Current Affairs 06-10 Jan 2024

Daily Current Capsules

06 to 10 January 2024

Successful insertion of Aditya-L1 to Halo Orbit

  • Halo-Orbit Insertion (HOI) of its solar observatory spacecraft, Aditya-L1 was accomplished at on January 6, 2024
  • The orbit of Aditya-L1 spacecraft is a periodic Halo orbit which is located roughly 1.5 million km from earth on the continuously moving Sun – Earth line with an orbital period of about 177.86 earth days.
  • This Halo orbit is a periodic, three-dimensional orbit at L1 involving Sun, Earth and a spacecraft.
  • This specific halo orbit is selected to ensure a mission lifetime of 5 years, minimising station-keeping manoeuvres and thus fuel consumption and ensuring a continuous, unobstructed view of sun.
  • The Aditya-L1 mission is an Indian solar observatory at Lagrangian point L1 for “Observing and understanding the chromospheric and coronal dynamics of the Sun” in a continuous manner.

Placing the Aditya-L1 in a halo orbit around L1 point has advantages as compared to placing in a Low Earth Orbit (LEO):

  • It provides a smooth Sun-spacecraft velocity change throughout the orbit, appropriate for helioseismology.
  • It is outside of the magnetosphere of Earth, thus suitable for the “in situ” sampling of the solar wind and particles.
  • It allows unobstructed, continuous observation of the Sun, and view of earth for enabling continuous communication to ground stations.

Know! about Aditya- L1

  • Aditya L1 is the first space-based Indian mission to study the Sun.
  • Aditya-L1 was designed and realised at UR Rao Satellite Centre (URSC) with participation from various ISRO centres.
  • The payloads onboard Aditya-L1 were developed by Indian scientific laboratories, IIA, IUCAA and ISRO.
  • The spacecraft carries seven payloads to observe the photosphere, chromosphere, and the outermost layers of the Sun (the corona) using electromagnetic particle and magnetic field detectors.
  • Using the special vantage point L1, four payloads directly view the Sun and the remaining three payloads carry out in-situ studies of particles and fields at the Lagrange point L1, thus providing important scientific studies of the propagatory effect of solar dynamics in the interplanetary medium.

Objectives of Aditya-L1 mission are:

    • Study of Solar upper atmospheric (chromosphere and corona) dynamics.
    • Study of chromospheric and coronal heating, physics of the partially ionized plasma, initiation of the coronal mass ejections, and flares
    • Observe the in-situ particle and plasma environment providing data for the study of particle dynamics from the Sun.
    • Physics of solar corona and its heating mechanism.
    • Diagnostics of the coronal and coronal loops plasma: Temperature, velocity, and density.
    • Development, dynamics and origin of CMEs.
    • Identify the sequence of processes that occur at multiple layers (chromosphere, base and extended corona) which eventually leads to solar eruptive events.
    • Magnetic field topology and magnetic field measurements in the solar corona.

Indian Toy Industry

  • The Indian toy industry recorded significant growth between FY 2014-15 and FY 2022-23, with a significant decline in imports by 52% and a significant increase in exports by 239%.

Government initiatives to promote the toy industry

  • National Action Plan for Toys
  • Increase in Basic Customs Duty (BCD)
  • BIS standard mark
  • Cluster-Based Approach
  • The Indian Toy Fair 2021 and 6.Toycathon

Peace agreement with ULFA

  • An MoU has been signed by the Union Home Ministry and the Government of Assam, the Pro-talks faction of ULFA.

Know! about ULFA

  • ULFA was formed in the year 1979 supporting an independent Assam through armed struggle against India.
  • The founders of ULFA wanted to establish a sovereign Assamese nation through armed struggle against the Indian government.
  • Government response: In the year 1990, the central government launched Operation Bajrang to deal with the increasing violence, which resulted in the arrest of more than 1,200 ULFA militants.
  • Assam was declared a ‘disturbed area’, President’s rule was imposed and the Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA) was invoked.

Major points of agreement

  • Ensuring peace in Assam
  • Since the beginning of the Assam movement in 1979, around 10,000 people have lost their lives, and all those killed were citizens of the country.
  • Surrender of violent groups: AFSPA has been lifted from 85% of the area of Assam with the surrender of more than 9,000 cadres.
  • Victory of the democratic process: ULFA has also agreed to engage in the peaceful democratic process established by law and maintain the integrity of the country.
  • For example, the main points of the peace agreement were that 97 out of 126 assembly seats in Assam would be reserved for indigenous people and the delimitation process would follow the same principle in the future.
  • Progress and Development: The peace agreement promised an investment of ₹1.5 lakh crore.
  • Political will and implementation: This agreement is an important milestone in the goal of an insurgency-free North-East.

The recent peace accord with ULFA represents an important opportunity for peace and development in Assam. But only by addressing underlying grievances, promoting economic development and ensuring social integration can lasting peace be established in the region

SVAMITVA Scheme

  • The Ministry of Panchayati Raj participated in the Innovation Sandbox presentation and showcased the “Digital Transformation Initiatives in Land Governance through SVAMITVA Scheme” detailing the processes followed by States to digitalize land governance systems transparently and efficiently.
  • The Ministry of Panchayati Raj has been conferred with the prestigious 1st Prize in the Innovation Sandbox presentation for “Digital Transformation Initiatives in Land Governance through SVAMITVA Scheme”

Know! about the Scheme

  • SVAMITVA Scheme of the Ministry of Panchayati Raj is a Central Sector Scheme that has significantly contributed to the empowerment of rural communities in India.
  • By leveraging cutting-edge drone surveys and GIS mapping technology, the scheme ensures accurate demarcation of land parcels, thereby mitigating disputes and providing individuals with property records of rights i.e. SVAMITVA Property Cards, thereby facilitating monetization of properties, enabling bank loans and comprehensive village-level planning.
  • This integration of technology not only streamlines the documentation process but also marks a significant step towards a more transparent and efficient land administration system, fostering socio-economic progress in rural areas.
  • The SVAMITVA Scheme (https://svamitva.nic.in) stands out as a ground-breaking initiative that harnesses innovation and new technologies to transform the landscape of land ownership in rural India.

WHO launches ICD-11, Traditional Medicine Module 2

The data and terminology relating to diseases based on Ayurveda, Siddha and Unani Medicine have been included in the WHO ICD-11 classification.

  • The Ministry of AYUSH in collaboration with World Health Organization has prepared a classification of diseases used in Ayurveda, Siddha and Unani systems under TM-2 module of ICD-11 series.
  • The inclusion of traditional medical terminologies in ICD-11 forms a link between traditional medicine and global standards
  • The indexing of disease terminology related to traditional medicine in ICD-11 proves to be a milestone in building a unified global tradition.

Fuel Cell successfully tested by Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO)

  • The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) successfully tested a fuel cell aboard a PSLV rocket launch
  • The hydrogen-oxygen fuel cell generated electricity along with heat and water – all essential for human spaceflights.
  • Such fuel cells are ideal for long-duration manned missions as the heat and water byproducts meet thermal and consumption requirements. ISRO aims to deploy these zero-emission cells for upcoming space stations.
  • The demonstration fuel cell designed by ISRO’s Vikram Sarabhai Space Centre provided 180W power during its short orbital test. It is a precursor to more advanced systems needed for India’s planned space station by 2035.
  • The fuel cell was one of 10 experiments by ISRO and startups aboard the PSLV’s Orbital Experimental Module. Others focused on radiation shielding, amateur radio tests, and satellite propulsion systems.

Tropical Cyclone Alvaro

  • Tropical Cyclone Alvaro made landfall in southwest Madagascar on January 1st 2024, becoming the first cyclone to impact the island nation in the ongoing 2023-2024 cyclone season for the southwest Indian Ocean region spanning late October to May.

Know! about REPRESA

  • An intergovernmental project ‘REPRESA’ launched across southern African countries in 2023 aims to enhance regional resilience through improved cyclone readiness among communities frequently hit by storms.
  • The project, which will be co-led by the University of Bristol (UoB) in the UK, Eduardo Mondlane University (UEM) in Mozambique, and the Global Change Institute at the University of the Witwatersrand (WITS) in South Africa, will run from June 2023 until the end of November 2026.
  • Experts from the University of Reading will work with vulnerable communities in Madagascar to strengthen flood forecasting and early warning capacity.

India to develop Small Satellites for Mauritius

  • India has signed an agreement with Mauritius to jointly develop a small satellite, which will be launched by ISRO in early 2024.
  • The cooperation will be between ISRO and Mauritius Research and Innovation Council (MRIC).
  • MRIC agreed to provide its ground infrastructure for ISRO’s future small satellite projects signaling a widened scope of bilateral space collaboration.

India Mauritius bilateral cooperation

  • India set up the Mauritius ground tracking station back in 1986 to assist its satellite and launcher missions. The current cooperation is guided by a 2009 country-level agreement on space.
  • The Mauritius Research and Innovation Council (MRIC) constitutes the apex advisory body on matters related to research, innovation and development in the country.

Palace of Aigai

  • The ancient Palace of Aigai, where Alexander the Great was crowned, reopens after a 16-yea
  • The 4th century BC site spreads over 15,000 square meters and was one of the most important in classical Greece alongside the Parthenon in Athen
  • Aigai was the capital of the Macedonian kingdom, the dominant military power of the time, and archeologists say the palace was the kingdom’s spiritual centre.
  • Built by Philip II, the father of Alexander the Great, the tombs of Philip and other Macedonian kings are nearby.
  • After the assassination of his father, Alexander was crowned at the palace in 336 BC before launching a military campaign that created an empire stretching into modern-day India.

Know! about Alexander

  • Alexander the Great was born in 356 BC in Pella, Macedonia to King Philip II
  • As a young boy, Alexander was tutored by Aristotle for 3 years which sparked his interest in medicine and science
  • In 336 BC, at age 20, Alexander became King of Macedonia after his father was assassinated
  • He began his reign by defeating rivals in Greek and Macedonian regions
  • In 334 BC, he started the invasion of the Persian Empire, conquering lands across northeast Africa and Asia
  • Alexander built many new cities named after himself in conquered territories
  • His invasion continued to the Ganges River in India but his army refused to go further
  • Alexander created one of history’s largest empires stretching from Greece to northwest India
  • He died at age 32 in 323 BC after a 13 year reign as Macedonia’s King
  • The Palace of Aigai was destroyed by the Romans in 148 BC.

Prithvi Vigyan scheme

  • The Indian government under Prime Minister Modi has approved the Prithvi Vigyan scheme of the Ministry of Earth Sciences representing planned investments of Rs 4797 crores from 2021 to 2026.
  • This all-encompassing initiative promises to transform the country’s approach towards earth science research and real-world applications.

PRITHVI brings together 5 existing earth science sub-schemes under MOES:

  • ATMOSPHERE, OCEAN, CRYOSPHERE, SEISMIC & CAPACITY BUILDING – thereby enabling synergies.

It integrates the following sub – schemes:

  • Atmosphere & Climate Research-Modelling Observing Systems & Services (ACROSS), Ocean Services, Modelling Application, Resources and Technology (O-SMART), Polar Science and Cryosphere Research (PACER)Seismology and Geosciences (SAGE), Research, Education, Training, and Outreach (REACHOUT)
  • These programs collectively aim to enhance our understanding of the Earth’s vital signs and translate scientific knowledge into practical services that benefit society, the environment, and the economy.

Objective of Prithvi

  • To sustain long-term observations of atmosphere, ocean, land, and ice covers to record Earth’s vital signals
  • To develop predictive models forecasting weather and ocean hazards like cyclones
  • To explore relatively less understood polar and marine areas for new discoveries
  • To build technology for tapping ocean resources sustainably

 Svyam Siddha

  • State Bank of India introduced a specialized financial product, “Svyam Siddha”, exclusively tailored for SHG women entrepreneurs seeking loans up to Rs. 5 lakhs.
  • This initiative is uniquely designed to alleviate the challenges associated with extensive documentation requirements for bank loan applications and reduce the Turn Around Time (TAT).
  • DAY-NRLM will facilitate the loan application process and oversee loan repayment through its dedicated field cadre.

BHARAT TEX 2024

  • The Ministry of Textiles under National Technical Textiles Mission (NTTM) is organizing a hackathon titled “Fostering Innovations in Technical Textiles –Hackathon for unleashing creativity in technical textiles” under “BHARAT TEX 2024” scheduled to be held on 26-29 Feb, 2024.
  • The primary goal of the hackathon is to create a platform that brings together students, researchers, entrepreneurs, and industry professionals.
  • This platform aims to raise awareness, stimulate innovation, encourage collaboration, and address real-world challenges in the field of technical textiles
  • . National Technical Textiles Mission (NTTM), Ministry of Textiles, Government of India shall be the sponsor and partner for the hackathon.

Know! about NTTM

  • NTTM primarily focusses on research, development, and innovation (RD &I) along with education, skill, and market promotion for the technical textiles.
  • NTTM has funded several projects in the form of ideation, prototype grants along with applied projects of national importance.

AI Odyssey

  • Microsoft has unveiled a new initiative, the AI Odyssey, designed to equip 1,00,000 developers in India with AI technologies and tools.
  • The program is aimed at providing a learning experience for developers to gain and showcase essential skills in executing pivotal projects aligned with business objectives using AI technologies.
  • Interested developers can participate in the month-long AI Odyssey program by registering on aka.ms/AIOdyssey and accessing the learning modules and resources provided.
  • The program is open to AI enthusiasts across India, irrespective of their experience level or background.

Work4Food

  • IIT Delhi’s research team has developed a unique approach, which they name ‘Work4Food’, that not only guarantees government-mandated minimum wage compensations for delivery workers but also seeks to minimize platform costs while ensuring customer satisfaction.
  • Their proposal was also presented at the prestigious International Joint Conference on Artificial Intelligence.

Key features of the proposed formulation include:

  • Income Guarantees: The scheme ensures that all delivery agents receive income guarantees based on government-mandated minimum wage rates, allowing them to earn a fair and consistent income.
  • Platform Control: The formulation provides platforms with the necessary flexibility to determine the number of delivery workers onboarded, ensuring that income guarantees are met while addressing operational constraints.
  • Personalized Guarantees: The scheme takes into account worker- specific factors and performance metrics, beside the demand-supply dynamic in particular localities, to provide personalized guarantees tailored to each delivery worker.

ERNET

  • Ministry of Electronics & Information Technology (MeitY) launched ERNET India’s newly developed integrated web portal for educational institutes in the country
  • Developed by utilizing open- source software and emerging technologies such as AI and ML, the portal will offer domain registration, DNS and value-added services such as Website as a service (WaaS) and Learning Management as a Service (LMaaS).
  • The users can select from the variety of available templates for schools, colleges, universities as per their requirement and create their own website and Learning Management System.
  • The users can publish the website and LMS by customizing the template with a single click.

Know! about ERNET

  • The ERNET India is a not-for-profit scientific society under MeitY.
  • It is the exclusive domain registrar for all the education & research institutes having ‘ac.in’, ‘edu.in’ & ‘res.in’ as domain name.
  • The society is also providing web accessibility service, campus WiFi services, smart classrooms and connectivity through Terrestrial and Satellite based systems to the educational & research institutes in the country.
  • It is also in the field of establishing data centers.

Green Fuels Alliance India (GFAI)

  • The Danish government has announced the launch of the Green Fuels Alliance India (GFAI), a strategic initiative aimed at advancing collaboration between Denmark and India in the sustainable energy solutions sector.
  • This new partnership seeks to promote growth in green fuels like clean hydrogen while helping both countries progress their shared goal of reaching carbon neutrality.
  • The GFAI is led by the Danish Embassy and Consulate General in India. It aligns with sustainability objectives under the 2020 Green Strategic Partnership signed between the two nations.
  • The alliance also comes as India aggressively pursues its target of net-zero emissions by 2070.
  • Denmark already leads the world in climate action and intends to achieve carbon neutrality even earlier by 2050.
  • By fostering greater business, research, policy and financial cooperation between Indian and Danish green energy industries, GFAI aims to spur innovation and deployment of technologies like green hydrogen and its derivatives.

Bharat Stage VI (BS VI)

  • The Indian government has notified updated test procedures and requirements for vehicle manufacturers seeking regulatory approval under the country’s strict Bharat Stage VI (BS VI) emission standards.
  • The new testing guidelines provide clarity around allowable fuels and sampling methods for various vehicle types aiming to limit tailpipe pollution.

Know! about BS VI Norms

  • Introduced nationwide on April 1, 2020, India’s BS VI emission rules are among the toughest in the world.
  • They mandate significantly lower limits on dangerous fine particulate matter (PM) and nitrogen oxide (NOx) emissions compared to previous BS IV standards.
  • All new vehicles sold in India must hold BS VI certification demonstrating compliance with prescribed emissions caps through standardized laboratory tests before receiving approval for mass production and sales.
  • The program aims to meaningfully improve air quality by forcing automakers to adopt advanced emissions control technologies, including catalytic converters, diesel particulate filters and refined engine combustion strategies.

New BS VI Test Regulations

  • Vehicles can seek certification using either gasoline blended with 10% ethanol (E10) or 20% ethanol (E20).
  • Biodiesel blends up to 7% with diesel are permitted, while higher blends require testing against neat biodiesel fuel.
  • All bi-fuel flex vehicles must undergo testing for both gaseous and particulate matter emissions in both fuel modes.
  • Hybrids and hydrogen vehicles need only measure nitrogen oxide levels.
  • PM mass and number limits only apply to cars with direct-injection engines. This testing can demonstrate excessive emissions from inefficient fuel combustion.

Vibrant Gujarat Summit

  • Innovations for Defence Excellence-Defence Innovation Organisation (iDEX-DIO) under India’s Ministry of Defence is participating at the 10th edition of prestigious Vibrant Gujarat Summit being held from January 10-12, 2024 at Gandhinagar, Gujarat.

Know! about iDEX Scheme

  • Launched in 2018 by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, iDEX serves as the flagship innovation scheme of India’s Ministry of Defence. It focuses on mobilizing a defence technology innovation ecosystem via Industry-academia collaboration.
  • Its core objectives involve supporting research and development of technologies with adoption potential in military through funding grants and fostering an innovation culture.
  • To date, iDEX has engaged with over 400 startups and MSMEs as innovation partners.
  • Procurement worth over ₹2000 crores of iDEX-supported products has been approved, including drones, specialist vehicles etc.

REJUPAVE

  • Arunachal Pradesh has successfully utilized an indigenous road construction technology “REJUPAVE” developed by India’s oldest and premier road research organization CSIR-Central Road Research Institute (CSIR-CRRI), Ministry of Science and Technology to construct high altitude bituminous roads at low and sub-zero temperature conditions.

Why it was needed?

  • The majority of bituminous road construction work’s either halted or delayed when the winter months roll in, as the production of hot bituminous mix for road construction requires increased heating time at elevated temp ranges i.e160 to 170 0 Cin hot mix plant.
  • To address this challenge Border Road Organization, project VARTAK, Arunachal Pradesh has successfully utilized an indigenous road construction technology “REJUPAVE” developed by India’s oldest and premier road research organization CSIR-Central Road Research Institute (CSIR-CRRI)
  • Ministry of Science and Technology to construct high altitude bituminous roads at low and sub-zero temperature conditions.
  • This technology is recently successfully implemented by BRO to build bituminous road sections at World’s Highest Sela Road Tunnel and LGG-Damteng-Yangste (LDY Road) road section near China border at State of Arunachal Pradesh.
  • REJUAPAVE asphalt modifier is a biooil based product that significantly lower the heating requirement of bituminous mixes besides preserving the bituminous mix temperature during transit.
  • Uses of REJUPAVE technology will not only help BRO to construct roads at subzero temperature but also bring down the greenhouse gas emissions in the pristine eco-sensitive mountainous environment of Arunachal Pradesh.

Non-Aligned Movement (NAM)

  • India’s External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar visited Uganda from January 15-20, 2024, to attend the 19th edition of the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) Summit.
  • The summit is expected to discuss issues like global cooperation, solidarity, and advancing common goals of developing countries related to politics, economics, and culture.
  • As the incoming chair of NAM for 2024-2027, Uganda will set the agenda and priorities for the grouping over the next few years.

Know! about the Non-Aligned Movement

  • The NAM is a forum of 120 developing countries that are not formally aligned with or against any major power bloc.
  • It aims to represent the political, economic and cultural interests of the developing world.
  • The grouping has 53 members from Africa, 40 from Asia, 26 from Latin America and the Caribbean, and Belarus from Europe. There are also 18 observer countries and 10 observer organizations.

Registered unrecognized political parties (RUPPs)

  • On January 5th 2024, the Election Commission of India (ECI) issued new guidelines making it mandatory for registered unrecognized political parties (RUPPs) to provide additional financial documents and election expenditure statements for getting a common election symbol.
  • The move aims to improve transparency in the allotment process ahead of the 2024 general election.

Know! about RUPPs

RUPPs refer to political parties that are registered with the ECI but do not qualify as state or national parties. This includes:

  1. Newly registered parties that are yet to establish themselves
  2. Parties that have never contested an election post-registration
  3. Parties that did not get sufficient votes in recent state or national elections to be recognized
  • Currently, RUPPs can apply to the ECI for concession to use a common election symbol if they field candidates from at least 5% of constituencies.

The new guidelines make it compulsory for RUPPs to submit the following while applying for a common symbol

  • Audited financial statements of the last 3 years
  • Election expenditure statements from the last 2 elections they contested
  • Authorization letter signed by the office bearer of the party

The move also intends to curb excessive use of dummy candidates by established players to crowd the field and confuse voters. In recent state elections, over 20% of candidates lost their deposit indicating a lack of seriousness.

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