Current Affairs 15th February

PM hands over Arjun Mk-1A tank to Army #GS3 #Defence

Prime Minister Narendra Modi handed over the indigenous main battle tank Arjun Mk-1A to the Army in a function at the Jawaharlal Nehru Indoor Stadium in Chennai. Chief of the Army Staff General Manoj Mukund Naravane received the model of the tank, designed and developed by Chennai-based Combat Vehicles Research & Development Establishment (CVRDE), a unit of the Defence Research & Development Organisation (DRDO).

The Prime Minister spoke at length of how India’s armed forces signified the country’s ethos of courage. The PM also recalled the martyrs, who lost their lives in a terrorist attack in Pulwama two years ago.

Quoting Bharathi

The state-of-the-art indigenous main battle tank has been indigenously designed, developed and manufactured by CVRDE, DRDO along with 15 academic institutions, eight labs and several MSMEs.

With modern battle tank technologies, it is distinct from the contemporary main battle tanks and is a dependable warfighting machine. The Arjun MBT Mk-1A is a weapon platform with superior firepower, high mobility, excellent protection and crew comfort with 14 major upgrades on Arjun MBT Mk-1, according to the CVRDE.

Benefit of the News– About Arjun MBT

Fossils of ‘Dickinsonia’ found at Bhimbetka #GS1 #History

Researchers have discovered three 550-million-year-old fossils of the earliest living animal, ‘Dickinsonia’, on the roof of one of the UNESCO-recognised sites, Bhimbetka Rock Shelters, about 40 km from here.

One can identify the fossils from the white leaf-like patches with a central vertebra (central midrib) and connecting veins. While one fossil is 17 inches long, the other two are much smaller.

Geological Survey of India’s Bhopal in-charge Tapan Pal, who had come to visit the site upon getting information from the journal, told The Hindu at Bhimbetka that they were the only such fossils available in the country, and were similar to the one seen in south Australia.

This is further proof of the similar paleoenvironments, including eolian, tsunamite, and intertidal bedforms. This new occurrence confirms assembly of Gondwanaland by the 550 Ma, but not reconstructions adjusted for true polar wander.

Benefit of the News– Bhimbetka cave

Farm income mission off target #GS3 #Economy

In the last year of its mission to double farmers income, the Centre admits that no actual assessment of farm income has been carried out since 2013.

Ashok Dalwai, head of the committee on doubling farmers income, that only the implementation of strategies was being monitored, rather than actual outcomes. He cautioned that the impact of the pandemic could have a dampening effect on reaching the income target.

Shiv Sena MP Krupal Balaji Tumane raised the issue in the Lok Sabha, asking what the base year was on the basis of which doubling would be calculated and if the government has fixed any income target for farmers for 2022. The Agriculture Ministry did not answer either question, instead responding with a brief on the Committee for Doubling Farmers Income, constituted in April 2016, and the strategies it recommended.

In response to his request for State-wise, year-wise income data, and the annual growth percentage required to achieve the 2022 targets, the Ministry responded that the National Sample Survey Office’s last survey on agricultural households was conducted in 2013. “There has been no further assessment of the farmers income thereafter,” it said.

‘Positive impact’

Asked whether the target can be achieved at the present annual growth rate, the government said it was “pursuing the target” adding that its “comprehensive interventions” were “having positive impact on growth of agriculture and income of farmers”.

Asking for specific details on the progress of the mission received similarly vague answers. They asked whether any annual surveys to measure farmers’ expenditure and incomes was being carried out and were pointed back to the same NSSO survey data, with the added detail that “the average monthly income per agricultural household from all sources was estimated to be Rs. 6,426.”

Senior Agriculture Ministry official Ashok Dalwai chaired the committee responsible for framing strategies, as well as the body to monitor progress. “The only methodology for assessing income is the NSSO surveys. We have to rely on them for that. Instead, we are monitoring the implementation of our strategies. We have identified monitorable parameters.

Seven strategies had been identified: improvement in crop and livestock productivity, savings in production cost through efficient use of resources, higher cropping intensity and diversification towards high-value crops, better price realisation and a shift to non-farm jobs.

His committee had used the NSSO’s 2013 income data and extrapolated it for 2015-16, chosen as the base year. The base income in that year was estimated at more than Rs. 97,000 per annum. “We estimated that the target income should be about Rs. 2 lakh per annum, from both farm and non-farm income, by 2022.

Benefit of the News– NSSO survey

UAE’s Hope Probe sends home first image of Mars #GS3 #SnT

The UAE’s Hope Probe sent back its first image of Mars, the national space agency said Sunday, days after the spacecraft successfully entered the Red Planet’s orbit. The picture “captured the largest volcano in the solar system, Olympus Mons, emerging into the early morning sunlight.

The image was taken from an altitude of 24,700 km above the Martian surface, a day after the probe entered Mars’ orbit.

‘First picture’

The mission is designed to reveal the secrets of Martian weather, but the UAE also wants it to serve as an inspiration for the region’s youth. Hope became the first of three spacecraft to arrive at the Red Planet this month after China and the U.S. also launched missions in July, taking advantage of a period when the Earth and Mars are nearest.

The UAE’s venture is also timed to mark the 50th anniversary of the unification of the nation’s seven emirates. Hope will orbit the Red Planet for at least one Martian year, or 687 days.

Benefit of the News– Hope Mission- UAE

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