Balladeer, ‘people’s singer’, ex-Maoist ideologue: Telangana poet Gaddar dies at 77
Context: Balladeer and poet Gaddar, a prominent face of the Telangana statehood movement and an activist for the rights of Dalits and marginalized people, died in Hyderabad Sunday. He was 77.
About Gummadi Vithal Rao, Gaddar:
- Gummadi Vittal Rao well-known as Gaddar is a revolutionary balladeer who was active as a Naxalite before he joined the Telangana movement, backing the demand for separate statehood.
- Once a bank employee, Gaddar was an active Naxalite till 2010 and was known for presenting vociferous songs that stirred the conscience of the people in questioning the Government’s policies, particularly when concerned with the underprivileged and poor.
- He encouraged people to voice against the Government’s failure to take up welfare measures for the upliftment of the downtrodden.
- Later after joining the Telangana movement which was picking up pace in the late 2010s, he supported the demand of a separate State along with other leaders of the movement. Following separate Statehood Gaddar for some time kept aloof from politics.Topic 2: 5% of birds in India are endemic, reveals Zoological Survey of India publication
Context: A recent publication by the Zoological Survey of India (ZSI) points out that about 5% of birds found in the country are endemic and are not reported in other parts of the world. The publication, titled 75 Endemic Birds of India, was recently released on the 108th foundation day of the ZSI.
Birds in India:
- India is home to 1,353 bird species, which represents approximately 12.40% of global bird diversity. Of these 1,353 bird species, 78 (5%) are endemic to the country.
- The publication aims to make information about the country’s endemic birds available to everyone and highlight the efforts to conserve species found only in restricted areas.
- One of the authors of the publication said that of the 78 species, three species have not been recorded in the last few decades.
- They are the Manipur Bush Quail (Perdicula manipurensis), listed as ‘Endangered’ by the International Union for Conservation of Nature’s (IUCN) Red List of Threatened Species with its last recorded sighting in 1907.
- The Himalayan Quail (Ophrysia superciliosa), is listed as ‘Critically Endangered’ with its last recorded sighting in 1876.
- The Jerdon’s Courser (Rhinoptilus bitorquatus), listed as ‘Critically Endangered’ with its last confirmed sighting in 2009.
- The publication points out that the 75 bird species belong to 11 different orders, 31 families, and 55 genera, and exhibit remarkable distribution patterns across various regions in India.
- The highest number of endemic species has been recorded in the Western Ghats, with 28 bird species.
- Some of the interesting species recorded in the country’s bio-geographic hotspot are:
- The Malabar Grey Hornbill (Ocyceros griseus);
- Malabar Parakeet (Psittacula columboides);
- Ashambu Laughing Thrush (Montecincla meridionalis);
- The White-bellied Sholakili (Sholicola albiventris).
- 25 bird species are endemic to the Andaman and Nicobar Islands. Endemism in the Andaman group of islands must have developed because of the region’s geographical isolation.
- The details of endemic bird species contained in the publication include etymology (meanings of scientific names) and their historical relevance along with vital facts such as subspecies’ differences, distinguishing traits, preferred habitats, breeding habits, and food preferences,
What is Endemic Species:
- Endemism is the condition of being endemic, or restricted in geographical distribution to an area or region.
- The area or region can vary in size and is defined or identified in different ways. Endemism is an ecological classification in that it describes the range or distribution of a species or group of species.
- Endemic species are those that are found in just one region and nowhere else in the world.
- The cases where they have been spotted outside their natural habitat are due to humans introducing them when the animal was in captivity.
Examples: Asiatic Lion in Gir Forest, Lion-tailed Macaque in Western Ghats of India, Nilgiri Tahr, Malabar large spotted civet, Nilgiri Blue Robin, Jerdon’s Corser, Nilgai, Nicobar megapode, Black-and-orange Flycatcher (BOF) and the Nilgiri Flycatcher (NIF), two species endemics to the Western Ghats are some of the species of animal’s endemic to India.
Topic 3: PM to launch revamp of 508 railway stations at ₹24,470 crore
Context: Prime Minister will lay the foundation stone for the redevelopment of 508 railway stations spread across the country.
Under the Amrit Bharat Station scheme, construction work is progressing on 24 stations in 10 States – Andhra Pradesh, Gujarat, Jharkhand, Karnataka, Kerala, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Odisha, Rajasthan and Tamil Nadu.
Amrit Bharat Station Scheme
- The Amrit Bharat Station Scheme (ABSS) aims to transform and revitalize 1,309 railway stations across the nation, enhancing the overall passenger experience and making them world-class travel hubs.
- As part of this initiative, work on 508 stations in various States commenced, with an investment of ₹25,000 crore.
- It envisages the development of stations continuously with a long-term vision.
- The scheme will subsume all previous redevelopment projects where work is yet to begin.
- The scheme aims to preparation of Master Plans of the Railway stations and the implementation of the Master Plan in phases to enhance the facilities including and beyond the Minimum Essential Amenities.Topic 4: 18th Century Tamil manuscripts found in a monastery in Italy
Context: In northern Italy, palm manuscripts from the 18th Century, titled Gnanamuyarchi, have been discovered in an Armenian monastery.
- This significant finding sheds light on the rich history and cultural exchange between different regions during that time.
- This translation is most likely by Michele Bertoldi, known in Tamil as Gnanaprakasasamy. This is a prose text from the early 18th Century (likely the 1720s) and has been printed several times in the 19th Century by the Mission Press in Puducherry
- These palm manuscripts are of utmost importance in preserving historical and cultural knowledge. They offer valuable insights into the period they originate from, providing a firsthand account of the social, literary, and religious practices during that era. The manuscripts are written in Tamil, showcasing the influence of the language and its spread beyond its homeland.
- It serves as a reminder of the diverse historical interactions and intellectual exchanges that occurred across different regions and cultures.Topic 5: National Handloom Day
Context: National Handloom Day is observed across India on August 7 every year. The primary goal of celebrating Handloom Day is to promote handloom and to recognize the efforts as well as skills of the community of weavers engaged in the sector.
National Handloom Day 2023: History
- The National Handloom Day was first observed in 2015 which was inaugurated by Prime Minister. The day was initiated to spread awareness about the importance of the handloom sector.
- August 7 was chosen for celebrating National Handloom Day to commemorate the launch of the Swadeshi Movement on the same day in 1905 in Calcutta (now Kolkata). The movement was then led by Bal Gangadhar Tilak, Bipin Chandra Pal, and Lala Lajpat Rai.
- The Swadeshi Movement was initiated to improve the usage of India-made goods which prominently involved handlooms. This movement also played a major role in the Independence of the country during British Rule.
National Handloom Day 2023: Significance
- It is essential for all to know the significance of the day as it not only preserves the rich heritage of our country but also promotes the skill set. Reportedly, the handloom sector is one of the major pillars of the economy after the agricultural sector in our country.
- A large section of women contributes their service as weavers and other artistic hands in this industry which is becoming the largest epitome for employment as well.
- These artisans and craftsmen as an industry have been supporting the country as a soft power by ensuring a flow of income.
Topic 6: Revolutionizing Agriculture: Launch of Bhu-Vision (Krishi-RASTAA), An IoT-Based Automated Soil Testing and Advisory Platform
Context: AICRP (ICAR-IIRR) launched a revolutionary IoT-based automated soil testing and agronomy advisory platform, Bhu-Vision (also known as KRISHI-RASTAA Soil Testing System).
- The KRISHI-RASTAA Soil Testing System represents a new era in precision agriculture. The technology is a testament to the power of collaboration, having been jointly developed by ICAR-IIRR and KrishiTantra.
- Manufactured by HiMedia Laboratories and marketed by BhoomiSeva (HCF Tech Services Pvt. Ltd.), this system seamlessly conducts 12 key soil parameter tests in just 30 minutes, providing quick, accurate results directly to farmers and stakeholders through a soil health card on their mobile devices.
- The launch of Bhu-Vision (Krishi-RASTAA) signals a promising future for the nation’s agricultural technology landscape.
- This platform will play a vital role in completing the nation’s soil health map and gaining a more nuanced understanding of our agricultural scenario.Topic 7: The National Health Authority (NHA) announces the extension of its Digital Health Incentives Scheme (DHIS)
Context: The National Health Authority (NHA) announces the extension of its Digital Health Incentives Scheme (DHIS) under the Ayushman Bharat Digital Mission (ABDM) till December 2023.
About Digital Health Incentives Scheme (DHIS):
- The DHIS was launched as part of the Ayushman Bharat Digital Mission.
- The scheme proved to be a significant catalyst in promoting the adoption of digital health technologies and practices in healthcare delivery across the country.
- The incentives under this scheme would be provided to hospitals and diagnostic labs and also to the providers of digital health solutions such as Hospital/ Health Management Information Systems (HMIS) and Laboratory Management Information Systems (LMIS).
- The National Health Authority (NHA) is implementing Ayushman Bharat Digital Mission (ABDM) to create a digital health ecosystem for the country.
Important points under ABDM’s Digital Health Incentive Scheme are:
- Incentives would be provided to the following entities:
- Health Facilities having 10 or more beds
- Laboratory/radiology diagnostics centers
- Digital Solution Companies (entities providing ABDM-enabled digital solutions)
- The incentives shall be provided based on the number of ABHA-linked transactions i.e., the digital health records created and linked to Ayushman Bharat Health Account (ABHA).