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.
Weekly Current Affairs 1st August - 7th August 2022
Commonwealth Games 2022 India: Weightlifters have been the star performers for India at the 2022 Commonwealth Games so far.
Indian weightlifter Jeremy Lalrinnunga has created history by winning gold in the men's 67kg finals at the ongoing Commonwealth Games 2022 in Birmingham.
- He won the gold medal with a record-breaking combined lift of 300 kg.
This is India's second gold at Commonwealth Games 2022 after Mirabai Chanu and fifth overall.
- Chanu won the first gold for India with a combined lift of 201kg in the Women's 49kg weightlifting final.
- The Tokyo Olympic silver medalist created a new Commonwealth Games record by successfully lifting 88kg in her second attempt in the snatch round.
Bindyarani Devi won silver medal in the women's 55 kg weightlifting final.
- She lifted a total of 202 kilograms, 86 kilograms in the snatch round and registered a CWG record lift of 116 kilograms in the clean and jerk round finishing with just 1 kilogram less than Nigeria's gold medalist Adijat Olarinoye.
20-year-old Achinta Sheuli smashed the Games record by lifting a total of 313kg to win the gold medal in the men's 73kg category.
- Sheuli first broke the Games record twice in the Snatch round, lifting 140kg and 143kg.
- He then lifted 166kg and 170kg in the clean and jerk round to register a Games record for the overall weight.
India at ongoing Commonwealth Games 2022 Performances:
- Sanket Mahadev Sargar wins India's first medal (silver) in 55kg weightlifting
- Mirabai Chanu won India's first gold in 49kg weightlifting in CWG 2022
- Bindyarani Devi won silver in 55kg weightlifting
- Gururaja Poojary wins bronze in 61kg weightlifting.
- Achinta Sheuli smashed the Games record by lifting a total of 313kg to win the gold medal in the men's 73kg category.
Indian athletes won four medals on Day 2 of Commonwealth Games 2022 with the Indian weightlifting contingent bagging six medal of the Games.
About CWG 2022:
- The 22nd edition Commonwealth Games kickstarted off on 28 July 2022 with an opening ceremony at Edgbaston Stadium in Birmingham, England.
- It is officially known as XXII Commonwealth Games and will be held between 28 July and 8 August 2022.
- It is an 11 days long sports event.
- It covers about 19 sports.
- Participants from 72 nations are competing in the Commonwealth Games 2022.
- The motto of Commonwealth Games 2022 is Sports for All.
- Women’s Cricket has newly been added in is new for women in Commonwealth Games 2022.
- The first Commonwealth Games were played on 1930.
CWG 2022-Lawn Bowls: The Indian Lawn Bowls team has scripted history by clinching gold in the women's fours final at Birmingham Commonwealth Games 2022 on August 2, 2022.
- This is India's first medal in the sport.
- The Indian lawn bowls team - Lovely Choubey, Pinki Chaudhary, Nayanmoni Saikia and Rupa Rani Tirkey defeated South Africa by 17-10 in the final of the women's fours event after 15 ends.
- They have become the first Indian athletes in CWG history to win a gold medal in the sport.
About Lawn Bowls Game:
- Lawn bowls, also known as lawn bowling, is an outdoor sport.
- It is a mix of ten-pin bowling and curling winter sport.
- It is one of the oldest sports at the quadrennial Commonwealth Games competition.
- It has been a Commonwealth Games sport since the inaugural edition of the event's precursor, the 1930 British Empire Games.
- It consists of a ball (known as a bowl) that is rolled toward a smaller stationary ball, called a 'jack'.
- The bowls are also called 'woods' as they were originally made of wood, but are now made with composite plastic as it helps the bowls last longer.
- Also, lawn bowls are not perfectly round as their one side will be slightly bigger than the other, this is known as the 'bias'.
- The sport is generally played on a flat lawn, about 40–42 yards (37–38 metres).
- The main objective in lawn bowl is to roll one's bowl in such a manner that it comes to rest near to a smaller ball, which is known as jack or 'kitty'.
- The bowls needed to be rolled on the floor from a distance.
How is lawn bowl played?
- The lawn bowl is a team sport that begins with a coin toss.
- The toss winner takes the first turn while the other team rolls the small ball called the 'jack ‘towards the opposite end.
- The jack needs to travel at least 23m.
- The distance between the jack and starting point is decided with this roll at the start of the match.
- The two competitors will take turns bowling, trying to get their lawn bowl closer to the jack than any of their opponents.
- Points will be awarded for each bowl that reaches closest to the jack.
What are the different formats of lawn bowls?
- Lawn Bowls has four formats – singles, pairs, triples and fours.
- All the formats are named after the number of people in each team.
Rules of lawn bowls:
- A lawn Bowler has to roll their bowls from one end to the other with the aim of hitting or getting closest to the jack.
- In Lawn Bowl fours, each team will get 8 throws or rolls from one end to another.
- One end means completion of 1 round.
- The team with maximum number of points after 15 ends wins.
India’s previous record in Lawn bowls at CWG:
- India lawn bowls teams took part in 2010, 2014, and 2018 editions of the Commonwealth Games before the 2022 event.
- India has managed to reach the semi-finals just twice and has finished fourth on other occasions.
Hungarian Grand Prix 2022: The world championship leader Max Verstappen (team Red Bull) recenlty won the Hungarian Formula one (F1) Grand Prix 2022.
- This is Max Verstappen’s 8th Grand Prix win of the year 2022.
- This win of the season has pushed Verstappen's lead to 80 points over Charles Leclerc as F1 heads into its midseason break.
- Seven-times world champion Lewis Hamilton finished second for Mercedes with team mate George Russell on pole position for the first time, third in a repeat of the previous race in France.
- Carlos Sainz Jr. finished fourth in another disastrous day for Ferrari. Leclerc was sixth, one spot behind Sergio Perez of Red Bull.
Science and Technology
World’s most durable Hydrogen Fuel Cell: A new hydrogen fuel cell has been developed by scientists at The Hong Kong University of Science and Technology (HKUST).
- It the world’s most durable cell to date.
- It is also more cost-effective, paving the way for a wider application of green energy in the pursuit of a carbon-neutral world.
Challenges faced by Hydrogen fuel cells commercially:
- Hydrogen fuel cells are a promising clean energy option as they efficiently generate power by converting hydrogen and oxygen into electricity, with zero emission of carbon dioxide, particulate matter, and other air pollutants that may cause smog and other health problems.
- Despite their advantages for the environment and years of research and development, hydrogen fuel cells have not yet been commercially commercialized.
- That is because its power generation depends heavily on an electrocatalyst which is largely comprised of the very expensive and rare metal platinum.
- Researchers have tried to develop alternatives by replacing platinum with more common and inexpensive materials like iron, nitrogen or carbon.
- However, those materials have either proven inefficient in power generation or have suffered from poor durability.
About World’s most durable Hydrogen Fuel Cell:
- But now, a research team led by Prof. Minhua Shao from the Department of Chemical and Biological Engineering at HKUST, discovered a new formula.
- This formula cuts down the proportion of platinum used by 80%.
- It has also set a record with respect to durability level of cell.
- The new cell managed to maintain platinum catalytic activity at 97% after 100,000 cycles of accelerated stress test, as against the current catalyst whose performance reduced by 50% in 30,000 cycles.
- In another test, the new fuel cell did not show any performance decay after operating for 200 hours.
V.K. Paul Task Force: Following the discovery of cases of monkeypox in India, the Union government constituted a task force to monitor and provide guidance on the expansion of diagnostic facilities and to explore vaccination against the infection in the country.
- The team will be headed by V.K. Paul, member (Health), NITI Aayog.
- India has reported six confirmed cases of monkeypox so far.
- Four cases were confirmed in Kerala and two in Delhi.
- Himachal Pradesh's health department has also detected a person with symptoms similar to monkeypox in Solan`s Baddi.
- The patient's samples have been sent for testing to the National Institute of Virology (NIV).
- According to the World Health Organization (WHO), more than 18,000 cases have been reported from 78 countries.
- Monkeypox is a zoonotic disease caused by the monkeypox virus, which belongs to the same family of viruses that causes smallpox.
- According to WHO, the disease is endemic in regions like West and Central Africa, but lately, cases have been reported from non-endemic countries too.
- Monkeypox typically starts with flu-like symptoms such as fever and rashes are formed 1-4 days later.
- The monkeypox rashes started as raised spots that slowly turn into small blisters that are either hard and round or filled with pus or fluid.
- These blisters eventually dry up and fall off and a fresh layer of skin is formed.
The symptoms are -
- Swollen Lymph Nodes
- Skin Lesions
- Muscle Aches
How is Monkeypox transmitted?
Monkeypox is transmitted from person-to-person through close contact.
It gets transmitted usually through following modes-
- Direct contact with skin lesions or body fluids of an infected person
- Sharing of personal items like bedding or clothing of an infected person
- Prolonged exposure to an infected person's respiratory secretions
- Monkeypox can also spread from animals to people through bites and scratches or use of meat from an infected animal.
It generally lasts for about 2-4 weeks until all rashes are healed, all scabs have fallen off and fresh layer of skin has formed.
Solar Storm: The US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) has informed that a solar storm is likely to hit the Earth today, August 3, 2022.
- A 'hole' in the Sun's atmosphere is releasing gaseous materials which combined with a stream of strong solar winds, might result in a minor G1-class solar storm.
- The solar storm is likely to be weak but it is expected to impat satellite disruptions and cause power grid failures.
What are geomagnetic storms?
- A geomagnetic storm is a brief disturbance in the Earth's magnetosphere.
- The magnetosphere is a shield that protects our planet from dangerous solar and cosmic particle radiation, as well as solar wind erosion which is caused by the Sun's continuous outpouring of charged particles.
- When events such as solar flares send higher than normal levels of radiation towards Earth and this radiation interacts with the Earth’s magnetic field, a geomagnetic storm occurs.
- The frequency of occurrence of geomagnetic storms varies with the sunspot cycle which causes significant changes in the currents, plasmas, and fields in the Earth’s magnetosphere
- The US Space Weather Prediction Center (SWPC) defines a Geomagnetic Storm as ‘a major disturbance of Earth's magnetosphere that occurs when there is a very efficient exchange of energy from the solar wind into the space environment surrounding Earth.’
- According to NASA, the solar magnetic field "interacts strongly" with the Earth's "oppositely oriented magnetic field".
- The Earth's magnetic field is then peeled open like an onion allowing energetic solar wind particles to stream down the field lines to hit the atmosphere over the poles.
- They are rated on a scale of 1 to 5, with 1 being the weakest and 5 being the strongest.
Solar storms are of the following types:
- Solar Flares: An instant outbreak of electromagnetic radiation in the sun’s atmosphere is known as solar flares. These solar flares are usually seen in active regions and often but not every time, occur with the coronal mass ejections (CME) and other solar phenomena.
- Coronal Mass Ejection: Coronal Mass Ejection (CME) refers to a notable release of plasma and a magnetic field through the solar corona. They frequently follow the solar flares and are generally present during a solar eruption.
- Geomagnetic Storm: Some disturbances in the earth’s magnetosphere occur because of the interaction of solar wind waves and clouds of magnetic fields with the earth’s magnetic field. This disturbance is known as a geomagnetic storm.
- Solar Particle Events: Solar particle events or solar proton event (SPE) or prompt proton event refer to the phenomenon that occurs when photons emitted by the sun become sped up either close to the sun or in interplanetary space by coronal mass ejection and shocks.
What are Sunspots?
Sunspots are phenomena on the Sun's photosphere that appear as temporary spots that are darker than the surrounding areas.
Effect of geo-magnetic storms on earth:
- When geo-magnetic storms occur, there is local heating in Earth's upper atmosphere which causes extra drag on satellites in low-earth orbit.
- The local heating also creates strong horizontal variations in the in the ionospheric density that can modify the path of radio signals and create errors in the positioning information provided by GPS.
- The occurrence causes disruptions in navigation systems such as the Global Navigation Satellite System (GNSS) and create harmful geomagnetic induced currents (GICs) in the power grid and pipelines.
- It can also lead to voltage disruptions leading to power outages, changes in soil voltage that enhance corrosion in oil pipelines, disruption in cellular communications networks, exposure to elevated levels of radiation, and reductions in flights with polar routes.
- Astronauts on spacewalks face health risks from possible exposure to solar radiation outside the Earth’s protective atmosphere.
- Aurora is commonly visible at high latitudes during this time.
Geomagnetic Storm Occurrences:
- The geomagnetic storm of 1859, also called the Carrington storm, was the largest geomagnetic storm ever recorded.
- There were reports of intense brightening of auroras and reports of telegraph systems malfunctioning, electrocuting operators.
- In 1989, a geomagnetic storm generated ground produced currents resulting in power outages throughout most of Quebec and Auroras as far south as Texas.
What is Coronal Mass Ejection (CME)?
- Coronal Mass Ejection (CME) is among the biggest eruptions from the surface of the Sun.
- It contains a billion tons of matter accelerated to several million miles per hour into space.
- It runs through the interplanetary medium.
- It has the potential to impact anything that comes in its path, be it a planet or spacecraft.
How are geomagnetic storms predicted?
Solar Storms or geomagnetic storms are predicted by:
- Solar physicists and other scientists deploy computer models to forecast solar storms and other solar activity.
- Current models can forecast the arrival timing and pace of a storm.
- But the structure or orientation of the storm cannot be foreseen.
- Certain magnetic field orientations can cause the magnetosphere to respond more intensely, resulting in more violent magnetic storms.
- Thus, with the increasing worldwide reliance on satellites for nearly every activity, improved space weather forecasts and more efficient measures to safeguard satellites are required.
Places In News
Cheerag Scheme: Haryana Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar’s government recently launched the “Chief Minister Equal Education Relief, Assistance and Grant (Cheerag)” scheme.
- Cheerag scheme was introduced in place of a similar scheme launched by Bhupinder Singh Hooda’s government in 2007 under Rule 134 A of the Haryana School Education Rules, 2003.
- Under the scheme,
- The government will provide free education to Economically Weaker section (EWS) students of Government schools in private school.
- Students of government school can enroll in private school in class 2nd to 12th. However, for this, annual verified income of parents shall be less than Rs 1.8 lakh.
- Haryana government will reimburse:
- Rs 700 per student in Classes 2nd to 5th
- Rs 900 per student in Classes 6th to 8th
- Rs 1,100 per student in Classes 9th to 12th
Response to the Cheerag scheme:
- Around 533 budget private schools that are mostly in villages and small towns, had applied to offer seats to EWS students under the Cheerag scheme.
- However, only 381 schools were found to be eligible because of different technical reasons.
- These 381 private schools offered 24,987 seats for EWS students from government schools.
- But, only 1,665 students have preferred to opt for the scheme, which is just 6.66 per cent of the total offered seats.
- The reason being that those schools are not nearby and several facilities are available at government schools only. Also, good private schools have not came forward to participate.
Concerns and controversy around the Haryana govt's initiative:
- Senior politicians and teachers’ bodies in Haryana have raised questions on the government’s Cheerag scheme.
- The union leaders have apprehensions that the scheme may be aimed at encouraging private schools at the cost of government schools.
- Wazir Singh, a former union president, stated that "Instead of providing free education in private schools, the government should improve the facilities in government schools and fill the open teaching positions.
- According to the statistics, there are approximately 85,000 teachers working in government schools, including guest teachers, and there are approximately 50,000 open positions.
- It is felt that if the government continues to reimburse private schools in lieu of admission of government school students, one day, the government schools will turn empty.
- 90% of the students of government schools fall under the Cheerag scheme which is meant for those with parents who have an annual income of Rs 1.8 lakh.
- Haryana is a North Indian state surrounding New Delhi on 3 sides.
- It is one of the 28 states in India, located in the northern part of the country.
- It was carved out of the former state of East Punjab on 1 November 1966 on a linguistic basis.
- It is bordered by Himachal Pradesh to the north-east, by river Yamuna along its eastern border with Uttar Pradesh, by Rajasthan to the west and south, and Ghaggar-Hakra River flows along its northern border with Punjab.
- Since Haryana surrounds the country's capital Delhi on three sides (north, west and south), consequently a large area of Haryana is included in the economically-important National Capital Region for the purposes of planning and development.
- The capital of Haryana is Chandigarh.
- The current Chief Minister and Governor of Haryana are Manohar Lal Khattar and Bandaru Dattatraya respectively.
Orunodoi scheme: The Orunodoi initiative in Assam will provide ₹18 extra for August to buy one or more National Flag to about 22 lakh beneficiaries in Assam.
- The Assam government has been transferring ₹1,000 as monetary benefit to the bank accounts of economically weak women on the 10th of every month under the Orunodoi scheme.
- The extra amount would enable each beneficiary to either buy a larger National Flag priced at ₹18 or two smaller ones of ₹9 each.
About Orunodoi Scheme:
- The ‘Orunodoi’ or Arunodoi Scheme is a new scheme of the Government of Assam which was launched on 2nd October 2020.
- Under ‘Orunodoi’, monetary benefits have been envisaged for more than 24 lac poor household in the state.
- The schematic benefit has been enhanced from 830/- to Rs. 1000/ to the poor households to meet their medical, nutritional, and academic needs besides to meet the additional spending during various festivals,”.
- The priority would be given to households with widows, divorced, unmarried or separated women, and disabled persons.
- Women being the primary caretakers of the family are kept as beneficiaries of the scheme.
- This scheme will provide Financial Assistance of Rs. 1000 per month through Direct Benefit Transfer (DBT) scheme to around 19.10 Lakh Families in the state.
- They will receive the amount on the first day of every month, starting from October 2020.
- To avail the benefits of the scheme, the beneficiary should be a permanent resident of Assam and their composite household income should be less than Rs 2 lakh per annum.
- 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.
- It is encircled by verdant hills.
- Its capital is Dispur.
- The current Governor and the Chief Minister of Assam are Professor Jagdish Mukhi and Himanta Biswas Sarma respectively.
MP's 6 National Highway Projects: Union Minister for Road Transport and Highways Shri Nitin Gadkari recently inaugurated and laid the foundation stone of 6 National Highway projects of 119 KMs worth 2300 Crore rupees in Indore, Madhya Pradesh.
- The projects being launched will facilitate progress by improving connectivity in Indore and the state.
During this program, Shri Nitin Gadkari stated the following benefits:
- The Rau Circle traffic Jam problem will be solved and that things would become less congested.
- Craftspeople, students, and businesspeople in the surrounding areas will have increased chances with simple access from Indore.
- The villages in the Indore-Harda segment will be better connected to Indore.
- The expansion of the Dhar-Pithampur Industrial Corridor would result in more job opportunities.
- Travel times between Tejaji Nagar (Indore) and Burhanpur and Indore and Harda will be shortened, saving fuel.
- The travellers heading to Omkareshwar and Khandwa will have easy access to the routes.
- It will be simpler for agricultural products to reach the major market with improved connectivity to the agricultural markets.
The State Government and NHAI signed also signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to build ropeways at 14 designated locations in Madhya Pradesh.
About Madhya Pradesh:
- Madhya Pradesh (MP) is the second largest Indian state by area.
- It borders the states of Uttar Pradesh to the northeast, Chhattisgarh to the southeast, Maharashtra to the south, Gujarat to the west, and Rajasthan to the northwest.
- Its capital is Bhopal.
- The current Chief Minister and Governor of Madhya Pradesh is Shivraj Singh Chouhan and Mangubhai C. Patel respectively.
Taranga Hill-Ambaji- Abu Road New Rail Line: The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA) chaired by Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi has approved the construction of Taranga Hill-Ambaji- Abu Road new rail line.
- It is to be constructed by Ministry of Railways at an estimated cost of Rs.2798.16 crore.
- The total length of the new rail line will be 116 kms.
- The project will be completed by 2026-27.
- Ambaji is a famous important pilgrimage destination.
- It is one of the 51 Shaktipeeths in India.
- It attracts millions of devotees from Gujarat as well as other parts of the country and abroad every year.
- The construction of this line will facilitate easy travel for these millions of devotees.
- Apart from Ambaji, the devotees visiting the Ajitnath Jain temple (one of the 24 holy Jain Tirthankaras) at Taranga Hill would also be greatly benefitted by this connectivity.
- This railway new line between Taranga Hill-Ambaji- Abu Road will connect these two important religious sports with railway’s main network.
- It will attract investment and trigger socia-economic development in the area.
- It will also create employment opportunities for about 40 lakh men day during construction.
- It will make the movement of Agricultural and local products faster.
- The alignment of the proposed doubling will traverse through Sirohi district of Rajasthan and Banaskantha and Mahesana districts of Gujarat.
- This project will also provide alternative route for existing Ahmedabad-Abu Road railway line.
People In News
Sanjay Arora: Sanjay Arora, a Tamil Nadu-cadre IPS officer who oversaw the paramilitary ITBP, will assume control of the Delhi Police as Delhi Police commissioner.
- He is scheduled to retire in 2025.
- He will be replacing the previous Delhi Police Commissioner Rakesh Asthana, an IPS officer from the Gujarat Cadre who retired after nearly 38 years of service.
- Rakesh Asthana has made some significant reforms to the Delhi Police over the past year, including combining Police Control Room units with police stations and removing law and order from the investigative section.
- The 61-year-old Asthana was appointed as Police Commissioner of Delhi in July 2021, just four days before his superannuation.
- Earlier, he served as the Special Director at the Central Bureau of Investigation(CBI) and while serving as Director General of Civil Aviation Security, he was also given the additional charge of the Narcotics Control Bureau.
About Sanjay Arora:
- Sanjay Arora, 57, played a pivotal role in forming the Special Security Group that provided protection to the Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu during the time when the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam was active.
- He was the Superintendent of Police in the STF that cradked down on the Veerappan Gang.
- As an instructor, Mr. Arora has made remarkable contributions in the field of training, serving as Commandant (Combat Wing) at the ITBP Academy, Mussoorie, from 2000 to 2002.
- Between 2002 and 2004, he assumed charge as the Commissioner of Police of Coimbatore city, Deputy Inspector General of Police, Villupuram Range, and Deputy Director of Vigilance and Anti-Corruption.
- Arora was named Director General of the paramilitary Indo-Tibetan Border Police (ITBP) in August 2021.
- He also served in the Border Security Force (BSF) and the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF).
- He was given the Chief Minister’s gallantry medal for his bravery while leading the Tamil Nadu Police STF, which was established to track down the forest brigand Veerappan.
- Apart from the CM’s gallantry award, he has been honoured with the Police Medal for Meritorious Service in 2004, President’s Police Medal for Distinguished Service in 2014, Police Special Duty Medal, Antrik Suraksha Padak and UN Peacekeeping Medal.
INAS 314: The Indian Navy’s women officers recently created history by completing the first-ever all-women independent maritime reconnaissance and surveillance mission in the North Arabian Sea onboard a Dornier 228 aircraft.
- The mission was carried out by five officers of the Indian Navy Air Squadron (INAS) 314.
- INAS 314 is a frontline Naval Air Squadron based at Porbandar, Gujarat.
- The aircraft was captained by the Mission Commander, Lt Cdr Aanchal Sharma, who had pilots, Lt Shivangi and Lt Apurva Gite, and Tactical and Sensor Officers, Lt Pooja Panda and SLt Pooja Shekhawat in her team.
- This “first-of-its-kind military flying mission” is expected to pave the way for women officers in the aviation cadre to assume greater responsibility and aspire for more challenging roles.
'dPal rNgam Duston' Award: Tibetan spiritual leader Dalai Lama was recently honoured with the 'dPal rNgam Duston' award.
- 'dPal rNgam Duston' award is the highest civilian honour of Ladakh.
- The 87-year-old spiritual leader has been honoured with this prestigious award for his immense contribution to humanity, especially towards the union territory.
- He is on a visit to the union territory since July 15, 2022.
- The sixth award was conferred by Ladakh Autonomous Hill Development Council (LAHDC), Leh which celebrated the ’dPal rNgam Duston’ with great fervour on the occasion of its foundation day at Sindhu Ghat.
- The ‘dPal rNgam Duston’ marks the celebration of the remarkable contribution and achievement of the heroes of Ladakh and seeks to instill a sense of pride in the younger generation.
About Dalai Lama:
- Dalai Lama ((spiritual name Jetsun Jamphel Ngawang Lobsang Yeshe Tenzin Gyatso, known as Tenzin Gyatso) known as Gyalwa Rinpoche to the Tibetan people, is the current Dalai Lama, the highest spiritual leader and former head of state of Tibet.
- He is the 14th Dalai Lama of Tibetan Buddhism.
- He was born on 6 July 1935, or in the Tibetan calendar, in the Wood-Pig Year, 5th month, 5th day.
- He was born to a farming family, in a small hamlet located in Taktser, Amdo, northeastern Tibet.
- He was found by Tibetan monks at age two and passed all tests and had the physical traits of the reincarnation of the 13th Dalai Lama.
- At just over five years old, he was enrolled in the local monastery and began his training.
- He was also trained by the highest monks in Lhasa, Tibet’s capital city.
- He was enthroned at the age of 15 in 1950 amidst the start of troubles with China, but continued to study until the age of 25.
- He belongs to the Gelugpa tradition of Tibetan Buddhism, which is the largest and most influential tradition in Tibet.
- He is considered the 74th manifestation of Avalokiteshvara Bodhisattva; specifically, an emanation of Avalokiteśvara in Sanskrit and Chenrezig in Tibetan.
- Tibetans refer to him as Yeshe Norbu, the Wish-fulfilling Gem, or Kundun, meaning The Presence.
- He is also the leader and an ordained monk of the Gelug school, the newest school of Tibetan Buddhism, formally headed by the Ganden Tripa.
- On 29 April 1959, the Dalai Lama established the independent Tibetan government in exile in the north Indian hill station of Mussoorie, which then moved in May 1960 to Dharamshala, where he resides.
- He retired as political head in 2011 to make way for a democratic government, the Central Tibetan Administration.
- In 1989 he received the Nobel Peace Prize for maintaining a policy of non-violence with the Chinese government.
- From 1642 until 1705 and from 1750 to the 1950s, the Dalai Lamas or their regents headed the Tibetan government (or Ganden Phodrang) in Lhasa which governed all or most of the Tibetan Plateau with varying degrees of autonomy.
- This Tibetan government enjoyed the patronage and protection of firstly Mongol kings of the Khoshut and Dzungar Khanates (1642–1720) and then of the emperors of the Manchu-led Qing dynasty (1720–1912).
- In 1913, several Tibetan representatives including Agvan Dorzhiev signed a treaty between Tibet and Mongolia, proclaiming mutual recognition and their independence from China.
- However, the legitimacy of the treaty and declared independence of Tibet was rejected by both the Republic of China and the current People's Republic of China.
- The Dalai Lamas headed the Tibetan Government, until the Chinese government took control in 1959.
- Before 1959, his official residence of Dalai Lama was Potala Palace in Lhasa, the capital of Tibet.
- Dalai Lama fled from Tibet to India with thousands of followers during the 1959 Tibetan uprising, where he was welcomed by former Indian Prime Minister, Jawaharlal Nehru who gave him permission to form the 'Tibetan government in exile' in Dharamsala.
- He, along with the refugees who followed him, created a society in which Tibetan language, culture, arts, and religion are promoted.
Pingali Venkayya: The government of India released a special commemorative postage stamp to mark the 146th birth anniversary of Pingali Venkayya.
- The stamp was released by Prime Minister Narendra Modi during an event “Tiranga Utsav” organised by the Ministry of Culture at Indira Gandhi Stadium, in New Delhi.
- Sri Pingali Venkayya is the designer of India’s national flag.
- The event will also display the original design of the national flag made by Pingali Venkayya.
- The current flag is the modified version of the first design of the flag.
- The Tiranga Utsav will also witness the grand launch of the “Har Ghar Tiranga” anthem and video.
About Pingali Venkayya:
- Pingali Venkayya (1876 – 1963) was an Indian freedom fighter.
- He was born near Machilipatnam (Andhra Pradesh) on August 2, 1876.
- He was a farmer, a geologist, a lecturer at the Andhra National College in Machilipatnam, and fluent in Japanese.
- He became instantly famous as `Japan Venkayya`.
- He was a staunch follower of Mahatma Gandhi.
- He was the designer of the flag on which the Indian national flag was based.
- He designed the National Flag and presented it to Mahatma Gandhi during the latter’s visit to Vijayawada city on 1 April 1921.
- In 1916, he published a booklet titled `A National Flag for India`. It not only surveyed the flags of other nations but also offered 30-odd designs of what could develop into the Indian flag.
Power Sector’s Revamped Distribution Sector Scheme: Prime Minister Narendra Modi launched the Power Ministry’s flagship Revamped Distribution Sector Scheme.
- Mr Modi unveiled the scheme during a programme marking the culmination of ‘Ujjwal Bharat Ujjwal Bhavishya – Power @2047’ through video conferencing.
- Ujjwal Bharat Ujjwal Bhavishya – Power @2047’ is a 5-day programme that concluded on 30 August 2022.
- It is a part of the ongoing ‘Azadi Ka Amrit Mahotsav’ to showcase the transformation in the power sector achieved in the last eight years.
- It has been organised across the country.
- It showcases the transformation in the power sector achieved in the last eight years.
- It also highlights the vision ahead on Power @ 2047.
- Under this programme, 'Bijli Mahotsav' was also organized through active public participation collaboration of the Central and State Governments.
- It aims to empower citizens by improving their awareness and participation in various power related initiatives, schemes and programmes of the government.
About the scheme:
- This scheme is aimed at improving the operational efficiencies and financial sustainability of the Distribution Companies (DISCOMs) and power departments.
- With an outlay of Rs.3,03,758 crore over a period of five years from FY 2021-22 to FY 2025-26, the scheme aims to provide financial assistance to DISCOMs for modernization and strengthening of distribution infrastructure, aiming at improvement of the reliability and quality of supply to end consumers.
- It is also proposed to provide 25 crore Smart Prepaid meters to consumers all over the country.
Other projects launched by the PM:
- During the programme, the Prime Minister also dedicated and laid the foundation stone of various green energy projects of National Thermal Power Corporation (NTPC) Limited worth over five thousand two hundred crore rupees.
- He also launched the ‘National Solar rooftop portal’.
- This portal will enable online tracking of the process of installation of rooftop solar plants, starting from registering the applications to release of subsidy in residential consumers’ ('beneficiaries’) bank account after installation and inspection of the plant.
- The estimated capacity under the national solar rooftop program is 4000 MW.
- This will be a major step towards realizing the solar rooftop potential of the nation and will contribute towards India’s target to produce 500 GW energy through non-fossil fuels committed in COP-26.
- He inaugurated the 100 MW Ramagundam Floating Solar Project in Telangana and the 92 MW Kayamkulam Floating Solar Project in Kerala.
- He laid the foundation stone of the 735 MW Nokh Solar Project in Jaisalmer, Rajasthan.
- He launched the Green Hydrogen Mobility Project at Leh, Ladakh is a pilot project and aims for five Fuel Cell Buses to be run in and around Leh.
- This pilot project would be the first deployment of Fuel Cell Electric Vehicles for public use in India.
- He launched the Kawas Green Hydrogen Blending with Natural Gas project in Gujarat.
National Handloom Day 2022: India celebrates National Handloom Day (NHD) on 7th of August every year.
- This day is celebrated to honour the handloom weavers.
- The day also highlights the contribution of the handloom industry to the socioeconomic development of the country and increased the income of the weavers.
- It also raises awareness among people regarding the handloom industry.
- The day also aims to protect the rich handloom heritage of India as well as to empower handloom community by providing better opportunities.
- Ministry of Textile is the nodal agency of the celebration.
- 2022 marks the 8th National Handloom Day.
- The Ministry of Textiles will be celebrating National Handloom day at Dilli Haat which is celebrated from August 1 to August 15.
Theme of NHD 2022:
This year theme of National Handloom Day 2022 is” Handloom, an Indian legacy”.
History of NHD:
- The Union government officially declared August 7 as NHD in July 2015.
- In 2015, the Honorable Prime Minister of India Narendra Modi declared August 7 as National Handloom Day.
- It was on this day in 1905 that the Swadeshi Movement was launched
- First National Handloom Day was celebrated on August 7, 2015 in Chennai.
- India’s handloom industry played a significant role in Swadeshi Movement.
- The Swadeshi Movement was launched in the Calcutta Town hall to protest against the partition of Bengal by the British Government on August 7, 1905.
- This movement was aimed to inspire and organize people to take up local goods and boycott the imported goods.
- As a part of the movement, almost every household started production of khadi.
When India got independence, Indian flag made of Khadi was unfurled near India Gate.
About Indian handloom Industry:
- Handloom is a symbol of India's glorious cultural heritage and an important source of livelihood.
- It is the largest industry in India.
- It is an important source of employment across rural areas of India.
- This industry contributes significantly to the empowerment of women.
- Women make up 70% of all weavers and related occupations.
- Products manufactured by weaving community are in high demand all around the world.
- The Indian handloom sector exports its products to more than 20 countries worldwide, like the UK, Germany,the USA, France, and South Africa.
Initiatives by the Indian Government:
The government, apart from celebrating the day in a general sense, has put in place a number of programmes.
These initiatives include the following:
- Comprehensive Handloom Cluster Development Scheme (CHCDS),
- National Handloom Development Programme (NHDP),
- Handloom Weavers Comprehensive Welfare Scheme (HWCWS), and
- Yarn Supply Scheme (YSS).
These programmes intend to boost the handloom sector while helping it go international.
Some of the known handlooms include -
- Tamil Nadu’s famous Kanchipuram sarees,
- the Paithani weaves of Maharashtra,
- Muga Silk from Assam, and
- Mysore Silk from Karnataka among others.
Central Universities (Amendment) Bill, 2022: The Lok Sabha on 3rd August 2022 passed the Central Universities (Amendment) Bill 2022.
- The Central Universities (Amendment) Bill was introduced by Education Minister Dharmendra Pradhan in the Lok Sabha.
- The Bill provides for establishing central universities in various states by amending the Central Universities Act of 2009.
- It seeks to convert National Rail and Transportation Institute (NRTI), a Deemed to be University into Gati Shakti Vishwavidyalaya (GSV), a Central University.
- The Bill also seeks to expand the scope of the university from beyond just the Railways to cover the entire transport sector and support growth and modernization in the field.
- Once the Bill clears both Houses of Parliament, the new university, will be funded and administered by the Ministry of Railways.
- The establishment of the Gati Shakti Vishwavidyalaya would address the need for talent in the strategically important and expanding transportation sector and meet the demand for trained talent to fuel the growth and expansion of the sector.
- The National Rail and Transportation Institute, Vadodara, which will be renamed as the Gati Shakti Vishwavidyalaya after the amendment is passed is India’s first transport institute.
According to the Railway Minister Ashwini Vaishnaw, the focus of the institute will on five major aspects —
- Transport focussed courses,
- Skill development,
- Applied research,
- Technology development
- Transport economics and infrastructure financing.
While the headquarters will be in Vadodara there will be campuses across the country which will be developed as centres of excellence.
Note: Transportation is a complex sector and globally all countries have such institutes.
Greater Male Connectivity Projects: Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Maldivian President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih recently launched the contract for the mega Greater Male Connectivity project (GMCP).
- The Maldivian President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih is on a three-day state visit, his first foreign trip after assuming charge of the top office in the island nation a month ago.
- His visit to India will provide an opportunity for the two leaders to review the progress made in this wide-ranging partnership and lend further momentum to it.
- Both countries also entered pacts in areas like cyber security, disaster management, and police infrastructure development.
- PM Modi also said that India will also assist the Maldives in achieving its target of net zero carbon emissions by 2030.
- The Maldivian president also invited Indian investors to explore the opportunities in his country and forge a mutually beneficial partnership.
Male connectivity projects:
- The GMCP is the largest-ever civilian infrastructure project in the Maldives.
- Under the GMCP project, a 6.74 km long bridge and causeway link will be built to connect the capital city Male with adjoining islands namely: Villingili, Gulhifahu and Thilafushi.
- It will be built under India’s USD 100 million grant and USD 400 million line of Credit (LoC).
- India also extended a USD 100 million line of credit for development projects in the Maldives.
- The USD 400 million LoC will be provided by the Export-Import Bank of India (Exim Bank).
- The project will be developed by Indian construction and engineering firm, AFCONS, based in Mumbai, Maharashtra.
India and the Maldives Relations:
- Maldives is India’s key neighbour in the Indian Ocean Region and occupies a special place in India’s Neighbourhood First Policy.
- India was among the first to recognise Maldives after its independence in 1965 and to establish diplomatic relations with the country.
- In recent years, the partnership has witnessed rapid growth in all areas of cooperation.
- 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.
US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi in Taiwan: U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi arrived in Taiwan recently becoming the highest-ranking American official to visit the self-ruled island that is claimed by China in 25 years.
- Marking the most high-level political engagement from the U.S. to Taiwan, Pelosi arrived in Taiwan despite threats from Beijing of serious consequences.
- Her visit has triggered increased tensions between China and the United States.
- China claims Taiwan as part of its territory, to be annexed by force if necessary, and views visits by foreign government officials as recognition of the island’s sovereignty.
What is One China Principle and One China Policy?
- One China Principle is a core belief that sees Taiwan as an inalienable part of China, with its sole legitimate government in Beijing.
- However, the US acknowledges this position but not necessarily its validity.
- One China Policy meaning that the People's Republic of China (PCR) was and is the only China, with no recognition for the Republic of China (ROC, Taiwan) as a separate sovereign entity.
- At the same time, the US refuses to give in to the PRC’s demands to recognize Chinese sovereignty over Taiwan.
- The US only acknowledges the Chinese position that Taiwan is a part of China.
- The PRC follows the One China Principle while The US follows the One China Policy.
- The US has ever since maintained this stance and capitalized on the “strategic ambiguity” it generates to uphold the status quo and keep peace in the Taiwan Strait.
- Taiwan and China split in 1949 after the Communists won a civil war on the mainland.
- The U.S. maintains informal relations and defense ties with Taiwan even as it recognizes Beijing as the government of China.
- Taiwan, officially the Republic of China (ROC), is a country in East Asia, at the junction of the East and South China Seas in the northwestern Pacific Ocean, with the People's Republic of China (PRC) to the northwest, Japan to the northeast, and the Philippines to the south.
- The territories controlled by the ROC consist of 168 islands.
- The capital of Taiwan is Taipei.
- The currency used here is New Taiwan dollar.
- The current President of Taiwan is Tsai Ing-wen.
Chabahar Day: Union Shipping Minister Sarbanand Sonowal inaugurated the Chabahar Day conference.
- The day was observed by Ministry of Port, Shipping and Waterways (MoPSW) in association with India Ports Global to mark the Chabahar – Link to INSTC - Connecting Central Asian Markets in Mumbai.
Note: INSTC (International North-South Transport Corridor) is India’s vision and initiative to reduce the time taken for EXIM shipments to reach Russia, Europe, and enter the central Asian markets.
- The inauguration event was attended by dignitaries from Iran, Kazakhstan, Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan, and Afghanistan.
- In May 2016, India and Iran inked a bilateral agreement in which India agreed to refurbish one of the berths at Shahid Beheshti port and also reconstruct a 600-meter-long container handling facility at the port.
- In October 2017, India's first shipment of wheat was sent through the Chabahar Port to Afghanistan.
- A tripartite agreement for developing Chabahar port was signed in 2016 by India, Iran and Afghanistan.
- They also agreed to set up a trilateral transport and transit corridor.
About Chabahar Port:
- Chabahar Port is a seaport in Chabahar located in southeastern Iran, on the Gulf of Oman.
- It is at a distance of 72 km from Pakistan’s Gwadar Port which was developed by China.
- It serves as Iran's only oceanic port,
- It consists of two separate ports named Shahid Kalantari and Shahid Beheshti, each of which has five berths.
- The Chabahar port is a key pillar of India's Indo-Pacific vision to connect Eurasia with Indian Ocean Region.
- The port is also be part of the International North South Transport Corridor network connecting India.
- Iran has given special incentives to increase trade cooperation activities between India and Iran through Chabahar port.
Significance of Chabahar port for India:
- The significance of Chabahar port for India is that it will enhance connectivity to Afghanistan and the Central Asian States.
- The port has opened up a permanent alternative route for trade with Afghanistan and Central Asia.
- It also counters the China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) and Gwadar port, under the China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI).
Justice U.U. Lalit named as CJI’s Successor: The Chief Justice of India (CJI), Justice NV Ramana recently recommended the name of Justice Uday Umesh Lalit as his successor.
- Justice NV Ramana sent the recommendation to the Union Minister for Law and Justice.
- He is scheduled to retire from office on August 26, on superannuation.
- He was the 48th CJI of India.
- He was appointed on April 24, 2021.
About Justice Uday Umesh Lalit:
- Justice Uday Umesh Lalit is senior-most judge in the Supreme Court.
- Set to become the 49th CJI, Justice Lalit will retire in November, 2022.
- Justice Lalit is the 6th senior advocate who was appointed to the Apex Court, directly from the Bar.
- As a senior advocate he specialised in criminal cases and was appointed as CBI’s Special Public Prosecutor in all 2G matters, under the Supreme Court’s orders.
- He has been part of several landmark judgements including ‘triple talaq’.
- He was appointed a judge of the SC on August 13, 2014.
Memorandum of Procedure:
- As per Memorandum of Procedure, the outgoing CJI is asked to recommend name of his successor by the Law Ministry.
- The recommendation is usually asked within a month of retirement of the incumbent CJI.
- In practice, CJI is strictly appointed by seniority.
- The CJI and other SC judges are appointed by the President of India, as per clause (2) of Article 124 of the Constitution.
Tenure of CJI:
- The Constitution of India does not provide any fixed tenure for the CJI.
- However, after appointment, the CJI remains in office till the age of 65 years.
Removal of a CJI:
- The CJI can be removed by an order of the President, in accordance with Article 124(4) of Constitution of India.
Competition (Amendment) Bill 2022: The Union Cabinet recently approved the Competition (Amendment) Bill, 2022.
- The decision to amend the Competition Act, 2002 was necessitated because of the significant growth of Indian markets and emergence of various business models.
- The Bill was introduced by the Minister of State Corporate Affairs Rao Inderjit Singh to allow the CCI to address the needs of new-age markets.
- It will now be presented in ongoing Monsoon Session of the Parliament.
- Competition (Amendment) Bill, 2022 seeks to amend the Competition Act, 2002.
- The Bill aims to make the Competition Commission of India (CCI) more flexible and accountable.
- It also aims to strengthen the enforcement efficiency of the body.
Salient features of the Bill:
- It proposes to let individual or single members of six-member board to take decision on cases.
- Currently, regulations demand that at least three members decide on each case.
- Letting single members decide on cases is expected to help dispose of them quicker.
Room for negotiations:
- It proposes to allow businesses, accused of anti-competitive practices, to settle cases by negotiating with the CCI.
- If the Bill is passed, “negotiated settlements and commitments” clause would help in avoiding avoid long-drawn proceedings.
- It will also cut down litigation and provide soft-exit windows for uninformed or ill-informed businessess and individuals.
- In addition, the bill proposes to expand the prohibited anti-competitive agreements, in a bid to cover new-age marketing arrangements, specifically the hub-and-spokes model of cartels.
- Currently, prohibited anti-competitive agreements fall in the class of those among parties in the same line of business or those at different stages of production or supply.
- This revision in the definition of anti-competitive agreements will make the regulator’s checks and balances foolproof.
- Also, the definition of customers would be updated as well to include government agencies making procurements.
About Competition Commission of India (CCI):
- The Competition Commission of India (CCI) is a statutory body of the Government of India (GoI).
- CCI was established in October 2003 as a regulatory authority.
- It has been established under the provisions of The Competition Act, 2002, however it was not fully operational until 2009.
- It is responsible for enforcing The Competition Act, 2002 throughout the country which prohibits anti-competitive agreements and abuse of dominant position by enterprises.
- It regulates mergers and acquisition (M&A) which can have an adverse effect on competition within India. Thus, deals beyond a certain threshold are required to get clearance from CCI.
- Through constructive engagement with all stakeholders, the government, and foreign jurisdiction, it aims to create a competitive environment in the Indian economy.
- It is headquartered in New Delhi.
- It comprises of a Chairperson and 6 Members who are appointed by the Central Government.
- Its preceding agency is Monopolies and Restrictive Trade Practices Commission.
The main aims of CCI are as follows:
- Prevent actions that harm the competition.
- Promote and maintain market competition.
- Protect the interests of consumers.
- Ensure the freedom of trade.
Weapons of Mass Destruction and their Delivery Systems (Amendment) Bill 2022: The Indian Parliament recently passed the Weapons of Mass Destruction and their Delivery Systems (Amendment) Bill 2022.
- It was passed in Rajya Sabha through a voice vote.
- It was approved in Lok Sabha in April 2022.
- The bill seeks to amend the Weapons of Mass Destruction and their Delivery Systems (Prohibition of Unlawful Activities) Act 2005 and ban financing weapons of mass destruction.
- The Bill proposes to amend 2005 act in accordance with the recommendations of the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) and the UNSC's targeted financial sanctions.
- Bill has been directed by External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar.
Key Features of the Weapons of Mass Destruction Bill 2022 Bill:
- It seeks to prohibit financing of any activity in relation to weapons of mass destruction and their delivery systems.
- It aims to prohibit making available funds, financial assets or economic resources for any prohibited activity in connection with weapons of mass destruction and their delivery systems.
- It also seeks to modify the 2005 law- Weapons of Mass Destruction and their Delivery Systems (Prohibition of Unlawful Activities) Act, 2005.
- The 2005 Act only prohibits unlawful activities including manufacturing, transport, or transfer and delivery of weapons of mass destruction.
- The bill prohibits people from financing any prohibited activity related to weapons of mass destruction and their delivery systems.
- To prevent such financing, the bill empowers the Union Government to freeze, seize or attach funds, financial assets, or economic resources held, owned or controlled directly or indirectly.
- Additionally, the Bill forbids People from providing money or associated services to others involved in any prohibited action.
About Financial Action Task Force (FATF):
- The Financial Action Task Force, also known by its French name, Groupe d'action financière, is an intergovernmental organisation.
- It was established in 1989 during the G7 Summit in Paris to develop policies against money laundering.
- The objectives of FATF are to set standards and promote effective implementation of regulatory, legal and operational steps to combat money laundering, terror financingand other related threats to the integrity of the international financial system.
- It is a "policy-making body" that works to generate the necessary political will to bring about national legislative and regulatory reforms in these areas.
- It monitors progress in implementing its Recommendations through "peer reviews" ("mutual evaluations") of member countries.
- The Secretariat of FATF is located at Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), which is headquartered in Paris.
- Since 2000, FATF has maintained the FATF blacklist (formally called the "Call for action") and the FATF greylist (formally called the "Other monitored jurisdictions").
- There are 39-member countries, including India.
What are Weapons of Mass Destruction?
- The weapons of mass destruction are biological, chemical, or nuclear weapons.
Guidelines for Saksham Anganwadi & Poshan 2.0 Schemes: The Ministry of Women and Child Development (MoWCD) recently released operational guidelines to implement ‘Saksham Anganwadi and Poshan 2.0′ scheme.
The Union Cabinet has approved the scheme for implementation during the 15th Finance Commission period 202l-22 to 2025-26.
- Saksham Anganwadi and Poshan 2.0 is an Integrated Nutrition Support Programme.
- Its goal is to address the challenges of malnutrition in children, adolescent girls, pregnant women and lactating mothers through a strategic shift in nutrition content and delivery.
Key Features of the Scheme:
Under the program, a convergent eco-system will be created to develop and promote practices nurturing health, wellness and immunity.
In order to address gaps and shortcomings in on-going nutrition program, as well as to improve implementation and accelerate improvement in nutrition & child development outcomes, the existing scheme components have been re-organized under Poshan 2.0 into the primary verticals given below:
- Nutrition Support for POSHAN through Supplementary Nutrition Programme (SNP) for children aged 6 months-6 years, pregnant women & lactating mothers and Adolescent Girls aged 14-18 years across Aspirational districts and NER.
- Early Childhood Care and Education for children aged 3-6 years and early stimulation for children aged 0-3 years.
- Anganwadi Infrastructure, comprising of modern & upgraded Saksham Anganwadi
- Poshan Abhiyaan
The objectives of Poshan 2.0 are as follows:
- To contribute to human capital development of the country;
- To address challenges of malnutrition;
- To promote nutrition awareness and good eating habits for sustainable health and wellbeing; and
- To address nutrition related deficiencies through key strategies.
Poshan 2.0 scheme in an umbrella scheme covering the Integrated Child Development Services (ICDS), Anganwadi Services, Poshan Abhiyaan, Scheme For Adolescent Girls and National Creche Scheme.
Poshan 2.0 shall focus on the following: -
- Maternal Nutrition
- Infant and Young Child Feeding Norms Treatment Protocols for SAM/MAM
- Wellness through AYUSH practices
Its objective is to reduce wasting and under-weight prevalence besides stunting and anemia, supported by the 'Poshan Tracker', a new, robust ICT centralized data system which is being linked with the RCH Portal (Anmol) of MoHFW.
It seeks to contribute to human capital development in India by promoting nutrition awareness and good eating habits to attain sustainable health and wellbeing.
Personal Data Protection Bill: The Government of India (GoI) on August 4, 2022, announced the withdrawal of the Personal Data Protection Bill 2022 from Parliament.
- The formal announcement about the withdrawal of Personal Data Protection Bill was made by Union Minister for Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY) Ashwini Vaishnaw.
- The Bill, which was introduced in 2019, sought to regulate how various parties, including the government, use individuals' personal information and digital data in the internet ecosystem.
- The Personal Data Protection Bill was in the works since 2018.
- It was drafted first by a panel led by retired Supreme Court judge Justice B N Srikrishna.
- The government has taken this step after nearly four years of the Bill being in the works.
Key Points about the Bill:
- The withdrawal is based on the multiple recommendations and changes proposed by the Parliamentary Committee, the government feels that a “comprehensive legal framework” to regulate the online space is required.
- Furthermore, the government has decided to introduce separate laws to mitigate use of Personal Data in the Digital Ecosystem including cybersecurity, telecom regulations, and harnessing non-personal data.
- The government has decided to come up with a fresh bill that fits into the comprehensive legal framework with reference to the suggestions made by the Joint Committee of Parliament (JCP) on the Bill.
- The JCP had submitted a 542-page report with overall 93 recommendations and 81 amendments to the Personal Data Protection Bill in December 2021.
- Apart from that, the panel, headed by former Union Minister, had also recommended about 97 corrections and improvements to the Bill.
Why has the Personal Data Protection Bill been withdrawn?
- The JPC-proposed revisions to the draught legislation drew harsh criticism from different stakeholders within the society.
- The JPC had proposed 81 amendments in a bill of 99 sections and 12 recommendations to the draft bill which was submitted by the Srikrishna Committee, which will lead to comprehensive changes to proposed law.
- In reality, Section 12 (a)(i) of the Bill permitted the government to collect personal data without the informed consent and approval of individuals on the grounds of “national sovereignty” and “public order”.
- Also, the regulatory structure of the DPA was not independent as the Central government could appoint its members which would interfere with the committee’s decisions regarding violations of privacy and misuse of data by the government.
Over the years the bill received severe pushback from various stakeholders,from privacy advocates to civil society organizations.
They have criticized the following, among other things: -
- The broad exemptions to the bill’s provisions carved out in government’s favor,
- The Data Protection Authority’s lack of independence,
- The inclusion of non-personal data,
- the priority given to economic interests, and
- The failure to adequately safeguard citizens’ privacy and personal data.
- When the Supreme Court of India declared that privacy is a basic right, the wheels for creating a law to control the use of citizens' digital data were set in action in 2017.
- The apex court, had also directed the government to come-up with a legal framework for data protection.
- In 2017, Justice Srikrishna panel, which was set up in response to the Court’s verdict, submitted a white-paper outlaying the key aspects that a Data Protection Bill should look at.
- In 2018, a draft Data Protection Bill was submitted to the MeitY by theSrikrishna Committee.
- In 2019, the draft bill was sent to Joint Parliamentary Committee headed by BJP’s Meenakshi Lekhi.
- A detailed analysis and comprehensive, clause-by-clause review of the provisions of the bill over next three years was held by JPC.
- In July 2021, BJP MP PP Chaudhary took over from Ms Lekhi as the JPC Chairperson, after the latter was appointed as the Minister of State for External Affairs.
- In Dec 2021, JCP tabled its review report before the Parliament.
- The draft bill received heavy backlash from different stakeholders and Justice Srikrishna also termed it a tool that can turn the India into an “Orwellian state” and against the welfare of a free and open society.
Education in Mother Tongue: The Minister of State for Education, Smt. Annpurna Devi recently informed the Lok Sabha about Education in Mother Tongue.
- Under the Right to Education Act, 2009, Section 29(f) of Chapter V clearly states that, “medium of instructions shall, as far as practicable, be in child’s mother tongue.”
- Education is in the concurrent list of the Constitution and majority of the schools are under the domain of the States/UTs.
- As envisaged in para 4.11 of National Education Policy (NEP) 2020, wherever possible, the medium of instruction until at least Grade 5, but preferably till Grade 8 and beyond, is to be the mother tongue/regional language.
Note: The New Education Policy was launched in 2020.
- Thereafter, the home/local language shall continue to be taught as a language wherever possible.
- The NIPUN Bharat Mission of the Government of India (GoI) through its Mission Implementation Guidelines suggests that teaching learning process and development of teaching learning material should be done in mother tongue.
- Similarly, Vidya Pravesh- a three-month play-based school preparation programme for Grade-I and NISHTHA FLN (Foundational literacy and Numeracy) have also re-emphasized the same.
- As per Unified District Information System for Education Plus (UDISE+) 2020-21, there are 28 languages in which teaching learning is going on in grades (1-5).
The languages are as follows:
Assamese, Bengali, Gujarati, Hindi, Kannada, Konkani, Malayalam, Manipuri, Marathi, Nepali, Odia, Punjabi, Sanskrit, Sindhi, Tamil, Telugu, Urdu, English, Bodo, Khasi, Garo, Mizo, French, Hmar, Karbi, Santhali, Bhodi, Purgi.
Indian Antarctic Bill: The Rajya Sabha on has passed the Indian Antarctic Bill 2022 amid sloganeering by the opposition MPs which forced the adjournment of the House.
- The Indian Antarctic Bill was introduced in the Rajya Sabha by Earth Sciences Minister Jitendra Singh.
- The bill was passed with a voice vote after a brief discussion amid protests by the opposition members.
Key Points about the Bill:
- The main purpose of this bill is to protect the South Pole.
- The bill seeks to provide national measures to protect the Antarctic environment and associated ecosystems.
- It proposes to prohibit Indian expedition to Antarctica without a permit or written authorisation of another party to the Antarctic Treaty.
- It provides for inspection by an officer appointed by the government and for a penalty for contravention of certain provisions of the legislation.
- The Bill will also give effect to the Antarctic Treaty, the Convention on the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources and the Protocol on Environmental Protection to the Antarctic Treaty.
What will happen to this bill?
- The Antarctic region is currently governed by international law, but after this bill is passed into law, those connected to the Indian territory and its mission will be subject to Indian law, and will be brought before Indian courts.
- If any wrongs, crimes, irregularities are committed by people in or for the territory of the Indian Mission will be dealt with under Indian laws.
Importance of Antarctica:
- Antarctica is the southernmost continent of the earth.
- Although snow is always frozen at this place, it is very important for humans.
- The global climate is directly impacted by the changes occurring here.
- In addition to this, there have still been a lot of discoveries about this continent.
- In such a situation, many countries have established their research centers here.
India also has two active research centers there –
- Maitri in Shirmakar Hills (opened in 1989) and
- Bharti in Larsman Hills (opened in 2012).
New Wetlands Designated as Ramsar Sites: The Union environment ministry on recently announced that India has added 10 more wetlands, taking the total Ramsar sites to 64.
- So far, 64 wetlands covering an area of 12,50,361 ha have been designated as Ramsar Sites of International Importance from India.
- The new sites include six wetlands from Tamil Nadu and one each from Goa, Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh and Odisha.
- Now, India stands at first position jointly with China.
The 10 new designated sites are
- Koothankulam Bird Sanctuary in Tamil Nadu.
- Gulf of Mannar Marine Biosphere Reserve in Tamil Nadu.
- Vembannur Wetland Complex in Tamil Nadu.
- Vellode Bird Sanctuary in Tamil Nadu.
- Vedanthangal Bird Sanctuary in Tamil Nadu.
- Udhayamarthandapuram Bird Sanctuary in Tamil Nadu.
- Satkosia Gorge in Odisha.
- Nanda Lake in Goa.
- Ranganathittu Bird Sanctuary in Karnataka.
- Sirpur Wetland in Madhya Pradesh.
Koonthankulam Bird Sanctuary:
- Koonthankulam Bird Sanctuary is a man-made wetland in Tirunelveli district of Tamil Nadu.
- It is the largest reserve for breeding resident and migratory water birds in south India.
- It is also an important bird and biodiversity area forming part of the central Asian flyway.
- The wetland also irrigates about 190 acres of paddy.
- The Satkosia gorge, which has also been included, spreads along the Mahanadi river in Odisha.
- It was established in 1976 as a wildlife sanctuary.
- It is the meeting point of two biogeographic regions of India – the Deccan Peninsula and the Eastern Ghats, contributing immense biodiversity,
- The Satkosia gorge wetland is a mosaic of marshes and evergreen forests.
- The forests of these catchments play a vital role in the prevention of the gorge siltation.
- They also help in maintaining a desirable depth of water crucial for the endangered gharial population.
- The Nanda Lake in Goa has freshwater marshes that lie adjacent to one of the major rivulets of the Zuari river.
- This enables the locals to store water during the off-monsoon season.
- The stored water is also utilised to cultivate paddy downstream of the lake and supports fishing and recreation.
- The lake is a habitat for Black-headed ibis, Common kingfisher, Wire-tailed swallow, Bronze-winged jacana, Brahminy kite among others.
Gulf of Mannar Biosphere Reserve (GoMBR):
- Among seven others that have been included in the list, the Gulf of Mannar Biosphere Reserve (GoMBR).
- It is one of the most important, located on the southeastern coastline.
- It is unique for its rich marine environment.
- The reserve area is also home to several globally important and highly threatened species such as the Dugong, whale shark, green sea turtle, hawksbill turtle seahorses, balanoglossus,, dolphins, sacred chanks, etc.
- Ramsar Convention was signed on 2nd February, 1971.
- It is one of the oldest inter-governmental accords signed by member countries.
- Its main objective is to preserve the ecological character of their wetlands of international importance.
- It is named after Ramsar, the Iranian city where the treaty was signed.
- Places chosen for conservation under it are given the tag ‘Ramsar site’.
- The aim of the Ramsar list is to develop and maintain an international network of wetlands which are important for the conservation of global biological diversity and for sustaining human life through the maintenance of their ecosystem components, processes and benefits.
Nationally Determined Contribution (NDC): The Union Cabinet has approved India’s updated Nationally Determined Contribution (NDC) to be communicated to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).
Key Points about the Updated NDC:
- The updated NDC seeks to enhance India’s contributions in strengthening global response to the threat of climate change, as agreed under the Paris Agreement.
- This in turn will help India usher in low emissions growth pathways.
- On the basis of the UNFCCC's principles and provisions, it would also safeguard the nation's interests and future development needs.
- Updated NDC translates the ‘Panchamrit’ into enhanced climate targets.
- India at the 26th session of the Conference of the Parties (COP26) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) held in Glasgow, United Kingdom had expressed to intensify its climate action by presenting to the world five nectar elements (Panchamrit) of India’s climate action.
- The update is also a step towards achieving India’s long term goal of reaching net-zero by 2070.
- According to the updated NDC, India has pledged to reduce Emissions Intensity of its GDP by 45% by 2030 as compared to 2005 level.
- It also seeks to attain a cumulative electric power installed capacity of 50% from non-fossil fuel-based energy resources by 2030.
- Furthermore, it aims to achieve a total installed electric power capacity of 50% from non-fossil fuel-based energy sources by 2030.
- The updated NDC reads "To put forward and further propagate a healthy and sustainable way of living based on traditions and values of conservation and moderation, including through a mass movement for ‘LIFE’– ‘Lifestyle for Environment’ as a key to combating climate change".
- India’s updated NDC has been prepared after carefully considering our national circumstances and the principle of common but differentiated responsibilities and respective capabilities (CBDR-RC).
The updated NDC will be implemented over the 2021-2030 period through programmes and schemes of relevant ministries and departments and with support from states and union territories.
Earlier, on October 2, 2015, India had submitted its Intended Nationally Determined Contribution (NDC) to UNFCCC.
The 2015 NDC comprised eight goals; three of these have quantitative targets upto 2030 namely-
- Cumulative electric power installed capacity from non-fossil sources to reach 40%.
- To reduce the emissions intensity of GDP by 33 to 35 percent compared to 2005 levels.
- To create additional carbon sink of 2.5 to 3 billion tonnes of CO2 equivalent through additional forest and tree cover.
What are Nationally determined contributions?
- A nationally determined contribution (NDC) or intended nationally determined contribution (INDC) is a non-binding national plan highlighting climate change mitigation, including climate-related targets for greenhouse gas emission reductions under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).
- Nationally determined contributions (NDCs) are at the heart of the Paris Agreement and the achievement of these long-term goals.
- These plans also include policies and measures governments aim to implement in response to climate change and as a contribution to achieve the global targets set out in the Paris Agreement.
- The Paris Agreement requests each country to outline and communicate their post-2020 climate actions, known as their NDCs.
- NDCs are the first greenhouse gas targets under the UNFCCC that apply equally to both developed and developing countries.
All countries that were parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) were asked to publish their intended nationally determined contributions at the 2013 United Nations Climate Change Conference held in Warsaw, Poland, in November 2013.
After the Paris Agreement entered into force in 2016, the INDCs became the first NDC when a country ratified the agreement unless it decided to submit a new NDC at the same time.
United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC):
- The United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) is another projected legally binding agreement produced at the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED) or Earth Summit 1992.
COP 21 of the UNFCCC:
During the COP 21 of the UNFCCC, in which the Paris Agreement was signed. The following INDCs was submitted:
- China: targeted a 60-65% reduction of greenhouse gases emitted.
- European Union: Sough to reduce greenhouse gases by 40%
- India: Submitted a target of 33-35% per unit of GDP
- United States: aimed to reduce greenhouse gases by 26-28%
What are the key elements and focus areas of India's INDC?
The key elements and focus areas of India's INDC are as follows:
- Reducing Emission intensity of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) - To reduce the emissions intensity of its GDP by 33 to 35 percent by 2030 from 2005 level.
- Increasing the Share of Non-Fossil Fuel Based Electricity - To achieve about 40 percent cumulative electric power installed capacity from non-fossil fuel based energy resources by 2030 with the help of transfer of technology and low cost international finance including from Green Climate Fund (GCF).
- Sustainable Lifestyles - To put forward and further propagate a healthy and sustainable way of living based on traditions and values of conservation and moderation.
- Cleaner Economic Development - To adopt a climate friendly and a cleaner path than the one followed hitherto by others at corresponding level of economic development.
- Enhancing Carbon Sink (Forests) - To create an additional carbon sink of 2.5 to 3 billion tonnes of CO2 equivalent through additional forest and tree cover by 2030.
- Adaptation - To better adapt to climate change by enhancing investments in development programmes in sectors vulnerable to climate change, particularly agriculture, water resources, Himalayan region, coastal regions, health and disaster management.
- Technology Transfer and Capacity Building - To build capacities, create domestic framework and international architecture for quick diffusion of cutting-edge climate technology in India and for joint collaborative R&D for such future technologies.
- Mobilizing Finance - To mobilize domestic and new & additional funds from developed countries to implement the above mitigation and adaptation actions in view of the resource required and the resource gap.
Wild Life (Protection) Amendment Bill, 2021: The Lok Sabha recently passed the Wild Life (Protection) Amendment Bill, 2021.
- The bill was moved by the Minister of Environment, Forest and Climate Change Bhupender Yadav.
- The Bill amends the Wild Life (Protection) Act, 1972.
- The bill aims to further implement CITES, an international agreement between governments
Key Provisions of the Bill:
- The Act regulates the protection of wild animals, birds and plants.
- The Bill seeks to increase the species protected under the law, and implement the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES).
- Currently, the Act has six schedules for specially protected plants (one), specially protected animals (four), and vermin species (one).
- The Bill reduces the total number of schedules to four.
- Schedule for vermin species has been removed.
- A new schedule has been added for specimens listed under CITES.
- The Bills empowers the central government to regulate or prohibit the import, trade, possession or proliferation of invasive alien species.
- Invasive alien species refers to plant or animal species which are not native to India and whose introduction may adversely impact wildlife or its habitat.
- Penalty for violations of provisions of the bill has increased from Rs 25000 (Under 1972 act) to Rs 1,00,000.
- The Act entrusts the Chief WildLife Warden appointed by the state government to control, manage and maintain all sanctuaries in a state.
- The Bill states that the Chief Warden's actions must follow the sanctuary management plans.
- For sanctuaries falling under special areas, the management plan must be prepared after appropriate consultation with the concerned Gram Sabha.
- Special areas include a Scheduled Area or areas where the Scheduled Tribes and Other Traditional Forest Dwellers (Recognition of Forest Rights) Act, 2006 is applicable.
- Scheduled Areas are economically backward areas with a predominantly tribal population, notified under the Fifth Schedule to the Constitution.
Point 5140 named as ‘Gun Hill’: To commemorate the victory of Indian armed forces and pay tribute to the supreme sacrifice of the gunners in 'Opersation Vijay', Point 5140 at Drass in Kargil has been christened as ‘Gun Hill’.
- With its deadly and precise firepower, the Regiment of Artillery was able to have a significant impact on the enemy forces and their defences, especially Point 5140, which was essential to the early conclusion of operations in the 1999 Kargil war.
- On July 26, 1999, the Indian Army announced the successful culmination of ‘Operation Vijay’, declaring victory after a nearly three-month-long battle with Pakistani troops on the icy heights of Kargil in Ladakh.
- The capture of Point 5140 was a key factor in the early completion of operations.
- On behalf of the Regiment of Artillery, a wreath was laid by Lieutenant General T. K. Chawla, Director General of Artillery, at Kargil War Memorial, Drass.
- Lieutenant General Anindya Sengupta, General Officer Commanding of Fire and Fury Corps, also laid a wreath on the solemn occasion.
- The ceremony was conducted in the presence of veterans from all artillery regiments, which got the honour title “KARGIL” in Operation Vijay.
- Serving officers of the gunner fraternity were also present during the event.
- This week India marked the 23rd Kargil Vijay Diwas.
- On July 26, 1999, the Indian Army declared victory in Kargil War and successful culmination of Op Vijay.
- Point 5140 at Dras, one of the highest enemy-occupied posts, was captured on June 20, 1999 by a team led by Kargil hero Captain Vikram Batra.
Kargil Vijay Diwas 2022:
- Kargil Vijay Diwas is celebrated every year on July 26 since the year 1999, to mark India’s victory over Pakistan in the Kargil conflict.
- This year was the 22nd years of victory in Kargil war.
History of Kargil War:
- The Kargil War was fought between May-July of 1999 in the Kargil district of Jammu and Kashmir along the Line of Control (LoC) in which India got the victory.
- In India, the conflict is also referred to as Operation Vijay.
- It was fought for more than 60 days, ended on 26 July.
- During the war, the Indian Army evicted Pakistani intruders and succeeded in recapturing the Tiger Hill and other posts as a part of Operation Vijay.
- The Indian soldiers had secured this victory after a three-month conflict that led to a loss of lives from both sides with the Indian side losing nearly 490 officers, soldiers, and jawans.
What was the cause of the war?
- The cause of the war was the infiltration of Pakistani troops—disguised as Kashmiri militants—into positions on the Indian side of the LoC, which serves as the de facto border between the two states in Kashmir.
- Pakistan army taking advantage of the melting snow and betraying the bilateral understanding of both the nations (that the post would remain unattended during the winter season) took command of the high outposts of India.
- During the initial stages of the war, Pakistan blamed the fighting entirely on independent Kashmiri insurgents, but documents left behind by casualties and later statements by Pakistan's Prime Minister and Chief of Army Staff showed the involvement of Pakistani paramilitary forces,led by General Ashraf Rashid.
- The Indian Army, later supported by the Indian Air Force, recaptured a majority of the positions on the Indian side of the LoC.
- Facing international diplomatic opposition, Pakistani forces withdrew from the remaining Indian positions along the LoC.
Operation White Sea:
- The operation White Sea was also launched during the Kargil war, 1999.
- During the operation, the Indian Air Force jointly acted with Indian Army to flush out regular and irregular troops of the Pakistani army.
- Operation was launched twice by the Indian Army in Indian history.
- The first Operation Vijay was launched in 1961 that led to the capture of Goa, Anjediva islands and Daman and Diu while
- the second operation was launched in 1999.
- Both the operations were of huge success.
However, the Kargil Vijay Diwas is marked on the culmination of Kargil war.
Ex VINBAX 2022: The 3rd Edition of Ex VINBAX 2022 began at Chandimandir on August 1.
It will continue till August 20, 2022.
Theme of Ex VINBAX – 2022:
The theme of Ex VINBAX - 2022 is “employment and deployment of an Engineer Company and a Medical Team under United Nations Contingent for Peacekeeping Operations”.
India has a rich heritage of locating troops in United Nations missions.
It has best capabilities to impart United Nations peace operations training, including its best practices and hands to train prospective United Nations peacekeepers at operational, tactical, & strategic levels.
About Ex VINBAX - 2022:
- Ex VINBAX is Bilateral Army Exercise between India and Vietnam.
- The exercise is a sequel to a previously conducted bilateral exercise in Vietnam in 2019.
- It is a major milestone in strengthening the bilateral relations between India and Vietnam.
- India and Vietnam share a Comprehensive Strategic Partnership and defence cooperation is a key pillar of this partnership.
- Vietnam is an important partner in India’s Act East policy and the Indo-Pacific vision.
- Ex VINBAX - 2022 will be conducted as a field training exercise with a larger scope than past bilateral exercises, that will improve interoperability and mutual trust and enabling the Indian Army and Vietnam People's Army to share best practices.
- The joint exercise will also provide an opportunity to the troops of both Indian and Vietnamese contingent to learn about the social and cultural heritage each other.
- Indian Army will be represented by troops from 105 Engineer Regiment.
- Exercise will assess the standards achieved by contingents of both the countries.
- It will also execute technical military operations in UN missions as well.
- A 48 hours Validation Exercise is part of the schedule to assess the standards achieved by both contingents while executing technical military operations under similar scenarios in UN missions.
- A Humanitarian Assistance & Disaster Relief demonstration and equipment display will showcase India’s capacity to undertake rescue and relief operations during natural and manmade disasters utilizing indigenous solutions.
India- Vietnam Relations:
- India and Vietnam have many things in common.
- Both of them are listed among the fastest-growing economies of Asia and both aim at enhancing peace and stability in the Indo-Pacific region through multi-faceted cooperation.
- They are equally concerned about the aggressive and expansionist policies of China in the Indo-Pacific region.
- The two countries also share a Comprehensive Strategic Partnership since 2016 and defence cooperation is a key pillar of this partnership.
- Bilateral defence engagements have expanded over a period of time to include wide-ranging contacts between the two countries, including Defense Policy Dialogue, military-to-military exchange, high-level visits, capacity building and training programmes.
- When Vietnam's then-Prime Minister Nguyan Jan Dung visited India in 2007, the two nations' relations were raised to the status of "Strategic Partnership."
- The relationships were enhanced even more to "Comprehensive Strategic Partnership" in 2016, as Vietnam is a key ally in India's "Act East" Policy and Indo-Pacific strategy.
- Vietnam is the 15th largest trade partner of India and India is its 10th largest partner with bilateral trade standing at USD 11.12 billion in 2020-21.
A cultural agreement between the two nations was struck in 1976, and since then, it has opened up numerous avenues for cultural exchange.
- In 2016, the Swami Vivekananda Indian Cultural Centre in Hanoi was established.
- In 2012, the Institute of Indian and South-West Asian Studies under the aegis of the Vietnam Academy of Social Sciences was inaugurated in Hanoi.
President's colour to the Tamil Nadu Police: Vice-President of India M. Venkaiah Naidu presented the prestigious ‘President’s Colours’ to the Tamil Nadu Police.
- This prestigious award for the Tamil Nadu Police was presented to Chief Minister M.K. Stalin in a customary ceremony in Rajarathinam Stadium in Chennai.
- Vice President Naidu also released a Special Cover to honour the occasion.
- The President’s Colour is the highest honour given to the military, paramilitary and police forces of States and Union Territories.
- Tamil Nadu Police is one of the very few law enforcement agencies in the nation to be awarded the coveted “President’s Colours.
- The State of Tamil Nadu ranks second in the list of more women in the police force and the State was the first to create a women commando force.
- It is the only State to have a police unit to investigate smuggling of idols and statues.
- To commemorate the achievement, Mr. Stalin declared that each police officer in the service would get a medal.
Though the ‘President’s Colours’ for the Tamil Nadu Police was approved as early as August 19, 2009 when late leader M. Karunanidhi was the Chief Minister, it could not be presented in all these years.
About Tamil Nadu Police:
- Tamil Nadu State Police is the primary law enforcement agency of the state of Tamil Nadu, India.
- It is over 150 years old.
- Itis the fifth largest state police force in India.
- The current Director General of Police of Tamil Nadu is C. Sylendra Babu.
AL NAJAH-IV: The 4th Edition of India-Oman Joint Military Exercise ‘AL NAJAH-IV’ recently began in Rajasthan at the Foreign Training Node of Mahajan Field Firing Ranges.
- This joint Military Exercise will be conducted by the Indian Army and Royal Army of Oman from 1st to 13th of August 2022.
- The Royal Army of Oman contingent comprise 60 personnel from the Sultan of Oman Parachute Regiment while the Indian Army is represented by troops from the 18 MECHANISED INFANTRY Battalion.
- The previous edition of Ex AL NAJAH IV was organized at Muscat from 12 to 25 March 2019.
Key points about the exercise:
- The ambit of the exercise includes “professional interaction, mutual understanding of drills and procedures, the establishment of joint command and control structures and elimination of terrorist threats”.
- The main focus of this joint exercise would be on Counter Terrorism Operations, Regional Security Operations, and Peace Keeping Operations under United Nations charter apart from organizing joint physical training schedules, tactical drills, techniques and procedures.
- The objective of this joint military exercise is to enhance the level of defence cooperation between the Armies of India and Oman as well as the bilateral relations between the two nations.
Significance of Oman for India:
Oman is the only country in the Gulf region with which all three services of the Indian armed forces conduct regular bilateral exercises and staff talks, enabling close cooperation and trust at the professional level.
The three exercises are:
- AL NAJAH-IV which is a joint military exercise.
- Naseem-Al-Bahr which is a joint Navy exercise.
- Eastern Bridge is an Air Force exercise.
Strategic Significance of Oman for India:
- The Sultanate of Oman is a strategic partner of India in the Gulf.
- Both nations are linked by geography, history and culture and enjoy warm and cordial relations.
- It is an important interlocutor at the Gulf Cooperation Council (AGCC), Arab League and Indian Ocean Rim Association (IORA) fora.
- It is at the gateway of Strait of Hormuz through which India imports one-fifth of its oil imports.
- The two countries across the Arabian Sea are linked by geography, history and culture and enjoy warm and cordial relations, which are attributed to historical maritime trade linkages.
- An Indian consulate was opened in Muscat in February 1955 which was upgraded to a consulate general in 1960 and later into a full-fledged embassy in 1971.
- The first ambassador of India arrived in Muscat in 1973.
- The longest-reigning leader of the Oman- Sultan Qaboos bin Said al Said was a friend of India.
- He had studied in India.
- He was taught by Shankar Dayal Sharma who went on to become the President of India.
- Sultan Qaboos’s father, an alumnus of Ajmer’s Mayo College, sent his son to study in Pune for some time, where he was former President Shankar Dayal Sharma’s student.
- India honoured the Arab world's longest-serving ruler, late Sultan Qaboos bin Said Al Said of Oman by conferring him with Gandhi Peace Prize for 2019 posthumously.
Coffee (Promotion and Development Bill), 2022: The Ministry of Commerce and Industry is planning to replace the 80-year-old Coffee Act with the new Coffee (Promotion and Development Bill), 2022, which has been listed for the Monsoon Session of Parliament.
- The Coffee Act, 1942 was first introduced during World War II, in order to safeguard the struggling Indian coffee industry from the war’s negative economic effects.
- The government is now trying to scrap the law because the substantive portion of the Coffee Act, 1942, which deals with pooling and marketing of the commodity, have become redundant and inoperative.
- The new legislation is now aiming to promote the sale and consumption of Indian coffee through e-commerce platforms, with fewer government restrictions.
- It seeks to ensure that the benefits of all agricultural schemes are extended to coffee growers.
- It also aims at encouraging further economic, scientific and technical research in order to align the Indian coffee industry with “global best practices.”
- While the Coffee Board continues to have limited control over marketing, exporters will still require a certificate from the statutory body.
What are the proposed changes?
- In order to facilitate growth and ease of doing business, the government would remove the restrictive and redundant provisions.
- The centre intends to introduce a simplified version of the Act to suit the present needs of the industry.
- The Coffee Board would not be shut down by the government but instead, it would shift from the Ministry of Commerce to the Ministry of Agriculture.
Proposal to repeal other laws:
- It has also proposed to repeal the decades old laws on tea, spices and rubber, and introduce new legislations.
- As these laws are very old so new legislations will be introduced in order to increase the ease of doing business and promote the development of these sectors.
- It aims to ensure that the small people in the different areas like coffee growing, tea growing do not have to suffer from high levels of compliance burden.
The origin of the Coffee Act, 1942:
- In the 1930s, Indian coffee industry was dealing with serious issues including extensive damage from pests and diseases as well as the Great Depression's effects on the world economy.
- The Government of India (GoI) passed the Coffee Cess Act (XIV of 1935) and established the first Indian Cess Committee in 1935, in order to promote the sale of coffee and increase consumption of Indian coffee at home and abroad.
Formation of the Coffee Board:
- Due to poor demand and the loss of international markets brought on by the start of World War II, these issues from the 1930s were made worse.
- As a result, coffee prices fell dramatically.
- Since the Cess Committee was not able to deal with the crisis faced by the industry, the government formed the Coffee Board, through the introduction of the Coffee Act, 1942, under the control of the Ministry of Commerce and Industry.
- The main purpose of the Act was to make provisions for the development of the coffee industry.
- The Board was tasked with supporting the industry in marketing, promotion of consumption, finance and research and development.
The pooling system introduced by Coffee Act:
- The Coffee Board had complete control over the marketing of the goods both in India and overseas before India's economy was liberalized in 1991.
- It was previously in charge of collecting, storage, processing and sale for the growers as well.
- The Coffee Act introduced a pooling system, where each planter was required to distribute their entire crop to a surplus pool controlled by the Board, apart from the small quantities that were allowed for domestic use and seed production.
- The coffee had to be harvested, dried and sent to a curing plant where they would be paid in advance.
- The Coffee Board would pay the registered private contractors to clean, sort, and grade the quality of coffee using a point system in exchange for a charge, which would then be deducted from the grower's payment.
- The Board then marketed 70% of the total pool for export and 30% for domestic markets, and sold them in separate auctions.
- The cost of domestic coffee was purposefully kept low to encourage domestic consumption.
- The money that was generated from these auctions was pooled and the Board paid the grower in installments through the year, based on the number of points their coffee was given at the curing factory.
Coffee in India:
- India is the third-largest producer and exporter of coffee in Asia and the sixth-largest producer and fifth-largest exporter of coffee in the world.
- The country accounts for 14% (2019-20) of the global coffee production.
- The cultivation is mainly done in the SSouth Indian states with Karnataka accounting for 54% followed by Kerala with 19% and Tamil Nadu with 8%
- It is also grown in non-traditional areas like Andhra Pradesh and Odisha (17.2%) and North East States (1.8%).
- India is the only country in the world where the entire coffee cultivation is grown under shade, hand-picked and sun dried.
- India produces some of the best coffee in the world, grown by tribal farmers in the Western and Eastern Ghats,which are the two major biodiversity hotspots in the world.
- Indian coffee is highly valued in the world market and is sold as premium coffee in Europe.
- Almost 80% of Indian coffee is exported.
- The Arabica and Robusta are two well known coffee species are grown in India.
- The first variety that was introduced in the Baba Budan Giri hill ranges of Karnataka in the 17th century.
Note: Brazil is, the largest coffee producer in the world.
GI Tags for Coffee in India:
Coorg Arabica coffee from Karnataka, Wayanad Robusta coffee from Kerala, Chikmaglur Arabica from Karnataka, Araku Valley Arabica from Andhra Pradesh, and Bababudangiris Arabica coffee from Karnataka have all received Geographical Indication (GI) tags.
RBI Monetary Policy 2022: The Reserve Bank of India (RBI), on 5 August 2022, announced Monetary Policy Review.
On the basis of assessment of current and evolving macroeconomic situation, in its latest policy iteration, RBI’s Monetary Policy Committee (MPC), headed by RBI Governor Shaktikanta Das, has decided -
- To hike policy repo rate by 50 basis points, under liquidity adjustment facility (LAF).
- Repo rate now stands at 5.40%.
- To make adjustment in the following-
- Marginal Standing Facility (MSF) to 5.65%
- Bank Rate to 5.65%
- Standing Deposit Facility (SDF) to 5.15%
- To focus on withdrawal of accommodation, in a bid to ensure that inflation is within the target onwards.
- MPC decision are in line with the objective of attaining medium-term target for consumer price index (CPI) inflation to 4% within a band of +/- 2%, while supporting growth.
Why were these decisions taken?
- These decisions were taken by considering that;
- Since the MPC meeting in June 2022, the global economic and financial landscape has become worse.
- Recession risk has increased as monetary policies around the world have tightened and the war in Europe has continued.
- The risks to emerging market economies' growth and financial stability are increasing as a result of capital outflows and reserve losses.
- The domestic economic activity is robust.
- Currently, South-west monsoon rainfall is 6% above the long period average. Kharif sowing is lifting. Demand across urban areas is strengthening whereas the rural demand is gradually increasing.
- CPI inflation decreased to 7.0% (year-on-year), during May-June 2022 as compared to 7.8% in April. Food inflation has witnessed some moderation.
About Monetary Policy Committee (MPC):
- The Central Government constituted the six-member monetary policy committee (MPC) in September 2016, according to the Section 45ZB of the amended RBI Act, 1934.
- It is led by the Governor of RBI.
- It has 6 members- 3 officials of RBI and 3 external members.
- Of these six members, the Government of India (GoI) appoints three persons.
- No Government official is nominated to the Monetary Policy Committee.
Current members of Monetary Policy Committee:
- Shaktikanta Das (Governor of RBI)
- Michael Debabrata Patra (Deputy Governor of RBI),
- Dr Rajiv Ranjan (Executive Director of RBI)
- Jayanth R. Varma (IIM Ahemdabad)
- Ashima Goyal (Indira Gandhi Institute of Development Research, Mumbai)
- Shashanka Bhide senior advisor at the New Delhi-based think tank National Council for Applied Economic Research
- MPC fixes the benchmark interest rate in India, by holding meetings for at least 4 times a year.
- Its decisions are published after each meeting.
Some important instruments of Monetary Policy are as follows:
The RBI’s Monetary Policy has several direct and indirect instruments which is used for implementing the monetary policy.
Repo Rate: It is the (fixed) interest rate at which banks can borrow overnight liquidity from the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) against the collateral of government and other approved securities under the liquidity adjustment facility (LAF).
Reverse Repo Rate: It is the (fixed) interest rate at which the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) can absorb liquidity from banks on an overnight basis, against the collateral of eligible government securities under the LAF.
Liquidity Adjustment Facility (LAF): The LAF has overnight as well as term repo auctions under it. The term repo helps in the development of the inter-bank term money market. This market sets the benchmarks for pricing of loans and deposits. This helps in improving the transmission of monetary policy. As per the evolving market conditions, the Reserve Bank of India also conducts variable interest rate reverse repo auctions.
Marginal Standing Facility (MSF): MSF is a provision which enables the scheduled commercial banks to borrow additional amount of overnight money from the Reserve Bank of India. Bank can do this by dipping into their Statutory Liquidity Ratio (SLR) portfolio up to a limit at a penal rate of interest. This helps the banks to sustain the unanticipated liquidity shocks faced by them.
Accommodative stance of RBI’s Monetary Policy Statement:
Accommodative stance is taken by the RBI’s Monetary Policy Committee to expand the overall money supply to boost the economy when the growth is slowing down.
The following are the full form given in context of the questions asked in recent exams:
Important Full forms used in the governor speech:
Weighted average call rate (WACR): The operating target of monetary policy
Standalone Primary Dealers (SPDs): A primary dealer is a bank or other financial institution that has been approved to trade securities with a national government.
Bharat Bill Payment System (BBPS): It is an integrated bill payment system in India offering interoperable and accessible bill payment service to customers through a network of agents of registered member as Agent Institutions, enabling multiple payment modes, and providing instant confirmation of payment
Overnight Indexed Swap (OIS): is an interest rate swap agreement where a fixed rate is swapped against a pre-determined published index of a daily overnight reference rate for example SONIA (GBP) or EONIA (EUR) for an agreed period.
Mumbai Interbank Outright Rate (MIBOR): is the interest rate at which banks can borrow funds from other banks in the Indian interbank market.
Hybrid Electric Vehicles in India: Automakers like Maruti Suzuki, Toyota, and Honda have all recently introduced What are Hybrid Electric Vehicles (HEVs) in India, giving consumers more options in the burgeoning electric vehicle sector.
What are Hybrid Electric Vehicles (HEVs)?
- Hybrid electric vehicles (HEVs) uses an ICE (a petrol/diesel engine) and one or more electric motors to run.
- It is powered by the electric motor alone, which uses energy stored in batteries, by the ICE, or both.
- The powertrain of the HEV is more complex than a regular ICE-powered car as it has EV components and a conventional ICE.
- A HEV cannot be plugged in to charge the battery.
- Instead, the battery is charged through regenerative braking and by the internal combustion engine.
- The extra power provided by the electric motor can potentially allow for a smaller engine.
How do HEV powertrains work?
- HEV powertrains are designed to power cars in a series, parallel or series-parallel (power split) methods.
- A series HEV uses only the electric motor to drive the wheels, while the ICE powers the generator, which in turn recharges the battery.
- A parallel HEV, based on the driving condition, uses the best power source to power the vehicle.
- It will alternate between the electric motor and the ICE to keep the car moving.
- A series-parallel HEV offers a combination of both models and allows to split power, wherein power is routed from the ICE alone or from the battery to the electric motor to drive the vehicle.
- In all above three designs, the battery is charged through Regenerative Braking Technology (RBT).
What is Regenerative Braking Technology (RBT)?
- Regenerative braking is an energy recovery mechanism that slows down a moving vehicle or object by converting its kinetic energy into a form that can either be used immediately or stored until needed.
What are the different types of HEVs?
The HEVs can be categorized into micro, mild , full hybrid vehicles and Plug-in-HEVs , based on the degree of hybridization.
The following are the different types of HEVs
Full HEV: They have larger batteries and more powerful electric motors which can power the vehicle for short distances and at low speeds. These vehicles cost more than mild hybrids but provide better fuel economy benefits.
Mild HEV: It cannot drive using only the electric motor and uses the battery at traffic lights or in stop-and-go traffic to support the ICE.
Micro HEV: They do not offer electric torque assistance as they lack an electric motor, but they have an idle stop-start system and energy management functions.
Plug-in-HEVs: They are just like full HEVs, but they can be charged using a wall outlet, as they have an onboard charger and a charging port. PHEVs generally use the electric motor until the battery is almost drained and then automatically switch to the ICE.
Note: The hybrid variants of the Maruti Suzuki’s Grand Vitara and the Toyota’s Urban Cruiser Hyryder can be classified as full and mild hybrids.
Advantages of using Hybrid Technology:
- Better braking efficiency in stop-and-go traffic which enhances fuel economy.
- Also helps in reducing carbon emissions.
- The regenerative braking system (RBS) while enhancing fuel economy also helps in energy optimization resulting in minimum energy wastage.
- In addition, with the increase in total power and torque, HEVs can deliver instant torque and provide high torque even at low speeds.
Definition of Torque:
- Torque is a rotating or twisting force produced by an engine’s crankshaft.
- In simpler terms, torque can be defined as an engine’s ‘pulling force’ and helps a vehicle with initial acceleration.
Challenges of hybrid technology:
- One of the major challenges for HEVs is the high vehicle cost.
- Battery, a vital component of an HEV, increases the cost of the vehicle, making it pricier than vehicles powered only by an ICE.
- The RBS also adds to the higher cost of an HEV.
Initiatives taken by Indian Government to promote Electric Vehicle Ecosystem:
India is one of the few nations that supports the global EV30@30 initiative that seeks to have at least 30% of new vehicle sales be electric by 2030.
FAME II Scheme:
- Faster Adoption and Manufacturing of Electric Vehicles (FAME II) scheme aims to incentivize all vehicle segments i.e. 2-Wheeler, 3-Wheeler Auto, Passenger 4-Wheeler Vehicle, Light Commercial Vehicles and Buses.
- The scheme covers Hybrid & Electric technologies like Mild Hybrid, Strong Hybrid, Plug in Hybrid & Battery Electric Vehicles.
PLI Scheme for ACC:
- Production-Linked Incentive (PLI) scheme for Advanced Chemistry Cell (ACC) for the supplier side aims to give companies incentives on incremental sales from products manufactured in domestic units.
PLI scheme for Auto and Automotive Components:
- Government has also launched PLI scheme for Auto and Automotive Components for manufacturers of electric vehicles.
Shrimad Rajchandra Mission: Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi recently inaugurated and laid the foundation stone of various projects of the Shrimad Rajchandra Mission worth more than 300 crore rupees at Dharampur in Gujaratvirtually .
- PM Modi while addressing the gathering said that the initiatives by the Shrimad Rajchandra Mission in the field of rural healthcare have strengthened the Vision of a ‘Healthy India’.
- The modern healthcare facilities started by the Mission will benefit the rural, poor, and tribal people of South Gujarat.
- On the occasion, Mr Modi also recalled the spiritual association of Mahatma Gandhi with Rajchandra Ji.
About Shrimad Rajchandra:
- Shrimad Rajchandra (1867 – 1901) was a Jain poet, mystic, philosopher, scholar and reformer.
- He wrote much philosophical poetry including Atma Siddhi.
- He is best known for his teachings on Jainism and his spiritual guidance to Mahatma Gandhi.
Partition Horrors Rememberance Day: The University Grants Commission (UGC) has asked all Universities and Colleges to observe August 14 as Partition Horrors Remembrance Day.
- They have been asked to organize programmes and seminars to commemorate the sufferings and sacrifices of millions of Indians during the partition in 1947.
- Prime Minister Modi, in 2021 had announced that August 14 will be observed as Partition Horrors Remembrance Day in memory of the struggles and sacrifices of people, saying the pain of partition can never be forgotten.
- Mr Modi had said that millions of our sisters and brothers were displaced and many lost their lives due to mindless hate and violence.
- Soon after the announcement, the Union home ministry also issued a gazette notification stating, “The Government of India declares 14th August as Partition Horrors Remembrance Day to remind the present and future generations of Indians of the pain and suffering faced by the people of India during the partition.”
About India’s partition in 1947:
- The partition was outlined in the Indian Independence Act 1947 and resulted in the dissolution of the British Raj, i.e., Crown rule in India.
- The partition of India divided British India into two independent dominions: India and Pakistan.
- The Dominion of India is today the Republic of India, and the Dominion of Pakistan is the Islamic Republic of Pakistan.
- East Pakistan has since become Bangladesh.
- The partition involved the division of two provinces, Bengal and Punjab, based on district-wide non-Muslim or Muslim majorities.
- The partition also saw the division of the British Indian Army, the Royal Indian Navy, the Royal Indian Air Force, the Indian Civil Service, the railways, and the central treasury.
- The partition displaced between 10 and 20 million people along religious lines, creating overwhelming calamity in the newly-constituted dominions.
- Partition triggered riots, mass casualties, and a colossal wave of migration.
- It is often described as one of the largest refugee crises in history.