Daily Current Affairs and GK | 24 August 2021

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Topic: Environment and Ecology

1. India’s highest herbal park opened in Uttarakhand's Chamoli district.

  • India’s highest herbal park is opened at Mana in Uttarakhand’s Chamoli district. It is located at height of 11,000 feet.
  • The main aim of this herbal park is to conserve and study medicinally and culturally important alpine species.
  • It is spread over three acres and the forest department of the Uttarakhand government has developed this park.
  • The park has around 40 species that are usually found in high-altitude alpine areas in the Indian Himalayan region.
  • The park is divided into four sections. Details are as given below:
    • First section: It contains species associated with Lord Vishnu. It includes Badri Tulsi, Ber, Badri Tree, and sacred tree of Bhojpatra.
    • Second section: It is dedicated to Ashtavarga species. These species are important ingredients of Chyawanprash.
    • Third section: It has Saussurea species, which include Nilkamal, Phemkamal, and Koot.
    • Fourth section: It will have assorted alpine species.

Topic: Awards and Prizes

2. Indian Film Festival of Melbourne 2021 winners announced.

  • The winners of the Indian Film Festival of Melbourne Awards were announced on 20 August. This was the 12th edition of the Indian Film Festival of Melbourne.
  • Amazon Prime Video’s crime drama Mirzapur Season 2 won the Best Web Series award.
  • Suriya Sivakumar and Vidya Balan bagged honours for best performance in Soorarai Pottru and Sherni respectively.
  • Pankaj Tripathi was given the Diversity in Cinema Award.
  • Manoj Bajpayee won the Best Actor in the web series category. Best Feature Film award was given to Soorarai Pottru.
  • List of Awards:

Best Performance Female (Feature)

 Vidya Balan (Sherni) & Honourable mention to Nimisha Sajayan (The Great Indian Kitchen)

Best Series

 Mirzapur Season 2

Best Actress in a Series

 Samantha Akkineni

Best Actor in a Series

 Manoj Bajpayee (The Family Man 2)

Diversity in Cinema Award

 Pankaj Tripathi

Best Feature Film

 Soorarai Pottru

Best Performance Male (Feature)

 Suriya Sivakumar (Soorarai Pottru)

Best Director

 Anurag Basu (Ludo)

Best Documentary Film

Shut Up Sona

 

 

 

Topic: Environment and Ecology

3. A team of marine biologists discovered an algae species with umbrella-like head on Andaman Island.

  • A new marine algae species has been discovered on the Islands of Andaman and Nicobar island by marine biologists from the Central University of Punjab.
  • The species is named after the Sanskrit word ‘Jalakanyaka’ i.e., Acetabularia jalakanyakae. Jalakanyaka means ‘Goddess of Oceans’ or ‘Mermaid’.
  • In May 2019, Dr. Felix Bast was on a family trip to the Island where he came across this species for the first time.
  • Earlier, a new species of algae was found on this Island 37 years ago.
  • Algae are the source of more than half of the world’s oxygen through photosynthesis. They convert carbon dioxide into food for the marine ecosystem and when they die they are consumed by decomposers. Also, when they die they sink to the ocean floor which contributes to the formation of petroleum over many years. 
  • Climate change and Ocean Acidification are posing threat to marine organisms including algae.
  • Andaman and Nicobar Island has one of the highest algal diversity.

Acetabularia jalakanyakae:

  • It is green seaweed with umbrella-like head.
  • The whole plant is made up of just one gigantic cell with only one nucleus.
  • A structure named rhizoid formed towards the end of the plant cell allows the algae to attach to rocks below the shallow tropical ocean.
  • It has the regenerative capacity.

algae species with umbrella-like head on Andaman Island

(Source: News on AIR)

Topic: Government Schemes and Initiatives

4. Education Minister launched major initiatives of NEP 2020 on 24 August.

  • Education Minister Dharmendra Pradhan launched the National Initiative for Proficiency in Reading with Understanding and Numeracy (NIPUN) Bharat FLN tools.
  • Also, he launched resources on DIKSHA and virtual school on the National Institute of Open Schooling (NIOS) for providing advanced digital learning platforms.
  • Minister for Social Justice and Empowerment Dr. Virender Kumar along with Education Minister launched an Accessibility booklet-“Priya”.
  • The booklet has been developed by NCERT in association with the Department of Empowerment of Persons with Disability. The booklet will help children in understanding the concept and importance of accessibility.
  • Department of School Education and Literacy has prepared a flexible, interactive and inclusive NEP implementation plan called ‘SARTHAQ’.
  • National Education Policy was launched in July 2020.
  • DIKSHA (Digital Infrastructure for Knowledge Sharing) is a national platform for school education, an initiative of NCERT, Ministry of Education. It was launched on 5 September 2017.

initiatives of NEP 2020 on 24 August

(Source: PIB)

Topic: Biotechnology and Diseases

5. Indian scientist partners with BRICS Group to set up Network of Genomic Surveillance and study the overlap of SARS-CoV-2 with tuberculosis.

  • Indian scientist has partnered with BRICS Group to set up Network of Genomic Surveillance and study the overlap of SARS-CoV-2 with tuberculosis.
  • SARS-CoV-2 NGS-BRICS consortium and multi-centric programme to study the impact of severe COVID-19 conditions on TB patients are being implemented by the Department of Biotechnology, Ministry of Science and Technology.
  • SARS-CoV-2 NGS-BRICS consortium is an interdisciplinary collaboration to advance COVID-19 health-relevant knowledge.
  • Indian team consists of scientists from the National Institute of Biomedical Genomics, Centre for DNA Fingerprinting and Diagnostics and Indian Institute of Science.
  • National Laboratory for Scientific Computation from Brazil, Skolkovo Institute of Science and Technology from Russia, Beijing Institute of Genomics, Chinese Academy of Sciences from China and the University of KwaZulu-Natal from South Africa will participate in this consortium.
  • Multi centric programme consists of an interdisciplinary team of researchers from India, Brazil and South Africa, which would study the impact of severe COVID-19 conditions on TB patients.

Network of Genomic Surveillance and study the overlap of SARS-CoV-2 with tuberculosis

(Source: News on AIR)

Topic: Appointments

6. Nakul Chopra appointed as CEO of Broadcast Audience Research Council India (BARC).

  • Nakul Chopra has been appointed as Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Broadcast Audience Research Council India (BARC).
  • His appointment will be effective from 25 August. Sunil Lulla has earlier decided to resign from the post of CEO.
  • Nakul Chopra had joined BARC India Board in 2016. In January 2020, he was appointed as a member of BARC’s Oversight Committee.

Broadcast Audience Research Council India (BARC) is a joint-industry body. It was founded in 2010. Punit Goenka is Chairman of BARC. It is the world’s largest television audience measurement body.

Topic: Government Schemes and Initiatives

7. Union Minister of Rural Development & Panchayati Raj, Shri Giriraj Singh, launches Yuktdhara, a new portal under Bhuvan.

  • Union Minister of Rural Development & Panchayati Raj, Shri Giriraj Singh, launches Yuktdhara, a new portal under Bhuvan.
  • Yuktdhara will facilitate the planning of new MGNREGA assets using Remote Sensing and GIS-based information.
  • It will serve as a repository of assets (Geotags) created under various national rural development programmes i.e. MGNREGA, Integrated Watershed Management Programme etc., along with field photographs.
  • Yuktdhara is a Geospatial Planning Portal. Its name is derived from Yukt (Yojanam, the planning) and Dhara (flow).
  • Speaking at the launch of “Yuktdhara”, Dr. Jitendra Singh said that Bhuvan has become a de-facto geospatial platform for the number of developmental planning activities in the country.
  • He said that a Citizen-centric Mobile Application JANMANREGA has helped the rural population for providing feedback using Bhuvan services.

Topic: Defence

8. Ships of Indian Navy and Philippine Navy carried out a Maritime Partnership Exercise.

  • Ships of the Indian Navy and Philippine Navy have carried out a Maritime Partnership Exercise on 23 August.
  • INS Ranvijay (Guided Missile Destroyer, D55) and INS Kora (Guided Missile Corvette, P61) carried out the Exercise with BRP Antonio Luna (Frigate, FF 151) of the Philippine Navy.
  • The Indian naval ships are currently deployed to the Western Pacific with an aim to strengthen maritime security collaboration with partner nations.   
  • After the exercise, the Indian naval ships are scheduled to call at Manila Port for replenishment.

Ships of Indian Navy and Philippine Navy

(Source: PIB)

Topic: Corporates/Companies

9. AI-enabled chatbot Urja launched by Bharat Petroleum Corporation Limited (BPCL).

  • AI-enabled chatbot Urja has been launched by Bharat Petroleum Corporation Limited (BPCL).
  • Urja is a virtual assistant with AI/NLP (Artificial Intelligence/Natural Language Processing) capabilities and trained on over 600 use cases.
  • It is designed to deliver a seamless self-service experience and enable quick resolution of consumer queries/issues.
  • It has been made available on the company website to make BPCL’s customer interface comprehensive and digitally integrated.
  • Project Anubhav was initiated by BPCL to deliver its retail and commercial customer base a consistent, superior and unified experience across multiple touchpoints.
  • As part of Project Anubhav, Urja represents an integrated communication platform that connects all BPCL communication to any channel, unifying all customer touchpoints.
  • Urja chatbot today speaks in 13 languages. Over 45% of conversations with Urja are in non-English languages.

Bharat Petroleum Corporation Ltd is a Maharatna oil refining and marketing company. Its headquarters are located in Mumbai.

Topic: National News

10. Geological Survey of India took an innovative step towards making GSI digitally accessible to the masses by launching a Mobile App.

  • GSI has launched a GSI Mobile App (Beta Version) in the year 2020 to make itself accessible to the masses and make its presence felt digital and decided to upgrade it periodically.
  • People will be able to become more aware of various aspects of GSI's activities by this App.
  • The App is a part of the Digital India campaign, which was launched by the Government of India.

GSI:

GSI was initially founded to locate coal deposits for the railways in the year 1851.

Its primary work is related to the assessment and analysis of national geo-scientific information and mineral resources.

Its headquarters is in Kolkata.

Presently, GSI works under the Ministry of Mines.

Geological Survey of India

(Source: News on AIR)

Topic: Indian Economy

11. India becomes second most attractive manufacturing hub globally after China.

  • India has emerged as the second most attractive manufacturing hub in the world, according to Cushman & Wakefield’s 2021 Global Manufacturing Risk Index.
  • India has surpassed the US to become the second most attractive manufacturing hub and one step behind China.
  • Last year, India jumped from 4th place to 3rd place, and now India moved to 2nd place after China.
  • The reason behind the growth of India can be given to India's operating conditions and cost competitiveness.
  • India has met outsourcing requirements, which also led the country to an increase in the rankings year after year.
  • The country's ranking is determined by four important parameters, which are
    • Country's ability to restart manufacturing
    • Business climate, which includes the availability of expertise
    • Manpower, market access, labour costs
    • Political, financial, and environmental risks
 

 

 

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