21 May Current Affairs
May 21, 2020
23 May Current Affairs
May 23, 2020
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22 May Current Affairs

Artificial Intelligence: GoI launches National Test Abhyas

In News:

The Ministry Human Resources Development recently launched a new mobile application called “National Test Abhyas”.

Details:

The mobile application was developed by the National Testing Agency. The application will help the candidates to take mock tests for exams such as JEE Mains, NEET, etc. The application is powered by Artificial Intelligence and therefore the students will get instant results after taking the tests.

The application also aims to help the candidates take high quality mock tests from their homes. It is currently available in Android and iOS versions.

The main aim of the application is to help students during closure of educational institutions.

Significance:

The JEE Mains exam is to be conducted between July 18 and July 23 and the NEET exam is to be conducted on July 26. Thus, the application will help the students at larger level.

National Testing Agency:

The National Testing Agency conducts the competitive exams in the country. This includes JEE, GATE, NEET, GPAT, UGC, CAT, NET, etc. It was established under the Indian Societies Registration Act, 1860. The NTA is an autonomous organization.

World Bee Day

In News:

Every year May 20 is being celebrated as World Bee Day by the United Nations. The official celebrations began in 2018.

Details:

The World Bee Day is celebrated to commemorate the birthday of Slovenian apiculture pioneer Anton Jansa. This year, the World Bee Day is celebrated under the theme.

Theme: Save the Bees

The day is being celebrated to raise awareness about the importance of pollinators, hummingbirds, butterflies, bats.

The Convention on Biological Diversity focuses on conserving these pollinators as well. In 2000, the International Pollinator Initiative was launched at the COP (Conference of Parties) V. The initiative focuses on the sustainability of pollinators in agriculture.

Significance:

Bees are the greatest pollinators. They are under great threats currently due to habitat loss, parasites, diseases and agricultural pesticides. According to United Nations, around 35% of world agriculture still depend on pollinators.

International Pollinator Initiative:

The International Pollinator Initiative mainly aims to promote coordinated world wide action. It was launched under the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD). The initiative is to run till 2030. India is also a part of the initiative.

The Convention on Biological Diversity is a multilateral treaty. It was opened at the Earth Summit that was held in Rio de Janerio in 1992.

First 12,000 HP Electric Loco operationalized by Indian Railways

The Indian Railways operationalized the first 12,000 HP electric locomotive. The locomotive was built by the French Alstom Company under the Make in India initiative.

Details:

The locomotive was manufactured at the Madhepura Electric Locomotive in Bihar. It is capable of hauling 6000 tonnes at a top speed of 120 km/hr.

The locomotive was manufactured as a joint venture between the Indian and French share holding of 74% and 26%.

With this, India has become the sixth country in the world to produce high horse power locomotive.

About the Project:

Under the Indo-French project, around 4 locomotives were to be delivered in 2018, 35 in 2019-20, 60 in 2020-21 and 100 every year till the end of 11-year long delivery. The project is considered as the largest FDI (Foreign Direct Investment) in the railways sector.

It is to be noted that Indian Railways also signed an agreement with the American Conglomerate General Electric to supply 1000 diesel locomotive for a period of 11 years.

India provides 2 million USD aid to United Nations Relief and Works Agency

In News:

India provided 2 million USD relief aid to the UNRWA (United Nations Relief and Works Agency) to help in welfare of Palestine refugees. The aid is to be used in core programmes including education and health for the refugees.

Details:

In 2019, India increased its annual contribution to UNRWA from 1.25 million USD in 2016 to 5 million USD in 2019. In 2020, India made an additional contribution of 5 million USD. This made Indian becoming a member in the UNRWA’s advisory commission.

Significance:

There are more than 3.1 million Palestine refugees. They completely depend in the health services provided by UNRWA. UNRWA also educated 526,000 students every year. These refugees are Palestinians that fled their homes during 1948 war.

India-Palestine:

India is also preparing medical supplies for the Palestinians in order to help them fight against COVID-19. India has also signed 17 agreements separately with Palestine. Under these agreements, India is to help Palestine in the fields of health, agriculture, youth affairs, Information Technology, consular affairs, media and women empowerment.

India is to provide 72 million USD through these projects. This will help in reconstruction efforts in Gaza to set up schools and centre of excellence for Information and Communication Technologies.

Nepal approves new Map: Includes Kalapani

In News:

Nepap approved a new map that included the territories of Kalapani, Lipuleh and Limpiyadhura. However, the territories have been claimed by India as well. In October 2019, India issued a new political map that included Lipulekh and Kalapani on its side of border.

What is the issue?

In 1816, the kingdom of Nepal and British India signed the Treaty of Sugauli under which Kali River was fixed as the Western Border of Nepal. The issue has arisen in locating the source of the river that led to boundary disputes between India and Nepal. Both the countries are supporting their own claims.

India’s Claims:

India recently inaugurated a road section in Pithogarh district of Uttarakhand. According to India, under treaty of Sugauli, Limpiyadhura is the point of origin of Kali river. It is the point where Nepal border begins.

Kali River:

Kali river originates in Sivaliks ranges. The Himalayas are divided into three ranges namely Himadri, Himachal and Sivalik. The river is under India’s clean up target of National Ganga River Basin Authority.

National Ganga River Basin Authority:

The National Ganga River Basin Authority was established under Environment Protection Act, 1986. The act also declared Ganges as the National River. The authority though has role in safeguarding the river basin, it is not involved in National Mission for Clean Ganga.

26 Defence Items approved by Defence Ministry to boost Make in India

In News:

The Ministry of Defence approved procurement of 26 defence items to boost “Make in India” initiative. This was done through the amendment of Public Procurement Order 2017.

Details:

The Ministry of Defence has so far notified 127 items to under which the local suppliers will be given preference. Of these 127 items, these 26 items are more important.

Special preference to 26 items:

The 26 items have been made important under Clause 3(a) of Public Procurement Order, 2017. According to the order, the procuring entities shall procure these items only from the local suppliers. Also, they shall procure the items irrespective of the purchase value. This has been done so that the local suppliers meet Minimum Local Content (MLC).

Some of the items are oil pumps (50% of MLC), doors (60%), high temperature Gasket (50%), etc.

Public Procurement Order:

The Public Procurement Order was issued in 2017 to promote Make in India campaign. It promotes production and manufacturing of goods and services to improve income and employment.

Atma Nirbhar Bharat Abhiyan:

The above steps are being done to boost economic growth of the country. The MSMEs of India has been badly hit due to the threat of COVID-19. Among all other initiatives, the GoI is to give importance to locally manufactured goods under the scheme. In order to achieve this, import of certain goods are to be banned in defence sector. By this, indigenization of the country is to be improved.

North East Model: Minimized COVID-19 threats and a huge success

In News:

The North East Model of COVID-19 has been a huge success. The model in effect has helped declare five stated in the region COVID-19 free. This included Meghalaya, Arunachal Pradesh, Mizoram, Sikkim and Nagaland.

Details:

Tripura had increased number of COVID-19 cases especially among CAPF (Central Armed Police Force). Assam, being the biggest state in the region has contained the disease in local clusters.

The Model:

The North East Model was successful due to prompt responses from both Central and State Governments. They are as follows

The medicine and equipment were delivered through Air Cargo and also by the Indian Air Force as well

Number of testing facilities were increased

Essential supplies were made available through Public Distribution System under Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Yojana.

Though, these were the major reasons of success. There are other factors as well. They are as follows

There were no testing facilities in Sikkim and Nagaland while Assam had only 2 testing facilities. TrueNAT testing facility was begun in Sikkim. Trunat is a machine used to test tuberculosis. It was approved by ICMR to test COVID-19 cases in April 2020.

Red Army:

Red Army was formed in the North East. The army consisted of wise old men and women that help villages and have great respect among the villagers. They were called gaon buras (male village elders) and gaon buris (female village elders). This helped reach the tribals easily that was the major contribution for the north eastern states to become COVID-19 free.

Lifeline Udan:

The Lifeline Udan scheme was launched to provide essential commodities and medical cargo. The scheme supplied Personal Protective Equipment, gloves and masks.

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