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13 June Current Affairs

GoI to boost Saffron and Heeng Production

In News:

Saffron and Heeng are the most precious and valuable spices in the world. The Institute of Himalyan Bioresource Technology has partnered with the Department of Agriculture, Himachal Pradesh will join hands to boost the production of Heeng and Saffron in India


The annual demand of Saffron spice in India is 100 tonnes per year. However, its average production is only 6-7 tonnes a year. Hence, a large amount of Saffron is being imported. Similarly, there is no production of heeng in the country. Around 1200 tonnes of Heeng is imported from Iran, Afghanistan and Uzbekistan.

What is the plan?

Currently 2,825 hectares of land in Jammu and Kashmir is under Saffron cultivation. Now, Saffron cultivation is to be introduced in Uttarakhand and Himachal Pradesh as well.

Plan for Heeng:

Heeng is a perennial plant. It produces oleo-gum resin from its roots after 5 years of plantation. Around 750 hectares of land are to be covered for heeng plantation. Through the National Bureau of Plant Genetic Resources, Palampur located institute has introduced 6 accessions of Heeng from Iran. The institute also standardized the protocol of production as per Indian conditions.


The partnership is to provide immense benefits to the state of Himachal Pradesh. The partnership is to increase farm income, rural development and livelihood promotion. This is to be achieved through transfer of innovations, skill development, capacity building.

Mumbai: 60th most Expensive in the world

In News:

According to the Mercer’s 2020 Cost of Living Survey, Mumbai is the 60th most expensive city in the world. Also, it is the 19th most expensive in Asia.

The survey measured its ranking including 209 cities. The measures used to rank the cities were housing, food, transportation, clothing, entertainment and household goods.


The Mercer’s 2020 Cost of Living Survey says that Mumbai is the most expensive city in India. Amongst the other Indian cities, Mumbai was followed by New Delhi at 101st position and then by Chennai at 143rd position globally.

The other least expensive cities include Bengaluru (171) and Kolkata at 185.

Key findings of the Survey:

The Survey says that the Indian cities showed an overall jump in rankings. New Delhi climbed 17 positions escaping the title of one of the 100 most expensive cities in the world.

Global Findings:

The global list created by the survey was topped by Hong Kong, followed by Ashgabat in Turkmenistan. The third position was retained by Tokyo of Japan and Zurich of Switzerland as that of the previous year. New York was at 6th position, Shanghai of China was at seventh. Bern and Geneva of Switzerland were at eighth and ninth positions respectively. Beijing was at tenth position.

Saturn Moon Titan: Drifting faster than before

In News:

The moon of Saturn, Titan is drifting away faster than before. This has been identified by the researchers in NASA and also scientists in Italian Space Agency.


According to the data received from the Cassini Spacecraft of NASA, scientists believed that the Titan has been moving away from its host planet Saturn. However, the recent studies say that the moon is drifting 100 times faster. This is about 4 inches every year.

Science of drifting moons:

The moons begin drifting away from their host planets because as the moons orbit, their gravitational pull on the planet creates temporary bulge in the planet. This bulge in turn increases the energy exerted by the planet on its moon. It also transfers the subsiding and bulging energy to its moon.

The earth’s own moon drifts 1.5 inches from the Earth every year.

There are around 82 moons that are orbiting Saturn.


The Cassini Space Craft Mission, or the Cassini-Huygens Mission is a joint space mission of NASA. Italian Space Agency and the European Space Agency. The mission was launched to study saturn, its moons, and rings.

Asia’s Nobel Prize-Ramon Magsaysay Awards cancelled

In News:

A Manila, Philippines based foundation that gives out Ramon Magsaysay Award announced that the awards are being cancelled due to COVID-19.


The Ramon Magsaysay Award has been cancelled thrice in 6 decades. The awards were cancelled for the first time in 1970 due to financial crisis. It was cancelled again in 1990 due to disastrous earthquake. The award has been named after a popular Philippine president that died in a plane crash in 1957.

About the Award:

The award is considered as the Nobel Prize of Asia. It was established in 1957. The Award recognizes and honours individuals that have achieved distinction in their field and help others generously.

The Award has been given in five categories namely journalism, government service, public service, literature and creative communication

Ramon Magsaysay:

Magsaysay became the president of Philippines in 1953. The administration years of Magsaysay are cited as Golden Years of Philippines. He was well known for his generosity and agrarian reforms.

China’s New Record: Reaches Deepest point on the earth

In News:

An Unmanned submersible of China dived deep down to 10,907 metres to the world’s deepest point Mariana Trench.


A team of scientists left for an expedition on April 23, 2020. The researchers tested acoustic detection, video transmission, high precision depth detection during the deep-sea diving operation.

China has been stepping efforts to develop deep sea technology to explore mining of natural resources from the sea. In 2011, China signed a deal with the International Seabed Authority to explore polymetallic sulfide for a period of 15 years in Indian Ocean. China was allocated 10,000 square kilometres in the Indian Ocean under the deal

International Seabed Authority:

The International Seabed Authority was formed in 1994 under United Nations Convention on the Law of Sea (UNCLOS). The authority organizes, regulates and controls mineral related activities in the international seabed area. The Authority became an observer at the United Nations in 1996.

The Headquarters of ISA is situated in Jamaica. It has 167 members.

India and ISA:

India is also a member of ISA. In1987, India was the first country to receive the status of “Pioneer Investor” at ISA. India was allocated 1.5 lakh square kilo metres of Central Indian Ocean Basin for the exploration.

According to the Ministry of Earth Science, it was found under the exploration that there are 4.7 million tonnes of Nickel, 0.55 million tonnes of cobalt, 4.29 million tonnes of copper and 92.59 million tonnes of Manganese.

First virtual Trade Fair of India

In News:

The Export Promotion Council for Handicrafts hosted a four day virtual fair for around 200 Indian Exporters. The exporters were mainly from the industries of fashion jewelry and accessories


The four-day fair that was conducted online focused on markets such as Europe and United States. The fair generated business opportunities of Rs 153 crores. Every seller was provided with a virtual stall.


As an overseas buyer clicks on a stall, he will be directed to the photographs and videos of the product of the seller. If the buyer is interested, he will be provided with the links of immediate interaction through Zoom or Skype. If he places the order, he will be delivered through courier services.


Usually the sellers had to spend around Rs 1.5 lakhs to Rs 2 lakhs to install a physical stall. This time, their expenses was just Rs 10,000 to showcase their products in a virtual stall. This helped several small exporters to participate in the virtual fair.

Future Plans:

The Export Promotion Council for Handicrafts will now adopt the method for other goods and services. Also, it is to scale the virtual export fair to cover products in fashion, lifestyle, textiles, home, furniture. Around 3,000 to 50,000 buyers are expected to participate in such future fairs.

Bharatmala Pariyojana delayed

In News:

The Bharatmala Pariyojana that was scheduled to be completed in 2021-22 is to be completed by 2025-26. The announcement of delay was announced by the rating agency ICRA (Investment Information and credit Rating Agency).


The prevailing COVID-19 crisis could delay the asset monetization plan of National Highway Authority of India (NHAI). Until February 2020, Rs 2.38 lakh crores were awarded to Bharatmala Pariyojana scheme. The average cost awarded to the scheme was Rs 23.8 crores per km. This was 54% higher than the estimated cost of Rs 15.52 crore per crore.

Bharatmala Pariyojana:

The scheme was launched for road construction in India. It gives special importance to projects connecting far-flung areas and rural areas. The scheme will build 4-lane highways, move 80% freight traffic, interconnect logistics parks. It will also connect 7 north east Multi-Nodal Waterway ports.

Waterway Ports:

There are 111 Inland waterways in India. They were identified under the National Waterways Act, 2016. Out of the 111, 106 were created in 2016.