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Current Affairs 2022

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 2022 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 2022

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

Weekly Current Affairs 28th March - 3rd April 2022

Arts

Rashtriya Sanskriti Mahotsav: The 11th edition of ‘Rashtriya Sanskriti Mahotsav was inaugurated by The Governor of West Bengal, Shri Jagdeep Dhankhar on February 14, 2021.

Key Highlights:

  • The event was inaugurated at Cooch Behar Palace in West Bengal in the presence of Minister of State (I/C) for Culture and Tourism, Shri Prahlad Singh Patel.
  • The festival was held in between 14th to 28th February, 2021
  • The third and final leg of this 11th edition took place at Murshidabad, West Bengal.
  • Various colourful performances were given by the local artists, including ‘Baul Gaan’, ‘Alkup Gaan’, ‘Leto gaan’, ‘Jhumuriya’ and Ranpa folk dances.

Note:

  • Ten editions of the festival have successfully been organised ever since the festival was started in November, 2015.
  • These 10 editions were organized in Delhi, Bengaluru, Varanasi, Tawang, Karnataka, Gujarat, Tehri and Madhya Pradesh.

Significance:

  • The 11th edition is significant in the light of COVID Pandemic that has severely impacted the cultural sector.
  • Through this event support and assistance will be provided to the artists by the ministry of culture.

About Rashtriya Sanskriti Mahotsav:

  1. It is a flagship festival of the Ministry of culture and tourism.
  2. The event is organized since 2015.
  3. It witnesses the active participation of Seven Zonal Culture Centres.
  4. These zonal centres play a key role in taking the vibrant culture of India to the masses rather than confining it to auditoria and galleries.
  5. This festival showcases the folk and tribal art, music, dance, cuisines and culture of one state in other states.
  6. Thus, it helps in reinforcing the goal of “Ek Bharat Shreshtha Bharat”.
  7. It also provided an effective platform for the artists and artisans to support their livelihood.
  8. It reconnects the people (especially the youth) with their indigenous culture, its multifaceted nature, magnificence, and historical importance in the context of ‘India as a Nation’ over the millennia.

About Ek Bharat Shreshtha Bharat:

  1. Ek Bharat Shreshtha Bharat is an initiative of the Ministry of Education.
  2. It was launched in 2015 on the occasion of the 140th birth anniversary of Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel.
  3. This initiative aims to promote engagement amongst the people of different States/UTs so as to enhance mutual understanding and bonding between people of diverse cultures, thereby securing stronger unity and integrity of India.

The broad objectives of the initiative are as follows:

  • To celebrate the unity in diversity of our nation and to maintain and strengthen the fabric of traditionally existing emotional bonds between the people of our country;
  • To promote the spirit of national integration through a deep and structured engagement between all states and union territories through a year-long planned engagement between states;
  • To showcase the rich heritage and culture, customs and traditions of either State for enabling people to understand and appreciate the diversity that is India, thus fostering a sense of common identity;
  • To establish long term engagements;
  • To create an environment this promotes learning between states by sharing best practices and experiences.

Every State and UT in the country would be paired with another State/UT for a time period, during which they would carry out a structured engagement with one another in the spheres of language, literature, cuisine, festivals, cultural events, tourism etc

About Zonal Cultural Centres:

The centre aims to strengthen the ancient roots of Indian Culture and evolve and enrich composite National Culture.

There are seven Zonal Cultural Centres (ZCCs) in India.

They are as follows:

  1. Eastern Zonal Cultural Centre Kolkata,
  2. North Central Zone Cultural Centre Allahabad,
  3. North east Zone Cultural centre Dimapur,
  4. North Zone Cultural centre Patiala,
  5. South Central Zone Cultural Centre Nagpur,
  6. South Zone Cultural Centre Thanjavur,
  7. West Zone Cultural Centre Udaipur

These ZCCs organize various cultural activities and programmes all over the country on a regular basis.

Other schemes of ZCCs:

  1. Award to Young Talented Artists
  2. Guru Shishya Parampara
  3. Theatre Rejuvenation
  4. Shilpgram
  5. Octave
  6. National Cultural Exchange Programme (NCEP).

Ishan Manthan Festival: Union Minister for Culture, Tourism & DONER Shri G Kishan Reddy recently inaugurated the three-day North-East festival 'Ishan Manthan' at Indira Gandhi National Centre for the arts in New Delhi.

Key Points:

  • The three-day Ishan Manthan program which celebrated the rich ethnicity and colors of North East India was held from 25 March to 27, 2022.
  • The inaugural session also witnessed the publishing of two books titled 'Lok Beyond Folk,' a book on the Lok Culture edited by Shri J Nandalumar, and 'Jewels of North East India.'

Significance:

  • The event gives a chance to understand the culture, art, music, folk dances, handicrafts, and traditional cuisines of Northeast India.
  • Ishan Manthan is an endeavor to celebrate the plural expressions of northeast India. Hence, it can be understood as "North East Brainstorming."

 

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Economics

RAMP Programme: The Union Cabinet has approved the “Raising and Accelerating MSME Performance” (RAMP) programme that is also supported by the World Bank and will cost Rs 6,062.45 crore.

Key Details:

  • The newly launched RAMP scheme would commence in the Financial Year 2022-23.
  • The total financial outlay for the RAMP scheme is Rs.6,062.45 crore (USD 808 Million).
  • A loan of Rs.3750 crore (USD 500 Million) for this programme will be provided by the World Bank and the remaining Rs.2312.45 crore (USD 308 Million) is being funded by the Central Government.

Background:

  • The recommendations for the RAMP scheme were made by KV Kamath Committee, U K Sinha Committee, and Economic Advisory Council to the Prime Minister (PMEAC).
  • This was followed by Missions, extensive consultations with States and other stakeholders,  technical and fiduciary assessments conducted by the World Bank.

Aim of this programme:

This scheme is aimed at the following:

  • To support various COVID-19 related Recovery and Resilience Interventions of the Ministry of Micro, Small, and Medium Enterprises.
  • To improve the access to credit and the market as well as strengthen the institutions and governance at the State and the Centre and State.
  • To improve the partnerships of the Centre and the State as well as address the issues related to delayed payments.
  • The MSME’s capacity will also be increased through this programme and will also scale up MSME coverages in the states and UTs.
  • To bolster skill development, capacity building, technological up-gradation, quality enrichment, outreach, digitization, marketing promotion, etc.
  • To help in the creation of jobs and bringing in greening initiatives in this sector.

Implementation and Monitoring of this scheme:

  • For the implementaion of RAMP, Strategic Investment Plans (SIPs) will be created and all the states and UTs of the country will be invited to provide inputs.
  • The SIPs will be used to develop an outreach plan for MSMEs mobilisation and identification.
  • This programme will be monitored and evaluated by the National MSME Council, which will be led by the Minister for MSME and will include representatives from other Ministries as well as a secretariat.

Coverage of States and Districts:

  • All the States and UTs of the country will be invited to prepare SIPs.
  • The proposals that will be placed under the SIPs will be funded on the basis of their appraisals.
  • The funds would be released based on the criteria of objective selection and the SIPs would be approved and appraised through a rigorous process set up by the MSME Ministry.

Local for Global: Prime Minister Narendra Modi made an appeal for 'local for global' in his 87th edition of the Mann ki Baat radio broadcast, following up on his 'voice for local' pitch.

Key Points:

  • He lauded the exponential leap in Indian goods exports.
  • Mr. Modi praised India for meeting its $400 billion export target, saying that while it may appear to be an issue of the economy at first glance, it was more about India's competence and potential.
  • He stated that India's export figures stand at 400 billion dollars today which meant that the demand for items made in India is increasing all over the world.
  • He pointed out that today new products from all corners of the country were reaching foreign shores, let they be leather goods from Hailakandi in Assam or handloom products from Osmanabad, or fruits and vegetables from Bijapur.
  • He attributed the success of “Make in India” drive to farmers, artisans, weavers, engineers, small entrepreneurs and MSME sector, among others, and pitched for making the local ‘global’ and augment the prestige of Indian products further.

About Mann ki Baat:

  • Mann Ki Baat meaning Inner Thoughts in English is an Indian radio programme hosted by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in which he addresses the people of the nation on All India Radio, DD National and DD News.
  • The programme is India's "first visually enriched radio program".
  • The first show was aired on 3 October 2014.
  • The 83rd episode has been aired on 28th November 2021.
  • The main purpose of the program is to "establish a dialogue with the citizens on issues of day-to-day governance".

PVR & INOX Leisure Merger: PVR & INOX Leisure recently announced merger of their two companies.

The announcement comes at a time when the film exhibition industry has been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic and significant pressures on the theatrical business from the accelerated growth of digital OTT platforms.

Key Details:

  • After the formalities of the merger, the company will be known as PVR Inox Limited.
  • As per the agreement, Inox will have a 16.66% stake in the new firm and PVR will have a 10.62% stake.
  • The Managing Director of PVR Inox Limited will be Ajay Bijli while Sanjeev Kumar will be executive director and Pavan Kumar Jain will be non-executive chairman of the consolidated board.
  • The amalgamation is subject to approval by the Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI), stock exchanges, and other regulatory approvals as required.
  • PVR currently operates 871 screens across 181 properties in 73 cities, while Inox operates 675 screens across 160 properties in 72 cities.
  • The combined entity aims to deliver an unparalleled consumer experience with a network of 1,546 screens across 341 properties in 109 cities.
  • The merger will provide consolidation for the long-term sustainability of the business and also create value for stakeholders.
  • It will also help in better administration, cost optimization, pooling of resources and creating better synergies.

About PVR Cinemas:

  • PVR Cinemas was founded in June 1997.
  • It is headquartered in Gurugram, Haryana.
  • The founder & CEO of PVR Cinemas is Ajay Bijli.

 

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Defence

2nd squadron of P-8I aircraft-Condors: On March 29, 2022, the Indian Navy commissioned its second P-8I aircraft squadron Indian Naval Air Squadron (INAS) 316 at INS Hansa, Goa.

Key Details:

  • INAS 316 has been christened ‘Condors’ after one of the largest flying land birds with a massive wingspan.
  • Condors are known for excellent sensory capabilities, powerful and sharp talons and large massive wings symbolizing the capabilities of the aircraft and envisaged roles of the squadron.
  • INAS 316 will operate four P-8I aircraft procured as part of the optional clause in 2016 in a deal worth over $1 bn, the deliveries of which were completed recently by Boeing.
  • The new air squadron will be commanded by Cdr Amit Mohapatra who is an accomplished Boeing P-18 pilot.
  • The INAS 316 will operate the second batch of four additional P-8I aircraft, adding teeth to the armor of the Indian Navy, to 'deter, detect and destroy' any threat to the nation in the Indian Ocean Region (IOR).
  • The Defence Ministry has already approved a proposal for procurement of six more P-8Is but that is now under review as part of an overall review of all imports.

Significance:

  • This ‘Game Changer’ aircraft is a potent platform for maritime surveillance and strike, electronic warfare missions, search and rescue, providing targeting data to weapon platforms, time-critical surveillance information to the Indian Army and the Air Force.

Missions undertaken by P8I aircraft:

  • The P-8I aircrafts have been deployed for extensive search and rescue operations in the aftermath of Cyclone ‘Tauktae’.
  • They have rendered Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Relief (HADR) assistance post-cyclone ‘Hudhud’.
  • They were also deployed for support to friendly foreign countries during the COVID-19 pandemic as part of the government’s ‘Vaccine Maitri’ initiative and participated with distinction in numerous multinational exercises, the Navy Chief asserted.
  • The aircraft was also used for surveillance over the land. It has been in operation in Ladakh during the stand-off with China and also on the Indo-Pak border.

About Boeing P-81:

  • The Boeing P-81 is the most sophisticated multi-role Long Range Maritime Reconnaissance Anti-Submarine Warfare (LRMR ASW) aircraft.
  • It is powered by twin jet engines.
  • It can be equipped with air-to-ship missiles and torpedoes.
  • It is also the platform of choice for detecting and neutralizing enemy ships and submarines in the Indian Ocean Region (IOR).
  • Since December 30, 2021, these aircraft have been operating from Hansa, and the squadron is integrated with full-spectrum surface and subsurface naval operations.
  • The P-8I is an integral part of the Since its induction in 2013, Indian Navy's fleet and has surpassed 35,000 flight hours.
  • The aircraft is a part of the 312A Naval Air Squadron based at Arakkonam in Tamil Nadu.

Note:

  • The P-8 aircraft's first international customer was the Indian Navy.
  • The aircraft is also operated by the US Navy, the Royal Australian Air Force, the United Kingdom's Royal Air Force, and the Royal Norwegian Air Force.

Other long-range surveillance aircraft squadrons with the Indian Navy:

  • The Indian Navy also operates an IL-38 Squadron, INAS 315 called ‘The Winged Stallions’.
  • This squadron is based in Goa.
  •  It was raised in 1977 with the IL-38 aircraft which received a mid-life upgrade in 2009.

Varuna: The 20th edition of the bilateral naval exercise that is named ‘Varuna’ is being conducted by India and France in the Arabian Sea from 30th March till 3rd April 2022.

Key Highlights:

  • Various units of the two navies which include submarines, ships, fighter aircraft, maritime patrol aircraft, and helicopters are participating in this exercise.
  • These exercises continue to allow both navies to learn from one another's best practices.

About VARUNA:

  • The two Navies have been conducting bilateral naval exercises since 1993.
  • The exercise was christened 'VARUNA' in 2001.
  • It has become an important part of the bilateral strategic relationship between India and France.
  • This exercise is conducted so that the participating units can polish and enhance their maritime operating skills.
  • The participating units also look to enhance their inter-operability so that they can undertake various maritime security operations.
  • The units also demonstrate their commitment to the region's security, peace, and stability as an integrated force.

Objective:

  • The scope of this exercise has grown over the years.
  • These exercises provide the navies of India and France with various opportunities to the best possible practices from each other.
  • This exercise plays the role of the significant driver for interactions at the operational level between the navies of both nations.
  • Also, this exercise has highlighted the shared commitment of both countries to the safety, security, and freedom of the global maritime sector.

Fleet Card- Fuel on the Move: The Indian Air Force (IAF), along with Indian Oil Corporation Ltd. (IOCL), has introduced a “Fleet Card- Fuel on the Move” for its varied fleet of vehicles.

Key Highlights:

  • This innovative initiative taken by the IAF provides a paradigm shift to the logistics management of fuel.
  • Fleet Card’, the energy security for IAF vehicles on move, was launched by Air Chief Marshal VR Chaudhari, Chief of Air Staff at Headquarters Western Air Command, Subroto Park in the presence of Air Marshal S Prabhakaran, Air Officer Commanding-in-Chief Western Air Command and Mr. SM Vaidya Chairman IOCL on 28 March 22.
  • The headquarters was earmarked as the lead agency in the implementation and execution of the “Fuel on Move” concept.

About Fleet Card:

  • Availability of Fleet Card will permit the convoy to refuel at any IOCL fuel station thus increasing the pace of movement and reducing the lead time for readiness at operational locations across India.
  • Personnel and other resources which are now involved in fuel management within the IAF can now be re-allocated towards other operational tasks.
  • This is in line with the Shekatkar Committee recommendations of improving the Teeth to Tail ratio with the armed forces.

 

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Environment

Mass Coral Bleaching: The management authority of the world’s largest coral reef system,Australia’s Great Barrier Reef, confirmed on March 25 that the reef is experiencing a mass coral bleaching event.

  • This is the sixth time that the coral reef system is being hit by a widespread and damaging bleaching event and the fourth time in six years that such an event has occurred.

About The Great Barrier Reef:

  • The Great Barrier Reef is the world's largest coral reef system.
  • The reef is located in the Coral Sea, off the coast of Queensland, Australia and can be seen from outer space.
  • It is the world's biggest single structure made by living organisms.
  • The structure is composed of and built by billions of tiny organisms, known as coral polyps.
  • It supports a wide diversity of life.
  • It hosts 400 different types of coral, gives shelter to 1,500 species of fish and 4,000 types of mollusc.
  • It was selected as a World Heritage Site in 1981.
  • It was also labeled as one of the seven natural wonders of the world by CNN.
  • It was named as a state icon of Queensland by the Queensland National Trust.

About Coral reef:

  • A coral reef is an underwater ecosystem characterized by reef-building corals.
  • Reefs are formed by colonies of coral polyps that are held together by calcium carbonate.
  • Most of the reefs are built from stony corals, whose polyps cluster in groups.
  • Coral belongs to the class Anthozoa in the animal phylum Cnidaria which includes sea anemones and jellyfish.
  • Corals secrete hard carbonate exoskeletons that support and protect the coral.
  • Corals share a symbiotic relationship with single-celled algae called zooxanthellae.
  • The algae provide the coral with food and nutrients, which they make through photosynthesis, using the sun’s light.
  • In turn, the corals give the algae a home and key nutrients.
  • The zooxanthellae also give corals their bright colour
  • Most reefs grow best in warm, shallow, clear, sunny and agitated water.
  • Corals are also called as rainforests of the sea.
  • Shallow coral reefs form some of Earth's most diverse ecosystems. 
  • Corals comprises of less than 0.1% of world’s ocean area.
  • They are commonly found at shallow depths in tropical waters.
  • In deep water and cold water, coral reefs exist on smaller scales.

Note: First ever coral reefs were appeared some 485 million years ago.

Types of Coral:

 

Corals are of two types i.e., hard coral and soft coral:

I.Hard corals, also called hermatypic or ‘reef building’ corals extract calcium carbonate (also found in limestone) from the seawater to build hard, white coral exoskeletons.

II.Soft coral polyps, however, borrow their appearance from plants; attach themselves to such skeletons and older skeletons built by their ancestors. Soft corals also add their own skeletons to the hard structure over the years and these growing multiplying structures gradually form coral reefs. They are the largest living structures on the planet.

About Coral Bleaching:

  • Coral Bleaching occurs when corals experience stress in their environment due to changes in temperature, extremely low tides, pollution, or too much sunlight, dumping of dredging sludge and cyclic population.
  • Under stressed conditions, the zooxanthellae or food-producing algae living inside coral polyps start producing reactive oxygen species, which are not beneficial to the corals.
  • So, the corals expel the colour-giving zooxanthellae from their polyps, which expose their pale white exoskeleton, giving the corals a bleached appearance.
  • Bleached corals continue to live but begin to starve after bleaching.

Why are Coral reefs under threat?

They are under threat from excess nutrients (nitrogen and phosphorus), rising temperatures, oceanic acidification, overfishing (e.g., from blast fishing, cyanide fishing, spearfishing on scuba), sunscreen use, and harmful land-use practices, including runoff and seeps (e.g., from injection wells and cesspools).

Earth Hour 2022: The 15th edition of Earth Hour was observed on March 26, 2022 (Saturday) from 8:30 to 9:30 PM.

Key Highlights:

  • Earth Hour is organized every year by World Wildlife Fund (WWF) encouraging individuals, communities, corporates, and households to turn off their lights for one hour, from 8:30 to 9:30 p.m.
  • The Earth Hour is celebrated worldwide on the last Saturday of March month to show support for the fight against climate change and commitment towards a better planet.

Theme for 2022:

  • The “theme for the year 2022's global event was "Shape our Future”, highlighting our collective responsibility towards the environment.

Earth Hour India:

  • India also participated in Earth Hour 2022 as many of its famous monuments and sites switched off their lights in order to show their support for the global cause.
  • The Earth Hour India anthem, "Humari Prithvi", was released by the World Wide Fund-India on this occasion.
  • It is composed by the celebrated composer Shantanu Moitra and sung by Mohit Chauhan.
  • The anthem calls on Indians to take prompt action on climate change.

Background:

  • Earth Hour is the world's largest grassroots movement for the environment where people around the globe unite to take a stand against climate change by turning off non-essential lights for one hour.
  • The World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) and its partners launched Earth Hour on 31st March 2007 in Sydney, Australia.
  • It started out as a symbolic lights-out event.
  • It has come to be observed every year on the last Saturday of March in more than 180 countries uniting millions of people in the effort to decarbonise the planet both collectively and individually.

Earth Hour in India:

  • India joined the Earth Hour campaign in 2009.
  • It was celebrated by around 5 million people across 58 cities, towns and even far-flung villages of rural India.
  • Iconic monuments of the country like the Rashtrapati Bhawan, Gateway of India, India Gate, Howrah Bridge and the Victoria Memorial, among others, switch off their non-essential lights in support of this global campaign.

Note: Actor Aamir Khan was the first Earth Hour Ambassador for Earth Hour India.

About World Wide Fund (WWF):

  • World Wide Fund (WWF) was established on 29 April 1961.
  • It is headquartered in Gland, Switzerland.
  • The current President and CEO of WWF is Carter Roberts.

 

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Indian Policy

Constitution (Scheduled Tribes) Order (Amendment) Bill, 2022: The Lok Sabha recently passed a Constitution (Scheduled Tribes) Order (Amendment) Bill, 2022.

Key Points:

  • The bill seeks to amend the Constitution (Scheduled Tribes) Order, 1950 to include the Darlong community as a sub-tribe of the Kuki tribe on the list of Scheduled Tribes of Tripura.
  • The Bill proposes “Darlong" community as a sub-tribe of "Kuki" in the list of Scheduled Tribes.
  • Tribal Affairs Minister Arjun Munda, who introduced the Constitution (Scheduled Tribes) Order (Amendment) Bill, 2022, in the Lok Sabha said that the Union government was working towards betterment of living conditions of the tribal communities.

About Darlongs:

  • Darlongs is a small community of around 11,000 people living in the State of Tripura.
  • Despite being a small community, Darlongs have made their mark in different fields including education, public service, music, art and culture.
  • The prestigious Padma Shri was also awarded to a tribal musicologist and Rosem (a tribal instrument) maestro Thanga Darlong a few years ago for his contributions to culture.
  • Darlongs, despite being Scheduled Tribes, were never given ST certificates.
  • They were regarded a generic tribe under the Kuki community, and were handed their tribal certificates as members of ‘Kuki’ community.
  • This identity crisis among them culminated in the demand for a separate statutory identity of their own in 1995.
  • In 2016, a bill was introduced in Parliament to add Darlongs to the list of STs as a sub-tribe of the Kuki community.

Tribal Population in Tripura:

  • Tripura houses 20 tribal communities including Tripuri,Uchai, Riang, Jamatia, Noatia, Chakma, Mog, Lushai, Kuki, Halam, Munda, Kaur, Orang, Santal, Bhil, Bhutia, Chaimal, Garo, Khasia, and Lepcha.
  • The Halam community has several small tribal clans within it. Many of these are linguistically endangered groups like Karbongs, Bongcher, etc.
  • They live in the Tripura Tribal Areas Autonomous District Council (TTAADC) formed on 18th January 1982.
  • The tribal council encompasses about 70% of Tripura's total land area and is home to roughly 30% of the state's people.
  • A large majority of them still depend on slash and burn cultivation and traditional livelihood for sustenance.

Status of Scheduled Tribes in India:

  • As per Census-1931, Schedule tribes are termed as "backward tribes” living in the "Excluded" and "Partially Excluded" areas.
  • The Government of India (GoI) Act of 1935 called for the first time for representatives of "backward tribes" in provincial assemblies.
  • The criteria for recognition of Scheduled Tribes are not defined in the Constitution, hence the definition from the 1931 Census was utilized in the initial years after independence.
  • However, Article 366(25) of the Constitution only provides process to define Scheduled Tribes: “Scheduled Tribes means such tribes or tribal communities or parts of or groups within such tribes or tribal communities as are deemed under Article 342 to be Scheduled Tribes for the purposes of this Constitution.”
  • As per Article 342 (1), the President may after consultation with the Governor specify the tribal communities as Scheduled Tribes.
  • As per Article 342 (2), Parliament may by law include in or exclude any tribal community from the list of Scheduled Tribes specified in a notification issued under clause (1).
  • The Fifth Schedule lays out provision for Administration and Control of Scheduled Areas and Scheduled Tribes in states other than Assam, Meghalaya, Tripura and Mizoram.
  • The Sixth Schedule of the Constitution deals with the administration of the tribal areas in Assam, Meghalaya, Tripura and Mizoram.

What are the recent Steps taken by the Government of India for the betterment of the tribal population?

The steps taken by the Government of India for the betterment of the tribal population are as follows:

National Commission for Scheduled Tribes (NCST):

  • The National Commission for Scheduled Tribes (NCST) was established by inserting a new Article 338A in the Constitution through the Constitution (89th Amendment) Act, 2003.

Vanbandhu Kalyan Yojana (VKY):

  • Vanbandhu Kalyan Yojana (VKY) was launched with an aim to create enabling environment for need based and outcome oriented holistic development of the tribal people.

Adi Adarsh Gram Yojana:

  • Adi Adarsh Gram Yojana was implemented for integrated development in tribal villages spanning from health, education and drinking water.

STC funds:

  • There have been gradual and a steady increase in Scheduled Tribe component (STC) funds since the last few years.
  • A scheme of nearly Rs 7,000 crore to provide broadband and 4G connectivity in tribal hamlets under the STC funds was recently introduced by the Ministry of Tribal Affairs.

Eklavya Model Schools:

  • Eklavya Model Schools was set up to provide quality education to ST children in remote areas so that they may pursue higher and professional education and get employment in various sectors.

Scholarship Scheme:

  • Around 30 lakh ST students are covered for financial help through DBT mode under the scholarship schemes.

Tribal Healthcare:

  • The Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) was recently allocated funds to conduct research in the field of tribal healthcare.

Livelihood opportunities:

Several schemes have been introduced to support marketing and development of activities for livelihood such as -

  • The Van Dhan Scheme
  • Institutional Support For Development And Marketing Of Tribal Products/Produce
  • Marketing Of Minor Forest Produce (MFP) Through Minimum Support Price (MSP)

Changes in AFSPA: The Central Government recently announced its decision to reduce disturbed areas under Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA) in the states of Nagaland, Assam and Manipur after decades.

Key Highlights:

  • This informed was given by Union Home Minister Amit Shah on March 31, 2022.
  • The decision will result in considerable reduction in areas under AFSPA in Assam, Nagaland and Manipur from April 1,2022.
  • However, AFSPA has not been completely removed.

AFSPA in India:

  • The Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act was initially promulgated by the British to suppress the Quit India movement in 1942.
  • The first Prime Minister of India Pt. Jawaharlal Nehru decided to retain the Act and brought in an ordinance and notified it as the Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act, 1958.
  • The AFSPA Act was initially applicable to the Naga Hills, which was then part of Assam.
  • Then it expanded to all seven states of the North-East - Assam, Manipur, Meghalaya, Nagaland, Tripura, Arunachal Pradesh and Mizoram and even Chandigarh, Punjab and Jammu and Kashmir (J&K). 
  • It was enacted with the aim of bringing the situation under control in all the conflict-hit areas of the country.

Special Powers to Armed Forces under AFSPA Act:

  • The AFSPA act empowers security forces to use any means that is deemed necessary to maintain public order in the states where AFSPA is applicable.
  • Section 4 of AFSPA Act 1958 accords special powers to the armed forces, authorising the security forces to arrest anyone without a warrant, open fire, enter and search any property without any warrant.
  • Section 6 of AFSPA Act grants immunity to the security forces from prosecution or any other legal proceedings.

What are the Disturbed Areas?

  • A disturbed area is an area that is declared by notification under Section 3 of the AFSPA.
  • An area can be disturbed due to differences or disputes between members of different religious, racial, language or regional groups or castes or communities.
  • As per Section 3, it can be invoked in places where “the use of armed forces in aid of the civil power is necessary”.

Who can declare/notify such areas?

  • The Central Government or the Governor of the State or administrator of the Union Territory (UT) has the authority to declare the whole or part of the State or Union Territory as a disturbed area.
  • A suitable notification would have to be made in the Official Gazette.
  • Once declared ‘disturbed’, the region has to maintain status quo for a minimum of three months, according to The Disturbed Areas (Special Courts) Act, 1976.

Changes in AFSPA:

In Assam:

  • The disturbed area notification has been in force in the whole of Assam since 1990.
  • Now, AFSPA will be removed from 23 districts of Assa while in one district it will be applied partially with effect from April 1st.

In Manipur:

  • The AFSPA has been in force in the whole of Manipur except the Imphal Municipality area since 2004.
  • Now, the AFSPA jurisdiction will be removed from 15 police stations in 6 districts with effect from April 1st.

In Nagaland:

  • AFSPA has been in force in the whole of Nagaland since 1995.
  • Now, the jurisdiction of AFSPA will be removed in phased manner From 15 police stations in 7 districts of Nagaland.

In Arunachal Pradesh:

  • In Arunachal Pradesh, AFSPA will be applicable in only 3 districts along with the jurisdiction of two police stations in another district.

The demand to repeal AFSPA:

The demand gained momentum in Nagaland after 6 coal mine laborers were killed in an ambush by security personnel while they were returning to their village of Oting.

  • In Nagaland in 2021, security officers opened fire on six civilians travelling in a truck, mistaking them for militants from the National Socialist Council of Nagaland (NSCN).
  • The citizens, after being anguished by the loss began to protest and widespread violence ensued.
  • The Centre later formed a five-member committee to investigate the state of Nagaland's withdrawal of the AFSPA law.
  • Home Minister Amit Shah also held key meetings with the respective Chief Ministers of the states.

Extension of PM-GKAY: The Union Cabinet, on March 26, 2022, extended the Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Anna Yojana (PM-GKAY) by another six months till September 2022 (Phase VI).

Key Highlights:

  • This decision was taken keeping in view the continuous need to support the food security of poor and vulnerable sections of society.
  • The Phase-V of PM-GKAY scheme was to end in March 2022.

About PM-GKAY:

  • The PM-GKAY has been under implementation since April 2020, as the largest food security program in the world.
  • This scheme is a part of the Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Package (PMGKP) and was originally introduced in the first lockdown during the initial onset of the COVID pandemic providing free food grains to the affected population.
  • The government on this day in March 2020 had announced the distribution of additional free-of-cost foodgrains to about 80 Crore National Food Security Act (NFSA) beneficiaries at the scale of 5 Kg per person per month under the scheme.
  • Its nodal Ministry is the Ministry of Finance.
  • Phase-I and Phase-II of this scheme was operational from April to June, 2020 and July to November, 2020 respectively.
  • Phase-III of the scheme was operational from May to June, 2021.
  • Phase-IV of the scheme is currently operational for July-November, 2021 months.
  • Phase-V of this scheme was again extended from December 2021 to March 2022.

Note: Under Phases I to V, the food ministry had allocated a total of about 759 lakh tonnes of foodgrains to the States/UTs, which is equivalent to about Rs 2.6 lakh crore in food subsidy.

PM-GKAY Salient Features:

  1. This policy would cover 80 crore people, i.e., nearly two-thirds of the Indian population.
  2. Under the Insurance Scheme, a cover of Rs 50 lakh will be provided for each health professional combating COVID-19.
  3. For the next three months, 80 crore underprivileged individuals would receive 5 kilogramme wheat or rice and 1 kg of selected legumes for free.
  4. 20 crore women Jan Dhan account holders to get Rs 500 per month for the next three months.
  5. Increase in MNREGA wage to Rs 202 a day from Rs 182 to benefit 13.62 crore families.
  6. Government to front-load Rs 2,000 paid to farmers in the first week of April under the existing PM Kisan Yojana to benefit 8.7 crore farmers.

Expenditure:

  • The Government of India (GoI) will bear all expenditures of over Rs. 26,000 crore on account of food subsidy.
  • Central assistance will be provided to states/UTs on account of intra-state transportation etc.

 

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Indian polity

Constitution (Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes) Order (Amendment) Bill, 2022: The Rajya Sabha on 30 March 2022 approved The Constitution (Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes) Order (Amendment) Bill, 2022 to remove the Bhogta caste from the list of Scheduled Castes (SCs) and include additional communities in the list.

Overview:

  • The Constitution (Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes) Orders (Amendment) Bill, 2022 was passed by a voice vote.
  • The Bhogta caste will be included instead as a Scheduled Tribe in the State.
  • The Bill also amends the schedule to the Scheduled Tribes order to include the Deshwari, Dautalbandi (Dwalbandi), Ganjhu, Patbandi, Maajhia, Raut, Khairi (Kheri), Tamaria (Tamadia) and Puran communities on the ST list.
  • The main aim of the Bill is to help people get more benefits from the provisions of reservation in education and government jobs

Note: Based on requests from the states, the government keeps amending the lists originally notified in 1950.

The Scheduled Castes order specifies the castes, races and tribes deemed to be Scheduled Castes in various states and Union territories, while the Scheduled Tribes order specifies the same for tribes and tribal communities.

Delhi Municipal Corporation (Amendment) Bill, 2022: The Lok Sabha has passed the Delhi Municipal Corporation (Amendment) Bill, 2022 so that three municipal corporations of Delhi (MCD) can be merged into a single entity.

Key Highlights:

  • This bill was passed by a voice vote.
  • Various amendments that were moved by the Opposition members were rejected.
  • This bill has been passed by a voice vote and various amendments that were moved by the Opposition members have been rejected.
  • The Union Cabinet had approved the Bill for the unification of Delhi’s three Municipal corporations into one Municipal Corporation.
  • A “Special officer” is to be appointed to discharge the elected wing of councilors’ functions till the new corporation’s first meeting is held.
  • The Bill omits the provision for a Director of Local Bodies.

About the Bill:

  • The Bill seeks to amend the Delhi Municipal Corporation Act, 1957 passed by Parliament.
  • It envisages bringing about greater transparency, improved governance and more efficient delivery of civic service for the people of Delhi.
  • The Act was amended in 2011 by Delhi Legislative Assembly to trifurcate the erstwhile Municipal Corporation of Delhi into:

1.South Delhi Municipal Corporation - SDMC

2.North Delhi Municipal Corporation - NDMC

3.East Delhi Municipal Corporation - EDMC

  • The Bill seeks to unify the three corporations by replacing the three municipal corporations under the Act with one Corporation named the Municipal Corporation of Delhi (MCD).
  • The Act as amended in 2011 empowered the Delhi government to decide various matters under the Act such as total number of seats of councilors, delimitation of wards etc. while this Bill instead empowers the central government to decide these matters.
  • The Act provides that the number of seats in the three corporations taken together should not be more than 272 while the Bill states that the total number of seats in the new Corporation should not be more than 250.
  • The Act provides for a Director of Local Bodies to assist the Delhi government and discharge certain functions while the Bill omits the provision for a Director of Local Bodies.
  • The Bill provides that the central government may appoint a Special Officer to exercise powers of the Corporation until the first meeting of the Corporation is held after the commencement of the Bill.

Criminal Procedure (Identification) Bill, 2022: The Criminal Procedure (Identification) Bill, 2022 was recently introduced in the Lok Sabha.

Key Details:

  • The Bill introduced would allow the police and prison authorities to collect, store and analyze physical and biological samples, including retina and iris scans.
  • Resistance to or refusal to allow the taking of measurements under this Act shall be deemed to be an offence under section 186 of the Indian Penal Code.
  • It also seeks to apply these provisions to persons held under any preventive detention law.
  • The National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) will be the repository of physical and biological samples, signature and handwriting data that can be preserved for at least 75 years.
  • The Bill seeks to repeal the Identification of Prisoners Act, 1920 whose scope was limited to recording finger impressions and footprint impressions of limited category of convicted and non-convicted persons and photographs on the order of a magistrate.

Significance of the Bill:

  • The bill makes provisions for the use of modern techniques to capture and record appropriate body measurements.
  • The existing law which is the Identification of Prisoners Act is dated back to 1920. It allows taking only fingerprint and footprint impressions of a limited category of convicted persons.
  • The bill aims to increase the "ambit of persons" whose measurements can be taken as this will help the investigating agencies to gather sufficient legally admissible evidence and establish the crime of the accused person.
  • The law establishes legal authority for taking proper body measurements of those who are required to submit such measurements, which would improve the efficiency and speed of criminal investigations while also improving the conviction rate.

Issues with the Bill:

  • The opposition members have termed the Bill “unconstitutional”.
  • Opposition members argued that the Bill was beyond the legislative competence of Parliament as it violated the fundamental rights of citizens, including the right to privacy.
  • They claimed that it violates Article 20 (3) of the Constitution as well as the Supreme Court judgment in the K.S. Puttaswamy case.
  • Note: Article 20(3) says that 'No person accused of an offence shall be compelled to be a witness against himself'.
  • The Bill, when implied the use of force in the collection of biological information, could also lead to narco analysis and brain mapping.
  • It also violates human rights provisions as laid out in the United Nations charter.

 

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International

5th BIMSTEC Summit: Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi on 30 March 2022 participated in the 5th BIMSTEC (Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation) Summit.

Highlights:

  • The 5th BIMSTEC Summit was hosted in virtual mode by Sri Lanka, the current chair of BIMSTEC.
  • Prior to this, preparatory meetings at the Foreign Minister and Senior Official levels were held on the 28th and 29th of March.
  • The summit concluded in Colombo.

Theme of the Summit:

The theme of the summit was “Towards a Resilient Region, Prosperous Economies, Healthy People.”

This theme captures the main current priorities of member states, and the efforts by BIMSTEC to develop cooperation activities that support member state’s programmes to deal with the economic and development consequences of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Key Points of the Summit:

  • The adoption and signing of the BIMSTEC Charter, which formalizes the grouping into an organization made up of member states that are littoral to and dependent on the Bay of Bengal, was the main outcome of the Summit.
  • Under this Charter, the members were expected to meet once in every two years.
  • With the Charter, the BIMSTEC now has an international personality.
  • It has an emblem, it has a flag.
  • It has a formally listed purpose and principles that it is going to adhere to.
  • It represents a significant evolution of the grouping.
  • The BIMSTEC leaders also witnessed the signing of three different BIMSTEC agreements, which demonstrate the group's success in ongoing collaboration efforts. The agreements that were signed are:

1.A BIMSTEC MoU on mutual cooperation for diplomatic training

2.A BIMSTEC convention on mutual legal assistance related to criminal matters

3.A MoA on the establishment of the BIMSTEC technology transfer facility.

  • The summit saw the declaration of the Master Plan for Transport Connectivity that would provide a framework for regional and domestic connectivity.
  • India will also provide USD 1 million to the BIMSTEC secretariat to assist it to expand its operational budget.
  • The BIMSTEC scholarship programme, which is sponsored by Nalanda International University, has also been expanded.
  • The BIMSTEC connection agenda made progress as well, with the adoption of the 'Master Plan for Transport Connectivity.'
  • This plan sets out a framework for all connectivity-related initiatives that will be implemented in the near future in this region.
  • PM Modi called for a Free Trade Agreement among the member countries.
  • He mentioned the necessity for a coastal shipping ecosystem and electricity grid interconnectivity, as two of the necessary components of the evolving shape of the BIMSTEC.

About BIMSTEC:

  • BIMSTEC is acronym for “Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation”.
  • It is a regional multilateral organization established on June 6, 1997 in Bangkok under the name BIST-EC (Bangladesh, India, Sri Lanka, and Thailand Economic Cooperation). 
  • Myanmar was included to it in 1997 following which group was renamed as ‘BIMST-EC’ (Bangladesh, India, Myanmar, Sri Lanka and Thailand Economic Cooperation).
  • After Nepal & Bhutan become full members in 2004, BIMSTEC was renamed to its current form.

Members of BIMSTEC:

  • Seven members of BIMSTEC are littoral and adjacent areas of Bay of Bengal constituting a regional unity.
  • 5 are South Asian countries namely Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Nepal & Sri Lanka while 2 countries- Myanmar & Thailand- are from Southeast Asia.

Aim of BIMSTEC:

  • BIMSTEC connects South and Southeast Asia besides ecologies of Great Himalayas and Bay of Bengal.
  • It was established with the aims of creating an enabling environment for rapid economic development and accelerating social progress.

Mes Aynak Site: The Taliban regime in Afghanistan has stated that it will safeguard the ancient Buddha statues in Mes Aynak, which is also home to a copper mine that the Taliban is attempting to attract Chinese investment.

Key Points:

  • The Taliban's current posture contrasts sharply with their previous leadership in Afghanistan, when they used artillery, explosives, and rockets to destroy centuries-old Buddha sculptures in Bamiyan.
  • The leadership's apparent change of heart on the Mes Aynak monuments appears to be motivated by economic considerations, with the dictatorship in desperate need of the revenue that Chinese investment in copper mines may provide.

About Mes Aynak Site:

  • Mes Aynak is a site that is located 40 km southeast of Kabul, Afghanistan.
  • It is located in the Logar Province’s barren region.
  • Mes Aynak contains Afghanistan's largest copper deposit.
  • The remains of an ancient settlement with over 400 Buddha statues, stupas and a 40 ha (100 acres) monastery complex are also found in this region.
  • Artifacts that date back to the Bronze Age, with some dating back over 3000 years have been recovered at this site.
  • This site possesses a vast complex of Buddhist monasteries, homes, and market areas.
  • Discovered in the 1960s by French geologists, the site was believed to have been an important stop along the Silk Road from the early centuries AD.
  • The site's orientation on the Silk Road has yielded a mixture of elements from China and India.
  • In 1973-74, the archaeological wealth of this site was discovered by Afghan and Russian geologists.

History of this site:

  • Between the 5th and 7th century AD, Mes Aynak was at the peak of its prosperity. 
  • Alchon Hun monarchs Khingila and Mehama's coins were discovered here, confirming the Alchon presence in the area between 450 and 500 CE.
  • The settlement's slow decline began in the 8th Century and it was abandoned 200 years later.
  • During the 10th century, the city was ruled by Brahman Shahi, the king of Kabul, Jaypaldeva.
  • However, it was later burned to ashes by a Gaznavaid invasion.
  • Once the walls were destroyed, it was easy for the Gaznavi to travel across Hindi Kush and invade mainland India.
  • The citizens of Mes Aynak generally followed Buddhism and Hinduism equally.
  • The earliest Buddhist remains date from the Kushan era, although this gradually gave way to T'ang Chinese and Uyghur influences.

Etymology:

  • The word Mes Aynak literally means "little source of copper"; mes is "copper", while aynak is a diminutive form of ayn which means "source".

About Afghanistan:

  • Afghanistan, officially the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan, is a landlocked country in Asia.
  • It is bordered by Pakistan to the east and south; Iran to the west; Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, and Tajikistan to the north; and China to the northeast.
  • Its Capital is Kabul.
  • The currency used here is the Afghan afghani.

Emmett Till Anti-lynching Act: The President of the US Joe Biden recently signed a law that makes lynching a hate crime in the United States of America.

Key Details:

  • This bill was earlier passed unanimously by the Senate of the US in March 2022.
  • In the House of Representatives this bill was passed by a vote of 422-3.
  • The Emmett Till Anti-Lynching Act is named after Emmett Till, a 14-year old African American whose brutal murder in Mississippi galvanized the US civil rights movement in the 1950s.

About the law:

  • Under this law, a crime can be prosecuted as a lynching if a conspiracy to commit a hate crime results in death or significant physical injury.
  • It also specifies a maximum punishment of 30 years in prison as well as fines that are to be levied.

Background:

  • The first anti-lynching legislation was first considered by the US Congress over 120 years ago.
  • Until March of 2022, they had failed to pass similar legislation around 200 times.
  • The bill was first introduced in the year 1900 by George Henry White, then North Carolina Rep who was the only Black member of the Cogress at that time.

About the crime that started the movement in US:

  • Emmett Till, 14, had traveled from his Chicago home to visit relatives in Mississippi in 1955 when it was alleged that he whistled at a white woman.
  • He was kidnapped, beaten and shot in the head.
  • A large metal fan was tied to his neck with barbed wire, and his body was thrown into a river.
  • His murder and the dismissal of the charges by an all-white jury against the two white men who committed the crime started a movement in the country.
  • After the two men confessed to the murder, public attention was drawn to the brutality endured by the country's African American communities, and a civil rights rallying cry was born.

India and Maldives: The External Affairs Minister of India Dr. S Jaishankar recently engaged in the review of the progress of various areas of bilateral cooperation between India and Maldives.

He was on a two-day official visit to the Maldives till March 27.

Key Points:

  • During the visit, he inaugurated the National College of Policing and Law Enforcement (NCPLE) in Addu City in the southernmost atoll of the Indian Ocean archipelago that was established under Indian grant assistance.
  • The establishment of the police academy had, till recently, been India’s largest grant-funded project prior to the Greater Male Connectivity Project for which India extended a $400 million line of credit in 2020.
  • Furthermore, an MoU (Memorandum of Understanding) was signed between the Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel National Police Academy (SVPNPA), the prestigious training institute in Hyderabad, and the Maldives Police Service.

Significance:

  • The Maldives is one of India's key maritime neighbours in the Indian Ocean Region and occupy a special place in Prime Minister Narendra Modi's vision of 'SAGAR' (Security and Growth for All in the Region) and Neighbourhood First.
  • SAGAR or "Security and Growth for all in the Region" is aimed at cooperative measures for sustainable use of the oceans in the region.
  • On the domestic level in the Maldives, the training academy would help strengthen law enforcement abilities to counter drug trafficking and growing Radicalisation, a major concern in the country.
  • Defence security cooperation between India and the Maldives has been happening for some time now and a large number of their personnel travel overseas for training, including to India.
  • The Colombo Security Conclave, a trilateral maritime security grouping of India, Sri Lanka and the Maldives, where intelligence sharing is also a part of this trilateral security cooperation.

About Maldives:

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

 

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National

Merger of Film Media Units with NFDC: The Ministry of Information and Broadcasting (MIB) has transferred the mandate of production of documentaries and short films, organization of film festivals and preservation of films to the National Film Development Corporation (NFDC).

NFDC is a public sector undertaking that has been working under the Ministry.

Overview:

  • As per the ministry, the bringing of all these activities under single management will reduce the overlap of activities and also ensure better utilization of public resources.
  • The mandate of production of feature films is already being carried out by NFDC.
  • It will give a strong impetus to the production of films of all genres including documentaries, feature films, animation films and children films, organizing various domestic festivals and preservation of the filmic content.
  • The ownership of the assets available with these units will remain with the government.
  • By orders issued on 31st March 2022, the mandate of production of documentaries that was earlier done by Films Division has been completely transferred to NFDC.
  • The legacy and brand name of Films Division will be taken further and the Production Vertical for production of documentaries in the NFDC will be named as “Films Division”.
  • Similarly, the organization of film festivals that was the mandate of DFF has been transferred to NFDC.
  • This will integrate the activities of numerous national and international film festivals  under one roof, resulting in higher synergy and a much more concentrated worldwide outreach.
  • Some of the major upcoming Film Festivals to be organized by NFDC are the Mumbai International Film Festival, International Film Festival of India at Goa, and Children’s Film Festival.

Background:

In December 2020, the ministry, under former I&B minister Prakash Javadekar, had announced the government's decision to merge the four public bodies namely the National Film Archives of India (NFAI), Films Division (FD), Children’s Film Society of India (CFSI), and Directorate of Film Festivals (DFF) with NFDC by expanding the Memorandum of Articles of Association of NDFC, which will then carry out all the activities hitherto performed by them with the objective of ensuring synergy, convergence of activities & better utilization of resources.

About the Films Division (FD): 

  • Films Division (FD) was established in 1948.
  • It produces, and distributes newsreels and documentary films on historical events and political figures.
  • In Post-Independence, films made by the erstwhile colonial agencies of Information Films of India, Indian News Parade, and Army Film and Photographic Unit were handed over to Film Division (FD). 
  • It preserved audio and visual records of India’s history of decolonization and the process of nation-building.
  • For example, it includes works of Satyajit Ray, MF Husain, Mani Kaul, Pramod Pati, and more recent films by contemporary filmmakers. 

About the National Film Archive of India (NFAI):

  • National Film Archive of India (NFAI) was established in 1964.
  • It is the oldest of the four units.
  • It has the mandate to trace, acquire, and preserve the heritage of fiction cinema in India.
  • Built under the supervision of the renowned curator P K Nair, it preserves several thousand films, books, scripts, posters, and photographs dating back to the 1910s,
  • It actively promotes film research and scholarship on Indian and South Asian cinema. 

About the Children’s Film Society of India (CFSI):

  • Children’s Film Society of India (CFSI) was established in 1955 with the specific objective of providing children and young people value-based entertainment through the medium of films.

About the Directorate of Film Festivals (DFF):

  • Directorate of Film Festivals (DFF) was established in 1976 to promote Indian films and cultural exchange.
  • It organizes the National Film Award, for example, Dada Saheb Phalke Award, and the International Film Festival of India (IFFI) etc.

All four of these institutions have historically provided original prints from their archives for screenings at film festivals, film societies, and educational institutions around the world. 

The NFDC:

  • The National Film Development Corporation (NFDC) is a public sector undertaking.
  • It was established in 1975,
  • Its aim is to promote filmmakers outside the mainstream film industries of India.
  • It also contributed to the development of parallel cinema.

FASTER: Chief Justice of India NV Ramana recently launched the Fast and Secured Transmission of Electronic Records (FASTER) software.

The online introduction of the FASTER programme was attended by CJI Ramana, Justices AM Khanwilkar, DY Chandrachud, and Hemant Gupta, as well as Chief Justices and Judges of High Courts.

Key Points:

  • The initiative ‘FASTER‘ was initiated when a bench led by CJI Ramana took suo motu notice of delays in convicts’ release even after they had been granted bail, citing reasons such as non-receipt or non-verification of legal orders.
  • According to a Supreme Court press release, the FASTER system was developed on a war footing by the Registry in collaboration with the NIC.
  • FASTER has been launched so that court orders can be transmitted securely and swiftly via electronic mode thus ensuring that judicial orders can be communicated quickly.
  • Through the use of this software orders that were passed by the high courts (HC) and the Supreme Court (SC) will be transmitted safely without any third-party interference.
  • 73 nodal officers have been selected at the HC level to ensure that this system reaches all of India’s districts.
  • Jail authorities have also been selected through a network of judicial communication.
  • By constructing a safe conduit, all Nodal Officers have been connected through a specific judicial communication network JCN.
  • For this software a secure pathway email id has also been established.

Significance this software:

  • Bail orders will be communicated via FASTER.
  • For authentication purposes, it will include the institutional digital signatures as well as the digital signatures of the recognized nodal officers of the SC.
  • In this manner, bail orders would be received by all interested parties without wasting much time, and they would be able to perform the appropriate actions quickly.
  • Only email id holders would be able to communicate, assuring safety, secrecy, and security.
  • A total of 1,887 email ids of the selected nodal officers have been connected.

Need for such software:

  • In the past, inmates were not freed by the jail officials even after bail orders were passed because the hard copies of the certified bail orders arrived late.
  • Thus, this software was implemented so that Article 21, Right to Life, could be implemented swiftly and the bail orders are executed on time.

Air Traffic Management Systems: In a major boost to Government’s “Make in India” Initiative, Airports Authority of India (AAI) has recently signed an agreement with the Defence Public Sector Undertaking Bharat Electronics Limited (BEL).

Key Points:

  • The present agreement is in conformity with AAI’s R & D Policy to upgrade its ANS Infrastructure in systematic, efficient and cost-effective manner and in compliance with the ‘Atmanirbhar Bharat’ missions of the Government of India (GoI).
  • The agreement has been signed for the joint indigenous development of systems for aircraft traffic management and surface movement at airports across the country were previously imported.
  • This will reduce AAI’s foreign dependency for procurement of ANS infrastructure.
  • Under this Agreement, they both will collaborate to develop the Civil air traffic Management System (ATMS) with Advanced-Surface Movement Guidance and system (ASMGCS).
  • ASMGCS is a complex ground surveillance system that manages air traffic at airports and in Indian civil airspace to confirm safe flight operations.
  • Air traffic control has two purposes:

1.To confirm safety by maintaining separation between many planes.

2.To manage airport operations efficiently.

  • ASMGCS provides routing, guidance, and surveillance services to aircraft and vehicles on the ground in order to guarantee safe surface mobility in all weather situations at the airport
  • The system accommodates air traffic in congested airports and airspaces, including military flights.

Significance:

  • The goal of ATMS with ASMGCS is to provide the air traffic controller with the complete air traffic picture of the coverage area while interacting with Primary/Secondary Radar, Automatic Dependent Surveillance-Broadcast (ADS-B),Multi-lateration System (MLATs), and navigational equipment such as GPS, Instrument Landing System (ILS) and Doppler Very High-Frequency Omni Range (DVOR).
  • The system is used in congested airports and airspaces to serve large volume of air traffic, including military flights.
  • The system comprises multiple, in-house developed technologies, such as Situation Display for Air traffic controller, Surveillance Data Processing (SDP), Flight Data Processing (FDP), Safety Net and Decision Support (SNET), Control & Monitoring Display (CMD), Advanced ASMGCS, etc.
  • It helps in increasing capacity with improved safety by reducing controller workload, improving air traffic flow and minimizing flight delays.
  • Enhanced system reliability and availability are provided through redundant and distributed architecture, safeguarding ATM operations.

 

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People In News

Vikas Kumar: Vikas Kumar has been appointed as the new Managing Director of the Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC).

Key Points:

  • He is succeeding Mangu Singh, whose tenure ended on March 31, 2022.
  • Singh was the managing director of DMRC since January 1, 2012.
  • Kumar is the third managing director of the DMRC after E Sreedharan and Mangu Singh.
  • He will hold the post for a term of five years.

About Vikas Kumar:

  • Vikas Kumar is a 1988-batch officer of the Indian Railway Traffic Service.
  • He was holding the position of the Director (Operations) in the DMRC.
  • He has over three decades of experience in rail-based urban transportation projects.
  • He has worked with the Indian Railways in various capacities before joining the DMRC in September 2004.
  • He has been associated with the urban transporter for more than 17 years in key management positions.
  • In the DMRC, Kumar has headed the operations wing of the organization since 2007 in various leadership capacities, such as general manager (operations), executive director (operations) and director (operations).
  • He has played a key role in ensuring the smooth commencement of metro services in Delhi-NCR.

About Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC):

  • The Delhi Metro is a mass rapid transit (MRT) system serving Delhi and its satellite cities of Ghaziabad, Faridabad, Gurgaon, Noida, Bahadurgarh and Ballabhgarh, in the National Capital Region of India.
  • It is by far the largest and busiest metro rail system in India, and the second oldest after the Kolkata Metro.
  • Its construction started in 1998.
  • The first elevated section (Shahdara to Tis Hazari) on the Red Line opened on 25 December 2002.

Ritu Khanduri: BJP MLA Ritu Khanduri has recently become tthe first woman Speaker of the state assembly.

Key Highlights:

  • Daughter of former Uttarakhand chief minister Major General Bhuvan Chandra Khanduri was elected unopposed as the first woman speaker of the Uttarakhand Assembly.
  • The announcement about her election was made by pro-tem speaker Banshidhar Bhagat.
  • Her election to the post was a foregone conclusion as the main opposition Congress chose to stay out of contest.
  • She won from Kotdwar by defeating former minister S S Negi by more than 3,000 votes.
  • She had won her maiden assembly election from the Yamkeshwar constituency in 2017.

Shashi Sinha: IPG Mediabrands India CEO Shashi Sinha as the new chairman of the board of Broadcast Audience Research Council (BARC) India.

Key Highlights:

  • He will take over from Punit Goenka, who served as chairman of the TV viewership measurement agency for the last three years.
  • Sinha, who also represents the Advertising Agencies Association of India as its board member, has played a key role in the formation of BARC.

About the Broadcast Audience Research Council India:

  • The Broadcast Audience Research Council (BARC) India is a joint industry body founded by organisations that represent Indian broadcasters, advertisers, and advertising and media agencies.
  • It was founded in 2010.
  • It is the world’s largest television measurement science industry body.
  • It is headquartered in Mumbai, Maharashtra.

Raj Subramaniam: Indian American corporate veteran Raj Subramaniam is set to succeed Frederick W Smith as the new CEO of the transportation company FedEx.

Key Points:

  • Subramaniam, 54 is originally from Trivandrum, India.
  • He went to IIT Bombay in 1987 to study chemical engineering and later earned a master’s degree in the same field from Syracuse University in 1989.
  • He joined FedEx in 1991.
  • He was elected to the FedEx Board of Directors in 2020.

About FedEx:

  • FedEx Corporation, formerly Federal Express Corporation and later FDX Corporation, is an American multinational conglomerate holding company focused on transportation, e-commerce and services based in Memphis, Tennessee.
  • The name "FedEx" is a syllabic abbreviation of the name of the company's original air division, Federal Express, which was used from 1973 until 2000.

Central Banking Awards 2022: Mario Marcel has won the Governor of the year award at the 9th edition of the Central Banking Awards 2022.

Key Highlights:

  • Marcel is the Governor of the Central Bank of Chile (Banco Central de Chile is the name of the central bank of Chile).
  • The Central Banking Awards 2022 recognize excellence in a community that had faced significant policy and operational challenges amid uneven economic recovery and inflationary pressures in the second year since the Covid-19 outbreak.
  • The annual Central Banking Awards 2022 is made up of 17 central bank categories and 14 partner and service provider categories.

About Mario Marcel:

  • Mario Marcel served as the governor of the Central Bank of Chile (BCCh) from 2016 to January 2022.
  • He took over the leadership of an institution that had secured a reputation as one of the most independent and well-run central banks in Latin America.
  • After resigning in January 2022 he became the finance minister under the new administration of Gabriel Boric, President of Chile.
  • He has not only served as a consultant for international organizations and governments of different countries such as Columbia, Peru, Mexico and Vietnam but also served as a researcher for the Corporation for Latin American Sudies (Cieplan).

 

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Places In News

Assam-Meghalaya Border Pact: The Chief Ministers of Assam and Meghalaya, on 29th March 2022 signed a border agreement.

  • This MoU has been signed to resolve the case of the inter-state boundary dispute between Meghalaya and Assam with respect to 6 of the 12 areas of difference.

Key Details:

  • The historic pact was signed in the presence of Shah and Chief Ministers of Assam and Meghalaya Himanta Biswa Sarma and Conrad Sangma respectively to resolve their five-decade-old border dispute in six of the 12 locations.
  • The 6 areas of difference that have been taken into consideration in the first phase are Gizang, Tarabari, Boklapara, Hahim, Ratacherra, and Khanapara-Pillangkata.
  • The 12 areas of difference are Gizang, Tarabari, Langpih (Lumpi), Hahim, Boklapara, Borduar, Khanapara-Pillangkata, Nongwah-Mawtamur (Garbhanga), Block-I & Block-II, Deshdoomreah, Khanduli and Psiar, and Ratacherra
  • With this newly signed Memorandum of Understanding (MoU), Meghalaya will be gaining 18.33 square kilometers and Assam will be gaining 18.46 sq km out of the total of 36.79 sq km. in 6 out of 12 areas of differences that were resolved between the two states.
  • As per the agreement, the MoU will be deemed a complete and final agreement.
  • The locations described are based on a table-top exercise that was conducted using spatial technologies.
  • It will be determined more precisely during the detailed survey for the demarcation and delineation of the boundary by the Survey of India, which will be done in the presence of representatives from both state governments.

Background:

  • The boundary dispute has been going on between both states for a long period of time.
  • The boundary dispute between Assam and Meghalaya has lingered for 50 years. However, the effort to resolve it gained pace in recent times.
  • Meghalaya was carved out of Assam as a separate state in 1972 but the new state had challenged the Assam Reorganisation Act, 1971, leading to dispute in 12 locations in the border areas.
  • In August 2021, the two states appointed three committees each to investigate the thorny boundary issue.
  • The panels were formed after two rounds of talks between Sarma and Sangma, during which the two neighbours agreed to settle the matter in stages.

Note:

  • Tripura, Meghalaya, Manipur, Mizoram, Arunachal Pradesh, Nagaland, and West Bengal share a 2743-kilometer border with Assam.
  • Mizoram, Meghalaya, Nagaland and Arunachal Pradesh all have border conflicts with it.

Living Root Bridges of Meghalaya: Living Root Bridge also called the Jingkieng Jri has been included in the tentative list of World Heritage Sites of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO).

Key Points:

  • The Jingkieng Jri is found in over 70 villages in Meghalaya highlighting the socio-cultural, social and botanical links between people and nature.
  • The living root bridges are grown by the villagers by training the ‘ficus elastica’ tree on both sides of water bodies over a period of about 10 to 15 years where the roots form the bridge.
  • Often used as a path across a stream or a river, currently, there are about 100 known living root bridges spread across 72 villages in the state.

Note: One of the most famous living root bridge is in Nongriat, which is a double decker living root bridge and is spread across two levels.

  • Villagers (particularly the Khasi and Jaintia tribal clans) have been building and maintaining these bridges for over 600 years.

Additional Info:

Other sites included in the list in 2022:

  • Sri Veerabhadra Temple and Monolithic Bull (Nandi) at Lepakshi of Andhra Pradesh, The Geoglyphs of the Konkan region of Maharashtra have made it to the tentative list of UNESCO world heritage sites in 2022.

About UNESCO:

  • The full form of UNESCO is United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization.
  • UNESCO was founded on 6 November 1945.
  • It is a specialized agency of the United Nations aimed at promoting world peace and security through international cooperation in education, the sciences, and culture.
  • It is headquartered in Paris, France.
  • The current head of UNESCO is Audrey Azoulay.

Odisha Day- Utkal Divas: Every year on April 1st, the state of Odisha celebrates Utkal Divas, also known as Utakala Dibasha or Odisha Day.

Key Points:

  • This day is celebrated to remember Odisha’s formation after the struggle it faced to be recognized as an independent state of the country.
  • The state was originally called Orissa but in 2011 the Orissa Bill and Constitution Bill (113rd amendment) was passed by the Lok Sabha and the state was renamed Odisha.
  • On this day the shops and houses are decorated.
  • Various competitions are organized across the state by local politicians such as fireworks competitions. Different types of cultural programs are also organized to commemorate this day.

History of this day:

  • The present-day Odisha was a major part of the ancient Kalinga.
  • The epic Kalinga War was witnessed by this region.
  • This war was led by King Ashoka who in 260 BC had invaded and conquered this region.
  • Later, the state was invaded and taken over by the Mughals.
  • Then in the year 1803 the British took over power and divided this region into small units.
  • The northern and western districts were merged with Bengal while the coastal region formed the basis of Bihar and Odisha (then known as Orissa).
  • After struggling for decades under the leadership of Odisha’s eminent leaders, on 1st April 1936, the new province of Odisha came into existence.
  • The state saw another facelift, now in terms of its name being changed from Orissa to Odisha.
  • On 9 November 2010, the Parliament of India renamed Orissa as Odisha.
  • Oriya language was also retitled as Odia.

About Odisha:

  • Odisha also formerly Orissa, is an Indian state located on the eastern coast of India.
  • It neighbors the states of West Bengal and Jharkhand to the north, Chhattisgarh to the west and Andhra Pradesh to the south.
  • It is an eastern Indian state on the Bay of Bengal.
  • It is known for its tribal cultures and its many ancient Hindu temples.
  • The Jagannath Temple in Puri is a very sacred and religious temple of Hindus.
  • More than 31% of the state has been covered with forests.
  • The capital of Odisha is Bhubaneswar.
  • The Governor and the Chief Minister of Odisha are Ganeshi Lal and Naveen Patnaik respectively. 

MyGov Platform: The Lieutenant Governor of Jammu and Kashmir Manoj Sinha recently launched MyGov platform for Jammu and Kashmir.

Key Highlights:

  • MyGov Jammu and Kashmir was launched with the aim of achieving the goal of ‘Good Governance’ and taking forward the idea of citizen engagement.
  • This platform is the 16th implementation of the MyGov platform in a state or UT.
  • This is also the first UT in which the MyGov platform has been implemented.

About MyGov Platform:

  • The MyGov platform was launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in 2014.
  • The goal of this launch was to bring the government closer to the people of India by developing an interface that could be utilized for a healthy interchange of thoughts and ideas, so that they can be implemented for transforming India both economically and socially.
  • Currently, this platform has over 2.29 Crore registered users.
  • They are known as MyGov Saathis.
  • They engage actively with MyGov and share all their suggestions and ideas related to various policy issues.
  • They also participate in quizzes, pledges, and contests on this platform.
  • MyGov has been promoting the positive use of social media and has been identifying unsung heroes and change-makers from across India who are contributing to the development of society.
  • During the COVID-19 pandemic, MyGov emerged to be a trusted information source for the citizens of the nation.

Implementation of MyGov platform:

  • MyGov has been implemented in 15 States.
  • They are Maharashtra, Haryana, Madhya Pradesh, Assam, Arunachal Pradesh, Manipur, Chhattisgarh, Tripura, Nagaland, Jharkhand, Uttarakhand, Himachal Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Goa, and Uttar Pradesh.
  • Now MyGov Jammu and Kashmir is the 16th implementation of the MyGov platform in a state or UT.

About Jammu and Kashmir:

  • Jammu and Kashmir (J&K) is a region administered by India as a Union Territory.
  • The current Lieutenant Governor of J&K is Former Union minister and BJP leader Manoj Sinha.
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Science and Technology

Space Junk and NETRA Project: With space junk posing increasing threat to Indian assets in space, the Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) is building up its orbital debris tracking capability by deploying new radars and optical telescopes under the Network for Space Objects Tracking and Analysis (NETRA) project.

Overview:

  • A space debris tracking radar with a range of 1,500 km and an optical telescope will be inducted as part of establishing an effective surveillance and tracking network under NETRA.
  • The government has given the go-ahead for the deployment of the radar, which will be capable of detecting and tracking objects 10 cm and above in size.
  • It will be indigenously designed and built.
  • ISRO plans to have two such radars deployed 1,000 km apart for spatial diversity.
  • Curently, ISRO has a Multi Object Tracking Radar at Sriharikota range, but it has a limited range.
  • The SSA Control Center in Bengaluru coordinates ISRO's efforts in space situational awareness (SSA), which are administered by the Directorate of Space Situational Awareness and Management at ISRO headquarters.

What is Space Debris?

  • The space debris or space junk is a term used to describe a group of unwanted objects in Earth's orbit, whether man-made or natural.
  • Natural Debris is made up of natural bodies that orbit the sun, such as asteroids and meteors.
  • Artificial space junk or debris consists of exhausted rocket stages, dead satellites, shards of space objects, and debris from the Anti-satellite (ASAT) System.
  • These free floating space debris, hurtling through space at a speed of 27,000 kmph in Low Earth Orbit (LEO), pose a genuine hazard as collisions involving even centimetre-sized fragments can be lethal to satellites.
  • These particles are a potential hazard for operational satellites and colliding with them can leave the satellites dysfunctional.
  • This is referred to as Kessler Syndrome, named after National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) scientist Donald Kessler in 1978.
  • According to Kessler Syndrome, if there is too much space trash in orbit, it could cause a chain reaction in which more and more objects hit and create additional space junk, eventually rendering Earth's orbit uninhabitable — a Domino Effect.

Project NETRA:

  • NETRA project is an early warning system in space to detect debris and other hazards to Indian satellites.
  • NETRA Project was initiated by ISRO in August 2020.
  • Under NETRA, ISRO plans to put up the following:
  1. Many observational facilities:
  2. Connected radars,
  3. Telescopes;
  4. Data processing units and
  5. A control centre.

Note: Radars and optical telescopes are vital ground-based facilities for keeping an eye on space objects, including orbital junk.

  • They can also spot, track and catalogue objects as small as 10 cm, up to a range of 3,400 km and equal to a space orbit of around 2,000 km.
  • Once operational, it will give India its own capability in Space Situational Awareness (SSA) like the other space powers which is used to ‘predict’ threats from debris to Indian satellites.
  • It also goes so far as to serve as an unstated warning against missile or space attack for the country.
  • Under this project, SSA was first used for low-earth orbits or LEO which have remote-sensing spacecraft.
  • NETRA’s ultimate goal is to capture the GEO, or geostationary orbit, scene at 36,000 km where communication satellites operate.

Why the need?

  • With countries launching more and more satellites, each one a strategic or economic asset, preventing collisions may grow increasingly difficult in the future.
  • In the year 2021, ISRO monitored 4,382 events in LEO and 3,148 events in the geostationary orbit where space objects closely approached Indian assets.
  • For protecting its space assets, ISRO was forced to perform 19 Collision Avoidance Manoeuvres (CAM).
  • Fragments from the Fengyun-1C satellite (part of the anti-satellite test (ASAT) by China in 2007) and the Cosmos 2251-Iridium satellite collision in 2009 accounted for the maximum number of these threats.
  • The observations also covered 84 “close approaches of less than one km” between Starlink satellites and Indian assets.

PACER Scheme: The Polar Science and Cryosphere (PACER) scheme has been approved for continuation during 2021-2026.

About the PACER scheme:

  • Polar Science and Cryosphere Research (PACER) scheme comprises of the Antarctic program, Indian Arctic program, Southern Ocean program and Cryosphere and Climate program.
  • It is implemented through National Centre for Polar and Ocean Research (NCPOR), an autonomous institute under the Ministry of Earth Sciences.

Objective:

  • The main objective of the scheme is to improve our understanding of Polar Science and the cryosphere system.

Components of PACER:

PACER encompasses the following six components.

1)Construction of polar research vessel

2)Construction of the third research base in Antarctica

3)Indian scientific endeavours in the Arctic

4)Polar expeditions-Antarctica

5)Replacement of Maitri station

6)Southern Ocean

PACER Scheme is one of the five major programs of MoES, other four are:

1)Atmosphere and Climate Research – Modelling, Observing Systems and Services (ACROSS).

2)Ocean Services, Technology, Observations, Resources, Modelling and Science (OSTORMS).

3)Seismology and Geosciences (SAGE).

4)Research, Education, Outreach and Training (REACHOUT).

Major achievements of the PACER scheme in the recent three years are:

  1. Executed 39th & 40th Indian Scientific Expedition to Antarctica.
  2. 41st Indian Scientific Expedition to Antarctica is ongoing.
  3. Clear-air atmospheric observatories containing automatic weather stations, a suite of sensors to measure aerosol and greenhouse gas concentrations has been established at Maitri and Bharati stations.
  4. Twenty-three research projects related to glaciology, marine science, polar biology, and atmospheric science were successfully carried out during 2019-20 Arctic Expedition.
  5. IndARC mooring system along with Hydrophone system was successfully retrieved and deployed in Kongsfjorden, Svalbard.

Studies in Western Himalayas:

  1. Glaciological field campaigns were carried out in six benchmark glaciers in Chandra basin of Lahaul-Spiti region of Western Himalaya.
  2. Differential Global Positioning System (DGPS) and Ground Penetrating Radar (GPR) survey were conducted.
  3. Snow, ice, meltwater, water and cryoconite samples were collected from various glaciers and lakes.
  4. Automatic Weather Station (AWS) systems were installed at Baralacha La, a high elevation site in the arid Spiti region to strengthen infrastructure across the Chandra basin.

Indian Antarctic Program:

  1. The Indian Antarctic Program is a multi-disciplinary, multi-institutional program under the control of the National Centre for Polar and Ocean Research, Ministry of Earth Sciences.
  2. It was initiated in 1981with the first Indian expedition to Antarctica.
  3. The program gained global acceptance with India's signing of the Antarctic Treatyand subsequent construction of the Dakshin Gangotri Antarctic research base in 1983, superseded by the Maitri base from 1989.
  4. The newest base commissioned in 2012 is Bharati.
  5. Under the program, atmospheric, biological, earth, chemical, and medical sciences are studied by India.
  6. As of today, Maitri and Bharati are fully operational.

About NCPOR:

The National Centre for Polar and Ocean Research (NCPOR), Goa—an autonomous institute under the Ministry of Earth Sciences—manages the entire Indian Antarctic program.

The Antarctic Treaty:

  1. The Antarctic Treaty was signed in Washington on 1 December 1959 by the twelve nations (Argentina, Australia, Belgium, Chile, France, Japan, New Zealand, Norway, South Africa, United Kingdom, United States and USSR).
  2. The Treaty, applies to the area south of 60° South latitude.
  3. The Treaty now has 52 signatories.
  4. India became a member of this treaty in 1983.
  5. It is headquartered in Buenos Aires, Argentina.

What is the cryosphere?

  1. The cryosphere is the frozen water part of the Earth system.
  2. The term “cryosphere” comes from the Greek word, “krios,” which means cold.
  3. Ice and snow on land are one part of the cryosphere.
  4. These are places on Earth that are so cold that water is frozen solid.
  5. These areas of snow or ice, which are subject to temperatures below 0°C 32°F for at least part of the year, compose the cryosphere.
  6. This includes the largest parts of the cryosphere, the continental ice sheets found in Greenland and Antarctica, as well as ice caps, glaciers, and areas of snow and permafrost.
  7. When continental ice flows out from land and to the sea surface, we get shelf ice.
  8. The other part of the cryosphere is ice which is found in water.
  9. This includes frozen parts of the ocean, such as waters surrounding Antarctica and the Arctic.
  10. It also includes frozen rivers and lakes, which mainly occur in polar areas.

 

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Sports

KIUG 2021 Logo, Mascot and Anthem: The Khelo India University Games 2021 (KIUG 2021) logo, jersey, mascot and anthem were recently launched by Union Minister of Youth Affairs and Sports Anurag Singh Thakur and Governor of Karnataka, TC Gehlot at the Sree Kanteerava Stadium in Bengaluru.

Key details of KIUG 2021 event:

  • Gehlot launched the logo and official mascot of the games – Veera while Thakur launched the official jersey of the games as well as the anthem, sung by Chandan Shetty and Nikhil Joshi.
  • The logo of the event features the iconic Vidhana Soudha building, the Legislative House in Bengaluru with two elephants on either side.
  • The mascot of KIUG 2021 is also an elephant, named Veera.
  • The theme song has been composed by Kannada rapper Chandan Shetty.
  • The official Khelo India mobile app was also launched on the occasion.
  • Karnataka has also taken the decision to make it a Green Game that will not use single-use plastic and follow environment-friendly practices.
  • As part of the Games being green, everything used in the Games outside the field of play will be made of reusable material.
  • In addition, electric vehicles (EV) will be used for transportation.
  • All waste will be segregated as wet and dry at the source in every venue.
  • It will therefore be a zero-waste, zero-plastic Games.

About KUIG 2021:

  • The 2nd edition of KIUG 2021 will be held in Karnataka between April 24 and May 3, 2022.
  • KIUG 2021 was postponed due to the Covid crisis.
  • The first edition was hosted by Odisha in 2020 at the Kalinga Institute of Industrial Technology (KIIT).
  • The upcoming Games will feature indigenous sports yogasana and mallakhamb along with 18 other sports.
  • Around 4,500 athletes from across India are expected to participate in the event.

About Khelo India University Games (KIUG):

  • The Khelo India University Games (KIUG) is a national level multi-sport event held in India.
  • Athletes from universities across the country compete in different sports disciplines.
  • The KUIG is a platform intended to identify and train capable athletes in the age group of 18 to 25 years for the Asian Games, CWG and the Olympics. 
  • It is organized by Sports Authority of India (SAI) and the Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports along with the Association of Indian Universities, Indian Olympic Association and National Sports Federation.
  • It is the largest university-level sports competition in India.

The inaugural edition held in Odisha started on 22 February and concluded on 1 March 2020.

SAFF U-18 Women's Championship 2022: India has won the 3rd edition of the SAFF U-18 Women's Football Championship.

Key Highlights:

  • The 2022 edition of the international football competition for women’s under-18 national teams was held in Jharkhand at JRD Tata Sports Complex, Jamshedpur on 25th March 2022.
  • The valuable player and the highest goal scorer of the championship was Lynda Kom, who scored five goals.
  • Although India lost to Bangladesh, 0-1 in the final league match, but still emerged champions of the tournament on account of better goal difference.
  • India enjoyed a better goal difference of +11 in comparison to +3 of Bangladesh.

About SAFF U-18 Women's Championship:

  • The SAFF U-18/U-19 Women's Championship is a biennial international association football tournament for women's national football teams under the age of 18.
  • It was founded in 2018.
  • It is governed by the South Asian Football Federation (SAFF).
  • All the seven teams of the member associations are eligible to compete in tournament, unless sanctioned by AFC or FIFA.

2022 Saudi Arabian Grand Prix: Max Verstappen (Red Bull – Netherlands) has won the Formula One 2022 Saudi Arabian Grand Prix at Jeddah Corniche Circuit, Saudi Arabia.

Key Highlights:

  • Charles Leclerc (Ferrari- Monaco) came second and Carlos Sainz Jr. (Ferrari – Spain) came third.
  • It was the second edition of the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix and the second round of the 2022 Formula One World Championship.
  • Lewis Hamilton managed to get a point on the board after coming 10th.

Swiss Open Badminton title 2022: India’s P.V. Sindhu recently won the Swiss Open Badminton title 2022.

Key Highlights:

  • She defeated Busanan Ongbamrungphan of Thailand to win the women’s singles title at the Swiss Open Super 300 badminton tournament.
  • Playing her second successive final in the tournament, Sindhu, a double Olympic medallist, took 49 minutes to get the better of the fourth-seeded Busanan 21-16, 21-8 at the St. Jakobshalle.
  • In the men’s singles title of the Swiss Open Super 300 badminton tournament, Indian badminton player HS Prannoy lost to Jonatan Christie (Indonesia).
  • However, Prannoy suffered a 12-21, 18-21 defeat against Asian Games gold medallist and fourth seed Jonatan Christie of Indonesia in a 48-minute summit clash to finish runner-up.

 

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