Locusts normally arrive during July-October, but have already caused chaos in Rajasthan. At a time, when India is battling coronavirus pandemic, locusts present a new worry with their potential for exponential growth and crop destruction. Standing crops and vegetables in Rajasthan, Punjab, Haryana and Madhya Pradesh face a major threat as swarms of locust have been reported a month in advance. There is an alert for Uttar Pradesh, Maharashtra and Delhi as well.
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- Locusts are the oldest migratory pests in the world. They are insects that belongs to the family of grasshoppers. Locusts are essentially harmless, however, when they meet suitable environmental conditions, they become start breeding. Locusts form enormous swarms that spread across regions, devouring crops and leaving serious agricultural damage in their wake.
- When the locusts start attacking crops and thereby destroy the entire agricultural economy, it is referred to as locust plague/locust invasion. Plagues of locusts have devastated societies since the Pharaohs led ancient Egypt, and they still wreak havoc today. Over 60 countries are susceptible to swarms.
- There are four types of locusts that create a plague – desert locust, migratory locust, Bombay locust, and tree locust. The desert locust is a notorious species. Found in Africa, the Middle East, and Asia, this species inhabits an area of about six million square miles, or 30 countries, during a quiet period, according to National Geographic. During a plague, when large swarms descend upon a region, however, these locusts can spread out across some 60 countries and cover a fifth of Earth’s land surface.
- Kenya has reported its worst locust outbreak in 70 years, while Ethiopia and Somalia haven’t seen one this bad in quarter of a century.
Procurement of Wheat in Punjab
One of the most successful operations affected during the lockdown — the procurement of wheat amid the Covid-19 pandemic — came to an end today, with Punjab once again establishing its reputation as the granary of India. More than 127 lakh metric tonnes (LMT) of wheat was procured this year.
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- The four state procurement agencies — Pungrain, Markfed, Punsup and Punjab State Warehousing Corporation — have procured the maximum amount of wheat (81.8 per cent) followed by the Food Corporation of India, which has procured 11.1 per cent of the total wheat that arrived in the state’s mandis. In all, Punjab witnessed an arrival of 127.62 LMT of wheat to date, of which 126.61 LMT has already been lifted.
- Though the procurement is less than what was initially targeted (135 LMT) due to the untimely rain in parts of Punjab just before harvesting, the efficient use of technology for the entire operation, which was spread over 45 days, is now a case study for management schools, including the Indian School of Business (ISB).
- It is for the first time that right from harvesting of the crop to its arrival in the mandis, and from purchase to its lifting, everything was technology-driven.
- In such difficult times, we managed to procure huge quantities of grain, which will keep the country’s food security intact.
- Each farmer was issued e-tokens before he could bring his products to the market, and 17.38 lakh such passes were issued throughout the procurement season.
Project Virasat is an umbrella organisation that aims to revive the age old craft-forms of India. We started our journey by establishing P-TAL in an effort to revive the dying art form of handcrafting copper and brass utensils using hammering techniques, by mobilising artisans and providing them access to organised credit, contemporary designs and better demand avenues.
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- Virasat’s glorious journey had humble beginnings in Jandiala Guru, a small village in the city of Amritsar known for India’s only UNESCO listed craft form – The Thathiar craft of making brass and copper utensils by hammering.
- Despite such recognition, the legacy which started 150 years ago with 500 artisans was reduced to a mere 30 because of problems like, internal Conflicts amongst the Thatheras, outdated designs and lack of access to markets due to exploitative middlemen.
- This unique craft form has been listed in the UNESCO List of Intangible Cultural Heritage 2014.
- Pichvai Painting:
Pichvai Painting is one of the most ancient forms of art which was created depicting the beautiful life of Lord Krishna with its roots in Nathdwara, Rajasthan.
- Gaurahari Stonework
The artisans in Gaurahari village of Mahoba District practiced once a thriving and renowned craft of Gaurahari Stonework, wherein they made a wide range of handicrafts, out of a particular coloured stone called ‘GauraPatthar’, known for its soft texture.
Renaming Southall road, a befitting tribute to Guru Nanak
Sikh bodies have welcomed the UK authorities’ proposal to rechristen the Havelock Road in Southall as Guru Nanak Road. SGPC president Gobind Singh Longowal said if this proposal was executed, it would be a befitting tribute to Guru Nanak Dev in view of the 550th Gurpurb.
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- In the wake of “Black Lives Matter” protests, the UK’s Ealing Council has been reviewing colonialist connects associated with its street names and statues.
- A survey was already being conducted on the proposed name of the road. At present, the road is named after British General Sir Henry Havelock, who was involved in the recapture of Cawnpore (now Kanpur) in Uttar Pradesh during the First War of Independence in 1857.
- This road will be a symbol of recognition of the Sikh community’s huge contribution, be it to the UK’s economy or social service. It will also help in strengthening the anti-racism campaign on foreign soil. Gurdwara Sri Guru Singh Sabha, the largest shrine in western Europe, is also located on the same street, which would further complement its significance.
Maharaja Ranjit Singh named greatest world leader in BBC Poll
Maharaja Ranjit Singh, the 19th century ruler of the Sikh Empire in India, has beaten competition from around the world to be named the “Greatest Leader of All Time” in a poll conducted by BBC World Histories Magazine’.
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- Over 5,000 readers voted in the poll. Polling more than 38 per cent of the vote, Singh was praised for creating a new tolerant empire.
- In second place, with 25 per cent of the vote, is African Independence Fighter Amlcar Cabral, who united more than 1 million Guineans to free themselves from Portuguese occupation and in turn propelled many other colonised African countries to rise and fight for independence.
- The nominations were sought from global historians, including Matthew Lockwood, Rana Mitter, Margaret MacMillan and Gus Casely-Hayford, who selected their Greatest Leader someone who exercised power and had a positive impact on humanity.
- Described as the Lion of Punjab, Singh’s rise to power came after a period of economic and political uncertainty.
- The magazine notes that by the early decades of the 19th century, he had modernised the Sikh Khalsa army, embraced western innovations without abandoning local forms and institutions, unified the fractious misls or states, stabilised the frontier with Afghanistan, and reached a mutually beneficial detente with the British East India Company.
- Singh’s name was nominated by Lockwood, who is assistant professor of history at the University of Alabama, as a modernising and uniting force, whose reign marked a golden age for Punjab and north-west India.
181st Death Anniversary of Maharaja Ranjit Singh
June 27 marks the 181st Death Anniversary of Sher-E-Punjab Maharajah Ranjit Singh. A king who built an empire on Secularism and Religious Toleration.
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- Ranjit Singh was born on November 13, 1870, to Maha Singh Sukerchakia and Raj Kaur –the daughter of Raja Gajpat Singh of Jind. His place of birth was Gujranwala in Punjab -now lies in Pakistan.
- At the age of 21, he was declared as “Maharaja” and took over the reigns of Sikh empire.Ranjit Singh succeeded in uniting the the nearly dozen Sikh misls that were spread acrossthe region of northwestern India.
- The Maharaja’s four-decade rule saw several major townships under his regimedeveloping into centres of trade, arts and commerce. Some of the major cities under thethen Sikh empire were: Srinagar, Attock, Peshawar, Bannu, Rawalpindi, Jammu, Gujrat,Sialkot, Kangra, Amritsar, Lahore and Multan.
- The Maharaja’s health began declining since the onset of 1830s, and the complications increased over the next few years. On June 29, 1839, he died in mid-sleep. Four of hisHindu wives committed sati as an act of devotion, claim historians.
Punjab Government’s ‘Ambassador of Hope’ initiative
Punjab Government’s ‘Ambassador of Hope’ initiative, saw participation from over a lakh students from both – public and private schools, who sent across their messages for the world. That, eventually, went on to break the world record of the ‘largest participation in an online initiative’. The record was earlier held by Phillipines as they had got 43,157 participants in an eight-day-long online competition.
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- As many as 1,05,898 school going students have shared their videos for Punjab Education Minister Mr. Vijay Inder Singla’s campaign, ‘Ambassadors of Hope’ which was launched for students of the state to share their creativity during lockdown.
- While divulging details, the cabinet minister told that the campaign created a world record as never in the past so many students participated in an online video competition concluded in eight days.
- He added that currently, Cebu City Commission (a govt body) of Phillipines holds the record of highest participation as they had got 43,157 participants in eight day long online competition.
- The Education Minister said that the primary objective of engaging the students in a constructive activity in atmosphere of abject negativity has been achieved. He also said that entries from his relatives, will not be considered to be part of competition and winners will be selected strictly on the basis of merit.
- The minister informed that three winners each from all the 22 districts will be given attractive prizes that include Apple iPads, Laptops and Android Tablets for the students securing first, second and third positions, respectively.
Panth Rattan Master Tara Singh
The title Panth “Rattan” literally means “Jewel” of the Panth (group comprising all the world Sikhs, the global Sikh community) and is a title of honour and distinction for the excellent and meritorious service rendered by any individual to the Sikh panth.It is normally a title awarded by one of five Takhats to an individual for exceptional and consistent service to the Sikh cause.
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- Panth Rattan Master Tara Singh, a legendary freedom fighter, towering political figure and litterateur of great eminence dedicated to human values, was paid tribute on his 136th Birth Anniversary.
- Master Tara Singh, a veteran Akali leader and freedom fighter, was a prominent figure in Sikh politics for more than forty years, was born on 24th June, 1885 in village Haryal, Teh. Gujarkhan, Distt.Rawalpindi now in Pakistan.
- His earlier name was Nanak Chand. His father Bakshi Gopi Chand was a village patwari and belonged to a Sehajdhari Sikh (Hindu) family.
- He took Amrit from Sant Attar Singh at the age of sixteen, was renamed Tara Singh and became the first to convert to Sikhism in his family.
- He actively participated in the Sikh Gurdwara Reforms Movement from its very inception, but after the Nankana Sahib tragedy in 1921 wherein more than 200 sikhs were killed, he left his teaching profession and became a whole time public worker. He was the first General Secretary of the Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee and later its President for various terms.
- After Independence, Master TaraSingh raised his demand for the re-demarcation of the boundaries of Punjab on linguistic basis. During this struggle he was arrested in 1949, 1953, 1955 and 1960. He died on 22nd November, 1967 inAmritsar.
NFL has started tying up with ITI to train youth in various trade
Context: To give thrust to the “Skill India” initiative of the Government of India, National Fertilizers Limited -NFL a Central Public Sector Enterprise (CPSE) Under the Union Department Of Fertilizers has started tying up with Industrial Training Institutes (ITI) located near to its plants to train youth in various trades so as to enhance the chances of their employbility in heavy and process industry.
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- The Nangal plant of the company in Punjab has signed an Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with ITI, Nangal to train youth in 12 trades.
- The students will be skilled under Dual System of Training Scheme under which they will learn theoretical skills in the institute and on-the-job training in NFL Nangal plant.
- The MoU was exchanged between MsRenu R P Singh DGM (HR) I/c, NFL Nangal unit and Sh Lalit Mohan, Principal of ITI, Nangal.
- ITI, Nangal is one of the oldest institute in Punjab. With the signing of this MoU with ITI, NFL becomes first CPSE to take this initiative in the state of Punjab.
- NFL has five gas based Ammonia-Urea plants viz. Nangal & Bathinda plants in Punjab, Panipat plant in Haryana and two plants at Vijaipur at District Guna, in Madhya Pradesh.
Eight universities get ranked among best 100 in Asia
Context: Eight Indian universities have found a place among the best 100 varsities in Asia, while some of the top varsities in the country improved their performance significantly, shows the Times Higher Education Asia University Rankings 2020
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- IISc is ranked best among Indian institutions at 36, while IIT Ropar was ranked 47
- According to the survey report, IIT Delhi climbed 24 places this year to be placed at 67 among Asia ranks
- the Institute of Chemical Technology (ranked 97) made it to the Asia rankings for the first time with considerable success.
- IIT Kharagpur climbed 17 positions to get an Asian rank of 59 in 2020, while IIT Delhi climbed 24 places this year to be placed at 67.
- IT- Kanpur and IIT-Roorkee lost their last year’s ranking.
|Institute of Chemical technology, Mumbai||92|
Domestic cricket stalwart Rajinder Goel dies at 77
Context: On 21st June 2020, Domestic cricket stalwart Rajinder Goel who represented Haryana, Delhi and Punjab in the Ranji Trophy passed away at his residence in Rohtak, Haryana.
More about Rajinder Goel
- Rajinder Goel was born on 20th September 1942 in Punjab
- He holds the record for the most wickets in the Ranji Trophy with 637 wickets.
- He began his first-class career with Patiala, which then evolved into the Southern Punjab team.
- He moved to Delhi in 1963 and Haryana ten years later(1970). He played his last Ranji Trophy in 1984-85 representing Haryana
- Goel received the CK Nayudu Lifetime Achievement Award in 2017 from the BCCI for his service to Indian cricket.
Maj Gen Lachhman Singh Lehl, renowned veteran of 1948, 1971 wars, dies aged 97
Context:On 20th June 2020, Major General Lachhman Singh Lehl, one of India’s finest military brains and one of its last surviving officers to have taken part in both the 1948 and 1971 wars, passed away at the age of 97 in New Delhi on Saturday.
About Maj General Lachhman Singh
• Maj Gen Lehl was commissioned in the Regiment of Artillery in1943.
• He took part in the 1948 war in Jhangar area of Jammu and Kashmir as a captain
• He commanded a division in the 1971 war.
• For his role as a forward observation officer with the 50 Para Brigade, he was decorated India’s third-highest gallantry award, the Vir Chakra
• Maj Gen Lehl also authored a comprehensive book on the 1965 India-Pakistan war called Missed Opportunities.
Punjab Governor along with Petroleum Minister inaugurated Battery Swapping Facility, QIS
Context: Punjab Governor and Administrator of Chandigarh V P Singh Badnore along with Union Minister of Petroleum and Natural Gas & Steel Dharmendra Pradhan inaugurated Battery Swapping Facility, Quick Interchange Service (QIS) at Chandigarh in a function organised online.
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- Battery swapping technology offers the best alternative to slow charging and helps the drivers to make optimum use of the operational hours.
- The battery swapping model is initially targeted at the commercial segment-electric autos, rickshaws and the electric vehicle which is either factory fitted or retrofitted.
- Electric mobility stations will reduce emissions, check air and noise pollution, and will help in preventing climate changes.
- Indian Oil has signed a non- binding Strategic cooperation document with M/s Sun Mobility to explore setting up of Energy infrastructure for Electric vehicle through Battery Swapping model across Indian Oil Retail outlets in select cities covering New Delhi, Gurugram, Bengaluru, Chandigarh,Amritsar and others.
1987 batch IAS officer Vini Mahajan becomes Punjab’s first woman chief secretary
Context: A 1987-batch IAS officer, Vini Mahajan, on on June 26, 2020 became the first woman bureaucrat in the history of Punjab to be elevated to the top post of the state’s Chief Secretary.
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- She succeeded Karan Avtar Singh, who has now been posted as Special Chief Secretary, Governance Reforms and Public Grievances.
- Vini Mahajan prior to this appointment was serving as Additional Chief Secretary, Investment Promotion, and Governance Reforms and Public Grievances.
- It is also for the first time in Punjab’s history that both the civil and police administrations in the state are headed by an IAS-IPS couple. She is the wife of state DGP Dinkar Gupta.
- She was the first woman Deputy Commissioner in Punjab when she was appointed as DC, Ropar, in 1995.
- She also received National Literacy Award for best performance in India
Punjab launches mobile app for house-to-house surveillance to contain COVID-19
Context: On June 12, 2020 The Punjab government launched a mobile application aimed at undertaking house-to-house surveillance to contain the spread of COVID-19.
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- The app, ‘GharGharNigrani’, was launched by Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh through a video conference.
- The user friendly app had been developed and designed in-house by the Health Department, and had been field tested in Patiala and Mansa.
- This app enables the state to further develop a database for its COVID containment strategy
- The survey will be conducted by Accredited Social Health Activist(ASHA) workers and community volunteers
- The ASHA workers and community volunteers will be paid Rs 4 per head incentive/honorarium for every person surveyed and shall cover 500 households.
Centre accepts CM’s proposal to convert Punjab stretch of Delhi-Amrtisar- Katra expressway to Greenfield project
Context: The Union government finally accepted Punjab Government’s proposal to convert the Punjab stretch of Delhi-Amritsar-Katra Expressway into a Greenfield project by providing a direct spur from Nakodar, onward to the five historic towns of Sultanpur Lodhi, Goindwal Sahib, Khadoor Sahib and Tarn Taran, leading up to Amritsar.
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- This alignment, covering about 100 kms, will connect the five religious towns established by five Sikh Gurus –Sultanpur Lodhi (Sri Guru Nanak Dev Ji), Goindwal Sahib (Sri Guru Amardas Ji), Khadoor Sahib (Sri Guru Angad Dev Ji), Tarn Taran (Sri Guru Arjan Dev Ji) and Amritsar (Sri Guru Ramdas Ji).
- The Expressway project is being executed by NHAI with assistance of Feedback Infra.
- Amarinder Singh had raised the issue with the Union government, after local citizens and their representatives expressed concern over the project’s failure to connect the religious and historical towns of Sultanpur Lodhi, Goindwal Sahib, Tarntaran. Also, the original proposal of the National Highway Authority of India (NHAI) had entailed widening of the existing GT Road from Kartarpur to Amritsar as Brownfield project, which was proving expensive as it would involve major demolitions due to land acquisition
- The original alignment approved by the State Governments of Punjab and Haryana was not favoured as it entailed longer route, making the toll road less viable. The revised alignment, finalised as per the NHAI proposal, spanned the Khanauri-Malerkotla-Ludhiana-Nakodar-Kartapur-Qadian-Gurdaspur-Pathankot areas, which would now change in view of the brownfield to greenfield conversion.