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

History of Karlsruhe

Focus: GS1.

Topic: History of the world will include events from 18th century such as industrial revolution, world wars, redrawing of national boundaries, colonization, decolonization, political philosophies like communism, capitalism, socialism etc.- their forms and effect on the society.


Context

  • The Karlsruhe, a light armoured cruiser, was the last of the big German World War II-era warships to remain missing – until its wreckage was found on June 30.
  • The wreckage of the ship, sunk by a British submarine in 1940, was discovered around 11 nautical miles (20 km) off Kristiansand, Norway, during a routine inspection of undersea electricity cables. 

Background

  • The Karlsruhe was built in the mid-1920s and commissioned into the German Navy in 1929.
  • It was used mostly as a training vessel until World War II.
  • By the time it was used in battle, its structure and weapons systems had been upgraded several times, making it one of Germany’s most effective warships of its class.
  • As German forces set out to invade Norway, the Karlsruhe led a fleet of warships to attack the city of Kristiansand.

About the Submarine

  • The advanced guns and cannons on the ship, supported by other smaller ships in the fleet, destroyed the city’s maritime defences in just a few hours.
  • The fleet dropped off soldiers in Kristiansand, and they, with the help of German warplanes, would go on to take over the city and eventually occupy the whole of Norway.
  • When British submarine HMS Traunt spotted the Karlsruhe emerging from the harbour, the submarine fired multiple torpedoes in its direction, hitting it twice and causing severe damage.
  • The exact location of the Karlsruhe’s wreckage had remained a mystery for the past 80 years due to the discrepancies in the testimonies given by the captain and crew of the ship and others who witnessed its sinking.
  • The wreckage was first discovered in 2017 though it wasn’t identified then as belonging to the Karlsruhe.
  • Experts estimate that thousands of litres of oil and other substances could still be inside the shipwreck, and that it could cause an ecological disaster in case of a leak.
  • For this reason, salvaging the wreck could be dangerous, apart from being a very expensive process.
  • It is also not yet clear whether the site will be classified and protected as an underwater war grave.
  • This would depend on whether any of the Karlsruhe’s crew went down with it, though most of them were known to have been evacuated before the ship was sunk.

Source: Indian Express.

CCEA Approves Asset Monetization By Power Grid Worth Rs 7000 Crore

Focus: GS3.

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


Context

  • The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs, chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, in a path breaking reform, has approved monetisation of assets of POWERGRID, a Public Sector Undertaking (PSU) under Ministry of Power, through Infrastructure Investment Trust (InvIT) model.
  • This is the first time any PSU in Power Sector will undertake asset recycling by monetising its assets through the InvIT model and using the proceeds to fund the new and under-construction capital projects. 
Background
  • This approval would help POWERGRID to monetise in the first lot, assets with gross block value of more than 7000 crore.
  • These assets, which are mainly High Voltage Transmission lines and substations, are held by POWERGRID in form of Special Purpose Vehicles (SPVs).
  • The proceeds from the asset monetization would be deployedby POWERGRID in their new and under-construction projects.

About the Highlights

  • POWERGRID, a public limited company under the administrative control of the Ministry of Power, Government of India, started its commercial operation in the year 1992-93 and is today, a Maharatna company, engaged in the business of power transmission.
  • The Company, along with its wholly owned subsidiaries acquired through the Tariff Based Competitive Bidding (TBCB)process,owns and operates a pan India transmission network.
  • The Company meets its fund requirement for its Capital Expenditure (CAPEX) through its internal accruals and debt.
  • The Budget 2019-20 emphasized investment led growth and indicated that new and innovative financial instruments including Infrastructure Investment Trusts (lnvITs), have been launched as part of the brown field asset monetization strategy for augmenting infrastructure investment.
  • The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs has accorded approval to the POWERGRID to monetise transmission assets held in SPVs through InvIT model.
  • The asset monetisation through InvIT by POWERGRID is a first for the Power Sector PSU.
  • The proceeds from the asset monetization would be utilized by POWERGRID for its CAPEX and the premium generated would augment the net worth of POWERGRID.
  • In the first block, POWERGRID would monetize assets with gross block of more than Rs7000 crore.
  • Based on the experience gained, further monetization shall be carried out in future.

Source: Business Standard.

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Odisha villagers set to get mobile signal for first time

Focus: GS3.

Topic: Various Security forces and agencies and their mandate.


Context

  • Thousands of villagers in Odisha’s Malkangiri district are set to enjoy uninterrupted cellular service for the first time in their lives.
  • Due to threats from left wing extremists, mobile towers could not be installed until now in Swabhiman Anchal (formerly known as Cut-off area).
  • Located along the Odisha-Andhra Pradesh border, Swabhiman Anchal comprises 151 villages.

Background

  • The area, surrounded by water on three sides and by inhospitable terrain on another, became less remote after the construction of Gurupriya Bridge, which connected the zone with the rest of the State in 2018.
  • It is a landmark day as mobile network connectivity is being started in Swabhiman Area at the villages of Pipalapadar, Hantalguda, Jantapal, which did not have mobile connectivity before.

About the Highlights

  • Odisha accounts for the highest number of villages that do not have mobile phone services in India.
  • Over the recent years, since the deployment of the Border Security Force in 2010, the region has been witnessing a turnaround with intensified counter Maoist operations by BSF and State Police.
  • Malkangiri has been one of the most violence-hit districts in the country with as many as 332 Maoist incidents recorded in 12 years between 2008 and 2020.

Source: AIR News.

August rainfall highest since 1926: IMD

Focus: GS1.

Topic: Important Geophysical phenomena such as earthquakes, Tsunami, Volcanic activity, cyclone etc., geographical features and their location- changes in critical geographical features (including water-bodies and ice-caps) and in flora and fauna and the effects of such changes.


Context

  • August rainfall this year has been the highest since 1926 with 32.7 cm — or about 27% more than what is normal for the month, according to data from the India Meteorological Department (IMD).
  • In August 1926, the rainfall recorded was 34.8 cm, exceeding the normal by 33%.
  • IMD officials said that though August rainfall was in excess, the figure for this year’s monsoon as a whole were likely to be within the department’s June forecast of a normal (96 to 104% of the long period average) rainfall.

Background

  • There has been a decrease in rainfall across India since the beginning of September.
  • However we expect a revival again around September 17.
  • From June to September 6, India had registered 7% more rainfall than what is normal for this period.
  • In the normal course, the monsoon begins its retreat from September 15 and this can go on for nearly a month.

About the Highlights

  • The heavy rain in August was due to several long-lasting low-pressure systems, or rain-bearing winds, that formed in the Bay of Bengal and were vigorous enough to travel all the way from the south-eastern coast up to north-west India.
  • In a typical monsoon season, there are 12-13 LPA. There were fewer this year, however, there were six of them in August and they lasted for several days. Together that led to several rainy days in August.
  • The surplus rain was primarily in Rajasthan, Gujarat, Maharashtra, Karnataka, Kerala, Telangana, Chhattisgarh and Odisha.
  • Long periods of heavy rain followed by extended dry periods are a feature of climate change and is part of a general change in monsoon patterns over India, the IMD had previously stated.

Source: Indian Express.

Global Multidimensional Poverty Index: Niti to leverage monitoring mechanism

Focus: GS2.

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


Context

  • The Niti Aayog will leverage the monitoring mechanism of the Global Multidimensional Poverty Index to push forward reforms in the country and in this regard, the government think-tank has also set up a coordination committee.
  • The "Global Multidimensional Poverty Index (MPI) is part of the government's decision to monitor the performance of the country on 29 select global indices", an official release said.
About the objective

The objective of the 'Global Indices to Drive Reforms and Growth (GIRG)' exercise is to fulfil the need to measure and monitor India's performance on various important social and economic parameters and enable the utilisation of these indices as tools for self-improvement, bring about reforms in policies, while improving last-mile implementation of government schemes.

About the Highlights
  • Niti Aayog is the nodal agency for the MPI. It has also constituted a Multidimensional Poverty Index Coordination Committee (MPICC).
  • Global MPI is an international measure of multidimensional poverty covering 107 developing countries.
  • It was first developed in 2010 by Oxford Poverty and Human Development Initiative (OPHI) and United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) for UNDP's Human Development Reports.
  • The index is released at the High-Level Political Forum (HLPF) on Sustainable Development of the United Nations in July every year, according to the release.
  • Global MPI is computed by assigning scores for each surveyed household on 10 parameters.
  • These are based on nutrition, child mortality, years of schooling, school attendance, cooking fuel, sanitation, drinking water, electricity, housing, and household assets.
  • It utilises the National Family Health Survey (NFHS), which is conducted under the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare (MoHFW) coordinated by International Institute for Population Sciences (IIPS).

Source: LiveMint.

Gadkari inaugurates bridges, road projects in Gadchiroli

Focus: GS3.

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


Context

  • Union Minister for Road Transport & Highways Nitin Gadkari on August 30 inaugurated three bridges and two road improvement projects in the Gadchiroli district of Maharashtra, through video conferencing.
  • Gadkari also laid foundation stones for four other major bridge projects across the rivers Wainganga, Bandiya, Perikota and Perimili.

Background

  • The all-weather road network in far-flung areas of Naxal affected districts, like Gadchiroli, will improve the socio-economic development in the region.
  • In the coming two years or so, the Gadchiroli district will see an all-round transformation.

Highlights

  • 855 metre major bridge across Pranahita river on Nizamabad – Jagdalpur road (NH 63) at a cost of Rs 168 crores.
  • 630 metre high-level bridge across the Indravati river near Patagudam on Nizamabad – Jagdalpur road (NH 63) at a cost of Rs 248 crores.
  • 30 metre high-level bridge near Lankachen on Bejurpalli – Aheri road.
  • Improvement of Bejurpalli-Aheri road (SH 275) between Watra and Moyabinpeta.
  • Improvement of Garanji – Pustola road.

Source: PIB.

Himalayan Day

Focus: GS3.                                 

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


Context

  • Recently, a national-level webinar was organised to mark the Himalayan Day on September 9th. 
  • It was first observed in Uttarakhand in 2010 as an initiative of a group of noted environmentalists to provide solutions for sustainable development and ecological stability for the Himalayas.

Background

  • This year’s Himalaya Divas was celebrated at the national level on September 9.
  • The theme for this year is “The Himalaya and Nature”.

About the Highlights

  • The word Himalaya comes from two Sanskrit words: Him (snow) and Aalay (abode). 
  • The Himalayas are home to the world’s largest mountains, including the highest peak – Mount Everest, standing at an incredible 8,848m tall.
  • This incredible mountain range is a result of tectonic plate movement that collided India into Tibet and stretches for 2,400km in length between the Indus and the Brahmaputra river systems.
  • The Himalayas, passing through India, Pakistan, Tibet, Bhutan and Nepal.
  • There are the Outer Himalayas, the Lower Himalayas, the Tibetan Himalayas, the Trans-Himalayas and the Great Himalayas.

Source: PIB.

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Test your Knowledge

  1. Consider the following statements wrt Kisan Rail:
  1. Introduction of Kisan Rail is conceptualized to provide priority to the farming sector and facilitate transportation of perishable agricultural products to various market places across the country.
  2. India’s second and South India’s first Kisan Train commenced its inaugural run from Anantapur in Andhra Pradesh to Adarsh Nagar in New Delhi.
  3. South India’s 1st Kisan Rail train service between Anantapur - New Delhi will cover a distance of 2150 kms in 40 hours.

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. EASE Banking Reforms Index is released by:

       A. NITI Aayog
       B. Ministry of Finance
       C. Ministry of Commerce
       D. Ministry of Industries

Solution: B

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