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Daily Current Affairs – 01st March 2021

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Daily Current Affairs

Given below are the daily current affairs for 01st March 2021. You can take the daily current affairs quiz here for free.

SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY

ISRO puts Brazil’s Amazonia-1, 18 other satellites into orbit

Context:

The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) successfully launched Brazil’s optical earth observation satellite, Amazonia-1, and 18 co-passenger satellites from the Satish Dhawan Space Centre at Sriharikota.

Details:

  • Among the 18 co-passenger satellites, five are from India and 13 from the U.S.
    • Of the 13 satellites from the U.S., one is a technology demonstration satellite and the remaining are for two-way communications and data relay.
    • The mission was undertaken under a commercial arrangement with Spaceflight Inc., U.S.
  • The satellites were carried onboard the Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle PSLV-C51.
    • It is the 53rd flight of ISRO’s workhorse launch vehicle.
  • This is the first dedicated mission of its commercial arm, NewSpace India Ltd.
    • NewSpace India Ltd. was set up as a PSU under the Department of Space in 2019.

Amazonia-1:

  • Amazonia-1 has a mission life of 4 years.
  • Weighing 637 kg it will monitor deforestation in the Amazon region.
  • It belongs to the Brazilian National Institute for Space Research (INPE).

Satellites from India:

  • The Satish Dhawan SAT (SDSAT) built by Space Kidz India, a nano-satellite intended to study the radiation levels, space weather and demonstrate long-range communication technologies.
  • The UNITYsat, a combination of three satellites for providing radio relay services.
  • A satellite belonging to the DRDO.

Significance:

  • The successful launch of Brazil’s Amazonia-1 satellite by ISRO marks a new high point in space cooperation between the two countries that began nearly two decades ago.
  • The Indian Prime Minister called it a historic moment in India-Brazil space cooperation.
  • The unique relationship between both countries has ensured support for each other’s satellites and the use of each other’s ground stations, including tracking India’s Chandrayaan-1&2 missions and the 2013 Mangalyaan Mars Orbiter Mission using Brazilian earth stations Alcantara and Cuiaba.
  • Brazil and India first signed an MoU between the Department of Space and AEB in March 2002, followed by a Framework Agreement in 2004, that is reviewed by a Joint Working Group.
  • In 2007, they inked a special arrangement that allows Indian scientists access to Brazilian ground stations to remote sensing data from the Indian satellites.
  • Also, according to the ISRO Chairman, this particular mission is special because these five Indian satellites are coming under the new space reform announced by the Government of India.

Note:

  • ISRO has till date launched 342 foreign satellites from 34 countries.

EDUCATION

Rural engg. colleges to lose 1,200 teachers

Context:

A World Bank-funded project TEQIP [Technical Education Quality Improvement Programme] project is coming to an end in March 2021.

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Technical Education Quality Improvement Programme (TEQIP project):

  • TEQIP project was started by the Government of India assisted by the World Bank.
  • It was launched in December 2002.
  • The project is being implemented to improve the quality of education in the technical institutions of India.
  • It took graduates from elite institutions to rural and remote engineering colleges in poorer States.
  • It is a Rs 3,600-crore project that was divided into three phases. The third phase will end in March 2021.
    • The third phase focused on improving quality and equity in engineering institutions in seven low-income, eight northeastern and three hilly States.
  • Among the initiatives was a bid to recruit more than 1,500 faculty from top institutions and send them to colleges that could never have afforded them.
    • They were paid salaries in accordance with the Seventh Pay Commission.

Issue:

  • With the project coming to an end, more than 1,200 assistant professors are left without a job.
    • About 300 faculty have already quit TEQIP for other jobs, but 250 of those remaining have filed cases in the Delhi High Court.
  • Some rural colleges would be deprived of half their faculty, with the faculty’s contract under TEQIP coming to an end.
  • Neither the States nor the Centre is willing to commit to continuing with the funding.
  • While the Centre is preparing its own MERITE project with some similar objectives to improve technical education, that may be too late for the faculty employed under the current project.

Way Forward:

The government should sustain the gains of the existing project until the new project has been conceptualized for implementation.


ENVIRONMENT

Eviction of prawn gherries restarts at Chilika Lake

Context:

The Odisha government has started evicting illegal prawn enclosures in Chilika Lake.

  • A few years ago, satellite imageries had found 14,590 hectares of the lagoon under manmade gherries for illegal prawn cultivation.

Significance:

  • Eviction of illegal enclosures is likely to improve the ecological health of the lake.
  • Endangered Irrawaddy dolphins are the first beneficiaries of the eviction drive.
    • The mammals can move unhindered in Chilika Lake.
  • In the Rambha sector, dolphins were sighted for the first time in three decades after the eviction drive. Besides, there was a sudden increase in the population of ducks who prefer to dive in open water.

Chilika Lake:

  • Chilika Lake is Asia’s largest brackish water lagoon.
  • It is the largest coastal lagoon in India and the largest brackish water lagoon in the world after the New Caledonian barrier reef.
  • The lake is located at the mouth of the Daya River.
  • It is a designated Ramsar Site under Ramsar Convention.
  • The endangered Irrawaddy Dolphins are found in the lake.


MISCELLANEOUS

Suryakiran, Sarang teams to dazzle Colombo skies

What’s in News?

The Suryakiran Aerobatic Team (SKAT) and the Sarang helicopter display team, along with the light combat aircraft, of the Indian Air Force will perform at an airshow in Colombo as part of the 70th-anniversary celebrations of the Sri Lankan Air Force (SLAF).

Suryakiran:

  • Surya Kiran is an aerobatics demonstration team of the Indian Air Force.
  • The Surya Kiran Aerobatic Team (SKAT) was formed in 1996 and are a part of the 52nd Squadron of the IAF.
  • The team has since performed numerous demonstrations.

Sarang:

  • Sarang is the helicopter air display team of the Indian Air Force that flies four modified HAL Dhruv helicopters, also known as Advanced Light Helicopter (ALH).
  • The team was formed in October 2003.

Need to reset India-China trade ties: Foreign Secretary

What’s in News?

Indian Foreign Secretary’s comments at the fifth Asia Economic Dialogue (AED) 2021.

Details:

  • He said that India was looking to diversify its trade dependencies as a normal bilateral trade relationship with China was contingent on peace and tranquillity on other fronts.
  • While China continues to be one of India’s most important trade partners, the balance of trade is skewed in favour of the former.
  • The current bilateral trade with China at $78 billion is heavily tilted in China’s favour.

Steps taken by India:

  • The Indian government is trying to work out details of new proposals with the Biden administration to make the supply chain more resilient in the Indo-Pacific region.
  • India is simultaneously working on diversifying its sourcing to ensure a more resilient supply chain in the future.

Low-key bidding likely at spectrum auctions

What’s in News?

Telecom spectrum auctions.

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  • The analysts do not anticipate large-scale bidding and expect operators to bid conservatively for minimum quantities with a focus on the renewal of expiry spectrum.
  • A total of 2251.25 MHz of airwaves with a total value of Rs 3.92 lakh crore at reserve price, will be put up for bidding.
  • The 5G airwaves have not been put up for bidding.
  • The three private operators — Bharti Airtel, Reliance Jio and Vodafone Idea — have submitted earnest money deposit (EMD).
  • According to spectrum auction rules, a firm can bid for spectrum only as per the eligibility point allocated based on its deposit.
  • In addition to the bid amount, successful bidders will also have to pay 3% of the Adjusted Gross Revenue (AGR) excluding wireline services as spectrum usage charges.

Note:

  • The last spectrum auctions were held in 2016.
  • About 40% of the 2,355 MHz of spectrum (worth Rs 5.6 lakh crore) put on auction was sold, generating Rs 65,789 crore revenue for the government.

Australia’s Oldest Aboriginal rock art

  • A kangaroo painting created over 17,000 years ago by Aboriginal artists has been identified — with a little help from some ancient wasps — as Australia’s oldest intact rock art.
  • The two-metre-long (six-feet) artwork on the sloped ceiling of a rock shelter in Western Australia’s Kimberley region was painted in an early naturalistic style, which often features life-sized renderings of animals.

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