Daily Current Affairs
Central Institute of Higher Tibetan Studies (CIHTS)
Prime Minister of India recently honoured the Central Institute of Higher Tibetan Studies (CIHTS) as part of celebrations to mark Buddha Purnima. The PM also highlighted ₹360 crore allocation made for the development of the Buddhist circuit.
- CIHTS is a centrally funded institute that was started in 1967 following a discussion between Dalai Lama and Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru in the early 1960s.
- It was started with a view to educating the young Tibetan Diaspora and those from the Himalayan border regions of India, who have religion, culture and language in common with Tibet.
- Originally the Central Institute of Higher Tibetan Studies (CIHTS), began to function as a constituent wing of the Sampurnananda Sanskrit University, and eventually emerged as an autonomous body in 1977 under the Ministry of Culture.
- It is located at Sarnath, Varanasi.
Gujarat to offer PNG subsidy
Gujarat is planning to launch the new PNG/LPG (liquefied petroleum gas) Sahay Yojana—an extension to the Ujjwala Yojana.
- The scheme for select urban areas will supplement Ujjwala for BPL-AAY households not covered under Ujjwala to help supply households with clean fuel.
- As per the scheme, the government will pay Rs1,600 as one-time subsidy per connection and Rs1,725 as loan to customers opting for a new PNG connection. As a result, a beneficiary will have to pay only Rs118 to get a new connection and a refundable security deposit of Rs50 per month for a period of 100 months.
- The pipeline infrastructure and maintenance charges will be borne by city gas distribution companies.
About the Pradhan Mantri Ujjwala Yojana:
Pradhan Mantri Ujjwala Yojana aims to provide LPG (liquefied petroleum gas) connections to poor households.
- Under the scheme, an adult woman member of a below poverty line family identified through the Socio-Economic Caste Census (SECC) is given a deposit-free LPG connection with financial assistance of Rs 1,600 per connection by the Centre.
- Eligible households will be identified in consultation with state governments and Union territories.
- The scheme is being implemented by the Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas.
What makes LPG adoption necessary?
About 75 crore Indians, especially women and girls, are exposed to severe household air pollution (HAP) from the use of solid fuels such as biomass, dung cakes and coal for cooking. A report from the Ministry of Health & Family Welfare places HAP as the second leading risk factor contributing to India’s disease burden.
According to the World Health Organization, solid fuel use is responsible for about 13% of all mortality and morbidity in India (measured as Disability-Adjusted Life Years), and causes about 40% of all pulmonary disorders, nearly 30% of cataract incidences, and over 20% each of ischemic heart disease, lung cancer and lower respiratory infection.
‘Gobar Dhan’ scheme
Ministry of Drinking Water and Sanitation has launched the ‘Gobar Dhan’ scheme for Nation. The government is also planning to create an online platform for trading cow dung and agricultural waste under the scheme.
What is the GOBAR-Dhan Yojana?
The Galvanizing Organic Bio-Agro Resources Dhan (GOBAR-DHAN) scheme was first announced by Finance Minister Arun Jaitley during his budget speech on February 1. The scheme would focus on managing and converting cattle dung and solid waste in farms to compost, biogas and bio-CNG. It will help in keeping the village clean while increasing the income of farmers and cattle herders.
Benefits of the scheme:
- This is hugely helpful for the country as India is home to the highest cattle population in the world, close to 300 million in number, with a daily output of 3 million tonnes of dung.
- The Scheme will encourage the farmers to consider dung and other waste not just as a waste but as a source of income.
- It will provide many benefits to the rural people. It will be easier to keep the village clean and sanitized, livestock health will improve and farm yields will increase.
- Biogas generation will increase self-reliance in energy utilized for cooking and lighting.
- Farmers and cattle herders will be helped in augmenting their income. There will be novel opportunities for newer jobs linked to waste collection, transportation, biogas sales etc.
- The scheme also provides a stable fuel supply in the market for oil companies and accessible credit in the market through government schemes and banks for entrepreneurs.
New Shepard rocket and space capsule
Blue Origin, the US aerospace company owned by Amazon founder Jeff Bezos, has launched its suborbital New Shepard rocket and space capsule. The mission marked the company’s first test flight of the year and second flight of the New Shepard 2.0 spacecraft.
About New Shepard system:
- The New Shepard system is a fully reusable vertical takeoff, vertical landing (VTVL) space vehicle. The system consists of a pressurized capsule atop a booster.
- The name New Shepard makes reference to the first American astronaut in space, Alan Shepard, one of the original NASA Mercury Seven astronauts.
- New Shepard 2.0 space capsule is designed to fly commercial payloads and up to 6 passengers on suborbital space flights for science and tourism. The capsule features giant windows to give future passengers a stunning view of their launch into space
NASA is set to launch a pair of new spacecraft that will observe our planet’s ever-changing water cycle, ice sheets and crust. The Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment Follow-On (GRACE-FO) mission, a partnership between NASA and the German Research Centre for Geosciences (GFZ), will take over where the first GRACE mission left off when it completed its 15-year mission in 2017.
About GRACE- FO mission:
- The Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment Follow-on (GRACE-FO) mission is a partnership between NASA and the German Research Centre for Geosciences (GFZ).
- GRACE-FO is a successor to the original GRACE mission, which began orbiting Earth on March 17, 2002. The GRACE missions measure variations in gravity over Earth’s surface, producing a new map of the gravity field every 30 days.
- GRACE-FO will carry on the extremely successful work of its predecessor while testing a new technology designed to dramatically improve the already remarkable precision of its measurement system.
- GRACE-FO will continue the work of tracking Earth’s water movement to monitor changes in underground water storage, the amount of water in large lakes and rivers, soil moisture, ice sheets and glaciers, and sea level caused by the addition of water to the ocean. These discoveries provide a unique view of Earth’s climate and have far-reaching benefits to society and the world’s population.
15th Pravasi Bharatiya Divas
15th Pravasi Bharatiya Divas will be held in the holy city of Varanasi in January. It will be organised by the Ministry of External Affairs in association with the Uttar Pradesh government.
Theme: “Role of Indian Diaspora in building a New India”.
About Pravasi Bharatiya Divas:
- Pravasi Bharatiya Divas (PBD) is celebrated every year on January 9 to mark the contribution of overseas Indian community in the development of India. January 9 was chosen as the day to celebrate this occasion since it was on this day in 1915 that Mahatma Gandhi, the greatest Pravasi, returned to India from South Africa, led India’s freedom struggle and changed the lives of Indians forever.
- These conventions provide a platform to the overseas Indian community to engage with the government and Indian communities in India for mutually beneficial activities. These conventions are also very useful in networking among the overseas Indian community residing in various parts of the world and enable them to share their experiences in various fields.
- Banks have restricted their lending to micro-finance institutions (MFIs), especially mid-size and small-size ones.
- In general, about 60 per cent of funding for MFIs come from banks.
- The rest was met through instruments such as securitisation and debentures, among others.
- Even securitization has been affected as the market for which had dried after demonetization.
- The goal of micro finance is to give impoverished people an opportunity to become self-sufficient and MFIs play a major role in it.
- Micro-finance, also called micro credit, is a type of banking service that is provided to unemployed or low-income individuals or groups who otherwise have no other access to financial services.
World s first floating nuclear plant
- Akademik Lomonosov is the world’s first “floating” nuclear power plant (FNPP).
- It has headed out on its first sea voyage from the St.Peterburg, Baltic shipyard.
- At Murmansk, Russia, its reactors will be loaded with nuclear fuel.
- Russian state-run atomic energy corporation Rosatom is responsible for FNPP.
- The Lomonosov is expected to be put into service in early 2019
LED street lights and cancer risk
- The blue light emitted by street lights including LEDs, and commercial outdoor lighting such as advertising, may significantly increase the risk of breast and prostate cancer.
- The people living in large cities with heavy exposure to blue lights at night had double the risk of prostate cancer and 1.5 times higher risk of breast cancer.
- Older lighting schemes emit a glow within the ‘orange’ spectrum,
- New lighting creates a bright ‘blue’ light emission.
- It was found the bluer the light that people in big cities were exposed to, the higher the risk of cancer.
- The CGIAR Research Program on Climate Change, Agriculture and Food Security or CCAFS has promoted the Direct Rice method in India.
- CCAFS will address the increasing challenge of global warming and declining food security on agricultural practices, policies and measures.
- CCAFS is led by the International Center for Tropical Agriculture (CIAT).
- CCAFS brings together some of the world’s best researchers in agricultural science, climate science, environmental and social sciences to identify and address the most important interactions, synergies and trade-offs between climate change and agriculture.
- CGIAR (formerly the Consultative Group for International Agricultural Research) is a global partnership that unites organizations engaged in research for a food-secured future.
- Climate change could decrease overall crop yields by 30 per cent in South Asia by the mid-21st century.
Agreement to reduce emissions
- The Members of the International Maritime Organization (IMO) recently reached an agreement on halving greenhouse gas emissions from shipping by 2050.
- This holds significance because the CO2 emission from shipping industry is expected to rise dramatically by 2050 with progress in global trade.
- The sector contributes to about 3 % of total annual carbon dioxide emissions.
- Currently, ships rely heavily on carbon-rich fuels such as heavy diesel.
- When heavy oils are used by ships it emits black carbon, carbon monoxide, carbon dioxide, nitrogen oxide and hydrocarbons.
- IMO is the United Nations specialized agency with responsibility for the safety and security of shipping and the prevention of marine pollution by ships.
Lake Victoria species under threat
- About 75 % of freshwater species endemic to East Africa’s Lake Victoria basin face the threat of extinction.
- It includes freshwater species like fish, mollusks, dragonflies, crabs and aquatic plants native to Africa’s largest lake.
- These freshwater species are important sources of food, medicine for the millions of people living in the area surrounding the lake.
- The lake stretches into Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda.
- Its catchment also touches Burundi and Rwanda and is known for its high-level of unique biodiversity.
Daily GK Update by Simran IAS Academy
Tag:Agreement to reduce emissions, CCAFS, Central Institute of Higher Tibetan Studies, CIHTS, first floating nuclear plant, Gobar Dhan Yojana, GRACE FO mission, International Maritime Organization, Lake Victoria, LED street lights, Microfinance Institutions, New Shepard rocket and space capsule, Pradhan Mantri Ujjwala Yojana, Pravasi Bharatiya Divas