Daily Current Affairs – 17-08-2023


    Legalisation of Cannabis


    Syllabus: GS3/Challenges to Internal Security


    • The German government approved a draft law legalising the purchase and possession of cannabis for recreational use, allowing adults to possess up to 25 grams of cannabis and grow up to three plants for personal use.

    What is Cannabis ?

    • It is a generic term used to denote the several psychoactive preparations of the plant Cannabis sativa.
    • The major psychoactive constituent in cannabis is tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). and compounds structurally similar to THC are referred to as cannabinoids.
    • The Mexican term ‘marijuana’ is frequently used in referring to cannabis leaves or other crude plant material in many countries.
    • The use of marijuana is highest in the United States, Canada, Zambia, and Nigeria. The effect of marijuana can last from two hours to six hours.

    Side-effects of using Cannabis

    • Its immediate effects include impairments in memory and in mental processes, including ones that are critical for driving.
    • Long-term use of cannabis may lead to the development of addiction of the substance, persistent cognitive deficits, and of mental health problems like schizophrenia, depression and anxiety.
    • Exposure to cannabis in adolescence can alter brain development.

    The legality of Cannabis in India

    • Marijuana is illegal in India under the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act, 1985 (NDPS Act).
      • It was in 1985 that India, under pressure from the United Nations, adopted the international treaty of Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs (SCND) 1961, placing it alongside drugs like heroin.
    • The Indian government allows the sale of bhang although some states like Assam, Gujarat, Maharashtra, and Karnataka have banned the use and sale of bhang (Gujarat later decriminalised it in 2017).
    • The sale and production of cannabis resin and flowers are prohibited across the country, while the states hold the power to regulate and impose laws on the sale of cannabis leaves and seeds.
    • Exclusions of the Act: Bhang, which is made with the leaves of the plant, is not mentioned in the NDPS Act.
    • Special provision: It states that the government ‘may allow cultivation of any cannabis plant for industrial purposes only of obtaining fibre or seed or for horticultural purposes’.

    Arguments in favour of Legalising Cannabis

    • Plant was most likely brought to India by Aryan migrants between 1000 and 2000 BC. It is treated as a sacred plant in the Vedas, considered a source of joy. The Hindu god Shiva is revered as the Lord of Bhang.
    • The central government stated that the present legal framework regulating the usage of cannabis did not violate Articles 14 (right to equality), 19(1) (g) [freedom of trade], 21 (right to life or other fundamental rights guaranteed under the Constitution.
    • The legalization of marijuana can help create jobs, battle stress, improve human concentration, resolve medical problems and provide sustainable agricultural incomes, among other things.
    • Given India’s production capacity of cannabis, the government stands to benefit in terms of tax.

    Arguments inagainst of Legalising Cannabis

    • It May Affect Your Mental Health: Not everyone’s experience with marijuana is pleasant. It often can leave you anxious, afraid, panicked, or paranoid. Using marijuana may raise your chances for clinical depression or worsen the symptoms of any mental disorders you already have.
    • It May Impair Your Brain: Marijuana can make it harder for you to focus, learn, and remember things. This seems to be a short-term effect that lasts for 24 hours or longer after you stop smoking.
    • Misusing: In Indian context, when prescription drugs are grossly misused, It is hard to ensure disciplined use of cannabis.
    • Introduction of yet another psychoactive drug will wreak havoc on a population still struggling with tobacco, alcohol.

    Punishment under the NDPS Act, 1985

    • The NDPS Act provides for the act of consuming any narcotic drugs and psychotropic substances which is an offence for the purpose of the Act.
      • Any person consuming substances such as morphine, cocaine, diacetyl-morphine and any other drug later specified as one by the central government under a notification shall lead to rigorous imprisonment for a term extending up to one year or fine up to twenty thousand rupees, or both.
      • Any narcotic drug or a psychotropic substance, other than those included in the list, shall lead to imprisonment up to six months or fine up to ten thousand rupees, or both.

    What are the judgements related to it?

    • In Arjun Singh vs the State of Haryana, the Chandigarh High Court observed that bhang is not cannabis (hemp) under the provisions given under NDPS Act although it is a cannabis plant. Thus it is not necessarily unlawful to eat cannabis.
    • In 2019, the Delhi High Court agreed to listen to the petition made by the Great Legalisation Movement India Trust, that challenged the ban on cannabis stating that the NDPS Act’s restrictions are arbitrary, unscientific, and unreasonable.

    Countries legalising the use of Cannabis

    • Far more countries have legalised the drug for medicinal purposes, including most European Union members.
    • Germany joined the cannabis legalisation revolution, announcing plans to permit the recreational use of the drug, as well as its production.
    • Malta became the first EU member to legalise recreational cannabis, allowing adults to carry up to seven grams and grow up to four plants at home.
    • Uruguay became the first country in the world to legalise the production, distribution and consumption of cannabis in 2013. 

    What comes after legalisation of Cannabis?

    • With legalisation comes commercialisation, which comes at a cost which we have seen with tobacco and alcohol.
      • The morbidity and mortality associated with tobacco and alcohol rank amongst the top 10 in terms of the global disease burden. Despite knowledge of the risks of smoking, cigarettes remain legal and the tobacco industry continues to thrive.

    Way Forward

    • Legalizing marijuana can help reduce addictive behavior by erasing the stigma around it. However, there is no scientific study yet to conclusively prove that legalizing cannabis leads to a healthier relationship with drugs and substance abuse.


    Removing gender stereotypes from the law 

    Syllabus: GS1/ Social Empowerment

    In News

    • The Supreme Court has recently launched a ‘Handbook on Combating Gender Stereotypes’.

    More about the news

    • Aim of the handbook: Handbook on Combating Gender Stereotypes aims to free the judiciary and the legal community from the mechanical application of gender stereotypical language in judgments, orders, and court pleadings.
      • It “aims to assist judges and the legal community in identifying, understanding and combating stereotypes about women”.
    • Handbook contains: It contains a glossary of gender-unjust terms and suggests alternative words or phrases which may be used while drafting pleadings as well as orders and judgments.
      • Some of the other terms that the handbook wants courts to avoid using are adulteress, bastard, career woman, carnal intercourse, concubine/keep, housewife, mistress, prostitute,  transsexual and unwed mother.

    Gender Stereotyping terms 

    • “Eve teasing” is the incorrect way of saying “street sexual harassment” which should be the “alternative language preferred” in courts, and it is a “stereotype” that “women who consume alcohol or smoke cigarettes want to engage in sexual relations with men”.
    • These are among the dozens of “stereotypes” and “incorrect stereotype promoting language” flagged by the Supreme Court.

    Issues with stereotypes

    • On a micro-level, stereotypes lead to exclusion and discrimination in workplaces, educational institutions, and public places.
    • They may also have an adverse impact on the mental health or professional performance of the members of the stereotyped group because they are aware that they are being viewed in a particular manner.
    • The use of stereotypes by judges also has the effect of entrenching and perpetuating stereotypes, creating a vicious cycle of injustice.

    Significance of Handbook

    • The handbook calls upon the Indian judiciary to recognise the deep-rooted impact of gender stereotypes and actively work to dismantle them from its thinking, decision-making, and writing.
    • As pointed out by the Chief Justice of India, “even when the use of stereotypes does not alter the outcome of a case, stereotypical language may reinforce ideas contrary to our constitutional ethos”.
    • Using stereotypes, instead of objectively evaluating the situation, goes against the constitutional principle of ‘equal protection of laws’, which posits that the law should apply uniformly and impartially to every individual, irrespective of their membership to a group or category. 

    Source: TH


    Syllabus: GS1/Art and Culture


    • UGC sets-up a panel to develop a model syllabus for courses in study of manuscripts that can be offered as subjects for specialisation or as electives.


    • The University Grants Commission has formed a special panel to develop model syllabi for courses in manuscriptology and paleography in various colleges and universities across the country.
      • For this, the National Mission for Manuscripts (NMM) had sent a proposal for the same in line with the National Education Policy 2020.
      • The committee has been set up ‘for standardising the postgraduate diploma courses in manuscriptology and paleography in various colleges and universities’.
    • Universities can use the syllabus to offer various courses as part of promotion of the Indian Knowledge System recommended in the NEP.

    What is Manuscriptology?

    • It is the study of history and literature through the use of handwritten documents.
      • Paleography is the study of ancient writing systems, mostly that of the classical and mediaeval periods.
    • A manuscript speaks of the past, reveals history, unfolds perspectives & reflects socio – cultural scenes of its time.
    • Its contents are significant literally, scientifically and historically. It forms fascinating paleography, calligraphically and technically.
    • Thus, manuscripts are concrete examples of humanistic & artistic activities of the past.
    • According to the National Mission for Manuscripts (NMM), India possesses an estimated 10 million manuscripts in 80 ancient scripts, which are written on materials such as palm leaf, paper, cloth, and bark.
      • While 75% of the existing manuscripts are in Sanskrit, 25% are in regional languages.
      • India possesses an estimated 10 million manuscripts in 80 ancient scripts like Brahmi, Kushan, Gaudi, Lepcha, and Maithili.
    • The Bakhshali manuscript, an ancient Indian mathematical text written on birch bark, is considered to be the earliest recorded example of the use of zero.

    Objectives: Preserving heritage

    • Preserving Indian manuscripts sustains and enhances the country’s diversity and contributes to a deeper understanding of its heritage. Different States of India are repositories of centuries-old knowledge, reflecting the thoughts, beliefs, and practices of the past.
    • The manuscripts, available in different Indian languages and scripts, encompass a diverse range of subjects such as philosophy, science, literature, religion, and more.
    • These manuscripts provide invaluable insights into the history, intellectual contributions, and traditions of India, which can safeguard cultural treasures, foster academic research, and inspire future generations.

    Government plans law on protection of Indian manuscripts

    • The government is planning to introduce the National Manuscripts Bill, 2023, with the aim to document and catalogue Indian heritage texts wherever they may be, in India or abroad, maintain accurate and up-to-date information about them, and detail the conditions under which they may be consulted.
    • It envisages setting up a 10-member National Manuscripts Authority (NMA).
      • The Culture Minister as a Chairperson and the other members would include the Secretaries of Culture, Finance and Education, the Vice-Chancellor of Central Sanskrit University, special invitees representing the States, and private agencies.

    About NMA

    • It would be the apex policy making body with regard to digitisation, conservation, preservation, editing, and publication work of manuscripts.
    • It would have the powers of a civil court to regulate the allocation of access to manuscripts and would also have an investigation wing for the purpose of conducting an inquiry into thefts and desecration of texts.
    • It would also ensure that the manuscripts are not lost by damage or theft.
    • It can collaborate with universities and other educational institutions or agencies to provide fellowships and scholarships for study of manuscripts.


    First-ever WHO Global Summit on Traditional Medicine

    Syllabus: GS2/Health Issues


    • The Ministry of Ayush and World Health Organisation (WHO) organised the first global summit on Traditional Medicine in Gandhinagar, Gujarat.
      • Theme of the summit was ‘Ayush for Planetary Health and Well-being’.


    • The Global Centre on Traditional Medicines was established by the WHO, as the United Nation’s first and largest traditional medicine outpost in any developing country.
      • It was decided to establish the WHO-GCTM in India at Jamnagar, Gujarat.
    • It aims to explore the role of traditional, complementary and integrative medicine in addressing pressing health challenges and driving progress in global health and sustainable development.
    • The evidence-based research is being done in the field of AYUSH in dealing with diseases like cancer, TB, communicable diseases and women and child health with scientific approach, along with mainstream health care.
    • By the end of the year, more than 12,500 Ayush-based Health & wellness centres will be functional across the nation, out of which 8,500 are already in place.

    Significance of the summit

    • The Ayush VISA will facilitate global access to Indian traditional medicine systems and will usher in a new era of comprehensive healthcare.
    • The Ayush Exhibition Zone will be set-up with promises of an immersive experience with innovative and interactive kiosks.
    • It aims to harness the potential of traditional medicine from across the world through modern science and technology to improve the health of people and the planet.

    Traditional Medicines

    • The WHO describes traditional medicine as the sum total of the ‘knowledge, skills and practices indigenous and different cultures have used over time to maintain health and prevent, diagnose and treat physical and mental illness’.
    • Its reach encompasses ancient practices such as acupuncture, ayurvedic medicine and herbal mixtures as well as modern medicines.
    • Around 80% of the world’s population is estimated to use traditional medicine.

    In India

    • It is often defined as including practices and therapies — such as yoga, Ayurveda, Siddha — that have been part of Indian tradition historically, as well as others — such as homoeopathy — that became part of Indian tradition over the years.
      • The Siddha system is followed predominantly in Tamil Nadu and Kerala;
      • The Sowa-Rigpa system is practised mainly in Leh-Ladakh and Himalayan regions such as Sikkim, Arunachal Pradesh, Darjeeling, Lahaul & Spiti.


    MoU between India and Suriname 

    Syllabus: GS2/IR


    • The Union Cabinet, was apprised of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) signed between India and Suriname  in the field of Medical Products Regulation.


    • The main areas of cooperation between the two nations include the following:
      • To accept Indian Pharmacopoeia (IP) as a book of standards for medicines in Suriname;
      • Exchange of information and cooperation on Good Laboratory Practices (GLP), Good Clinical Practices (GCP), Good Manufacturing Practices (GMP) and Good Pharmacovigilance Practices (GPvP);
      • To have better scope for development of generic medicines and contributing to availability of affordable medicines in Suriname;
      • To  explore  opportunities  for technical cooperation in   areas  of mutual benefit in the development of monographs and future technologies.


    • It would boost the export of Indian pharmaceutical products to these countries as it would remove double regulation, duplication in testing and post importation checks. Indian drug exporters would thus gain a competitive edge and trade would become more remunerative.
    • Importing nations would gain access to quality Indian medical products at affordable prices.
    • Manufacturers in importing countries would have better scope for
      development of generic medicines contributing to availability of affordable
      medicines to their citizens.

    Concluding Remarks

    • The MoU will facilitate export of medical products leading  to better employment opportunities for educated professionals in the Pharmaceutical sector and foreign   exchange   earnings. This  would   be   a   step  towards  an Atmanirbhar Bharat.
    • Currently, the Indian Pharmacopoeia (IP) is officially recognized by five countries: Afghanistan, Ghana, Nepal, Mauritius and the Republic of Suriname. It will further seek to expand the nations which recognize the IP.


    • Suriname is a small country on the northern coast of South America. It’s defined by vast swaths of tropical rainforest, Dutch colonial architecture and a melting-pot culture.
    • Capital:Paramaribo 
    • Suriname is bordered by the Atlantic Ocean to the north, by French Guiana to the east, by Brazil to the south, and by Guyana to the west.
    • Dutch is the official language of Suriname.


    Source: PIB

    Sulina Channel

    Syllabus: GS2/IR

    In News

    • The Danube delta has provided Ukraine with an alternative passage for its grain after Russia withdrew from the Black Sea grain deal last month.


    • The deal, brokered by the UN and Turkey, used to provide safe passage for cargo ships carrying grain from Ukrainian Black Sea ports of Odessa, Chornomorsk and Pivdennyi.
    • Ukraine, often called the “breadbasket of Europe”, is among the world’s biggest grain exporters, with its economy heavily dependent on agricultural exports.

    About Danube River

    • Crossing through ten countries and draining some 817,000 km² and the territory of 18 countries, the Danube is the most international river in the world.
    • Flowing from Germany’s Black Forest to the Danube Delta in Romania and Ukraine and the Black Sea, the Danube is Europe’s only major river which flows west to east, from Central to Eastern Europe. 
    • The Danube is the longest river of the European Union and Europe’s second-longest after the Volga.
    • The European Commission now recognizes the Danube as the “single most important non-oceanic body of water in Europe” and a “future central axis for the European Union”. 
    • Major tributaries of the Danube include the Tisza, Drava, Sava, Inn, and Prut rivers.

    About Sulina Channel

    • Of particular importance in this ‘new’ trade route is the Sulina Channel – a 63 km long distributary of the Danube, connecting major Ukrainian ports on the river to the Black Sea, lying completely within the borders of Romania, a NATO member.
    • The Danube has historically been crucial for the movement of freight. 
      • Near Tulcea, Romania, some 80 km from the sea, the river begins to spread out into its delta which has three major channels – Chilia, Sulina and St George.
    • Of these, the Sulina Channel, which has been dredged and straightened, is the only one deep and wide enough for freight transport. This makes it a sort of a riverine ‘expressway’ – crucial for transport of goods from inland to the Black Sea.
    • Ships carrying grain from Ukraine leave from Ukrainian ports such as Izmail and Reni on the mainstream (or the Chilia Channel), and head to the port of Sulina, at the mouth of the Sulina Channel.
      • From there, they head around 140 km south to Constanta, Romania’s biggest seaport. 
      • Here the cargo is transferred to bigger ships that carry it out of the Black Sea into the Mediterranean through the Bosphorus straits. 
      • This route is under constant surveillance and protection of NATO.

    Source: IE

    Expansion of the Digital India Programme 



    • The Union Cabinet Approved the five year extension and expansion of the Digital India programme. 


    • Digital India programme was launched in 2015 to enable digital delivery of services to citizens. 
    • The expansion of the programme will have an outlay of ₹14,903 crore.

    Key Highlights of the programme

    • 6.25 lakh IT professionals will be re-skilled and up-skilled under the FutureSkills Prime Programme;
    • 2.65 lakh persons will be trained in information security under the Information Security & Education Awareness Phase (ISEA) Programme;
    • 540 additional services will be available under the Unified Mobile Application for New-age Governance (UMANG) app/ platform. At present over 1,700 services are already available on UMANG;
    • The National Supercomputing Mission, which has deployed 18 supercomputers, will add nine more such machines. “These supercomputers will have so many applications in weather forecasting, geology, agriculture, and Artificial Intelligence (AI) modeling
    • Bhashini, the AI-enabled multi-language translation tool (currently available in 10 languages) will be rolled out in all 22 schedule 8 languages;
    • Modernisation of the National Knowledge Network (NKN) which connects 1,787 educational institutions;
    • DigiLocker, the online repository operated by the government for official documents, will be expanded to serve Medium, Small and Micro Enterprises, or MSMEs. This will make it easier for them to get verified documents for business loans.
    • 1,200 startups will be supported in Tier 2/3 cities and Cyber-awareness courses for 12 crores college students;
    • 3 Centers of Excellence in Artificial Intelligence on health, agriculture and sustainable cities will be set up;

    Digital India programme 

    • Digital India is a flagship programme of the Government of India with a vision to transform India into a digitally empowered society and knowledge economy. 
    • The programme was launched in 2015.Digital India encompasses key vision areas of:


    Facts In News

    G20-Digital Innovation Alliance (G20 DIA)

    Syllabus: GS-2/International Relations


    • Union Minister of State for Skill Development and Entrepreneurship and Electronics and IT inaugurated the G20-Digital Innovation Alliance Summit in Bengaluru (Karnataka).


    • The Summit will have focused discussions on ‘Digital Public Infrastructure (DPI)’, ‘Security in the Digital Economy’, ‘Digital Skilling ‘ etc.
    • It recognizes and accelerates the growth of startups in six specified sectors including Ed-tech, Health-tech, Agri-tech, Fin-tech, Secured Digital Infrastructure, and Circular Economy.
    • It will unite the global innovation ecosystems to recognize and support startups developing innovative digital solutions that reduce the digital divide among segments of humanity and boost the global economy.
    • It will showcase innovative ideas and create an alliance of innovation ecosystem players for the upliftment of societies.
    • As part of the G20-Digital Innovation Alliance, MeitY is launching a series of events, expert sessions, webinars, capacity building workshops to ensure fruitful and constructive engagement of innovators, entrepreneurs, startups, corporates, investors, mentors etc. 

    India’s G 20 Presidency

    • India inherited the G20 presidency from Indonesia(the former G20 chair).
    • Vasudhaiva Kutumba-kam, or “One Earth, One Family, One Future,” is the theme of India’s G20 Presidency.
    • G20 Logo: The lotus motif in the G20 logo represents hope in this moment. The lotus blooms despite the challenging conditions.  For this reason, the Earth is also positioned on a lotus in the G20 logo.

    Source: PIB

    Meri Maati, Mera Desh Campaign

    Syllabus: GS-2/Society


    • The Union government has launched the Meri Maati, Mera Desh campaign.


    The Five elements of the Campaign include:

    • Dedication of Shilaphalakam (memorial): To express heartfelt gratitude to veers (bravehearts) who have made the supreme sacrifice. On the Shila Palakam, names of the Veers are to be inscribed. It includes freedom fighters, defence personnel, CAPF personnel, and State Police .
    • Panch Pran Pledge: At memorial, People will take pledge affirming their commitment towards the country.
    • Vasudha Vandhan: Each Gram Panchayat/village will plant 75 saplings of indigenous species developing an Amrit Vatika.
    • Veeron ka Vandan: Panchayats may hold felicitation ceremonies for honoring the freedom fighters and the families of the deceased freedom fighters.
    • Hoisting of the National Flag and singing of Rashtra Gaan may be undertaken at each program.

    Other Events

    • Youth volunteers and other people would collect Mitti from each Panchayat/Village and bring them to block level. The Mitti Kalash would be carried to Delhi from each block.
    • The collected soil will be used to create the Amrit Vatika, a special garden celebrating national integrity and the warriors of the Indian freedom struggle, near Delhi’s Kartavya Path.

    Source: PIB

    PM-eBus Sewa

    Syllabus:GS3/Energy and Infrastructure


    • The Cabinet has approved a bus scheme “PM-eBus Sewa” for augmenting city bus operation by 10,000 e-buses on PPP model.  
      • A Public-Private Partnership (PPP) is a partnership between the public sector and the private sector for the purpose of delivering a project or a service traditionally provided by the public sector.


    • An e-bus is a bus whose propulsion and accessory systems are powered exclusively by a zero-emissions electricity source.
    • Funding:The Scheme would have an estimated cost of Rs.57,613 crore, out of which support of Rs.20,000 crore will be provided by the Central government. The Scheme will support bus operations for 10 years.
    • Reaching the Unreached:The scheme will cover cities of Three lakh and above population as per census 2011, including all the Capital cities of Union Territories, North Eastern Region and Hill States. Under this scheme priority will be given to cities having no organized bus service.

    Segments of the scheme

    • Segment AAugmenting the City bus services in 169 cities
      • The approved bus scheme will augment city bus operations with 10,000 e-buses on Public Private Partnership (PPP) model.
      • Associated Infrastructure will provide support for Development/ up-gradation of depot infrastructure; and Creation of behind-the-meter power infrastructure (substation, etc.) for e-buses.
    • Segment BGreen Urban Mobility Initiatives (GUMI) in 181 cities
      • The scheme envisages green initiatives like bus priority, infrastructure, multimodal interchange facilities, NCMC-based Automated Fare Collection Systems, Charging infrastructure, etc.
      • Support for Operation: Under the scheme, States/Cities shall be responsible for running the bus services and making payments to the bus operators.The Central Government will support these bus operations by providing subsidies to the extent specified in the proposed scheme.


    • Direct Employment Generation:The scheme will generate 45,000 to 55,000 direct jobs through deployment of around 10,000 buses in city bus operation. 
    • Boost to E-Mobility: It will foster innovation in the e-mobility sector as well as development of a resilient supply chain for electric vehicles.
    • Reduce pollution: Adoption to Electric mobility will reduce noise and air pollution and curb carbon emission.


    Cabinet Approves PM Vishwakarma

    Syllabus: GS3/Economy

    In News

    • The Union Cabinet has approved a new Central Sector Scheme ‘PM Vishwakarma’ to support traditional artisans and craftspeople of rural and urban India.
      • Central Sector Schemes are those that are implemented by a central agency and 100% funded by the center on subjects within the union list.


    • The scheme aims to strengthen and nurture the Guru-Shishya parampara or family-based practice of traditional skills by artisans and craftspeople working with their hands and tools. 
      • The scheme also aims at improving the quality, as well as the reach of products and services of artisans and craftspeople and to ensure that the Vishwakarmas are integrated with the domestic and global value chains.
    • The artisans and craftspeople will be provided recognition through PM Vishwakarma certificate and ID card, Credit Support upto Rs.1 lakh (First Tranche) and Rs.2 lakh (Second Tranche) with a concessional interest rate of 5%.  
    • The Scheme will further provide Skill Upgradation, Toolkit Incentive, Incentive for Digital Transactions and Marketing Support.
    • Eighteen traditional trades will be covered in the first instance under PM Vishwakarma. 
      • These trades include (i) Carpenter (Suthar); (ii) Boat Maker; (iii) Armourer; (iv) Blacksmith (Lohar); (v) Hammer and Tool Kit Maker; (vi) Locksmith; (vii) Goldsmith (Sonar); (viii) Potter (Kumhaar); (ix) Sculptor (Moortikar, stone carver), Stone breaker; (x) Cobbler(Charmkar)/ Shoesmith/Footwear artisan; (xi) Mason (Rajmistri); (xii) Basket/Mat/Broom Maker/Coir Weaver; (xiii) Doll & Toy Maker (Traditional); (xiv) Barber (Naai); (xv) Garland maker (Malakaar); (xvi) Washerman (Dhobi); (xvii) Tailor (Darzi); and (xviii) Fishing Net Maker.

    Source: PIB

    ZARTH Application

    Syllabus: GS3/Developments in Science and Technology


    • Technology has made it possible for any space enthusiast to watch cosmic events called transients (typically lasting fractions of a second to days or even years), with the help of a smartphone.


    • Smartphones these days have amazing cameras and apps can further extend their low-light capabilities. Once paired with a telescope, the phone turns into a veritable looking glass to the heavens.
    • There are space-focused apps to help find and record objects and astronomical phenomena in the night sky. E.g. The Google Sky Map, is described as “a hand-held planetarium for Android device” and can locate and identify stars, planets, and nebulae (enormous clouds of gas and dust in interstellar space) in seconds. 

    The ZARTH Application

    • The new app, called ZARTH, short for ‘ZTF Augmented Reality Transient Hunter’, is built along the lines of the augmented reality mobile game Pokemon Go.
    • It uses the open-source Sky Map and adds data daily from the Zwicky Transient Facility (ZTF)’s robotic telescope at the Palomar Observatory in California.
    • The ZTF scans the entire northern sky every two days and uses the data to make large area sky maps that have important applications in tracking near-earth asteroids and studying supernovae.
    • Students from the Indian Institutes of Technology at Mandi and Gandhinagar were also involved in developing ZARTH.
    • Once a player catches a transient, ZARTH shares more information about it, earns points, and goes on to collect more transients.
    • Tracking down transients on ZARTH include supernovae, flaring stars (variable stars that flare up for a short while), white dwarf binaries (burnt remains of dead stars that orbit one another and often merge and explode in supernovae), active galactic nuclei, and several other types.


    • ZTF researchers hope that ZARTH will help augment the data on transients as more and more citizen scientists devote their time to it.
    • Its introduction in schools and college classrooms has vast potential for incorporating it into STEM and also doing citizen science.
    • As astronomers increasingly turn to machine-learning and artificial intelligence to study transients, apps like ZARTH will help detect rare and new astronomical events with such human-AI collaboration.

    Source: TH

    Multi-tracking Projects for Indian Railways

    Syllabus: GS3/Infrastructure: Railways


    • The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs recently approved Seven projects of the Ministry of Railways with estimated cost of around Rs.32,500 Crore, with 100% funding from Central Government. 


    • The proposals of Multi-tracking will ease operations and reduce congestion, providing the much required infrastructural development on the busiest sections across Indian Railways.
    • The projects covering 35 Districts in 9 States i.e. Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Telangana, Andhra Pradesh, Maharashtra, Gujarat, Odisha, Jharkhand and West Bengal will increase the existing network of Indian Railways by 2339 Kms. 
    • Apart from the infrastructure enhancements, these projects are anticipated to augment freight capacity, accommodating approximately 200 million tonnes of additional freight traffic annually.
    • These projects are regarded as more than just infrastructural advancements. They are engines of employment generation, promising a substantial 7.06 crore person-days of work for the residents of the states in which they are being executed.
    • These are essential routes for transportation of varied basket of commodities such as foodgrains, fertilizers, coal, cement, fly-ash, iron and finished steel, clinkers, crude oil, limestone, edible oil etc. 
    • The Railways being an environment friendly and energy efficient mode of transportation, will help both in achieving climate goals and for reducing logistics cost of the country.
    • The projects are in line with the Vision of a New India which will make people of the region “Atma Nirbhar” by creating a Multi-tasking work force in the region and will enhance their employment/self employment opportunities.
    • The projects are result of PM-Gati Shakti National Master Plan for Multi-model connectivity which have been possible through integrated planning and will provide seamless connectivity for movement of people, goods and services.

    Source: PIB

    MoUs Signed between India and Australia

    Syllabus: GS2/IR

    In News

    • The Union Cabinet chaired by the Prime Minister has approved the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on Cooperation in Sports and trade with Australia.


    • For sports it was signed between the Ministry of Youth Affairs & Sports, India and the Department of Health and Aged Care of the Government of Australia. 
      • It will help in expanding knowledge and expertise in the area of sport which would result in improvement in performance of sportspersons in international tournaments and strengthening of bilateral relations between India and Australia.
    • The Cabinet has also approved the signing and ratification of the Mutual Recognition Arrangement (MRA) between the Central Board of Indirect taxes and Customs (CBIC), Department of Revenue, Government of India and the Department of Home Affairs incorporating the Australian Border Force, Australian Government.
      • Mutual recognition of Authorized Economic Operators is a key element of the World Customs Organisation’s SAFE Framework of Standards to secure and facilitate global trade to strengthen end-to-end security of supply chains while providing higher facilitation to trade at the global level. 
      • The arrangement is aimed at providing reciprocal benefits to accredited and trusted exporters of both the signatories in the clearance of goods by the Customs authorities of the importing country. 
      • Mutual Recognition of the Australian Trusted Trader Program in Australia and the Authorized Economic Operator Program in India shall enter into force from the date of signing by the authorized representatives of both the countries. 

    Source: PIB


    Syllabus :GS 3/Species In News

    In News

    • According to study ,Lumpy Skin Disease Virus (LSDV) was first detected in Cambodia in a banteng .


    About Banteng(Bos javanicus)

    • It is a type of wild cattle native to Southeast Asia.
    • It prefers to roam the open and dry deciduous forests where grassy vegetation is found in abundance. 
    • It historically occurred from southern China and, probably, northeast India throughout mainland southeast Asia, through Peninsular Malaysia to the islands of Borneo, Java, and probably Bali . 
      • The most significant known Banteng populations remaining are in Java, Cambodia and perhaps Thailand and Borneo (Sabah, Malaysia).
    • The most important threats to banteng are hunting, and habitat degradation and loss. 
    • IUCN Red List status : Endangered 


    Syllabus :GS 3/Species In News

    In News

    The California redwood forests  now face a more uncertain future, given climate change and wildfires. 


    About Redwood 

    • Redwood (Sequoia sempervirens), also called coast redwood and California redwood.
    • California is home to the world’s only native coast redwood forest, which extends more than 450 miles from central California north to southern Oregon.
    • It is long lived, grows taller than any other tree species in the world. 
    • It is a coniferous tree .
    • IUCN Status :  Endangered.
    • Uses : It is one of the most valuable timber species in the lumber industry, and the trees are extensively logged.