1. National Interlinking of Rivers Authority
The Centre has set in motion the process of creating the National Interlinking of Rivers Authority (NIRA), an independent autonomous body for planning, investigation, financing, and the implementation of the river interlinking projects in the country.
- NIRA, to be headed by a Government of India Secretary-rank officer, will replace the existing National Water Development Agency
- It will function as an umbrella body for all river linking projects.
- The new body will coordinate with neighboring countries and concerned states and departments
- It will have powers on issues related to the environment, wildlife, and forest clearances under river linking projects and their legal aspects.
- NIRA will have the power to raise funds and act as a repository of borrowed funds or money received on deposit or loan given on interest.
- It will also have the mandate to coordinate with neighboring countries “as directed” by the Ministry of Jal Shakti or the Ministry of External Affairs.
- It will also have the power to set up a Special Purpose Vehicle (SPV) for individual link projects.
2. National Achievement Survey
- The National Achievement Survey for the students of Class V was successfully conducted at Sushila Birla Girls’ School, Kolkata, on November 12.
- It was a rehearsal of sorts as students got an opportunity to visit the campus days before educational institutes in the state reopen for higher classes.
- The survey was conducted among students of Classes III, V, VIII, and X in state government schools, government-aided schools, private unaided recognized schools, and central government schools.
- The survey is held every three years by the Union ministry of education to diagnose learning gaps and determine interventions required in education policies, teaching practices, and learning.
- This being their first experience of a national survey, the students were skeptical yet interested. The teachers of the section concerned were also required to be a part of the survey.
3. Nationwide AHDF KCC Campaign
- The Department of Animal Husbandry and Dairying (DAHD), together with the Department of Fisheries (DoF) and the Department of Financial Services (DFS) is organizing the “Nationwide AHDF KCC Campaign” from 15 November 2021 to 15 February 2022.
- The nationwide campaign aims to expand the benefits of Kisan Credit Card (KCC) to all eligible animal husbandry & fish farmers across the country.
- Under this Campaign, the target of the government is to cover all eligible farmers who are involved in various Animal Husbandry activities such as the rearing of bovines, goats, pigs, poultry & other allied activities.
- This special campaign will try to bring together all eligible dairy farmers associated with milk unions or MPCs who have not yet been covered in the earlier campaign.
4. PanSTARRS telescope spots Quasi Satellite
- PanSTARRS telescope in Hawaii spotted a quasi-satellite — a near-Earth object that orbits the Sun and yet remains close to the Earth.
- Scientists named it Kamo’oalewa, a word that is part of a Hawaiian chant, and alludes to an offspring that travels on its own.
- The asteroid is roughly the size of a Ferris wheel – between 150 and 190 feet in diameter – and gets as close as about 9 million miles from Earth.
- Because of its small size (about 50 meters wide), this quasi-satellite has been difficult for scientists to study, and little was known about it so far.
- One possibility is that Kamo’oalewa was a part of the Earth’s Moon, the study suggests.
- It could have broken away from the Moon due to a possible impact, and gone on to orbit the Sun rather than the Earth-like its parent does.
- When scientists compared its spectrum with a lunar sample that was brought back to Earth during the Apollo 14 mission, they found striking similarities between the two.
- A mission to collect Kamo’oalewa’s samples has been scheduled for a launch in 2025.
- Another possibility is that Kamo’oalewa was captured in its Earth-like orbit from the general population of Near Earth Objects.
- A third possibility could be that it originated from an as-yet-undiscovered quasi-stable population of Earth’s Trojan asteroids.
5. Swallowtail butterfly
- An elusive swallowtail butterfly carrying ‘India’ in its name and found in next-door China will become the State butterfly of Arunachal Pradesh.
- Arunachal Pradesh approved the large, brightly colored Kaiser-i-Hind as the State butterfly.
- The Cabinet meeting was for the first time held outside State capital Itanagar at an unusual location — Pakke Tiger Reserve.
- The Cabinet also adopted the Pakke Tiger Reserve 2047 declaration on climate change-resilient and responsive Arunachal Pradesh aimed at lowering emissions and sustainable development.
- Kaiser-i-Hind (Teinopalpus imperialis) literally means Emperor of India.
- This butterfly with a 90-120 mm wingspan is found in six states along the Eastern Himalayas at elevations from 6,000-10,000 feet in well-wooded terrain.
- The butterfly also flutters in Nepal, Bhutan, Myanmar, Laos, Vietnam, and southern China.
- Kaiser-i-Hind is protected under Schedule II of Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972, it is hunted for supply to butterfly collectors.
- Kaiser-i-Hind usually flies at tree-top level and descends to sit on low vegetation when there is strong morning sunlight.
- It is in flight during April-July and lays eggs on the underside of leaves.
Pakke Tiger Reserve
- Pakke Tiger Reserve (declared in 1999 – 2000) lies in the foothills of the eastern Himalaya in the East Kameng district of Arunachal Pradesh.
- It falls within the Eastern Himalaya Biodiversity Hotspot.
- It is home to over 2000 species of plants, 300 species of birds, 40 species of mammals, 30 species of amphibians and 36 species of reptiles.
- Many species of the flora and fauna are globally threatened, and PTR is one of the last remaining strongholds left for these species.
- It is known for its amazing sightings of four resident hornbill species.
6. Reserve Bank of India Integrated Ombudsman Scheme
Reserve Bank of India Integrated Ombudsman Scheme (RB-IOS), which strengthens the grievance redress mechanism for consumers of different regulated entities like banks, non-banking financial companies (NBFCs), and payments system operators was launched.
- The three ombudsman schemes having different grounds of complaints, leading to uneven redress across customers of different entities resulted in unequal treatment of aggrieved customers.
- There was a perceived need to integrate the three ombudsman schemes into one, simplify the procedure by covering all complaints involving deficiency in service,
- Under RB-IOS, the exclusive jurisdiction of each ombudsman’s office has been done away with under the concept of ‘One nation, one ombudsman’.
- A deputy ombudsman too would be appointed to address certain categories of complaints to allow the ombudsman’s office a greater adjudication role.
- A centralized receipt and processing center (CRPC) has been set up at RBI, Chandigarh, to assist complainants in filing complaints and seeking information related to their complaints.
- The complaint management system and CRPC at RBI, Chandigarh, enable a one-point interface for customers to file complaints, submit documents, track status, and get relevant information.
- RB-IOS will cover the customers of all scheduled commercial banks, RRBs, scheduled UCBs and other UCBs with deposits of Rs50 crore and above, all deposit-taking NBFCs and NBFCs with assets of 100 crores and above, and non-bank system participants, it will also cover all complaints involving deficiency in service.
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