Facts in News

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    Facts in News

    Raja Parba Festival

    Recently, the Prime Minister of India has greeted the people of Odisha on the festival of Raja Parba.

    • Odisha observes Raja Parba festival to combat prejudices that surround the menstrual cycle and celebrates a girl’s womanhood.
    • A four-day festival celebrated every year in June, it calls for women to come together and acknowledge the gift of Mother Earth or Bhudevi.
      • According to religious belief, it is said that during the first three days, ‘Bhudevi’, the wife of Lord Jagannath undergoes a menstruation cycle and on the fourth day, she is given a ceremonial bath.
    • The festival is natively pronounced as ‘raw-jaw’, while ‘Raja’ is derived from the word ‘Rajaswala’ which means menstruating women.
    • Each day of the festival has its own name and significance. 
      • The first day is called Pahili Rajo.
      • The second day is Mithuna Sankranti, which signifies the beginning of the solar month of Mithuna i.e., the rainy season.
      • The third day is Bhu Daaha or Basi Raja.
      • The fourth day is called Vasumati Snana.
    • During the festival, girls play around swings tied on tree branches, along with other indoor and outdoor games.

    CPI-based or Retail Inflation

    Recently, Retail inflation has hit a six-month high of 6.3 per cent in May, due to persistent rise in fuel and edible oil prices.

    • The Consumer Price Index (CPI) monitors retail prices at a certain level for a particular commodity; price movement of goods and services at rural, urban and all-India levels.
    • The change in the price index over a period of time is referred to as CPI-based inflation, or retail inflation.
    • Generally, CPI is used as a macroeconomic indicator of inflation, as a tool by the central bank and government for inflation targeting and for inspecting price stability, and as a deflator in the national accounts.
    • CPI also helps understand the real value of salaries, wages and pensions, the purchasing power of the nation’s currency and regulating rates.
    • It gives an idea of the cost of the standard of living.
    • If there is inflation (when goods and services cost more) the CPI will rise over a period of time. If the CPI drops, that means there is deflation (steady reduction in the prices of goods and services).
    • CPI formula: (Price of basket in current period/Price of basket in base period) x 100.

    Inflation

    • It refers to the rise in the prices of most goods and services of daily or common use, such as food, clothing, housing, etc.
    • Inflation measures the average price change in a basket of commodities and services over time.
    • Inflation is indicative of the decrease in the purchasing power of a unit of a country’s currency. This could ultimately lead to a deceleration in economic growth.
    • However, a moderate level of inflation is required in the economy to ensure that production is promoted.
    • In India, the NSO under the Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation measures inflation.
    • In India, inflation is primarily measured by two main indices 
      • WPI (Wholesale Price Index) and 
      • CPI (Consumer Price Index) 
      • These measure wholesale and retail-level price changes, respectively.

    Jivan Vayu

    Recently, the Indian Institute of Technology, Ropar has developed a device called ‘Jivan Vayu’.

    • It is India’s first such deviceIndia’s first Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP) device which functions even without electricity and is adapted to both kinds of oxygen generation units like O2 cylinders and oxygen pipelines in hospitals.
    • These provisions are not available in otherwise existing CPAP machines so Jivan Vayu can be used as their substitutes.
      • CPAP is a treatment method for patients having breathing problems during sleep called sleep apnea and to treat infants whose lungs have not fully developed
      • The machine uses mild air pressure to keep the airways open for easy breathing.
      • The treatment is all the more necessary during early stages of the Covid-19 infection as it reduces lung damage and allows patients to recover from the inflammatory effects.
    • Jivan Vayu is leak-proof, low-cost, customisable and can run during power failures.
    • It has an inbuilt viral filter at the air entertainment end which has a viral efficacy of 99.99 per cent.
    • The device has been manufactured using 3D printing and has also been tested mechanically.
    • It can deliver high flow oxygen (20-60 LPM) while maintaining a continuous positive pressure of up to 20 cm H2O.

    (Image Courtesy: PIB)

    Forex Reserve

    India’s foreign exchange reserves crossed the $600 billion mark for the first time.

    • Foreign exchange reserves are important assets held by the central bank in foreign currencies as reserves.
      • Most of the reserves are usually held in US dollars given the currency’s importance in the international financial and trading system.
      • Some central banks keep reserves in Euros, British pounds, Japanese yen or Chinese yuan in addition to their US dollar reserves.
    • They are commonly used to support the exchange rate and set monetary policy
    • India’s forex reserves include Foreign Currency Assets(FCA), Gold reserves, Special Drawing Rights(SDR), Reserve Tranche Position with the International Monetary Fund (IMF)
    • The forex reserves are managed by the Reserve Bank of India for the Indian government and the main component is foreign currency assets and they act as the first line of defence for India in case of economic crisis.
    • Significance 
      • It also limits external vulnerability by maintaining foreign currency liquidity to absorb shocks during times of crisis or when access to borrowing is curtailed
      • The reserve facilitates external trade and payment and promotes orderly development and maintenance of foreign exchange market in India.
    • Countries with the highest foreign reserves
      • Currently, China has the largest reserves followed by Japan, Switzerland, Russia and India on the International Monetary Fund table.
    • India is very close to overtaking Russia to become the fourth largest country with foreign exchange reserves.
    • Initiatives taken by the government to increase forex
      • Atma Nirbhar Bharat, in which India has to be made a self-reliant nation so that India does not have to import things that India can produce. 
      • The government has started schemes like Duty Exemption Scheme, Remission of Duty or Taxes on Export Product (RoDTEP), Nirvik (Niryat Rin Vikas Yojana) scheme etc. 
      • Apart from these schemes, India is one of the top countries that attracted the highest amount of Foreign Direct Investment, thereby improving India’s foreign exchange reserves

    New Atlantic Charter

    Recently, President Joe Biden and British Prime Minister Boris Johnson inspected documents related to the Atlantic Charter.

    • The two leaders plan to sign what they’re calling a new Atlantic Charter, pledging to “defend the principles, values, and institutions of democracy and open societies.”
    • The Atlantic Charter is a declaration signed by British Prime Minister Winston Churchill and U.S. President Franklin D. Roosevelt in August 1941, setting out common goals for the world after the Second World War. 
    • Those goals included freer trade, disarmament and the right to self-determination of all people,they desired no territorial changes without the free assent of the peoples concerned, neither nation sought any aggrandizement.
      • They hoped to promote worldwide collaboration to improve labour standards, economic progress, and social security.
    • It is often cited as a cornerstone of the trans-Atlantic “special relationship’’.

    Dagmara Hydro-Electric Project

    • A Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) has been signed between NHPC Limited and Bihar State Hydroelectric Power Corporation Limited (BSHPC) for Implementation of the Dagmara Hydro-Electric Project  over the Kosi River in Supaul district.
    • Dagmara multipurpose hydropower project—is coming up 31 km downstream on Kosi river under Bhaptiyahi block in Supaul district
    • The cost of Project is presently considered as Rs 2435.91 crore to be actualized as appraised by CEA during Detailed Project Report (DPR) clearance.
    • The total generation capacity of the ‘Run-of-River’ project will be 130.1 MW, which will comprise two power houses, while the barrage length would be 753 metre and it would have 36 gates on river Kosi River.
    • The Government of Bihar shall purchase the entire power to be generated from the Project for its complete life .
    • It is the largest hydropower project of Bihar to be implemented by NHPC on ownership basis. 
    • Significance 
      • The project would contribute immensely in India’s mission for energy transition for lesser use of fossil fuel. 
      • It will create immense opportunities for generating both direct and indirect employment in Bihar.
      • It will also uplift the socio-economic condition in the project area.
    • NHPC
      • It  is a Category-A Miniratna Company under the Ministry of Power, Government of India in the field of Hydropower.
      • Currently, NHPC has 24 operational power stations with a total installed capacity of 7071 MW.

    North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO)

    Recently, NATO leaders declared that China poses a constant security challenge and is working to undermine global order.

    • NATO is an intergovernmental military alliance established by the North Atlantic Treaty (also called the Washington Treaty) of April 4, 1949, by the United States, Canada, and several Western European nations to provide collective security against the erstwhile Soviet Union.
    • Its headquarters are located in Evere, Brussels, Belgium, while the headquarters of Allied Command Operations is near Mons, Belgium and
    • It has 30 members at present mainly in Europe and North America.
    • Its purpose is to guarantee the freedom and security of its members through political and military means.
    • Political Objective: It promotes democratic values and enables members to consult and cooperate on defence and security-related issues to solve problems, build trust and, in the long run, prevent conflict.
    • Military Objective: It is committed to the peaceful resolution of disputes. If diplomatic efforts fail,  it has the military power to undertake crisis-management operations