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28 December Current Affairs

NTPC to invest Rs. 50,000 cr to add 10GW Solar Energy Capacity by 2022

In News:

State-owned power giant NTPC Ltd. is planning to add 10 GW (gigawatt) of solar energy generation capacity by 2022.

Details:

The project would entail an investment of around Rs.50,000 crore which will be funded mainly by green bonds.

NTPC’s plans to add 10GW solar energy capacity assumes significance in view of country’s ambitious target of having 175GW of clean energy by 2022.

Key Highlights:

For borrowing option, the company would mainly rely on Green Bonds which are offered for pure clean energy projects.

It wants to raise money through domestic as well as overseas green bonds.

Currently, NTPC has installed renewable energy capacity of 920 MW (Megawatt), which includes mainly solar energy.

It has also formulated a long-term plan to become a 130GW company by 2032 with 30% non-fossil fuel or renewable energy capacity.

NTPC will be completing tendering of 2,300 MW of solar energy capacity by end of this fiscal year (2019-2020), and thereafter it has planned to add 4G each in 2020-21 and 2021-22.

About NTPC:

Limited It was formerly known as National Thermal Power Corporation Limited.

It is an Indian Public Sector Undertaking (PSU), engaged in business of electricity generation and allied activities.

It was founded in 1975 and was incorporated under Companies Act 1956.

Massive Locust Invasion in Gujarat

In News:

The farmlands in Gujarat border are in great threat from locust invasion.

Details:

The insects were flying from Pakistan Sindh province and spread in the villages of Gujarat and Rajasthan.

The locusts emerged from Sudan and Eritrea in the coast of Red Sea.

FAO:

The FAO operates the DLIS (Desert Locust Information Service) headquartered in Rome, Italy.

It monitors desert locusts all over the world. It maintains historical locust archives dating back to 1930s.

Also, it provides training and prepares publications on various aspects all over the world.

The service provides information about the locust situation and gives timely warnings to countries that are at risks of invasion.

According to FAO, an average swarm destroys crops that can feed 2,500 people per year.

India’s measures:

Indian Government in 1939 established Locust Warning Organization (LWO).

It operates under ICAR (Indian Council of Agricultural Research).

The headquarters of the organization is located in Jodhpur.

The LWO monitors 2 lakh square kilometres of desert area in parts of Gujarat, Rajasthan and Haryana.

India’s first Transgender University to come up in UP

In News:

India’s first university for transgender community will be opened in Fazilnagar block of Kushinagar district in Uttar Pradesh.

It is the first of its kind University in country, where transgender community members will be able to get education.

Key Highlights:

The university is being built by Akhil Bhartiya Kinnar Siksha Seva Trust (All-India transgender education service trust).

The University will facilitate its members to study right from class 1 to Post Graduate (PG) and even do research and get PhD degree.

Members of the transgender community will get education and will be able to give a new direction to the country.

From 15 January 2020, two children who are brought up by community members will get admission and from February and March 2020 other classes will start.

South India’s earliest Sanskrit Inscription found in A.P.

In News:

The Epigraphy Branch of Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) has discovered the earliest Sanskrit inscription to have been discovered in South India as on date.

Details:

This significant finding is also the earliest epigraphic evidence for ‘Saptamatrika’ cult so far. The discovery was made in Chebrolu village in Guntur district of Andhra Pradesh.

The inscription came to light when some local villagers informed ASI authorities about a pillar with some engravings when they were restoring and repairing local Bheemeshwara temple.

ASI called for conservation and preservation of pillar given its historical importance.

What is Saptamatrikas?

They are a group of seven female deities worshipped in Hinduism as personifying the energy of their respective consorts.

There are references of Saptamatrika worship in early Kadamba copper plates as well as early Chalukyas and Eastern Chalukya copper plates. But this new discovery predates them by almost 200 years.

The Inscription found:

It is in Sanskrit and in Brahmi characters and was issued by Satavahana king Vijaya in 207 A.D.

The inscription records construction of a prasada (temple), a mandapa (a pavilion for public rituals) and consecration of images on southern side of temple by a person named Kartika for merit of king at temple of Bhagavathi (Goddess) Saktimatruka (Saptamatrika) at Tambrape (which is the ancient name of Chebrolou).

All the available records when verified, proved that Chebrolu inscription of Satavahana king Vijaya issued in his 5th regnal year (207 A.D.) is also the earliest datable Sanskrit inscription from South India so far.

 

Until now the Nagarjunakonda inscription of Ikshavaku king Ehavala Chantamula issued in his 11th regnal year (4th century A.D.) was considered the earliest Sanskrit inscription in South India.

The place also yielded another inscription which is in Prakrit language and of Brahmi characters and belongs to 1st century A.D.

This is thus the earliest epigraphic reference to Mutts and records gift of a cloister mandapa and chaitya to bhavatho (Lord) of the Gadasa Mutt by by a person hailing from Tabaava.

Golden Jubilee celebrations of the Vivekananda Rock Memorial

In News:

President Ramnath Kovind addressed the Golden Jubilee celebrations of the Vivekananda Rock Memorial in Kanyakumari, Tamil Nadu.

About:

Vivekananda Rock Memorial is a monument in Vavathurai, Kanyakumari, Tamil Nadu at the Tri-junction of Indian ocean, Bay of Bengal and Arabian sea.

It was built in 1970 in honour of Swami Vivekananda who is said to have attained enlightenment on the rock where he mediated in 1892.

He spent three days in meditation in Kanyakumari, before embarking on his famous trip to Chicago for addressing the World Conference of Religions.

The memorial consists of two main structures, the Vivekananda Mandapam and the Shripada Mandapam. The design of the mandapa incorporates different styles of temple architecture from all over India.

Typhoon ‘Phanfone’

In News:

In the Philippines, a strong typhoon, ‘Phanfone’ has killed at least 20 people.

About:

Typhoon Phanfone, locally known in the Philippines as Ursula, is a currently active typhoon which had traversed through the central Philippines.

The origins of Phanfone can be traced to an upper-level low which had formed near the Caroline Islands, located in the western Pacific Ocean, to the north of New Guinea.

Background:

Philippines is located in the Pacific “Ring of Fire,” where earthquakes and volcanic eruptions often occur, making the country of more than 100 million people one of the world’s most disaster-prone.

University Grants Commission (UGC)

In News:

Human Resource Development Minister launched the five documents developed by University Grants Commission (UGC) covering the 5 verticals of Quality Mandate in New Delhi.

About:

These five documents cover evaluation reforms, eco-friendly and sustainable university campuses, human values and professional ethics, faculty induction and academic research integrity.

The Higher Education Quality Improvement Programme Mandate aims at evolving higher education system to equip country’s next-generation with vital skills, knowledge and ethics for leading a rewarding life.

In order to make student assessment more meaningful, effective and linked to Learning Outcomes, the report ‘Evaluation Reforms in Higher Educational Institutions in India’ is very timely and beneficial for HEIs.

SATAT – the Framework for Eco-Friendly and Sustainable Campus development in Higher Educational Institutions – encourages universities to adopt policies to enhance the environmental quality of the campus.

UGC has also developed a policy framework- “MulyaPravah – Guidelines for Inculcation of Human values and Professionals Ethics in Higher Educational Institutions”.

Guidelines for Guru-Dakshta – A guide to Faculty Induction Programme will fulfil its main objective to motivate the faculty to adopt learner-centred approaches, ICT integrated learning and new pedagogic approaches to teaching-learning.

BrahMos Missile

In News:

The Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) recently carried out two successful tests of the latest variant of the BrahMos missile, one from the land platform and the other from air.

About:

Recent air-based test of the missile marked the completion of the integration of BrahMos missile with the Sukhoi-30 MKI aircraft.

The BrahMos Air-Launched Cruise Missile (ALCM) is a significant addition in IAF’s air combat capability from stand-off ranges.

Stand-off range missiles are ones that are launched at a distance sufficient to allow an attacking party to evade defensive fire expected from the target area.

Stand-off range missiles, of which cruise missiles are a type, have been in the arsenal of all the major powers of the world.

About BrahMos:

BrahMos is a cruise missile, meaning it can be guided towards a pre-determined land- or sea-based target.

With a capability to attain speeds 2.8 times that of sound (Mach 2.8), BrahMos is classified as supersonic cruise missile. A newer version under development is aimed at flying at speeds greater than Mach 5. These are called hypersonic cruise missiles.

BrahMos is developed through a collaboration between India and Russia. An amalgam of the names of the rivers Brahmaputra and Moskva, BrahMos is being produced by BrahMos Aerospace, a joint venture company set up by DRDO and Mashinostroyenia of Russia in 1998.

Last Solar Eclipse of the decade

In News:

The Last Solar Eclipse of the decade was observed in parts of India. This was an annular solar eclipse.

About:

An eclipse happens when the moon while orbiting the Earth, comes in between the sun and the Earth, due to which the moon blocks the sun’s light from reaching the Earth, causing an eclipse of the sun or a solar eclipse.

There are three types of eclipses.

Total solar eclipse happens when the sun, moon and Earth are in a direct line. The dark silhouette of the Moon completely covers the intense bright light of the Sun. Only the much fainter solar corona is visible during a total eclipse which is known as a Totality.

Partial solar eclipse happens when the shadow of the moon appears on a small part of the sun.

Annular solar eclipse, which happens when the moon is farthest from the Earth, which is why it seems smaller. In this type of an eclipse, the moon does not block the sun completely, but looks like a “dark disk on top of a larger sun-colored disk” forming a “ring of fire”.

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