22 to 25 October 2022 The Hindu Important Current Affairs

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Breathing life into a dead river Sukapaika :-

A small river in Odisha’s Cuttack district that stopped flowing 70 years ago is set to be revived. Following a recent directive from the National Green Tribunal, the state government has begun work on its revitalization plan (NGT). This is most likely the first serious attempt in Odisha to restore a river to its original shape.

Sukapaika river in Odisha stopped fl.owing in 1950s following a canal work. A water crisis made the villagers sit up and think of rejuvenation.

In the 1950s, the State’s water resource engineers closed the Sukapaika river mouth, allowing development of the Taladanda Canal System, a major State canal.

Sukapaika River
Source : The Hindu

2. New species of genus Allmania spotted

A rather frail-looking plant discovered on Palakkad’s granite hillocks has been identified as a new species of the genus Allmania. According to researchers, the species, Allmania multiflora, is quite unique in terms of both botany and conservation.

Allmania multiflora is an annual herb that grows to a height of about 60 cm. It is only the second species of this genus to be identified anywhere. Not only that, but the discovery came 188 years after botanists described the genus and the first species.

Allmania Nodiflora, the first species:-

It differs from Allmania nodiflora, which was previously thought to be the sole Allmania species.

The first species, Allmania nodiflora, was published in 1753 under the genus Celosia as Celosia nodiflora.

Allmania nodiflora was named after specimens discovered in Ceylon (Sri Lanka) in 1834. Allmania multiflora, its newly discovered cousin, is currently only known from a few locations. Because of its small population, the researchers classified it as critically endangered using IUCN Red List criteria. The plant was discovered during ongoing research on the Amaranthaceae plant family, which includes the genus Allmania.

3. ISRO’s heaviest rocket successfully places 36 broadband satellites in low earth orbit

Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO)’s heaviest rocket LVM3-M2 lifts-off from the second launch pad at the Satish Dhawan Space Centre in Sriharikota.

The LVM3 rocket (previously known as the Geosynchronous Launch Vehicle Mark III or GSLV-MK3) is capable of carrying up to 8 tonnes into low earth orbit. The PSLV is much lighter and can carry payloads weighing between 1.4 and 1.75 tonnes.

LVM3M2 is NewSpace India Ltd.’s (NSIL) dedicated commercial satellite mission. NSIL is a Central Public Sector Enterprise under the Department of Space. LVM3 is entering the “global commercial launch service market” with this launch.

As part of this mission, 36 OneWeb Gen1 satellites for global connectivity will be launched into a 601 km circular low earth orbit.

4. Tamil Nadu sets up Governing Council on Climate Change

The Tamil Nadu government has decided to establish the Tamil Nadu Governing Council on Climate Change, which will be led by Chief Minister M.K. Stalin.

Its members include several eminent individuals, in addition to Senior Secretaries of various key departments and sector experts.

Tamil Nadu govt has also set up three key missions — Tamil Nadu Green Mission, Tamil Nadu Climate Change Mission and Tamil Nadu Wetlands Mission.

It had also established a special purpose vehicle, known as the Tamil Nadu Green Climate Company (TNGCC), to effectively steer climate action.

The Governing Council’s purpose, she explained, was to provide policy direction to the Tamil Nadu Climate Change Mission, advise on climate adaptation and mitigation activities, provide guidance to the Tamil Nadu State Action Plan on Climate Change, and guide the climate action implementation strategy.

5. The NGT has halted work on the Corbett Tiger Safari until the panel submits its report on tree felling.

The National Green Tribunal (NGT) has directed the Uttarakhand government not to move forward with the Pakhro tiger safari project within the Corbett Tiger Reserve until a committee submits its final report on the alleged illegal cutting of trees within the reserve for the project.

The tribunal had previously taken note of The Hindu report on tree felling at the Reserve. According to a Forest Survey of India (FSI) report, over 6,000 trees were illegally felled to facilitate the project, despite permission being granted to cut 163.

6. What is Palliative Care:-

Palliative care is specialised medical care for people who are suffering from a terminal illness. This type of care focuses on relieving the symptoms and stress of the illness. The goal is to improve the patient’s and family’s quality of life.

Palliative care is delivered by a specially trained team of doctors, nurses, and other specialists who collaborate with the patient’s other doctors to provide an additional layer of support.

Palliative care is based on the patient’s needs rather than the patient’s prognosis. It is appropriate at any age and stage of a serious illness, and it can be given in conjunction with curative treatment.

7. The path to Mugafi will be paved with trekkers’ dreams:-

No tourist has ever trekked to Mugafi at 4,050 metres above mean sea level. But that has not stopped villagers in the most “disconnected” administrative circle in Arunachal Pradesh from readying the peak for visitors.

Mugafi Trek
Source : The Hindu

8. Asian elephants


IUCN Status :- Endangered

CITES Appendix : 1

Indian elephant is also provided highest degree of legal protection by listing it in Schedule I of the Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972.

The Government of India has declared Indian elephant as National Heritage Animal

The Asian Elephant (Elephas maximus), African Forest Elephant (Loxodonta cyclotis), and African Savanna Elephant (Loxodonta africana) all occupy a fraction of their historical ranges today.

African Elephant is critically endangered.

9. Why is Pakistan off FATF ‘grey list’ ?

FATF keeps a “grey list” of countries that it closely monitors. In essence, these are countries that have failed to prevent international money laundering and terrorist financing, according to the FATF, and are thus on a global watchlist for bad behaviour.

The 39-member body formed in 1989 as a result of a G-7 meeting of developed nations is now made up of 37 countries and two regional organisations: the European Commission, the executive body of the European Union, and the Gulf Cooperation Council.

India joined FATF as an observer in 2006 and became a full member in 2010.
FATF members meet on a regular basis to monitor various countries, “review money laundering and terrorist financing techniques and countermeasures; and promote global adoption and implementation of the FATF Recommendations.” The FATF’s decision-making body, known as the Plenary, meets three times a year.

So has Pakistan done all this to the FATF’s satisfaction?

Yes, says the FATF.

“AML/CFT” is FATF jargon for “Anti-Money Laundering/Combating the Financing of Terrorism”.

10. The Invisible disease of Sandalwood

The threat to India’s pride, sandalwood, is growing as the deadly sandalwood spike disease (SSD), which was previously confined primarily to forest areas, has begun to spread to private fields where commercial cultivation of this aromatic tree has begun.

A new study has found that the ‘invisible’ disease that is destroying the sandalwood trees can spread through the seeds of infected trees due to the presence of disease-causing bacteria called Phytoplasma.

11. The CCI’s ₹.1,300 crore fine on Google

The Competition Commission of India (CCI), the country’s competition watchdog, is empowered by the Competition Act of 2002 to investigate whether companies, particularly large technology firms, are eliminating healthy competition in the market and creating a monopoly.

What are the issues highlighted:-

According to Counterpoint research, Google’s Android OS powers 97% of India’s 600 million smartphones. Google operates and manages the Android operating system, as well as licences other Google proprietary applications like Chrome and Play Store.

While the Android source code is publicly available and covers the fundamental functions of a smartphone, it does not include Google’s proprietary applications. Manufacturers must enter into agreements with Google in order to access and use these applications in their mobile handsets.

According to the CCI, Google used these restrictions in agreements to ensure that manufacturers who wanted to use Google’s proprietary apps had to use Google’s version of Android. As a result, Android fork developers were unable to find distribution channels for their forks or alternate OSs because almost all OEMs were tied to Google.

Second, Google is the dominant player in the global app store market for Android OS (except China). According to the EU, more than 90% of apps downloaded on Android devices worldwide are from the Google Play Store.

According to the CCI, consumers did not have the option of side-loading or downloading apps outside of the Play Store due to the mandatory pre-installation of the Google Suite (which includes the Play Store).

Third, According to the CCI, another of Google’s revenue-generating apps, YouTube, has gained a significant advantage over competitors in the online video hosting platforms market as a result of its various agreements with manufacturers.

What has the CCI told Google to change in the Android smartphones ecosystem?

Some of the major directions include:

  • Smartphone makers should be allowed to choose which of Google’s proprietary apps they want to install and should not be forced to pre-install the whole boquet.
  • The licensing of Play Store to manufacturers should not be linked with requirements to pre-install Google search services, Chrome browser, YouTube, Google Maps, Gmail or any other Google apps
  • Google should allow users, during the initial device setup, to choose their default search engine for all search entry points etc.
  • Google shall not impose anti-fragmentation obligations on OEMs, which means those manufacturers using an alternate Android version should be able to get access to Google’s proprietary apps and vice versa.
  • Google shall not restrict un-installing of its pre-installed apps by the users

12. Five new varieties to expand India’s Basmati platter

Five new Basmati rice seed varieties developed by a group of scientists led by the Indian Agriculture Research Institute (IARI) are all set to bring revolutionary changes in the way Basmati rice is cultivated in the country.

Three of the five varieties can withstand two common paddy diseases (one bacterial and one fungal).

The other two varieties can save 35% of water because they can be grown using the Direct Sowing of Rice (DSR) method. These two seeds are also herbicide resistant, which will help farmers control weeds more effectively.

India is known for its Basmati rice, with seven States — Jammu and Kashmir, Himachal Pradesh, Punjab, Haryana, Delhi, Uttar Pradesh and Uttarakhand — earmarked for geographical indication.

The IARI developed Pusa Basmati 1979 and Pusa Basmati 1985 as herbicide tolerant rice by improving the Pusa Basmati 1121 and Pusa Basmati 1509, respectively.

So, from Pusa Basmati 1121, we developed Pusa Basmati 1885; from Pusa Basmati 1509, we developed Pusa Basmati 1847; Pusa Basmati 1401 was improved to develop Pusa Basmati 1886. All these varieties have two genes to resist BLB and two genes to resist blast disease. 

What are the advantages of DSR :-

 Water saving is 35% in DSR and the requirement will be 2,000 litres of water for a kilogram of rice. The second advantage is that the green house gas emission is reduced by 35% as water is not stagnating in this process. Labour cost of transplantation, which is about ₹3,000, is also saved. Overall, saving will be at least ₹4,000 per acre. Just do the sowing in the field and let the crop grow there,”.

However, one of the major problem in the DSR is weeds. Without the water acting as a herbicide, the DSR method allows for lot of weeds to crop up in the field. “So, we transferred a gene that is resistant to a herbicide. 

13. National Curriculum Framework

Union Minister for Education and Skill Development, launched the National Curriculum Framework for Foundational Stage and the pilot project of Balvatika 49 Kendriya Vidyalayas across the country.

The National Education Policy 2020 (NEP 2020) is reshaping Indian education. It has put our educational system on track to provide the highest quality education possible for all students, with equity and inclusion.

The new 5+3+3+4 curricular structure, which integrates Early Childhood Care and Education for all children aged 3 to 8, is one of the most transformative aspects of NEP 2020. Early childhood lays the groundwork for future learning and development.

According to a press release from the Ministry of Education, “this framework is expected to deliver the highest quality Foundational Education across all types of institutions in the country.

  • The NCF has four sections:
    • the National Curriculum Framework for School Education
    • the National Curriculum Framework for Early Childhood Care and Education
    • the National Curriculum Framework for Teacher Education
    • National Curriculum Framework for Adult Education
  • The framework focuses on the ‘panchakosha’ concept – the ancient Indian emphasis on the body-mind connection.
  • The NCF says its five parts are physical development (sharirik vikas), development of life energy (pranik vikas), emotional and mental development (manasik vikas), intellectual development (bauddhik vikas) and spiritual development (chaitsik vikas).
  • It is an important step taken to implement the New Education Policy-2020.

What are India’s educational constitutional provisions and laws?
Provisions of the Constitution:

  • Article 45 of the Indian Constitution and Article 39 (f) of the Directive Principles of State Policy (DPSP) provide for state-funded, equitable, and accessible education.
  • Education was moved from the State to the Concurrent List by the 42nd Amendment to the Constitution in 1976.
  • Article 21-A of the Constitution was amended in 2002 to make education an enforceable right.

Q. Consider the following statements: (2018)

  1. As per the Right to Education (RTE) Act, to be eligible for appointment as a teacher in a State, a person would be required to possess the minimum qualification laid down by the concerned State Council of Teacher Education.
  2. As per the RTE Act, for teaching primary classes, a candidate is required to pass a Teacher Eligibility Test conducted in accordance with the National Council of Teacher Education guidelines.
  3. In India, more than 90% of teacher education institutions are directly under the State Governments.

Which of the statements given above is/are correct?

(a) 1 and 2
(b) 2 only
(c) 1 and 3
(d) 3 only

Answer : B

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