India’s first case of XE variant of coronavirus disease has been reported from-
- The first case of the XE variety of the coronavirus illness (Covid-19) in India was reported in Mumbai.
- The city civic authority Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) announced the results of its 11th genome sequencing, which identified one sample positive for the XE variant and another for the Kappa variant.
- According to BMC officials, the person who tested positive for the XE strain was a fully vaccinated 50-year-old woman who had no co-morbidities and was asymptomatic.
- According to the World Health Organization (WHO),the new subvariant ‘XE’, which is a hybrid strain of two Omicron subvariants, could be the most transmissible coronavirus strain ever discovered.
- INSACOG, which sequenced the case’s genome, stated that the sample did not indicate the presence of the variation.
- XE is a hybrid or recombinant of Omicron’s two sub-variants (BA.1 and BA.2). The BA.2 sub-lineage has been linked to COVID-19 instances in the United States, the United Kingdom, and China.
- Early research suggested the variant had a 10% growth rate advantage over 2,one of the most contagious types, according to the World health organization.
AVSAR Scheme to provide platform to SHGs has been launched by-
- The Airport Authority of India (AAI)has launched an initiative “AVSAR” to encourage the talent of women, artisans and craftsmen and provide them with the right opportunities. AVSAR stands for ‘Airport as Venue for Skilled Artisans Of The Region’.
- Under “AVSAR” (Airport as Venue for Skilled Artisans of the Region), which is an initiative of AAI, an opportunity to help the indigent to mobilize their households into functionally effective self-earned groups for self-reliance and self-dependence, has been provided.
Under this scheme:
- An area of 100-200 square feet has been earmarked at each AAI operated airport. The space is being allotted to the self-help groups, turn on a turn basis, for a duration of 15 days.
- Few outlets have already been commissioned at Chennai, Agartala, Dehradun, Kushinagar, Udaipur & Amritsar Airport wherein SHGs operated by local women, are showcasing and marketing their homemade local products like Puffed Rice, Packaged Papad, Pickles, Bamboo based Ladies Bag/Bottle/Lamp Sets, local artefacts, traditional craft, natural dyes, embroidery and indigenous weaves with contemporary design to the air travellers.
- The initiative to strengthen SHGs by allotting space at AAI Airports will provide huge visibility to these small groups and prepare them to promote/market their products to the wider spectrum, reaching out to the larger population.
The first Hindi language work of fiction to be shortlisted for International Booker Prize, ‘Tomb of Sand’, has been written by-
- In the history of the International Booker Prize, the novel ‘Tomb of Sand’, authored by Geetanjali Shree, has become the first Hindi language work of fiction to be shortlisted for the prestigious literary prize.
- The novel has been translated into English by Daisy Rockwell.
- The book Tomb of Sand will compete with five other novels from around the world.
- The literary prize comes with a cash award of 50,000 pounds, which is split equally between the author and translator.
Consider the following statements rice fortification-
1. It is process of adding micronutrients, commonly iron, Vitamin B12 and folic acid to rice.
2. In India, rice is fortified using extrusion technology.
Which of the above statements are correct?
- CCEA has approved the supply of fortified rice in government-run food schemes by 2024 in a phased manner with an aim to combat nutrition deficiency in all states and UTs.
- Supply of fortified rice through Targeted Public Distribution System (TPDS) will be done under National Food Security Act (NFSA), In tegrated Child Development Services (ICDS), PM POSHAN, and other welfare schemes (OWS).
- Entire cost of rice fortification would be borne by Centre.
- Three phases are envisaged for full implementation
- Phase-I: Covering ICDS and PM POSHAN in India all over by March, 2022 which is under implementation.
- Phase-II: Phase I above plus TPDS and OWS in all Aspirational and High Burden Districts i; on stunting (total 291 districts) by March 2023.
- Phase-III: Phase II above plus covering the remaining districts of the country by March 2024.
- Rice fortification is a process of adding micronutrients, commonly iron, Vitamin B12 and folic acid, to regular rice to improve the dietary requirement.
- Benefits of rice fortification
- Provide nutritional boost to undernourished and vulnerable populations.
- Combat anaemia.
- Helpful in pregnancy for growth of the baby.
About Extrusion technology
- In India, rice is fortified using extrusion technology.
- In this technology, milled rice is pulverized and mixed with a premix containing vitamins and minerals.
- Fortified rice kernels (FRK) are produced from this mixture using an extruder machine.
- FRK is added to traditional rice in ratio ranging from 1:50 to 1: 200 resulting in fortified rice nearly identical to traditional rice in aroma, taste, and texture.
As per recent estimates, India ranks ______in installed wind capacity globally.
- Report examines the full challenges of scaling up wind energy in an increasingly interconnected world, like supply chain geopolitics, social impacts, disinformation, cybersecurity and cryptocurrencies.
- Global Wind Energy Council is the international trade association for the wind power industry.
Key highlights of the Report
- In 2021, Global wind industry added 94 GW of capacity globally, trailing behind the 2020’s record growth by only 1.8%.
- The onshore wind market added 72.5 GW worldwide. That is 18% lower than the previous year due to a slowdown in China and the US, the world’s two largest wind markets.
- Need to scale up annual wind energy installations by four times by 2030 to get on-track for a 1.5°C world.
About India’s Wind Energy Sector
- Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE) has estimated 140 GW wind energy capacity (30 GW offshore wind target) is needed by 2030.
- Globally, India ranks 4th in installed wind capacity with 40.1 GW as of January 2022. Wind currently accounts for 10.2% of renewable generation capacity.
- World Bank has mapped 174 GW of fixed and floating offshore wind potential off India’s coastline; the strongest resource is found off Tamil Nadu, while good resource is also available off Gujarat.
- Innovative financing mechanisms such as blended finance and Green/ Masala Bonds are likely to boost availability of finance for renewable energy projects.
Consider the following statements regarding Palm Oil-
1. Indonesia is the world's largest producer and exporter of palm oil.
2. India is world's biggest vegetable oils importer.
Which of the above statements are correct?
- Indonesia, world’s largest producer and exporter of palm oil is facing domestic shortages, leading to price controls and export curbs.
- Reasons of palm oil crisis in Indonesia
- Supply disruptions — manmade and natural — in other cooking oils, especially sunflower and soyabean.
- Soyabean oil is facing supply issues due to dry weather in South America.
- Use of palm oil as a bio-fuel. Since 2020, Indonesia made 30% blending of diesel with palm oil mandatory as part of a plan to slash fossil fuel imports.
- India is world’s biggest vegetable oils importer. Out of its annual imports of 14-15 mt, the share of palm oil is 8-9 mt.
- Indonesia has been India’s top supplier of palm oil, however, now it will get lower supplies from Indonesia.
- This may result in higher imports from Malaysia for Palm oil.
- Palm oil is an edible vegetable oil, comes from the fruit of oil palm trees. It is an efficient crop, producing more oil per land area than any other equivalent vegetable oil crop.
- Globally, palm oil supplies 40% of the world’s vegetable oil demand on just under 6% of land used to produce all vegetable oils.
- Palm oil has been a major driver of deforestation of the world’s most biodiverse forests.
Consider the following statements regarding Standing Deposit Facility (SDF)-
1. SDF has its origins in a 2018 amendment to RBI Act.
2. It allows RBI to absorb liquidity from commercial banks without giving any collateral in return.
Which of the above statements are correct?
- Under the new monetary policy, RBI announced the introduction of SDF as a basic tool to absorb surplus liquidity (deposit) from banking system.
- Earlier, liquidity measures undertaken in the wake of pandemic, combined with liquidity injected through various other operations of RBI, have left excess liquidity in the system.
- When liquidity is surplus, as it is now, the RBI absorbs liquidity through the reverse repo facility.
- However, reverse repo window is a collateralised one. So when banks park their money at that window, the RBI gives them securities in return to hold. But given a large amount of surplus liquidity, the RBI was running out of securities to offer.
- Therefore, government has introduced SDF as a non-collateralised window. So the RBI can absorb liquidity without offering securities now.
- SDF has its origins in a 2018 amendment to RBI Act (based on Urjit Patel Committee recommendations ) and allows RBI to absorb liquidity from commercial banks without giving any collateral in return.
- SDF rate will be the new floor rate for the liquidity adjustment facility (LAF) corridor, replacing fixed-rate reverse repo.
- LAF is a monetary policy tool that allows banks to borrow money through repurchase agreements or repos.
- All LAF participants will be eligible to participate in SDF scheme.
- Repo rate is the interest rate that the RBI charges when commercial banks borrow money from it.
- Reverse repo rate is the interest rate that the RBI pays commercial banks when they park their excess cash with the central bank. RBI borrows a part of this money at a fixed rate and some of it at variable rate.
Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) Food Price Index does not include average prices of which of the following commodities?
- The FFPI measure of the monthly change in international prices of a basket of food commodities.
- It consists of the average of five commodity group price indices (cereal, sugar, meat, vegetable oil, and dairy) weighted by the average export shares of each of the groups in 2014-2016 (base year).
- FAO is a specialized agency of the United Nations that leads international efforts to defeat hunger.
- It is headquartered in Rome, Italy.
Ultra-fine cashmere wool, known as Pashmina, is derived from which of the following animal?
- Khadi and Village Industries Commission (KVIC) launched Banarasi Pashmina in Varanasi.
- This is for the first time that Pashmina products are being produced outside the region of Leh-Ladakh and Jammu & Kashmir.
- Changthangi or Pashmina goats are raised for ultra-fine cashmere wool, known as Pashmina once woven.
- Changthangi or Pashmina goat is a special breed of goat indigenous to the high altitude regions of Ladakh (domesticated and reared by Changpa nomadic communities).
- Kashmir Pashmina has been assigned Geographical indication (GI) tag.