By admin: March 31, 2023

NGT slaps ₹10 crore penalty on Kerala government for failure to protect Ramsar sites

Tags: National News

NGT slaps ₹10 crore penalty on Kerala government for failure to protect Ramsar sites

The Principal Bench of the National Green Tribunal (NGT) in New Delhi has imposed a fine of Rs 10 crore on the Kerala government for failing to protect the Vembanad and Ashtamudi lakes, listed as Ramsar sites.

An overview of the news

  • A principal bench headed by Justice Adarsh Kumar Goel said that as per the 'polluter pays principle', the fines imposed should be deposited in the ring-fenced account.

  • The tribunal said that the amount to be utilized under the authority of the chief secretary should be employed for conservation or restoration measures.

  • These wetlands have become polluted due to the accumulation of pharmaceutical waste, plastic waste, domestic waste and slaughterhouse waste.

  • Vembanad, the largest wetland ecosystem in Kerala was designated as a Ramsar site in the year 2002.

  • According to a study by the Kerala University of Fisheries and Ocean Studies, the water holding capacity and ecology of Vembanad Lake has decreased by 85% in the last 120 years due to encroachment and destruction.

  • Ashtamudi Lake is home to many plant and bird species, which was included in the Ramsar list in August 2002.

  • Presently there is a problem of waste accumulation at this site.

What are Wetlands?

  • Wetlands are vital not only for the ecosystems but our climate, providing essential services such as water regulation, flood control, and water purification.

  • Wetlands are also capable of absorbing carbon dioxide.

  • Wetlands are called “Kidneys of the Earth”.

What are Ramsar sites?

  • A Ramsar site is a wetland site specifically designated for international importance as a waterfowl habitat under the Ramsar Convention.

  • Ramsar Convention is an intergovernmental environment treaty established in 1975 by UNESCO.

  • Ramsar refers to wetlands of international importance in terms of site ecology, botany, zoology or hydrology.

National Green Tribunal 

  • It deals with cases relating to the environment protection and conservation of forest.

  • It was set up in 2010 under the National Green Tribunal Act 2010.

  • The Tribunal is not bound by the procedure laid down under the Code of Civil Procedure, 1908, but is guided by principles of natural justice.

  • New Delhi is the Principal Place of Sitting of the Tribunal and Bhopal, Pune, Kolkata and Chennai are other four places of sitting of the Tribunal.\

  • Chairperson  : Justice Adarsh Kumar Goel

Hero MotoCorp board appoints Niranjan Gupta as CEO

Tags: Person in news

Hero MotoCorp's board appointed Niranjan Gupta as the new Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the company.

An Overview of the News

  • Niranjan Gupta has been instrumental in ensuring the financial stability of HeroCorp in a highly competitive and ever-subscribing landscape.

  • Gupta has over 25 years of leadership experience in diverse sectors such as consumer goods, metals & mining, and miscellaneous sectors with expertise in finance, M&A, supply chain and strategy.

  • In addition to his role at Hero MotoCorp, Gupta also serves as a board member of Ether Energy, HMC Ekal Auto Pvt Ltd and HMCL Colombia.

  • Prior to joining Hero MotoCorp, Gupta added 20 years at Unilever in various Global Claddings and three years at Vedanta Ltd.

  • Wind Energy Munjal is the Chairman, Executive and Whole Director of the Board.

About Hero MotoCorp

  • It is an Indian multinational motorcycle and assembly manufacturer headquartered in New Delhi, India.

  • The venture is the world's largest producer and part of the Hero Group, a diversified business conglomerate with interests in financial services, allied energy and other scripts.

  • The company was established in 1984 as a joint venture between Hero Cycles and Honda Motor Company of Japan and began production of motorcycles in 1985.

  • The company has manufacturing facilities in India, Bangladesh and Colombia.

Sri Lanka fail to qualify directly to ICC Cricket World Cup 2023

Tags: Sports Sports News

Sri Lanka fail to qualify directly to ICC Cricket World Cup 2023

Sri Lanka failed to qualify directly for the ICC ODI World Cup after defeat by New Zealand in Hamilton on 31 March.

An overview of the news

  • In the last match of the three-match ODI series, New Zealand won by 6 wickets.

  • The New Zealand team had already qualified for the World Cup, but Sri Lanka had a special chance of making a direct entry to the World Cup by winning the last match of the three-match ODI series.

  • A total of 10 teams will participate in the World Cup 2023, out of which a total of 7 teams have qualified so far.

  • In the World Cup 2023, the top 8 teams in the points table were to get a chance to qualify.

  • The Sri Lankan team finished 9th in the points table after their loss to New Zealand on 31 March.

  • Sri Lanka will now be required to play in the ICC World Cup qualifiers which will be held in Zimbabwe in June - July in which the top two teams will qualify for the ICC ODI World Cup.

  • For the first time in 44 years, the Sri Lankan team will play qualifiers to make it to the World Cup.

  • At the same time, there will be a fight between West Indies and South Africa for the 8th position. The West Indies team is currently at the 8th position in the points table.

  • The ICC World Cup, hosted by India, will begin on October 5 this year.

  • Teams that qualified for the tournament - New Zealand, England, India, Bangladesh, Pakistan, Australia, Afghanistan and West Indies.

UK signs deal to join trade pact with 11 Asia and Pacific nations

Tags: International News

Britain has signed a deal to join a trade deal with 11 Asia and Pacific countries on 31 March 2023, three years after officially leaving the European Union.

An overview of the news

  • According to the government's own estimates, joining the bloc would increase the size of the UK economy by only 0.08 per cent.

  • The trade area covers a market of around 500 million people.

  • The UK said it is the country's biggest post-Brexit trade deal and is the first European country to join the CPTPP since it came into force in 2018.

  • The agreement is expected to be formally signed by the end of this year following approval by Parliament and 11 member states.

  • The deal would cut tariffs on exports of food, drink and cars, and provide access to a market of some 500 million people.

  • The UK will be worth 15% of global GDP once it joins the trade bloc.

About Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership ( CPTPP) 

  • It was established in 2018.

  • It includes 11 countries - Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore and Vietnam.

  • Membership of the CPTPP lowers restrictions on trade between members and also lowers customs duties on goods.

Unified rate approved for natural gas pipeline, new rate applicable from April 1

Tags: Economy/Finance National News

Unified rate approved for natural gas pipeline, new rate applicable from April 1

With the ambitious objective of One Nation,One Grid and One Tariff, the Petroleum and Natural Gas Regulatory Board (PNGRB) has decided to change the Unified Tariff which will be applicable from 1st April 2023.

An overview of the news

  • PNGRB has notified a levelized Unified tariff of 73.93 rupees per MBTU (Metric Million British Thermal Unit).

  • The rates will be implemented as per three tariff zones in the entire gas network of the country.

  • This decision will give a boost to the economic development of all regions of the country.

  • This will facilitate the government's vision for the development of gas markets and increase the utilization of gas in the country.

Three different Tariff Zones

  • The rate will be different for a distance of 300 km from the gas source.

  • The rate will be different for the distance of 300-1200 km from the gas source.

  • The area of more than 1200 km distance will come in the third zone.

National Gas Grid

  • It covers Indian Oil Corporation, ONGC, Gail India, Pipeline Infrastructure Limited, Gujarat State Petronet, Gujarat Gas Limited, Reliance Gas Pipeline, GSPL India Gasnet Limited and GSPL India Trans Limited.

Spouses of H-1B visa holders allowed to work in US

Tags: International News

Spouses of H-1B visa holders allowed to work in US

In a major relief to foreign workers in the US technology sector, a court there has ruled that the spouses of H-1B visa holders can now work in the United States.

An overview of the news

  • The petition by 'Save Jobs USA' sought to quash the employment authorization cards given to the spouses of H-1B visa holders.

  • Save Jobs USA is an organisation of IT workers who claim they lost their jobs because of H-1B workers.

  • Tech companies like Amazon, Apple, Google and Microsoft opposed this petition.

  • US District Judge Tanya Chutkan rejected the plea.

  • The US has so far issued work rights to the spouses of nearly 100,000 H-1B workers, a sizable number of whom are Indians.

About H-1B Visa

  • The H-1B visa is a non-immigrant visa that allows US companies to employ foreign workers in specialty occupations.

  • It is designed to allow skilled foreign workers to come to the United States and work for American companies.

  • This requires theoretical or technical expertise.

Other Visa Categories

  • L-1B - for specialised workers

  • L-1A - for managers and executives

  • E-2 - Treaty Investor visa

  • E-1 - Treaty Trader visa

  • E-3 - for Australians etc.

Srinagar-Leh’s Z-Morh tunnel to be inaugurated in April

Tags: State News

Srinagar-Leh’s Z-Morh tunnel to be inaugurated in April

The crucial Z-Morh tunnel that connects Gagangir and Sonamarg on the Srinagar-Leh highway will be inaugurated in April 2023 according to Minister for Road Transport and Highways, Nitin Gadkari.

An overview of the news

  • He said nine tunnels were being built between Jammu and Srinagar and Asia's longest tunnel at Zojila would also be ready by 2024.

About Z-Morh tunnel

  • Zoji-Morh tunnel is an under-construction tunnel located in the Indian state of Jammu and Kashmir.

  • It is a 6.5 km long tunnel between Gagangir and Sonamarg on the Srinagar-Leh highway.

  • The tunnel is being constructed at an altitude of 11,578 feet and will provide all-weather connectivity to the Kashmir Valley.

  • The tunnel will have a two-lane carriageway which is being constructed using the latest tunneling technology.

  • The project is being implemented by the National Highways and Infrastructure Development Corporation Limited (NHIDCL).

  • This tunnel will reduce the travel time between Srinagar and Leh by about four hours.

About Zojila Pass

  • It is a high mountain pass in Jammu and Kashmir, located on National Highway 1. 

  • It connects Srinagar in Kashmir Valley to Leh in Ladakh region.

  • It has an elevation of about 3,528 metres (11,575 ft), and is the second highest pass on the Srinagar–Leh National Highway after Photu La.

  • This is known as the 'Icy Storm Pass'.

  • The Zojila Tunnel project was started in the year 2018. It is the longest and strategic bi-directional tunnel in Asia.

Justice T.S. Sivagnanam appointed as Acting Chief Justice Calcutta High Court

Tags: Person in news

Justice T.S. Sivagnanam appointed as Acting Chief Justice Calcutta High Court

Justice T.S. Sivagnanam was appointed as the Acting Chief Justice of the Calcutta High Court with effect from 31 March.

An Overview of the News

  • He will take over as the Acting Chief Justice after the retirement of the current Chief Justice Prakash Srivastava.

  • Justice Sivagnanam is a senior judge in the Indian Judiciary, born on June 10, 1961 in Tamil Nadu. He specialised in Constitutional Law, Commercial Law, Civil Law and Criminal Law.

  • He served as a permanent judge in the Madras High Court for over a decade before being transferred to the Calcutta High Court in 2018.

About Justice Prakash Srivastava

  • Justice Srivastava was appointed as a permanent judge in the Madhya Pradesh High Court in 2004.

  • Was appointed as the Chief Justice of the Calcutta High Court in 2021.

  • Justice Srivastava retired on March 30, 2023.

About Acting Chief Justice

  • The provision for an Acting Chief Justice of India is enshrined in Article 126 of the Constitution of India.

  • Article 126 allows for the appointment of an Acting Chief Justice in the event of the Chief Justice of India being absent or unable to perform his duties.

  • The President of India is responsible for the appointment of the Acting Chief Justice in consultation with the Chief Justice of India.

International Drug Checking Day: 31 March

Tags: Important Days

International Drug Checking Day: 31 March

International Drug Checking Day is an annual event observed on 31 March since 2017 to promote harm reduction initiatives to reduce the risks associated with drug use and educate people about drugs and their effects .

An Overview of the News

  • The primary purpose of the day is to raise public awareness of the availability of drug testing services and organisations around the world and to emphasise the importance of drug-related harm reduction actions to reduce drug-related risks.

  • According to the World Health Organization (WHO), around 11.8 million deaths were linked to drug abuse in 2017, and more and more teenagers are falling prey to substance abuse.

  • International Day of Drug Checking is an effort to collectively reduce drug abuse and create a drug free world.

  • Drug supply is often linked to organised crime and syndicate networks, for example the Taliban in Afghanistan use opium smuggling to finance their operations.

About World Health Organization

Established- 7 April 1948

Headquarters- Geneva, Switzerland

Head- Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus

Defence Ministry signs contract for 11 next generation OPVs

Tags: Defence National News

Defence Ministry signs contract for 11 next generation OPVs

The Defense Ministry on 30 March signed contracts with Indian shipyards worth Rs 19,600 crore for the acquisition of 11 next-generation offshore patrol vessels 

(OPVs) and six next-generation missile vessels.

An overview of the news

  • The contract for the acquisition of 11 OPVs under the Buy (Indian-IDDM) category was signed with Goa Shipyard Limited (GSL) and Garden Reach Shipbuilders and Engineers (GRSE) of Kolkata for a total of Rs 9,781 crore.

  • Out of 11 next generation offshore patrol vessels, 7 vessels will be built by GSL and 4 vessels by GRSE.

  • These ships will be indigenously designed, developed and manufactured. Delivery of the vessels will begin in September 2026.

  • The acquisition of these ships will enable the Indian Navy to maintain its combat capability and meet various operational requirements.

  • Indian Navy's anti-piracy, counter-infiltration, anti-poaching, anti-trafficking, non-combatant evacuation operations, search and rescue (SAR), security of offshore assets etc. will be strengthened.

  • A contract was signed with Cochin Shipyard Limited (CSL) for the acquisition of six Next Generation Missile Ships (NGMVs) at a cost of Rs 9,805 crore. The deliveries of these ships will commence from March 2027.

World Bank approves $363 million loan for clean drinking water in rural Karnataka

Tags: State News

World Bank approves $363 million loan for clean drinking water in rural Karnataka

The World Bank has given a $363 million loan to the state of Karnataka in India, which will help provide clean drinking water to two million rural households.

An Overview of the News

  • It aims to establish piped water connections to households across the state, including construction of drinking water distribution networks and installation of water metres, and the initiative is expected to benefit around 10 million people in all 31 districts of the state.

  • The loan is part of the Karnataka Sustainable Rural Water Supply programme, which aims to improve the operational efficiency of rural water supply services.

  • The World Bank loan has a special focus on promoting gender equality, as women typically bear the greatest burden of fetching water.

  • The program aims to revive 500 rural water reservoirs in seven water-stressed districts, which will help increase water storage capacity and groundwater recharge.

  • Around 3,000 rural women will receive on-the-job skill training to be employed as plumbers.

  • The program will strive to demonstrate 24/7 water supply service in at least 500 gram panchayats and enhance the capacity of rural local governments to manage water supply services efficiently.

About the World Bank

  • It is an international financial institution. It was established in 1944 and is headquartered in Washington, D.C.

  • The World Bank is made up of two institutions: the IBRD and the IDA.

  • The Bank provides loans, grants, policy advice and technical assistance to developing countries.

  • The World Bank Group includes other institutions such as the IFC and MIGA.

  • The mission of the World Bank is to help countries achieve their development goals and improve the lives of people around the world.

Defense Ministry signs Rs 1700 crore contract with BrahMos Aerospace

Tags: Defence National News

Defense Ministry signed a Rs 1,700 crore contract with BrahMos Aerospace Pvt Ltd (BAPL)

On March 30, 2023 The Defense Ministry signed a Rs 1,700 crore contract with BrahMos Aerospace Pvt Ltd (BAPL) for the procurement of next generation marine mobile coastal batteries and BrahMos missiles.

An Overview of the News

  • The systems will be armed with supersonic BrahMos missiles, which are known for their speed and accuracy.

  • The deliveries of these batteries are scheduled to begin in 2027, indicating that the Ministry of Defense is making long-term plans to strengthen its military capabilities.

  • BAPL is a joint venture between India and Russia, highlighting the collaborative efforts of both countries in advancing defence technology.

About BrahMos Missile

  • BrahMos missiles are medium-range ramjet supersonic cruise missiles that can be launched from submarines, ships, aircrafts or land. These missiles are capable of travelling at a speed of Mach 2.8 and can carry conventional or nuclear warheads.

  • Its first successful launch took place on June 12, 2001. The missile has undergone several successful tests and is considered one of the most reliable missiles in the world.

  • It is named after two rivers, the Brahmaputra of India and the Moskva of Russia, symbolising the cooperation between the two countries in developing this technology.

  • In 2016, India became a member of the Missile Technology Control Regime (MTCR), which aims to prevent the proliferation of missiles capable of carrying weapons of mass destruction. India's entry into MTCR made it easier for India to export BrahMos missiles to other countries which are members of MTCR.

India's first quantum computing based telecom network link activated

Tags: Science and Technology National News

India's first quantum computing based telecom network link activated

The first quantum computing-based telecom network link has been activated in India and is located between Sanchar Bhawan and National Informatics Center (NIC) office at CGO Complex in New Delhi.

An Overview of the News

  • Telecom Network Link provides quantum secure communications, making it highly resistant to hacking attempts and cyber threats.

  • Telecom Minister Ashwini Vaishnav inaugurated a small exhibition of quantum computing firms, inviting them to run pilot projects for communication networks and the Indian Railways.

  • Using quantum computing, the telecommunications sector will benefit from faster and more secure communications, which can lead to improved network reliability and better user experiences.

About Quantum Computing

  • It uses qubits instead of classical bits to perform calculations, enabling it to perform calculations much faster than classical computers.

  • Quantum computers use quantum-mechanical phenomena such as superposition and complexity to perform calculations.

  • Potential applications of quantum computing include such revolutionary fields as cryptography, chemistry and materials science.

  • Challenges facing quantum computing include the issue of qubit decoherence and the high cost of building and maintaining quantum computers.

Haryana becomes first state in India to have 100% electrified railway network

Tags: State News

Haryana becomes first state in India to have 100% electrified railway network

Indian Railways has successfully completed 100% electrification of railway network in the state of Haryana in March 2023 and with this achievement, Haryana has become the first state in India to have 100% electrified railway network.

An Overview of the News

  • The electrification project covers the existing broad gauge network of 1,701 route kilometres in Haryana.

  • The completion of this project will reduce the dependence of Indian Railways on imported crude oil and also save foreign exchange.

  • Electrification of Railways will help reduce carbon emissions and contribute towards the goal of a sustainable and environment-friendly transport system in India.

  • Indian Railways is working towards achieving 100% electrification of its railway network in the country to increase efficiency, reduce dependence on fossil fuels and promote clean energy sources.

  • Electrification of the railway network will also significantly reduce air pollution caused by diesel locomotives, thereby improving air quality.

About Indian Railways

  • It is one of the largest railway networks in the world and was established in 1853 during British colonial rule.

  • Indian Railways covers a vast network of over 67,000 km, connecting almost every corner of the country.

  • It operates a variety of trains including local passenger trains, express trains, superfast trains and luxury trains.

Tata Power approves reappointment of Praveer Sinha as CEO and MD

Tags: Person in news

er approved the re-appointment of Praveer Sinha as the Chief Executive Officer and Managing Director of the company.

An Overview of the News

  • Sinha's reappointment is for a period of four years from May 1, 2023 to April 30, 2027, subject to the approval of the members of the company.

  • Under Sinha's leadership, Tata Power is transforming itself into a sustainable, technology-oriented and customer-centric green energy solutions company.

  • Sinha holds a PhD from the Indian Institute of Technology, Delhi, and is a Visiting Research Associate at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Boston, USA.

About Tata Power

  • It is an Indian power utility company headquartered in Mumbai, Maharashtra. It is a part of the Tata Group, a conglomerate with a wide range of businesses.

  • The company is involved in several sectors of the power sector including generation, transmission and distribution of electricity.

  • Tata Power's generation capacity includes thermal, hydro, solar and wind power. In addition, the company has invested in new and renewable energy sources such as the development of solar and wind power plants.

  • Tata Power's transmission network covers over 1,100 circuit kilometres and provides electricity to over 2.6 million customers across multiple cities including Mumbai, Delhi and Ajmer.

  • In 2021, it was named India's most admired power company by Fortune India.

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