Seismic Hazard Microzonation
Why in news?
The Ministry of Earth Science has launched Seismic Hazard Microzonation project in major cities of India.
From the news:
- The project aimed at seismic hazard microzonation of major Indian cities and areas falling under high-seismic Zones IV and V.
Seismic zones in India:
- Seismic zones in Indian subcontinent is divided into four seismic zones (II, III, IV, and V) based on scientific inputs relating to seismicity, earthquakes occurred in the past and tectonic setup of the region.
- Previously, earthquake zones divided into five zones with respect to the severity of the earthquakes, but Bureau of Indian Standards [IS 1893 (Part I):2002], has grouped the country into four seismic zones; the first and second seismic zones were unified.
- The bureau of Indian standards is the official agency for publishing the seismic hazard maps and codes. It has brought out versions of seismic zoning map: a six zone map in 1962, a seven zone map in 1966, and a five zone map 1970/1984.
Seismic Hazard Microzonation:
- It is the process of dividing earth quake prone areas based on certain factors.
- The factors include geological and geophysical characteristics of sites. They are ground shaking, landslide,liquefaction susceptibility, rock fall hazard and flooding caused due to earth quakes.
- Based on the division, mitigation measures are prepared.
- Hence, it is a preventive method to minimise the losses.
- The factors in the microzonation method are estimated based on response from soil layers.
Why in news?
A new Centre of Excellence (CoE) for Blockchain Technology was inaugurated by Union Minister for Law and Electronics and Information Technology in Bengaluru.
- Blockchain is a secure, digitised and distributed ledger to store records.
- Anything recorded on them cannot be deleted, and is instantly uploaded to all users on that blockchain.
- It is a decentralized, digitized, public ledger of each crypto currency transactions.
- Continuously growing as complete blocks are recorded as well as added to it in the chronological order.
- This technology allows market contributors to keep holistic track of digital currency transactions without single central record keeping.
- Every single node (computer connected to a network) gets a copy of blockchain, which can be automatically downloaded.
- Initially developed as the accounting method for a virtual currency Bitcoin, blockchain– that use what’s known as the technology of distributed ledger (DLT) – today are coming into view in a vast variety of commercial applications.
- Primarily used to verify all deals, within the digital currencies, however; it is possible to digitize, insert and code almost any document into the blockchain.
Advantages of the technology:
- As a public ledger system, blockchain records and validate each and every transaction made, which makes it secure and reliable.
- All the transactions made are authorized by miners, which makes the transactions immutable and prevent it from the threat of hacking.
- Blockchain technology discards the need of any third-party or central authority for peer-to -peer transactions.
- It allows decentralization of the technology.
World Gold Council and “World Gold Outlook 2020”
Why in news?
Gold sentiment to remain soft in India in 2020, says world body.
About World Gold Council (WGC):
- The World Gold Council is the market development organisation for the gold industry.
- Our purpose is to stimulate and sustain demand for gold, provide industry leadership, and be the global authority on the gold market.
- The headquarters of WGC is located in
Note - The WGC office in India is located in Mumbai.
World Gold Outlook 2020 - India:
- The report says that gold has performed the best since 2010 in 2019.
- In 2019, the gold trade in USD has increased by 18.4% as compared to 2010.
- According to the WGC, RBI (Reserve Bank of India) currently holds 625.2 tonnes of gold.
- With this, India ranks sixth in the world among other central banks.
- The report says that higher taxes have exacerbated the local gold price consumption.
- The recently introduces new hallmarking reforms are expected to increase consumer trust, remove inefficiencies, promote growth and improve confidence.
- The other 5 countries that have bought more gold than India include China, Russia, Kazakhstan, Turkey and Poland.
- In 2019, the largest gold sellers were Uzbekistan and Venezuela, they sold 16.6 tonnes and 30.3 tonnes respectively.
Online Youth Parliament Programme
Ministry of Human Resource Development and Ministry of Parliamentary Affairs are partnering together for Online Youth Parliament Programme to commemorate 70 years of Constitution.
- Ministry of Parliamentary Affairs has been implementing off-line Youth Parliament programme since 1966 in Schools under the Directorate of Education, Government of NCT of Delhi and NDMC, Kendriya Vidyalayas, Jawahar Navodaya Vidyalayas and Universities/ Colleges.
- Around 18000 students of 300 educational institutions participate through off-line Youth Parliament programme every year.
- This programme is organized in competition format which is limiting the participation of the institutions and thus not fulfilling the core purpose of the scheme in the desired manner.
- For overcoming this limitation, it has developed a Web-Portal of National Youth Parliament Scheme to increase the coverage of the programme manifold to hitherto untouched sections and corners of the country.
- National level celebrations focussed on Constitution and Fundamental Duties are being held all over the country to commemorate the Constitution Day.
- President has launched the web-portal of National Youth Parliament Scheme on the occasion to commemorate the 70th Anniversary of adoption of the Constitution of India ‘Samvidhan Diwas’ on 26th November 2019.
- All recognised schools, colleges and universities can access the portal at www.nyps.mpa.gov.in to take part in the Youth Parliament programme.
- After successful registration, the educational institutions will be able to conduct youth parliament sittings in their respective institutions.
- Each student taking part in the sitting will get a Digital ‘Certificate of Participation’ and Teachers-in-charge and Head of Institution will get a ‘Certificate of Appreciation’ through the web portal.
Why in news?
The Union Minister for Chemicals and Fertilizers, Shri D.V. Sadananda Gowda launched the "APNA UREA - SonaUgle" brand of Hindustan Urvarak & Rasayan Limited (HURL).
- HURL is Joint Venture Company promoted by the three Maharatna Companiese. Coal India Limited (CIL), NTPC Limited (NTPC) and Indian Oil Corporation Limited (IOCL) as the lead promoters.
- With the objective of making the country self-reliant in Urea, the Government approved in 2016 the revival of three sick Urea plants located at Gorakhpur (UP), Sindri (Jharkhand) and Barauni (Bihar).
- The task of the revival of these three Units has been undertaken by HURL.
- The commissioning of HURL’s three Units in the states of UP, Bihar and Jharkhand will open forward and backward linkages for business activity in the Eastern part of India.
- After the commissioning of these units, the total production of Urea will increase by 63.5 Lakh Metric Tonne Per Annum (LMTPA).
- The feedstock to the plants i.e. Natural Gas will be supplied by GAIL under the Pooled Price Mechanism.
- India’s average urea import is to the tune 63.12 LMT while the average total production of urea in the country is around 241 LMT.
- The total consumption (Sales) is 305.48 LMT approximately.
- The gap is fulfilled through imports.
Current Affairs Capsules
- Asia’s largest Civil Aviation Event held at Bengaluru.
- The theme of the event: Flying for All
- The aim of the meet is to unite all the regulators and facilitators of the aviation sector.