CURRENT AFFAIRS


2nd Sep, 2020

 

AIIB Loan for Mumbai Urban Transport Project -3

 

A loan agreement for a USD 500 million for Mumbai Urban Transport Project-III (MUTP-III) was signed recently..

Signatories: Central Government, Maharashtra Government, Mumbai Railway Vikas Corporation and the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) 

Mumbai Urban Transport Project-III (MUTP-III)

It is a project supervised and implemented by the Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority (MMRDA).

Objective: To enhance the network capacity, service quality and safety of Mumbai’s suburban railway system. 

Deadline for completion: 2022.

 

Major Objectives: (1) Improve traffic and transportation situation in MMR. (2) Institutional development and strengthening.

Network capacity in the region will increase.

Mobility will increase.

Journey time and fatal accidents of commuters will reduce.

Carbon emissions will reduce since passengers will shift away from higher-carbon road transport.

 

The Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank 

It is a multilateral development bank that aims to improve economic and social outcomes in Asia. 

The bank currently has 103 members as well as 21 prospective members from around the world

India is the largest beneficiary of AIIB financing for infrastructure projects. Some major AIIB-approved projects in India:

  • Bangalore Metro Rail Project (USD 335 million).
  • Gujarat Rural Roads (MMGSY) Project (USD 329 million).
  • India Infrastructure Fund.
  • Andhra Pradesh 24×7 – Power For All Project.
  • USD 750 Million for Covid-19 support for India.

 

Early Galaxy Detected by AstroSat

 

One of the earliest galaxies called AUDFs01 has been discovered using AstroSat.

Discovered by: A team of Scientists from the Inter University Centre for Astronomy and Astrophysics (IUCAA), Pune.

The team comprises scientists from India, Switzerland, France, USA, Japan and Netherlands.

The galaxy is located in the Hubble Extreme Deep field, 9.3 billion light-years away from Earth.

The galaxy was discovered using UltraViolet Imaging Telescope (UVIT) on Astrosat.

AstroSat detected Extreme Ultraviolet light from the galaxy.

 

AstroSat

It is a multi-wavelength astronomy mission on an IRS-class (Indian Remote Sensing-Class) satellite in a 650-km, near-equatorial orbit.

Launched by: Indian launch vehicle PSLV by ISRO.

It is the first dedicated Indian astronomy mission. 

Aim: To study celestial sources in X-ray, optical and UV spectral bands simultaneously with its five unique X-ray and ultraviolet telescopes working in tandem.

AstroSat mission enables the simultaneous multi-wavelength observations of various astronomical objects with a single satellite.


 

17th India-Vietnam Meeting held

 

Recently, the 17th meeting of India-Vietnam Joint Commission on Trade, Economic, Scientific and Technological Cooperation was held.

Recent developments in India-Vietnam Comprehensive Strategic Partnership (since 2016) were reviewed.

Both countries agreed to enhance their bilateral cooperation in line with India’s Indo-Pacific Oceans Initiative (IPOI).

Both sides agreed to coordinate closely at multilateral  and regional forums like the UN Security Council (UNSC) and ASEAN.

They agreed to explore closer cooperation in emerging areas such as civil nuclear energy, space, marine sciences and new technologies.

India also invited Vietnam to take advantage of India’s new economic capacities and demands

Indo-Pacific Oceans Initiative (IPOI)

Launched by: Indian Prime Minister at the East Asia Summit (2019).

Focus: Maritime Security, Maritime Ecology, Maritime Resources, Disaster Risk Reduction and Management, Maritime Transport, etc.

Both India and Vietnam will serve concurrently as non-permanent members of UNSC in 2021.


 

UN’s guidelines on access to social justice for people with disabilities 

 

The first-ever guidelines on access to social justice for people with disabilities have been released.

Released by: United Nations

Objective: To make it easier for them to access justice systems around the world.

The guidelines outline a set of 10 principles

 

Principle 1: All persons with disabilities have legal capacity. No one shall be denied access to justice on the basis of disability.

Principle 2: Facilities and services must be universally accessible to ensure equal access to justice without discrimination.

Principle 3: They have the right to appropriate procedural accommodations.

Principle 4: They have the right to access legal notices and information in a timely and accessible manner on an equal basis with others.

Principle 5: They are entitled to all substantive and procedural safeguards recognized in international law on an equal basis with others, and States must provide the necessary accommodations to guarantee due process.

Principle 6: They have the right to free or affordable legal assistance.

Principle 7: They have the right to participate in the administration of justice on an equal basis with others.

Principle 8: They have the rights to report complaints and initiate legal proceedings concerning human rights violations and crimes, have their complaints investigated and be afforded effective remedies.

Principle 9: Effective and robust monitoring mechanisms play a critical role in supporting access to justice for them.

Principle 10: All those working in the justice system must be provided with awareness-raising and training programmes addressing the rights of persons with disabilities, in particular in the context of access to justice.


 

Quantum State Interferography found

 

Indian Scientists have found a new way of inferring the state of a system (both 2-D qubits and higher-dimensional qubits) from an interference pattern.

It has been termed as ‘Quantum State Interferography’ (QSI).

New ways are being experimented with to manipulate quantum states so that they can be harnessed for computing, communication, and metrology.

QSI can help make manipulations simpler so that several crucial operations in quantum technologies become less cumbersome.

The setup requires only two interferometers from which many interferograms can be obtained to reconstruct the state.


 

Green Term Ahead Market (GTAM) launched

 

Pan-India Green Term Ahead Market (GTAM) in electricity was recently launched. 

Launched by: The Union Minister of State (IC) Power and New & Renewable Energy 

Objective: Greening the Indian short term power Market. 

The market is the first Exclusive product for the renewable energy sector in the world.

Transactions through GTAM will be bilateral in nature. 

Clear identification of corresponding buyers and sellers shall be available. 

There will not be any difficulty in accounting for Renewable Purchase Obligations (RPO).

GTAM contracts will be segregated into Solar RPO & Non-Solar RPO. 

Further, within the two segments GTAM contracts will have Green Intraday, Day Ahead Contingency, Daily and Weekly Contracts. 

Price discovery will take place on a continuous basis. 

Looking at the market conditions, open auction can be introduced for daily & weekly contracts.


 

Nod to 27 projects under the Pradhan Mantri Kisan Sampada Yojana (PMKSY)

 

Recently, 27 projects under the PMKSY were approved. 

Objective: For development of integrated cold chains and value addition infrastructure in India.

Ministry: Ministry of Food Processing Industries 

The new integrated cold chain projects will generate direct and indirect employment and benefit nearly lakhs of farmers.

Cold chain facilities shall be created for the food processing sector across various states. 

States included: Andhra Pradesh, Bihar, Gujarat, Haryana, Karnataka, Kerala, Madhya Pradesh, Punjab, Rajasthan, Tamil Nadu and Uttar Pradesh.

Central Sector Scheme of Integrated Cold Chain and Value Addition Infrastructure

It is a component scheme under PMKSY.

The government provides financial assistance in the form of grant-in-aid at the rate of 35% for general areas and the rate of 50% for North-Eastern States, Himalayan States, ITDP Areas, and Islands for storage and transport infrastructure.

The assistance at 50% and 75% respectively are also given for value addition and processing infrastructure subject to a maximum grant-in-aid of Rs 10 crores per project. 


 

Pradhan Mantri Kisan Sampada Yojana (PMKSY)

 

The objective of PMKSY is to supplement agriculture, modernize processing and decrease Agri-Waste.

The PMKSY has seven component schemes:

Mega Food Parks

Integrated Cold Chain and Value Addition Infrastructure

Infrastructure for Agro-Processing Clusters

Creation of Backward and Forward Linkages

Creation/Expansion of Food Processing & Preservation Capacities

Food Safety and Quality Assurance Infrastructure

Human Resources and Institutions

Under PMKSY, capital subsidy in the form of grants-in-aid ranging from 35% to 75% of the eligible project cost subject to a maximum specified limit is provided to investors.


 

Coal India Ltd. (CIL) to invest in 500 coal-related projects

 

Coal India Ltd (CIL) will invest over 1.22 lakh crore rupees on development of nearly 500 projects.

Projects will be related to coal evacuation, infrastructure, project development, exploration and clean coal technologies in India.

The investment aims at making India self-reliant in terms of coal and at achieving the production target of 1 billion tonnes by 2023-2024.

The investment will be in two phases for 49 First Mile Connectivity projects.

First Mile Connectivity is the transportation of coal from pitheads to dispatch points. 

Computer-aided loading technology of coal is being developed to replace the existing methodology of transportation via road.

CIL has also identified 15 Greenfield projects which will be operated under the Mine Developer and Operator (MDO) model. 

It also announced measures for relaxations and exemptions for greater participation of its stakeholders. 

The experience criteria is reduced from 65% to 50% for mining tenders. 

Work experience criteria are relaxed by 50%. 


 

RORO train

 

Karnataka CM flagged off the first ‘Roll On Roll Off’ (RORO) train from Bengaluru to Solapur (Maharashtra).

It consists of an open flat wagon on which trucks with goods are loaded.

It will be operated by the South Western Railway (SWR).

Time taken: 17 hours 

Distance: About 682 kms.

As many as 42 trucks with goods can be carried at time in this train. 

It shall reduce accidents on the road, improves safety, saves fuel, and foreign exchange.

It ensures faster transport of essential goods, perishables, food items and smaller cargo.

The cost of transport is lesser than transport by road.


 

Chhavni COVID: Yodha Sanrakshan Yojana 

 

‘Chhavni COVID: Yodha Sanrakshan Yojana’ was recently launched.

 Launched by: The Ministry of Defence

It is a group life insurance scheme to be implemented through Life Insurance Corporation (LIC).

It will cover more than 10,000 employees in all 62 Cantonment Boards in event of any unfortunate fatal calamity with an insurance cover of Rs 5 lakhs each. 

It will benefit permanent and contractual employees including doctors, paramedics and sanitation staff.


 

Hurricane Laura

Hurricane Laura recently made landfall in southwestern Louisiana (South Central United States) 

Depending on where they occur, hurricanes are given many names in different regions of the world

Typhoons: China Sea and Pacific Ocean.

Hurricanes: In the West Indian islands in the Caribbean Sea and Atlantic Ocean.

Tornados: In the Guinea lands of West Africa and southern USA.

Willy-willies: In north-western Australia

Tropical Cyclones: In the Indian Ocean Region


 






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