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Important Current Affairs for CLAT-17th December 2022

India received Rafale’s 36th and last aircraft from France

Rafale Jet: All 36 Rafale aircraft were delivered to India by France, with the last one touching down today. After taking off from France, the aircraft received a brief mid-flight refuelling from a UAE Air Force tanker aircraft, according to the Indian Air Force. India and France struck an intergovernmental agreement wherein Paris committed to pay India 60,000 crore rupees for 36 Rafale fighter jets in 2016.

Rafale Jet: Key Points

  • 35 of the 36 Rafale aircraft that India purchased from France have already arrived in India.

  • They are stationed in Hasimara, West Bengal, and Ambala, Haryana.

  • France gave the 36th aircraft to the Indian side, replacing all of its spare parts and other components because it was being used for research and development.

  • On July 29, 2020, the first shipment of Rafale aircraft arrived in India. The IAF also began bringing the aircraft up to the highest standards and outfitting them with all the modifications unique to India.

Rafale Jet: About

  • The Rafale is a 4.5 generation jet with long-range air-to-air and air-to-ground missiles, as well as cutting-edge radar and electronic warfare capabilities.

  • The aircraft’s serviceability is over 75%, and the French company Dassault Aviation is also involved in its maintenance.

  • At the height of the war with China, the Rafale entered the Indian Air Force quickly and began flying over Ladakh a week after arriving.

Pradhan Mantri Kaushal Kaam Karyakram (PMKKK) Renamed as Promotion of Prime Minister’s Heritage (PM Vikas) Scheme

The Minister of Minority Affairs, Smt. Smriti Zubin Irani in a reply to a question in the Lok Sabha informed that the Pradhan Mantri Kaushal Ko Kaam Karyakram (PMKKK) has now been named as Pradhan Mantri Virasat Ka Samvardhan (PM VIKAS) Scheme. The integrated scheme converges five erstwhile schemes of the Ministry viz. Seekho aur Kamao, USTTAD, Hamari Dharohar, Nai Roshni and Nai Manzil. The scheme has been approved by the Cabinet for the period of 15th Finance Commission.

Aim Of PM VIKAS:

PM VIKAS aims to improve livelihoods of the minorities, particularly the artisan communities, using the components of skill development, education, women leadership & entrepreneurship. These components compliment each other in the ultimate objective of the scheme to increase the incomes of the beneficiaries and provide support by facilitating credit and market linkages.

What is the Pradhan Mantri Virasat Ka Samvardhan (PM VIKAS) Scheme: Nodal Ministry: Ministry of Minority Affairs Type: Central Sector Scheme Aim: To improve livelihoods of the minorities, particularly the artisan communities, using the components of skill development, education, women leadership & entrepreneurship. Merged schemes: The scheme combines ​​five (5) existing schemes of the Ministry of Minority Affairs under this: Seekho aur Kamao, USTTAD, Hamari Dharohar, Nai Roshni and Nai Manzil. Components of the scheme: There are four components under the scheme: 1) Skilling and Training, 2) Leadership and Entrepreneurship, 3) Education and 4) Infrastructure Development.

India Successfully Carries Out Trials of Nuclear-Capable ”Agni-5 missile”

India has successfully conducted night trials of nuclear-capable ballistic missile Agni V, capable of striking targets at ranges more than 5,000 kilometers with very high degree of accuracy. The missile test firing was conducted from APJ Abdul Kalam Island off the Odisha coast. This was the latest test in the Agni missile series. According to defence sources, the test was carried out to validate new technologies and equipment on the missile that are now lighter than before.

About The Timing:

The nigh-trials came a few days after Chinese soldiers indulged in a brawl with Indian soldiers at the Line of Actual Control (LAC) in Arunachal Pradesh. Several soldiers from both sides are injured, but none of the armies reported any deaths.

Issue With the Chinese:

Last year, China raised concerns regarding India’s launch of an Agni-5 intercontinental ballistic missile citing a resolution of the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) 1172. The resolution was issued after India’s 1998 nuclear tests.

What is the Agni-5 missile:

The nuclear-capable missile, which uses a three-stage solid-fuelled engine, has been developed by India’s Defence Research and Development organisation (DRDO).

The development of Agni missiles started in early 1980 under the Integrated Guided Missile Development Programme spearheaded by scientist and former President Dr A P J Abdul Kalam, who was also a central figure in India’s missile and space programmes.

Medium to Intercontinental versions of Agni missile systems 1 to 5 have varying ranges — starting from 700 km for Agni-1 to 5000 km and above for Agni-5. In June 2021, DRDO successfully tested Agni P, a canisterised missile with a range capability between 1,000 and 2,000 km. This means that the missile can be launched from road and rail platforms, making it easier for it to be deployed and launched at a quicker pace. Agni-6 is also said to be under development, with a range starting at 8000 km.

What was the latest test for:

Agni-5 has been successfully tested multiple times since 2012. Defence Ministry sources said the latest test was carried out primarily to validate various new technologies on board the missile. The flight performance of the missile was tracked and monitored by radars, range stations and tracking systems all through the mission including by the assets deployed in the sea.

Who undertook the test:

The SFC, which carried out the test, is a key tri-services formation that manages and administers all the strategic assets and falls under the purview of the Nuclear Command Authority of India. The Nuclear Command Authority is the sole body which can authorize the use of nuclear weapons. It comprises a Political Council and an Executive Council. The Political Council is chaired by the Prime Minister. The Executive Council, chaired by the National Security Advisor, provides inputs for decision-making by the Nuclear Command Authority and executes the directives given to it by the Political Council.

AIIA Inks Agreements with International Institutions for Promoting Ayurveda

In a bid to promote Ayurveda across continents, the All India Institute of Ayurveda (AIIA) has signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with the University of Medical Sciences, Cuba, and extended the agreement with Rosenberg European Academy of Ayurveda (REAA), Germany, for five more years to take forward collaborative programmes.

More About This:

The agreements were signed on the sidelines of the 9th World Ayurveda Congress and Arogya Expo. The MoU with Havana-based University of Medical Sciences was signed between Cuban Ambassador to India Alejandro Simancas Marin and Dr Tanuja M Nesari, the director of AIIA.

Significance Of This:

With these collaborations, Delhi-based AIIA, an autonomous organisation under the Ministry of AYUSH, has 15 international partners and 35 national partners under its collaborative activities. These partnerships come at a time when there is a big acceptance of Ayurveda and other traditional wellness systems the world over. The core objective is to promote advanced scientific research, evidence-based studies and clinical trials, exchange programmes and patient care.

AIIA’s Objective:

  • The AIIA has struck agreements with the best partners in the world, including the Harvard Medical School, while an agreement with the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine (LSHTM) has also been inked for clinical trials on the efficacy of ‘ashwagandha’ (withania somnifera) and ‘guruchi’ (tinsoporacordifolia) in treating Long Covid.

  • The AIIA is seeking to promote futuristic Ayurveda by bringing a synergy between traditional wisdom and modern tools and technology.

  • The AIIA and REAA had entered into a MoU in September, 2017 with a validity of five years, which has been extended to 2027.

UN Ranks ‘Namami Gange’ Project Among World’s top 10 Initiatives

The United Nations has recognised the Namami Gange initiative to rejuvenate India’s sacred River Ganga as one of the top 10 World Restoration Flagships to revive the natural world. The award was received by G Ashok Kumar, Director General, Namami Gange, at the 15th Conference of the Convention on Biodiversity (CBD) in Montreal, Canada.

More About This:

Namami Gange was selected from over 150 such initiatives from 70 countries across the globe. They were selected under the banner of the United Nations Decade on Ecosystem Restoration, a global movement coordinated by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO).

Significance Of This:

It is designed to prevent and reverse the degradation of natural spaces across the planet. The recognized initiatives, including Namami Gange, will now be eligible to receive UN support, funding or technical expertise.

The Other inaugural World Restoration Projects:

  • Trinational Atlantic Forest Pact, which aims to protect and restore the forest in Brazil, Paraguay and Argentina, and the Abu Dhabi Marine Restoration project that targets safeguarding the world’s second-largest dugong population in Abu Dhabi.

  • The Great Green Wall for Restoration and Peace initiative to restore savannas, grasslands and farmlands across Africa and the Multi-Country Mountain Initiative based in Serbia, Kyrgyzstan, Uganda and Rwanda were also recognised in addition to the Small Island Developing States Restoration Drive focused on three small island developing states – Vanuatu, St Lucia and Comoros.

  • The Altyn Dala Conservation Initiative in Kazakhstan to restore the steppe, semi-desert and desert ecosystems, the Central American Dry Corridor, and Shan-Shui Initiative in China were other projects on the list.

About Namami Gange:

  • It was approved as a ‘Flagship Programme‘ by the Central Government in June 2014.

  • It was launched to serve the twin objectives of effective abatement of pollution and conservation and rejuvenation of the national river Ganga.

  • It is being operated under the Ministry of Water Resources, Department of River Development and Ganga Rejuvenation and Ministry of Jal Shakti.

  • The program is being implemented by the National Mission for Clean Ganga (NMCG) and its State Program Management Groups (SPMGs).

Airbnb Signs MoU with Goa Govt to Promote Inclusive Tourism

Airbnb signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Department of Tourism, Government of Goa, to jointly promote Goa as one of the most sought-after high potential tourism destinations in India and around the world.

Aim Of This Development:

This partnership is aimed at encouraging travel to unique destinations that are lesser-known and enabling economically regenerative community-led tourism in the state. On the sidelines of the official launch of ‘Rediscover Goa’, a week-long celebration of Goa’s vast cultural diversity beyond its beaches and dazzling nightlife, Airbnb and Goa Tourism Department have joined hands to scale homestay capacity across the state, and provide support to Goan homestay Hosts in delivering quality tourism experiences to guests, both domestic and international.

Significance Of This Move:

The announcement reflects the commitment of both parties to support the development of a sustainable tourism ecosystem in Goa, while highlighting current and upcoming tourism destinations in the state. By hosting knowledge sharing and training workshops for homestay Hosts, the partnership will also enhance the potential of tourism to create jobs and sustainable livelihood opportunities for the local communities. There will be a spotlight on unique properties that enable more domestic and international travelers to explore Goa like never before and uncover some hidden gems.

Key elements Of This:

  • The Department of Tourism, Government of Goa and Airbnb will work together to promote Goa as a destination for high-quality tourism, by upscaling the culture of homestays in the state, while spotlighting unique destinations for hinterland tourism and homestay tourism that travellers can discover. This will be done through targeted domestic and international destination promotion campaigns.

  • Airbnb will support the Department of Tourism’s vision by conducting workshops and seminars to train homestay hosts and B&B owners on the importance of responsible tourism, build host capacity, seek to amplify and create awareness on the local laws and encourage host registration; while continuing to work towards onboarding more Hosts and properties on the platform. These efforts will be aimed at equipping current and prospective Hosts with knowledge and guidance to boost inclusive and community-led travel in the state.

  • Airbnb will also endeavor to share global best practices, periodic travel trends and insights related to home stays, from time to time, to help the DoT make informed decisions on capacity building needs, and other progressive policies that will help drive responsible tourism in the state.

Iran Removed From UN Commission on the Status of Women

In an unprecedented move, Iran has been expelled from the United Nation’s Commission on the Status of Women (CSW) in a vote on which India abstained. The US proposal at the UN Economic and Social Council to remove Iran from the panel received 29 votes, while there were eight votes against and 16 abstentions in the 54-member elected body.

More About This:

The vote came after intense lobbying by the US following widespread protests in Iran sparked by outrage against the edict compelling women to wear hijabs.

US Permanent Representative Linda Thomas-Greenfield told the Council that CSW, which is “the premier UN body for promoting gender equality and empowering women” cannot function if it is “undermined from within” by Iran. “Iran’s membership at this moment is an ugly stain on the Commission’s credibility,” she said.

The Immediate Cause For This:

Mahsa Amin who died after being held by “morality police” in September. Her death sparked the protests, during which, “government security forces have reportedly detained and tortured thousands of people, killed hundreds of peaceful protestors, and badly injured many more. Men supporting women in the streets are now being targeted with the death penalty.

About UN Women:

  • The UN Commission on the Status of Women (CSW) was established in 1946, and has become instrumental in promoting women’s rights, documenting the reality of women’s lives throughout the world, and shaping global standards on gender equality and the empowerment of women. Its 45 members are elected by ECOSOC, based on equitable geographical distribution, and serve for four years.

  • The United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women, also known as UN Women, is a United Nations entity working for the empowerment of women.

  • UN Women became operational in January 2011.

  • President of Chile Michelle Bachelet was the inaugural Executive Director, and Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka is the current Executive Director.

  • As with UNIFEM previously, UN Women is a member of the United Nations Development Group.

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