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 – 1st November 2021

    1.     GROUP OF 20

    • News: India pushed for “safeguarding the interests of the developing world” as Prime Minister Narendra Modi addressed the G-20 summit at sessions on climate change and sustainable development.
    • Details:
      • No time-bound agreements were reached as leaders of the world’s top economies ended the summit in Rome, recommitting to providing $100 billion a year to counter climate change, and pushing for greater vaccine equality to fight the COVID-19 pandemic.
      • G-20 countries also committed to ending international financing for all new coal plants by the end of 2021, but made no mention of domestic commitments on ending coal power generation.
      • The final communique, agreed upon after negotiations overnight, spoke only of the “key relevance of achieving global net zero” on carbon emissions “by or around mid-century”.
    • About G20:
      • The G20 or Group of Twenty is an intergovernmental forum comprising 19 countries and the European Union (EU).
      • It works to address major issues related to the global economy, such as international financial stability, climate change mitigation, and sustainable development.
      • The G20 is composed of most of the world’s largest economies, including both industrialized and developing nations.
      • The group collectively accounts for around 90% of gross world product (GWP), 75–80% of international trade, two-thirds of the world’s population, and roughly half the world’s land area.
      • The G20 was founded in 1999 in response to several world economic crises. Since 2008, the group convenes at least once a year, with summits involving each member’s head of government or state, finance minister, foreign minister, and other high-ranking officials; the EU is represented by the European Commission and the European Central Bank.
      • As of 2021 there are 20 members of the group: Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, the European Union, France, Germany, India, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, Mexico, Russia, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, South Korea, Turkey, the United Kingdom, and the United States. Spain is a permanent guest invitee.
    • About One Health:
      • One Health is “the collaborative efforts of multiple disciplines working locally, nationally, and globally, to attain optimal health for people, animals and our environment”, as defined by the One Health Initiative Task Force (OHITF).
    • About Corporate Minimum Tax:
      • A global corporate minimum tax is a tax regime established by international agreement whereby countries adhering to the agreement would impose a specific minimum tax rate on the income of corporations subject to the respective jurisdictions’ tax laws. Each country would be entitled to share in the revenue generated by the tax. The agreement also would prescribe a definition of “income” and other technical and administrative rules.
      • A global corporate minimum tax would apply a standard tax rate to a defined corporate income base worldwide.
      • Implementing a global corporate minimum tax requires international agreement and enactment by each signatory country.
      • In July 2021, more than 130 countries agreed to support an Organisation for Economic Co-Operation and Development (OECD) tax reform framework to impose a global corporate minimum tax on foreign profits of large multinational corporations (MNCs).
      • On October 8, 136 countries and jurisdictions signed on to the OECD proposal, which features a 15% corporate minimum tax.
      • The OECD framework is intended to discourage nations from tax competition through lower tax rates that results in corporate profit shifting and tax base erosion.
      • The OECD estimates that its plan will provide countries with new tax revenues of USD 150 billion annually.


    • News: For poor villagers in Rajasthan’s Ajmer district, a good Deepavali depends on their wages from the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MGNREGA) scheme.
    • About MGNREGA:
      • Mahatma Gandhi Employment Guarantee Act 2005 (“Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act” or MGNREGA), is an Indian labour law and social security measure that aims to guarantee the ‘right to work’.
      • This act was passed in 23 August 2005 under the UPA government of Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh.
      • It aims to enhance livelihood security in rural areas by providing at least 100 days of wage employment in a financial year to every household whose adult members volunteer to do unskilled manual work.
      • The act was first proposed in 1991 by P.V. Narasimha Rao.
      • It was finally accepted in the parliament and commenced implementation in 625 districts of India. Based on this pilot experience, NREGA was scoped up to cover all the districts of India from 1 April 2008.
      • The statute was praised by the government as “the largest and most ambitious social security and public works programme in the world”.
      • Another aim of MGNREGA is to create durable assets (such as roads, canals, ponds and wells).
      • Employment is to be provided within 5 km of an applicant’s residence, and minimum wages are to be paid. If work is not provided within 15 days of applying, applicants are entitled to an unemployment allowance.
      • That is, if the government fails to provide employment, it has to provide certain unemployment allowances to those people. Thus, employment under MGNREGA is a legal entitlement.
      • MGNREGA is to be implemented mainly by gram panchayats (GPs).
      • Apart from providing economic security and creating rural assets, other things said to promote NREGA are that it can help in protecting the environment, empowering rural women, reducing rural-urban migration and fostering social equity, among others.”


    • News: The first ship of the four Project-15B state-of-the-art stealth guided missile destroyers, Visakhapatnam, being built at the Mazgaon Docks Limited (MDL), was delivered to the Navy last Friday. Delayed by three years, the ships will be commissioned very soon.
    • About BrahMos:
      • The BrahMos (designated PJ-10) is a medium-range ramjet supersonic cruise missile that can be launched from submarine, ships, aircraft, or land. It is the fastest supersonic cruise missile in the world.
      • It is a joint venture between the Russian Federation’s NPO Mashinostroyeniya and India’s Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO), who together have formed BrahMos Aerospace.
      • It is based on the Russian P-800 Oniks cruise missile and other similar sea-skimming Russian cruise missile technology.
      • The name BrahMos is a portmanteau formed from the names of two rivers, the Brahmaputra of India and the Moskva of Russia.
      • It is the world’s fastest anti-ship cruise missile in operation.
      • The land-launched and ship-launched versions are already in service.
      • An air-launched variant of BrahMos appeared in 2012 and entered service in 2019.
      • A hypersonic version of the missile, BrahMos-II, is also presently under development with a speed of Mach 7–8 to boost aerial fast strike capability. It was expected to be ready for testing by 2024.
      • In 2016, as India became a member of the Missile Technology Control Regime (MTCR), India and Russia are now planning to jointly develop a new generation of Brahmos missiles with 800 km-plus range and an ability to hit protected targets with pinpoint accuracy.
      • In 2019, India upgraded the missile with a new range of 650 km with plans to eventually upgrade all missiles to a range of 1500 km.


    • News: The first ship of the four Project-15B state-of-the-art stealth guided missile destroyers, Visakhapatnam, being built at the Mazgaon Docks Limited (MDL), was delivered to the Navy.
    • Details:
      • The design of the ships has been developed in-house by the Directorate of Naval Design and are a follow-on of the Kolkata class (Project 15A) destroyers.
      • The four ships are named after major cities from all four corners of the country — Visakhapatnam, Mormugao, Imphal and Surat.
    • About Kolkata Class Destroyer:
      • The “Kolkata class” (Project 15A) are a class of stealth guided missile destroyers constructed for the Indian Navy.
      • The class comprises three ships – Kolkata, Kochi and Chennai, all of which were built by Mazagon Dock Limited (MDL) in India, and are the largest destroyers to be operated by the Indian Navy.
      • The destroyers are a follow-on of the Project 15 Delhi-class destroyers, but are considerably more capable due to major improvements in the design, the addition of substantial land-attack capabilities, the fitting-out of modern sensors and weapons systems, and the expanded use of net-centric capability such as Cooperative Engagement Capability.


    • News: Signalling a greater shift towards formalisation of the economy, the share of the large informal sector in overall economic activity dipped sharply in 2020-21 even as informal workers continue to bear the brunt of the pandemic’s adverse effects.
    • Details:
      • Concluding that the share of the informal economy may have shrunk to no more than 20% of the economic output from about 52% in 2017-18.
      • There are wide variations in the formalisation levels in different sectors but the SBI estimated that the informal economy is possibly at a maximum of 15% to 20% of formal GDP in 2020-21.
      • An IMF policy paper earlier this year estimated that the share of India’s informal economy in the Gross Value Added (GVA) was at 53.9% in 2011-12 and improved only marginally to 52.4% in 2017-18.


    • News: The census of one of the world’s most threatened cetaceans, the Indus river dolphin (Platanista gangetica minor) — a freshwater dolphin that is found in river Beas, is all set to commence in the winter as part of a project by the Centre.
    • About Indus River Dolphin:
      • The Indus river dolphin (Platanista minor), also known as the bhulan in Urdu and Sindhi, is a species of toothed whale in the family Platanistidae. It is endemic to the Indus River basin of Pakistan, with a small remnant population in the Beas river in India. This dolphin was the first discovered side-swimming cetacean.
      • It is patchily distributed in five small, sub-populations that are separated by irrigation barrages.
      • From the 1970s until 1998, the Ganges River dolphin (Platanista gangetica) and the Indus dolphin were regarded as separate species; however, in 1998, their classification was changed from two separate species to subspecies of a single species.
      • However, more recent studies support them being distinct species.
      • It has been named as the national mammal of Pakistan, and the state aquatic animal of Punjab, India.
      • The Indus river dolphin presently only occurs in the Indus River system.
      • These dolphins occupied about 3,400 km of the Indus River and the tributaries attached to it in the past.
      • The Indus dolphin has the long, pointed nose characteristic of all river dolphins. The teeth are visible in both the upper and lower jaws even when the mouth is closed.
      • The teeth of young animals are almost an inch long, thin and curved; however, as animals age the teeth undergo considerable changes and in mature adults become square, bony, flat disks.
      • The snout thickens towards its end. The species does not have a crystalline eye lens, rendering it effectively blind, although it may still be able to detect the intensity and direction of light. Navigation and hunting are carried out using echolocation.
      • The Indus river dolphin is listed by the IUCN as endangered on their Red List of Threatened Species.