Current Affairs October – 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
- Recently, The Organisation of the Petroleum Exporting Countries and its allies (OPEC+) has decided to cut oil production by 2 million barrels per day (bpd). This is the largest cut since the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic.
- Impact on India: India imports nearly 85% of its crude requirement, the oil import bill will rise on account of the rise in prices. The rise in import bills will not only lead to inflation and a rise in the Current Account Deficit (CAD) and fiscal deficit but also weaken the rupee against the dollar and hurt stock market sentimentOPEC
- Established in 1960 by founding members Iran, Iraq, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia and Venezuela, OPEC has since expanded and now has 13 member states.
- Member countries are: Algeria, Angola, Congo, Equatorial Guinea, Gabon, Iran, Iraq, Kuwait, Libya, Nigeria, Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, Venezuela.
- Qatar terminated its membership on 1st January 2019.
- With the addition of another 10 allied major oil-producing countries, the OPEC is known as OPEC+.
- OPEC+ countries include 13 OPEC member countries, Azerbaijan, Bahrain, Brunei, Kazakhstan, Malaysia, Mexico, Oman, Russia, South Sudan and Sudan.
- Senior officials of the India and Nepal have met and reviewed the bilateral water-sector cooperation, including the implementation of the Mahakali Treaty.
- The Mahakali Treaty was signed in 1996 over the integrated development of the Mahakali River, including Sarada Barrage, Tanakpur Barrage and Pancheshwar project.
- Mahakali River is also known as Sharda River or Kali Ganga in Uttarakhand. It joins Ghagra river in Uttar Pradesh, which is a tributary of Ganga. Sapta Kosi high dam project
- Recently, India and Nepal have agreed to take forward the Sapta Kosi high dam project through further studies.
- Sapta Kosi High Dam is a multipurpose project proposed to be constructed on the Saptakoshi River of Nepal (called Kosi River in India).
- The project is primarily aimed to control floods in southeast Nepal and northern Bihar and to generate hydropower. The project will provide irrigation, control floods and generate 3,000 MW of electricity.
New rule for UAE visa system
- Recently, UAE’s visa rules were changed that will now allow visitors to legally enter and stay in the UAE for 60 days an increase from the previous 30 days.
- Also, the job exploration visa, which seeks to easily allow talented professionals find employment in the UAE, will not require a sponsor or host.
- The new visa rules — aimed at reforming the country’s immigration and residency policies — include changes such as longer visas for tourists, extended residency for professionals under the Green Visa and an expanded 10-year Golden Visa scheme.
- A five-year, flexible multi-entry tourist visa was also introduced that allows them to stay in the UAE for up to 90 days in a row.
- Holders will also receive an extended flexible grace period of up to six months if their residence permit is cancelled or has expired.
- Announced in September 2021, the Green Visa is a type of renewable-residence visa that allows foreigners to sponsor themselves for five years, without having to rely on a UAE national or employer to sponsor their visa.
- Freelancers or self-employed people, skilled workers and investors or partners are eligible for the visa.
- Green visa holders are also given more benefits, such as the ability to sponsor family members, including a spouse, children and first-degree relative for the duration of their residency.
European Union Digital Services Act
- Recently, the European Parliament and European Union (EU) Member States announced that they had reached a political agreement on the Digital Services Act (DSA), 2022.
- Issues with social media platforms (Youtube, Facebook etc) : They are being used for spreading disinformation and hate speech to influence elections, racist violence etc. The major problem lies in revenue models of the social media platforms. They depend on engagement. Features of EU’s Digital Services Act (DSA) ?
- The Act makes social media businesses more responsible for content disseminated and amplified on their platforms. In fact, it gives social media users protection against hate speech, disinformation, and other harmful content.
- It specifies fines of up to 6% of annual global revenues, or outright bans, for non-compliance. This sort of substantial penalties could force platforms to review their business models. The government can ask platforms to take down content that may be deemed illegal. For example, stuff promoting terrorism, child sexual abuse, hate speech, and commercial scams. The social media platforms like TikTok, Facebook, and Twitter would have to create tools that would allow the users to flag such content in “easy, effective ways”. Platforms can review content before deciding upon deletion, and must carry out annual reviews and risk assessments of content. It bans advertisements targeted at minors, as well as advertisements specifically based on gender, ethnicity, or sexual orientation. It bans the deceptive techniques used to nudge people into online commitments. For example, signing up by default for online services. Applicability:
- According to the EU, DSA will apply to a “large category of online services, from simple websites to Internet infrastructure services and online platforms.”
- The obligations for each of these will differ according to their size and role.
- The legislation brings in its ambit platforms that provide Internet access, domain name registrars, hosting services such as cloud computing and web-hosting services.
- However, more importantly, Very Large Online Platforms (VLOPs) and Very Large Online Search Engines (VLOSEs) will face “more stringent requirements.” For example, any service with more than 45 million monthly active users in the EU will fall into this category.
- Way Forward: The new act can help the EU and its nations to safeguards free speech. They rank very high on the Democracy Index. The DSA can be used as a model legislation in the US, Canada, and other democracies.
- Note: In India, a bill (Data Protection Bill 2019) on similar issue is pending in Parliament.
Leakage in Nord Stream pipelines
- Four leaks were reported at different points in the Nord Stream pipelines, linking Russia and Western Europe. Two of the leaks were in Swedish waters while the other two were reported from Danish waters.Impact Of These Leaks
- It has disrupted the operations of the gas shipment infrastructure and it is not likely to be restored anytime soon.
- With the timeframe for repairs being uncertain, the pipelines were unlikely to provide any gas to Europe in the forthcoming winter months.
- European gas prices spiked after reports of the leaks emerged.
- Analysts are worried about the environmental impact of the leaks as well. Technical experts are saying that the leaks together were releasing more than 500 metric tonnes of methane.Nord Stream consists of two pipelines, which have two lines each :
- Nord Stream 1 is a 1,224 km underwater gas pipeline running from Vyborg in northwest Russia to Lubmin in northeastern Germany via the Baltic Sea. It was completed in 2011.
- Nord Stream 2 which runs from Ust-Luga in Leningrad to Lubmin was completed in September 2021 and has the capacity to handle 55 billion cubic meters of gas per year once it becomes operational.
- The twin pipelines together can transport a combined total of 110 billion cubic metres (bcm) of gas a year to Europe for at least 50 years.
- The Nord Stream crosses the Exclusive Economic Zones (EEZs) of several countries including Russia, Finland, Sweden, Denmark and Germany, and the territorial waters of Russia, Denmark, and Germany.
- In Germany, the pipeline connects to the OPAL (Baltic Sea Pipeline) and NEL (North European Pipeline) which further connects to the European grid.
- Burkina Faso witnesses second coup in around 8 months..
- As a result, President of Burkina Faso, Paul-Henri Damiba announced his resignation.About Burkina Faso:
- Burkina Faso is a landlocked country in West Africa, bordered by Mali to the northwest, Niger to the northeast, Benin to the southeast, Togo and Ghana to the south, and the Ivory Coast to the southwest.
- It was previously called Republic of Upper Volta. Its capital and largest city is Ouagadougou.
The country owes its former name of Upper Volta to three rivers which cross it: the Black Volta (or Mouhoun), the White Volta (Nakambé) and the Red Volta (Nazinon).
6th Ministerial Meeting of CICA : Astana
- The Minister of State for External Affairs addressed the 6th Summit of Conference on Interaction and Confidence Building Measures in Asia (CICA). It was held in Astana, Kazakhstan.
- Established in 1999, CICA is an inter-governmental forum for enhancing cooperation towards promoting peace, security and stability in Asia.
- It was proposed by Nursultan Nazarbayev, first president of Kazakhstan, at the 47th session of UN General Assembly in October 1992.
- It currently has 27 member states and 9 observer states and 5 observer organisations.
- Secretariat -Almaty, Kazakhstan.
- For becoming a member of CICA, a state must have at least a part of its territory in Asia.
- India has been a member of CICA since its inception. India also co-chairs two CICA Confidence Building Measures (CBMs) on: Development of Secure and Effective Systems of Transportation Corridors, and Energy Security.
- The General Assembly meeting of the International Criminal Police Organisation (Interpol) is held in Delhi recently.
- Set up in 1923, Interpol is a 195 members body with its HQ in Lyon, France.
- This is the second time since 1997, the Interpol is holding such a large conference in India.
- Interpol is a secure information-sharing platform that facilitates criminal investigation of police forces across the globe through collection and dissemination of information received from various police forces.
UNSC 1267 Committee
- Recently, China placed a “hold” on two joint India-US proposals, to designate Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) top leaders at the United Nations Security Council’s (UNSC) 1267 list of terrorists affiliated to Al Qaeda and ISIS.About UNSC 1267 Committee
- It was first set up in 1999 (updated in 2011 and 2015), and strengthened after the September, 2001 attacks.
- It is now known as the Da’esh and Al Qaeda Sanctions Committee.
- It comprises all permanent and non-permanent members of the United Nations Security Council (UNSC).
- The 1267 list of terrorists is a global list, with a UNSC stamp. It is full of Pakistani nationals and residents.
- It is one of the most important and active UN subsidiary bodies working on efforts to combat terrorism, particularly in relation to Al Qaeda and the Islamic State group.
- It discusses UN efforts to limit the movement of terrorists, especially those related to travel bans, the freezing of assets and arms embargoes for terrorism.
Ethiopia – Tigray Conflict
- The first formal African Union-led peace talks between an Ethiopian government team and Tigray forces are happening in South Africa. Ethiopia and Tigray Crisis
- Ethiopia’s northernmost region is Tigray. It is commanded by the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF), a Marxist political organisation who is against the ruling govt headed by Abiy Ahmed and launched several attacks against the govt.
- Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed authorised a federal onslaught against the Tigray area, sparking the conflict.
What role has Eritrea played?
- Eritrea, which was originally a part of Ethiopia, fought and won a violent, decades-long independence war in 1991. The two nations went to war again in 1998, this time in a territorial struggle that lasted until 2000 and claimed an estimated 100,000 deaths.
- However, soon after becoming PM of Ethiopia, Abiy Ahmed signed a historic peace treaty with Eritrean aimed at putting the nations’ mutual animosity behind them.
- Abiy was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 2019 for his efforts to end the long-running conflict.
- The Eritrean military is said to be fighting alongside Ethiopia in Tigray. About Ethiopia
- The second most populous country in Africa
- Situated in the strategic Horn of Africa region.
- It is the most populous landlocked country in the world.
- It is bordered by Eritrea, Djibouti, Sudan, Somalia, and Kenya.
- Different Ethnic Groups:
- Divided into 10 regions based on the concentration of ethnic groups.
- The Oromo– the largest ethnic group in the country (PM Abiy Ahmed also belongs to it).
- Amhara– the second largest group
- The Tigrayans– an ethnic minority (constitute around 6-7 percent)
- Horn of Africa : The North-Eastern region of the African continent including the countries of Somalia. Eritrea, Ethiopia and Djibouti (S-E-E-D).
Pakistan is out of FATF ‘grey list’ on terror funding
- Financial Action Task Force (FATF) excluded Pakistan from the grey list of the global watchdog on terror financing and money laundering after four years.
- Pakistan was placed on the grey list by the FATF in June 2018 and was given a 27-point action plan to complete it.
Financial Action Task Force
- Set up in 1989, FATF is the global money laundering and terrorist financing watchdog. It was established during the G7 Summit in Paris.
- Members : 39 ( 37 member jurisdictions and 2 regional organisations i.e. the European Commission, and the Gulf Cooperation Council).
- India became an Observer at FATF in 2006 and became full member in 2010 (34th member).
- Indonesia is the only observer country of FATF.
- The FATF sets international standards that aim to prevent these illegal activities and the harm they cause to society.
The FATF functions as an independent guiding policy, with its president selected by the plenary for a one-year period.
The FATF Secretariat is located at the OECD headquarters in Paris.Functions
- The FATF has developed the FATF Recommendations, or FATF Standards, which ensure a co-ordinated global response to prevent organised crime, corruption and terrorism.
- It also works to identify national-level vulnerabilities with the aim of protecting the international financial system from misuse
- They help authorities go after the money of criminals dealing in illegal drugs, human trafficking and other crimes. It also works to stop funding for weapons of mass destruction.
- FATF grey lists a country which it considers as a safe haven for terror funding and money laundering.
- A country is put into this list when strategic deficiencies are detected in a country’s policies to prevent money laundering and terror financing.
- Black listing : FATF Grey list is a warning to the country to tackle the issues, failing which it could be “blacklisted,” the highest level of indictment.
- As of now, Iran, North Korea and Myanmar are the three black listed countries. (Myanmar is added recently in October 2022).
Impact of Grey-listing
- FATF stresses the need to consider associated risks when dealing with countries on grey-list.
- Once grey-listed, it becomes increasingly difficult for a country to get financial aid from multilateral institutions such as: IMF, World Bank, ADB and EU.Why FATF changed its position on Pakistan?
- In October 2021, FATF had said that Pakistan had addressed 30 of the 34 areas where it had raised concerns and recommended further compliance.
- Till June 2022, Pakistan had completed most of the action items and only a few items that were left unfulfilled. This included its failure to take action against UN-designated terrorists:
- Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM) chief Masood Azhar,
- Lashker-e-Taiba (LeT) founder Hafiz Saeed and his trusted aide and the group’s “operational commander”, Zakiur Rehman Lakhvi.
- When Pakistan, in recent months, announced new sentences for Hafiz Saeed and Sajid Mir – two top terrorists of Lashkar-e-Taiba, FATF expressed its satisfaction.
- Recently, India has hosted a special meeting of the United Nations Security Council’s Counter Terrorism Committee (CTC) to discuss terror-financing through crypto-currency and use of drones in the new-age terrorism.
- This will be the first such meeting of the UNSC-CTC in India since its establishment in 2001. The Permanent Representative of India (Ruchira Kamboj) to the UN (United Nations) serves as the Chair of the CTC for 2022.
- Theme: Countering the use of new and emerging technologies for terrorist purposes. What is UNSC-CTC?
It was established by Security Council resolution 1373 which was adopted unanimously on 28th September 2001 in the wake of the 9/11 terror attacks in the US.
- The Committee comprises all 15 Security Council members:
- Five permanent members: China, France, Russian Federation, the United Kingdom, and the United States, and ten non-permanent members elected for two-year terms by the General Assembly.
Kazakhstan changes capital’s name from Nur-Sultan back to Astana
- The name was changed to Nur-Sultan in March 2019, in honour of outgoing president Nursultan Nazarbayev.
- Present Kazakhstan’s president, Kassym-Jomart Tokayev restored the former name of the country’s capital, Astana.
India – Armenia Defence deal
- India has signed this deal with Armenia under which India will export missiles, rockets, and ammunition to Armenia after the recent clashes between Armenia and Azerbaijan.
- The missiles will also include Indigenous Pinaka Multi-Barrel Rocket Launcher.
- Pinaka has been developed by the Defence Research and Development Organization (DRDO) and manufactured by indigenous private sector firms.
Mid-Day Meal Scheme (PM Poshan Scheme)
- Recently, the Ministry of Finance has approved a hike of 9.6 % cooking cost per child under the Mid-Day Meal Scheme.
- Since the last hike in early 2020, the cooking cost per child has been Rs 4.97 per child per day in primary classes (class I-V), and Rs 7.45 (class VI-VIII) in upper primary classes. After the hikes come into effect, the allocation at the primary level and upper primary levels will be Rs 5.45 and Rs 8.17, respectively.
- About Scheme : The Midday meal scheme (under the Ministry of Education) is a centrally sponsored scheme which was launched in 1995.
- It is the world’s largest school meal programme aimed to attain the goal of universalization of primary education.
- Provides cooked meals to every child within the age group of six to fourteen years studying in classes I to VIII who enrolls and attends the school.
- In 2021, it was renamed as ‘Pradhan Mantri Poshan Shakti Nirman’ scheme (PM Poshan Scheme) and it also covers students of balvatikas (children in the 3–5-year age group) from pre-primary classes.
- The Department of Telecommunications (DoT) has made the registration of IMEI number of all mobile phones mandatory before their sale in India on its anti-counterfeit and lost handset blocking portal from January 1, 2023.
- All mobile phones, whether made locally or imported, will need to be registered and get IMEI (International mobile equipment identity number) certificates from the Indian Counterfeited Device Restriction portal that is run by the DoT.
- The IMEI is a unique number that is used to identify a device on a mobile network. It has 15 digits and is like a phone’s unique identity. The number is used to verify the identity of a device when a user uses the Internet or places a call through it.
- Phones with a dual-SIM option have two IMEI numbers, one for each SIM.
- Significance: The IMEI number can help network providers track down a device in case it gets stolen or is lost. Once such loss or theft is reported, the carriers can deny the device access to the cellular network even with a new SIM card.
Vande Bharat Expresses 2.0
- The Prime Minister flagged off Gandhinagar-Mumbai Vande Bharat Express at Gandhinagar station.
- This is being called as ‘Vande Bharat 2.0’, because of certain upgrades it has received over its predecessors, the two existing trains running from Delhi to Varanasi and Katra.
- Vande Bharat is a semi-high speed train earlier dubbed as Train 18. They are self-propelled trains that do not require an engine. This feature is called a distributed traction power system, which is increasingly becoming the norm the world over for passenger operations.
- The first Vande Bharat was manufactured by the Integral Coach Factory (ICF), Chennai as part of the ‘Make in India’ programme, at a cost of about Rs. 100 crore.
- Note: Distributed power gives the train higher acceleration and deceleration compared to loco-hauled trains, which take a much longer time to reach top speed or to gradually come to a halt.
What are the major-upgraded features of Vande Bharat 2.0?
- Speed: It can attain a speed of 0 to 100 kilometres per hour in just 52 seconds and a maximum speed of up to 180 km per hour (up from 160 km/hour earlier).
- The latest version has cost over Rs 115 crore – Rs 15 crore higher than the previous version.
- The new train can reach the speed of 160 km per hour in 129 seconds, around 16 seconds faster than the other Vande Bharat trains.
- Weight: It will weigh 392 tons when compared to the previous version of 430 tons.
- Safety Features: The train comes fitted with the automatic anti-collision system Kavach, which the previous trains did not have. Coaches have disaster lights and their battery backup is for three hours, increased from the last one’s one-hour battery backup.
- Seats: All the seats are recliner seats as opposed to the previous versions which had fixed backseats in the lower class. Executive Coaches have the added feature of 180-degree rotating seats.
- The washrooms in the train are ‘Divyang friendly’ and the seat numbers have been engraved on the handle in Braille.
- Wifi: The train also has a wifi-enabled onboard infotainment system and an LCD display in each coach.
- Air purification: The internal air is filtered through photocatalytic ultraviolet air purification systems with UV lamps which deactivates 99 percent of germs.
- The new version of the train features eight cameras, four more than the previous one. The new version is also higher, making it safe from floods up to 650 mm, up from 400 mm.
- Way Ahead: Currently, Vande Bharat Trains travel on 7 routes.
- In Budget 2022-23, the Finance Minister has announced that 400 Vande Bharat trains will be manufactured in the next three years.
Swachh Survekshan Awards 2022
- Recently, the President awarded Indore as the cleanest city for the sixth consecutive year as part of the Azadi@75 Swachh Survekshan 2022, hosted as part of the Swachh Bharat Mission- Urban 2.0.
- Indore further emerged as India’s first 7-star Garbage Free city, while Surat, Bhopal, Mysuru, Navi Mumbai, Vishakhapatnam, and Tirupati earned 5-star Garbage Free certifications.
- More than 1 lakh Population: Indore, the city of lakes and palaces, walked away with the Cleanest City title, while Surat was adjudged the second cleanest city and Navi Mumbai bagged the third spot.
- Less than 1 lakh Population: Panchgani and Karad from Maharashtra bagged the first and third positions respectively, while Patan from Chhattisgarh bagged the second position.
- Best Ganga Town: Haridwar in Uttarakhand received the award for the best Ganga town in more than one lakh population cities.
- Fast Mover City Award: Shivamogga in Karnataka.Cleanest States:
- States with More than 100 Urban Local Bodies: Madhya Pradesh emerged as the ‘Cleanest State’, Chattisgarh in second place and third in Maharashtra.
- States with less than 100 Urban Local Bodies: Tripura emerged as the Cleanest State. Jharkhand and Uttarakhand received the second and third spots respectively.About Swachh Survekshan Awards :
- Swachh Survekshan has been conducted since 2016 and is the world’s largest urban sanitation and cleanliness survey. It is conducted under the ambit of the Swachh Bharat Mission (Urban). ▪ Nodal Ministry: Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs (MoHUA).
Silver Jubilee of Quality Council of India (QCI)
- Recently, Quality Council of India celebrated its Silver Jubilee (25 years of its establishment) at the Ambedkar International Centre in New Delhi.
- Establishment: Quality Council of India was set up in 1997, jointly by the Government of India and the Indian Industry represented by the three premier industry associations i.e. Associated Chambers of Commerce and Industry of India (ASSOCHAM), Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) and Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI), with Mr Ratan Tata as its first Chairman.
- QCI was established as a National body for Accreditation. It is a non-profit organization registered under the Societies Registration Act XXI of 1860.
- Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion (DIPP) under the Ministry of Commerce and Industry is the Nodal Ministry.
- Composition: It is governed by a Council of 38 members with equal representations of government, industry and consumers. Chairman of QCI is appointed by the Prime Minister on the recommendation of the industry to the government.
- Objective: To create a mechanism for independent third-party assessment of products, services, and processes. It plays a pivotal role at the national level in propagating, adoption and adherence to quality standards in all important spheres of activities including education, healthcare, environment protection, governance, social sectors, infrastructure sector and such other areas of organized activities that have significant bearing in improving the quality of life and wellbeing of the citizens of India.
- QCI has launched a campaign– Gunvatta Se Atmanirbharta : India’s quality movement. The campaign aims to celebrate India’s quality hubs, create awareness about India’s landmark achievements and inform people about the many initiatives that India is embracing with an aim to enhance the quality of lives of all our citizens.
Four Indian Cough syrups caused deaths in Gambia
- A global alert was issued over four Indian made cough syrups after the World Health Organization (WHO) warned they could be linked to the deaths of 66 children in The Gambia (a small West African Country).
- As per WHO, the products were manufactured by an Indian company, Maiden Pharmaceuticals, which had failed to provide guarantees about their safety.
- The WHO analysis of samples of each of these products had confirmed the presence of “unacceptable amounts of diethylene glycol and ethylene glycol as contaminants”. These ingredients are not allowed in food or drugs, as they can cause abdominal pain, vomiting, diarrhoea, headache, severe renal injury and neurological toxicity.
- The company said these were not sold in India and are only for export markets already approved by the DGCI.Imp facts about drug Regulation in India
- The Drugs and Cosmetics Act, 1940 and Rules 1945 have entrusted various responsibilities to central and state regulators for regulation of drugs and cosmetics.
- Central Drugs Standard Control Organisation(CDSCO) regulates the market authorization of new drugs and clinical trials standards. It supervises drug imports and approves licences to manufacture the above-mentioned products. CDSCO also regulates export of drugs in India, any manufacturer with the certification from CDSCO can export drugs outside India.
- DCGI (Drugs Controller General of India) is the head of department of the CDSCO of the Government of India responsible for approval of licences of specified categories of drugs such as blood and blood products, IV fluids, vaccines and sera in India.
Revised ‘Beti Bachao Beti Padhao’ Scheme
- The Central government announced the inclusion of skilling of girls in non-traditional livelihood (NTL) options in the ‘Beti Bachao Beti Padhao’ scheme.About
- The Beti Bachao Beti Padhao scheme has been revised and Some of the new aims for the scheme include
- Ensuring 1% increment in enrolment at the secondary level and skilling of girls and women every year
- Raising awareness about safe menstrual hygiene o Promulgating elimination of child marriages.
Non-Traditional Livelihoods (NTL)?
- NLT are sectors and jobs where participation of women is and has historically been conventionally low or absent. Like STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics) subjects due to gender-based categorization of the work, in the society.
- Through this initiative, girls will be given skill training in non-traditional vocations, thereby making them torchbearers of a women-led Aatmanirbhar Bharat (self-reliant India).
- The Beti Bachao Beti Padhao (BBBP) Scheme: It was launched by the Hon’ble Prime Minister in 2015 at Panipat in Haryana With the objective of bringing behavioural change in the society towards birth and rights of a girl child.
- Objective: To improve CSR (number of girls per 1000 boys within the age group of 0-6 years) in the country and create an enabling environment for the all-around development of the girl child.
Focus areas are:
- Preventing sex selection, Ensuring survival and protection of a girl child, Ensuring education of the girl child.
- It has resulted in increased awareness and sensitization of the masses regarding the prevalence of gender bias and role of community in eradicating it.
Modhera: India’s first 24×7 solar-powered village
- Recently, Prime Minister declared Modhera in Gujarat’s Mehsana district as India’s first 24×7 solar-powered village. Modhera will be India’s first village to become a net renewable energy generator. It will be the first modern village to have a solar-based ultra-modern electric vehicle charging station.
- It is India’s first grid-connected megawatt-hours (MWh) scale battery energy storage system. People in Modhera would be saving 60% to 100 % on electricity bills.
- The people in the village wouldn’t pay for electricity, rather they could start selling it and earn from energy produced by the solar panel by selling it to the government grid. It will generate employment at the village level, and ultimately improve the standard of living.About Modhera Sun Temple
- Modhera was well known for the Sun temple, now it will also be known as a solar-powered village. The heritage lighting and 3-D projection at the Sun Temple would operate on solar energy. The 3-D projection will inform visitors about the history of Modhera.
- It was made by King Bhima I of the Chalukya dynasty in the early 11th century. It is made to honour the Sun God in Modhera village of Mehsana district on the bank of River Pushpavati.
- The temple is designed in such a way that during every equinox, the first ray of the rising sun would fall on a diamond placed on the head of the Sun God. This would also light up the shrine with a golden glow.
- The Sabha Mandap stands on 52 pillars, signifying the 52 weeks in a year. There are carvings of the sun on the walls to show its unity with air, water, earth and space.
- In 2014, Modhera Sun Temple entered the list of UNESCO World Heritage Sites. It enjoys the same significance as the other two well-known sun temples in Kashmir (Martand Sun Temple) and Odisha (Konark Sun Temple).Status of Solar Energy in India?
- About: The installed solar energy capacity has increased by 19.3 times in the last 8 years and stands at 56.6 GW.
- Further, India has set an ambitious target to achieve a capacity of 175 GW worth of renewable energy by the end of 2022, which expands to 500 GW by 2030. This is the world’s largest expansion plan for renewable energy.
- India was the second-largest market in Asia for new solar PV capacity and third globally. It ranked fourth for total installations (60.4 GW), overtaking Germany (59.2 GW) for the first time.
- As of June 2022, Rajasthan and Gujarat were the top states for large-scale solar, accounting for 53% and 14% of installations, respectively, followed by Maharashtra with 9%.
The online gaming industry in India
- A task force set up the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology has prepared a final report of its recommendations to regulate the online gaming industry in India.
- The task force has proposed the creation of a central regulatory body for the sector, clearly defining what games of skill and chance are, and bringing online gaming under the purview of the Prevention of Money Laundering Act, 2002.Recommendations of the task force
- A central-level law for online gaming should apply to real money and free games of skill, including e-sports, online fantasy sports contests, and card games etc.
- Casual games with no real money element in the form of stakes may be kept outside the scope of such rules, unless they have a high number of users in India.
- Creating a regulatory body, which will determine what qualifies as a game of skill or chance, and accordingly certify different gaming formats, seek compliance etc.
- A three-tier dispute resolution mechanism, similar to that prescribed under the Information Technology Rules, 2021 for online streaming services.
- Any online gaming platform – domestic or foreign– offering real money online games to Indian users will need to be a legal entity incorporated under Indian law.Why a central-level law?
- Online gaming so far has been a state subject, but state governments find it extremely difficult to enforce certain rules like geo-blocking certain apps or websites within the territory of their state.
- Also, rules passed in one state are not applicable in another, which has caused inconsistency.
- State governments also do not have enough blocking powers like the Centre to issue blocking orders for offshore betting sites.
Online gaming market in India
- The revenue of the Indian mobile gaming industry is expected to exceed $1.5 billion in 2022, and is estimated to reach $5 billion in 2025.
- The industry in the country grew at a CAGR of 38% between 2017-2020, as opposed to 8% in China and 10% in the US.
- India’s percentage of new paying users (NPUs) in gaming has been the fastest growing in the world for two consecutive years, at 40% in 2020 and 50% in 2021.
2nd United Nations World Geospatial Information Congress (UNWGIC 2022)
PM Narendra Modi recently addressed 2nd UN World Geospatial International Congress. It is being held in Hyderabad.
- The goal of this year’s UNWGIC is to promote a broad dialogue on global geospatial information management with all relevant governments, non-governmental organisations, academia, and the private sector.
- Theme of UNWGIC 2022: ‘Geo-Enabling the Global Village: No one should be left behind’.
- It was hosted by the ministry of science and technology of the government of India.United Nations World Geospatial Information Congress (UNWGIC)
- The United Nation Committee of Experts on Global Geospatial Information Management (UN-GGIM) organizes the United Nations World Geospatial Information Congress (UNWGIC) every four years.
- The first UNWGIC was organized by China (at Deqing, Zhejiang Province, ) in October 2018.About Geospatial Technology
- Geospatial technology is a term used to describe the range of modern tools contributing to the geographic mapping and analysis of the Earth and human societies.
- The term ‘geospatial’ refers to a collection of technologies that help to collect, analyse, store, manage, distribute, integrate, and present geographic information.
- Broadly, it consists of the following technologies: Remote Sensing, GIS (Geographic Information System), GNSS (Global Navigation Satellite System), Survey, 3D modelling.Related Initiatives in India
- Google Street View is launched in ten cities of India under the Guidelines of the National Geospatial Policy (NGP), 2021.
- The Survey of India has developed a web Geographic Information System (GIS) called Sarthi. It will help users in creating applications for geospatial data visualisation, manipulation, and analysis without a lot of resources at their end.
- The online maps portal of Survey of India has over 4,000 maps with national, state, district, and tehsil level data that have been indexed for end users.
- National Atlas and Thematic Mapping Organization / NATMO (headquarters at Kolkata) has released thematic maps such as the cultural map of India, the climactic map, or the economic map, on Manchitran portal.
- Bhuvan, is the national Geo-portal developed and hosted by ISRO comprising Geo Spatial Data, Services and Tools for Analysis. It has 3D imaging capabilities.
One Health Joint Plan of Action (2022-2026)
- Context: FAO, UNEP, WHO and World Organization for Animal Health have together launched One Health joint plan of action to address health threats to humans, plants and the environment .
- One Health is an approach calling for “the collaborative efforts of multiple disciplines working locally, nationally, and globally, to attain optimal health for people, animals and our environment”, as defined by the One Health Initiative Task Force.
National Curriculum Framework 2022
- The Minister for Education has released the National Curriculum Framework (NCF) for foundational stage (children aged 3 to 8 years) education.
- He also launched ‘Balvatika’ at Kendriya Vidyalayas.What is the National Curriculum Framework?
- National Curriculum Framework essentially serves as a guideline for syllabus, textbooks and teaching practices for the Education system in India.
- NCF is usually published by the National Council of Educational Research and Training (NCERT).
- NCF has been revised a total of 4 times – 1975, 1988, 2000 and 2005. NCF 2022 would be the fifth revision of the framework.About the NCF 2022
- NCF-2022 has four sections — a) The National Curriculum Framework for School Education, b) The National Curriculum Framework for Early Childhood Care and Education, c) The National Curriculum Framework for Teacher Education and d) The National Curriculum Framework for Adult Education.
- The framework includes the ‘panchakosha’ concept for education with five components: 1) Physical development (sharirik vikas), 2) Development of life energy (pranik vikas), 3) Emotional and mental development (manasik vikas), 4) Intellectual development (bauddhik vikas) and 5) Spiritual Development (chaitsik vikas).
- It uses ‘play,’ at the core of the conceptual, operational and transactional approaches to curriculum organization, pedagogy, time and content organization, and the overall experience of the child.What are the recommendations and observations made by NCF 2022?
- Observations: Currently there is a learning crisis in India, as children are enrolled in primary school but are failing to attain basic skills such as foundational literacy and numeracy.
- Only 50.9% of the students admitted to Grade 1 in 2020-21 had prior preschool experience.
- Recommendations: Mother tongue will be the primary medium of instruction in both public and private schools for children up to the age of 8 because learning a new language reverses the entire learning process in the early years.
- English could be one of the second language options. However, it avoids providing any specific timetable for introducing English.
- Children in the age group of 3 to 8 should not be burdened with textbooks. In the last two years of the foundational stage, or ages 6 to 8 years, simple and attractive textbooks can be considered.
What are Balvatikas?
- Balvatika Classes for students in the age groups of 3+, 4+ and 5+ years of age are being introduced in a set of 49 Kendriya Vidyalayas.
- Since more than 85% of a child’s cumulative brain development occurs prior to the age of 6, providing appropriate care to stimulate their brain and support their physical and emotional development is essential for every child.
- Recently, the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting (I&B) has issued an advisory stating that any kind of broadcasting be done only through Prasar Bharti.
- It states that ministries, departments of the central government, state governments, and union territory (UT) administrations or entities related to them would not be allowed to enter into broadcasting or distribution of broadcasting activities.
- In case central ministries, states, UTs and entities related to them are already broadcasting their content, it would now be done through the public broadcaster Prasar Bharati.
- It is in line with the recommendations of the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI), the Supreme Court judgment and the legal opinion given by the Ministry of Law and Justice.What is Prasar Bharti?
- Prasar Bharati is a statutory autonomous body. It is the Public Service Broadcaster of the country. It was established under the Prasar Bharati Act in 1997. The Prasar Bharati Corporation’s main objective is to provide autonomy to Doordarshan and Akashvani in order to “educate and entertain the public.
POLITY (Articles or Sections in News)
Supreme Court delivers split verdict on Karnataka hijab ban
- The 2 Judge bench of Supreme Court has delivered a split verdict in the batch of pleas challenging Karnataka HC’s ruling of upholding the prohibition of wearing hijab in educational institutions of the state.What is split verdict
- A split verdict is passed when the Bench cannot decide one way or the other in a case, either by a unanimous decision or by a majority verdict.
- Split verdicts can only happen when the Bench has an even number of judges (like 2,4,6,8,etc).Hijab Row
- The hijab row came to the fore on January 1 at Government PU College in Udupi, where six female students claimed that they were not allowed to enter classrooms wearing hijab.
- The students started protest against college authorities, which soon snowballed into a state-wide issue.
- Later, several petitions were filed in the Karnataka High Court.
- In these petitions, Muslim students sought the right to wear Hijabs in classrooms under Article 14, 19 and 25 of the Constitution of India.Judgement passed by HC
- Hijab not indispensable to Islam: Karnataka HC held that the use of a hijab is not essential to the practice of Islam. Thus, the right to freedom of religion was not violated.
- No significant right : It ruled that there exists no substantive right to freedom of expression or privacy inside a classroom and, therefore, these rights were simply not at stake here.
- Indistinguishable legislation : It further held that the ban did not stem directly out of the government’s order, which only called for a uniform dress code to be prescribed by the State or school management committees. Hence, the law did not discriminate, either directly or indirectly, against Muslim students.Matter reaches to Supreme Court
- Petitions were filed in Supreme Court of India against the verdict of Karnataka HC.
- A two-judge Bench started hearing arguments on the correctness of a Karnataka HC judgment.
- The current split verdict (1:1) is the result of this hearing.
- Justice Hemant Gupta backs HC verdict while Justice Sudhanshu Dhulia was against the HC verdict.What happens next?
- In case of a split verdict, the case is heard by a larger Bench.
- The larger Bench to which a split verdict goes can be a three-judge Bench of the High Court, or an appeal can be preferred before the Supreme Court.
- In the case of the hijab verdict, the CJI, who is the ‘master of the roster’, will constitute a new, larger Bench to hear the matter.
Discontent over Hindi Imposition
- The 11th volume of the Report of the Official Language Committee headed by Union Home Minister was submitted to President recently.
- It has triggered angry reactions from the Chief Ministers of Tamil Nadu and Kerala, who have described the report as an attempt by the Union government to impose Hindi on non-Hindi-speaking states.Committee of Parliament on Official Language
- It was set up in 1976 under The Official Languages Act, 1963, on a resolution to that effect being moved in either House of Parliament with the previous sanction of the President and passed by both Houses.
- The Committee is chaired by the Union Home Minister and has 30 members – 20 MPs from Lok Sabha and 10 MPs from Rajya Sabha.
- It reviews the progress made in the use of Hindi for official purposes, and make recommendations to increase the use of Hindi in official communications.
- The Committee submits its report to the President, who shall cause the report to be laid before each House of Parliament, and sent to all the State Governments.
- The first Report of the Committee was submitted in 1987.Recommendations of the 11th volume of Report
- Hindi as the medium of instruction in all technical and non-technical institutions: For example, in IITs, IIMs and central universities by replacing current English language, while the regional language should be used in states where official language is not Hindi.
- The removal of English: As one of the languages in examinations held for recruitment to the Central services and ensuring requisite knowledge of Hindi among candidates.
- The language of communication in the administration: In northern states it should be Hindi and bureaucrats will be evaluated on their use of the language in the annual appraisals.
- The letters, emails, events organised by the government and its departments, will have to be in Hindi.
- Judiciary: High Courts where proceedings are recorded in English or a regional language can make available translations in Hindi, since verdicts of High Court of other states are often cited in judgments.
- Other recommendations: o To give elementary knowledge of Hindi to students up to 9th class and to pay more attention to Hindi teaching examination.
- Republish the Hindi dictionary by revising it. o An Implementation Committee should be constituted to review the progress of recommendations of the 1st to 11th volume of the Official Language Committee report.
- Critical Points in the Report
- Punishment of reluctance to use Hindi: The panel is learnt to have taken a serious view of officers and other employees in the central government who do not use Hindi in Hindi-speaking states.
- The panel wants state governments to warn officials that their reluctance to use Hindi would reflect in their Annual Performance Assessment Report (APAR).
- Usage in official communication: It is the Committee’s responsibility and role to see that the Hindi language is promoted in official communication, and there are recommendations to that effect.
- Communication, which includes letters and emails, question papers for recruitment exams, events organised by the government and its departments, will have to be in Hindi.
- Implicit Compulsory: Knowledge of Hindi would be compulsory in a number of government jobs.
- The States’ concerns: The report is divisive in character and puts non-Hindi speaking people in a disadvantageous position.
- The Committee’s reply to the States’ concerns
- The committee has clarified that its recommendations would exclude those states broadly outside the Hindi belt.
- Also, states like Tamil Nadu and Kerala are exempted as per The Official Languages Act, 1963 and the law is implemented only in ‘A’ category states, in which the official language is Hindi, e.g., Bihar, Haryana, HP, MP, UP, Uttarakhand, Rajasthan, etc.
- Debate over official language in India
- Constituent Assembly: The origin of the linguistic row goes back to the debate on official languages in the Constituent Assembly where Hindi was voted as the official language.
- The Constitution makers then decided that for a period of 15 years (1950 to 1965), English will continue to be used for all official purposes of the Union along with Hindi.
- But due to intense anti-Hindi agitations in the south, the President of India appointed first Official Language Commission in 1955 under the chairmanship of G. Kher.
- The Centre later announced that English would continue to be used even after 1965.
- Indian Constitution:
- Part XVII of the Indian constitution makes elaborate provisions dealing with the official language in Articles 343 to 351.
- Article 351: It imposes a duty upon the Centre to promote the spread of the Hindi so that it may serve as a medium of expression for all the elements of the composite culture of India.
- A private member’s bill to provide for 22 official languages: It was introduced in the Parliament in 2019 to give all 22 languages mentioned in the Eighth Schedule of the Constitution the stature of national official languages by amending Article 343 of the Constitution.
- As per Article 343 of the Constitution, the official language of the Union shall be Hindi in Devanagari script.
- 9th Official Language Committee Report: Submitted in 2011, it suggested increasing the use of Hindi in computers in government offices.
Arguments favouring Hindi as official language
- Hindi as link language: The people of India who speak different languages should communicate with each other in an Indian language rather than the language which colonialism imposed (English).
- Promote freedom ideals: Swabhasha (native language), Swadeshi (indigenous) and Swaraj (self-government) were the three foundations of Indian freedom movement. These 3 principles can be fully realised only by common native language.
- Unified India : Whole India speaks more than 1369 mother tongues which can be further classified as 121 major languages (Census 2011). Hence there is the need for a common language for easy communication. Translation cost is very high and time-consuming.
- Need for a national language as a symbol of unified India on the World Platform. o Hindi is spoken by nearly 57% of Indians and 43% of people reported it as their mother tongue (Census 2011)
- Historical reason: “Dakshina Bharat Hindi Prachar Sabha” was established in the year 1918 by our beloved Father of the Nation Mahatma Gandhi to spread Hindi. Arguments against Hindi as official language
- Limited speakers: The number of Hindi speakers in India is only around 44%, which includes speakers of mixed-Hindi languages such as Awadhi, Maithali, Bhojpuri, etc. Thus, imposing Hindi may be detrimental to national unity.
- English is a global language: English is now accepted as the language of discourse across continents, and its colonial past is a matter of distant history.
- Against federalism: The Indian Constitution leaves it to the States to choose its language for official purposes. Thus, imposing singular language may be detrimental for longer term political harmony implied in cooperative federalism.
- Affect learning abilities: Imposition of Hindi language e.g., by removing English as one of the compulsory papers in recruitment exams can affect the learning abilities of non-Hindi speakers thereby affecting their self-confidence and future job opportunities.
- Threatens plural identity: The committee suggestions imply to subsume linguistic diversity into linguistic uniformity.
- Affect national integrity: The continued efforts to promoting Hindi in the name of ‘one nation’ will destroy the feeling of brotherhood of people of different languages and cultures and may be detrimental to the integrity of India.
- English only a link language: Every language has its own specialty and uniqueness. Thus, English has been made as the link language to prevent the imposition of Hindi language.
- Lack proper curriculum: Promoting Hindi in technical courses is difficult owing to implications and practicality in terms of the availability of standard books and course material, and of teachers qualified to communicate it adequately.Conclusion
- Hindi should be accepted with consent of all States, as an alternative to English (and not to regional languages).
- There should be equal treatment to all the languages specified under the Eighth Schedule of the Constitution.
- All the regional languages recognized in the Eighth Schedule should be encouraged, developed and used as the official language of the Union. This will promote national integrity.
- Language is a sensitive matter. There is a need to develop consensus rather than imposition from the top.
- Zonal Councils and Interstate Council can be a great platform to discuss this sensitive issue.
- The recognition of regional aspirations will strengthen the unity of India.
- Recently, the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) has extended the Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act (AFSPA) in parts of Arunachal Pradesh and Nagaland for another six months.Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act, 1958 [AFSPA]
- The Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act was enacted in 1958 to bring security situation in control in those areas where the use of armed forces in aid of the civil power is deemed necessary.
- The Act applies to the Army, the Air Force and the Central paramilitary forces.
- Both the Central Government as well as the Head of the State/UT are competent to issue declaration of an area as “disturbed” for the purpose of application of AFSPA. How it works:
- AFSPA comes into operation after a declaration is made under Section 3 that a particular area is “disturbed”, and gives special powers to the Army and other central forces deployed in these areas.
- Section 3 can be applied to whole of the state, or only parts of it, as deemed necessary.
- A declaration under Section 3 has to be for a limited duration subject to periodic review before the expiry of six months.
- Under AFSPA, the armed forces deployed in the “disturbed areas” have been empowered under Section 4 to: o open fire; enter and search without warrant, and arrest any person who has committed a cognisable offence.
- Section 7 of the Act mandates prior executive permission for prosecution of a member of the security forces.States where AFSPA is in effect
- The British colonial government had on August 15, 1942, promulgated the Armed Forces Special Powers Ordinance to suppress the Quit India movement.
- After independence, AFSPA exists essentially in two legislations: o The Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act, 1958 (AFSPA) – originally brought out to handle insurgency in the North-east India and o The Armed Forces (Jammu and Kashmir) Special Powers Act, 1990 – brought in to handle insurgency and terrorism in Jammu & Kashmir.
- States currently under AFSPA (with varying amount of areas under the Act) include:
- Jammu and Kashmir , Assam, Nagaland, Manipur, Arunachal Pradesh. States where AFSPA has been withdrawn completely:
- AFSPA was completely lifted from Meghalaya in April 2018.
- It was repealed in Tripura in 2015.
- The signing of the Mizo Accord simultaneously led to the withdrawal of AFSPA from Mizoram in 1986. How is the AFSPA Act being viewed by activists ?
- The AFSPA has often been under the scanner for giving the armed forces personnel the “license to kill”.
- Rights groups have called the Act as a tool of state for abuse, oppression and discrimination, while the United Nations has often pointed out that it has no place in Indian democracy.
- The exercise of these extraordinary powers by armed forces has often led to allegations of fake encounters and other human rights violations by security forces in disturbed areas while questioning the indefinite imposition of AFSPA in certain states, such as Nagaland and J&K.Why the AFSPA should be repealed?
- Recommendations of 5 member Justice Jeevan Reddy Committee (November 2004): o AFSPA should be repealed and appropriate provisions should be inserted in the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, 1967.
- The Unlawful Activities Act should be modified to clearly specify the powers of the armed forces and paramilitary forces and Grievance cells should be set up in each district where the armed forces are deployed.
- Second ARC Recommendation: The 5th report of the Second Administrative Reforms Commission (ARC) on public order has also recommended the repeal of the AFSPA. However, these recommendations have not been implemented.What are the Supreme Court Views on the Act?
- The Supreme Court has upheld the constitutionality of AFSPA in a 1998 judgment (Naga People’s Movement of Human Rights v. Union of India). In this judgment, the Supreme Court held that :
- a suo-motu declaration can be made by the Central government, however, it is desirable that the state government should be consulted by the central government before making the declaration;
- the declaration has to be for a limited duration and there should be a periodic review of the declaration.
- while exercising the powers conferred upon him by AFSPA, the authorized officer should use minimal force necessary for effective action.
- What should be done?
- The continuation of this act is no longer the acceptable solution due to numerous human rights violation incidents that have occurred over the years. The AFSPA has become a symbol of oppression in the areas it has been enacted. Hence the government needs to address the affected people and reassure them of favourable action. The government should consider the imposition and lifting of AFSPA on a case-by-case basis and limit its application only to a few disturbing districts instead of applying it for the whole state.
- The government and the security forces should also abide by the guidelines set out by the Supreme Court, Jeevan Reddy Commission, and the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC).
Constitution (Scheduled Castes) Order of 1950 and Article 341 of Constitution
- Recently a batch of petitions were filed in Supreme Court of India challenging the Constitution (Scheduled Castes) Order of 1950. The supreme Court then sought the government’s position on this.What is Constitution (Scheduled Castes) Order of 1950?
- It allows only members of Hindu, Sikh and Buddhist religions to be recognised as SCs.
- In 1950, initially it included only Hindus as SCs.
- The Order was amended in 1956 to include Dalits who had converted to Sikhism .
- It was amended once more in 1990 to include Dalits who had converted to Buddhism.
- Both amendments were aided by the reports of the Kaka Kalelkar Commission in 1955 and the High Powered Panel (HPP) on Minorities, Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes in 1983 respectively.What are Petitions about?
- The petitions arguing for inclusion of Dalit Christians and Muslims in Constitution (Scheduled Castes) Order of 1950.
- Petitions have cited several independent Commission reports that have documented the existence of caste and caste inequalities among Indian Christians and Indian Muslims.
- Petitions cited that even after conversion, members who were originally from SCs continued to experience the same social disabilities.
- The petitions have argued against the belief that caste identity is lost upon conversion, noting that even in Sikhism and Buddhism, casteism is not present and yet they have been included as SCs.
- By citing various reports and commission, petitions argue that caste-based discrimination continues even after conversion, hence entitling these communities to SC status.Why are Dalit Christians and Muslims excluded from Granting SC status?
- SC status is meant for communities suffering from social disabilities arising out of the practice of untouchability. It was prevalent in Hindu and Sikh communities.
- Christians and Muslims of Dalit origin had lost their caste identity by way of their conversion. The practice of untouchability is not prevalent in these religions.
- Dalits who converted to Islam or Christianity belonged to different sets of caste groups and not just one. They cannot be categorised as a “single ethnic group”, which is required by Article 341 for inclusion.
- Practice of untouchability was a feature of Hindu religion. Inclusion of Dalit Muslims and Dalit Christians as SCs could result in being misunderstood internationally as India trying to impose its caste system upon Christians and Muslims.What are the arguments for inclusion of Christians and Muslims?
- The change in religion does not change social exclusion.
- The social hierarchy and specifically caste hierarchy continues to remain within Christianity and Muslims even though the religion forbids it.
- Considering the above scenario, the reservation needs to be delinked from religion.
- First Backward Classes Commission’s report in 1953, the Report of the Committee on Untouchability Economic and Educational Development Of the Scheduled Castes in 1969, the HPP report on SCs, STs, and Minorities in 1983, the Mandal Commission Report, the report of the Prime Minister’s High-Level Committee formed in 2006, a 2008 study conducted by the National Commission for Minorities, the Ranganath Misra Commission Report have documented the existence of caste inequalities among Christian and Muslim dalits.
- The Union government refuses to accept the reports of the Commissions on the basis that these reports do not have enough empirical evidence to support their claims.Under which Articles of Constitution of India, SC and ST status be granted?
- Article 341: related to Schedule Caste status
- The President may with respect to any State or Union territory, and where it is a State after consultation with the Governor thereof, by public notification, specify the castes, races or tribes or parts of or groups within castes, races or tribes which shall for the purposes of this Constitution be deemed to be Scheduled Castes in relation to that State or Union territory, as the case may be.
- Article 342: related to Schedule Tribe status
- The President may with respect to any State or Union territory, and where it is a State, after consultation with the Governor thereof, by public notification, specify the tribes or tribal communities or parts of or groups within tribes or tribal communities which shall for the purposes of this Constitution be deemed to be Scheduled Tribes(ST) in relation to that State or Union territory, as the case may be.
What are the Constitutional Provisions For Upliftment of the Schedule Castes (SCs)?
- The deep concern of the framers of the Constitution for the uplift of the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes and Other Backward Classes is reflected in the elaborate constitutional mechanism set-up for their uplift.
- Article 15(4) refers to the special provisions for their advancement.
- Article 16(4A) speaks of “reservation in matters of promotion to any class or classes of posts in the services under the State in favour of SCs/STs, which are not adequately represented in the services under the State’.
- Article 17 abolishes Untouchability.
- Article 46 (DPSP) requires the State ‘to promote with special care the educational and economic interests of the weaker sections of the people, and, in particular, of the Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes, and to protect them from social injustice and all forms of exploitation.
- Article 243D (in Part IX )provides for reservation for Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes in Panchayats in the same proportion as the population of Scheduled Castes or Scheduled Tribes in the village.
- Article 243T (in Part IXA) promises the same proportionate reservation of seats in Municipalities.
- Article 330 provides for reservation of seats in favour of the Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes in the House of the People (Lok Sabha).
- Article 332 provides for reservation of seats in favour of the Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes in the legislative assemblies of the States.
- Note : Reservation for SCs and STs is not provided in Upper Houses ( Rajya Sabha and legislative councils in centre and state respectively).
- Article 335 provides that the claims of the members of the Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes shall be taken into consideration, consistently with the maintenance of efficiency of administration, in the making of appointments to services and posts in connection with the affairs of the Union or of a State.
- Article 338 establishes the National Commission for the Scheduled Castes. The Commission’s duty is to monitor the safeguards provided for Scheduled Castes in the Constitution or any other law. Its duties also include investigating complaints and participating in the planning process for the socio-economic development of members of Scheduled Caste communities, while having all the powers of a civil court during the process.
- Article 340 gives the President the power to appoint a commission to investigate the conditions of backward classes, the difficulties they face, and make recommendations on steps to be taken to improve their condition. This was the article under which the Mandal Commission was formed.
• The Constitution of India has prescribed, protection and safeguards for the Scheduled Castes (SCs), Scheduled Tribes (STs) and other weaker sections; either specially or the way of insisting on their general rights as citizens; with the object of promoting their educational and economic interests and removing social disabilities. These social groups have also been provided institutionalized commitments through the statutory body, the National Commission of SCs. The Ministry of Social Justice & Empowerment is the nodal Ministry to oversee the interests of the Scheduled Castes.
K G Balakrishnan commission
- The Union Government has appointed a three-member commission, headed by former Chief Justice of India K G Balakrishnan, to consider the possibility of granting SC status to “new persons who have historically belonged to the Scheduled Castes’’ but have converted to religions other than Hinduism, Buddhism and Sikhism.
30 years Democratic Decentralisation in India
- It has been almost 30 years since the 73rd and 74th constitutional amendment Acts were passed to facilitate democratic decentralisation in India, but very little and actual progress has been made in this direction.
- About: Democratic decentralization is the process of devolving the functions and resources of the state from the Centre to the elected representatives at the lower levels so as to facilitate greater direct participation of citizens in governance.
Major Achievements of the Local Bodies :
- Rising Women Representation: The proportion of elected women representatives has been steadily rising since the enactment of the 73rd Amendment Act.
- Created Healthy Competition among Various States: The passage of the 73rd and 74th Amendments has created healthy competition among various states regarding devolution (the 3Fs: funds, functions, and functionaries). For instance:
- Kerala has devolved 29 of its functions to Panchayats. o Rajasthan took the inspiration from Kerala to devolve many key departments such as health, education, women, and agriculture to PRIs.
- Similarly, Bihar came out with the idea of “Panchayat Sarkar” and states such as Odisha have increased 50% seats for women
- Issues with Local Governments in India
- Insufficient Funding: The money given to the local governments is inadequate to meet their basic requirements.
- Infrastructural Challenges: Some of the Gram Panchayats (GPs) do not have their own building and they share space with schools, Anganwadi centres and other places. Some have their own building but without basic facilities like toilets, drinking water, and electricity connection. While GPs have internet connections, they are not functional in many cases. For any data entry purposes, panchayat officials have to visit Block Development offices which delay the work.
- Lack of Staff: Local governments do not have the staff to perform even basic tasks.
- Untimely and Delayed Elections: States often postpone the elections and violate the constitutional mandate of five yearly elections to local governments.
- Downgraded Role of Local Government: Local governments are merely acting as an implementation machinery rather than a policy-making body for local development. Technology-enabled schemes have further downgraded their role.
- Corruption: Criminal elements and contractors are attracted to local government elections, tempted by the large sums of money now flowing to them. Thus, forming a market chain of corruption operates, involving a partnership between elected representatives and officials at all levels.
- However, there is no evidence to show that corruption has increased due to decentralisation.
- Revitalisation of Gram Sabhas: Gram Sabhas and wards committees in urban areas have to be revitalised to achieve the objective of people’s participation in real terms.
- Strengthening Organisational Structure: Local government organisational structures have to be strengthened with sufficient manpower.
- Serious efforts should be made towards recruitment and appointment of support and technical staff to ensure the smooth functioning of panchayats.
- Comprehensive Mechanism for Taxation: Devise a comprehensive mechanism for taxation at the local levels. Without local taxation, Gram Panchayats cannot be held accountable.
- Funding: The Ministry of Panchayati Raj should monitor the release and expenditure of Finance Commission grants to ensure that there is no delay in their release.
- It should also be ensured that grants are utilised in a proper and effective manner.
- Panchayats should also be encouraged to carry out local audits regularly so that Finance Commission grants are not delayed.
- The Election Commission allotted the “two swords and shield” symbol to the Maharashtra Chief Minister Eknath Shinde-led faction of the Shiv Sena for the upcoming byelection.
- The Election Symbols (Reservation and Allotment) Order, 1968 empowers the Election Commission to recognise political parties and allot symbols.
CCI penalizes Google
- The Competition Commission of India (CCI) recently passed two separate orders against the tech giant Google. The two orders imposed penalty of INR 1337 crore and INR 937 crore (total INR 2237 crore) on Google for abuse of dominant market position.About
- Google Unfair Business Practices investigation was ordered by CCI in 2019 following complaints by consumers of Android-based smartphones in the country.
- Google had mandated pre-installation of the entire Google Mobile Suite (GMS) by OEMs (original equipment manufacturer ) under Mobile Application Distribution Agreement (MADA), which could not be uninstalled.
- The Mobile Suite includes Search, Chrome, YouTube, Google Play store, Maps, and Photos, among others.
- This action of Google amounted to imposition of unfair conditions on the device manufacturers and thereby violated Section 4 of the competition Act.
- Section 4 of the Competition Act is related to abuse of dominant position.
- CCI is a statutory body under the Ministry of Corporate Affairs and is responsible for enforcing the Competition Act, 2002. It consists of a Chairperson and 6 Members appointed by the Central Government.
- Objectives: o Eliminate practices having adverse effect on competition o Promote and sustain competition o Protect the interests of consumers
- Ensure freedom of trade in the markets of India
Competition Law for India was triggered by Articles 38 and 39 of the Constitution of India. These Articles are a part of the Directive Principles of State Policy. Among other things, Article 38 calls for elimination of inequalities in opportunities for people engaged in different vocations (professions). Article 39 calls for ensuring that operation of economic system does not result in concentration of wealth. Based on the Directive Principles, The Monopolies and Restrictive Trade Practices Act (MRTP Act) was passed in 1969. It was India’s first Competition Law.
- Ensure freedom of trade in the markets of India
- MRTP Act was repealed and replaced by The Competition Act 2002.
- The Competition Act was passed in 2002, on the recommendations of Raghavan Committee. In October 2003, the Competition Commission of India (CCI), was established under the provisions of the Competition Act, 2002. It became fully functional when the provisions of the Competition Act relating to anti-competitive agreements and abuse of dominant position were notified in May 2009.
- Recently, the representation of women in parliament in New Zealand crossed the 50% mark.
- According to the Inter-Parliamentary Union, New Zealand is among a 6 nations in the world that can claim at least 50% female representation in their parliament by 2022. Other nations include Cuba, Mexico, Nicaragua, Rwanda and the United Arab Emirates.
- In 1893, New Zealand became the first nation to allow women to vote.
- Globally, about 26% of lawmakers are women.What is the Indian Scenario?
- As per the data compiled by the IPU, of which India is a member, women represent 14.44% of the total members of the Lok Sabha.As per the latest Election Commission of India (ECI) data:
- As of October 2021, Women represent 10.5% of the total members of the Parliament.
- The scenario for women Members of Legislative Assemblies (MLAs) across all state assemblies in India is even worse, with the national average being a pitiable 9%.
- In the last 75 years of independence, women’s representation in Lok Sabha has not even increased by 10%.
- In electoral representation, India has fallen several places in the Inter-Parliamentary Union’s global ranking of women’s parliamentary presence, from 117 after the 2014 election to 143 as of January 2020.
- India is currently behind Pakistan (106), Bangladesh (98) and Nepal (43) and ahead of Sri Lanka (182).
Tokenisation of Debit and Credit Cards
- Recently, the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has made tokenisation mandatory for all credit and debit cards used in online, point-of-sale, and in-app transactions. The customer will not be charged for availing the tokenisation service.
Issues with present CoF system
- Card-on-file, or CoF, refers to card information stored by payment gateway and merchants to process future transactions.
- E-commerce giants like Amazon, Myntra, Flipkart, Bigbasket, etc., save sensitive card details with them like card number, expiration date, and CVV get stored in these companies’ databases. But if the databases get hacked, it poses a real problem as all the card data will become easily accessible.
- The current Card-on-File system (CoF) can be easily breached, and the data can be stolen. So, to take care of the security concerns, RBI has come up with the Tokenization system, which guarantees that the customers’ details cannot be breached and cannot be misused by anybody. Tokenisation
- It refers to the replacement of actual card details with an alternate code called the “token”, which shall be unique for a combination of card, token requestor (i.e. the entity which accepts a request from the customer for tokenisation of a card and passes it on to the card network to issue a corresponding token) and device (referred hereafter as “identified device”).
- Under tokenisation services, a unique alternate code is generated to facilitate transactions through cards.
- This essentially means that a customer’s card information will no longer be available on any Merchant, Payment Gateway, or 3rd party that helps in the processing of digital transactions today.
- Tokenisation can be performed only by the authorised card network and adequate safeguards have to be put in place to ensure that PAN and other sensitive data cannot be found from the token and vice versa, by anyone except the card network.
Benefits of Tokenization
- Transaction safety: Tokenization reduces the chances of fraud arising from sharing card details.
Easy payments: The token is used to perform contactless card transactions at point-of-sale (PoS) terminals and QR code payments.
- Data storage: Only card networks and card-issuing banks will have access to and can store any card data.
India : Sugar Production, consumption and export
- Context: India has emerged as the world’s largest producer and consumer of sugar as well as the world’s 2nd largest exporter of sugar.
- Sugar Season (Oct-Sep) 2021-22, has proven to be a watershed season for the Indian Sugar Sector and India recorded the highest export of over 109 lakh metric tonnes.
Reasons behind high production:
- High international prices of sugar : Supportive central and state government Policy: Diversion of sugar to ethanol and exports led to the unlocking of the value chain of the whole industry as well as improved financial conditions of sugar mills leading to more optional mills in the ensuing season. About Sugar production:
- The sugar industry is broadly divided into two major areas of production- Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Haryana and Punjab in the north and Maharashtra, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh in the south.
- Due to the tropical climate in South India, it has higher sucrose content giving a higher yield per unit area as compared to north India.
- Significance: Labour-intensive sector, has multiple by-products, important for biofuel.
- Issues: Low yield compared to other parts of the world, low sugar recovery rate, high production cost, and low and delayed remuneration for farmers.
- In order to regulate the sugar industry, C Rangarajan Committee (2012) recommended several reforms such as the abolition of the quantitative controls on the export and import of sugar.
4th Heli-India Summit 2022 : J&K
- Minister of Civil Aviation, Shri Jyotiraditya M. Scindia recently inaugurated 4th Heli-India Summit 2022 in the UT of J&K.
- Theme of 4th Heli-India Summit 2022: Helicopters for Last Mile Connectivity.
- Announcing the achievements in the Civil Aviation sector, it was noted that the country had only 74 airports from 1947 to 2014, but it now has 141, with 67 added in the last seven years.
- During the summit the Minister announced 3 new projects for enhancing the helicopter sector in the country which includes HEMS and fractional ownership.
Helicopter Emergency Medical Services (HEMS)
- It is called Project Sanjeevani by deploying a helicopter in the next few weeks to provide emergency medical services at AIIMS Rishikesh.
- The helicopter will be based at the hospital at 20 minute notice and will have a service cover to an area of 150 km radius.
Fractional Ownership Model
- It helps to grow the non-scheduled operations.
- It will lower the barrier on the cost of acquisition of helicopters and airplanes through pooled capital by multiple owners.
- This will allow companies and individuals to minimize their capital outflow by sharing the purchase cost, reducing their exposure to risks and making it financially easier to run a NSOP business.
Other facts :
- The government aims to develop 100 airports by 2024 (under the UDAN Scheme) and create world-class civil aviation infrastructure to be at par with global standards.
- Ude Desh ka Aam Nagrik (UDAN) was launched as a regional connectivity scheme under the Ministry of Civil Aviation in 2016. It is an innovative scheme to develop the regional Aviation market.
- Recently, the Union State Minister for Science and Technology Jitendra Singh stated that the Purple Revolution offers attractive StartUp avenues.
- The Ministry of Science and Technology initiated the Purple Revolution or Lavender Revolution in 2016 through the Aroma Mission of the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR).
- Union minister Jitendra Singh has recently said that Jammu and Kashmir’s Doda district would be recognised as a role model in lavender farming owing to farmers cultivating the plant on a commercial scale there. About 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. These flowers grow in temperate areas and are drought-resistant crops.
- A single Lavender plant bears flowers for 15 years, needs low maintenance and can be used from the second year of plantation.
- Lavender has been used over centuries in traditional medicine and cosmetics.
- 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 (Agarbattis).
- Hydrosol, which is formed after distillation from the flowers, is used to make soaps and room fresheners.
- It is significant since it aligns with the government’s objective of doubling agricultural earnings by 2022. AROMA Mission:
- The Aroma Mission launched by the Union Ministry of Science & Technology through the Council of Scientific & Industrial Research (CSIR), has led to the well-known “Purple Revolution” in India.
- The CSIR had, to begin with introduced high-value essential oil bearing lavender crop through its Jammu based laboratory, Indian Institute of Integrative Medicines (IIIM) for cultivation in districts of J&K- Doda, Kishtwar, Rajouri and later also in the other districts including Ramban, Pulwama, etc.
- In addition to IIIM, CSIR-IHBT, CSIR-CIMAP, CSIR-NBRI and CSIR-NEIST are also now participating in the Aroma Mission.
- Under the Centre’s ‘One District, One Product’ scheme, Lavender has been designated as the Doda brand product. Bhaderwah:
- Bhaderwah, which is also known as ‘Chhota Kashmir’, has a mild cold climate during summers that is ideal for Lavender. Bhaderwah is the birthplace of India’s Purple Revolution.
- India’s first National Institute of High Altitude Medicine is also being built in Bhaderwah.
- Bhaderwah (also Bhadarwah Valley) is a town, tehsil and sub-division in the district Doda of Jammu.
75 Digital Banking Units(DBU)
- The Prime Minister has dedicated 75 Digital Banking Units(DBU) across 75 districts to the nation.
- Note: As part of the Union budget speech for 2022-23, the Finance Minister announced setting up the 75 DBUs in 75 districts to commemorate our country’s 75 years of independence.
- Digital Banking Units(DBU) : A digital banking unit is a specialized fixed point business unit or hub, housing a certain minimum digital infrastructure for delivering digital banking products and services as well as servicing existing financial products and services digitally in self-service mode at any time.
- The DBUs are being set up with the objective to ensure the benefits of digital banking reach every nook and corner of the country and will cover all the States and Union territories. Who will set up these DBUs?
- Commercial banks (other than regional rural banks, payment banks and local area banks) with past digital banking experience are permitted to open DBUs in tier 1 to tier 6 centers unless otherwise specifically restricted without having the need to take permission from the RBI in each case.
- Currently, 11 Public Sector Banks, 12 Private Sector Banks and one Small Finance Bank are participating in this endeavour.
What are the services DBUs will provide?
- DBUs will be brick-and-mortar outlets which will provide a variety of digital banking facilities to people such as opening savings accounts, transfer of funds, investment in fixed deposits, loan applications, stop-payment instructions for cheques issued, applying for credit/debit cards, view statement of account, pay taxes, pay bills among others.
- They will also spread Digital Financial Literacy and special emphasis will be given to customer education on cyber security awareness and safeguards.
‘PM Kisan Samman Sammelan-2022’, : New Delhi
- In this conclave, PM Modi inaugurated 600 Kisan Samridhi Kendras & ‘One Nation, One Fertilizer’
- On this occasion, he also released the 12th instalment of the PM Kisan Samman Nidhi.
- Under PM-Kisan, eligible families of farmers are provided Rs 6,000 annually in three installments of Rs 2,000 each.
One Nation One Fertiliser Scheme
- Under the scheme, all fertiliser companies, State Trading Entities and Fertiliser Marketing Entities will be required to use a single “Bharat” brand for fertilisers and logo under the Pradhanmantri Bhartiya Janurvarak Pariyojna (PMBJP). PMBJP is the Centre’s fertiliser subsidy scheme.
- The single brand name for UREA, DAP, MOP and NPK etc. would be BHARAT UREA, BHARAT DAP, BHARAT MOP and BHARAT NPK respectively.
- Also, a logo indicating Fertiliser subsidy scheme namely Pradhanmantri Bhartiya Janurvarak Pariyojna will be used on said fertiliser bags.
- Under the scheme, companies are allowed to display their name, brand, logo and other relevant product information only on one-third space of their bags.
- On the remaining two-thirds space, the “Bharat” brand and Pradhanmantri Bharatiya Jan Urvarak Pariyojana logo will have to be shown.
- The scheme is aimed at bringing about uniformity in fertiliser brands across the country under the single brand name of ‘Bharat’.
PM Kisan Samruddhi Kendras (PM-KSK)
- PM Modi inaugurated 600 Pradhan Mantri Kisan Samruddhi Kendras (PMKSK) under the ministry of chemicals and fertilizers.
- PM-KSK will act as a one-stop shop for farmers who can buy products and avail multiple services related to the farm sector. It will work under the Ministry of Chemicals and Fertilizers.
- The government plans to convert more than 3.3 lakh fertiliser retail shops in the country into PM-KSK in a phased manner.
- Functions of PM-KSK o Besides acting as a sales centre for fertilizer, it will also offer one-stop solution to farmers in the form of crop advisories, soil- and seed-testing facilities, retailing seeds and pesticides, and even custom hiring of agricultural equipment and machines.
- All commercial activities in such kendras will be done by operators or retailers.
- Extension services such as crop advisories or good farming practices will be provided by Krishi Vigyan Kendras (KVKs) or agriculture universities.
- The government schemes that directly impacted farmers would also be showcased at these kendras.
- The kendras are also being designed to create awareness among farmers about a balanced use of fertilisers, including organic fertilisers and micronutrients.
2 New Dwarf varieties of Kalanamak Rice
- Indian Agriculture Research Institute (IARI) has successfully tested two new dwarf varieties in Uttar Pradesh that give double the yield of traditional variety of Kalanamak rice.
- They have been named : o Pusa Narendra Kalanamak 1638 and o Pusa Narendra Kalanamak 1652.
- The IARI says the new name is in recognition of its association with the Acharya Narendra Dev University of Agriculture and Technology in Ayodhya, for testing the two varieties.
- Kalanamak is a traditional variety of paddy with black husk and strong fragrance. It is considered a gift from Lord Buddha to the people of Sravasti when he visited the region after enlightenment.
- Grown in 11 districts of the Terai region of north-eastern Uttar Pradesh and in Nepal, where the traditional variety has been prone to ‘lodging’, a reason for its low yield. Its yield is barely two to 2.5 tonnes per hectare.
- Lodging: Lodging is a condition in which the top of the plant becomes heavy because of grain formation, the stem becomes weak, and the plant falls on the ground.
Geographical Indication (GI) tag:
- The traditional Kalanamak rice is protected under the Geographical Indication (GI) tag system.
- It’s recorded in the GI application that Lord Budhha gifted Kalanamak paddy to the people of Sravasti so that they remembered him by its fragrance.
- Recently, the Ministry of Finance defended the windfall tax imposed by the Centre on domestic crude oil producers, saying that it was not an ad hoc move but was done after full consultation with the industry. About Windfall tax
- It was introduced in 2022.
- Windfall taxes are designed to tax the profits a company derives from an external, sometimes unprecedented event— for instance, the energy price-rise as a result of the Russia-Ukraine conflict.
- These are profits that cannot be attributed to something the firm actively did, like an investment strategy or an expansion of business.
- The United States Congressional Research Service (CRS) defines a windfall as an “unearned, unanticipated gain in income through no additional effort or expense”. Objectives:
- The introduction of the windfall tax as a way to rein in the “phenomenal profits” made by some oil refiners who chose to export fuel to reap the benefits of skyrocketing global prices while affecting domestic supplies.
- Global Scenario: Besides India, a wave of countries including the United Kingdom, Italy, and Germany have either already imposed a windfall profit tax on super normal profits of energy companies or are contemplating doing so.
- GAFA tax—named after Google, Apple, Facebook, Amazon—is a digital tax levied on large technology and internet companies.
- France has imposed a 3% levy on the total annual revenues of the largest technology firms providing services to French consumers. It aims to stop multinationals from avoiding taxes by setting up headquarters in low-tax European Union countries.
Is GAFA tax imposed in India ?
- India has imposed 2% digital service tax (earlier equalisation levy ), on non-resident e-commerce operator in India having annual turnover of over 2 Crore Rs.
- Equalisation levy is a way to tax foreign digital companies and seen somewhat similar to the GAFA (Google, Apple, Facebook and Amazon) tax.
HISTORY, ART AND CULTURE
‘Shri Mahakal Lok’ corridor : Ujjain
- Recently, the Prime Minister inaugurated the first phase of the ‘Shri Mahakal Lok’ corridor in Ujjain, Madhya Pradesh.
- Mahakal corridor : Mahakal Maharaj Mandir Parisar Vistar Yojna is a plan for the expansion, beautification, and decongestion of the Mahakaleshwar temple and its adjoining area in Ujjain district.
- Note : After Vishwanath temple in Varanasi and the Kedarnath shrine in Uttarakhand, Mahakal temple is the third ‘jyotirlinga’ site to see a major upliftment exercise.
- The Rs 800-crore Mahakal corridor is four times the size of the Kashi Vishwanath Corridor.
- Under the plan, the Mahakaleshwar temple premises of around 2.82 hectares is being increased to 47 hectares, which will be developed in two phases by the Ujjain district administration. This will include the 17 hectares of Rudrasagar lake.
- First Phase: One of the aspects of the Vistar Yojna’s first phase is a visitor plaza with two entrances or Dwaars i.e., the Nandi Dwaar and the Pinaki Dwaar. The visitor plaza can hold up to 20,000 pilgrims at a time. A 900-metre pedestrian corridor has been constructed, connecting the plaza to the Mahakal temple, dotted with 108 murals and 93 statues depicting stories related to Lord Shiva.
- Second Phase: This includes expansion of the eastern and northern fronts of the temple. It also includes development of various areas of Ujjain city, such as Maharajwada, Mahal Gate, Hari Phatak Bridge, Ramghat façade, and Begam Bagh Road. The second phase is being developed with funding from Agence Francaise de Development (AFD) under the City Investments to Innovate, Integrate and Sustain (CITIIS) programme.
About Mahakaleshwar temple
- Mahakaleshwar Jyotirlinga is a Hindu temple dedicated to Shiva. It is located in the ancient city of Ujjain in the state of Madhya Pradesh.
- River: The temple is situated on the side of the holy river Shipra.
- Built by: The temple in its present form was built by the Maratha general Ranoji Shinde in 1734 CE.
- Significance: Mahakaleshwar Jyotirlinga is one of the 12 jyotirlingas considered the most sacred abodes of Shiva.
- As per records, the temple’s Mahakal Lingam is believed to be Swayambhu (self-manifested) and unlike any other jyotirlingas in the country, the idol of Mahakaleshwar faces south. (other 11 jyotirlingas face east). This is because the direction of death is believed to be the south.
- The shrine is also revered as one of the 18 Maha Shakti Peeth in India.
APPOINTMENTS and RESIGNATIONS
|Sujoy Lal Thaosen||
|Anish Dayal Singh||
|Dr. Adarsh Swaika||
|Abdul Latif Rashid||
|Dr. Ashwini K. P.||
President and Co-President of International Solar Alliance
- In the third assembly of ISA, Union Power and New and Renewable Energy Minister R K Singh has been re-elected as the President of International Solar Alliance.
- France Minister of State for Development Chrysoula Zacharopoulou has been re-elected as Co-President.
- Note : The ISA is an initiative that was launched by the Prime Minister of India and the President of France on 30 November 2015 at Paris, France on the side-lines of the COP-21.
SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY
CSIR : 81st Foundation Day
- Recently, Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) celebrated its 81st Foundation Day.
- CSIR is the largest research and development (R&D) organisation in India established on 26 September 1942.
- Headquarters: New Delhi
- CSIR is funded by the Ministry of Science and Technology and it operates as an autonomous body through the Societies Registration Act, 1860.
- President: Prime Minister of India (Ex-officio)
- Vice President: Union Minister of Science and Technology (Ex-officio) Governing Body: The Director-General is the head of the governing body.
- The other ex-officio member is the finance secretary (expenditures).
- Other members’ terms are of three years.
- CSIR Advisory Board: 15-member body composed of prominent members from respective fields of science and technology. Its function is to provide science and technology input to the governing body.
- Recently a study has found that Climate change may aid the spread of Lassa fever, which is endemic to parts of west Africa, to the Central and Eastern parts of the African continent in the next 50 years. There would be a 600% jump in the number of people exposed to the virus that causes Lassa fever.
- Earlier in February 2022, three persons had died of Lassa fever in the UK. The cases were linked to travel to West African countries.
- About: The Lassa fever-causing virus (single stranded RNA Virus of family Arenaviridae) is found in West Africa and was first discovered in 1969 in Lassa, Nigeria.
- Spread: The fever is spread by rats (Mastomys rats) and is primarily found in countries in West Africa including Sierra Leone, Liberia, Guinea, and Nigeria where it is endemic. Human beings can transmit the virus to each other through contact with infected bodily fluids.
- Symptoms: Slight fever, fatigue, weakness and headache and more serious symptoms include bleeding, difficulty breathing, vomiting, facial swelling, pain in the chest, back, and abdomen and shock.
- Prevention & Treatment: A person can become infected if they come in contact with household items of food that is contaminated with the urine or feces of an infected rat (zoonotic disease). The best way to avoid getting infected is to avoid contact with rats.
- Ribavirin, an antiviral drug, has been used to successfully treat Lassa fever in patients.
- Recent findings indicate that Lecanemab drug was effective in slowing cognitive decline for some patients with Alzheimer’s disease potentially representing the first significant treatment advance in decades.
- Cognitive decline is the condition of having memory loss (dementia), reduced or slower thinking skills, or other impairment in mental capabilities.
- Lecanemab is a drug that is currently in clinical trials for the treatment of Alzheimer’s disease.
- Developed by: Pharma companies Biogen and Eisai.
- Type: Lecanemab belongs to a class of drugs called monoclonal antibodies. These antibody-mediated drugs target beta-amyloid, the protein deposition that is seen in patients with Alzheimer’s disease and disrupts cell function.
- Alzheimer’s Disease : It is a neurological disorder which causes brain cells to degenerate and die. This leads to loss of memory, problems with words in speaking or writing, poor judgment, changes in mood and personality, confusion with time or place, etc. At the first stage, these symptoms are mild but they become more severe with time.
Alzheimer’s is the most common cause of dementia among older adults. it is thought to be caused by the abnormal build-up of proteins in and around brain cells. One of the proteins involved is called amyloid, deposits of which form plaques around brain cells and the other protein is called tau. There is currently no known cure for Alzheimer’s disease.
US sanctions on Tibalaji Petrochem Pvt. Ltd
- The US has imposed sanctions on Mumbai-based firm Tibalaji Petrochem Pvt. Ltd for carrying out the oil trade with Iran.
- In 2018, the U.S administration decided to walk out of the nuclear deal or Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) with Iran. It has also imposed several sanctions on Iran.
- India has officially refused to endorse the “unilateral sanctions” of the U.S. But India stopped buying oil from Iran in 2019 in the wake of sanctions imposed by the US.
- Prior to this, India was the second-largest buyer of Iranian oil after China.
- This is the first time that an India-based entity has been sanctioned by the US for involvement in dealing with Iranian petroleum products.
Iran Nuclear Deal / JCPOA
- JCPOA known commonly as the Iran deal, is an international agreement on the nuclear program of Iran reached in Vienna on 14 July 2015 between Iran, the P5+1 (the five permanent members of the United Nations Security Council—China, France, Russia, United Kingdom, United States—plus Germany),and the European Union.
- Under it, Iran agreed to significantly cut its stores of key components for nuclear weapons like centrifuges, enriched uranium and heavy-water. Iran would only have enough enriched uranium to maintain its energy needs (civil purpose), without having the ability to build a nuclear bomb.
- Note : The Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action aims to guarantee the civilian nature of Iran’s nuclear programme in exchange for a gradual lifting of sanctions.
- It also agreed to dismantle much of its nuclear programme and open its facilities to more extensive international inspections in exchange for billions of dollars’ worth of sanctions relief.
- The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) played an important role in enforcing the deal, keeping a check on Iran and inspections.
Earlier Sanctions on Iran
- The United Nations (UN), the US and the European Union (EU) imposed sanctions to force Iran to halt uranium enrichment. It crippled Iran’s economy, costing it more than USD 160 billion in oil revenue from 2012 to 2016 alone.
- Under JCPOA, Iran gained access to more than USD 100 billion in assets frozen overseas and was able to resume selling oil on international markets and using the global financial system for trade. US’s Withdrawal and Reinstated Sanctions
- The Iran nuclear deal was seen as the greatest diplomatic achievement by Former US President Barak Obama. But the Iran nuclear deal was not ratified in the US Senate. So, Mr Obama implemented the deal based on periodic executive orders.
- Under the Trump administration, the Iran nuclear deal was seen as a one-sided deal hence in May 2018, the US under President Donald Trump, abandoned the deal.
- The US held that the deal failed to address the threat of Iran’s missile programme and did not include a strong enough mechanism for inspections and verification of Iran’s nuclear sites.
- In November 2018, US reinstated sanctions targeting both Iran and States that trade with it.
- It resulted in a downturn in Iran’s economy, pushing the value of its currency to record lows, quadrupling its annual inflation rate, driving away foreign investors and triggering protests.
- The UK, Germany and France opposed the sanctions and set up an alternative payment mechanism aimed at helping international companies trade with Iran without facing US penalties.
Issues with US withdrawl :
- Due to the unilateral withdrawal of the United States in 2018 and the re-imposition of U.S. sanctions, Iran has backtracked on its obligations.
- In January 2020, following the drone strike on Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps commander Gen. Qasem Soleiman, Iran announced that it would no longer observe the JCPOA’s restraints.
- Iran subsequently exceeded the JCPOA’s uranium enrichment rate of 3.67%, rising to 20% in early 2021.
- It then crossed an unprecedented 60% threshold, getting closer to the 90 percent needed to make a bomb.
- Note : The collapse of the JCPOA drags Iran towards nuclear brinkmanship, like North Korea, which has created major geopolitical instability in the region and beyond.
Next-Gen Launch Vehicle (NGLV)
- The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) is developing a rocket named Next Generation Launch Vehicle (NGLV) to replace the Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV).
- NGLV will feature semi-cryogenic propulsion (refined kerosene as fuel with liquid oxygen (LOX) as oxidiser) for the booster stages which is cheaper and efficient.
- According to ISRO the NGLV should be a cost-efficient, three-stage, reusable heavy-lift vehicle with a payload capability of 10 tonnes to Geostationary Transfer Orbit.
- NGLV will feature a simple, robust design which allows bulk manufacturing, modularity in systems, sub-systems and stages and minimal turnaround time.
- Potential uses will be in the areas of launching communication satellites, deep space missions, future human spaceflight and cargo missions.
- Note : PSLV successfully launched two spacecraft – Chandrayaan-1 in 2008 and Mars Orbiter Spacecraft in 2013 – that later travelled to Moon and Mars respectively.
End of MOM (Mars Orbiter Mission)
- The Indian Space Research Organization(ISRO) confirmed that the Mars Orbiter craft has lost communication and is non-recoverable and the Mangalyaan mission has attained end-of-life.
- Note: Because of propellant (fuel) exhaustion the desired altitude pointing could not be achieved for sustained power generation and the Mars Orbiter craft lost communication from the ground station. Due to this, the Mangalyaan mission has ended.
What is Mangalyaan Mission?
- Mars Orbiter Mission (MOM) or Mangalyaan is a space probe launched by the Indian Space Research Organization(ISRO) on November 5, 2013 and was successfully inserted into the Martian orbit on 24 September 2014.
- Launcher used: It was launched using a Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV) rocket C25.
- Objectives: 1) To explore Martian surface features, mineralogy, morphology and atmosphere using indigenous scientific instruments, 2) To develop technologies required in planning, designing, management and operations of an interplanetary mission.
- Instruments: The instruments onboard the probe included a colour camera, a thermal infrared sensor, an ultraviolet spectrometer to study deuterium and hydrogen in the red planet’s upper atmosphere, a mass spectrometer to study neutral particles in its exosphere and a methane sensor. Significance:
- India’s first interplanetary mission Mangalyaan was developed at a budget of $74 million (₹450 crore), making it the cheapest Mars Mission in the world . Mangalyaan’s cost was less than Hollywood space adventure film Gravity, made with $100 million (nearly ₹600 crore) and approximately one-tenth of the NASA’s Maven explorer. I
- The mission made India the first Asian country and the fourth in the world after Roscosmos, NASA, and the European Space Agency to get to the planet.
- China referred to India’s successful Mangalyaan as the “Pride of Asia”.
- What are the Various Mars Missions?
- ExoMars rover (2021) (European Space Agency)
- Tianwen-1: China’s Mars Mission (2021)
- UAE’s Hope Mars Mission (UAE’s first-ever interplanetary mission) (2021)
- Mars 2 and Mars 3 (1971) (Soviet Union)
- NASA’s Perseverance Rover-2020
- Varanasi district court has rejected the plea to conduct carbon-dating of the disputed structure known to have been found inside the premises of the Gyanvapi Mosque. What is Carbon Dating?
- Carbon dating is a widely-used method to establish the age of organic materials, things that were once living. It can be estimated by measuring the amount of carbon-14 isotope present in the subject.
- How does it work?
- Plants and animals get their carbon from the atmosphere, they too acquire C-12 and C-14 in roughly the same proportion as is available in the atmosphere.
- Plants get their carbon through photosynthesis; animals get it mainly through food. When they die, their interactions with the atmosphere stops.
- While C-12 is stable, the radioactive C-14 reduces to one-half of itself in about 5,730 years — known as its ‘half-life’.
- The changing ratio of C-12 to C-14 in the remains of a plant or animal after it dies can be measured and can be used to deduce the approximate time when the organism died.
- Limitations: The Carbon Dating method cannot be used to determine the age of non-living things like rocks.
- Also, the age of things that are more than 40,000-50,000 years old cannot be arrived at through carbon dating.
- This is because, after 8-10 cycles of half-lives, the amount of C-14 becomes almost very small and is almost undetectable.
What are the other types of dating methods?
- Radiometric Dating Methods: In this method, decays of other radioactive elements that might be present in the material become the basis for the dating method.
- Two commonly employed methods for dating rocks are:
- Potassium-Argon Dating.
- Uranium-Thorium-Lead Dating.
Pillars of Creation
- Recently, NASA’s James Webb Telescope captured a stunning image of the Pillars of Creation.
- Pillars of Creation is a vista of three looming towers made of interstellar dust and gas. These iconic Pillars of Creation is located in the centre of the Eagle Nebula (it is a constellation of stars), which is also known as Messier 16.
- The images show vast, towering columns of dense clouds of gas and dust where young stars are forming in a region some 6,500 light-years from Earth.
- The pillars were made famous by the Hubble Space Telescope, which first captured them in 1995 and then again in 2014.
- James Webb Space Telescope : The telescope is the result of an international collaboration between NASA, the European Space Agency (ESA) and the Canadian Space Agency which was launched in December 2021.
- It is currently at a point in space known as the Sun-Earth L2 Lagrange point, approximately 1.5 million km beyond Earth’s orbit around the Sun.
- Lagrange Point 2 is one of the five points in the orbital plane of the Earth-Sun system.
- It’s the largest, most powerful infrared space telescope ever built. It’s the successor to Hubble Telescope.
Launch Vehicle Mark 3
- Recently, the Indian Space Research Organisation’s (ISRO) heaviest rocket Launch Vehicle Mark 3 (LVM3 or GSLV Mark 3) has successfully orbited 36 satellites of U.K.-based OneWeb.
- OneWeb is a global communications network powered by a constellation of 648 Low Earth Orbit (LEO) satellites.
What is LMV 3?
- The LVM3-M2 mission is a dedicated commercial mission for a foreign customer OneWeb, through NewSpace India Limited (NSIL).
- NSIL is a Central Public Sector Enterprise under the Department of Space, Government of India.
- It is the first multi-satellite mission with 36 OneWeb Satellites to the LEO as the heaviest Payload mass of 5,796 kg. of LVM3 till date.
- This newest rocket (LMV 3) is capable of launching 4,000-kilogram class of satellites into GTO (Geosynchronous Transfer Orbit) and 8,000 kgs of payloads into LEO.
- It is a three-stage launch vehicle consisting of two solid propellant S200 strap-ons on its sides and core stage comprising L110 liquid stage and C25 cryogenic stage. Significance:
- Validated ISRO’s claim as a serious player in the heavy satellite launch market
- During this launch, the LVM3 rocket carried almost 6 tonnes of payload into lower-earth orbit.
- This was the heaviest payload that any ISRO mission has delivered into space till date.
- Very few countries have the capability to launch satellites weighing more than 2 tonnes.
- Re-validated the viability of the LVM3 rocket : The success of the flight re-validated the viability of the LVM3 rocket for keenly-awaited missions – Gaganyaan, Moon landings and deep space explorations — in the near future.
- Atmanirbharata in launch of heavy satellite : Until recently, even ISRO used to take the services of Ariane rockets of Europe to launch its heavy satellites. The LVM3 rocket, which used to be called GSLV Mk-III earlier, is meant to end that dependence.
- Entry into commercial space market : This was the first foray of any Indian launch vehicle, other than ISRO’s workhorse PSLV, into the commercial space market. Currently, India accounts only for 2 per cent of the market despite being one of the foremost space-faring countries With this, India is expected to increase its market share in this sector.
India currently has three operational launch vehicles:
- Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle or PSLV: It has been the most commonly used having carried as many as 53 successful missions since 1993. Only two flights of PSLV have failed.
- Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle or GSLV Mk-II: It has been used in 14 missions, of which four have ended in failures, most recently in 2021.
- Launch Vehicle Mark-3 or LVM3: It has been flown five times, including the Chandrayaan 2 mission.
- RSLV (under research) : In addition, ISRO has been working on a reusable launch vehicle(RLV). Unlike other rockets, the RLV would not end up in space as waste. Instead, it can be brought back and refurbished for use multiple times.
- Recently, Russia intends to raise at the United Nations Security Council its accusation that Ukraine is planning a “dirty bomb” attack.
- A “dirty bomb” is a dispersion device containing radioactive material – possibly uranium, but more likely low-grade materials such as caesium-137 or other radioactive materials in common use.
- It doesn’t need to contain highly refined radioactive material, as is used in a nuclear bomb. Instead, it could use radioactive materials from hospitals, nuclear power stations or research laboratories.
- This makes them much cheaper and quicker to make than nuclear weapons. For Example: They can also be carried in the back of a vehicle.
- Material used: Cesium-137, Cobalt-60 , Iridium-192, Dynamite
- For the radioactive material in a dirty bomb to be scattered across its target zone, it has to be reduced to powder form. But if the particles are too fine or released into strong winds, they will scatter too widely to do much harm.
- The immediate health impact would probably be limited, since most people in an affected area would be able to escape before experiencing lethal doses of radiation.
- However, the radioactive dust and smoke spread farther away could be dangerous to health if it is inhaled. Because people cannot see, smell, feel, or taste radiation.
- The economic damage could be massive from having to evacuate urban areas or even abandon whole cities.
Light Combat Helicopter (LCH) Prachand
- Indian Air Force (IAF) has formally inducted the indigenously developed multi-role Light Combat Helicopter (LCH), Prachand. 45% of the equipment and materials used to make it are indigenous.
- It is designed and manufactured by the Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL).
- It is powered by two French-origin Shakti engines manufactured by the HAL.
- Due to its light weight, it is capable of flying at great heights (high altitudes).
- The IAF claims that it is the only attack helicopter in the world, which can easily land and take-off at altitudes up to 5,000 meters (16,400 ft).
- It uses radar-absorbing material to lower radar signature.
- A pressurised cabin offers protection from Nuclear, Biological and Chemical (NBC) contingencies. Need of LCH
- The idea of making a Light Combat Helicopter first came after the Kargil War of 1999.
- In 2006 the project of Light Combat Helicopter was launched in India.
- HAL then announced that it would develop a helicopter that could easily operate in the harshest desert areas as well as in high altitude areas like Ladakh and Siachen Glacier.
- In March this year, the Cabinet Committee on Security (CCS) approved procurement of 15 LCH Limited Series Production (LSP) — 10 for IAF and 5 for Army.
Helicopters Currently Operated By Indian Armed Forces (IAF)
- India has been operating sub-3-ton category French-origin legacy helicopters, Chetak and Cheetah, made in India by the HAL. These single engine machines were, primarily, utility helicopters.
- Indian forces also operate the Lancer, an armed version of Cheetah.
- In addition, the IAF operates the Russian origin Mi-17 and its variants Mi-17 IV and Mi-17 V5, with maximum takeoff weight of 13 tonnes. These helicopters are to be phased out starting 2028.
- It is a joint Multinational Maritime Exercise between the Indian, Brazilian and South African Navies currently being held in South Africa from 10-12 October, 2022.
- IBSAMAR is an important part of IBSA trilateral defence cooperation.
- INS Tarkash reached Port Gqeberha (also known as Port Elizabeth), South Africa to participate in the seventh edition of India-Brazil-South Africa Maritime (IBSAMAR) i.e., IBSAMAR VII.
- The previous edition of IBSAMAR (IBSAMAR VI) was conducted in Simons Town, South Africa in 2018.
- The 7th edition of Defence Exercise (‘Garuda VII’ ) between Indian Air Force (IAF) and French Air and Space Force (FASF) held recently at Air Force Station Jodhpur.
- It is being hosted by India for the fourth time so far.
Tiger Triumph exercise
- The Indian and US militaries carried out this three-day joint humanitarian assistance exercise in Vishakhapatnam in line with the growing strategic cooperation between the two countries. It aims to coordinate disaster relief in the region.
SIMBEX 2022 maritime exercise:
- 29th Singapore-India Maritime Bilateral Exercise (SIMBEX) held recently.
The two phases of SIMBEX-2022 are the Harbour Phase at Visakhapatnam and the Sea Phase in the Bay of Bengal.
Joint Anti-Terror Exercise (JATE) 2022 – Manesar
- The National Security Guard is hosting the multinational JATE ‘Manesar Anti-Terror 2022’ under the framework of the SCO Regional Anti-Terrorist Structure(RATS) at the NSG Manesar Garrison.
- JATE is an annual counter-terrorist exercise held within the framework of the SCO RATS.
- Note : Pakistan was also invited to the closing ceremony, on October 13, of the ongoing Joint Anti-Terror Exercise (JATE).
- NATO has decided to conduct the defence exercise named ‘Steadfast Noon’ each year and it would last for over a week. It was planned before the Russia launched a military operation in Ukraine in February 2022.
- It would involve the participation of fighter jets capable of carrying nuclear warheads but does not involve any live bombs. 14 of the 30 NATO members will participate in this exercise.
- Recently, Russia attacked Kyiv (Ukraine) with a swarm of Iranian Kamikaze drones.
- These are made in Iran, where they are known as Shahed-136, which could be translated as “witness of faith” but also as “martyr”.
- Unlike drones that return to base once missiles are launched, “kamikaze” or “suicide” drones are destroyed in an attack. These are small unmanned aircraft that are packed with explosives that can be flown directly at a tank or a group of troops that are destroyed when it hits the target and explodes.
- They are also called Switchblade drones. They are called Switchblade because their bladelike wings spring out on launch.
- They are precise, small in size, able to effectively penetrate air defenses when fired in groups.
Countries that has such drones
- Although the Kamikaze might be the most advanced form of this genre of drones, Russia, China, Israel, Iran and Turkey all have some version of it.
DefExpo 2022 and 2nd IADD : Gandhinagar
- India’s biggest-ever defence exhibition till date – DefExpo 2022 is being hosted at Gandhinagar, Gujrat.
- This 12th edition of the event has been organised on the theme ‘Path to Pride’.
- The 11th edition of DefExpo was held at Lucknow (Uttar Pradesh) in
- DefExpo is a biennial (once every two years ) exhibition organised to support, showcase and forge partnerships for the Indian aerospace and defence manufacturing sectors with Indian as well as global customers. It aims to achieve the overall objective of catering to domestic defence equipment requirements while fulfilling the needs of friendly foreign countries.
- Note : The FDI limit in defence manufacturing under automatic route is raised from 49% to 74%.
India-Africa Defence Dialogue
- The India-Africa Defence Dialogue (IADD) was held on the sidelines of DefExpo 2022 in Gandhinagar, Gujrat.
- Manohar Parrikar Institute for Defence Studies and Analyses (MP-IDSA) is the knowledge partner for the India-Africa Defence Dialogue.
- Theme: Adopting Strategy for Synergizing and Strengthening Defence and Security Cooperation.
- The Gandhinagar Declaration was adopted as an outcome document of IADD 2022.
- It proposes to enhance cooperation in the field of training in all areas of mutual interest
- Background : The first-ever India-Africa Defence Ministers Conclave was held in Lucknow, Uttar Pradesh in conjunction with DefExpo in February 2020. A Joint Declaration – ‘Lucknow Declaration’ – was adopted at the end of the conclave as an outcome document. In continuance of the ‘Lucknow Declaration’, IAAD has been institutionalised to be held once every two years on the sidelines of DefExpo.
New developments at DefExpo2022 HTT-40 aircraft:
- The HTT-40 indigenous trainer aircraft was unveiled at the India Pavilion during the Expo. It is designed and developed by Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL). It will replace the ageing fleet of HAL HPT-32 Deepak trainers that are in service with the IAF.
- Its trainer offers the best-in-class fuel economy and power rating. It takes-off from a short distance and has a high climb rate. It has a maximum speed of 450km/h and can reach a maximum distance of 1,000 km. The stall speed with flaps down is 135 km/h.
- The foundation stone for the Deesa airfield in Gujarat which will be a forward Air Force base was also unveiled.
Forward air force base would add to the security architecture of the country.
Indian Ocean Region plus (IOR+) conclave:
- The 2nd Indian Ocean Region plus (IOR+) conclave was also held during the Expo,
- This will provide a stage for a comprehensive dialogue to promote defence cooperation amongst IOR+ nations to foster peace, growth, stability and prosperity.
- It is in line with the Prime Minister’s vision for Security and Growth for All in the Region (SAGAR).
- At DefExpo, Prime Minister (PM) Narendra Modi launched Mission DefSpace in Gandhinagar.
- It aims to develop innovative solutions for the Defence Forces through industry & startups.
- It aims to develop a range of military applications for space warfare and to enable the private industries to offer solutions to the armed forces for future offensive and defensive requirements.
- Under Mission DefSpace, 75 challenges are being opened to get innovative solutions, based on the defence requirements in the space domain.
- The programme will focus on various challenges in this area that have been reviewed and identified by the three defence services (Army, Navy, Airforce).
4th positive Indigenisation List
- At DefExpo, Prime Minister (PM) Narendra Modi released the fourth Defence Indigenisation List which bars import of 101 items after certain timelines.
- The positive indigenisation list essentially means that the Armed Forces—Army, Navy, and Air Force—will only procure the listed items from domestic manufacturers. The manufacturers could be private sector players or Defense Public Sector Undertakings (DPSUs).
- Note: The Defence Ministry had earlier promulgated the first, second and third Positive Indigenisation Lists, comprising 310 items.
- Recently, Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) successfully test-fired indigenously-developed new generation medium-range ballistic missile Agni Prime (Agni-P) from the APJ Abdul Kalam Island at Odisha coast.
- It is a two-stage canisterised It is the latest and sixth variant of the Agni series missiles (under IGMDP – Integrated Guided Missile Development Program).
- With multiple independently targetable re-entry vehicles, the missile is capable of delivering a number of warheads at separate locations at a distance of 1,000 – 2,000 km.
- The 10.5 metre tall missile with a diameter of 1.2 metre can carry warheads up to 5 tonne.
- It can perform high maneuvers while homing in on targets. These missiles will be inducted in the armed forced after couple of user associated launches. It has a dual redundant navigation and guidance system.
- The Agni-P missile would further strengthen India’s credible deterrence capabilities. What is the Other Agni Class of Missiles?
- They are the mainstay of India’s nuclear launch capability.
- Agni I: Range of 700-800 km.
- Agni II: Range more than 2000 km.
- Agni III: Range of more than 2,500 Km
- Agni IV: Range is more than 3,500 km and can fire from a road mobile launcher.
- Agni-V: The longest of the Agni series, an Inter-Continental Ballistic Missile (ICBM) with a range of over 5,000 km.
What is IGMDP (Integrated Guided Missile Development Program)?
- It was conceived by Dr. A.P.J. Abdul Kalam to enable India attain self-sufficiency in the field of missile technology. It was approved by the Government of India in 1983 and completed in March 2012.
- The 5 missiles (P-A-T-N-A) developed under this program are: o Prithvi: Short-range surface-to-surface ballistic missile.
- Agni: Ballistic missiles with different ranges, i.e., Agni (1,2,3,4,5)
- Trishul: Short-range low-level surface to air missile.
- Nag: 3rd generation anti-tank missile.
- Akash: Medium-range surface-to-air missile.
RANKING AND REPORTS
The Global Innovation Index 2022 : India ranks 40
- Published by: World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) annually
- Aim: To track the most recent global innovation trends against the background of an ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, slowing productivity growth and other evolving challenges.
- Theme for 2022: “What is the future of innovation-driven growth?”.
- Parameters: The index is calculated as the average of two sub-indices.
- Innovation Input Sub-Index: It gauges elements of the economy that enable and facilitate innovative activities and is grouped into five pillars: (1) Institutions, (2) Human capital and research, (3) Infrastructure, (4) Market sophistication, and (5) Business sophistication.
- Innovation Output Sub-Index: It captures the actual result of innovative activities within the economy and is divided into two pillars: (6) Knowledge and technology outputs and (7) Creative outputs.
key findings in 2022
- India: India has been ranked at the 40th position out of 132 in the index in 2022. This is the first time India has entered the top 40.
- India was in the 46th position in 2021 and 81st position in 2015.
- China ranks 11 while Türkiye (37th and India enter the top 40 for the first time.
- India is the innovation leader in the lower middle-income group. It continues to lead the world in ICT services exports and holds top rankings in indicators like venture capital receipt value, finance for startups, graduates in science and engineering and domestic industry diversification.
- Topped by: Switzerland has emerged as the world’s most innovative economy for the 12th consecutive year.
- The second position was secured by the United States (US) followed by Sweden, the United Kingdom (UK) and the Netherlands.
IMF’s World Economic Outlook 2022
- Recently, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) released the latest edition of World Economic Outlook 2022.
- Indian Scenario : IMF cut its forecast for India’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) growth in 2022 to 6.8%, from 7.4% for India in the fiscal year that started in April 2022.
- For 2023, India has been projected to grow at 6.1%.
- Global Scenario: Global growth is forecast to slow from 6% in 2021 to 3.2% in 2022 and 2.7% in 2023. This is the weakest growth profile since 2001, except for the global financial crisis and the acute phase of the Covid-19 pandemic.
- Inflation: Global inflation is forecast to rise from 4.7% in 2021 to 8.8% in 2022 but to decline to 6.5% in 2023 and to 4.1% by 2024.
- Which Reports are released by IMF:
- Global Financial Stability Report.
- World Economic Outlook.
Report on RTI
- According to a report, At present, nearly 3.15 lakh complaints or appeals pending with 26 information commissions across India.
- The number of appeals and complaints pending in 2019 was 2,18,347 which increased to 3,14,323 in 2022. ▪ The highest number of pending cases were in Maharashtra followed by Uttar Pradesh, Karnataka, etc.
Living Planet Report 2022
- According to Living Planet Report 2022, Wildlife populations decline by 69% in 50 years.
- The highest decline (94 per cent) was in the Latin America and the Caribbean region.
- Africa recorded a 66 per cent fall in its wildlife populations from 1970-2018 and the Asia Pacific 55 per cent.
- Freshwater species populations globally reduced by 83 per cent. Habitat loss and barriers to migration routes were responsible for about half of the threats to monitored migratory fish species.
- It identified six key threats to biodiversity — agriculture, hunting, logging, pollution, invasive species and climate change — to highlight ‘threat hotspots’ for terrestrial vertebrates.
- Mangroves continue to be lost to aquaculture, agriculture and coastal development at a rate of 0.13 per cent per year.
Findings of the Report related to India
- Vulnerable regions: The Himalayan region and the Western Ghats are some of the most vulnerable regions in the country in terms of biodiversity loss, and where increased biodiversity loss is expected in future if temperatures are to increase.
- Decline in species: India has seen a decline in the population of honeybees and 17 species of freshwater turtles in this period.
- Sundarbans: 137 km of the Sundarbans mangrove forest have been eroded since 1985, reducing land and ecosystem services for many of the 10 million people who lived there.
- River ecosystem: Rivers in India are no longer free-flowing. This has threatened migration of fish.
- Appreciated India’s conservation efforts: India has seen successes such as Project Tiger, or (projects for) the onehorned rhino and lions. Projects like the recent cheetah translocation are therefore good in the preservation of species.
Living Planet Report:
- It is published biennially by World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF).
- It is a comprehensive study of trends in global biodiversity and the health of the planet. ▪ The Living Planet Report 2022 is the 14th edition of the report.
Logistics Ease Across Different States (LEADS) 2022 survey report
- Launched by: Union Ministry for Commerce and Industry, Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution and Textiles.
- The LEADS is an indigenous data-driven index to assess logistics infrastructure, services, and human resources across all 36 States and UTs.
- The index is an indicator of the efficiency of logistical services necessary for promoting exports and economic growth. The index aims at enhancing the focus on improving logistics performance across states which is essential for improving the country’s trade and reducing transaction cost.
- Unlike the previous versions of LEADS which were based on ranking systems for all states, LEADS 2022 has adopted a classification-based grading, states have been now classified under four categories viz coastal states, hinterland/landlocked states, north-eastern states, and Union Territories.
- Three performance categories namely,
- Achievers: States/UTs achieving 90% or more percentage.
- Andhra Pradesh, Assam and Gujarat are among the 15 States and UTs categorised as achievers.
- Fast Movers: States/UTs achieving percentage scores between 80% to 90%,
- Kerala, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Puducherry, Sikkim and Tripura are the other States categorised as fast movers.
- Aspirers: States/UTs achieving percentage scores below 80% have been made.
- The 15 States and UTs ranked in the aspirers category include Bihar, Chhattisgarh, Goa, Mizoram, Andaman and Nicobar Islands, Lakshadweep, Ladakh, Nagaland, Jammu and Kashmir, and Arunachal Pradesh.
- The LEADS 2022 survey report would assist PM GatiShakti National Master Plan (PMGS-NMP) and National Logistics Policy (NLP).
International Migration Outlook 2022
- International Migration Outlook 2022, a report on international migration patterns was released by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD).
- Global Scenario: The United States (one of OECD member country) remained the largest recipient of permanent immigrants in 2021 (834 000), 43% more than in 2020, and 19% less than in 2019.
- Indian Scenario: Students from China (22%) and India (10%) account for the largest share of foreign students in OECD countries. About a third of the world’s population aged 20-29 live in these two countries.
Global Hunger Index 2022 :
- India has ranked 107 out of 121 countries and placed in “serious” category.
- Last year (GHI 2021) : India ranked 101 out of 116 countries in the Global Hunger Index (GHI) 2021.
What is the Global Hunger Index?
- The Global Hunger Index (GHI) is a tool for comprehensively measuring and tracking hunger at global, regional, and national levels.
- GHI scores are based on the values of four component indicators: Undernourishment (share of the population with insufficient caloric intake), Child stunting (children under age five who have low height for their age), Child wasting (children under age five who have low weight for their height), Child mortality (children who die before their fifth birthday).
- The GHI score is calculated on a 100-point scale reflecting the severity of hunger – zero is the best score (implies no hunger) and 100 is the worst.
- The GHI is prepared by European NGOs of Concern Worldwide and Welthungerhilfe.
- The GHI is an annual report and each set of GHI scores uses data from a 5-year period. The 2022 GHI scores are calculated using data from 2017 through 2021.
- Global Progress: Globally, the progress against hunger has largely stagnated in recent years, with a global score of 18.2 in 2022 as compared to 19.1 in 2014, there is only a slight improvement. However, the 2022 GHI score is still considered “moderate”. Top and Worst Performers:
- Best: Belarus, Bosnia & Herzegovina, Chile, China and Croatia are the top five countries in GHI 2022.
- Worst: Chad, Democratic Republic of Congo, Madagascar, Central African Republic and Yemen are the countries ranked at the bottom of the index.
- India and Neighboring Countries: Among the South Asian countries, India (107) is ranked below Sri Lanka (64), Nepal (81), Bangladesh (84), and Pakistan (99).
- India has a score of 29.1 which places it under ‘serious’ o Afghanistan (109) is the only country in South Asia that performs worse than India on the index.
- China, with a score of less than 5, has topped the chart, topped the chart, together with 16 other countries.
Causes of Hunger and Malnutrition
- Specific Causes: There are multiple dimensions of malnutrition in India.
- Calorific deficiency: Though the government has surplus of foodgrains, there is calorific deficiency because of improper allocation and distribution. Even the yearly allocated budget is not fully utilized.
- Protein hunger: Pulses are a major panacea to address protein hunger. However, there is a lack of budgetary allocation for inclusion of pulses in PDS. With Eggs missing from menus of Mid-day Meals in various States, an easy way to improve protein intake is lost.
- Micronutrient deficiency (hidden hunger): India faces a severe crisis in micronutrient deficiency. Its causes include poor diet, prevalence of disease or non-fulfillment of increased micronutrient needs during pregnancy and lactation.
- Other Causes: o Poor access to safe drinking water and sanitation (especially toilets).
- Low levels of immunization against communicable diseases. o Lack of education in women regarding the importance of a holistic diet. o Vicious cycle of poverty, hunger and indebtedness. o Post-harvest losses and rotting, wastage in warehouses.
- Ineffective market and transport linkage.
- Non-affordability of fruits, nuts, eggs, meat for poor.
- Eat Right India Movement: An outreach activity organized by the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) for citizens to nudge them towards eating right.
- POSHAN Abhiyan: Launched by the Ministry of Women and Child Development in 2018, it targets to reduce stunting, undernutrition, anemia (among young children, women and adolescent girls).
- Pradhan Mantri Matru Vandana Yojana: A centrally sponsored scheme executed by the Ministry of Women and Child Development, is a maternity benefit programme being implemented in all districts of the country with effect from 1st January, 2017.
- Food Fortification: Food Fortification or Food Enrichment 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.
- National Food Security Act, 2013: It legally entitled up to 75% of the rural population and 50% of the urban population to receive subsidized food grains under the Targeted Public Distribution System.
- Mission Indradhanush: It targets children under 2 years of age and pregnant women for immunization against 12 Vaccine-Preventable Diseases (VPD).
- Integrated Child Development Services (ICDS) Scheme: Launched in 1975, the ICDS Scheme offers a package of six services to children in the age group of 0-6 years and pregnant and lactating mothers
Report on MGNREGA
- Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MGNREGA) helped compensating 20-80% of the income loss incurred because of the Covid-19 induced lockdown, as per a study conducted by Azim Premji University across four states (Bihar, Karnataka, Maharashtra and Madhya Pradesh).
- However, 39% of the surveyed households didn’t get a single day of work in the Covid-19 year due to lack of adequate works being sanctioned/opened.
- Note : Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee (MGNREGA), which is the largest work guarantee programme in the world, was enacted in 2005 with the primary objective of guaranteeing 100 days of wage employment per year to every household whose adult members volunteer to do unskilled manual work.
‘Emissions Gap Report 2022’
- Released by: United Nations Environment Programme(UNEP) This is the 13th edition of the report.
- Title: ‘The Closing Window — Climate Crisis Calls For Rapid Transformation of Societies’
- Aim: To provide an overview of the difference between where greenhouse emissions are predicted to be in 2030 and where they should be to avert the worst impacts of climate change.
- The world is falling short of the goals set forth in the Paris Climate Agreement adopted in 2015.
- No credible pathway is currently in place to restrict global warming to under 1.5 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels.
- Note : The Paris Agreement, 2015 defined a global warming limit of 2°C above pre-industrial levels (preferably 1.5°C), which if exceeded, can result in extreme weather events such as extreme heat waves, droughts, water stress, etc.
- The top seven emitters (China, the EU27, India, Indonesia, Brazil, the Russian Federation and the United States of America) plus international transport accounted for 55 percent of global GHG (greenhouse gas) emissions in 2020.
- These seven countries’ GHG emissions have rebounded in 2021 exceeding pre-pandemic 2019 levels.
- Collectively, G20 members are responsible for 75 percent of global GHG emissions. o The global average per capita GHG emissions was 6.3 tonnes of CO2 equivalent (tCO2e) in 2020.
- What are the recommendations given by the Emissions Gap Report 2022?
- The world needs to reduce greenhouse gasses by unprecedented levels over the next eight years.
- There is a need for alternative technologies in heavy industry, to reverse the rise in the carbon intensity of global steel production.
- Urgent transformation is needed to deliver the enormous cuts needed to limit GHG emissions by 2030.
World TB Report 2022
- Released by : WHO Key Findings
- Around 10.6 million people across the world were diagnosed with tuberculosis (TB) in 2021, an increase of 4.5% from 2020, while 1.6 million patients died of it.
- With 28% cases, India was among the eight countries accounting for more than two-third (or 68.3%) of the total TB patients’ count.
- The other countries were Indonesia (9.2% cases), China (7.4%), the Philippines (7%), Pakistan (5.8%), Nigeria (4.4%), Bangladesh (3.6%) and the Democratic Republic of the Congo (2.9%).
- India was among the three countries — others being Indonesia and the Philippines — that accounted for most of the reduction in 2020 (67% of the global total).
- They made partial recoveries in 2021, but still accounted for 60% of the global reduction compared with 2019, according to the report.
- India accounted for 36% of the global TB related deaths among HIV negative people.
- Rise in Drug-Resistant TB: The burden of drug-resistant TB (DR-TB) increased by 3% globally between 2020 and 2021, with 450,000 new cases of rifampicin-resistant TB (RR-TB) being reported in 2021. India’s Initiatives to Eliminate TB:
- Under the Pradhan Mantri TB Mukt Bharat Abhiyan, India aims to eliminate TB from the country by 2025 (5 years earlier than the global target of 2030).
- Ni-kshay Mitra is a component of this initiative that ensures additional diagnostic, nutritional, and vocational support to those on TB treatment.
- India conducts its own National TB Prevalence Survey to assess the true TB burden in the country which is the world’s largest such survey ever conducted.
- The Union Ministry for Health and Family Welfare also launched the ‘TB Harega Desh Jeetega Campaign’, along with the Survey.
- Currently, two vaccines VPM (Vakzine Projekt Management) 1002 and MIP (Mycobacterium Indicus Pranii) have been developed and identified for TB which are under clinical trials.
- Note: The World Tuberculosis (TB) Day is observed on 24th March to spread awareness about the disastrous health, social, and economic consequences of TB and to make efforts to end the TB epidemic globally.
- The Bacille Calmette-Guérin (BCG) vaccine is presently the sole vaccine available for the prevention of TB.
About Tuberculosis (TB):
- Caused by : Mycobacterium tuberculosis, a bacteria that most often affect the lungs.
- It is curable and preventable disease.
- Two kinds of tuberculosis infection: o Latent TB– The bacteria remain in the body in an inactive state. They cause no symptoms and are not contagious, but they can become active. About one-quarter of the world’s population has latent TB.
- Active TB – The bacteria do cause symptoms and can be transmitted to others
- People infected with TB bacteria have a 5–15% lifetime risk of falling ill with TB.
- However, persons with compromised immune systems, such as people living with HIV, malnutrition or diabetes, or people who use tobacco, have a much higher risk of falling ill.
- Transmission: TB is spread from person to person through the air. When people with lung TB cough, sneeze or spit, they propel the TB germs into the air. Even after inhaling a few drops of these germ, a person can get infected.
Multidrug-resistant tuberculosis (MDR-TB)
- Drug resistance emerges when anti-TB medicines are used inappropriately, through incorrect prescription by health care providers, poor quality drugs, and patients stopping treatment prematurely.
- Multidrug-resistant tuberculosis (MDR-TB) is a form of TB caused by bacteria that do not respond to first-line anti-TB drugs.
- MDR-TB is treatable and curable by using second-line drugs.
Global Multidimensional Poverty Index (MPI) 2022
- Recently, the Global Multidimensional Poverty Index (MPI) was released. Report highlights
- As many as 41.5 crore people exited poverty in India during the 15-year period between 2005-06 and 2019-21.
- Out of these, two-thirds exited in the first 10 years, and one-third in the next five years, according to the report.
- It shows that the incidence of poverty fell from 55.1% in 2005/06 to 16.4% in 2019/21 in the country.
- Deprivations in all 10 MPI indicators saw significant reductions as a result of which the MPI value and incidence of poverty more than halved.
Global significance of poverty reducion in India:
- Improvement in MPI for India has significantly contributed to the decline in poverty in South Asia.
- It is for the first time that it is not the region with the highest number of poor people, at 38.5 crore, compared with 57.9 crore in Sub-Saharan Africa.
- State-wise data:
- Bihar, the poorest State in 2015/2016, saw the fastest reduction in MPI value in absolute terms.
- Of the 10 poorest States in 2015/2016, only one (West Bengal) was not among the 10 poorest in 2019/2021.
- The rest— Bihar, Jharkhand, Meghalaya, Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, Assam, Odisha, Chhattisgarh and Rajasthan —remain among the 10 poorest.
- The report notes that the ongoing task of ending poverty remains daunting.
- India has by far the largest number of poor people worldwide at 22.8 crore, followed by Nigeria at 9.6 crore.
- Two-thirds of these people live in a household in which at least one person is deprived in nutrition.
- There were also 9.7 crore poor children in India in 2019/2021- more than the total number of poor people, children and adults combined, in any other country covered by the global MPI.
- Globally, of the total 610 crore people across 111 developing countries, 19.1% or 120 crore live in multidimensional poverty. Nearly half of them live in severe poverty.
- Report Shortcomings:
- The report doesn’t fully assess the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on poverty in India as 71% of the data from the National Family Health Survey-5 (2019-2021) relied upon for MPI were collected before the pandemic.
About Global Multidimensional Poverty Index (MPI)
- The report is produced by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the Oxford Poverty and Human Development Initiative (OPHI).
- The global Multidimensional Poverty Index (MPI) is an international measure of acute multidimensional poverty covering over 100 developing countries. Report indicators:
- The global MPI constructs a deprivation profile of each household and person through 10 indicators spanning health, education and standard of living.
- All indicators are equally weighted within each dimension.
- The most common profile, affecting 3.9 percent of poor people, includes deprivations in four indicators: nutrition, cooking fuel, sanitation, and housing.
Calculating multidimensionally poor:
- The global MPI identifies people as multidimensionally poor if their deprivation score is 1/3 or higher.
- The MPI is calculated by multiplying the incidence of poverty and the average intensity of poverty.
- The MPI ranges from 0 to 1, and higher values imply higher poverty.
- By identifying who is poor, the nature of their poverty (their deprivation profile) and how poor they are (deprivation score), the global MPI complements the international $1.90 a day poverty rate, which was revised by the World Bank last month to $2.15 per day.
- SDG target: The Sustainable Development Goal target 1.2 is for countries to reduce at least by half the proportion of men, women, and children of all ages living in poverty in all its dimensions by 2030.
SCHEMES and Programmes in News
Telecom Technology Development Fund (TTDF) Scheme
- Launched by : Universal Service Obligation Fund (USOF), a body under the Department of Telecommunications.
Reason for launching TTDF Scheme
- The Universal Service Obligation Fund(USOF) is the pool of funds generated by the 5% Universal Service Levy that is charged upon all telecom fund operators on their Adjusted Gross Revenue.
- The draft telecom bill has said that the USOF shall be referred to as the “Telecommunication Development Fund” (TDF).
- How TDF is different from USOF ?
- The USOF has largely been used to aid rural connectivity. But the objective of TDF is also to boost connectivity in underserved urban areas, R&D, skill development etc.
Aim of Telecom Technology Development Fund (TTDF)
- -To fund R&D in rural-specific communication technology applications and form synergies among academia, startups, research institutes, and the industry to build and develop the telecom ecosystem.
- -To promote technology ownership and indigenous manufacturing, create a culture of technology co-innovation, reduce imports, boost export opportunities and creation of Intellectual Property.
- Function: The scheme entails grants to Indian entities to encourage and induct indigenous technologies tailor-made to meet domestic needs.
- The Union Cabinet has recently approved the Prime Minister’s Development Initiative for the North East Region (PMDevINE). It was announced earlier in the Union Budget 2022-23.
- The scheme will be operational for the remaining four years of the 15th Finance Commission, from 2022-23 to 202526, and will have an outlay of Rs 6,600 crore.
- The PM-DevINE is in addition to the quantum of resources available for the development of the NE region. It will not be a substitute for existing central and state schemes.
- PM-DevINE will target: o The creation of infrastructure, support industries, Social development projects , Creating livelihood activities for the youth and women, with a focus on job creation.
- These projects will include basic infrastructure in all primary healthcare centres and government schools. Funding and implementation:
- It is a central sector scheme with 100% central funding.
- PM-DevINE will be implemented by the Ministry of Development of North Eastern Region (DoNER), through the North Eastern Council or central ministries and agencies.
- Time constraints: Efforts will be made to complete the PM-DevINE projects by 2025-26 so that there are no committed liabilities beyond this year.
- Significance of bringing the scheme: The parameters of N-E states in respect of Basic Minimum Services (BMS) are well below the national average and there are critical development gaps as per the NER District Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) Index 2021-22 prepared by NITI Aayog, UNDP and MDoNER.
Adarsh Station Scheme
- Adarsh station scheme of the Ministry of Railways aims to upgrade (beautify and modernise) the suburban stations of India to Adarsh stations. It was introduced in 2009.
- The selection of railway stations under this scheme is based on the identified need for up-gradation of amenities.
- In News : Recently, the railway ministry is planning to bid out 16 stations under the public-private partnership (PPP) model. This is in addition to the 1253 railway stations that have been identified for development under the Adarsh Station Scheme.
BIODIVERSITY, ENVIRONMENT & GEOGRAPHY
- Biomass co-firing is the practice of substituting a part of the fuel with biomass at coal thermal plants. It is adding biomass as a partial substitute fuel in high efficiency coal boilers. In co-firing, coal and biomass are combusted together in boilers that have been designed to burn coal. For this purpose, the existing coal power plant has to be partly reconstructed and retrofitted. Significance
- Co-firing is an option to convert biomass to electricity, in an efficient and clean way, and to reduce GHG (Green house Gases) emissions of the power plant.
- Coal and biomass cofiring accounts for the relevant advantages of a relative ease of implementation and an effective reduction of CO2 and other pollutant (SOx, NOx) emissions to the atmosphere.
- Biomass co-firing is a globally accepted cost-effective method for decarbonising a coal fleet.
- Substituting 5-7 % of coal with biomass in coal-based power plants can save 38 million tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions.
- It can help cut emissions from combustion of fossil fuels, address India’s burgeoning problem of farm stubble (Parali) burning to some extent, reduce waste burden while also creating jobs in rural areas.
- India is a country where biomass is usually burnt on the field which reflects apathy towards resolving the problem of clean coal using a very simple solution that is readily available.
What is biomass
- Biomass is a renewable organic material that comes from plants and animals. It can be used as an energy source. Biomass is simply plant or animal material used as fuel to produce electricity or heat. Examples are wood, energy crops and waste from forests, yards, or farms (like parali or Stubble left after rice harvest). Biomass materials used for power generation include Rice husk, straw, cotton stalk, coconut shells, soya husk, de-oiled cakes, coffee waste, jute wastes, groundnut shells, saw dust etc.
- Biomass is used in the form of pellets in the process of Co-firing. o Biomass Pellets are a popular type of biomass fuel, generally made from wood wastes, agricultural biomass, commercial grasses and forestry residues.
Govt’s efforts to enhance Biomass co-firing
- The Union Ministry of Power, while presenting the Union Budget in February 2022, mandated 5-10 % co-firing at every thermal power plant in the country.
- Training for pellet manufacturers has been conducted by the National Power Training Institute all over the country.
- Mission SAMARTH : It is about enabling thermal power plants tp use biomass alongside coal. It aims to reduce the dependency of coal in thermal power plants. The mission has also been created to help reduce stubble burning.
What are the challenges faced in Biomass co-firing in India?
- There is not much improvement in Biomass co-firing in India because,
- Low Pellet manufacturing capacity: Around 95,000-96,000 tonnes of biomass pellets are required per day for co-firing, but India’s pellet manufacturing capacity is 7,000 tonnes per day at present despite a surplus 228 million tonnes of agricultural residue available in the country.
- Higher price in the open market: Pellet suppliers favour selling their product to industries such as textile, food processing, metal-based or in the open market at higher prices.
- Increased demand from industries in NCR: Commission for Air Quality Management in National Capital Region and Adjoining Areas directed industries in Delhi-National Capital Region to switch to cleaner fuels. Hence, the Biomass demand from industries escalated.
- Challenges in biomass pellet storing: Only pellets with up to 14% moisture can be used for combustion along with coal. Storing biomass pellets for long durations at the plant sites is hard, since they absorb moisture from air quickly, rendering them useless for co-firing.
- Seasonal availability and unreliable supply of biomass pellets. What should be done to improve biomass for co-firing?
- SAMARTH must map the existing pellet manufacturers and incentivise entrepreneurs to set up more pellet manufacturing plants.
- SAMARTH has to ensure the price of biomass pellets is capped and protected from fluctuations in market demand.
- Green Steel is the manufacturing of steel using renewable or low-carbon energy sources such as hydrogen, coal gasification, or electricity instead of the traditional carbon-intensive manufacturing route of coal-fired plants. Simply, it is steel which is manufactured without the use of fossil fuels. It eventually lowers greenhouse gas emissions, cuts costs and improves the quality of steel.
- Note : At present, the iron and steel sectors are highly energy intensive and big on emissions. So, the iron and steel, cement and chemical industries have started to focus their attention on greening the sector. Ways of Production:
- Substituting the Primary Production Processes with Cleaner Alternatives: o Carbon capture, utilization and storage (CCUS)
- Replacing conventional sources of energy with low-carbon hydrogen o Direct electrification through electrolysis of iron ore Need of Green steel:
- Steel industry creates pollution as it uses coal and Iron ore whose combustion releases various Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons (PAH) compounds and oxides into the air. The pollutants released from steel producing units are: Carbon Monoxide (CO), Carbon Dioxide (CO2), Oxides of Sulphur (SOx), Oxides of Nitrogen (NOx), PM 2.5, Waste Water, Hazardous waste and Solid waste. Significance:
- The steel industry is the largest industrial sector in terms of intensive energy and resource use. It is one of the biggest emitters of carbon dioxide (CO2).
- In view of commitments made at the Conference of the Parties (COP26) climate change conference, the Indian steel industry needs to reduce its emissions substantially by 2030 and hit net-zero carbon emissions by 2070. Challenge:
- At present, the country’s iron and steel sector is financially weak. However, Green Steel manufacturing is an expensive process involving high cost.
Government programmes for green steel:
- National Hydrogen Energy Mission (NHM) capitalizes on hydrogen for a cleaner alternative fuel option. o Low-carbon hydrogen (blue hydrogen and green hydrogen) can help reduce the steel industry’s carbon footprint.
- Petroleum and Natural Gas Ministry launched Pradhan Mantri Urja Ganga Project in Eastern India in 2019 to provide gas to all steel plants located in the area. Status of Steel Production in India?
- Production: India is currently the world’s 2nd largest producer of crude steel, producing 120 Million Tonnes (MT) crude steel during financial year 2021- 2022.
- Reserves: More than 80 per cent of the country’s reserves are in the states of Odisha, Jharkhand, West Bengal, Chhattisgarh and the northern regions of Andhra Pradesh.
- Important steel-producing centers are Bhilai (Chhattisgarh), Durgapur (West Bengal), Burnpur (West Bengal), Jamshedpur (Jharkhand), Rourkela (Odisha), Bokaro (Jharkhand).
- Consumption: India is the 2nd largest consumer of finished steel after China.
Global Methane, Climate and Clean Air (GMCCA) Forum 2022
- Held in : Washington, DC, USA
- Aim : to discuss opportunities to protect the climate and improve air quality with a special focus on methane by adhering to the Global Methane Pledge.
- Sponsors: Sponsored jointly by the Global Methane Initiative (GMI) and the UNEP-convened Climate and Clean Air Coalition (CCAC). India is a partner country of GMI.
Global Methane Pledge
- The Global Methane Pledge was launched at COP 26 (Conference of Parties) in November 2021 to catalyse action to reduce methane emissions. It was led by the United States and the European Union. It has 111 country participants who together are responsible for 45% of global human-caused methane emissions. China, Russia and India, also topfive methane emitters, have not signed on to the pledge.
- Commitment: By joining the Pledge, countries commit to work together in order to collectively reduce methane emissions by at least 30% below 2020 levels by 2030.
- Methane is a gas that is found in small quantities in Earth’s atmosphere. Methane is the simplest hydrocarbon, consisting of one carbon atom and four hydrogen atoms (CH4). Methane is powerful greenhouse gas. It is flammable, and is used as a fuel worldwide.
- Source : Methane is produced by the breakdown or decay of organic material and can be introduced into the atmosphere by either natural processes – such as the decay of plant material in wetlands, the seepage of gas from underground deposits or the digestion of food by cattle – or human activities – such as oil and gas production, rice farming or waste management.
There are other gases too which cause Global warming but why reducing methane is very important ?
- Methane is 84 times more potent than carbon and doesn’t last as long in the atmosphere before it breaks down. This makes it a critical target for reducing global warming more quickly while simultaneously working to reduce other greenhouse gases.
- It is responsible for creating ground-level ozone, a dangerous air pollutant.
- Their potential to warm the atmosphere could be 80-1,500 times greater.
Currently, only 2 per cent of global climate finance goes to methane.
Note : Carbon monoxide, Methane, Ozone and Sulphur dioxide released into atmosphere due to the burning of crop/biomass residue.
Pakhro tiger safari project
- It is a proposed tiger safari corridor in Corbett Tiger Reserve (CTR), Uttarakhand. Pakhro tiger safari will be spread over an area of 106 hectares, when completed, it would have been the State’s first tiger safari that would have tigers in enclosures to ensure “100% sighting”. Why in News ?
- A survey by the Forest Survey of India (FSI) revealed that 6,093 trees were illegally cut down in the Corbett Tiger Reserve for the Pakhro tiger safari project. Whereas only 163 trees were permitted to be cleared for this safari project.
Interim Stay by NGT
- Taking suo motu cognisance of a media report, National Green Tribunal (NGT) has ordered that Pakhro Tiger Safari project may not be allowed to proceed until a three-member committee constituted by the green panel identifies the violators and recommends steps for the restoration of the environment there.
About Corbett National Park :
- It is located in the Nainital district of Uttarakhand. The Project Tiger was launched in 1973 in Corbett National Park (first National Park of India), which is part of Corbett Tiger Reserve.
- The national park was established in 1936 as Hailey National Park to protect the endangered Bengal tiger. ▪ It is named after Jim Corbett who played a key role in its establishment.
12 October : World Sloth Bear Day
- The first World Sloth Bear Day was observed on October 12, 2022 to generate awareness and strengthen conservation efforts around the unique bear species endemic to the Indian subcontinent.
- It was proposed by Wildlife SOS India, and the IUCN-Species Survival Commission (SSC) sloth bear expert team accepted and declared the day to be celebrated worldwide.
- Scientific Name of Sloth Bear : Melursus Ursinus.
- Habitat: Presently Sloth bears are only found in the Indian subcontinent, Nepal and a sub-species in Sri Lanka. About 90% of the global Sloth Bear population is found in India.
- Conservation Status:
- IUCN Red List: Vulnerable.
- Wildlife protection Act (1972): Schedule I.
- Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES): Appendix I.
Threats : An ethnic group named Kalandars, who were mostly poor performed a practice known as a dancing bear, where the captured sloth bears are tortured to make them dance.
- According to a study, Cold ocean currents have protected the Galápagos Islands from global warming.
- The Galapagos Islands are a part of Ecuador. These are located in the Pacific Ocean around 1,000 km away from the South American continent. Darwin described the islands as a “world in itself”.
- In 1978, the islands became UNESCO’s first World Heritage Site. It is described by the UNESCO World
Heritage Convention as a “living museum and showcase of evolution.”
- The islands contain aquatic species such as manta rays and sharks which have been endangered by commercial fishing.
- Galápagos is home to the critically endangered — Galápagos penguin, Galápagos fur seal and Galápagos sea lion. Also, the giant tortoises found here – ‘Galápagos’ in old Spanish – give the islands its name.
Namdapha National Park
- It is located in the State of Arunachal Pradesh and it covers 1,985 sq km. It lies in close proximity to Indo-MyanmarChina trijunction. The park is located between the Dapha bum range of the Mishmi Hills and the Patkai range.
- It the fourth largest national park in India. The first three are Hemis National Park in Ladakh, Desert National Park in Rajasthan, and Gangotri National Park in Uttarakhand.
- Namdapha is in fact the name of a river originating in the park and it meets Noa-Dehing river which is a tributary of the Brahmaputra and flows in a North-South direction in the middle of the National Park.
In News : The Changlang district administration has declared cultivation of large cardamom in the Namdapha National Park (NP) illegal.
Indian Bison or Gaur (Bos gaurus)
- Recently, Sri Lanka asked India to translocate 6 Indian Bisons to reintroduce them in the island from where they became extinct by the end of 17th century.
- If the project is cleared, it would be the first such agreement between India and Sri Lanka.
- Indian Bison or Gaur is native to South and Southeast Asia. In India, they are very much prevalent in the Western Ghats.
- 85% of their population is present in India. It is also found in Burma and Thailand.
- They are not found in the Himalayas. They generally stick to the foothills only. ▪ It is the tallest species of wild cattle found in India and largest extant bovine.
- Conservation Status:
- Vulnerable in IUCN Red List.
- Included in the Schedule I of the Wild Life Protection Act, 1972.
- The Prime Minister N. Modi in the presence of the U.N Secretary-General has launched ‘Mission LiFE’ at Kevadiya (Gujarat).
What is the concept of LIFE?
- LIFE stands for LiFE (Lifestyle for Environment).
- The concept of LiFE was introduced by the Prime Minister —at COP26 in Glasgow on 1 November 2021.
- It aims to nudge individuals and communities to practice a lifestyle that is synchronous with nature and does not harm it. Those who practice such a lifestyle are recognised as Pro Planet People.
- On 5 June 2022, on World Environment Day, India furthered the vision of LiFE by launching the LiFE Global Movement inviting academicians, researchers and start-ups across the world to think about specific and scientific ways in which the full potential of collective action can be harnessed to address the environmental crisis.
What is Mission LIFE?
- Mission LiFE seeks to translate the vision of LiFE into measurable impact.
- Aim: It is designed with the objective to mobilize at least one billion Indians and other global citizens to take individual and collective action for protecting and conserving the environment in the period 2022–28.
– Within India, at least 80% of all villages and urban local bodies are aimed to become environment-friendly by 2028.
- Duration: The mission is a 5-year programme.
- Strategy: The Mission LiFE aims at following a three-pronged strategy 1) Nudging individuals to practise simple yet effective environment-friendly actions in their daily lives (demand), 2) Enabling industries and markets to respond swiftly to the changing demand (supply) and 3) Influence government and industrial policy to support both sustainable consumption and production (policy).
- Implemented by: The mission will be incubated, curated and piloted by NITI Aayog and subsequently implemented by the Union Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change.
- Significance: Mission LiFE emboldens the spirit of the P3 model, i.e. Pro Planet People, as it is premised on the basic principles of ‘Lifestyle of the planet, for the planet and by the planet’.
- India’s contributions against Climate Change: The annual per capita carbon footprint in the country is only about 1.5 tons, compared to the world average of 4 tons per year.
- India has the fourth-largest capacity for renewable energy in the world.
- India is ranked fourth in wind energy and fifth in solar energy. India’s renewable energy capacity has increased by about 290 % in the last 7-8 years.
- India has also achieved the target of 40% of the electric capacity from non-fossil-fuel sources nine years ahead of the deadline.
Great Indian Bustards
- The recent sighting of three Great Indian Bustards (GIBs) deep in Pakistan’s Cholistan desert has given rise to speculation that it might have flown across the international border from India’s Desert National Park (DNP).
- Science Name : Ardeotis nigriceps
- It is one of the rarest birds in the world and is the State bird of Rajasthan. Its population of about 150 in Rajasthan accounts for 95% of its total world population. Its population is confined mostly to Rajasthan and Gujarat. Small populations occur in Maharashtra, Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh.
- Habitat : It inhabits arid and semi-arid grasslands with scattered short scrub, bushes and low intensity cultivation in flat or gently undulating terrain.
Birds congregate in traditional less disturbed grassland patches to breed during mid-summer and monsoon.
- Conservation Efforts : It is listed as Critically Endangered because it has an extremely small population that has undergone an extremely rapid decline owing to a multitude of threats including habitat loss and degradation, hunting and direct disturbance.
- It is listed in Schedule-I of the Wild Life (Protection) Act, 1972, thereby, according to its highest degree of legal protection from hunting.
- MoEF&CC, Rajasthan government and Wildlife Institute of India (WII) have also established a conservation breeding facility in Desert National Park at Jaisalmer in June 2019.
Sandalwood Spike disease
- It is a major infectious disease of Sandalwood trees. A study has shown that Sandalwood Spike Disease(SSD) is posing a severe threat on the Commercial Cultivation of Sandalwood.
- Cause : It is an infectious disease which is caused by phytoplasma. o Phytoplasmas are bacterial parasites of plant tissues — which are transmitted by insect vectors and involved in plant-to-plant transmission.
- Transmission: The disease can transmit through seeds of infected trees through the presence of disease-causing bacteria called Phytoplasma.
- Origin: The disease was first reported in Kodagu, Karnataka in 1899. More than a million sandalwood trees were removed in the Kodagu and Mysore region between 1903 and 1916.
- Treatment: There is no cure as of now for the disease. Hence, presently, there is no option but to cut down and remove the infected tree to prevent the spread of the disease.
- Concerns: About 1% to 5% of sandalwood trees are lost every year due to the disease. Scientists warn that it could wipe out the entire natural Sandalwood population if measures are not taken to prevent its spread.
- Measures taken: To combat the Sandalwood Spike disease, the Institute of Wood Science and Technology(IWST), Bangalore has joined hands with the Pune-based National Centre for Cell Sciences for a three-year study.
- This study has recommended accreditation of commercial production of sandalwood seedlings through testing to ensure that the plants are free from SSD. It has also called for a paradigm shift in policies handling sandalwood seedlings.
- Note : Santalum album, commonly known as Indian Sandalwood, is a dry deciduous forest species native to China, India, Indonesia, Australia, and the Philippines. Because of strength and durability, it is mostly harvested for its timber. In India, it is also called “Chandan” and “Srigandha“. Sandalwood oil has antiseptic, anti-inflammatory, antispasmodic and astringent properties.
- In India, sandalwood is mostly grown in Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, Bihar, Gujarat, Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, and Tamil Nadu.
- Odisha government has started working on the revival plan of Sukapaika River, which stopped flowing 70 years ago. (Earlier, NGT has directed the state government of Odisha to revive Sukapaika River).
- Cause of its drying up : In the 1950s, the Odisha government closed the Sukapaika river mouth enabling the development of the Taladanda Canal System, a major canal of the State. This led to the river dying a painful death and the process was aggravated by agricultural encroachments that had sprung up on the riverbanks.
- Note : Sukapaika is one of the several distributaries of the mighty Mahanadi river in Odisha. It branches away from the Mahanadi at Ayatpur village in Cuttack district and flows for about 40 kilometres (km) before rejoining its parent river at Tarapur in the same district.
- Importance : When it was flowing freely, Sukapaika river acted as a source of drinking water, irrigation and other livelihood opportunities to over 425 villages under 26-gram panchayats.
- Bangladesh has been devastated by Cyclone Sitrang, which slammed into densely-populated, low-lying areas.
- Named by Thailand, Sitrang is the first tropical cyclone of the post-monsoon season of 2022.
- In 2018, Titli was the last October cyclone in the Bay of Bengal.
Green Crackers vs conventional crackers
- Recently, a lot of the pollution observed during Diwali can be attributed to the burning of firecrackers or fireworks. Green Crackers :
- Green crackers or ‘eco-friendly’ crackers and are known to cause less air and noise pollution as compared to traditional firecrackers. These crackers were first designed by the National Environmental and Engineering Research Institute (NEERI), under the aegis of the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) in These crackers replace certain hazardous agents in traditional crackers with less polluting substances with the aim to reduce the noise intensity and emissions.
- Most green crackers do not contain barium nitrate, which is the most dangerous ingredient in conventional crackers.
- Green crackers use alternative chemicals such as potassium nitrate and aluminium instead of magnesium and barium as well as carbon instead of arsenic and other harmful pollutants.
- Regular crackers also produce 160-200 decibels of sound, while that from green crackers are limited to about 100-130 decibels.
How can one Identify Green crackers?
- Presently, three brands of green crackers are available for purchase:
- SWAS – Safe Water Releaser, STAR – Safe Thermite Cracker, SAFAL – Safe Minimal Aluminium
- All three brands of green crackers can currently only be produced by licensed manufacturers, approved by the CSIR. Additionally, the Petroleum and Explosives Safety Organisation (PESO) is tasked with certifying that the crackers are made without arsenic, mercury, and barium, and are not loud beyond a certain threshold.
- Furthermore, green crackers can be differentiated from conventional crackers in retail stores by a green logo printed on their boxes, along with a Quick Response (QR) coding system.
What are the Concerns regarding Green Crackers?
- Since green crackers can only be legally manufactured by firms that have signed agreements with the CSIR, no smallscale business or cottage business house can manufacture green crackers, which coupled with a ban on traditional fireworks, would leave very many unemployed this time of the year.
- There is a general lack of awareness amongst both the sellers and the public on how to identify the right green crackers.
- It is also revealed that most customers prefer ‘traditional’ crackers due to a lack of availability of green crackers, or due to their higher prices.
What Should be done ?
- There should be efforts by the government to increase their production by giving legal sanctions to small manufacturers for the production activities of green crackers. It will help in tackling the problem of scarcity of Green crackers.
- The people should be made aware of the benefits of green crackers and how to recognize their genuineness.
Blue Flag certification
- Two more Indian beaches – Minicoy Thundi beach and Kadmat beach in Lakshadweep have been awarded the ‘Blue Flag,’ placing them among the world’s cleanest and most environmentally friendly beaches, marinas and sustainable boating tourism operators. About the Blue Flag program:
- The Blue Flag is a distinguished eco-label or certification granted to coastal areas (for beaches, marinas and sustainable boating tourism operators) around the world as a mark of environmental honour.
- A marina is a small harbour where mainly pleasure boats and yachts dock.
- The Blue Flag program is run by the Copenhagen, Denmark-based Foundation for Environmental
Education (FEE) – a non-profit organisation that contributes to the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) through its work. It was established in 1987, first in Europe, and certification has been granted on an annual basis since then. It has been implemented outside of Europe since 2001. So far, the label has been awarded to 5,042 beaches, marinas, and tourism boats in 48 nations.
- Spain is the country with the most Blue Flag beaches, followed by Greece and France.
- In order to qualify for the Blue Flag, which is one of the most prestigious voluntary awards in the world, a series of stringent environmental, educational, safety and accessibility criteria must be met and maintained.
India now has 12 blue beaches:
- Minicoy Thundi beach and Kadmat beach, both in Lakshadweep, are the two new beaches.
- The other 10 Indian beaches on the list are –
- Shivrajpur in Gujarat’s Devbhumi Dwarka district; Ghogla beach in Diu; Kasarkod (Uttara Kannada) and Padubidri (Udupi) in Karnataka; Kappad (Kozhikode) in Kerala; Eden beach in Puducherry; Kovalam (Chennai) in Tamil Nadu; Rushikonda (Visakhapatnam) in Andhra Pradesh; Golden beach in Puri, Odisha; and Radhanagar Swarajdeep in Andaman and Nicobar.
- Last year, Kovalam and Eden were awarded the Blue Flag. The remaining eight beaches were certified in 2020 and recertified last year.
- BEAMS : Taking the lead from the Blue Flag certification, India has launched its own eco-label BEAMS (Beach Environment & Aesthetics Management Services) as part of the Integrated Coastal Zone Management (ICZM) project.
- The Society of Integrated Coastal Management (SICOM) and the Union Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change initiated BEAMS in 2020.
Significance of Blue Flag program:
- People will develop a strong desire to improve coastal cleanliness: This is because the idea of connecting the public with their surroundings and encouraging them to learn more about their environment is central to the Blue Flag program’s goals.
- Environmental conservation: Blue flag beaches have grey water treatment plants, solid waste management plants, solar power plants, solar lighting, and so on.
- Promote tourism: It encourages the administration to build new beaches in order to attract a big number of tourists and so promote tourism in the district.
Froth in Yamuna
- The froth is a sign of a polluted river. The release of untreated or poorly treated effluents, including sewage from those parts of the city that are not connected to the sewerage network and industrial waste, could lead to frothing. Surfactants and phosphates from detergents in households and industrial laundry find their way into the river, as all the sewage is not treated.
- Why in winters every year: The river is in a lean phase and the water flow is less. Pollutants, therefore, are not diluted. The turbulence at the barrage near Okhla generates foam from the phosphates.
Durgavati Tiger Reserve : MP
- The Madhya Pradesh Wildlife Board recently approved the creation of the Durgavati Tiger Reserve.
- It will host tigers of Panna Tiger Reserve (PTR), quarter of which is set to be submerged because of the linking of KenBetwa rivers.
AWARDS AND HONOURS
SASTRA Ramanujan Prize for 2022 : Yunqing Tang
- The SASTRA Ramanujan Prize for 2022 will be awarded to Yunqing Tang, Assistant Professor at the University of California, Berkeley, U.S.A.
About SASTRA Ramanujan Prize
- The award was influenced by Srinivasa Ramanjuan in a broad sense. It was instituted by the Shanmugha Arts, Science, Technology & Research Academy (SASTRA) Tamil Nadu in 2005 with a cash prize of $10,000.
- It is presented annually to individuals aged 32 and below, who made outstanding contributions in the field of mathematics particularly Ramanujan’s fields of interest.
- SASTRA academy (a private deemed University) located near Kumbakonam,Tamilnadu, which is Srinivasa Ramanujan’s hometown.
What is the contribution of Yunqing Tang to Mathematics?
- Yunquing Tang was born in China. She has done B.Sc at Peking University in 2011. Later Tang went to Harvard University and completed her Ph.D. then she joined UC Berkeley in July 2022 as Assistant Professor.
- Her works display a remarkable combination of sophisticated techniques, in which the arithmetic and geometry of modular curves and of Shimura varieties play a central role. Her results and methods are bound to have a major impact on future research in this area.
- Her most recent joint work with Frank Calegari and Vesselin Dimitrov on modular equations is of great significance and also has ties with Ramanujan’s own work. Srinivasa Ramanujan?
- Ramanujan was born on 22nd December 1887 in the village Erode (400 km from Chennai, then known as Madras). The famous British mathematician Godfrey Harold Hardy recognised his talent in 1913. He went to Cambridge, on Godfrey Harold Hardy’s invitation.
- Ramanujam made substantial contributions to the analytical theory of numbers and worked on elliptic functions. ▪ He died on April 26th, 1920, at the age of 32, just after returning to India after a long illness.
Why 1729 is called Ramanujan number ?
- It is the smallest number which can be expressed as the sum of two different cubes in two different ways. o 1729 is the sum of the cubes of 10 and 9 – cube of 10 is 1000 and cube of 9 is 729 adding the two numbers results in 1729.
- 1729 is also the sum of the cubes of 12 and 1, cube of 12 is 1728 and cube of 1 is 1 adding the two results in 1729.
- In 2013, the film “The Man Who Knew Infinity” was released, depicting the life and work of Srinivasa Ramanujan. ▪ Since 2012, the Indian government has been celebrating Ramanujan’s birthday, December 22 as National Mathematics Day.
Booker Prize 2022
- Sri Lankan writer Shehan Karunatilaka won the Booker Prize 2022 for his novel “The Seven Moons of Maali Almeida”, about a dead war photographer on a mission in the afterlife.
- About Booker Prize : The Booker Prize is the world’s leading literary award for a single work of fiction. Founded in the UK in 1969, it was initially awarded to Commonwealth writers and now spans the globe, and it is open to anyone regardless of origin. Each year, the Booker Prize is awarded to what is, in the opinion of our judges, the best sustained work of fiction written in English and published in the UK and Ireland.
- A women’s rights activist from India, Srishti Bakshi has won the ‘Changemaker‘ award at the UN SDG (United Nations Sustainable Development Goals) Action Awards held at a ceremony in Bonn, Germany.
- The award is given to recognise the efforts of Srishti Bakshi to raise awareness of gender-based violence and inequality.
UNHCR prestigious Nansen award
- Former German chancellor Angela Merkel won the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) prestigious Nansen award for her “leadership, courage and compassion” in ensuring the protection of hundreds of thousands of desperate people at the height of the Syria crisis.
Sir Syed Excellence Award 2022
- Noted American historian Prof. Barbara Metcalf was awarded the Sir Syed Excellence Award 2022 by the Aligarh Muslim University (AMU) on the 205th birth anniversary of its founder Sir Syed Ahmad Khan.
- The European Parliament has awarded the people of Ukraine its annual Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought to honour their fight against Russia’s invasion.
- The award comes with prize money of 50,000 euros ($49,100), which will be distributed to representatives of Ukrainian civil society.
National Intellectual Property Award
- The national award for intellectual property was given to the Indian Institute of Technology-Madras for 2021 and The prize was established by the Ministry of Commerce and Industry’s Ministry of Commerce and Industry.
BOOKS and Auhors
|‘A confused Mind story’.
“From dependence to SelfReliance: Mapping India’s Rise Economist Dr Bimal Jalan as a Global Superpower”
OBITUARY / DEATHS
36th National Games
- Inaugurated by the Prime Minister in Gujarat.
- Event: The National Games, being held after seven years, will witness India’s best athletes compete in 36 disciplines in six cities of Gujarat.
- Jurisdiction: The duration and the regulations of the National Games are entirely within the jurisdiction of the Indian Olympic Association.
- Mascot: The Official mascot for the 36th National Games is “SAVAJ”- the Asiatic Lion.
- Total sports in 36th National Games : 36 o Note: total 5 games (two indigenous sports, Mallakhamba and Yogasana, along with Skateboarding, Golf and Soft Tennis) made their debut at National Games 2022.
- History: These games were earlier called Indian Olympic Games and its first edition was held at Lahore in an undivided Punjab in 1924. The name ‘National Games’ adopted in 1940.
- Note : The Indian Olympic Association has confirmed that Goa will host the 37th edition of the National Games in October next year (2023)
Important facts related to 36th National Games
- Services (61 Gold, 55 Silver, 32 Bronze) topped for the 4th year consecutively, followed by Maharashtra (2nd place) and Haryana (3rd).
- Note : Maharashtra bagged the Indian Olympic Association’s Best State trophy for finishing second in the medals tally with the most medals amongst States and UTs.
- Note : The Raja Bhalindra Singh Trophy is given to teams which win the most number of gold medals at the National Games. This is the fourth-consecutive time that Services are walking away with the award.
- Antim Panghal, the World under-20 champion, made an impressive debut at the National Games 2022 as she won the gold medal in women’s 53kg wrestling.
- At the 36th National Games, Pooja Patel of Gujarat has become the first athlete to win gold in Yogasana. Yogasana is one of the five sports to be played at the National Games this year for the first time.
- Gujarat’s 10-year-old Shauryajit Khaire (Mallakhamb) becoming its youngest medal winner.
- Karnataka’s Hashika Ramchandra, barely 14 years old, appropriated the Best Female Athlete crown with 6 gold and 1 bronze.
- Best Male Athlete to Sajan Prakash (5 gold, 2 silver, 1 bronze).
Pay parity in Cricket
- In a significant decision, the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) announced a pay equity policy, saying that its centrally-contracted men and women players would get the same match fees.
- With this, India has become the second country in international cricket to implement equal pay.
- Earlier this year, New Zealand Cricket had announced equal match fees for its women players. Change in match fee with pay parity in Cricket
- The women players will now get Rs 15 lakh per Test match, Rs 6 lakh for a One-Day International (ODI), and Rs 3 lakh for a T20 International.
- Till now, they were paid Rs 1 lakh for a white-ball match, and Rs 4 lakh for a Test.
- However, the annual retainership for women cricketers remains the same — Rs 50 lakh for Grade A, Rs 30 lakh for Grade B and Rs 10 lakh for Grade C.
- The men, who play more games, are paid Rs 1-7 crore, depending on their grade.
Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI)
- BCCI is the central body that governs over Indian Cricket. The board was founded in the year 1928 with 6 regional cricket associations as its first members.
- Today it has 30 full-time members, and is worth Rs 3,308 crore.
- It was established with a vision to control and develop the sport of Cricket in India.
- The BCCI headquarters are located in the famous Wankhede Stadium, Mumbai.
- Status of BCCI o The BCCI is an autonomous, private organisation and does not fall under the purview of the National Sports Federation of India.
- It is registered under the Tamil Nadu Societies Registration Act, 1975 and hence it considers itself as a private body.
- BCCI does not receive any grants or funds from the Ministry of Sports.
SJFI medal for 2019
- The Sports Journalists’ Federation of India medal (SJFI medal) for 2019 was presented to badminton legendary star Prakash Padukone.
- The award was created in 2018, and Vijay Amritraj (retired Indian Tennis player) was its first winner. The 2019 award presentation was postponed because to the COVID-19 epidemic.
Ballon d’Or (Golden Ball Award) 2022
- Real Madrid’s Karim Benzema, a professional French footballer, has won the Men’s Ballon d’Or (Golden Ball Award) 2022 and becomes the 5th Frenchman to win the prize.
- Barcelona’s Alexia Putellas, a Spanish professional footballer, has won the Women’s Ballon d’Or award or Ballon d’Or Féminin Award for the 2nd time.
Other sports news:
- India defeated Sri Lanka by 8 wickets in the finals of the Women’s Asia Cup 2022. India has bagged the position for the 7th time. The final match of India vs Sri Lanka Asia Cup 2022 took place in Sylhet International Cricket Stadium, Sylhet (Bangladesh).
- The National Anti-Doping Agency (NADA) suspended Shivpal Singh for four years (till October 2025).
- Indian discus thrower, Kamalpreet Kaur has been banned from competition for three years due to a doping violation, the Athletics Integrity Unit (AIU) announced.
- Indian Skipper, Rohit Sharma has achieved yet another milestone in his T20 career and has become the first-ever Indian to play 400 T20s.
- Saudi Arabia has won the bid to host the 2029 Asian Winter Games at a planned (yet to be built) megacity known as NEOM (Trojena). It will the first West Asian City to host the event.
- The Rest of India (team name) won the Irani Cup title 2022 after beating Saurashtra by eight wickets in the final held at Rajkot.
- India men’s hockey team defender and vice-captain Harmanpreet Singh has been named FIH Player of the Year for the second year in a row. He has become just the fourth player to win the Player of the Year award (men’s category) in consecutive years, joining an elite list that includes Teun De Nooijer (Netherlands), Jamie Dwyer (Australia) and Arthur van Doren (Belgium).
- Goa born UAE’s cricketer Aayan Khan, the 16-year-old all-rounder, is the youngest player in the men’s T20 World Cup. (Aayan broke Pakistan pacer Mohammad Amir’s record).
- India teenager Donnarumma Gukesh scripted history in the ongoing Aimchess Rapid online tournament as he defeated Magnus Carlsen, thereby becoming the youngest player ever to beat him as world champion.
- Jyothi Yarraji, an Indian Sprinter made history in the women’s 100m hurdles as the became the first Indian woman to run a sub-13s time to win the gold medal at the Nation Games 2022. Jyothi Yarraji broke her national record representing Andhra Pradesh by running the final in 12.79s.
- Tazuni, a fun, football-loving penguin is unveiled as the Official Mascot of the FIFA Women’s World Cup Australia & New Zealand 2023.
- The Cricket Association for the Blind in India (CABI) has announced former India cricketer Yuvraj Singh as their brand ambassador for the 3rd T20 World Cup for the Blind to be held in India in December.
- Indian junior men’s hockey team defeated Australia to win the Sultan of Johor Cup 2022 in a shootout 5-4 after a 1-1 draw at the Taman Daya Hockey Stadium in Johor Bahru, Malaysia.
3 October 2022 : World Habitat Day
- The UN has designated the first Monday of October of every year as World Habitat Day which falls on 3rd October in 2022.
- Theme 2022: “Mind the Gap. Leave No One Behind and No Place Behind.”
- World Habitat Day is intended to remind the world that we all have the power and the responsibility to shape the future of our cities and towns.
- World Habitat Day 2022 seeks to draw attention to the growing inequalities and vulnerabilities that have been exacerbated by the Triple ‘C’ Crises: COVID-19, Climate and Conflict.
- Sustainable Development Goal 11: It aims to make cities more inclusive, safe,resilient and sustainable.
- Note : In 1985 the United Nations designated the first Monday of October every year as World Habitat Day. Then it was first celebrated in 1986 with the theme “Shelter is My Right”
8 October : 90th Indian Air Force Day
- The primary event is being observed at Chandigarh Air Force Station and consists of a parade and flyover.
- Note : The fourth-largest air force in the world is the Indian Air Force.
- Headquarters: New Delhi
- Motto of India Air Force: Touch the sky with Glory (taken from the eleventh chapter of the Bhagavad Gita).
- The Chief of Air Staff (CAS), an air chief marshal is responsible for the operational command of the air force.
- The current CAS is Air Chief Marshal Vivek Ram Chaudhari who took office on 30 September 2021, following the retirement of Air Chief Marshal Rakesh Kumar Singh Bhadauria.
- History: The Indian Air Force was established in 1932 during World War II to support the Royal Air Force of the United Kingdom in its war against Japan. In 1945, King George VI bestowed the prefix “Royal” in recognition of the IAF’s accomplishments. After the independence of the nation, it evolved into the Indian Air Force in 1950 (dropped the prefix Royal).
8 October : World Migratory Bird Day (WMBD)
- Theme 2022 : “Light Pollution”
- WMBD is a bi-annual global campaign organised to raise awareness about migratory birds, the need for their conservation, and the importance of the preservation of their habitat.
- It is celebrated on the second Saturday in May and then in October. This year it was celebrated on 14 May and 8 October 2022.
10th October : World Mental Health Day
- Theme 2022: Making mental health for all a global priority.
- On this day, the Lancet released a report titled “Ending Stigma and Discrimination in Mental Health” and called for radical action to end stigma and discrimination associated with mental health.
- The first time World Mental Health Day was observed was on 10th October, 1992.
11 October : International Day of the Girl Child
- Theme for 2022: “Our time is now—our rights, our future”
- In 2011, the United Nations General Assembly adopted Resolution 66/170 to declare 11th October as the International Day of the Girl Child.
13 October : International Day for Disaster Risk Reduction
▪ The United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNDRR) and the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) released a report titled Global Status of Multi-Hazard Early Warning Systems – Target G, which warns that half of the countries globally are not protected by Multi-Hazard Early Warning Systems (MHEWS). The analysis was made with data from the targets outlined in The Sendai Framework (2015-2030). The framework is a global blueprint for disaster risk reduction and prevention.
13 October : World Sight Day
- World Sight Day is observed globally on the second Thursday of every October.
- This year, World Sight Day is being observed on 13th October to draw attention to the issue of blindness and vision impairment among people.
- Theme for 2022: ‘Love your eyes’
Different Defects of Vision
|Defect||Explanation||Lens used for Treatment|
|Myopia||The person can see the nearby objects but cannot see distant objects concave lens Near – clearly.||Concave lens|
|Sightedness||It occurs when the shape of the eyes causes light rays to bend in the wrong direction, focusing images in front of the retina rather than on it.||Concave lens|
|Hypermetropia||The person can see objects at a distance but cannot see nearby objects convex lens or clearly.||Convex lens|
|Far-Sightedness||It is caused when the light rays from a close by object are focused on a point behind the retina.||Convex lens|
|Presbyopia||Is the gradual loss of the eyes’ ability to focus on nearby objects. bifocal lens (that has The symptoms of presbyopia usually begin around the age of 40 and both types of lenses – worsen until around 65.||Convex and Concave|
|Cataract||It is the medical condition in which the lens of the eye of a person It can be treated by becomes progressively cloudy resulting in blurred vision. Surgery.||Spectacles or Contact lenses|
14 October : International E-Waste Day
- Since 2018, it is observed every year as an opportunity to reflect on the impacts of e-waste.
- Theme 2022 : ‘Recycle it all, no matter how small’.
- E-Waste is short for Electronic-Waste and the term is used to describe old, end-of-life or discarded electronic appliances. It includes their components, consumables, parts and spares.
- Note : India’s first e-waste clinic for segregating, processing and disposal of waste from household and commercial units has been set-up in Bhopal, Madhya Pradesh.
- India is the world’s third largest generator of e-waste after China and the US, according to the UN Global E-Waste Monitor Report.
- Maharashtra generates the most e-waste among all the Indian states.
- Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Tamil Nadu, and Haryana are among the States that have a bigger capacity to dismantle and recycle e-waste.
- E-waste typically does not feature in the list of municipal solid waste and therefore it is not a direct mandate for the cities to collect, transport, and manage them.
- The E-Waste (Management) Rules, 2016 extend the responsibility to producers to manage a system of e-waste collection, storage, transportation, and environmentally sound dismantling and recycling through Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) authorisation.
- The rules also promote and encourage the establishment of an efficient e-waste collection mechanism.
- Note : The government recently notified E-waste (management) rules 2022 that will come into force from 1 April 2023.
15 October : International Day of Rural Women
- Theme for 2022: “Rural Women, key for a world free from hunger and poverty.”
- Note : The first International Day of Rural Women was observed on 15th October 2008.
15 October : National Innovation Day and World Students’ Day
- This day is celebrated to mark the Birth anniversary of Dr A. P. J. Abdul Kalam.
- This year Prime Minister has paid tribute to the Dr Kalam on his 90th birth anniversary.
- He was Born on 15th October 1931 at Rameswaram in Tamil Nadu.
- He was sworn in as India’s 11th President in 2002 and completed the full term in 2007.
- He planned programmes to produce a number of successful missiles, which helped earn him the nickname “Missile Man of India”.
- Awards Received: He was awarded the coveted civilian awards – Padma Bhushan (1981) and Padma Vibhushan (1990) and the highest civilian award Bharat Ratna (1997).
- Literary Works: “Wings of Fire“, “India 2020 – A Vision for the New Millennium“, “My journey” and “Ignited Minds – Unleashing the power within India“, “Indomitable Spirit“, “Guiding Souls“, “Envisioning an Empowered Nation“, “Inspiring Thoughts” etc.
- Death: 27th July 2015 at Shillong, Meghalaya.
16 October : World Food Day
- Theme: Leave No One Behind.
- It emphasises Sustainable Development Goal 2 (SDG 2) i.e., Zero Hunger.
- History : World Food Day is celebrated to commemorate the establishment of the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) on 16th October 1945. It is observed annually to address the problem of global hunger.
- FAO is a specialised agency of the United Nations that leads international efforts to defeat hunger. Headquarter of FAO is in Rome, Italy, FAO.
- Note : FAO supported India’s proposal to declare 2023 as the International Year of Millets.
24 October : World Polio Day
- Polio is a crippling and potentially deadly viral infectious disease that affects the nervous system.
- There are three individual and immunologically distinct wild poliovirus strains: Wild Poliovirus type 1 (WPV1), type 2 (WPV2) and type 3 (WPV3).
- Spread: The virus is transmitted person-to-person mainly through the faecal-oral route or, less frequently, by a common vehicle (for example, through contaminated water or food). It largely affects children under 5 years of age. The virus multiplies in the intestine, from where it can invade the nervous system and can cause paralysis. There is no cure, but it can be prevented through
- Vaccines: Oral Polio Vaccine (OPV) and Injectable Polio Vaccine (IPV)
- Note: India received polio-free certification by the World Health Organisation (WHO) in 2014, after three years of zero cases.
- Pulse Polio Programme: It was started with an objective of achieving 100% coverage under Oral Polio Vaccine.
- Mission Indradhanush : it is an immunization scheme launched by the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, GoI on
25th December, 2014. Depicting seven colours of the rainbow (Inderdhanush), it aimed to cover all those children by
220 who are either unvaccinated, or are partially vaccinated against seven vaccine preventable diseases which include diphtheria, whooping cough, tetanus, polio, tuberculosis, measles and hepatitis B.
- Intensified Mission Indradhanush 2.0: It was a nationwide immunisation drive to mark the 25 years of Pulse polio programme (2019-20).
- Universal Immunization Programme (UIP): It was launched in 1985 with the modification to ‘Expanded Programme of Immunization (EPI).
31 October : National Unity Day
- Since 2014, It is celebrated every year to commemorate the birth anniversary of Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel. It is also known as Rashtriya Ekta Diwas.
- In 2018, the Government of India unveiled the ‘Statue of Unity’ in Gujarat to mark the 143rd birth anniversary of Sardar Patel.
- Statue of Unity: It is the tallest statue in the world. At 182 meters as the Gujarat Legislative Assembly has 182 members. It is 23 meters taller than China’s Spring Temple Buddha statue and almost double the height of the Statue of Liberty (93 meters tall) in the US. In January 2020, it was added to the ‘Eight Wonders’ of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO).
- It is built on Sadhu Bet Island on the Narmada river in Gujarat and overlooking the Sardar Sarovar dam. The statue was built by Indian construction major Larsen & Toubro (L&T) and designed by Padma Bhushan-winning sculptor Ram V Sutar,
Himachal Pradesh HIMCAD
- The state government of Himachal Pradesh has started a new scheme named ‘HIMCAD’, to provide irrigation facilities to farmers. Under the scheme, it is planned to provide command area development activities to 23,344 hectares of cultivable command area by March 2024, and the State Technical Advisory Committee has approved 379 minor irrigation schemes worth Rs 305.70 crore. About 80 per cent of the agricultural area of the state is rain-fed. PM Modi’s Himachal Visit
- PM Modi flagged off the inaugural run of the new Vande Bharat Express Train from Amb Andaura to New Delhi.
- He also laid the foundation stone of Bulk Drug Park at Haroli in Una district, which will be built at a cost of over Rs 1900 crore. The Bulk Drug Park will help reduce dependence on API imports.
- In Chamba district, he laid the foundation stone of two hydropower projects and launched the Pradhan Mantri Gram Sadak Yojana-III in Himachal Pradesh. The two hydropower projects are :
- the 48 MW Chanju-III hydro-electric project o the 30 MW Deothal Chanju hydro-electric project
- Note : The two hydropower projects will generate over 270 million units of electricity annually and the state is expected to earn an annual revenue of around ₹110 crore from these.
- Prime Minister Narendra Modi inaugurated the Indian Institute of Information Technology (IIIT) in Una.
- Third campus of the Indian Institute of Foreign Trade (IIFT) is opened at the Jawaharlal Nehru Technological University (JNTU) -K campus in Kakinada, Andhra Pradesh.
- Note : The two IIFT campuses in New Delhi and Calcutta were offering a two-year international business programme and the third campus at Kakinada would offer five years integrated MBA programme.
- Recently, Saras Food Festival, 2022 has been organized in New Delhi to promote ethnic and home-made handicrafts, paintings, toys, etc., prepared by women of Self-Help Groups (SHGs). It is an initiative of the Union Ministry of Rural Development as an effort to empower women on a large scale.
- Delhi government has launched the ‘Diye Jalao, Patake Nahin’ (light up lamps, not firecrackers) campaign at Central Park in New Delhi.
- Delhi Lieutenant Governor Vinai Kumar Saxena has launched a one-time property tax amnesty scheme “SAMRIDDHI 2022-23”, which will provide a major relief to lakhs of residential and commercial property owners in the city.
- Recently, the Chhattisgarh government had launched Lok Adalat in jails for the speedy disposal of cases for the prisoners of the state.
- Chief Minister Bhupesh Baghel launched the Chhattisgarhia Olympic Games (state’s own Olympics) at Sardar Balbir Singh Juneja Indoor Stadium to give global recognition to the traditional sports of Chhattisgarh.
- Union Home Minister Amit Shah unveils 14 feet high statue of Lok Nayak Jayprakash Narayan at his ancestral village Sitabdiara in Saran district, Bihar. Maharashtra
- India’s first ‘Migration Monitoring System’ inaugurated in Mumbai The website-based Migration Tracking System will track the movement of vulnerable seasonal migrant beneficiaries.
- The International Union of Geological Sciences (IUGS), one of the largest scientific organisations of UNESCO, has recognised the Mawmluh Cave (7.2 kms), located in the East Khasi Hills district of Meghalaya, as one of the first 100 IUGS geological heritage sites.
Jammu & Kashmir
- India’s first technology business incubation centre based on green technology named ‘Greenovator Incubation Foundation’ is to be set up at National Institute of Technology (NIT) Srinagar.
- Ladakh MP Jamyang Tsering Namgyal launched the ‘Main Bhi Subhash’ campaign from Leh. The ‘Main Bhi Subhash’ campaign is a series of events which is organized by the Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose INA Trust in collaboration with the Ministry of Culture. Kerela
- The Pullumpara village panchayat in the Thiruvananthapuram district, Kerala achieved the distinction of becoming the first totally digitally literate panchayat in the country.
- Honesty Shops have been opened in 15 schools in the Ernakulam district of Kerala. The Honesty Shops are a part of the Student Police Cadet (SPC) project which aims to provide valuable lessons on truth, and integrity for students. In these honestly shops there is no salesman at the counters and students can drop the money for each item in the collection box kept in the shop. Uttar Pradesh
- Ayodhya set a new Guinness World Record for burning the most earthen lamps/ diyas, 76 lakh, on the banks of the Saryu. Prime Minister Narendra Modi was present during the sixth Deepotsav in Ayodhya.
- The Centre has approved the setting up of the Terai Elephant Reserve (TER) at Dudhwa-Pilibhit in Uttar Pradesh. The Terai Elephant Reserve is the 3rd Elephant Reserve in India which is spread over 3,049 sq km.
- Tamil Nadu has emerged as the only State which has achieved the target for 2022 Q1 and Q2 for Jal Jeevan Mission, with 69.57 lakh households provided with tap connections till date, according to official data.
- The Madhya Pradesh government has cancelled all contracts with 400 MW Maheshwar Hydroelectric Project (on Narmada River) almost three decades after it agreed to purchase power from it. It has been cancelled due to its poor financial track record, several irregularities and graft allegations and caused the submergence of 61 villages.
- Home Minister Amit Shah launched the MBBS Course books in Hindi version at Bhopal, Madhya Pradesh. It is the first ever Hindi version of the MBBS course books in India.
- Gujarat has been declared as a 100 percent ‘Har Ghar Jal’ state. In Gujarat, households in rural areas have access to safe drinking water through taps under the ‘Har Ghar Jal’ mission. (The ‘Har Ghar Jal’ was launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in 2019. The ‘Har Ghar Jal’ aims to make available 55 liters of water per person every day to each rural household through household tap connections by 2024).
- The Karnataka cabinet decided to promulgate an ordinance to raise reservations for Scheduled Caste (SCs) by 2 percent and for Scheduled Tribe (STs) by 4 percent.
- The Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) granted Jeypore Airport the license to carry out commercial flight operations under the regional connectivity scheme UDAN.
- Odisha Chief Minister, Naveen Patnaik has launched a common credit portal SAFAL’ (Simplified Application for Agricultural Loans) for the welfare of farmers.
- India’s second Rashtriya Adarsh Veda Vidyalaya (RAVV) is set up in Puri, Odisha. It is also called Shree Jagannath Rashtriya Adarsh Veda Vidyalaya.
- The Rashtriya Adarsh Veda Vidyalaya has been launched to spread knowledge of the 4 Vedas among people. Sandipani Rashtriya Ved Vidya Pratisthan is the first such school in Ujjain, Madhya Pradesh. Four more such schools will come up at Badrinath in Uttrakhand, Sringeri in Karnataka, Dwarka in Gujarat, and Guwahati in Assam. Admissions will be based on merit in the ‘Veda Bhusan’ fourth (class 9), ‘Veda Bhusan’ fifth (class 10), ‘Veda Vibhushan’ first (Class 11), and ‘Veda Vibhushan’ second (class 12).
- Adani Green Energy Ltd (AGEL) has commissioned the world’s largest wind-solar power plant of 600 MV capacity in Jaisalmer, Rajasthan.
- A 369-foot-tall Shiva statue called “Viswas Swaroopam” (Statue of Belief ) was unveiled in Nathdwara of Rajsamand district, Rajasthan. It is inaugurated by Rajasthan’s Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot in presence of Assembly Speaker CP Joshi, and preacher Morari Bapu. It is said to be the highest Shiva statue in the entire world.
- The Telangana government issued an order to increase the reservation for the Scheduled Tribe communities from 6 per cent to 10 per cent (with this, the total reservation in state becomes 54 %).
- The Telangana government has introduced ‘Aasara’ pensions– a welfare scheme for the older section of the state, widows, physically disabled, and beedi workers to avail pension facilities.
- The city of Hyderabad, Telangana, has been honoured as the Grand winner of the AIPH (International Association of Horticultural Producers) World Green City Awards 2022.
MISCELLANEOUS (in News)
- Recently, a new study was published titled Climate Risk Index for Marine Life, which captures the climate risk for nearly 25,000 marine species and their ecosystems.
- Recently, the World Bank released a report titled “Poverty and Shared Prosperity 2022: Correcting Course”.
- To establish uniform safety standards for electric vehicles (EVs), India will begin its first ever testing of EVs from April 1, 2023 (As of now, there are no centralised testing facilities for EVs in India and manufacturers have their own benchmarks).
- According to India State of Forest Report, 2021, the Total Forest and Tree cover is now 7,13,789 square kilometres, 21.71% of the country’s geographical area, an increase from 21.67% in 2019.
- Largest Forest Cover (Area-wise): Madhya Pradesh> Arunachal Pradesh> Chhattisgarh> Odisha> Maharashtra.
- Recently, Food and Agriculture Organization has released a report titled “Mainstreaming Biodiversity in Forestry Report” Kenya’s Eliud Kipchoge, who is regarded as the world’s greatest marathon runner, broke his own world record by 30 seconds at the Berlin Marathon. It was a major improvement over his 2:01:39 set four years ago in Berlin.
- The Berlin marathon course is considered the fastest in the world because of the flat smooth roads. It is a race in which people run on roads over a distance of 42 kilometres or about 26 miles.
- Recently, India participated in the 6th East Asia Summit Education Minister’s Meeting held in Hanoi, Vietnam. Recently, Union Minister for Railways inaugurated India’s First Aluminum Freight Rake named – 61 BOBRNALHSM1 at Bhubaneswar Railway Station.
- According to the EY (Ernst & Young)- Confederation of Indian Industries (CII) report titled ‘Vision—Developed India: Opportunities and Expectations of MNCs’, India will attract FDI (Foregn Direct Investment) worth USD 475 billion in 5 years.
- The Embassy of Japan, New Delhi, has filed an application seeking a Geographical Indication (GI) tag for Nihonshu/Japanese sake. In Japan, Nihonshu is regarded as a special and valuable beverage /drink made from fermenting rice. This is the first time a product from Japan has filed for a tag at the Geographical Indication Registry.
- Recently, Government of India has announced a month-long programme named the ‘Kashi-Tamil Sangamam’ “to strengthen” and “rekindle” the cultural and civilisational bond between Tamil Nadu and Varanasi. This programme would be a part of the Ek Bharat Sreshtha Bharat initiative (started in 2015).
- Recently, the World has celebrated the 77th anniversary of the United Nations (UN) on 24th October 2022. The United Nations (UN) is an international organization founded in 1945. It is currently made up of 193 Member States. India is one of the founding members of the UN.
- Enhanced Access and Service Excellence(EASE) is a common reform agenda for Public Sector Banks (PSBs). It is aimed at institutionalizing clean lending, better customer service, simplified and enhanced credit and robust governance and HR practices.
- Recently a report was released titled Lancet countdown on health and climate change: health at the mercy of fossil fuels, showing that from 2000-2004 to 2017-2021, heat-related deaths increased by 55% in India.
- A new study revealed that, in 2022 Switzerland’s glaciers have lost an average of 6.2% of their ice.
- Recently, Union Home Minister announced all states in the country will have National Investigation Agency (NIA) offices by 2024 as a strategy to counter terrorism.
- Recently, the Government of NCT of Delhi has appealed to the Prime Minister of India to have images of Goddess Lakshmi and Lord Ganesh printed on the new currency notes.
- Recently, UNICEF (United Nations Children’s Fund) released a report titled “Coldest Year of the Rest of Their Lives – Protecting children from the escalating impacts of heatwaves”, showing that nearly all the children across the world will be exposed to more frequent and severe heat waves by 2050.
- Recently, Jharkhand chief minister who was an accused of holding an office of profit, pleaded to government to make his crime public as well as grant him punishment at the earliest.
- Recently, Israel and Lebanon signed a U.S.-brokered Maritime Border Deal which paves the way for lucrative offshore gas extraction by both nations that remain technically at war for their 860 square kilometers (330 square miles) claim in the Mediterranean Sea.
- Recently, The World Health Organisation released the first-ever list of fungal infections (Priority Pathogens) that can be a threat to public health. Fungal priority pathogens list (FPPL) includes 19 fungi that represent the greatest threat to human health.
- As per a report by Union Tourism Ministry, Maharashtra and Tamil Nadu had the highest numbers of foreign tourist visits, with 1.26 million and 1.23 million, respectively in 2021.
- The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) has launched a multi-phase ‘Operation Garuda’ to dismantle drug networks. The Chief Election Commissioner Shri Rajiv Kumar launched a yearlong Voter Awareness Program ‘Matdata Junction’ during an event organized at Akashvani Rang Bhavan.
- To create awareness amongst voters, Actor Pankaj Tripathi declared ‘National Icon’ by Election Commission of India.
- The Reserve Bank Governor Shaktikanta Das launched a new ‘SupTech’ initiative DAKSH – the bank’s Advanced Supervisory Monitoring System, which is expected to make the supervisory processes more robust.
- Former Indian cricket Mahendra Singh Dhoni has launched the made-in-India camera drone named ‘Droni’ with advanced features manufactured by Garuda Aerospace. Dhoni is the brand ambassador of Garuda Aerospace.
- Chandrayaan-2 Orbiter’s X-ray spectrometer ‘CLASS’ has mapped an abundance of sodium on the moon for the first time, as per the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO).
- Hollywood Actor Tom Cruise to become the first actor to shoot a movie in outer space.
- Defence Minister Rajnath Singh launched a portal ‘Maa Bharati Ke Sapoot’ (MBKS) that will enable citizens to contribute to the Armed Forces Battle Casualties Welfare Fund (AFBCWF). Actor Amitabh Bachchan is the ‘Goodwill Ambassador’ of the initiative.
- Indian Navy Conducts Offshore Security Exercise, ‘Prasthan’. It was conducted by the Eastern Naval Command in the Offshore Development Area (ODA) off Kakinada, Andhra Pradesh.
- The Union Cabinet approved an increase in the Minimum Support Price (MSP) for all Rabi Crops for the Marketing Season 2023-24. The highest increase has been cleared for lentils with a hike of 500 rupees per quintal.
- 8th edition of ‘SARANG’– The Festival of India in Republic of Korea’ held recently. It is an annual flagship cultural program of Embassy of India in Seoul.
- Serbian scientists have named a new species of beetle after the tennis player Novak Djokovic, a Serbian tennis player due to its speed, strength, flexibility, durability and ability to survive in a difficult environment.
- Union Minister of Petroleum and Natural Gas, Hardeep Singh Puri has inaugurated Asia’s largest Compressed Bio Gas (CBG) plant in Lehragaga, in Sangrur, Punjab. The World Bank has appointed a “neutral expert” (Michel Lino ) and a chairman of the Court of Arbitration (Sean Murphy ) regarding the Kishenganga and Ratle hydroelectric power plants, in view of disagreements and differences between India and Pakistan over the 1960 Indus Water Treaty.
- Guinness World Records has officially declared “Monday” the worst day of the week.
- HCL founder Shiv Nadar topped as the most generous person in the country with an annual donation of Rs 1,161 crore, the EdelGive Hurun India Philanthropy List 2022 revealed.
- Telangana’s Hyderabadi Haleem has won the ‘Most Popular GI’ award after beating other food items including Rasgulla, Bikaneri Bhujiya, and Ratlami Sev.
- The Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) plans to launch its third lunar mission (Chandaryaan-3) in the month of June 2023.
- Anna May Wong (Hollywood’s first Chinese American actor ) is set to become the first Asian American to appear on US currency.
- Diwali will be a holiday for the New York City public school starting next year in 2023.
- The Netherlands has emerged as India’s third-largest export destination, ahead of China and Bangladesh.
- (Meanwhile, the US and the UAE continue to be the largest and second-largest export destinations, respectively, for India.)
- Legendary filmmaker Satyajit Ray’s feature “Pather Panchali” has been declared the best Indian film of all time by the International Federation of Film Critics (FIPRESCI).
- Elon Musk Fires/sacked Twitter CEO Parag Agrawal (recently Elon Musk completes $44 billion acquisition of Twitter Inc., after six months of public and legal battle over the purchase).
- Spiritual leader Mata, Amritanandamayi Devi (Amma) has been appointed the Chair of the country’s Civil 20 (C20), an official engagement group of the Group of 20 (G20), by the union government.
- SS Rajamouli’s film RRR won the ‘Best International Film’ honour at the Saturn Awards 2022, which were held in Los Angeles.
- Retail jewellery major Malabar Gold and Diamonds has become the first jeweller in India to import 25 kg gold under the Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (CEPA) between India and the UAE.
- First edition of the India-Mozambique-Tanzania Trilateral Exercise commenced at Dar Es Salaam, Tanzania on 27th October 2022.
- 30 October 2022 : 113th Birth anniversary of Indian nuclear physicist Homi Jehangir Bhabha who is also known as the father of the Indian nuclear program. He was born on 30 October 1909 in Bombay, Bombay Presidency, British India (now Mumbai, Maharashtra, India). His invaluable contributions to the field of science continue to inspire generations of young minds in the country. Homi J Bhabha was born into a prominent wealthy Parsi family.
- In 1942, Bhabha was awarded the Adams Prize and Padma Bhushan in 1954.In 1951 and 1953–1956, Bhabha was also nominated for the Nobel Prize for Physics.
- In 1951 and 1953–1956, Bhabha was also nominated for the Nobel Prize for Physics.