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Current Affairs 11th January 2024 for UPSC Prelims Exam

Status Of GI Tags In India

Context: Seven distinctive products from Odisha have been granted the esteemed Geographical Indication (GI) tag, affirming their unique connection to the state.

About GI Tags

  • About: GIs are labels indicating the origin of a product from a specific geographical location, region, or country. They signify quality and uniqueness linked to the product’s place of origin.
  • GI Tag in India: In India, the Department for Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade, under the Ministry of Commerce and Industry, is responsible for awarding GIs.
  • Legal Framework And Obligations: Under Articles 1 (2) and 10 of the Paris Convention for the Protection of Industrial Property, geographical indications are covered as an element of IPRs.
    • It is also covered under the Trade Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS) Agreement of WTO.
  • Validity: This tag is valid for a period of 10 years following which it can be renewed.
  • Significance:
    • The Geographical Indications of Goods (Registration and Protection) Act, 1999, protects against the unauthorised use of a GI tag. Unapproved traders using the GI tag can face legal action.
    • Prevents unauthorised use of GI tag products by others.
    • It helps consumers to get quality products of desired traits and is assured of authenticity.
    • Promotes the economic prosperity of producers of GI tag goods by enhancing their demand in national and international markets.

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Products Received the GI Tags from Odisha

Product Name Brief Description
Kapdaganda Shawl A shawl woven and embroidered by Dongria Kondh women, representing the tribal heritage of the Niyamgiri hills in Rayagada and Kalahandi districts.
Lanjia Saura Painting Exterior murals painted on mud walls by the Lanjia Saura community in the Rayagada district, featuring white figures on a crimson-maroon background.
Koraput Kala Jeera Rice Black-coloured aromatic rice, known as the ‘Prince of Rice’, has been traditionally preserved by tribal farmers in Koraput for about 1,000 years.
Similipal Kai Chutney Chutney is made from red weaver ants, a traditional delicacy of tribals in the Mayurbhanj district, including the Similipal forests.
Nayagarh Kanteimundi Brinjal A brinjal variety with prickly thorns, known for its resistance to major insects and minimal pesticide requirement.
Odisha Khajuri Guda Natural sweetener extracted from date palm trees, originating from the Gajapati district.
Dhenkanal Magji Sweet made from buffalo milk cheese, noted for its unique appearance, taste, flavour, shape, and size.

AMU Minority Character

Context: A seven-judge Bench of the Supreme Court started hearing the matter pertaining to Aligarh Muslim University’s minority character.

About Aligarh Muslim University

  • Foundation of MAO College: AMU originally started as the Muhammadan Anglo-Oriental (MAO) College, founded by Sir Syed Ahmad Khan in 1875, aimed at addressing educational backwardness among Muslims and preparing them for government jobs.
  • Educational Focus: MAO College provided a blend of Western education and Islamic theology, and it was a strong proponent of women’s education.
  • Transformation into University: In 1920, the institution evolved into a university, acquiring university status. Consequently, all the assets of MOA College were transferred to the newly formed Aligarh Muslim University (AMU).

Meaning Of Minority Character Of Education Institution

  • Article 30(1): The Constitution’s Article 30(1) allows religious and linguistic minorities to set up and manage their own educational institutions.
  • Non-Discrimination in Aid: This constitutional provision supports the Union government’s commitment to the growth of minority communities by ensuring non-discrimination in providing aid to institutions identified as belonging to minorities.
  • NCMEI Act, 2004: The National Commission for Minority Educational Institutions Act, 2004, was established to protect the educational rights of minorities as outlined in Article 30(1) of the Constitution.
  • Quasi-Judicial Commission: The National Commission for Minority Educational Institutions functions as a quasi-judicial body with civil court powers to fulfill its role under the Act.
  • Role of NCMEI for Minority Institutions: Minority Educational Institutions can approach the NCMEI for various purposes, including:
    • Getting a Minority Status Certificate (MSC).
    • Appealing against State authority decisions, like the rejection of a No Objection Certificate (NOC) application or refusal to grant minority status.
    • Resolving disputes related to affiliation, deprivation, or violation of minority rights in establishing and administering their institutions.

Supreme Court’s Perspective on the Minority Status of Aligarh Muslim University

  • Start of Legal Dispute (1967): The controversy regarding the minority status of Aligarh Muslim University (AMU) began with the case of S. Azeez Basha and another versus the Union of India in 1967.
  • Case Background: The Supreme Court reviewed amendments made in 1951 and 1965 to the original AMU Act of 1920. The plaintiffs contended that Muslims were the founders of AMU, giving them the right to manage it.
  • Supreme Court’s Findings:
    • The Court determined that AMU was not established by the Muslim minority.
    • It highlighted that the university’s establishment under a central legislative act was crucial for the government’s recognition of its degrees.
    • The Court noted that the university’s operations were not exclusively under Muslim management.

Timeline of of Aligarh Muslim University’s Minority Status Legal Dispute

  • 1981 Amendment to AMU Act: An amendment was made to the AMU Act, declaring the university a minority institution.
    • The amendment, specifically Sections 2(l) and 5(2)(c), stated that AMU was an educational institution established by Muslims of India as per their choice.
  • 2005 Reservation Policy: AMU implemented a reservation policy reserving 50% of seats in postgraduate medical courses for Muslim candidates.
    • In response, the Allahabad High Court revoked this reservation and invalidated the 1981 amendment.
    • Reason for Court’s Decision: The High Court cited the Supreme Court’s decision in the S. Azeez Basha case, stating AMU did not qualify as a minority institution and thus could not have exclusive reservations.
  • Appeals Against High Court’s Decision (2006): Eight petitions, including one from the Union government, challenged the High Court’s ruling.
  • Government Withdraws Appeal (2016): The Central government withdrew its appeal, asserting that as a secular state, it could not be seen as establishing a minority institution.
  • Matter Referred to Larger Bench (2019): The issue was escalated to a seven-judge Bench of the Supreme Court, led by Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi, for further deliberation.

First Private US Lunar Lander

Context: The Peregrine Mission One, the first U.S. lunar landing attempt in over five decades, faced a setback due to a critical fuel leak shortly after launch.

About The Mission

  • The Peregrine Lander, also known as Peregrine Mission One, is set to be among the first U.S. spacecraft to land on the Moon since the Apollo missions.
  • The Peregrine Lunar Lander is crafted by Astrobotic Technology.
  • Landing Site: The Peregrine Lander is slated to land in the Sinus Viscositatis, also known as the Bay of Stickiness, a mid-latitude area on the Moon.
  • This mission is a key component of NASA’s Commercial Lunar Payload Services (CLPS) program, designed to encourage a more extensive lunar economy.
  • NASA collaborates with various American companies in the CLPS program to deliver scientific and technological equipment to the Moon.
  • Objectives of CLPS Contracts: These contracts are focused on promoting lunar exploration and experimentation, and demonstrating new technologies as preparation for future manned lunar missions.
  • Preparation for Artemis Program: The mission is instrumental in laying groundwork for Artemis, NASA’s initiative to return astronauts to the Moon within this decade as a step towards Mars exploration.
  • Artemis Program Overview: Named after the Greek moon goddess, Artemis aims to land humans on the Moon by 2024, including the first woman and person of colour. The program plans for an Artemis Base Camp on the lunar surface and a strategic Gateway in lunar orbit.

DRDO Counter Drone System

Context: The Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) has finalised the development of its anti-drone system, now ready for production.

About DRDO’s Counter-Drone System

  • Comprehensive Anti-Drone System: The system is an all-encompassing solution for detecting, identifying, and neutralising drones.
  • Versatile Counter-Attack Capabilities: It is capable of countering drone attacks through both soft kill options and hard kill methods, effective against a range of drones including micro drones.
  • Customizable for Diverse Challenges: The system offers customization options to address various specific challenges.
  • Technology Transfer to Private Sector: The Transfer of Technology (ToT) has been facilitated to private companies including BEL, Adani, L&T, and Icom.

Other Technologies Development of Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs)

  • Tapas MALE UAV: The Tapas Medium Altitude Long Endurance (MALE) UAV, designed for Intelligence, Surveillance, Target Acquisition, and Reconnaissance (ISTAR) roles, is nearing the completion of its developmental trials.
    • Innovative Battery Technology: A Lithium Ion-based battery, featuring an indigenous battery management system, has been developed by DRDO in collaboration with a private partner. This battery is currently being used in the Tapas UAV.
  • Archer UAV Project: The Archer UAV, a short-range armed drone, is being developed for reconnaissance, surveillance, and engagement in low-intensity conflicts. It is currently undergoing developmental flight trials.

Clean And Green Villagers Programme

Context: The Ministry of Panchayati Raj (MoPR) is emphasising the ‘Clean and Green Village’ concept in its Gram Panchayat Development Plan (GPDP), focusing on enhancing solar power in rural regions to align with sustainable development objectives.

What is Clean And Green Villagers Program?

  • Program Overview: The “Clean and Green Villages” initiative is the fifth key focus area within the Gram Panchayat Development Plan (GPDP) proposed by the Ministry of Panchayati Raj (MoPR).
  • Primary Objective: The program aims to amplify the use of clean energy at the grassroots level and ensure access to safe water and low-pollution environments, thereby contributing to the achievement of certain United Nations Sustainable Development Goals: SDG-7 (Affordable and Clean Energy) and SDG-13 (Climate Action).
  • Action Areas:
    • Establishing Open Defecation Free Villages
    • Implementing Clean and Green Schools
    • Promoting Organic Farming and Reducing Chemicals
    • Strengthening Local Committees and Enhancing Community Participation
    • Utilising government schemes like Paramparagat Krishi Vikas Yojana for organic farming and PM-PRANAM to reduce chemical fertilisers, along with other initiatives such as GOBARdhan and SATAT.
  • GPDP Themes: The GPDP is structured around nine themes, which include:
    • Poverty-Free and Enhanced Livelihood Villages
    • Healthy Villages
    • Child-Friendly Villages
    • Water-Sufficient Villages
    • Clean and Green Villages
    • Self-Sufficient Infrastructure in Villages
    • Socially Secured Villages
    • Villages with Good Governance
    • Women-Friendly Villages
  • Legal Framework: The GPDP is mandated by Article 243G of the Indian Constitution, requiring gram panchayats to formulate five-yearly and annual plans for economic development and social justice, with the MoPR providing guidelines for the development of the GPDP.


Context: The Indian Institute of Spices Research (IISR) in Kozhikode has successfully developed a new granular lime-based Trichoderma formulation called ‘Tricholime.’

About Tricholime

  • Trichoderma: Trichoderma refers to a genus of fungi prevalent in soils worldwide, acting as a natural biocontrol agent.
  • Tricholime: Tricholime is a product that combines Trichoderma with lime, simplifying its use for farmers.
  • Significance of Tricholime:
    • Dual Role: Tricholime acts both as a bio-pesticide and a bio-fertilizer in agricultural practices.
    • Plant Growth and Protection: As a bio-pesticide, it encourages plant growth while protecting crops from soil-borne diseases in a unified treatment.
    • Soil Enhancement: When functioning as a bio-fertilizer, Tricholime betters the soil structure, increases the availability of secondary nutrients, and stimulates the activity of soil microbes.

The Role of E-fuels in Decarbonising Transport (IEA Report)

Context: According to data from the International Energy Agency (IEA), biofuel demand is expected to expand, making up 6 % of forecasted road transport energy demand by 2030.

Key Highlights Of Report

  • In 2022, road transport was the primary consumer of liquid biofuels, utilising nearly the entire supply.
    • It’s anticipated that by 2030, road transport’s share of liquid biofuel use will slightly decline to 98%.
  • Biofuels made up 5% of the road transport fuel demand in 2022, which equates to a reduction in oil demand by 2.2 million barrels per day.
    • Expectations are set for global biodiesel demand to see an increase.
  • Future of Transport and Role of EVs: Biofuels are recognized as significant in the transport sector’s future, while the emergence of electric vehicles is acknowledged for reducing oil demand.

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