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24th March 2023 (8 Topics)

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International Relations

H-1B visas

Laid-off IT sector employees can continue to stay in the United States even beyond the H-1B time limit, as per an announcement by the US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS).

About H-1B visa:

  • The H-1B program allows companies and other employers in the United States to temporarily employ foreign workers in occupations that require the theoretical and practical application of a body of highly specialized knowledge and a bachelor's degree or higher in the specific specialty, or its equivalent.

Eligibility:

  • The H-1B program applies to employers seeking to hire non-immigrant aliens as workers in specialty occupations or as fashion models of distinguished merit and ability.

Laid Off employees:

  • Layoff is the elimination of a position due to a lack of work, a lack of funds and/or because of reorganization.
  • Reducing a professional staff position's percent time or months worked per year is not subject to the layoff process.

US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS):

  • U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) is issuing policy guidance on its standards in customer service.

Polity and Governance

Panchamasali reservation

 

The High Court of Karnataka has allowed the State government to take a decision on reservation for the Panchamasali (Lingayat sub-sect.)

Who are Lingayats?

  • The Lingayats are followers of 12th-century social reformer Basavanna, who was inspired by the Bhakti Movement.
  • Basavanna was a treasurer in the court of King Bijjala II; he rejected Brahmin rituals and temple worship and envisaged a society that was casteless, free of discrimination, and where men and women had equal opportunities. 

About:

  • The government gave an undertaking that the proposed decision would not disturb the constitutionally guaranteed quota in the existing Category 2A of the caste-based reservation list.
  • There are now 99 sub-sects within the Lingayats, whose main goal was once the eradication of the caste system.
  • Prominent sub-sects include the Panchamasalis, Ganiga, Jangama, Banajiga, Reddi Lingayat, Sadars, Nonaba and Goud-Lingayats.

Polity and Governance

‘Call Before u Dig’ App

Recently, the Prime Minister has launched an app called 'Call Before u Dig’.

About:

  • Objective: To help prevent uncoordinated digging that results in damage to underground utility assets like optical fibre cables, costing the government thousands of crores every year.
  • The ‘Call Before u Dig’ (CBuD) app aims to facilitate coordination between excavation agencies and underground utility owners to prevent damage to utilities due to digging.
  • With this, it would help to protect underground public infrastructure across the country.
  • The mobile application has been developed by the department of telecommunications and the Bhaskaracharya Institute for Space Applications and Geoinformatics functioning under the Gujarat government to protect underground public infrastructure across the country.
  • The app will connect excavators and asset owners through SMS/Email notifications and click-to-call in bid to execute planned excavations.

Science and Technology

World Tuberculosis Day 2023

World Tuberculosis Day is observed every year on March 24, to raise the awareness about Tuberculosis.

About:

  • TB is caused by the bacterium Mycobacterium tuberculosis and primarily affects the lungs, although it can also affect other parts of the body.
  • The World Health Organization (WHO) has set a goal to eliminate the diseases of 2030.
  • In 1982, the International Union against Tuberculosis and Lung Disease (IUATLD) launched World TB day to coincide with the 100th Anniversary of Koch’s discovery.

Significance:

  • World TB Day is an opportunity to focus on the progress made in the prevention and treatment of Tuberculosis.

Environment

Rare Sarus Crane

 

 

 

Recently, a rare sarus crane was released in the Samaspur bird sanctuary as to revive its habitat.

About:

  • The Sarus crane is the tallest flying bird in the world standing 152-156 cm tall with a wingspan of 240cm.
  • It has a predominantly grey plumage with a naked red head and upper neck and pale red legs.
  • It weighs 6.8-7.8 Kgs.
  • It is a social creature, found mostly in pairs or small groups of three or four.

Threats:

  • The main threat to the Sarus crane in India is habitat loss and degradation due to draining the wetland and conversion of land for agriculture.
  • The landscape of its historic range is rapidly changing due to construction of highways, housing colonies, roads, and railway lines.

Science and Technology

Konkan 2023

 

 

 

 

Recently the annual bilateral maritime exercise between the Indian Navy and the Royal Navy of the United Kingdom (UK) was held from March 20 to 22 off the Konkan coast in the Arabian Sea.

 

About the exercise:

  • INS Trishul, a guided missile frigate of the Indian Navy, and HMS Lancaster, a Type 23 guided missile frigate of the Royal Navy, participated.
  • This edition of the exercise undertook multiple maritime drills to enhance interoperability and imbibe best practices.
  • The exercises covered all domains of maritime operations — air, surface, and sub-surface.
  • It included gunnery shoots on surface inflatable target ‘Killer Tomato’, helicopter operations, anti-air and anti-submarine warfare drills, Visit Board Search and Seizure (VBSS), ship manoeuvres and exchange of personnel.

Visit Board search and seizure (VBSS):

  • Visit, board, search, and seizure (VBSS) is the term used by United States military and law enforcement agencies for maritime boarding actions and tactics.
  • VBSS teams are designed to capture enemy vessels, combat terrorism, piracy, and smuggling, and to conduct customs, safety and other inspections.

Miscellaneous

World Happiness Report 2023

Recently, the “World Happiness Report” is published by the United Nations Sustainable Development Solutions Network.

Key highlights:

  • As of March 2023, Finland has been ranked the happiest country in the world six times in a row.
  • India was placed at the 126th position out of 137 countries in the report.

About:

  • The index measures factors such as income, mental and physical health and societal generosity.
  • The World Happiness Report is a publication that contains articles and rankings of national happiness, based on respondent ratings of their own lives, which the report also correlates with various (quality of) life factors.

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