Daily Current Affairs For IAS/ HAS

Global Liveability Index

The Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU) has released the Global Liveability Index 2018. The index ranks 140 global cities based on their living conditions.

The liveability index quantifies the challenges that might be presented to an individual’s lifestyle in 140 cities worldwide, and assesses which locations provide the best living conditions.

PARAMETERS OF THE GLOBAL LIVEABILITY INDEX:

The list ranks 140 cities on a range of factors, including:

The survey rates cities worldwide based on 30 qualitative and quantitative criteria, which fall into five general categories:

  1. Stability
  2. Health care
  3. Culture and environment.
  4. Education
  5. Infrastructure

As per Economist Intelligence Unit’s (EIU) Global Liveability Index, 2018, the top 10 cities to live in the world are:

  1. Vienna
  2. Melbourne
  3. Osaka
  4. Calgary
  5. Sydney
  6. Vancouver
  7. Tokya
  8. Toronto
  9. Copenhagen
  10. Adelaide

EIU’s Global Liveability Index, 2018, puts the following cities at the bottom of the list:

  1. Senegal’s Dakar at 131.
  2. Algeria’s Algiers at 132.
  3. Cameroon’s Douala at 133.
  4. Libya’s Tripoli at 134.
  5. Zimbabwe’s Harare at 135.
  6. Papua New Guinea’s Port Moresby at 136.
  7. Karachi at 137.
  8. Nigeria’s Lagos at 138.
  9. Dhaka at 139.
  10. Damascus at 140.

Key facts:

 

 

NPCI launches UPI 2.0

National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI) has launched UPI 2.0, an upgraded and renewed version of Unified Payments Interface (UPI).

New features:

The latest edition has four new features to make it attractive and safer for users. These new features will allow users to link their overdraft account to UPI, creation of one-time mandates and pre-authorisation of transactions for payment at later date and checking the invoice sent by merchant prior to making payment.

What exactly is UPI?

The Unified Payments Interface (UPI) is a system developed by the NPCI and the RBI to aid instant transfer of money using a cashless system. Using UPI services, one just requires a smartphone and a banking app to send and receive money instantly or to pay a merchant for retail purchase. In the long run, UPI is likely to replace the current NEFT, RTGS, and IMPS systems as they exist today.

The UPI ecosystem functions with three key players:

How does it work?

UPI, built on IMPS, allows a payment directly and immediately from bank account. There is no need to pre-load money in wallets. It allows payments to different merchants without the hassle of typing one’s card details or net-banking password.

 

 

International Nitrogen Initiative

Indian scientist Nandula Raghuram has been elected as the Chair of the International Nitrogen Initiative (INI), a global policy making initiative. He is the first Indian and Asian to be elected to the Chair of INI.

About International Nitrogen Initiative:

The International Nitrogen Initiative (INI) is an international program, set up in 2003 under sponsorship of the Scientific Committee on Problems of the Environment (SCOPE) and from the International Geosphere-Biosphere Program (IGBP).

Nitrogen:

Nitrogen is one of the five major chemical elements that are necessary for life. While nitrogen is the most abundant of these, more than 99% of it occurs as molecular nitrogen, or N2, which cannot be used by most organisms.  This is because breaking the triple bond holding the two nitrogen atoms together requires a large amount of energy, which can be mustered only through high-temperature processes or by a small number of nitrogen-fixing microbes.

Most living organisms can only make use of reactive nitrogen, which includes inorganic forms of nitrogen like ammonia, ammonium, nitrogen oxide, nitric acid, nitrous oxide, and nitrate, and organic compounds like urea, amines, proteins, and nucleic acids. It includes any nitrogen compound that is radiatively, chemically or biological active.

Why care about it?

In the prehuman world, a small amount of usable reactive nitrogen was created from N2 by lightening and biological nitrogen fixation, but the spread of reactive nitrogen was held in check by denitrification, a process that converts reactive N back to N2.

 

 

International year of millets

Continuing its efforts to get ‘millets’ a global recognition for its promotion among consumers, India has written to Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) of the United Nations proposing declaration of the upcoming year as “International Year of Millets”.

Significance of this move:

Efforts by government to promote millets:

What are Millets?

Millet is a common term to categorize small-seeded grasses that are often termed nutri-cereals or dryland-cereals, and includes sorghum, pearl millet, ragi, small millet, foxtail millet, proso millet, barnyard millet, kodo millet and other millets.

Benefits of Millets:

An important staple cereal crop for millions of small holder dryland farmers across sub-saharan Africa and Asia, millets offer nutrition, resilience, income and livelihood for farmers even in difficult times.

They have multiple untapped uses such as food, feed, fodder, biofuels and brewing. Therefore, millets are Smart Food as they are Good for You, Good for the Farmer and Good for the Planet.

Nutritionally superior to wheat & rice owing to their higher levels of protein with more balanced amino acid profile, crude fiber & minerals such as Iron, Zinc, and Phosphorous, millets can provide nutritional security and act as a shield against nutritional deficiency, especially among children and women.

The anaemia (iron deficiency), B-complex vitamin deficiency, pellagra (niacin deficiency) can be effectively tackled with intake of less expensive but nutritionally rich food grains like millets.

Millets can also help tackle health challenges such as obesity, diabetes and lifestyle problems as they are gluten free, have a low glycemic index and are high in dietary fibre and antioxidants.

Adapted to low or no purchased inputs and to harsh environment of the semi-arid tropics, they are the backbone for dry land agriculture.

Photo-insensitive & resilient to climate change, millets are hardy, resilient crops that have a low carbon and water footprint, can withstand high temperatures and grow on poor soils with little or no external inputs. In times of climate change they are often the last crop standing and, thus, are a good risk management strategy for resource-poor marginal farmers.

 

 

Laser Interferometer Gravitational Wave Observatory (LIGO) project

The Environment Ministry has allowed scientists to test the suitability of land in Maharashtra’s Hingoli district to host the India wing of the ambitious Laser Interferometer Gravitational Wave Observatory (LIGO) project.

Background:

The LIGO (Laser Interferometer Gravitational-wave Observatory) is a massive observatory for detecting cosmic gravitational waves and for carrying out experiments. The objective is to use gravitational-wave observations in astronomical studies.

The project operates three gravitational-wave (GW) detectors. Two are at Hanford in the state of Washington, north-western US, and one is at Livingston in Louisiana, south-eastern US. The proposed LIGO India project aims to move one advanced LIGO detector from Hanford to India.

About LIGO- India project:

Known as the LIGO-India project, it is piloted by Department of Atomic Energy (DAE) and Department of Science and Technology (DST).

The LIGO-India project will be jointly coordinated and executed by three Indian research institutions: the Inter-University Centre for Astronomy and Astrophysics (IUCAA), Pune and Department of Atomic Energy organisations: Institute for Plasma Research (IPR), Gandhinagar and the Raja Ramanna Centre for Advanced Technology (RRCAT), Indore.

Benefits for India:

What are Gravitational Waves?

Gravitational waves are the ripples in the pond of spacetime. The gravity of large objects warps space and time, or “spacetime” as physicists call it, the way a bowling ball changes the shape of a trampoline as it rolls around on it. Smaller objects will move differently as a result – like marbles spiraling toward a bowling-ball-sized dent in a trampoline instead of sitting on a flat surface.

Way ahead:

Dubbed as the breakthrough of the century, the international team of scientists believes that the detection of gravitational waves will open an unprecedented new window to the cosmos.

 

 

Odisha to showcase its biodiversity

The Odisha government is setting up a world-class interpretation centre at Dangamal near Bhitarkanika National Park to showcase its efforts in protecting crocodiles and preserving its rich mangrove diversity. The centre will be developed both as a tourist attraction and a place for students to learn about the environment.

The project, which has been approved under the Integrated Coastal Zone Management Project, will be taken up at an estimated cost of ₹3 crore.

Bhitarkanika and the need for conservation:

‘BAULA’ PROJECT AT DANGAMAL:

About Gharial:

Conservation: