Daily Current Affairs - 21-04-2021

Kosovar Biologist Halil Ibrahimi has named a newly discovered insect after COVID-19 virus.

About the insect

River Pollution

During his study about the species, the scientists have also found that the Decanit River is severely deteriorated due to the construction of a hydropower plant.

Why is the species named after Coronavirus?

The new Caddisfly species is found along the Decanit river ecosystem. The construction of the hydropower plant across the river has a similar effect as the coronavirus creates on humans. Thus, the new species has been named after coronavirus.

Decanit river

It is a tributary of White Drin. The Monastery of Visoki Decani is located on the bank of the River Decanit. It is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The river drains into the Adriatic Sea.

Adriatic Sea

The Adriatic Sea separates the Italian peninsula from the Balkans. It is the northernmost arm of Mediterranean Sea. The Adriatic Sea consists of more than 1,300 islands.

The salinity of Adriatic Sea is less than the Mediterranean Sea. This is because Adriatic Sea collects more than a third of the fresh water flowing in to the Mediterranean.


The scientist belongs to Kosovo. Kosovo (a country in the continent of Europe) lies at the centre of the Balkans. It has gained recognition as a sovereign state from 98 members of United Nations.

The Defence Research Development Organisation recently achieved a milestone in the development of Air Independent Propulsion system. The system was operated in endurance mode and max power mode. The operation was successful.

What is Air Independent Propulsion System?

The Air Independent Propulsion System is being developed by Naval Materials Research Laboratory (NMRL) of DRDO.

The following are the key features of the Air Independent Propulsion system:

How is Air Independent Propulsion System of India unique?

The Air Independent Propulsion System developed by India is unique as it generates hydrogen on board.

The system is being developed with the support of Thermax and L&T.

Significance of Air Independent Propulsion System

How is it used in Submarines?

An additional hull has to be added to the submarines in order to fit them with Air Independent Propulsion Systems. These systems use Stirling engines, fuel cells, closed cycle diesel and closed cycle steam to increase the durability of submergence under water.

On April 21, 2021 the New Zealand government announced that it is to consolidate the fragmented health system in the country into a national service. The consolidated system is to look more like the ones implemented in Britain.

Key Highlights

Currently the New Zealand Health System is divided into 20 District Health Boards. Each District Health Board has its own budget. These District Health Boards are to be replaced by a single new body called Health New Zealand.

Why the Consolidation?

The health system of New Zealand is Government subsidized. However, the patients visiting the hospital have to pay a portion of the cost to access many health services. More than one-third of the New Zealand citizens opt to pay additional benefits that are offered by private health insurers. The new health system is expected to change this scenario and combine all the facilities under a single head.

Also, the health care system is uneven. For instance, only the northern region District Health Boards have developed telehealth systems.

Healthcare system in New Zealand

New Zealand spends 8.7 % of its GDP on Health care. Among the 14 developed countries in the world, New Zealand has the lowest level of medication use and also spends the lowest amount on Healthcare. On an average New Zealand spends 2,510 USD per capita on its Health care as compared to 7,290 USD per capita spent by the United States.


The Pharmaceutical Management Agency of New Zealand was established in 1993. This agency decides which medication should get government subsidy. Currently there are 2000 drugs that are partly or completely subsidised by the New Zealand Government.

Emergency Services

Most of the emergency ambulance transportation in the country is carried out by charitable organisations.

On April 20, 2020, the former Minneapolis Officer Derek Chauvin was convicted of manslaughter and murder in George Floyd case. He has now found guilty (arrested for proven charges of murder).

What is George Floyd case?

George Floyd was an African American. A store clerk alleged that George had passed a counterfeit 20 USD. Following the complaint, the police arrested George. During the arrest, one of the four police officers, Derek Chauvin knelt on Floyd’s neck and back for nine minutes and 29 seconds. This killed George. His death was captured on a cell phone camera.

The death of George Floyd led to worldwide protests.

George Floyd Justice in Policing Act, 2021

It is a police reform bill that was drafted by the Democrats in the US Congress. It aims to combat excessive force by police, police misconduct, racial bias in policing. It was passed at the House of Representatives and is yet to be voted by the Senate.

Powers of Police Officers in the US

Use of Deadly Force by Police in the US

In 2019, more than 1004 people were shot and killed by police.

Legal US Terms used to file Charges against Chauvin

The following are the breakdown of charges against Chauvin:

Second Degree Unintentional Murder

It is also called felony murder. According to this, Chauvin applied unlawful force that caused bodily harm to Floyd.

Third Degree Murder

The action was “eminently dangerous”. Eminently means to a notable degree. And the action was carried out with a reckless disregard, that is, the action that is carried out without thinking about the consequences.

Second-Degree Manslaughter

Attacking consciously and taking the chance of causing the death.

The Blue Nature Alliance is a global partnership of five core partners and few other Non-Profit Organisations. The core partners are Conservation International, The Global Environment Facility, the Pew Charitable Trusts, Minderoo Foundation and Rob and Melani Walton Foundation.


The alliance aims to protect 5% of the world ocean in five years.

Target Areas of the Alliance

The alliance aims to target seven ocean locations. They are as follows:

Need for the alliance

The world is covered by more than 70% of oceans. Oceans are highly important for human survival as they regulate weather, rainfall and oxygen levels in the air. Currently they are under great threats from pollution, climate change and over fishing.

According to the Marine Protection Atlas, more than 7% of the world oceans have been designated as “protected areas”. However, in reality only 2.7% are “fully protected”.

Marine Protection Atlas

It was launched by the Marine Conservation Institute in 2012. The atlas was prepared to provide the best available information on marine protection all over the world. This will help the marine conservation communities to work together and protect at least 30% of the world ocean by 2030. It has been built based on the World Database on Protected Areas.

World Database on Protected Areas

It holds the database on terrestrial and marine protected areas. It was a joint project between IUCN (International Union for Conservation of Nature) and UNEP (United Nations Environment Programme).

The agreement between Roscosmos and its international partners is to run out in 2024. With this, Russia has planned to pull out of the International Space Station and launch its own space station in 2025.


According to Russia, the structure of the International Space Station is ageing. With the station becoming older, it can lead to irreversible consequences.

International Space Station

The International Space Station was launched by the US space agencies and Russian Space agencies in 1998. The other countries that were involved in the launch of the International Space Station were Canada, European Space Agency and Japan. The ISS revolves around the earth in 93 minutes. It makes 15.5 orbits per day. It travels at an orbital velocity of 7.7 kilometres per second.

After Russia’s withdrawal, the future of ISS is to be made based on the conditions of technical modules in the station. Most of the technical modules in the station have reached the end of their service life.

Russian Space Station

The Roscosmos also announced that the first core module of the new Russian orbital station is ready. Russia aims to launch the module by 2025. This new space model is being assembled at a cost of 5 billion USD.


Russia recently announced that it has signed an agreement with China to establish a Lunar research station on the moon.

Yuri Gagarin

Russia recently celebrated the sixtieth anniversary of Yuri Gagarin becoming the first human to enter into an orbit in space. Yuri Gagarin was the first person to enter outer space. The name of his capsule was Vostok 1. He completed one orbit of the earth in his capsule on April 12, 1961.

India was recently elected to the three bodies of the United Nations. They were the Commission on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice, Executive Board of the UN Entity for Gender Equality and Empowerment of Women and the Executive Board of World Food Programme. All these three bodies operate under United Nations Economic and Social Council.

What is Election by Acclamation in the United Nations?

When a member with clean slate is presented for an election in the United Nations, the vote takes place through acclamation. Clean Slate means there is no history of evidence of any problems or broken rules. The Secret ballot shall be dispensed when election by acclamation takes place in the United Nations. Election by Acclamation is not allowed in all UN bodies.  Election by Acclamation is completely excluded in some of the UN bodies such as the Human Rights Council.

Commission on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice

The other countries that were elected to the Commission on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice through secret ballot were Cuba, Chile, Paraguay, Dominican Republic, Brazil. Countries such as Bahrain, Austria, Bulgaria, Belarus, France, Canada, Libya, Ghana, Qatar, Pakistan, Togo and Thailand were elected by acclamation.

Executive Board of the UN Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women

The countries that were elected to this board through acclamation were Ukraine, Turkmenistan, Thailand, South Africa, Poland, Monaco, Kenya, Guyana, Gambia, Egypt, Colombia, Camroon, Bangladesh, Australia, Dominican Republic and Afghanistan.

The Amnesty International recently released the global Review of Death Penalty.

Key Findings of the report

Executions in China

China was the leading executioner in the world. However, the exact number of executions being carried out in China is unknown. The Chinese Government holds the data of executions as classified secret and thus the exact number is unknown.

Abolition of Execution

The Indian Council of Medical Research recently announced that COVAXIN neutralises the Double Mutant Strain of COVID-19.

Key Highlights

The National Institute of Virology recently demonstrated the neutralisation potential of COVAXIN against the Brazil variant and UK variant. The B.1.617 is a recently spreading double mutant variant of COVID-19. It carries the mutations of E484Q and also the mutations of L452R.

Also, the scientists at the National Institute of Virology have isolated and cultured all the variants of COVID-19. This includes the Brazil variant (B., UK Variant (B.1.1.7) and the South African Variant (B.1.351).


With the accelerated Phase 3 vaccination to start on May 1, 2021, it is essential to know if the vaccine is efficient against the mutants that are spreading rapidly.

Current Scenario


The COVAXIN Vaccine is produced by Bharat Biotech placed in Hyderabad along with Indian Council of Medical Research. The COVAXIN vaccine was chosen among all the other vaccines as it is highly suitable for the Indian climate. This is because COVAXIN can be stored at a temperature of two to eight degrees Celsius.

Australia recently launched the Australia-India Indo-Pacific Oceans Initiative Partnership. The programme will support free, open and prosperous Indo-Pacific. The Government of Australia has provided a grant of 1.4 million Australian dollars (Rs 8.12 crores) to support the initiative.

Indo-Pacific Oceans Initiative

The Indo-Pacific Oceans Initiative was launched by PM Modi at the East India Summit on 2019. The Indo-Pacific Oceans Initiative aims to strengthen maritime boundaries. It has three main common goals namely welfare promotion, wealth creation and cooperation win-win strategies.

The main principle is to create partnerships between like-minded countries.

Pillars of Indo-Pacific Oceans Initiative

The Indo-Pacific Oceans Initiative focuses on the following central pillars:

Role of India

India has always placed ASEAN nations at the centre of the Indo Pacific Oceans Initiative. In simple terms, Indo Pacific Oceans Initiative is an extension of Look East Policy.


In August 2020, India and Vietnam agreed to enhance their bilateral cooperation to achieve the objectives of Indo-Pacific Oceans Initiative.


The Indo-Pacific Oceans Initiative was also launched in the backdrop of China’s aggression in the Indo-Pacific region and its actions along the Line of Actual Control. The South China Sea is a part of the Indo-Pacific region. It holds huge reserves of minerals and hydrocarbons. China claims sovereignty over most of the South China sea. The other member countries in the region such as Philippines, Vietnam and Brunei dispute claims of China.

The Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas recently released its data for the fiscal year 2020-21. According to the data, crude oil production of India fell to 30.5 million tonnes. It was 32.17 million tonnes in 2019-20.

Key Highlights

The data released by the Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas are as follows:


Natural Gas

The Natural Gas production in the year 2020-21 was at 28.67 billion cubic metres. This was 8% less than the output in 2019-20. However, in March 2021, the overall natural gas output of the country began to increase as the Reliance industries started their output from KG basin fields. The Reliance began producing Natural Gas in the KG basins in December 2020. It is now producing gas at the rate of 1.3 million cubic metres per day.

Crude Oil Refineries



The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs recently approved subsidy for Urea that are to be produced by TFL. TFL is a state-run fertilizer plant. It is Talcher Fertilizer Plant.

About the Plant

Current Scenario of Fertilizer consumption in India

Coal Gasification

Benefits of TFL plant

Currently, India produces urea using natural gas. Import of Natural Gas is highly expensive. Therefore, India is adopting alternative routes such as coal gasification to produce urea with indigenous raw materials. The project will help India become self-sufficient in urea, reduce its dependence on imports and also use coal in an environment-friendly manner.

Every year India celebrates National Civil Services Day on April 21.

Key Highlights

About Civil Service Day

Sardar Vallabhai Patel

In April 2021, it was claimed that a drug called Aayudh Advance was effective against COVID-19. The trials for the drug were conducted at two government hospitals in Ahmedabad. However, Government of India has recently rejected the claims made by the manufacturers of the drug.

AAYUDH Advance

What is the controversy?

Claims made by AAYUDH


The Ministry of AYUSH has provided separate guidelines for Practitioners of Ayurveda, Yoga, UNANI, Siddha, Homeopathy and Naturopathy in COVID-19. Every drug produced in the respective field to treat COVID-19 should abide by these guidelines.

The Government of India is to extend the insurance scheme for health workers under the Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Yojana for another one year.

Key Highlights

About the Health Insurance Scheme

What is the issue?

When the time period of the scheme ended on March 24, 2021, GoI announced that the health insurance scheme for COVID-19 warriors is coming to an end. Notices were sent to State Governments and Union Territories regarding this. Following this, several concerns were raised that has now compelled the Government to extend the scheme for another one year. The concerns raised were as follows:

The Central Bank of China, that is, the People’s bank of China recently released a report on Demographics.

Report on Demographics of China

Report on Demographics of India

Report about the US