02nd – 05th December 2021 The Hindu Newspaper

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Questions

1) Global Cybersecurity Index is released by?

International Telecommunication Union (ITU)
World Bank (WB)
Alliance for Telecommunications Industry Solutions (ATIS)
World Economic Forum (WEF)

2) Nairobi and Tunis declarations sometimes seen in news are related to?

Vaccine IPRs
Disaster Risk reduction
DNA cloning
Illegal wildlife trade

3) With reference to Joint Parliamentary Committee, consider the following:

  1. It is a permanent body.
  2. Members of the committee belongs only from the Lok Sabha
    Which of the statements given above is/are incorrect?

1 only
2 only
Both 1 and 2
Neither 1 nor 2

Tunis declaration was adopted at the Africa Arab Platform for Disaster Risk Reduction held in Tunis in 2018. Under it, 25 African countries have adopted DRR strategies and action plans aligned with the Sendai Framework.
The Nairobi Declaration underlines the need to deliver commitments on the Programme of Action (PoA) for implementing the Sendai Framework (related to Disaster Risk Reduction) in Africa.

4) With reference to Khadi and Village Industries Commission (KVIC), consider the following statements:

  1. It is an apex organisation under the Ministry of Commerce and Industry.
  2. It is a statutory body.
  3. One of its social objectives is to provide employment.
    Which of the statements given above is/are correct?

1 and 2 only
2 and 3 only
1 and 3 only
1, 2 and 3

5) With reference to Dam Safety Bill 2019, consider the following statements:

  1. National Committee on Dam Safety (NCDS) will ensure the nationwide implementation of dam safety policies and standards.
  2. There is provision for an emergency flood warning system to address the safety concerns of downstream inhabitants.
  3. India is the 3rd largest dam-owning nation in the world after China and USA.
    Which of the statements given above is/are correct?

1 only
2 and 3 only
3 only
1 and 2 only

6) Consider the following statements:

  1. He served as a first Indian MP in the British Parliament.
  2. He is known as Grand Old man of India.
  3. He was the founder of London India Society.
  4. He acted as a mentor to Gopal Krishna Gokhale
    Which of the above points, are talking about the personality mentioned below?

Mahatma Gandhi
Vallabhbhai Patel
Dadabhai Naoroji
Ram Manohar Roy

7) Consider the following statements With reference to Great Green Wall Initiative,

The initiative is limited to the Sahel region of Africa.

It was launched by World Bank in collaboration with United Nations Development Programme (UNDP)
Which of the statements given above is/are correct?

1 only
2 only
Both 1 and 2
Neither 1 nor 2

8) Article 142 of the constitution is related to?

  1. It deals with enforcement of decrees and orders of the Supreme Court.
  2. Power of President to consult Supreme Court on question of law or public importance.
  3. It deals with Appellate jurisdiction of Supreme Court in appeals from High Courts in regard to civil matters.
  4. Courts not to inquire into proceedings of Parliament.

9) National Health Accounts Report was released by which of the following organisation/Ministry?

NITI Aayog
Public Health Foundation of India (PHFI)
Ministry of Health and Family Welfare
Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR)

Prelims Specific News

Nearly 400 years after the country became a British colony, Barbados has become the world’s newest republic.

This was done after Barbados removed Queen Elizabeth II as the head of the state in a ceremony attended by Prince Charles.

What is the history of Barbados as a British Colony?

Source: BBC
Barbados first became an English colony when a ship arrived at the Caribbean in 1625.

On November 30, 1966, Barbados gained its independence. With Elizabeth II as Queen of Barbados.

Now it will become the world’s newest republic. However, it will continue to be one of the 54 Commonwealth nations.

Note: Commonwealth of Nations is a loose association of former British colonies and current dependencies, along with some countries that have no historical ties to Britain.

How will the transition of Barbados to a republic take place?

There are no plans to change the flags, coat of arms, national pledge or national anthem.

However, the terms “royal” and “crown” would be dropped from all official references. Hence, Royal Barbados Police Force will become Barbados Police Force and crown lands would become state lands.

Moreover, the country would continue to celebrate Independence Day on November 30 but not just in remembrance of removing Queen Elizabeth II as the head but also in the memory of the country’s first president.

Note: Barbados will not be the first former British colony in the Caribbean to become a republic. Guyana took that step in 1970, less than four years after gaining independence from Britain. Trinidad and Tobago followed suit in 1976 and Dominica in 1978.

2) Niti Aayog has organized a knowledge-sharing workshop on Natural Farming.

What is Natural Farming?

Natural Farming can be defined as “chemical-free farming and livestock-based”.

It is a diversified farming system that integrates crops, trees and livestock, allowing the optimum use of functional biodiversity.

Natural Farming has many indigenous forms in India, the most popular one is practised in Andhra Pradesh called Zero Budget Natural Farming(ZBNF).

What are the components of Natural Farming?


What are the benefits of Natural Farming?
a) Improves Yield
b) Increased Farmers Income
c) Minimize the cost of production
d) Ensure better Health as less use of fertilizers and pesticides, reduces the incidence of non-communicable diseases
e) Employment Generation f) Eliminate the application of chemical inputs
f) Environment Conservation
g) Reduce Water Consumption
h) Rejuvenate Soil Health and
i) resilience to the crops against weather extremities.

What is the scheme to promote Natural Farming?

Bharatiya Prakritik Krishi Paddhati(BPKP): BPKP is a sub-mission under the Paramparagat Krishi Vikas Yojana(PKVY) which falls within the umbrella of the National Mission on Sustainable Agriculture(NMSA).

Aim: To promote traditional indigenous practices, which give freedom to farmers from externally purchased inputs.

Focus: It focuses on on-farm biomass recycling with major stress on biomass mulching; use of cow dung–urine formulations; and exclusion of all synthetic chemical inputs either directly or indirectly.

3) Recently, Scientists have found a clue to the mystery behind the high abundance of Lithium in some evolved stars.

The mystery is the reason behind the high abundance of Lithium in stars, which according to predicted models must get destroyed in the hot plasma of the star.
Lithium is a trace element on Earth, and a key component of rechargeable batteries.

Sample for Research: The research involved the investigation of lithium among red giants showed that just about 1% of sun-like red giants had a lithium-enriched surface.
Research Methodology: The research surveyed (called GALAH – named after a common Australian bird) a collection of about 500,000 stars with well-determined physical and chemical properties, including lithium abundances.
Findings of Research: Regarding the reason for Lithium production, scientists have for the first time confirmed that all the lithium-rich stars are burning helium in their core.
They speculated that lithium production is linked to the violent helium-core flash.

4) What is the Scheme for Protection and Preservation of Endangered Languages (SPPEL)?

SPPEL Scheme was initiated by the Government of India in 2013.

Objective: To document and archive the country’s languages that have become endangered or likely to be endangered in the near future.

The scheme is monitored by the Central Institute of Indian Languages (CIIL) located in Mysuru, Karnataka.

Under the Scheme, the CIIL works on the protection, preservation and documentation of all the mother tongues/languages of India spoken by less than 10,000 speakers which are called endangered languages.

In the first phase of the scheme, 117 endangered languages/mother tongues have been chosen from all over India for study and documentation on a priority basis.

5) The Centre has extended the timeline for the implementation of the Smart Cities Mission to June 2023.

What is the Smart Cities Mission?

The Smart Cities Mission was launched by the Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs in 2015.

Type: Centrally Sponsored Scheme.

6) About Mullaperiyar Dam:

The Mullaperiyar dam is located on the confluence of the Mullayar and Periyar rivers in Kerala’s Idukki district. The dam is located on the Cardamom Hills of the Western Ghats.
Operated by: The dam is located in Kerala but is operated and maintained by the neighbouring state of Tamil Nadu.
Why Tamil Nadu operates the dam? The dam is operated by Tamil Nadu following an 1886 lease agreement for 999 years. It was signed between the Maharaja of Travancore and the Secretary of State for India during British Rule.
Lease Agreement Renewed: In the 1970s, the lease agreement was renewed by Tamil Nadu and Kerala. It gave the former, rights to the water from the dam, besides the authority to develop hydropower projects at the site. In return, Kerala receives rent from Tamil Nadu.

Why Controversy over Mullaperiyar dam then?

In 1979, problems erupted over the safety of the Mullaperiyar dam. It was claimed that a minor earthquake had resulted in the cracks in the dam.

Consequently, the Central Water Commission decided that water level in the dam be brought down from the full reservoir level of 152 ft to 136 ft. It will enable Tamil Nadu to carry out dam strengthening works.
By the 1990s, Tamil Nadu started demanding restoration of the water level in the Mullaperiyar dam as it completed the task assigned to it. When no consensus was reached through negotiations, the Supreme Court was approached.

In 2014 as per directions of the Supreme Court, the Ministry of Jal Shakti constituted a three-member Supervisory Committee.

The committee has been asked to address the three core safety issues Monitoring and performance of the instrumentation of the dam, Finalising the ‘rule curve’ and Fixing the gate operating schedule — and submit a compliance report in four weeks.

Explained: The Dam Safety Bill, and why Tamil Nadu is against it

The Bill proposes to help all states and Union Territories adopt uniform dam safety procedures. It aims to “provide for surveillance, inspection, operation and maintenance of the specified dam for prevention of dam failure-related disasters, and to provide for institutional mechanism to ensure their safe functioning and for matters connected therewith or incidental thereto.”

A National Committee on Dam Safety with a three-year tenure, comprising the chairman of the Central Water Commission, a maximum of 10 representatives of the central government in the ranks of joint secretary, a maximum of seven representatives of the state governments, and three experts, will be formed as part of the Act.

The National Dam Safety Authority, to be headquartered in Delhi, will be formed under the Act. It will be headed by an officer not below the rank of Additional Secretary to the Government of India to deal with problems relating to dam engineering and dam safety management. It will make sure that the policies made by the NCDS are well implemented.

A state dam safety organisation will be formed as well, which will be responsible for the dam safety. This organisation is empowered to investigate and gather data for proper review and study of the various features of the design, construction, repair and enlargement of dams, reservoirs and appurtenant structures.

The state dam safety organisation must also report events such as dam failures to the National Dam Safety Authority and also maintain records of major dam incidents of each specified dam.

Most of the dams in India are constructed and maintained by the states, while some of the bigger dams are managed by autonomous bodies such as Damodar Valley Corporation or Bhakra Beas Management Board of Bhakra-Nangal Project.

Objection by Tamil Nadu :- Tamil Nadu is strongly condemning the Union government for not considering the interest of states. Saying the Bill was detrimental to federal principles and powers of the state governments, Stalin said the move was nothing but authoritarianism and usurped the rights of the state governments without regard to the democratic-parliamentary ethos or the Constitution of India.

In a country where most of the dams are built, operated, maintained and owned by state governments, the impact of the Act remains to be seen when long-pending disputes arise.

News :- Cultural Mapping of 80 Villages :-

Culture mapping of 80 villages associated with noted personalities in history, in particular the freedom movement, unique crafts and festivals had been started as a pilot project, which is expected to be completed this financial year, according to Culture Ministry. The Project is under the Ministry of Culture and started in 2017.

“The aim is to create a huge database related to our villages and the culture, customs and traditions there.

Implementing Agency :- “IGNCA, which is an autonomous organisation under the administrative control of Ministry of Culture has been designated as implementation agency for the National Mission on Cultural Mapping. 

Some of the Villages :-

  • Sempore or Pandrenthan in Budgam district of Jammu and Kashmir that is associated with 14th Century mystic Lal Ded or Lalleshwari.
  • From Ladakh, the pilot project included Choglamsar and Wanla villages, known for wood carving.
  • Khatkar Kalan village in Punjab, which has a memorial of Bhagat Singh;
  • Reni village of Uttarakhand, where the Chipko movement started; and
  • Kathputli Colony in Delhi, known for the “migrant kathputli artists”,
  • Shringverpur in Uttar Pradesh was “associated with Lord Rama – Lord Rama stayed here for one night after Nishadraj Guha”, were also included in the list of villages.
  • Two villages of Tamil Nadu – Ettayapuram (the birthplace of poet Subramania Bharathi) and Thiruchigadi (a village of “women potters) – are also on the list.
  • Kanjirapally village, associated with Accama Cherian, an Independence activist known as the Jhansi Rani of Travancore, was on the list.

News :- AK-203 Assault Rifles by Russia : CCS ( Cabinet Committee on Security headed by the Prime Minister ) has given the Approval for the procurement of AK-203 Assault rifles from Russia.

News:- Eminent Indian-American mathematician Nikhil Srivastava, has been jointly selected for the inaugural $5,000 Ciprian Foias Prize for the “highly original work” in Operator Theory by the American Mathematical Society.

The Ciprian Foias Prize is the third major prize won by Prof. Srivastava, who earlier jointly won the
George Polya Prize in 2014, and the Held prize in 2021.

Famous 1959 Problem :- “Together, these ideas provided a powerful toolkit with many applications, notably in the trio’s breakthrough paper “Interlacing families II: mixed characteristic polynomials and the Kadison–Singer problem” (Annals of Mathematics, 2015), which solves the famous “paving problem” in operator theory, formulated by Richard Kadison and Isadore Singer in 1959,” 

News:- ICON Mission by NASA :-

The Ionospheric Connection Explorer studies the frontier of space: ionosphere – the dynamic zone high in our atmosphere where terrestrial weather from below meets space weather above. In this region, the tenuous gases are anything but quiet, as a mix of neutral and charged particles travel through in giant winds.

ICON helps determine the physics of our space environment and pave the way for mitigating its effects on our technology, communications systems and society

The goal of the ICON mission is to understand the tug-of-war between Earth’s atmosphere and the space environment. In the “no mans land” of the ionosphere, a continuous struggle between solar forcing and Earth’s weather systems drive extreme and unpredicted variability

Tidal winds excited by thermal or gravitational forces propagate into ionospheric altitudes and generate currents by dynamo action.

News:- An innovation that can better protect power grids

Researchers from Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Kanpur have come up with an innovation that can help protect power grids against sudden, unexpected current surges. An innovative variation of the superconducting fault current limiter (SFCL), this smart SFCL not only shields the grid from large current surges and consequent fire accidents, it can also sense when the current surges will happen and warn the system about it.

Explained | How is hallmarking being implemented?

The Government of India has made hallmarking of gold jewellery mandatory in the country. It is now being implemented by the Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS).

HUID Number :- With an aim to bring transparency in the jewellery trade and increase trust among consumers, the Government has also made it mandatory for the introduction of a Hallmark Unique Identification (HUID) number in every piece of jewellery.

In the first phase, it is being rolled out in 256 districts of the country, though the move was opposed by jewellers’ trade bodies.

What and How will the HUID Work :-

HUID is a six-digit alphanumeric code, or one that consists of numbers and letters. It is given to every piece of jewellery at the time of hallmarking and is unique for each piece.

Jewellery is stamped with the unique number manually at the Assaying & Hallmarking (A&H) centre. The hallmark consists of three symbols which give some information about the jewellery piece. The first symbol is the BIS logo; the second indicates purity and fineness; and the third symbol is the HUID.

Before buying any piece of gold jewellery, the buyer should check all these three symbols. Hallmarking & HUID are mandatory for 14-, 18- and 22-carat gold jewellery and artefacts.

Why is it being introduced?

HUID gives a distinct identity to each piece of jewellery enabling traceability. It is critical to the credibility of hallmarking and to help address complaints against adulteration.

In HUID-based hallmarking, registration of jewellers is an automatic process with no human interference. In addition to its role in authentication, it also helps check malpractice by members of the trade.

According to the Government, it is a secure system and poses no risk to data privacy and security. Jewellers’ trade bodies, however, say it’s cumbersome to number each piece of jewellery and HUID cannot be engraved in tiny pieces and also that it will increase cost for consumers.

News : Lesser Florican

In a major discovery, the longest in-country migration route of lesser floricans, the endangered birds of the bustard group, has been tracked for the first time from Rajasthan to Maharashtra’s Ahmednagar district.

Lesser Florican

  • The lesser florican (Sypheotides indicus), also known as the likh or kharmore, is the smallest in the bustard family.
  • It is endemic to the Indian Subcontinent where it is found in tall grasslands and is best known for the leaping breeding displays made by the males during the monsoon season.
  • The male has a contrasting black and white breeding plumage and distinctive elongated head feathers that extend behind the neck.
  • These bustards are found mainly in northwestern and central India during the summer but are found more widely distributed across India in winter.
  • The only similar species is the Bengal florican (Houbarobsis bengalensis) which is larger and lacks the white throat, collar and elongated plumes.

Conservation status

  • The Lesser Florican is protected under Schedule 1 of the Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972, Lesser Florican
  • The bird is listed as “Critically Endangered” on the International Union for Conservation of Nature’s Red List of Threatened Species.

Threats

  • It is threatened both by hunting and habitat degradation.
  • The species is highly endangered and has been officially hunted to extinction in some parts of its range such as Pakistan.

Try this PYQ:

Which one of the following groups of animals belongs to the category of endangered species?

(a) Great Indian Bustard, Musk Deer, Red Panda, Asiatic Wild Ass

(b) Kashmir Stag, Cheetah, Blue Bull, Great Indian Bustard

(c) Snow Leopard, Swamp Deer, Rhesus Monkey, Saras (Crane)

(d) Lion Tailed Macaque, Blue Bull, Hanuman Langur, Cheetah

Editorial of the Day

COP27, in Egypt, must focus on food systems

The United Nations Special Envoy for Food Systems Summit, has called for an unprecedented focus on food systems — food and agriculture — by ensuring that COP27 (in Egypt) has a dedicated focus on this.

There is a need to reimagine our food systems, which requires us to look at food systems through the angle of climate change adaptation and mitigation.

Food systems should be made more resilient to climate change while making them green and sustainable.

How are food systems and climate change related to each other?

The climate crisis impacts all parts of the global food system — from production to consumption. It destroys land and crops, kills livestock, depletes fisheries, and cuts off transport to markets. This impacts food production, availability, diversity, access, and safety.

At the same time, food systems impact the environment and are a driver of climate change.

– Climate change & Hunger: Analysis by the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) shows that a 2°C rise in average global temperature from pre-industrial levels will see a staggering 189 million additional people in the grip of hunger.

– Climate change & Vulnerable communities: A vast majority of such communities, who rely on subsistence agriculture, fishing, and livestock, have to bear the impacts of climate change with limited means to adapt.

– Climate change & Nutrition: As per the latest IPCC report, climate change threatens nutrition through multi-breadbasket failures.

Hence, climate change is inextricably linked to how we develop and implement our food system across the world.

What is the role of WFP in this regard?

The WFP is working with communities to adapt to the changing climate that threatens their ability to grow food, secure incomes, and withstand shocks. It has supported 39 governments, helping them realise their national climate ambitions.

In 2020, the WFP implemented climate risk management solutions in 28 countries, which are now better prepared for climate shocks and stresses and can recover faster.

In India, the WFP and the Ministry of Environment, Climate Change, and Forestry are planning to develop a best practice model on adaptation and mitigation with potential support from the Adaptation Fund.

What are the key areas that we need to focus upon?

First, creating resilient livelihoods and food security solutions by protecting and improving the livelihood of vulnerable communities.

Second, the adaptation of climate-resilient food crops, such as millets, for nutritional security.

Third, enabling women’s control and ownership of production processes and assets and increased value addition and local solutions.

Fourth, promoting a resilient agriculture sector. This can be done by creating sustainable opportunities, access to finance, and innovation for small-holder farmers, with climate information and preparedness.

Fifth, building capacity and knowledge of civil society and governments for vulnerability analysis. This will increase food security by addressing the link between food security and climate risk.

Sixth, need to increase climate finance for adaptation. Multilateral development banks, other financial institutions, and the private sector need to explore innovative approaches for mobilizing finance for the adaptation fund.

Seventh, investment from governments and the private sector in supporting farmers while maintaining biodiversity, and offering attractive income and work environment to smallholders and youth.

News:- New species found in Sikkim’s Dzongu, the ‘land of butterflies’

Sonam Wangchuk Lepcha, from Dzongu in north Sikkim, started watching butterflies and taking pictures of them and sending their pictures to entomologists based at the National Centre for Biological Sciences (NCBS), Bengaluru, to identify and upload them on to the ‘Butterflies of India’ website they(NCBS) maintain. In 2020, he contributed the picture of a golden yellow butterfly with brown borders and spots.

New Butterfly Species :- The new species of butterfly, now named the Chocolate-bordered Flitter, also carries the scientific name Zographetus dzonguensis, after Dzongu in north Sikkim, the place where it was discovered. Its closest relatives are Zographetus pangi in Guangdong, and Zographetus hainanensis in Hainan, both in southeastern China, close to Hong Kong.

News:-
The IHS Markit India Services Business Activity Index (i.e Service Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI)).

India’s services sector activity expanded at the second fastest pace in more than a decade during November, driven by sustained rise in new work and improvement in market conditions, a monthly survey suggested.
The seasonally adjusted India Services Business Activity Index was at 58.1 in November, fractionally lower than 58.4 in October. The November figure points to the fastest rise in output since July 2011.

News:- GIFT City emerging as India’s first greenfield city

Gujarat International Finance Tec-city (GIFT) becomes India’s first greenfield smart city to receive the highest green cities platinum certification from Indian Green Building Council (IGBC).

India’s only operational smart city, and International Financial Services Centre (IFSC), GIFT city has rece..

The platinum certification is all set to create GIFT city as the first greenfield smart city of India to obtain the IGBC green cities platinum rating.

According to the IGBC, the body has recognised several GIFT city initiatives including integrated land use, Metro rail connectivity, compact city de..

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