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Daily Category  (GS PAPER I)

Sudan Peace Deal

CONTEXT:

  • South Sudan's President has dissolved parliament to pave the way for the appointment of lawmakers from formerly warring parties in the country.

  • The move was in line with a peace deal signed to end a civil war that began in 2013.

Sudan - Global Centre for the Responsibility to Protect

Peace Deal

  • The president dissolved parliament and the new body will be formed in "a matter of time, not too long.

  • Peace Deal: According to the deal that ended the civil war, parliament must be expanded from 400 members to 550.

  • It must include members from all parties to the peace accord.

  • South Sudan: It won independence from Sudan in 2011 after decades of civil war.

  • Violence erupted in late 2013 after President, from the Dinka ethnic group, sacked vice president Riek Machar, a Nuer.

  • The two men have signed many deals to end a war estimated to have killed more than 400,000 people.

  • They repeatedly pushed back deadlines to form a government of national unity, but in 2020 finally did so.

  • Despite the peace deal, violence is still raging in parts of the country, according to United Nations reports.

Sudan:

  • Sudan is a country in Northeast Africa.

  • Bordering Country: It is bordered by Egypt to the north, Libya to the northwest, Chad to the west, the Central African Republic to the southwest, South Sudan to the south, Ethiopia to the southeast, Eritrea to the east, and the Red Sea to the northeast.

  • Sudan has a population of 44.91 million people as of 2021 and occupies 1,886,068 square kilometres, making it Africa's third-largest country by area and also the third-largest by area in the Arab league.

  • It was also the largest country by area in Africa and the Arab league by area before the secession of South Sudan in 2011, since which both titles have been held by Algeria.

SOURCE: The Hindu

Lebanese Qaraoun Lake

CONTEXT:

  • Tonnes of dead fish have washed up on the banks of a lake on Lebanon’s Litani river, engulfing a nearby village in a pungent smell, in a disaster blamed on polluted waters.

KEY DETAILS:

  • Volunteers collected rotting fish carcasses near the Qaraoun lake on Lebanon’s longest river, the Litani.

    • Here activists have warned for years of water pollution caused by sewage and waste.

  • Piles of garbage drifted in the lake near the dead fish.

  • At least 40 tonnes have turned up dead in a few days. Residents called on the Litani river authority to find the cause and go after anyone dumping wastewater into the lake.

  • Warning by river authority: It said that fish were toxic and carried a virus, urging people to avoid fishing all along the Litani due to “an aggravated disaster that threatens public health”.

Lebanese Qaraoun Lake:

  • Lake Qaraoun is an artificial lake located in Beqaa Valley, Lebanon.

  • It was created near Qaraoun village in 1959 in the middle reaches of the Litani River (longest river in Lebanon).

  • The reservoir has been used for hydropower generation, domestic water supply, and for irrigation.

Litani River:

  • The Litani River is an important water resource in Lebanon.

  • Origin: In Beqaa Valley

  • Ends: Into the Mediterranean Sea.

  • Litani River is the longest river in Lebanon.

SOURCE: Indian Express

National Pension System

CONTEXT:

  • National Pension System is growing under the agile supervision of Pension Fund Regulatory and Development Authority of India (PFRDA).

  • Those who end up accumulating only up to Rs 2 lakh by the retirement age are allowed to withdraw the full amount. The PFRDA now considers hiking it to Rs 5 lakh.

Changes proposed by PFRDA:

  • Part Money Withdrawal: One can withdraw just 60% of their accumulated savings at the time of retirement in NPS.

  • Annuity product: With the remaining 40%, it is mandatory to buy an annuity product that provides a fixed monthly income to retirees till their demise.

  • Exemption: Members who accumulate up to ?2 lakh in their NPS account. They can withdraw full amount.

  • Proposed Changes:

    • This limit will soon be revised to ?5 lakh.

    • Annuity purchase stipulation for 40% of members’ retirement corpus should be dropped altogether.

Reasons for proposed changes:

  • Falling interest rates: And poor returns offered by annuity products 

  • High Inflation: With retail inflation running at about 5%-6% over the past year, the returns on annuities are, in fact, negative, even if one does not factor in the tax.

  • Unattractive investment: To avoid forcing people into such an unattractive investment, the regulator has now proposed to give members a choice to retain 40% of their corpus with the NPS fund managers even after retirement.

National Pension System:

  • It was started as the New Pension Scheme for government employees in 2004 under a new regulator PFRDA.

  • National Pension System (NPS) has been open for individuals from all walks of life to participate and build a retirement nest-egg.

  • Age Limit: Any Indian citizen between 18 and 60 years can join NPS.

  • Informal employment: Given the dominance of informal employment in India, EPFO, which is contingent on a formal employer-employee relationship, only covers a fraction of the workforce.

  • Size of NPS: The NPS now manages ?5.78 lakh crore of savings and 4.24 crore accounts in multiple savings schemes.

Atal Pension Yojana:

  • Of these, over 3.02 crore accounts are part of the Atal Pension Yojana (APY).

  • It is a government-backed scheme for workers in the unorganised sector.

  • It assures a fixed pension payout after retirement.

SOURCE: The Hindu

AICTE Lilavati Awards

CONTEXT:

  • Six higher education institutions have been awarded the AICTE Lilavati Awards 2020 on women empowerment under various sub themes.

                                                 Lilavati Award-2020 - 2Thepoint

Awards under 6 sub themes:

  1. Women Entrepreneurship: SWEAT (Sona Women Entrepreneurship and Training) from Sona College of Technology, Tamil Nadu was awarded in the ‘ Women Entrepreneurship’ sub-theme.

  2. Digital Literacy: Under the ‘Digital Literacy’, Bharatiya Vidyapeeth took home the prize.

  3. Literacy sub-theme: Institute of Management and Entrepreneurship Development Pune won the award 

  4. Women’s Health’ category: WIT Women Health Coalition from Walchand Institute of Technology, Maharashtra won the award under the ‘.

  5. Legal Awareness’ sub-theme: Radiant Seetha from Thiagarajar Polytechnic College won the contest.

  6. ‘Self Defense’ sub-theme: St. Joseph’s College of Engineering, Tamil Nadu won the award.

LILAVATI AWARDS:

  • It has been named after the 12th-century book called “Lilavati” written by the mathematician Bhaskara II.

  • Purpose:

  • To recognize efforts by AICTE-approved institutions to treat women with ‘equality and fairness’.

  •  To create awareness about issues like literacy, employment, technology, credit, marketing, innovation, skill development, natural resources, and rights among women.

  • Theme for 2020: Women empowerment

  • Based on the theme ‘women empowerment’, AICTE finalized the winners from a total of 456 entries who competed across six sub themes.

  • Union Education Minister presented the All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE) Lilavati Awards 2020 on women empowerment to the winners in New Delhi.

  • He praised the AICTE for instituting the Lilavati Awards and stressed that such innovative steps will be “great motivation for girls to join higher education”.

  • This initiative will pave a path towards equality in education and innovation, for women.

 SOURCE: PIB

E9 countries and E9 initiative

CONTEXT:

  • A consultation meeting of Education Ministers of E9 countries was recently held.

KEY DETAILS:

  • E9 initiative for Education: The meeting was held on the theme ‘E9 initiative: Scaling up digital learning to accelerate progress towards SDG4’.

                                                   E9 initiative - INSIGHTSIAS

Progress towards SDG4:

  • The UN is spearheading a global initiative on

    • Digital learning and skills for all,

    • Targeting marginalized children and youth and

    • Aiming to close the digital divide and

    • Drive rapid change in education systems.

  • 2020 Global Education Meeting (GEM) Declaration: E-9 initiative focuses on three of the five priorities of GEM Declaration:

    1. Supporting teachers;

    2. Investing in skills; and

    3. Narrowing the digital divide.

  • E9 countries offers: It offers a starting gate to accelerate progress on:

    • Digital learning and skills in the immediate term and

    • Ultimately on the SDG4 agenda in the longer term.

E9 Countries:

  • E9 Partnership was first established in 1993.

  • Objective: To achieve the goals of UNESCO's Education For All (EFA).

  • Members: Bangladesh, Brazil, China, Egypt, India, Indonesia, Mexico, Nigeria, and Pakistan.

  • Aims: Strengthening political will and collective effort to ensure quality education and lifelong learning opportunities for all.

  • E9 Partnership is working for the achievement of SDG4 – Education 2030.

                                                     

Sustainable Development Goals:

  • The Sustainable Development Goals or Global Goals are a collection of 17 interlinked global goals.

  • These are designed to be a "blueprint to achieve a better and more sustainable future for all".

  • The SDGs were set in 2015 by the United Nations General Assembly and are intended to be achieved by the year 2030.

  • Aim: To bring sustainable development in the mainstream.

  • There are 17 goals and 169 targets specific targets to be achieved by 2030. Reaching the goals requires action on all fronts – governments, businesses, civil society and people everywhere all have a role to play.

  • SDGs are not legally binding.

SOURCE: PIB

Chenab Arch-World’s highest railway bridge

CONTEXT:

  • A half-a-kilometre long arch of the world’s highest railway bridge over river Chenab, is set to be completed on Monday. And with this, the biggest civil-engineering challenge faced by any railway project in India in recent history will be over.