Daily Current Affairs

To The Point Notes


1.Smritivan Earthquake Memorial and Museum


  • PM Narendra Modi hailed Smritivan’s inclusion in the World Selection for the Prix Versailles Museums 2024.
  • The Prix Versailles, announced annually at UNESCO since 2015, celebrates the finest contemporary architectural projects.


  • Conceptualized in 2004 by the Gujarat State Disaster Management Authority as a tribute to the 2001 Gujarat earthquake victims.
  • Designed by Vastu-Shilpa Consultants, showcasing the resilience of Kutch’s people.
  • Exhibition design by Design Factory India.
  • Inaugurated on 28 August 2022 by PM Narendra Modi.


  • Memorial Park:
    • Spans 470 acres, with over 13,000 trees, each representing an earthquake victim.
    • Includes 50 check dams for sustainability and flood prevention.
    • 8 km-long pathways and scenic sunset point.
    • 1 MW solar power plant.
    • Parking space for 3,000 people.
  • Museum:
    • Covers 11,500 square meters, divided into seven thematic blocks:
      • Rebirth: Evolution of Earth and geological history.
      • Rediscover: Topography and natural disaster risks in Gujarat.
      • Restore: Depicts the immediate aftermath and relief efforts of the 2001 earthquake.
      • Rebuild: Showcases community resilience and reconstruction.
      • Rethink: Disaster preparedness strategies.
      • Relive: 5D earthquake simulator experience.
      • Renew: Memorial space honoring earthquake victims.




2.India’s Antarctic Journey 

  • 1981: First Indian expedition launched from Goa.
  • 1983-84: ‘Dakshin Gangotri’ research station commissioned (decommissioned 1990).
  • 1988: Construction of ‘Maitri’ station begins (Schirmacher Oasis).

India’s Geostrategic Commitments

  • Views Antarctica as a continent of peace and science.
  • Active participation since 1981:
    • Signed Antarctic Treaty (1983).
    • Consultative status (1983).
    • Joined Scientific Committee of Antarctica Research (SCAR) (1984).
    • Ratified Madrid Protocol (1998).
  • Permanent member of Commission for Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources (CCAMLR) (1985).
  • Member of Council of Managers of National Antarctic Programme (COMNAP).




3.New Zealand’s Scrapped ‘Burp Tax’ on Livestock Emissions

Background: The Burp Tax

  • Introduced in October 2022 by the Labour Party-led government.
  • Aimed to reduce methane emissions from ruminant animals (cows, sheep, goats, buffaloes).
    • Methane from ruminant digestion and manure is a major source of greenhouse gas emissions (nearly half in New Zealand).

Reasons for Scrapping the Tax

  • Farmer Protests: The tax sparked widespread protests by farmers concerned about its impact on their livelihoods.
  • New Government’s Stance: The newly elected centre-right coalition decided to scrap the tax and explore alternative solutions.

Methane Emissions and Climate Change

  • Livestock Sector: Major contributor of methane emissions globally (32% according to UNEP).
    • Emissions expected to rise with growing demand for animal protein.
  • Impact of Methane: Potent greenhouse gas, worse than CO2 over a 20-year period.
    • Contributes to global warming and ground-level ozone formation (a health hazard).
  • Urgency for Reduction: Reducing methane emissions, especially from livestock, is crucial to meet global warming targets (30% reduction by 2030 according to FAO).

Sources of Methane Emissions

  • Livestock: Enteric fermentation (digestion) and manure management are key sources (32% of human-caused emissions according to UNEP).
  • Rice paddies: Flooded fields create ideal conditions for methane-producing microbes (8% of human-caused emissions).



Science and Technology

4.The Mystery of Planet Nine

The Search for a Hidden Planet

  • Astronomers theorize a massive Planet Nine (or Planet X) lurks beyond Neptune in our solar system.
  • This would be distinct from Pluto, reclassified as a dwarf planet in 2006.

Why Planet Nine?

  • Explains unusual orbits of distant icy objects (TNOs) like Sedna and 2012 VP113.

Characteristics (if it exists)

  • Size: 5-10 times Earth’s mass (comparable to Neptune/Uranus)
  • Distance: Very far beyond Pluto, around 500 AU from the Sun (1 AU = Earth-Sun distance)
  • Orbit: Likely highly elliptical and tilted, taking thousands of years to complete

Challenges in Finding Planet Nine

  • Extreme distance and faintness make it difficult to detect with current telescopes.
  • Previous searches using Pan-STARRS haven’t yielded conclusive results.

The Search Continues

  • Vera C. Rubin Observatory (operational in 2025) with its powerful camera holds promise.
  • Subaru Telescope is also involved in the ongoing search.

Why Find Planet Nine?

  • Validates our understanding of solar system formation and evolution.
  • Explains the dynamics of other TNOs and planetary migration theories.
  • Opens doors for future exploration missions to study the planet directly.


The search for Planet Nine pushes the boundaries of astronomy. Advanced telescopes offer a glimpse into this potential hidden world.




5.Uttarakhand Forest Fire Tragedy

Binsar Sanctuary Deaths

  • Forest fire in Binsar Wildlife Sanctuary (Uttarakhand) killed 4 forest department staff and injured 4.

Increased Fire Incidents

  • Significant rise in forest fires in Uttarakhand: 1,213 incidents since Nov 1 (compared to 663 last year).
  • Over 1,653 hectares of forest land damaged across Garhwal, Kumaon, and wildlife regions.

About Binsar Wildlife Sanctuary

  • Location: Almora district, Uttarakhand (area: 45.59 sq km)
  • Biodiversity: Oak & rhododendron forests, leopards, Himalayan goral, 200+ bird species.
  • Importance: Conservation of Himalayan ecosystem, popular for wildlife enthusiasts and trekkers.




6.Cheetah Rehabilitation Project in Gandhi Sagar Wildlife Sanctuary

Ideal Habitat for Cheetahs (368.62 sq km)

  • Flat rocky plateau with open grasslands resembling Maasai Mara
  • Shallow topsoil and exposed sheetrock create a suitable savanna ecosystem
  • Riverine valleys with evergreen vegetation provide habitat diversity
  • Deemed as the best habitat for cheetahs in India after Kuno National Park

Location: Mandsaur and Neemuch districts, Madhya Pradesh

Expansion Plans: Upgrading to 2,000 sq km for enhanced wildlife habitat

Current Status:

  • Infrastructure development and ecological assessments underway
  • Soft release enclosure and dedicated hospital prepared for cheetahs


  • Increasing prey base through translocation of suitable species
  • Effective inter-state coordination between Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan




7.Stalemate at Bonn Climate Meeting on Climate Finance

New Climate Finance Goal (NCQG): A Must for COP29

  • Bonn meeting failed to define a new NCQG, leaving a critical issue for COP29 in Baku.
  • Developing countries need more than the current $100 billion annual target to address climate change.

Money Talks: Climate Action Needs Funding

  • NCQG is crucial to support mitigation, adaptation, and data collection in developing nations.
  • Developed countries need to step up their contributions.

How Much is Enough? The Funding Gap

  • Developing countries estimate they need trillions annually, with India proposing $1 trillion+ from developed countries after 2025.
  • Arab and African nations suggest targets of $1.1 trillion and $1.3 trillion respectively.
  • A UNFCCC assessment highlights a need for $6 trillion by 2030 for promised climate actions, with $4.3 trillion annually required for the global clean energy transition.

Developed vs. Developing Countries: A Dispute over Responsibility

  • Annexure 2 of UNFCCC lists developed country responsibilities for climate finance.
  • Developed countries argue for shared responsibility due to evolving economic situations.
  • China, the world’s second-largest economy, resists additional burdens.

All Eyes on Baku: Finalizing the NCQG

  • COP29 in Baku is crucial to defining a new NCQG exceeding $100 billion annually.
  • The outcome will significantly impact global climate finance and action.

Background: The $100 Billion Target

  • Initially proposed by the US at COP15 in Copenhagen.
  • Meant to be a stepping stone, needing revision to address growing needs.


  • The United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change is an international treaty addressing climate change.
  • Established in 1992, it facilitates global cooperation and agreements.
  • Nearly all countries are members.

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