Today’s Current Affairs: 12th Apr 2023 for UPSC IAS exams, State PSC exams, SSC CGL, State SSC, RRB, Railways, Banking Exam & IBPS, etc
Table of Contents
State Energy Efficiency Index Report 2021-22:
The Union Minister of Power and New & Renewable Energy released the report of the State Energy Efficiency Index (SEEI) 2021-22 in New Delhi.
- It is developed by the Bureau of Energy Efficiency (BEE) in association with Alliance for an Energy-Efficient Economy (AEEE).
- SEEI 2021-22 has an updated framework of 50 indicators aligned with national priorities. Programme-specific indicators have been included this year to track outcomes and impacts of state-level energy efficiency initiatives.
Key highlights of the report:
- 5 states – Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Kerala, Rajasthan and Telangana – are in the Front Runner category (>60 points)
- 4 states – Assam, Haryana, Maharashtra, and Punjab – are in the Achiever category (50-60 points).
- Further, Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, Assam and Chandigarh are the top-performing states in their respective state groups.
- Telangana and Andhra Pradesh showed the most improvement since the last index.
Idu Mishmis And Dibang Wildlife Sanctuary : Report
National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA) announced that the Dibang Wildlife Sanctuary in Arunachal Pradesh would soon be notified as a tiger reserve.
- This move has caused unrest among the Idu Mishmi tribe who feel that a tiger reserve would “hinder their access” to the forest.
- Idu Mishmi is a sub-tribe of the Mishmi group in Arunachal Pradesh and neighbouring Tibet, primarily living in the Mishmi Hills bordering Tibet.
- Their ancestral homelands are spread over the districts of Dibang Valley and Lower Dibang Valley as well as parts of Upper Siang and Lohit.
- The Dibang Wildlife Sanctuary is located in the northeastern state of Arunachal Pradesh in India.
- The sanctuary is named after the Dibang River, which flows through it.
- It is considered a biodiversity hotspot and is part of the Eastern Himalayas Endemic Bird Area.
- The sanctuary has a diverse range of flora, including tropical evergreen forests, subtropical broadleaf forests, alpine meadows, and subalpine coniferous forests.
- Some of the important tree species found here include oak, rhododendron, bamboo, and fir.
- The Sanctuary is home to several rare and endangered species of animals, including the Mishmi takin, musk deer, goral, clouded leopard, snow leopard, and tiger.
- It is also home to several bird species such as the Satyr tragopan, Blyth’s tragopan, and Temminck’s tragopan.
- The sanctuary is home to several indigenous communities, such as Idu Mishmi.
- The Dibang Wildlife Sanctuary was notified in 1998 to protect its rich biodiversity.
Siren sphagnicola: Eel Like Aquatic Species
Siren sphagnicola is a recently discovered species of elongate, eel-like aquatic salamanders that inhabits seepage areas in the eastern Gulf Coastal Plain of the United States.
- Sirens are elongate, eel-like aquatic salamanders belonging to the family Sirenidae.
- This family belongs to the order Caudata (salamanders) and currently comprises two genera, Siren and Pseudobranchus.
- All living sirens possess external gills with comb-like filaments, lidless eyes, and laterally compressed tails with fin blades.
- Additionally, they lack pelvic girdles and associated hindlimbs, a trait unique within salamanders.
- Despite the abundance of Siren in some aquatic habitats, relatively little research has been conducted on interspecific differences in natural history and phylogeography of this genus.
Bharat Gaurav Scheme:
The Indian Railways announced recently, that it will operate a tourist train to Kashmir Valley under the Bharat Gaurav scheme.
- Indian Railways(Ministry of Railways) launched the operation of the theme-based Bharat Gaurav train in 2021.
- It was announced under the theme-based tourist circuit trains.
- These trains will be run, by both private players and IRCTC.
- Under the scheme, now trains have a third segment for tourism.
- Till now, the Railways had passenger segments and goods segments.
- These trains are not regular trains that will run as per a timetable.
- It will be more on the lines of the Ramayana Express being run by the IRCTC.
- The train originates from Coimbatore.
- Objective is to showcase India’s rich cultural heritage and magnificent historical places to the people of India and the world, through Bharat Gaurav Trains.
- According to the Bharat Gaurav policy, any operator or service provider, or virtually anyone, can lease trains from Indian Railways to run on a theme-based circuit as a special tourism package.
Earth4All Initiative predicted the world’s human population
- The researchers advance two scenarios:
- Too Little, Too Late: predicts that if economic development continues as it has in the last five decades, the world’s population would peak at 8.6 billion in 2050, and decline to 7 billion by 2100.
- The Giant Leap: the researchers conclude that the population will peak at 8.5 billion by 2040 but then rapidly decline to around 6 billion by 2100.
- This will be due to our investments in poverty alleviation, gender equity, education and health, ameliorating inequality, and food and energy security.
- The Earth4All report contradicted the U.N. ‘World Populations Prospects 2022’ report, which predicted that the global population would steadily rise to 10.4 billion in 2080 and then stabilise around that number in 2100.
- As of 2022, more than half the world’s population lives in Asia.
- China and India are the two most populous countries.
- According to the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), while India’s population growth is stabilising, it is still growing at 0.7% Steps taken by India for Stabilising Population
- Earth4All is a collective initiative of leading economic thinkers, scientists, and advocates.
- It is convened by The Club of Rome, the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research, the Stockholm Resilience Centre and the Norwegian Business School.
New Uranium Isotope:
In pursuit of a ‘magic number’, Physicists in Japan have recently discovered a new isotope of uranium with atomic number 92 and mass number 241.
- It was identified as uranium-241 and measured the mass of its nucleus. Theoretical calculations suggest that this new isotope could have a half-life of 40 minutes.
- This discovery is the first of its kind since 1979 due to the extreme difficulty of synthesising a nuclide in this region by general reaction.
- This finding is significant in refining our understanding of nuclear physics and has implications in designing nuclear power plants and models of exploding stars.
- Measuring the mass of uranium and its neighbourhood elements yields essential nuclear information to understand the synthesis of such heavy elements in explosive astronomical events.
The Language Friendship Bridge:
The Indian Council for Cultural Relations (ICCR) has envisaged a project called ‘The Language Friendship Bridge’, which aims to expand cultural footprint in neighborhoods with whom India has historical ties.
- The project aims to enable India to translate its epics and classics, as well as contemporary literature, into these languages so that people in both countries can read them.
- The Project will create a pool of experts in languages spoken in countries like Myanmar, Sri Lanka, Uzbekistan and Indonesia to facilitate better people-to-people exchanges.
- It will train five to 10 people in the official languages of each of these countries.
- As of now, the ICCR has zeroed in on 10 languages: Kazakh, Uzbek, Bhutanese, Ghoti (spoken in Tibet), Burmese, Khmer (spoken in Cambodia), Thai, Sinhalese and Bahasa (spoken in both Indonesia and Malaysia).
- Though a number of universities and institutes offer courses in these languages, only a handful teach any of the 10 languages on the ICCR list.
5th Cycle Of India’s Tiger Census 2022:
The Prime Minister of India has released the figures of the 5th cycle of India’s Tiger Census 2022, revealing 6.7% in the increase in the past four years.
- The tiger census covered forested habitats in 20 states of India. Camera traps were set up at 32,588 locations and generated 47,081,881 photographs.
- The PM has released the Census while inaugurating the International Big Cat Alliance (IBC) in Karnataka’s Mysuru, organised to mark 50 years of Project Tiger.
Highlights of the Census:
- Population has grown by 200 from 2018 to 2022. The current tiger population in India is 3,167, up from 2,967 in 2018.
- The growth rate slowed to 6.7% in the four years from 2018 to 2022, from around 33% during 2014-2018.
- There has been a significant increase in the tiger population in the Shivalik Hills and Gangetic Plains, while tiger occupancy in Jharkhand, Odisha, Chhattisgarh, and Telangana showed a decline.
- The North East Hills and Brahmaputra Plains had 194 tigers captured by camera traps, and the region’s Nilgiri cluster is the largest tiger population in the world, contributing significantly to colonisation of tigers in neighbouring areas.
- Tiger occupancy in the Western Ghats declined, the latest analysis showed. Significant declines were observed in the Wayanad landscape and in the Biligiriranga Hills.
- The genetically unique and small population of tigers in Simlipal is also highlighted as being of high conservation priority.
- The report calls for ecologically viable economic development and trans-boundary tiger conservation strategies to sustain isolated populations.
Public Interest Immunity Claims Proceeding:
The Supreme Court of India ruled on the use of sealed cover proceedings in courts and the telecast ban of a Malayalam channel.
- The Court criticised the government for silencing voices in the media and reducing constitutional rights and procedural guarantees of a fair hearing.
- The Court also devised an alternative procedure for Public Interest Immunity claims proceedings to replace the use of sealed covers.
- The Supreme Court evolved the “less restrictive” Public Interest Immunity (PII) claims proceedings as an “alternative” to the sealed cover proceedings while dealing with state requests for confidentiality.
- The PII proceedings would be a “closed sitting,” but a reasoned order allowing or dismissing the PII claim of the state should be pronounced in open court.
- The court will appoint an amicus curiae, which means “friend of the court”, to act as a bridge between the parties involved in public interest immunity claims.
- The court-appointed amicus will be given access to the materials sought to be withheld by the state and allowed to interact with the applicant and their lawyer before the proceedings to ascertain their case.
- The amicus curiae will not interact with the applicant or their counsel after the public interest immunity proceeding has begun and the counsel has viewed the document sought to be withheld.
- The amicus “shall to the best of their ability represent the interests of the applicant” and would be bound by oath to not disclose or discuss the material with any other person.
International Prize In Statistics, 2023:
Indian-American mathematician Calyampudi Radhakrishna Rao awarded International Prize in Statistics, 2023.
- The International Prize in Statistics is awarded every two years by a collaboration among five leading international statistics organisations.
- The prize recognises a major achievement by an individual or team in the statistics field.
- The prize is modelled after the Nobel prizes, Abel Prize, Fields Medal and Turing Award and called as Math’s Nobel.
- C. R. Rao ,a prominent Indian-American mathematician and statistician was born to a Telugu family in Hadagali, Karnataka.
- He is currently a professor emeritus at Pennsylvania State University and Research Professor at the University at Buffalo.
- Rao has received many honours, like-Padma Bhushan (1968) and Padma Vibhushan (2001).
- In his remarkable 1945 paper published in the Bulletin of the Calcutta Mathematical Society, Rao demonstrated three fundamental results that paved the way for the modern field of statistics and provided statistical tools heavily used in science today.
- The first, known as the Cramer-Rao lower bound, 2nd known as the Rao-Blackwell and the third result provided insights that pioneered a new interdisciplinary field that has flourished as “information geometry.”
National Party Status To Aam Aadmi Party:
The Election Commission grants national party status to Aam Aadmi Party.
- The Election Commission has recognised the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) as a national party and withdrew the national party status of the All India Trinamool Congress, Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) and the Communist Party of India (CPI).
- The EC has also removed state party status granted to Rashtriya Lok Dal (RLD) in Uttar Pradesh, Bharat Rashtra Samiti (BRS) in Andhra Pradesh, People’s Democratic Alliance in Manipur, Pattali Makkal Katchi in Puducherry, Revolutionary Socialist Party in West Bengal and Mizoram People’s Conference in Mizoram.
- Now the country has Six national parties- Bahujan Samaj Party, Bhartitya Janta Party (BJP), National People’s Party (NPP), Communist Party of India (Marxist), Congress and Aam Aadmi Party (AAP).
National Party Status:
- According to the Election Commission, any of these three conditions need to be met if a party is to be called a “national party”.
- A party’s candidates in a minimum of four states must get at least 6 per cent of the total votes polled in each of those states in the last national election. In addition to this, it should have won four seats in the Lok Sabha.
- A party should win a minimum of 2 per cent of the total seats in the Lok Sabha. The party’s candidates should have been elected from not less than three states.
- A party is recognised as a “state party” in at least four states.
Vibrant Village Programme : Launched On China border In Arunachal Pradesh
Union home Minister launches vibrant villages program on China border in Arunachal Pradesh.
- Vibrant Village Programme is a Centrally Sponsored Scheme implemented over financial Years 2022-23 to 2025-26.
- The programmme will provide funds for development of essential infrastructure and creation of livelihood opportunities in 19 Districts and 46 Border blocks of 4 states and 1 UT along the northern land border of the country – Arunachal Pradesh, Sikkim, Uttarakhand, Himachal Pradesh and UT of Ladakh.
- The programmme will help in improving the quality of life of people living in identified border villages and encourage people to stay in their native locations thereby reversing the outmigration from these villages and adding to security of the border.
- Road connectivity, drinking water, electricity including solar and wind energy, mobile and internet connectivity and healthcare infrastructure and wellness centers etc is the focus area.
- Vibrant Village Action Plans will be created by the district administration with the help of Gram Panchayats and 100 % saturation of Central and state schemes will be ensured.