Topic 1 : Durand Cup
Context: The Chief of the Army Staff flagged off the “Trophy Tour” of the 132nd edition of Durand Cup, India’s oldest football tournament
About Durand Cup:
- Durand Cup is Asia’s oldest and the world’s third oldest football tournament, in which top Indian football clubs from across the country participate.
- It is organised by the Indian Armed Forces.
- The inaugural edition took place in Shimla in 1888, when it started off as an Army Cup, open only to the British Indian Army troops in India, but soon opened up to civilian teams as well.
- The winning team walks away with three trophies, i.e:
- the Durand Cup (a rolling trophy and the original prize),
- the Shimla Trophy (also a rolling trophy and first given by the residents of Shimla in 1904) and
- the President’s Cup (for permanent keep and first presented by Dr. Rajendra Prasad, India’s first President, in 1956).
- The 132nd edition of the tournament will witness participation of 24 teams including teams from Nepal, Bhutan and Bangladesh.
- The foreign teams are taking part in the tournament after a gap of 27 years.
- The tournament is open to all club teams and conducted by the Durand Football Tournament Society (DFTS) under the aegis of All India Football Federation (AIFF).Topic 2 : Light Combat Aircraft Tejas
Context: The indigenous Light Combat Aircraft (LCA) will complete seven years of service in the Indian Air Force.
- It was christened Tejas in 2003.
- It has been designed to undertake the Air Defence, Maritime Reconnaissance and Strike roles.
- The Tejas Mk-1A Light Combat Aircraft is an indigenously designed and manufactured fourth-generation fighter.
- Critical operational capabilities:
- An Active Electronically-Scanned Array (AESA) radar,
- An Electronic Warfare (EW) suite, and
- Capable of air-to-air refuelling (AAR).
- The Tejas Mk-1A will be equipped with:
- active electronically scanned array radar,
- beyond visual range missile,
- electronic warfare suite and
- air-to-air refuelling.
- Tejas is a fully-weaponised light fighter with a single engine.
- Although a lightweight aircraft with a short range, Tejas aircraft can carry the same array of modern weapons that bigger warplanes carry,
Topic 3 : National Maritime Heritage Complex
Context: Government to Develop National Maritime Heritage Complex in Lothal, Gujarat for an estimated cost of ₹4,500 Cr.
About the National Maritime Heritage Complex:
- Under the Sagarmala programme, the Ministry of Ports, Shipping and Waterways is developing a National Maritime Heritage Complex.
- It is a world-class facility at Lothal, Gujarat.
- The project began in March 2022, and is being developed at a cost of Rs 3,500 crore.
- It will have several innovative features such as.
- The maritime complex will include:
- world’s highest light house museum,
- world’s largest open aquatic gallery,
- India’s grandest naval museum
- Lothal mini-recreation, which will recreate Harappan architecture and lifestyle through immersive technology;
- four theme parks –
- Memorial theme park,
- Maritime and Navy theme park,
- Climate theme park, and
- Adventure and Amusement theme park
- Lothal was one of the southernmost sites of the Indus Valley civilization, located in the Bhāl region of Gujarat.
- The port city is believed to have been built in 2,200 BC.
- Lothal was a thriving trade centre in ancient times, with its trade of beads, gems and ornaments reaching West Asia and Africa.
- The meaning of Lothal (a combination of Loth and (s) thal) in Gujarati is “the mound of the dead”.
- Lothal was nominated in April 2014 as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.About Sagarmala project
- The Sagarmala project is a flagship initiative by the Ministry of Ports, Shipping and Waterways.
- It was launched in 2015.
- The main objective of this initiative is the integrated development of all maritime-related activities.
- It will provide infrastructure to facilitate quick transportation of goods to and from the ports.
- The vision of the Sagarmala project is to reduce the logistics costs for domestic and EXIM (export-import) and cargo through infrastructure investment.
Four pillars of the project
- Port modernisation
- Port connectivity
- Port-led industrialisation
- Coastal community development
Topic 4 : Dark matter
Context: The new Euclid space telescope, launched recently, will play a key role in the study of dark matter.
About Dark Matter
- Dark matters are substances that do not absorb, reflect or emit light and hence not visible.
- Dark matter is a non-interacting substance, and this is what makes it dark and mysterious.
- It is considered that about 5 percent of the universe is known to us.
- The rest 95 percent includes about 27 percent of dark matter and 68 percent of dark energy.
What dark matter is not?
- It is dark, meaning that it is not in the form of visible matter such as stars and planets that we see.
- It is not in the form of dark clouds of normal matter, matter made up of particles called baryons.
- Dark matter is not antimatter, because we do not see the unique gamma rays that are produced when antimatter annihilates with matter.
Then what it is made up of?
- The reason we are unable to see or detect this invisible matter is that it does not interact with electromagnetic forces such as visible light, X-ray or radio waves.
- We can, however, observe some of the effects of dark matter through its gravitational force.
- The most common view is that it is made up of more exotic particles like axions or WIMPS (Weakly Interacting Massive Particles).
- It does not absorb, reflect or emit light, making it extremely hard to spot.
About Dark Energy
- Dark energy is a hypothetical form of energy that is proposed by physicists to explain why the universe is not just expanding but is doing so at an accelerating rate.
- Dark energy is an “anti-gravity” force providing a negative pressure that fills the universe and stretches the very fabric of spacetime.
- As it does so dark energy drives cosmic objects apart at an increasingly rapid rate rather than drawing them together as gravity does.
Topic 5 : Shakambari festival
Context: Kanaka Durga temple in Vijayawada will be decorated with vegetables and fruits ahead of the three-day Shakambari festival that is celebrated every year.
About the festival:
- The annual Shakambari Festival is held at Vijayawada Kanaka Durga Temple.
- During the three-day annual festival, Goddess Durga takes the form of Mother Shakambari.
- She is adorned with green leaves and vegetables.
- Goddess Shakambari Devi is an incarnation of Goddess Shakti.
- It is believed that she feeds those who are hungry with vegetarian food.
- Shakambari Ma is known as ‘the bearer of the greens’ – Shaka means vegetables and Ambari means who bears.
- Goddess Shakambari is mentioned in the Devi Mahatmya.
- The Devi Mahatmya or Devi Mahatmyam is a Hindu philosophical text describing the Goddess Durga/Adishakti as the supreme power and creator of the universe.
- It is part of the Markandeya Purana.
- Devi Mahatmyam is also known as the Durgā Saptashatī or Śata Chandī.
About the Temple:
- Kanaka Durga Temple, also known as Sri Kanaka Durgamma Devasthanam is a Hindu temple dedicated to Goddess Kanaka Durga.
- The deity in this temple is also popularly referred as Kanaka Durga.
- The temple is located in Vijayawada, Andhra Pradesh on the Indrakeeladri Hills on the banks of Krishna River.
Topic 6 : Dark Patterns
Context: Centre to issue norms against „dark patterns‟ in online advertisements
About Dark Patterns:
- Dark patterns are elements of digital user interface (UI) which are designed to take advantage of inherent psychological biases and lead users towards making certain choices.
- In user-centred UI design, the goal of the designer is to maximise usability and enhance a user’s experience of a digital product or service.
- It influence users to make choices which maximise the interests of the online service provider (often without the user‟s awareness).
- Such patterns are unethical user interface designs that deliberately make your Internet experience harder or even exploit you.
- In turn, they benefit the company or platform employing the designs.
- By using dark patterns, digital platforms take away a user’s right to full information about the services they are using, and reduce their control over their browsing experience.
Techniques of Dark Patterns:
- Misdirection techniques
- Misdirection techniques involve visuals or language being used to direct users away from a choice.
- For example, an online service provider may make an option that is favourable to the provider more prominent by using a large, colourful button, and the option which is less favourable to the provider less prominent, by using small, grey font placed to the side.
- Confirmshaming techniques
- Confirmsharing techniques involve users being presented with negatively framed decline options that are used to guide users toward making certain choices which benefit the online service provider.Topic 7 : Groundwater status in India
Context: The excessive extraction of groundwater for drinking and irrigation has shifted the Earth‟s axis of rotation, according to a new study.
Key findings of the study:
- Noting that humans pumped out around 2,150 gigatons of groundwater between 1993 and 2010, the study says that the planet’s axis has drifted at the rate of 4.36 cm per year towards the east.
- Although the shift isn’t significant enough to have real-life consequences, the study shows that humans have extracted so much water from the ground that it has impacted the planet’s axis and contributed to global sea level rise.
The polar motion
- Earth spins around an imaginary axis which passes through the north pole, its centre of mass and the south pole.
- The poles and the axis keep shifting naturally as the mass distribution in and on the planet changes.
- This phenomenon is known as “polar motion”.
- Causes of polar motion:
- Ocean currents
- Human activities
- In 2016, a team of researchers demonstrated that climate-driven changes in water mass distribution, led by the melting of glaciers and ice in Greenland, can cause Earth’s axis to drift.
Groundwater status in India
- India is the largest user of groundwater with a fourth of the total global withdrawal.
- Indian cities cater to about 48 per cent of its water supply from groundwater.
- The unmanaged groundwater and increasing population may result in seasonal water shortages by 2050 for an estimated 3.1 billion people and perpetual water shortage for almost a billion.
- Water and food security will also be compromised and lead to poverty in the cities despite having good infrastructure development.
- Urbanisation & groundwater
- Water supply, sanitation and drainage are key requirements of the urbanisation process.
- The groundwater plays an important role in the infrastructure development for these three as well for the disposal of effluents and wastes.
- Groundwater is of better quality than surface water and easily available near the water-demand sites.
- This reduces the capital and operational costs and makes it vulnerable.
- Climate Change impacts the spatial and temporal distribution of water:
- Rainfall variability, urban floods and higher temperature leading to drought will potentially hinder the achievement of the United Nations-mandated Sustainable Development Goals (SDG), especially SDG11 (sustainable cities and communities) and SDG 6 (clean water and sanitation).
- Accelerated population growth:
- The burgeoning urban population increases demand for water as well as the management of waste and polluted water.
- Unplanned urbanisation:
- Increase in the built-up and paved area eliminates infiltration, reduces evapotranspiration, and thereby increases surface runoff and urban flooding.
- For every 1 per cent increase in the impervious surface area, there is a 3.3 per cent increase in the urban flood magnitude
- Over-exploitation of groundwater and increased number of private bore / tube wells to fulfill the demand and supply of water leads to deepening of the water table, land subsidence, saline water intrusion and aquifer contamination.
- Transformation of the natural landscape, watershed and flow direction by urban sprawl often modifies the groundwater cycle and may result in a sharp decline or rise of groundwater levels, reduced well yields and deteriorating quality.
- The modification of groundwater flow paths due to underground infrastructures like tunnels, metros, basements as well as disturbed natural drainage systems and watershed areas also result in the loss of habitat and frequent urban flooding.
- The groundwater recharge rate tends to increase through leakage of water supply pipelines, on-site sanitation systems, sewage lines and industrial effluents.
- The subsoil strata are not capable of transmitting the excessive groundwater:
- This may result in hydraulic and corrosion effects on the building foundations and tunnel linings, flooded tunnels and basements.
- Urban groundwater pollution:
- Infiltration and seepage from roads, gardens, industrial sites, waste dump sites, effluent drains with heavy metals and micro-pollutants;
- Microbiological contamination through the sewage system and on-site sanitation are playing a major role in it.
- Nitrate, arsenic, fluoride are some of the major elements responsible for groundwater pollution.
- Institutional, management framework vacuum
- The various organisations that manage India‟s groundwater lack accountability and responsibility.
- They also have limited knowledge and capacity on groundwater and its behaviour.
- Some of the major groundwater management stressors are:
- A large number of unaccounted and unregulated private water wells
- Ineffective and insufficient legal and regulatory mandate
- Invisibility of groundwater
- Lack of interest and awareness of the stakeholders
- Integrated Water Resource Management Framework:
- For planning and management of groundwater, there is a need to focus on the Integrated Water Resource Management framework.
- It promotes the coordinated development and management of water, land and related resources.
- Maintaining water cycle:
- Adopting water-sensitive urban design and planning can help maintain the water cycle by managing groundwater, surface water and rainwater for water demand and supply.
- Provision for wastewater recycle and its reuse to promote the circular economy of one water cycle will also help in source sustainability and groundwater pollution mitigation.
- Water harvesting:
- Interventions like rainwater harvesting, stormwater harvesting, rain-garden and bio-retention ponds that intercept rainfall with vegetated land are low-maintenance alternatives to conventional systems.
- These help in groundwater recharge and urban flood mitigation.
- Green and Blue spaces:
- Another pertinent point in addressing these challenges in the city is the potential role of the green (trees, parks, gardens, playgrounds and forests) and the blue (seas, rivers, lakes, wetlands and water utilities) spaces.
- This is known as the blue-green infrastructure approach.
- Strengthening regulatory framework:
- The strengthening of regulatory frameworks and stakeholder participation need to be formulated and imposed.
- Aquifer characterisation and robust monitoring of urban groundwater quality as well as quantity are imperative.
- Data collection, formulation of effective regulatory legal policies, laws and acts for better management will go a long way.
- Public awareness and participation:
- Public awareness and participation as well as trust-building between formal water sector institutions and communities will further fill the void in urban groundwater management.