Current Affairs

13 April, 2022

International

About 99% World’s Population Is Now Breathing Polluted Air: WHO

According to the latest update from the World Health Organization (WHO), the United Nations (UN) health agency, about 99% of the world’s population breathes air that does not meet WHO’s air quality standards. The air is polluted and often contains particles that can penetrate deep into the lungs, enter the veins and arteries, and cause ailments.
For the first time, the WHO Air Quality Database introduced ground measurements of annual mean concentrations of nitrogen dioxide (NO2), a common urban pollutant and precursor of particulate matter and ozone. It also includes measurements of Particulate Matter (PM) with diameters of equal or smaller than 10 μm (PM10) or 2.5 μm (PM2.5). Both groups of pollutants originate mainly from human activities related to fossil fuel combustion.

Note: The last version of the database was issued in 2018.

The Major Pollutants:
Nitrogen dioxide (NO2): It is mostly produced by human-generated fuel combustion, often through automobile traffic, and is particularly prevalent in urban areas. It can induce respiratory sickness.
Particulate Matter (PM): It comes from a variety of places, including transportation, power plants, agriculture, garbage burning, industry, and natural sources like desert dust. It has the ability to penetrate deep into the lungs and into the bloodstream, resulting in cardiovascular, cerebrovascular (stroke), and respiratory effects.

Global Wind Energy Sector Needs Four-Fold Higher Growth to Meet 2050 Net Zero Goal: GWEC Report

According to the Global Wind Energy Council (GWEC) report titled “Global Wind Report 2022 (GWEC – Global Wind Report 2022) ,” wind energy installations worldwide must quadruple from the 94 GigaWatts(GW) installed in 2021 within this decade if the world is to stay on track for a 1.5C pathway and net zero by 2050. The report warns to amplify wind energy in order to sustain global warming over pre-industrial levels to 1.5 degrees Celsius—a target set by the Paris Agreement—and achieve net zero emissions by 2050. In 2021, the global wind industry had its second-best year, with almost 94 GW (93.6 GW) of capacity added, only 1.8% below the record growth of 2020. 93.6 GW of new installations in 2021 brings global cumulative wind power capacity to 837 GW, showing year-over-year (YoY) growth of 12%. Report also highlights that 557 GW of new capacity will be added in the next five years which is more than 110 GW of new installations each year until 2026.
Onshore Wind Market:-
The onshore wind market added 72.5 GW worldwide.Though new onshore wind installations in Europe, Latin America, Africa, and the Middle East all experienced record years, total onshore wind installations in 2021 were still 18% lower than the 2020. The main cause of the decline was the slowdown of onshore wind growth in the world’s two major wind power markets, China and the United States.

Note: Onshore wind energy refers to turbines that are located on land and generate power using the wind.
Offshore Wind Market:-
In 2021, 21.1 GW of offshore wind capacity was installed, three times higher than in 2020, making it the best year in the offshore wind history and bringing the total global offshore wind capacity to 57.2 GW by the end of 2021. In 2021, China contributed for 80% of new offshore wind power added globally, bringing its cumulative offshore wind capacity to 27.7 GW. Carbon dioxide emissions can reduce by 0.3-1.61 gigatonnes every year by 2050 if offshore wind energy generation is scaled up.

Offshore wind energy is the energy generated from the wind at sea.

Scope in India:
i.In India, more than 1.4 GW of wind power was installed in 2021, compared to 1.1 GW in the year 2020.
ii.The Union Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE) has set a target of installing 5 GW of offshore capacity by 2022 and 30 GW by 2030. India is yet to develop its offshore wind energy facility. It has also stated that having 7,600 km of coastline, India can generate 127 GW of offshore wind energy.

National

Number of Indian Patents Filed Exceeds the Number of International Patent Filings for the First Time in Over a Decade: Govt. of India

For the first time in the last 11 years, the number of domestic patent filings has surpassed the number of international patent filings at the Indian Patent Office in the January–March 2022 quarter, marking a watershed moment in the IP innovation ecosystem for India. Of the total 19,796 patent applications filed, 10,706 were filed by Indian applicants compared to 9,090 by non-Indian applicants.
India will soon enter the top 25 positions of the Global Innovation Index, owing to the combined efforts of the Department of Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade (DPIIT) and the Intellectual Property (IP) Office.
Highlights:
i.Government of India’s initiatives that boosted IP regime in India: Fee concessions of 10% rebate on online filing; 80% fee concession for start-ups, small entities, and educational institutions & provisions for expedited examination for startups and MSMEs, among other categories.
ii.The framework set by National Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) policy, as well as the government’s initiatives, have led to the following achievements for India: Patent filings have increased by more than 50% in the last 7 years, rising from 42,763 in 2014-15 to 66,440 in 2021-22. A nearly five-fold increase in the grant of patents from 30,074 in 2021-22 as compared to 5,978 in 2014-15. Depending on the technological area, patent examination time has been reduced from 72 months in December 2016 to 5–23 months. India’s position in the Global Innovation Index has risen from Rank-81 in 2015-16 to Rank-46 in 2021, climbing 35 places.

About Department for Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade (DPIIT):
It is the nodal department in India for the administration of various laws related to IPRs such as Patents, Trade Marks, Industrial Designs, Geographical Indications of Goods, Copyrights, and Semiconductor Integrated Circuit Layout Designs. The DPIIT is administered by the Ministry of Commerce and Industry and it also deals with international organizations pertaining to IPR, such as the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO).

SJVN Signs Pact with BHEL, REMC to Develop Renewable Projects for Indian Railways

SJVN (Satluj Jal Vidyut Nigam) Limited, a Public Sector Undertaking (PSU) of the Government of India has signed a landmark Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with engineering firm BHEL (Bharat Heavy Electricals Limited) and REMC Limited (Railway Energy Management Company) to develop renewable energy projects for the Indian Railways. The signing of the MoU would bring in a new age of more efficient power consumption in the Indian Railways, as well as more competitive tariffs for the benefit of consumers.
The MoU was signed by RK Gupta, CGM, BDE SJVN Limited; Rupesh Kumar, GM, REMC and Sudripto De, AGM, BHEL.
NOTE:

Bharat Heavy Electricals Limited (BHEL) – an engineering and manufacturing PSU under the Ministry of Heavy Industries, Government of India.
Railway Energy Management Company (REMC) Limited – is a Joint Venture (JV) of Indian Railways and RITES Limited, a Government of India Enterprise.
About SJVN (Satluj Jal Vidyut Nigam) Limited:
A Mini Ratna company, which is a joint venture of the Government of India (GOI) and the Government of Himachal Pradesh (GOHP), under the administrative control of the Ministry of Power, GoI.
Chairman & Managing Director – N.L.Sharma
Incorporation – May 24, 1988

NITI Aayog’s 1st SECI Round -I April 2022: Gujarat, Kerala, Punjab top among Larger States

i.NITI (National Institution for Transforming India) Aayog has launched the 1st State Energy & Climate Index (SECI)-Round I April 2022 at an event chaired by Dr. Rajiv Kumar, Vice Chairman, NITI Aayog. It is based on 2019-20 data.
ii.SECI is the first index that aims to track the efforts made by States and Union Territories (UTs) in the climate and energy sector.
iii.The states of Gujarat, Kerala, and Punjab are the top 3 among larger states while Goa, Tripura, and Manipur are top 3 among smaller states.
iv.Among UTs, Chandigarh, Delhi, and Daman & Diu and Dadra & Nagar Haveli ranked 1st, 2nd, and 3rd respectively.
v.There are 11 Front Runners, 11 Achievers, and 13 Aspirants states/UTs.
About NITI Aayog (National Institution for Transforming India):
Establishment– 2015
CEO-Amitabh Kant
Headquarters– New Delhi, Delhi

Economy

Mashreq NEO, Federal Bank tied up to enable NR Accounts Opening for Indians in UAE

Mashreq Neo has tied up with Federal Bank to enable its United Arab Emirates (UAE)-based Indian customers to open Non-Resident (NR) accounts with the Federal Bank in India instantly through the Neo app. Mashreq Neo is a full-service digital bank from Mashreq Bank in Dubai, UAE. Federal Bank has representative offices at Dubai and Abu Dhabi.
About Federal Bank:
Managing Director & CEO– Shyam Srinivasan
Headquarters– Aluva, Kochi (Kerala)
Tagline– Your Perfect Banking Partner

Sports

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Miscellaneous

Anti-Tank Guided Missile Helina successfully Flight Tested at Pokhran, Rajasthan

An Anti-Tank Guided Missile (ATGM) ‘Helina (Helicopter based NAG)’ was successfully flight tested from an indigenously-developed Advanced Light Helicopter (ALH) at high-altitude ranges in Pokhran, Rajasthan. Guided by an Infrared Imaging Seeker (IIR) operating in the Lock on Before Launch mode, it successfully engaged a simulated tank target. The test was jointly conducted by the scientists of the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO), Indian Army and Indian Air Force (IAF). It was a part of user validation trials of the third generation ‘fire and forget’ class missiles developed by DRDO.
About Helina:

The Helina (the Army version) is the helicopter-launched versions of third-generation anti-tank guided missiles (the Nag missile system).A Helina missile weighs around 45 kg, is 6 feet in length and 7.9 inches in diameter.

i.It is developed by Defence Research and Development Laboratory (DRDL), Hyderabad (Telangana) under the Missiles and Strategic Systems (MSS) cluster of the DRDO, it is one of the most advanced ATGM in the world with maximum range of 7Kms. The Air Force variant of Helina is named Dhruvastra.

ii.It has been designed and developed for integration on weaponized version of the ALH in both the Army and the Air Force. Successful user trials of the missile have been conducted since 2018.

iii.Helina missile system has all-weather, day and night capability and can defeat battle tanks with conventional armour as well as explosive reactive armour. It can engage targets both in direct hit mode as well as top attack mode.
Point to be noted:
i.DRDO has designed and developed a range of anti-tank missile technologies including the Nag, MPATGM (Man-Portable Anti-Tank Guided Missile), SANT (Stand-off Anti-Tank Missile), and Laser Guided ATGM for MBT (Main Battle Tank)Arjun.

India’s Ambassador to Nepal Vinay Mohan Kwatra Appointed as New Foreign Secretary

Appointments Committee of the Cabinet (ACC) has approved the appointment of Vinay Mohan Kwatra, 1988 batch Indian Foreign Service(IFS) officer, as the new Foreign Secretary of India replacing the current foreign secretary, Harsh Vardhan Shringla, who will superannuate on 30th April 2022. At present, Kwatra is serving as India’s Ambassador to Nepal in Kathmandu, since March 2020. He will take charge as foreign secretary on 30th April 2022

Veteran Bengali writer & Sahitya Akademi awardee Amar Mitra wins coveted O. Henry Award 2022

Bengali writer Amar Mitra received the O.Henry Prize for Short Fiction 2022,the oldest major prize for short fiction in America. He received the prize for the English fiction of his 45 years old novel “Gaonburo” in Bengali, which has been translated into English as The Old Man of Kusumpur in 1990.The english one was translated by Anish Gupta.
About “The Old Man of Kusumpur”:
i.The story was about a man’s journey to a remote village to meet a seer like figure who is supposed to have answers to all of life’s problems.
ii.Gaonburo was published in Amrita Patrika, a magazine that was edited by writer Shyamal Gangopadhyay.
ii.In 2020, the story was sent to ‘The Common’, an American literary journal, and it was published in March 2021.
About Amar Mitra:
i.Amar Mitra was born 1951 in Basirhat in West Bengal.
ii.He has authored 30 novels, 4 books for children, and 10 collections of short stories.
iii.He won the Sahitya Akademi Award (India’s top literary award) for his novel Dhurbaputra in 2006.
iv.He also won the Bankim Puraskar Award (Government of West Bengal) for his novel, Aswacharit in 2001 and the Katha award for his short story Swadeshyatra in 1998.
About Anish Gupta:
Anish Gupta, a senior journalist who has worked with Amrita Bazar Patrika, Sunday, Hindustan Times and The Bengal Post, is now associated as a translator with bangla.boomlive.in.
About O Henry Awards:
i.The O. Henry Award is the only yearly award given to short stories of exceptional merit.
ii.The award was first presented in 1919 and funded by the Society of Arts and Sciences.
iii.The award is named after the American short-story writer, Willian Sydney Porter better known by his pen name, O. Henry.
Note: The Best Short Stories 2022: The O. Henry Prize Winners, featuring the 20 prizewinning stories, edited by Valeria Luiselli; series edited by Jenny Minton Quigley, will be published in September 2022 by Anchor Books.

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