•It is one of four additional projects agreed in 2008, as a part of India’s commitment to help Bhutan to create a total 10,000 MW of installed capacity by 2020.
•This 600 MW run-of-the-river project is located on the lower course of the Kholongchhu river in eastern Bhutan’s Trashiyangtse district.
•The project is expected to be completed in the second half of 2025.
•The project will be constructed as a 50:50 joint venture.
•Being a member of BIMSTEC, Bhutan holds geostrategic importance for India. [The shared sense of support and help in terms of such development projects between the two countries can help India in executing its Act East-Look East Policy.]
•The project which started in 2014 was on halt since December 2016 over India’s new power tariff guidelines on Cross Border
Strengthening Teaching-Learning and Results for States (STARS) Programme: World Bank
•It will improve the quality and governance of school education in six Indian states of Himachal Pradesh, Kerala, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Odisha and Rajasthan through the Samagra Shiksha
•Around 250 million students (between the age of 6 and 17) in 1.5 million schools and over 10 million teachers will benefit from this USD 500 million programme.
•It will strengthen public school education and support the country’s goal of providing ‘Education for All’, for which the Bank had provided total assistance of more than USD 3 billion prior to this plan as well.
•STARS will assist India in participation in the Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA)
What is Covaxin?
•It is India’s first COVID vaccine candidate approved by the Drug Controller General of India (DCGI).
•Covaxin is an inactivated vaccine created from a strain of the infectious SARS COV-2 virus.
•It is the first vaccine that has got approval of the drug controller for phase 1 and II human clinical trials.
•The vaccine has been developed by Hyderabad Major Bharat Biotech in collaboration with ICMR and the National Institute of Virology (NIV).
•According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), out of 200 Covid-19 vaccine candidates, 15 have entered clinical trials.
•AstraZeneca is the world’s leading Covid-19 vaccine candidate and has reached the final stage in terms of development. [It is being developed by researchers at the University of Oxford (UK).]
•US Firm Moderna’s vaccine (MRNA-1273) will go into phase III clinical trials in July.
Sanskritik Sadbhav Mandap (multi-purpose community centre)
•This community centre will be utilized for various socio-economic-cultural activities, skill development training, coaching, different sports activities and relief activities during disasters such as Covid-19.
•It is being constructed under the Pradhan Mantri Jan Vikas Karyakram (PMJVK).
•Pradhan Mantri Jan Vikas Karyakram (PMJVK) is a restructured and renamed form of the erstwhile Multi-sectoral Development Programme (MsDP).
【Recently, the Minister of Minority Affairs has laid the foundation stone for ‘Sanskritik Sadbhav Mandap’ (multi-purpose community centre) at Rampur in Uttar Pradesh】
Uganda’s REDD+ Results
•Recently, Uganda has become the first African country to submit results for Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and forest Degradation (REDD+) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC)
•There is a 44% reduction in the country’s rate of deforestation annually between 2015 and 2017.
•It will help Uganda to receive funds through the Green Climate Fund’s forest conservation scheme
•Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and forest Degradation (REDD+) is a mechanism developed by Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) in 2005.
[The “Plus” in REDD+, lays out the various ways in which countries have defined the three activities: conservation, the sustainable management of forests and enhancement of forest carbon stock]
•It aims to achieve climate change mitigation by incentivizing forest conservation.
Extension of the Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Anna Yojana (PMGKAY)
•Prime Minister Narendra Modi has extended the Pradhan Mantri Gareeb Kalyan Anna Yojana till November-end and said the Central government will spend Rs 90,000 crore more on providing free food to the poor.
•PMGKAY is a part of Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Package (PMGKP) to help the poor fight the battle against Covid-19
•The scheme aimed at providing each person who is covered under the National Food Security Act with an additional 5 kg grains (wheat or rice) for free, in addition to the 5 kg of subsidised foodgrain already provided through the Public Distribution System (PDS)
State of the World Population 2020 report: by UNFPA
•Recently, the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) has released the State of the World Population 2020 report, titled ‘Against my will: defying the practices that harm women and girls and undermine equality
•It highlights at least 19 human rights violations against women and focuses on the three most prevalent ones, Female Genital Mutilation (FGM), extreme bias against daughters, in favour of sons and child marriage.
•The number of missing women has more than doubled over the past 50 years, who were at 61 million in 1970.
•According to estimates averaged over a five year period (2013-17), annually, there were 1.2 million missing female births, at a global level.
•One in three girls missing globally due to sex selection, both pre- and post-natal, is from India, i.e. 46 million out of the total 142 million.
•India (40%) along with China (50%) account for around 90% of the estimated 1.2 million girls lost annually to female foeticide.
•An estimated 4.1 million girls will be subjected to female genital mutilation in 2020.
National level committee for reform in criminal law.
•Recently, the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) has constituted a national level committee for reform in criminal law
•The committee has been constituted under Ranbir Singh and several other members
•Criminal law is considered to be the most apparent expression of the relationship between a state and its citizens.
•Criminal law in India is governed by Indian Penal Code, 1860, Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973, and Indian Evidence Act, 1872, etc.
•The criminal justice system is a replica of the British colonial jurisprudence, which was designed with the purpose of ruling the nation and not serving the citizens.
•The purpose of the criminal justice system was to protect the rights of the innocents and punish the guilty, but nowadays the system has become a tool of harassment of common people.
( Fact hai!)
G4 Flu Virus found in China
•Recently, scientists have identified a “newly emerged” strain of influenza virus that is infecting Chinese pigs and that has the potential of triggering a pandemic
[Ek pandemic bahut hai for our generation:)
•Named G4, scientists believe that it has descended from the H1N1 strain that was responsible for the 2009 swine flu pandemic [It was identified through surveillance of influenza viruses in pigs through a study carried out from 2011 to 2018 in ten provinces of China.]
•Pigs are intermediate hosts for the generation of pandemic influenza virus.
]Intermediate host is an organism that harbours a parasitic which is being provided with nourishment and shelter by the organism.]
CogX 2020 : Global Festival of Artificial Intelligence & Emerging Technology
•Recently MyGov Corona Helpdesk Chatbot has bagged two awards under categories
1) “Best Innovation for Covid-19 – Society”
2) “People’s Choice Covid-19 Overall Winner”
•CogX is a prestigious Global Leadership Summit and Festival of Artificial Intelligence & Emerging Technology held annually in London with over 15,000 participants in attendance from the highest levels of business, government, industry, and research
Sustainable Alternative Towards Affordable Transportation (SATAT) Initiative
•The initiative is aimed at providing a Sustainable Alternative Towards Affordable Transportation (SATAT) as a developmental effort that would benefit both vehicle-users as well as farmers and entrepreneurs
•Indian Oil, NTPC and SDMC have signed an MoU to develop a waste-to-energy facility at Delhi’s Okhla landfill site using gasification technology
•This plant will process 17,500 tons per annum of Refuse Derived Fuel (RDF) produced from combustible components of municipal waste to generate syngas which shall in turn be used to generate electricity
•Compressed Bio-Gas plants are proposed to be set up mainly through independent entrepreneurs
Accelerate Vigyan Scheme: SERB
•Recently, the Science and Engineering Research Board (SERB), has launched a scheme called Accelerate Vigyan (AV) to strengthen scientific research mechanisms in the country
•It aims to give more thrust on encouraging high-end scientific research and preparing scientific manpower, which can lead to careers in research and knowledge-based economy.
•ABHYAAS Programme: Under it, AV is inviting applications for the winter season (December 2020-January 2021).
•It is an attempt to boost research and development in the country by enabling and grooming potential PG/PhD students by means of developing their research skills in selected areas across different disciplines or fields
•SAMMOHAN: It has been sub-divided into SAYONJIKA and SANGOSHTI.
1. SAYONJIKA is an open-ended program to catalogue the capacity building activities in science and technology supported by all government funding agencies in the country.
2. SANGOSHTI is a pre-existing program of SERB for the organisation of workshops.
Two New Species of Butterfly found in Arunachal Pradesh
•Recently, the lepidopterists have discovered the two new species of butterfly in Changlang district of Arunachal Pradesh
1. Striped Hairstreak
•Scientific Name: Yamamotozephyrus kwangtugenesis
•It is found in Vijaynagar village of Changlang district of Arunachal Pradesh, bordering Myanmar.
•It was first recorded in Hainan province of China.[It is also found in North America, from the Rocky Mountains]
2. Elusive Prince
•Scientific Name: Rohana tonkiniana
• It is found in Miao subdivision situated on the periphery of the Namdapha National Park.
•In India only a male specimen of the Elusive Prince was found.
[Namdapha National Park :It lies at the international border between India and Myanmar within Changlang District in the state of Arunachal Pradesh]
•It is a snake endemic to Assam, has been found 129 years after it was last spotted by British tea planter Samuel Edward Peal in 1891.
[The snake was considered a lost species since no sighting had been reported since its discovery in 1891.]
•In 2018, it was found in the Poba Reserve Forest (RF),Assam by a team of scientists from the Wildlife Institute of India (WWI), who were retracing the steps of the Abor Expedition
•It is small — about 60 cm long, brownish, with a patterned belly.
•It has a unique genus (Herpetoreas) belonging to a smaller group of four species, found in Eastern and Western Himalayas, South China and Northeast India.
•It is categorised as ‘data deficient’ in the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) list
[This is the worst category because there is practically no information available about it and it is difficult to determine its status.]
•The species has been found near the Teesta river valley region after a gap of nearly 136 years.
•The plant, known commonly as ‘dancing ladies’ or ‘swan flowers’ was thought to have been extinct until its “re-collection”, for the first time since 1875
•The species has been listed as “
Endangered” on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species
•The Maharashtra Government has declared 29.53 sq km area of Dodamarg forest range in Sindhudurg district as ‘Tillari Conservation Reserve’.
•Tillari is the seventh wildlife corridor in the state to be declared as a ‘conservation reserve’ (Maharashtra)
•The area covering nine villages in the forest range is known to serve as a corridor and even as a habitat for the population of tigers and elephants moving between the three states of Goa, Karnataka and Maharashtra.
•It connects Mhadei sanctuary in Goa and Bhimgad in Karnataka.
•It has semi-evergreen forest, tropical moist deciduous forests, and a number of unique trees, butterflies, and flowers
Central Zoo Authority (CZA)
•The CZA is a statutory body under the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change. It was constituted in 1992 under the Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972.
•It is chaired by the Environment Minister and has 10 members and a member-secretary.
•The main objective of the authority is to complement and strengthen the national effort in conservation of rich biodiversity.
•It lays down guidelines and prescribes rules under which animals may be transferred among zoos nationally and internationally.
【Recently, the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change has reconstituted the Central Zoo Authority (CZA) to include an expert from the School of Planning and Architecture, Delhi, and a molecular biologist】
Indira Gandhi National Centre for the Arts (IGNCA)
•It is planning to highlight the work of artists who have been entertaining and boosting the public’s morale during the Covid-19 pandemic (referred as silent Covid warriors)
•Indira Gandhi National Centre for the Arts (IGNCA) was established in 1987 as an autonomous institution under the Ministry of Culture, as a centre for research, academic pursuit and dissemination in the field of the arts.
•It is a research unit under Project Mausam.
•Project ‘Mausam’ is a Ministry of Culture project with Archaeological Survey of India (ASI), New Delhi as the nodal agency.
•The central themes that hold Project ‘Mausam’ together are those of cultural routes and maritime landscapes that not only linked different parts of the Indian Ocean littoral, but also connected the coastal centres to their hinterlands.
Diana Memorial Award for humanitarian efforts
•13-year-old schoolgirl from Delhi has been selected among the recipients of the 2020 Diana Award, an honour given on the birth anniversary of Princess Diana (of Wales) to youngsters for humanitarian efforts.
•She received the award for developing Recycler App, a web-based mobile application to connect users with waste-handlers.
• The door-to-door pick up service helps in easy disposal of recyclable waste for those who may not have the means or time to travel to drop their waste.
•The app also claims to be helpful for waste-handlers, whose earnings are usually low and are vulnerable to health issues because of improper handling of waste
•Diana Awards were established in 1999 and it is considered one of the highest accolades a young person can receive for social action or humanitarian efforts.
•The Diana Award is now a UK-based charity, operating across the United Kingdom and beyond
Drug Discovery Hackathon 2020 (DDH2020)
•It is a joint initiative of the Ministry of Human Resource Development (MHRD), All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE) and the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) and supported by partners like Centre for Development of Advanced Computing (CDAC), MyGov and private players.
•The objective is to identify drug candidates against SARS-CoV-2 (Covid-19) by in-silico drug discovery.
[a first of its kind national initiative for supporting the drug discovery process.]
Italian Marines Case; India & Italy
•In 2012, Indian police had detained two Italian marines posted on oil tanker Enrica Lexie who had shot at two Indian fishermen on an Indian vessel, apparently mistaking them for pirates operating near the Kerala Coast.
•At that time, India had set up a specially designated court, as ordered by Indian Supreme Court, to determine the applicability of jurisdiction
•After three years, Italy moved the International Tribunal for Law of the Sea (ITLOS) seeking for two italian marines to stay in their own country during the trial process and also to stop India from going ahead with its criminal prosecution.
•The ITLOS judgement of 2015 called on Italy and India to suspend all domestic prosecutions arising from the Enrica Lexie Case
•【Recently, the Permanent Court of Arbitration (PCA) has published an extract of the final award of the ad-hoc tribunal constituted to settle disputes related to the United Nations Convention for the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) regarding Italian marine Case between India and Italy.】
•The tribunal held that the actions of the Italian military officers breached India’s freedom of navigation under UNCLOS Article 87(1)(a) and 90.
•The tribunal also held that India is entitled for payment of compensation in connection with loss of life, physical harm, material damage to property and moral harm suffered by captain and crew of ‘St Antony’, the Indian vessel.
Unusually fewer reporting of Diseases other than COVID-19 due to Pandemic
•Integrated Disease Surveillance Programme (IDSP) issues weekly reports on disease outbreaks across the country based on its surveillance network that spans at least 600 districts.
•The neglect of other diseases has been observed by a reduction in the notifications of fresh tuberculosis infections and a general decline in claims under the Ayushman Bharat health insurance scheme.
•The pandemic needs serious focus, but India cannot afford to ignore other diseases and infections
•The latest weekly report available on the IDSP website from Week 12 (March 16-22) of 2020 records a mere 6 disease alerts across the country.
[An alert is when a sizable number of cases from a region are reported.]
•In Week 11 of 2020, there were 28 alerts, 12 of which were for Covid-19
Request for Qualifications (RFQ) towards privatisation of railways
•Recently, the Ministry of Railways has taken the first step towards privatisation of railways by inviting Request for Qualifications (RFQ) to private players for operation of passenger train services
•Under this at least 151 modern trains will be introduced and 109 pairs of routes will be planned out for private train operations.
•Train sets have to be brought by private operators and maintained by them.
•Fares in private trains will be competitive and prices on other modes of transport like airlines, buses have to be kept in mind while fixing the fares
[The project will bring private sector investment of about Rs. 30,000 crore.]
•Induction of modern technology and reduction in transit time and the demand-supply deficit in train tickets among others
are reasons behind privatisation
Dharma Chakra Day; 4th July 2020
•Ministry of Culture, Government of India in partnership with International Buddhist Confederation (IBC) will celebrate the upcoming Asadha Poornima on 4th July, 2020 as Dharma Chakra Day.
•The day marks Buddha’s first teaching after attaining Enlightenment to the first five ascetic disciples (pañcavargika) on the full-moon day of Asadha at ‘Deer Park’, Ṛiṣipatana in the current day Sarnath, near Varanasi, India
•The auspicious day of Asadha Poornima falls on the first full moon day of the month of Asadha as per Indian sun calendar.
•It is also known as Esala Poya in Sri Lanka and Asanha Bucha in Thailand
•It is the second most sacred day for Buddhists after the Buddha Poornima or Vesak.
【The festivities would start off with chanting of prayers at Sarnath, Varanasi (U.P.) which will be livestreamed, following which the opening event will be shifted to the Rashtrapati Bhavan.】
Continuation of presidency by Vladimir Putin until 2036
•Russian citizens have supported a set of constitutional amendments including continuation of presidency by Vladimir Putin in a recently held referendum in the country
•The Russian Constitution bars more than two consecutive presidential terms.
•The new Constitution doesn’t change the two-term limit in theory, but in practice, it resets Mr Putin’s terms so that it will be the first election under the new Constitution for him, to be held in 2024
•According to the referendum, the current President of Russia Vladimir Putin can stay in power for two more six-year terms (until 2036) after his term expires in 2024.
【The preliminary results released by the Election Commission showed that almost 78% of voters endorsed the amendments, while 21% voted against them. Some 65% voters had turned up to cast their ballots】
•In the past two months, hundreds of elephants have died mysteriously in Botswana’s Okavango Delta
•The cause of the deaths is yet to be established. (However, poaching has been ruled out since the dead elephants were found with tusks)
•Okavango Delta is one of the very few major interior delta systems that do not flow into a sea or ocean
•The delta covers part of Kalahari Desert and owes its existence to the Okavango (Kavango) River.
•Botswana is a landlocked country in Southern Africa.
[Its 70% territory is covered by Kalahari Desert.]
•Botswana has the world’s largest elephant population, estimated to be around 130,000.
•It is Africa’s oldest continuous democracy
Increment in global e-waste
•According to a recent United Nations University (UNU) report, global e-waste will increase by 38% in the decade between 2020 and 2030
•United Nations University (UNU) is a global think tank and postgraduate teaching organisation headquartered in Japan.
•UNU’s mission is to resolve the pressing global problems of human survival
•There was 53.6 million tonnes (MT) e-waste in 2019, which is a nearly 21% increase in just five years.
•Less than 18% of the e-waste generated in 2019 was collected and recycled.
【Structured management of e-waste in India is mandated under the E-Waste (Management) Rules, 2016】
Expansion of Council of Ministers (CoM) in Madhya Pradesh
•Recent expansion of the Ministry in Madhya Pradesh has increased the Council of Ministers strength to 34, which is more than 15% of the effective strength of the legislators at 206
•Article 164 (1A) of the Constitution prescribed that the total number of Ministers, including the Chief Minister, in the Council of Ministers in a State shall not exceed 15% of the total number of members of the Legislative Assembly of that State
•Article 163 (1) provides that there shall be a Council of Ministers with the Chief Minister as the head to aid and advise the Governor in the exercise of his functions
【The Assembly strength of 228 dropped to 206 in March 2020, when 22 rebel Congress MLAs resigned, toppling the then government. Two seats fell vacant earlier owing to deaths.】
Prerak Dauur Samman
•Recently, a new category of awards titled ‘Prerak Dauur Samman’ has been announced as part of Swachh Survekshan 2021
•The Prerak Dauur Samman has a total of five additional sub-categories namely,
1. Divya (Platinum),
2. Anupam (Gold),
3. Ujjwal (Silver),
4. Udit (Bronze)
5. Aarohi (Aspiring).
•In Swachh Survekshan 2020, cities are evaluated on the criteria of ‘population category’ but for 2021, they will be categorised on the basis of six select indicator wise performance criteria
1. Segregation of waste into Wet, Dry and Hazard categories.
2. Processing capacity against wet waste generated.
3. Processing and recycling of wet and dry waste.
4. Construction and Demolition waste processing.
5. Percentage of waste going to landfills.
6. Sanitation status of cities.
•Recently, the government of Turkey has decided to convert Istanbul’s iconic Hagia Sophia Museum into a mosque
•Hagia Sophia is not only the symbol of Turkey’s most popular tourist attraction but also acts as a political symbol.
[The plan of conversion is also an attempt to gain political support as AKP has lost many municipal elections.]
•There have been diplomatic tensions between Turkey and Greece over many issues related to Hagia Sophia.
•According to Greece, the museum which has been designated a world cultural heritage is currently being used to promote other purposes.
•For the President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan of Justice and Development Party (AKP), and his supporters who tend to have nationalist-Islamist sympathies, it symbolises the conquest of Christian Constantinople by the Ottomans, and the superiority of the Islamic world.
[Hagia Sophia is not only the symbol of Turkey’s most popular tourist attraction but also acts as a political symbol.]
Natanz: Iran’s main uranium enrichment facility
•Recently, a fire broke out at Natanz, an Underground Nuclear Facility of Iran used for enriching uranium.
[Enriched uranium is a type of uranium in which the percent composition of uranium-235 is increased.]
•It is among the sites monitored by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) after Iran’s 2015 nuclear deal with world powers i.e. the USA ,UK, France, China, Russia, and Germany
•Natanz became a point of controversy as Iran refused to allow an IAEA inspector into the facility in October 2019, after allegedly testing positive for suspected traces of explosive nitrates.
Nagarahole National Park, Karnataka
•Recently, the Karnataka Forest Department has decided to put in place a traffic monitoring mechanism along the roads adjacent to Nagarahole National Park
• Time-stamped Card System:The forest department will introduce a time-stamped card system for vehicles passing through the roads, adjacent to Nagarahole National Park, which have high traffic density 24×7.
•The time stamped card will have complete details on the speed limit to be maintained and the exit time at the next check post.
•It will help ensure that motorists don’t stop midway and litter the area or cause disturbance to wildlife.
[It will also ensure better compliance of forest laws by motorists and will also minimise road kills]
•China made this claim at an online meeting of the 58th Global Environment Facility (GEF) Council, while objecting to the funding request to develop the Sakteng Wildlife Sanctuary project in eastern Bhutan
•Sakteng wildlife sanctuary is based in Eastern Bhutan, or Trashigang Dzongkhag (district) that borders Arunachal Pradesh
•Bhutan and China do not have any formal diplomatic relations, both the countries conduct their diplomatic communication through their missions in Delhi.
[Bhutan has conveyed its position to China through its embassy in New Delhi— since both countries don’t have embassies in each other’s countries.]
•According to China, the Sakteng Wildlife Sanctuary is located in the China-Bhutan disputed areas which is on the agenda of China-Bhutan boundary talk
[Bhutan totally rejected the claim made by China. It said that Sakteng Wildlife Sanctuary is an integral and sovereign territory of Bhutan]
Use of Winter Diesel in Ladakh by Armed Forces
•Recently, the Indian Oil Corporation (IOC) has sought approval from the Directorate General of Quality Assurance (DGQA) for the use of winter diesel by armed forces for operations in high altitude areas such as Ladakh
•Winter Diesel is a specialised fuel specifically for high altitude regions and low-temperature regions such as Ladakh, where ordinary diesel can become unusable.
[It also meets the Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS) specification of BS-VI grade.]
•It contains additives to maintain lower viscosity by enabling the fuel to remain fluid in such conditions
•It has a low pour point (as low as minus 30-degree celsius).
[It is the temperature below which the liquid loses its flow characteristics]
NASA’s scientists find that the Moon might be more metallic than they thought
•The metallic distribution was observed by the Miniature Radio Frequency (Mini-RF) instrument aboard the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO) spacecraft
•The LRO’s Mini-RF instrument was measuring dielectric constant within lunar soil in crater floors in the Moon’s northern hemisphere.
[Dielectric constant, an electrical property, is the ratio of the electric permeability of a material to the electric permeability of a vacuum]
•If the findings are proven to be true, it would imply that there are large quantities of iron and titanium oxides beyond a few meters of the Moon’s upper surface.
•The finding could aid in drawing a clearer connection between Earth and the Moon
Do you know?: Mars-sized protoplanet collided with the newly formed Earth around 4.5 billion years ago, breaking off its piece that went on to become a satellite (called Earth’s Moon)
•However, scientists have been trying to explain how Earth’s crust has fewer amounts of iron oxide than the Moon. Now, the new discovery of even greater quantities of metal on the Moon makes the process more difficult
244th anniversary of American Independence Day : 4th July 2020
•Throughout the 1760s and early 1770s, the American colonies found themselves increasingly at odds with British imperial policies regarding taxation and frontier policy.
•When repeated protests failed to influence British policies the Continental Congress worked with local groups, originally intended to enforce the boycott, to coordinate resistance against the British.
•Finally, the United States was founded on an ideal of democracy on the 4th July 1776 by adopting the Declaration of Independence from the 13 colonies
【Prime Minister Modi also congratulated the USA on the occasion】
Article 78 of the Constitution of India
•Article 78 of the Constitution deals with the duties of the Prime Minister with respect to the furnishing of information to the President
[Recently, the Prime Minister of India briefed the President on ‘issues of national and international importance]
•The meeting took place against the backdrop of border tensions with China, economic crisis and the Covid-19 situation.
•It is an app launched by the Department of Agriculture, Cooperation and Farmers Welfare.
•It is developed by the National Informatics Centre.
•It will facilitate farmers and traders to identify suitable transport facilities for the movement of farm produce during coronavirus lock down.
•The App will allow transportation of farm produce from farm gate to mandi and from one to another mandi.
•It will ensure seamless supply linkages between farmers, FPOs, APMC mandis and intra-state and inter-state buyers.
•It is being hailed as the country’s first indigenously developed ‘social media super app’.
•It was launched on 5 July 2020, days after a national ban on TikTok, as part of an initiative to promote software made in India.
•The app has been developed by over 1,000 IT professionals who volunteer at Sri Sri Ravi Shankar’s Art of Living foundation.
•It will compete with the likes of Facebook and Instagram, comes with hosts of features that enable users to connect with friends and family in a creative way.
•The app also has messaging and group chatting capabilities.
•It is available in eight Indian languages.
•It comes with features such as end-to-end encryption, which ensures that users’ data ‘remains safe from prying eyes
•According to the bill, Indians should not exceed 15% of the population and if it is enacted into law, over 8 lakh Indians could be forced out of Kuwait.
•Lawmakers and government officials including the Prime Minister of Kuwait have been calling to reduce the number of expats from 70% to 30% of the population.
[The draft law will impose a cap on the number of expats and gradually reduce them by almost 5% on a yearly basis.]
•Kuwait faces problems in its population structure due to huge numbers of expats. [Almost one-third of the expats are either illiterate or can merely read and write. They do not contribute to the country’s growth and hence, are not needed.]
•Indians constitute the largest expat community in Kuwait, totalling 1.45 million.
•In 2018, India received nearly USD 4.8 billion from Kuwait as remittances.
•This move is similar to the USA’s decision to extend the 60-day ban on immigrant and non-immigrant worker visas till the end of 2020
National Logistics Efficiency and Advancement Predictability and Safety Act (NLEAPS)
•The Ministry of Commerce and Industry is considering replacing the Multimodal Transportation of Goods Act, 1993 (MMTG) with a National Logistics Efficiency and Advancement Predictability and Safety Act (NLEAPS).
•It was introduced to facilitate the exporters and give them a sense of security in transporting their goods
•It aims to streamline the logistics ecosystem in the country, with a view to promote growth of the sector
•Modernise and formalise the logistics services and promote digitisation in the sector, which is key for the smooth movement of goods.
•Also aims to reduce the logistics cost from the present 14% of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) to less than 10% of GDP
•The new law tends to define various participants of the logistics sector and create a light regulatory ecosystem
Performance Assessment and Ranking of Highways by NHAI
•Recently, the National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) has decided to undertake performance assessment and ranking of the highways in the country
•The assessment activity majorly intended to improve the quality of roads in the country.
•The criteria for the assessment have been broadly categorised in three main heads namely
1. Highway Efficiency (45%),
2. Highway Safety (35%)
3. User Services (20%).
•Apart from overall ranking of all the corridors, separate ranking for Build-Operate-Transfer (BOT), Hybrid Annuity Model (HAM) and Engineering, Procurement, and Construction (EPC) projects will also be done
G4 Flu Virus found in China
•Recently, scientists have identified a “newly emerged” strain of influenza virus that is infecting Chinese pigs and that has the potential of triggering a pandemic
[Ek pandemic bahut hai for our generation:)
•Named G4, scientists believe that it has descended from the H1N1 strain that was responsible for the 2009 swine flu pandemic [It was identified through surveillance of influenza viruses in pigs through a study carried out from 2011 to 2018 in ten provinces of China.]
•Pigs are intermediate hosts for the generation of pandemic influenza virus.
]Intermediate host is an organism that harbours a parasitic which is being provided with nourishment and shelter by the organism.]
Mahajobs Portal: by Maharashtra government
•Maharashtra Government has launched a portal named ‘Mahajobs’ for job seekers and employers, owing to the economic situation caused by Covid-19 pandemic
•It aims to make local manpower available to companies and employment opportunities to workers
•The job seekers and providers/industrial units can register themselves on the Portal.
•The Portal has identified 17 sectors including engineering, logistics, and chemicals, and provides for selecting jobs across 950 trades mainly for local youth who would need to produce domicile certificates
•Developed by Maharashtra Industrial Development Corporation (MIDC).
Bubonic Plague alert
•Bayannur, a city in northern China, is on high alert after a suspected case of Bubonic plague was reported Recently
•The plague is a disease caused by the bacteria Yersinia pestis, which is found in animals, particularly rodents.
•It can be transmitted to humans through infected animals and fleas.
• This infects a person’s lymphatic system (which is a part of their immune system), causing inflammation in the lymph nodes. If left untreated, the bubonic plague can also convert into either pneumonic of septicemic plague. Its symptoms include fever, chills, weakness and headaches
•The plague is a life-threatening disease but if caught early, can be treated with antibiotics. However, without prompt treatment, the disease can lead to serious illnesses and even death.
•The Bubonic plague severely impacted India too. [The first official case was reportedon 23 September 1896 in what was then Bombay. It was a part of the third plague pandemic, which originated in China in 1855]
4th edition of the virtual Ministerial on Climate Action
•It was organised to advance discussions on implementation of the Paris Agreement under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).
•It was co-chaired by European Union, China and Canada
•The participating countries exchanged their views on how they are aligning economic recovery plans amid Covid-19, with the Paris Agreement.
•India highlighted that developed country parties have not fulfilled their promise for extending financial and technological support to developing countries as envisaged under UNFCCC and its Paris Agreement.
United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) Report on Zoonotic Diseases
•According to a report published by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and the International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI), about 60% of known infectious diseases in humans and 75% of all emerging infectious diseases are zoonotic
•The report was released on 6th July 2020, observed as ‘World Zoonoses Day
•Zoonotic Disease is a disease that passes into the human population from an animal source directly or through an intermediary species
•The report is one of the first to focus on the environmental side of the zoonotic dimension of disease outbreaks during the Covid-19.
•There is an urgency for adoption of sustainable methods of food production and to reduce dependence on intensive systems to preserve health and ecosystems
Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act (CAATSA)
•It is a United States federal law that imposed sanctions on Iran, North Korea, and Russia.
•It includes sanctions against countries that engage in significant transactions with Russia’s defense and intelligence sectors.
•Recently, the USA has reiterated its position and asked all its allies and partners, including India, to stop transactions with Russia.
•India could also face USA sanctions for purchasing the S-400 Triumf missile defense system from Russia under the CAATSA
【USA has reiterated its position on CAATSA in the context of India’s planned jet fighter deal with Russia at an estimated Rs. 18,148 crore】
Equalisation levy on e-commerce players
•Recently, the Central government has stated that it will not extend the deadline for payment of equalisation levy by non-resident e-commerce players, even though a majority of them are yet to deposit the first installment of the tax
•The equalization levy is aimed at taxing foreign companies which have a significant local client base in India but are billing them through their offshore units, effectively escaping the country’s tax system
•The step has come in the backdrop of the United States Trade Representative (USTR) investigations into taxes adopted or under consideration by 10 nations, including India, on revenues of American digital service companies like Netflix, Airbnb etc
•The tax applies on e-commerce transactions on websites such as Amazon.com, Paypal, Google in particular
•The amendments to the Finance Act, 2020 had expanded the ambit of the equalisation levy for non-resident e-commerce operators involved in supply of services, including online sale of goods and provision of services, with the levy at the rate of 2% effective April 1, 2020.
Evidence of Lithium Production in Stars
•Recently, scientists from the Indian Institute of Astrophysics (IIA) have provided evidence for the first time that Lithium (Li) production is common among low mass Sun-like stars during their Helium (He) core burning phase
•Scientists performed a large-scale systematic investigation of the ‘He-flash’ (on-set of He-ignition at the star’s core via violent eruption), at the end of the star’s core hydrogen-burning phase.
[Hydrogen burning is the fusion of hydrogen nuclei into a helium nucleus.]
•This He-flash has been identified as the source of Li production suggesting that all low-mass stars undergo Li production
•The study challenges the long-held idea that stars only destroy lithium and indicates that there is some physical process missing in stellar theory.
National Gene Bank (NGB)
•It was notified in 1996-97 to conserve the Plant Genetic Resources (PGR) for future generations in the form of seeds, genomic resources, pollen etc
•The NGB has four kinds of facilities, namely,
1. Seed Genebank (- 18°C),
2. Cryogenebank (-170°C to -196°C),
3. In vitro Genebank (25°C),
4. Field Genebank, to cater to long-term as well as medium-term conservation.
•It stores different crop groups such as cereals, millets, medicinal and aromatic plants and narcotics, etc.
•The Svalbard Global Seed Vault in Norway houses the world’s largest collection of seeds.
•India’s seed vault is at Chang La (Ladakh) in the Himalayas
•Recently, a Himalayan butterfly known as Golden Birdwing (Troides aeacus) has been discovered as India’s largest butterfly after 88 years.
•It has replaced an unknown specimen which a british army officer Brigadier Evans had recorded in 1932.
•With a wingspan of 194 mm, the female of the species is marginally larger than the Southern Birdwing (190 mm).
India’s Population Trends : by Lancet
•According to a recent analysis by the Lancet, India’s population is forecasted to peak around 1.6 billion in 2048 from 1.38 billion in 2017.
[ It will be followed by a 32% decline to around 1.09 billion in 2100.]
•India in 2100 will remain the world’s most populous country
•From 2017 to 2100, India is projected to rise up the rankings of countries with the largest total Gross Domestic Product (GDP) globally from 7th to 3rd, in terms of nominal GDP.
•The country’s Total Fertility Rate (TFR) declined to below 2.1 in 2019 and is projected to have a continued steep fertility decline until about 2040, reaching a TFR of 1.29 in 2100
•The world population is forecasted to peak at around 9.7 billion people in 2064 and fall to 8.8 billion by the century’s end
Report on Active Pharmaceutical Ingredients: by TIFAC
•Active Pharmaceutical Ingredients (APIs), also called bulk drugs, are significant ingredients in the manufacture of drugs. [The Hubei province of China is the hub of the API manufacturing industry]
•Recently, the Technology Information Forecasting and Assessment Council (TIFAC) has brought a report titled ‘Active Pharmaceutical Ingredients- Status, Issues, Technology Readiness, and Challenges’
•Indigenous production of Active Pharmaceutical Ingredients (APIs) needs to be scaled up to a level where the production is economically viable.
•Need for Mission mode Chemical Engineering with defined targets for uninterrupted synthesis of API molecules.
•To create mega drug manufacturing clusters with common infrastructure in India etc.
•India’s Pharmaceutical Industry is third largest in the world, in terms of volume, behind China and Italy, and fourteenth largest in terms of value.
End of Hong Kong’s special status by USA
•Hong Kong will now be treated the same as mainland China without any special privileges, special economic treatment or exports of sensitive technologies.
•Under the USA’s Hong Kong Policy Act of 1992, the USA treats Hong Kong, a semi-autonomous part of China with its own legal and economic system, differently than the Chinese mainland in trade, commerce and other areas.
•The new law will force all but provincial Chinese banks to choose between assisting Beijing’s efforts in Hong Kong or being able to conduct transactions in USA dollars and operate in the world’s largest economy
[Around 85,000 USA citizens lived in Hong Kong in 2018 and more than 1,300 USA companies operate there, including nearly every major financial firm]
•Recently, Pakistan and China have signed an agreement for the 700 MW Azad Pattan hydel power project on the Jhelum river in Sudhnoti district of Pakistan occupied Kashmir (PoK).
[The 1.5-billion USD project is under the China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC).]
•The Azad Pattan project is one of five hydropower schemes on the Jhelum, the other four are
Chakothi Hattian and
•It will be developed on the ‘Build, Own, Operate, Transfer (BOOT)’ model.
It is expected to be commissioned by 2024.
[The project will be transferred to the government of Pakistan after 30 years.]
•India has protested the construction of dams and other infrastructure in PoK and Gilgit Baltistan, which are territories claimed by it as part of Jammu & Kashmir.
Pneumonia Conjugate Vaccine (PCV)
•The vaccine is a mix of several bacteria of the pneumococci family, which are known to cause pneumonia — hence ‘conjugate’ is included in the name of the vaccine.
[Conjugate vaccines are made using a combination of two different components.]
•It is used for active immunisation against invasive disease and pneumonia caused by Streptococcus pneumoniae in infants
•The Serum Institute of India Pvt. Ltd, Pune, has been granted permission to manufacture the first indigenously developed Pneumonia Conjugate Vaccine (PCV) i.e. Pneumococcal Polysaccharide.
•India is planning for the nationwide rollout of PCV under Universal Immunisation Programme (UIP)
Kochi International Container Trans-shipment Terminal (ICTT): Vallarpadam Terminal
•Recently, the Ministry of Shipping reviewed the development of the country’s first trans-shipment hub – Kochi International Container Trans-shipment Terminal (ICTT).
[ICTT is locally known as the Vallarpadam Terminal.]
•It is a terminal at a port which handles containers, stores them temporarily and transfers them to other ships for the onward destination.
•It basically acts as a switching point for cargo carried by deep-sea vessels operating on trans-continental trade routes.
•It is a part of the Cochin Port in Kochi, Kerala. It is located on Vallarpadam Island.
[It was built with an investment of about Rs. 3,200 crore]
•It was opened in February 2011
Melghat Tiger Reserve, Maharashtra
•The Chief Minister of Maharashtra has requested the Union government for considering an alternative alignment for the Akola-Khandwa rail line that passes through the Melghat Tiger Reserve
•It lies in Melghat Forests of Amravati district in Vidarbha region of Maharashtra bordering Madhya Pradesh in the North and East.
•It is a part of the Satpura-Maikal landscape.
•It is among the first nine places in the country designated as tiger reserves in 1973-74.
•It forms a very important catchment to Tapi river systems
India-EU Virtual Summit 2020
•Recently, India and the European Union (EU) held their 15th “annual” summit after a gap of more than two years
•A roadmap to 2025 has been endorsed between India and EU as a common roadmap to guide joint action and further strengthen the Strategic Partnership over the next five years.
•Both have a common interest in each other’s security, prosperity and sustainable development. They can contribute jointly to a safer, cleaner and more stable world.
•India and EU had launched talks for having a wide-ranging Free Trade Agreement (FTA), officially called broad-based Bilateral Trade and Investment Agreement (BTIA), long ago in 2007
•The EU is India’s largest trading partner grouping (countrywise China is India’s largest trading partner), while India is the EU ‘s ninth biggest trading partner
•The EU officials described the recent India-China border standoff on the Line of Actual Control (LAC) as a matter of considerable concern.
•India’s Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) and Europol launched negotiations to combat organised crime and terrorism
PRAGYATA Guidelines on Digital Education
•Ministry of Human Resource Development (MHRD) has released guidelines on digital education titled ‘PRAGYATA’
•These are only advisory in nature and state governments can formulate their own rules, based on local needs.
•The guidelines include eight steps of online/digital learning i.e. Plan- Review- Arrange- Guide- Yak (talk)- Assign- Track- Appreciate.
•It advises schools to first survey the digital infrastructure available with teachers as well as students, the levels of parental involvement before making decisions about the mode of teaching
•It emphasised the aim of digital classrooms is not to try and recreate Face-to-Face (F2F) classrooms over the internet.
【Over 25 crore students across the country have been out of school since mid-March 2020. (owing to Covid-19 pandemic).】
India lifted 271 million people out of Poverty in a decade
•According to India’s Voluntary National Review (VNR) of Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) at least 271 million people were lifted out of multi-dimensional poverty between 2005-06 and 2016-17.
•However, 27.9% of India’s population was still poor in 2016-17
•In rural areas poverty reduction has outpaced that in urban areas
•As the Covid-19 feared to make the country poorer, India would need to recount its poor
【Multidimensional Poverty Index was launched by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the Oxford Poverty & Human Development Initiative (OPHI) in 2010】
Kerala Animals and Birds Sacrifices Prohibition Act, 1968.
•Recently, Supreme Court has issued a notice to the Kerala government on a plea challenging the Kerala Animals and Birds Sacrifices Prohibition Act, 1968
•The Act prohibits sacrifice of animals and birds in temples to ‘please’ the deity.
•It also criminalises the intent behind the animal sacrifice and not animal sacrifice per se.
•The petitioners, who are Shakthi worshippers, appealed that animal sacrifice is an integral part of the worship and an essential religious practice.
•It was also argued that the Act applies only to Hindus but does not stop other religions from practising it which is arbitrary and violative of Article 14 (Right to Equality before the Law) of the Constitution.
【According to the SC, there may be a point in saying that taking lives is permissible in certain circumstances but cruelty is not.】
•Recently, the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) has confirmed that India is no longer involved in the Farzad-B gas field project of Iran
•Farzad-B gas field is located in Persian Gulf (Iran).
•The contract expired in 2009 after declaration of commerciality of the field, based on the gas discovery.
•It has gas reserves of more than 19 trillion cubic feet.
•ONGC has invested approximately USD 100 million.
•The major dispute between India and Iran was over setting up of two pipelines, and also over money to be quoted on the development plan
【Further, it said that India has not received any response from Iran since December 2019 on the future of the Chabahar-Zahedan railway project as well.】
Decline in Maternal Mortality Ratio in India
•As per the World Health Organization, maternal death is the death of a woman while pregnant or within 42 days of termination of pregnancy, from any cause related to or aggravated by the pregnancy or its management
•Recently, the Office of the Registrar General’s Sample Registration System (SRS) has released a special bulletin on Maternal Mortality in India 2016-18
•MMR has declined to 113 in 2016-18 from 122 in 2015-17 and 130 in 2014-2016
•MMR is defined as the number of maternal deaths during a given time period per 1,00,000 live births during the same time period
•Assam (215)[ Highest]
•Uttar Pradesh (197),
•Madhya Pradesh (173)
•Kerala (43) [Lowest]
•Tamil Nadu (60)
【The Office of the Registrar General is under the Ministry of Home Affairs.】
Covid-19 vaccine – ZyCoV-D
•Recently, India has started phase I/II clinical trials of Covid-19 vaccine – ZyCoV-D, designed and developed by Zydus (a pharmaceutical company) with support from the Department of Biotechnology (DBT)
•ZyCoV-D, a plasmid DNA vaccine, comes under the Vaccine Discovery Programme supported by the Department of Biotechnology under the National Biopharma Mission.
•The other indigenously developed vaccine – Covaxin – produced by Hyderabad based Bharat Biotech is also underway to start clinical trials
National Biopharma Mission
•It is an industry-academia collaborative mission for accelerating biopharmaceutical development in the country.
•It was launched in 2017 at a total cost of Rs. 1500 crore and is 50% co-funded by World Bank loan.
•It is being implemented by the Biotechnology Industry Research Assistance Council (BIRAC).
National Initiative for School Heads and Teachers Holistic Advancement (NISHTHA) Programme
•It has been launched for the first time in online mode in the state of Andhra Pradesh
•Initially, the NISHTHA programme was launched in 2019 through face-to-face mode to improve learning outcomes at the elementary level in the country.
•NISHTHA is a capacity building programme for improving the quality of school education through integrated teacher training.
•It aims to build competencies among all the teachers and school principals at the elementary stage
Automotive Solutions Portal for Industry, Research and Education(ASPIRE) Portal
•The International Centre of Automotive Technology (ICAT) is developing a technology platform for the automotive industry called ASPIRE
•The Portal is expected to help in developing a strong and self-reliant automotive industry in India which is in tune with the vision of Make in India and Atmanirbhar vision of the Government of India.
•The portal will also host grand challenges in line with the need of the industry as will be identified from time to time, for development of key automotive technologies.
U.S.-India Strategic Energy Partnership (SEP)
•The SEP was established in April 2018 whose objective is to encourage meaningful engagements through robust government-to-government cooperation and industry engagement
•The SEP organizes inter-agency engagement on both sides across four primary pillars of cooperation:
1. Power and Energy Efficiency,
2. Oil and Gas,
3. Renewable Energy,
4. Sustainable Growth.
•New areas of research on transformational power generation based on supercritical CO2 (sCO2) power cycles and advanced coal technologies for power generation including carbon capture, utilization, and storage (CCUS) were also initiated.
United Nations’ Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC)
•ECOSOC has held a high-level dialogue on the subject ‘Multilateralism after Covid-19: What kind of UN do we need at the 75th Anniversary?’
•The Prime Minister of India gave a speech focusing on India’s battle against the Covid-19 pandemic and emphasised upon the need of multilateralism in achieving sustainable peace and prosperity.
•He also indicated India’s push for a permanent seat in the UN Security Council.
•The UN will celebrate its 75th anniversary on 24th October 2020.
•Multilateralism is the process of organizing relations between groups of three or more states
Bhagirathi Eco-Sensitive Zone(ESZ)
•In 2012, the MoEF&CC issued a gazette notification declaring the watershed area along the stretch of river Bhagirathi, covering 4,179.59 sq km from Gaumukh to Uttarkashi, an Eco-Sensitive Zone (ESZ).
•The 2012 notification was issued keeping in view the requirements of the local people without affecting their rights and privileges and also ensuring eco-friendly development for their livelihood security.
•It sought to protect the entire fragile Himalayan region by restricting hydropower projects of over 2 MW, riverbed mining and change of land use.
[However, it was amended in 2018 following Uttarakhand government’s objection that the notification was ‘anti-development.’]
•Eco-Sensitive Zone (ESZ) are the ecologically important areas designated to be protected from industrial pollution and unregulated development under the Environment Protection Act of 1986.
【Recently, the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change (MoEF&CC) has approved the Zonal Master Plan for the Bhagirathi Eco-Sensitive Zone to pave the way for faster execution of Char Dham Road Project】
Covid-19 may spread more in winter in: Study
•According to a recent study, “The Covid-19 Spread in India and Its Dependence on Temperature and Relative Humidity”, the spread of Covid-19 may pick up the pace during peak monsoon and winter with a fall in the temperature
[The study was conducted by IIT, Bhubaneswar and AIIMS, Bhubaneswar]
• 1℃ rise in temperature leads to a 0.99% decrease in cases and increases the doubling time by 1.13 days, implying a slowdown of the virus spread.
【The respiratory viral pandemics of the 21st century (SARS in 2003, Swine Flu in 2009) have revealed that seasonality in environmental factors plays an important role in the dynamics of their spread.】
•In June 2017, Qatar’s neighbouring Arab nations of Saudi Arabia, UAE, Bahrain and Egypt shut off shipping routes and air space with Qatar for its alleged support for terrorism and its ties with Iran.
[It severed their diplomatic and economic ties with Qatar.]
•However, Qatar denied supporting Islamic extremism and has openly condemned its isolation as a clear attack on its sovereignty.
•All four neighbours issued a 13-point list of demands for Doha (capital of Qatar) to comply with in order to restore erstwhile relations
•Qatar approached the ICAO, alleging that its rights of free passage under the 1944 Convention on Civil Aviation were violated by the blockade.
•Saudi Arabia and its allies argued that the ICJ should have the authority to settle the dispute instead of the ICAO because the dispute goes beyond the aviation matters.
•In 2018, the ICAO ruled against the Saudi coalition, holding that it did have jurisdiction to hear the case and its ruling was recently backed by the ICJ too.The blockade still remains in force and the ICAO is expected to deliver its verdict in 2021. The ruling will be in Qatar’s favour and will be a major win for the country and its national carrier, Qatar Airways.】
National Award of Excellence for Outstanding Research in Forestry for the year 2019
•It has been awarded to Kannan C S Warrier, a scientist at Institute of Forest Genetics and Tree Breeding (IFGTB).
•This award is conferred by the Indian Council of Forestry Research and Education (ICFRE).
[ICFRE is an apex body in the national forestry research system]
•The award has been awarded to Kannan C S Warrier for releasing three salt-tolerant productive clones of Casuarina that are suitable for salt-affected soils, for the first time in the country
•India has 6.73 million hectares of salt affected land and is also the largest producer of Casuarina in the world which makes the production of these clones a significant achievement
BlackRock : A new Android Malware
•BlackRock is a banking Trojan and said to be an enhanced version of existing Xerxes malware which itself is a variant of the LokiBot Android trojan.
•[A trojan is any type of malicious program disguised as a legitimate one. Often, they are designed to steal sensitive information (login credentials, account numbers, financial information, credit card information, and the like) from users.]
•It collects user information by abusing the Accessibility Service of Android and overlaying a fake screen on top of a genuine app. It uses Android DPC (Device Policy Controller) to provide access to other permissions.
•It surfaces as a google update
•It makes antivirus applications useless
•Recently, scientists have reported the discovery of the first super giant isopod species in the eastern Indian Ocean named ‘Bathynomus raksasa’.
•It has been described as the ‘cockroach of the sea’.
•A team of researchers from Singapore discovered it while exploring waters of the Indian Ocean in Bantan, off the southern coast of West Java in Indonesia in 2018
•Isopods are marine invertebrates (animals without backbones) that belong to the greater crustacean group of animals, which also includes crabs and shrimp.
•It has 14 legs but uses these only to crawl along the bed of oceans in search of food.
•It measures around 50 cm in length, which is big for isopods, which normally do not grow beyond 33 cm
Ravana’s Aviation Route :by Sri Lanka
•Recently, the Civil Aviation Authority of Sri Lanka has sought relevant documents and literature from the public to study the mythological character Ravana’s “aviation routes
•The project aims to bring out an authoritative narrative about King Ravana as there are many stories about Ravana flying aircrafts and covering these aerial routes.
•According to the civil aviation authority, it was Ravana who used a flying machine called “Dandu monara” to fly not only within the country, but also in the South East Asia region.
[Sri Lanka’s tourism sector promotes the ‘Ramayana trail’ for visitors from India — one of Sri Lanka’s largest tourism markets.]
•Sri Lanka named its first satellite Ravana-1 launched in June 2019
•The majority Sinhala-Buddhists community hail the King Ravana.
[ Story of Ramayana from Sri lanka would be interesting naa! ]
Zoram Mega Food Park of Mizoram
•Recently, the government has operationalized the first Mega Food Park (MFP) of Mizoram [Zoram Mega Food Park]
•It is located in Khamrang village in Kolasib District, Mizoram.
•It is spread over 55 acres of land and is set up at a cost of Rs. 75. 20 crores.
•It is not only expected to benefit the people of Mizoram but also that of adjoining districts in Assam.
•It will boost the North-East Region’s potential to become the organic destination of the world due to its rich agricultural and horticultural produce
Consumer Protection Act, 2019
•The new act will be swift and less time consuming compared to the older Consumer Protection Act, 1986 in which single-point access to justice was given making it a time-consuming exercise.
•The Consumer Protection Act, 2019 establishes the Central Consumer Protection Authority (CCPA) whose primary objective will be to promote, protect and enforce the rights of consumers.
•Manufacturer or product service provider or product seller will be held responsible to compensate for injury or damage caused by defective product or deficiency in services
•The rules also prohibit the e-commerce companies from manipulating the price of the goods or services to gain unreasonable profit through unjustified prices
【The new Consumer Protection Act, 2019 came into force on 20th July 2020 and it will empower consumers and help them in protecting their rights through its various notified rules and provisions】
National Financial Reporting Authority (NFRA)
•It was constituted in 2018 by the Government of India under section 132 (1) of the Companies Act, 2013. It is an audit regulator.
•It came after various corporate scams including that at the Punjab National Bank
•It consists of a chairperson, who shall be a person of eminence and having expertise in accountancy, auditing, finance or law, appointed by the Central Government and such other members not exceeding 15.
It can undertake investigation of
•Companies whose securities are listed on any stock exchange in India or outside India.
•Unlisted public companies having paid-up capital of not less than Rs. 500 crores or having annual turnover of not less than Rs. 1,000 crores
•These Russian-origin tanks are the Indian Army’s main battle tanks.
•Indian Army recently deployed them in the Galwan Valley sector of Ladakh amid the face-off with Chinese troops.
•Recently, the Ministry of Defence has signed Rs. 557 crore contract with the BEML Limited (formerly known as the Bharat Earth Movers Limited) for the procurement of 1,512 mine ploughs for T-90 Tanks.
[The induction is expected to be completed by 2027.]
•Mine ploughs help tanks to clear minefields and minimize risks to men and machines.
(After being fitted on T-90 Tanks, they will facilitate individual mobility to the tanks while negotiating a minefield)
NEOWISE(C/2020 F3) : a comet
•The recently discovered comet called C/2020 F3, also known as NEOWISE after the NASA telescope that discovered it, will make its closest approach to the Earth on July 22.
•On the day, the comet, which takes 6,800 years to complete one lap around its orbit, will be at a distance of 64 million miles or 103 million kilometers while crossing Earth’s outside orbit
•Asteroid: A relatively small, inactive, rocky body orbiting the Sun.
Comet: A relatively small, at times active, object whose ices can vaporize in sunlight forming an atmosphere (coma) of dust and gas and, sometimes, a tail of dust and/or gas.
Meteoroid: A small particle from a comet or asteroid orbiting the Sun.
Meteor: The light phenomena which results when a meteoroid enters the Earth’s atmosphere and vaporizes; a shooting star.
Meteorite: A meteoroid that survives its passage through the Earth’s atmosphere and lands upon the Earth’s surface
Delhi Sero-Surveillance Survey
•This study has been done by the National Centre for Disease Control [NCDC] in collaboration with Govt of National Capital Territory of Delhi, following a rigorous multi-stage sampling study design
[ under Ministry of Health and Family Welfare]
•A serological survey seeks to assess the prevalence of disease in a population by detecting the presence of specific antibodies against the virus.
•Since it is not possible to test everyone in the population, serological studies are used as a tool to make an estimate of the extent of disease spread in the community.
•The survey included the IgG Enzyme-Linked Immunosorbent Assay (ELISA) test which estimates the proportion of the population exposed to SARS-CoV-2 infection
•22.86% of the people surveyed had developed IgG antibodies, indicating they had been exposed to the novel coronavirusthat causes Covid-19.
[total 21,387 samples were collected to look for the presence of antibodies]
•It is aimed to provide psychosocial support to students, family members and teachers for their mental health and well-being during the times of Covid-19.
•The platform includes a national toll free helpline for students of schools, universities and colleges, which will be manned by a pool of experienced counsellors, psychologists and mental health professionals.
•It also has a website, a national database of counsellors which will host an interactive online chat platform, advisories and tips through webinars and other resources.
【It would act as an element of strengthening human capital and increasing productivity for the education sector in the wake of covid-19.】
•Recently, the Ministry of Human Resources Development (MHRD) has launched the ‘Manodarpan’ initiative under Atmanirbhar Bharat Abhiyan.
The Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria
•The Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria (or simply the Global Fund) is an international financing organization.
•It aims to “attract, leverage and invest additional resources to end the epidemics of HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria to support attainment of the Sustainable Development Goals established by the United Nations
•Founded in 2002, the Global Fund is a partnership between governments, civil society, the private sector and people affected by the diseases.
•The organization maintains its secretariat in Geneva, Switzerland
86% Indian Military Equipment are of Russian Origin
•According to a paper published by Stimson Center, 86% of the equipment, weapons and platforms currently in military service in India are of Russian origin
•Stimson Center data shows that more than 55% of Indian defence imports since 2014 have been from Russia.
•The figure for the Army is 90%, as it assigns around 10,000 pieces of military hardware from Russia.
[The Navy’s only active aircraft carrier INS Vikramaditya and it’s only nuclear attack submarine in service, Chakra II, are from Russia.]
•The country’s only nuclear-capable supersonic cruise missile, BrahMos, is produced by a joint venture with Russia
•Russia continues to occupy the First position as India’s defence supplier, with 9.3 billion USD worth of exports to India.
•The USA is at second, with defence supplies worth 2.3 billion USD to India in the same period.
‘Zero Hunger’ by 2030 : SDG-2
•According to a study titled State of Food Security and Nutrition in the World, hunger and malnutrition is increasing around the world. In this scenario, achieving the Sustainable Development Goal-2 of ‘Zero Hunger’ by 2030 will be very difficult.
•State of Food Security and Nutrition in the World is the most authoritative global study tracking progress towards ending hunger and malnutrition.
[It is produced jointly by the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations, the International Fund for Agriculture (IFAD), the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), the UN World Food Programme (WFP) and the World Health Organization (WHO).]
•The study estimates that almost 690 million people went hungry in 2019 – up by 10 million from 2018, and by nearly 60 million in five years (2014-2019).
•Asia remains home to the greatest number of hunger (381 million).
Africa is second (250 million),
followed by Latin America and the Caribbean (combined 48 million)
•The Covid-19 pandemic could also push over 130 million more people into chronic hunger by the end of 2020.
China offered a “package solution” to its boundary dispute with Bhutan
•Although the package solution is not specified, it may be seen as a revival of the 1996 proposal by China for a territory swap.
•In 1996, China wanted to exchange the valleys to the north of Bhutan (an area of 495 square kilometres), with the pasture land to the west (including Doklam), totalling 269 square kilometres
[However it was a big worry for India, as the Doklam swap would have given China access to the strategically sensitive “chicken neck” of the Siliguri corridor]
•China also repeated its claim on Bhutan’s eastern boundary at Sakteng
•The aim may be to pressure Bhutan into concluding a deal quickly on terms on offer, otherwise the claims may keep increasing.
[The similar offer was made to India on Arunachal Pradesh, which subsequently expanded to include a Chinese claim on Tawang in 1985.]
Kakrapar Atomic Power Project (KAPP-3)
•It is the country’s first 700 MWe (megawatt electric) unit, and the biggest indigenously developed variant of the Pressurised Heavy Water Reactor (PHWR)
•[Until now, the biggest reactor size of indigenous design was the 540 MWe, two of which have been deployed in Tarapur, Maharashtra]
•PHWR is a nuclear power reactor, commonly using unenriched natural uranium as its fuel, that uses heavy water (deuterium oxide D2O) as its coolant and moderator
•Recently, the third unit of the Kakrapar Atomic Power Project (KAPP-3) in Tapi district of Gujarat achieved its first criticality [Criticality is the first step towards power production.]
•It is native to the Indian subcontinent (Afghanistan, Bangladesh, India, Myanmar, Nepal and Pakistan) and is the largest frog in India.
•Indian bullfrog tadpoles are carnivorous and eat other tadpoles (including their own species).
•The tadpoles grow to be the largest (around 20 millimetres) and also grow the fastest.
•It is one of the invasive species on the islands of Andaman and Nicobar.
•IUCN Red List: Least Concern
•Indian Wildlife Act 1972: Schedule IV
G20 Digital Economy Ministers Virtual Meeting
•Recently, a virtual meeting of G20 Digital Economy Ministers was hosted by Saudi Arabia in which Indian Union Minister for Electronics and Information Technology represented India
Quick Note for India in meeting
•Early lockdowns which helped in curbing the spread of the virus as well as preparing for the upcoming challenges effectively.
•Initiatives like Aarogya Setu mobile app, Covid-19 Quarantine Alert System (geofencing system for monitoring quarantined patients) and Covid-19 Savdhan (bulk messaging systems).
•All digital platforms need to be accountable and sensitive towards concerns related to defence and data privacy of citizens of sovereign countries.
[The comments follow the Indian government’s move to ban 59 Chinese applications citing a threat to national security and sovereignty]
•The digital economy must go hand in hand with the data economy because data is an important component to accelerate the digital economy.
•Some experts have attributed it to the salinity and presence of algae in the water body
•Lonar crater lake was identified as a unique geographical site by a British officer named CJE Alexander in 1823.
•It is an ancient circular lake created by a meteorite strike in Maharashtra.
•It is relatively young geologically, at just 50,000 years old.
•Lonar Lake lies within the only known extraterrestrial impact crater found within the great Deccan Traps, a huge basaltic formation in India
•The corridor – often dubbed as the “Road to Peace” – will connect Gurdwara Darbar Sahib in Pakistan’s Kartarpur with Dera Baba Nanak shrine in India’s Gurdaspur district.
•The construction of the corridor will allow visa-free access to pilgrims from India. The proposal for the corridor has been on the table since 1988, but!!
•Pakistan has agreed in principle to allow visa-free, year-long travel to the Sikh shrine.
•The gurdwara in Kartarpur stands on the bank of the Ravi, about 120 km northeast of Lahore.
•It was here that Guru Nanak assembled a Sikh community and lived for 18 years until his death in 1539.
[Pakistan is planning to charge $20 per pilgrim.
It has also not agreed to the initial number — 10,000 pilgrims that India proposed. ]
Permanent Commission (PC) to Women Officers in the Indian Army
•Recently, the Ministry of Defence has issued the formal Government Sanction Letter for grant of Permanent Commission (PC) to Women Officers in the Indian Army
•Under the SSC scheme, women were commissioned into the Army for a period of 10 years, extendable up to 14 years
•While male SSC officers could opt for permanent commission at the end of 10 years of service, this option was not available to women officers
[Women officers were kept out of any command appointment and could not qualify for a government pension, which starts only after 20 years of service as an officer]
•The case was first filed in the Delhi High Court by women officers in 2003 and had received a favourable order in 2010
•Recently, the gold prices crossed Rs. 50,000 per 10 grams after nine years in India
•Whenever stock markets, real estate and bonds fall across the world, investors turn to gold to park their funds. It is considered as a safe haven for investors during periods of uncertainties.
[As gold is highly liquid and carries no default risk. It is scarce which has historically preserved its value over time]
•Global uncertainties triggered by Covid-19 pandemic, weak dollar, low-interest rates environment and stimulus programmes have increased the demand for gold.
•Rising virus cases and USA-China tensions have also led to increase in the gold price.
•India is the world’s second-largest gold consumer after China
Bal Gangadhar Tilak(23rd July 1856 -1st August 1920)
•He was born on 23rd July 1856 in Ratnagiri, Maharashtra.
•He was a Freedom fighter and lawyer ( also known as Lokmanya Tilak)
•He was a devout Hindu and used Hindu scriptures to rouse people to fight oppression.
•Stressed on the need for self-rule and believed that without self-rule or swarajya, no progress was possible.
Slogan: “Swaraj is my birthright and I shall have it!”
•A book ‘Indian Unrest’ written by Valentine Chirol, an English journalist, stated Tilak the ‘father of Indian unrest’.
•He popularised the Ganesh Chaturthi festival in the Maharashtra region.
•He propounded the celebration of Shiv Jayanti on the birth anniversary of the monarch Chhatrapati Shivaji.
•Along with Lala Lajpat Rai and Bipin Chandra Pal, he was part of the Lal-Bal-Pal trio of leaders with extremist outlooks.
[He joined the Indian National Congress (INC) in 1890.]
•Newspapers: Kesari (in Marathi) and Mahratta (in English)
•Books: Gita Rhasya and Arctic Home of the Vedas.
Chandra Shekhar Azad (23rd July 1906 -27th February 1931)
•Azad was born on 23rd July 1906 in the Alirajpur district of Madhya Pradesh.
•Chandra Shekhar, then a 15-year-old student, joined a Non-Cooperation Movement in December 1921.( As a result, he was arrested.)
•On being presented before a magistrate, he gave his name as “Azad” (The Free), his father’s name as “Swatantrata” (Independence) and his residence as “Jail”. 🙂
•Therefore, he came to be known as Chandra Shekhar Azad
•After the suspension of the non-cooperation movement in 1922 by Gandhi, Azad joined Hindustan Republican Association (HRA)
•Kakori Conspiracy(1925): Most of the fund collection for revolutionary activities was done through robberies of government property. (In line with the same, Kakori Train Robbery near Kakori, Lucknow was done in 1925 by HRA.)
Criminal cases against Rajya Sabha Members
•According to an analysis by the Association for Democratic Reforms (ADR), about 24% of the sitting Rajya Sabha members have declared criminal cases against themselves
•[Analysis of 229 of the 233 Rajya Sabha seats showed that 54 MPs had declared criminal cases.]
•It also found out from their self-sworn affidavits that 89% have declared assets estimated at over Rs. 1 crore.
•According to the finding of Association of Democratic Reforms, about 43% of members elected to 17th Lok Sabha are facing criminal charges in court of law, while 84% have self-declared assets worth more than Rs. 1 crore.
•Section 8 of the Representation of Peoples (RP) Act, 1951 disqualifies a person convicted with a sentence of two years or more from contesting elections. But those under trial continued to be eligible to contest elections.
4th Khelo India Youth Games(KIYG)-2021
•The 2021 Khelo India Youth Games are scheduled to take place after the 2021 Tokyo Olympics and will be held in Panchkula (Haryana).
[Usually, the KIYG takes place in January of every year]
•KIYG is a part of the revamped national programme for development of sports ‘Khelo India’ which was approved by the Union Cabinet in 2017.
•Under the Scheme, talented players identified in priority sports disciplines at various levels are provided annual financial assistance of Rs. 5 lakh per annum for 8 years
【The 2021 Tokyo Olympics are set to open on 23rd July.】
Nag River of Nagpur, Maharashtra
•The Nagpur city derives its name from the Nag river which passes through the city.
•The Nag river originates from the Ambazari Lake in west Nagpur
•The river serves as drainage for Nagpur and as a result its ecosystem is heavily polluted by urban waste from the city
【Recently, the Bombay High Court said that the Nag river has become extremely polluted due to industrialisation and urbanisation.】
•Recently, Hurricane Hanna has made landfall (the point at which a hurricane reaches land) in Texas with life-threatening storm surge and strong winds
[Tropical cyclones are called hurricanes in the West Indian islands in the Caribbean Sea and Atlantic Ocean]
•It has reached wind speeds of up to 90 mph and is expected to produce heavy rains across portions of southern Texas and northeastern Mexico, which will result in flash flooding and isolated minor to moderate river flooding.
Committee on Content Regulation in Government Advertising (CCRGA)
•As per the directions of Supreme Court in 2015, the Government of India had set up a three member body in 2016 to look into content regulation of government funded advertisements in all media platforms.
•It is empowered to address complaints from the general public and can also take suo-moto cognizance of any violation of the Supreme Court guidelines and recommend corrective actions
•The content of government advertisements should be relevant to the government’s constitutional and legal obligations as well as the citizen’s rights and entitlements.
【Recently, the Supreme Court-mandated Committee on Content Regulation in Government Advertising (CCRGA) issued a notice to the Delhi government, seeking clarifications on a recent advertisement placed by it in Mumbai editions of prominent newspapers.
(However, according to the Delhi government, CCRGA doesn’t have jurisdiction over the Delhi government)】
‘Asteroid 2020 ND’ Warning
•The asteroid(about 170 metres-long) will be as close as 0.034 Astronomical Unit (AU- Astronomical Unit is the distance between the Earth and the Sun and is roughly 150 million km) to the Earth, and is travelling at a speed of 48,000 kilometres per hour.
•It is a Near-Earth Objects (NEO) and its distance from Earth has placed it in the Potentially Hazardous Asteroids (PHA) category.
•[NASA has issued a warning that a huge “Asteroid 2020 ND” will move past Earth on 24th July.]
•It is not necessary that asteroids classified as PHAs will impact the Earth. It only means there is a possibility of a threat.
•By monitoring these PHAs and updating their orbits as new observations, it is possible to predict the close-approach statistics and thus their Earth-impact threat
Seismicity Study on Arunachal Himalaya
•Recently, a study by the Wadia Institute of Himalayan Geology (WIHG), pertaining to the exploration of the elastic properties of rocks and seismicity in Arunachal Himalaya, has revealed that the area is generating moderate earthquakes at two different crustal depths
•The region has been placed into Seismic Zone V, thus most vulnerable to earthquakes
•WIHG has installed 11 broadband seismic stations (connected through the Global Positioning System) along the Lohit River Valley of Arunachal Himalaya to understand the elastic properties of rocks and seismicity in the easternmost part of India
End of Extradition Treaty between Hong Kong and United Kingdom(UK)
•Recently, the UK government has suspended its extradition treaty arrangements with Hong Kong, in response to China’s introduction of a new security law in the territory.
[Earlier, Australia and Canada had suspended extradition treaties with Hong Kong]
•The extradition treaty means that, if someone in Hong Kong is suspected of a crime in the UK, then the British authorities can ask Hong Kong to hand them over to face justice – and vice versa.
•China’s Huawei Technologies will be removed completely from Britain’s 5G network by the end of 2027
•Plans for UK citizenship to around 3 million Hong Kong people by early 2021(Hong Kong total population is 7.5 Million), in response to the security law.
•Recently, the Union Minister for Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution has launched the Bureau of Indian Standard (BIS) Mobile App ‘BIS-Care’ and three portals namely the Standardization, Conformity Assessment and Training Portals of e-BIS for consumers
•The app can be operated on any Android phone and is operational in Hindi and English language.
•Consumers can check the authenticity of the ISI-marked and hallmarked products and lodge complaints using this app.
•It is important to ensure that consumers are aware of the standards and quality products and help in eliminating the supply of sub-standard products.
•BIS plans to implement One Nation, One Standard which is under examination and will be launched soon
•Smallpox is a contagious disease, caused by the Variola Virus (VARV).
•The origins of smallpox have always been unclear
•New research suggest that the smallpox was in existence as early as during the ‘Viking age’ in the 8th century CE.
[Viking Age was the period during the Middle Ages when the Norsemen (name given to the Scandinavian Vikings) undertook colonizing, conquest and trading throughout Europe, and reached North America in the 9th and 10th century.]
•Until now, the earliest confirmed case of the disease was found in the mummified remains of a 17th century Lithuanian child, even though written records suggest that it is much older
‘Dare to Dream 2.0’ Challenge
•Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) has launched an innovation contest ‘Dare to Dream 2.0’ on the 5th death anniversary of former President Dr. APJ Abdul Kalam.
• ‘Dare to Dream 2.0’ is an open challenge to promote the innovators and startups of the country, for innovation in defence and aerospace technologies in the country after the call of Atmanirbhar Bharat.
•Award money, up to Rs.10 lakh for startup and Rs. 5 lakh to individual category, will be given to the winners
•Dr. APJ Abdul Kalam is known as the missile man as he was part of many successful projects for development of ballistic missiles and satellite launch vehicle technologies during his lifetime
INDIA-UK Free Trade Agreement(FTA)
•In FTA, two trading partners eliminate or significantly reduce import duties on the maximum number of goods traded between them
•The meeting was held by India and UK to revive and revitalise the long standing trade and economic linkages between them.
•They agreed to an early harvest scheme or a limited trade agreement to lower tariffs on a small set of goods apart from easing rules for select services.
•They also resolved to cooperate in the health sector especially in the wake of Covid-19 pandemic.
[Previously, India and the UK were involved in discussing a preferential trading arrangement under the proposed India-European Union FTA.]
•The bilateral trade between the two countries stood at 15.5 billion USD in 2019-20 as against 16.87 USD billion in 2018-19
Global Tiger Day : 29th July
•Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change has released a detailed ‘Status of Tigers, Co-predators and Prey in India (2018) Report’ on the eve of the Global Tiger Day
•The report compares information obtained from the earlier three tiger surveys (2006, 2010, and 2014) with data obtained from the 2018-19 survey to estimate tiger population trends at country level
•With 2,967 tigers, India, four years in advance, has achieved the target set in the 2010 St Petersburg Declaration of doubling tiger population by 2022.
[ India had around 1,400 tigers in 2006.]
•India has 70% of the world’s tiger population.
(It is tirelessly working with all 13 tiger range countries towards nurturing the tiger.)
•Madhya Pradesh has the highest number of tigers at 526, closely followed by Karnataka (524) and Uttarakhand (442)
•There are currently 13 tiger range countries – India, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Cambodia, China, Indonesia, Lao PDR, Malaysia, Myanmar, Nepal, Russia, Thailand and Vietnam.
【fourth cycle of the All India Tiger Estimation 2018 recently entered the Guinness World Record for being the world’s largest camera trap wildlife survey.
(Camera trapswere placed in 26,838 locations across 141 different sites and surveyed an effective area of 121,337 square kilometres.)】
•Prime Minister of India and the Prime Minister of Mauritius will jointly inaugurate the new Supreme Court building of Mauritius on 30th July, 2020.
•It will be the first India assisted infrastructure project within the capital city of Port Louis, Mauritius.
•It is one of the five projects being implemented under the ‘Special Economic Package’ of 353 million USD extended by the Government of India to Mauritius in 2016
•More than 68% of the Mauritian population are of Indian origin, most commonly known as Indo-Mauritians.
World Hepatitis Day : 28th July
•The word hepatitis refers to any inflammation of the liver — the irritation or swelling of the liver cells from any cause.
•It can be acute (inflammation of the liver that presents with sickness — jaundice, fever, vomiting) or chronic (inflammation of the liver that lasts more than six months, but essentially showing no symptoms).
•Hepatitis A is usually a short-term infection and does not become a long-term infection.
•Hepatitis B and hepatitis C can also begin as short-term infections but in some people, the virus remains in the body, and causes chronic, or lifelong, infection.
•There are vaccines to prevent hepatitis A and hepatitis B; however, there is no vaccine for hepatitis C.
•Theme for the year 2020 is “Hepatitis-free future”, with a strong focus on preventing hepatitis B among mothers and newborns.
The Green-Ag project;-
•It seeks to integrate biodiversity, climate change and sustainable land management objectives and practices into Indian agriculture in association with GEF
•project would be implemented in collaboration with FAO in high-conservation-value landscapes of five States(Including MP: Chambal Landscape)
•The Union government on July 28, 2020, launched the Green-Ag Project in Mizoram, to reduce emissions from agriculture and ensure sustainable agricultural practices.
•Mizoram is one of the five states where the project will be implemented. Other states include Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Odisha and Uttarakhand
【’Global Environment Facility(GEF)’ was established on the eve of the 1992 Rio Earth Summit to help tackle our planet’s most pressing environmental problems】
Russia-India-China (RIC) Grouping
•Recently, the Ministry of External Affairs has announced that it will participate in the virtual meeting of the Russia-India-China (RIC) grouping scheduled to be held on 23rd June, 2020
•Russia indicated that it would support “constructive dialogue” over the tension in eastern Ladakh as Russia is trusted by both India and China
•RIC is a strategic grouping that first took shape in the late 1990s under the leadership of Yevgeny Primakov, a Russian politician as “a counterbalance to the Western alliance”
[Together, the RIC countries occupy over 19% of the global landmass and contribute to over 33% of global GDP]
•Moreover, the RIC forms the core of both the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) and the BRICS as greater cooperation between China, India and Russia would lead to strengthening of both SCO and BRICS
Micius: A quantum communications satellite by China
•It is the world’s first quantum communications satellite, launched by China in 2016
•The satellite serves as the source of pairs of entangled photons.
[Entangled photons are twinned light particles whose properties remain intertwined no matter how far apart they are.]
•If one of the photons is manipulated, the other will be similarly affected at the very same moment.
•It is this property that lies in the heart of the most secure forms of quantum cryptography (the study of concepts like encryption and decryption)
【Recently, satellite Micius has sent light particles to Earth to establish the world’s most secure communication link】
National Education Policy(NEP-2020)
•Union Cabinet gave its nod to the new policy recently
•The NEP 2020 aims at making “India a global knowledge superpower”.
•The Cabinet has also approved the renaming of the Ministry of Human Resource Development to the Ministry of Education
•A panel headed by former ISRO chief K. Kasturirangan submitted a draft in December 2018, which was made public and opened for feedback after the Lok Sabha election in May 2019.
[The two earlier education policies were brought in 1968 and 1986.]
•Public spending on education by states, Centre to be raised to 6% of the GDP.
•Board exams to be easier, redesigned. Exams will test core competencies rather than memorising facts, with all students allowed to take the exam twice.[ Semester-wise]
•Four year undergraduate degrees with multiple entry and exit options will be introduced.
•The Phil degree will be abolished.
•It also aims to double the Gross Enrolment Ratio in higher education, including vocational education, from 26.3% in 2018 to 50% by 2035, (with an additional 3.5 crore new seats.)
•Universalise the pre-primary education (age range of 3-6 years) by 2025
•Child’s mother tongue will be used as the medium of instruction till class 5.
•National Mission on Foundational Literacy and Numeracy will ensure basic skills at the class 3 level by 2025.
Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB): Jin Liqun re-elected as the President
•The AIIB is a multilateral development bank with a mission to improve social and economic outcomes in Asia.
•Headquartered in Beijing (China), it began operations in January 2016 and has now grown to 103 approved members worldwide.
•AIIB is also significant as the World Bank is continued to be dominated by the USA while Japan has more influence over Asian Development Bank (ADB).
•The President(Chinese) stated that the bank would remain an “apolitical institution” and continue to back projects in India
•It has supported several projects under the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) framework, but is not formally linked to the plan.
•India was among the AIIB’s 57 founding members in 2016.
•It is also its second-largest shareholder (with 7.62% voting shares) after China (26.06%).
•It has received USD 4.35 billion from the Bank.
UN Human Rights Committee backed protesting peacefully as a fundamental human right
•This statement has come in the backdrop of increasing demonstrations over issues like political rights and racial justice
[UN has reaffirmed that protesting peacefully, online or in person, is a fundamental human right.]
•UN Human Rights Committee is tasked with monitoring how countries implement the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) 1976, which under Article 21 guarantees the right to peaceful assembly.
•The Committee’s interpretation will be important guidance for judges in national and regional courts around the world, as it now forms part of what is known as ‘soft law’.
•Indian courts have reiterated that the right to protest is a fundamental right (Ramlila Maidan Incident v. Home Secretary, Union Of India & Ors. case -2012).[State can impose reasonable restrictions]
India Report on Digital Education-2020
•Recently, the Ministry of Human Resource Development (MHRD) has launched India Report on Digital Education, 2020.
[Note: Recently the MHRD has been renamed as the Ministry of Education]
•Report elaborate the innovative methods adopted by the MHRD, for ensuring accessible and inclusive education to children at home and reducing learning gaps during the Covid-19 pandemic.
•It has initiated many projects to assist teachers, scholars and students in their pursuit of learning like DIKSHA platform, Swayam Prabha TV Channel, On Air – Shiksha Vani, e-PathShala and telecast through TV channels.
•It also released guidelines on digital education called ‘PRAGYATA’
•Several states have also focussed on the mental well-being of the children e.g Delhi conducted happiness classes.
•MHRD has also launched the ‘Manodarpan’ initiative, which aims to provide psychosocial support to students, family members
•Natesa, a rare sandstone idol from the 9th century (Pratihara Style of Rajasthan) has been retrieved after 22 years by Rajasthan police.
•Natesa icon was smuggled out of the country in 1998.
•The sandstone Natesa figure stands tall at almost 4 ft. in a rare and brilliant depiction of Shiva
•A beautiful depiction of Nandi is shown behind the right leg of the Natesa icon.
High Level of Ammonia in Yamuna River
•Recently, high levels (around 3 ppm) of ammonia in the Yamuna river has been detected in Delhi which led to the disruption of water supply in Delhi.
•As per the Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS), the acceptable maximum limit of ammonia in drinking water is 0.5 parts per million (ppm)
•Ammonia(NH3) is a colourless gas and is used as an industrial chemical in the production of fertilisers, plastics, synthetic fibres, dyes and other products.
•Ammonia reduces the amount of oxygen in water as it is transformed to oxidised forms of nitrogen. Hence, it also increases Biochemical oxygen demand (BOD).
•If the concentration of ammonia in water is above 1 ppm (it would toxic to fishes.)