Current Affairs Nov 19

Deemed Forests

  • Recently Karnataka Forest Minister announced in the Assembly that the state government would soon declassify 6.64 lakh hectares of the 9.94 lakh hectares of deemed forests in the state (nearly 67%) and hand it over to Revenue authorities.
  • The issue of deemed forests is a contentious one in Karnataka, with legislators across party lines often alleging that large amounts of agriculture and non-forest land are “unscientifically” classified as such.

What are deemed forests?

  • While the concept of deemed forests has not been clearly defined in any law including the Forest Conservation Act of 1980, the Supreme Court in the case of T N Godavarman Thirumalpad (1996) accepted a wide definition of forests under the Act.
  • The word ‘forest’ must be understood according to its dictionary meaning. This description covers all statutorily recognised forests, whether designated as reserved, protected or otherwise for the purpose of Section 2 (1) of the Forest Conservation Act.
  • The provisions enacted in the Forest Conservation Act 1980 for the conservation of forest and the matters connected therewith must apply clearly to all forest so understood irrespective of the ownership or classification thereof.
  • An expert committee constituted by the Karnataka government after the Supreme Court order identified ‘deemed forests’ as “land having the characteristic of forests irrespective of the ownership”.


“Microwave Weapons”

  • The Indian Army has rejected as “baseless and fake” a report in the British daily newspaper ‘The Times’, which had quoted a Chinese professor to claim that the Chinese army had used “microwave weapons” to drive Indian soldiers away from their positions in eastern Ladakh.

What are “microwave weapons”?

  • “Microwave weapons” are supposed to be a type of direct energy weapons, which aim highly focused energy in the form of sonic, laser, or microwaves, at a target.
  • The report claiming the “microwave weapons” that were allegedly deployed by China in Ladakh used “beams of high-frequency electromagnetic radiation to heat the water in a human target’s skin, causing pain and discomfort”.
  • In a microwave oven, an electron tube called a magnetron produces electromagnetic waves (microwaves) that bounce around the metal interior of the appliance, and are absorbed by the food.
  • The microwaves agitate the water molecules in the food, and their vibration produces heat that cooks the food. Foods with a high water content cook faster in a microwave often than drier foods.

Which countries have these “microwave weapons”?

  • A number of countries are thought to have developed these weapons to target both humans and electronic systems.
  • China had first put on display its “microwave weapon”, called Poly WB-1, at an air show in 2014.
  • The United States has also developed a prototype microwave-style weapon, which it calls the “Active Denial System”.



Mahajan Commission report on the Maharashtra-Karnataka border dispute

  • Karnataka Chief Minister condemned comments by Maharashtra Deputy CM recently, over the border dispute between the two states as an attempt to “incite fire”.
  • Maharashtra Deputy CM sparked a controversy, when he called the incorporation of Belgaum (Belagavi), Karwar and Nipani areas of Karnataka into Maharashtra a “dream” of Shiv Sena founder Balasaheb Thackeray.
  • The controversy comes weeks after the Maharashtra government asked all its ministers to wear black bands on November 1–celebrated in Karnataka as Rajyotsava or state Formation Day– to express support for Marathi-speaking people in the region.

Genesis of the dispute

  • The erstwhile Bombay Presidency, a multilingual province, included the present-day Karnataka districts of Vijayapura, Belagavi, Dharwad and Uttara-Kannada.
  • In 1948, the Belgaum municipality requested that the district, having a predominantly Marathi-speaking population, be incorporated into the proposed Maharashtra state.
  • However, the States Reorganisation Act of 1956, which divided states on linguistic and administrative lines, made Belgaum and 10 talukas of Bombay State a part of the then Mysore State (which was renamed Karnataka in 1973).

The Mahajan Commission report

  • While demarcating borders, the Reorganisation of States Commission sought to include talukas with a Kannada-speaking population of more than 50 per cent in Mysore.
  • Opponents of the region’s inclusion in Mysore argued, and continue to argue, that Marathi-speakers outnumbered Kannadigas who lived there in 1956.
  • In September 1957, the Bombay government echoed their demand and lodged a protest with the Centre, leading to the formation of the Mahajan Commission under former Chief Justice Mehr Chand Mahajan in October 1966.
  • The Commission, which submitted its report in August 1967, recommended that 264 villages be transferred to Maharashtra (which formed in 1960) and that Belgaum and 247 villages remain with Karnataka.
  • Maharashtra rejected the report, calling it biased and illogical, and demanded another review.
  • Karnataka welcomed the report, and has ever since continued to press for implementation, although this has not been formally done by the Centre.


Guillain Barre Syndrome

  • In a rare complication, some patients infected with Covid-19 have been found suffering from Guillain Barre Syndrome (GBS). In India, such cases have been reported since August.

What is Guillain Barre Syndrome?

  • It is a very rare autoimmune disorder.
  • The immune system, in an attempt to kill the coronavirus, accidentally starts attacking the peripheral nervous system.
  • The peripheral nervous system is a network of nerves that lead from the brain and spinal cord to different parts of the body. Attacking them can affect limb functions.
  • The syndrome’s first symptoms are a tingling or itching sensation in the skin, followed by muscle weakness, pain and numbness.
  • The symptoms may emerge first in feet and hands.
  • A person then starts experiencing reflex loss and paralysis, which may be temporary, but can last for 6-12 months or longer.
  • With Covid-19 a year old, it is still difficult to assess the nature of permanency GBS in such cases may present.
  • GBS is caused by bacteria or viral infection.
  • In the past, patients of Middle East Respiratory Syndrome showed GBS symptoms, as did those infected with Zika, HIV, Herpes virus and Campylobacter jejuni.


  • Intravenous immunoglobulin (IVIG) and sometimes plasma therapy helps recovery in patients with GBS.
  • Some patients may develop severe complications and require intensive care treatment or ventilator support.
  • Studies have indicated that patients need a few weeks of hospitalisation.
  • If a patient is not treated, his condition may deteriorate.
  • There could be respiratory failure as the worst outcome, or weakness and effect on walking and limb movement.
  • Patients cannot be treated at home, they need hospitalisation and immunoglobulin or plasma.



Eradicate TB by 2025

  • Union Minister for Health and Family Welfare digitally addressed the 33rd Stop TB Partnership Board meet.
  • Congratulating the Stop TB Partnership for proactively contacting countries regarding the implementation of their TB Programs during the pandemic, the Minister highlighted India’s “TB Harega, Desh Jeetega” campaign
  • that targets to achieve the Sustainable Development Goal target related to TB by 2025,
  • five years ahead of the global target of 2030;
  • India had nearly trebled efforts on increasing TB notifications and had managed to close the gap in ‘Missing million TB cases’.
  • During the period of January to October 2020, only 14.5 lakh TB cases have been notified which is 29% lower than the same period in 2019, with the decline being over 35 – 40% in some States like Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, Manipur and Goa.
  • In the same vein, he also highlighted the silver lining in states like Sikkim, Telangana, Haryana, Arunachal Pradesh, Kerala, Himachal Pradesh and Odisha whichhad witnessed less than 20% impact even during the lockdown period.
  • COVID-19 has provided us with an opportunity to boost TB Elimination activities through Health System Strengthening and Infectious Diseases Control”.
  • Specifically, he highlighted that:
  • Several dedicated Infectious Disease Hospitals have come up as a part of the pandemic response measures which would contribute in a major way towards TB care and management.
  • The molecular diagnostic capacity of the country has increased multi-fold. These multi-platform devices based on cartridge and chip-based technology can decentralize TB diagnosis.
  • Behavioural changes acquired during the pandemic such as cough hygiene, use of masks, physical distancing will further help reduce the transmission of Tuberculosis which is a respiratory illness.
  • The increased uptake of telemedicine and teleconsultation during the pandemic will provide channels of consultation for tuberculosis.


Global Prevention Coalition (GPC) for HIV Prevention

  • Union Minister for Health and Family Welfare digitally addressed the Ministerial meeting of the Global Prevention Coalition (GPC) for HIV Prevention.
  • Hosted by UNAIDS and UNFPA on behalf of the Global HIV Prevention Coalition (GPC),the conference this year holds significance in achieving the 2016 UNGA commitment to end AIDS by 2030.
  • Member States of GPC had agreed to reduce new adult HIV infections by 75% at the end of 2020 from 2010 levels.
  • Global AIDS response has shown remarkable success
  • in reducing new infections,
  • improving access to prevention services for key population and
  • treatment services for People living with HIV (PLHIV),
  • reducing AIDS related mortality,
  • Enabling reduction in mother to child transmission of HIV and creating an enabling environment.
  • The provision of generic Anti-Retroviral drugs (ARV) from India to the world has had a critical impact in controlling the HIV epidemic.
  • India’s unique HIV prevention model which is centered around the concept of ‘Social Contracting’ through which the Targeted Interventions (TI) programme is implemented.
  • With support from Non-Government Organizations, the programme is aimed at providing outreach, service delivery, counselling & testing and ensuring linkages to HIV care.
  • The enactment of The Human Immunodeficiency Virus and Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (Prevention and Control) Act, 2017 has provided a legal and enabling framework for safeguarding the human rights of the infected and affected populations.
  • India’s commitment to achieve the 90-90-90 targets across the country by the end of the current year and also end the AIDS epidemic as a public health threat by 2030.


  • By 2020, 90% of all people living with HIV will know their HIV status.
  • By 2020, 90% of all people with diagnosed HIV infection will receive sustained antiretroviral therapy.
  • By 2020, 90% of all people receiving antiretroviral therapy will have viral suppression.


World Toilet Day: November 19th

  • Department of Drinking Water and Sanitation (DDWS), Ministry of Jal Shakti will be celebrating ‘World Toilet Day’ on November 19, 2020 under ‘Swachh Bharat Mission – Grameen (SBMG)’.
  • For promoting awareness on access to Safe Sanitation and felicitating districts/states for making significant contribution towards Swachhata.
  • Ministry of Jal Shakti will felicitate top Districts/States with ‘Swachhata Puraskar’.
  • Phase 2 of SBMG has been launched early this year for sustaining the gains made under Phase 1 (2014-19) with focus on ODF Sustainability and Solid and Liquid Waste Management (SLWM).
  • Various campaigns focusing on construction and beautification of Community Sanitary Complexes (CSCs) have been undertaken countrywide over past one year like Swachh Sunder Samudayik Sauchalay (SSSS) and Samudayik Sauchalay Abhiyan (SSA).


India’s AI supercomputer Param Siddhi

  • Param Siddhi, the high performance computing-artificial intelligence (HPC-AI) supercomputer established under National Supercomputing Mission (NSM) at C-DAC has achieved global ranking of 63 in TOP 500 most powerful non-distributed computer systems in the world.
  • The AI system will strengthen application development of packages in areas such as
  • advanced materials, computational chemistry & astrophysics, and
  • several packages being developed under the mission on platform for drug design and
  • Preventive health care system, flood forecasting package for flood prone metro cities like Mumbai, Delhi, Chennai, Patna and Guwahati.
  • This will accelerate R&D in war against COVID-19 through faster simulations, medical imaging, genome sequencing and forecasting and is a boon for Indian masses and for start-Ups and MSMEs in particular.
  • The supercomputer with Rpeak of 5.267 Petaflops and 4.6 Petaflops Rmax (Sustained) was conceived by C-DAC and developed jointly with support of Department of Science and Technology (DST), Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY) under NSM.



New Genetic Treatment for Thalassemia, Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy, Haemophilia

  • Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy, a severe type of muscle weakness that usually begins at an early age and worsens quickly, may soon have a new strategy of treatment through genetic regulation.
  • There is no known cure for duchenne muscular dystrophy. Treatments usually aim to control symptoms to improve quality of life.
  • Sandeep Eswarappa, Assistant Professor Indian Institute of Science (IISc), Bengaluru one of the 21 recipients of this year’s Swarnajayanti Fellowship of the Department of Science and Technology (DST), proposes to suppress the disease-causing premature stop codon or the genetic process that initiates these diseases.
  • He is trying to bring about the suppression through translational read through a gene regulatory principle found in humans, yeasts, bacteria and drosophila which takes place with the variation of the genetic code.
  • He has been developing strategies to induce translational read through across genetic diseases caused by non-sense mutations — a change in DNA that causes a protein to terminate or end its translation earlier than expected.
  • They were successful in achieving this in vitro in case of thalassemia and are working on other disease models.
  • If successful, this project may lead to novel therapeutics for the treatment of genetic diseases like thalassemia, Duchenne muscular dystrophy, haemophilia.
  • In case of any protein formation genetic information present in the genome is first transcribed into an mRNA, which in turn is translated into a protein.
  • Protein synthesis or translation is executed by macromolecular machinery called ribosomes.
  • Ribosomes start this process at a specific location on an mRNA called ‘start codon’ and terminate at a stop signal called ‘stop codon’.
  • In case of diseases with nonsense mutations, such mutations result in premature stop signal in mRNA often resulting in non-functional truncated protein.
  • In certain mRNAs, under certain conditions, translating ribosomes misread the stop signal and continue till they encounter another stop signal.
  • In this translational read through process, a longer protein is synthesized with an extension.
  • This extension might change the properties of the protein.
  • The experiments carried out by his group have revealed that such long proteins can have different localization, stability and function.


The chirp of the crickets may soon be their species’ I-cards

  • The chirp of the cricket may soon be used to monitor their species diversity.
  • Scientists are establishing an acoustic signal library that can help track the diversity of these insects.
  • Morphology-based traditional taxonomy has gone a long way to recognise and establish species diversity.
  • But it is often not sufficient in delimiting cryptic species– a group of two or more morphologically indistinguishable species (hidden under one species) or individuals of the same species expressing diverse morphological features (which are often classified into multiple species).
  • Therefore, identification solely based on morphological features leads to underestimation or overestimation of species diversity.
  • In order to overcome this challenge, Dr. Ranjana Jaiswara is working to establish a field crickets acoustic-signal library which can be used as a non-invasive tool in species diversity estimation and monitoring.
  • The library will be a digital ones and can be used through mobile phone application for automated species recognition and discovery as well as documentation of new species of crickets from India.
  • She addresses the problem of cryptic species by using advanced tools in an integrative frame in delineating species boundaries.
  • These tools include acoustic signals, DNA sequences, and phonotactic behavioural data in studying species diversity.
  • In her research, she has shown that species-specific bioacoustics signals are a highly efficient and reliable tool in marking species boundaries and it can be used to get an accurate estimate of species richness and diversity estimate of any geographical area.
  • The issue of cryptic species can be addressed economically with the basic skill of bioacoustic signal and statistical analyses.
  • These integrative approach-based studies have led to the discovery of several cryptic and new species of crickets from India, Brazil, Peru and South-Africa.
  • Field crickets are one of the most commonly used model organisms in the field of neuroethology, behavioural ecology, experimental biology, and acoustics because of their unique ability to produce loud acoustic signal by rubbing of highly specialised forewings against each other.


Getting Wages Harder Than the Labour

  • For most rural workers dependent on the Mahatama Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (MGNREGS), their labour does not end at the work site.
  • According to a study by LibTech India, many of them are forced to make multiple trips to the bank, adding travel costs and income losses, and face repeated rejections of payment, biometric errors and wrong information, just to get their hands on their wages.
  • Even in regular times, these last mile challenges make it hard for workers to access their own wages in a timely manner.
  • During the COVID-19 pandemic, the situation is exacerbated as transport becomes harder, and there is no question of physical distancing at a rural bank.
  • The study, based on a 2018-19 survey of almost 2,000 workers in Jharkhand, Andhra Pradesh and Rajasthan, was sponsored by a research grant from Azim Premji University.
  • In the two years, there has been little change in the number of bank branches per capita in rural areas, so most of these challenges remain.
  • There is only one branch per 20 gram panchayats..
  • Only one in 10 workers get an SMS message that their wages have been credited.
  • A third of workers must visit the bank branch just to find out whether their wages have been credited.
  • At the bank, 42% of respondents from Jharkhand and 38% from Rajasthan had to spend over four hours to access their wages.
  • Only 2% of Andhra Pradesh workers faced such a long delay.
  • Overall, 45% of respondents had to make multiple visits. Average travel costs for each visit amounted to ₹31, even without taking wage losses into account.
  • Customer service points and banking correspondents were meant to reduce the gap between workers and banks and bring service delivery to the doorstep.


Extreme Weather Habitat for Troops in Eastern Ladakh

  • As India and China continue deliberations on a proposed disengagement and de-escalation plan to end the stand-off in eastern Ladakh, the Army has completed building extreme weather habitat for thousands of additional troops to remain deployed through the harsh winter.
  • Apart from the smart camps with integrated facilities, which have been built over the years, additional state of the art habitat with integrated arrangements for electricity, water, heating facilities, health and hygiene have been recently created.
  • The altitude in Ladakh where troops are deployed ranges from 14,000-18,000 feet and the area experiences up to 40 feet of snowfall from December onwards.
  • Coupled with the wind chill factor, the temperatures dip down to minus 30-40 degrees, disrupting road access to the areas for sometime.
  • The Army recently procured 15,000 extreme weather clothing from the U.S. under the bilateral logistics pact, Logistics Exchange Memorandum of Understanding (LEMOA), for the additional troops deployed in Ladakh.


World’s Last Known White Giraffe Gets GPS Tracking Device

  • The only known white giraffe in the world has been fitted with a GPS tracking device to help protect it from poachers as it grazes in Kenya.
  • The white giraffe now stands alone after a female and her calf were killed by poachers in March.
  • A rare genetic trait called leucism causes the white color, and it makes the one surviving giraffe stand out dangerously for poachers in the arid savannah near the Somalia border.
  • Now the GPS tracking device, attached to one of the giraffe’s horns, will ping every hour to alert wildlife rangers to its location.


Failed Launch of European Satellites

  • Arianespace said that wrong cabling was likely to blame for the failed launch of a rocket that was meant to lift two European satellites into orbit.
  • The European Space Agency said the Vega carrier rocket deviated from its trajectory eight minutes after liftoff from Kourou, in French Guiana.
  • First stages of the Vega launch vehicle had functioned as planned.
  • When the final stage of the rocket — known as AVUM — ignited, the spacecraft tumbled, leading to a loss of mission.
  • A problem related to the integration of the fourth-stage AVUM nozzle activation system is the most likely cause of the loss of control of the launcher.
  • The issue was down to wrongly installed cables in a system controlling the thrusters.
  • The Vega rocket was carrying Spain’s first Earth observation satellite, called SEOSAT-Ingenio, and TARANIS, a French satellite designed to observe events in the upper atmosphere.
  • Vega is Ariane space’s smallest launch vehicle and produced mainly by Italian aerospace company Avio.
  • A previous Vega launch failure, in July 2019, was attributed to a design flaw.


Forest Rights Act in Jammu and Kashmir

  • Amid regional parties’ protests over the eviction of forest dwellers, the Jammu and Kashmir administration on said it was in the process of implementing the Forest Rights Act of 2006 “to grant the rights to forest dwellers”.
  • The Forest Rights Act of 2006 provides for granting of rights to forest dwellers across the country. It was not applicable or implemented in J&K till 31st October, 2019.
  • The survey of claimants by the forest rights committees for assessing the nature and extent of rights being claimed at village- level be completed by January 15, 2021.
  • The sub-divisional committees shall complete the process of scrutiny of claims and prepare the record of forest rights by or before January 31, 2021 and the district level committees shall consider and approve the record and grant forest rights by March 1, 2021.
  • The rights conferred under this Act shall be heritable but not alienable or transferable.
  • However, under the Act, on the recommendation of a gram sabha, forest land up to one hectare can be diverted for the purpose of developing government facilities, including schools, hospitals, minor water bodies, rainwater harvesting structures, minor irrigation canals, vocational training centres, non-conventional sources of energy and roads.



Geo-heritage Sites Of Visakhapatnam

  • A drive from Visakhapatnam to Bheemunipatnam in Andhra Pradesh along the coastline would throw open vast expanses of virgin beaches that kept many secrets of the geological world.
  • They are a reminder of the million years of geological processes. One such marvel is the natural arch at Mangamaripeta beach opposite the Thotlakonda Buddhist Site.
  • Once a secluded beach, the recent incident of overcrowding and reckless acts of visitors endangering the natural arch has raised concerns among geologists and heritage activists on the need to safeguard the sites of the region and establish a geo park.
  • Geological sites are a record of important geological phenomenon that are a key to trace the evolutionary history of earth and its changing processes.
  • The natural arch, is likely to date back to the period after the last Ice Age around 10,000 years ago and is similar to the natural rock arch of Silathoranam in the Tirumala Hills.
  • While there are 147 UNESCO Global geo parks spread across 41 countries, India is yet to have one of its own. The scope in India is immense — Visakhapatnam alone is replete with many unique sites.
  • In July 2019, INTACH organised a campaign along with the Department of Tourism, Archaeology and Visakhapatnam Metropolitan Region Development Authority to create public awareness on geo heritage spots in the region.
  • Recognition of a geo park for Visakhapatnam consisting of Erra Matti Dibbalu (red sand dunes), natural rock formations at Mangamaripeta, million-years-old Borra Caves and volcanic ash deposits said to have originated from the volcanic eruption of Toba in Indonesia 73,000 years ago near Araku.
  • Among the 34 notified National Geological Heritage Monument Sites of India by the Geological Survey of India, is the Erra Matti Dibbalu or coastal red sediment mounds located between Visakhapatnam and Bheemunipatnam.
  • The width of the dunes vary from 200 metres to two kilometres, spread across five kilometres along the coast.
  • Such sand deposits have been reported only from three low latitude tropical regions in South Asia — the Teri Sands of Tamil Nadu, the Erra Matti Dibbalu in Andhra Pradesh and Red Coastal Sands of Sri Lanka.
  • The significance of the place was discovered by William King, a geologist from the Geological Survey of India more than a century ago.
  • The red sand sediments of Erra Matti Dibbalu are unconsolidated and loose.
  • Every monsoon the sediments are washed away, turning the sea a bright red.
  • Further degradation due to human interference such as digging, climbing, littering are affecting their stability and exacerbating erosion.




Step Up for TB

  • As the COVID-19 pandemic threatens to derail the global response to tuberculosis (TB), Médecins Sans Frontières/Doctors Without Borders (MSF) has called on governments
  • to accelerate testing, treatment, and prevention for TB, and
  • For donors to provide financial support to ensure increased access to new medical tools for diagnosing and treating millions with this disease.
  • India is still following a very conservative approach regarding the new medicines for drug resistant TB, putting lives of patients including children in danger.
  • Scaling up of new DR-TB drugs — Bedaquiline and Delamanid — is needed even more during Covid-19.
  • Until March 2020, India had 1,19,960 MDR-TB patients who were eligible for Bedaquiline.
  • However, only 10,845 had received it. Hence, 1,09,115 patients were not given this medicine, even as India is home to a quarter of the world’s DR-TB patients.
  • A report released by MSF and the StopTB Partnership — Step Up for TB — surveys 37 high TB-burden countries and shows that critical medical innovations are reaching far fewer people who urgently need them,
  • Because many countries continue to lag in getting their policies in line with new World Health Organization (WHO) guidelines.
  • TB remains the world’s top infectious disease killer, with more than 10 million people falling ill and 1.4 million people dying due to this disease in 2019.
  • National treatment programmes must prioritise use of all-oral treatment regimens for people with drug-resistant TB (DR-TB) that no longer include older, toxic drugs that have to be injected and cause serious side effects.
  • Only 22% of countries surveyed allow TB treatment to be started and followed up at a primary healthcare facility.
  • 39% do not use a modified all-oral shorter treatment regimen and 28% of countries surveyed still are using injectable medicines when treating children with DR-TB.
  • 85% of countries surveyed do not use the lifesaving point-of-care urinary TB LAM test for routine diagnosis of TB in people living with HIV, as recommended by WHO.
  • As clinicians working on the frontlines of the TB epidemic, it is distressing to see the sluggish uptake of TB LAM (urine lipoarabinomannan assay) in national treatment programmes, despite its proven role in saving lives of people living with HIV.



Assam Bags Best State Award in Fisheries

  • Assam has bagged four top honours in fisheries sector from ministry of fisheries, animal husbandry and dairying.
  • Including the “Best State” title among the hilly states and north eastern region for top performance in fisheries sector in last three years from 2017-18.
  • Odisha has been named the best state in marine state category and Uttar Pradesh in the inland state category.
  • Assam Apex Cooperative Fish Marketing and Processing Federation Ltd. (FISHFED) has bagged Best Quasi Government Organization award,
  • Nagaon district the best district award and
  • Amal Medhi of Nalbari district has bagged the best fish farmer award in Hilly States and North Eastern States of India category.
  • The award carries Rs 10 lakh prize money, a certificate, a shawl and a memento.
  • The performance was evaluated for three years from 2017-18 to 2019-20.
  • During the three years, the state has recorded high degree of utilization of funds received from centre under different schemes, World Bank and state government and submission of utilization certificates.
  • The state has also scored high points in meeting targets in fish production and fish seed production.


4 Indian Cities Selected By Wef To Pioneer Roadmap For Smart Cities

  • Bengaluru, Faridabad, Indore and Hyderabad figure among the 36 cities across the world that have agreed to pioneer a roadmap for safely adopting new technology as part of the G20 Global Smart Cities Alliance.
  • The World Economic Forum (WEF) said Covid-19 is accelerating adoption of new technologies by cities as governments struggle to manage the growing pandemic with constrained resources.
  • WEF has selected 36 cities from 22 countries and six continents to pioneer a new global policy roadmap for smart cities developed by the G20 Global Smart Cities Alliance.
  • Apart from Bengaluru, Faridabad, Indore and Hyderabad, cities such as London, Moscow, Toronto, Brasilia, Dubai and Melbourne have also been selected.
  • The “pioneer cities” launched their activities at a global event broadcast by the Smart City Expo World Congress, the world’s premier smart cities event.




World COPD Day

  • Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) is a debilitating condition that obstructs airflow from the lungs, thus hampering one’s ability to carry out day-to-day activities with ease.
  • Every year, November 18 is observed as World COPD Day to raise awareness about the chronic inflammatory lung condition.
  • The theme for this year is ‘Living well with COPD – Everybody, Everywhere’.

What is COPD?

  • Emphysema, a type of COPD that tends to cause damage to the air sacs (alveoli) in the lungs, and
  • chronic bronchitis that can lead to inflammation of the lining of bronchial tubes
  • Which carry air to and from the air sacs of the lungs, are the two most common conditions that may lead to COPD.
  • Not only this, even smoking and exposure to chemicals or pollution can invite COPD.
  • The incidence of COPD is rising because of poor ambient air quality in cities like New Delhi and Mumbai.
  • Also, commonly-used things like mosquito repellent coils used at home can cause COPD as exposure to the same at night was found to be equivalent to smoking 100 cigarettes together.

Symptoms of COPD

  • COPD symptoms include wheezing, chest tightness, breathing difficulties, chronic cough, respiratory infections, fatigue, unintentional weight loss, and swelling of the legs, feet, and ankle. Moreover, some of the symptoms may overlap with Covid-19.


Que-    A proposed small hydro-electric project Anakkayam hydel project is located in which state

a) Tamil Nadu

b) Karnataka

c) Telangana

d) Kerala

Ans-     (d)