Daily Current Affairs and MCQs for UPSC - December 04, 2020 (The Hindu, Economic Times, PIB)

Jonas Masetti ‘Vishvanath’

Focus: GS1.

Topic: Indian culture will cover the salient aspects of Art Forms, Literature and Architecture from ancient to modern times.


Context

  • In the latest episode of ‘Mann Ki Baat’, PM Modi outlined Masetti’s life and what drew him to Indian culture and the study of India’s sacred texts.
  • Jonas Masetti, a mechanical engineer, is the founder of an organisation called ‘Vishva Vidya’, located in the hills of Petrópolis about an hour away from Rio de Janeiro.

Background

  • Addressing the nation in his monthly radio programme ‘Mann KiBaat’, Prime Minister Narendra Modi highlighted the work and accomplishments of Jonas Masetti, a Brazilian man who has been giving lessons on Vedanta and the Bhagavad Gita near Rio de Janeiro.
  • Speaking about the impact of Indian culture and scripture on people across the world, PM Modi said, “Some people came to India in search of them and stayed here for life. While some returned to their countries as cultural ambassadors of India.”

Highlights

  • Masetti, a mechanical engineer, is the founder of an organisation called ‘Vishva Vidya’, located in the hills of Petrópolis, about an hour away from Rio de Janeiro.
  • It is here that he teaches hundreds of his students about ancient Indian sacred texts, including the Bhagavad Gita and Vedanta.
  • He also teaches Sanskrit, mantras and Vedic culture.
  • According to his website, Masetti began pursuing a spiritual path while he was still working in the financial market.
  • In the years after he graduated from engineering college, he ran a consultancy firm and worked with several “top management companies”. But he would always ask himself — “How could I have everything in life: family, girlfriend, money, professional success and at the same time not being full and satisfied?”
  • After seeing that other “successful” people, too, appeared to lack clarity and peace, he turned to spirituality to look for answers.
  • This was when he moved to India and studied Vedanta for four years under the guidance of Swami Dayananda Saraswati.

Source: AIR News.

Lakshadweep And Andaman & Nicobar To Meet 100 Per Cent Energy Needs Through Renewable Energy

Focus: GS3.

Topic: Infrastructure: Energy, Ports, Roads, Airports, Railways etc.


Context

  • In a positive development, Union Minister of State (Independent Charge) for Power and New and Renewable Energy RK Singh has stated on record that the government is targeting that Andaman & Nicobar, and Lakshadweep Islands should be able to meet their total energy requirement from renewable energy sources.
  • This comes as a major boost for the Island territories and may lead to a significant transformation in the way by which they meet their energy needs.

Background

  • Meanwhile, Singh also shared that the nation has already installed about 1,36,000 megawatts (MW) of renewable energy capacity.
  • He also informed the gathering that additional 57,000 MW of renewable power generation capacity is under implementation at the moment.

Highlights

While the Government is targeting 175 GW of total renewable energy generation capacity by 2022 when India shall complete 75 years of Independence from the usurious British Raj, Singh shared that by 2030, the nation was targeting to install a capacity for 450 GW of renewable energy.

Source: Indian Express.

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India deploys MARCOS in Pangong Tso lake area amid standoff with China

Focus: GS3.

Topic: Various Security forces and agencies and their mandate.


Context

  • Amid border standoff with China along the Line of Actual Control (LAC) in Ladakh, India has deployed its marine commandos MARCOS in Pangong Tso lake area, one of the key friction areas with the Chinese PLA troops.
  • Citing government sources, said that the deployment of MARCOS in Eastern Ladakh is aimed at enhancing the integration of the tri services in the area and provide the commandos exposure to extreme cold weather conditions.

Background

  • Indian Air Force's Garud, Indian Army's Para Special Forces and Cabinet Secretariat's Special Frontier Force have already been guarding the area in Eastern Ladakh for long.
  • "The MARCOS have been deployed in the Pangong lake area where the Indian and Chinese forces have been engaged in a conflict situation since April-May timeframe this year," the agency quoted government sources as saying.

Highlights

  • The MARCOS commados will also get new boats to carry out operations in the Pangong Tso lake area.
  • During the early days of the India-China conflict, India moved its Garud Special Forces to the strategic heights along the LAC to keep a vigil on any fighter or other enemy aircraft violating the Indian air space.
  • With standoff still not resolved, the Indian Army has completed the establishment of habitat facilities for all troops deployed in eastern Ladakh to ensure operational efficiency in the harsh winter months.
  • The Army said that apart from smart camps with integrated facilities which have been built over the years, additional state-of-the-art habitats with integrated arrangements for electricity, water, heating facilities, health and hygiene have been recently created to accommodate the troops.
  • The eastern Ladakh region witnesses temperature dipping to minus 30-40 degrees Celsius and experiences up to 40 feet of snowfall after the months of December and January.
  • In addition, road access to the region also gets affected due to the heavy snowfall in the area.

Source: Indian Express.

Loneliest elephant heads to Cambodia after Cher campaign

Focus: GS3.

Topic: Conservation, environmental pollution and degradation, environmental impact assessment.


Context

  • Following years of public outcry and campaigning by American pop star Cher, the "world's loneliest elephant" embarked on a mammoth move from Pakistan to retirement in a Cambodian sanctuary.
  • The famed singer and Oscar-winning actress has spent recent days at the Islamabad zoo to provide moral support to Kaavan -- an overweight, 36-year-old bull elephant -- whose pitiful treatment at the dilapidated facility sparked an uproar from animal rights groups and a spirited social media campaign by Cher.

Highlights

  • Kaavan is dubbed the "world's loneliest elephant" after languishing alone for years in a Pakistani zoo.
  • The plight of the male Asian elephant, who's been alone since the death of his partner Saheli in 2012, has captured worldwide attention.
  • The loss of his mate Saheli in 2012 took a toll on Kaavan's mental health.
  • Elephants are social animals that thrive on the company of other elephants.

Source: Indian Express.

Govt launches ‘Mission Covid Suraksha’ to assist vaccine candidates

Focus: GS3.

Topic: Science and Technology- developments and their applications and effects in everyday life Achievements of Indians in science & technology; indigenization of technology and developing new technology.


Context

  • The government launched ‘Mission Covid Suraksha’ mission to boost the efforts of the five to six potential COVID-19 vaccine candidates in the country.
  • This is to facilitate their development process right from manufacturing, licensing to launching it in the market.

Background

  • The initiative will also ensure that these are brought closer to licensure and introduction in the market, the Department of Biotechnology (DBT) said.
  • As per a PTI report, the mission envisages Covid-19 vaccine development with end-to-end focus from preclinical through clinical development and manufacturing and regulatory facilitation.

Highlights

  • The Government of India (GOI) announced the third stimulus package of INR 900 crore for the Mission Covid Suraksha- the Indian Covid-19 Vaccine Development Mission.
  • This grant will be provided to the DBT for R&D of Indian Covid-19 vaccines.
  • This will help accelerate development of approximately five-six vaccine candidates and ensure that these are brought closer to licensure and introduction in the market for consideration of regulatory authorities for introduction in public health systems to combat further spread of Covid infection.
  • The DBT had announced programmes for vaccine development and other Covid-related solutions some time ago.
  • But this mission will be dedicated purely for development of vaccines, a DBT official said.
  • A total of 10 vaccine candidates have been supported by the DBT so far in both academia and industry.
  • Earlier in November, the GoI had announced a package of INR 900 crore for vaccines.

Source: Economic Times.

The first ever SCO Online International Exhibition on Shared Buddhist Heritage

Focus: GS2.

Topic: Important International institutions, agencies and fora, their structure, mandate.


Context

Shri M. Venkaiah Naidu, Vice President of India & Chair of the SCO Council of Heads of Government in 2020, launched the first ever SCO Online Exhibition on Shared Buddhist Heritage, during the 19th Meeting of the SCO Council of Heads of Government (SCO CHG), held in New Delhi, in videoconference format.

Background

  • This SCO online International exhibition, first ever of its kind, is developed and curated by National Museum, New Delhi, in active collaboration with SCO member countries.
  • The exhibition deploys state of the art technologies like 3D scanning, webGL platform, virtual space utilization, innovative curation and narration methodology etc.

Highlights

  • Buddhist philosophy and art of Central Asia connects Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) countries to each other.
  • This online international exhibition presents an excellent opportunity for visitors to access, appreciate and compare Buddhist art antiquities from SCO countries on a single platform and from the comfort of their home. 
  • Such transnational online exhibition also has potential to connect, heal and rejuvenate communities in current pandemic times.
  • The international exhibition gives a glimpse of the artistic wealth displayed in various museums across Asia, and represents the artistic excellence embedded within an eclectic historical timeline spanning across the development of different Schools of Buddhism.
  • The participating institutions are National Museum (New Delhi), Indian Museum (Kolkata), National Museum of Kazakhstan, Dun Huang Academy (China), National Historical Museum of the Kyrgyz Republic, Museums of Pakistan, State Museum of Oriental Art, Moscow (Russia), National Museum and National Museum of Antiquities, Tajikistan and renowned archaeological sites of Uzbekistan.
  • The visitors can explore the Indian Buddhist treasures from the Gandhara and Mathura Schools, Nalanda, Amaravati, Sarnathetc in a 3D virtual format.
  • The Pakistan hall depicts the life of Gautama Buddha and Buddhist Art through a collection of impressive Gandhara art objects from Karachi, Lahore,Taxlia, Islamabad, SWAT and Peshawar museums.
  • These include fasting Siddhartha and footprint of Buddha from Sikri, meditating Buddha from Sahri Bahloi, miracle of Sravasti from Gandhara etc.

Source: PIB.

Wild ‘Kiwi’ of Arunachal Pradesh

Focus: GS3.                                

Topic: Conservation, environmental pollution and degradation, environmental impact assessment.


Context

  • Over the last decade, the Kiwi fruit production in the easternmost state of the country, Arunachal Pradesh has made big strides resulting in the state accounting for as much as 50 per cent of the total production of the rare fruit in the country.
  • The classification of the Arunachal’s wild Kiwi as the nation’s only certified organically produced fruit recently has the potential to give further impetus to its production in the state.

Background

  • The organic certification to the Kiwi fruit grown from this region was given recently in the month of October by the Mission Organic Value Chain Development for the North-East Region (MOVCD-NER).
  • MOVCD-NER is a special scheme run by the Union Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers’ Welfare for the development and promotion of agriculture allied activities in the North-East region of the country.

Highlights

  • Certification of a product as organic signifies that no fertilisers, pesticides and other kinds of chemicals were used in the production of the crop.
  • However, the turnaround in the production of Kiwi in the state has been pretty recent as over two decades back, the farmers of the local region were unaware of the commercial value of the fruit and hardly envisaged the value of the fruit that grew wild in the Ziro valley region of the state.
  • Gyati Loder, a Kiwi farmer and General Secretary, Kiwi Growers Cooperative Society Limited, Ziro told that the farmers in the region used to eat the fruit and feed it to their livestock but had no idea of the commercial nature of the crop and its rising demand in the country and other parts of the world.
  • Loder also said that the fruit was locally known as ‘anteri’.

Source: Hindustan Times.

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Test your Knowledge

  1. Consider the following statements with reference to Bhagyalakshmi temple:
  • Bhagyalakshmi temple is a small temple dedicated to Goddess Lakshmi, adjacent to the southeast minar of Charminar. 
  • In 2012, Archaeological Survey of India in an RTI response categorized the temple structure as an unauthorised construction.
  • A book sources the name of the shrine in the memory of the Queen Baghmati (or Bhagyavati).

Select the correct answer using the codes given below:

      A. 1 and 2 only
      B. 2 and 3 only
      C. 1 and 3 only
      D. AOTA

Solution: D

  1. Zebrafish is found in:

      A. Tropical regions
      B. Subtropical regions
      C. Polar regions
      D. Both A and B

Solution: D

 

 

 

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