Daily Current Affairs - 20-01-2021

NASA recently shared the picture of a huge cluster of galaxies called Abell 370.

Abell 370

What is Gravitational Lensing?

As light emitted by galaxies (located in far distances) passes by massive objects, the gravitational pull from these objects tend to bend or distort the light. This is called Gravitational lensing.

Cetus Constellation

Nick Name: The Dragon

Abell 370 Galaxy is also nick named as The Dragon by the NASA scientists. This is mainly because in 2009, a study on Abell 370 revealed a group of galaxies in the background of the cluster. The grouping was lensed and distorted by the cluster as a dragon. The head of the dragon was made of spiral galaxy. These galaxies were five billion light years away from each other.

Spiral Galaxy

The spiral galaxy is a class of galaxy that consists of a central concentration of stars called bulge and flat rotating disk containing gas, stars and dust. Pinwheel Galaxy is a spiral galaxy.

The Union Cabinet recently approved the Ratle Hydropower Project of 850 MW. The cabinet has nodded to an investment of Rs 5,281.94 crores in the project. The project is located in River Chenab.

About the Ratle Hydropower Project

Status of the Project

Pakistan’s Stand on the Ratle Hydropower Project

According to Pakistan, the Ratle Hydropower Project violates Indus Water Treaty. According to Indus Water Treaty, the western rivers such as Indus, Chenab and Jhelum were allocated to Chenab. According to Pakistan, as the project is built across Chenab, it violates the treaty. However, the treaty also says that the waters can be used by India for specified domestic and agricultural use as provided by the treaty. The eastern rivers such as Beas, Ravi and Sutlej are to be used by India. Accordingly, India has constructed Bhakra Dam on Sutlej, Thein on Ravi and Pandoh and Pong dam on Beas.

The White House recently released the 1776 Commission report. The 1776 Commission was setup by President Trump when he was lagging behind the president elect Joe Biden during the US President Election 2020.

The 1776 Commission

The 1776 Commission was a counter to the 1619 project. It was an eighteen-member commission. It did not include any historians. Rather, it comprised of conservative politicians and activists. It was an advisory commission. The commission recently released its report on Martin Luther King Day (January 18, 2021).

About the 1619 project

The 1619 project is a collection of essays on African American history of past four centuries. It is also a Pulitzer prize winner. The essays of 1619 project explores the contribution of black community towards nation-building. It covers the period between the era of slavery and modern times.

Key Findings of 1776 Commission

The commission has identified racism, progressivism and identity politics as the challenges to the United States of America.

The report refers John Calhoun as the leading fore runner of identity politics. John Calhoun was an American politician who held important positions including Vice President of US (1825-1832). He strongly supported slavery.

Identity Politics

It refers to political positions based on the perspectives and interests of social groups. For instance, it includes social organisations based on social class, age, caste, culture, sex.

Identity Politics in India

In India, religious identities, rise of low castes and linguistic groups have contributed to identity politics. The other impacts of identity politics in India are as follows:

The Department for Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade (DPIIT) recently launched a regulatory compliance portal. The portal is to act as a bridge between the industries, citizens and the government in minimising burdensome compliances.

About the Portal

Objective of the portal


The portal will increase ease of doing business in India. India ranked 142nd in 2014 in the World Bank’s Ease of Doing Business ranking. In 2019, India ranked 63rd. Also, the portal will be instrumental in achieving the vision of Atma Nirbhar Bharat.

Other Steps

The GoI has lately taking several measures to boost the industrial sector of the country. In 2015, the Business Reform Action Plan (BRAP) was begun. In 2019, BRAP with a list of eighty reforms were implemented. These reforms were related to labour, environment, access to information and single window system. Industrial Corridors were set up. Invest India was launched to transform the investment climate in the country by simplifying business environment for investors.

The Gujarat chief Minister recently announced the “Horticulture Development Mission”. It is also called “Bagayat Vikas Mission”. The main objective of the mission is to double the income of the farmers involved in horticulture and medicinal farming.

Key Features of Horticultural Development Mission

I Khedut Portal

The main aim of the portal is to provide information about various schemes related to farmers. Also, it provides information about weather conditions, market price of the crops and many more. The farmers can also apply for tractors through the portal. The State Government will provide assistance to such applications under “The Scheme for Khetiwadi”.

The Assam Chief Minister Sarbanada Sonowal recently provided four lakh rupees to around 1,279 surrendered cadres of National Democratic Front of Bodoland.

National Democratic Front of Bodoland

Bodo Accord 2020

The Bodo Peace Accord, 2020 was signed between All Bodo Students Union, Assam Government and the National Democratic Front of Bodoland. Following the accord, the GoI announced Rs 1,500 crore package for Bodo Areas of Assam.

In twenty-seven years of conflict, the Government of India has signed three agreements with the Bodo tribes. In 1993, an agreement signed with the All-Bodo Students Union resulted in the creation of Bodoland Autonomous Council. The 2003 agreement was signed with Bodo Liberation Tigers.


Bodos are the single largest tribal community of Assam. They make up 5% to 6% of the state’s population. They are a part of the Bodo-Kachari family spread across the North East India. They speak Boro language. The Boro Language is recognised as one of the twenty-two languages in the Indian Constitution.

The Bodos are recognised as plains tribes in the sixth schedule of the Indian Constitution.

India celebrated Guru Gobind Singh Jayanti on January 20, 2021.

Guru Gobind Singh Jayanti

Guru Gobind Singh was the last of the ten Sikh Gurus. He was born on December 22, 1666 in Patna. His birthday is celebrated according to the Nanakshshahi calendar. Accordingly, this year, the birth anniversary of Guru Gobind Singh was celebrated on January 20, 2021.

Nanakshahi Calendar

Guru Gobind Singh

The Karnataka Chief Minister B S Yediyurappa recently launched Avalokana software. The software will enable the state government to access data on expenditures and sanctions incurred on 1,800 programmes.

Avolokana software

It is a transparent e-governance tool that will provide Assembly constituency wise release of government grants and allocations to different government programmes. This will help the government to decide on releasing funds based on the expenditure incurred by the department.  It will eventually increase the government hold over resources.

The software provides a focused view on scheduled caste sub plan, sustainable development goals and tribal sub plan and centrally sponsored scheme.

Funds of Central Government of India

There are three types of funds that are available with the Government of India. They are

Consolidated Fund of India

The Consolidated Fund of India are filled by the indirect and direct taxes. Also, it is filled by the interests on loans. Article 266 of the Indian Constitution provides the provisions of these funds. In order to withdraw money from the Consolidated Funds of India, the Government of India has to get parliamentary approval.

Contingency Fund of India

The Contingency Fund of India has a corpus of Rs 500 crores. The provisions of this fund is provided under Article 267 of Constitution of India. The fund is used to meet unforeseen expenditure. The State governments have their own contingency funds.

Public Account of India

All the other money that are not covered in Consolidated Fund of India and received by the Government of India are credited to Public Accounts of India. It is made of National Investment Fund (that is the money earned by GoI through disinvestment), National Small Savings Funds, postal insurance, provident funds, defence funds, bank savings account of different ministries. Unlike Consolidated Fund of India, GoI need not take permission to take advances from this account.

The Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology in partnership with the Amazon Web Services is to establish Quantum Computing Applications Lab. The lab will identify quantum computing problems faced by Central and State Governments and also by the research institutions. The chosen proposals from these entities will get access to Amazon Web Services to use computing cloud platform from Amazon. Also, it will provide access to simulators and programming tools at no cost.

National Mission on Quantum Technology and Applications

Quantum Technology

The Quantum Technology is based on principles of quantum physics. That is, it is based on quantum theory. In simple words, it is the behaviour of energy and material in atomic and subatomic levels. It will help achieve information processing that will go beyond the limits of classical world. A conventional computer will process in bits. On the other hand, a quantum computer will process in quantum bits.

Applications of Quantum Technology

The major applications of Quantum technology are as follows:

The Italian Police recently recovered a sixteenth century copy of “Salvator Mundi”. Salvator Mundi is the world most expensive painting of Leonardo da Vinci.

Salvator Mundi

Leonardo da Vinci

Month: Current Affairs - January, 2021

Category: Art & Culture Current Affairs

Topics: Italy • Leonardo da Vinci • Paintings • Salvator Mundi

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  • Dr.Cajetan Coelho

    Long live the memory of the unique contributions of Polymath Leonardo da Vinci.

    The Gujarat Government is to patent the Dragon Fruit in the name of “Kamalam”. Kamalam is also the name of the BJP state party headquarters in Gujarat.

    Dragon Fruit

    • The Dragon fruit is a cactus variety fruit. It is widely cultivated in South east Asia, United States, Australia, India, Caribbean islands and Mesoamerica.
    • The total lifespan of a Dragon fruit plant is fifteen to twenty years. They grow in regions where summer temperatures rise above forty degrees Celsius.
    • Dragon Fruits grow only during summers. They do not grow in the rest of the year. However, when they grow their growth is rapid.
    • Dragon flowers bloom only at night. It occurs only once in a year. They rely on nocturnal pollinators such as moths and bats for fertlization.

    Dragon Fruit Cultivation and Demands in India

    India imports 95% of its Dragon fruit from Malaysia, Thailand, Vietnam and Sri Lanka. The Dragon Fruit has great export potentials to countries such as USA, Gulf and European. The farmers in the states of Gujarat, Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka have taken up Dragon Fruit Cultivation only in the recent years.

    Vietnam is the largest producer and exporter of Dragon Fruit. The fruit was brought here by the French.

     Farmer Benefits

    • The Dragon Fruit plants are raised on poles. One pole can support four plants. In an acre, more than 300 poles can be installed. Commercial planting is highly beneficial as they can be planted in clusters. Thus space consumption in dragon fruit cultivation is very minimal.
    • They will require only one to two litres of water per day. This can easily be achieved through drip irrigation.
    • Also, Dragon fruits fetch good rates. They are sold for Rs 300 to Rs 400 per kilogram.
    • In India, Dragon fruits are consumed for their taste and health benefits.