Daily Current Affairs - 07-04-2021

The Union Cabinet recently approved the Production Linked Scheme for White Goods such as Air conditioners and LED lights. The main objective of the scheme is to make manufacturing in India globally competitive. This is to be achieved by creating economies of scale, removing sectoral disabilities and ensuring efficiencies. The scheme will make India an integral part of the global supply chain.

PLI Scheme for White Goods

What are White Goods?

Generally large home appliances such as refrigerators, dish washers, washing machines, air conditioners are referred to as white goods. Traditionally the household goods were available in white colour and hence the name.

What are brown goods?

The Consumer Electronics such as computer, Television, games consoles, radios are referred to as brown goods.

Other Schemes approved

Along with the PLI Scheme for Air Conditioners and LED lights, the PLI Scheme for high efficiency Solar PV module called the “National Programme on High Efficiency Solar PV Modules” was also approved.

The Union Cabinet recently approved the Production Linked Incentive Scheme called the “National Programme on High Efficiency Solar PV Modules”. PV stands for Photo Voltaic. They are units that convert light energy into electrical energy.

National Programme on High Efficiency Solar PV Modules

What is the plan?

The solar Photo Voltaic manufacturers are to be selected through transparent competitive bidding process. The scheme will reward manufacturers with higher efficiencies of solar Photo Voltaic modules. Also, they will be incentivised for sourcing their material from the domestic markets.

Why is the scheme important?

The solar capacity addition in the country largely depends on imported solar Photo Voltaic Cells and modules. The National Programme on High Efficiency Solar PV Modules will help to reduce the dependence on imports of solar PV cells and modules. Also, it will support Atma Nirbhar Bharat initiative.

PLI Scheme

The main objective of PLI Scheme is to make manufacturing in India globally competitive. The scheme will generate large scale employment opportunities and will enhance exports substantially.

Other Schemes approved

Apart from this scheme, the union cabinet has also approved the Production Linked Scheme for White Goods-LED Lights and Air Conditioners.

The Global energy and industrial majors have joined together to form a new coalition called the India H2 Alliance. The initiative to form the alliance was begun by the Reliance industries and Chart Industries. The India H2 Alliance, IH2A mainly focuses on commercialising hydrogen technologies. It will work towards boosting the hydrogen economy and supply chain in India.

About India H2 Alliance

The IH2 alliance will mainly focus on industrial clusters such as refineries, steel, cement, fertiliser, ports and logistics and heavy-duty transport use cases. It will also create standards for storage and transport of hydrogen in pressurised and liquefied form.

The following are the main objectives of IH2A:

What are the major works of India H2 Alliance?

The India H2 Alliance will closely work with the Government of India on the following five areas:

What is Blue Hydrogen?

Blue Hydrogen is produced from the splitting of natural gas into carbon dioxide and hydrogen. This is achieved by Steam Methane Reforming or Auto thermal Reforming.

What is Green Hydrogen?

Green Hydrogen is made from non-fossil sources.

The Reserve Bank of India recently made three main changes to the Prepaid Payment Instruments.

What are Prepaid Payment Instruments?

The Prepaid Payment Instruments or PPI are means through which purchase of goods and services shall be made against the value stored in such instruments. The Prepaid instruments shall be used as magnetic stripe cards, smart cards, internet accounts, mobile accounts, online wallets, paper vouchers or any other instrument used to access a prepaid amount.

What are the three changes RBI made in prepaid instruments (PPI)?

In 2018, the PPIs were provided the option of becoming interoperable. Under this option, the customers of one company shall send funds to the customers of other company or bank or PPI. RBI provided this option only to those cases where a complete KYC is done. Even after two years, the migration towards KYC PPIs has not been achieved. KYC is Know Your Customer.

Thus, to increase the migration of PPIs to full KYC, the following changes have been introduced

What are the categories of PPIs used in India?

The following are the categories of Prepaid Payment Instruments used in India:

The Closed System Payment Instruments are issued by a person. They are issued to facilitate purchase of goods from him or her.

The Semi-Closed System Payment Instruments are redeemable only at a group of identified merchants. They do not permit cash withdrawal or redemption by the holder.

The Semi-Open System Payment Instruments can be used at any card accepting merchant sale terminals. They do not allow cash withdrawal or redemption.

The Open System Payment Instruments allow cash withdrawals at ATMs and can be used for purchase of goods.

The Mobile Prepaid Instruments are issued by the mobile service providers.

In January 2021, Bird Flu was confirmed among the migratory water birds at Pong Dam Lake Wildlife Sanctuary. The disease then killed more than 5,000 birds. It was contained in February 2021. However, it has resurfaced since late March.

What is the issue?

Recently, around 99 birds were found dead at Pong Dam Lake. The officials of National Institute of High Security Animal Diseases have confirmed that the recent death of birds is due to the presence of H5N8 Avian Influenza. However, this strain is different from the previous outbreak. Previously the outbreak was due to H5N1. The bird fatalities are higher during days of adverse weather as it is when the geese tend to flock together instead of flying out.

Pong Dam Lake Wildlife Sanctuary

Avian Influenza

The Forbes recently released its list of wealthiest people in the world. Forbes is an American business magazine owned by the Integrated Whale Media Investments and the Forbes family.

Forbes list of India’s ten richest billionaires

The following are the top ten richest billionaires in India according to Forbes:

Of the ten richest billionaires in India, only two earned their spot owing to investments in healthcare sector. They were Cyrus Poonawala of Serum Institute and Dilip Shanghvi of Sun Pharmaceutical.

Forbes list of richest World Billionaires

About Forbes

The headquarters of Forbes is located in New Jersey. It has an international edition in Asia and also Forbes editions are produced under license in 27 countries. In 2014, Forbes was sold to a Hong Kong based investment group Integrated Whale Media Investments.

Other popular Forbes lists

Forbes is well known for the following lists:

The motto of Forbes magazine is “Change the World”.

The Ministry of Finance recently announced that nearly Rs 15 lakh crores have been sanctioned under Pradhan Mantri MUDRA Yojana (PMMY).

What are the achievements of PMMY?

Pradhan Mantri MUDRA Yojana

Interest Subvention Scheme for PMMY

The Ministry of Rural Development recently announced that under the Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana-Gramin (PMAY-G), 92% target has been achieved in the first phase of the scheme. Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana is a flagship scheme (that is, GoI gives utmost importance to the scheme) of Government of India. This achievement has been made between 2016 and 2019.

About the achievement

A target of 1 crore houses was set for completion in Phase I of the scheme. Of this, 92% target has been completed. This was mainly possible because of the timely release of funds required for the scheme. In 2020-21, Rs 19,269 crores was made available as budgetary support. Later an extra budgetary support of Rs 20,000 cores was provided. This is the highest budget allocation to the scheme in any year since its launch.

Permanent Wait List of PMAY

Awaas+ survey

The Awaas+ survey was conducted by all the states and Union Territories to identify the beneficiaries not included in the Permanent Wait List. The survey identified 0.81 beneficiaries. They were included in the Permanent Wail List in July 2020. With this the Permanent Wait List of Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana was ceiled at 2.95 crores.

India recently hosted the BRICS Finance Ministers Meet. This was the first BRICS meet under the chairmanship of India in 2021. As 2021 BRICS Chair, India aims to focus on strengthening intra-BRICS cooperation based on continuity, consolidation and consensus.

Discussions held at the meet

The following discussions were held by the leaders during the meet:

India as BRICS host

India will host the BRICS meeting for the year 2021. The 2021 BRICS Summit is the thirteenth summit of the grouping. Also, 2021 marks the fifteenth anniversary of the international grouping.  This is the third time India is hosting BRICS Summit. Previously India hosted BRICS Summit in 2012 and in 2016.

About 2021 BRICS Summit

The 2021 BRICS Summit will focus on three main pillars. They are:

BRICS

The Atal Innovation Mission, Centre for Innovations in Public Systems (CIPS) and NITI Aayog recently announced collaboration to reinforce entrepreneurship and innovation ecosystem in India.

What is the plan?

Benefits of the partnership

Centre for Innovation in Public System

It is an autonomous Centre for Administrative Staff College of India. It was established by Government of India in 2010. It was established based on the recommendation made by the Thirteenth Finance Commission for the years 2010-15. The Finance Commission also suggested to release a grant of Rs 20 crores to establish Centre for Innovation in Public System.

The International Monetary Fund recently released the World Economic Outlook titled “Managing Divergent Recoveries”.

Key Findings of the report

International Monetary Fund

The IMF was set up after the Second World War to assist in the reconstruction of war-ravaged countries. It was created in 1945. It is governed by and accountable to 189 countries. India joined the IMF in 1945. Apart from World Economic Outlook, the IMF also releases Global Financial Stability Report.

On April 7, 2021, the Monetary Policy Committee of Reserve Bank of India announced the outcome of its bi-monthly monetary policy review.

Key Highlights

Repo Rate

The repo rate is the rate at which the Reserve Bank of India lends money to the commercial banks in the country.

Reverse Repo Rate

The reverse repo rate is the rate at which the Reserve Bank of India borrows money from the commercial banks in the country.

CPI

CPI is Consumer Price Index. It is the measure that examines the weighted average of prices of goods and services purchased by households.

MSF Rate

MSF is Marginal Standing Facility. It is the rate at which RBI lends funds to scheduled banks against Government securities.

The scientists have used the stem cells of frogs to create a new living robot. These robots have been named Xenobots.

About Xenobots

How were the Xenobots created?

The Xenobots were created by microengineering amphibian eggs with RNA. The biologists later removed the egg membrane after 24 hours. They then harvested the stem cell tissue from the embryo. The tissues then formed into spheres with tiny hair like structure called cilia. The cilia moved to propel the bots across a surface creating a Xenobot.

How was the memory of the Xenobots created?

The FDA of the US recently approved the ADHD drug for treating patients in the age group of 6 to 17 years. ADHD is Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder. The ADHD drug belongs to a group of medicines called stimulants. These drugs work by increasing the activity of the brain. Several controversies have arisen in the US as the FDA has approved the ADHD drug. This is the first ADHD drug approved by FDA in ten years.

What are the controversies over the approval?

The ADHD drug that has been approved by the FDA is called Qelbree. Qelbree was developed by Supernus Pharmaceuticals of Rockville, Maryland. The controversies over the approval of Qelbree are due to the fact that it carries a warning of “potential for suicidal thoughts and behaviour”.

ADHD in the US

The ADHD affects more than six million American children and adolescents in the United States. These children struggle to pay attention and complete tasks. They also show signs of impulsiveness and fidgeting.

ADHD Drugs

There are two categories of ADHD Drugs. They are Stimulants and Non-Stimulants. According to FDA, the stimulant medications increase dopamine levels in brain. Dopamine is a brain chemical that is associated with motivation and attention. However, stimulant medications can bring side effects such as high blood pressure, headaches, insomnia and decreased appetite. Most of the ADHD drugs are classified as Schedule II substances as they pose risk of abuse and dependence.

Non-stimulant ADHD drugs include duanfacine, atomoexetine and clonidine.

ADHD in India

The ADHD affects 2% to 7% of children globally. In India more male child were found to have ADHD. 83.3% of the patients in India discontinue taking their medicines within the first month. The Indian parents cite the following reasons for stopping the medication:

The President of Israel recently issued a mandate for Benjamin Netanyahu to try and form the Government. Benjamin has been given twenty-eight days to form the government.

Israel Election

In March 2021, Israel conducted elections. This is the fourth election in two years. However, the election results ended with no majority. Neither Netanyahu nor his opponent Benny Gantz secured the required majority to form the government. However, in consultations with the political parties, Netanyahu received more endorsements and thus the president has invited him to try and form the government.

What is the issue?

The thirty fifth Government of Israel was sworn in on May 17, 2020. It was originally to be established following the April 2019 election. However, Knesset dissolved by itself as none could form a majority Government. Knesset is the Unicameral National Legislature of Israel. Following this a third election was held in 2020. After this election, Netanyahu and Gantz finally reached on an agreement to form a national unity Government. A National Unity Government is a coalition government that consists of all parties in the legislature. However, this government was dissolved in December 2020. Thus, Israel went for elections again in 2021.

Benjamin Netanyahu

Netanyahu served as the Prime Minister of Israel between 1996 and 1999. Also, he served as the Prime Minister since 2009. During his fourth term as Prime Minister of Israel, that is, in 2017, the police investigation on Netanyahu began. He was investigated in two cases namely Case 1000 and Case 2000. He was charged of crimes involving fraud, bribes and breach of trust in both the cases. In 2018, he was charged of corruption. Some critics consider this as the major cause of 2019-2021 Israeli political crisis that began after April 2019 elections.

RXIL is Receivables Exchange of India. Recently RXIL has become the first TReDS platform to cross monthly throughput of Rs 1000 crores. The transaction volume in the platform grew from Rs 69 crores in April 2020 to Rs 1,105 crores in March 2021. This shows economic recovery in the country. Also, it shows that the MSME sector that was badly hit during COVID-19 is getting revived.

About RXIL

What is TReDS?

How does TReDS work?

The seller first uploads an invoice. This invoice waits for an acceptance from a buyer. After the buyer accepts the invoice, it goes for auction. The financiers enter discounting rates. The party bearing the interest cost will accept the best bid. Later the financier account is debited and seller account is credited.

Legality of TReDS

The RBI granted permission for the operation of TReDS in the country based on the guidelines under Payment and Settlement System Act, 2007.

The Uttar Pradesh Cabinet recently approved the Uttar Pradesh Regulation of Urban Premises Tenancy (second) Ordinance, 2021. The ordinance will reduce the tenancy disputes.

Key Features of the Ordinance

Significance

The ordinance is very much similar to the Draft Model Tenancy Act.

Model Tenancy Act

The Model Tenancy Act was framed by the Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs. It is yet to be passed in the parliament.  The key features of the Model Tenancy Act are as follows:

The tenants shall not sublet the property without the permission of the landlord.