08 Jan Current Affairs
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09 Jan Current Affairs

ISRO’s Astronaut Training Hub in Karnataka

In News:

The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) has proposed Human Space Flight Centre (HSFC) at Challakere in Chitradurga district of Karnataka.


The region already houses some facilities of ISRO, the Defence Research & Development Organisation’s Advanced Aeronautical Test Range, the Bhabha Atomic Research Centre and the Indian Institute of Science. Thus, it is also known as Science City.

Moreover, ISRO has also planned to add a quarantine facility at the Sriharikota spaceport.

Quarantine is a restriction on the movement of people and goods which is intended to prevent the spread of disease or pests.

The quarantine facility would ensure that astronauts who are about to enter the spacecraft before the launch stay unexposed.

Key points:

1) All in one facility:

Challakere will be the single-stop consolidating infrastructure and activities related to space travellers.

Currently, Human Spaceflight Programme (HSP) work is split across various centres such as the Vikram Sarabhai Space Centre in Thiruvananthapuram, Kerala and the U.R. Rao Satellite Centre in Bengaluru.

Challakere will also host work related to crew and service modules of the spacecraft that carries the astronauts.

2) Reduction of Cost: The first set of four astronaut candidates for the Gaganyaan mission of 2022 are to train in Russia. For such programmes, the country pays a large amount of money to avail space training facilities abroad.

Lamu Region in Kenya

In News:

Somalia’s Al-Shabaab group has attacked a military base used by the United States of America (USA), and Kenyan forces in Kenya’s coastal Lamu region.

About Lamu region:

Lamu Island is located on the eastern coast of Kenya.

Lamu is one of the oldest and the best-preserved living settlements among the Swahili towns (in Arabic Swahili means “of the coast”) on the East African coast.

The old town is thus a unique and rare historical living heritage with more than 700 years of continuous settlement.

It is built on coral stone and mangrove timber and is characterized by structural forms such as inner courtyards, verandas, and elaborately carved wooden doors.

It was one of the most important trade centres in East Africa before other towns such as Zanzibar and Mombasa took over.

Lamu represents the Swahili culture, resulting from the interaction between the Bantu, Arabs, Persians, Indians, and Europeans.

Lamu has hosted major Muslim religious festivals since the 19th century and has become a significant centre for the study of Islamic and Swahili cultures.

It is recognised as a World Heritage Site by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO).

Tulu Language

In News:

There has been growing demand to include Tulu in the Eighth Schedule of the Constitution. At present, Tulu is not an official language in India or any other country.

Key Points:

Tulu is a Dravidian language whose speakers are concentrated in the region of Tulu Nadu, which comprises the districts of Dakshina Kannada and Udupi in Karnataka and the northern part of Kasaragod district of Kerala.

Kasaragod district is called ‘Sapta bhasha Samgama Bhumi (the confluence of seven languages)’, and Tulu is among the seven.

The oldest available inscriptions in Tulu are from the period between 14th to 15th century AD.

Case for Inclusion in the Eighth Schedule:

1) Global Efforts: The Yuelu Proclamation made by United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) at Changsha, China, in 2018 plays a central role in guiding the efforts of countries and regions around the world to protect linguistic resources and diversity.

The United Nations General Assembly has proclaimed 2019 as the International Year of Indigenous Languages (IYIL). The IYIL 2019 strives to preserve, support and promote indigenous languages at the national, regional and international levels.

2) Constitutional Safeguard: Article 29 of the Indian Constitution deals with the “Protection of interests of minorities”.

It states that any section of the citizens residing in any part of India having a distinct language, script or culture of its own, shall have the right to conserve the same.

3) Number of Speakers:  According to Census-2011, there are more than 18 lakh native speakers of Tulu in India. The Tulu-speaking people are larger in number than speakers of Manipuri and Sanskrit, which have the Eighth Schedule status.

4) Literary Recognition: Robert Caldwell (1814-1891), in his book, A Comparative Grammar of the Dravidian or South-Indian Family of Languages, called Tulu as “one of the most highly developed languages of the Dravidian family”.


In News:

Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY) has been asked by the Delhi High Court to give its stand on a petition against the rules pertaining to the operation of DigiLocker.


The petition seeks striking down of the Information Technology (Preservation and Retention of Information by Intermediaries Providing Digital Locker Facilities) Rules 2016 because DigiLocker does not provide a nomination facility under this rule.

Because of this rule, all the documents would not be accessible by the family or friends and automatically get passed on to the government on the user’s death.

About DigiLocker:

DigiLocker is a flagship initiative of MeitY under ‘Digital India’ programme.

This is government’s effort to create an electronic version of documents, which can be easily verified and stored in printable format.

The users can store their documents such as insurance, medical reports, PAN card, passport, marriage certificate, school certificate and other documents in the digital format.

The locker can be accessed by individuals, using their mobile number.

Technology companies such as Google and Dropbox offer storage space for users to store documents.

Apart from e-documents, DigiLocker can store a Uniform Resource Identifier (URI) link of e-documents issued by various issuer departments.

Insolvency and Bankruptcy Board of India (IBBI)

In News:

The Insolvency and Bankruptcy Board of India (IBBI) notified the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Board of India (Liquidation Process) (Amendment) Regulations, 2020 on 6th January 2020.


It amends the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Board of India (Liquidation Process) Regulations, 2016.

The amendment clarifies that a person, who is not eligible under the Code to submit a resolution plan for insolvency resolution of the corporate debtor, shall not be a party to a compromise or arrangement of the corporate debtor under section 230 of the Companies Act, 2013.

It also clarifies that a secured creditor cannot sell or transfer an asset, which is subject to security interest, to any person, who is not eligible under the Code to submit a resolution plan for insolvency resolution of the corporate debtor.

The amendment provides that a secured creditor, who proceeds to realise its security interest, shall contribute its share of the insolvency resolution process cost, liquidation process cost and workmen’s dues, within 90 days of the liquidation commencement date.

It shall also pay excess of realised value of the asset, which is subject to security interest, over the amount of its claims admitted, within 180 days of the liquidation commencement date.

Where the secured creditor fails to pay such amounts to the Liquidator within 90 days or 180 days, as the case may be, the asset shall become part of Liquidation Estate.


In News:

Union Health Minister has launched NetSCoFAN, a network of research & academic institutions working in the area of food & nutrition.


It would comprise of eight groups of institutions working in different areas viz. biological, chemical, nutrition & labelling, food of animal origin, food of plant origin, water & beverages, food testing, and safer & sustainable packaging.

FSSAI has identified eight Nodal Institutions who would develop a ‘Ready Reckoner’ that will have inventory of all research work, experts and institutions and would carry out and facilitate research, survey and related activities.

It would identify research gaps in respective areas and collect, collate and develop database on food safety issues for risk assessment activities.

Need for and significance:

The need for identify research gaps in respective areas and collect, collate and develop database on food safety issues for risk assessment activities, will be addressed by NetSCoFAN.

Indian Data Relay Satellite System

In News:

India plans to ring in its own era of space-to-space tracking and communication of its space assets this year by putting up a new satellite series called the Indian Data Relay Satellite System.


The IDRSS is planned to track and be constantly in touch with Indian satellites, in particular those in low-earth orbits which have limited coverage of earth.

It will be a set of satellites that will track, send and receive information from other Indian Satellites.

IDRSS satellites of the 2,000 kg class would be launched on the GSLV launcher to geostationary orbits around 36,000 km away.

A satellite in GEO covers a third of the earth below and three of them can provide total coverage.


In the coming years, it will be vital to Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO), whose roadmap is dotted with advanced LEO missions such as space docking, space station, as well as distant expeditions to moon, Mars and Venus. It will also be useful in monitoring launches.

The first beneficiary would be the prospective crew members of the Gaganyaan mission of 2022 who can be fully and continuously in touch with mission control throughout their travel.

Great Indian Bustards (GIB)

IUCN status: critically endangered.

Found in Gujarat, Maharashtra, Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh.

Listed in Schedule I of the Indian Wildlife (Protection)Act, 1972 and in the CMS Convention and in Appendix I of CITES.

Identified as one of the species for the recovery programme under the Integrated Development of Wildlife Habitats of the Ministry of Environment and Forests.

Project Great Indian Bustard — state of Rajasthan — identifying and fencing off bustard breeding grounds in existing protected areas as well as provide secure breeding enclosures in areas outside protected areas.

Protected areas: Desert National Park Sanctuary — Rajasthan, Rollapadu Wildlife Sanctuary – Andhra Pradesh and Karera Wildlife Sanctuary– Madhya Pradesh.