Arctic Region and Arctic Council

The Arctic is a polar region located at the northernmost part of Earth.

8 Jul, 2020


About Brahmaputra River: The Brahmaputra called Yarlung

3 Jul, 2020
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    Current Affairs – 12th October 2021


    • News: A massive combing operation was launched in the Pir Panjal Valley’s Surankote-Shahadra belt on Sunday night but the search party came under heavy fire on Monday morning from the militants, who may have infiltrated recently through the Line of Control in Poonch district.
    • About Pir Panjal Range:
      • The Pir Panjal Range is a group of mountains in the Lesser Himalayan region, running from east-southeast (ESE) to west-northwest (WNW) across the Indian state of Himachal Pradesh, Jammu and Kashmir and the Pakistan administered Kashmir, where the average elevation varies from 1,400 m (4,600 ft) to 4,100 m (13,500 ft).
      • Pir Panjal is the largest range of the Lesser Himalayas.
      • Near the bank of the Sutlej River, it dissociates itself from the Himalayas and forms a divide between the Beas and Ravi rivers on one side and the Chenab on the other.
      • Haji Pir Pass (altitude 2,637 m (8,652 ft)) on the western Pir Panjal range on the road between Poonch and Uri in Indian-administered Kashmir.
      • The Pir Panjal Pass (also called Peer Ki Gali) connects the Kashmir valley with Rajouri and Poonch via the Mughal Road. The nearest town to the pass in the Kashmir valley is Shopian.
      • The Banihal pass (2,832 m (9,291 ft)) lies at the head of the Jhelum River at the southern end of the Kashmir Valley.


    • News: The Nobel prize for economics was awarded to economist David Card for research that showed an increase in minimum wage does not lead to less hiring. Two others shared the award for developing ways to study these types of societal issues.
    • About Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences:
      • The Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences, officially the Sveriges Riksbank Prize in Economic Sciences in Memory of Alfred Nobel, is an economics award administered by the Nobel Foundation.
      • Although not technically a Nobel Prize, which were established by Alfred Nobel’s will in 1895, the Prize in Economic Sciences is identified with the award; its winners are announced with the Nobel Prize recipients, and it is presented at the Nobel Prize Award Ceremony.
      • The award was established in 1968 by a donation from Sweden’s central bank Sveriges Riksbank to the Nobel Foundation to commemorate the bank’s 300th anniversary.
      • Laureates in the Memorial Prize in Economics are selected by the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences.
      • It was first awarded in 1969 to Dutch economist Jan Tinbergen and Norwegian economist Ragnar Frisch “for having developed and applied dynamic models for the analysis of economic processes”.


    • News: NTPC Limited is supplying only half the committed quota of electricity to Delhi, according to authorities.
    • About NTPC Limited:
      • NTPC Limited, formerly known as National Thermal Power Corporation Limited, is an Indian statutory corporation. It engaged in generation of electricity and allied activities.
      • It is a statutory corporation incorporated under the Companies Act 1956 and is under the jurisdiction of Ministry of Power, Government of India.
      • The headquarters of the company is situated at New Delhi. NTPC’s core function is the generation and distribution of electricity to State Electricity Boards in India.
      • The body also undertakes consultancy and turnkey project contracts that involve engineering, project management, construction management, and operation and management of power plants.
      • The body has also ventured into oil and gas exploration and coal mining activities. It is the largest power company in India with an electric power generating capacity of 62,086 MW.
      • Although the company has approx. 16% of the total national capacity, it contributes to over 25% of total power generation due to its focus on operating its power plants at higher efficiency levels (approx. 80.2% against the national PLF rate of 64.5%).
      • It was founded by Government of India in 1975, which now holds 54.74% of its equity shares on 30 June 2016.


    • News: Water conservation and rainwater harvesting structures have been constructed at 1,900 places and 68 groundwater wells have been revived across Gurugram district under the Jal Shakti Abhiyan’s “Catch The Rain” programme.
    • About Catch the Rain:
      • National Water Mission’s (NWM) campaign “Catch The Rain” with the tagline “Catch the rain, where it falls, when it falls” is to nudge the states and stake-holders to create appropriate Rain Water Harvesting Structures (RWHS) suitable to the climatic conditions and sub-soil strata before monsoon.
      • Under this campaign, drives to make check dams, water harvesting pits, rooftop RWHS etc; removal of encroachments and de-silting of tanks to increase their storage capacity; removal of obstructions in the channels which bring water to them from the catchment areas etc; repairs to step-wells and using defunct bore-wells and unused wells to put water back to aquifers etc are to be taken up with the active participation of people.
      • To facilitate these activities, states have been requested to open “Rain Centers” in each district– in Collectorates/Municipalities or GP offices.
      • During this period, these Rain Centres will have a dedicated mobile phone number and will be manned by an engineer or a person well trained in RWHS. This centre act as a technical guidance centre to all in the district as to how to catch the rain, as it falls, where it falls.
      • Efforts should be made so that all buildings in the district should have rooftop RWHS and that maximum quantity of rain water falling in any compound should be impounded within the compound itself.
      • The basic aim should be that No or only limited will water to flow out of the compound. This will help in improving soil moisture and raising ground water table. In urban areas it will reduce water gushing onto roads, damaging them and will prevent urban flooding.
      • Under the “Catch The Rain” initiative, all water bodies in the districts are to be enumerated, (checked with revenue records) and encroachments to be removed.


    • News: British Prime Minister Boris Johnson spoke to Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday, urging India to announce a “more ambitious” Nationally Determined Contribution (NDC) ahead of a United Nations climate change summit in the U.K. in a few weeks. The two leaders also spoke about the issue of vaccine certifications and the Afghanistan situation.
    • About Nationally Determined Contributions (NDC):
      • Nationally Determined Contributions (NDC) or Intended Nationally Determined Contributions (INDC) are non-binding national plans highlighting climate actions, including climate related targets for greenhouse gas emission reductions, policies and measures governments aim to implement in response to climate change and as a contribution to achieve the global targets set out in the Paris Agreement.
      • The NDCs combine the top-down system of a traditional international agreement with bottom-up system-in elements through which countries put forward their own goals and policies in the context of their own national circumstances, capabilities, and priorities, with the goal of reducing global greenhouse gas emissions enough limit anthropogenic temperature rise to well below 2 °C (3.6 °F) above pre-industrial levels; and to pursue efforts to limit the increase to 1.5 °C (2.7 °F).
      • The NDCs contain steps taken towards emissions reductions and also aim to address steps taken to adapt to climate change impacts, and what support the country needs, or will provide, to address climate change.
      • All the goals for each country are stated in their NDC which are based on the points below:
        • Climate neutral to 2050
        • Limiting global warming to well below 2 °C and pursuing efforts to limit it to 1.5 °C
        • Reduction in emissions of greenhouse gases (GHG)
        • Increase adaptation to the harmful effects of climate change
        • Adjust financial flows so they can be combined with reduced GHG emissions


    • News: International Energy Agency (IEA) has invited India, the world’s third-largest energy consumer, to become its full-time member — a proposal, if accepted, will require New Delhi to raise strategic oil reserves to 90 days’ requirement.
    • About International Energy Agency (IEA):
      • The International Energy Agency is a Paris-based autonomous intergovernmental organisation established in the framework of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) in 1974 in the wake of the 1973 oil crisis.
      • The IEA was initially dedicated to responding to physical disruptions in the supply of oil, as well as serving as an information source on statistics about the international oil market and other energy sectors.
      • It is best known for the publication of its annual World Energy Outlook.
      • Today the IEA acts as a policy adviser to its member states, as well as major emerging economies such as Brazil, China, India, Indonesia and South Africa to support energy security and advance the clean energy transition worldwide.
      • The Agency’s mandate has broadened to focus on providing analysis, data, policy recommendations and solutions to help countries ensure secure, affordable and sustainable energy for all.
      • In particular, it has focused on supporting global efforts to accelerate the clean energy transition and mitigate climate change.
      • The IEA has a broad role in promoting rational energy policies and multinational energy technology co-operation with a view to reaching net zero emissions.
      • In response to the growing number of pledges by countries and companies around the world to limit their emissions to net zero by 2050 or soon after, although that is not compatible with the 1.5 °C target, that would require net zero in the mid 2030’s, IEA announced in January 2021 that it would produce a roadmap for the global energy sector to reach 2050 net zero.
      • Only OECD member states can become members of the IEA.


    • News: Bharti Enterprises chairman Sunil Mittal on Monday said the “space race” had truly begun and the private sector should ensure that India remained on the cutting edge of the space industry.
    • Details:
      • Bharti-backed OneWeb, which already had 322 satellites in orbit, will use India-built PSLV (Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle) and the heavier GSLV-MkIII (Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle) as potential platforms to launch OneWeb’s satellites in India from 2022.
    • About OneWeb:
      • OneWeb (legally Network Access Associates Ltd) is a global communications company building a capability to deliver broadband satellite internet services worldwide.
      • The company is headquartered in London, and has offices in California and a satellite manufacturing facility in Florida – OneWeb Satellites – that is a joint venture with Airbus Defence and Space.
      • The company was formerly known as WorldVu Satellites Ltd.
      • The company was founded by Greg Wyler in 2012 and launched its first satellites in February 2019. It entered bankruptcy in March 2020 after failing to raise the requisite capital to complete the build and deployment of the remaining 90% of the network.
      • The company emerged from the bankruptcy proceedings and reorganization in November 2020 with a new ownership group, led by the Government of the United Kingdom and Indian multinational company Bharti Global, each holding 42% of the company equity and board.
      • OneWeb re-affirmed its intent to continue to build out the satellite constellation. SoftBank retained an equity holding of 12%.
      • OneWeb commenced launches of the OneWeb satellite constellation, a network of more than 650 low Earth orbit satellites, in February 2019, and by May 2021, had launched 218 of the planned 648 satellites in the initial constellation.