- Multi-State Phishing Scam
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Recently, Haryana Police has identified a phishing racket which accessed over 300 nationalized and private bank accounts across many states.
Frauds were done with Phishing and use of e-SIMs as the main conduit.
- Phishing: It is a cybercrime in which a target or targets are contacted by email, telephone, or text message.
- This is done by someone posing as a legitimate institution to lure individuals into providing sensitive data such as personally identifiable information, banking and credit card details, and passwords.
- e-SIM: It is the Subscriber Identification Module (SIM) embedded in the phone.
- It can not be removed as opposed to physical SIM cards, which can be removed.
- The e-SIMs enable users to change service providers through a simple process.
- Multiple networks and numbers can be stored on a single e-SIM too, so one can have more than one number.
Online Monetary Frauds in India:
- According to the Reserve Bank of India (RBI), in 2019-20, banks reported 2,678 card and internet-related fraud, totalling Rs. 195 crore in value, which was more than double the value of such frauds reported by banks in 2018-19.
- In the current fiscal (2020-21), between April and June, banks reported 530 fraudulent transactions involving debit and credit cards, or techniques such as phishing done over the internet.
- RBI is taking measures to improve awareness related to cybersafety among people through:
- e-BAAT (Electronic Banking Awareness And Training) programmes.
- Organising campaigns on safe use of digital payment modes, to avoid sharing critical personal information like PIN, OTP, passwords, etc.
- RBI has also directed all banks and authorised payment system operators to undertake targeted multi-lingual campaigns by way of SMS, advertisements in print and visual media to educate their users on safe and secure use of digital payments.
- The Computer Emergency Response Team (CERT-in) functions as the nodal agency for coordination of all cyber security efforts, emergency responses, and crisis management.
- Integration of e-PPO with Digi Locker
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The Ministry of Personnel, Public Grievances & Pensions has decided to integrate the electronic Pension Payment Order (e-PPO) with Digi Locker.
The decision has been taken to enhance ease of living of central government civil pensioners.
- E-PPO is generated through the Public Finance Management System (PFMS).
Benefits of the Decision:
- This initiative will create a permanent record of pensioners’ respective PPO in their Digi Locker and eliminate the necessity of handing over a physical
- Further, it will eliminate delays in reaching the PPO to new Pensioners
- Process: The integration facility has been created with ‘Bhavishya’ Bhavishya will provide an option to retiring employees, to link their Digi-locker account with their “Bhavishya” account and obtain their e-PPO in a seamless manner.
- Bhavishya is an online Pension Sanction and Payment Tracking System implemented by the Ministry of Personnel, Public Grievances & Pensions.
- Pension tracking can be done by the individual as well as the administrative authorities for all actions preparatory to grant of pension and other retirement benefits as well as monthly pension paid after retirement.
Public Financial Management System
- The Public Financial Management System (PFMS), earlier known as Central Plan Schemes Monitoring System (CPSMS), is a web-based online software application developed and implemented by the Office of Controller General of Accounts (CGA), Ministry of Finance.
- PFMS was initially started during 2009 as a Central Sector Scheme of Planning Commission.
- The primary objective of PFMS is to facilitate a sound Public Financial Management System for the Government of India (GoI) by establishing an efficient fund flow system as well as a payment cum accounting network.
- It is a flagship initiative of the Ministry of Electronics & IT (MeitY) under the Digital India programme. It is the national Digital Locker System.
- It aims at ‘Digital Empowerment’ of citizens by providing access to authentic digital documents to citizen’s digital document wallet.
- Draft Health Data Management Policy
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The National Health Authority (NHA) has released the Draft Health Data Management Policy of the National Digital Health Mission (NDHM) in the public domain for comments and feedback.
- NHA is the apex agency of the Government of India responsible for the design, roll- out, implementation and management of Ayushman Bharat and the National Digital Health Mission (NDHM) across the country.
- The draft health data management policy acts as a guidance document to set out the minimum standard for health data privacy protection.
- Purpose: To create a National Digital Health Ecosystem that supports Universal Health Coverage in an efficient, accessible, inclusive, affordable, timely and safe manner, through provision of a wide-range of data, information and infrastructure services ensuring the security, confidentiality and privacy of health-related personal information.
- Provide adequate guidance and to set out a framework for the secure processing of personal and sensitive personal data of individuals.
- digital personal health data like medical conditions, reproductive outcomes, prescriptions and diagnosis etc.
- Create a system of digital personal and medical health records which is easily accessible to individuals and health service providers and is purely voluntary in nature, based on the consent of individuals, and in compliance with international
- Increase awareness of the importance of data privacy.
- Ensure national portability in the provision of health services.
- Establish appropriate institutional mechanisms for auditing of the National Digital Health Ecosystem.
- Leverage the information systems existing in the Indian health sector.
- The Ministry of Health and Family Welfare released the National Health Policy, 2017 which envisaged creation of a digital health technology eco-system aiming at developing an integrated health information system.
- A committee headed by former Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) chairman released the National Digital Health Blueprint (NDHB) in July 2019.
- NDHB recognised the need to establish a specialised organisation, called the National Digital Health Mission (NDHM), to facilitate the evolution of the National Digital Health Ecosystem.
- The Prime Minister announced the launch of NDH on 74 Independence Day i.e. 15 August, 2020.
- Asteroid 2018VP1
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According to the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), an asteroid named 2018VP1 is on a collision course with Earth.
- Asteroid 2018VP1 has a diameter of about 2 metres, around the size of a small automobile.
- Only 1 in 240 chance that 2018VP1 would impact the Earth. It would likely burn up into a fireball after entering the Earth’s atmosphere before reaching the
- According to NASA, such an event happens about once every year.
- Asteroids are also known as minor planets.
- They are rocky remnants left over from the early formation of our solar system about 4.6 billion years ago.
- Most asteroids are irregularly shaped, though a few are nearly spherical. Many asteroids are known to have a small companion moon (some have two moons).
- There are also binary (double) asteroids, in which two rocky bodies of roughly equal size orbit each other, as well as triple asteroid systems.
Classification of Asteroids:
- Main Asteroid Belt: The majority of known asteroids orbit within the asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter.
- Trojans: These asteroids share an orbit with a larger planet, but do not collide with it because they gather around two special places in the orbit (called the L4 and L5 Lagrangian points). There, the gravitational pull from the sun and the planet are balanced.
- Lagrange Points are positions in space where the gravitational forces of a two body system like the Sun and the Earth produce enhanced regions of attraction and repulsion. These can be used by spacecraft to reduce fuel consumption needed to remain in position.
- Near-Earth Asteroids: These objects have orbits that pass close by that of Earth. Asteroids that actually cross Earth’s orbital path are known as Earth-crossers.
Asteroid Collision with Earth:
- Cut-off Size: Objects that can cause significant damage upon impact are larger than 30 metres.
- As per NASA’s Near-Earth Object Observations Programme, asteroids that are 140 metres or larger (bigger than a small football stadium) are of “the greatest concern” due to the level of devastation their impact is capable of causing.
- No asteroid larger than 140 metres has a “significant” chance of hitting the Earth for the next 100 years.
- The Chicxulub Impactor: It was an asteroid that caused the sudden extinction of most dinosaur species 66 million years ago,
- It had a diameter of over 10 kilometres.
- Methods to Deflect: Over the years, scientists have suggested different ways to ward off threats of more serious impact events, such as:
- Blowing up the asteroid before it reaches Earth, or Deflecting it off its Earth-bound course by hitting it with a spacecraft.
- The Asteroid Impact and Deflection Assessment (AIDA): It is the most drastic measure undertaken so far, which includes NASA’s Double Asteroid Redirection Test (DART) mission and the European Space Agency’s (ESA)
- Target: The target is Didymos, a binary near-Earth asteroid, one of whose bodies is of the size that could pose the most likely significant threat to Earth. Didymos is in orbit between Earth and Mars.
- Double Asteroid Redirection Test (DART): The construction of DART began in 2018, which is scheduled to launch in
- Aim is to slam into the smaller asteroid of the Didymos system at around 6 km per second in 2022.
- Hera: It is scheduled to launch in 2024, will arrive at the Didymos system in 2027.
- Aim is to measure the impact crater produced by the DART collision and study the change in the asteroid’s orbital trajectory.
- Landslide in Kodagu
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Recently, due to heavy rain, numbers of landslides occurred in many parts of India.
- A landslide is defined as the movement of a mass of rock, debris, or earth down a slope.
- They are a type of mass wasting, which denotes any downward movement of soil and rock under the direct influence of gravity.
- The term landslide encompasses five modes of slope movement: falls, topples, slides, spreads, and flows.
- Slope movement occurs when forces acting downward (mainly due to gravity) exceed the strength of the earth materials that compose the slope.
- Landslides are caused due to three major factors: geology, morphology, and human activity.
- Geology refers to characteristics of the material. The earth or rock might be weak or fractured, or different layers may have different strengths and stiffness.
- Morphology refers to the structure of the land. For example, slopes that lose their vegetation to fire or drought are more vulnerable to landslides.
- Vegetation holds soil in place, and without the root systems of trees, bushes, and other plants, the land is more likely to slide away.
- Human activity which include agriculture and construction increase the risk of a landslide.
- Continent-wise, Asia suffers the maximum damages/losses due to landslides and within that, South-Asian nations are the worst sufferers including India which is one of the worst affected by landslides.
- Restriction on the construction and other developmental activities such as roads and dams in the areas prone to landslides.
- Limiting agriculture to valleys and areas with moderate slopes. Control on the development of large settlements in the high vulnerability zones. Promoting large-scale afforestation programmes and construction of bunds to reduce the flow of water.
- Terrace farming should be encouraged in the northeastern hill states where Jhumming (Slash and Burn/Shifting Cultivation) is still prevalent.
- Pradhan Mantri Rashtriya Bal Puraskar 2021
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The Ministry of Women and Child Development has invited nominations for the Pradhan Mantri Rashtriya Bal Puraskar 2021 from children, individuals and institutions.
- The Awards are given by the President of India in the week preceding Republic Day (26 January) every year.
- The Pradhan Mantri Rashtriya Bal Puraskar is given under two categories:
- Bal Shakti Puraskar, and Bal Kalyan Puraskar.
Bal Shakti Puraskar:
- Recognition: It is given by the Government of India every year to recognize exceptional achievements of children in various fields i.e., innovation, scholastic achievements, social service, arts & culture, sports and
- Eligibility: A child who is an Indian Citizen and residing in India and is between 5-18 years of age.
- Award: A medal, a cash prize of Rs. 1,00,000, book vouchers worth Rs.10,000, a certificate and citation.
- Background: It was instituted in 1996 as the National Child Award for Exceptional Achievement, renamed from 2018 as Bal Shakti Puraskar.
Bal Kalyan Puraskar:
- Recognition: It is given as recognition to Individuals and Institutions, who have made an outstanding contribution towards service for children in the field of child development, child protection and child welfare.
- An individual who is an Indian Citizen and residing in India and should have attained the age of 18 years or above (as on 31 August of respective year). S/he should have worked for the cause of children for not less than 7 years.
- The institution should not be entirely funded by the government and should have been in the field of child welfare for 10 years and performing consistently in the field.
- Award: Three awards are given in each of the two categories – Individual and Institution – along with cash prizes (Rs. 1,00, 000 and Rs. 5,00, 000 respectively).
- Background: It was instituted in 1979 as the National Child Welfare
- Awards, renamed from 2018 as Bal Kalyan Puraskar.
- New Circles of Archaeological Survey of India
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The Ministry of Culture has announced 7 new circles of the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI).
- The step has been taken in accordance with the Prime Minister’s call to facilitate and strengthen the process of preservation and registration of archaeological monuments. New circles in Jabalpur (Madhya Pradesh), Trichy (Tamil Nadu), Jhansi and Meerut (Uttar Pradesh), Hampi (Karnataka), Raiganj (West Bengal) and Rajkot (Gujarat) have been created.
- The Hampi circle has been upgraded from the previous Hampi mini circle, and the Delhi mini circle has been merged with the Delhi circle.
- For the maintenance of ancient monuments and archaeological sites and remains of national importance the entire country is divided into 36 Circles.
- These carry out archaeological fieldwork, research activities and implement the various provisions of the Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Sites and Remains (AMASR) Act, 1958 and Antiquities and Art Treasures Act 1972.
Archaeological Survey of India (ASI)
- ASI, under the Ministry of Culture, is the premier organization for the archaeological research and protection of the cultural heritage of the nation.
- It administers more than 3650 ancient monuments, archaeological sites and remains of national importance.
- Its activities include carrying out surveys of antiquarian remains, exploration and excavation of archaeological sites, conservation and maintenance of protected monuments etc.
- It was founded in 1861 by Alexander Cunningham- the first Director-General of ASI. Alexander Cunningham is also known as the “Father of Indian Archaeology”.
- Pulikkali Folk Art of Kerala
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Pulikkali will be held online in Kerala this year due to Covid-19 pandemic.
- Pulikkali (Puli means Leopard/Tiger and Kali means Play in Malayalam) is a recreational street folk art performed on the fourth day of Onam
- Onam (August–September) is a Hindu rice harvest festival of Kerala celebrated to commemorate King
- The folk art is mainly practiced in Thrissur district of Kerala.
- The main theme of this folk art is tiger hunting with participants playing the role of tiger and hunter.
- Performers paint their bodies like tigers and hunters and dance on streets to the beats of traditional percussion instruments such as thakil, udukku and
- It was introduced by Maharaja Rama Varma Sakthan Thampuran, the then Maharaja of
- Another key event which takes place during Onam is Aranmula Boat Race, the oldest river boat festival in Kerala.
- It takes place at Aranmula in Pampa river, near a Sree Parthasarathy temple in Pathanamthitta district of Kerala.