Daily Current Affairs - 03-08-2021

Preventive detention, the dreaded power of the State to restrain a person without trial, could be used only to prevent public disorder, the Supreme Court held in a judgment.

About:

* Preventive detention is a necessary evil only to prevent public disorder.

* The court must ensure that the facts brought before it directly and inevitably lead to a harm, danger or alarm or feeling of insecurity among the general public or any section thereof at large, a Bench, led by Justice Rohinton F. Nariman, observed.

* The State should not arbitrarily resort to “preventive detention” to deal with all and sundry “law and order” problems, which could be dealt with by the ordinary laws of the country.

* Preventive detention must fall within the four corners of Article 21 (due process of law) read with Article 22 (safeguards against arbitrary arrest and detention) and the statute in question.

The 12th round of India-China Corps Commander Level Meeting was held at the Chushul-Moldo border meeting point on the Indian side.

About:

* The two sides had an in-depth exchange of views on resolution of remaining areas related to disengagement along the Line of Actual Control in the Western Sector of India-China border areas.

* Both sides had undertaken partial disengagement from Patrolling Points (PP) 15 and 17A in Gogra and Hot Springs last July after disengagement from PP14 in Galwan, but the process was stalled after the aggressive actions on the south bank of Pangong Tso in August.

Note

* Chushul or Spanggur Gap is in the Leh district of the Indian state of Ladakh region.

* The meeting point is named after the nearby town (Chushul) or the mountain pass (Spanggur Gap).

The Vice President, Venkaiah Naidu witnessed a demonstration by the AICTE officials on a unique tool that translates English language content into 11 different Indian languages.

About:

* The ‘AICTE Translation Automation Artificial Intelligence Tool' translates English language online courses into eleven different languages- Hindi, Bengali, Marathi, Telugu, Tamil, Gujarati, Kannada, Malayalam, Punjabi, Assamese and Odia.

* The tool is capable of translating complex formulae, English books, research journals, Government documents and English videos.

Pakistan’s Law and Justice Ministry has finalised draft legislation to incorporate Gilgit-Baltistan, the region known before 2009 as Northern Areas, as a province of the country.

About:

* Gilgit was part of the princely state of Jammu & Kashmir, but was ruled directly by the British, who had taken it on lease from Hari Singh, the Hindu ruler of the Muslim-majority state.

* On November 1, 1947, a political outfit called the Revolutionary Council of Gilgit-Baltistan had proclaimed the independent state of Gilgit-Baltistan. On November 15, it declared it was acceding to Pakistan.

* In 1974, Pakistan adopted its first full-fledged civilian Constitution, which lists four provinces —Punjab, Sindh, Balochistan and Khyber Pakthunkhwa.

* Pakistan-Occupied Kashmir (PoK) and Gilgit-Baltistan were not incorporated as provinces.

* One reason ascribed to this is that Pakistan did not want to undermine its international case that the resolution of the Kashmir issue had to be in accordance with UN resolutions that called for a plebiscite.

* In 2009, Pakistan brought in the Gilgit-Baltistan (Empowerment and Self-Governance) Order, 2009, replacing the Northern Areas Legislative Council (NALC) with the Legislative Assembly, and the Northern Areas were given back the name of Gilgit-Baltistan.

* On November 1, 2020, observed in Gilgit-Baltistan as “Independence Day”, Imran Khan announced that his government would give the region “provisional provincial status”.

* New Delhi, which has asserted that Gilgit-Baltistan is an integral part of India “by virtue of the legal, complete and irrevocable accession of Jammu & Kashmir to the Union of India in 1947”, is yet to respond to the latest report.

Myanmar army chief appoints himself Prime Minister and also pledged to hold elections by 2023.

About:

* The State Administration Council of Myanmar has been reformed as ‘Caretaker government of Myanmar’ headed by the Chief of the Myanmar military Senior General Min Aung Hlaing as the Prime Minister.

* General Hlaing took over power in Myanmar in February after removing the government headed by the State Counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi on February 1, a day before the newly elected parliament was set to meet. Since then, the State Administration Council has been performing the duties of the government in Myanmar.

* Myanmar has witnessed regular protests since February against the military government.

* According to the human rights watchdog Assistance Association for Political Prisoners (AAPP), 940 people have been killed and 6994 people arrested in protests against the military government till now.

Indian Bank entered into a MoU with Society for Innovation and Entrepreneurship (SINE) – an initiative of Indian Institute of Technology, Bombay – for extending exclusive credit facility to Start-ups and MSMEs.

About:

* SINE, IIT, Bombay is the forerunner in setting up joint R&D with industries and supporting start-up incubation.

* SINE, IIT, Bombay provides support to the MSME sector by providing joint research and development arrangements and technical and financial support for incubation and acceleration of high-end technology products.

* The Bank will extend loans of up to 50 crore rupees to these start-ups for their working capital requirements or purchase of machinery and equipment.

To celebrate International Tiger Day last week, the Uttarakhand government highlighted the expanse of the state’s tiger map from Corbett National Park to Kedarnath Wildlife Sanctuary.

About:

* Between the terai and the mountains, Chief Minister Pushkar Singh Dhami flaunted the tiger range from an elevation of 1,181 ft (360 m) to 12,073 ft (3680 m) as a testimony of Uttarakhand’s success in tiger conservation.

* The tiger’s usual range is under 6,000 ft (below 1,800 ft, think Kasauli). That makes its presence above 12,000 ft — the elevation of the Kedarnath temple — rare. But tigers have shown up before a strategically placed motion-triggered camera at higher altitudes.

Causes for concern?

* Records of high-altitude tigers getting somewhat routine have alarmed a section of conservationists. Warming induced by climate change, they argue, is making the higher mountains tolerable for tigers.

* But the fact that tigers are found roaming the snow indicates that their upward movement is not deterred by the cold.

* The fact that there are enough tigers in certain pockets to wander around is certainly good news. But that should not prompt hasty proposals, such as declaring a high-altitude area as tiger reserve, or even shifting a conservation area upward, based on a few tiger photos.

To safeguard the interest of its customers, Country’s largest lender State Bank of India (SBI) has launched a new and enhanced security feature – ‘SIM Binding’ in YONO and YONO Lite.

About:

* The new version of these platforms will protect customers from various digital frauds.

* With the SIM Binding feature, YONO and YONO Lite will work only on those devices which have SIM of mobile numbers registered with the Bank.

* To access to the new version of YONO and YONO Lite, users will have to update their mobile app and complete the one-time registration process on these Apps. The registration process verifies the SIM of the Registered Mobile Number (RMN) with the bank in order to complete the registration.

YONO

* YONO (You Only Need One) is an integrated digital banking platform offered by State Bank of India (SBI) to enable users to access a variety of financial and other services such as flight, train, bus and taxi bookings, online shopping, or medical bill payments.

* YONO is offered as a smartphone app for both Android and iOS.

* YONO was launched in 2017.

Culture Ministry launched a unique programme to celebrate Azadi Ka Amrit Mahotsav on Independence Day this year.

About:

* The initiative, connected with the National Anthem, has been taken up by the Ministry to instill pride and unity among all Indians.

* The people have been invited to sing the National anthem and upload the video on website www.RASHTRAGAAN.IN.

* The compilation of National Anthem will be shown live on 15th of August.

* The initiative was announced by the Prime Minister, Narendra Modi in 'Mann Ki Baat' on 25th of last month as a part of Azadi ka Amrit Mahotsav.

Eco tourism has been identified as one of the Niche Tourism areas for development in the country by the Ministry of Tourism.

About:

* Eco-tourism means ‘responsible travel to natural areas that conserves the environment and improves the well-being of local people.

* The Ministry of Tourism has accordingly formulated a Draft National Strategy and Roadmap for Sustainable Tourism with focus on ecotourism.

* Ministry of Tourism, under its Swadesh Darshan scheme, is developing theme-based tourism circuits in the country. Eco Circuit and Wildlife Circuit are among the fifteen thematic circuits identified for development under the scheme.

Delhi Cabinet has approved its policy to promote medical oxygen production and provide incentives to private sector to invest in production plants, tankers and storage facilities for medical oxygen.

Highlights

Background

In April 2021, Delhi witnessed a huge surge in Covid-19 cases. Sudden increase in cases had left the healthcare infrastructure overwhelmed. Delhi was adding a daily average of 25,294 new Covid-19 cases in April. This condition got worse with severe crisis of medical oxygen.

Central government has set loans disbursement target under PM Mudra Yojana (PMMY) at Rs 3 trillion for financial year 2021-2022.

Key Points

How loans are provided under the scheme?

Under PMMY, loan up to Rs 10 lakh is provided by banks and non-banking financial companies to small business units for entrepreneurial activities. Loan is also provided to units like manufacturing, trading, services and activities allied to agriculture. Under the scheme, central government allocates annual targets for sanctioning loans. As of June 25 in Financial year 2022, loans worth Rs 3,804 crore have been sanctioned by 13 public sector banks (PSBs).  Mudra loans are provided to small businesses on the basis of priority sector lending of banks.

Pradhan Mantri Mudra Yojana (PMMY)

PMMY was launched by government in 2015 to provide loans up to Rs. 10 lakhs to non-corporate, non-farm small or micro-enterprises. Loans are disbursed through financial institution called MUDRA, that stands for Micro Units Development & Refinance Agency Ltd. It provides funding to non-corporate small business sector by means of last-mile financial institutions such as Banks, Micro Finance Institutions (MFIs) and Non-Banking Financial Companies (NBFCs). However, it does not directly lend to micro-entrepreneurs or individuals.

World Breastfeeding Week is being observed from August 1 to August 7, 2021.

Key Fact

Why this week is celebrated?

World Breastfeeding Week is celebrated to encourage breastfeeding and improve health of babies across the world.

Background

Background of the World Breastfeeding week commemoration dates back to the 1990s when WHO and United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund (UNICEF) created ‘Innocenti Declaration’ in order to promote and support breastfeeding. To execute UNICEF and WHO’s goals, an association called ‘World Association of Breastfeeding Action’ was established in 1991. In 1992, entire week was dedicated to promote this campaign.

Why Breastfeeding is significant?

Breastfeeding, also called as nursing, is the best way to provide young infants with essential nutrients that are required for growth and development. According to WHO, breast milk is the ideal food for infants. It is safe, clean, and acts as first vaccine for them. It protects them against several common childhood illnesses. According to the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare of India, breastfeeding helps in boosting immune system of infant, reduces infant mortality rate, reduces the risk of developing infections like respiratory tract infections, allergic diseases, diabetes, and childhood leukaemia. It also enhances cognitive function infants.

Recently, Vice President of India, M. Venkaiah Naidu and Deputy Chairman Rajya Sabha, Shri Harivansh witnessed a presentation by AICTE officials on a unique tool which translates English language content into 11 different Indian languages.

About the AI tool

All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE)

AICTE was established in November 1945 as an advisory body. It was given the status of statutory body by an act of Parliament. It is a national-level council for technical education. It works under Department of Higher Education. It is responsible for proper planning and coordinated development of technical education and management education system across India.

Who assist AICTE?

AICTE is assisted by 10 Statutory Boards of Studies including- UG Studies in Eng. & Tech., Management Studies, PG and Research in Eng. and Tech., Vocational Education, Pharmaceutical Education, Technical Education, Architecture, Hotel Management & Catering Technology, Information Technology and Town & Country Planning.

Headquarter of AICTE

AICTE is headquartered in Delhi where offices of the chairman, vice-chairman and member secretary has been set up. Apart from it, regional offices have been set up at Kanpur, Gurgaon, Chandigarh, Bhopal, Mumbai, Vadodara, Kolkata, Bangalore, Guwahati, Chennai, Hyderabad, Chennai and Thiruvananthapuram.

Functions of AICTE

AICTE is the statutory authority to plan, formulate and maintain norms & standards, quality assurance through school accreditation and funding in priority areas.

NITI Aayog has released a report on Power Distribution Sector that presents reform pathways to transform India’s power distribution sector.

Highlights

What was the need of report?

In India, Power distribution companies (DISCOMs) incur losses every year. In financial year 2021, total estimated losses are as high as Rs 90,000 crore. Because of these losses, DISCOMs are unable to pay power generators on time, make investments to ensure high-quality power, or to prepare for use of variable renewable energy. Thus, this report becomes significant as it presents review of reform efforts in Indian and global power distribution sector.

About the report

Report extracts learnings and best practices from wealth of policy experience existing in India. It examines several important reforms including role of private sector in distribution, regulatory oversight, power procurement, integration of renewable energy and upgradation of infrastructure. Report is divided into chapters that focuses on structural reforms, operational reforms, regulatory reforms, managerial reforms, and renewable energy integration. It presents policymakers with several reform options in order to put distribution sector on the track of efficiency and profitability.

RMI India

It is an independent non-profit organization working towards accelerating transition to a clean, prosperous and inclusive energy future. It engages with government, industry, and civil-society leaders in order to design innovative policy frameworks and market solutions to extend support to India’s clean energy and mobility transformation. RMI India collaborates with Rocky Mountain Institute (RMI) of USA.

UN General Assembly (UNGA) has approved a resolution on August 2, 2021 to establish a Permanent Forum of People of African Descent.

Key Findings

Background

Establishment of the forum has come during International Decade for People of African Descent which was established by the General Assembly and started on January 1, 2015. It will end on December 31, 2024. It focuses on themes like recognition, justice and development.

Why this forum was established?

This forum was established in the backdrop of concern over slavery. Document expressed deep regret on human suffering that was caused by slavery. It acknowledged that slave trade and slavery are crimes against humanity.

Mandates of new Forum

Permanent Forum of People of African Descent has been provided with following mandates:

  1. To help in ensuring “full political, economic and social inclusion of people of African descent”.
  2. To provide expert advice and recommendations on addressing racism to human rights council.

Members of Forum

New forum will comprise of 10 members of which five will be elected by General Assembly from all regions and five will be appointed by Human Rights Council in consultations with regional groups as well as organizations of people of African descent.

National Statistical Office (NSO) has published the eighth periodic labour force survey recently. According to the survey, unemployment rate in India has increased to 13.3 per cent in the period of July-September 2020. Unemployment rate was 8.4 per cent in July-September 2020.

Key Findings

Labour Force

It refers to the part of population that supplies or offers to supply labour to pursue economic activities for production of goods and services. It includes both employed and unemployed persons.

Periodic Labour Force Survey (PLFS)

Periodic labour force survey was launched by NSO in April 2017. Based on PLFS, quarterly bulletin is provided by giving estimates of labour force indicators such as UR, Worker Population Ratio (WPR), Labour Force Participation Rate (LFPR), distribution of workers by broad status in employment & industry of work in Current Weekly Status (CWS).

Current Weekly Status (CWS)

CWS estimates on unemployed persons provides an average picture of unemployment in short period of 7 days during the survey period. In CWS approach, a person is considered unemployed if he/she did not work even for 1 hour on any day in a week.

Power Grid Corporation of India has commissioned a 40-kilometre transmission line successfully in Aryan Valley (Kargil district) of Ladakh.

Key Points

Significance of the connection

Rural electrification in difficult terrain will help in bring carbon neutrality by setting diesel generator sets aside across these villages. Reliable power connectivity from grid also will help in economic development in remote villages in Ladakh region.

National Grid in India

National Grid in India is the high-voltage electricity transmission network that connect power stations and major substations. It ensures that electricity generated anywhere across India can be used to meet demand elsewhere. National Grid in India is owned and maintained by state-owned Power Grid Corporation of India. It is operated by state-owned Power System Operation Corporation. With the power generation capacity of 371.054 GW (as of 2020), it is the largest operational synchronous grids worldwide. India’s grid is nominally running at 50 Hz. Permissible range of frequency band is 49.95-50.05 Hz. Grid is also having synchronous interconnections with Bhutan and asynchronous links with Bangladesh, Myanmar, and Nepal.

Lok Sabha passed the “General Insurance Business (Nationalisation) Amendment Bill through a voice vote on August 2, 2021 without any debate.

Highlights

Amendments to the bill

Background

This bill was passed in line with government’s privatization drive. Finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman has announced ambitious privatisation agenda, including two public sector banks and one general insurance company in ger budget speech for 2021-2022. Accordingly, among four public sector general insurance companies namely, National Insurance Company Limited, Oriental Insurance Company Limited, New India Assurance Company Limited and United India Insurance Company Limited; government will dilute its shareholding in one company. Name of the company is yet to be finalised.

General Insurance Business (Nationalisation) Amendment Bill, 2021

This bill was introduced in Lok Sabha on July 30, 2021.  It seeks to amend General Insurance Business (Nationalisation) Act, 1972 that was enacted to nationalise all private companies undertaking general insurance business.  Bill provides for a greater private sector participation in public sector insurance companies that are regulated under the Act of 1972. Bill has removed the government shareholding threshold of 51% in specified insurers.   Bill has also changed the definition of general insurance business and transferred the power of appointing majority of directors of specified insurer & power over its management or policy decision from the government.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi will virtually preside over an open debate at United Nations Security Council (UNSC) on August 9, 2021.

Highlights

India at UNSC

India started its two-year tenure as non-permanent member of UNSC on January 1, 2021. It is India’s seventh term on UNSC as a non-permanent member. Earlier, India has been a member of UNSC in 1950-51, 1967-68, 1972-73, 1977-78, 1984-85, and 1991-92.

United Nations Security Council (UNSC)

UNSC is one among six principal organs of United Nations (UN). It has been tasked with ensuring international peace and security. It also recommends admission of new members at UNSC and approve any changes to UN Charter. Some of its functions and powers include- establishment of peacekeeping operations, enactment of international sanctions and authorization of military action. It is the only UN body having the authority to issue binding resolutions on member states.

Background

UNSC was created after World War II when League of Nations failed to maintain world peace. First session of UNSC was held on January 17, 1946. UNSC had authorized military interventions in Korean War and Congo Crisis as well as peacekeeping missions in Suez Crisis, Cyprus, and West New Guinea.

Member nations of the International Monetary Fund have approved the injection of $650 billion to help countries in dealing with mounting debt and economic fallout because of Covid-19 pandemic.

Highlights

Background

Plan to allocate funds was under consideration for more than a year. However, it was initially delayed when the United States (IMF’s biggest shareholder) blocked it in early 2020 citing that fund wouldn’t get to countries that need it the most.

How reserves are allocated by IMF?

Reserves are allocated to all the 190 members of IMF in proportion to their quota. 70 percent of the reserves is allocated to Group of 20 largest economies while 3 percent to low-income countries. 58 percent go to advanced economies out of which 42% is allocated to emerging and developing economies. Thus, out of $650 billion, $21 billion will go to low-income countries while $212 billion to other emerging market and developing countries.

Special drawing rights (SDRs)

SDR, created in 1969, are supplementary foreign exchange reserve assets which are maintained and defined by the IMF. SDRs are units of account for IMF but not a currency. They represent claim to currency held by IMF member countries.

Who allocate SDRs?

SDRs are allocated by IMF to countries. It cannot be held or used by private parties.

According to National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) data, from 2016 to 2019, suicide cases due to unemployment have increased by 24 per cent.

Key Findings of report

Covid-19 led unemployment

NCRB report pertain to data before Covid-19 hit the country caused further job losses in last two years. As per chief executive of Centre for Monitoring Indian Economy (CMIE), over 10 million Indians have lost their jobs amid second wave of Covid-19. Pandemic has also led to decline in income of households by 97 per cent.

Suicides among children

NCRB data also suggests that, more than 24,000 children in age group of 14 to 18 years have died by suicide in between 2017 to 2019. Suicides due to failure in examination stands at 4,000.

National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB)

NCRB is an Indian government agency to collect and analyse crime data in accordance with the Indian Penal Code (IPC) and Special and Local Laws (SLL). It was set-up in 1986 to act as repository of information on crime & criminals. This agency is headquartered in New Delhi and works under Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA). IPS Ramphal Pawar is the current Director of NCRB.

On the occasion of birth anniversary of Pingali Venkayya, Vice President Venkaiah Naidu and other members of Union Cabinet paid homage to him. Year 2021 marked 145th anniversary of Pingali Venkayya.

Highlights

Significance of national flag

Who is Pingali Venkayya?

He was an Indian freedom fighter was born in 1876. He was born and brought up in a Telugu Brahmin family in Andhra Pradesh. Hanumantaraidu was his father and Venkataramana was his mother. He completed his high school studies in Madras and went to Cambridge University for graduation.  He was a staunch Gandhian, agriculturist, educationist, linguist, geologist and writer.

Pingali’s design of flag

He designed a flag called as Swaraj Flag. It comprised of red and green bands to symbolize two major communities of India- Hindus and Muslims. His design had provided an identity to India and its people. Flag helped in uniting and giving rise to the spirit of independence among people then. He also added a white band over red over green with a charkha design onto Khadi bunting as suggested by Mahatma Gandhi. White colour represented peace and rest of communities residing in India while the spinning wheel symbolized progress of the nation.