1.Low Ozone Over Brahmaputra River Valley
Recently, scientists at the Aryabhatta Research Institute of Observational Sciences (ARIES), Nainital (Uttarakhand) have evaluated the near surface ozone in the Brahmaputra River Valley (BRV).
ARIES is an autonomous research institute under the Department of Science and Technology (DST), Government of India.
Scientists analysed the variability of ozone (O3) and other air pollutants over the BRV region.
About Ozone Gas
Ozone is a gas made up of three oxygen atoms (O3). It occurs naturally in small (trace) amounts in the upper atmosphere (the stratosphere). Ozone protects life on Earth from the Sun’s ultraviolet (UV) radiation.
In the lower atmosphere (the troposphere) near the Earth’s surface, ozone is created by chemical reactions between air pollutants from vehicle exhaust, gasoline vapors, and other emissions. At ground level, high concentrations of ozone are toxic to people and plants.
Stratospheric “good” ozone
Tropospheric “bad” ozone
What is a Dobson Unit?
The Dobson Unit is the most common unit for measuring ozone concentration.
- Water purification: drinking water, bottled water, swimming pools, industrial wastewaters cooling towers, groundwater remediation, wastewater re-use.
- Air purification: gas emissions from industry, conditioning system.
- Pulp bleaching for chlorine-free production of paper.
- Organic synthesis.
- Aquaculture and fish farming.
- Food processing: rinsing water, food preservation.
- Surface treatment: semiconductor manufacture, inorganics production.
- Medicine and esthetics: ozonotherapy, surgery, dental care, optical care, manufacture of pharmaceuticals and beauty products.
2. Monsoon Session of Parliament
Recently, the monsoon session of Parliament began after several months which was delayed due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
However, the government has suspended Question Hour for the session and has also curtailed the Zero Hour.
The President of India is empowered to summon each House of Parliament from time to time.
The maximum gap between two sessions of Parliament cannot be more than six months. That means the Parliament should meet at least twice a year.
There are usually three sessions in a year, viz,
Budget Session (February to May)
Monsoon Session (July to September)
Winter Session (November to December)
Meetings of Session:
A session of Parliament consists of many meetings. Each meeting of a day consists of two sittings, that is, a morning sitting from 11 am to 1 pm and post-lunch sitting from 2 pm to 6 pm.
Termination of Session:
A sitting of Parliament can be terminated by adjournment or adjournment sine die or prorogation or dissolution (in the case of the Lok Sabha).
Adjournment: It suspends the work in a sitting for a specified time, which may be hours, days or weeks.
Adjournment sine die: It means terminating a sitting of Parliament for an indefinite period.
In other words, when the House is adjourned without naming a day for reassembly.
The power of adjournment as well as adjournment sine die lies with the presiding officer (Speaker or Chairman) of the House.
Prorogation: The President issues a notification for prorogation of the session after the business of a session is completed and the presiding officer declares the House adjourned sine die.
The President can also prorogue the House while in session.
Dissolution: Only the Lok Sabha is subject to dissolution. Rajya Sabha, being a permanent House, is not subject to dissolution.
A dissolution ends the life of the existing House, and a new House is constituted after general elections are held.
The President is empowered to dissolve the Lok Sabha.
3. Hindi Diwas
Every year, 14th September is celebrated as Hindi Diwas in India.
National Hindi Day:
Hindi, written in the Devanagari script, was adopted as the official language of the Republic of India on 14th September, 1949.
Kaka Kalelkar, Maithili Sharan Gupta, Hazari Prasad Dwivedi, Seth Govindadas made important contributions to make Hindi the official language.
Besides Hindi, English is the other official language (Article 343 of the Constitution).
Hindi is also an eighth schedule language.
Article 351 pertains to ‘Directive for development of the Hindi language’.
World Hindi Day: It is observed on 10th January.
The Day commemorates the anniversary of the first World Hindi Conference held in Nagpur on 10th January, 1975, which saw 122 delegates from 30 countries participating in it.
It was first celebrated in 2006 by former Indian Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh with an aim to promote Hindi language across the world.
The World Hindi Secretariat building was inaugurated in Mauritius in 2018.
Hindi got its name from the Persian word Hind, meaning ‘land of the Indus River’.
Turkish invaders in the early 11th century named the language of the region Hindi, ‘language of the land of the Indus River’.
The modern Devanagari script came into existence in the 11th century.
Spoken in Countries outside India: Hindi is the fifth most spoken language among the total languages spoken in the world.
It is spoken in Pakistan, Nepal, Bangladesh, USA, UK, Germany, New Zealand, United Arab Emirates, Uganda, Guyana, Suriname, Trinidad, Mauritius, and South Africa.
Government Initiatives to Promote Hindi:
The Central Hindi Directorate was established in 1960 by the Government of India under the Ministry of Education.
Indian Council for Cultural Relations (ICCR) has established ‘Hindi Chairs’ in various foreign universities/institutions abroad.
LILA-Rajbhasha (Learn Indian Languages through Artificial Intelligence) is a multimedia based intelligent self-tutoring application for learning Hindi.
E-Saral Hindi Vakya Kosh and E-Maha Shabda Kosh Mobile App, both initiatives of the Department of Official Language, aim to harness information technology for the growth of Hindi.
Rajbhasha Gaurav Puraskar and Rajbhasha Kirti Puraskar recognise contributions to Hindi.
4. Promotion of Buddhist Sites
Steps Taken to Promote Buddhist Sites:
Swadesh Darshan Scheme: It has included Buddhist circuit and Spiritual circuit abong its 13 thematic circuits under which buddhist sites are being promoted.
PRASHAD Scheme: 30 projects for development of infrastructure have also been undertaken under the PRASHAD Scheme.
Iconic Tourist Sites: Buddhist Sites at Bodhgaya, Ajanta & Ellora have been identified to be developed as Iconic Tourist Sites (aimed at enhancing India’s soft power).
Buddhist Conclave: Buddhist Conclave is organised every alternate year with the objective of promoting India as a Buddhist Destination and major markets around the globe.
Diversity of Languages: Signages have been installed in Chinese language at buddhist monuments in Uttar Pradesh and in Sinhala language (official language of Sri Lanka) at Sanchi monuments in Madhya Pradesh.
The ‘National Mission on Pilgrimage Rejuvenation and Spiritual Augmentation Drive’ (PRASAD) was launched by the Ministry of Tourism in the year 2014-15 with the objective of holistic development of identified pilgrimage destinations.
Swadesh Darshan, a Central Sector Scheme, was launched in 2014 -15 for integrated development of theme-based tourist circuits in the country.
5. Graphene Mask
Initial tests deactivated two coronavirus species. The researchers are also planning to test this mask on the Covid-19 (SARS-Cov-2) virus.
It is a single layer (monolayer) of carbon atoms.
Properties: It is harder than diamond yet more elastic than rubber;
tougher than steel yet lighter than aluminium.
Graphene is the strongest known material.
Other Properties of Graphene are:
Lowest resistivity substance known at room temperature.
High thermal stability.
High electrical conductivity.
Electron mobility is high at room temperature.
Graphene oxide (GO) membranes can be used to filter common salt from seawater.
Uses: Its thin composition and high conductivity means it can be used in applications ranging from miniaturised electronics to biomedical devices like computers, solar panels, batteries, sensors and other devices.
Carbon Allotropes: Diamond, graphite and fullerenes (substances that include nanotubes and buckminsterfullerene) are the important allotropes of pure carbon
Allotropy is the property of some chemical elements to exist in two or more different forms, in the same physical state.
6. Punnapara-Vayalar revolt:
A report to the Indian Council for Historical Research (ICHR) has suggested dropping the Communist martyrs of Punnapra-Vayalar, Karivelloor and Kavumbayi agitations from the list of martyrs of India’s Independence struggle.
About Punnapara-Vayalar revolt:
It was an organized working class uprising in the Princely State of Travancore, British India against the Prime Minister, C. P. Ramaswami Iyer and the state.
The objectives of the revolt were:
To overthrow the exploitative diwan of Travancore.
To liberate the working class from unjust taxation and exploitation of the establishment.
7. Five Star Villages Scheme:
The Department of Posts has launched a scheme called Five Star Villages, to ensure universal coverage of flagship postal schemes in rural areas of the country.
The scheme is being launched on pilot basis in Maharashtra.
The schemes covered under the Five Star scheme include:
- Savings Bank accounts, Recurrent Deposit Accounts, NSC / KVP certificates.
- Sukanya Samridhi Accounts/ PPF Accounts.
- Funded Post Office Savings Account linked India Post Payments Bank Accounts.
- Postal Life Insurance Policy/Rural Postal Life Insurance Policy.
- Pradhan Mantri Suraksha Bima Yojana Account / Pradhan Mantri Jeevan Jyoti Bima Yojana Account.
8. Pradhan Mantri Swasthya Suraksha Yojana (PMSSY):
Recently, Cabinet approves establishment of new All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) at Darbhanga, Bihar under the Pradhan Mantri Swasthya Suraksha Yojana (PMSSY).
PMSSY was announced in 2003 with objectives of correcting regional imbalances in the availability of affordable/ reliable tertiary healthcare services and also to augment facilities for quality medical education in the country.
The PMSSY is implemented by the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare.
It has two components:
- Setting up new AIIMS (All India Institute of Medical Sciences)
- Upgradation of government medical colleges in various states.
The project cost for upgradation of each medical college institution is shared by the Centre and the state.
9. Postage Stamp released on A-SAT:
A Customized My Stamp on India’s First Anti Satellite Missile (A-SAT) launch was released by the Department of Posts on the occasion of Engineers Day.
Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) successfully conducted an Anti-Satellite (A-SAT) missile test ‘Mission Shakti’ from Dr APJ Abdul Kalam Island in Odisha on 27th March 2019.
A DRDO developed A-SAT Missile successfully engaged an Indian orbiting target satellite in Low Earth Orbit (LEO) in a ‘Hit to Kill’ mode.
The interceptor missile was a three-stage missile with two solid rocket boosters.
India is only the 4th country to acquire such a specialised and modern capability, and Entire effort is indigenous.
Till now, only the US, Russia and China had the capability to hit a live target in space.
What is the international law on weapons in outer space?
The principal international Treaty on space is the 1967 Outer Space Treaty. The Outer Space Treaty prohibits only weapons of mass destruction in outer space, not ordinary weapons.
India is a signatory to this treaty, and ratified it in 1982.
10. Dr. Abdul Kalam Island
Dr. Abdul Kalam Island, formerly known as Wheeler Island, is an island off the coast of Odisha, India, approximately 150 kilometres (93 mi) east of the state capital Bhubaneswar. The Integrated Test Range missile testing facility is located on the island.
11. Engineer’s Day:
India celebrates Engineer’s Day every year on September 15 as a tribute to the greatest Indian Engineer Bharat Ratna Sir Mokshagundam Visvesvaraya on his birthday.
He was the chief engineer responsible for the construction of the Krishna Raja Sagara Dam in Mysore.
He was knighted as a Knight Commander of the British Indian Empire by King George V for his contributions to the public good in 1915.
IAS NEXT Current affairs notes