Argutes

Daily Current Affairs for UPSC Civil Services Exam – 30 September 2021

1. Cauvery Water Management Authority

  1. The Cauvery Water Management Authority directed Karnataka to release 27.86 Thousand Million Cubic feet of Cauvery water to Tamil Nadu
  2. Karnataka has released only 57.04 TMC water.

River Cauvery

  1. The Kaveri (Cauvery) is also known as the ‘Dakshina Ganga’ or ‘the Ganga of the South.
  2. The Cauvery River rises at Talakaveri on the Brahmagiri range near Cherangala village of Kodagu (Coorg) district of Karnataka.
  3. The total length of the river from origin to an outfall is 800 km.
  4. The Cauvery basin extends over states of Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Kerala, and the Union Territory of Puducherry.
  5. It is bounded by the Western Ghats on the west, by the Eastern Ghats on the east and the south, and by the ridges separating it from the Krishna basin and Pennar basin on the north.
  6. The Nilgiris, an offshore of Western ghats, extend Eastwards to the Eastern ghats and divide the basin into two natural and political regions i.e., Karnataka plateau in the North and Tamil Nadu plateau in the South.
  7. Red soils occupy large areas in the basin.
  8. Alluvial soils are found in the delta areas.
  9. The basin in Karnataka receives rainfall mainly from the S-W Monsoon and partially from N-E Monsoon. The basin in Tamil Nadu receives good flows from the North-East Monsoon.
  10. It is almost a perennial river with comparatively fewer fluctuations in inflow
  11.  Cauvery is one of the best-regulated rivers and 90 to 95 percent of its irrigation and power production potential already stands harnessed.
  12. The river drains into the Bay of Bengal. The major part of the basin is covered with agricultural land accounting for 66.21% of the total area.
  13. Left Bank: the Harangi, the Hemavati, the Shimsha and the Arkavati.
  14. Right Bank: Lakshmantirtha, the Kabbani, the Suvarnavati, the Bhavani, the Noyil, and the Amaravati joins from the right.
  15. The river descends from the South Karnataka Plateau to the Tamil Nadu Plains through the Sivasamudram waterfalls
  16. The two branches of the river join after the fall and flow through a wide gorge which is known as ‘Mekedatu’ (Goats leap)
  17. At Hogennekkal Falls, it takes a Southerly direction and enters the Mettur Reservoir
  18. Cauvery branch lies the “Grand Anicut” said to have been constructed by a Chola King in 1st Century A.D.

Mekedatu project:

  1. The project aims to store and supply water for drinking purposes in Bengaluru city.
  2. Around 400 megawatts (MW) of power is also proposed to be generated through the project.
  3. It was first approved by the Karnataka state government in 2017.
  4. It received approval from the erstwhile Ministry of Water Resources for the detailed project report and is awaiting approval from the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change (MoEFCC).
  5. The approval from MoEFCC is crucial because 63% of the forest area of the Cauvery Wildlife Sanctuary will be submerged.
  6. In 2018, Tamil Nadu approached the Supreme Court (SC) against the project even if Karnataka had held that it would not affect the flow of water to Tamil Nadu.
  7. In June 2020, during the Cauvery Water Management Authority’s meeting, Tamil Nadu reiterated its opposition to the project.

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2. Emergency Credit Line Guarantee Scheme

The government has extended the 4.5 lakh crore Emergency Credit Line Guarantee Scheme (ECLGS) till March 31, 2022, to help businesses cope with the pandemic’s adverse effects.

The ECLGS was due to expire on September 30 and has helped 1.15 crore micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) so far.

About the scheme

  1. It was launched as part of the Aatmanirbhar Bharat Abhiyan package
  2. It was announced in May 2020 to mitigate the distress caused by coronavirus-induced lockdown, by providing credit to different sectors, especially Micro, Small, and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs).
  3. It aims to provide fully guaranteed and collateral-free additional credit to MSMEs, business enterprises, MUDRA borrowers, and individual loans for business purposes to the extent of 20% of their credit outstanding as of 29th February 2020.
  4. 100% guarantee coverage is being provided by the National Credit Guarantee Trustee Company, whereas Banks and Non-Banking Financial Companies (NBFCs) provide loans.
  5. Eligibility: Borrowers with credit outstanding up to Rs. 50 crore as of 29th February 2020, and with an annual turnover of up to Rs. 250 crore are eligible under the Scheme.
  6. The tenor of loans provided under the Scheme is four years, including a moratorium of one year on principal repayment.
  7. Interest rates under the Scheme are capped at 9.25% for Banks and Financial Institutions (FIs), and 14% for NBFCs.

3. Aapda Mitra Yojana

  1. Aapda Mitra Yojana will train the volunteers on saving lives during natural disasters.
  2. It was announced on the 17th Foundation Day of the National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA).
  3. The program aims to prepare the public for any disaster
  4. Aapda Mitra has started as an experiment at 30 flood-prone districts in 25 states.
  5. The theme of this year’s NDMA Foundation Day is “Wide effects of disaster events in the Himalayan region”.
  6. Government data shows India has the highest number of deaths caused by natural disasters.
  7.  According to India’s second annual lightning report, Bihar has reported the most deaths due to lightning between April 2020 and March 2021 (401 deaths), followed by Uttar Pradesh (238), Madhya Pradesh (228), Odisha (156), and Jharkhand (132). Other states reported less than 100 deaths during the same period.

NDMA

  1. The NDMA was established through the Disaster Management Act enacted by the Government of India on 23 December 2005.
  2. This came after a High-Powered Committee in August 1999 and a National Committee after the Gujarat earthquake, made recommendations to prepare effective mitigating mechanisms.
  3. The NDMA is headed by the Prime Minister of India and can have up to nine mother members. Since 2020, there have been five other members.

4. PM POSHAN rebranded

  1. The Centre has rebranded the 26-year old national mid-day meal scheme the PM POSHAN (Poshan Shakti Nirman)
  2. The mid-day meal scheme provides a hot cooked meal to 11.8 crore government school students from Class 1 to 8
  3. From the next financial year, it will also cover the 24 lakh children studying in balvatikas, the pre-primary section of government schools
  4. The extension of mid-day meals to pre-primary students, who are to be incorporated into the formal education system, was a key recommendation of the National Education Policy 2020
  5. However, there has been no progress on the NEP’s other recommendation to start offering breakfasts to school students as well

Rebranded

  1. The PM POSHAN scheme has been approved for the next five-year period until 2025-26, with a collective outlay of 1.31 lakh crore, including 31,733 crores as the share to be borne by the State governments.
  2. The rebranded scheme aims to focus on holistic nutrition goals, that a 5% Flexi component would be built into the existing budget to allow States to incorporate additional nutrition-rich elements — such as fortified foods, fruits and milk — into the menu.
  3. Use of locally grown traditional foods will be encouraged, along with school nutrition gardens.
  4. Social audits have been made mandatory in all districts and college students and trainee teachers will be roped in to do field inspections to ensure the quality of meals.
  5. States will be asked to do direct benefit cash transfers of cooking costs to individual school accounts, and honorarium amounts to the bank accounts of cooks and helpers.
  6. The rebranded scheme does not include any progress on the long-pending demand of cooks to increase the 600 allocated by the Centre as their monthly honorarium.

5. Punjab on 25 years of Desertification

  1. The Punjab Vidhan Sabha committee constituted to study water table depletion
  2. The Committee said that the state will turn into a desert in the next 25 years if the present trend of drawing water from underground aquifers continues.
  3. This is a prediction that has been made before – over two decades ago, a study on water table depletion in Punjab had projected almost the same time frame of 25 years

Report from two decades ago

  1. According to Central Ground Water Board (CGWB) officials, the study was titled ‘The State of the World Report, 1998′, published by Washington-based World Watch Institute (WWI).
  2. It said Punjab’s aquifers could be depleted by 2025.
  3. We are drawing more water than is being replenished, as a result of which the water table is going down.
  4. The rate of water extraction in Punjab is 1.66 times the rate of replenishment. This is posing the threat of desertification for Punjab
  5. Out of 138 blocks in Punjab, 109 have already gone into the ‘dark’ or over-exploited zone, which means groundwater extraction is more than 100 percent here.
  6. Two falls under the ‘dark/critical’ zone (groundwater extraction is 90 to 100 per cent), while five are under the semi-critical (groundwater extraction 70 to 90 per cent) zone.
  7. This means that around 80 per cent of blocks of the state have already dried up and four per cent are on the verge of it.

6. National Action Plan for dog Mediated Rabies Elimination

  1. The Centre on the occasion of World Rabies Day on launched a national action plan NAPRE for the elimination of dog-mediated rabies by 2030.
  2. The National Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) has drafted the action plan in consultation with the Ministry of Fisheries, Animal Husbandry, and Dairying.
  3. Rabies is 100 percent fatal but 100 per cent vaccine-preventable.
  4. 33 percent of global rabies deaths are recorded in India.
  5. Ministry underscored the importance of the One Health approach by pointing out that newer strategies need to be designed for the health challenges of this era, with two-thirds of all present diseases having their origin in animals.
  6. The theme of this year’s Formation Day is cascading effects of disaster events in the Himalayan region.

7. Elder Line

  1. India’s first pan-India toll-free helpline – 14567 – called ‘Elder Line’ was officially launched by the Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment.
  2. It aims to provide information, guidance, emotional support, and in cases of abuse, immediate assistance too.
  3. Senior citizens can call in to seek clarity on pension issues, legal issues and even facilitate the rescue of homeless elderly.
  4. The intent of ‘Elder Line’, according to the Ministry, is to provide all senior citizens, or their well-wishers, with one platform across the country to get information and guidance on problems that they face on a day-to-day basis.
  5. Nearly 40 per cent of these calls pertained to guidance on vaccines; around 23 percent of the calls were related to pension.

Amul Honey

  1. Amul launched a new product- Amul Honey
  2. It is a product of the Gujarat Cooperative Milk Marketing Federation under active cooperation with the National Bee Board.
  3. It is a part of the National Beekeeping and Honey Mission which is increasing the income of small farmers.
  4. The Mission is being implemented in the country for doubling the income of farmers and beekeepers through beekeeping with the budgetary allocation of 500 crores rupees.

8. Amrit Grand Challenge Programme

  1. Amrit Grand Challenge Programme titled “CARE” is launched to identify 75 start-up innovations in telemedicine, digital health, mHealth with big data, artificial intelligence, blockchain and other technologies.
  2. The 75 best-chosen startups will be an asset for India to lead the country in the next 25 years, during the celebrations of the centenary of India’s independence.
  3. It was launched in BIRAC’s 10th Biotech Innovators Meet at New Delhi with a theme-“Vigyan se Vikash”

9. INSPIRESat-1

  1. INSPIRESat-1 CubeSat is developed under the International Satellite Program in Research and Education (INSPIRE),
  2. The small satellite that weighs less than 10 kg will be launched aboard an upcoming Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV) mission of the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO).
  3. INSPIRESat-1 is a collaborative effort by the Laboratory for Atmospheric and Space Physics (LASP) at the University of Colorado Boulder in the U.S., the National Central University, Taiwan, and the Nanyang Technological University in Singapore, apart from the IIST.
  4. The satellite, which will be placed in a low earth orbit, is equipped with a Compact Ionosphere Probe for studying the earth’s ionosphere.
  5. A constellation of earth and space-weather observation satellites is envisaged under the INSPIRE program.
  6. The mission was originally planned for 2020 but was delayed due to the COVID-19 pandemic

10. Landsat 9

  1. It is a NASA satellite built to monitor the Earth’s land surface
  2. It is a  joint mission of NASA and the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS)
  3. Landsat 9 lifted off on a United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket from Vandenberg’s Space Launch Complex 3E.
  4. The first Landsat satellite launched in 1972.
  5. NASA uses the unique assets of our own unprecedented fleet, as well as the instruments of other nations, to study Earth and its climate systems
  6. With a 50-year data bank to build on, Landsat 9 will take this historic and invaluable global program to the next level.

Insights

  1. Landsat 9 will be new eyes in the sky when it comes to observing the changing planet,
  2. Landsat 9 will provide data and imagery to help make science-based decisions on key issues including water use, wildfire impacts, coral reef degradation, glacier and ice-shelf retreat, and tropical deforestation.
  3. Landsat 9 joins its sister satellite, Landsat 8, in orbit. Working in tandem, the two satellites will collect images spanning the entire planet every eight days.
  4. The instruments aboard Landsat 9 – the Operational Land Imager 2 (OLI-2) and the Thermal Infrared Sensor 2 (TIRS-2) – measure 11 wavelengths of light reflected or radiated off Earth’s surface, in the visible spectrum as well as other wavelengths beyond what our eyes can detect. ”
  5. The USGS Earth Resources Observation and Science (EROS) Center in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, processes and stores data from the instruments, continuously adding that information to the five decades of data from all of the Landsat satellites.
  6. All Landsat images and the embedded data are free and publicly available, a policy that has resulted in more than 100 million downloads since its inception in 2008.

11. Akash Prime Missile

  1. The Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO)  successfully tested a new version of Akash Surface to Air missile Akash Prime
  2. It is tested from the Integrated Test Range at Chandipur, Odisha.
  3. Akash Prime is equipped with an indigenous active Radio Frequency (RF) seeker for improved accuracy.
  4. It is more reliable performance under a low-temperature environment at higher altitudes.
  5. Akash Prime would further boost the confidence of the Army and the Air Force.
  6. It is the new version of the Akash Missile.

The Akash missile 

  1. The development of the Akash SAM was started by the DRDO in the late 1980s as part of the Integrated Guided Missile Development Programme.
  2. The initial systems trials and field trials along with the target neutralization trials were conducted in the late 1990s and 2000s.
  3. Named after the original Sanskrit term for sky or space, Akash is primarily a Short Range Surface to Air Missile built to provide air defence cover to vulnerable areas.
  4. The Akash weapon system can simultaneously engage multiple targets in group mode or autonomous mode.
  5. The entire weapon system has been configured on a mobile platform.
  6. The initial version of the Akash has an operational range of 27-30 km and a flight altitude of around 18 km.
  7. Earlier DRDO conducted the successful maiden launch of Akash-NG or New Generation Missile from ITR.
  8. Akash-NG is a new generation SAM, primarily designed for the IAF with an aim of intercepting high maneuvering aerial threats that have low Radar Cross Section (RCS), which is the electromagnetic signature of the object.

12. BloodyStealer

  1. A new malware dubbed BloodyStealer is being sold on darknet forums and used to steal gamers’ accounts on popular gaming platforms like Steam, Epic Games Store, and EA Origin
  2. The malware is said to be highly capable of evading detection and protection against reverse engineering and malware analysis
  3. The trojan-stealer is capable of gathering an expert treating various types of data, for cookies, passwords, forms, banking cards from browsers, screenshots, login memory, and sessions from various applications
  4. The malware is said to particularly target popular gaming companies in Europe, Latin America and the Asia-Pacific region.

13. Congressional report on terrorism

  1. Congressional report on terrorism is  released by the bipartisan research wing of US Congress on the eve of the historic Quad summit in Washington
  2. According to the report Pakistan has continued to serve as a safe haven for certain regionally-focused terrorist groups and has allowed groups targeting Afghanistan
  3.   Modest steps were taken by Pakistan’s government to counter-terrorism financing and to restrain some India-focused militant groups following an early 2019 terrorist attack in Jammu and Kashmir.

Highlights of the Report

  1. Pakistan is home to at least 12 groups designated as foreign terrorist organizations, including five of them being India-centric like Lashkar-e-Taiba and Jaish-e-Mohammed
  2. The report has identified Pakistan as a base of operations or target for numerous armed and non-state militant groups, some of which have existed since the 1980s.
  3. Groups operating in Pakistan can be broadly categorized into five types — globally-oriented, Afghanistan oriented, India- and Kashmir-oriented, domestically oriented, and Sectarian (anti-Shia).
  4. The Lashkar-e-Taiba (LET)
    • It was formed in the late 1980s in Pakistan and designated as a foreign terrorist organization (FTO) in 2001.
    • LET was responsible for major 2008 attacks in Mumbai, India, as well as numerous other high-profile attacks, the CRS said.

5. Jaish-e-Mohammed (JEM)

    • It was founded in 2000 by Kashmiri militant leader Masood Azhar and was designated as an FTO in 2001.
    • Along with LET, it was responsible for the 2001 attack on the Indian parliament, among other attacks.

6. Harakat-ul Jihad Islami (HUJI)

    • It was formed in 1980 in Afghanistan to fight the Soviet army and was designated as an FTO in 2010.
    • After 1989, it redirected its efforts toward India, although it did supply fighters to the Afghan Taliban.
    • HUJI today operates in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Bangladesh, and India, and seeks annexation of Kashmir into Pakistan.

7. Harkat-ul-Mujahideen (HUM)

    • HUM was designated as an FTO in 1997
    • It operates mainly from Pak-Occupied Kashmir and from some Pakistani cities.

8. Hizb-ul Mujahideen (HM)

    • It was formed in 1989 reportedly as the militant wing of Pakistan’s largest Islamist political party and designated as an FTO in 2017.
    • It is one of the largest and oldest militant groups operating in Jammu and Kashmir.

9. Al Qaeda

    • It has operated primarily from the former Federally Administered Tribal Areas and in the megacity of Karachi, as well as in Afghanistan.
    • It has since 2011 been led by Ayman al-Zawahiri and reportedly maintains supportive ties with many of the groups inside the country.

Islamabad has yet to take decisive actions against India- and Afghanistan-focused militants and that progress on the most difficult aspects of its 2015 National Action Plan to counter terrorism remains unfulfilled specifically its pledge to dismantle all terrorist organisations without delay and discrimination.

14. B3W initiative to counter BRI  initiative

  1. A delegation of US officials will visit Colombia, Ecuador, and Panama this week in a “listening tour” intended to identify potential infrastructure development projects in the region.
  2. The tour is the first of several planned by– the Build Back Better World (B3W) initiative they announced earlier this year as a counter to China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), which now boasts projects in more than 100 countries.
  3. While the participating countries have not yet announced how much capital they expect the program to allocate
  4. US officials have said the program will operate with full transparency related to financial terms and fund projects that meet environmental and labor standards.

Build Back Better World

  1. It is an initiative undertaken by G7 countries.
  2. Launched in June 2021, the initiative is designed to counter China’s strategic influence on the BRI Project (Belt and Road Initiative)
  3. It aims in providing an alternative to the Belt and Road Initiative for the infrastructure development of the low and middle-income countries.
  4. Led by the United States, the G7 countries will work to address the $40 trillion worth of infrastructure needed by developing countries by 2035.
  5. The initiative aims to catalyze funding for quality infrastructure from the private sector and will encourage private-sector investments that support “climate, health, and health security, digital technology, and gender equity and equality”
  1. Nepal has introduced a third gender category in its census for the first time, a move the Himalayan nation’s LGBTQ community hopes will bring them greater rights.
  2. Central Bureau of Statistics has been visiting homes across the country of 30 million people giving respondents the option of choosing “others” as their gender, alongside male and female.
  3. Nepal already has some of South Asia’s most progressive laws on homosexuality and transgender rights, with landmark reforms passed in 2007 prohibiting gender or sexual orientation discrimination.
  4. A third gender category for citizenship documents was introduced in 2013 and Nepal began issuing passports with the “others” category two years later.
  5. But gay and transgender Nepalis and rights activists say the LGTBQ community — estimated at 900,000-strong — still faces discrimination, particularly for jobs, health, and education.

15. India rebuilds school in Nepal

  1. India and Nepal jointly inaugurated six schools reconstructed with Indian financial assistance
  2. It is a part of the scheme to rebuild educational institutions and health centers of Nepal that were damaged in the April 2015 earthquake.
  3. The schools were rebuilt using earthquake-resistant technology and will cater to at least 2,000 students.
  4. A ground-breaking ceremony was held for the construction of a Primary Health Care Centre in Kavrepalanchowk.
  5. The center is one of the 132 units being rebuilt with India’s financial assistance.
  6. India has committed $250 million for the reconstruction of health, education, and cultural sites.

16. Terms of Reference

  1. The Indian Navy and the Australian Navy signed the ‘Terms of Reference’ (ToR) for the conduct of the navy to navy talks under the framework of the ‘Joint Guidance for the India – Australia Navy to Navy Relationship’
  2. It is the document, signed by the two Navy Chiefs in August.
  3. This is the first such document signed by the Indian Navy with any country.
  4. The document set the navy to navy talks as the principal medium for guiding the bilateral cooperation
  5. The document would be pivotal in consolidating the shared commitment to promoting peace, security, stability, and prosperity in the Indo-Pacific region
  6. The ToR detailed the modalities for an engagement at various levels between the two navies and streamlined the process
  7. The document provided flexibility for the implementation of separate agreements based on the specific outcomes of the talks.

Highlights of document

  1. The highlights included close cooperation in regional and multilateral fora, including the Indian Ocean Naval Symposium (IONS), Western Pacific Naval Symposium (WPNS), Indian Ocean Rim Association (IORA), and expert working groups subordinate to the ASEAN Defence Ministers’ Meeting Plus framework.
  2. The document was aligned to the ‘2020 Comprehensive Strategic Partnership’ agreed by the Prime Ministers and aimed to ensure shared approaches to regional and global security challenges.
  3. The inaugural navy to navy talks with Australia was held in 2005.
  4. Bilateral defense relations between India and Australia have significantly expanded over the years and they have also concluded a Mutual Logistics Support Agreement.
  5. Australia is also part of the Malabar naval exercise, which also includes Japan and the U.S.
  6. Australia has deployed a Liaison Officer at the Indian Navy’s Information Fusion Centre for Indian Ocean Region (IFC-IOR) as part of efforts to expand cooperation in maritime domain awareness.

17. World Maritime Day

  1. The International Maritime Organization (IMO) observes World Maritime Day every year.
  2. Individual governments determine the precise day, although it is normally observed during the final week of September.
  3. During World Maritime Day, public attention is drawn to maritime safety and the marine environment, as well as IMO initiatives in a particular area.

Significance

  1. In 1948, an international conference in Geneva passed a convention establishing the IMO, a specialized agency of the United Nations that develops and maintains a comprehensive regulatory framework for shipping.
  2. In 1982, the international maritime organization (IMO) took the name Intergovernmental Maritime Consultative Organization (IMCO).
  3. The main objective of the IMO is to focus on areas such as safety, environmental issues, legal issues, technical cooperation, maritime safety and maritime efficiency.
  4. World Maritime Day was celebrated for the first time on March 17, 1978.

World Maritime Day 2021:  Theme

With the theme “Seafarers: at the core of shipping’s future”, the world Maritime Theme for 2021 aims to extend the visibility of seafarers by highlighting the important roles they play now and will continue to play in the near future.