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

8 Jul, 2020


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    Current Affairs – 22nd September 2021

    1.   AUKUS

    • News: Prime Minister Narendra Modi had a telephonic call with French President Emmanuel Macron on Tuesday, in a show of solidarity with France that has protested against the U.S.-U.K.-Australia tripartite security alliance (AUKUS) that effectively killed Paris-Canberra cooperation on submarines.
    • About AUKUS:
      • AUKUS is a trilateral security pact between Australia, the United Kingdom, and the United States, announced on 15 September 2021.
      • Under the pact, the United States and United Kingdom agree to help Australia to develop and deploy nuclear-powered submarines, adding to the Western military presence in the Pacific region.
      • On 17 September 2021, France which is an ally of the three countries recalled its ambassadors from Australia and the US, with French foreign minister Jean-Yves Le Drian calling the deal a “stab in the back” because it disrupted France’s strategic plans for the Asia-Pacific region, and led to the cancellation by Australia of a French–Australian submarine deal worth €56 billion (A$90 billion).
      • The agreement covers key areas such as artificial intelligence, cyber warfare, underwater capabilities, and long-range strike capabilities. It also includes a nuclear component, possibly limited to the United States and the United Kingdom, on nuclear defence infrastructure.
      • The agreement will focus on military capability, separating it from the Five Eyes intelligence-sharing alliance that also includes New Zealand and Canada.
    • About Five Eyes:
      • The Five Eyes (FVEY) is an intelligence alliance comprising Australia, Canada, New Zealand, the United Kingdom, and the United States.
      • These countries are parties to the multilateral UKUSA Agreement, a treaty for joint cooperation in signals intelligence.


    • News: A 28-year-old pregnant woman, hailing from Kyrgyzstan, and her one-year-old son were found murdered at a house in south-east Delhi’s Kalkaji on Tuesday, the police said.
    • Map of Kyrgyzstan:

    3.   OILSEEDS

    • News: The summer kharif season is likely to produce a record paddy harvest this year, pushing the country’s foodgrain production for the season to an all-time high of 15 crore tonnes, according to first advance estimates from the Agriculture Ministry.
    • Details:
      • However, oilseed production may be marginally lower than last year’s, particularly groundnut and soyabean harvests, which could be bad news for soaring edible oil prices. On the other hand, the increase in pulses production, especially the toor dal crop, could come as a relief.
    • About Oilseeds:
      • However, oilseed production may be marginally lower than last year’s, particularly groundnut and soyabean harvests, which could be bad news for soaring edible oil prices.
      • On the other hand, the increase in pulses production, especially the toor dal crop, could come as a relief.
      • The diverse agro-ecological conditions in the country are favourable for growing 9 annual oilseed crops, which include 7 edible oilseeds (groundnut, rapeseed & mustard, soybean, sunflower, sesame, safflower and niger) and two non-edible oilseeds (castor and linseed).
      • Oilseeds cultivation is undertaken across the country in about 27 million hectares mainly on marginal lands, of which 72% is confined to rainfed farming.
      • During the last few years, the domestic consumption of edible oils has increased substantially and has touched the level of 18.90 million tonnes in 2011-12 and is likely to increase further.
      • With per capita consumption of vegetable oils at the rate of 16 kg/year/person for a projected population of 1276 million, the total vegetable oils demand is likely to touch 20.4 million tonnes by 2017. A substantial portion of our requirement of edible oil is met through import of palm oil from Indonesia and Malaysia.
      • Tree Borne Oilseeds (TBOs), like sal, mahua, simarouba, kokum, olive, karanja, jatropha, neem, jojoba, cheura, wild apricot, walnut, tung etc. are cultivated/grown in the country under different agro-climatic conditions in a scattered form in forest and non-forest areas as well as in waste land /deserts/hilly areas.


    • News: The Centre has started the process to revise school textbooks by appointing former Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) chairman K. Kasturirangan as the head of a 12-member steering committee responsible for developing a new National Curriculum Framework (NCF).
    • Details:
      • Kasturirangan also chaired the drafting committee for the National Education Policy, 2020 which recommended the development of a new NCF.
      • The steering committee has been given a tenure of three years to complete its task.
      • The last such framework was developed in 2005.
      • It is meant to be a guiding document for the development of textbooks, syllabi and teaching practices in schools across the country.
      • The subsequent revision of textbooks by the National Council of Educational Research and Training will draw from the new NCF.
      • In fact, the steering committee will develop four such frameworks, one each to guide the curriculum of school education, teacher education, early childhood education and adult education.
    • About National Curriculum Framework (NCF 2005):
      • The National Curriculum Framework 2005 (NCF 2005) is the fourth National Curriculum Framework published in 2005 by the National Council of Educational Research and Training (NCERT) in India. Its predecessors were published in 1975, 1988, 2000.
      • The NCF 2005 serves as a guideline for syllabus, textbooks, and teaching practices for the schools in India.
      • The NCF 2005 has based its policies on previous government reports on education, such as Learning Without Burden and National Policy of Education 1986–1992, and focus group discussion.
    • About National Education Policy 2020:
      • The National Education Policy 2020 (NEP 2020), which was approved by the Union Cabinet of India on 29 July 2020, outlines the vision of India’s new education system.
      • The new policy replaces the previous National Policy on Education, 1986.
      • The policy is a comprehensive framework for elementary education to higher education as well as vocational training in both rural and urban India. The policy aims to transform India’s education system by 2040.
      • The language policy in NEP is a broad guideline and advisory in nature; and it is up to the states, institutions, and schools to decide on the implementation.
      • Education in India is a Concurrent List subject.
      • The National Education Policy 2020 has ‘emphasised’ on the use of mother tongue or local language as the medium of instruction till Class 5 while, recommending its continuance till Class 8 and beyond.
      • Sanskrit and foreign languages will also be given emphasis. The Policy recommends that all students will learn three languages in their school under the ‘formula’. At least two of the three languages should be native to India. It also states that no language will be imposed on the students.


    • News: India has added 521 MW of rooftop solar capacity in April-June this year, which is the highest capacity installed in a quarter, according to a Mercom India report.
    • Details:
      • India added 521 megawatts (MW) of rooftop solar capacity in the second quarter of the calendar year 2021, a 53% increase quarter-on-quarter compared with 341 MW installed in Q1 2021 (January-March).
    • About Solar Power in India:
      • Solar power in India is a fast developing industry as part of the renewable energy in India. The country’s solar installed capacity was 44.3 GW as of 31 August 2021.
      • The Indian government had an initial target of 20 GW capacity for 2022, which was achieved four years ahead of schedule.
      • In 2015 the target was raised to 100 GW of solar capacity (including 40 GW from rooftop solar) by 2022, targeting an investment of US$100 billion.
      • India has established nearly 42 solar parks to make land available to the promoters of solar plants.
      • Rooftop solar power accounts for 2.1 GW, of which 70% is industrial or commercial.
      • The International Solar Alliance (ISA), proposed by India as a founder member, is headquartered in India. India has also put forward the concept of “One Sun One World One Grid” and “World Solar Bank” to harness abundant solar power on global scale.
    • About “One Sun, One World, One Grid”:
      • It is a trans-national electricity grid supplying solar power across the globe.
      • According to the draft plan prepared by the MNRE, the ambitious OSOWOG will connect 140 countries through a common grid that will be used to transfer solar power.
      • The vision behind the OSOWOG mantra is “the Sun never sets” and is a constant at some geographical location, globally, at any given point of time.
      • With India at the fulcrum, the solar spectrum can easily be divided into two broad zones viz. far East which would include countries like Myanmar, Vietnam, Thailand, Lao, Cambodia and far West which would cover the Middle East and the Africa Region.
      • The plan is divided into three phases: the first phase will connect the Indian grid with the Middle East, South Asia and South-East Asian grids to share solar and other renewable energy resources. The second phase will connect the first phase nations with the African pool of renewable sources. The third phase will be the concluding step of global interconnection.
      • Pakistan and China are not a part of ISA.
      • Additionally, India has power trade with Bhutan and hydropower project development pact with Nepal.
      • Organizations involved with OSOWOG:
        • AETS France
        • French Government’s power utility firm EDF
        • Energy and Resources Institute (TERI) India
      • About World Solar Bank:
        • The International Solar Alliance (ISA) would be launching the World Solar Bank at COP 26, United Nations Climate Change Conference to be held in Glasgow in November 2021.
        • The world solar bank is a proposed financial agency that would pool resources from around the world and use them to finance the solar power projects in the member countries of ISA.
        • The proposed capital size of the World Solar Bank is expected to be around 10 billion dollars.
        • There is a clause that the host country of the bank would need to finance 30% of the proposed capital.
        • The world is progressing towards a terrible climate change and industrialization has affected the environment to a great level. Now the world needs to cut down the fossil fuel burning and shift to green energy resources.
        • Financing green projects would be a step towards climate change mitigation and would be  a priority at the 26th Conference of Parties at Glasgow.