As per Indian Meteorological Department (IMD), May 2021 received second highest rainfall in 121 years.
Rainfall over India as a whole for May month of 2021 was recorded as 107.9 millimetres which is 74 percent more than its Long Period Average (LPA) of 62 mm. Highest ever rainfall was occurred in year 1990 with recorded rainfall of 110.7mm.
May witnessed the formation of cyclone in Arabian Sea as well as Bay of Bengal. Tauktae cyclone formed over Arabian Sea and developed into an extremely severe cyclonic storm hitting Gujarat coast on May 17. Cyclone Yaas was developed over Bay of Bengal & intensified severe cyclonic storm hitting Odisha coast on May 26. These two systems brought rainfall over the states as well as in western & eastern coasts.
Western disturbances are cyclonic storms originating in Mediterranean Sea and traverse across Central Asia before hitting north India. They are critical to northwest India as they act as major source of snow & rainfall during the winters.
Group of Seven (G-7) leaders are set to vow to deliver 1 billion extra doses of vaccines by 2022 to cover 80 percent of world’s adult population.
G-7 countries also plan to make a commitment to hasten shift from fossil-fuel-powered vehicles and to “green transitions” in developing countries. Other topics of discussion include-
US government has planned to buy about 200 million doses in 2021 to distribute through COVAX facility with the aim of securing an equitable global distribution of vaccine. It will also buy about 300 million doses in 2022. Vaccines will be given to 92 lower-income countries and African Union.
Assam Government has notified Dihing Patkai as a National Park which was the last remaining stretches of the Assam Valley tropical wet evergreen forests.
Assam has five older National Parks including-
Among them, Kaziranga & Manas are UNESCO World Heritage Sites and tiger reserves. Nameri and Orang are also designated tiger reserves.
Dihing Patkai is a 234.26-sq. km stretch covering Dibrugarh and Tinsukia districts of Assam. It is a major elephant habitat. It has recorded 310 species of butterflies. Park also comprise of 47 species of reptiles & mammals, including tiger and clouded leopard. It will be administered by Soraipung Range of Digboi Forest Division & Jeypore Range of Dibrugarh Forest Division.
Dihing Patkai was in focus for illegal coal mining in its vicinity comprising of erstwhile Dehing Patkai Wildlife Sanctuary, Jeypore Reserve Forest and western block of Upper Dihing Reserve Forest.
Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has changed some rules regarding cash withdrawal from automated teller machine (ATM). New rules include high charges on transactions beyond free permissible limit, new free ATM transaction limit and increase in interchange fee.
New rules are listed below:
Bank customers can now do five free financial and non-financial transactions every month from their own bank ATMs.
ATM card holders can do three free financial and non-financial transactions in metro centres while five in non-metro transaction from other bank ATMs
RBI allowed banks to increase charges on ATM transactions beyond free ATM transaction limit.
Interchange fee per transaction changed from Rs 15 to Rs 17 for financial transactions while from Rs 5 to Rs 6 for non-financial transactions in effect from August 1, 2021.
Bank customer will have to pay Rs 21 (currently it is Rs 20) for each ATM cash withdrawal beyond free transaction limit in effect from January 1, 2022.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi will participate in outreach sessions of UK led G7 virtual summit in Cornwall in June 2021.
This will be the 47th G7 summit. It is scheduled for June 11 to June 13, 2021 in United Kingdom which also holds presidency of the G7 this year. Leaders of seven G7 member states and representatives of European Union will participate in the summit. President of European Commission has been a permanently welcome participant for all G7 meetings and decision-making since 1981. 47th G7 Summit will be the first summit for Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga, Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi and U.S. President Joe Biden.
G7 comprises of Canada, France, Italy, Germany, Japan, UK and US.
According to commerce secretary, Anup Wadhawan, exports of India’s organic farm products has increased to 51 percent in 2020-21 challenging the hiccups in supply chain amid covid-19.
Organic farming in India is in nascent stage. As per Union Ministry of Agriculture & Farmers’ Welfare, As of March 2020, 2.78 million hectare of farmland was under organic cultivation. It accounts for just two per cent of the 140.1 million ha net sown area in India. some of the states have improved their organic farming coverage. Major part of this area is concentrated only in few states like Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra and Rajasthan. These states cover half of area under organic cultivation. Madhya Pradesh tops the list with 0.76 million ha of area under organic cultivation, which equal to the 27 per cent of India’s total organic cultivation area.
India’s export of agricultural and allied products in 2020-21 have increased by 17.34 percent. It now equals to USD 41.25 billion.
Largest markets for agricultural products of India are United States, China, Bangladesh, United Arab Emirates, Vietnam, Saudi Arabia, Indonesia, Nepal, Iran and Malaysia.
About 18 states, including Maharashtra, Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Nagaland, Punjab, Assam and Karnataka, have finalised their specific action plan to implement Agri export policy. As per the policy, 46 unique product-district clusters have been identified for export promotion while 29 cluster level committees have been formed.
India recently gained market access for pomegranate in Australia; oranges in Serbia; mango & Basmati rice in Argentina; mango, banana & soybean oilcake in Uzbekistan, carrot seeds in Iran; wheat flour, basmati rice, and tomato, okra & onion in Bhutan
Draft Master Plan of Delhi 2041 was made open for public scrutiny for next 45 days. It will serve as blueprint for development of Delhi for next two decades.
Master Plan document focuses on environment and tackling pollution. The plan also allows private developers to offer in land-pooling scheme for the first time. It aims:
In a bid to address challenges faced during pandemics, earthquakes & floods, it has suggested for periodic safety audits to ensure structural safety and to establish a Delhi Disaster Response Force.
MPD 2041 proposes for decentralised workspaces, creation of open areas & public spaces, better habitat design & green-rated developments in order to reduce vulnerability to airborne epidemics & other such diseases and to reduce dependence on mechanical ventilation systems.
Preparation of draft MPD 2041 started in 2017. It continued through the lockdowns amid COVID-19. The plan will be GIS-based. Thus, zonal plans have been prepared after digitally mapping every service, land use and infrastructure. It has been prepared by Delhi Development Authority. It is an ‘strategic’ and ‘enabling’ framework which will guide the growth in Delhi. It has been prepared by eliminating loopholes of previous plans of 1962, 2001 and 2021.
United States President Joe Biden has announced to donate 500 million doses of Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine to poorest countries across world to end the pandemic as soon as possible.
It is one of the three pillars of Access to COVID-19 Tools (ACT) Accelerator. It was launched in April 2020 by World Health Organization (WHO), France and European Commission against Covid-19 pandemic. COVAX seeks to ensure that people get access to Covid-19 vaccines equally once they are available. It has the target of providing 2 billion doses by end of 2021. COVAX is co-led by Gavi, Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI) and WHO.
It is a framework for collaboration to accelerate development, production, and equitable access of Covid-19 tests, treatments and vaccines. It has three main pillars: Vaccines (COVAX), Therapeutics, Diagnostics.
AMC is a mechanism within COVAX facility which ensure that 92 middle- and lower-income countries get equal access to Covid-19 vaccines as higher-income countries are getting. India is also a Gavi beneficiary and is receiving vaccines under COVAX facility.
International Level Crossing Awareness Day was observed by “South-Central Railway (SCR)” on June 10, 2021. Awareness programmes was conducted for public at level crossing gates.
SCR is one among 18 zones of Indian Railways. Jurisdiction of SCR lies with states of Telangana, Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka and Madhya Pradesh. It administers three divisions viz. Secunderabad, Hyderabad and Nanded. It was reorganized recently in 2019 when divisions of Vijayawada, Guntur and Guntakal railway station were separated and they formed South Coast Railway zone. Secunderabad railway station is current headquarter while Gajanan Mallya is the present general manager of SCR.
ILCAD is a worldwide initiative which seeks to improve awareness of level crossing safety. This awareness campaign is spearheaded by UIC which is the worldwide railway organisation. The day is observed with commitment after the success of first European Level Crossing Awareness Day which was held on June 25, 2009 in 28 countries to raise public awareness on dangers of misbehaviour across level crossings.
According to Knight Frank’s Global House Price Index for Q1 2021, India has moved down by 12 spots in global home price index because property price in India has declined amid covid-19 pandemic.
This year, India has been ranked at 55th position while during Q1 2020, India was ranked at 43rd position in terms of property prices.
HPI measures price changes of residential housing with respect to percentage change from some specific start date. Hedonic regression (HR), repeat sales regression (RSR) and simple moving average (SMA) are common methodologies to measure HPI.
Researchers from University of Ottawa proposed a new optical element that could turn a telescope into thin sheet of paper, or a much smaller & lighter high-performance camera. This idea can turn into reality by dramatically miniaturizing optical devices.
Researchers have developed a new optical element called ‘Spaceplate’ which “spreads out” light when it is travelling through it. In every telescope there is a large gap between eyepiece and objective lens giving light room to spread. Spaceplate stimulates same spreading which light would experience travelling large distance in small device. Space plate looks like “more space” for light, than it actually occupies. It is a counterpart to lens that shrink down entire imaging systems.
Researchers, Jeff Lundeen & Orad Reshef came up with idea of Spaceplace using nanotechnology to manipulate a ray based on its position
Space plate can be used to miniaturize many optical systems like display or sensors. It can enable paper-thin telescopes or cameras and can be used to remove “camera bump” on smartphone. Spaceplate when combined with metalenses can make entire back surface. It has 14 times better resolution and low-light performance than large and heavy cameras. It can also be used in applications like health care where camera pills or endoscopes to look inside arteries or digestive system.
Alphabet’s Google is all set to build world’s longest undersea cable connecting United States, Brazil, Argentina and Uruguay. This undersea cable will boost internet connection capacity in these regions.
Undersea cable, called Firmina, will run from East Coast of United States to Las Toninas, Argentina along with additional landings in Praia Grande, Brazil, and Punta del Este, Uruguay. Announcement was made following a surge in demand for internet and cloud services amid covid-19 pandemic which has pushed online shopping, online entertainment, online and work from home culture.
Firmina undersea cable will improve access to Google services for users in South America. It will comprise of 12 fibre pairs which will carry traffic quickly & securely between North & South America. It will thus provide the users fast, low-latency access to Google products like Gmail, Search, YouTube and Google Cloud services.
This American multinational conglomerate, with headquarter in California, was created by restructuring Google on October 2, 2015. It has become the parent company of Google and other subsidiaries of google. It is world’s fourth-largest technology company by revenue.
Ministry of Education has released latest edition of “All India Survey on Higher Education” (AISHE) 2019-2020. As per the survey, number of institutions of national importance have increased to 135 which accounts for 80 percent in last five years.
AISHE report is published by Ministry of Education since 2010-11. Survey provides key performance indicators on current status of higher education in India. Data is collected on parameters like number of teachers, student enrolment, examination results, programmes, education finance and infrastructure. Indicators of educational development include Institution Density, Pupil-Teacher ratio, Gross Enrolment Ratio, Gender Parity Index and Per Student Expenditure.
China has passed a new legislation against foreign sanctions. With this law China seeks to build its defences against rising US and EU pressure on trade and human rights.
China passed this law after accusing US of suppressing Chinese firms and issued veiled threats of retaliation. This was done after US President Joe Biden expanded a blacklist of companies wherein Americans are barred from investing in.
Chinese law has following countermeasure provisions:
China is complaining since long about extra-territorial application of US law by means of sanctions and restrictions on trade. Joe Biden is also criticizing China in recent months with respect to theft of intellectual property and alleged human rights abuses in Hong Kong and Xinjiang.
Several Americans companies are barred from investing in because of their links with Beijing’s military apparatus. 59 Chinese companies that are off-limits to American investors includes China Mobile, China Railway Construction Corp, video surveillance firm Hikvision and China National Offshore Oil Corporation (CNOOC).