Goaltide Daily Current Affairs 2021

Aug 23, 2021

Current Affair 1:
New Govt Data Points to Dangerous Groundwater Pollution in Punjab


New data that the Ministry of Jal Shakti has shared in parliament suggests that the problem may be out of hand.

According to the numbers, 16 districts in Punjab have more than the permissible amounts of uranium in their groundwater. There are also other heavy metals in dangerous concentrations: arsenic and chromium (beyond permissible limits in 10 districts each), cadmium (eight) and lead (six).

Reasons as stated by The Wire:

  1. The ultimate source of arsenic in the groundwater arises from the high Himalayan rocks and the Indo-Burman ranges. Minerals like biotite, magnetite, ilmenite, olivine, pyroxene and amphiboles contain arsenic. When they get weathered in the catchment area and in the deposits in alluvial plains, they release arsenic.
  2. This arsenic is absorbed by secondary minerals, such as iron hydroxides like goethite. Under oxidising conditions, the arsenic is immobile and remains sequestered in the iron hydroxides. However, when these sediments encounter organic-rich reducing conditions, the bacterial reduction of iron releases arsenic into groundwater.
  3. During the Pleistocene age, the high Himalayas were glaciated. Important sources of arsenic, like the Indus ophiolite belt and the high-grade gneisses, were covered in ice and couldn’t release sediments. As a result, a lesser amount of arsenic made its way onto the alluvial plains.

Other states

Punjab is not alone facing ground water pollution. The Ministry of Jal Shakti also revealed that as on July 23, 2021, 47,873 rural habitations around India had reported quality issues with drinking water sources.

The most affected state appears to be Assam, where 1,194 villages have reported arsenic contamination in the groundwater, while 19,745 rural habitations have reported excess iron as well. Similarly, 1,358 villages in Rajasthan have reported fluoride contamination.


Current Affair 2:
Geo-Tourism in Northeast


Recently, the Geological Survey of India (GSI) has identified certain geological sites across the Northeast for promotion of geo-tourism.

First understand Geo Tourism:

The National Geographic Society defines Geo-tourism as “tourism that sustains or enhances the geographical character of a place—its environment, culture, aesthetics, heritage, and the well-being of its residents.”

Geological Survey of India (GSI) is the parent body which is making efforts towards identification and protection of geo-heritage sites/national geological monuments in the country.

It was set up in 1851 primarily to find coal deposits for the Railways. Presently, GSI is an attached office to the Ministry of Mines.

The main functions of the GSI relate to creation and updating of national geo-scientific information and mineral resource assessment.


Of the 12 sites in the Northeast, three are in Meghalaya, two each in Assam and Tripura, and one each in Arunachal Pradesh, Manipur, Mizoram, Nagaland and Sikkim.

Just see once all.

Current Affair 3:
Euroclear Framework for investment


Till now when any foreign investors wanted to invest in Indian Govt. securities, they had to register as Foreign Portfolio Investors (FPIs) and had to list and trade their bonds in India (Indian bond market).

But now, RBI is going to allow another channel/route through which foreign investors can invest in Indian Govt. securities. Now the foreign investors can invest in Indian Govt. securities through a foreign platform called "Euroclear". So now they will not have to come to the Indian markets and register as FPIs which requires lot of formalities.

More investment by foreigners in the Govt. of India bonds will lead to lesser interest rate on bonds (means Govt. will be able to raise cheap money) and hence lesser yield and this will also increase liquidity (more trade and easily conversion into cash) in Indian Govt. securities. This will deepen then debt/bond market of India and it’s a step towards moving to capital account convertibility also.

When foreign investors will be investing through this new route, still the money will be coming to India (Govt. of India) and it will be treated as Govt. of India external debt.

Current Affair 4:
Adopt a Heritage Scheme


Recently, the Narayankoti temple (Uttarakhand) has been included under the Centre's Adopt a Heritage project.

About the scheme:

The Ministry of Tourism, Government of India has launched the “Adopt a Heritage: Apni Dharohar, Apni Pehchaan” project which is a collaborative effort by the Ministry of Tourism, Ministry of Culture, Archaeological Survey of India and State/ UTs Government for developing tourism amenities at heritage/ natural/ tourist sites spread across India for making them tourist friendly, in a planned and phased manner.

The project aims to encourage companies from public sector, private sector, corporate citizens, NGOs, individuals and other stakeholders to become ‘Monument Mitras’ and take up the responsibility of developing and upgrading the basic and advanced tourist amenities at these sites as per their interest and viability in terms of a sustainable investment model under CSR.

This is not the first time the government has tried to rope in the corporate sector to help maintain tourist sites and monuments.

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