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05 January Current Affairs

Panj Tirath Hindu religious site declared as national heritage

In News:

The provincial Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government in northwest Pakistan has declared the ancient Hindu religious site of Panj Tirath in Peshawar as national heritage.

Details:

The government also announced a fine of up to Rs 2 million and five years’ imprisonment for anyone found guilty of damaging the historic site.

About Panj Tirath:

Panj Tirath, which got its name from the five pools of water present there, also contains a temple and a lawn with date palm trees.

It is believed that Pandu, a mythical king in the Mahabharata, belonged to this area and Hindus used to come to these pools for bathing during the month of Karteek and worship for two days under the trees.

The site was damaged during the reign of the Afghan Durrani dynasty in 1747, however it was restored by local Hindus during the period of Sikh rule in 1834 and worship started again.

Source: The Hindu

Appointment of Lokpal

In News:

The government recently informed the Supreme Court that a eight-member search committee has been constituted in September 2018 for zeroing in on eligible candidates for Lokpal and the anti-corruption authority will frame its own rules of functioning. The panel is led by former Supreme Court judge, Justice Ranjana Prakash Desai.

Background:

A contempt petition has been filed in the court against the government for not appointing Lokpal despite an April 2017 judgment by the Supreme Court. The court has for the past several months been constantly urging the government to complete the Lokpal appointment.

Highlights of the Lokpal Act of 2013:

The Act allows setting up of anti-corruption ombudsman called Lokpal at the Centre and Lokayukta at the State-level.

The Lokpal will consist of a chairperson and a maximum of eight members.

The Lokpal will cover all categories of public servants, including the Prime Minister. But the armed forces do not come under the ambit of Lokpal.

The Act also incorporates provisions for attachment and confiscation of property acquired by corrupt means, even while the prosecution is pending.

The States will have to institute Lokayukta within one year of the commencement of the Act.

The Act also ensures that public servants who act as whistleblowers are protected.

Powers:

The Lokpal will have the power of superintendence and direction over any investigation agency including CBI for cases referred to them by the ombudsman.

As per the Act, the Lokpal can summon or question any public servant if there exists a prima facie case against the person, even before an investigation agency (such as vigilance or CBI) has begun the probe. Any officer of the CBI investigating a case referred to it by the Lokpal, shall not be transferred without the approval of the Lokpal.

An investigation must be completed within six months. However, the Lokpal or Lokayukta may allow extensions of six months at a time provided the reasons for the need of such extensions are given in writing.

Special courts will be instituted to conduct trials on cases referred by Lokpal.

Source: The Hindu

Atal Solar Krishi Pump Yojana

In News:

To reduce losses due to non-payment of electricity bills and also promote solar energy, Maharashtra state government has launched Atal Solar Krishi Pump Yojana.

Atal Solar Krishi Pump Yojana:

Under the scheme, the government of Maharashtra has decided to give two LED bulbs, a DC fan and a mobile charging socket as freebies to farmers.

The scheme provides a subsidy of up to 95% on solar pumpsets. The State plans to install one lakh solar pumps.

Eligibility: Under the Scheme, farmers with less than five acres will have to pay 5% of the cost of a 3 HP solar pump while farmers with more than five acres will get a 5 HP solar pump for Rs 30000.

The Maharashtra State Electricity Distribution Co Ltd (Msedcl) is the implementing agency.

Significance:

The scheme would be beneficial to farmers who reside in remote areas where the agricultural feeder is not possible.

Source: ToI

Street Light National Programme (SLNP)

In News:

The Centre is likely to miss the goals it had set under the Street Lighting National Programme (SLNP) when it was launched on January 5, 2015.

Details:

Energy Efficiency Services Limited has installed over 76.77 lakh LED street lights in 28 States or Union Territories till January 3, 2019.

About Street Light National Programme (SLNP):

Under the SLNP, the Government aims to replace 3.5 crore conventional street lights with energy efficient LED lights.

The target under SLNP is to replace 1.34 crore conventional street lights with energy efficient LED street lights by March 2019.

The project has been implemented across 28 states and union territories. Energy Efficiency Services Limited, a Public Energy Services Company under the administration of Ministry of Power, Government of India (GoI) is the implementing agency for SLNP.

EESL also undertakes social audits in all states post the completion of the project.

Objectives:

Mitigate climate change by implementing energy efficient LED based street lighting.

Reduce energy consumption in lighting which helps DISCOMs to manage peak demand.

Provide a sustainable service model that obviates the need for upfront capital investment as well as additional revenue expenditure to pay for procurement of LED lights.

Enhance municipal services at no upfront capital cost of municipalities.

Significance:

The installation of LED-based street lighting system is essential, since LED lighting offer higher efficiency, better illumination and life expectancy apart from being environmentally sustainable.

What you need to know about EESL?

Energy Efficiency Services Limited (EESL) is a joint venture of NTPC Limited, Power Finance Corporation, Rural Electrification Corporation and POWERGRID. It was set up under Ministry of Power (India) to facilitate implementation of energy efficiency projects.

Source: The Hindu

Indian Science Congress

In News:

106th ‘Indian Science Congress (ISC)’ session is being held at Jalandhar, Punjab.

Theme – Future India: Science and Technology.

Background:

Indian Science Congress is organised by the Indian Science Congress Association every year in the first week of January.

About Indian Science Congress Association:

The Indian Science Congress Association was started in the year 1914 in Kolkata and has a membership of more than 30,000 scientists.

Origin: It owes its origin to the foresight and initiative of two British chemists, namely, Professor J. L. Simonsen and Professor P. S. MacMahon. It occurred to them that scientific research in India might be stimulated if an annual meeting of research workers somewhat on the lines of the British Association for the Advancement of Science could be arranged.

Objectives:

  • To advance and promote the cause of science in India.
  • To hold an annual congress at a suitable place in India.
  • To publish such proceedings, journals, transactions and other publications as may be considered desirable.
  • To secure and manage funds and endowments for the promotion of Science including the rights of disposing of or selling all or any portion of the properties of the Association.
  • To do and perform any or all other acts, matters and things as are conductive to, or incidental to, or necessary for, the above objects.

Source: The Hindu

Climate Change Performance Index (CCPI) 2019

In News:

The 2019 edition of the Climate Change Performance Index (CCPI) has been released.

About CCPI:

The Climate Change Performance Index (CCPI) is an instrument covering 58 countries and supposed to enhance transparency in international climate politics.

Its aim is to encourage political and social pressure on those countries which have, up to now, failed to take ambitious actions on climate protection as well as to highlight countries with best-practice climate policies.

Evaluation: On the basis of standardised criteria, the index evaluates and compares the climate protection performance of 58 countries that are, together, responsible for more than 90% of global energy-related CO2 emissions. 80% of the evaluation is based on objective indicators of emissions trend and emissions level. 20% of the index results are built upon national and international climate policy assessments by more than 200 experts from the respective countries.

Highlights of the report:

Only few countries have started working towards limiting global warming below 2°C or even at 1.5°C.

Globally, Sweden is in top position, followed by Morocco and Lithuania in the CCPI 2019.

The bottoms five in the list are Saudi Arabia, U.S., Iran, South Korea and Taiwan.

India’s Performance:

India ranks 11th in this year’s CCPI, improving its standing by three places compared to the previous edition.

Source: The Hindu

China develops its own ‘Mother of All Bombs’

In News:

China has developed a massive bomb, said to be the country’s answer to the US-built ‘Mother of All Bombs’, the most powerful non-nuclear weapon.

Details:

It is dubbed as the Chinese version of the “Mother of All Bombs” due to its huge destruction potential that is claimed to be only second to nuclear weapons.

Background:

Last year, while waging war against militants in Afghanistan, the US military dropped a GBU-43/B Massive Ordnance Air Blast (MOAB) weapon, more commonly known as the “Mother of All Bombs,” on the Islamic State.

Although China is using the same nickname for its bomb, said to weigh several tonnes, the Chinese weapon is smaller and lighter than its American counterpart.

Mother of all Bombs:

The Moab or GBU-43/B is the world’s largest non-nuclear weapon.

It is designed to destroy heavily reinforced targets or to shatter ground forces and armour across a large area.

Its blast is equivalent to 11 tons of TNT. By comparison, the nuclear weapon dropped on Hiroshima had a blast yield of 15 tons of TNT.

While it has a blast radius that stretches a mile in each direction the bomb leaves no lasting radiation effect because it is non-nuclear.

Father of all Bombs:

To match the U.S. weapon, Russia developed the “Father of All Bombs” which is both bigger and thermobaric, meaning it uses gas to create a huge fireball rather than a shockwave.

Source: The Hindu

‘Yutu 2’

In News:

China has named the lunar rover, successfully deployed to carry out a string of experiments on the far side of the moon, as ‘Yutu-2’. The rover’s touchdown is part of China Chang’e-4 lunar probe.

Key facts:

It follows the BeiDou Navigation Satellite System — China’s homegrown Global Positioning System that started worldwide service last month.

The rover has been programmed to launch ground penetration radar that would help map the moon’s inner structures.

It would also analyse soil and rock samples for minerals, apart from activating a radio telescope to search for possible signals from deep space.

Source: The Hindu

National Entrepreneurship Awards 2018

In News:

National Entrepreneurship Awards 2018, aimed at recognizing and honoring outstanding young first-generation entrepreneurs and those who have contributed immensely in building the entrepreneurship ecosystem.

About this third edition of National Entrepreneurship Awards:

A total of 43 awards were given, including 39 awards for Young Entrepreneurs in different sectors and 4 awards for Entrepreneurship Ecosystem Builders.

About National Entrepreneurship Award –

To catalyze a cultural shift in youth for entrepreneurship, the Ministry of Skill Development and Entrepreneurship (MSDE) has instituted the National Entrepreneurship Awards (NEA) to recognize and honour outstanding young first generation Entrepreneurs and their Ecosystem Builders for their outstanding contribution in entrepreneurship development.

Source: PIB

Menstrual Hygiene for Adolescent girls Schemes

In News:

To address the need of menstrual hygiene among adolescent girls residing primarily in rural areas, Government of India is supporting the Menstrual Hygiene Scheme.

Under the Menstrual Hygiene Scheme –

Funds are provided to States/UTs through National Health Mission for decentralized procurement of sanitary napkins packs for provision primarily to rural adolescent girls at subsidized rates as per proposals received from the States and UTs in their Programme Implementation Plans.

This scheme is encompassing the following:

Increasing awareness among adolescent girls on Menstrual Hygiene

Improving access to and use of high quality sanitary napkins by adolescent girls in rural areas.

Ensuring safe disposal of Sanitary Napkins in an environmentally friendly manner.

Provision of funds to ASHAs to hold monthly meeting with adolescents to discuss issues related to menstrual hygiene.

Information Education and Communication (IEC) Material Developed:

A range of IEC material has been developed, using a 360 degree approach to create awareness among adolescent girls about safe & hygienic menstrual health practices including audio, video and reading materials for adolescent girls and job-aids for ASHAs and other field level functionaries for communicating with adolescent girls.

ASHAs across the country are trained and play a significant role in promotion of use and distribution of the sanitary napkins.

Department of Health Research, under the Ministry of Health, is involved in assessment of all newer, alternative, environment friendly menstrual hygiene products to look into their safety and acceptability features.

Background:

About Accredited Social Health Activist (ASHA)

One of the key components of the National Rural Health Mission is to provide every village in the country with a trained female community health activist ASHA.

Selected from the village itself and accountable to it, the ASHA will be trained to work as an interface between the community and the public health system.

Other Information of Menstural Hygiene Scheme –

The Ministry of Health and Family Welfare has been implementing this scheme for promotion of menstrual hygiene among adolescent girls in the age group of 10-19 years primarily in rural areas as part of the Rashtriya Kishor Swasthya Karyakram.

Source: PIB

Mission Indradhanush

In News:

‘Mission Indradhanush’ has been selected as one of the 12 best practices globally and has been featured in a special issue of the British Medical Journal titled ‘Improving vaccination coverage in India: lessons from Intensified Mission Indradhanush, a cross-sectoral systems strengthening strategy’.

Details:

Mission Indradhanush was showcased during the ‘Partner’s Forum’ held at New Delhi on 12th-13th December 2018 which was attended by around 1200 international and national delegates working on Maternal, New-born, Child and Adolescent Health.

Background:

Mission Indradhanush –

To strengthen and re-energize the programme and achieve full immunization coverage for all children and pregnant women at a rapid pace, the Government of India launched “Mission indradhanush” in December 2014.

Mission Indradhanush’s Goal –

The ultimate goal is to ensure full immunization with all available vaccines for children up to two years of age and pregnant women. The Government has identified 201 high focus districts across 28 states that have the highest number of partially immunized and unimmunized children.

Intensified Mission Indradhanush (IMI) –

To further intensify the immunization programme, Prime Minister Narendra Modi launched the Intensified Mission (IMI) on October 8, 2017.

Government of India aims to reach each and every child up to two years of age and all those pregnant women who have been left uncovered under the routine immunization programme/UIP.

Source: PIB

New Delhi World Book Fair

New Delhi World Book Fair is a platform for displaying our rich treasure of knowledge through books. It is not just an opportunity for a reader but it also provides a huge platform to the publishers who exhibit their numerous books at the event.

Organizers: Organised by National Book Trust, in association with ITPO.

The theme of the 27th edition of the New Delhi World Book Fair is “Readers with special needs”.

 

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