Important Current Affairs
Indian Green Building Council (IGBC) has awarded Secunderabad junction station of Indian Railways with a green Platinum rating. The biggest rail hub is the first Indian Railways to be awarded so.
The Secunderabad station has been awarded as it has introduced several energy conservation initiatives and inclusion of modern passenger amenities.
Other initiatives include:
♦ Air-conditioned waiting halls equipped with CO2 sensors
♦ Installation of solar panels and LED lights
♦ Solid waste management system
Secunderabad junction station:
The Secunderabad railway station falls under the Secunderabad division of the South Central Railways (SCR) zone. It is the biggest rail hub in the twin cities of Hyderabad and Secunderabad. It is influenced by historical Nizamesque architecture. The station building resembles a fort.
It has been awarded ISO 14001-2015 Certificate- Environmental Management system. It has also received the National Tourism Award 2016-2017.
Indian Green Building Council:
Indian Green Building Council (IGBC) is a part of the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII). It was formed in 2001. The aims to enable a sustainable built environment. It also works to facilitate India to be one of the global leaders in the sustainable built environment by 2025. It includes developing initiatives like developing new green building rating programs, certification services, and green building training programmes.
The researchers from the Zoological Society of London (ZSL) and London's Natural History Museum has identified a new species of giant salamander using DNA from museum specimens. The 74-year-old museum specimen can possibly be the world's biggest amphibian. The specimens were collected in the 1920s.
The researchers found three distinct genetic lineages in salamanders from China. The species are Andrias davidianus, Andrias sligoi, and a third species which has yet to be named. Andrias davidianus was earlier considered as a single species.
The suspected world's biggest amphibian species has been named Andrias sligoi, or the South China giant salamander. It is suspected that it is the largest amphibian among the 8,000 amphibians that are alive today. The idea about the species was first proposed in the 1920s based on an unusual salamander from southern China that lived at the time at London Zoo. This species can reach nearly two metres.
Chinese giant salamanders:
Chinese giant salamanders are usually considered as the world's biggest amphibians. This species has been now classified as Critically Endangered on the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Redlist. The species which was once widespread throughout central, southern and eastern China have currently moved widely around China. The species is rare in wild but millions can be seen in farms. Humans moved the salamanders around China to stock farms for food. It is also used for medicinal purposes. The species numbers have been catastrophically declined recently due to the recent overexploitation for food. Urgent measures are being taken for the conservation of the species.
World Bamboo Day was observed on 18 September every year. It was observed by the World Bamboo Organisation (WBO). The Day aims to raise awareness to conserve and promote the bamboo industry. The days also aims to bring the potential of bamboo to protect the natural resources and the environment and to ensure sustainable utilization of bamboo. It promotes new cultivation of bamboo for new industries in regions around the world for community economic development.
Centre's action towards bamboo:
Bamboo is known as a poor man’s timber and green gold. Bamboo grows fast, low on maintenance and has versatile potential. After China, India is the world’s second-largest cultivator of bamboo. The State of Environment report 2018 said that there are 136 species and 23 genera of bamboo spread over 13.96 million hectares in India.
In 2017, the Indian Parliament declassified bamboo as a tree on non-forest lands. The Ministry of Agriculture & Farmers Welfare launched the National Bamboo Mission with an aim to provide a boost to livelihood and environmental acreage. Also, the Ministry of Micro, Small, and Medium Enterprises (MSME) launched a scheme named SFURTI (Scheme of Fund for Regeneration of Traditional Industries) with an aim to boost traditional industries and bamboo artisans.
World Bamboo Organisation (WBO):
WBO was initially founded as the International Bamboo Association (IBA) in the year 1991 at the International Bamboo Workshop in Chiangmai, Thailand. In 1998, IBA was re-established as the World Bamboo Organisation (WBO). WBO is a non-profit organization that aims to improve and promote the use of bamboo and the products of bamboo for the sake of the environment and economy.
SITMEX-19 (Singapore India Thailand Maritime Exercise) Trilateral Exercise has commenced from 18 September 2019 at Port Blair, Andaman and Nicobar Islands. The five-day-long naval exercise is held between the Indian Navy (IN), Republic of Singapore Navy (RSN), and Royal Thai Navy (RTN).
SITMEX-19 exercise aims to enhance maritime interoperability between the participating navies. It also aims to provide experience sharing of best practices. The exercise will strengthen the mutual confidence amongst the 3 navies in terms of development of a common understanding of procedures. The exercise will contribute significantly to enhance the overall maritime security in the region.
Participating naval ships:
Singapore ships named Republic of Singapore Navy (RSN) Tenacious, a Formidable-class guided missile stealth frigate and His Majesty's Thailand Ship (HTMS) Kraburi, a Guided Missile Frigate are participating in the SITMEX-19 exercise. Indian Naval Ships including INS Ranvir, a Guided Missile Destroyer, Kora, a missile corvette and Sukanya, an Offshore Patrol Vessel along with P8I Long Range Maritime Reconnaissance aircraft are participating in the event.
The harbour phase of the exercise was held at Port Blair. This phase included professional interaction in the form of Subject Matter Expert Exchanges (SMEE), Pre-Sail Conferences. The Command teams attended the exercise.
The sea phase is being held from 18 September to 20 September 2019. Exercise includes surface and air operations involving Gunnery, Force Protection Measures and Communication drills which would provide sharing of experiences and ideas between the countries.
Union minister Rajnath Singh became the first defence minister to fly in the indigenously-built light combat aircraft Tejas from the HAL airport in Bengaluru. He was accompanied by Air Vice Marshal N Tiwari, who is also the Project Director, National Flight Test Centre, ADA (Aeronautical Development Agency) in Bengaluru. The minister flew a sortie in the twin-seater version of Tejas. Rajnath Singh was wearing a G-suite, a white helmet and an oxygen mask.
The Indian Aircraft Flying on Tejas an Indigenous Light Combat Aircraft from Bengaluru HAL Airport was an amazing and exhilarating experience.
Tejas successfully carried out an arrested landing a key performance, demonstrating its ability to land on board an aircraft carrier, making it a major milestone in the development of the naval variant of the fighter jet.
The IAF placed an order with the Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) for 40 Tejas aircraft.
The IAF issued the request for proposal (RFP) to HAL for the procurement of another batch of 83 Tejas at a cost of over ₹50,000 crores.
Tejas is a multi-role fighter with several critical capabilities.
It is meant to strengthen India’s air defence capabilities. The IAF already inducted a batch of Tejas aircraft. The Tejas is designed to carry a veritable plethora of air-to-air, air-to- surface, precision guided and standoff weaponry.
Google Pay has grown more than three times to 67 million monthly active users, driving transactions worth over $110 billion on an annualized basis across offline and online merchants.
The two-thirds of the transactions are coming from tier-II and -III cities and towns.
Google Pay competes with players like Paytm and PhonePe is introducing the Spot platform that will enable merchants to create branded commercial experiences and reach new customers.
Google already onboarded merchants like UrbanClap, Goibibo, MakeMyTrip, RedBus, Eat.Fit and Oven Story through its early access programme.
Google Pay is also rolling out tokenized cards in the next few weeks to offer a secure way of paying for things using a digital token on the phone rather than the actual card number.
This is a free app for small and medium-sized merchants to enable digital payments where verification process is carried out remotely. The massive growth in digital payments, a vast majority of India’s over 60 million small businesses is still not benefiting from the growing digital economy.Google launched Jobs as a Spot on Google Pay to help job seekers find and prepare for entry-level positions.
Google is also introducing Job Spot with 24 early partners in retail like 24 Seven and Healthkart, delivery and logistics partners like Swiggy, Zomato and Dunzo and hospitality providers like Fabhotels.
He is partnering with the National Skills Development Corporation for its Skill India programme.
The partnering state-run BSNL to bring high-speed public WiFi to villages in Gujarat, Bihar and Maharashtra.
Vodafone Idea for ‘Vodafone-Idea Phone Line’ to enable 2G customers of the telecom major get access to information without using data.
The users can call a toll-free number to get answers to questions ranging from sports scores to traffic conditions or even getting help with homework.
The service, supported by Google Assistant will be available in Hindi and English.
The Union Minister of Fisheries, Animal Husbandry & Dairying Shri Giriraj Singh released the Handbook on Fisheries Statistics - 2018 on 19 September 2019. The book is published by the Department of Fisheries of Ministry of Fisheries, Animal Husbandry & Dairying, Government of India.
The Centre is to invest Rs.25,000 Crores in the next 5 years for Fisheries development. The aim is to enhance infrastructure and boost the production of fishes in India.
Handbook on Fisheries Statistics-2018:
The Handbook on Fisheries Statistics-2018 is the 13th edition presented by the Ministry of fisheries. The book presents useful statistical information for various aspects of the Fisheries sector. The 12th edition of the Handbook was published in 2014.
The fisheries sector is the major source of livelihood in India. Development in this sector will ensure nutritional security, food security of India and employment in the country.
In 2017-2018, the total fish production reported was 12.59 million metric tonnes among which 8.90 million metric tonnes is from the inland sector and 3.69 million metric tonnes is from the marine sector. The average growth in fish production in the year stood at 10.14% when compared to the production rate in 2016-17, that is 11.43 million metric tonnes. Currently, India is the world’s second-largest producers of fish. Also, it stands as world number two in aquaculture production as well as in inland capture fisheries.
India's largest energy conglomerate NTPC Ltd. has unveiled its plans to set up a 5 gigawatt (GW) solar park in Gujarat. This solar park is expected to be the biggest in the country. The move of the company is toward cleaner energy.
NTPC has located a spot in Gujarat for the project. The estimated cost for the project is Rs.250 billion. The project will begin in the year 2024. It is also expected that the company might invite bids from developers to set up projects in the park.
Reason for the new plant:
The plan of the solar park is a part of the NTPC’s aim to build 32GW of renewable capacity by 2032. Also, the company aims to reduce the share of fossil fuels in its energy mix to 70% from about 96% now.
Recently, the Central government has laid regulations to cap emissions from coal-fired power plants. This have also triggered the NTPC to turn to green energy for growth.
NTPC's other project:
NTPC is also planning to build a new 500 megawatt hydropower project in the northern state of Himachal Pradesh. It is a part of PM Narendra Modi's target to achieve 175 gigawatts of renewable capacity in the South Asian nation by 2022.