20201228 Current Affairs and Editorial

  Water Quality Testing Innovation Challenge launched

Part of: GS Prelims and GS-II – Policies and Interventions

In news

  • The National Jal Jeevan Mission has launched an innovation challenge in partnership with Department of Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade to develop portable devices for water testing.

  • The National Jal Jeevan Mission invites applicants to join the Innovation Challenge to develop portable devices for water testing and become a part of this life changing Jan Aandolan.

Key takeaways 

  • Aim of the innovation challenge:To ensure that water sources are tested at various locations, at different levels; thereby, helping the policy framers to design programs which address the water contamination issues.

  • Main objective:To bring an innovative, modular, and cost-effective solution to develop portable devices that can be used at the household level to test the drinking water quality instantly, easily and accurately.

  • People receiving piped water supply in their homes do not have any means to test the potability of water coming from their taps.

  • This leads to a situation where people are reluctant to consume tap water directly.

  • People in urban areas also end up installing household water treatment units incurring additional expenditure.

  • The challenge aims to address these issues in an innovative, modular and cost-effective manner.

  • Important value additions 

    Jal Jeevan Mission

    • In August, 2019, Government of India launched Jal Jeevan Mission (JJM).

    • JJM aims at providing potable water at service level of 55 litre per capita per day (LPCD) to every rural household through Functional Household Tap Connection (FHTC) by 2024.

    • The fund sharing pattern between the Centre and states is 90:10 for Himalayan and North-Eastern States, 50:50 for other states, and 100% for Union Territories.

    • It is under implementation in partnership with the States to enable every rural home to have tap water connection by 2024.

    • Ministry: Ministry of Jal Shakti

    • Aim of the mission:To provide every rural household potable tap water in adequate quantity and of prescribed quality on a regular and long-term basis.

    • Water quality testing is one of the priority areas under Jal Jeevan Mission, the flagship programme of Union Government.

    • Since announcement of the Jal Jeevan Mission, till 23rd December, 2020, so far 2.90 Crore households have been provided tap water connections, thus increasing the tap water supply from 3.23 Crore (17%) in August, 2019 to 6.13 Crore (32%) rural households of the country.

    Do you know? 

    • The Uniform Drinking Water Quality Protocol, 2019 has specified some important parameters to be monitored for assuring portability of drinking water as per BIS IS 10500:2012 and subsequent amendments.

    • Related articles:

      • Jal Jeevan Mission:

      • Margadarshika for Gram Panchayats and Paani Samitis:

        Endangered Species Research authors suggest existence of unknown Whale Population 

      • Part of: GS Prelims and GS-III – Environment; Biodiversity

        In news

        • In a paper published in the journal Endangered Species Research, authors described a new whale song, suggesting the existence of a population that was previously unknown.

        Key takeaways 

        • Researchers have recorded the unique song off the coast of Oman in the northern Arabian Sea, off the western Chagos Archipalego, and off Madagascar in the southwestern Indian Ocean.

        • Since it is the only blue whale song identified by them in the western Arabian Sea, researchers have called it the “Northwest Indian Ocean”.

        • Researchers believe the source is either the blue whale or Bryde’s whale since both species have been documented off Oman previously.

        • Significance: Given that this song-type has not been reported before, the presence of it across a large geographic region indicates the likely existence of a previously undefined population of blue whalesintheWesternIndianOcean.

        Do you know? 

        • Not all whales sing.

        • Only some, such as the baleen whale, have been found to sing songs.

        • Whales use songs to communicate and socialise.

        • Their songs can be characterised as clicks, whistles and pulsed calls or a composition of “moans, snores, chirps and cries”.

        • Whales use clicks to navigate and identify their surroundings as the sound bounces off objects, helping whales determine their shapes.

        • These use whistles and pulses during social activities.

        • Their songs can last between 6-35 minutes, and some individual whales have been found to sing for 22 hours.

        • Whale songs are typically below 4 kHz in frequency, thus being inaudible to human ears.

        • Human hearing range is between 20 Hz to 20 kHz.

        • E-Sampada: A new Web Portal and Mobile App launched 

        • Part of: GS Prelims and GS-II – Policies and Interventions

          In news

          • The Directorate of Estates, Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs recently launched a new Web Portal and Mobile App, e-Sampada.

          Key takeaways

          • The new application provides a single window for all these services including allotment for over one lakh government residential accommodations, office space allotment to government organisations, etc.

          • In its endeavour to provide ‘One Nation, One System’, the erstwhile four websites (,,,, and two Mobile Apps (m-Awas & m-Ashoka5) of the Directorate of Estates have been integrated into one.

          ISRO released to public the initial data from Chandrayaan-2

    • Part of: GS Prelims and GS-III – Sci & Tech

      In news

      • The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) released to public the initial data from Chandrayaan-2.

      • It was India’s second Moon mission, which was launched on July 22, 2019.

      Key takeaways 

      • The Orbiter, which was injected into a lunar orbit on September 2, 2019, carried eight experiments/payloads, all of which have been performing well and sending data received.

      • The public release data archived at the Indian Space Science Data Center (ISSDC) in Byalalu (Bengaluru) is prepared in the standard, globally followed planetary data system-4 (PDS4) format for public release.

      • The ISSDC is the nodal center of planetary data archive for planetary missions of ISRO.

      Chandrayaan-2 key facts:

      • 1st space mission to conduct a soft landing on the Moon’s south polar region

      • 1st Indian expedition to attempt a soft landing on the lunar surface with home-grown technology

      • It is India’s first interplanetary mission to be steered by two women: project director M Vanitha and mission director Ritu Karidhal.

      • 1st Indian mission to explore the lunar terrain with home-grown technology

      • 4th country ever to soft land on the lunar surface

    • India’s First Driverless Metro to be inaugurated 

Part of: GS Prelims and GS-III – Infrastructure

In news

  • Indian Prime Minister is scheduled to flag off the country’s first ‘driverless’ metro in Delhi on December 28.

  • It will mark a milestone in India’s urban mass rapid Transit.

Key takeaways 

  • The first ‘driverless’ train will roll out on Magenta Line of the Delhi Metro.

  • Delhi metro is a network spread across the national capital and adjoining cities such as Noida, Gurugram, Faridabad, Ghaziabad and Bahadurgarh.

  • The Centre has also notified changes in the Metro Railways General Rules, 2020 as the previous norms did not allow driverless services.

  • The trials of DMRC’s new ‘driverless trains’ were started in December 2017 where the automation of the new metro trains, that were equipped with Unattended Train Operations (UTO) and CBTC (Communication Based Train Control) signalling systems were tested .

  • The driverless train operation (DTO) will only be applicable for Line 7 and Line 8 of the DMRC network which comes under the Phase III expansion.

  • These corridors are equipped with an advanced signalling technology which makes the transition possible.

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