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Current Affairs - August 2020

  • Defence Forces Academy, Ghaziabad
  • 31, Dec 2020
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  • Current affairs
  • GS Corner: Temple Architecture in Indian History

Current Affairs

The Global E-waste Monitor Report 2020

  • The Global E-waste Monitor 2020 is a collaborative product of the Global E-waste Statistics Partnership (GESP), formed by the United Nations University (UNU).
  • According to a recent United Nations University (UNU) report, global e-waste will increase by 38% in the decade between 2020 and 2030.
  • The report provides a national and regional analysis on e-waste quantities and legislative instruments, and makes predictions until 2030

India Ranked 31st in INFORM Risk Index 2020

  • In accordance with the “INFORM Report 2020: Shared evidence for managing crises and disasters” released by research centre INFORM, operating under the European Commission (EU).
  • The report has ranked 191 countries based on “INFORM Risk Index”.
  • This report is produced by the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (UNOCHA) on behalf of all INFORM Partners.

India ranks 34th in GRETI 2020 by JLL

  • Jones Lang LaSalle’s (JLL) has released its biennial Global Real Estate Transparency Index (GRETI).
  • The GRETI is a unique benchmark of real estate market transparency and an essential guide for companies operating in foreign markets.
  • It covered 99 countries and territories and 163 cities.
  • The Global Real Estate Transparency Index (GRETI) is based on 210 indicators which includes additional data on sustainability and resilience, health and wellness, proptech and alternatives.

India ranks 3rd in Global Manufacturing Risk Index 2020

  • The annual Global Manufacturing Risk Index (MRI) report was released by the US-based property consultant Cushman & Wakefield, to rank the most suitable locations for global manufacturing among 48 countries in Europe, Americas, and the Asia-Pacific.
  • Each of the countries has been assessed in four key areas: Bounce-backability, Conditions, Costs and Risks.
  • China and the United States retain the top two positions respectively in MRI 2020
  • India was ranked3rd in MRI 2020.

India successfully tests fires ATGM “Dhruvastra”

  • India has successfully conducted flight tests of its indigenously developed anti-tank guided missile ‘Dhruvastra’. • The flight tests were conducted from the Integrated Test Range at Chandipur in Odisha.
  • ‘Dhruvastra’ is an anti-tank guided missile (ATGM) which has been developed by the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO). It is a helicopter version of ‘Nag Helina’.
  • ‘Dhruvastra’, the helicopter-launched ATGM, is meant to be fired from air to destroy enemy bunkers, armoured vehicles and main battle tanks.

Union Cabinet Approves National Education Policy 2020

  • The Union Cabinet chaired by the Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi has approved the National Education Policy 2020.
  • The National Education Policy 2020 will replace the thirty-four year old National Policy on Education (NPE), 1986.
  • National Education Policy 2020 is the first education policy of the 21st century and aims to bring transformational reforms in both school and higher education sectors.
  • The new policy is based on the foundational pillars of Access, Equity, Quality, Affordability and Accountability.
  • It has a target of 50% Gross Enrollment Ratio by 2035 and provision for multiple entry and exits.

Important Current Affairs Points

  • Micheal Martin has been elected as new Prime Minister of Ireland.
  • Gudni Th. Johannesson has been re-elected as the President of Iceland.
  • Pakistan Army has appointed Major General Nigar Johar as 1st female lieutenant general. She has been appointed as 1st female Surgeon General of Pak Army.
  • French Prime Minister Edouard Philippe has resigned from his post ahead of a government reshuffle. • President of Russia, Vladimir Putin has recorded a victory in the recently held Presidential polls and he is set to stay in power until 2036.
  • The Central Banks and Supervisors Network for Greening the Financial System (NGFS) has been joined by the Asian Development Bank (ADB) as an observer.
  • Jean Castex has been appointed as the new Prime Minister of France. He has replaced the former french Prime Minister Edouard Philippe who resigned from the post ahead of a government reshuffle. • United States has formalized to withdraw from the World Health Organization (WHO) on July 6, 2021.
  • Israel Defence Ministry has announced the successful launch of a new “Ofek 16”spy satellite into orbit by using a locally-developed Shavit rocket from a launch pad at Palmachim airbase in central Israel. This was the first launch of an Israeli spy satellite into space since the Ofek-11 which entered orbit in September 2016. 11
  • According to the World Health Organisation’s (WHO),South-East Asian Region (SEAR) office, Maldives and Sri Lanka are the first two countries in the WHO South-East Asia Region to achieve measles and rubella elimination ahead of the 2023 target.
  • Lee Hsien Loong has become the Prime Minister of Singapore after the ruling People’s Action Party won the General Elections held in the country.
  • India has become the second-largest source of foreign direct investment (FDI) in the United Kingdom. India invested in 120 projects and created 5,429 new jobs in the UK. United States remains the number one source of FDI for the UK.
  • Andrzej Duda has been re-elected as the President of Poland.
  • China has successfully launched “APSTAR-6D” telecommunication satellite via a Long March 3B carrier rocket from Xichang Satellite Launch Center. It has been developed by China Academy of Space Technology.
  • Prime Minister of Tunisia,Elyes Fakhfakh has submitted his resignation.
  • Indian-origin, Chandrikapersad ‘Chan’ Santokhi has been elected the president of South American country “Suriname”.
  • Pakistan and China have signed an agreement for the 700 MW Azad Pattan hydel power project on the Jhelum river in Sudhoti district of Pakistan Occupied Kashmir (PoK).
  • Rose Christiane Ossouka Raponda has been appointed as the first woman prime minister of Gabon. She will succeed Julien Nkoghe Bekale.
  • A mission titled as “Hope” has been launched to “Mars” by the United Arab Emirates. It will provide a complete picture of the Martian atmosphere for the first time, studying daily and seasonal changes.
  • SpaceX has successfully launched South Korea’s first military satellite “ANASIS-II”. The satellite was deployed into a geostationary transfer orbit (GTO) by a Falcon 9 rocket. It was launched from the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in the US of Florida.
  • China has successfully launched “Tianwen-1” its first independent mission to Mars. A Long March 5 rocket carrying the spacecraft was launched from the Wenchang Space Launch Site in south China’s tropical Hainan province.
  • World Trade Organization General Council has granted the “Observer” status to the central Asian country Turkmenistan. Turkmenistan has become the 25th observer of the organization.
  • Russia has conducted a successful flight test of an MGTD-20 gas turbine 3D-printed aircraft engine. The flight tests were held at Kazanbash aviation centre in Tatarstan.
  • The human trial of COVID-19 vaccine “AZD1222” developed by the University of Oxford and backed by AstraZeneca Plc has shown a positive result. Oxford’s vaccine is designed to reduce disease and transmission.
  • International Monetary Fund (IMF) has approved USD 4.3 billion to South Africa in emergency funding to help the country in its fight against the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • Hichem Mechichi has been appointed as the new Prime Minister of Tunisia.
  • National Anti-Doping Agency’s first mobile app named as “NADA App” has been launched. It aims to bridge the gap between NADA and the athletes by offering easily-accessible information on various aspects of sport, prohibited substances as well as dope-testing.
  • India all-rounder Ravindra Jadeja has been named as India’s most valuable Test player in the 21st century by the Wisden magazine. He was also rated as the second-most valuable Test player worldwide behind Sri Lanka legend Muttiah Muralitharan.
  • Former world number one badminton player and the two-times Olympic badminton champion from China, Lin Dan has announced his retirement from the sport.
  • At the Cricket South Africa annual awards 2020,Quinton de Kock was named as the men’s cricketer of the year, while Laura Wolvaardt was named as the women’s cricketer of the year.
  • Mercedes’s, Valtteri Bottas (Finland) has won the Austrian Grand Prix 2020 at Red Bull Ring in Spielberg, Austria. This was the first race of 2020 Formula One season.
  • New Zealand has cancelled the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Summit scheduled to be held in Auckland, New Zealand in 2021. New Zealand has decided to host the summit as a virtual event.
  • The 36th edition of the biannual ASEAN (Association of Southeast Asian Nations) Summit 2020 was held via video conferencing in Hanoi, Vietnam. The theme of the Summit was “Cohesive and Responsive ASEAN”.
  • The fourth edition of the virtual Ministerial on Climate Action was co-chaired by European Union, China and Canada. In the meeting, India was represented by the Union Environment Minister, Shri Prakash Javadekar.
  • The India Global Week 2020 virtual conference was inaugurated by the Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi. The conference has been organised in the United Kingdom with a theme of “Be The Revival: India and a Better New World”.
  • 15th meeting of the India-European Union Summit will be held in virtual mode and will deliberate on India-EU cooperation by covering various aspects such as political and security relations, trade and investment and economic cooperation.
  • The 3rd G20 Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors (FMCBG) meeting was held under the Saudi Arabian Presidency through Video Conferencing. India was represented by Union Minister for Finance & Corporate Affairs Nirmala Sitharaman in the meeting.
  • Raksha Mantri Rajnath Singh has inaugurated the Air Force Commanders’ Conference (AFCC) at Air Headquarters (Vayu Bhawan) New Delhi. The conference was held with the theme “IAF in the Next Decade”.
  • The 5th Annual Meeting of the Board of Governors of Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) was held virtually. The round table discussion was held with the theme ‘AIIB 2030-Supporting Asia’s Development over the Next Decade’.
  • Defence Ministers’ Dialogue between India and Indonesia was held in New Delhi. During the dialogue, the Indonesian delegation was led by Defence Minister General Prabowo Subianto and he was honored with ceremonial Guard of Honour.
  • Institute of Liver and Biliary Sciences (ILBS) has organised “2nd Empathy e-Conclave” in collaboration with Airport Authority of India (AAI). The theme of 2nd Empathy e-Conclave is “Keep your Liver Safe in COVID times“.
  • Bharat Dynamics Limited (BDL) has signed License Agreement and Transfer of Technology (ToT) with Defence Research and Development Organisation– Defence Research and Development Laboratory (DRDO–DRDL) for Akash Missile Weapon System (Indian Army Variant).
  • Defence Acquisition Council (DAC) has entrusted capital procurement powers to Armed Forces. With this, the Armed Forces will now be able to progress urgent Capital Acquisition Cases upto Rs 300 crores to fulfil their emergent operational requirements.
  • Defence Research and Development Organisation has developed the P7 Heavy Drop System which is capable of para dropping military stores up to 7-ton weight class from IL 76 aircraft.
  • Acquisition Wing of Ministry of Defence (MoD) has signed a contract with Bharat Earth Movers Limited(BEML) for procurement of 1,512 Mine Plough (MP) for Tank T-90 S/SK. The procurement will cost approximately Rs 557 crore.
  • Indian Navy has conducted a Passage Exercise (PASSEX), a high-end joint naval exercise with the US Navy in the Indian Ocean.
  • Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) has provided drones named‘Bharat’ to the Indian Armyto provide accurate surveillance along the Line of Actual Control in high altitude and mountainous terrains of Eastern Ladakh. Science and Technology
  • IIT Kanpur has developed a classroom-to-home teaching setup ‘Mobile Masterjee’. It can record the lectures or instructions by the teachers while using their available smartphones.
  • IIT Gandhinagar has developed an Artificial Intelligence (AI)-based deep learning tool for detection of Covid-19 from Chest X-ray images.
  • The researchers at IIT Roorkeehas developed “Unisaviour”, a disinfection box which can be used to sterilize personal belongings, apparels, PPE, medical equipment among others from the COVID-19.
  • Mylab Discovery Solutions has launched the ‘Compact XL’ system for conducting a wide range of tests, including RT-PCR tests for COVID-19. This is India’s first machine to automate the manual processes of molecular diagnostic tests such as RNA/DNA-based tests including COVID-19 RT-PCR tests.
  • Indian Space Research Organizationwill launch Brazil’s Amazonia-1 satellite. This satellite is onboard the Polar Satellite Launch vehicle (PSLV) as a primary payload by August 2020.
  • IIT Kanpur has developed an Ultraviolet (UV) sanitizing device named Smartphone operated Handy Ultraviolet Disinfection Helper (SHUDH). It will help in killing the spread of coronavirus at the highly prone places such as hospitals, hotels, malls, offices and schools.
  • Indian Institute of Technology, Delhi has developed the world’s most affordable COVID-19 Diagnostic Kit “Corosure”.
  • Indian Institute of Technology Madras (IIT-M) start-up Modulus Housing, has developed a portable hospital unit called ‘MediCAB’. It was launched recently in Wayanad District of Kerala.
  • COVID Protection System (COPS) for Workplace has been unveiled by the CSIR-CMERI, Durgapur.It comprises of three units namely contactless Solar Based Intelligent Mask Automated Dispensing Unit cum Thermal Scanner (IntelliMAST), Touchless Faucet (TouF) and 360° Car Flusher.
  • Kakrapar Atomic Power Plant, Unit-3 (KAPP-3), Gujarat has attained criticality at around 09:36 Hrs on 22 July 2020. It is India’s first 700 MWe (megawatt electric) Pressurized Heavy Water Reactor (PHWR) with innovative features.
  • AIIMS, Nagpur has designed and developed a ‘smart wristband’ in collaboration with IIT Jodhpur and IIT Nagpur, for effective tracking and monitoring of Covid-19 positive and suspect patients.
  • Acculi Labs, a Bangalore based startup has been selected by Centre for Augmenting WAR with COVID19 Health Crisis (CAWACH), an initiative by the Department of Science and Technology (DST) to develop “Lyfas COVID score”, a COVID risk assessment profile.
  • The Indian Institute of Management Kozhikode has developed a wearable hand band named as the “Veli Band”. It helps in maintaining social distancing by sending out an alarm in case of proximity with another person.
  • Defence Institute of Advanced Technology (DIAT) has developed ‘Aashray’, a medical bed isolation system to combat COVID-19 by preventing or minimising the spread of the virus. Books & Authors
  • Vice President of India, M Venkaiah Naidu has virtually released a book titled “Future of Higher Education – Nine Mega Trends“. The book is authored by V Pattabhi Ram.
  • Former RBI governor, Urjit Patel has written a book titled ‘Overdraft: Saving the Indian Saver’.
  • The Chairman of Maruti Suzuki, RC Bhargava has authored the book “Getting Competitive: A Practitioner’s Guide for India” from his experience as a policymaker and a leading industrialist.
  • A book titled ‘His Holiness the Fourteenth Dalai Lama: An Illustrated Biography’ is authored by Tenzin Geyche Tethong. The biography is a memorable portrait of the 14th Dalai Lama, Tenzin Gyatso.
  • The book titled ‘A Song of India’ has been authored by Ruskin Bond.
  • A new book titled “If It Bleeds”, a collection of four stories, is authored by Stephen King.
  • The book titled ‘The Tangams: An Ethnolinguistic Study Of The Critically Endangered Group of Arunachal Pradesh’ was released. It is based on the Tangams, a critically endangered speech community of Arunachal Pradesh domiciled at Kugging village, Upper Siang district of Arunachal Pradesh.
  • Crime writer, S Hussain Zaidi has penned a new novel “The Endgame” which talks of politics, betrayal, and unimaginable terror. • Sahitya Akademi Award winner, Baldev Singh Sadaknama has authored a book ‘Suraj Kade Marda Nahi’ (sun never dies).
  • The book titled “Quest for Restoring Financial Stability in India” is authored by former Reserve Bank of India (RBI) deputy governor Viral V.Acharya.
  • The former diplomat, and current Minister of External Affairs in the Government of India, S Jaishankar has authored the book “The India Way: Strategies for an Uncertain World”.

GS Corner : Temple Architecture in Indian History

Temple Architecture:

  • Phase 1: Square temple with flat roof and shallow pillared hall. It is built on a low platform.
  • Phase 2: Square temple with flat roof. It’s built on a higher platform and the Garbagriha is covered with an ambulatory passage.
  • Phase 3: Built on higher platform with a Shikhar [Pyramidal roof above the Garbagriha. Panchayatan style of Main shrine + 4 subsidiary shrines continued.
  • Phase 4: Rectangular temple with Shikhar and Panchayatan.
  • Phase 5: Circular temple with shallow rectangular projections.

Style of Temple Architecture:

  1. Nagara style – Northern region
  2. Dravida style – Southern region
  3. Vesara style – Between Vindhya and Krishna

Nagara Style of Architecture

  • This style developed in the North of the country, i.e., the land lying between the Himalayas and the Vindhyas.
  • This has its origins in the Gupta period.
  • The main features of the Nagara style are given in the following points.
  • The shikhar or the topmost part was representative of Mount. Meru which had a lot of significance.
  • Garbha Griha or the inner sanctum. This part was a small portion which symbolized a personalized communication with the deity.
  • Antaral or the vestibule.
  • Kalash which is relevant even today. This is a symbolic water pot and it signifies fertility/productivity/birth.
  • Maha Mandap, Mandap, Ardh Mandap – the assembly halls. This was not as large as in the South.
  • Examples are Lingaraja temple (Bhubaneswar), dating from the 11th century; Kandariya Mahadeva temple at Khajuraho.

Dravida Style Temple Architecture

  • This style was seen in South India.
  • Its origins can also be traced to the Gupta period.
  • Pillars and pilasters are used extensively in this style.
  • The top part is a bit more curved.
  • There is a pyramidal elevation of the tower with a progression of stories each one smaller than the one below.
  • The gateways were called Gopurams. This was a later addition to the style.
  • The Dravidian temples had boundary walls, unlike their northern counterparts.
  • Examples include the Brihadeeshwara temple at Thanjavur; Kailasanatha temple at Kancheepuram.

Vesara Style

  • It is a hybrid of Nagara and Dravida styles.
  • It emerged during the early medieval period.
  • This style developed under the Chalukya Kings of the Karnataka region.
  • In this style, the Shikhar part is like a pagoda.
  • The height of the temple is slightly reduced in this style.
  • Examples of the Vesara style include the Papanatha temple at Pattadakal; the Hoysala temples at Belur, Halebidu and Somnathpura.