1. Willow warbler spotted for the first time

The issue in news

The willow warbler has been sighted for the first time in the country in Thiruvananthapuram.

Main points

  • Willow warbler (Phylloscopus trochilus) is one of the longest migrating small birds that breed throughout northern and temperate Europe and the Palearctic.
  • It migrates to sub-Saharan Africa during early winter.
  • The bird weighs around 10 g and it has long wing feathers that help it fly long distances.
  • Warblers are difficult to identify owing to the small size and change in plumage twice a year.



The Vellayani-Punchakkari paddy fields are a birding hotspot on the outskirts of Thiruvananthapuram.

It is known to harbour more than 213 species of birds that include both resident and migratory ones.

17 species of warblers have been recorded from Kerala and the willow warbler forms the 18th warbler and 533rd species of bird to be recorded from the State.


  1. Panel mulls if MPs can teach at universities

The issue in news

The Joint Parliamentary Committee on Office of Profit deliberated on whether an MP can continue to teach at a university and if this draws the provisions of “Office of Profit” rules.

So far, the committee has not taken any call on the issue.

  • Under Article 102 (1) and Article 191 (1) of the Constitution, an MP or an MLA (or an MLC) is barred from holding any office of profit under the Central or State government.


The Office of Profit.

Why Should an MLA or MP Not hold an Office of Profit?

  • There is a clear statement in the Indian constitution under Articles 102(1)(a) and 191(1)(a), that an MP or MLA is not allowed to hold any office of profit as this would fetch them financial gains and benefits.
  • Holding an office of profit under the government by these members is subjected to grounds of disqualification.

What Comes Under the Office of Profit?

  • The office of profit comprises any place or position that carries or offers some remuneration, financial advantage, benefit etc.

Where has the Office of Profit Concept been Adopted from?

  • The office of profit concept has been adopted from the British Parliamentary model. This concept is based on similar lines with the English Act of Settlement 1701.
  1. India-Luxembourg Virtual Summit

The issue in news

The first-ever India-Luxembourg Virtual Summit was held.

Main points

  • Diplomatic relations were established between India and the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg in 1948.
  • Three important agreements were signed in the virtual summit:MoU between India International Exchange (India INX) and Luxembourg Stock Exchange:
  • Provides for cooperation in the financial services industry, maintenance of orderly markets in securities, ESG (environmental, social and governance) and green finance in the local market.
  • MoU between State Bank of India and Luxembourg Stock Exchange: Provides for cooperation in financial services, industry maintenance of orderly markets in securities, ESG (environmental, social and governance) and green finance in the local market.

MoU between Invest India and Lux-innovation:

  • Supporting and developing mutual business cooperation between Indian and Luxembourg companies, including promotion and facilitation of inbound FDI, coming from or proposed by Indian and Luxembourgish investors.


  1. 15th G20 Leaders’ Summit

The issue in news

PM Modi will be attending the 15th G20 Leaders’ Summit which will be held in a virtual format.

Main points

  • The summit is chaired by the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.
  • The summit’s theme is “Realising the Opportunities of 21st Century for All”.
  • The focus of the upcoming G20 Summit will be on an inclusive, resilient, and sustainable recovery from COVID-19.
  • During the G20 Summit, the leaders will discuss pandemic preparedness and the ways and means to restore jobs. The leaders will also share their vision for building an inclusive, sustainable, and resilient future.
  • India will enter the G20 Troika, along with Saudi Arabia when Italy will take over the Presidency of the G20 on 1st December 2020.
  • The G20 Troika is a 3-member country committee made up of the current, immediate past and next host countries.
  • The Troika was established to ensure that previous, current and subsequent G20 presidencies work hand-in-hand to achieve consistency and continuity of the group’s agenda.


  1. Government of India & NDB Sign Agreement

The issue in news

The Government of India, the Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs, National Capital Region Transport Corporation Limited and the New Development Bank (NDB) signed a loan agreement for lending USD 500 million for the ‘Delhi-Ghaziabad-Meerut Regional Rapid Transit System Project’ to provide fast, reliable, safe and comfortable public transport system in the National Capital Region (NCR).


  • The NCR is among the world’s largest urban agglomerations and a major economic centre of India.
  • Due to the lack of efficient public transport options, the number of private vehicles in NCR has increased.
  • The daily passenger traffic along the Delhi-Ghaziabad-Meerut corridor in NCR is estimated at 0.69 million, of which 63% utilize private vehicles for commuting.
  • Due to traffic congestion, it can take about 3 to 4 hours to travel between Delhi and Meerut in Uttar Pradesh by road during peak hours.
  • Rapid growth in vehicular traffic has made NCR one of the most polluted regions in the world.
  • By 2030, NCR is projected to become the most populous urban agglomeration in the world, which will increase pressure on basic infrastructures such as housing, water supply, electricity and transport.


Need for a Regional Rapid Transit System (RRTS):

  • A fast transit system will support achieving the goal of sustainable urban development in the NCR region including in the National Capital Territory of Delhi.
  • It will activate processes that will enable sustainable economic and social development with environmental protection, for future generations.
  • RRTS is environmentally friendly with very low emissions.
  • It can carry many times more people at high speed (average speed 100 kmph) while occupying just 3 m space on land thus reducing congestion on the roads.
  • Overall it will significantly reduce the total emissions from the transport sector in NCR.


Project Cost:

  • The total project cost is estimated at USD 3,749 million, which will be financed by the NDB (USD 500 million), Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (USD 500 million), Asian Development Bank (USD 1,049 million), Japan Fund for Poverty Reduction (USD 3 million), and Government and other sources (USD 1,707 million).
  • The USD 500 million loan from the NDB has a tenor of 25 years with an 8-year grace period.


  1. Safaimitra Suraksha Challenge

The issue in news

The Minister for State for Housing & Urban Affairs launched the Safaimitra Suraksha Challenge across 243 Cities.


  • The Prohibition of Employment as Manual Scavengers and their Rehabilitation Act (2013) and various judgements of the Supreme Court expressly prohibit hazardous cleaning, i.e. manual entry into a septic tank or sewer without protective gear and observing operating procedures.
  • Despite this, recurring episodes of human fatalities among those engaged in the cleaning of septic tanks and sewers, typically belonging to the economically disadvantaged and marginalized communities of society, continue to be an issue of concern.


Safaimitra Suraksha Challenge:

  • The challenge is aimed at preventing ‘hazardous cleaning’ of sewers and septic tanks and promote their mechanized cleaning.
  • The challenge will focus extensively on creating citizen awareness on this critical issue along with infrastructure creation for mechanized cleaning and capacity building of the workforce.
  • Along with this, a dedicated helpline number has been set up to register complaints and provide real-time solutions on desludging or sewer overflow.
  • The actual on-ground assessment of participating cities will be conducted in May 2021 by an independent agency and results of the same will be declared on 15 August 2021. Cities will be awarded in three sub-categories –
  • With a population of more than 10 lakhs
  • 3-10 lakhs
  • Up to 3 lakhs


  • The total prize money is of Rs 52 crores and it will be given to winning cities across all categories.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *