Daily Current Affairs and MCQs for UPSC - January 08, 2021 (The Hindu, Economic Times, PIB)

Sabari river

Focus: GS3.

Topic: Food processing and related industries in India- scope and significance, location, upstream and downstream requirements, supply chain management.


Context

  • The habitat of 25 migrant fisherfolk comprises four house boats and as many temporary houses on the sands of Sabari.
  • For nearly two decades, the sacred river Sabari and a group of four migrant fisherfolk families have remained steadfast companions near Chintoor village along the tri-State border of Andhra Pradesh, Odisha and Chattisgarh in East Godavari Agency.

Background

The strong survival skills of the fisherfolk motivated them to make the river their permanent home by developing a tiny settlement by it.

About Sabari river

  • It is one of the main tributaries of Godavari.
  • It originates from the western slopes of Eastern Ghats in Odisha state from Sinkaram hill ranges at 1370 m MSL.
  • It is also known as Kolab river in Odisha.
  • It forms common boundary between Chhattisgarh and Odisha states and later enters into Andhra Pradesh to merge with River Godavari.
  • Sileru River (known as Machkund in its upper reaches) is the major tributary of Sabari, which joins Sabari river at tri-junction boundary point of Andhra Pradesh, Chhattisgarh and Odisha.

Source: The Hindu.

Political battle over Ramateertham

Focus: GS1.

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


Context

  • The 16th century Ramateertham temple turned into a political war zone with a triangular fight among leaders and activists of the Telugu Desam Party (TDP), the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and the ruling YSR Congress Party as they tried to get maximum political mileage with regard to the vandalism of the idol of Lord Rama at the Kodandarama Swamy temple.
  • The shrine is located nearly 12 km from Vizianagaram district.

Background

  • Political heat reached a peak with a sudden tour by Rajya Sabha MP Vijaya Sai Reddy when former Chief Minister N. Chandrababu Naidu was scheduled to visit the temple at around 12.30 p.m.
  • The TDP and BJP strongly opposed the visit to the temple by Mr. Vijaya Sai and ruling party leaders with YSRCP flags.

About the temple

  • The idol of Lord Rama atop the historic Ramateertham temple, located 12 km from Vizianagaram, was vandalised on December 29.
  • A part of the idol was identified in a small pond on December 31.
  • Ramateertham is a village panchayat in Nellimarla mandal of Vizianagaram district in Andhra Pradesh in India. It is about 12 km from Vizianagaram city.
  • Ramateertham is one of the places made sacred by a traditional connection with Lord Sree Rama.
  • The famous ancient temple of Ramachandra Swamy can be found here.
  • The beautiful idols of Lord Ramachandra Swamy, Sita and Lakshmana in Silver kavachas can be seen at this temple.

Source: The Hindu.

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Bat species in Kolar caves

Focus: GS3.

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


Context

  • Till several years ago, the Kolar Leaf-Nosed Bat was found in only two caves in the village of Hanumanahalli in Kolar district of Karnataka.
  • For reasons that are still unknown, the bat became locally extinct in one of the two caves.

Background

  • The Karnataka Forest Department, along with the Bat Conservation India Trust (BCIT), is on a war footing to save the remaining bats, which are endemic to the area, from extinction.
  • In 2014, after a study conducted by Osmania University, the state government first came to know of the bats becoming extinct in one of the caves.
  • The government immediately notified the 30 acres around the caves as protected area.

About Kolar leaf nosed bat

  • It is exclusive to Karnataka and very little is known about this bat.
  • Bats are one of the least studied mammals in the country, though there are 130 species in India.
  • They are very adaptable creatures and therefore can often be found near human habitation or even in urban settlements, which makes them vulnerable.
  • They also have a bad image in the public eye, as carriers of diseases.
  • Bats are absolutely vital for the ecology as they are pollinators, their main diet being nectar.
  • The plants that bloom at night are entirely dependent on bats and moths for pollination.
  • Bats also help in insect control and therefore, help in the protection of crops.
  • There are five species of bats that live in the caves of Hanumanahalli, of which the Kolar Leaf-Nosed Bat is just one.

Source: Indian Express.

RBI constructs Composite Digital Payments Index (DPI) to capture extent of digitisation

Focus: GS3.

Topic: Indian Economy and issues relating to planning, mobilization of resources, growth, development and employment.


Context

  • RBI constructs a Composite Digital Payments Index (DPI) to capture extent of digitisation.
  • The Reserve Bank of India has constructed a composite Digital Payments Index (DPI) to capture the extent of digitisation of payments across the country.

Background

Earlier, it was announced in the Statement on Developmental and Regulatory Policies as part of the Sixth Bi-monthly Monetary Policy Statement for 2019-20 dated February 06, 2020.

Highlights

  • As part of the Monetary Policy Statement for 2019-20 The RBI-DPI comprises of 5 broad parameters that enable measurement of deepening and penetration of digital payments in the country over different time periods.
  • The RBI-DPI has been constructed with March 2018 as the base period, i.e. DPI score for March 2018 is set at 100.
  • The DPI for March 2019 and March 2020 work out to 153.47 and 207.84 respectively, indicating appreciable growth.
  • Going forward, RBI-DPI shall be published on RBI’s website on a semi-annual basis from March 2021 onwards with a lag of 4 months.

Source: Economic Times.

Community fishing banned at Deepor Beel

Focus: GS3.

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


Context

  • Kamrup (Metropolitan) district administration has prohibited community fishing at Deepor Beel, a wetland on the south-western edge of Guwahati and Assam’s only Ramsar site.
  • It is located to the south-west of Guwahati city, in Kamrup district of Assam.

Background

  • It is a permanent freshwater lake and drains into the Brahmaputra river.
  • The climate is humid and tropical monsoon, with a prolonged monsoon season from May to September and a relatively cool, winter.

Highlights

  • Deepor Beel was designated a Ramsar site in 2002 for sustaining a range of aquatic life forms besides 219 species of birds.
  • Considered as one of the largest beels in the Brahmaputra valley of Lower Assam, it is categorized as a representative of the wetland type under the Burma monsoon forest biogeographic region.
  • It is also an important bird sanctuary(IBA) habituating many migrant species.
  • Deepor Beel is in a bad state as it is losing connectivity with small rivers like Kalmoni, Khonjin, and Basistha due to encroachment upon the natural channels through Guwahati, municipal waste dump at Boragaon almost on the edge of the wetland, and over-exploitation of the wetland.

Source: India Express.

A new measure that can predict whether a city is prone to rain- or tide-based flooding

Focus: GS3.

Topic: Disaster and disaster management.


Context

The C40 Cities report of 2018 notes that by 2050, over 570 low-lying coastal cities will face projected sea level rise by at least 0.5 meters, putting over 800 million people at risk from the impacts of rising seas and storm surges.

Objective

To understand if a coastal city is more prone to floods caused by tidal events or extreme rainfall, a team from the Indian Institute of Technology Bombay devised a new metric or measure called the Tide–Rainfall Flood Quotient.

Highlights

  • While the inland areas can be flooded due to the heavy rainfall, the coasts are threatened by the impact of tidal surges.
  • Using the past rainfall data, tidal data, and topography of the region this framework can be applied to pinpoint the major factor at play.
  • The team selected three geographically diverse flood-prone coastal regions – Mithi Catchment in Mumbai, Maharashtra, Jagatsinghpur District in Odisha, and Greater Chennai Corporation in Tamil Nadu to test their new metric.
  • The new method helped classify these regions into ‘storm-tide dominated’ or ‘pluvial (rainfall) dominated’ regions.
  • The metric can help disaster management experts in framing better flood risk management systems directed towards long term planning.

Source: The Hindu.

India looks at lithium reserves in Argentina, Chile and Bolivia

Focus: GS3.                                

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


Context

Currently, India is heavily dependent on import of these cells and the move to ink sourcing pacts for lithium is seen as another salvo in the front against China, a key source of both the raw material and cells.

Background

Just as it was stepping up its economic offensive against China, India, through a newly-floated state-owned company, inked a pact with an Argentine firm mid-last year to jointly prospect lithium in the South American country that has the third largest reserves of the silver-white alkali metal — a crucial building block of the lithium-ion rechargeable batteries that power electric vehicles (EVs), laptops and mobile phones.

Highlights

  • Currently, India is heavily dependent on import of these cells and the move to ink sourcing pacts for lithium is seen as another salvo in the front against China, a key source of both the raw material and cells.
  • India is seen as a late mover as it attempts to enter the lithium value chain, coming at a time when EVs are predicted to be a sector ripe for disruption.
  • And 2021 is likely to be an inflection point for battery technology, with several potential improvements to the Li-ion technology, and alternatives to this tried-and-tested formulation, under advanced stages of commercialisation.

Source: Indian Express.

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Test your Knowledge

  1. Consider the following statements wrt Indian Antarctic expeditions:
  • The Indian Antarctic expeditions began in 1981.
  • The first trip comprised of a team of 21 scientists and support staff led by Dr SZ Qasim.
  • The National Centre for Polar and Ocean Research (NCPOR), Goa, manages the entire Indian Antarctic program.

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. Sabari River is one of the main tributaries of which of the following river?

       A. Godavari
       B. Cauvery
       C. Periyar
       D. Ganga

Solution: A

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