7th Dec, 2020

IIT-Bombay comes up with Urban Quality Of Life Index

IIT-Bombay researchers have come up with an urban quality of life index which is related to real urban life in India presently.

Top city: Mumbai 

The other top cities: Delhi, Kolkata and Chennai.

Most women-friendly: Chennai 

Least women-friendly: Patna

Highest crime rate against women: Jaipur 

Lowest crime rate against women: Chennai

Widest gap in literacy rate between men and women: Jaipur (13.2%) 

Lowest gap in literacy rate between men and women: Kolkata (5.4%).

Highest overall Literacy rate: Pune (91%) 

Lowest overall Literacy rate: Hyderabad (83%).

Highest unemployment rate for women: Patna 

Gender parity was taken into consideration for the first time. 

According to the research, women experience cities differently. 

Meeting women’s needs becomes essential in promoting sustainable urban development.

Also, only 36% urban households in Patna have access to treated tap water.

Species in news: Houbara Bustards

Recently, houbara bustards was in the news.

Pakistan has issued special permits to Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman and two other members of the royal family to hunt the internationally protected houbara bustards during the hunting season 2020-21.

The houbara bustard

It lives in arid climates.

It comes in two distinct species as recognised by the IUCN.

One species resides in North Africa (Chlamydotis undulata) and the other in Asia (Chlamydotis macqueenii) which is commonly known as MacQueen’s bustard.

The population of the Asian houbara bustards extends from northeast Asia, across central Asia, the Middle East, and the Arabian Peninsula to reach the Sinai desert.

According to the International Fund for Houbara Conservation (IFHC), roughly 33,000 Asian houbara bustards remain today.

After breeding in the spring, the Asian bustards migrate south to spend the winter in Pakistan, the Arabian Peninsula and nearby Southwest Asia. 

Some Asian houbara bustards live and breed in the southern part of their ranges including parts of Iran, Pakistan and Turkmenistan.

IUCN Red List Status: Vulnerable 

Japan’s Hayabusa2 Mission set to return back to Earth

Six years after Japan’s Hayabusa2 mission was launched, it is set to return back to Earth.

It will be carrying samples from the Ryugu asteroid that orbits the Sun.

The Hayabasu2 mission was launched in December 2014.

The spacecraft was sent on a six-year-long voyage to study the asteroid Ryugu and collect samples.

NASA’s OSIRIS-REX mission also brought back samples from asteroid Bennu late in October, 2020.

According to the Japanese Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA), this is the first time that a probe has visited a celestial body that is less than 100 metres in diameter.

Ryugu is classified as a Potentially hazardous asteroids (PHAs). 

It was discovered in 1999.

It was given the name by the Minor Planet Center in 2015. 

It is 300 million kilometres away from Earth. 

It took Hayabusa2 over 42 months to reach it.

Hayabasu2’s predecessor, the Hayabusa mission brought back samples from the asteroid Itokawa in 2010.

Singapore Agency approves sale of Lab-Grown Meat

The Singapore Food Agency (SFA) has approved the sale of a lab-grown meat product. 

This is the first time cultured meat has been cleared for sale anywhere in the world.

The product approved by the SFA is cultured chicken, produced by US-based East Just.

Difference between lab-grown meat and plant-based meat

The latter is made from plant sources such as soy or pea protein, while cultured meat is grown directly from cells in a laboratory.

Both have the same objectives: To offer alternatives to traditional meat products that could feed a lot more people, reduce the threat of zoonotic diseases, and mitigate the environmental impact of meat consumption.

In terms of cellular structure, cultured meat is the same as conventional meat except that cultured meat does not come directly from animals.


(1) Cultivated meat could reduce land use by more than 95%;

(2) It could reduce climate change emissions by 74-87% and nutrient pollution by 94%;

(3) The risk of contamination by pathogens such as salmonella and E coli is significantly reduced;

(4) It does not require antibiotics thereby reducing the threat posed to public health by growing antibiotic resistance.

RBI introduces risk-based internal audit norms for NBFCs, UCBs

The RBI recently announced the introduction of risk-based internal audit norms for large urban cooperative banks (UCBs) and non-banking financial companies (NBFCs).

Aim of the introduction: Improving governance and assurance functions at supervised entities.

The guidelines related to the appointment of statutory auditors for commercial banks, UCBs and NBFCs in order to improve the quality of financial reporting were also laid out.

The growing significance of NBFCs and their interlinkages with different parts of the financial system had made it imperative to enhance the sector’s resilience. 

Thus it had been decided to put in place transparent criteria for the declaration of dividends by different categories of NBFCs.

Regional rural banks would be allowed to access the liquidity adjustment facility (LAF), marginal standing facility (MSF) of the RBI and call/notice money market.

The RBI has proposed to issue Digital Payment Security Controls directions for the regulated entities in order to improve the ecosystem of digital payment channels with better security and convenience for users.

Operation Trident

Every year, India celebrates December 4 as Navy Day to commemorate Operation Trident.

It was a key offensive during the 1971 India-Pakistan War, when the Indian Navy inflicted heavy damage on Pakistani vessels in Karachi harbour.

On December 4, under Operation Trident, the Indian Navy sank three vessels near the Pakistani port city of Karachi. 

The stars of the mission were the then-recently acquired Soviet Osa missile boats, fitted with 4 SS-N-2 (P-15) Styx missiles.