Daily Current Affairs and MCQs for UPSC - August 28, 2020 (The Hindu, Economic Times, PIB)

The century-old Mysuru zoo has become the second Indian zoo to house the African Cheetah

Focus: GS3.

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


Context

Mysuru zoo has become the second Indian zoo to house the African cheetah, the fastest land animal, as it managed to get one male and two females from a cheetah conservation centre in South Africa under an animal-exchange programme.

About Sri Chamarajendra Zoological Gardens

  • It is one of the oldest and most popular zoos in India.
  • Mysore Zoo was created from the private menagerie of Maharaja Sri Chamaraja Wodeyar in 1892.
  • Originally called the Palace Zoo, it was renamed "Chamarajendra Zoological Gardens" in 1909.
  • The zoo was handed over to the Forest Department in 1972, and was entrusted to Zoo Authority of Karnataka (the first autonomous organization in India to manage a zoo) in 1979.

About South African Cheetah

  • The Southern African cheetah lives mainly in the lowland areas and deserts of the Kalahari, the savannahs of Okavango Delta, and the grasslands of the Transvaal region in South Africa.
  • In Namibia, cheetahs are mostly found in farmlands.
  • Cheetahs from Africa and Asia were previously considered as genetically identical with each other.

Source: The Hindu.

World temperature record set in California's Death Valley

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

  • One of the hottest air temperatures recorded anywhere on the planet in at least a century, and possibly ever, was reached t Death Valley in California’s Mojave Desert where it soared to 130 Fahrenheit (54.4 Celsius).
  • An automated observation system run by the U.S. National Weather Service in the valley’s sparsely populated Furnace Creek reported the record at 3:41 p.m. at the crest of an extreme heat wave, a more frequent occurrence due to climate change.
Background
  • It was a dry heat: Humidity fell to 7%. But it felt “insanely hot” all the same.
  • A heat wave roasting much of the western United States would continue all week.

About the Highlights

  • A temperature of 134F (56.7C) was recorded in Death Valley in July 1913, and Kebili, Tunisia, is said to have hit 131F in July 1931, according to the World Meteorological Organization.
  • Climate change has pushed global temperatures to new highs.
  • In Europe, northern Spain broke local heat records in July, while wheat fields in France caught fire.
  • Forests across Siberian Russia are seeing unprecedented wildfires, while the Arctic sea ice shrank to a record low for July due to melting.

About Mojave Desert

  • The Mojave Desert is an arid rain-shadow desert and the driest desert in North America.
  • It is in the South-western, primarily within southeastern California and southern Nevada.
  • Its boundaries are generally noted by the presence of Joshua trees, which are native only to the Mojave Desert and are considered an indicator species, and it is believed to support an additional 1,750 to 2,000 species of plants.

Source: Indian Express.

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Logo of Labour Bureau

Focus: GS2.

Topic: Statutory, regulatory and various quasi-judicial bodies.


Context

  • The official logo of Labour Bureau, an attached office of Ministry of Labour and Employment, was launched by Shri Santosh Kumar Gangwar, Minister of State (I/C) for Labour and Employment to visually communicate the vision and objectives of the Bureau.
  • While lauding the efforts Labour Minister mentioned that Labour Bureau was established as a Directorate of Cost of Living at Shimla in the year 1941 with the objective of conducting Family Budget Enquiries and compiling Cost of Living Index Numbers for important centers in the country on a uniform basis. 

Background

  • The need for more comprehensive labour statistics in the context of formulation of labour policy led to the setting up of the Labour Bureau on October 1, 1946 by rechristening the Directorate of Cost of Living with added functions.
  • Since then Labour Bureau is engaged in collection, compilation, analysis and dissemination of statistics on different facets of labour at All India level.

About the Highlights

  • The newly launched logo represents that Labour Bureau is a data based organization dealing in data related to workers and work.
  • The logo also represents the three goals that Labour Bureau strives to achieve in producing quality data i.e. Accuracy, Validity and Reliability.
  • Blue wheel is a cog wheel  representing work, choice of blue colour Sinifies that we deal with blue collar workers, the graph is not going up words alone as in real world data has ups & downs because it captures ground reality.
  • A tricolored Graph, matching the colors of the National flag, along with wheat ears, signifying the fruit of rural agricultural labour, has been beautifully placed in the logo.
  • The mandate of Labour Bureau is to act as a storehouse of important economic indicators like Consumer Price Index for Industrial worker, Agriculture & Rural Labour Numbers for Industrial, Agricultural and Rural Labourers; wage rate indices and data on employment/ unemployment, industrial relations, socio-economic conditions in the organized and unorganized sector of industry etc.
  • The Labour Bureau is a Apex National Level organization in the field of labour statistics which performs significant functions such as Labour Intelligence, Research, Monitoring/evaluation & training.

Source: PIB.

National Council for Transgender Persons

Focus: GS1.

Topic: Social empowerment.


Context

  • The Centre has constituted the National Council for Transgender Persons to formulate policies, programmes, legislation and projects regarding members of the community for achieving equality and full participation by them.
  • The council was established by the Centre in exercise of the powers conferred by the Transgender Persons (Protection of Rights) Act, 2019, according to a gazette notification issued.

About the objective

  • According to the Act, the functions of the council include advising the Centre on the formulation of policies, programmes, legislation and projects with respect to transgender persons; monitoring and evaluating the impact of policies and programmes designed for achieving equality and full participation of transgender persons.
  • The other functions of the council are to review and coordinate the activities of all the departments of government and other governmental and non-governmental organisations dealing with matters relating to transgender persons, to redress the grievances of transgender persons, and to perform such other functions as may be prescribed by the Centre.

About the Council

  • The council have representatives from community members, five states and 10 central departments.
  • Its chairperson will be the Union Minister of the Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment while the vice-chairperson will be the junior minister in the ministry, according to the gazette notification.
  • The other members will be from the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, Ministry Home Affairs, Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs, Minority Affairs ministry and Rural Development ministry among others, it said.
  • The representatives of the state governments and union territories by rotation, one each from the north, south, east, west and northeast regions have also been announced.
  • Also, five representatives of the transgender community, one each from the north, south, east, west and northeast regions have also been announced.

Source: PIB.

Country’s longest ‘ropeway over a river’ inaugurated in Guwahati

Focus: GS3.

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


Context

  • The Assam government inaugurated a 1.8-km-long ropeway over the Brahmaputra, connecting Guwahati to North Guwahati.
  • Officials have said that it is the longest ropeway on a river in India.

Background

  • Built at a cost of Rs 56 crore, it comprises of two cabins, each with a capacity of 30 passengers and one operator.
  • It takes eight minutes to traverse the entire length of the ropeway.

About the ropeway

  • The ropeway will be operated from Kachari Ghat in Guwahati and the Dol Govinda Temple in North Guwahati.
  • It will pass the Umananda Temple on a small island in the middle of the Brahmaputra.
  • The ropeway was conceived by GoA as an enabling infra project for additional all-purpose transportation between two banks of river Brahmaputra.

Source: Indian Express.

China launches advanced warship for Pakistan Navy

Focus: GS2.

Topic: Effect of policies and politics of developed and developing countries on India's interests, Indian diaspora.


Context

  • China has launched first of the four advanced naval warships it is building for Pakistan, amid deepening defence ties between the two all-weather allies.
  • The launching ceremony for the first warship was held at the Hudong Zhonghua Shipyard in Shanghai.
Background
  • Pakistan-China defence ties turn a new chapter with the launch of the first ship of Type-054 class frigate, Pakistan's state-run APP news agency reported.
  • The Type-054 class, equipped with the latest surface, subsurface, anti-air weapons, combat management system, and sensors will be one of the technologically advanced surface platforms of the Pakistan Navy fleet, the report said.

About the Highlights

  • Pakistan signed a contract with the China Shipbuilding Trading Company Ltd. (CSTC) for the delivery of two Type-054 A/P frigates in 2017.
  • Last year, the Chinese official media reported that under a major arms deal between the two all-weather allies, China would build four advanced frigates for Pakistan Navy.
  • The terms of the deal and the price of the ships were not revealed.
  • The launching of the ship coincided with the 2nd strategic dialogue between Foreign Minister of China Wang Yi and his Pakistani counterpart Shah Mahmood Qureshi held at the Chinese holiday resort of Hainan on August 21.

Source: India Today.

Nabard launches credit guarantee programme for NBFC-MFIs

Focus: GS3.

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


Context

  • The National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development (Nabard) has introduced a dedicated debt and credit guarantee product to ensure unhindered flow of credit in rural areas hit by the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • The product- Structured Finance and Partial Guarantee Programme to NBFC-MFIs -entails providing partial guarantee on pooled loans extended to small and mid-sized micro finance institutions (MFIs), a release said.

Background

  • Nabard signed a pact with Vivriti Capital and Ujjivan Small Finance Bank earlier this month to roll out the initiative, which will enhance access to sustainable finance for microenterprises and low-income households. 
  • The partially guaranteed loan facility will catalyse much-needed financing to millions of households, agricultural and business markets to sustain in the post COVID-19 environment.

About the Highlights

  • It will help facilitate ₹2,500 crore funding in the initial phase and is expected to be scaled up.
  • The programme is expected to cover over 1 million households across 28 states and 650 districts, the release said.
  • The pooled loan issuance (PLI) structure provides the lending bank adequate comfort through Nabard's partial credit protection, reduces cost of capital as the rating of the loans gets notched up and helps lenders meet priority sector goals.
  • This structure will pool together the risk of multiple borrowers and add a layer of partial first loss credit enhancement from a highly rated guarantor.
  • For the first transaction under the programme, Nabard and Vivriti have partnered with Ujjivan Small Finance Bank, the release said.
  • Since the beginning of the pandemic, Nabard has rolled out special liquidity lines and has disbursed around ₹2,000 crore to MFIs and non banking financial companies (NBFCs).

Source: LiveMint.

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Test your Knowledge

  1. Consider the following statements wrt super app:
  1. A super app is a platform developed by a company offering various services under one umbrella.
  2. A physical world comparison of a super app would be a mall, which allows retail space to various brands and shops across businesses and verticals.
  3. Typically, companies that have a slew of services and products to offer tend to consolidate these offerings into a super app.

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. Palomar Observatory is in:

       A. Australia
       B. Germany
       C. United States
       D. India

Solution: C

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