29th Sep, 2020

Foundation day of Deen Dayal Upadhyaya Grameen Kaushalya Yojana (DDU-GKY) celebrated

The foundation day of Deen Dayal Upadhyaya Grameen Kaushalya Yojana (DDU-GKY) was recently celebrated as “Kaushal Se Kal Badlenge” (25th September).

Ministry: Ministry of Rural Development

Agripreneurship (entrepreneurship in agriculture) Programme was inaugurated.

Guidelines regarding Captive Employment under DDU-GKY were released.

Guidelines for Promotion of Integrated Farming Cluster (IFC) were also released Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) for capacity building of Farmer Producer Organisations (FPOs)/StartUps and providing incubation support in rural areas was signed.

Captive employers are businesses which can employ 500 or more in their own organisation or one of their subsidiaries and have suitable in-house training facilities.

Integrated Farming is a combined approach aimed at efficient sustainable resource management for increased productivity in the cropping system.

It has multiple objectives of sustainability, food security, farmer’s security and poverty reduction by involving livestock, vermicomposting, organic farming, etc.


Armenia-Azerbaijan Conflict (Map-based)

Recently, territorial dispute between Armenia and Azerbaijan over the Nagorno-Karabakh region has re-erupted with heavy clashes.

Armenia and Azerbaijan are part of Transcaucasia or South Caucasia. It is a geographical region in the vicinity of the southern Caucasus Mountains on the border of Eastern Europe and Western Asia consisting of Georgia, Armenia, and Azerbaijan.

The Caucasus are a strategically important mountainous region in south-east Europe. For centuries, different powers in the region – both Christian and Muslim – have vied for control there.

Nagorno-Karabakh region has 95% of the population as ethnically Armenian and is controlled by them but it is internationally recognized as part of Azerbaijan.


Sandalwood Spike Disease

India’s sandalwood trees are facing a serious threat due to Sandalwood Spike Disease (SSD).

The natural population of sandalwood in Marymoor Sandal Forest of Kerala and various reserve forests in Karnataka, including MM Hills (Malai Mahadeshwara Wildlife Sanctuary), are heavily infected with SSD.


Sandalwood Spike Disease

It is an infectious disease which is caused by phytoplasma.

Phytoplasmas are bacterial parasites of plant tissues.

They are transmitted by insect vectors and involved in plant-to-plant transmission.

There is no cure as of now for the infection.

The infected tree will have to be cut down to prevent the spread of the disease.


Multi-stakeholder body recommended by the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI)

Recently, the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) has recommended the creation of a multi-stakeholder body (MSB) to ensure that Internet access providers adhere to the provisions of net neutrality.

The MSB should be set up as a non-profit entity.

Possible functions:

(1) To provide advice and support to the Department of Telecommunications (DoT) in the monitoring and enforcement of net neutrality principles;

(2) To investigate complaints regarding the violation of net neutrality;

(3) To help DoT in the maintenance of a repository of reasonable traffic management practices.

MSB could include telecom service providers, Internet service providers, content providers, researchers, academic and technical community, civil society organisations, and the government.


MedSpark in Kerala

MedSpark, one of the first medical device parks in the country will be set up in Thiruvananthapuram, Kerala.

Established by:

(1) Department of Science and Technology (DST);

(2) Sree Chitra Tirunal Institute for Medical Sciences and Technology (SCTIMST), an autonomous institute of the DST;

(3) Kerala State Industrial Development Corporation Ltd. (KSIDC)

Fundings: From the state and central governments


(1) Focus on the high-risk medical device sector;

(2) Provide a full range of services for the industry like research and development support, testing, and evaluation of medical devices;

(3) Create an enabling support system for manufacturing support, technology innovation, and knowledge dissemination.


Plastic Parks Scheme launched

The Ministry of Chemicals & Fertilizers has approved setting up of 10 Plastic Parks in the country.

The Parks are being set up in the states of: Assam, Madhya Pradesh, Odisha, Tamil Nadu, Jharkhand, Uttarakhand and Chhattisgarh.

A Plastic Park is an industrial zone devoted to plastic enterprises and its allied industries.

Implemented by: A Special Purpose Vehicle (SPV) shall complete the setting up of the Plastic Park in a period of three years from the date of final approval.

Plastic Parks shall enable the plastic sector to move up the value chain and contribute to the economy more effectively.

Major Objectives:

(1) Increase the competitiveness, polymer absorption capacity and value addition in the domestic

downstream plastic processing industry through adaptation of modern measurers;

(2) Achieve environmentally sustainable growth through innovative methods of waste management, recycling, etc.

The Central Government provides grant funding up to 50% of the project cost, subject to a ceiling of Rs. 40 crore per project.

The remaining project cost is funded by the State Government, beneficiary industries and by loan from financial institutions.


Temple belonging to Kakatiya Dynasty converted

A temple constructed by Emperor Ganapati Deva, a ruler of Kakatiya dynasty, in Dharanikota (Andhra Pradesh) has been converted into an abode of local goddess Balusulamma (Goddess Durga).

The presiding deity at this 13th-century temple was Kakati Devi, the tutelary deity of Kakatiya rulers.

Due to ravages of time and for no upkeep, the presiding deity got damaged.

The villagers of Dharanikota, who had no knowledge about the past of the temple, installed Balusulamma idol and started worshipping.

Kakatiya Dynasty

Kakatiyas is an Andhra dynasty that flourished in the 12th century CE.

The Kakatiya dynasty ruled from Warangal (Telangana) from CE 1083-1323.

They were known for the construction of a network of tanks for irrigation and drinking water and thereby gave a big boost to the overall development of the region.

Hundreds of Hindu temples were built under the patronage of Kakatiya kings like Ganapati Deva, Rudrama Devi and Prataparudra of Kakatiya dynasty.


(1) Thousand Pillar Temple or Rudreshwara Swamy Temple, Telangana. It is a star-shaped, triple shrine (Trikutalayam) dedicated to Vishnu, Shiva and Surya.

(2) Ramappa Temple, Warangal, Telangana;

(3) Golconda Fort in Hyderabad, Telangana


African Elephant dying due to Cyanobacteria

Recently, neuro-toxins in water produced by cyanobacteria killed more than 300 African elephants in the Okavango delta region, Botswana, South Africa.

They are blue-green algae.

They are found naturally in soils and all types of water.

These organisms use sunlight to make their own food.

In warm, nutrient-rich (high in phosphorus and nitrogen) environments, cyanobacteria can multiply quickly.

Toxic blue-green algae are occurring more frequently as climate change drives up global temperatures.

The African elephant

It is the largest animal walking the Earth.

Their herds wander through 37 countries in Africa.

IUCN Status: Vulnerable

African elephants in Botswana, Namibia, South Africa and Zimbabwe: CITES Appendix II

It is a landlocked country of southern Africa.

The semi-arid Kalahari Desert covers about 70% of Botswana’s surface.

It is home to mostly different types of acacia trees; animals like lion, cheetah, leopard, hyena, antelopes, meerkats, as well as many birds species and reptiles.

It is also home to the tribe’s like- San people (Bushmen), Tswana, Kgalakgadi, and Herero people.

Okavango Delta: It is one of the world’s largest inland deltas.

Neuro-toxins are substances that damage, destroy, or impair the functioning of neural tissue.

An algal bloom is a rapid increase in the population of algae or cyanobacteria in an aquatic system.


Gilgit-Baltistan to Become a Pakistani Province (Map-based)

Recently, Pakistan has decided to elevate Gilgit-Baltistan’s status to that of a full-fledged province.

Gilgit-Baltistan is one of the disputed territories of India.

Gilgit-Baltistan is an autonomous region now and with this elevation, it will become the 5th province of the country.

Currently, Pakistan has four provinces – Balochistan, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Punjab, and Sindh.

This elevation will lead to adequate representation from the province on all constitutional bodies, including the National Assembly and the Senate.

The Government will also start working on the Moqpondass Special Economic Zone (SEZ) under the China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC).

India has held that the Government of Pakistan or its judiciary has no locus standi on territories illegally and forcibly occupied by it.


Jnanpith Award

The 55th Jnanpith award was handed over to poet Akkitham Achuthan Namboothiri.

Akkitham became the sixth writer to bring Jnanpith to Malayalam literature.

Jnanpith Award is given by Bharatiya Jnanpith, a literary and research organization based in Delhi.

It is given annually to an author for their “outstanding contribution towards literature”.

It is bestowed only on Indian writers writing in Indian languages included in the Eighth Schedule to the Constitution of India and English.


Scrub Typhus

Recently, Scrub Typhus (Bush Typhus) was in the news.

It is a bacterial disease which has caused 5 deaths and 600 infections in Nagaland’s Noklak district bordering Myanmar.

Caused by: Orientia tsutsugamushi (Bacteria)

Spread through bites of Larval Mites of family trombiculid, also called Chiggers.

Symptoms: Fever, headache, body aches, and sometimes rash.

Occurrence: Rural areas of Southeast Asia, Indonesia, China, Japan, India, and northern Australia.

Treatment: Antibiotics. No vaccine available.


I-ATS (Automatic Train Supervision) indigenously-built

The Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC) launched ‘i-ATS’ (Automatic Train Supervision).

It is an indigenously-built communication-based train control signaling technology for the metro.

It will significantly reduce the dependence of Indian metros on foreign vendors dealing with such technologies.

It can work with train control and signalling systems of various suppliers.