NASA recently shared the picture of a huge cluster of galaxies called Abell 370.
It is a galaxy cluster located four billion light years away from the earth. The galaxy cluster is located in the constellation called Cetus.
The core of Abell 370 is made of more than hundred galaxies.
The Galaxy was catalogued by George Abell and hence the name.
Abell 370 has several arcs of light. These arcs are the mirages caused by gravitational lensing of dark and massive objects located between the observer and the distant galaxies.
The Abell 370 galaxy cluster was first discovered in 2002 using the lensing effect.
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 is a sea monster in Greek Mythology.
Cetus constellation is located in the region of the sky where the other constellations such as Pisces, Aquarius and Eridanus are located.
There are fourteen stars in Cetus Constellation.
Mira was the first star discovered in the Cetus constellation.
Tau Ceti of the constellation is the nearest sun-like star.
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.
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
It is a joint venture of Jammu and Kashmir State Power Development Corporation and National Hydroelectric power corporation. The share of NHPC in the project is 49% and that of Jammu and Kashmir State Power Development Corporation is 51% respectively.
The project is to be commissioned within sixty months.
The project is expected to provide direct and indirect employment to more than four thousand individuals.
The project includes 133 metres tall gravity dam and two power stations.
The main power station of the project will contain four 205 MW Francis Turbines.
The auxiliary power station of the project will contain 30 MW of Francis Turbine.
The foundation stone to construct the dam was laid by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh in 2013.
Status of the Project
The project did not start till 2015.
In 2017, the World Bank allowed India to construct the dam. The Indus Water Treaty was signed after nine years of negotiations between India and Pakistan with the help of World Bank.
The project received severe objections from Pakistan.
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.
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:
Formation of coalition government based on ideology and identity
The rise of state and regional parties. For example, Shiv Sena, BSP, etc.
On the positive side, the political parties are able to focus on particular sections that are deprived of economic opportunities in identity politics.
On the negative side, it has sowed seeds of enmity and hatred among different sections of the society based on religion, castes and ethnicity.
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
It is the first central online repository portal for all state and central level compliances.
The portal will capture and track the following actions:
The Central ministries, states, union territories and other departments will examine regulations, laws and rules under their purview.
They will then implement an action plan to simplify these processes.
They will mainly remove burdensome compliances, repeal redundant acts and decriminalise laws. These actions are to be tracked by the portal.
The portal will also allow stakeholders of CII (Confederation of Indian Industry) to submit compliances and recommendations.
Training sessions are being conducted by DPIIT for the government officials to get familiarised with the portal.
Objective of the portal
To reduce compliance burden
To simplify interfaces between government and citizens
To increase manufacturing scale by reducing compliance burden
To remove obsolete acts
To make Indian industries competitive
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.
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
Under the mission, the waste land of the State Government of Gujarat is to be provided on thirty year lease for farming medicinal and horticulture crops. Currently, the Gujarat Government holds 50,000 non-cultivated waste lands. A list of waste lands available for allotment is to be released on I-Khedut portal.
The mission is to give priority to farmers using sprinkler and drip irrigation.
The first phase of the mission is to be implemented in Surendranagar, Kutch, Sabarkantha and Patan districts.
The tax on land conversion is to be waived off under the mission.
The mission has fixed the lease amount as Rs 100 to Rs 500 per year per acre.
The mission allows the lease holders to set up wind mills and solar panels to generate power. However, they are not allowed to sell the instalments.
No compensation will be paid to the farmers if the land is returned before the end of lease period.
A high-power committee chaired by the Chief Minister of the State of Gujarat is to be set up. The committee will make final decisions on land allotment.
The progress made on the land under the mission is to be evaluated in once five years.
The farmers receiving lands under the mission can only grow fruits and medicinal plants. They cannot grow cash crops or grains.
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
The National Democratic Front of Bodoland is an armed separatist that seeks to obtain sovereign Bodoland for the Bodo people. The Government of India has designated the National Democratic Front of Bodoland as the terrorist organisation.
The NDFB is a militant group that was created in 1986. The group has conducted several attacks targeting non-Bodo civilians. The NDFB mainly targets Munda, Santhal and Oraon tribes. These tribal people were brought to Assam as tea labourer by Britishers.
In 1990s, the NDFB established twelve camps along the Bhutan-Assam border. The Bhutan Government launched Operation All Clear to drive away them from Bhutan border. The Indian Government launched Operation Bajrang and Operation Rhino against the Assam separatist groups.
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.
The Nanakshahi Calendar is a solar calendar used by the Sikhs. It is based on Barah Maha. The Barah Maha was composed by Sikh Gurus. It is a poem that translates the twelve months in a year.
The calendar is named after the founder of Sikh religion Guru Nanak.
The first year of Nanakshi calendar starts in 1469. It is the year of the birth of Guru Nanak.
Magh Mela held in Punjab is celebrated according to Nanakshahi calendar.
Guru Gobind Singh
Guru Gobind Singh was nine years old when his father Guru Tegh Bahadur was beheaded on the orders of Mughal ruler Aurangzeb.
He established the Khalsa in 1699. The Khalsa was a warrior community. A male Khalsa is titled as “Singh” and a female as “Kaur”.
The five ‘K’ tradition for the Khalsa was started by Guru Gobind Singh. They are as follows:
Kara-Iron or steel bracelet
The 5 Ks are the five articles of faith that a Khalsa should always adorn.
He also laid down several other rules for the Khalsa such as abstaining from halal meat, alcohol and tobacco products.
The Khalsa warriors are duty bound to protect the people from persecution.
He named the religious text of Sikhs Guru Granth Sahib as the next guru of the Sikhs and Khalsa.
The literary contributions of Guru Gobind Singh are Benti Chaupai, Jaap Sahib, Amrit Savaiye.
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.
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
Contingency Fund of India
Public Account of India
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
It is to be implemented by the Department of Science and Technology operating under Ministry of Science and Technology.
The mission focuses on fundamental science, technology development and addresses the issues concerning the national priorities.
It will prepare next generation skilled manpower and encourages entrepreneurship and startup ecosystem development.
The Union Budget 2020-21 had proposed to spend Rs 8,000 crores on the National Mission on Quantum Technologies and Applications.
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:
Communication: The Quantum Technology is used by China to link its terrestrial stations and satellites. As the technology promises fast computing, it is significant to military and cyber security.
The Quantum technology will help in solving fundamental questions related to black hole and gravity.
The Quantum Technology will give boost to Genome India Project. It is a collaborative project of twenty institutions.
With Quantum technology, natural disasters such as tsunamis, drought, earthquakes and floods become highly predictable.
The technology will reduce the time frame of discovery of new molecules in the field of pharmaceuticals.
Quantum technology will help to augment industrial revolution 4.0.
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 is a painting by the Italian renaissance artist Leonardo da Vinci. The painting depicts Jesus in Renaissance dress making the sign of cross with his right hand. Also, he holds a transparent crystal orb in his left hand in the painting. The painting represents “Celestial Sphere” of the heavens. There are twenty other variations of the same work by the students of Leonardo da Vinci. However, the original painting was created by the legend himself.
The Salvator Mundi is one of the few of the twenty-known works of Leonardo.
Salvator Mundi is the most expensive painting in the world. The painting was sold at 450 million USD in 2017. It was sold to Saudi Prince Badr bin Abdullah. He is the current Minister of Culture of Saudi Arabia. Since then, the painting holds the place of the most expensive painting of the world till date.
Scholars believe that the Salvator Mundi might have been painted for Louis XII of France. It might have been presented to him after the Second Italian War. Louis fought the war to claims on the thrones of Naples and Milan.
Leonardo da Vinci
Leonardo da Vinci was an Italian polymath. Polymath is an individual whose knowledge spans a substantial number of subjects. He knows to draw on complex bodies of knowledge to solve a particular problem.
He is considered as one of the most diversely talented individuals during his era. He became known for his notebooks where he made notes on his scientific inventions. His inventions involved variety of subjects such as botany, astronomy, anatomy, painting, cartography and palaeontology.
Some of the popular works of Leonardo were Annunciation, Mona Lisa, The Last Supper, Lady with an Ermine.
Month: Current Affairs - January, 2021
Category: Art & Culture Current Affairs
Topics: Italy • Leonardo da Vinci • Paintings • Salvator Mundi