosulfan is also banned by Stockholm Convention (2001) on Persistent Organic Pollutants.
Sudden Infant Death Syndrome
- A team of researchers in Australia has identified a biochemical marker in the blood that could help identify newborn babies at risk for the Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS).
- Sudden infant death syndrome is the unexpected death of an apparently healthy infant. It usually occurs while the baby is asleep, although in rare cases, it can also occur while the child is awake. The condition is also called “Cot Death”. Newborn babies delivered prematurely or with low weight at birth is believed to be at a greater risk of SIDS. The exact cause of SIDS is unknown although revelations from the new research look promising.
What is the BChE enzyme responsible for?
- BChE enzymes are responsible for sending out signals that make a baby wake up, turn his/her head, or gasp for breath. It is part of the autonomic system and controls functions like blood pressure and breathing.
What are the findings on the link between BChE enzyme and SIDS?
- Babies who died of SIDS showed lower levels of the BChE enzyme shortly after birth.
- Prematurely-delivered babies have been considered to be at a higher risk for SIDS, although a 1957 study that evaluated BChE in infancy found that there was no difference in the levels of the enzyme in premature and mature newborn infants. Smoking during pregnancy is also associated with a significant increase in SIDS events.
Respiratory syncytial virus (RSV)
- According to a Lancet study, Lower respiratory infection attributable to the respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) was responsible for more than 1,00,000 deaths in children under five worldwide in 2019.
- RSV is the most common cause of acute lower respiratory infection in young children.
- Spreading: RSV is a common respiratory virus. It is highly contagious in nature. RSV spreads through contact with respiratory droplets (coughing, sneezing, or kissing) from an infected person.
- Symptoms: RSV infects the nose, throat, lungs, and breathing passages. In most of cases, RSV has symptoms like the common cold but in advanced stages, it converts into pneumonia and bronchiolitis.
- Vulnerable sections: It commonly infects children especially under 2 to 6 years of age. Children six months and younger are particularly vulnerable.
- Vaccination: At present, there is no reliable cure available for RSV infection. But numerous RSV vaccine candidates are in the pipeline.
PARAM PORUL :
- PARAM PORUL, a state-of-the art Supercomputer at NIT Tiruchirappalli under National Supercomputing Mission (NSM) was inaugurated. PARAM PORUL supercomputing facility is established under Phase 2 of the NSM (NSM was launched in 2015).
- PARAM Siddhi-AI is the fastest supercomputer in India built under NSM with a capacity of 5.26 PF.
- Japan’s Fugaku is the world’s fastest supercomputer.
INS SURAT & INS UDAYGIRI
- Defence Minister will be launching two frontline warships of the Indian Navy INS Surat and INS Udaygiri at Mazgaon Docks Limited, Mumbai.
What is INS Surat?
What is INS Udaygiri?
What is Project 17A?
- Project 17A is a follow-on of the Project 17 Shivalik-class frigate for the Indian Navy.
- The ships have been named after the first major warships to be built in India which in turn were named after hill ranges in India.
- A total of seven ships will be built under Project 17-A.The seven ships under this project are 1) INS Nilgiri 2) INS Himgiri 3) INS Udaygiri 4) INS Dunagiri 5) INS Taragiri 6) INS Vindhyagiri and 7) INS Mahendragiri.
- Recently, the third edition of Exercise Bongosagar, bilateral naval exercise between India and Bangladesh, commenced at Port Mongla, Bangladesh.
- Participating in the exercise are Indian Naval Ships Kora, a guided missile corvette, and Sumedha, an offshore patrol vessel.
- Bangladesh Navy is being represented by BNS Abu Ubaidah and Ali Haider, both Guided Missile Frigates.
Other Exercise : SAMPRITI is a Military Exercise between India and Bangladesh.
Captain Abhilasha Barak
- Recently, Captain Abhilasha Barak, created history by becoming the first woman officer to join the Army Aviation Corps as a Combat Aviator (pilot).
- At present women are only given the responsibility of traffic control and ground duty in the Aviation Department but now Abhilasha Barak will take over the responsibility of the pilot.
- Captain Barak has been assigned to the second flight of the 2072 Army Aviation Squadron that operates the Dhruv Advanced Light Helicopter (ALH).
- While women officers in the Indian Air Force and the Indian Navy have been flying helicopters for long, the Indian Army paved the way for women pilots in 2021 by starting the ‘Army Aviation course’.
INS GOMATI decommissioned
- Recently, the Indian Navy Ship (INS) Gomati was decommissioned from the naval dockyard in Mumbai.
- INS Gomati derives her name from the vibrant river Gomti. Gomati River, also called Gumti, tributary of the Ganga River.
- When decommissioned, INS Gomati was also the oldest of the guided-missile frigates in the Western Fleet. It was commissioned in 1988 at Mazagon Dock Ltd, Bombay.
- Operations Cactus, Parakram and Rainbow, and several bilateral and multinational naval exercises.
- 1988: Under Operation Cactus the Indian Armed Forces have helped the government of Maldives in the neutralization of the coup attempt.
- 2001: Operation Parakram launched in the wake of terrorist attack on Parliament, was the first full-scale mobilisation since the 1971 Indo-Pak war.
- 2004: The Rainbow initiative was launched to assist those affected by the Tsunami, in partnership with the Sri Lankan government.
- Awards Given: Awarded twice the coveted Unit Citation, once in 2007-08 and again in 2019-20.
RANKING AND REPORTS
World Press Freedom Index
- Published by : Reporters Without Borders (RSF).
- It is published every year since 2002 by Reporters Sans Frontieres (RSF) or Reporters Without Borders.
- India ranked 150th among the 180 countries.
Top and Worst Performers:
- Norway (1st) Denmark (2nd), Sweden (3rd) Estonia (4th) and Finland (5th) grabbed the top positions.
- North Korea remained at the bottom of the list of the 180 countries. Russia was placed at 155th position. India’s Neighbours:
- Nepal has climbed up by 30 points in the global ranking at 76th position.
- The index placed Pakistan at 157th position, Sri Lanka 146th, Bangladesh 162nd and Myanmar at 176th position.
- China was ranked at 175th position. India’s Status :
- India has fallen eight places from 142nd to 150th in the 2022 among the 180 countries.
- India’s position has been consistently falling in the index since 2016 when it was ranked 133.
- The reasons behind fall in ranking is the increased “violence against journalists” and a “politically partisan media”. Reasons behind the Fall in Ranking of India:
- Pressure from Government: According to the index the media in India, among nations reputed to be more democratic, faces pressure from “increasingly authoritarian and/or nationalist governments”.
- Faults in Policy Framework: Although the policy framework is protective in theory, it resorts to using defamation, sedition, contempt of court, and endangering national security against journalists critical of the government, branding them as “anti-national.”
- India is World’s Most Dangerous Countries for Mediapersons: According to the report, India is also one of the world’s most dangerous countries for mediapersons. Journalists are exposed to all kinds of physical violence including police violence, ambushes by political activists, and deadly reprisals by criminal groups or corrupt local officials.
- On Kashmir Issue: The situation in Kashmir remains “worrisome” and reporters are often harassed by police and paramilitaries.
World’s Forests 2022 (SOFO 2022)
- Released by : United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO)
Key highlights from the report :
- Loss of Forests: Forests cover 31% of the Earth’s land surface (4.06 billion ha) but the area is shrinking with 420 million ha of forest lost through deforestation between 1990 and 2020. The rate of deforestation is declining but was still 10 million ha per year in 2015–2020.
- Infectious Diseases linked to forests: 15% of 250 emerging infectious diseases have been linked to forests. Moreover, 30% of new diseases, reported since 1960 can be attributed to deforestation and land-use change.
- Rise in Poverty: Approximately 124 million more people fell into extreme poverty after Covid-19 and this may have longer-term impacts on wood-based fuel (such as firewood, and charcoal) due to the increase in wood-based fuel use in some countries during the pandemic.
- Forests are crucial for mitigating climate change: Forests contain 662 billion tonnes of carbon, which is more than half the global carbon stock in soils and vegetation.
- Consumption of Natural Resources: The world population is projected to reach 9.7 billion people by 2050. Due to this, the annual global consumption of all-natural resources combined is expected to more than double from 92 billion tonnes in 2017 to 190 billion tonnes in 2060 due to increases in population size and affluence.
- Dependence on Forests: It is estimated that more than half of the world’s gross domestic product (USD 84.4 trillion in 2020) depends moderately (USD 31 trillion per year) or highly (USD 13 trillion per year) on ecosystem services, including those provided by forests.
National Family Health Survey (NFHS-5)
- Union Minister for Health and Family Welfare, Dr. Mansukh Mandaviya released the National Report of the fifth round of National Family Health Survey (NFHS-5).
- The Total Fertility Rates (TFR), an average number of children per women, has further declined from 2.2 to 2.0 at the national level between NFHS-4 & 5.
- There are only five States in India, which are above replacement level of fertility of 2.1. They are Bihar (2.98), Meghalaya (2.91), Uttar Pradesh (2.35), Jharkhand (2.26) Manipur (2.17).
- Note : Replacement level fertility is the total fertility rate—the average number of children born per woman—at which a population exactly replaces itself from one generation to the next, without migration.
- Overall Contraceptive Prevalence Rate (CPR) has increased substantially from 54% to 67% in the country.
- West Bengal, along with Bihar, remains one of the states with highest rate of underage marriages.
- Domestic violence has come down marginally from 31.2% in 2015-16 to 29.3% in 2019-21. Domestic violence against women is highest in Karnataka at 48%, followed by Bihar, Telangana, Manipur and Tamil Nadu. Lakshadweep has the least domestic violence at 2.1%.
- Institutional Births increased from 79% to 89% in India. In rural areas around 87% births being delivered in institutions and the same is 94% in urban areas.
- The level of stunting among children under 5 years has marginally declined from 38 to 36 percent for India since the last four years.
- At the national level, Obesity increased from 21% to 24% among women and 19% to 23% among men.
State of the World’s birds
- Recently, the State of the World’s Birds, an annual review of environmental resources was published. Key finding :
- Humans eat 14% of the world’s surviving species of birds. However, this is not the only reason why 48% of the extant bird species are undergoing population decline, a study led by the Manchester Metropolitan University (MMU) says.
- The report has attributed the threat to almost half of the 10,994 recognised extant (presently existing) species of birds to the expanding human footprint on the natural world and climate change.
- The degradation and loss of natural habitats as well as direct overexploitation of many species are the key threats to avian biodiversity.
- The use of 37% of the surviving bird species as common or exotic pets and 14% as food are examples of direct overexploitation.
- The review found that 5,245 or about 48% of the existing bird species worldwide were known or suspected to be undergoing population decline.
- While 4,295 or 39% of the species had stable trends, about 7% or 778 species had increasing population trends. The trend of 37 species was unknown.
Global Report on Food Crises 2022
- launched by : Global Network Against Food Crises (GNAFC).
- Some 40 million more people globally experienced acute food insecurity at crisis or worse levels in 2021 than 2020.
- Over half a million Ethiopians, southern Madagascar, South Sudanese and Yemenese are suffering from acute food insecurity.
Over 193 million people in 53 countries or territories experienced acute food insecurity at crisis or worse levels in 2021.
Main Drivers for Food Insecurity:
- Conflict: Conflict forced 139 million people in 24 countries / territories into acute food insecurity. This is an increase from 99 million in 23 countries / territories in 2020.
- Weather Extremes: It forced over 23 million people in eight countries / territories into acute food insecurity, up from 15.7 million in 15 countries / territories in 2020.
- Economic Shocks: Over 30 million people in 21 countries / territories suffered acute food insecurity in 2021 due to economic shocks, down from over 40 million people in 17 countries / territories in 2020.
Global Annual to Decadal Climate Update Report – WMO report
- The World Meteorological Organization(WMO) has released the Global Annual to Decadal Climate Update Report.
- Temperature reaching 1.5 °C: There is a 50:50 chance of the annual average global temperature temporarily reaching 1.5 °C above the pre-industrial level for at least one of the next five years.
- The probability of breaching 1.5 °C was close to zero back in 2015 when the Paris Agreement was adopted, but it has risen steadily since then to 50% now.
- Warmest Year: There is a 93% likelihood of at least one year between 2022-2026 becoming the warmest on record and dislodging 2016 from the top ranking.
- La Nina: Back-to-back La Niña events at the start and end of 2021 had a cooling effect on global temperatures, but this is only temporary and does not reverse the long-term global warming trend.
- Moreover, any development of an El Niño event would immediately fuel temperatures, as it did in 2016, which is until now the warmest year on record.
Findings related to India
- The year 2022 will be cooler (compared to the 1991 – 2020 average) over India, along with Alaska and Canada.
- One of the primary reasons for the lowering of temperatures over India from next year is the possible increase in rainfall activity in this decade.
- Note: India Meteorological Department (IMD) had also said that the Indian monsoon will soon enter the positive epoch after remaining under a negative epoch since 1971.
Global Food Policy Report 2022: 9 Crore Indians At Risk Of Hunger By 2030 Due To Climate Change
- International Food Policy Research Institute’s (IFPRI) has released the Global Food Policy Report 2022 titled ‘Climate change and food systems’. Global findings
- Global food production will grow by about 60% by 2050 as compared to the levels in 2010.
- However, regional differences in access to food mean that nearly 50 crore people would still remain at the risk of going hungry. Seven crores of these 50 crores would not have been at risk if not for climate change.
Findings related to India
- Hunger: India’s food production could drop by 16% and the number of those at risk of hunger could increase by 23% by 2030 due to climate change.
– Without climate change, 7.39 crore Indians would have suffered due to hunger by 2030. However, if climate change is taken into account researchers found that 9.06 crore citizens (22.69% more) will be at risk of hunger.
- Temperature: The average temperature across India will rise in the range of 2.4 degrees Celsius to 4.4 degrees Celsius by 2100 and heatwaves during summer are projected to triple by that year.
What are the recommendations given by the report?
- R&D for climate-resilient, resource-efficient, and sustainable innovations in food systems, 2) Holistic, inclusive governance and management of water, land, forests, and energy resources, 3) Promoting healthy diets and increased sustainability of food production, 4) Improving value chain efficiency, facilitating trade, and reducing food loss, 5) Inclusion and social protection and 6) Reorienting financial flows and attracting new finance.
Global Report on Assistive Technology (GReAT)
- The World Health Organisation (WHO) and United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) jointly launched the first Global Report on Assistive Technology (GReAT) on May 16.
- Assistive technology (AT) : It may include any item, piece of equipment, software programme or product system that is used to increase, maintain, or improve the functional capabilities of persons with disabilities. These aids could also be
- Physical products such as wheelchairs, eyeglasses, hearing aids, prostheses, walking devices or continence pads; Digital products such as software and apps that support communication and time management; or
- Adaptations to the physical environment, for example, portable ramps or grab-rails.
- Physical products such as wheelchairs, eyeglasses, hearing aids, prostheses, walking devices or continence pads; Digital products such as software and apps that support communication and time management; or
- Different disabilities require different assistive technologies, and these are designed to help people who have difficulty speaking, typing, writing, remembering, seeing, hearing, learning, or walking.
What are the findings of the GReAT report?
- The GReAT report draws upon surveys conducted in 20 countries. Some key findings:
- Proportion of the population currently using at least one assistive product ranges from less than 3% to about 70%.
- Those reporting that they use or need at least one assistive product range from about 10% to nearly 70%; the extent to which these needs are met varies from about 2% to nearly 90%.
- Disadvantaged groups and communities face hardships in their search for affordable quality healthcare in India. This is more so wrt obtaining ATs and associated services — the estimated unmet need is about 70%.
- ATs handed out in camps or as a part of social service initiatives are a sporadic activity without the use of statistics as a basis for unmet needs. Products are often sub-standard and lead to poorer health outcomes.
The State of Inequality in India Report
- Released by : Economic Advisory Council to the Prime Minister (EAC-PM).
- The report compiles information on inequities across sectors of health, education, household characteristics and the labour market. The report consists of two parts – Economic Facets and Socio-Economic Manifestations which looks at five key areas that influence the nature and experience of inequality.
- Five Key Areas: These are income distribution, labour market dynamics, health, education and household characteristics. Key Findings :
- The country’s unemployment rate is 4.8% (2019-20), and the worker population ratio is 46.8%.
- Till 2019-20, 95% of schools have functional toilet facilities on the school premises and 80.16% of schools have functional electricity connections.
- There has been a considerable improvement in increasing the health Infrastructural capacity with a targeted focus on rural areas.
SCHEMES and Programmes in News
MPLAD Scheme : Change in rule
- Recently, the Ministry of Finance has revised the Member of Parliament Local Area zDevelopment Scheme (MPLADS) rules, where the interest that the fund accrues will be deposited in the Consolidated Fund of India. (So far, the interest accrued on the fund used to be added to the MPLADS account and could be used for the development projects).
- Note : Consolidated Fund is constituted under Article 266 (1) of the Constitution of India.
What is MPLAD Scheme?
- It is a Central Sector Scheme which was announced in December 1993.
- Objective: To enable MPs to recommend works of developmental nature with emphasis on the creation of durable community assets in the areas of drinking water, primary education, public health, sanitation and roads, etc. primarily in their Constituencies.
- Since June 2016, the MPLAD funds can also be used for implementation of the schemes such as Swachh Bharat Abhiyan, Accessible India Campaign (Sugamya Bharat Abhiyan), conservation of water through rain water harvesting and Sansad Aadarsh Gram Yojana, etc.
- Functioning: Each year, MPs receive Rs. 5 crore in two instalments of Rs. 2.5 crore each. Funds under MPLADS are non-lapsable.
- Lok Sabha MPs have to recommend the district authorities projects in their Lok Sabha constituencies, while Rajya Sabha MPs have to spend it in the state that has elected them to the House.
- Nominated Members of both the Rajya Sabha and Lok Sabha can recommend works anywhere in the country.
AIM-PRIME Playbook : launched by NITI Aayog
- Recently, the AIM-PRIME (Program for Researchers in Innovation, Market Readiness, and Entrepreneurship) Playbook was launched by NITI Aayog.
- The playbook was aimed at promoting early-stage science-based, deep technology ideas to market through training and guidance over a period of 12 months using a blended learning curriculum.
BHARAT TAP and Nirmal Jal Prayas Initiative
- The Minister for Housing and Urban Affairs has launched the BHARAT TAP initiative and Nirmal Jal Prayas Initiative
at the ‘Plumbex India’ exhibition. This exhibition is aimed at products and services related to the plumbing, water and sanitation industry.
What is BHARAT TAP Initiative?
- Aim: To provide low-flow, sanitary ware at scale and thereby reduce water consumption at source considerably.
Benefits: It is estimated to save approximately 40% of water. This will in turn result in water saving and energy saving due to less water and energy will be required for pumping, transporting, and purification.
- Significance: This initiative will also be accepted quickly in the country and will lead to a renewed focus on water conservation efforts.
What is Nirmal Jal Prayas Initiative?
- It is an initiative of NAREDCO-MAHI.
- Aim: To map groundwater as it is very important to save underground water.
- Target: The initiative will work to save around 500 crore litres of water per year.
What is NARDECO?
- National Real Estate Development Council(NAREDCO) was established as an autonomous self-regulatory body in 1998 under the aegis of the Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs.
- Purpose: It is an apex body at the national level representing all spheres of stakeholders engaged in various aspects of real estate development.
What is NARDECO-MAHI?
- NAREDCO has established NAREDCO-MAHI Women’s Wing in 2021 for empowering women entrepreneurs and encouraging participation of women in the real estate sector and allied fields.
Gatishakti Sanchar Portal
- Minister of Communications, Electronics, and IT Ashwini Vaishnaw launched Gatishakti Sanchar Portal in New Delhi.
- This integrated and centralized portal will facilitate smooth deployment of digital communications infrastructure across the country.
- This portal was envisaged to streamline the process and for faster clearance of Right of Way (RoW) with transparency, accountability, and effective monitoring of various digital-based projects, This portal will help in the rollout of 5G network across the country.
- Integration of various infrastructures on this portal will help get clearance of right-to-way applications within a span of 20 to 22 days.
- The portal has been developed by MP State Electronics Development Corporation on behalf of Department of Telecommunication.
BIODIVERSITY , ENVIRONMENT & GEOGRAPHY
52nd Tiger Reserve
- Ramgarh Vishdhari Tiger Reserve in Rajasthan has been notified as Rajasthan’s 4th and the 52nd tiger reserve of India.
- After the notification, Ramgarh Vishdhari sanctuary has become the fourth tiger reserve of Rajasthan. At present, There are Ranthambhore, Sariska and Mukundara Hills Tiger Reserves in Rajasthan.
- The National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA) had given in-principle approval to make Ramgarh Vishdhari Wildlife Sanctuary and adjoining areas as tiger reserves on July 5 last year.
- Wild animals like Indian wolf, leopard, striped hyena, sloth bear, golden jackal, chinkara, nilgai and fox can be seen in the Ramgarh Vishdhari Tiger Reserve.
- According to the “Status of Tigers in India” report released in 2019, there are 2,967 tigers in 20 states across the country.
- The India Meteorological Department (IMD) has predicted the Cyclone Asani to intensify into a ‘severe cyclone’ over Southeast regions of Bay of Bengal.
- The name Cyclone Asani has been given by Sri Lanka. It means ‘wrath’ in Sinhalese.
- Cyclones that Hit India in 2020-21: Tauktae, Yaas, Nisarga, Amphan.
Asani is unlike cyclones Fani (April-May 2019) or Amphan (May 2020)
- The ‘Extremely Severe’ cyclone Fani and ‘Super cyclone’ Amphan wreaked havoc in Odisha and West Bengal respectively. Cyclone Asani by contrast, is expected to only graze the coast, and not make landfall.
- Note : Systems formed over the Bay of Bengal in the peak of summer in May are among the strongest in the North Indian Ocean region. Warm seas present ripe conditions for cyclogenesis, and to fuel these systems over the water.
- Recent satellite images have Captured Twin Cyclones in the Indian Ocean region, one in the northern hemisphere and one in the southern hemisphere, named cyclone Asani and cyclone Karim
- Karim is classified as a category II hurricane, with a wind speed of 112 kilometers per hour (kmph).
- Asani remains a Severe Cyclonic Storm over the Bay of Bengal, with wind speeds of 100-110 kmph gusting to 120 kmph.
- Both were formed in the Indian Ocean region. Both cyclones originated in the same longitude and now drifting apart.
- Cyclone Karim has created a path in the open seas west of Australia. The name Karim was given by the South African country Seychelles. The name Cyclone Asani was suggested by Sri Lanka.
Anang Tal Lake
- Recently, the Ministry of Culture has ordered the restoration of Historic Anang Tal lake in South Delhi.
- National Monuments Authority (NMA) and Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) have asked officials to expedite conservation work so the site could be declared a National Monument.
- The lake is situated in Mehrauli, Delhi and is claimed to be created by Tomar King, Anangpal II, in 1,060 AD.
- He is known to have established and populated Delhi in the 11th century. The millennium old Anang Tal signifies the beginning of Delhi.
- Anang Tal has a strong Rajasthan connection as Maharaja Anangpal is known as nana (maternal grandfather) of Prithviraj Chauhan whose fort Rai Pithora is on the list of the ASI.
Sloth Bears (Melursus ursinus)
- Recently, two sloth bears were rescued by forest officials from a village in Jharkhand by the People for Animals group.
- Sloth bears are found in Sri Lanka, India, Bhutan and Nepal, predominantly in lowland areas. Sloth bears primarily eat termites and ants, and unlike other bear species, they routinely carry their cubs on their backs. They are also very fond of honey, hence their alternative name of “honey bear”. Sloth bears do not hibernate. Protection Status:
- IUCN Red List: Vulnerable’, CITES listing: Appendix I, Indian Wildlife Protection Act, 1972: Schedule I Note : The People for Animals (PFA) is an animal welfare organization founded by Maneka Gandhi.
Grey Slender loris
- Scientists from the Salim Ali Centre for Ornithology and Natural History(SACON) in Coimbatore carried out a survey of Grey slender loris populations in Tamil Nadu’s Dindigul forest division.
- The Grey slender loris belongs to the family Loridae. It is a species of primate.
- Habitat: It is commonly found in the tropical scrub and deciduous forests as well as the dense hedgerow plantations bordering farmlands of Southern India and Sri Lanka.
- In Tamil Nadu, it generally inhabits dry and drought-prone areas of the Dindigul district. It is found in acacia and tamarind-dominated thorn and scrub forests near cultivated fields.
- Features: It has got a lean and lanky appearance with long and slender limbs, larger ears, a pointed snout and eyes circled with black or dark brown. The fur is soft and wooly. The colour varies from dark grey to earthy brown.
- Nocturnal Animal: The Grey slender loris is a nocturnal animal. It is also a slow-moving animal. It comes down into the bushes to feed and crosses open stretches of ground to enter isolated groves or to cross from one tree to another.
- Diet: Though it is insectivorous animal, it is fond of berries also.
- Threats: The loris has become threatened mainly because of habitat loss.
– The disappearance of the acacia tree (a preferred tree species of the loris), hunting for the pet trade and for their meat, road kills, superstitious kills, traditional medicine and habitat fragmentation pose serious threats to this primate.
UNCCD Conference of Parties (COP15) : Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire
- Union Minister for Environment, Bhupender Yadav addressed 15th Session of the Conference of Parties (COP) of United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD) in Abidjan, Cote d’Ivoire.
- Theme: ‘Land. Life. Legacy: From scarcity to prosperity’
- Agenda : Drought, land restoration, and related enablers such as land rights, gender equality and youth empowerment are among the top items on the Conference agenda.
- Note : UNCCD COP 14 was held in Delhi in 2019 where Delhi Declaration was signed which called for better access and stewardship over land, and emphasised gender-sensitive transformative projects.
- Globally, about 40% of the land, supporting about half of humanity, is facing the threat of desertification.
- India is a land-stressed country, where close to 30% of the land falls in the degraded category. The process of decline in the quality of land is still ongoing despite the government’s resolve to achieve “land degradation neutrality” (zero addition to degraded land) by 2030. Among the major factors responsible for land degradation, the most significant ones are –
- soil salinity and water-logging in agricultural fields due to flawed agronomic practices. – water and wind erosion in the areas that have lost their vegetative cover.
- In the Northeast, a hilly region, the continuation of the practice of shifting cultivation, also known as slash-and-burn agriculture or jhum, is the main cause of land degradation. Under this system, the farmers clear the forested land, cultivate it for a few years, and then move to another spot, leaving the old patch barren.
Money spiders in Wayanad, Kerela
- Money spiders commonly found in European meadows, have been reported for the first time in the country from the Muthanga range of the Wayanad Wildlife Sanctuary.
- Researchers from Christ College (Kerala) have also discovered ant-mimicking spiders, belonging to the group of jumping spiders, from the Mananthavady range.
- A new species of old-world monkey recorded from Arunachal Pradesh has been named after Sela Pass, which is a strategic mountain pass at 13,700 ft above sea level, and the New Species has been named Sela Macaque. It was identified and analysed by a team of experts from the Zoological Survey of India (ZSI) and the University of Calcutta.
- Sela pass is situated between Dirang and Tawang towns in western Arunachal Pradesh.
Shallow and deep ecologism
- News: India continues to face with the unrelenting heatwave. Although, heat waves are known to have been a reality for hundreds of years. But more extreme, frequent and prolonged heat waves in recent has exposed the long-term effects of climate change which have exacerbated them. Concept of Ecologism
- The concepts emerged in the 1970s, when Norwegian philosopher Arne Næss sought to look beyond the popular pollution and conservation movements of his milieu to address environmental degradation.
- In his study, he viewed nature and themselves as two competing entities, therefore, established a master-slave dynamic. There are two strands of environmental philosophy that reinvent the relationship between nature and humans
Two styles of ecologism
- Shallow ecologism: Also referred to as weak ecologism, refers to the philosophy wherein the present lifestyle is continued, but with specific tweaks to minimise the damage to the environment. He termed this powerful and fashionable fight against pollution and resource depletion as shallow ecologism or environmentalism.
– For example, using vehicles that cause less pollution or air conditioners that do not release chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs).
- Deep ecologism: It refers to the philosophy wherein the exponents believe that humans should radically change their relationship with nature. It rejects shallow ecologism as it prioritises humans above nature. It aims to preserve nature subsequent to environmental destruction.
– For instance, the wealthier countries are responsible for a majority of carbon emissions. For instance, the US constitutes only 5% of the world’s population, but consumes 17% of the world’s energy consumption. In addition,
Objectives of deep ecologism
- It aspires to sustain nature by making large-scale changes to our lifestyle. For example, limiting the commercial farming, reducing the artificial fattening of animals, or the reshaping of transport systems.
- In addition, it shifts the attention from pollution and conservation narratives to robust policy formulation and implementation. The policies must include technical skills and inventions which are ecologically responsible.
- In addition, deep ecologism advocates for a re-evaluation of the ‘survival of the fittest’ doctrine. It advocates that doctrine should be understood through the perspective of cooperation and coexistence with nature, as opposed to competition, exploitation or domination.
- The deep ecologists prioritise a principle called the ‘live and let live’ attitude over an ‘either you or me’ approach. What are the issues in Shallow ecologism?
- A narrow focus on pollution and conservation movements is counterproductive.
- For example, projects implemented only to solve pollution generates evils of a different kind, like the installation of pollution control devices may increase the cost of living, leading to an increase in class difference.
- The environment becomes more vulnerable when decisions are strongly influenced by majority rule without taking local interests into consideration Way Forward
- We should adopt ethically responsible ecologism which operates in the interest of all economic classes.
- There should be decentralisation of the decision-making process. This can be done by strengthening local autonomy.
- A holistic approach is needed to solve the environmental crisis. It demands avoiding adoptiob of a ‘vague, global’ approach. It should acknowledge regional differences and the disparities between under and over-developed nations.
- The responsibility of solving the climate crisis falls on both policy-makers; and scientists and ecologists. Therefore, the political class or those who are in positions of power should be held accountable.
World Food Prize 2022
- Awarded to : Cynthia Rosenzweig, NASA climate research scientist.
About World Food Prize
- Norman Borlaug established the World Food Prize in 1986.
- It is a prestigious international award conceived as the “Nobel Prize for Food and Agriculture”.
- It is awarded for a specific, exceptionally significant, individual achievement that advances human development with a demonstrable increase in the quantity, quality, availability of, or access to food through creative interventions at any point within the full scope of the food system.
- The first recipient of this prestigious award in 1987 was Indian agricultural scientist M.S. Swaminathan, the father of India’s Green Revolution.
- Cash Prize: In addition to the cash award of USD 2,50,000, the laureate receives a sculpture designed by the noted artist and designer, Saul Bass.
- The Prize is presented each October on or around UN World Food Day (16th October).
- It is presented by the World Food Prize Foundation located in Des Moines, USA.
Previous recipients :
- 2021: Leading nutrition expert Shakuntala Haraksingh
- 2020 : Indian-American soil scientist – Rattan Lal.
‘Tomb of Sand’ won International Booker Prize
- “Tomb of Sand’, has become the first book written in an Indian language to be awarded the International Booker Prize. Originally published in Hindi as Ret Samadhi, the book is written by Author Geetanjali Shree and translated into English by Daisy Rockwell.
- The book narrates the story of an 80-year-old woman who experiences a deep depression after the death of her husband. Eventually, she overcomes her depression and decides to visit Pakistan to finally confront the past that she left behind during the Partition.
What is the International Booker Prize?
- The International Booker Prize is awarded annually for a single book, translated into English and published in the UK or Ireland. The International Booker Prize began life in 2005 as the Man Booker International Prize.
- This prize aims to encourage more reading of quality fiction from all over the world and has already had an impact on those statistics in the UK. The vital work of translators is celebrated, with the £50,000 prize money divided equally between the author and translator.
- Note : Each shortlisted author and translator also receive £2,500. Novels and collections of short stories are both eligible.
Templeton Prize 2022
- American Theoretical physicist and author, Dr Frank Wilczek, who won the Nobel Prize (in Physics) in 2004, has been awarded the Templeton Prize 2022, the world’s largest individual lifetime achievement award, valued at over USD 1.3 million.
- The Templeton Prize is an annual award granted to a living person, in the estimation of the judges, “whose exemplary achievements advance Sir John Templeton’s philanthropic vision: harnessing the power of the sciences to explore the deepest questions of the universe and humankind’s place and purpose within it.” It was established, funded and administered by John Templeton starting in 1972.
ENBA Award 2021
Doordarshan has won ENBA Award 2021 for the best in-depth Hindi series for its TV series based on pet care ‘Best Friend Forever’ at the 14th edition of the Exchange4media News Broadcasting Awards (ENBA).
BOOKS and Auhors
|“Leaders, Politicians, Citizens: Fifty Figures Who Influenced India’s Politics”.||Rasheed Kidwai (author-journalist )|
|“The Struggle for Police Reforms in India: Ruler’s Police to People’s Police”||Prakash Singh|
|“A Place Called Home”||Preeti Shenoy|
|“Listen to Your Heart: The London Adventure”||Ruskin Bond|
OBITUARY / DEATHS
- Tony Brooks, a British racing driver who won six Formula One Grand Prix in the 1950s and was nicknamed the “Racing Dentist”, has passed away. He was born in the United Kingdom in 1932.
- Rajat Kumar Kar : Odia Writer and 2021 Padma Shri recipient.
- Padma Shri Dr Rama Kant Shukla, a profound Sanskrit and Hindi Scholar, has passed away in Aligarh, Uttar Pradesh(UP).
- Shivaji Patnaik : Veteran Communist leader and three-time Member of Parliament, passed away at the age of Shivaji Patnaik is lauded as the founder of CPI (Marxist) in Odisha.
- Former Australian all-rounder Andrew Symonds has been killed in a car crash.
Yuri Averbakh : World’s oldest chess grandmaster from Russia
Pandit Sukh Ram :
- Veteran Himachal Pradesh Congress leader and former Union minister, Pandit Sukh Ram has passed away at 94. He was the Union Minister of State, Communications (Independent Charge) from 1993 to 1996 and a member of Lok Sabha from the Mandi constituency (Himachal Pradesh).
- He won the Lok Sabha elections three times and the Vidhan Sabha elections five times. In 2011, he was sentenced to five years of imprisonment for corruption when he was Communications Minister in 1996.
Thomas Cup : Men Badminton
- Recently, India’s men’s badminton team won the Thomas Cup title for the first time ever.
- India have defeated the 14-time champions Indonesia. The tournament was held in Bangkok (Thailand).
- Thomas Cup, trophy signifies the world supremacy in the sport of badminton. It is a 16-nation team event.
- With its win, India became only the sixth country (after China, Malaysia, Indonesia, Japan and Denmark ) to win this cup.
- Note : Thomas cup (Men’s) and Uber Cup (Women’s) is the biennial international badminton championship contested by the men and women’s national teams.
- Note : South Korea won the Uber Cup 2022, defeating China.
World Women’s Boxing Championships 2022 : Istanbul
- Nikhat Zareen became the fifth Indian woman to win a World title at World Women’s Boxing Championships 2022 in Istanbul by defeating Thai Olympian Jutamas Jitpong at 5-0 in the 52 kg category.
- Manisha Moun and Parveen Hooda also won bronze medals in separate categories 57kg and 63kg respectively.
- Note : India last won a World title when Mary Kom had become a six-time champion in Delhi in 2018.
Other Sports News
- In Asia Badminton Championships, India’s P.V. Sindhu won her second Asian bronze medal after a heartbreaking three-game loss to top-seed and defending champion Akane Yamaguchi of Japan in the semifinal in Manila.
- Kerala beat West Bengal 5-4 in the penalty shootout to win the 75th Santosh Trophy 2022 (Football) at the Manjeri Stadium in Malappuram, Kerala. This is Kerala’s third win in a Santosh Trophy tournament on home soil.
- JAIN (Deemed-to-be University) with 20 gold, 7 silver and 5 bronze medals has won the 2nd edition of the Khelo India University Games 2021. Lovely Professional University (LPU) with 17 golds has placed second and Punjab University placed third with 15 gold medals.
- The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) has banned journalist Boria Majumdar for two years after an internal inquiry found him guilty of an attempt to “threaten and intimidate” wicketkeeper Wriddhiman Saha.
- Olympian discus thrower Kamalpreet Kaur has been provisionally suspended by Athletics Integrity Unit (AIU) for testing positive for a banned substance.
- Shooter Dhanush Srikanth has won gold and Shourya Saini has won the bronze in the men’s 10m air rifle competition in the 24th Deaflympics at Caxias do Sul, Brazil.
- The Asian Games 2022, due to be held in Hangzhou, China in September, has been postponed to 2023 due to rising COVID-19 cases.
- Union Sports Minister Anurag Thakur has launched the mascot ‘Dhakad’ along with the official logo and official jersey of the Fourth Khelo India Youth Games at Panchkula and lauded the effort of Haryana to host the games.
- India’s Avinash Sable broke a 30-year-old record of Bahadur Prasad in 5000m, setting a new national record with a timing of 13:25.65 at the Sound Running Track meet in San Juan Capistrano, USA. The 27-year-old from Maharashtra broke the old record of 13:29.70 set by Bahadur Prasad in 1992.
- Lionel Messi has topped the list of Forbes Highest-Paid Athletes 2022 with a reported income of $130 million, followed by Basketball player, Lebron James with $121.2 million while Cristiano Ronaldo was third with $115 million.
- World 1 Serbia’s Novak Djokovic has defeated Stefanos Tsitsipas to win the 79th edition of the Italian Open (Lawn Tennis) in Rome and to capture the 38th ATP Masters 1000 crown.
- Punjab Kings opening batter Shikhar Dhawan has become the first player to hit 700 fours in the history of the Indian Premier League (IPL).
- The Indian Premier League (IPL) 2022 ended with Gujarat Titans (GT) lifting the trophy by defeating inaugural champions Rajasthan Royals (RR) at the Narendra Modi Stadium, Ahmedabad on May 29. The Indian Premier League (IPL) 2022, was the 15th edition of the professional Twenty20 cricket league established by the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI).
1st May : World Laughter Day
- This day is celebrated on the first Sunday of every May to remind people to laugh and make those around them laugh. This year the day is celebrated on 1st May. 1st May : International Labour Day
- It is also known as International Worker’s Day and May Day. The day is celebrated to spread awareness about Labour’s rights and mark their achievements.
- In India, the first Labour Day or May Day was celebrated in Madras (now known as Chennai) by the Labour Kisan Party of Hindustan on May 1, 1923. It was also the first time when the Red Flag which symbolises Labour Day was used in India for the first time. In Hindi, Labour Day is also known as Kamgar Din or Antarrashtriya Shramik Diwas, Kamgar Divas in Marathi and Uzhaipalar Naal in Tamil.
3 May : World Press Freedom Day (WPFD)
Theme for 2022: Journalism under digital siege
3 May – World Asthma Day (first Tuesday of May every year)
- Theme 2022 – ‘Closing Gaps in Asthma Care’. May 8 : World Thalassemia Day
Theme 2022 : ‘Be Aware.Share.Care: Working with the global community as one to improve thalassemia knowledge.’
Thalassemia is an inherited blood disorder that doesn’t let the body to create enough haemoglobin. The disease weakens and destroys the blood cells.
11 May : National Technology Day
- Theme 2022 : ‘Integrated Approach in Science and Technology for a Sustainable Future’.
- The day is observed to mark the successful nuclear tests in Pokhran
India conducted Pokhran-II tests, a series of five nuclear explosions, in May 1998 at the Indian Army’s Pokhran Test Range in Rajasthan. India successfully test-fired its Shakti-1 nuclear missile in operation called Pokhran-II, also codenamed as Operation Shakti. The nuclear missile was tested at the Indian Army’s Pokhran Test Range in Rajasthan. This was the second test which was conducted after Pokhran-I codenamed Operation Smiling Buddha, in May 1974.
12 May: International Nurses’ Day
It is the birth anniversary of Florence Nightingale, the English social reformer, statistician and founder of modern nursing. She was also known as Lady with the Lamp. She was the founder of modern nursing and was a British social reformer and statistician.
20th May : World Bee Day
- Theme for 2022: Bee Engaged: Celebrating the diversity of bees and beekeeping systems.
- The day marks the birth anniversary of Anton Janša, a pioneer of modern apiculture.
- Anton Janša hailed from a family of beekeepers in Slovenia, where beekeeping is an important agricultural activity with a long-standing tradition..
- His book ‘Discussion on Bee-keeping’ was published in German.
20th May : World Metrology Day
- Theme – “Metrology in the Digital Era”.
- Note : Metrology is the science of measurement and its application.
21 May : Anti-Terrorism Day
Former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi was assassinated on May 21, 1991, by the LTTE terrorists while campaigning for the Congress Party at Sriperumbudur in Tamil Nadu.
22 May : International Day for Biological Diversity or World Biodiversity Day
Theme 2022 : “Building a shared future for all life”.
31st May : ‘World No Tobacco Day’
- Theme 2022 : “Protect The Environment”.
- Every year, the WHO honours governments, organisations and individuals for their efforts and contributions to curbing tobacco use. This year, the WHO has selected Jharkhand for the World No Tobacco Day (WNTD) Award-2022.
- Tobacco addiction has been recognised as the single largest cause of preventable death and disability worldwide. Nearly 80 lakh people die every year globally, of whom 13.5 lakh (1.35 million) are Indians. India is also the second largest consumer and producer of tobacco.
- According to the recently released annual report on Vital Statistics based on the 2020 Civil Registration System Report (CRS), the Union Territory of Ladakh recorded the highest sex ratio at birth in the country in 2020.The report was published by the Registrar General of India. (Sex ratio at birth is the number of females born per thousand males. It is an important indicator to map the gender gap of a population). Kerala :
- An outbreak of shigella bacteria is believed to be the reason behind the recent incident of suspected food poisoning in Kasaragod district, Kerala. Earlier in 2019, the bacteria were found in Koyilandy district, Kerela. (Shigella is a genus of bacteria that causes an infection called shigellosis. It is the second leading cause of diarrhea (after Rotavirus) worldwide and the third leading cause of death in children less than 5 years old).
- The government of Kerala is set to launch an Android App ‘Shaili’, aimed at diagnosing and controlling lifestyle diseases among the people in the state of Kerala.
- Kerala to launch India’s First State-Owned Over The Top (OTT) Platform ‘CSpace’ on 1 November 2022 offering film lovers an array of movies, short films and documentaries of their choice.
- Recently, a beef shortage has been observed in Meghalaya following the implementation of the Assam Cattle Preservation (Amendment) Act, 2021 in Assam.
- Recently, a new venomous green snake named Trimeresurus mayaae or Maya’s Pit viper was discovered from Umroi Military station in Ri-Bhoi district of Meghalaya. Tamil Nadu:
- The Ministry of Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises inaugurated the ‘Enterprise India National Coir Conclave 2022’ at Coimbatore, Tamil Nadu. A ‘Run for Coir’ is also being organized on 6th may, 2022 to promote the use of coir, as a natural, degradable, eco-friendly product.
- Tamil Nadu chief minister, MK Stalin has announced that all government primary school students from 1st to 5th standards will be provided nutritious breakfast on all working days.
- Tamil Nadu is set to become the first state to offer breakfast along with midday meals.
- Indira Gandhi Urban Employment Scheme (Indira Gandhi Shahri Rozgar Guarantee Yojana)
- Recently, the Rajasthan Chief Minister launched Indira Gandhi Shahri Rozgar Guarantee Yojana on the lines of the MGNREGA to provide 100 days of employment to families in urban areas.
- Aim : Providing economic support to the poor and needy families living in the cities through work to be provided on demand for 100 days in a year.
- Sectors covered : Projects on environment protection, water conservation, heritage conservation, maintenance of gardens, removal of encroachment, illegal sign boards, hoardings and banners, and sanitation will be undertaken.
- Eligibility : People in the 18 to 60 age group are eligible for the scheme under which at least 50 people in each ward of urban local bodies will be given employment.
- Registration : A Janaadhar card or its registration slip is required. Registrations can be done at e-Mitra centres.
- Budgetary allocation : The government has allocated Rs 800 crore for the scheme.
- Note : MGNREGA is a nationwide scheme focuses on rural areas however Indira Gandhi Shahri Rozgar Guarantee Yojana of Rajasthan govt focuses on Urban areas.
Statehood Day of Goa (30th May)
- As India gained independence on 15th August, 1947, it requested the Portugese to cede their territories. However, Portuguese refused.
- In 1961, Indian Government launched Operation Vijay and annexed Daman and Diu islands and Goa with the Indian mainland. Goa Liberation Day is observed on 19th December every year in India.
- It can be noted that the Portuguese were the first Europeans to come to India (1498) and were also the last to leave this land (1961).
- On 30th May, 1987, the territory was split and Goa was formed. Daman and Diu remained Union Territory. The highest point of Goa is Sonsogor.
Pre monsoon floods : While the Monsoons are yet to arrive, Assam has already been beset by Floods and Landslides that have left 15 people dead and more than 7 lakh affected. The hill district of Dima Hasao, in particular, has been ravaged by flash floods and landslides, with connectivity to the rest of the state snapped.
- Maharashtra Cabinet approved the ‘Maharashtra Gene Bank’, a first-of-its-kind project in India. To conserve genetic resources in Maharashtra including marine diversity, seeds of local crops, and animal diversity.
- A loan scheme named Jivhala has been launched by the Maharashtra Department of Prisons for the inmates who are serving sentences in various jails across Maharashtra. The scheme, implemented by the Department of Prisons and Maharashtra State Cooperative Bank, has been started in Pune’s Yerawada Central Jail.
- Bihar’s Chief Minister Nitish Kumar has inaugurated India’s first ethanol plant in Purnia district, Bihar. The plant has been set up by Eastern India Biofuels Private Limited at a cost of Rs 105 crores. It is the country’s first grain-based ethanol plant.
- A survey by the Geological Survey of India has stated that a gold reserve of around 222.88 million tonnes including 27.6 tonnes of mineral-rich ore are present in the Jamui district of Bihar.
Uttar Pradesh government will provide free wi-fi facilities at more than 58 thousand places in the villages of the state. This internet facility will be available for the people within 50 meters of the Gram Sachivalaya (village secretariat) building which is being built in every Gram Panchayat of the state.
- In Manipur, the Poumai tribe has declared that Poumai inhabited areas will be a Drug-Free Zone supporting the State government’s War on Drug campaign.
- In Manipur, the 4th Edition of State-Level Shirui Lily Festival 2022 has begun. This annual festival is organised by the Department of Tourism, Government of Manipur with an aim to create and raise awareness of the Shirui Lily flower which is also the State Flower of Manipur. Madhya Pradesh
- Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister, Shivraj Singh Chouhan launched the second phase of the Ladli Laxmi scheme (Ladli Laxmi scheme-2.0). The scheme is an innovative initiative to encourage girl children to pursue higher education and make them selfdependent. Haryana
- Haryana Govt launched the ‘Chaara – Bijaee Yojana’, a scheme launched to provide financial assistance of Rs 10,000 per acre (Upto 10 acres) to farmers cultivating and supplying fodder to Gaushalas (Cowsheds).
Kolkata is the first metro city in the country to prepare a detailed register of biodiversity. Kolkata Municipal Corporation released the People’s Biodiversity Register (PBR), a document with details about the floral and faunal varieties in the city as well as its land use and human activities.
Jammu and Kashmir
Jammu and Kashmir (J&K) Lieutenant Governor, Manoj Sinha and Union minister Jitendra Singh inaugurated the north India’s first Industrial Biotech Park constructed at Ghatti near Kathua.
Uttarakhand government has announced the formation of a 5-member drafting committee to implement the muchdebated Uniform Civil Code (UCC) in the state. The retired Supreme Court judge Ranjana Desai, who currently heads the Delimitation Commission of India is the Head of the committee.
Karnataka Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai has launched a new health and wellness app AAYU to address and help heal chronic diseases and lifestyle disorders through yoga.
MISCELLANEOUS (in News)
- The Prime Minister (PM) of India is visited three European countries namely, Germany, Denmark and France. This foreign visit comes at a time Europe is witnessing the Russia-Ukraine War.
- Presently, India is the ninth-largest holder of gold
- The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) established a six-member committee to assess and review customer services in regulated firms with the goal of safeguarding customers’ interests. Former RBI deputy governor BP Kanungo will lead the committee, which will deliver its report three months after its first meeting.
- According to a project called the India Hypertension Control Initiative (IHCI), nearly 23% out of 2.1 million Indians have uncontrolled blood pressure. Managing blood pressure for 2.5 crore individuals can prevent up to five lakh deaths due to cardiovascular disease in the next 10 years.
- Recently, Finland and Sweden have shown interest to join the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO).
- Recently, the Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) has completed the static test of the human-rated solid rocket booster (HS200) for Gaganyaan programme. The booster engine is part of the Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle MkIII (GSLV Mk III) rocket that will carry Indian astronauts to space.
- According to the recent findings, the Union government’s plan to distribute subsidised iron-fortified rice may do more harm than good to Adivasis, or indigenous populations, who suffer from sickle-cell anaemia and thalassemia and are genetically prone to these ailments. (Fortification is the addition of key vitamins and minerals such as iron, iodine, zinc, Vitamin A & D to staple foods such as rice, milk and salt to improve their nutritional content).
- According to a recent Report ‘Pollution and health: A Progress Update’, published in The Lancet Planetary Health, Air Pollution was responsible for 16.7 lakh deaths in India in 2019, or 17.8% of all deaths.
- Recently, the Seoul Declaration was adopted at the XV World Forestry Congress, held in Seoul, South Korea. The Declaration, signed by 141 participant countries.
- Recently, the World Economic Forum (WEF) has released a report named Fostering Effective Energy Transition 2022, which calls for urgent action by both private and public sectors to ensure a resilient energy transition to address the challenges to environmental sustainability, energy security and energy justice and affordability. (The Global Gender Gap Report is also published by the World Economic Forum.)
- In keeping with the spirit of “One Nation, One Portal”, the Union Minister recently launched a Single National Portal for Biotech researchers and Start-ups, i.e., Biological Research Regulatory Approval Portal (BioRRAP). The portal will serve as a gateway and will help researchers to see the stage of approval of their applications for regulatory clearances and to see preliminary information on all the research work being undertaken by the particular researcher and/or organization. To provide more credibility and recognition to such biological research, the Government has developed a web system under which each research, requiring regulatory oversight, will be identified by a unique ID called “BioRRAP ID”.
- Recently, the Central Public Works Department (CPWD) has started the process to identify 4% of posts of junior engineer (civil and electrical) to be reserved for persons with disabilities (PwD) as mandated by the Rights of Persons with Disabilities Act, 2016(RPwD Act).
- Recently, the International Labour Organization(ILO) has released the Ninth Edition of ILO Monitor on the World of Work Report, which says that after significant gains during the last quarter of 2021, the number of hours worked globally dropped in the first quarter of 2022, to 3.8% below the employment situation before the Covid-19. The fresh lockdowns in China, the conflict between Ukraine and Russia, and the global rise in the prices of food and fuel are cited as the main reasons for the findings.
- Recently, India and Japan agreed to further enhance Bilateral Security and Defence Cooperation, including in defence manufacturing.
- According to an Asian Development Bank (ADB) paper, the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of India is likely to see the highest decline in South Asia due to Covid-19 related school-shutdown. School closures led to the contraction in global GDP and employment. This scenario is expected to aggravate further with time. India is among those countries that had the longest school closures during the Covid-19 pandemic.
- According to the 2020 report on Medical Certification of Cause of Death (MCCD), the first year of Covid-19 lockdown saw the highest incidences of persons dying of respiratory illnesses in a decade.
- Sarbananda Sonowal, Union Minister for Ports, Shipping and Waterways, announced that the Ministry of Ports, Shipping and Waterways would develop and build India’s first indigenous hydrogen-fueled electric vessels at Cochin Shipyard Limited (CSL), kicking off the country’s efforts toward green shipping.
- On 7 May 2022, Border Roads Organisation (BRO) celebrated its 62nd Raising Day (foundation day).
- The Supreme Court of India formed a high-level committee, headed by retired Bombay High Court Judge Pradeep Nandrajog, for recovery of money from the defaulters against whom the National Spot Exchange (NSEL) has secured money decrees.
- Nepal’s legendary climber Kami Rita Sherpa has climbed Mt Everest, the tallest peak in the world for the 26th time to set a new world record.
- With the climb of Kanchenjunga, Priyanka Mohite from Maharashtra’s Satara district has become the first Indian woman to climb five peaks above 8000 metres (Mount Everest, Mount Lhotse, Mount Makalu, Mount Annapurna 1, Mount Kanchenjunga). Notably, she is also the first Indian woman to climb Annapurna 1 and Makalu.
- Lok Sabha (LS) Speaker, Om Birla has launched the one-of-its-kind literary initiative Kalam website of the Prabha Khaitan Foundation (PKF) to support and encourage vernacular literature.
- World’s Largest Glass Bottom Bridge was opened in Vietnam.
- South Korea became the first Asian country join in NATO Cooperative Cyber Defence Centre of Excellence.
- Actress Deepika Padukone has become the first-ever Indian brand ambassador of luxury brand Louis Vuitton. Oil giant Saudi Aramco has dethroned Apple Inc. to become the world’s most valuable company.
- Billionaire Mukesh Ambani’s Reliance Industries Ltd climbed two spots to 53 on Forbes’ Global 2000 list of public companies worldwide 2022.
- National Geographic Society has installed the “world’s highest weather station” on Mount Everest at an altitude of 8,830 metres to automatically measure various meteorological phenomena.
- The New Development Bank (NDB), the Brics countries’ multilateral bank based in Shanghai, will open its first regional office in India at the Gujarat International Finance Tec-City (GIFT City) to address the country’s infrastructural and sustainable development needs.
- Chairman of the Piramal Group, Ajay Piramal has received an honorary Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE) by Her Majesty The Queen. He received the award for services to the UK-India trade relationship as India Co-Chair of the UK-India CEO Forum.
- The World Economic Forum’s Annual Meeting kicks off in Davos, Switzerland. The Indian delegation will be led by Commerce and Industry Minister Piyush Goyal throughout the five-day meeting.
- Belgium has become the first country to make a 21-day quarantine compulsory for monkeypox patients after four cases of the disease were reported.
- Sky Bridge 721 (721 metres long): World’s longest suspension bridge, been opened in the Czech Republic.
- Adani Group which belongs to Gautam Adani is set to acquire swiss multinational company Holcim’s stake in Indian companies Ambuja Cements and its subsidiary ACC for $10.5 bn (around Rs 81,361 crore), including the open offers.
- British Mountaineer Kenton Cool becomes first foreigner to scale Everest 16 times.
- The Union Government has announced the formation of the Cotton Council of India under the Chairmanship of renowned veteran cotton man Suresh Bhai Kotak.
- West Central Railway has developed a battery-operated dual-mode locomotive named Navdoot. This engine runs on both modes i.e. battery and electricity.
- This year Quad leader summit is held on the 24th of May 2022, in Tokyo.
- An Indian Government Officer, Anwar Hussain Shaik has been made the chair of the World Trade Organisation’s Committee on Technical Barriers on Trade.
- Nirdeshak, the second of the four Survey Vessels (Large) (SVL) projects being built by Garden Reach Shipbuilders and Engineers (GRSE) in collaboration with L&T shipbuilding for the Indian Navy was launched, at Kattupalli, Chennai.
- India will introduce a newly approved “made in India” TB infection skin test called ‘c-TB. Recently, the number of unicorns in India reached the 100-mark.
- One unicorn means a startup ( any privately owned firm) of at least Rs 7,500 crore (USD 1 Billion) turnover.
- The total valuation of these unicorns is USD 330 billion, that is over Rs 25 lakh crore.
- The average annual growth rate of Indian unicorns is more than that of the U.S., the U.K. and many other countries.
- Note : Neobank Open is India’s 100th unicorn startup. Digital India BHASHINI
- Digital India BHASHINI is India’s Artificial Intelligence (AI) led language translation platform.
- A Bhashini Platform will make Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Natural Language Processing (NLP) resources available to MSME (Medium, Small and Micro Enterprises), Startups and Individual Innovators in the public domain.
- Bhashini Platform is a part of the National Language Translation Mission.
- The mission aims to ensure that as more Indians connect to the internet, they are able to access global content in their own languages.
Swachh Survekshan 2023 : The Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs (MoHUA) has launched the eighth edition of Swachh Survekshan (SS) – SS 2023 under Swachh Bharat Mission Urban 2.0. SS 2023 is curated towards achieving circularity in waste management. The survey would give priority to the principle of 3Rs – Reduce, Recycle and Reuse.