Daily Current Affairs - 11-10-2021

Railways successfully operated two long haul freight trains called “Trishul” and “Garuda” for the first time in South-Central Railway (SCR).

Highlights

About Trishul

Trishul is the first long haul train of SCR comprising three freight trains, that is 177 wagons. The train was started from ‘Kondapalli station of Vijayawada division’ to ‘Khurda division East Coast Railway’.

About Garuda

SCR is followed up with the similar train called Garuda on October 8. The train was started from Raichur of Guntakal division to the Manuguru of Secunderabad division.

Features of the trains

Both the trains comprise of empty open wagons to load the coal which is meant for predominantly thermal power stations. SCR is one among the five major freight loading railways. Several SCR freight traffic moves in certain arterial routes like Visakhapatnam, Vijayawada, Renigunta, Gudur, Kazipet, Ballarshah, Secunderabad, Guntakal sections and Guntur.

South Central Railway

It is one among the 18 zones of Indian Railways. Its jurisdiction is spread over Telangana, Karnataka, Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh. The zone has three divisions under its administration, namely Secunderabad, Hyderabad and Nanded. It was re-organized in the year 2019. Divisions of Vijayawada, Guntakal and Guntur railway station were separated to form South Coast Railway zone. Its headquarter is at Secunderabad railway station.

According to External Affairs Minister (EAM), S Jaishankar, India has agreed on USD 200 million Line of Credit support for the developmental projects in Kyrgyzstan.

Key Facts

India-Kyrgyz Republic Relations

Diplomatic relations between India and Kyrgyz Republic Relations have become more significant in the 21st century. Initially in 1990s, it has remained passive. Both the countries seek to develop an extensive commercial and strategic partnership in Central Asia region. India recognised independence of Kazakhstan from the Soviet Union after Soviet Union got dissolved in 1992. In recent years, India is working towards increasing its commerce and strategic ties with Kazakhstan. Kazakhstan is significant because it occupies a major territory in Central Asia comprising of extensive oil, natural gas and mineral reserves. India seeks to expand its ties in the backdrop of increasing economic & strategic influence of China.

India-Kazakhstan Energy Cooperation

India is working for the development of nuclear energy industry as a clean alternative for satisfying its huge energy needs. Kazakhstan has huge uranium required for nuclear energy. Thus, India is developing a strong relationship with Kazakhstan.

Sunil Chhetri has equalled the legendary Pele by making the 77th international goal as his 83rd minute strike, on October 10, 2021.

Key Points

About SAFF Championship 2021

Seven-time champions India has now been placed at the third place with five points from three matches in “five-team table”. India is placed below Maldives with six points from three matches and Nepal with six points from three matches. India still needs to win the final round-robin league match against hosts Maldives in order to make it for the final.

South Asian Football Federation Championship (SAFF Championship)

SAFF championship was earlier known as “South Asian Association of Regional Cooperation Gold Cup”. This championship is an international association football competition of men’s national football teams. It is governed by South Asian Football Federation (SAFF). All seven teams namely Bangladesh, India, Bhutan, Nepal, Maldives, Pakistan and Sri Lanka, are eligible to compete in this tournament. This tournament is held every two years. Afghanistan is the latest country to join SAFF in 2005. However, Afghanistan quit this association in 2015 and became a founding member of Central Asian Football Association (CAFA).

World Mental Health Day was observed across the world on October 10, 2021 with the objective of raising awareness on mental health issues.

Key Points

World Health Assembly

During the World Health Assembly in May 2021, governments from across the world recognised the need of scaling up quality mental health services at all the levels. Some of the countries have found new ways to provide mental health care to their populations.

World Mental Health Day campaign 2021

During the World Mental Health Day 2021 campaign, WHO will showcase the efforts made in some of the countries to inspire other countries to initiate & find new ways to provide mental health care support. The campaign is being organised by the World Health Organisation under the slogan: “Mental health care for all: let’s make it a reality”.

About World Mental Health Day

World Mental Health Day is an international day for global mental health awareness, education and advocacy against the social stigma. The day was first observed in the year 1992 at an initiative of World Federation for Mental Health. This federation is a global mental health organization comprising of members & contacts from more than 150 countries. In some countries, like in Australia, this day is part of an awareness week.

The United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) unanimously voted to recognise a clean, healthy & sustainable environment as a universal right. This right was recognised by UNHRC on October 8, 2021 in Geneva, Switzerland.

Highlights

Once the right is recognised by all, it would be the first of its kind in 70 years, ever since the Universal Declaration of Human Rights was adopted in 1948 by the UN General Assembly.

Right to clean environment

Right to a clean environment was first rooted in “1972 Stockholm Declaration”.

Background

This resolution was approved following a campaign led by 13000 civil society organisations & indigenous peoples’ groups, 90,000 children, private sector stakeholders and the Global Alliance of National Human Rights Institutions.

About the UN resolution

This resolution emphasises on “Rights to life, liberty and security” of human rights defenders who are working in environmental matters. They are referred as environmental human rights defenders. Clean-environment resolution was passed by the human rights council. The resolution also called on countries to boost their abilities of improving the environment. It was passed by 43-0. Four member states namely India, China, Japan and Russia were abstained.

What are the concerns of Environmental defenders?

Environmental defenders worldwide are subject to constant physical attacks, legal actions, detentions, arrests, and smear campaigns. In 2020 alone, around 200 environmental defenders have been murdered. This the UNEP has deepened its commitment to protect and promote environmental human rights defenders in times to come.

United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC)

UNHRC is a United Nations body that seeks to promote and protect human rights worldwide. Council comprises of 47 members and they are elected for staggered three-year terms on a regional group basis. Its headquarter is in Geneva, Switzerland.

The Telangana State Election Commission has planned to conduct a dry run of a “Mobile-Based e-voting system”.

Highlights

Registration procedure

Voters can register themselves for the dry run, using the smartphone application in between October 8 and 18.

Implementing Agency

The state election commission of Telangana is implementing the system in association with the emerging technologies wing of IT Electronics and Communications (ITE&C) department of Telangana government and technical development by ‘Centre for Development of Advanced Computing (CDAC)’.

Use of Artificial Intelligence

Mobile-based e-voting system will make use of Artificial Intelligence for a three-factor authentication of the valid voter. System will match the voter’s name with the Aadhaar, detect individual liveness and match image using EPIC database comprising of around 20-year-old records.

Blockchain (Distributed Ledger) technology

This technology has been used to secure de-identified and encrypted votes in order to maintain them as immutable records.

TSEC eVote App

This smartphone application follows a minimalist design approach, supporting both English and Telugu languages. It comprises of a detailed help section for tutorial videos and a helpline number to aid the citizens. It is a security-hardened mobile application that will prevent any type of tampering. System cannot be misused because it binds a device ID and phone number to a specific citizen registration process. Only that device can be used during voting.

India joined hands with Croatia and inked a MoU for research & development in Indian traditional medicine systems and for promoting Ayurveda in Europe.

Key Points

Significance of the MoU

The agreement is significant because it will help in promoting Indian traditional medicine system across European countries. It is a significant step to boost India’s ties with other countries and promote academic research, medical education, clinical & educational activities, training, and competency building.

About India-Croatia Relations

India-Croatia Relations have been friendly since the era of former Yugoslavia. Yugoslavia disintegrated into six new countries during 1990s due to political upheavals & conflicts during early 1990s. These six countries are- Bosnia & Herzegovina, Macedonia, Montenegro, Serbia, Croatia and Slovenia. Croatia is an important Central European country because of its geo-strategic location and membership of the European Union & NATO. The country is a significant Gateway to Europe through the Adriatic coastline.

India and the United Kingdom have inked pact on ‘Forward Action Plan on power & clean transportation, renewables, green finance, and green energy research” under its 2030 roadmap.

Highlights

‘Forward Action Plan’ was discussed at the “3rd India-UK Energy for Growth Partnership – Ministerial Energy Dialogue”, in the backdrop of “United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP-26)” which is set to start from October 31 in Glasgow.

Key discussions held during meeting

Green hydrogen

It is produced by splitting water into hydrogen and oxygen by electrolyser which is powered by electricity from renewable energy like wind and solar. This can be a game change for energy sector in India and help in reducing imports. India currently imports 85% of its oil and 53% of its gas demand.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi is set to launch first ever National Infrastructure Masterplan called “Pradhan Mantri Gati Shakti”. This masterplan will be launched on October 13, 2021.

Key Points

About Gati Shakti Platform

Gati Shakti platform was launched to provide information instantaneously. It will allow for better coordination among ministries. Gati Shakti Scheme was launched with the aim of achieving three basic goals namely,

  1. Seamless multimodal connectivity for facilitating easy movement of goods & people,
  2. Improved prioritisation, optimal usage of resources, timely creation of capacities, and
  3. Resolution of issues like disjointed planning, standardisation & clearances.

Aim of the Master Plan

Significance of the Plan

It is a seamless multi-modal connectivity platform and will ensure seamless movement of goods & people and will enhance ease of living & ease of doing business.

As per data of “Central Electricity Authority of India”. India is facing an unprecedented shortage of coal stocks across the thermal plants which might lead to a power crisis.

Highlights

Why there is shortage of coal?

Possible reasons for shortage of coal in India include-

  1. Excess rainfall, that hit the coal movement.
  2. Imported coal-based power plants are generating less than half of their capacity because of high prices.
  3. Increase in Power Demand as the economy is recovering from the Covid-19 pandemic.
  4. Coal based thermal power plants have supplied a higher proportion of increase in demand. Share of thermal power has increased to 66.4% from 61.9% in 2019.
  5. Slower imports along with high international prices of coal have led to cut in imports.

Possible Impacts of Coal Shortage

Coal shortage and electricity shortage might delay the economic reopening in India. It will hit hard the underdeveloped energy infrastructure in India.

Union Minister for Fisheries, Animal Husbandry & Dairying, Parshottam Rupala, launched the River Ranching Programme on October 8, 2021.

Highlights

River Ranching Programme

River ranching programme was introduced as special activity under the ‘Pradhan Mantri Matsya Sampada Yojana (PMMSY) scheme to augment and enhance fish production and productivity by expanding, intensifying, diversifying and utilizing land & water productively.

Who is the implementing agency?

National Fisheries Development Board, Hyderabad is the nodal agency under central component of the PMMSY. The board has been designated by the “Department of Fisheries, Ministry of Fisheries”.

What is the need of programme?

As the human population is growing, requirement of high-quality protein & demand of fish is increasing gradually. Thus, to promote sustainable use and conservation of fishery resources in an economical and environmentally responsible manner, River Ranching Programme was launched. This programme will help in achieving sustainable fisheries, conserving biodiversity, assessing ecosystem services, reducing habitat degradation and maximizing social-economic benefits. It will also ensure the upgradation of traditional fishery, trade & social protection of Inland communities and ecosystem sustainability.