General Knowledge Current Affairs

Thursday, August 31, 2023

Saudi Arabia to Send First Woman Astronaut into International Space Station

A Saudi Arabian woman Rayyanah Barnawi will become the first woman astronaut from the country to go on a space mission. In the second quarter of 2023, Barnawi and Saudi male astronaut, Ali Alqarni, will join the crew of the AX-2 space mission. Together, they'll be the second and third Saudi Arabians to fly to space. Peggy Whitson, a former NASA astronaut, will also be on board for her fourth flight to the ISS. Meanwhile, John Shoffner, a Tennessee businessman, will be the pilot.

Rayyana Barnawi will join fellow Saudi astronaut Ali Al-Qarni on a 10-day mission to the International Space Station (ISS). Barnawi and Al-Qarni will fly to the ISS aboard a SpaceX Dragon spacecraft as part of a mission this spring by the private space company Axiom Space Agency and Axiom. Rayyanah Barnawi is a 33-year-old research laboratory specialist who will be responsible for conducting mission experiments aboard the ISS. Barnawi has nine years of experience in cancer stem research and holds a Bachelor's degree in Biomedical Sciences (ReGD) from New Zealand's Otago University as well as a Master's in Biomedical Sciences from Riyadh's Alfaisal University.

UNESCO Declares Visva-Bharati as the World's First Living Heritage University

Visva-Bharati University, founded by Rabindranath Tagore in 1921, may soon get 'heritage' status from UNESCO. Located in Shantiniketan, West Bengal, the century-old institution could become the world's first living heritage university. University's vice-chancellor Bidyut Chakraborty said all formalities have been completed, and only the formal meeting remains to be held which will take place either in April or May 2023. Normally, a heritage tag is given to a dead monument. For the first time in the world, a living university that is functioning is going to get the heritage tag from UNESCO.

The university spread across 1,130 acres, was named after Nobel Laureate Rabindranath Tagore, who was also its founder. When the Visva-Bharati Society was registered as an organisation in 1922, the university began to be known by the same name. Tagore had donated some of his property, including land and a bungalow, to the society.

  • Before Independence (in 1947), Visva-Bharati was a college. It was given the status of a Central University in 1951, and Tagore's son Rathindranath was appointed as the first Vice-Chancellor (VC). The second VC was Nobel Laureate Amartya Sen's grandfather, Kshitimohan Sen.
  • According to reports, the Union culture ministry had appealed for a UNESCO heritage site status for Santiniketan 11 years ago, to secure recognition for Tagore's cultural ark in the time leading up to his 150th birth anniversary.
  • The Nobel Laureate had settled in Shantiniketan in 1901, because of the ill health of his wife, Mrinalini Devi. It was after this that he founded this institution. Tagore believed in open-air education, a system he introduced to the university and it is still in place.

Sunday, August 27, 2023

National Programme for Dairy Development

Department of Animal Husbandry & Dairying (DAHD) has been implementing the “National Programme for Dairy Development (NPDD)” scheme across the country since February 2014. The scheme has been restructured/ realigned in July 2021 for implementation from 2021-22 to 2025-26 with the following two components:

  • Component 'A' of NPDD focuses on creating/strengthening infrastructure for quality milk testing equipment as well as primary chilling facilities for State Cooperative Dairy Federations/ District Cooperative Milk Producers' Union/SHGs/Milk Producer Companies/Farmer Producer Organizations.
  • Component 'B' of the NPDD scheme "Dairying through Cooperatives” aims to increase the sale of milk and dairy products by increasing farmer's access to organized markets, upgrading dairy processing facilities and marketing infrastructure, and enhancing the capacity of producer-owned institutions.

As per the 20th Livestock Census (2019), there are 80.83 million farmers household engaged in dairy farming activities (having either cattle or buffalo) and dairy farming contributes for a portion of their daily income.

Wednesday, August 23, 2023

Climate change impact assessment

Climate change is a cross-cutting issue spanning various Ministries/ Departments and institutions under them. Studies on adverse impacts of climate change is mainly sponsored by the Department of Science and Technology (DST), Ministry of Earth Sciences (MoES), Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change (MoEFCC), Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO), Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers Welfare, and Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR). Sectoral aspects of climate change are also studied by different Ministries/Departments concerning sectors like agriculture, water resources, human health, power, renewable energy, transport, urban, etc. Further, a large number of universities and government research institutions such as the Indian Institute of Technologies (IITs), Indian Institute of Science (IISc), Central and State Universities and their departments also carry out climate change related research.

The Government of India through its various organizations such as Wadia Institute of Himalayan Geology, National Centre for Polar and Ocean Research (NCPOR), Geological Survey of India, Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO), G. B. Pant National Institute of Himalayan Environment, Central Water Commission, and National Institute of Hydrology has been carrying out regular scientific studies to monitor the changes in Himalayan glaciers. One such study conducted by MoEFCC and ISRO, monitored 2,018 glaciers between years 2000 to 2011, which showed that 87% of the glaciers showed no change, 12% retreated and 1% glaciers have advanced.

Climate change and its impact on glaciers remains a global challenge which requires global efforts and actions. Government of India is committed to protect the glaciers and has made efforts to reduce the impact through several adaptation and mitigation measures. This includes a number of programmes under National Action Plan on Climate Change. Various R&D projects are being supported for studying Himalayan Glaciers under the National Mission for Sustaining Himalayan Ecosystem and National Mission on Strategic Knowledge for Climate Change. Several areas in the Himalayan States have also been declared as National Parks or Protected Areas, such as, Gangotri National Park, Nanda Devi Biosphere Reserve, and Great Himalayan National Park.

There is no established study for India providing a quantified attribution of climate change leading to increased outbreak of floods. While many studies monitor disasters such as floods, drought and heat, the science of attribution of these changes particularly to climate change is far more complex and currently an evolving subject. Most studies so far have relied on mathematical modelling of climate change impacts but these are not empirically verified.

The occurrence of floods can be attributed to various factors, including wide variations in rainfall both in time and space with frequent departures from the normal pattern, inadequate carrying capacities of rivers, river bank erosion and silting of river beds, landslides, poor natural drainage in flood prone areas, snowmelt and glacial lake out-bursts.

President of India to Confer National Geoscience Awards - 2022

The President of India, Smt. Droupadi Murmu conferred the prestigious National Geoscience Awards - 2022 at the Rashtrapati Bhavan Cultural Centre, New Delhi on 24th July 2023 in the presence of the Minister of Coal, Mines & Parliamentary Affairs Shri Pralhad Joshi and the Minister of State for Mines, Coal & Railways Shri Raosaheb Patil Danve. The Ministry of Mines confers National Geoscience Awards every year in three categories:

  • National Geoscience Award for Life Time Achievement,
  • National Young Geoscientist Award
  • National Geoscience Award in various fields of geosciences.

Instituted in 1966, the National Geoscience Awards (NGA) is a symbol of recognition and appreciation for exceptional individuals and organizations that have demonstrated excellence, dedication and innovation in the realm of Geosciences. The awards are presented in the field of Mineral Discovery and Exploration, Basic Geosciences, Applied Geosciences and Mining, Mineral Beneficiation and Sustainable Mineral Development.

This year for NGA 2022, 168 nominations were received under different award categories and examined through a three-stage screening process. Nominees for 10 National Geoscience Awards under different categories, which include one National Geoscience Award for Lifetime Achievement, eight National Geoscience Awards under different fields and one National Young Geoscientist Awards have been selected. These 10 NGA awards will be presented to 22 Geoscientists by the President of India.

The National Geoscience Award for Lifetime Achievement will be conferred upon Dr. Om Narain Bhargava, well known for his pioneering work in the Himalayas spanning over the last four decades. The National Young Geoscientist Award will be presented to Dr. Amiya Kumar Samal, Assistant Professor of Banaras Hindu University who has made a significant contribution in understanding the variation of Sub-Continental Lithospheric Mantle (SCLM) below different Archean cratons of the Indian shield.

Tuesday, August 22, 2023

e-Waste Management in India

Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) estimates the e-waste generation at the national level based on the countrywide sales data provided by producers, and the average life of notified electrical and electronic equipment (EEE), as mandated under the E-waste Management Rules, 2016. As per the information available with CPCB, e-waste generated in the country from twenty-one (21) types of EEE notified under the E-Waste (Management) Rules, 2016 in the financial year (FY) 2020-21 and 2021-22 was estimated as 13,46,496.31 Tonnes and 16,01,155.36 tonnes respectively, which is not substantial as compared to other major economies of the world.

Ministry has comprehensively revised the previous set of Rules and notified the E-Waste (Management) Rules, 2022 in November 2022 and the same is enforce since 1st April, 2023. These new rules intend to manage e-waste in an environmentally sound manner and put in place an improved Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) regime for e-waste recycling wherein all the manufacturers, producers, refurbishers, and recyclers are required to register on the portal developed by CPCB. The new provisions would facilitate and channelize the informal sector to the formal sector for doing business and ensure the recycling of E-waste in an environmentally sound manner. Provisions for environmental compensation and verification & audit have also been introduced. These rules also promote Circular Economy through the EPR regime and scientific recycling/disposal of e-waste.

An Action Plan for enforcement of E-Waste (Management) Rules, across the country is in place and is being implemented by all the States/UTs and State Pollution Control Boards (SPCBs)/Pollution Control Committees (PCCs). An e-waste Management review portal has also been developed for uploading the status and progress of the e-waste action plan. The quantity of e-waste collected and processed during FY 2021-22 is 5,27,131.57 Tonnes.

Tuesday, August 8, 2023

Fashion Design: Unveiling the Pathway to a Creative Career

Are you passionate about style, colors, and fabrics? Do you have a flair for creativity and a keen eye for detail? If so, then a career in fashion design might be the perfect pathway for you to explore. Fashion design is an exciting and dynamic field that allows individuals to express their artistic vision through clothing and accessories. In this article, we'll delve into the captivating world of fashion design and how it can lead you to a fulfilling and creative career.

The Art of Fashion Design

Fashion design is much more than just sketching pretty dresses or trendy outfits. It's a form of art that combines aesthetics, functionality, and self-expression. Fashion designers use their artistic talents to create unique and innovative clothing that resonates with people's emotions and desires. Each garment tells a story, reflecting the designer's personality and prevailing cultural trends.

The Journey of a Fashion Designer

Embarking on a career in fashion design requires dedication, perseverance, and a strong educational foundation. Many successful designers start by earning a degree in fashion design or a related field. During their education, aspiring designers learn about textile science, pattern making, sewing techniques, and the history of fashion. This knowledge lays the groundwork for creating garments that are not only visually appealing but also well-constructed and comfortable.

Developing Your Unique Style

One of the keys to becoming a successful fashion designer is developing a distinct and recognizable style. Your style represents your design philosophy and sets you apart from others in the industry. It's essential to experiment with different techniques and materials to discover what truly resonates with your creative instincts. As you progress, you'll fine-tune your approach and gain confidence in your artistic vision.

Embracing Sustainability and Ethical Practices

In recent years, the fashion industry has been making strides towards sustainability and ethical practices. As a modern fashion designer, being mindful of the environmental and social impacts of your work is crucial. Consider using eco-friendly materials, reducing waste, and promoting fair labor practices. By incorporating sustainability into your designs, you not only contribute to a better planet but also appeal to the growing number of eco-conscious consumers.

Building Your Portfolio

As you develop your skills and style, it's essential to build a strong portfolio showcasing your best work. A well-curated portfolio is your ticket to gaining recognition in the industry and landing coveted opportunities. Collaborate with other designers, photographers, and models to create captivating photoshoots that highlight your designs in different settings. Your portfolio should demonstrate your versatility, creativity, and ability to create a cohesive collection.

The Business of Fashion

Beyond the artistic aspect, understanding the business side of fashion is vital for your success. Running a fashion label or working for a renowned brand involves marketing, budgeting, and forecasting trends. Familiarize yourself with fashion marketing strategies, trend analysis, and customer behavior. These skills will empower you to make informed decisions and ensure your designs reach the right audience.

The Ever-Evolving Industry

The fashion industry is a dynamic and ever-changing landscape. Trends come and go, consumer preferences shift, and technology continues to impact the way we design and produce clothing. As a fashion designer, embracing change and staying open to innovation is essential. Attend fashion events, network with industry professionals, and stay up-to-date with the latest developments to remain relevant and ahead of the curve.


Fashion design offers a mesmerizing journey into the world of creativity and self-expression. It's a pathway that allows you to blend artistry with functionality, shaping garments that touch people's lives and emotions. Whether you dream of launching your own fashion line or contributing to renowned brands, the world of fashion design has endless possibilities. Embrace your passion, hone your skills, and let your imagination guide you on this captivating career path.

Monday, August 7, 2023

3rd G20 Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors (FMCBG) Meeting held in Gandhinagar, Gujarat

The Third G20 Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors (FMCBG) meeting under the Indian Presidency was held during 17-18 July 2023 in Gandhinagar, Gujarat. The meeting was jointly chaired by Union Minister of Finance and Corporate Affairs Smt. Nirmala Sitharaman, and Governor, Reserve Bank of India, Shri Shaktikanta Das.

Over 500 delegates, including Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors from G20 member countries, Invitee Countries, and Heads of various International Organisations (IOs) participated in the meeting. The FMCBG meeting was preceded by the Third G20 Finance and Central Bank Deputies (FCBD) meeting during 14-15 July 2023 in Gandhinagar, Gujarat.

Under the Indian Presidency’s theme of “One Earth, One Family, One Future”, G20 Ministers and Governors pledged to prioritise the well-being of the people and the planet and reaffirmed their commitment to enhancing international economic cooperation, strengthening global development for all and steering the global economy towards strong, sustainable, balanced, and inclusive growth (SSBIG).

The meeting was organised in five thematic sessions covering Global Economy and Global Health, Sustainable Finance and Infrastructure, International Financial Architecture, International Taxation, and Financial Sector & Financial Inclusion.

The Union Finance Minister, in her welcome remarks, reiterated the collective responsibility of G20 to steer the global economy towards strong, sustainable, balanced, and inclusive growth. The meeting discussed the key deliverables of the Finance Track under the Indian G20 Presidency for 2023. The Indian Presidency received wide support on all the agenda items.

Members discussed the global economic outlook and risks, including the macroeconomic implications of food and energy insecurity as well as climate change. Members endorsed the ‘G20 Report on Macroeconomic Risks Stemming from Climate Change and Transition Pathways’.

Under the priority of strengthening Multilateral Development Banks (MDBs) to address global challenges of the 21st century, members recognised the urgent need to strengthen and evolve the MDB ecosystem. Members appreciated the efforts of the G20 Independent Expert Group on Strengthening MDBs constituted by the Indian Presidency earlier this year. The Expert Group has prepared Volume 1 of the Report, and Volume 2 is expected in October 2023. Noting Volume 1’s recommendations, members shared that the MDBs may choose to discuss these recommendations to enhance their effectiveness. A High-Level Seminar will be held on the sidelines of the Fourth FMCBG meeting in October 2023 on strengthening the financial capacity of MDBs. G20 members also endorsed a ‘Roadmap for Implementation of Recommendations of the G20 Independent Review of MDBs’ Capital Adequacy Frameworks (CAF)’. This Roadmap will help unlock more lending resources in MDBs.

Managing global debt vulnerabilities is a significant priority area for 2023, reflecting the Indian Presidency’s endeavor to voice the concerns of the Global South. G20 Members have actively deliberated on how to strengthen multilateral coordination to effectively address the deteriorating debt situation and facilitate coordinated debt treatment for debt-distressed countries. G20 Members welcomed the progress achieved on various ongoing debt treatment cases under the Common Framework and beyond, and called for swift and timely resolution of these cases. They also emphasised the importance of addressing debt vulnerabilities in low and middle-income countries in an effective, comprehensive and systematic manner. The G20 encouraged the efforts of the Global Sovereign Debt Roundtable (GSDR) towards strengthening communication among key stakeholders to facilitate effective debt treatment. The GSDR is chaired by India, IMF and the World Bank.

The Indian Presidency has brought the Digital Public Infrastructure (DPI) agenda into the G20 discussions. Members acknowledged the transformative role of DPI in rapidly advancing financial inclusion and productivity gains. The Ministers and Governors lauded India’s pioneering efforts in leveraging DPIs to accelerate financial inclusion to the last mile. While noting that harnessing DPIs can help countries to leapfrog their development trajectories, the members unanimously endorsed the ‘G20 Policy Recommendations for Advancing Financial Inclusion and Productivity Gains through Digital Public Infrastructure’. developed under the Indian Presidency. These policy recommendations will be instrumental in guiding the G20 and non-G20 countries to leverage DPI for fast pacing their development processes and achieve strong and inclusive growth. The G20 FMCBGs endorsed the new G20 2023 Financial Inclusion Action Plan (FIAP) for the three years 2024-26, the FIAP provides an action-oriented and forward-looking roadmap for rapidly advancing financial inclusion of individuals and MSMEs in G20 and beyond by focusing on action areas which inter alia focus on promoting technological, innovations and digital infrastructure including DPI. Also, India has been appointed as one of the Co-Chairs of the Global Partnership for Financial Inclusion (GPFI) and in its capacity of Co-Chair, India will lead the implementation of the new FIAP for the next three years starting from 2024.

The Indian Presidency has prioritised the need to consider the macro-financial implications of crypto assets along with financial stability concerns. The Presidency has also focused on bringing the specific concerns of the Global South onto the crypto assets’ agenda. As a result, the IMF had, in February, presented a paper on the macrofinancial implications to the 2nd G20 FMCBG. The Financial Stability Board (FSB) has also included sections on EMDE concerns in its forthcoming reports and deliberations. In continuation of this process, in the July meeting, the G20 members welcomed the high-level recommendations of the FSB on crypto-asset activities and global stablecoin arrangements.

While the work of preparation of the IMF-FSB Synthesis paper is underway, the Indian Presidency has submitted a “Presidency Note” to the G20 membership laying down important inputs for a Roadmap on crypto assets. The Roadmap, to be contained in the Synthesis Paper will support a coordinated and comprehensive policy and regulatory framework taking into account the full range of risks, and risks specific to the emerging market and developing economies (EMDEs) and ongoing global implementation of FATF standards to address money laundering and terrorism financing risks. The G20 now looks forward to receiving the IMF-FSB Synthesis Paper, along with the Roadmap, before the Leaders’ Summit in September 2023.

To further enrich the ongoing policy work around crypto assets, a Round Table discussion titled “Policy Dialogues on Crypto Assets” was organized on the sidelines of the 3rd G20 FMCBG meeting at Gandhinagar. The aim of the round table session was to discuss and deliberate on some of the key questions pertaining to the crypto assets, in an open and candid manner. The session saw active participation from the G20 Finance Ministers, Governors, and the Heads of IMF, FSB, and FATF – institutions that are instrumental in the on-going work on crypto asset ecosystem. The views generated in the round table discussion will provide important inputs to the Synthesis paper.

The Indian G20 Presidency has also brought climate finance discussions to the forefront. Members welcomed the recommendations on the mechanisms to support timely and adequate mobilisation of resources for climate finance, prepared by the Sustainable Finance Working Group. With the commitment to scale up sustainable finance, members also welcomed the Analytical Framework for SDG-aligned finance.

Members also discussed taking forward global efforts in pandemic prevention, preparedness and response through enhanced collaboration between Finance and Health Ministries. Members welcomed the discussion on the Framework on Economic Vulnerabilities and Risks (FEVR) arising from pandemics, while taking into account country-specific circumstances.

On the infrastructure agenda, members showed strong support for work under the Indian Presidency’s priority of ‘Financing the Cities of Tomorrow’. The Principles designed by the Indian Presidency will enable cities to develop customised policies that encourage alternative financing sources and enable greater public-private collaboration to bridge the infrastructure financing gap in our cities.

A G20 Infrastructure Investors’ Dialogue on ‘Leveraging Funding and Financing Mechanisms and Approaches for the Cities of Tomorrow’ was also held on 16 July, 2023. Panel discussions focused on mechanisms for de-risking projects, better urban planning, innovations in blended finance, harnessing technological innovations, capacity building and augmenting support from governments & MDBs in developing climate-resilient and sustainable city infrastructure. Learnings from practical experiences of countries enriched the discourse immensely.

On the tax agenda, members appreciated the significant progress made with respect to the two-pillar international tax package and called for the finalization of the pending work as per the agreed timelines. Members welcomed a plan for additional support and technical assistance for developing countries and discussed the need to ensure that G20 efforts to enhance tax transparency translate into effective outcomes.

Members noted with great interest, the discussions held at the G20 High-Level Tax Symposium on Combatting Tax Evasion, Corruption and Money Laundering organised by the Indian Presidency on 16 July, 2023 on the sidelines of the FMCBG meeting. Panelists included Heads of FATF and OECD, the European Commissioner for Economy and the Finance Minister of Indonesia. This Symposium initiates a debate on the effective multilateral response required to counter tax evasion, corruption and money laundering. The panelists acknowledged that financial crimes are complex, operate across international borders and deprive governments both in developed and developing countries of much needed resources. They stressed the need for greater cooperation, both domestically and internationally. The panel discussion also delved into strategies that can be developed for a coordinated response for fighting tax crimes and other financial crimes.


Ms. Nivruti Rai appointed as Managing Director & CEO of Invest India

Ms. Nivruti Rai joined as the Managing Director & CEO of Invest India on July 12, 2023. She has taken over the charge from Ms. Manmeet K Nanda, Joint Secretary, Department for Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade (DPIIT) who had assumed this additional charge of MD & CEO ad-interim in March 2023.

Ms. Rai is the recipient of the prestigious Nari Shakti Puraskar for her remarkable contributions in the field of technology. Ms. Nivruti Rai joins Invest India after an illustrious 29 years at Intel as a global business and technology leader. She led Intel India as Country Head for the past seven years driving the growth and investment of Intel in India. During her tenure at Intel India, she contributed significantly towards indigenous technology development, start-up ecosystem, electronics manufacturing ecosystem, and policy formulation, especially in the areas of critical and emerging technologies. She has been part of the leadership team in various industrial bodies and government committees and brings a wealth of experience in working closely with industry associations, business leaders, and government leaders.

Created under the vision of Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi for a New India, Invest India today is well acknowledged by stakeholders for its tangible contributions and instrumental role in executing the Government’s flagship initiatives including Make in India, Startup India, National Single Window System, Project Monitoring Group, and Prime Minister’s Science, Technology and Innovation Advisory Council. Invest India leverages private sector expertise to execute Government’s vision, embodying high levels of transparency, ethics, and corporate governance.

The Board of Invest India is chaired by Shri Rajesh Kumar Singh, Secretary, DPIIT. Other members of the Board include Shri P. K. Tripathi, Secretary (Coordination), Cabinet Secretariat; Ms. Arti Bhatnagar, Additional Secretary & Financial Advisor, DPIIT; Shri Md. Noor Rahman Sheikh, Joint Secretary, Ministry of External Affairs; Shri Anand Mahindra, Chairperson, Mahindra Group; Shri Pankaj R. Patel, Chairperson, Cadilla Healthcare; Shri Harshvardhan Neotia, Chairperson, Ambuja Neotia Group; Ms. Rekha M. Menon, Chairperson & Senior MD, Accenture; Ms. Debjani Ghosh, President, NASSCOM; and Shri Chandrajit Banerjee, Director General, CII.