Current Affairs

UPSC Current Affairs | Prelims and Mains Exam 3 March 2020

In-Flight Wi-Fi

  • Union government has permitted airlines operating in India to provide in-flight Wi-Fi services to passengers.
  • Telecom Commission had given its green signal to in-flight connectivity of Internet and mobile communications on aircraft in Indian airspace in 2018.
  • By this the pilot of an aircraft may permit the access of Internet services by passengers on board an aircraft in flight, through Wi-Fi on board, when laptop, smartphone, tablet, smartwatch, e-reader or a point of sale device is used in flight mode or airplane mode.
  • Broadly, in-flight connectivity systems use two kinds of technologies.
  1. An onboard antenna picks up signals from the nearest tower on the ground, and unless the aircraft flying over a large space with no towers (such as a water body), the connection will remain seamless up to a certain altitude.
  2. Satellites can be used to connect to ground stations in the same way that satellite TV signals are transmitted.
  • Data is transmitted to a personal electronic device through an onboard router, which connects to the plane’s antenna.
  • The antenna transmits the signals, through satellites, to a ground station, which redirects the traffic to a billing server that calculates the data consumption.
  • It is then relayed to the intercepting servers, and to the World Wide Web.
  • Once flight mode is activated, the plane’s antenna will link to terrestrial Internet services provided by telecom service providers; when the aircraft has climbed to 3,000 m (normally 4-5 minutes after take-off), the antenna will switch to satellite-based services.
  • In general, Wi-Fi on a plane is slower than on the ground.

Schemes to Preserve and Promote Culture

  • Union Ministry of Culture has launched various schemes to preserve and promote languages, folk dance, Art and culture of tribal.
  • Government of India has set up seven Zonal Cultural Centers (ZCCs) with headquarters at Patiala, Nagpur, Udaipur, Prayagraj, Kolkata, Dimapur and Thanjavur.
  • These ZCCs organize various cultural activities and programmes all over the country on regular basis.
  • These ZCCs under Ministry of Culture are also implementing a number of schemes for promoting the folk/tribal art and culture, details of which are as below
  • Young Talented Artists Awards – The Scheme is carried out to encourage and recognize the young talents especially in the field of rare art forms.
  • Talented youngsters of the age group of 18-30 years are selected and given a onetime cash award of Rs. 10,000/-.
  • Guru Shishya Parampara – This scheme envisages transmitting valued traditions to the coming generations.
  • Disciples are trained under veterans in art forms which are rare and vanishing.
  • Rare and vanishing art forms of the region are identified and eminent exponents are selected to carry out the training programmes in ‘Gurukula’ tradition.
  • The monthly remuneration for Guru is Rs. 7,500/-, Accompanist is Rs. 3,750/- and Pupils is Rs. 1,500/- each for the period of six month to maximum 1 year for one scheme.
  • The names of the Gurus are recommended by the State Cultural Affairs Departments.
  • Theatre Rejuvenation – To promote theatre activities including stage shows and Production oriented workshops, etc. Honorarium Up to Rs. 30,000/- per show excluding TA & DA is paid.
  • The groups finalized on the basis their credentials as well as the merit of project submitted by them.
  • Research & Documentation – To preserve promote and propagate vanishing visual and performing art forms including folk, tribal and classical in the field of music, dance, theatre, literature, fine arts etc. in print/ audio – visual media.
  • The art form is finalized in consultation with state Cultural Department.
  • Shilpgram – To promote folk and tribal art and crafts of the zone by organizing seminar, workshops, exhibitions, craft fairs, design development and marketing support to the artisans living in the rural areas.
  • Octave – To promote and propagate the rich cultural heritage of North East region comprising of eight States namely Arunachal Pradesh, Assam, Meghalaya, Mizoram, Sikkim, Nagaland, Manipur and Tripura to the rest of India.
  • National Cultural Exchange Programme (NCEP) – It can be termed as the lifeline of the Zonal Cultural Centers.
  • Under this scheme, various festivals of performing arts, exhibitions, yatras etc are organized in member States.
  • Artists from other zones/states are invited to participate in these programmes.
  • Participation of artists from the Zone in festivals held in other parts of the country are also facilitated.
  • Zonal centers also participate in Major festivals happening in member States by arranging performances during these festivals where large number of audience get chance to enjoy and understand art forms of other regions.
  • Sahitya Akademi – An autonomous organization under Ministry of Culture, encourages the preservation and promotion of languages, especially the unrecognized and tribal languages.
  • The Akademi periodically organizes language conventions throughout the country in this regard.

World Heritage List for the year 2020

  • The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) seeks to encourage the identification, protection and preservation of cultural and natural heritage around the world considered to be of outstanding value to humanity.
  • This is embodied in an international treaty called the Convention concerning the Protection of the World Cultural and Natural Heritage, adopted by UNESCO in 1972.
  • UNESCO’s World Heritage mission is to encourage countries to sign the World Heritage Convention and to ensure the protection of their natural and cultural heritage.
  • It encourage States Parties to the Convention to nominate sites within their national territory for inclusion on the World Heritage List.
  • Once the sites gets nominated it is referred to World Heritage Centre (WHC) for completeness check.
  • Inputs received from WHC have been conveyed to the State Government for further incorporation.
  • After the approval of official entry into world heritage sites list UNSECO help States Parties safeguard World Heritage properties by providing technical assistance and professional training.
  • It also provides emergency assistance for World Heritage sites in immediate danger.
  • Recently India has nominated ‘Dholavira: A Harappan City’ and ‘Monuments and Forts of Deccan Sultanate’ for inclusion in the World Heritage List.
  • Govt. of Madhya Pradesh has submitted the proposal of ‘Group of Monuments at Mandu’ in the year 2019.
  • M.P has also proposed Bhedaghat (Narmada Valley) as one of the recommended potential site subject to criteria set by UNESCO World Heritage Centre.

BEE’s Star Rating Programme

  • The Bureau of Energy Efficiency is a statutory body under Ministry of Power.
  • It was created in 2002 under the provisions of the nation’s 2001 Energy Conservation Act.
  • The agency’s function is to develop programs which will increase the conservation and efficient use of energy in India.
  • The Star Labeling Programme has been formulated by Bureau of Energy Efficiency, as part of its mandate, under the Energy Conservation Act, 2001.
  • Under this Programme, BEE has covered 24 appliances till date wherein 10 appliances are under mandatory regime.
  • Recently BEE has expanded the coverage by including Energy Efficient “Deep Freezers” and “Light Commercial Air Conditioners (LCAC)”.
  • Through launch of these two new appliances under voluntary regime, 26 appliances would now be covered under this programme.
  • The Star Labeling Programme for Deep Freezer and LCAC has been launched on a voluntary basis and the energy consumption standards will be effective up to 31st December 2021.
  • Deep freezer and LCAC are major energy guzzlers in commercial space, therefore, it is imperative that these two appliances shall be included in the program to save energy and reduce CO2 emission.
  • With these two products only, a total savings of around 9 Billion units of electricity is expected to be saved for the country by FY 2030.

Urja Dakshata Information Tool (UDIT)

  • Urja Dakshata Information Tool (UDIT) is a first ever initiative taken by BEE with World Resources Institute (WRI), to facilitate a database on energy e­fficiency was launched.
  • UDIT is a user-friendly platform that explains the energy efficiency landscape of India across industry, appliances, building, transport, municipal and agriculture sectors.
  • UDIT will also showcase the capacity building and new initiatives taken up by the Government across the sectors in the increase energy efficiency domain.

Protection of Historical Monuments

  • Government is planning a review list of monuments protected under the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) and the ones protected by the State governments.
  • At present, 3,691 monuments nationwide are protected by the ASI, with the highest number, 745, in Uttar Pradesh.
  • The list of the centrally protected monuments had not seen a substantial increase in many years, and important sites under the State governments could be added to the list.
  • There are also some monuments that could be removed from the Central list and placed under the State governments.
  • If reviewed the list of centrally protected monuments can go up to 10,000.
  • In Tamil Nadu alone, there are about 7,000 temples, many of which are hundreds of years old.
  • In India there is a ban on construction within 100 meters of a centrally protected monument and regulated construction within 100-200 meters under the Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Sites and Remains Act, 1958.
  • The Act protects monuments and sites that are over 100 years old.

Intracranial Flow Diverter Stent

  • Intracranial aneurysm is a localized ballooning, bulging or dilation of arteries in the brain, caused by progressive weakening of the inner muscles of the wall of the blood vessels.
  • Spontaneous rupture of the aneurysm can result in bleeding into the space around the brain, resulting in a condition called subarachnoid hemorrhage (SAH), and leading to paralysis, coma or death.
  • An attractive minimally invasive option is to deploy a flow diverter stent to bypass or divert blood flow away from the aneurysm, thus reducing the chances of its rupture due to the pressure of blood flow.
  • Flow diverters have the advantages of being flexible and adaptable to the shape and course of the vessel.
  • It also promotes healing of the vessel wall by removing the constant stress of blood flow on it.
  • A research team of the Sree Chitra Thirunal Institute of Medical Science and Technology (SCTIMST) has developed an innovative intracranial flow diverter stent (Chitra Diverter) for the treatment of aneurysms of the blood vessels of the brain.
  • The Chitra flow diverter is designed to have better grip on the walls of arteries so that the risk of migration of the device is minimized.
  • The unique design in its weave also makes this stent resistant to kinking or twisting, when it is placed in tortuous arteries and those with complex shapes.
  • The new technology is ready to be transferred to the industry and for further clinical trials, both animal and human.
  • Flow diverter stents are currently not manufactured in India and the imported ones cost ₹7-8 lakh.

Source: PIB, Indian Express, The Hindu

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