30th March 2021 | UPSC Current Affairs

30th March Current Affairs MCQs 

Daily Current Affairs MCQsHistory MCQPolity MCQ Video Series


World Development Report 2021: Data for Better Lives

Relevance: Reports and Indices

Context: World Bank Group has released the ‘World Development Report 2021: Data for Better Lives.

About the Report:

  • The report explores the tremendous potential of the changing data landscape to improve the lives of poor people, while also acknowledging its potential to open back doors that can harm individuals, businesses, and societies.
  • It aims to address this tension between the helpful andharmful potential of data.
  • This report calls for a new social contract that enables the use and reuse of data to create economic and social value, ensures equitable access to that value, and fosters trust that data will not be misused in harmful ways.

Pakal Dul Hydro-electric project:

Relevance: Economy

Context: India assured Pakistan that its Pakal Dul and Lower Kalnai hydropower projects compliant with Indus Water Treaty.

More on News:

  • The Pakal Dul Hydro Electric Project (1,000 MW) is proposed on the Marusudar river, a tributary of the Chenab river.
  • The Lower Kalnai hydropower project is going to be developed on the Lower Kalnai Nalla, a tributary of the Chenab River.

About Chenab River:

  • River Chenab originates from the Lahaul valley of Himachal Pradesh.
  • It is formed by the confluence of two streams, Chandra and Bhaga.
  • The Chandra and the Bhaga originate from the south-west and north-west faces of Barelacha pass respectively in the Himalayan canton of Lahul and Spiti valley in Himachal Pradesh.
  • After receiving the waters from Jhelum and Ravi rivers, the Chenab empties into the Sutlej River, a tributary of the Indus River.
  • Tributaries: Thirot, Sohal, Bhut nallah, the Liddrari and the Marusudar, Kalnai, the Neeru, the Raghi, the Bichleri and the Ans.
  • The Marusudar is the biggest tributary of the Chenab.


National Aquifer Mapping and Management program (NAQUIM)

Relevance: Government schemes and Initiatives

Context: Ministry of Jal Shakti has informed the Lok Sabha about the progress on NAQUIM.

What is NAQUIM?

  • NAQUIM envisages mapping of aquifers (water-bearing formations), their characterization, and development of Aquifer Management Plan to facilitate sustainable management of Ground Water Resources.
  • It was initiated in 2012 as a part of the ‘Ground Water Management and Regulation’ scheme with the objectives to delineate and characterize the aquifers and develop plans for sustainable groundwater management in the country.
  • Central Ground Water Board (CGWB) is the implementing agency of the NAQUIM.

Central Ground Water Board (CGWB):

  • The Board was established in 1970 by renaming the Exploratory Tube wells Organization under the Ministry of Agriculture.
  • CGWB is a subordinate office of the Ministry of Jal Shakti.
  • It is the National Apex Agency entrusted with the responsibilities of providing scientific inputs for management, exploration, monitoring, assessment, augmentation, and regulation of groundwater resources of the country.

POSHAN Abhiyaan

Relevance: Government schemes and Initiatives

Context: Ministry of Women and Child Development has launched Jan Andolan to improve nutrition levels under the Poshan Abhiyan.

More on News:

  • POSHAN Abhiyaan seeks to convert the agenda of improving nutrition into a Jan Andolan involving Panchayati raj institutions/village organizations, etc.
  • Jan Andolan aims to address the issue of malnutrition through behaviour change by adopting a convergent approach.

About POSHAN Abhiyaan:

  • It is also known as National Nutrition Mission (NNM).
  • The Abhiyaan has been launched in 2018 by the Ministry of Women and Child Development.
  • The goals of NNM are to achieve improvement in the nutritional status of Children from 0-6 years, Adolescent Girls, Pregnant Women, and Lactating Mothers in a time-bound manner during the next three years beginning 2017-18.
  • It ensures convergence with various programmes i.e., Anganwadis Services, Pradhan Mantri Matru Vandana Yojana(PMMVY), Scheme for Adolescent Girls (SAG) of MWCD Janani Suraksha Yojana (JSY), National Health Mission (NHM), Swachh-Bharat Mission,
  • It is a comprehensive approach towards raising the nutrition level in the country on a war footing.
  • The programme through the targets will strive to reduce the level of stunting, under-nutrition, anemia, and low birth weight babies.
  • NNM targets to reduce stunting, under-nutrition, anemia (among young children, women and adolescent girls) and reduce low birth weight by 2%, 2%, 3%, and 2% per annum respectively.
  • Although the target to reduce Stunting is at least 2% p.a., Mission would strive to achieve a reduction in Stunting from 4% (NFHS-4) to 25% by 2022 (Mission 25 by 2022).

Jal Jeevan Mission:

Relevance: Government schemes and Initiatives

Context: Ministry of Jal Shakti has informed the Lok Sabha about the progress of the Jal Jeevan Mission.

More on News:

  • 19 Crore tap water connections provided to rural households till date under Jal Jeevan Mission.
  • Every rural home in Andaman & Nicobar Island, Goa, and Telangana provided a clean tap water supply since the start of Jal Jeevan Mission.
  • A total of 48,169 rural habitations have been reported by States to be quality-affected.
  • Since the start of JJM, about 10,650 Arsenic/ Fluoride affected habitations have been provided potable water.

Jal Jeevan Mission:

  • The mission has been launched in 2019 by the Ministry of Jal Shakti.
  • It is envisioned to provide safe and adequate drinking water through individual household tap connections by 2024 to all households in rural India.
  • The programme will also implement source sustainability measures as mandatory elements, such as recharge and reuse through greywater management, water conservation, rainwater harvesting.
  • The mission will be based on a community approach to water and will include extensive Information, Education, and communication as a key component of the mission.
  • It also aims to provide functional tap connection to Schools, Anganwadis centres, GP buildings, Health centres, wellness centres, and community buildings.

Central Scrutiny Centre 

Relevance: Government schemes and Initiatives

Context: Ministry of Corporate Affairs has launched the Central Scrutiny Centre.

What is Central Scrutiny Centre?

  • The objective behind the launch of CSC is to ensure that data quality is uncompromised and free from flaws.
  • CSC will primarily scrutinise the filings made by users under straight-through processes, identify data quality issues and irregularities, and communicate the same to the concerned Registrar of Companies.
  • As a result, corrective steps can be taken to restore the authenticity and correctness of data and it can be seamlessly shared with other regulators if required.
  • Other than this, the Ministry also launched the mobile app of Investor Education and Protection Fund Authority (IEPFA).
  • The mobile app aims at achieving the goal of financial literacy, spreading investor awareness, education, and protection among investors.
  • The app will have the facility of tracking the status and progress of the IEPF claim refund process.
  • It will also provide a mechanism for investors and common citizens to report on suspected fraudulent schemes.


Khajuraho

Relevance: History

Context:  Ministry of Tourism has organised ‘Meet in India’, a MICE Road-show in Khajuraho.

More on News:

  • The session focused on discussing various initiatives to position Khajuraho as an Iconic Destination and various successful case studies and best practices on responsible Tourism across the country were presented.

About Development of Iconic Tourist Destinations Scheme:

  • The scheme has been launched by the Ministry of Tourism.
  • It is a Central Sector Scheme for the development of nineteen identified iconic destinations in the country following a holistic approach.
  • A total of 19 sites have been identified as Iconic Sites which include
  • The Ministry has identified these sites based on existing footfall, regional distribution, the potential for development & showcasing as world-class destinations, and ease of implementation.
  • The identified tourist sites to be developed as iconic destinations under the Scheme are as follows:

(i). Kaziranga National Park (Assam)

(ii). Maha Bodhi Temple (Bihar)

(iii). Humayun’s Tomb (Delhi)

(iv). Qutub Minar (Delhi)

(v). Red Fort (Delhi)

(vi). Colva Beach (Goa)

(vii). Dholavira (Gujarat)

(viii). Somnath (Gujarat)

(ix). Statue of Unity (Gujarat)

(x). Hampi (Karnataka)

(xi). Kumarakom (Kerala)

(xii). Khajuraho (Madhya Pradesh)

(xiii). Ajanta caves (Maharashtra)

(xiv). Ellora caves (Maharashtra)

(xv). Konark (Odisha)

(xvi). Amer Fort (Rajasthan)

(xvii). Mamallapuram (Tamil Nadu)

(xviii). Fatehpur Sikri (Uttar Pradesh)

(xix). Taj Mahal (Uttar Pradesh)

Khajuraho Temples:

  • The temples at Khajuraho were built during the Chandella dynasty.
  • They fall into three distinct groups and belong to two different religions – Hinduism and Jainism. They strike a perfect balance between architecture and sculpture.
  • They are listed in a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
  • The Temples of Khajuraho are a magnificent example of the Nagara style of templesas the temples consist of a
  • Sanctum, a narrow ante-chamber (antarala)
  • Transept (maha mandapa)
  • Additional halls (Ardha mandapa)
  • A mandapa or nave and an ambulatory passage (Pradakshina-path) is lighted by large windows.
  • The first mention of Khajuraho and its temples is in the accounts of Abu Rahyan al Biruni(1022 CE) and Ibn Batuta (1335 CE).
  • The Temples of Khajuraho are believed to have been built of light-coloured sandstone.
  • Iron clamps are also freely employed in the construction of the temples. A few other smaller temples are built partly of sandstone and partly of granite.
  • Erotic imagery is very common in the Temples of Khajuraho.
  • These sculptures are believed to reflect the idea of female beauty and fertility.
  • Other scenes depicted on the walls of the temples are a part of the Narathara(the human life cycle) signifying how sexual procreation and Kama are essential aspects of human life.
  • The following are important temples in Khajuraho:
  • Chausath Jogini Temple
  • Kandariya Mahadeva Temple
  • Devi Jagdamba Temple
  • Chitragupta or Bharatji’s Temple
  • Vishwanath Temple
  • Laxmana Temple
  • Brahma Temple
  • Vamana Temple
  • Ghantai Temple
  • Parsawanatha Jain Temple
  • Duladeo Temple
  • Jatkari or Chaturbhuja Temple

Indian Coast guard ship Vajra

Relevance: Indian Navy

Context: Indian Coast Guard ship ‘Vajra’, the sixth offshore patrol vessel to enhance coastal security, was formally commissioned into service in Chennai.

Indian coast guard ship Vajra

  • The ship was indigenously designed and built by Larsen and Toubro Shipbuilding Limited.
  • Sixth in the series of seven offshore patrol vessels, Vajra is fitted with highly sophisticated navigation and communication systems.
  • Some of the hi-tech features of the vessel include – an integrated bridge system, high power external fighting System, bow thruster, and automated power management system.
  • A pollution response equipment to contain oil spills at sea is fitted in the ship.


International Intellectual Property Index

Relevance: Reports and Indices

Context: US Chamber of Commerce Global Innovation Policy Centre (GIPC) has released the report recently

About the Index

  • India ranked 40 among 53 global economies on the latest annual edition of the International Intellectual Property (IP) Index.
  • Released annually by the US Chamber of Commerce Global Innovation Policy Centre (GIPC).
  • The Index evaluates Intellectual Property rights in 53 global economies from patent and copyright policies to commercialization of IP assets and ratification of international treaties.
  • Among BRICS nations, India registered the second-highest growth over nine editions of the US Chamber Index hit years with an overall improvement of over 13 percent.
  • The 2021 Index illustrates that economies with the most effective IP frameworks are more likely to achieve the socio-economic benefits needed to combat COVID-19, including greater access to venture capital, increased private sector investment in research and development, and over 10 times more clinical trial activity.


Galathea bay wildlife sanctuary

Relevance: Environment

Context: Wildlife Board denotifies Galathea bay sanctuary to build a port, trade zone.

Galathea National park

  • Galathea National Park is located in the Union Territory of Andaman and Nicobar Islands.
  • It is located on the island of Great Nicobar in the Nicobar Islands, which lies in the eastern Indian Ocean.
  • Galathea forms part of what has been designated as the Great Nicobar Biosphere Reserve, which also includes the larger Campbell Bay, National Park.
  • Flora: The vegetation consists largely of tropical and subtropical moist broadleaf forests.
  • Fauna: Notable animal species found in the park include the giant robber crab, megapode, and Nicobar pigeon.

India-United States (US) defence pact

Relevance: International Relations

Context: India resolved to intensify defence cooperation with the U.S. Central Command in Florida and with the U.S. Commands in the Indo-Pacific region and Africa.

Defense pacts

  • “Four Foundational Agreements” between the US and its Partners are:
  • General Security of Military Information Agreement (GSOMIA): It allows militaries to share the intelligence gathered by them. Signed by India in 2002.
  • Logistics Exchange Memorandum of Agreement (LEMOA): It allows both countries to have access to each other’s designated military facilities for refueling and replenishment. Signed by India in 2016.
  • Communications and Information Security Memorandum of Agreement (CISMOA): It is Valid for 10 years CISMOA aims to provide a legal framework for the transfer of highly sensitive communication security equipment from the US to India that will streamline and facilitate interoperability between their armed forces. Signed by India in 2018.
  • Basic Exchange and Cooperation Agreement (BECA): It will allow India and the US to share geospatial and satellite data. India has signed BECA in 2020.

Suez Canal

Relevance: Geography

Context: The maritime world went into overdrive to dislodge one of the world’s biggest ships after it got jammed in Egypt’s Suez Canal.

More about Suez Canal

  • The Suez Canal is an artificial sea-level waterway in Egypt, connecting the Mediterranean Sea to the Red Sea through the Isthmus of Suez and dividing Africa and Asia.
  • The canal offers watercraft a more direct route between the North Atlantic and northern Indian oceans via the Mediterranean and Red seas.

Historical context

  • Suez Crisis: It began on October 29, 1956, when Israeli armed forces pushed into Egypt toward the Suez Canal after Egyptian president Gamal Abdel Nasser (1918-70) nationalized the canal, a valuable waterway that controlled two-thirds of the oil used by Europe.
  • The Israelis were soon joined by French and British forces, which nearly brought the Soviet Union into the conflict and damaged their relationships with the United States.
  • In the end, Egypt emerged victoriously, and the British, French, and Israeli governments withdrew their troops in late 1956 and early 1957. The event was a pivotal event among Cold War superpowers.

Gravitational waves

Relevance: science and technology

Context: The LIGO detectors have been joined in their search for gravitational waves from various sources by the VIRGO detector in Italy and the KAGRA detector in Japan.

What are gravitational waves?

  • Gravitational waves are distortions or ‘ripples in the fabric of space-time caused by some of the most violent and energetic processes in the Universe.
  • They transport energy as gravitational radiation and pass-through matter without interacting with it.
  • Gravitational waves were first predicted in 1916 by Albert Einstein based on his Theory of General Relativity.
  • The strongest sources of gravitational waves are among enigmatic objects in our universe like black holes, supernovas, neutron stars, and Big Bang.
  • Gravitational-wave detectors:
    • LIGO-The Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory-USA.
    • KAGRA-The Kamioka Gravitational Wave Detector-Japan.
    • VIRGO-The Virgo interferometer is a large interferometer-Italy.


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