Daily Current Affairs and MCQs for UPSC - October 12, 2020 (The Hindu, Economic Times, PIB)

Goa becomes first ‘Har Ghar Jal’ state in country

Focus: GS2.

Topic: Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues arising out of their design and implementation.


Context

  • Goa has become the first Har Ghar Jal State in the country by providing tap water connection to every rural household.
  • The state has provided tap water connection to two lakh 30 thousand rural households.

Highlights

  • North Goa with one lakh 65 thousand rural households and South Goa with 98 thousand rural households in 191 Gram Panchayats are fully saturated with assured piped water supply through tap connections.
  • Jal Shakti Ministry said, Goa’s achievement is an example for other States to emulate and ensure every rural home gets tap connection and especially in these times of Covid-19 pandemic.
  • The Ministry said the State is now planning for sensor-based service delivery monitoring system to monitor the functionality of water supply.

Source: AIR News.

RBI to discontinue system-based automatic caution-listing of exporters

Focus: GS3.

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


Context

  • In an effort to provide flexibility to exporters in the realisation of export proceeds, the Reserve Bank has decided to discontinue the system-based automatic caution-listing of exporters.
  • RBI Governor Shaktikanta Das said the decision will also empower exporters to negotiate better terms with overseas buyers.

Highlights

  • The exports have been adversely affected due to the pandemic related contraction in demand and the decision is likely to make the system more exporter-friendly and equitable.
  • As part of automation of the Export Data Processing and Monitoring System, the 'Caution/De-caution Listing' of exporters was automated in 2016.
  • Accordingly, the exporters were to be caution-listed automatically, if any shipping bill against them remained outstanding for more than two years.
  • After contracting for six months in a row, India's exports grew by 5.27 percent year-on-year to 27.4 billion dollars in September while the trade deficit narrowed to a three-month low of 2.91 billion dollars.

Source: AIR News.

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EC reduces notice period from 30 days to seven days for registration of political parties

Focus: GS2.

Topic: Salient features of the Representation of People’s Act.


Context

Election Commission of India has given a relaxation and has reduced the notice period from 30 days to seven days for registration of political parties who have published their public notice on or before 7th of this month.

Highlights

  • Since the poll body announced Bihar Assembly Polls on 25th of September, it has been brought to the notice of the Commission that in view of prevailing restrictions on account of COVID-19, there was dislocation and delay in moving applications for registration, which in turn led to delay in registration as a Political Party.
  • After considering all aspects of the matter, Commission relaxed the Public Notice Time period.
  • This relaxation will remain in force till 20th of this month, the last date of nomination for Third and last Phase of the Bihar Assembly elections.

Source: AIR News.

Trial run of India's first hydrogen fuel cell car successfully conducted by CSIR, KPIT

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 Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) and KPIT successfully ran trials of India’s first Hydrogen Fuel Cell (HFC) prototype car running on an indigenously developed fuel cell stack at CSIR-National Chemical Laboratory, Pune.
  • The fuel cell is a low temperature PEM (Proton Exchange Membrane) type Fuel Cell that operates at 65-75 degree centigrade, which is suitable for vehicular applications.

Background

  • CSIR and KPIT have successfully developed a 10 kWe automotive grade LT-PEMFC fuel cell stack based on CSIR’s know-how.
  • The heart of the PEM fuel cell technology includes the membrane electrode assembly, which is wholly a CSIR knowhow.
  • KPIT brought in their expertise in stack engineering which included light-weight metal bipolar plate and gasket design, development of the balance of plant (BoP), system integration, control software and electric powertrain that enabled running the fuel cell vehicle.

Highlights

  • The fuel cell stack uses extremely thin metal bipolar plates, thus reducing the stack weight by about two-thirds.
  • In 2016, CSIR-NCL and CSIR-CECRI as part of the Industry Originated Project (IOP) category of the New Millennium Indian Technology Leadership Initiative (NMITLI) scheme partnered with KPIT for the development of an automotive grade PEM Fuel Cell technology.
  • Hydrogen Fuel Cell (HFC) technology uses chemical reactions between hydrogen and oxygen (from air) to generate electrical energy, eliminating the use of fossil fuels.
  • Further, the fuel cell technology emits only water, thus cutting down the emission of harmful greenhouse gases along with other air pollutants.
  • The technology, with further adoption and use, is poised to make the world a cleaner place with reduced air pollution levels.

Source: LiveMint.

Centre permits export of Bangalore Rose Onions & Krishnapuram Onions

Focus: GS3.

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


Context

  • Union Government has permitted export of Bangalore Rose Onions and Krishnapuram Onions of up to ten thousand metric tonnes each.
  • It has been allowed for the period upto 31st of March next year.

About Bangalore Rose Onions

  • Bangalore rose onion, locally called gulabi eerulli, is a variety of onion grown in and around Bangalore in Karnataka.
  • It got the Geographical Indication tag in 2015.
  • Bangalore rose onions are grown in the districts of Bangalore Urban, Bangalore Rural, Chikkaballapur and Kolar.
  • Rose onions are not cultivated in any other place in India.
  • The onions of this variety have bulbs with flat base and are spherical.
  • The other characteristics which make them unique are their deep scarlet red colour, anthocyanin, phenols and high pungency.
  • They are also known to contain higher levels of protein, phosphorus, iron and carotene.

Source: AIR News.

Union Minister Dharmendra Pradhan demands repeal of Odisha University Amendment Bill, 2020

Focus: GS2.

Topic: Issues relating to development and management of Social Sector/Services relating to Health, Education, Human Resources.


Context

  • Union Minister and BJP leader Dharmendra Pradhan has demanded the repeal of the Odisha University Amendment Bill, 2020 recently passed by the Odisha Legislative Assembly. 
  • Describing the bill as anomalous, Mr Pradhan said, in his letter to Union Education Minister Ramesh Pokhriyal Nishank, that the bill is in complete contradiction to the Prime Minister's visionary National Education Policy- 2020.

Background

Outlining the inconsistencies in the Odisha University Amendment Bill, Mr Pradhan sought the personal intervention of the Union Education Minister in repealing the bill.

Highlights

  • The Bill seeks to bring a paradigm shift the way the state-run universities in the State are functioning.
  • The Odisha University Amendment Bill, 2020 intends to replace the Odisha University Ordinance promulgated by the Governor to amend the Odisha University Act, 1989.
  • As per the provisions of the Bill, the tenure of vice chancellors will be enhanced from 3 years to four years and upper age limit for VC post will be increased from 65 years to 67 years.
  • All universities will come under one Act.
  • The recruitment of the university teachers will be done by the Odisha Public Service Commission.

Source: AIR News.

Rare Brahma Kamal Flower Bloom In Uttarakhand's Snow-Clad Chamoli

Focus: GS3.                                

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


Context

  • The rare Brahma Kamal, the only flower known to bloom after sunset and just once a year, has been spotted in the higher reaches of the Himalayas in Uttarakhand.
  • Time lapse videos of the blooming in the snow-clad valley of Chamoli district have mesmerized the internet.

Background

  • It is said that Brahma Kamal - named after God Brahma who is believed to have created the universe - takes about two hours to bloom to about eight inches in diameter.
  • The flower only blooms for a few hours, and is said to being good luck and prosperity.

Highlights

  • Scientifically known as Saussurea Obvallata, the flower finds mention in the scriptures and is offered in many holy shrines, including Kedarnath, Badrinath and Tunganath.
  • Brahma Kamal is called the King of Himalayan Flowers, and is also the state flower of Uttarakhand.
  • The flower is highly valued in Tibetan medicine and Ayurveda for its healing properties.
  • It is extensively used by the local population to treat cuts and bruises.
  • Its natural habitat has been facing shrinkage over the last few daces because of global warming, human encroachment and over-harvesting.
  • The state government has now started nurseries in the Chamoli district to conserve the flower and its sister species - all of which have great medicinal value.

Source: NDTV.

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Test your Knowledge

  1. Which of the following statement(s) is/are correct about Garba:
  • Garba is a form of dance which originated in Traditional garbas are performed around centrally lit lamp or a picture or statue of the Goddess Shakti.
  • Women normally perform it in a graceful and rhythmic manner in a circle as they rotate around the object placed in the centre.
  • The Gujarat government has branded Garba as the ‘Longest Dance Festival of the World’.

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. The conservation status of rose-breasted grosbeak is:

    A. Endangered
    B. Critically Endangered
    C. Least Concern
    D. Vulnerable

Solution: C

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