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July 28, 2018
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July 31, 2018
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30 July Current Affairs

Blood Moon

Lunar Eclipse:

A Lunar Eclipse (Chandra Grahan) is when one can’t see the moon at night because its position is relative to the sun and earth ensures that light doesn’t fall on the part of it we can see.

The moon gives off no light and is only visible because it reflects the light of the sun. We only see the part where light falls and thus as the earth and moon move through their orbits and different amounts of light falls on the moon, we see different phases of the moon.

Blood Moon:

When a lunar eclipse (Chandra Grahan) occurs, the Earth comes between the sun and moon, preventing light from falling on the moon. When this happens, the moon appears to glow red and is thus called the blood moon.

Details:

The red colour is because of the way light travels through the Earth’s atmosphere. Sunlight is made of several colours and they all have different wavelengths. Depending on the way they travel through our atmosphere, we see different colours. That’s why the sun and sky have different colours during sunrise and sunset. Blues and purples have shorter wavelengths and scatter in our atmosphere, giving the sky its inky colour, but reds and oranges have the highest wavelengths and pass through our atmosphere before it is bent or refracted around Earth, hitting the surface of the Moon and making it red.

Significance of July 2018 Lunar Eclipse:

It was the longest eclipse of the 21st century. It occurred for 1 hour 43 minutes.

Source: The Hindu

Domestic Council for Gold

In News:

The Centre has decided to set up a Domestic Council for Gold to aid exports of jewellery.

Composition of the council:

The council will represent all the jewellers of India who will be the electoral college. They will form different interest groups and elect those who will sit in the council.

The council would work towards:

  • Industry development.
  • Job creation.
  • The building of regional clusters.
  • Strengthening of value chains.

Significance of the Gold Council:

It will help in creating an ecosystem to harness the true potential for jewellery-making in the country.

Source: The Hindu

Manipur People’s Protection Bill

In News:

Manipur People’s Protection Bill, 2018, passed by the state assembly recently, has been welcomed with protests across various districts in the state.

Highlights of the Bill:

The Manipur People’s Protection Bill, 2018 seeks to regulate the entry and exit of “outsiders” on the lines of the British-era inner-line permit system prevalent in three other north-eastern states — Arunachal Pradesh, Mizoram and Nagaland.

The bill sets 1951 as the base year to identify locals and prevent an influx of outsiders.

According to the bill, Manipur people include Meitis, the Pangal Muslims, scheduled tribes as listed under the Constitution in terms of Manipur and all those citizens of India who have been living in Manipur before 1951.

The rest have been put in the category of non-Manipuris and will have to register themselves within one month of the notification of the law. They will be issued a pass extendable up to six months. While those who have trade licences can get a pass extendable up to five years, which will have to be renewed every year. Any outsider visiting Manipur would need a pass.

What next?

If approved by the Governor and made an Act, people who came to Manipur after 1951 would be viewed as ‘foreigners’ and would have no voting or land rights.

Rationale behind the Bill:

The influx of foreign tourists has increased exponentially in Manipur, thus creating a demographic imbalance in the region. If this was not enough, illegal immigration from Bangladesh, Nepal and Myanmar has also contributed to the crisis. This has created fear among the locals over employment and availability of resources.

 

At a time where there already exists stiff competition between the locals and outsiders over jobs, the outsiders mostly settle for low paid work. Hence, locals feel ILP fails to safeguard the interests of the indigenous people.

About Inner Line Permit:

The Inner Line Permit (ILP) is an official travel document issued by the Government of India to grant inward travel of an Indian citizen into a protected area for a limited period. It is obligatory for Indians residing outside those states to obtain permission prior to entering the protected areas.

Currently, the Inner Line Permit is operational in Arunachal Pradesh, Mizoram and Nagaland. The document has been issued under the Bengal Eastern Frontier Regulation, 1873 and the conditions and restrictions vary from state to state.

It can be issued for travel purposes solely. Visitors are not allowed to purchase property in these regions. However, there might be a different set of rules for long term visitors, though they are not valid for central government employees and security forces.

Source: The Hindu

National Viral Hepatitis Control Programme

In News:

With an aim to combat viral hepatitis and reduce mortality and morbidity associated with it, the Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare has launched National Viral Hepatitis Control Programme. It was launched on the occasion of World Hepatitis Day, that is July 28.

Theme:

The theme for World Hepatitis Day 2018 is “Test. Treat. Hepatitis”.

About National Viral Hepatitis Control Programme:

Aim: The programme aims at both prevention and treatment of hepatitis which is among leading causes of liver cancer, cirrhosis of liver and acute liver failure.

Target: It aims to treat minimum of 3 lakh hepatitis C cases over a period of three years for eliminating deadly condition by 2030.

The programme is part of National Health Mission. Under it, expensive antiviral for hepatitis B and C infections will be made available free of cost at all government hospitals.

Treatment: It will set up and upgrade facilities for diagnosis and treatment primarily of hepatitis B and C. These designated treatment centres will provide free anti-viral to hepatitis C patients. They will also provide hepatitis B vaccine to babies born to mothers carrying the virus within 24 hours of birth.

Decentralization: The programme also aims to build capacities at national, state, district levels and sub-district level up to Primary Health Centres (PHC) and health and wellness centres to scale program till lowest level of the healthcare facility in a phased manner.

About hepatitis:

Hepatitis is an inflammation of the liver. The condition can be self-limiting or can progress to fibrosis (scarring), cirrhosis or liver cancer. Hepatitis viruses are the most common cause of hepatitis in the world but other infections, toxic substances (e.g. alcohol, certain drugs), and autoimmune diseases can also cause hepatitis.

Types:

There are 5 main hepatitis viruses, referred to as types A, B, C, D and E. These 5 types are of greatest concern because of the burden of illness and death they cause and the potential for outbreaks and epidemic spread.

In particular, types B and C lead to chronic disease in hundreds of millions of people and, together, are the most common cause of liver cirrhosis and cancer.

Hepatitis A and E are typically caused by ingestion of contaminated food or water. Hepatitis B, C and D usually occur as a result of parenteral contact with infected body fluids.

Spread:

Common modes of transmission for these viruses include receipt of contaminated blood or blood products, invasive medical procedures using contaminated equipment and for hepatitis B transmission from mother to baby at birth, from family member to child, and also by sexual contact.

Acute infection may occur with limited or no symptoms, or may include symptoms such as jaundice (yellowing of the skin and eyes), dark urine, extreme fatigue, nausea, vomiting and abdominal pain.

Source: PIB

DigiYatra initiative

In News:

The Ministry of Civil Aviation is planning to launch DigiYatra service at airports in a few months.

Details:

DigiYatra is an industry-led initiative coordinated by the Ministry of Civil Aviation in line with Digital India programme.

It aims to transform the flying experience for passengers and position Indian Aviation amongst the most innovative aviation networks in the world.

The facility will use digital technology to enhance air passenger experience all the way from ticket booking to airport entry check, security check and aircraft boarding.

How it works?

For this, a passenger needs to enrol into DigiYatra program through AirSewa app and a DigiYatra verified passenger will get hassle free entry at the airport through E-Gates

At the entry gate, a single token for the passenger will be created. This will also facilitate walk-through security scanners swiftly owing to advanced biometric security solutions.

Security concerns:

This facility will be optional for passengers. If somebody does not want to disclose the identity, there will be a separate provision for them.

The ID verification will be done by the BCAS-approved Government ID.

Source: The Hindu

‘Mukhyanmantri Kissan Aaye Badhotri Solar Yojna’

In News:

Delhi government has approved ‘Mukhyanmantri Kissan Aaye Badhotri Solar Yojna’, a scheme under which farmers in the national capital will be able to lease out a part of their agricultural land for setting up of solar panels to get additional income.

About ‘Mukhyanmantri Kissan Aaye Badhotri Solar Yojna’:

Under the scheme, any farmer can rent out not more than one-third of his land to a private firm to set up solar panels at a rate of Rs one lakh per annum per acre. The panels will be set up at a height of 3.5 metres, so that the land can also be used for agriculture.

The Delhi Government departments will buy solar power from the companies participating in the scheme.

Benefits of the scheme:

The annual income of the beneficiary farmers, which is estimated at present to be between Rs 30,000 and Rs 50,000 per acre per year, will increase to between Rs 1.30 lakh and Rs 1.5 lakh following the implementation of this scheme.

Besides getting additional income, the farmers will also get 1,000 units of free solar power without any investment.

The departments currently buy electricity at Rs 9 per unit but with the implementation of the scheme, the expense will come down to Rs 5 per unit, saving the department Rs 400 crore to Rs 500 crore annually.

Source: The Hindu

Naturalized species

In News:

An international team — including scientists from India — have collated information on alien plant species from several sources, ranging from online plant lists to old compilations of India’s national and regional flora.

Details:

An intentionally or unintentionally introduced species that has adapted to and reproduces successfully in its new environment.

Naturalised species reproduce naturally in the environments they colonise. Invasive species do this so prolifically that they alter the workings of the natural ecosystems they colonise or invade.

They found that as many as 471 plant species that are alien or exotic — not native to India — are ‘naturalised,’ for they can thrive in the country’s wildernesses by forming stable populations.

Highlights of the findings:

Scientists have developed the first lists of naturalised plants for each State; these lists reveal that 110 alien plants now naturally occur in more than 31 States in India.

At 332, Tamil Nadu has the highest number of naturalised exotics, followed by Kerala (290), while Lakshadweep has the least (17).

The distribution across Indian States of over 20 of these naturalised species (in the list of 471) is unknown.

A majority of these naturalised plants are herbs such as the invasive Siam weed Chromolaena odorata, native to south and central America.

The new list shows that many exotic species are now part of our natural flora.

India- the ‘hotspots’ of naturalised plant species:

More than 13,000 plant species are now naturalised in ecosystems across the world due to human activity; many of these later turn invasive and impact local flora and fauna.

Last year, a study identified India as one of the ‘hotspots’ of naturalised plant species and among the seven regions in the world that have the highest number of invasive species.

The ENVIS Centre on Floral Diversity hosted by the BSI lists more than 170 invasive plant species in India.

Way ahead:

Now, the government needs to strengthen quarantine measures adopted before a plant is brought to the country.

Source: The Hindu

Arsenic contamination

In News:

A recent publication by researchers at the School of Environmental Studies (SOES), Jadavpur University, reveals not only rise in arsenic contamination of paddy plants from ground water in West Bengal, but also that concentration of ‘arsenic accumulation’ depends on the variety of paddy and its stage in the crop cycle.

Highlights of the study:

The study highlights the processes and dependencies of arsenic trans-location in rice from contaminated irrigation water.

The study shows that arsenic uptake in the paddy plant reduces from root to grain, and that its concentration is related to the variety of the rice cultivated.

The uptake of arsenic is faster in young roots in a vegetative state than in older tissues with a higher concentrations of iron in root soil in the reproductive phase.

The study was carried out on two commonly consumed rice varieties — Minikit and Jaya — and the latter was found to be more resistant to arsenic.

The study has raised concerns over the disposal of the contaminated rice straw which is used as animal fodder or burnt or sometimes left in the field itself to serve as fertiliser.

Arsenic in groundwater:

Arsenic in ground water is a geogenic contaminant i.e. caused by natural geologic processes. Incidence of high arsenic in groundwater reported from various parts of the country, particularly in the Ganga- plains is a serious threat to the health of human being.

Over the last three decades numerous measures have been initiated which includes alternate arrangement for supply of arsenic free water to the affected populace and providing arsenic removal plants. Arsenic occurrences in ground water in these areas is highly sporadic in nature and all the sources in these areas are not necessarily contaminated.

Technological options to combat arsenic menace, in groundwater, to ensure supply of arsenic free water, in the affected areas can be in-situ remediation of arsenic from aquifer system, ex-situ remediation of arsenic from tapped groundwater by arsenic removal technologies, use of surface water source as an alternative to the contaminated groundwater source, tapping alternate safe aquifers for supply of arsenic free groundwater or combination of above techniques.

What needs to be done?

Technological options to combat arsenic menace, in groundwater, to ensure supply of arsenic free water, in the affected areas can be in-situ remediation of arsenic from aquifer system, ex-situ remediation of arsenic from tapped groundwater by arsenic removal technologies, use of surface water source as an alternative to the contaminated groundwater source, tapping alternate safe aquifers for supply of arsenic free groundwater or combination of above techniques.

Source: The Hindu

Country’s first state-run all-woman hotel in Kerala

In News:

The Kerala Tourism Development Corporation (KTDC) is all set to launch India’s first public sector hotel run entirely by women for women in the state’s capital city, Thiruvananthapuram.

Details:

The hotel is named ‘Hostess’. The all-woman hotel is the first such initiative from a government institution in the country.

NASAMS-II

In News:

India is in talks with United States to procure National Advanced Surface-to-Air Missile System-II (NASAMS-II).

About NASANS-II:

It is an advanced air defence system.

It is highly adaptable mid-range solution for any operational air defence requirement.

It provides tailorable, state-of-the-art defence system that can maximise the ability to quickly identify, engage and destroy current and evolving enemy aircraft, UAV or emerging cruise missile threats.

It is part of the air defence network guarding US capital city Washington DC. It is also deployed in several NATO countries.

Source: PIB

Deep Ocean Mission

  • The Central government has drawn up a 5-year plan to explore the deep ocean.
  • Ministry of Earth Sciences has been tasked with coordinating the exercise.
  • The ministry has recently unveiled the blueprint of “Deep Ocean Mission”.
  • The mission proposes to explore the deep ocean similar to the space exploration started by ISRO about 35 years ago.
  • The Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) allotted to India (2.2 million sq.km) in the international waters will be covered under this mission.
  • The focus will be on technologies for deep-sea mining, underwater vehicles, underwater robotics and ocean climate change advisory services.
  • Under this mission, the key deliverables are
  1. Offshore desalination plant that will work with tidal energy, and
  2. Developing a submersible vehicle that can go to a depth of at least 6,000 metres with three people on board.

India and Central Indian Ocean Basin

  • India has exclusive right to explore deep sea mineral – polymetallic nodules from seabed in Central Indian Ocean Basin.
  • A long–term Polymetallic Nodules programme is being implemented by the Ministry of Earth Sciences.
  • This right in the international water is allocated by International Seabed Authority (ISA).
  • ISA is a UN body set upto regulate the exploration and exploitation of marine non-living resources of oceans in international waters.
  • It is headquartered at Kingston, Jamaica.
  • In 2016, India was re-elected as a member of Council of ISA.

National Advanced Surface-to-Air Missile System

  • India is planning to procure National Advanced Surface-to-Air Missile System (NASAM – II) from U.S.
  • It is an advanced air defence system.
  • It is the state-of-the-art defense system that has ability to quickly identify and destroy enemy aircraft, UAV or emerging cruise missile threats.
  • NASAMS-II is an upgraded version of the NASAMS and features new 3D mobile surveillance radars and 12 missile launchers for quicker reaction.
  • It is proposed to be deployed to protect national capital region.
  • It will help in preventing 9/11-type attacks in Delhi.

Advanced Air Defence systems in India

  • India is deploying a multi-tiered air defence network to fully secure its airspace from incoming fighter aircraft, missiles and UAV.
  • An indigenous two tired defence shield known as “Ballistic Missile Defence (BMD)”, to destroy enemy ballistic missiles is being developed.
  • The BMD consists of two interceptor missiles,
  1. The Prithvi Defence Vehicle (PDV) for exo-atmospheric (high) altitudes of 50–80 km and
  2. The Advanced Area Defence (AAD) missile for endo-atmosphere (low) altitudes of 15-30 kilometers.
  • India is also in an advanced stage of talks with Russia for the procurement of very long range S-400 air defence systems.

Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite (TESS)

  • TESS is NASA’s latest satellite to search for planets outside our solar system, known as exoplanets.
  • The mission will spend the next two years monitoring the nearest and brightest stars for “Transits”.
  • Transits are events which denote a periodic dips in light of the star when a planet pass in front of it.
  • It was launched in April this year and it has now started its search for planets around nearby stars.
  • It is expected to transmit its first series of science data back to Earth in August, and thereafter periodically every 13.5 days.
  • It is the next step in the search for planets outside of our solar system, including those that could support life.

 

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