Goaltide Daily Current Affairs 2021

Feb 03, 2021

Current Affair 1:
World Wetlands Day

2 February each year is World Wetlands Day to raise global awareness about the vital role of wetlands for people and our planet. This day also marks the date of the adoption of the Convention on Wetlands on 2 February 1971, in the Iranian city of Ramsar on the shores of the Caspian Sea.

This year's theme for World Wetlands Day 'Wetlands and Water,' highlights the importance of wetlands as a source of freshwater and encourages action to restore them and stop their loss.

About Convention:

Ramsar Sites are the wetlands that have international importance. The term was coined when the International Treaty for the Conservation and Sustainable Use of Wetlands was signed at a city of Iran called Ramsar in 1971.

The Convention’s mission is “the conservation and wise use of all wetlands through local and national actions and international cooperation, as a contribution towards achieving sustainable development throughout the world”.

Under the three pillars of the Convention, the Contracting Parties commit to:

What do wetlands do?

Wetlands are being degraded and lost due to the increasing demands of the growing human population.

Over-exploitation of the remaining wetlands is increasingly threatening their capacity to provide essential services. To counter this, we must ensure the wise use of wetlands and of the water in them, restore degraded wetlands and create new ones if necessary, to regain the services we need.

  1. Wetlands store water and ensure its quality, providing resilience against drought.
  2. They protect against flooding and the impacts of storms.
  3. They provide food and other services such as transport and recreation.
  4. They provide diverse habitats which support genetic, species, and ecosystem biodiversity and play key roles in the life cycles of many species and in annual migration patterns.

How does the Convention work?

The Conference of the Contracting Parties (COP) meets every three years and promotes policies and guidelines to advance the objectives of the Convention.

Till today, total 13 COP meetings. India has hosted none.

China was officially accepted as the host for the 14th Meeting of the Conference of the Contracting Parties to the Ramsar Convention on Wetlands (COP14) to take place in the city of Wuhan in 2021.

There are currently over 2,400 Ramsar Sites around the world.

If we talk about India,

India is a party to the Ramsar Convention. India signed under it on 1st February 1982. There are 42 Ramsar Sites in India.

Ramsar Sites in India – Latest Addition

In December 2020, the Tso Kar Wetland Complex was added to the list of Ramsar sites in India. This includes the high-altitude wetland complex of two connected lakes, Startsapuk Tso and Tso Kar, in Ladakh.

The following sites have been added as the recognized Ramsar Sites in India:

  1. Maharashtra – Lonar Lake
  2. Agra (Uttar Pradesh) – Sur Sarovar also called, Keetham Lake
  3. Uttarakhand – Asan Barrage
  4. Bihar – Kanwar Lake or Kabal Taal

Parties continue to designate wetlands for inclusion in the List. They select suitable wetlands for designation by referring to the Criteria for identifying Wetlands of International Importance.

There is total nine criteria:


Once see full list of Indian Ramsar sites. Ok, we know, you won’t see. See below:

Current Affair 2:
Plant Nano-bionics

Source Link

In a latest advancement in the emerging field of plant nanobionicsan experimental research that involves using electronic sensors on plants, engineers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) have managed to fit spinach plants with sensors that are capable of sending emails when toxic pollutants accumulate inside plants.

  1. Using a combination of carbon nanotubes and infrared cameras, the plant has been programmed to send an email whenever it senses the presence of toxic chemicals in the soil. The spinach roots can detect the presence of toxic material in groundwater.
  2. Toxic compounds called nitroaromatics, which are found in industrial emissions and explosives, often seep into the ground and enter plant bodies. When transpiration (water loss from leaves), occurs, these chemicals get accumulated in mesophylls — tissues present in the thick central part of leaves.
  3. The engineers had implanted single-walled carbon nanotubes equipped with fluorescent nano-sensors inside leaf mesophylls. When nitrogen dioxide, the toxic pollutant tested in the experiment, accumulated inside a leaf, a signal was emitted which in turn triggered a pre-programmed email alert.
  4. Since plants are quick to pick up and react to environmental changes, researchers have also said that plant nanobionics could be used to monitor the environment.

Microorganisms and bacteria present in the soil then break down this glucose, releasing more energy in the form of protons and electrons. This energy ultimately triggers a camera that takes a ‘selfie’ of the plant.

Such release of energy also leads the plant to function as a fuel cell, and theoretically a more promising, clean source of energy, especially for vehicles.

Current Affair 3:
Lingaraj temple demolition

Source Link


Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) has sought inquiry into demolitions by Bhubaneswar Development Authority (BDA) around the 12th century Lingaraj temple.

According to the ASI, it is the custodian of the Lingaraj shrine, which is protected under the Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Sites and Remains Act (AMASR Act). Local municipal officials did not take permission before carrying out the demolitions.

One thing important:

The State government had not sought any permission from the ASI to execute a beautification project, which is mandatory under the Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Sites and Remains Act (AMASR Act).



Lingaraj Temple

  1. Lingaraj Temple, built in 11th century AD, is dedicated to Lord Shiva and is considered as the largest temple of the city Bhubaneswar.
  2. It is believed to have been built by the Somvanshi King Yayati I.
  3. The main tower of this temple measures 180-feet in height.
  4. It is built in red stone and is a classic example of Kalinga style of architecture.

The temple is divided into four sections?Garbh Griha (sanctum sanctorum), Yajna Shala (the hall for prayers), Bhoga Mandap (the hall of offering) and the Natya Shala (hall of dance).

Current Affair 4:
MGNBREGA helped in Rural Employment during COVID-19

In the ‘Study of State Budgets Report – 2020’, the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) observed that lack of employment opportunities during lockdown has resulted in an increase in the work demanded under Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MNREGA) during May-June’2020, compared to the same period in previous years.

The increased demand under MNREGA & budgetary allocation indicated the government’s reliance on this scheme to provide rural employment in the face of unemployment as a result of the pandemic induced lockdown. Meanwhile, in the latest Budget 2021-22, the government reduced allocation under MNREGA for 2021-22 to Rs.73 thousand crores, down from the revised estimate of Rs. 1.11 lakh crores in 2020-21.

In this context, we take a look at the numbers relating to MGNREGA during the current financial year 2020-21 and analyses the trends in comparison to the previous years to understand how the MNREGA came to the rescue of the government to provide increased rural employment in the face of the pandemic induced lockdown.

  1. As per the data provided on the MGNREGA portal, a total of 323.19 crore person-days of work was generated during the 10-month period of April-January of 2020-21. During the same period in 2019-20, the person-days generated was only 220.26 crores.
  2. The exponential increase in MGNREGA during 2020-21 can be correlated to the COVID-19 situation in the country where there was a large-scale reverse migration to the rural parts of the country from cities & towns.
  3. Meanwhile, the number of Households registered under MGNREGA averaged around 2.25 crores per month during April-January of 2020-21. During the same period, the monthly average of households covered in 2019-20 was around 1.52 crores.

  1. In May 2020, the number of person-days of employment under MGNREGA across India was 56.93 crores compared to 36.94 crores the previous year. Similarly, the total number of person-days of employment during June 2020 was 64.06 crores, nearly double of 32.13 crores the previous year.

  1. Households gaining employment under MGNREGA reached record highs in 2020-21
  2. West Bengal, UP, MP, Bihar & Odisha among the states with a great increase in MNREGA employment in 2020-21


Now, since the government has reduced the budget, this could mean that the government anticipates a return to normalcy in employment levels and that the dependence on MGNREGA would reduce. But as per the current situation of the economy, it would be advisable for the Government to continue increased support under MGNREGA and create opportunities for more workdays at the household level till the situation improves.

Hope, you all know about MGNREGA

MGNREGA, which is the largest work guarantee programme in the world, was enacted in 2005 with the primary objective of guaranteeing 100 days of wage employment per year to rural households.  Secondly, it aims at addressing causes of chronic poverty through the 'works' (projects) that are undertaken, and thus ensuring sustainable development.  Finally, there is an emphasis on strengthening the process of decentralization through giving a significant role to Panchayati Raj Institutions (PRIs) in planning and implementing these works.

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