CURRENT AFFAIRS FOR IAS PCS HCS UPSC CSE 20210102

ONLINE IAS COACHING
9988003622
20210102 Current Affairs and Editorial
(FOR PRELIMS & MAINS OF UPSC CSE)

New Bhaupur-New Khurja Section of Eastern Dedicated Freight Corridor

Part of: GS Prelims and GS-III – Infrastructure

In news

  • Indian Prime Minister dedicated to the nation the ambitious New Bhaupur-New Khurja section of Eastern Dedicated Freight Corridor (EDFC) in Uttar Pradesh (UP).

Key takeaways 

  • The 351-kilometre New Bhaupur- New Khurja section of EDFC is built at a cost of Rs. 5,750 crore and most of its part passes through UP.

  • The section will decongest the existing Kanpur-Delhi main line and will enable Indian Railways to run faster trains.

  • The agro products of UP will now reach at a faster speed to other parts of the country .

  • It will increase the export capacity of the state which is a landlocked area and doesn’t have any port to send the items abroad.

Do you know? 

  • The Prime Minister also inaugurated Eastern Dedicated Freight Corridor’s Operation Control Centre at Prayagraj,UP.

  • This will act as the command centre for the entire route length of the EDFC.

  • The Operation Control Centre is equipped with state of the art facilities which are indigenously designed.

Digital Ocean web-based application inaugurated

 

Part of: GS Prelims and GS-II – Policies and interventions & GS-III – Sci & tech

In news

  • Web-based application Digital Ocean was recently inaugurated

  • Ministry: Ministry of Earth Sciences

  • Developed by:INCOIS of Earth Sciences Ministry

Key takeaways 

  • Digital Ocean is a first of its kind digital platform for Ocean Data Management.

  • It includes a set of applications developed to organize and present heterogeneous oceanographic data by adopting rapid advancements in geospatial technology.

  • It facilitates an online interactive web-based environment for data integration, 3D and 4D data visualization, data analysis to assess the evolution of oceanographic features, data fusion and multi-format download of different kinds of data from multiple sources.

  • ‘Digital Ocean’ will help to share knowledge about the ocean with a wide range of users.

  • It also provides free access to information to the general public and the common man.

Significance:

  • It will play a central role in sustainable management of our oceans and expanding our ‘Blue Economy’ initiatives.

  • It will be promoted as a platform for capacity building on Ocean Data Management for all Indian Ocean Rim countries.

Radio wave emission detected from the direction of Proxima Centauri 

Part of: GS Prelims and GS-III – Sci & tech

In news

  • Astronomers at the $100 million Breakthrough Listen project have recently picked up radio wave emission from the direction of Proxima Centauri, the closest star to our Sun.

  • Breakthrough Listen project was started by physicist Stephen Hawking,

Key takeaways 

  • The news has sparked renewed interest in Proxima Centauri, one of whose planets is believed to revolve in the star’s habitable zone, giving rise to the possibility that it could have, or does, sustain life.

  • Proxima Centauri is 4.2 light-years away from the Sun.

  • Its mass is about an eighth of the Sun’s, and it is too dim to be seen with the naked eye from Earth.

Important value additions 

Proxima b

  • Proxima b, one of the two planets that revolve around the star, is the subject of significant curiosity.

  • Sized 1.2 times larger than Earth, and orbiting its star every 11 days, Proxima b lies in Proxima Centauri’s Goldilocks zone.

  • Goldilocks zone is the area around a star where it is not too hot and not too cold for liquid water to exist on the surface of surrounding planets (e.g. Earth is in the Sun’s Goldilocks zone).

  • However, this does not mean for sure that water is present on Proxima b.

  • It could also be hostile to life, if its atmosphere has been stripped away by solar flares from Proxima Centauri.

Madhya Pradesh Government organizes ‘Raag-Bhopali’ exhibition to promote Zari-Zardozi 

Part of: GS Prelims and GS-I – Culture

In news

  • Madhya Pradesh Government is organizing ‘Raag-Bhopali’ exhibition to promote Zari-Zardozi crafts of Bhopal.

Important value additions 

  • Embroidery done with metallic threads is called kalabattu and forms the zari.

  • The main zari production Centre is Bhopal, Madhya Pradesh.

Process

  • Here the metal ingots are melted into metal bars called pasa from which lengths are got by beating it after treatment.

  • This is then pulled through perforated steel plates to make it into wires, followed by the tarkashi process to make it thin with rubber and diamond dies.

  • The last stage is called badla where the wire is flattened and twisted with silk or cotton thread to become kasab or kalabattu.

Different kinds of zari work

  • Zardozi: This is a heavy and more elaborate embroidery work which uses varieties of gold threads, spangles, beads and gota.

  • It is used to embellish wedding outfits, heavy coats, cushions, curtains etc.

  • Kamdani: This is a lighter needlework which is done on lighter material like scarves, veils, and caps.

  • Mina Work: This is thus called owing to its resemblance with enamel work.

  • The embroidery is done in gold.

100th Kisan Rail flagged off recently 

 

Part of: GS Prelims and GS-III – Infrastructure

In news

  • Prime Minister flagged off the 100th Kisan Rail train, which shall ply between Devlali and Danapur.

  • It has now been extended to run between Sangola to Muzaffarpur.

Important value additions 

  • The Kisan Rail train carries vegetables and fruits like grapes, oranges, pomegranate, etc.

  • The loading and unloading of perishable commodities will be permitted at all en route stoppages and there is no minimum or maximum size of consignment.

  • The government has extended a subsidy of 50% on transportation of fruits and vegetables.

  • The multi-commodity train service has been popular as it also carries relatively small quantities of produce brought in by small, individual farmers.

Progress

  • So far, the Kisan Rail has run regularly on 10 routes.

  • One route — between Yeshvantpur and Delhi — exhausted its seasonal demand a while ago.

  • Kisan Rail trains have ferried around 27,000 tonnes of produce so far, and half of the trips made so far were by trains running between Devlali in Maharashtra and Danapur in Bihar.

Inflation Target at 4% is appropriate for India: RBI

Part of: GS Prelimzs and GS-III – Economy

In news

  • Recently, a working paper titled “Measuring Trend Inflation in India” was released by RBI.

  • According to the paper, maintaining the inflation target at 4% is appropriate for India.

Key takeaways 

  • The paper seeks to estimate trend inflation in India.

  • The 4% target for inflation — with an upper tolerance limit of 6% and a lower limit of 2% — was set by the Centre in consultation with the RBI in 2016 and its validity expires on March 31, 2021.

  • The paper finds a steady decline in trend inflation to 4.1- 4.3% since 2014.

  • A target set too below the trend imparts a deflationary bias to monetary policy.

  • Similarly, a target that is fixed above the trend renders monetary policy too expansionary and prone to inflationary shocks.

  • Hence, maintaining the inflation target at 4% is appropriate for India.

Zero Coupon bonds to recapitalise Punjab & Sind Bank 

Part of: GS Prelims and GS-III – Economy

In news

  • The government has used financial innovation of zero coupon bonds to recapitalise Punjab & Sind Bank by issuing the lender Rs 5,500-crore worth of non-interest bearing bonds.

Key takeaways 

  • These are special types of zero coupon bonds issued by the government after proper due diligence and these are issued at par.

  • These bonds are not tradable.

  • The lender has kept them in the Held-To-Maturity (HTM) bucket, not requiring it to book any mark-to-market gains or losses from these bonds.

  • Though these will earn no interest for the subscriber, market participants term it both a ‘financial illusion’ and ‘great innovation’ by the government where it is using Rs 100 to create an impact of Rs 200 in the economy.

  • These bonds have a maturity of 10-15 years and issued specifically to Punjab & Sind Bank.

How do they differ from zero coupon bonds issued by private firms?

  • These bonds are different from traditional zero coupon bonds on one account — as they are being issued at par, there is no interest.

  • In previous cases, since they were issued at discount, they technically were interest bearing.

  • Zero coupon bonds by private companies are normally issued at discount, but since these special bonds are not tradable these can be issued at par.

Thermopolium

·        Researchers have unearthed a thermopolium (Latin word for hot drinks counter) in the Roman empire town of Pompeii. 

  • It was found complete with an image of a Nereid riding a sea-horse, decorative still-life frescoes, food residues, animals bones and victims who died during the volcanic eruption of 79 CE.

  • The find is significant because it shows the variety of food consumed by the residents of the town — traces of pork, fish, snails and beef have been found in the containers of the stall.

  • It is also the first time an entire thermopolium has been excavated, complete with pateras, or bronze drinking bowls, ceramic jars used for cooking stews and soups, wine flasks etc.

Resilient Supply Chains

Context: Pandemic Lesson – importance of creating resilient supply chains that can withstand disruptions and ensure reliability for the global economy.

India – Issues

  • When the pandemic broke out, it had an immediate effect on supply chains emanating from China.

  • In India, several companies felt the disruption in the automotive, electronics and white goods sectors.

  • India excels in the pharmaceuticals sector but the over-reliance on Active Pharmaceutical Ingredients (APIs) from China still creates vulnerabilities in the value chain.

  • Despite being the fourth largest market in Asia for medical devices, India has an import dependency of 80%. Among the biggest exporters to India in this field are China, the U.S., Germany, Singapore and Japan.

  • India imports 27% of its requirement of automotive parts from China.

Supply Chain Resilience Initiative (SCRI)

  • It is in this context that India, Japan and Australia initiated the Supply Chain Resilience Initiative (SCRI) focusing on automobiles and parts, petroleum, steel, textiles, financial services and IT sectors.

  • The SCRI may be bolstered by the future involvement of France, though this might depend on the European Union’s position.

  • The United Kingdom has also shown interest in the SCRI.

Atmanirbhar Bharat

  • It is aimed at strengthening India’s capacities to participate more vigorously without being prey to supply chain disruptions.

  • GoI is providing a big boost to defence manufacturing under the ‘Make in India’ programme. It has identified a negative import list of 101 items.

  • India is seeking to enhance its presence substantially in the global supply chains by attracting investments in the semiconductor components and packaging industry.

  • The government is actively promoting domestic manufacture of printed circuit boards (PCBs), components and semiconductors, as the Indian electronics sector gradually shifts away from completely knocked down (CKD) assembly to high value addition.

  • India has the capacity and the potential to become one of the world’s largest destinations for investments, and one of the world’s largest manufacturing hubs, in the aftermath of the pandemic.

 

Leave Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Call