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Current Affairs 2021

The value of Current Affairs in Civil Service Examinations is enormous. This is the most critical part of both Prelims and Mains Exam. Aspirants should study in depth to understand the significance of current affairs for the Union Public Service Commission. In fact, all the questions in Civil Service Exams are framed around current affairs. Questions are not asked directly for current news and information in the exam. Questions are framed by combining current affairs with practical knowledge. The primary motive behind this type of strategy is to check the ability of correlation a candidate can make to the fact.

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Why current affairs is more important in Civil Service Exam?

Success in Prelims and Mains Exam is directly related to an aspirant’s awareness in current affairs. Preparation of current affairs for UPSC is the key to unlock the exam. It requires practice and revision in a well-connected manner... In such a scenario the preparation of current affairs topics related to India and the world is an important part of your preparations. The students have to be aware of the happening in India and around the world as this portion is an integral part of the general studies paper.

In order to make you ready for the challenges of the Current Affairs preparation, we are covering the current affairs topics on a regular basis. Our current topics are categorised in such a way that it includes; political affairs, current news, science news, general knowledge, government's scheme and policies and international affairs.

We provide you comprehensive topics of preparation that covers not only India's current scenario but also international events. We also cover Indian news headlines and other important international events under the current affairs segment.

For the very purpose of getting you ready for the challenge that is current news and views in India, we are covering the current affairs 2021 on a regular basis. Our hot topics are categorised such that they include political affairs, current news, science news, general knowledge, current government affairs and international affairs. Only studying India's current scenario or political affairs is not sufficient as you have to cover international events and affairs along with the Indian news space, as well as important and current events in the field of science and sports.

Current Affairs Topics 2021

ArtsInternational
EconomicsNational
DefencePeople In News
EnvironmentPlaces In News
Indian PolicyScience and Technology
Indian politySports

Current Affairs september 20th to September 26th

Arts

73rd Emmy award 2021: 

The 73rd Primetime Emmy Awards ceremony was recently  held on September 19, 2021, in Los Angeles, California.

Key Highlights:

  • The ceremony was hosted by hosted by Cedric the Entertainer and broadcast in the U.S. by CBS and Paramount+.
  • The 73rd Primetime Emmy Awards honored the best in U.S. prime time television programming from June 1, 2020, until May 31, 2021, as chosen by the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences.
  • The nominations were announced on July 13, 2021 by Ron and Jasmine Cephas Jones via a virtual event.
  • For the first time, the ceremony presented two categories that are annually given out at the Primetime Creative Arts Emmy Awards:
  • Outstanding Variety Special (Live)
  • Outstanding Variety Special (Pre-Recorded).
  • The following are the winners for the 2021 Emmy Awards:
  • Outstanding Drama Series: The Crown
  • Outstanding Comedy Series: Ted Lasso
  • Outstanding Variety Talk Show: Last Week Tonight with John Oliver
  • Outstanding Limited Series: The Queen’s Gambit
  • Outstanding Actor–Comedy: Jason Sudeikis (Ted Lasso)
  • Outstanding Actor–Drama: Josh O’Connor
  • Outstanding Actor–Limited Series or Movie: Ewan McGregor (Halston)
  • Outstanding Actress–Comedy: Jean Smart (Hacks)
  • Outstanding Actress–Drama: Olivia Colman (The Crown)
  • Outstanding Actress–Limited Series or Movie: Kate Winslet (Mare of Easttown)
  • Outstanding Supporting Actor–Comedy: Brett Goldstein (Ted Lasso)
  • Outstanding Supporting Actor–Drama: Tobias Menzies (The Crown)
  • Outstanding Supporting Actor–Limited Series or Movie: Evan Peters (Mare of Easttown)
  • Outstanding Supporting Actress–Comedy: Hannah Waddingham (Ted Lasso)
  • Outstanding Supporting Actress–Drama: Gillian Anderson (The Crown)
  • Outstanding Supporting Actress–Limited Series or Movie: Julianne Nicholson (Mare of Easttown)
  • Outstanding Director–Comedy: Lucia Aniello (Hacks)
  • Outstanding Director–Drama: Jessica Hobbs (The Crown)
  • Outstanding Director–Limited Series, Movie or Dramatic Special: Scott Frank (The Queen’s Gambit)
  • Outstanding Writing–Comedy: Lucia Aniello, Paul W Downs and Jen Statsky (Hacks)
  • Outstanding Writing–Drama: Peter Morgan (The Crown)
  • Outstanding Writing–Limited Series, Movie Or Dramatic Special: Michaela Coel (I May Destroy You)

About Emmy Award:

  • An Emmy Award, or simply Emmy, is an American award that recognizes excellence in the television industry.
  • It is presented at numerous annual events held throughout the calendar year, each honouring one of the various sectors of the television industry.

 

Himalayan Film Festival: Union Minister for Information and Broadcasting, Shri Anurag Thakur , on 24th September 2021, inaugurated the star-studded five days‘First Himalayan Film Festival'at Sindhu Sanskriti Kendra, Leh, Union Territory of Ladakh.

Key Points:

  • Himalayan Film festival will run for five days from September 24 to 28.
  • The film festival will be held at the Sindhu Sanskriti Kendra in Leh.
  • The five-day film festival is a part of the celebrations of ‘Azadi Ka Amrit Mahotsav’ commemorating 75 years of India’s Independence.
  • Keeping in view the PM’s call for ‘Jan Bhagidhari’, the film festival will have active participation from the local filmmakers and will showcase talent across12 Himalayan states and UTs.
  • This festival is being organized by Leh in association with the Directorate of Film Festivals under Union Ministry of Information and Broadcasting.
  • The main aim of organizing this festival is to create an interactive and exposure platform in order to promote aspiring local filmmakers as well as to showcase Ladakh as an attractive film destination.

About the IHR:

  • IHR is the abbreviation for the Indian Himalayan Region.
  • IHR is the section of the Himalayas within India, spanning 11 Indian states and union territories, namely the regions of Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh administered by India as UTs, and states of Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Sikkim, Arunachal Pradesh, Nagaland, Manipur, Mizoram, Tripura, Meghalaya and Assam.
  • The region is responsible for providing water to a large part of the Indian subcontinent and contains various flora and fauna.
  • The most characteristic features of the Himalayas are their great height, complex geologic structure, snowcapped peaks, large valley glaciers, deep river gorges, and rich vegetation.
  • Himalayan region of India attracts filmmakers from worldwide due to its unique scenic endowment.

Thus, the Film festival presents an opportunity for local filmmakers in order to narrate their stories to a wider audience.

The ‘Himalayan Film Festival’ also envisions institutionalizing a Himalayan Film Fraternity which will have productive repercussions for filmmaking in the Himalayan parts of India.

 

Shankhalipi Script: The Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) have recently discovered remains of an ancient temple dating back to the Gupta period (5th century) in a village in Uttar Pradesh’s Etah district.

Note: Bilsarh, in Etah-Uttar Pradesh, where the remains were found has been a protected site from the colonial times and is a known Gupta period settlement.

Key-findings:

  • The team discovered “two decorative pillars close to one another, with human figurines.
  • As per the archaeologists, the inscriptions mention ‘Sri Mahendraditya’, the title of Kumaragupta I of the Gupta dynasty.

 Significance of the latest findings:

  • The discovery becomes significant since only two other structural temples from the Gupta age have been found so far — Dashavatara Temple (Deogarh) and Bhitargaon Temple (Kanpur Dehat).

About Shankhalipi script:

  • The Shankhalipi or “shell-script is assumed to be Brahmi derivatives that look like conch shells or shankhas.
  • They are found in inscriptions across North-Central India and date to between the 4th and 8th centuries.
  • The inscriptions consist of a small number of characters, suggesting that the shell inscriptions are names or auspicious symbols or a combination of the two.
  • The script was discovered in 1836 on a brass trident in Uttarakhand’s Barahat by English scholar James Prinsep, who was the founding editor of the Journal of the Asiatic Society of Bengal.
  • Prominent sites with shell inscriptions include the Mundeshwari Temple in Bihar, the Udayagiri Caves in Madhya Pradesh, Mansar in Maharashtra and some of the cave sites of Gujarat and Maharashtra.
  • The shell inscriptions are also reported in Indonesia’s Java and Borneo.

About Kumaragupta I of the Gupta dynasty:

  • Kumaragupta I was the son of Chandragupta II and grandson of the Great Samudragupta of Gupta dynasty.
  • In the 5th century, Kumaragupta I ruled for 40 years over north-central India.
  • He built the world famous ancient Nalanda University.
  • Among the Gupta kings, he issued the largest varieties of coins.
  • The Guptas were the first to build structural temples, distinctly different from the ancient rock-cut temples.
  • Skandagupta, son and successor of Kumaragupta I is generally considered to be the last of the great Gupta rulers.
  • The Bhitari pillar inscription states that his successor Skandagupta restored the fallen fortunes of the Gupta family.

Some facts about the Gupta Empire:

  • The Gupta Empire was an ancient Indian empire which existed from the early 4th century CE to late 6th century CE.
  • This period is considered as the Golden Age of India by historians.
  • The most notable rulers of the dynasty were Chandragupta I, Samudragupta, and Chandragupta II alias Vikramaditya.
  • Chandragupta 1 (320–330CE) was the founder of the Gupta empire. From being a local chief in Magadha kingdom, he increased his power by marriage alliances and wars.
  • Chandragupta 2 (380–413 CE) the Great also known as Chandragupta Vikramditya, son of Samudragupta, was one of the most powerful emperors of the Gupta empire in northern India. Under his rule the Gupta Empire achieved its zenith, art, architecture, and sculpture flourished, and the cultural development of ancient India reached its climax.
  • The Guptas conquered about twenty-one kingdoms, both in and outside India, including the kingdoms of Parasikas, the Hunas, the Kambojas, tribes located in the west and east Oxus valleys, the Kinnaras, Kiratas, and others.
  • The Gupta period produced scholars such as Kalidasa, Aryabhata, Varahamihira, and Vatsyayana who made great advancements in many academic fields.
  • Many of the literary sources, such as Mahabharata and Ramayana, were canonized during this period.

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Parshuram Kund: The Union Minister for Tourism, Culture and Development of North Eastern Dtates (DoNER) G Kishan Reddy laid the foundation for the development of Parshuram Kund here in Lohit district on Thursday, in the presence of union Jal Shakti Minister Gajendra Singh Shekawat and Chief Minister of Arunachal Pradesh shri Pema Khandu.

Key Points:

  • The project “Development of Parasuram Kund, Lohit District Arunachal Pradesh” has been sanctioned under the Pilgrimage Rejuvenation and Spiritual, Heritage Augmentation Drive’ (PRASHAD) Scheme of Ministry of Tourism.
  • This project has been approved with the cost of Rs 37.88 crores in January 2021.
  • The components sanctioned include the following:
  • Interventions near the Parking area, Tourist Information Centre,
  • Rain Shelters,
  • Kiosks,
  • Interventions near Mela ground, View Points,
  • Souvenir Shops,
  • Water Supply line,
  • Approach Road,
  • Food Court/ Prasadam Centre etc.

About PRASHAD Scheme:

  • The Pilgrimage Rejuvenation and Spiritual, Heritage Augmentation Drive’ (PRASHAD) Scheme is a Central Sector Scheme with complete financial assistance by the Government of India.
  • The scheme is launched by the Ministry of Tourism in the year 2014-15 with the vision of focused infrastructure development to harness pilgrimage and heritage tourism destinations.

 

Books and Authors:

The Long Game: How the Chinese Negotiate with India: A book titled “The Long Game: How the Chinese Negotiate with India” is authored by Vijay Gokhale.

Highlights:

  • Vijay Gokhale is the former foreign secretary of India.
  • In this new book, he unpacks the dynamics of India-China relations through the prism of six historical and recent events.
  • The book gives a practitioner’s insight into strategies, tactics, and tools that China uses for diplomatic negotiations.
  • His 1st book is “Tiananmen Square: The Making of a Protest” was published earlier this month.

 

 

 

 

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Economics

NSWS:

 Union Minister for Commerce & Industry, Textiles, Consumer Affairs & Distribution, Piyush Goyal, on September 22, 2021, launched the National Single Window System (NSWS) for Investors and Businesses.

Key Points:

  • The digital platform aims at allowing investors to identify and apply for various pre operations approvals required for commencing a business in the country.
  • It is a giant leap, towards making India Aatmanirbhar.  
  • This portal will become a one stop shop for investors for the purpose of approvals and clearances.
  • The portal will integrate the existing clearance systems of the Centre and states.
  • This system will bring freedom from the legacy of running towards Government offices for approvals and registrations.
  • It will also bring in Ease of doing business and Ease of Living by doing away with the need of paperwork, duplication and information asymmetry from Windows within the system.
  • As of now, the beta version of the portal (Phase I) hosts approvals across 18 Central Departments and 9 States.
  • By December 2021, 14 Central departments and 5 states will be added to the portal.

About NSWS:

  • The National Single Window System is envisioned to address information asymmetry, duplication of information submitted across platforms and authorities and inefficient tracking of approvals and registration faced by investors.
  • NSWS has been designed keeping the needs of entrepreneurs and investors at the center.
  • This portal will provide solutions for all at one click of the mouse through ‘End to End’ facilitation.
  • It comprises of an applicant Dashboard that will help to apply, track and respond to queries.
  • The services provided by the portal includes
  • Know Your Approval (KYA)
  • Applicant Dashboard
  • Common Registration Form
  • State registration Form
  • Document repository
  • E Communication

Significance of NSWS:

  • NSWS will bolster other government schemes such as Make in India, Startup India, PLI scheme etc.
  • The platform will do away with the need for multiple applications across various portals.
  • All solutions will be there at the click of a mouse through end to end facilitation which in turn would bring transparency, accountability and responsiveness in the ecosystem and all information will be available on a single dashboard.

                                         

Merger of ZEEL and SPNI: The Board of Directors of ZEE Entertainment Enterprises Limited (ZEEL) has recently unanimously approved the merger of the company with Sony Pictures Networks India (SPNI).

Key Details:

  • As a part of the merger, shareholders of SPNI will also infuse growth capital into SPNI, which will make them the majority stakeholder in the merged entity.
  • The merged entity will be listed on the Indian stock exchanges.
  • Under the deal, Zee Entertainment will hold 47.07 per cent stake, while Sony India will hold a 52.93 per cent stake in the combined company.
  • Following the merger, Sony India will have the right to appoint the majority of directors to the merged company.
  • Puneet Goenka, the CEO of Zee Entertainment, will be the MD and CEO of the merged entity for a period of 5 years.

About ZEEL:

  • Zee Entertainment Enterprises Limited (ZEEL) is a media and entertainment company engaged in providing broadcasting services.
  • The company was launched on 15 December 1991 as Zee Telefilms, brandname that was retained until 2006.
  • It is headquartered in Mumbai, Maharashtra.

About SPNI:

  • Sony Pictures Networks India Pvt Ltd. is an Indian indirect wholly owned subsidiary of Sony Group Corporation.
  • Sony Pictures Networks India (SPNI)
  • SPNI was founded on 30 September 1995.
  • It is headquartered in Mumbai, Maharashtra.

                                               

Patents (Amendment) Rules, 2021:  The Patents (Amendment) Rules, 2021 has recently been notified by the Centre.

  • The Patents (Amendment) Rules, 2021 has come into force with effect from September 21, 2021 by amending the Patents Rules 2003.

Key Points:

  • As per the amended rules Patent Fees for Educational Institutions Reduced by 80%.
  • This reduced fee is at par with similar concession available to start ups under the Start up India initiative.
  • Moreover, Patents Rules have been amended in 2016, 2017, 2019 and 2020 to achieve the objective of removing procedural inconsistencies and unnecessary steps in processing of applications thereby speedup grant/registration and final disposal.
  • By amending the Rules, the procedures are made more compact, time bound, user  friendly and compatible for e transactions.

What is the purpose for reducing the patent fees?

  • At the time of applying for patents, innovators have to apply these patents in the name of institutions which have to pay very high fees for large applicants and thus work as a disincentive.
  • Therefore, to encourage greater participation of the educational institutions, playing a significant role in India’s innovation, official fees have been reduced.   
  • According to Department for Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade (DPIIT), educational institutions engage in various research activities, where professors or teachers as well as students generate several new technologies that are required to be patented in order to facilitate commercialization of the same.
  • But high patenting fees restricts these technologies to get patented and thus work as a disincentive for development of new technologies.
  • Recognizing the importance of nurturing innovation and creativity in a knowledge economy, patents rules have been amended several time in order to achieve the objective of removing procedural inconsistencies and unnecessary steps to process the applications.
  • By amending the Rules, the procedures are made more compact, time bound, user  friendly and compatible for e transactions.

What means patent?

  • A patent is the granting of a property right by a sovereign authority to an inventor.
  • A patent is a right granted to the owner of an invention that prevents others from making, using, importing or selling the invention without his permission.
  • This grant provides the inventor exclusive rights to the patented process, design, or invention for a designated period in exchange for a comprehensive disclosure of the invention.
  • They are a form of incorporeal right.

                                                                    

DFPD & CSC e Governance Services India Limited: The Department of Food and Public Distribution (DFPD) under Ministry of Consumer Afffairs, Food and Public Distribution has entered into a model MoU with CSC e Governance Services India Limited.

Key Details:

  • The MoU was signed by Deputy Secretary Public Distribution Jyotsna Gupta and Vice President, CSC Sarthik Sachdeva in the presence of Secretary Food and Public Distribution Sudhanshu Pandey and Managing Director of CSC Dinesh Kumar Tyagi.

The MoU has been signed for the following reasons:

  • To increase the business opportunities and income of Fair Price Shops by way of delivery of CSC services through interested Fair Price Shop (FPS) dealers.
  • For enabling FPS to work as a CSC Service Centre, CSC has been advised to identify feasible activities like Utility Bill payments, PAN Application, Passport Application, Election Commission Services etc. to facilitate the consumer and simultaneously provide additional income to the Fair Price Shops (FPS).
  • CSC will partner with individual State Government for signing up of bilateral MoUs to provide interested FPS dealers access to Digital Seva Portal for delivery of CSC services.
  • CSC has committed to undertake sharing of technical know how and capacity building.
  • In addition, to improve ease and convenience for consumers, ration card services provided by States/UTs such as application for new cards, updating existing ration card, Aadhaar seeding request, status check of ration availability and grievance registration may be explored by States through CSCs as an additional option.
  • This is at the discretion of the State Government who will ensure due diligence regarding data safety, adherence to statutory provision and other relevant guidelines.

About DFPD:

  • The Department of Food and Public Distribution (DFPD) is responsible for management of the food economy of the nation.
  • It undertakes various activities, such as procurement of food items, their storage, movement and delivery to the distributing agencies.
  • The Department is also responsible for formulation of policies concerning the sugar sector such as fixing of Fair and Remunerative Price (FRP) of sugarcane payable by Sugar factories, development and regulation of sugar industry (including training in sugar technology), fixation of levy price of sugar and its supply for PDS and regulation of supply of free sale sugar.
  • The Department also formulates policies on export and import of Food grains, sugar and edible oils.

About CSC E governance Services India Limited:

  • CSC E governance Services India Limited is a Non govt company, incorporated on 16 Jul, 2009.
  • Common Services Centers (CSC) is an initiative of the Government of India under its National E Governance Plan (NEGP) which aims at setting up service kiosks in villages across India.
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Defence

New Chief of Air Staff: Vice Chief of the Indian Air Force Air Marshal VR Chaudhari has been appointed the next IAF chief.

Highlights:

The current Chief of Air Staff Air Chief Marshal RKS Bhadauria is set to retire on September 30.

Air Marshal Chaudhari is presently serving as Vice Chief of the Air Staff.

About Air Marshal Chaudhari:

  • He is an alumnus of the National Defence Academy and Defence Services Staff College, Wellington.
  • Air Marshal Chaudhari was commissioned into the fighter stream of the Indian Air Force on December 29, 1982.
  • He has a flying experience of more than 3,800 hours on a wide variety of fighter and trainer aircraft, including missions flown during Operation Meghdoot, the Air Force’s support to capture Siachen glacier in 1980s, and Operation Safed Sagar (the support provided by the IAF during the Kargil conflict in 1999).
  • He has held command, staff and instructional appointments at various levels, including the present one as Vice Chief of Air Staff.
  • He has commanded a frontline fighter squadron and a fighter base during his career.
  • He has also held various other positions including the Deputy Commandant, Air Force Academy; Assistant Chief of Air Staff Operations (Air Defence) and Assistant Chief of Air Staff (Personnel Officers).
  • He is a recipient of the Param Vishisht Seva Medal, Ati Vishisht Seva Medal and the Vayu Sena Medals.

About IAF:

  • It is an acronym for the Indian Air Force of India.
  • IAF is the air arm of the Indian Armed Forces. It was officially established on 8 October 1932 as an auxiliary air force of the British Empire which honoured India's aviation service during World War II with the prefix Royal.
  • With the government's transition to a Republic in 1950, the prefix Royal was removed.
  • The present CommanderinChief of IAF is Ram Nath Kovind.
  • The Chief of Air Staff, an air chief marshal, is a fourstar officer and is responsible for the bulk of operational command of the Air Force.
  • The present Chief of the Air Staff (CAS) is Air Marshal V R Chaudhari, PVSM, AVSM, and VM.

 

C295MW Transport Aircraft: Ministry of Defence (MoD), on September 24, 2021 signed a contract with M/s Airbus Defence and Space, Spain for acquisition of 56 C295MW transport aircraft for the Indian Air Force.

  • Key Points:
  • The MoD has also signed an Offset Contract with M/s Airbus Defence and Space through which M/s Airbus will discharge its offset obligations through direct purchase of eligible products and services from Indian Offset Partners.
  • These contracts were signed following the approval accorded by the Cabinet Committee on Security earlier in September 2021.
  • The induction of C295MW will be a significant step towards modernisation of the transport fleet of the Indian Air Force (IAF).
  • The 56 C295MW transport aircraft will replace the IAF’s ageing 56 Avro aircraft that were procured in the 1960s.
  • It is the first project of its kind under which military aircraft will be manufactured in India by a private company.

About Airbus C295:

  • It is a transport aircraft of five to 10 tonne capacity with contemporary technology.
  • The aircraft is capable of operating from semiprepared strips and has a rear ramp door for quick reaction and paradropping of troops and cargo.
  • The plane can also be used for long deployments with its capability of up to 11 hours in the air.
  • The C295’s Short Takeoff and Landing (STOL) capability combined with a strong landing gear enable it to operate in the most austere locations with the worst conditions for takeoff and landings.

About the deal:

  • Under the deal, 16 aircraft will be delivered in a flyaway condition by the Airbus Defence and Space of Spain within 48 months of signing the contract.
  • Out of 56 aircraft, 40 will be manufactured in India by a consortium of the Airbus Defence and Space and Tata Advanced Systems Limited (TASL).
  • All the deliveries will be completed within 10 years of signing of the contract.
  • All 56 aircraft will be installed with indigenous Electronic Warfare Suite.

Significance:

  • The aircraft will give a major boost to tactical airlift capability of IAF, especially in the Northern and NorthEastern sector and the Andaman & Nicobar Islands.
  • The project will provide a major boost to the Atmanirbhar Bharat Abhiyan that offers an opportunity for the Indian private sector to enter into technology intensive and highly competitive aviation industry.
  • The project will give a boost to aerospace ecosystem in India wherein several MSMEs spread over the country will be involved in manufacturing of parts of the aircraft.
  • The program will also involve development of specialized infrastructure in the form of hangars, buildings, aprons and taxiway.

About Avro748 planes:

  • The Avro Hawker Siddeley HS748 is a twinengine turboprop military transport and freighter of British origin.
  • The aircraft, which could carry 48 paratroopers or six tonnes of freight, has been in the IAF fleet since the 1960s.

About IAF:

  • IAF is an acronym for the Indian Air Force of India.
  • It is the air arm of the Indian Armed Forces.
  • It was officially established on 8 October 1932 as an auxiliary air force of the British Empire which honoured India's aviation service during World War II with the prefix Royal.
  • With the government's transition to a Republic in 1950, the prefix Royal was removed.
  • The present CommanderinChief of IAF is Ram Nath Kovind.
  • The Chief of Air Staff, an air chief marshal, is a fourstar officer and is responsible for the bulk of operational command of the Air Force.
  • The present Chief of the Air Staff (CAS) is Air Marshal V R Chaudhari, PVSM, AVSM, VM.

 

Samudra Shakti: The third edition of the bilateral exercise ‘Samudra Shakti’ was held between the navies of India and Indonesia from 20 to 22 September 2021.

Key Highlights:

  • Indian Navy ships ‘Shivalik’ and ‘Kadam’ and Indian Navy’s AntiSubmarine Warfare Capable Long Range Maritime Reconnaissance Aircraft P8I participated in the exercise while Indonesia was represented by KRI Bung Tomo, KRI Malahayati and Maritime Patrol and Reconnaissance Aircraft CN235.
  • Various tasks like Military Interdiction Operations (MIO), Cross Deck Landings, Air Defence serials, Practice Weapon Firings, Replenishment Approaches, and Tactical Manoeuvres were performed in the exercise.

Aim:

  • The main aim of the ‘Samudra Shakti’ exercise is to strengthen the bilateral relationship between two navies.
  • It will enhance mutual understanding and interoperability in maritime operations as well.
  • The exercise will also provide an appropriate platform to share best practices and develop a common understanding of Maritime Security Operations.

About the exercise:

  • In pursuance of India’s Act East Policy, Exercise ‘Samudra Shakti’ was conceived in 2018 as a bilateral INIDN exercise.
  • The exercise has matured in complexity over the last two editions and involves the conduct of complex maritime operations including Military Interdiction Operations (MIO), Cross Deck Landings, Air Defence serials, Practice Weapon Firings, Replenishment Approaches and Tactical Manoeuvres.

 

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Environment

Sea Cucumbers:

 In a swift operation, the Indian Coast Guard (ICG) team at Mandapam, Tamil Nadu seized two tonnes of sea cucumber worth Rs 8 crores after following a suspected boat.

Highlights:

  • Working on a tipoff about illegal transhipment of sea cucumber, the ICG team swung into action and tracked the suspect boat involved in likely smuggling.
  • Sea Cucumbers is a banned marine species.
  • They are in high demand in China and Southeast Asia.
  • In India it is treated as an endangered species listed under schedule I of Wildlife Protection Act of 1972.
  • It is primarily smuggled from Tamil Nadu to Sri Lanka in fishing vessels from Ramanathapuram and Tuticorin districts.

About Sea Cucumbers:

  • Sea cucumbers are echinoderms from the class Holothuroidea.
  • They are marine animals with a leathery skin and an elongated body containing a single, branched gonad.
  • Sea cucumbers are found on the sea floor worldwide.
  • There are around 1,717 holothurian species worldwide, with the Asia Pacific area having the most.
  • Many are harvested for human consumption, while some are raised in aquaculture systems.

 

General Sherman: The world’s largest tree, General Sherman is threatened by California wildfires.

Key Facts:

  • Two wildfires in California – one called the Colony fire and the other called Paradise – are burning through the Sequoia National Park in the Sierra Nevada
  • The place is home to some of the largest trees known in the world and this is the only place in the world where giant sequoias grow naturally.
  • General Sherman, the world’s largest tree, is also under threat and firefighters are trying hard to save the tree from the blaze.
  • As per the report by the Associated Press, although the sequoia trees are fireresistant, the intensity of wildfire can be too much for the trees, leaving the trees ablaze.

Key Points about General Sherman:

  • The General Sherman tree is the world’s largest in terms of volume and exists in the Giant Forest sequoia grove of the national park.
  • As per recent estimates, General Sherman is estimated to be between 2,200 years old and 2,700 years old.
  • The tree stands at a height of 275 feet (taller than the leaning tower of Pisa) and has a diameter of 36 feet at the base.
  • It is located in the U.S. state of California.
  • This tree was named in 1879 after the American Civil War general William Tecumseh Sherman who had served as a lieutenant in the 9th Indiana Cavalry under Sherman.
  • The emblematic tree honors a general who killed Native Americans.

 

Plant Discoveries 2020: The Botanical Survey of India (BSI), in its new publication Plant Discoveries 2020 has added 267 new taxa/ species to the country’s flora.

Key Details:

  • The 267 new discoveries include 119 angiosperms; 3 pteridophytes; 5 bryophytes, 44 lichens; 57 fungi, 21 algae and 18 microbes.
  • Of these 202 plant species are new to science while 65 others had never been reported from India.
  • With these new discoveries the latest estimate of plant diversity in India stands at 54,733 taxa including 21,849 angiosperms, 82 gymnosperms, 1,310 pteridophytes, 2,791 bryophytes, 2,961 lichens, 15,504 fungi, 8,979 algae and 1,257 microbes.
  • India has about 45,000 species of plants, already identified and classified, which account for about 7% of the total plant species of the world.
  • About 28 percent of the Indian plants are endemic to the country.
  • There are 14 new macro and 31 new micro fungi species recorded from various parts of India.
  • An assessment of the geographical distribution of these newly discovered plants reveals that 22% of the discoveries were made from the Western Ghats followed by the Western Himalayas (15%), the Eastern Himalayas (14%) and the Northeast ranges (12%).
  • The west coast contributed 10% while the east coast contributed (9%) in total discoveries; the Eastern Ghats and south Deccan contribute 4% each while the central highland and north Deccan added 3% each.

New discoveries:

Few examples among the new discoveries are:

  • 9 new species of balsam (Impatiens) and 1 species of wild banana (Musa pradhanii) were discovered from Darjeeling.
  • 1 species each of wild jamun (Syzygium anamalaianum) from Coimbatore in Tamil Nadu.
  • Fern species (Selaginella odishana) Kandhamal in Odisha.

About BSI:

  • Botanical Survey of India (BSI) is the apex taxonomic research organization of the country under the Ministry of Environment, Forest & Climate Change, Government of India (GoI).
  • It was established on 13th February 1890 under the direction of Sir George King.
  • It is responsible for survey, research and conservation of plant wealth of India, flora and endangered species of India, including by collecting and maintaining germplasm and gene bank of endangered, patent and vulnerable plant species.
  • It is headquartered in Kolkata, West Bengal.

 

La Palma volcano: Thousands of people evacuated La Palma, a Spanish island, after Cumbre Vieja volcano erupted.

Key Points:

  • Yellow alert for Cumbre Vieja has been declared.
  • No casualties have been reported, but there was extensive damage to property, infrastructure, and farmland.
  • According to the Volcanology Institute of the Canary Islands (INVOLCAN), the eruption of the Cumbre Vieja volcano on the island of La Palma in Spain is expected to last between 24 and 84 days.
  • Shortly after the new eruption vent opened, four tremors struck the island.
  • In the area where the lava is headed, marine authorities have created a twonauticalmile (3.7kilometer) exclusion zone at sea.
  • The previous two eruptions on the island were in the 20th century, in 1949 (Volcán San Juan) and in 1971 (Volcán Teneguía).

Note: La Palma is a volcanic ocean island located on the African Plate.

About Cumbre Vieja:

  • The Cumbre Vieja is a mountain range and an active volcano on the island of La Palma in the Canary Islands, Spain.
  • The ridge of the Cumbre Vieja trends in an approximate north–south direction and covers the southern twothirds of the island.
  • Several volcanic craters are located on the summit ridge and flanks.

 

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Indian Policy

District Level Committees: The Ministry of Power has recently issued an order for the setting up of District Level Committees to improve quality of electricity supply in the country.

This comes in the backdrop of the government’s efforts to ensure 24X7 power that is reliable, affordable and sustainable.

Key Points about the District Level Committees:

All states/UTs, requests them to notify and ensure establishment of these district electricity committees, under intimation to the Ministry of Power.

The Committees shall exercise oversight over all power related schemes of Government of India (GoI) and also its impact on the provision of services to the people.

The committee would comprise the following:

Most Senior MP in the district: Chairperson

Other MPs in the district: Cochairpersons

District Collector: Member Secretary

Chairperson/President of the District Panchayat: Member

MLAs of the district: Members

Most senior representatives of CPSUs of Ministry Members of Power and NRE located in the concerned district, or their nominated officials for the district.

Chief Engineer/Superintending Engineer of the Convenor DISCOM/ Power Department concerned.

The Committee of a district will meet at District Headquarters at least once in three months to review and coordinate overall development of power supply infrastructure in the district in accordance with the schemes of the Government.

Note: In the past five years, almost two lakh crore rupees were provided under  Deendayal Upadhyaya Gram Jyoti Yojana(DDUGJY), Integrated Power Development Scheme (lPDS), Pradhan Mantri Sahaj Bijli Har Ghar Yojana (SAUBHAGYA), etc., to ensure universal access by electrifying every village, every hamlet and every household.

About Power Sector in India:

India is the world's third largest producer and third largest consumer of electricity.

It is one of the most diversified sectors in the world.

The sources of power generation range from conventional sources such as coal, natural gas, lignite, oil, hydro and nuclear power to viable nonconventional sources such as solar, wind, and agricultural and domestic waste.

About the Ministry of Power:

The Ministry of Power is an Indian government ministry.

It was founded on 2 July 1992.

The ministry is charged with overseeing electricity production and infrastructure development, including generation, transmission, and delivery, as well as maintenance projects.

It is primarily responsible for the development of electrical energy in the country.

It administers the Electricity Act, 2003 and the Energy Conservation Act, 2001.

Note: Electricity is a concurrent subject at Entry 38 in List III of the seventh Schedule of the Constitution of India.

 

Scheme for Promotion of Medical Device Parks: The Department of Pharmaceuticals has notified the “Scheme for Promotion of Medical Device Parks”.

Key highlights:

The scheme is aimed at boosting medical facility.

The total financial outlay of the scheme is Rs. 400 crore and the tenure of the scheme is from FY 20202021 to FY 20242025.

The Scheme will play a role in creating proper infrastructure in the medical device industry sector, through higher levels of investments, to support the industry reach its potential.

Key points:

The Medical Devices Parks to be developed under the scheme will provide common infrastructure facilities at one place thereby creating a robust ecosystem for the medical device manufacturing in the country and also reducing the manufacturing cost significantly.

The financial assistance, in case of North Eastern States and Hilly States, would be 90% of the project cost.

Maximum assistance under the scheme for one Medical Device Park would be limited to Rs. 100 crores.

It will be implemented by a State Implementing Agency (SIA).

Based on the evaluation, the proposals of the state governments of Himachal Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Madhya Pradesh and Uttar Pradesh have been given “inprinciple” approval under the scheme.

The scheme reflects the spirit of cooperative federalism where the Central Government and State Governments will partner to develop the Medial Device parks for better performance of the sector.

 

Airspace Map for Drone Operations: Taking another step towards realizing the collective vision of an Aatmanirbhar Bharat, the Ministry of Civil Aviation recently released an interactive digital airspace map for drone operations.

Key Points:

 

  • The digital map is available on the digital sky platform of Directorate General of Civil Aviation.
  • The digital airspace map demarcates areas into different zones for flying drones across India.
  • Zones for flying drones also include yellow and red zones across the country for flying drones.
  • The drone airspace map comes as a followthrough of the following:
  • The liberalized Drone Rules, 2021 released by the Central Government on 25 August 2021
  • The PLI scheme for drones released on 15 September 2021
  • The Geospatial Data Guidelines issued on 15 Feb 2021.
  • The revamped drone rules are based on the premises of selfcertification and nonintrusive monitoring of the activities.
  • Under the drone rules, that were notified on August 25, 2021, several permissions have been done away with and the number of forms required has been reduced to 5 from 25.
  • Types of fees have also been drastically reduced from 74 to 4.

About Zones for flying drones:

For drone operations, the zones are divided into three zones which are green, yellow and red.

Green zone:

  • Green zone is the airspace up to 400 feet. This zone has not been designated as red or yellow zone.
  • In green zones, no permission whatsoever is required for operating drones with an allup weight up to 500 kilograms

Yellow Zone:

  • Yellow zone is the airspace above 400 feet in a designated green zone.
  • According to a release issued by the ministry on Friday, yellow zone has been reduced from 45 kilometres earlier to 12 kilometres from the airport perimeter.
  • Drone operations in yellow zone require permission from the concerned air traffic control authority, namely IAF, AAI, Navy, HAL, etc., as the case may be.

Red Zone:

  • The red zone is the area within which drones can be operated only after permission from the central government.

Importance of Drones:

  • Drones are important and they offer several benefits to all sectors of the economy, including agriculture, infrastructure, mining, surveillance, emergency response, geospatial mapping, transportation, defence, and law enforcement etc.
  • Drones can be significant creators of employment and economic growth due to their reach, versatility, and ease of use, especially in India’s remote and inaccessible areas.
  • Given its traditional strengths in innovation, information technology, frugal engineering and its huge domestic demand, India has the potential of becoming a global drone hub by 2030,

About Ministry of Civil Aviation:

  • The Ministry of Civil Aviation of Government of India (GoI) is the nodal Ministry responsible for the formulation of national policies and programmes for development and regulation of Civil Aviation and for devising and implementing schemes for the orderly growth and expansion of civil air transport.
  • Its functions also extend to overseeing airport facilities, air traffic services and carriage of passengers and goods by air.
  • The Ministry also administers implementation of the Aircraft Act, 1934, Aircraft Rules, 1937.
  • This Ministry is administratively responsible for the Commission of Railways Safety.
  • The current Union Minister of Civil Aviation is Jyotiraditya M. Scindia.

 

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Indian polity

Charanjit Singh Channi:

 Congress leader Charanjit Singh Channi will be swornin as Chief Minister of Punjab on 20 September 2021.

Highlights:

  • Channi will be the 16th Chief Minister of Punjab.
  • The oathtaking ceremony will take place at 11 am.
  • He was elected the leader of Congress Legislature Party on 19th September 2021.
  • The announcement comes a day after Punjab Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh tendered his resignation from the post.
  • Senior Congress leaders – Brahm Mohindra and Sukhjinder Randhawa have been appointed Deputy Chief Ministers.

About Charanjit Singh Channi:

  • Charanjit Singh Channi is a threetime Congress MLA from Chamkaur Sahib Assembly Constituency.
  • An MLA from the Chamkaur Sahib Assembly constituency, he had served as the leader of opposition in the Punjab Legislative Assembly from 2015 to 2016.
  • He had also served as the Minister of Technical Education & Industrial Training in the Amarinder Singh government.

 

Registration of Child Marriages: 

The Rajasthan Assembly, on 17 September 2021, passed the Rajasthan Compulsory Registration of Marriages (Amendment) Bill, 2021, to amend a 2009 Act, making the registration of marriages, including child marriages, mandatory.

  • However, this action of the Rajasthan Government was opposed by the opposition parties saying that registering child marriage is like giving legal recognition to such marriages and also that the child marriage is illegal under the Child Marriage Restraint Act, also known as Sharda Act.

Key Points:

As per the new amendment

  • A bride and a groom can apply for the registration of their marriage to the marriage registration officer of the place where they have been residing for more than 30 days.
  • The marriage between a groom under 21 years and a bride less than 18 years could be registered by their parents or guardians.

Note: Child Marriages are strictly prohibited in India as per The Prohibition of Child Marriage Act, 2006.

The amendment bill also seeks to the following new subsection (1A) before subsection (2) under Section 8 of the 2009 Rajasthan Marriage Act:

Subsection (1A):

  • 1A If, at any time, death of either of the parties to the marriage or of both occurs, the surviving party, parents, adult child or, as the case may be, guardian of the parties may submit the memorandum.
  • The provision would enable a widow or a widower, or their children, parents, or their kin to register their marriage within 30 days of their death.

Subsection (2):

  • The bill also proposes to amend Sections 2, 5, and 15 of the 2009 Act to make marriage registration possible at the block level.
  • This provides for the appointment of a Block Marriage Registration Officer and Additional Marriage Registration Officer.
  • Till now, marriage registration could only be done at the district level by the District Marriage Registration Officer.
  • Notably, the 2009 Act had only provided the scope for district marriage registration officers.

What is the difference between the amendments compared to the 2009 Act?

Both the new amendment and the 2009 Act make the registration of child marriage compulsory. The difference is only in terms of age.

  • Under the 2009 Act, if both the bride and the groom are under 21, their parents/guardians have to register for their marriage.
  • The amendment seeks to differentiate between the age of the bride (18) and the bridegroom (21) for the same.

 

AssamMizoram Border Dispute: A recent report by the Assam Forest Department report has alleged that the government and people of Mizoram have been encroaching upon land in Assam along the 164.6km interstate boundary since 1980.

Key Points:

  • At the heart of the land conflict between the two northeastern States is the 1,318 sq. km InnerLine Reserve Forest along the boundary.
  • According to the report, the boundary was notified on March 9, 1933, which clearly defines “Inner Line” as the district boundary of the Lushai Hills.
  • At the center of the dispute are two notifications 1875 and 1993:
  • Mizoram has rejected the 1933 demarcation of the interstate boundary.
  • Mizoram claims that the land is theirs is based on an 1875 notification, which came from the Bengal Eastern Frontier Regulation Act of 1873.
  • Assam claims that the land is theirs based on a 1933 notification that demarcated the Lushai Hills, which Mizoram was formerly known as, from the province of Manipur.
  • A district of undivided Assam, Lushai Hills became Mizoram, first as a Union Territory in 1972 and a State in 1987.
  • The State recognizes a regulation in 1873 that “includes areas wrongfully tagged with Assam” in 1933.

Recent incidents:

  • Earlier in June, 2021, two abandoned houses along the MizoramAssam border were burned down by unidentified persons, fuelling tension along the volatile interstate border.
  • The conflict most recently claimed the lives of six Assam police personnel in July, a fortnight after the report was prepared by the department’s Southern Assam Circle headquartered in Silchar.

Disputed Areas:

  • The two States share a 164.6km volatile border and the conflict is decadesold.
  • The major portion of the boundary between Assam and Mizoram runs along natural features like rivers, streams and watersheds.
  • Only two portions of the boundary, from Chattachura Peak to Longai and from Rukni river to Dholai River, do not follow definite natural features.
  • Incidents of encroachment in both Singla and Longai were recorded in November 1985.
  • The “government of Mizoram” has continued to control areas under Longai Reserve Forest.
  • Similarly, in the Hailakandi division of the Assam Forest Department, an encroachment of about 1,000 hectares of forest land by Mizoram at two different locations — 425 hectares at Kachurtal and 575 hectares at Dholcherra — have been recorded.

About Assam:

  • Assam is a state in northeastern India known for its wildlife, archeological sites and tea plantations.
  • It is situated south of the eastern Himalayas along the Brahmaputra and Barak River valleys.
  • Assam is known for Assam tea and Assam silk.
  • The state was the first site for oil drilling in Asia.
  • Its capital is Dispur.
  • The current Governor and the Chief Minister of Assam are Professor Jagdish Mukhi and Himanta Biswas Sarma respectively.

About Mizoram:

  • Mizoram is a mountainous region which became the 23rd state of the Indian Union in February 1987.
  • It is a state in northeastern India.
  • It was previously part of Assam until 1972, when it was carved out as a Union Territory.
  • It became the 23rd state of India, a step above Union Territory, on 20 February 1987, with the FiftyThird Amendment of the Indian Constitution, 1986.
  • It is the southernmost landlocked state.
  • It shares its borders with three of the Seven Sister States, namely Assam, Tripura and Manipur.
  • The capital of Mizoram is Aizwal.
  • The current Chief Minister and Governor of Mizoram are Pu Zoramthanga and Kambhampati Hari Babu respectively.

 

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International

Prime Minister of Canada: Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has won the third term to serve as the PM of the country, after his party won the 2021 parliamentary elections.

Key Highlights:

  • However, the Liberal Party of the 49yearold Trudeau failed to gain an absolute majority.
  • Trudeau, in power since 2015 and governing with a minority of House of Commons seats since 2019.
  • The Liberal victory is a historic milestone for Trudeau, marking only the eighth time a Canadian leader has won three successive elections.
  • Conservative Leader Erin O'Toole, whose party placed second, conceded defeat as results trickled in late into the night.

About Canada:

  • Canada is a country in North America.
  • The word Canada is derived from the HuronIroquois kanata, meaning a village or settlement.
  • It is the second largest country in the world in area (after Russia), occupying roughly the northern twofifths of the continent of North America.
  • Its southern and western border with the United States, stretching 8,891 kilometres (5,525 mi), is the world's longest binational land border.
  • Canada's capital is Ottawa.
  • The currency used here is Canadian dollar.

 

India and UAE CEPA: The Commerce Ministers of India and (United Arab Emirates) UAE have formally launched negotiations on the IndiaUnited Arab Emirates Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (CEPA).

Key Highlights:

  • The first round of CEPA negotiations will be held on 2324 September 2021.
  • Both Indian Union Minister Piyush Goyal and UAE Minister of State for Foreign Trade Dr. Thani bin Ahmed Al Zeyoudi, emphasized that CEPA will create new jobs, raise living standards, and provide wider social and economic opportunities in both nations.
  • CEPA is expected to increase bilateral trade in goods to USD 100 billion within five years of the signed agreement and increase trade in services to USD 15 billion.
  • It will also assist in postCovid economic recovery and future economic growth of both nations.

India and UAE  Economic Relations:

  • Currently, the UAE is India's thirdlargest trading partner with bilateral trade in 20192020 valued at $59 billion.
  • The UAE is also India’s secondlargest export destination after the US, with exports valued at approximately USD 29 billion in 20192020.
  • India was the UAE's secondlargest trading partner in 2019, with bilateral nonoil trade valued at $41 billion.
  • The UAE is the eighthlargest investor in India, having invested USD 11 billion between April 2000 and March 2021, while investment by Indian companies in the UAE is estimated to be over USD 85 billion.
  • India's major exports to the UAE include petroleum products, minerals, precious metals, stones, gems and jewellery, food items such as cereals, sugar, fruits and vegetables, tea, meat, and seafood, textiles, engineering and machinery products, and chemicals while India's top imports from the UAE include crude petroleum and petroleum products, jewellery, precious metals, stones, gems and, minerals, chemicals and wood and wood products.
  • In 20192020, India imported $10.9 billion of crude oil from the UAE.

Significance of free trade agreement:

  • Under a free trade agreement, two trading partners usually reduce or eliminate customs duties on the maximum number of goods traded.
  • They also liberalize norms to enhance trade services and boost investments.

 

World Maritime Day: World Maritime Day is celebrated annually on 24th September.

Highlight:

  • However, the exact date of celebrating World Maritime Day is left to the individual governments but is usually celebrated during the last week in September.
  • The day is celebrated to offer an opportunity to focus its attention on the significance of shipping as well as other maritime activities and to emphasize a particular aspect of the work of the International Maritime Organization (IMO).

About World Maritime Day 2021:

  • IMO has chosen to make 2021 a year of action for seafarers, who are facing unprecedented hardship due to the COVID19 pandemic, despite their vital role as key workers for global supply chains.
  • The World Maritime Theme for 2021, "Seafarers: at the core of shipping’s future".
  • This theme seeks to increase the visibility of seafarers by drawing attention to the invaluable role they play now and will continue to play in the future.
  • The focus on seafarers comes as the COVID19 pandemic has placed extraordinary demands on seafarers, with hundreds of thousands of men and women stranded on ships for months beyond their original contracts, unable to be repatriated due to national travel restrictions.
  • As part of its efforts to put seafarers at the heart of discussions, IMO has launched a series of profiles in which seafarers express their views on their work and the future of shipping.

History:

  • In 1948, an international conference in Geneva adopted a convention to establish the IMO, a specialized UN agency that develops and maintains a comprehensive regulatory framework for shipping.
  • World Maritime Day was 1st held on 17th March 1978 to mark the date of the IMO Convention's entry into force in 1958.

Note: Earlier the name of IMO was the InterGovernmental Maritime Consultative Organisation (IMCO) and in 1982 it was changed as International Maritime Organization (IMO).

  • The IMO majorly focuses on areas such as safety, environmental concerns, legal matters, maritime security, technical cooperation and efficiency of shipping.

Additional Info:

National Maritime Day in India:

  • National Maritime Day is celebrated every year on 5th April to commemorate the maiden voyage of the first Indian flag merchant vessel 'S.S LOYALTY' from Mumbai to London, on April 5th, 1919.
  • It is celebrated to encourage the merchant shipping industry of India. Shipping contributes a lot to the country’s economy.
  • In India, this day was celebrated for the first time in 1964.
  • National Maritime Day 2021 was the 58th National Maritime Day by the Ministry of Ports, Shipping & Waterways.
  • Maritime India Vision2030, was also discussed at the occasion.
  • The 2021 Theme for National Maritime Day was ‘Sustainable Shipping beyond Covid19’.

About IMO:

  • It refers to the International Maritime Organization.
  • IMO was founded on 17 March 1948.
  • It is the UN specialized agency with responsibility for the safety and security of shipping and the prevention of marine pollution by ships.
  • It is headquartered in London, United Kingdom.
  • Its main function is to develop and maintain a comprehensive regulatory framework for shipping and its remit today includes safety, environmental concerns, legal matters, technical cooperation, maritime security and the efficiency of shipping.
  • Its current Secretary General is Kitak Lim.

 

WFPICRISAT Partnership: The United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) and the International Crops Research Institute for the SemiArid Tropics (ICRISAT) have recently signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on programs and research to improve food, nutrition security and livelihoods in India against the impacts of climate change.

Key Details:

The MoU was signed on 23 September 2021, between WFP India representative and country director Bishow Parajuli and DirectorGeneral ICRISAT Jacqueline Hughes.

The partnership of WFPICRISAT will work in collaboration to promote research, advocacy and raise awareness regarding the traditional nutritious crops, undertaking food & nutritional security analysis.

This partnership aims at generating ideas and frameworks for policy positions relevant not just for India but regularly and globally.

Significance:

This is a strategic partnership between the WFP and ICRISAT as both are aligned by their vision of food security, especially for the poorest and most vulnerable communities.

This partnership strengthens efforts to bring together science, knowledge and implementation frameworks to bolster food security, nutrition and livelihoods that are resilient to climate change.

The WFPICRISAT partnership signing coincides with the 2021 UN Food Systems Summit.

This MoU is of more significance as it was signed in the light of frequent and increasing number of climate crisis and shocks such as the COVID19 pandemic which has worsened the hunger situation globally and posed a threat to food security, nutrition, and the livelihoods of millions.

About World Food Programme (WFP):

The WFP is the foodassistance branch of the United Nations.

It is the world's largest humanitarian organization.

It is the largest one that focuses on hunger and food security, and it is also the largest provider of school meals.

It was founded in 1961.

It is headquartered in Rome, Italy.

It has offices in 80 countries.

About ICRISAT:

The ICRISAT (full form is International Crops Research Institute for the SemiArid Tropics) is an international organization that conducts agricultural research for rural development.

ICRISAT was founded in 1972 while its charter was signed by the FAO and the UNDP.   

It is headquartered in Patancheru, Hyderabad.

Other regional centres include Bamako in Mali, Kano in Nigeria, Nairobi in Kenya Niamey in Niger, Addis Ababa in Ethiopia, Lilongwe in Malawi.

 

India and Maldives: Maldives stateowned Fahi Dhiriulhun Corporation recently signed loan agreements with India’s stateowned National Buildings Construction Company (NBCC) and JMC Projects (India) Ltd. virtually.

Key Highlights:

  • The virtual signing ceremony was attended by Minister of Economic Development Fayyaz Ismail, Minister of Finance Ibrahim Ameer and High Commissioner Sunjay Sudhir, along with representatives from EXIM Bank, FDC, NBCC and JMC.
  • The signing of this agreement comes weeks after the Maldives government officially inked a deal with Mumbaibased company AFCONS, for the construction of the Greater Malé Connectivity Project (GMCP), a $500million infrastructure project which is the largestever by India in the Maldives.

Key Points:

  • This is a part of India’s developmental assistance project in the Maldives.
  • The agreement was signed to develop 4,000 social housing units in Hulhulmalé (phase II) island.
  • India’s state owned Exim Bank extended buyer’s credit of approximately $228 million for the construction of these housing units.
  • The construction will be undertaken by the Imdia's National Buildings Construction Company (NBCC) and JMC Projects (India).
  • The contracts for engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) were signed between Fahi Dhiriulhun Corporation and India’s stateowned National Buildings Construction Company (NBCC) to develop 2,000 social housing units, while Indiabased JMC Projects has been contracted to develop 2,000 additional units.

Why is it important?

  • Close to 40% of the entire population of the Maldives lives in Malé, the capital city, that has an area of approximately 8.30 square kilometres, making it one of the most densely populated cities in the world.
  • Social housing is an important requirement in the Maldives because in addition to housing shortage, high rent prices is a major challenge for ordinary people in the country.

About Maldives:

  • The Maldives, officially the Republic of Maldives, is a small island nation in South Asia.
  • It is situated in the Arabian Sea of the Indian Ocean.
  • It lies southwest of Sri Lanka and India.
  • The Capital of Maldives is Male.
  • The Currency of the Maldives is Maldivian Rufiyaa.
  • The current President of the Maldives is Ibrahim Mohamed Solih.

 

International Day of Peace: The International Day of Peace, also officially known as World Peace Day is observed around the world on 21 September every year.

Key Points:

  • The UN General Assembly has declared this as a day devoted to strengthening the ideals of peace, through observing 24 hours of nonviolence and ceasefire both within and among all nations and peoples

2021 theme for the International Day of Peace:

  • The 2021 theme for the International Day of Peace is “Recovering Better for an Equitable and Sustainable World.” Celebrate peace by standing up against acts of hate online and offline, and by spreading compassion, kindness, and hope in the face of the pandemic, and as we recover.

Event:

  • On Tuesday (21 September, 2021), the 9th edition of the Geneva Peace Talks was held.
  • It was live streamed from the Palais des Nations in Geneva.
  • The event is organized under the United Nations' official theme of 2021.

History of the day:

  • The International Day of Peace was established in 1981 by the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA).
  • The day was celebrated for the first time in 1982.
  • Previously, till the year 2002, it was celebrated on the third Tuesday of September each year.  
  • Two decades later, in 2001, the General Assembly unanimously voted to designate the Day as a period of nonviolence and ceasefire.
  • The main focus of declaring 21 September day as International Day of Peace is to encourage people to work in cooperation and to maintain worldwide peace.

 

SCO: Iran was official admitted as a full member of the 9th member of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO).

Key Highlights:

  • The decision to admit Iran as a full member was declared in the 21st summit of the SCO leaders in Dushanbe, Tajikistan.
  • At the end of the 21st Summit of the SCO, the leaders of the 8 main members of the organization agreed to change the membership of the Islamic Republic of Iran from an observer member to a full member and signed the relevant documents.
  • Iran had held the observer status for the past fifteen years.
  • Currently India, Pakistan, Iran and Mongolia are observers at SCO and the six members are Russia, China, Kyrgyzstan, Kazakhstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan.
  • Accordingly, the technical process of Iran becoming one of the main members of the organization has begun and Iran will henceforth cooperate and interact with member countries as the main member of the important regional organization.

About SCO:

  • The Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO), or Shanghai Pact, is a Eurasian political, economic, and security alliance.
  • SCO was founded in Shanghai, China on 15 June 2001.
  • The SCO currently comprises eight Member States (China, India, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia, Pakistan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan), four Observer States interested in acceding to full membership (Afghanistan, Belarus, Iran, and Mongolia) and six “Dialogue Partners” (Armenia, Azerbaijan, Cambodia, Nepal, Sri Lanka and Turkey).
  • Note: Iran has recently been admitted as a full member of SCO.
  • The SCO is the successor to the Shanghai Five, a mutual security agreement formed in 1996 between China, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia, and Tajikistan.
  • The SCO is governed by the Heads of State Council (HSC), its supreme decisionmaking body, which meets once a year.
  • Military exercises are also regularly conducted among members to promote cooperation and coordination against terrorism and other external threats, and to maintain regional peace and stability.

Objectives of SCO:

The main objectives of the SCO are as follows:

  • To strengthen relations among member states
  • To promote cooperation in political affairs, economics and trade
  • To promote scientifictechnical, cultural, and educational spheres as well as in energy, transportation, tourism, and environmental protection
  • To safeguard regional peace, security, and stability
  • To create a democratic, equitable international political and economic order.

About Iran:

  • Iran also called Persia, and officially the Islamic Republic of Iran is a country in Western Asia.
  • It is bordered to the northwest by Armenia and Azerbaijan,to the north by the Caspian Sea, to the northeast by Turkmenistan, to the east by Afghanistan and Pakistan, to the south by the Persian Gulf and the Gulf of Oman, and to the west by Turkey and Iraq.
  • Its central location in Eurasia and Western Asia, and its proximity to the Strait of Hormuz, give it geostrategic importance. The capital of Iran is Tehran.
  • The currency used there is Iranian Rial.
  • The current President of Iran is Ebrahim Raisi.

 

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National

DelhiMumbai Expressway (DME): The Union Minister for Road Transport and Highways Nitin Gadkari recently concluded the twoday review of the work progress on the DelhiMumbai Expressway (DME) at Sohna in Haryana, Dausa and Bundi in Rajasthan, Ratlam in Madhya Pradesh.

Key Highlights:

  • He announced the work on the eightlane DelhiMumbai Expressway, a 1,380 km road will be completed by March 2023.
  • In 2018, the Government kickstarted this highway project with the project’s foundation stone being laid on 9 March 2019.
  • Once ready, the expressway will feature a spur to Noida International Airport and Jawaharlal Nehru Port to Mumbai through a spur in the financial capital.
  • It will reduce travel time between certain cities to 1212.5 hours from 24 hours.
  • The project is expected to improve connectivity to economic hubs of India like Jaipur, Ajmer, Kishangarh, Chittorgarh, Kota, Udaipur, Ujjain, Bhopal, Indore, Vadodara, Ahmedabad, and Surat.

Key features of DME:

  • The expressway is eightlane accesscontrolled and can be expanded to a 12lane expressway depending on the traffic volume.
  • It will boast wayside amenities such as resorts, food courts, restaurants, fuel stations, logistics parks, facilities for truckers.
  • For accident victims, it will offer helicopter ambulance service as well as a heliport, which will use drone services for business.
  • Along the highway, over two million trees and shrubs are planned to be planted.
  • The highway project is Asia’s first and the world’s second to include animal overpasses in order to facilitate unrestricted wildlife movement.
  • Besides, it will also involve two iconic eightlane tunnels.
  • The project will result in annual savings of more than 320 million litres of fuel as well as reduce Carbon dioxide emissions by 850 million kg.
  • Over 12 lakh tonnes of steel will be consumed in the project’s construction, which is equivalent to constructing 50 Howrah bridges.
  • For the project, 80 lakh tonnes of cement will be consumed, which is around 2 per cent of the country’s annual cement production capacity.
  • The ambitious DelhiMumbai Expressway project has also created job opportunities for thousands of trained civil engineers apart from generating over 50 lakh man days of work.

About Morth:

  • It refers to the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways.
  • The Ministry of Road Transport and Highways is a ministry of the Government of India(GoI).
  • Morth is the apex body for formulation and administration of the rules, regulations and laws relating to road transport, transport research.
  • Its task is also to increase the mobility and efficiency of the road transport system in India. It was founded in July 1942.
  • The current Union Minister of Morth is Nitin Gadkari.

 

Sign Language Day in India: The Indian Sign Language Research and Training Centre (ISLRTC), an autonomous body within the Department of Empowerment of Persons with Disabilities (Divyangjan) under the Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment, will be celebrated ‘Sign Language Day’ on September 23, 2021.

Highlights:

  • ISLRTC is based in New Delhi:
  • Ever since the United Nations declared 23rd September as the International Sign Language Day, the ISLRTC has celebrated it every year.
  • During the programme, the Centre presented a documentary on the ‘Indian Sign Language Journey’.
  • The winners of the 4thIndian Sign Language Competition, 2021 – a nationallevel competition held for students with hearing disabilities were also announced.

Background:

  • ISLRTC had signed an MoU with National Council of Educational Research and Training (NCERT) in 2020 for converting NCERT textbooks from Class I to XII into Indian Sign Language (digital format) to make the textbooks accessible to children with hearing disabilities.
  • The First phase of the project for conversion of Class I to V textbooks has been completed and eContent thereof will be launched during the programme.

About International Day of Sign Languages:

  • International Day of Sign Languages is celebrated annually across the world on 23 September every year along with International Week of the Deaf.
  • The day supports and protects the linguistic identity of people who are deaf along with other users of sign languages.

Theme of 2021:

  • The 2021 theme, declared by the World Federation of the Deaf, is “We Sign For Human Rights,”.
  • This theme highlights how each of us – deaf and hearing people around the world – can work together hand in hand to promote the recognition of our right to use sign languages in all areas of life.

History

  • World Federation of the Deaf (WFD), a federation of 135 national associations of deaf people, proposed International Day of Sign Languages.
  • The resolution for the same was adopted by consensus on 19 December 2017.
  • The first International Day of Sign Languages was observed in 2018.
  • The date 23 September was chosen because it marks the establishment of WFD in 1951.

What are sign languages?

  • Sign languages (also known as signed languages) are languages that use the visualmanual modality to convey meaning.
  • Sign languages are expressed through manual articulations in combination with nonmanual elements.
  • Sign languages are fullfledged natural languages with their own grammar and lexicon.
  • The United Nations (UN) describes sign languages as fullfledged natural languages, structurally distinct from spoken languages.

Significance of sign language:

  • Sign language protects ‘linguistic identity and cultural diversity’ of all users.
  • Sign language not only plays an important role in educating people, but also is vital in creating employment and vocational training for persons with hearing disabilities.
  • According to the WFD, there are approximately 72 million deaf people worldwide, more than 80 per cent of whom live in developing countries.
  • Collectively, they use more than 300 different sign languages.

 

National Pension System Diwas: The Pension Fund Regulatory and Development Authority (PFRDA) has kickstarted a new campaign named National Pension System Diwas (NPS Diwas) under ‘Azadi Ka Amrit Mahotsav’.

Highlights:

  • This campaign has been started to promote pension and retirement planning.
  • PFRDA will celebrate the National Pension System Diwas (NPS Diwas) on 1st October 2021.
  • PFRDA is promoting this campaign on its social media platforms with #npsdiwas.
  • NPS aims to encourage every citizen to plan towards making a financial cushion to ensure for oneself a financially sound future after retirement.
  • NPS subscribers will enjoy the benefits, power of compounding now and reap many of the benefits after retirement.

About PFRDA:

  • Pension Fund Regulatory and Development Authority (PFRDA) is the regulatory body under the jurisdiction of Ministry of Finance, Government of India (GoI) for overall supervision and regulation of pension in India.
  • The Pension Fund Regulatory & Development Authority Act was passed on 19 September 2013 and the same was notified on 1 February 2014.
  • PFRDA works as the regulator of NPS to ensure orderly growth and development of the pension market.
  • It was founded on 23 august 2003.
  • Its Chairperson is Supratim Bandyopadhyay.

 

National Service Scheme Awards: President Ram Nath Kovind, on 24th September 2021, conferred the National Service Scheme (NSS) Awards for 201920 from Rashtrapati Bhavan in a virtual mode.

Key Highlights:

  • The National Service Scheme (NSS) Awards for the year 201920 have been given to 42 awardees in 3 different categories like University/ +2 Councils, NSS Units and their Programme Officers and NSS Volunteers.
  • Minister for Youth Affairs and Sports Anurag Thakur and Minister of State Nisith Pramanik also attended the event.
  • The National Service Scheme Award is conferred by the Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports, Department of Youth Affairs every year to recognize and reward outstanding contributions towards voluntary community service made by the universities or colleges, (+2) councils, senior secondary, NSS units or programme officers and NSS volunteers, with a view to further promote NSS in the country.

About NSS:

  • National Service Scheme (NSS) was established in 1969, on the occasion of the birth centenary of Mahatma Gandhi.
  • NSS is a Centrally Sector Scheme launched with the primary objective of developing the personality and character of the student youth through voluntary community service.
  • It is a visionary scheme through which students get an opportunity to serve the society and country during their school and college days itself.
  • The ideological orientation of the NSS is inspired by the ideals of Mahatma Gandhi. Very appropriately, the motto of NSS is “NOT ME, BUT YOU”.
  • The NSS volunteers work on issues of social relevance, which keep evolving in response to the needs of the community, through regular and special camping activities.

 

Antyodaya Diwas 2021: The Antyodaya Diwas is observed on September 25, every year in India to mark the birth anniversary of Pandit Deendayal Upadhyaya.

Highlights:

  • The year 2021, the Antyodaya Diwas marks the 105th birth anniversary of Upadhyaya.
  • He was the nationalist who stood for the explanation for the poor and downtrodden.
  • As Antyodaya means uplifting the poorest of the poor, or “rise of the last person” the special day aims at reaching the last person of the society.
  • On this occasion, the Ministry of Rural Development felicitates the beneficiaries of skill development programmes  Deen Dayal Upadhyay Grameen Kaushalya Yojana and Rural Self Employment Training Institute.

History:

  • The day was declared by the Modi Government on September 25, 2014 and officially celebrated since 2015.
  • Through Antyodaya Diwas, the government aims to carry forward the message of Upadhyaya who visualised uplift of the poorest of the poor in the country.

About Pandit Deendayal Upadhyaya:

  • Pandit Deendayal Upadhyaya (191668) was wellknown political personality and thoughtful philosopher.
  • He was a humanist, economist, journalist, and an abled statesman.
  • He was coordinator and famous leader of Jan Sangh, which is considered precursor to BJP (Bharatiya Janata Party).
  • He was the leader of the Bharatiya Jana Sangh from 1953 to 1968.
  • In the 1940s, Deendayal Upadhyaya launched ‘Rashtra Dharma’, a monthly journal, from Uttar Pradesh’s Lucknow for spreading the ideology of Hindutva nationalism. Later, he started ‘Panchjanya’, a weekly magazine, and a daily, ‘Swadesh’.
  • He wrote drama Chandragupta Maurya in Hindi and later wrote a biography of Shankaracharya.
  • His philosophical idea of ‘Integral Humanism’ was adopted in 1965 as the official doctrine of the Jan Sangh and later the BJP.
  • He strongly supported swadeshi and small scale industrialization.
  • He advocated ‘Samyanit Upabhog’ (sustainable consumption) as he did not favour the exploitation of Mother Nature practiced by the capitalist societies of the West.

 

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People In News

APPOINTMENTS:

Kailash Satyarthi: Nobel Peace Laureate Kailash Satyarthi has been appointed by UN SecretaryGeneral Antonio Guterres as a Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) Advocate in the 76th UN General Assembly (UNGA).

Highlights:

Guterres along with Satyarthi, has also appointed Microsoft President Brad Smith, STEM activist Valentina Munoz Rabanal and Kpop superstars BLACKPINK as new SDG advocates.

With this, the UN now has total of 16 SDG Advocates.

About the SDG Advocates:

  • The SDG Advocates are 17 inspiring, influential people raising global awareness of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and the need for accelerated action.
  • They use their unique global platforms to raise ambition around the SDGs and reach the most vulnerable first.
  • They are strong public figures dedicated to peace, prosperity and the planet, rallying behind the vision of a better world and inspiring others to do the same.

Role of SDG Advocates:

  • The SDG Advocates use their considerable spheres of influence to reach new constituencies to act now and keep the promise of the Sustainable Development Goals for people and for the planet.
  • The UN said climate action, bridging the digital divide; gender equality and the promotion of the rights of children are key issues to be championed by the new SDG Advocates.
  • The SDG Advocates are prominent leaders in the world who work to mobilize action to deliver the 17 SDGs by 2030, using their considerable spheres of influence.

About Kailash Satyarthi:

  • Kailash Satyarthi is an Indian social reformer who campaigned against child labour and also advocated for the universal right to education.
  • He is the founder of multiple social activist organisations, including Global March against Child labour, Bachpan Bachao Andolan, Kailash Satyarthi children’s foundation.
  • Satyarthi and his team at Bachpan Bachao Andolan have liberated more than 90,000 children from India from slavery, child labour and trafficking.
  • He has also served on the committee and board of several international organisations including the International Labour Rights Fund, Center for Victims of Torture and Cocoa Initiative.
  • In 2014, Kailash Satyarthi was the corecipient of the Nobel Peace Prize, along with Malala Yousafzai.
  • They were honoured for their struggle against the suppression of young people and children and for the right of all children to education.

About SDGs:

  • The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), also known as the Global Goals, were adopted by the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) in 2015 as a universal call to action to end poverty, protect the planet, and ensure that by 2030 all people enjoy peace and prosperity.
  • The SDGs are a collection of 17 interlinked global goals designed to be a "blueprint to achieve a better and more sustainable future for all".
  • They are included in a UN Resolution called the 2030 Agenda or what is colloquially known as Agenda 2030.
  • The 17 SDGs are:

(1) No Poverty

(2) Zero Hunger

(3) Good Health and Wellbeing

(4) Quality Education

(5) Gender Equality

(6) Clean Water and Sanitation

(7) Affordable and Clean Energy

(8) Decent Work and Economic Growth

(9) Industry, Innovation and Infrastructure

(10) Reducing Inequality

(11) Sustainable Cities and Communities

(12) Responsible Consumption and Production

(13) Climate Action

(14) Life Below Water

(15) Life On Land

(16) Peace, Justice, and Strong Institution

(17) Partnerships for the Goals

 

AWARDS:

SDG Progress Award: Prime Minister of Bangladesh Sheikh Hasina has been conferred with SDG Progress award.

Highlights:

  • She was introduced as the “jewel in the crown of the day” at the event.
  • This prestigious award has been conferred to her for Bangladesh’s steady progress in achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by the UN sponsored Sustainable Development Solutions Network (SDSN).
  • Prime Minister Hasina is currently visiting the US to attend the 76th session of the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA).

About Sustainable Development Solutions Network (SDSN):

  • The SDSN was set up in 2012 under the auspices of the UN Secretary General.
  • It is led by development economist Jeoffery Sachs.
  • The SDSN seeks to mobilize global scientific and technological expertise to promote practical solutions for sustainable development.

About Sheikh Hasina:

  • Sheikh Hasina, born 28 September 1947, is also known by her married name Sheikh Hasina Wazed. She is a Bangladeshi politician who has been serving as the Prime Minister of Bangladesh since January 2009.
  • She previously served as prime minister from June 1996 to July 2001.
  • She is the longest serving prime minister in the history of Bangladesh, having served for a combined total of over 17 years.
  • She is the daughter of Bangladesh's first president Sheikh Mujibur Rahman.
  • She has led the Awami League (AL) since 1981.

 

National Florence Nightingale Award 2020: The Deputy Director General of Military Nursing Service (MNS) Brig S V Saraswati has been bestowed with the National Florence Nightingale Award 2020.

Highlights:

  • President Shri Ram Nath Kovind conferred the award to her in a virtual ceremony for her immense contribution to the MNS as nurse administrator.
  • National Florence Nightingale Award is the highest national distinction a nurse can achieve for selfless devotion and exceptional professionalism.

About Brig S V Saraswati:

  • Brig S V Saraswati hails from Chittoor district of Andhra Pradesh.
  • She was commissioned in to the MNS on December 28, 1983.
  • She has served in the MNS for more than three and half decades, especially in perioperative nursing.
  • As a renowned operation theatre nurse, she has assisted in more than 3,000 lifesaving and emergency surgeries and has trained residents, operation room nursing trainees and auxiliary staff in her career.
  • She has prepared patient teaching materials and improvised drape kits and suture packing for cardiac surgeries.
  • She has conducted various outreach activities for the troops and has trained more than thousand soldiers and families in basic life support.  
  • She has also represented the MNS in various national and international forums.
  • She has rendered her services at various panIndia army hospitals and United Nations Peace Keeping Forces at Congo.
  • She has held various levels of clinical and administrative appointments prior to assuming the present prestigious appointment of Deputy Director General of MNS.

Recognitions and Awards:

  • In recognition of her meritorious and distinguished service in nursing profession to the soldiers and their families, she was awarded General Officer CommandinginChief Commendation (2005), United Nations Medal (MONOC) (2007) and Chief of the Army Staff Commendation (2015).

About National Florence Nightingale Award:

  • National Florence Nightingale Award is the highest national distinction a nurse can achieve for selfless devotion and exceptional professionalism.
  • The award is in honour of Florence Nightingale who was an English reformer, statistician and the founder of Modern Nursing.
  • She came to prominence while serving as a trainer and manager of nurses during the Crimean War.
  •  Nightingale organized to care for the wounded soldiers at Constantinople.

 

2021 Changemaker Award: Fairooz Faizah Beether of Bangladesh has been chosen for the 2021 Changemaker Award for her work promoting good health and wellbeing by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.

Highlights:

  • Fairooz Faizah is cofounder of Moner School which is an anonymous online platform active in the field of mental health.
  • It works with youth to educate them about the importance of mental health care through training, workshops, and a 24/7 online mental health first aid service in Bangladesh

About the award:

  • The Changemaker Award is part of the Goalkeepers Global Goals award instituted by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.
  • The main aim of the award is to accelerate progress towards attaining the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) of the UN.
  • The Award celebrates an individual who has inspired change using personal experience or from a position of leadership.

Global Goalkeeper Award:

  • The Goalkeepers is the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation’s campaign to accelerate progress towards the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) announced by the UN in 2015 to achieve the objectives of ending poverty, fighting inequality and injustice and fixing climate change.
  • This award recognises a chief who has pushed progress on a global scale toward achieving sustainable improvement dreams (SDGs).

 

Global Goalkeeper Award 2021: The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation announced its annual Goalkeepers ‘Global Goals Awards’ 2021, as part of its annual Goalkeepers campaign.

Key Points:

  • Goalkeepers are the foundation’s campaign to accelerate progress towards the Sustainable Development Goals (Global Goals).
  • By sharing stories and data behind the Global Goals through an annual report, it seeks to inspire a new generation of leaders—Goalkeepers who raise awareness of progress, hold their leaders accountable, and drive action to achieve the Global Goals.
  • The awards were given in following categories:

The 2021 Global Goalkeeper Award:

  • Phumzile MlamboNgcuka has been chosen for the 2021 Global Goalkeeper Award.
  • She has been honoured for conflict for gender equality and her advocacy to tackle the Covid19 pandemic’s disproportionate effect on ladies and girls.
  • This award recognizes a chief who has pushed progress on a global scale toward achieving sustainable improvement dreams (SDGs).

The 2021 Progress Award:

  • Jenifer Colpas from Colombia was awarded the 2021 Progress Award , for her work which centres around improving access to clean water and sanitation.
  • Colpas is the cofounder and executive director of Tierra Grata, a social enterprise that develops lowcost, easytoinstall solutions providing access to clean energy, safe water, and sanitation services to rural communities in Colombia.
  • This award celebrates an individual who supports progress using science, technology, or business.

The 2021 Campaign Award:

  • Satta Sheriff of Liberia was awarded the 2021 Campaign Award, for her work promoting gender equality.
  • Sheriff is the founder and executive director of Action for Justice and Human Rights (AJHR), a youthled NGO which ensure access to justice and respect for human rights in Liberia, with a focus on women and girls.
  • This award celebrates a campaign that has raised awareness or built a community by inspiring action and creating change.

 

World’s oldest living twins: Guinness World Records has certified two Japanese sisters as the world’s oldest living identical twins.

Highlights:

  • They are Umeno Sumiyama and Koume Kodama who were born the third and fourth of 11 siblings on Shodoshima island in western Japan on Nov. 5, 1913.
  • Both sisters are 107 years old.
  • This certification date falls on Japan's "Respect for the Elderly Day," which is a national holiday.
  • Sumiyama and Kodama were 107 years and 300 days old as of Sept 1, breaking the previous record set by famous Japanese sisters Kin Narita and Gin Kanie at 107 years and 175 days.

About Guiness Book of World Records:

  • Guinness World Records was originally the Guinness Book of Records from its inception in 1955 until 1999.
  • It is a reference book published annually, listing world records both of human achievements and the extremes of the natural world.
  • The brainchild of Sir Hugh Beaver, the book was cofounded by twin brothers Norris and Ross McWhirter in Fleet Street, London, in August 1954.
  • After the founding of The Guinness Book of Records office at 107 Fleet Street, London, the first 198page edition was bound on 27 August 1955 and went to the top of the British best seller lists by Christmas.
  • As of the 2021 edition, it is now in its 66th year of publication, published in 100 countries and 23 languages, and maintains over 53,000 records in its database.

 

OBUTUARIES:

YS Dadwal: Former Governor of Arunachal Pradesh and Commissioner of Delhi Police, Yudhvir Singh Dadwal recently passed away.

About YS Dadwal:

  • YS Dadwal was a 1974batch IPS officer.
  • He was the 16th police commissioner of Delhi from July 2007 to November 2010.
  • After retirement, he was appointed as the DirectorGeneral of the Central Paramilitary Force, Sashastra Seema Bal (SSB) in November 2010.
  • In 2016, Dadwal was appointed as the Governor of Arunachal Pradesh.

 

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Places In News

International Blue Flag Certification: 

The coveted International ecolabel "Blue Flag”, has accorded the Blue Flag Certification for 2 new Indian beaches.

Highlights:

  • The beaches are Eden in Puducherry and Kovalam in Tamil Nadu.

Note: The Blue Flag certification is accorded by the Foundation for Environment Education (FEE), Denmark. FEE was established in 1985 in France.

  • The FEE, Denmark has also given recertification for eight nominated beaches  ShivrajpurGujarat, GhoghlaDiu, Kasarkod and PadubidriKarnataka, KappadKerala, Rushikonda Andhra Pradesh, GoldenOdisha and Radhanagar Andaman and Nicobar, which were awarded the Blue Flag certificate in 2020.
  • These eight beaches had got the Blue Flag certification on October 6, 2020.

Background:

  • The Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change (MoEF&CC) in its pursuit of “Sustainable Development” of the coastal regions of India embarked upon a highly acclaimed & flagship program Beach Environment & Aesthetics Management Services (BEAMS).
  • India had started its journey of sustainable development of coastal regions on World Environment Day in June 2018.

About BEAMS:

  • BEAMS is one of the initiatives under ICZM (integrated coastal zone management) approach that the MoEF&CC has undertaken for the sustainable development of coastal  regions of India.
  • Its prime objective to protect and conserve the pristine coastal and marine ecosystems through holistic management of the resources.
  • This was aimed for achieving the globally recognized and the coveted International ecolabel "Blue Flag”.

Objectives of BEAM:

  • The objective of BEAMS program is to abate pollution in coastal waters, promote sustainable development of beach facilities, protect & conserve coastal ecosystems & natural resources, and seriously challenge local authorities & stakeholders to strive and maintain high standards of cleanliness, hygiene & safety for beachgoers in accordance with coastal environment & regulations.

Achievements:

  • The MoEF&CC, in the last three years, have achieved commendable results in environmental management of these 10 beaches and some of them are enumerated below:
  • Sand dune restoration and nourishment of 95,000 Sqm (approx.) with native plantation.
  • Reduction in marine litter by 85 % and 78% in marine plastic in last 3 years.
  • Scientific & responsible disposal of 750 tonnes of marine litter.
  • Improvement in cleanliness level from “C” (poor) to “A++(outstanding) through scientific measurement system
  • Saving of 1100 ML/year of municipal water through recycling
  • 3 years’ database on regular testing of bathing water quality (physical, chemical and biological contamination) and health risk monitoring.
  • Approx. 1,25,000 beach goers are educated for responsible behaviour in the beaches
  • Increase in footfall for recreation activities by approx. 80% leading to economic development.
  • Alternate livelihood opportunities for 500 fishermen families through pollution abatement, safety & services.
  • The Ministry is further committed to develop and deliver 100 more beaches under its ICZM initiative in the ensuing 5 years of Ministry’s vision agenda.

About Blue Flag Certification:

  • Blue Flag certification is a globally recognized ecolabel accorded on the basis of 33 stringent criteria in four major heads which are:
  • Environmental education and information
  • Bathing water quality
  • Environmental management
  • Conservation and safety and services in the beaches
  • The recommendations are done by an independent national jury composed of eminent environmentalists and scientists.
  • Blue Flag beaches are considered the cleanest beaches of the world.
  • The Blue Flag label is accorded by the international jury composed of eminent members –
  • United Nations Environment Programme(UNEP)
  • United Nations World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO)
  • Denmarkbased NGO Foundation for Environmental Education (FEE)
  • International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN)

 

State Fish of Sikkim: The fisheries department of Sikkim recently announced that Sikkim Government has declared ‘Copper Mahseer’ locally named ‘Katley’ as the State Fish.

Key Highlights:

  • The decision has been taken to highlight the importance of the Katley fish and to give emphasis to its conservation measures.
  • The fish also has a high market value and is highly preferred by the public in the State.

Key Points:

  • In Sikkim, katley is found in varied altitudes covering the entire state and predominantly confined to the Teesta and Rangit rivers and their tributaries.
  • This dominant fish species in Teesta River originates from the glaciers of the North.
  • There are as many as 48 indigenous species of Mahseer in Sikkim
  • In 1992, ICARNational Bureau of Fish Genetic Resources (ICARNBFGR), Lucknow, had categorised katley as endangered species.
  • Then in the year 2014, the fish was also categorized as endangered by the IUCN (International Union for Conservation of Nature).
  • Sikkim government had also declared the reservoirs of the state to be open for fishing activities.
  • The reservoirs are at Chungthang in North Sikkim and Legshep in West Sikkim, along with Dikchu and Rorathang in East Sikkim.
  • License shall be issued by the Directorate of Fisheries to the interested individual fishermen or fishermen cooperative societies or SHGs for fishing in the reservoirs in accordance with the existing provisions under the Sikkim Fisheries Rules, 1990.

About Katley:

  • Katley is the local name for Chocolate or Copper Mahseer.
  • The name Chocolate Mahseer has been given because of the morphological body colour of this fish.
  • Its scientific name is Neolissochilus hexagonolepis.
  • Katley fish can grow up to around 120 centimetres and can weigh over 10 kilograms.
  •  In India, Katleys are primarily found in the Himalayas, especially in the northeastern states of Arunachal Pradesh, Sikkim, and Nagaland.
  • They are found in India, Bangladesh, Nepal, Myanmar, Thailand, Malaysia, Indonesia, China, Bhutan, Pakistan and Vietnam.

About Sikkim:

  • Sikkim is a state in northeastern India.
  • It borders China in the north and northeast, Bhutan in the east, Nepal in the west, and West Bengal in the south.
  • It is the least populous and second smallest among the Indian states and is also located close to India's Siliguri Corridor near Bangladesh.
  • A part of the Eastern Himalaya, Sikkim is notable for its biodiversity, including alpine and subtropical climates, as well as being a host to Kangchenjunga, the highest peak in India and third highest on Earth.
  • It is also home to glaciers, alpine meadows and thousands of varieties of wildflowers.
  • Sikkim became the 22nd state of the Indian Union on 16 May 1975.
  • Gangtok is the capital of Sikkim.
  • The current Governor and the Chief Minister of Sikkim are Ganga Prasad and Prem Singh Tamang respectively.

 

Projects at Mangalore: Union Minister for Ports, Shipping and Waterways Sarbananda Sonowal inaugurated and laid foundation stone of three projects at New Mangalore Port on 24th September 2021.

Key Highlights:

  • The projects include laying of foundation stone for a truck parking terminal and modification of U.S. Mallya Gate, and dedication to nation of the newly built business development centre.

About the truck parking terminal:

  • Additional truck parking area of 17000 sq metres will be developed at cost of Rs 1.9 crore.  
  • The Truck Terminal would be provided concrete pavement, gate house, restaurant, and dormitory at the project cost of Rs.5.00 crores in 202223.

About U.S. Mallya Gate:

  • The East gate of the New Mangalore Port Trust is called U.S. Mallya Gate, named after the founder of the Port.
  • It faces NH66.
  • The proposed modification of the gate complex has dimensions of 46.6 Mtrs. Length and 13.5 Mtrs.
  • The gate complex has different lanes for movement of trucks, four wheeler passenger vehicles, two wheelers, pedestrians, provisions of RFID system, radiological monitoring equipment, boom barriers, etc. The cost of modification work is Rs 3.22 crore.  
  • The work is likely to be completed by March 2022.

About the Business Development Centre and Testing Centre:

  • The Business Development Centre and Testing Centre are built on an area of 2.80 acres on western side of NH 66 adjacent to the IOC retail outlet.  
  • The project cost of construction of Business Development Centre for Export and Testing Centre is Rs 24.57 crore.
  • The Business Development Centre shall have a conference hall, restaurant, post office, banks, etc.
  • It will provide all facilities under one roof to the EXIM trade fraternity.

About New Mangalore Port:

  • The new Mangalore port is the only major port of Karnataka.
  • It is ideally located between Cochin and Goa ports.
  • Every aspect of the infrastructure is designed to ensure that vessels are sharply focused on the customers’ logistical needs. T
  • The port has 15 fully operational berths, handling containers, coal and other cargo.

About Mangalore:

  • Mangalore (or Mangaluru) is an Arabian Sea port and a major commercial center in the Indian state of Karnataka.
  • It is located between the Arabian Sea and the Western Ghats about 352 km (219 mi) west of Bangalore, the state capital of Karnataka.
  • It is known for being one of the locations of the Indian strategic petroleum reserves.

 

World’s Highest EV Charging Station: The world’s highest EV charging station was opened at Kaza town, in Lahaul and Spiti district of Himachal Pradesh.

Key Highlights:

  • This EV charging station is the world’s highest electric vehicle charging station located at 500 ft.
  • It has been opened in order to promote a sustainable environment.
  • Along with the EV charging station, two women drove electric vehicles from Manali to Kaza to promote a clean and green environment.
  • All the products including chargers of this station are made in India.
  • It has been installed by Punebased EV charging infra startup goEgoNetwork.

Significance:

  • India is achieving good momentum in the electric vehicle (EV) ecosystem.
  • These technologies are all set to overhaul fossilrun automotive by 2050 in India.

About Kaza Town:

  • Kaza Town is the subdivisional headquarters of Spiti Valley.
  • It is located in the western Himalayas in the Lahaul and Spiti district of Himachal Pradesh.

About Spiti:

  • Spiti is a high altitude or cold desert which is having close similarities to the neighbouring Tibet and Ladakh regions with respect to the terrain, climate and the Buddhist culture.

 

Tussar Silk Yarn Production Centre: Village Industries Commission (KVIC) and Tussar Silk Yarn Production Centre has taken a historic initiative to set up Odisha’s first ever Tussar Silk Yarn Production Centre at Choudwar in Cuttack district.

Highlights:

  • Khadi and Village Industries Commission (KVIC) has set up Odisha’s first ever tussar silk yarn production centre at Choudwar in Cuttack district.
  • The silk yarn production centre was inaugurated by KVIC chairman Vinai Kumar Saxena.

Significance:

  • The development assumes great significance as silk comprises nearly 75% of the total khadi fabric production in Odisha.
  • This silk yarn production centre will ensure local availability of Tussar Silk yarn, create local employment and reduce the silk production cost.
  • For hundreds of years, Odisha has been known for its exquisite Silk, particularly the Tussar variety, which provides livelihood to thousands of tribal people, particularly women.
  • But the Silk weavers in the state were totally dependent on states like West Bengal, Jharkhand and Karnataka for the Silk yarn, which increased the cost of the Silk fabric.
  • Tussar silk is one of the finest varieties of Silk that is distinguished by its coarseness and porous weave that give it a rugged and rustic appearance.

About Odisha:

  • Odisha also formerly Orissa, is an Indian state located on the eastern coast of India.
  • It neighbors the states of West Bengal and Jharkhand to the north, Chhattisgarh to the west and Andhra Pradesh to the south. It is an eastern Indian state on the Bay of Bengal.
  • It is known for its tribal cultures and its many ancient Hindu temples.
  • The Jagannath Temple in Puri is a very sacred and religious temple of Hindus. The capital of Odisha is Bhubaneswar.
  • The Governor and the Chief Minister of Odisha are Ganeshi Lal and Naveen Patnaik respectvely.  

 

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Science and Technology

LowC bricks: 

Researchers have developed a technology to produce energyefficient walling materials using construction and demolition waste (CDW) and alkaliactivated binders.

Key Points:

  • Scientists of the Indian Institute of Science developed a technology for producing alkaliactivated bricks/blocks by utilizing fly ash and furnace slag.
  • These are called low carbon bricks.
  • These bricks do not require hightemperature firing and avoid the use of highenergy material such as Portland cement.
  • The technology will also solve the disposal problems associated with construction and demolition waste mitigation.
  • The researchers developed low embodied carbon bricks from construction and demolition waste through an alkali activation process using fly ash and ground slag and characterizing the thermal, structural, and durability characteristics of LowC bricks and their masonry.

Conventionally, building envelopes consist of masonry walls built with burnt clay bricks, concrete blocks, hollow clay blocks, fly ash bricks and lightweight blocks.

What is fly ash?

  • Fly ash is a fine powder that is a byproduct of burning pulverized coal in electric generation power plants.
  • Fly ash or flue ash, coal ash is also known as pulverized fuel ash in the United Kingdom, or coal combustion residuals (CCRs).
  • When mixed with lime and water, fly ash forms a compound similar to Portland cement.
  • It is used in concrete and cement products, road base, metal recovery, and mineral filler among others.
  • However, these particles are toxic air pollutants as they can trigger heart disease, cancer, respiratory diseases and stroke.

 

Solar DC Cooking System: Central Mechanical Engineering Research Institute (CSIRCMER), recently handed over the CSIRCMERI developed Solar DC Cooking System to the Asansol Braille Academy, West Bengal.

Highlights:

  • The Solar DC Cooking System has been developed by CSIRCMERI.
  • This Solar DC Cooking System is a Solar Energy based Cooking System which consists of solar PV panel, charge controller, battery bank and cooking oven.

Benefits:

  • The technology provides a Clean Cooking Environment, InvertorLess Direct Operation, Fast and Uniform Heating.
  • The system can also substantially curb carbon dioxide emissions, as even LPG usage emits Carbon Dioxide (CO2). It has a potential to save 1 ton CO2 emissions year/household.
  • Widespread usage of this system will also play a critical role in achieving the target of 200 GW of Solar energy.
  • It has 2025% better efficiency and more Economical in comparison with Conventional Solar based Cooking Systems which loses efficiency owing to ACDC conversion.
  • In addition, its simple design also ensures EaseofManufacturing and ultimately provides substantial Economic Opportunity for the MicroIndustries.

Is Solar Power AC or DC?

· Solar photovoltaic technology works on DC power. Solar panels generate direct current when the sun shines on panels, causing electrons to move and create current, thus, the current is direct as all of the electrons flow in the same direction.

What are AC and DC?

AC:

  • AC stands for Alternating Current.
  • AC means that form of voltage or current that changes polarity or direction, respectively, over time.
  • It is the form in which electric power is delivered to businesses and residences.
  • This form of electrical energy is typically used by the consumers when they plug kitchen appliances, televisions, fans and electric lamps into a wall socket.

DC:

  • DC Stands for Direct current.
  • It flows consistently in one direction.
  • It is used in any electronic device with a battery for a power source.
  • It is also used to charge batteries, so rechargeable devices like laptops and cell phones come with an AC adapter that converts alternating current to direct current.

What are the advantages of using Solar Energy?

  • Household air pollution from cooking fires in the home is a leading cause of respiratory disease.It kills many precious lives each year.
  • Harnessing free solar energy for cooking will make
  • Drinking water safe.
  • Improve health,
  • Build resilient families,
  • Break the cycle of poverty,
  • Empower women and children and
  • Boost local economies as solar cookers do not produce any smoke.

About CSIRCMER:

  • The Central Mechanical Engineering Research Institute (also known as CSIRCMERI Durgapur or CMERI Durgapur) is a public engineering research and development institution in Durgapur, West Bengal.
  • It was founded in February 1958, to develop national mechanical engineering technology, in a bid to help Indian industries.
  • It is a constituent laboratory of the Indian Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR).

 

Hansen Crater: The International Astronomical Union (IAU) has recently named a crater on the South Pole of the Moon after Arctic explorer Dr Matthew Alexander Henson.

Key Points:

  • The crater has been named the Hansen crater.
  • Matthew Henson was a Black man who became one of the first people to stand on top of the world, in 1909.
  • The proposal to name the crater after Henson was put forward by Jordan Bretzfelder, a visiting graduate researcher from the Lunar and Planetary Institute's Exploration Science program.

About Matthew Henson:

  • Henson (1866–1955) was an experienced explorer and skilled carpenter & craftsman.
  • He was an experienced explorer and spent 18 years with Peary exploring the Arctic.
  • He was hired in 1887 by explorer Robert Peary, and he eventually became a key member of Peary’s expeditions, including the one that ultimately reached the North Pole.
  • The final push of that expedition was made by Henson, Peary, and four Inuit companions named Ooqueah, Ootah, Eningwah and Seegloo, all traveling by dog sledge.
  • Henson was in the lead of the group as they searched for the pole.
  • However, Henson did receive accolades at the time for his historic achievement because of the racist attitudes and Peary was honored for the accomplishment instead.

Artemis Programme:

  • The Artemis program studies planetary processes and seeks to create the infrastructure to advance human exploration at the moon and, eventually, Mars.
  • This programme was launched by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA).

 

Note: Henson Crater is located in the Moon's south pole, between Sverdrup and de Gerlache craters, in the region the Artemis program.

  • The Henson Crater is in the same region where the Artemis program by NASA aims to land the next generation of lunar explorers.

About International Astronomical Union (IAU):

  • International Astronomical Union (IAU) is a nongovernmental organization set up with the objective of advancing astronomy in all aspects such as promoting astronomical research, outreach, education, and development through global cooperation.
  • It was founded in 1919.
  • It is headquartered in Paris, France.

 

Fire Detection and Protection system: The Ministry of Road Transport & Highways (MoRTH) has issued a Draft Notification on 21st September 2021 for introducing the Fire Alarm System and Fire Protection System in the Passenger (or Occupant) Compartment in buses, through an amendment in AIS (Automotive Industry Standard)135.

Key Points:

  • Currently, fire detection, alarm and suppression systems are notified for fires originating from the engine compartment only.
  • The draft notification is intended for fire detection and protection in the passenger compartment for Type III buses.

 Note: ‘Type III’ buses are those designed and constructed for long distance seated passenger transport) and School Buses.

  • A water mist based active fire protection system has been designed and developed by MoRTH in consultation with various stakeholders, including DRDO alongwith a fire alarm system.
  • Simulation studies have demonstrated that the designed system is able to manage the temperature in the passenger compartment within 50 degree C centigrade in less than 30 seconds of mist operation.

What is the AIS and TAC certification for India?

About AIS Certification:

  • The Automotive Industry Standards (India AIS) are issued by the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways (MoRTH), which is the ministry regulating the automotive sector in India.
  • AIS certification was introduced in 1989 with the adoption of the India Central Motor Vehicles Rules (CMVR).
  • AIS certification is required for automotive components.
  • These products all have in common that they are subject to safety or electromagnetic compatibility requirements.

Products Covered by AIS Certification:

Currently it concerns for example the following products:

  • Automotive Electronics
  • Tyres
  • Seat belts
  • Door locks
  • Brake Hoses
  • Lights
  • Fuel tanks

About TAC:

  • TAC is the abbreviation for Type Approval Certificate.
  • TAC is issued for products that need to meet special technical and safety requirements.
  • TAC approval must be obtained before the product is introduced to the market.
  • Morth (Ministry of Road Transport and Highways) is responsible for issuing the certification.

About MoRTH:

  • MoRTH refers to the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways.
  • The Ministry of Road Transport and Highways is a ministry of the Government of India (GoI).
  • Morth is the apex body for formulation and administration of the rules, regulations and laws relating to road transport, transport research.
  • Its task is also to increase the mobility and efficiency of the road transport system in India.
  • It was founded in July 1942.
  • The current Union Minister of Morth is Nitin Gadkari .

 

Chang’e5 probe: China recently presented the earlystage findings of Chang’e5 probe, which use geological mapping to link ‘exotic’ fragments in the collected samples to features near the landing site.

Background:

  • On December 16, 2020, China’s Chang’e5 lunar mission delivered to Earth nearly 2 kg of rocky fragments and dust from the Moon.
  • The Chang’e5 landed on the western edge of the nearside of the Moon in the Northern Oceanus Procellarum also known as the Ocean of Storms, on the near side of the moon on December 1.
  • This is one of the youngest geological areas of the Moon with an age of roughly two billion years.
  • The materials scraped from the surface comprise a loose soil that results from the fragmentation and powdering of lunar rocks over billions of years due to impacts of various sizes.
  • Scientists carried out the storage, analysis and research of the country’s first samples collected from the extraterrestrial object.

The Findings:

According to the Europlanet Society, the studies presented by Qian are as follows:

  • 90% of the materials collected by Chang’e5 likely derive from the landing site and its immediate surroundings, which are of a type termed ‘mare basalts’.
  • These volcanic rocks are visible to us as the darker grey areas that spilled over much of the nearside of the Moon as ancient eruptions of lava.
  • Yet 10% percent of the fragments have distinctly different, ‘exotic’ chemical compositions.
  • The distinct 10% fragments may preserve records of other parts of the lunar surface as well as hints of the types of space rocks that have impacted the Moon’s surface.

About Chang’e5 probe:

  • It is an unmanned spacecraft by China.
  • The probe is named after the mythical Chinese moon goddess.
  • The rocket comprises of the four following parts:
  • An orbiter,
  • A returner,
  • An ascender
  • A lander

The Chang’e5 mission is expected to realize four “firsts” in China’s space history. They are as follow:

  • The first time for a probe to take off from the surface of the Moon.
  • The first time to automatically sample the lunar surface.
  • The first time to conduct unmanned rendezvous and docking in lunar orbit.
  • The first time to return to Earth with lunar soil samples in escape velocity.

The objective of the mission was to bring back lunar rocks, the first attempt by any nation to retrieve samples from the moon in four decades.

 

Vishnuonyx: Researchers from the Universities of Tübingen and Zaragoza have recently discovered the fossil of a previously unknown species, which they have named Vishnuonyx neptuni, meaning ‘Neptune’s Vishnu’.

Key Highlights:

  • The species was discovered from a 11.4millionyearold strata in the area of Hammerschmiede, which is a fossil site in Bavaria, Germany that has been studied for about 50 years
  • This is the first discovery of any member of the Vishnuonyx genus in Europe; it is also it’s most northern and western record till date.
  • Fossils of these now extinct otters were first discovered in sediments found in the foothills of the Himalayas.
  • This newly found fossil indicates that it had travelled as far as Germany.
  • The discovery has been described in the Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology.

Key Facts:

  • Vishnuonyx were midsized predators that weighed, on average, 1015 kg.
  • Between 12.5 million and 14 million years ago, Vishnuonyx, members of a genus of otters, lived in the major rivers of southern Asia.
  • Before this, the genus was known only in Asia and Africa (recent findings show that Vishnuonyx reached East Africa about 12 million years ago).
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Sports

SPORTS:

Geeta Samota: Central Industrial Security Force (CISF) official Geeta Samota recently became the “fastest Indian” to summit two peaks located in Africa and Russia.

Highligts:

  • The 31yearold successfully climbed  Mount Kilimanjaro, the highest peak in Africa, which is 5,895 meters (19,341 ft) above sea level and  Mount Elbrus (5,642 mts), in Russia, the highest peak in Europe.
  • Geeta Samota works with the Central Industrial Security Force (CISF), a central paramilitary force under the command of the Union home ministry.
  • She joined CISF in 2011 and was in the unit in 2012.
  • She has also scaled Mt Satopanth (7075 metres; located in Uttarakhand) and Mt Lobuche (in Nepal).
  • She was also a team member of the Mt Everest expedition team of the CAPF.

Note: Earlier in March 2021, a nineyearold girl Ritvika, from Andhra Pradesh had also successfully scaled Mount Kilimanjaro and became the youngest Asian girl to climb Kilimanjaro.

About Mount Kilimanjaro:

  • Africa's Mount Kilimanjaro is the highest single freestanding mountain in the world which has three volcanic cones on its summit.
  • They are Kibo, Mawenzi, and Shira.
  • It is also the world's tallest free standing mountain.
  • Kilimanjaro is the fourth most topographically prominent peak on Earth.

About Mount Elbrus:

  • Mount Elbrus is the highest and most prominent peak in Russia and Europe.
  • It is situated in the western part of the Caucasus and is the highest peak of the Caucasus Mountains.
  • It is an extinct volcano with twin cones reaching 18,510 feet (5,642 metres) and 18,356 feet (5,595 metres).

 

Raja Rithvik: India's Raja Rithvik has recently become the 70th Grandmaster.

Highlights:

 

  • The 17yearold became chess Grandmaster after he crossed the ELO Rating of 2500. He achieved this GM title in Vezerkepzo Grandmaster Chess Tournament at Budapest, Hungary.
  • Rithvik, who earned his first GM norm in 2019, achieved his second and third norms in less than a month.
  • A native of Warangal, Rithvik has been undergoing advanced coaching at RACE Chess Academy under reputed coach N.V.S. Rama Raju.

Note: Pune’s Harshit Raja had become India’s 69th GM in August 2021.

 

Harmilan Kaur Bains: Punjab's Harmilan Kaur Bains recently set a new record in 1500m race at National level.

Highlights:

  • She created a new national record in the women’s 1500m race by clocking 4:05.39 to bag the gold at the 60th National Open Athletics Championships in the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium in Hanamkonda in Telangana.
  • With this achievement, the 23yearold broke Sunita Rani's longstanding national record in the 1,500 meters.
  • Naresh Kumar from Andhra Pradesh and Delhi’s Tarandeep Kaur took the honours as the fastest male and female athlete of the meet by winning the 100 metres dash.

 

Norway Chess Open 2021: GM D. Gukesh of India recently won the Norway Chess Open 2021.

Highlights:

  • D Gukesh won his second consecutive tournament of this month, the Norway Chess Open 2021 Masters section.
  • He scored 8.5/10, remained undefeated, performed at 2743 and gained 17.5 Elo rating points, taking his live rating to 2621.
  • He finished a full point ahead of the competition to win the tournament.

 

  • Iniyan secured sole second position with 8.5/10 points, finishing a half point ahead of top seed Dmitrij Kollars (Germany) and Valentin Dragnev (Austria).

 

Pankaj Advani: Star Indian cueist Pankaj Advani has recently won his 24th World title when he triumphed at the IBSF 6Red Snooker World Cup with a victory over Pakistan’s Babar Masih in the final.

Highlights:

  • Advani, who won his 11th Asian title last week, started the final with a comfortable 4213 win in the opening frame.
  • The 36yearold won the third and fourth in quick succession to go 31 up.
  • Pakistan's Babar Masih drew parity by winning the second 3814.
  • The Pakistani cueist, in no mood to play second fiddle to his worthy opponent, crafted a wonderful 56 break to bridge the gap.

 

Beijing Olympics Motto: The Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics unveiled its official motto, "Together for a Shared Future", during a ceremony at the city's Capital Museum.

Highlights:

  • The slogan was a commitment towards overcoming global challenges as a community with a shared future for mankind.
  • This motto embodies the Olympic spirit, the Chinese way of revealing the Olympic spirit. That's because 'together' embodies a type of unity, cohesion and way of overcoming difficulties,
  • The motto was chosen after a lengthy technique that protected a total of 79 unique proposals.
  • Beijing 2022 Games will be held from February 4, 2022, with Beijing set to become the first city to host both the Summer and Winter Olympics.
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Current Events Of National And International Importance