Daily Current Affairs - 06-04-2021

The Defence Research and Development Organisation recently allowed the private sector firms to develop and produce missile systems. Also, they can make partnership with DRDO in Missile production. This is being done under the Development cum Production Partner Programme. The organization has already received bids for the Vertically-launched Short range Surface to Air Missile System. With this, VL-SRSAM has become the first missile programme to receive DRDO-private sector partnership.

Why are the private sectors allowed in Missile Production?

The DRDO has opened up its partnership with the private sectors in order to develop complex military systems under the Make in India project.

What are the recent DRDO-Private sector projects?

Recently DRDO helped TATA and Baba Kalyani industries to develop ATAGS howitzer. It is an artillery gun for the Indian Army.

Private Sector Participation in DRDO

Significance of DRDO-Private Partnership

DRDO recently banned 101 military systems and weapons such as light combat helicopters, cruise missiles, transport aircraft. This is to be achieved in a staggered manner by 2024. This was done to promote the domestic defence industry. Now, this partnership will boost the foreign companies (where the import ban was imposed) to set up manufacturing units in India. They can also partner with DRDO.

A target of 25 billion USD turnover has been set in defence manufacturing. In order to achieve such high targets, several hands need to work together. Thus, the private partnership will help in achieving the target.

The Securities and Exchange Board of India recently announced that it will not extend the deadline to separate the posts of Managing Director and Chairperson. In April 1, 2020, SEBI asked the Indian companies to separate the roles of chairperson and Managing Director. However, a time period of two years was provided for compliance. Now the regulator has issued a warning that this deadline will not be extended. The announcement comes as by the end of December 2020, only 53% of top 500 entities had complied with this provision.

Why should the roles be separated?

The main objective in separating the roles is to provide a better and more balanced governance structure.

Separation of roles in other countries

Globally, the world seems to move towards separation of the posts. UK and Australia have already moved in favour of the separation. Germany and Netherlands have a two-tier board structure that separates the roles of the board and management.

Legal Provisions

The Section 203 of the Companies Act, 2013 says that an individual shall not be appointed as the chairperson of a company as well as the Managing Director or Chief Executive Officer.

Chairman

Chairman is the person responsible for leading the board. He focuses on strategic matters, sets governance standards and oversees group’s businesses. He plays a crucial role in bringing the effectiveness of the board and individual directors.

Managing Director

A Managing Director is a whole-time director controlling the day-to-day affairs of the company.

SEBI

SEBI is a statutory body established on 1992 under the Securities and Exchange Board of India Act, 1992. The main objective of SEBI is to protect the interests of the investors and regulate securities market. SEBI has the power to appoint committees. A Securities Appellate Tribunal has been constituted to protect the interest of entities that feel aggrieved by SEBI’s decision.

Under the Securities Laws (Amendment) Act, 2014, SEBI shall regulate any money scheme of worth Rs 100 crores.

Justice N V Ramana, who was recently appointed as the Chief Justice of India is to assume charge on April 24, 2021. He is to take charge a day after the retirement of CJI Sharad Arvind Bobde. Justice Ramana is to take over as the 48th Chief Justice of India.

Justice Ramana

Justice Ramana was born in 1957 in Ponnavaram village of Andhra Pradesh. He was enrolled as an advocate in 1983. He became the Chief Justice of Delhi High Court in 2013. In 2014, he was appointed as the judge of the Supreme Court. Justice Ramana had been a part of the following popular cases:

Constitutional Provisions

In 2021, India has emerged as the largest recipient of Foreign Portfolio Investments. The net FPI inflow for the fiscal year 2020-21 was Rs 2.74 lakh crores.

Investment in equity segment

The investments in the equity segment for the year 2020-21 touched Rs 2,74,503.  This is the highest quantum of money recorded since the National Securities Depository Limited began to make the Foreign Portfolio Investment data publicly available. Earlier to this, the highest inflow in the equity segment was in 2012. And it has been recorded as RS 1.4 lakh crores.

Foreign Portfolio Investment in 2021

In the fiscal year 2020-21, the foreign portfolio investors have been the net buyers in all months except for September, March, April and May 2020. In the previous fiscal year, the foreign portfolio investors were net sellers.

The highest inflow of foreign portfolio investment seen in India has not been seen in other emerging markets. This clearly proves that the foreign portfolio investors had been expecting India’s economic recovery to be much faster than the other emerging economies.

What is the difference between FPI and FDI?

The personal data of more than 533 million Facebook users has been leaked online recently. The exposed data included personal information of the Facebook users from more than 106 countries. This also included records of 32 million users in the US, 11 million in UK and 6 million in India.

What is Facebook Data Leak, 2021?

The Facebook data leaked included personal details such as names and phone numbers associated with the user accounts. They are now available in several online forums for free!

The current data leak is being considered as the biggest data breach as the phone number of Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg was found in the leaked data. Also, his birth date and marriage details have been hacked.

The data breach comes during the time when Facebook owned WhatsApp is shifting to a safer alternative such as Signal. These new terms of WhatsApp are creating controversies.

WhatsApp new terms

The new terms of WhatsApp are creating controversies as under the new terms Facebook can access user chats with business accounts.

What caused the data breach?

The data leak is related to 2019 vulnerability that exposed the phone number linked to every Facebook account. Facebook claimed that it had been fixed long back. However, the recent data breach says that still flaws exist in the system that are aiding the hackers.

How can the data be misused?

The breached data has been put up in several forums. These details can be exploited by the advertisers. Also, anyone with rudimentary skills can use these data to commit a cyber crime. Earlier in March 2018, Facebook data were accessed by the UK-based Cambridge Analytica. The data gathered was used to help the political candidates all over the world to win elections. This included data of more than 5.62 lakh Indians.

India and Facebook

The Russian President Vladimir Putin recently signed a legislation that will allow him to stay in power till 2036. The Russian leader had already been in power for more than two decades. And he is 68 years old.

Background

According to the previous constitution, Putin should have stepped down after his second consecutive term that is to end in 2024. Now, with the new constitutional amendment, he can stay in power till 2036.

In 2020, the Russians voted for constitutional amendments that will allow Putin to recontest after 2024. Majority voted in favour of the amendment.

Why the changes?

According to Article 81 of Russian Constitution, the same person cannot hold the office of President more than two terms in a row. Vladimir Putin was elected as president in 2012 and again re-elected as president in 2018. He will now stay in power till 2024. The term of a president in Russia is six years.

What are the changes made to the Russian Constitution?

The new constitution has not changed the two-term limit. However, it has removed the words “in a row”. With this, Putin will be able to run for President elections for another two terms under the new constitution.

2020 Referendum

A Constitutional referendum was held in Russia in 2020. In this, 79% of the voters supported the changes to the constitution.
The amendments increased the powers of advisory bodies and State councils. Bottom line, the amendments tightened Putin’s grip over Russia.

Vladimir Putin

Vladimir Putin was a former intelligence officer. According to Putin, India is one of the best Strategic Partners of Russia.

The World largest solar company Longi Green is to enter the Hydrogen Market. Longi Green is a Chinese company that manufactures solar panels, wafers and solar cells. Today several such solar companies are entering the hydrogen market. This is mainly because hydrogen is a carbon-free fuel that can be produced by electrolysis of water and then stored and transported and used in every possible machinery such as cars to electrical generators to steel mills.

Longi Green

Longi Green was founded in 2000. The headquarters of Longi Green is located in Xi’an, China. Longi Green has plants in India, Malaysia and China. In 2019, Longi Green brought 300 MW monocrystalline PV products to India.

Hydrogen Market in India

The Hydrogen market in India is valued at 50 million USD. It is projected to reach 81 million USD by 2025. In India, the major end use of hydrogen is in petroleum refining industry. Here, hydrogen is used to refine crude oil.

Though India is moving towards clean fuel, the high transportation and high storage cost is hampering the growth of hydrogen market in the country. However, the emerging liquid organic hydrogen carrier technologies (LOHC) will make storage and transportation of hydrogen easier.

Liquid Organic Hydrogen Carriers (LOHC)

They are organic compounds that can absorb and release hydrogen through chemical reactions. Thus, LOHCs are ideal for hydrogen storage and transportation.

In 2020, Japan built the first international hydrogen supply chain in the world using LOHC. It was built between Brunei and Kawasaki city using toluene based LOHC technology.

Working of LOHC

The dehydrated form of LOHC reacts with hydrogen in a hydrogenation reaction. The end product thus formed can be stored or transported under ambient conditions. Whenever hydrogen is needed the hydrogen rich form of LOHC is dehydrogenated.

Hydrogenation is an exothermic reaction and dehydrogenation is endothermic reaction.

Minister of State for Education Sanjay Dhotre is to attend the Education Ministers meet of E9 countries. The meeting is to be held under the following theme:

About the meet

During the meet, the leaders are to create an initiative on digital learning and skills. The initiative is to target marginalised children and youth. The initiative will mainly accelerate three of the 2020 Global Education Meeting objectives. They are as follows:

The 2020 Global Education Meeting was organised by UNESCO. It acted as a unique platform for exchange among high-level political leaders and policy makers.

E9 initiative

Education for All

It is a global movement led by UNESCO. It aims to meet the learning needs of youth, children and adults. The Education for All initiative was adopted by the Darkar Framework in April 2000.

The Union Health Minister Dr Harsh Vardhan recently launched the Integrated Health Information Platform. According to the health ministry, India is the first country to adopt such an advanced surveillance system.

About the Platform

How is the information collected?

The information for the platform is to be collected in the following way:

Integrated Disease Surveillance Programme

The IDSP was launched in 2004. The programme is assisted by the World Bank. The main objective of the programme is to detect and respond to disease outbreaks quickly.

NASA recently announced that its Ingenuity Helicopter has been dropped on the surface of mars successfully and is in preparation for its first flight.

Ingenuity Helicopter

Perseverance Rover

Mars 2020 Mission

Mars 2020 mission was launched in July 2020. It is a part of Mars Exploration Programme of NASA. Mars 2020 mission was launched from Atlas V Launch vehicle.

It is one of the three missions launched to Mars in 2020. The other two Mars missions were as follows:

The Ministry of Finance recently released the Monthly Economic Review for March 2021. According to the report, the Indian Economy is recovering from COVID-19 crisis. The report has highlighted several indicators that prove economic recovery in the country.

Key Findings of the report

Conclusion

The report concluded that India is currently facing gradual yet steady recovery in overall credit growth.

The Indian Railways recently completed the arch closure of the world highest railway bridge, Chenab bridge. The bridge is a part of Udhampur-Srinagar-Baramulla rail link project.

About the Arch Closure

Chenab Bridge

Standards used in Chenab Bridge construction

The arch rail bridges at such heights require number of additional parameters such as global stability, fatigue, composite action, second order effects, etc. In order to achieve these parameters, Indian Construction Standards such as Indian Road Congress, Indian Standards and Indian Railway Standards were inadequate. This is because the Indian Railway Standards are primarily intended for simply supported bridges up to 100 metres of span. The span of Chenab bridge was greater than this. Thus, international standards such as International Union of Railways, British Standards were supplemented to construct the Chenab bridge.

The WazirX, one of the leading cryptocurrency exchanges has recently launched India’s first market place for NFT. NFT is Non-Fungible Tokens. The launch will now allow Indian creators to place their digital assets (such as images or videos, music, etc) for auction and earn royalty.

What is Non-Fungible Token?

It is a unit of data on a digital ledger called a block chain. Every NFT data represents a unique digital item. It can be audios, art, videos, video games or other forms of creative works. Now the question arises if a painting can be placed for auction here? No. Only those things that can be used simply by buying or downloading online can be placed here for auction. If an art work has been created using computer, then it can be placed here for auction.

The NFTs, that is, the digital assets in these block chains can be bought from NFT markets. One such market has now been established in India. In this system, the access to the copies of the original file is not restricted to the owner of the token. As the digital files are infinitely reproducible, the NFTs representing them provide the buyers with proof of ownership of the NFT.

How is NFT different from cryptocurrency?

A NFT is a cryptographic token. However, unlike cryptocurrencies, the NFTs are not mutually interchangeable, that is, not fungible.

How is NFT created?

NFT is created when a file of art work is uploaded to the NFT auction market. From then on, the file can be bought and resold with crypto currency.

Blockchains used in NFTs

NFTs were first created on Ethereum standard. The other block chains used to create NFT assets are Flow and Tezos. However, there has been constant criticism that Ethereum and Bitcoin networks consume high electric power.

In the first four months of ethanol supply year 2020-21, India has reached more than 7.2%. This is the first time India has reached this level. This puts the country right on its course of achieving the target of 10% blending by 2022.

Current Scenario

Issues

According to ethanol policy, the sugar companies should deliver the contracted ethanol to the nearest Oil Marketing Company (OMC) depot. The OMCs are to pay transportation charges. Here, the problem is that the sugar companies are not getting full transport reimbursement. This is because, the base rate for transport was fixed in October 2020, that is, before the current increase in fuel price.

Ethanol Blended Programme

It was launched in 2003. The OMCs are advised to acquire ethanol on the following priority order under the programme

Ethanol

Every year the National Maritime Day is celebrated on April 5 in India. The first National Maritime Day was celebrated in 1964. The day is dedicated to seafarers.

About National Maritime Day

The National Maritime Day is celebrated every year to support global economy through sea transport. It also supports safe and sound environmentally responsive way of transporting goods from one part of the world to the other. The theme of National Maritime Day, 2021 is as follows:
Theme: ‘Sustainable Shipping beyond COVID-19’ on the lines of ‘Aatma Nirbhar Bharat’ initiative 

History

Indian shipping began on April 5, 1919. This is why India celebrates National Maritime Day on April 5 every year. The first ship of India The SS Loyalty sailed from Mumbai to United Kingdom. It was manufactured by the Scindia Steam Navigation Company Limited. This is highly historic as the sea routes were completely under the British control in those days.

Awards

On National Maritime Day, the National Maritime Day Awards are presented. The awards recognise the efforts of people from the Indian Maritime Sector. Varuna award is presented for their long and exceptional contribution. The award consists of a statue of Lord Varuna. Also, the NMD Award of Excellence is presented on this day.

Maritime Day in other countries

The other countries that celebrate Maritime Day are China, Mexico, Pakistan, United States.

World Maritime Day

World Maritime Day is celebrated on September 30 every year by United Nations and also by other international organisations. Just like National Maritime Day, the World Maritime Day is also dedicated to the seafarers. The theme of 2021 World Maritime Day is as follows

Theme: Seafarers at the core of Shipping’s future

Significance of National Maritime Day

India has 43 shipping companies that own more than 1,400 ships. They have a capacity of 12.69 million tonnes. Shipping is the most efficient and cost-effective method of transportation of goods. Therefore, India focuses on maritime security, maritime infrastructure, maritime education and development of maritime standards in its policies.

Day of Seafarer

The Day of Seafarer is celebrated on June 25. The day is celebrated by the International Maritime Organisation and also by other international organisations.

International Maritime Organisation

The organisation is responsible for maritime protection and preventing pollution from ships. India became the member of IMO in 1959.