14.01.22 APSC Daily Current Affairs

ASSAM

Magh Bihu and the harvest festivals of India, a comparison

 

Being a culturally diverse country, India is also considered to be the land of festivals. Rightfully so, when a particular event is celebrated in various forms and has imbibed itself into the local tradition.

Magh Bihu is celebrated in the Assamese month of Magh (i.e., mid-January). The celebrations start on the last day of the month of ‘pooh’ in the Assamese calendar and the celebrations continue for about a week. This marks the time when the winter ends. It is also called Domahi or the convergence of two months. This day is considered auspicious in the Hindu lunar year and is known as Makar Sankranti, i.e., the day when the sun begins its northward journey or Uttarayan. This day is also marked by worshiping the sun in various parts of the country in the form of different festivals such as Pongal in Tamil Nadu, Lohri in Punjab and Uttarayan in Gujarat.

As an agrarian country, the harvest season is celebrated at different times throughout the year, owing to the diversity in climate and differences in the staple crop of the region.

The first yield of the new crops is the joyful time of the year and is widely celebrated by farmers throughout the country. Moreover, the celebrations do not remain confined to the rural areas and are also celebrated by the urban populace, albeit in different ways.

Magh or Bhogali Bihu

Well known as the ‘festival of feast’, the Magh Bihu or Bhogali Bihu is celebrated by the people of Assam with the spirit of harmony and togetherness. Following the harvest, the Bhoral (granaries) are filled with surplus food and the idea is to thank the gods for the blessing of a good harvest. Community feasts are organised and various forms of Jolpan (sweets and savouries) are prepared.

The festival begins with Uruka or the Bihu Eve. While women prepare food items like- Chira, Pitha, Laru, Curd for the following day of celebrations, the men folks remain engaged in preparing makeshift huts or Bhelaghar, which are built using bamboo, leaves and thatch.

A bonfire known as Meji is lit early in the morning of Bihu and prayers are offered to the gods. Later the huts are burned down and people immerse in the festive mood by taking blessings from their elders, feasting and playing traditional games.

The main highlight of the festival is the various delicacies being prepared, Pithas being quintessential which are made of rice powder. Rice is the staple food of the region and Pithas are being prepared with sesame, jaggery and Coconut.

 

NORTH-EASTERN STATES

GAIL acquires 26% IL&FS stake in Tripura power company

State-owned gas utility GAIL acquired the 26% stake of now-defunct ILF&S (Infrastructure Leasing and Financial Services) in ONGC Tripura Power Company.

OTPC is a SPV (special purpose vehicle) set up by state-run explorer ONGC to build a 726 MW gas-fired power plant at Palatana in Tripura. The IL&FS group and the Tripura government were partners in the SPV.

ONGC holds 50% in the company that supplies electricity to the north-eastern states. Tripura government holds 0.5%, while India Infrastructure Fund II holds the balance 23.5% stake.
The power plant was set up by ONGC to monetise a Tripura gas find, which had to be capped for years due to absence of evacuation infrastructure.

 

INTERNATIONAL      

 

World First Deaf T20 Cricket Championship 2023    

 

The AISCD has been granted permission to host the first World Deaf T20 Cricket Championship in 2023.

Highlights:

The International Committee of Sports for the Deaf (ICSD) has given the All India Sports Council of the Deaf permission to hold the first World Deaf T20 Cricket Championship in Kerala from January 10 to 20, 2023.

This championship was supposed to take place in 2020-21, but owing to a coronavirus outbreak, it was delayed first to 2022, then to 2023.

The tournament is projected to attract at least eight countries, and it will be the first time that such an international event is staged in India with the consent of the ICSD.”

The AISCD is the only deaf national sports federation recognized by the Centre, and the ICSD is the only international organization recognized by the International Olympic Committee as the ruling body of the deaf sports movement and Deaflympics.

 

 

NATIONAL

 

5-point Reform agenda for FCI

On the 58th Foundation Day of Food Corporation of India (FCI), the food Minister Shri Piyush Goyal released a “5-point reform agenda for FCI”. It is also called “5 Sutras”. The agenda aims to improve FCI and its progress.

 

To change the public perception of FCI. Currently the public see the FCI as inefficient and corrupt. This perception will now be converted to inclusive, dynamic and honest entity.

 

To focus on end – to – end tech solutions. This includes everything starting from procurement to delivery. This is to be achieved by reducing PDS response time and efficient tracking of the food grains. Ultimately, this will result in leakage free operational efficient system.

To establish grievance redressal mechanism. This will help in reducing the reaction time to a problem. Also, it will help in addressing the issues of farmer producer organization, especially those in high distress. This is to be achieved through “Jan Jagrukta” programmes.

 

To plan and create modern infrastructure and logistics. It will upgrade the warehouses to international standards. The agenda includes increasing the storage capacity for power, network facility and CCTV.

 

It will increase the global practices and make India as “Food Hub”.

 

 

First BrahMos Export Order

 

India and Philippines are expected to sign a $374.9 million deal in last week of January 2022, for ‘BrahMos shore-based supersonic cruise missile systems’ supply.

 

This deal will be signed as part of Philippines’ plan to strengthen its defence amid territorial conflict with China.

 

The deal would involve an unspecified number of missiles & launchers, payment schedule, spare parts, and delivery & training schedule.

 

Prior to this, Philippines’ Department of National Defence published a ‘Notice of Award’, asking BrahMos to sign the contract. This means, Philippines has accepted Indian proposal and is now looking to sign the contract.

 

To sign the deal, an Indian delegation is scheduled to visit Manila. With this deal, first export order for the BrahMos cruise missile will be made, which has a range of 290 km.

 

BARC News Channel Ratings

 

Information & Broadcasting Ministry asked the Broadcast Audience Research Council (BARC India) to resume “news channel ratings” with immediate effect.

 

Ministry has asked to release of viewership data of news channels as well as to release the last three months data of news channels in monthly format.

As per ministry, reporting of viewership data of news and niche genres will be done on the basis of ‘four week rolling average concept’.

 

BARC has revised its processes, oversight mechanisms and protocols.

It has initiated changes in governance structure in-line with TRP committee report and TRAI recommendations.

It has also initiated reconstitution of its board and technical committee for inducting independent members.

Furthermore, BARC has formulated a permanent oversight committee and has also revamped access protocols of data.

 

MSME Technology Centre Inaugurated By PM

 

Prime Minister Narendra Modi virtually launched an ‘MSME Technology Centre’ in Puducherry on the occasion of National Youth Day 2022.

Highlights:

It will be run by the Union Ministry of Micro, Small, and Medium Enterprises (MSME).

The Rs 122 crore technological hub was established with an emphasis on the Electronic System Design and Manufacturing (ESDM) sector.

The center was officially opened at the 25th National Youth Festival in Puducherry (12th and 13th January 2022).

In Puducherry, he also opened the ‘PerunthalaivarKamarajarManimandapam,’ a new auditorium featuring an open-air theatre.

This world-class technology center, which spans ten acres and will train 20,000 students, support 2000 SMEs, and incubate 200 start-ups, will help boost the local economy to new heights.

The Prime Minister’s opening of this MSME Technology Centre will improve skill development and instill entrepreneurship among the region’s youth.

 

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