Daily Current Affairs - 16-08-2021

Google paid tribute to Subhadra Kumari Chauhan on her 117th birth anniversary by dedicating a creative doodle to her.

Key Points

About Subhadra Kumari Chauhan

Subhadra Kumari Chauhan was an Indian activist who was also a poet. She also flighted for freedom. Her works gained national recognition when there was domination of male in the field of literature. She was born on August 16, 1904 in Nihalpur village of Uttar Pradesh. She got her first poem published when she was 9-years-old. Her poem ‘Jhansi ki Rani’ is the most recited poems of Hindi literature. Other remarkable poems by her include ‘Balika ka Parichay’ and ‘Khilonewala’.

What role did she play during freedom movement?

She became a part of the Indian Nationalist Movement in 1921. She urged people to join the fight by means of her poems. She became the first women satyagrahi in 1923.  During 1940s, she published about 88 poems and 46 short stories for the fight of India’s independence. She died in 1948.

Odisha Chief Minister, Naveen Patnaik, announced that his government will provide smart health cards under Biju Swasthya Kalyan Yojana.

Key Points

Where this service can be availed?

Health card beneficiaries can avail health services across 200 hospital chains in India including in Odisha. This will strengthen the health security for the people.

Why this initiative was launched?

This initiative was launched in the backdrop of people selling land and valuables or dropping their children out of schools to arrange the treatment costs. Under it, people will get distress free and hassle-free treatment to at best available health care facilities.

Annapurna Scheme

Annapurna Scheme was launched in April, 2000 with the aim of providing food security to meet requirement of those senior citizens who remained uncovered under National Old Age Pension Scheme. It covers 20% of persons eligible to receive pension under NOAPS. Central assistance is provided to beneficiaries having age of 65 years or above. Under this scheme, beneficiaries are provided 10 Kg. of food grains per month free of cost.

Biju Swasthya Kalyan Yojana

It is a universal health coverage scheme, covering around 70 lakhs families. It was launched by chief minister of Odisha and 250 crore was sanctioned for this scheme. Under it, a cashless healthcare assistance will be provided. It will provide an annual health coverage of Rs 5 lakhs to every family and 7 lakhs per women members of every family.

While addressing the nation on 75th Independence Day, Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced to provide fortified rice to poor under various schemes.

Key Points

Significance of the announcement

This announcement is significant because, government distributes more than 300 lakh tonnes of rice under schemes covered under National Food Security Act (NFSA), 2013.

What is food fortification?

Food fortification is the simplest and sustainable public health strategies that address the challenge of micronutrient deficiencies. It is a cost-effective, scientifically proven, and globally recognised approach. It also helps in easily reaching to wider & vulnerable populations by means of existing food delivery systems.

Why Rice will be fortified?

Because, rice has highest uptake in government food safety net programmes like public distribution system, integrated child development services, mid-day meal schemes etc. Further, rice has potential to reach more than a million people, especially women and children.

NFHS 4 report

According to National Family Health Survey report, India has the largest burden of iron-deficiency and anaemia worldwide. About 59% of children and 50% of pregnant women are anaemic in India. Child and maternal malnutrition accounts for 15% of India’s total disease burden.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced a Rs 100 lakh crore Pradhan Mantri Gatishakti initiative on August 15, 2021.

Key Points

Focus areas of the initiative

About Special economic zone (SEZ)

SEZ is a geographical region having economic laws that are more liberal than the domestic economic laws of that country. India also has specific laws for its SEZs. SEZ covers a huge range of more specific zone types such as free-trade zones, free zones, export processing zones, industrial estates, free ports, urban enterprise zones etc. Such zones are created to increase foreign direct investment by foreign investors.  SEZ is territory which is typically duty-free and comprises of different business & commercial laws. It is created to administer these areas better and increasing ease of doing business.

SEZs in India

Prime Minister Narendra Modi launched National Hydrogen Mission on August 15, 2021 from Lal Quila on the occasion of celebration of 75th Independence Day. This mission was launched to push for energy security of India.

Key Points

How Green Hydrogen is produced?

Green hydrogen is produced by splitting water into hydrogen and oxygen with the help of electrolyzer which is powered by electricity from renewable energy sources like wind and solar.

Green Hydrogen Consumption Obligation (GHCO)

Government of India has also planned to implement Green Hydrogen Consumption Obligation (GHCO) in fertilizer production and petroleum refining. It is similar to renewable purchase obligations (RPO) that require electricity distribution companies to buy a fixed amount of renewable energy. It helps to cut reliance on fossil fuels.

Hydrogen Demand in India

Total hydrogen demand in India is 6.7 million tonnes currently. It is expected to increase to 11.7 million tonnes (mt) by 2029-30.

About Hydrogen

It is a colourless, odourless gas found in Earth’s atmosphere. It is used for industrial uses like petroleum refining, manufacturing of chemicals, steel, & ammonia fertilisers and aerospace applications.

How it is extracted?

Hydrogen is extracted through two methods for Industrial purposes, namely, gasification of coal or through steam methane reformation (SMR). In SMR, methane from natural gas is heated with steam to produce carbon monoxide and hydrogen, which is used as fuel. However, these methods aren’t carbon-friendly and cause vast emissions of greenhouse gasses. Hydrogen produced from this method is called as brown hydrogen. While the Green hydrogen is extracted without releasing any emissions at all.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi while addressing the nation on August 15, highlighted India’s target to become ‘energy independent’ by 2047, when India will be celebrating 100th year of Independence.

Highlights

Roadmap to become energy independent

Roadmap for India to become energy independent include:

  1. Increasing usage of natural gas in the economy
  2. Setting up a network of CNG and piped natural gas network throughout India
  3. Blending 20 per cent ethanol in petrol and electric mobility.

India’s current achievement

Presently, India has achieved the target of 100 gigawatts of renewable energy capacity much before the set the target.

Energy policy of India

Energy Policy of India is defined by expanding energy deficit and increased focus of India on developing alternative sources of energy like nuclear, solar and wind energy. As of 2017, India has attained 63% overall energy self-sufficiency.

Primary Energy Consumption in India

Primary energy consumption in India has increased by 2.3% in 2019. It has become the third biggest consumer after China and USA, with global share of 5.8%.

India’s net import

As of 2018, India’s net imports were about 205.3 million tons of crude oil and its products, 26.3 Mtoe of LNG and 141.7 Mtoe coal. They totalled to 46.13% of total primary energy consumption. India is largely dependent on fossil fuel imports to meet its domestic energy demands. As per reports, India’s dependence on energy imports is expected to exceed 53% by 2030.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi, during his address on 75th Independence Day celebration, announced that Sainik Schools across India will now be open for female students as well.

Highlights

Sainik Schools

Sainik Schools are system of schools that was established and managed by Sainik Schools Society. It comes under Ministry of Defence (MoD). Establishment of sainik schools was led by V. K. Krishna Menon in 1961, who was the then Defence Minister of India.

Why Sainik Schools were established?

Sainik Schools were established in order to rectify regional and class imbalance amongst Officer cadre of Indian Military. Schools were opened to prepare students mentally and physically to enter into the National Defence Academy (NDA) and Indian Naval Academy (INA).

How many such schools are there?

As of now, there were 33 Sainik Schools. Now, MoD is set to establish 100 more boarding Sainik Schools in public–private partnership (PPP) mode.

Who run Sainik Schools?

MoD run Sainik Schools in association with the respective state governments. MoD provides funding and serving officers for the post of Principal while, State governments provide land, infrastructure and teaching & administrative employees.

Curriculum of Sainik Schools

Sainik Schools follow “CBSE Plus” curriculum by using CBSE curriculum with the additional aim of preparing children for entry into NDA and INA.

Bharat Petroleum Corporation Limited (BPCL) launched door-to-door delivery of ‘High Speed Diesel’ with the objective of meeting the growing demand.

Key Points

About Fuelkarts

Fuelkart helps in enhancing operational efficiency for customers in consistent with the philosophy of ease of doing business. It ensures delivery within time, complete assurance of quality & quantity and well as safe & secure product handling.

Background

BPCL has already launched 63 mobile dispensers across the states of West Bengal, Odisha, Bihar, Jharkhand as well as North-East states.

Bharat Petroleum Corporation Limited (BPCL)

BPCL is an Indian government-owned oil and gas corporation, operating under the parent head of Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas. It is headquartered in Mumbai. Company operates two large refineries in Kochi and Mumbai. It is considered as second-largest downstream oil company of India. In the 2020 Fortune List of World’s biggest Corporations, it was ranked at 309th position.

What is high speed diesel?

High speed diesel is usually used as a fuel in medium and high-speed compression ignition engines that operates above 750 rpm. It is used in commercial vehicles, locomotives, stationary diesel engines and pumps etc.

Kaziranga National Park of Assam have become the first national park of India to be equipped with satellite phones.

Highlights

Significance of the move

According to an official of Kaziranga National Park, this move will boost anti-poaching measures in the park. These satellite phones will be used in the six ranges of park having no wireless or poor mobile connectivity. Thus, it will help in taking timely measures.

Who is the service provider?

Satellite Phones were procured for the park by Assam State Disaster Management Authority (ASDMA) at an estimated cost of Rs 16 lakh. Service will be provided by BSNL while monthly expenses will be fulfilled by park authorities. BSNL also trained the forest personnel to operate satellite phones in the areas where satellite phones do not work like in in shadow areas and grooves.

Kaziranga National Park

This national park of India is spread to the district of Golaghat, Karbi Anglong and Nagaon in state of Assam. It hosts two-thirds of world’s great one-horned rhinoceroses. Park has also been listed as a World Heritage Site. According to the census of 2018, there are 2413 rhino population in Kaziranga National Park. It includes 1,641 adult rhinos, 387 sub-adults and 385 calves. Kaziranga was known for the highest density of tigers among protected areas in the world. It was declared a Tiger Reserve in 2006. Presently, highest tiger density is in Orang National Park of Assam. Birdlife international for conservation of avifaunal species also recognises Kaziranga park as an Important Bird Area.

Assam Assembly passed the “Assam Cattle Preservation Bill, 2021” on August 13, 2021.

About the bill

Background

The bill was introduced in the Assembly July 12, citing that, the 1950 Act lacked “sufficient legal provisions” of regulating slaughter, consumption and the transportation of cattle. Thus, the new legislation was the need of the hour.

Provision of fine under new law

According to the new law, anybody who are found to be guilty will be jailed for a minimum term of three years which can be extended for eight years. Provision of Rs 3 lakh is also there, which can be extended up to Rs 5 lakh. For repeat offenders, punishment will be doubled. However, law will not be applied to “religious occasions”. On such occasion, slaughter of cattle excluding cow, heifer and calf, is allowed.

Why Cattle slaughter is controversial in India?

Cattle slaughter, particularly cow slaughter, is controversial in India. This is because of cattle’s traditional status as a respected and endeared living being in Hinduism, Jainism, Sikhism, Buddhism, and Zoroastrianism. On the other hand, it is considered an acceptable source of meat by Muslims, Christians and other non-Dharmic Religions like Animists and non-Indian Zoroastrians. Legislation against cattle slaughter is in place in most of the Indian states except in Kerala, Goa, West Bengal, and Northeast India.

Tamil Nadu legislative assembly presented a separate budget for Agriculture for the first time in the history of the assembly. Budget was presented by Tamil Nadu Minister for Agriculture and Farmer’s Welfare. MRK Pannerselvam on August 13, 2021.

Highlights

About the Budget

Rural Youth Agricultural Skill Development Mission

This mission will be launched to motivate educated youth in order to take up agriculture to next level at their native places. 2500 youth will be trained in the first phase in areas of grafting, operating horticulture, layering etc. Rs 5 crores have been allocated for this scheme.

Tamil Nadu has become the first state in India to cut the petrol price in fiscal year 2021-22 by Rs 3/litre, providing a major relief to consumers.

Key Points

Background

Diesel and petrol prices in India have hit record highs. Government cites price rise in global crude oil by more than 50 percent as the reason for increasing prices in India.

Price dynamics in India

Impact on inflation

As per experts, impact of rising fuel inflation is counterbalanced by declining food inflation. However, consumers with higher expenditure on travel are highly affected by higher prices. It also impacts farmers who rely on diesel-powered irrigation system.

Are petrol and diesel under GST?

No, petrol and diesel have been kept out the purview of GST.