Rapid Fire Current Affairs | 10 May 2023

Rabindranath Tagore, Maharana Pratap, and Gopal Krishna Gokhale

On 9th May, the Prime Minister paid tribute to Rabindranath Tagore, Maharana Pratap, and Gopal Krishna Gokhale on their birth anniversaries.

Rabindranath Tagore, also known as Gurudev, was a prolific literary figure and polymath, known for his contributions to Bengali literature and music. As per Bengali Calendar, 'Rabindranath Tagore Jayanti' is observed on the 25th day of the Bengali month of Baishakh, and this day is being celebrated today, May 9th, 2023. Tagore's compositions of over 2000 songs, called "Rabindra Sangeet," and his renowned works like Gitanjali have left a lasting impact. As the first non-European Nobel Prize laureate in Literature in 1913, he became a symbol of artistic excellence. Tagore's philosophies and the establishment of Vishwa-Bharati University continue to inspire generations.

Maharana Pratap, born on 9th May 1540 in Kumbhalgarh, Rajasthan, was the 13th King of Mewar. He is known for his valiant efforts in the Battle of Haldighati fought against the Mughal forces in 1576. Although he was defeated in the battle, his bravery and resilience are celebrated. Maharana Pratap's loyal horse, Chetak, is remembered for sacrificing its life during the war. Despite the defeat, Maharana Pratap later reclaimed parts of Mewar and made significant contributions to the region. He passed away on 19th January 1597, leaving behind a legacy of courage.

Gopal Krishna Gokhale, a prominent social reformer and educationist, was born on 9th May 1866 in present-day Maharashtra. Gokhale played a crucial role in India's freedom movement. He advocated for social empowerment, education, and peaceful methods to achieve independence. Gokhale was associated with the Moderate Group of the Indian National Congress and played a key role in framing the Morley-Minto reforms of 1909. He established the Servants of India Society, worked on various publications, and mentored Mahatma Gandhi, who considered him his political guru.

Read more: Rabindranath Tagore, Gopal Krishna Gokhale, Birth Anniversary of Maharana Pratap

Sittwe Port

Recently, India and Myanmar jointly inaugurated the Sittwe Port in Myanmar's Rakhine State, marking an important milestone in enhancing bilateral and regional trade while also contributing to the local economy of the state.

The port's operationalization is expected to provide greater connectivity and leads to employment opportunities, as well as enhance growth prospects in the region. The project aims to provide an alternative connectivity route for Mizoram with Indian ports through the Kaladan River in Myanmar.

It includes segments such as shipping from Haldia to Sittwe port, inland water transport from Sittwe to Paletwa via the Kaladan River, road transport from Paletwa to the Indo-Myanmar border, and further road transport to NH.54 in India.

The Sittwe Port is part of the Kaladan Multi-Modal Transit Transport Project, funded by the Indian government, and will play a crucial role in linking India's East Coast to the North-eastern states through waterways and roads.

Read more: India-Myanmar Relations, Kaladan Multi-Modal Transit Transport Project

Fertilizer Flying Squads

The Department of Fertilizers (DoF), under Union Ministry of Chemicals and Fertilizers, has implemented a range of measures to combat malpractices and ensure the availability of quality fertilizers for farmers in India. These initiatives have successfully prevented the diversion and black marketing of fertilizers across the country.

Specialized teams called Fertilizer Flying Squads (FFS) have been formed to keep a strict vigil and crack down on activities such as diversion, black marketing, hoarding, and the supply of sub-standard fertilizers. Stringent actions – surprise inspections conducted across states/UTs and seizure of suspected urea bags – have been taken. Additionally, sample testing has been intensified to address the misuse of urea for non-agricultural purposes.

For the first time, 11 persons have been jailed under Prevention of Blackmarketing and Maintenance of Supplies (PBM) Act 1980 for diversion and black marketing of urea in the last one year. Several other legal and administrative proceedings have also been exercised under Fertilizer Control Order-1985.

The measures have not only benefitted the farmers but have also generated cross-country demand for Indian fertilizers. By preventing the smuggling of urea across borders, neighboring countries have approached India for urea imports. DoF has also encouraged innovative practices such as the Integrated Fertilizer Management System (iFMS) to raise awareness among farmers about fertilizer quality.

Read more: Fertiliser Consumption in India

IBM and NASA Create Geospatial Model

Recently, NASA and IBM, an American MNC, have introduced a new geospatial model to convert satellite data into high-resolution maps of floods, fires, and other landscape changes, providing insights into the planet's history and future. This collaboration aims to offer a preview of the geospatial platform in the second half of this year, with potential applications including assessing climate-related risks, monitoring forests for carbon-offset initiatives, and developing predictive models to tackle climate change, emphasizing that foundation models like this enhance the scalability, affordability, and efficiency of deploying artificial intelligence.

Geospatial technology, utilizing tools like GIS (Geographic Information System), GPS (Global Positioning System)and Remote Sensing enables geographic mapping and analysis. It captures spatial information about objects, events, and phenomena, either static or dynamic. Static data includes road positions, earthquake events, or regional malnutrition, while dynamic data involves moving vehicles, pedestrians, or the spread of diseases. This technology aids in creating intelligent maps to identify spatial patterns in large datasets and supports decision-making regarding the allocation of scarce resources.

Read more: Geospatial technology