Daily Current Affairs - 08-04-2021

The Department of Animal Husbandry and Dairying operating under the Ministry of Fisheries, Animal Husbandry and Dairying and Ministry of AYUSH signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to introduce the concept of Ayurveda and its allied disciplines into veterinary science.

About the MoU

Animal Husbandry in India

The scientists from Singapore have developed a technology to interact with plants. The technology has been named as “Robo Plant”.

About the Robo Plant Technology

How did the scientist build the technology?

The scientists used the technology to trigger a Venus flytrap to snap its jaws when a button on a smart phone is pressed. One of the jaws of the plant was then connected to a robotic arm that enabled the contraption to pick up a piece of wire (that was half a milli metre thick) and catch a small falling object.

Venus Flytrap

It is a carnivorous plant. It is native to subtropical wetlands that are located in the East Coast of United States. It catches prey such as insects with a trapping structure. When the prey touches a hair, the plant prepares to close. The IUCN has put the plant under “Vulnerable” status.

Electrical Signals in Plants

The Electrical Signals in plants were first revealed in insectivorous plants by Burdon Sanderson in 1873 and by Darwin in 1875. Plants exhibit several methods of delivering electrical signals. The four commonly used propagation methods are as follows:

Plants also have the capability to sense and respond to the environment. They react to chemicals, light, gravity, moisture, infections, oxygen, infection, temperature, parasite infestation, sound, physical disruption and touch.

The Union Health and Family Welfare Minister recently launched the Tribal Health Collaborative called “Anamaya”.

Key Features of Anamaya

Recently, the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare and the Ministry of Tribal Affairs together launched the Tribal Tuberculosis Initiative to fulfil the goal of “TB Mukt Bharat”, that is, “Tuberculosis Free India” by 2025.

Need for the initiative

The Abhay Bang Committee submitted a report on “Tribal Health in India”. The findings of the committee are as follows:

The findings of the committee clearly shows that more care should be taken towards improving health of tribal population in India.

The Union Agricultural Minister Narendra Singh Tomar launched the Madhukranti portal and Honey Corners of NAFED to promote the Honey Mission in India.

Madhukranti portal

The Madhukranti portal is an initiative of National Bee Board. It is operated under the National Beekeeping and Honey Mission.

The main objectives of the Madhukranti portal are as follows:

Significance of Madhukranti Portal

The portal will help in increasing income of the farmers, boost exports and increase employment generation. The portal will hold the database of all the stakeholders involved in honey production, marketing chains, hive production and sales. This will increase the reach of honey to international markets. By this, the stakeholders can easily be contacted.

Honey Corners

The Honey Corners are special spaces for the sale of honey. It is operated by NAFED. NAFED is National Agricultural Cooperative Marketing Federation. NAFED has developed 14-15 honey corners. More honey corners are to be developed in most of the upcoming major 200 NAFED stores. This will promote market support for honey.


Indian Bank is the technical and banking partner for the development of digital platform. The bank has signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the National Bee Board to implement the platform.

National Beekeeping and Honey Mission

It is a central sector scheme that was approved by the Government of India for Rs 500 crores. It aims at scientific bee keeping and production of honey. The main objective of the mission is to achieve the goal of “Sweet Revolution”. The Government of India has been establishing quality testing labs to address the issues related to quality of honeybees under the mission.

The Ministry of Food Processing Industries, earlier launched an all India Pradhan Mantri Formalization of Micro Food Processing Enterprises (PM FME) Scheme. The scheme is to be implemented between 2020-21 and 2024-25. It is to implemented at an outlay of Rs 10,000 crores.

Convergence of Ministries

Recently, the Ministry of Food Processing Industries (MoFPI) agreed to work with the Ministry of Rural Development (MoRD) to implement the PM FME scheme. The Deendayal Antyodaya Yojana-National Rural Livelihood Mission (DAY-NRLM) operating under MoRD is to work with the MoFPI to implement the scheme.

What is the plan?

Deendayal Antyodaya Yojana (DAY)

It is also called National Rural Livelihood Mission (NRLM). The DAY-NRLM is the new name given to Aajeevika-NRLM. It was renamed in 2015. The programme is partly supported by World Bank. The main aim of the programme is to increase the household income of rural poor. The scheme was begun with an agenda to cover seven crore rural poor households.

Scheme for Formalisation of Micro Processing Enterprises

The scheme was launched for the unorganized sector in India. It aims to increase access to finance by micro processing units. It also aims in compliance with food quality and safety standards. The scheme focuses on women entrepreneurs and aspirational districts.

The International Monetary Fund recently announced Solidarity Tax on Pandemic Winners. That is, the companies that prospered during COVID-19 crisis should pay additional tax to show solidarity towards those hit hardest by the pandemic.

About the Solidarity Tax suggested by IMF


According to IMF, several countries are not facing the crisis in public finances. The advanced economies have borrowed 11.7% of their National income, emerging countries have borrowed 9.8% and low-income countries have borrowed 5.5%. However, it is the low-income countries that are suffering the most even to achieve basic needs. Therefore, it is essential to bring in a mechanism that will help in their upliftment.
The current COVID-19 recovery in uneven unlike to that happened after 2008 financial crisis.

Solidarity Tax in other countries

The solidarity tax was introduced in Germany in 1991 after the East and West Germany were joined together. It was collected for only one year.

Solidarity Tax is levied on wealth in France. It is also known as wealth tax. It is paid by households with a net worth greater than 1.3 million Euros. It was first introduced in 1981 and terminated in 1986. Again, it was reintroduced in 1988.

Recommendations made by IMF

What is Solidarity Tax?

Solidarity Tax is a government-imposed tax that is levied to provide funding towards unifying projects. It acts in conjunction with income taxes. The solidarity tax is an additional burden on tax payers including sole proprietors, individuals and corporations.

The Reserve Bank of India recently revised its Inflation Forecast Model. The new model will capture how fiscal and monetary policy interact with real economy elements in a better way.

About the New Inflation Forecast Model

The new model is broken into three blocks. The first block decomposes the primary deficit of the Government into structural and cyclical components. It is also called fiscal block. A structural increase in deficit of the Government will create a positive output gap. This will in turn make borrowings costlier and will eventually depreciate the currency. This means country will face higher inflation. On the other hand, the cyclical shock is negligible.

The second block includes the complex system of pricing in India. It includes items such as diesel and petrol that are priced on the basis of international oil prices, local taxes and exchange rates. This block is also called the fuel block.

The third block is the Balance of Payment block. This block recognizes the costs that are associated with spurts in volatility in exchange rate.

How is inflation measured in India?

In India, inflation is measured using two main indices namely Wholesale Price Index (WPI) and Consumer Price Index (CPI). The Consumer Price Index measures the weighted average of prices of basket of consumer goods and services such as food, transportation and medical care. It is measured by calculating the average of price changes of each item in the predetermined basket of goods. On the other hand, the Whole Price Index is measured based on prices at wholesale level.

The World Bank and International Monetary Fund have launched a platform to advise the poor countries on funding for conservation and climate activities. Both the financial organizations will use the platform to factor climate change into negotiations about reducing debt burdens of poor countries.

Current Scenario

According to the World Bank and IMF, there prevails twin global problems. They are as follows:

Therefore, the solution of including climate change into debt restructuring process will help motivate sovereign lenders to write off certain percentage of debt of poorer countries. Basically, the international financial organizations will negotiate in reducing the debt of poorer countries citing climate change and COVID-19 crisis.

The Climate change platform is highly important as several poor countries are struggling to shore up their food supplies and infrastructure due to climate change. These countries are not emitting the green houses in large amounts. However, they are bearing the brunt of the impact from the rest of the world. The platform will address this issue.

About the platform

Apart from the initiations of World Bank and International Monetary Fund, there has been other initiatives to reduce the debt of poor countries. One such is the Debt Service Suspension Initiative.

Debt Service Suspension Initiative

China, USA and G20 members offered a temporary relief to the poor countries by suspending the debt service payment from the countries. This is referred to as Debt Service Suspension Initiative.

The Ministry of Corporate Affairs (MCA) recently announced that six out of ten active Indian companies are eligible for the new pre-packaged bankruptcy scheme. This is because out of the 1.3 million active companies in India, 60% belong to the category of MSME (Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises).


The President of India recently promulgated an ordinance, Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code Amendment Ordinance, 2021. The ordinance will allow pre-packaged insolvency resolution process for the MSMEs.

Now, the GoI has announced that it has decided on a minimum payment default threshold of Rs 10 lakhs for the initiation of pre-pack resolution process.

Benefits of Pre-Pack Insolvency Bankruptcy resolution scheme

How is Pre-Packaged Deal different?

In the Pre-packaged insolvency framework, the stressed borrower can prepare a plan for settlement or resolution. This will avail the option of sale of the company before going to the IBC court. In other words, the pre-packaged insolvency framework is a kind of restructuring where the borrower can benefit from the approval of the creditors without going through IBC process.

Bottom line, the scheme helps the MSME borrowers to retain control of the enterprise till a settlement is reached. Therefore, his chances to regain control of the company increases. In the usual IBC cases, the borrowers do not have a role when the case reaches NCLT court.

The Reserve Bank of India recently released the report of Consumer Confidence Survey. The survey was conducted in major cities of the country over 5,000 respondents.

Key Highlights of the survey

About Consumer Confidence Survey

The Survey measures consumer perception on five economic variables such as employment, economic situation, price level, spending and income. The Consumer Confidence Survey has two main indices namely current situation index and future expectations index. The future expectations index measures what consumer thinks about the change in an economic issue one year ahead. The current situation index measures the change in consumer perception over an economic issue in the last year.

The Consumer Confidence Survey is conducted every two months by the Reserve Bank of India. The survey is conducted to measure how pessimistic or optimistic the consumers are regarding their financial situation.

How was the survey conducted?

The survey was conducted through telephonic interviews. It was conducted in major cities such as Bengaluru, Chennai, Delhi, Hyderabad, Ahmedabad, Jaipur, Lucknow, Patna, Thiruvananthapuram, Mumbai.

The Reserve Bank of India recently announced a Government Security Acquisition Programme, GSAP 1.0. Under the programme, the central bank will purchase government bonds of worth Rs 1 trillion (or one lakh crores of rupees). The first purchase of Rs 25,000 crore is to be made on April 15, 2021.

GSAP 1.0

Impacts of GSAP

The Bombay Stock Exchange (BSE) Sensex had fallen in February and March, 2021 due to rising bond yields. However, after RBI announced the GSAP in its Monetary Policy announcements, the ten-year G-Sec bond yield dropped by 0.6%.

The rise in bond yields led to weakness in the equity markets. Now, the yields will once again stabilize. With this, the FPI inflow into equities could regain momentum.

What are Government Securities?

Government Securities are debt instruments that are issued by GoI to borrow money. There are two types namely short-term instruments that mature in 91 days and long-term instruments that mature anywhere between five years and forty years.

Jordan is a unitary state that is ruled under a Constitutional Monarchy. Unitary state is a state that is governed as a single entity where the central government is ultimately supreme. In a Constitutional monarchy, a monarch (ruler or king) exercises authority in accordance to a written or unwritten constitution.

What is Jordan Crisis?

The former crown prince Hamzah was recently placed under de facto house arrest. He is the half-brother of the King Abdullah. Hamzah was accused of undermining national security. This was because he attended the meetings with tribal leaders that openly criticized the ruling monarch. According to Jordanian Government, there had been an attempt for a political coup to destabilize the country. The Government also says that foreign entities also attended the meeting.

What is the significance of stability in Jordan?

How did Jordan get amidst regional powers?

The Government of India recently appointed S Ramann as the Chairman and Managing Director of Small Industries and Development Bank of India.

About the Appointment

Banks Board Bureau

P J Nayak Committee

The P J Nayak Committee was set up in 2014 by the Reserve Bank of India. The committee reviewed the governance of board of banks. The recommendations made by the committee are as follows

S Ramann

S Ramann is currently the CEO of National E-Governance Services Limited. The National E-Governance is the first Information Utility of India. He is a 1991 batch Indian Audit and Accounts Service Officer.

The Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority of India (IRDAI) recently issued draft guidelines for general insurance companies. The guidelines mainly focus on credit insurance products with customised covers for MSMEs.

Guidelines on Trade Credit Insurance


The new guidelines will open up opportunities to offer credit insurance-backed financing solutions to corporates and MSMEs. Also, changes such as enhanced indemnity of 90% and pre-shipment risk coverage will make the credit insurance product more comprehensive.

What is Credit Insurance?

Credit Insurance is an insurance policy that is designed to cover the cost of the debt. It is purchased by a borrower that pays off one or more existing debts in case of death or unemployment. It protects businesses from non-payment of commercial debt. It ensures that the capital is protected.

The three main types of credit insurance are disability, life and unemployment.

The INS Sarvekshak is on a deployment to Mauritius for undertaking Hydrogrpahic surveys along with Mauritius. It will also provide training to the Mauritian personnel on advanced hydrographic equipment and practices during the deployment.

Hydrographic Survey

INS Sarvekshak

Indian Naval Ships for surveys

The Indian Naval ships involved in surveying are INS Darshak, INS Sagardhwani, INS Investigator, INS Sarvekshak, INS Sandhayak, INS Sutlej, INS Nirupak, INS Jamuna, INS Makar.

The Union Cabinet recently apprised a MoU (Memorandum of Understanding) signed between India and Japan. The MoU was signed between National Atmospheric Research Laboratory (NARL) that operates under Department of Space, GoI and the Research Institute for Sustainable Humanosphere called the RISH that operates under Kyoto University of Japan.

What are the objectives of the MoU?

The main objectives of the MoU are as follows:


NARL and RISH have been working together since 2008. This MoU was formalised in 2008 and was renewed earlier in 2013. In November 2020, NARL and RISH signed a fresh MoU to promote collaborative research under new guidelines.