Ojaank IAS Academy




16 August 2022 – Current Affairs

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“Al Najaf IV” Joint Military Exercise

Paper 2 – International Relations
Why Should You Know?
Recently The Indo Oman Joint Military Exercise Al Najaf IV concluded at Mahajan Field Firing Ranges.
In details –
  • On August 13, 2022 The Indo Oman Joint Military Exercise Al Najaf IV concluded at Mahajan Field Firing Ranges.
  • A solemn Closing Ceremony marked the culmination of the exercise.This platoon level 13 days exercise had commenced on 01 August 2022.
  • The aim of the exercise was to achieve inter-operability and to acquaint each other with operational procedures and combat drills in a Counter Terrorism environment under United Nations mandate.Both the armies were able to achieve the stated objectives.
  • The Indian contingent was from 18th Battalion of Mechanised Infantry Regiment and the Royal Army of Oman contingent was represented by Sultan of Oman Parachute Regiment.
  • The exercise was conducted in three phases. The first phase was orientation & familiarisation with weapon,equipment and tactical drills of each other by the participating contingents.
  • The second phase was combat conditioning,formulation of joint drills and putting them into practise.
  • The last phase was a 48 hours validation exercise of key drills and concepts learnt during the first two phases.
  • Both the contingents jointly took part in the validation exercise which included establishment of Mobile Vehicle Check Post, Cordon and Search Operations,Heliborne insertion,Room Intervention drills and effective employment of ICV in Counter Terrorism environment.
  • The exercise also included effective employment of indigenous Advance Light Helicopter ‘Dhruv’,drones and various new generation technologies
  • Overall, the exercise was a resounding success. The two armies shared valuable combat experience with respect to Counter Terrorist, Regional Security and Peace Keeping Operations in an international environment.
  • It was another significant milestone achieved in ensuring interoperability between the two armies, strengthening the cordial relations between the two countries and another step forward towards ensuring global security.
About Oman –
  • Oman, officially the Sultanate of Oman is an Arabian country located in southwestern Asia.
  • It is situated on the southeastern coast of the Arabian Peninsula, and spans the mouth of the Persian Gulf.
  • Oman shares land borders with Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, and Yemen, while sharing maritime borders with Iran and Pakistan.
  • The coast is formed by the Arabian Sea on the southeast, and the Gulf of Oman on the northeast.
  • Oman’s highest point is Jabal Akhdar which reaches 9,776 ft. (2,980 m)(marked on the map by a yellow triangle)
  • Central and southeast, a few scrubby hills and low mountains dot the central desert landscape and coastal areas. The country also has several islands some of which like the Masirah Island, Al Halaaniyaat Islands.
  • Central and southeast, a few scrubby hills and low mountains dot the central desert landscape and coastal areas.
  • As observed on the map, to the west, the pebbly, desert-like land slopes gently into the sands of the Rub’ Al Khali Desert.
  • There are no perennial rivers or lakes of note. The Gulf of Oman has the lowest point in the country at 0 m.
  • Muscat is the nation’s capital and largest city. The Madha and Musandam exclaves are surrounded by the United Arab Emirates on their land borders, with the Strait of Hormuz (which it shares with Iran) and the Gulf of Oman forming Musandam’s coastal boundaries.
  • The Omani rial is the currency of Oman.

New Ramsar Sites

Paper 3- Biodiversity
Why Should You Know?
Recently India added 11 more wetlands to the list of Ramsar Sites.
In details –
India adds 11 more wetlands to the list of Ramsar sites to make total 75 Ramsar sites covering an area of 13,26,677 ha in the country in the 75th year of Independence. 
The 11 new sites include:  Four (4) sites in Tamil Nadu, Three (3) in Odisha, Two (2) in Jammu & Kashmir and One (1) each in Madhya Pradesh and Maharashtra. Designation of these sites would help in conservation and management of wetlands and wise use of their resources. 
India is one of the Contracting Parties to Ramsar Convention, signed in Ramsar, Iran, in 1971. India signed it on 1st Feb 1982. During 1982 to 2013, a total of 26 sites were added to the list of Ramsar sites, however, during 2014 to 2022, the country has added 49 new wetlands to the list of Ramsar sites. 
During this year itself (2022) a total of 28 sites have been declared as Ramsar sites. Based on the date of designation mentioned on Ramsar Certificate, the number is 19 for this year (2022) and 14 for previous year (2021).
Tamil Nadu has maximum no. of Ramsar sites (14 nos), followed by UP which has 10 nos. of Ramsar sites. 
About New Ramsar sites –

Odisha –

  1. Tampara lake
  2. Hirakud Reservoir
  3. Ansupa Lake

Madhya Pradesh –

  1. Yashwant Sagar

Tamil Nadu –

  1. Chitrangudi Bird Sanctuary
  2. Suchindram Theroor Wetland Complex
  3. Vaduvur Bird Sanctuary
  4. Kanjirankulam Bird Sanctuary

Maharashtra –

  1. Thane Creek

Jammu and Kashmir –

  1. Hygam Wetland Conservation Reserve
  2. Shallbugh Wetland Conservation Reserve
What is Ramsar site?
A Ramsar site is a wetland site designated to be of international importance under the Ramsar Convention, also known as “The Convention on Wetlands”, an intergovernmental environmental treaty established in 1971 by UNESCO, which came into force in 1975.
It provides for national action and international cooperation regarding the conservation of wetlands, and wise sustainable use of their resources. Ramsar identifies wetlands of international importance, especially those providing waterfowl habitat.
Ramsar site criteria –
A wetland can be considered internationally important if any of the following nine criteria apply –
“It contains a representative, rare, or unique example of a natural or near-natural wetland type found within the appropriate biogeographic region.”
“It supports vulnerable, endangered, or critically endangered species or threatened ecological communities.”
“It supports populations of plant and/or animal species important for maintaining the biological diversity of a particular biogeographic region.”
“It supports plant and/or animal species at a critical stage in their life cycles, or provides refuge during adverse conditions.”
“It regularly supports 20,000 or more waterbirds.”
“It regularly supports 1% of the individuals in a population of one species or subspecies of waterbird.”

Saline Water Lantern

Paper 3 – Science & Technology
Why Should You Know?
Union Minister Dr Jitendra Singh unveils India’s first Saline Water Lantern which uses the sea water as the electrolyte between specially designed electrodes to power the LED lamps
In details –
·Union Minister of State (Independent Charge) Science & Technology; Minister of State (Independent Charge) Earth Sciences; MoS PMO, Personnel, Public Grievances, Pensions, Atomic Energy and Space, Dr Jitendra Singh has launched India’s first Saline Water Lantern which uses the sea water as the electrolyte between specially designed electrodes to power the LED lamps.
·Dr Jitendra Singh unveiled the first-of-its kind lantern named “Roshni” during a visit to SAGAR ANVESHIKA, a Coastal Research Vessel, operated and used by the National Institute of Ocean Technology (NIOT), Chennai for coastal research.
About “Roshni” –
  • The first-of-its-kind saline lantern would be able to bring ‘Ease of Living’ to the poor and needy, particularly the fishing community living along the 7,500 Kilometres long coastal line of India, which is home to 9 coastal states and 1,382 islands.
  • Notably, for India, with its three sides surrounded by the oceans and around 30 percent of the nation’s population living in coastal areas and coastal regions play a major economic factor. It supports fisheries and aquaculture, tourism, livelihoods, and blue trade.
  • Dr Jitendra Singh also mentioned that Saline Water Lantern will boost and supplement the centre’s ‘UJALA scheme’ which was launched in 2015 for distribution of LED bulbs across the country.
  • He said, Roshini Lamps along with Power Ministry’s schemes like Solar Study Lamps will drive a vibrant renewable energy programme aimed at achieving energy security, energy access and reducing the carbon footprints of the national economy.
A Technology to convert Seawater to Potablewater
  • Apart from launching Roshni, Union Minister Dr Jitendra Singh also reviewed the progress of NIOT developed Low Temperature Thermal Desalination (LTTD) technology for conversion of sea water to potable water, which has been successfully demonstrated in Lakshadweep islands.
  • He informed that three desalination plants based on the LTTD technology have been developed and demonstrated at Kavaratti, Agati and Minicoy Islands of Union Territory of Lakshadweep. The capacity of each of these LTTD plants is 1 Lakh litre of potable water per day.
  • Importantly, based on the success of these plants, Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) through Union Territory (UT) Lakshadweep has entrusted the work of establishing 6 more LTTD plants at Amini, Androth, Chetlet, Kadmat, Kalpeni and Kiltan with a capacity of 1.5 lakhs litres/day. The total cost of these LTTD plants in Lakshadweep islands is around Rs. 187.75 crore.
  • Further, the LTTD technology is found suitable for Lakshadweep islands where the required temperature difference of about 15⁰ C between sea surface water and deep-sea water is found in the vicinity of Lakshadweep coasts only as of now.
  • Notably, the cost of desalination plants depends on a number of factors inter alia which includes technology used and location of plant.

Parsi New Year Navroz

Paper 3 – Agriculture
Why Should You Know?
Parsi New Year Navroz is being celebrated on 16 August 2022, let’s know about it
In details –
  • The Parsi New Year is also known as Navroz or Nowroz and the word means a ‘new day’. While in various places the event is celebrated in March, in India, the Parsi community celebrates it in August. This time, the Parsi New Year falls on August 16, Tuesday.
  • It is basically a celebration of the love of nature. Offers a panoramic view of nature’s rise, swell, freshness, greenery and excitement.
  • With ancient traditions and rites, the festival of Navroz is celebrated not only in Iran but also in some neighboring countries.
  • Like most festivities, the Parsi New Year celebrations are marked by good food, wearing new clothes, having get-togethers with friends and family and giving your home a thorough cleaning and decorations.
  • Gifts are exchanged, food shared and families have a wonderful time with their relatives and friends.
  • In India, the states of Maharashtra and Gujarat have a sizeable Parsi population and the celebrations are typically seen here. Several traditional Parsi dishes whipped up today include Farcha, Berry Pulao, and Jardaloo Chicken.
  • Parisis see this festival as the great occasion to get together, eat and mingle. On this day, the Parsis visit the Agyaris or the fire temples to offer prayers. They feed the poor on this day, as the new year has to start on a good note.
History –
  • According to many scholars, the origin of the Parsi New Year lies between 3,500 and 3,000 BCE. During this period, Prophet Zarathustra established Zoroastrianism in what is present-day Iran.
  • For followers of Zoroastrian philosophy, this day represents the time when everything in the universe is renewed. Jamshed, a monarch of the ancient Sasanian empire, is credited with introducing the Parsi calendar. Jamshed-i-Nouroz is another name for the holiday.
Significance –
  • Parsi New Year is celebrated on the first day of the first month of Farvardin in the Zoroastrian calendar. Spring Equinox, which occurs annually on March 21, symbolises the beginning of the season.
  • The Parsis in India celebrate this day in July or August because they follow the Zoroastrian calendar for religious occasions. The holiday, which has its roots in Persia (now Iran, post-Islamic conquest), is celebrated with zest and vigour in India.
  • This festival emphasizes on the revival of man and the change in his heart as well as the consciousness and refinement in the clean soul of nature.
  • As such, every festival of India includes decorating the house, worshiping in temples and people congratulating each other. What makes this Parsi New Year special is that Navroz advocates equality. If seen on the surface of humanity, then all the traditions of Navroz are performed by women and men together. From preparing for the festival to celebrating the joys of the festival, both remain complementary to each other.

Global Employment Trends for Youth 2022 Report

Paper 3 – Economy
Why Should You Know?
Recently  International Labour Organization (ILO) launched Global Employment Trends for Youth 2022
In details –
  • This report has been released by the International Labor Organization (ILO) as part of a global call to action for “human-centred recovery from Covid-19 pandemic”.
  • According to this report, the number of unemployed youth population has come down from 75 million in 2021 to 73 million in 2022. However, this number is still 6 million more than the number before the Covid-19 pandemic.
  • According to the report “Global Employment Trends for Youth 2022”, the rare unemployment among youth in the age group of 15-24 has reached 15.6% worldwide. This is three times the unemployment rate among adults.
  • The unemployment rate in Africa is 12.7%, lower than the global average of 14.9%. This figure highlights that young people have withdrawn from the labor markets.
  • Schools were closed in India for 18 months. Of the 240 million school-going children, just 8% in rural areas and 23% in urban areas had access to online education.
  • As a result, 92% of children on average have lost a basic ability in language. 82% of children have lost at least one basic ability in math.
  • According to report Young women exhibited a much lower Employment-to-Population ratio (EPR), showing that young men are almost 1.5 times more likely than young women to be employed.
  • In 2022, 27.4 % of young women globally are projected to be in employment, compared to 40.3 % of young men.
About India –
  • In India, the report said surveys conducted by the Centre for Monitoring the Indian Economy show that the youth employment participation rate declined by 0.9 percentage points over the first nine months of 2021 relative to its value in 2020, while it increased by 2 percentage points for adults over the same time period. “The situation is particularly severe for very young people aged 15-20 years,” the report said.
  • The report appreciated the MGNREGA and said it has played an important role in providing paid employment, particularly for women, but also in carbon sequestration because of the Act’s focus on natural resources, such as land, water and trees, which provide adaptation benefits.
  • It added that India has a very low youth female labour market participation and Indian young women experienced larger relative employment losses than young men in 2021 and 2022. “In general, the high youth employment losses in India drive up the global average employment losses. Young Indian men account for 16% of young men in the global labour market, while the corresponding share for young Indian women is just 5%,” the report said.
About International Labour Organization (ILO) –
  • The International Labour Organization (ILO) is a United Nations agency whose mandate is to advance social and economic justice through setting international labour standards.
  • It is Founded in October 1919 under the League of Nations, it is the first and oldest specialised agency of the UN.
  • The ILO has 187 member states: 186 out of 193 UN member states plus the Cook Islands.
  • It is headquartered in Geneva, Switzerland.
  • The ILO’s labour standards are aimed at ensuring accessible, productive, and sustainable work worldwide in conditions of freedom, equity, security and dignity.
  • In 1969, the ILO received the Nobel Peace Prize for improving fraternity and peace among nations, pursuing decent work and justice for workers, and providing technical assistance to other developing nations.
Structure –
  • Within the UN system the organization has a unique tripartite structure: all standards, policies, and programmes require discussion and approval from the representatives of governments, employers, and workers.
  • This framework is maintained in the ILO’s three main bodies: The International Labour Conference, which meets annually to formulate international labour standards; the Governing Body, which serves as the executive council and decides the agency’s policy and budget; and the International Labour Office, the permanent secretariat that administers the organization and implements activities.

NISHTHA : A Training Programme

Paper 2 – Education
Why Should You Know?
The Central Government has launched ‘National Initiative for School Heads and Teachers Holistic Advancement (NISHTHA)’, a national mission to improve learning outcomes at the elementary level.
In details –
  • ‘Education is the most powerful weapon you can use to change yourself and the world.’ Working on these golden words of Nelson Mandela, India seems to be embarking on an ambitious journey to bring about an unprecedented educational transformation through a number of radical reformative steps.
  •  In its pursuit of bringing about parity in the availability of quality online contents for school education amid Covid-19 pandemic, the Centre launched DIKSHA platform.
  • The initiative provides quality e-contents and also QR-coded energized textbooks for all grades under one nation, one digital platform.
  • To make quality e-content available to all, 3,520 textbooks based ISL videos have been recorded for the all students of the country.
  • Out of these textbooks, 597 are already uploaded on DIKSHA. For the benefit of lakhs of students, a 10,000 word ISL dictionary has also been uploaded. Besides, 3,474 audio books’ chapters have been developed and uploaded on the platform.
  • The nation has to have a set of sharp, well-trained teaching staff with all modern wherewithal. Realising this very need, for secondary and senior secondary level teachers, NISHTHA 2.0 on the same DIKSHA platform was launched in 2021.
  • This teacher training programme covers around 10 lakh teachers and school heads across all states and UTs. Along with this, NCERT has also developed a package including 13 online courses with 12 generic modules and 56 subject specific modules for NISHTHA 2.0.
  • It is heartening that till date, 33 states and UTs have already initiated this programme in 10 languages.
  • The modules include Curriculum and Inclusive Education, ICT in Teaching, Learning and Assessment, Personal-Social Qualities for Holistic Development of Learners, Art lntegrated Learning, Understanding Secondary Stage Learners, Health and Well Being, School Leadership Development, Vocational Education, Gender Issues in Education, Initiatives in School Education, Toy Based Pedagogy and School Based Assessment. Ample amount of flexibilities are offered under these modules to states as they can contextualize these modules in Iine with their specific needs.
  • Similarly, for pre-primary to class 5th teachers and school heads, NISHTHA 3.0- Foundational Literacy and Numeracy (FLN) in online mode was also launched on DIKSHA platform in September 2021.
  • It covers nearly 25 lakh teachers and school heads across all states and UTs. A special package consisting of 12 online modules have also been developed by NCERT for training purpose.
  • It is again a moving experience that 33 states and UTs have initiated the programme in 11 languages so far and the same has been adopted by 5 autonomous organisation under MOE, MOD & MOTA.
  • NISHTHA 3.0 helps teachers design experiences for holistic development of each child and comprises of 12 modules like Introduction to FLN Mission, Shifting towards Competency Based Education, Understanding the Learner, transacting 3 months Play Based School Preparation Module for grade I children and balvatika, Foundational Language and Literacy, Foundational Numeracy, Learning Assessment, Involvement of Parents and Community, Integration of ICT in Teaching, Learning and Assessment, Multi lingual Education, Toy Based Pedagogy and School Leadership.
  • Several other epoch changing measures have also been, keeping in mind unique interests of children, their passions and needs. After all, it is the school education which lays the basic foundation to build a bright future of children who help build the nation.

Trans-Himalayan Network

Paper 2 – International Relatios
Why Should You Know?
Recently China, Nepal agreed to build trans-Himalayan network.
In details –
  • China and Nepal have recently given their consent for the construction of “Trans-Himalayan Multi-Dimensional Connectivity Network”. This was agreed after a meeting between the foreign ministers of both the countries.
  • Now China will fund the feasibility study of the Nepal Cross-Border Railway and send experts to Nepal to conduct the survey.
  • This project will connect Kairong in Tibet with Kathmandu. Earlier in 2018, the China Railway First Survey and Design Institute (CRFSDI) conducted a technical study of the proposed 121 km rail route between Keirong and Kathmandu.
What is trans-Himalayan network?
  • The Trans-Himalayan Multi-Dimensional Connectivity Network is also known as the Trans-Himalayan Network.
  • It is an economic corridor between Nepal and China. Which especially develops connectivity throughout Eurasia.
  • During his visit to Nepal in 2019, Chinese President Xi Jinping had signed an agreement with Nepal on this corridor.
  • Several transport infrastructure projects will also be included in this corridor. The major infrastructure project is the China-Nepal Railway, which is currently in the study stage.
China-Nepal Cooperation –
  • China has promised a grant-in-aid of Rs 15 billion to Nepal to invest in various projects this year. Nepal’s Foreign Minister Narayan Khadka held extensive talks with his Chinese counterpart Wang Yi to further strengthen bilateral ties, after which China announced assistance to Nepal.
  • The two foreign ministers discussed the overall aspects of Nepal-China relations. Both countries agreed to promote cooperation in various fields including trade, investment, health, tourism, poverty alleviation and agricultural management.
  • Both sides expressed satisfaction at the progress made in matters of bilateral cooperation since Wang’s official visit to Nepal in March this year.
  • Wang also announced 3 million RMB worth of disaster relief materials as requested by Nepal. China promised to provide corona vaccines and related medical aid to the Himalayan nation.

India and Japan partnership

Paper 3 – Environment
Why Should You Know?
The Indian Meteorological Department (IMD) has partnered with the Government of Japan and the United Nations Development Program on Climate Change (UNDP).
In details –
  • The Indian Meteorological Department (IMD) has partnered with the Government of Japan and the United Nations Development Program on Climate Change (UNDP). they has launched an initiative to accelerate climate action in 10 states and union territories in India.
  • This initiative will support Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) to achieve net-zero emissions. This initiative will also ensure climate-resilient development.
  • The initiative will be launched in collaboration with IMD in the Ministry of Earth Sciences and Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE).
  • Following its launch, India’s updated Nationally Determined Contribution (NDC) has been approved by the Cabinet, which will be sent to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change.
  • They will promote climate mitigation by placing clean energy infrastructure and low-emission technologies in critical sectors such as health, transportation, micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs), and agriculture.
  • The initiative will also reveal resilient climate planning at the ground level through climate information flow systems in 30 gram panchayats.
  • It aims to promote green jobs and green entrepreneurship in sectors such as renewable energy by providing skills and training to over 2000 people.
  • Japan has provided a climate grant of USD 5.16 million to UNDP India for this project.

IFFM Awards 2022

Paper 2 – Health
Why Should You Know?
Recently the Indian Film Festival of Melbourne (IFFM) Awards 2022 were announced.
In details –
  • The winners of the Indian Film Festival of Melbourne (IFFM) Awards 2022 have been announced. Held every year in Australia, this awards ceremony celebrates the Indian film industry by screening some of India’s most prominent and acclaimed films, TV shows and web series.
  • Bollywood superstar Ranveer Singh, who gave his career best performance in the role of Indian cricket team captain Kapil Dev in the film ’83’, has won the Best Actor of the Year award at the prestigious Indian Film Festival of Melbourne (IIFM).
  • Shefali Shah has been given the Best Actress Award in this festival.
  • Mohit Raina was given the Best Series Actor Award for the web series ‘Mumbai Diaries 26/11’, while the award for Best Series Actress went to Sakshi Tanwar, which she got for ‘My’.
  • Ranveer Singh’s film ’83’, directed by Kabir Khan, won the Best Film Award, while Prime Video’s web series ‘Mumbai Diaries 26/11’ won the Best Series award. Along with this, the award for Best Indie Film went to ‘Jaggi’.

New elephant reserve

Paper 3- Biodiversity
Why Should You Know?
Recently Centre Government notified India’s new elephant reserve in Tamil Nadu which is Agasthiyamalai elephant reserve.
In details –
  • Union Minister for Environment, Forest and Climate Change Bhupender Yadav, announced the notification of one more elephant reserve (ER) in the country in Tamil Nadu during a programme in the Periyar Wildlife Sanctury in Kerala August 12, 2022. 
  • The new reserve will be spread over an area of 1,197 square kilometres in Agasthiyamalai. This will be the 31st ER in the country after Singphan ER in Nagaland was notified in 2018.
  • The Indian elephant (Elephas maximus) is found in the central and southern Western Ghats, North East India, eastern India and northern India and in some parts of southern peninsular India.
  • It is included in Schedule I of the Indian Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972 and in Appendix I of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Flora and Fauna (CITES).
  • The Indian elephant is found in 16 states in the country and is showing an increasing trend across its distributional range. The population of the animals had become critically low in 1992.
  • That is when Project Elephant was launched to ensure the protection of the pachyderms and their environment.
  • According to the latest elephant census conducted in 2017, the population of elephants in India has reached up to about 27,312. However, the minister in his address said the population of elephants was near 30,000, with about 29,900 individuals.
  • According to the 2017 census, Karnataka had the highest number of elephants (6,049), followed by Assam (5,719) and Kerala (3,054).
About Agasthyamala Biosphere Reserve –
  • The Agasthyamala Biosphere Reserve is a biosphere reserve in India established in 2001, located in the southernmost end of the Western Ghats and includes 3,500.36 km2 (1,351.50 sq mi) of which 1828 km2 is in Kerala and 1672.36 km2 is in Tamil Nadu.
  • It encompasses the following wildlife sanctuaries: Shendurney Wildlife Sanctuary, Peppara Wildlife Sanctuary, Neyyar Wildlife Sanctuary, and Kalakkad Mundanthurai Tiger Reserve.
  • Agasthyamalai Biosphere Reserve became part of World Network of Biosphere Reserves in 2016
  • The reserve now covers parts of Tirunelveli and Kanyakumari Districts in Tamil Nadu and Thiruvananthapuram, Kollam and Pathanamthitta Districts in Kerala.

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