22 October Current Affairs
October 22, 2019
24 October Current Affairs
October 24, 2019
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23 October Current Affairs

E-Portal of CCRT

In News:

Union Minister for Culture & Tourism (IC) launched the E-Portal of CCRT ‘Digital Bharat Digital Sanskriti’ and CCRT YouTube Channel in New Delhi.

About:

This will enable dissemination of cultural education through digital interactive medium into the classrooms all over the country.

For this initiative, CCRT has tied up with Routes 2 Roots, an NGO, for connecting seamlessly all the CCRT Regional Centres i.e., Guwahati, Udaipur and Hyderabad.

Defence Acquisition Council (DAC)

In News:

The Defence Acquisition Council (DAC), chaired by Raksha Mantri Shri Rajnath Singh, accorded approval for three projects to be indigenously designed, developed and manufactured by the Indian industry.

About:

The first two projects include third generation Anti-Tank Guided Missiles (ATGM) and the Auxiliary Power Units (APUs) for the T-72 and T-90 Tanks.

The third generation ATGM would provide ‘Fire and Forget’ and “Top Attack” capabilities to the troops in an armoured battle.

The APUs would enable incorporation of various upgrades to Fire Control System and Night Fighting capabilities of the Tanks.

Both these projects will be progressed under the ‘Make-II’ Category and will provide a boost to indigenous research and development in the Private Sector.

With this, for the first time the Ministry of Defence has offered complex Military equipment to be designed, developed and manufactured by the Indian private industry.

The third indigenous project pertains to discrete Electronic Warfare (EW) systems for the mountain and High Altitude terrain, which would be designed and developed by DRDO and manufactured by design cum production partner from the Indian industry.

Right to Information (RTI) Act

In News:

The Delhi High Court has said that giving judgment on the policy framework of an organisation and directing change of policies are not envisaged under the Right to Information (RTI) Act.

About:

The observation came as the court set aside a Central Information Commission (CIC) direction to the Centre to revise the present policy for selection of meritorious students under the ‘Bal Shree scheme’.

The Court quashed the CIC’s November, 2018 order to the Human Resource Development Ministry as the directions were clearly beyond the statutory framework and powers of the CIC.

The CIC order had come on an RTI applicant’s plea to the National Bal Bhawan, seeking details regarding the age limit for Bal Bhawan membership and whether it was necessary for being eligible for a ‘Bal Shree award’.

The Ministry filed an appeal, contending that the CIC order was bad in law as the direction given was beyond the scope, purview and ambit of the RTI Act.

Oldest Known Natural Pearl In The World

In News:

The oldest known natural pearl in the world has been discovered by Abu Dhabi archaeologists working at a Neolithic site on Marawah Island, just off the coast of Abu Dhabi.

About:

Dubbed the ‘Abu Dhabi Pearl’, it was found in layers that have been radiocarbon dated to 5,800-5,600 BCE, during the Neolithic period.

the discovery is a proof that pearls and oysters were being used in the UAE nearly 8,000 years ago, and represents the earliest known evidence for pearling yet discovered anywhere in the world.

US India Strategic Partnership Forum (USISPF)

In News:

The members of US India Strategic Partnership Forum (USISPF) called on Prime Minister Narendra Modi in New Delhi. The delegation was led by Chairman, USISPF, Mr. John Chambers.

About:

The US-India Strategic Partnership Forum (USISPF) is a non-profit organization.

It’s primary objective is strengthening the India-US bilateral and strategic partnership through policy advocacy in the fields of economic growth, entrepreneurship, employment-creation, and innovation.

According to USISPF estimates, India-US bilateral trade is projected to grow to 238 billion dollars by 2025. Sectors like defence trade, commercial aircraft, oil and LNG, coal, machinery and electronics are areas of potential growth in US investments and commerce into India.

Taanaji Malusare

In News:

Bollywood actor Ajay Devgn shared the first look of his upcoming period drama film, Tanhaji: The unsung warrior. It is being said that the film is based on Subedar Taanaji Malusare, a Maratha military leader and a close aide of Chhatrapati Shivaji.

About:

Taanaji Malusare was a Maratha military leader and a close aide of Chhatrapati Shivaji. Taanaji is popularly remembered for the Battle of Singhagad that took place in the year 1670.

In the year 1665, the Treaty of Purandar was signed between Jai Singh and Shivaji, which required the Maratha ruler to give up Fort Kandhana (later named Singhagad) to the Mughals.

Later, Shivaji entrusted Taanaji the task of reconquering the fort Kondhana at any cost. In the battle, Taanaji fought against Udaybhan Rathore, a formidable Rajput warrior, who was put in charge of Fort Kandhana by Jai Singh.

According to legend, Shivaji, upon hearing the news of Tanaji’s demise during the battle, said Gad ala pan Sinha gela (Although the fort was captured, a lion was lost). The fort was renamed as Singhagad (lion’s fort) by Shivaji to honour Tanaji.

Skin-On Interface

In News:

Researchers from the University of Bristol in partnership with Telecomm ParisTech and the Sorbonne University in France have developed a skin-on interface that mimics the appearance of human skin and its ability to sense.

About:

The interface is made up of layers of silicone membrane. It is, therefore, more natural than the hard casing of phones, and can detect gestures made by end-users.

The artificial skin allows the device it is on to “feel” the user’s grasp, including its pressure and location. Therefore, it can detect interactions such as tickling, caressing, twisting and pinching.

Significance:

While artificial skin has been studied in the field of robotics, the aim of those studies was either cosmetic or focussed on safety. This is the first time that the uses of “realistic” artificial skins are being considered for augmenting devices.

This development could take touch technology to the next level for interactive devices such as phones, wearables and computers.

QS Indian University Rankings

In News:

The QS Indian University Rankings were released — this is the second edition of the standalone rankings for India’s higher education institutions. The rankings include public, private, higher education or deemed universities.

About:

Rankings:

The Indian Institutes of Technology (IITs) dominate the list, with seven IITs figuring in the top ten rankings.

Like last year, IIT-Bombay leads followed by the Indian Institute of Science (IISc).

IIT-Delhi now stands third in the ranking. Delhi University, University of Hyderabad and the Indian Institute of Science are the only other non-IIT institutions in the top ten.

Methodology: The methodology used eight indicators – with indicator of “Academic reputation” having the highest weight – to determine the institutions’ rankings. These were:

  • academic reputation (weight of 30%),
  • employer reputation (20%),
  • faculty-student ratio (20%),
  • proportion of staff with a PhD (10%),
  • papers per faculty from Scopus database (10%),
  • citations per paper from Scopus database (5%),
  • proportion of international students (2.5%), and
  • proportion of international faculty (2.5%).

Muhammad Iqbal (1877 – 1938)

In News:

Furqan Ali, a headmaster of a government primary school in Uttar Pradesh was suspended after his students recited a poem written by Muhammad Iqbal in 1902 titled, “Lab pe aati hai dua”. This happened after a complaint was filed by local Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) workers who alleged that asking students to recite it in a government school is “anti-national”.

About:

Muhammad Iqbal (1877 – 1938), widely known as Allama Iqbal was a poet-philosopher whose work promoted the philosophy of self-hood and dealt with the intellectual and cultural reconstruction of the Islamic world.

His best known Urdu works are The Call of the Marching Bell, Gabriel’s Wing, The Rod of Moses and a part of Gift from Hijaz.

“Sare Jahan se Accha”, formally known as “Tarānah-e-Hindi”, is an Urdu language patriotic song for children written by poet Muhammad Iqbal in the ghazal style of Urdu poetry. The poem was published in 1904.

Role in creation of Pakistan Movement:

He is widely regarded as having inspired the Pakistan Movement. He is called the “Spiritual Father of Pakistan.”

In 1930, during the 25th Session of the All-India Muslim League in Allahabad, he delivered his most famous presidential speech known as the Allahabad Address in which he pushed for the creation of a Muslim state in north-west India.

Iqbal is considered to have given the vision for the creation of Pakistan, whereas Jinnah is considered to be the one who shaped this vision.

The Pakistan government officially named him “National Poet of Pakistan”.

UN Report on lead concentration in paints

In News:

World Lead Prevention Week started on October 20, 2019.

Details:

On the sidelines, the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) has released a report on lead concentration in items like paints.

Permissible limit:

Ninety ppm is the concentration limit recommended by the Model Law and Guidance for Regulating Lead Paint published by the UNEP in 2018.

It is the lowest and most protective regulatory limit for lead paints that has been set in India and some other countries.

Key findings:

Only 13 countries have laws which prescribe that lead concentration should not be more than 90 particles per million (ppm).

These 13 countries are part of 73 countries out of the UN’s 193 members, which, as of September 30, 2019, had confirmed that they had legally binding controls on lead in paint, according to the UNEP report.

The largest economic burden of lead exposure was borne by low- and middle-income countries.

Lead and it’s concentration:

Lead is added to paints for various reasons, including enhancing the colour, reducing corrosion and decreasing the drying time.

However, lead can reach soil, dust and groundwater through weathering or peeling of the patin.

It has several adverse health impacts:

Lead exposure accounted for 1.06 million deaths from long-term effects and 24.4 million disability adjusted life years known as DALYs in 2007.

Lead can cause permanent damage to the brain and nervous system, resulting in decreased IQ and increased behavioural problems.

It can also cause anaemia, increase the risk of kidney damage and hypertension, and impair reproductive function.

Young children and pregnant women (whose developing foetus can be exposed) are especially vulnerable to the adverse effects of lead. Even relatively low levels of exposure can cause serious and irreversible neurological damage.

What needs to be done?

  • The cost of eliminating the use of lead compounds in decorative paint is much lower than removing these paints from surfaces in homes.
  • By contrast, the economic cost is low for eliminating the use of lead compounds in new decorative paints. In fact, many manufacturers have already successfully reformulated their paint products to avoid the intentional addition of lead.
  • According to the paint industry, the reformulation of residential and decorative paints to eliminate lead additives is feasible, and the technical and cost impacts are manageable.

Need of the hour: establishing laws and informing people about the hazardous effects of lead in paints remained key measures to curb its growing menace.

BHIM 2.0

In News:

Govt launches BHIM 2.0 with new functionalities, additional language support.

What is BHIM?

Bharat Interface for Money (BHIM) is a UPI based payment interface.

Developed by National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI).

Allows real time fund transfer.

Launched in December, 2016.

What’s new in BHIM 2.0?

Donation’ gateway, increased transaction limits for high value transactions, linking multiple bank accounts, offers from merchants, option of applying in IPO, gifting money.

It also supports three additional languages — Konkani, Bhojpuri and Haryanvi — over and above the existing 13.

What is UPI?

Unified Payments Interface (UPI) is a system that powers multiple bank accounts into a single mobile application (of any participating bank), merging several banking features, seamless fund routing & merchant payments into one hood. It also caters to the “Peer to Peer” collect request which can be scheduled and paid as per requirement and convenience. Each Bank provides its own UPI App for Android, Windows and iOS mobile platform(s).

About NPCI:

NPCI is an umbrella organisation for operating retail payments and settlement systems in India.

It is an initiative of Reserve Bank of India (RBI) and Indian Banks’ Association (IBA) under the provisions of the Payment and Settlement Systems Act, 2007, for creating a robust Payment and Settlement Infrastructure in India.

It has been incorporated as a not for profit company.

In 2016 the shareholding was broad-based to 56 member banks to include more banks representing all sectors.

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