Daily Current Affairs - 08-02-2021

The Union Fisheries Minister Giriraj Singh announced on February 7, 2021 that an investment of ₹ 400 crore will be made in Goa to make this state a fisheries hub of India.

Key Facts

What is the plan?

Other developments

Fishing in India

This industry in India employs 145 million people. The country ranks second in aquaculture while it is ranked third in the fisheries production. Fisheries sector amounts to 1.07% of the Total GDP of India.

The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) have announced that it will purchase four government securities (G-Secs) that amounts to ₹20,000 crore. The central bank will purchase it on February 10, 2021 under the open market operations (OMOs).

Highlights

What is Open Market Operation?

Open Market Operations are the purchase and sale of the Government securities (G-Secs) by RBI from and to the market. The Open Market Operations are conducted with the objective of adjusting the rupee liquidity conditions in the economy. In such operations, when RBI sells the government security in the market banks use to purchase them. When the banks purchase the Government securities, their ability to lend money to the industries, households and other commercial sector gets reduced. Following the reduced surplus cash, the liquidity of the rupee also contracts. This results into contraction of the credit creation or the credit supply. On the other hand, when the RBI purchases the securities, commercial banks find gets surplus cash and this in turn creates more credit in the system.

What are government securities or G-Sec?

Government securities are the debt instruments which are issued by the government to borrow money. It is divided into two categories namely,

  1. Treasury bills which are short-term instruments. They get mature in 91 days, 182 days, or 364 days.
  2. Dated securities which are the long-term instruments. They get mature in between 5 years to 40 years.

The Rajya Sabha have cleared The Jammu and Kashmir Reorganisation (Amendment) Bill, 2021 by voice vote on February 8, 2021.

Highlights

Background

The Jammu and Kashmir Reorganisation (Amendment) Bill, 2021 has been passed in the line of the enactment of the Jammu and Kashmir Reorganisation Act, 2019 in the Jammu & Kashmir after revocation of the Article 370 in the region. The act of 2019 had reconstituted the State of Jammu and Kashmir into two union territories namely, the Jammu & Kashmir and Ladakh, on 31 October 2019. It has reconstituted that area of the J&K that has always been a part of the larger region of Kashmir which is the disputed between India, Pakistan, and China

Voice Vote

Voice Vote is a voting method in parliamentary procedure in which vote is taken on a topic or motion orally. It is the simplest and quickest of voting methods that are used by deliberative assemblies. Firstly, the presiding officer or chair of the assembly puts the question to the assembly. Then ask for all those in favour of the motion to say orally (“aye” or “yea”). Later, he asks for all those who opposed the motion to say orally (“no” or “nay”). The presiding officer then count on each side and state the result. Voice votes have disadvantages because the volume of the voices is only estimated but it is not actually measured with sound level meters.

Recently, rules have been amended by the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) to put cap on trans fatty acids (TFAs) in the food products.  This decision was taken one week after it amended the norms for oils and fats.

Highlights

Background

FSSAI, in December 2020, had capped the amount of the TFAs in oils and fats to 3% that needed to be done by 2021. It has also capped it to 2% by 2022 from the present level of 5%.

What is Trans-fat?

The acids which are created in an industrial process by adding hydrogen to the liquid vegetable oils in order to make them more solid is called the Trans-fat. Addition of the Trans-fat in to the fat increases the shelf life of food items.  They are highly used as adulterant as they are very cheap. Trans-fats are present in baked, fried and processed foods. It is also present in adulterated ghee that becomes solid at room temperature. Such fast are considered as the most harmful form of fats since they clog the arteries. Its intake can cause the hypertension, heart attacks and several other cardiovascular diseases.

WHO data on Trans-fat

World Health Organisation (WHO) recommends that, around 5.4 lakh deaths happen each year globally as a result of the intake of the industrially produced trans fatty acids. The WHO aims to eliminate the industrially-produced trans fatty acids from the food supply by 2023.

Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI)

It is an autonomous body that works under the Ministry of Health & Family Welfare.  It was established under the Food Safety and Standards Act, 2006.  The body is responsible for protecting and promoting the public health by the regulation and supervision of food safety. It is headed by a non-executive Chairperson. The chairperson is appointed by the Central Government. Currently, Rita Teaotia is the Chairperson for FSSAI and the current Chief Executive Officer is Shri Arun Singhal.

The NITI Aayog has ordered the Jaipur-based research organisation Consumer Unity and Trust Society (CUTS) International to study the “economic impact” of judgments delivered by Supreme Court (SC), high courts (HCs), and quasi-judicial bodies like the National Green Tribunal (NGT). It has also asked to study the “judicial activism” of such courts and tribunals.

Highlights

CUTS role

  1. Economic impact of the ban imposed by the SC in March 2019 on construction of a greenfield airport at Mopa, Goa.
  2. SC’s February 2018 ban on iron ore mining in Goa.
  3. NGT ban on sand mining in the Yamuna river in Gautam Buddha Nagar in the year 2013.
  4. SC ban on construction of buildings in Delhi and National Capital Region
  5. SC’s decision to reject the opening of Vedanta’s Sterlite copper plant.

Purpose of the study

The study will provide an objective cost-benefit analysis of the economic impact of the decisions made by the judiciary. The study is also a part of the umbrella project of the NITI Aayog under which the think tank wants to establish a judicial performance index. This index will be used to measure the performance of judges at district courts and subordinate levels.

The Ministry of Education has decided that the Schools and hostels under the Samagra Shiksha scheme will now be renamed after Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose.

Key Facts

About Samagra Shiksha Scheme

Residential facilities

The residential facilities are provided under the scheme to the migrant and child labour rescued children. It is also provided to the children who got separated from their families and those who are without adult protection. So far, a total of 1,063 residential facilities including the 383 residential schools and 680 hostels have been sanctioned to states and union territories under the scheme.

Skill Training

Under the scheme, specific skill training, medical care, physical self-defence, community participation and monthly stipend are also provided to children.

The “International Day of Zero Tolerance for Female Genital Mutilation’’ was observed on 6 February. This year the day was observed under the theme – “No Time for Global Inaction, Unite, Fund, and Act to End Female Genital Mutilation.”

Key facts

What is Female Genital Mutilation (FGM)?

This practice is forced on girls aged 4 to 14 years as a ritual. In this practice, external female genitalia are removed partially or completely.  This practice is considered to be the violation of human right since it can cause physical damage, psychological trauma and irreversible problems to the girls. This practice has been into force for over a thousand years. The government aims to completely eradication this practice by 2030. Thus, the movement began to protect girls and women from violence and to protect their physical health. The data from the world health organisation (WHO) reveals that about 120 to 140 million women have been subject to FGM in three years. Presently, at least 3 million girls are at risk of FGM every year.

Background

Zero Tolerance towards the Female Genital Mutilation was first declared by the First Lady of Nigeria and spokesperson for the Campaign Against Female Genital Mutilation, Stella Obasanjo, in the year 2003. In that year, a conference was held by the “Inter-African Committee on Traditional Practices Affecting the Health of Women and Children (IAC)”. Following the conference, the United Nations adopted this day as an international awareness day.

The Business Confidence Index (BCI) was recently published by the National Council of Applied Economic Research (NCAER).

Highlights

About BES findings

The BES findings are based on the responses of 500 firms. The reports are based on the 115th round of BES which was carried out in December 2020. The findings further highlight that,

  1. Though covid-19 vaccine were rolled out in Europe and North America. But it was accompanied by the discovery of new mutations of the coronavirus.
  2. In Indian, approval of Covishield and Covaxin vaccines for restricted use was given on January 3, 2021.
  3. Indian economy is following the recovery path and will show a positive growth in the quarter 3.
  4. In India, the business sentiments have also shown the V-shaped pattern of recovery.
  5. The report further states that, the fiscal stimulus under Aatmanirbhar 2.0 and 3.0 schemes will accelerate the public investment. However, the private investment will remain sluggish because of low-capacity utilisation.

National Council of Applied Economic Research (NCAER)

NCAER is a New Delhi based non-profit economic think tank. The NCAER do research in the field of economics. It was established in the year 1956. Currently, Nandan Nilekani is president of the governing body. The director general of the think tank is Dr Shekhar Shah.

The Uttar Pradesh government has introduced a system of issuing a unique 16-digit Unicode on February 7, 2020. This Unicode will be used to mark all kinds of landholdings in the state.

Unicode numbers

The Unicode numbers for the land would comprise of the16 digits. The first six digits is based on the population of the land. Next 4 digits in the line would determine the unique identity of the land. Digits from 11 to 14 would be the number of divisions of the land. Lastly, 2 digits would contain the details regarding the category. With the help of the last 2 digits, the category of the land viz. residential, agricultural and commercial land can be identified.

Significance of the Unicode number

Thus, the Unicode will end the fake registries of disputed land. For this, the scheme is being implemented in entire UP. The Unicode assessment for plots has started in all revenue villages. But, the work of marking the disputed plots in the computerised management system is still under process with the revenue courts.

Recently the Union Finance Minister, Nirmala Sitharaman, while addressing the business leaders, chartered accountants and tax professionals in Mumbai stated that the central government will work with the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) to execute the plan of the privatization of the banks.

Highlights

The minister further said, the Centre have not made plan to form any bank investment company in order to house the government’s bank holdings.

Background

Privatisation of Banks

The Central government is planning for the privatisation of more than half of the state-owned banks. The government is planning so in order to reduce the number of government-owned lenders to five. Currently, India has 12 state-owned banks. In the year 2019, government has also merged ten state-owned banks into four large banks.

Positives of Privatisation

The privatisation on banks is beneficial in understated manner:

  1. It will help to address the bad loan and Non-Performing Assets issues.
  2. It would also help in ensuring a better financial performance. It would comprise of a strong financial institution as a significant shareholder in the privatisation.
  3. Privatisation will reduce the liabilities of the government.
  4. It would also be helpful in reducing the fiscal deficit.
  5. Privatisation will also finance the revenue expenditure by revenue receipts in long term.
  6. It will bring in the environment of minimum government and maximum governance.

Negatives of Privatisation

However, the plan of privatisation is criticized for diluting the idea of inclusive banking which is practiced now. Inclusive banking was the guiding principle during the nationalization of banks. Further, government will face difficulties in providing low-cost financial services to rural and poor sections because, the private sector banks don’t share the social responsibilities of the government.

The Central government has allocated Rupees 16,000 crores for the Pradhan Mantri Fasal Bima Yojana (PMFBY) for the upcoming fiscal year 2021-22.

Key Facts

Pradhan Manti fasal Bima Yojana

Beneficiaries

Under the scheme, more than 5.5 crore farmer applications are received on yearly basis to get the benefits. Out of total enrolled farmers, 84 per cent are thet small and marginal farmers. Thus, the scheme ensures that the financial assistance is provided to the most vulnerable farmers.

An avalanche and flash floods triggered in Alaknanda river in Chamoli district of Uttarakhand following a glacial breach.

Highlights

 Alaknanda River

Holy confluence of rivers

  1. At Vishnuprayag, Dhauliganga River meets Alaknanda river.
  2. At Nandaprayag, Nandakini River meets Alaknanda.
  3. At Karnaprayag, Pindar River meets Alaknanda.
  4. At Rudraprayag, Mandakini River meets Alaknanda.
  5. At Devprayag, Bhagirathi River meets alaknanda and it officially becomes River Ganges.

Dhauliganga

It is among the six source streams of the River Ganges river. The river meets the river Alaknanda at Vishnuprayag in Joshimath.

The first geothermal power project of India will be established at Puga village of eastern Ladakh.

Highlights

First phase of project

Second Phase of the project

Third phase of the project

Puga Village

In the Puga Village, scientists have discovered a potential of more than 100 mw of geothermal energies. It lies in the south-eastern part of Ladakh. The village is a part of the Himalayan geothermal belt. The region has shown the evidence of geothermal activity in various form including the mud pools, hot springs, sulphur deposits and borax deposits. The talk of the potential geothermal project in the Puja Village has been into news since 2008. The region has the potential to produce about 40% of the energy requirements.