Today’s Important Prelim Bits 11-05-2022 | UPSC Daily Current Affairs

Today’s Important Prelims Bits 11-05-2022

COP 15

In News: The 15th session of the Conference of the Parties (COP15) of the UN Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD) started in Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire, on May 09, 2022.

Theme: The 9 – 20 May event, themed “Land. Life. Legacy: From scarcity to prosperity,” aims to be a call to action to ensure that land, the bedrock of the planet, continues to benefit both present and future generations.

Focus Area:  Top on the Conference agenda are “drought, land restoration, and related enablers such as land rights, gender equality, and youth empowerment.” The summit will also explore links between land and other key sustainability issues, including the restoration of one billion hectares of degraded land between now and 2030, and future-proofing people against the impacts of disaster risks linked to climate change.

What do the Data Say?

  • According to the UN, up to 40 per cent of all ice-free land is degraded, with dire consequences for climate, biodiversity, and livelihoods.
  • More so, by 2050, business as usual will result in the degradation of a further 16 million square kilometers, with 69 gigatonnes of carbon emitted into the atmosphere.
  • Meanwhile, a recently-released UNCCD “Global Land Outlook” report shows that more than half of the global GDP (roughly $44 trillion USD) is moderately or highly reliant on natural capital, which includes land, water, and biodiversity.

About Save Soil Movement

  • Save Soil is a global movement launched by Sadhguru Sri Jaggi Vasudev, to address the soil crisis by bringing together people from around the world to stand up for Soil Health, and supporting leaders of all nations to institute national policies and actions toward increasing the organic content in cultivable Soil.
  • The spiritual leader, who is currently on a 100-day, 30,000-km lone motorcycle journey through Europe, Central Asia and the Middle East as part of the ‘Save Soil’ initiative, is the keynote speaker for the 15th session of the Conference of Parties (COP15) at UNCCD.
  • The Isha Foundation leader began his journey in London on 21 March, the Save Soil Movement has garnered global interest and support.
  • The Movement is supported by world leaders, leading environmental organizations and scientists, soil experts and several UN bodies. Political parties and leaders from more than 70 countries have already pledged to save soil in their countries.

Thrissur Pooram

In News: An unprecedented crowd, literally a sea of humanity, converged at the Thekkinkadu Maidan in the heart of Kerala’s Thrissur city to savour the fun and frolic of Thrissur Pooram on May 10, 2022.

About the Festival: A resplendent festival celebrated with a grand display of caparisoned elephants, dazzling parasols, and percussion music, the Thrissur Pooram is a magnificent spectacle merging the spiritual and cultural essence of Kerala.

When & Where?: Celebrated in the Malayalam month of medam (April-May), the pooram is held at the Thekkinkadu Maidanam in Thrissur.

Who Started?: Considered to be the mother of all poorams, this yearly temple festival was the brain child of Shakthan Thampuran, the Maharaja of Kochi, who organised the festival with the participation of 10 temples (Paramekkavu, Thiruvambadi Kanimangalam, Karamucku, Laloor, Choorakottukara, Panamukkampally, Ayyanthole, Chembukkavu, Neythilakavu).

Kudamattom ceremony: The festival sports an enthralling line-up of vibrantly decked up elephants and is marked by the kudamattom ceremony. Involving swift and rhythmic changing of brightly coloured and sequined parasols, the kudamattom ceremony is one among the highlights and is a keenly watched event.

Ilanjithara melam: a highly bewitching performance of traditional instruments which lifts the thousands gathered to a state of euphoria and bliss. Around 250 odd artistes participate in this traditional orchestra led by chenda artistes and the spirit is mirrored by the thousands of spectators who wave their hands in accordance to the rhythm generated by the chenda, kurumkuzhal, kombu and elathalam (traditional instruments of Kerala). The finale is marked by a grand fireworks show.

Defence investiture ceremony

In News: The President of India, Shri Ram Nath Kovind, presented Gallantry Awards and Distinguished Service Decorations at the Defence Investiture Ceremony held at Rashtrapati Bhavan on May 10, 2022.

Who Conducts? Section D(Ceremonials) of the Ministry of Defence is primarily responsible for conduct of national functions like the Republic Day Parade, Beating Retreat Ceremony, Martyrs’ Day and Independence Day Flag Hoisting Ceremony in coordination with various executing agencies.

Section D also organizes the Defence Investiture Ceremonies for the presentation of gallantry and distinguished service awards at Rashtrapati Bhawan in association with the President’s Secretariat.

About Gallantry Awards

  • Param Vir Chakra – For most conspicuous bravery or some daring or pre-eminent act of self sacrifice in the presence of the enemy.
  • Maha Vir Chakra – For conspicuous gallantry in the presence of the enemy.
  • Vir Chakra – For gallantry in the presence of the enemy.
  • Ashoka Chakra – For most conspicuous bravery or some act of daring or pre-eminent valour or self sacrifice otherwise than in the face of the enemy.
  • Kirti Chakra – For conspicuous gallantry other wise than in the face of the enemy.
  • Shaurya Chakra – For gallantry otherwise than in the face of the enemy.

About Distinguished Service Awards

  • Param Vishisht Seva Medal – For distinguished service of the most exceptional order.
  • Ati Vishisht Seva Medal – For distinguished service of an exceptional order.
  • Vishisht Seva Medal – For distinguished service of a high order.
  • Sarvottam Yudh Seva Medal – For distinguished service of the most exceptional order during War/conflict/hostilities.
  • Uttam Yudh Seva Medal – For distinguished service of an exceptional order during war/conflict/hostilities.
  • Yuddh Seva Medal – For distinguished service of a high order during war/conflict/hostilities .
  • Sena/Nao Sena/Vayu – Awarded for both i.e. courageous acts as well as Sena Medal for devotion to duty.(SM, NM, VM)

National Technology Day

In News: The Prime Minister, Shri Narendra Modi has expressed gratitude to our brilliant scientists and their efforts that led to the successful Pokhran tests in 1998.

About National Technology Day: National Technology Day is celebrated on May 11 every year to honour the contributions of India’s scientific community including scientists, researchers and engineers. The significance of the date lies in the series of technological advancements the country achieved on the day decades earlier. The first National Technology Day was observed in 1999.

About Pokhran Nuclear Test

  • On May 11, 1998, India broke into the small group of countries that hold nuclear weapons.
  • On that day, India successfully carried out nuclear tests at the army’s Pokhran test range in Rajasthan.
  • In doing so, India became the sixth country to join the ‘Nuclear Club’.
  • The tests were led by the late A P J Abdul Kalam, an aerospace scientist who went on to become India’s eleventh President.
  • The tests were the second instance of nuclear testing in India after the first, code-named “Smiling Buddha”, in 1974.

About Hansa-3

  • On the same day in 1998, India tested its first indigenous aircraft Hansa-3 which took flight in Bengaluru.
  • The aircraft was meant for surveillance, pilot training, and other reconnaissance purposes. The day also saw the successful test firing of the surface-to-air missile Trishul.

Technology Development Board (TDB)

  • Since 1999, the Technology Development Board (TDB)—a statutory body within the Department of Science and Technology at the Centre—has been celebrating the day by honouring technological innovations that have added to the national growth.
  • Each year the Board organises an event where the President of India confers awards to scientists for their contributions. Various seminars and workshops are also held.
  • The Board also decides a theme for National Technology Day each year. The theme for 2022 is “Integrated Approach in Science & Technology for Sustainable Future”. 

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