Daily Current Affairs : 15-Feb-2020

Major Topics Covered :


  1. ESSENTIAL COMMODITIES ACT

  2. NASA: DISCOVERY PROGRAM INVESTIGATIONS

  3. KUNBI SAREE

  4. SyRI

  5. INS SHIVAJI

  6. ‘GADHIKA’

  7. INDIAN SCIENTISTS IN ANTARCTIC

  8. GROUP ON DEFENCE AND INTERNAL SECURITY- FINANCE COMMISSION


ESSENTIAL COMMODITIES ACT

Part of GS- 3 Economy


Why in news?

Bottled drinking water in Kerala will henceforth cost Rs 13 a litre with the Left government deciding to bring packaged water under the ambit of the Essential Commodities Act with a view to regulate its price.


Highlights:

• One litre of bottled water presently costs Rs 20 in the state.

• "A notification on the new price-- Rs 13 per litre-- will be issued within two days.

• We have taken legal opinion on bringing bottled water under the category of essential commodities," he told PTI.

• Food and Civil Supplies Minister P Thilothaman said the government decided to regulate the price of bottled water after receiving widespread complaints from the public about its exorbitant price. ESSENTIAL COMMODITIES ACT 1955

• Under the Essential Commodities Act 1955, the State Governments/UT Administrations have issued various control orders to regulate various aspects of trading in essential commodities such as food grains, edible oils, pulses, kerosene and sugar etc.

• The Central Government regularly monitors the action taken by State Governments/UT Administrations to implement the provisions of the Act.

• The Government is empowered to enlist any class of commodity as essential commodity as well as regulate or prohibit the production, supply, distribution, price and trade in any of these commodities for the following purposes :-

➢ Maintaining or increasing their supplies.

➢ Equitable distribution and availability at fair prices of the commodities concerned. ➢ Securing any essential commodity for the defence of India or the efficient conduct of

military operations.

➢ Essential Commodities in India have been declared in section 2 of Essential

Commodities Act, 1955. The essential commodities in India are as follows:

➢ Cattle fodder, including oilcakes and other concentrates.

➢ Coal, including coke and other derivatives.

➢ Components parts and accessories of automobiles.

➢ Cotton and woollen textiles.

➢ Foodstuffs, including edible oilseeds and oils.

➢ Iron and Steel, including manufactured products of Iron & Steel.

➢ Paper, including newsprint, paperboard and strawboard.

➢ Petroleum and Petroleum products. Etc.


Source: The Hindu


NASA: DISCOVERY PROGRAM INVESTIGATIONS

Part of GS- 3 S&T


Why in news?

NASA announced it has selected four Discovery Program investigations to develop concept studies for possible new missions.


Highlights:

• Two proposals are for trips to Venus, and one each is for Jupiter’s moon Io and Neptune’s moon Triton.

• After the concept studies are completed in nine months, some missions ultimately may not be chosen to move forward. Final selections will be made next year.

DAVINCI+: Deep Atmosphere Venus Investigation of Noble gases, Chemistry, and Imaging Plus. This will analyse Venus’s atmosphere to understand how it was formed and evolved, and if it ever had an ocean. This will advance understanding of the formation of terrestrial planets.

IVO: Io Volcano Observer is a proposal to explore Jupiter’s moon Io, which is extremely volcanically active. This will try to find out how tidal forces shape planetary bodies. The findings could further knowledge about the formation and evolution of rocky, terrestrial bodies and icy ocean worlds in the Solar System.

TRIDENT: This aims to explore Neptune’s icy moon, Triton, so that scientists can understand the development of habitable worlds in the Solar System.

VERITAS: Venus Emissivity, Radio Science, InSAR, Topography, and Spectroscopy will aim to map Venus’s surface to find out why Venus developed so differently from Earth.


Source: Indian Express


KUNBI SAREE

Part of GS- 1 Art And Culture


Why in news?

Renowned fashion designer Wendell Rodricks (59) died at his residence in Colvale village in Goa.


Highlights:

This Kunbi saree was originally worn by Kunbi and Gawda tribe women who were basically paddy field worker.

Traditionally, the Kunbi is a cotton checkered sari in red and white.

• The Kunbi saree is draped by tying in the fabric below the shoulder and a strip of cloth is crossed over the left shoulder and fastened on the back.

• This gives freedom to the Kunbi workers to carry on with their daily chores and hard field works.


About Wendell Rodricks:

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A Padma Shri awardee, Rodricks was also an author, environmentalist and gay rights activist.

• He was in the process of setting up a museum, Moda Goa Museum and Research Centre, which Rodricks had dedicated to clothes and fashion in Goa through the ages.

• As a designer he has been credited with reviving the Kunbi saree, worm by the indigenous Kunbi tribal women of Goa.


Source : Economic Times


SyRI

Part of GS- 3 S&T


Why in news?

In a first anywhere in the world, a court in the Netherlands recently stopped a digital identification scheme for reasons of exclusion.


Highlights:

• This has a context for similar artificial intelligence systems worldwide, especially at a time when identity, citizenship and privacy are pertinent questions in India.

• The Hague district court found using new technology to control fraud was acceptable, it held SyRI was too invasive and violative of the privacy guarantees given by European Human Rights Law as well as the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation.

• A Dutch district court ruled against an identification mechanism called SyRI (System Risk Indicator), because of data privacy and human rights concerns.

• The Dutch Ministry of Social Affairs developed SyRI in 2014 to weed out those who are most likely to commit fraud and receive government benefits.

• Legislation passed by Dutch Parliament allowed government agencies to share 17 categories of data about welfare recipients such as taxes, land registries, employment records, and vehicle registrations with a private company.


Source: Indian Express


INS SHIVAJI

Part of GS-3 Defence and Security


Why in news?

President Ram Nath Kovind awarded the coveted President’s Colours to the Indian Naval Ship (INS) Shivaji, Lonavla.


Highlights:

• Observing that the geopolitical situation in the world today and in the Indo-Pacific region, in particular, demanded greater vigilance, the President said that the Indian Navy had adopted mission-based deployments in the Indian Ocean region.

• This month, INS Shivaji is commemorating 75 years of service to the Navy and the 75th year of this establishment commenced from February 15.

• This year marks the ‘platinum jubilee year’ of the naval facility.


Source: PIB


‘GADHIKA’

Part of GS- 1Art &Culture


Why in news?

Amazon has been witnessing a crowd of online shoppers for ethnic products ever since ‘Gadhika’ products were launched on the e-commerce platform by the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribe Development Department of Kerala in December last year.


Highlights:

Gadhika products are natural forest produce and eco-friendly handicraft made from bamboo, coconut and coconut shell, and ornaments, food products, clothes, Wayanad turmeric, honey, pickles, puttu kutti, etc.

• The acceptance for the tribal products was also visible at the tribal festival Gadhika held in Kannur.

• The exhibition could attract over 50,000 people and there was a record sale of over ₹45 lakh.

• They have been hand-crafted by artisans and others belonging to various tribes and the Scheduled Castes of Kerala.


Source : The Hindu


INDIAN SCIENTISTS IN ANTARCTIC

Part of GS- 3 S&T


Why in news?

At noon on January 11, the South African oceanographic research vessel SA Agulhas set off from Port Louise in Mauritius, on a two-month Indian Scientific Expedition to the Southern Ocean 2020.


Highlights:

• As of the vessel was at Prydz Bay, in the coastal waters of “Bharati”, India’s third station in Antarctica.

• The vessel was at Prydz Bay, in the coastal waters of “Bharati”, India’s third station in Antarctica.

Project objective: Study hydrodynamics and biogeochemistry of the Indian Ocean sector of the Southern Ocean to understand the formation of Antarctic bottom water.

• Study of organisms called coccolithophores that have existed in the oceans for several million years.

This is the 11th expedition of an Indian mission to the Southern Ocean, or Antarctic Ocean.

• This Indian expedition has been launched by the National Centre for Polar and Ocean Research (NCOPR) in Goa, which works under the Ministry of Earth Sciences.


The National Centre for Antarctic and Ocean Research

• The National Centre for Antarctic and Ocean Research is a research and development body. It functions under the Ministry of Earth Sciences, Government of India.

• The same controls the Indian Antarctic programme

• The NCAOR and the Department of Ocean Development select the members for India's Antarctic expeditions.

• After medical tests and subsequent acclimatization training at the Himalayas, these selected members are also trained in survival, environment ethics, fire-fighting and operating in a group.

• Logistical support to the various activities of the Indian Antarctic programme is provided by the relevant branches of the Indian armed forces. The launching point of Indian expeditions has varied from Goa in India to Cape Town in South Africa.


INDIAN RESEARCH CENTRES AT ANTARTICA


1. Dakshin Gangotri

• The first Indian scientific research base station was established in Antarctica as part of the third Antarctic programme

• Located at a distance of 2,500 kilometres from the South Pole, it was established in 1983-84. This was the first time an Indian team spent a winter in Antarctica to carry out scientific work

• In 1989, it was excavated and is being used again as a supply base and transit camp

• Dakshin Gangotri took eight weeks to be built by an 81-member team, with the construction complete by January 1984. Indian army helped build it

• January 26, 1984, India's Republic Day, was celebrated at the station along with Soviet and East German scientists


2. Maitri

• In the year 1988 an ice-free, rocky area on the Schirmacher Oasis was selected to build the second research station named Maitri

• The building was erected on steel stilts, and has stood the test of time -- conducting experiments in geology, geography and medicine

• It can support 25 persons in the main building during summers as well as winters, and about 40 in summer facility comprising of containerized living modules

• The station consists of one main building, fuel farm, fuel station, and a freshwater lake (Priyadarshini) pump house

• Maitri is the gateway for Indian scientists to venture into interior Antarctic mountains and has been hosting summer and winter research teams every year.


3. Bharati

• Located beside Larsmann Hill, about 3000 km east of Maitri, Bharati was established in 2015. It is located between Thala Fjord & Quilty bay, east of Stornes Peninsula in Antarctica

• The station can support 47 personnel on twin sharing basis in the main building during summer as well as winters with additional 25 in emergency shelters / summer camps during summers, thus making the total capacity as 72

• Wow factor of this station is that it has been constructed using 134 recycled shipping containers, to help researchers work in safety despite the harsh weather

• Its latest technology facilitates research on refining the current understanding of the Indian subcontinent's geological history (India and Antarctica were once part of the southern part of the supercontinent Pangaea, called Gondwanaland, and their coastlines have a shared history)

• Bharati made India an elite member of the club of 9 nations that have multiple stations in the region

• In line with the Antarctic Treaty System, Bharati can be completely disassembled and removed without leaving even a brick behind


Source: Indian Express


GROUP ON DEFENCE AND INTERNAL SECURITY- FINANCE COMMISSION

Part of GS- 3 Economy


Why in news?

The Fifteenth Finance Commission has constituted a Group on Defence and Internal Security with the following composition.


Highlights:

• The mandate of the Group on Defence and Internal Security will be ‘to examine whether a separate mechanism for funding of defence and internal security ought to be set up, and if so, how such a mechanism could be operationalised.’


Source: PIB


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