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06-07-08 March 2024 Daily Current Affairs

1. MethaneSAT

Recently, MethaneSAT was launched aboard a SpaceX Falcon9 rocket from California, USA.

  • Aim – To track and measure methane emissions at a global scale.

  • To identify how much methane is coming from where, who’s responsible, and are those emissions going up or down over time.

  • Promoting entityEnvironmental Defense Fund (EDF), a US-based non-profit environmental advocacy group.

  • Developing partners – Harvard University, the Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory, and the New Zealand Space Agency.

  • Mission partnerGoogle

While MethaneSAT is not the 1st spacecraft to identify and quantify methane emissions, it will provide more details and have a much wider field of view than any of its predecessors.
  • Features – It is a washing-machine-sized satellite that will orbit the Earth 15 times a day, monitoring the oil and gas sector.


Methane Gas

  • It is an invisible but strong greenhouse gas.

  • Source – Fossil fuel operations account for about 40% of all human-caused methane emissions.

  • Warms earth – It is the 2nd largest contributor to global warming after CO2.

  • According to the UNEP, over a period of 20 years, methane is 80 times more potent at warming than carbon dioxide.

  • Forms ground-level ozone – A colourless and highly irritating gas that forms just above the Earth’s surface whose exposure could be contributing to 1 million premature deaths every year.

  • MeasuresGlobal Methane Pledge was signed by more than 150 countries in 2021, to cut their collective methane emissions by at least 30% from 2020 levels by 2030. India is not a part of the Global Methane Pledge.


2. Women, Business and the Law Report 2024

The 10th edition of the women, business and the law report was published recently.

  • An annual studies measuring the laws that affect women’s economic opportunity.

  • Published byWorld bank

  • Coverage190 economies.

  • For the 1st time – It analysed the impact of childcare & safety policies on women’s participation in the labour market.

  • It presents a new approach to measure the implementation gap between laws (de jure) and how they function in practice (de facto).

  • 10 indicators – Safety, Mobility, Workplace, Pay, Marriage, Parenthood, Childcare, Entrepreneurship, Assets, and Pension.


Key Findings of the Report

  • Workplace – No country in the world affords women the same opportunities as men in the workforce.

  • Global gender gap – It was far wider than previously thought and closing this could raise global GDP by more than 20%.

  • Pay – Globally, women earned just 77 cents of each dollar earned by a man.

  • Pension – In 81 countries, a woman’s pension benefits do not account for periods of work absences related to childcare.

  • Parenthood – Less than 50% the countries had financial support or tax relief for parents of young children.

  • Safety – 151 countries had laws against sexual harassment in the workplace but only 40 countries had laws that covered abuse in public areas or on public transport.

  • Childcare – Addressing the childcare gap would immediately lead to a 1% increase in women’s participation in the labour force.


3. Lac bangles

The lac bangles known for their unique craftsmanship and historical significance have received Geographical Indication (GI) Tag.

Geographical Indication (GI) tag is a form of certification that recognises unique products based on their origin which can be natural or man-made. India has enacted Geographical Indications of Goods (Registration & Protection) Act, 1999 for this purpose.
  • Lac Bangles – A traditional form of jewellery made from natural resin and adorned with colourful stones and beads.

  • Location – Hyderabad.

  • Type – Handicrafts.

Lac Bangles is the 2nd GI tag for a Hyderabad product after Haleem. It is the 17th product from Telangana to receive the recognition.


  • Making – It is crafted from lacquer derived from resin, undergo a meticulous process like being melted in furnaces before being embellished with crystals, beads or mirrors.


  • Significance – It will serve as a catalyst to uphold uncompromising quality standards and foster innovation in design among the 6,000-plus artisan families.


4. Narasapur Crochet Lace Gets a New Lease of Life with GI Tag

  • Intricate lacework: Made with thin threads and delicate crochet needles.

  • Rich history: Originated in 1844 and practiced by generations of women.

  • Geographical specificity: GI tag ensures the lace comes from specific regions in Andhra Pradesh's Godavari area.

  • Women-driven craft: Provides livelihood for over 15,000 women artisans.

  • Facing challenges: Competition from machine-made lace and declining demand.

Famed Andhra Craft Receives Recognition

The famed Narasapur crochet lace craft of Andhra Pradesh, India has been awarded a Geographical Indications (GI) tag. This tag recognizes the unique quality and origin of the lace, limited to specific regions in the Godavari area.

A Dying Craft Finds Hope

The craft, practiced by about 15,000 women, was facing decline due to competition from machine-made lace and lack of demand during the pandemic.

GI Tag: A Beacon for Revival

Supporters of the GI tag hope it will revive interest and foreign trade in the intricate handmade lace. The tag signifies the efforts to preserve this traditional art form and empower the women artisans who create it.


5.Majuli’s Mukha Shilpa & Manuscript Paintings

Majuli in Assam gets the prestigious Geographical Indication (GI) tag for its mask-making and manuscript painting.

Majuli in Assam is the largest river island in the world.
  • A GI tagIt is conferred upon products originating from a specific geographical region, signifying unique characteristics and qualities.

  • Majuli’s Mukha Shilpa – They are traditional handmade masks.

  • Origin – They have been made in Assam's sattras, or monasteries, since the 16th century.

  • They depict characters in bhaonas with devotional messages under the neo-Vaishnavite tradition.

  • Themes – Gods, goddesses, demons, animals and birds.

  • Types

  • Mukha bhaona face mask – It covers the face.

  • Lotokoi hanging mask – Bigger in size extends to the chest.

  • Cho Mukha huge mask – It is a head and body mask.


6. Sangam: Digital Twin initiative

  • Aim – To revolutionize infrastructure planning and management.

  • The initiative was launched by the Department of Telecommunications (DoT).

  • It welcomes Expressions of Interest (EoI) from industry leaders, startups, MSMEs, academia, innovators, and forward-thinkers.

  • Digital Twin technology offers a solution by creating virtual replicas of physical assets, enabling real-time monitoring, simulation, and analysis and feedback loops to achieve optimal outcomes.

7. India's 1st underwater metro

Prime Minister will inaugurate India's 1st under-river metro tunnel in Kolkata.

  • The metro tunnel has been built under Kolkata's Hooghly River that will connect Howrah Maidan to Esplanade.

  • With this, Kolkata Metro joins elite club of London, Moscow, Munich metros.

  • The Howrah metro station is also the deepest in India.


8. INS Jatayu

The existing Naval Detachment Minicoy was upgraded to a naval base and commissioned as INS Jatayu.

  • INS Jatayu Naval Base – It will have additional infrastructure such as an airfield, housing, and personnel.

  • It will effectively be the country’s 2nd naval base in Lakshadweep.

Indian Navy’s 1st base on Minicoy is INS Dweeprakshak in Kavaratti, was commissioned in 2012. India has had a naval detachment in Minicoy since the 1980s.
  • Objective – To incrementally augment security infrastructure at the strategic Lakshadweep Islands.

  • Significance – Facilitate anti-piracy and anti-narcotics operations in the western Arabian Sea.

  • Augment India’s capability as the 1st responder in the region.

  • Counter the growing Chinese influence in the Indian Ocean Region.

Recently, India and Mauritius jointly inaugurated an airstrip and a jetty that India has built on the Mauritian island of Agaléga off the coast of Africa in the western Indian Ocean.
  • Challenges – The fragile ecology of the island may pose challenges for the construction of a jetty (an extension from land out into water).

The Lakshadweep Islands & its Importance

  • Name – Lakshadweep means ‘a hundred thousand islands’ in Sanskrit and Malayalam.

  • An archipelago – It consists of 36 islands located between 220 km and 440 km from Kochi.

  • The islands, only 11 of which are inhabited, have a total area of only 32 sq km.

  • Chain of coralline islands in the Indian Ocean – It includes Lakshadweep along with Maldives to the south, and the Chagos archipelago farther beyond, to the south of the equator.

  • Significance – Given their location in the Indian Ocean, the Lakshadweep are of huge strategic importance to India.

  • Minicoy - It is the southernmost atoll of the Lakshadweep archipelago.

  • It straddles vital Sea Lines of Communications (SLOCs), the world’s main maritime highways including the 8 Degree Channel (between Minicoy and Maldives) and the 9 Degree Channel (between Minicoy and the main cluster of Lakshadweep islands).

  • Concerns – These Islands are also vulnerable to marine pollution.

9. Brick Kilns in Alwar Go Green

Stricter Regulations Lead to Cleaner Technology Adoption

Brick kilns in Alwar, Rajasthan have undergone a significant transformation towards clean energy since February 2022. This shift follows stricter regulations implemented by the Union Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change (MoEF&CC) and the Commission for Air Quality Management (CAQM).

Key Regulations

  • Emission Standards: New standards were set for particulate matter emissions.

  • Technology Shift: All new kilns must use zig-zag technology, vertical shaft technology, or piped natural gas. Existing kilns were given a deadline to convert to these cleaner technologies.

  • Fuel Restrictions: The use of pet coke, tires, plastic, and hazardous waste as fuel was banned. Brick kilns are now required to use approved fuels like cleaner coal, firewood, agricultural residues, or piped natural gas.

Transition and Challenges

Around 90% of brick kilns in Alwar have adopted zig-zag technology, and nearly all have switched to biomass fuel. While this change is positive for the environment, initial challenges were faced due to unfamiliar technology for workers.

Looking Ahead

The brick kiln sector in Alwar is seen as a benchmark for other industries adopting cleaner technologies. Further improvements are being explored, such as using briquettes or pellets instead of loose biomass for even lower emissions.

This shift towards clean technology and fuel is expected to significantly improve air quality in the region.


10. Sewage Fungus: A Growing Threat to UK Rivers

The Problem

  • Sewage pollution is harming UK waterways, leading to outbreaks of harmful sewage fungus.

  • This fungus suffocates aquatic life and poses health risks to humans.

  • Traditional detection methods are limited, making it difficult to track the spread.

What is Sewage Fungus?

  • It's not actually a fungus, but a mix of bacteria and microorganisms.

  • Thrives in nutrient-rich environments polluted by sewage effluent.

  • Commonly found in rivers with poor water quality or inadequate sewage treatment.

Impacts

  • Reduces oxygen levels in water, harming fish and other aquatic life.

  • Can cause human sickness if contaminated water is used for recreation.

  • Interacts with other pollutants, potentially worsening its effects.

Solutions

  • Implement advanced detection methods for early identification and intervention.

  • Report sewage fungus outbreaks to relevant environmental agencies.

  • Address the root cause: sewage pollution through better treatment infrastructure.

Taking Action

By working together, water companies, regulators, and the public can protect our rivers from sewage fungus and ensure healthy freshwater ecosystems.


11.CSPACE

‘CSpac55e’ platform

Chief Minister of Kerala will launch the ‘CSpace’ platform at the Kairali theatre in Thiruvananthapuram, Kerala.

  • It is an over-the-top (OTT) platform of kerala government implemented by Kerala State Film Development Corporation (KSFDC).

  • It will be the first-of-its-kind initiative by a State government.

  • The platform, aimed at ensuring space as well as revenue share for low-budget, independent films.

  • It will not have a subscription fee, but will work on a pay-per-view model.


12. India records 1,036 species for backyard bird count — third highest globally


  • Global Recognition for India

  • India secures second-highest submissions globally in the Global Great Backyard Bird Count (GBBC) 2024.

  • Documents an impressive 1,036 bird species, ranking third globally.

  • Enthusiastic Participation

  • Birding enthusiasts contribute over 61,000 checklists during the four-day event (February 16-19, 2024).

  • India celebrates its 12th consecutive year of active engagement in the global citizen science initiative.

  • Global Comparisons

  • United States leads with 172,025 checklists, India follows closely in the second spot.

  • Canada secures the third-highest number of checklists at 25,420.

  • Colombia (1,363) and Ecuador (1,130) lead in species submissions.

  • Regional Breakdown

  • All states and Union territories in India participate for the first time.

  • Kerala tops with 14,023 checklists, followed by Tamil Nadu (13,661) and Maharashtra (5,725).

  • West Bengal reports the highest number of species (538), followed by Uttarakhand (426) and Assam (420).

  • Notable Species Spotted

  • Indian birders showcase expertise in spotting restricted-range species.

  • Notable species include Andaman Serpent-Eagle, Nilgiri Laughingthrush, White-headed Starling, Forest Owlet, among others.

  • Conclusion

  • India's active participation and diverse bird species documentation in GBBC 2024 demonstrate commitment to bird conservation and citizen science.

  • The event provides a platform for enthusiasts to contribute valuable data and celebrate India's rich avian biodiversity.



13. Devil Fish

Gray Whale (Eschrichtius robustus)

Grey Whale, that vanished from the Atlantic Ocean, spotted again after more than 200 years.

  • Nickname - “Devil fish”.

  • Gray whales were found mainly in shallow coastal waters in the North Pacific Ocean has recently been seen in New England region.

  • It can be easily distinguished from other whale species as it usually lacks a dorsal fin, has mottled grey and white skin and a dorsal hump followed by pronounced ridges.

  • Gray whales make one of the longest annual migrations of any mammal.


  • Conservation Status

  • IUCN- Least Concern.

  • CITES- APPENDIX I.

The Pacific and Atlantic Oceans are connected through the Strait of Magellan, the Drake Passage, Panama Canal and the fabled Northwest Passage.


14. Exercise Samudra Laksaman

Exercise Samudra Laksamana

The 3rd edition of Exercise Samudra Laksamana is underway recently off Visakhapatnam.

  • It is a bilateral maritime exercise between the India and Malaysia.

  • The exercise aims to strengthen bonds and enhance interoperability between the Indian and Royal Malaysian Navy.

15. State Specific Disaster

Kerala declares man-animal conflict a state-specific disaster, becoming the 1st state in the country to do so.

Human – Animal Conflict

  • Definition – According to IUCN Species Specific Commission, it is defined as ‘struggles that emerge when the presence of wildlife poses an actual or perceived, direct and recurring threat to human interests, leading to disagreements between groups of people and negative impacts on people and/or wildlife’.

  • Managing authority in IndiaForest Department, as per the Wild Life Protection Act 1972 unless it is declared as State specific disaster.

  • The chief wildlife warden of the state is the only authority to take a call on a wild animal wreaking havoc in human settlement.

  • State specific Disaster – They are ‘disasters’ within the local context in the State and which are not included in the notified list of disasters of the Ministry of Home Affairs.

  • Announced by – State Government.

  • Funding mechanismState Disaster Response Fund (SDRF).

  • A State Government may use up to 10% of the funds available under the SDRF for providing immediate relief to the victims

  • Responsible authorityState disaster management authority (SDMA) as per the Disaster Management Act 2005.

  • At the state level – The Chief Minister is the ex officio chairman of the SDMA.

  •  In the districts – The district disaster management authority (DDMA) is headed by the district collector.

  • Powers – SDMA can take actions overriding other norms, including those under the Wildlife Protection Act.

  • Section 71 of the DM ActNo court (except the Supreme Court or a High Court) shall have jurisdiction to entertain any suit or proceeding in respect of anything done by relevant authorities in pursuance of any power conferred by this Act.

  • Section 72 of the Act – The provisions of this Act will have an overriding effect on any other law during the specific period.

  • Coverage – It includes natural disasters like Cyclone, drought, earthquake, flood among others and also human-animal conflicts like snakebite.

State specific Disasters

Declared State

Snakebite

Odisha

Lightning

Odisha, Kerala & Assam

Coastal Erosion

Kerala

Soil Piping

Strong Wind

Heat waves, Sunburn and Sunstroke


16. UNNATI – 2024

The Union Cabinet have approved the new industrial development scheme, Uttar Poorva Transformative Industrialization Scheme, 2024 (UNNATI – 2024).

  • It is Central Sector Scheme.

  • Objectives – To develop industries that will create productive economic activity in the manufacturing and service sectors.

  • To generate gainful employment, which will lead to the area's overall socio-economic development.

  • Focus areasStates of North East Region.

  • Financial OutlayRs.10, 037 crore.

  • Part A – Incentives to the eligible units (Rs. 9737 crores), 60% to 8 NE states and 40% on First-In-First-Out (FIFO) basis.

  • Part B – For implementation and institutional arrangements for the scheme (Rs. 300 Crore).

  • Nodal Agency – Department for Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade, Ministry of Commerce and Industry

  • Targets – Direct employment opportunities of about 83,000 and a significant number of indirect employment.

  • Scheme period10 years from the date of notification and additional 8 years for committed liabilities.

  • Eligibility – All new Industrial units and Expanding units for the respective incentives.

  • Districts are categorized in 2 zones

  • Zone A (Industrially Advanced Districts)

  • Zone B (Industrially Backward Districts)

 Incentives under UNNATI-2024

Capital Investment Incentive

  • For both new & expanding units.

  • For both GST and non-GST units

Central Capital Interest Subvention

  • For both new & expanding units.

  • For both GST and non-GST units

Manufacturing & Services linked incentive (MSLI)

  • For New Units only

  • For units linked to Net Payment of GST

  • Maximum Eligible benefits to one unit from all components of the scheme is Rs. 250 Cr.


17. Geological Time Scale

The proposal to declare the start of the Anthropocene, a newly created epoch of the geological time scale was rejected.

  • It is a fundamental scale for expressing our Earth’s 4.6-billion-year history.

  • Named & classified by – The International Commission on Stratigraphy (ICS) of International Union of Geological Sciences.

  • International Chronostratigraphic Chart are the basis for the units (periods, epochs and age) of the geological time scale.

The International Union of Geological Sciences (IUGS), founded in 1961, with 121 national members, representing over a million geoscientists, is one of the World’s largest scientific organizations.
  • Criteria’s used – It uses rigorous criteria like Earth’s rock layers, or strata, and the fossils found within them to decide when each chapter started and which characteristics defined it.

  • 5 broad categories – Eons, eras, periods, epochs, and ages (Larger to smaller).

  • Eon – The broadest category of geological time.

  • Ages – The smallest category.

  • Each of these categories is further divided into sub-categories.

  • Triassic – It was the dawn of the dinosaurs.

  • Paleogene – It saw the rise of mammals.

  • Pleistocene – It included the last ice ages.

  • The present geological time – Phanerozoic eon, Cenozoic era, Quaternary period, Holocene epoch and the Meghalayan age.

  • Holocene began 11,700 years ago with the most recent retreat of the great glaciers.


Geological Time Scale

  • Anthropocene – Human civilizations are leaving unmistakable remnants in the mineral record, particularly since the mid-20th century.

  • Radionuclides from nuclear tests.

  • Plastics and industrial ash.

  • Concrete and metal pollutants.

  • Rapid greenhouse warming. Sharply increased species extinctions.


18. Pritzker Architecture Prize


Pritzker Architecture Prize

Japanese architect Riken Yamamoto was recently declared as the winner of the 2024 Pritzker Architecture Prize.

  • It is the highest international award in the field of Architecture and referred as the “Architecture Nobel”.

  • It has been awarded every year since its founding in 1979.

  • Instituted by - Jay A Pritzker, the late founder of the Hyatt Hotels chain, and his wife Cindy.

Yamamoto is the 9th laureate from Japan to get this prize in 2024 and Japan holds the highest number of Pritzker Architecture Prize. The only Indian laureate is the late Balkrishna Doshi (2018).

19. Sweden in NATO

  • Sweden formally joined NATO as the 32nd member recently.


  • The North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) is a trans-atlantic military and political alliance of its member countries.

  • NATO was created in 1949 by the United States, Canada & other Western European nations to provide collective security against the Soviet Union.

  • NATO's fundamental goal is to safeguard the freedom and security of its members.

Finland became the 31st member of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO).

sweden nato member

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