May 31, 2021

Current Affairs
May 31, 2021

MONSOON
The arrival of the southwest monsoon over Kerala has been delayed to June 3, the India Meteorological Department (IMD). The agency had last month forecast that the onset would be on May 31.

About:

  • Skymet, a private weather forecast agency, however, said the monsoon had arrived.

  • This was because two of the three criteria — as defined by the IMD — had been met.

  • The criteria are
    • rain-bearing westerlies being at a minimum depth and speed;

    • at least 60% of the available 14 stations in Kerala and coastal Karnataka reporting rainfall of 2.5 mm or more for two consecutive days after May 10; and

    • a certain degree of clouding, indicated by a parameter called ‘outgoing longwave radiation’ (OLR), being below 200 W/square metre.



  • IMD’s own data indicated that except for the OLR, the other criteria were met.

  • The IMD and Skymet have forecast normal monsoon from June-September this year.

  • To herald the onset, initial rains first occur over south Andaman Sea and the monsoon winds then advance across the Bay of Bengal.

  • Since 2005, the monsoon has arrived within the error margin of the IMD’s weather models, except in 2015. 

Source : The Hindu
Geography

Current Affairs
May 31, 2021

TIANZHOU-2 CARGO SPACECRAFT
China took another step towards completing the construction of its first space station by the end of next year following the launch and docking of a cargo spacecraft.

About:

  • The Tianzhou-2 cargo spacecraft, described by as “the delivery guy for China’s space station”, was launched on a Long March-7 rocket from the island of Hainan, and docked eight hours later with the space station’s first core module called Tianhe, or “heavenly harmony”.

  • The Tianzhou-2 spacecraft carried a range of supplies, the China Manned Space Agency (CMSA) said, and will be followed by the launch of another cargo spacecraft, Tianzhou-3, and two manned missions, Shenzhou-12 and Shenzhou-13, this year, each carrying three astronauts who will spend several months in orbit. The Shenzhou-12 launch is slated for mid-June.

Important Info :

The launch was a third landmark for China’s space programme in recent weeks.

  • China landed a spacecraft in Mars on May 15 carrying its first Mars rover, Zhurong.
  • The Tianhe module, which the cargo spacecraft docked with on Sunday, was launched on April 29.
Source : The Hindu
Science & Tech

Current Affairs
May 31, 2021

EMERGENCY CREDIT LINE GUARANTEE SCHEME (ECLGS)
On account of the disruptions caused by the second wave of COVID 19 pandemic to businesses across various sectors of the economy, Government has further enlarged the scope of Emergency Credit Line Guarantee Scheme as under.

About:

  • ECLGS 4.0: 100% guarantee cover to loans up to Rs.2 crore to hospitals/nursing homes/clinics/medical colleges for setting up on-site oxygen generation plants, interest rate capped at 7.5%;

  • Additional ECLGS assistance of upto 10% of the outstanding as on February 29, 2020 to borrowers covered under ECLGS 1.0, in tandem with restructuring as per RBI guidelines of May 05, 2021;

  • Current ceiling of Rs. 500 Cr. of loan outstanding for eligibility under ECLGS 3.0 to be removed, subject to maximum additional ECLGS assistance to each borrower being limited to 40% or Rs.200 crore, whichever is lower;

  • Civil Aviation sector to be eligible under ECLGS 3.0

  • Validity of ECLGS extended to 30.09.2021 or till guarantees for an amount of Rs.3 lakh crore are issued. Disbursement under the scheme permitted up to31.12.2021.

  • Detailed operational guidelines in this regard are being separately issued by the National Credit Guarantee Trustee Company (NCGTC).

Source : PIB
Economy

Current Affairs
May 31, 2021

EDIBLE OILS
Edible oil prices have risen sharply in recent months.

About:

  • The prices of six edible oils — groundnut oil, mustard oil, vanaspati, soya oil, sunflower oil and palm oil — have risen between 20% and 56% at all-India levels in the last one year, data on the Department of Consumer Affairs website show.

  • With rising incomes and changing food habits, consumption of edible oils has been rising over the years. While mustard oil is consumed mostly in rural areas, the share of refined oils —sunflower oil and soyabean oil — is higher in urban areas.

Important Info :

How much is produced domestically and how much is imported?

  • In 2019-20, domestic availability of edible oils from both primary sources (oilseeds like mustard, groundnut etc.) and secondary sources (such as coconut, oil palm, rice bran oil, cotton seed) was only 10.65 million tonnes against the total domestic demand of 24 million tonnes — a gap of over 13 million tonnes.
  • Thus, India depends on imports to meet its demand. In 2019-20, the country imported about 13.35 million tonnes of edible oils worth Rs 61,559 crore, or about 56% of the demand.
  • The major sources of these imports are Argentina and Brazil for soyabeen oil; Indonesia and Malaysia palm oil; and Ukraine and Argentina again for sunflower oil. 
Source : Indian Express
Economy

Current Affairs
May 31, 2021

HOW IAS OFFICERS ARE PUT ON CENTRAL DEPUTATION
West Bengal Chief Secretary Bandyopadhyay, an IAS officer of the 1987 batch, was due to begin an extension of three months after retiring. Instead, the Centre has asked him to join the Government of India.

How officers get an extension

  • Rule 16(1) of DCRB (Death-cum-Retirement Benefit) Rules says that “a member of the Service dealing with budget work or working as a full-time member of a Committee may be given extension of service for three months, with the prior approval of the Central Government”.

  • For an officer posted as Chief Secretary of a state, this extension can be for six months.

Central deputation

  • In normal practice, the Centre asks every year for an “offer list” of officers of the All India Services (IAS, IPS and Indian Forest Service) willing to go on central deputation, after which it selects officers from that list.

  • Rule 6(1) of the IAS Cadre Rules says an officer may, “with the concurrence of the State Governments concerned and the Central Government, be deputed for service under the Central Government or another State Government…”

  • It says “in case of any disagreement, the matter shall be decided by the Central Government and the State Government or State Governments concerned shall give effect to the decision of the Central Government.”

Source : Indian Express
Polity & Governance

Current Affairs
May 31, 2021

INTERNATIONAL SPACE STATION (ISS)
On June 3, NASA will send 128 glow-in-the-dark baby squids and some 5,000 tardigrades (also called water bears) to the International Space Station for research purposes.

About:

  • The water animals, which will be launched aboard SpaceX’s 22nd cargo resupply mission to the ISS, are part of experiments that could help scientists design improved protective measures for astronauts going on long-duration space travel.

  • One of these studies involves looking at how the water bears– tiny animals (around 1mm long) that can adapt to extreme conditions on Earth, including high pressure, temperature and radiation– would behave in a spaceflight environment.

  • Scientists also want to look at how microgravity conditions affect the relationship between the bobtail squid –which are also tiny (3 mm long)– and beneficial microbes, as part of a study called UMAMI, short for Understanding of Microgravity on Animal-Microbe Interactions.

Important Info :
  • The International Space Station (ISS) has been in space since 1998, and has been known for the exemplary cooperation between the five participating space agencies that run it: NASA (United States), Roscosmos (Russia), JAXA (Japan), ESA (Europe), and CSA (Canada).
Source : Indian Express
Science & Tech

Current Affairs
May 31, 2021

FLOATING JETTY
Union Minister for Ports, Shipping & Waterways inaugurated the second floating jetty at Old Goa.

About:

  • The jetty will offer safe, hassle free transportation to the tourists. The Minister lauded the work done by Government of Goa in making tourism sector a growth engine of the state.

  • The Government of India has approved setting up of two Concrete floating jetties on River Mondovi (NW-68) to connect Old Goa and Panjim.

  • This is the second floating jetty constructed on River Mondovi (NW-68).

  • Earlier, the first jetty located at Captain of Ports, Panjim Goa was inaugurated in February 2020 at Panjim. 

Important Info :

Concrete floating jetties have many advantages over the fixed jetties.

  • Their price is approximately 1/5th of the price of fixed jetty.
  • Similarly, they are quicker to build and install, easier to use.
  • The designed life of floating jetty is up to 50 years.
  • Also, being floating structures they don't need CRZ clearances.
  • They can be increased in size or reduced as per changes in users' requirement or the changes in jetty site's hydrographic profile.
Source : PIB
Economy

Current Affairs
May 31, 2021

HERERO AND NAMA GENOCIDE
Germany for the first time has recognised that it committed genocide against the Herero and Nama people in present-day Namibia during its colonial rule over a century ago, and promised financial support of over a billion euros to the Southern African nation.

About:

  • Between 1904 and 1908, German colonial settlers killed tens of thousands of men, women and children from the Herero and Nama tribes after they rebelled against colonial rule in what was then called German South West Africa.

  • Between 1884 and 1890, Germany formally colonised parts of present-day Namibia — a territory which was roughly twice as large as the European nation, but not as densely populated. By 1903, around 3,000 German settlers had occupied the central high ground of the region.

  • Tensions quickly rose as local tribes saw the German settlers as a threat to their land and resources. The conflict reached a boiling point in 1904, when the Herero nation — a primarily pastoral community — rebelled against the Germans, and were closely followed by the Nama tribe.

  • During the Battle of Waterberg, around 80,000 Herero, including women and children, were chased across the desert by German troops. A mere 15,000 survived.

  • The Germans continued to rule the region till 1915, following which it fell under South Africa’s control for 75 years. Namibia finally gained independence in 1990.

  • The atrocities committed in what was then known as German South West Africa have been described by some historians as the first genocide of the 20th century.

Source : Indian Express
History

Current Affairs
May 31, 2021

SURYAKIRAN
The Suryakiran aerobatic display team of the Indian Air Force (IAF), which has enthralled crowds across the country with their hair-raising manoeuvres with their aircraft in red and white, has just completed 25 years.

About:

  • One of the few nine aircraft display teams in the world and the only one in Asia, the team has carried out over 600 displays across the country and south east Asia.

  • “Suryakiran”, which means ‘rays of the sun’ in Sanskrit, was raised in May 27, 1996, at the IAF air base in Bidar, Karnataka, with six Kiran MkII trainer aircraft.

  • It carried out its first display on September 15, 1996 for the golden jubilee celebrations of the Air Force Administrative College in Coimbatore.

  • However, the team was disbanded in 2011 after the Aero India show due to shortage of training aircraft in the IAF and was resurrected in 2015 on advanced jet trainer Hawk Mk-132 aircraft.

  • This team, which has been the brand ambassador of the IAF, is also the 52 squadron of the IAF and is the youngest fighter squadron with the motto “Always the Best”.

Source : The Hindu
Defence & Security

Current Affairs
May 31, 2021

HABITAT GUILDS
Uttarakhand is home to the Western Himalayan temperate forests which harbour a large number of endemic bird species. A new study that analysed these natural oak-dominated forests and modified forests has noted that there was a drastic loss of bird species in all modified landscapes.

About:

  • Six major land-use types which included natural oak forest, degraded oak forest (lightly used), lopped oak forest (intensively used), pine forest, agricultural cultivation area and sites with buildings were studied.

  • The results showed that there was a low diversity of species in monoculture areas and urban sites. 

  • It also noticed strong decline in some of the habitat guilds in the areas that experienced land-use change. Habitat guilds are groups of bird species that have common habitat preferences. 

Source : The Hindu
Environment

May 30, 2021

Current Affairs
May 30, 2021

HRMN 99
A farmer from Himachal Pradesh has developed an innovative self-pollinating apple variety that does not require long chilling hours for flowering and fruit setting.

About:

  • Shri Hariman Sharma, a progressive farmer, hailing from Paniala village of Bilaspur district, Himachal Pradesh, who developed this innovative apple variety – HRMN 99.

  • This has spread to plain, tropical, and subtropical areas in various parts of India, where the temperature is as high as40 -45 ºC during summer.

  • Commercial cultivation of this apple variety has been initiated in Manipur, Jammu, low lying areas of Himachal Pradesh, Karnataka Chhattisgarh, and Telangana, and fruit setting has been expanded to 23 states & UTs so far.

  • Hariman Sharma has also been conferred a National Award in 2017 during the 9th National Biennial Grassroots Innovation and Outstanding Traditional Knowledge awards by then  President of India.

Source : PIB
Economy

Current Affairs
May 30, 2021

YUVA
The Ministry of Education, Department of Higher Education launched YUVA- Prime Minister’s Scheme For Mentoring Young Authors, an Author Mentorship programme to train young and budding authors (below 30 years of age).

About:

  • The launch of YUVA (Young, Upcoming and Versatile Authors) is in tune with PM’s vision to encourage young writers to write about India's freedom struggle.

  • YUVA is a part of India@75 Project (Azadi Ka Amrit Mahotsav) to bring to the fore the perspectives of the young generation of writers on themes like Unsung Heroes, Freedom Fighters, Unknown and Forgotten Places and their role in National Movement, and other related themes in an innovative and creative manner.

  • The National Book Trust, India under the Ministry of Education as the Implementing Agency will ensure phase-wise execution of the Scheme under well-defined stages of mentorship. ​

  • The books prepared under this scheme will be published by National Book Trust, India; and will also be translated into other Indian languages ensuring the exchange of culture and literature, thereby promoting 'Ek Bharat Shreshtha Bharat'. 

Important Info :

Highlights of YUVA (Young, Upcoming and Versatile Authors): 

  • A total of 75 authors will be selected through an All India Contest to be conducted through https://www.mygov.in/ from 1 June - 31 July 2021.
  • The winners will be announced on 15 August 2021.
  • The young authors will be trained by eminent authors/mentors.
  • Under the mentorship, the manuscripts will be readied by 15 Dec. 2021 for publication.
  • The published books will be launched on 12 January 2022 on the occasion of National Youth Day (Yuva Diwas).
  • A consolidated scholarship of Rs.50,000 per month for a period of six months per author will be paid under the Mentorship Scheme
Source : All India Radio
Education

Current Affairs
May 30, 2021

VILLAGE RICE
In a major boost to India’s non-basmati rice exports potential, two consignments 4.5 MT of patented ‘village rice’ sourced from Kumbakonam, Thanjavur district, Tamil Nadu by a start-up Udaya Agro Farm was exported today to Ghana & Yemen via air & sea routes.

About:

  • Enriched with protein, fibre, and a variety of minerals, ‘village rice’ is sourced directly from farmers of Thanjavur, also known as rice bowl of Tamil Nadu.

 

Important Info :

Do you know?

  • In March, 2021, the first consignment of ‘red rice’ from Assam was exported to the USA.
  • Iron rich ‘red rice’ is grown in Brahmaputra valley of Assam, without the use of any chemical fertilizer. The rice variety is referred as ‘Bao-dhaan’, which is an integral part of the Assamese food.

 

Source : The Hindu
Economy

Current Affairs
May 30, 2021

DRONES
Ministry of Civil Aviation has granted permission of “No-Permission-No-Takeoff' (NPNT) compliant drone operations at 166 additional green zones to facilitate, smoothen, and promote drone operations in the country.

About:

  • The approved sites allow drone usage up to 400 ft Above Ground Level (AGL). These zones are in addition to the Sixty-Six green zone sites approved earlier.

  • The list of the approved green zone sites can be accessed from the Digital Sky Platform (https://digitalsky.dgca.gov.in).

  • As per DGCA, under “NPNT or ‘No Permission – No Take-off’ compliance, every Remotely Piloted Aircraft (except Nano) has to obtain valid permission through the Digital Sky platform before operating in India.

  • The framework mandates users to register on the online portal that acts as the national unmanned traffic management system for remotely piloted aircraft.

  • Flying in these approved ‘green-zones’ will require only intimation of the time and location of the flights via the Digital Sky portal or the app.

  • Drone flights in the green zone sites shall be compliant with the Unmanned Aircraft System (UAS) Rules, 2021 dated 12th March 2021 and other relevant orders/ guidelines issued by the Ministry of Civil Aviation. 

Source : Times of India
Science & Tech

Current Affairs
May 30, 2021

OPV SAJAG
National Security Advisor Ajit Doval commissioned Indian Coast Guard (ICG) Offshore Patrol Vessel (OPV) Sajag and dedicated it to the nation for safeguarding the maritime interests on May 29, 2021. OPV Sajag is constructed by M/s Goa Shipyard Limited.

Indian Coast Guard (ICG):

  • The concept of forming ICG came into being post 1971 war, when it was assessed that maritime borders are equally vital as land borders.

  • The blueprint for a multi-dimension Coast Guard was conceived by the visionary Rustamji Committee even as the United Nations Convention of the Laws of the Sea (UNCLOS) was being negotiated and India’s assets off Mumbai high were growing.

  • The ICG was created through an Act of Parliament in 1978. 

Source : PIB
Defence & Security

Current Affairs
May 30, 2021

EMPOWERMENT OF COVID AFFECTED CHILDREN
In a major relief announcement extending much needed support for the children who have lost their parents due to COVID-19, Prime Minister Narendra Modi today approved slew of measures under PM-CARES for Children scheme, including free education and an amount of Rs. 10 lakh on attaining the age of 23, among others.

About:

  • All children who have lost both parents or surviving parent or legal guardian or adoptive parents due to COVID-19 will be supported under PM-CARES for Children scheme.

  • Under the PM-CARES for Children scheme contribution will be done through the PM CARES Fund till the age of 18 years to create a corpus of Rs. 10 lakh for each child orphaned due to COVID-19.

  • The beneficiary will be given a monthly stipend for five years from 18 years of age till he completes 23 years.

  • On attaining the age of 23, the full amount of Rs. 10 lakh will be transferred to the beneficiary for his professional or personal use.

  • Ensuring free education to such Kids, under this scheme, children under 10 years of age will be given admissions in Kendriya Vidyalayas and private schools whereas provision has been made for educating kids between 11 to 18 years of age in residential schools including Sainik Schools and Navodaya Vidyalayas.

Social Issues

Current Affairs
May 30, 2021

CONRAD SANGMA GOM
Union Finance Ministry has constituted a Group of Ministers, GoM to look into the matter of concessions and exemptions from GST to COVID relief materials.

About:

  • Chief Minister of Meghalaya Conrad Sangma has been named as the Convenor of the GoM.

  • The GoM is constituted of total eight members including Deputy Chief Minister of Gujarat Nitinbhai Patel, Deputy Chief Minister of Maharashtra Ajit Pawar, Transport Minister of Goa Mauvin Godinho and State Finance Ministers of Kerala, Odisha, Telangana, and Uttar Pradesh.

  • The 43rd GST Council which met on Friday recommended constitution of a GoM to examine into the needs for further relief to COVID-19 related individual items.

Source : All India Radio
Economy

Current Affairs
May 30, 2021

RWANDAN GENOCIDE
French President Emmanuel Macron on Thursday asked for forgiveness for his country’s role in the 1994 Rwandan massacre in which about 8,00,000 people, mostly ethnic Tutsis, were killed.

About:

  • Rwanda is a landlocked country in the Great Rift Valley, where the African Great Lakes region and East Africa converge.

  • Its capital city is Kigali.

  • Located a few degrees south of the Equator, Rwanda is bordered by Uganda, Tanzania, Burundi, and the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

  • It is highly elevated, giving it the soubriquet "land of thousand hills". 

Important Info :

Rwandan genocide

  • The Rwandan genocide occurred between 7 April and 15 July 1994 during the Rwandan Civil War. During this period of around 100 days, members of the Tutsi minority ethnic group, as well as some moderate Hutu and Twa, were slaughtered by armed militias.
  • The most widely accepted scholarly estimates are around 500,000 to 800,000 Tutsi deaths.
  • France, which enjoyed close ties with Rwanda’s Hutu-led government of President Juvénal Habyarimana, has long been criticised for its role in the killings of the Tutsi minorities in the months of April to June 1994. 
Source : The Hindu
International

Current Affairs
May 30, 2021

DOWRY DEATHS
Scope of Section 304-B of IPC in dowry deaths widened by Supreme Court (SC).

About:

  • Dowry deaths accounted for 40% to 50% homicides in the country for almost a decade from 1999 to 2018. In 2019 alone, 7,115 cases of dowry death were registered under Section 304-B of the Indian Penal Code.

  • But, Courts have often opted for a strict and narrow reading of the Section 304-B, which was one of the many legal initiatives introduced against dowry.

  • In a recent judgement, The Supreme Court said that courts should instead interpret Section 304-B liberally while keeping in mind the law’s intention to punish dowry and bride-burning.

  • According to Section 304-B, to make out a case of dowry death, a woman should have died of burns or other bodily injuries or “otherwise than under normal circumstances” within seven years of her marriage. She should have suffered cruelty or harassment from her husband or in-laws “soon before her death” in connection with demand for dowry.

  • Over the years, courts had interpreted the phrase 'soon before' in Section 304-B as 'immediately before'. This interpretation would make it necessary for a woman to have been harassed moments before she died.

  • Such “absurd” interpretations should be avoided, the apex court noted. Instead, the prosecution needed to show only a “proximate and live link” between the harassment and her death.

  • The court further said the phrase “otherwise than under normal circumstances” in the Section also calls for a liberal interpretation.

  • The judgment also raised concern about the casual way in which trial courts examined accused persons in dowry death cases under Section 313 of the Code of Criminal Procedure.

Source : The Hindu
Social Issues

Current Affairs
May 30, 2021

T.M. KALLIANNAN
T.M. Kalliannan Gounder, the last surviving member of the Indian Constituent Assembly, died at the age of 101 at Thiruchengode in western Tamil Nadu.

About:

  • Gounder was born on January 10, 1921, at Akaraipatti village in Namakkal.

  • He joined the Indian National Congress at the age of 19 and participated in the Quit India movement.

  • He was elected to the Indian Constituent Assembly while he was 28-years-old.

  • He was reportedly the youngest member in the Constituent Assembly then and also a member of India’s first provisional parliament.

  • Gounder served as a Member of Legislative Council in Tamil Nadu and also as an MLA thrice, between 1952 and 1967.

Source : The Hindu
History

May 29, 2021

Current Affairs
May 29, 2021

GOODS AND SERVICES TAX
The 43rd GST Council met under the Chairmanship of Union Finance Minister.

The GST Council has made the following recommendations:

  • As a COVID-19 relief measure, a number of specified COVID-19 related goods such as medical oxygen, oxygen concentrators and other oxygen storage and transportation equipment, certain diagnostic markers test kits and COVID-19 vaccines, etc., have been recommended for full exemption from IGST.

  • In view of rising Black Fungus cases, the above exemption from IGST has been extended to Amphotericin B.

  • To support the LympahticFilarisis (an endemic) elimination programme being conducted in collaboration with WHO, the GST rate on Diethylcarbamazine (DEC) tablets has been recommended for reduction to 5% (from 12%).

  • GST on MRO services in respect of ships/vessels shall be reduced to 5% (from 18%).

  • The Finance Minister also announced an amnesty scheme for small GST taxpayers, allowing filing of returns with reduced late fees.

  • the GST Council will hold a special session to discuss extending paying compensation to states beyond 2022.

  • Annual return filing has also been simplified. The Council has recommended amending the CGST Act to allow for self-certification of reconciliation statements, instead of getting it certified by Chartered Accountants. 

Source : The Hindu
Economy

Current Affairs
May 29, 2021

SRINAGAR LEH TRANSMISSION SYSTEM
Ministry of Power, Government of India has transferred the prestigious 220 kV Srinagar-Drass-Kargil-Khaltsi-Leh Transmission System to Power Grid Corporation of India Limited (POWERGRID), a Maharatna CPSU of Government of India.

About:

  • The transmission system was dedicated to the nation by Prime Minister in February 2019, and it connects the Ladakh region to the national grid, ensuring quality and reliable power supply.

  • Built at a height of around 3000-4000 meters, this 335-km long transmission line traverses snow-bound difficult hilly terrain. It comprises of four new state-of-the-art 220/66 kV Gas Insulated Sub-stations and 66 kV interconnection systems at Drass, Kargil, Khaltsi and Leh.

  • The project was executed by POWERGRID on consultancy basis under Prime Minister’s Reconstruction Plan (PMRP) Scheme.

  • Subsequent to reorganisation of the erstwhile state of Jammu & Kashmir (J&K) into UTs of J&K and Ladakh, the 220 kV Srinagar-Leh Transmission System has been re-designated as Inter State Transmission System (ISTS) and transferred to POWERGRID with effect from 31.10.2019, the date of formation of the two UTs of J&K and Ladakh. 

Source : The Hindu
Economy

Current Affairs
May 29, 2021

JAYANTI
Jayanti has become the twelfth subgenus, or species, of cricket identified under the genus Arachnomimus Saussure, 1897.

About:

  • Found in the Kurra caves of Chhattisgarh in April 2021, the new subgenus was named Jayanti after Professor Jayant Biswas, one of the leading cave explorers in the country.

  • Arachnomimus is the genus name given by Swiss Entomologist Henri Louis Frédéric de Saussure in 1878 to crickets that resembled spiders. This is apt because crickets of this group are commonly called spider crickets because of their smaller body size and long legs.

  • The newly discovered subgenus, Indimimus, is different from the two subgenera, Arachnomimus and Euarachnomimus, because of the male genitalia structure. 

Important Info :

Why is the discovery significant?

  • Crickets are noticeable for their loud calls, especially at night. Male crickets produce this sound by rubbing their wings against each other to attract females. The females listen to these calls using ears located on their legs and approach the males for mating and reproduction.
  • Interestingly, males of the new Jayanti subgenus cannot produce sound and their females don’t have ears. The crickets were found on the walls of the Kurra caves which don’t have light inside. They may be communicating by beating their abdomen or any other body part on the cave walls.
Source : Indian Express
Environment

Current Affairs
May 29, 2021

TRANSPLANTATION OF TREES
The Central Public Works Department (CPWD) wants to transplant over 1,800 trees which are inside what used to be the Indira Gandhi National Centre for the Arts (IGNCA) complex, as part of the Central Vista redevelopment project.

How is a tree transplanted?

  • A tree cannot be transplanted by simply uprooting it and placing it in a pit dug elsewhere. The process involves multiple steps and requires significant expertise.

  • First, the soil around the tree is dug up to isolate the roots. The big branches are lopped off, leaving only small shoots for regeneration. This is done to make transportation of the tree to the new location easier.

  • The root system is covered with wet gunny bags to protect the roots and to keep the tree hydrated. The tree has to be first sent to a nursery to acclimatise to a new kind of soil, and to regenerate.

  • Once new shoots start sprouting, the tree is lowered into a pit created in its new spot. 

Important Info :

What factors determine the success of a transplant?

  • Even after all steps are meticulously followed, a lot depends on luck.
  • The survival rate of a transplanted tree is about 50%. If it survives, the tree may take up to 10 years to grow a full canopy similar to what it originally had.
  • Not all trees can be transplanted. While peepal, ficus, semal and sheesham are tolerant to transplantation, trees such as dak, palash, arjun, shahtoot and jhilmil are not.
  • Any tree that has a tap root system cannot be transplanted, as the root goes deep into the soil, and it is not possible to isolate it without damage.
  • Transplanting any tree with a trunk girth of more than 80-90 cm is not advisable as the tree cannot bear the shock, and will eventually die. 
Source : Indian Express
Environment

Current Affairs
May 29, 2021

MID-DAY-MEAL (MDM) SCHEME
The Union Minister for Education has approved the proposal to provide monetary assistance to 11.8 Crore students through Direct Benefit Transfer (DBT) of the cooking cost component of the Mid-Day-Meal Scheme, to all eligible children, as a special welfare measure.

About:

  • This will give a fillip to the Midday Meal programme. This is in addition to the Government of India’s announcement of distribution of free-of-cost food grains @ 5 Kg per person per month to nearly 80 Crore beneficiaries under Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Anna Yojana (PM-GKAY).

  • With a view to enhancing enrolment, retention and attendance and simultaneously improving nutritional levels among children, the National Programme of Nutritional Support to Primary Education (NP-NSPE) was launched as a Centrally Sponsored Scheme in 1995. In 2001 MDMS became a cooked Mid Day Meal Scheme.

  • The Mid-Day Meal Scheme covers children of classes I-VIII studying in government, government-aided schools, special training centres (STC) and madarsas/ maqtabs supported under Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan (SSA). It is the largest school feeding programme in the world.

  • The Midday Meal Scheme is covered by the National Food Security Act, 2013. 

Source : PIB
Education

Current Affairs
May 29, 2021

VEER SAVARKAR
Prime Minister Narendra Modi paid tributes to pioneering Hindutva ideologue Veer Savarkar on his birth anniversary.

About:

  • Vinayak Damodar Savarkar (1883 – 1966), popularly called Veer Savarkar was born near Nasik in Maharashtra.

  • Veer Savarkar was a freedom fighter . He called 1857 revolt as the first war of independence.

  • He founded the following Organizations: Abhinav Bharat Society and Free India Society.

  • He was also a member of India House. He was not the founder of Hindu Mahasabha, but he did served as its president.

  • He opposed the Quit India struggle in 1942, calling it a "Quit India but keep your army" movement.

  • Savarkar endorsed the ideal of India as a Hindu Rashtra and is credited with developing the Hindu nationalist political ideology Hindutva.

  • Publications:
    • He wrote the book ”Joseph Mazzini- Biography and Politics.”

    • He published “The Indian War of Independence” about the Indian rebellion of 1857.



  • The airport at Port Blair, Andaman and Nicobar's capital has been named Veer Savarkar International Airport. 

History

Current Affairs
May 29, 2021

NATIONAL AI PORTAL (INDIAai)
The ‘National AI Portal (https://indiaai.gov.in)’, celebrated its first anniversary on May 28, 2021.

About:

  • The National AI Portal is a joint initiative by Ministry of Electronics and IT (MeitY), National e-Governance Division (NeGD) and NASSCOM and serves as a central hub for AI related news, learning, articles, events and activities etc., in India and beyond.

  • The portal was launched by the Union Minister for Electronics and IT, Law and Justice and Communications, Shri Ravi Shankar Prasad on May 30, 2020.

  • The event also witnessed the monthly ‘AI Pe Charcha’ based on the theme ‘Implementing Trustworthy AI Solutions’.

  • The AI based operational excellence framework and Live Enterprise Application Platform (LEAP) and several implemented use cases were also demonstrated, especially the use of AI in GST Network for fraud detection. 

Source : PIB
Science & Tech

Current Affairs
May 29, 2021

MV X-PRESS PEARL
Indian Coast Guard (ICG) ships ‘Vaibhav’ and ‘Vajra’ continue to battle the fire onboard container ship MV X-Press Pearl off Colombo, Sri Lanka.

About:

  • The distressed vessel MV X-Press Pearl was carrying 1,486 containers with nitric acid and other hazardous IMDG code chemicals.

  • The extreme fire, damage to containers and prevailing inclement weather has caused the vessel to tilt to one side resulting in falling of containers overboard.

Source : PIB
Miscellaneous

Current Affairs
May 29, 2021

NEAR ISOTHERMAL FORGING TECHNOLOGY
Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) has established the near isothermal forging technology to produce all the five stages of high-pressure compressors (HPC) discs out of difficult-to-deform titanium alloy using its unique 2000 MT isothermal forge press.

About:

  • The technology has been developed by Defence Metallurgical Research Laboratory (DMRL), a premier metallurgical laboratory of DRDO at Hyderabad.

  • This is a crucial technology for establishing self-reliance in aeroengine technology. With this development, India has joined the league of limited global engine developers to have the manufacturing capabilities of such critical aero engine components.

  • To meet the bulk production requirements, DMRL technology was transferred to M/s MIDHANI through a licensing agreement for technology transfer (LAToT).

Source : PIB
Defence & Security

Current Affairs
May 29, 2021

NATIONAL CADET CORPS (NCC)
Defence Secretary Dr Ajay Kumar launched Directorate General National Cadet Corps (NCC) Mobile Training App Version 2.0 in New Delhi on May 28, 2021.

About:

  • The app will assist in conducting countrywide online training to NCC cadets during the COVID-19 pandemic conditions. It is aimed at providing NCC-related basic information and entire training material (Syllabus, Précis, Training Videos, Frequently Asked Questions) on one platform.

  • National Cadet Corps (NCC) is a Tri-Services Organization, comprising the Army, Navy and Air Force, engaged in grooming the youth into disciplined and patriotic citizens.

  • Working:
    • It is a voluntary organization which recruits cadets from high schools, colleges and universities all over India.

    • The Cadets are given basic military training in small arms and parades. They are given preference in military service over normal candidates during selections.



  • Background: It came into existence in 1948 under the National Cadet Corps Act, 1948.

  • Related Ministries: Defence Ministry deals with NCC at the National level. Education Ministry deals with NCC in all States.

  • Directorate General NCC: It is the national level HQ located at New Delhi. It is headed by the Director General (DG), an Army Officer of the rank of Lieutenant General.

Source : DD News
Defence & Security

May 28, 2021

Current Affairs
May 28, 2021

DOMINICA
Fugitive diamond trader Mehul Choksi has been arrested in Dominica after he was reported missing early this week from his home in Antigua and Barbuda, the Caribbean nation of which he has been a citizen since early 2018. Mr. Choksi, wanted for defrauding banks in India, was arrested in Dominica after an Interpol Yellow Notice was issued against him.

About:

  • Dominica is an island country in the Caribbean.

  • Its capital is Roseau.

  • It is geographically situated as part of the Windward Islands chain in the Lesser Antilles archipelago in the Caribbean Sea.

  • Dominica has been nicknamed the "Nature Isle of the Caribbean" for its natural environment.

  • It is the youngest island in the Lesser Antilles, and in fact it is still being formed by geothermal-volcanic activity, as evidenced by the world's second-largest hot spring, called Boiling Lake.

  • The country is a member of the Commonwealth of Nations, the United Nations, the Organization of American States and the Non-Aligned Movement. 

Source : The Hindu
Geography

Current Affairs
May 28, 2021

INDIAN BROADCASTING FOUNDATION (IBF)
The Indian Broadcasting Foundation (IBF), the apex body of broadcasters, is expanding its purview to cover digital streaming platforms and will be renamed the Indian Broadcasting and Digital Foundation (IBDF).

About:

  • The move would bring broadcasters and OTT (over-the-top) platforms, which have seen a substantial jump in their viewership base after the pandemic, under one roof.

  • For this, the IBDF was in the process of forming a new wholly-owned subsidiary to handle all matters of digital media.

  • The IBDF would also form a self-regulatory body, the Digital Media Content Regulatory Council (DMCRC), for digital OTT platforms.

Important Info :
  • The Indian Broadcasting Foundation (IBF) was founded in the year 1999.
  • The IBF is the parent organisation of the Broadcasting Content Complaints Council (BCCC) which was set up in the year 2011. The BCCC examines content-related complaints relating to all non-news general entertainment channels in India.
Source : The Hindu
Polity & Governance

Current Affairs
May 28, 2021

GOLDEN VISA SYSTEM
Bollywood actor Sanjay Dutt received his golden visa from the United Arab Emirates (UAE) government.

About:

  • In 2019, the United Arab Emirates (UAE) implemented a new system for long-term residence visas, thereby enabling foreigners to live, work and study in the UAE without the need of a national sponsor and with 100 per cent ownership of their business.

  • The Golden Visa system essentially offers long-term residency (5 and 10 years) to people belonging to the following groups: investors, entrepreneurs, individuals with outstanding talents the likes of researchers, medical professionals and those within the scientific and knowledge fields, and remarkable students.

  • The main benefit of the visa will be security as through the issuance of the Golden Visa, the UAE government has made it clear that they are committed to providing expatriates, investors and essentially everyone looking to make the UAE their home an extra reason to feel secure about their future. 

Source : Indian Express
International

Current Affairs
May 28, 2021

SWITZERLAND - EUROPEAN UNION TIES
Switzerland said goodbye to years of negotiations with the European Union over a proposed overarching agreement that would have upgraded its relations with the bloc – which are currently governed by a patchwork of more than 120 bilateral deals.

About:

  • The talks failed after the two sides could not agree over issues such as full access for EU citizens to the Swiss labour market, and the collapse is expected to hamper future ties as the multiple existing agreements become outdated or lapse.

  • Switzerland is the EU’s fourth-largest trading partner, and is surrounded by EU countries.

  • Relations between the two partners rest on the foundation of over 120 separate treaties, something which has frustrated the EU for a long time. Unlike the UK, Switzerland has access to the EU single market and maintains open borders.

  • For years, the EU had been pushing for an “institutional framework agreement” with Switzerland, suggesting that the lack of an overarching agreement could also hamper cooperation in the labour market, the health sector, education and research.

Important Info :
  • Switzerland is a landlocked country bordered by Italy to the south, France to the west, Germany to the north, and Austria and Liechtenstein to the east.
  • It is a founding member of the European Free Trade Association, but notably not part of the European Union, the European Economic Area or the Eurozone. However, it participates in the Schengen Area and the European Single Market through bilateral treaties.
Source : Indian Express
International

Current Affairs
May 28, 2021

CURRENCY SWAP
Bangladesh’s central bank has approved a $200 million currency swap facility to Sri Lanka, , which will help Colombo tide over its foreign exchange crisis.

About:

  • A currency swap is effectively a loan that Bangladesh will give to Sri Lanka in dollars, with an agreement that the debt will be repaid with interest in Sri Lankan rupees. For Sri Lanka, this is cheaper than borrowing from the market, and a lifeline as is it struggles to maintain adequate forex reserves even as repayment of its external debts looms. The period of the currency swap will be specified in the agreement.

  • This may be the first time that Bangladesh is extending a helping hand to another country, so this is a landmark of sorts.

  • It is also the first time that Sri Lanka is borrowing from a SAARC country other than India.

Why didn’t Sri Lanka approach India, the biggest economy in the region?

  • India-Sri Lanka relations have been tense over Colombo’s decision to cancel a valued container terminal project at Colombo Port.

  • Last July, the Reserve Bank of India did extend a $400 million credit swap facility to Sri Lanka, which Central Bank of Sri Lanka settled in February. The arrangement was not extended. 

Important Info :
  • RBI has a framework under which it can offer credit swap facilities to SAARC countries within an overall corpus of $2 billion. the SAARC currency swap facility came into operation in November 2012.
Source : Indian Express
International

Current Affairs
May 28, 2021

INTERNATIONAL ENI AWARD 2020
Bharat Ratna Professor C.N.R. Rao has received the International Eni Award 2020 for research into renewable energy sources and energy storage, also called the Energy Frontier award.

About:

  • The Energy Frontiers award has been conferred for his work on metal oxides, carbon nanotubes, and other materials and two-dimensional systems, including graphene, boron-nitrogen-carbon hybrid materials, and molybdenum sulfide (Molybdenite - MoS2) for energy applications and green hydrogen production.

  • The Eni Awards 2020 will be presented on 14 October 2021, during an official ceremony held at the Quirinal Palace in Rome, attended by the President of the Italian Republic, Sergio Mattarella.

  • The award, which has become internationally recognized over the years in the field of energy and environmental research, aims to promote better use of energy sources and encourage new generations of researchers in their work.

  • This is considered to be the Nobel Prize in Energy Research.

  • It includes a cash prize and a specially minted gold medal. 

Source : The Hindu
Awards

Current Affairs
May 28, 2021

NON-ALIGNED MOVEMENT (NAM)
Dr Harsh Vardhan, Union Minister for Health and Family Welfare virtually participated in a meeting with Ministers of Health of the NAM (Non-Aligned Movement) Countries.

About:

  • The Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) is a forum of 120 developing world states that are not formally aligned with or against any major power bloc.

  • After the United Nations, it is the largest grouping of states worldwide.

  • Drawing on the principles agreed at the Bandung Conference in 1955, the Non-Aligned Movement was established in 1961 in Belgrade, SR Serbia, Yugoslavia through an initiative of the Indian Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru, Ghanaian President Kwame Nkrumah, Indonesian President Sukarno, Egyptian President Gamal Abdel Nasser and Yugoslav President Josip Broz Tito.

  • Its Coordinating Bureau, also based at the UN, is located in New York. 

Source : PIB
International

Current Affairs
May 28, 2021

SeHAT OPD portal
Raksha Mantri Rajnath Singh launched ‘Services e-Health Assistance & Tele-consultation (SeHAT) OPD portal through video conferencing on May 27, 2021.

About:

  • The portal provides tele-medicine services to the serving Armed Forces personnel, veterans and their families. The services can be availed by registering on the website https://sehatopd.in/.

  • This is the final version of the SeHAT OPD portal with advanced safety features. The trial version was made functional in August 2020.

  • Department of Military Affairs (DMA), Armed Forces Medical Services (AFMS), Integrated Defence Staff (IDS) and Centre for Development of Artificial Computing (C-DAC) Mohali are involved in the development of the portal.

  • The portal will help reduce the load on hospitals and patients will be able to get contactless consultations in an easy and effective manner. 

Source : The Hindu
Defence & Security

Current Affairs
May 28, 2021

NATIONAL DIGITAL HEALTH MISSION (NDHM)
Prime Minister Narendra Modi chaired a high-level meeting to review the National Digital Health Mission (NDHM).

About:

  • On 15th Aug 2020, during his Independence Day address, Prime Minister had announced the launch of NDHM.

  • Since then, the digital modules and registries have been developed and the mission has been rolled out in six Union Territories. So far, nearly 11.9 lakh Health IDs have been generated and 3106 doctors and 1490 facilities have registered on the platform.

  • It has been envisaged that Unified Health Interface (UHI) - an open and interoperable IT network for digital health should soon be rolled out. This interface shall enable public and private solutions and apps to plug in and be a part of National Digital Health Ecosystem.

  • During the meeting, the concept of UPI e-Voucher developed by National Payment Corporation of India (NPCI) was also discussed. This digital payment option will enable financial transactions linked to specific purpose which can be used only by the intended user.

Source : The Hindu
Health

Current Affairs
May 28, 2021

LAURENCE DES CARS
Art historian and curator Laurence des Cars has become the first woman to be appointed the president of Louvre in its 228-year history.

About:

  • Louvre is the world’s largest art museum, based in Paris. It is located on the Right Bank of the Seine.

  • It is best known for being the home of the Mona Lisa, a half-length portrait painting by Italian artist Leonardo da Vinci.

  • Between 2007 and 2014, Des Cars was one of the leading figures who set up the Louvre Abu Dhabi in the capital of the UAE. 

Source : Indian Express
Culture
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