Current Affairs 31st January, 2019


Topics Covered

1. Indian History – Modern

2. Art and Culture

National Salt Sathyagraha Memorial

Image result for National Salt Satyagraha Memorial

What to read?

Prelims – About the Memorial

Mains – Salt Sathyagraha in Indian Freedom Movement and its relevance in contemporaray India

The National Salt Satyagraha Memorial, dedicated to the nation by the Prime Minister on January 30, 2019, recreates the spirit and the energy of one of the defining moments of India’s freedom struggle.

  • It is a depiction of the Dandi March by the Mahatma, and 80 of his fellow Satyagrahis – the occasion when a pinch of salt rocked the colonial rule.

  • This project, endorsed by the Ministry of Culture, Government of India is advised by a High Level Dandi Memorial Committee (HLDMC) with IIT Bombay as a Design Coordination Agency.

Note – Related Memorials/ museum

  • Mahatma Gandhi Museum - inaugurated at Alfred High School, Rajkot in 2018. This was the school from where Mahatma Gandhi passed his matriculation in 1887.

  • Wall Mural of Mahatma Gandhi – As a tribute to the nation by Khadi and Villages Industries Commission , on 150th Birth Anniversary of Gandhi, 'Grand Wall Mural' is opened at New Delhi Municipal Corporation (NDMC) Main Building on January 31, 2019

    • This 150 square meters clay mural is made of 'Kulhads' from the hands of 150 village potters across India, who assembled to make it at Morbi in Gujarat.

    • It is the tallest mural of India.

    Image result for 2. Wall Mural of Mahatma Gandhi

    Dandi Spirit

    The Salt Satyagraha March or The Dandi March of 1930 as it is popularly known, was a landmark in the history of Indian freedom struggle.

    As a part of the Civil Disobedience Movement against the British rule, 80 Satyagrahis led by Mahatma Gandhi marched 241-miles from Sabarmati Ashram, Ahmedabad to the coastal village of Dandi and broke the Salt Law imposed by the British.

    As was the symbolic nature of the event, it inspired millions of Indians to join the freedom struggle and brought worldwide attention to the movement.

    The Dandi March demonstrated the effectiveness of non-violent civil disobedience as a form of protest for the first time.

    Other Initiatives taken by Indian Government to disseminate Gandhian Ideology

    Clean India as the best tribute

    • The Salt Satyagraha Memorial is just one of many initiatives taken by the Prime Minister, which carry forward the legacy of the Mahatma. Government’s pet project, Swacchh Bharat Abhiyan, inspired by the teachings of Mahatma Gandhi, was launched on Gandhi Jayanti, October 2, 2014 in New Delhi

    • It has resulted in heightened awareness among the general public. States have competed vigorously in the race to become Open Defecation Free, and India is now close to achieving 100 percent rural sanitation coverage.

    Revival of Khadi

    • Khadi was a subject that Mahatma Gandhi brought to the core of India’s consciousness during the freedom struggle. The interest in Khadi had waned since those heady days.

    • But it has been revived by the Prime Minister, especially through his speeches. Modi used his monthly ‘Mann Ki Baat’ programme, to encourage people to buy Khadi products and thereby emphasizing on the revival of Khadi and cottage industries.

    Mahatma Gandhi International Sanitation Convention

    • To commemorate Mahatma Gandhi’s vision, the Mahatma Gandhi International Sanitation Convention (MGISC) was held in New Delhi from 29 September to 2 October, 2018. The 4-day event saw ministers and sanitation sector leaders from all around the world participating and share their experiments and experiences.

    Indian Bhajans cherished worldwide

    Mahatma Gandhi’s favourite hymn ‘Vaishnav Jan To’, went global, with artists from over 124 countries contributing musically to it. The project created a global appeal to a beautiful Indian bhajan.

    Statutes of Gandhi worldwide

    From Brisbane to Hannover to Ashgabat, the Prime Minister has unveiled busts or statues of Bapu, creating a lasting awareness about the Mahatma, overseas.

    PAPER – 2

    Topics Covered

    1. Issues and Management related to Human Resource Development

    2. Schemes

    Junior Research Fellowship

    What to read?

    Prelims – About the Fellowship programme

    Mains – Significance of the fellowship

    The Centre has hiked its popular research scholarship — called the Junior Research Fellowship — to Rs. 31,000 per month, a roughly 25% increase from the existing Rs. 25,000.

    Department of Science and Technology, which was coordinating the exercise, said that the Senior Research Fellowships (SRF), given to research students two years into their doctoral studies, had been hiked to Rs. 35,000 per month.

    Note - Ashutosh Sharma headed the Committee to recommend the hike

    • The hikes were recommended based on inflation.

    • The final numbers are a result of discussion among the Human Resources Development, Science and the Finance Ministries.

    • From next year there would be a system in place to ensure that stipends are revised annually.


    The Junior Research Fellowship, is a position which can be availed by qualifying national level exams conducted by agencies like UGC, CSIR, ICMR, DBT, ICAR-NET and GATE also enable the award if fellowship

    • It is offered to the eligible and selected candidates through written exams held twice a year as their stipend for doctoral studies or for their assistance in various projects.

    • Junior Research Fellowship (JRF) is hence a fellowship program offered by government to assist projects and do Phd simultaneously.

    Related Fellowship Programme

    Senior Research Fellowship

    Image result for senior research fellowship

    • After getting 2 years experience in JRF , one becomes a Senior Research Assistant.

    • Research Assistant : A research assistant is a researcher employed, often on a temporary contract, by a university or a research institute, for the purpose of assisting in academic research.

    Benefit of the Hike

    The hike will directly benefit over 60,000 research fellows and also provide a template to the States to consider increase in their fellowship rates

    Concern of Research Investment in India

    In spite of being a leading scientific power in terms of research publications, India spends only about 0.7% of its GDP on research and development, which is much lower than countries of comparable scientific prowess.

    PAPER – 3

    Topics Covered

    1. Conservation of the Environment

    2. Science and Technology

    Global Warming also caused by Cow Urine

    What to read?

    Prelims – What is Global Warming?

    Mains – Highlights of the Study

    Most times, when cow urine is used in degraded pastures, which are also seen in vast tracts of land in India, N2O emissions are tripled, says a study conducted in Colombia, Argentina, Brazil, Nicaragua, Trinidad and Tobago, and published in the latest edition of the peer-reviewed Scientific Reports .

    Global Warming

    A gradual increase in the overall temperature of the earth's atmosphere generally attributed to the greenhouse effect caused by increased levels of carbon dioxide, CFCs, and other pollutants.

    N2O Emissions and Global Warming

    • Nitrous oxide does not have a local environmental impact. On a global scale however it does contribute to global warming and is the third most important greenhouse gas in the UK.

    • Although relatively small amounts are released, it has a high "global warming potential" Nitrous oxide also damages the ozone layer, thus reducing the protection offered from harmful UV sun rays.

    Image result for n2o sources

    Cow Urine and N2O

    The urine from the ruminant is a source of nitrous oxide emissions (N2O), a gas that is 300 times more powerful than carbon dioxide.

    Related Information - That cattle and livestock are a significant source of methane, a greenhouse gas, and therefore a contributor to global warming.

    Highlights of the study

  • For the study, researchers collected urine from cattle and spilled 500 millilitre samples on paired cattle fields classified as degraded or healthy, which was determined by vegetation coverage.

  • In six of the seven test sites, degraded pastures emitted significantly more N2O — sometimes up to three times as much. The study was conducted by the International Centre for Tropical Agriculture (CIAT), Colombia.

  • Degraded grasslands emitted more N2O than healthy pastures because the vegetation in the latter took up some of the reactive nitrogen compounds and only the leftovers were emitted.

  • This study adds to the case for land restoration. Degraded pastures not only affect food security and the livelihood of farmers today, but affect the livelihood of future farmers because they emit more gases that cause global warming

  • India and the case of concern

    • Dung and urine are commonly mixed together for manure in Indian fields.

    • India also hosts the world’s largest livestock population, as well as significant tracts of degraded land, the findings may have a bearing on nitrogen emissions from Indian fields.

    (A 2012 satellite study by the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) said that about 30% of India’s geographical area (or about 96.4 million hectares) is degraded.

    Need of the hour in India

    Studies like these are probably needed and useful for Indian livestock emission studies. India have very limited research on this.

    Related Organisations

  • International Centre for Tropical Agriculture - The International Centre for Tropical Agriculture is a not-for-profit research and development organization dedicated to reducing poverty and hunger while protecting natural resources in developing countries.

    • It is based in Palmira, Colombia. Over 300 scientists work there.

    Related image

    Vision of CIAT

    • A sustainable food future through

  • Providing high-quality and safe food to consumers by boosting productivity and enhancing the nutritional quality of crops.

  • Making smallholder agriculture more competitive, inclusive, and market oriented through improvements in agricultural value chains and sustainable practices.

  • Scaling up investments in agriculture and agro-ecosystem sustainability by enabling policy decisions.

  • 2. International Nitrogen Initiative - The International Nitrogen Initiative (INI) is an international program, set up in 2003 under sponsorship of the Scientific Committee on Problems of the Environment (SCOPE) and from the International Geosphere-Biosphere Program (IGBP).

    Image result for ini nitrogen

    The key aims of the INI are to:

    • optimize nitrogen’s beneficial role in sustainable food production, and

    • minimize nitrogen’s negative effects on human health and the environment resulting from food and energy production.

    The program is currently a sustained partner of Future Earth.

    PAPER – 3

    Topics Covered

    1. Science and Technology

    2. Space Missions of India

    Human Space Flight Centre

    What to read?

    Prelims – About the HSFC and Gaganyaan Project

    ISRO launches Human Space Flight Centre in Bangalore.


    Image result for human space flight centre isro Image result for human space flight centre isro

    • The Human Space Flight Centre, which will be the hub of ISRO’s manned missions, was inaugurated at the ISRO headquarters in Bengaluru.

    • HSFC shall be responsible for implementation of GAGANYAAN Project which involves end-to-end mission planning, development of Engineering systems for crew survival in space, crew selection & training and also pursue activities for sustained human space flight missions.

    • HSFC will take support of the existing ISRO Centres to implement , the first development flight of GAGANYAAN under Human Space Flight Programme.

    • Dr. S Unnikrishnan Nair is  the founder Director of HSFC and Shri R Hutton is the Project Director of GAGANYAAN project.

    Related Project – Gaganyaan

    • Gaganyaan is India’s first Human Space Flight Programme to be launched by Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) by 2022.

    • The programme will make India the fourth nation in the world to launch a Human Spaceflight Mission. So far, only the USA, Russia and China have launched human spaceflight missions.