Daily Current Affairs - 13-08-2021

Union Minister of Youth Affairs and Sports, Anurag Thakur, launched a nationwide programme of Fit India Freedom Run 2.0 on August 13, 2021 to celebrate the Azadi ka Amrut Mahotsav.

Key Points

Aim of the campaign

The Fit India freedom run 2.0 programme was launched with the aim of encouraging people to take up fitness activities like running and sports in their daily lives in order to get freedom from laziness, obesity, stress, anxiety and diseases.

Activities of Fit India Freedom Run 2.0

Key activities of Fit India Freedom Run 2.0 comprises of pledge, rendering of National Anthem, Freedom Run, cultural functions at all the venues, raising awareness among Youth Volunteers to participate & organize such Freedom Runs in their villages.

Azadi Ka Amrut Mahotsav

This event is being organised by Government of India to commemorate 75th Anniversary of India’s Independence. This event was inaugurated by Prime Minister Narendra in March 2021 from Sabarmati Ashram, Ahmadabad.  It will continue till August 15, 2023.

Pakistan carried a successful training launch of surface-to-surface nuclear-capable ballistic missile called Ghaznavi on August 12, 2021.

Highlights

About Ghaznavi

Ghaznavi is a Hypersonic surface to surface short range ballistic missile. It has been designed and developed by National Development Complex. The first version of the missile was inducted in service with the Pakistan Army’s strategic command in 2004. The missile has an optimal range of 290 km and has been named after 11th century Muslim Turkic conqueror Mahmud of Ghazni. It entered service with the Pakistan Army in 2012 following a successful launch by ASFC in 2012.

Specification of the missile

Missile has a length of 9.64m and a diameter of 0.99 m. Its launch weight is 5256 kg. It is powered by a single stage solid fuel rocket motor.

APEDA in collaboration with Himachal Pradesh Horticultural Produce Marketing and Processing Corporation Ltd (HPMC) exported first consignment comprising of five unique varieties of apples in order to promote agricultural and processed food products exports to newer destinations.

Key points

Mango export

Recently in July 2021, consignment of Geographical Identification (GI) certified Fazil mango was exported to Bahrain in order to boost mango export potential from eastern region to middle east countries. Mangoes were sourced from Malda district of West Bengal. It was exported by APEDA registered DM enterprises in Kolkata and imported by Al Jazira group in Bahrain.

Virtual meets

APEDA has been initiating several measures to boost fruits and vegetables exports from non-traditional regions and states of India. It has been conducting virtual buyer-seller meets and festivals in order to promote them.

The International Youth Day is observed on August 12, every year.

Highlights

Background

United Nations announced to commemorate International Youth Day every year on August 12 in the year 1999. It was announced on the basis of recommendation made by “World Conference of Ministers Responsible for Youth” to the UN General Assembly in Lisbon.

Theme For International Youth Day 2021

United Nations decides a theme each year which is relevant to all global communities and citizens. This year, the day was observed under the theme “Transforming Food Systems: Youth Innovation for Human and Planetary Health”.

Significance of the theme

As per the United Nations, theme of this year highlights the crucial need for “inclusive support mechanisms which ensure youth continue to amplify efforts collectively and individually in order to restore the planet and protect life besides integrating biodiversity to transform the food systems. Apart from that, the theme also addresses other challenges like healthcare, climate change, social inclusion and conservation of biodiversity.

Theme in 2020

Theme for International Youth Day in 2020 was ‘Youth Engagement for Global Action’. Theme highlighted the areas like engagement at community level, at the national level (to formulate laws and policies along with their implementation) as well as the engagement at the global level.

Government of India announced to confer Prime Minister’s Shram Awards (PMSA) for the year 2018 to 69 executives for their innovation at work.

Highlights

Three categories of PMSA

This year the PMSA award will be given in three categories:

  1. Shram Bhushan Awards- It carry a cash prize of Rs.1,00,000 each,
  2. Shram Vir or Shram Veerangana Awards- It carry a cash prize of Rs. 60,000 each and
  3. Shram Shree or Shram Devi Awards- It carry a cash prize of Rs.40,000 each.

Nominations for PMSA

For the year 2018, four nominations have been selected for the Shram Bhushan Awards, twelve for Shram Vir/Shram Veerangana awards while seventeen for Shram Shree or Shram Devi Awards. The total of 33 Shram Awards would be conferred for the year 2018 while the number of workers receiving the Awards 69. Some of the awards will be shared by workers and teams of workers. 49 workers have been selected from the public sector while 20 from the private sector. 8 women workers have also been nominated.

About Prime Minister’s Shram Award

This award was instituted in 1985. This award was instituted with the objective of recognizing outstanding contributions made by workmen in accordance with Industrial Disputes Act, 1947. It selects workers from public as well as private sector.

Chief scientist of World Health Organisation (WHO), Dr. Soumya Swaminathan, noted that though Covid-19 vaccines may not provide absolute protection against emerging variants of the coronavirus. However, it can reduce risks of death and complications.

Highlights

WHO’s approval to Covaxin

About Covaxin

Covaxin is code named as BBV152. This inactivated virus-based COVID-19 vaccine has been developed by Bharat Biotech in collaboration with Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR). According to Bharat Biotech, the vaccine is 64% effective against asymptomatic cases, 78% against symptomatic cases, 93% against severe cases, and 65% against the Delta variant.

Nature of Covaxin

Covaxin is an inactivated virus that uses traditional technology similar to inactivated polio vaccine. Sample of SARS-CoV-2 was isolated by National Institute of Virology, India which was used to grow large quantities of coronavirus using vero cells. Later the viruses are soaked in beta-propiolactone in order to deactivate them by binding to their genes.  It left other viral particles intact. Lastly, these inactivated viruses are mixed with aluminium-based adjuvant Alhydroxiquim-II.

India’s most populous districts are witnessing uneven vaccination coverage over the past months. This raise concerns over resurgence in covid-19 cases in some of the districts.

Highlights

Where does India stand in vaccination coverage?

Covid-19 cases in India

​​New cases in India have reduced by 6%. However, 37 districts in the states of Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Himachal Pradesh and Karnataka are still reporting an increasing trend in daily cases. In Himachal Pradesh, cases have increased by 142% leading to re-imposition of lockdown restrictions.

World Elephant Day was observed on August 12, across the world. The day is observed with the objective of spreading awareness regarding the plight of elephants. It also seeks to recognize the importance of elephants in our ecosystem.

Highlights

Theme of World Elephant Day 2021

The theme World Elephant Day 2021 has not been announced yet. In the year 2020 the theme was ‘Haathi Hamara Saathi.’

History of World Elephant Day

First world elephant day was observed on August 12, 2012. It highlighted the plight of Asian and African elephants. On the occasion, event was organised by Thai-based Elephant Reintroduction Foundation, in association with Canadian filmmaker Patricia Sims. The Sims has been a leader in World Elephant Day, since 2012.

Significance of the day

World elephant day focuses on spreading awareness regarding their preservation and protection. Elephants, especially Asian and African, are vulnerable to threats like habitat loss, poaching, mistreatment in captivity hover over elephants.

World Elephant Society

Charitable organisation of the Canadian filmmaker Patricia Sim called “World Elephant Society” has educated several people and has created awareness on an international level for elephant protection. Elephant society works in partnership with 100 elephant conservation organisations. Unbiased approach of the organization allows and encourages campaigns by all groups and citizens under the “World Elephant Day”.

Elephant count

As per recent data of World-Wide Fund for Nature (WWF), roughly 440,000 elephants have left on the Earth. WWF notes that, every year around 15,000 elephants are hunted by poachers. Number of wild Asiatic elephants has decreased to 50,000 accounting for 15% of its historic average.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi interacted with members of women self-help groups (SHGs) under the “Aatmanirbhar Narihalti se Samvad” event on August 12, 2021 across the country and announced to release capitalisation support funds of Rs 1,625 crore.

Highlights

What are SHGs?

Self-Help Groups (SHGs) are defined as informal associations of people who come together to find ways of improving their living conditions. It is a self-governed, peer-controlled information group of people coming from similar socio-economic background with a desire to perform common purpose collectively.

Significance of SHGs

SHGs are mostly formed in villages that face numerous problems like illiteracy, poverty, lack of skills, lack of formal credit etc. Such problems cannot be tackled at individual level. Thus, SHGs acts as vehicle of change for the poor and marginalized. It helps in building functional capacity of the poor and the marginalized with respect to employment and income generating activities.

Kabul’s chief for reconciliation, Abdullah Abdullah, has requested for an emergency UN Security Council session at regional conference on Afghanistan in Doha.

Key Points

Highlights of Troika Plus meeting

India’s stand

According to MEA, government continued to closely monitor this situation, keeping eyes on Afghan Hindu and Sikh minorities. The embassy in Kabul is in Afghan Hindu and Sikh community members.

Which provinces are under Taliban’s control?

On August 12, Taliban took over 3 more provinces namely Herat, Qala Naw (Badhgis) and Ghazni besides Kandahar.  Kandahar is the twelfth provincial capital among 34 in Afghanistan that the Taliban insurgents have taken. Kandahar is also the second-largest city in entire Afghanistan.

Capture of Ghazni

Capture of Ghazni has cut off a crucial highway that links Afghan capital with the southern provinces of country. People find themselves under assault because of insurgent that push 20 years after US and NATO troops invaded and forced Taliban government out.

A United Nations based study has claimed that, Children born during Covid-19 pandemic have reduced verbal, motor, and overall cognitive performance as compared to those born pre-pandemic.

Key findings

What are the causes of reduced score?

How long impairments will last?

Data from the study did not clarify if impairments are temporary or will normalise after employment and school closures are lifted and the life return to pre-pandemic levels of play and interaction.

How study was conducted?

Study was held on 672 children from state of Rhode Island. Out of them, 188 were born after July 2020 while 308 were born before January 2019. 176 were born in between January 2019 and March 2020. Children, on which study was conducted, were born full-term and they had no developmental disabilities.

Chandrayaan-2 orbiter of Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) has detected water molecules on Moon’s surface.

Key Points

Water Molecule on Moon

Significance of the study

This study becomes significance for future planetary exploration for resource utilisation because several international missions are lined up towards moon for the upcoming years.

Chandrayaan-2 mission

ISRO launched its Chandrayaan-2 mission in 2019. It suffered a tragic crash when the lander got damaged. However, its orbiter has helped in new discoveries. This mission aims to study not just one area of the Moon but the areas combining the exosphere as well including the surface and sub-surface of the moon. IIRS, on-board Chandrayaan-2 mission, has completely characterise lunar hydration because of presence of OH and H2O.

Chandrayaan-1 mission

This mission had already confirmed the presence of water on the lunar surface. However, because of limited spectral coverage, exact nature of hydration could not be ascertained.

GSLV rocket of Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) failed to put India’s largest earth observation satellite (EOS-3) into the orbit. It failed because of failure to ignite the cryogenic stage of the GSLV.

Highlight

About the Launcher

Background

The GSLV satellite, originally called as GISAT-1, weighing 2,268 kg was scheduled to be launched on March 5, 2020. However, it was postponed before the lift-off due to ‘technical errors’. Later, the Covid-induced lockdown delayed the mission. Post-lockdown, it was scheduled to launch on March 28, 2021 but it was again postponed due to ‘minor issue’ with the satellite.

Objective of the mission

Objective of this mission was:

  1. To provide near real-time imaging at frequent intervals of large area regions,
  2. Quick monitoring of natural disasters and episodic events
  3. To obtain spectral signatures for agriculture, forestry, water bodies including for disaster warning, cloud burst, cyclone monitoring and thunderstorm monitoring.