Topic 1: National Florence Nightingale Awards
Context: President Of India Presents National Florence Nightingale Awards – 2022 And 2023
About the awards:
- The National Florence Nightingale Award was instituted by the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare in the year 1973 as a mark of recognition for the meritorious services rendered by the nurses and nursing professionals to the society.
- This award is presented on 12th of May every year on the occasion of the birth anniversary of Florence Nightingale.
- The award consists of Cash Award of Rs. 50000/- a certificate and a medal.
- Nursing Personnel working in Private, Missionary and Voluntary Organizations are also eligible for the National Florence Nightingale Nurses Award.
Topic 2: Upanishads
Context: Prime Minister of India presented the President of USA a first edition print of the book The Ten Principal Upanishads from 1937.
About the book:
- The Ten Principal Upanishads was translated from Sanskrit by Shri Purohit Swami, a scholar of Hindu scripture, and Irish poet WB Yeats.
- In 1937, WB Yeats published an English translation of the Indian Upanishads, co-authored with Shri Purohit Swami.
- It was one of the final works of Yeats.
Categories of Hindu scriptures
- There are broadly two categories of Hindu sacred texts:
- Shruti (loosely translated as “the revealed”):
- The first category is considered to be the most authoritative and consists of the four Vedas (Rig, Yajur, Sama and Atharva) and accompanying texts.
- These include Brahmanas (ritual texts), Aranyakas (“forest” or “wilderness” texts), and Upanishads (philosophical texts).
- Smriti (“the remembered”).
- The second category of Hindu scriptures is less authoritative.
- In many ways they are considered to be derived from the first but more popularly known.
- These include the great epics of Ramayana and Mahabharata, Dharmashastras, Puranas and all other post-Vedic scriptures.
- Shruti (loosely translated as “the revealed”):
What are the Upanishads?
- The Upanishads are also known as the Vedanta as they signal the end of the total Veda.
- It speculate about the ontological connection between humanity and the cosmos.
- They serve as foundational texts in many traditions of Hindu theology and have hence attracted far more attention than the Vedas themselves.
- Dated to roughly 800-500 BC, the Upanishads discuss concepts such as transmigration, which have today become central to Hindu tradition.
- The Upanishads were given particular importance in Hindu theology by eighth century Hindu scholar Adi Shankara, whose interpretations synthesised the Advaita Vedanta tradition.
- Philosophy of Upanishads:
- This is a non-dualistic philosophy that has in modern times, under philosophers such as Swami Vivekananda and S Radhakrishnan, become the most dominant force in Hindu intellectual thought.
- This philosophy emphasises on the illusory nature of the transient phenomenal world around us, and puts forth the idea that the brahman is the only and ultimate real.
- Much of the Upanishads, in fact, are concerned with the relationship between:
- the atman, or the distinct, unchanging self of an individual, and
- the brahman, the ultimate reality in the universe.
- Principles of Upanishads:
- There are ten main (or principal) Upanishads:
- There are ten main (or principal) Upanishads:
Who was WB Yeats?
- William Butler Yeats (1865-1939) is one of the most influential figures in modern English literature.
- WB Yeats is among the foremost modern poets in English and the most globally recognisable Irish poet of the 20th century.
- He was central to what has been termed as the Irish Literary Revival and won the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1923.
Topic 3: Lab Grown Diamonds
Context: As part of his first state visit to the United States, Prime Minister of India gifted the Bidens (American President and his wife) with a 7.5 carat lab-grown diamond.
About lab-grown diamonds
- Lab-grown diamonds (LGDs) are diamonds that are produced using specific technology which mimics the geological processes that grow natural diamonds.
- Properties of LGDs
- Laboratory-grown diamonds have essentially the same chemical, optical and physical properties and crystal structure as natural diamonds.
- Like natural diamonds, they are made of tightly-bonded carbon atoms.
- They respond to light in the same way and are just as hard as natural diamonds.
- The main differences between laboratory-grown and natural diamonds lie in their origin.
- Since they are created in controlled environments, many of their properties can be enhanced for various purposes.
Difference between simulants and LGDs:
- LGDs are not the same as diamond simulants as LGDs are chemically, physically and optically diamond and thus are difficult to identify as lab-grown.
- Simulants such as Moissanite, Cubic Zirconia (CZ), White Sapphire, YAG, etc. look like a diamond but they lack the sparkle and durability of a diamond and are thus easily identifiable.
- Differentiating between an LGD and an Earth Mined Diamond is hard, with advanced equipment required for the purpose.
Production of LGDs:
- HPHT method:
- The most common and cheapest method is the “High pressure, high temperature” (HPHT) method.
- This method requires extremely heavy presses that can produce up to 730,000 psi of pressure under extremely high temperatures (at least 1500 celsius).
- Usually graphite is used as the diamond seed and when subjected to these extreme conditions, graphite turns into diamond.
- Chemical Vapor Deposition:
- Chemical Vapor Deposition (CVD) and explosive formation creates what are known as detonation nanodiamonds.
- There is a growth in buying behaviours on justifiable and realistic terms among the new-age population.
- While natural diamonds are only affordable to upper strata-rich populations, lab-grown diamonds can be bought by mid-sized to income-based families.
- Advantage for India:
- India’s growing consumer pool of sustainable diamonds has put it to a competitor’s advantage.
- It will soon be pioneering a host of developments, seconding India as a lab-grown market hotspot.
- LGD’s business has the capacity to touch the mark of Rs 40,000 crore in the next five years.
- It has challenged the market hegemony of natural diamonds and completely taken over consumer luxury tastes.
- One of the few challenges that the lab-grown diamond industry faces is a travesty of people’s judgement.
- Lab-grown diamonds are often considered inferior and debased to natural diamonds, which is an inimical misrepresentation.
- As the Earth’s reserves of natural diamonds are depleted, LGDs are slowly replacing the prized gemstone in the jewellery industry.
- Crucially, like natural diamonds, LGDs undergo similar processes of polishing and cutting that are required to provide diamonds their characteristic lustre.
- Thus, growth in the production of LGDs is unlikely to affect India’s established diamond industry which undertakes these tasks.
Topic 4: Summer solstice
Context: The longest day of the year, for anyone living north of the Equator, is June 21 which is referred to as the summer solstice.
About Summer Solstice:
- Solstice means “sun stands still” in Latin.
- It occurs when the sun is directly over the Tropic of Cancer, or more specifically right over 23.5 degrees north latitude.
- Since Earth rotates on its axis, the Northern Hemisphere gets more direct sunlight between March and September over the course of a day.
- It means people living in the Northern Hemisphere experience summer during this time.
- The rest of the year, the Southern Hemisphere gets more sunlight.
- During the solstice, the Earth’s axis is tilted in a way that the North Pole is tipped towards the Sun and the South Pole is away from it.
- Axis is around which the planet spins, completing one turn each day.
- This imaginary axis passes right through the middle of the Earth from top to bottom and is always tilted at 23.5 degrees with respect to the Sun.
- Therefore, the solstice is that instant in time when the North Pole points more directly toward the Sun than at any other time during the year.
- While the solstice occurs at the same time across the world, different countries experience it at different times.
What happens during the solstice?
- This day sees the Earth receiving a greater amount of energy from the Sun.
- The maximum amount of sunlight received by the Northern Hemisphere during this time is usually on June 20, 21 or 22.
- In contrast, the Southern Hemisphere receives most sunlight on December 21, 22 or 23 when the northern hemisphere has its longest nights or the winter solstice.
- The amount of light received by a specific area in the Northern Hemisphere during the summer solstice depends on the latitudinal location of the place.
- Summer solstice, however, does not necessarily mean the earliest sunrise or latest sunset.
- That depends on the latitudinal location of the country.
Topic 5: INDUS X
Context: India-United States Defence Acceleration Ecosystem (INDUS X) launched in Washington DC, U.S.
About INDUS X:
- INDUS-X stands for enhanced strategic and defence partnership between India and the US.
- It is aimed at deepening the partnership between the US and Indian defence innovation sectors.
- The initiative aims to explore possibilities for co-producing jet engines, long-range artillery, and infantry vehicles.
- Focus areas:
- INDUS-X will focus on advancing high-tech cooperation and fostering joint research, development, and production opportunities in the defence sector.
- Economic relations:
- The bilateral goods and services trade between the two countries has almost doubled since 2014, exceeding US USD 191 billion in 2022 and target is to achieve USD 500 billion by 2025.
- The US is India’s largest exporter and trade partner, while India is the
- 7th largest trading partner for the US in 2021.
- The US is also the third biggest investor in India with a cumulative
- Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) inflow of USD 56,753 million from April 2000 to September 2022.
- India-US signed bilateral Strategic Energy Partnership in 2018.
- Strategic relations:
- “Strategic Partnership” agreement of 2005 was upgraded to “Comprehensive Global Strategic Partnership” agreement in 2020.
- India-US defence cooperation is based on “New Framework for India-US Defence Cooperation”, which was renewed for a period of ten years in 2015.
- India has signed all four ‘Foundational Defense Agreements’ and has achieved the status of ‘Major Defence Partner’. These include
- General Security of Military Information Agreement (GSOMIA) in 2002
- Logistics Exchange Memorandum of Agreement (LEMOA) in 2016
- Communications Compatibility and Security Agreement (COMCASA) in 2018
- Basic Exchange and Cooperation Agreement (BECA) in 2020
- Bilateral military exercises and defense exchanges like Tiger Triumph (triservice), Yudh Abhyas (Army); Vajra Prahar (Special Forces); RIMPAC; Red Flag, PASSEX and MALABAR multilateral exercises are important.
- Civil Nuclear Agreement or “123 Agreement” 2008 is a bilateral agreement for peaceful nuclear cooperation which governs civil nuclear trade between American and Indian firms to participate in each other’s civil nuclear energy sector.
- 2+2 Annual Ministerial Dialogue since 2019: It is led by the Foreign and the Defence Ministers of India and the U.S.
- The iCET or US-India Initiative on Critical and Emerging Technologies 2022: It is managed by the National Security Councils of both countries. Under the initiative, 6 areas of cooperation have been identified: Scientific research and development, Quantum Computing, Artificial intelligence, Defence, innovation.
- India-U.S. have signed Cyber Security Framework in 2016.
- India-U.S. Science and Technology Cooperation Agreement signed in 2005, which was renewed for a period of ten years in 2019.
- Global relations:
- India joined Quad grouping 2004: It reiterated their common vision for a free, open and inclusive Indo-Pacific region. The three practical areas of cooperation include affordable and equitable Covid 19 vaccine access for the Indo-Pacific; strengthening climate actions; and critical and emerging technology.
- India-U.S. Counter-Terrorism Cooperation Initiative 2010: It aims to expand collaboration on counterterrorism, information sharing and capacity building.
- In 2022, India joined I2U2: A minilateral of India, Israel, United States (US), and United Arab Emirates (UAE) calling the alliance as an ad-hoc, informal, issue-specific and geoeconomic initiative.
- Diaspora ties:
- Indian diaspora in US is very strong at around 4.5 million which is around 1% of its population. Most are having powerful positions within the technology and political domains.
- Comprehensive and strategic partnership between the two countries is based on the strong foundation of shared values, commitment to democracy, rule of law, transparency, freedom, etc.
- Further 5Ts – Talent, Technology, Tradition, Trade, and Trusteeship – can boost India-US relationship.
- The need of the hour is that both countries iron out differences and promote joint development ensuring technology transfer for mutual benefit and achievement of global and individual goals.
Topic 6: Modi Mitra certificates
Context: The BJP’s minority wing is stepping up its outreach programme by distributing certificates to those who appreciate Prime Minister’s vision and initiatives.
About the certificates:
- The Modi Mitra certificates are part of a larger outreach called the Modi Mitra campaign.
- The individuals who are selected for these certificates are professionals or businessmen interested in PM Modi and his policies irrespective of their political leanings so far.
- These ‘Modi Mitra’s will not be a part of the party’s cadre but will become a support base ahead of the polls.
- At the end of this massive exercise, all the recipients of these Modi Mitra certificates will be invited for a ‘Modi Mitra’ event in the nation’s capital, Delhi and will be addressed by Prime Minister Modi himself.
Topic 7: The Samosa Caucus
Context: In his speech to the joint sitting of the United States Congress Prime Minister of India referred to the “Samosa Caucus” in the House of Representatives.
About Samosa Caucus:
- The name is sometimes used to refer to the informal grouping of Indian-origin Americans in Congress (House of Representatives in USA).
- The term Samosa Caucus has been in use since at least 2018.
- It is said to have been coined by Raja Krishnamoorthy, member of the US House of Representatives.
- It seeks to draw that “we ourselves identify strongly with the samosa”, and “even the Internet’s repository of Indian slang is called Samosapedia”.
Topic 8: Kalaignar pen monument
Context: Centre grants approval for Kalaignar pen monument in Bay of Bengal
- The Union Ministry of Environment has given clearance for the Tamil Nadu government’s proposal to construct Muthamizh Arignar Dr. Kalaignar pen monument in Bay of Bengal, off the Marina beach in Chennai.
- With this final approval, the State government may begin the process to implement the proposal.
- The Tamil Nadu Government is planning to build a memorial for the late DMK leader and former CM of TN M Karunanidhi.
- People of TN call him Kailaignar for his love towards knowledge and his Tamil literature skills.
- The monument will represent Tamil culture.
- The issue:
- The monument is to be built on Mariana beach.
- It falls under Coastal Regulation Zone.
- Therefore, it requires environmental clearance under Coastal Regulation Zone Notification, 2011.
- The coastal regulation zones have been declared by the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate change under the Environment Protection Act 1986.
- In India, the Coastal Regulation Zone (CRZ) Rules govern human and industrial activity close to the coastline to protect the ecosystems near the sea.
- They restrict certain kinds of activities:
- large constructions,
- setting up of new industries,
- storage or disposal of hazardous material,
- reclamation and bunding etc.
Topic 9: Matsya 6000
Context: With hope dwindling on the chances of survival of those in the Titan submersible, scientists in India, preparing to undertake a similar dive in an indigenous vehicle late next year.
- Matsya 6000 is an Indian crewed deep-submergence vehicle intended to be utilised for deep-sea exploration of rare minerals under the Deep Ocean mission or Samudrayaan mission at a depth of 6000 metres.
- Matsya, which literally translates to “fish” in Hindi, is a specialised vehicle that can carry a total of three passengers.
- Matsya-6000 also has syntactic foam, a flotation device that would rise to the top.
- It will help determine the physical location of the submersible, even if it were unable to resurface.
- This vehicle is a platform to carry any devices, sensors, etc to the deep-sea for doing experiments/observations in the presence of a human being.
- It will help in augmenting India’s capability with infrastructure facilities such as a high thickness welding facility and deep ocean simulator.
- The manned submersible is aimed at exploring oceans and to survey the ocean bed and collecting data and samples.
|Samudrayan missionThe goal of the Samudrayaan Mission is to develop a self-propelled manned submersible that is capable of carrying three people to a depth of 6,000 metres in the ocean.This submersible will also be outfitted with a collection of scientific sensors and instruments for use in deep ocean research.People from the scientific community will be able to directly observe and examine previously unmapped parts of the deep.In addition to this, it will improve the capability of constructing man-rated vehicles for use in deep water environments.The period is anticipated to be five years, beginning in 2020-2021 and ending in 2025-2026.