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 – 20th October 2021


    • News: When candy giant Mars Wrigley carried out a mass recall of several batches of its Crispy M&Ms across Europe this August, it was due to the use of one ingredient: rice flour with genetically modified (GM) contamination that allegedly originated in India, according to notifications on the European Commission’s rapid alert system.
    • About Genetically Modified Crops:
      • Genetically modified crops (GM crops) are plants used in agriculture, the DNA of which has been modified using genetic engineering methods.
      • Plant genomes can be engineered by physical methods or by use of Agrobacterium for the delivery of sequences hosted in T-DNA binary vectors.
      • Examples in food crops include resistance to certain pests, diseases, environmental conditions, reduction of spoilage, resistance to chemical treatments (e.g. resistance to a herbicide), or improving the nutrient profile of the crop. Examples in non-food crops include production of pharmaceutical agents, biofuels, and other industrially useful goods, as well as for bioremediation.
      • The first genetically engineered crop plant was tobacco, reported in 1983. It was developed creating a chimeric gene that joined an antibiotic resistant gene to the T1 plasmid from Agrobacterium.
      • Genetically engineered crops have genes added or removed using genetic engineering techniques, originally including gene guns, electroporation, microinjection and agrobacterium.
      • More recently, CRISPR and TALEN offered much more precise and convenient editing techniques.


    • News: The rising cyberattacks from China on critical installations was discussed at the National Security Strategies Conference chaired by Home Minister Amit Shah.
    • About Critical Infrastructure:
      • Shelter; Heating (e.g. natural gas, fuel oil, district heating);
      • Agriculture, food production and distribution;
      • Water supply (drinking water, waste water/sewage, stemming of surface water (e.g. dikes and sluices));
      • Public health (hospitals, ambulances);
      • Transportation systems (fuel supply, railway network, airports, harbours, inland shipping);
      • Security services (police, military).
      • Electricity generation, transmission and distribution; (e.g. natural gas, fuel oil, coal, nuclear power)
      • Renewable energy, which are naturally replenished on a human timescale, such as sunlight, wind, rain, tides, waves, and geothermal heat.
      • Telecommunication; coordination for successful operations
      • Economic sector; Goods and services and financial services (banking, clearing);


    • News: India, Israel, the United Arab Emirates and the United States have decided to launch a new quadrilateral economic forum, as External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar joined his counterparts at a videoconference from Jerusalem, where he is on a five-day visit.
    • About India, Israel, UAE and U.S. Quad Forum:
      • India, Israel, the United Arab Emirates and the United States have decided to launch a new quadrilateral economic forum, as External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar joined his counterparts at a videoconference from Jerusalem, where he is on a five-day visit.
      • Lapid added that the grouping had decided to establish an international forum for economic cooperation, and specifically discussed “possibilities for joint infrastructure projects”.
      • The U.S. State Department said that during the meeting on Monday, the four Ministers discussed “expanding economic and political cooperation in the Middle East and Asia, including through trade, combating climate change, energy cooperation, and increasing maritime security,” as well as ways to counter the COVID-19 pandemic.
      • UAE funding and Indian manufacturing, given India’s close ties and strategic partnership with the two other countries could cross $100 billion by 2030.
      • In the first such venture, a UAE project for robotic solar panel cleaning technology was signed by Israeli company Ecoppia that has a manufacturing base in India.
      • Significantly, neither the quadrilateral meeting, nor the trilateral meeting discussed the issue of Palestine and resuming the “Middle East peace process”, although the Joe Biden administration has expressed support for a “two-state solution”, that is in line with India’s broader position.


    • News: Seeking incentives from the government, SEPC on Tuesday said the country’s services exports are expected to reach over $240 billion during 2021-22 on account of healthy performance by segments such as professional and management consulting services, audio- visual, freight-transport services, and telecommunications.
    • Details:
      • Total services exports for 2021-22 are expected to touch over $240 billion and may increase even further when the tourism sector is opened up later in the year.
      • In 2020-21, services exports dipped by 3% to $206 billion.
      • He also said the target of $1 trillion in services exports by 2030 set by the government is feasible but there is a need to look at sectors other than IT and ITeS for growth. The need of the hour is to provide a level-playing field with manufacturing and incentives to tide over the pandemic.


    • News: State-owned CIL said the supply of coal was prioritised temporarily to power producers to replenish their dwindling stock of the dry fuel. The statement assumes significance in the wake of the country’s power plants grappling with fuel shortages.
    • About Coal India Limited:
      • Coal India Limited (CIL) is an Indian government-owned coal mining and refining corporation.
      • It is under the ownership of Ministry of Coal, Government of India headquartered in Kolkata, West Bengal, India.
      • It is the largest coal-producing company in the world and a Maharatna public sector undertaking.
      • It is also the fifth largest employer in India with nearly 272,000 employees.
      • The company contributes around 82% to the total coal production in India. It produced 554.14 million tonnes of raw coal in 2016–17, an increase from its earlier production of 494.24 million tonnes of coal during FY 2014–15 and earned revenues of ₹95,435 crore (US$13 billion) from sale of coal in the same financial year.
      • CIL ranks 8th among the top 20 firms responsible for a third of all global carbon emissions.
      • Coal mining in India had primarily been a private sector enterprise. This changed in September 1956 when the Government of India established its own coal company National Coal Development Corporation (NCDC).