Special Commemorative Coin On Paramahansa Yogananda
The Union Minister for Finance Nirmala Sitharaman released a special commemorative coin on Paramahansa Yogananda to mark his 125th birth anniversary.
Paramahansa Yogananda (1893 –1952) was an Indian monk, yogi and guru who introduced millions to the teachings of meditation and Kriya Yoga through his organization Self-Realization Fellowship (SRF) / Yogoda Satsanga Society (YSS) of India.
Yogananda was the first major Indian Yoga teacher to settle in America. His long-standing influence in the American yoga movement, and especially the yoga culture of Los Angeles, led him to be considered by yoga experts as the “Father of Yoga in the West.”
Autobiography of a Yogi: In 1946, Yogananda published his life story, Autobiography of a Yogi. It is regarded as one of the Most Important Spiritual Books of the 20th Century. The Book has been an inspiration for many people including George Harrison, Ravi Shankar and Steve Jobs.
Jelly Fish Galaxy, JW100
Observations of a jelly fish galaxy, JW100, by Astrosat using its Ultraviolet Imaging Telescope (UVIT) have thrown up interesting puzzles. These puzzles involve star formation in hostile environments containing X-ray-emitting hot plasma. JW100 is located far away in the galaxy cluster Abell 2626.
A jellyfish galaxy is a type of galaxy found in galaxy clusters.
Jellyfish galaxies are called so because they are shaped like discs that have many tentacle-like arms streaming away from the disc.
They are formed when a disc-shaped galaxy rams into a galaxy cluster, which is a dense region containing many hundreds or thousands of galaxies packed into a small region. This can happen when the galaxy is attracted by the gravitational attraction of the cluster.
The European Southern Observatory has an international programme to observe 100 such gas-stripping jellyfish candidates using the MUSE Integral Field Spectrograph Chile. This programme is called GASP (Gas Stripping Phenomena in galaxies with MUSE).
Handloom Woollen Khadi Stole From Ladakh And A Ratnam Pen
Prime Minister Narendra Modi has gifted German Chancellor Angela Merkel an exquisite handloom woollen khadi stole from Ladakh and a Ratnam pen.
The Ratnam Pen, named after K.V. Ratnam (originally from a family of goldsmiths in Rajahmundry), was made iconic by Mahatma Gandhi.
It is produced even today in its original form by K.V. Ratnam and Sons — Ratnam Ballpen Works, owned by Ratnam’s descendants. Even today, it has a barrel for filling ink using a dropper and the Genius Iridium Nib from Germany.
The pen was made in 1934 by Ratnam, by using indigenous materials upon Mahatma Gandhi’s request to create a ‘swadeshi’ (locally made) pen. Mahatma Gandhi had written over 31,000 letters in his quest to take India to its freedom. Many of these letters were written using Ratnam Pen.
Call of Ladakh:
The stole, known as “Call of Ladakh”, has an intricate traditional Ladakhi border pattern and four corner motifs.
The yarn is hand-spun using the finest sheep wool, on a traditional charkha, by native Ladakhi women, in the harsh winter months.
Ancestral Home Region
Scientists claim to have traced the ancestral home region of all living humans to a vast wetland that sprawled over much of modern day Botswana.
The researchers suggest that a prehistoric wetland called Makgadikgadi-Okavango, south of the Great Zambezi River, became a thriving home to Homo sapiens 200,000 years ago, and sustained an isolated, founder population of modern humans for at least 70,000 years.
The so-called L0 lineage remained in the region until a shift in the climate, driven by changes in the Earth’s tilt and orbit, brought rains to the north-east and south-west, producing lush green corridors that allowed the early humans to spread into new territories.
2019 Global Microscope on Financial Inclusion
The Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU) released a report titled the 2019 Global Microscope on Financial Inclusion.
The Global Microscope for Financial Inclusion, now in its 12th year, is a benchmarking index that assesses the enabling environment for financial access in 55 countries.
The EIU’s analysis takes four basic parameters into account: (1) Whether non-banks can issue e-money, (2) the presence of financial service agents, (3) proportionate customer due diligence and (4) effective financial consumer protection.
Of the 55 countries assessed, only 4 countries – Colombia, India, Jamaica and Uruguay – scored perfectly across all four parameters.
India has the fifth most conducive environment among emerging countries for inclusive finance. Only Columbia, Peru, Uruguay and Mexico are ahead of India.
Draft Wage Code Rules
Government of India has released draft wage code rules which are now available in public domain for comments.
Key highlights of the draft:
It has not spelled out a National Minimum Wage yet and said expert committees will suggest a minimum wage to the government in the future.
The number of hours which shall constitute a normal working day shall be of 9 hours.
HRA will be 10% of the minimum wage but will not classify whether it will be based on the category of the cities people live in.
The floor wage will be revised every five years or less.
While deciding the minimum wage the country will be divided into three geographic categories — metropolitan area having population of 40 lakhs or more, non-metropolitan area having a population of between 10 lakhs to 40 lakhs and rural areas.
House rent will be 10% of the minimum wage but does not classify whether it will be higher based on the category of the cities people live. Expenditure on fuel, electricity and other miscellaneous items will constitute 20% of minimum wage, an existing rule.
While calculating wage, an intake of 2,700 calories per day, 66 meters clothe per annum for a standard family will be taken into account. All these are part of the minimum wage calculation first done in 1957.
Two New IT Initiatives – ICEDASH And ATITHI
Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman unveiled two new IT Initiatives – ICEDASH and ATITHI for improved monitoring and pace of customs clearance of imported goods and facilitating arriving international passengers.
ICEDASH is an Ease of Doing Business monitoring dashboard of the Indian Customs helping the public see the daily Customs clearance times of import cargo at various ports and airports. This dashboard has been developed by CBIC in collaboration with NIC.
The ATITHI app will facilitate hassle-free and faster clearance by Customs at the airports and enhance the experience of international tourists and other visitors at the airports. Passengers can use this app to file declaration of dutiable items and currency with the Indian Customs even before boarding the flight to India.
Skills Build Platform In Collaboration With IBM
Directorate General of Training (DGT), under the aegis of Ministry of Skill Development & Entrepreneurship (MSDE), announced the launch of Skills Build platform in collaboration with IBM.
As part of the programme, a two-year advanced diploma in IT, networking and cloud computing, co-created and designed by IBM, will be offered at the Industrial Training Institutes (ITIs) & National Skill Training Institutes (NSTIs).
This initiative is part of IBM’s global commitment to create a job-ready workforce and to build the next generation of skills needed for new collar careers.
The platform is deployed with the support of leading NGOs like Unnati and Edunet Foundation. IBM Volunteers along with the NGOs will offer students personalised coaching and experiential learning opportunities.
A new frog species named Polypedates bengalensis has been found in a residential area of West Bengal. The discovery has now been recognised by Zootaxa, a peer-reviewed international journal.
The Polypedates bengalensis frog is also known as the Brown Blotched Bengal Tree Frog.
It was found in two places in West Bengal – Badu, North 24 Parganas District and Khordanahala, South 24 Parganas District.
It is named Brown Blotched Bengal Tree Frog from the series of six to nine dark brown blotches that extend laterally from behind the frog’s eye to the vent. The frog’s body colour is yellowish-brown to greenish-brown.
It belongs to the genus Polypedates. There are 25 other Polypedates species (Polypedates bengalensis is the 26th) around the world.
RCEP (Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership)
Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced that India was dropping out of the RCEP (Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership), citing its negative effects on “farmers, MSMEs and the dairy sector”.
Members: The RCEP is a proposed Free Trade Agreement (FTA) between sixteen countries namely 10 countries of ASEAN (Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Lao, Malaysia, Myanmar, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, and Vietnam) and their six FTA partners (also known as AFP’s or ASEAN FTA Partners) namely Australia, China, India, Japan, Korea and New Zealand.
Background: RCEP negotiations were formally launched in 2012 at the ASEAN Summit in Cambodia.
Objective: The 16-member RCEP bloc aims to cover among the issues related to goods, services, investments, economic and technical cooperation, competition and intellectual property rights.
Agreement on Reciprocal Logistics Support (ARLS)
India and Russia are finalising a defence agreement that will simplify interoperability and enable military platforms to receive support and supplies across bases in both nations- Agreement on Reciprocal Logistics Support (ARLS).
What is Agreement on Reciprocal Logistics Support (ARLS)?
It is an arrangement that will allow access to India and Russia, to each other’s military facilities for supplies and fuel, expanding the logistics support and operational turnaround of the Indian military.
Benefits and mutual significance:
This will be beneficial for the Indian Navy, which has a large number of Russian origin ships, that will get access to Russian ports for supplies and refueling. It would be crucial for joint exercises.
The air force too will benefit by finding it easier to deploy aircraft for the same purpose.
This access will also be for ports in the Russian part of the Arctic, allowing access to energy resources there.
Russia, on the other hand, will be able to access Indian ports and air bases.
Russia has also assured India access to energy resources in the vast Arctic region.