Daily Current Affairs - 05-08-2021

Principal Scientific Adviser, Prof. K. Vijay Raghavan, virtually inaugurated a decentralized biomedical waste incinerator at Buxar in Bihar.

Key facts

Decentralized Biomedical Waste Incinerator

The Decentralized Biomedical Waste Incinerator is a portable, forced draft incinerator which has the capability to handle 50 kg of biomedical waste made of cotton, plastic, or similar materials per hour. Thus, it can handle 5kg waste per batch. It also has provision of waste heat recovery. The unit requires two square meter area and 0.6 kWh electricity for initial ignition of waste with the option of auto electricity turn off.

How waste heat recovery will be undertaken?

Waste heat recovery will be undertaken from hot gas for any productive application located near the site of installation. Different waste heat end products will be tested during the pilot at different sites such as distilled water, steam, gas burning, hot water etc. Efforts will be taken to utilize technology in residential or public places to ensure zero smoke, chimney usages, compact system, waste heat recovery, etc.

Waste to Wealth Mission

This mission is one among nine scientific missions of Science, Technology, and Innovation Advisory Council (PM-STIAC) of Prime Minister. It is spearheaded by the Office of Principal Scientific Adviser to Government of India.

Ganesh Engineering Works

Ganesh Engineering Works is Buxar based, MNRE-approved manufacturer of biomass gasification-based power generation systems. It will operate and maintain the pilot for three months. After that, Buxar District Administration would look after operation of the unit.

Central Board for Indirect Taxes & Customs (CBIC) have launched the Indian Customs Compliance Information Portal (CIP) at www.cip.icegate.gov.in/CIP.

Key Points

How CIP can be used?

One can use the CIP by simply entering either the Customs Tariff Heading (CTH) or description of goods in question in order to get information to step-by-step procedures, regulatory compliances requirements such as License, Certificates, etc.

Central Board of Indirect Taxes and Customs (CBIC)

CBIC is the oldest nodal national agency in India that administers Customs, GST, Central Excise, Service Tax & Narcotics. It was established in 1855 by the then British Governor General of India to administer customs laws and collect import duties or land revenue. It is staffed by ministerial staff who are selected through exams conducted by Staff Selection Commission (SSC) and IRS officers through Civil Services Examination.

Government of India, Central Water Commission, government representatives of 10 participating states and World Bank signed a $250 million project on August 4, 2021 for long-term dam safety program.

Highlights

Second Dam Rehabilitation and Improvement Project (DRIP-2)

This project will help in strengthening dam safety by building dam safety guidelines, bringing in global experience, and by introducing innovative technologies. Another innovation envisaged under this project is to transform dam safety management. It will also introduce a risk-based approach for dam asset management which in turn will help to effectively allocate financial resources for priority dam safety needs.

Important measures under DRIP-2

Important measures that DRIP-2 will undertake include flood forecasting systems & integrated reservoir operations. It will contribute towards building climate resilience. Project will also undertake preparation and implementation of Emergency Action Plans which will enable vulnerable downstream communities in enhancing resilience against possible negative impacts and risks of climate change. It will also pilot supplemental revenue generation schemes like floating solar panels.

Which states likely to benefit?

The dam safety project will be implemented in across 120 dams in the states of Chhattisgarh, Kerala, Gujarat, Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh, Meghalaya, Manipur, Rajasthan, Odisha, and Tamil Nadu. Central Water Commission will launch the project at national level. Other states or agencies may also be added to project during project implementation over time.

Rajya Sabha passed Airports Economic Regulatory Authority of India (Amendment) Bill, 2021 on August 4, 2021.

Highlights

Airports Economic Regulatory Authority of India (Amendment) Bill 2021

Background

Bill was first introduced in March 2021 and was subsequently sent to a parliamentary standing committee on transport, tourism and culture. Committee had approved it without any changes.

Airports Economic Regulatory Authority (AERA)

AERA is a regulatory agency that regulate tariff and other expenditure & fees of major airports in India. This statutory body was established under Airports Economic Regulatory Authority of India Act (AERA), 2008.

UDAN scheme

UDAN stands for Ude Desh ka Aam Naagrik. It is a regional airport development and Regional Connectivity Scheme that was launched with the objective of “letting common citizen of India fly”. It aims to make air travel affordable and widespread. It also seeks to boost inclusive national economic development, job growth and air transport infrastructure development across the states.

Indian Institute of Technology in Roorkee (IIT Roorkee) launched an earthquake early warning (EEW) Mobile App for Uttarakhand.

Key Facts

Where it will be set up?

With the support of Union Ministry of Earth Sciences, this initiative was earlier started as a pilot project for Garhwal region of Uttarakhand. Later, it was extended by the Uttarakhand government. Under the project, sensors had been installed in high terrains of Garhwal and Kumaon regions of Uttarakhand.

How EEW provides warning?

Early warning system works on the basis of speed of the seismic waves, that propagate after release of stress from faults movement. Strong ground shaking is caused by shear waves. Shear waves travel at half speed as compared to primary waves and much slower than the electromagnetic signals. EEW system uses these waves to generate warning.

Central Server

Seismic data stream in the central server that has been established in EEW System laboratory. For data streaming, a high-speed telecommunication is used and high-performance computers compute scenario projections. Central server processes receive data continuously on 24 × 7 basis. It issues warning to public as and when detects that an earthquake of magnitude greater than 5 has occurred in earthquake prone areas. Warning time differs with the distance of any location from epicenter of the earthquake.

Leaseholders of Malpe Beach Tourism in Udupi district got safety nets and red flags on August 3, 2021 along the beach.

Highlights

About Malpe Beach

Malpe Beach best known for destination of holidays and picnics. It has a Sea Walkway with a view of St. Mary’s Island and Bhadargad Island. It comprises of a statue of a fishing family that includes a fisherman, fisherwoman, and child. Statue was created by artist Purushotham Adve. One gets a 24/7 wifi connection which is available for free for 30 minutes.

About Malpe

Malpe is natural port located in Udupi District in Karnataka. It is located at the mouth of Malpe River. The port is an important and major fishing harbor on the coast of Karnataka coast. Malpe town is associated largely with settlements of Mogaveera fisherman community. It is hub of Mogaveera, Billava and Muslim population.

History of Malpe

Malpe is an ancient sea port and harbour through which Tuluvas and western world used to trade. Malpe was first mentioned in second century C.E. by Greek geographer Ptolemy.

Recently, a television journalist of a national channel was penalized for feeding a deer while he was driving along  Bandipur Tiger Reserve.

What is the issue?

Why feeding is a cause of concern?

Such practices of feeding wild animals are a danger for animals because they tend to lose their fear of human beings. Such animals become more susceptible to be trapped and poached. Further, animals can also venture into human landscape and could trailed by carnivores. It could also escalate human-animal conflict. Apart from this, if animals become habituated to being fed by humans, their habit of forage for fodder in the wild and survive through tough times could be lost in long term.

Bandipur Tiger Reserve

Bandipur National Park was established by including forest areas of Venugopala Wildlife Park. Area of the reserve was enlarged in 1985 and extended over an area of 874.20 Sq. Km. Enlarged Park was named as Bandipur National Park. This Park was included under Project Tiger in 1973 and its area was further extended to 912.04 Sq. Km.

United Nations Security Council (UNSC) has declared that it is against the restoration of Islamic emirate in Afghanistan.

Key Points

India’s response

What led to shift from Doha Talk to UNSC Talk?

Three recent developments are indicating that, stage may shift from Doha as it was not conducive to negotiations:

  1. Taliban’s attack on UN compound in Herat. It provided India an opportunity to marshal support for a condemnatory statement.
  2. Afghan Foreign Minister Hanif Atmar has also been appealing for UNSC discussions.
  3. Unequivocal backing by White House to the Kabul regime. It indicates USA’s distaste to matters being decided on battlefield.

War in Afghanistan

It is an ongoing war that started after United States invasion of Afghanistan, when United States & its allies successfully drove Taliban from power and denied al-Qaeda a safe base of operations in Afghanistan. After completion of initial objectives, a coalition of over 40 countries formed a security mission in Afghanistan which is called as International Security Assistance Force. US has code-named the war as Operation Enduring Freedom (2001–2014) and Operation Freedom’s Sentinel (2015–present).

Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs has approved the continuation of ‘Samagra Shiksha Scheme’ for school education for further five years.

Key Points

Samagra Shiksha Scheme

Samagra Shiksha is an integrated scheme for school education. It extends from pre-school to class XII and ensures inclusive & equitable quality education at all the levels of school education. This scheme was launched by subsuming three schemes ‘Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan’, ‘Rashtriya Madhyamik Shiksha Abhiyan (RMSA) and Teacher Education (TE). This scheme provides holistic treatment to school education from Pre-school to Class 12.

Aim of the scheme

This scheme emphasises on improving the quality of school education by focussing on two T’s – Teacher and Technology. Primary aim of the scheme is to support States in implementing the Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education (RTE) Act, 2009 in accordance with the Article 21A of the constitution of India.

Vision of the scheme

This scheme was launched with the vision of ensuring inclusive and equitable quality education from pre-school to senior secondary stage in line with the Sustainable Development Goal (SDG)- SDG 4.1 & SDG 4.5- for Education.

Who funds the scheme?

This scheme is a Centrally Sponsored Scheme. Thus, the funds are shared between Centre and State in the ratio of 90:10 for the North-Eastern States & Himalayan States and 60:40 for other States & Union Territories with Legislature. Centre provides 100% of the fund in Union Territories without Legislature.

Central government approved a Constitution Amendment Bill on August 4, 2021 that seeks to empower states and UTs to make their own OBC lists

Key points

Bill was approved at the meeting of Union Cabinet chaired by PM. It will now be introduced in Parliament for passage.

Background

On May 5, 2021 Supreme Court had dismissed Centre’s plea seeking review of majority verdict by the court. The verdict ruled that, 102nd Constitution amendment takes back states’ power to declare “Socially and Educationally Backward Classes (SEBC)” to grant quota in jobs and admissions.

102nd Constitution Amendment Act

102nd Constitution Amendment Act of 2018 inserted a new Article 338B. This article deals with structure, duties and powers of the National Commission for Backward Classes. Act also provides for article 342A that empowers the President to notify any particular caste as SEBC and Parliament to change the list.

National Commission for Backward Classes (NCBC)

NCBC was given the status of constitutional body under 123rd constitutional amendment bill 2017 and 102nd amendment 2018 in constitution. Article 338B of the Indian Constitution deals with the NCBC. It works under the parent head of Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment. NCBC was established on August 14, 1993 in accordance with the provisions of National Commission for Backward Classes Act, 1993.

How NCBC was set up?

NCBC was setup as the result of Indra Sawhney & Others v. Union of India. Supreme Court directed the Government, State Governments and Union Territory Administrations to set up a permanent body in the nature of a Commission or Tribunal to entertain, examine and recommend on requests of inclusion and complaints of over-inclusion and under-inclusion OBC list. Supreme Court also held that, Constitution recognised only social and educational but not economic backwardness.

India’s first indigenous aircraft carrier, INS Vikrant, conducted its maiden sea trails on August 4, 2021 encouraging making of military equipment within India.

Key Points

About INS Vikrant

INS Vikrant is a 44000-tonne carrier, built at the cost of Rs 23,000 crore. It has been built at state-owned Cochin Shipyard in Kochi, Kerala. About 550 Indian firms including 100 MSMEs are providing services to construct this warship. It is the largest and most complex warship that has been designed and built in India for the first time. With this aircraft, India now joins a select group of nations having capability to indigenously design, build and integrate such aircraft carrier. Countries like US, UK, Russia, Japan, Italy and France have such capacities. South Korea is also pursuing a carrier programme.

Features of the aircraft carrier

Aircraft carrier has a top speed of 28 knots or 52 kmph while cruising speed of 18 knots. It has an endurance of about 7,500 nautical miles or 13,650 km. Warship comprises of 14 decks with 2300 compartments which can carry about 1700 crew.

Background

Keel for the warship was laid in 2009. It was scheduled to join the fleet in December 2018 but it got delayed due to complexity of making it. Warship was set out at sea in 2013. Cost of making also escalated beyond originally sanctioned amount of Rs 19,341 crore.

Union Cabinet has approved the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between Indian Institute of Space science and Technology (IIST) and Delft University of Technology (TU Delft), Netherlands on August 4, 2021 in order to carry Academic programmes and Research activities.

Key Points

About the MoU

Significance of MoU

MoU will enable to pursue potential interest areas of cooperation like exchange of faculty members, students & researchers and scientific materials, publications & information. It will also facilitate joint research meeting, PhD program, Dual Degree or Double Degree programme. MoU will also lead to develop a joint activity in research in the field of Science and Technology. It will also give a boost to explore newer research activities and application possibilities in Science and Technology area.

Maldives style water villas will soon be set up in Lakshadweep in a bid to attract tourists to scenic beauty in the Union Territory.

Highlights

Background

Global tender to develop eco-tourism projects was floated by Lakshadweep administration in 2019 in these islands. However, because of lukewarm response from prospective bidders, administration decided to withdraw tenders, restructure them and float them again. These projects are being backed by Niti Aayog and Union home ministry to develop this remote islands.

About Lakshadweep

Lakshadweep is an archipelago of 36 islands in Arabian sea which are located 200 to 440 km off the mainland’s southwestern coast. In Malayalam, Lakshadweep means “one lakh islands”. Malayalam is official and widely spoken native language on the Islands. It is the smallest union territory of India with total surface area of 32 km2. It is the region of single Indian district comprising of 10 subdivisions. Kavaratti is the capital of Lakshadweep and is having jurisdiction under the Kerala High Court. It originally comprised of 36 islands. But its one Island called “Parali 1” has been submerged in water due to sea erosion.