News:Defence Research and Development Organisation(DRDO) has successfully flight tested New generation Anti Radiation Missile(RUDRAM).
- RUDRAM: It is India’s first indigenous anti-radiation air-to-surface missile for Indian Air Force(IAF).The missile is integrated on SU-30 Mk1 fighter aircraft.
- Purpose: It is designed to detect, track and neutralise the adversary’s radar, communication assets and other radio frequency sources which are generally part of their air defence systems.
- The missile’s navigation mechanism comprises an inertial navigation system — a computerised mechanism that uses changes in the object’s own position coupled with GPS which is satellite-based.
- For guidance, it has a “passive homing head” — a system that can detect, classify and engage targets (radio frequency sources in this case) over a wide band of frequencies as programmed.
- The missile has an operational range of more than 100 km, based on the launch parameters from the fighter jet.
News: Department of Science & Technology(DST) and IBM India have announced collaborations to scale up two DST initiatives–Vigyan Jyoti and Engage with Science (Vigyan Prasar).
- Launched Year: 2019
- Nodal ministry: Ministry of Science & Technology (DST).
- Coverage: The programme covers girl students from grade 9 to 12.
- Aim: To create a level-playing field for the meritorious girls in high school to pursue Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) in their higher education and become self-reliant.
- Implementation: The program is currently implemented by Jawahar Navodaya Vidyalaya (JNV) in 58 districts with the participation of about 2900 students.
Vigyan Prasar: It is an autonomous body under the DST to help India’s science popularization agenda through several strategic initiatives, including ‘Engage With Science’.
- Engage With Science: It is an interactive platform that will be built on top of the India Science Over-The-Top (OTT) platform to encourage and inspire high school students to pursue Science & Technology (S&T) for a career.
News: The Nobel Peace Prize for 2020 has been awarded to the World Food Programme for feeding millions of people from Yemen to North Korea with the coronavirus pandemic seen pushing millions more into hunger.
- World Food Programme(WFP): It is the food assistance branch of the United Nations, established in 1961.
- Aim: To eradicate hunger and malnutrition with the ultimate goal of eliminating the need for food aid itself.
- Significance: It is a member of the United Nations Development Group and part of its Executive Committee.
- Funding: Its operations are funded by voluntary donations from world governments, corporations and private donors.
News: Ministry of Road Transport and Highways has enhanced the allocation of funds for expenditure under Special Accelerated Road Development Programme in North Eastern Areas(SARDP-NE).
- SARDP-NE: It is an initiative of the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways for the development of road networks in the North Eastern Region and Sikkim.
- Up-gradation of National Highways connecting State Capitals.
- Providing connectivity to District Headquarter towns of North Eastern Region(NER)
- Providing road connectivity to backward and remote areas of NE region to boost socio-economic development;
- Improving roads of strategic importance in border areas;
- Improving connectivity to neighbouring countries.
News: Environment Pollution (Prevention & Control) Authority(EPCA) has directed Delhi and neighbouring States to implement Graded Response Action Plan(GRAP) from 15th October 2020.
- Graded Response Action Plan(GRAP): It is a set of stratified actions that are taken once the pollution level reaches a certain specified limit.
- When was it notified? The action plan was notified in 2017 for Delhi and the National Capital Region(NCR).
- Who prepared it? The Supreme Court had mandated the Environmental Pollution Control Authority (EPCA) to come up with such a plan.
- Overview of Action Plan:
- The plan requires action and coordination among 13 different agencies in Delhi, Uttar Pradesh, Haryana and Rajasthan (NCR areas).
- It includes the measures to prevent worsening of Air Quality of Delhi-NCR (National Capital Region) and prevent PM10 and PM2.5 levels to go beyond ‘moderate’ national Air Quality Index (AQI) category.
- EPCA is mandated to enforce the Action Plan as per the pollution levels.
- EPCA: It is a Supreme Court mandated body tasked with taking various measures to tackle air pollution in Delhi NCR.It was constituted in 1998 under the provisions of the Environment (Protection) Act,1986.
- Air Quality Index: It classifies air quality of a day considering criteria pollutants through colour codes and air quality descriptor.The index measures eight major pollutants namely, particulate matter (PM 10 and PM 2.5), nitrogen dioxide, sulphur dioxide, ozone, carbon monoxide, ammonia and lead.
News: UN Inter-agency group for child mortality estimation has released a report titled “ A neglected tragedy: The global burden of stillbirths 2020”.
Stillbirth: It means a baby born with no signs of life at 28 weeks of pregnancy or more.
Aim of the report: Itaims topresent the number of babies that are stillborn every year due to pregnancy and birth-related complications, the absence of health workers and basic services.
- One stillbirth occurs every 16 seconds which means that about 2 million babies are stillborn every year.
- Around 0.34 million of the 1.9 million stillbirths globally in 2019 were in India making it the country with the largest such burden.
- India along with five other countries — Pakistan, Nigeria, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, China and Ethiopia — accounted for nearly half of all stillbirths in the world.
News: Delhi Cabinet has approved the ‘Tree Transplantation Policy’ for the preservation of trees in the Capital.
Key Provisions of the Policy:
- A minimum of 80% of trees affected by a development or construction project will be transplanted and as much 80% of the transplanted trees must survive after transplantation.
- The Delhi government will form a panel of the agencies that excel in the task of transplantation and whichever department wants trees to be transplanted can approach any agency out of the panel that is being formed.
- A dedicated Tree Transplantation Cell will also be formed by the Delhi government and local committees which will include government officials, citizens, RWAs to monitor the transplanted trees and to certify that the task has been done with due diligence.
Smog Tower in Delhi:
- The Delhi Cabinet has also approved a proposal to install a smog tower in Connaught Place to deal with air pollution.The first smog tower in the world was set up in China.
- Smog towers: Theseare structures designed to work as large scale air purifiers.They are usually fitted with multiple layers of air filters, which clean the air of pollutants as it passes through them.
News: Goa has become the first ‘Har Ghar Jal’ State in the country as it has successfully provided 100% Functional Household Tap Connections(FHTCs) in the rural areas by utilising the benefits under Jal Jeevan Mission(JJM).
- Jal Jeevan Mission: It aims to provide safe and adequate drinking water through individual household tap connections(HarGharJal) to all rural households by 2024.
- Implementation: It is being implemented by the Department of Drinking Water and Sanitation under the Jal Shakti Ministry.
- Funding Pattern: The fund sharing pattern between the Centre and states is 90:10 for Himalayan and North-Eastern States, 50:50 for other states and 100% for Union Territories.
- The mission will be based on a community approach to water and will include extensive Information, Education and communication as a key component of the mission.
- It will also implement source sustainability measures as mandatory elements such as recharge and reuse through grey water management, water conservation and rainwater harvesting.
News: Zoological Survey of India (ZSI) and the Botanical Survey of India (BSI) released Animal Discoveries 2019 and Plant Discoveries 2019 respectively.
- Animal Discoveries 2019 lists 368 faunal species as new to science, and 116 species as first records from India.
- Plant Discoveries 2019 lists 180 new plant species and 73 new records discovered from India.
- The number of plant species found in India according is 50,012, and accounts roughly for 12% of all flora species in the world.
Zoological Survey of India
- Purpose: zoological research and studies to promote the survey, exploration, and research of the fauna in India.
- It was established in 1916. It is headquartered in Kolkata, West Bengal.
- It functions under the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate.
Botanical Survey of India (BSI):
- Founded in 1890, it comes under the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change.
- Purpose: Survey, research and conservation of plant resources, flora and endangered species of India including by collecting and maintaining germplasm and gene bank of endangered, patent and vulnerable plant species.
News: Indian Prime Minister will launch the physical distribution of Property Cards under the SVAMITVA Scheme
- SVAMITVA is a Central Sector Scheme of the Ministry of Panchayati Raj, which was launched on National Panchayati Raj Day, 24th April 2020.
- The scheme aims to provide the ‘record of rights’ to village household owners in rural areas and issue Property Cards.
- The Scheme is being implemented across the country in a phased manner over a period of four years (2020-2024) and would eventually cover around 6.62 lakh villages of the country.
News: National Butterfly Campaign Consortium organized a nationwide poll to select national butterfly of India. Krishna Peacock, Indian Jezebel, and Orange Oakleaf got the highest number of votes. Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change will choose one among them.
- Krishna Peacock is generally found in large numbers in the Himalayas. It possesses a peculiarly large swallowtail and has iridescent green scales.
- Orange Oakleaf is commonly known as ‘dead leaf’ for its ability to camouflage as a dry autumn leaf while striking a stationary pose with its wings closed. They are found in moist forests of northern Western Ghats, central, northern and northeastern parts of India.
- Indian Jezebel (or Common Jezebel) has flashy wing colors. They are regarded as soldiers of farmers as they prey on parasites that infest fruit-bearing plants. They are widely distributed.