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Current Affairs 2021

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

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Why current affairs is more important in Civil Service Exam?

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

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

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

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

Current Affairs Topics 2021

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

Current Affairs october 18th to october 24th

Arts

Martand Sun Temple: 

Union Minister of Commerce & Industry, Consumer Affairs & Food & Public Distribution and Textiles, Shri Piyush Goyal recently visited the Sun temple at Martand located atop a hillock.

Key Highlights:

  • Shri Piyush Goyal was in Pahalgam for a two day visit as part of the public outreach programme of the central government.
  • Before visiting the the Sun temple at Martand, he inaugurated tourist hut of Pahalgam Development Authority at Golf Course Pahalgam and Forest Departments Deodar sapling plantation drive which is being conducted under the banner of Green JK Drive.
  • The union minister also inaugurated 250mm Seer Water supply scheme which seeks to benefit around 10000 people and will be completed under the ambit of Jal Jeevan Mission within three months.
  • He visited Rahi Shawl Unit located at Akad Park where he interacted with the local artisans and examined various handicrafts like zari, sozni, tapestry, etc.

Key Points of his visit to Martand Temple:

  • While appreciating the historical significance of the place, the minister passed directions to the district administration to give wide publicity to the temple and bring it on the tourist map.
  • He also underlined the need to bring other such lesser known historical places on the tourist map.
  • He highlighted the need to up the tourist infrastructure to attract more foreign tourists.

 

About Martand Sun Temple:

  • The temple is one of the earliest known sun temples much older than Konark and Modhera.
  • The Martand Sun Temple is also known as Pandou Laidan.
  • It is a Hindu temple dedicated to Lord Surya (Sun).
  • Note: Martand is another Sanskrit synonym for Surya.
  • It was built by the third ruler of the Karkota Dynasty, Lalitaditya Muktapida, in the 8th century CE.
  • According to the ruins and related archaeological findings, it is an excellent specimen of Kashmiri architecture, which had blended the Gupta,  Gandharan, and Chinese forms of architecture.
  • The temple is located five miles from Anantnag in the Indian union territory of Jammu and Kashmir.
  • It is now in ruins as it was destroyed by the orders of Muslim ruler Sikandar Shah Miri.
  • The temple is one of the earliest known sun temples much older than Konark and Modhera.

Site of National Importance:

  • The Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) has declared the Martand Sun Temple as a site of national importance in Jammu and Kashmir.
  • The temple appears in the list of centrally protected monuments as Kartanda (Sun Temple).

About ASI:

  • It is the abbreviation for Archaeological Survey of India.
  • The ASI is an Indian government agency attached to the Ministry of Culture that is responsible for archaeological research and the conservation and preservation of cultural monuments in the country.
  • ASI was founded in 1861 by Alexander Cunningham  the first Director General of ASI. Alexander Cunningham is also known as the “Father of Indian Archaeology”.
  • It administers more than 3650 ancient monuments, archaeological sites and remains of national importance.
  • Its activities include carrying out surveys of antiquarian remains, exploration and excavation of archaeological sites, conservation and maintenance of protected monuments etc.

                                                                                                      

Books and Authors:

Actually… I Met Them: A Memoir: The legendary poet lyricist director of India Gulzar has authored a new book titled “Actually… I Met Them: A Memoir”.

Highlights:

  • The book has been published by the publishing group Penguin Random House India.
  • The book highlights the interesting unknown facts about legends like Kishore Kumar, Bimal Roy, Hrishikesh Mukherjee, Ritwik Ghatak, and Mahasweta Devi, among others.

About Gulzar:

  • Gulzar, whose real name is Sampooran Singh Kalra, is an Indian lyricist, poet, author, screenwriter, and film director.
  • He is called Gulzar or Gulzar Saab.
  • He has received the 3rd highest civilian award in India Padma Bhushan in 2004.
  • He is also a recipient of the Sahitya Academy Award and the Dadasaheb Phalke Awards.
  • He also was honored with 5 Indian National Film Awards, 22 Filmfare Awards, one Academy Award, and one Grammy Award.

                                       

Veer Savarkar:The Man Who Could Have Prevented Partition: The Defence Minister of India Shri Rajnath Singh launched the book titled "Veer Savarkar: The Man Who Could Have Prevented Partition" at Ambedkar International Centre, New Delhi.

Highlights:

  • This book is authored by Uday Mahurkar and Chirayu Pandit.
  • Minister Rajnath Singh described Savarkar as an "icon of Indian history".
  • He also described his contributions to a nation that was not yet considered and highlighted the prolonged controversies from time to time on the great leader Savarkar.

                             

Bhaskarabda: The Government of Assam recent announced that Bhaskarabda, a Luni Solar Calendar, will be used as an official calendar.

  • Presently, the official calendar of the Assam government is the Saka calendar and the Gregorian calendar.
  • From now on, Bhaskarabda calendar will also be used in the official calendar of the Assam Government.
  • Assam Government has decided to publish theme based calendars every year.
  • Flora and animals, culture, and gastronomy will all be featured in the calendars.

About Bhaskarabda:   

  • Bhaskarabda, an era counted from the date of the ascension of a seventh century local ruler, Kumar Bhaskaravarman to the throne of Kamrupa kingdom.
  • Bhaskarabda began when Bhaskara Varman was crowned ruler of the Kamrupa kingdom.
  • He was a contemporary and political ally of northern Indian ruler Harshavardhana.
  • The calendar uses a lunisolar system, which is based on both the phases of the moon and the solar year.

Difference between Gregorian and Bhaskarabda.

  • Unlike Gregorian, where a day starts at midnight, the Assamese calendar begins and ends at sunrise over 24 hours.
  • The gap between Bhaskarabda and Gregorian is 593 years.
  • While the Gregorian goes by the solar cycle, the Saka and Bhaskarabda eras use a lunisolar system based on both the phases of the moon and the solar year.
  • The gap between Bhaskarabda and Gregorian is 593 years.

About Different types of Calendars in India:

Gregorian Calendar:

  • Gregorian calendar also called the New Style calendar is the calendar used in most of the world.
  • It is named for Pope Gregory XIII.
  • It was introduced in 1582 by him as a minor modification of the Julian calendar.
  • Note: Julius Caesar had introduced to the ancient Roman Republic in 46 BCE.
  • The calendar is based on the solar cycle.
  • The calendar spaces leap years to make its average year 365.2425 days long, approximating the 365.2422 day tropical year that is determined by the Earth's revolution around the Sun.

Saka Calendar:

  • The Saka Era marked the beginning of the Saka Samvat, a historic Hindu calendar.
  • It was later adopted as ‘Indian National Calendar’ in 1957.
  • It was introduced after the recommendation by Calendar Reform Committee headed by eminent scientist Meghnad Saha.
  • Kushana king Kanishka is believed to have created a calendar that came to be known as the Saka Calendar.
  • The zero year of Saka Samvat is 78 A.D.
  • It is based on the lunisolar reckoning of time.
  • The Saka calendar consists of 365 days and 12 months which is similar to the structure of the Gregorian calendar.
  • The first month of the Saka Samvat is Chaitra which begins on March 22 which corresponds with March 21 during the leap year.

Imp Fact:

  • Saka Calendar is seldom used outside of very formal Government of India documents.
  • It is used, alongside the Gregorian calendar, by The Gazette of India, in news broadcasts by All India Radio and in calendars and communications issued by the Government of India GoI).
  • Other official Government of India Calendars, timetables, documents and communications refers to the Saka Calendar dates.
  • The Saka calendar is used also by the Indonesian Hindus in Bali and Java.
  • The Saka calendar was also used in several areas in the modern day Philippines as written in the Laguna Copperplate Inscription.
  • Nepal Sambat of Nepal also evolved from the Saka calendar.
  • The names of the months in the Saka Calendar are:
  • Chhaitra (March 21 – April 20)
  • Vaishakha (April 21 May 21)
  • Jyeshtha (May 22 June 21)
  • Ashadha (June 22  July 22)
  • Shravana (July 23 August 22)
  • Bhaadra (August 22 September 22)
  • Ashwin (September 23 October 22)
  • Kartika (October 23 November 21)
  • Agrahayana (November 22 December 21)
  • Pausha (December 22 January 20)
  • Magha (January 21  February 19) and
  • Phalguna (February 20 March 20/21)

Hijri Calendar:

  • Hijri calendar is a lunar calendar consisting of 12 lunar months in a year of 354 or 355 days.
  • The first month is called Muharram and the ninth month is called Ramzaan.
  • It is used to determine the proper days of Islamic holidays and rituals, such as the annual period of fasting and the proper time for the Hajj.

Vikram Samvat Calendar:

  • Vikram Samvat, also known as Bikram Sambat or Vikrami calendar, is the historical Hindu calendar used in the Indian subcontinent and Nepal.
  • In India it is used in several states.
  • It dates back to 57 B.C where 57 B.C. is the zero year.
  • It was introduced by King Vikramaditya  of Ujjain to mark his victory over the Saka rulers.
  • The calendar uses lunar months and solar sidereal years.
  • The traditional Vikram Samvat calendar uses lunar months and solar sidereal years.
  • Every year is divided into 12 months and each month is divided into two phases i.e., the Shuklapaksha and Krishnapaksha.
  • The bright half is called the Shuklapaksha (15 days).
  • It starts with the new moon and ends with a full moon.
  • The dark half is called the Krishnapaksha (15 days).
  • It starts with the full moon and ends with a new moon.
  • The month begins with the dark half.
  • There are 354 days in a year.
  • Hence every third and fifth year in a cycle of five years has 13 months (the 13th month is called Adhik Mass).

 

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Economics

NTS: The National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI) has recently launched the NPCI Tokenization system (NTS).

Key Points:

  • NTS has been launched to further enhance the safety of customers and provide a seamless shopping experience to consumers.
  • It will support the tokenization of RuPay cards, to provide an alternate for storing card details with merchants.
  • With NTS, acquiring Banks, Aggregators, Merchants and others can get themselves certified with NPCI which in turn will help them in playing the role of Token Requestor.
  • NPCI’s Token requestor will help in save the token reference number (Token Reference on File (TROF)) for all the saved card numbers.
  • Token Reference On File (TROF) service will help RuPay cardholders, to maintain the security of their financial data.

Note: The merchants are required to meet the Tokenisation by January 1, 2022.

About NPCI:

  • National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI) is an umbrella organization for all retail payments in India.
  • It was founded in 2008.
  • It has been incorporated as a Not for Profit Company under the provisions of Section 25 of Companies Act 1956 (now Section 8 of Companies Act 2013).
  • It is an initiative of Reserve Bank of India (RBI) and Indian Banks Association (IBA) under the provisions of the Payment and Settlement Systems Act, 2007 for creating a robust Payment & Settlement Infrastructure in India.
  • It is headquartered in Mumbai, Maharashtra.
  • The current MD & CEO of NCPI is Dilip Asbe.

                                                                                                             

Geospatial Energy Map of India: The think tank of India, Niti Aayog recently launched a comprehensive Geographic Information System (GIS) based Geospatial Energy Map of India.

Highlights:

  • This platform has been launched in collaboration with the Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO).
  • It has been launched with the aim of integrating energy data scattered across several organizations.

Key Points about the Geospatial Energy Map:

  • The Geospatial Energy Map has been developed by NITI Aayog in collaboration with the Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) and with the support of the Energy Ministries of the Government of India (GoI).
  • The Map provides a holistic picture of all energy resources of the country.
  • It enables visualization of energy installations such as conventional power plants, petroleum refineries, oil and gas wells, coal fields and coal blocks, district wise data on renewable energy power plants and renewable energy resource potential, etc through 27 thematic layers.
  • This map will identify and locate all primary and secondary sources of energy and their transportation/transmission networks in the country.

Key Benefits of GIS based Energy Map of India:

  • The Geospatial Energy Map of India will use the latest advancements in web GIS technology and open source software to make it interactive and user friendly.
  • GIS mapping will provide a comprehensive view of energy production and distribution in a country which will be helpful in ensuring real time and integrated planning of energy sector in India, considering its interdependence and large geographical distribution.
  • As energy markets have immense potential to bring in efficiency gains so GIS based mapping will be advantageous to all concerned stakeholders going forward.  
  • It will not only be used for planning and making investment decisions but it can also aid in disaster management using available energy assets.

How to access the GIS based energy maps of India?

  • The Geospatial Energy Maps of India can be accessed through this website  vedas.sac.gov.in/energymap/

Definition of Geographic Information System (GIS):

  • A GIS is a computer system for capturing, storing, checking, and displaying data related to positions on Earth’s surface.
  • It can not only show many different kinds of data on one map, such as streets, buildings, and vegetation but it also enables people to more easily see, analyze, and understand patterns and relationships.

                                                      

ATUFS: Union Minister for textile Shri Piyush Goyal recently reviewed the Amended Technology Up gradation Fund Scheme (ATUFS).

Along with the Textile Minister, this scheme was reviewed by the Minister for State for Textiles Darshana Jardosh with various ministries, departments, textiles industry associations and banks at the 5th Inter Ministerial Steering Committee meeting organized by the textile ministry.

Key Points of the 5th Inter Ministerial Steering Committee meeting:

  • They reviewed the ATUFS to boost the Indian textile industry by enabling the ease of doing business, bolstering exports and fuelling employment.
  • The timeline for conduct of IMSC meeting quarterly was fixed.
  • At the meet the following decisions were taken:
  • To resolve pending issues include reducing the compliance burden by accepting only single certificate from the concerned bank instead of multiple documents regarding evidence of payment for claimed machineries.
  • To include the consideration of standalone embroidery machines with effect from inception of the ATUFS.
  • To simplify the procedure for joint inspection using a calibrated approach to linking joint inspect to subsidy support size by reducing burden on bracket lower than Rs 50 lakh instead of the current 100 per cent
  • Special measure was introduced to ease liquidity flow in the industry by introducing an option for getting part subsidy released against the bank guarantee.

Background:

  • The Technology Upgradation Fund Scheme was introduced by the textile ministry in 1999.
  • It was introduced as a credit linked subsidy scheme intended for modernization and technology up gradation of the Indian textile industry, promoting ease of doing business, generating employment and promoting exports.
  • Since then, the scheme has been implemented in various versions.

About ATFUS:

  • The ongoing ATUFS was approved in 2016 and implemented through web based iTUFS platform.
  • Under the scheme, the capital investment subsidy is provided to benchmarked machinery installed by the industry after physical verification.
  • ATUFS was approved for a period from 2015 16 to 2021 22 with an allocation of Rs 17,822 crore (Rs 12,671 crore for committed liability of previous versions of TUFS and Rs 5,151 crore for new cases under ATUFS).

                                                                                                    

Metaverse: Social media giant Facebook is planning to rename itself as Metaverse.

Note: The word metaverse describes a digital world where people can move various devices and also can communicate in a virtual environment.

Key Points:

  • The rebranding would position Facebook`s social media app as one of many products under a parent company, which will also oversee groups like Instagram, WhatsApp, Oculus and more, the Verge report added.
  • The news comes at a time when the company is facing increasing U.S. government scrutiny over its business practices.
    •  Lawmakers from both parties have excoriated the company, illustrating the rising anger in Congress with Facebook.
  • For Facebook, the ‘rebranding’ isn’t just about a switch in the company name but a reflection of the company’s growing ambitions and focus on a new area: metaverse.
  • It also signals that Facebook wants to be known for more than just social media.
  • Facebook has already announced plans to invest $50 million as part of its efforts to create a ‘responsible’ metaverse.
  • It also plans to create nearly new 10,000 jobs in Europe as part of its ‘metaverse’ ambitions.

Note:

  • It`s not uncommon in the Silicon Valley for companies to change their names as they bid to expand their services.
  • Google established Alphabet Inc as a holding company in 2015 to expand beyond its search and advertising businesses, to oversee various other ventures ranging from its autonomous vehicle unit and health technology to providing internet services in remote areas.

 About Facebook:

  • Facebook, Inc. is an American multinational technology company.
  • It is based in Menlo Park, California. It was founded in 2004 as TheFacebook by Mark Zuckerberg, Eduardo Saverin, Andrew McCollum, Dustin Moskovitz, and Chris Hughes, roommates and students at Harvard College.
  • The namesake social networking service eventually became Facebook, amassing 2.9 billion monthly users by 2021.
  • In 2012, the company acquired Instagram in 2012.
  • Then in 2014, it acquired WhatsApp and Oculus.
  • It is one of the world's most valuable companies and is considered one of the Big Five companies in U.S. information technology, alongside Google, Apple, Microsoft and Amazon.

 

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Defence

National Police Commemoration Day:

 National Police Commemoration Day observed on October 21 every year.

Key Facts:

  • Police Commemoration Day is observed to honour the policemen who have lost their lives on duty for the nation.
  • The day also commemorates the sacrifices of 10 policemen who lost their lives in Chinese firing in 1959.
  • Many tributes are paid to the martyrs on this day.

History:

  • Police Commemoration Day owes its origin to a 1959 clash with Chinese troops in the Hot Springs area of Ladakh.  
  • On October 21, 1959, twenty Indian soldiers were attacked by Chinese troops in Ladakh due to arguments between the troops, ten Indian policemen lost their lives and seven were imprisoned.
  • After a month, on November 28, 1959, Chinese troops handed over the dead bodies of the martyred policemen and, since that day, October 21 has been observed as Police Commemoration Day in honour of the martyrs every year.

Significance of the Day:

  • This day holds more significance in the aftermath of Covid 19 pandemic.
  • Ever since the COVID 19 outbreak in India in 2020, Indian police officers have been on the frontline along with healthcare officials.
  • Several police officers have lost their life while discharging their duties.

National Police Memorial:

  • The National Police Memorial was unveiled by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on October 15, 2018 in honour of the occasion.
  • The memorial also includes a Wall of Valour, as well as a museum and a central sculpture dedicated to the force.
  • The national police museum represents and depicts the history, uniform, and gear of central and state police forces in India.
  • It is handled by the central armed police forces (CAPFs) and the Intelligence Bureau (IB).

About CAPF:

  • It is an acronym for the Central Armed Police Forces.
  • CAPF refers to uniform nomenclature of security forces in India under the authority of Ministry of Home Affairs.
  • Their role is to defend the national interest mainly against the internal threats.
  • They are the Border Security Force (BSF), Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF), Central Industrial Security Force (CISF), Indo Tibetan Border Police (ITBP) and National Security Guard (NSG) and Sashastra Seema Bal (SSB).
  • The CAPF forces battle terrorists, insurgents and naxalites and even play a role in the smooth conduct of elections.
  • CAPF which are tasked with doing the job of both the army and the police in guarding the borders as well as battling terrorists and insurgents are 365 days swinging Machine.

                             

2021 Cambrian Patrol Exercise: The Indian Army team has won the gold medal at the 2021 Cambrian Patrol Exercise.

Key Points:

  • The Cambrian Patrol Exercise 2021 was conducted at Brecon, Wales, in the United Kingdom between 13th October and 15th October 2021.
  • This exercise which was organized by the UK Army is considered as the ultimate test of human endurance and team spirit.
  • It is sometimes also referred as “Olympics of Military Patrolling” among militaries of the world.
  • From the Indian side, a team from 4/5 Gorkha Rifles (Frontier Force) represented the Indian Army at the prestigious Cambrian Patrol Exercise.
  • In this exercise, a total of 96 teams participated.
  • The competition also witnessed the participation of 17 international teams representing Special Forces and prestigious Regiments from around the world.
  • The Teams performed under harsh terrain and inclement cold weather conditions.
  • This year, out of 96 participating teams, only three international patrols have been awarded a gold medal till phase 6th of this Exercise.

Indian Army Team:

  • The Indian Army team competed with a total of 96 teams including 17 international teams representing Special Forces and prestigious Regiments from different parts of the world.
  • The team displayed a fabulous display of navigation skills, delivery of patrol orders, and overall physical endurance, which ultimately resulted in the gold medal.
  • The team members were presented the gold Medal by General Sir Mark Carleton Smith, the Chief of General Staff of the British Army in a formal ceremony on 15 October 2021.

About Camrian Patrol Exercise:

  • The Exercise Cambrian Patrol is an international event in which militaries across the world take part.
  • It is an annual international military patrolling exercise.
  • In this exercise, the participating teams have to cover a 50 mile (80 km) course in less than 48 hrs while performing numerous types of military exercises placed throughout the rugged Cambrian Mountains and swamplands of mid Wales, UK.
  • Cambrian Patrol was first set up more than 40 years ago, by a group of Welsh Territorial Army soldiers who designed the training event to feature long distance marching over the Cambrian Mountains culminating in firing.
  • The aim of the exercise is to test their leadership, self discipline, physical endurance, courage, and determination.

About 5th Gorkha Rifles (Frontier Force):

  • 5th Gorkha Rifles (Frontier Force), also abbreviated as 5GR(FF) is an infantry regiment of the Indian Army.
  • It comprises Gurkha soldiers of Nepalese origin.
  • It was formed in 1858 as part of the British Indian Army.
  • The regiment was known as the 5th Royal Gurkha Rifles (Frontier Force) when it was one of the Gurkha regiments that were transferred to the Indian Army following independence of Indian and Pakistan in 1947 and given its current name in 1950.
  • The regiment's battalions served in the First World War (Mesopotamia) and Second World War (Anglo Soviet invasion of Iran, Mediterranean, Italian campaign, and in Burma).
  • Since 1947, the regiment has served in a number of conflicts, including the Indo Pakistani War of 1965 and the Indo Pakistani War of 1971.
  • It has also participated in peacekeeping operations in Sri Lanka.
  • The motto of 5GR(FF) is Shaurya Evam Nistha (शौर्य एवं निष्ठा)  which means Courage and Determination.

                                                                                 

Integrated Defended Localities: The Army has significantly augmented its firepower along the 1,300 km Line of Actual Control (LAC) in the eastern sector while also beefing up overall defences in the region, especially in the Tawang sector, by integrating various services in real time through automation.

Key Points:

  • This includes upgraded L 70 air defence guns, M777 Ultra Light Howitzers, and automated and electronic fusion of Bofors and other artillery guns deployed along the LAC.
  • The Army has set up “integrated defended localities” at several locations along the LAC.
  • These integrate various arms of the Army such as infantry, engineers, artillery, air defence, aviation and also the fighter aircraft of the Air Force, to respond to any threat in real time and bring in maximum firepower.
  • There were primarily two approaches for the enemy to move towards Tawang, 35 km from the LAC.
  • One is the valley after the ridgeline of the LAC and the other is the road from Bumla to Tawang for a stretch of 35 km.
  • The M 777 Ultra Light Howitzers inducted in November 2018 have been deployed all along the LAC.
  • The M777 is a 155 mm, 39 calibre towed artillery gun and weighs just four tonnes.
  • The M777 had given significant flexibility in employment options for long range fire power.

About Line of Actual Control (LAC):

  • The Line of Actual Control (LAC) is the effective border between India and China.
  • It is the demarcation that separates Indian controlled territory from Chinese controlled territory.
  • The LAC is 4,057 km long and it is divided into 3 sectors which are:  
  • The eastern sector which spans Arunachal Pradesh and Sikkim.
  • The middle sector in Uttarakhand and Himachal Pradesh.
  • The western sector in Ladakh and Kashmir.

Reason for Disputes:

  • The reason for the continuous disputes between china and India are that for India, the LAC is 3,488 km long, however for China; it is just 2,000 km long.
  • The major disagreements between India and China are over the LAC in the Western sectors (Ladakh).
  • There is no clarification on the LAC boundary.

Agreements between China and India on boundary issue:

  • China and India have signed 4 agreements on this boundary issue. These agreements were signed in September 1993, November 1996, April 2005 and October 2013.
  • Indian & Chinese bilateral talks on border disputes are held on the basis of these four agreements.
  • However, these agreements are considered to be flawed and are unable to resolve the boundary issue between the countries.

Difference between LAC & LOC:

  • The LAC is the Line of Actual Control between India and China where as LOC is the Line of Control between India & Pakistan.
  • The LAC is not located in the map of both the countries and there is no agreements regarding this where as the LOC is located on the map of both the countries and is backed by the Shimla Agreement.

                                                                                                    

Hypersonic Glide Vehicles: China, with an aim to become a major space power in the near future has carried out it’s first ever test of a “nuclear capable hypersonic missile”,

Key Points:

  • The missile in August “circled the globe before speeding towards its target, demonstrating an advanced space capability that caught U.S. intelligence by surprise.”
  • The Chinese military launched a rocket that carried a hypersonic glide vehicle.
  • The missile flew through low orbit space before cruising toward its target.
  • The missile “missed its target by about two dozen miles”, but it “showed that China had made astounding progress on hypersonic weapons and was far more advanced than U.S. officials realised.”
  • Only the U.S., Russia and China were developing hypersonic glide vehicles, that are launched on rockets and then orbit the earth on their own speed.
  • They are difficult to track because such weapons fly at five times the speed of sound and can manoeuvre during flight.
  • According to the experts, full development of such technology by China would impact the missile defense systems of the US and Japan,

What is a hypersonic missile?

  • A hypersonic missile can travel more than the speed of sound in the upper atmosphere and can cross Mach 5.
  • These missiles can travel faster than current nuclear capable ballistic and cruise missiles at low altitudes, but can manoeuvrability similar to them.
  • This capability bears all the hallmarks of a fractional orbital bombardment system (FOBS).
  • FOBS comprise an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) that launches a warhead into low Earth orbit.
  • When the payload approaches its target, an onboard retro rocket detaches the payload and causes it to return to Earth.
  • The trajectory of FOBS is very different to that of a ballistic missile, which follows a parabolic curve with its apogee in space.
  • FOBS, on the other hand, are more manoeuvrable and have a flatter trajectory, making them more difficult to track and hit.
  • Along with China, the United States, Russia and at least five other countries are working on hypersonic technology.
  • Companies such as Lockheed Martin (LMT.N) and Raytheon Technologies (RTX.N) are working to develop the U.S.'s hypersonic weapon capability.

Has any other country tested hypersonic missiles?

  • Russia, in July, successfully tested a Tsirkon (Zircon) hypersonic cruise missile. Moscow also tested the weapon from a submarine for the first time.
  • The United States said in late September that it had tested an air breathing hypersonic weapon   meaning it sustain flight on its own through the atmosphere like a cruise missile   marking the first successful test of that class of weapon since 2013.
  • Days after the US announcement, North Korea also fired a newly developed hypersonic missile, calling it a "strategic weapon" that boosted its defence capabilities. However, some South Korean analysts described the test as a failure.

 

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Environment

Eco Oscars:

  An Indian Project, Takachar’s Innovation, that recycles agricultural waste into fuel has won the “Prince William’s inaugural Earthshot Prize”, which is also dubbed the ‘Eco Oscars’, in London on October 17, 2021.

Key Highlights:

  • Eco Oscars honours people trying to save the planet.
  • Takachar won the £1 million prize for its cheap technology innovation that converts crop residues into sellable bio products in the "clean our air" category.
  • Takachar was named among the five worldwide winners of Prince William's inaugural Earthshot Prize.
  • Established in 2020, 2021 was the first year when awards were handed out to finalists for their contributions towards the five UN Sustainable Development Goals — restoration and protection of nature, air cleanliness, ocean revival, waste free living and climate action.
  • Their aim is to provide assistance to and inspire innovative local solutions amid the growing climate crisis faced globally.

Takachar’s Innovation:

  • Vidyut Mohan led Takachar’s innovation was recognized for its affordable technology to convert crop residues into sellable bio products.
  • It reduced smoke emissions by 98% and calls for improving air quality.
  • Takachar has developed a cheap, small scale, portable technology that attaches to tractors in remote farms.
  • The machine converts crop residues into sellable bio products like fuel and fertilizer.
  • This innovation aims at helping improve the air quality that currently reduces the affected population’s life expectancy by up to 5 years.

Significance of the technology:

  • Around USD 120 billion of agricultural waste is generated in the world per year which is often burned as farmers fail to sell them.
  • This has disastrous consequences for both human health as well as the environment.
  • Burning causes air pollution, which has reduced life expectancy in some areas by a decade.
  • Thus, this technology will prove very significant in mitigating this challenge.

About Earthshot Prize:

  • Dubbed as the “Eco Oscars”, the Earthshot Prize is an award set up by Prince William and the Royal Foundation, the charity founded by the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, and historian David Attenborough.
  • This prize was launched in the year 2020 by Prince William, Duke of Cambridge and David Attenborough.
  • The Earthshot Prize is a prize awarded annually from 2021 to 2030.
  • A £1 million prize will be awarded annually between 2021 and 2030 to a winner in each of the five categories  supported by the UN Sustainable Development Goals:
  • These categories are as follows:
  • The restoration and protection of nature
  • Air cleanliness
  • Ocean revival
  • Waste free living
  • Climate action
  • The Prize is given by the Royal Foundation, headquartered in London, England.
  • Each year for the next decade, the Earthshot Prize will award 1 million pounds each to five projects that have been working to find solutions to the Earth’s environmental problems.

Note: The Earthshot Prize’s name is a reference to the ‘Moonshot’ ambition of 1960s America, which saw then President John F Kennedy pledge to get a man on the moon within a decade.

                                                                                          

Georissa Mawsmaiensis: A new micro snail species named Georissa Mawsmaiensis has recently been discovered from Mawsmai, a limestone cave in the East Khasi Hills district of Meghalaya.

Key Highlights:

  • The latest discovery was made by NA Aravind and Nipu Kumar Das, scientists of the Ashoka Trust for Research in Ecology and the Environment (ATREE), Bangalore.
  • This new species has been named as Georissa Mawsmaiensis’ after the limestone cave, Mawsmai.
  • The last time a species of the Georissa genus was discovered in India was 170 years ago in 1851.
  • It was in 1851 that Georissa saritta, a member of the same genus as the latest find, was collected and described from the Musmai (Mawsmai today) valley near Cherrapunjee by WH Benson.
  • The discovery this time has been reported in the Journal of Conchology.
  • Until now, five snail species have been found from the Meghalaya caves and there could also be more.

About Georissa Mawsmaiensis:

  • The snails, ‘Georissa mawsmaiensis’ are so small in size that an adult measures less than 2 millimeters in length.
  • It has four very prominent spiral striations on the body whorls of the shell in comparison to seven in Georissa Saritta.
  • Georissa is found in soil or subterranean habitats in lowland tropical forest as well as high altitude evergreen forests or on rock surfaces rich in calcium.
  • The members of the Georissa genus are widely distributed across and reported from Africa, Asia, and the Pacific.
  • However, they are confined to microhabitats consisting of limestone caves or karst landscapes formed by the dissolution of limestone.

About Mawsmai Cave:

  • The Mawsmai cave is situated in the small village of Mawsmai, around four kilometres from Cherrapunjee (Sohra) in the East Khasi Hills district of Meghalaya.
  • The term ‘Mawsmai’ means ‘Oath Stone’ in the Khasi language.
  • The Khasi people use the local term ‘Krem’ for the cave.
  • Mawsmai cave is located at an altitude of 1,195 metres above sea level.
  • It is indirectly influenced by the streams of the Kynshi River originating from the East Khasi Hills.
  • It is one of the most popular historical Caves in Meghalaya and is one of the major tourist attractions.
  • Mawsmai Caves are formed out of limestone and enjoy the distinction of being the only caves in Meghalaya that are lit enough so that the tourists can enjoy its natural formations.
  • The cave is home to various flora and fauna and makes a good home for bats and insects.

About Meghalaya:

  • It is a state in northeastern India.
  • Meghalaya was formed by carving out two districts from the state of Assam: the United Khasi Hills and Jaintia Hills, and the Garo Hills on 21 January 1972.
  • It is one of the 7 sister states of North East India.
  • Meghalaya means the "Abode of Clouds" in Sanskrit.
  • Shillong and Cherrapunjee are the highlights of Meghalaya for its weather and climatic conditions.
  • Its pristine beauty, perpetual clouds, mists, huge waterfalls, limestone caves, lush green and dense forests, amazing living root bridges are major attractions of this state.
  • Meghalaya is not only the home to a large variety of fruits, vegetables, spices, and medicinal plants but is also famous for its large variety of orchids — nearly 325 of them.
  • Its capital is Shillong.
  • The current Governor and Chief Minister of Meghalaya are Satya Pal Malik and Conrad Sangama respectively.

                                                                                                      

Allium Negianum: Recently, a plant discovered in Uttarakhand in 2019 has been newly confirmed as a new species of Allium.

Note: Allium is the genus that includes many staple foods such as onion and garlic, among 1,100 species worldwide.

Key Highlights:

  • The new species found in Uttarakhand has been described in journal PhytoKeys.
  • In 2019, Dr Anjula Pandey, Principal Scientist at ICAR National Bureau of Plant Genetic Resources in New Delhi, together with scientists Drs K Madhav Rai, Pavan Kumar Malav and S Rajkumar, came across plants of this onion species, which they have named Allium negianum.
  • It was discovered in the border area of Malari village, in Chamoli district of Uttarakhand.

Key Points about Allium Negianum:

  • The scientific name Allium negianum honours the late Dr Kuldeep Singh Negi, an explorer and Allium collector from India.
  • This plant is restricted to the region of the Western Himalayas and and hasn’t yet been reported from anywhere else in the world.
  • It grows in Malari region of Niti valley in Chamoli district and Dharma valley of Pithoragarh district, Uttarakhand.
  • It grows at 3,000 to 4,800 m above sea level.
  • It can be found along open grassy meadows, sandy soils along rivers, and streams forming in snow pasture lands along alpine meadows, where the melting snow helps carry its seeds to more favourable areas.

Note: Although new to science, this species has long been known under domestic cultivation to local communities.

  • However, indiscriminate harvest of its leaves and bulbs for seasoning may pose a threat to its wild populations.

About Allium:

  • Allium is one of the largest genera in Amaryllidaceae.
  • Amaryllidaceae is a family of herbaceous.
  • Note: Herbaceous means connected with plants that have soft stems, mainly perennial and bulbous flowering plants.
  • The genus Allium contains about 1,100 species worldwide, including many staple foods like onion, garlic, scallion, shallot and chives.
  • It naturally occurs in dry seasons in the Northern Hemisphere and South Africa.

Allium in India:

  • There are 30 to 40 species of Allium in India.
  • They are distributed in the temperate and alpine regions of the Indian Himalayas.
  • Many of the Allium species in India are of Chinese origin.
  • There are two Allium centres of Allium diversity in India.
  • They are eastern Himalayas and the western Himalayas.
  • In the eastern Himalayas, they are spread in the alpine temperate zone which holds 6% of the country’s diversity and in the western Himalayas it holds 85% of the total diversity.

                                                                                                            

AQEWS: Union Minister of State (Independent Charge) Science & Technology; Minister of State (Independent Charge) Earth Sciences; MoS PMO, Personnel, Public Grievances, Pensions, Atomic Energy and Space, Dr. Jitendra Singh has launched Air Quality Early Warning System (AQEWS) for Delhi NCR.

Key Points:

  • AQEWS was launched on the occasion of Azadi Ka Amrit Mahotsav week organized by the Ministry of Earth Sciences.
  • The Indian Institute of Tropical Meteorology (IITM), Pune has developed a new ‘Decision Support System’ (DSS) and enhanced the existing AQEWS to have better air quality management in the region.

Note: IITM Pune is an autonomous institute under the Ministry of Earth Sciences.

  • The institute has also developed a dedicated website for DSS, to deliver quantitative information about the contribution of emissions from Delhi and surrounding districts to the air quality.

The website is designed to deliver quantitative information about the following:

  • The contribution of emissions from Delhi and the surrounding 19 districts to the air quality in Delhi.
  • The contribution of emissions from 8 different sectors in Delhi their contribution.
  • The contribution from biomass burning activities in the neighbouring states to the degradation of air quality in Delhi.
  • The possible quantitative effects of interventions at the on the forecast air quality event in Delhi. All this information would assist in managing the air quality in a timely manner.  

                                                                        

International Snow Leopard Day: The International Snow Leopard Day also called the World Snow Leopard Day is observed globally on 23rd October every year.

Key Points:

This day is celebrated to create awareness about conservation and preservation of Snow Leopards.

The day also emphasizes the importance of taking measures to stop poaching, as well as consolidating efforts in terms of an environmental organization in the countries of the snow leopard range.

History of Snow Leopard Day:

  • The first International Snow Leopard Day was celebrated in 2014.
  • International Snow Leopard Day came into being on 23rd October, 2013, with the adoption of the Bishkek Declaration by 12 countries on the conservation of snow leopards.
  • This happened in the capital of Kyrgyzstan, Bishkek, at the very first Global Snow Leopard Forum.
  • The 12 countries included India, Nepal, Bhutan, Mongolia, China, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Russia, Kyrgyzstan, Kazakhstan, Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan.

Note: The Global Snow Leopard and Ecosystem Protection Programme (GSLEP) was also launched on the same day to address high mountain development issues using conservation of the snow leopard as a flagship.

About Snow Leopards:

  • The Snow Leopard also known as Ghost of the mountains is a felid in the genus Panthera native.
  • These animals are distributed sparsely across 12 different countries in Central Asia.
  • The Snow Leopard lives at high altitudes between 3,000 and 4,500m in the steep mountains of Central and Southern Asia, and in an extremely cold climate.

Snow Leopards in India:

  • In India, the Snow Leopards are spread in Sikkim, Arunachal Pradesh, Himachal Pradesh, Jammu and Kashmir and eastern Himalayan areas.
  • Hemis National Park in Ladakh is the biggest national park of India and also has a good presence of Snow Leopard.

Conservation:

  • The IUCN Status of Snow Leopard is “vulnerable”.
  • It was changed from “endangered” to “vulnerable” in 2017.
  • It is listed in Schedule I of Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972. Under CITES, it is listed in Appendix I.
  • Schedule I provides absolute protection and offences under this have the highest penalties.

Project Snow Leopard:

  • Project Snow Leopard (PSL) was launched in 2009 to promote an inclusive and participatory approach to conserve snow leopards and their habitat.
  • PSL project was launched in states of Arunachal Pradesh, Jammu and Kashmir, Sikkim, Uttarakhand and Himachal Pradesh where the populations of snow leopard are found.

                                                                                                   

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Indian Policy

SAKSHAM Centres:

 Ministry of Rural Development (MoRD) launched 152 SAKSHAM centres as a part of Azadi ka Amrit Mahotsav.

Key Points:

  • A total of 152 Centres for Financial Literacy and Service Delivery (SAKSHAM Centres) have been launched under Deendayal Antyodaya Yojana   National Rural Livelihoods Mission.
  • These centres have been launched across 77 districts of 13 states during 4 8th October, 2021.
  • The Centre for Financial Literacy & Service Delivery (CFL&SD) would act as one stop solution/single window system for basic financial needs of Self Help Group (SHG) households in rural areas.

Management of these centres:

  • These Centers will be managed by SHG network, largely at the level of the Cluster Level Federations (CLFs) with the help of trained Community Resource Persons (CRPs).

Trained Community Resource Persons (CRPs):

  • These trained CRPs are provided six days residential training at Rural Self Employment Training Institutes (RSETIs).
  • RSETIs are established by the Lead Bank of the district.
  • All of these resources persons, popularly known as Financial Literacy Community Resource person (FL CRPs) also provided a training tool kit in vernacular languages.

Objectives:

  • The main objective of the center is to provide financial literacy & facilitate delivery of financial services (savings, credit, insurance, pensions etc.) to SHG members and rural poor.

SAKSHAM App:

  • MoRD has also launched a mobile & web based application called “SAKSHAM”.
  • SAKSHAM App will be used by the community resource person of the Centre to know the penetration of various financial services for each SHG & village, identify major gaps and accordingly provide training and deliver the required financial services.
  • The impact of the programme on regular interval for mid course correction in strategy, if any will also be measured by this application.

About DAY NRLM:

  • DAY NRLM (Deendayal Antyodaya Yojana – National Rural Livelihoods Mission) is a centrally sponsored programme, launched by the Ministry of Rural Development in June 2011.
  • The scheme is integration of the National Urban Livelihoods Mission (NULM) and National Rural Livelihoods Mission (NRLM).
  • It was launched as ‘Aajeevika – National Rural Livelihoods Mission (NRLM)’ by the Government of India's Ministry of Rural Development in the year 2011.
  • It was renamed as DAY NRLM in 2015.
  • DAY NRLM is the flagship program of GoI for promoting poverty reduction through building strong institutions of the poor, particularly women, and enabling these institutions to access a range of financial services and livelihoods.
  • This initiative was launched with the following objectives: 
  • To eliminate rural poverty by creating effective and efficient institutional platforms to enable the rural poor to increase their household income by means of sustainable livelihood enhancements and better access to financial services across the country..
  • To harness the innate capabilities of the poor and complements them with capacities (information, knowledge, skills, tools, finance and collectivization) to participate in the growing economy of the country.

Functions:

  • Its function involves working with community institutions through community professionals in the spirit of self help which is a unique proposition of DAY NRLM.

Implementation:

  • It is implemented in a Mission mode by special purpose vehicles (autonomous state societies) with dedicated implementation support units at the national, state, district and block levels, using professional human resources in order to provide continuous and long term handholding support to each rural poor family.

The scheme was launched through investment support by the World Bank.

 

Sub schemes under DAY NLM:

Some of the schemes launched under DAY NLM are:

  • Aajeevika Grameen Express Yojana.
  • Deen Dayal Upadhyay –Grameen Kaushalya Yojan.
  • Start up Village Entrepreneurship Programme.
  • Mahila Kisan Sahshaktikaran Pariyojana.

                                        

IRSDC: The Indian Railways (IR) has recently ordered the dissolution of Indian Railways Stations Development Corporation (IRSDC) on the basis of recommendation of Principal Economic Advisor of Finance Ministry, Sanjeev Sanyal.

Key Highlights:

  • This step has been taken as part of a measure to rationalise railway bodies, the Railway Board announced that it would shut down IRSDC, and transfer the stations under its management to the respective zonal railways.
  • This move is in line with the rationalization of railway bodies by closing or merging multiple organizations.
  • The Railway Board has ordered the initiation of all necessary procedural formalities for closure of IRSDC.
  • The stations managed by IRSDC as well as all the projects related documents will be handed over to respective Zonal Railways.
  • With this move, IRSDC is the second organization under the Ministry of Railways that will be shut down.

Note: Earlier, on September 7, 2021, Indian railway had shut down the closure of Indian Railways Organization for Alternative Fuel (IROAF).

About IRSDC:

  • Indian Railway Stations Development Corporation Limited (IRSDC) was a special purpose vehicle was a special purpose vehicle owned by the Rail Land Development Authority, RITES and Ircon International.
  • All three companies of Indian Railways are owned by Indian Railway Ministry.
  • It was incorporated on April 12, 2012. On October 18, 2021, Railway Board announced to shut down IRSDC in a bid to rationalize railway bodies.
  • It was at the core of Indian railway’s mission of transforming railway stations in India into world class 24*7 hubs.
  • It is also a nodal agency and main Project Development Agency (PDA) for redevelopment of stations.

                                                                         

PLI Scheme for Specialty Steel: The Union Cabinet recently chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi has approved Production Linked Incentive (PLI) Scheme for Specialty Steel which was notified on 29th July 2021.

Highlights:

  • Based on feedback received, and on the basis of the scheme notified earlier, rules to implement the scheme were prepared in the form of guidelines.
  • The Guidelines for an effective implementation of PLI Scheme was notified on 20th Oct 2021.

Benefits:

  • The benefit of this scheme will accrue to both big players i.e. integrated steel plants and to the smaller players (secondary steel players).
  • It is expected that the speciality steel production will become 42 million tonnes by the end of 2026 27.
  • This will ensure that approximately 2.5 lakh crores worth of speciality steel will be produced and consumed in the country which would otherwise have been imported.
  • Similarly, the export of specialty steel will become around 5.5 million tonnes as against the current 1.7 million tonnes of specialty steel getting FOREX of Rs 33,000 crore.

About Specialty Steel:

Specialty steel is value added steel wherein normal finished steel is worked upon by way of coating, plating, heat treatment, etc to convert it into high value added steel which can be used in various strategic applications like Defence, Space, Power, apart from automobile sector, specialized capital goods etc.

The five categories of specialty steel which have been chosen in the PLI Scheme are:

  • Coated/Plated Steel Products
  • High Strength/Wear resistant Steel
  • Specialty Rails
  • Alloy Steel Products and Steel wires
  • Electrical Steel

                         

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Indian polity

Contempt of Court: 

The Attorney General (AG) for India KK Venugopal recently declined to grant consent to initiate criminal contempt proceedings against the National President of Azad Samaj Party, Chandra Shekhar Azad.

  • He had made comments leveling allegations against the judges of the Supreme Court.

Background:

  • The Attorney General (AG) was considering a request to grant consent under Section 15(1)(b) of the Contempt of Courts Act, 1971 to initiate contempt proceedings against Azad.

What does Contempt of court mean?

  • Contempt of court is the offense of being disobedient to or disrespectful toward a court of law and its officers in the form of behavior that opposes or defies the authority, justice and dignity of the court.

About the law on contempt of courts:

  • The Contempt of Courts Act 1971 defines civil and criminal contempt.
  • It lays down the powers and procedures by which courts can penalize contempt, as well as the penalties that can be given for the offence of contempt.

Why is the consent of the Attorney General (AG) required to initiate contempt proceedings?

  • The main reason behind requiring the consent of the AG before taking cognizance of a complaint is to save the time of the court.
  • This is also necessary because judicial time is misspent if pointless petitions are made and the court is the first forum for bringing them in.
  • The AG’s consent is meant to be a safeguard against pointless petitions, as it is deemed that the AG, as an officer of the court, will independently ascertain whether the complaint is indeed valid.

 What happens if the AG denies consent?

  • If the AG denies consent, the matter all but ends.
  • However, the complainant can, separately bring the issue to the notice of the court and urge the court to take suo motu cognizance.
  • Article 129 of the Constitution gives the Supreme Court the power to initiate contempt cases on its own, independent of the motion brought before it by the AG or with the consent of the AG.

Under what circumstances is the AG’s consent not needed?

  • The AG’s consent is mandatory when a private citizen wants to initiate a case of contempt of court against a person.
  • However, when the court itself initiates a contempt of court case then the consent of AG is not required. This is because the court is exercising its inherent powers under the Constitution to punish for contempt and such Constitutional powers cannot be restricted because the AG declined to grant consent.

                                                                                

Informal Workers: The Supreme Court recently held that part time employees in a government run institution are not entitled to seek regularization as they are not working against any sanctioned post in the Government.

  • The judgment came on a plea concerning the regularization of part time sweepers at a post office in Chandigarh.

Key Points:

  • In a recent judgment, the Bench of Justices M.R. Shah and A.S. Bopanna clarified that there cannot be any permanent continuance of part time temporary employees.
  • It is further observed that mere continuance every year of seasonal work during the period when work was available does not constitute a permanent status.
  • It was a settled proposition of law that regularization could be only as per the policy declared by the State/Government and “nobody can claim the regularization as a matter of right”.
  • The apex court also said that the regularization can be only as per the regularization policy declared by the State/government and nobody can claim the regularization as a matter of right "dehors" (outside the scope of) the regularization policy.

                                      

Modi Van: Home Minister Amit Shah recently flagged off Five Mobile Medical Vans dubbed as 'Modi Van' under the 'Seva Hi Sangathan' programme.

Key Highlights

  • The Modi van was flagged off in the Kaushambi district of Uttar Pradesh to commemorate Prime Minister Narendra Modi completing 20 years as the Head of Government.
  • PM Modi completed 20 years as the head of a government, including over 13 years as Gujarat chief minister this month.
  • He served as Gujarat CM between 2001 and 2014.

About Modi Van:

  • Five Mobile Medical Vans will operate in five Assembly Constituencies in Kaushambi district of Uttar Pradesh.
  • They will work under the aegis of Kaushambi Vikas Parishad run by BJP's National Secretary Vinod Sonkar.
  • These vans have a a 32 inch television and a high speed internet service which will broadcast PM Modi's monthly radio broadcast 'Mann Ki Baat'.
  • The van also consists of telemedicine.
  • These vans are equipped with a machine that can conduct 39 tests, including those for diabetes, with blood samples in one go.
  • This van will be used to administer the oath to the people of the village for cleanliness and plastic free.

                             

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International

International Day for the Eradication of Poverty:

 The International day for Eradication of Poverty is observed October 17 every year globally.

Key Points:

This year marks the 28th anniversary of International Day for the Eradication of Poverty.

The day is devoted to present and promote concrete activities with regard to eradicating poverty and destitution and acknowledge the effort and struggle of people living in poverty.

The day aims to raise awareness of the need to eradicate poverty and destitution around the world, particularly in developing countries.

Theme of 2021:

The theme for International Day for the Eradication of Poverty 2021 is “Building forward together: Ending Persistent Poverty, Respecting all People and our Planet.”

History:

On December 22, 1992, the UN General Assembly adopted resolution 47/196 and declared October 17 as the International Day for Eradication of Poverty.

The event was first commemorated in Paris, France, in 1987 at the Human Rights and Liberties Plaza at the Trocadéro to honor victims of poverty, hunger, violence, and fear.

This year also marks the 32nd anniversary of the Call to Action by Father Joseph Wresinski — which inspired the observance of October 17 as the World Day for Overcoming Extreme Poverty — and the recognition by the United Nations of the day as the International Day for the Eradication of Poverty.

The commemorative stone was unveiled by Joseph Wresinski, founder of the International Movement ATD Fourth World.

World Bank Report:

The ongoing COVID19 outbreak has shaken the world and has resulted in reversing decades of progress in the fight against poverty and extreme poverty.

According to the World Bank report, published by the United Nations, between 88 and 115 million people have been pushed towards poverty.

Majority of the people are from South Asian and SubSaharan countries, during the crisis.

This number is expected to have risen, ranging between 143 and 163 million in the year 2021, adding up to the 1.3 billion people already living in poverty before the global pandemic.

Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs):

The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) aims to eradicate poverty in all its forms by 2030.

The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development promises to create sound policy framework based on propoor and gendersensitive development strategies to ensure that by 2030 all men and women have equal rights to economic resources, access to basic services.

 

4th ISA General Assembly: The fourth general assembly of The International Solar Alliance (ISA) is being held virtually between October 18th and October 21st, 2021.

Key Facts:

  • It is presided over by Minister for Power, New and Renewable Energy, Government of India (GoI) and the President of the ISA Assembly.
  • The Assembly will deliberate on key initiatives in the solar energy sector including the operationalization of India’s One Sun One World One Grid (OSOWOG) initiative.
  • The Assembly will also deliberate on the USD 1 trillion Solar Investment Roadmap for 2030 and approval of a Blended Financial Risk Mitigation Facility.
  • World leaders of ISA member countries will not only discuss the strategic plan of the ISA for the next five years but also discuss about the partnership with Global Energy Alliance (GEA) to scale up technical and financial support to LDCs and SIDS.

About ISA Assembly:

  • The Assembly is the apex decisionmaking body of International Solar Alliance (ISA).
  • The assembly is represented by each member country.
  • This body makes decisions concerning the implementation of the ISA’s Framework Agreement and coordinated actions to be taken to achieve its objective.
  • The Assembly meets annually at the Ministerial level at the seat of the ISA, assesses the aggregate effect of the programmes and other activities in terms of deployment of solar energy, performance, reliability, as well as cost and scale of finance.

About ISA:

  • The ISA is an alliance of 121 countries initiated by India, most of them being sunshine countries, which lie either completely or partly between the Tropic of Cancer and the Tropic of Capricorn.
  • The alliance was founded on 30 November 2015 climate change conference in Paris.
  • It is the first treatybased international government organization which is headquartered in Gurugram, India.
  • It is the nodal agency to implement the global electricity grid plan of India called “One Sun One World One Grid (OSOWOG)”.
  • The current DG of ISA is Ajay Mathur.

About OSOWOG:

  • OSOWOG is the acronym for One Sun One World One Grid.
  • OSOWOG is a transnational electricity grid supplying power all over the world.
  • It was first proposed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s during the first assembly of the International Solar Alliance (ISA) in 2018.

Vision:

  • It is an initiative by India, to interconnect global renewable energy systems with the vision ‘The Sun Never Sets’.

Objective and Aim:

  • It was proposed with an objective build global consensus about sharing solar resources among more than 140 countries of West Asia and SouthEast Asia.
  • OSOWOG aims to build and scaleup interregional energy grids to share solar energy across borders, leverage the differences between time zones, seasons, pricing, and resources of different countries. It will also aid in decarbonizing energy production which is a major source of global greenhouse gas emissions.

 

New Quad Forum: The Indian External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar and his counterparts from Israel, the United States, and the UAE have agreed to launch a new quadrilateral economic cooperation forum between the countries.

Highlights:

  • Jaishankar is currently in Israel on a fiveday visit.
  • He was accompanied by his Israeli counterpart, Yair Lapid, while other couterparts Antony Blinken, the United States Secretary of State, and Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan, the United Arab Emirates Foreign Minister, joined him virtually.

Key Points of the meeting:

  • A statement was issued by the Israeli Foreign Ministry that after the meeting the ministers have decided to establish an international forum for economic cooperation.  
  • The four Ministers discussed the possibilities for joint infrastructure projects in the fields of transportation, technology, maritime security, economics, and trade.
  • They also discussed combating climate change, energy cooperation, as well as ways to counter the COVID19 pandemic.
  • It was decided that each country will appoint seniorlevel professionals to a joint working group that will form options for cooperation in the areas identified by the ministers.
  • The aim is to hold an inperson meeting of the ministers in the coming months at Expo 2020 in Dubai
  • Billed as the "quad", the meeting seems to be a direct outcome of the Abraham accords of 2020.

Note: India, Israel and the UAE have already established trilateral cooperation—in trade and investment—since the Abraham Accords.

About Abraham Accords:

  • The Abraham Accords are a joint statement between State of Israel, the United Arab Emirates, and the United States of America, reached on August 13, 2020.
  • Subsequently, the term was used to refer collectively to agreements between Israel and the United Arab Emirates (the Israel–United Arab Emirates normalization agreement) and Bahrain, respectively (the Bahrain–Israel normalization agreement).
  • It is the first ArabIsraeli peace deal in 26 years.
  • The accords led to the normalization of ties between Israel and the United Arab Emirates, with both sides opening direct commercial, telephonic links.

 

Ecuador Crisis: A state of emergency has been recently declared in the South American Country, Ecuador.

Key Points:

  • President of Ecuador Guillermo Lasso declared a 60day state of emergency on October 18, 2021, due to rise in violent drug crimes.
  • Ecuador is currently grappling with a surge in violent crime and deadly prison riots.
  • The Ecuador government pointed out that drug trafficking and consumption were the main drivers behind an increase in murders, home burglary, thefts of vehicles and goods, and muggings.

What measures are being taken by the Government?

  • Under the emergency measures, the armed forces and police will work together to carry out “arms checks, inspections, 24hour patrols, and drug searches, among other actions.

About Ecuador:

  • Ecuador, officially the Republic of Ecuador is a country in northwestern South America.
  • Ecuador is named after the Equator, the imaginary line around the Earth that splits the country in two. Most of the country is in the Southern Hemisphere.
  • It is not a landlocked country and is surrounded by Colombia to the north, Peru to the east & south, and Pacific Ocean to the west.
  • Galapagos Islands in Pacific is also a part of Ecuador.
  • The capital of Ecuador is Quito.
  • The currency used here is United States Dollar.

Additional Info about Ecuador:

  • Ecuador achieved independence in 1820 as part of Gran Colombia.
  • It emerged as its own sovereign state in the year 1830.
  • It is a founding member of United Nations, NonAligned Movement and Organization of American States.
  • It is the first country in world to recognize rights of nature or ecosystem rights through Constitution of Ecuador in 2008.

 

BarbadosRoad to Republic: Barbados has elected its firstever president as it prepares to become a republic by replacing Queen Elizabeth as head of state.

Key Facts:

  • In a decisive step toward shedding the Caribbean island’s colonial past Dame Sandra Mason, 72, is set to be sworn in on 30 November, which will mark the country's 55th anniversary of independence from Britain.
  • Sandra Mason was elected by a twothirds vote of a joint session of the country’s House of Assembly and Senate.

Background:

  • Barbados, a former British colony that gained independence in 1966, had long maintained ties with the British monarchy.
  • But calls for full sovereignty and homegrown leadership had risen in recent years.
  • The government announced the plan to move to a republic status in 2020.
  • The change had already been recommended by a constitutional review in 1998.

About Dame Sandra Mason:

  • She is a former jurist who has been governorgeneral of the island since 2018.
  • She was also the first woman to serve on the Barbados Court of Appeals.

About Barbados:

  • Barbados is an eastern Caribbean island and an independent British Commonwealth nation.
  • With a population of about 285,000, Barbados is one of the more populous and prosperous Caribbean islands.
  • Its Capital is Bridgetown.
  • The currency used here is Barbados Dollar.
  • The current Prime Minister of Barbados is Mia Mottley.

Note:

  • Barbados will not be the first former British colony in the Caribbean to become a republic.
  • Guyana took that step in 1970, less than four years after gaining independence from Britain.
  • Trinidad and Tobago followed suit in 1976 and Dominica in 1978.

 

International Stuttering Awareness Day: International Stuttering Awareness Day (ISAD), or International Stammering Awareness Day, is an annual celebration held on October 22.  

Key Points:

  • ISAD is observed with an aim to raise public awareness of the millions of people who have a speech disorder of stuttering or stammering.
  • ISAD also celebrates the many notable figures who stammer who have made a mark on the world now and throughout history in the fields of science, politics, philosophy, art, cinema and music.

Theme of ISAD 2021:

The Theme of 2021 is “Speak the change you wish to see”.

History of International Stuttering Awareness Day:

  • October 22 was designated International Stuttering Awareness Day (ISAD) in 1998, spearheaded by Michael Sugarman, Oakland, California.
  • The ISAD is a special worldwide commitment to:
  • Educate people about this complex disorder
  • Work toward the prevention of stuttering in children
  • Let people know that help is available
  • Promote research to find the causes of stuttering.

About TISA:

  • TISA (The Indian Stammering Association) is helping people who have this speech disorder by counseling them and encouraging them to focus on their potential and on life itself rather than speech alone.

What is stuttering?

  • Stuttering also called stammering is a speech disorder characterized by the repetition of sounds, syllables, or words; prolongation of sounds; and interruptions in speech known as blocks.
  • Any individual who stutters knows exactly what he or she would like to say but has trouble producing a normal flow of speech.
  • There are 3 types of stuttering which are  developmental stuttering, neurogenic stuttering, and psychogenic stuttering.
  • The exact cause of stuttering is unknown.

Some of the famous people who stutter are as follows:

Writers, authors, producers, composers, and artists:

  • Novelist Lewis Carroll who wrote Alice's Adventures in Wonderland
  • Jim Davis who is the cartoonist from rural Indiana who created Garfield.
  • Charles Darwin the British naturalist who is best known for his work The Origin of Species.
  • Legendary actress Marilyn Monroe
  • Anthony Quinn who is an Academy Award winning actor. He is also a painter and a writer.
  • Hrithik roshan who is an award winning Indian actor.
  • Elvis Presley, the singer and actor known as the king of Rock and Roll and is still regarded by many as none of the most popular icons of the 20th century.

Sports Personalities:

  • Greg Louganis who is the diving champion best known for winning backtoback Olympic titles in both the 3m and 10m diving events.
  • Basketball star Kenyon Martin has been a twotime member of basketball's Team USA and was selected to the 2004 NBA AllStar Team
  • Tiger Woods who is one of the most successful golfers of all time.

Government leaders & public officials

  • The President of United States Joe Biden.
  • Prince Albert of Monaco
  • King George VI who was an inspiration to his country during World War II when he addressed the empire in radio broadcasts.
  • Winston Churchill who served as the British prime minister from 1940 to 1945 and again from 1951 until 1955.

 

BRICS Partnership on New Industrial Revolution (PartNIR): India as the current BRICS Chair convened the 7th Meeting of BRICS Communications Ministers on 22nd October 2021.

Highlights:

  • The meeting was chaired by the Minister of State for Communications of the Republic of India, Shri Devusinh Chauhan, through video conferencing.
  • The delegation was led by the following –
  • Mr. Fábio Salustino Mesquita De Faria, Minister of Communications of the Federative Republic of BRAZIL,
  • Ms. Bella Cherkesova, Deputy Minister of Digital Development, Communications and Mass Media of the Russian Federation,
  • Mr. Xiao Yaqing, Minister of Industry and Information Technologies of the People's Republic of CHINA, and
  • Ms. Khumbudzo Phophi Silence Ntshavheni, Minister of Communications & Digital Technologies of the Republic of SOUTH AFRICA.

Key Points:

  • The Ministers adopted the Terms of References of Digital BRICS Task Force.
  • They supported the advancement in work of the BRICS Partnership on New Industrial Revolution (PartNIR) across several Working Groups meeting in 2021.
  • They also appreciated the discussion on the "360degree approach on New Industrial Revolution" in a seminar during Working Group on ICTs Cooperation
  • They encouraged continuous cooperation in ICTs activities in international organizations and multilateral forums such as the International Telecommunications Union and other organizations.
  • The proposal to host the Digital BRICS Forum annually to facilitate sharing of information and knowledge, practices, initiatives, etc. on agreed cooperation areas was also adopted by the Ministers.

About BRICS:

  • It is the acronym coined for an association of five major emerging national economies which are Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa.
  • Originally the first four were grouped as "BRIC", before the induction of South Africa in 2010.
  • The BRICS members are known for their significant influence on regional affairs.
  • All are also the members of G20.
  • Since 2009, the BRICS nations have met annually at formal summits.
  • BRICS headquarter is situated at Shanghai, China.
  • BRICS members are known for their influence in regional affairs.

 

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National

BSRMS: 

The University Grants Commission has issued notification recognizing Bachelor of Sowa Rigpa Medicine and Surgery (BSRMS) under the specified Degrees.

Note: Sowa Rigpa is a traditional and popular medicinal practice in the Himalayan region.

Key Points:

  • It was issued in a gazette notification on 14th of October 2021.
  • As per the notification, UGC has recognized BSRMS as a new degree under Medicine & Surgery, Ayurveda, Unani, Homeopathy and Health & Allied Sciences, Pharmacy, Paramedical and Nursing.
  • Duration of the degree will be of minimum of five years and Ten plus Two (102) is fixed as entry qualification.
  • So far, only two deemed to be universities, Central Institute of Higher Tibetan Studies (CIHTS) located in Saranath and namely Central Institute of Buddhist Studies (CIBS) in Leh are offering the degree in Sowa Rigpa medicine.
  • With UGC recognition, any university could offer BSRMS degree in their colleges.

Significance:

  • This recognition would surely help practicing and in preserving the traditional Sowa Rigpa medicinal practices.

National Research Institute of Sowa Rigpa (NRISR):

  • The National Research Institute for Sowa- Rigpa(NRISR) at Leh, Ladakh was established by the Ministry of AYUSH in 2009.
  • The current Director of NRISR is Dr. Padma Gurmet.

About Sowa Rigpa:

Sowa Rigpa is a traditional system of medicine practiced in the Himalayan belt of India.

The father of Sowa Rigpa is believed to be Yuthog Yonten Gonpo from Tibet.

It is popularly practiced in countries namely, India, Bhutan, Nepal, Mongolia, and Russia.

The majority of theory and practice of Sowa-Rigpa is similar to “Ayurveda”.

The basic theory of Sowa-Rigpa may be indicated in terms of the following five points:

  • The body in disease as the locus of treatment.
  • Antidote, i.e., the treatment.
  • The method of treatment through antidote.
  • Medicine that cures the disease.
  • Materia Medica, Pharmacy & Pharmacology.

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CII-Future Tech 2021: The Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) recently organized an International Conference and Exhibition on Digital technologies, “Future Tech 2021- a Journey of digital transformation to technology adoption and acceleration”.

Highlights:

Future Tech 2021 has been organized from October 19 to 27, 2021.

The inaugural session was virtually attended by Rajeev Chandrasekhar, Minister of State in the Ministry of Electronics & IT, Ministry of Skill Development and Entrepreneurship.

Theme:

The focus theme of the International conference  is “Driving technologies for building the future, we all can trust”

The theme will have 5 pillars: Strategy, Growth, Resilience, Inclusiveness, Trust.

Significance:

The International conference will serve as a platform for Indian industry and entrepreneurs to understand the nuances of technologies and identify the right approach and technologies for their business as well as B2B partnerships.

About Confederation of Indian Industry (CII):

The Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) is a non-governmental trade association and advocacy group.

CII was founded in 1895.

CII engages business, political, academic, and other leaders of society to shape global, regional, and industry agendas.

It is a membership-based organization.

It is headquartered in New Delhi, India.

The current Director-General (DG) is Chandrajit Banerjee.

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Indian Telegraph Right of Way (Amendment) Rules, 2021: The Indian government recently notified “Indian Telegraph Right of Way (Amendment) Rules, 2021” for incorporating provisions related to nominal one-time compensation and uniform procedure for establishment of overground telegraph line in the Indian Telegraph Right of Way Rules, 2016.

Key Highlights:

Under the amended rules, the government has fixed a cap of Rs 1,000 per km as the amount of one-time compensation for the establishment of an overground telegraph line.

The Amendment Rules have simplified the documentation process for Right of Way (RoW) application for overground telegraph line.

Earlier, RoW rules covered only underground Optical Fibre Cable (OFC) and mobile towers.

As per the Amendment Rules, there will not be any other fee other than the administrative fee and restoration charges to establish, repair, maintain, transfer, shift, or work the underground and overground telegraph infrastructure.

How has the Amendment Rules eased permission procedures?

As per the rules, these amendments will aid in easing RoW related permission procedures for establishing and augmentation of digital communications infrastructure across India.

With a robust pan India digital infrastructure, new rules will also help in bridging the digital divide between rich & poor and rural & urban areas.

Significance:

These amendments will ease Right of Way related permission procedures for establishment and augmentation of Digital Communications Infrastructure across the country.

New rules have a provision of strengthening e-governance and financial inclusion.

It not only seeks to bring in ease of doing businesses but will also fulfil the information and communication needs of citizens as well as enterprises.

The Amendment Rules as a part of the Gati Shakti National Master Plan stipulates that necessary infrastructure is to be built at the lowest logistical costs, stated Cellular Operators Association of India.

With the Amended rules, the clarity for laying overhead Optical Fibre Cable (OFC) will also be available that will go a long way in establishing necessary infrastructure for the rollout of 5G projects in India.

What is RoW?

The Right of Way (RoW) in the telecommunications sector is referred to as the legal right, allowing online filing of application.

It basically means a legal framework for setting up telecom towers, laying optical fibre cables (OFC), improving coordination among companies, and settling disputes.

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PM GatiShakti National Master Plan: The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA) has recently approved PM GatiShakti National Master Plan, including implementation, monitoring and support mechanism, for providing multi-modal connectivity.

Background:

  • Prime Minister Modi had launched the Rs 100-lakh crore PM GatiShakti NMP for multi-modal connectivity on 13th October, 2021.
  • It was launched to develop infrastructure to reduce logistic costs and boost the economy.

Key Points:

  • Implementation framework includes Empowered Group of Secretaries (EGOS), Network Planning Group (NPG) and Technical Support Unit (TSU) with required technical competencies.
  • The Empowered Group of Secretaries (EGOS) will be headed by the Cabinet Secretary and secretaries of 18 ministries as members, among others.
  • The main task of EGOS is to review and monitor implementation of the PM GatiShakti NMP to ensure logistics efficiency.
  • A Multimodal Network Planning Group (NPG) will be constituted with representation from the heads of Network Planning Division from various Ministries and Departments.
  • The NPG will be supported by a Technical Support Unit (TSU) located in Logistics Division of Ministry of Commerce and Industry.

Significance:

  • With this approval, PM GatiShakti shall bring in various stakeholders together and help integrate different modes of transportation.
  • PM Gatishakti NMP for multi-modal connectivity will ensure holistic governance at the Centre of which are people of India, industries of India, manufacturers of India and farmers of India.

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People In News

NRDC: Commodore Amit Rastogi (Retd), after an illustrious career of 34 years in Indian Navy recently took over as Chairman & Managing Director of National Research Development Corporation (NRDC).

  • He took charges on October 18, 2021.

About Amit Rastogi:

  • He is an alumnus of College of Defence Management, Secunderabad and Defence Services Staff College Wellington.
  • He has held diverse portfolios in Indian Navy, state-of-the-art technology intensive combat systems and carries rich experience in induction of missile systems.
  • He has worked as Director of Electrical Engineering at Integrated Headquarters in Ministry of Defence for five years.
  • He has also served as Additional General Manager Tech Services for two years at Naval Dockyard.

About NRDC:

The National Research Development Corporation (NRDC) is an enterprise of Department of Scientific and Industrial Research (DSIR), Ministry of Science & Technology, Government of India (GoI).

It engages in the development, promotion and transfer of technologies emanating from various national R&D institutions.

Background of NRDC:

  • NRDC was a non-departmental government body was established by the British Government for transferring technology from public sector to private sector.
  • It was set up by Board of Trade in accordance with the Development of Inventions Act 1948.
  • It was established by Attlee’s Labour government to meet the perceived need at the time in order to exploit several products that Defence Research Establishment had developed during World War II.
  • Lord Giffard was its first managing director.
  • In 1981, the NRDC was combined with National Enterprise Board (NEB) to form British Technology Group (BTG).

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AMFI: A Balasubramanian who is the is Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Aditya Birla Sun Life Asset Management has recently been elected as the new Chairman of the Association of Mutual Funds in India (AMFI).

Highlights:

  • He will be replacing Nilesh Shah, the Managing Director of Kotak Mutual Fund.
  • Meanwhile, Radhika Gupta, the MD and CEO of Edelweiss AMC, has been appointed as vice-chair of AMFI.

About AMFI:

  • The Association of Mutual Funds in India (AMFI) is dedicated to developing the Indian Mutual Fund Industry on professional, healthy and ethical lines.
  • It main objective is to enhance and maintain standards in all areas with a view to protecting and promoting the interests of mutual funds and their unit holders.
  • It was founded on 22 August 1995.
  • AMFI is headquartered in Mumbai, Maharashtra.

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Awards:

Dr Vivek Lall: An Indian American scientist Dr Vivek Lall, on October 18, 2021, was conferred with the Lifetime Achievement Award at Ritossa Family Summits in Dubai.

Key Highlights:

  • Dr Vivek Lall has played a key role to enhance India-US defence trade.
  • He was awarded in recognition of his ‘outstanding vision, dedication, and success’.
  • The UAE Minister of State for Foreign Trade Dr Thani Bin Ahmed Al Zeyoudi along with daughter of King Harald and Queen Sonja of Norway princess Martha Louise  and emerging young business tycoon and a member of the ruling family of UAE Sheikh Mohamed Bin Ahmed Bin Hamdan Al Nahyan were present at the event.

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Sakharov Prize: The European Parliament recently awarded the European Union’s top human rights prize, Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought for 2021, to the imprisoned Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny.

 Key Highlights:

  • The 45-year-old activist has been awarded for his immense personal bravery to fight tirelessly against the corruption of Vladimir Putin’s regime.
  • He was poisoned with a nerve agent last year and promptly arrested upon his return to Moscow from treatment in Germany and later imprisoned.

About the Award:

  • The Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought, commonly known as the Sakharov Prize, is an honorary award for individuals or groups who have dedicated their lives to the defense of human rights and freedom of thought.
  • It has been named after Russian scientist and dissident Andrei Sakharov.
  • The prize was established in December 1988 by the European Parliament.
  • The prize honours individuals and groups of people who have dedicated their lives to the defence of human rights and freedom of thought.
  • The first prize was awarded jointly to South African Nelson Mandela and Russian Anatoly Marchenko.

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Places In News

Mera Ghar Mere Naam scheme: The Chief Minister of Punjab Charanjit Singh Channi launched the ‘Mera Ghar Mere Naam’ Scheme.

Key Points:

  • He launched the scheme on October 17, 2021.
  • This scheme will give ownership rights to the people living in houses within the ‘lal lakir’ of villages and cities.

Note: Lal lakir refers to land which is part of the village habitation. Such land is used only for non-agriculture purposes.

Significance:

  • The scheme will provide much needed assistance to all the people, including those from underprivileged and needy strata.

Background:

  • Earlier, this scheme was launched for the residents of villages only but now it has been extended to eligible residents of cities within the lal lakir.

Drone Survey and Property Cards:

  • The state government, in order to implement the scheme has tasked the Revenue department to undertake drone survey of these residential properties across the rural and urban areas for the purpose of digital mapping.
  • After proper identification or verification, all eligible residents would be given the property cards to confer proprietary rights upon them in a time-bound manner.
  • Before this, beneficiaries will be given a time of 15 days for filing their objections. If no reply is received from them, property card will be issued.
  • The property cards will serve the purpose of registry against which they can avail loans from banks or even sell their properties, enhancing its monetary value.

About Punjab:

  • Punjab is a state in northern India.
  • It is bounded by the Indian states of Jammu and Kashmir to the north, Himachal Pradesh to the northeast, Haryana to the south and southeast, and Rajasthan to the southwest and by the country of Pakistan to the west.
  • Punjab in its present form came into existence on 1 November 1966.
  • The city of Chandigarh, within the Chandigarh union territory, is the joint capital of Punjab and Haryana.
  • Punjab means "The Land of Five Waters", which are Jhelum, Chenab, Ravi, Sutlej, and Beas.
  • The current Chief Minister and Governor of Punjab are Charanjit Singh Channi and Banwarilal Purohit respectively.

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Syama Prasad Mookerjee Port: For the first time in the history of major ports, Bharat Petroleum Corporation Limited (BPCL) carried out the ship-to-ship (STS) transfer operation of LPG undertaken at Syama Prasad Mookerjee Port.

About Syama Prasad Mookerjee Port:

  • Port of Kolkata or Kolkata Port, officially known as Syama Prasad Mookerjee Port Trust (Formerly Kolkata Port Trust), is the only riverine major port of India, located in the city of Kolkata, West Bengal.
  • It is located around 203 kilometres from the sea.
  • It is the oldest operating port in India and was constructed by the British East India Company in 1870.
  • It is owned by the Ministry of Ports, Shipping and Waterways, Government of India (GoI).
  • Kolkata is a freshwater port with no variation in salinity.
  • The port has two distinct dock systems — Kolkata Dock system (KDS) at Kolkata and a deep water dock at Haldia Dock Complex (HDC), Haldia.

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Kushinagar International Airport: Prime Minister Narendra Modi, on October 20, 2021, inaugurated the Kushinagar international airport in the presence of representatives from 12 countries.

Key points:

  • The airport is located in eastern Uttar Pradesh. It is the third international airport in the state and will mainly service the Buddhist tourism circuit.
  • It has been built at an estimated cost of Rs. 260 crore, by the Airport Authority of India (AAI).
  • It has the longest runway in Uttar Pradesh.
  • It will facilitate domestic & international pilgrims to visit the Mahaparinirvana sthal of Lord Buddha in Kushinagar.
  • The airport seeks to help in boosting tourism on the Buddhist circuit.
  • The first International flight to land at the Kushinagar International Airport was the Sri Lankan Airlines flight carrying Sri lankan delegation of over hundred Buddhist Monks & dignitaries.

Buddha's link with Kushinagar:

  • Among the most important of Buddhist pilgrimages, Kushinagar was the final resting place where The Buddha attained Mahaparinirvana (ultimate salvation) after his death in c. 483 BC.
  • Today’s Kushinagar is identified with Kushinara, which was the capital of the ancient Malla republic.
  • It was one of the 16 mahajanapadas of the 6th-4th centuries BC.
  • The area went on to be part of the kingdoms of the Mauryas, Shungas, Kushanas, Guptas, Harshavardhana, and the Palas.
  • Kushinara is believed to have been inhabited until at least the 12th century.
  • The first excavations in Kushinagar were carried out by Alexander Cunningham and ACL Carlleyle, who unearthed the main stupa and the 6-metre-long statue of the Reclining Buddha in 1876.
  • Kushinagar is among the very few places in India where The Buddha is depicted in reclining form.

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Mount Manipur: The Union government, as a tribute to the freedom fighters of Manipur, rechristened Mount Harriet, a historical tourist spot in the Andaman and Nicobar islands, as ‘Mount Manipur’.

Key Highlights:

  • The announcement was made by Union Home Minister Amit Shah during the visit to Port Blair.
  • According to the Union Home Minister Amit Shah, Manipur played a significant role in resisting the British in the Northeast during the First War of Independence in 1857 and also especially during the historic 1891 Anglo-Manipur war.
  • The Union Government also announced that it will assist the Manipur state government in constructing a memorial site at Mount Manipur in Andaman & Nicobar Islands.

About Mount Harriet:

  • Mount Harriet is the third highest peak in the Andaman and Nicobar Islands.
  • It served as the summer headquarters of the Chief Commissioner during British Raj.
  • The peak is said to be named after British artist and photographer, Harriet Christina Tytler, who was the wife of Robert Christopher Tytler, a soldier who served in the British Indian Army.
  • Between 1862 and 1864, Tytler was the superintendent of the penal colony at Port Blair.
  • Close by is the Mount Harriet National Park which is known for its wide variety of birds.

About Anglo-Manipur War of 1891:

  • Considered an epoch in the history of Manipur, the anglo-Manipur Was was fought between the kingdom of Manipur and the British for over a month in 1891.
  • After the Anglo-Manipur War of 1891, several Manipuris who had fought the British in the war, including Maharaja Kulachandra Dhwaja Singh, were exiled to the British penal colony in the Andaman Islands.
  • Since the cellular jail (Kalapani) was yet to be built, Kulachandra and the prisoners were kept on Mount Harriet, a hillock in what is now the Ferragunj tehsil of South Andaman district.
  • According to a British-era document from the Manipur State Archives, 23 men, including King Kulachandra and his brothers, were “transported for life” to the Andamans.
  • While some died there, Kulachandra was released and shifted elsewhere before his death.

The 23 are considered war heroes in Manipur. That is why Mount Harriet is an important symbol of the Anglo-Manipur War of 1891.

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Science and Technology

DLX1 Protein:

 Researchers at the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT), Kanpur, have recently discovered that a particular gene (DLX1) has an important role to play in the growth and development of prostate cancer.

Key Points:

  • DLX1 plays an important role in the development of jaws, skeleton, and interneurons in the brain
  • The DLX1 protein is found at elevated levels in prostate cancer patients, the reason why the DLX1 protein has been used as a urine-based biomarker.
  • The team of researchers at the institute has now found that the DLX1 protein which is expressed at higher levels in the prostate cancer cells, has a huge role in the growth and development of the tumour and the spread of the cancer to other organs in the body (metastasis).
  • Using small molecules as inhibitors, the researchers have shown in mice a new therapeutic strategy to treat people with DLX1-positive prostate cancer.

What is Prostate cancer?

  • Prostate cancer is cancer of the prostate gland.
  • It is a cancer in a man's prostate which is a small walnut-sized gland that produces seminal fluid.
  • Most prostate cancers are slow growing.
  • Factors that increase the risk of prostate cancer include older age, family history and race.

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World Thrombosis Day 2021: World thrombosis day is celebrated on 13th October across the world every year.

Key Points:

  • The main objective of this day is to raise awareness and educate citizens about the misunderstood disease of thrombosis.
  • On this day, various events, campaigns, and awareness camps are conducted by the authorities in the world to spreading awareness about the misunderstood disease of thrombosis.

Theme for World Thrombosis Day 2021:

  • The theme for World Thrombosis day 2021  is ‘eyes open to thrombosis’.
  • This theme focuses on the need to be alert and recognise the early warning signs of thrombosis before they become worse.

History:

  • In 2014, the International Society on Thrombosis and Haemostasis designated 13 October as the world Thrombosis day to mark the awareness of thrombosis.
  • This day also highlights the birthday of Rudolf Virchow. Rudolf Virchow was a biologist, physician and pathologist who discovered ‘thrombosis’.

About Thrombosis:

  • Thrombosis occurs when blood clots block veins or arteries.

Categories of Thrombosis:

  • There are three categories of causes of thrombosis: damage to the blood vessel (catheter or surgery), slowed blood flow (immobility), and/or thrombophilia (if the blood itself is more likely to clot).

Symptoms:

  • Symptoms include pain and swelling in one leg, chest pain, or numbness on one side of the body.
  • Complications of thrombosis can be life-threatening, such as a stroke or heart attack.

Treatment:

  • Treatment includes medicines that thin the blood or prevent clots, and using stents or catheters to open blocked vessels.

Prevention:

  • Prevention includes being active, quitting smoking, losing weight, and managing other health conditions.

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World Osteoporosis Day 2021: Every year, World Osteoporosis day is celebrated on 20 October in the world.

Key Points:

  • The main objective of this day is to raise global awareness about the prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of the disease.
  • It also reminds the governments, organizations, and public authorities to take actions related to osteoporosis and fracture-related issues.

Theme for 2021:

  • The theme World Osteoporosis Day 2021 is ‘Serve Up Bone Strength’.
  • This theme highlights the overall bone health and the harmful effects it can have on your well-being if it is ignored.

History:

  • In 1996, the United Kingdom’s National Osteoporosis Society celebrated the first World Osteoporosis day.
  • The European Commission also gave its support to the campaign.
  • In 1988, two major organizations took responsibility to raise global awareness and International Osteoporosis Foundation (IOF) was established.

About Osteoporosis:

  • The word 'osteoporosis' means 'porous bone.
  • The body constantly absorbs and replaces bone tissue.
  • With osteoporosis, new bone creation doesn't keep up with old bone removal.
  • It causes bones to become weak and fragile so that they break easily – even as a result of a minor fall, a bump, a sneeze, or a sudden movement.
  • Fractures caused by osteoporosis can be life-threatening and a major cause of pain and long-term disability.
  • Osteoporosis is a growing global problem worldwide.

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Banni buffalo IVF calf: India’s first IVF (in-vitro fertilisation) calf of Banni breed of buffaloes was recently born at a farmer’s house in Gir Somnath district of Gujarat.

Key Points:

  • With the birth of first IVF calf of a Buffalo breed namely Banni in the country, India’s OPU - IVF work has reached to next level.
  • Banni breed of buffalo is found primarily in the Kutch region of Gujarat.This first IVF Banni calf is born out of 6 Banni IVF pregnancies established at the doorsteps of a farmer, Vinay . L. Wala of Sushila Agro farms, located at Dhanej in Somnath district of Gujarat.
  • This process was carried out by JKBovagenix of NGO JK Trust which is a social initiative of Raymond Group in a bid to enhance the number of genetically superior buffaloes for increasing the milk production.

Background:

  • Prime MinisterNarendra Modi had talked about the Banni buffalo breed during his visit to Kutch region of Gujarat on December 15, 2020.
  • The very next day, i.e. December 16, 2020, Ovum Pick-Up (OPU) and aspiration processes for the in vitro fertilization (IVF) of Banni Buffaloes were planned.

About Banni buffalo:

  • Banni buffalo also known as “Kutchi” or “Kundi” is found primarily in Kutch district of Gujarat.
  • The word 'Banni' is specific to not only the buffaloes but as well as the pasture grass species which are native to this region
  • This breed of buffaloes is preserved by a local community of Kutch called the ‘Maldharis’.
  • An average Banni buffalo yields around 12 to 18 litres of milk each day.
  • It has also become the main source of livelihood for Maldharis, and they are also slowly gaining popularity in other regions such as Mumbai.

Characteristics of Banni Buffalo:

  • The Banni buffalo has a different genetic makeup as compared to more common breeds.
  • This genetic makeup allows for longer lactation periods, higher milk production potentials and also makes it disease resistant.
  • The Banni buffalo is well-adapted to survive the extreme weather conditions such as water scarcity, frequent droughts, low humidity and high temperatures, unlike other commonly found buffaloes such as the ‘Jaffarabadi’ and  ‘Murrah’.
  • It sustains itself in these harsh climatic conditions by consuming the naturally available grasses growing in this belt.

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Lucy Mission: American Space Agency, NASA, launched the first-of-its kind mission called ‘Lucy Mission‘to study Jupiter’s Trojan asteroids.

Key Highlights:

  • The Lucy probe was launched on a United Launch Alliance (ULA) Atlas V rocket from Space Launch Complex 41 at Cape Canaveral Space Force Station in Florida on October 16, 2021.
  • It is sent on a 12 year journey to the Planet Jupiter  to study the Trojan Asteroid for initial life traces on Earth.

About the Lucy mission:

  • Lucy mission is a 12-year expedition which will study a record number of asteroids.
  • The Lucy mission will study the Trojan Asteroids which are rocky objects orbiting the sun in two swarms that is, ahead of the path of Jupiter and one behind it.
  • The spacecraft will fly by a total of eight ancient asteroids to study about solar system’s evolution.
  • These include one main-belt asteroid and seven Jupiter Trojan asteroids.

Background:

  • Lucy Mission was chosen, along with the Psyche mission, on January 4, 2017 as Discovery Program missions 13 and 14 respectively by NASA.
  • Lucy Mission has been named after Lucy hominin skeleton, because study of Trojans will reveal the “fossils of planet formation”.

About Trojan asteroid:

  • Jupiter Trojans or Trojan asteroids or simply Trojans are a large group of celestial bodies that orbit the Sun in two swarms, one ahead of Jupiter and the other trailing behind it.
  • These asteroids are named after characters in Greek mythology.
  • They reside in dynamically stable zones 60° ahead and behind Jupiter.
  • They are located at the Lagrangian points, L4 and L5, located 60o in front of and behind Jupiter respectively.
  • These asteroids were formed in the aftermaths of the leftovers of the primordial material from which Jupiter and the other outer planets were formed.
  • As of now, about 7000 trojans are known.

 

 

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Sports

Sahdev Yadav: 

Sahdev Yadav, former Secretary-General of IWLF, was unanimously elected as the President of the Indian Weightlifting Federation (IWLF).

Key Highlights:

  • He has been elected for a for a four-year term.
  • S.H. Anand Gowde was elected as secretary general of the federation and Naresh Sharma the treasurer during the electoral congress Annual General Council Meeting at a city Hotel.
  • The elections were conducted by Returning Officer Narinder Paul Kaushik, Judicial Officer (Retd.), Delhi District Courts. Rakesh Gupta, joint secretary, Indian Olympic Association was present as the IOA observer.
  • A total of 10 vice presidents, four joint secretaries and seven executive committee members were also elected.

About IWLF:

  • Indian Weightlifting Federation otherwise known as IWLF, is the national governing body overseeing the sport of weightlifting in India.
  • It is headquartered New Delhi.
  • The Federation is affiliated to the Indian Olympic Association, New Delhi. It is a member of Asian Weightlifting Federation, Tehran and International Weightlifting Federation, Budapest.

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Charlellville National Competition: Indian Fencer Bhavani Devi recently won the Charlellville National Competition in France in the individual women’s Sabre event.

Key Points:

  • She made history at the Tokyo Olympics by becoming the first Indian to compete in the sport at the Games.
  • Presently, Bhavani is ranked 50th in the world.
  • She is the top-ranked fencer from India.

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UNESCO's Martial Arts Education Prize 2021: The well known Kung Fu Nuns of the Drukpa order of Buddhism has won the inaugural UNESCO’s Martial Arts Education Prize 2021.

Key Points:

  • The prize was given to them by the UNESCO International Centre for Martial Arts for their brave and heroic acts of service and championing of gender equality across the Himalayas.
  • The Prize recognizes the historic “acts of service and championing of gender equality in Himalayas” by the Kung Fu Nuns.
  • It also recognizes work by Kung Fu Nuns in Indian and Nepali communities, who were hit especially hard by the covid-19 pandemic. Pandemic had left the marginalised groups in need of supplies and education.
  • The Nuns empower young girls through martial arts, to defend themselves, build confidence, and take on leadership roles in their communities.

Why Kung Fu Nuns were awarded?

  • The Kung Fu Nuns belonging to the Drukpa Lineage of Indian Buddhism started learning Kung Fu to build strength and confidence.
  • They now use those skills to serve others by means of unimaginable acts of bravery including recent 2500 km “Bicycle Yatra for Peace” from Kathmandu, Nepal to Ladakh.
  • During the Bicycle Yatra, they spoke out against human trafficking as well as to their refusal to evacuate after 2015 Nepal earthquake for delivering critical aid to neglected regions.

About Kung Fu Nuns:

  • About Kung Fu Nuns are orders of Buddhist nuns, belonging to the Drukpa Kagyu lineage.
  • It is a thousand-year-old sect and is led by the Gyalwang Drukpa.
  • Their name comes from the proficiency order in Chinese martial arts.
  • They started learning Chinese martial arts in 2008 after the 12th Gyalwang Drukpa authorised training.
  • They are best known for their social activism and humanitarian work.
  • They occupy leadership roles across their nunneries, performing basic trades and management skills that have long been banned for Tibetan Buddhist women.

Note: All the nuns have the same first name, Jigme, which is Tibetan for "fearless one.

About the award:

  • The award has been launched by UNESCO ICM (International Centre of Martial Arts for Youth Development and Engagement), to collect and promote good practices of martial arts education(MA Edu.)

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2021 BNP Paribas Open: The 2021 BNP Paribas Open tennis tournament, also known as the 2021 Indian Wells Masters, was held from October 04 to 18, 2021 at Indian Wells, California, US.

Key Highlights:

  • This marks the 47th edition of the men’s BNP Paribas Open (ATP Masters) and the 32nd Edition of the women’s BNP Paribas Open (WTA Masters).
  • The list of winners is given below:

Men's Single Category:

  • Cameron Norrie won his maiden ATP Masters 1000 by winning the Men’s singles title at the 2021 BNP Paribas Open

Women's Single Category:

  • Paula Badosa defeats Victoria Azarenka to win the Women’s Singles Title

Men’s Doubles title:

  • John Peers and Filip Polasek won the Men’s Doubles title

Women’s Doubles title:

  • Elise Mertens and Su Wei Hsieh won the Women’s Doubles title

About BNP Paribas Open:

  • The BNP Paribas Open is the largest combined ATP Tour Masters 1000 and WTA 1000 tennis event.
  • It is annually held at the Indian Wells Tennis Garden in Indian Wells, California, the USA.

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