The President of United States, Joe Biden, has revoked the emergency order that was issued by former President Donald Trump to construct the US-Mexico border wall. The order was revoked on February 11, 2021.

Highlights

What was the issue?

Mexico–United States barrier or border wall

It is a series of vertical barriers at the Mexico–United States border. The border seeks to reduce the illegal immigration from the Mexico to the United States from Mexico. The barrier is not a continuous structure. It is a series of obstructions comprising of the fences or walls. Along the border, security is provided by virtual fence of cameras, sensors, and other surveillance equipment.

The Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) has announced an increase in the fares of air travel on February 11, 2021. The fare has been increased up to Rs 5,600.

Highlights

Price Band

Background

The ministry of civil aviation had imposed a fixed cap on air travel when the Covid-19 pandemic was at its peak. This price cap has now been removed because the market has now opened up. The government had suspended all the commercial passenger flights in March 2020 because the government had announced a strict nationwide lockdown in order to contain the spread of the coronavirus. Now, the government has allowed to resume the running of the domestic flights across the country.

Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA)

It is the statutory body formed through the Aircraft (Amendment) Bill, 2020. The body investigates the aviation accidents and incidents. It also maintains all the aviation related regulations.  The body is headquartered in New Delhi.

The government has shared data on Lok Sabha on February 11, 2021 that India has suffered a huge crop loss on 18.176 million hectares of land.

Highlights

Flood Management and Border Areas Programme (FMBAP) scheme

The minister further highlighted that the Flood Management and Border Areas Programme (FMBAP) scheme was working in the entire country for flood management. Under this scheme, the government has released the central assistance of Rs 6,409.96 crore till March, 2020. This scheme was launched during Eleventh five year Plan period to provide central assistance to the state governments in order to take up the works related to river management, flood control, drainage development, anti-erosion, anti-sea erosion works and restoration of the damaged flood management works. The programme continued till Twelfth five year Plan.

The astronomers have discovered a concentration of smaller black holes in the cluster NGC 6397. Small black holes were discovered instead of one massive black hole at the heart of the cluster.

Key facts

NGC 6397

The cluster is also known as Caldwell 86. It is a globular cluster lying in the constellation Ara. The cluster is located around 7,800 light-years from Earth.  It comprises of around 400,000 stars. The cluster can be observed with naked eye under the good observing conditions. This cluster is one among the at least 20 globular clusters in the Milky Way Galaxy which has gone through the core collapse. Core collapse means the core has contracted to a dense stellar agglomeration.

Milky Way

It is the galaxy comprising of our Solar System. It is a hazy band of light that can be seen in the night sky. It is formed from stars and cannot be individually distinguished with the naked eye. It appears as a band when seen from earth because its disk-shaped structure.  The first person to revolve around the band of light was Galileo Galilei. He moved around the individual stars with his telescope in the year 1610.

The Union Territory of Jammu & Kashmir and a United Kingdom based space agency have joined hands to work on a collaborative project on the impact-based flood forecasting.

Key facts

About the impact-based flood forecasting system

Flood forecasting

Flood forecasting means the use of forecasted precipitation and streamflow data during the rainfall-runoff and streamflow. The mechanism is used to forecast the flow rates and water levels. It can forecast the details from a few hours to few days on the basis of the size of the watershed or river basin.  It is an important component of flood warning.

The state of Madhya Pradesh has launched a Police Museum at the police headquarters in Bhind, Madhya Pradesh. It is a unique museum themed on the dacoits to showcase their stories.

Highlights

 About Chambal

It is a geographical and cultural region located in the north-central India. The region is situated along the Chambal and Yamuna river valleys. It covers the areas of the south-eastern Rajasthan, south-western Uttar Pradesh and northern Madhya Pradesh. The region is well known for its Badlands and ravine systems. The region has hosted a huge number of dacoits. It is a part of greater Vindhyan Basin. It is covered by 5 Lakh hectares of Badlands. The region drains the northwest of Central Vindhya Plateau and the south-eastern part of Aravalli Range.

The Karnataka Government recently notified that, the Vijayanagara has become the 31st district of Karnataka officially.  The district has its headquarter at Hosapete.

About Vijayanagara District

Background

The Karnataka Chief Minister BS Yediyurappa had announced his plan of creating a new Vijayanagara district in the month of September, 2019. The Chief Minister had cited it is required to create a new district for the administrative reasons. He was of the view that. Creation of the new district will help in promoting the tourism to the places like Hampi temple. He also said, the move will help in the development of six talukas that are part of the district. Thus, the Karnataka Cabinet formally approved the creation of a new vijayanagara district on November 18, 2020.

Criticism

The plan of creating the new district was highly criticised and faced opposition from the ruling party. Further, the move was criticised because of the view that division of the Ballari district to create a new district could lead to a linguistic dispute in between Telugu speaking people and Kannada speaking people with in the district.

Hampi or Hampe

It is a UNESCO World Heritage Site which is located in east-central Karnataka. The site is a pilgrimage centre of the Hindu religion. The Hampi region used to be the capital of the Vijayanagara Empire in 14th century. Hampi-Vijayanagara was the second-largest medieval-era city of the world following Beijing.

The Union Defence Minister, Rajnath Singh, inaugurated 57,000 water structures under the “Jalabhishekam Water Conservation Campaign” on February 11, 2021 virtually from New Delhi.

Highlights

About Water Structure

More than 57000 water structures were constructed during COVID era. The constriction work for the water structure was carried by linking it with the MNREGA scheme.

National Rural Employment Guarantee Act, 2005

It is an Indian labour law and social security measure. The act was passed with the aim to guarantee the ‘right to work’. The act was passed in 2005 by the Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh. The act seeks to enhance the livelihood security in rural areas. It provides at least 100 days of wage employment in a financial year. It provides work to every household in which the adult members volunteer to do the unskilled manual work. The world bank termed this act in its World Development Report 2014 as a “stellar example of rural development”. The act is implemented mainly by gram panchayats. Under the act, involvement of contractors to look after the labours is banned.

Significance of the act

The act provides the economic security and create the rural assets. It also helps in protecting environment and empowering the rural women. The act guarantees 100 days of work this in turn reduces the rural-urban migration. It also mentions the principles and agencies to implement it and list of allowed works. It has also mentioned the financing pattern, monitoring and other measures in order to ensure the transparency and accountability.

The Reserve Bank of India has announced that the Export-Import Bank of India (Exim Bank) will provide USD 400 million to Maldives project. It will provide the fund for the Greater Male Connectivity Project.

Highlights

Greater Male Connectivity Project (GMCP)

India-Maldives Relation

The relation of India with Maldives was established in the year 1966. India is among those countries that recognized the Maldives after it gained its independence in 1965.  Both the countries share an ethnic, linguistic, religious, cultural and commercial links. Currently, the Maldives is home to 25,000 Indian nationals. Both the countries are the founding members of SAARC. India also consider Maldives a part of its ‘Neighbourhood First’ Policy. In the line, India is a part of ‘India First’ policy of Maldives.

Economic relations

The economic relation between both the countries have strengthened significantly after the success of Operation Cactus. India has always provided extensive economic aid for developing infrastructure, health, telecommunications in the country.  India also established the Indira Gandhi Memorial Hospital in Male.

The Mandarin duck which is a colourful duck from eastern Asia was spotted in Assam recently after 118 years.

More in news

Mandarin duck

The scientific name of mandarin duck is Aix galericulata. It is a perching duck species which is native to the East Palearctic. The duck is medium-sized with 41–49 cm in length and 65–75 cm of wingspan. The duck is closely related to North American wood duck.

Population of the duck

The ducks were once widespread in East Asia region. But they were exported on large-scale so the population reduced in the eastern Russia and China. Further, the destruction of its forest habitat further accelerated the reduction in population so much so that the population reduced below 1,000 pairs in each of Russia and China. Japan has an estimated population of around 5,000 pairs.

Breeding

The duck usually prefers the dense breeding grounds. It usually breeds into the shrubby forested edges of rivers and lakes in low-lying areas. It can also breed in valleys at altitudes of 1,500 m. It also breeds in marshes, flooded fields, and open rivers during winters.  The duck prefers fresh water but are also seen wintering in the coastal lagoons and estuaries.

The Technology Information, Forecasting and Assessment Council (TIFAC) have launched a job portal called SAKSHAM to map the skills of workers as required by the MSMEs. It also launched a Seaweed Cultivation Mission.

About SAKSHAM Portal

Seaweed Cultivation Mission

Technology Information, Forecasting and Assessment Council (TIFAC)

It is an autonomous organization. It was set up in the year 1988. It works under the Department of Science & Technology. The organisation works in the technology domain and assess technology trajectories. It strives for the development of technology by leveraging the technology innovation

Goa has become the 6th State in the country that have successfully completed the Urban Local Bodies reforms.

Highlights

What are the reforms?

The Department of Expenditure have set following reforms:

  1. Under the reforms, the states are required to notify floor rates of property tax in ULBs in accordance with the guideline rates for property transactions.
  2. The states are also required to notify the floor rates of user charges with respect to the provision of water-supply, drainage and sewerage.
  3. State will also launch a system of periodic increase in the floor rates of property tax or the user charges with respect to the price increases.

Apart from these reforms, the centre has also identified four citizen centric areas for reforms namely, the Implementation of One Nation One Ration Card, Urban Local body or utility reform, Ease of doing business reform and Power Sector reforms.

What are the implications?

After undertaking the reforms,

  1. Goa has become eligible to get the additional reform linked borrowing.
  2. It will now be granted permission to mobilise financial resource of RS 2,731 by the Department of Expenditure.

What is the aim of Urban Local Bodies reforms?

Reforms in Urban Local Bodies and the urban utilities reforms are being undertaken with the aim of strengthening the finance of the Urban Local Bodies in States. These reforms would enable the ULBs to provide better public health and sanitation services to its citizens.

Daily Current Affairs || 12-02-2021

Daily Current Affairs - 12-02-2021