21 December Current Affairs
December 21, 2019
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December 24, 2019
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23 December Current Affairs

Mahadayi Project

In News:

Union Environment Ministry kept in suspension its letter issued to Karnataka which had stated no environmental clearance was required for Kalasa Banduri Project.

About Kalasa Banduri project:

The project involves diverting water from Mahadayi river, the lifeline of Goa, into the Malaprabha river.

The Kalasa Banduri project is aimed at providing drinking water to three important districts of north Karnataka — Belagavi, Gadag and Dharwad — which go parched in summer due to acute water scarcity.

Mahadayi river originates from a cluster of 30 springs at Bhimgad in the Western Ghats in the Belgaum district of Karnataka. Then it enters Goa and finally drains in Arabian sea.

Goa state capital Panaji lies on the banks of Mandovi

Mahadayi Water Tribunal (MWT) Award in 2018: Karnataka has been allocated 13.5tmcft of water, Goa has been 24tmcft while Maharashtra has been allocated 1.3tmcft.

PM Modi attends centenary celebrations of ASSOCHAM

In News:

On December 20, 2019, PM Modi addressed the Associated Chambers of Commerce and Industry in New Delhi.

Theme: New India Aspiring for 5 trillion USD

Details:

The event was organized to commemorate 100 years of ASSOCHAM. The event was organized under the theme.

ASSOCHAM:

The Associated Chambers of Commerce and Industry of India (ASSOCHAM) is the apex trade association of India.

The goal of the organization is to promote domestic and international trade.

It is one of the oldest organizations in the country that was established in 1921.

The organization is located in Kolkata, Bengaluru and Ahmedabad.

The GoI authorizes and has given the power for ASSOCHAM to issue certificates of origin, recommend business visa and certify commercial invoices.

Highlights of PM Modi’s address at the event:

In order to achieve the target of 5 trillion USD economy, it is essential to increase digital transactions of GST and also increase Aadhar linked payments to DBT.

IIT-H fellow launches Vaccination On Wheels in collaboration with Gates Foundation

In News:

Jigneh Patel, a fellow at Center for Healthcare Entrepreneurship (CfHE) at Indian Institutes of Technology (IIT) Hyderabad has launched a ‘Vaccination on Wheels Clinic’ in Pune city’s PCMC area, Maharashtra.

Details:

The one of its kind service has been started in collaboration with Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.

He had received a grant for the service under the Foundation’s ‘Grand Challenges Explorations’. He then founded Jivika Healthcare to provide this vaccination service.

It is a US $100 million initiative funded by Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation (BMGF).

About ‘Vaccination On Wheels’ service:

Called ‘VaccineOnWheels.com’, it will offer only vaccination services.

As the service has adopted Vaccination On Wheels (VOW) concept, this clinic will go to schools, colleges and corporates to conduct vaccination camps at their doorsteps.

It is a unique, unconventional, creative, low-cost and high on convenience model that has been designed with idea of reaching the bottom of the pyramid.

The VOW service will work hand-in-hand with government to make vaccines available to the lowest strata of society.

Through VOW, awareness camps are also being conducted with the help of group discussions and animated videos designed in Marathi and Hindi languages.

The clinic is motivating mothers to avail free vaccination from government.

India’s first ever fresh vegetable export to Dubai by Sea Route

In News:

On December 20, 2019, the Agricultural and Processed Food Products Export Development Authority (APEDA) sent its first trial shipment of fresh vegetables from Varanasi to Dubai by sea route.

APEDA is the organization under Ministry of Commerce and Industry that promotes export of agricultural and processed food products from India.

Highlights:

APEDA sent 14 Metric Tons (1 container) of fresh vegetables from Varanasi.

The vegetables were processed and packed by laboratories in Varanasi to keep them fresh.

The entire process till shipment from procurement was monitored by a committee under the chairmanship of commissioner of Varanasi.

The APEDA has identified 5 potential districts of UP namely Mirzapur, Ghazipur, Chandauli, Jaunpur and SantRavidas Nagar to set up export hubs.

India’s Fruits and Vegetables:

According to National Horticulture Database, India ranks second in fruits and vegetables production in the world next to China.

India produces 90.2 million tons of fruits and 169.1 tons of vegetables (2015-16) annually.

EChO Network

A national program to provide a template for cross-disciplinary leadership in India with the specific focus of increasing research, knowledge, and awareness of Indian ecology and the environment was launched.

EChO Network would develop a national network to catalyse a new generation of Indians who can synthesize interdisciplinary concepts and tackle real-world problems in medicine, agriculture, ecology, and technology.

EChO Network intends to create an international distributed institute comprising individuals housed within industry, government, private, and academic sectors, combining their expertise and resources collectively to tackle large scale problems.

5th Edition of ARTECH to be held in New Delhi

In News:

Ministry of Defence is to hold ARTECH seminar in New Delhi on 23rd December, 2019. ARTEC is Army Technology Seminar that is being held since 2016.

Highlights:

The fifth edition of ARTEC is to be organized by the Indian Army under Ministry of Defence on “Technologies for Non-contact Warfare”.

Speakers from diverse industries, subject matter experts, think tanks have been invited to address at the seminar.

The seminar was launched as a part of “Make in India” campaign.

It is a flagship event of the Indian Army that focuses on harvesting indigenous capabilities of Defence sector.

Significance:

According to Ministry of Defence, of all the three services, Indian army is least technology-intensive and more manpower intensive. The testing procedures of army are rigorous.

It has only claimed handful of successful collaborations like Dhanush. There are systems like Battlefield Management System, Future Infantry Combat Vehicle and Tactical Communications system that are yet to receive a prototype.

They are essential to execute military operations. BMS acts like Google map in providing information about the soldiers and their unit securely.

These seminars will help address the gaps in developing these systems.

BMS and its issue:

Battlefield Management Systems is a system that integrates information to enhance command and control of a unit. The estimated amount to build the system was Rs 25 billion USD.

In 2007, Rs 3.5 billion USD was sanctioned. However, the project was still lagging in developing technologies of BMS as compared to other countries.

In 2018, due to lack of funds and lack of competitiveness, GoI shut down the project and is now planning to import the technology.

This is because other countries are far ahead and relying on old practices will put India behind.

GoI to organize more than 100 Hunar Haats in next 5 years

In News:

The Ministry of Minority Affairs will organize more than 100 Hunar Haat in the next five years.

Aim:

The move aims to increase employment opportunities to craftsmen, artisans and culinary experts and also to increase their market exposure.

Highlights:

The Ministry will organize Hunar Haats in Chennai, Delhi, Kolakata, Bengaluru, Lucknow, Patna, Dehradun and Indore.

The ministry has also sanctioned to set up more than 100 Hunar hubs in different parts of the country.

The Ministry in its report said that more than 65,000 artisans and craftsmen have been employed through Hunar Haats in the last 2 years.

Significance:

Indian Handicrafts have great recognition in international market.

US and EU are the major destinations that account to 65% of export of Indian handicrafts.

China is a new buyer. Other countries where Indian crafts have great market includes Israel, Uruguay, Columbia and chile.

In 2019, India exported 128 billion rupees worth handicrafts. Last year, it stood at 118 billion rupees. The increase is 9%.

Government measures:

The GoI has taken several steps to develop the handicraft sector. Government set up Indian Institute of Carpet at Bhadohi.

It also reduced interest rates to MUDRA loans provided to handicrafts and artisans. The custom duties and exercises that were paid for importing inputs of handicrafts were refunded through Duty Drawback Channel.

Ethiopia’s first satellite launched from China

In News:

Ethiopia launched its first satellite, ‘Ethiopian Remote Sensing Satellite’ (ETRSS) from China.

Details:

ERSS is a remote-sensing microsatellite, that was launched in order to help African country’s research into climate change.

It was sent into space together with 8 other satellites by a Long March-4B carrier rocket from Taiyuan Satellite Launch Center (TSLC) in Shanxi Province of north China.

About Ethiopian Remote Sensing Satellite (ETRSS):

This wide-range multispectral remote-sensing microsatellite weighs about 65 kg and has a design life of 2 years.

It can obtain remote-sensing data for agriculture, forestry, water conservation, as well as disaster prevention and mitigation.

The satellite was donated to Ethiopia by China and this microsatellite program has helped establish strong collaboration between Ethiopia and China.

The satellite was designed by Chinese and Ethiopian engineers and Chinese government paid about $6m of more than $7m manufacturing costs.

Application: The satellite data will be used for monitoring and analysis of agriculture, environment, drought, natural disasters, mineral exploration, weather forecasts and climate change.

NOTE: This launch makes Ethiopia the 11th African country to put a satellite into space and Egypt was the first in 1998.

CBERS-4A: New China-Brazil earth resource satellite launched into space

In News:

The China-Brazil Earth Resource Satellite-4A (CBERS-4A), a new satellite jointly developed by China and Brazil as part of a bilateral programme, was recently sent into space, thus further pushes forward the aerospace cooperation between two countries.

Details:

It was launched on a Long March-4B carrier from Taiyuan Satellite Launch Center in Shanxi Province of China.

The same rocket also put into orbits another 8 satellites, including a wide-range multispectral remote-sensing microsatellite donated to Ethiopia (which is also Ethiopia’s first satellite).

About China-Brazil Earth Resource Satellite-4A (CBERS-4A):

CBERS-4A is equipped with 3 optical remote-sensing data and will also support Brazilian government’s to monitor Amazon rainforest and changes in country’s environment.

It will also be used in fields such as earth resource monitoring, agriculture, environmental protection, meteorology, surveying and mapping, and serve Brazil and more developing countries.

It can also provide services for African, Latin American and Asian countries.

The satellite was jointly developed by China Academy of Space Technology (CAST) and National Institute for Space Research (NISR) of Brazil, while the carrier rocket was developed by Shanghai Academy of Spaceflight Technology.

Background:

CBERS-4A will replace CBERS-4 (which was launched in 2014), to improve the resolution of remote-sensing data.

The satellite is 6th satellite under earth resource satellite cooperation program between two countries that began in 1988.

The satellites designed under program are for Earth observation from orbit for non-military use and first such earth research satellite was launched from China in 1999.