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Current Affairs – 28 April 2021

Current Affairs (28th April 2021)

Project DANTAK

Context:

  • Project DANTAK is commemorating its Diamond Jubilee in Bhutan.
  • It is one of the oldest Projects of the Border Roads Organisation (BRO).

About:

  • It was established on April 24, 1961 because of the visionary leadership of His Majesty the Third King and then Prime Minister Jawahar Lal Nehru.
  • DANTAK was tasked to construct the pioneering motorable roads in the Kingdom.
    • Over the years, the Project has completed approximately 1600 km of blacktopped roads and 120 km of tracks in Bhutan with 5000 meters of bridges over them.
  • DANTAK completed the road connecting SamdrupJongkhar to Trashigang in 1968. In the same year, Thimphu was connected to Phuentsholing by DANTAK. Many Bhutanese had also volunteered to work with DANTAK.
  • Some other notable projects executed by the project include the construction of Paro Airport, Yonphula Airfield, Thimphu – Trashigang Highway, Telecommunication & Hydro Power Infrastructure, Sherubtse College, Kanglung and India House Estate.
  • The medical and education facilities established by DANTAK in far flung areas were often the first in those locations.
  • Over 1,200 DANTAK personnel laid down their lives while constructing important infrastructure in Bhutan.

 

Chandler Good Government Index (CGGI)

Context:

  • Chandler Good Government Index (CGGI) has been recently released by the Chandler Institute of Governance.

Findings:

  • India has been ranked 49th in the Index. While, Finland has topped the list.
  • Sri Lanka 74th, Pakistan 90th and Nepal 92nd rank.
  • Seven of the top ten countries are in Europe, but there are four continents represented in the top ten, with Singapore first in Asia, New Zealand leading Oceania, and Canada foremost in the Americas.
  • All of the top ten countries are high-income, as defined by the World Bank.

About:

  • Chandler Institute of Governance is a private nonprofit organization headquartered in Singapore.
  • The Index classifies 104 countries in terms of government capabilities and outcomes.
  • Each country is measured across over 50 open data points. The index focuses on seven pillars:
    • Leadership and foresight.
    • Robust laws and policies.
    • Strong institutions.
    • Financial stewardship.
    • Attractive marketplace.
    • Global influence and reputation.
    • Helping people rise.
  • It supports government leaders and public officers worldwide in nation building and strengthening public institutional capacity through training, research, and advisory work.
  • It also shares tools and frameworks for effective policy making and empowers nations to provide better public services for citizens.
  • Good government is a deciding factor in whether nations succeed. CGGI shows why investing in strong government capabilities is vital to securing positive outcomes for citizens and businesses.

 

Vaccine-preventable infections

Context:

  • Global agencies like the World Health Organization (WHO), UNICEF and others have set a target of avoiding 50 million vaccine-preventable infections in this decade as part of a new immunisation programme.

About:

  • The programmes will extend immunisation services to 13 million such children. These constitute 65 per cent of more than 20 million infants who do not receive a full course of even basic vaccines and miss out on new vaccines.
  • The Immunisation Agenda 2030 (IA2030) launched during World Immunisation Week, also intends to reduce the number of zero-dose children by 50 per cent.
  • Zero-dose children are those who have received no vaccines through immunisation programmes.
  • The IA2030 is based on learnings from Global Vaccine Action Plan (GVAP). It also aims to address the unmet targets of the GVAP that were initially to be fulfilled as part of the global immunisation strategy of the ‘Decade of vaccines’ (2011–2020).
  • The new programme will focus on a ‘bottoms-up’ approach, in contrast to the GVAP that followed a ‘top-down’ one.
  • IA2030 calls for introducing booster doses for lifelong protection against diphtheria, pertussis and tetanus. It also states new approaches to reach unvaccinated children and resolve geographical inequalities.
  • The UN agencies aim to ensure through IA2030 that the benefits of immunisation are shared equitably among and within countries.
  • Vaccines will help us end the COVID-19 pandemic but only if we ensure fair access for all countries and build strong systems to deliver them.
  • The programme will give priority to populations that are not currently being reached, particularly the most marginalised communities, those living in fragile and conflict-affected settings and mobile populations, such as those moving across borders.
  • IA2030 will also provide a strong foundation for the global immunisation strategy in the decade 2021-2030.
  • This, in turn, will contribute to achieving the UN-mandated sustainable development goals or SDGs, specifically SDG3. Ensure healthy lives and promote well-being for all at all ages.

 

Armenians in 1915

Context:

  • S. President Joe Biden has officially recognised the mass killings of Armenians by Ottoman Turks in 1915-16 as an act of genocide.
Was it a genocide?

  • According to Article II of the UN Convention on Genocide of 1948, genocide has been described as carrying out acts intended “to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnic, racial or religious group”.

About:

  • The Armenian Genocide is called the first genocide of the 20th century.
  • It refers to the systematic annihilation of Armenians in the Ottoman Empire from 1915 to 1917.
  • Before the First World War (1914), there were 2 million Armenians in the Ottoman Empire.
  • Armenians were largely living in the eastern fringes of the Empire. The Ottoman Turks released the Turkish and Kurdish militias upon them.
  • Hundreds of thousands of Armenians were deported from eastern Anatolia (today’s Turkey) to concentration camps in the Syrian steppe.
  • Up to 1.5 million Armenians are estimated to have been killed in the early stage of the First World War within the territories of the Ottoman Empire.

Background:

  • Armenians were victims of the great power contests of the late 19th and early 20th centuries.
  • During the decline of the Ottoman Empire in the 19th century, Armenians were seen by the rulers in Constantinople as a fifth column.
  • The resentment started building up after the Russo-Turkish war(1877-78) in which the Turks lost territories.
  • In the Treaty of Berlin, big powers dictated terms to the Ottomans, including putting pressure on Sultan Abdülhamid II to initiate reforms in the provinces inhabited by Armenians, and to guarantee their security against the Circassians and Kurds.
  • The Sultan saw this as a sign of strengthening ties between the Armenians and other rival countries, especially Russia.
  • Later, in October 1914, Turkey joined the First World War on the side of Germany. The Ottomans suffered a catastrophic defeat in the Battle of Sarikamish by the Russians in January 1915.
  • The Turks blamed the defeat on Armenian “treachery”.Following this, there were a series of attacks on Armenians.

Way ahead:

  • Turkey has acknowledged that atrocities were committed against Armenians but denies it was a genocide and challenges the estimates that 1.5 million were killed.
  • The Turkish Foreign Ministry has issued a strong statement to Mr. Biden’s announcement saying it doesn’t not have “a scholarly and legal basis, nor is it supported by any evidence”.
  • Biden’s announcement on the Armenian Genocide Remembrance Day could infuriate Turkey, America’s NATO ally.

 

Crystal blades for aero engines

Context:

  • The Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) has developed single crystal blade technology.

About:

  • The single-crystal high-pressure turbine (HPT) blades were manufactured using a nickel-based superalloy.
  • The work was part of a programme taken up by the Defence Metallurgical Research Laboratory (DMRL), a laboratory of the DRDO.
  • DRDO has supplied 60 such single-crystal blades to the Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) as part of their indigenous helicopter development programme for helicopter engine application.

Grain boundary:

  • During the normal casting of metal components, the metal while solidifying forms grains. Each grain has a different orientation of its crystal lattice from its neighbours.
  • A grain boundary is the interface between two grains, or crystallites, in a polycrystalline material.
  • The grain boundaries are characterized by increased chemical activity, slippage under stress loading, and the formation of voids.
  • These conditions can lead to creep, the tendency of blade material to deform at a temperature-dependent rate under stresses well below the yield strength of the material.
  • Corrosion and cracks also start at grain boundaries. Thus, grain boundaries greatly shorten turbine vane and blade life, and require lowered turbine temperatures with a concurrent decrease in engine performance.

Single crystal technology:

  • To offset the limitations imposed by grain boundaries in polycrystalline materials, metallurgists have sought to eliminate grain boundaries from turbine airfoils altogether, by inventing techniques to cast single-crystal turbine blades and vanes, and design alloys to be used exclusively in single-crystal form.
  • By eliminating grain boundaries, single-crystal airfoils have longer thermal and fatigue life, are more corrosion resistant and can also be cast with thinner walls.

Significance:

  • This development marks a major technological breakthrough. Very few countries like the U.S., the U.K., France and Russia have the capability to design and manufacture such single crystal components.
  • Helicopters need compact and powerful aero-engines for operating at extreme conditions and to achieve this, state-of-the-art single-crystal blades having complex shape and geometry, manufactured out of nickel-based superalloys capable of withstanding high temperatures of operation are used.

 

Ladakh Ignited Minds Project

Context:

  • To provide better educational opportunities for Ladakhi students, the Indian Army has initiated the project Ladakh Ignited Minds: A Centre of Excellence and Wellness.

About:

  • On behalf of Indian Army, Fire and Fury Corps has signed a couple of MoUs with partner Hindustan Petroleum Corporation Limited (HPCL) and executing agency, a Kanpur based NGO, National Integrity and Educational Development Organization (NIEDO), in Leh.
  • The project is aimed at providing better training facilities to disadvantaged Ladakhi students to give them opportunity to study in niche educational institutes.
  • Fire and Fury Corps of Indian Army with the support of HPCL and execution agency NIEDO will provide a holistic training for Ladakhi youth.
  • In the first batch, comprising 20 girls, 45 students from Leh and Kargil districts, would get training for JEE and NEET entrance examinations.
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