April 15, 2021

Current Affairs
April 15, 2021

MONKEYDACTYL
Researchers have described a pterosaur species with opposable thumbs, which could likely be the earliest-known instance of the limb.

About:

  • The pterosaur species were reptiles, close cousins of dinosaurs and the first animals after insects to evolve powered flight. They evolved into various species; while some were as large as an F-16 fighter jet, others were as small as paper airplanes.

  • The new pterosaur fossil was discovered in the Tiaojishan Formation of Liaoning, China, and is thought to be 160 million years old. It has been named Kunpengopterus antipollicatus, also dubbed “Monkeydactyl”.

What has the team of researchers found?

  • “Antipollicatus” in ancient Greek means “opposite thumbs”, and it was attached to the name because the researchers’ findings could be the first discovery of a pterosaur with an opposed thumb.

  • By studying its forelimb morphology and musculature, they suggest that K. antipollicatus could have used its hand for grasping, which is likely an adaptation for arboreal life.

Source : Indian Express
Science & Tech

Current Affairs
April 15, 2021

Gruppe S
The trial of 11 individuals who are believed to be members of Germany’s far-right group called “Gruppe S” (Group S) began in the city of Stuttgart. These 11 members are suspected of planning attacks on mosques, asylum centres and the German parliament.

About:

  • According to the German government, the organisation was founded by Werner S, Tony E, Michael B, Frank H, Thomas N, Marcel W, Wolfgang W and Paul-Ludwig U during a meeting in September 2019. This meeting and the merger took place at the instigation of Werner S.

  • The aim of the founding members was to “shake the state and social order” of Germany by means of a civil war. This would involve attacks on mosques and killing or injuring a large number of Muslims present in the mosque.

  • The group also planned to attack political dissenters.

Important Info :

Far-right sentiment in Europe

  • Support for right-wing parties is on the rise in Europe, which in recent years has seen a surge in popularity of outfits such as the Alternative for Germany (AfD) party in Germany and Vox in Spain that have brought the ideas of national identity and immigration to the forefront.
  • The Swedish parliament’s third-largest party, the right-wing Sweden Democrats that has roots in Neo-Nazism, has created the perception among people in recent years that the influx of predominantly Muslim immigrants has led to a surge in crime.
Source : Indian Express
International

Current Affairs
April 15, 2021

KGDWN-98/2 BLOCK
Oil and Natural Gas Corporation (ONGC) has called on buyers to bid for natural gas from the Deepwater fields of the KGDWN-98/2 block off of the east coast of India.

About:

  • ONGC is set to supply about 2 Million Metric Standard Cubic Metres per Day (MMSCMD) of natural gas from the fields starting at the end of June.

  • The ramping up of production from the KG-DWN 98/2 block by ONGC is a key component of the government’s plan to boost domestic production with the block expected to reach peak production of 15 MMSCMD by 2024.

  • This would account for about a 20 per cent increase above the company’s current production level of about 70 MMSCMD.

  • Natural gas production from the Krishna Godavari basin is a key part of India’s plans to reduce import dependence by boosting domestic production.

  • India currently imports about half of its natural gas requirements of 175 MMSCMD.

Source : Indian Express
Economy

Current Affairs
April 15, 2021

MANAS
The Principal Scientific Adviser to the Government of India launched the “MANAS” App to promote wellbeing across age groups.

About:

  • MANAS which stands for Mental Health and Normalcy Augmentation System was endorsed as a national program by the Prime Minister’s Science, Technology, and Innovation Advisory Council (PM-STIAC).

  • MANAS is a comprehensive, scalable, and national digital wellbeing platform and an app developed to augment mental well-being of Indian citizens.

  • MANAS App integrates the health and wellness efforts of various government ministries, scientifically validated indigenous tools with gamified interfaces developed/researched by various national bodies and research institutions.

  • MANAS was initiated by the Office of the Principal Scientific Adviser to the Government of India. It was jointly executed by NIMHANS Bengaluru, AFMC Pune and C-DAC Bengaluru.

Source : PIB
Health

Current Affairs
April 15, 2021

NATIONAL COMMISSION FOR SCHEDULED CASTES (NCSC)
Government of India launched the “Online Grievance Management Portal of National Commission for Scheduled Castes (NCSC)”.

About:

  • This NCSC Grievance Management portal would make it easier for Scheduled Castes population to register their complaint from any part of the country.

  • The portal is designed in collaboration with the Bhaskaracharya Institute for Space Applications and Geoinformatics (BISAG-N), a Centre of Excellence under the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology.

  • The National Commission for Scheduled Castes (NCSC) was set up under the Article 338 of the Constitution of India with the objective to investigate and monitor all issues pertaining to the safeguards provided for the Scheduled Castes under any law for the time being in force or under any order of the Government of India.

Source : PIB
Social Issues

Current Affairs
April 15, 2021

HYDROGEN SULPHIDE (H2S)
Scientists have developed an electronic nose with biodegradable polymer and monomer that can detect hydrogen sulphide (H2S), a poisonous, corrosive, and flammable gas produced from swamps and sewers.

About:

  • H2S is the primary gas produced from the microbial breakdown of organic matter in the absence of oxygen, and this necessitates easy detection of its emission from sewers and swamps.

  • Responding to this challenge, scientists from the Centre for Nano and Soft Matter Sciences (CeNS), Bangalore, an autonomous institute of the DST have developed an exceptionally sensitive and selective H2S Gas sensor developed by impersonating the neuron responsible for identification of airborne molecules or olfactory receptor neuron (ORN).

  • The fabricated sensor consists of a heterostructure consisting of two layers –
    • the top layer a monomer and is realized with a novel chemical tris (keto-hydrazone), which is both porous and contains H2S specific functional groups, and

    • the bottom layer is the active channel layer which plays a key role in altering the current and mobility of charge carriers.



Source : PIB
Science & Tech

Current Affairs
April 15, 2021

HYDROGEN ECONOMY- THE INDIAN DIALOGUE-2021
The Energy Forum (TEF) and the Federation of Indian Petroleum Industry (FIPI), under the aegis of Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas, Government of India, are organising a Hydrogen Roundtable titled “Hydrogen Economy- the Indian Dialogue-2021” in a virtual mode on 15th April, 2021.

About:

  • The Hydrogen Roundtable, the first of its kind, will comprise a High-level Ministerial Session, followed by five Panel Discussions by eminent policy makers, experts and industry leaders from different geographical regions of the world, with focus on policy roadmaps and mapping demand and supply of Hydrogen.

  • This high-level roundtable conference will be led by Shri Dharmendra Pradhan, Minister for Petroleum and Natural Gas & Steel, Government of India.

  • A separate session is devoted to India's Hydrogen Mission.

  • The Hydrogen Roundtable will be having 25 panellists from15 countries, discussing the potential of Hydrogen from multiple sources and its relevance in national energy transitions.

  • The objective of the Roundtable is to understand the progress of Hydrogen ecosystem across continents and contribute to creating synchrony among the thinktanks, Governments and the industry to join forces for developing innovative and sustainable technologies at attractive costs.

Source : PIB
Economy

Current Affairs
April 15, 2021

TRADITIONAL NEW YEAR
Various regions of the country are celebrating traditional new year today in the form of Ugadi, Gudi Padava, Chaitra Sukladi, Cheti Chand, Vishu, Puthandu and Bohag Bihu.

About:

  • According to the Luni-Solar calendar, the first day of the full moon of Chaitra is the beginning of the Hindu new year.

  • People of Andhra Pradesh and Telangana call it 'Ugadi', and in Karnataka, it is ‘Yugadi’.

  • In Maharashtra, it is celebrated as ‘Gudi Padwa’, and in Tamil Nadu, it is observed as ‘Puthandu’.

  • In Kerala, the day is celebrated as ‘Vishu’, In Punjab it is ‘Vaisakhi’ and in Odisha, it is called ‘Pana Sankranthi’.

  • In West Bengal, it is called ‘Poila Boishakh’ and in Assam, 'Bohag Bihu'.

  • Prime Minister Narendra Modi also extended his greetings on the beginning of the new Samvat Year 2078 and wished for happiness and joy in everyone's life.

Source : All India Radio
Culture

Current Affairs
April 15, 2021

GYANVAPI MASJID
The managing committee of the Gyanvapi mosque in Varanasi and the Uttar Pradesh Sunni Central Waqf Board have moved the Allahabad High Court to restrain the proceedings of a local court which recently directed the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) to conduct a physical survey of the mosque compound adjacent to the Kashi Vishwanath temple.

About:

  • Senior fast-track court civil judge Ashutosh Tiwari on April 8 directed the ASI to conduct a survey of the Gyanvapi mosque compound adjacent to the Kashi Vishwanath temple to find out whether it was a “superimposition, alteration or addition or there is structural overlapping of any kind, with or over, any other religious structure”.

  • The committee would “trace as to whether any Hindu temple ever existed before the mosque was built or superimposed at the site”.

Source : The Hindu
Culture

April 14, 2021

Current Affairs
April 14, 2021

MONSOON
Skymet Weather, a private weather forecast company, said that the monsoon in India was likely to be 103% of the long period average (LPA) this year.

About:

  • The LPA refers to the average all-India monsoon rainfall of 88 cm, which is a 50-year mean.

  • The agency classified the forecast as “healthy normal”.

  • The monsoon in 2019 and 2020 was only the third time in a century of back-to-back years of above normal rainfall (rainfall that is 5% above normal, or 105%) during the season in India. This year’s forecast by Skymet falls a little short of the “above normal” mark.

Important Info :

View on El Nino

  • The odds of an El Nino, characterised by a heating of the equatorial central Pacific over half a degree, are low this year.
  • An El Nino is historically associated, in many years, with a weakening of the monsoon over India.
  • The monsoon is also expected to be fairly well-distributed, with even September (the month in which the season starts to recede) expected to post 10% more rainfall than normal.
  • The India Meteorological Department (IMD), which provides the official forecasts, is expected to announce its forecast later this month.
  • Along with the El Nino, another ocean variable, the Indian Ocean Dipole, characterised by a temperature gradient in the western and eastern Indian Ocean, is expected to be slightly on the negative. A positive dipole usually aids the monsoon.
Source : The Hindu
Geography

Current Affairs
April 14, 2021

REGISTER OF INDIGENOUS INHABITANTS OF NAGALAND (RIIN)
An apex body of Naga tribes has asked the Nagaland government not to be hasty with the exercise to prepare the Register of Indigenous Inhabitants of Nagaland (RIIN), seen as a variant of Assam’s National Register of Citizens.

About:

  • The Nagaland government has reportedly been trying to revive the RIIN exercise that was launched in July 2019 with the stated objective of preventing outsiders from obtaining fake indigenous certificates for seeking jobs and benefits of government schemes.

  • The State government had formed a three-member panel headed by retired bureaucrat Banuo Z. Jamir for “examining and advising” on the implementation of RIIN.

  • The State government had tasked the RIIN committee with determining the eligibility criteria to be an indigenous inhabitant, authority to authenticate claims of being indigenous, place of registration as indigenous inhabitant, the basis of claims of being indigenous, and the nature of documents that will be acceptable as proof.

Important Info :

Objections

  • But the exercise was suspended following protests from community-based and extremist organisations.
  • If the RIIN is implemented with December 1, 1963 – the day Nagaland attained statehood – as the cut-off date, then this date is likely to exclude Nagas who have come from beyond the boundaries of Nagaland.
  • According to the Naga Hoho, Naga tribes living in Assam, Manipur and Arunachal Pradesh in India and in Myanmar have a legitimate claim to their ancestral homeland.
Source : The Hindu
Polity & Governance

Current Affairs
April 14, 2021

INDIAN RHINO VISION 2020 (IRV 2020)
The ambitious Indian Rhino Vision 2020 (IRV 2020) came to a close with the release of two rhinos — an adult male and a female — in Assam’s Manas National Park transported from Pobitora Wildlife Sanctuary about 185 km east.

About:

  • Designed in 2005, the IRV2020 is believed to have achieved its target of attaining a population of 3,000 rhinos in Assam.

  • But the plan to spread the Rhinoceros unicornis across four protected areas beyond Kaziranga National Park, Orang National Park and Pobitora could not materialise.

Important Info :

Background

  • Assam had at least five rhino-bearing areas till the 1980s. Better conservation efforts helped maintain the population of the one-horned herbivore in Kaziranga, Orang and Pobitora, but encroachment and poaching wiped the animal out of Manas and Laokhowa Wildlife Sanctuary.
  • The lesser-known Laokhowa slipped under the radar of international watchdogs.
  • Manas, in focus for the near-extinction of the pygmy hog, lost the World Heritage Site tag it received in 1985 along with Kaziranga from the UNESCO.
  • The translocated rhinos helped Manas National Park get back its World Heritage Site status in 2011.
Source : Deccan Herald
Environment

Current Affairs
April 14, 2021

NARROW-LINE SEYFERT 1 (NLS1) GALAXY
Astronomers have discovered a new active galaxy identified as the farthest gamma-ray emitting galaxy that has so far been stumbled upon.

About:

  • This active galaxy called the Narrow-Line Seyfert 1 (NLS1) galaxy, which is about 31 billion light-years away, opens up avenues to explore more such gamma-ray emitting galaxies that wait to meet us.

  • Scientists from ARIES, an autonomous institute of the Department of Science & Technology (DST) studied around 25,000 luminous Active galactic nuclei (AGN) from the Sloan Digital Sky Survey (SDSS), a major optical imaging and spectroscopic survey of astronomical objects in-operation for the last 20 years.

  • They found a unique object that emits high-energy gamma rays located at a high redshift. They identified it as a gamma-ray emitting NLS1 galaxy, which is a rare entity in space.

  • The new gamma-ray emitting NLS1 was formed when the Universe was only about 4.7 billion years old as compared to its current age of about 13.8 billion years.

Source : PIB
Science & Tech

Current Affairs
April 14, 2021

NETWORK SURVEY VEHICLE (NSV)
NHAI has decided to Make Network Survey Vehicle (NSV) Use Mandatory for Road Condition Survey to enhance quality of the National Highways.

About:

  • Carrying out road condition survey using NSV on the National Highways has been made mandatory at the time of certifying completion of the project and every six months thereafter.

  • The provision has also been included as a part of the standard bidding document of consultancy services.

  • The deployment will help in enhancing the overall quality of the highways as NSV uses the latest survey techniques such as high-resolution digital camera for 3600 imagery, Record images/videos at regular intervals, Laser Road Profilometer and other related technology for measurement of distresses in road surface.

  • Data collected through NSV survey shall be uploaded on NHAI’s ‘AI’ based portal Data Lake, where it will be analysed by Road Asset Management Cell (RAMS Cell) to assess the condition/roughness of road to prioritise for the maintenance.

Source : PIB
Economy

Current Affairs
April 14, 2021

INFANT TODDLER AND CAREGIVER-FRIENDLY NEIGHBOURHOODS (ITCN) TRAINING AND CAPACITY BUILDING PROGRAMME
The ‘Infant Toddler and Caregiver-friendly Neighbourhoods (ITCN) Training and Capacity Building Programme’ was launched virtually today by National Institute of Urban Affairs (NIUA) in partnership with Bernard van Leer Foundation (BvLF).

About:

  • The Programme is designed to help build capacities of city officials and young professionals for developing young children and family-friendly neighbourhoods within cities in India.

  • Under the programme, city officials and young professionals are proposed to be skilled through certified training and capacity building modules.

  • The training is proposed to be delivered through well-structured training modules, provided online through National Urban Learning Platform (NULP), the platform developed for knowledge dissemination by MoHUA and NIUA.

Important Info :

Do you know?

  • The National Institute of Urban Affairs (NIUA), is a premier Institute of Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs, Government of India for research and capacity building for the urban sector in India. It was established in 1976.
  • The National Urban Learning Platform (NULP) is envisioned as a means of digitally consolidating key skills and knowledge required by urban stakeholders and making these available to all actors on a channel of their choice.
Source : PIB
Social Issues

Current Affairs
April 14, 2021

e-SANTA
Union Commerce and Industry Minister inaugurated e-SANTA, an electronic marketplace providing a platform to connect aqua farmers and the buyers.

About:

  • It will enable the farmers to get a better price and the exporters to directly purchase quality products from the farmers enhancing traceability, a key factor in international trade.

  • The term e-SANTA was coined for the web portal, meaning Electronic Solution for Augmenting NaCSA farmers' Trade in Aquaculture.

  • National Centre for Sustainable Aquaculture (NaCSA) is an extension arm of Marine Products Export Development Authority (MPEDA), Govt. of India, Ministry of Commerce & Industry.

  • e-SANTA will ‘RAISE’ the lives & income of farmers by:
    • Reducing Risk

    • Awareness of Products & Markets

    • Increase in Income

    • Shielding Against Wrong Practice

    • Ease of Processes



Source : PIB
Economy

Current Affairs
April 14, 2021

GANGAVARAM PORT
The Competition Commission of India (CCI) approves acquisition of 89.6% of equity shareholding of Gangavaram Port Limited (“GPL”) by Adani Ports and Special Economic Zones Limited (“APSEZ”) under the Competition Act, 2002.

About:

  • APSEZ is an integrated port infrastructure services provider currently present across 11 domestic ports in six maritime states of Gujarat, Goa, Kerala, Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu and Odisha.

  • GPL is engaged to own, develop and operate the deep-water port at Gangavaram, Andhra Pradesh, pursuant to a concession agreement on Build-Own-Operate-Transfer basis with Government of Andhra Pradesh for a concession period of thirty years from the date of commercial operations and entitled for a further period of 20 years.

Geography

Current Affairs
April 14, 2021

PLI SCHEME FOR PROMOTION OF DOMESTIC MANUFACTURING OF CRITICAL KSMS/ DRUG INTERMEDIATES AND APIs
Approvals have been accorded to 16 applicants under Production Linked Incentive (PLI) Scheme for Promotion of Domestic Manufacturing of critical Key Starting Materials (KSMs)/ Drug Intermediates and Active Pharmaceutical Ingredients (APIs) in the country.

About:

  • The setting up of these 16 plants will lead to total committed investment of Rs.348.70 crore and employment generation of about 3,042 by the companies.

  • The commercial production of these plants is projected to commence from 1st April, 2023 onward.

  • The scheme has been launched by the Department of Pharmaceuticals for promotion of domestic manufacturing of KSMs/APIs.

  • This will be achieved by setting up greenfield plants with minimum domestic value addition in four different Target Segments (In Two Fermentation based - at least 90% and in the Two Chemical Synthesis based – at least 70% ) for 41 products with a total outlay of Rs. 6,940 cr. for the period 2020-21 to 2029-30.

Important Info :

Background

  • The Indian pharmaceutical industry is the 3rd largest in the world by volume.
  • However, the country is significantly dependent on the import of basic raw materials, viz., Bulk Drugs that are used to produce medicines. In some specific bulk drugs, the import dependence is 80 to 100%.
Source : PIB
Health

Current Affairs
April 14, 2021

POSHAN GYAN
NITI Aayog, in partnership with Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and Centre for Social and Behaviour Change, Ashoka University, launched Poshan Gyan, a national digital repository on health and nutrition.

About:

  • The Poshan Gyan repository is conceptualized as a resource, enabling search of communication materials on 14 thematic areas of health and nutrition across diverse languages, media types, target audiences and sources.

  • Content for the repository was sourced from the Ministries of Health and Family Welfare and Women and Child Development and developmental organizations.

  • The repository introduces a unique crowdsourcing feature that allows anyone to submit communication material for inclusion on the website, followed by a review by a designated committee.

Source : PIB
Health

April 13, 2021

Current Affairs
April 13, 2021

SPUTNIK V
Russia’s COVID-19 vaccine — Sputnik V — has been recommended for emergency use authorisation in India following a meeting of the Subject Expert Committee (SEC).

About:

  • If approved by the Drug Controller General of India (DCGI), Sputnik V would be the third vaccine to be made available in India after the Serum Institute of India’s Covishield and Bharat Biotech’s Covaxin.

  • Sputnik V, developed by Russia’s Gamaleya Research Institute of Epidemiology and Microbiology, claims to be one of the three vaccines in the world with efficacy of over 90%.

  • the vaccine supplies for the global market will be produced by the Russian Direct Investment Fund (RDIF) international partners in India, Brazil, China, South Korea and other countries.

Source : The Hindu
Health

Current Affairs
April 13, 2021

AAHAAR KRANTI
Union Health Minister, Dr Harsh Vardhan will launch a new mission called `Aahaar Kranti’.

About:

  • The mission is aimed to spread the message of the need for a nutritionally balanced diet and to understand the importance of accessible to all local fruits and vegetables.

  • Vijnana Bharati (Vibha) and Global Indian Scientists’ and Technocrats’ Forum (GIST) have come together to launch the mission with the motto of ‘Good Diet-Good Cognition’.

  • The `Aahaar Kranti’ movement is designed to address the problem of `hunger and diseases in abundance’.

  • Union Ministry of Science and Technology’s Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR)’s Pravasi Bharatiya Academic and Scientific Sampark (Prabhaas) is collaborating, and various central and state government ministries and agencies are involved.

  • The programme will focus on training teachers, who, in turn, will pass on the message to the multitudes of students, and through them to their families and finally the society at large. Such a strategy was adopted for the eradication of Polio and it turned out to be a grand success.

  • Studies estimate that India produces as much as two times the amount of calories that it consumes. However, many in the country are still malnourished. The root cause of this strange phenomenon is a lack of nutritional awareness in all sections of our society.

Important Info :
  • The United Nations has also declared 2021 as the International Year of Fruits and Vegetables, which vibes very well with Aahaar Kranti. Fruits and vegetables make a large part of a balanced diet.
  • Further, UN sustainable goal # 3 that emphasizes on human well-being reads, “Ensure healthy lives and promote well-being for all at all ages.” This goal too makes Aahaar Kranti more meaningful. Diet and well-being are inseparable partners.
Source : PIB
Health

Current Affairs
April 13, 2021

‘REFUGEES’ AND ‘ILLEGAL IMMIGRANTS’
Last week, the Supreme Court appeared to accept the Centre’s contention that the Rohingya people in India are illegal immigrants, most of whom are in a detention camp in Jammu, and others in Delhi. It said they should be deported according to procedures under the Foreigners Act, 1946.

About:

  • Under the 1951 UN Convention on the Status of Refugees and the subsequent 1967 Protocol, the word refugee pertains to any person who is outside their country of origin and unable or unwilling to return owing to well-founded fear of persecution for reasons of race, religion, nationality, membership of a particular social group or political opinion.

  • Stateless persons may also be refugees in this sense, where country of origin (citizenship) is understood as ‘country of former habitual residence’.

Important Info :

India & UN convention

  • India has welcomed refugees in the past, and on date, nearly 300,000 people here are categorised as refugees.
  • But India is not a signatory to the 1951 UN Convention on the Status of Refugees and the subsequent 1967 Protocol.
  • Nor does India have a refugee policy or a refugee law of its own.
  • The closest India has come to a refugee policy in recent years is the Citizenship Amendment Act, 2019, which discriminates between refugees on the basis of religion in offering them Indian citizenship.
Source : Indian Express
Polity & Governance

Current Affairs
April 13, 2021

e-Courts
Dr Justice Dhananjaya Y. Chandrachud, Judge, Supreme Court of India and Chairperson, e-Committee of the Supreme Court inaugurated a Judgments and Orders Portal and an e-Filing 3.0 module.

About:

  • The Judgments and Orders search portal is a repository of judgments pronounced by various High Courts in the country. It provides facility to search judgements and final orders based on multiple search criteria.

  • The e-filing 3.0 module, introduced by the e-Committee of the Supreme Court, allows electronic filing of court documents. With the introduction of the new module, there will be no need for lawyers or clients to visit the court premises for filing of a case.

  • The eCourts project has played a sustained role in ensuring citizen centric justice and in recognition of this exemplary work, this project has been conferred the Excellence in Digital Governance Award in 2020 by Government of India.

Source : PIB
Polity & Governance

Current Affairs
April 13, 2021

SEROJA (CYCLONE)
Tropical cyclone Seroja has ripped across a 1,000km stretch of Western Australia, leaving a trail of damage.

About:

  • Severe Tropical Cyclone Seroja was a deadly tropical cyclone that brought historic flooding and landslides in portions of southern Indonesia and East Timor and later went on to impact Western Australia's Mid-West region, becoming one of the first to do so since Cyclone Elaine in 1999.

  • The name Seroja means lotus in Indonesian.

  • As of 12 April 2021, it is estimated that at least 224 people were killed by the storm, with 181 people in Indonesia, 42 in East Timor, and one in Australia. 

Source : All India Radio
Geography

Current Affairs
April 13, 2021

INDIA ENERGY DASHBOARDS (IED)
The India Energy Dashboards Version 2.0 was launched by NITI Aayog.

About:

  • India Energy Dashboards (IED) is an endeavour to provide single-window access to the energy data for the country.

  • Energy data published/provided by Central Electricity Authority, Coal Controller’s Organisation, and Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas is compiled in the Dashboards.

  • NITI Aayog launched the Version 1.0 in May 2017.

Important Info :

The key features of the enhanced version, India Energy Dashboards Version 2.0, are -

  • The IED provides time series data from FY 2005-06 until FY 2019-20;
  • Enhanced data download – It enables easy downloading of data into convenient spreadsheet formats in a cleaner, more intuitive way;
  • IED provides data at sub-yearly frequencies as well. This includes monthly data and API linked data from some portals maintained by the government agencies.
  • The monthly data is sourced from the monthly reports that are regularly published for the electricity, petroleum and natural gas sectors.
  • API linked data from Saubhagya, UJALA, PRAAPTI, and Vidyut PRAVAH has been incorporated in the portal.
Source : PIB
Economy

Current Affairs
April 13, 2021

SUSHIL CHANDRA
The President of India appointed Sushil Chandra the senior-most Election Commissioner, as the Chief Election Commissioner in the Election Commission of India.

About:

  • Sushil Chandra will assume the charge of office of the Chief Election Commissioner with effect from the 13th April, 2021 vice Shri Sunil Arora consequent upon his demitting the Office of the Chief Election Commissioner on the 12th April, 2021.

  • Setup: Election Commission of India is a permanent Constitutional Body. Originally the commission had only a Chief Election Commissioner. It currently consists of Chief Election Commissioner and two Election Commissioners.

  • Appointment of Commissioners: The power to appoint the CEC and the ECs lies with the President of India under Article 324(2) of the Constitution, which states that “the President shall fix the number of ECs in a manner he sees fit, subject to the provisions of any law made by Parliament”. Thus, Article 324(2) left it open for the Parliament to legislate on the issue.

  • Procedure: But, in the absence of any Parliamentary law governing the appointment issue, the ECs are appointed by the government of the day, without pursuing any consultation process. There is no concept of collegium and no involvement of the opposition.

  • Tenure of Commissioners: They have tenure of six years, or up to the age of 65 years, whichever is earlier. The Chief Election Commissioner can be removed from office only through impeachment by Parliament.

Source : The Hindu
Polity & Governance

Current Affairs
April 13, 2021

NATIONAL INSTITUTE OF ONE HEALTH
Dr Harsh Vardhan, Union Minister for Health and Family Welfare chaired ICMR’s International Symposium titled ‘One Health in India: Research informing biosafety, preparedness and response’.

About:

  • He launched a special issue of ICMR’s Indian Journal of Medical Research which discusses the One Health approach, corroborating multisectoral research informing regarding biosafety, preparedness and response and has original articles, viewpoints, perspectives and reviews from the eminent experts in the field.

  • The commencement of the constitution of a high-level steering committee for Eco Health Initiatives in India was also announced.

  • This committee will have its secretariat hosted at the ICMR, and will also be supported by the upcoming National Institute of One Health which is planned to be set-up in Nagpur.

Source : PIB
Health

Current Affairs
April 13, 2021

DGFT ‘TRADE FACILITATION’ MOBILE APP
Union Commerce & Industry Minister launched DGFT ‘Trade Facilitation’ Mobile App for promoting ease of doing business and providing quick access to information to importers/exporters.

About:

  • It has been developed by the Tata Consultancy Services (TCS),as per the directions of the Directorate General of Foreign Trade (DGFT).

  • Trade facilitation App is READY for Industry 4.0, as it provides
    • Real-time trade policy updates, notifications, application status alert, tracking help requests

    • Explore item-wise Export-Import policy & statistics, Track IEC Portfolio

    • AI-based 24*7 assistance for trade queries

    • DGFT services made accessible to all

    • Your Trade Dashboard accessible anytime &anywhere



Source : PIB
Economy

April 12, 2021

Current Affairs
April 12, 2021

THWAITES GLACIER
Researchers at Sweden’s University of Gothenburg are now saying that fears related to the melting of Antarctica’s Thwaites Glacier are worse than previously thought, owing to the supply of warm water flowing underneath at a rate underestimated in the past.

About:

  • The Thwaites Glacier is 120 km wide at its broadest, fast-moving, and melting fast over the years.

  • Because of its size (1.9 lakh square km), it contains enough water to raise the world sea level by more than half a metre. Studies have found the amount of ice flowing out of it has nearly doubled over the past 30 years.

  • Today, Thwaites’s melting already contributes 4% to global sea level rise each year. It is estimated that it would collapse into the sea in 200-900 years.

  • Thwaites is important for Antarctica as it slows the ice behind it from freely flowing into the ocean. Because of the risk it faces — and poses — Thwaites is often called the Doomsday Glacier.

Important Info :
  • The grounding line is the place below a glacier at which the ice transitions between resting fully on bedrock and floating on the ocean as an ice shelf. The location of the line is a pointer to the rate of retreat of a glacier.
Source : Indian Express
Geography

Current Affairs
April 12, 2021

‘LOST GOLDEN CITY’ IN EGYPT
Egypt announced the discovery of what is being touted as the most important find since the unearthing of King Tutankhamun’s tomb almost 100 years ago.

About:

  • A three-millennia-old “lost golden city” from the era of 18th-dynasty king Amenhotep III, who ruled ancient Egypt from 1391 to 1353 B.C., was found in the southern province of Luxor, near some of the country’s best-known monuments.

  • The newly discovered city is located on the west bank of the Nile river, close to the Colossi of Memnon, Medinet Habu and the Ramesseum, or mortuary temple of King Ramses II, all of which are popular tourist destinations.

  • With mud-brick houses, artefacts, and tools discovered from the reign of the Pharaohs, some are even calling the find an “ancient Egyptian Pompeii”.

Source : Indian Express
Geography

Current Affairs
April 12, 2021

NOURA AL-MATROUSHI
The United Arab Emirates named the next two astronauts for its space programme, including the country’s first woman astronaut.

About:

  • Noura al-Matroushi has been identified as the UAE’s first woman astronaut, with her male counterpart as Mohammed al-Mulla.

  • The two will undergo training at NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston, Texas.

  • If al-Matroushi ends up going on a mission, she could become the first Arab woman in space.

UAE space programme

  • In February 2021, the UAE put its Amal, or Hope, satellite in orbit around Mars, a first for the Arab world.

  • In 2024, the country hopes to put an unmanned spacecraft on the moon.

  • The UAE also has set the ambitious goal of building a human colony on Mars by 2117.

Important Info :

Another notable Personalities

  • Anousheh Raissyan, an Iranian-American telecommunications entrepreneur and millionaire from Dallas, became the first Muslim woman and first Iranian in space when she travelled as a self-funded civilian to the International Space Station in 2006.
  • The first Muslim in space was Saudi Prince Sultan bin Salman, who joined the crew of the shuttle Discovery in 1985.
  • In 2019, Maj. Hazzaa al-Mansoori became the UAE’s first astronaut in space, spending an eight-day mission aboard the International Space Station.
Source : Indian Express
Science & Tech

Current Affairs
April 12, 2021

LILAVATI AWARDS
Union Minister of Education Shri Ramesh Pokhriyal 'Nishank' presented the AICTE Lilavati Awards 2020 on women empowerment to the winners.

About:

  • With women empowerment as the theme, the objective of the award is to create awareness about issues like sanitation, hygiene, health, nutrition, literacy, employment, technology, credit, marketing, innovation, skill development, natural resources and rights among women.

  • All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE) has established the Lilavati Award.

  • The award covers multidisciplinary areas such as women's health, self-defence, sanitation, literacy, entrepreneurship and legal awareness.

  • The program will ensure the participation of women and enable them to hold higher positions in educational institutions.

Important Info :

Background

  • It is named after the 12th-century mathematical treatise "Lilavati" devoted to arithmetic and algebra written by the Indian mathematician Bhāskara II.
  • In the book the author posed, in verse form, a series of problems in (elementary) arithmetic to Lilavati (perhaps his daughter) and followed them up with hints to solutions.
Source : PIB
Education

Current Affairs
April 12, 2021

UMNGOT RIVER
Stiff resistance from at least 12 villages in Meghalaya has cast a cloud on a 210 MW hydroelectric project on Umngot, considered India’s clearest river.

About:

  • Umngot flows through Dawki, a town in West Jaintia Hills district, Meghalaya.

  • The river is the natural boundary between Ri Pnar (of Jaintia Hills) with Hima Khyrim (of Khasi Hills).

  • Dawki Bridge, is a suspension bridge over the Umngot River.

Important Info :

Recent protests

  • The villages are near the border with Bangladesh in East Khasi Hills district but the dam is proposed upstream in the adjoining West Jaintia Hills district.
  • The project is to be executed by the Meghalaya Energy Corporation Limited. People of 13 villages along the Umngot are likely to lose 296 hectares of land due to submergence if the dam comes up.
Source : The Hindu
Geography

Current Affairs
April 12, 2021

BEGGING
The Supreme Court has asked the Centre and four States to file their response within three weeks on a plea seeking a direction to repeal the provisions criminalising begging.

About:

  • The plea has referred to the August 2018 verdict of the Delhi High Court which had decriminalised begging in the national capital and said provisions of the Bombay Prevention of Begging Act, 1959, which treats begging as an offence cannot sustain constitutional scrutiny.

  • The provisions of the statutes criminalising the act of begging put people in a situation to make an unreasonable choice between committing a crime or not committing one and starving, which goes against the very spirit of the Constitution and violates Article 21 i.e. Right to Life.

  • Referring to the Census 2011, the plea has said the total number of beggars in India is 4,13,670 and the number has increased from the last census.

  • It said the government had the mandate to provide social security to everyone and ensure that all had basic facilities, as embedded in the Directive Principles of State Policy in the Constitution.

  • However, the presence of beggars is evidence that the state has failed to provide these basic facilities to all its citizens.

Source : The Hindu
Social Issues

Current Affairs
April 12, 2021

IRAN NUCLEAR PROGRAMME
Iran has started up advanced uranium enrichment centrifuges in a breach of its undertakings under a troubled 2015 nuclear deal, days after the start of talks on rescuing the accord.

About:

  • President Hassan Rouhani inaugurated the three cascades of 164 IR-6 centrifuges, 30 IR-5 and another 30 IR-6 devices at Iran’s Natanz uranium enrichment plant.

  • Iran’s latest move to step up uranium enrichment follows an opening round of talks in Vienna (Austria’s capital) with representatives of the remaining parties to the nuclear deal on bringing the U.S. back into it.

  • Former President Donald Trump withdrew from the deal in 2018 but his successor Joe Biden has said he is ready to return, arguing the deal had been successful in dramatically scaling back Iran’s nuclear activities.

Important Info :

Vienna Talks

  • The Vienna talks are focused not only on lifting crippling economic sanctions Trump reimposed, but also on bringing Iran back into compliance after it responded by suspending several of its own commitments.
  • Iran has demanded that the U.S. first lift all sanctions imposed by Trump, which include a sweeping unilateral ban on its oil exports, before it falls back in line with obligations it suspended. USA has demanded movement from Tehran in return.
Source : The Hindu
Science & Tech

Current Affairs
April 12, 2021

INDUS AND GANGES RIVER DOLPHINS
Detailed analysis of South Asian river dolphins has revealed in a recent research that the Indus and Ganges River dolphins are not one, but two separate species.

About:

  • Currently, Indus and Ganges River dolphins are classified as two subspecies under Platanista gangetica.

  • But according to a new study, this classification needs a revision. The study estimates that Indus and Ganges river dolphins may have diverged around 550,000 years ago.

Conservation status

  • The Indus and Ganges River dolphins are both classified as ‘Endangered’ species by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN).

  • The Ganges dolphin is a Schedule I animal under the Indian Wildlife (Protection) Act 1972, and has been included in Annexure – I of Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES).

Source : The Hindu
Environment

Current Affairs
April 12, 2021

NATIONAL ENVIRONMENT ENGINEERING AND RESEARCH INSTITUTE (NEERI)
The Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) has divested Rakesh Kumar, Director, National Environment Engineering and Research Institute (NEERI) in Nagpur of his post and transferred him to its headquarters in Delhi after allegations of corruption surfaced against him.

About:

  • Established in: 1958.

  • Headquarters: Nagpur.

  • Parent body: NEERI is a part of Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) and falls under the Union Ministry of Science and Technology.

Functions:

  • NEERI is a pioneer laboratory in the field of environmental science and engineering with special focus on water supply, sewage disposal, communicable diseases and to some extent on industrial pollution.

  • The NEERI is an important partner organisation in India's POPs national implementation plan (NIP).

  • The Institute is operating a nation-wide air quality monitoring network since 1978. The programme sponsored by the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB).

  • It also works in technology developments such as making “green firecrackers”, under the directives of the Supreme Court to improve Delhi’s air quality, and specialised air purifiers.

Source : The Hindu
Environment

Current Affairs
April 12, 2021

TERROR FINANCING
Extortion money paid to a terrorist organisation to protect one’s business is not terror funding, the Supreme Court has said in a judgment.

About:

  • With this, Supreme Court granted bail to a Jharkhand coal transporter who had paid huge amounts to the Tritiya Prastuti Committee (TPC), a breakaway faction of the CPI (Maoist).

  • The Financial Action Task Force on Money Laundering (FATF) has made recommendations to members relating to counter terrorism financing (CTF). It has created a Blacklist and Greylist of countries that have not taken adequate CTF action.

  • FATF is an intergovernmental organisation founded in 1989 on the initiative of the G7 to develop policies to combat money laundering. In 2001, its mandate was expanded to include terrorism financing.

Source : Times of India
Defence & Security
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