Daily Current Affairs - 26-08-2021

Union ministry of civil aviation (MoCA) notified the liberalized Drone Rules, 2021, on August 26, 2021.

About Liberalized Drone Rules, 2021

  1. Approval for unique authorization number,
  2. Approval for unique prototype identification number,
  3. Approval for certificate of manufacturing and airworthiness,
  4. Approval for certificate of conformance, certificate of maintenance as well as import clearance,
  5. Approval for acceptance of existing drones, operator permit, and authorization of R&D organization
  6. Approval for student remote pilot licence and remote pilot instructor authorization
  7. Approval for drone port authorization, etc.

Digital sky platform

It is an initiative by MoCA, that seeks to provide a secure and a scalable platform in order to support the drone technology frameworks like ‘No permission, no take-off’. It has been designed to enable flight permission digitally and manage unmanned aircraft operations & traffic in an efficient manner.

Maharashtra government launched a special mission called “Mission Vatsalya” in order to help women who lost their husbands to COVID-19.

Highlights

Number of beneficiaries

Amid the covid-19 pandemic, about 15,095 women lost their husbands in last 18 months. District Task Force has listed 14,661 such women in order to provide them benefits of the scheme.

Who is the nodal department to provide benefits?

This mission is being implemented by women and child development (WCD) Department. Officers from WCD department, child development project officers, Anganwadi workers and local unit officers are visiting homes these women to provide them services. As of now, WCD department has reached out to 10,500 women.

Covid-19 cases in Maharashtra

Maharashtra witnessed some 4,355 new coronavirus cases and 119 fatalities on August 24, 2021. As of August 24, infection tally stands at 64,32,649 and while total reported death at 1,36,355.

Sanjay Gandhi Niradhar Yojana

This scheme was launched with the aim of providing financial assistance to destitute persons, disabled, blind, divorced women, women freed from prostitution, orphan children, persons suffering from major illnesses, Transgender, etc. Each Beneficiary gets Rs 600 per month while the family with more than one beneficiary gets Rs 900 per month. This benefit will be given to beneficiary till their children turns 25 years old or when they get employed.

Life Insurance Corporation of India (LIC) launched a mobile app called “Ananda mobile app” for its agents and intermediaries in order to onboard the prospective customers.

Key facts

Features of ANANDA App

Key features of the app are:

Life Insurance Corporation of India (LIC)

LIC is the statutory insurance and investment corporation of India, under the Ministry of Finance. It was established on September 1, 1956 by the Life Insurance of India Act. This act nationalized the insurance industries in India. It had total life fund of Rs 28.3 trillion, as of 2019. During 2018-19, it settled 26 million claims. It currently has 290 million policyholders.

The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs approved a foreign direct investment (FDI) proposal on August 25, 2021 to invest up to Rs 15,000 crore in Anchorage Infrastructure Investment Holding (AIIH) Ltd.

Key Facts

Boost to infrastructure sector

AIIH investment will also boot infrastructure and construction sector as well as Airport sector. It will substantiate government’s plan to develop world class Airport and transport related infrastructure by engaging private sectors.

About National Monetisation Pipeline

Finance Minister, Nirmala Sitharaman launched the National Monetisation Pipeline (NMP). NMP was launched  on August 23, 2021 in order to generate Rs 6-lakh crore in between 2021-22 and 2024-25 as well to create new or brownfield assets. Scheme was announced in budget 2021-2022.

According to UNICEF report, Covid-19 vaccinations have reduced by 80% in Afghanistan within the first week of Taliban’s control in the country.

Key Points

COVID-19 pandemic in Afghanistan

Coronavirus was first confirmed to have spread in Afghanistan when index case was confirmed on February 24, 2020 in Herat. There have been 139,051 confirmed positive cases as of July 16, 2021. 671,455 tests have been conducted for the same period. Kabul Province has the highest number of cases at 18,896. It is followed by Herat with 9,343 cases and Balkh with 3,431 cases. But according to a survey by Ministry of Public Health, approximately a third of the population (10 million people) had contracted the disease.

About Afghanistan

It is a landlocked country located at the crossroads of Central and South Asia. It shares its border with Pakistan in the east & south, Iran in west, Turkmenistan & Uzbekistan in north, and Tajikistan & China in northeast. As of 2020, country is inhabited by 31.4 million people. Pashtuns, Tajiks, Hazaras, and Uzbeks are the common ethnic people in the country. It is a member of United Nations, Organisation of Islamic Cooperation, Group of 77, South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation, Economic Cooperation Organization, as well as Non-Aligned Movement.

Challenges in Afghanistan

Country faces the challenges of poverty, child malnutrition, corruption and terrorism.

World Bank has stopped funding for projects in Afghanistan after the Taliban seized control in the country.

Key facts

Background

World Bank had committed for more than 5.3 billon US Dollars since 2002 for the reconstruction and developmental projects in Afghanistan.

2021 Taliban offensive

Taliban Offensive 2021 was the final major offensive by the Taliban against the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan. It started on May 1, 2021 following the withdrawal of United States forces. It resulted in de facto takeover of Afghanistan and reinstatement of the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan.

Background

In the initial three months of the offensive, Taliban made significant advances and increased the number of districts under its controlled from 73 to 223. Taliban launched an assault on the provincial capitals of Afghanistan on August 6. Most of the towns surrendered without a fight. It captured all Afghan provincial capitals except Bazarak. Islamic Republic of Afghanistan’s government fell on August 15 as the incumbent President, Ashraf Ghani fled the country and Taliban captured Kabul.

NITI Aayog and Ministry of Development of North Eastern Region (DoNER) will launch the first edition of the North Eastern Region District Sustainable Development (NERDSD) Goal Index Report and Dashboard 2021-22 on the August 26, 2021.

Key facts

What is the purpose of this index?

The index will be launched in order to facilitate a platform to identify crucial gaps and inform interventions in order to fast track progress towards achieving the SDGs. It will measure the performance of the districts across eight States.

Who will provide the technical support?

Technical Support for the index and dashboard will be provided by United Nation Development Programme.

United Nations Development Programme (UNDP)

It is the global development network of United Nations that promotes technical and investment cooperation in nations. It connects countries to knowledge, experience and resources in order to help people in building a better life for themselves. It is funded entirely through voluntary contributions from UN member states. It is operating across 177 countries to achieve Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

The Drugs Controller General of India (DGCI) gave nod for Phase-2 and Phase-3 trails of India’s first mRNA-based COVID-19 vaccine.

Highlights

About HGCO19

India’s first mRNA vaccine candidate, HGCO19 has been developed by Gennova Biopharmaceuticals Ltd. in collaboration with HDT Biotech Corporation of USA. Vaccine has demonstrated safety, immunogenicity, neutralization antibody activities among rodent and non-human primate models. It has successfully conducted the phase one trial and will undergo phase 2 and phase 3 trials.

What is mRNA Vaccine?

m-RNA Vaccines work by training the body in order to recognise and respond to the proteins that are produced by disease-causing organisms like virus or bacteria. mRNA vaccines trick the body to produce viral proteins itself. They work by using messenger RNA (m-RNA) which is the molecule that puts DNA instructions into action. mRNA is used as a template to build protein inside a cell.

How is it different from traditional vaccine?

Traditional vaccines are made up of small or inactivated doses of disease-causing organism, or proteins produced by it. These inactivated organisms are introduced into the body in order to boost the immune system so that it responds against the disease-causing organisms.

5th edition of Indo-Kazakhstan Joint Training Exercise called KAZIND-21 is to be conducted from August 30 to September 11, 2021.

Key points

Significance of the exercise

Background

4th edition of the KAZIND-2019 was held between India and Kazakhstan in Uttarakhand in 2019. It is an annual event but the 5th edition will be conducted after a gap of one year amid covid-19 pandemic.

About KAZIND exercise

This military exercise is conducted alternatively in Kazakhstan and India. During the exercise, armies of both countries share their experience that they have gained while conducting several counter-insurgency and counter-terrorism operations. It also involves the aspects of emerging trends of hybrid warfare.

What is Hybrid Warfare?

It refers to the use of unconventional methods under the multi-domain warfighting approach with the aim of disrupting and disabling actions of opponents without engaging in open hostilities. For instance, Russia’s approach to Ukraine is a form of hybrid warfare that involved s combination of activities such as economic manipulation, disinformation, use of proxies and insurgencies etc.

Ministry of Jal Shakti started the SUJALAM campaign on August 25, 2021.

What is SUJALAM?

Significance of the campaign

According to the ministry, this campaign will be significant in management of the wastewater. It will boost the objectives of Swachh Bharat Mission Gramin phase -2 activities by means of community participation. It will also increase awareness regarding ODF-plus activities.

Focus of the campaign

This scheme was launched with is focus on ensuring that all newly emerging Households across the village have access to toilets.

What is ODF+ and ODF++?

It was launched in 2018 with the objective of scaling up and sustaining the work undertaken by the cities after they achieved Open Defecation Free (ODF) status under Phase I of the Swachh Bharat Mission — Urban (SBM-Urban) scheme.

Which cities are eligible to get this status?

Cities that have attained ODF status at least once, are eligible to declare themselves as SBM-ODF+ and SBM-ODF++.

Aim of the status

These statuses are provided with the aim of properly maintaining toilet facilities and safe collection & treatment or disposal of all faecal sludge and sewage. Primary focus of ODF+ is on toilets with water, maintenance and hygiene. While, ODF++ mainly focuses on toilets with sludge and septage management.

According to the Textiles Ministry, that more than 1,500 artisans have been benefitted by training in 63 Samarth Training Centres.

Highlights

About Samarth Scheme

Textile ministry launched a “Scheme for Capacity Building in Textile Sector (SCBTS)” in 2017 in order to fill the skill gap in textile industry. Scheme was approved for entire value chain of textile industry except weaving and spinning in organised sector. SCBTS scheme is currently known as Samarth scheme. It was launched with an outlay of Rs.1,300 crore for three years (2017-18 to 2019-20).

Objectives of Samarth Scheme

This scheme was launched with the understated objectives:

Implementing Agencies

Implementing agencies for the scheme include:

  1. Textile industry.
  2. Institutions or organisation of Ministry of Textiles or State Governments which are having placement tie-ups and training infrastructure with the ministry.
  3. Reputed training institutions, NGOs, societies, organisations, companies, trusts, start-ups and entrepreneurs which are active in the textile field.

National Security Adviser, Ajit Doval, hosted the inaugural meeting of IBSA National Security Advisers (NSAs) on August 25, 2021 through video conferencing.

Highlights

Background

The meeting was held as part of preparatory process for next IBSA Summit of Leaders. It is scheduled to be held under India’s Chair ship of IBSA.

Theme of IBSA meeting under India’s Chaiship

Theme of IBSA meeting under India’s Chairship is “Democracy for Demography and Development”.

About IBSA

The IBSA (India, Brazil, South Africa) Dialogue Forum is an international tripartite group that promotes international cooperation among member countries. It represents three important poles to galvanize South-South cooperation as well as greater understanding between three important continents namely, Africa, Asia and South America. The forum provides a platform to member countries in order to held discussions in the field of agriculture, culture, trade, and defence.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi chaired the meeting of 37th edition of PRAGATI (Pro-Active Governance and Timely Implementation) on August 25, 2021.

Key Points

What is PRAGATI?

It is a platform, enabling the Prime Minister to discuss issues with concerned Central and State officials with full information and visuals of ground-level situation. This platform was launched in 2015. It has been designed by the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) team in collaboration with National Informatics Center (NIC). Platform is a three-tier system namely PMO, Union Government Secretaries and Chief Secretaries of States.

Objectives of PRAGATI

Three objectives of PRAGATI are:

  1. Grievance Redressal
  2. Programme Implementation
  3. Project Monitoring

Technology used in PRAGATI

PRAGATI platform bundles three latest technologies viz., Digital data management, geo-spatial technology and video-conferencing.

Significance of the portal

The portal promotes cooperative federalism because it brings the Secretaries of Government of India and the Chief Secretaries of the States on one platform. It is a robust system that brings e-transparency and e-accountability by real-time presence and exchange among the stakeholders.

Issues with the portal

Portal provides for direct interaction of the PM with state secretaries without involving political executives of the states. Thus, it is undermining the State political executive. Furthermore, portal is leading to a concentration of power in the extra-constitutional office of PMO.