Insights Daily Current Affairs, 29 March 2017

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Insights Daily Current Affairs, 29 March 2017


 

Paper 1 Topic: Indian culture will cover the salient aspects of Art Forms, Literature and Architecture from ancient to modern times.

 

Hindu New Year

 

Hindu New Year is being welcomed in different parts of the country today with traditional festivities and celebrations.

The Chaitra Sukladi, Ugadi, Gudi Padava, Navareh, Navroz and Chetti Chand are the same festivals in different names, marking the occasion.

ugadi

Various festivals celebrated today:

  • Andhra Pradesh and Telangana: Ugadi.
  • Karnataka: Yugadi /Ugadi.
  • Maharashtra: Gudi Padwa.
  • Rajasthan:
  • Sindhis: Cheti Chand.
  • Manipuris: Sajibu Cheiraoba.
  • Kashmir:
  • Hindus of Bali and Indonesia also celebrate their new year on the same day as Nyepi.

 

Sources: pib.


 

Paper 2 Topic: Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues arising out of their design and implementation.

 

6 Crore Soil Health Cards Distributed

 

The government recently informed the Lok Sabha that so far against the target of 14 crore cards distribution, 6 crore cards have been distributed and remaining cards are under printing.

  • Adequate funds have been released to all States, funds amounting to Rs 23.89 crore, Rs 96.44 crore and Rs 126.47 crore have been released during 2014-15, 2015-16 and 2016-17 respectively under the scheme.

soil-health-cards

About the Soil Health Card Scheme:

It is a scheme to provide every farmer a Soil Health Card in a Mission mode. It is a scheme under which the Central Government provides assistance to State Governments for setting up Soil Testing Laboratories for issuing Soil Health Cards to farmers.

 

Implementation:

  • The scheme will be implemented in all states to promote soil testing services, issue of soil health cards and development of nutrient management practices.
  • Under the scheme, State Governments should adopt innovative practices like involvement of agricultural students, NGOs and private sector in soil testing, determining average soil health of villages, etc., to issue Soil Health Cards.
  • Under the scheme, the state governments are also required to prepare yearly action plan on the issue and the cost will be shared in the ratio of 75:25 between the Centre and states.

 

What are soil health cards?

  • A Soil Health Card is used to assess the current status of soil health and, when used over time, to determine changes in soil health that are affected by land management.
  • A Soil Health Card displays soil health indicators and associated descriptive terms. The indicators are typically based on farmers’ practical experience and knowledge of local natural resources.
  • The card lists soil health indicators that can be assessed without the aid of technical or laboratory equipment.
  • The card, which will carry crop-wise recommendation of fertilisers required for farm lands, will help farmers identify health of soil and judiciously use soil nutrients.

 

Sources: pib.


 

Paper 2 Topic: Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues arising out of their design and implementation.

 

Centre may expand social security net

 

The centre may consider extending social security benefits to volunteers under anganwadi, mid-day meal and Accredited Social Health Activists (Asha) schemes.

  • A proposal in this regard was recently made by the EPFO to the Labour ministry. It proposed a lower contributory rate of 10% of income towards the Employees’ Provident Fund be allowed for scheme workers as against 12% contribution stipulated for the organised workers.

epfo

Background:

According to estimates, there are 14 lakh Anganwadi workers, 12 lakh Anganwadi helpers, 25.50 lakh mid-day meal workers in the country. Providing social security coverage to the unorganised workers has been one of the key demands of the central trade unions. There is no mandatory social security cover for such scheme workers at present.

 

Way ahead:

In this regard, the Centre can issue a notification to cover any class of establishments with a lower contributory rate under the Employees’ Provident Fund and Miscellaneous Provisions Act, 1952.

 

About EPFO:

The Employees’ Provident Fund Organisation, a statutory body, is one of the largest social security organizations in India in terms of volume of financial transactions undertaken and number of covered beneficiaries. It works under the overall aegis of the Ministry of Labour and Employment

 

Sources: the hindu.


 

Paper 3 Topic: Awareness in the fields of IT, Space, Computers, robotics, nano-technology, bio-technology and issues relating to intellectual property rights.

 

Sands of Saturn’s moon Titan are electrically charged

 

The particles that cover the surface of Saturn’s largest moon, Titan, are “electrically charged”, show results of an experiment.

saturn's titan

Significance of this discovery:

This discovery may help explain an odd phenomenon — prevailing winds on Titan blow from east to west across the moon’s surface, but sandy dunes nearly 300 feet tall seem to form in the opposite direction.

 

Background:

Experiments suggest the particles that cover the surface of Saturn’s moon, Titan, are ‘electrically charged.’ When the wind blows hard enough, Titan’s non-silicate granules get kicked up and start to hop in a motion. As they collide, they become frictionally charged, like a balloon rubbing against your hair, and clump together in a way not observed for sand dune grains on Earth — they become resistant to further motion.

They maintain that charge for days or months at a time and attach to other hydrocarbon substances, much like packing peanuts used in shipping boxes here on Earth.

 

About Titan:

  • Titan is the largest moon of Saturn. It is the only moon known to have a dense atmosphere, and the only object in space other than Earth where clear evidence of stable bodies of surface liquid has been found.
  • Titan is the sixth ellipsoidal moon from Saturn. Frequently described as a planet-like moon, Titan is 50% larger than Earth’s Moon, and it is 80% more massive.
  • It is the second-largest moon in the Solar System, after Jupiter’s moon Ganymede, and is larger than the smallest planet, Mercury, but only 40% as massive.
  • Titan’s atmosphere is composed of 98% nitrogen. Minor components lead to the formation of methane and ethane clouds and nitrogen-rich organic smog.
  • With its liquids (both surface and subsurface) and robust nitrogen atmosphere, Titan’s methane cycle is analogous to Earth’s water cycle, at the much lower temperature of about 94 K (−179.2 °C).

 

Sources: the hindu.


 

Paper 1 Topic: Important Geophysical phenomena such as earthquakes, Tsunami, Volcanic activity, cyclone etc., geographical features and their location- changes in critical geographical features (including water-bodies and ice-caps) and in flora and fauna and the effects of such changes.

 

‘India’s temperature rose by 0.60 degree over last 110 years’

 

According to the Indian Meteorological Department (IMD), in line with rising temperatures across the globe, all India mean temperatures have risen nearly 0.60 degree Celsius over the last 110 years. Further IMD studies have highlighted that extreme events like heat waves have risen in the last 30 years.

NAPCC

Global scenario:

As per the fifth Assessment Report (AR5) of Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) published in 2014, globally averaged combined land and ocean surface temperature has risen by 0.85 degree Celsius over the period 1880 to 2012.

Many extreme weather and climate events like heat waves, heavy precipitation and tropical cyclones have been observed since about 1950.

 

Efforts by government to combat climate change:

The government has launched the National Action Plan on Climate Change (NAPCC) in June, 2008 to deal with climate change and related issues.

  • NAPCC comprises of eight missions in specific areas of solar energy, enhanced energy efficiency, habitat, water, sustaining Himalayan ecosystems, forestry, agriculture and strategic knowledge for climate change.
  • These missions address the issues relating to mitigation of greenhouse gases and adaptation to the adverse impacts of climate change on environment, forests, habitat, water resources and agriculture.
  • All states and UTs have also been requested to prepare State Action Plan on Climate Change (SAPCC) in line with the objectives of the NAPCC highlighting state-specific issues relating to climate change. So far, 32 states and UTs have prepared their SAPCC.

 

Sources: the hindu.


 

Paper 3 Topic: Awareness in the fields of IT, Space, Computers, robotics, nano-technology, bio-technology and issues relating to intellectual property rights.

 

Planetary waves, first found on Earth, are discovered on Sun

 

The same kind of large-scale planetary waves that meander through the atmosphere high above Earth’s surface may also exist on the Sun, according to a new study led by a scientist at the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR).

Planetary waves

Key facts:

  • Just as the large-scale waves that form on Earth, known as Rossby waves, influence local weather patterns, the waves discovered on the Sun may be intimately tied to solar activity, including the formation of sunspots, active regions, and the eruption of solar flares.
  • On Earth, Rossby waves are associated with the path of the jet stream and the formation of low- and high-pressure systems, which in turn influence local weather events. The waves form in rotating fluids—in the atmosphere and in the oceans. Because the Sun is also rotating, and because it’s made largely of plasma that acts, in some ways, like a vast magnetized ocean, Rossby-like waves may exist.
  • The discovery of magnetized Rossby waves on the Sun offers the tantalizing possibility that we can predict space weather much further in advance.

 

About the discovery:

Scientists lacked the tools to distinguish this wave pattern until recently. It is because, unlike Earth, which is scrutinized at numerous angles by satellites in space, scientists historically have been able to study the Sun from only one viewpoint: as seen from the direction of Earth.

But for a brief period, from 2011 to 2014, scientists had the unprecedented opportunity to see the Sun’s entire atmosphere at once. During that time, observations from NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory (SDO), which sits between the Sun and the Earth, were supplemented by measurements from NASA’s Solar Terrestrial Relations Observatory (STEREO) mission, which included two spacecraft orbiting the Sun.

Collectively, the three observatories provided a 360-degree view of the Sun until contact was lost with one of the STEREO spacecraft in 2014. The data collected during the window of full solar coverage was studied to see if the large-scale wave patterns might emerge.

 

Sources: toi.


 

Facts for Prelims:

 

INLCU L51:

  • INLCU L51 was commissioned recently into the Indian Navy.
  • It is First of the Eight ships of the LCU Mk IV Class.
  • It has been built by M/s Garden Reach Ship Builders & Engineers Ltd, Kolkata.
  • The ship has been built to assist in amphibious operations by carrying out beaching operations and has an endurance of 1500 nm.
  • The ship will also play a key role in carrying out maritime surveillance of Andaman & Nicobar Islands for preventing anti-poaching, illegal fishing, drug trafficking, human trafficking, poaching and other illegal activities.
  • It will also enhance the capabilities of the Andaman and Nicobar Command in Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Relief (HADR) operations.

 

Mining banned for four months in Uttarakhand:   

  • The Uttarakhand High Court has ordered ‘complete’ ban on mining activities in the State for four months.
  • The court has ordered that a high-power committee be constituted to assess the expanse of river bed mining in the State and submit a report. The committee has been directed to submit a report within four months.

 

Haryana government to set up Centre for flowers in Jhajjar to promote floriculture: 

A Centre of Excellence for Flowers is being set up with the assistance of Netherlands in district Jhajjar of Haryana to encourage the farmers to take up floriculture.

 

New secure pound coin goes into circulation in UK: 

  • A new 12-sided one-pound coin described by the UK’s Royal Mint as the “most secure coin in the world” has been put into circulation across the UK.
  • There is material inside the coin itself which can be detected when electronically scanned by coin-counting or payment machines, making it impossible to counterfeit.
  • Other security features of the coin include an image that works like a hologram and micro-sized lettering inside both rims.