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02 November Current Affairs

Trade Centre Of Early Historic Period

In News:

Excavation by the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) in Gottiprolu, Andhra Pradesh has unearthed a trade centre of early historic period.

About:

The 1st phase of excavation by a team of Archaeological Survey of India at Gottiprolu near Naidupeta in Nellore (now renamed as Sri Potti Sri Ramulu) district, Andhra Pradesh has discovered the remains of a huge settlement surrounded by a massive brick enclosure.

The site of Gottiprolu lies on the right bank of a distributary of river Swarnamukhi, about 17 km east of Naidupet and 80 km from Tirupati and Nellore.

Among many other antiquities unearthed are one life size Vishnu sculpture and a wide variety of pottery of the early centuries of current era.

Detailed topographical study and drone images have helped in identifying an early historic settlement surrounded by a fortification and the possibility of a moat encircling it.

These settlements could have been an important trade centre as indicated by the presence of imitated amphorae wares that were mostly used to transport liquid commodities.

Development of North Eastern Region (DoNER)

In News:

Union Ministry of Development of North Eastern Region (DoNER) announced that Bamboo Technology Parks would be set up in the two new Union Territories of Jammu & Kashmir and Ladakh.

About:

The project for setting up three new Bamboo Technology Parks in Jammu, Srinagar and Leh would be in consonance with the National Bamboo Mission (NBM).

The Cane and Bamboo Technology Centre (CBTC) under North Eastern Council (NEC) will implement the project.

The model for bamboo cultivation, harvesting and utilisation currently existing in the North Eastern Region shall be replicated in the two new Union Territories to give a fillip to the sector.

A Bamboo Industrial Park has already been approved to be set up in the Dima Hasao district of Assam.

New Regional Centre of the GB Pant Institute

In News:

Union Minister for Environment has approved setting-up of a New Regional Centre of the GB Pant Institute of Himalayan Environment and Sustainable Development in newly created Union Territory (UT) of Ladakh.

About:

The new regional centre of the Institute, having headquarters at Kosi-Katarmal in Uttarakhand, will expand the R&D outreach of the Institute in entire trans-Himalayan zone of Indian Himalaya.

The Ladakh centre will be the fifth regional centres of the Institute which has been involved in studying the Indian Himalayan Region and suggesting best ways to conserve the fragile ecosystem amid severe threats to its ecology due to global warming.

The other four regional centres of the Institute are located at Kullu (Himachal Pradesh), Srinagar (Uttarakhand), Pangthang (Sikkim) and Itanagar (Arunachal Pradesh).

Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) 2021

In News:

Union Human Resource Development Minister reviewed the preparations for the Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) 2021.

About:

PISA is a triennial international survey which was first administered in.

It is coordinated by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD).

Objective: It assesses the quality of education systems across the world by evaluating students in science, mathematics and reading.

Criteria: The two-hour computer-based test focuses on 15-year-old students as they have either completed or are near the end of their compulsory education in most countries. PISA requires the examinees to have finished at least six years of formal schooling.

Participation in PISA: In 2018, union Human Resource Development (HRD) Ministry decided to participate in PISA-2021. The students of Kendriya Vidyalaya Sangathan, Navodaya Vidyalaya Samiti and UT of Chandigarh will represent India in this examination. Till date, India has participated only once in PISA in 2009.

Second Assembly Of International Solar Alliance (ISA)

In News:

The Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE) hosted the second Assembly of International Solar Alliance (ISA) on 30 and 31 October 2019 in New Delhi.

About:

The Assembly is the supreme decision making body of the ISA, and gives directions on various administrative, financial and programme related issues.

Shri R.K. Singh, Minister for New and Renewable Energy and Power is President of the ISA Assembly and Ms Brune Poirson, Minister of State for the Ecological and Inclusive Transition Govt. of France, is the Co-President of the Assembly.

Delegations from 78 countries participated in this Assembly. Two countries – Eritrea and St. Kittis and Nevis, signed the framework agreement of ISA today. With this 83 countries have signed the ISA framework agreement.

The first Assembly of the ISA was held in October 2018.

Pegasus

In News:

It has been reported that the popular messaging platform WhatsApp was used to spy on journalists and human rights activists in India earlier this year. The surveillance was carried out using a spyware tool called Pegasus.

About:

What is it? Pegasus is spyware that can be installed on mobile devices. It is regarded as one of the “most sophisticated” smartphone spyware.

Working: Pegasus works by sending an exploit link, and if the target user clicks on the link, the malware or the code that allows the surveillance is installed on the user’s phone. Once Pegasus is installed, the attacker has complete access to the target user’s phone.

Developed by: It has been developed by the Israeli cyberarms firm, NSO Group. The NSO Group is a Tel Aviv-based cyber-security company that specialises in “surveillance technology” and claims to help governments and law enforcement agencies across the world fight crime and terrorism.

Official Bifurcation of J & K

In News:

The state of Jammu and Kashmir has been officially bifurcated into the Union Territories of J&K and Ladakh on October 31, the birth anniversary of Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel.

About:

October 31 will mark the beginning of the functioning of the two UTs at a bureaucratic level. This was the date chosen after the bifurcation was announced in Parliament on August 5.

The two union territories of Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh came into effect under the Jammu and Kashmir Reorganisation Act.

While Jammu and Kashmir will have an elected Assembly and council of ministers headed by a chief minister, Ladakh will be under the Lieutenant Governor’s rule.

This is the first time that a state has been reorganised into union territories. India now has 28 states and nine union territories.

Jammu and Kashmir Assembly will increasing from its current strength to 114. It will have a term of five years, instead of the state Assembly’s term of six years.

The Legislative Council of Jammu and Kashmir will stand abolished. Jammu and Kashmir was one of the seven states to have a legislative council.

Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir will have five Lok Sabha MPs and four Rajya Sabha MPs. Ladakh will have one Lok Sabha MP.

The Constitution of Jammu and Kashmir and the Ranbir Penal Code (RPC) have also ceased to exist now from JK and Ladakh. Indian Penal Code provisions will now be applicable.

Central probe agencies like the National Investigation Agency and the Central Bureau of Investigation will now be able to take up investigations in the state on their own.

The two union territories will have a common high court.

While Jammu and Kashmir will be have a Public Service Commission, Ladakh will come under the Union Public Service Commission’s ambit.

Endowment Fund of IIT Delhi

In News:

President Ram Nath Kovind has launched endowment fund of IIT Delhi.

About:

President Ram Nath Kovind launched the Indian Institute of Technology Delhi global alumni endowment fund that will have an initial commitment of more than ₹250 crore, nearly half of which will come from Flipkart co-founders.

For the fund with an initial seed capital of ₹255 crore, IIT Delhi has set an aggressive target of raising ₹1,000 crore by 2020 and ₹7,000 crore by 2025, according to IIT officials.

The initial endowment amount and commitments have been collected from around two dozen alumni, who are committing between ₹5 crore and ₹25 crore each, except Flipkart co-founders Binny Bansal and Sachin Bansal who have contributed ₹125 crore.

Endowments globally have become integral part of the financial health of educational institutions and through this alumni are playing critical role in supporting and nurturing future generations of learners.

In the latest QS World University ranking 2020, IIT Delhi was ranked at 182.

Chhath Festival

In News:

The four days long auspicious Chhath festival worship of the Sun God began with ritual of Nahay Khaya.

About:

Dedicated to: Chhath is a Hindu festival dedicated to the Sun god and his wife Usha in order to thank them for bestowing the bounties of life on earth. The Goddess who is worshipped during the famous Chhath Puja is known as Chhathi Maiya (also known as Usha, wife of the sun god).

Meaning of word chhath: The word chhath means sixth and the festival is celebrated on the sixth day of the month Kartika of the Hindu lunar Bikram Sambat calendar.

Rituals: The festival is observed over a period of four days. They rituals include holy bathing, fasting, standing in water for long periods of time, and offering prayers and food to the setting and rising sun.

Who observe it? The main worshipers, called Parvaitin, are usually women. However, many men also observe this festival as Chhath is not a gender-specific festival.

Regions: The festival is observed most elaborately in Mithila Province of Nepal, Terai-Madhesh region of Nepal, Indian states of Bihar, Jharkhand and UP. It is also more prevalent in areas where migrants from those areas have a presence.

International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA)

In News:

Argentina’s Rafael Grossi has been appointed as the Director General of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) following the death of his predecessor, Yukiya Amano of Japan, in July. He is the first Latin American to hold this position.

About:

Name: It is widely known as the world’s “Atoms for Peace and Development” organization within the United Nations family.

Mandate: It is the world’s central intergovernmental forum for scientific and technical co-operation in the nuclear field. It works for the safe, secure and peaceful uses of nuclear science and technology.

History: Though established as an autonomous organisation, independently of the United Nations through its own international treaty, the IAEA Statute, the IAEA reports to both the United Nations General Assembly and Security Council.

Headquarters: Vienna, Austria.

Members: The IAEA has 171 member states. Most UN members and the Holy See are Member States of the IAEA.

The IAEA and its former Director General, Mohamed ElBaradei, were jointly awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 2005.

NIRVIK scheme

In News:

The Export Credit Guarantee Corporation of India (ECGC) is optimistic that the Nirvik scheme announced by the Union Government recently would give a fillip to export lending and insurance cover for export credit.

About NIRVIK:

Export Credit Guarantee Corporation of India (ECGC) announced this scheme to ease the lending process and enhance loan availability for exporters.

Key features of the scheme:

Insurance cover guaranteed will cover up to 90% of the principal and interest.

The increased cover will ensure that foreign and rupee export credit interest rates are below 4 percent and 8 percent respectively for the exporters.

The insurance cover will include both pre and post-shipment credit.

The gems, jewellery and diamond (GJD) sector borrowers with limit of over Rs 80 crore will have a higher premium rate in comparison to the non-GJD sector borrowers of this category due to the higher loss ratio.

For accounts with limits below Rs 80 crore, the premium rates will be moderated to 0.60 per annum and for those exceeding Rs80 crore, the rates will be 0.72 per annum for the same enhanced cover.

It mandates inspection of bank documents and records by ECGC officials for losses exceeding Rs.10 crore as against the present Rs 1crore.

The banks shall pay a premium to ECGC monthly on the principal and interest as the cover is offered for both outstandings.

Benefits of the scheme:

  • It will enhance accessibility and affordability of credit for exporters.
  • It will help make Indian exports competitive.
  • It will make ECGC procedures exporter friendly.
  • The insurance cover is expected to bring down the cost of credit due to capital relief, less provision requirement and liquidity due to quick settlement of claims.
  • It will ensure timely and adequate working capital to the export sector.

 

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