Boxer M.C. Mary Kom and men’s hockey team skipper Manpreet Singh have been named for flag bearers at Tokyo Olympics from India.
- Both of them will be flag bearers for India at opening ceremony of Tokyo Olympics which is scheduled to get underway on July 23, 2021.
- Wrestler Bajrang Punia will be flag bearer at closing ceremony on August 8, 2021.
- This decision was communicated by Indian Olympic Association (IOA) to Organising Committee of Olympics Games.
- In 2016 games in Rio De Janeiro, India’s lone individual Olympic gold-medallist Abhinav Bindra was the flag bearer at the opening ceremony
In order to bring equality and parity among gender, International Olympic Committee had made provisions for flag bearers, at the executive board meeting, from both genders at the opening ceremony. IOC Executive Board also decided that, there should be at least one female and one male athlete in each of 206 teams and IOC Refugee Olympic Team which are participating at Games of the Olympiad.
International Olympic Committee (IOC)
IOC is a non-governmental sports organisation headquartered in Lausanne, Switzerland. It was constituted in form of an association under Swiss Civil Code in accordance with articles 60-79. IOC was founded by Pierre de Coubertin and Demetrios Vikelas in 1894. This authority is responsible for organising modern Summer and Winter Olympic Games. IOC is the governing body of National Olympic Committees (NOCs). There are 206 NOCs officially recognised by IOC, as of 2016.
Department of Telecom (DoT) has proposed to fine Rs 10,000 for fraud messages in order to tighten noose on pesky callers.
- DoT will put a fine of Rs 10,000 for every call and SMS made by telemarketers after 50 violations.
- Norms were made more stringent by reducing slabs for levying penalty to
- Rs 1,000 per violation for 0-10 breaches.
- Rs 5,000 each for 10-50 violations and
- Rs 10,000 each for more than 50 violations.
- Presently, Slabs under Telecom Commercial Communications Customer Preference Regulations (TCCCPR), 2018 are 0-100, 100-1,000 and more than 1,000 violations.
- Under the new norms, DoT’s Digital Intelligence Unit (DIU) will check violations at device-level as well.
- DIU will send system generated message to suspected numbers to verify it.
- In case of non-re-verification, all numbers will be disconnected and associated IMEIs will be put under suspected list. After that, no calls, SMS or data will be allowed for those IMEIs in suspected list for a period of 30 days.
- Any communication made by pesky callers from new connection using devices with IMEI number recorded in grey list will be re-verified.
- If pesky caller changes device, IMEI number of new devices will also be put in suspected list by system until re-verification gets completed.
Department of Telecommunications (DoT)
DoT is a department of Ministry of Communications of executive branch of Government of India. DoT has been formulating developmental policies to accelerate growth of telecommunication services. It is also responsible for granting licenses for various telecom services such as Unified Access Service Internet and VSAT service. It is responsible for frequency management across radio communication in close coordination with international bodies. It further enforces wireless regulatory measures by monitoring wireless transmission for users in India.
Government has notified a draft norm to regulate direct selling firms like Amway and Tupperware to protect the interest of consumers in India.
- Under the norms, these direct selling firms will not be allowed to offer pyramid and money circulation scheme.
- Union consumer affairs ministry has framed Consumer Protection (Direct Selling) Rules, 2021.
- In 2016, ministry had set of guidelines for such direct selling firms or companies which were advisory in nature.
What are the new rules?
- New draft rules propose penalties for violations.
- As per new norms, direct selling companies are banned from promoting pyramid scheme and money circulation scheme.
- Direct selling companies will have to register themselves under relevant Indian laws and with Department of Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade (DPIIT) to get a registration number.
- These companies should have minimum one physical location as registered office in India.
- The companies are required to appoint chief compliance officer, grievance redressal officer and a nodal contact person for coordination with law enforcement agencies.
- Companies are required to maintain proper and updated website with all the details of entity, contact information, price, product information and grievance redressal mechanism for consumers.
- They should also issue proper identity cards and documents to its direct sellers along with KYC verification requirements. They will have to maintain the record of all direct sellers offering defective or spurious goods.
- To regulate direct sellers, draft rule proposes that, sellers will not visit consumer’s premises without identity card and prior appointment or approval.
- Direct sellers should not provide any literature to prospect, which has not been approved by parent direct selling entity.
- Any person who sells any product or service of direct selling entity by e-commerce platform must get prior written consent from direct selling entity.
What is pyramid scheme?
Pyramid is a multi-layered network of subscribers in scheme which is formed by subscribers enrolling one or more subscribers to receive any benefit. Benefits are received directly or indirectly while enrolment of additional subscribers under the scheme.
Chief Minister of Delhi, Arvind Kejriwal, launched a scheme to provide monetary support to covid-19 affected families on July 6, 2021.
- Chief Minister also launched an online portal which will help in providing financial assistance to families.
- He also asked officials not to find faults in their claim applications.
Mukhyamantri Covid-19 Pariwar Aarthik Sahayata Yojana
- This scheme was notified by Department of Social Welfare on June 22, 2022.
- Under this scheme, Rs 50,000 ex gratia will be provided to every family who lost a member to Covid-19.
- Additional of Rs 2,500 per month will be provided to them if deceased was sole breadwinner of the family.
- This financial assistance will be provided without conducting scrutiny of applications and without finding any faults in application.
- If any family lack any document, government will help them to obtain it.
- Under the scheme, government will also consider a single member of affected family to be enrolled as civil defence volunteer.
- Government also affirmed to look after health and education needs of dependent children as per existing policy.
Who can get financial assistance?
There is no income criterion to apply for financial assistance under the newly launched scheme. However, in order to get assistance, deceased & dependent should be from Delhi and Death should be certified Covid-19 death or death within one month of testing Covid positive.
On May 18, 2021 Delhi Chief Minister said, “Each family in which a death has occurred because of Covid will be provided ex-gratia of Rs 50,000.” Families where earning member has died due to Covid-19, will get a monthly pension of Rs 2,500 besides ex gratia of Rs 50,000. Children who lost their both parents or one parent will be provided Rs 2,500 per month till the age of 25 years. Such children will also be provided free education.
Following a drone attack at Indian Air Force (IAF) station in Jammu, Air force has decided to procure 10 anti-drone systems in order to stop such attacks in future across border areas.
- Army Force has floated Request for Information (RFI) from Indian vendors for Counter Unarmed Aircraft System (CUAS).
- Counter Unarmed Aircraft System (CUAS) can be armed with laser-directed energy weapons to bring down rogue drones.
Drone attack was carried on Jammu Air Force Station on June 27, 2021 where two unmanned aerial vehicles were used to drop bombs. National Investigation Agency is currently probing the matter.
Counter Unarmed Aircraft System (CUAS)
CUAS is intended to detect, identify, track, designate and neutralize hostile Unarmed Aircraft System (UAS). Laser Directed Energy Weapon (Laser-DEW) is required as kill option. Systems are required to be equipped with Global Navigation Satellite Jammer System (GNSS) & Radio Frequency jammers as soft kill option while Laser-based Directed Energy Weapon (Laser-DEW) as a hard kill option in order to destroy drones.
What are the requirements for CUAS?
It should also provide multi-sensor & multi-kill solution to enforce effective no-fly zones for UAS. It should result into minimal collateral damage in surrounding environment. It should also generate composite air situational picture for operator. Such anti-drone systems are required in mobile configuration which are mounted on indigenous vehicles with cross country capability. It should be powered by indigenous Electrical Power Supply (EPS) system. It should be road and air transportable. Its design should include modularity for quick deployment and withdrawal.
Myanmar military, also known as Tatmadaw, have returned to its “four cuts strategy” in order to stamp out resistance to its rule after it seized power from elected government of Myanmar in Military coup on February 1, 2021.
- As per an independent researcher, ‘four cuts’ strategy was first developed in the 1960s.
- Myanmar military had developed this strategy when it was struggling to fight Communist Party of Burma and Myanmar’s oldest ethnic armed group, Karen National Union.
- It was particularly used in Ayeyarwady Delta Region and Bago Yoma mountain range, during that time.
- As per Naw Htoo Htoo of Karen Human Rights Group, ‘four cuts’ strategy was used by Military in areas under KNU control. It targeted every person and village, which were having ties with KNU.
- Myanmar’s military has also used four cuts in Kachin State following a ceasefire between Tatmadaw and Kachin Independence Organization collapsed in 2011.
What is four cuts strategy?
“Four cuts” doctrine was adopted in 1968 after Myanmar Military had had a chance to study British strategies during 1948-1960 Malayan Emergency. During that time, colonial power gradually choked off a communist insurgency. The “four cuts” was a doctrine which was designed to sever insurgents from their key inputs like funding, food, intelligence, and recruits. This strategy was first prosecuted against Karen rebellion before it was rolled out to deal with insurgencies. Military divided Myanmar into black, brown, and white zones in a bid to reflect insurgent-controlled, partially insurgent-controlled, and government-controlled areas. ‘Black zones’ were free-fire areas for the Military.
Prime Minister of Bangladesh, Sheikh Hasina, has gifted 2,600 kg of Haribhanga variety of mangoes to Indian Prime Minister, Narendra Modi.
- Truck carrying 260 cartons of mangoes crossed Bangladesh-India border through Benapole port in Jessore.
- Mangoes are a “memento of friendship” between both the countries.
- Mangoes are of “Haribhanga variety” which are grown in Rangpur region of Bangladesh.
- Haribhanga mangoes typically weigh 200 to 400 grams and are round in shape, extremely fleshy and fibreless.
About Mango Diplomacy
Mango diplomacy has been a tradition of politics in Indian subcontinent. Dignitaries like former Pakistan Presidents Zia-ul-Haq and Pervez Musharraf had also presented India with mangoes.
Evolving India-Bangladesh Relation
India-Bangladesh relations have entered new era of cooperation and is moving beyond historical and cultural ties. It has strengthened in areas of trade, connectivity, energy, and defence.
- Military Relation: Bangladesh has uprooted anti-India insurgency elements from its borders. It has made India-Bangladesh border one of the most peaceful region in Indian subcontinent. Peaceful border has allowed India to make redeployment of military resources to other contentious borders. Bangladesh has also handed over several wanted criminals of India.
- Land Boundary Agreement: Both countries have resolved border issues peacefully by ratifying historic Land Boundary Agreement in 2015.
- Trade Relations: Bangladesh has become biggest trading partner of India in South Asia. In Financial Year 2018-19, exports have reached to $9.21 billion while imports to $1.04 billion. India has also offered duty free access to several products from Bangladesh.
- Developmental credits: Cooperation among both the countries has deepened. India has extended three lines of credit to Bangladesh. About $8 billion were given for construction of roads, railways, bridges, and ports.
- Connectivity: Connectivity between both the countries has improved. A direct bus service now runs between Kolkata and Agartala via Bangladesh for a distance of 500 km as compared to 1,650 km if it ran through Chicken’s Neck to be entirely in India.
Experts from Tamil Nadu Agricultural University (TNAU) and Forest College and Research Institute (FC&RI) has undertaken a project to identify native grasses & trees in order to improve elephant habitats and standardise mass multiplication techniques.
- Forest Department has set up eight-member group after they realised that areas occupied by native grasses and fodder trees in wild have been degraded.
- Team submitted an interim report recently in which they have identified 29 native grass species and 14 fodder tree species that are palatable for elephants and other herbivores.
- Team also started a nursery for growing these species in FC&RI campus.
- Leaves and plant parts of 29 native fodder grass species and 14 fodder tree species have been shade dried. They have also been powdered for characterising nutritional and anti-nutritional values.
Aim of the project
Scientists have undertaken the project with the objective of improving quality of elephant habitats by restoring them with native grasses and fodder trees.
About the project
Team have presented the interim report. In the next phase, they will assess nutritive value of trees & plants and standardise mass multiplication technology to plant in lower slopes of Nilgiris and Coimbatore Forest Division. They have already assessed the fodder quality of same. Quality have degraded because of spread of invasive species such as lantana camara.
These mountains form a part of Western Ghats in western Tamil Nadu. 24 peaks of Nilgiri Mountains are above 2,000 metres in height. Highest peak is Doddabetta with height of 2,637 metres. Word Nilgiri has been derived from Tamil word Neelam meaning blue and giri meaning mountain. Nilgiri Hills are separated from Karnataka Plateau by Moyar River.
Japanese astronomers have developed an artificial intelligence (AI) technique which will help in removing noise in astronomical data because of random variations in galaxy shapes.
- Technique was developed after extensive training and testing on large mock data that was created by supercomputer simulations.
- Scientists then applied this new technique to actual data from Japan’s Subaru Telescope.
- They found that, mass distribution derived from this method is in consistent with currently accepted models of Universe.
- New technique is a powerful way to analyse big data from current and planned astronomy surveys.
How large-scale structure of universe can be studied?
Large-scale structure of Universe can be studied using a wide area survey data by measuring gravitational lensing patterns. In gravitational lensing, gravity of foreground object such as cluster of galaxies can distort image of background object like distant galaxy. Large-scale structure, comprising mostly of mysterious “dark” matter, can distort shapes of distant galaxies.
Concerns with the technique
This technique of looking at galaxy images runs into a problem because it is difficult to distinguish between galaxy image distorted by gravitational lensing and actual distorted galaxy. This is referred as shape noise. It is one of the limiting factors while studying large-scale structure of Universe.
How this problem can be tackled?
To compensate for shape noise, Japanese astronomers used ATERUI II. It is world’s most powerful supercomputer dedicated to astronomy. It is used to generate 25,000 mock galaxy catalogs on the basis of real data from Subaru Telescope.
Department for Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade (DPIIT) has launched a project on Open Network for Digital Commerce (ONDC).
Aim of ONDC project
Project on Open Network for Digital Commerce was launched with the aim of promoting open networks developed on open-sourced methodology. Open network will be developed using open specifications & open network protocols independent of any specific platform.
Who is developing the project?
Task of developing this project has been assigned to Quality Council of India. Apart from that, advisory council has been constituted to advise Government regarding the measures required to design and accelerate adoption of ONDC.
Members of advisory council
Members of Advisory council are
- RS Sharma, CEO of National Health Authority;
- Nandan Nilekani, non-executive Chairman of Infosys and
- Arvind Gupta, Co-founder & Head of Digital India Foundation.
Significance of ONDC
ONDC will help in digitizing entire value chain, promoting inclusion of suppliers, standardizing operations, deriving efficiencies in logistics and enhancing value for consumers.
Department for Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade (DPIIT)
It is a central government department working under Ministry of Commerce and Industry. Department is responsible to formulate and implement promotional & developmental measures for growth of industrial sector based on national priorities and socio-economic objectives. Individual administrative ministries are responsible for planning, production, distribution and developmental aspects of industries allocated to them. But DPIIT is responsible for overall industrial policy. DPIIT is also responsible to facilitate and increase foreign direct investment (FDI) flows India.
DPIIT in its current form was established on January 27, 2019, by renaming the erstwhile Department of Industrial Policy & Promotion. Internal trade aspect was added to the mandate of DPIIT. Presently, Piyush Goyal is the minister and top bureaucrat is Dr. Guruprasad Mohapatra, IAS.
Scientists have detected gravitational waves produced by collision of neutron star and black hole for the first time.
- Gravitational waves ripples were detected in fabric of space-time.
- This finding shows that there are neutron star-black hole systems. This system will help in answering several questions regarding cosmos ranging from star formation to expansion rate of universe.
How Gravitational waves are produced?
Gravitational waves are produced when celestial objects collide. After collision, ensuing energy creates ripples in fabric of space-time which carry to detectors on Earth.
How waves were detected?
Waves from two celestial objects were picked up with the help of global network of gravitational wave detectors called LIGO. Advanced LIGO detector in US and Advanced Virgo detector in Italy picked up final throes of death spiral between a neutron star and a black hole on January 5, 2021 when they circled closer and merged together. Following it, the second signal was picked up on these detectors from final orbits and smashing together of another neutron star and black hole pair.
Significance of the study
Detection of gravitational waves confirm that there are populations of binary systems comprising of a neutron star and a black hole. Such astrophysical systems will help in answering many big questions regarding universe. One can reveal facts regarding star formation and stellar evolution and expansion fate of Universe. Observations will also help scientists to find more facts about what neutron stars are made of.
First ever direct gravitational waves were detected in 2015. Since then, astronomers have predicted the system of black hole & neutron star merger could exist. However, observational evidences were detected in 2021.
American Space Agency, NASA, has received its first sample of asteroid Ryugu that returned to Earth in December 2020 by Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency’s (JAXA) Hayabusa2 spacecraft.
- Samples from asteroid Ryugu is one of the first samples to leave Japan for preliminary investigation.
- Mike Zolensky was one of the first scientists to examine these sample so as to determine its basic nature.
- Sample analyses were performed in Scanning Electron Microscopy Lab in Structural Engineering Division of Johnson.
What us asteroid Ryugu?
Asteroid Ryugu is also called as 162173 Ryugu. It is provisionally designated as 1999 JU3. It is a near-Earth object and a potentially hazardous asteroid belonging to Apollo group. It is approximately 1 kilometre in diameter. It is a dark object of rare spectral type Cb. It has qualities of C-type asteroid as well as B-type asteroid. Japanese spacecraft Hayabusa2 arrived at this asteroid in 2018. It left Ryugu for Earth in November 2019 after making measurements and taking samples. It returned sample capsule to Earth in December 2020.
Ryugu was discovered in May 1999 by astronomers with Lincoln Near-Earth Asteroid Research at Lincoln Lab’s ETS in United States. It was given provisional designation of 1999 JU3. It was officially named as “Ryugu” by Minor Planet Center in September 2015. Name refers to Ryugu-ju (Dragon Palace) which is a magical underwater palace in Japanese folktale.
It is an asteroid sample-return mission. It is operated by Japanese state space agency, JAXA. It is the successor of Hayabusa mission. It returned asteroid samples first time in June 2010. Hayabusa2 was launched on December, 3 2014. Its mission has been extended till 2031.
According to government scientists of Philippines, second-most active volcano of Philippines, Taal Volcano, can erupt anytime soon amid “anomalously high” volcanic gas emissions in Philippines.
- About 3,000 residents have left their homes from high-risk villages around Taal Volcano in Batangas province since the volcano erupted.
- Since the recent eruption of Taal Volcano, several bursts of volcanic gas and steam have been generated by it.
- Country also recorded the highest levels of volcanic sulphur dioxide gas emission after eruption. Sulphur dioxide emission is about 22,628 tonnes per day.
- These volcanic emissions were accompanied by 26 strong and very shallow low-frequency volcanic earthquakes because of magmatic degassing”.
Last eruption at Taal was observed on January 12, 2020. It displaced more than 376,000 people from nearby areas. 39 people, in evacuation centres, died because of illness and accidents caused by thick ashfall. Taal volcano has erupted 33 times since 1572.
Taal volcano, in Philippines, is a large caldera filled by Taal Lake. It is located in province of Batangas. It is considered as most active volcanoes in Philippines, with a total of 34 recorded historical eruptions. All these volcanoes were concentrated on Volcano Island, near Taal Lake. Caldera was formed by prehistoric eruptions during 140,000 and 5,380 BP. This volcano is a part of Ring of Fire. This volcano was known as Bombou or Bombon in the 1800s.
Ring of Fire
It is a region around rim of Pacific Ocean where several volcanic eruptions and earthquakes occur. It is a horseshoe-shaped belt which is about 40,000 km long and 500 km wide. Ring of Fire comprises of Pacific coasts of South America, North America & Kamchatka.
Digital payments and financial services platform, Paytm, have launched “Postpaid Mini” service for users on July 5, 2021.
About Postpaid Mini service
- Postpaid mini service was launched in partnership with Aditya Birla Finance Ltd.
- It is an extension of Paytm’s “Buy Now, Pay Later service”.
- It seeks to driving affordability amongst people who are new to credit.
- It is a small ticket instant loans facility that will give flexibility to users and also help manage their household expenses in order to maintain liquidity amid the covid-19 pandemic.
How loan can be repaid?
Paytm Postpaid is giving a period of up to 30 days for repayment of loans at zero percent interest. Further, there will be no annual fees or activation charges. However, a minimal convenience fee would be taken.
Significance of Postpaid Mini
This Postpaid mini service will help new-to-credit citizens in starting their credit journey and develop a financial discipline. It will help in driving consumption in economy. Service would also help users to manage their liquidity by clearing their bills or payments on time.
Instant Credit system
With the help of Postpaid Mini, Paytm will offer access to loans in the range of Rs 250 to Rs 1000. Apart from that, Paytm’s Postpaid mini service will provide a credit of up to Rs 60,000. This facility will help users to pay their monthly expenses such as mobile & DTH recharge, gas cylinder booking, shop on Paytm Mall, electricity & water bills etc.
Where this service can be used?
This service can be used to pay at online and offline merchant stores across India. Paytm Postpaid is currently accepted at thousands of petrol pumps, neighbourhood Kirana stores or pharmacy shops. Paytm Postpaid is available in 550 cities of India.