Daily Current Affairs - 13-04-2021

The scientists from Aryabhatta Research Institute have discovered a new galaxy that emits gamma rays. The galaxy has been categorised as Narrow Line Seyfert 1 (NLS1). However, it is unique and different from the other NLS1s discovered so far.

About NLS1

How is the newly discovered NLS1 different from the other NLS1?

Way forward

The discovery has opened up a new study to find gamma ray emitting NLS1 galaxies.

The Union Minister of Health and Family Welfare Dr Harsh Vardhan recently launched “Mission Aahaar Kranti”. The mission aims to spread the message of the importance of nutritionally balanced diet. It will also promote the importance of accessibility to local fruits and vegetables.

About the mission

Malnutrition in India

The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) of the US recently released the image of Mars to mark the 20th anniversary of Odyssey. The image depicted Dunes in Mars.

About the images

About the Dunes


Objectives of Odyssey

The main objectives of the mission were as follows:

The Global Food Policy Report is published by the International Food Policy Research Institute. This year the institute has released the report based on the theme “Transforming Food Systems After COVID-19”.

Key Findings of the report: India


Key Findings of the Report: World

The Ministry of Finance recently released the tax collection figures for the financial year 2020-21. According to the ministry, the direct tax collections for the financial year 2020-21 are Rs 9.45 lakh crores.

Tax collections for the fiscal year 2020-21

Dross Collection of Direct Tax

The Gross Collection of Direct Tax for the year 2020-21 was Rs 12.06 crores. The gross collection of direct tax is the net amount before adjusting refunds. The other components of Gross Collection of Direct Tax are as follows:

Refunds Issued

In 2020-21, the GoI refunded Rs 2.61 lakh crores. This is 42.1% higher than that of 2019-20. In 2019-20, the GoI refunded Rs 1.83 lakh crores.

Definitions of Taxes

The Japanese Government recently approved a plan to release more than 1 million tonnes of treated radioactive water from the Fukushima nuclear power plant. In 2011, there occurred a nuclear disaster in the plant due an earthquake and tsunami. It was the most severe Nuclear accident that was classified as Level 7 on the International Nuclear Event Scale.

What is the issue?

The release of the treated radioactive water could take several years to begin and will take decades to complete. Also, Japan is facing opposition from the anti-nuclear activists and fishing communities for the release of the water into the sea.

Is the release safe?

According to the International Atomic Energy Agency, the release of the water from the Fukushima nuclear power plant is similar to disposing wastewater from nuclear plants elsewhere in the world.

Where did such huge amount of radio active water come from?

To bring the damaged nuclear reactor under control a makeshift system of pumps and piping was used. Tonnes of water was injected into the damaged nuclear reactors to keep the melted Uranium rods cool. The water got contaminated as it contacted the fuel. The contaminated water has now piled up to 1.3 million tonnes.

What is the plan to release the water?

The Operator TEPCO (Tokyo Electric Power Company Holdings) has planned to filter the contaminated water leaving only tritium. This is because, it is highly complicated and difficult to remove tritium from water. However, the filtered water is to be diluted till tritium levels fall below regulatory limits before dumping into the ocean.

Tritium is less harmful as compared to other radioactive wastes. It does not emit enough energy to penetrate human skin. However, it can cause cancer when ingested.

Remdesivir is an injectable anti-virus. It is injected to prevent replication of the virus. The Remdesivir was created in 2014. It was manufactured in large scale to treat Ebola. Later it was used to treat SARS and MERS. Recently, after the COVID-19 crisis, it has been repurposed for COVID-19 treatment.

What is the issue around Remdesivir in India?

The State Governments of Maharashtra, Gujarat, Delhi, Chhattisgarh, and Madhya Pradesh have been complaining about shortage of Remdesivir. Following this, the Directorate of Foreign Trade operating under the Ministry of Commerce and Industry issued an order to prohibit the export of Remdesivir. Also, the export of Active Pharmaceutical Ingredients used in the production of Remdesivir has been prohibited.

Why did the shortage occur?

The shortage of Remdesivir is increasing day by day mainly because of rising COVID-19 cases. It is also increasing due to manufacturing and supply issues. Madhya Pradesh complained that it has received only half of its requirement. Around 70% of the total production of Remdesivir in the country is diverted to Maharashtra.

How did the issue arise?

In December 2020, manufacturers were left with huge piles of Remdesivir. They expected increase in sales of the drug. However, the drop in COVID-19 cases in November and December 2020 reduced the demand of the drug. Some even destroyed expired stocks. Later the COVID-19 infections began rising exponentially after double mutant variety started spreading in the country. This began around February 2021. However, the manufacturing resumed only by the end of March 2021. This is mainly because Remdesivir requires twenty-five different raw materials in its production. The supply chain in India was not strong enough to collect all the raw materials in a short span of time.

The cycle from production to transportation of Remdesivir takes 20-25 days. Thus, the supply chain of the country must strengthened more to avoid similar crisis in the future.

Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan have launched the construction of an international center for trade and economic cooperation called “Central Asia”. The Central Asia Trade center has been launched on the borders of the two countries.

About the center


India-Central Asia

Central Asia is highly important to India as it serves as a land bridge between Asia and Europe. India is to use the Chabahar port as a gateway to access the Eurasian markets. Also, the development of International North-South Transport Corridor (INSTC) will help India increase its trade with Central Asia.


The Union Minister of Commerce and Industry Shri Piyush Goyal recently launched the DGFT Trade Facilitation Mobile Application. DGFT is Directorate General of Foreign Trade.

Key Features of DGFT

The DGFT Trade Facilitation application provides the following features :


The Niti Aayog recently launched the India Energy Dashboards Version 2.0. It will provide single window access to the data related to utilisation, pricing, production, distribution of energy in the country. It will provide data from Central Electricity Authority, Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas and from Coal Controller’s Organisation. The India Energy Dashboard Version 1.0 was launched in 2017.

Key Features of India Energy Dashboards Version 2.0


UJALA is Unnat Jyoti by Affordable LEDs for All. The scheme was launched by PM Modi in 2015. It replaced the Bachat Lamp Yojana. UJALA is also called as DELP. DELP is Domestic Efficient Lighting Programme. It aims to promote the efficient usage of energy for all. Under the scheme, the LED bulbs were distributed to the Electricity Distribution Companies at subsidised rates. The scheme also aimed to reduce the green house gas emission by 79 million tonnes of carbon dioxide.


PRAAPTI is a web portal launched by the Ministry of Power in 2018. PRAAPTI is Payment Ratification and Analysis in Power procurement for bringing transparency in invoicing of generators. Under the portal, the power distribution companies will clear the invoices and reply to the claims raised by the generators in the portal.

Election Commissioner Sushil Chandra recently took over as the new Chief Election Commissioner of India.

About Sushil Chandra

Constitutional Provisions

Article 324 of the Constitution provides the provisions of Chief Election Commissioner. The provisions under the article are as follows:

Election Commissioner Amendment Act

The Election Commissioner Amendment Act, 1989 made the Election Commission a multi-member body. Under the act, two additional election commissioners were appointed to the Election Commission. However, the decision of the Chief Election Commissioner is final.

An Expert panel of the Central Drugs Standard Control Organisation (CDSCO) recently approved the Emergency Use of COVID-19 vaccine Sputnik-V. However, the Drugs Controller General of India (DGCI) is to take a final call on the recommendation. When approved, Sputnik will be the third COVID-19 vaccine to be available in India.

Sputnik V Vaccine

The Sputnik V is a Russian vaccine. The Dr Reddy’s Laboratories partnered with the Russian Direct Investment Fund to conduct clinical trials on the vaccine and for its distribution rights in India. The vaccine has proved 91.6% of efficacy during its phase 3 trials.

Emergency Use Authorisation

Currently, the vaccines COVAXIN of Bharat Biotech and COVISHIELD of AstraZeneca are under administration. They have been given Emergency Use Authorisation. Emergency Use Authorisation is an interim approval of vaccine.

The fastest approval for a vaccine until now took about four and a half years. This approval was for the mumps vaccine developed around 1960s. Therefore, to use vaccines in emergency situations as that of COVID-19, Emergency Use Authorisation is provided.

How is Emergency Use Authorisation granted in India?

A company seeking Emergency Use Authorisation must conduct local trials to prove that the vaccine is safe and effective on Indian population.

What are the risks with Emergency Use Approved Vaccines?

After every clinical trial, the vaccine is upgraded by nullifying its side effects and potential risks. In case of Emergency Use Authorisation, there is no time for these rigorous clinical trials.

The Emergency Use Authorised vaccines might have potential risks. The people should be informed about the extent of risks of the vaccine.

Other drugs that received Emergency Use Authorisation in India

The other drugs that received Emergency Use Authorisation in India are Favipiravir, Remdesivir and Itolizumab.

The Ministry of Power recently issued a Draft Electricity (Rights of Consumers) Rules, 2021. These new rules allow net metering of roof top solar systems.

About the new Rules

These amendments have been made to the Electricity (Rights of Consumers) Rules, 2020. Electricity is a concurrent subject.

Electricity (Right of Consumers) Rules, 2020

The researchers from the University of Gothenburg, Sweden recently used an uncrewed submarine to go under the Thwaites Glacier to make observations. According to the researchers, the melting of the glacier is worse than previously thought.

Thwaites Glacier

The Thwaites Glacier or the Doomsday Glacier is 120 km wide at its broadest. It is spread over 1.9 lakh square kilometres. It is fast moving and has been melting in the recent years. The glacier has high potential to raise the world sea level by more than a metre. According to researchers, the amount of ice flowing out of the glacier has doubled in the past thirty years.

Previous Studies about Doomsday Glacier

According to a 2019 study, a fast-growing cavity was discovered in the glacier that sized two-third of the area of Manhattan. The cavity is growing mainly due to the warm water detected below the glacier. This warm water has been found at two degrees above freezing point at the Grounding Zone or Grounding line of the Doomsday Glacier.

Grounding point or Grounding Zone of Glaciers

The Grounding line of a glacier is the place below the glacier where the ice transits between resting fully on bedrock and floating on ocean as an ice shelf.

The Grounding line retreats when the glaciers melt and lose weight. This in turn exposes more of the underside of the glacier to the seawater. As the exposed surface area increases, the melting of the glacier increases.

Key Findings of the new study

The recent findings made by the Sweden researchers are the first measurements performed beneath the glacier. The submarine sent to go under the glacier was called “Ran”. It measured temperature, strength, salinity, and oxygen content of the ocean currents that go under the glacier. With this data, the researchers have mapped the ocean currents beneath the glacier.

There are three inflows of warm water beneath the glacier. Among them the damaging effects of one of the currents had been underestimated in the past.

The main concern according to the study is that warm water is approaching the pinning points of the glacier from all sides.

The Punjab State Government recently told the Union Government that it will pay the Minimum Support Price directly into the accounts of farmers starting this procurement season. However, the Arhtiyas in the state have been opposing to the direct payment. Arhtiyas are Commission Agents in the state. They used to pay the farmers earlier in Punjab. To solve the issue, Punjab has now amended the procurement software to include Arhtiyas in the direct payment process as well.

How will Arhtiyas be involved in Direct Payment System?

The State of Punjab has around 28,000 registered Arhtiyas. Each of them has twenty to two hundred farmers associated with them. Earlier, the Minimum Support Price payments to the farmers used to come in accounts of Arhtiyas. They will then pay the farmers. Now, the amount will directly come in the accounts of the farmers. However, this will happen after the Arhtiyas click the pay now button. They will have to do so within 48 hours of receiving the MSP. If they fail to transfer the amount within 48 hours, the amount will directly get credited to the farmers in 72 hours.


The Arhtiyas provide various services in Punjab mandis. This includes unloading to cleaning, filling, weighing, and loading the crop to government godowns. The Government pays 2.5% commission to them for these works.

What changes have been made?

The Punjab Government has modified the Anaaj Kharid Portal. The Arhtiyas will get a message on the portal. The message will provide the name of the farmer linked with him whose amount is ready to transfer. The respective Arhtiya has to click on Pay Now to transfer the money.