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Current Affairs 19,& 20 OCT 2023

Daily Current Capsules

19 and 20 October 2023

Heartland Tripura

  • Heartland Tripura – a skill development initiative in collaboration with Deloitte and the National Institute of Electronics and Information Technology (NIELIT) in Agartala launched.
  • The project will aim to provide skill development and employment opportunities to undergraduate students in engineering and non-engineering disciplines.
  • “Heartland Tripura” is being implemented by Deloitte in association with NIELIT, Agartala, with the support of the Government of India and the Government of Tripura.
  • The “Heartland Tripura” project will deliver a specific set of skill development certification courses through NIELIT-Agartala for the state.
  • Select professionals will also have the opportunity to be selected in internships, which could lead to promising job prospects after they successfully complete the certification and internship requirements.
  • The certification courses offered under “Heartland Tripura” will cover a wide range of new-age technical and professional development skills, such as cybersecurity, internal audit, and analytics, as well as softer skills such as business communication and executive presence.

KatiBihu

  • The Prime Minister, Shri Narendra Modi extended best wishes on the auspicious occasion of KatiBihu to the people of Assam.
  • The festival of Kati Bihu is also known as Kongali Bihu and kongali means poor.
  • Kati means to cut and this day marks the time of relocation of rice saplings.
  • It is a unique festival observed in India’s North-Eastern state of Assam. It usually falls in the middle of October
  • There are another two Bihu festivals celebrated in Assam – Bhogali or Magh Bihu is observed in January and Rongali or Bohag Bihu is observed in the month of April.
  • This year, Kati Bihu is being celebrated today i.e., on October 18, 2023.
  • There are total three Bihu festival that are connected with each other and they all have one similarity that these are connected with agriculture.
  • Kati Bihu is celebrated during the time of relocation of the rice sapling which is observed with great enthusiasm and fervor.

KATI BIHU TIMELINE

  • 1228 – Tai prince, Sukhapaa establishes the Ahom kingdom in the Brahmaputra Valley of India.
  • 1401 – The Ahom Kingdom’s name changes from Mong Dun Shun Kham to Assamese — later Assam.
  • 1500 – The Vaishnava Movement — led by Srimanta Sankardeva — builds a united culture for the state and lays the foundation for the official Assamese language.
  • 2016 – The Government of Assam declares a state-wide public holiday on Kati Bihu.

India’s first Regional Rapid Transit System (RRTS)

  • Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi will inaugurate the priority section of the Delhi-Ghaziabad-Meerut RRTS Corridor at Sahibabad RapidX Station

Delhi-Ghaziabad-Meerut RRTS Corridor

  • The 17 Km priority section of Delhi-Ghaziabad-Meerut RRTS Corridor that will be inaugurated, will connect Sahibabad to ‘Duhai Depot’ with stations at Ghaziabad, Guldhar and Duhai on the way.
  • The foundation stone for Delhi-Ghaziabad-Meerut corridor was laid by the Prime Minister on 8th March 2019.

Regional Rapid Transit System (RRTS) project

  • RRTS is a new rail-based, semi-high-speed, high-frequency commuter transit system.
  • With a design speed of 180 Kmph, RRTS is a transformational, regional development initiative, which is designed to provide high-speed trains for intercity commuting every 15 minutes, which can go up to a frequency of every 5 minutes as per requirement.
  • A total of eight RRTS corridors have been identified to be to be developed in NCR, out of which three corridors have been prioritised to be implemented in Phase-I including Delhi – Ghaziabad – Meerut Corridor; Delhi – Gurugram – SNB – Alwar Corridor; and Delhi – Panipat Corridor.
  • The Delhi-Ghaziabad-Meerut RRTS being developed at a cost of more than Rs 30,000 crore, and will connect Delhi to Meerut in less than an hour of travel time going through the urban centres of Ghaziabad, Muradnagar, and Modinagar.

Green Energy Corridor (GEC) Phase-II

  • The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs approved the project on Green Energy Corridor (GEC) Phase-II – Inter-State Transmission System (ISTS) for 13 GW Renewable Energy Project in Ladakh.
  • The project is targeted to be set up by FY 2029-30
  • Power Grid Corporation of India Limited (POWERGRID) will be the Implementing Agency for this project.
  • The project will contribute to achieving the target of 500 GW of installed electricity capacity from non-fossil fuels by year 2030.
  • The project will also help in developing long term energy security of the country and promote ecologically sustainable growth by reducing carbon footprint.

Background

  • The Prime Minister, during his Independence Day Speech on 15.08.2020, announced the setting up of 7.5 GW Solar Park in Ladakh.
  • To evacuate this huge quantum of power, it will be necessary to create an inter-state transmission infrastructure.

Green Energy Corridor Project

  • The Green Energy Corridor Project aims at synchronizing electricity produced from renewable sources, such as solar and wind, with conventional power stations in the grid
  • It aims to achieve the target of 450 GW installed RE capacity by 2030.
  • The objective of the GEC is to evacuate approx. 20,000 MW of large-scale renewable power and improvement of the grid in implementing states.
  • In the year 2012, a study was conducted by Power Grid Corporation of India Limited (PGCIL) wherein it was found that power evacuation and transmission infrastructure in near vicinities of potential sites was less and therefore, dedicated transmission infrastructure for large scale solar and wind power plants was planned.
  • The Green Energy Corridor (GEC) report was submitted by PGCIL in September 2012. Based on PGCIL’s report, the states prepared their own transmission plans & submitted to Central Electricity Authority (CEA) for appraisal. The implementation work started in 2015, after due approval process.

There are two schemes under the Green Energy Corridors:

Intra-State GEC Phase-I

  • Phase 1 of the Green Energy Corridor is already under implementation in Gujarat, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Himachal Pradesh, Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, and Rajasthan.
  • It is working for the grid integration and power evacuation of about 24GW of Renewable Energy.

Intra-State GEC Phase-II

  • It will facilitate grid integration and power evacuation of approximately 20 GW of Renewable Energy (RE) power projects in seven States namely, Gujarat, Himachal Pradesh, Karnataka, Kerala, Rajasthan, Tamil Nadu and Uttar Pradesh.

Yuva Sangam

  • The registration portal for Phase III of Yuva Sangam, under Ek Bharat Shreshtha Bharat (EBSB), was launched recently

Know! about Yuva Sangam

  • Yuva Sangam is an initiative by the Government of India to strengthen people-to-people connect between youth belonging to different States/UTs of India.
  • Interested youth in the age group of 18-30 years, mainly students, NSS/ NYKS volunteers, employed/self-employed persons, etc. may register through the YUVA SANGAM portal to participate in the forthcoming Phase.
  • The idea of a sustained and structured cultural connect between people of different regions was mooted by Prime Minister during the Rashtriya Ekta Divas held on 31st October 2015 to commemorate the birth anniversary of Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel. To take this idea forward, EBSB was launched on 31st October 2016.
  • Yuva Sangam, launched under EBSB, draws inspiration from the National Education Policy (NEP) 2020 and focuses on experiential learning and imbibing knowledge of the rich diversity of India on a first-hand basis.
  • Yuva Sangam is a Government of India initiative that focuses on organizing exposure tours for the youth, including on-campus and off-campus students, from one state to another.
  • Multi-dimensional exposure under five broad areas will be provided to them, which are Paryatan (Tourism), Parampara (Traditions), Pragati (Development), Paraspar Sampark (People-to-people connect), and Prodyogiki (Technology).
  • Youths across various states will visit other states for 5-7 days during which they will get an immersive experience of various facets of the state they are visiting and interact with the local youth.
  • The participating ministries of EBSB include M/o Education, Home Affairs, Culture, Tourism, Youth Affairs & Sports, I&B, and Railways, having distinct roles and responsibilities for the implementation of their respective duties.
  • The Ministry of Education is responsible for the selection of youth and conducting tours through Higher Education Institutes.
  • Yuva Sangam has been organized collaboratively on the model of Kashi Tamil Sangamam (KTS) and has garnered immense response and participation from all corners of India.

MEITY signs MoU with IBM on Quantum, AI & Semiconductor

  • IBM announced the signing of three Memoranda of Understanding (MoUs) with three entities engaged with the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY) to advance and accelerate innovation in AI, Semiconductor, and quantum technology for India.
  • This body of work will aim to accelerate India’s comprehensive national strategy for AI, strengthen efforts to be self-reliant in Semiconductors, and advance its National Quantum Mission.

The activities are intended to focus on the following:

  • IBM and IndiaAI – Digital India Corporation intend to collaborate to establish a world-class national AI Innovation Platform (AIIP) for India that will focus on AI skilling, ecosystem development, and integrating advanced foundation models and generative AI capabilities to support India’s scientific, commercial, and human-capital development in this technology.
  • IBM would be a knowledge partner of India Semiconductor Mission (ISM) for a semiconductor research center.
  • IBM and Centre for Development of Advanced Computing (C-DAC) will also explore opportunities for working together to support the advancement of India’s National Quantum Mission by building competency in quantum computing technology, applications in areas of national interest, and a skilled quantum workforce.

National Quantum Mission

  • The Centre has launched the National Quantum Mission with a budget of Rs 6,003 crore
  • The mission will aim to seed, nurture and scale up scientific and industrial resource and development programmes, and create a vibrant and innovative ecosystem for quantum technology.
  • The timeline of the mission is 2023-24 to 2030-31, he added.
  • Quantum technology can also find applications in medicine, the healthcare sector, pharmaceuticals, security, employment generation and navigation.
  • Six ministries — Department of Space, Department of Atomic Energy, Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology, Information, Department of Telecommunication, and Department of Science and Technology — will be involved in this mission.
  • Quantum technology uses the laws of quantum mechanics. Unlike classical computers that use zeroes and ones (bits and bytes), quantum technology is atom-based. It uses quantum bits (qubits), which can be in a combination of zero and one simultaneously.
  • Quantum technology makes information processing faster, more authentic, more precise, more secure

Tribal Youth Exchange Program (TYEP)

  • The Ministry of Home Affairs has been running the Tribal Youth Exchange Programme (TYEP) for the last 15 years.
  • The programme is being run through Nehru Yuva Kendra Sangathan (NYKS) under the Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports.
  • Under this programme, young men and women of the tribal community from the interior areas most affected by Left Wing Extremism are taken on a tour to major cities and metros across the country.

The main objectives of this programme are:

  1. Promoting the aspirations of the youth in areas affected by Left Wing Extremism.
  2. Countering the propaganda against the government being spread by CPI Maoists.
  3. Informing the youth of tribal areas about the development activities and industrial progress and to sensitize them about the rich cultural heritage of India.
  4. Deepening the confidence in democratic system in these areas.
  5. Spreading awareness about major development and welfare schemes among the youth of the tribal community.
  6. Developing an emotional bonding between youth belonging to the tribal community and their peer groups in other parts of the country.

6th Assembly of International Solar Alliance

  • The Sixth Assembly of the International Solar Alliance is being held in New Delhi from October 30 – November 2, 2023.
  • The Assembly will be presided over by the President, ISA Assembly and Union Minister for Power and New & Renewable Energy, Government of India, Shri R.K. Singh.
  • Ministers, missions and delegates from 116 Member and Signatory Countries of the ISA will participate, along with delegates from prospective countries, partner organizations, private sector and other stakeholders.
  • The ISA was launched jointly by India and France after COP21 in Paris.
  • The Sixth Assembly of the ISA will deliberate on ISA initiatives that impact energy access, energy security and energy transitions, with a focus on:
  • Universalisation of energy access through solar mini-grids
  • Mobilising Finance for accelerated solar deployment
  • Diversifying supply chains and manufacturing for solar

Know! about STAR-C initiative

  • ISA is also facilitating the availability of trained human resources through STAR-C initiative.
  • STAR-C initiative aims to boost solar power ecosystems in the poorest countries.
  • The initiative is run by the International Solar Alliance in partnership with the United Nations Industrial Development Organisation (UNIDO).
  • The Virtual Green Hydrogen Innovation Centre was launched steered by ISA has been launched at the Energy Transitions Ministerial Meeting in July under India’s G20 Presidency.

ISA will also be releasing three flagship reports providing updates on Solar Technology, Solar Market, and Solar Investments.

  • World Solar Technology Report 2023 focuses on solar photovoltaics (solar PV), highlighting the remarkable advancements in crystalline silicon technology.
  • World Solar Market Report 2023 offers a comprehensive analysis of the evolution of the solar market, from its European origins to its current leadership in the Asia-Pacific region
  • World Solar Investment Report 2023 highlights the surge in global solar investments in 2022, exceeding $300 billion (a 36% increase from 2021).

Know! about ISA Assembly

  • The ISA Assembly is the apex decision-making body of ISA, in which each Member Country is represented.
  • This body makes decisions concerning the implementation of the ISA’s Framework Agreement and coordinated actions to be taken to achieve its objectives.
  • The Assembly meets annually at the ministerial level at the ISA’s seat.
  • It assesses the aggregate effect of the programmes and other activities in terms of deployment of solar energy, performance, reliability, cost and scale of finance.
  • 109 countries are signatories to the ISA Framework Agreement, of which 90 countries have submitted the necessary instruments of ratification to become full members of the ISA.
  • The Republic of India holds the office of the President of the ISA Assembly, with the Government of the French Republic as the co-president.

Know! about the International Solar Alliance

  • The International Solar Alliance is an international organisation with 109 member countries.
  • It works with governments to improve energy access and security worldwide and promote solar power as a sustainable way to transition to a carbon-neutral future.
  • ISA’s mission is to unlock US$ 1 trillion of investments in solar by 2030 while reducing the cost of the technology and its financing.
  • It promotes the use of solar energy in the Agriculture, Health, Transport and Power Generation sectors.
  • ISA member countries are driving change by enacting policies and regulations, sharing best practices, agreeing on common standards, and mobilising investments.
  • Through this work, ISA has identified, designed and tested new business models for solar projects; supported governments to make their energy legislation and policies solar-friendly through Ease of Doing Solar analytics and advisory; pooled demand for solar technology from different countries, and drove down costs; improved access to finance by reducing the risks and making the sector more attractive to private investment
  • ISA was formed at the 21st Conference of Parties (COP21) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) held in Paris in 2015 and is partnering with multilateral development banks (MDBs), development financial institutions (DFIs), private and public sector organisations, civil society, and other international institutions to deploy cost-effective and transformational energy solutions powered by the sun, especially in the least Developed Countries (LDCs) and the Small Island Developing States (SIDS).

Operation Nanhe Faristey and Other operations of Indian Railways

  • Railway Protection Force (RPF) is entrusted with the responsibility of security of railway property, passenger areas and passengers.

A brief of the achievements of RPF during the month of September 2023 is as under – 

  • Rescue of children & Operation Nanhe Faristey:- RPF plays an important role in reuniting the children lost/separated due to several reasons from their family. In this regard, operation ‘Nanhe Faristey’ was launched on Indian Railways and under this drive, more than 895 Children (Boys-573 & Girl-322) in need of care & protection who came in contact with Indian Railways in the month of September-2023 were rescued and handed over to concerned authorities before being restored to their families.
  • Human Trafficking & Operation AAHT– In order to have an effective counter to evil plans of Human traffickers, Anti Human Trafficking Units of RPF are operational at the Post level (Thana level) over the Indian Railways. These AHTUs are in regular touch with agencies and NGOs involved in preventing human trafficking and have assisted them in rescue of children being trafficked.
  • Operation “Jeevan Raksha”: – Due to alertness and swift action by RPF, lives of 265 passengers were saved by Team RPF, who had come close to getting run over by trains, at platforms and railway tracks in the month of September 2023 under operation ‘Jeevan Raksha’.
  • Women Security :- Safety and security of women passengers has been an important concern of Indian Railways.  In this regard, an initiative “Meri Saheli” has been launched to provide security to lady passengers in long-distance trains, particularly those travelling alone or those who are vulnerable to crime.
  • Action against touts & Operation “Uplabdh” :-– In this regard during the month of September 2023, 405 nos. of the touts were arrested and legal action was taken against them as per law and future tickets valued Rs. 36.43 lacs were seized.
  • Operation “NARCOS” :- During the month of September 2023, 70 persons have been arrested along with seizure of NDPS valued at Rs.2.65 Crores and the arrested criminals were handed over to empowered agencies for further legal action.
  • Emergency Response & Operation ‘Yatri Suraksha’ – In order to redress security related complaints of passengers in distress and for immediate assistance, passengers can make complaint on Rail Madad Portal or through helpline No. 139 (integrated with Emergency Response Support System No. 112).

Cyclone Tej

  • The IMD outlined that a low-pressure area is likely to develop over the southeast and adjoining east-central Arabian Sea in the next 48 hours.
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  • October to December is among the favorable periods for the development of cyclones in the Bay of Bengal and the Arabian Sea due to warmer ocean temperatures.
  • If a tropical storm is formed in the Indian seas, it will be called “Tej”, according to a formula followed for naming cyclones in the Indian Ocean region. (name submitted by India)
  • At present, the probability of the system intensifying into a cyclonic storm is not notably high.
  • In 2022, no tropical storm was formed over the Arabian Sea during the post-monsoon season, while the Bay of Bengal witnessed two tropical storms — Sitrang and Mandous.
  • Cyclones in the Arabian Sea have a history of uncertain tracks and timelines
  • Once the cyclones are over the central parts of the Arabian Sea, their preferred track is towards Somalia, the Gulf of Aden, Yemen, and Oman.

Global Hunger Index 2023

  • India ranked 111th out of 125 countries, indicating a serious level of hunger.
  • India’s GHI score 2023 stands at 28.7, categorized as “serious” on the GHI Severity of Hunger Scale.
  • Neighboring countries, such as Pakistan (102nd), Bangladesh (81st), Nepal (69th), and Sri Lanka (60th), scored better than India.
  • Belarus, Bosnia & Herzegovina, Chile, China are among the top ranked countries (i.e., low level of hunger) and Yemen, Madagascar, Central African Republic are the bottom

Know! about the Global Hunger Index

  • The Global Hunger Index (GHI) is a peer-reviewed report, published on an annual basis by Concern Worldwide and Welthungerhilfe (Concern Worldwide is an international humanitarian organization dedicated to tackling poverty and suffering in the world’s poorest countries and Welthungerhilfe is a private aid organization in Germany. It was established in 1962, as the German section of the “Freedom from Hunger Campaign”)
  • The GHI is a tool designed to comprehensively measure and track hunger at global, regional, and national levels, reflecting multiple dimensions of hunger over time.
  • The GHI score is calculated on a 100-point scale reflecting the severity of hunger – 0 is the best score (implies no hunger) and 100 is the worst.

Each country’s GHI score is calculated based on a formula that combines four indicators that together capture the multidimensional nature of hunger:

  • Undernourishment: The share of the population whose caloric intake is insufficient;
  • Child Stunting: The share of children under the age of five who have low height for their age, reflecting chronic undernutrition;
  • Child Wasting: The share of children under the age of five who have low weight for their height, reflecting acute undernutrition; and
  • Child Mortality: The share of children who die before their fifth birthday, reflecting in part the fatal mix of inadequate nutrition and unhealthy environments.

India’s Response to GHI Report 2023

  • The Ministry of Women and Child Development has raised concerns about the report’s methodology, suggesting “serious methodological issues” and “malafide intent.”

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