- INR-USD futures and options contracts
Environment, Ecology & Disaster Management
- NGT slapped penalty on LG Polymers
- Early locusts arrival in India
- Black panther spotted in Netravali sanctuary
Science and Technology
- Band like clouds over Luhman 16A
Art and Culture
- Kailash–Mansarovar Yatra Route
- Rath Yatra chariots
Also in News
- 75th anniversary of Victory in Europe Day
- Pearl Harbor Attack
Key Facts for Prelims
- Patriot missile
- Expansion of Vande Bharat Mission
- MahaKavach App
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INR-USD futures and options contracts
Finance Minister recently launched INR-USD futures and options contracts on the two international exchanges BSE’s India INX and NSE’s NSE-IFSC at GIFT IFSC, Gujarat.
India International Exchange:
- The India International Exchange Limited (India INX) is India’s first international stock exchange.
- It is located at the International Financial Services Centre (IFSC) in GIFT city, Gujarat and a subsidiary of BSE Limited.
- It was inaugurated by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on 9 January 2017.
- It operates on EUREX T7, an advanced technology platform.
- It is the world’s fastest exchange, with a turn-around time of 4 microseconds.
- It operates 22 hours a day, six days a week facilitating international investors and Non-Resident Indians to trade from anywhere across the globe at their preferred timings.
- A significant market share in financial services related to India has moved to other international financial centres over the last decade.
- Bringing this business to India is clearly beneficial in terms of economic activity and employment gains for India.
- The launch of INR-USD contracts at the exchanges in GIFT-IFSC is a step in this direction.
- This will be available 22 hours across all time zones for all global participants from GIFT IFSC.
- Given the world-class business environment and competitive tax regime at GIFT-IFSC, it is expected that trading of INR-USD contracts may bring volumes to India.
- This would also bring larger global participation in India through IFSC and connect India’s IFSC globally.
Futures and Options:
- Futures and options are tools used by investors when trading in the stock market.
- They are similar trading products that provide investors with the chance to make money and hedge current investments.
- An option gives the buyer the right, but not the obligation, to buy (or sell) an asset at a specific price at any time during the life of the contract.
- A futures contract gives the buyer the obligation to purchase a specific asset, and the seller to sell and deliver that asset at a specific future date unless the holder’s position is closed prior to expiration.
Environment, Ecology & Disaster Management
NGT slapped penalty on LG Polymers
The principal bench of the NGT took a suo-moto hearing on the gas leak incident in Visakhapatnam, Andhra Pradesh on May 8, 2020.
- The bench led by Justice Adarsh Goel ordered LG Polymers India Pvt Ltd to deposit Rs 50 crore towards the damages caused to the environment and life prime-facie to the district magistrate.
- The NGT issued orders under Sections 14 and 15 of the NGT Act, 2010.
- The bench also issued notices to Andhra Pradesh State Pollution Control Board (SPCB), district magistrate of Visakhapatnam, Central Pollution Control Board, Union Ministry of Environment, Forests & Climate Change (MoEF&CC) and LG Polymers India Pvt Ltd to respond.
- The court also appointed a five-member committee of experts to report its initial findings on the causes of failure, extent of damage and remedial measures initiated in another 10 days.
Section 14 in The National Green Tribunal Act, 2010:
Tribunal to settle disputes:
- The Tribunal shall have the jurisdiction over all civil cases where a substantial question relating to the environment is involved.
- The Tribunal shall hear the disputes arising and settle such disputes and pass order thereon.
- No application for adjudication of dispute under this section shall be entertained by the Tribunal unless it is made within a period of six months from the date on which the cause of action for such dispute first arose.
Section 15 in The National Green Tribunal Act, 2010:
Relief, compensation and restitution:
- The Tribunal may, by an order, provide-
- relief and compensation to the victims of pollution and other environmental damage arising under the enactments specified in the Schedule I (including accident occurring while handling any hazardous substance);
- for restitution of property damaged;
- for restitution of the environment for such areas or areas, as the Tribunal may think fit.
- No application for grant of any compensation or relief or restitution of property or environment under this section shall be entertained by the Tribunal unless it is made within a period of five years from the date on which the cause for such compensation or relief first arose.
Early locusts arrival in India
Locust Warning Organisation has observed groups of grasshoppers or desert locusts in Rajasthan recently.
What is the issue?
- Desert Locus are destructive migratory pests currently devouring acres of maize, sorghum and wheat crops in East Africa.
- Locusts normally arrive during July-October, but have already been spotted this early in Rajasthan.
- The last year’s locust incursions were the first and most significant since 1993.
- If the monsoon is good, and in the absence of control operations, the magnitude of attack is predicted to be worse than in the 2019-20 rabi season.
Locusts and damage inflicted:
- Locusts are a group of short-horned grasshoppers that multiply in numbers as they migrate long distances in destructive swarms (up to 150km in one day).
- The swarms devour leaves, flowers, fruits, seeds, bark and growing points, and also destroy plants by their sheer weight as they descend on them in massive numbers.
- The desert locust is regarded as the most destructive pest in India as well as internationally.
- A small swarm covering one square kilometre being able to consume the same amount of food in one day as 35,000 people.
- Four species of locusts are found in India: Desert locust, Migratory locust, Bombay Locust and Tree locust.
Threat to global food security:
- The Horn of Africa has been called the worst-affected area, where the Food and Agricultural organisation (FAO) has said there is an unprecedented threat to food security and livelihoods.
- The outbreak is the worst to strike Ethiopia and Somalia in 25 years, and the worst infestation in Kenya in the past 70 years.
- Without international help, the FAO has said that locust numbers across the region could grow 500 times by June.
Black panther spotted in Netravali sanctuary
For the first time a Black Panther has been captured on camera in Netravali sanctuary, Goa.
- The Black Panther is a large member of the feline family native to Asia, Africa and the Americas.
- The Panther is not a distinct species itself but is the general name used to refer to any black coloured feline of the Big Cat family, most notably Leopards and Jaguars.
- It is the melanistic colour variant of any Panthera or has increased development of the dark-colored pigment melanin in the skin or hair.
- Although the Panther is not technically classified as a separate species, they are considered to be endangered.
- Netravali Wildlife Sanctuary is located in South-Eastern Goa, India.
- It constitutes one of the vital corridors of the Western Ghats.
- It is the largest sanctuary of Goa and covers an area of about 211 sq. km.
- Netravali is an important tributary of River Zuari, which originates in the sanctuary.
- The forests in the sanctuary mostly consist of moist deciduous vegetation interspersed with evergreen and semi-evergreen habitat.
Science and Technology
Band like clouds over Luhman 16A
It has been recently discovered that the closest known brown dwarf, Luhman 16A, shows signs of cloud bands similar to those seen on Jupiter and Saturn.
- The scientists have used the technique of polarimetry to determine the properties of atmospheric clouds outside of the solar system or exoclouds.
- The researchers used a Very Large Telescope in Chile to study polarised light from the Luhman 16 system.
- Luhman 16A is the closest known brown dwarf located in the Vela constellation.
- Brown dwarfs are objects heavier than planets but lighter than stars and typically have 13 to 80 times the mass of Jupiter.
- Luhman 16A is part of a binary system containing a second brown dwarf, Luhman 16B.
- At a distance of 6.5 light-years, it is the third closest system to our Sun after Alpha Centauri and Barnard’s Star.
- Both brown dwarfs weigh about 30 times as much as Jupiter.
- The concept of polarimetry technique was put forth by Indian astrophysicist Sujan Sengupta, that the light emitted by a cloudy brown dwarf, or reflected off an extrasolar planet will be polarised.
- Polarimetry is the study of polarisation. Polarisation is a property of light that represents the direction that the light wave oscillates.
- Polarised sunglasses block out one direction of polarisation to reduce glare and improve contrast.
- But here instead of trying to block out that glare, the scientists are trying to measure it.
- When light is reflected off from particles such as cloud droplets, it can favour a certain angle of polarisation.
- By measuring the preferred polarisation of light from a distant system, astronomers can deduce (detect) the presence of clouds without directly resolving either brown dwarf’s cloud structure.
- Even from light-years away, polarisation can be used to determine what the light encountered along its path.
Art and Culture
Kailash–Mansarovar Yatra Route
Border Roads Organisation has completed the road connectivity from Dharchula to Lipulekh (China Border) famously known as Kailash-Mansarovar Yatra Route.
- A new and faster road route through Uttarakhand to reach Kailash Mansarovar, a pilgrimage site nestled in the Himalayas in Tibet is completed.
- The road that almost goes up till Lipulekh Pass at the India-China border is 17,000 feet above the sea level.
- It connects the Lipulekh pass to Dharchula, a town in Uttarakahand’s Pithoragarh.
- The Dharchula – Lipulekh road is an extension of Pithoragarh-Tawaghat-Ghatiabagarh road.
- It originates from Ghatiabagarh and terminates at Lipulekh Pass, the gateway to Kailash Mansarovar.
- The new road makes this route the shortest and the least expensive way to reach Mount Kailash as it is just a fifth of the distance when compared to other routes.
- With the completion of this project, the difficult 90 km trek through the high-altitude terrain can now be avoided by the Pilgrims of Kailash Mansarovar Yatra significantly reducing the period of journey.
- At present, the travel to Kailash Mansarovar takes around two to three weeks through Sikkim or Nepal routes.
- Lipulekh route had a trek of 90 Km through high altitude terrain and the elderly yartris faced a lot of difficulties.
- Now, this yatra can be completed by vehicles.
- Kailash Manasarovar Yatra (KMY) is known for its religious value and cultural significance.
- It holds significance for Hindus as the abode of Lord Shiva, Kailasha.
- The Ministry of External Affairs organizes this Yatra during June to September each year through two different routes – Lipulekh Pass (Uttarakhand) and Nathu La Pass (Sikkim).
- It is open to eligible Indian citizens, holding valid Indian passports, who wish to proceed to Kailash-Manasarovar for religious purposes.
- The Ministry of External Affairs does not provide any subsidy or financial assistance to Yatris.
- The Yatra involves trekking at high altitudes of up to 19,500 feet, under inhospitable conditions, including extreme weather, and rugged terrain
- This Yatra is organized with the support of the state governments of Uttarakhand, Delhi, and Sikkim; and the cooperation of Indo Tibetan Border Police (ITBP).
- Mount Kailash is located in Kailash Range, which forms part of the Transhimalaya in the Tibet Autonomous Region of China.
Rath Yatra chariots
The Ministry of Home Affairs has allowed the construction of chariots for the annual Rath Yatra at Jagannath Puri in Odisha.
Jagannath Rath Yatra:
- Jagannath Rath Yatra is an annual event which is celebrated in the month of June or July.
- It is also called Gundicha Yatra, Chariot Festival, Dasavatara and Navadina Yatra.
- The festival is celebrated on the 2nd day of the Shukla Paksha, Ashadh month according to the traditional Oriya Calendar.
- It is dedicated to Lord Jagannath (Lord Krishna), his sister Goddess Subhadra and his elder brother Lord Balabhadra.
- During this festival, the wooden idols of the three deities are taken from the Jagannath Temple to the Gundicha Temple placed in three different decorative chariots.
- The Jagannath Temple of Puri is an important Hindu temple dedicated to Lord Jagannath, a form of Vishnu.
- The present temple was rebuilt from the 10th century onwards, on the site of an earlier temple, and begun by King Anantavarman Chodaganga Deva, first of the Eastern Ganga dynasty.
- The Puri temple is famous for its annual Ratha yatra, or chariot festival.
- The temple is one of the holiest Vaishnava Hindu Char Dham sites comprising Rameswaram, Badrinath, Puri and Dwarka.
Also in News
75th anniversary of Victory in Europe Day
The 75th anniversary of Victory in Europe Day was observed on 8th May in England this year.
Victory in Europe Day:
- ‘Victory in Europe Day’ – marks the day towards the end of World War Two in Europe when fight against Nazi Germany in Europe came to an end.
- On 8 May 1945, Prime Minister Winston Churchill made an announcement on the radio that the war in Europe had come to an end, following Germany’s surrender the day before.
- Even though VE Day marked victory for Europe over Germany, it did not mark the end of World War Two.
End of World War Two:
- Even after 8 May, many soldiers, sailors and pilots were sent to the east to fight against the Japanese, who had not yet surrendered.
- Two atomic bombs were dropped on the Japanese cities of Hiroshima (6 August) and Nagasaki (9 August).
- On 15 August 1945, the allies had officially defeated Japan.
- This date is known as Victory over Japan Day when World War Two was finally over.
Pearl Harbor Attack
The US President has said the coronavirus outbreak has hit the US harder than the Japanese bombing of Pearl Harbor during World War II or the 9/11 terror attacks.
Pearl Harbour attack:
- The attack was a surprise aerial attack on the U.S. naval base at Pearl Harbor on Oahu Island, Hawaii, by the Japanese on December 7, 1941.
- It resulted in the entry of the United States into World War II.
- The strike climaxed a decade of worsening relations between the United States and Japan.
- Japan attacked the US naval base at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii on the morning of December 7, 1941.
- The surprise attack was conducted by some 350 Japanese aircraft which badly damaged eighteen US naval vessels, including eight battleships and destroyed 300 US aircraft.
- Around 2,403 Americans, including 68 civilians, died in the attack whereas japan lost 29 aircraft and a few mini-submarines.
- The attack stunned and angered the US and it turned its public opinion in favor of entering the Second World War.
- The United States declared war on Japan on December 8, 1941.
- Japan’s allies, Germany and Italy, inturn declared war on the United States on December 11, 1941.
Key Facts for Prelims
- The U.S. is pulling out four of its powerful Patriot missile systems from Saudi Arabia.
- The move comes after determining that the threat from Iran that sparked an arms buildup in the region had waned.
Expansion of Vande Bharat Mission
- India will expand the massive repatriation programme for citizens stranded abroad due to Covid-19 crisis to Russia, Central Asian states and European countries such as Germany and Spain next week.
- The Vande Bharat Mission has focused on neighbouring countries such as the Maldives and Bangladesh and West Asian states such as the UAE and Saudi Arabia, which have millions of expatriates, in the first phase during May 7-14.
- The App has been launched by the Government of Maharashtra.
- It is a real-time digital contact tracing mobile application which enables citizens to contribute and assist the health authorities in contact tracing, geo-fencing and tracking of quarantined COVID-19 patients.
- Selfie attendance feature has been also added in the application to get virtual attendance.
- This app is to be used by individuals as directed by their doctor or medical worker.
- The app will not be accessible to everyone, as the state government aims to use it for very targeted cases.