Current Affairs - Miscellaneous

India’s first Avalanche Monitoring Radar

The Indian Army and the Defence Geoinformatics and Research Establishment (DGRE) have jointly installed the Avalanche Monitoring Radar, first of its kind in India, at an altitude of 15,000 feet in north Sikkim.

  • Besides being used for detection of avalanches, this radar can also be employed to detect landslides.
  • This radar has the capability to detect avalanches within three seconds of their triggering and will assist in saving valuable life of troops and civilians as also vehicles in super high altitude areas.
  • The avalanche radar was made operational by Defence Research and Development Organisation’s wing DGRE, which is involved in forecasting and mitigation of avalanche hazards faced by Indian Army in the Himalayan region.

Working Principle/Features

  • The radar uses a series of short micro wave pulses which are scattered at the target and can detect an avalanche in less than three seconds.
  • The radar, which can permanently scan the targeted slope for avalanche release and track its path and its size in case it is triggered, can “see” through snow, fog as well as in the night, making it an all-weather solution and covers an area of two sq/km obviating the requirement to place additional instruments in dangerous avalanche prone areas.
  • The radar is also linked to an alarm system enabling automatic control and warning measures in case an avalanche is triggered. Images and videos of the event are automatically recorded for future analysis by the experts.

Cabinet approves addition of some Tribes to ST List

The Union Cabinet has approved the addition of some new tribes to the list of Scheduled Tribes, from Himachal Pradesh, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Uttar Pradesh and Chhattisgarh.

  • Himachal Pradesh: Hatti tribe -from the Trans-Giri area of Sirmour district.
  • Tamil Nadu: Narikoravan and Kurivikkaran hill tribes.
  • Chhattisgarh: Binjhia, who were listed as ST in Jharkhand and Odisha but not in Chhattisgarh. Also, the Cabinet approved synonyms for tribes like the Bharia (variations added include Bhumia and Bhuyian), Gadhwa (Gadwa), Dhanwar (Dhanawar, Dhanuwar), Nagesia (Nagasia, Kisan), and Pondh (Pond), among others.
  • Uttar Pradesh: Gond Community residing in 13 districts of Uttar Pradesh, under the ST list from the Scheduled Caste list. This includes the five subcategories of the Gond community (Dhuria, Nayak, Ojha, Pathari, and Rajgond).
  • Karnataka: The Cabinet approved ‘Betta-Kuruba’ as a synonym for the Kadu Kuruba tribe in Karnataka.

India’s first Electronic Bank Guarantee (e-BG)

HDFC Bank, India’s largest private sector bank, became the first bank in the country to issue an Electronic Bank Guarantee (e-BG) in partnership with National E-Governance Services Limited (NeSL).

  • e-BG has been developed in consultation with NeSL, CVC-CBI committee and IBA to simplify the process and eliminate the possibility of fraud and manipulation.
  • e-BG will be issued on the NeSL portal through an API-based digital workflow.

Earlier Method (Paper Based)

  • Paper-based bank guarantees takes 3-5 days to complete the process of physical pick up from the bank, courier to the beneficiary, stamp it and re-verify it. Besides there was no central repository for bank guarantees until now.

New Method (e-BG)

  • An Electronic Bank Guarantee or e-BG eliminates the physical documentation usually associated with a bank guarantee, and the e-BG becomes available in a digital form to the beneficiary.
  • Bringing in efficiency of time, eBG offers enhanced security. Physical stamping has been eliminated and replaced with eStamping and with eBG, the applicant and beneficiary can instantly view a bank guarantee on the NeSL portal.

India-Bangladesh MoU on Interim Water Sharing of Kushiyara River

India and Bangladesh recently finalized the text of MoU on Interim Water Sharing of Kushiyara River at the 38th ministerial level meeting of Joint Rivers Commission.

Kushiyara River

  • The Kushiyara River is a distributary river in Bangladesh and Assam.
  • It forms on the India-Bangladesh border as a branch of the Barak River, when the Barak separates into the Kushiyara and Surma.
  • The waters of the Kushiyara thus originate in the state of Nagaland in India and pick up tributaries from Manipur, Mizoram and Assam.
  • From its origin at the mouth of the Barak, also known as the Amlshid bifurcation point, the Kushiyara flows westward forming the boundary between Assam, India, and the Sylhet District of Bangladesh.

About Joint Rivers Commission

  • The Joint Rivers Commission of India and Bangladesh was constituted in the year 1972 as a bilateral mechanism to address issues of mutual interest on common / border / transboundary rivers.

Mithila Makhana gets a GI Tag

Bihar’s ‘Mithila Makhana’ has been accorded GI tag.

  • Mithila Makhana is cultivated in the Mithila region of Bihar and some parts of Nepal.
  • Mithila Makhana’s botanical name is ‘Euryale Ferox Salisb’ and it is a special variety of aquatic fox nut.
  • They grow on a leaf in a pond, before they are collected, washed and sun-dried for hours. After that, they are roasted in a pan at a high flame. Following this, their outer shells are broken and the white puff comes out.
  • It is said to be low in cholesterol, fat and sodium, and also an ideal weight-loss snack as it is low in calories.
  • It is the fifth product from Bihar which has received the GI tag. Prior to this, Bhagalpur’s Jardalu Mango, Katarni Dhaan (rice), Nawada’s Maghai Paan and Muzaffarpur’s Shahi Litchi have been recognised.

‘Curzon Gate’ of Bardhaman & a Bit of History

In West Bengal, the 119-year-old Curzon Gate in Bardhaman is currently in news after the ruling govt. of the state decided to erect statues of Maharaja Bijay Chand Mahatab and his wife Radharani in front of the Curzon Gate, one of the city’s major landmarks.

About Curzon Gate

  • Maharaja Bijay Chand Mahatab built the gate when Curzon, who partitioned Bengal in 1905 and served as Viceroy of India, visited Bardhaman in 1903.

Some Facts about Bijay Chand Mahtab

  • He was the ruler of Burdwan Estate, Bengal in British India (present-day West Bengal) from 1887 till his death in 1941.
  • He and his family are known as makers of modern Burdwan.
  • He was also the President of British Indian Association from 1911 to 1918 and again in 1925.

British Indian Association

  • It was a political organization in the 19th century in India. Its rival was the Indian Association.
  • British Indian Association was established on 29 October 1851 in Kolkata with Radhakanta Deb as its first President.
  • The first general secretary of the association was Debendranath Tagore.
  • The association was exclusively composed of Indians and it worked towards increasing the welfare of Indians.
  • The British Indian Association ceased operations in 1954 when the Zamindari system was abolished in India.

Indian Association

  • The Indian Association was the first avowed nationalist organization founded in British India by Surendranath Banerjee and Ananda Mohan Bose in 1876.
  • It displaced the Indian League, which had been founded the year before, and rivaled the long-standing British Indian Association, which it regarded as a reactionary body of landlords and industrialists.
  • The objectives of this Association were "promoting by every legitimate means the political, intellectual and material advancement of the people".
  • The Association attracted educated Indians and civic leaders from all parts of the country, and became an important forum for India's aspirations for independence.
  • It later merged with the Indian National Congress.
  • In 1914, he was appointed as one of the members of the committee that investigated in to riots of Budge Budge and Komagata Maru incident.
  • In 1938, he was a member of the Francis Floud Commission to suggest changes in the Permanent Settlement of 1793. The commission recommended the replacement of the zamindari system by a ryotwari (tenancy) system in which the ownership of land would vest with the ryot (tenant) and the land revenue payable by him could be revised periodically. The recommendations could not be implemented.

‘Blue Plaque’ Recognition to London Home of Dadabhai Naoroji

The south London home where Dadabhai Naoroji - the “grand old man of India” lived has been honoured with a commemorative Blue Plaque.

The Blue Plaque scheme, run by the English Heritage charity, honours the historic significance of particular buildings across London.

Some Notable Facts on Dadabhai Naoroji’s London Sojourn

  • Much of his time here was occupied by his work as a member of the Welby Commission, set up by the British government to investigate wasteful spending in India.
  • His key text on drain theory – ‘Poverty and Un-British Rule in India’ (1901) – was published while he was living here.
  • Fellow Indian nationalists Romesh Chunder Dutt and Sister Nivedita are known to have been guests at the house.
  • Naoroji stood for Parliament in the general election as a Liberal candidate for Holborn in central London, but was defeated in the strongly Conservative constituency. He went on to be elected on a Liberal ticket for the north London constituency of Finsbury Central at the general election of July 1892 – making history as the first Indian (also the first Asian) to sit in the U.K. Parliament.

Welby Commission

  • It was a significant delegation to the consolidation of British India, thus trying to make the mixed population more concerned towards their monetary expenditures.
  • Towards achieving that goal, in May 1895, under the watchful eyes of the Secretary of State for India, a Royal Commission began its examination of military and civil expenditures incurred.
  • Welby Commission also had plans to look into the allocation of those charges between the Government of Great Britain and the Government of India.
  • The Commission's membership included: Lord Welby (1832-1915), named the Chairman, Lord Curzon (1859-1925), Leonard Courtney and T. R. Buchanan as Parliamentary representatives and William Wedderburn (1838-1918), Dadabhai Naoroji (1825-1917) and William S. Caine (1842-1903) as representatives of Indian interests. The latter members subsequently filed a minority report.
  • During the year of 1900, the Commission's final report appeared and called for the House of Commons to ensure impartiality of financial arrangements. English costs were not be relieved at the expense of Indian revenues. India, as a member of the British Empire, was to be prepared to provide support. The India Office was also mandatory to be consulted regarding charges affecting India and that India's payments to England should be tied to a fixed exchange rate.

India-France Transport Sector Pact

On 17th August, 2022 the Union Cabinet was apprised of the signing of Contract between the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development, France on behalf of the International Transport Forum and the Technology Information, Forecasting and Assessment Council (TIFAC), India to support the International Transport Forum (ITF) activities on the Indian Transport Sector.

The Contract was signed on 6th July, 2022.

The activities to be carried out under this Contract will lead to:

  • New scientific results;
  • New policy insights;
  • Capacity building through increase scientific interaction
  • Identification of technology options for decarbonization of transport sector in India.

About International Transport Forum

  • The International Transport Forum at the OECD is an intergovernmental organisation with 64 member countries.
  • It acts as a think tank for transport policy and organises the Annual Summit of transport ministers.
  • ITF is the only global body that covers all transport modes.
  • The ITF is administratively integrated with the OECD, yet politically autonomous.

‘SMILE-75’: An Initiative to make 75 Municipalities “Begging-Free”

On 12th August 2022, the Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment launched the ‘SMILE-75’ initiative for comprehensive rehabilitation of persons engaged in begging in 75 identified municipalities as a part of the celebrations of 75 years of Independence.

  • The initiative is part of the Ministry’s ongoing SMILE project (Support for Marginalised Individuals for Livelihood and Enterprise) for which Rs.100 crore has been allocated till 2025-2026.
  • Under the SMILE-75 initiative, 75 municipal corporations in collaboration with NGOs and other stakeholders will cover several comprehensive welfare measures for persons who are engaged in the act of begging with focus extensively on rehabilitation, provision of medical facilities, counselling, awareness, education, skill development, economic linkages and convergence with other government welfare programmes, etc.

Padang: Where Netaji gave ‘Delhi Chalo' call becomes National Monument

During its 57th national Day celebration, Singapore has declared Padang (meaning field in Malay), a site of countless events in the country's history and from where Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose gave his 'Delhi Chalo' slogan in 1943, as its 75th national monument.

  • The Padang has special significance for the Indian community in Singapore. It was here that Indian sepoys first established their campsites when the British established their outpost on the island.
  • This was also the place where Netaji delivered several speeches to the tens of thousands of INA soldiers and the local Indian population.
  • It was here that he gave the ‘Delhi Chalo’ slogan, set up the Rani of Jhansi regiment, and called for the total mobilisation of Indian resources to free India from British rule.
  • Just before the war ended Bose established the INA memorial at the southern edge of the Padang.
  • The victory parade of the Japanese surrender on September 12, 1945, was also held on the Padang.
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