70 Days WAR Plan

Day#62 Current Affairs Flash Cards [70 Days WAR Plan]

‘Project Loon’; “Global Relay of Observatories Watching Transients Happen (GROWTH)-India”; Happy School Project; Mahatma Gandhi Institute of Education for Peace and Sustainable Development (MGIEPS); Whanganui River; Central Information Commission (CIC); Fair and remunerative price (FRP); State Advised Price (SAP); Regional comprehensive Partnership Agreement (RCEP):; Composite Water Management Index; Bio gas; Bio ethanol; Bio Diesel; Millet Sisters Network;
By IT's Core Team
May 22, 2019




What is Millet Sisters Network?

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About Millet Sisters Network:

  • Millet Sisters is a network of women farmer members promoting, conserving and consuming millets.
  • It is a first of its kind group launched by 100 women to provide knowledge to women in the area of millet farming.
  • Over 5,000 women from across the country are part of this network.
  • On the occasion of International Women’s Day, All India Millet Sisters Network (AIMS) has been awarded the Nari Shakti Puraskar 2017 by the Government of India on March 2018.
  • The award was presented for outstanding contribution to women empowerment, by the President of India
  • Millet Sisters Network is a celebration of very small women farmers who have infused life into the concept of millets by cultivating, on serving and consuming millets.
  • AIMS which was launched in November 2016 has about 5,000 women farmers membership across the country.
  • Millet Sisters bases itself on these sterling principles of millets:
    • They are resilient
    • Life infusing
    • Life sustaining
    • Life generating
  • Millet Sisters Network conserve and preserve different varieties of millets, and the produce organically certified and packaged for marketing in the urban areas.




Define different types of Bio Fuels: (a) Bio gas (b) Bio ethanol and (c) Bio Diesel

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Bio gas

  • Biogas is a type of biofuel that is naturally produced from the decomposition of organic waste.
  • When organic matter break down in an anaerobic environment (an environment absent of oxygen) they release a blend of gases, primarily methane and carbon dioxide.
  • Because this decomposition happens in an anaerobic environment, the process of producing biogas is also known as anaerobic digestion.

Bio ethanol

  • Bio Ethanol is principle fuel used as a petrol substitute for road transport vehicles.
  • Bioethanol fuel is mainly produced by the sugar fermentation process, although it can also be manufactured by the chemical process of reacting ethylene with steam.
  • Bioethanol can be blended with petroleum to produce a much more efficient fuel.
  • The main sources of sugar required to produce ethanol come from fuel or energy crops.
  • These crops are grown specifically for energy use and include corn, maize and wheat crops, waste straw, willow and popular trees, sawdust, reed canary grass, cord grasses, jerusalem artichoke, myscanthus and sorghum plants.
  • Bioethanol is entirely comprised of biological products, and hence its combustion results in cleaner emissions.
  • There is also ongoing research and development into the use of municipal solid wastes to produce ethanol fuel.

Bio Diesel

  • Biodiesel is an alternative fuel similar to conventional or ‘fossil’ diesel. Biodiesel can be produced from straight vegetable oil, animal oil/fats, tallow and waste cooking oil.
  • The process used to convert these oils to Biodiesel is called transesterification.
  • The largest possible source of suitable oil comes from oil crops such as rapeseed, palm or soybean.




Composite Water Management Index is developed by?

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  • Composite Water Management Index was developed by NITI Aayog in 2017.

Rational behind developing this report:

  • In view of limitations on availability of water resources and rising demand for water, sustainable management of water resources has acquired critical importance.
  • Thus, this Index was developed.

About Composite Water Management Index:

  • It is a useful tool to assess and further improve the performance in efficient management of water resources.
  • The index would provide useful information for the States and also for the concerned Central Ministries/Departments enabling them to formulate and implement suitable strategies for better management of water resources.
  • The Index has 28 key Performance Indicators (KPIs) covering irrigation status, drinking water and other water-related sectors.
  • Critical areas such as:
    • source augmentation;
    • major and medium irrigation;
    • watershed development;
    • participatory irrigation practices;
    • sustainable on-farm water uses practices;
    • rural drinking water;
    • urban water supply and sanitation; and
    • policy & governance have been accorded high priority.
  • The index would serve as a useful tool to track performance in the water sector and take corrective measures timely for achieving better outcomes thereby meeting the citizens’ expectations satisfactorily.
  • It is an attempt to inspire states and UTs towards efficient and optimal utilisation of water and recycling thereof with a sense of urgency.
  • Gujarat topped the list followed by Madhya Pradesh, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka and Maharashtra. Jharkhand, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh and Bihar were worst performers among general States.
  • Tripura has topped the list followed by Himachal Pradesh, Sikkim and Assam in North-eastern and Himalayan states.




What is Regional comprehensive Partnership Agreement (RCEP)? And why India is concerned about the RCEP?

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Regional comprehensive Partnership Agreement (RCEP):

  • The Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) is a free trade agreement (FTA).
  • It is proposed between:
    • the ten-member states of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) (Brunei, Burma (Myanmar), Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, Vietnam) and
    • the six states with which ASEAN has existing FTAs (Australia, China, India, Japan, South Korea and New Zealand).
  • RCEP negotiations were formally launched in November 2012 at the ASEAN Summit in Cambodia.
  • The Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) is among the proposed three mega FTAs in the world so far. The other two is:
    • The TPP (Trans Pacific Partnership, led by the US) and
    • The TTIP (Trans-Atlantic Trade and Investment Partnership between the US and the EU).
  • RCEP is viewed as an alternative to the TPP trade agreement, which includes the United States but excludes China
  • The RCEP negotiation includes:
    • Trade in goods, trade in services, investment, economic and technical cooperation, intellectual property, competition, dispute settlement, e-commerce, small and medium enterprises (SMEs) and other issues.
  • RCEP is the world’s largest economic bloc, covering nearly half of the global economy.

India’s concerns associated with RCEP:

  • Emphasis of RCEP is on trade in goods and the same enthusiasm is not shared for trade in services. The reluctance in giving market access for trade in services is a big challenge for India.
  • While there is immense pressure on India in the RCEP negotiations to commit to opening up (90%) of its traded goods, what is troubling the government is the fact that other RCEP countries have so far been lukewarm to India’s demands for greater market access in services, particularly on easing norms on the movement of professionals and skilled workers across borders for short-term work.
  • India, which is defensive regarding opening up its goods sector, is currently virtually isolated in the RCEP talks. Also, existing huge goods trade deficit has led to questions on whether the pact is only helping ASEAN nations and not benefiting India.
  • Significantly, while the India-ASEAN Trade in Goods Agreement was inked and enforced from January 1, 2010, India’s goods trade deficit with ASEAN widened from $4.98 billion in 2010-11 to $14.75 billion in 2015-16, and then narrowed to $9.56 billion in 2016-17. The huge goods trade deficit has led to questions on whether the pact is only helping ASEAN nations and not benefiting India.




What is Fair and remunerative price (FRP)? And what is State Advised Price (SAP)?

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What is FRP?

  • FRP is the minimum price that the sugar mills have to pay to farmers.
  • It is set by the centre and is payable by mills to sugarcane farmers throughout the country.
  • It is supposed to signal to farmers the need to plant more or less cane for the coming year.
  • FRP of sugarcane is been determined on the basis of recommendations of Commission for Agricultural Costs and Prices (CACP) and after consultation with State Governments and other stake-holders.
  • It takes into account various factors such as cost of production, overall demand-supply situation, domestic and international prices, inter-crop price parity, terms of trade prices of primary by-products, and likely impact of FRP on general price level and resource use efficiency.

What is State Advised Price (SAP)?

  • State Advised Price (SAP) is the price set by state governments.
  • It is the price that mills would have to pay farmers instead of the FRP.
  • It strengthens farmer’s interests.
  • Typically, SAP is higher than FRP.
  • There have been divergent views on which is a fair price to both farmers and millers.




What are the powers and role of Central Information Commission (CIC)?

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Central Information Commission (CIC):

  • Established in 2005, the Central Information Commission (CIC) is the authorised body under the Government of India.
  • It was set up under the Right to Information Act.
  • The jurisdiction of the Commission extends over all Central Public Authorities.
  • It was set up to act upon complaints from those individuals who have not been able to submit information requests to a Central Public Information Officer or State Public Information Officer due to either the officer not having been appointed, or because the respective Central Assistant Public Information Officer or State Assistant Public Information Officer refused to receive the application for information under the RTI Act.
  • The Commission includes 1 Chief Information Commissioner (CIC) and not more than 10 Information Commissioners (IC) who are appointed by the President of India.
  • The Chief Information Commissioner and Information Commissioners are appointed by the President on the recommendation of a committee consisting of:
    • The Prime Minister, who shall be the Chairperson of the committee.
    • The Leader of Opposition in the Lok Sabha.
    • A Union Cabinet Minister to be nominated by the Prime Minister.
  • The decisions of the Commission are final and binding.

The Commission has certain powers and functions that relate to:

  • It is the duty of the Commission to receive and inquire into a complaint from any person
  • Adjudicate on in second appeal for giving information;
  • Direction for record keeping,
  • The Commission can order inquiry into any matter if there are reasonable Grounds (Suo moto),
  • Disclosures receiving and enquiring into a complaint on inability to file RTI etc;
  • Imposition of penalties,
  • While inquiring, the Commission has the powers of a civil court,
  • Monitoring,
  • Reporting
  • Examine any record which is under the control of the public authority and no such
  • record may be withheld from it on any grounds,
  • The Commission has the power to secure compliance of its decisions from the public authority.
  • Preparation of an Annual Report, which is placed by the central government before each House of Parliament.
  • When a public authority does not conform to the provisions of this Act, the Commission may recommend (to the authority) steps which ought to be taken for promoting such conformity.




Who is developing ‘Project Loon’?

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  • Project Loon is a research and development project being developed by Google.

About Project Loon:

  • It is a network of balloons traveling on the edge of space, designed to connect people in rural and remote areas.
  • Objective of the project is to provide Internet access to rural and remote areas and help fill coverage gaps and to improve communication during natural disasters to affected regions.

How it works?

  • The project uses high-altitude balloons placed in the stratosphere at an altitude of about 18 km to create an aerial wireless network with up to 4G-LTE speeds.
  • The balloons are manoeuvred by adjusting their altitude in the stratosphere to float to a wind layer after identifying the wind layer with the desired speed and direction using wind data from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).
  • Users of the service connect to the balloon network using a special Internet antenna attached to their building.
  • The signal travels through the balloon network from balloon to balloon, then to a ground-based station connected to an Internet service provider (ISP), then onto the global Internet.

Why in Stratosphere?

  • Google asserts that this particular layer of the stratosphere is advantageous because of its relatively low wind speeds (e.g., wind speeds between 10 to 30 kmph) and minimal turbulence.
  • Moreover, Google claims that it can model, with reasonable accuracy, the seasonal, longitudinal, and latitudinal variations in wind speeds within the 18–25 km stratospheric layer.




Whanganui River is major river system in which country?

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Location of Whanganui River system:

  • Whanganui River is major river system in New Zealand.
  • It is the major river in the North Island of the country.
  • It is the country’s third-longest river, and has special status owing to its importance to the region’s Maori people.
  • In March 2017 it became the world’s second natural resource to be given its own legal identity, with the rights, duties and liabilities of a legal person.
  • After 140 years of negotiation, Māori tribe wins recognition for Whanganui river, meaning it must be treated as a living entity
  • It is for the first time in the world that a river has been granted the same legal rights as a human being.
  • The new status of the river means if someone abused or harmed it the law now sees no differentiation between harming the tribe or harming the river because they are one and the same.




What is Happy School Project? And what is Mahatma Gandhi Institute of Education for Peace and Sustainable Development (MGIEPS)?

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Happy School Project:

  • The Happy Schools Project was launched in June 2014 in the aim of promoting learner well-being and holistic development in schools.
  • UNESCO’s Asia and Pacific Regional Bureau for Education (UNESCO Bangkok) launched the Happy Schools Project.
  • “A Framework for Learner Well-being in the Asia-Pacific” is a 2016 report and a main outcome of the happy school project.
  • It features 22 criteria under three broad categories: People, Process and Place, for a happy school as well as promising and innovative practices based on voices from the school level.
  • Happy Schools Project aims to offer an alternative notion of the quality of education that values and nurtures learners’ diverse talents and strengths.
  • This panel offered various perspectives from policymakers, experts and school-level stakeholders on how the Happy Schools framework can be promoted and implemented in education systems in the region and beyond.
  • The Happy Schools Project calls for education systems to reposition the school as more than a service for educational instruction.
  • It works to create an environment which allows for social and emotional growth and development for learners to contribute to a more peaceful, just and equitable world.


  • Promote the importance of happiness in schools;
  • Document and share proven practices in promoting happiness in schools from the perspectives of students, teachers and relevant education stakeholders; and
  • Establish a Happy Schools Framework consisting of criteria and strategies for learner well-being and holistic development.

Mahatma Gandhi Institute of Education for Peace and Sustainable Development (MGIEPS):

  • The Mahatma Gandhi Institute of Education for Peace and Sustainable Development (MGIEPS) is a culmination of UNESCO’s long years of work towards the conviction that education can be an agent of fundamental change.
  • UNESCO MGIEP focuses on achieving the UN Sustainable Development Goal 4.7 towards education for building peaceful and sustainable societies across the world.
  • It does so by developing programmes that promote socio-emotional learning, innovate digital pedagogies and empower the youth.
  • Based in New Delhi, the Institute was formally announced in November 2012 by the President of India and the Director-General of UNESCO.
  • It is the first UNESCO specialized education institute in India, and the first Category 1 institute in the Asia-Pacific region.
  • It was established, with the remit of strengthening capacities in member states to integrate sustainable development and peace into a holistic vision of education.

Functions of MGIEPS:

  • The role of the Institute will be to support member governments, provide advocacy, commission research and enhance capacity building.
  • The Institute will also act as a clearing house for Education for Sustainable Development (ESD) and Peace Education.
  • It will also establish networks and partnerships on ESD and Peace Education.
  • The Institute will develop a global database and an interactive portal for ESD and Peace Education, engaging with youth in particular.
  • Blue Dot is its famous publication.


  • Design and develop its efforts to spread the message of the role education plays for peace and sustainable development,
  • Provide some clarity and cohesion between education, peace and sustainability;
  • To bring about a world in which people consciously choose to cooperate for the benefit of all mankind, acting in altruism and selflessness,
  • Respond to the likely demands of post-2015 development agenda;
  • Seek to provide practical and applicable solutions for curricula and demands of the educators;
  • Provide a policy framework for Member States to be included in their education planning;
  • Help the capacity building process for member states;
  • Recognise the values of non-violence and respect for human rights, tolerance and diversity.
  • Create appropriate linkages and partnerships; and
  • Share and disseminate information.




What is “Global Relay of Observatories Watching Transients Happen (GROWTH)-India”?

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Global Relay of Observatories Watching Transients Happen (GROWTH)-India:

  • The Indian Astronomical Observatory (IAO) at Hanle in Ladakh is India’s 1st robotic telescope & is one of the world’s highest astronomical observatories at 4,500 metre.
  • It is a part of Global Relay of Observatories Watching Transients Happen (GROWTH) program along US, the UK, Japan, Germany, Taiwan and Israel.
  • It is a joint project of Bangalore-based Indian Institute of Astrophysics (IIA) and the Indian Institute of Technology Bombay (IITB).
  • The project is fully funded by the Science and Engineering Research Board (SERB) of the Department of Science and Technology (DST) under the PIRE project, administered by Indo US Science and Technology Forum.
  • The telescope is designed to observe dynamic and transient events in the universe.
  • The chosen regions are not only rich in stars, thereby allowing for various image quality tests but are also visually stunning.
  • The fully robotic optical research telescope is designed to capture cosmic events occurring in timescales much shorter than light years – years, days and even hours.
  • The primary research objective of the project is time domain astronomy, which entails the study of explosive transients and variable sources in the universe.
  • Together with partner telescopes strategically located around the world, it will continuously monitor any interesting object in the sky – uninterrupted by daylight.
  • It is also is programmed to directly communicate with different ground-based and space-based surveys searching for transient sources.

Other fact:

  • The Indian Astronomical Observatory (IAO) at Hanle in Ladakh provides for the combined facility of:
    1. The Himalayan Chandra Telescope,
    2. The gamma-ray array telescope (HAGAR),
    3. Global Relay of Observatories Watching Transients Happen (GROWTH)-India, and
    4. The imaging Cherenkov telescope (MACE).
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