Daily Current Affairs - 09-08-2021

Online nominations or recommendations for Padma Awards comprising of Padma Vibhushan, Padma Bhushan and Padma Shri has started and the last date of nomination is September 15, 2021.

Key Points

Padma Awards

Padma Awards are the highest civilian honours in India which is announced annually on the eve of Republic Day. Awards are conferred in three categories:

  1. Padma Vibhushan- For exceptional and distinguished service,
  2. Padma Bhushan- For distinguished service of higher order and
  3. Padma Shri- For distinguished service.

These awards are presented to recognize achievements across all fields of activities or disciplines where element of public service is involved.

How Awards are conferred?

Padma Awards are conferred following the recommendations of Padma Awards Committee, constituted by the Prime Minister every year. Nomination process is opened to the public. Self-nomination can also be made.

Background

Bharat Ratna & Padma Vibhushan awards were instituted in 1954. The latter comprised of three classes namely Pahela Varg, Dusra Varg and Tisra Varg. These were later renamed as Padma Vibhushan, Padma Bhushan and Padma Shri on January 8, 1955 with a Presidential Notification.

Border Roads Organisation (BRO) has started its celebrations of ‘Azadi Ka Amrit Mahotsav’ to commemorate 75 years of Independence of India.

Key Points

Award presented by BRO

BRO recently facilitated the Gallantry Award Winners and War Heroes on August 07, 2021 at Pipalkoti & Pithoragarh in Uttarakhand and Chandmari in Sikkim. The ceremony was organised by Project Hirak of BRO at Pithoragarh. On the occasion, tokens of appreciation were awarded to next of kin of Shaurya Chakra awardees namely, EEM Prem Singh, Naik Chandra Singh, Driver Ram Singh and DME Damar Bahadur. At a separate ceremony at Pipalkoti, Project Shivalik by BRO felicitated next of kin of Major Preetam Singh Kunwar.

Azadi Ka Amrut Mahotsav

It is a series of events, organised by Government of India to commemorate 75th Anniversary of India’s Independence. Mahotsav will be celebrated as a Jan-Utsav in the spirit of Jan-Bhagidari. ‘Azadi ka Amrit Mahotsav’ was launched 75 weeks before August 15, 2020. The event will continue till August 15, 2023.

Border Roads Organisation (BRO)

BRO is a road construction executive force of India, providing support to Indian Armed Forces. BRO is a part of Indian Armed Forces that develops and maintains road networks across border areas and friendly neighbours of India. It carries infrastructure operations across 19 states and three union territories as well as neighboring countries like Bhutan, Afghanistan, Myanmar, Tajikistan and Sri Lanka.

India is to get its sixth Covid-19 vaccine soon as drug firm Zydus Cadila’s needle-free Covid-19 vaccine called ‘ZyCoV-D’ is all set to get emergency use authorisation (EUA) approval.

Key Points

Who will authorise the vaccine in India?

Company applied for emergency use authorisation (EUA) with office of the Drug Controller General of India (DCGI) for plasmid DNA vaccine called ZyCoV-D..

New Facility for manufacturing

A new facility to manufacture ZyCov-D was set up at July end to produce vaccine at scale. Zydus Cadila has invested Rs 400 crore to Rs 500 crore to develop this vaccine.

Efficacy of the vaccine

In the interim analysis, Zydus Cadila is found to be 66.6 percent efficient for symptomatic RT-PCR positive cases. No moderate case of COVID-19 disease was observed after administering third dose. It suggests, 100 percent efficacy against moderate disease. Further, no severe cases or deaths due to occurred after second dose of this vaccine.

According to official statistics, less than 300,000 Indians have died due to covid-19 infection in 2021. However, according to latest data of YouGov-Mint-CPR Millennial Survey, this is a colossal underestimation of actual deaths.

Key findings

Under-reporting of Data

Yougov-Mint-CPR Millennial Survey

This survey was conducted by the Indian arm of global market research firm YouGov, Mint, and w Delhi-based think tank Centre for Policy Research (CPR). Half the respondents were millennials and rest were pre-millennials (40+) or post-millennials (aged 18-24). It was the sixth of a series of bi-annual surveys that aims to examine aspirations, anxieties and attitudes of India’s digital natives.

Department of Posts is conducting a drawing competition for children aged between six to 15.

Key Points

Contest category

Contest will be conducted under two categories-

  1. primary category for ages six to 10 and
  2. secondary category for ages 11 to 15.

Prize Money

Top four contestants will be awarded in each category with cash prizes ranging from Rs 2,500 to Rs 500. Selected drawings will be used as designs for special covers or cachet designs.

India Post

India post was earlier called as Department of Post. It is a government-operated postal system that works under Ministry of Communications. It is the most widely distributed postal system across world. Postal service in India was started by Warren Hastings.

Delhi’s first “Animal DNA Laboratory” was set up at Forensic Science Laboratory in Rohini. Wildlife forensics is a new field of criminal investigation.

Highlights

Earlier, animal samples used to be sent to other States with animal DNA testing facilities to test results. Sometimes, this process delayed investigations. The animal DNA lab also procured two machines namely, automate DNA extraction instrument and Real-Time PCR instrument which is based on mitochondrial DNA technology.

How this DNA lab will help police?

The animal DNA laboratory will be used by Delhi Police for timely disposal of cases of cow slaughter, illegal trade of animals and other such animal-related cases. Forensic lab analyses evidence from any part of the animal, such as blood and tissue samples, hair, teeth, carcasses and bones contents. Laboratory will be used to examine and identify the animal species of meat products, frozen meat packing, slaughter cases etc.

How DNA samples are used?

Experts analyse DNA to provide information regarding the identity of sample. DNA tests will be used for identification and characterisation of relationships between animals. It will also evaluate two different samples in order to determine if the animals are originated from same individual.

Challenge before forensic scientist

Primary challenge that any forensic scientist witness is identification of a particular species from crime scene evidence. It gets difficult for scientist to distinguish if piece of flesh is found at crime scene is from a protected animal or if it from non-protected animal. New DNA lab will address this challenge.

The Delhi Disaster Management Authority (DDMA) issued an order to implement the Graded Response Action Plan (GRAP) to effectively manage the COVID-19 in Delhi.

Highlights

Three parameters of GRAP

The GRAP comprises of three parameters namely, positivity rate, cumulative new positive cases and average oxygenated bed occupancy for lockdown or unlock the Capital.

Four levels of alerts

Delhi government has also introduced four levels of colour-coded alerts. These alerts will kick in when GRAP parameters are met. Four alerts are as follows:

  1. Level 1 or yellow alert: This alert will come into force when positivity rate is above 0.5% for two consecutive days. It will also be prescribed when cumulative new positive cases for seven days are more than 1,500 cases or when the average occupancy of oxygenated beds is 500 beds for seven days. When this alert is in force, cinema halls, banquets, salons, barbershops, schools, gyms, entertainment parks, and religious places will be shut and night curfew will be imposed.
  2. Level 2 or amber alert: It will come into force when positivity rate is more than 1% for two days or when cumulative new positive cases are more than 3500 for seven days or when the average occupancy of oxygenated beds is 700 beds for seven days. Under this alert, Restaurants and public parks will be closed and a weekend curfew will come into force.
  3. Level 3 or orange alert: This alert will be in force when positivity rate is more than 2% for two days or when cumulative new positive cases are more than 9000 for seven days or when the average occupancy of oxygenated beds is 1000 for seven days. Under this, construction activities, shops and malls will be put on hold. Metro will also shut down.
  4. Level 4 or red alert: It will be issued when positivity rate more than 5% for two days or when cumulative new positive cases for seven days is more than 16,000 or when average occupancy of oxygenated beds is 3000 for seven days. In this case, a total curfew will be imposed.

Amid the ongoing covid-19 pandemic and approaching typhoon, Tokyo Olympics 2020 was finally concluded on August 8, 2021. Japanese capital pulled the curtains down on one of the most unique Games in history and handed over the flame of hope to Paris.

Highlights

Flame of hope or the flag was passed to Paris with the message of moving forward. It also remembered those who lost their lives to Covid-19 pandemic.

What is Flame of Hope?

Flame of Hope is the symbol of Special Olympics Games. It is used much in same spirit as the Olympic Flame is used at the Olympic Games. The Flame of Hope is lit during traditional ceremony in Athens, Greece. After lighting, it is relayed on foot towards the organizing city by the members of law enforcement agencies comprising of mostly policemen and policewomen along with Special Olympics athletes. The relay, officially the Law Enforcement Torch Run, is the flagship of international fundraising effort.

2018 flame of hope

Flame of Hope was memorialized by Chicago Park District in 2018 that erected the 30 foot “Eternal Flame of Hope” to honor the Special Olympics.

Special Olympics

Special Olympics is world’s largest sports organization for children and adults with disabilities. It provides them a year-round training and activities to 5 million participants and Unified Sports partners across 172 countries. Special Olympics competitions are held every day across the world including local, national and regional competitions. Special Olympics organization is also recognized by International Olympic Committee on the line of Paralympic Games. However, Special Olympics World Games are not held in the same year or in conjunction with the Olympic Games.

Recent statistics on Haryana have been pointing towards rising graph of sexual offences against minor girls in the State.

Key Findings

What steps should be taken to curb this evil?

POCSO Act

This gender-neutral act was enacted in 2012. The act recognises that boys can also be victims of sexual violence. According to the act, a child can be defined as someone under the age of 18. It increased the scope of reporting sexual crimes against children and expanded the definition of sexual assault to include non-penetrative sexual assault and aggravated penetrative sexual assault.

Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) in a study found that, mixed Covid immunisation routine, with a dose of Covishield followed by one of Covaxin, is safe and produces a better immune response as compared to the uniform two doses of any of the two vaccines.

Key Points

How study was conducted?

ICMR Study followed 18 Uttar Pradesh residents who inadvertently received mixed doses, when vaccination plan was expanded. It also followed 40 recipients each of Covishield and Covaxin. However, the sample size of 18 participants was small. Therefore, a larger trial was needed to corroborate findings of the study.

WHO on mixed doses

Chief scientists of World Health Organization had recently advised individuals against mixing and matching COVID-19 vaccines from different manufacturers and said that, such decisions should be left to public health authorities. In June 2021, WHO’s Strategic Advisory Group of Experts on vaccines however noted that, Pfizer Inc vaccine could be used as second dose following the initial dose of AstraZeneca, if the latter is not available. But final words on mixed doses is yet to come from WHO.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi is set to launch the second edition of the government’s free LPG connection scheme called Ujjwala.

Key Facts

How Ujjwala-2 is different than Ujjwala-1?

Ujjwala-2 is the updated version of Ujjwala-1 that provided free LPG connections to 8 crore women beneficiaries. Apart from a deposit-free LPG connection, Ujjwala-2 will provide the first refill and a hotplate free of cost to beneficiaries. Further, the enrolment procedure under second edition of the scheme has been eased. Minimum paperwork will be required for enrolment.

About Ujjwala-2 scheme

Under the Ujjawala-2 scheme, migrants will not be required to submit ration cards or address proof to get the LPG cylinders. A self-declaration would be used as “family declaration” and as “proof of address.

Pradhan Mantri Ujjwala Yojana (PMUY)

PMUY scheme was launched in 2016 by Prime Minister Narendra Modi. The scheme was originally launched to distribute 50 million LPG connections to women below poverty line. Later it was expanded to provide LPG connections to eight crore women by March 2020. This target of providing LPG connections to eight crore women was achieved in September 2019, seven months prior to the target date. Recently in Union Budget 2021, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman announced to extend the benefits under the scheme to additional one crore beneficiaries.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi will release the next instalment of financial benefit provided under Pradhan Mantri Kisan Samman Nidhi (PM-KISAN) scheme on August 9, 2021.

Highlights

About PM-KISAN scheme

Pradhan Mantri Kisan Samman Nidhi Scheme was launched in February 2019. Under this scheme, centre government transfers an amount of Rs 6,000 per year. This amount is transferred in three equal instalments, directly into the bank accounts of all landholding farmers. Amount is transferred to all the beneficiaries irrespective of the size of their land holdings.

Who funds the scheme?

PM-KISAN is a Central Sector Scheme which is 100% funded by the central government.

Who is the implementing agency?

This scheme is being implemented by the Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers Welfare.

How beneficiaries are identified?

Responsibility of identifying the beneficiary farmer families rests with the State and Union Territory Governments.

Objective of the scheme

PM-KISAN scheme was launched with the objective of supplementing financial needs of Small and Marginal Farmers in procuring inputs in order to ensure proper crop health and appropriate yields. It also seeks to protect farmers from falling in clutches of moneylenders to meet such expenses and ensure their continuance in farming activities.

How farmers check their credits?

Under the scheme, PM-KISAN Mobile App has been launched. It has been developed and designed by National Informatics Centre in association with the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology. This app can be used to view the status of their application, update or carry out corrections of Aadhaar cards. Farmers can also check the history of credits to their bank accounts.

Neeraj Chopra, a 23-year-old javelin thrower, created history on August 7, 2021 by winning Gold Medal in men’s javelin throw final at Tokyo Olympics 2020. This was the first time, he participated in the Games.

Key Points

How he won?

Neeraj Chopra threw the javelin at 87.03m in his first throw. He bettered the throw with 87.58m but couldn’t go any further. He could manage four legitimate throws of 87.03m, 87.58m, 76.79m and 84.24. Though, Fourth and fifth throws were disqualified.

India’s 1st medal at Olympics

International Olympic Committee credits Norman Pritchard’s 200m and 200m hurdles silver medals in 1900 Paris Olympics to India. However, various researches and records of the IAAF (now World Athletics) shows that, he had competed for Great Britain. Pritchard was not an Indian and India first participated in Olympic under a national Olympic body in 1920.

Who is Neeraj Chopra?

He is an Indian track and field athlete competing in javelin throw. He has become the first track and field athlete to win an Olympic gold medal for India and second Olympic athletics to win for India after Norman Pritchard, who won two silver medals at 1900 Summer Olympics for India. He was inducted as Junior Commissioned Officer (JCO) in Rajputana Rifles of Indian Army in 2016. He made his debut at 2018 Commonwealth Games and 2018 Asian Games, where he was the opening flag-bearer. In both the games, he won gold medals.