Current affairs (1ST & 2ND JANUARY)

PM MODI LAID FOUNDATION STONE OF LIGHT HOUSE PROJECTS

Prime Minister Narendra Modi laid the foundation stone of Light House projects (LHPs) at six sites across six States through video conference on 1st January 2021.

The LHPs will be implemented at Indore (Madhya Pradesh), Rajkot (Gujarat), Chennai (Tamil Nadu), Ranchi (Jharkhand), Agartala (Tripura) and Lucknow (Uttar Pradesh).

The project is being constructed under the Global Housing Technology Challenge (GHTC)-India. It has been conceptualised by the Union Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs.

GHTC-India envisages providing an ecosystem for the adoption of innovative technologies in the housing construction sector in a holistic manner.

Under the programme, over 1,000 houses would be built in each of the six cities in 12 months along with allied infrastructure facilities.

The houses are called lighthouse projects in technical language. Houses being built under the Light House Projects (LHPs) will take less time to build and will be resilient, affordable and comfortable as they use the best of new-age alternative global technologies, materials and processes in the construction sector.

IFSCA BECOMES ASSOCIATE MEMBER OF IOSCO

The International Financial Services Centres Authority (IFSCA) has become an Associate Member of the International Organization of Securities Commissions (IOSCO). The Headquarter of IOSCO is at Madrid, Spain.

About IOSCO: The IOSCO is the international organization of the world’s securities regulators, covering more than 95% of the world’s securities markets, and is also the global standard-setter for the securities sector.

With this new membership, IFSCA will get the platform to exchange information at the global level and regional level on areas of common interests and help to learn from the experiences and best practices of the regulators of other well established financial centres.

About IFSCA: The International Financial Services Centres Authority (IFSCA) was established by the Ministry of Finance in April 2020 as a unified authority to regulate all financial services in International Financial Services Centres (IFSCs) in the country. The body has it’s headquarter in Gandhinagar in Gujarat.

NAVY & DRDO CONDUCTED THE MAIDEN TRIAL OF SAHAYAK-NG

Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) along with the Indian Navy conducted the successful maiden test trial of ‘SAHAYAK-NG’ India’s first indigenously designed and developed Air Dropped Container from IL 38SD aircraft (Indian Navy) off the coast of Goa.

The trial was conducted by the Indian Navy to enhance its operational logistics capabilities and provide critical engineering stores to ships that are deployed more than 2000 kilometres from the coast.

SAHAYAK-NG is an advanced version of SAHAYAK Mk I. The newly developed GPS aided air dropped container is having the capability to carry a payload that weighs up to 50 kilograms and can be dropped from heavy aircraft.

Two DRDO laboratories, Naval Science and Technological Laboratory, Visakhapatnam and Aerial Delivery Research and Development Establishment, Agra were involved in the development of the SAHAYAK-NG container along with the industry partner M/s Avantel for GPS integration.

COUNTRY’S 1ST POLLINATOR PARK TO SET UP IN UTTARAKHAND

The country’s first pollinator park with over 40 species of butterflies, honeybees, birds and insects has been developed over four acres at Haldwani, Uttarakhand.

The objective behind developing the park is to conserve various pollinator species, create awareness among people in general about the importance of conservation of these species and to promote further research on various aspects of pollination, including a threat to habitat and impact of pollution on pollinators.

There are at present 40 species of pollinators at the park, including common jezebel, common emigrant, red pierrot, common sailor, plain tiger, the common leopard, the common moron, common grass yellow, common blue bottle, common four-ring, peacock pansy, the painted lady, pioneer white, yellow-orange tip and lime butterfly.

Pollinators provide pollination services to over 180,000 different plant species. Without them, existing populations of plants would decline, even if soil, air, nutrients, and other life-sustaining elements were available.

The importance of pollinators was recognised long back in the west and to conserve pollinators, parks, gardens, strips and pathways were created on a large scale in countries like the USA.

INDIA’S FIRST TESTBED TIHAN LAUNCHED AT IIT HYDERABAD

Union Minister of Education, Ramesh Pokhriyal ‘Nishank’ has virtually laid the foundation stone of “TiHAN-IIT Hyderabad”, India’s first Testbed for Autonomous Navigation Systems (Terrestrial and Aerial) at IIT Hyderabad.

The Technology Innovation Hub on Autonomous Navigation Systems (TiHAN) for Unmanned Aerial Vehicles and Remotely Operated Vehicles at IIT Hyderabad.

The Department of Science and Technology (DST), Government of India, has sanctioned Rs. 135 crores to IIT Hyderabad under the National Mission on Interdisciplinary Cyber-Physical Systems (NM-ICPS) to set up a Technology Innovation Hub on Autonomous Navigation and Data Acquisition Systems.

Two acres of land has already been allocated in the IIT Hyderabad campus and the facilities are planned in phases. All Smart poles are enabled with communication providing technology with some Poles designed with sprinklers to simulate rain scenarios.

The developed testbed will be available for use by all the industries, R&D labs, academia conducting research and development in the broad areas of autonomous navigation.

DRDO OBSERVES ITS 63RD FOUNDATION DAY ON 1ST JAN.

The Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) observed the 63rd Foundation Day of its establishment on January 01, 2021.

DRDO was established in 1958 with just 10 laboratories to enhance the research work in the Defence sector. At that time, it was tasked with designing and developing cutting edge defence technologies for Indian Armed Forces.

As of now, DRDO is working in multiple cutting edge military technology areas, which include aeronautics, armaments, combat vehicles, electronics, instrumentation, engineering systems, missiles, materials, naval systems, advanced computing, simulation, cyber, life sciences and other technologies for defence.

  • Secretary Department of Defence Research and Development & Chairman DRDO: Dr G Satheesh Reddy.
  • DRDO Headquarters: New Delhi.
  • DRDO Established: 1958.
UMESH SINHA NAMED AS DY. ELECTION COMMISSIONER OF INDIA

Umesh Sinha has been named as the deputy election commissioner in the Election Commission of India. Sinha, a 1986-batch IAS officer (retired) is at present serving as secretary-general in the commission.

The Appointments Committee of the Cabinet cleared the extension in the term of reemployment of Sinha as deputy election commissioner on contract basis for a period of six months beyond December 31, 2020.

His term will end on June 30, 2021. At present Sinha is also part of a committee set up by the Election Commission to look into the issue of revising the election expenditure of candidates during campaigning.

  • Chief Election Commissioner of India: Sunil Arora.
  • Chief Election Commissioner Formed: 25 January 1950.
  • Chief Election Commissioner Headquarters: New Delhi.
ISRO CHAIRMAN K SIVAN TERM EXTENDED FOR ONE YEAR

The Central Government has approved the extension of the term of ISRO Chairman K Sivan, for a period of one year.

He was due to retire on January 14, 2021. Sivan will now continue as ISRO Chairman and Secretary, Department of Space up to January 14, 2022. He joined ISRO in 1982, has been the chairman of the space agency since January 2018.

ISRO chief has imminent knowledge in Aerospace engineering, Space Transportation Systems Engineering, Launch vehicles, mission simulation software design and many other operations related to Space programs.

He is also the main architect of 6D trajectory simulation software, SITARA which is the foundation of both the real-time and non-real-time trajectory simulations of all vehicles developed in the space agency.

  • ISRO Chairman: K.Sivan.
  • ISRO Headquarters: Bengaluru, Karnataka.
  • ISRO established: 15 August 1969
1ST SOCIAL IMPACT BOND: UNDP & PCMC JOINS HAND

Pimpri Chinchwad Municipal Corporation, Pune has recently signed an MoU with United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) India to co-create India’s first Social Impact Bond (SIB).

This is the first time that a government body will act as the ‘outcome funder’ in a bond, whereas traditionally most government-funded public projects require large and early investments by the government with a substantial gestation period of outcomes and involve various kinds of risks.

A Social Impact Bond also called pay-for-success bond or pay-for-success financing or simply social bond is basically a contract with public sector authority, where it pays for better social outcomes.

This bond is a form of outcome-based contracting and aims at improving social outcomes for a specific group of citizens. The PCMC administration will bear the costs of a public welfare project associated with the bond if the pre-defined project targets are fulfilled.

  • UNDP Headquarters: New York, New York, United States.
  • UNDP Head: Achim Steiner.
  • UNDP Founded: 22 November 1965.
PT. SATISH VYAS CONFERRED PRESTIGIOUS TANSEN SAMMAN

In Madhya Pradesh, 96th Tansen Music Festival began in Gwalior with strict COVID-19 guidelines in place.

In the inaugural ceremony renowned santoor player, Pandit Satish Vyas was conferred upon the prestigious Tansen Samman.

Bhopal-based institution Abhinav Kala Parishad was honoured with Raja Mansingh Tomar award. The festival pays tribute to Tansen, one of 9 gems in Akbar’s court.