Daily GK Update: 31st January 2020

Indian Air Force successfully tests bio-jet fuel

  • An Indian Air Force (IAF) aircraft, A-32, successfully took off from Kushok Bakula Rimpochee Airport in Leh on January 31 using 10 per cent blend of Indian bio-jet fuel.
  • The fuel was developed by the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research-Indian Institute of Petroleum (CSIIR-IIP) in 2013 and certified for commercial use. But due to lack of concurrent aviation test facilities in the country it was not tested. Later, in 2018, IAF sponsored this project and channelled its resources to test the bio-fuel.
  • This is the first time that both engines of the aircraft were powered by the bio-jet indigenous fuel. The test was conducted by a team of pilots from Aircrafts and Systems Testing Establishment in Bengaluru. Pilots from operational squadron were also part of the test.

Source: News Meter

Economic Survey suggests revision of rates and coverage under NFSA

  • The prices of subsided foodgrains available through ration shops should be revised to lower the food subsidy bill, which has been mounting every year. The Economic Survey 2019-20 suggested that the rates of food grains under National Food Security Act needs to be revisited.
  • “The rates fixed under the NFSA initially for a period of three years have not been revised since 2013, resulting in burgeoning food subsidy,” the survey said.

Source: Economic Times

First Banana Container Train sent to JNPT for Exports

  • Agricultural and Processed Food Products Export Development Authority(APEDA), along with State Government of Andhra Pradesh and one of the largest member exporter of banana, dispatched the first shipment of 890 MTs of high quality bananas,loaded in 43 refrigerated containers,from Tadipatri, Anantpur in Andhra Pradesh to Jawaharlal Nehru Port (JNPT) in Mumbai yesterday for export to international markets.
  • Government of India under Agri Export Policy has notified banana cluster in Anantpur and Kadapa districts of Andhra Pradesh. The exporting company has been able to change the package of practices by providing expertise and technology to help banana growers in Andhra Pradesh for enhancing the quality of banana production.

Source: Press Information Bureau

Vidya Bal, veteran social activist and feminist writer no more

  • Stalwart social activist, feminist writer and journalist Vidya Bal, who was a tireless crusader for gender equality, passed away at a private nursing home in Pune on Thursday. She was 83.
  • According to sources, she was unwell for the past month and had been undergoing treatment.
  • Active in the social field for more than half a century, Bal was a towering personality in Maharashtra’s progressive milieu, articulating her ‘socialist feminism’ through her trenchant journalism in magazines such as Stree (‘Woman’) and Miloon Saryajani (‘All of us together’), which she founded in 1989.

Source: The Hindu

ISRO readying for low cost satellite launch vehicles

  • The Indian Space Research Organisation is readying low-cost satellite launch vehicles costing about Rs 30-35 crore each, which can put into orbit satellites weighing 500 kg.
  • The first such launch from the country is expected to take place in the next four months.
  • This capability will give ISRO a big commercial boost as it will be able to cater to micro, mini and medium segments of the market, Haridas T V, Deputy Director, Vikram Sarabhai Space Centre said, taking part in the panel discussions at ‘EDGE 2020, The Space Conclave’, here on Friday.
Source: The Economic Times

Amazon India partners with Eastern Railways to set up kiosk in Sealdah


  • Amazon India has entered into a partnership with Eastern Railways to set up a pick-up kiosk at the buzzing Sealdah railway station in Kolkata.
  • This follows after the successful pilot of pickup kiosks in four railway stations across Mumbai in 2019.
  • In a media release, Amazon said with a daily customer footfall of lakhs of people, Sealdah railway station will enable the company to provide a secure and convenient delivery option for Amazon customers in the region who want to pick up their packages while commuting to work, home or even on vacation. Customers can select this point as a pickup location on the checkout page of their order while shopping on the marketplace, it said.

Source: The Economic Times

Economic Survey 2020 tabled in the Parliament by the Finance Minister

  • Nirmala Sitharaman, Finance Minister, tabled the Economic Survey of India 2020 in the Parliament on Friday. It pegged FY21 GDP growth at 6 to 6.5 per cent.
  • Industrial growth was estimated at 2.5% and Agriculture at 2.8%. The survey highlighted the fact that 2.62 crore new jobs were created in rural and urban areas between 2011-12 and 2017-18. It said that FY20 tax collections are expected to be lower than the estimates. To achieve Modi govt’s $ 5 trillion economy ambition, Economic Survey put the spotlight on its theme of ethical wealth creation. This market enabled wealth creation is can benefit all.

Source: Financial Express

Growing steel demand in India to increase carbon emissions by 600 MT: TERI

  • India’s steel demand is likely to more than quadruple in the next 30 years, resulting in rise in carbon dioxide emissions by around 600 million tonnes, a report by the think-tank The Energy and Resources Institute (TERI) said on Thursday.
  • The report, released on the second day of the 20th edition of World Sustainable Development Summit 2020, a TERI flagship event, said the CO2 emissions from India’s steel sector could increase up to 837 million tonnes (MT) by 2050 if steel demand continues to grow, “having serious implications for the environment through its contribution to climate change.”

Source: Business Standard

Google’s new AI model ‘listens’ to killer whales to help protect the species

  • Google‘s AI team has developed a new model to protect the endangered species of killer whales known as orcas in the Salish Sea.
  • According to the Center for Whale Research, there are only 73 Southern Resident orcas — a subspecies of the killer whale — left in the world. So Google has teamed up with Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO) to monitor their condition and alert experts in the event of sickness or accidents across 12 locations.

Source: The Next Web

CII celebrates 125 years; Tamil Nadu CM launches new scheme at the event

  • The Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) is celebrating its 125th birth anniversary in the year 2020.
  • The Journey of CII began as Engineering and Iron Trades Association (EITA) in 1895.
  • Later the Engineering Association of India that was established in 1942 merged with EITA to form the Association of Indian engineering Industry (AIEI) in 1974.

Soruce: The World News Monitor

India’s Rani Rampal nominated for ‘World Games Athlete of the Year’ award

  • Rani Rampal, the captain of the Indian women’s hockey team, has been nominated for the ‘World Games Athlete of the Year’ award by the International Hockey Federation (FIH).
  • Twenty-five athletes have been nominated for this award from their respective sports by their international federations. The FIH has recommended Rani’s name for her outstanding performances and her ability to lead by example, Hockey India said in a statement. “We at Hockey India are elated by the news of Rani being nominated for the World Games Athlete of the Year 2019. She indeed is a huge inspiration to many in the country and has made her own mark in the sport,” stated Mohd. Mushtaque Ahmad, president, Hockey India.
  • The winner will be decided by online voting which closes on January 30.

Source: Sportstar

WHO declares coronavirus outbreak a global health emergency

  • The World Health Organization on Thursday declared the outbreak of a novel coronavirus a global health emergency, an acknowledgement of the risk the virus poses to countries beyond its origin in China and of the need for a more coordinated international response to the outbreak.
  • In making the announcement, WHO leaders urged countries not to restrict travel or trade to China, even as some have shut down borders and limited visas.
  • Late Thursday, the U.S. State Department increased its travel warning for China, saying people should avoid going to the country. In a tweet, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo cited the emergency declaration and the ongoing spread of the virus for the decision, despite what WHO leaders said about travel policies.

Source: Statnews.com