27th November 2020

Tunnel boring machine has been stuck in Mumbai

A tunnel boring machine has been stuck in Mumbai for the past one year. The Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) has not been able to retrieve it due to lack of expertise and an overreliance on foreign entities to operate these machines.

  • With major cities in India opting for urban transportation systems underground, Tunnel Boring Machines, that help dig tunnels underground, are being deployed extensively in the country.
  • They are used to excavate tunnels through a variety of soil and rock strata –– from hard rock to sand. 
  • These machines are capable of digging tunnels with diameters 3.3 feet to 58 feet.
  • In India, TBMs have been deployed in Delhi, Mumbai, Pune, Chennai, Bangalore and Kolkata, among others, to help build underground Metro lines. 
  • These TBMs are also being used to help build water tunnels as well as the coastal road in Mumbai.
  • The global TBM market is at present dominated by China. 
  • As per vendors, nearly 90 per cent of the TBMs deployed across India have a Chinese connection.
  • China has a dominating presence in the heavy equipment machinery segment, and officials claim it is not possible to replace the sources of these types of equipment overnight.


‘Nivar’ will cross the Tamil Nadu and Puducherry

  • A very severe cyclonic storm is likely to make landfall on the coast of Tamil Nadu and Puducherry, according to weather experts.
  • The Meteorological Department said the cyclone christened ‘Nivar’ will cross the Tamil Nadu and Puducherry coasts between Karaikal and Mamallapuram as a very severe cyclonic storm with a wind speed of 120-130 kilometres per hour gusting to 145 kmph.
  • Nivar is the second cyclone in the Bay of Bengal this year. 
  • In May, Cyclone Amphan had developed into a ‘super cyclonic storm’.
  • With the arrival of the cyclone Nivar, the weather departments have predicted heavy rainfall in most places of Tamil Nadu, Puducherry, and Karaikal. 
  • There’s prediction of extremely heavy rainfall for isolated places in southern coasts. 
  • The Tamil Nadu region witnessed intermittent rainfall influenced by the cyclonic storm, which caused traffic congestion and water logging in several areas.


MT Anasthasia-1

  • The Indian Coast Guard is towing a drifting tanker MT Anasthasia-1 away from the Katchall island, near the bio-sensitive ecology of pristine Nicobar Islands. 
  • In a sea-air coordinated operation, the Coast Guard commenced towing the tanker, after its owners failed to provide a tug for assisting their drifting vessel, carrying 910 MT of bunker fuel.

  • The vessel with 24 crew onboard was en route to Dubai and has been facing a total power failure since November 19. 
  • According to the Coast Guard, the vessel was drifting dangerously towards Katchall Island with the risk of running aground and posing dangers of oil spillage off Nicobar Islands.
  • On receipt of information by Maritime Rescue Co-Ordination Centre (MRCC) Port Blair, NAVAREA warning (Navigational warnings were issued to ensure safety of lives at sea) and International safety Net was activated for alerting merchant mariners.
  • After an ICG boat from Campbell Bay was rushed for assessment of the situation, ICG Multi-Mission Vessel Vishwast on routine surveillance off the Nicobar Islands was also pressed into action.
  • An ICG boarding team embarked the adrift tanker and repaired the Fleet Broadband Communication equipment, got the Automatic Identification System operational and prepared the anchor chain cables of the vessel for manual lowering.
  • Considering the grave situation, despite no response from the vessel’s owners, ICG ship swiftly commenced towing of the 243-meter long vessel to safe waters. 
  • It is significant that the ICG vessel is towing a tanker measuring nearly 2.5 times its own size and carrying nearly 1000MT of fuel.



To mark the occasion of 3 years of UMANG and 2000+ services milestone, an online conference was organized under the chairmanship of Shri Ravi Shankar Prasad, Union Minister for Electronics and Information Technology, Communications and Law & Justice.

  • Key partners of UMANG – Employee Provident Fund Organization, Employee State Insurance Corporation, Ministries of External Affairs, Health, NPPA, DAR&PG, Education, Agriculture, Animal Husbandry, Staff Selection Commission (SSC) and senior Officers from the Cabinet Secretariat were also present during the conference.
  • In coordination with Ministry of External Affairs, UMANG’s international version was launched by Shri Ravi Shankar Prasad during the conference for select countries that include USA, UK, Canada, Australia, UAE, Netherlands, Singapore, Australia and New Zealand. 
  • It will help Indian international students, NRIs and Indian tourists abroad, to avail Government of India services, anytime. 
  • It will also help in taking India to the world through ‘Indian Culture’ services available on UMANG and create interest amongst foreign tourists to visit India. 
  • The international version of the UMANG App can be downloaded by going to the Play Store of specific countries. 
  • Expressing his thoughts on this occasion, the Minister said that Indians globally where keen to connect with India and maintain their contact with their roots and hence Government services available on UMANG must play a very proactive role for NRIs abroad.  
  • He added that the cultural portfolio available on UMANG will be extremely useful for Indians abroad to pass on information on Indian culture and heritage to the next generation.


Northeast monsoon

  • The Northeast monsoon has remained subdued this year. 
  • Rainfall over the Southern peninsular region has been deficient so far. 
  • The reason is a prevalent La Niña condition, along with a low pressure belt that is currently lying to the north of its normal position.
  • India receives rainfall during two seasons. 
  • About 75 per cent of the country’s annual rainfall is received from the Southwest monsoon between June and September.
  • The Northeast monsoon, on the other hand, occurs during October to December, and is a comparatively small-scale monsoon, which is confined to the Southern peninsula.
  • Also called the winter monsoon, the rainfall associated with the Northeast monsoon is important for Tamil Nadu, Puducherry, Karaikal, Yanam, coastal Andhra Pradesh, Kerala, north interior Karnataka, Mahe and Lakshadweep.
  • While La Niña conditions enhance the rainfall associated with the Southwest monsoon, it has a negative impact on rainfall associated with the Northeast monsoon.
  • During La Niña years, the synoptic systems — low pressure or cyclones — formed in the Bay of Bengal remain significantly to the north of their normal position.
  • Besides, instead of moving westwards, these systems recurve. 
  • As they lie to the north of their normal position, not much rainfall occurs over southern regions like Tamil Nadu.
S.W. Monsoons N.E. Monsoon
They blow from south-west to north-east from June to September. They blow from north-east to south-west from the month of Dec., Jan. and Feb.
These are onshore humid winds because they blow from sea to land. These are offshore dry winds because they blow from land to sea.
These are warm winds as they come from lower latitudes near equator. They are rather cool winds.
These warm and humid winds cause widespread rainfall. These cold and dry offshore winds give no rains to India except Coromandel coast.
These winds are known for their vagaries or uncertainties. They do not suffer from the vagaries. 


3rd Global Renewable Energy Investors Meet and Expo

  • Prime Minister Narendra Modi will virtually inaugurate the 3rd Global Renewable Energy Investors Meet and Expo (RE-INVEST 2020). 
  • During the three-day virtual conference, all the leading companies will display their latest technological development in the field of renewable energy and discuss various options available for energy transition.
  • Several world leaders, Energy Ministers of 75 countries and 200 eminent speakers will take part in the event. 
  • The summit is organised by the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy. 
  • It aims to accelerate the worldwide effort to scale up development and deployment of renewable energy and connect the global investment community with Indian energy stakeholders. 
  • The theme for RE-Invest 2020 is ‘Innovations for Sustainable Energy Transition’.


Sahakar Pragya of the National Cooperative Development Corporation

Union Agriculture Minister unveiled ‘Sahakar Pragya’ to impart training to primary cooperative societies in rural areas.

  • The 45 new training modules of Sahakar Pragya of the National Cooperative Development Corporation (NCDC) will impart training to primary cooperative societies in rural areas along with Lakshmanrao Inamdar National Cooperative Research and Development Academy (LINAC).
  • Sahakar Pragya embodies enhancing NCDC’s training capacity by 18-fold through an elaborate network of 18 Regional Training Centres across the country by the dedicated LINAC set up and fully funded by NCDC.


Second Management Positions Act – Germany Women

Last week, a working group of Germany’s ruling coalition parties headed by Chancellor Angela Merkel agreed to impose a mandatory quota for the number of women working in senior management positions in the country’s listed firms.

  • Since 2015, Germany, which is Europe’s biggest economy, has had a voluntary quota of 30 per cent for women on supervisory boards.
  • However, various studies have indicated this did little to improve the proportion of senior executive positions held by women. 
  • The new provisions will build upon this already existing voluntary quota.
  • A final decision on the key points of the legislation, called the Second Management Positions Act, will be made by the cabinet this week.
  • As per the agreed-upon provisions, in case executive boards of listed companies have more than three members, one of them must be a woman.
  • Further, companies in which the federal government has a stake will require a supervisory board quota of at least 30 per cent and minimum participation in executive boards.


Creation of Infrastructure for Agro-Processing Cluster

The government has approved seven proposals of Food Processing Projects worth over 234 crore rupees under the Scheme for Creation of Infrastructure for Agro-Processing Cluster.

  • The scheme for Creation of Infrastructure for Agro-Processing Cluster was approved in 2017 under the Pradhan Mantri Kisan Sampada Yojana to incentivize the setting up of agro processing clusters in the country.
  • This scheme aims at development of modern infrastructure to encourage entrepreneurs to set up food processing units based on cluster approach.
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