The Pakistan Army is conducting a month-long exercise code-named ‘Jidar-ul-Hadeed’ in the Thar Desert, intending to prepare for conflict in extreme desert environments
Recently a multinational naval exercise is also scheduled by Pakistan, named Aman-2021, in the Arabian Sea. Forty-five countries, including the USA, Russia, China, and Turkey, will be a part of the exercise.
About Thar Desert
From where did the name derive?
The name is derived from “thul,” the general term used for sand ridges.
What is the exact location of the desert?
After the partition in 1947, the desert is partly located in Pakistan and India, respectively. It is located in Rajasthan state, north-western India, and in Punjab and Sindh provinces, eastern Pakistan.
The Thar Desert covers over 2,00,000 sq. km and creates a boundary along the border between India and Pakistan.
The arid region consists of aeolian (wind-deposited) sand accumulated over the past thousands of years.
The desert consists of high and low dunes separated by sandy plains and low barren hills that rise abruptly from the surrounding plains.
The Indus River basin borders it to the west (Pakistan), the Punjab Plain to the north and northeast (in India and Pakistan), the Aravalli Range to the southeast (Rajasthan, India), and the Rann of Kachchh (Gujarat, India) to the south.
The subtropical desert climate there results from persistent high pressure at that latitude. The southwest monsoon winds tend to bypass the Thar to the east.
The desert also comprises Saline Lakes
Salt Lake beds (Playas), locally known as “dhands,” can found throughout the region.
Flora and Fauna
Plants like cactus, neem, khejri, Acacia nilotica, polygonoides, Capparis decidua, etc., can grow in such climatic conditions. They all can accommodate themselves to high or low temperatures.
Animals like a leopard, the chinkara, the Bengal desert fox, the Blackbuck, several reptile species, etc., are found in the desert.
Scholars have recently discovered three fossils of the ancient living animal
Scholars have recently discovered three fossils of the ancient living animal considered to be the earliest animal, the 550-million-year-old ‘Dickinsonia’ on the Bhimbetka Rock Shelters’ roof. The fossils were found at the top of the Auditorium Cave at Bhimbetka Rock Shelters
In 2018, an international team of scholars discovered the world’s oldest fossil of Dickinsonia, which first appeared around 550 million years ago. Current fossil evidence is as old as 100 million years from Dickinsonia.
Period and Area:
It is expected to live during the late Ediacaran period in Australia, Russia, and Ukraine.
The animal’s body resembled tubes, fronds, or even thin, quilted pillows; they bore a scant similarity to animals’ anatomy today.
According to some experts, it belongs to the fungi or even an “extinct kingdom.”
The discovery of cholesterol molecules supports the theory of Dickinsonia being an animal.
It is further confirming the assembly of Gondwanaland by the 550 Ma (mega annum).
About Bhimbetka Caves:
– The Bhimbetka rock shelters are an archaeological site in Madhya Pradesh. India spans the prehistoric Palaeolithic and Mesolithic periods, as well as the historic period.
– It represents the earliest pieces of evidence of human life in India and proof of the Stone Age.
– It is also a UNESCO World Heritage Site that is distributed over 10 km. The heritage site consists of seven hills and over 750 rock shelters.
– The Bhimbetka rock shelters were found in the late 1950s.
– It is situated in the foothills of the Vindhya Mountains between Hoshangabad and Bhopal in Raisen District in Madhya Pradesh.
About the discovered painting:
Some of the Bhimbetka rock shelters are about 10,000 years old (c. 8,000 BCE):
Most of these are carved in red and white on the cave walls.
Multiple themes were covered in this form of rock art depicting day-to-day activities of the people ranging from singing, dancing, hunting, and other everyday activities.
The oldest of the cave paintings found in Bhimbetka is considered to be about 12,000 years old.
An updated version of the Indian Sign Language Dictionary released
The third edition of the Indian Sign Language (ISL) Dictionary was released by the Union Minister for Social Justice and Environment Thaawarchand Gehlot.
Who developed the dictionary?
The Indian Sign Language Research & Training Centre has developed the dictionary under the supervision of the Department of Empowerment of Persons with Disabilities (Divyangjan) of the Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment.
About the Dictionary:
- The dictionary was first brought on 23 Mar 2018 with 3000 terms.
- The second edition was launched in Feb 2019 with 6000 terms (including 3000 earlier terms)
- The third edition possesses 10000 terms, including earlier terms.
- Terms refer to academic terms, administrative, legal terms, medical terms, technical terms, and agriculture terms.
- The dictionary also consists of regional signs in a different part of the nation.
Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment:
Union Minister – Thaawarchand Gehlot
Minister of State – Krishan Pal Gurjar, Ramdas Athawale, and Rattan Lal Kataria.
An E-commerce platform to commence Electronic Devices Production
The Union Minister for Electronics and Information Technology, Communication and Law & Justice has conducted a meeting with Amazon. According to the Minister, the meeting was fruitful as Amazon is now ready to manufacture electronic devices in India. The e-commerce website will start production efforts with Cloud Network Technology (a contract manufacturer), a Foxconn subsidiary in Chennai, Tamil Nadu. Initially, the company will be focusing on the production of Fire TV Stick devices to cater to the growing demands of customers in India.
Chief Executing Officer & Founder – Jeff Bezos (as of 17 Feb 2021)
Headquarter – Seattle, Washington DC, India
Amazon India Head – Amit Agrawal
E-Chhawani portal and mobile app for residents of 62 Cantonment Board
Defence Minister Rajnath Singh has launched a portal and a smartphone application to provide civic services to 62 cantonment boards across the nation to serve more than 20 lakh residents. The portal is jointly innovated by Bharat Electronics Limited (BEL), Directorate General Estates (DGDE).
Geospatial data policy:
The Union Ministry of Science and Technology has notified new guidelines or regulations for the nation’s Geo-spatial sector. These regulations guide existing protocol and set the sector free to a more competitive environment.
- The provision of prior approvals of surveying, mapping, and construction applications has been deregulated.
- Other important procedures like security clearances and licenses for acquiring and making geospatial data and geospatial data services.
What are the advantages?
- The sector will boost as the new guidelines will promote innovation in the sector and allow competition between private and public entities.
- Employment generation, Start-up environment, and boosted economy are the other by-products of the step.
- The farmers will utilize the data received through geo-spatial and remote sensing.
- The process becomes easy as many regulations demanding permission, and surveys are null and void now.
What is Geo-Spatial Data?
- It is data that refers to any location on the surface of the earth.
- The examples of the locations are: a road, an earthquake event, a human, a moving vehicle, or a map of a place cropping of a particular farm produce, etc.
- It combines location information/data or temporal information/data.
What are the Applications of Geo-Spatial Data?
- To showcase/represent public interest information online.
- Numerous food delivery apps, e-commerce websites, transportation services, etc., utilize geo-spatial data in daily life.
Bangladesh’s administrative authorities have sent about 1 lakh Rohingya Muslims who fled from Myanmar and residing in Bangladesh to Bhasan Char island.
What is Bhasan Char island?
– It is an island developed particularly to accommodate 1 lakh Rohingyas out of 10 lakh Rohingyas who have come to Bangladesh from neighboring Myanmar.
– The Human Rights group has criticized the move as many of the refugees have been forced to go to the island against the Bangladeshi Government’s claim.
Who are Rohingya Muslims, and Why are they staying in Bangladesh?
– Rohingya Muslims are an ethnic group, consists of people from different castes but mostly Muslims.
– In Myanmar, they were termed as ‘resident foreigners or associate citizens.
– Ethnically they are similar to -Indo-Aryan people of India rather than the Sino-Tibetan of the Country.
WTO get its first women head
The World Trade Organization will be lead by Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala. She has become the first women’s head of the institution and the first African citizen to take charge of WTO head.
– It was established in 1995 (by replacing General Agreement on Trade and Tariffs, which was operation since 1946).
– The WTO was operational from 1 Jan 1995 under the Marrakesh Agreement signed by 123 nations in April 1994.
– India is a member of GATT since 1948 and is thus considered as one of the founding members.
About WTO Director-General:
– The WTO DG plays the advisory and managerial role.
– He/she supervises the WTO secretariat of consists of a staff of 700 members.
– He/she appoints WTO members.