Consider the following statements regarding Nowruz-
1. Nowruz marks the first day of spring and is celebrated on the day of Spring Equinox.
2. It is listed in Indian list of UNESCO’S Intangible cultural heritage.
Which of the above statements are correct?
- The United Nations (UN)’s International Day of Nowruz is annually observed across the globe on 21st March to create awareness about Nowruz, which promotes values of peace and solidarity between generations and within families as well as reconciliation and neighbourliness.
- The word Nowruz (Novruz, Navruz, Nooruz, Nevruz, Nauryz), means “new day”.
- Nowruz marks the first day of spring and is celebrated on the day of the astronomical vernal equinox, when the sun crosses the celestial equator and night and day are equal it length, which usually occurs on 21 March.
- The celebration of Nowruz in Afghanistan, Azerbaijan, India, Iran (Islamic Republic of), Iraq, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan, Pakistan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Turkey wa inscribed as an element in 2009, and extended in 2016, on the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity.
- The United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) adopted the resolution in February 2010 and proclaimed the 21st March of every year as the International Day of Nowruz.
- The first International Day of Nowruz was celebrated on 21st March 2010.
- Since Nowruz contributes to cultural diversity and friendship among peoples and different communities, it fits closely with the mandates of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization(UNESCO).
- The festival of Nowruz is named after the Persian king, Jamshed, who created the Persian or Shahenshahi calendar.
- The Nowruz is celebrated as the beginning of the new year by more than 300 million people across the globe, and it has been celebrated for more than 3000 years in the Balkans, the Black Sea Basin, the Caucasus, Central Asia, the Middle East and other regions.
- It is also known as Novroz in the Ismaili Muslim tradition and Naw-Roz in the Bahai faith.
Nowruz in India
- In India, the festival is mostly celebrated around August 16-17 by the Parsi community following the Shahenshahi calendar which does not comprise of leap year.
- Celebration of Nowruz: An important tradition practised during Nowruz is the gathering around ‘the Table, decorated with objects that symbolize purity, brightness, livelihood and wealth, to enjoy a special meal with loved ones.
International Day of Forests is observed on-
- Since 2013, the International Day of Forests (IDF) has been observed annually on March 21 to celebrate and raise awareness of the importance of all types of forests.
- The IDF 2022 was observed on the theme ‘Forests and sustainable production and consumption’.
- It is being organized by the United Nations Forum on Forests (UNFF), and the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), in collaboration with Governments, the Collaborative Partnership on Forests and other relevant organizations in the field.
- This year’s caters to the Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 12e. Responsible Consumption and Production.
- On this day, Countries are encouraged to undertake local, national and international efforts to organize activities involving forests and trees, such as tree planting campaigns.
- The theme for each IDF is chosen by the Collaborative Partnership on Forests.
- FAO along with International Union of Forest Research Organizations (IUFRO) and IUFRO World Congress 2024, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences (SLU) conducted a high-level panel discussion to celebrate IDF 2022.
- FAO is a specialized agency of the UN that leads international efforts to defeat hunger.
- IUFRO is a world-wide organization devoted to forest research and related sciences
- SLU is a governmental agency and international university. It is Sweden’s host organization of the IUFRO World Congress 2024 on 23-29 June in Stockholm, in collaboration with IUFRO and the Nordic and Baltic partner countries.
Some statistics about Forests:
- It is estimated that more than half the world’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) depends on ecosystem services, including those provided by forests.
- More than half the total world population is estimated to use non-timber forest product support their well-being and livelihoods.
- Forests cover nearly one-third of the Earth’s land surface and provide people with goods and help combat climate change, protect biodiversity, soils, rivers and reservoirs.
- The world has lost 420 million hectares of forest, an area bigger than India, since 1990, and deforestation continues at about 10 million hectares per year, mainly due to agricultural expansion.
- According to a UN estimate, more than 1.6 billion people are directly dependent on forests for food, medicines, shelter, energy, shelter, income etc.
The upper limit on payment in recently launched UPI Lite, is-
- National Payments Commission of India (NPCI) has launched a new UPI service called UPI Lite.
- The feature will allow to make faster near real-time small value payments without an internet connection via the money added in the wallet.
- Upper limit of a payment: Rs 200.
- According to NPCI, at least 75 per cent of the total volume of retail transactions (including cash) in India are below Rs 100 transaction value.
- Further, 50 per cent of the total UPI transactions are having a transaction value of up to Rs 200. This is why NPCI will only allow offline transactions upto Rs 200.
- Total limit of UPI Lite balance: Rs 2,000.
- With UPI lite, users will have the option to scan any QR code and make the payment without internet.
Carbofuran, a pesticide, has been blamed for deaths of more than 95 Himalayan griffon vultures in Assam. What is the IUCN status of Himalayan griffon vulture?
- Recent deaths of more than 95 Himalayan griffon vultures (Near Threatened) and a steppe eagle in Assam have been attributed to pesticide poisoning due to carbofuran.
- Habitat of Himalayan griffon vultures: western China, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Afghanistan and Pakistan, east through the Himalayan mountain range in India, Nepal and Bhutan, to central China and Mongolia.
- It is a pesticide that is widely used to control insects and nematodes on a variety of agricultural crops
- Its extensive use for agricultural and non-agricultural purposes has been directly responsible for the environmental contamination and human health issues.
Consider the following statements regarding Biological and Toxin Weapons Convention-
1. It was the first multilateral treaty categorically banning a class of weapon.
2. India is not a signatory to it.
Which of the above statements are correct?
- India at the UNSC advocated for the BTWC saying that it is important to ensure its implementation in letter and spirit.
About BTWC or Biological Weapons Convention (BWC):
- It was the first multilateral treaty categorically banning a class of weapon.
- The treaty prohibits the development, stockpile, production, or transfer of biological agents and toxins of “types and quantities” that have no justification for protective or peaceful use.
- Membership: 183 (including India) .
Dredging Corporation of India signed an agreement to build India's first domestically manufactured high-capacity dredger with-
- DCI and Cochin Shipyard signed an agreement to build India’s first domestically-manufactured high-capacity dredger.
- Dredging is the process of desiking river bodies, or removal of soil, mud, and dirt at the shores or the bottom.
- It will help in bringing down the logistic costs of cargos.
- DCI is a premier dredging organization catering to the dredging and allied services to Major Ports, Minor Ports, Indian Navy etc.
- Currently, 70% of our dredging requirement is for maintenance dredging (maintaining water bodies previously dredged), while the rest accounts for capital dredging (desilting for new projects).
India was ranked 136th in the recently released World Happiness Report (WHR) 2022. It is published by-
- This year marks the 10th anniversary of the report which evaluates levels of happiness by taking into account factors such as GDP, social support, personal freedom, and levels of corruption in each nation.
- The goal behind the report is to identify key determinants of well-being.
- The report 2022 ranked India 136th while Finland topped the charts for the fifth year in a row.
- The rankings of WHR 2022 use data from the Gallup World Poll surveys from 2019 to 2021.
- Among the bottom-five countries on the index are conflict-torn Afghanistan, Lebanon, Zimbabwe, Rwanda and Botswana.
- Bhutan not listed in the 2022 WHR.
- Also, India was one among the countries that witnessed, over the past 10 years, a fall in life evaluations by more than a full point on the 0 to 10 scale.
- Criticism of the report: Happiness cannot be quantified based on a set of indices on a small area of the population and generalized.
United Nations Sustainable Development Solutions Network
- SDSN, set up in 2012, mobilizes global scientific and technological expertise to promote practical solutions for sustainable development, including implementation of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and Paris Climate Agreement.
Consider the following statements regarding Keoladeo National Park-
1. It is located in Bharatpur in Madhya Pradesh.
2. It is recognised as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in India.
Which of the above statements are correct?
- Technique involves luring of animals into an enclosure by chasing them through a funnel like fencing.
- Earlier, it was utilised to capture wild elephants for training and service.
Keoladeo National Park
- KNP, popularly known as Bharatpur Bird Sanctuary, is located in Bharatpur, Rajasthan.
- It was recognised as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO In 1985.
- It is designated as a Wetland of International Importance under the Ramsar Convention in 1981.
- It is known as the breeding ground for the rare and elusive Siberian crane.
An ancient musical Instrument, Narasinghapettai nagaswaram, recently got GI tag from which state?
- An ancient musical Instrument from Narasinghapettai, a village in Thanjavur, has been granted Geographical indication (GI) tag.
- It is highly complex musical instrument, dating back to the 13th century.
- Nagaswaram is made of ‘aacha maram; a tree known for its sturdy features.
- ‘Aacha’ wood, which is naturally water-resistant, is procured specifically from the Cauvery River basin for making the instrument.
- Artisans use drilling machines to make the nagaswarams that are played widely in functions like weddings and temple festivals.
Pradhan Mantri Ujjwala Yojana comes under the ambit of-
- An independent impact assessment of Ujjwala programme has found that:
- PMUY helped in avoiding at least 1.8 million tonnes of PM2.5 emissions in 2019.
- Biomass burning in household cooking could be contributing 30-40% of outdoor air pollution.
About Pradhan Mantri Ujjwala Yojana (PMUY)
- It was launched in 2016 by Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas to provide LPG connection to the rural and deprived households that were using traditional fuels like wood, cow-dung cakes, or coal for cooking purposes.
- It aims to reduce premature deaths due to Indoor air pollution.
- Ujjwala 2.0 was launched in 2021, with an aim to provide deposit-free LPG connections to those low-income families who could not be covered under the earlier phase of PMUY.
- Eligibility Criteria for PMUY
- An adult woman belonging to a poor household and not having LPG connection in her household, will be eligible under UJJWALA 2.0.
- The beneficiaries should belong to any of the following categories:
- Eligible as per SECC 2011 list
- Belongs to SC/ST households, be a beneficiary of Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana (PMAY), Antyodaya Anna Yojana (AAY), Forest dwellers, Most Backward Classes (MBC), Tea and Ex-Tea Garden Tribes, People residing in riverislands. ‘1- If she is not falling in the above 2 categories, then she can stake her claim to be a beneficiary under Poor household by submitting 14-point declaration.
About Indoor air pollution:
- It refers to chemical, biological and physical contamination of indoor air.
- WHO fact sheet on household air pollution due to indoor pollutants states that 3.8 million premature deaths occur annually.
- Indoor pollutants recognised: NOx, S02, ozone (03), CO, volatile and semi-volatile organic compounds (VOCs), PM, radon and microorganisms
- Impacts: Risks of stroke, ischaemic heart diseases, chronic obstructive pulmonary diseases, lung cancer.
Other steps taken for Indoor air pollution:
- Unnat Chulha Abhiyan, National Biomass Cook stoves Initiative, Promoting solar cookers, Neerdhur etc.