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Weekly Current Affairs (8th to 14th May 2022) - 1 - Notes | Study Current Affairs & Hindu Analysis: Daily, Weekly & Monthly - UPSC

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National Affairs

1. The National Health Authority of India (NHAI) has signed two Memorandum of Understandings (MOUs) in Lucknow to enhance National Highway infrastructure and to sustain environment in Uttar Pradesh and other states.

  • First MoU: It has been signed between NHAI and State Rural Livelihood Mission, Uttar Pradesh to involve the self-help groups in taking up the plantations along the National Highways.
  • Second MoU: It has been signed between NHAI and AMMANN India Pvt. Ltd. to create a talent pool of highly skilled workforce, fully trained on advanced technologies in Highway construction, rehabilitation, and maintenance.

2. Ministry of Home Affairs has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Solar Energy Corporation of India Limited (SECI) in New Delhi to realize India’s green energy initiative. This collaboration between the two parties will jointly undertake the installation of Solar Rooftop PV Power Plants. It will facilitate the use of green power in the security establishments across India. 

3. The Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation (IRCTC) will run its first Bharat Gaurav Tourist Train from 21st June 2022. The proposed 18-days pilgrimage will run on Ramayana Circuit identified under the Swadesh Darshan Scheme, covering prominent places associated with the life of Lord Shri Rama, including Ram Janaki temple in Janakpur located in Nepal.

  • The train will begin from the Safdarjung Station, Delhi and the last stoppage of the train is Bhadrachalam, Telengana. It will cover a distance of around 8000 km.
  • Swadesh Darshan Scheme is a Central Sector scheme launched in 2014-15 by the Ministry of Tourism and Culture. The scheme aims to promote, develop and harness the potential of tourism in India.

4. Union Minister for Housing and Urban Affairs & Petroleum and Natural Gas Hardeep Singh Puri has launched the BHARAT TAP initiative at the ‘Plumbex India’ exhibition, a three-day exhibition on plumbing, water, and sanitation products, organised by Indian Plumbing Association (IPA) at Pragati Maidan, New Delhi.

BHARAT TAP initiative:

  • Aim: To develop low-flow fixtures and sanitary ware and to reduce water consumption at source considerably.
  • It is an initiative of Indian Plumbing Association (IPA).
  • It is an initiative for awareness creation for promotion of BIS Certified Water Efficient Plumbing Fixtures.
  • It comprises of Low Flow Sanitary ware and Sanitary Fittings which reduce the water dispensation at source, leading to a water saving of minimum 40%.
  • It will result into water saving and energy saving.

During the exhibition, National Real Estate Development Council's (NAREDCOs) women wing NAREDCO Mahi has launched 'Nirmal Jal Prayaas', an initiative to save water bodies. This initiative will lead to saving almost 500 crore litre of water per year.

5. The Indian Coast Guard chief VS Pathania has commissioned the 2nd Made-in-India ALH MK III Squadron, 845 squadron (CG), at Coast Guard Air Enclave (CGAE) in Kochi, Kerala. The second squadron of Dhruv ALH Mk III choppers aims to boost the security of the western seaboard further and enhance India’s search and rescue capability.

  • Under this, four helicopters have been positioned in Kochi to cover the entire coast of Karnataka, Kerala, and Lakshadweep. 
  • The squadron will be led by Commandant Kunal Naik which has 9 officers and 35 men. 6.

6. The Indian Navy has planned to acquire a dedicated earth imaging satellite ‘Geo-Imaging Satellite-2’ (GISAT-2) or EOS-5 in this fiscal year. The launching vehicle will be Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle (GSLV)-F12. The satellite is expected to enhance the navy’s operational capabilities in the Indian Ocean region. It will operate from geostationary orbit, 36,000 km from earth’s surface. It will facilitate near real-time observations under cloud-free conditions too. 

7. BJP President Jagat Prakash Nadda has inaugurated the three-day Utkarsh Mahotsav in New Delhi. It has been organized by Central Sanskrit University, New Delhi in association with Shri Lal Bahadur National Sanskrit University, New Delhi and National Sanskrit University, Tirupati to promote Sanskrit language across the country and beyond.

  • The theme of the Mahotsav is ‘Global Orientation of Sanskrit Studies in the New Educational Era’.
  • The focus of the Mahotsav is the New Educational Era – Moving Towards a Global Orientation of Sanskrit Studies.

8. Rajeev Chandrasekhar, Minister of State for Electronics & IT, Entrepreneurship & Skill Development, has launched the North East Capacity Building (NECB) 2.0 project, for capacity building and training in digital skill sets and current industry demanding technologies for various sections of society in the north eastern states.

  • The project is funded by the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY).
  • It is implemented by the National Institute of Electronics and Information Technology (NIELIT) through its centres at Agartala, Aizwal, Gangtok Guwahati, Imphal, Itanagar, Kohima & Shillong.

9. Ministry of Home Affairs has launched a portal ‘CAPF Punarvaas’ through the Welfare and Rehabilitation Board (WARB) to facilitate retired Central Armed Police Force (CAPF) and Assam Rifle personnel to secure employment with private security agencies.

10. The Lokpal of India will get a new and permanent office at the World Trade Centre in Nauroji Nagar, New Delhi. The office is spread over 59, 504 square feet on two floors, and was purchased for Rs.254.88 crore. 

About Lokpal: The Lokpal and Lokayukta Act was passed in 2013. The act allows setting up of anticorruption ombudsman called Lokpal at the Centre and Lokayukta at the State-level. It is composed of a chairperson and a maximum of eight members. It can inquire into allegations of corruption against anyone who is or has been Prime Minister, or a Minister in the Union government, or a Member of Parliament, as well as officials of the Union government under Groups A, B, C and D.

11. Lok Sabha Speaker Om Birla has launched the Kalam website, a literary initiative of the Prabha Khaitan Foundation to support and encourage vernacular literature. The aim is to popularize Hindi literature and provide a platform for veteran and young authors and poets to talk about their writings and love for vernacular literature.

Kalam initiative: It was launched in 2015 in the cities of Jaipur, and Patna and has conducted over 550 sessions spread over 40 cities in India and overseas since then. This initiative is on the lines of the philosophy ‘Unity in Diversity’.

12. NITI Aayog has collaborated with the World Economic Forum (WEF) to focus on how to better use emerging technologies like artificial intelligence (AI), the Internet of Things (IoT), blockchain, and drones to benefit farmers, particularly small and marginal farmers. 

13. Union Minister for Micro Small and Medium Enterprises Narayan Rane has inaugurated India’s first Centre of Excellence for Khadi (CoEK) in New Delhi. It has been established at the National Institute of Fashion Technology (NIFT) as a hub in Delhi and spokes in Bangalore, Gandhinagar, Kolkata, and Shillong.

  • The objective is to design apparel, home furnishing and accessories for people of all generations and create benchmarked design processes of global standards of quality, design, and merchandising.
  • A Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) for setting up of CoEK was signed between Khadi and Village Industries Commission (KVIC) and NIFT.

14. Union Civil Aviation Minister Jyotiraditya Scindia has launched ‘Experience Studio on Drones’ at NITI Aayog to create a collaborative ecosystem, thereby encouraging innovation and pushing for the usage of drones for public services. This will promote various applications of drones and helps in building a robust drone industry in India.

Note: Prime Minister Narendra Modi has aimed to make India a global drone hub by 2030.

15. Prime Minister Narendra Modi has virtually addressed the ‘Utkarsh Samaroh’ event held at Bharuch, Gujarat. This programme has been organized to celebrate the 100 percent saturation of four key state government schemes in this district. Under the four schemes, a total of 12,854 beneficiaries have been identified. The four schemes are: 

  • Indira Gandhi Vrudh Sahay Yojana
  • Ganga Swaroopa Aarthik Sahay Yojana
  • Rashtriy Kutumb Sahay Yojana
  • Niradhar Vrudh Aarthik Sahay Yojana

States Affairs

1. The Delimitation Commission for Jammu and Kashmir headed by retired Supreme Court judge Ranjana Prakash Desai has released a new electoral map for Jammu and Kashmir. According to the new electoral map, the commission has earmarked 47 Assembly seats for Kashmir division and 43 for Jammu division. The total number of seats in Jammu & Kashmir to 90 from 83 earlier. Before the restructuring, Jammu had 37 Assembly constituencies, and Kashmir had 46.

  • For the first time, nine seats have been proposed for Scheduled Tribes: six in Jammu and three in Kashmir.
  • There are five Parliamentary constituencies in the Union Territory with each having 18 Assembly seats.
  • There are 24 seats in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK) that will continue to remain vacant.

The Delimitation Commission for Jammu and Kashmir was set up in March 2020 and it was entrusted with the work of delimiting Assembly and parliamentary constituencies in the Union Territory on the basis of the 2011 Census.

  • The Delimitation commission is an independent body constituted under Article 82 after the Parliament enacted a Delimitation Act after every census. It is appointed by the President of India and works in collaboration with the Election Commission of India. 

2. Poumai Naga tribe in Manipur has declared their inhabited areas as Drug Free Zone. The aim is to help the state government curb the drugs menace including illegal poppy cultivation and also help in protecting and preserving forests, which are being destroyed for poppy cultivation.

3. Chhattisgarh has become the first state in the country to restore the Old Pension Scheme to provide assured income to retired employees. It will be effective from 1st April 2022. It will benefit over 3 lakh employees who joined service after 1st January 2004.

  • This move will abolish the 10 percent deduction for monthly contribution from the salary of government employees as a contribution to the New Pension Scheme. However, a minimum of 12 percent of basic salary will be deducted as per the General Provident Fund rule.
  • The old pension scheme gives 50 percent of the employee's salary as pension. 29. Kerala has recently reported cases of Tomato Flu. Around 80 children in the state who are under the age of five have already been affected by this disease. It has been first detected in the Kollam district of Kerala.

4. Maharashtra Environment Minister Aaditya Thackeray has inaugurated India’s first organic waste-powered EV charging station at Keshavrao Khadye road near Haji Ali in Mumbai.

This is the first-of-its-kind project in the country that uses food waste to convert to energy.

  • The station will generate 220 units of energy from household waste.
  • The project is a joint venture between the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) and AeroCare Clean Energy.
  • The energy plant will be utilized to powering street lights and also to charge electric vehicles.
  • It is connected with the waste-energy unit at Minatai Thackeray Park.

5. Azure Power has successfully commissioned its 90 MW solar power projects in Assam, the largest in the state. The 90 MW of solar capacity is spread across four districts in Assam: Udalguri, Kamrup, Nagaon, and Cachar.

  • The project is commissioned in phases and the final phase of 25 MW has been commissioned in Cachar. The power generated by the plant is being supplied to Assam Power Distribution Company Limited under a long term 25-year power purchase agreement (PPA) at a tariff of Rs.3.34 per KWh.

6. The state government of Haryana has launched the ‘Chaara Bijaee Yojana’ (fodder cultivation scheme) for farmers. The objective is to provide financial assistance of Rs.10,000 per acre to farmers cultivating and supplying fodder to Gaushalas (Cowsheds). 

7. Cyclone Asani has originated in the Bay of Bengal region. It has weakened from a severe cyclone into a cyclone. It has caused heavy rains and storm-like conditions in Odisha and Andhra Pradesh.

  • The name Cyclone Asani has been given by Sri Lanka. It means 'wrath' in Sinhalese.
  • Note: Cyclones that hit India in 2020-21: Tauktae, Yaas, Nisarga, and  Amphan.
  • The cyclones are classified as severe (MSW of 48-63 knots), very severe (MSW of 64-89 knots), extremely severe (MSW of 90-119 knots) and super cyclonic storm (MSW of 120 knots or more). One knot is equal to 1.8 kmph (kilometers per hour).

8. The government of Delhi will provide free sewer connections under the “Mukhyamantri Muft Sewer Connection Yojana”. A total of 25,000 households located in East Delhi will be provided free sewer connections under this scheme. These free connections will be provided in 12 colonies in Karawal Nagar and Mustafabad. Rs.19 crore has been allocated by Delhi government for the implementation of these connections. The colonies include Rajiv Gandhi Nagar, Chandu Nagar, and parts of Khajuri Khas.

  • Delhi Jal Board has also decided to set up 30 RO plants at JJ colonies to increase the drinking water supply. Each plant will provide around 50,000 litres of water per day. The supply will be free.

International Affairs

1. Ranil Wickremesinghe, a veteran opposition lawmaker, has been sworn in as the new Prime Minister of Sri Lanka for the 5th time. He has succeeded Mahinda Rajakapsa, who resigned as prime minister following clashes between government supporters and antigovernment protesters. Earlier, he served as Prime Minister of Sri Lanka from 1993 to 1994, 2001 to 2004, 2015 to 2018 and 2018 to 2019.

2. The world's longest glass-bottom bridge has been opened in Vietnam. It is known as Bach Long pedestrian bridge. It is 632m long and located 150m above a huge jungle. It surpasses a 526m Glass Bottom Bridge in Guangdong, China.

3. The 12th BRICS Health Ministers' Meeting has been hosted by China, the rotating chair of the BRICS this year. During the meeting, BRICS countries have agreed to launch an early warning system for large scale pandemics.

  • More than 70 people, including health ministers of the BRICS nations and the deputy director general of the World Health Organization, have attended the meeting.
  • The first BRICS Health Ministers' Meeting was held in Beijing, China in 2011. 

Note: China will host the BRICS Summit in Xiamen, China in June 2022. 

4. Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos Jr. has been elected as the next President of the Philippines. He has secured more than 30.8 million votes in the recently concluded election. He will succeed Rodrigo Duterte.

5.  South Korea has become the first Asian country to join the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) Cooperative Cyber Defence Centre of Excellence (CCDCOE). With this, the number of the group members of CCDCOE has now increased to 32, including 27 NATO members.

6. The Intersolar Europe 2022 event has been held from 11th to 13th May 2022 in Munich, Germany. The event has focussed on photovoltaics, solar plants, solar thermal technologies, solutions for renewable energy integration, and grid infrastructure.

  • The event has been attended by over 20,000 people including secretaries and ministers from various countries across the globe. Bhagwanth Khuba, Minister of State for the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy, has represented India in the event. He has delivered a keynote address titled “India’s Solar Energy Market.”

7. Czech Republic has been chosen by the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) to replace Russia in the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC). Russia was suspended from the UNHRC in April 2022 by a vote in the General Assembly due to Russia’s aggression of gross and systematic violations and abuses of human rights.

8. The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) has successfully launched its 'Endurance Mission' via its three stage Oriole IIIA Sounding Rocket to an altitude of 475 miles into the atmosphere, from Andøya Space's Ny-Ålesund, Svalbard Launch Facility in Norway.

  • The purpose of this mission is to understand why Earth is habitable while other planets like Mars. Venus don’t. The mission will measure the Earth’s global electric potential, or how much Earth’s electric field “tugs” at electrically charged particles in air.

Reports and Indices

1. As per the 13th Periodic Labour Force Survey (PLFS) by the National Statistical Office (NSO), the unemployment rate for persons of 15 years and above in urban areas has declined to 8.7% in October-December (Q3) 2021 from 10.3% in Q3 2020. It was 9.8% in July-September (Q2) 2021. 

  • The unemployment rate among females (aged 15 years and above) in urban areas has also declined to 10.5% in October-December 2021 from 13.1% in October-December 2020. It was 11.6% in July-September 2021.
  • The unemployment rate among males in urban areas has also declined to 8.3% in October-December 2021 compared to 9.5% in October-December 2020. It was 9.3% in July-September 2021.
  • Labour force participation rate in CWS (current weekly status) in urban areas has remained unchanged at 47.3% in the October-December 2021, compared to OctoberDecember 2020.
  • Worker Population Ratio (WPR) in CWS stood at 43.2% in October-December 2021, compared to 42.4% in October-December 2020.

Note: Unemployment rate (UR) is defined as the percentage of unemployed persons in the labour force.

2. World Bank’s Global Gas Flaring Reduction Partnership (GGFR) has published the Global Gas Flaring Tracker Report 2022. As per report, gas flaring in 2021 resulted in approximately 400 million tonnes of carbon dioxide. The top 10 flaring countries namely, Russia, Iraq, Iran, the United States, Venezuela, Algeria, Nigeria, China, Libya, and Mexico have accounted for 75% of all gas flaring and 50% of global oil production in 2021. 

  • Gas Flaring: It is the industry practice of burning natural gas associated with oil extraction. It is a direct source of methane which has more warming potential than CO2

3. World Economic Forum (WEF), in collaboration with Accenture, has released a report titled "Fostering Effective Energy Transition 2022". The report states that urgent action is required by both private and public sectors to ensure a resilient energy transition amid the most severe energy crisis since 1970s. The report is built on 10 years of the Energy Transition Index, an annual country benchmarking report.

  • As per the report, the urgency for countries to accelerate a holistic energy transition is reinforced by high fuel prices, commodities' shortages, insufficient headway on achieving the climate goals and slow progress on energy justice and access. The report also states that energy transition must address the challenges to environmental sustainability, energy security and energy justice and affordability.

4. As per the latest data released by the National Statistical Office (NSO), Retail inflation based on Consumer Price Index (CPI) has increased to 7.79% in April 2022, compared to 6.95% in March 2022. It was 4.23% in April 2021.

  • The food price inflation (combined for rural and urban) has increased to 8.38 percent in April 2022 from 7.68 percent in March 2022.
  • Rural inflation has increased to 8.38 percent, while urban inflation has increased to 7.09 percent in April 2022.
  • Among states, the highest inflation rate has been recorded by West Bengal, followed by Madhya Pradesh and Telangana.
The document Weekly Current Affairs (8th to 14th May 2022) - 1 - Notes | Study Current Affairs & Hindu Analysis: Daily, Weekly & Monthly - UPSC is a part of the UPSC Course Current Affairs & Hindu Analysis: Daily, Weekly & Monthly.
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