Daily Current Affairs for UPSC IAS: 11th July 2022

Today Current Affairs: 11th July 2022 for UPSC IAS exams, State PSC exams, SSC CGL, State SSC, RRB, Railways, Banking Exam & IBPS, etc

 

Metaverse Standards Forum:

Various brands gathered for the founding of the Metaverse Standards Forum for the development of interoperability standards to drive the growth of the metaverse.

  • Metaverse is the next version of the Internet focused on social connection.
  • It can be defined as a simulated digital environment that uses Augmented Reality (AR), Virtual Reality (VR), and blockchain, along with concepts from social media, to create spaces for rich user interaction mimicking the real world.
  • It can be imagined as a 3D virtual world, with ever-evolving aspects which are collectively shared by its inhabitants – a virtual world with real-time events and an online infrastructure.
  • In theory, it encapsulates everything that’s happening into the real world and will bring real-time events and updates going forward.
  • The user exists in a virtual world without borders.
  • The concept of the metaverse has yet to be fully established, but interest in virtual and augmented realities fast-tracks the growth of various metaverse projects.
  • In light of the growing anticipation for the metaverse, Metaverse Standards Forum was established “to foster the development of open standards for the metaverse”.
  • “Open Standards” are standards made available to the general public and are developed (or approved) and maintained via a collaborative and consensus driven process.
  • “Open Standards” facilitate interoperability and data exchange among different products or services and are intended for widespread adoption.
  • The internet is interoperable through the power of HTML, the metaverse also requires a similar interface for users to navigate between virtual worlds freely.
  • Objectives:
    • It aims to analyze the interoperability necessary for running the metaverse.
    • Interoperability is the driving force for the growth and adoption of the open metaverse.
    • It will focus on pragmatic, action-based projects such as implementation prototyping, hackathons, plugfests, and open-source tooling to accelerate the testing and adoption of metaverse standards.
    • It will also develop consistent language and deployment guidelines to expand the online universe.

India’s Defence Exports:

India’s defence exports for 2021-22 were estimated at Rs 13,000 crore, the highest ever.

  • The U.S. was a major buyer, as also nations in Southeast Asia, West Asia and Africa.
  • The private sector accounted for 70% of the exports, while public sector firms accounted for the rest.
  • Earlier, the private sector used to account for 90% but now the share of defence public sector units had gone up.
  • While India’s defence imports from the U.S. have gone up significantly in recent years, Indian companies have been increasingly becoming part of the supply chains of U.S. defence companies.

PARIMAN Portal:

Geo-Portal for NCR known as ‘PARIMAN’, launched in August 2021 by the National Capital Region Planning Board (NCRPB) and Union Minister for Housing & Urban Affairs has been made open to the public of NCR.

  • Portal for Analytical Regional Information and Mapping of NCR.
  • Developed through National Informatics Centre (NIC), initially for use by NCR Participating states and the Office of NCRPB.
  • It’s a robust system to facilitate better sub-regional and local planning. This contains various layers collected from authentic sources.
  • The portal has many Base Maps, Satellite Image services and Night Light Data of different time spans.
  • Terrain map provides the Elevation Profile of a route.
  • Administrative units like State Boundaries to Village Boundaries, various Headquarters to Habitations, Parliamentary and Assembly Constituency Boundaries are integrated in this portal.
  • Layers like Road, Rail and Metro Networks, Points of Interest like Education, Health, Banking, Post Office, Power and Telecom, Industries, Tourism, River and Canal Networks and many more.
  • Area of Interest function facilitates a comprehensive view for any information of a particular State or District or Tehsil.

GigaMesh Solution:

Astrome has signed a contract with the Department of Telecommunication to start the pilot project called “GigaMesh Network Solution with 15 villages in India.

  • GigaMesh, developed by Astrome, will address congestion issues in rural 4G infrastructure and provide high-tech and affordable internet connectivity.
  • The solution has been developed by Astrome.
  • The startup is supported by AI & Robotics Technology Park (ARTPARK), the Technology Innovation Hub (TIH) at the Indian Institute of Science (IISc).
  • It’s a network solution which will wirelessly provide fibre-like backhaul capacity and paves the road for 5G.
  • It is the world’s first multi-beam E-band Radio that is able to communicate from one tower to multiple towers simultaneously while delivering multi GBPS throughput to each of these towers.
  • A single GigaMesh device can provide up to forty links with 2+ Gbps capacity, communicating up to a range of ten kilometers.
  • Gigamesh features multiple point-to-point communication in E-Band, lowering cost and is driven by software to make it easy to deploy, maintain and repair remotely.
  • ARTPARK is a not-for-profit foundation promoted by the Indian Institute of Science (IISc), Bengaluru to promote technology innovations in artificial intelligence (AI) & Robotics.
  • AI researchers at ARTPARK, in collaboration with HealthTech startup Niramai Health Analytix and the Indian Institute of Science (IISc), have also developed XraySetu.
  • XraySetu is a platform that can interpret chest X-rays with 98.86 % sensitivity toward Covid-19 within few seconds.
  • ARTPARK also organized the ARTPARK Innovation Summit that brought industry, academia and the government under one roof to discuss important topics such as:
    • how to create next-generation connectivity in rural areas, health AI for Bharat, connecting Bharat with Drones, inclusive learning for the future and building AI and research ecosystem.
    • Apart from this, they participated in an unmanned ground vehicle (UGV) experiment of the Indian Army and showcased India’s only Legged Robotic Dog.

Instrument Of Accession Of The Khasi State:

A tribal council in Meghalaya has called for a meeting of traditional heads to revisit the Instrument of Accession that made the Khasi domain a part of the Indian Union more than seven decades ago.

  • The chief executive member of the Khasi Hills Autonomous District Council (KHADC) agreed that the Instrument of Accession and Annexed Agreement signed with the Dominion of India between December 15, 1947, and March 19, 1948, should be studied.
  • The KHADC said the provisions can be added to the Sixth Schedule, which “can be amended by Parliament”
  • Meghalaya is divided into three regions dominated by as many matrilineal communities – the Khasis, Garos and Jaintias. The Khasi hills straddle 25 Himas or States that formed the Federation of Khasi States.
  • The conditional treaty with these States was signed by Governor-General of India, Chakravarty Rajagopalachari, on August 17, 1948.
  • Nagaland was granted special status under Article 371A, which was an idea of the Federation of Khasi States.

INSTRUMENT OF ACCESSION OF THE KHASI STATE:

  • It was signed between the Khasi rulers and the Dominion of India.
  • Agreement (which shall be regarded as part of Instrument of Accession), Khasi accepted that the Dominion Legislature may make laws for the said Khasi States in respect of any matter.

Revised Schemes Of Cash Awards,National Welfare And Pension To Sportspersons, Web Portal For Schemes Of Department Of Sports And National Sports Development Fund website:

Union Minister for Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports, launched revised schemes of Cash Awards, National Welfare and Pension to sportspersons, Web Portal for Schemes of Department of Sports and National Sports Development Fund website.

Key Amendments:

  • Applicants can apply directly: Now any individual sports person can directly apply for all three schemes as per his/her eligibility.
  • Reducing time limit: Applicants now need to apply online for a cash award scheme within six months from the last date of closing of the particular event.
  • Ease in the verification process: The verification process in all three schemes has been eased to a great extent to reduce the processing time.
  • Pension benefits to Deaflympics: Deaflympics means deaf sports for deaf athletes who compete at an elite international level.
  • Website for NSDF: Development of a dedicated interactive website yas.gov.in for ‘National Sports Development Fund’ (NSDF).
  • This Fund is based on CSR contributions from Central & State Governments, PSUs, private companies, individuals etc. for the promotion and development of sports in the country.

Dragon Fruit Cultivation:

The Centre has decided to promote the cultivation of dragon fruit, known as a “super fruit” for its health benefits.

  • The Centre plans to come up with an annual action plan to motivate more State governments.
  • Mizoram tops among the States that cultivate this fruit
  • The export of fruit has made a huge contribution to Vietnam’s GDP.
  • It can grow in semi-arid and arid regions and can tolerate a bit of salt. All the States in India except cold areas are suitable for dragon fruit plants.
  • Its flowering coincides with the monsoon season in India.
  • Its flowers are hermaphrodites (male and female organs in the same flower) in nature and open at night.
  • The dragon fruit (Hylocereus undatus) is indigenous to the Americas. It is a member of the cacti family.
  • It is also known as ‘Pitaya’, ‘Pitahaya’, strawberry pear, noblewoman and queen of the night throughout the world. In India, it is also known as ‘Kamalam’.
  • The plant sustains yield for more than 20 years, is high in nutraceutical properties (having medicinal effects) and good for value-added processing industries.
  • It is a rich source of vitamins and minerals.

Open Acreage Licensing Programme (OALP):

 

Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas launches Open Acreage Licensing Programme Bid Round-VIII

  • Open Acreage Licensing Policy (OALP) along with the National Data Repository (NDR) was launched in June 2017 as the key driver to accelerate the Exploration and Production (E&P) activities in India.
  • Under OALP, companies are given the freedom to carve out areas they want to explore oil and gas. The areas sought are then put on auction.
  • The successful roll-out of the HELP regime, followed by OALP Bid Rounds, has led to an increase in exploration acreages in India.
  • HELP which replaced the erstwhile New Exploration Licensing Policy (NELP) in 2016. Under it:-
    • Exploration blocks shall be awarded on a continuous basis through e-bidding in a transparent manner.
    • It followed the Revenue sharing modelinstead of Profit-sharing for hydrocarbon exploration.
    • Unified license for all types of hydrocarbons.
    • Freedom to carve out acreages of choice under OALP bid rounds.
    • Full marketing and pricing freedom of gas.

Global Liveability Index 2022:

The ranking is based on five broad categories: stability (25%), culture and environment (25%), healthcare (20%), education (10%), and infrastructure (20%)

Findings:

  • Best liveable city in the world: Vienna
  • Best liveable city in India: Delhi
  • Least: Bengaluru
  • Released by: Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU)
  • Theme: Recovery and Hardship

Red Pandas:

The Singalila National Park in West Bengal, will soon get new red pandas.

  • A zoo in the picturesque Darjeeling Hills has started an ambitious programme to augment the wild red panda population.
  • In the first rewilding programme of red pandas (Ailurus fulgens) in India, the Padmaja Naidu Himalayan Zoological Park will release 20 of these furry endangered mammals in about five years to the forests.
  • The number of red pandas has been declining in the wild, even in the Singalila and Neora Valley National Parks, the two protected areas where the mammal is found in the wild in West Bengal.
  • Recent studies estimate that there are 38 of them in Singalila and 32 in Neora.
  • The Padmaja Naidu park, at a height of about 2,000 metres above the sea level, is one of the high-altitude zoos in the country and has been quite successful in captive breeding of the furry mammals.

Environment (Protection) Act, 1986:

On July 1, the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change, put out a note, proposing amendments in the Environment (Protection) Act, 1986.

  • The EPA establishes the “framework for studying, planning, and implementing long-term requirements of environmental safety and laying down a system of speedy and adequate response to situations threatening the environment.”
  • With a set of amendments, the Environment Ministry proposes to modify provisions of the Environment Protection Act (EPA), by replacing clauses that provides for imprisonment with ones that only requires violators to pay a fine.
  • These, however, don’t apply to violations that cause grave injury or loss of life.
  • The changes proposed include the appointment of an ‘adjudication officer’ who will decide on the penalty in cases of environmental violations such as reports not being submitted or information not provided when demanded.
  • Funds collected as penalties would be accrued in an “Environmental Protection Fund.”
  • In case of contraventions of the Act, the penalties could extend to anywhere from five lakh to five crore, the proposal notes, but the clause on provision of a jail term for the first default has been sought to be removed.

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