Current Affairs Dec 4

Promotion Of Millets And Millet Products

Why in News?

  • APEDA is formulating a strategy with Indian Institute of Millet Research (IIMR) and other stakeholders like National Institute Nutrition, CFTRI and Farmer Producer Organizations (FPOs) for perspective planning of five years for promotion of Millets and Millet products.


  • APEDA is preparing a perspective Action Plan for increasing export of Millet and Millet Products for a period five years i.e. 2021-2026 to enable all concerned stakeholders for taking necessary action in a time bound manner for achieving the target.

About Millet

  • Millet is a common term to categorize small-seeded grasses that are often termed nutri-cereals, and includes Sorghum, Pearl Millet, Ragi, Small Millet, Foxtail Millet, Proso Millet, Barnyard Millet, Kodo Millet and other millets.
  • Millets are the cereal crops generally small-seeded and known for high nutritive value.
  • Increasing interest in reviving the consumption of millets across various countries is favoring the growth prospects of this product in recent years within the country and for exports as well.




MoU on Intellectual Property cooperation

Between Whom?

  • Department for Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade(DPIIT), Ministry of Commerce and Industry has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU), in the field of Intellectual Property Cooperation with the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO), Department of Commerce of the United States of America.

The MoU aims at increasing IP co-operation between the two countries by way of:

  • Facilitating exchange and dissemination of best practices, experiences and knowledge on IP among the public, and between and among the industry, universities, research and development (R & D) organizations, and Small and Medium-sized Enterprises through participation in programs and events organized singly or jointly by the Participants;
  • Collaboration in training programs, exchange of experts, technical exchanges and outreach activities;
  • Exchange of information and best practices on processes for registration and examination of applications for patents, trademarks, copyrights, geographical indications, and industrial designs, as well as the protection, enforcement and use of IP rights;
  • Exchange of information on the development and implementation of automation and modernization projects, new documentation and information systems in IP and procedures for management of IP Office services;
  • Cooperation to understand various issues related to traditional knowledge, and the exchange of best practices, including those related to traditional knowledge databases and awareness raising on the use of existing IP systems for the protection of traditional knowledge; and
  • Other cooperation activities as may be mutually decided by the Participants.
  • It will be a landmark step forward in India’s journey towards becoming a major player in global innovation and will further the objectives of National IPR Policy, 2016.




Adoption of NH Stretches

Why in News?

  • The NHAI has introduced an initiative under which reputed technical institutes like IITs can adopt nearby stretches of national highways on voluntary basis under institution social responsibility.

What to do with Adopted Stretches?

  • The adopted stretches may be used as a field of study for faculty and researchers and to familiarise students with the latest trends in the industry and suggest the relevant performance parameters and innovations.

About This Initiative

  • Under this initiative, the partner institutes will study improvement prospects in road safety, maintenance, riding comfort, removal of choke points, black spots and usage of new technologies on the adopted stretches and give suitable suggestions to NHAI.
  • The institutes are also encouraged to associate with the consultants/ NHAI during conceptualisation, design and project preparation of new projects and suggest the relevant performance parameters and innovations based on experience specific to the local climate, topography and resource potential for better socio-economic outcome.
  • The areas of collaboration for improving the efficiency of existing highways include improvements in safety provisions and localised solutions for removal of congestion points, thereby increasing the average traffic speed.




Decoding Light Emission Down To Single-photon

Why in News?

  • Scientists are working towards understanding the light emission down to a single elementary particle called photon for improving quantum technologies.

What is it?

  • Spontaneous emission can be tailored by precise engineering of the photon density of states of the elementary particles called photon using photonic structures or periodically ordered patterns; like that in a peacock feather.
  • These structures act as a powerful tool to control the emission and propagation of light.
  • Hence, the emission properties of quantum emitters that can even emit single photons can be tailored for applications in high efficient lasers and quantum technologies.
  • In order to cater to the requirement of single photons for high emission speed in quantum communication, scientist aims to understand the light emission down to a single photon level from the precise atomic defects in solid-state materials.
  • They proposes the emission studies of nitrogen-vacancy (NV) centers (nitrogen impurity atoms in a diamond crystal) embedded in photonic structures by modifying the photon density of states around the emitter.
  • Intends to understand the modification of single photons emission rate as well as the spin properties of NV centers resulting in better intensity and rate of emission readout by measuring the intensity.
  • The controlled manipulation of single spins and photons using defect centers, such as the NV center, is the need of the hour and would place India as the forerunner in quantum technologies.




Dedicated Export Promotion Council for Technical Textiles

Why in News?

  • Ministry of Textiles has invited proposals for constitution of a dedicated Export Promotion Council (EPC) for Technical Textiles vide Public Notice.
  • The Exporter Association and Trade bodies registered under Companies Act or Society Registration Act have been asked to submit proposal for constitution of a dedicated EPC for Technical Textiles.

About National Technical Textiles Mission

  • The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs, in its meeting held on 26th February,2020, gave its approval to set up a National Technical Textiles Mission.
  • The Mission would have a four year implementation period from FY 2020-21 to 2023-24.
  • Constitution of an Export Promotion Council for Technical Textiles is part of one of the components of the National Technical Textiles Mission.

About Technical Textiles

  • Technical Textiles are futuristic and nice segment of textiles, which are used for various applications ranging from agriculture, roads, railway tracks, sportswear, health on one end to bullet proof jackets, fire proof jackets, high altitude combat gear and space applications on other end of spectrum.

Background of Technical Textiles:

  • Technical textiles are textiles materials and products manufactured primarily for technical performance and functional properties rather than aesthetic characteristics. Technical Textiles products are divided into 12 broad categories (Agrotech, Buildtech, Clothtech, Geotech, Hometech, Indutech, Mobiltech, Meditech, Protech, Sportstech, Oekotech, Packtech) depending upon their application areas.
  • India shares nearly 6% of world market size of 250 Billion USD. However, the annual average growth of the segment is 12%, as compared to 4% world average growth.
  • Penetration level of technical textiles is low in India at 5-10%, against 30-70% in advanced countries. The Mission aims at improving penetration level of technical textiles in the country.



Gitanjali Rao

Why in News?

  • Indian-American Gitanjali Rao, a “brilliant” young scientist and inventor, has been named by TIME magazine as the first-ever ‘Kid of the Year’.

For What?

  • For her “astonishing work using technology to tackle issues ranging from contaminated drinking water to opioid addiction and cyberbullying.
  • Her mission to create a global community of young innovators to solve problems the world over.




Convicted Legislators Cannot Be Barred For Life from Contesting Polls

Why in News?

  • The Central government has told the Supreme Court that it rejected the idea of barring convicted legislators for life from contesting elections, forming or becoming an office-bearer of a political party.

Governments Argument

  • The Union Ministry of Law and Justice said an elected representative of the people cannot be equated with public servants who are banned for a lifetime on conviction.
  • The government said disqualification under the Representation of the People Act of 1951 for the period of the prison sentence and six years thereafter was enough for legislators.

Election Commissions View

  • EC endorsed a life ban as necessary to “champion the cause of decriminalisation of politics”.

Why this Question Arises

  • The case is based on a plea by Supreme Court advocate Ashwini Upadhyay, who argued that a life ban on conviction should uniformly apply for members of the judiciary, executive and the legislature. There should not be any discrimination of one from the other.
  • An MP or MLA convicted for offences enumerated in Section 8 of the Representation of the People Act should be banned for life.
  • He argued that while a public servant or a government employee is debarred for life on conviction for offences under the Indian Penal Code, money laundering law, foreign exchange violation, UAPA or cheque cases, among other laws, a legislator is “only disqualified for the same offences for a specified period”.

Govt Defence

  • The Centre referred to how the top court itself had said in a Constitution Bench decision in the Public Interest Foundation case of 2019 that though criminalisation of politics is a “bitter manifest truth”, which is a termite to the citadel of democracy, the court cannot make the law.




Best Police Station in Country

Why in News?

  • The Government of India selects best performing Police Stations across the country every year, to incentivize more effective functioning of police stations and bring healthy competition among them.

Who is Best & Who Announced?

  • Nongpok Sekmai police station in Manipur’s Thoubal district has been selected as the best police station in the country.
  • Fresh rankings for 2020 announced by the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA).

How Ranking Commenced?

  • The government of India selects best performing police stations out of 16,671 in the country every year to “incentivise more effective functioning of police stations and bring healthy competition among them.
  • The ranking process commenced with shortlisting of the best performing police stations in each State on the basis of addressing property offence, crime against women, crime against weaker sections, missing persons, unidentified found person and unidentified dead bodies. The last parameter has been introduced this year.
  • The rankings were in accordance with the directions of the Prime Minister Narendra Modi at Directors General of Police conference in 2015.
  • He had directed that parameters should be laid down for grading police stations and assessing their performance based on feedback.




Global Teacher Prize

Why in News?

  • A primary school teacher from India was named the winner of the $1-million annual Global Teacher Prize 2020 in recognition of his efforts to promote girls’ education and trigger a quick-response (QR) coded textbook revolution in India.

Who is he?

  • Ranjitsinh Disale, 32, from Paritewadi village in Maharashtra’s Solapur district, emerged the winner from 10 finalists from across the world for the annual prize.

About Prize

  • Founded by the Varkey Foundation in 2014 to recognise an exceptional teacher who has made an outstanding contribution to the profession.
  • The Global Teacher Prize is paid out in equal instalments over 10 years, with the Varkey Foundation providing winners with financial counselling and support through an ambassadorial role for the profession.

Shared his Winning Prize

  • Disale, who believes that teachers are the world’s real change-makers, announced that he will be sharing 50% of his prize money with his fellow finalists to support their incredible work.
  • In 2018, the Human Resources Development Ministry announced that all the National Council of Education Research and Training (NCERT) textbooks would have embedded QR codes.




Transgender Children’s Homes

Why in News?

  • India’s first homes for transgender children in need of care and protection will soon be established in Bengaluru.
  • The Ministry of Women and Child Development gave its nod for the project.
  • Children in need of care and protection include orphans, abandoned children, street children, child labourers and child victims of abuse.

Who propose the Idea?

  • Indian Administrative Service officer Pallavi Akurathi, Director, Directorate of Child Protection, mooted the idea to establish separate children’s homes for transgenders, said that she had learnt many transgender children placed in State-run children’s homes for girls or boys were not comfortable.
  • The two transgender homes would have the capacity to house 50 children each.




Transparency International Survey on Bribe


  • The share of Indians who gave a bribe to avail themselves of a public service in the 12 months before a survey (the bribery rate) by Transparency International was conducted was the highest among the Asian nations surveyed.
  • ln India, 39% of those surveyed gave a bribe to use a public service, the highest such share among the Asian nations surveyed.
  • About 89% of Indians surveyed felt that government corruption was a significant issue in the country
  • About 47% of the Indians surveyed said that corruption had increased over the last 12 months, the sixth highest among the Asian nations surveyed.
  • Among the Asian nations surveyed, the bribery rate was the highest in India when people applied for identity documents and availed themselves of utility services, and the second highest when they availed themselves of public health services.
  • As many as 18% in lndìa said they had been offered bribes or special favours to vote for a party in national, regional, or local elections in the past five years.
  • The share of such people was the highest in Thailand and the fourth highest in India among the Asian nations surveyed.




2020 One Of Three Hottest Years Ever Recorded: U.N

Why in News?

  • This year is on course to be one of the three warmest ever recorded, the United Nations said, warned the world was on the brink of a “climate catastrophe”.
  • The past six years, 2015 to 2020, are set to make up all six of the hottest years since modern records began in 1850, the U.N.’s World Meteorological Organization (WMO) said in its provisional 2020 State of the Global Climate report.
  • The 2020 provisional State of the Global Climate report is based on temperature data from January to October. The final 2020 report will be published in March 2021.
  • The 2015 Paris Agreement on climate change calls for capping global warming at well below two degrees Celsius above the pre-industrial (1850-1900) level, while countries will pursue efforts to limit the increase to 1.5 degrees Celsius.
  • The average global temperature in 2020 is set to be about 1.2 degrees Celsius above the pre-industrial level. There is at least a one in five chance of it temporarily exceeding 1.5 degrees Celsius by 2024.

Hottest decade

  • The WMO said 2020 seemed on course to be the second-hottest year ever. The years from 2015 to 2020 are therefore individually “likely to be the six warmest on record.
  • Temperature averages across the last five years, and across the last 10-year period, are also the warmest on record.
  • Greenhouse gases in the atmosphere — the main driver of climate change — hit record highs last year and continued climbing in 2020 despite measures to halt the Covid-19 pandemic.
  • The heat in northern Siberia reached 38 degrees Celsius at Verkhoyansk on June 20, provisionally the highest known temperature anywhere north of the Arctic Circle.
  • This year’s La Nina cool phase of the Pacific Ocean surface temperatures cycle raised the question of how hot 2020 might otherwise have been.
  • More than 80% of the ocean area had experienced at least one marine heatwave so far in 2020.
  • Recently sea level has risen at a higher rate due partly to increased melting of ice sheets in Greenland and Antarctica.
  • Meanwhile a record 30 named storms, including 13 hurricanes, formed in the Atlantic Ocean, exhausting the alphabet and forcing a switch to the Greek alphabet for only the second time ever.




Facebook’s Digital Currency

Why in News?

  • Facebook announced the launch of digital currency ‘Libra’ in June 2019, describing it as a global currency and financial infrastructure aimed at creating “a more inclusive financial system.”
  • It renamed its digital currency venture as ‘Diem’ in a move to gain regulatory approval by stressing the project’s independence.
  • The new name means ‘day’ in Latin, and it reflects the project’s growing maturity and independence.
  • The system would involve blockchain-based payment ecosystem, digital currency backed by Libra’s reserve of assets made up of cash equivalents and very short-term government securities, and governance by and independent Libra Association.




Nuclear Magnetic Resonance Test

Why in News?

  • Honey marketed by prominent Indian brands failed a key test of purity, the Centre for Science and Environment (CSE) has claimed.
  • Current regulations specify around 18 parameters that honey must comply with for producers to label it ‘pure honey’.\
  • Most brands passed muster but when subjected to one test, called Nuclear Magnetic Resonance (NMR, that can ascertain the composition of a product at the molecular level) that was done at a lab in Germany, only three brands (spanning six samples) passed: Saffola, Markfed Sohna and Nature’s Nectar (one sample of two).
  • The NMR test is not required by Indian law for honey that is being marketed locally but is needed for export.




‘Damaru’ Inspired Lattice Applications In Stealth Submarines,High Speed Trains

Why in News

  • IIT Kanpur researchers have demonstrated how with the use of a micro-structured hour-glass shaped metastructure in the lattice unit, one can get a wider variation of propagation and stop bands.
  • The hour-glasses are developed in the Smart Materials Laboratory of IIT Kanpur using additive manufacturing.
  • Lattice based meta-structures have shown tremendous application in electro-magnetic and sonic wave absorption which could in principle create ‘invisibility’ of an object either in optical or in acoustic domain.

Statement from IIT Kanpur Researchers

  • Inspiration of the lattice they developed has come from a two-headed drum called ‘Dambaru’ or ‘Damaru’ which is used in ancient Hinduism and Tibetan Buddhism.
  • Researchers have shown the nature of stiffness of a vibrating medium could be altered drastically by controlling the lattice micro-structure from regular honeycomb to auxtetic honeycomb structure.
  • This has wide applications in the field of vibration isolation in high speed trains, stealth submarines and helicopter rotors.
  • For dynamic systems, we can control the propagation and band-gaps very effectively which can usher in the development of new ultrasonic devices with capacity of sub-wave length imaging empowering the medical practitioners and the health management industry.
  • This work is sponsored by a SPARC project of MHRD.




Centre Open To Rolling Back 3 Key Provisions Of Farm Law

Why in News?

  • The Central Govt. could amend three major provisions in the Farmers’ Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Act.

The first provision

  • It relates to Section 6, which exempts transactions done outside the physical premises of APMC (agricultural produce market committee) mandis from any “market fee or cess or levy” imposed by state governments.
  • Farm unions claim it leads to an unlevel playing field between the APMC mandis and private collection centres or markets created under the new Act.

The second amendment to the Act

  • It could be to Section 15.
  • Under it, disputes arising out of transactions in the alternative markets cannot be entertained in regular civil courts.
  • Instead, these have to be compulsorily referred to conciliation boards and appellate authorities appointed by the local sub-divisional magistrates (SDM) and district collectors concerned.
  • Their orders would have the “force of the decree of a civil court”.
  • Section 15 states that “no civil court shall have jurisdiction to entertain any suit or proceedings in respect of any matter, the cognizance of which can be taken and disposed of” by these authorities.
  • Farm unions have interpreted the bar of jurisdiction of civil courts as denial of justice.
  • The SDMs and district collectors aren’t independent like regular courts.
  • Being part of the government system, they are more likely to take the side of big corporate buyers, they allege.

A third amendment could possibly be to Section 4

  • It requires any trader buying or selling in an alternative market to only have an income tax permanent account number (PAN) “or such other document as may be notified by the Central government”.
  • The unions say that this very limited requirement allows room for fly-by-night operators, who will not pay farmers.
  • This is unlike the traders licensed by APMC mandis, who cannot afford to default.
  • If farmers don’t receive payment for their produce, they can now approach the APMC authorities, who may cancel the licences of such traders and even encash the bank guarantees submitted by them.




NRIs to Vote via Post

Why in News?

  • Recently, the Election Commission (EC) approached the Law Ministry to permit NRIs to cast their votes from overseas through postal ballots.
  • The EC received representations from the Indian diaspora about facilitating voting through postal votes since travelling to India only for this purpose is a “costly affair”.
  • The Commission informed the government that it is “technically and administratively ready” to extend the Electronically Transmitted Postal Ballot System (ETPBS) to voters abroad for elections next year.

What is the current process of voting for Indian citizens living abroad?

  • An NRI can vote in the constituency in which her place of residence, as mentioned in the passport, is located.
  • She can only vote in person and will have to produce her passport in original at the polling station for establishing identity.
  • Voting rights for NRIs were introduced only in 2011, through an amendment to the Representation of the People Act 1950.

Committee Setup

  • A 12-member committee was set up after the 2014 Lok Sabha elections to study mainly three options — voting by post, voting at an Indian mission abroad and online voting.
  • The committee ruled out online polling as it felt this could compromise “secrecy of voting”.
  • It also shot down the proposal to vote at Indian missions abroad as they do not have adequate resources.
  • In 2015, the panel finally recommended that NRIs should be given the “additional alternative options of e-postal ballot and proxy voting”, apart from voting in person.
  • Under proxy voting, a registered elector can delegate his voting power to a representative. The Law Ministry accepted the recommendation on proxy voting.

What happened to the proposal to grant proxy voting rights to overseas electors?

  • The Union Cabinet passed the proposal on proxy voting rights for NRIs in 2017. The government then brought a Bill amending the Representation of the People Act 1950.
  • The Bill was passed by Lok Sabha and was awaiting Rajya Sabha’s approval when it lapsed with the dissolution of the 16th Lok Sabha. This proposal hasn’t been revived yet.
  • In its letter, the EC pushed only for postal voting rights for NRIs, not proxy voting.
  • To extend the postal voting facility to overseas voters, the government only needs to amend the Conduct of Election Rules 1961. It doesn’t require Parliament’s nod.



Que-    Which state has recently made it mandatory for all state government employees to submit an affidavit stating that they will abstain from consuming any form of tobacco.

a) Madhya Pradesh

b) Bihar

c) Jharkhand

d) Uttar Pradesh

Ans-     (c)

Que-    Which country has put 170 “high value” wild elephants up for sale due to drought and an increase in elephant numbers

a) Thailand

b) Namibia

c) Cambodia

d) Kenya

ANs-     (b)


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