Facts in News

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    Facts in News

    Stygarctus Keralensis

    • Recently, New tardigrade species named Stygarctus keralensis were discovered from Vadakara.
      • They are tiny, they are tough, and the latest of their ilk to be identified has been named after Kerala.
    • The new tardigrade is a species of the genus Stygarctus.
      • It  is the eighth species named under the genus Stygarctus, which grows up to a length of 130 micrometres (0.13 mm).
    • Stygarctus keralensis  is the first taxonomically described marine tardigrade from the Indian waters, which makes the discovery a significant one.
    • The present discovery is an outcome of an ongoing Ministry of Earth Sciences-National Centre for Earth Science Studies study on the ecology and diversity of submarine groundwater habitats of Kerala.

    Tardigrades 

    • Tardigrades are so small and a  high-end microscope is required to study them .
    • Commonly called ‘water bears’ and ‘moss piglets’, they also rank among the hardiest animals on planet earth despite their minuscule size
    • They are very tough animals and are found everywhere on earth, from mountain tops to the deep sea.
    • They have survived five mass extinctions.
    • They are also related to insects, spiders, and crustaceans and are the lesser-known taxa of invertebrates.
    • They employ a curious process to deal with environmental stress. Called ‘cryptobiosis’, it brings their metabolic activities to a reversible standstill. A death-like state, more or less.
    • Certain tardigrade species can withstand extreme temperatures, pressures, radiation, and dehydration.

                                        Image Courtesy :TH

    Namami Gange Programme

    • A tripartite Concession Agreement between National Mission for Clean Ganga (NMCG), Kolkata Metropolitan Development Authority (KMDA) and M/s. Maheshtala Waste Water Management Private Limited was signed for the development of a 35 MLD Sewage Treatment Plant for Maheshtala on Hybrid Annuity PPP mode

    Namami Gange Programme

    • It is a flagship programme of the government and is implemented by the National Mission for Clean Ganga (NMCG), and State Programme Management Groups in the states. 
    • NMCG is the implementation wing of the National Ganga Council established in 2016 which replaced the National Ganga River Basin Authority (NGRBA).
    • It works under the Department of Water Resources, River Development and Ganga Rejuvenation, Ministry of Jal Shakti.
    • It is an Integrated Conservation Mission, approved as ‘Flagship Programme’ by the Union Government in June 2014 with a budget outlay of Rs.20,000 Crore to accomplish the twin objectives of effective abatement of pollution, conservation and rejuvenation of National River Ganga.
    • It integrates previous and currently ongoing initiatives by enhancing efficiency, extracting synergies and supplementing them with more comprehensive & better-coordinated interventions.
    • The main pillars of the programme are:
    • Sewerage Treatment Infrastructure & Industrial Effluent Monitoring.
    • River-Front Development & River-Surface Cleaning
    • Bio-Diversity & Afforestation
    • Public Awareness

    Ganga River System

    • The Ganga is the most important river of India both from the point of view of its basin and cultural significance. 
    • Origin: It rises from the Gangotri glacier near Gaumukh (3,900 m) in the Uttarkashi district of Uttarakhand. Here, it is known as the Bhagirathi. 
    • At Devprayag, the Bhagirathi meets the Alaknanda, then after, it is known as the Ganga. The Alaknanda has its source in the Satopanth glacier above Badrinath.
    • Tributaries: The Ramganga, the Gomati, the Ghaghara, the Gandak, the Kosi and the Mahanada. 
    • The river finally discharges itself into the Bay of Bengal near the Sagar Island.

    EUNAVFOR  Exercise

    • Recently, the maiden Indian Navy and European Union Naval Force (EUNAVFOR) exercise began in the Gulf of Aden.
      • Concurrently, a virtual “Information sharing Exercise” was conducted between the Indian Navy’s Information Fusion Centre for the Indian Ocean Region and Maritime Security Centre-Horn of Africa .

    Image Courtesy: Eunavfor

    Key Points

    • It is the first joint naval exercise between the Indian Navy and European Union Naval Force (EUNAVFOR).
      • European Union Naval Force Somalia (EUNAVFOR) is the EU’s counter-piracy mission off the coast of Somalia.
    • Countries participating in the exercise are India, Italy, Spain and France.
    • The two-day exercise will see high tempo-naval operations at sea, including advanced air defence and anti-submarine exercises, cross deck helicopter operations, tactical manoeuvres, boarding operations, underway replenishment, search and rescue and other maritime security operations.
    • Five warships from four navies are participating in the two-day exercise, which include Italian Navy Ship ITS Carabiniere, Spanish Navy Ship ESPS Navarra, and two French Navy Ship FS Tonnerre and FS Surcouf.
    • INS Trikand of India Navy  is participating in the exercise.
    • This engagement showcases increased levels of synergy, coordination and interoperability between IN and EUNAVFOR.

    Significance 

    • Ships of the four navies will endeavour to enhance and hone their war-fighting skills and their ability as an integrated force to promote, peace, security and stability in the maritime domain
    • It also underscores the shared values as partner navies, in ensuring freedom of seas and commitment to an open, inclusive and a rules-based international order.
    • Under the charter of the World Food Programme (UN WFP), EUNAVFOR and the Indian Navy converge on multiple issues including counter-piracy operations and protection of vessels deployed.

    Places in News: Lothal

    • The Union ministry of ports, shipping and waterways and the Union ministry of culture signed an MoU for ‘Cooperation in the development of the National Maritime Heritage Complex (NMHC)’ in Lothal in Gujarat.
      • The complex will be developed as an international tourist destination, where the maritime heritage of India from ancient to modern times will be showcased. 

    Lothal Site

    • The city of Lothal stood beside a Bhogava river, a tributary of Sabarmati, in Gujarat, close to the Gulf of Khambhat. 
    • It was situated near areas where raw materials such as semi-precious stones were easily available.
    • This was an important centre for making objects out of stone, shell and metal.
    • There was also a storehouse in the city. 
      • Many seals and sealings (the impression of seals on clay) were found in this storehouse
    • A building that was found here was probably a workshop for making beads: pieces of stone, half made beads, tools for bead making, and finished beads have all been found here
    • The excavated site of Lothal is the only port-town of the Indus Valley Civilisation.
    • A metropolis with an upper and a lower town had in on its northern side a basin with vertical wall, inlet and outlet channels  has been identified as a tidal dockyard. 
    • The site provides evidence of Harappa culture between 2400 BCE to 1600 BCE.

                                   Image Courtesy: ilearnace

    Kheer Bhawani Mela

    • It is the most important festival of Kashmiri Pandits and was celebrated on the occasion of Jyeshta Ashtami at the Kheer Bhawani temple in Ganderbal district of Jammu and Kashmir.
    • The festival also gives an opportunity for the separated Pandit and Mulsim communities of Kashmir to meet each other.
    • On this occasion, local Muslim shopkeepers were seen selling earthenware lamps, marigold flowers and other puja paraphernalia at the temple.

    Smart Enforcement App

    Launched by the Ministry of Commerce & Industry, is an IT based solution for the implementation of smart enforcement of rules and regulations related to road-based violations by trucks.

    • Need: On an average, a truck in India covers 50,000-60,000 km a year, compared to over 300,000 km in advanced nations such as the United States.
      • One of the key reasons is delays due to random stoppages for physical checking of vehicles and verification of documents e
      • While GST has helped improve the situation, there is a long way to go to reach the advanced country levels.
    • Features: It would fetch data related to goods being carried on the truck from the existing Goods and Services Tax Network (GSTN) database, and the information related to the vehicle from the VAHAN database.
      • Make this data available to enforcement officers on the road in advance for approaching trucks
      • Based on a risk matrix that uses historical patterns, the app assigns a risk profile to the truck helping the officers decide whether to stop it for further scrutiny
      • It requires the officer to issue all fines, penalties, or any other punitive measure through the app, ensuring transparency
      • The app includes features that keep records and help reduce ad-hoc implementation of these rules and regulations
    • Significance: Lead to decrease in number of physical checks of commercial vehicles by the enforcement officers
      • Overall reduction in the number of cash challan by issuing e-challan using the system
      • Reduction in deployment of work-force on Roads leading to better manpower utilization
      • Higher revenue collection due to reduced human intervention
      • Improved targeting of offenders
      • Reduction in Logistics Cost (currently at 13% of GDP).