Jan. 31, 2022

Current Affairs
Jan. 31, 2022

ANTI-LEPROSY DAY
In India, Anti Leprosy Day is observed on 30th January every year.

About:

  • 30th January is Mahatma Gandhi's martyrdom day. He was deeply committed to the cause of leprosy-affected persons.

  • Leprosy is also one of the neglected tropical diseases.

  • National Leprosy Eradication Programme is a centrally sponsored scheme. Its vision is “Leprosy-free India”. Under this, action is taken for early case detection, complete treatment of detected cases and to contain the onset of disease in close contacts.

  • Other initiatives under the programme include leprosy awareness campaigns and services for Disability Prevention and Medical Rehabilitation such as provision of Microcellular Rubber footwear, Aids & Appliances and self-care kits.

  • Under the programme, Reconstructive Surgeries are conducted and welfare allowance is paid to each patient undergoing Reconstructive Surgeries. 

Source : All India Radio
Health

Current Affairs
Jan. 31, 2022

RAFAEL NADAL
Rafael Nadal won a five-set duel with Daniil Medvedev and claimed a record 21st Grand Slam men’s title in the Australian Open final.

About:

  • Nadal moved ahead of era rivals Novak Djokovic and Roger Federer on the all-time list of men’s Major winners.

  • Djokovic missed his chance to improve on his nine Australian Open wins when he was deported over vaccination issues on the eve of the tournament, while Federer is injured.

  • Nadal also became only the fourth man to win each of the four Grand Slams twice and the third oldest man in the Open Era (since 1970) to win a Grand Slam title, behind Ken Rosewall and Federer.

Source : The Hindu
Sports

Current Affairs
Jan. 31, 2022

FEDERATED DIGITAL IDENTITIES
The government has invited stakeholder comments on a proposal that seeks to establish ‘Federated Digital Identities’ to optimise the number of digital identities that a citizen needs to have, by linking various consumer identification data into a single unique ID for digital transactions such as authentication and eKYC services.

About:

  • The proposal is part of the Electronics and IT Ministry’s India Enterprise Architecture 2.0 (IndEA 2.0) framework that aims to enable the governments and the private sector enterprises to design IT architectures that can span beyond organisational boundaries for delivery of integrated services.

  • “As various government platforms across domains are being digitised, there is a tendency to create more IDs each with its own ID card, ID management, and effort to make it unique, etc,” the Ministry has said in the draft, on which stakeholder comments have been invited till February 27.

  • InDEA 2.0 proposes a model of Federated Digital Identities that seeks to optimise the number of digital identities that a citizen needs to have. The model empowers the citizen by putting her in control of these identities and providing her the option of choosing which one to use for what purpose. It gives the agency to the citizens and protects privacy-by-design. 

Source : The Hindu
Economy

Current Affairs
Jan. 31, 2022

MPhil
Delhi University has officially notified that it would be scrapping its MPhil programme from the coming academic year (2022-23), in line with the National Education Policy (NEP), which mandates this.

About:

  • The National Education Policy document simply states that the MPhil programme should be discontinued. The document does not provide a reason or rationale.

  • The Master of Philosophy (MPhil) is a postgraduate degree.

Source : Indian Express
Education

Current Affairs
Jan. 31, 2022

INDIA-OMAN DEFENCE RELATIONS
India is laying out the red carpet for Oman’s top defence official Mohammed Nasser Al Zaabi, who will be in India from January 30 to February 4 on an official visit.

About:

  • Zaabi will be in Delhi to co-chair the Joint Military Cooperation Committee (JMMC) with Defence Secretary Ajay Kumar.

  • The JMCC is the highest forum of engagement between India and Oman in the field of defence that evaluates and provides guidance to the overall framework of defence exchanges between the two sides.

  • The JMCC is expected to meet annually, but could not be organised since 2018 when the meeting of the 9th JMCC was held in Oman.

Why is Oman important from a defence and strategic point of view?

  • Oman is India’s closest defence partner in the Gulf region and an important anchor for India’s defence and strategic interests.

  • Defence cooperation has emerged as a key pillar for the robust India-Oman strategic partnership. Defence exchanges are guided by a Framework MOU which was recently renewed in 2021.

  • Oman is the only country in the Gulf region with which all three services of the Indian armed forces conduct regular bilateral exercises and staff talks, enabling close cooperation and trust at the professional level. Oman also provides critical operational support to Indian naval deployments in the Arabian sea for anti-piracy missions.

  • Bilateral training cooperation between the two sides is also robust with Omani forces regularly subscribing to training courses in India both at professional as well as higher command level.

  • Indian armed forces also subscribe to the Staff and Command courses conducted at NDC, Oman. Oman also actively participates in the Indian Ocean Naval Symposium (IONS).

Source : Indian Express
International

Current Affairs
Jan. 31, 2022

SUPARI
Union Minister VK Singh called The New York Times “supari media” over its report that India was among the countries that bought Israel’s company NSO Group’s spying software ‘Pegasus’.

About:

  • Supari or the areca nut is more popularly known as the betel nut as it is used with betel leaves to make pan.

  • However, over a period of times it has been used by the underworld to indicate a contract given to a person to kill someone else in exchange for money.

  • Over the past few years, it has not been restricted to giving a contract to kill someone but also to damage the reputation of another person.

  • One of the major supari killings was that of music baron Gulshan Kumar who had been shot dead on August 12, 1997 outside a temple in Andheri.

  • As per police, the plot to bump him off was hatched in Dubai by Dawood’s brother Anees Ibrahim and Rs 25 lakh had been paid to the killers.

Source : Indian Express
Miscellaneous

Current Affairs
Jan. 31, 2022

SILVERLINE
Despite the protests taking place across Kerala against SilverLine, the CPI(M)-led government remains firm on implementing the project.

About:

  • SilverLine is a semi high-speed railway project connecting the state’s northern and southern ends at a cost of over Rs 63,000 crore.

  • The proposed 529.45-km line will link Thiruvananthapuram in the south to Kasaragod in the north, covering 11 districts through 11 stations.

  • When the project is completed, one can travel from Kasaragod to Thiruvananthapuram in less than four hours at 200 km/hr. On the existing Indian Railways network, it now takes 12 hours.

  • The deadline for the project, being executed by the Kerala Rail Development Corporation Limited (KRDCL), is 2025.

  • KRDCL, or K-Rail, is a joint venture between the Kerala government and the Union Ministry of Railways created to execute big railway projects.

Source : Indian Express
Economy

Current Affairs
Jan. 31, 2022

UKRAINE CONFLICT
India this week gave its first official statement amid the ongoing tension between Russia and the West — led by the US — over Ukraine. It’s been a tense one-and-a-half months, with the possibility of war looming large. India calls for a peaceful resolution of the situation through sustained diplomatic efforts for long term peace and stability in the region and beyond.

What’s happening?

  • Ukraine has become a bone of contention in Moscow’s relations with the West, with Russian troops massed near its border and NATO’s forces on standby in case Russia attacks its neighbour.

  • Ukrainian forces have been patrolling the border in the east and the north, including in Chernobyl in Ukraine, which falls on the shortest route between Russia and Kyiv, Ukraine’s capital.

Is there a geography and resource angle too?

  • After Russia, Ukraine is the second largest country in Europe too. It has major ports on the Black Sea and shares borders with four NATO countries.

  • Europe depends on Russia for about one third of its natural gas – providing enormous leverage for Putin in any dispute with the West – and one of the main pipelines passes through Ukraine.

  • Controlling this Ukrainian territory would enhance Russia’s pipeline security.

Source : Indian Express
International

Current Affairs
Jan. 31, 2022

FAMILY PENSION
Union Minister of Personnel, Public Grievances, Pensions Jitendra Singh said that mentally retarded child of a deceased Government employee/Pensioner is entitled to Family Pension and the spirit of this provision needs to be understood and respected.

About:

  • This reiteration was necessitated by the fact that it has come to the notice of the Department of Pension & Pensioners’ Welfare that in some cases the Banks are not allowing Family Pension in respect of a mentally retarded child through the person nominated by the Pensioner or his/her spouse and they insist for a Guardianship Certificate issued by a Court of Law.

  • The provision for nomination for Family Pension is intended to avoid any hassle to the child suffering from a mental disability in obtaining Guardianship Certificate from the Court or in claiming Family Pension after the death of his/her parents.

  • Therefore, insisting for a Guardianship Certificate by a Bank in such cases defeats the very purpose of such nomination and also amounts to violation of the statutory provisions of Central Civil Service (Pension) Rules, 2021.

  • The Department has, therefore, reiterated the provisions of the above rules.

Source : PIB
Social Issues

Current Affairs
Jan. 31, 2022

CHANDRAPUR SUPER THERMAL POWER STATION
The Ministry of Coal today said Western Coal Fields Ltd is making "all efforts on SOS basis" to boost the supplies and build up the stock at Chandrapur Super Thermal Power Station (CSTPS).

About:

  • Chandrapur Super Thermal Power Station (often abbreviated as CSTPS) is a thermal power plant located in Chandrapur district in Maharashtra.

  • The power plant is one of the coal based power plants of MAHAGENCO.

  • The coal for the power plant is sourced from Durgapur and Padmapur Collieries of Western Coalfields Limited.

  • The plant was officially inaugurated by the then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi on 8 October 1984.

  • With the total capacity of 3340MW, the plant is the largest power plant in the Maharashtra.

Source : LiveMint
Economy

Jan. 30, 2022

Current Affairs
Jan. 30, 2022

SEPTEMERANTHUS
A new genus of a parasitic flowering plant has recently been discovered from the Nicobar group of islands.

About:

  • The genus Septemeranthus grows on the plant species Horsfieldia glabra (Blume) Warb.

  • The parasitic flowering plants have a modified root structure spread on the stem of the tree and are anchored inside the bark of the host tree.

  • The plant was found on the periphery of the tropical forest in one of the biodiversity hotspots referred to as the Nicobar group of islands separated from the Andaman group of Islands by a wide gap of 160 km with heavy tidal flows.

  • The genus Septemeranthus has a distinct vegetative morphology, inflorescence architecture and floral characters.

  • The leaves of the plant are heart-shaped with a very long tip and the ovary, fruit and seeds are ‘urceolate’ (earthen pot-shaped). The flowers have five persistent bracts having conspicuous margins.

  • The name Septemeranthus is derived from the Latin word ‘septem’ meaning ‘seven’, referring to the arrangement of flowers. The genus belongs to the family Loranthaceae, a hemi-parasite under the sandalwood order Santalales and is of widespread importance.

  • Plants which are hemi-parasites are partially dependent on their host plants for nutrition. For instance, the newly discovered plant that derives nutrients from its hosts has green leaves capable of photosynthesis.

Source : The Hindu
Environment

Current Affairs
Jan. 30, 2022

ULTRA-LONG PERIOD MAGNETAR
Scientists have detected what appears to be an incredibly dense star behaving unlike anything else ever seen - and suspect it might be a type of exotic astrophysical object whose existence has been only hypothesised until now.

About:

  • The object, spotted using the Murchison Widefield Array telescope in outback Western Australia, unleashed huge bursts of energy roughly three times per hour when viewed from Earth during two months in 2018.

  • It may be the first known example of what is called an ”ultra-long period magnetar.”

  • This is a variety of neutron star - the compact collapsed core of a massive star that exploded as a supernova - that is highly magnetised and rotates relatively slowly, as opposed to fast-spinning neutron star objects called pulsars that appear from Earth to be blinking on and off within milliseconds or seconds.

  • It is located relatively close to Earth in cosmic terms, roughly 4,200 light years away, where a light year is the distance light travels in a year, 9.5 trillion km.

  • Neutron stars including pulsars are among the universe's densest objects.

  • They are roughly 12 km in diameter - akin to the size of a city - but with more mass than our Sun.

  • A neutron star with an extreme magnetic field, a magnetar, could potentially power the radio pulsations, the researchers said.

Source : The Hindu
Science & Tech

Current Affairs
Jan. 30, 2022

SONGS OF FROG SPECIES
Frogs have different types of call to suit different occasions, a new study finds.

About:

  • It was known that birds sing different songs depending on context, yet this kind of behaviour has not been documented among the so-called simpler animals, the anurans (frogs and toads).

  • This study, conducted by researchers from Indian Institute of Science (IISc), Bengaluru, and Indian Institute of Science Education and Research (IISER), Pune, has been published in the journal Animal Behaviour.

  • The group studied two species of frog – Humayun’s Night Frog (Nyctibatrachus humayuni) and Amboli Bush Frog (Pseudophilautus amboli). Both species of anurans are endemic to the Western Ghats.

  • While N. humayuni produces calls with two notes (ascending and descending), P. amboli produces calls with six-note types.

  • This is the first study to examine “sequences” of vocalisations in frogs.

Source : The Hindu
Environment

Current Affairs
Jan. 30, 2022

BAD BANK
A key proposal announced in 2021 Budget, a bad bank to deal with stressed assets in the loss-laden banking system, has received all regulatory approvals.

What is the structure of the bad bank?

  • NARCL will acquire and aggregate the identified NPA accounts from banks, while IDRCL, under an exclusive arrangement, will handle the debt resolution process, State Bank of India Chairman Dinesh Khara said.

  • Padmakumar Nair, a Chief General Manager from SBI’s Stressed Assets vertical, will manage NARCL, while Manish Makharia, Head of Alternate Investment Fund, SBI Funds Management Pvt Ltd, will head IDRCL.

  • Subrata Biswas, the nominee director on the Board of NARCL, will be the interim Chairman, and Diwakar Gupta will continue as the Chairman of IDRCL.

  • Majority-owned by state-owned banks, the NARCL will be assisted by the India Debt Resolution Company Ltd (IDRCL), in turn majority-owned by private banks, in resolution process in the form of a Principal-Agent basis.

How will the bad bank work?

  • NARCL and IDRCL will have an exclusive arrangement that will be as per the scope defined in the ‘Debt Management Agreement’ to be executed between these two entities.

  • This arrangement will be on a ‘Principal-Agent’ basis and final approvals and ownership for the resolution shall lie with NARCL as the Principal.

Source : Indian Express
Economy

Current Affairs
Jan. 30, 2022

INTRANASAL VACCINES
The Drugs Controller General of India Friday approved the trials of intranasal booster doses against Covid-19 that is being manufactured by Bharat Biotech, the maker of Covaxin.

About:

  • Vaccines are usually given through different routes, with the most common being injectable shots delivered into the muscles (intramuscular) or the tissue just between the skin and the muscles (subcutaneous).

  • Other routes of delivery, especially in some vaccines for infants, include administering the liquid solution orally instead of injecting. In the intranasal route, the vaccine is sprayed into the nostrils and inhaled.

The importance of such vaccines

  • Many viruses, including the coronavirus, enter the body through mucosa — wet, squishy tissues that line the nose, mouth, lungs and digestive tract — triggering a unique immune response from cells and molecules there. Intramuscular vaccines generally fail at eliciting this mucosal response, and instead rely on immune cells mobilised from elsewhere in the body flocking to the site of infection.

  • Experts believe an intranasal vaccine will act against the virus from the time it tries to break the body’s barrier, thereby making it more effective than the intramuscular ones in many cases.

  • These vaccines aim to overcome potential difficulties with mass vaccination and reduce the cost by doing away with the need for needles and syringes. Intranasal vaccines are also expected to cut down on the dependence on various trained personnel to administer the vaccine.

Source : Indian Express
Health

Current Affairs
Jan. 30, 2022

RAILWAYS IN MANIPUR
With the first freight train reaching Manipur, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said this will enhance the state's commerce and connectivity as goods from there will reach all parts of the country.

About:

  • The freight train arrived at the Rani Gaidinliu station, Tamenglong in Manipur on January 27, days after a passenger train from Silchar in Assam reached the Bongaichungpao railway station in Manipur, where assembly polls will be held in two phases on February 27 and March 3.

  • Earlier this month, Railway Minister Ashwini Vaishnaw did an aerial survey of the Jiribam-Imphal new line project in Manipur. The project, which includes the country's longest train tunnel, will connect Imphal with Guwahati.

Geography

Current Affairs
Jan. 30, 2022

IQBAL SINGH KINGRA
The Prime Minister, Shri Narendra Modi has expressed deep grief over the passing away of noted educationist, Baba Iqbal Singh Ji.

About:

  • Iqbal Singh Kingra (1926 – 2022) was an Indian socio-spiritual leader of the Sikh community.

  • He was the Founder President of The Kalgidhar Trust, The Kalgidhar Society and Baru Sahib.

  • He was awarded the Sikh Lifetime Achievement Award in 2016. In 2018 he was bestowed with Shiromani Panth Rattan (precious jewel of the Sikh community) by Takht Sri Harmandir Ji Patna Sahib.

  • In 2022, he was conferred with the Padma Shri by the Government Of India for his contributions in the field of social work.

  • Singh died in Baru Sahib on 29 January 2022, at the age of 95.

Source : Times of India
Miscellaneous

Current Affairs
Jan. 30, 2022

FIRE PROTECTION SYSTEM IN PASSENGER COMPARTMENT IN BUSES
The Ministry of Road Transport and Highways, vide notification dated 27th January 2022, has introduced the Fire Alarm System and Fire Protection System in the Passenger (or, Occupant) Compartment in buses.

About:

  • It was done through an amendment in the AIS (Automotive Industry Standard)-135 for Type III buses [‘Type III’ Vehicles are those designed and constructed for long distance passenger transport, for seated passengers ] and School Buses.

  • A water mist- based active fire protection system and a standalone fire alarm system for buses has been designed to manage the temperature in the passenger compartment within 50 degrees centigrade.

  • This amendment to the Standard has been undertaken in consultation with experts from the Centre for Fire Explosive and Environment Safety (CFEES), a DRDO establishment, working in the area of fire risk assessment, fire suppression technologies, modelling and simulation etc.

Source : PIB
Economy

Current Affairs
Jan. 30, 2022

INDIA-ASEAN DIGITAL WORK PLAN 2022
The 2nd ASEAN Digital Ministers (ADGMIN) meeting with India was held on a virtual platform.

About:

  • The ADGMIN is an annual meeting of Telecom Ministers of 10 ASEAN (Association of South-East Asian Nations) countries -Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, and Vietnam and dialogue partner countries - Australia, Canada, China, EU, India, Japan, Republic of Korea, New Zealand, Russia, UK and US.

  • The meeting discussed and deliberated various matters relevant to strengthening regional digital cooperation in the spirit of digital inclusion and integration.

  • The Ministers meeting approved the India-ASEAN Digital Work Plan 2022.

  • The workplan includes system for combating the use of stolen and counterfeit mobile handsets, WiFi Access network interface for nationwide public internet, the capacity building and knowledge sharing in emerging areas in the field of Information and Communication Technologies such as Internet of Things (IoT), 5G, Advanced Satellite etc.

Source : The Hindu
International

Current Affairs
Jan. 30, 2022

REVERSE REPO NORMALISATION
In a recent report, State Bank of India, which is the largest public sector bank in the country, has stated: “…we believe the stage is set for a reverse repo normalisation.”

Background

  • The reverse repo is the interest rate that the RBI pays to the commercial banks when they park their excess “liquidity” (money) with the RBI. The reverse repo, thus, is the exact opposite of the repo rate.

  • Under normal circumstances, that is when the economy is growing at a healthy pace, the repo rate becomes the benchmark interest rate in the economy.

  • But imagine a scenario where the RBI pumps more and more liquidity into the market but there are no takers of fresh loans.

  • In such a scenario, Banks are more interested in parking their excess liquidity with the RBI. And that is how the reverse repo becomes the actual benchmark interest rate in the economy.

What does reverse repo normalisation mean?

  • Simply put, it means the reverse repo rates will go up.

  • Over the past few months, in the face of rising inflation, several central banks across the world have either increased interest rates or signaled that they would do so soon.

  • In India, too, it is expected that the RBI will raise the repo rate. But before that, it is expected that the RBI will raise the reverse repo rate and reduce the gap between the two rates.

Source : Indian Express
Economy

Jan. 29, 2022

Current Affairs
Jan. 29, 2022

CHIEF ECONOMIC ADVISOR
The Government has appointed Dr V. Anantha Nageswaran as the Chief Economic Advisor.

About:

  • Prior to this appointment, Dr. Nageswaran has worked as a writer, author, teacher and consultant. He has taught at several business schools and institutes of management in India and in Singapore and has published extensively.

  • He was the Dean of the IFMR Graduate School of Business and a distinguished Visiting Professor of Economics at Krea University.

  • He has also been a part-time member of the Economic Advisory Council to the Prime Minister of India from 2019 to 2021.

  • He holds a Post-Graduate Diploma in Management from the Indian Institute of Management, Ahmedabad and a doctoral degree from the University of Massachusetts in Amherst.

Source : The Hindu
Economy

Current Affairs
Jan. 29, 2022

ADVANCED LIGHT HELICOPTER (ALH) MK III AIRCRAFT
In a boost to maritime security, the indigenous Advanced Light Helicopter (ALH) MK III aircraft was formally inducted at INS Utkrosh by Commander-in-Chief, Andaman and Nicobar Command (CINCAN) Lieutenant General Ajai Singh at Port Blair on January 28, 2022.

About:

  • The ALH MK III aircraft is manufactured by Hindustan Aeronautics Limited and represents a tremendous leap towards self-reliance in the field of military aircraft.

  • Till date, over 300 of these aircraft have been delivered by HAL and are being flown by the Armed Forces.

  • Amongst its variants, the MK III variant is a maritime role variant encompassing state-of-the-art sensors and weapons that add punch to India’s prowess at sea.

  • The ALH MK III aircraft with its glass cockpit, Shakti engines, advanced Maritime Patrol Radar, Electro–optical payload and Night Vision Device will act as a force multiplier in keeping India’s far eastern seaboard and Island territories safe.

  • The state-of-the-art aircraft has multirole capabilities including maritime surveillance, support for Special Forces, medical evacuations besides search and rescue roles.

Source : Economic Times
Defence & Security

Current Affairs
Jan. 29, 2022

DIVING SUPPORT CRAFT (DSC) PROJECT
Keel laying for the first ship of Diving Support Craft (DSC) project was held on 27 Jan 2022 in virtual presence of representatives from the Indian Navy, at M/s Titagarh Wagons Ltd., Kolkata.

About:

  • The contract for procurement of Five Diving Support Crafts (Yards 325 to 329) for the Indian Navy was signed in Feb 2021 with M/s Titagarh Wagons Ltd.

  • The ships will be commissioned in the Indian Navy to provide diving assistance for ships inside and close to harbour, for underwater repairs, maintenance and salvage. The ships will be fitted with state-of-the-art diving equipment and tools for performing the diving operations.

  • With all main and auxiliary equipment sourced from indigenous manufacturers, these ships are proud flag bearers of Make in India initiatives of the Ministry of Defence.

Source : PIB
Internal Security

Current Affairs
Jan. 29, 2022

SCHEME ON ENHANCEMENT OF COMPETITIVENESS IN THE INDIAN CAPITAL GOODS SECTOR- PHASE-II
Ministry of Heavy Industries (MHI) has notified the Scheme on Enhancement of Competitiveness in the Indian Capital Goods Sector- Phase-II for providing assistance to Common Technology Development and Services Infrastructure.

About:

  • The scheme has a financial outlay of Rs. 1207 crores with Budgetary support of Rs.975 crore and Industry Contribution of Rs.232 crore . The scheme was notified on 25th January, 2022.

  • The objective of Phase II of the Scheme for Enhancement of Competitiveness of the Capital Goods Sector is to expand and enlarge the impact created by Phase I pilot scheme, thereby providing greater impetus through creation of a strong and globally competitive capital goods sector that contributes at least 25% to the manufacturing sector.

There are six components under the Scheme for Enhancement of Capital Goods Sector Phase II, namely:

  • Identification of Technologies through Technology Innovation Portals;

  • Setting up of four New Advanced Centres of Excellence and augmentation of Existing Centres of Excellence;

  • Promotion of skilling in Capital Goods Sector–creation of Qualification packages for skill levels 6 and above;

  • Setting up of four Common Engineering Facility Centres (CEFCs) and augmentation of existing CEFCs;

  • Augmentation of Existing Testing and Certification Centres;

  • Setting up of ten Industry Accelerators for Technology Development

Source : LiveMint
Economy

Current Affairs
Jan. 29, 2022

FLOATING BORDER OUT-POST VESSELS
Cochin Shipyard Limited (CSL), under the Ministry of Ports, Ships and Waterways, has successfully delivered the second lot of three Floating Border Out-Post (FBOPs) vessels to the Border Security Force.

About:

  • CSL has got orders for building nine such FBOPs to protect Nation’s water borders. Three more vessels are likely to be delivered in the coming months.

  • The Ministry of Home Affairs in March 2019 had placed orders for Design, Construction and Supply of 09 FBOPs for the Water wing of Border Security Force.

  • The FBOPs with an overall length of 46 meters and breadth of 12 meters are designed for deployment in Inland waters of India, specifically in the creek area of Kutch (Gujarat) and Sunderbans of West Bengal.

  • The vessels are designed in-house by CSL and classed by Indian Register of Shipping and each FBOP vessel are designed with stowage arrangements for four fast patrol boats, which can be launched and hoisted using its own davit system.

  • The vessel shall act as the floating base for the flotilla of fast patrol boats. The vessel is to supply Petrol, Fresh Water and provisions to the smaller boats.

Source : PIB
Defence & Security

Current Affairs
Jan. 29, 2022

NATIONAL INSTITUTE OF PHARMACEUTICAL EDUCATION AND RESEARCH (NIPER)
Union Minister for Chemicals and Fertilizers Shri Mansukh Mandaviya launched NIPER Research Portal.

About:

  • National Institute of Pharmaceutical Education and Research (NIPER) Research Portal has been created with the aim to disseminate the information about all the NIPERs and their research activities, patents filed and Publication information at one place so that a industry and other stakeholders know about them.

  • National Institute of Pharmaceutical Education and Research (NIPERs) are a group of national level institutes of pharmaceutical sciences in India.

  • The Government of India has declared the NIPERs as Institutes of National Importance.

  • They operate as autonomous bodies under the aegis of Department of Pharmaceuticals, Ministry of Chemicals and Fertilizers.

  • Established in: 1998

  • They are located in 7 cities in India: Ahmedabad, Guwahati, Hajipur, Hyderabad, Kolkata, S.A.S. Nagar and Raebareli.

Source : PIB
Health

Current Affairs
Jan. 29, 2022

VILLAGES OF EXCELLENCE
Union Minister of Agriculture and Farmers Welfare Shri Narendra Singh Tomar expressed happiness on the completion of 30 years of diplomatic relations between India and Israel.

About:

  • The Minister expressed satisfaction at the functioning of 29 Centers of Excellence in 12 States which are producing more than 25 million vegetable plants, over 387 thousand quality fruit plants and can train more than 1.2 lakh farmers per year.

  • Union Minister Shri Tomar informed that it has been decided to convert 150 villages around the Centers of Excellence into Villages of Excellence with technical assistance from Israel, out of which 75 villages are being taken up in the first year to commemorate the 75th year of India's independence where India and Israel will work together.

  • These Centers of Excellence (CoEs) are a great example of cooperation between the two countries.

Source : PIB
International

Current Affairs
Jan. 29, 2022

PANDIT JASRAJ CULTURAL FOUNDATION
The Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi paid rich tribute to Pandit Jasraj on the occasion of the Jayanti of the doyen of Indian Classical Music.

About:

  • The Prime Minister talked of the personification of immortal energy of music by Pandit Jasraj and lauded Durga Jasraj and Pandit Shaarang Dev for keeping alive the glorious legacy of the maestro.

  • The Prime Minister was speaking at the launch of the Pandit Jasraj Cultural Foundation via video conferencing.

  • Pandit Jasraj, whose career in music spanned over 80 years, belonged to the Mewati Gharana. He received several accolades including the prestigious Padma Shri, Padma Bhushan, and Padma Vibhushan. The legendary classical vocalist passed away at the age of 90 on August 17, 2020.

Source : Times of India
Culture

Current Affairs
Jan. 29, 2022

MODERNA/IAVI STUDY
The biotech firm Moderna has started trials on an mRNA vaccine against the HIV, which uses a novel approach to elicit broadly neutralising HIV-1 antibodies (bNAbs) and eventually target multiple HIV strains.

About:

  • First doses of the experimental HIV vaccine antigens were administered at George Washington University School of Medicine and Health Sciences in Washington DC this week.

  • The vaccine uses the same technology as Moderna’s Covid 19 vaccine. It uses mRNA, or messenger RNA, which teaches the body’s cells how to make proteins that trigger immune response.

  • BNAbs are produced by certain types of B cells, which are rare: one in 300,000 B cells have this capability. The vaccine aims to stimulate production of bnAbs that can act against many variants of HIV.

The trial

  • The MODERNA/IAVI study is a phase 1, randomised, first-in-human, open label study to evaluate the safety and immunogenicity of the vaccines, mRNA-1644 and mRNA-1644v2-Core, in HIV-uninfected individuals.

  • Fifty-six individuals will be randomised in four groups and safety/immunogenicity results will be available in 2023.

Source : Indian Express
Health

Current Affairs
Jan. 29, 2022

AVASCULAR NECROSIS (AVN)
The health woes of the patients infected with Covid-19 in the second wave still continues as many are being diagnosed with the long post-Covid complications of Avascular Necrosis (AVN), referred to as bone death.

About:

  • To find a clinical explanation, All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) has submitted a proposal to the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) seeking approval for a multicentric study to probe cases of AVN among Covid-19 recovered patients.

  • The AVN is not a new ailment. Before Covid, this case was found due to smoking, alcoholism, and steroid use linked to other conditions.

  • AVN, or Osteonecrosis, is a common cause of painful hips in youngsters. It occurs due to the restricted blood supply to the bone, resulting in loss of its density and weight-bearing capacity.

  • As the bone breaks into small pieces, the patient suffers unbearable pain and loses mobility completely. Hip bones are more prone to this.

  • Not all patients with AVN need to undergo hip replacement surgeries. When the disease progresses in the first or second stage, core decompression surgeries are conducted. When it reaches the third and fourth stages, then joint replacement surgeries are done.

Source : Indian Express
Health

Jan. 28, 2022

Current Affairs
Jan. 28, 2022

TIWA COMMUNITY
Almost 250 members of two extremist organisations in Assam laid down their arms before Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma at a formal programme in Guwahati.

About:

  • The organisations are the Tiwa Liberation Army (TLA) and the United Gorkha People’s Organisation (UGPO).

  • Formed in 2014 to cater to the aspirations of the Tiwa community, the TLA was active in Morigaon, Nagaon and West Karbi Anglong districts of central Assam.

  • The UGPO, formed in 2007, was mostly active in the Bodoland Territorial Region and Biswanath district.

Important Info :

Tiwa

  • Tiwa (Lalung) is an ethnic group mainly inhabiting the states of Assam and Meghalaya in north-eastern India.
  • They are also found in some areas of Arunachal Pradesh, Manipur and Nagaland.
  • They are recognized as a Scheduled tribe within the State of Assam.
  • They were known as Lalungs in the Assamese Buranjis and in Colonial literature and in the Constitution of India, though members of the group prefer to call themselves Tiwa (meaning "the people who were lifted from below").
Source : The Hindu
Internal Security

Current Affairs
Jan. 28, 2022

SPOT-BILLED PELICANS
A nematode infestation has led to mass mortality of spot-billed pelicans (Pelicanus philippensis) at Telineelapuram Important Bird Area (IBA) in Naupada swamp of Srikakulam district in Andhra Pradesh.

About:

  • Over 150 spot-billed pelicans have succumbed to the infestation since December. Only adult birds have succumbed to the infestation till date.

  • Until now, in South India, the Telineelapuram IBA is the prime winter sojourn for the spot-billed pelican for breeding. The same IBA is also a breeding habitat for the painted stork (Mycteria leucocephala).

  • The nematode infestation would not spread from one species to another species as per the studies carried out by the experts in Karnataka State.

  • The spot-billed pelican is capable of hunting huge fish from the water bodies and swamps and thus, it is vulnerable to infestation.

  • Thousands of spot-billed pelicans and a few hundred painted storks migrate from the Siberian region to breed in the Telineelapuram IBA and a majority of them prefer to stay here instead of going back home.

Source : The Hindu
Environment

Current Affairs
Jan. 28, 2022

BA.2 SUB-VARIANT OF OMICRON
In the last couple of weeks, there has been a noticeable increase in the discovery of BA.2 sub-variant of Omicron from several countries, leading to fresh worries about the possibility of another surge in cases.

About:

  • Last week, the UK Health Security Agency flagged this sub-variant and designated it as a ‘variant under investigation’.

  • This sub-variant has been present in substantial numbers in India as well, but India is not amongst the countries where the recent increase has been noticed.

A sub-variant of Omicron

  • 2 is one of the several sub-variants of the Omicron which has spread rapidly across the world since November.

  • The Omicron name was given to the B.1.1.529 lineage after it was designated as a variant of concern.

  • Later, it was found that this lineage had small variations of its own, and the three most common were named B.1.1.529.1, B.1.1.529.2, and B.1.1.529.3. For ease of reference, however, these sub-lineages were later re-classified as BA.1, BA.2 and BA.3.

  • The Omicron sub-variant that has been most common in circulation till now is BA.1. This continues to be the case even now, though the proportion of BA.2 is on the rise.

Source : Indian Express
Health

Current Affairs
Jan. 28, 2022

TIPU SULTAN
Mysore King Tipu Sultan is at the centre of a controversy in Mumbai with the BJP claiming that Congress leader and Mumbai Suburban Minister Aslam Shaikh is planning to name a playground in the Muslim dominated Malwani locality after the 17th century ruler.

Why does Tipu Sultan find resonance in Mumbai?

  • Since 2015 after the emeregence of political parties like the AIMIM in Maharashtra, historical figures like Tipu Sultan are being used by Muslim youth as a symbol of political assertion.

  • A large number of pictures lauding Tipu Sultan, the 17th century Muslim ruler of Mysore, have started coming up in areas across Maharashtra particularly Marathwada and locals claim that these posters are a way of the Muslim youth to show the contribution and history of Muslims in India.

Key facts

  • Tipu Sultan (1751 – 1799), also known as the Tiger of Mysore, was the ruler of the Kingdom of Mysore based in South India and a pioneer of rocket artillery.

  • He expanded the iron-cased Mysorean rockets and commissioned the military manual Fathul Mujahidin.

Source : Indian Express
History

Current Affairs
Jan. 28, 2022

SMALL SATELLITE LAUNCH VEHICLE (SSLV)
The new chairman of the Indian Space Research Organisation Dr S Somanath indicated at a meeting with the minister of state for space Jitendra Singh Tuesday that ISRO’s indigenous new launch rockets, called the Small Satellite Launch Vehicle (SSLV), will have its much-delayed, maiden development flight this April.

About:

  • The ISRO chairman has mentioned the launch of an “SSLV-D1 Micro SAT in April 2022.”

  • The SSLV is intended to cater to a market for the launch of small satellites into low earth orbits which has emerged in recent years on account of the need for developing countries, private corporations, and universities for small satellites.

  • The launch of small satellites has until now been dependent on ‘piggy-back’ rides with big satellite launches on ISRO’s work-horse – the Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle which has had over 50 successful launches so far.

  • The launch of small satellites as a consequence has been dependent on the finalising of launch contracts for the larger satellites by ISRO.

  • The SSLV can carry satellites weighing up to 500 kg to a low earth orbit while the tried and tested PSLV can launch satellites weighing in the range of 1000 kg.

  • The SSLV is the smallest vehicle at 110-ton mass at ISRO. It will take only 72 hours to integrate, unlike the 70 days taken now for a launch vehicle.

  • Only six people will be required to do the job, instead of 60 people. The entire job will be done in a very short time and the cost will be only around Rs 30 crore. It will be an on-demand vehicle.

Source : Indian Express
Science & Tech

Current Affairs
Jan. 28, 2022

SWACHHATA START-UP CHALLENGE
Ministry of Housing & Urban Affairs (MoHUA), Government of India, in partnership with Department of Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade (DPIIT) and Agence Française de Développement (AFD) launched the Swachhata Start-Up Challenge.

About:

  • It aims to provide an impetus to innovative start-ups to come forward and drive catalytic transformation in the sanitation and waste management sector.

  • The Challenge seeks to promote an enabling environment for enterprise development under Swachh Bharat Mission-Urban 2.0 (SBM-U 2.0).

  • The Swachhata Start-Up Challenge launched today aims to capitalise on the start-up movement by providing opportunities for entrepreneurship to young innovators to create socially impactful and market ready business solutions.

  • The Challenge, which is open to start-ups registered in India and French actors collaborating with an Indian start-up (as a joint venture), invites solutions across four thematic areas viz. (i) social inclusion, (ii) zero dump (solid waste management), (iii)plastic waste management and(iv)transparency through digital enablement.

Source : PIB
Health

Current Affairs
Jan. 28, 2022

CONDITIONAL MARKET AUTHORIZATION
The National Regulator, Drugs Controller General of India (DCGI), has given nod to market authorization of two COVID19 vaccines, Covaxin and Covishield subject to certain conditions.

About:

  • The Subject Expert Committee (SEC) of the Central Drugs Standard Control Organization (CDSCO) had recommended for upgradation of status for the vaccines from restricted use in emergency situations to grant of new drug permission with conditions in the adult population on 19th January 2022.

  • The market authorization of two COVID19 vaccines, Covaxin and Covishield, in the country by DCGI is subject to the following conditions:
    • Firm shall submit data of overseas ongoing clinical trials of the product with due analysis on six monthly basis or as and when available, whichever is earlier.

    • The vaccine shall be supplied for programmatic setting and all vaccinations done within the country to be recorded on CoWIN platform and Adverse Event Following Immunization [AEFI], Adverse Event of Special Interest [AESI] shall continue to be monitored.



Important Info :
  • “Conditional Market Authorization” is a new category of market authorization that has emerged during the current global pandemic of COVID19.
  • The approval pathways through this route are fast-tracked with certain conditions to enhance the access to certain pharmaceuticals for meeting the emerging needs of drugs or vaccines.
  • It may be noted that of the global Stringent Regulatory Authorities, only the United States Food and Drug Administration (USFDA) Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) of the UK have granted “conditional market authorization” to Pfizer and AstraZeneca, respectively, for their COVID19 Vaccines.
Source : PIB
Health

Current Affairs
Jan. 28, 2022

ZAID CROPS
Union Agriculture Minister addressed the 4th National Conference on Agriculture for Summer Campaign 2021-22.

About:

  • Union Agriculture Minister said that summer crops not only provide extra income but also create employment opportunities in between Rabi and Kharif for the farmers thereby increasing crop intensity.

  • The Government has taken new initiatives through various programmes for cultivation of summer crops such as pulses, coarse cereals, nutri-cereals, and oilseeds.

  • He highlighted that area under cultivation of zaid crops including rice has increased progressively 2.7 times from 29.71 lakh hectares in 2017-18 to 80.46 lakh hectares in 2020-21.

  • The objective of Zaid conference is to review and assess the crop performance during the preceding crop seasons and fix crop-wise targets for summer season in consultation with State Governments.

Important Info :

Zaid crops

  • Zaid crops are summer season crops. They grow for a short time period between kharif and rabi crops, mainly from March to June.
  • They require warm dry weather as major growth period and longer day length for flowering.
  • Some of the crops produced during zaid season are watermelon, muskmelon, cucumber, vegetables and fodder crops.
Source : PIB
Economy

Current Affairs
Jan. 28, 2022

INDIA-CENTRAL ASIA VIRTUAL SUMMIT
Prime Minister Narendra Modi hosted the first India-Central Asia Summit in virtual format on 27 January 2022, which was attended by Presidents of the Republic of Kazakhstan, Kyrgyz Republic, Republic of Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Republic of Uzbekistan.

About:

  • This first India-Central Asia coincided with the 30th anniversary of establishment of diplomatic relations between India and Central Asian countries.

  • During the Summit, the Leaders agreed to institutionalize the Summit mechanism by deciding to hold it every 2 years.

  • They also agreed on regular meetings of Foreign Ministers, Trade Ministers, Culture Ministers and Secretaries of the Security Council to prepare the groundwork for the Summit meetings.

  • An India-Central Asia Secretariat in New Delhi would be set up to support the new mechanism.

  • The Leaders discussed far-reaching proposals to further cooperation in areas of trade and connectivity, development cooperation, defence and security and, in particular, on cultural and people to people contacts.

  • These included a Round-Table on Energy and Connectivity; Joint Working Groups at senior official level on Afghanistan and use of Chabahar Port; showcasing of Buddhist exhibitions in Central Asian countries and commissioning of an India-Central Asia dictionary of common words, joint counter-terrorism exercises, visit of 100 member youth delegation annually from Central Asian countries to India and special courses for Central Asian diplomats.

Source : PIB
International

Current Affairs
Jan. 28, 2022

AIR INDIA
The Air India strategic disinvestment transaction has been completed with Government receiving a consideration of Rs 2,700 crore from the Strategic Partner (M/s Talace Pvt Ltd, a wholly owned subsidiary of M/s Tata Sons Pvt Ltd), retaining debt of Rs 15,300 crore in Air India and AIXL and transferring shares of Air India (100% shares of Air India and its subsidiary AIXL and 50% shares of AISATS) to the Strategic Partner.

About:

  • It is pertinent to mention that following Government’s approval of the highest price bid of M/s Talace Pvt Ltd for strategic disinvestment of Air India, the Letter of Intent was issued to the winning bidder on 11 October 2021.

  • The Share Purchase Agreement (SPA) was signed on 25 October, 2021. Thereafter, Strategic Partner (M/s Talace Pvt Ltd), Air India and the Government worked towards satisfying a set of conditions precedent defined in the SPA including approvals from anti-trust bodies, regulators, lenders, third parties, etc.

  • These conditions have since been met to mutual satisfaction.

Source : PIB
Economy
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