19.11.21 Daily APSC Current Affairs





Smartphones at home but not for studies in rural Assam: Survey


Smartphone availability at home for schoolchildren has doubled to 71% during the Covid pandemic in Assam and for the two northeastern states of Manipur and Nagaland it went up to 92% this year. But their access to smartphones for purposes of study remains a concern. For more than half of the schoolchildren, smartphones are available sometimes or not accessible at all.

This was revealed in the Annual Status of Education Report (ASER) 2021, covering 581 districts across 25 states and three Union Territories in the country.


In the five northeastern states, where the survey was conducted, the smartphones were available at homes of 36.1% of the surveyed children of Assam in 2018. The corresponding figure in Manipur went up to 92.9% in 2021 from 53.4% in 2018. In Nagaland also smartphones were available with 92.9% children at home in 2021, though the same was 50% in 2018. For Meghalaya, the corresponding figures were 41.3% (2018) and 77.9% (2021) respectively.

In Assam, 51.4% of the surveyed children got access to smartphones for purposes of study sometimes, whereas for 22.9% it was not accessible despite being available at home. In Manipur, 39.9% got access only sometimes and for 24.5% it was not accessible. The corresponding figures for Meghalaya were 34.2% and 30.7% respectively.

Interestingly, in Nagaland, 41% got access to smartphones sometimes, though only for a mere 3.8% it was inaccessible. In Arunachal Pradesh, 84.6% of the enrolled schoolchildren had smartphones at home in 2021. But 50.7% of them had access for study purposes sometimes, while it was not accessible for 19.9%. In Arunachal, which has a poor mobile network coverage in the vast hilly and mountainous terrain, only 57.3% children had smartphones at home in 2018.



Research manager of the study for Assam, Trishna Lekharu, told TOI that the demand for smartphones increased during Covid across India. “Although the number of houses with smartphones increased, the level of their availability for children’s studies was low. The good news is that the availability of smartphones can help the government in delivering smart education through the digital media,” she said.



ASER 2021 was a household rural survey conducted via phone. At an all India level, 67.6% children were found to have a smartphone at home.



Union minister Sarbananda Sonowal announces major initiatives to push AYUSH in northeast


In a bid to develop the sector in the northeast, Union minister of ports, shipping & waterways and AYUSH Sarbananda Sonowal announced a slew of major initiatives on Saturday for promotion of AYUSH in Arunachal Pradesh.

Participating in a programme at the North Eastern Institute of Ayurveda and Folk Medicine Research (NEIAFMR) at Pasighat in Arunachal Pradesh, Sonowal announced an investment of Rs 53.72 crore to develop new infrastructure within the NEIAFMR campus. A new ayurveda college with a student capacity of 30, as well as a 60-bedded ayurveda hospital will be set up inside the campus at Pasighat, leading to direct employment of 86 posts, in addition to the existing capacity, he said.

The Union minister added that an academic block, two hostels for boys and girls, sports complex etc were also being planned for the future.




Global Report On Trends In Prevalence Of Tobacco Use 20002025


The World Health Organization (WHO) has released the fourth edition of its Global Report on Tobacco Use Trends 2000-2025.


♦ According to the research, the South-East Asia region had the fastest reduction in cigarette consumption. In 2020, the average prevalence of smoking among males will be 25%, down from 50% in 2000.

♦ Tobacco smoking among women in the South-East Region has declined from 8.9% in 2000 to 1.6 percent in 2020.

♦ In order to fulfil the Global NCD action goal plan by 2025, India and Nepal are anticipated to achieve a 30 percent relative decrease in tobacco usage.

♦ According to the WHO research, if present tobacco control efforts continue, smoking rates in this region might drop to as low as 11% by 2025.


World Toilet Day Is Commemorated On 19 November


On November 19, 2021, World Toilet Day will be recognised as an official United Nations international day all over the world.


 The day is commemorated to encourage people to take action to address the worldwide sanitation challenge.

 The purpose of the day is to “Ensure availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for everyone,” and it is observed to inform, engage, and inspire people to take action toward accomplishing the goal of improving sanitation. The topic for World Toilet Day 2021 is “valuing toilets.”

 The inaugural World Toilet Summit was held on the same day as World Toilet Day, which was founded by the World Toilet Organization in 2001.

 Twelve years later, in 2013, the UN General Assembly designated World Toilet Day an official UN day.





Foreign Exchange Reserves Decline By USD 763 Million to USD 640.112 Billion


The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has provided updated data on foreign exchange reserves. The country’s foreign exchange reserves fell by $ 763 million to $ 640.112 billion in the week ending November 12, according to new figures.


♦In the week ending November 5, foreign exchange reserves fell by USD 1.145 billion to USD 640.874 billion. Reserves, on the other hand, hit a new high of USD 642.453 billion in the week ending September 3, 2021.

♦The Reserve Bank of India’s (RBI) weekly data shows that the reduction in forex reserves this reporting week was due to a drop in foreign currency assets (FCA), a major component of overall reserves. FCA fell $2.094 billion to $575.487 billion in the reporting week, according to the data.

♦Foreign currency assets comprise the effect of appreciation or depreciation of non-US units held in foreign exchange reserves, such as the euro, pound, and yen, expressed in dollar terms. In the reporting week, gold reserves increased by $ 1.461 billion to $ 40.239 billion.


The First Ligo Project In India Has Been Granted Land


The Hingoli income division has given the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory (LIGO) project 225 hectares of land in Maharashtra.


♦ The land was given to the country in order to organise primary facilities.

♦ In the United States, just two such labs exist: Hanford in Washington and Livingston in Louisiana. Gravitational waves are studied at these labs.

♦ This initiative will provide scientists and engineers more options for learning more about gravitational waves.

♦ In 2016, the LIGO-India mega scientific plan for analysing gravity waves received “in principle” permission from the Indian government.


LIGO is a huge observatory designed to detect and experiment with cosmic gravitational waves. Its primary goal is to exploit gravitational-wave data in astronomy research.

♦ The LIGO India project was suggested with the goal of relocating one of the most sophisticated LIGO detectors from Hanford to India.

♦ The Department of Science and Technology (DST) and the Department of Atomic Energy are piloting this initiative (DAE).

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