Current Affairs Summary With Quiz May 1 2021

Preparation with Monthly Current Affairs 2021 will be very fruitful for the banking aspirants. Many bank exams either in Prelims or Mains, consists of questions from Current Affairs. Generally, six months of current affairs are advised to prepare to crack the upcoming bank exams. Here, we are providing you with the monthly current affairs pdf. In this pdf, you will get Current Affairs Summary ebooks for quick revision. Ebooks will give you the best way to read and revise important monthly current affairs before the exam in a short period. Monthly Current Affairs PDF can help you to score better in the general awareness section of various banking exams.

Content

  1. Global Forest Goals Report, 2021
  2. Scheme of Financial Assistance to States for Capex
  3. May Day: May 1
  4. Maharashtra Day: May 1
  5. Karen Rebels recently seized a military post in Myanmar
  6. UK to cut its aid to UN Family Planning Programme
  7. New Soybean Variety: MACS 1407
  8. TRIFED’s new project for Tribal Households
  9. India-Russia 2+2 Dialogue
  10. NATO Military Exercises launched
  11. RBI joins Network for Greening the Financial System- NGFS
  12. Net Zero Producer Forum
  13. Japan’s Order of the Rising Sun honour to Bengaluru Teacher
  14. Global Electric Vehicle Outlook, 2021
  15. Stampede at the Israeli Pilgrimage site
  16. Char Dham Yatra suspended
  17. SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket launched 60 Starlink satellites
  18. Mining Robot Stranded in the Pacific
  19. Import of 17 medical devices allowed
  20. National Commission for Women: WhatsApp Number for Pregnant Women
  21. The Central Empowerment Committee raised serious concerns about Environmental Impact in Goa.
  22. Russia expels European Diplomats
  23. Quiz

Global Forest Goals Report, 2021

The World's 7 Most Amazing Forests | Wanderlust

The United Nations recently released the Global Forest Goals Report, 2021. According to the report, the COVID-19 has increased the challenges faced by countries in managing their forests.

Key Findings of the report

During COVID-19 the forest-dependent population faced reduced income, job losses, diminished access to markets and information. Most of the forest-dependent population faced difficulty in accessing healthcare and basic services.

Reliance on forests

According to the report,

  • Around 1.6 billion people rely on forests. This is 25% of the global population.
  • Of the rural areas in the world, more than 40% live in Savannah and forests. This is 20% of the global population.

Key goals as identified by the report

  • Australia: To plant 20 million trees by 2020. This is to be increased to billion plantations by 2030
  • Brazil: To increase the planted areas to two million hectares
  • India: To add 200,000 hectares of tree and forest cover per year
  • Kenya: To increase tree cover by 10%
  • Myanmar: To increase forest cover to 30%
  • Japan: To maintain the 25 million hectares of forest area
  • New Zealand: To plant 1 billion trees by 2028
  • Thailand: To increase forest cover to 55%
  • Sri Lanka: To increase forest cover to 32%
  • Nigeria: To increase forest cover from 6% to 25% by 2030

Background

The report provides an overview of the six Global Forest Goals out of the twenty-six targets of the National Strategic Plan for Forests. The six goals are as follows:

  • Reverse Forest Cover Loss
  • Improve Forest Benefits and Livelihoods
  • Protect Forests and use sustainable forest products
  • Mobilise resources
  • Promote inclusive forest governance
  • Cooperate and work across the sectors

The United Nations Strategic Plan for forests was created to promote sustainable forest management. It was to be implemented between 2017 and 2030. The main objective of the plan is to increase the forest area in the world by 3% by 2030. That is, to bring 120 million hectares of land under forest cover.

Scheme of Financial Assistance to States for Capex

The Ministry of Finance recently announced that it is to provide Rs 15,000 crores to the states for their Capital Expenditure for 2021-22. This is being provided as an interest-free fifty-year loan to spend on capital projects. Fresh guidelines have been announced in this regard called the “Scheme of Financial Assistance to States for Capital Expenditure”.

About the Scheme

In 2020-21, Rs 12,000 crores were allocated for the scheme and Rs 11,830.29 crores was released to the states.

Part I of the Scheme

Part I of the scheme is to be implemented in the North Eastern States and Hilly states of India. Around Rs 2,600 crores have been allocated for this part of the scheme. Of this Himachal Pradesh, Assam and Uttarakhand are to get Rs 400 crores each.

Part II of the scheme

All the other states are included under this part of the scheme. Rs 7,400 crores has been allocated to these states. This fund is to be allocated in proportion to their share of central taxes as prescribed by the fifteenth commission of 2021-22.

Part III of the scheme

Under this part of the scheme, incentives are to be provided to the states for disinvestment of state public sector enterprises and recycling or monetisation of infrastructure assets. To achieve this, Rs 5,000 crores have been allocated.

Benefits

The scheme will help to speed up the National Infrastructure Pipeline projects. It will help the states to settle the pending bills in the ongoing capital projects. Also, the funds provided under the scheme shall be used for new capital projects.

May Day: May 1

Latest labour law amendments : 2020 - iPleaders

May Day is also called International Workers’ Day or Labour Day.

First Labour Day in India

The first Labour Day in India was hosted by the Labour Kisan Party in Madras in 1923. It was initiated by the Labour Union Movement.

Labour Union Movement

The Labour Union Movement began in response to the attacks of industrial capitalism. In Europe, the Labour Union Movement began during the industrial revolution.

How did Labour Movement begin in India?

  • In 1920, the Indian National Trade Union Congress was established. With the establishment of the Union, the Labour Union Movement got a major fillip.
  • The first Industries Act was passed in 1881.
  • After the Industries Act, Lokhande summoned a summit in the Bombay Presidency. The major demands of the summit were to provide a weekly holiday, a half-an-hour of rest every day, accidental compensations to the workers, etc. This is the first time the demands of the labours in British India were agreed upon by some of the industrialists.
  • After the Partition of Bengal in 1905, strong social reformers emerged in different parts of the country. They were highly agitated when Tilak was arrested in 1908. It was during this period that the working class awakened and got organised in India. In 1905, the workers of the printing press organised themselves into a trade union. In 1907, postal workers formed a trade union and in 1910 the Labour Welfare Association was established.

Labour Day in the US

  • Some countries such as Canada and the US celebrate Labour Day on the first Monday of September.
  • May 1 is celebrated as Law Day in the US.

Maharashtra Day: May 1

Every year, Maharashtra Day is celebrated on May 1. It commemorates the formation of the state of Maharashtra. It was formed on May 1, 1960.

About Maharashtra Day

The States Reorganisation Act, 1956 redefined the boundaries of Indian states based on the languages. Maharashtra was formed based on this act. Different languages were spoken in the state of Bombay namely Gujarati, Konkani, Marathi and Kutchi.

The Bombay state was divided into Gujarat and Maharashtra in 1960. Gujarat was formed where people spoke Gujarati and Kutchhi. The other region was named Maharashtra where people spoke Konkani and Marathi.

The Samyukta Maharashtra Samiti was at the forefront of the movement to divide the Bombay state into two states namely Maharashtra and Gujarat.

About Bombay State

The Bombay state was created at the time of India’s independence. Before independence, it was called the Bombay Presidency that roughly pertained to current Maharashtra.

After independence, Bombay state was formed including Vidarbha, current Maharashtra and other princely states such as Baroda.

Samyukta Maharashtra Movement

It is commonly known as Samiti. It was founded in 1956 demanding a separate Marathi speaking state between 1956 and 1960.

Formation of Indian States after independence

Under the States Reorganisation Act, 1956 the following states have been bifurcated:

  • 1960: Bombay state was split into Gujarat and Maharashtra
  • 1963: Nagaland was created from Assam
  • 1966: Himachal Pradesh and Haryana were formed from the State of Punjab
  • 1972: Tripura, Manipur and Meghalaya were formed.
  • 1975: Sikkim joined the Indian Union
  • 1987: Arunachal Pradesh and Goa became states
  • 2000: Jharkhand was carved out from Bihar, Chhattisgarh from Madhya Pradesh and Uttaranchal or Uttarakhand from UP.
  • 2014: Telangana was created from Andhra Pradesh

Karen Rebels recently seized a military post in Myanmar

The Karen Rebels recently seized a military post in Myanmar. The post is located close to the border of northwestern Thailand.

Who are Karen Rebels?

  • They are the oldest rebel group in Myanmar. They have formed the Karen National Union (KNU). They have been fighting against the Myanmar government since 1949. They are fighting for an independent state called “Kawthoolei”. It is one of the longest-running civil wars in the world.
  • The Karen Community is an ethnic minority.
  • In due course of the conflict, more than two hundred thousand have fled to Thailand, the neighbouring country. They have been confined to refugee camps in Thailand.
  • The Karen people are one of the largest ethnic minorities in Myanmar. They constitute a population of five to seven million. There are more than twenty different dialects spoken by Karen (Dialect is a language that is peculiar to a specific group). Pwo and Sgaw are the most widely spoken.

Current Scenario in Myanmar

In February 2021, the Myanmar military took control of the country through a military coup. This ousted the ruling National League for Democracy Party and also the State Counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi. The current de facto leader of Myanmar is General Min Aung Hlaing.

ASEAN leaders recently held a summit to call an end to the violence in Myanmar. They have come up with a five-point consensus along with the military leader. India has welcomed the ASEAN initiative on Myanmar.

UK to cut its aid to UN Family Planning Programme

The United Kingdom is to cut its fund to the United Nations Global Family Planning Programme. According to the UN Population Fund, the UK had pledged 154 million Euros. However, now the UK is to provide only 23 million Euros.

About the Fund Cuts

In 2020, the UK Government announced that it will reduce its UK aid spending from 0.7% of its National income to 0.5% of its national income. These cuts amount to a reduction of more than 4 billion Euros.

The UK fund for the family planning programme of the United Nations includes maternal health care for millions of women in the poorest countries and provisions of contraceptives.

Consequences of UK Withdrawal

Around 217 million women want to avoid pregnancies. But they do not have access to modern contraceptives. The fund cut will have serious impacts on them.

The UK funds would have helped to protect 250,000 maternal deaths and child deaths. It would have avoided 14.6 million unintended pregnancies and 4.3 million unsafe abortions. Now, these are going to increase.

UK Aid

In 2020, UK spent 14.5 billion Euros in providing international aid. Today, UK is the third biggest donor in the world.

UN Population Fund

It was established in 1967. It is not associated with the UN regular budget. According to UN Population Fund, India will become the most populous country in 2028.

Population in India

India’s population is 1.36 billion. The life expectancy in India is 72 years. This is lower than the world life expectancy of 69 years. The Maternal Mortality Rate in India is 174 per one lakh live births as of 2015. The fertility rate of India is 2.3 births per woman. This is less as compared to the fertility rate of the world which is 2.5.

New Soybean Variety: MACS 1407

Soybeans 101: Nutrition Facts and Health Effects

The Indian scientists recently developed a new Soy Bean variety called the “MACS 1407”. The new variety was developed by the Agharkar Research Institute of Pune along with the Indian Council of Agricultural Research.

About MACS 1407

  • It is a high yielding variety that gives 39 quintals per hectare.
  • The new variety takes 104 days to mature and 43 days for 50% flowering.
  • The new variety has yellow seeds, white coloured flowers and black hilum.
  • The seeds have 41% protein and 19.81% oil content.
  • The stem of the new Soybean variety is thick. This provides higher pod insertion, which is, till seven centimetres.
  • It has good resistance for pod shaking. This makes it highly suitable for mechanical harvesting.
  • Their germinability is high.
  • The variety is best suited for the rain-fed regions of North East India.
  • It is resistant to pests such as leaf miner, leaf roller, girdle beetle, stem fly, whitefly, aphids and defoliators.
  • It is resistant to the vagaries of the monsoon. Vagaries of monsoon are the abnormal activities that affect the seasonal pattern of rainfall. It is caused due to the late or early arrival of the monsoon. It tends to ruin the crops.

What is the plan?

The MACS 1407 Soybean variety is to be made available to farmers in the 2022 Kharif season.

Soybean production in India

In 2019, India produced 90 million tonnes of soybean.

Seasons in India

There are three main agricultural seasons in India. They are Kharif, Rabi and Zaid. During the Kharif season, the crops are sown in June and July. They are then harvested in September, October. In the Rabi season, the crops are sown from October to November. They are harvested in April, June.

TRIFED’s new project for Tribal Households

The TRIFED recently signed an agreement with The LINK Fund to work together towards tribal development. TRIFED is the Tribal Cooperative Marketing Development Federation of India

About the Agreement

  • Under the agreement, they will work towards tribal employment generation and development. This is to be achieved by providing support to the tribal in increasing value addition to their produce.
  • They will also create women centres that will promote innovation, infrastructure and entrepreneurship among tribal women.
  • Under the agreement, TRIFED and LINK will work towards improving the skill training and crafts diversification.

LINK Fund

  • LINK Fund is a philanthropic organisation that aims to end extreme poverty and mitigate the effects of Climate Change. It provides funds to meet the basic needs of the poorest population in the world. Their focus is mainly on India, the US, Mali, Indonesia, Mali, Nigeria, Nepal, Mauritania and Senegal.
  • The fund addresses basic human needs such as education, food and nutrition, large scale infrastructure and women economic empowerment.

Recent developments

  • In April 2021, TRIFED launched the SANKLAP SE SIDHI. It is a hundred-day drive to activate the Van Dhan Vikas Kendras.
  • In April 2021, TRIFED launched the Tribes India contest.
  • In March 2021, TRIFED announced that the Floriculture mission is to be implemented in twenty-one states.
  • It is building TRIFOOD parks. TRIFOOD Parks is a joint initiative between the Ministry of Tribal Affairs and the Ministry of Food Processing. These parks procure raw materials from the tribal people, process them and help tribal farmers sell for better prices. TRIFED is providing training to the tribal farmer about processing their produce. This will help to increase their income by bringing better prices for their produce.

India-Russia 2+2 Dialogue

Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Russian President Vladimir Putin recently agreed to establish a “2+2 Ministerial Dialogue”. The “2+2 Ministerial” dialogue is held between the defence ministers and foreign ministers.

About 2+2 Dialogue

  • India holds similar dialogues with the US, Australia and Japan.
  • Russia is the first non-QUAD member with which India is to hold the dialogue.
  • In 2021, President Vladimir Putin is to visit India to hold the India-Russia bilateral summit. The summit is alternatively held in India and Russia.

India-Russia

  • Currently, Russia is the largest Defence Supplier of India. Also, the key defence systems of India such as the S-400 are bought from Russia.
  • Both the countries are members of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation, BRICS.
  • Russia supports India for its permanent membership at the United Nations Security Council.
  • The countries had earlier set a trade target of reaching 30 billion USD of a trade by 2025. The dialogue will help them achieve the target. Previously, the countries agreed to establish the International North-South Transport Corridor, cooperation at the Eurasian Economic Union and Chennai-Vladivostok Maritime Corridor.
  • The Astronauts shortlisted for the Human Space Flight Programme of India were trained by Russia.
  • The Nuclear Power Plant that is being built in Kudankulam in Tamil Nadu is built with Russian Cooperation.
  • India recently approved Russia’s Sputnik V. It is the third vaccine to be approved in the country after COVAXIN and COVISHIELD.

What agreements govern India-Russia relations?

In 1971, India and Russia signed the Treaty of Peace and Friendship. This agreement was the manifestation of shared goals between the countries. After the dissolution of the Soviet Union in 1991, India and Russia signed the Military-Technical Cooperation Agreement.

NATO Military Exercises launched

The North Atlantic Treaty Organisation recently launched the joint military exercises in Albania called the “DEFENDER-Europe 21”. Thousands of military forces from the US are participating in the exercise.

About DEFENDER-Europe

  • The exercise is an annual US-led multinational exercise.
  • It is defensive.
  • It focuses on deterring aggression.

DEFENDER Europe 21

  • In 2021, the exercise is to focus on building operational readiness and interoperability.
  • More than 28,000 troops of the US and its allies are participating.
  • More than 26 countries are to conduct simultaneous operations in more than thirty training areas from the Black Sea, Balkan regions to Baltics and Africa.
  • The USNS Bob Hope is to demonstrate unloading heavy equipment onto the smaller vessels.

NATO

  • NATO is North Atlantic Treaty Organisation. It is an intergovernmental military alliance between thirty North American and European countries.
  • In 1947, France and UK signed the “Treaty of Dunkirk” (This was the inception of NATO). It was a military alliance between the countries. It was signed in the event of possible attack by Germany or the Soviet Union in the post-World War II conditions. The US, Canada, Italy, Denmark, Norway, Portugal and Iceland joined the treaty in 1949.
  • The first NATO military exercise was held in 1952.
  • Soviet Union signed the Warsaw pact to counter NATO.

Warsaw Pact

The Warsaw Pact was signed after the integration of West Germany into NATO. It was signed in 1955. It was signed in Warsaw, Poland. It was signed between the Soviet Union and the seven other countries in central and eastern Europe. There were no military dealings between them like that of NATO. However, conflicts were fought on an ideological basis and also in proxy wars. The largest military engagement of the Warsaw pact was the invasion of Czechoslovakia in 1968. Albania and Romania did not participate in the invasion. Later Albania withdrew from the pact. (Albania joined NATO in 2009).

The other countries of the Warsaw Pact that participated in the invasion were Poland, Soviet Union, Hungary, East Germany and Bulgaria.

RBI joins Network for Greening the Financial System- NGFS

The Reserve Bank of India recently joined the Network for Greening the Financial System (NGFS). By joining the system, RBI is to learn from and contribute to Global Climate risk management in the financial sector. Ultimately, the apex bank will work with its global partners to support the transition towards a sustainable economy.

Greening the Financial System

  • There are 83 central banks associated with the system. Of these 75 are members and 13 are observers.
  • The main objective of the system is to increase and accelerate green finance.
  • It was announced during the One Planet Summit held in Paris in 2017.
  • The initiative was launched by eight central banks under the leadership of Banque de France.
  • It aims to help the members design policies and climate risk resilience in the financial sector.

Current Functions of NGFS

The NGFS is currently working under the following:

  • Macroprudential or Supervision: Done by Singapore
  • Macro financial works: By Bank of England
  • Scaling up the Green Finance: by Deutsche Bundesbank (Germany)
  • Bridging the data gaps: International Monetary Fund
  • Research: China

Background

  • According to the Global Risks Report, 2021 of the World Economic Forum, infectious diseases and climate action failure are considered as the highest risks.
  • According to World Economic Forum, around 5 trillion USD is needed to be invested annually in green infrastructure. Currently, the world is investing only 100 billion USD annually.
  • According to World Bank, the losses to the GDP of India due to Climate Change will be 1,178 billion USD by 2050.

Net Zero Producer Forum

Saudi Arabia recently announced that it is to join Canada, the US, Qatar and Norway informing the Net Zero Producers Forum.

Net Zero Producers Forum

  • The forum has been formed for the oil and gas producers to discuss how to support the implementation of the Paris Agreement on Climate Change.
  • It aims to develop pragmatic net zero-emission strategies.
  • It will aim at Methane abatement.
  • Also, it will target advancing the circular carbon economy approach.
  • It will promote the development and deployment of clean energy.
  • It will support the development of carbon capture and storage technologies.
  • Above all, it will march towards diversifying from reliance on hydrocarbon revenues.

What are the targets of the countries?

  • The United States has set a target of cutting emission levels by 50% to 52% as compared to that of 2005 levels. This was announced during the Leaders Summit on Climate held in April 2021.
  • Saudi Arabia is to reduce its carbon emissions by generating 50% of its energy requirements from renewably sourced by 2030. It is to be noted that Saudi Arabia is the world’s biggest crude oil exporter.
  • Canada has set a target of reducing its greenhouse gas emissions by 30% as compared to that of 2005 levels.

Climate Targets of Norway

Norway has signed an agreement with the European Union under the EU Climate Legislation. The agreement has three pieces of legislation. They are as follows:

  • EU Emissions Trading System
  • Effort Sharing Regulation for non-ETS Emissions
  • Land-use, Land-use change and forestry regulation

The European Union has set a target to reduce greenhouse gases by 55% as compared to that of 1990 levels. Norway is not a member of the European Union. However, it is associated with the grouping through its membership of the European Economic Area.

Japan’s Order of the Rising Sun honour to Bengaluru Teacher

Horen's Ohara School Of Ikebana :

The Japanese Government recently awarded the “Order of Rising Sun” to a Bengaluru based Japanese teacher, Shyamala Ganesh.

About Shyamala Ganesh

  • Shyamala is a Japanese teacher at the Septuagenarian institution and also at the Ohara School of Ikebana in RT Nagar, Bengaluru. She has tutored more than hundreds of students since its inception 38 years ago. Ikebana is the Japanese art of flower arrangement.
  • Shyamala along with her husband Ganesh started a Japanese language school in 1983 in Bengaluru.

Order of Rising Sun

  • The award is presented by the Emperor of Japan.
  • It was created in 1875.
  • The award is presented to those who have made distinguished achievements in the promotion of Japanese culture, achievements in international relations, advancements in their field and conservation of the environment.
  • It was also awarded for exemplary military service before World War II.
  • It is the third-highest award presented by the Japanese Government.
  • The culture of presenting the award to Non-Japanese recipients began in 1981.
  • Women are presented with the award since 2003.
  • The award can also be presented posthumously.

Other highest Japanese awards

  • The highest Japanese award is the Order of Chrysanthemum. The award is reserved only for the heads of the state.
  • The Order of Paulownia flowers is mostly reserved for politicians.

Order of Chrysanthemum

  • It was established in 1876 by Emperor Meiji of Japan.
  • It can be conferred posthumously unlike its European counterparts.

Order of Paulownia Flowers

  • It was established in 1888.
  • It was once conferred to the former Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.
  • It is the second-highest award presented by the Japanese Government.

Global Electric Vehicle Outlook, 2021

The International Energy Agency recently released the Global Electric Vehicle Outlook.

Key Findings of the report

  • Three million new electric cars were registered in 2020. This was 41% higher than those registered in 2019.
  • According to the report, if the governments will ramp up their efforts to meet international climate goals, then the number of global electric vehicles will increase to 230 million by 2030.
  • Currently, there are ten million electric cars on road.
  • Korea has the largest number of hydrogen car distribution in the world.

Sales of Electric Cars

The sales of electric cars in 2020 contracted by 16% due to COVID-19. However, it started increasing in the first quarter of 2021. And the sales during the first quarter of 2021 was two and a half times higher than that during the same period in 2020.

Consumer Spending on Electric Cars

The consumer spending on Electric Cars in 2020 amounted to 120 billion USD. This has increased by 50% as compared to that of 2019.

What did the report say about India?

  • According to the report, around 30% of new vehicle sales in 2030 will be Electric in India.
  • The Electric Vehicle penetration in the country will be led by electric three-wheelers and electric two-wheelers.
  • The report also says that the electrification of buses will be lower. It will be 15% of the total sale of vehicles by 2030. This is mainly because of easier registration of two-wheelers and three-wheelers under the FAME II scheme.
  • The report also says that only 3% of allocated funds under the FAME II scheme has so far been used for 30,000 vehicles.

Stampede at the Israeli Pilgrimage site

A massive stampede at Meron, a Jewish Pilgrimage site in Israel killed at least 44 people. This was the largest COVID-19 era gathering of Israel.

About the disaster

  • The stampede occurred at the most reputed tomb of Shimon Bar Yochai. He was a second-century sage.
  • The pilgrimage was closed in 2020 due to COVID-19.
  • Though Israel has vaccinated more than 9.3 million population, the restrictions on massive gatherings remain in place. Only 10,000 people were authorised to gather at the site. However, more than 30,000 arrived at the site.

Shimon bar Yochai

  • He was a disciple of Rabbi Akiva. The works of Mekhilta and Sifre are attributed to him.
  • He was an active participant in the destruction of the second temple.

First and Second Temples

  • The First Temple was built in 1000 BC by King Solomon. It was destroyed by Nebuchadnezzar (King of Babylon) when he captured Jerusalem.
  • The time of the Second temple is divided into different periods namely the Roman period (63 BC), Hellenistic period (332 BC) and Persian period (586 BC). The temple was destroyed during the Roman period in AD 70.
  • These were Jewish temples. The destruction of the temples is marked in the Jewish calendar as the “day of mourning” called Tisha B’av.

Meron

Meron is a town in Israel. It is located on the slopes of Mt Meron. It is famous for the annual mass public commemoration of Lag Ba’Omer. Lag Ba’Omer marks the death anniversary of Shimon bar Yochai, the Rashbi.

Char Dham Yatra suspended

The Government of India recently suspended the Char Dham Yatra due to a surge in COVID-19. Only the priests are to be allowed to conduct the daily worship and rituals. The Kedarnath is to be reopened on May 17, Gangotri and Yamunotri on May 14 and Badrinath on May 18.

Char Dham Yatra

The Char Dham Yatra is visiting four holy places in Uttarakhand. They are Gangotri, Yamunotri, Kedarnath and Badrinath. These four holy places of Hinduism are to be connected through a highway. The Project Char Dham Mahamarg Vikas Pariyojana or Char Dham Mahamarg or Char Dham Highway is to construct the highway.

Char Dham Pariyojana

Under the project, the roads are to be widened from 12 metres to 24 metres. It will involve bypasses, tunnels, bridges, viaducts and subways.

Concerns

  • The roads are to be widened to improve the accessibility to the shrines. However, these areas are under the dry deciduous biome. The project will uproot vegetation in the process of widening the roads. This will be perilous to the biodiversity.
  • The river slopes in these regions are highly dependent on vegetation. Uprooting them will cause landslides and floods.
  • Slope Vegetation is highly important as it contributes to slope stability, reduces pore water pressure, increases resistive force against flowing water through root cohesion, reduces the weight of the soil by absorbing moisture and reduces surface runoff.

Forest loss due to the project

  • Around 508.66 hectares of forest area are to be diverted for non-forestry purpose. More than 33,000 to 43,000 trees will be cut down.
  • Currently, the forest cover of Uttarakhand is growing at the rate of 23 hectares per year. If this rate is maintained then it will take 40-45 years to recover the loss.

SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket launched 60 Starlink satellites

As SpaceX Launches 60 Starlink Satellites, Scientists See Threat to  'Astronomy Itself' - The New York Times

SpaceX recently launched sixty Starlink Internet Satellites. The satellites were carried by Falcon 9 rocket. It was launched from the Cape Canaveral Space Force Station located in Florida.

SpaceX

The company has done twelve launches in 2021 alone. The majority of those launches have been its Starlink satellites. SpaceX has permission to launch as many as 30,000 satellites.

Starlink Project of SpaceX

Under the Starlink project, SpaceX aims to build a constellation of 12,000 satellites. The main objective of the project is to provide space-based internet services at affordable costs.

Importance of the project

Currently, there are more than four billion people in the world without internet access. This is mainly due to the incompetent ways of delivering internet. In most countries, the internet is being delivered through fibre optic cables or wireless networks. These methods are highly challenging in areas with difficult terrain where it is not feasible to set up towers or cables. On the other hand, signals from satellites can overcome these difficulties easily.

Why does the Starlink project use Low Earth Orbit?

The orbit at a height less than 1000 kilometres from the earth’s surface is called Low Earth Orbit. Satellites in this orbit move at a speed of 11,000 kilometres per hour. They complete one revolution in 24 hours, that is, at the same time the earth rotates its axis. Thus, the satellite in the constellation appears to be stationary. Thus, he can get access to the satellite 24/7.

The issue is a time lag called latency between the server sending data and the user. The data transfer occurs at the speed of light. Thus, the longer the distance greater is the time lag. Therefore, the satellites in the constellation should as close to the earth as possible. This is why they are placed in Low Earth Orbit.

The latency between geostationary orbit and the earth is 600 milliseconds.

Why does the project need a huge number of satellites?

The major concern with the Low Earth Orbit is that their signals cover a relatively small area. Thus, more satellites were required to reach every part of the planet.

Mining Robot Stranded in the Pacific

A Deep-sea mining robot, Patania II got stranded on the Pacific Ocean floor.

What happened?

  • The Patania II robot was designed to explore rocks rich in Nickel and Cobalt in the Pacific Ocean at a depth of 13,000 feet. The Umbilical cable of the robot got detached when its first trials were near completion. Cobalt and Nickel are essential for low carbon technologies.
  • The recovery of the machine is being planned.
  • The exploration is being held in the Clarion Clipperton Zone of the Pacific Ocean.

What is the issue?

The robot weighs twenty-five tonnes. It was developed by Global Sea Mineral Resources (GSR). The GSR company was awarded 75,000 square kilometres of contract area in the Clarion Clipperton Zone. This is 2.5 times the size of Belgium. The incident has brought back the focus on Deepsea mining and its environmental impacts to the central stage.

Clarion Clipperton Zone

  • It is a geological submarine fracture zone that runs 7,240-kilometres. It is a fracture zone of the Pacific Ocean. Fracture zones are created due to plate tectonics. It is a linear oceanic feature that runs thousands of kilometres long. They are formed from the action of offset mid-ocean ridges. The mid-ocean ridge is a seafloor mountain.
  • The Clarion Clipperton Zone is administered by the International Seabed Authority. The Authority has divided the region into sixteen mining claims. Each mine covers 160,000 square kilometres.
  • According to the International Seabed Authority, the region has 0.27 billion tonnes of Nickel, 0.05 billion tonnes of Cobalt and 0.23 billion tonnes of copper.
  • The region is rich in biodiversity. In 2017, more than 34 new species were discovered in the region.

Concerns against Deep Sea Mining

As Clarion Clipperton is highly rich in biodiversity, deep-sea mining might have serious impacts on the marine organisms in the region.

Samudrayaan Project of India

It is a proposed Deep Sea mining project of India. Under the project, three aquanauts are to reach the deep sea for exploration. The project is to be implemented by the National Institute of Ocean Technology. It is in line with the Gaganyaan Mission of ISRO.

Import of 17 medical devices allowed

The Government of India recently allowed the import of seventeen medical devices to provide relief to the COVID-19 patients. However, the importer should make mandatory declarations under Legal Metrology Rules, 2011.

Which devices were allowed?

The Department of Consumer Affairs has allowed the import of the following devices:

  • Nebulizers
  • oxygen concentrators
  • CPAP and BIPAP devices
  • Vacuum Pressure Swing Absorption
  • Pressure Swing Absorption
  • Oxygen Plants
  • Cryogenic Oxygen Air Separation Unit
  • oxygen canister
  • oxygen filling systems
  • oxygen cylinders including cryogenic cylinders
  • Ventilators

About the Notification

The notification issued by GoI says that the imported items should comply with Rule 33(1) and Rule 6 of the Legal Metrology (Packaged Commodity) Rules, 2011. These rules make it mandatory for the importers to put proper stamping or stickers or online printing revealing required information.

What are Legal Metrology Rules?

The Legal Metrology Rules were framed to regulate pre-packaged commodities. Under the rules, the pre-packaged commodities have to comply with mandatory labelling requirement.

The laws related to Metrology in India are as follows:

  • Legal Metrology Act, 2009
  • Legal Metrology (Packaged Commodities) Rules, 2011
  • Legal Metrology (General) Rules, 2011

About Import of Medical Devices in India

A person having a license under the Drug and Cosmetics Act, 1940 can import medical devices in the country. Import, sale, manufacturing and distribution of medical devices are regulated by the same act. The Central Drugs Standard Control Organisation (CDSCO) governs the regulations of the import of medical devices in the country.

CDSCO

It is responsible for the approval of drugs. However, recently GoI included some of the medical devices under the Drugs and Cosmetics Act. Currently, there are thirty-seven medical devices regulated under the act.

National Commission for Women: WhatsApp Number for Pregnant Women

The National Commission for Women recently launched the WhatsApp number for pregnant women. The helpline number is 9354954224. It is a “message only” helpline number. It will provide round the clock medical assistance to expectant mothers all over the country. The National Commission for Women has set up a dedicated team to look after the grievances raised by pregnant women on the number.

National Commission for Women

  • It was established under the National Commission for Women Act in 1992.
  • The body reviews the legal and constitutional safeguards of women.
  • The chairperson of the commission is appointed by the Government of India. The other five members in the commission are also appointed by the GoI. These members should have experience in women voluntary organisation, economic development, legislation, administration, etc.
  • Jayanti Patnaik was the first Chairperson of the National Commission for Women.

Functions of National Commission for Women

  • Investigates and examines the matters related to the safeguards of the women as provided by the Constitution of India
  • Presents reports about working on those safeguards
  • Recommends safeguards to enhance conditions of women in the country
  • It takes Suo Moto Notices in matters related to deprivation of women rights

Concerns

The National Commission for Women has no legislative powers. It shall only suggest amendments. It does not have the power to choose its executives. The commission is reliant on financial assistance from the Government of India.

Pregnant Women in India

  • According to the National Family Health Survey 5, anaemia among pregnant women has increased in more than half of the states and union territories.
  • The survey also says that Child marriages have increased in the states of Assam, Tripura and Manipur.
  • The states that have shown an increase in teenage pregnancies are Manipur, Tripura, Himachal Pradesh, Andhra Pradesh, Nagaland.

The Central Empowerment Committee raised serious concerns about Environmental Impact in Goa.

The Central Empowerment Committee appointed by the Supreme Court recently raised serious concerns of Environmental Impact in Goa. This was related to the double-tracking of the railway line between Kulem of Goa and Castle Rock in Karnataka.

What did the Committee say?

According to the committee, the Railway project will destroy the fragile ecosystem of the Western Ghats. The conclusion was made by the committee after examining the proposals cleared by the Standing committee of the National Board for Wildlife on the following projects:

  • Doubling of Railway tracks
  • Four Laning of National Highways
  • Goa-Tanmar Transmission Project

These projects will cut the Bhagwan Mahaveer Wildlife Sanctuary and Mollem National Park in South Goa.

Significance of Western Ghats

The Western Ghats is a biodiversity hotspot and one of the most important wildlife corridor in the country. The Western Ghats act as the huge water tank to six states. There are 13 national parks and several sanctuaries in the Western Ghats. They source major rivers such as the Godavari, Cauvery and Krishna.

Why is the Railways Double tracking the line?

According to the Railways, the traffic between Goa and Karnataka is projected to increase. The line is mainly used to transport imported coal from Mormugao port to the steel mills in the Bellary region.

Coal is being imported into the port since 1947. Around 14 million tonnes are imported annually. Currently, the Government of Goa is working to decrease the coal imports in its ports to 8 million tonnes.

Project Update

The project aims to double-track the entire 342 kilometres. Of this, the South Western Railways have completed seven kilometres so far.

Russia expels European Diplomats

Russia recently expelled diplomats of Latvia, Slovakia, Estonia, Lithuania, Romania, Czech diplomats. It was retaliation from Russia after the countries expelled the Russian diplomats.

Background

The Czech Republic ordered Russian staff to leave the embassy. The order was passed based on the accusations that Russian Intelligence Officers were behind the 2014 explosion.

What is the 2014 Explosion?

In 2014, two explosions occurred in a Czech Ammunition depot. Ammunition Depots are military storage units.

Russia and the Czech Republic

Czech Republic is a member of NATO, the European Union and OECD. The relations of the country with Russia after the latter annexed Crimea in 2014.

Annexation of Crimea

The political status of Crimea is disputed between Russia and Ukraine. This is called the Crimean issue. In 2014, Russia seized Crimea from Ukraine.

Baltic Countries

Latvia, Estonia and Lithuania are called Baltic countries. The region gets its name from the Baltic sea that surrounds the region. The countries declared independence from the Soviet Union in 1991.

India-Baltic Countries

The countries Latvia and Lithuania support India in its permanent membership in United Nations. In 2019, Vice President Ram Nath Kovind visited the countries. He addressed the first India-Latvia Business Forum.

Balkan countries

  • The Baltic countries are different from Balkan countries. The Balkan countries are located in the Balkan Peninsula. It is bordered by the Ionian Sea in the southwest, the Adriatic Sea in the northwest and the Ionian Sea in the southwest.
  • They are Bosnia, Albania, Bulgaria, Herzegovina, Kosovo, Montenegro, Macedonia, Serbia, Romania and Slovenia.
  • The region takes the name after the Balkan Mountains.

QUIZ

What is the main objective of the United Nations Strategic Plan for forests?

According to the Global Forest Goals Report, What percentage of the global population relies on Forest?

Who publishes the Global Forest Goals Report?

  • Global Forest Forum
  • United Nation
  • United Nations Forum on Forests (UNFF)
  • International Tropical Timber Organization (ITTO)

What is the principal amount of the interest-free fifty-year loan under the states for their Capital Expenditure for 2021-22?

When was the first Labour Day in India Hosted?

What is the first Industries Act in India?

  • The Industries (Development and Regulation) Act, 1951
  • The Industrial Disputes Act, 1947
  • The Factories Act, 1948
  • The Factory Act -1881

What is the formation day of Maharashtra?

What is the name of the other state that was formed other than Maharasthra because of the Samyukta Maharashtra Movement?

Karen National Union (KNU) is the rebel group is the oldest rebel group in ____

India will become the most populous country in ____

What is the new verity of Soyabean developed by Agharkar Research Institute of Pune along with the Indian Council of Agricultural Research?

Which among the following country has not been a part of India's 2+2 Dialogue?

  • Australia
  • Japan
  • China
  • Russia

The Reserve Bank of India recently joined the NGFS. What is the full form of NGFS?

How many central banks are part of NGFS?

Who was awarded the Order of Rising Sun award 2021?

____ has the largest number of hydrogen car distribution in the world.

The National Commission for Women recently launched the WhatsApp number for ___.

Choose the odd one out:


 

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