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Weekly Current Affairs (15th to 21st May 2022) - 1 Notes | Study Current Affairs & Hindu Analysis: Daily, Weekly & Monthly - UPSC

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Thomas Cup

Context: India won Thomas Cup, the top team event  in men’s badminton, for the first time.

Key Highlights

  • India lifted the Thomas Cup for the first time, which is considered to be the most prestigious cup in men’s badminton.
  • The cup is similar to the World Cup in football and the Davis Cup in tennis.
  • With the win India breaks into the elite club of winnersChina, Malaysia, Indonesia, Japan and Denmark.
  • The Cup has been won by these five countries over the years.
  • India has reached semifinals for three times.
  • Since the event began in 1948, India has qualified for only 13 of its 32 editions.

About Thomas Cup

  • The Thomas Cup is also sometimes called the Men's Team Championship.
  • It is an international badminton championship in which teams from different countries participate.
  • The championship is conducted every two years.
  • An English player from the 1900s, George Alan
  • Thomas was the mastermind behind the Thomas Cup.
  • He proposed the idea of a championship tournament for badminton.
  • The idea was borrowed from the World Cup in football and the Davis Cup in tennis.
  • It was started in 1948 and was conducted every 3 years.
  • After 1982 it was conducted every 2 years.

Ranil Wickremesinghe

Context: Ranil Wickremesinghe has been appointed as the next Prime Minister of Sri Lanka.

About Ranil Wickremesinghe

  • Wickremesinghe's name was recommended for the next Prime Minister of Sri Lanka
  • after former PM Mahinda Rajapaksa resigned due to the economic crisis in the country.
  • He has been the leader of the United National Party since 1994.
  • He has served as Prime Minister of Sri Lanka four times: from 1993 to 1994, 2001 to 2004, 2015 to 2018 and 2018 to 2019.
  • Wickremesinghe is widely regarded as a leader capable of managing the economy through farsighted strategies and also as a politician capable of commanding international collaboration.

Fostering Effective Energy Transition Report, 2022

Context: World Economic Forum's released the report titled Fostering Effective Energy Transition 2022 Edition.

Key Findings

  • Achieving the goal of net-zero emissions by 2050 can be far-fetched without the contribution of industries.
  • The energy transition is not keeping pace with the growing climate urgency, the energy transition is not keeping pace with the growing climate urgency.
  • The lack of access to an affordable energy supply has emerged as a key threat to a just transition.
  • Dual diversification (of supply source and supply mix) is key to strengthening countries’ energy security.
  • Supply-side interventions will need to be augmented with demand-side efficiencies.
  • A holistic approach that delivers concurrently on the three transition imperatives – energy affordability, availability, and sustainability – at an accelerated pace is needed.
  • Regulatory frameworks need to be strengthened to drive the necessary actions and investments.
  • Industrial activity generates more than 30% of anthropogenic emissions, yet many industries face considerable challenges to decarbonize. Going forward, “clean demand” signals could be the necessary turning point to scale the projects and investments required for the development of lowemission industries.

Bharat Tap Initiative

Context: The Minister for Housing and Urban Affairs & Petroleum and Natural Gas, Shri Hardeep S Puri launched the BHARAT TAP initiative at the ‘Plumbex India’ exhibition.

Key Highlights

  • The Initiative is said to give effect to AMRUT 2.0, which is designed to realise the aspirations of the ‘New Urban India’ by making all our cities ‘Water Secure’.
  • AMRUT 2.0 will provide 100% coverage of water supply to all households in around 4,700 ULBs
  • through 2.68 crore tap connections.
  • 100% coverage of sewerage and septage in 500 cities through 2.64 crore sewer connections.
  • This will benefit more than 10.5 crore people in urban areas.
  • NAREDCO MAHI’s ‘Nirmal Jal Prayas’ initiative which will work for saving of 500 crore liters of water per year.
  • Objective:
    • To provide low-flow, sanitary-ware at scale
    • Reduce water consumption at source

Regional Anti-Terror Structure (SCORATS)

Context: Officials of Russia, Pakistan, China and four central Asian countries meet in Delhi for SCO Regional Anti-Terror Structure talks.

Key Highlights

  • India is the chairperson of RATS for this year.
  • In October this year, all member countries will send security forces personnel for joint anti-terror exercises expected to be held at the National Security Guard facility in Manesar.
  • A major focus of the discussions was on the situation in Afghanistan.
  • India in the meeting opposed the Organization of Islamic Republic (OIC) criticizing the government’s proposed moves on delimitation of electoral constituencies in Jammu & Kashmir.

About SCO

  • The SCO stands for Shanghai Cooperation Organization.
  • It is a Eurasian political, economic and security grouping and has emerged as one of the largest
  • transregional international organizations.
  • It was formed in 2001 with 6 founding members forming Shanghai five- China, Kyrgyzstan,
  • Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan and Tajikistan.
  • India became a member in 2017.
  • The 8 member-states of SCO are- Russia, China, India, Pakistan, Kyrgyz Republic, Kazakhstan,
  • Tajikistan and Uzbekistan.
  • The main objectives of SCO are to promote cooperation among the member countries on issues
  • of security, intelligence sharing, military cooperation, border disputes resolution and counter-terrorism.

About RATS

  • The Agreement on the Regional Anti-Terrorist Structure (RATS) as a permanent SCO body was
  • signed in 2002, in St. Petersburg and it was formed in 2004.
  • It has objective to help member states fight combat, extremism, terrorism and separatism.

Chief of Defense Staff

Context: The Union government is reassessing the concept of the post of Chief of Defense Staff (CDS) and the Department of Military Affairs (DMA).

Key Issue

  • The government is reassessing the post to fix overlaps in the system and streamline the process,
  • leading to a delay in the appointment to the post.
  • There are a lot of issues related to equivalence of status, responsibilities and so on.
  • There is a dichotomy at various ends that needs to be streamlined.
  • There are legacy issues of work distribution between the DMA and the Defense Department, headed by the Defense Secretary.
  • Coordination mechanisms are not standardized and accepted by both sides.

About Chief of Defense Staff

  • Chief of the Defense Staff is the head of the Chief of Staff Committee (CoSC).
  • Chief of Staff is the highest-ranking uniformed officer on active duty in the Indian Military.
  • He is the chief military officer to the Ministry of Defense and also heads the Department of Military affairs.
  • The CDS post was recommended by the Kargil Committee after the Kargil war.

Functions:

  • Act as the Principal Military Advisor to the Defense Minister on all Tri-Service matters.
  • Administer the Tri-Service organizations/agencies/commands.
  • Member of the Defense Acquisition Council chaired by Defense Minister.
  • Military Advisor to the Nuclear Command Authority.
  • Bring about jointness in operation, logistics, transport, training, support services, communications, repairs and maintenance, etc. of the three Services.

Pravaig Field Pack

Context: Pravaig, a Bengaluru-based startup, has won an order to provide compact energy storages to European combat forces.

Key highlights

  • Bengaluru-based startup Pravaig has won an order to supply compact energy storages to European combat forces.
  • These batteries are designed, engineered, and made in India.
  • Pravaig's Field Pack provides the modern soldier and their equipment enough energy to charge the equivalent of a MacBook 60 times.
  • It will help to solve problems faced by soldiers in desert, snow, urban, and forest environments.
  • This supply marks a major shift in the defense landscape of India.
  • The lightweight, robust and waterproof batteries open immense opportunities for energizing
  • personal equipment, deploying remote sensors and communication relays in the field, and remotely hibernating and activating significantly larger equipment.

Biological Diversity (Amendment) Bill, 2021

Context: Member of Joint Parliamentary committee expressed concern over exemptions given under Biological Diversity (Amendment) Bill, 2021.

Key Issues

  • Biological Diversity (Amendment) Bill, 2021 amends Biological Diversity Act that came into existence in 2002.
  • Under the amendment the exemptions are given to AYUSH practitioners from the provisions of the law.
  • Distinction has been drawn between a registered AYUSH (Ayurveda, Yoga and Naturopathy, Unani, 
  • Siddha and Homeopathy) practitioner and a company, exempting the former from the Act.
  • This distinction is said to be an artificial distinction since the registered AYUSH practitioner may well be having informal links with a company.
  • The government brought in the amended Bill because of the push from many AYUSH companies.
  • The concerns are also related to distinction made in the law between cultivated biodiversity and forestbased biodiversity

About Biological Diversity Act, 2022

  • Act provides for conservation of biological diversity, sustainable use of its components and fair and equitable sharing of the benefits arising out of the use of biological resources, knowledge and for matters connected therewith or incidental thereto.
  • National Biodiversity Authority (NBA) had been set up under the Ministry of Environments and Forest in 2003 to give effect to the provisions of the act.
  • In the context of biological resources and biodiversity, the act aims the following:
    • Regulation
    • Conservation
    • Sustainability
    • Protection
    • Rehabilitation
    • Sharing of benefits

NASA’s Endurance Mission

Context: NASA recently launched Endurance mission.

Key Highlights

  • The mission was launched from Ny-Alesund in Svalbard, Norway.
  • The objective of the mission is to find out why earth can support life while other planets like Mars and Venus cannot.

About Endurance Mission

  • The Endurance mission will attempt to measure Earth’s global electric potential, or how much Earth’s electric field “tugs” at electrically charged particles in our air.
  • It will be the first measurement of Earth’s global electric potential
  • This electric potential is expected to be very weak, making it difficult to measure and considered to be one reason Earth can support life.
  • The Endurance team estimates a strength of about 0.3 volts, some 25 times weaker than on Venus and so weak it has foiled all previous attempts at measurement. 

GatiShakti Sanchar Portal

Context: Government launched GatiShakti Sanchar”portal.

Key highlights

  • Government launched the “GatiShakti Sanchar” portal for Centralized Right of Way (RoW) approvals.
  • National Broadband Mission (NBM) was set up by the Department of Telecommunication (DoT) in 2019 to facilitate universal and equitable access to broadband services across the country, especially in rural and remote areas.
  • To fulfill this vision of National Broadband mission, backbone of infrastructure “GatiShakti Sanchar” is created.

About GatiShakti Sanchar Portal

  • The portal will enable applicants form various Telecom Service providers (TSPs) as well as Infrastructure providers (IPs) to apply at a common single portal for Right of Way permissions to lay down Optical Fibre Cable and for erecting mobile towers to State/UT Governments and local bodies.
  • It will smoothen the process of RoW permissions as well as faster approvals.
  • It will facilitate easy rollout of 5G services, in which a Base Transceiver Station (BTS) is installed at very short intervals. 

Advantages:

  • Fast laying of more Optical Fiber Cable and thus will accelerate fiberization
  • Increased tower density which will enhance connectivity and improve the quality of various telecom services
  • Increased fiberization of telecom towers, thus ensuring better Broadband speed, across the country.
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