- Border haats means rural market.
- It seeks to organize marketplace for the two countries for one day each week.
- It acts as a reunion spot for families living on both sides of the border.
- The border haats aim at promoting the wellbeing of the people dwelling in remote areas across the borders of two countries, by establishing the traditional system of marketing the local produce through local markets.
- India and Bangladesh signed an agreement to set up six new border haats (markets) in the northeastern states adjoining the international border with Bangladesh by March 2019.
- Currently, four border haats are operational, along with the India-Bangladesh border.
- Two border haats are located in Meghalaya at Kalaichar and Balat and two are located in Tripura at Srinagar and Kamalasagar.
National Legal Services Authority of India (NALSA)
- NALSA was formed on 5th December 1995 under the authority of the Legal Services Authorities Act, 1987.
- Its purpose is to provide free legal services to eligible candidates and to organize Lok Adalats for speedy resolution of cases.
- The Chief Justice of India is patron-in-chief of NALSA while 2nd most judge of Supreme Court of India is the Executive-Chairman.
- The prime objective of NALSA is speedy disposal of cases and reducing the burden of the judiciary.
- Prime Minister Narendra Modi presented 200 cows to poor villagers in Rwanda to support President Paul Kagame’s ambitious initiative for poverty reduction and tackling childhood malnutrition.
- The Girinka programme was initiated by president Kagame in 2006 to provide one cow per poor family for their nutritional and financial security.
- The word Girinka can be translated as ‘may you have a cow’ and describes a centuries-old cultural practice in Rwanda whereby a cow was given by one person to another as a sign of respect and gratitude.
- It was in response to the alarmingly high rate of childhood malnutrition and as a way to accelerate poverty reduction and integrate livestock and crop farming.
- Quantum mechanics is a fundamental theory in physics which describes nature at the smallest scales of energy levels of atoms and subatomic particles.
- Scientists have developed the fastest man-made rotor in the world, which they believe will help them study quantum mechanics.
- At more than 60 billion revolutions per minute, this machine is more than 100,000 times faster than a high-speed dental drill.
- The team synthesized a tiny dumbbell from silica and levitated it in the high vacuum using a laser.
- The laser can work in a straight line or in a circle – when it is linear, the dumbbell vibrates, and when it is circular, the dumbbell spins.
- A spinning dumbbell functions as a rotor, and a vibrating dumbbell functions like an instrument for measuring tiny forces and torques, known as a torsion balance.
- As they become more advanced, they will be able to study things like quantum mechanics and the properties of the vacuum.
MARSIS (Mars Advanced Radar for Subsurface and Ionosphere Sounding)
- MARSIS is a low frequency, pulse-limited radar sounder and altimeter used on the European Space Agency, Mars Express mission.
- It features ground-penetrating radar capabilities, which uses synthetic aperture techniques and a second receiving antenna to isolate subsurface reflections
- MARSIS was funded and developed by ASI (Italy) and NASA (USA).
- Using a radar instrument on an orbiting spacecraft, scientists have spotted a sizeable salt-laden lake under the ice on the southern polar plain of Mars, a body of water they called a possible habitat for microbial life.
- The reservoir they detected — roughly 20 km in diameter, shaped like a rounded triangle and located about 1.5 km beneath the ice surface — represents the first stable body of liquid water ever found on Mars.
- The location’s radar profile resembled that of subglacial lakes found beneath Earth’s Antarctic and Greenland ice sheets.
- The detection was made using data collected between May 2012 and December 2015 by an instrument aboard the European Space Agency’s Mars Express spacecraft that transmits radar pulses, which penetrate the Martian surface and ice caps.
- Because it is located beneath the polar ice cap, the temperature in the lake is expected to be below the freezing point of pure water.
Khangchendzonga Biosphere Reserve
- The Khangchendzonga Biosphere Reserve falls within the Himalaya global biodiversity hotspot.
- It has been identified as the biggest Important Bird Area in Sikkim
- It is home for many of the globally threatened fauna including Musk deer, snow leopard, red panda and Himalayan Tahr.
- It is also home to many ethnic communities including Lepcha, Nepalese, and Bhutia.
- It includes the third highest peak in the world, Mount Khangchendzonga.
Atal Innovation Mission (AIM)
- Atal Innovation Mission (AIM) is the Union Government’s flagship initiative to promote a culture of innovation and entrepreneurship in the country.
- AIM is mandated to create an umbrella structure to oversee innovation ecosystem of the country.
- AIM envisions the creation of a collaborative ecosystem, where students, teachers, mentors and industry partners work to facilitate innovation, foster scientific temper and an entrepreneurial spirit.
- Atal Tinkering Laboratories (ATLs), Atal Incubation Centre and Established Incubation Centre will take the innovations to the market and a network of incubators will help create enterprises around these innovations.
India’s Magna Carta
- This month marks the 100th year of the publication of the ‘Report on Indian Constitutional Reforms’, commonly known as the Montagu-Chelmsford Report (MCR).
- Edwin Montagu was the Secretary of State for India.
- Lord Chelmsford was the Viceroy of India.
- The MCR stands out for proposing some of the most radical administrative changes and for giving provincial legislatures the mantle of self-governance.
- The 1919 Act went on to become the basis for the Government of India Act, 1919 and 1935, and, ultimately, the Constitution.
- Some of the features include dyarchy, bicameralism, the principle of communal representation, the establishment of public service commission and statutory commission.
Mahila Shakti Kendra Scheme
- To empower rural women through community participation.
- The Scheme is implemented with the cost-sharing ratio of 60:40 between centre and states except for North East and the Special Category States where the ratio is 90:10.
- The scheme is envisaged to work at various levels and at the national level (domain based knowledge support) and state level (State Resource Centre for Women) technical support to the respective governments on issues related to women is provided.
- These centres to serve as a link between the village, block and state level in facilitating women-centric schemes and also give the foothold for Beti Bachao Beti Padhao (BBBP) scheme at the district level.
West Bengal Assembly passes the resolution to rename State as ‘Bangla’
- The West Bengal Assembly passed a resolution to change the name of the State as ‘Bangla’ in three languages — Bengali, English and Hindi.
- The state will now have to wait for a nod from the Union home ministry for the resolution’s final approval.
- The move was aimed at climbing the alphabetical sequence of state names in which West Bengal appears last in the list now.
- When the fresh proposal comes to the Home Ministry, it will prepare a note for the Union Cabinet for an amendment to the Schedule 1 of the Constitution.
- Thereafter, a Constitution Amendment Bill will be introduced in Parliament, which has to approve it with a simple majority, before the President gives his assent to it.
International Union of Geological Sciences (IUGS)
- The IUGS is an international non-governmental organization devoted to international cooperation in the field of geology.
- It is a Scientific Union member of the International Council for Science (ICSU), which it recognizes as the coordinating body for the international organization of science.
- IUGS promotes and encourages the study of geological problems, especially those of worldwide significance, and supports and facilitates international and interdisciplinary cooperation in the earth sciences.
- IUGS is a joint partner with UNESCO for the International Geoscience Programme (IGCP) and they also participate in the Global Network of National Geoparks (GGN).
Ganga Vriksharopan Abhiyan
- The National Mission for Clean Ganga (NMCG) recently organised the ‘Ganga Vriksharopan Abhiyan’ in five main Ganga basin states – Uttarakhand, Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Jharkhand and West Bengal. The State Forest Departments of these five states acted as the Nodal Agencies for the smooth and effective execution of the campaign.
- The campaign was initiated as part of the Forest Interventions in Ganga (FIG) component of Namami Gange Programme.
- It was aimed at bringing greater awareness among people and other stakeholders regarding the importance of afforestation for the task of Ganga Rejuvenation.
- As part of the campaign, schools, colleges and departments were requested to “Adopt a Plant” for turning this campaign into a people’s movement.
National Culture Fund (NCF)
- National Culture Fund (NCF) was set up as a Trust under the Charitable Endowment Act, 1890 in November 1996 by the Government, with a view to mobilize extra resources through Public Private Partnerships.
- The National Culture Fund is managed and administered by a council headed by Hon’ble Culture Minister to decide the policies and an Executive Committee headed by Secretary, Culture to actualize those policies.
- The Fund aims at inviting the participation of the corporate sector, non-government organizations, private/public sector as well as individuals in the task of promoting, protecting and preserving India’s cultural heritage.
- All the projects undertaken by the NCF are completed within a specified period, in accordance with an MoU signed by NCF with the concerned donor organization.
- The donations/contributions to NCF are eligible for 100% tax deduction under the Income Tax Act, 1961 subject to the limits and conditions prescribed in the said Section and relevant Rules.
Strategic Trade Authorization-1 (STA-1)
- The US has eased export controls for high-technology product sales to India by designating it as a Strategic Trade Authorization-1 (STA-1)
- The granting of STA-1 status to India comes after the US recognised India as a Major Defence Partner in 2016, a designation that allows India to buy more advanced and sensitive technologies from America at par with that of the US closest allies and partners, and ensures enduring cooperation into the future.
- The designation authorises the export, re-export and transfer of specified items on the Commerce Control List (CCL) to destinations posing a low risk of unauthorised or impermissible uses.
- Currently, there are 36 countries on the STA-1 list.
- India is the only South Asian country to be on the list.
- Other Asian countries designated as STA-1 are Japan and South Korea.
Deep Ocean mission
- The Union Earth Sciences Ministry unveiled a blueprint of the ‘Deep Ocean Mission (DOM)’.
- The focus will be on technologies for deep-sea mining, underwater vehicles, underwater robotics and ocean climate change advisory services, among other aspects.
- The mission proposes to explore the deep ocean similar to the space exploration started by ISRO about 35 years ago.
- India has been allotted a site of 75,000 square kilometres in the Central Indian Ocean Basin (CIOB) by the UN International Sea Bed Authority for exploitation of polymetallic nodules (PMN).
- These are rocks scattered on the seabed containing iron, manganese, nickel and cobalt.
- Polymetallic nodules, also called manganese nodules, are rock concretions on the sea bottom formed of concentric layers of iron and manganese hydroxides around a core.
- The core may be microscopically small and is sometimes completely transformed into manganese minerals by crystallization.
National Advanced Surface-to-Air Missile System-II (NASAMS-II)
- India is in talks with the U.S. to procure an advanced air defence system to defend the National Capital Region (NCR) from aerial attacks. The process for procuring the National Advanced Surface-to-Air Missile System-II (NASAMS-II), estimated at $1 billion, has been initiated.
- This system will help in preventing 9/11-type attacks [when terrorists flew hijacked planes into New York’s World Trade Center] on Delhi. It is in the Acceptance of Necessity (AoN) stage now.
- It is the state-of-the-art defence system that has the ability to quickly identify and destroy enemy aircraft, UAV or emerging cruise missile threats.