Ojaank IAS Academy




15 September 2022 – Current Affairs

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FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup 2022

Paper 2 – Games, International relations
Why Should You Know?
Recently the Union Cabinet approved the signing of a guarantee for hosting the Federation Internationale de Football Association (FIFA) U-17 Women’s World Cup 2022 in India.
In details
  • The Union Cabinet chaired by the Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi has approved the Signing of Guarantees for hosting Federation Internationale de Football Association (FIFA) Under 17 Women’s World Cup 2022 in India.
  • It is noteworthy that FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup 2022 is scheduled to be held in India between 11th and 30th October 2022.
  • The seventh edition of the biennial youth tournament will be the first-ever FIFA women’s competition to be hosted by India.
  • Carrying on the positive legacy from the FIFA Under-17 Men’s World Cup 2017, the nation is preparing for a seminal moment for women’s football when the best young female footballers from across the world will be showcasing their skills to lift the coveted trophy.
Financial outlay
  • Financial outlay of Rs. 10 crore assistance to All India Football Federation (AIFF) for Field of play Maintenance, Stadium power, Energy & Cabling, Stadia & Training Site Branding etc. will be met from the budgetary allocation for the Scheme of Assistance to National Sports Federations (NSFs).
Objectives of the Scheme
  • The FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup India 2022 has potential to strengthen women’s football in the country.
  • Carrying on the positive legacy from the FIFA Under 17 Men’s World Cup 2017, the nation is preparing for a seminal moment for women’s football when the best young female footballers from across the world will be showcasing their skills to lift the coveted trophy. Following objectives have been contemplated in order to leave behind a positive legacy:
  • increase representation of women in football leadership and decision-making bodies
  • inspire more girls to play football in India
  • advocate for gender-inclusive participation by normalising the concept of equal game from a young age
  • opportunity to improve football standards for women in India
  • improve the commercial value of the women’s game.
  • The FIFA Under-17 Women’s World Cup is a prestigious event and would be held for the first time in India.
  • It would encourage more youngsters to participate in sports and help develop the sport of football in India.
  • The event will not only promote football as sport of choice among Indian girls, but is also poised to leave a lasting legacy that will facilitate girls and women in the country to embrace football and sports in general.
  • The FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup is the world championship for female players under or upto the age of 17, organized by FIFA.
  • The event started in 2008 and is traditionally held in even-numbered years. The 6th edition of the event was held in Uruguay from 13th November to 1st December, 2018.
  • Spain is the current champion of FIFA Under-17 Women’s World Cup.
  • FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup India 2022 will be the 7th edition of the tournament in which 16 teams, including India, will participate.
  • The AIFF has proposed holding of the competition matches in 3 venues namely; (a) Bhubaneshwar; (b) Navi Mumbai and (c) Goa.
  • India successfully hosted the FIFA Under-17 Men’s World Cup India-2017 at 6 different venues namely New Delhi, Guwahati, Mumbai, Goa, Kochi and Kolkata in the country from 6th to 28th October, 2017.

Ladakh Apricot

Paper 3 – Agriculture
Why Should You Know?
The export of agricultural and food products from Ladakh is being continuously encouraged by the Central Government.
In details –
  • In a move aimed at boosting export of agricultural and food products from Ladakh, the Ministry of Commerce and Industry through its export promotion body APEDA is in process of hand-holding of Apricot value chain stakeholders to enhance export from Ladakh under the brand ‘Ladakh Apricot’.
  • It is expected that the initiatives of APEDA towards export promotion of Apricots and other agri-products would give a fillip to overall development of the region. The export promotion strategy of APEDA places major focus
  • on canopy management of the apricot orchard/trees obtain a uniform and better-quality harvest of apricots. It would help in sustained marketing, product development, research and development (R&D), enhancement of traceability and brand promotion of apricot,which is one of the important fruit crops of Ladakh and is locally known as ‘Chuli’.
  • APEDA, in coordination with Ladakh’s Horticulture Department, has also planned to organize awareness drives through canopy management in Kargil and Leh wherein scientist from Sher-e-Kashmir University of Agricultural Sciences and Technology, Kashmir (SKAUST-Kashmir) and Defence Institute of High Altitude Research (DIHAR) will help farmers to manage their apricot orchards/trees in better way to have uniform harvest.
  • APEDA is also focusing on strengthening packaging for fresh apricots, transport protocol and Brand Promotion ‘Ladakh Apricots’ for better price realization of apricots of trans-Himalayan Ladakh, which are known for their better quality.
  • Work on obtaining GI tag for Ladakh apricot is also in process. Notably, bulk of the apricot produced in Ladakh is consumed locally and only a small quantity of it is sold in dried form.
  • Given that logistics support plays a key factor in export promotion of any product,APEDA is working towards the augmentation of logistics support apricots too through air on the lines of market linkage scheme – PARVAZ and by road to nearest international exit ports for streamlining the exports from the region.
Export Infrastructures
  • APEDA, in association with UT of Ladakh, is also facilitating towards development of export infrastructures such as setting up of integrated pack house facilities with grading lines, pre-cooling units with cold storages and insulated/refrigerated transportation up to packhouse/exit ports, common infrastructure facilities such as pre-shipment treatment facilities e.g. irradiation, Vapor Heat Treatment, Hot Water Dip Treatment
  • for compliance with Phyto-Sanitary requirements of importing countries.
  • APEDA had identified fresh apricot fruit exports from UT of Ladakh during the year 2021 and trial shipments were sent to Dubai during the fag end of the apricot season 2021. The results and acceptability of the product was overwhelming due to its unique taste and aroma as well as demand for the product in the international market.
International Buyer-Seller Meet
  • APEDA organized an international buyer-seller meet in Leh on June 14, 2022 which was just before the commencement of the Apricot harvest of the season.
  • More than 30 buyers from India, USA, Bangladesh, Oman, Dubai, Mauritius, etc were mobilized to interact with the producers and suppliers of apricots and other agricultural products from the UT of Ladakh.
  • As a result, during the 2022 season 35 MT fresh Apricots were exported to various countries from Ladakh for the first time. Trial shipments of Ladakh Apricots also took place to countries like Singapore, Mauritius, Vietnam during the season 2022.
Biggest Apricot Producer
  • with a total production of 15,789 tonnes that constitutes nearly 62 percent share in total.
  • The region produced approximately 1,999 tons of dried apricot, making it the largest producer of dried apricot in the country. The total area under apricot cultivation is 2,303 hectares in Ladakh.
  • The native apricot genotypes of Ladakh possess unique and important characteristics, such as high TSS content, late and extended flowering and fruit maturity, and white seed stone phenotype, which offer opportunity for exporting to different nations worldwide.
About Ladakh apricot
  • The apricots of Ladakh are very sweet and give a wonderful taste as they dissolve completely. Also it is attractive to look at. The Union Territory of Ladakh produces many varieties of apricots, out of which four to five varieties are cultivated for commercial production. Export opportunities also exist for these varieties.
  • In view of the uniqueness and premium quality of apricots of Ladakh, there is immense scope for Ladakh to emerge on the world map for Apricot production and export.
  • Ladakh Apricot is classified into two broad categories based on kernel taste and stone color.
  • Fruits with bitter kernels are called khante meaning bitter, while those with sweet kernels are called nyarmo meaning sweet.
  • They are further divided into two sub-groups based on seed stone color. Fruit with white seed stone is called Raktsey Karpo (Rakstey means seed, karpo means white), while those with brown seed stone are called Raktsey Nakpo or Nyarmo (black seeded).

G20 Labour and Employment Ministers’ meet

Paper 2 – International Relations
Why Should You Know?
Union Minister of Labour and Employment, Shri. Bhupender Yadav, attended the G20 Labour and Employment Ministers’ meet at Bali
In details –
  • Union Minister of Labour and Employment, Shri. Bhupender Yadav, attended the G20 Labour and Employment Ministers’ meeting at Bali, Indonesia on 13 – 14 September 2022.
  • Union Minister Bhupender Yadav addressed the G20 Labour and Employment Ministers’ Meeting on ‘Improving the Employment Conditions to Recover Together’. During the address, the Union Minister put forth India’s views on the subject during his engagements.
Focus on Job Creation
  • During the address, the Union Minister highlighted that the Covid-19 crisis has brought to the fore the need for us to focus on improving the employment conditions of the workers for a strong and resilient recovery.
  • The pandemic posed several challenges, one of it being the loss of jobs, due to sudden closures of the institution.
  • However, to tackle the issue, the Government of India made ways to infuse funds and give a fillip to the country’s economy. An analysis of the EPFO data suggests significant acceleration in formalization of the job market during 2021.
  • According to data, the estimated total employment in the nine selected sectors in the round of Quarterly Employment Survey (QES) July-September, 2021 came out as 3.10 crore approximately, which is 2 lakhs higher than the estimated employment (3.08 crore) from the first round of QES (April-June, 2021).
  • It is worthwhile to mention that the total employment for these nine sectors taken collectively was reported as 2.37 crore in the sixth Economic Census (2013-14). These sectors include (i) manufacturing, (ii) construction (iii) trade (iv) transport (v) education (vi) health (vii) accommodation and restaurants (viii) IT / BPOs and (ix) financial services.
Empowering the women
  • Union Minister Bhupender Yadav also added that India believes that any policy or initiatives for labour welfare should encompass women, children, persons with disabilities and vulnerable groups.
  • The Government of India has taken several initiatives to support and protect the interest of women entrepreneurs and MSME through stimulus given under Atmanirbhar Bharat packages to combat the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic in India.
  • Government’s specific initiatives to protect women entrepreneurs and MSMEs during covid-19 include Rs 3 lakh crore Emergency Working Capital Facility for Businesses, including MSMEs; Emergency Credit Line Guarantee Scheme for MSMEs, businesses, MUDRA borrowers and individual; Rs 5000 crore Credit facility for street vendors among several others.
  • The Union Labour and Employment Minister also highlighted that India is working on an inclusive growth model with focus on both organised and unorganised workers. This includes gig and platform workers. Furthermore, the Government has undertaken initiatives for building a stronger ecosystem for nurturing India’s start-ups.
About the G20
  • The G20 is a formal organization of 20 major economies of the world, including 19 countries and 1 European Union.
  • The G-20 is seen as an extension of the G-7, a group of the world’s most powerful countries. The G-7 comprises France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the UK, the US and Canada. In 1998, the group also joined Russia and it became G-8 from G-7.
  • Russia was separated from the group in 2014 due to the annexation of Ukraine’s Crimea region and once again became the G-7. In 1999, the G-8 countries met in Cologne, Germany, in which asia’s economic crisis was discussed.
  • After this, it was decided to bring the countries with twenty powerful economies of the world on one platform. In December 1999, the G-20 group met for the first time in Berlin. Later, the G-8 was recognized as a political and the G-20 as an economic forum.
  • The G20 is composed of most of the world’s largest economies, including both industrialized and developing nations, and accounts for around 80% of gross world product (GWP), 75–80% of international trade,
  • Two-thirds of the global population,and roughly half the world’s land area.
  • It works to address major issues related to the global economy, such as international financial stability, climate change mitigation, and sustainable development.
  • The G20 does not have a permanent secretariat or Headquarters. Instead, the G20 president is responsible for bringing together the G20 agenda in consultation with other members and in response to developments in the global economy.
  • The G20 Presidency rotates annually according to a system that ensures a regional balance over time. Every year when a new country takes on the presidency, it works hand in hand with the previous presidency and the next presidency and this is collectively known as TROIKA.
Member Countries
  • USA, Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, France, Germany, India, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, Mexico, Russia, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, South Korea, Turkey, the United Kingdom and the European Union.
  • Spain is a permanent guest who is specially invited every year. Every year, in addition to Spain, g20 guests include the president of ASEAN countries including two African countries (president of the African Union and representative of the New Partnership for Africa’s Development) and one country (sometimes more than one) invited by the president of the G20.

“Smart Village Panchayat”

Paper 3 – Infrastructure
Why Should You Know?
The Union Ministry of Panchayati Raj is going to organize a conference on “Smart Village Panchayat: Empowering Rural Communities, Leaving No One Behind” in Lucknow.
In details –
  • A two-day Conference on “Smart Village Panchayat: Empowering Rural Communities; Leaving No One Behind” would be organized in Lucknow from September 15, 2022.
  • The Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh, Yogi Adityanath, Union Minister of Rural Development and Panchayati Raj, Shri Giriraj Singh and Union Minister of State for Panchayati Raj, Shri Kapil Moreshwar Patil will inaugurate the two-day conference.
  • During the Inaugural session, the e-Learning Module prepared by Panchayati Raj Institute of Training (PRIT), Uttar Pradesh in collaboration with partner organization GIZ will be launched and the Training Module on Localization of Sustainable Development Goals (LSDG) prepared by Panchayati Raj Department, Uttar Pradesh in collaboration with partner organization UNICEF will be released.
Significance of Smart villages
  • With the Centre and State Governments together implementing various development programmes, Smart villages are all about making different policies work together to find better, smarter ways to promote holistic rural development.
  • It is about harnessing existing and emerging technologies and social innovations to add value to the lives of our citizens. It is about giving villages the tools to address their own challenges while also making a contribution to the bigger challenges facing society as a whole
  • Smart Village Panchayats would be developing innovative solutions towards improving resilience, building on local strengths and opportunities at the grassroots level.
  • They would primarily rely on a participatory approach to develop and implement strategies for economic development, social upliftment and environmental security, through digital technologies.
  • The participatory approach would involve an active participation of the local community in discussions and decision-making on their Smart Village Panchayat strategy.
About conference
  • The two-day conference will have presentations on DigiGaon, Transparency in public procurement for rural areas, Integrated Local Governance Management System (ILGMS) in  Kerala, Financing development of Smart Village Panchayats, Enhancing Digital Network Coverage for Rural Areas, Internet connectivity for efficient governance and economic growth, Technological alternatives for Rural connectivity, Role of Smart Connectivity in Smart Village Panchayats,
  • Unnat Bharat Abhiyan, Digital Libraries – Karnataka, Upskilling Rural India, Challenges in adopting renewable energy in rural areas, Low Cost and commercially feasible energy solutions, Initiatives of Government for rural areas, Transformative technologies in agriculture, Crop Residue Management, Smart Agriculture Opportunities, Impact of One District One Product scheme on rural economy of India, Rural Bazaar and Opportunities in Rural e-Commerce,
  •  e-Choupal model- Leveraging Information Technology in Indian agribusiness sector, Best Practices in Smart Agriculture, Meenangadi Panchayat, Kerala- towards Carbon Neutrality, Environmental best Practices for Rural areas, Citizen Centric Healthcare leveraging IT & associated technologies, Electronic Health Records initiative of Andhra Pradesh, Rural Health preparedness and infrastructure development, and  Community mobilization and participation towards Smart Village Panchayats in Northeast India.
  • The event would be attended by representatives/ Senior Officials and Policymakers from different States and Resource Persons involved in Governance domain & improving services to citizens, along with various industry experts.

MoU between NTPC and National Sports Development Fund

Paper 3- Infrastructure
Why Should You Know?
Recently power PSUs the National Thermal Power Corporation Limited and REC Ltd, signed a Historic MoU with National Sports Development Fund.
In details
  • On September 14, 2022 in a historic event , NTPC and REC Ltd, two major PSUs under Ministry of Power signed  Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with National Sports Development Funds (NSDF) and Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports (MYAS) with National Sports Development Fund.
  • MoUs were signed in the presence of Shri R.K Singh, Union Minister of Power and New & Renewable Energy and Shri Anurag Singh Thakur, Union Minister of Youth Affairs & Sports and Information and Broadcasting were present during the historic MoU signing ceremony.
About MoU
  • The two PSUs from the Power Ministry have contributed a total of Rs 215 crore for the development of sports.
  • REC has initiated assistance for “Broad basing of Sports and promotion of excellence in sports in India” to be implemented by National Sports Development Fund (NSDF), under Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports with an aim to promote sports in general and specific sports disciplines and individual sportspersons in particular for achieving excellence at the national and international level.
  • REC has allocated Rs 100 crore to be spent in three years as an Amount of Assistance for its CSR initiative. The fund will be utilized for activities and work permissible for expenditure as a support to Target Olympic Podium Scheme (TOPS) athletes, support for coaches and other support staff and also for any other projects, programmes or events for broad basing of sports and promotion of excellence in sports in India.
  • The fund will also be utilized for the promotion of Boxing, Women Hockey and Athletics to be targeted and any other sports, as may be mutually agreed by REC and NSDF.
  • NTPC has been supporting the Archery sport in partnership with the Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports, Sports Authority of India (SAI) and Archery Association of India (AAI) with an aim to provide world class facilities with international exposure & platform to the talented pool of Archers of India.
  • Under its CSR initiative, NTPC has committed Rs. 115 Crore in 5 years for development of Archery Sports. Out of total 115 Crore, Rs. 15 crore will be incurred as a one-time expenditure towards preparations of field targets, setting up of training centres and equipment like bow & arrow.
  • Further, remaining Rs. 100 crore will be incurred as recurring expenditure in 5 years (Rs. 20 crore per year) towards the development of Archery from the grassroot level, training of identified talents, training of elite talents, development of high-performing coaches, procurement of FOP equipment, development sports & science lab compatible for Archery, Scholarships/ prize money for high performers, advance training/ competitive exposure/ foreign training & exposure to Sub-Jr./ Jr. Archers of Recurve and Compound Archers including Para Archers, etc.
About REC Limited
  • REC Limited, formerly Rural Electrification Corporation Limited, is a public Infrastructure Finance Company in India’s power sector.
  • The company is a Public Sector Undertaking and finances and promotes power projects across India.
  • The company provides loans to Central/State Sector Power Utilities in the country, State Electricity Boards, Rural Electric Cooperatives, NGOs and Private Power Developers.
  • REC is a Navratna Company functioning under the purview of the Ministry of Power.
  • It is headquartered in New Delhi.
About NTPC
  • NTPC Limited, known as National Thermal Power Corporation Limited, is an Indian public sector undertaking which is engaged in generation of electricity and allied activities.
  • The headquarters of the company is situated at New Delhi.
  • NTPC’s core function is the generation and distribution of electricity to State Electricity Boards in India.
  • The body also undertakes consultancy and turnkey project contracts that involve engineering, project management, construction management, and operation and management of power plants.
  • It was founded by Government of India in 1975, it is a Maharatna company.
Paper 3- Infrastructure
Why Should You Know?
In details
  • The USBRL (Udhampur Srinagar Baramulla Rail Link) is a National project undertaken by the Indian Railways for construction of broad-gauge railway line through the Himalayas, with the aim of connecting the Kashmir region with rest of the country.
  • The all-weather, comfortable, convenient and cost effective mass transportation system will be the catalyst for the overall development of the northern most alpine region of the country.
  • Construction of the first three phases of the project has been completed and the line is in operational use for running of trains between Baramulla-Banihal in Kashmir valley and Jammu-Udhampur-Katra in Jammu region.
  • Work on the intervening 111 Km section Katra-Banihal, the most arduous and treacherous portion due to its geology and extensive riverine system replete with deep gorges, is ongoing.
  • There are several iconic bridges and tunnels coming up in this section. Most of the rail track is slated to be in tunnels or bridges in this section.
  • The project has brought in employment, prosperity and connectivity to the people. The backward districts of Reasi and Ramban have especially benefitted from the project.
  • Hinterlands hitherto inaccessible now have road connectivity. Medical, Educational, Market and Business activities have become easily reachable for the people.
  • The cost of construction of the 111Km Katra-Banihal section so far has been Rs 30672.34 Cr. The Budget allocation to the Project has increased manifolds since 2014, enabling speedy construction activity.
Employment Generation
  • Job in Railway to ward of landowner, where more than 75% of their land was acquired.
  • Land acquired – 1833.92 Ha. and Jobs given to 799 eligible land givers.
  • Employment through contractors: 14069 (around 65% employment to locals).
  • More than 500 lacs mandays of employment have been generated so far.
  • In addition to this, skill development for artisans, many of them are now employed elsewhere.

Infrastructure development

  • More than 205 Km long approach roads were constructed which include 1 tunnel and 320 bridges.
  • This has provided connectivity to 73 villages of far-flung areas (around 1.5 lacs people benefitted).
  • Earlier accessible only by foot or boats; now by 4 wheelers.
  • PMGSY roads are now taking off from these approach roads
  • Hence, immediate benefits of project execution are reaching the local population.
Various Activities Under Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR)
  • Ambulances provided in Ramban District,  Motorised Wheel Chairs.
  • Free medical camps held in Banihal, Ramban and Reasi. Covid Quarantine centres.
  • Medical equipment given to hospitals: Upgradation of medical facility at Govt. hospital Banihal by providing ECG machines, ultra sound machine X ray plant, and C-Arm table.
  • Improvement of Educational Infrastructure: School constructed at Ramban & under construction Sumber. Library upgraded at two Govt. Senior Sec. school at Reasi, construction of Portacabin Toilet blocks in ten schools in Ramban district.
  • Training Centre for women: One women training center for tailoring and embroidery established at Banihal.
  • Water Supply to villages
  • Pucca Village roads.

India-Denmark Cooperation

Paper 2 – International Relations
Why Should You Know?
Recently the Ministers of India and Denmark released a white paper highlighting the ‘Urban Wastewater Landscape in India’ at the IWA World Water Congress.
In details
  • Hon’ble Minister for Jal Shakti Shri Gajendra Singh Shekhawat, Hon’ble Minister Ms. Lea Wermelin, Minister of Environment, Denmark and Hon’ble Minister Mr. Flemming Møller Mortensen, Minister of Development Co-operation, Denmark along with the Indian Delegation launched a Whitepaper on ‘Urban Wastewater Scenario in India’ at International Water Association (IWA) World Water Congress & Exhibition 2022 in Copenhagen, Denmark on September 12, 2022.
  • Notebly A government of India interdisciplinary team was formed with partners from Atal Innovation Mission (AIM), NITI Aayog, Ministry of Jal Shakti and National Mission for Clean Ganga (NMCG), international agency Innovation Centre Denmark (ICDK) and academia Indian Institute of Technology Bombay (IITB) to develop a whitepaper on urban wastewater management.
  • Considering all stakeholders’ concerns for wastewater management, this whitepaper holistically captures the current status of wastewater treatment in India and potential pathways for future treatment structures, co-creation and collaborations was collectively produced.
  • Curated by experts from AIM-NITI Aayog, ICDK, NCMG and IIT Bombay, the whitepaper further highlights some success stories, need for wastewater treatment, scope for improvement and augmentation in existing infrastructure and technologies, methods for public participatory approach, financing and co-financing options, smart technologies for rapid data collection and dissemination and building capacity via training and stakeholder apex bodies for increasing the efficiency of urban wastewater treatment for India.
  • This whitepaper is an outcome of Green Strategic Partnership with a focus on green hydrogen, renewable energy and wastewater management between India and Denmark and their bilateral ties.
India-Denmark Cooperation
  • As part of Indo-Danish Bilateral Green Strategic Partnership, Atal Innovation Mission (AIM), NITI Aayog in partnership with Innovation Center Denmark (ICDK) – a unit under Embassy of Denmark and Denmark Technical University (DTU) design, earlier planned and implemented the AIM-ICDK Water Innovation Challenges in India.
  • These challenges were placed to identify promising innovators from India, who could represent and form the Indian participation in the global Next Generation Water Action program hosted by IWA and Denmark Technical University.
  • AIM on boarded academic partners – IIT Delhi, IIT Bombay and International Center for Clear Water at IIT Madras and Incubator partners – AIC- Sangam and AIC FISE to guide the teams. Teams working on India problems were provided mentorship support by a carefully curated and illustrious panel of water experts.
  • Following this, the Danish embassy conducted the AIM-ICDK 2.0 water innovation challenge again with the partnership of Atal Innovation Mission, NITI Aayog.
  • Next Generation Water Action (NGWA) is an international initiative with the ambition to engage young talents from leading universities and innovation hubs before, during and after the IWA World Water Congress & Exhibition 2022.
What is a White Paper?
  • A white paper is an informational document issued by a company or not-for-profit organization to promote or highlight the features of a solution, product, or service that it offers or plans to offer.
  • A white paper is a report or guide that informs readers concisely about a complex issue and presents the issuing body’s philosophy on the matter. It is meant to help readers understand an issue, solve a problem, or make a decision. A white paper is the first document researchers should read to better understand a core concept or idea.
  • White papers are also used as a method of presenting government policies and legislation and gauging public opinion.

Shoonya Campaign

Paper 3- Environment
Why Should You Know?
Recently NITI Aayog Celebrated One-Year Anniversary of Shoonya Campaign.
In details
  • NITI Aayog held a day-long forum today to commemorate the one-year anniversary of Shoonya, India’s zero pollution e-mobility campaign.
  • Shoonya is a consumer awareness campaign to reduce air pollution by promoting the use of electric vehicles (EVs) for ride-hailing and deliveries. The campaign has 130 industry partners, including ride-hailing, delivery and EV companies.
  • All the partners participated in today’s forum and shared their success stories and commitments toward fleet electrification. G20 Sherpa Amitabh Kant, NITI Aayog CEO Param Iyer, MyGov CEO Abhishek Singh, Delhi Government Principal Secretary Ashish Kundra, Mahindra Electric Mobility CEO Suman Mishra, and several others attended the event. 
  • The National Programme on Advanced Chemistry Cell (ACC) Energy Storage (Part III) report was also launched during the event. The report highlights that India’s $2.5-billion Production-Linked Incentive (PLI) scheme for Advanced Chemistry Cell (ACC) energy storage is critical for meeting the projected cumulative battery demand of 106–260 GWh by 2030 to successfully realize the country’s vision for EV adoption and grid decarbonization.
About Shoonya
  • Rapid global urbanization and e-commerce sales are driving significant growth in urban freight and mobility demand. In India, these sectors are expected to grow at a CAGR of 8% through 2030.
  • If this demand is met by internal combustion vehicles (ICE), it would significantly increase local air pollution, carbon emissions, and lead to adverse public health effects.
  • EVs offer an opportunity to address these challenges. Compared to ICE vehicles, EVs do not emit PM or NOx emissions at the tailpipe; they release 60% less CO2 and have 75% lower operating costs.
  • Shoonya supplements existing national and sub-national EV policies as well as corporate efforts in India by creating consumer awareness and demand for zero pollution rides and deliveries in Indian cities.
  • Till April 2022, the estimated number of electric deliveries and rides completed by corporate partners via the Shoonya campaign was close to 20 million and 15 million, respectively. This translates to a carbon dioxide emission savings of over 13,000 tonnes.
  • If all final-mile deliveries and rides in India were shoonya, India would be well on its way to improving air quality, reducing public health costs, enhancing energy security, and achieving its climate targets.
  • The electrification of the ride-hailing and delivery sector in India could mitigate close to 54 MT of CO2 emissions, 16,800 tonnes of PM emissions, and 537,000 tonnes of NOx pollution, saving roughly 5.7 lakh crore in expenditures over a year.
  • Thus, Shoonya can lead to dramatic emission reductions in the transport sector, supporting India’s five-point agenda (Panchamrit), announced at COP 26, to reduce carbon emissions and secure its 2070 climate goals.

Inspire awards-Manak

Paper 2 –  Education  
Why Should You Know?
The 9th National Level Exhibition and Project Competition (NLEPC) for INSPIRE Awards MANAK was inaugurated on 14 September 2022 at ITPO, New Delhi.
In details –
  • The 9th National Level Exhibition and Project Competition (NLEPC) of INSPIRE Awards – MANAK (Million Minds Augmenting National Aspirations and Knowledge) was inaugurated at ITPO, Delhi, where the exhibits of 556 students from schools across the country were displayed.
  • Dr. Akhilesh Gupta, Senior Advisor, Department of Science and Technology (DST), who inaugurated the exhibition, conducted a walkthrough of the exhibition and interacted with the students from all parts of the country who are exhibiting their innovations. The students explained their innovations and communicated their inherent merit to all visitors and jury members.
  • The innovations reflected a realization of national priorities like technologies for the differently abled, for cleanliness and sanitation, as well as local and day to day necessities like picking fruits and cutting onions without hurting the eyes. Few of them were digital technology-related innovations that could contribute the digital economy.
  • The exhibition is one of its kind because of the diversity of innovations and geographical balance it represents, It is being organized for two days i e.14-15 September 2022 and is now open for the public to visit.
  • The NLEPC is an important milestone under the annual INSPIRE Awards – MANAK (Million Minds Augmenting National Aspiration and Knowledge), a flagship scheme jointly implemented by the Department of Science and Technology (DST), Government of India, and the National Innovation Foundation (NIF) – India, an autonomous body of the DST.
  • During the year 2020-21, a total of 6.53 Lakh ideas and innovations were received from all States and UT’s of the country. The students who successfully make their way into the top 60 from this NLEPC will be conferred with an award by Dr. Jitendra Singh, Hon’ble Union Minister of State (Independent Charge), Ministry of Science and Technology & Earth Sciences, on 16th September 2022, at Vigyan Bhawan, New Delhi.
About Inspire Awards-Manak
  • Innovation in Science Pursuit for Inspired Research’ (INSPIRE) scheme is one of the flagship programmes of Department of Science & Technology (DST), Government of India.
  • The INSPIRE Awards – MANAK (Million Minds Augmenting National Aspirations and Knowledge), being executed by DST with National Innovation Foundation – India (NIF), an autonomous body of DST, aims to motivate in the age group of 10-15 years and students in studying in classes 6 to 10.
  • The objective of the scheme is to target one million original ideas/innovations rooted in science and societal applications to foster a culture of creativity and innovative thinking among school children.
  • Under this scheme, schools can nominate 5 best original ideas/innovations of students through this website.

Engineer’s Day

Paper 2 – Education
Why Should You Know?
Engineer’s Day is celebrated every year on September 15 in India.
In details
  • Every year on September 15, the birth anniversary of renowned engineer Mokshagundam Visvesvaraya is celebrated as Engineer’s Day in India.
  • On this special day, India’s great engineer and Bharat Ratna Mokshagundam Visvesvaraya was born.
  • M. Visvesvaraya was one of the great engineers of India, who contributed to further modernization of India.
  • It is noteworthy that the Government of India had declared the birthday of M. Visvesvaraya as  Engineer’s Day in the year 1968. Since then, Engineers’ Day is celebrated every year on September 15.
About M. Visvesvaraya
  • Sir Visvesvaraya’s full name was Sir Mokshagundam Visvesvaraya. He was born on 15 September 1860 in Chikkaballapur taluk of Kolar district of Mysore (Karnataka) to a Telugu family.
  • Visvesvaraya’s father was a Sanskrit expert. He was 12 years old when his father passed away.
  • After completing his early studies in Chikkaballapur, he moved to Bangalore from where he obtained a BA degree in 1881. After this, he went to Pune where he studied in the College of Engineering.
  • Under the direction of Dr. Mokshagundam Visvesvaraya, many dams were built in the country, including Krishnaraja Sagar in Mysore, Khadakwasla Reservoir Dam in Pune and Tigra Dam in Gwalior.
  • Apart from this, the credit for the design of Hyderabad city is to Dr. Visvesvaraya. He had developed a flood protection system. A special plan was made to protect Visakhapatnam port from sea erosion.
  • M. Visvesvaraya is also called the father of modern Mysore State. Along with the Government of Mysore, he established several factories and educational institutions, including Mysore Soap Factory, Mysore Iron and Steel Factory, State Bank of Mysore, Mysore Chambers of Commerce and Visvesvaraya College of Engineering. 
  • He  was awarded the Bharat Ratna, India’s highest honour, in 1955. Along with this, King George V also honored him with the honor of Knight Commander of the British Indian Empire for his contribution to public life.

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