Goaltide Daily Current Affairs

Jan 26, 2020

Current Affair 1:
Corruption Perception Index 2019

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India’s ranking in CPI 2019 has slipped from 78 to 80 in a period of one year. The main reason attributed has been the “Unfair and Opaque political funding”.

What is Corruption Perception Index?

The Corruption Perceptions Index ranks 180 countries and territories by their perceived levels of public sector corruption, according to experts and business- people.

Who releases the report? Transparency International.

To end corruption and restore trust in politics, it is imperative to prevent opportunities for political corruption and to foster the integrity of political systems. Transparency International recommends below given 7 points:

Current Affair 2:
Yellow rust in wheat crop causes alarm in Punjab and Haryana

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Rusts are caused by three different species of the fungi, Puccinia. Brown and yellow rusts are particularly important in the north-western India. Black rust appears quite late in these areas and normally do not cause substantial damage except in wheat fields sown very late.

However, black rust appears in severe form in southern, central and eastern India and cause significant damage.

Yellow Rust

Yellow rust disease of wheat, also known as stripe rust of wheat, is a disease caused by fungus Puccinia — frequently found in cold wheat growing regions such as North Western Plains Zone and Northern Hills Zone.

This infection, which causes reduction of kernel numbers per spike and decreases the weight of wheat kernels, is capable of causing up to 70 per cent decline in wheat yields.

Currently used wheat cultivars in India have a part of rye chromosome which confers resistance to yellow rust and powdery mildew disease. Over the years, the strains of fungus which can infect these resistant cultivars have become prominent and are spreading.

Although fungicides such as propiconazole, tebuconazole and triadimefon are being used to combat yellow rust of wheat, the imparting genetic resistance to plants is preferred as it is cheap, effective and eco-friendly way of fighting plant diseases.

Just for information what is disease cycle?

Stripe rust is caused by Puccinia fungus. The fungus is dispersed as wind-blown spores which produce new infections. This cycle is repeated many times during the cropping season causing epidemics to develop.

The fungus requires temperatures of less than 18°C (optimum 6-12°C) with a minimum of three hours of leaf-wetness (for example, dew) for new infections to occur. Once an infection is established the fungus can survive short periods of temperatures higher than 40°C.

Sufficient rust can survive the summer on volunteer or self-sown wheat plants resulting in a new epidemic to develop in the following season. Only one infected leaf per 30 ha of regrowth needs to survive the summer to produce severe epidemics. Stripe rust can also infect the developing head reducing grain number and size.

Current Affair 3:
Time limit on advance bail violates personal liberty: SC

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A five-judge Bench of the Supreme Court  cleared the confusion over whether the protection given to a person through anticipatory bail should exist for a fixed period.

What is Anticipatory Bail as per section 438 of CrPc?

Anticipatory bail is literally applied for ‘in anticipation of arrest'. It is a direction to release a person on bail, issued even before the person is arrested. If the accused has a reason to believe that he or she may be arrested on accusation of having committed a non-bail able offence, then he or she has the right to apply for an anticipatory bail in the Sessions Court or High Court.

It is also important to know whether, in cases where the FIR has been filed, the offence is bail able or non-bail able. While in the former bail in granted as a matter of right, the grant of bail in the latter is based on several contingencies.

Now, coming back to news?

Five Judge Constitution Bench ruled that the protection of anticipatory or pre-arrest bail cannot be limited to any time frame or “fixed period” as denial of bail amounts to deprivation of the fundamental right to personal liberty in a free and democratic country.

Question Referred to the Constitution Bench

  1. Whether the protection granted to a person under Section 438 should be limited to a fixed period till the accused surrenders in court?
  2. Whether the life of anticipatory bail should end when the accused is summoned by the court?

Reiterating the law laid down by a Constitution Bench of the Court back in 1980 in the case of Gurbaksh Singh Sibbia and others v. State of Punjab(Sibbia case), the Supreme Court has clarified:

  1. There is nothing in the Code of Criminal Procedure to indicate that the grant of pre-arrest/anticipatory bail should be time-bound.
  2. However, the concerned court has the discretion to impose conditions for the grant of anticipatory bail, including a limited duration of protection, on a case-to-case basis, depending on the stage at which the application for anticipatory bail is moved.
  3. As a normal rule, there should be no such time-limit imposed in granting the pre-arrest protection.
  4. The duration of an anticipatory bail order does not normally end when the accused is summoned by the court. However, it is open to the Court to impose additional restrictions if there are peculiar circumstances warranting the same.

Read few pronouncements:

Current Affair 4:
Four hydro projects violate Ganga flow norms: Central Water Commission

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News is: 4 of the 11 hydropower projects along the upper reaches of Ganga are violating the e-flow norms prescribed by CWC.

So, here we will try to understand the 2018 notification for the Environmental flows (e-flows) of Ganga issued by Indian Government. What notification says?

Indian Government in October 2018 issued a notification for the Environmental flows (e-flows) of Ganga with an aim to maintain the natural pattern of the river flow.

What is e-flow? E-flows are a regime of flow in a river that mimics the natural pattern of the river's flows. It refers to the quality, quantity and timing of water flows required to maintain the components, functions, processes and resilience of aquatic ecosystems that provide goods and services to people. As per the notifications, in the dry season (November to March) the e-flow will be 20 per cent, in April to May it will be 25 per cent and from June to September it at 30 per cent of the monthly flow of high flow season.

The notification issued gave companies three years to modify their design plans, if required, to ensure that a minimum amount of water flowed during all seasons. Power producers generally hoard water to create reserves to increase power production.

Government advanced time period. Why??

In September, the government advanced this deadline, from October 2021 to December 2019. This was after it tasked the Central Water Commission (CWC) to ascertain actual flows and the amount of water present in the river through 2019. The report said:

There are 19 power projects along the river and of the 11 sites studied, eight were fully compliant. This was the reason cited by the government to advance the deadline as existing projects can easily comply with these norms.

Ok, we will also see the status of Hydropower energy.

Hydro power projects are generally categorized in two segments i.e. small and large hydro. In India, hydro projects up to 25 MW station capacities have been categorized as Small Hydro Power (SHP) projects.

  1. Micro: up to 100 KW
  2. Mini: 101KW to 2 MW
  3. Small: 2 MW to 25 MW
  4. Mega: Hydro projects with installed capacity >= 500 MW
  5. Thermal Projects with installed capacity >=1500 MW

While Ministry of Power, Government of India is responsible for large hydro projects, the mandate for the subject small hydro power (up to 25 MW) is given to Ministry of New and Renewable Energy.

At present, India has an installed power-generation capacity of 357,875 megawatts (MW), of which around 13% or 45,399.22 MW is generated through hydroelectric power projects. See the below chart:

India’s installed hydro capacity at the end of 2018 was around 45,400 MW, an annual growth of just 1%, the lowest since 2009. What’s more, between 2008 and 2018, hydel power’s share of India’s total installed electricity capacity has halved from 25% to 13%.

One more important point: Hydropower is called renewable source of energy because it uses and not consumes the water for generation of electricity, and the hydropower leaves this vital resource available for other uses.

Brisbane Declaration and Global Action Agenda on Environmental Flows (2018)


Environmental flows are essential to protect and restore freshwater-dependent aquatic ecosystems, and to deliver important and wide-ranging ecological services that, in turn, support cultures, economies, sustainable livelihoods, and well-being. Environmental flows have been compromised or are at risk in most aquatic systems around the world, and the cumulative global impacts on biodiversity, aquatic ecosystem health, ecological services, and society are severe. However, judicious use of water to better balance human and ecological needs can support biodiversity, resilient ecosystems, and socially valued ecological services, including those provided by modified and novel aquatic ecosystems.

The 2018 Declaration presents an urgent call for action to protect and restore environmental flows and aquatic ecosystems for their biodiversity, intrinsic values, and ecosystem services, as a central element of integrated water resources management.

Current Affair 5:
Ramsar Convention

We will cover today Ramsar in bit detail.

The Convention on Wetlands is the only international legal treaty with a primary focus on wetlands, signed in 1971 in the Iranian city of Ramsar and known as the Ramsar Convention. It came into force in 1975 and to date 170 countries have joined as Contracting Parties.

The wise use framework developed by the Convention provides a mechanism for ensuring that wetlands are incorporated into the global agenda for sustainable development, supporting initiatives relating to biodiversity, climate change, disaster risk reduction and land degradation.

The Convention defines wetlands rather broadly as “areas of marsh, fen, peatland or water, whether natural or artificial, permanent or temporary, with water that is static or flowing, fresh, brackish or salt, including areas of marine water the depth of which at low tide does not exceed six metres”.

Ramsar recognizes 42 wetland types in three categories: marine and coastal wetlands, inland wetlands and human-made wetlands.

Another key Ramsar concept is the ecological character of wetlands: “the combination of the ecosystem components, processes and benefits/ services that characterize a wetland at a given point in time”

Every three years, representatives of the governments of each of the Contracting Parties meet as the Conference of the Contracting Parties (COP), to agree on a work programme and budgetary arrangements for the next triennium and consider guidance on a range of ongoing and emerging environmental issues.

13th COP: he 13th Meeting of the Conference of the Contracting Parties to the Ramsar Convention on Wetlands (COP13) was held at the Festival Arena in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, from 21 to 29 October 2018.

14TH COP: 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.

The secretariat: It is based at the headquarters of the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) in Gland, Switzerland.


Now from India Perspective:

On the occasion of the first World Wetland Day of the new decade, India took the initiative to add 10 more wetlands to its pocketful of RAMSAR wetland sites, taking the total number of internationally-recognised wetlands to 37 sites.

The 10 new ones are Nandur Madhameshwar, a first for Maharashtra; Keshopur-Miani, Beas Conservation Reserve and Nangal in Punjab; and Nawabganj, Parvati Agra, Saman, Samaspur, Sandi and Sarsai Nawar in Uttar Pradesh. The other Ramsar sites are in Rajasthan, Kerala, Odisha, Madhya Pradesh, Himachal Pradesh, Assam, West Bengal, Jammu and Kashmir, Andhra Pradesh, Manipur, Gujarat, Tamil Nadu and Tripura.

Montreux Record

The Montreux Record is a register of wetland sites on the List of Wetlands of international importance where changes in ecological character have occurred, are occurring, or are likely to occur as a result of technological developments, pollution or other human interference and therefore in need of priority conservation attention.

It is maintained as part of the Ramsar List.


Loktak Lake (Manipur): Due to deforestation in the catchment area, infestation of water hyacinth and pollution. The construction of a hydroelectric power plant has caused the local extinction of several native fish species.

Keoladeo National Park: Water shortage and unbalanced grazing regime around it. The invasive growth of the grass and reducing its suitability for certain water-bird species, notably the Siberian Crane.

Current Affair 6:
Centre, Assam govt. sign accord with Bodo groups

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A landmark tripartite accord for final settlement of demands in Bodoland was signed on 27 January 2020. The same will pave the way for restoration of peace and development in the insurgency-ravaged areas of Bodoland.

In a significant step to end violence a tripartite agreement has been signed by the Bodos led by National Democratic Bodo Front, Central government and State government.

Genesis of the Bodoland Issue: very simple language.


  1. The northern most region of Assam, which lies on the northern bank of Brahmaputra River, adjoining the foothills of Bhutan and Arunachal Pradesh is predominantly inhabited by the Bodo people and serves as a gateway to the complete North Eastern region of India.
  2. The region is known to have an abundance of natural resources like oil, natural gas and Assam tea. However, due to lack of infrastructure and inapt road connectivity to major cities of Assam, the area lagged behind in terms of education, employment and development.
  3. After 1947, certain steps were taken by the government to safeguard the interests of Bodo people, like giving them the status of Scheduled Tribes (ST) and by the creation of tribal belts and blocks (for scheduled-tribes), which was a mechanism to protect farming and grazing lands mainly from rich landlord and illegal immigrants.
  4. However, by the early 1960s the Plains Tribals Council of Assam (PTCA), a political party representing Bodos and other plains tribal’s of Assam realized that tribal belts and blocks were gradually being acquired by rich landlords or new immigrants through illegal means.
  5. This problem got further aggravated when the Government of India decided to open the floodgates for refugees seeking asylum in India from East Pakistan (now Bangladesh), before its separation from Pakistan.
  6. Therefore, “THE ORIGINAL INHABITANTS OF THE REGION GOT MARGINALIZED” by the mass influx of many affluent and also, desperate outsiders. (At present the demographic orientation of the region comprises of just 28% Bodo, 20% Muslims, 15% Adivasis, and rest includes, Assamese, Bengali Hindus and non-Bodo tribes).
  7. In order to address this issue, in 1967, PTCA demanded a Union Territory status for an area to be carved out of Assam, called Udayachal. The proposed Udayachal map included mainly those areas that were known as tribal belts and blocks. However, the demand for Udayachal never materialized.
  8. The large size of Assam state, lack of political representation of Bodo people, rampant corruption that diverted financial packages meant for Bodo people from the Centre government, resulted in All Bodo Students’ Union (ABSU) and Bodo political parties jointly demanding a separate state, called Bodoland in late 1980s.

Understood genesis? Very good.

Steps taken to bring Peace.

  1. Bodoland Movement and Signing of Bodo Peace Accord-1993: The Bodoland Movement for an independent state of Bodoland formally started on 02 March 1987, under the leadership of ABSU leader Upendrenath Brahma. The ABSU created a political organisation called the Bodo Peoples’ Action Committee (APAC), and heightened its agitation for division of Assam 50:50.

Consequently, the first Bodo Accord was signed on 20 February 1993, which led to the creation of Bodo Autonomous Council (BAC). However, the accord soon collapsed due to a vertical split between the ABSU and the other political parties, which led to widespread violence and displacement of over 70,000 people.

  1. Bodo Peace Accord-2003 & Territorial Council Act-2003: Finally, after a series of rounds of deliberate and meaningful talks, the militant cadres laid down their arms and signed a second agreement with the government called the Bodo Accord-2003.

As per the provisions of this Accord, a Bodo Territorial Council (BTC) was established and a Bodo Territorial Areas Districts (BTAD) was created under the Sixth Schedule of the Constitution of India.

The aim of creating BTAD was to safeguard the interests of Bodo people and ensure their appropriate representation in socio-political decision-making processes in the region.

But clashed continued……why?

The Bodo Accord seeks to protect the rights of indigenous Bodo people, but at the same time allows Muslim settler (both legal and illegal) and non-Bodo tribes to freely acquire land in the BTAD. Non-Bodos and Muslims feel that Bodos, that comprise only 25 % of the total population, should not be given the authority to rule over and control three-fourth of the population in the BTAD.

However, Bodos feel that they are the largest tribal community out of the 34 other tribal communities of Assam and hence, cannot be neglected, exploited and discriminated against. SO, CLASHES CONTINUED….

Now today,

Major Highlights of the Bodoland Peace Accord- 2020

The Centre announced an economic bonanza for development of Bodoland areas to include a special package of Rs 900 crore. Besides, the government will assure the Bodo groups to safeguard the Bodo language and culture and Bodo language will now be an associate official language with Devanagari script in Assam.

In return, the militant factions will terminate all insurgency related activities and a total of 1550 NDFB cadres along with 130 weapons will surrender to the authorities in a ceremony on 30th January 2020.


Bodoland will now be named as Bodoland Territorial Region (BTR) and will have more administrative power.

Current Affair 7:
Brexit: its Implications for the World and India

Britain has officially left the European Union (EU) on 01 February 2020. This day marks a historic end to its 47-year-long membership of the world's largest trading bloc.

Creation of European Union

The Maastricht Treaty was signed on 07 February 1992, with the aim to integrate Europe by the European Community and came into effect from 01 November 1993.

The Maastricht Treaty, once it came into force in 1993, renamed the erstwhile European Economic Community as the European Community (EC) to indicate that it covered a wider range of aspects, rather than just economic policy. The EC existed in this form until it was abolished by the 2009 Treaty of Lisbon, which incorporated the EC's institutions into the European Union's wider framework and provided that the EU would "replace and succeed the European Community".

A total of 28 countries out of the total 51 countries in Europe signed the treaty to become a part of the European Union. The EU treaty provided for a European Parliament and European Council which consisted of representatives of the member states. EU members account for 16 per cent of world imports and exports, which accounts for the largest trading bloc in the world surpassing the United States of America. A total of 19 countries out of the 28 EU countries use similar currency, i.e. Euro.

Article 50 of Treaty of Lisbon

The Treaty of Lisbon was signed by the EU member states on 13 December 2007 and entered into force on 01 December 2009. The Treaty of Lisbon amended the Treaty of Maastricht and greatly formalized the functioning of the European Union, to include:

  1. Created a more powerful European Parliament, with a bicameral legislature alongside the Council of Ministers.
  2. Consolidated legal personality for the EU, with the creation of a long-term President of the European Council, representatives for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy.
  3. The Treaty also made the Union's bill of rights and the Charter of Fundamental Rights, legally binding.
  4. The Treaty for the first time gave member states the explicit legal right to leave the EU and a procedure to do so.

The provisions to leave the EU have been cited in Article 50 of the Treaty of Lisbon. Once the proceedings of Article 50 have been initiated, there is a two-year time period to negotiate the arrangements for exit.

Implications of Brexit for India

  1. It is believed that Brexit, may have some positive implications for India. Existing from EU will compel UK to develop closer bilateral economic ties and Free Trade Agreements with emerging economies of Asia, like India and China.
  2. United Kingdom is believed to be relatively more flexible and commercially open when compared with the highly regulated EU. Thus, bilateral trade will have greater scope and lesser encumbrances.
  3. India is one of the top investors in the UK, with about 800 odd Indian-owned companies in the country, e.g. Jaguar Land Rover is owned by the Tata group. These companies employ roughly 110,000 people. Hence, Britain will look at India as a major post-Brexit trading partner.
  4. The UK is the third largest source of foreign direct investment in India and India’s largest G20 investor. UK and Europe together account for over-a-quarter of the country’s IT exports, worth around $30bn.
  5. Conversely, India is the third largest source of FDI to the UK in terms of numbers of projects. India invests more in the UK than in the rest of Europe combined, emerging as the UK’s third largest FDI investor.
  6. Some of the key sectors attracting Indian investment include healthcare, Agro-tech, food, and drink.
  7. It is interesting to note that the UK is also among just seven in 25 top countries with which India enjoys a trade surplus.


India will stand to gain from the Brexit, because with a lower Pound value, Indian companies may be able to acquire many hi-tech assets. Moreover, as investors look around the world for safe havens in these turbulent times, India still stands out both in terms of stability and of growth.

Britain will now be free to discuss a bilateral trade pact with India, which is bound to boost to trade ties between India and the UK.

Lastly, Brexit is good news for India students seeking higher education in Britain, who will not only find the fees and stay more affordable, but also will have higher probability of finding jobs. Britain will now need a steady inflow of talented workforce and English-speaking population of India, who have been suitably skilled by the industry in-situ will be able to meet the requirements of the employers.

Current Affair 8:
Asia-Pacific Group of FATF in Beijing cleared Pakistan on 14 out 27 actions

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Let FATF do whatever it wants to do. We will learn for our exam.

  1. What is this FATF.
  2. What does it mean if it puts any country in Grey List or Blacklist?

In response to mounting concern over money laundering, the Financial Action Task Force on Money Laundering (FATF) was established by the G-7 Summit that was held in Paris in 1989.

The objectives of the FATF are to set standards and promote effective implementation of legal, regulatory and operational measures for combating money laundering, terrorist financing and other related threats to the integrity of the international financial system.  The FATF is therefore a “policy-making body” which works to generate the necessary political will to bring about national legislative and regulatory reforms in these areas.

The FATF's decision making body, the ‘FATF Plenary’, meets three times per year. 

The FATF Secretariat supports the substantive work of the FATF membership and global network. The Secretariat is located at the OECD Headquarters in Paris.

To achieve global implementation of the FATF recommendations, the FATF relies on a strong global network of 9 FATF-Style Regional Bodies (FSRBs), in addition to its own 38 members. Among these 9 FSRBs, India is a member of two: Asian Pacific Group and Eurasian Group.

Pakistan is not a member of FATF. It is member of only Asia Pacific Group

This Asia Pacific Group for terror financing & Money Laundering (APG) has only put Pakistan on its “Enhanced Expedited Follow up list” or in other words “Blacklist” for its non-compliance towards Terror Financing & Money Laundering.

What is Grey List and Blacklist?

 FATF maintains two different lists of countries: those that have deficiencies in their anti-money laundering and counter terrorist financing (AML/CTF) regimes but they commit to an action plan to address these loopholes, and those that do not end up doing enough. The former is commonly known as grey list and later as blacklist.

Once a country is blacklisted, FATF calls on other countries to apply enhanced due diligence and counter measures, increasing the cost of doing business with the country and in some cases severing it altogether. As of now there are only two countries were in the blacklist — Iran and North Korea.

Current Affair 9:
Archaea Microorganism

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Recently, scientists at the National Centre for Microbial Resource under National Centre for Cell Science (NCMR-NCCS) in Pune have reported a new archaeon, which they discovered in Sambhar Salt Lake in Rajasthan.

Why it matters

Archaea (singular archaeon) are a primitive group of microorganisms that thrive in extreme habitats such as hot springs, cold deserts and hypersaline lakes. These slow-growing organisms are also present in the human gut and have a potential relationship with human health. They are known for producing antimicrobial molecules, and for antioxidant activity with applications in eco-friendly waste-water treatment.

Archaea are extremely difficult to culture due to challenges in providing natural conditions in a laboratory setting

Current Affair 10:
Introduction of African Cheetah in India.

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African Cheetah from Namibia can be introduced in India, the Supreme Court said on January 28, 2020. Court has now allowed to initiate the re-introduction of foreign Cheetahs into the Palpur Kuno sanctuary in Madhya Pradesh. The apex court had earlier stayed any such relocation, stating that there was no scientific study to show that re-introduction of cheetahs and lions in Madhya Pradesh's Kuno-Palpur Wildlife Sanctuary would be successful. 

For the first time since 1948, India will be home to all of the big cat species in the Old World: tigers, lions, leopards, snow leopards and – now – cheetahs. India’s last spotted cheetah died in 1947 and the animal was declared extinct in the country in 1952.

Current Affair 11:
New material created to clean up fossil fuel industry

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Researchers at the University of Sydney have created a new material that has the potential to reduce CO2 emissions released during the refinement process of crude oil by up to 28 percent. Silica-alumina materials (learn this) are among the most common solid acids that have been widely commercialized as ef?cient and environmentally friendly catalysts in the petrochemical and bio-re?nery industries.

In a world first, a team of researchers at the University of Sydney led by Associate Professor Jun Huang, have produced a new amorphous silica-alumina catalyst with stronger acidity than any other silica-alumina material created before. This new catalyst can significantly reduce the amount of CO2 emitted by oil refineries, which has the potential to make the fossil fuel industry much greener and cleaner.

Current Affair 12:
Global Social Mobility Index

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The World Economic Forum’s Global Social Mobility Index provides a new, holistic assessment of 82 global economies according to their performance on five key dimensions of social mobility distributed over 10 pillars: 1. Health; 2. Education (access, quality and equity, lifelong learning); 3. Technology; 4. Work (opportunities, wages, conditions); 5. Protection and Institutions (social protection and inclusive institutions).





Current Affair 13:
Living Robots: Xenobots

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Why in News

Scientists in the United States have created the world’s first “living robots” named “xenobots”.

The tiny robots have been built from the cells of the African clawed frog. Scientists have repurposed living cells scraped from frog embryos and assembled them into entirely new life-forms. The robots have been named after the species of aquatic frog Xenopus laevis, found across sub-Saharan Africa from Nigeria and Sudan to South Africa.

Current Affair 14:
India-Togo Relations

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Recently, the Togolese Republic (also known as Togo) and India has come together for the development of about 300 MW Solar Power Projects in Dapaong and Mango.

National Thermal Power Corporation (NTPC) Limited will be the Project Management Consultant (PMC) for the projects. Togo is the first International Solar Alliance (ISA) country to avail the services of NTPC.

Current Affair 15:
Nagoba Jatara

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A month-long Nagoba Jatra festival has come to an end in Telangana. Nagoba Jatara is a tribal festival held in Adilabad district, Telangana, thus the festival is also known as Keslapur Jatara.

It is a huge religious and cultural event of the Boigutta branch of Mesram clan of the aboriginal Raj Gond and Pradhan tribes.



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