Current Affairs July 03, 2019

In this post, GKToday presents Current Affairs of July 03, 2019 in Short Notes form for preparation of IBPS, Banking, CLAT, SSC, Railway, UPSC, IAS/PCS, UPPSC, BPSC, MPPSC, RPSC, TNPSC, MPSC, KPSC and all other competitive examinations of India.

1. Union Jal Shakti Minister Shri Gajendra Singh Shekhawat has recently launched the Jal Shakti Abhiyan - a campaign for water conservation and water security, with an emphasis on 1592 stressed blocks in 256 districts. The campaign will run through citizen participation during the monsoon season, from 1st July, 2019 to 15th September, 2019. The focus of the campaign will be on water stressed districts and blocks. The 'Jal Shakti Abhiyan' will focus on five aspects -- water conservation and rainwater harvesting, renovation of traditional and other water bodies, reuse of water and recharging of structures, watershed development, and intensive afforestation. The conservation efforts will be supplemented by initiatives like developing block and district water conservation plans and 'krishi vigyan kendra melas' to promote efficient water use for irrigation and better crop choices. In urban areas, plans with time-bound targets will be developed for waste water reuse for industrial and agricultural purposes.

2. The International Day of the Tropics is observed every year on June 29 to raise awareness to the specific challenges faced by tropical areas, the far-reaching implications of the issues affecting the world’s tropical zone and the need, at all levels, to raise awareness and to underline the important role that countries in the tropics will play in achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The day provides an opportunity to take stock of progress across the tropics, to share tropical stories and expertise and to acknowledge the diversity and potential of the region. The Tropics are a region of the Earth, roughly defined as the area between the tropic of Cancer and the tropic of Capricorn. The Tropics account for 40% of the world’s total surface area and are host to approximately 80% of the world’s biodiversity and much of its language and cultural diversity. The tropical region faces a number of challenges such as climate change, deforestation, logging, urbanisation and demographic changes.

3. On 1st July 2019, Japan officially resumed commercial whaling after more than 30 years of limiting whale hunts to scientific purposes — a policy that still resulted in the deaths of hundreds of whales every year. The hunts come after Japan’s withdrawal from the International Whaling Commission (IWC). The move is slammed by anti-whaling activists but welcomed by Japanese whaling communities. Now, Japan has joined Iceland and Norway as the only nations to allow commercial whaling despite the IWC moratorium. Hunting will reportedly be limited to Japan's territorial sea and exclusive economic zone, which stretches about 200 nautical miles (370 kilometers) from the nation's coasts. The IWC, established in 1946, to conserve and manage the world’s whale and cetacean population, introduced a moratorium on commercial whaling in 1986.

4. Tamil yeoman (Cirrochroa thais) has been officially declared as state butterfly of Tamil Nadu. These butterflies are also known as Tamil Maravan (which means warrior) and are endemic to Western Ghats. The tawny-coloured creature with a dark brown outer ring is among the 32 butterfly species found in Western Ghats. Hence, Tamil Nadu has become the 5th state in the country to announce its state butterfly. Maharashtra was the first to declare Blue Mormon as its state butterfly, followed by Uttarakhand (Common peacock), Karnataka (Southern Bird Wing) and Kerala (Malabar banded peacock). While the butterfly becomes the pride of the state after such a declaration, the decision also helps conserve its ecosystem and paves the way for eco-tourism. People also recognize the importance of butterflies which subsequently helps in its conservation. There are a total of 32 butterfly hotspots in Tamil Nadu. The state had declared its various other icons earlier, like state animal (Nilgiri Tahr), state bird (Emerald Dove), state tree (palm tree), state flower (Gloriosa) and state fruit (jack fruit).

5. The 6th edition of Exercise Garuda-VI has started between Indian and French Air Force from 1st of July 2019 at French Air Force Base - Mont-de-Marsan. The exercise will see the most potent fighter aircraft of the two countries going head-to-head to validate the latest defence strategies and fine-tune their waging capabilities and is expected to showcase fighter jets like Rafale, Mirage 2000, Sukhoi 30 from the two sides. Participation of Indian Air Force (IAF) in the exercise will also promote professional interaction, exchange experiences and operational knowledge besides strengthening bilateral relations with the French Air Force. It will also provide a good opportunity to the air warriors to operate in an international environment.

6. NASA has selected Texas-based Southwest Research Institute to lead its PUNCH mission which will image the Sun. This is a landmark mission that will image regions beyond the Sun’s outer corona. Prof. Dipankar Banerjee, solar physicist from Indian Institute of Astrophysics (IIA) is also a Co-Investigator of the PUNCH mission. The acronym ‘PUNCH’ stands for “Polarimeter to Unify the Corona and Heliosphere”. The PUNCH mission is focused on understanding the transition of particles from the Sun’s outer corona to the solar wind that fills interplanetary space. India is also planning to send up its own satellite Aditya-L1, a mission to study the Sun’s corona, and Prof. Banerjee is the co-Chair of the Science Working Group.

7. Dr. Jaya Arunachalam (87), founder of Working Women’s Forum (WWF), has passed away in Chennai on June 29, 2019. She is best known for her social service contributions through WWF which she initiated in 1978. Through WWF, she helped several lakhs of women from underprivileged background to organise themselves towards becoming financially independent. Dr. Arunachalam was conferred the Padma Shri by the Government of India (GoI) in 1987. She received the Jamnalal Bajaj Award in 2009 for her work towards the welfare of women and children. A graduate in Economics and Geography, she was awarded a honorary doctorate by the University of Lueneberg, Germany in 1999. She is a recipient of the International Activist Award by Glietsman Foundation in 2003, and the Godfrey Phillips National Bravery Social Lifetime Achievement Award in 2010. She has also served as vice president of Tamil Nadu Congress Committee (TNCC) and member of All India Congress Committee.

8. The State Bank of India (SBI) and National Investment and Infrastructure Fund (NIIF) have inked a memorandum of understanding (MoU) to boost the availability of capital for infrastructure projects. The scope of the MoU includes equity investments, project funding, bond financing, renewable energy support and take-out finance for operating assets. The objective of this initiative is to aid in filling the gap at a time when the availability of equity and debt financing for infrastructure has moderated. The initiative will address concerns relating to the availability of equity and long-term debt funding options to large scale projects, thereby stimulating the infrastructure development.

9. Dr. Narinder Batra, President of Indian Olympic Association (IOA), has been elected as a member of International Olympic Committee (IOC) during the IOC Session in Lausanne, Switzerland. Batra now has a rare distinction of becoming a member of the IOC, while heading a National Olympic Committee (NOC) as well as an international federation. He is the first Indian to have this distinction. He has already become the first Indian to head an international federation of an Olympic sport -- that of International Hockey Federation (FIH). With the election of Batra, the number of Indians who are currently active members of IOC will rise to two. Reliance Foundation Chairperson Nita Ambani was elected as an individual member of the IOC in 2016. She is the first Indian woman to be elected to the prestigious seat.

10. A team of herpetologists from the Forest Department and two NGOs — Help Earth and Turtle Survival Alliance (TSA) have discovered the Impressed Tortoise (Manouria impressa) in Yazali area of the Lower Subansiri district of Arunachal Pradesh. This is the first-ever recorded sighting in India of this tortoise which is on a red list of threatened species. Chelonian is an order of reptile that includes turtles, terrapins and tortoises. The male Impressed Tortoise is smaller than the female which is 30 cm in length. This Manouria species is one-third the size of the Asian Forest Tortoise. There are only two species of tortoises under the Manouria genus. India was known to be the home of only the Asian Forest Tortoise (Manouria emys) until the discovery of the Impressed Tortoise. The Asian Forest Tortoise, the largest in mainland Asia, is found only in the northeast, as are 20 of the other 28 species of chelonians.

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