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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 2020 on a regular basis. Our hot topics are categorised such that they include political affairs, current news, science news, general knowledge, current government affairs and international affairs. Only studying India's current scenario or political affairs is not sufficient as you have to cover international events and affairs along with the Indian news space, as well as important and current events in the field of science and sports.

Current Affairs Topics 2021

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

Current Affairs september 6th to September 16th

Arts

Samvatsari:

 Prime Minister Narendra Modi recently greeted the people on the occasion of Samvatsari.

About Samvatsari:

  • Saṃvatsarī is the last day of Paryushana Shwetambar sect of Jainism which falls on Shukla Panchami each year in the Jain calendar month of Bhadrapada.
  • According to the Greforian calender it falls somewhere between the middle of August and September.
  • Jains, on this day, forgive and seek forgiveness for their mistakes committed knowingly or unknowingly from all the living beings.
  • On this day, a yearly, elaborate penitential retreat called "samvatsari pratikramana" is performed.
  • After the pratikramana, Jains seek forgiveness from all the creatures of the world, including friends and relatives by uttering the phrase — Micchami Dukkadam or its variants like "Khamau Sa", "Khamat Khamna" or "Uttam Kshama".                                                                      

Bujurgon ki Baat–Desh Ke Saath: The Union Minister of Culture recently launched a program named 'Bujurgon ki Baat–Desh Ke Saath'.

Key Points:

The programme 'Bujurgon ki Baat–Desh Ke Saath’ aims at enhancing the interaction between the youth and the elder persons who are 95 years and above and thus have spent around 18 years in India before independence.

The video of the interaction should preferably be kept below 60 seconds and can be uploaded at www.rashtragaan.in .

Significance of this programme:

  • This seeks to be a great way to involve the Elders in AzadiKaAmriMahostav.
  • On this occassion, the Union MoS for Culture Shri Arjun Ram Meghwal said that the energy of youth and experience of elders can take the country ahead and make it stronger by 2047 as envisioned by Prime Minister.
  • He further highlighted the importance of family and urged the youth not to neglect the elders of the family.
  • He also highlighted the importance of family and said development of a person leads to development of family and when family develops society moves ahead and a developed society leads to prosperous nation.

About Ministry of Culture:

  • The Ministry of Culture is the Indian government ministry.
  • It charged with preservation and promotion of art and culture of India.
  • It is typically responsible for cultural policy, which often includes arts policy (direct and indirect support to artists and arts organizations) and measures to protect the national heritage of a country and cultural expression of a country or subnational region.
  • The current Minister of Culture is G. Kishan Reddy.
  • The government has recently established the National Mission on Libraries India under this ministry.
Read More

Economics

 

Stablecoins: 

According to The Block, a publication dedicated to cryptocurrency, the number of stable coins in circulation globally has jumped from $29 billion in January to $117 billion as of early September.

Note: The development of Bitcoin and thousands of other cryptocurrencies in a little over a decade has changed the definition of money.

What are stablecoins?

Cryptocurrency is very volatile, making it less practical for transactions like payments or loans. Prices tend to vary a huge amount in a short span of time.

Take for example Bitcoin. Its price goes up or down as much as 1520% even with a single tweet by billionaire Elon Musk.

That’s where stablecoins come in.

Stablecoins are cryptocurrencies without the volatility.

They share a lot of the same powers as other cryptos, but their value is steady, more like a traditional currency, i.e. the US Dollar, Indian Rupee, etc.

They are meant to provide the steady value of governmentissued money in digital form for blockchain transactions, but they are issued by private entities.

Popular dollartied tokens include Tether and USD Coin.

The first stablecoin, created in 2014, was Tether.

 

 

Account Aggregator (AA): Eight major banks have recently joined the Account Aggregator (AA) network that will enable customers to easily access and share their financial data.

Key Points:

These major banks are:

State Bank of India

ICICI Bank

Axis Bank

IDFC First Bank

Kotak Mahindra Bank

HDFC Bank

IndusInd Bank

Federal Bank

The framework, which has been under discussion since 2016 and in the testing phase for some time, will now be open to all customers.

About Account Aggregator (AA):

According to the Reserve Bank of India (RBI), an Account Aggregator is a nonbanking financial company engaged in the business of providing, under a contract, the service of retrieving or collecting financial information pertaining to its customer.

It is a framework that simply facilitates sharing of financial information in a realtime and datablind manner (Data flow through AA are encrypted) between regulated entities (Banks and NBFCs).

The AA framework was created through an interregulatory decision by RBI and other regulators including Securities and Exchange Board of India, Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority, and Pension Fund Regulatory and Development Authority (PFRDA) through and initiative of the Financial Stability and Development Council (FSDC).

Functions:

Its primary responsibility is to facilitate the transfer of user’s financial data with their explicit consent.

It is also engaged in consolidating, organizing and presenting such information to the customer or any other financial information user as may be specified by the bank.

AAs enable flow of data between Financial Information Providers (FIPs) and Financial Information Users (FIUs).

The architecture of AA is based on the Data Empowerment and Protection Architecture (DEPA) framework.

Note: DEPA is an architecture that lets users securely access their data and share the same with third parties.

The license for AAs is issued by the RBI, and the financial sector will have many AAs.

Significance:

For Consumers:

It reduces the need for individuals to wait in long bank queues, use Internet banking portals, share their passwords, or seek out physical notarization to access and share their financial documents.

An Account Aggregator is a financial utility for secure flow of data controlled by the individual.

For Banks:

It will allow banks to access consented data flows and verified data.

This will help banks reduce transaction costs, which will enable us to offer lower ticket size loans and more tailored products and services to our customers.

Reduce Frauds:

It will also help in reducing frauds and comply with upcoming privacy laws

PLI Scheme for Textiles: Government of India (GoI) has approved a ProductionLinked Incentive (PLI) scheme for the textiles sector worth Rs 10,683 crore.

Key Details:

  • This is part of a larger PLI scheme for 13 sectors, with a total budgetary outlay of 1.97 lakh crore.
  • It was announced for 13 sectors during Budget 202122.
  • The PLI scheme was approved in order to boost domestic manufacturing and exports.
  • It has been approved for Textiles for MMF (manmade fibre) Apparel, MMF Fabrics and 10 segments or products of Technical Textiles.
  • As a part of incentives approved for textiles sector, the payout will be spread over a period of five years.

Significance of the scheme:

  • It will provide an immense boost to domestic manufacturing, and prepare the industry for making a big impact in global markets in sync with the spirit of Atmanirbhar Bharat.
  • It will lead to the creation of new opportunities for employment and trade.
  • As textiles industry employs women, scheme will encourage women and increase their participation in formal economy.
  • It will not only help attract more investment into this sector but it will also result in a fresh investment of more than Rs.19,000 crore, and a cumulative turnover of over Rs.3 lakh crore, over a period of five years.
  • This Scheme prioritizes investment in aspirational districts, tier 3, tier 4 towns as well as rural areas.

Who are eligible to participate in the scheme?

  • First Part of the Scheme: Any person or company willing to invest a minimum of Rs 300 crore in plant, machinery, equipment and civil works (excluding land and administrative building cost) to produce products of MMF fabrics, garments and products of technical textiles will be eligible to participate in the first part of the scheme.
  • Second Part of the scheme: Investors willing to spend a minimum of Rs 100 crore under the same conditions shall be eligible to apply in the second part of the scheme.
  • In addition, priority will be given for investment in Aspirational Districts, Tier 3, Tier 4 towns, and rural areas and due to this priority Industry will be incentivized to move to backward area.

What is the PLI scheme?

  • ProductionLinked Incentive (PLI) is a way to reward increased production in a specified sector, and has ramifications for economic growth and job creation.
  • The PLI for textiles is aimed at expanding MMFs and technical textiles’ value chain.
  • The objective of the scheme is to help India gain a dominant status in the global textile trade.

 

Read More

Defence

Emergency Landing Facility: 

Union Defence Minister, Rajnath Singh and Union Highways Minister, Nitin Gadkari recently inaugurated India's first Emergency Landing Facility ELF) on a National Highway in Rajasthan.

Highlights:

  • On the occasion, C130J Super Hercules transport aircraft of Indian Air Force (IAF), carrying the two ministers and Chief of Defence Staff Bipin Rawat landed at the emergency field landing at the National Highway in Jalore, Rajasthan.
  • Multiple landing and touchdown sorties were conducted starting with a Sukhoi30MKI fighter.
  • AN32 military transport aircraft and Mi17v5 helicopter of the IAF also landed at the ELF, showing its complete operational readiness to act as an auxiliary military airbase.

Key Points about the ELF:

  • The ELF has been constructed on the SattaGandhav stretch of National Highway (NH) 925A in Barmer, Rajasthan.
  • It is a 3 km section of the SattaGandhav stretch of NH925A and is part of the newly developed Bakhasar and Gandhav section.
  • It has a total length of 196.97 km.
  • This project, under the Bharatmala Pariyojana has been constructed at the cost of Rs 765.52 crore.
  • Apart from this ELF, three helipads (100 x 30 metres each) have been constructed in Kundanpura, Singhania and Bakhasar villages as part of this project according to the requirements of the Air Force/Army, which will be the basis for strengthening the military and security network on the Western borders.

Significance of ELF:

  • This emergency landing area is strategically important from the national security point of view also as it is just 40 kilometre from the IndiaPakistan border.
  • This Project will be used for aircraft operations during emergencies on the Western borders with Pakistan.
  • It will improve connectivity between villages of Barmer and Jalore districts located on the international border.
  • On daily basis this facility will be used for road traffic flow but during operations of IAF, it will be used to facilitate the landing of all types of aircraft of IAF. 

AUSINDEX’ 2021: Navies from Australia and India have commenced the bilateral maritime exercise, codenamed Australia India (AUSINDEX) 2021 off Darwin.

Key Details:

 

  • This is the 4th edition of AUSINDEX which started on 6th September 2021 until 10 September,2021.
  • The maritime exercise focuses on developing deeper understanding and cooperation between the Indian Navy (IN) and the Royal Australian Navy (RAN).
  • The wargame took place in the North Australian exercise area.
  • Indian Navy task group comprising vessels Shivalik and Kadmatt participated in the exercise while the Royal Australian Navy (RAN) deployed an Anzac Class frigate, HMAS Warramunga.
  • The exercise included complex surface, subsurface and air operations between ships, submarines, helicopters and longrange maritime patrol aircraft (MPA) of the two participating navies.
  • The exercise is a representation of Joint Guidance signed by the Chief of the Naval Staff, IN and Chief of Navy, RAN on 18th August 2021.

Significance:

  • The exercise provides the two navies with an opportunity to strengthen joint defence capabilities in support of a stable and secure IndoPacific region.
  • The 2020 Comprehensive Strategic Partnership between the two nations and aims to further consolidate shared commitment to regional and global security challenges promoting peace, security and stability in the IndoPacific region.

About AUSINDEX:

Commenced in 2015 as a bilateral INRAN maritime exercise, AUSINDEX has grown in complexity over the years and the 3rd edition of the exercise, held in 2019 in the Bay of Bengal, included antisubmarine drills for the first time.

Background:

  • In June 2020, India and Australia elevated their ties to a comprehensive strategic partnership and signed a landmark deal.
  • The deal was signed during an online summit between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Australian counterpart Scott Morrison for reciprocal access to military bases for logistics support
  • The Mutual Logistics Support Agreement (MLSA) allows militaries of the two countries to use each other's bases for repair and replenishment of supplies, besides facilitating scaling up of overall defence cooperation.

 

 

MRSAM System: In a significant boost to India’s defence capabilities, the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) recently handed over the first deliverable Firing Unit (FU) of Medium Range Surface to Air Missile (MRSAM) System to Indian Air Force (IAF).

  • The system was handed over to IAF in the presence of Raksha Mantri Shri Rajnath Singh at Air Force Station, Jaisalmer in Rajasthan on September 09, 2021.

About MRSAM System:

  • MediumRange SurfacetoAir Missile (MRSAM)  is an advanced network centric combat Air Defence System.
  • It is a surfacetoairmissile, 4.5m in length.
  • It provides point and area air defence for ground assets against a wide range of threats including fighter aircraft, UAVs, helicopters, guided and unguided munitions, subsonic & supersonic cruise missiles etc.
  • It is capable of engaging multiple targets at ranges up to 70 kms in severe saturation scenarios.
  • The missile is powered by indigenously developed rocket motor and control system for achieving high manoeuvrability during the terminal phase.
  • The firing unit comprises of Missiles, Combat Management System (CMS), Advanced Long Range Radar, Mobile Power System (MPS), Mobile Launcher Systems (MLS), Radar Power System (RPS), Reloader Vehicle (RV) and Field Service Vehicle (FSV).
  • It was jointly developed by DRDO and Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) in collaboration with Indian industry consisting of private and public sectors as well as MSMEs.

 

Read More

Environment

Brahmani River: Environmentalists have recently expressed concern over the massive diversion of freshwater from the Brahmani river basin, which could pose a grave threat to the famous mangrove vegetation in Odisha.

Key Points:

The Wildlife Society of Orissa (WSO), an environmental pressure group, had drawn public attention on the excess water allocation for industries, which is likely to reduce fresh water discharge to the sea.

The Talcher Angul coal mines, steel and power plants as well as the Kalinganagar steel and power hub are drawing enormous quantities of fresh water from the Brahmani river.

Concerns:

  • The reduction in water flow would lead to drastic changes in the water regime of the Bhitarkanika mangroves.
  • The Sunderbans mangrove forest was drastically affected after the Farraka barrage was commissioned.
  • The lack of normal flow of fresh water would increase saline ingression upstream, which in turn would affect the local flora and fauna as well as the livelihoods of the farmers and fishermen dependent upon the Brahmani and the Kharasrota.
  • In addition, there could be a quantum increase in the man–crocodile conflict since the estuarine crocodiles would leave the core sanctuary area and migrate upstream once salinity increases.

About Brahmani:

  • The Brahmani is a major seasonal river in the state Odisha of eastern India.
  • It is formed by the confluence of the Sankh and south Koel.
  • Together with the river Baitarani, it forms a large delta before emptying into the Bay of Bengal at Dhamra.

About Bhitarkanika:

  • Bhitarkanika is a notified Ramsar wetland.
  • It is spread over 195 sq. km and is home to 62 mangrove species.
  • Besides, 1,600 salt water crocodiles crawl on the mudflats of the Bhitarkanika mangrove forest.

About Mangroves:

  • A mangrove is a shrub or small tree that grows in coastal saline or brackish water.
  • Proportionate freshwater flow from the Brahmani river basin and the Kharasrota River keeps the salinity level of the water along the shore down.
  • The brackish water becomes ideal for the mangroves to grow and stay healthy.

                                                                                           

 

International Day of Clean Air for Blue Skies: The International Day of Clean Air for Blue Skies is celebrated across the world every year on 7 September.

  • This day is facilitated by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP).

Theme of 2021:

  • The 2021 theme for the International Day of Clean Air for blue skies is “Healthy Air, Healthy Planet”.
  • This theme emphasizes the health aspects of air pollution, especially considering the COVID 19 pandemic.

Objective:

  • The main objective this year will be to prioritize the need for healthy air for all, while keeping the conversation broad enough to encompass other critical issues such as climate change, human and planetary health as well as the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
  • The official events and ceremonies will be conducted in cities like Nairobi, Bangkok and New York.

History:

  • On 19 December, 2019, the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA), adopted a resolution that stated that 7 September will be observed as the International Day of Clean Air for Blue Skies.
  • This big move happened at the 52nd plenary meeting of UNGA’s 74th session on sustainable development.
  • The year 2020 marked the first international observance of the day and its theme was “Clean Air for All”.
  • The day is observed by the UN organizations, governmental and non governmental organizations, and UN member states.

About UNEP:

  • United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) was founded on 5 June 1972 by a Canadian businessman and philanthropist Maurice Strong.
  • It is responsible for coordinating the UN's environmental activities and assisting developing countries in implementing environmentally sound policies and practices.
  • It is the global champion for the environment with programmes focusing on sustainable development, climate, biodiversity and more.
  • It is headquartered in Nairobi, Kenya.
  • The current Executive Director of UNEP is Inger Andersen and the current Regional Director and Representative for Asia and the Pacific, UNEP is Dechen Tsering.

                                                                                                            

 

Behler turtle conservation Award: An Indian biologist Shailendra Singh recently won the Behler Turtle Conservation Award.

Highlights:

  • He has been awarded for bringing three critically endangered turtle conservation species back from the brink of extinction.
  • The award was given by several global bodies involved in turtle conservation such as Turtle Survival Alliance, IUCN/SSC Tortoise and Freshwater Turtle Specialist Group, Turtle Conservancy, and the Turtle Conservation Fund.

Key Points:

These three critically endangered turtles are being conserved as a part of TSA India’s research, conservation breeding and education programme in different parts of the country.

  • The Red crowned Roofed Turtle (Batagur kachuga) at Chambal.
  • The Black Softshell Turtle (Nilssonia nigricans) at different temples in Assam.
  • The Northern River Terrapin (Batagur baska) is being conserved at the Sunderbans.

About Behler Turtle Conservation Award:

  • The Behler Turtle Conservation Award also referred to as the “Nobel Prize” of Turtle Conservation was established in 2006.
  • It is a major annual international award honoring excellence in the field of tortoise and freshwater turtle conservation and biology, and leadership in the chelonian conservation and biology community.
  • It is co presented by Turtle Survival Alliance (TSA), IUCN Tortoise and Freshwater Turtle Specialist Group, Turtle Conservancy, and Turtle Conservation Fund.

Key Details about the turtle species:

About Red Crowned Roofed Turtle:

  • Habitat: Red Crowned Roofed Turtle is a species of freshwater turtle endemic to South Asia. The last known stronghold for this river turtle is on the Chambal River in central India, however, small isolated populations may still exist in the Ganges and Brahmaputra river basins.
  • IUCN Status: Critically Endangered
  • Indian Wildlife (Protection) Act of 1972: Schedule I
  • Threats: Loss or degradation of habitat due to pollution and large scale development activities like water extraction for human consumption and irrigation and irregular flow from the upstream dams and reservoirs.

Black Softshell Turtle:

  • Habitat: They are found in ponds of temples in northeastern India and Bangladesh. Its distribution range also includes the Brahmaputra River and its tributaries.
  • IUCN Red List: Critically Endangered
  • CITES: Appendix I
  • Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972: No legal protection
  • Threats: Consumption of turtle meat and eggs, silt mining, encroachment of wetlands and change in flooding pattern.

About Northern River Terrapin:

  • Habitat: The species is currently found in Bangladesh (in the Sundarbans), Cambodia, India (parts  West Bengal & Odisha), Indonesia and Malaysia. It is one of Asia’s largest freshwater and backwater turtles.
  • IUCN Status: Critically Endangered
  • Indian Wildlife (Protection) Act of 1972: Schedule I
  • Threats: Exploited for local subsistence and ritualistic consumption as well as some regional trade, including supply to the Calcutta markets in the 19th and 20th centuries.

About Turtle Conservation Fund (TCF):

  • TCF was established in 2002 as a partnership initiative of Conservation International, IUCN Tortoise and Freshwater Turtle Specialist Group (TFTSG), and Turtle Survival Alliance (TSA).
  • Later, it was joined by other organizations.
  • The fund is focused on ensuring the long term survival of tortoises and freshwater turtles.

About Turtle Survival Alliance (TSA):

  • It was formed in 2001 as an International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) partnership for sustainable captive management of freshwater turtles and tortoises.

About IUCN/SSC Tortoise and Freshwater Turtle Specialist Group (TFTSG):

  • TFTSG is one of the more than 100 Specialist Groups and Task Forces that constitute the working network of the IUCN Species Survival Commission (SSC).
  • It provides expertise and science based recommendations with conservation relevance covering all species of freshwater and terrestrial turtles and tortoises.

Note:

  • The SSC is a science based network of more than 7000 appointed volunteer specialists and experts from almost every country of the world.
  • They all work together towards achieving the vision of “a world that values and conserves present levels of biodiversity.”

                                                                                   

 

Dugong Conservation Reserve: Government of Tamil Nadu recently announced its plan to set up India’s first Dugong Conservation Reserve in the Palk Bay on the southeast coast for the conservation of Dugong.

Key Highlights:

Dugongs are commonly known as sea cows.

According to Wildlife Institute of India (WII) estimates, only 200 250 Dugongs are left in the wild, of which 150 are found in the Palk Bay and Gulf of Mannar in Tamil Nadu.

This marine animal has been enlisted vulnerable to extinction on a global scale by the World Conservation Union (IUCN).

About the reserve:

  • The reserve will spread over an area of 500 km in Palk Bay on the southeast coast of Tamil Nadu from Adiramapattinam to Amapattinam.
  • Dugong is generally found in two places in Tamil Nadu  Gulf of Mannar and Palki Bay.
  • Gulf of Mannar is a shallow bay area between the south eastern tip of Tamil Nadu and the western part of Sri Lanka.
  • Palk Bay is a semi enclosed shallow water body with a water depth maximum of 13 meters.
  • Located between India and Sri Lanka along the Tamil Nadu coast, the dugong is a flagship species in the region.

Note: Dugong or the sea cow is the State animal of Andaman & Nicobar Islands.

  • It is believed that, an estimated 200 individuals live in the Palk Bay and Gulf of Mannar area which would largely benefit from Tamil Nadu government’s recent decision to establish conservation reserve.

About Dugong: The sea cow

  • Dugong is a sea mammal and is the only living species of the order Sirenia.
  • This endangered species is herbivorous and primarily feeds on seagrasses and spends most of its time in seagrass beds.
  • It is strictly marine and is the only extant species in the family Dugongida
  • Dugongs are usually about three meter long and weigh about 400 kg.
  • Dugongs have an expanded head and trunk like upper lip.
  • They have very small brain in comparison to their body size and have a distinct dolphin like tail.  
  • The closest relative of the species was the Steller's Sea cow, which was hunted to extinction in the eighteenth century.
  • However, unlike dolphins and other cetaceans, sea cows have two nostrils and no dorsal fin.
  • Distributed in shallow tropical waters in the Indo Pacific region, in India, they are found in the Gulf of Kutch, Gulf of Mannar, Palk Bay, and Andaman & Nicobar Islands.

Conservation of Dugong:

  • Dugongs are protected in India under Schedule 1 of the Indian Wildlife Act 1972 which bans the killing and purchasing of dugong meat.
  • Conservation measures like the proposed conservation area can help revive the sea cow population.
  • The proposed reserve area has the highest concentration of dugongs in the country.
  • In addition, studies suggest that simultaneous effort towards seagrass meadow restoration, reduction of dugong mortalities, and community participation in dugong conservation can help in helping the dugong population recover.
  • It also calls for creating awareness among the people, involving the local communities.
  • The IUCN has listed dugong as a “vulnerable to extinction species”.
  • On the other hand, Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species has limited or banned the trade of derived products.

Causes of extinction:

  • Studies have suggested the reasons for the extinction of the animal such as slow breeding rate, fishing, and the loss of habitat.
  • Dugongs are long living animals that have a low reproductive rate, long generation time, and high investment in each offspring.
  • The female dugongs do not bear their first calf until they are at least 10 and up to 17 years old.
  • Due to natural and human induced activities, the natural habitat of the animal is on a risk.
  • The herbivorous mammal feeds on sea grass, which is at a loss.
  • Human activities such as riding of speed boats cause death of the animal due to boat and propellor strikes.
  • Further, habitat loss is also attributed to the increase in conversion of coastal forests to banana, areca nut, and coconut plantations and high boat traffic.
  • Natural factors are also responsible for the decline in dugongs population.
  • According to study (Das & Dey 1999), extreme weather events such as cyclones and high energy tidal storms may also contribute to the loss of seagrasses in the region.
  • Dugongs are also known to suffer due to accidental entanglement and drowning in gill nets.

                                                                           

Manda Buffalo: The National Bureau of Animal Genetic Resources (NBAGR) has recognised the Manda buffalo as the 19th unique breed of buffaloes found in India.

Key Highlights about Manda Buffaloes:

  • The Manda buffaloes are found in the Eastern Ghats and plateau of Koraput region of Odisha.
  • The Manda are resistant to parasitic infections, less prone to diseases and can thrive on modest resources.
  • These small, sturdy buffaloes are used for ploughing in their native habitat.
  • They have ash grey and grey coats with copper coloured hair.
  • Some animals are silver white in colour.

Recognition and its significance:

  • This buffalo germ plasm was first identified through a survey conducted by the Animal Resource Development (ARD) department of Odisha in collaboration with the Orissa University of Agriculture and Technology (OUAT).
  • The Centre and the state will make efforts to preserve this special buffalo genetic resource of Odisha and beautify their productivity through breeding strategy.
  • Furthermore, the governments will help in advertising and marketing the produce  milk, curd and ghee at a top class price ensuing in the enhancement of the livelihood of the stakeholders in the native tract.

Note: Four breeds of cattle   Binjharpur, Motu, Ghumusari and Khariar   and two breeds of buffalo   Chilika and Kalahandi   and one breed of sheep, Kendrapara, have already obtained NBAGR recognition.

About NBAGR:

  • ICAR National Bureau of Animal Genetic Resources, Karnal (NBAGR) is the nodal agency for the registration of newly identified germplasm of livestock and poultry of the country.
  • The NBAGR is affiliated to Indian Council of Agriculture Research (ICAR).

                                          

 

IUCN Red List of Threatened Species: The global conservation body, the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) recently stated that Some 28% of the 1,38,374 species assessed by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) for its survival watchlist are now at high risk of vanishing forever.

Key Details:

  • This New red list was released through IUCN at world conferences with the purpose of protecting dwindling species.
  • IUCN reported that habitat loss, overexploitation and illegal trade have hammered global wildlife populations for decades, and climate change is now kicking in as a direct threat as well.
  • Indonesia’s fearsome Komodo dragons, the largest living lizards, which are found only in the World Heritage listed Komodo National Park and neighbouring Flores, were listed as “endangered”.
  • The species is increasingly threatened by the impacts of climate change and with rising sea levels it is expected to shrink its tiny habitat by at least 30% over the next 45 years.
  • According to a new red list by IUCN, the world's sharks and rays have been witnessing declines in their populations since 2014 and are now threatened with extinction.
  • Some 37% of the 1,200 shark and ray species assessed by experts are directly threatened by extinction, a third more than only seven years ago.
  • Oceanic shark populations have also decreased by 71% since 1970.
  • The IUCN officially launched its “green status” — the first global standard for assessing species recovery and measuring conservation impacts. It makes the invisible work of conservation visible.
  • IUCN highlighted that; progress can be made towards reviving tuna populations and other species, if states and other actors take right actions.

About International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN):

  • The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN; officially International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources) is an international organization working in the field of nature conservation and sustainable use of natural resources.
  • It was founded on 5 October 1948 in Fontainebleau, France.
  • The representatives of governments and conservation organizations spurred by UNESCO signed a formal act constituting the International Union for the Protection of Nature (IUPN).
  • The initiative to set up the new organization came from UNESCO and especially from its first Director General, the British biologist Julian Huxley.
  • It was initially called the International Union for the Protection of Nature and Natural Resources (1948–1956) and has also been known as the World Conservation Union (1990–2008).

IUCN Red List Unit:

  • The red list by IUCN reassesses hundreds of species each year.

What is The IUCN Red List?

  • Established in 1964, the IUCN red list of threatened species is the world’s most comprehensive inventory of the global conservation status of animal, fungi and plant species.
  • The IUCN Red List is a critical indicator of the health of the world’s biodiversity.
  • Far more than a list of species and their status, it is a powerful tool to inform and catalyze action for biodiversity conservation and policy change, critical to protecting the natural resources we need to survive.
  • It provides information about range, population size, habitat and ecology, use and/or trade, threats, and conservation actions that will help inform necessary conservation decisions.

The IUCN Red List Categories:

The IUCN Red List Categories define the extinction risk of species assessed. Nine categories extend from NE (Not Evaluated) to EX (Extinct).

Critically Endangered (CR), Endangered (EN) and Vulnerable (VU) species are considered to be threatened with extinction.

What is the significance of red list?

  • IUCN's red list brings into focus the ongoing decline of Earth’s biodiversity and the influence humans have on life on the planet. It provides a globally accepted standard with which to measure the conservation status of species over time.
  • Scientists can analyze the percentage of species in a given category and how these percentages change over time; they can also analyze the threats and conservation measures that underpin the observed trends.

 

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Indian Policy

Vidyanjali Portal:

 Prime Minister, Narendra Modi, on September 7, 2021, launched Vidyanjali Portal and several other initiatives in the education sector.

Key Highlights:

  • Among other initiatives unveiled by the PM Modi include School Quality Assurance and Assessment Framework of CBSE and NISHTHA teachers' training programme for NIPUN Bharat.
  • Modi also launched the Indian Sign Language Dictionary    audio and text embedded sign language video for the hearing impaired, in conformity with Universal Design of Learning, along with 'Talking Books', which are audiobooks for the visually impaired.
  • These initiatives were launched by PM Modi while addressing the inaugural conclave of 'Shikshak Parv' via video conferencing.
  • These initiatives are aimed at ushering an “education revolution” in the country and placing India’s educational system on the “global map”.

Key Points about Vidyanjali Portal:

  • Vidyanjali is an initiative taken by the Ministry of Education (MoE), Government of India (GoI) with the aim to strengthen Schools through community and private sector involvement in schools across the country.
  • This initiative would connect schools with varied volunteers from the Indian Diaspora namely, young professionals, school alumni, in service and retired teachers, Government officials, professionals and many others.
  • It two verticals, namey   Participate in school Service or Activity and Assets / Material / Equipment” in which volunteer can support and strengthen the government and government aided schools.
  • Vidyanjali is being implemented under the overall aegis of the Samagra Shiksha.
  • It will enhance the community involvement in Government schools and effectively engage children in reading, creative writing, public speaking, play acting, preparing story books etc.

About Vidyanjaly 2.0:

  • Vidyanjali 2.0 is an amalgamation of the words Vidya meaning “correct knowledge” or “clarity” and Anjali meaning “an offering with both hands” in Sanskrit language.
  • This portal is like a platform for the country’s resolution of ‘Sabka Prayas’ with ‘Sabka Saath, Sabka Vikas, Sabka Vishwas’.
  • It was launched with the objective to facilitate donations, contributions from Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) funds, and volunteering.
  • This portal will enable community or volunteers to contribute by connecting with the government and government aided schools of their choice directly.

About Shikshak Parv 2021:

  • Shikshak Parv 2021 was launched by the Ministry of Education (MoE).
  • Its celebration started on September 5 and will conclude on September 17, 2021.
  • Between September 8 and September 17, the ministry will conduct webinars on themes including technology in education, nurturing inclusive classrooms, foundation literacy and numeracy, and other practices and initiatives which can be adopted by the schools across the country.
  • It is being organized to recognize valuable contributions of teachers and to take the National Education Policy (NEP) 2020 ahead.
  • The theme of "Shikshak Parv 2021" is Quality and Sustainable Schools: Learnings from Schools in India".

                                                                                            

NIRF: The sixth edition of the National Institute Ranking Framework (NIRF) was recently launched by the Ministry of Education (MoE).

Highlights:

  • IIT Madras, IISc Bangalore, and IIT Bombay have emerged as the country’s top three higher education institutions.
  • Under the best college category, Miranda House has again topped the list this year.
  • In the university category, IISc Bengaluru was the best ranked varsity.

Abour NIRF:

  • NIRF is the first ever effort by the government to rank higher education institutions (HEIs) in the country.
  • It is one of the criteria for private institutions assessment for the Institutions of Eminence (IoE) Scheme

Note: IoE Scheme is a government's scheme to provide the regulatory architecture for setting up or upgrading of 20 Institutions (10 from public sector and 10 from the private sector) as world class teaching and research institutions.

  • It was launched on 29th September 2015
  • Initially, the participation in NIRF was in the NIRF was voluntary but it was made compulsory for all government run educational institutions in 2018.
  • This year, about 6,000 institutions participated in NIRF which is about twice the number in 2016.

Objective:

  • The main objective of NIRF is to encourage institutes to compete against each other and simultaneously work towards their growth.
  • In addition, these rankings also attract foreign students, providing a solid base for the ‘Study in India’ programme for the growth of higher education in India.

How are they ranked?

In order to be ranked, all education institutions are assessed on the following five parameters:

  • Teaching
  • Learning and resources
  • Research and professional practices
  • Graduation outcomes
  • Outreach and inclusivity
  • Perception

NIRF lists out best institutions across the following 11 categories:

  • Overall national ranking,
  • Universities
  • Engineering
  • Architecture
  • Dental  
  • Research
  • College
  • Medical
  • Management
  • Pharmacy
  • Law

About MoE:

  • Ministry of Education (MoE) was formerly known as the Ministry of Human Resource Development (1985–2020).
  • The ministry is responsible for the implementation and formulation of the National Policy on Education (NEP) approved by Union Cabinet of India and to ensure that it is implemented in letter and spirit.
  • The Ministry is further divided into two departments.
  • They are,
  • The Department of School Education and Literacy.
  • It deals with primary, secondary and higher secondary education, adult education and literacy.
  • The Department of Higher Education,
  • It deals with a university education, technical education, scholarship, etc.
  • The current Union Education Minister is Dharmendra Pradhan.

Note: India has had the Ministry of Education since 1947.

                                                                                  

TMA Scheme: The Ministry of Commerce and Industry recently revised the Transport and Marketing Assistance (TMA) scheme for specified agriculture products.

Key points about TMA for Specified Agriculture Products Scheme:

The major changes that have been made in the revised scheme include dairy products, which were not covered under the earlier scheme, which will be eligible for assistance under the revised scheme.

Rates of assistance have been increased, by 50% for exports by sea and by 100% for exports by air.

The notification about the procedure for availing assistance under the revised scheme will shortly be announced by the Directorate General of Foreign Trade (DGFT).

The revised TMA scheme will be available for exports affected on or after 01.04.2021 up to 31.03.2022.

Enhanced assistance under the revised scheme is expected to help Indian exporters of agricultural products to meet rising freight and logistics costs.

About Transport and Marketing Assistance (TMA):

The TMA Scheme was launched in 2019 by the Ministry of Commerce & Industry.

The scheme was launched with an objective to provide assistance for the international component of freight and marketing of agricultural produce.

All exporters, duly registered with relevant Export Promotion Council as per Foreign Trade Policy, of eligible agriculture products, shall be covered under this scheme.

The scheme covers freight and marketing assistance for export by air as well as by sea (both normal and reefer cargo).

Duration of the Scheme:

The scheme was initially applicable for exports affected during the period from 01.03.2019 to 31.03.2020 and was later extended for exports affected up to 31.03.2021.

                                                                                  

 

Shikshak Parv 2021: Prime Minister Narendra Modi recently addressed teachers and students during the inaugural conclave of ‘Shikshak Parv’ via video conferencing.

Key Points:

  • The Ministry of Education (MoE) is celebrating Shikshak Parv, 2021 from September 5 17 in recognition of the valuable contributions of teachers and to take National Education Policy (NEP) 2020 a step forward.
  • These new initiatives were launched under Azadi ka Amrit Mahotsav to bring in an educational revolution and place the Indian education system on the global map.
  • The five key schemes launched under the NEP 2020 are as follows:
  • Indian sign language dictionary of 10,000 words,
  • Talking books (audiobooks for visually impaired),
  • School quality assessment and accreditation framework (SQAAF) of CBSE,
  • NISHTHA teachers’ training programme for NIPUN Bharat
  • Vidyanjali portal for facilitating education volunteers, donors and CSR contributors for school development.

                                                                                                       

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Indian polity

Bhumiswami (owner of land): 

The Supreme Court (SC) has ruled that a priest cannot be treated as Bhumiswami (owner of land) and the deity is the owner of the land attached to a temple.

Key Points:

  • According to a Bench of Justices Hemant Gupta and A. S. Bopanna  a ‘pujari’, or a priest cannot be treated as Bhumiswami (owner of land).
  • The priest only holds the land for the purpose of management of the property of the temple.
  • The apex court noted that ownership column only requires the name of the deity alone because deity as a juristic person is the owner of the land.
  • Occupation of the land is also by the deity which is carried out by servant or managers in behalf of the deity.
  • Thus, name of the manager or priest is not required to be mentioned in the column of occupier.
  • It added that the law is clear on the distinction that the Pujari is not a Kashtkar Mourushi, (tenant in cultivation) or a government lessee or an ordinary tenant of the maufi lands (land exempted from payment of revenue) but holds such land on behalf of the Aukaf Department (relating to ‘Devasthan) for the purpose of management.
  • The Pujari is only a grantee to manage the property of the deity and such grant can be reassumed if the Pujari fails to do the task assigned to him, i.e, to offer prayers and manage the land. He cannot be thus treated as a Bhumiswami.

Can collector be the manager of property?

  • SC said that the name of the Collector as manager cannot be recorded in respect of property vested in the deity as the Collector cannot be a manager of all temples unless it is a temple vested with the State.

Background:

  • The apex court was hearing an appeal filed by Madhya Pradesh challenging an order of High Court which quashed two circulars issued by the state government under the MP Law Revenue Code, 1959 (Code).
  • Both these circulars ordered deletion of the names of pujari from the revenue record so as to protect the temple properties from unauthorized sale by the priests.

                                                                                   

Shuffling of Governors: According to press communique issued by the Rashtrapati Bhawan , President Ram Nath Kovind has recently appointed new governors in four states.

Key Details:

  • In a series of gubernatorial changes, Governor of Nagaland R.N. Ravi was transferred as the next Governor of Tamil Nadu.
  • President Ram Nath Kovind also accepted the resignation of Baby Rani Maurya as the Governor of Uttarakhand, amid the speculation of her returning to active politics in Uttar Pradesh where the State Assembly elections are due next year
  • In other changes, Governor of Tamil Nadu Banwarilal Purohit, who held the additional charge of Punjab, has been appointed as the full fledged Governor of Punjab. Lt. Gen. Gurmit Singh (retired), a former Deputy Chief of Army Staff, has been made the Governor of Uttarakhand.
  • The key appointment is that of Mr. Ravi’s, who has been an interlocutor in the ongoing Naga peace talks since August 2014.
  • He was appointed the Nagaland Governor in July 2019.
  • Since last year, however, sharp differences have emerged between him and the functionaries of the Isak Muivah faction of National Socialist Council of Nagaland and some sections of the Naga civil society.
  • Jagdish Mukhi, at present governor of Assam, has been appointed to discharge the functions of the governor of Nagaland in addition to his charge till a fresh appointment is made.
  • The above appointments will take effect from the dates they assume charge of their respective offices.

Who can transfer a Governor appointed to one state to another state?

The President may transfer a Governor appointed to one state to another state for the rest of the term. Further, a Governor whose term has expired may be reappointed in the same state or any other state.

                                                                               

Right To Sit: The government of Tamil Nadu recently introduced a Bill in the Assembly for recognizing workers’ ‘right to sit’.

Key Points:

The Bill seeks to amend the Tamil Nadu Shops and Establishments Act, 1947, by adding sub section Section 22 A.

It aims to provide a chair to each worker, and a whole lot of dignity, besides helping the employees avoid the discomfort and health issues arising from remaining on their feet throughout the day.

The Bill will benefit thousands of employees of large and small establishments, especially those working at textile and jewellery showrooms.

The Tamil Nadu Shops and Establishments (Amendment) Act, 2021, is inspired by a Kerala bill that was first tabled in July 2018 before it became a law in January 2019, after women textile workers in the state protested against harsh conditions in 2016.

Note: Kerala is the only other State to have legislated on the ‘right to sit’.

                                                                                           

Vijay Rupani resigns as Gujarat CM: Gujarat chief minister Vijay Rupani resigned from the Chief Ministerial post on September 11, 2021.  

Highlights:

He submitted his resignation to Governor Acharya Devvrat.

The announcement comes just a year before the assembly elections are scheduled to be held in the state.   

Vijay Rupani has become the fourth Chief Minister to resign this year after Karnataka Chief Minister BS Yeddyurappa, Uttarakhand Chief Minister Trivendra Singh Rawat and Assam Chief Minister Sarbanand Sonowal.

The new Chief Minister of Gujarat is likely to be announced after a meeting with all the BJP MLAs.

Background:

Karnataka Chief Minister BS Yeddyurappa was replaced by Basavaraj Bommai ahead of the 2023 elections.

Uttarakhand CM Trivendra Singh Rawat was first replaced by Tirath Singh and then he was also replaced by Pushkar Dhami.

Assam Chief Minister Sarbanand Sonowal, under whom the party had contested the state assembly elections also resigned after a landslide win and was succeeded by Himanta Biswa Sarma.

                                                                                    

GST Appellate Tribunal: The Supreme Court of India (SCI) has warned that the government had no option but to constitute the Goods and Services Tax (GST) Appellate Tribunal.

Key Points:

  • The court was hearing a petition by advocate Amit Sahni.
  • He said Section 109 of the GST Act mandates the constitution of the Tribunal.
  • The GST tribunal has not been constituted even four years after the central GST law was passed in 2016.
  • Section 109 of the GST Act mandates the constitution of the Tribunal.
  • Citizens aggrieved are constrained to approach respective High Court and the same was overburdening the work of the High Courts.

What is GST Appellate Tribunal?

  • The GST Appellate Tribunal (GSTAT) is the second appeal forum under GST for any dissatisfactory order passed by the First Appellate Authorities.
  • The National Appellate Tribunal is also the first common forum to resolve disputes between the centre and the states.
  • It holds the same powers as the court and is deemed Civil Court for trying a case.
  • Section 109 of the GST Act mandates the constitution of the Tribunal.

Constitution of the GST Appellate Tribunal:

The GSTAT has the following structure:

 

  • National Bench: The National Appellate Tribunal is situated in New Delhi, constitutes a National President (Head) along with 2 Technical Members (1 from Centre and State each)
  • Regional Benches: On the recommendations of the GST Council, the government can constitute (by notification) Regional Benches, as required. As of now, there are 3 Regional Benches (situated in Mumbai, Kolkata and Hyderabad) in India.
  • State Bench and Area Bench

                                                                              

 

 

 

 

 

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International

13th BRICS Summit: 

As part of India’s ongoing Chairship of BRICS in 2021, Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi chaired the 13th BRICS Summit on 9 September 2021 in virtual format.

Key Highlights:

  • This is the second time Prime Minister Modi has chaired the BRICS summit.
  • He had chaired the Goa summit in 2016.

About the Summit:

  • The meeting was attended by Russian President Vladimir Putin, Chinese President Xi Jinping, South African President Cyril Ramaphosa and Brazil’s Jair Bolsonaro, according to the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA).
  • During the summit, Indian Prime Minister appreciated the cooperation received from BRICS partners during Chairship of India this year.
  • The Indian Chairship of BRICS this year coincides with the 15th anniversary of BRICS.
  • The theme selected by India for the summit was: ‘BRICS@15: IntraBRICS cooperation for continuity, consolidation and consensus’.
  • The summit focused extensively on the situation in Afghanistan.
  • India had outlined four priority areas for its Chairship. These reforms were as follows:
  • Reform of the multilateral system.
  • Counterterrorism.
  • Using digital and technological tools for achieving SDGs.
  • Enhancing peopletopeople exchanges.
  • The following several new initiatives were taken:
  • BRICS CounterTerrorism Action Plan
  • First BRICS Digital Health Summit
  • First BRICS Ministerial Joint Statement on multilateral reforms
  • Agreement on cooperation in field of remotesensing satellites
  • Virtual BRICS vaccine Research & Development Centre
  • BRICS Alliance on Green Tourism etc.
  • In addition to these areas, the leaders also exchanged views on the impact of the Covid19 pandemic and other current global and regional issues.
  • PM Modi called for an enhanced BRICS cooperation with the motto of ‘Buildback Resiliently, Innovatively, Credibly & Sustainably’.
  • The Summit was concluded with the adoption of ‘New Delhi Declaration’.

 

Note: BRICS (BrazilRussiaIndiaChinaSouth Africa) brings together five of the largest developing countries of the world – representing 41 percent of the global population, 24 percent of the global GDP and 16 percent of the global trade.

About BRICS:

  • BRICS 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.

 

Sherpa for G20: Shri Piyush Goyal, Union Minister for Commerce & Industry, Consumer Affairs, Food & Public Distribution, and Textiles, has been appointed as India’s Sherpa for the G20.

Highlights:

  • G20 is a major international grouping that brings together 19 of the world’s major economies and the European Union.
  • Its members accounts for more than 80% of global GDP, 75% of global trade and 60% of global population.
  • The next G20 Summit is scheduled for 3031 October 2021 under Italian Presidency.
  • Prime Minister Modi has been leading India’s representation at G20 Summits since 2014.
  • India has been a member of the G20 since its inception in 1999.
  • India will hold the G20 Presidency from December 1, 2022 and will also convene G20 Leaders’ Summit in 2023 for the first time.
  • India will also be part of the G20 Troika (preceding, current, and incoming G20 Presidencies) from December 1, 2021 to November 30, 2024.

About G20 (or Group of Twenty):

  • The G20 means the Group of Twenty.
  • It is an international forum for the governments and central bank governors from 19 countries and the European Union (EU).
  • The membership of the G20 consists of 19 individual countries plus the European Union.
  • The members of the G20 group are Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, France, Germany, India, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, Mexico, Russia, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, Republic of Korea, Turkey, the United Kingdom, the United States and the European Union (EU).
  • The EU is represented by the European Commission and by the European Central Bank.
  • It was established on 26 September 1999 with an aim to discuss policy pertaining to the promotion of international financial stability.  
  • The objective of G20 is to unite world leaders around shared economic, political and health challenges.
  • The current Chairman of G20 Mario Draghi (2021).

Who is a Sherpa in G20?

  • Sherpa is the personal representative of the head of state or government who prepares an international summit, specially the annual G7 and G20 summits.
  • Sherpa is generally influential, but they do not have any authority to make final decision regarding any given agreement.

Note: The name is derived from the Sherpa people, a Nepalese ethnic group, who serve as guides and porters in the Himalayas, a reference to the fact that the Sherpa clears the way for a head of state at a major summit.

 

World EV Day: World EV (Electric Vehicle) Day is observed on September 9 every year.

Key Highlights:

  • The day marks the celebration of emobility.
  • It is a social media campaign which not only encourages drivers to recognize the benefits of electric vehicles but it also encourages them to make commitment that the next car they drive will be electric and not the one running on conventional fuels.
  • On this occasion, special awareness campaigns are organized globally in order to educate people regarding the benefits of electric vehicles.
  • World EV Day works alongside the Green TV’s EV Summit.

About EV Summit:

  • EV Summit brings together the emobility leaders from across the world together to brainstorm on how they can take electrification and sustainable transport forwards.
  • It is organized by Green.TV.

History:

  • World EV Day was an initiative created by the sustainability media company GreenTV.
  • The first World EV day was observed in 2020.

Note: China is the largest EV market in the world.

EV in India:

  • India too is emerging as the as next favourite destination for automotive companies.
  • Indian government has also promised to offer all possible help to take electric vehicle industry forward.
  • Currently, the automotive industry of India is the fifth largest worldwide and is set to become third largest by 2030.
  • Recently, Tesla which is  a leading electric vehicle & clean energy company, Japanbased Suzuki and Tata Motors have plans to launch electric cars by 2025. 

U.S.India Strategic Clean Energy Partnership (SCEP): Minister of Petroleum and Natural Gas and Minister of Housing and Urban Affairs Hardeep Singh Puri cochaired a virtual Ministerial meeting with U.S. Secretary of Energy Ms. Jennifer Granholm to launch the revamped U.S.India Strategic Clean Energy Partnership (SCEP).

Background:

The SCEP is launched in accordance with U.S.India Climate and Clean Energy Agenda 2030 Partnership announced by Prime Minister Narendra Modi and President Joe Biden at the Leaders Summit on Climate held in April 2021.

Key Points:

The SCEP organizes intergovernmental engagement across the following five pillars of cooperation:

Power and Energy Efficiency

Responsible Oil and Gas

Renewable Energy

Sustainable Growth  

Emerging Fuels

The Indian Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas (MoPNG) and the U.S. Department of Energy (DoE) also announced the launch of the IndiaUS Task Force on Biofuels to build on the scope of work on cooperation in biofuels sector.

Furthermore, the two sides also announced rechristening of Gas Task Force to IndiaUS Low Emissions Gas Task Force, which would continue to forge collaboration between U.S. and Indian companies on innovative projects to support India’s vision of gasbased economy.

Both sides have initiated institutionalization of India Energy Modeling Forum with the constitution of Six Task Forces for carrying out research and modeling in different areas.

They agreed to continue to develop better understandings on methane abatement under this Task Force.

Building on the success of the first phase, both the sides agreed to expand the scope of the work to include smart grid and grid storage as part of the second phase of the Partnership to Advance Clean Energy (PACE)R initiative anchored on the Indian side by the Department of Science & Technology (DST).

The meeting also reviewed the progress on the IndiaUS Civil Nuclear Energy cooperation.

 

 

Maritime Affairs Dialogue between India and Japan: India and Japan recently held their sixth Maritime Affairs Dialogue in a virtual format.

The consultations involved exchanges on developments in the maritime security environment, regional cooperation activities and opportunities for cooperation between the two countries in the IndoPacific region.

India and Japan Relations:

  • Diplomatic, trade, economic, and technical relations between India and Japan were well established
  • Japan and India signed a peace treaty and established diplomatic relations on 28th April, 1952.
  • This treaty was one of the first peace treaties Japan signed after World War II.
  • Ever since the establishment of diplomatic relations, the two countries have enjoyed cordial relations.

Historical Facts:

  • At the International Military Tribunal for the Far East, Indian Justice Radhabinod Pal became famous for his dissenting judgment in favor of Japan.
  • The judgment of Justice Radhabinod Pal became a symbol of the close ties between India and Japan.
  • A monument honouring Radhabinod Pal is at Tokyo's Yasukuni Shrine, Japan.
  • On 15 August 1947, Japan was among the first nations to recognize Indian sovereignty after its independence from the United Kingdom.
  • A relatively wellknown result of the two nations' was in 1949, when India sent the Tokyo Zoo two elephants to cheer the spirits of the defeated Japanese empire.
  • India refused to attend the San Francisco Peace Conference in 1951 due to its concerns over limitations imposed upon Japanese sovereignty and national independence.
  • After the restoration of Japan's sovereignty, Japan and India signed a peace treaty, establishing official diplomatic relations on 28 April 1952, in which India waived all reparation claims against Japan.
  • This treaty was one of the first treaties Japan signed after World War II.

About Japan:

  • Japan is an island country located in East Asia.
  • It is made up of 6,852 islands.
  • The Japanese name for Japan is Nihon or Nippon which means sun origin.
  • It is bordered by the Sea of Japan to the west and the Pacific Ocean to the east, and spans from the Sea of Okhotsk in the north to the East China Sea and Philippine Sea in the south.
  • Tokyo is the capital of Japan.
  • The currency used there is Japanese Yen.

 

International Literacy Day: International Literacy Day (ILD) is located globally on 8th September each and every year.

Highlights:

The day spread awareness about the importance of literacy for individuals, communities, and societies and the want for intensified efforts closer to extra literate societies.

ILD 2021 provides an opportunity to reflect on and discuss how innovative and effective pedagogies and teaching methodologies can be used in youth and adult literacy programs to face the pandemic and beyond.

Theme:

The International Literacy Day theme for 2021 is Literacy for a humancentred recovery: Narrowing the digital divide.

History:

  • The 8th of September was proclaimed International Literacy Day by UNESCO (United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization) in 1966 to remind the global neighbourhood of the importance of literacy for individuals, communities and societies, and the need for intensified efforts towards extra literate societies.
  • It was celebrated for the 1st time in 1967.
  • This tradition has been held annually for more than 50 years now.

Important Info:

The 2030 Agenda:

  • Literacy goals are a key part of the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) and its 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.
  • The SDG agenda contains 17 goals and 169 targets, adopted in 2015 to build on the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), which were adopted in 2000.
  • The SDGs are meant to be achieved by 2030, and the UN Resolution of which they are a part is called “The 2030 Agenda”.

Literacy rate in India:

  • In India, as per the last census in 2011, a total of 74.04 per cent are literate, an increase of 9.2 per cent from the last decade (200111).
  • As per UNESCO, India will take another 50 years to achieve universal literacy, which is 2060.

 

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National

PRANA Portal:

 Union environment minister, Bhupendra Yadav, on September 7, 2021, launched PRANA (Portal for Regulation of Airpollution in NonAttainmen) under the National Clean Air Programme (NCAP).

Key Highlights:

  • PRANA meaning ‘Life’ in Sanskrit is a portal for regulation of air pollution in 132 cities across the country.
  • This portal was launched on the occasion of ‘International Day of Clean Air for Blue Skies’ in nonattainment cities (NAC).

Note: Nonattainment cities are those cities that failed to meet the National Ambient Air Quality Standards (NAAQS) for over five years.

  • With India’s efforts, 86 cities showed a better air quality in 2019 and it increased to 104 cities in 2020.
  • During the launch event held at the ministry headquarters here on the occasion of ‘International Day of Clean Air for Blue Skies’, a smog tower was also inaugurated at Anand Vihar, as an experimental technology and its impact would be observed for two years.

Key points about PRANA Portal:

  • PRANA Portal will be used to track the progress of the National Clean Air Programme (NCAP) in order to comply with India’s commitment to ensure clean air and blue skies to everybody.
  • The portal would support tracking of the physical and financial status of city air action plan implementation.
  • It would also disseminate information on air quality to the public while also providing comprehensive information related to NCAP programme details, progress, city action plans, implementation updates by city/state/ national level agencies, air quality data, and trends, etc.

Features of PRANA Portal:

The portal (prana.cpcb.gov.in) has a national dashboard that has interactive points on 7 thematic areas of city air action plans, PM10 performance, ambient air monitoring network, public grievance redressal portal, graded response action plans, and more. It is intertwined with the Government’s goal for sustainable utilization, protection, and conservation of public goods and the environment.

India’s target:

  • The Environment ministry and Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) seek to achieve 2030 percent reduction in particulate matter (PM10 as well as PM2.5) concentrations in India by 2024.
  • In order to achieve the target, India has prepared and is implementing cityspecific action plans to improve air quality in 132 NACs/Million Plus Cities.
  • It targets cityspecific air polluting sources like MSW burning, domestic fuel, soil & road dust, vehicles, construction material and industries.

About National Clean Air Programme (NCAP):

  • National Clean Air Programme, a midterm, fiveyear action plan was launched in 2019 by the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change.
  • It is the firstever effort in the country to frame a national framework for air quality management with a timebound reduction target.
  • It seeks to cut the concentration of coarse (particulate matter of diameter 10 micrometer or less, or PM10) and fine particles (particulate matter of diameter 2.5 micrometer or less, or PM2.5) by at least 20% in the next five years, with 2017 as the base year for comparison.
  • The plan includes 102 nonattainment cities, across 23 states and Union territories, which were identified by the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) on the basis of their ambient air quality data between 2011 and 2015.

 

Himalayan Day 2021: Himalayan Day is celebrated on the 9th of September every year particularly in Uttarakhand.

  • The day is celebrated to create and spread awareness on the conservation of the Himalayan Ecosystem.

Key Highlights:

  • Himalayan Diwas 2021 was organized by the National Mission for Clean Ganga (NMCG) in association with Naula Foundation.
  • The theme for year 2021 is ‘Contribution of Himalayas and our responsibilities’.
  • The event was part of the ongoing celebration of ‘Azadi ka Amrit Mahotsav’.
  • Proceedings of ‘Stakeholders Webinar on PahadPaaniParampra’ were released at the event.

History:

  • Himalayan Day was first observed in Uttarakhand in 2010 as an initiative of a group of noted environmentalists including Sunderlal Bahuguna, Anil Prakash Joshi and Radha Behen.
  • It was officially declared as Himalaya Day in 2015 by the then Chief Minister.

Significance:

  • Himalaya plays an important role to save and sustain nature and protect the country from adverse weather conditions.
  • Himalayas are a source of medicinal plants which makes Ganga water special and gives life to not only Ganga but many smaller streams
  • The Himalayan range is also responsible for rain besides being a rich repository of floral and faunal biodiversity.

Concern:

  • Shri Rajiv Ranjan Mishra, Director General, NMCG raised concerns over unplanned urbanization in the Himalayas.
  • He said that the Himalayan hill towns face several challenges because of poor building planning & designs, poor infrastructure (roads, sewage, water supply etc) and unprecedented cutting of trees.
  • This, in turn causes serious ecological issues.  
  • He added that there was an urgent need to develop ecosensitive hill town plans and designs

 

Swachh Survekshan Grameen 2021: The “Swachh Survekshan Grameen 2021” under Swachh Bharat Mission (Grameen) Phase II was recently launched by the Minister of State of Jal Shakti Ministry, Shri Prahlad Singh Patel.

Key Highlights:

This event was organized by Department of Drinking Water and Sanitation (DDWS).

Swachh Survekshan Grameen 2021 will be undertaken by the Department of Drinking Water and Sanitation (DDWS) across the country.

DDWS has also commissioned the Survekshan in 2018 and 2019 earlier.

Aim:

This programme was launched with an aim to support acceleration of ODF Plus interventions and increase momentum for improving ODF Sustainability as well as Solid and Liquid Waste Management (SLWM) activities across the villages in the country.

The Phase II of SBM (G) aims at achieving the goal of comprehensive cleanliness or Sampoorna Swachhata by addressing ODF Sustainability and SLWM issues.

Key Points about the Scheme:

As part of the Survekshan, Villages, Districts and States would be ranked using key parameters.

As part of Swachh Survekshan Grameen 17,475 villages in 698 Districts across India will be covered.

Around 87,250 public places namely schools, anganwadis, public health centres, haat/bazaars/religious places in these 17,475 villages will be visited for survey.

In line with the Swachh Bharat Mission phase II program, SSG 2021 would focus on assessing ODF Sustainability & Implementation of ODF Plus in the villages.

Many new elements have been added in the SSG 2021. These elements include  

Assessment of Solid, Liquid

Plastic Waste & faecal Sludge Management Arrangements

Awareness on Menstrual Hygiene

Management & Disposal Arrangements for Menstrual Waste

Significance:

India achieved the challenge of ODF declaration of all villages in mission mode in five years period of 20142019.  

The vision of Swachh Bharat triggered the Behavior Change to end open defecation by construction of more than 10 crore toilets.

It also led to Jal Jeevan Mission (JJM) to address water security.

SSG 2021 mobile App:

Under this phase, a mobile app named “SSG 2021 mobile app” will also be made available in major local Indian languages.

This App will help in getting feedback from citizens and using it survey will be well monitored through frequent field visits.

The weights to different elements of the SSG 2021 are as below:

Direct Observation of sanitation in villages including HHs/public places 30%

Citizen’s Feedback including feedback from common citizens, key influencers at the village level and from citizens online using a mobile App 35%

Service Level Progress on sanitation related parameters 35%

About Swachh Bharat Initiative:

Prime Minister Narendra Modi,on 2 October 2014 had launched the Swachh Bharat initiative.

This initiative was launched on the birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi.

It was launched with an aim to eradicate open defecation by 2 October 2019, the 150th anniversary of the birth of Mahatma Gandhi.

Under it, a national behaviour change movement was started comprising of two following primary yardsticks:

Transparency

People’s participation.

  • With the help of this movement, Swachh Bharat initiative succeeded in achieving its goal of safe sanitation across rural India.

 

 

 

IROAF: The Indian Railways recently issued an order on September 7, 2021, to shut down the Indian Railways Organization of Alternate Fuel (IROAF).

Key Details:

  • IROAF, a green fuel vertical of the Railways, had recently invited bids for the hydrogen fuel cellbased technology for trains.
  • However, the Railways have stated that the decision of shutting down the alternate fuel wing will not impact the ongoing projects or the contracts in any way.
  • With some administrative change, projects will be executed as usual.
  • The work of IROAF will be transferred to the Northern Railways and the Railway Board.
  • Solar power rolling stock or Alternate Fuel Electrical Directorate of the IROAF will be transferred to the Railway Board, while the existing tenders will be handled by Northern Railway.

Solar Trains:

  • Four years ago, the first solarpowered train of India was launched. The technology for which was developed by IROAF.  
  • The entire electrical needs of the train such as fans, lights, and other systems were met by power generated by solar panels fitted atop coaches of a DEMU.
  • IROAF had also been working on solarpowered trains in line with government’s plans to reduce carbon emission by adopting renewable energy by 2022.
  • The IROAF was also working on research and development of projects relating to use of compressed natural gas (CNG) as a substitute to highspeed diesel to create a clean environment and reduce cost of transportation.
  • It was also focusing on ecofriendly technologies in the operation, production and maintenance of assets in Indian Railways.

What was IROAF?

The Indian Railways Organization of Alternate Fuels (IROAF) was an enterprise that was exclusively formed to promote green energy by introducing alternative energy, fuelefficient, and emissioncontrol technologies across the Indian Railway network.

It seeked to introduce Bio Diesel in Indian Railways, convert Diesel Powered Multiple Units (DEMU) to dual fuel using Compressed Natural Gas (CNG).

It also seeked to promote the use of Solar Energy in Rolling Stock & Mechanical Assets.

Concerns with the set target:

  • In the past, IROAF had experimented with biodiesel, CNGfuelled engines, etc.
  • The organization had also been working on the solarpowered trains as well as in tandem with the plans of the BJP government to reduce carbon emission through the adoption of renewable sources of energy by 2022.
  • However, except for the minor projects and the showcase installations, the Indian Railways has not yet aligned itself with the targets of 2022.
  • Railways is doing very little to contribute to the agenda set by Government of India (GoI).

 

Peace Pact with NSCN: The Centre, on 8th September 2021, signed a ceasefire agreement with the Niki Sumi faction of National Security Council of Nagaland (NSCN) Khaplang (K)

The signing of the agreement has made it the second such agreement this week following Karbi Anglong Accord last August 4.

Key Points:

  • The agreement was signed between Additional Secretary (Northeast) in MHA, Piyush Goyal, and NSCN (K) Niki representatives Nikato Pilot Sumi, supervisor of the Ceasefire Supervisory Board (CFSB), and Abel Zingru Thuer, a CFSB member.
  • The agreement will be in effect for one year beginning September 8.
  • According to Home Ministry, with the signing of the peace agreement, about 200 cadres of NSCN group along with 83 weapons have joined the peace process.
  • Central Government has also signed peace pact with other factions of National Socialist Council of Nagaland NSCN (NK), NSCN (R), and NSCN (K) Khango.

Background:

  • In December 2020, the NSCNK, led by dreaded militant Niki Sumi, had announced a ceasefire and had expressed his willingness to sign the ceasefire agreement with the government for initiating peace dialogue.

Significance:

  • According to Ministry of Home Affairs, this peace process was signed with the aim of fulfilling Prime Minister Modi’s vision of ‘insurgency free and prosperous North East.
  • The agreement is aimed at bringing about lasting peace in the State of Nagaland with the involvement of Naga people.

 Naga Peace Accord:

  • The framework agreement for Naga Peace Accord was inked between Central Government and NSCN (IM) group on 3rd August 2015.
  • Before this framework agreement, NSCN (K) had revoked the peace pact with the government in March 2015.
  • This pact was signed to end the insurgency in Nagaland.

Other Peace Accords:

Bodo Agreement: In January 2020, with the signing of the Bodo agreement, more than 2,250 cadres of insurgent groups, including all factions of NDFB, along with 423 weapons and a huge quantity of ammunition surrendered in Assam and joined the mainstream.

Karbi Anglong Agreement: On February 23, 2021, as many as 1,040 leaders and cadres of various underground Karbi groups of Assam surrendered along with 338 weapons, and it was followed by the signing of the Karbi Anglong agreement on September 4, 2021.

 

NLM Portal: Union Minister for Fisheries, Animal Husbandry, and Dairying, Parshottam Rupala recently launched the portal for National Livestock Mission (NLM).

  • With the portal, the Government aims to increase the effectiveness and ensure transparency in the implementation of the scheme.

About NLM portal:

  • The NLM portal is developed by the Small Industries Development Bank of India (SIDBI) in collaboration with the Department of Animal Husbandry and Dairying (DAHD).

Note: The Department of Animal husbandry and Dairying (DAHD) is an Indian government department. It is a subsidiary department of the Ministry of Animal Husbandry, Dairying and Fisheries which was formed as a new Indian ministry in 2019.

  • The online portal aims to enable a customized workflow between State Implementing Agency (SIA), lenders, and Ministry as required under the National Livestock Mission.
  • The portal was launched during the national level meeting with all State Animal Husbandry/Veterinary Ministers convened by Union Minister Parshottam Rupala.

About National Livestock Mission (NLM):

  • NLM is an initiative of the Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers' Welfare.
  • The mission was introduced in 201415, with the objective of sustainable development of the livestock sector.
  • This mission seeks to ensure quantitative and qualitative improvement in livestock production systems especially in Sheep, Goat, Pig, Poultry, Feed and Fodder sector and capacity building of all stakeholders.
  • This mission covers all the Indian states.
  • There are 4 submissions under National Livestock Mission:
  • SubMission on Fodder and Feed Development
  • SubMission on Livestock Development
  • SubMission on Development of Pig in NorthEastern Region
  • SubMission on Technology Transfer, Skill Development and Extension
  • The scheme is being implemented as a sub scheme of White Revolution  Rashtriya Pashudhan Vikas Yojana.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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People In News

Appointments: 

Vijay Goel: Former Union Minister, Vijay Goel has recently been appointed as the ViceChairman of Gandhi Smriti and Darshan Samiti (GSDS).

Key Points:

  • The appointment was notified by the Union Culture Ministry which is the nodal ministry of the society.

Note: The society supervises the Rajghat and the museum and the library at Gandhi Smriti at 5 Tees January Marg in the national capital.

  • As per the notification, besides Goel, nine other members have been appointed by the Culture Ministry, who are renowned personalities in their respective fields.

About Vijay Goel:

  • Vijay Goel has served as minister in the first NDA government under Modi.
  • He served as minister of state for sports and youth affairs (July 2016 to Sep 2017) parliamentary affairs (Sep 2017 to May 2019), and statistics & programme implementation (Sep 2017 to May 2019).

About Gandhi Smriti and Darshan Samiti (GSDS):

  • Smriti and Darshan Samiti (GSDS) is the site of the Martyrdom of Mahatma Gandhi, the Father of the Nation.
  • GSDS was established in September 1984.
  • It is located in New Delhi.
  • GSDS functions under constructive advice and financial support from the Ministry of Culture.

Aim of GSDS:

  • Gandhi Smriti and Darshan Samiti aims to carry out activities for the promotion of Mahatma Gandhi”s ideals and the national cause identified with him, especially of national integration and the welfare and betterment of the underprivileged. 

Sardar Iqbal Singh Lalpura: Former IPS officer and BJP national spokesperson Sardar Iqbal Singh Lalpura on 10 eptember 2021 assumed charge as the Chairman of the National Commission for Minorities (NCM) in the presence of Union Minister for Minority Affairs, Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi.

About Sardar Iqbal singh Lalpura:

  • Iqbal Singh Lalpura hails from Ropar district of the state.
  • He was an active police officer during the phase when Punjab witnessed terrorism.
  • During his tenure as IPS officer, served as SSP Amritsar, SSP Tarantaran, and Additional inspector general CID Amritsar.
  • He joined BJP in 2012 after retirement.
  • Before being appointed as national minorities commission chairman, he was a national spokesperson for BJP and a popular face on television debates.
  • He has written nearly 14 books on Sikh philosophy and history, such as ‘Japji Sahib ek vichaar’, Gurbaani ek vichaar’, and ‘Raj Karega Khalsa’.
  • The awards he has won include President’s police medal, police medal for meritorious services, Shiromani Sikh Sahitkar award, Sikh scholar award, etc.
  • He was one of the three officers chosen to arrest Jarnail Singh Bhindrawale.

About National Commission for Minorities (NCM):

  • The Union Government set up the National Commission for Minorities (NCM) under the National Commission for Minorities Act, 1992.
  • Initially, Original notification of 1993, five religious communities, viz., Muslims, Christians, Sikhs, Buddhists and Zoroastrians (Parsis) were notified as minority communities by the Union Government.
  • Further vide notification; six religious communities, viz; Muslims, Christians, Sikhs, Buddhists, Zoroastrians (Parsis) and Jains have been notified in Gazette of India as minority communities by the Union Government all over India.

Purpose of NCM:

  • Union Government constituted National Commission for Minorities (NCM), New Delhi and State Government constituted State Minorities Commissions in their respective State Capitals.
  • These organizations are setup to safeguard and protect the interests of minorities as provided in the Constitution of India and laws enacted by the Parliament and the State Legislatures.

UN Declaration:

  • The NCM adheres to the United Nations Declaration of 18 December 1992 which states that "States shall protect the existence of the National or Ethnic, Cultural, Religious and Linguistic identity of minorities within their respective territories and encourage conditions for the promotion of that identity.”

Rights & Safeguards of Minorities:

  • The Indian Constitution does not define the word Minority, however, it has provided constitutional safeguards and fundamental rights to minorities:

Under Fundamental Rights Part III of Indian Constitution:

  • Indian state is committed to administer these rights which can be enforced by judiciary
  • Right of ‘any section of the citizens’ to ‘conserve’ its ‘distinct language, script or culture’; (Article 29(1)).
  • Right of all Religious and Linguistic Minorities to establish and administer educational institutions of their choice ;( Article 30(1)).
  • Freedom of Minoritymanaged educational institutions from discrimination in the matter of receiving aid from the State;(Article30(2)).

Under Part XVII Official Language of Indian Constitution:

  • Rights for any section of population for language spoken by them ;(Article 347)
  • Provision for facilities of instruction in mother tongue; (Article 350A)
  • Provisioning a special officer for linguistic minorities and defining his duties; (Article 350B). 

Tejus Chauhan: Lawyer Tejaus Chauhan has recently been appointed Regional Director for South Asia in the International Court of Arbitration of International Chamber of Commerce (ICC).

Key Points:

Chauhan will be the 2nd Indian to be appointed for the regional director post.

He will be based in Singapore and he will be taking over the charge from former Regional Director Abhinav Bhushan.

On 3 September 2021, the ICC had announced three new regional directors for the business development of arbitration and alternative dispute resolution in North Asia, South Asia, and the Middle East.

The three regional directors appointed are:

Tejus Chauhan who will be based in Singapore for South Asia,

Dania Fahs in Abu Dhabi for the Middle East,

Donna Huang in Shanghai for North Asia.

About Tejas Chauhan:

Tejus Chauhan is a lawyer.

He completed his studies in trade and law in India.

He worked for a law firm and one of the Big Four as a forensic and dispute expert.

He has previously worked on the promotion and business development of ICC Arbitration and ADR in India for 3 years.

What is the role of Regional Directors of ICC Court?

The regional directors of the ICC Court play a pivotal role in connecting the ICC Court to the business and legal community and government officials in their respective regions and enabling the regional outreach.

About International Court of Arbitration of International Chamber of Commerce (ICC):

ICC International Court of Arbitration (ICA) is an institution for the resolution of international commercial disputes.

It operates under the auspices of the International Chamber of Commerce and consists of more than 100 arbitrators from roughly 90 countries.

The Court was founded in 1923 under the leadership of the ICC's first president Étienne Clémentel, a former French Minister of Finance.

Since then the ICA has helped resolve difficulties in international commercial and business disputes to support trade and investment.

Contrary to what its name suggests, the ICC does not issue formal judgements.

Instead, it provides "judicial supervision of arbitration proceedings."

The court's official working languages are English and French.

However, cases can be administered in any language.

The headquarters of the ICC is in Paris, France.

The President of the ICC Court is Claudia Salomon of the US.

Members:

Members of the ICC Court are appointed to threeyear terms by the ICC World Council on the recommendation of ICC 'national committees' or groups. In jurisdictions where there is no national committee or group, members are recommended for appointment by the President of the Court.

Alternate members are appointed by the World Council on the recommendation of the court's President.

 

 

Awards: 

2021 International Young EcoHero Award: Ayaan Shankta, a 12yearold environmental activist from Mumbai, India, has been named as a 2021 International Young EcoHero award winner.

Highlights:

  • He won this award in recognition of his efforts to solve tough environmental problems.
  • He won the third place in the 814 age category for his project Conservation and Rehabilitation of Powai Lake.
  • He is one of the 25 young environmental activists from across the globe who has been recognized as a 2021 International Young EcoHero by the Action For Nature (AFN).

About Ayaan Shankta:

  • Ayaan Shankta is a 12year old environmental activist who lives in Powai, Mumbai, India.
  • Ayaan after noticing the deteriorating state of Powai Lake due to the dumping of garbage began the project ‘Conservation and Rehabilitation of Powai Lake’ in an attempt to save the lake.
  • He began exploring the root causes of environmental degradation and started working with agencies like Maharashtra State Angling Association, Naushad Ali Sarovar Samvardhini (NASS), and the Indian Institute of Technology, Mumbai (IIT).
  • He not only conducted a detailed survey of Powai Lake using satellite imagery but also designed an Autonomous Spatial Pollution Detection Robot that can detect pollution and siltation in lakes with spatial accuracy.
  • His project aims to raise awareness about pollution, clean up the lake, and protect its ecosystem.
  • In addition to working with NGOs to raise awareness and organize cleanups, Ayaan authored an action report on lake conditions and is currently working on a documentary about Powai Lake.

About International Young EcoHero Award:

  • Action For Nature (AFN) is an international nonprofit organization which has created the International Young EcoHero Awards to recognize and reward the successful individual environmental initiatives of young people ages 8 to 16.
  • Every year since 2003, AFN has sought to recognize and reward young people who are taking action to solve the world’s tough environmental problems.
  • Youth from countries around the globe send in their stories and explain their work.
  • Then a panel of judges including experts in environmental science, biology, and education determines the year’s top achievers.
  • Each ECOHERO AWARD WINNER receives a cash prize of up to $500, a certificate of achievement, media coverage, and exclusive access to the ECOHERO ALUMNI FACEBOOK GROUP.

 

Ramesh Narayan: Indian advertising doyen Ramesh Narayan will be inducted into the Asian Federation of Advertising Associations (AFAA) Hall of Fame at AdAsia 2021.

Highlights:

  • The AFAA Hall of Fame sets out to recognize the best of the very best.
  • It’s for those who’ve defined a generation of advertising.
  • He has been recognized for all his selfeffacing hard work, real commitment, continuous guidance and voluntary support that he has provided AFAA for over two decades.
  • Ramesh has earlier been honoured with the following awards:
  • AAAI Lifetime Achievement Award,
  • The International Advertising Association Global Champion Award,
  • The Public Relations Society of India Special Award,
  • The Association of Business Communicators of India Lifetime Achievement Award,
  • An induction into the Hall of Fame of the India chapter of the IAA.

 

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Food Processing Projects: 

The Central Government recently inaugurated food processing projects in different states of India as a part of Azadi Ka Amrit Mahotsav.

Highlights:

  • As a part of Azadi Ka Amrit Mahotsav celebration, the Ministry of Food Processing Industries (MoFPI) is celebrating Food Processing Week from 6th to 12 of this month.
  • The Union Food Processing Industry Minister Pashupati Kumar Paras and Minister of State for Food Processing Industry Prahlad Singh Patel virtually inaugurated 5 food processing projects in Assam, Karnataka, and Gujarat and seven food processing projects in Uttar Pradesh, Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu.

About 5 food processing projects:

  • These 5 food processing projects seek to help over 7,600 farmers.
  • The projects will also provide them with employment opportunities while reducing the waste of food crops.
  • The total cost of these 5 food processing projects over Rs 124 crores.

About seven food processing projects:

  • The total cost of the projects is over 164 crore rupees.
  • A total of 3,100 people will get direct and indirect employment and 16,500 farmers and entrepreneurs will be benefited from these projects.
  • The projects will benefit farmers, processors and consumers of respective regions and adjoining areas.
  • These projects will prove a milestone in the growth of food processing sector.
  • While addressing the ceremony, Prahlad Singh Patel stated that efforts were being made for establishing presence of Indian brands at international level to ensure recognition to our processed products.

About MoFPI:

  • MoFPI is an acronym for the Ministry of Food Processing Industries.
  • It is a ministry of the Government of India (GoI) responsible for formulation and administration of the rules and regulations and laws relating to food processing in India.
  • The ministry was founded in 1947.
  • It was founded  with a view to develop a strong and vibrant food processing industry, to create increased employment in rural sector and enable farmers to reap the benefits of modern technology and to create a surplus for exports and stimulating demand for processed food.
  • The current Union Food Processing Industry Minister is Pashupati Kumar Paras and Minister of State for Food Processing Industry is Prahlad Singh Patel. 

Pollen Calendar: The city of Chandigarh recently got its first pollen calendar.

Key Highlights:

  • The pollen calendar was created by the Post Graduate Institute of Medical Education and Research (PGIMER) and Panjab University after studying airborne pollen and its seasonal variations for about two years.
  • The study is supported by the Department of Science and Technology (DST).
  • It was recently published in the Atmospheric Environment, a journal by Elsevier.

What are pollen calendars?

  • Pollen calendars are graphical representations of the time dynamics of airborne pollen taxa in a certain geographic area.
  • They provide easytounderstand visual information on diverse airborne pollen species that are present throughout the year, as well as their seasonality, in a single image.
  • They are also locationspecific, with concentrations strongly tied to the flora found in the area.

Significance:

  • In humans, Pollens are considered major outdoor airborne allergens responsible for allergic rhinitis, asthma, and atopic dermatitis in humans.
  • In India, around 2030% of the population suffers from allergic rhinitis or hay fever, and approximately 15% develop asthma.
  • These calendars can identify potential allergy triggers.
  • This in turn will provide a clear understanding for clinicians as well as allergy sufferers about their causes to help limit their exposure during high pollen loads.
  • An early cautions and advisories can be provided to the citizens through media channels so that they can use protective gear during the period when the concentration of allergic pollen is high.
  • It can also be used as a preventative technique for sensitive people to reduce their exposure when levels of aeropollen are high at certain times.

What is pollen?

  • Pollen is a fine powdery substance, typically yellow.
  • It consists of microscopic grains discharged from the male part of a flower or from a male cone.
  • Each grain contains a male gamete that can fertilize the female ovule, to which pollen is transported by the wind, insects, or other animals.

Allergies to pollen:

Allergies to pollen commonly cause the following symptoms of

  • Hay fever
  • Sneezing
  • Cough
  • Congestion of the nose
  • Itchy and runny nose
  • Red, itchy and watery eyes
  • Itchy roof of the mouth or throat
  • Blocked sinuses
  • Extreme tiredness

About Chandigarh:

  • Chandigarh is the capital of the northern Indian states of Punjab and Haryana.
  • This city is the first planned modern city of India which was designed by the SwissFrench modernist architect, Le Corbusier.
  • The name Chandigarh is a compound of Chandi and Garh.
  • Chandi refers to the Hindu goddess Chandi and Garh means fortress.
  • The name is derived from Chandi Mandir, an ancient temple devoted to the Hindu Goddess Chandi (Parvati) near the city in Panchkula District. 

Social Justice Day: The Government of Tamil Nadu has recently decided to celebrate the birth anniversary of reformist leader E V Ramasamy Periyar “Social Justice Day”.

Highlights:

  • E V Ramasamy Periyar was born on September 17.
  • This day will now be celebrated as ‘Social Justice Day’ each year.

How will this day be celebrated?

  • Every year, on this day the employees in all government offices and State Secretariat will take pledges to follow values on the basis of such lofty ideals consisting of equality, brotherhood, selfrespect and rationalism.

Ideology:

  • Periyar’s ideology was all about social justice, equality, selfrespect, and rationalism.
  • This laid the foundation stone for Tamil society’s growth at some point of the closing century.
  • These ideologies would also pave the way for the future.

 Thus, the government decided to rejoice his beginning anniversary each and every year to have fun the symbolic reinforcement of his egalitarian principles.

Contribution of E V Periyar:

 

  • According to the Chief Minister, services of Periyar to the Tamil society have been tremendous and instrumental in the enactment of first Constitutional Amendment Act, which safeguarded reservation for backward classes.

EV Ramasamy Periyar

  • EV Ramasamy Periyar’s (17 September 1879 – 24 December 1973) full name is Erode Venkatappa Ramasamy Periyar.
  • He was an Indian social activist & politician who was commonly recognized as Periyar/Thanthai Periyar.
  • He started the SelfRespect Movement and Dravidar Kazhagam.
  • He is acknowledged as the ‘Father of the Dravidian movement’.
  • He rebelled in opposition to the Brahmanical dominance as well as gender & caste inequality in Tamil Nadu.
  • He joined the Indian National Congress (INC) in 1919.
  • However, he resigned in 1925 after realizing that INC was solely serving the interests of Brahmins.
  • In 1924, he participated in nonviolent agitation (satyagraha) at Vaikom, Travancore. He grew to become the head of the Justice Party in 1939 and changed its title to Dravidar Kazhagam in 1944.

About Tamil Nadu:

  • It is located in the extreme south of the subcontinent.
  • It is bounded by the Indian Ocean to the east and south and by the states of Kerala to the west, Karnataka (formerly Mysore) to the northwest, and Andhra Pradesh to the north.
  • It was formerly the Madras Presidency of British India but was renamed Madras (State) after independence in 1947.
  • Madras (State) was again renamed Tamil Nadu in 1968.
  • Its Capital is Chennai.
  • The Governor and Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu are Banwarilal Purohit and M. K. Stalin respectively 

Business Blasters Programme: Deputy Chief Minister of Delhi, Manish Sisodia recently launched the ‘Business Blasters’ programme.

Key Points:

  • The programme has been launched for Classes 11 and 12 with an aim to help youth acquire business skills.
  • Under this programme ₹2,000 as seed money will be given to students of Classes XI and XII of Delhi government schools to develop an entrepreneurial mindset.
  • It will be implemented across all the Delhi government schools under the “Entrepreneurship Mindset Curriculum (EMC)”.
  • The EMC also includes a microresearch project, under which children can ask questions to five entrepreneurs and five working people related to their profession so that the children can understand the advantages and disadvantages of each profession.

About EMC Carnival:

  • An EMC carnival is soon to be organized with 100 top projects from Business Blasters project under the EMC at zonal and district levels where the projects started by the students will be rated by renowned successful entrepreneurs and universities.
  • Those children included in the top 10 projects will be directly admitted to the BBA course in Netaji Subhash Institute of Technology (NSUT), Delhi Technological University (DTU), Indira Gandhi Delhi Technical University for Women (IGDTUW) and Guru Gobind Singh Indraprastha University (GGSIPU).

Significance:

  • This programme, for the students of classes 1112, is going to be the basis of the India's progress.
  • Through this initiative, children will not run after jobs, but jobs will come after these children.
  • It will also help in addressing the problem of unemployment.

Background:

  • The "Business Blasters" programme was started at the School of Excellence in Khichripur under a pilot project.
  • Its purpose was to inculcate the belief in children that whatever work they do, they should do it with an entrepreneurial mindset.
  • In this project, nine groups of 41 children were formed and each child was given seed money of at least Rs 1,000.
  • These children made huge profits in the project.

About Delhi:

  • It is an urban district located in the city of Delhi.
  • New Delhi officially the National Capital Territory of Delhi (NCT), is a city and a union territory of India.
  • It serves as the capital of India is the seat of the State Government of Delhi and the Government of India, as well as the city or local governments as per the 74th Constitutional Amendment Act.
  • Union Territories are governed by the Union Government.
  • The current Chief Minister and Governor of Delhi are Arvind Kejriwal and Anil Baijal respectively.

 

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Science and Technology

INSPIRESat1 CubeSa: 

The Indian Institute of Space Science and Technology (IIST) recently stated that INSPIRESat1 CubeSat, which was developed under the International Satellite Program in Research and Education (INSPIRE), is set for launch.

Key points:

  • This small satellite weighs less than 10 kg.
  • The satellite equipped with a Compact Ionosphere Probe for studying the earth’s ionosphere will be placed in a low earth orbit.  
  • It will be launched aboard an upcoming Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV) mission of the Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO).
  • The onboard computer and electrical power supply of INSPIRESat1 were designed and developed by students of IIST.
  • INSPIRESat1 is a collaborative effort by the Laboratory for Atmospheric and Space Physics (LASP) at the University of Colorado Boulder in the U.S., the National Central University, Taiwan, and the Nanyang Technological University in Singapore, apart from the IIST.

Aim:

  • The INSPIRE programme aims to provide a constellation of Earth and space Weather.

About Ionosphere:

  • The ionosphere is where Earth's atmosphere meets space.
  • It is a very active part of the atmosphere, and it grows and shrinks depending on the energy it absorbs from the Sun.
  • The name ionosphere comes from the fact that gases in these layers are excited by solar radiation to form ions, which have an electrical charge.
  • The ionosphere stretches roughly 50 to 400 miles above Earth's surface, right at the edge of space.
  • Along with the neutral upper atmosphere, the ionosphere forms the boundary between Earth's lower atmosphere where we live and breathe and the vacuum of space.

Importance of Ionosphere:

  • The ionosphere is the part of the atmosphere that is ionized by solar radiation.
  • It plays an important role in atmospheric electricity and forms the inner edge of the magnetosphere.
  • It has practical importance because, among other functions, it influences radio propagation to distant places on the Earth.
  • GPS and Radio signals travel through this layer of the atmosphere or rely on bouncing off the ionosphere to reach their destinations.
  • However, in both cases, changes in the ionosphere's density and composition can disrupt these signals.

Note:

  • This boundary to space is right where many of our Earthorbiting satellites hang out, including the International Space Station.
  • That means these satellites can be affected by the constantly changing conditions in the ionosphere — including sudden swells of charged particles that increase drag on satellites and shorten their orbital lifetimes, or how long they can continue orbiting Earth.

 

Dinosaurs in India: In a major discovery, footprints of three species of dinosaurs have been found in the Thar Desert in Rajasthan’s Jaisalmer district.

They were found near Jaisalmer’s Thaiat village.

Key Points:

  • The discovery of these footprints is proving the presence of the giant reptiles in the western part of the State, which formed the seashore to the Tethys Ocean during the Mesozoic era.
  • The footprints, made in the sediment or silt of the seashore, later become permanently stonelike.
  • They belong to three species of dinosaurs Eubrontes cf. giganteys, Eubrontes glenrosensis and Grallator tenuis.
  • The Giganteus and Glenrosensis species have 35 cm footprints while the footprint of the third species was found to be 5.5 cm.
  • The footprints were 200 million years old.
  • The dinosaur species are considered to be of the theropod type, with the distinguishing features of hollow bones and feet with three digits.
  • Eubrontes could have been 12 to 15 m long and weighed between 500 kg and 700 kg, while the height of the Grallator is estimated to have been 2 m, as much as a human, with a length of up to three meters.
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Durand Cup:

The 130th edition of the Durand Cup kicked off at the Vivekananda Yubabharati Krirangan in Kolkata. 

Highlights:

  • The tournament was inaugurated by West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee by kicking the ball.
  • 16 teams are playing in this edition of the oldest club football tournament in Asia.
  • However two clubs East Bengal and Mohun Bagan are not participating.
  • The final match will be held on 3rd October.

About Durand Cup:

  • The Durand Football Tournament, also known as Durand Cup, is an annual domestic football competition in India.
  • It was first held in 1888, at Dagshai in Himachal Pradesh.
  • It is hosted by the Durand Football Tournament Society (DFTS).
  • This tournament has been named after Mortimer Durand who was the Foreign Secretary of British India from 1884 to 1894.
  • The tournament is the oldest existing football tournament in Asia and 3rd oldest existing professional club football tournament in the world.

 

Cristiano Ronaldo: Portuguese captain Cristiano Ronaldo has broken the world record for most goals scored in men's international football.

Key Highlights:

  • The legendary and one of the greatest of all time, this Portuguese football player has broken the record for most goals scored in international soccer matches (male) during the Portugal vs Ireland match played on 1 September 2021 at the Algarve Stadium (Portugal).
  • In the World Cup Qualifier, Ronaldo surpassed Iranian striker Ali Daei’s longheld record of 109 international goals by scoring a brace against Ireland.
  • Ronaldo at 36 years of age is now a Guinness world record holder of most international goals of all time with 111 goals.
  • The Guinness world book of records has recognized CR7 as a world record breaker for the most goals scored in international football (soccer) matches scored by an individual (male).
  • He achieved the feat scoring goals for his native Portugal between 2003 and 2021 proactively over a span of 18 years with a career still going strong as he looks to overcome yet another new challenge after his move away from Turin with a year left on his contract with the Bianconeri.

Other records by Ronaldo:

  • With 134 goals, the striker also holds the title for most Champions League goals, as well as most goals in aUEFA Champions League season by an individual (17) and most goals scored in the football (soccer) UEFA European Championships including qualifying matches (45, as of 23 Jun 2021).
  • He is also the highestrated player in FIFA 18, with an overall rate of 99% – 1% ahead of Lionel Messi and Pelé, both runnersup at 98%.
  • He holds the record for most followers for an athlete on Twitter, as well as most followers on Instagram for an athlete.
  • As a legend of international football, Ronaldo’s Wikipedia page has had 112,000,000 views, the most viewed Wikipedia page for an athlete (male).

 

 

Suhas LY: Noida District Magistrate (DM) Suhas LY became the 1st IAS officer to win a medal in Badminton at the Tokyo 2020 Paralympics Games.

Key Highlights:

  • He made history by winning a silver medal in the men’s singles SL4 category on September 5, 2021.
  • The 38yearold, lost to world number one Lucas Mazur of France 2115, 1721, 1521.
  • He has impairment in one of his ankles.
  • He an Indian Paralympic Badminton player who ranks World No. 3 in the SL4 category.

About Suhas:

  • Suhas Lalinakere Yathiraj is a 2007batch Indian Administrative (IAS) officer of the Uttar Pradesh cadre.
  • Suhas, graduated as computer engineer from NIT Karnataka with a distinction.
  • He has previously served as the district magistrate of Prayagraj, Agra, Azamgarh, Jaunpur, Sonbhadra districts.
  • In 2016 itself, he participated in the Asian Championship in Beijing and become the first nonranked player to win the gold medal.
  • He also went on to win medals at BWF Turkish championship in 2017 and 2019 besides the latest, a gold, in Brazil in 2020, just before the COVID19 pandemic started ravaging India and world.  

 

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