Current Affairs Oct 10

Centre issues fresh advisory to states on women safety

  • The Centre has issued a fresh advisory to states on safety of women and how to deal with crime against them and said any failure of police to adhere to laid down rules does not augur well for the delivery of justice.
  • This came days after the alleged gangrape and murder of a women at Hathras in Uttar Pradesh sparked nationwide outrage.
  • The Home Ministry said there should be compulsory registration of an FIR in case of a cognisable offence under the CrPC.
  • The law also enables the police to register an FIR or a “Zero FIR”, in case the crime is committed outside the jurisdiction of police station, in the event of receipt of information on commission of a cognisable offence, which includes cases of sexual assault on women.

What is zero FIR?

  • In order to ensure that a citizen does not have to run from one police station to another to register an FIR, the law has allowed any police station across the country to register an FIR as soon a cognisable offence is disclosed to them.
  • The Ministry of Home Affairs had first issued an advisory to this effect on May 10, 2013 following the National Commission of Minorities Annual report 2011 -12 that recommended among other things prompt registration of FIR.
  • Advisories to this effect were later sent by MHA on February 5, 2014 and October 12, 2015.
  • The latest advisory said, “…as per Section 154 of the Criminal Procedure Code, a police officer is duty bound to register the case on the basis of such information disclosing a cognisable offence and FIR to be registered irrespective of territorial jurisdiction.”


 T-Rex fossil

  • One of the most complete specimens of a T-Rex fossil in the world was sold for a record $31.8 million by Christie’s in New York, nearly quadrupling the previous highest price for a dinosaur at auction.
  • Only around 50 Tyrannosaurus fossils have been discovered since the first was unearthed in 1902.
  • The fossil, nicknamed Stan, stands 13 feet (four meters) high and 40 feet long, with puncture marks in the skull and neck that experts believe show evidence of fights with fellow T-Rexes.
  • The fossil was discovered in South Dakota in 1987 and named after the amateur paleontologist who came across the remains, Stan Sacrison.
  • The terms of the sale prevent the buyer from producing 3D models of the dinosaur.
  • By law, such specimens can only be sold if the fossil was discovered on private land, which in this case it was.


‘Real And Imminent’ Extinction Risk To Whales

  • More than 350 scientists and conservationists from 40 countries have signed a letter calling for global action to protect whales, dolphins and porpoises from extinction.
  • They say more than half of all species are of conservation concern, with two on the “knife-edge” of extinction.
  • Lack of action over polluted and over-exploited seas means that many will be declared extinct within our lifetimes.
  • “Save the whales” was a familiar green slogan in the 1970s and 1980s, part of a movement that helped bring an end to commercial whaling.
  • While stricken populations in most parts of the world have had a chance to recover from organised hunting,
  • they are now facing myriad threats from human actions,
  • including plastic pollution, loss of habitat and prey, climate change and collisions with ships.
  • By far the biggest threat is becoming accidently captured in fishing equipment and nets, which kills an estimated 300,000 whales, dolphins and porpoises a year.
  • Point to the decline of the North Atlantic right whale, of which only a few hundred individuals remain, and the vaquita, a porpoise found in the Gulf of California, which may be down to the last 10 of its kind.
  • The dolphin, also known as the baiji, was once a common sight in the Yangtze River but is now thought to have died out.
  • A call for countries with whales, dolphins and porpoises (cetaceans) in their waters to act to monitor threats and do more to protect them.
  • The matter was discussed in September at a meeting of the scientific conservation committee of the International Whaling Commission, which has a core mission to prevent extinctions.



Report on ST status for 6 Assam communities

  • Assam’s Group of Ministers has set an October 30 deadline for submitting to the Centre its final report on granting Scheduled Tribe (ST) status to six communities.
  • The six communities are Chutiya, Koch-Rajbongshi, Matak, Moran, Tai-Ahom and ‘Tea Tribe’, some of which are categorised as Other Backward Classes.
  • The State’s tribes are opposed to granting ST status to these communities.
  • The Assam government had in January 2019 formed the Group of Ministers to recommend the rights and benefits for new STs.
  • The Centre had sought the group after the introduction of the Constitution (Scheduled Tribes) Order (Amendment) Bill in the Parliament.
  • Assam has two categories of STs – Plains and Hills. Data tabled in the Assembly in February 2019 say there are 14 STs (Plains) and 15 STs (Hills), besides 16 Scheduled Caste communities in the State.



 Tap Water Connection To Every Rural Household

  • Goa has earned itself the unique distinction of becoming first ‘Har Ghar Jal’ State in the country as it successfully provides 100% Functional Household Tap Connections (FHTCs) in the rural areas covering 2.30 lakh rural households.
  • Harnessing the immense benefits of efficiently utilising the Jal Jeevan Mission (JJM) which aims to improve the quality of life and bring ‘ease-of-living’ to rural communities.
  • The State could also explore through convergence of various programmes like MGNREGS, SBM (G), 15th FC Grants to PRIs, District Mineral Development Fund, CAMPA, CSR Fund, Local Area Development Fund, etc.
  • for strengthening of drinking water sources, water supply, grey water treatment & re-use and operation & maintenance.
  • To strengthen the water testing facilities, the State is in process of getting 14 water quality testing laboratories NABL accredited.
  • Jal Jeevan Mission mandates training 5 persons in very village especially women to be trained in using Field Test Kits, so that water can be tested in the villages.
  • State now plans for sensor-based service delivery monitoring system so as to monitor the functionality of water supply
  • e. potable water in adequate quantity and of prescribed quality being provided to every rural household on regular and long-term basis.


International Day Of The Girl Child – 11th October

  • This year the theme of International Day of the Girl Child is “My voice, our equal future”.
  • The theme focuses on how girls globally are leading the way.
  • International Day of the Girl Child is a United Nations designated day.
  • This year, Day of the Girl Child is also significant as the ‘Generation Equality’ campaign has been launched.
  • It is a “multi-year, multi-partner campaign and movement for bold action on gender equality”.
  • International Day of Girl Child 2020 marks 25 years of the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action for working towards empowering girls and their rights globally.
  • The Beijing Declaration is one of the first “most comprehensive international agreements on women’s rights and gender equality”.


Ficci Fined 20 Lakh For Violating Dust Control Norms

  • The Delhi government imposed a fine of Rs 20 lakh on the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI) for violating dust control norms at a demolition site.
  • Directions have been issued not to carry out or restart any demolition activity without installing an anti-smog gun at the project site.
  • It is mandatory to install anti-smog guns at construction and demolition sites larger than 20,000 square meters, according to government guidelines.

What is Anti-smog gun?

  • Anti-smog gun is a device that sprays atomised water into the atmosphere to reduce air pollution.
  • Connected to a water tank and mounted on a vehicle, the device could be taken across the city to spray water to settle dust and other suspended particles.


RTGS to be available 24×7 from December

  • The Reserve Bank of India announced that the Real Time Gross Settlement (RTGS), which is used for large value fund transfers, will be available round the clock from December this year.
  • At present, RTGS, which has a minimum fund transfer of ₹2 lakh, is available for customers from 7.00 am to 6.00 pm on all working days of a week (except second and fourth Saturdays of the month).
  • With this, India will be one of the very few countries globally with a 24x7x365 large value real time payment system.
  • In December last year, the National Electronic Funds Transfer (NEFT) system was made available on a 24x7x365 basis.
  • RBI also announced that it has been decided to grant authorisation for all Payment Service Operators (PSOs) – new applicants as well as existing players, on a perpetual basis, subject to certain conditions.
  • This will “reduce licensing uncertainties and enable PSOs to focus on their business and optimise utilisation of scarce regulatory resources
  • Authorisation (including renewal of authorisation) of such PSOs has been largely for specified periods up to five years.


Anti-radiation missile Rudram

  • India’s first indigenous anti-radiation missile, Rudram, developed for the Indian Air Force, was successfully flight-tested from a Sukhoi-30 MKI jet off the east coast.

What is an anti-radiation missile?

  • Anti-radiation missiles are designed to detect, track and neutralise the adversary’s radar, communication assets and other radio frequency sources, which are generally part of their air defence systems.
  • Such a missile’s navigation mechanism comprises an inertial navigation system — a computerised mechanism that uses changes in the object’s own position — coupled with GPS, which is satellite-based.
  • For guidance, it has a “passive homing head” — a system that can detect, classify and engage targets (radio frequency sources in this case) over a wide band of frequencies as programmed.
  • Once the Rudram missile locks on the target, it is capable of striking accurately even if the radiation source switches off in between.
  • The missile has an operational range of more than 100 km, based on the launch parameters from the fighter jet.

How was Rudram developed?

  • Rudram is an air-to-surface missile, designed and developed by the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO).
  • DRDO initiated development of anti-radiation missiles of this type around eight years ago, and its integration with fighter jets has been
  • a collaborative effort of various DRDO facilities and formations of the IAF and Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd.
  • While the system has been tested from a Sukhoi-30 MKI, it can be adapted for launch from other fighter jets too.
  • The Sanskrit name Rudram was given in keeping with tradition, because it includes the letters ARM (the acronym for anti-radiation missile) and the word in Sanskrit describes a “remover of sorrows” (one of its meanings).

How significant are such missiles in aerial warfare?

  • Rudram has been developed for the IAF’s requirement to enhance its Suppression of Enemy Air Defence (SEAD) capability.
  • As one of the many aspects of SEAD tactics, anti-radiation missiles are used mainly in the initial part of air conflict to strike at the air defence assets of the enemy, and also in later parts, leading to higher survivability to a country’s own aircraft.
  • Neutralising or disrupting the operations of the adversary’s early warning radars, command and control systems, surveillance systems that use radio frequencies and give inputs for anti-aircraft weaponry, can be very crucial.


World’s First Carbon Dioxide Removal Law Database

  • Researchers at Columbia University launched the world’s first database of carbon dioxide removal laws.
  • It provides an annotated bibliography of legal materials related to carbon dioxide removal and carbon sequestration and use.
  • The site has 530 resources on legal issues related to carbon dioxide removal, including such techniques as:
  • direct air capture; enhanced weathering; afforestation/reforestation; bioenergy with carbon capture and storage; biochar; ocean and coastal carbon dioxide removal; ocean iron fertilization; and soil carbon sequestration.
  • All scenarios for achieving the Paris temperature targets include not only a rapid transition away from the use of fossil fuels, but
  • also the removal of large quantities of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, and
  • the capture and sequestration or use of carbon dioxide from those industrial sources whose emissions cannot otherwise be prevented.


Largest 3-D catalog of galaxies

  • A team of astronomers at the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa Institute for Astronomy (IfA) has produced the world’s largest three-dimensional astronomical imaging catalog of stars, galaxies and quasars.
  • The PS1 3π survey is the world’s largest deep multi-color optical survey, spanning three-quarters of the sky.
  • Creating a 3-D catalog
  • Astronomers took publicly available spectroscopic measurements that provide definitive object classifications and distances, and fed them to an artificial intelligence algorithm.
  • The AI process was key in helping the team figure out how to accurately determine the same properties from various measures of the colors and sizes of the objects.
  • This AI or Machine Learning approach with a “feedforward neural network” achieved an overall classification accuracy of 98.1% for galaxies, 97.8% for stars and 96.6% for quasars.
  • Galaxy distance estimates are accurate to almost 3%.
  • Previously, the largest map of the universe was created by the Sloan Digital Sky Survey (SDSS), which covers only one-third of the sky.
  • The new catalog doubles the area surveyed, has greater statistics, and contains specific areas the SDSS missed.


Count Us In

  • If a billion people around the world were to take a few small steps and make them into permanent lifestyle changes, global greenhouse gas emissions could be significantly reduced, a new campaign argues.
  • These actions can be as simple as eating local food, forgoing meat at some meals, and wearing clothes to last instead of throwing them away after a few outings.
  • The campaign, which is backed by businesses including Ikea, HSBC, BT and Reckitt Benckiser (owner of brands such as Cillit Bang, Gaviscon and Durex), is urging people to sign up to take at least one simple step that would reduce emissions.
  • Count Us In invites people to sign up online for the steps they want to take and a level of commitment, such as moving permanently to a different diet or promising not to fly over a specified period.
  • There are 16 steps on offer, of varying levels of difficulty.
  • These range from having your house insulated, buying an electric car or solar panels and opting to fly less, to writing to political representatives and reusing and repairing belongings rather than buying new ones.
  • Some of the measures – such as turning down the thermostat and buying fewer new clothes – are ones that many people do routinely out of necessity rather than choice.
  • However, the campaign aims to raise awareness among consumers that patterns of high consumption are unsustainable.
  • Count Us In calculates that 20% of global emissions could be reduced if 1 billion individuals take the steps it advocates.



Hidden world of fungi is essential to life on Earth

  • Fungi are changing the way that life happens, as they have done for more than a billion years.
  • They are eating rock, making soil, digesting pollutants, nourishing and killing plants, surviving in space, inducing visions, producing food, making medicines, manipulating animal behaviour, and influencing the composition of the Earth’s atmosphere.
  • Fungi make up one of life’s kingdoms – as broad and busy a category as “animals” or “plants” – and provide a key to understanding our planet.
  • The best estimate suggests that there are between 2.2m and 3.8m species of fungi on the Earth – as many as 10 times the estimated number of plant species – meaning that, at most, a mere 8% of all fungal species have been described.
  • Of these, only 358 have had their conservation priority assessed on the IUCN red list of threatened species, compared with 76,000 species of animal and 44,000 species of plant.
  • Fungi, in other words, represent a meagre 0.2% of our global conservation priorities.
  • Mushrooms are only the fruiting bodies of fungi: for the most part, they live their lives as branching, fusing networks of tubular cells known as mycelium.
  • Mycelial networks have no fixed shape.
  • Many of the most dramatic events on Earth have been a result of fungal activity.
  • Plants only made it out of the water around 500m years ago because of their collaboration with fungi, which served as their root systems for tens of million years until they could evolve their own.
  • Today, more than 90% of plants depend on symbiotic fungi, which weave themselves between plant cells in an intimate brocade, supply plants with crucial nutrients and defend them from disease.
  • These fungi are a more fundamental part of planthood than leaves, flowers, fruit or even roots, and lie at the base of the food webs that support much of life on Earth.
  • Mycelium is ecological connective tissue, a living seam by which much of life is stitched into relation.
  • Soil would be rapidly sluiced off by rain were it not for the dense mesh of fungal tissue that holds it together.
  • Symbiotic fungi can link plants in shared networks sometimes known as the “wood-wide web”, through which water, nutrients and chemical signals can pass.
  • Of the carbon that is found in soils – which, remarkably, amounts to more than the amount of carbon found in plants and the atmosphere combined – a substantial proportion is bound up in tough organic compounds produced by fungi.
  • In 1845, Alexander von Humboldt described the natural world as a “net-like, entangled fabric”.
  • Fungal mycelium makes this net and fabric real.
  • Voracious fungal appetites can be used to break down pollutants such as crude oil from oil spills, in a process known as mycoremediation.
  • In mycofabrication, building materials and textiles can be grown out of mycelium and used as replacements for plastics and leather.
  • And antiviral compounds produced by fungi can alleviate one of the more pressing threats to global food security: colony collapse disorder in honeybees.
  • Fungi are subject to additional disruptions, from ploughing to the overuse of fungicides and fertilisers.
  • Of the grand total of six medicinal fungi that have had their conservation status assessed by the IUCN, one is listed as vulnerable due to overharvesting.
  • Another species, found to have powerful activity against a range of viruses including herpes and flu, is listed as endangered, threatened with extinction by the destruction of the forests it inhabits.


French WWI submarine Discovered

  • Tunisian divers have discovered a French submarine wreck from World War I, the Ariane, which was sunk by a German submarine in 1917.
  • This is the third submarine found in Tunisia, and the only one from the First World War.
  • During the First World War, German submarines wreaked havoc off the Tunisian coast, where they were initially deployed to cut the Allies off from their reinforcements of men and provisions from the French colonies.
  • About 80,000 Tunisians were mobilised to fight or work in French factories during WWI.
  • The Ariane was torpedoed by a German U-Boat while still on the surface, and only eight of the 29 crew could be saved.
  • Submarines, which played a decisive role for the first time during WWI, then provided very basic comfort.
  • The French submarines, which originally had neither bunks nor toilets, were submersibles that remained mostly on the surface.
  • They would only dive for a few hours at a time, for attacks, during which men and food were piled up in a suffocating engine room.


Graded Response Action Plan (GRAP)

  • Starting October 15, some stricter measures to fight air pollution will come into force in Delhi and its neighbouring National Capital Region (NCR) towns, as part of the Graded Response Action Plan (GRAP).
  • The action plan has been in effect for three years in Delhi and NCR.
  • Starting October 15, diesel generator sets can no longer be used in Delhi and the NCR towns of Noida, Ghaziabad, Greater Noida, Faridabad, and Gurgaon. The only exception is DG sets used for emergency and essential services.
  • Pollution control authorities will begin night patrolling to check for dust and industrial emissions, as well as the burning of waste.
  • Mechanised sweeping and frequent sprinkling of water on roads (to make the dust settle) have been directed.
  • These measures are part of GRAP, which was formulated in 2016 and notified in 2017.

What is GRAP?

  • Approved by the Supreme Court in 2016, the plan was formulated after several meetings that the Environment Pollution (Prevention and Control) Authority (EPCA) held with state government representatives and experts.
  • The result was a plan that institutionalised measures to be taken when air quality deteriorates.
  • GRAP works only as an emergency measure.
  • As such, the plan does not include action by various state governments to be taken throughout the year to tackle industrial, vehicular and combustion emissions.
  • The plan is incremental in nature — therefore, when the air quality moves from ‘Poor’ to ‘Very Poor’, the measures listed under both sections have to be followed.
  • If air quality reaches the ‘Severe+’ stage, the response under GRAP includes extreme measures such as shutting down schools and implementing the odd-even road-space rationing scheme.
  • The biggest success of GRAP has been in fixing accountability and deadlines. For each action to be taken under a particular air quality category, executing agencies are clearly marked.


Severe+ or Emergency

  • (PM 2.5 over 300 µg/cubic metre or PM10 over 500 µg/cu. m. for 48+ hours)
  • Stop entry of trucks into Delhi (except essential commodities)
  • Stop construction work
  • Introduce odd/even scheme for private vehicles and minimise exemptions
  • Task Force to decide any additional steps including shutting of schools 


  • (PM 2.5 over 250 µg/cu. m. or PM10 over 430 µg/cu. m.)
  • Close brick kilns, hot mix plants, stone crushers
  • Maximise power generation from natural gas to reduce generation from coal
  • Encourage public transport, with differential rates
  • More frequent mechanised cleaning of road and sprinkling of water

Very Poor

  • (PM2.5 121-250 µg/cu. m. or PM10 351-430 µg/cu. m.)
  • Stop use of diesel generator sets
  • Enhance parking fee by 3-4 times
  • Increase bus and Metro services
  • Apartment owners to discourage burning fires in winter by providing electric heaters during winter
  • Advisories to people with respiratory and cardiac conditions to restrict outdoor movement

Moderate to poor

  • (PM2.5 61-120 µg/cu. m. or PM10 101-350 µg/cu. m.)
  • Heavy fines for garbage burning
  • Close/enforce pollution control regulations in brick kilns and industries
  • Mechanised sweeping on roads with heavy traffic and water sprinkling
  • Strictly enforce ban on firecrackers


OSIRIS-REx mission

  • NASA’s OSIRIS-REx spacecraft mission, launched on Sept. 8, 2016, is the first U.S. mission designed to retrieve a pristine sample of an asteroid and return it to Earth for further study.
  • The mission’s target is Bennu, a carbon-rich near-Earth asteroid that is potentially hazardous, representing an approximately 1 in 2,700 chance of impacting the Earth late in the 22nd century.
  • Scientists believe Bennu may contain the molecular precursors to the origin of life and the Earth’s oceans, so one of the mission’s main objectives is to determine Bennu’s physical and chemical properties.
  • The mission’s first attempt to pick up the sample is scheduled for Oct. 20, 2020, and the spacecraft is scheduled to return the sample back to Earth on Sept. 24, 2023.


World Mental Health Day – 10th October

  • World Mental Health Day is celebrated on October 10 each year to increase involvement in the matters of mental health, encouraging global mental health education and advocacy against the social stigma that is often associated with it.
  • This year, to shed light on the alarming rise in mental disorders, the international awareness day will be focusing on “Mental Health for All” and an increased investment in mental health.
  • Under the initiative of the World Federation for Mental Health and the Deputy Secretary General Richard Hunter, the first ever World Mental Health Day was celebrated on October 10, 1992.
  • In 1994 World Mental Health Day was celebrated with a theme for the first time.
  • 2020 Theme – Move for mental health: Increased investment in mental health
  • World Mental Health Day is supported by WHO through raising awareness on mental health issues using its strong relationships with the Ministries of health and civil society organizations across the globe.