Daily Current Affairs - 28-04-2021

The Indian and French Navies recently conducted the Varuna Naval Exercise in the Arabian Sea. The Varuna, 2021 is a part of the Clemenceau 2021.

About Varuna 2021

Clemenceau 21

On February 21, 2021, the French Carrier Strike Group set sail for a long operational deployment called “Clemenceau 21”. With this mission, the French Navy deployed its military presence in areas of strategic interests namely Mediterranean Sea, Persian Gulf and the Indian Ocean.

As a part of Clemenceau 21, France held the GASWEX with its allies. The other countries that participated in the GASWEX exercise were France, Japan, Belgium and US forces. The exercise was held in the Arabian Sea and in the Gulf of Oman.

What is CSG?

CSG is Carrier Strike Group. They are strategically pre-positioned. It is roughly composed of 7,500 personnel. It includes an aircraft carrier, a destroyer squadron, at least one cruiser, carrier wing of 65 to 70 aircrafts. Occasionally it also includes submarines.

The CSG of Japan that is participating in Clemenceau 21 is Nationale’s Charles De Gaulle.

The Defence Research and Development Organisation recently test fired a series of missile trials. It included the Derby missiles and the Python missiles. The missiles were test fired in Goa and achieved 100% hits.

Python 5

Derby

It is active radar homing missile. An Active Radar Homing Missile is a missile that contains a radar transceiver to find and track the target autonomously.

On April 27, 2021, the Government of National Capital Territory of Delhi (Amendment) Act, 2021 came into effect. The act was passed by the Parliament during the budget session. The act gives more power to Lieutenant Governor (LG).

Key Provisions

Administration inf Delhi

The National Capital Region is administered with a legislature that came in to existence in 1991. The Delhi Legislature was constituted under Article 239AA of the Constitution. By law, the Delhi Legislature has all powers to make laws in matters except public order, land and police.

Concerns

The law will take away the autonomy of the Delhi Government.

Supreme Court on Delhi Legislative Assembly

On April 28, 2021, the Union Cabinet chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi approved the agreement signed between Government of India and the Government of UK. The agreement was signed on Customs Cooperation and Mutual Administrative Assistance in Customs matters.
India and UK have been signing several trade related agreements after the latter moved out of European Union.

About the Agreement

How are Customs Duties calculated in India?

The Customs Duties are calculated based on the following factors:

Customs Duty in India

The Customs Duty in India is imposed under Customs Act, 1962 and Customs Tariff Act, 1975. The Indian Tariff System is based on the Harmonised System of Nomenclature.

Types of Customs Duties in India

The Asian Development Bank recently released its Asian Development Outlook, 2021. According to the report, India is to grow at 11%. The Asian Development Bank recently released its Annual outlook. The outlook says that ADB has provided a financial support of 1.5 billion USD to India to fight against COVID-19

Key Findings of the report

Report about China

Reasons of recovery

The progress in production and delivery of COVID-19 vaccines helped Asia in reaching the current state. However, significant new outbreaks might undermine the growth of the region.

Challenges

The following challenges are faced by the Asian Economies:

On April 28, 2021, seven back-to-back earthquakes occurred in Assam and other north eastern states. The first shocks were of 6.4 magnitude. Later, the jolts were at 3.2 to 3.4 magnitude in Richter scale. Roads were cracked and buildings tilted in Sonitpur and Nagaon.

About the Epicentre

The Epicentre of the earthquake was located at a depth of 17 km. The epicentre was located 9 km away from the town of Dhekiajuli of Assam.

National Center for Seismology

Causes of the Assam Earthquake

The entire Himalayas are prone to Earthquakes. This is because the Indian tectonic plate is continuously wedging into the Eurasian plate at a speed of 44 millimetres per year. These motions build up stress and trigger earthquakes.

While the entire Himalayas are prone to earthquakes, the high-intensity earthquakes occur in North Eastern India and thus these regions are classified under Zone V.

Waves generated during Earthquakes

Every earthquake occurring in the planet generates three different types of waves called P-waves, S-waves and L-waves. The P-waves are longitudinal waves. They are analogous to sound waves. The S-Waves are transversal waves and are analogous to light waves. The L-waves are surface waves. They originate when the P-waves of the earthquake hits the surface of the earth.

The World Health Organisation recently announced that it will provide 4,000 Oxygen Concentrators to India to help the country in its fight against COVID-19.

Help from other countries

The following countries stepped forward to help India to combat against the Oxygen shortage:

Vayu Initiative

Amazon has joined hands with Temasek Foundation, ACT Grants and other partners to help India in its fight against oxygen shortage under the Vayu initiate. Under the initiative, 500 BiPAP machines and 8,000 oxygen concentrators will be transported from Singapore. Also, 1,500 concentrators are to be donated.

Google

Google recently announced that they will help India in its relief aid. The Google is to provide financial aid of Rs 135 crores through UNICEF and Give India. These aids are to be distributed to the needy through these international organisations.

Other MNCs

A Space Mining Startup of China recently launched NEO-01. It is a robotic platform launched into the low earth orbit. It will conduct experiments on space debris removal technique.

About NEO-01

China-US hidden war in the project

The NEO-01 was developed by Origin Space. The company is based in Shenzen. The company claims itself as the first Chinese company dedicated to explore and utilise space resources. According to the company, NEO-01 will pave way for asteroid mining. These objectives of resource mining are in contradiction to Outer Space Treaty of the US.

According to 1967 Outer Space Treaty, no nation can claim the sovereignty of outer space. Also, no nation shall extract resources from space for commercial exploitation.

In 2015, the then US President Barack Obama signed a law that allowed the US companies to mine on celestial bodies. In 2020, National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) announced a Lunar Mining Initiative. The initiative will offer to buy lunar rocks that are extracted by private companies. NEO-01 is seen as a counter move of China to the US.

Current Scenario

There are 3,000 defunct satellites in the orbit of the earth. Also, there are millions of smaller pieces of space debris that can cause serious damage to the other active satellites.  The debris range from bolts, paint flecks to frozen satellite coolants.

The Ct Value in a RT-PCR test is cycle Threshold value. This value determines if a patient is COVID-19 positive or not.

Why is it in news?

The State Government of Maharashtra recently asked the Indian Council of Medical Research if it was advisable to treat a person as COVID-19 negative if his Ct value was more than 24.

What is the issue?

The ICMR documents mention different Ct Values. Also, there are divergent views among the National Centre for Disease Control and also among Niti Aayog.

What is the right Ct value for a person to test COVID-19 positive?

The ICMR recently announced that the right Ct value for a person to become COVID-19 positive is 35. If the Ct value of a person is less than 35, he is COVID-19 positive and if it is greater than 35 then he is COVID1-19 negative.

What is Ct value?

The significance of the problem

The Maharashtra State Government had asked if the Ct value can be fixed at 24. This means that the persons with Ct values 24-35 will not be considered positive. On the other hand, the bench mark of 35 means that more patients are considered positive. Lowering the threshold may lead to missing infectious persons.

Global Ct value

Globally, the accepted Ct value is between 35 and 40.

The Chandler Good Governance Index is released by the Chandler Institute of Governance headquartered in Singapore. The index is prepared based on seven pillars namely leadership and foresight, strong institutions, robust laws and policies, attractive market place, financial stewardship, helping people rise, global influence and reputation.

Key Highlights

About Chandler Good Governance Index

It aims to strengthen public institutional capacity through research, training and advise. Also it supports governments and public officers world wide in building the nation.

Good Governance in India

UN Good Governance

The United Nations identifies Good Governance under eight characteristics. They are Consensus oriented, Effective and Efficient, Follows the rule of law, Participatory, Accountable, Responsive, Transparent, Equitable and Inclusive.

The Reserve Bank of India recently laid down set of instructions to improve the corporate bank governance.

RBI Guidelines

Significance of the Guidelines

In 2020, RBI released a discussion paper on governance in commercial banks in India. The changes are being made based on this.

According to RBI, the growing size of financial systems in India makes it essential to strengthen governance standards in the banks. The current system where the management of the banks play the role of an agent of the board and the board in turn plays the role of agent of shareholders has led to poor allocation of resources and poor protection of depositors. Thus, these changes are important.

Why are the guidelines needed?

The Stockholm International Peace Research Institute recently released its “Trends in world Military Expenditure” report. According to the report, the top military spenders in the world are the United States, China and India. These three countries alone contributed 62% global military expenditure.

Key Findings of the Report

Military Spending in terms of GDP

Region wise military spending

The military spending in Oceania and Asia increased by 2.5% as compared to that of 2019. It was 47% higher as compared to that of 2011.

Other top military spenders

The other countries that spent large amount on building their military were as follows:

Military Spending diverted to Pandemic

While countries were increasing their expenditure on military, some countries reallocated their planned military expenditure towards the pandemic. They were South Korea and Chile. Some other countries like Russia, Brazil spent less amount than their initial military budgets.

Arm Imports of India

According to the report, the arm imports of India came down to one third in 2016-20 as compared to that of 2011-15. Still India remained the second highest arms importer after Saudi Arabia. In the decline of arms imports of India, Russia was the affected supplier. Russia had eventually increased it arms exports to Algeria, Chin and Egypt replacing India.

The report also state that US, Russia, France, Germany and China were the top five arms importers in 2016-20.

Top Arms Imports

Top Exporters

The top arms exporters were US, France and Germany.

Warheads in India

The deployed warheads are missiles located on bases with the operational forces. That is, they are ready to use. The other warheads are those that are reserved or stored awaiting dismantlement. For India, the report gave a figure of 130-140 in “other warheads”.

The researchers at the Centre for Palaeogenetics, Stockholm showed that the populations of Sumatran Rhinoceros displayed low levels of inbreeding.

About the Genome Study

Solution

The researchers suggest that the only solution to the problem of extinction faced by the rhinos is to increase their population size. Also, the genes of Sumatran Rhinos and the Borneo rhinos should be exchanged.

Rhinos

The Central Bureau of the United States recently announced that the population of the United States has increased by 7.4%. This is the second slowest growth of US Population since the Great Depression.

Background

The Census Bureau recently released the first set of data on US population. The complete demographic data of the country is expected to be released by August 2021. Based on this, the 1.5 trillion USD federal funds will be distributed to the local communities across the country.

Key Findings

How are the seats allocated in the US Congress?

US Congress has two chambers. One is the House of Representatives and the other is the Senate. There are fifty states in the US. Each state elects two senators for a period of six years. The US is divided into 435 congressional districts. A region is made district when it reaches a population of 750,000 and will receive a representative.

Each district elects a representative to the House of Representatives for a period of two years. When the threshold population decreases then the district will lose its representation at the House of Representation. For instance, in the recent US Census 2020, New York lost a house seat as it had 89 people short to the threshold of 750,000.

Women in the US Congress

In 2021, around 142 women are to hold seats in the US Congress. This is 26.5% of 535 members. Around 24% women serve at the US Senate and 27.1% serve in the US House of Representatives.

US Census

The first US Census was held in 1790.

What is the system in India?