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Places in the News 2022


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Places in News Current Affairs - September 2022

School Breakfast Programme: The Government of Tamil Nadu has announced School Breakfast Programme with the aim to alleviate hunger.

Key Highlights:

  • The scheme was inaugurated on the occasion of the former chief minister CN Annadurai’s birthday in Madurai.
  • The inauguration of the scheme marks an important milestone in the State’s history of providing free meals to school students.
  • The scheme is applicable to the students studying from Class 1 to Class 5 in state-run primary schools. In its first phase, the scheme is being implemented in 1,545 schools in the corporation, municipality, and villages.
  • Chief Minister M. K. Stalin launched the Chief Minister’s Breakfast Scheme for students of Class I to V in government schools.

About the scheme:

  • In the first phase, the scheme is being implemented in 1,545 schools which include 417 municipal corporation schools, 163 municipality schools and 728 taluk and village panchayat-level schools.
  • A sum of ₹33.56 crore has been set apart for the scheme.

Significance:

  • Anaemia is a major health problem in Tamil Nadu, especially among women and children, says the 2019-21 National Family Health Survey-5’s report.
  • Those in charge of the meal programme can enhance the component of nutrition to those children having specific problems. The latest Breakfast Scheme is a step in this direction.

About Tamil Nadu:

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

Varanasi- SCO Tourism and Cultural Capital: The holy city of Varanasi has been nominated as the first-ever Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) Tourism and Cultural Capital during the period 2022-2023 at the 22nd SCO Summit.

Key Highlights:

  • The 22nd SCO Summit was held in Samarkand, a city in Uzbekistan on September 15 and 16, 2022.
  • Prime Minister Narendra Modi along with leaders of SCO nations including Chinese President Xi Jinping, Russian President Vladimir Putin, Pakistan Prime Minister Shehbaz Sarif, and Uzbekistan President Shavkat Mirziyoyev participated in the summit.

About SCO Tourism and Cultural Capital:

  • The main objective of SCO Tourism and Cultural Capital is to promote cooperation in the area of culture and tourism among the member states of SCO.
  • The guidelines for the nomination of the SCO Tourism and Cultural Capital were adopted in the SCO Summit of 2021 which was held in Dushanbe.
  • Under this initiative, each year, a city of the cultural heritage of a member country that will take over the rotating Presidency of the organisation will get the title to highlight its prominence.
  • It is under this initiative that Varanasi has been chosen as the Cultural and Tourism Capital as India will be taking over the rotating Presidency of the organisation in 2023.

Significance and events:

  • The nomination of Varanasi as the first ever SCO Tourism and Cultural Capital will be significant as it will help in promoting tourism, and humanitarian and cultural exchanges between India and the member states of SCO.
  • It also underlines country's ancient civilizational links with Member States of SCO especially the Central Asian Republics.
  • Under the framework of this major cultural outreach program, a number of events will be hosted in Varanasi during 2022-23, for which guests will be invited to participate from SCO Member States.
  • These events are expected to attract Indologists, scholars, authors, musicians and artists, photo journalists, travel bloggers and other invited guests.

About Varanasi:

  • The city is Varanasi, still widely known by its earlier name Banaras and its ancient name Kashi is a city on the Ganges River in northern India in Uttar Pradesh.
  • It is one of the world's oldest continually inhabited cities.
  • Since ancient times, the city has been an important centre of Hindu devotion, pilgrimage, mysticism and poetry contributing to its cultural importance.

Gayaji Dam: The Chief Minister of Bihar Nitish Kumar recently inaugurated the country’s longest rubber dam ‘Gayaji Dam’ on the Falgu River where lakhs of pligrims from across the nation and abroad visit during Pitripaksha Mela to pay homage to the ancestors.

Key Points:

  • Along with Gayaji Dam, CM Kumar also inaugurated a steel foot-over bridge for the convenience of the visitors.
  • Keeping in view of the religious beliefs associated with the place, he had proposed the name ‘Gayaji Dam’.
  • The rubber dam on the river, which is a vast stretch of sand dunes, seeks to draw more pilgrims and change the landscape.
  • The foundation stone was laid on September 22, 2020, despite Covid disruptions.
  • The dam has been built at an estimated cost of ₹324crore.
  • Experts from IIT (Roorkee) were involved with the project.
  • After the Gayaji Dam, the second major step by the Bihar Government will be to ensure Ganga water in Gaya and store it here all through the year.
  • Ganga water has reached up to Rajgir and it is expected to reach Gaya by year-end.

About Gaya:

  • Gaya is a holy city beside the Falgu River, in the northeast Indian state of Bihar.
  • The city is surrounded on three sides by small, rocky hills (Mangla-Gauri, Shringa-Sthan, Ram-Shila, and Brahmayoni), with the Phalgu River on its eastern side.
  • It is a city of historical significance and is one of the major tourist attractions in India.
  • Gaya is sanctified in the Jain, Hindu, and Buddhist religions.
  • Gaya district is mentioned in the great epics, the Ramayana and the Mahabharata.
  • It is the place where Rama, with Sita and Lakshmana, came to offer pind-daan for their father, Dasharath.
  • It continues to be a major Hindu pilgrimage site for the pind-daan ritual.
  • Bodh Gaya, where Buddha is said to have attained enlightenment, is one of the four holy sites of Buddhism.
  • The Mahabodhi Temple complex at Bodh Gaya is a World Heritage Site.

Etymology:

  • Gaya is named after the demon Gayasura (meaning "the demon Gaya") who dwelt the area during the Treta Yuga.
  • According to Vayu Purana, Gaya was the name of a demon (Asura) whose body became pious after he performed strict penance and secured blessings from Lord Vishnu.
  • It was said that the body of Gayasura was transformed into the series of rocky hills that make up the landscape of Gaya.

Rural Backyard Piggery Scheme: Meghalaya Chief Minister Conrad K Sangma recently launched an ambitious flagship program – “Rural Backyard Piggery Scheme”.

Key Points:

  • This scheme has been launched for farmers under National Livestock Mission at Birnihat in Ri-Bhoi district of Meghalaya.
  • The main aim of this scheme is to ensure the farmers earn a sustainable livelihood through different livestock farming activities.
  • Meghalaya receives 18,000 metric tonnes of pork from various states and there is acute shortage in supply and demand.
  • Through the Piggery scheme, the state envisions addressing the shortage of pork supply.

Rural Backyard Piggery Scheme – phase 1:

  • Under the Phase 1 of this scheme, the government has earmarked Rs 15.18 crore under which four high-yielding improved varieties will be distributed to 6000 families.
  • An additional Rs 25 crore will be earmarked for starting the second phase of the programme.

Meghalaya Piggery Mission:

  • The scheme launched on 10th August in Samanda block of East Garo Hills district.
  • It has received good response and appreciation from the farmers.
  • Under this mission, zero interest loan is provided for setting up fattening and pig breeding.
  • So far 250 piggery cooperative societies have availed loans amounting to Rs 43.67 crore.

National Livestock Mission:

  • National Livestock Mission is an initiative of the Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers Welfare.
  • It was launched in 2014-15 with the goal of ensuring quantitative and qualitative improvement in livestock production systems and capacity building of all stakeholders of livestock economy.
  • There are four sub-missions of National Livestock Mission as follows:
  1. The Sub-Mission on Fodder and Feed Development
  2. Under Sub-Mission on Livestock Development
  3. Sub-Mission on Pig Development in North-Eastern Region
  4. Sub-Mission on Skill Development, Technology Transfer and Extension

About Meghalaya:

  • It is a state in northeastern India.
  • Meghalaya was formed by carving out two districts from the state of Assam: The United Khasi Hills and Jaintia Hills, and the Garo Hills on 21 January 1972.
  • It is one of the 7 sister states of North-East India.
  • Its capital is Shillong.
  • The current Governor and Chief Minister of Meghalaya are Satya Pal Malik and Conrad Sangama respectively.

Hyderabad Liberation Day: The government recently announced a year-long event from September 17, 2022 to September 17, 2023 to mark 75 years of the liberation of Hyderabad state - the former princely state's merger with the rest of India.

Key Facts:

  • The erstwhile princely state of Hyderabad – which covered the modern-day Marathwada region in Maharashtra, the Hyderabad-Karnataka region in Karnataka, and all districts in current-day Telangana – became part of the Union of India on September 17, 1948.
  • The event will be inaugurated on September 17 in the presence of home minister Amit Shah - the chief guest for the day.
  • The main objective of the yearlong observance is to make the current generation aware of the story of “resistance, valour and sacrifice.
  • The move is also aimed at highlighting the Bhairanapally massacre of August 27, 1948, when Razakars – a private army of the Nizams of Hyderabad – killed 96 villagers in an effort to quell their uprising for demanding the merger of the Nizam’s dominion into the Indian Union soon after August 15, 1947.
  • The Telangana Government has decided to observe September 17 as Telangana National Unity Day.
  • The states of Maharashtra and Karnataka already commemorate this day as Marathwada Liberation Day and Hyderabad-Karnataka Liberation Day, respectively.

History and Significance:

  • When India gained Independence in 1947, even though 562 princely states announced the merger with the Indian Union, there was some resistance from the erstwhile state of Hyderabad.
  • The former state of Hyderabad, which included the entirety of Telangana and certain districts in Maharashtra and Karnataka, was liberated from the Nizam's authority by a military operation on September 17, 1948, more than a year after India gained its independence.
  • This was possible due to the swift and timely action of Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel under Operation Polo.
  • The struggles of the people of erstwhile Hyderabad state against colonialism, feudalism and tyranny are a symbol of national integration.

The Telangana rebellion:

  • The Telangana rebellion was started by a group of peasants in late 1945.
  • They rebelled against the prevalent jagirdari system where power to collect revenue and govern certain landholdings was installed in certain officers.
  • They were represented by the Comrades Association, who were affiliated with the Communist Party of India.
  • The rebellion turned violent and clashed with the Razakars, a militia headed by Kasim Rizvi.
  • In 1945 Nizam of Hyderabad put forward multiple conditions to join India — all of which were unacceptable to the Indian state.
  • In the meantime, Kasim Rizvi and his Razakars became increasingly dominating, difficult to ignore presence in Hyderabad.
  • He influenced all major decisions the Nizam undertook and installed his chosen men in the government.
  • In order to prevent the already deteriorating law and order situation in Hyderabad from getting worse, India signed the Standstill Agreement with Hyderabad, stating that all administrative agreements that were in place between the Nizam and the British Crown would continue between the Nizam and India.

Operation Polo

  • The signing of the Standstill Agreement, however, ensured peace for only about a year.
  • Almost instantly, Hyderabad started violating the conditions, simultaneously the violent activities of the Razakars increased, creating an atmosphere of anarchy in the state.
  • As a last resort, India launched ‘Operation Polo’ in September 1948 and defeated the rebel forces within five days to make Hyderabad an integral part of India.

National Centre for Disease Control (NCDC): Dr. Mansukh Mandaviya, Union Minister of Health and Family Welfare as he virtually laid the foundation stone of National Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) branches in six States.

Key Highlights:

  • The six states where the centres would come up are Andhra Pradesh, Arunachal Pradesh, Kerala, Maharashtra, Tripura and Uttar Pradesh.
  • At present, NCDC has eight branches in States with focus on one or few diseases.
  • These will be repurposed and new branches are being added with the mandate for integrated disease surveillance activities, dealing with Anti-Microbial Resistance (AMR), multi-sectoral and entomological investigations etc.

About NCDC:

  • The National Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) formerly National Institute of Communicable Diseases (NICD) is an institute under the Indian Directorate General of Health Services, Ministry of Health and Family Welfare.
  • It is a premier organization mandated to collect data about diseases.
  • It is the nodal agency in the country for the surveillance, prevention and control of communicable and non-communicable diseases.
  • Additionally, it is a top-level national institution for training professionals in public health, laboratory sciences, and entomological services.
  • It also engages in a number of practical research projects.
  • It is headquartered in New Delhi.
  • It has 8 out-station branches located at Alwar (Rajasthan), Bengaluru (Karnataka), Coonoor (Tamil Nadu), Kozikode (Kerela), Jagdalpur (Chattisgarh), Patna (Bihar), Rajahmundry (Andhra Pradesh) and Varanasi (Uttar Pradesh).

Background of NCDC:

  • The institute had its origin as the Central Malaria Bureau, established at Kasauli (Himachal Pradesh) in 1909.
  • Later, in 1927, it was named as the Malaria Survey of India.
  • Then in 1938, it was shifted to Delhi and named the Malaria Institute of India (MII).
  • The Government of India (GoI) made the decision to reorganize and broaden the work of the institute to include other communicable diseases after seeing the dramatic decrease in the prevalence of malaria that had been accomplished.
  • Thus, on July 30, 1963 MII was renamed as NICD.
  • Then again in 2009, NICD was transformed into the National Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) with a larger mandate of controlling emerging and re-emerging diseases.

India's First Bio-Village: Tripura has become the first state in India to have the first modified bio-village.

Key Highlights:

  • The bio-villages have been setup in Tripura by the Directorate of Bio-Technology under the Science and Technology department.
  • Daspara is one of the five successful bio-village 2.0 conceptualized in Tripura.
  • The concept has been designed to help mitigate the climate change effects.

About Daspara Bio-Village:

  • The Daspara Bio-Village has been developed as a hamlet consisting of 64 families solely dependent on agriculture and fishery.
  • This village of Tripura is transformed into a nature-based lifestyle and livelihood and reduced the use of chemical fertilizers.
  • The concept of Bio Village 2.0 developed by the state government has been recognized as one of the best practices to attain sustainable development goals.

About India’s first Bio-Villages:

  • Tripura Government has aimed to set up a total of 100 bio villages in the state.
  • Of these, 10 bio-villages have already been completed, of which one has been established at Daspara in Charilam constituency of Sepahijala district.

Objectives of bio village project:

  • The main objectives of the bio village project are as follows:
  • To ensure holistic socio-economic development of rural communities
  • To mitigate the impact of climate change and its ill effects.
  • To spur economic growth and development with the benefit of Rs 5000/- per month.
  • To incorporate renewable energy sources within the village.
  • To encourage usage of solar-powered agricultural equipment, energy-saving electrical devices, biogas and biofertilizers.
  • To promote green technology like solar water pumps, biomass cook stoves, and biogas plants for sustainable production of agricultural and allied sector-related products.
  • To provide sustainable livelihood and food security
  • To demonstrate successful use of compatible sustainable technologies
  • To enhance the use of biotechnological interventions such as biofertilizers, biopesticides and mushroom spawn cultivation

About Tripura:

  • Tripura is a is a hilly state in India.
  • It is located in the northeastern part of the subcontinent.
  • It is bordered to the north, west, and south by Bangladesh, to the east by the state of Mizoram, and to the northeast by the state of Assam.
  • The independent Tripuri Kingdom (also known as Hill Tippera) joined the newly independent India in 1949.
  • The capital is Agartala.
  • The current Governor and Chief Minister of Tripura are Satyadeo Narain Arya and Manik Saha respectively.

Historical fact: The Sanskrit name of the state is linked to the Hindu goddess of beauty Tripura Sundari, the presiding deity of the Tripura Sundari Temple at Udaipur, one of the 51 Shakti Peethas (pilgrimage centres of Shaktism) and to the legendary tyrant king Tripur, who reigned in the region.

Tripur was the 39th descendant of Druhyu, who belonged to the lineage of Yayati, a king of the Lunar Dynasty.

Smriti Van Memorial: Prime Minister Narendra Modi during his two-day visit to recently inaugurated the Smriti Van memorial in Kutch, Gujarat.

  • The Smriti Van Memorial is dedicated to the victims of the devastating 2001 earthquake in the Kutch region of Gujarat.

About the Smriti Van Memorial:

  • The grand structure, which is the first such memorial in the  country and is spread over 470 acres on Bhujio Hill near Bhuj town
  • As per the press release by the government, the State of the art Smriti Van Earthquake Museum is segregated in seven blocks on seven themes:
  1. Rebirth,
  2. Rediscover,
  3. Restore,
  4. Rebuild,
  5. Rethink,
  6. Relive and
  7. Renew
  • The memorial is dedicated to the 13,000 people who had lost their lives during the 2001 earthquake in Bhuj and has their names featured in it as a mark of remembrance.
  • This museum's sixth block stands out the most out of the 7 blocks as it helps visitors understand the magnitude of the earthquake through a simulator.

Apart from this, PM Modi will inaugurate the `Veer Balak Memorial` in Anjar town of Kutch in Gujarat.

During January 26, 2001, earthquake in Gujarat, 185 school children and 20 teachers were buried under the rubble of nearby buildings while attending a rally in Anjar town of Kutch.

Rajasthan Handicrafts Policy-2022: The State Cabinet of Rajasthan recently gave approval to the Rajasthan Handicrafts Policy-2022.

Key Points:

  • The approval was given at a meeting of the State Cabinet which was held under the chairmanship of Chief Minister Shri Ashok Gehlot on 27th August.
  • The main objective of this policy is to help the development of 6 lakh craftsman and artisans by empowering them which in turn will ensure their participation in the development of the state which will lead to increase in new employment opportunities.
  • The Rajasthan Cabinet also cleared a proposal to form an audit authority that will assess the performance of government departments and agencies implementing welfare schemes.

Key Points of the Policy:

  • The policy will help in the upliftment of handicraft artisans by empowering them.
  • New employment opportunities will also be created in the state.
  • Handicrafts on the verge of extinction will be revived.
  • Under the new policy, National-level Handicrafts Week will be organized every year in December and artisan will be felicitated.
  • The Government departments will make provision to buy products up to Rs 10 lakh from registered artisans through e-market without tender.

The following facilities will be ensured under the policy.

  • Brand building of handicrafts,
  • Assistance for online marketing,
  • Social security,
  • Loan facility,
  • Scholarship,
  • Assistance for participation in fairs,
  • Expansion of infrastructure facilities in Craft Village,
  • Setting up handicraft park, museum, design center and sales center.
  • A Handicraft Design Center will also be set up in Jodhpur to study the techniques and designs used in other states and countries so as to promote new techniques or processes for the products in the state.
  • This center will be set up as a ‘Centre of Excellence’.
  • To ensure better implementation of the policy, a state-level monitoring committee headed by State Industries and Commerce Minister will be also be formed.

Rajasthan Social and Performance Audit Authority:

  • According to a release, the Cabinet approved the formation of the Rajasthan Social and Performance Audit Authority to ensure transparency, public participation and quality services.
  • Doctors, engineers, professors, architects, economists, information technology specialists and other experts will be part of the authority.
  • The performance of government departments and agencies implementing schemes/programmes will be assessed.
  • Benefits of schemes will reach beneficiaries more easily, conveniently and in a time-bound manner.

Atal Bridge: Prime Minister Narendra Modi inaugurated the iconic Atal Bridge, a FOB (foot-over bridge) on the Sabarmati river in Ahmedabad, Gujrat on August 27, 2022.

  • The Atal Bridge has been named after former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee.
  • In 1996, Atal ji won the Lok Sabha election from Gandhinagar with record votes.

Key points about Atal Bridge:

  • This foot-over bridge which is 300-metre bridge and 14 meters wide has been constructed by the Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation.
  • It has been built using 2,600 metric tonnes of steel pipes.
  • The roof is made up of colourful fabric, and the railing has been built with glass and stainless steel while floor of Atal Bridge is made with the help of wood and granite.
  • It is built on the banks of the Sabarmati Riverfront on Sabarmati River which flows through the city of Ahmedabad.
  • The bridge is designed in such a way that people can approach it from both lower and upper walkways or promenades of the riverfront.
  • Apart from pedestrians, cyclists can also use this bridge to cross the river without negotiating traffic and it will allow people to view the riverfront from the middle of the waterbody.
  • In addition to multi-level parking lots and plazas, the bridge will connect a number of public developments on the East and West Bank, including the proposed arts, culture, and exposition centre between Flower Park on the East Coast and the Event Ground on the West Bank.
  • The famous kite festival of Gujarat has also been kept in mind in its design.

Additional News:

  • PM Modi also inaugurated the 'Veer Balak Memorial' in Anjar town of Kutch.
  • During January 26, 2001, earthquake in Gujarat, 185 school children and 20 teachers were buried under the rubble of nearby buildings while attending a rally in Anjar town of Kutch. The tragedy of this incident was noticed all over the world.
  • The then Chief Minister Narendra Modi had announced the construction of a memorial in memory of these children.

About Sabarmati River:

  • The Sabarmati river is one of the major west-flowing rivers in India.
  • It is a monsoon-fed river.
  • The river traverses three geomorphic zones: rocky uplands, middle alluvial plains, and lower estuarine zone.
  • It originates in the Aravalli Range of the Udaipur District of Rajasthan and meets the Gulf of Khambhat of Arabian Sea after travelling 371 km (231 mi) in a south-westerly direction across Rajasthan and Gujarat.
  • It flows north-south through Ahmedabad, bisecting the city into its western and eastern halves.
  • It has been an integral aspect of Ahmedabad city since its foundation.

Sabarmati Riverfront:

  • Sabarmati Riverfront project is one of the most ambitious project undertaken by the government to enrich the economy.
  • This project was proposed in the 1960s but the construction began in 2005.
  • Since 2012, the waterfront was being gradually opened to public as and when facilities are constructed and various facilities are actively under construction.
  • The major objectives of project are environment improvement, social infrastructure and sustainable development.

Mukhyamantri Udyog Khiladi Unnayan Yojana: Uttarakhand Chief Minister Pushkar Singh Dhami recently launched “Mukhyamantri Udyog Khiladi Unnayan Yojana”.

  • This initiative was launched on the occassion of National Sports Day.

Key Points:

Under the Mukhyamantri Udyog Khiladi Unnayan Yojana -

  • A total of 3900 budding sportspersons will be given scholarship every year, which includes 1950 boys and 1950 girls.
  • The players of 14 to 23 years will also be given scholarship depending on their talent. It is being given only for the encouragement of the players.
  • In order to address the state's lack of sports coaches, eight coaches will be hired in each district.
  • As before, efforts will be taken to reinstate the previous 4 percent reservation for athletes in government jobs.
  • A Chief Minister Sports Development Fund will soon be established to provide financial benefits to the players as per rules.
  • This provision also includes provisions for accident insurance or financial support in the event of player injuries.
  • Additionally, it was also decided to offer players travel assistance so they could take part in the tournaments.

Uttarakhand Sports Policy-2021:

The new Uttarakhand Sports Policy-2021 was passed by the Uttarakhand government in November 2021.

Under this policy-

  • Arrangements have been made to prepare an action plan on the basis of five years, 10 years and 15 years to enhance the talent of the players.
  • Along with this, arrangements have also been made to provide high level training to the players participating in national and international competitions.
  • The cash prize money earlier payable to sportspersons who have won medals at national and international level has been increased by almost 100%.
  • Similarly, the amount for trainers was also increased.
  • Disabled players have also been given the same rights as normal players.

Parivar Kalyan Card Scheme: The Central Government recently gave its approval for the launch of UP Parivar Kalyan Card (PKC)- a family ID plan.

Key Points:

  • Parivar Kalyan Card scheme is the Uttar Pradesh government’s Family ID plan.
  • The PKC scheme is aimed at tracking the transfer of benefits of various government schemes.
  • Under this scheme, the benefits of various welfare schemes running in the state can be availed.
  • This will also help those families who are deprived of the schemes due to any reason.
  • Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath had made the announcement of establishing a comprehensive database of the state’s family units and identify beneficiaries for its various schemes.
  • The Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MEITY) allowed the state government to link Aadhaar data with the PKC.
  • The U.P. State Government is expected to launch the application portal for UP Parivar Kalyan Card scheme in the coming weeks.

About the PKC scheme:

The PKC scheme Family IDs will be provided to family units of residents living in Uttar Pradesh.

  • In order to simplify the process and connect all government programmes, this card will be generated using information from ration cards.
  • Currently, there are 15 crore Aadhaar valid ration card holders in the state who can be issued Parivar Kalyan cards immediately.
  • About 60% of the state is covered by ration cards.
  • Through this card, the government will issue an identity card to each family.
  • This identity card will be a 12-digit card like the Aadhar card which will have a complete information about all the members of that family.
  • On the basis of the information mentioned in the UP PKC the state government will be able to identify a family unit and its members as well as qualify them to receive benefits from a variety of government programmes, including housing, employment, and pensions.

About Uttar Pradesh:

  • Uttar Pradesh is a state in northern India.
  • It was created on 1 April 1937 as the United Provinces of Agra and Oudh during British rule, and was renamed Uttar Pradesh in 1950.
  • Its Capital city is Lucknow.
  • The Chief Minister and the Governor of Uttar Pradesh are Yogi Adityanath and Anandiben Patel respectively.

First Divyang Park of Maharashtra: Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment has provided all possible support to establish the first “Divyang Park” of Maharashtra in Nagpur.

  • The work towards this endeavor is expected to be started soon.

Features of Divuyang Park:

The “Divyang Park” will have different kind of facilities for Divyangjans like sensory garden, textile Pathway touch and smell garden, skill training facility, rehabilitation facility, Sports & infotainment etc.

About Maharashtra:

  • Maharashtra is a state in the western peninsular region of India occupying a substantial portion of the Deccan Plateau.
  • It is bordered by the Arabian Sea to the west, the Indian states of Karnataka and Goa to the south, Telangana to the southeast and Chhattisgarh to the east, Gujarat and Madhya Pradesh to the north, and the Indian union territory of Dadra and Nagar Haveli and Daman and Diu to the north west.
  • It was formed on 1 May 1960.
  • It was formed by merging the western and south-western parts of the Bombay State, Berar and Vidarbha, and the north-western parts of the Hyderabad State and splitting Saurashtra (in present-day Gujarat) by the States Reorganisation Act.
  • Its capital is Mumbai.
  • The Chief Minister and the Governor of Maharashtra are  Eknath Shinde and Bhagat Singh Koshyari respectively.

Places in News Current Affairs - August 2022

Chenab Bridge gets Golden Joint: On August 13, 2022, the Chenab Railway bridge's "Golden Joint" which was decked with the national flag to celebrate the “Azadi ka Amrit Mahotsav” was officially launched.

Note: The term 'golden joint' was coined by civil engineers working on the project. It's the world's highest railway bridge.

Key Points:

  • Chenab Railway Bridge is being constructed as part of the Kashmir Railway project.
  • The project is part of the ambitious 272-km long railway line from Udhampur to Baramulla joining Jammu with the Kashmir valley as an all-weather highspeed alternative, named the 'Udhampur-Srinagar-Baramulla Rail Link Project'.
  • It has been built on Chenab River, at a height of 359 m.
  • It is the highest railway bridge in the world. It is located in Reasi district of Jammu and Kashmir.
  • Its base support was completed in November 2017 and the construction of Arch was completed in April 2021.
  • Rail traffic is likely to start in December 2022.
  • According to the figures shared by the Union Government, the total cost of construction for the Chenab Railway Bridge stands at ₹1,486 crores.

Key Features of the Bridge:

  • It is a steel and concrete arch bridge.
  • Around 30,350 tonnes of steel, comprising 10,620 tonnes has been used in the bridge to build the gigantic arch and 14,500 tonnes for the bridge deck. 
  • The bridge comprises 93 deck segments, each weighing around 85 tonnes, launched simultaneously from both ends of the valley over the massive steel arch.
  • Both ends of the bridge has been connected with the help of High Strength Friction Grip (HSFG) bolts. It is marked as the ‘golden joint’.
  • The unique design of the World’s Highest Railway Bridge allows it to withstand high wind speeds up to 266 Km/Hour.
  • It has been constructed near Kauri village upstream of Salal Dam.
  • Over 1300 workers and 300 engineers have been actively working on the Chenab Railway Bridge project and the work has neared 98% completion.
  • Once completed, The Chenab Railway Bridge, once completed will be the highest in the world at 359m above the river bed level.
  • This unique distinction will also take the bridge to be 35 meters higher than the iconic Eiffel Tower in Paris.

Significance:

  • This bridge is significant because Indian Railways built it on a longitudinal gradient and transition curve for the first time.
  • Usually, bridges are built on a straight or curved platform with uniform radius.
  • This iconic bridge involved complex engineering,
  • Chenab Bridge faced multiple obstacles. Starting from the geology, the terrain and the hostile climate, the engineers and railway officials have faced it all to come to this moment.
  • Keeping the height in view, sophisticated automatic signaling system has been installed at both the ends which will not let the trains cross the bridge, in case wind speed reaches 90kmph.

Kawas Solar PV Project: NTPC Limited, India’s largest integrated energy company achieved 69454 MW of group recently commissioned the Kawas Solar PV project of 56 MW at NTPC Kawas near Hazira in Surat.

  • With this, NTPC’s solar footprint was augmented to 68,454 MW of group installed and commercial capacity.

Key Points:

  • NTPC is steadily lowering its carbon footprint by reducing greenhouse gas emissions by installating renewable energy projects in its existing stations as well as putting up green field RE projects.
  • The Company plans to produce 262 MW floating solar on over 1300 acres of its reservoir area by installing over 9,50,000 PV modules at its various stations.
  • Of this 242 Mega Watt has been commissioned.
  • This includes the country’s largest floating solar of 100 MW at Ramagundam in Telangana, 92 MW at Kayamkulam in Kerala, and 25 MW each at Simhadri, Andhra Pradesh, and Kawas in Gujarat.

NTPC Energy Compact goals:

  • NTPC has become the world’s first Energy major to declare its Energy Compact goals.
  • Recently it has collaborated with Niti Aayog to achieve the ‘net zero’ targets.
  • The NTPC Group plans to achieve 60 GW of RE in by 2032.
  • At present, NTPC has 2.3 GW of commissioned renewable capacity with 3.9 GW under implementation and execution.
  • NTPC also has 4.9 GW of renewable energy capacity under tendering process which will further bolster the green energy portfolio of India’s largest power producer.

About NTPC:

  • NTPC is India's largest energy conglomerate.
  • It has presence in the entire value chain of the power generation business.
  • As on 30 June 2022, the Government of India (GoI) holds 51.10% in NTPC.

 

About Gujarat:

  • Gujarat is a state on the western coast of India most of which lies on the Kathiawar peninsula.
  • The state is bordered by Rajasthan to the northeast, Dadra and Nagar Haveli and Daman and Diu to the south, Maharashtra to the southeast, Madhya Pradesh to the east, and the Arabian Sea and the Pakistani province of Sindh to the west.
  • Its capital city is Gandhinagar.
  • The Governor and Chief Minister of Gujarat are Acharya Devvrat and Bhupendrabhai Patel respectively.

Naming of Chandigarh International Airport: The Government of Haryana and Punjab have agreed to name the Chandigarh International Airport in Mohali after Shaheed Bhagat Singh.

Key Highlights:

  • The decision was taken during a meeting between Punjab CM Bhagwant Mann & Haryana deputy CM Dushyant Chautala.
  • The name of the airport, after implementation will be known as 'Shaheed Bhagat Singh' Airport.

Background:

  • The Rs 485-crore airport project is a joint venture of the Airports Authority of India (AAI), the governments of Punjab and Haryana.
  • Punjab and Haryana have 24.5% share each while the AAI has 51% share.
  • Punjab had given 307 acres of land in Mohali for the airport.
  • In 2016, the Haryana Vidhan Sabha had passed an ordinance to name the Airport however, with the inclusion of the term Chandigarh.
  • In 2017, Punjab wanted to name the Airport Shaheed-e-Azam Sardar Bhagat Singh International Airport, Mohali, but Haryana was opposed to the term Mohali.
  • Additionally, the Punjab Vidhan Sabha had also adopted resolutions that Named the Airport Shaheed-EAzam.

Note: Chandigarh which is a union territory in the Northern part of India is the common capital of the states Punjab and Haryana.

Mandla: Mandla, the tribal dominated district of Madhya Pradesh has become the first fully “functionally literate” district in the country.

Key Highlights:

  • During 2011 survey, literacy rate in Mandla district was 68%.
  • Another report of 2020 highlights that, more than 2.25 lakh people in this district were not literate, most of them were tribals from forest areas.
  • The tribals frequently complained to the authorities about money being taken from their bank accounts by fraudsters and the main reason of this was that they were not functionally literate.

Key Points:

  • In 2020, on the occasion of Independence Day 2020, a major campaign was launched to make people functionally literate in association with the school education department, Anganwadi & social workers, women and child development department (WCD), to educate women and senior citizens.
  • With this campaign, the entire district has turned into a functionally literate district, within two years.
  • Mandla is the first district of India to reach this mark, where people were able to write their names, read and count

When can a person become functionally literate?

  • A person can be called functionally literate when they are able to write their own name, count, read and write.

Tribals in Madhya Pradesh:

  • There are 46 recognized Scheduled Tribes in Madhya Pradesh, India.
  • Three of which have been identified as 'Particularly Vulnerable Tribal Groups (PTGs) (formerly known as 'Special Primitive Tribal Groups').
  • Tribal peoples live on the slopes of the mountains in this area, which is bordered to the north by the Narmada River and to the southeast by the Godavari River.

Note: The term "Scheduled Tribes" refers to specific indigenous peoples whose status is acknowledged to by the Constitution of India. The term Adivasi also applies to indigenous peoples of this area.

According to the 2011 Census of India -

  • Bhil is the most populous tribe with a total population of 4,618,068, constituting 37.7 per cent of the total ST population.
  • Gond is the second largest tribe, with a population of 4,357,918 constituting 35.6 per cent.
  • The next four populous tribes are: Kol, Korku, Sahariya and Baiga. These six tribes constitute 92.2 per cent of the total ST population of the State.
  • Pardhan, Saur and Bharia Bhumia have a population ranging from 105,692 to 2152,472; together, they form 3.2 percent of state population.
  • Four tribes, namely, Majhi, Khairwar, Mawasi and Panika have populations in the range of 47,806 to 81,335, and account for another 2.2 percent of the ST population.
  • The remaining thirty-three tribes (out of the total of 46 tribes) along with the generic tribes constitute the residual 2.5 per cent of total ST population.
  • Tribes having below 1000 population are twelve in number.

New Delhi International Arbitration Centre (Amendment) Bill, 2022: The Lok Sabha passed the New Delhi International Arbitration Centre (Amendment) Bill, in 2022 on August 08, 2022.

Key Points:

  • The Bill amended the New Delhi International Arbitration Centre Act, 2019.
  • It also renamed the New Delhi International Arbitration Centre the India International Arbitration Centre.
  • The bill requires the Arbitration Centre to strive to facilitate the conduct of international and domestic arbitration and conciliation.

Important features of the bill include:

  • The bill amends the provision of 2019 Act which provides for Arbitration Centre to facilitate the conduct of international & domestic arbitration and conciliation by expanding it to add conduct of other forms of alternative dispute resolution.
  • 2019 Act had enabled the central government to provide for removing any difficulties in implementing the act for 2 years from the date of commencement but under this bill, the time period has been extended to 5 years.
  • The Bill also amends various drafting errors in 2019 act.

Background:

  • The Bill was moved by Law Minister Kiren to amend the New Delhi International Arbitration Centre Act, 2019.
  • It was introduced in Lok Sabha on August 5, 2022.
  • It seeks to rename the centre to ‘India International Arbitration Centre’, as “India International Arbitration Centre” to give it a wider country-level scope instead of a city-level scope.
  • Act of 2019 had set up the “New Delhi International Arbitration Centre”, by replacing the International Centre for Alternative Dispute Resolution.
  • The Act also designated the centre as an institute of national importance.

Why is the reason for renaming the New Delhi International Arbitration Centre?

  • The main reason of the amendment to rename the ‘New Delhi International Arbitration Centre’ is to have world-class arbitration in India.
  • This move would not only help in reducing the pendency of cases but would also provide a “unique identity of the institute of national importance” to the centre.

Nethanna Bima scheme: The Chief Minister of Telangana K Chandrashekhar Rao recently launched a life insurance scheme for handloom and power loom weavers’ named 'Nethanna Bima scheme.'

  • The State government introduced the scheme on the occasion of National Handloom Day.

Key Points of Nethanna Bima Scheme:

  • Telangana government has partnered with Life Insurance Corporation (LIC) of India for the ‘Nethanna Beema’ scheme.
  • Telangana state department of handlooms and textiles is the nodal agency for its implementation.
  • It is a first-of-its-kind scheme for weavers in the country and nearly 80,000 weavers' families would benefit from the scheme,
  • This scheme will provide ₹5 lakh insurance cover to the weavers’ families in case of the unfortunate demise of an eligible beneficiary.
  • The annual premium of the beneficiaries will be paid by the government on their behalf to the LIC.

Various initiatives by Telangana Government for Weavers:

Telangana Government has been extending support to weavers and weaving sector by various initiatives and schemes to financial assistance by launching the following flagship programmes:

Nethannaku Cheyutha – It is a Handlooms weavers Thrift fund saving and security scheme of Telangana government.

Chenetha Mithra scheme – It is input subsidy linked wage compensation scheme.

Pavala Vaddi scheme – Under the scheme, government provide 20% subsidy on yarn and marketing support.

Konda Laxman Bapuji Award:

The Government of Telangana also constituted a “Konda Laxman Bapuji Award” in 2018, in a bid to motivate the weavers.

In this, weavers are presented a certificate, felicitation and cash award of Rs 25000.

In 2022, award was presented to 28 weavers.

Since 2018, total of 131 weavers have received the award.

About Telangana:

  • It is a state in India situated on the centre-south stretch of the Indian peninsula on the high Deccan Plateau.
  • It was founded on 2 June 2014. Its Capital city is Hyderabad.
  • The current Governor and Chief Minister of Telangana are Tamilisai Soundararajan and K. Chandrashekar Rao respectively.

National Handlooms Day:

  • In India, the National Handloom Day is observed on August 7 every year to recognize the contributions of the handloom weavers of the country.
  • In 2015, the first National Handloom Day was organized by PM Modi in Chennai.

Jharkhand Janjatiya Mahotsav: On August 9, 2022, Chief Minister Hemant Soren inaugurated the Jharkhand Tribal Festival.

Key Points of the festival:

  • The two-day Jharkhand Tribal Festival 2022, took place in Morhabadi Maidan in Ranchi.
  • Artists from states like Jharkhand, Odisha, Chhattisgarh, and Mizoram took part.
  • The festival witnessed the glimpses of prosperous like of tribals, for the first time in state.
  • It witnessed the participation of artists from tribal-dominated states, including the north-eastern states of India.
  • IT weaved the best of cultural strands of the participating states by bringing the rich tribal tapestry to the world, by means of host of exciting events such as Tribal Food Festivals, Tribal Fashion Shows, Handicraft Exhibitions etc.
  • Numerous activities were held to commemorate the occasion, including seminars, art and music performances, culinary festivals, fashion shows, and a variety of cultural programmes to display "unparalleled and colourful tribal arts.
  • The main aim of the festival was to celebrate the uniqueness of vibrant demography present in Jharkhand and other participating states.
  • It was held to commemorate the World Tribal Day.

About Jharkhand:

  • Jharkhand is a state in eastern India.
  • It is the "Bushland" or "The land of forest" of India.
  • It is bordered by the states of Bihar to the north, West Bengal to the east, Odisha to the south, Chhattisgarh to the west, and Uttar Pradesh to the northwest.
  • It was carved out of the southern portion of Bihar as a new state of India on 15 November 2000.
  • The city of Ranchi is its capital and Dumka its sub capital.
  • It is the leading producer of mineral wealth in the country after Chhattisgarh state, endowed as it is with a vast variety of minerals like iron ore, coal, copper ore, mica, bauxite, graphite, limestone, and uranium.
  • Jharkhand is also known for its vast forest resources.
  • The current Governor and Chief Minister of Jharkhand are Ramesh Bais and Hemant Soren respectively.

World Tribal Day:

  • The World Tribal day also known as International Day of the World’s Indigenous Peoples is celebrated on August 9, every year.
  • In year 2022, the day was celebrated under the theme- “The Role of Indigenous Women in the Preservation and Transmission of Traditional Knowledge.”

PARVAZ Market Linkage scheme: The government of Jammu & Kashmir recently launched the “PARVAZ Market Linkage Scheme”.

Key Features of the scheme:

  • This is an innovative Market Linkage scheme having tremendous potential to uplift the economic conditions of farmers across Jammu and Kashmir.
  • The Government of J&K launched this scheme with the goal of creating market linkage support for the shipment of Agriculture and Horticulture perishables being harvested in Jammu and Kashmir through Air Cargo.
  • It also aims to boost employment opportunities for the locals and increase the overall income and living of the farmers.
  • This scheme is being implemented by Jammu & Kashmir Horticultural Produce Marketing and Processing Corporation (JKHPMC).
  • JKHPMC will regularly spreading awareness among the farmers about the significance of this scheme so that an ample number of them can take benefit from it.
  • Under the scheme, the government will provide a subsidy of 25% on freight charges, in a bid to perishable fruits harvested in Jammu and Kashmir for shipment through Air Cargo.
  • Subsidy will be provided to farmers through Direct Benefit Transfer (DBT) mode.

Significance of the Scheme:

  • The documentation work related to the scheme has been made easy by the Government.
  • In addition, farmers will get the subsidy on time, under the scheme.
  • This scheme seeks to benefit the farmers by doubling their income thereby ensuring their economic and social welfare.
  • The farmers, under this scheme will get the price of their produce directly in their bank account with no intermediary in between.

Cheerag Scheme: Haryana Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar’s government recently launched the “Chief Minister Equal Education Relief, Assistance and Grant (Cheerag)” scheme.

Key Points:

  • Cheerag scheme was introduced in place of a similar scheme launched by Bhupinder Singh Hooda’s government in 2007 under Rule 134 A of the Haryana School Education Rules, 2003.
  • Under the scheme,
  • The government will provide free education to Economically Weaker section (EWS) students of Government schools in private school.
  • Students of government school can enroll in private school in class 2nd to 12th. However, for this, annual verified income of parents shall be less than Rs 1.8 lakh.
  • Haryana government will reimburse:
  • Rs 700 per student in Classes 2nd to 5th
  • Rs 900 per student in Classes 6th to 8th
  • Rs 1,100 per student in Classes 9th to 12th

Response to the Cheerag scheme:

  • Around 533 budget private schools that are mostly in villages and small towns, had applied to offer seats to EWS students under the Cheerag scheme.
  • However, only 381 schools were found to be eligible because of different technical reasons.
  • These 381 private schools offered 24,987 seats for EWS students from government schools.
  • But, only 1,665 students have preferred to opt for the scheme, which is just 6.66 per cent of the total offered seats.
  • The reason being that those schools are not nearby and several facilities are available at government schools only. Also, good private schools have not came forward to participate.

Concerns and controversy around the Haryana govt's initiative:

  • Senior politicians and teachers’ bodies in Haryana have raised questions on the government’s Cheerag scheme.
  • The union leaders have apprehensions that the scheme may be aimed at encouraging private schools at the cost of government schools.
  • Wazir Singh, a former union president, stated that "Instead of providing free education in private schools, the government should improve the facilities in government schools and fill the open teaching positions.
  • According to the statistics, there are approximately 85,000 teachers working in government schools, including guest teachers, and there are approximately 50,000 open positions.
  • It is felt that if the government continues to reimburse private schools in lieu of admission of government school students, one day, the government schools will turn empty.
  • 90% of the students of government schools fall under the Cheerag scheme which is meant for those with parents who have an annual income of Rs 1.8 lakh.

About Haryana:

  • Haryana is a North Indian state surrounding New Delhi on 3 sides.
  • It is one of the 28 states in India, located in the northern part of the country.
  • It was carved out of the former state of East Punjab on 1 November 1966 on a linguistic basis.
  • It is bordered by Himachal Pradesh to the north-east, by river Yamuna along its eastern border with Uttar Pradesh, by Rajasthan to the west and south, and Ghaggar-Hakra River flows along its northern border with Punjab.
  • Since Haryana surrounds the country's capital Delhi on three sides (north, west and south), consequently a large area of Haryana is included in the economically-important National Capital Region for the purposes of planning and development.
  • The capital of Haryana is Chandigarh.
  • The current Chief Minister and Governor of Haryana are Manohar Lal Khattar and Bandaru Dattatraya respectively.

Orunodoi scheme: The Orunodoi initiative in Assam will provide ₹18 extra for August to buy one or more National Flag to about 22 lakh beneficiaries in Assam.

Key Highlights:

  • The Assam government has been transferring ₹1,000 as monetary benefit to the bank accounts of economically weak women on the 10th of every month under the Orunodoi scheme.
  • The extra amount would enable each beneficiary to either buy a larger National Flag priced at ₹18 or two smaller ones of ₹9 each.

About Orunodoi Scheme:

  • The ‘Orunodoi’ or Arunodoi Scheme is a new scheme of the Government of Assam which was launched on 2nd October 2020.
  • Under ‘Orunodoi’, monetary benefits have been envisaged for more than 24 lac poor household in the state.
  • The schematic benefit has been enhanced from 830/- to Rs. 1000/ to the poor households to meet their medical, nutritional, and academic needs besides to meet the additional spending during various festivals,”.
  • The priority would be given to households with widows, divorced, unmarried or separated women, and disabled persons.
  • Women being the primary caretakers of the family are kept as beneficiaries of the scheme.
  • This scheme will provide Financial Assistance of Rs. 1000 per month through Direct Benefit Transfer (DBT) scheme to around 19.10 Lakh Families in the state.
  • They will receive the amount on the first day of every month, starting from October 2020.
  • To avail the benefits of the scheme, the beneficiary should be a permanent resident of Assam and their composite household income should be less than Rs 2 lakh per annum.

About Assam:

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

MP's 6 National Highway Projects: Union Minister for Road Transport and Highways Shri Nitin Gadkari recently inaugurated and laid the foundation stone of 6 National Highway projects of 119 KMs worth 2300 Crore rupees in Indore, Madhya Pradesh. 

Key Points:

  • The projects being launched will facilitate progress by improving connectivity in Indore and the state.

During this program, Shri Nitin Gadkari stated the following benefits:

  • The Rau Circle traffic Jam problem will be solved and that things would become less congested.
  • Craftspeople, students, and businesspeople in the surrounding areas will have increased chances with simple access from Indore.
  • The villages in the Indore-Harda segment will be better connected to Indore.
  • The expansion of the Dhar-Pithampur Industrial Corridor would result in more job opportunities.
  • Travel times between Tejaji Nagar (Indore) and Burhanpur and Indore and Harda will be shortened, saving fuel.
  • The travellers heading to Omkareshwar and Khandwa will have easy access to the routes.
  • It will be simpler for agricultural products to reach the major market with improved connectivity to the agricultural markets.

The State Government and NHAI signed also signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to build ropeways at 14 designated locations in Madhya Pradesh.

About Madhya Pradesh:

  • Madhya Pradesh (MP) is the second largest Indian state by area.
  • It borders the states of Uttar Pradesh to the northeast, Chhattisgarh to the southeast, Maharashtra to the south, Gujarat to the west, and Rajasthan to the northwest.
  • Its capital is Bhopal.
  • The current Chief Minister and Governor of Madhya Pradesh is Shivraj Singh Chouhan and Mangubhai C. Patel respectively.

Taranga Hill-Ambaji- Abu Road New Rail Line: The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA) chaired by Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi has approved the construction of Taranga Hill-Ambaji- Abu Road new rail line.

Key Points:

  • It is to be constructed by Ministry of Railways at an estimated cost of Rs.2798.16 crore.
  • The total length of the new rail line will be 116 kms.
  • The project will be completed by 2026-27.

About Ambaji:

  • Ambaji is a famous important pilgrimage destination.
  • It is one of the 51 Shaktipeeths in India.
  • It attracts millions of devotees from Gujarat as well as other parts of the country and abroad every year.

Benefits:

  • The construction of this line will facilitate easy travel for these millions of devotees.
  • Apart from Ambaji, the devotees visiting the Ajitnath Jain temple (one of the 24 holy Jain Tirthankaras) at Taranga Hill would also be greatly benefitted by this connectivity.
  • This railway new line between Taranga Hill-Ambaji- Abu Road will connect these two important religious sports with railway’s main network.
  • It will attract investment and trigger socia-economic development in the area.
  • It will also create employment opportunities for about 40 lakh men day during construction.
  • It will make the movement of Agricultural and local products faster.
  • The alignment of the proposed doubling will traverse through Sirohi district of Rajasthan and Banaskantha and Mahesana districts of Gujarat.
  • This project will also provide alternative route for existing Ahmedabad-Abu Road railway line.

Floating Solar Power Plant: Prime Minister Narendra Modi virtualy dedicated the 92-MW floating solar power plant set up at National Thermal Power Corporation’s (NTPC) Kayamkulam unit to the nation recently.

Key Points:

  • PM Modi launched the solar project while participating in the grand finale of ‘Ujjwal Bharat Ujjwal Bhavishya - Power @2047’, a programme organised to showcase the achievements in the power sector in the last eight years as part of the ‘Azadi Ka Amrit Mahotsav’.
  • Prime Minister said that India had resolved to generate 175 GW of renewable energy by the time the nation completed 75 years of Independence.
  • He highlighted that so far, about 170 GW capacity has been installed from non-fossil sources in India.

India is among the top four-five countries in terms of installed solar capacity.

About Kayamkulam plant:

  • The Kayamkulam plant is the second-largest floating solar power project of the NTPC after the 100-MW plant at Ramagundam in Telangana.
  • The floating solar system was built on a 450-acre lake area adjacent to the NTPC’s Rajiv Gandhi Combined Cycle Power Project (RGCCPP).
  • The project is implemented at a cost of Rs 465 crore
  • It consists of around three lakh Made in India solar PV panels floating on water.
  • A total of 2.16 lakh solar panels has been mounted on floaters.
  • The electricity thus generated will be transmitted to the KSEB pool.
  • For this, the KSEB signed an agreement with the NTPC for purchasing power from the solar station at Rs 3.16 per kWh.

Significance:

  • The power generated from the plant seeks to light up around 26,000 households every day.
  • It could help reduce carbon emissions by 1.73 lakh tonnes every year.

Gujarat Semiconductor Policy 2022-27: The Government of Gujarat recently unveiled a dedicated ‘Gujarat Semiconductor Policy 2022-27’.

Key Points:

The policy aims created at least 2,00,000 new employment opportunities during a period of five years.

Gujarat is the first state in India to release a dedicated semiconductor policy.

The Government has also proposed to develop a special ‘Semicon City’ as a part of Dholera Special Investment region (SIR)where land, power and water will be provided at subsidised rates.

This dedicated policy for semiconductors is expected to co-exist with an Electronic Policy 2016-’21 of the state government that is expected to be revised soon.

Key Points about the poicy:

Under the Gujarat Semiconductor Policy 2022-27,

  • Gujarat Government will provide heavy subsidies on power, water and land tariffs for entrepreneurs who are interested in investing in semiconductors or display fabrication manufacturing in Gujarat.
  • The main goal of the policy is making the state first in developing Electronics System Design & Manufacturing (ESDM) ecosystem.
  • It will provide for effective and timely execution of eligible projects, in a bid to set up a robust semiconductor and display fabrication ecosystem.
  • It focuses on providing guidance to a significant portion of investments under the India Semiconductor Mission policies towards Gujarat.
  • It also aims to develop a ‘Semicon City’.
  • Under it, an additional capital assistance will be provided at 40% of the capex assistance provided by the central government, for projects approved under India Semiconductor Mission.
  • The semiconductor policy will help one project each, semiconductor and display fabrication.
  • In case of multiple applications, the State-appointed high-powered committee will make recommendations on the basis of credentials of projects.
  • As per reports, projects approved under Design-linked Incentive scheme of Union government will not be eligible to avail benefits under new policy.
  • Eligible projects will be given 75% subsidy to procure first 200 acres of land in  Special Investment region.
  • On the other hand, additional land required for the project or for other projects approved under India Semiconductor Mission for upstream or downstream projects will be given 50% subsidy on land cost.
  • The subsidy on land shall be provided only to projects set up at Dholera SIR.

India Semiconductor Mission (ISM):

  • Ministry of Electronics and IT (MeitY) launched ‘India Semiconductor Mission’ in 2021, with total financial outlay of Rs 76,000 crore.
  • It is a part of the broader program for the nation's sustainable semiconductor and display ecosystem growth.
  • The mission is aimed at providing financial support to companies that invest in semiconductors, design ecosystem and display manufacturing.
  • ISM, which would serve as the nodal organisation for effective, cogent, and seamless execution of the plans, is envisaged to be directed by international leaders in the Semiconductor and Display industries.

What are Semiconductors:

  • Semiconductors are materials which have a conductivity between conductors (generally metals) and nonconductors or insulators (such as most ceramics).
  • Semiconductors can be pure elements, such as silicon or germanium, or compounds such as gallium arsenide or cadmium selenide.

Semiconductors are divided into two categories:

  1. Intrinsic Semiconductor.
  2. Extrinsic Semiconductor.

Semiconductors are an essential component of electronic devices, enabling advances in communications, computing, healthcare, military systems, transportation, clean energy, and countless other applications.

History of Semiconductors:

  • In 1874, Karl Braun discovered and documented the first semiconductor diode effect.
  • Braun observed that current flows freely in only one direction at the contact between a metal point and a galena crystal.
  • In 1901, the very first semiconductor device, called "cat whiskers," was patented.

About Gujarat:

  • Gujarat is a state on the western coast of India most of which lies on the Kathiawar peninsula.
  • The state is bordered by Rajasthan to the northeast, Dadra and Nagar Haveli and Daman and Diu to the south, Maharashtra to the southeast, Madhya Pradesh to the east, and the Arabian Sea and the Pakistani province of Sindh to the west.
  • Its capital city is Gandhinagar.
  • The Governor and Chief Minister of Gujarat are Acharya Devvrat and Bhupendrabhai Patel respectively.

Mukhyamantri Mahtari Nyay Rath Yatra: The Chief Minister of Chhattisgarh Bhupesh Baghel recently launched an initiative named 'Mukhyamantri Mahtari Nyay Rath Yatra’.

Key Highlights:

  • On the occasion of the Hareli Tihaar festival, CM Baghel administered the oath of protection, justice and empowerment of women as he flagged off the ‘"Mukhyamantri Mahtari Nyay Rath Yatra".
  • The Rath Yatra was flagged off with the slogan of "Baat He Abhimaan Ke, Mahila Man Ke Samman Ke".
  • This initiative has been taken by the Chhattisgarh State Commission for Women with the aim of making women of the state aware of their constitutional rights and laws.

Key Points about Mukhyamantri Mahtari Nyay Rath Yatra:

  • Mukhyamantri Mahtari Nyay Rath Yatra will go from village to village in all the districts to create mass awareness about the legal provisions and constitutional rights of women through short films, messages, and brochures.
  • For Mahtari Nyay Rath, the state government has made specific adjustments to the DMF policy.
  • The district will operate Nyay Rath with the DMF money it has received.
  • In the first phase, the Rath will cover nine districts of the state namely Durg, Raipur, Rajnandgaon, Balodabazar-Bhatapara, Mahasamund, Janjgir-Champa, Gariaband, Dhamtari and Kanker.
  • The remaining districts will be covered in the next phase.
  • Two attorneys will ride in each chariot, listening to women’s complaints and offering information and counsel.
  • Through these carts, women will be able to apply to the Women’s Commission for the resolution of their complaints.
  • Nationally recognised instructional short films in Hindi and Chhattisgarhi will be shown on a sizable LED screen.

About Chhattisgarh:

  • Chhattisgarh is a heavily forested state in central India known for its temples and waterfalls. It is one of the fastest-developing states in India.
  • The state was formed on 1st November 2000 by partitioning ten Chhattisgarhi and six Gondi-speaking southeastern districts of Madhya Pradesh.
  • The capital city of Chattisgarh is Raipur.
  • The current Chief Minister and Governor of Chhattisgarh are Bhupesh Baghel and Anusuiya Uikey respectively.

Tribal Status for Trans-Giri: The Union Government is reported to be considering granting “tribal” status to the Trans-Giri region of Himachal Pradesh’s Sirmaur district.

Key Facts:

  • The demand to declare the Trans-Giri region as a tribal area is old, and the demand is linked with another demand for Scheduled Tribe (ST) status for the Hatti community which lives in the Trans-Giri region.
  • The Hattis have been demanding ST status since 1967, when tribal status was accorded to people living in Jaunsar Bawar in Uttarakhand, which shares a border with Sirmaur district.
  • Over the years, various ‘maha khumblis’ passed resolutions pressing the demand.

About the Hatti community:

  • The Hattis are a close-knit community.
  • They take their name from their traditional occupation of selling home-grown crops, vegetables, meat, and wool at small-town markets known as ‘haats’.
  • Hatti men traditionally don a distinctive white headgear on ceremonial occasions.
  • The present-day population of the Hattis is around 3 lakh.
  • They live near the Himachal-Uttarakhand border area in the basin of the Giri and Tons rivers, both these rivers are tributaries of the Yamuna.

Note: The Tons River marks the border between the two states.

  • The Hattis people are governed by a traditional council called ‘khumbli’ which is similar to the ‘khaps’ of Haryana, they decide community matters.
  • The Hattis living in the Trans-Giri area in today’s Himachal Pradesh and Jaunsar Bawar in Uttarakhand were once part of the royal estate of Sirmaur.
  • Jaunsar Bawar was conquered by the British in 1814.
  • The two Hatti clans, in Trans-Giri and Jaunsar Bawar, have similar traditions, and inter-marriages are common.

Caste System:

  • The Hattis have a fairly rigid caste system operates in the community.
  • The Bhat and Khash are upper castes, while the Badhois are below them.
  • Inter-caste marriages have traditionally been discouraged.

Demand for tribal status:

  • Hattis of Jaunsar Bawar share similar culture and socio-economic conditions with the Hattis residing in Sirmaur,”
  • Chief Minister Thakur said. “In 1967, their family members who were in Jaunsar were declared tribals but those who remained in Himachal were not given the same status or benefits.”
  • Since getting the benefit of reservations, the Jaunsar Bawar area has produced a sizable number of civil servants.
  • Due to topographical disadvantages, however, the Hattis living in the Kamrau, Sangrah, and Shilliai areas of Himachal Pradesh have lagged behind in both education and employment.

Tribal Area in India:

The Constitution of India states two types of areas:

  1. Scheduled Areas in terms of the 5th Schedule of the Constitution.
  2. Tribal Areas in terms of 6th Schedule.

“The “Tribal Areas” are also mentioned under Article 244(2) of the Constitution.

What are the criteria for the declaration of Scheduled Areas?

  • For declaration of Scheduled Areas, the criteria followed are:
  • The predominance of the tribal population.
  • Closeness and reasonable size of the area.
  • Presence of a viable administrative unit such as a district, block or taluk.
  • Economic backwardness of the area as compared to neighboring areas.

The lists of Major STs in Himachal Pradesh are

  • Gaddis
  • Gujjars
  • Kinnaras (Kinnauras)
  • Lahaulas
  • Pangwalas,

The bulk of the tribal population lives in remote, high-altitude areas in the districts of Lahaul, Spiti, Kinnaur, and Chamba.

The tribal population of the state was 3.92 lakh (about 6% of the total) in 2011.

Sardar Patel Outstanding ICAR Institute Award 2021: The National Academy of Agricultural Research Management (NAARM) has bagged the Sardar Patel Outstanding ICAR Institute Award 2021  for its overall performance.

Key Highlights:

  • NAARM received the award in the Large Institute Category.
  • Ch Srinivasa Rao, Director of NAARM, received the award from the Union Minister of Agriculture and Farmers’ Welfare Narendra Singh Tomar in New Delhi.
  • The awards were given away at a function to mark the 94th Foundation Day of the ICAR.

About the NAARM:

  • The National Academy of Agricultural Research Management (NAARM) is a national-level Natural Resource Service training institute for ARS cadre.
  • It is located in Hyderabad, Telangana, India.
  • It was established by the Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR) in 1976, to address issues related to agricultural research and education management, in India.

Har Ghar Jal District: Burhanpur in Madhya Pradesh has become the first certified Har Ghar Jal district of the country.

Key points:

  • Madhya Pradesh’s Burhanpur popularly known as the ‘Darwaza of Dakhin’, is the only district in the country where all people from each of 254 villages have access to safe drinking water through taps.
  • Only 36.54 percent of over one lakh households in Burhanpur had potable drinking water through tap connections at the time of the launch of Jal Jeevan Mission on 15th August 2019.
  • Despite various disruptions and challenges in face of the COVID-19 pandemic, the consistent efforts by Panchayat representatives, Pani Samitis and district officials of Burhanpur have led to the provision of functional tap water connections to all its 1 lakh 1 thousand 905 rural households within a span of 34 months.

What does the certificate indicate?

  • The certificate confirms that each family receives a consistent supply of water of the prescribed quality.
  • Furthermore, it is also an indication of no leakages from the distribution pipeline in the village, and that all the roads dug up to lay the water pipeline was repaired once the water supply operations were finished.

Jal Jeevan Mission (JJM):

  • With the vision of ‘Har Ghar Jal’, the Government of India (GoI)launched Jal Jeevan Mission (JJM) to supply adequate and safe drinking water through through 'Functional Household Tap Connections' (FHTC) by 2024 to all rural households in India.
  • JJM was launched on August 15, 2019.
  • Under this scheme, 55 litres of water per person is being provided to every rural household.

Background:

  • In the Union Budget for the financial year 2021-22, as per The Sustainable Development Goal-6 (SDG-6), Jal Jeevan Mission (urban) scheme has been announced under the Union Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs to provide universal coverage of water supply to households through functional taps in all cities.

e-FIR system: Gujarat Government is all set to offer e-FIR service for the crimes like mobile or two-wheeler theft.

Key Highlights:

  • Taking a step towards digital governance, the “e-FIR system” was launched in State.
  • The e-governance initiatives and e-FIR system has been launched as a part of “e-GujCop project”.
  • The main aim of this move is to resolve the mentioned incidents in faster manner.

About e-FIR system:

The e-FIR system of Gujarat Police can be availed by the citizens by:

  • Filing complaints or e-FIR in online mode.
  • Gujarat police will then contact the complainant within first 48 hours of registering an e-FIR and visit the place of incident.
  • Police will complete the investigation process within 21 days.
  • Following this, a status report will be submitted to the court.
  • Thus, citizens will get freedom from visiting the police station to register FIR for common crimes like theft of mobile or two-wheeler.
  • The e-FIR system is currently offering 16 Police-related services in online mode.
  • These services include registration of senior citizens, domestic help, tenants, or property registration, Police NOC and missing person report, etc.
  • In order to identify the stolen two-wheeler, police will synchronise the e-FIR system with Gujarat State police CCTV Command and Control Centre.
  • It will flash the number of stolen vehicles on the screens of command control-room, when the stolen vehicle will make movement across the city.

eGujCop Project:

  • The eGujCop Project was launched on September 19, 2013.
  • It is a unique system, integrating IT into working of the Home Department.
  • The project helps in preventing the wrongdoers from committing crimes in society.

About Gujarat:

  • Gujarat is a state on the western coast of India most of which lies on the Kathiawar peninsula.
  • The state is bordered by Rajasthan to the northeast, Dadra and Nagar Haveli and Daman and Diu to the south, Maharashtra to the southeast, Madhya Pradesh to the east, and the Arabian Sea and the Pakistani province of Sindh to the west.
  • Its capital city is Gandhinagar.
  • The Governor and Chief Minister of Gujarat are Acharya Devvrat and Bhupendrabhai Patel respectively.

TIME magazine’s list of World’s Greatest Places of 2022: Kerala and Ahmedabad have been named by TIME magazine among the 50 extraordinary destinations to explore in its list of the World’s Greatest Places of 2022.

Key Highlights:

  • These are two major tourist destinations in India.
  • Time Magazine had solicited nominations of places from their international network of correspondents to compile the list of the World's Greatest Places 2022.
  • Kerala has been named Ecotourism hot spot while Ahmedabad has been tagged as a city of higher learning.

 

  • Some of the other extraordinary destinations listed in TIME's List of World's Greatest Places of 2022 include the Doha, Seoul, Arctic, Nairobi, Great Barrier Reef, Ras Al Khaimah in UAE, Galápagos Islands in Ecuador, Hwange National Park in Zimbabwe, Spain's Valencia, Trans Bhutan Trail, International Space Station, Bali, Indonesia, Rapa Nui in Chile, Kyushu Island in Japan, Istanbul, Toronto and Kigali in Rwanda.

Kerala on Time's List of World's Greatest Places 2022:

  • Kerala has been described by Time's World's Greatest Places 2022 as one of India’s most beautiful states with spectacular beaches, lush backwaters, temples and palaces.
  • Time Magazine stated in its description that the state is known as “God’s own country” for good reason.
  • Kerala is also known for its tranquil ayurvedic retreat that offers various yogic practices and ayurvedic treatments.
  • The state is also boosting motor-home tourism in India this year. 

Ahmedabad on Time's List of World's Greatest Places 2022:

  • Ahmedabad, India’s first UNESCO World Heritage City has been described by Time's World's Greatest Places 2022 as a city that boasts of both ancient landmarks and contemporary innovations that make it a Mecca for cultural tourism including the serene Gandhi Ashram on the banks of the Sabarmati River and Navratri, the vibrant nine-day celebration.
  • The city is also known as Gujarat's Science City with an entertainment center and theme park.

NIRF 2022: The National Institutional Ranking Framework (NIRF) Rankings 2022 was released on 15th July 2022 by Union Education Minister Dharmendra Pradhan.

Highlights:

  • This is the seventh consecutive edition of NIRF.
  • NIRF India Ranking 2022 has been announced for 11 categories.
  • This includes overall, university, management, college, pharmacy, medical, engineering, architecture, ARIIA (Atal Ranking of Institutions on Innovation Achievements), law and research institutions.
  • A total of 4,786 institutions were evaluated on five parameters.
  • The ranking framework judges institutions under five broad generic groups of parameters of Teaching, Learning and Resources (TLR), Research and Professional Practice (RP), Graduation Outcomes (GO), Outreach and Inclusivity (OI) and Perception (PR).
  • Ranks are assigned based on the total sum of marks assigned for each of these five broad groups of parameters.
  • IIT-Madras has retained its number one position in the overall educational institutes and engineering categories this year as well.
  • The institute also bagged the second position in the ‘research’ category that was newly introduced lin 2021.
  • The best medical college in India — like in the previous years’ — is All India Institute of Medical Science in Delhi, followed by Post Graduate Institute of Medical Education and Research in Chandigarh.

Top Five - NIRF 2022 Rankings:

  • Top five universities are IISc, Jawaharlal Nehru University, Jamia Millia Islamia, Jadavpur University and Amrita Vishwa Vidyapeetham.
  • T top five colleges in the country are Miranda House, Hindu College, Presidency College, Loyola College and Lady Shri Ram College for Women.
  • The top five medical institutes are All India Institute of Medical Sciences, Post Graduate Institute of Medical Education and Research, Chandigarh, Christian Medical College, Vellore, National Institute of Mental Health & Neuro Sciences, Bengaluru, and Banaras Hindu University.
  • The top five management institutes are Indian Institute of Management (IIM) Ahmedabad, IIM Bengaluru, IIM Kolkata, IIT Delhi and IIM Kozhikode.

New Assessment criteria for School students: The Delhi Government has recently introduced a “new assessment guidelines” for school students.

About the new assessment guidelines:

  • The new guidelines have been introduced for government schools, government-aided and recognised unaided schools in Delhi.
  • Under these guidelines, the students will be assessed for impact of mindset curricula in their behaviour, and other scholastic subjects.
  • Assessment criteria will act as a supplement to existing evaluation norms.
  • These are based on academic and co-curricular activity.
  • Amended assessment criteria will be implemented the current academic year.
  • From now the students will be evaluated on their competencies, apart from their knowledge of key courses.

Significance of new assessment criteria:

  • Incorporation of assessments of competencies learned through these curricula is being done with the aim to emphasize the growth of social, ethical, cognitive abilities and emotional capacities.
  • These goals are aligned with the mindset curriculum's philosophy and objectives as envisioned by NEP 2020.
  • The new assessment criteria will further motivate students to contribute to social progress.
  • As a result, the students' analytical and critical thinking skills will be strengthened even more.
  • With new criteria, students will get rid of the need for rote learning methods.

Competency-based learning:

  • In order to educate students for real-world difficulties in the information and technology-driven age, competency-based learning is important and should be prioritized.
  • It will also help in maximizing the innate potential of students.

Happiness and Deshbhakti Curricula:

  • According to new assessment guidelines, students from 3-8 classes will be assessed for Happiness and Deshbhakti curricula.
  • Students of Class 9 and Class 11 will be assessed for Entrepreneurship Mindset and Deshbhakti Curricula.
  • Students of Class 11 will have an additional criterion of “Business Blasters” for assessment.

Key Takeaways:

New Delhi:

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

‘Naari Ko Naman’ Scheme: Chief Minister of Himachal Pradesh, Jai Ram Thakur, recently launched the “Naari ko Naman’ Scheme, for women of the state.

Key Points of the scheme:

  • This scheme has been launched, in line with an announcement made before state assembly elections.
  • As per the scheme, the govt will provide a 50 % concession on fares in Himachal Road Transport Corporation (HRTC) buses to women commuters.
  • The 50% concession on bus fares to women was announced on the occasion of Himachal Day.
  • Seema Thakur is the first woman bus driver in the State who drove him in a State transport bus to the event venue.
  • The HRTC will charge women travellers only half the fare for their travel within the state.
  • The state govt will also sanction 25 new posts of women drivers in the ‘Ride With Pride’ government taxi service — an initiative to ferry women passengers and senior citizens.
  • The Himachal Pradesh government will spend Rs 60 crore annually to provide 50% discount on ticket prices to women in state.
  • As per estimate, 1.25 lakh women daily travel in HRTC buses.
  • Apart from providing concession to women in tickets to women, government also announced reduction of minimum fare in HRTC buses from Rs 7 to Rs 5.
  • In addition, 25 posts of women drivers will be filled in ‘Ride with Pride’ taxis of HRTC.
  • 265 posts of Motor Mechanic, Electrician etc will also be recruited in HRTC.

About Himachal Road Transport Corporation (HRTC):

  • HRTC is the state-owned road transport corporation in Himachal Pradesh.
  • It provides bus services to towns and cities within the state and adjoining and states of Uttarakhand, Haryana, Punjab, Delhi, Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan and Jammu & Kashmir.
  • It is one of the first RTC’s in India that provides for online booking of tickets in all types of buses.
  • It was jointly founded, in 1958, by Government of Himachal Pradesh, Government of Punjab and Railways as “Mandi-Kullu Road Transport Corporation” to operate in Punjab and Himachal Pradesh.
  • On October 2, 1974 this corporation was merged with Himachal Govt. and was renamed as Himachal Road Transport Corporation.

About Himachal Pradesh:

  • Himachal Pradesh is a northern Indian state in the Himalayas.
  • This state also called the Land of Gods is part of the Shivalik range of the Himalaya Mountains.
  • It is situated in the Western Himalayas, it is one of the eleven mountain states of India.
  • It was made the eighteenth state of India on 25 January 1971 under the Himachal Pradesh State Act, 1971.
  • It shares borders with the union territories of Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh to the north, and the states of Punjab to the west, Haryana to the southwest, and Uttarakhand and Uttar Pradesh to the south.
  • The state also has a border with the autonomous region of Tibet to the east.
  • Its summer capital is Shimla and winter capital is Dharamshala.
  • The current Governor and Chief Minister of Himachal Pradesh are Rajendra Arlekar and Jai Ram Thakur respectively.

One Health Pilot Initiative: The Department of Animal Husbandry & Dairying (DAHD) recently launched the One Health pilot in Bengaluru, Karnataka.

Key Highlights:

  • The Pilot project in Karnataka was launched by Secretary Atul Chaturvedi, Department of Animal Husbandry & Dairying.
  • Key dignitaries and stakeholders from the Centre and state level across livestock, human, wildlife, and environment sectors were also a part of the inauguration.
  • During the event, the capacity-building plan for Karnataka and the One Health brochure (Kannada) was also unveiled.
  • The ‘One Health India’ program initiated by the Department aims to work with stakeholders from various sectors to improve livestock health, human health, wildlife health, and environmental health through technology and finance.

Which states are implementing the pilot projects?

  • DAHD in collaboration with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation (BMGF) and The Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) as implementation partner is implementing the One-Health Framework undertaking project in the states of Karnataka and Uttarakhand.
  • The pilot project in Karnataka will form the basis for development of the One Health Framework for India.

About the ‘One Health Pilot’:

  • This project is aimed at improving national and State-level resource allocation and policy ecosystem on early prediction, detection, and diagnosis of zoonotic diseases through increased quality, availability, and utility of data evidence.
  • The programme will bring stakeholders from animal, human and environment health on a common platform in order to formulate solutions for preventing outbreak of zoonotic disease like covid-19 pandemic in future.
  • The department of animal husbandry and dairying would develop a national One Health roadmap, on the basis of learnings of “One Health Pilot Project” which will help in preventing future zoonotic disease outbreaks.

About Confederation of Indian Industry (CII):

  • The Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) is a non-governmental trade association and advocacy group.
  • It was founded in 1895.
  • It engages business, political, academic, and other leaders of society to shape global, regional, and industry agendas.
  • It is a membership-based organization.
  • It is headquartered in New Delhi, India.
  • The current Director-General (DG) is Chandrajit Banerjee.

About Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation (BMGF):

  • It is an American private foundation. It was launched in 2000 by Bill Gates and Melinda French Gates.
  • It is based in Seattle, Washington. 
  • As of 2020, it is reported as the second largest charitable foundation worldwide.

MEDISEP Scheme: Kerala state government has issued orders regarding the implementation of a medical insurance “MEDISEP” scheme.

Key Highlights:

  • The Pinarayi Vijayan government issued orders giving sanction to implement the much awaited cashless medical assistance through Oriental Insurance Company Ltd from July 1, 2022.
  • The orders have been issued for government employees and pensioners and the deduction of premium from the salary of June 2022 and pension of July 2022.
  • MEDISEP scheme is applicable to government employees, pensioners/family pensioners and their eligible family members and employees and pensioners of universities that receive grant in aid from the state government and the local self-government institutions.

Key Points about the scheme:

  • MEDISEP is being implemented through the public sector insurer, Oriental Insurance Company.
  • The scheme is expected to benefit more than 30 lakh people, including government employees, pensioners and their families, teaching and non-teaching staff of aided schools and colleges, and part-time contingent employees.
  • The scheme provides cashless medical assistance through an insurance company selected through the competitive bidding process.
  • As per the scheme, the premium on behalf of the employees and pensioners towards MEDISEP shall be paid by the government in advance and will be recouped from the salary of employees and pensioners.
  • The annual premium of the employees and the pensioners will be Rs 4,800 + 18% GST for the policy period of 2022-24, and the monthly premium of Rs 500 would be deducted from the salary/pension.
  • The scheme is applicable to universities and local self-government institutions as well.
  • The scheme is also applicable to directly recruited personal staff of the chief minister, ministers, opposition leader, the chief whip, Speaker, deputy speaker and chairman of the financial committees.

About Kerala:

  • It is a state on the southwestern Malabar Coast of India.
  • It was formed on 1 November 1956, following the passage of the States Reorganisation Act, by combining Malayalam-speaking regions of the erstwhile states of Travancore-Cochin and Madras.
  • It is bordered by Karnataka to the north and northeast, Tamil Nadu to the east and south, and the Lakshadweep Sea to the west. Its capital is Thiruvananthapuram.
  • The current Governor and Chief Minister of Kerala are Arif Mohammad Khan and Pinarayi Vijayan respectively.

Places in News Current Affairs - July 2022

State butterfly of Sikkim: Chief Minister of Sikkim, P.S. Golay, recently declared a butterfly named Blue Duke as “State Butterfly of Sikkim”.

Key Highlights:

  • This was announced at Saramsa Garden near Ranipool, in an event organized by Forest department during the celebration of World Environment Day 2022.
  • Krishna Peacock, the butterfly designated as the State Butterfly of Sikkim, was edged out by Blue Duke.
  • Both the butterflies were shortlisted for “State butterfly” nominations, among 720-odd butterfly species.
  • As per Forest Department, an online voting was done between April and September 2021 for select State Butterfly.
  • Out of 4036 votes, 57% of the votes went to Blue Duke and 43% votes went to Krishna Peacock.

About Blue Duke:

  • Blue Duke, also called Bassarona durga, is unique to Sikkim and Eastern Himalayas.
  • It was first discovered in Sikkim in 1858.
  • It is a native butterfly species of Sikkim.
  • It represents Sikkim with its two unique colours.
  • Blue colour represents sky while white colour depicts snow clad mountains of Himalayas.
  • The butterfly is befitting to Sikkim and its unique identity.
  • It is found in Himalayas, at an altitude below 1,500 metres.
  • Places where it is commonly found include Pakyong, Hee-Gyathang and Pssingdong in Dzongu, Yangsum in West Sikkim and Lingee in South Sikkim.
  • It is also found in places closer to State capital, like Tadong and Ranka.

Note:

  • Nosang found the species in 2012, around the area of Nar Bahadur Bhandari Degree College at Tadong, Gangtok.
  • Since then, Nosang has been approaching state government to recognise it as State butterfly.

Protection status:

  • Blue Duke is listed in Schedule 2 of Wildlife Protection Act, 1972.
  • It is a highly protected species of butterfly in the Himalayas.

About sikkim:

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

Public Service Awards for 2022: Mo bus service of Odisha’s Capital Region Urban Transport (CRUT) authority, has been recognised by the United Nations as one of 10 global recipients of its annual Public Service Awards for 2022.

Key Highlights:

  • The winners of this year’s awards were announced by Liu Zhenmin, United Nations Under Secretary-General for Economic and Social Affairs during a virtual event to commemorate the United Nations Public Service Day (celebrated on June 22).
  • The other winner’s of public service initiatives are from Thailand, Brazil, Canada, Ireland, Panama, the Philippines, Poland, Saudi Arabia, and Ukraine.
  • Dipti Mahapatro, General Manager, Capital Region Urban Transport (CRUT) received the award in a virtual event on June 22, 2022.

Why was Odisha's Mo bus honoured?

  • The public transport service has been recognised for its role in “promoting gender-responsive public services to achieve the SDGs (Sustainable Development Goals).
  • The UN noted that Mo Bus has incorporated “real-time technologies like live tracking, travel planner and e-ticketing”,
  • An e-rickshaw system called ‘Mo E-Ride’ has been introduced as a last-mile feeder service.

Impact:

  • According to the UN, the “impact” is that 57 per cent of the city’s commuters now use the Mo Bus, the UN said.
  • Mo E-Ride is estimated to reduce pollution by 30-50 per cent.
  • Also, 40 per cent of Mo Bus conductors are women and 100 percent of Mo E-Ride drivers are women, transgender people, and people from disadvantaged communities.

In 2019, the Union Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs conferred a special award on CRUT, the Bhubaneswar City Bus Modernisation Project, popularly known as the Mo Bus service.

What is Mo Bus?

  • Mo Bus service was launched in November 2018.
  • It was launched to ensure “transformation of the urban public transport scenario in the city and its hinterland through use of smart technology, service benchmarking and customer satisfaction”.
  • The buses are designed to integrate smart technologies such as free on-board Wi-Fi service, digital announcements, surveillance cameras, and electronic ticketing.
  • Around 50% of Mo Bus Guides (conductors) are women.
  • Air-conditioned Mo Bus fares start at Rs 5 and go up to Rs 70; non-AC fares are from Rs 5 to Rs 55.

About CRUT:

  • The Capital Region Urban Transport (CRUT), a special purpose vehicle (SPV), formed under Housing and Urban Development Department of the Government of Odisha operates a fleet of 310 buses to and from the capital.
  • It plans to introduce 289 buses in three phases with the induction of 200 new buses. 

UN Public Service Award:

  • The UN describes its Public Service Awards as the “most prestigious international recognition of excellence in public service”.
  • It is intended to reward “the creative achievements and contributions of public service institutions that lead to a more effective and responsive public administration in countries worldwide”.
  • The first Awards ceremony was held in 2003.
  • And in the same year the UN General Assembly designated June 23 as the UN Public Service Day to “celebrate the value and virtue of public service to the community”.

New Oil Discovery in Colombia: ONGC Videsh Limited (OVL) recently announced that it has made a new oil discovery in Columbia.

Note: OVL is the wholly owned subsidiary and overseas arm of Oil and Natural Gas Corporation Ltd. (ONGC), the National Oil Company of India.

Key Points:

  • The discovery was made in the recently drilled Well Urraca-IX, located in Block CPO-5 of the Llanos Basin in the South American country.
  • Well, Urraca-1X was spudded on 20th April 2022 and drilled to target depth (TD) of 10956 ft., encountering 17 ft thick oil-bearing sands at a depth from 10201ft -10218 ft.
  • ONGC Videsh has a significant presence in oil & gas sector in Colombia, with three other exploratory blocks in the country and joint ownership of the oil producing company Mansarovar Energy Colombia Ltd (MECL).

Earlier Discovery:

  • ONGC Videsh has earlier discovered commercial oil in the Lower Sand pay in Mariposa and Indico fields in the block in 2017 and 2018 respectively, which are currently commercially producing @ 20,000 bbl oil per day.

 Block CPO-5 was awarded to ONGC Videsh Limited in the 2008 bid round of Colombia.

ONGC Videsh holds 70% participating interest (PI) in the block along with operatorship, remaining 30% is held by partner Geopark.

About Columbia:

  • Colombia, officially the Republic of Colombia, is a country in South America with an insular region in North America.
  • It is bordered by the Caribbean Sea to the north, Venezuela to the east, Brazil to the southeast, Ecuador and Peru to the south, the Pacific Ocean to the west and Panama to the northwest.
  • It is one of the world's seventeen megadiverse countries.
  • It has the second-highest level of biodiversity in the world.
  • Its territory encompasses Amazon rainforest, highlands, grasslands and deserts.
  • It is the only country in South America with coastlines and islands along both Atlantic and Pacific oceans.
  • The capital of Columbia is Bagota.
  • The currency used here is Colombian peso.

Moratorium of three years to CoPA: The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA) chaired by Prime Minister, Narendra Modi, recently approved a moratorium of three years (2020-21, 2021-22 & 2022-23) to Cochin Port Authority (CoPA).

Key Details:

  • The moratorium has been approved for repayment of loans amounting to ₹446.83 crore to the central government.
  • The amount was to be repaid in 10 installments commencing from 2018-19.
  • However, Cochin Port Authority could pay the installments of 2018-19 and 2019-20 only.
  • From 2020-21, the traffic was badly impacted due to COVID-19 pandemic which adversely impacted the cash inflow.
  • As a result, Cochin Port could not pay the instalments of 2020-21 and 2021-22.

Background:

  • Cochin Port has been brought under the Major Port Authorities Act, 2021 with effect from November 2021. 
  • The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA) on 24.08.2016 had approved the proposal for waiver of Penal interest on Government of India Loans taken by Cochin Port for various infrastructural developmental activities during 1936-37 to 1994-95.

About Cochin Port:

  • Cochin Port or Kochi Port is a major port in the city of Kochi, Kerala.
  • It was established in 1928.
  • The port lies on two islands in the Lake of Kochi I.e., Willingdon Island and Vallarpadam, towards the Fort Kochi river mouth opening onto the Laccadive Sea.
  • It is also the first trans-shipment port in India.
  • The International Container Trans-shipment Terminal (ICTT), part of the Cochin Port, is the largest container trans-shipment facility in India.

Ennum Ezhuthum scheme: Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu, MK Stalin launched the “Ennum Ezhuthum Scheme” to bridge the learning gap that was caused due to the COVID pandemic among students aged below eight.

Key points:

  • The scheme was launched at an event in Azhinjivakkam panchayat union middle school, Tiruvallur.
  • It aims to ensure foundational literacy and numeracy by 2025.
  • A specific training programme for teachers was organised prior to the launch, and handbooks were handed to them.
  • They were encouraged to use an interactive learning style and encourage kids to use the school library to read books and newspapers.

The followings are included in the programme:

  • Under the Ennum Ezhuthum Scheme, the education department will provide workbooks to students from Classes 1 to 3 to assess and bridge the learning gap under the scheme.
  • The children will be provided training in three subjects such as Tamil, English and Mathematics.
  • The scheme aims to make the classroom suitable for conducting lessons.
  • Lessons have been designed in the format of dance, songs, storytelling and puppetry, among others.Videos also have been shot.
  • The Scheme will also help in improving the quality of education in the State.

About Tamil Nadu:

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

FRUITS: The Karnataka government recently launched ‘The Farmer Registration & Unified Beneficiary Information System’ or FRUITS software for Aadhar-based, single-window registration for the schemes.

For authenticating ownership, the FRUITS software will allow for single registration utilising an Aadhar card and Karnataka's Bhoomi computerised land registry system.

Benefits:

  • The state farmers will be able to access benefits of hosts of schemes such as Direct Benefit Transfer under PM Kisan, payment for Minimum Support Prices (MSPs) for crops, special financial assistance, caste certificate authentication and ration cards through the creation of single digital identification through FRUITS.
  • The Farmer Registration & Unified Beneficiary Information System’ or FRUITS software will allow various departments to access information about the farmers under a single platform.
  • It will also ensure better targeting and effectiveness in the implementation of the schemes.
  • The state departments of agriculture, animal husbandry, horticulture, civil supplies, revenue, food and fisheries departments and  of the the state governments are covered under the initiative.

About Karnataka:

  • It is a state in the south western region of India.
  • It was formed on 1 November 1956, with the passage of the States Reorganisation Act.
  • Originally known as the State of Mysore, it was renamed Karnataka in 1973.
  • It is bordered by the Arabian Sea to the west, Goa to the northwest, Maharashtra to the north, Telangana to the northeast, Andhra Pradesh to the east, Tamil Nadu to the southeast, and Kerala to the south.
  • It is the only southern state to have land borders with all of the other 4 southern Indian sister states.
  • Its capital city is Bangalore.
  • The current Chief Minister and Governor of Karnataka are Basavaraj Bommai and Thawar Chand Gehlot respectively.

Dharohar: Union Minister for Finance and Corporate Affairs Nirmala Sitharaman dedicated to the nation, Dharohar - the National Museum of Customs and GST in Panaji Goa.

The dedication ceremony is part of Azadi Ka Amrit Mahotsav Iconic week of the Ministry of Finance which is being celebrated from June 6 to 12.

About Darohar:

  • Dharohar is a first-of-its-kind initiative in the country.
  • It is a two-storey ‘Blue building’, which was earlier known as Alfandega, during the period of Portuguese rule in Goa.
  • It has been standing on the banks of the Mandovi River in Panaji for more than 400 years.
  • It is one of its kind museums in the country that showcases not only the artifacts seized by Indian Customs but also depicts various aspects of work performed by the Customs Department.
  • It has eight galleries viz:
  1. Introductory gallery,
  2. History of Taxation Gallery,
  3. Guardians of our economic frontiers gallery,
  4. Guardians of our Art & Heritage,
  5. Guardians of Flora & Fauna,
  6. Custodians of our social well being,
  7. Journey of Indirect taxes -Salt Tax to GST
  8. GST Gallery.
  • GST Gallery is a brand new addition to the Dharohar Museum.
  • This GST Gallery takes one through the long and arduous journey of GST spanning two decades.

‘Dharohar’ is an important addition to the Tourism Map of India and a must see attraction in Goa.

About Goa:

  • Goa is a state in western India with coastlines stretching along the Arabian Sea.
  • It is surrounded by the Indian states of Maharashtra to the north and Karnataka to the east and south, with the Arabian Sea forming its western coast.
  • Goa continued to remain a Union Territory until 1987 when it was accorded statehood.
  • It became India’s 25th state even as Daman and Diu continue to be Union Territories.
  • It is India's smallest state by area and the fourth-smallest by population.
  • The capital of Goa is Panaji.
  • The current Chief Minister and the Governor of Goa are Pramod Sawant and Bhagat Singh Koshyari respectively.

National Tribal Research Institute: Union Home and Cooperation Minister, Amit Shah inaugurated the National Tribal Research Institute (NTRI) in Delhi on June 7, 2022.

Key Highlights:

  • The NTRI was inaugurated as a part of “Azadi ka Amrit Mahotsav” by Tribal Affairs Ministry.
  • During the event, an exhibition showcasing the achievements of Ministry of Tribal Affairs was also displayed.
  • Over 100 tribal artisans and tribal dance troupes across India showcased their indigenous products and performances.
  • Two booklets on the 8 Years of Achievements and the Key Initiatives of the Ministry of Tribal Affairs were also released by Shri Amit Shah.

About National Tribal Research Institute:

  • The National Tribal Research Institute (NTRI) will be a  apex National Level Institute.
  • It will become a nerve centre of tribal concerns, matters and issues in academic, legislative and executive fields.
  • It is being established at a cost of 10 crore rupees.

Functions of NTRI:

The functions of NTRI are as follows -

  • It will work to deliver outcome-based implementation of schemes, programmes and policies for tribal population down to the grassroot level.
  • It will promote and preserve the tribal heritage and culture and the nerve centre of tribal research issues and matters in academic, executive and legislative fields.
  • It will network and collaborate with reputed research institutes, organisations, universities, resource centres and academic bodies.
  • It will monitor projects of Tribal Research Institutes (TRIs), research scholars of NFS and Centres of Excellence (CoEs).
  • It will also set up norms to improve in quality of research and training.
  • Its other activities include -
  • Providing policy inputs for Ministry of Tribal Affairs and State Welfare Departments programs
  • Design studies that support or improve socio-economic aspects of tribal lifestyles
  • Providing guidelines in setting & running Tribal Museums and showcasing rich tribal cultural heritage of India, under one umbrella.
  • Creating  and maintaining a Database of PMAAGY.

About Pradhan Mantri Adi Adarsh Gram Yojana (PMAAGY):

  • PMAAGY was launched on the line of Pradhan Mantri Adarsh Gram Yojana (PMAGY).
  • These villages have tribal population of over 500 and 50% tribals.
  • Rs. 1354 cr. has been allocated for this scheme.

Pradhan Mantri Adarsh Gram Yojana (PMAGY):

  • PMAGY is a rural development programme, launched in 2009-10 by Union government in India.
  • It was launched for developing the villages that have higher ratio (more than 50%) of people belonging to scheduled castes.
  • It converges the central and state schemes.
  • Financial funding is allocated on a per village basis.
  • It aims to bring a number of development programs to the villages.
  • Some of these programs are Bharat Nirman, Pradhan Mantri Gram Sadak Yojana (PMGSY) for rural roads, water supply, housing, electrification and other big-ticket schemes like Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan, Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act, Integrated Child Development Services, and sanitation.

 

About the Tribal Research Institute (TRI):

  • The Tribal Research Institute (TRI) is the research body of the Ministry of Tribal Affairs at the state level.
  • It is envisaged that TRIs should focus on their core responsibilities as body of knowledge & research more or less as a think tank for tribal development; preservation of tribal cultural heritage, providing inputs to States for evidence based planning and appropriate legislations, capacity building of tribal and persons / institutions associated with tribal affairs, dissemination of information and creation of awareness.
  • There are 26 Tribal Research Institutes (TRIs) supported by the Ministry of Tribal Affairs.

Chandigarh IAF Heritage Centre: The Indian Air Force (IAF) heritage centre, the country’s first, is being set up at the erstwhile printing press in Sector 18, Chandigarh.

Key Highlights:

  • Chandigarh IAF Heritage Center will be set up to showcase the role of the Indian Air Force in multiple wars and its overall functioning.
  • It will be jointly set up by the Air Force and the Chandigarh Administration.
  • It will be maintained by the Chandigarh Administration.
  • The Chandigarh Administration and Indian Air Force had signed an Agreed in Principle (AIP) for this purpose.
  • This will be the first such center in India.
  • This joint project of Administration of UT Chandigarh and IAF is planned to be completed by October.

About the heritage centre:

  • The Chandigarh Heritage Center will include artifacts, simulators, and interactive boards to highlight various aspects of the Indian Air Force.
  • It will showcase the important role played by the Air Force played by the service in various wars and assistance provided for humanitarian aid and disaster relief.
  • It will also have vintage aircraft.

About Chandigarh:

  • Chandigarh is a city, district and union territory in India that serves as the joint capital of the two neighbouring states of Punjab and Haryana.
  • Chandigarh is one of the early planned cities in post-independence India and is internationally known for its architecture and urban design.
  • It was designed by the Swiss-French modernist architect, Le Corbusier.
  • His buildings include the Capitol Complex with its High Court, Secretariat and Legislative Assembly, as well as the giant Open Hand Monument.
  • Chandigarh's Capitol Complex was declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO at the 40th session of the World Heritage Conference in July 2016.
  • The nearby Rock Garden is a park featuring sculptures made of stones, recycled ceramics and industrial relics.

Etymology:

  • The name Chandigarh is a compound of Chandi and Garh.
  • Chandi refers to the Hindu goddess Chandi and Garh means fortress.
  • The name is derived from Chandi Mandir, an ancient temple devoted to the Hindu Goddess Chandi near the city in Panchkula District.

Goa Beach Vigil App: Chief Minister of Goa, Pramod Sawant recently launched an app called the “Beach Vigil App”, by keeping in light the tourism sector and beaches of Goa.

Aim:

  • The app was launched with the aim of benefiting travelers as well as those working in tourism sector.
  • It aims to holistically manage the beaches.

About the App:

  • This app will cover everything, ranging from reporting illegal hawkers to beach cleanliness.
  • The people, through this app can file complaint regarding any illegal activity or violation.
  • It will also open several future avenues in collaboration of information technology and tourism sector.
  • This app will make it easier for Drishti workers, police and other stakeholders to raise issues, for safeguarding travellers’ interest.
  • It will also help stakeholders in beach cleaning initiatives.

Government’s plan for Goa:

  • Government of Goa is in process of finalising an integrated plan for beach cleaning.
  • Government also plans to make Goa among top 25 destinations for start-ups in Asia by 2025.

Importance of beach cleaning for Goa:

  • Tourism activity in Goa is usually promoted along the coastal areas and on beaches.
  • This state is a destination of choice for Indian as well foreign tourist, especially Britons and Russian travellers.
  • It stands 6th among top ten Nightlife cities worldwide in National Geographic Travel.
  • Water sport is the main attraction of state.
  • Popular beaches include Baga and Calangute, which offer jet-skiing, banana boat rides, water scooter rides, parasailing etc.
  • Patnem beach in Palolem was ranked third in top 20 beaches of CNN Travel, in Asia.

Historical Sites in Goa:

  • State of Goa has two popular World Heritage Sites, viz., Convents of Old Goa and Bom Jesus Basilica & Churches.
  • Bom Jesus Basilica is the showcase of mortal remains of St. Francis Xavier, which is honored by Catholics as patron saint of Goa.
  • Important forts in Goa include Chapora, Tiracol, Corjuem, Reis Magos, Aguada, Mormugao, Nanus, Cabo de Rana and Fort Gaspar Dias.

About Goa:

  • Goa is a state in western India with coastlines stretching along the Arabian Sea.
  • It is surrounded by the Indian states of Maharashtra to the north and Karnataka to the east and south, with the Arabian Sea forming its western coast.
  • Goa continued to remain a Union Territory until 1987 when it was accorded statehood.
  • It became India’s 25th state even as Daman and Diu continue to be Union Territories.
  • It is India's smallest state by area and the fourth-smallest by population.
  • The capital of Goa is Panaji.
  • The current Chief Minister and the Governor of Goa are Pramod Sawant and Bhagat Singh Koshyari respectively.

Caste-based Census: Bihar Cabinet has approved a proposal to start caste-based headcount in the state.

Key Highlights:

  • This decision was taken unanimously at a all-party meeting held in Bihar which was chaired by Chief Minister Nitish Kumar.
  • District magistrates will be nodal officers and engage employees in their districts as enumerators.
  • Those to be involved in the mega exercise will be given proper training and the report will be published.
  • It would be a "time-bound exercise and each and every detail of caste, sub-castes, community and religion will be taken care of for the development of all people".

Background:

  • Earlier, the Bihar Legislature passed resolutions twice for caste-based census and an 11-member all-party delegation too had met Prime Minister Narendra Modi to demand the exercise.
  • However, the Central government had rejected their demand saying it would be a “divisive exercise” but said “States can hold caste census on their own”.

CM Nitish Kumar stated that once this exercise is over in Bihar, then the other States too may follow suit and the whole nation will be covered.

About Bihar:

  • Bihar is a state in East India, bordering Nepal and is the third-largest state by population across India.
  • It is also the twelfth-largest state by territory.
  • It was formed on 22nd March 1912.
  • It is surrounded by Uttar Pradesh in the west, Nepal in the north, northern part of West Bengal in the east and Jharkhand in the south.
  • The current Governor and the Chief Minister of Bihar are Phagu Chauhan and Nitish Kumar respectively.

Telangana Formation Day 2022: Telangana recently celebrated its 8th foundation day.

Key Highlights:

Chief Minister K Chandrashekhar Rao has hoisted the national flag at the main, ceremonial event held at the Public Gardens in Hyderabad and received the guard of honour.

Telangana Day or Telangana Formation Day 2022 celebrations was organized for the first time by the Central Government in Delhi and the Union Home Minister Amit Shah was the Chief Guest at the Telangana Formation Day event.

Key Points:

  • Telangana State Formation Day is observed every year on June 2 making it the youngest state in India.
  • Telangana's 30 districts honour this day by hoisting the national flag.
  • Besides that, the state of Telangana honours its people for remarkable achievements in science, art, and literature.
  • This day marks the significance of the victory of the people who sustained the Telangana movement through the years.
  • On 2 June 2014, a 57-year-old movement came to an end, realizing the hopes of the Telangana people.
  • Telangana was carved out of the unified Andhra Pradesh.
  • Telangana was India's 29th state when it was founded, but after Jammu and Kashmir was designated as a UT in 2019, the country's youngest state became the 28th state.

History of Telangana Formation Day:

  • On 1 November 1956, Telangana was merged with Andhra Pradesh to form a unified state specifically for the Telugu-speaking people by sculpting that state from erstwhile Madras.
  • In 1969, the Telangana region witnessed a protest for a new state and in 1972, a distinct Andhra Pradesh was formed.
  • Various social organizations, student unions, and government employees all played important roles in the 1969 agitation.
  • After nearly 40 years of protests, the Telangana Bill was passed by the Congress Working Committee and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in the Lok Sabha in February 2014.
  • The bill was introduced in the Indian Parliament in 2014 and the Andhra Pradesh Reorganisation Act received its approval the same year.
  • According to the bill, Telangana will be constituted by ten districts in north-western Andhra Pradesh.

Significance:

  • The formation of Telangana signifies the victory of a sustained movement that saw the large Andhra Pradesh state bifurcation into two entities.
  • A 57-year-old fight for the separate state finally bore fruit, bringing hope to the people of Telangana for a better future complete with an distinct identity.
  • This not only gave the people of the region a distinct identity but also changed India's map.

 

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 respectvely. 

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 has 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.

Utkarsh Samaroh: Prime Minister Narendra Modi on 12th May 2022 virtually addressed ‘Utkarsh Samaroh’ held at Bharuch in Gujarat.

Key Highlights:

  • The event was organized to mark the celebration of 100 percent saturation of 4 key schemes of the state government in the district.
  • These will help in providing timely financial assistance to those in need.

About Utkarsh Initiative:

The Utkarsh Initiative was carried out by the Bharuch district administration to ensure complete coverage of schemes providing assistance to widows, elderly and destitute citizens.

A total of 12,854 beneficiaries were identified under the four schemes that are -

  1. Indira Gandhi Vrudh Sahay Yojana
  2. Rashtriy Kutumb Sahay Yojana
  3. Niradhar Vrudh Aarthik Sahay Yojana
  4. Ganga Swaroopa Aarthik Sahay Yojana

During the drive from 1st January to 31st March 2022, taluka-wise Whatsapp helpline numbers were set up to collect information about those people who were not receiving benefits of the scheme.

Utkarsh Camps:

  • The Utkarsh camps were organized in all villages and wards of municipality areas of the district, to collect the necessary documents for on the spot approval.
  • Incentives were also given to Utkarsh assistants to further facilitate the drive.

About Indira Gandhi Vrudh Sahay Yojana:

  • The Indira Gandhi Vrudh Sahay Yojana aims to assist all beneficiaries aged 60 and up who fall under the Below Poverty Line category.

About Niradhar Vrudh Aarthik Sahay Yojana:

  • The Niradhar Vrudh Aarthik Sahay Yojana was set up to assist needy persons with disabilities, as well as destitute elderly people, in leading dignified lives by providing financial assistance.

About Rashtriy Kutumb Sahay Yojana:

  • Under the Rashtriy Kutumb Sahay Yojana, the family members of a household living below the poverty line are eligible for financial compensation under this scheme when the main breadwinner dies.

About Gujarat Ganga Swaroopa Aarthik Sahay Yojana:

  • This scheme was launched to help the women of the state who have lost their husbands.
  • This scheme provides financial assistance to mothers so that they may care for their family.

Ladli Laxmi scheme-2.0: Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister, Shivraj Singh Chouhan recently launched the second phase of the Ladli Laxmi scheme (Ladli Laxmi scheme-2.0).

Key Highlights:

  • The Ladli Laxmi scheme-2.0 was launched during a state-level function at Lal Parade Ground in Bhopal.
  • The CM also dedicated the Ladli e-Samvad app to establish a continuous dialogue with Ladlis.
  • In the app, all Ladli Laxmis will be linked to the education portal through Samagra ID which will enable continuous tracking of their educational status.
  • Decision has also been taken to honour those gram panchayats as Ladli Friendly panchayat who will take care of the girl child for their economic empowerment, skill enhancement and protection of rights along with nutrition, health and education to boost their self-confidence.

What is Ladli Laxmi scheme-2.0?

Ladli Laxmi scheme – 2.0 is an innovative initiative to encourage girl children to pursue higher education and make them self-dependent.

About Ladli Laxmi scheme:

  • The Ladli Laxmi scheme is being implemented by the government of Madhya Pradesh since 2007 to enhance the economic and educational status of the girls.
  • It is a comprehensive scheme that offers financial assistance for a girl from birth until her marriage in installments.

To avail the benefits of the scheme the following criteria has to be me:-

  1. The family of the girl child should be a permanent resident of Madhya Pradesh.
  2. The family should come under below the poverty line (BPL), i.e., should not be an income taxpayer.
  3. A maximum of two daughters can be registered under this scheme.

Achievements under this scheme:

  • Under Ladli Laxmi Yojana around 42,04,650 girls have been registered till April 2022 in MP.
  • So far, more than 9 lakh girl students have been paid a scholarship amount of Rs 231 crore.
  • The sex ratio at birth in the state has increased from 927 to 956 per thousand.

About Madhya Pradesh:

  • Madhya Pradesh (MP) is the second largest Indian state by area.
  • It borders the states of Uttar Pradesh to the northeast, Chhattisgarh to the southeast, Maharashtra to the south, Gujarat to the west, and Rajasthan to the northwest.
  • Its capital is Bhopal.
  • The current Chief Minister and Governor of Madhya Pradesh is Shivraj Singh Chouhan and Mangubhai C. Patel respectively.

Goa Statehood Day 2022: Goa celebrated its 35th Foundation Day on 30th May 2022.

Key Highlights:

  • A grand ceremony was arranged today at Raj Bhavan in Dona Paula.
  • Governor P.S. Sreedharan Pillai, Chief Minister Dr. Pramod Sawant, Union Minister Sripad Naik were among the dignitaries present on this occasion.
  • Awards were given to persons from various walks of life for their outstanding achievement in respective fields including former Chief Ministers of Goa.

Significance of Statehood Day:

  • Goa remained under Portuguese rule even after 14 years of India's independence.
  • Goa was liberated from the Portuguese on 19th December 1961.
  • Liberation Day is celebrated in Goa on 19th December.
  • On May 30, 1987, Goa was given full statehood and Daman and Diu were made a separate union territory.
  • Goa became India’s 25th state. 
  • Since then, 30th May is celebrated as the Statehood Day of Goa.
  • After its establishment, Panaji was given the status of the capital of Goa and Konkani language as the official language.

History:

  • Before 1961, Goa was a colony of Portugal.
  • The Portuguese ruled Goa for about 450 years.
  • After India achieved independence from the British in 1947, Goa, which was a Portuguese colony, remained a colony until 1961.
  • In 1961, the Indian Army, as per the wishes of most of the Goan population liberated it from Portuguese rule by force.
  • In 1961, India launched Operation Vijay and annexed Goa and Daman and Diu with the Indian mainland.
  • The Portuguese government in Goa surrendered formally on 19th December 1961 ending more than 450 years of colonial rule in the state of Goa.

Note: Shri Dayanand Bhandarkar became the first elected Chief Minister of Goa.

About Goa:

  • Goa is a state in western India with coastlines stretching along the Arabian Sea.
  • It is surrounded by the Indian states of Maharashtra to the north and Karnataka to the east and south, with the Arabian Sea forming its western coast.
  • Goa continued to remain a Union Territory until 1987 when it was accorded statehood.
  • It became India’s 25th state even as Daman and Diu continue to be Union Territories.
  • It is India's smallest state by area and the fourth-smallest by population.
  • The capital of Goa is Panaji.
  • The current Chief Minister and the Governor of Goa are Pramod Sawant and Bhagat Singh Koshyari respectively.

Places in News Current Affairs - June 2022

MP Mukhyamantri Udyam Kranti: Chief Minister of Madhya Pradesh Shivraj Singh Chouhan launched the 'Mukhyamantri Udhyam Kranti' Yojna.

Key Points:

  • The announcement of the launch of this scheme was made at the inauguration ceremony of Nagrodaya Mission.
  • Under the scheme, loans will be provided to the youth of Madhya Pradesh to set up their own enterprise.
  • The state government will provide 1 lakh to 50 lakh for MSME start-ups.
  • It will give a 3% per year interest subsidy and bank loan guarantee fee for a maximum period of 7 years.
  • Loans will be made available to the youths through financial institutions at concessional interest rates.
  • The guarantee fee will also be borne by the state government.

Objectve:

  • The objective of Mukhyamantri Udyam Kranti Yojana is to make the youth employable by connecting them with self-employment opportunities.

Government agencies, financial institutions, entrepreneurship centres beneficiaries and training institutes are working together for the successful implementation of all self-employment schemes.

Schemes under which Loans will be sanctioned:

  • Pradhan Mantri Svanidhi Yojana
  • Pradhan Mantri Rojgar Srijan Yojana
  • Pradhan Mantri Mudra Yojana
  • National Rural Livelihood Mission
  • National Urban Livelihood Mission
  • Mukhyamantri Gramin Path Vikreta Yojana

Background:

  • The MP Mukhyamantri Udyam Kranti plan was first introduced in November 2021, as per the MSME department’s gazette announcement, but it was never implemented.

About Madhya Pradesh:

  • Madhya Pradesh (MP) is the second largest Indian state by area.
  • It borders the states of Uttar Pradesh to the northeast, Chhattisgarh to the southeast, Maharashtra to the south, Gujarat to the west, and Rajasthan to the northwest.
  • Its capital is Bhopal.
  • The current Chief Minister and Governor of Madhya Pradesh is Shivraj Singh Chouhan and Anandiben Patel respectively.

1064 Anti-Corruption Mobile App: Chief Minister of Uttarakhand Pushkar Singh Dhami recently launched an anti-corruption mobile app named 1064 Anti-Corruption Mobile App.

Key Points:

  • This mobile application has been developed by the vigilance department of Uttarakhand.
  • Currently, the app is available in both Hindi and English language.
  • It helps the citizens to lodge corruption-related complaints directly with the authorities.
  • Registered complaints, data and the identity of the complainant will be protected.
  • It aims to make the state corruption-free and ensures that governance in the state is carried out in a transparent manner.

About Uttarakhand:

  • Uttarakhand is a state in northern India crossed by the Himalayas.
  • It became the 27th state of the Republic of India On 9 November 2000.
  • It was carved from the Himalayan districts of Uttar Pradesh.
  • Its winter Capital is Dehradun and summer capital is Gairsain.
  • The Chief Minister and the Governor of Uttarakhand are Pushkar Singh Dhami and Lieutenant General Gurmit Singh respectively.

Seema Darshan Project: Union Home and Cooperative Minister Amit Shah has inaugurated ‘Seema Darshan Project’ at Nadabet located on the Indo-Pak border in Banaskantha District of Gujarat.

Key Points about the Project:

  • As per the Gujarat Tourism website, Nada Bet is a small slice of land jutting into a sprawling lake, where the 'Seema Darshan (border viewing) for tourists is organised.
  • This is multipurpose tourism project .
  • It was completed under the direct guidance of Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
  • The viewing point has been built on the lines of the Wagah-Atari border of Punjab.
  • ‘Seema darshan Project’ was initiated with the aim to provide an opportunity to the people so that they can visualize the life and work of the BSF personnel on our border.
  • BSF is constantly protecting our borders in very adverse weather conditions.
  • Under the ‘Seema Darshan Project’, all kinds of tourist facilities and other special attractions have been developed at a cost of 1 crore 25 lakhs.

Activities under this project:

  • Some of the activities and sights that will interest travellers include
  • The retreat ceremony can be witnessed where the Border Security Force (BSF) jawans put up a gallant show of marching with pride to end another day of guarding the borders.

Note: Hundreds of people visit the Wagah border in Punjab to witness the beating retreat ceremony.

  • It will also have a weapons display and photo gallery with guns, tanks and other sophisticated devices that help in keeping the border and inland places secure on display.
  • A camel show will be presented for visitors as well.

Background:

  • The idea to develop another border viewing point for tourists was mooted when Vijay Rupani was chief minister of Gujarat in 2018.
  • It took three years for the state government to develop the point.

Health Benefit Package 2022: National Health Authority (NHA) has launched A new version of the Health Benefit Package (HBP) 2022 under the Ayushman Bharat Pradhan Mantri Jan Arogya Yojana (AB-PMJAY).

Key Highlights:

This package was launched at a two-day Southern Region Review Meeting held at Tamil Nadu’s Mahabalipuram for reviewing AB-PMJAY and Ayushman Bharat Digital Mission (ABDM) in the Union Territories and the Southern States.

This was the meeting’s 3rd edition and covering Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Puducherry, Lakshadweep, Andaman and Nicobar Islands, Kerala, Telangana, and Tamil Nadu.

Earlier Similar regional meetings have been organized by the NHA to cover the country’s west and north zones.

Key Points about HBP 2022:

  • NHA has added 265 new procedures in the new version of the NHA Health benefit Package which takes the total to 1,949.
  • Differential pricing based on city type and degree of care has been introduced under this scheme.

Other Announcements:

  • On the occasion, the NHA also announced the launch of the new initiative of patient classifications systems.
  • The patient classification will be done through the International Classification of Disease (ICD-11) and International Classification of Health Intervention (ICHI) for AB PM-JAY scheme.
  • Another key highlight of the event was the pilot launch of the Diagnosis-Related Grouping in Maharashtra, Haryana, Chhattisgarh, Kerala and Meghalaya.
  • AB-PMJAY will also be the first insurance scheme to provide a payment mechanism through Diagnosis Related Grouping (DRG).

Ayushman Sangam:

  • The Southern Region Review Meeting- Ayushman Sangam-which was held for two days was organized by the NHA at Mahabalipuram, Tamil Nadu on 7th and 8th April 2022.

About National Health Authority (NHA):

  • National Health Authority (NHA) is the apex body responsible for implementing India’s flagship public health insurance/assurance scheme called “Ayushman Bharat Pradhan Mantri Jan Arogya Yojana”.

Function:

  • NHA has been entrusted with the role of designing strategy, building technological infrastructure and implementation of “National Digital Health Mission” (NDGM) to create a National Digital Health Eco-system in coordination with different ministries/departments of the Government of India, State Governments, and private sector/civil society organizations.

Governing Body:

  • NHA is governed by a Governing Board chaired by the Union Minister for Health and Family Welfare.
  • It is headed by a Chief Executive Officer (CEO), an officer of the rank of Secretary to the Government of India, who manages its affairs.
  • The CEO is the Ex-Office Member Secretary of the Governing Board.

State Health Agencies:

  • State Health Agencies (SHAs) in the form of a society/trust have been set up by respective States.
  • SHAs have full operational autonomy over the implementation of the scheme in the State including extending the coverage to non SECC beneficiaries.

Sutlej Yamuna Link (SYL) Canal: The Haryana Assembly recently passed a resolution seeking completion of the SYL Canal.

Note: Water resources are under the State List, while the Parliament has the power to make laws regarding inter-state rivers under the Union List.

The canal, once completed, will enable sharing of the waters of the rivers Ravi and Beas between the two states.

 About Sutlej Yamuna Link (SYL) Canal:

  • Satluj Yamuna Link Canal or SYL as it is popularly known is an under-construction 214-kilometer long canal in India to connect the Sutlej and Yamuna rivers.

Historical background:

  • The dispute can be traced back to the Indus Water Treaty between India and Pakistan, allowing the former ‘free and unrestricted use’ of Ravi, Beas and Sutlej.
  • The creation of Haryana from the old (undivided) Punjab in 1966 gave rise to the problem of giving Haryana its share of river waters.
  • Punjab was opposed to sharing waters of the Ravi and Beas with Haryana, citing riparian principles, and arguing that it had no water to spare.
  • However, Centre, in 1976, issued a notification allocating to Haryana 3.5 million acre feet (MAF) out of undivided Punjab’s 7.2 MAF.
  • In a reassessment in 1981, the water flowing down Beas and Ravi was estimated at 17.17 MAF, of which 4.22 MAF was allocated to Punjab, 3.5 MAF to Haryana, and 8.6 MAF to Rajasthan.
  • The Eradi Tribunal headed by Supreme Court Judge V Balakrishna Eradi was set up to reassess availability and sharing of water.
  • The Tribunal, in 1987, recommended an increase in the shares of Punjab and Haryana to 5 MAF and 3.83 MAF, respectively.
  • To enable Haryana to use its share of the waters of the Sutlej and its tributary Beas, a canal linking the Sutlej with the Yamuna, cutting across the state, was planned.
  • A tripartite agreement was also negotiated between Punjab, Haryana, and Rajasthan in this regard.
  • The Satluj Yamuna Link Canal is a proposed 214-kilometer long canal to connect the Sutlej and Yamuna rivers. However, Punjab Assembly passed the Punjab Termination of Agreements Act, terminating its water-sharing agreements and thus jeopardising the construction of SYL in Punjab.
  • The Apex court of India started hearings into a presidential reference (Article 143) to decide on the legality of the 2004 Act and declared that Punjab backed out of its promise to share the waters of rivers. Thus, the act was termed constitutionally invalid.

Punjab’s demands:

  • As per a state government study, many areas in Punjab may go dry after 2029. The state has already over-exploited its groundwater for irrigation purposes as it fills granaries of the Centre by growing wheat and paddy worth Rs 70,000 crore every year.
  • As per reports, water in about 79% of the state’s area is over-exploited.
  • In such a situation, the government says sharing water with any other state is impossible.

 Haryana’s demand:

  • Haryana has been seeking the completion of the SYL canal to get its share of 3.5 million acre-feet of river waters.
  • It has maintained that Punjab should comply with the 2002 and 2004 Supreme Court orders in this regard.
  • Haryana is getting 1.62 million acre-feet of the Ravi-Beas waters.

About River Sutlej:

  • The Sutlej or Satluj River is the longest of the five rivers that flow through the historic crossroads region of Punjab in northern India and Pakistan.
  • The ancient name of Sutlej River is Zaradros (Ancient Greek) Shutudri or Shatadru (Sanskrit).
  • It is the longest of the five tributaries of the Indus River that give the Punjab (meaning “Five Rivers”) its name.
  • Satluj, Jhelum, Chenab, Ravi, and Beas are main tributaries of Indus.
  • It rises on the north slope of the Himalayas in Lake La’nga in southwestern Tibet.
  • Flowing northwestward and then west-southwestward through Himalayan gorges, it enters and crosses Himachal Pradesh before beginning its flow through the Punjab plain near Nangal.
  • Continuing southwestward in a broad channel, it receives the Beas River (and forms 65 miles of the India-Pakistan border before entering Pakistan and flowing another 220 miles to join the Chenab River west of Bahawalpur.
  • Sutlej River meets the Beas River in Harike in the Ferozpur district before entering Pakistan.
  • The combined rivers then form the Panjnad, the link between the Five Rivers and the Indus.

Note: The Bhakra Dam is built around the river Sutlej to provide irrigation and other facilities to the states of Punjab, Rajasthan and Haryana.

Mythology:

How did the river get its name śatadra?

  • In the Chaitra-Ratha Parva of Adi Parva of Mahābhārata, when sage Vasishṭha wants to commit suicide he sees the river named Haimāvata (whose source is Himavat), flooded and full of crocodiles and other aquatic monsters.
  • So he jumps into the river. The river thinking that Vasishṭha is a mass of unquenchable fire dilated itself and flew in a hundred different directions.
  • Henceforth the river was named śatadra (or śatadru) which means the river of a hundred courses.
  • So, Vasishṭha landed on dry land and was unharmed.

Jan Nigrani app: The Department of Rural Development and Panchayati Raj, Jammu and Kashmir (J&K), under the e-governance initiative has launched an app ‘Jan Nigrani’.

Key points about Jan Nigrani app:

  • The Jan Nigrani app is intended to help people lodge their complaints related to various schemes online.
  • It is a 24×7 internet-based platform is aimed at reporting and resolving the grievances of the residents of J&K, against various government schemes launched by the department.
  • The app would act as a single link between the residents and the officials by mapping concerned authorities related to the complaint about faster grievance redressal.
  • It will ensure minimal rejections of accounts due to incomplete imformation, by facilitating accurate reporting of grievances using customized scheme-specific input forms to ensure minimal rejections on account of incomplete information.
  • It has been set at the block level with a seven-day time slot to redress any particular grievance.
  • It will also check bogus or false complaints and can be downloaded from the Google play store of android software.

About Jammu and Kashmir:

  • Jammu and Kashmir (J&K ) is a region administered by India as a Union Territory.
  • It was a region formerly administered by India as a state from 1954 to 2019.
  • Provisions for the formation of the union territory of Jammu and Kashmir were contained within the Jammu and Kashmir Reorganisation Act, 2019, which was passed by both houses of the Parliament of India in August 2019.
  • Its summer capital is Srinagar and winter capital is Jammu.
  • The current J&K Lieutenant Governor is Manoj Sinha.

Pure Green Hydrogen pilot plant: India’s first 99.999% pure green hydrogen pilot plant has recently been commissioned in Jorhat Pump Station in Assam.

Key Highlights:

  • The plant was commissioned in a record time of 3 months.
  • It has been commissioned by the Oil India Limited (OIL).
  • It has an installed capacity of 10 kg per day.
  • It produces Green Hydrogen from the electricity generated by the existing 500kW Solar plant using a 100 kW Anion Exchange Membrane (AEM) Electrolyser array.
  • The use of AEM technology is being used for the first time in India.
  • This plant is expected to increase its production of green hydrogen from 10 kg per day to 30 kg per day in future.
  • The company has initiated a detailed study in collaboration with IIT Guwahati on the blending of Green Hydrogen with Natural Gas and its effect on the existing infrastructure of OIL.
  • The company also plans to study use cases for commercial applications of the blended fuel.

Government’s green hydrogen policy:

  • Under the new green hydrogen policy, any new renewable energy facilities built to produce power for green hydrogen generation before July 2025 will receive 25 years of free power transmission.
  • For instance, a green hydrogen producer in Rajasthan may build a solar power plant to send renewable energy to a green hydrogen plant in Assam without having to pay any inter-state transmission fees.
  • The move is projected to make green hydrogen production more cost-effective for important users of hydrogen and ammonia, such as the oil refining, fertiliser, and steel industries.
  • At present, these industries rely on grey hydrogen or grey ammonia produced from natural gas or naphtha.

About Assam:

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

Inauguration of Development Projects in Dahod: Prime Minister Narendra Modi recently inaugurated development projects worth Rs 22,000 crores in Asia’s largest dome in Dahod, Gujarat.

Key Highlights:

  • PM Modi attended the Adijati Maha Sammelan in Dahod where he laid the foundation stone and inaugurated the various projects worth 22,000 crore rupees at a function organized at Dahod in Gujarat.
  • He inaugurated Dahod District Southern Area Regional Water Supply Scheme, constructed on Narmada River Basin, worth around Rs 840 crore.
  • It will cater to the water supply needs of around 280 villages in Dahod District and Devgadh Baria city.
  • He also inaugurated five projects of Dahod Smart City worth around Rs 335 crore.

These projects include -

  1. Integrated Command and Control Centre - ICCC Building,
  2. Storm Water Drainage System,
  3. Sewerage Works,
  4. Solid Waste Management System and
  5. Rain-Water Harvesting System.
  • He also laid the foundation stone for manufacturing of 9000 HP Electric Locomotives at the Production Unit in Dahod.
  • Dahod workshop, established in 1926 for periodic overhaul of steam locomotives, will be upgraded to electric locomotive manufacturing unit with infrastructural improvements.
  • Under Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana, benefits worth Rs. 120 crore were provided to 10,000 tribal of Panchmahal and Dahod districts.
  • He also inaugurated 66 KV Ghodia substation, Panchayat Houses, and Anganwadis, among others.

Note: Dahod is one of the 100 cities which are part of the Smart Cities Mission (SCM) of the Union Government.

About Gujarat:

  • Gujarat is a state on the western coast of India most of which lies on the Kathiawar peninsula.
  • The state is bordered by Rajasthan to the northeast, Dadra and Nagar Haveli and Daman and Diu to the south, Maharashtra to the southeast, Madhya Pradesh to the east, and the Arabian Sea and the Pakistani province of Sindh to the west.
  • Its capital city is Gandhinagar.
  • The Governor and Chief Minister of Gujarat are Acharya Devvrat and Bhupendrabhai Patel respectively.

 

Places in News Current Affairs - April 2022

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.

Bihar Diwas 2022: Bihar is celebrating its 109th foundation day on March 22, 2021.

Key Highlights:

  • Bihar Day (Bihar Diwas) is observed every year on March 22, marking the formation of the state of Bihar.
  • It was on this day that the British carved out the state from Bengal in 1912.
  • The day is a public holiday in Bihar.
  • Three-day function will be organized on this occasion.
  • Altogether 18 departments of the state and different organizations are participating in the mega event. A drone show will also be organized in which 500 drones will fly together.

Bihar Diwas 2022 Theme:

  • The theme of Bihar Diwas 2022 is ‘Jal, Jeevan, Hariyali’.
  • The theme of Bihar Day signifies the prosperity in the state which is also rich in its cultural heritage.

Background:

  • Bihar Day was started and celebrated on large scale by Bihar Government in the tenure of Nitish Kumar.
  • Bihar Diwas was first celebrated on a large-scale in 2010

History:

  • On October 22, 1764, the Battle of Buxar was fought between the forces of the East India Company led by Hector Munro and the joint army of the Nawab of Bengal, the Nawab of Awadh and the Mughal King Shah Alam II.
  • The battle was fought at Buxar and was a massive victory for the East India Company.
  • The defeat resulted in the Mughals and Nawabs of Bengal losing control over the territories and the East India Company according to the Diwani rights – the right to administer the collection and management of revenues.
  • The territories consisted of the current state of West Bengal, Bihar, Jharkhand, Orissa, and Bangladesh.
  • In 1911, King George V was coronated in Delhi and the capital of British India was shifted to Delhi.
  • On March 21, 1912, Thomas Gibson Carmichael, the new governor of Bengal took charge.
  • He announced that from March 22, 1912, the Bengal Presidency will be split into four subhas of Bengal, Orissa, Bihar, and Assam.
  • Thus the state of Bihar was carved out from the Bengal Presidency of British India on March 22, 1912.

Note: Apart from India, it is also celebrated in countries including the United States, Germany, Britain (Scotland), Australia, Canada, Bahrain, Qatar, United Arab Emirates, Trinidad and Tobago and Mauritius.

About Bihar:

  • Bihar is a state in East India, bordering Nepal and is the third-largest state by population across India.
  • It is also the twelfth-largest state by territory.
  • The state is having an area of 94,163 km2.
  • It is surrounded by Uttar Pradesh in the west, Nepal in the north, northern part of West Bengal in the east and Jharkhand in the south.
  • The plain is split by the river Ganges flows from west to east.
  • The three main cultural regions of the state include Mithila, Magadh, and Bhojpur.
  • Official languages of the state are Hindi and Urdu.

Note: The southern part of the state was carved out to form Jharkhand on November 15, 2000.

History of Bihar:

  • In ancient and classical India, Bihar was once regarded as the epicenter of power, intellect, and culture in ancient and classical India.  Magadha was the birthplace of India's first empire, the "Maurya Empire." 
  • Also, Bihar is considered the origin of the most widely adhered-to religion of the world called Buddhism.

AquaMAP Water Management and Policy Centre: The Principal Scientific Adviser to the Government of India, Prof. K. VijayRaghavan, at IIT Madras recently inaugurated the new water management and policy centre, called ‘AquaMAP’ to solve water problems in India.

Key points:

  • He also launched its website https://aquamap.iitm.ac.in/.
  • The aim of AquaMAP is to provide solutions regarding the challenges faced due to water problems by implementing smart water management practices.
  • The water management practices will also be implemented across various fields across the nation.
  • They will be used as scalable models for innovative management technologies.
  • AquaMAP, a national water centre under which IIT Madras is collaborating with IIT Dharwad.
  • It is collaborating on the broad theme of ‘Data Science for Water Security and Agriculture Sustenance.’

Aim of AquaMAP:

  • AquaMAP looks to achieve the capability to address real-life water problems which are complex in nature through a consortium approach.
  • It looks to establish itself as an entity that can deliver solutions with a wide range of applications and a broad impact.
  • It intends to complete pilot studies in a minimum of six water innovation villages or towns, which will then be showcased as models which can be replicated for policy implementation and water management, within India.
  • It will also attempt to address a minimum of three chronic water issues through various Grand Challenges and their transition into pilot projects.
  • A state-of-the-art Hydro-Informatics Laboratory will also be set up under this project.
  • A Community and Alumni Engagement Model will also be established.

AquaMAP Team:

  • Ligy Philip, Department of Civil Engineering, IIT Madras, and dean (planning), IIT Madras, is the principal investigator of AquaMAP.
  • 20 faculty members working on water-related issues and drawn from diverse departments such as Chemistry, Civil Engineering, Electrical Engineering, Chemical Engineering, Management, Mechanical Engineering, and Humanities and Social Sciences will be supporting Ligy Philip.
  • AquaMAP will also include a governing body, which will be chaired by the director of IIT Madras, as well as an advisory board, which will include many notable persons in the fields of water technology, policy, and management.

National e-Vidhan Application: Nagaland recently created history by becoming the first State Assembly in the country to implement the National e-Vidhan Application (NeVA) programme to become completely paperless.

The Nagaland Assembly Secretariat has attached a tablet or e-book on each table in the 60 members’ assembly amid the ongoing Budget session.

About National e-Vidhan Application (NeVA):

NeVA is a workflow system deployed on NIC Cloud, MeghRaj that assists the Chair of the House in conducting the proceedings of the House smoothly and also in conducting Legislative Business of the House in a Paperless manner.

NeVA is a device neutral and member-centric application designed to equip them to smartly handle diverse House Business by putting entire information regarding member contact details, list of business, rules of procedure, bulletins, notices, bills, starred/unstarred questions and answers, papers laid, committee reports, etc. in their handheld devices/ tablets and equipping all legislatures/departments to handle it effectively.

Aim of NeVA:

NeVA aims to connect the country's legislators together on a single platform, resulting in a vast data repository without the complexity of various apps.

Benefits of NeVA:

  • Through the use of NeVA the process of sending out a request or notice for the data collection is completely eliminated.
  • Each Member of the House has a secure page where they can submit questions and other notices.
  • mNeVA is a user-friendly mobile version of NeVA that is accessible on both Android and iOS.
  • mNeVA has made information about how legislatures conduct business available to the public which can be accessed any time and from any location.

The expenses for implementing NeVA are funded by the Centre and the state government on a 90:10 sharing basis.

About Nagaland:

  • Nagaland is a mountainous state in northeast India, bordering Myanmar.
  • It was formally inaugurated on December 1st, 1963, as the 16th State of the Indian Union.
  • It is bounded by Assam in the West, Myanmar (Burma) on the east, Arunachal Pradesh and part of Assam in the North and Manipur in the South. 
  • Kohima is the capital of Nagaland.
  • The Chief Minister and the Governor of Nagaland are Neiphiu Rio and Prof Jagdish Mukhi (additional charge) respectively.

About the Legislative Assembly of Nagaland:

  • The Legislative Assembly of Nagaland (Vidhan Sabha) is the real executive and legislative body of the state.
  • The 60-member of Vidhan Sabha are all elected members of the legislature who form the government executive.
  • It is led by the Chief Minister.
  • Unlike most states in India, Nagaland has been granted a great degree of state autonomy, as well as special powers and autonomy for Naga tribes to conduct their own affairs.
  • Each tribe has a hierarchy of councils at the village, range, and tribal levels dealing with local disputes.

Carbon-Neutral Farming Methods: Kerala has become the first state in the country to introduce carbon-neutral farming practices in selected locations for better soil health.

Key Highlights:

  • The government of Kerala government had budgeted 6 crores in the 2022-23 fiscal year for introducing carbon-neutral farming practices.
  • In the first phase, carbon-neutral farming will be implemented in 13 farms under the Agriculture Department and tribal areas, and plans are underway to convert the State Seed Farm at Aluva to a carbon-neutral farm.
  • In the second phase, model carbon-neutral farms will be developed in all the 140 Assembly constituencies.

Note:

  • Agriculture and related land-use change are responsible for generating one-quarter of the world’s greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions.
  • It can also lead to the conversion of valued habitats or eliminate biodiversity.
  • Agricultural production also accounts for the majority of methane and nitrogen dioxide emissions.
  • This mainly comes from enteric fermentation and cattle manure, over-application of fertiliser and flooding rice paddies.

About Carbon-Neutral Farming:

Carbon-Neutral Agricultural is a technique of reducing carbon emissions and aiding carbon storage in the soil by employing tactics such as - 

  1. Integrated farming methods
  2. Changing the way the soil is watered, 
  3. Limiting the indiscriminate application of fertilizers.

What is the Need for Carbon Farming?

  • Offsets carbon emissions and reduces the volume of greenhouse gases (GHG) that agriculture releases into the atmosphere
  • It results in improved soil health by increasing soil fertility, reducing soil salinity, and boosting microbial activity and soil biodiversity.
  • It minimizes soil erosion and nutrient runoff while also purifying surface and groundwater.
  • It has the immense potential to reverse climate change effects when implemented on a large scale.
  • It improves crop yields as well as native vegetation, habitat, and animal health
  • It provides financial incentives to farmers in the form of carbon credits

About Kerala:

  • It is a state on the southwestern Malabar Coast of India.
  • It was formed on 1 November 1956, following the passage of the States Reorganization Act, by combining Malayalam-speaking regions of the erstwhile states of Travancore-Cochin and Madras.
  • It is bordered by Karnataka to the north and northeast, Tamil Nadu to the east and south, and the Lakshadweep Sea to the west. Its capital is Thiruvananthapuram.
  • The current Governor and Chief Minister of Kerala are Arif Mohammad Khan and Pinarayi Vijayan respectively.

 

Places in News Current Affairs - March 2022

Delhi-Meerut Rapid Rail Corridor: The National Capital Regional Transport Corporation (NCRTC) recently unveiled the first coach of rapid rail of India for the Delhi-Meerut corridor.

Key Details:

  • The deliveries of these semi-high-speed aerodynamic trainsets with dispersed power will begin in the following months.
  • The Savli manufacturing factory will deliver a total of 210 cars for the first Regional Rapid Transit System corridor.
  • The entire 82-kilometre Delhi-Ghaziabad-Meerut RRTS route, which will have 25 stations in total, is now under construction.
  • The train is expected to be traversing the tracks by March 2023, covering five stations between Sahibabad, in Ghaziabad District of Uttar Pradesh to Duhai in Uttar Pradesh.

About Delhi-Meerut Rapid Rail Corridor:

  • The Regional Rapid Transit System (RRTS) train with a design speed of 180 kmph will run on the Delhi-Ghaziabad-Meerut corridor.
  • It consists of trainsets that provide regional and local transit services in Meerut along the Delhi-Ghaziabad-Meerut line.
  • The NCRTC in 2022 will start the trial runs on the Delhi-Ghaziabad-Meerut RRTS corridor’s Priority Section.
  • It will be available every 5 – 10 minutes and will cover a distance of 82 km in just 55 minutes.
  • The Delhi-Ghaziabad-Meerut RRTS corridor is expected to minimize carbon dioxide emissions by 2,50,000 tonnes per year.
  • The RRTS corridor between Delhi and Ghaziabad is estimated to reduce carbon dioxide emissions by 2,50,000 tonnes per year.

Features of RRTS train:

  • The new RRTS train is an entirely new design of train designed to provide passengers with a good travelling experience.
  • It has been designed to have a setting resembling the one on an aircraft.
  • The coaches will be equipped with modern features including wide standing space, CCTV cameras, dynamic route maps,  sockets for laptop and mobile charging,  auto control ambient lighting system and heating ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) system, vending machine facility and other amenities.
  • The RRTS train will also be the first in the country to have a business or ‘premium’ coach on a regional corridor.
  • The train will be capable of accommodating 1500 passengers at once.
  • It is also capable of achieving three times the speed of a metro.

Background:

  • Phase 1 of manufacturing of the train started back in 2021 and is now nearing the testing and trial phase to be done by the end of this year.

Dishaank app: Dishaank is an application developed by under the Geographical Information System (GIS) program of the Karnataka State Remote Sensing Applications Center (KSRSAC).

  • The KSRSAC provides satellite data to agencies such as the SSLR unit for innovative use.

About Dishnaak app:

  • The Survey Settlement and Land Records (SSLR) unit of Karnataka’s revenue department is ensuring easy availability of original land records through an app called Dishaank.
  • The Dishaank application is implemented by Karnataka for digitisation of all land records (under the Bhoomi project).
  • Availability of digitized, scanned & geo-referenced maps, made it easier to build the app.

Data available on the app:

  • The Dishaank app provides information about the land, which includes the name of the landowner, the extent of land, type of ownership, type of land, litigations, land category, and any other active transactions being done on the land.

Benefits of Dishaank App:

  • Citizens can quickly access information about the land that is stored in the Bhoomi database.
  • This is expected to bring in transparency and reduce land-related disputes.
  • It will bring transparency in the maintenance of land records.
  • However, according to the Karnataka government, the Dishaank app’s purpose is only to provide clarity on the original status of land and the app should not be used for legal purposes in any land-related disputes.

About Bhoomi Project:

  • Bhoomi is a project to digitize Karnataka’s land records.
  • The project is jointly funded by the Government of India and the Government of Karnataka.
  • The project was developed and implemented by National Informatics Centre (NIC).
  • The main objective of the project is to eliminate the problem of inefficiency and corruption in the maintenance of land records, especially at block-level offices.

About Karnataka:

  • It is a state in the south western region of India.
  • It was formed on 1 November 1956, with the passage of the States Reorganisation Act.
  • Originally known as the State of Mysore, it was renamed Karnataka in 1973.
  • It is bordered by the Arabian Sea to the west, Goa to the northwest, Maharashtra to the north, Telangana to the northeast, Andhra Pradesh to the east, Tamil Nadu to the southeast, and Kerala to the south.
  • Its capital city is Bangalore.
  • The current Chief Minister and Governor of Karnataka are Basavaraj Bommai and Thawar Chand Gehlot respectively.

ARTPARK: The first Artificial Intelligence & Robotics Technology Park (ARTPARK) of India has recently been launched in Bengaluru, Karnataka.

Key Points:

  • ARTPARK (AI and Robotics Technology Park)  is being promoted by a not-for-profit foundation set up by the Indian Institute of Science (IISc) Bengaluru with a seed capital of Rs. 230 crore from the State and Central governments.
  • ARTPARK along with AI Foundry is going to launch a $100 million venture fund to support AI and robotics innovations in India.
  • The fund will be backed by the government, private companies, and VCs.
  • The lab has technical teams working in collaboration with multiple labs at IISc.
  • It will also work with other technical institutes and bodies, including the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Kanpur, IIT Jodhpur, the University of Aalto in Finland, Indian Council of Medical Research and the All India Institute of Medical Sciences.

About the ARTPARK:

  • ARTPARK plans to use futuristic technologies to connect the unconnected with an emphasis on establishing India as a global leader in artificial intelligence and robotics innovation.
  • The ARTPARK’s mission is channelizing innovations to create a societal impact by executing ambitious mission-mode R&D projects in healthcare, education, mobility, infrastructure, agriculture, retail, and cyber-security that address problems that are unique to India.

Crop Diversification Index (CDI): Telangana recently became the first state in India to adopt the Crop Diversification Index (CDI) by way of recording their crop diversification pattern in the form of an index.

Key Observations:

  • According to the CDI, Telangana grows 77 varieties of crops.
  • Out of these 77 varieties only 10 crops (mostly grains) are chosen for crop diversification.
  • The districts of Nirmal, Vikarabad, and Sangareddy are the top three districts while Peddapalli, Karimnagar, and Suryapet are the bottom three districts in terms of crop diversification.
  • In these bottom three districts, paddy is the most cultivated crop, showing a decrease in the cropping areas of maize and an increase in the cropping areas of cotton.
  • Next to paddy and maize, which are the traditionally grown crops in the state, pulses were the most preferred crops by the farmers.
  • Other high-priority crops for farmers in the state include wheat, bajra, jowar, chilies, etc.
  • The current CDI value demonstrates that there is a greater need for the diversification of crops in Telangana to achieve sustainable development.

About Crop Diversification Index (CDI):

  • The crop diversification index has a base value of one, which represents the percentage of total cultivated area devoted to a single crop.
  • If the index value is higher, it denotes that the crops are more diversified.
  • The current CDI is based on the area under 77 various crops farmed in the state, including all food, non-food, cash crops, and floriculture.
  • Many districts in Telangana have index scores ranging from 0 to 5.
  • The crop diversification index will act as a baseline for the state's future crop diversification efforts.

What is crop diversification?

  • Crop diversification refers to the addition of new crops or cropping systems to a particular farm's agricultural production, taking into account the different returns from value- added crops with complementary marketing opportunities.

Cropping System:

  • Cropping System refers to the crops, crop sequences and management techniques used on a particular agricultural field over a period of years.

Cropping systems in India:

There are different types of major cropping systems in India. They are:

  1. Sequential-cropping
  2. Monocropping
  3. Intercropping
  4. Relay Cropping
  5. Mixed-cropping
  6. Alley cropping

About Telangana:

  • It is a state in India situated on the centre-south stretch of the Indian peninsula on the high Deccan Plateau.
  • It was founded on 2 June 2014.
  • Its Capital city is Hyderabad.
  • The current Governor and Chief Minister of Telangana are Tamilisai Soundararajan and K. Chandrashekar Rao respectively.

Awards by Labour and Employment Ministry: Union Minister of Labour and Employment recently presented Vishwakarma Rashtriya Puraskar (VRP), National Safety Awards (NSA) for the performance year 2018 and National Safety Awards (Mines) [NSA (Mines)] for the contest years 2017, 2018, 2019 and 2020.

Key Highlights:

  • The awards were presented by the Union Minister of Labor and Employment, Bhupender Yadav.
  • In case of VRP, for the performance year 2018, total 96 awards were given whereas in case of NSA, total 141 number of (80 winners & 61 runners-up) awards were given. 
  • In case of NSA (Mines), total 144 awards were given (72 Winner prizes and 72 Runner-up prizes) for the contest year 2017, 2018, 2019 & 2020.

About the awards:

Ministry of Labour  and Employment have been presenting the Vishwakarma Rashtriya Puraskar (VRP) and National Safety Awards (NSA) since 1965 and the National Safety Awards (Mines) [NSA (Mines)] since 1983.

VRP and NSA are operated by the Directorate General Factory Advice Service & Labour Institutes (DGFASLI), Mumbai while NSA (Mines) is operated by Directorate General of Mines Safety (DGMS), Dhanbad.

About DGFASLI and DGMS:

DGFASLI is a technical wing and an attached office whereas as DGMS is a sub-ordinate office of the Labour and Employment Ministry.

About Vishwakarma Rashtriya Puraskar (VRP):

  • The Vishwakarma Rashtriya Puraskar (VRP) previously known as Shram Vir National Awards.
  • This award is granted in honour of excellent suggestions made by manufacturing employees and implemented by factory management over the preceding calendar year.
  • The suggestions should focus on enhancing the quality, productivity, safety, and health of industrial workers, as well as environmental preservation in industrial settings.
  • There are 28 awards and awardees will be given a cash prize and a certificate of merit in three categories:
  1. Class ‘A’ – 5 awards of Rs. 75,000/- each
  2. Class ‘B’ –8 awards of Rs. 50,000/- each
  3. Class ‘C’ – 15 awards of Rs. 25,000/- each.

About National Safety Awards (NSA):

  • The Ministry of Labour & Employment, Government of India (GoI), instituted the National Safety Awards (Mines) in 1983 to promote a competitive spirit amongst mine operators for the betterment of safety standards in mines.
  • NSA are awarded under the Atomic Energy Regulatory Board (AERB) in recognition of the outstanding safety performance of industrial establishments, construction sites, ports, and installations.
  • The awards are given under 12 schemes:
  1. 10 are for Factories/Construction sites /Installations under AERB and 2 are for Ports.
  • Each Award Winner and Runner-up will be given a Shield and a Certificate of Merit.

Matrushakti Udaymita Scheme: The state Government of Haryana recently announced a scheme named Matrushakti Udaymita Scheme on International Women’s Day.

About the Scheme:

  • Matrushakti Udaymita Scheme aims to provide support to women entrepreneurs.
  • Under the scheme, the women whose family monthly income is less than 5 lakh rupees based on Parivar Pehchan Patra (PPP) verified data will be eligible for soft loans from financial institutions up to 3 lakh rupees.
  • Following that, the Haryana Women Development Corporation will pay a 7% interest subsidy for three years.

About Haryana:

  • Haryana is a North Indian state surrounding New Delhi on 3 sides.
  • It is one of the 28 states in India, located in the northern part of the country.
  • It was carved out of the former state of East Punjab on 1 November 1966 on a linguistic basis. It is bordered by Himachal Pradesh to the north-east, by river Yamuna along its eastern border with Uttar Pradesh, by Rajasthan to the west and south, and Ghaggar-Hakra River flows along its northern border with Punjab.
  • Since Haryana surrounds the country's capital Delhi on three sides (north, west and south), consequently a large area of Haryana is included in the economically-important National Capital Region for the purposes of planning and development.
  • The capital of Haryana is Chandigarh. The current Chief Minister and Governor of Haryana are Manohar Lal Khattar and Bandaru Dattatraya respectively.

Aama Yojna & Bahini Scheme: The Chief Minister of Sikkim, Prem Singh Tamang recently announced that the State Government will soon implement ‘Aama Yojana, a scheme for helping non-working mothers & ‘Bahini Scheme’ benefitting girl students of the state.

About Aama Yojna and Bahini Yojana:

  • The Aama Yojna scheme aims to instill the habit of saving among non-working moms in the state by providing them with Rs. 20,000 in their bank accounts each year.
  • The scheme covers only those individuals whose names are on the state's electoral roll, and a budget of Rs. 100 crores has been set aside for it.
  • The main goal of the Bahini Scheme is to reduce girl student dropout rates due to a lack of accessibility and availability of Sanitary Napkins, as well as to ensure menstrual health and hygiene.
  • Under this scheme, more than 18,000 girl students who study in class 9 and above are provided with free sanitary napkins in the state.

About Sikkim:

  • Sikkim is a state in northeastern India.
  • It borders China in the north and northeast, Bhutan in the east, Nepal in the west, and West Bengal in the south.
  • It is the least populous and second smallest among the Indian states and is also located close to India's Siliguri Corridor near Bangladesh.
  • Sikkim became the 22nd state of the Indian Union on 16 May 1975.
  • Gangtok is the capital of Sikkim.
  • The current Governor and the Chief Minister of Sikkim are Ganga Prasad and Prem Singh Tamang respectively.

Kaushalya Matritva Yojana: The Chief Minister of Chhattisgarh Chief Minister Bhupesh Baghel recently launched the ‘Kaushalya Matritva Yojana.

Key Points:

  • He handed over cheques of Rs 5,000 to five women beneficiaries for safe motherhood at a state-level conference.
  • Under this scheme, the state govt will provide A financial assistance of Rs 5000 to women when she gives birth to a second girl child will be provided by the state govt.
  • A coffee table book about the Kanya Vivah Yojana, leaflets about women's empowerment programmes, and a telephone directory for the Sakhi One-Stop Center was also started by  CM Bhupesh Baghel.
  • The yojana will aid in the production of electricity and paint from cow dung.
  • It will also create employment opportunities and boost the income of women.
  • On the occasion of ‘Teeja-Pora’, the Chhattisgarh government waived loans of Rs 13 crore of Self-Help Groups and their loan limits were also doubled through Mahila Kosh.

Felicitations at this event:

  • On this occasion, the CM facilitated officials doing excellent work in the direction of women’s protection under ‘Nava Bihan Yojana’ and ‘Sakhi One Stop Center’.
  • He also facilitated the Anganwadi workers who did a commendable job in the Anganwadi services, as well as self-help groups who played a crucial role in making the women of the state financially independent and making them avail the benefits of Chhattisgarh Mahila Kosh schemes.

Chhattisgarh:

  • Chhattisgarh is a heavily forested state in central India known for its temples and waterfalls.
  • It is one of the fastest-developing states in India.
  • The state was formed on 1st November 2000 by partitioning ten Chhattisgarhi and six Gondi-speaking southeastern districts of Madhya Pradesh.
  • The capital city of Chhattisgarh is Raipur.
  • The current Chief Minister and Governor of Chhattisgarh are Bhupesh Baghel and Anusuiya Uikey respectively.

Camel Protection and Development Policy: Faced with a declining number of camels in Rajasthan, the state government recently announced a ‘Camel Protection and Development Policy’ in its budget 2022-23.

Key Points:

  • Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot proposed a budget of Rs 10 crore in the next financial year under the new policy for rearing, protection, and overall development of the state animal.
  • The Rajasthan government had declared the camel as the state animal in 2014.
  • The number of camels is continuously decreasing.
  • According to the government figures, less than two lakh camels are left in Rajasthan and in the entire country.
  • The number of camels has reduced by 1.5 lakh since 2012.
  • There were about 2.5 lakh camels left when counted last in 2019.
  • About 85% of the country’s camels are found in Rajasthan followed by Gujarat, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh, and Madhya Pradesh.

Additional Info:

  • World Camel Day is observed every year on 22 June to recognize the importance of camels to the livelihood of a large population.

About Rajasthan:

  • Rajasthan is a state in northern India.
  • It comprises most of the wide and inhospitable Thar Desert (also known as the "Great Indian Desert") and shares a border with the Pakistani provinces of Punjab to the northwest and Sindh to the west, along the Sutlej-Indus river valley.
  • It became a State after 1947 when the princely states and chiefships were integrated into India in stages, and the state took the name Rajasthan.
  • It assumed its present form on November 1, 1956, when the States Reorganization Act came into force.
  • It is famous for its many historical forts, temples and palaces (Havelis), which predominantly drives tourism in the state.
  • The Capital of Rajasthan is Jaipur.
  • The current Chief Minister and Governor of Rajasthan are Ashok Gehlot and Kalraj Mishra respectively.

Pune Metro Rail Project: Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi inaugurated the Pune Metro Rail Project.

Key Highlights:

  • He also laid the foundation stone of various development projects.
  • He was on his visit to Pune on 6th March 2022.

Projects inaugurated by PM Modi:

Statue of Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj.

  • PM Modi unveiled the grand statue of Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj at Pune Municipal Corporation.
  • The seated statue made of gunmetal is 9.5 feet tall and weighs 1.85 tons.

Pune Metro Rail Project:

  • He inaugurated a 12 km stretch of the total 32.2 km Pune Metro Rail Project.
  • He also inaugurated and inspected the Exhibition at Garware Metro Station and will undertake a metro ride from there to Anandnagar Metro Station.
  • He bought the first ticket of the Pune Metro before commencing his ride from Garware station to Anand Nagar.
  • The following stretches were opened:
  1. Vanaz  - Garware College (5 km elevated stretch with 5 stations)
  2. PCMC  - Phugewadi stretch (7 km elevated stretch with 5 stations)
  • Pune Metro is being built at a total project cost of Rs 11,400 crores.
  • The government of India (GoI) had sanctioned the Pune Metro Rail Project in 2016 and the Foundation Stone was laid by Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi on 26th December 2016.
  • The Metro will greatly improve urban mobility in the Pune Metropolitan area, which is among the fastest-growing urban areas in the country.

Mula-Mutha River Rejuvenation Project:

  • He laid the foundation stone of Rejuvenation And Pollution Abatement of Mula-Mutha River projects under the ambitious National River Conservation Plan (NRCP) set up by the  Centre.
  • The Project will be implemented on the concept of “One City One Operator".
  • The estimated cost of this project is over Rs 1470 crore, which includes the construction cost and operation and maintenance for 15 years period.
  • The project, being funded by Japan International Cooperation Agency, JICA is likely to be completed in approximately 3 years.
  • Rejuvenation of Mula-Mutha river will be done along a 9 Km stretch of the river.
  • The projects involve works such as river edge protection, interceptor public amenities, sewage network,  boating activity, etc.
  • A total of 11 sewage treatment plants will be constructed under the project, with a combined capacity of around 400 MLD (million litres per day) with a 55 km long Sewage carrier pipeline.
  • The capacity of each sewage treatment plant is 396 million MLD.  PMC will also implement a River Front Development project on the lines of Sabarmati Riverfront development carried out in Ahmedabad.

Towards clean and green transport of Pune city:

  • He dedicated a fleet of 150 Electric Buses, giving a boost to green urban mobility in Pune. 
  • An Electric Bus Depot, equipped with a charging station at Baner was also inaugurated.

R K Laxman Art Gallery:

  • He also e- inaugurated the R K Laxman Art Gallery Museum located at Balewadi in Pune.
  • The Gallery showcases cartoons drawn by the legendary cartoonist R K Laxman.  
  • The main attraction is a miniature model based on the village of Malgudi of the ‘Malgudi Days’ fame.

Symbiosis Arogya Dham:

  • Prime Minister Modi participated in the Golden Jubilee celebration of Symbiosis Institutions.
  • He inaugurated the integrated health complex ‘Symbiosis Arogya Dham’
  • The 'Symbiosis Aarogya Dham', is spread over 70 acres of land at the Symbiosis International (Deemed University) Campus at Lavale, Pune.
  • The Aarogya Dham consists of the  Symbiosis Medical College for Women which is the first fully residential medical college for girls in the state of Maharashtra. 
  • The 900 bedded Symbiosis University Hospital & Research Centre (SUHRC) is attached to this medical college.
  • Institutes and faculties of health sciences, biological sciences, sports sciences, nursing, yoga and emotional health etc are also housed in the integrated Arogya Dham.

Symbiosis has adopted 23 villages around the University Campus to provide quality healthcare through the 'Mobile Medical Van' and digital literacy through the Symbiosis Rural Digital Literacy Lab'.

About Symbiosis:

  • Symbiosis Institution was established by Dr. S B Mujumdar.
  • It began as a small international cultural centre with the objective of bringing foreign and Indian students together to promote international understanding and brotherhood.
  • Today, it is a multi-location educational institution with campuses spread across Pune, Nashik, Nagpur, Bangalore, Hyderabad and Noida. 
  • Symbiosis has over 45,000 students from all states of India and 85 different countries.

Withdrawal of Consent to CBI: Meghalaya recently became the first NDA-ruled state and the ninth state of the country to withdraw consent to CBI to investigate cases in the state.

The decision means the CBI will now have to get consent from the state government for every case it registers in Meghalaya.

Key Highlights:

  • The eight other states which had withdrawn consent to the CBI are Maharashtra, Punjab, Rajasthan, West Bengal, Jharkhand, Chhattisgarh, Kerala, and Mizoram.
  • The first state to withdraw consent was Mizoram which did so in 2015.
  • This comes in the wake of several allegations of mass graft and corruption emerging in Meghalaya, especially in illegal coal extraction and transportation.
  • The state governments ruled by the opposition parties had withdrawn the consent alleging that the CBI is not fair and impartial in its probe.
  • The Congress has also accused the Chief Minister’s brother, James P K Sangma of being involved in corruption in the implementation of the state’s Soubhagya Scheme.
  • The Soubhagya Scheme is aimed at providing electricity connections to all households including urban and rural across the country.

Note: The northeastern state is ruled by the Conrad Sangma-led National People’s Party which is a part of the BJP’s National Democratic Alliance.

About general consent:

  • The Delhi Special Police Establishment (DSPE) Act, 1946, governs the CBI and it is mandatory to obtain the concerned state government’s consent before beginning to investigate a crime in a state.
  • The CBI’s position is in this respect different from that of the National Investigation Agency (NIA), which is governed by The NIA Act, 2008, and has jurisdiction across the country.
  • The consent can be either case-specific or general.
  • States typically give general consent to assist the CBI in conducting a seamless investigation of cases of corruption involving central government personnel in their states.
  • This is consent by default otherwise CBI would have to seek permission from the state government in every case, even for small tasks.

Case-specific and general: Given that the CBI has jurisdiction only over central government departments and employees.

  • It can investigate a case involving state government employees or a violent crime in a given state only after that state government gives its consent.

What is the meaning of withdrawal of consent?

  • It means that the CBI will not be able to file any new cases involving central government officials or private persons in the state without the permission of the state government.
  • The CBI officers will lose all powers of a police officer as soon as they enter the state unless the state government has allowed them.

Under what provision can general consent be withdrawn?

  • The state governments can withdraw the general consent accorded in the exercise of power conferred by Section 6 of the Delhi Special Police Establishment Act, 1946.

Can withdrawal mean that the CBI can no longer probe any case?

  • No. The CBI would still have the power to investigate old cases registered when general consent existed.
  • Also, cases registered anywhere else in the country, but involving people stationed in states which have withdrawn consent, would allow CBI’s jurisdiction to extend to these states.

Calcutta High Court verdict:

  • Calcutta High Court’s judgment regarding the investigation conducted by CBI  in a case of illegal coal mining and cattle smuggling in a state that has withdrawn consent.
  • Calcutta HC had declared that the central agency cannot be stopped from investigating a central government employee in another state even if the central government employee is posted in a state that has withdrawn consent.
  • The order has been challenged in the Supreme Court.

Vinay Mishra vs the CBI:

  • In Vinay Mishra vs the CBI, Calcutta High Court ruled that corruption cases must be treated equally across the country, and a central government employee could not be “distinguished” just because his office was located in a state that had withdrawn general consent.
  • The HC also said that withdrawal of consent would apply in cases where only employees of the state government were involved.

Options available for CBI:

  • The CBI could use the Calcutta HC order to register a fresh case in any state.
  • Alternatively, it could file a case in Delhi and continue to investigate people inside these states.

Issues faced by CBI Autonomy:

  • After the 2018 amendments to the Prevention of Corruption Act, 1988, the Centre has come to exercise power over the CBI not just administratively, but also legally.
  • In 2018, the government pushed through Parliament amendments to Section 17A of the Act making it mandatory for the CBI to seek the Centre’s permission before registering a case of corruption against any government servant.

About Meghalaya:

  • It is a state in northeastern India. Meghalaya was formed by carving out two districts from the state of Assam: the United Khasi Hills and Jaintia Hills, and the Garo Hills on 21 January 1972.
  • It is one of the 7 sister states of North-East India.
  • Its capital is Shillong.
  • The current Governor and Chief Minister of Meghalaya are Satya Pal Malik and Conrad Sangama respectively.

Armed Forces Preparatory School: The Armed Forces Preparatory School (AFPS) has started taking admissions for the first batch.

Key Highlights:

  • The AFPS is part of the projects announced by the Delhi government in its 2021 ‘Deshbhakti Budget’ with an overall outlay of at least Rs 98 crore for such projects.
  • The school is being considered as one of the government’s new Schools of Specialised Excellence.
  • With its campus in Southwest Delhi’s Jharoda Kalan, it will be its first experiment with a fully residential school.
  • It is aimed at helping students prepare for entry into the National Defence Academy and other services.
  • According to a government official, the school’s curriculum will have two parts i.e. a basic foundational study component and another on the specialization, which would entail preparation for National Defence Academy (NDA) and Services Selection Board (SSB) tests and physical readiness.

About New Delhi:

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

Night Navigation Mobile App: Chief Minister of Assam, Himanta Biswa Sarma has launched India’s first Night Navigation mobile application for ferry services on the Brahmaputra River in Guwahati, Assam.

Key Points:

  • The night navigation mobile application has been developed by the Transport Department in close association with the principal scientist of IIT Madras K Raju and will survey the draft of the rivers, the spokesperson said.
  • The first night journey of the IWT (Inland Water Transport) ferry between Guwahati and North Guwahati was started on 19 February 2022.
  • The CM of Assam also launched the following:
  • Ten Aadhar-based contactless services of the State Transport Department to make public service delivery time-efficient and budget-friendly.
  • An e-ticketing system for Dhubri and Silchar ferry services.
  • A Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) was also signed between the Common Service Centres (CSCs) under the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY) and the State Transport Department to provide online services at the panchayat level.

About Assam:

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

1st Biodiversity Park at Mandi: Himachal Pradesh gets the first biodiversity park to make its contribution towards the conservation of endangered Himalayan herbs.

About the Biodiversity Park:

  • This park is set to come up at Mandi’s Bhulah valley.
  • This biodiversity park is set up under the National Mission on Himalayan Studies (NMHS) by HP’s forest department with an estimated cost of Rs. 1 crore.
  • The main aim of the park is to link tourism activities along with extending new opportunities for researchers to conduct in-depth exploration of various medicinal herbs found in the Himalayas that are on the verge of extinction.
  • Apart from this, an herbal nursery to conserve herbs that are about to be extinct in the mountains has also been set up in the park.
  • The herbal nursery has Trillidium Govanianum (Nagchhatri), Dhoop, Picrorhiza kurroa (Kadu), Sarpagandha, Swerlia Chiryita (Chirayita), Barbari, Angelica glauca (Chaura), Coleus gromalicus (Pathanbel), Pathar chata, Thymus Linearis (Van Ajwain), Kuth, Acorus Calamus (Barre), Asparagus (Sansarpali), Selinum vaginatum (Bhutkesi), Nyar, Valeriana Wallichi (Mushkwala), Potentilla Nepalensis (Dori Ghass), Ratan Jot, Aconitum heterophyllum (Atish Patish), Padophyllumhexandrum (Van Kakdi), Dioscorea delloidea (Shingli Mingli), Jangli Lahsun, Adiantum lunulatum (Dungtuli) and many similar herbs and shrubs on display.
  • In addition, two log huts, a water harvesting structure, an internal tank, a 5KW power generation project, bird nests, and a sales center have also been set up at the park.
  • In this herbal nursery, about 1,200 plants of different species are available.
  • Amphitheaters have also been built in the park for the convenience of researchers and tourists.

What are Biodiversity parks?

  • Biodiversity parks are unique landscapes that consist of the form of diverse communities and provide ecological, cultural & educational benefits to the urban society.
  • Biodiversity is the variety of plant and animal life in the world or in a particular habitat. It is measured by two major components:
  1. Species richness, and
  2. Species evenness.

Importance of Biodiversity Parks:

Biological diversity is a precious resource intended for the continued existence of mankind, and hence, conserving biodiversity is concerned with restoring the equilibrium between humans & the atmosphere.

Important roles of Biodiversity Parks include:

  1. A nature reserve for the conservation of the natural heritage of the city.
  2. Enhancing the quality of the urban environment.
  3. Serving as a hub for education, cultural and conservation activities.
  4. Connecting biodiversity to the city and people.
  5. Promoting eco-tourism.
  6. Creating livelihood for local communities.
  7. Preserving the rare endemic and threatened plant and animal species of the area.

About Himachal Pradesh:

  • Himachal Pradesh is a northern Indian state in the Himalayas.
  • It is situated in the Western Himalayas.
  • It is one of the eleven mountain states of India.
  • Himachal Pradesh shares borders with the union territories of Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh to the north, and the states of Punjab to the west, Haryana to the southwest, and Uttarakhand and Uttar Pradesh to the south.
  • The state also has a border with the autonomous region of Tibet to the east. Its summer capital is Shimla and its winter capital is Dharamshala.
  • The current Governor and Chief Minister of Himachal Pradesh are Rajendra Arlekar and Jai Ram Thakur respectively.

Coir Board Regional Office: The Union Minister for Micro, Small & Medium Enterprises (MSME) Narayan Rane recently inaugurated a Coir Board Regional Office at Kankavali in Sindhudurg, Maharashtra.

Key Points:

  • The Coir Board is implementing several programmes to develop coir industry in the Konkan Zone.
  • With the opening of this regional office, Coir Board will bring more programmes to the region.
  • The industry will generate employment for local youths.
  • The Union Minister also inaugurated the two-day MSME Conclave aimed at promoting entrepreneurship and trade opportunities in Konkan Region.
  • At the conclave, the Minister launched Union Bank MSME RuPay Credit Card and also announced the setting up of Rs. 200 crore MSME Technology Centre in Sindhudurg.

About Coir Board of India:

  • The Coir Board is a statutory body established by the Government of India (GoI) under the Coir Industry Act 1953.
  • The board has been established for the promotion and development of the coir (coconut fibre) industry in India.
  • The board functions under the Ministry of Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises.
  • The functions of the Board as laid down under the Act include undertaking, assisting and encouraging scientific, technological and economic research, modernization, quality improvement, human resource development, market promotion and welfare of all those who are engaged in this industry.
  • The head office of the Coir Board is in Kochi.

 

 

Places in News Current Affairs - February 2022

New Biotechnology Policy of Gujarat: The Chief Minister of Gujarat Shri Bhupendra Patel recently announced New Biotechnology Policy for the year 2022-27.

Key Highlights:

  • This policy is aimed to achieve Prime Minister Narendra Modi's vision of Aatmanirbhar Bharat.
  • The main objective of this new policy is to make Gujarat a globally-recognized Biotechnology Hub and to make Gujarat competitive in the biotechnology sector and maximize benefits from it.
  • Under this policy, strategic projects and mega and large projects are eligible for special packages.
  • This will attract new investment through anchor units and existing industries and create new employment opportunities in the state.

About the New Biotechnology Policy:

  • The operative period of the new biotechnology policy will be five years, from 2022 till 2027.
  • The policy seeks to create around 1.2 lakh new employment opportunities.
  • The policy expects to attract an estimated investment of more than Rs 20,000 crore in the sector.
  • It will promote partnerships between stakeholders including NGOs, scientific establishments and industries.
  • Eligible firms will get assistance at an interest rate of 7% on term loans, with an annual ceiling of Rs 20 crore.
  • In addition to providing interest subsidy on term loan for such projects, the policy also offers 100% reimbursement on electricity duty for five years.

Financial Assistance:

  • The policy offers financial assistance for technology acquisition, skill development, alternative energy production, quality certification and bandwidth leasing, feature which was not there in the previous policy.
  • The financial assistance includes expenses for power tariff, patent assistance, marketing development assistance, lease rental subsidy, bandwidth leasing and quality certification.
  • Through the innovative CAPEX (capital expenditure) and OPEX (operational expenditure) models, overall financial support for units has been significantly increased.
  • According to this new policy, the MSMEs with a capital investment of less than 200 crore rupees will be given maximum assistance of 40 crore rupees.
  • Large or mega projects with a capital investment of more than Rs 200 crore as well as special projects like emerging technologies will be given an assistance of up to 25% of the total capital expenditure up to a maximum of Rs 200 crore.
  • Assistance will be provided in form of 20 quarterly installments for a period of 5 years.
  • Similarly, MSMEs with a capital investment of less than Rs 200 crore will be given assistance of a maximum of Rs 5 crore per annum while Mega and special projects will be given an assistance of up to 15% of the total operating cost within the limit of Rs 25 crore per annum
  • Additional assistance will be provided for the industries manufacturing the products which are not being manufactured India.
  • These industries will be covered under strategically important projects.

Strengthening overall ecosystem:

  • The new policy also looks to strengthen the overall ecosystem.
  • It will encourage special projects like pre-clinical testing, plug and play facilities, manufacturing, genome sequencing in the private sector, testing & certification laboratories and private sector BSL-3 lab-vaccine development.

About Gujarat:

  • Gujarat is a state on the western coast of India most of which lies on the Kathiawar peninsula.
  • The state is bordered by Rajasthan to the northeast, Dadra and Nagar Haveli and Daman and Diu to the south, Maharashtra to the southeast, Madhya Pradesh to the east, and the Arabian Sea and the Pakistani province of Sindh to the west.
  • Its capital city is Gandhinagar.
  • The Governor and Chief Minister of Gujarat are Acharya Devvrat and Bhupendrabhai Patel respectively.

Thane-Diva Railway Lines: Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi dedicated to the Nation two additional railway lines connecting Thane and Diva today via video conferencing.

Key Highlights:

  • Maharashtra Governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari and Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray also attended the inaugural ceremony virtually.
  • PM Modi also flagged off two suburban trains of the Mumbai Suburban Railway and delivered an address on the occasion. 

Key Points about the Thane-Diva Railway Lines:

  • The two additional railway lines connecting Thane and Diva have been built at the approximate cost of 620 crore rupees.
  • They feature a 1.4 km long rail flyover, 170-meter long tunnel, 3 major bridges, and 21 minor bridges.
  • These lines will greatly remove the interference of long-distance train traffic with suburban train traffic in Mumbai.
  • These lines will also enable the introduction of 36 new suburban trains in the city.

Benefits of the two lines:

  1. Separate lines for local and express trains
  2. Trains coming from other states will not have to wait for the passing of local trains;
  3. Mail and express trains can be run without much obstruction in Kalyan to Kurla section and,
  4. Kalwa Mumbra commuter will not be troubled due to blockage every Sunday.

About Kalyan Junction Railway Station:

  • Kalyan is the main junction of the Central Railway.
  • It is a major railway junction station on the central line of the Mumbai Suburban Railway network, lying at the junction of the north-east and south-east lines of the suburban Mumbai division of the Central Railway, 54 km north-east of Mumbai.
  • The traffic coming from North side and Southern side of the country merge at Kalyan and moves towards CSMT (Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Terminus).
  • Out of the four tracks between Kalyan and CSTM, two tracks were used for slow local trains and two tracks for fast local, Mail Express and Goods trains.
  • To segregate suburban and long-distance trains, two additional tracks were planned.

Historical importance:

  • 5th and 6th lines between Kurla/Lokmanya Tilak Terminus and Kalyan pass through Thane, which was the first terminating station when the first train in India, ran on 16th April 1853 from Boribunder (present-day CSMT) to Thane.

Pramarsh 2022: Minister of State for Culture & Parliamentary Affairs, Arjun Ram Meghwal recently launched ‘Pramarsh 2022’ for the students of the Bikaner District region in Rajasthan.

Key Highlights:

  • Pramarsh is an online career counseling workshop.
  • The Workshop was organized jointly by The National Institute of Career Services (NICS), under the Ministry of Labour & Employment and Bengaluru-based educational start-up Edumilestones, with support from the Directorate of Education, Rajasthan.
  • The workshop witnessed the participation of more than one lakh students from thousands of private & government schools of Bikaner district and mainly from rural areas.
  • It is the first such incidence in India that more than 1 lakh students participated in Career Counselling in one Workshop.

About the Pramarsh 2022 workshop:

  • The “Pramarsh 2022” workshop is an extension of the effort to bridge the industry-academia gap and educate students about the different options available to them so as to help them make a more informed decision.
  • The workshop will include teacher training and career workshops for students along with an online and offline career evaluation as well as access to Edumilestones’ digital career library for all participating students.
  • Students from both government and private schools got advice from professionals in various fields, including policy planning, business, art, industry associations, journalism, culture, architecture, health, finance, biotechnology, and marketing.
  • Before this mega career counseling workshop, around 1000 teachers were trained as career ambassadors in all schools of Bikaner for smooth & purposeful execution of the entire project.

About NICS:

  • The National Institute for Career Service (erstwhile Central Institute for Research and Training in Employment Service) was set up in October 1964.
  • It was set up under the Directorate General of Employment (DGE), M/o Labour & Employment.
  • It arose from the understanding that the Employment Service’s efficiency was dependent on well-trained officers and ongoing research into the employment markets.
  • The Institute was later enlarged in the year 1970 to include the publishing of career literature, and again in the year 1987 to include the role of dealing with issues related to self-employment promotion.

About NCS portal:

  • The NCS portal was launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in July 2015.
  • It was launched with the goal of connecting various opportunities with the ambitions of the youths by providing employment services in a user-friendly and transparent manner.
  • The portal will provide these services, as well as career counseling content, through a variety of channels, including career centers, mobile devices, etc.

About Rajasthan:

  • Rajasthan is a state in northern India.
  • It comprises most of the wide and inhospitable Thar Desert (also known as the "Great Indian Desert") and shares a border with the Pakistani provinces of Punjab to the northwest and Sindh to the west, along the Sutlej-Indus river valley.
  • It became a State after 1947 when the princely states and chiefships were integrated into India in stages, and the state took the name Rajasthan.
  • It assumed its present form on November 1, 1956, when the States Reorganization Act came into force.
  • The Capital of Rajasthan is Jaipur.
  • The current Chief Minister and Governor of Rajasthan are Ashok Gehlot and Kalraj Mishra respectively.

Water Taxi Service in Mumbai: Union Minister of Ports, Shipping and Waterways & AYUSH, Sarbananda Sonowal virtually flagged off the ‘Most Awaited’ Water Taxi for citizens of Mumbai, Maharashtra.

Key Highlights:

  • Chief Minister of Maharashtra, Shri Udhav Thackeray presided over the on-ground function where he inaugurated the newly constructed Belapur Jetty.
  • This service will connect the twin cities of Mumbai and Navi Mumbai for the first time.
  • The Water Taxi services will commence from the Domestic Cruise Terminal (DCT) and will also connect nearby locations at Nerul, Belapur, Elephanta island and JNPT.
  • The service promises a comfortable, stress-free journey, is time-saving and promotes eco-friendly transport.
  • The services are also expected to give a major boost to the tourism sector, especially the travel from Navi Mumbai to the historic Elephanta caves.
  • Visitors will be able to travel easily from Navi Mumbai to the Gateway of India.

Belapur Jetty project:

  • The Belapur Jetty project, which commenced on January 2019 and was completed by September 2021.
  • It has been developed under the Sagarmala Programme at a project cost of Rs 8.37 crore with equal funding by the Government of India (GoI) and the Maharashtra state government.
  • The new jetty will enable the movement of vessels to locations like Bhaucha Dhakka, Mandwa, Elephanta and Karanja.

About Maharashtra:

  • Maharashtra is a state in the western peninsular region of India occupying a substantial portion of the Deccan Plateau.
  • It is bordered by the Arabian Sea to the west, the Indian states of Karnataka and Goa to the south, Telangana to the southeast and Chhattisgarh to the east, Gujarat and Madhya Pradesh to the north, and the Indian union territory of Dadra and Nagar Haveli and Daman and Diu to the north west.
  • It was formed on 1 May 1960.
  • It was formed by merging the western and south-western parts of the Bombay State, Berar and Vidarbha, and the north-western parts of the Hyderabad State and splitting Saurashtra (in present-day Gujarat) by the States Reorganisation Act. Its capital is Mumbai.
  • The Chief Minister and the Governor of Maharashtra are  Uddhav Thackeray and Bhagat Singh Koshyari respectively.

Nanna Shale Nanna Koduge App: The Department of Primary and Secondary Education in Karnataka developed an app titled Nanna Shale Nanna Koduge.

Note: Nanna Shale Nanna Koduge” which means ‘My School, My contribution'.

Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai launched the app on February 14, 2022.

Key Points:

  • This app is launched to assist in addressing infrastructure needs of state schools, optimal use of hearing aids, shortage of teachers, and utilization of Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) funds.
  • The app lists out Government-run schools in a need-based format and the donor have the provision to make a donation of money or material after selecting a school from the list in the app.
  • This app will provide assistance to many departments in about 80 organizations working to enhance schools and faculty education in Karnataka.
  • It will provide details of any government school on the app.
  • It will also list out several things required by government schools.
  • Karnataka government has also asked the corporates and non-profits to help in building smart classrooms across 43000 primary schools.

Aim:

  • The main aim of launching the app is providing accessibility to donors across the planet.
  • It not only seeks to develop a way of ownership among the public, stakeholders, and alumni but it also seeks to strengthen the general public education system.
  • Furthermore, it also aims to supply quick and straightforward access to colleges without human interface.

App Interface:

  • The app comprises one window for donors and one for schools.
  • Donors will get an inventory of faculties in need-based format, after logging into the app.
  • They're going to have the option to donate material or money, after selecting a school.
  • There would be fixed timelines so as to effectively utilize donations.

Investments:

  • Under the program, an investment of Rs 875 crore will be required, wherein Rs 200,000 will be dedicated to every school.
  • The department seeks to develop a minimum of 100 schools by 2024-25 school year.
  • Under the Jalajeevan Mission, Rs 50 crore has been earmarked, so as to supply beverages and construct toilets in schools.

About Karnataka:

  • It is a state in the southwestern region of India.
  • It was formed on 1 November 1956, with the passage of the States Reorganisation Act.
  • Originally known as the State of Mysore, it was renamed Karnataka in 1973.
  • It is bordered by the Arabian Sea to the west, Goa to the northwest, Maharashtra to the north, Telangana to the northeast, Andhra Pradesh to the east, Tamil Nadu to the southeast, and Kerala to the south.
  • It is the only southern state to have land borders with all of the other 4 southern Indian sister states.
  • Its capital city is Bangalore.
  • The current Chief Minister and Governor of Karnataka are Basavaraj Bommai and Thawar Chand Gehlot respectively.

 

 

 

J&K Integrated With National Single Window System: Lt Governor Manoj Sinha recently launched the single-window portal for Jammu and Kashmir (J-K) making it the first Union Territory (UT) to be integrated with National Single Window System (NSWS).

Key Highlights:

  • In a historic move by the UT Government to facilitate investments in J&K as many as 130 industrial services have been made online on a single-window system.
  • More than 160 services would also be integrated this year.
  • Now global investors can apply for all their business approvals in J&K through the National Single Window system.
  • This marks a major leap in Ease of Doing Business (EoDB) in J&K.
  • The UT is being linked into a big network of partnerships.
  • These partnerships include both domestic and foreign companies.
  • The integration will make Jammu and Kashmir more competitive.

Background:

  • In January 2021, the UT administration had announced a new industrial developmental scheme (IDS) with a total outlay of Rs 28,400 crore to encourage new investment and to take industrial development to the block level.
  • Because of IDS, in 2021 alone, Kashmir received Rs 70,000 crores of investment.

Current Scenario:

  • J&K is right now in a new stage of development.
  • Focused attention is being given to the growth of dynamic sectors, including real estate, horticulture and tourism, so as to create increased employment opportunities.
  • The increase in employment opportunities will reduce their involvement towards terrorist and anti-governmental mishaps.

Nodal Agency:

  • The Department of Industries and Commerce is the current nodal agency in implementing the industrial reforms in the union territory.
  • It will coordinate with all departments of J&K administration for successful compliance with the Business Reform Action Plan (BRAP) 2022 and Regulatory Compliance Burden (RCB) 2022.

About NSWS:

  • The NSWS is a 2020 budgetary announcement of the Government of India (GoI).
  • It is a digital platform where investors can identify and apply for approvals.
  • The portal not only provides advisory services but also gives updated information about the approvals.
  • The Know Your Approvals (KYA) module supports information across 32 Central Departments and 14 States.
  • Currently, the portal hosts' applications for approvals from 19 Central Departments and 13 State Governments.
  • The Union Minister for Commerce and Industry Piyush Goyal had soft-launched the portal in September 2021.

KNA System:

  • Know Your Approval (KYA) is a user-friendly tool to help you identify central and state government approvals required.

About Jammu and Kashmir:

  • Jammu and Kashmir (J&K) is a region administered by India as a Union Territory.
  • It was a region formerly administered by India as a state from 1954 to 2019.
  • Provisions for the formation of the union territory of Jammu and Kashmir were contained within the Jammu and Kashmir Reorganisation Act, 2019, which was passed by both houses of the Parliament of India in August 2019.
  • The region of Jammu and Kashmir is separated by the Line of Control from the Pakistani-administered territories of Azad Kashmir and Gilgit-Baltistan in the west and north respectively.
  • It lies to the north of the Indian states of Himachal Pradesh and Punjab and to the west of Ladakh, which is also subject to the dispute as a part of Kashmir, and administered by India as a union territory.
  • The current Lieutenant Governor of J&K is Former Union minister and BJP leader Manoj Sinha.

Paray Shikshalaya: The West Bengal government, on February 7, 2022 recently launched ‘Paray Shikshalaya’.

Key Points:

  • It is an open-air classroom in the neighbourhood programme – for students from class 1 to 7.
  • Under the ‘Paray Shikshalaya’ project, primary and pre-primary students of government schools will be taught in open spaces.
  • Mid-day meals to the students of ‘Paray Shikshalaya’ will also be provided by the state government.
  • The para teachers and primary school teachers would be part of this project and they will elementary education to children of Class 1-5.
  • Initially, the initiative was meant for primary school students 1 - 5 but students in classes 6 and 7 were also included as physical classes in schools did not reopen for them.
  • Students are being called in batches.

Aim of Pray Shikshalaya:

  • The aim of the Pray Shikshalaya initiative is to encourage students who dropped out of schools during the Covid-19 pandemic to continue their education.

About West Bengal:

  • West Bengal is a state in eastern India.
  • It lies between the Himalayas and the Bay of Bengal.
  • It borders Bangladesh in the east and Nepal and Bhutan in the north.
  • It also borders the Indian states of Odisha, Jharkhand, Bihar, Sikkim, and Assam.
  • The state capital is Kolkata.
  • It was established on 26 January 1950.
  • The current Chief Minister and Governor of West Bengal are Mamta Banerjee and Jagdeep Dhankhar respectively.

Telangana ink MoU with British Council: The Government of Telangana and the British Council recently signed a three-year Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to expand higher education globally, enhance mobility, and share information and skills.

Key Highlights:

  • The MoU has been agreed between the Research and Innovation Centre of Hyderabad (RICH) and the British Council, an international organization for educational opportunities and cultural exchange.
  • As per the agreement, both organizations will aim at working closely to engineer new partnerships between universities, research institutions and centres of excellence in the United Kingdom and in Telangana.

Focus areas:

  • The partnerships between RICH and UK higher education institutions will facilitate further research in the fields of aerospace, defence, life sciences and pharmaceuticals, food and agriculture, and sustainability.
  • The two partners will also take part in joint innovation or entrepreneurship initiatives, like sharing of best practices and or development of bespoke courses to develop relevant skills among young people of Telangana.

Background:

  • The British Council and the Telangana State Council of Higher Education (TSCHE) have been partnering to achieve the State’s knowledge and employment ambitions for its youth for the past decade as per the MoU signed in 2018.

About Telangana:

  • It is a state in India situated on the center-south stretch of the Indian peninsula on the high Deccan Plateau.
  • It was founded on 2 June 2014.
  • Its Capital city is Hyderabad.
  • The current Governor and Chief Minister of Telangana are Tamilisai Soundararajan and K. Chandrashekar Rao respectively.

Gujarat unveils new IT/ITeS policy: Chief Minister of Gujarat, Bhupendra Patel recently launched a new information technology and IT-enabled services (IT/ITeS) policy for the next 5 years.

Key Highlights:

  • IT/ITeS Policy has been unveiled in order to create one lakh jobs in the sector during the next five years. 
  • The new policy will remain in force for five years, i.e. from 2022 till 2027.
  • This policy will provide financial incentives up to Rs 200 crore to companies that are prepared to invest in capital.
  • It also seeks to increase IT-ITeS exports from the current Rs 3000 crores annually to 25,000 crores over the next five years.
  • It will be operational from the date of notification through March 31, 2027.

About the policy:

  • The policy was launched at a formal event at a club in GIFT City in Gandhinagar.
  • The new policy replaces the 2016-2021 policy that had set an ambitious target of increasing exports up to USD two billion (Rs 13,000 crore), IT turnover to USD 15 billion (Rs 75,000 crore) and creating 10 lakh direct jobs.
  • The policy proposes a separate incentive structure for both capital expenditure (CAPEX) and operational expenditures (OPEX).
  • This is a one-of-a-kind strategy that allows industries to manage their spending while also addressing viability concerns

Aim and Objectives:

  • This policy aims to realize the Atmanirbhar Bharat Mission through Atmanirbhar Gujarat with the help of information technology.
  • The other objective of the policy is to include creating an IT talent pool for the high-skilled industries and provide modern IT infrastructure to build a complete ecosystem.
  • The policy looks to encourage research and development in crucial components of the cloud ecosystem including artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning, quantum computing, blockchain and other emerging technologies. 

About Gujarat:

  • Gujarat is a state on the western coast of India most of which lies on the Kathiawar peninsula.
  • The state is bordered by Rajasthan to the northeast, Dadra and Nagar Haveli and Daman and Diu to the south, Maharashtra to the southeast, Madhya Pradesh to the east, and the Arabian Sea and the Pakistani province of Sindh to the west.
  • Its capital city is Gandhinagar.
  • The Governor and Chief Minister of Gujarat are Acharya Devvrat and Bhupendrabhai Patel respectively

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Saffron Bowl Project: Union Minister of State (Independent Charge) of the Ministry of Science and Technology and Earth Sciences, Dr. Jitendra Singh informed Lok Sabha about the Saffron Bowl Project.

Key Points:

  • North East Centre For Technology Application and Reach (NECTAR) under the Saffron Bowl project has identified a few locations in Arunachal Pradesh and Meghalaya for saffron cultivation.
  • In Arunachal Pradesh, there is a good growth of organic saffron with flowers.
  • In Meghalaya, sample plantations were grown at Cherrapunji, Mawsmai and Lalingtop sites.
  • The total cost of the whole project is Rs. 17.68 lakhs for Arunachal Pradesh and Meghalaya.
  • Out of which, a tentative amount of Rs.6.00 lakhs has been earmarked for Barapani (Meghalaya) site.

The following sites have been identified in Meghalaya under the said project:

  • Barapani
  • Cherrapunji
  • Mawsmai
  • Lalingtop
  • Shillong

Additional Info:

Saffron Cultivation in North East:

  • Saffron production has long been restricted to a limited geographical area in the Union territory of Jammu & Kashmir.
  • It is cultivated and harvested in the Karewa (highlands) of Jammu and Kashmir.
  • Pampore region, commonly known as the Saffron bowl of Kashmir, is the main contributor to saffron production, followed by Budgam, Srinagar, and Kishtiwar districts.
  • Pampore Saffron Heritage of Kashmir is one of the Globally Important Agricultural Heritage Systems (GIAHS) recognized sites in India.

 Note: It is believed that saffron cultivation was introduced in Kashmir by Central Asian immigrants around the 1st Century BCE.

It has been associated with traditional Kashmiri cuisine and represents the rich cultural heritage of the region.

  • In 2020, the Kashmir saffron got Geographical Indication (GI) tag status.

However, the saffron bowl which was so far confined to Kashmir is being expanded to the Northeast as the North East Centre For Technology Application and Reach (NECTAR).

  • NECTAR launched the Saffron Bowl Project to explore the feasibility of growing saffron in the region with the same quality.

About NECTAR:

  • North East Centre For Technology Application and Reach (NECTAR) is an autonomous society set up under the Department of Science & Technology (DST).
  • In order to assist the northeastern region, NECTAR ensures applications of appropriate technologies for development in the areas of biodiversity concerns, watershed management, telemedicine, horticulture, etc.
  • It is headquartered in Shillong, Meghalaya.

About Saffron (Kesar):

  • Saffron (Kesar) is a spice derived from the flower of Crocus sativus, commonly known as the “saffron crocus”.
  • The scientific name of wild saffron is Crocus cartwrightianus.
  • The vivid crimson stigma and styles, called threads, are collected and dried for use mainly as a seasoning and colouring agent in food.
  • It has long been the world’s costliest spice by weight.
  • In ancient Sanskrit literature, saffron is referred to as ‘bahukam’.
  • It rejuvenates health and is used in cosmetics and for medicinal purposes.

River Cities Alliance (RCA): Minister for Jal Shakti recently informed Lok Sabha about the River Cities Alliance (RCA).

About RCA:

  • The RCA has been launched with the objective to provide the member cities with a platform to discuss and exchange information on aspects that are vital for sustainable management of urban rivers, sharing best practices and supporting innovation.
  • The alliance has been launched initially with 30 cities.
  • These 30  cities are  Dehradun, Rishikesh, Haridwar, Srinagar, Varanasi, Kanpur, Mathura, Prayagraj, Farrukhabad, Mirzapur, Bijnor, Ayodhya, Patna, Bhagalpur, Begusarai, Munger, Sahibganj, Rajmahal, Howrah, Jangipur, Hugli-Chinsurah, Behrampore,  Bhubaneshwar,  Maheshtala, Aurangabad, Hyderabad, Pune, Udaipur, Vijaywada and Chennai.
  • The Alliance is open to all river cities of India.
  • Any river city can join the Alliance at any time.

Implementation:

  • State Governments are implementing Action Plans for the restoration of water quality of the identified polluted river stretches.
  • The implementation is being monitored regularly at the State level by the Chief Secretary of the respective State/UT and at the Central level by the Central Monitoring Committee under the Chairmanship of Secretary, Ministry of Jal Shakti.
  • RCA is envisaged as a facilitatory platform for initiating river-sensitive planning and development.

Namami Gange Programme:

  • In addition, under Namami Gange Programme, the progress and activities are reviewed regularly by National Mission for Clean Ganga (NMCG), State Governments and District Ganga Committees.
  • Namami Gange through its integrated and comprehensive framework has been working towards rejuvenating the Ganga river basin. As cities start to implement the river-sensitive development agenda, the River Cities Alliance will support them to learn from each other and inspire others to take up progressive action on this front.

Inter-State River Water Disputes (ISRWD) Act, 1956:

  • For the adjudication of disputes relating to waters of inter-State rivers and the river valleys thereof, the Parliament has enacted the Inter-State River Water Disputes (ISRWD) Act, 1956.
  • When any request under the said Act is received from any State Government in respect of any water dispute on the inter-State rivers and the Central Government is of the opinion that the water dispute cannot be settled by negotiations, the Central Government constitutes a Water Disputes Tribunal for the adjudication of the said water dispute.

Active Water Disputes:

  • Currently, 5 such water disputes Tribunals are active, the details of which are given in Annexure.
  • In addition, Inter-State Water disputes have been raised by the Government of Bihar in respect of the Tilaiya-Dhadhar Diversion scheme concerning States of Bihar, Jharkhand and West Bengal and by the Government of Tamil Nadu (TN) in respect of the use, distribution and control of Pennaiyar river and its tributaries concerning States of Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh and UT of Puducherry.

Ken-Betwa River-Linking Project: Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman announced in her Budget-22 that the implementation of the Ken-Betwa river linking project at a sum of Rs 44, 605 crore will be taken up.

Key Points about Ken- Betwa Project:

  • Implementation of Ken Betwa Linking project at an estimated cost of Rs 44,605 Crore will be taken up with irrigation benefits to 9 lakh hectare farmland.
  • A budget of Rs 1,400 crores has been allocated for the project in 2022-23
  • The project is expected to provide drinking water supply to about 62 lakh people besides generating 103 MW of hydropower and 27 MW solar power.

Five more river-linking projects:

  • The Union Finance Minister Sitharaman also proposed a project to link five rivers in India in her budget speech.
  • The rivers identified for linking are:

1. Godavari-Krishna

2. Krishna-Pennar

3. Pennar-Cauvery

4. Damanganga-Pinjal

5. Par-Tapi-Narmada

  • The Union Cabinet on December 8, had approved the funding and implementation of the project with a total cost of Rs 44,605 crore to be completed in eight years.
  • The Project seeks to be of immense benefit to the water-starved Bundelkhand region, spread across the states of MP and UP.
  • This project will provide enormous benefits to the districts of Panna, Tikamgarh, Chhatarpur, Sagar, Damoh, Datia, Vidisha, Shivpuri and Raisen of Madhya Pradesh and Banda, Mahoba, Jhansi and Lalitpur of Uttar Pradesh.

Benefits of interlinking:

The benefits of interlinking are as follows:

  • Enhance water and food security.
  • Boost agriculture.
  • Boost transportation.
  • Proper utilization of water
  • Disaster mitigation.

Concerns and Issues:

However, there are some concerns and issues of interlinking of rivers.

They are as follows:

  • Interlinking of rivers is a very expensive proposal.
  • Interlinking of rivers will lead to the destruction of forests, wetlands and local water bodies, which are major groundwater recharge mechanisms.
  • It will adversely affect land, forests, biodiversity, rivers and the livelihood of millions of people.
  • It will cause a large displacement of people.
  • Huge burden on the government to deal with the issue of rehabilitation of displaced people.
  • Due to the interlinking of rivers, there will be a decrease in the amount of freshwater entering seas which in turn will cause a serious threat to marine life.

A brief overview of the 5 rivers:

Krishna River:

  • Krishna is the fourth largest river in India.
  • It originates in Mahabaleshwar in Maharashtra and flows through Maharashtra, Karnataka, Telangana and Andhra Pradesh.

Godavari River:

  • The Godavari is the third largest river in India.
  • It originates in Nashik and flows through Maharashtra, Telangana, Andhra Pradesh, Chhattisgarh and Orissa.

Cauvery River:

  • Cauvery originates in Kodagu.
  • It flows through Karnataka and Tamil Nadu.

Penna River:

  • Penna originates in Chikkaballapura.
  • It flows through Karnataka, Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh.

The Damanganga-Pinjal River linking aims to divert surplus water from the Damanganga basin to provide domestic water for Mumbai city.

The Par-Tapi-Narmada project proposes to provide water to doubt-prone regions of Kutch and Saurashtra by diverting excess water from seven reservoirs in the Western Ghats in North Maharashtra and south Gujarat.

Tamil Nadu Draft Policy for Senior Citizens: The Tamil Nadu Government has created a draft policy for senior citizens.

Key Points:

  • The policy has been created based on Article 41 of the constitution.
  • Under the policy, the government plans to work with academic institutions, field experts and civil society organizations.
  • The policy would focus on social security systems, health and nutrition, income security, safety, livelihood, housing and environment, education, disaster management, and research and documentation.
  • Its main objective is to create a Directorate for the welfare of the senior citizens.
  • The policy also mentions livelihood training, the formation of aged self-help groups, and senior citizen capacity building.
  • It will also address the security concerns of the elderly.
  • It is to establish banking aid programs and a victim rescue center system.

Significance:

  • The state's life expectancy has increased, and the state's abandonment problem is also increasing.
  • This is mainly owing to the state's enhanced healthcare system.
  • According to the report "Elderly in India, 2021," produced by the Ministry of Statistics and Program Implementation, 13.6% of the population in Tamil Nadu is senior citizens.
  • After Kerala, Tamil Nadu has the second-highest senior persons in India.
  • In addition, by 2031, the senior citizen population is expected to rise to 18.2 percent.
  • The state of Tamil Nadu feels that senior citizens should be allowed to lead. It is essential to make intergenerational knowledge transfer easier. This allows young people to benefit from the experience of their seniors.

About Article 41:

  • Article 41 of the Constitution provides that “the State shall within the limits of its economic capacity and development, make effective provision for securing the right to work, to education and to public assistance in cases of unemployment, old age, sickness and disablement, and in other cases of undeserved want.
  • It is one of the Directive Principles of State Policy based on Socialist principles
  • The Assembly adopted this article on 23 November 1948 without amendments.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Tiwa and Gorkha Extremists: Almost 250 members of two extremist organizations in Assam laid down their arms before Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma at a formal programme in Guwahati.

Key Points:

  • The organizations are the Tiwa Liberation Army (TLA) and the United Gorkha People’s Organisation (UGPO).
  • Out of them, 169 were UGPO cadres and 77 were TLA cadres. 
  • Both were ethnicity-based extremist organizations.
  • The TLA was formed in 2014 to cater to the aspirations of the Tiwa community. This group was active in Morigaon, Nagaon and West Karbi Anglong districts of central Assam.
  • The UGPO was formed in 2007.
  • It was most active in the Bodoland Territorial Region and Biswanath district.
  • With this only two active insurgent groups now remain in the state, namely the United Liberation Front of Asom-Independent (ULFA-I) and Kamtapur Liberation Organisation (KLO).

Note: Bodo Peace Accord was signed with the Centre two years ago.

About Tiwa:

  • Tiwa (Lalung) is an ethnic group mainly inhabiting the states of Assam and Meghalaya in north-eastern India but
  • are also found in some areas of Arunachal Pradesh, Manipur and Nagaland.
  • They are recognized as a Scheduled tribe within the State of Assam.
  • They were known as Lalungs in the Assamese Buranjis and in Colonial literature and in the Constitution of India, though members of the group prefer to call themselves Tiwa.
  • Tiwa means "the people who were lifted from below".

About Assam:

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

Sangolli Rayanna: Karnataka State Government is set to build a military school in the name of Sangoli Rayanna at a cost of Rs 180 crores.

Key Points:

  • This was announced by the Chief Minister of Karnataka Basavaraj Bommaion on the Remembrance Day of the braveheart Sangolli Rayanna who fought the Britishers bravely.
  • The school will be administrated by the defence ministry.

Other developments to honour Sangolli Rayana:

  • Work on developing Sangolli Rayana's tomb at the spot where he attained martyrdom is also going to be taken up.
  • Further, the development of a rock garden on 10 acres of land at his birthplace Sangolli has also been approved.
  • These memorials are being built to provide a glimpse into the life of Rayanna for the youth.
  • In 2015, the main railway station was renamed as Sangoli Rayanna railway station.

About Sangolli Rayanna:

  • Sangolli Rayanna (15 August 1796 – 26 January 1831) was an Indian military Shetsanadi (solider) and warrior from the Kittur princely state of Karnataka.
  • He fought against the Doctrine of Lapse alongside Rani Chennamma till his death.
  • The Britishers killed the king and prince of Kittur kingdom.
  • As there was no legal heir to the throne, they wanted to take control over Kittur kingdom under the Doctrine of Lapse.

1824 rebellion:

  • He played a major role in the 1824 rebellion.
  • Most of the land in Kittur kingdom was confiscated and the leftover land was heavily taxed.
  • He created a guerrilla army.
  • He and his army moved from place to place, burnt government offices, plundered treasuries.
  • He trained and built an army from the common people.
  • The Britishers caught him in 1830.
  • He was hanged to death in a Banyan tree in Belagavi district in 1831.
  • His last words to the British were “You might hang me but remember, a Rayanna from every home of this country will be born until we get independence.”
  • Rayanna was buried near Nandagad.

In the memory of Krantiveera Sangolli Rayanna:

  • Rayanna was helped by Gajaveera, a Siddi warrior in his revolt against the British in 1829-30.
  • Gajaveera planted a Banyan tree in his grave.
  • To this date, the tree stands majestic. A temple has been built for Rayanna under the tree.
  • Also, Ashoka Stambha was installed near the tree.
  • The temple has a statue of Rayanna with two wooden weights.
  • The weights were used by Rayanna himself for bodybuilding.

About Karnataka:

  • It is a state in the southwestern region of India.
  • It was formed on 1 November 1956, with the passage of the States Reorganisation Act.
  • Originally known as the State of Mysore, it was renamed Karnataka in 1973.
  • It is bordered by the Arabian Sea to the west, Goa to the northwest, Maharashtra to the north, Telangana to the northeast, Andhra Pradesh to the east, Tamil Nadu to the southeast, and Kerala to the south.
  • It is the only southern state to have land borders with all of the other 4 southern Indian sister states.
  • Its capital city is Bangalore.
  • The current Chief Minister and Governor of Karnataka are Basavaraj Bommai and Thawar Chand Gehlot respectively.

First Graphene Innovation Center of India: India's first graphene innovation center is going to be established in Kerala.

Key Points:

  • This centre is going to be established by the Digital University Kerala (DUK), along with the Centre for Materials for Electronics Technology (C-MET) in Thrissur for Rs 86.41 crore.
  • This will be the first graphene Research and Development (R&D) incubation centre in the country.
  • Tata Steel Limited is set to be the industrial partner of the centre.
  • This project was approved by the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology, Government of India (GoI).
  • The project is going to be implemented with the support of the Kerala government.
  • It is expected to accelerate the state’s growth in the knowledge industry sector.

What is Graphene?

  • Graphene is an allotrope of carbon consisting of a single layer of atoms arranged in a two-dimensional honeycomb lattice nanostructure.
  • The name is derived from "graphite" and the suffix -ene, reflecting the fact that the graphite allotrope of carbon contains numerous double bonds.
  • Graphene is known for its extraordinary electrical and electronic properties, and as per the latest research, it could replace indium and thereby bring down the cost of OLED (organic light-emitting diode) screens in smartphones.
  • Graphene has good chemical stability, high electrical conductivity and a large surface area while being transparent and lightweight.

About Kerala:

  • It is a state on the southwestern Malabar Coast of India.
  • It was formed on 1 November 1956, following the passage of the States Reorganisation Act, by combining Malayalam-speaking regions of the erstwhile states of Travancore-Cochin and Madras.
  • It is bordered by Karnataka to the north and northeast, Tamil Nadu to the east and south, and the Lakshadweep Sea to the west. Its capital is Thiruvananthapuram.
  • The current Governor and Chief Minister of Kerala are Arif Mohammad Khan and Pinarayi Vijayan respectively.

Sathyamangalam Tiger Reserve (STR): Sathyamangalam Tiger Reserve (Erode district, Tamil Nadu) has recently been awarded the prestigious TX2 award after its tiger numbers doubled to 80 since 2010.

About STR:

  • Sathyamangalam wildlife sanctuary was declared a tiger reserve in 2013.
  • The reserve spreads across 1,411.60 sq km.
  • It is an important link between the Nilgiris and Eastern Ghats landscape.
  • The Nilgiri biosphere landscape that this reserve is part of is currently the home to the largest tiger population in the world.
  • It is connected to other well-established tiger habitats like Bandipur Tiger Reserve, Mudumalai Tiger Reserve, and BR Hills Tiger Reserve.
  • Apart from the STR, the Bardia National Park in Nepal has won this year’s TX2 award for doubling the population of wild tigers.

About the TX2 award:

  • The award acknowledges the efforts by the State governments and the local communities which have played one of the most important roles to turn a relatively new tiger reserve into one of the source populations of tigers in India.
  • The awards are presented by the Conservation Assured Tiger Standards (CA|TS), Fauna and Flora International (FFI), Global Tiger Forum (GTF), IUCN’s Integrated Tiger Habitat Conservation Programme (ITHCP), Panthera, UNDP, The Lion’s Share, Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) and WWF.

 

Places in News Current Affairs - January 2022

Sukwa Dukwan Weir: The Sukwa Dukwan Weir near Jhansi district has recently been named the World Heritage Irrigation Structure.

The recognition has been given by the International Commission on Irrigation and Drainage (ICID).

About Sukwa Dukwan Weir:

  • Sukwa Dukwan Weir is often known as the Niagra Falls of Bundelkhand.
  • An engineering marvel, the Sukwa Dukwan dam was built in 1906.
  • It is located over River Betwa about 45 km from Jhansi and is still in working condition.
  • It has a capacity of 57 million cubic metres.
  • The weir irrigates more than 2 lakh hectares of land every year.
  • The weir serves the irrigation and drinking water needs of Jalaun, Jhansi and some parts of Hamirpur in Uttar Pradesh.
  • It also provides water supply to Datia district in Madhya Pradesh.

About ICID:

  • The International Commission on Irrigation and Drainage (ICID) is a global network of irrigation, drainage, and flood management experts.
  • ICID annually recognizes irrigation structures of international significance on the lines of World Heritage Sites recognized by UNESCO.
  • It started a program of the search for heritage Irrigation Structures across the world.
  • The conditions are as follows:
  • It should be more than 100 years old. 
  • Its features should remain unchanged.
  • It should still be serving its purpose.

 

50th Statehood Day of Tripura, Manipur, and Meghalaya: Prime Minister Narendra Modi greeted the people of Manipur, Meghalaya, and Tripura on their 50th Statehood Day.

Key Facts:

  • India on January 21 observes the Statehood Day of Tripura, Manipur, and Meghalaya.
  • On this day in 1972, North East Reorganisation Act, 1971 was implemented providing statehood to the three North East States Tripura, Meghalaya, and Manipur.

History:

  • Prior to August 15, 1947, diplomatic discussions had brought practically all states whose territory were adjacent to India's new borders into the Indian Union. The rulers of the majority of the states signed a document known as the 'Instrument of Accession,' which signified that their state accepted to join the Union of India.
  • Tripura and Manipur were granted the status of Union Territories in 1949, Meghalaya was still a part of Assam.
  • Later, in 1969, through Assam Reorganisation (Meghalaya) Act, 1969, the state successfully received autonomous state recognition.

Note:

  • The north-eastern region was turned into seven sisters with the statehood of Manipur, Tripura, Meghalaya, Assam, Mizoram, Arunachal Pradesh, and Nagaland.
  • Currently, with the inclusion of Sikkim, the seven sisters of Northeast India are increased by a number.

About Tripura:

  • Tripura is a state of India.
  • It is located in the northeastern part of the subcontinent.
  • It is bordered to the north, west, and south by Bangladesh, to the east by the state of Mizoram, and to the northeast by the state of Assam.
  • The independent Tripuri Kingdom (also known as Hill Tippera) joined the newly independent India in 1949.
  • The capital is Agartala.
  • The current Governor and Chief Minister of Tripura are Ramesh Bais and Biplab Kumar Deb respectively.

Fun fact:

  • The Sanskrit name of the state is linked to the Hindu goddess of beauty Tripura Sundari, the presiding deity of the Tripura Sundari Temple at Udaipur, one of the 51 Shakti Peethas (pilgrimage centres of Shaktism) and to the legendary tyrant king Tripur, who reigned in the region.
  • Tripur was the 39th descendant of Druhyu, who belonged to the lineage of Yayati, a king of the Lunar Dynasty

About Meghalaya:

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

About Manipur:

  • Manipur is a state in north-eastern India.
  • It is bounded by the Indian states of Nagaland to the north, Mizoram to the south, and Assam to the west; Myanmar lies to its east. Manipur literally means,” the jeweled land”.
  • The exquisite state is known for its traditions, dance forms, music and sumptuous cuisine. Most of the state is covered in forests, which houses some of the rarest species of plants and animals.
  • The state is home to the Kuki, Meitei, Pangal, and Naga ethnic people who speak Sino-Tibetan languages.
  • It was formed on 21 January 1972.
  • Its Capital is Imphal.
  • The current Governor and the Chief Minister of Manipur are  Najma Heptulla and Biren Singh respectively.

NSA 2021: The Union Minister of Commerce & Industry recently presented the second edition of the National Startup Awards 2021 (NSA 2021).

Key Points:

  • The Government of India (GoI) recently recognized a total of 46 Startups as winners of the National Startup Awards 2021 along with 1 incubator and 1 accelerator.
  • They have been felicitated for their contribution in their respective sectors.
  • National Startup Awards was conceived by the Department for Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade (DPIIT).

Some winners in the list:

  • State-wise - Karnataka bagged the highest number of awards, which included 14 out of 46 national startup awards.
  • In fintech category’s financial inclusion sub-sector, Bengaluru-based Naffa Innovations Private Limited (ToneTag) was declared the winner.
  • In fintech category’s insurance sub-sector, Umbo Idtech Private Limited won the award.
  • In Robotics sub-sector, Sagar Defence was declared the winner.
  • In the women-led start-up category, Jaipur-headquartered Frontier Markets was honoured.

Key points of the award:

Over 2,177 applications were invited across 15 sectors and 49 sub-sectors for the 2nd edition of the awards.

  • These applicants were evaluated against six broad parameters namely  
  • Innovation,
  • Scalability,
  • Economic Impact,
  • Social Impact,
  • Environmental Impact, and Inclusiveness and Diversity.
  • The National Startup Awards recognize and reward outstanding Startups and ecosystem enablers that are building innovative products or solutions and scalable enterprises.
  • The 2021 edition of the awards also recognized exceptional Startups innovating solutions to promote Indic languages and to complement national efforts to combat Covid-19 pandemic.
  • The winning startup founders will get a cash prize of Rs. 5 lakh and an opportunity to present their solutions to relevant public authorities and corporates. Incubators and accelerators will get Rs. 15 lakh as the winning amount.

CRC for Skill Development, Rehabilitation & Empowerment of Persons with Disabilities: Union Minister for Social Justice & Empowerment Dr. Virendra Kumar launched the Department’s first bi-monthly E-newsletter during the e-inauguration of the main building of Composite Regional Centre for Skill Development, Rehabilitation & Empowerment of Persons with Disabilities (CRC), Kozhikode.

Key Points:

  • The function was organized on the 18th of January 2022 at the CRC Campus at Chevayur, Kozhikode, Kerala.
  • The launch of an E-newsletter by the Department of Empowerment of Persons with Disabilities (Divyangjan) (DEPwD) is a meaningful initiative.
  • The E-Newsletter will be helpful in the continuity of the flow of information and to bridge the gap with our target audience.
  • It will provide information to the people about the policies, schemes and programmes being implemented by the Government for the overall development of divyangjans and they can take benefits from the same.
  • This e-newsletter will play an important role in the direction of the government's basic mantra of Sabka Saath, Sabka Vikas, Sabka Vishwas and Sabka Prayas.
  • The administrative building of THE CRCSRE, Kozhikode was also e–inaugurated.
  • It has been constructed in an area of about 48,000 sq ft at a cost of about Rs 20 crore with the object of providing various services to Divyangjan staying in Kerala.

About CRC in Kozhikode:

  • The  Composite Regional Centre (CRC) in Kozhikode was established in 2012 by the Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment, Government of India (GoI) under the administrative control of the National Institute for Empowerment of Persons with Multiple Disabilities (NIEPMD), Chennai (an autonomous Institute under the administrative control of DEPwD) as its outreach/ extension centre.
  • At present, the services of the Centre are being operated from rented building with a total area of 5000 sq ft of space with 12 rooms available for services.
  • The government of Kerala has allotted 3 acres of land at Chevayur, Kozhike in 2013 for the establishment of CRC.

Additional Info:

  • Composite Regional Centre (CRC) for Persons with Disabilities has set up by the Ministry of Social Justice & Empowerment in various states to provide both preventive and promotional aspects of rehabilitation like education, health, employment and vocational training, research and manpower development, rehabilitation for persons with disabilities, etc.
  • These CRCs function as extended arms of the National Institutes (NIs).

About Kerala:

  • It is a state on the southwestern Malabar Coast of India.
  • It was formed on 1 November 1956, following the passage of the States Reorganisation Act, by combining Malayalam-speaking regions of the erstwhile states of Travancore-Cochin and Madras.
  • It is bordered by Karnataka to the north and northeast, Tamil Nadu to the east and south, and the Lakshadweep Sea to the west.
  • Its capital is Thiruvananthapuram.
  • The current Governor and Chief Minister of Kerala are Arif Mohammad Khan and Pinarayi Vijayan respectively.

Mana Ooru Mana Badi programme: The Telangana Government launched the Mana Ooru Mana Badi programme to create school infrastructure in the state.

Key Highlights:

  • Mana Ooru Mana Badi programme will create school infrastructure in the state.
  • The programme will be implemented in three years.
  • It is to be implemented at a cost of Rs 7,289 crores.
  • More than 19.84 lakh children are to benefit from the programme.

About the programme:

  • In the first phase, the programme is to be launched in 9,123 local body schools and government.
  • The permissions to build infrastructure under the programme will be provided by the respective district collectors.
  • The programme will be executed by the management committees formed at the respective schools.

Key Areas:

Key areas in govt schools that the state government intends to strengthen include are:-

  • Electrification
  • Drinking water
  • Toilets with running water
  • Furniture for staff and students
  • Painting for schools
  • Repairs to school buildings
  • Construction of new buildings
  • Implementation of digital education

Aim:

The programme is aimed at comprehensive development of schools for providing quality education and improving attendance of students.

It is also aimed at encouraging them to continue their studies for higher classes as well as introduce digital media education in a phased manner for better academic results.

Other decisions taken by the Telangana cabinet:

Regulation of Fee Structure:

The Telangana cabinet has decided to create a new law to regulate the fees structure of the schools in the states. This includes private schools as well.

Introduction of English Medium in all Government Schools in Telangana:

  • Telangana cabinet has also decided to introduce the English medium in all government schools in the state.
  • Telangana cabinet cleared a proposal to bring in a new Act to introduce English medium in all government schools and also to regulate fee structure in private schools, junior and degree colleges.
  • The cabinet constituted a subcommittee under the chairmanship of the Education Minister to study these two issues and to prepare guidelines for the same.
  • The Cabinet decided that a bill to this effect will be introduced in the forthcoming session of the state legislature.

Establishment of a women university and forest university:

The cabinet also gave the approval to establish a women's university and forest university.

Quota in Recruitment of Forest Dept Officials:

  • In another decision, the cabinet approved of providing job recruitment reservations to students who completed degrees from Forest College of Research and Institute located in siddipet district.
  • The Cabinet decided to provide 25 percent reservation in recruiting Assistant Forest Conservators, 50 percent reservation in Forest Range Officers and 50 percent quota in forester jobs.

Amendment:

The Cabinet also decided to amend the Telangana Forest Service Rules (1977) and Telangana State Forest Subordinate Service Rules (2000) accordingly. 

About Telangana:

  • It is a state in India situated on the center-south stretch of the Indian peninsula on the high Deccan Plateau.
  • It was founded on 2 June 2014.
  • Its Capital city is Hyderabad.
  • The current Governor and Chief Minister of Telangana are Tamilisai Soundararajan and K. Chandrashekar Rao respectively.

Kokborok Day: Kokborok Day, also known as the Tripuri Language Day is celebrated across the Indian State of Tripura on 19th January is annually with an aim to develop the Kokborok Language.

Key Points:

  • The year 2022 was the 44th Kokborok Day.
  • The day commemorates the initial recognition of Kokborok as the official language in 1979.
  • The Kokborok language, the official language of Tripura, is also known as Tripuri or Tiprakok.
  • In 1979, Kokborok, along with Bengali and English, was declared an official language of the state of Tripura, India by the state government.

About Tripura:

  • Tripura is a state of India.
  • It is located in the northeastern part of the subcontinent.
  • It is bordered to the north, west, and south by Bangladesh, to the east by the state of Mizoram, and to the northeast by the state of Assam.
  • The independent Tripuri Kingdom (also known as Hill Tippera) joined the newly independent India in 1949.
  • The capital is Agartala.
  • The current Governor and Chief Minister of Tripura are Satyadeo Narain Arya and Biplab Kumar Deb respectively.

Additional Info:

  • The Sanskrit name of the state is linked to the Hindu goddess of beauty Tripura Sundari, the presiding deity of the Tripura Sundari Temple at Udaipur, one of the 51 Shakti Peethas (pilgrimage centres of Shaktism) and to the legendary tyrant king Tripur, who reigned in the region.
  • Tripur was the 39th descendant of Druhyu, who belonged to the lineage of Yayati, a king of the Lunar Dynasty

Niramay: A pilot project named 'Niramay' was recently launched by the National Health Mission (NHM), Assam in collaboration with Piramal Swasthya, a non-profit organization, and Cisco.

Key Highlights:

  • The Project Niramay was launched with an objective to digitize public healthcare delivery in Assam.
  • This initiative covers health and wellness centres, block primary health centres and district hospitals at three local districts – Baksa, Barpeta, and Darrang.
  • It is based on Piramal Swasthya’s indigenous built-in wellbeing expertise platform ‘Accessible Medical Records through Integrated Technologies’ (AMRIT).

Aim:

  • The main aim of project Niramay is to strengthen the health system at the grassroots level and improve the quality of healthcare along with healthcare delivery.

About Assam:

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

Renaming of Kevadiya Railway Station:  Ministry of Railways recently approved the renaming of the Kevadiya railway station in Narmada district of Gujarat, as Ekta Nagar railway station.

Key Highlights:

  • Statue of Unity’s Kevadiya railway station falls under the Vadodara division.
  • The new station code of Ekta Nagar railway station will be the Numerical code of Ekta Nagar railway station will be 08224620.
  • Under the public-private partnership (PPP) initiative, the Vadodara Division of Western Railways had awarded first of its kind contract in the Indian Railways network for the development of an Art Gallery with a Souvenir shop at Gujarat’s Kevadiya Railway station.

Additional Info:

The following is the list of Some Important Renamed Places:

  • Naugarh Railway Station as the Siddharthnagar railway station.
  • Faizabad Railway Junction as Ayodhya Cantt.
  • MP’s Bhopal Habibganj railway station as
  • Rani Kamlapati railway station.
  • Indore’s Patalpani Railway Station as Tribal Icon Tantya Bhil railway station.
  • UP’s Jhansi Railway Station as Veerangana Laxmibai Railway Station.
  • The airport in Ayodhya as Maryada Purshottam Shriram Airport.
  • Gorewada International Zoo as Balasaheb Thackeray Gorewada International Zoological Park
  • Mohali International Hockey Stadium as Olympian Balbir Singh Senior International Hockey Stadium.
  • Indian Broadcasting Foundation (IBF) as Indian Broadcasting and Digital Foundation (IBDF).

MSME Technology Centre: Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi recently inaugurated a Technology Centre of the MSME Ministry, established at Puducherry, on the occasion of National youth day.

Key Points:

  • This World Class Technology Centre is set up with an investment of about Rs. 122 crore with a focus on the Electronic System Design and Manufacturing (ESDM) Sector.
  • It is spread across 10 acres.
  • It will train 20,000 youth, support 2000 MSMEs and incubate 200 Start-Ups, thereby propelling the local economy to great heights.
  • It will function under the Union Ministry of Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSME), in Puducherry.

Technology Centre Systems Program:

  • The Technology Centres across the country are developed under the flagship Technology Centre Systems Program.
  • This Technology Centre Systems Program are supporting existing and prospective MSMEs by developing production facilities, manpower, providing consultancy and developing a competitive edge through the adoption of best practices.
  • The MSME Ministry through its various initiatives and programs is revving up the sector to achieve inclusive growth, provide sustainable employment opportunities and thereby attain the Prime Minister’s vision of Atma Nirbhar Bharat.

About Puducherry:

  • Puducherry, (original name Putuccerial) is also known as Pondicherry.
  • It is a union territory (UT) of India. It was formed in 1962 out of four territories of the former French establishment, namely Pondichéry, Karikal, Mahé and Yanaon, excluding Chandannagar.
  • It is named after the largest district, Puducherry.
  • It is bounded on the east by the Bay of Bengal and on the three sides by Tamil Nadu.
  • It was under French rule for 138 years and merged with the Indian Union on 1st November 1954.

About MSME Ministry:

  • The Ministry of Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises is a branch of the Government of India (GoI).
  • It is the apex executive body for the formulation and administration of rules, regulations and laws relating to micro, small and medium enterprises in India.
  • It was founded in 2007.
  • The Ministry of Agro and Rural Industries and Ministry of Small Scale Industries (SSI) were merged into a single Ministry, namely, the Ministry of Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSME) in October 1999.
  • The current Union Minister of MSME is Narayan Tatu Rane (Rajya Sabha-Maharashtra) and the Minister of State is Bhanu Pratap Singh Verma(Constituency-Jalaun, Uttar Pradesh).

 

Development Projects Manipur and Tripura: Prime Minister Narendra Modi recently dedicated projects worth Rs. 4,800 crores to Manipur while Tripura received the new integrated terminal building at Maharaja Bir Bikram Airport along with two key development initiatives.

Key Details:

  • He was on his visit to Manipur and Tripura recently.
  • These projects relate to diverse sectors such as Road Infrastructure, Drinking Water Supply, Health, Urban Development, Housing, Information Technology, Skill Development, Art and Culture, among others

List of mega developmental projects inaugurated by the PM Modi -

In Manipur:

  • Modi inaugurated 13 projects worth around Rs. 1,850 crores and laid the foundation stone of 9 projects worth around Rs 2950 crore in Imphal.
  • In line with the countrywide projects to improve connectivity, he laid the foundation stone of five National Highway projects to be built at a cost of more than Rs 1,700 crore.
  • He inaugurated a steel bridge over the Barak River on NH-37, to be built at a cost of over Rs 75 crore, which would decongest traffic between Silchar and Imphal.
  • He also dedicated to the people of Manipur 2,387 mobile towers built at a cost of around Rs 1,100 crores.
  • He inaugurated the water transmission system of the Thoubal Multi-Purpose Project, which will provide a drinking water supply to Imphal city.
  • The water supply scheme, built at a cost of Rs 65 crore, will provide safe drinking water to residents of the ten habitations of Tamenglong district.
  • In an effort to strengthen the health sector in the state, he laid the foundation stone of a state-of-the-art cancer hospital in Imphal worth around Rs 160 crore on a PPP basis.
  • He inaugurated a 200-bed COVID Hospital at Kiyamgei set up at a cost of about Rs 37 crore in collaboration with DRDO.
  • He inaugurated three projects under the Imphal Smart City Mission, developed at a cost of more than Rs 170 crore, including  -
  1. The Integrated Command and Control Centre (ICCC),
  2. Development of Western Riverfront on Imphal River (Phase I) and
  3. Development of Mall Road at Thangal Bazar (Phase I).
  • To provide a boost to the Information Technology sector, he laid the foundation stone of the Centre for Invention, Innovation, Incubation and Training (CIIIT) to be built at a cost of about Rs 200 crore. This project is the biggest PPP initiative in the State.
  • He laid the foundation stone for the construction of the Manipur Institute of Performing Arts.
  • To further strengthen the rich cultural heritage of the state, the renovated and refurbished Govindajee Temple at Imphal was also be inaugurated.
  • To strengthen the handloom industry in the State, the handloom projects were inaugurated in Manipur by PM Modi.
  • The INA complex which will showcase the role played by the Indian National Army in India’s Independence was inaugurated in Moirang.
  • The foundation stone was laid for the government residential quarters at New Checkon.
  • He also laid the foundation stone of 72 Projects worth more than Rs 130 crore under the Pradhan Mantri Jan Vikas Karyakram.
  • He laid the foundation stone of a ropeway project at Ibudhou Marjing, Imphal East.
  • Other projects inaugurated by the Prime Minister included the new Industrial Training Institute (ITI), Kangpokpi under Enhancing Skill Development Infrastructure (ESDI) and a new office building of the Directorate of Information and Public Relations.

In Tripura:

  • Prime Minister Modi in Tripura inaugurated the new Terminal Building of Maharaja Bir Bikram (MBB) Airport which is spread over 30,000 sq km.
  • He launched several key initiatives:
  • Mukhyamantri Tripura Gram Samriddhi Yojana and
  • Project Mission 100 of Vidyajyoti Schools.

Note: Manipur will go to the polls in 2022 along with four other significant states while Tripura will go to the polls in 2023.

About Manipur:

  • Manipur is a state in northeastern India. It is bounded by the Indian states of Nagaland to the north, Mizoram to the south, and Assam to the west; Myanmar lies to its east.
  • It was formed on 21 January 1972. Its Capital is Imphal.
  • The current Governor and the Chief Minister of Manipur are  Najma Heptulla and Biren Singh respectively.

About Tripura:

  • Tripura is a state of India.
  • It is located in the northeastern part of the subcontinent.
  • It is bordered to the north, west, and south by Bangladesh, to the east by the state of Mizoram, and to the northeast by the state of Assam.
  • The independent Tripuri Kingdom (also known as Hill Tippera) joined the newly independent India in 1949.
  • The capital is Agartala.
  • The current Governor and Chief Minister of Tripura are Ramesh Bais and Biplab Kumar Deb respectively.

 

 

National Water Awards 2020: The 3rd round of the National Water Awards for the year 2020 was recently announced.

Key Points:

The awards were announced by the Union Minister of Jal Shakti Gajendra Singh Shekhawat on January 7, 2022.

Note: country’s current water requirement is estimated to be around 1,100 billion cubic meters per year and is projected to go up to 1,447 billion cubic meters by 2050.

India has more than 18% of the world’s population but the country has only 4% of the world’s renewable water resources.

The National Water Awards is presented annually by the Union Ministry of Jal Shakti.

National Water Awards 2020 winners list:

State Awards:

Uttar Pradesh has secured a first position in the ‘Best State Category’, followed by Rajasthan and Tamil Nadu.

District Awards:

Muzzafarnagar of Uttar Pradesh was presented the “Best District”.

Under the ‘Best District-North Zone’ category:

Shahid Bhagat Singh Nagar of Punjab.

Under the ‘Best District-South Zone’ category:

Thiruvananthapuram

 Under the ‘Best District-West Zone’ category:

 Indore, Madhya Pradesh:

Under the ‘Best District-East Zone’ category:

 East Champaran, Bihar:

Under the ‘Best District-North-East Zone’ category:

Goalpara, Assam and Siang, Arunachal Pradesh

Best Village Panchayat”– North Zone:

Dhaspad, Almora, Uttarakhand

Best Village Panchayat”– South Zone:

Yelerampura Panchayat, Tumakuru District, Karnataka

Best Village Panchayat”– East Zone:

Telari Panchayat, Gaya District, Bihar

Best Village Panchayat– West Zone       

Takhatgadh, Sabarkantha, Gujarat

Best Village Panchayat– North-East Zone:

Sialsir, Sirchip, Mizoram

Best Urban Local Body:

Vapi Urban Local Body, Gujarat

Best Media (Print & Electronic):

Mission Paani (Network 18)

Best School:

Govt. Girls Hr. Secondary School, Kaveripattinam, Tamil Nadu

Best Industry:

Welspun India Textile Ltd., Gujarat

Best Water User Association:

Panchgachiya MDTW WUA, Hooghly, West Beng

Best Industry for CSR activities:

ITC Limited, Kolkata, West Bengal

About the Award:

  • The National Water Award was launched by the Jal Shakti Ministry in 2018 to recognize and motivate individuals and organizations doing exemplary work in the field of water resources management.
  • Overall 57 awards have been announced.
  • They are presented in 11 categories.
  • These include Best State, Best District, Best Village Panchayat, Best Urban Local Body, Best Media (Print & Electronic), Best School, Best Institution/RWA/Religious organization for Campus usage, Best Industry, Best NGO, Best Water User Association, and Best Industry for CSR Activity.
  • The award comes with a citation, trophy and cash prize.

Significance:

  • National Water Awards also strives to create awareness among the people about the significance of water and attempts to motivate them to adopt better usage practices.
  • The awards encourage the stakeholders to adopt a holistic approach towards water resource management.
  • It aims at recognizing and encouraging the exemplary work and the efforts made by the States, individuals, districts, etc. across the country in attaining the government’s vision of ‘Jal Samridh Bharat’.

 

Lignite Mining: Rajasthan Congress government is preparing an ambitious road map in the New Year for mining of lignite in Bikaner district’s Gudha West and the installation of a new lignite-based thermal power plant in its vicinity.

Key Points:

  • The joint action plan is expected to significantly enhance the State’s power generation capacity.
  • Lignite mining capacity of 10 lakh tonnes was available in Gudha West, where there was a plan to set up a power plant of 125 to 135 MW capacity in 2005 as well.
  • The Central Government’s Neyveli Lignite Corporation is already generating electricity in its power plant at Gudha East, while the power is being produced by the private sector in Bikaner district’s Barsingsar village.

About Lignite:

  • Lignite is also often referred to as brown coal, is a soft, brown, combustible, sedimentary rock.
  • It is formed from naturally compressed peat.
  • It has a carbon content of around 25–35%.
  • It is considered the lowest rank of coal due to its relatively low heat content.
  • Lignite is mined all around the world and is used almost exclusively as a fuel for steam-electric power generation.

Drawback of Lignite:

  • The combustion of lignite produces less heat for the amount of carbon dioxide (CO2) and sulfur released than other ranks of coal. As a result, environmental advocates have characterized lignite as the most harmful coal to human health.

About Rajasthan:

  • Rajasthan is a state in northern India.
  • It comprises most of the wide and inhospitable Thar Desert (also known as the "Great Indian Desert").
  • It shares a border with the Pakistani provinces of Punjab to the northwest and Sindh to the west, along the Sutlej-Indus river valley.
  • The Capital of Rajasthan is Jaipur.
  • The current Chief Minister and Governor of Rajasthan is Ashok Gehlot and Kalraj Mishra respectively.

 

Student Start-ups and Innovation Policy 2.0: Chief Minister of Gujarat Shri Bhupendra Patel and Education Minister Shri Jitu Vaghani recently launched “Student Start-up and Innovation Policy (SSIP) 2.0” in the state of Gujarat.

Key Points:

  • SSIP 2.0 was launched at the International Conference of Academic Institutions (ICAI-2022).
  • ICAI 2022 is a pre vibrant summit, which was held at Science City on January 5, 2022.
  • This policy was launched with the aim of financially supporting the school students in innovation.
  • It contains provisions for the establishment of active innovation and incubation centres in all universities in the state.

Vision of SSIP 2.0:

  • SSIP 2.0 is being launched with the vision of sustainable development and inclusive growth, for the realization of Aatmanirbhar Gujarat.

SSIP 2.0 Rules:

  • SSIP 2.0 rules provide support to any person aged up to 35 years, who is a school student; or a vocational, diploma, undergraduate, postgraduate & doctoral student; or an alumna, alumnus, or any dropout from an institute, university, or school.
  • Under it, the State Government plans to establish functional innovation and incubation centres across all the universities in the state.

Financial Support:

  • As per rules of SSIP 2.0, a support system at the school level will be provided a maximum of Rs 20,000 per proof of concept/prototype/innovation for classes 9-12, with the aim of “catching them young”.
  • Support will also be extended to collective/community level support systems as well as activities for others along with large-scale sensitization, programs and events to develop the scientific mindset.

Significance of SSIP 2.0:

  • SSIP 2.0 is significant in light that, there are so many innovations done by school students.
  • But they do not get any platform to showcase them.
  • The new policy will support such innovations financially and help in taking them from “Mind to Market”.

SSIP 1.0 Vs SSIP 2.0:

  • The outreach of SSIP 2.0 has been increased by five-folds, as compared to SSIP 1.0.
  • SSIP 1.0 covered 10 lakh students of higher & technical education institutes while SSIP 2.0 will cover 50 lakh students.
  • Out of 50 lakh students, 35 lakh are school students while the remaining are students from higher and technical education institutes.
  • SSIP 1.0 had provisioned Rs 100 crore for five years (2017-21). In SSIP 2.0 the overall financial support for five years has been increased to Rs 500 crore.

About Gujarat:

  • Gujarat is a state on the western coast of India most of which lies on the Kathiawar peninsula.
  • The state is bordered by Rajasthan to the northeast, Dadra and Nagar Haveli and Daman and Diu to the south, Maharashtra to the southeast, Madhya Pradesh to the east, and the Arabian Sea and the Pakistani province of Sindh to the west.
  • Its capital city is Gandhinagar.
  • The Governor and Chief Minister of Gujarat are Acharya Devvrat and Bhupendrabhai Patel respectively.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Places in News Current Affairs - December 2021

ARIIA 2021: Minister of State for Education, Dr. Subhas Sarkar recently announced the Atal Ranking of Institutions on Innovation Achievements (ARIIA) 2021.

Key Highlights:

  • This is the 4th edition of ARIIA.
  • The first edition of the ARIIA was launched in 2018.
  • For the third year in a row, Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Madras has been ranked best institute for innovation among the Centrally Funded Technical Institutions (CFTIs) in the ARIIA rankings 2021.

About ARIIA:

  • Atal Ranking of Institutions on Innovation Achievements (ARIIA) is an initiative of Ministry of Education (MoE) to systematically rank all major higher educational institutions in India on indicators related to Innovation, Start-up and Entrepreneurship Development amongst students and faculties.

Rankings:

  • The rankings for technical and non-technical institutions have been divided into seven sub-categories.
  • ARIIA-2021 ranking is announced in various categories which includes Centrally funded technical institutions (eg IITs, NITs, etc), State Universities, State standalone Technical colleges, Private universities, Private standalone technical colleges, non-technical government and private universities and institutions.
  • This year the participation has almost doubled to 1438 Institutes and have quadrupled over first edition.
  • In the state and deemed to be universities category, Punjab University has been ranked number one, followed by Delhi Technological University and Netaji Subhas University of Technology in second and third places.
  • College of Engineering, Pune tops ARIIA 2021 in the government and government-aided technical colleges category, followed by PSG College of Technology in Tamil Nadu, and LD College of Engineering in Gujarat.
  • Kalinga Institute of Industrial Technology (KIIT) is best among private technical universities for innovation as per the rankings.
  • In the list of private technical institutions or colleges, GH Raisoni College of Engineering, Maharashtra holds the top spot.
  • For the first time, the Centre introduced a “non-technical institutions’’ category in the ARIIA rankings to strengthen the innovation and entrepreneurial ecosystem in higher education institutions.
  • Indira Gandhi National Open University (Delhi) topped the category among centrally funded institutions.

Additional News:

  • PM Modi also inaugurated the completed section of Kanpur Metro Rail Project.
  • The completed section of the Kanpur Metro Rail Project is nine-kilometre long section from IIT, Kanpur to Moti Jheel.
  • The entire length of the Metro Rail Project in Kanpur is 32 kilometres and is being built at a cost of over 11,000 crore rupees.

Bina-Panki Multiproduct Pipeline Project: Prime Minister Narendra Modi dedicated a Multiproduct pipeline from Bina Refinery (MP) to POL Terminal at Panki, Kanpur (UP).

Key Details:

  • The 356 km long (283 km in UP and 73 km in MP) project has a capacity of around 3.45 million metric tonne per annum (MMTPA).
  • The project will provide for safe and efficient evacuation of products from Bina Refinery and also improve availability of products in Eastern U.P, Central U.P., Northern Bihar and Southern Uttarakhand.
  • This project also includes augmentation of Tankage capacity and construction of Rail Loading Gantry at Panki POL Terminal. Total cost of the project is Rs.1524 crore (Rs. 1227 crore in UP and Rs. 297 crore in MP).
  • The project will cover 5 districts of UP: Lalitpur, Jhansi, Jalaun, Kanpur Dehat and Kanpur Nagar, and 2 of MP: Sagar and Tikamgarh.
  • The project provided direct & indirect employment of close to 5 lakh man-days during construction phase. The Project will also provide employment to approx. 200 people for operation and maintenance.
  • The project also includes laying of 18 inch diameter, 356 km long multi-product pipeline (283 km in UP and 73 km in MP) with design capacity of 3.5 MMTPA from Bina Dispatch Terminal at Bina (MP) to POL Terminal at Panki, Kanpur (UP) for transporting MS, HSD & SKO and also includes the construction of 11 SV stations and one intermediate pigging station along the pipeline route.
  • The project has been completed and commissioned one month ahead of approved completion schedule of December 2021 (3 years from PNGRB authorisation) and within the approved cost.

Significance:

  • The Project provided direct & indirect employment to about 5 lakh man-days during construction phase.
  • The Project will also provide employment to approx. 200 people for operation and maintenance.
  • Environment Friendly:
  • These Pipelines are the safe & environment friendly mode of transporting large quantity of petroleum products in an economical and reliable manner.
  • It reduces carbon foot prints by avoiding tank wagon and tank lorry movements.

New Districts of Nagaland: the Government of Nagaland has created three new districts in the state.

Key Points:

  • The new districts are Tseminyu, Niuland and Chumukedima.
  • Niuland and Chumukedima have been formed out of Dimapur district, the Tseminyu, a sub-division of the Kohima district, has been promoted to a district.
  • Total number of districts in the state stands at 15.
  • Tseminyu became the 13th district followed by Nuiland and Chumukedima as 14th and 15th districts respectively.

About Nagaland:

  • Nagaland is a mountainous state in northeast India, bordering Myanmar.
  • It was formally inaugurated on December 1st, 1963, as the 16th State of the Indian Union. It is bounded by Assam in the West, Myanmar (Burma) on the east, Arunachal Pradesh and part of Assam on the North and Manipur in the South. 
  • Kohima is the capital of Nagaland.
  • The Legislative Assembly of Nagaland (Vidhan Sabha) is the real executive and legislative body of the state.
  • The 60-member of Vidhan Sabha are all elected members of the legislature who form the government executive.
  • It is led by the Chief Minister.
  • Unlike most states in India, Nagaland has been granted a great degree of state autonomy, as well as special powers and autonomy for Naga tribes to conduct their own affairs.
  • Each tribe has a hierarchy of councils at the village, range, and tribal levels dealing with local disputes.
  • The Chief Minister and the Governor of Nagaland are Neiphiu Rio and R.N. Ravi respectively.

KVIC Schemes in Bundelkhand: Khadi and Village Industries Commission (KVIC) recently rolled out self-employment schemes in UP’s Bundelkhand region.

Key Highlights:

  • Hundreds of people of the Bundelkhand region of Uttar Pradesh took a stride towards self-reliance by associating with self-employment activities of Khadi and Village Industries Commission (KVIC).
  • At an event organized in Jhansi, Minister of State for MSME, Bhanu Pratap Singh Verma distributed electric potter wheels, bee boxes and Agarbatti making machines to rural artisans of Jhansi district and adjoining areas of the Bundelkhand region.
  • An awareness program on Central Government’s flagship Prime Minister’s Employment Generation Program (PMEGP) was also inaugurated on the occasion.
  • The implements distributed by KVIC included 200 bee boxes, 100 electric potter wheels and 50 Agarbatti making machines. This will create a cumulative employment for over 600 local persons.
  • KVIC has also provided training to these beneficiaries for carrying out activities at their doorsteps.
  • The machines given to the rural artisans under KVIC’s initiatives in the Bundelkhand region will provide them with livelihood at their doorsteps.
  • The government is committed to expedite job creation by implementing flagship programs like PMEGP, Honey Mission and Kumhar Sashaktikaran Yojana in the region.

About KVIC:

  • It refers to the Khadi and Village Industries Commission.
  • KVIC is a statutory body formed in April 1957 (as per an RTI) by the Government of India (GoI), under the Act of Parliament, ‘Khadi and Village Industries Commission Act of 1956’.
  • It is an apex organization under the Ministry of Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises.
  • The main objective of KVIC is to plan, promote, facilitate, organize and assist in the establishment and development of khadi and village industries in the rural areas in coordination with other agencies engaged in rural development wherever necessary.

Pandu Ship Repair Facility: According to the Union Minister of Ports, Shipping & Waterways Sarbananda Sonowal, the technical work of Pandu Ship Repair Facility in Guwahati is being completed as the construction of the facility is slated to commence from May, 2022.

Key Highlights:

The project is slated to be completed by 2024.

The facility will bolster waterways connectivity to facilitate the large movement of large cargo to and from the region.

Sarbananda Sonowal met with the top officials of Inland Waterways Authority of India (IWAI), Cochin Shipyard Limited & IIT, Madras to review the progress on the Pandu Ship repair facility in Guwahati.

• The announcement of the new ship repair facility was made on 26th August, 2021.

• This facility is going to be a major contributor to the economic resurgence of the region.

• The design and implementation of this project is being done jointly by IWAI and Cochin Shipyard Limited.

• The technical support is being provided by IIT, Madras.

• The facility – also referred as ‘Slipway’ – is going to be developed on 3.67 acre of land which is provided by Government of Assam.

North Eastern Region District Sustainable SDG Index and Dashboard 2021-22: NITI Aayog recently released the North Eastern Region District SDG Index and Dashboard 2021-22.

Key Points:

  • Ministry of Development of North Eastern Region (DoNER), in collaboration with NITI Aayog, has released North Eastern Region District SDG Index and Dashboard 2021-22.
  • It is designed and developed by NITI Aayog in collaboration with the Ministry of Development of North Eastern Region (DoNER).
  • With technical support from United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), it is the first of its kind in the country as it focuses on the North Eastern Region.
  • The index measures the performance of the District of the eight North Eastern States Arunachal Pradesh, Assam, Manipur, Meghalaya, Mizoram, Nagaland, Sikkim and Tripura. This is for the first time; a district wise index is being prepared in the country.

Significance:

  • SDG Index will be used as a base for planning of development and welfare activities, education, health care.
  • The needs to generate livelihood which will not only help in increasing the family income but will also raise the living standards.

Goa Liberation Day: Goa's Liberation Day is observed on December 19 in India every year  to mark the success of 'Operation Vijay' undertaken by Indian armed forces that liberated Goa from Portuguese rule.

  • Goa was freed by the Indian armed forces in 1961 following 450 years of Portuguese rule.

Goa Liberation Day 2021:

  • The year 2021 marks the 60 years of Goa’s independence
  • The diamond jubilee celebrations were set in motion on December 19, 2020 by President Ram Nath Kovind on banks of the Mandovi river in Panaji, with the state government rolling out many programmes since then.
  • The Centre too had announced a grant of Rs 300 crore for Goa.
  • Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi attended the function marking the Goa Liberation Day celebrations in Goa.
  • PM Modi felicitated the freedom fighters and veterans of ‘Operation Vijay’ at the function.
  • He inaugurated multiple development projects including the renovated Fort Aguada Jail Museum, Super Speciality Block at Goa Medical College, New South Goa District Hospital, Aviation Skill Development Centre at Mopa Airport and the Gas insulated Substation at Dabolim-Navelim, Margao.
  • He also laid the foundation stone for India International University of Legal Education and Research of the Bar Council of India Trust at Goa.

History:

  • The Portuguese colonised several parts of India in 1510 but by the end of the 19th-century Portuguese colonies in India were limited to Goa, Daman, Diu, Dadra, Nagar Haveli and Anjediva Island.
  • In the 19th Century, during the independence movement, Goans participated in Satyagraha.
  • Unlike the rest of India, Goa did not achieve independence on August 15, 1947, and was ruled by the Portuguese for nearly a decade more.
  • Apart from Goa, the Portuguese also ruled Daman, Diu, Dadra, Nagar Haveli and Anjediva Island.
  • When the Portuguese refused to give up their hold over Goa and other Indian territories.
  • India conducted a 36-hour military operation, from December 18, 1961, was code-named ‘Operation Vijay’ meaning ‘Operation Victory,’ and involved attacks by the Indian Navy, Indian Air Force and Indian Army.
  • Finally, on 19 December, 1961, India conquered Goa from the Portuguese and Goa became a part of India.

About Goa:

  • Goa is a state in western India with coastlines stretching along the Arabian Sea.
  • It is surrounded by the Indian states of Maharashtra to the north and Karnataka to the east and south, with the Arabian Sea forming its western coast.
  • Goa continued to remain a Union Territory until 1987 when it was accorded statehood. It became India’s 25th state even as Daman and Diu continue to be Union Territories.
  • It is India's smallest state by area and the fourth-smallest by population.
  • The capital of Goa is Panaji.
  • The current Chief Minister and the Governor of Goa are Pramod Sawant and Bhagat Singh Koshyari respectively.

 

Places in News Current Affairs - November 2021

Ken-Betwa Link Project: The Union Cabinet chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi has approved the funding and implementation of the Ken-Betwa inter-linking of rivers project.

Key Points:

  • The total cost of the Ken-Betwa link project has been assessed at ₹ 44,605 crore.
  • The project has a deadline of eight years.
  • The project will generate 103 MW hydropower and 27 MW solar power.
  • Ken-Betwa River linking project is the first major centrally-driven river interlinking project in the country.
  • A Special Purpose Vehicle (SPV) called Ken-Betwa Link Project Authority (KBLPA) will be set up to implement the project.
  • This project involves the transfer of water from Ken to the Betwa River through the construction of Daudhan Dam and a canal linking the two rivers.

Benefits of the project

  • The project will provide annual irrigation of 1.06 million hectares.
  • It will be provide drinking water supply to a human population of about 6.2 million
  • It will generate 103 Mw of hydropower & 27 Mw of solar power.

Significance of the project

  • The project will be of immense benefit to the water-starved Bundelkhand region, spread across the states of MP and UP.
  • The project will provide immense benefits to the districts of Panna, Tikamgarh, Chhatarpur, Sagar, Damoh, Datia, Vidisha, Shivpuri and Raisen of Madhya Pradesh and Banda, Mahoba, Jhansi and Lalitpur of Uttar Pradesh.
  • The project is expected to boost socio-economic prosperity in the backward Bundelkhand region on account of increased agricultural activities and employment generation.
  • It would also help in arresting distress migration from this region.

Andhra Pradesh Legislative Assembly: Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister Y S Jagan Mohan Reddy recently announced the decision to withdraw the three-capital Act.

Key Points:

The Andhra Pradesh Legislative Assembly has passed a Bill to repeal the AP Decentralization and Inclusive Development of All Regions Act, 2020, that was intended to establish three capitals for the south Indian state.

The Andhra Pradesh Decentralisation and Inclusive Development of All Regions Bill was passed by the Assembly last year was meant to trifurcate Andhra Pradesh’s capital into three– the executive capital at Visakhapatnam, legislative capital at Amaravati, and judicial capital at Kurnool.

Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister Y S Jagan Mohan Reddy, however, said his government would bring a “comprehensive, complete and better” Decentralization Bill.

Swachh Survekshan 2021: Madhya Pradesh’s Indore has been awarded as India’s cleanest city for the fifth consecutive year by Swachh Survekshan 2021, followed by Surat in Gujarat and Vijaywada in Andhra Pradesh.

  • Swachh Survekshan is the central government’s annual cleanliness survey to promote sanitation in urban centres under the Swachh Bharat Mission.
  • Every year, cities and towns across India are awarded the title of “Swachh Cities” on the basis of their cleanliness and sanitation drives as a part of the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan (Clean India Mission) that was launched in 2014.
  • Chhattisgarh was another major winner in the annual cleanliness survey as it was adjudged the cleanest state in the country.

Here’s the list of the top 10 cleanest cities in the Swachh Survekshan 2021:

  1. Indore
  2. Surat
  3. Vijaywada
  4. Navi Mumbai
  5. Pune
  6. Raipur
  7. Bhopal
  8. Vadodara
  9. Visakhapatnam
  10. Ahmedabad

Rani Kamalapati Railway Station: Prime Minister Narendra Modi has recently inaugurated the revamped Rani Kamalapati railway station, earlier known as Habibganj, in Bhopal in Madhya Pradesh.

This station has the first central concourse with connectivity to all platforms with modern world-class facilities.

Rani Kamlapati Railway Station, recently named after 18th century queen of Bhopal’s Gond kingdom, is the first world-class model station in the country and has all the facilities that are available at international airports.

 It has been developed under a public-private partnership and built by a private company.

Rani Kamlapati was the last Hindu queen of Bhopal.

Tamil Nadu Green Climate Company: Taking a step in the direction of climate action, Tamil Nadu government has set up the first setting up the first ever Special Purpose Vehicle (SPV) to manage natural conservation missions in the state.

Key Takeaways
• The Special Purpose Vehicle (SPV) is known as as “Tamil Nadu Green Climate Company”.
• The company will professionally manage three critical natural conservation missions– Tamil Nadu Climate Change, Tamil Nadu Green and Tamil Nadu Wetlands..
• This step by Tamil Nadu comes after Prime Minister Narendra Modi committed to India to achieving net-zero carbon emission by 2070.

Authorised Capital and Members of SPV

The SPV’s authorised capital will be ₹5 crore.

The State Environment Secretary will be the company’s chairperson and MD, and top officials from the departments of finance, energy, municipal administration, agriculture and forests will be members.

 

The authorised capital of SPV will be Rs 5 crore. Its member includes-

  1. Chairperson & MD: State Environment Secretary
  2. Members: Top officials from the departments of finance, energy, municipal administration, agriculture and forests.

Mission of SPV includes:

  1. Planning, execution and monitoring of State-wide programme for climate change adaptation & mitigation, wetlands mapping and restoration.
  2. Enhancing forest & tree cover to 33 per cent.
  3. SPV will also create strong policy support for climate change, cutting over all sectors of governance.
  4. It will devise strategies to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and benchmarking the industries for moving towards green manufacturing.
  5. SPV will also promote eco-friendly technologies for a sustainable future.

Background
While presenting the revised budget for 2021-2022, State Finance Minister announced three missions.

Tamil Nadu Climate Change Mission was launched with a total outlay of Rs 500 crores, to focus on climate change adaptation and mitigation activities.

Tamil Nadu Wetlands Mission
This Mission was launched to identify and map 100 wetlands in 5 years.

It will also help in restoring the ecological balance with focus on livelihood at a cost of Rs 150 crore.

Uttam Beej Portal: As part of its commitment to double the income of the farmers, Manohar Lal Khattar, the Chief Minister of Haryana, has launched the ‘Uttam Beej portal’ which will benefit the farmers of the state. The move will help the farmers of Haryana by providing quality seeds with transparency.

The portal will provide transparency in the seed production programme arranged by both the Government and private seed producing agencies and ensure the quality of certified seeds.

The demand of quality seeds in Haryana is high. Today, Haryana is producing 30-35 lakh quintals certified seed of wheat and other crops.

This seed portal has been linked with Meri Fasal Mera Byora Portal where the farmers have to register themselves. Meri Fasal Mera Byora Portal offers particulars to all these farmers who’ve land or who’ve given their land on contract and should promote their crop.

About Haryana:

  • Haryana is a North Indian state surrounding New Delhi on 3 sides.
  • It is one of the 28 states in India, located in the northern part of the country.
  • It was carved out of the former state of East Punjab on 1 November 1966 on a linguistic basis.
  • It is bordered by Himachal Pradesh to the north-east, by river Yamuna along its eastern border with Uttar Pradesh, by Rajasthan to the west and south, and Ghaggar-Hakra River flows along its northern border with Punjab.
  • Since Haryana surrounds the country's capital Delhi on three sides (north, west and south), consequently a large area of Haryana is included in the economically-important National Capital Region for the purposes of planning and development. The capital of Haryana is Chandigarh.
  • The current Chief Minister and Governor of Haryana are Manohar Lal Khattar and Bandaru Dattatraya respectively.

Jai Bhim Mukhyamantri Pratibha Vikas Yojana: “Jai Bhim Mukhyamantri Pratibha Vikas Yojana” is a Delhi government scheme. Under it, 15,000 students have enrolled for coaching classes in the year 2021.

What is Jai Bhim Mukhyamantri Pratibha Vikas Yojana Scheme?

Jai Bhim Mukhyamantri Pratibha Vikas Yojana scheme was launched by Delhi Government for various competitive exams at some private centres.

The scheme covers children belonging to economically poor background and marginalised communities.
Besides free coaching, students will also be provided travel stipend amount of Rs 2,500 by Delhi government.

 

Who are covered under the scheme?

Under Jai Bhim Mukhyamantri Pratibha Vikas Yojana, bright students belonging to SC, ST, OBC and EWS categories are given free coaching for competitive exams from private coaching centres.

A family earning less than Rs.8 lakh per annum can avail the benefits of the scheme.

Which coaching institutes provide classes?

Under the scheme, students can avail the benefit of free coaching classes across 46 coaching centres. Coaching teaches for competitive exams like UPSC, CDS, medical & engineering entrance, banking exams, management school exams and law university entrance.

Background

This scheme was launched in 2018. That year it was launched only for SC & ST students. Around 5,000 students were enrolled under it. In the year 2019, it witnessed the enrolment of 15,000 students as scheme was opened for students belonging to OBC and EWS category.

The scheme was discontinued in 2020 after the COVID-19 pandemic hit Delhi.

Noida International Airport (NIA): Prime Minister Narendra Modi has inaugurated the Noida International Airport (NIA) at Jewar in Gautam Buddh Nagar in Uttar Pradesh on November 25, 2021.

Key Points
• Airport at Jewar is being developed by Yamuna International Airport Private Limited (YIAPL), which is a 100 per cent subsidiary of project’s Swiss concessionaire Zurich International Airport AG.
• The Noida International Airport is expected to be operational by September 2024.

• The airport will have an initial capacity to handle 1.2 crore passengers per annum.

PPP model
The Noida International Airport is being developed by Yamuna International Airport Pvt Ltd (YIAPL) under the PPP model in association with the Uttar Pradesh Government and Indian Government.

 

About Noida International Airport
Noida International Airport is spread across more than 1300 hectares of land. First phase of the airport will serve around 1.2 crore passengers in a year, after its completion. Work on first phase of the project is scheduled to be completed by 2024.

Cost of the project
Estimated cost of the project is at around Rs 15000- 20000 crore. First phase of the project is being developed at a cost of around Rs 10,050 crore.

Where is it located?
The airport is located at a distance of 72 km from Delhi’s Indira Gandhi airport and 40 km from Noida.
Significance of the project
• With this airport, Uttar Pradesh will become the only Indian state with five international airports.
• Noida International Airport will be the second international airport in the national capital region, after Indira Gandhi International Airport at Delhi.
• With six runways once all its expansions are completed, it will be India’s largest airport and among the world’s largest airports.
• This will be India’s first net zero emissions airport. It will also have the provision of multi-modal seamless connectivity.
• Airport will be constructed with an integrated multi-modal cargo hub, for the first time in India.

Background
The airport is being constructed in line with vision of Prime Minister towards boosting connectivity and creating a future-ready aviation sector in order to establish Uttar Pradesh on the world’s map.

Places in News Current Affairs - October 2021

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

Key Points:

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

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

Significance:

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

Background:

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

Drone Survey and Property Cards:

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

About Punjab:

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

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

About Syama Prasad Mookerjee Port:

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

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

Key points:

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

Buddha's link with Kushinagar:

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

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

Key Highlights:

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

About Mount Harriet:

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

About Anglo-Manipur War of 1891:

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

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

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Dr APJ Abdul Kalam Prerna Sthal: 

Dr APJ Abdul Kalam Prerana Sthal’ was inaugurated at Naval Science & Technological Laboratory (NSTL), Visakhapatnam on October 15, 2021.

Key Highlights:

  • The Prerna Sthal was inaugurated to mark Bharat Ratna Dr. APJ Abdul Kalam's 90th birthday as well as the 'Azadi Ka Amrit Mahotsav'.
  • On this occasion, Dr. Samir V Kamat, DRDO's director general (Naval Systems & Materials), jointly unveiled a statue of Dr. Kalam also.
  • NSTL products like Varunastra, Torpedo Advanced Light (TAL) and Maareech decoy are also being displayed on the occasion at NSTL.

About NSTL:

  • The Naval Science & Technological Laboratory (NSTL) is the premier naval research laboratory working under the Defence Research & Development Organisation (DRDO).
  • NSTL is located in Visakhapatnam.
  • The primary function of NSTL is the research & development of underwater weapons & associated systems.
  • It is handled by the DRDO's Directorate of Naval Research and Development.
  • The current director of NSTL is Dr. Y. Sreenivas Rao.

About APJ Abdul Kalam:

  • A.P.J. Abdul Kalam's full name Avul Pakir Jainulabdeen (APJ) Abdul Kalam was an Indian aerospace scientist and a politician.
  • He served as 11th president of India from 2002 to 2007.
  • Widely referred to as the "People's President", he returned to his civilian life of education, writing and public service after a single term.
  • He was involved in India's civilian space programme and military missile development efforts. He thus came to be known as the Missile Man of India for his work on the development of ballistic missile and launch vehicle technology.
  • He also played significant organizational, technical, and political role the Pokhran II nuclear tests by India in 1998.
  • He was a recipient of several prestigious awards, including the Bharat Ratna, India's highest civilian honour.

                                                                                                  

Desh Ke Mentor Programme: The Delhi government recently launched its “Desh ke Mentors” programme.

Key Points:

  • Under the 'Desh Ke Mentor' initiative, a mentor will have to take out 10 minutes every week to guide students.
  • The programme includes a two month mandatory mentoring module and another optional four month module.
  • This programme will be implemented across all the schools in Delhi.

Aim:

  • It was launched with the aim of providing students with young mentors.
  • This mentorship programme will also guide the people aged between 18 and 35.

About Desh Ke Mentor Initiative:

  • Under this programme, around nine lakh students of classes 9 to 12 in Delhi government schools will be connected with noteworthy citizens who will offer them career and general guidance.
  • The mentors will engage with students over the phone for 10 15 minutes daily to guide them on various aspects of life
  • Interested citizens from across the country can become mentors by registering on the Desh ke Mentors app.
  • This app has been developed by a team from Delhi Technological University (DTU).
  • They will be connected to students on the basis of mutual interests.
  • Mentors from various professional and academic backgrounds, between the ages of 18 35, will guide and support 2 5 students studying in Delhi government schools.

Note: Actor Sonu Sood has been appointed as the brand ambassador for the programme.

About Delhi:

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

                                                                                    

River Ranching Program: The Minister for Fisheries, Animal Husbandry & Dairying, Parshottam Rupala recently launched the Nationwide River Ranching Programme  in Uttar Pradesh .

Key Highlights:

  • The River Ranching Program is a part of the ‘Pradhan Mantri Matsya Sampada Yojana (PMMSY) scheme.
  • It is introduced to augment and enhance fish production and productivity by expanding, intensifying, diversifying and utilizing land & water productively.
  • The programme was launched at Brijghat, Garh Mukteshwar, Uttar Pradesh (UP).
  • Along with Uttar Pradesh, other 4 states namely, Orissa, Uttarakhand, Tripura and Chhattisgarh also participated in the launch of ‘nationwide River Ranching program’.
  • Three lakhs fingerlings were ranched at 3 sites in UP, namely, Brijghat, Tigri, Meerut, Garhmukteshwar and Bijnor.
  • In UP, about 500 people participated in the national level launching of the River Ranching program.
  • One lakh fingerlings were ranched at Chandi Ghat, Ganga River in Haridwar district of Uttarakhand.
  • 85 lakh of fingerlings were ranched at 4 sites of Tripura namely, Gomati River in Udaipur; Khowai river in Teliamura; Dhalai river in Kamalpur and Deo River in Dashamighat.
  • About 218 participants attended the program.

Aim:

  • This programme was introduced with an aim to help in achieving sustainable fisheries, conserving biodiversity, assessing ecosystem services, reducing habitat degradation and maximizing social economic benefits.
  • It will also ensure the upgradation of traditional fishery, trade & social protection of Inland communities and ecosystem sustainability.

About the Implementing Agency:

  • National Fisheries Development Board, Hyderabad had been designated as the nodal agency by the Department of Fisheries, Ministry of Fisheries.

About PMMSY:

  • It refers to the Pradhan Mantri Matsya Sampada Yojana. The PMMSY scheme was launched by the Government of India (GoI) in May 2020 with Rs.20050 crore as investment.
  • This huge scheme, for the first time, has been prepared keeping in mind the trade of fish in every part of the county.
  • It focuses on the sustainable and responsible development in the sector of Fisheries and aquaculture.
  • It is the largest investment in the fisheries sector with more than 100 activities and it is to be implemented during a period of 5 years from FY 2020 21 to FY 2024 25.

About Uttar Pradesh:

  • Uttar Pradesh is a state in northern India.
  • It was created on 1 April 1937 as the United Provinces of Agra and Oudh during British rule, and was renamed Uttar Pradesh in 1950.
  • Its Capital city is Lucknow.
  • The Chief Minister and the Governor of Uttar Pradesh are Yogi Adityanath and Anandiben Patel respectively.

  

Fishwaale:

 India’s first e fish market app ‘Fishwaale’ was recently launched in Assam.

Key Points:

  • This app was launched by the Minister for Fisheries, Environment and Forest and Excise of Assam Shri Parimal Suklabaidya.
  • The app has been developed by Aqua Blue Global Aquaculture Solutions Pvt Ltd in collaboration with the state fisheries department.
  • Fishwale app is being implemented under Pradhan Mantri Matsya Sampada Yojana (PMMSY).
  • PMMSY will be implemented in all the States and Union Territories (UTs) for a period of five years, i.e., from FY 2020 2021 to FY 2024 2025.

Benefits of the Fishwaale app.:

  • The app, "Fishwaale", will provide one stop solution for aquaculture.
  • It will help both buyers and sellers to place orders and sell fish, aquaculture equipment and medicine, fish feed and fish seed online.
  • Products such as Freshwater and seawater frozen fish, dry fish, fish pickles and processed fish items will be sold via the app.
  • Other Products, such as Table size fish such as mrigal,  bhangon, and rohu and freshwater and seawater frozen fish (ice box) will also be available coupled with dry fish packets, dry fish raw, fish pickles and processed fish products.
  • It will help members of the fish farming community get reasonable price for their produce.
  • It will also lead to the elimination of middlemen.

About PMMSY:

  • It refers to the Pradhan Mantri Matsya Sampada Yojana.
  • The PMMSY scheme was launched by the Government of India (GoI) in May 2020 with Rs.20050 crore as investment.
  • It is a flagship scheme that aims at focused and sustained development of India’s fisheries sector.
  • It has been prepared keeping in mind the trade of fish in every part of the county.

About Assam:

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

                                                                                    

Jim Corbett National Park: The Union Minister of State for Environment, Forest and Climate Change Ashwini Kumar Choubey has recently proposed to change the name of Corbett National Park to Ramganga National Park.

About Jim Corbet National Park:

It is located in Nainital district of Uttarakhand.

It is named after Jim Corbett who played a key role in its establishment.

The park encompasses the Patli Dun valley formed by the Ramganga river.

The national park was established in 1936 as Hailey National Park to protect the endangered Bengal tiger.

It is the oldest national park in India.

It was the first area to come under the Project Tiger initiative in 1973.

History:

In 1936, India’s first national park was named after Malcolm Hailey, the then governor of the United Provinces.

After Independence, it was renamed Ramganga, after the river that flows through the park.

In 1956, the protected area was rechristened once again, after Jim Corbett, the hunter turned naturalist, whose name had, by then, become part of the forest’s lore — a rare instance of a public place being named for an Englishman after Independence.

                                  

Mission Kavach Kundal: The Maharashtra government recently launched a special 7 day COVID 19 vaccination drive called Mission Kavach Kundal.

Key Highlights:

  • The Maharashtra Govt. has launched this drive with an aim to inoculate 15 lakh people every day.
  • The Mission is a part of Central Govt’s target to achieve 100 crore vaccinations by October 15.
  • According Maharashtra Health Minister Rajesh Tope, 30% of the State’s adult population has been administered both doses while 65 per cent have received their first dose of vaccine.

About Maharashtra:

  • Maharashtra is a state in the western peninsular region of India occupying a substantial portion of the Deccan Plateau.
  • It is bordered by the Arabian Sea to the west, the Indian states of Karnataka and Goa to the south, Telangana to the southeast and Chhattisgarh to the east, Gujarat and Madhya Pradesh to the north, and the Indian union territory of Dadra and Nagar Haveli and Daman and Diu to the north west.
  • Its capital is Mumbai.
  • The Chief Minister and the Governor of Maharashtra are  Uddhav Thackeray and Bhagat Singh Koshyari respectively.

                                     

Cultivation of Dalchini in HP: The CSIR’s Institute of Himalayan Bioresource Technology (IHBT), on a pilot basis, has recently introduced cinnamon cultivation in Himachal Pradesh (HP).

Key Highlights:

With the cultivation of Cinnamomum Verum, Himachal Pradesh has become the first state of India to have organized cultivation of cinnamon.

Note: Around 2000 hectares of the area was under Cinnamomum Verum cultivation in Kerala but was in an unorganized sector.

Background:

  • Organized Cinnamon cultivation in Himachal Pradesh was launched on 29 September 2021.
  • Agriculture Minister Virendra Kanwar planted the first sapling in the Una district on that day.

Significance:

  • If this cultivation is successful, then the organized cultivation of cinnamon will be launched on a commercial scale.
  • This will further cut down India’s import of cinnamon worth Rs. 909 crores per annum.

Cinnamon Cultivation:

  • True cinnamon or Cinnamomumverum is grown mainly in Sri Lanka.
  • Some minor producing countries include Madagascar, Seychelles, and India.

Import of Cinnamon by India:

  • India imports 45,318 tonnes of Cinnamon annually from Sri Lanka, China, Indonesia, Vietnam, and Nepal.

Key details about Cinnamon:

  • Cinnamon, most commonly known as Dalchini, is a spice obtained from the inner bark of several tree species from the genus Cinnamomum.
  • The true Cinnamon is derived from Cinnamomum Verum.
  • Cinnamomum Cassia is yet another species that is used in place of true Cinnamon.
  • However, it has high coumarin content which is not good for the health. so, this variety has been banned in the United States, European Union, and Ireland.
  • Cinnamon is used mainly as an aromatic condiment and flavouring additive in a wide variety of cuisines, sweet and savoury dishes, breakfast cereals, snackfoods, tea and traditional foods.

About Himachal Pradesh:

  • Himachal Pradesh is a northern Indian state in the Himalayas.
  • It is situated in the Western Himalayas.
  • It is one of the eleven mountain states of India.
  • Himachal Pradesh shares borders with the union territories of Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh to the north, and the states of Punjab to the west, Haryana to the southwest, and Uttarakhand and Uttar Pradesh to the south.
  • The state also has a border with the autonomous region of Tibet to the east.
  • Its summer capital is shimla and winter capital is Dharamshala.
  • The current Governor and Chief Minister of Himachal Pradesh are Bandaru Dattatreya and Jai Ram Thakur respectively.

 

Places in News Current Affairs - September 2021

International Blue Flag Certification: 

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

Highlights:

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

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

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

Background:

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

About BEAMS:

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

Objectives of BEAM:

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

Achievements:

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

About Blue Flag Certification:

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

 

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

Key Highlights:

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

Key Points:

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

About Katley:

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

About Sikkim:

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

 

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

Key Highlights:

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

About the truck parking terminal:

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

About U.S. Mallya Gate:

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

About the Business Development Centre and Testing Centre:

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

About New Mangalore Port:

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

About Mangalore:

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

 

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

Key Highlights:

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

Significance:

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

About Kaza Town:

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

About Spiti:

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

 

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

Highlights:

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

Significance:

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

About Odisha:

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

 

Forest Rights Act, 2006: 

The Jammu and Kashmir government, after a long delay, has decided to implement the Forest Rights Act, 2006 which was not enforced in the Union Territory for the past 14 years.

Key Points:

  • It became applicable to J&K only after 31st October, 2019, hence, recognising the rights of forest dwelling communities for the first time in the Union Territory.
  • The Forest Rights Act, 2006, will elevate the socioeconomic status of a sizeable section of the 14 lakh population of tribals and nomadic communities, including GujjarBakerwals and GaddiSippis in the Union Territory.
  • In the past few years, there were growing cases of eviction of tribals from forest land in parts of the Kashmir Valley and Jammu region.
  • The government termed them “illegal encroachers” but the regional parties accused the Forest Department of acting above the law in these cases.
  • The Union Territory saw the arbitrary demolition of Gujjar and Bakerwal houses during a forest reclamation drive in contravention of the Forest Rights Act of 2006.

About Forest Rights Act (FRA), 2006:

  • The Scheduled Tribes and Other Traditional Forest Dwellers (Recognition of Forest Rights) Act, 2006, is a key piece of forest legislation passed in India on 18 December 2006.
  • It has also been called the Forest Rights Act, the Tribal Rights Act, the Tribal Bill, and the Tribal Land Act.
  • The Forest Rights Act (FRA), 2006 recognizes the rights of the forest dwelling tribal communities and other traditional forest dwellers to forest resources, on which these communities were dependent for a variety of needs, including livelihood, habitation and other sociocultural needs.

About Jammu and Kashmir:

  • Jammu and Kashmir (J&K) is a region administered by India as a Union Territory.
  • It was a region formerly administered by India as a state from 1954 to 2019.
  • Provisions for the formation of the union territory of Jammu and Kashmir were contained within the Jammu and Kashmir Reorganisation Act, 2019, which was passed by both houses of the Parliament of India in August 2019.
  • The region of Jammu and Kashmir is separated by the Line of Control from the Pakistaniadministered territories of Azad Kashmir and GilgitBaltistan in the west and north respectively.
  • It lies to the north of the Indian states of Himachal Pradesh and Punjab and to the west of Ladakh, which is also subject to the dispute as a part of Kashmir, and administered by India as a union territory.
  • The current Lieutenant Governor of J&K is Former Union minister and BJP leader Manoj Sinha

 

Swachhata Pakhwada 2021: Swachhata Pakhwada 2021 was recently launched in Cochin Port Trust by administering the Swachhata pledge in all departments.

Highlights:

  • On this occasion, the Shramdaan cleaning activities have also been started in the Port areas.
  • Activities that were proposed during the Pakhwada includes the cleaning of work places, crafts & public spaces and office premises within the Port area.
  • Various programmes during the period will be led by all the heads of the department.
  • All the activities are being carried out in compliance of the social distancing/safety instructions issued by the Government to contain Covid19 pandemic.

About Swachhta Pakhwada:

  • Swachhata Pakhwada started in April 2016.
  • This initiative was started with the objective of bringing a fortnight of intense focus on the issues and practices of Swachhata by engaging GOI Ministries/Departments in their jurisdictions.
  • In order to plan the Pakhwada activities, an annual calendar is circulated among the Ministries in advanced.
  • The Ministries observing Swachhata Pakhwada are monitored closely using online monitoring system of Swachhata Samiksha where action plans, images, videos related to Swachhata activities are uploaded and shared.
  • After observing Swachhata Pakhwada, Ministries/ Departments announce their achievements through a press conference and other communication tools.
  • For the Pakhwada fortnight, observing ministries are considered as Swachhata Ministries and are expected to bring qualitative Swachhata improvements in their jurisdictions.

About Swachh Bharat Mission (SBM):

  • The Swachh Bharat Mission (SBM) is a countrywide campaign that was initiated by central government in 2014.
  • The SBM was started with the objective of eliminating open defecation and improving solid waste management.
  • This mission is a restructured version of Nirmal Bharat Abhiyan which was launched in 2009.
  • Nirmal Bharat Abhiyan failed to achieve its intended targets.
  • Phase 1 of the Swachh Bharat mission ended in October 2019 while Phase 2 of the mission has been implemented between 2020–21 & 202425.

 About Cochin Port Trust:

  • Kochi, formerly known in English as Cochin is a major port city on the Malabar Coast of India bordering the Laccadive Sea, which is a part of the Arabian Sea.
  • It is part of the district of Ernakulam in the state of Kerala and is often referred to as Ernakulam.
  • Kochi is known as the financial, commercial and industrial capital of Kerala.

 

NIELIT Centres: The Union Minister of State in the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology, Skill Development and Entrepreneurship Rajeev Chandrasekhar inaugurated five NIELIT Centres in North East Region.

Highlights:

  • He inaugurated one of the NIELIT centres in Manipur’s Churachandpur district physically and two other centres at Aizawl of Mizoram and Kokrajhar and Tejpur of Assam through video conferencing.
  • On the occasion, two existing centres at Imphal & at Aizawl districts of Mizoram were upgraded.
  • The Minister noted that these NIELIT centres would be soon be acting as job creation centres with the collaboration of Centre and States.
  • These centres will not just be training centres for students but will get them into the runway of opportunity and jobs.

About National Institute of Electronics & Information Technology (NIELIT):

  • NIELIT is an autonomous scientific body under the administrative control of the Ministry of Electronics & Information Technology (MoE&IT), Government of India (GoI).
  • NIELIT was formerly known as the DOEACC Society.
  • It was set up to carry out Human Resource Development and related activities in the area of Information, Electronics & Communications Technology (IECT).
  • It offers Information Technology & Electronics training at different levels.
  • IT enjoys the power similar to Organizations like CBSE, UGC etc.

About Northeast India:

  • Northeast India is the easternmost region of India representing both a geographic and political administrative division of the country.
  • The North Eastern Region (NER) comprises eight states – Arunachal Pradesh, Assam, Manipur, Meghalaya, Mizoram, Nagaland, Tripura and Sikkim.
  • Previously known as the Seven Sisters, northeast India became richer with the addition of an eighth, Sikkim in 1975.

 

Medicine from the Sky: Civil aviation minister Jyotiradtiya Scindia has recenlty launched a first of its kind project named “Medicine from the Sky” in Telangana.

Key points about the project:

  • The project has aimed at transporting vaccines and other essential products to remote areas using drones.
  • The Medicine from the Sky project will be taken up on a pilot basis in 16 green zones in Telangana and later scaled up on the national level based on data.
  • Medicines from the Sky project will be taken up in 16 green zones and the data will be analysed for three months.
  • Along with the health ministry, IT ministry, state government and the Centre will together analyze the data and make a model for the whole country.

About Telangana:

  • It is a state in India situated on the centresouth stretch of the Indian peninsula on the high Deccan Plateau.
  • It was founded on 2 June 2014.
  • Its Capital city is Hyderabad.
  • The current Governor and Chief Minister of Telangana are Tamilisai Soundararajan and K. Chandrashekar Rao respectively.

 

Rajbhasha Keerthi Puraskar: Recently, on September 14, 2021, the highest and the most prestigious ‘Rajbhasha Keerthi Puraskar’ award was given to National Mineral Development Ltd. (NMDC) under the Ministry of Steel during the Rajbhasha Diwas Samaroh in New Delhi.

Highlights:

  • Minister of State for Home Affairs Nityanand Rai presented the awards during the National Hindi Day celebrations.
  • The Hindi Diwas Samaroh was presided over by Home Minister Shri Amit Shah.

Winners:

  • NMDC got the 3rd prize in the category of Undertakings situated in the ‘C’ region during 201920.
  • NMDC has been winning the Rajbhasha Keerthi Puraskar award for the past three years in a row.
  • The award is presented to recognize the efforts towards the implementation of Hindi as the official language.
  • Dr. Sailesh Shukla, Assistant Manager (Rajbhasha), NMDC Donimalai Iron Ore Project was also awarded Rajbhasha Gourav Puraskar for his article.
  • Vishakhapatnam Steel Plant was also presented with the Rajbhasha Keerthi Puraskar (first prize) for the effective implementation of Hindi as the official language during 202021.

About National Mineral Development Ltd. (NMDC):

  • NMDC Limited is a government owned mineral producer.
  • It is under the administrative control of Ministry of Steel, Government of India (GoI).
  • It was founded on 15 November 1958.
  • It is involved in the exploration of iron ore, copper, rock phosphate, limestone, dolomite, gypsum, bentonite, magnesite, diamond, tin, tungsten, graphite, etc.
  • It is India's largest iron ore producer and exporter, producing more than 35 million tonnes of iron ore from three mechanized mines in Chhattisgarh and Karnataka.
  • It also operates the only mechanized diamond mine in the country at Panna in Madhya Pradesh.

 

Kushinagar Airport: The Central Board of Indirect Taxes and Customs (CBIC) has recently declared Kushinagar Airport in Uttar Pradesh as a Customs notified airport.

Highlights:

  • This would also facilitate international passenger movements including that of Buddhist pilgrims.

About the airport:

  • Kushinagar airport is an international airport spread across an area of 600 acres.
  • It had been granted the licence to operate international flights by Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) last February.

About Kushinagar:

  • Kushinagar is a town in the Kushinagar district of Uttar Pradesh.
  • It is an important Buddhist pilgrimage site, where Buddhists believe Gautama Buddha attained Mahaparinirvana after his death.

About CBIC:

  • Central Board of Indirect Taxes and Customs (CBIC) (erstwhile Central Board of Excise & Customs) is the nodal national agency responsible for administering Customs, GST, Central Excise, Service Tax  and Narcotics in India.
  • It comes under the Department of Revenue, Ministry of Finance.
  • It was founded on 1 January 1964.
  • Shri M. Ajit Kumar is the Chairman of Central Board of Excise & Customs.

 

MeghEA: IT Minister Shri Ashwini Vaishnaw and CM Meghalaya Shri Conrad Sangma recently launched Meghalaya Enterprise Architecture Project (MeghEA).

Key points:

  • The MeghEA initiative is spread across 6 pillars which are as follows:
  • Governance
  • Human Resources
  • Entrepreneurship
  • Primary Sector
  • Infrastructure
  • Environment
  • The project envisions making Meghalaya a high income state by 2030.
  • The project aims to improve service delivery and governance for the people using power of Digital technologies.
  • The initiative is in line with Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi’s vision of Digital India that focuses on transforming the lives of common people.
  • With the notification of India Enterprise Architecture (IndEA) in 2018, design and implementation of integrated, nationally portable and scalable digital platforms have gained a new momentum.

Background:

  • During the launch of the North East vision document in Aug 2018, Meghalaya was selected as the pilot first pilot State for preparation of Meghalaya Enterprise Architecture (MeghEA) and design and implementation of MeghEA integrated Finance Solution Architecture.

About Meghalaya:

  • It is a state in northeastern India.
  • Meghalaya was formed by carving out two districts from the state of Assam: the United Khasi Hills and Jaintia Hills, and the Garo Hills on 21 January 1972.
  • Its capital is Shillong.
  • The current Governor and Chief Minister of Meghalaya are satya Pal Malik and Conrad Sangama respectively.

 

Food Processing Projects: 

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

Highlights:

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

About 5 food processing projects:

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

About seven food processing projects:

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

About MoFPI:

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

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

Key Highlights:

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

What are pollen calendars?

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

Significance:

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

What is pollen?

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

Allergies to pollen:

Allergies to pollen commonly cause the following symptoms of

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

About Chandigarh:

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

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

Highlights:

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

How will this day be celebrated?

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

Ideology:

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

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

Contribution of E V Periyar:

 

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

EV Ramasamy Periyar

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

About Tamil Nadu:

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

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

Key Points:

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

About EMC Carnival:

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

Significance:

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

Background:

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

About Delhi:

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

 

Ladakh's State animal and State bird: The Union Territory of Ladakh has declared snow leopard as the new state animal and black-necked crane as the new state bird, two years after it was carved out as a separate Union Territory (UT) from the erstwhile State of J&K.

Key Points:

  • The notification in this regard was released by Shri Radha Krishna Mathur, Lieutenant Governor of Union Territory of Ladakh on August 31, 2021.

  • The decision was taken keeping in view bifurcation of Jammu & Kashmir and Ladakh into separate administrative divisions in 2019.

About Snow Leopard:

  • The snow leopard (Panther unica), whose numbers are dwindling wordwide is also known as Ghost of the mountains

  • It has been categorized as “vulnerable” in the International Union for Conservation of Nature Red List.

  • They are positioned as the top predator in the food web.

  • It acts as an indicator of the health of the mountain ecosystem in which they live.

  • In total, there are about 7,500 snow leopards left in the world, out of which 500 are in India.

  • They are found in the Higher Himalayan and trans-Himalayan landscape in J&K, Uttarakhand,Himachal Pradesh, Sikkim, and Arunachal Pradesh.

  • Snow Leopard’s capital of the world is Hemis, Ladakh.

  • The existence of these animals is threatened because of reduction in prey populations, illegal poaching and increased human population infiltration into the species habitat and illegal trade of wildlife parts and products.

About Black-necked cranes:

  • Black-necked cranes (Grus nicricollis), considered loyal couples, are only found in Ladakh’s Changthang region in India.

  • It is evaluated as Near Threatened on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species.

Note: It was the State bird of J&K before August 5, 2019.

About Ladakh:

  • Ladakh is a region administered by India as a union territory, and constituting a part of the larger region of Kashmir, which has been the subject of dispute between India, Pakistan, and China since 1947.

  • Until 2019, Ladakh was a region of the state of Jammu and Kashmir.

  • In August 2019, the Parliament of India passed an act by which Ladakh became a union territory on 31 October 2019.

  • The capital of Ladakh is Leh, Kargil.

  • The current Lieutenant Governor of Ladakh is Radha Krishna Mathur.

World's Highest Motorable Road: Ladakh MP Jamyang Tsering Namgyal, on August 31, 2021 inaugurated the world’s highest motorable road connecting Leh to the Pangong Lake in Leh.

Key Highlights:

  • This is a strategically important road.

  • It is constructed by the 58 Engineer Regiment of the Indian Army.

  • The road will reduce 41-km of travel from Leh (Zingral to Tangtse) to the picturesque Pangong Lake crossing the Kela Pass.

  • The road stretches through the Kela Pass at an altitude of 18,600 feet.

  • Till now, the Khardung La Pass at 18,380 feet was the highest motorable pass in the world.

Significance of the road:

  • This road will play a significant role in boosting the socio-economic status of local residents, primarily for the people of Lalok region of Ladakh in future.

  • It will facilitate tourism and tourists will see world’s highest motorable road, rare medicinal plants, participate in snow sport activities etc.

About Leh:

  • Leh is the joint capital and largest town of the union territory of Ladakh in India.

  • It is one among the two districts of Ladakh.

  • The town is located in the valley of the upper Indus River at an elevation of 11,550 feet (3,520 metres).

  • It is surrounded by the towering peaks of the Ladakh Range (a southeastern extension of the Karakoram Range).

  • An old palace of the kings of Ladakh and the Sankar monastery overlook the town.

About Pangong Tso:

  • Pangong Tso or Pangong Lake is an endorheic lake spanning eastern Ladakh and West Tibet.

  • It is situated at an elevation of 4,225 m (13,862 ft).

  • The lake is 134 km long and divided into five sub lakes namely, Pangong Tso, Rum Tso (twin lakes), Tso Nyak, and Nyak Tso.

  • 50% of the length of overall lake in located in Tibet China and 40% in Ladakh India while the rest of the 10% of the lake is disputed and is considered as de-facto buffer zone between India and China.

  • This lake is 5 km wide at its broadest point.

  • It freezes completely during winter, despite being saline water.

Note: Currently, the lake is in the process of being identified under Ramsar Convention as a wetland of international importance and will be the first trans-boundary wetland in South Asia under the Ramsar convention.

Innovation Mission Punjab’ (IMPunjab): The Chief Minister of Punjab, Shri Amarinder Singh recently launched ‘Innovation Mission Punjab’ (IMPunjab).

Key Highlights:

  • IMPunjab is a public-private partnership that brings in global investors and experts to catalyze start ups.

  • The mission is a unique public-private partnership, championed by the private sector with strong government backing.

  • This Mission will boost the growth potential of Punjab and create a thriving economy by means of generating jobs and inviting investment.

  • The mission will also mobilize a global pool of ambassadors and partners to attract investment, mentorship and market access.

  • The mission would also leverage the strength of the Punjabi diaspora, allowing them to partake in this renewed growth story of Punjab.

  • The Mission will act as a catalyst towards strengthening the growth by rallying all the stakeholders like incubators, academia, investors, startups, progressive farmers, government, sports people, media, industry and corporate.

About the Mission:

  • The Mission is a unique public-private partnership, championed by the private sector with strong government backing.

  • The Department of Agriculture, Industries & Commerce, Mandi Board and Startup Punjab are the partners in this mission.

  • They are providing over Rs. 30 crores in cash and kind which also includes the following:

  1. Operating expenses for the first three years,

  2. 10-year rent-free lease for 12,000 square feet at Kalkat Bhavan and

  3. Support to start-ups & incubators in Punjab.

  • The Mission stands firmly on three pillars namely pollinator- to create a network of virtual incubators and organize events such as bootcamps, ideathons, pitch days to create a vibrant startup ecosystem.

Is Punjab- an entrepreneurial state?

  • Yes, Punjab is an entrepreneurial State, having a strong footprint of entrepreneurs worldwide as well as in India.

  • The state has a burgeoning entrepreneurial ecosystem comprising of 450 start-ups and 20 plus incubators.

About Punjab:

  • Punjab is a state in northern India.

  • It is bounded by the Indian states of Jammu and Kashmir to the north, Himachal Pradesh to the northeast, Haryana to the south and southeast, and Rajasthan to the southwest and by the country of Pakistan to the west.

  • Punjab in its present form came into existence on 1 November 1966.

  • The city of Chandigarh, within the Chandigarh union territory, is the joint capital of Punjab and Haryana.

  • Punjab means "The Land of Five Waters", which are Jhelum, Chenab, Ravi, Sutlej, and Beas.

  • The current Chief Minister and Governor of Punjab are Captain Amarinder Singh and V.P.Singh Badnore respectively.

Saath Initiative: Jammu and Kashmir Lieutenant Governor, Manoj Sinha, on september 1, 2021, launched the Rural Enterprises Acceleration Programme called ‘Saath’ for Self Help Group (SHG) women.

Key Points:

  • Saath initiative will help about 48000 SHGs in which about four lakh women are connected, in Jammu and Kashmir.

  • It will focus on mentoring and market linkages of products that created by these women.

  • The Indian Government also aims to create 11000 More SHGs in the upcoming years.

  • It will transform the lives of the women and make them independent and strong to deal with social and financial sectors.

  • This programme was launched in line with the Umeed scheme that enabled women to start their business.

Aim:

  • Saath initiative was launched with the aim of transforming the lives of rural women associated with SHGs.

  • It is aimed at accelerating livelihoods of rural women who are engaged in small works.

  • Small works are those where they do not earn much profit and there is lack of knowledge about marketing, packaging and branding.

  • This initiative is also aimed at teaching women all skills and converts their small businesses into Higher Order Enterprises.

  • It seeks to turn women into job-givers and produce further employment.

Significance:

  • Under this initiative, workshops will be held for 5000 women initially.

  • Out of 5000, 500 will be selected for intensive training and 100 will be selected for mentoring.

  • The programme will guide the women in every aspect like packaging, marketing, branding, finance, skills so that they can uplift their businesses.

  • Women will be trained in the sectors like Agriculture, Poultry, Animal Husbandry, handloom, and handicraft, and many others.

About Jammu and Kashmir:

  • Jammu and Kashmir (J&K ) is a region administered by India as a Union Territory.

  • It was a region formerly administered by India as a state from 1954 to 2019.

  • The current Lieutenant Governor of J&K is Former Union minister and BJP leader Manoj Sinha

Smog Tower:

Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, on 23rd August 2021, India''s first smog tower in Delhi's Connaught Place.

Highlights:

  • Delhi, ahead of its notorious smog season, got a ‘smog tower’, a technological aid that will purify 1,000 cubic metres of air per second within a radius of around 1 km.

  • The tower is located behind the Shivaji Stadium Metro station in Connaught Place.

  • According to a senior official of the Delhi Pollution Control Committee (DPCC), the total project cost, including two years of operational cost, is around Rs 20 crore.

Note: The DPCC is the nodal agency for the tower, while NBCC is the project management consultancy and the executing agency was Tata Projects Limited.

  • The tower has been set up as a pilot project and initial trends will be available within a month.

  • If the pilot project is successful, more smog towers will be installed.

  • A two-year pilot study will be carried out by IIT Delhi and IIT Bombay, technical advisors for the project.

  • Central government will also build a 25-metre-tall smog tower at Anand Vihar which is likely to become operational by August 31.

Key Features of smog tower:

  • The structure is 24 m high, about as much as an 8-storey building — an 18-metre concrete tower, topped by a 6-metre-high canopy.

  • A total of 40 fans have been installed at its base, 10 on each side. Air will be sucked in from the top, filtered and released through the fans at the bottom

  • Each fan can discharge 25 cubic metres per second of air, adding up to 1,000 cubic metres per second for the tower as a whole.

  • The tower comprises 5,000 filters. These are electrostatic air filters that can filter out microparticles, including those that constitute smoke, household dust and pollen

  • The filters and fans have been imported from the United States.

  • A Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition (SCADA) system has been installed in the tower to collect data and monitor its functioning.

Background:

This project was approved by Delhi cabinet in October 2020 after the Supreme Court of India directed the central government in January 2020 to construct a smog tower in order to reduce pollution at Anand Vihar and Delhi government to install it at Connaught Place in three months.

What is smog tower?

  • Smog towers are structures that are designed as large-scale air purifiers in order reduce air pollution particles.

  • The prototype for such structure was built in 2017 by Dutch artist Daan Roosegaarde, in Beijing (China).

Smog Towers around the world:

  • Smog towers have been experimented with in recent years in cities in the Netherlands, China, South Korea and Poland.

  • The first such tower was erected in 2015, in Rotterdam, Netherlands.

  • A 100-metre tower was built in Xi’an, Shaanxi in 2018 in a bid to tackle pollution.

How does it work?

  • Smog towers are fitted with multiple layers of air filters and fans at the base to suck the air.

  • The 20-metre (65 feet) high tower will trap particulate matter of all sizes suspended in the air.

  • Large-scale air filters shall draw in the air through fans installed at the top before passing it through the filters and releasing it near the ground.

  • After the polluted air enters the smog tower, it is purified by the multiple layers before being re-circulated into the atmosphere.

About Delhi:

  • It is an urban district located in the city of Delhi.

  • New Delhi officially the National Capital Territory of Delhi (NCT), is a city and a union territory of India.

  • It serves as the capital of India is the seat of the State Government of Delhi and the Government of India, as well as the city or local governments as per the 74th Constitutional Amendment Act.

  • Union Territories are governed by the Union Government.

  • The current Chief Minister and Governor of Delhi are Arvind Kejriwal and Shri Anil Baijal respectively.

Mission Vatsalya:

Maharashtra government launched a special mission called “Mission Vatsalya”.

Key Points:

  • This mission has been launched in in order to help women who lost their husbands to COVID-19.

  • Under Mission Vatsalya several services and some 18 benefits will be provided to those women under one roof.

  • This initiative has been designed for widows, with a special focus on widows coming from rural areas, poor backgrounds and deprived sections.

  • Under this mission, schemes like Sanjay Gandhi Niradhar Yojana and Gharkul Yojana will benefit those for women.

  • This mission is being implemented by women and child development (WCD) Department.

  • Officers from WCD department, child development project officers, Anganwadi workers and local unit officers are visiting homes these women to provide them services.

Number of beneficiaries:

  • In the last 18 months, about 15,095 women have lost their husbands due to a coronavirus infection.

  • District Task Force has listed 14,661 such women in order to provide them benefits of the scheme.

  • As of now, WCD department has reached out to 10,500 women.

About Sanjay Gandhi Niradhar Yojana:

  • Government of Maharashtra implemented this scheme with the aim of providing financial assistance to destitute persons, disabled, blind, divorced women, women freed from prostitution, orphan children, persons suffering from major illnesses, Transgender, etc.

  • Under this scheme, each beneficiary gets Rs 600 per month while the family with more than one beneficiary gets Rs 900 per month.

  • This benefit will be given to beneficiary till their children turns 25 years old or when they get employed.

About Maharashtra:

  • Maharashtra is a state in the western peninsular region of India occupying a substantial portion of the Deccan Plateau.

  • It was formed on 1 May 1960. It was formed by merging the western and south-western parts of the Bombay State, Berar and Vidarbha, and the north-western parts of the Hyderabad State and splitting Saurashtra (in present-day Gujarat) by the States Reorganization Act.

  • Its capital is Mumbai.

  • The Chief Minister and the Governor of Maharashtra are Uddhav Thackeray and Bhagat Singh Koshyari respectively.

India’s Highest Herbal Park:

India’s highest altitude herbal park has recently been inaugurated at Mana village in the Chamoli district of Uttarakhand.

Highlights:

  • The herbal park is situated at a height of 11,000 feet was and is close to the Indo-China border.

Note: Mana is the last Indian village in Chamoli bordering China and is adjacent to Badrinath temple.

  • The herbal park has around 40 species found in high altitude alpine areas in the Himalayan region.

  • The main aim of the herbal park is to conserve various medicinally and culturally important alpine species, and facilitate a study on the propagation of these species, as well as their ecology.

About the Park:

  • The garden, inaugurated by Mana sarpanch Pitambar Maulfa, has been developed in 3 years under the central government’s Compensatory Afforestation Fund Management and Planning Authority (CAMPA) scheme.

  • The research wing of the forest department of the Uttarakhand government has developed the park.

  • Around 40 species of herbal plants found in high alpine areas in the Himalayan region are conserved in this park.

  • Many of these are included in the “red list” of the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), and declared “endangered and threatened” by the State Biodiversity board as well.

  • The first section contains species associated with Lord Badrinath such as Badri Tulsi, Badri Ber, Badri Tree, and the sacred tree of Bhojpatra.

  • The second contains Ashtavarga species, a group of 8 herbs found in Himalyan region: Riddhi, Vriddhi, Jeevak, Rishbhak, Kakoli, Ksheer Kakoli, Maida and Maha Maida.

  • These are important ingredients of Chyawanprash.

  • Out of these, four herbs belong to lily family and the rest to orchid family. Kakoli, Ksheer Kakoli and Rishbhak are rare.

  • The third section consists of Saussurea species and includes Brahmakamal, which also happens to be the State flower of Uttarakhand.

  • The fourth section has other miscellaneous species which includes Ateesh, Meethavish, Vankakdi and Choru, all of which are very important medicinal herbs.

About Uttarakhand:

  • It is a state in northern India crossed by the Himalayas.

  • It is known for the natural environment of the Himalayas, the Bhabar and the Terai and also for its Hindu pilgrimage sites.

  • It is often referred to as the "Devabhumi" (literally "Land of the Gods").

  • Uttarakhand became the 27th state of the Republic of India On 9 November 2000.

  • It was carved from the Himalayan districts of Uttar Pradesh.

  • Its winter Capital is Dehradun and summer capital is Gairsain.

  • The Chief Minister and the Governor of Uttarakhand are Pushkar Singh Dhami and Baby Rani Maurya respectively.

Places in News Current Affairs - August 2021

Separate Farm Budget:

For the first time in the history of Tamil Nadu Legislative Assembly, the Tamil Nadu Minister for Agriculture and Farmer’s Welfare MRK Pannerselvam on August 14, 2021 presented the budget fulfilling its poll promise.

Highlights:

  • With this Tamil Nadu has become the third state to present a separate agricultural budget.

  • The budget by the Tamil Nadu Government exclusively featured agricultural schemes for the overall development of the farm sector, including one for farm growth and self-sufficiency in the villages.

  • The views of the farmers and the experts were sought and the budget was prepared on the basis of their views.

  • This was the first time that a separate budget on agriculture was presented in Tamil Nadu.

Key details:

  • During the fiscal year 2021-22, Rs. 34,220.65 crores have been provided for the agriculture and related departments such as fisheries, husbandry, irrigation, rural development, dairy development, sericulture, and the forest.

  • A sum of Rs 4,508.23 crore has been allocated by the government to the state-run electricity entity, the Tamil Nadu Generation and Distribution Corporation for providing free of cost electricity to farm pump sets.

  • In order to bring prosperity to the farmers in the Cauvery delta region, the government has proposed to declare the area an agro-industrial corridor.

  • The region was declared a protected agricultural zone by the previous AIADMK government.

  • In the region, pulses, rice, coconut, bananas are produced throughout the year.

  • To increase the income of the farmers (depending on rainfed farming), the CM’s Dry Land Development will be implemented in three lakh hectares.

Other schemes intorduced in the budget by TN Government:

Kalaignarin Anaithu Grama Orunginaintha Velaan Valarchi Thittam:

  • DMK government in Tamil Nadu under their new agricultural budget has also introduced a scheme with a total outlay of Rs. 1,245.45 crores.

  • It will be implemented to ensure the overall agricultural development and self-sufficiency in all villages of the states.

  • The scheme has been named after the former CM of Tamil Nadu M Karunanidhi (Kalaignarin Anaithu Grama Orunginaintha Velaan Valarchi Thittam).

  • It will be implemented in a total of 2,500 village panchayats in 2021-22.

  • Out of the 12,524 villages in the state, each year, one-fifth of them will be identified and the scheme will be implemented in all of the panchayats areas in five years.

Organic farming development scheme:

  • The Tamil Nadu government will implement the ‘Organic Farming Development Scheme’ at a cost of Rs. 33.03 crores to promote organic farming.

  • Inputs for organic farming will be made available in Agricultural Extension Centers and among the several measures that have been proposed under the scheme.

  • Farms will be certified as organic.

Background:

  • Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka were the only states that presented their own agricultural budget.

  • The tradition of having an exclusive Budget for agriculture was started by Karnataka in 2011-12, and was followed by the undivided Andhra Pradesh state in 2013-14.

  • Both aimed to give greater focus to the sector.

About Tamil Nadu:

  • It is located in the extreme south of the subcontinent. It is bounded by the Indian Ocean to the east and south and by the states of Kerala to the west, Karnataka (formerly Mysore) to the northwest, and Andhra Pradesh to the north.

  • It was formerly the Madras Presidency of British India but was renamed Madras (State) after independence in 1947.

  • Madras (State) was again renamed Tamil Nadu in 1968. Its Capital is Chennai.

  • The Governor and Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu are Banwarilal Purohit and M. K. Stalin respectively.

Smart Health Cards:

Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik, on August 20, 2021, launched Smart Health Cards which will help families get treatment up to ₹5 lakh per annum.

Highlights:

  • The cards have been announced under the Biju Swasthya Kalyan Yojana (BSKY).

  • The card will be given to the beneficiaries phase-wise.

  • Beneficiaries of the national and State food security schemes, Annapurna and Antyodaya yojanas, will get it.

  • He had announced them after hoisting the National Flag on the occasion of 75th Independence Day on August 15, 2021.

Key Points of BSKY cards:

  • The Biju Swasthya Kalyan Yojana (BSKY) cards seeks to cover 3.5 crore people of the state out of a total population of 4.3 crores.

  • The initiative aims to transform the health service delivery system of not only the state but also create history in the health sector of the Country.

  • The BSKY has been redesigned in a way that the health cards will work as debit cards for the beneficiaries.

  • Under the BSKY, women members of the family can get treatment up to ₹10 lakh in a year and other family members will get the benefit up to Rs 5 lakh each.

  • With this card, people can avail themselves of quality healthcare service in about 200 hospital chains in the country, including Odisha.

  • It is a no-frill system, so a person will simply go to a hospital with the card and get all the treatments without any hassle.

  • The Smart Health Cards will work like debit cards for a certain amount.

  • It is a first of its kind service in the country.

  • The initiative is expected to benefit about 3.5 crore people and 96 lakh families in a phased manner.

About Odisha:

  • Odisha also formerly Orissa, is an Indian state located on the eastern coast of India.

  • It neighbours the states of West Bengal and Jharkhand to the north, Chhattisgarh to the west and Andhra Pradesh to the south.

  • It is an eastern Indian state on the Bay of Bengal.

  • It is known for its tribal cultures and its many ancient Hindu temples.

  • The Jagannath Temple in Puri is a very sacred and religious temple of Hindus.

  • The capital of Odisha is Bhubaneswar.

  • The Governor and the Chief Minister of Odisha are Ganeshi Lal and Naveen Patnaik respectvely.

Harigarh:

The Zila Panchayat Parishad of Aligarh passed a resolution on August 16, 2021 seeking to rename Aligarh as Harigarh.

Highlights:

  • The proposal was passed unanimously in the first meeting of the panchayat without any opposition with 50 out of 72 members in attendance.

  • It would now be forwarded to the state government for approval.

  • If it gets passed, it will add to a long list of places that have been renamed in UP under Yogi Adityanath.

  • The most prominent being the renaming of Allahabad to Prayagraj, a few months before the Kumbh Mela in January 2019.

Note: In Aligarh, the district pacnhayat is headed by Vijay Singh, who is related to former Uttar Pradesh chief minister Kalyan Singh's son Rajveer Singh Raju.

Background:

  • The proposal to rename Aligarh to Harigarh was first presented to the panchayat by the Kshatriya Mahasabha and later supported by elected block panchayat leaders Kehri Singh and Umesh Yadav.

  • The Zila panchayat also cleared another proposal to rename the Dhanipur airstrip in Aligarh to the Kalyan Singh airstrip.

Note: Kalyan Singh was a resident of Aligarh and former chief minister of Uttar Pradesh.

  • Many organizations had appealed to the UP government earlier asking it to change Aligarh's name.

Renaming of other places in UP:

The Uttar Pradesh (UP) government has already changed the name of several places such as

  • Faizabad to Ayodhya

  • Allahabad to Prayagraj

  • Mughalsarai to Deen Dayal Upadhyaya Nagar

Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath had indicated in November 2019 that the government would like to keep up with renaming places across the state.

He said that where this is a need, the government will take the steps required.

About Uttar Pradesh:

  • Uttar Pradesh is a state in northern India.

  • It was created on 1 April 1937 as the United Provinces of Agra and Oudh during British rule, and was renamed Uttar Pradesh in 1950.

  • Its Capital city is Lucknow.

  • The Chief Minister and the Governor of Uttar Pradesh are Yogi Adityanath and Anandiben Patel respectively.

Chhattisgarh New districts:

The Chief Minister of Chhattisgarh Bhupesh Baghel recently announced the creation of four new districts and 18 new tehsils in the state.

  • This announcement was made by him while addressing a public gathering here on the occasion of 75th Independence Day.

Key Points:

  • The four new districts are:

  1. Mohla Manpur

  2. Sarangarh-Bilaigarh

  3. Shakti

  4. Manendragarh

  • With the creation of four new districts, the total numbers of administrative districts in the state have reached 32.

  • In addition, in every district headquarters and Municipal Corporation, a park will be developed exclusively for women, which will be known as the 'Minimata Udyan'.

Note: The park has been named after ‘Minimata’, the first woman MP from Chhattisgarh elected in 1952, who devoted her life toward the empowerment of women and the betterment of society.

  • He also ended the age limit for admission in undergraduate and postgraduate courses in colleges.

  • Furthermore, he also announced the 'Mukhyamantri Affordable Medicine Scheme' to provide medicines at concessional rates for the people of the state.

About Chhattisgarh:

  • Chhattisgarh is a heavily forested state in central India known for its temples and waterfalls.

  • It is one of the fastest-developing states in India. The state was formed on 1st November 2000 by partitioning ten Chhattisgarhi and six Gondi-speaking southeastern districts of Madhya Pradesh. The capital city of Chattisgarh is Raipur.

  • The current Chief Minister and Governor of Chhattisgarh are Bhupesh Baghel and Anusuiya Uikey respectively.

Rajiv Gandhi Award for Excellence in Information Technology (IT): The Government of Maharashtra on 10th August, 2021, has decided to name an award after former Prime Minister of India Rajiv Gandhi.

Highlights:

  • It was decided to announce this award at a meeting of IT department on July 7.

  • Creation of the new award was announced days after the central government renamed the Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna Award as Major Dhyan Chand Khel Ratna Award.

Key Details:

  • A new award named “Rajiv Gandhi Award for Excellence in Information Technology (IT)” will be given to institutes doing remarkable work in the field of information technology.

  • Minister of State for Information and Technology Satej Patil said that the award would be announced on August 20, birth anniversary of the former Prime Minister.

  • This award is a lasting tribute to Late Shri Rajiv Gandhi for his pioneering work in the technology sector in India.

  • The State government will talk to bodies such as NASSCOM to finalise the modalities of the award.

  • It will be given to the companies or institutions which excel in the field with their new ideas and innovations.

  • The award will be given out to them by Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray.

Who will propose the award?

  • The Maharashtra IT Corporation Limited (MAHA-IT) which is a state government enterprise has been appointed a nodal agency to propose the newly constituted award.

About Rajiv Gandhi:

  • Rajiv Ratna Gandhi was an Indian politician who served as the sixth prime minister of India from 1984 to 1989.

  • At 40, Mr. Rajiv Gandhi was the youngest Prime Minister of India, perhaps even one of the youngest elected heads of Government in the world.

  • He took over as the PM of India after the assassination of his mother, Prime Minister Indira Gandhi in 1984.

  • He was born on August 20, 1944, in Bombay.

  • He was just three when India became independent and his grandfather Pt. Jawaharlal Nehru became Prime Minister.

  • He died in a tragic bomb blast on 21st May, 1991 at Sriperumbudur in Tamil Nadu.

  • As the PM of India, he began leading in a direction significantly different from his mother's socialism.

  • He improved bilateral relations with the United States — long strained owing to Indira's socialism and close friendship with the USSR .

  • He expanded economic and scientific cooperation.

  • The Indo-Sri Lanka Peace Accord was signed by Rajiv Gandhi and the Sri Lankan President J.R.Jayewardene, in Colombo on 29 July 1987.

  • He increased government support for science and technology and associated industries, and reduced import quotas, taxes and tariffs on technology-based industries, especially computers, airlines, defence and telecommunications.

  • He introduced measures significantly reducing the License Raj, allowing businesses and individuals to purchase capital, consumer goods and import without bureaucratic restrictions.

About Maharashtra:

  • Maharashtra is a state in the western peninsular region of India occupying a substantial portion of the Deccan Plateau.

  • It is bordered by the Arabian Sea to the west, the Indian states of Karnataka and Goa to the south, Telangana to the southeast and Chhattisgarh to the east, Gujarat and Madhya Pradesh to the north, and the Indian union territory of Dadra and Nagar Haveli and Daman and Diu to the north west.

  • It was formed on 1 May 1960.

  • It was formed by merging the western and south-western parts of the Bombay State, Berar and Vidarbha, and the north-western parts of the Hyderabad State and splitting Saurashtra (in present-day Gujarat) by the States Reorganisation Act.

  • Its capital is Mumbai.

  • The Chief Minister and the Governor of Maharashtra are Uddhav Thackeray and Bhagat Singh Koshyari respectively.

eNagar Mobile Application and Portal: Gujarat Chief Minister, Vijay Rupani recently launched eNagar mobile application and portal.

Key Points:

  • The eNagar covers 10 modules with 52 services including property tax, professional tax, water & drainage, Complaints and grievance redressal, building permission, fire and emergency services.

  • Gujarat Urban Development Mission has been appointed as a nodal agency for eNagar project.

  • Total 170 locations including 162 municipalities and 8 Municipal Corporations are covered under the eNagar project.

About Gujarat:

  • Gujarat is a state on the western coast of India most of which lies on the Kathiawar peninsula.

  • The state is bordered by Rajasthan to the northeast, Dadra and Nagar Haveli and Daman and Diu to the south, Maharashtra to the southeast, Madhya Pradesh to the east, and the Arabian Sea and the Pakistani province of Sindh to the west.

  • Its capital city is Gandhinagar.

  • The Governor and Chief Minister of Gujarat are Acharya Devvrat and Vijay Rupani respectively.

Implementation of NEP-2020: Karnataka has become the first state in the country to issue the order with regard to the implementation of the National Education Policy-2020.

Key Points:

  • The state government has issued an order on the implementation of NEP-2020 with effect from the current academic year 2021-2022.

  • The implementation will be done as per the guidelines of the NEP.

Additional Info:

Earlier on July 29, on the first anniversary of NEP, Prime Minister Narendra Modi had launched SAFAL (STRUCTURED Assessment For Analysing Learning), a competency-based assessment for grades 3,5, and 8 introduced by the Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE).

About the policy:

This policy seeks to entirely overhaul the system through various reforms: A single regulator to oversee higher education; no more MPhil courses before PhD; fixed fees for public and private institutions; students can choose between three and four-year undergraduate courses; multiple entries and exit points in degree courses.

About Karnataka:

  • It is a state in the south western region of India. It was formed on 1 November 1956, with the passage of the States Reorganization Act.

  • Originally known as the State of Mysore, it was renamed Karnataka in 1973.

  • It is bordered by the Arabian Sea to the west, Goa to the northwest, Maharashtra to the north, Telangana to the northeast, Andhra Pradesh to the east, Tamil Nadu to the southeast, and Kerala to the south.

  • It is the only southern state to have land borders with all of the other 4 southern Indian sister states.

  • Its capital city is Bangalore.

  • The current Chief Minister and Governor of Karnataka are Basavaraj Bommai and Thawar Chand Gehlot respectively.

MoU with Walmart Vriddhi: The Haryana government recently signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with ‘Walmart Vriddhi’ and ‘Haqdarshak’.

Key Details:

  • The MoU was signed by the Haryana Government to create a pathway for Indian MSMEs’ products to move to the international markets.

  • It was signed in the presence of Haryana Deputy Chief Minister Dushyant Chautala, Vikas Gupta, MSME Department Director-General, the Indian government, Nitin Dutt from Walmart Vriddhi, and Aniket Doegar (CEO of Haqdarshak).

  • To promote MSMEs apart from large industries, many important concessions have been given to investors in ‘Haryana Enterprises and Employment Policy-2020’.

  • This move seeks to bring a big opportunity for the MSME sector, as the products of traditional weavers of rural areas, haldlooms and handicrafts will be displayed in 24 countries.

  • These products will be available in 10,500 stores under 48 banners.

About Haryana:

  • Haryana is a North Indian state surrounding New Delhi on 3 sides.

  • It is located in the northern part of the country. It was carved out of the former state of East Punjab on 1 November 1966 on a linguistic basis.

  • It is bordered by Himachal Pradesh to the north-east, by river Yamuna along its eastern border with Uttar Pradesh, by Rajasthan to the west and south, and Ghaggar-Hakra River flows along its northern border with Punjab. Since Haryana surrounds the country's capital Delhi on three sides (north, west and south), consequently a large area of Haryana is included in the economically-important National Capital Region for the purposes of planning and development.

  • The capital of Haryana is Chandigarh.

  • The current Chief Minister and Governor of Haryana are Manohar Lal Khattar and Bandaru Dattatraya respectively.

ATC towers in Ladakh: The Indian Air Force (IAF) has constructed one of the world’s highest mobile Air Traffic Control (ATC) towers at the Advanced Landing Ground in the Ladakh region.

Key Details:

The ATC towers controls operations of the fixed-wing aircraft and helicopters operating in the eastern Ladakh region.

  • Meanwhile, India is also deliberating into multiple options to develop airfields in eastern Ladakh, including Nyoma, Fukche, and Daulat Beg Oldi (DBO).

  • The IAF has already deployed the Igla man-portable air defence missiles to counter any aerial attack by any opponent aircraft.

  • It has also regularly been deploying fighter aircraft including MiG-29s and Rafale in eastern Ladakh to carry out operations where there has been disengagement of troops at two locations including Pangong Tso and Gogra heights but both sides have not de-escalated.

About Ladakh:

  • Ladakh is a region administered by India as a union territory, and constituting a part of the larger region of Kashmir, which has been the subject of dispute between India, Pakistan, and China since 1947.

  • Until 2019, Ladakh was a region of the state of Jammu and Kashmir.

  • In August 2019, the Parliament of India passed an act by which Ladakh became a union territory on 31 October 2019. The capital of Ladakh is Leh, Kargil.

  • The current Lieutenant Governor of Ladakh is Radha Krishna Mathur.

Goa Bhumiputra Adhikarini Bill, 2021: The Goa Legislative Assembly recently passed the Goa Bhumiputra Adhikarini Bill, 2021.

Note: Bhumiputra" is a person who is residing in Goa for at least 30 years.

Key Highlights:

  • It is a bill providing a mechanism to grant the ownership rights to ''bhumiputras'' (sons-of-soil) who are living in small housing units occupied by them in the state.

  • This Bill was passed in the 40-member House by voice vote on the last day of the session on 30th July 2021.

Objective:

  • The objective of the Bill is to enable the ‘mool Goenkar (original Goan)’ to live with dignity.

Key Points of the Bill:

  • It recognizes anyone living in the state for 30 years or more as a ‘Bhumiputra (son of the soil)’ and giving such a person the right to own his or her ‘small dwelling unit’ if ownership was undetermined so far.

  • This bill provides the protection to bhumiputras so that they shall not be evicted from the dwelling units occupied by them and the units shall not be demolished during the pendency of any proceedings under this law.

  • Once recognized as a Bhumiputra, an individual can stake claim to ownership of their house of not more than 250 sq m, built before April 1, 2019.

  • The Bill provides for the constitution of the Bhumiputra Adhikarini — a committee consisting of the Deputy Collector as its Chairperson.

About Goa:

  • Goa is a state in western India with coastlines stretching along the Arabian Sea. It is surrounded by the Indian states of Maharashtra to the north and Karnataka to the east and south, with the Arabian Sea forming its western coast.

  • It is India's smallest state by area and the fourth-smallest by population.

  • The capital of Goa is Panaji.

  • The current Chief Minister and the Governor of Goa are Pramod Sawant and Bhagat Singh Koshyari respectively.

Uttarakhand Bhookamp Alert: The Chief Minister of Uttarakhand Shri Pushkar Singh Dhami recently launched the first-of-its-kind earthquake early warning mobile application named ‘Uttarakhand Bhookamp Alert’.

Key Details:

  • The main objective of the Bhookamp Alert app is to strengthen public safety.

  • The app has been developed by IIT Roorkee, in association with Uttarakhand State Disaster Management Authority (USDMA).

  • The application is available in two versions, compatible with both Android and iOS platforms.

  • This app was initially launched as a pilot project only by the Ministry of Earth Sciences, Government of India (GoI), for the Garhwal region of Uttarakhand.

  • Given its success and the need of the region, the IIT Roorkee's EEW project proposal was extended further by the Uttarakhand government.

About the App:

  • The Uttarakhand Bhookamp Alert is India’s first earthquake early warning’ app.

  • Earthquake Early Warning (EEW) mobile app can detect the onset of the earthquake.

  • It can issue warnings regarding an earthquake occurrence in the neighbourhood and the expected time of arrival and intensity at the location to prevent any loss of life.

  • The app will provide real-time data and Earthquake early warning systems will monitor quakes in real-time.

  • The system will send an alert in few seconds and IIT-Roorkee’s control unit will receive signals from the sensors in real-time.

  • People will receive notification of the magnitude and source of the earthquake along with a timer that counts down.

About Uttarakhand:

  • It is a state in northern India crossed by the Himalayas.

  • It is known for the natural environment of the Himalayas, the Bhabar and the Terai and also for for its Hindu pilgrimage sites.

  • It is often referred to as the "Devabhumi" (literally "Land of the Gods").

  • Uttarakhand became the 27th state of the Republic of India On 9 November 2000.

  • It was carved from the Himalayan districts of Uttar Pradesh.

  • Its winter Capital is Dehradun and summer capital is Gairsain.

  • The Chief Minister and the Governor of Uttarakhand are Pushkar Singh Dhami and Baby Rani Maurya respectively.

Delhi@2047: Delhi The Chief Minister of Delhi Shri Arvind Kejriwal Ji recently launched an initiative named Delhi@2047.

Highlights:

  • The platform was launched in the presence of Jasmine Shah, Vice Chairperson, Dialogue and Development Commission of Delhi, Rajiv Bajaj, MD, Bajaj Auto and Banmali Agrawala President – Infrastructure, Defence & Aerospace and Global Corporate Affairs Tata Sons Private Limited.

  • This initiative has been launched to facilitate cooperation with private entities, CSR initiatives, and philanthropic organizations to develop the national capital into a global city by 2047.

  • Delhi@2047 initiative is in line with Aam Aadmi Party's vision document that was incorporated in the state budget for 2021-22.

  • Announcing the Delhi@2047 initiative, the Delhi CM said that the government is planning to take the city's per capita income to Singapore's level.

  • He also said that Delhi will bid to host the 2048 Olympics.

New Delhi:

  • It is an urban district located in the city of Delhi.

  • New Delhi officially the National Capital Territory of Delhi (NCT), is a city and a union territory of India.

  • It serves as the capital of India is the seat of the State Government of Delhi and the Government of India, as well as the city or local governments as per the 74th Constitutional Amendment Act.

  • Union Territories are governed by the Union Government.

  • The current Chief Minister and Governor of Delhi are Arvind Kejriwal and Anil Baijal respectively.

SKOCH Awards: The West Bengal government has won four Skoch Awards 2021 (platinum, gold and three silver awards) in four categories of governance.

Key Details:

Bengal won the awards under the Ease of Doing Business initiative.

  • The State scheme ‘Silpasathi’-the online single window portal won the platinum award.

  • The Auto-Renewal of Certificate of Enlistment through the online system for urban areas has received the gold award.

  • Online issuance of trade licences in rural areas and the E-Nathikaran: the online system for registration, preparation and submission of deeds has won two silver awards.

The state government will ensure that the ease of doing business in West Bengal continues to be one of the foremost in the country.

About SKOCH Awards:

  • The SKOCH Awards was instituted in 2003.

  • This Award salutes people, projects and institutions that go the extra mile to make India a better nation.

  • SKOCH Award winners include the mighty and the ordinary alike.

  • They receive this Award for their extraordinary achievements in contributing to the society.

  • The Roll of Honour of the SKOCH Award over the years is a testimony to this.

  • It is valued as the highest civilian honour in the country conferred by an independent organisation.

  • The SKOCH Award covers the best of efforts in digital, financial and social inclusion.

  • It encompasses the best of governance, inclusive growth, excellence in technology and applications, change management, corporate leadership, corporate governance, citizen services delivery, capacity building, empowerment and other such softer issues that get normally lost in the glamour and the glitz of industry sponsored or advertising focused jamborees.

About West Bengal:

  • West Bengal is a state in eastern India.

  • It lies between the Himalayas and the Bay of Bengal.

  • It borders Bangladesh in the east, and Nepal and Bhutan in the north.

  • It also borders the Indian states of Odisha, Jharkhand, Bihar, Sikkim, and Assam.

  • The state capital is Kolkata.

  • It was established on 26 January 1950.

  • The current Chief Minister and Governor of West Bengal are Mamta Banerjee and Jagdeep Dhankhar respectively.

84 Kos Parikrama Marg: The central government recently decided to declare the “84 kos parikrama marg” around Ayodhya a national highway.

  • A Draft Notification has been issued by the Road Transport and Highways Ministry declaring ‘Chaurasi Koshi Parikrama Marg’ as National Highway in the state of Uttar Pradesh.

Religious significance of the Marg:

  • All three parikramas in Ayodhya — the 5 kos (around 15 km), 14 kos (42 km), and 84 kos (about 275 km) parikramas — are linked to Lord Ram.

  • The Baal Kand of the Valmiki Ramayana mentions that Ayodhya was earlier known as Koshaldesh, intially spread over 48 kos, and was later expanded to 84 kos.

  • The 84 kos parikrama is a circumambulation of Koshaldesh, touching all important places associated with the kingdom of Ram.

  • The 14 kos parikrama is for the main Ayodhya city of that time, and the 5 kos parikrama circumabulates the inner circle within which the heart of Ram’s kingdom was located.

Religious Belief:

  • As per Hindu belief, the 84 kos parikrama frees a person from the obligation of complete 84 lakh yoni (lives).

  • Hindus believe the parikrama of Ayodhya started from Treta Yug, the yug of Lord Ram, which was over 1 lakh years ago.

  • It is believed that King Dasharath performed a Putrayeshthi Yajna on the bank of the Manorama River some 20 km from Ayodhya, to seek sons from the gods. Subsequently, he was blessed with four sons from his three wives.

  • The 84 kos parikrama starts and ends — after about 22 days — from the place where the yajna was performed, now identified as Makhaura in Basti.

Additional Info:

  • Besides Ayodhya, similar parikramas are performed by devotees at Govardhan in Braj, Kamadgiri in Chitrakoot, and Tiruvannamalai in Tamil Nadu.

Pink Protection: The Kerala Police launched a new initiative called the Pink Protection project for the protection of women in public, private and digital spaces.

Key Details:

  • For the project, 10 cars, 40 two-wheelers, including Bullet bikes and 20 bicycles, were allotted, which were flagged off by Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan.

  • The Pink Protection project aims to prevent dowry-related issues, cyber-bullying & humiliation in public places.

  • The project has 10 components, one of which is activating the existing Pink Police Patrol system.

Why was this initiative launched?

  • The endeavor comes amid increasing complaints of dowry-related atrocities and other forms of harassment against women and children.

  • Cybercrime too comes under the purview of the scheme, which has 10 components including Pink Patrol, Pink Janamaithri beat, Pink control room, Pink Shadow, Pink Romeo, counseling facilities and a dedicated mobile application for women protection.

Key Points about the Project:

  • They will collect information from panchayat members, neighbours and other locals and hand it over to the Station House Officers for further action.

Pink Janamaithri Beat:

  • The system has been named "Pink Janamaithri Beat", under which police officials will conduct regular house visits to collect information on domestic violence.

  • They will collect information from panchayat members, neighbours and other locals and hand it over to the Station House Officers for further action.

Pink Beat system:

  • The Pink Beat system, in which specially trained women police officers have been deployed, will be present at Karnataka State Road Transport Corporation (KSRTC) and private buses and in front of schools, colleges and other public places including bus stops.

Pink Control Rooms:

  • Pink control rooms have been set up in all 14 districts to coordinate the activities.

Pink Shadow Patrol:

  • The Pink Shadow Patrol team will also be deployed to detect the presence of anti-socials in crowded areas and to take action.

Pink Romeo:

  • A bullet patrol team of woman police officers called "Pink Romeo" was also launched as part of the project.

About Kerala:

  • It is a state on the southwestern Malabar Coast of India.

  • It was formed on 1 November 1956, following the passage of the States Reorganisation Act, by combining Malayalam-speaking regions of the erstwhile states of Travancore-Cochin and Madras.

  • It is bordered by Karnataka to the north and northeast, Tamil Nadu to the east and south, and the Lakshadweep Sea to the west.

  • Its capital is Thiruvananthapuram.

  • The current Governor and Chief Minister of Kerala are Arif Mohammad Khan and Pinarayi Vijayan respectively.

Mission Niryatak Bano: Rajasthan government on July 28th, 2021 launched a new campaign titled ‘Mission Niryatak Bano.’

The campaign has been launched jointly by the State Government’s Industrial Department and Rajasthan Industrial Development and Investment Corporation (RIICO).

Key Details about Mission Niryatak Bano Campaign:

  • This campaign has been launcher to encourage aspiring exporters in the state, increase the total exports from Rajasthan and increase job opportunities in the state.

  • It is aimed at registering and handholding the local traders willing to expand their business to foreign countries, in six steps.

  • As per a state government’s release, the Mission Niryatak Bano campaign shall cover assistance for training, securing necessary documentation, registration in Rajasthan Export Promotion Council and even support in exports and trade operations.

  • Along with traditional handicrafts and products, many new industries producing quality products are coming up in the state following the supporting policies of the Rajasthan Government.

  • Many of these products hold quality and demand in international markets and by handholding the local businessmen the mission shall help increase the total exports from Rajasthan and increase job opportunities in the state.

Rajasthan:

  • Rajasthan is a state in northern India.

  • It comprises most of the wide and inhospitable Thar Desert (also known as the "Great Indian Desert") and shares a border with the Pakistani provinces of Punjab to the northwest and Sindh to the west, along the Sutlej-Indus river valley.

  • It became a State after 1947 when the princely states and chiefships were integrated into India in stages, and the state took the name Rajasthan.

  • It assumed its present form on November 1, 1956, when the States Reorganization Act came into force.

  • The Capital of Rajasthan is Jaipur.

  • The current Chief Minister and Governor of Rajasthan is Ashok Gehlot and Kalraj Mishra respectively.

Drink from Tap Mission: Puri has become the first city in India where people can avail high-quality drinking water directly from the tap on a 24-hour basis.

  • This tap water can be used for cooking and drinking, without requiring further filtration.

Highlights:

  • No metropolitan cities in India have such facility yet. Similar facilities are available only in world-class cities like London, New York and Singapore.

  • Puri has enabled the people of the city to collect quality drinking water directly from the tap.

  • Henceforth, people need not have to store or filter drinking water.

About ‘Drink from Tap Mission’:

  • The project is being undertaken with financial support from UNICEF, which seeks to hopefully help in achieving state government’s target.

  • The project would benefit 2.5 lakh citizens of Puri and 2 crore tourists who visit the tourist place every year.

  • They need not have to move around with water bottle.

  • Puri would no more be burdened with 400 metric tonne of plastic waste.

  • Water fountains have been developed at 400 locations in Puri.

  • A similar project is under various stages of implementation in 16 other urban centres of Odisha.

About Puri:

  • It is a city and a Municipality in the state of Odisha in eastern India.

  • It is the district headquarters of Puri district and is situated on the Bay of Bengal, 60 kilometres south of the state capital of Bhubaneswar.

  • Puri is known by several names since the ancient times, and was locally known as "Sri Kshetra" and Sri Jagannatha Dhama after the 12th-century Jagannatha Temple located in the city.

  • Lord Jagannatha temple is also known as "Badadeula".

  • It is one of the original Char Dham pilgrimage sites for Hindus.

  • The heirs of the Gajapati Dynasty of Khurda perform the ritual duties of the temple.

Places in News Current Affairs - July 2021

One Block, One Product Scheme: The Haryana government will soon introduce the ‘One Block, One Product’ scheme, to encourage and promote small industries in the rural areas.

Key Points:

  • Under the scheme, the state government plans to connect every block of the state with some industrial vision and the government is working expeditiously on this scheme.

  • The state’s “One District, One Product” scheme which is being implemented under the MSME, has come up as a model across the country.

  • The 'One Block, One Product’ scheme has been adopted by the Central Government in its budget as well.

  • The state government is planning to introduce “One Block, One Product” in 137 blocks.

  • Arrangements for common services, lab testing, packaging, transportation, accountancy will be set up in the cluster itself.

About Haryana:

  • Haryana is a North Indian state surrounding New Delhi on 3 sides.

  • It is one of the 28 states in India, located in the northern part of the country.

  • It was carved out of the former state of East Punjab on 1 November 1966 on a linguistic basis. It is bordered by Himachal Pradesh to the north-east, by river Yamuna along its eastern border with Uttar Pradesh, by Rajasthan to the west and south, and Ghaggar-Hakra River flows along its northern border with Punjab.

  • Since Haryana surrounds the country's capital Delhi on three sides (north, west and south), consequently a large area of Haryana is included in the economically-important National Capital Region for the purposes of planning and development.

  • The capital of Haryana is Chandigarh.

  • The current Chief Minister and Governor of Haryana are Manohar Lal Khattar and Bandaru Dattatraya respectively.

Educational Documents using Blockchain: The Maharashtra Government is all set to become the first state to issue educational documents using blockchain technology.

Key Details:

  • The Government of Maharashtra has decided to issue educational documents to students of educational institutions using blockchain technology.

  • Maharashtra’s Skill Development Minister Nawab Malik said that one million diploma certificates will be issued using this technology.

  • Maharashtra State Board of Skill Development (MSBSD) will issue blockchain-based certificates to students to curb the forgery of documents and enable quick verification of documents.

  • For this, Maharashtra government has partnered with LegitDoc, Bengaluru-based blockchain startup, owned by Crossforge Solutions Pvt. Ltd.

  • LegitDoc is a unique SaaS (software as a service) based platform that leverages a combination of Ethereum blockchain and cryptographic techniques.

  • Each student will receive a “certficate_LegitDoc.zip” digital file containing the original PDF diploma certificate and its corresponding blockchain proof file.

  • It takes less than 10 seconds to verify the digital certificate from anywhere in the world and it does not require human intervention also.

  • Currently only Singapore, Malta and Bahrain are the only other countries using this technology.

Why has MSBSD taken this step?

  • Forgery of documents is a serious concern for various educational and other institutions.

  • Many steps are being taken to avoid forgery along with verification of documents.

  • Maharashtra State Board of Skill Development has decided to issue block chain based certificates to students.

What is Blockchain Technology?

  • A blockchain is a distributed digital transaction ledger, which allows maintenance of identical copies of data or records on multiple computer systems.

  • It is a system of recording information in such a way that it makes it difficult or impossible to change, hack, or cheat the system.

About MSBSD:

  • Maharashtra State Board of Skill Development (MSBSD) was established in 1986.

  • It is headquartered in Mumbai, Maharashtra.

  • The current President of MSBSD is Anil M. Jadhav.

About LegitDoc:

  • LegitDoc is a blockchain company that solves the problem of forgery of documents (marks cards, university certificates, insurance papers, permits, invoices, land records, etc.) using public blockchain technology.

  • Using LegitDoc, any authority such as universities can issue documents (ex. marks cards), whose authenticity can be verified publicly within 10 seconds, free of cost from anywhere around the world by a simple drag and drop mechanism.

  • It is a flagship product of Bengaluru-based blockchain startup, owned by Crossforge Solutions Pvt. Ltd.

  • It is founded by Francis, Neil and Vishnu.

About Maharashtra:

  • Maharashtra is a state in the western peninsular region of India occupying a substantial portion of the Deccan Plateau.

  • It is bordered by the Arabian Sea to the west, the Indian states of Karnataka and Goa to the south, Telangana to the southeast and Chhattisgarh to the east, Gujarat and Madhya Pradesh to the north, and the Indian union territory of Dadra and Nagar Haveli and Daman and Diu to the north west.

  • It was formed on 1 May 1960.

  • It was formed by merging the western and south-western parts of the Bombay State, Berar and Vidarbha, and the north-western parts of the Hyderabad State and splitting Saurashtra (in present-day Gujarat) by the States Reorganisation Act. Its capital is Mumbai.

  • The Chief Minister and the Governor of Maharashtra are Uddhav Thackeray and Bhagat Singh Koshyari respectively.

Telangana Dalit Bandhu: The Chief Minister of Telangana Shri K Chandrasekhar Rao recently announced that a new Dalit empowerment scheme, now christened Dalita Bandhu is going to be launched.

Key Points:

  • This scheme will be started on a pilot basis from the Huzurabad assembly constituency.

  • Prior to this, the scheme was known as Dalit Empowerment Scheme, now will be called as Dalita Bandhu scheme.

  • Chief Minister K. Chandrasekhar Rao has expressed the government’s readiness to spend ₹ 80,000 crore to ₹1 lakh crore on Dalit Bandhu scheme for eligible SCs.

About the scheme:

  • The scheme aims to be the torch-bearer of steps to liberate SCs from social and economic disparities in the country.

  • As part of the scheme, eligible Dalit families would be given Rs 10 lakh in cash directly to their accounts.

  • It is aimed to credit the money to the bank accounts of beneficiaries directly without the involvement of middlemen.

  • The sanctioned amounts will be deposited in the bank accounts of eligible beneficiaries.

  • The financial assistance under the scheme would be completely free.

About Telangana:

  • It is a state in India situated on the centre-south stretch of the Indian peninsula on the high Deccan Plateau.

  • It was founded on 2 June 2014.

  • Its Capital city is Hyderabad.

  • The current Governor and Chief Minister of Telangana are Tamilisai Soundararajan and K. Chandrashekar Rao respectively.

Historic Urban Landscape Project: Gwalior and Orchha cities in Madhya Pradesh were recently selected by UNESCO under its ‘Historic Urban Landscape (HUL) Project.

Key Highlights:

  • The project was launched for the cities of Orchha and Gwalior by Chief Minister of Madhya Pradesh on 21st July 2021 through video conferencing.

  • Orchha and Gwalior have been included as the 7th and 8th cities.

  • Six cities of South Asia, including Ajmer and Varanasi in India are already involved in this project.

Significance:

Under this project UNESCO will prepare the management and development of these cities.

  • This project will help in boosting the tourism of the state of Madhya Pradesh which in turn will generate additional employment opportunities.

  • These cities will be jointly developed by UNESCO, the Government of India (GoI) and the state of Madhya Pradesh by putting primary focus on their cultural and historical improvement.

  • By implementing this project of UNESCO, full care of the history, culture, traditions, nature as well as heritage of the cities will be sustainably developed.

About Historic Urban Landscape Project:

  • This project of UNESCO was started in the year 2011.

  • The project aims at the inclusive and well-planned development of fast-growing historical cities while preserving their cultural and heritage value.

About Orchha:

  • Orchha is a town in Niwari district of Madhya Pradesh state, India.

  • It is located in the Bundelkhand region of Madhya Pradesh.

  • The town was established by Rudra Pratap Singh some time after 1501.The word Orchha means 'hidden palace'.

  • It is popular for its temples and palaces.

  • It was the 16th century capital of the erstwhile Bundela dynasty.

  • Orchha is famous for its Ramaraja Mandir, Rai Praveen Mahal, Orchha Raj Mahal, Jahangir Mahal, Laxminarayan Mandir and many other famous temples.

  • The palaces are famous for a unique confluence of Rajput and Mughal architectural influences.

Population Policy for 2021-2030: Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath recently launched the State’s population policy for 2021-2030.

Highlights:

  • The new policy was unveiled on the occasion of World Population Day.

  • The UP government is implementing this policy keeping in mind all sections of the society.

  • The unveiling of the policy comes days after a draft of the population control bill was put up on the state law commission website.

  • The Uttar Pradesh State Law Commission has prepared a proposed draft bill for population control, under which a two-child norm would be implemented and promoted.

About the new population policy:

  • In the new population policy, a target has been set to bring the birth rate to 2.1 per thousand populations by 2026 and to 1.9 by 2030.

  • Provisions have been made for ensuring health services for all and for paying special attention to pregnant women, infants, sick newborns and children who are severely malnourished.

  • The new policy aims at the following:

  1. Decrease in the total fertility rate from 2.7 to 2.1 by 2026 and 1.7 by 2030,

  2. Increase modern contraceptive prevalence rate from 31.7% to 45% by 2026 and 52% by 2030,

  3. Increase male methods of contraception use from 10.8% to 15.1% by 2026 and 16.4% by 2030,

  4. Decrease maternal mortality rate from 197 to 150 to 98, and infant mortality rate from 43 to 32 to 22, and under 5 infant mortality rate from 47 to 35 to 25.

  • Targeting stabilization, the draft of the policy also said the State would attempt to maintain a balance of population among the various communities.

About Uttar Pradesh (UP):

 

  • Uttar Pradesh is a state in northern India.

  • It was created on 1 April 1937 as the United Provinces of Agra and Oudh during British rule and was renamed Uttar Pradesh in 1950.

  • Its Capital city is Lucknow.

  • The Chief Minister and the Governor of Uttar Pradesh are Yogi Adityanath and Anandiben Patel respectively.

Projects of Science city Ahmedabad: Prime Minister Narendra Modi, on 16 July 2021 virtually inaugurated multiple Railway projects and 3-new attractions at Science city Ahmedabad, Gujarat.

Key Details:

As per the official release by the Railway Ministry, the Railway projects include the following:

  1. Newly redeveloped Gandhinagar Capital Railway station

  2. Gauge converted cum electrified Mahesana – Varetha line

  3. Newly electrified Surendranagar – Pipavav section.

The Vadnagar Railway Station which is part of the Vadnagar – Modhera – Patan heritage circuit has been redesigned by Indian Tourism giving it a heritage look with aesthetic stone carvings.

He also flagged off two new trains i.e

  1. Gandhinagar Capital – Varanasi Superfast Weekly Express

  2. MEMU service trains between Gandhinagar Capital and Varetha.

He inaugurated the newly built modern railway station of Gandhingar and a five star hotel atop the railway station.

About Gandhinagar Capital Railway Station:

  • Gandhinagar Capital Railway Station has also been termed as the ‘Marvel of Technology and epitome of passenger’s comfort’ by the Ministry of Railways.

Key Features:

  • State of art external façade and landscaping

  • Divyang friendly station

  • Spacious entrance lobby with ticketing facility

  • Theme-based lighting

  • Escalators and lifts

  • Waiting hall at platforms for around 500 passengers

  • Centralised AC multipurpose waiting lounge

  • Dedicated exclusive art gallery with live LED wall display lounge

  • Inter-faith prayer hall

  • Adequate parking facility

  • Platforms well-connected with subways

Other Projects:

PM Modi also inaugurated an aquatic gallery, a robotic gallery and Nature Park in the Science City, Ahmedabad.

Aquatic gallery:

  • The aquatic gallery will spread over an area of 15,000 sq meters. It will be the largest aquarium in India.

  • It will have 68 tanks, showcasing the 188 marine species including penguins.

  • A key attraction of the aquatic gallery will be a 28 meter long unique walkway tunnel.

  • The gallery has been developed in collaboration with Marine Scape Eo-aquarium, New Zealand.

Robotic Gallery in Science City:

  • PM Modi also inaugurated the Robotic Gallery which will take the visitors through the history of evaluation of robots.

  • It will be an interactive gallery that will showcase the pioneers of robotic technology and will also provide a platform for visitors to explore the evolving field of robotics.

  • A huge replica of the transformer robot will be at the entrance of the gallery.

  • The unique attraction will be the welcoming humanoid robot that will be able to communicate with visitors expressing emotions such as joy, surprise, and excitement.

Nature Park:

  • The nature park in Gujarat will have many beautiful features such as a chess garden, fog garden, sculpture park, selfie points, and open labyrinth.

  • The nature park will also include an interesting labyrinth designed for the children.

About Gujarat:

  • Gujarat is a state on the western coast of India most of which lies on the Kathiawar peninsula.

  • The state is bordered by Rajasthan to the northeast, Dadra and Nagar Haveli and Daman and Diu to the south, Maharashtra to the southeast, Madhya Pradesh to the east, and the Arabian Sea and the Pakistani province of Sindh to the west.

  • Its capital city is Gandhinagar.

  • The Governor and Chief Minister of Gujarat are Acharya Devvrat and Vijay Rupani respectively.

Ladakh and Sikkim: Ladakh administration recently signed a tripartite MoU with Sikkim State Organic Certification Agency (SOCCA).

  • On behalf of the Administration of Union Territory of Ladakh, the MoU was signed by the Executive Councillor, Agriculture, LAHDC, Leh, Stanzin Chosphel, Secretary, Agriculture, Ravinder Kumar, Deputy Commissioner and CEO, LAHDC, Leh, Shrikant Suse with the representatives of SSOCA and Agriculture Department, Leh.

  • The tripartite MoU has been signed regarding the implementation of Prampragat Krishi Vikas Yojana (PKVY) and Mission Organic Development Initiative (MODI) in the Ladakh region.

Objective:

  • The main objective of this MoU is to get the organic certification after a tie-up with the Government of India (GoI).

Key Points:

  • The MoU is aimed at making Ladakh a certified organic UT by 2025 which will be completed in three phases.

  1. In the first phase, 85 villages have been identified with an aim to convert 5000 hectares of land into organic.

  2. In the 2nd phase, 82 villages will be covered with an area of 10000 hectares and

  3. Under the 3rd phase, the department has selected 79 villages which will cover the remaining areas.

  • Sikkim is the first state that is 100 per cent organic with all of its farmland certified organic. The use and sale of chemical fertilizers and pesticides are banned in Sikkim.

About SSOCA:

  • Sikkim State Organic Certification Agency (SSOCA) is an autonomous organization established under the Sikkim Government.

  • SSOCA registered under society act vide registration no:E21/Gtk/2458, dated:31st December,2015 with the financial support of Government of Sikkim.

  • The Government of Sikkim assigned work to SSOCA to certify Organic Production and processing system in the State and country as per National and International Organic Standards.

  • The SSOCA intends to provide an institutional mechanism for inspection and certification of organic production, processing and trade in India.

  • Organic Inspection and Certification

  • Forest and Wild Products (Non - Timber)

  • Voluntary Certification Scheme for Medicinal Plant Produce (VCSMPP)

  • Participatory Guarantee System (PGS)

  • India Good Agriculture Practices (INDGAP) Certification

Geographical Area of Operation of SSOCA

  • SSOCA operates from Extreme North of the Country to the Extreme South i.e its work is extended from the region of Ladakh to Kerala and Arunachal Pradesh to Gujarat.

  • Its geographical area of operation is throughout India.

  • Currently, SSOCA is operating its work in UT Ladakh, Punjab, Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand, West Bengal, North Eastern States of India, Bihar, Madhya Pradesh, Goa & Kerala.

  • In the near future SSOCA is intending to extend its geographical area of operation globally.

  • And in near future SSOCA is intending to extend its geographical area of operation globally.

About Ladakh:

  • Ladakh is a region administered by India as a union territory, and constituting a part of the larger region of Kashmir, which has been the subject of dispute between India, Pakistan, and China since 1947.

  • Until 2019, Ladakh was a region of the state of Jammu and Kashmir.

  • In August 2019, the Parliament of India passed an act by which Ladakh became a union territory on 31 October 2019.

  • The capital of Ladakh is Leh, Kargil.

  • The current Lieutenant Governor of Ladakh is Radha Krishna Mathur.

  • About Sikkim:

  • Sikkim is a state in northeastern India.

  • It borders China in the north and northeast, Bhutan in the east, Nepal in the west, and West Bengal in the south.

  • It is the least populous and second smallest among the Indian states and is also located close to India's Siliguri Corridor near Bangladesh.

  • Sikkim became the 22nd state of the Indian Union on 16 May 1975.

  • Gangtok is the capital of Sikkim.

  • The current Governor and the Chief Minister of Sikkim are Ganga Prasad and Prem Singh Tamang respectively.

Rudraksh: Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi recently inaugurated the International Cooperation and Convention Centre – Rudraksh in Varanasi.

Objective:

The objective of the project is to provide opportunities for social and cultural interactions between people at the international convention centre.

Key Points:

  • This project has been constructed with Japanese assistance.

  • It is ideal for holding international conferences, exhibitions and music concerts and other events.

  • The gallery is done up with murals depicting Varanasi's art, culture and music.

  • As many as 108 Rudraksha have been installed at this convention centre.

  • Its roof is shaped like a Shiva Linga.

About Varanasi:

  • Varanasi also known as Benares or Banaras is a city on the banks of the river Ganges in northern Indian state of Uttar Pradesh, India.

  • The city dates back to the 11th century B.C. It is regarded as the spiritual capital of India. The city draws Hindu pilgrims who bathe in the Ganges River’s sacred waters and perform funeral rites.

  • Along the city's winding streets are some 2,000 temples, including Kashi Vishwanath, the “Golden Temple,” dedicated to the Hindu god Shiva.

Note: According to Hindu mythology, Varanasi was founded by Shiva, one of three principal deities along with Brahma and Vishnu.

Zika Virus in Kerala: Health authorities have declared a state of alert in Kerala, India after 14 cases of Zika virus were detected.

Key Details:

  • Of the 19 samples sent to the National Institute of Virology (NIV) in Pune last, 14 were found to be positive for Zika virus.

  • The total number of Zika virus cases in Kerala stands at 14, including the first case of 24-years old pregnant woman.

  • The Union Health Ministry on July 9, 2021 stated that a six-member central team of experts has also been dispatched to Kerala to get a grip on the emerging Zika virus situation in the state.

What is Zika virus?

  • As per the World Health Organization (WHO), the Zika virus is a mosquito-borne flavivirus that was first detected in monkeys in Uganda in 1947.

  • Later, the virus was detected in humans in Uganda and the United Republic of Tanzania in 1952.

  • Outbreaks of Zika virus have been recorded in Africa, the Americas, Asia, and the Pacific.

  • From the 1960s to 1980s, rare sporadic cases of human infections were found across Africa and Asia.

  • A major outbreak in Brazil in 2015 revealed that it can lead to severe birth defects when pregnant women are infected.

  • The Zika virus has been associated with a rare auto-immune disease known as Guillain-Barre syndrome and shrunken brains in children.

  • As of now, there is no treatment for the Zika virus.

How does Zika virus spread?

  • Zika virus is spread by the bite of an infected Aedes species of mosquitos (Aedes aegypti).

  • The Aedes species of mosquitos usually bite during the early hours of the day and late evening hours.

  • This is the same species of mosquitos that are the carriers of dengue, yellow fever, and chikunguniya.

  • Zika virus can also transmit from pregnant woman to her fetus, or transfusion of blood, or through sexual contacts, or organ transplant.

Symptoms:

  • The symptoms of the Zika virus include fever, headache, rashes, joint and muscle pain, malaise, conjunctivitis.

  • It usually takes around 3 to 14 days for the symptoms to show up from the time of being bitten.

  • The symptoms last for approximately 2 to 7 days.

  • Most people do not develop symptoms, one in five people infected show symptoms.

Prevention:

  • Protection against mosquito bites during the day and early evening is a key measure to prevent Zika virus infection.

  • Special attention should be given to prevention of mosquito bites among pregnant women, women of reproductive age, and young children, according to the WHO.

  • Personal protection measures include wearing clothing, using physical barriers such as window screens and closed doors and windows, and applying insect repellent to skin.

  • Additionally, the WHO advises young children and pregnant women to sleep under mosquito nets if sleeping during the day or early evening.

  • Travellers and those living in affected areas should take the same basic precautions described above to protect themselves from mosquito bites.

  • Aedes mosquitoes breed in small collections of water. It is important to eliminate these mosquito breeding sites.

Zika virus: Previous outbreaks in India:

  • India had earlier in 2016-17 reported a Zika virus outbreak in Ahmedabad, Gujarat.

Policy for street children: The Delhi government has recently formulated a policy for welfare of street children in light of covid-19 pandemic situation.

The policy has been prepared by the Delhi government's Women and Child Development Department (WCD).

Provisions of Policy:

  • The policy underlines the role of various stakeholders in promoting Covid- appropriate behaviour and generating awareness about the infection.

  • It encourages a direct participation of civil society organisations.

  • It highlights their role in identifying hotspot areas and distributing masks among them.

  • It also puts forward that district administration could consider training the children rescued from streets (on attaining the age of 18 years) as Civil Defense Volunteer.

  • This will provide them respectable employment, and they, owing to their own experience, can also assist many other children who come from a similar background.

  • It also proposes the composition of District Child Protection Convergence Committee (DCPCC) over and above the District Task Force (DTF) for rescuing children.

  • District magistrate will act as chairperson of DCPCC along with other members like two members from NGOs & Delhi Commission for Protection of Child Rights representatives.

  • The task of NGOs shall include bringing all cases of children identified by them to their respective Child Welfare Committee.

  • The NGOs will work with departments concerned for their rehabilitation.

  • Further, efforts will be made to document, adopt and promote the good practices by any NGOs or Department concerned.

  • The policy also lays down 15 criteria for determining the vulnerability status of the child. These include conditions related to safety and security, status of education, state of hunger and malnutrition among others.

District Task Force:

  • WCD of Delhi Government had constituted a ‘District Task Force’ to assist COVID-19 positive children who are in Child Care Institutes or who lost their parents due covid-19 virus.

  • The department had set up two quarantine centres for children in order to take admissions sent through child welfare committee separately.

About New Delhi:

  • It is an urban district located in the city of Delhi.

  • New Delhi officially the National Capital Territory of Delhi (NCT), is a city and a union territory of India.

  • It serves as the capital of India is the seat of the State Government of Delhi and the Government of India, as well as the city or local governments as per the 74th Constitutional Amendment Act.

  • Union Territories are governed by the Union Government.

  • The current Chief Minister and Governor of Delhi are Arvind Kejriwal and Anil Baijal respectively.

Naitwar Mori HEP: SJVN, a CPSE under Ministry of Power has completed the Tunnel Excavation work of its Naitwar Mori Hydro Electric Project (Naitwar Mori HEP) in Uttarakhand.

Highlights:

  • Sh. Nand Lal Sharma, Chairman & Managing Director, SJVN triggered the last blast to mark the completion of heading excavation of 4.3-kilometer-long Head Race Tunnel of 60 MW Naitwar Mori Hydro Electric Project.

  • The newly constructed Office Complex, Transit Camp and Township ‘Yamuna Parisar’ was also inaugurated at the project site.

About Naitwar Mori HEP:

  • Naitwar Mori HEP has the potential to generate 265.5 million units of electricity every year and the State of Uttarakhand will get 12% free Power as a Royalty.

  • The project will also lead to the achievement of the Shared vision of SJVN, for becoming a 25000 MW Company by 2040.

  • SJVN is constructing its own Transmission Line of about 37 kms for transmission of electricity generated from the Project which is targeted to be completed by April 2022.

  • The Project is targeted to be completed by April 2022.

Significance:

  • Commissioning of the Project will benefit the Area and particularly Project Affected Families as they will be provided an amount equivalent to the cost of 100 units of electricity per month for 10 years.

  • SJVN is also taking up various development works in the vicinity of the Project towards under Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR).

Uttarakhand:

  • It is a state in northern India crossed by the Himalayas.

  • Uttarakhand became the 27th state of the Republic of India On 9 November 2000.

  • It was carved from the Himalayan districts of Uttar Pradesh.

  • Its winter Capital is Dehradun and summer capital is Gairsain.

  • The Chief Minister and the Governor of Uttarakhand are Pushkar Singh Dhami and Baby Rani Maurya respectively.

OTT Platform: Kerala government has proposed to have its own over-the-top (OTT) platform.

Highlights:

  • The state government has planned to launch it by November 1.

  • The proposal of the State government’s foray into the online content streaming space with the launch of an over-the-top (OTT) platform is a cultural intervention, rather than something prompted by the market or revenues.

Why does Kerala want to launch new OTT platform?

Kerala wants to launch its own OTT platform for the following reasons:

  • Major OTT players like Netflix and Amazon have been showing more interest in Malayalam cinema. But they are mostly limited to films from which they can get revenue.

  • In the last one year, less than 15 Malayalam films, featuring big stars, have been taken up these platforms.

  • Furthermore, smaller & home-grown OTT platforms such as Neestream and Mainstream TV do not have much of finance to match bigger players.

  • Thus, the state government proposed this OTT platform which will ensure space and make some sort of revenue share for lower budget & independent films that are struggling to find space among public.

  • Homegrown platform will ensure that data and content be with government rather than with third party by using existing platform.

About OTT Media Service:

  • OTT media service is offered directly to viewers through Internet.

  • OTT bypasses cable, broadcast, and satellite television platforms.

  • It is also been used to describe no-carrier cell phones, where communications are charged as data.

  • OTT term is synonymous with subscription-based video-on-demand (SVoD) services.

  • SVoD offers access to film and television content. Such services are accessed through websites on personal computers, mobile app, digital media players or televisions that are integrated with Smart TV platforms.

About Kerala:

  • It is a state on the southwestern Malabar Coast of India.

  • It was formed on 1 November 1956, following the passage of the States Reorganisation Act, by combining Malayalam-speaking regions of the erstwhile states of Travancore-Cochin and Madras.

  • It is bordered by Karnataka to the north and northeast, Tamil Nadu to the east and south, and the Lakshadweep Sea to the west.

  • Its capital is Thiruvananthapuram.

  • The current Governor and Chief Minister of Kerala are Arif Mohammad Khan and Pinarayi Vijayan respectively.

JSCE 'Outstanding Civil Engineering Achievement Award: The Delhi Metro's Phase I, II and III projects have been awarded the prestigious Japan Society of Civil Engineers (JSCE) 'Outstanding Civil Engineering Achievement Award' for the year 2020.

Highlights:

  • This award is given to highly selective showcasing projects in the development of civil engineering technology across the world.
  • The JSCE termed the Delhi Metro's project as 'High-Quality Infrastructure Development Project.
  • The Delhi Metro was awarded because its projects have brought awareness of safety and efficiency at construction sites in India and provided residents with safe, secure and comfortable transportation.
  • The Delhi Metro's civil engineering achievements in the past two decades have received global recognition and have been appreciated by prominent international organizations.

JICA and Delhi Metro:

  • The JICA has supported Delhi Metro's all phases including the ongoing Phase -IV project by providing not only smoothest financial support but with excellent value-added activities such as knowledge assistance by introducing Japanese innovative technologies and mindset of safety and innovation, unique work culture, technical cooperation and capacity building of DMRC.
  • The magnanimous support from Japan, JICA including India Office has helped Delhi Metro in becoming a Shining Example globally in the field of urban mass transit.

About JICA:

  • The Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) is a governmental agency that delivers the bulk of Official Development Assistance (ODA) for the government of Japan.
  • It is chartered with assisting economic and social growth in developing countries, and the promotion of international cooperation.
  • It was founded on October 1, 2003.
  • It is headquartered in Chiyoda, Tokyo, Japan.

Darbar Move Tradition: The Jammu and Kashmir administration recently cancelled residential accommodations of government officials as part of ending the age-old practice of 'darbar move'.

Key Points:

Days after Lieutenant Governor Manoj Sinha had announced an end to the 149-year-old practice of 'darbar move', the Jammu and Kashmir administration virtually put an end to the 149-year-old darbar move tradition.

The officials are to vacate their government-allotted residential accommodation in the twin capital cities within 21 days.

What ushered the end of the century-old move?

  • Under the J&K government’s able administration, government offices have revolutionized and completely transitioned into an e-office.
  • This is another feather to the prime minister’s vision of a digital India.
  • This will save the government Rs 200 crore per year, which will be used for the welfare of the deprived sections

History of Darbar Move:

  • The genesis of the darbar move dates back to more than 400 years ago, during the reign of the Mughal emperor Jahangir.
  • For his love of mountains and valleys, and to evade the scorching heat of Lahore, Jahangir used to visit Kashmir, during the summer months, every year.
  • Thus, every year, the darbar used to temporarily move to Kashmir, virtually making it the summer capital of the Mughal Empire.
  • The practice was subsequently followed by the British and Dogra rulers.
  • The practice of darbar move has been a part of the Jammu and Kashmir administration since 1872 when it was introduced by Maharaja Gulab Singh.

What is the darbar move?

  • The darbar move is thus a practice in which the government shifts capital for a brief period, each in the two capitals of the State.
  • For the union territory of J&K, Srinagar is the summer capital and Jammu is the winter capital.
  • The employees from Jammu were allotted residential accommodation in Srinagar and those from Srinagar in Jammu.
  • The Raj Bhavan, the civil secretariat and other major offices used to be shifted to the twin cities in phases, which used to cost the exchequer close to Rs 200 crore.

About Jammu and Kashmir:

  • Jammu and Kashmir (J&K) is a region administered by India as a Union Territory.
  • It was a region formerly administered by India as a state from 1954 to 2019.
  • Provisions for the formation of the union territory of Jammu and Kashmir were contained within the Jammu and Kashmir Reorganization Act, 2019, which was passed by both houses of the Parliament of India in August 2019.
  • It lies to the north of the Indian states of Himachal Pradesh and Punjab and to the west of Ladakh, which is also subject to the dispute as a part of Kashmir, and administered by India as a union territory.
  • The current Lieutenant Governor of J&K is Former Union minister and BJP leader Manoj Sinha

Smart Cities Awards 2020: The Central government has recently declared the Smart City awards 2020.

Highlights:

  • Indore (Madhya Pradesh) and Surat (Gujarat) won the award jointly for their overall development.
  • Whereas, Uttar Pradesh emerged on the top among all states, followed by Madhya Pradesh and Tamil Nadu under the Smart City award, 2020.
  • The Smart City awards were given across the themes of Social Aspects, Governance, Culture, Urban Environment, Sanitation, Economy, Built Environment, Water, Urban Mobility.
  • According to the Centre, of the total, proposed projects under the Smart Cities Mission, 5,924 projects (115% by number) worth ₹1,78,500 crore have been tendered so far. Whereas work orders have been issued for 5,236 projects (101% by number) worth ₹1,46,125 crore.

List of winning Smart Cities under the different categories:

1. Social Aspects

  • Tirupati: Health Benchmark for Municipal Schools
  • Bhubaneshwar: Socially Smart Bhubaneswar
  • Tumakuru: Digital Library Solution

2. Governance

  • Vadodara: GIS
  • Thane: Digi Thane
  • Bhubaneswar: ME app

3. Culture

  • Indore: Conservation of Heritage
  • Chandigarh: Capitol Complex, Heritage Project
  • Gwalior: Digital Museum

4. Urban Environment

  • Bhopal: Clean energy
  • Chennai: Restoration of water bodies
  • Tirupati: Renewable Energy Generation

5. Sanitation

  • Tirupati: Bioremediation & Bio-Mining
  • Indore: Municipal Waste Management System
  • Surat: Conservation through Treated Wastewater

6. Economy

  • Indore: Carbon Credit Financing Mechanism
  • Tirupati: Boost Local Identity & Economy through Design Studio
  • Agra: Micro Skill Development Centre

7. Built Environment

  • Indore: Chappan Dukan
  • Surat: Canal Corridor

8. Water

  • Dehradun: Smart Water Metering Water ATM
  • Varanasi: Eco-Restoration of Assi River
  • Surat: Integrated and Sustainable Water Supply System

9. Urban Mobility

  • Aurangabad: Majhi Smart Buses
  • Surat: Dynamic Scheduling Buses
  • Ahmedabad: Man-less parking system and automatic ticket dispensing machines AMDA Park

10. Innovative Idea Award

  • Indore: Carbon Credit Financing Mechanism
  • Chandigarh: For Union Territories

11. Covid Innovation Award

  • Kalyan-Dombivali and Varanasi

Other Awards in different categories:

  • Surat, Indore, Ahmedabad, Pune, Vijayawada, Rajkot, Visakhapatnam, Pimpri-Chinchwad, and Vadodara were awarded 4-star rating under Climate-Smart Cities Assessment Framework.
  • According to the ministry, Ahmedabad bagged the ‘Smart Cities Leadership Award’, followed by Varanasi and Ranchi in the second and third spots respectively.

Japanese-style Zen Garden and Kaizen Academy: Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi virtually inaugurated a Zen Garden and Kaizen Academy at Ahmedabad Management Association (AMA) premises in Ahmedabad, Gujarat recently.

Highlights:

  • These two new initiatives are part of PM’s vision of creating a ‘Mini-Japan’ in Gujarat.

 

  • The newly launched Zen Garden in Ahmedabad will showcase several elements of Japanese art, culture, landscape and architecture.

About:

  • The Zen garden features a statue of Lord Buddha.
  • The garden is built in partnership with the Japan Information and Study Centre at AMA and Indo-Japan Friendship Association (IJFA), Gujarat, supported by the Hyogo International Association (HIA), Japan.

About Ahemadabad:

  • Ahmedabad, in western India, is the largest city in the state of Gujarat.
  • The Sabarmati River runs through its center.
  • On the western bank is the Gandhi Ashram at Sabarmati.
  • This city has emerged as an important economic and industrial hub in India.
  • It is the second-largest producer of cotton in India, due to which it was known as the 'Manchester of India' along with Kanpur.

About Gujarat:

  • Gujarat is a state on the western coast of India most of which lies on the Kathiawar peninsula.
  • The state is bordered by Rajasthan to the northeast, Dadra and Nagar Haveli and Daman and Diu to the south, Maharashtra to the southeast, Madhya Pradesh to the east, and the Arabian Sea and the Pakistani province of Sindh to the west.
  • Its capital city is Gandhinagar.
  • The Governor and Chief Minister of Gujarat are Acharya Devvrat and Vijay Rupani respectively.

National Horticulture Board (NHB): Union Minister for Agriculture and Farmers Welfare, Rural Development, Panchayati Raj and Food Processing Industries, Narendra Singh Tomar recently inaugurated the National Horticulture Board Centre at Gwalior in the state of Madhya Pradesh (MP).

Highlights:

  • The Government has created an Agricultural Infrastructure Fund of One Lakh Crore.
  • Any farmer can apply online by creating his own project to seek help.
  • The government reviews every week to provide financial assistance to the farmers' projects received online.
  • The Government of India will spend Rs.6,550 crore through FPO (Agricultural Production Organisation). This will revolutionize the lives of farmers."

Key Points:

  • NHB is mandated for integrated development of hi-tech commercial horticulture and post-harvest management/cold chain infrastructure in the country.
  • It is having centers/offices at various locations of the country and atleast one centre is there almost in each state for implementation, monitoring and coordination of its various Schemes and activities.
  • Some of the bigger states like UP and Maharashtra are having more than one centre due to their geography and higher quantum of work.

Significance for Madhya Pradesh:

  • Madhya Pradesh, which is the second largest state in the Country, is rapidly diversifying into horticulture sector for the last few years.
  • It is the third largest producers of vegetables in the country and 5th largest producers in Fruits.
  • Gwalior Division of Madhya Pradesh is geographically located in Northern part of the State. Gwalior and Chambal divisions correspond to the Gird region of Madhya Pradesh.
  • With the opening of new Centre of NHB at Gwalior, farmers from 21 districts of Northern Madhya Pradesh including Grid region of Gwalior and Chambal will be benefited under the Schemes of National Horticulture Board.

About MP:

  • Madhya Pradesh (MP) is the second largest Indian state by area.
  • It borders the states of Uttar Pradesh to the northeast, Chhattisgarh to the southeast, Maharashtra to the south, Gujarat to the west, and Rajasthan to the northwest.
  • Its capital is Bhopal.
  • The current Chief Minister and Governor of Madhya Pradesh is Shivraj Singh Chouhan and Anandiben Patel respectively.

Kudankulam Nuclear Power Plant (KKNPP): Russia has started the construction of fifth nuclear power unit at Kudankulam in Tamil Nadu on June 29, 2021.

About KKNPP:

  • This nuclear power plant is the largest nuclear power of India.
  • It is located in Kudankulam town in Tirunelveli district of Tamil Nadu.
  • Construction of the plant which started on March 31, 2002 faced several delays because of opposition from local fishermen.
  • KKNPP is scheduled to have six VVER-1000 reactors.
  • All these reactors have been built or is being built in collaboration with Russian state company and Nuclear Power Corporation of India Limited (NPCIL). Reactors have the installed capacity of 6,000 MW of electricity.
  • Unit one was made operation and synchronised with southern power grid in October 2013.
  • It has been generating electricity up to 1,000 MW. Unit two was synchronised with electricity grid on August 29, 2016.
  • Units three & four were inaugurated on February 17, 2016.
  • Now, construction of Unit five & six will start.

Tamil Nadu:

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

Andhra launches IT policy for 2021-24: The Andhra Pradesh government recently came out with the new ‘AP Information Technology Policy 2021-24’ that is expected to generate more than 55,000 jobs over the next three years.

Key Details:

  • This new policy was approved by State Cabinet chaired by Chief Minister Y S Jagan Mohan Reddy.
  • This policy is expected to generate more than 55,000 jobs in next three years.
  • It will also create 1.65 lakh indirect employment and ensure a holistic ecosystem development.
  • For this purpose, a robust and holistic business environment would be created.
  • IT, Electronics and Communications Department would also be transformed into revenue centre in a bid to achieve self-sustenance.
  • The policy would be in force till March 31, 2024.

How it will be implemented?

  • Under the policy, AP government will establish incubation centers and organise hackathons & workshops for startups.
  • The Government will also establish an IT Emerging Technologies Research University in Visakhapatnam in order to develop State as leading contributor to national talent pool in IT & other emerging technologies.

Key provisions of new IT Policy:

  • New IT Policy links the incentive disbursement to realization of committed direct employment which ensures transparent & effective utilization of public funds.
  • It offers end-to-end support for start-ups like plug & play office space, access to investors, & mentors, funds through venture capitals and private equity firms.

State’s Revenue:

  • Andhra Pradesh will earn revenue of Rs 783 crore in 10 years in the form of various taxes through this policy.
  • Direct employment is also expected to infuse over Rs 2,200 crore year.
  • It will thus lead to overall growth of economy through multiplier effect.

About Andhra Pradesh (AP):

  • Andhra Pradesh (AP) is situated in the south-eastern part of India.
  • It came into existence in its present form in 1956 as a result of the demand of the Andhras for a separate state.
  • Capitals are Visakhapatnam (executive capital), Kurnool (judicial capital, Amaravati (legislative capital).
  • The current Governor and the Chief Minister of Andra Pradesh is Biswabhusan Harichandan and Y. S. Jaganmohan Reddy respectively.

Places in News Current Affairs - June 2021

The Assam government has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Survey of India for implementing the Svamitva scheme in the state.

Key Points:

  • The MoU was signed between Assam, Director of Land, Records and Survey, Shantanu P Gotmare, and Director Assam and Nagaland, Survey of India.
  • The scheme aims at providing an integrated property validation solution for rural areas.
  • Scheme will be implemented by Assam Government’s Department of Revenue and Disaster Management and the Union Ministry of Panchayati Raj with the support of Panchayat and Rural Development.
  • Survey of India is the technology partner. It will take steps for survey of inhabited rural land by drone as well as establishment of ground based control stations to enable a detailed spatial database of properties in rural areas.
  • This scheme is expected to reduce property related disputes in rural areas and legal cases.

About Swamitva Scheme:

  • This scheme was launched on April 24, 2020 on the occasion of National Panchayati Raj Day.
  • It was rolled out across India on April 24, 2021.
  • It would provide ‘record of rights’ to village household owners who are possessing houses in inhabited rural areas in villages. This in turn, would enable the villagers to use their property as financial asset to take loans and other financial benefits from banks.

About Assam:

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

About Survey of India:

  • The Survey of India is India's central engineering agency in charge of mapping and surveying.
  • It was set up in 1767 to help consolidate the territories of the British East India Company.
  • The National Survey and Mapping Organization of the country under the Department of Science & Technology, is the oldest scientific department of the Government of India (GoI).
  • Its members are from Survey of India Service cadre of Civil Services of India and Army Officers from the Indian Army Corps of Engineers.
  • It is headed by the Surveyor General of India.
  • The Survey of India is headquartered at Dehra Dun, Uttarakhand.
  • Currently, Survey of India is headed by Sh. Naveen Tomar.

Function:

  • In its assigned role as the Nation's principal mapping agency, Survey of India bears a special responsibility to ensure that the country's domain is explored and mapped suitably to provide base maps for expeditious and integrated development and ensure that all resources contribute their full measure to the progress, prosperity and security of our country now and for generations to come.

IPDS: A 50 kWp Solar roof top was inaugurated in Solan, Himachal Pradesh under the IPDS (Integrated power development scheme) of Ministry of Power, Government of India (GoI).

Highlights:

  1. The IPDS was inaugurated as a part of ‘Azadi ka Amrit Mahotsav’ celebrations, marking 75 years of India’s independence.
  2. The 50 kWp Solar roof top project is commissioned by Himachal Pradesh State Electricity Board Ltd (HPSEBL).
  3. The project further reinforces the ‘Go Green’ Initiative of  GoI envisaged in the Urban Distribution scheme.

About IPDS:

  1. Integrated Power Development Scheme (IPDS) was launched in the year 2014 by Ministry of Power, GoI.

Eligibility:

  1. All Discoms are eligible for financial assistance under the scheme.

Objectives:

The following are the objectives of IPDS.

  • 24×7 Power supplies for consumers.
  • Reduction of AT&C (aggregate technical and commercial) losses.
  • Providing access to power to all households.

It has following components:

  1. Strengthening of sub-transmission and distribution networks in the urban areas.
  2. Metering of distribution transformers/feeders/consumers in the urban areas.
  3. IT enablement of distribution sector and strengthening of distribution network under R-APDRP for 12th and 13th Plans by carrying forward the approved outlay for R-APDRP to IPDS.
  4. Schemes for Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) and IT enablement of the distribution sector.

Note: ERP helps in integrating the important parts of a business.

  1. Scope of IT enablement has been extended to all 4041 towns as per Census 2011.
  2. Underground cabling to include additional demand of States and smart metering solution for performing UDAY States and Solar panels on Govt. buildings with net-metering are also permissible under the scheme.

Power Sector in India:

  1. India’s power sector is one of the most diversified in the world. Sources of power generation range from conventional sources such as coal, lignite, natural gas, oil, hydro and nuclear power to viable non-conventional sources such as wind, solar, and agricultural and domestic waste.
  2. India is the third-largest producer and second-largest consumer of electricity in the world.
  3. The Ministry of Power is primarily responsible for the development of electrical energy in the country.
  4. It administers the Electricity Act, 2003 and the Energy Conservation Act, 2001.
  5. Electricity is a concurrent subject (Seventh Schedule of the Constitution).

About Himachal Pradesh:

  1. Himachal Pradesh is a northern Indian state in the Himalayas.
  2. It is situated in the Western Himalayas, it is one of the eleven mountain states of India. Himachal Pradesh shares borders with the union territories of Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh to the north, and the states of Punjab to the west, Haryana to the southwest, and Uttarakhand and Uttar Pradesh to the south.
  3. The state also has a border with the autonomous region of Tibet to the east.
  4. Its summer capital is shimla and winter capital is Dharamshala.
  5. The current Governor and Chief Minister of Himachal Pradesh are Bandaru Dattatreya and Jai Ram Thakur respectively.

Ashirbad: It is a new scheme named ‘Ashirbad’ recently announced by Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik for the education, health and maintenance of Covid orphans.

Highlights of this scheme:

  1. Under the scheme, Rs 2500 per month will be deposited in the bank accounts of family members who have taken the responsibility for the children after the death of their parents.
  2. The government will continue to give the assistance till the child turns 18.
  3. Children who lost their parents or the main earning person of the family on April 1, 2020, or thereafter to Covid-19 will be eligible to be covered under the scheme.
  4. Such children under distress have been divided into the following three categories:
  1. Those who have lost both their parents
  2. Those who have lost either father or mother
  3. Those whose main earning member of the family, either father or mother have died.

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.

The capital of Odisha is Bhubaneswar.

The Governor and the Chief Minister of Odisha are Ganeshi Lal and Naveen Patnaik respectvely. 

Committee for Safety of Fishers: The Fisheries Department of Kerala has constituted a seven-member committee to study and submit report on methods to resolve issues related to safety at sea.

About the committee:

  1. The Committee is headed by P. Sahadevan who was former additional director of fisheries.
  2. The Committee will study and submit report on methods to resolve issues related to safety at sea, coastal security and vessel monitoring systems (VMS).
  3. It will also look after illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing.
  4. Committee will also analyze the”latest trends and internationally available options” as a part of its study.

Who are the members of committee?

The Committee also comprises of Superintendent of Police (Marine Enforcement); Joint executive director of Agency for Development of Aquaculture (ADAK); Joint director & assistant directors (projects) of Fisheries Department and Registrar of Kerala University of Fisheries & Ocean Studies (KUFOS).

Why committee was constituted?

The committe was constituted by Kerala’s Fisheries department as long-term solution because of increasing instances of fishing-related accidents at sea, especially during monsoons; problems related to coastal security and illegal & unregulated fishing.

What are the concerns?

  1. Safety has become a matter of overriding concern with overfishing in the territorial waters prompting fishers to venture into the deep-sea regions.
  2. Currently, only fishing boats owned by entrepreneurs have been equipped with electronic safety aids.
  3. As a result, fishermen going astray across the ocean are pulled away by strong currents.
  4. They end up landing in neighbouring coastal countries like Sri Lanka, Bangladesh and Pakistan.
  5. Further, porous coastline poses a threat on national security. So, an effective vessel monitoring and surveillance system in Kerala is need of the hour to resolve these issues.

About Kerala:

  1. It is a state on the southwestern Malabar Coast of India.
  2. It was formed on 1 November 1956, following the passage of the States Reorganisation Act, by combining Malayalam-speaking regions of the erstwhile states of Travancore-Cochin and Madras.
  3. It is bordered by Karnataka to the north and northeast, Tamil Nadu to the east and south, and the Lakshadweep Sea to the west.
  4. Its capital is Thiruvananthapuram.
  5. The current Governor and Chief Minister of Kerala are Arif Mohammad Khan and Pinarayi Vijayan respectively.

Mizoram Health Systems Strengthening Project: Government of India (GoI), Government of Mizoram and the World Bank have recently signed a loan agreement of worth $32 million for Mizoram Health Systems Strengthening Project.

The project aims to improve management capacity and quality of health services in Mizoram.

About Mizoram Health Systems Strengthening Project:

  1. This project will strengthen governance and management structure of Department of Health & Family Welfare (DoHFW) and its subsidiaries.
  2. It will also improve quality & coverage of services delivered by state government health systems.
  3. The project would also invest in comprehensive Quality Assurance program, which would enable quality certification of health facilities.
  4. The following are the key focus of this project:
  • To strengthen the effectiveness of state health insurance programme
  • To build synergies with Pradhan Mantri Jan Arogya Yojana (PMJAY);
  • To reduce financial barriers in accessing hospital services
  • To prevent catastrophic out of pocket expenditure for health by poor families
  • To expand coverage.
  1. Mizoram Health Systems Strengthening Project will benefit people across eight districts of the state.
  2. It will also benefit health sector staff at secondary and primary level by strengthening their planning & management capacity and building their clinical skills & competencies.

Bio-medical waste management:

  1. Project will also invest in improving overall ecosystem for solid & liquid bio-medical waste management.
  2. It will include segregation, disinfection, and collection besides safeguarding environment.
  3. It will also improve quality of health service and patient safety.

World Bank:

  1. The World Bank is an international financial institution that provides loans and grants to the governments of poorer countries for the purpose of pursuing capital projects.
  2. It comprises two institutions which are the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development, and the International Development Association.
  3. It is headquartered in Washington, D.C., United States.
  4. It was founded on July 1944 by John Maynard Keynes and Harry Dexter White. Its main aim is providing financing, advice, and research to developing nations to aid their economic advancement.
  5. The bank predominantly acts as an organization that attempts to fight poverty by offering developmental assistance to middle- and low-income countries.
  6. The current President of World Bank is David Malpass.

Mizoram:

  1. Mizoram is a mountainous region which became the 23rd state of the Indian Union in February 1987.
  2. It is a state in northeastern India.
  3. It was previously part of Assam until 1972, when it was carved out as a Union Territory. It became the 23rd state of India, a step above Union Territory, on 20 February 1987, with the Fifty-Third Amendment of the Indian Constitution, 1986.
  4. It shares its borders with three of the Seven Sister States, namely Assam, Tripura and Manipur.
  5. The capital of Mizoram is Aizwal.
  6. The current Chief Minister and Governor of Mizoram are Pu Zoramthanga and P.S. Sreedharan Pillai respectively.